Still here

Well, this has been a record of blog-abandonment so far – it’s been over four months since my last post. On top of not writing anything here I returned to lurking on my favourite blogs instead of commenting. As my very uninspired title states, I’m still here, still knitting, still trying to finish my dissertation and finally be done with my PhD and starting to be a bit unsatisfied with my life at the moment. Unfortunately, there’s nothing for it but to get a move with writing – until then I’m stuck in my current position. Due to the fact that I’m prone to migraine-attacks when stressed too much I have to try to balance everything, getting enough work done to feel good about it but not too much to feel stressed, getting enough sleep and experiencing nice things on the side.

Objectively, I made good progress on the dissertation and I’m much more clear now about its structure and the aspects I want to discuss. If everything goes well I should be able to hand it in around September which means I would be finished with my PhD by the end of the year and therefore before I turn 35.

So, to make this a successful day I need to get back to reading about lexical structures and leave you with a visual account of the last months and a promise to be back soon and post more regularly here!

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Honey, I’m back!

I’ve been absent from the blog again and reverted to lurking around the blogs I read instead of commenting 😦 Part of the problem is a certain laziness that comes with the time away from regular work (the new semester starts next week) and the other part is the always looming deadline for my dissertation.

At the end of last year we were notified that the building I work in (and studied in most of the time) is contaminated with PCB which is known to be toxic. Apart from being angry that this fact has been known to the university for about ten !!! years and they now seem very reluctant to do anything about it this has seriously disrupted my routine. I have a hard time motivating myself and avoiding my office has put a wrench into my plans. So, I got myself an upgrade on my home office and started moving most of my books from the office back home. Have a look!

Homeoffice

So, I have worked on my dissertation research both at home and at the library and now I’m neck-deep in lots of necessary preparations for the classes I’ll start teaching on monday.
There has been knitting and spinning since my last post and I have in fact some FOs to show – as soon as I get the batteries for my camera charged. Until then, I’ll leave you with some short notes:

  • I have become obsessed with podcasts, especially The Electric Sheep by Hoxton Handmade. I might have downloaded the last ten episodes already…. If you like podcasts and don’t know her yet, go have a listen!
  • As if I didn’t have enough spinning fibre already I found a new shop on etsy – Hilltop Cloud. I’ve ordered a beautiful BFL/Shetland/Silk roving and four fluffy balls of North Ronaldsay roving. I can’t stop petting this fibre it’s incredibly soft!
  • My blog has been nominated for an award and I was at first a bit shocked and then excited and now determined to get back into blogging.
  • I fixed the problem with my Celery cardigan by cheating with needle and thread. And voila – the offending bits just vanished!
  • We enjoyed a brief period of lovely spring weather and I’ve been outside as much as possible. I’m glad I did because apparently spring is now taking a break and the temperatures dropped by almost ten degrees and this afternoon shall bring rain.
  • I’m dentist-bound today and while I’m no longer as anxious as two months ago I still hate it 😦

That’s it for now, I’ll be back as soon as my camera works again!

Un-digitize me

If you’ve followed my irregular posts here for a while you’ll know by now that I constantly struggle with my dissertation. If you’re only here for the occasional knitting related post you might want to skip this post ;-).
I’m researching lexical loss in Old High German, Old English and Old Icelandic and gathering data is nothing but accumulating long lists of words I dragged out of huge dictionaries. The already finished (thank heavens!) list for Old High German started out with over a thousand items and has been dwindled down to 700 words.
Now I’m repeating my search on Old English data and the good news is that I don’t have to rely on old-school dictionaries in the university library because nothing can beat the DOE (Dictionary of Old English Online) and the Online version of the Oxford English Dictionary in this. I can dig through both sources online as long as I’m on campus because of licence issues.
The bad news is that digital dictionaries and Excel sheets combined have started to give me a headache. All I do is stare at the screen and switch between Firefox and Excel. You can guess that this did not turn out well…

What to do? My solution is to try my hand at doing this the 80s, retro kind of way – I’m un-digitizing my data organisation (and yes, I know un-digitize is not an actual English word 🙂 )!

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I still have a file but it’s made of cardboard 😉 and the accumulating data can actually be seen accumulating even though it has a slightly chaotic whiff to it.

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Eventually, I will have to put all data in digital form but since I can’t just attach an Excel-file to my dissertation I can convert my paper files later, after I’ve decided on a format.

For now I’ll  enjoy my old-fashioned files… and I better get back to them now!
I’ll be back with the big FO parade – as soon as I’ve finished weaving in the ends, attaching all buttons and giving everything a good soak!

Achievement and autumn

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It’s here, finally! After a ridiculously warm September it started raining today and the temperature has just dropped to a moderate 16 ° C! As much as I love this season (even the rain!) this also means bad times for picture-taking. The lighting in my flat is already low when I get home from work so I will have to resort to take my photos at the office or on the weekend from now on.
Since the new semester is about to start my week’s been very busy, but in a good way. It seems I work better under pressure whether it’s a deadline or the need to juggle lots of obligations at the same time so instead of freeing up my evenings to recompense for days filled with work on a dissertation I can’t keep myself motivated to work on I now aim to fill my week up with lots of things – taking a class in ‘Writing English for academic purposes’ on Thursdays, Cello lessons on Wednesdays, going to our local knitting meet-up on Tuesdays and I need to fit in some sports for my back.
First evidence this worked can be seen in the progress I made on my dissertation research – I’m working on the outline of the first chapter, found some more words for my list and I’m spending tomorrow at the library with my two pals,the Comprehensive Dictionary of Old English and the OED online.

