Socktoberfest is over…

Socktoberfest is over...

And these still represent the entirety of my handknit sock collection. Yep, I finished exactly zero socks this Socktoberfest. Not even the Single Sock (the Tabi Sock, that is) that was supposed to be done in time to put in the mail tomorrow. I’ll finish it pretty soon after that, but tomorrow? Not so much. There’s only so much you can do when you come down with what was either the flu, or a 4-day migraine-from-hell at the last minute, you know? As for today, I’ve got a lot of work to catch up on (funny how missing 4 days of classes puts you a bit behind in them, no?). C’est la vie.

I do have a couple of pieces of good news, though! Thing the first: I’m going to be giving a talk at a conference in Germany in February. Which means I get to go to Germany. And friend of mine from my department is also going to give a talk, which means we get to go together (I can be her translator!). How awesome is that? Thing the second: I have plans with another friend to get together this Friday and make curtains. She knows far more about sewing than I do, so I’m quite happy that she’s willing to give me a hand, because I can only imagine the disaster I could create, left to my own devices.

Susan tagged me for that “8 things” meme. I had a really hard time thinking up 8 things about myself that I didn’t mind sharing with the whole wide Internet world that I’ve not already posted about. Hmm, maybe I have a wee problem with “oversharing”? Anyway, I think these are all “new” things, so here is my list:

1. Eight is my favoritest number. I don’t know why. I think when I was younger I liked that it looked like the infinity symbol (even though I don’t make it that way when I write. I draw one circle on top of another circle). Now it is my favorite “hyperbole number”. Like, if I ever want to make completely exaggerated claims about the size/number/etc of something, I always use something like “8 billion” or some other number that is 8 times a power of 10.

4. Other than my fondness for the number 8, I tend to favor odd numbers. This is because when I am eating things like carrot sticks or apple slices, I like to lay them out so that I have an equal number of them on each side of a central piece. Then I eat them in pairs until I get to the last one. I’ll even “sneak eat” one in advance, when it “doesn’t count”, if there are an even number to start with. I also sort things by color and size when I eat. OCD, much? Yes, yes indeed.

3. I taught myself to knit when I was 13, with the help of a friend in orchestra class (we had an extended period of substitute teachers, who didn’t know how to run an orchestra, and thus we sat around doing pretty much nothing for a month or so), using two pencils and a piece of string. This:

Front and Back of First Scarf

is a picture of the first scarf I knit. Not on pencils, though, I’d acquired some wooden needles by then!

4. I used to be a very, very good violinist, and played in no fewer than 6 different orchestras at various points during my senior year of high school, in addition to a number of small ensembles. I also taught violin to the students of the Montessori school in my hometown while I was in high school. I miss this part of my life like you wouldn’t believe, but it’s been difficult trying to find groups to play in, having not gone the music-major route in college.

5. I have (rather mild) synaesthesia. But not the typical numbers or letters having colors sort. No, sounds (specifically ones that can be heard as musical pitches) have colors for me. I first realized this was not normal when I was color coding a fingering chart for those Montessori violin students (they love color-coding in Montessori schools!), and someone asked me how I was picking what color went with what note, and I realized that for other people, this was totally arbitrary.

6. I lived in North Carolina for the first 8 years of my life before moving to Minnesota, and still speak with a (slight) southern accent. My brother, who had a much stronger accent when we lived there, doesn’t sound southern at all anymore. I can usually neutralize it pretty well and sound fairly generically midwestern (though where’s the fun in that?), but when I’m excited, or among people with whom I’m really comfortable, it gets pretty darn noticeable. The hardest thing for me to avoid doing when I’m trying not to sound so southern is dropping all of the alveolar sounds (ie, “t”, “d”, “n”) from the ends of my words and replacing them with glottal stops. I do that a lot. I also can’t for the life of me hear (or reliably produce) a different vowel in “pin” vs. “pen” and similar words. I get really excited whenever I meet people in the sciences who also have southern accents, because I feel like people unfairly assume that everyone with such an accent is stupid, and that really irks me. I find nice southern accents (like, say, John Edwards‘s accent) extremely soothing to listen to.

7. I don’t know how to use call waiting on my cell phone. Any time I try, I wind up hanging up on both parties. I’m not sure how I manage to fail at this task that other people manage so easily, but there you have it. Thank goodness I work in academia, where one’s ability to manage multiple calls on a cell phone is not frequently an issue.

8. I was published at age 5. Yeah, it was in a children’s anthology that probably no one read outside of a few teachers in Central North Carolina. But still. It was a little story about this carved version of Pluto (the Disney dog, not the former-planet) that my mom had, which I had written as part of the “Writing to Read” program. I remember being really embarrassed about it at the time, because the older kids in the anthology had written much longer things and mine was so short. Yep, I’ve had unreasonable expectations of myself since kindergarten! Still haven’t grown out of them, alas.

I don’t ever really do the whole tagging thing, so if you’re reading this, and no one’s tagged you, and you really want to share 8 random things about yourself with the Internet, then consider yourself tagged!

8 thoughts on “Socktoberfest is over…”

  1. So the colors are associated with the sounds themselves, then? Does that mean you have absolute pitch? I had a friend who was like that — “Well, that’s red, so it’s an F”. I think it’s pretty cool. I associate colors, shapes and numbers with notes too (and F is NOT red), but only as they sit on the piano keyboard, or on the staff. It’s all visual for me, which makes it not really synaesthesia at all, I suppose.

    Oh, and that scarf is mighty impressive for a first try!

  2. Score! Bring another suitcase for all the Regia and Opal you can buy for cheap. Seriously, I can’t believe yarn stores get away with selling that stuff for so much over here. It’s a racket.

    I’ve found myself in the exact same position with the violin. Twenty years of my life were sunk into playing and now I have no occasion to play. No orchestra but the university one here, and I can’t commit to that much time. I hope I’ll be able to return to it soon. Best of luck with your playing!!!!

    BTW, seeing all of those socks made me want to dig in stash and cast on for a million socks. Thanks. Like I need any of that… ;-)

  3. Heh, I had a poem “published” in an anthology of writing contest winners when I was in fifth grade. I won second place and was annoyed because the first place winner was like a third of the length of mine.

  4. Love the socks picture. Such cheerful colors!

    I grew up in the South, and have lost my accent for the most part. In fact, I definitely have a Wisconsin twang after living here for 7+ years. I hate the Wisconsin twang and would much rather sound like a Southerner. It comes back whenever I visit my hometown in Kentucky, though. Anyway, I heard an NPR reporter with a strong southern accent the other day (reporting on something international, though I can’t remember what) and I was SO happy to hear it!

  5. I’m the opposite — whenever I did math homework in gradeschool, I “lost” if the answer had an 8 in it. I forget what the “good” numbers were.

    That’s so cool that you’re synesthetic. I just learned about synesthesia recently, and I’m fascinated by it.

  6. I love the color palette of the socks you do have. I have always wanted to play the violin; but my parents decided that the piano would be better. I have no idea why.

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