packing list

29 May 2008

As long as I'm avoiding the rest of my sewing projects, I'll type out a list of what I'm packing for my trip to the UK. I cannot wait to try packing it up completely, just to see how everything fits.

Working Attire:
  • green twills (for those heavy-duty days of working amid briar patches)
  • navy workout pants (which don't make noise when I walk and which dry out quickly; good for those days in the mud)
  • gym shorts (also serve as jammies)
  • 2 tee-shirts (also serve as jammies)
  • 2 tanks (to facilitate better tan lines since I don't want a really dark farmer's tan for Kris's wedding)
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • sneakers
  • wellies (big and bulky but necessary; at least I can pack squishable things within them)
  • jacket or hoodie (the North country especially gets chilly)

Touring Attire:

  • red skirt
  • brown tank
  • black tank
  • blue knit dress
  • brown shrug (this can be wadded up in my day bag and retrieved for those chillier times or those times in a cathedral)
  • ivory cardigan
  • 3-4 scarves (an absolute must, in my opinion)
  • tie-up shoes (these served me well last summer as they are comfortable and hardly take up any room in my bag)

Then those extras:

  • disposable rain poncho (yes, giving up style for utility)
  • swimmer's towel (tiny and unsatisfying but practical)
  • bathing suit (for those beautiful clear lakes in the Lake District)
  • undergarments (six total...and that's as much detail as I'll go into)
  • toiletries, consisting of deodorant, contact lens solution and case, 2 pairs of extra contacts, 2 razors, and SPF 50 sunscreen, tweezers, bobby pins and hair bands, and a few other things
  • Advil Liquigels
  • electric plug adapter and voltage converter
  • camera battery charger (the only thing we need a converter for, darn it)

And for my day bag:

  • travel toothpaste and toothbrush
  • travel Bible
  • Complete Works of Shakespeare (as this uses about 5 pt. font, it's quite tiny)
  • camera (holds around 1000 pictures, so that should do for all three of us)
  • journal/sketch book
  • fun read
  • water bottle
  • flip flops (for those hostel showers and some casual touring days)

Meagan, LeeAnn, and I have divided up the toiletries so that we pack as efficiently as possible. That's why I have not listed such things as shampoo or laundry detergent (we'll be washing out our clothes quite a bit!)

I may have to update this list once I check how I'm doing for space, but when I packed a trial run a few months ago, everything fit, and since then I've pared down the list even more. How's all that for 7 weeks?

of sewing and birds

Well, there it is, the biggest task awaiting my return home: sewing my bridesmaid dress for Kristen's wedding. I leave for the UK in less than two weeks and I'll return with only a week to spare before the event, so I must get this done now. At least I've already done the hardest part of the whole dressmaking process, fitting the pattern and making a muslin mock-up, but somehow it's still daunting indeed. I am particular about my seam finishes--the inside must look as neat as the outside and the dress must not require much fidgeting to look right once completed. In fact it must require very little because I'll have better things to think of during that time.

Then I still have a bit of sewing for the England trip. I've made a simple knit dress for easy traveling (knit doesn't wrinkle much)--a pattern I've drafted all by myself and made with only one yard of fabric: a whole dress with only one yard! I love those projects which use up every scrap so that, once the project is completed, there's nothing left to store. I'll need to finish up my day bag, an over-the-shoulder type big enough to hold my journal/sketch book, travel Bible, and daily baguette and cheese and water bottle (reusable, of course), yet still inconspicuous and easy to maneuver through the crowded Tube stations and trains. And then I'm toying with the idea of making a wide-brimmed hat. One made out of fabric could be stuffed into my backpack well enough, and hats are so good for protecting the face, neck, shoulders, and hair from the sun. But that won't be high on my priority list. Last I just have to replace a kinked zipper in one of my beloved skirts. Oh yes, and I need to sew buttons on one of my cardigans, too. I guess there's more to do than I thought.

As I write, a bright red cardinal keeps alighting on my room's window sills--he likes both of them. He hops around, checking the view for only a second or two before diving straight down. He looks like he's falling. I hope that I can catch a picture of him. Perhaps he's scoping out a good place for a nest? Or is nesting season already over now?


27 May 2008

I always look forward to returning home from school, but moving back in comes with its hassles, too. Where do I stash my year's new supplies of books? My books and I have talked and toiled together, so I cannot give them up, but my shelves are filled. My return, therefore, usually entails some hefty organization. This year I cleared out the top of my closet which held my notebooks from grade school, high school, and college, as well as a lifetime's worth of letters and birthday wishes, childhood drawings, oh, and other things, making room for all the new.

I love the sunlight streaming through my white curtains. And notice my nightstand? My brass bed was handed down to me from Mom
and Dad; my Dad painted it for me.

This is my little sitting area. I found the bentwood rocker at someone's curbside on bulk pick up day (my favorite day in the neighborhood). When I went back to pick it up with the car (it was a neighborhood a long ways away from my own), its little legs were sticking up out of the trashcan. I re-upholstered it and Dad reinforced it. It was my first piece of furniture. That little copper bar beside the chair is my doorstop so that Reg can wander in and out at his leisure.

Here are my wibbly wobbly bookshelves. Sometimes the doors fall off in my hand and the drawers are hard to open, but I love the storage it provides for my books, teacups, pictures, hat stands, and music. Off to the side is my rather buxom dressmaker's dummy. I still need to sew a cover for her so that she's my size.
But thank you for stopping by--always glad to have visitors.

