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Apr 29, 2013

100th Post!! Yay!! Yippy!!


My blog now has 100 posts!!!!


What's in a schedule? Migraines, and prayers.

I have many schedules. There's my calendar. My partner's work schedule. Hagrid's day program schedule. Doctors appointments. Migraine tracking. Menu tracking. Daily schedules. Program schedules. Class schedules. Term schedules.

I'm sick of them all. I have a migraine, and I'm sick of it too. Can I just take the part of my brain that is broken out of my head and shot it? Please!  People I need some freedom from pain, nausea, and sickness here. This is getting to be more than I can handle.

I'm gonna do some damage to my migraines one of these days if I can ever figure it out. But, unfortunately, if I go and do that, I might as well give it all up. My migraines happen in an integral part of my brain, the meninges.

Why on earth do those suckers have to hurt so dang much?!? I hate this part of having had meningitis. I need my head to not hurt.

God, you know what I can handle, you know what I can't. I just wish we agreed as to what I can handle. Now, I'm going to take more imitrex and naproxen, so it might cut this pain in half on the second try. I so hope it does.  God, please, please, help the meds to work how they are supposed to. Amen.

Apr 28, 2013

Inductive Literary Analysis: Introduction

Dr. Corey Olsen from the Mythgard Institute prefers that students in his Institute use inductive literary analysis for their papers rather than deductive literary analysis. What exactly does that mean?

Well, deductive literary analysis is the typical 5 paragraph essay we here in America were taught in high school to work through. The first paragraph was an introduction that ended with a thesis statement of your position in an argument with three areas to be fleshed out in the body paragraphs. The next 3 paragraphs were body paragraphs that took one aspect and tied it to the thesis statement and provided examples from the works to bolster your preconceived ideas about the topic. The final paragraph was the conclusion that restated the thesis statement in other words, restated the evidential paragraphs, and tied it all together in a neat package. Nice, neat, concise, and really boring to write and read.

Inductive literary analysis is where you act as a tour guide through a work or more making observations and showing how they are connected among the works. There is no thesis statement. There is a place for further study questions in the conclusion paragraph. The introduction paragraph gives a understanding of the work and the author. These essays are more like travel logs from foreign lands, exciting, innovative, and informative.

I watched Dr. Olsen's lecture on inductive papers. Then, since I'm a rather inquisitive student and still had only a sort of grasp on the idea, I went looking through the Internet for some examples of the sort of things involved. I found a paper from 2005 written about adapting inductive Bible studies to English college sophomore class work by the professor of such a course. This led to my finding an inductive Bible study hints page from the Intervarsity site. I dropped the Bible specific questions and applications to adapt their work to regular literary analysis in the inductive style.

I am applying the questions to the Leaf By Niggle story currently and am learning a lot more about the story than I had noticed before. I'm still in the midst of working through the paragraph study part, which is tedious, but fruitful. I will share my findings after I complete that work.

In the meantime, feel free to look over what they have to offer at the Intervarsity site for Inductive Bible Study Hints.

Apr 24, 2013

JRR Tolkien and Beyond Middle Earth

I'll be taking the Tolkien Beyond Middle Earth course through Mythgard Institute starting May 13 and going on till August 1, this summer. I took the Tolkien's World of Middle Earth course this spring from January through April. I really enjoyed learning about Tolkien and his World. I had never studied, or even read, any of his works before.

Some of you may remember my post, Books I've Been Afraid to Read, where I shared my initial fear of Tolkien as being too high for a working class gal like me. I had believed this for so long, despite knowing I liked the movies for Lord of the Rings. Now, I have my mind opened and understand better that my prejudice against Tolkien as being too fancy for me was just my fear of not understanding showing itself.

I'm looking forward to this new course as we are going to read more of Tolkien's writings on other subjects than just fantasy. Some of the stories we are going to be reading are Leaf by Niggle, Farmer Giles of Ham, Smith of Wootton Major, Sir Gawain, Pearl and Sir Orfeo, and The Letters of Father Christmas. We'll also be revisiting Beowulf. I've looked at the books for this course and am enchanted by the pictures, many drawn by Tolkien himself. The Father Christmas pictures are drawn by Tolkien and remind me of the colors and style used in 1960s to 1980s Christmas drawings and cartoons of my youth even though they were drawn in the 1920s and 1930s. Isn't that really exciting?!

Leaf by Niggle is a story within a story within a story. On the surface, Niggle is painting a huge canvas of trees and leaves and nature scenes that he never thinks is finished enough. His neighbor Parish, asks him for various favors such as going to town for supplies as he has a bum leg and his wife is sickly. Niggle agrees to these interruptions, as he calls them. There's a horrid storm and Parish's roof needs repairing. In their society it is criminal not to help and be neighborly. The security folks come and notice that the roof has blown away and Niggle is holed up in his shed painting on a huge canvas that can be used to cover the roof and protect Parish, his wife and their items, but Niggle has not only done nothing, but has continued to paint and ignore the woes of his neighbor. The security folks send Niggle to the Training Center, use his canvas to patch Parish's roof, and use the paints to repaint the outside of Parish's house. One of the security folks keep a corner of the canvas that has a bit of a beautiful leaf. At the Training Center, Niggle is found to be untrainable and is sent away to the train. There's the First and Second Voices who decide Niggle's fate. Parish decides to help his friend Niggle. So the Voices allow him to come to where Niggle is. The First and Second Voices talk about Niggle and Parish and how they are now that they are out of the town. The two security folks talk about how sad it was that Niggle had to go, and how silly that Parish followed him. Then, there is Niggle's story about how he experiences all that is happening to him. So there's his story, the security folks story that sheds light on his story, and the voices story that sheds light on their story. This is science fiction before the genre even existed. Awesome!

