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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throwback Thursday, vocab edition

Last August, I had taken to a spot at a local university's library.  My quiet corner was a place where even the list of chores I kept in my head had to shush as I read and sometimes wrote for awhile each week.   After the fall semester began, I discovered several tables had been set up near my spot.  A used book sale was underway, each book only one dollar. 

I’m a sucker for a bargain, but I have no room at home for more books.  I’m a wannabe book worm with shelves of the things still needing to be read.  Yet, whenever my concentration wandered from the book I’d brought from home, there the sale tables lay in wait for me.  Did I get up and find another spot to avoid temptation?  No.  I am stubborn.  I was not going to buy a book.   

So I just looked.  Once, to stretch my legs, I trailed up and down the aisles closest to my spot, my neck bowed and cricked as I read the titles.  Fortunately, many there were the library's copies of outdated textbooks or about computer languages deader than Latin and with no hope of being as interesting.  The tables stayed up for weeks, and I found I could ignore them pretty well, eventually.  Because I wasn't going to take any of them home.

Then came the day I wandered too far.  In my defense, I believe my spot was occupied when I arrived at the library, so I went hunting for another one.  I happened to wander by the end of a book sale table I hadn't bothered with before.  More textbooks, more tired reference works, I'd assumed.

Two colossal volumes caught my attention.  Three words on both spines stopped my heart.  And feet.

...Oxford English Dictionary

THE Oxford English Dictionary?  No.  Not here.  No one would sell those.  Well, maybe two of them, if that's all there was...

THE COMPACT EDITION OF THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY

What.  You mean...that is to say, you mean, the version where all the umpteen volumes are in just two books?  The one that wouldn't occupy miles of shelf space in any given home, like mine?  That one?  THAT ONE?!?!

Oh yes.  That one.

Oh my ever-loving God.

Seriously, folks, I actually looked up to see if anyone else was about to swoop in for this prize.  Had no one else seen these here all this time?  I touched one, lifted it, set it on the backs of WordPerfect manuals (or whatever was underneath it, as if I was paying attention), and I opened it.

Compact OED opened


Understandably, you may not get why I love this dictionary.  I’ll explain.  This compendium is the chronicle of the soul of the English language.  I pored over its pages in college as if reading the secret diaries of my mother tongue.  The OED is not just a book of definitions.  It reveals the definitions' ancestry and the first known use of words in writing.  The dictionary deepens literature and breaks some of its codes.  It's only a little bit of a stretch to say that all the thousands of dollars spent on my higher education was worth it, just to be introduced to these books.

And now every single word in them could be mine for two dollars. Total.

You're damn straight I took those books home, schlepping them to the other side of the campus--I'm telling you, the English Language weighs a ton in late summer--where my car was waiting.  I found room for them on our shelves.  It was only two books, after all.  And I've lived happily with them ever since. 

Says she, like this was a proper fairy tale.  No, I didn’t match soul-destroying obstacles with overcoming heroism; I pounced on a pearl worthy of a greater price, and I’m not sorry.  I’m sharing my geeky confession with you to help you understand why I want to present rusty ol’ words from the OED, and why I’d rather do this on Throwback Thursdays than toss grimace-inducing photos from the late twentieth century onto my Facebook feed.  If I share more OED words, they won’t come with lengthy explanations like now.  Really.

So, with the help of a powerful magnifying glass and a bit of paraphrasing to unpack the dictionary’s abbreviations, today’s TBT Vocab Word from the good people at Oxford:

Repai'ring -- (a noun derived from a verb, rare.)  The act of going or resorting (to a place); (obsolete) return; (obsolete) place of repair or resort.

Earliest recorded use in 1375 by John Barbour in The Bruce:  "Heir I saw the men..mak luging [making camp].  Heir trow [true] I be their repayring.

Page 2493 of the Compact OED

I now own such a treasure because of my repairing to a library. 


Monday, July 21, 2014

Deep Stash 9, the initial frontier

I've left a lot of the last several months unrecorded on this blog. When I last waxed on and on, I was giving Monday The Finger, right? It turns out that not only has my defiance helped me throw off the Monday Blahs, but so has just owning up to the blahs out loud, in print. Digital print, anyway.

I was kind of surprised by that. It's not that I was trying to keep my intermittent depression a secret and that tossing it into the blogosphere became a huge relief from a hoarded burden. I hadn't been secretive, but the relief came anyway.  After I set it all down into (moderately) ordered thoughts for more witnesses than just my journal pages to stew over, I somehow created distance--an interruption to some self-defeating cycle. I have had very few very bad Mondays since.

One of the things I've left unrecorded here is that I have finally “Deep Stashed” nine projects. I'm bummed I didn't share the process here. I said I would try, but nope. Didn't happen. I actually made eleven projects, but two different yarns sourced two projects each. So, in order of completion:

(Each project title is a link to its respective Ravelry page.)

Asymetrical Cables Socks, blogged about here. (281yards of yarn used.)

Asymmetrical Cable Socks


Hourglass Throw, also blogged at the aforementioned link. (1512 yards used.)

Hourglass Throw


Magical Mystery Headband, an attempt to mimic a stitch pattern on a small scale. (A meager 88 yards used.)

Magical Mystery Headband


Juno Regina Stole, blogged here. (818 yards)

Juno Regina Stole


Buckland Sweater, blogged here. I dipped into that Donegal Tweed yarn again to test knit a currently unpublished cowl pattern. I wish I could show you a picture, but it'll have to wait until the designer releases the pattern. (1114 yards used, in total)

Buckland preblock


Little Minx socks. For a busy yarn, I made the counter-intuitive match to a busy pattern. The pattern is regular, however, so it doesn't get lost in the manic color changes and actually tames the colorway a little, in my opinion. Which was the one that counted, since I was knitting it. (286 yards)

Little Minx socks


From a skein of thermonuclear green Caron Simply Soft that WILL NOT DIE, I made two projects: Nermal the Roly Poly Kitty and a set of IV Site Wrist Covers for the pediatric ward at a local hospital. These two projects were also used in my local yarn shop's BINGO game, which is still going on. Nermal covered the Toy Square, and the fingerless mitts covered the Charity square. I'll have to blog more about the Bingo game later. (79 yards altogether)

Nermal IV Site Cover Mitts


Meadowsweet Cardigan, suitable to cover the Something for Baby square in Bingo. (234 yards used.)

Meadowsweet Cardigan


Birds of a Feather shawlette. Is it a skinny shawl? A fat-ended scarf? Yes! It's also the first mystery knitalong I've ever done, all to check off another Bingo square. (766 yards of two different yarns)

Birds of a Feather


That's the first nine projects. Did the nearly 5200 yards of yarn I plowed through knock a dent in my oldest stash, the yarn I bought in a new knitter frenzy back in 2007/08? Um, no. Not even. I did the math. I have almost nineteen MILES of yarn left. (I converted the total into miles because the yardage number is just too ridiculous to type. You go convert it back if you really want to know.) So, I'm considering my options. I might give away some of the yarn, sell it, or (more likely) keep knitting it. I'll let know.

Deep Stash Marathon Ticker

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