Triscuits in Orange

26 May 2008

Yesterday evening I returned from a weekend in Culpeper, Virginia with Kris. Data collection (her job for the Click It or Ticket campaign in which she stands on street corners and counts how many drivers and passengers are wearing seatbelts versus not) takes her on many weekend trips across Virginia, so whenever I'm in town, I like to accompany her.

So yes, I'd like to live in Orange County eventually. It's beautiful with its wide green lawns and hills contained with dark brown, black, or white 3-plank fences, the lovely warm bovine odor, and horses and feral cats in abundance. Isn't it soul-freeing when your eye is allowed to wander, unchecked by development or industrial progress? It's restful.

I met the feline love-of-my-life in Orange. His name is Triscuit because he's the color of Wheat-Thins, only "Wheat-Thin" is not really an adequate name. I was closing the car trunk when I turned around and saw that Kris and I were being observed by this lonely creature sitting amid the tall waving weeds, sitting cooly and assuredly and yet somehow mischievously. In the next several minutes he crept closer in, never venturing too far from his safety net of bushes, as if he were an early maritime explorer and the bushes were his shoreline; he could always retreat if these two girls turned out to be monsters. Anyhow, we weren’t, and he spent the next hour rubbing his body against our legs, arching so much that he would fold himself into somersaults and then, twisting, would flop his legs open, inviting us to stroke his tummy. He batted at the paper from my sandwich wrap, ripping into it with his little pin-prick nails and poked his head up through the slats of my fold-out chair. He was so frisky and so social. When Kris and I had to go, he seemed to bid us goodbye, thanking us for visiting his realm. Then he darted back into his weed-filled abode, ready and waiting to capture the hearts of others. Dear dear Triscuit.

what a week brings

21 May 2008

Here I am, sitting at home in Virginia with my room unpacked and my new bachelor-of-arts degree folded up with Mom and Dad’s in the downstairs closet. It’s amazing how different this night is from the Tuesday night of last week—how different one week is from another…

I returned from my three-hour final in which I was to synthesize modern world history with our class texts of Amusing Ourselves to Death, I’ll Take My Stand, Eugenics and Other Evils, Communism, Witness, and Death of the West under a coherent thesis and significant conclusion, to find that Dad had called me five times. I knew what that meant.

He called to tell me Mammie died.

That evening I would circumnavigate MAP three times as Dad and then Mom explained what had happened. I remember the sobs and shuddering breaths and then the disbelief. When the furious flush of tears and questions abates, you’re left to trod out your grief to the rhythm of your own tired footsteps. Then stillness gives way—If I left right after my final tomorrow morning, can I make it in time for her funeral? “But what about graduation?” Commencement paled in comparison to her funeral. Dad checked every flight as I dumped my clothes and desk papers into any box or bag I had in preparation for my sudden exodus. But he could not find anything. I felt trapped on the campus of Grove City, needing two days to travel but only having one and a half days before the 12 o’clock Thursday service.

My great-grandmother…as time goes on, I’ll learn more of her accomplishments and beliefs—isn’t that the way, getting to know a person after she’s died better than you knew her in life? You find that she practically resurrected Pine Grove Church, she was the bulwark of her community, hers was the iron will that ran the farm (minus the pigs, mind you) after Pappy died; she tucked cash in odd places—in a popsicle box in the freezer, underneath the VCR, in prescription bottles; she had an uncanny knack for Bingo and she was crowned queen of the nursing home with Ol’ Tippy-Toes as king (a strange pair, considering she would fire a “Go on, git!” at him whenever he’d tip-toe into her room looking for candy, as if he were a cow or chicken) …you knew some of this but after her death the bits of stories and rumors codify—the nebulous stories and whispers of memories condense into a finite picture of who she was. It’s clearer, but that’s only because it is limited.

I had started a card to Mammie several weeks ago, telling her how much I’d appreciated our chats about her farming days. It sits, unfinished, on my desk now.

Those of us who couldn’t make it to Madison are going down in the fall on our own pilgrimage of sorts.


10 May 2008

Before the seas and lands had been created,
before the sky that covers everything,
Nature displayed a single aspect only
throughout the cosmos; Chaos was its name,
a shapeless, unwrought mass of inert bulk
and nothing more, with the discordant seeds
of disconnected elements all heaped
together in anarchic disarray.

The sun as yet did not light up the earth,
nor did the crescent moon renew her horns,
nor was the earth suspended in midair,
balanced by her own weight, nor did the ocean
extend her arms to the margins of the land.

Although the land and sea and air were present,
land was unstable, the sea unfit for swimming,
and air lacked light; shapes shifted constantly,
and all things were at odds with one another,
for in a single mass cold strove with warm,
wet was opposed to dry and soft to hard,
and weightlessness to matter having weight.

Some god (or kinder nature) settled this
dispute by separating earth from heaven,
and then by separating sea from earth
and fluid aether from the denser air;
and after these were separated out
and liberated from the primal heap,
he bound the disentangled elements
each in its place and all in harmony.

from Ovid's Metamorphoses


07 May 2008

I finished my classes today and with them, my last assignments for quite awhile. My final project was acting a scene from classical literature, so Meagan and I decided to try the opening scene from Antigone, the second play of Sophocles' Theban trilogy. I played Ismene and Meagan played Antigone, which suited our personalities rather well, for Antigone is bold with her ideals while Ismene is grounded and meek.

Oh my sister, think-think how our own father died, hated...

yes, if you can, but you're in love with impossibility!

rest assured, wild irrational as you are, my sister are truly dear to the ones who love you

These lines still swirl through my head when I am still. I suppose I could say that art marches on, transcendent, but I don't have the strength for that, Ismene would say.

Now it is time to catch up with my reading.