Also achieved this week:

  • Spinning and plying of 4 oz Spunky Eclectic Falkland (drying at the moment, pics later)
  • Finished knitting the body of my Celery Cardigan (pics see above)
  • nearly finished writing up the London centric post

This week’s losers:

  • Dirty dishes
  • laundry
  • The lamp above my table and the lamp at the sofa (The lightbulb of the first burned through and since I haven’t had time to go shopping they have to share one lightbulb 🙂 )

My master-plan may need a wee bit of tweaking…
Coming up next: London!

Happy autumn!

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I’ve got news for you…

I can’t seem to get back into a regular blogging habit (if I ever had one…) and this trend translates into other parts of my everyday life. I haven’t cooked a proper meal in weeks (which means I’ve lived on take-out and sandwiches) and I have a really hard time getting into a work flow with my dissertation research. So, what did happen if I can’t get anything done?

Good news #1

sofa

I finally got rid of my old sofa which was A: beyond ugly (think muddy grey 80s design with no sidearms) B: uncomfortable to the point of torture C: too short even for little me.
This gorgeous and cushy sofa came to my top floor flat thanks to IKEA and even made me nod off in front of the TV once.

Bad news #1

is directly related to good news #1:

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Yesterday’s mail contained the new IKEA catalogue in which IKEA happily announced a reduced price for the sofa shown above. This means I paid nearly 100 € more because I bought it one measly month too early.
(This is an experience I usually take in stride when it comes to cds and books and only associate with my best friend M. who has been known to either whine for hours if he paid too much for a record or wander around with a maniacal grin if he paid less is another store.)
But this?! Bad IKEA!

Good news # 2:

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Finally, a little bit of knitting! This should become a ‘Celery cardigan’.

Possibly bad news #2:
My gauge is slightly off although I already switched to a smaller needle size. Since I couldn’t bear to knit a THIRD swatch I’m following directions for a size smaller. I still hope it will somehow fit me.

Good news #3:

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We’re leaving for a week in London next Wednesday! Since we’ve never been there before, M. and I will do most of the tourist things although we’ll limit ourselves to one museum per day for the sake of our nerves and backs. As for a non-touristy thing, we have tickets to see ‘Toots & the Maytals’ at Brixton Academy while we’re there. Yay!

Bad news #3:
My back started hurting about a week ago and I feel like I’ve been squeezed into a very tight straightjacket. This could spell disaster for the London trip: Hotel beds + walking around a big city all day = major strain to my back. I’m packing Ibuprofen, hot patches and my hot water bottle and hope for the best!

Next stop: London, St. Pancras 🙂

A shadow of a blog

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I’ve just realized I managed to ignore not only my own blog but the blogs I usually follow for nearly two months. I’ve lurked around a bit on Ravelry but that’s it.

In my defence I have to say that the semester has been a really hard one so far and I’m equally floored my too much work for the classes I teach and lot’s of guilt and a nagging consciousness because I spend too little time on my PhD. My great plans for the semester involved dedicating Mondays, Thursday and Fridays (plus the weekend if necessary) on my research and the rest of the week to prepare for classes. So far I had to use the entire week to prepare for my classes since I’m teaching Historical Linguistics for the first time and have to build up all material from scratch.

This leads to me feeling like bad academic and I’ve been wondering if I will ever finish this dissertation. I have frighteningly little results to show for the last three years but despite the guilt I’m often unable to motivate myself and simply MAKE time for the research!

Also, I picked up quilting my red monster again and thus my knitting suffered in a major way. This will hopefully balance out once I cast on for Stripe Study…

Another reason for my organizing difficulties is the vegetable patch I rented for this season. Due to the very dry weather we had for the last weeks I have been constantly driving out there to water the plants. I’ll look into building a clever watering system called Olla this weekend to provide a constant water supply for my tomatoes and the cucumber. (I hope I remember to bring my camera 😉

So, I aim to update once a week for now which should be manageable. Thanks to anyone who continued to stop by during my absence! I promise to be better!

Splurge

Oh boy, I need to stop buying books … I’ve discovered two UK online bookstores with free or nearly free shipping to Germany, one of them with a huge amount of incredibly low-priced second-hand books. I may have ordered six books just now. Then, another two on the way from amazon, one delivered today and a local store had a bargain offer on English paperbacks… Well…let’s say my to-read-shelf has grown.

I try to think of this shopping spree as a reward for a productive week – I finished the first handout for the new class I’ll be teaching next semester and I’ll be able to complete the second one tomorrow. And I finished “Excellent Women” by Barbara Pym – I’m still struggling with the review though…

All this buying English books made me think about the fact that nearly all the books I acquired and read in the last year are written in English. While I’m secretly a bit proud (shhh!) I’ve become quite proficient in reading English based on the fact that it’s not my first language (and my students seem to constantly complain if I assign an English text for class) I seem to put a lot of pressure on myself because of this. I find myself standing in front of the crime and mystery shelf at my local library and struggling to pick books originally written in English – because I could / should read them in English! Totally stupid, I know and I deliberately picked up two Charles Todd novels in the German translation. (Sometimes I wish I had been born English 😦 ).

So, hopefully I’ll be back  tomorrow evening with a review on ‘Excellent Women’ and pictures of my new book piles – I plan to hole up in my flat until Monday evening because it’s the ‘fifth’s season’ again here in Germany: Carnival has arrived and I hate it. (I wouldn’t even be able to get to campus on Monday because of the parade!)