Apr 10, 2013

Keeping things in BALANCE

I use a timer, a basic kitchen timer. Mine happens to be digital, with a button to set hour and a button to set minute and a button to start the count down or count up. I use the timer in 30-60 minute bursts for housework, crafting, computer time, and other tasks.
I also use lists. There’s a master list of what I need/want to do by when. An action items list with the individual steps needed to make the needs/wants reality. Then, my daily list has just the next step that gets me forward on the items on the big list. This way I’m making progress on the goals, but not overwhelming myself with too much at once. My daily lists are used for a few days until the items are gone, then I do another one.
I recognize that my best will vary from day to day. I do my best, and let it be enough. I am learning to live within my limits. I don’t want to exhaust myself by being too busy one day and then not be able to do the next because exhaustion leads to migraines and just not feeling well for me.
I turn off the computer for a few hours daily and pay attention to people in my life who are around me daily. My partner and our boarder, who needs my help getting ready for the day, I can’t be on Rav or crafting all the time. I also turn off the computer after a while and read or do laundry or do something else. I try not to go on Rav during the weekends, this is a new thing and it felt good.
To find balance, you do know what it means, or you wouldn’t feel out of it. I’m going to suggest a few things, and you can take them or leave them, try them or not, see if they are true for you, or just so much hot air, so to speak.
  1. use a timer and turn off the computer for 30 minutes and do something other than craft related things. read, go for a walk outside, do jumping jacks, anything other than crafting or the computer. IF that feels good doable, extend the time. IF it DOESN’T feel good, the next day do the same amount of time of disengaging from the computer and crafting. When you reach an uncomfortable stage, hold the time steady and figure out why it is uncomfortable. Use this knowledge to decide what you will do next.
  2. make a master list of say five to seven things, bigish projects. on a separate sheet of paper, write out the individual action steps needed for each of those big projects. each step should be on it’s own line. on a third sheet of paper, make a daily list of the first steps in each of the five-seven projects and no more than that. do those things you can and cross them off. if at the end of the day, anything remains undone, figure out why…is the step really more than one step or do you need something else before doing it? then it wasn’t the first step and you’ve now figured out the first step write it on the sheet of individual steps. if lack of interest or some other reason led to you not doing that step figure out what can make it more doable. draw a line on your daily list paper. write out the next steps for each project on the same sheet of paper under the line you’ve just drawn. keep doing this until a project is completed. once a project is completed, highlight the last step and the project on your big project list. now you can add a new project to the project list and the individual steps to the action items list and incorporate them into your daily list going forward.
  3. use index cards to remind yourself of ongoing things that you want to make into habits. write one thing on each card. stack the cards in a logical order and then number them one to whatever, in case they get messed up. then before getting on the computer/crafting/free time, do these daily habits.
  4. create a weekly schedule for yourself. sunday through saturday. what will you do on each day? I like to read the liturgical readings for the week and renew my soul on sunday, wash up on monday, library on tuesday, tops on wednesday, social crochet time on thursday, laundry on fridays, and sleep in on saturdays. what works for you? just because you create a schedule doesn’t mean you never deviate from it. just that you typically have a pattern to your days and weeks.
  5. pomodoro technique. use the known yardage for a project, a timer, pen and paper, and crafting supplies. set the timer for 25 minutes. start the timer when you are ready to craft. craft till timer dings. note project name and a tick mark on the paper. take a 5 minute rest. timer set to 25 minutes again. craft till it dings. make a tick mark on paper. rest 5 minutes. keep doing this till the project is done. count up the tick marks and divide by two. this gives you the hours that yardage took you to complete. say 10 hours for 2000 yards stockinette. reduce to one hour for 200 yards stockinette. this gives you a good time estimate of how long a particular project will take you.
5.b. pomodoro technique, part 2. using the timer, paper and pen, you can do the 25 minutes/5 minutes working/rest to create a tracking of time units to make estimating how much time anything will take you. this makes it easier to figure out if you have time to do xyz in the allotted time.
like i said these are just ideas. take or leave them.. figure out what works for you and run with those. trust your gut.

Apr 2, 2013

The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread, a Poem

The greatest thing since sliced bread, Yarn, needles, hooks, and scissors. Human creativity, and happy coincidences. The coming together of yarn, fingers, mind and hook or needles. These are the greatest things since sliced bread. For me, My own fingers and mind, They get bored with repetition, I must have crafting ADHD, My favorite pattern is the next one I will Find, create, engage with, do. For you, I hope you understand The best thing since sliced bread Is quite individual Singular as DNA as untraceable as a tear. The greatest thing since sliced bread Comes on wisps of fog in dreams The heat of shower mists The rising steam from a mug of morning goodness The greatest thing since sliced bread Is you and I Coming together to play a game Win points, make things for Family, charity, and others The greatest thing since sliced bread Is all of us Interconnecting Helping each other Explaining and supporting Allowing others to be our support The greatest thing since sliced bread just is.