Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Knitted Pot Holders

Yesterday marked the last day that David and I got to spend together before he leaves for Chicago and starts his job at BP. Naturally, I couldn't let him leave without giving him a going away present of some sort, so for the longest time, I wracked my brain trying to think of something. A good fallback for me is to just make something, but then what?

The final decision was for me to make him a set of pot holders to use in his new apartment. To start I cast on 38 stitches of Knit Picks' "Wool of the Andes" in the color Solstice Heather onto size 8 needles. I chose to use a yarn made of 100% wool because I figured it would insulate better than some other yarns I could have used. From there, I knitted 62 rows of the garter stitch (chosen for its thicker texture) before binding off. Then, I knitted about 20 rows of a single stitch in order to create the loop which I attached with a darning needle. Repeat the whole process twice and I had me a set of pot holders for David to take all the way to Illinois!

The finished product!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Friday (Saturday) Five

Five Things Without Which I Could Not Survive the First Week of Class.

1) Tea. I drink tea all day everyday. Call me crazy, but I think tea goes well with everything. I also love it because I don't feel guilty for drinking it. When I don't want water, I reach for tea instead of soda, and since I went through a pretty big soda phase once, I consider this to be one small victory for me. But tea has seriously helped me out this week, from waking up in the morning to carrying on during the day to winding-down at night.

2) My birthday.  This past Wednesday, I turned 21, and it was exactly what I needed to transition back into another semester of classes.  I got to see all of my friends and eat dinner with my parents, and I laughed for a good majority of the day.  Unwinding midway through the week with a couple drinks didn't hurt either since I'm now 21 :)

3) My alarm.  Having lived a life of sleeping-in these past two weeks, having to actually wake up at a certain time has been a beast.  Luckily I don't have any classes before 10 A.M., but it's always nice to know that my alarm clock has my back for those days where I'm really sleepy.

4) Knitting.  It's so therapeutic, and it's an awesome way to unwind at the end of the day.

5) Hair clips.  I'm trying to grow my hair out again, and because I hate always throwing my hair up in a ponytail, I resort to hair clips.  And bows.  And flowers.  I maybe have a small obsession.

Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day

My two weeks of summer are over, and now Fall Semester 2012 is already here.  The buzz around campus is unusually tangible, and while I certainly remember those days of excitement over a new school year, it's hard for me to get into the same euphoric state.  I am really grateful to see all my friends again, and it's wonderful to be able to spend a good bit of time with David before he leaves for Chicago, but I feel burned out on school.  In my crazy rush to graduate in four years, I'm consequently coming up on my seventh straight semester of studying without having breaks, and I'm discovering that doing so really takes its toll.

So far, my classes don't seem too horrendous though.  I had my first class this morning at ten.  It was my Intro to Cognitive Psychology class, and I like my professor so far.  He's young, he just received his PhD, and he seems pretty cool.  The class is in a fairly large lecture hall although there's only about forty students in the class, and I like that it's a smaller class size.  Never in my high school life did I think forty students was a small class, haha.  Oh, how times change.

After psych, I headed straight to my computer science.  I can tell already that this is probably going to be my least favorite class.  First of all, it's located in Howey, possibly my least favorite building on campus (and that's saying something), and on top of that, nearly every seat was filled to capacity, forcing me to take a seat in the back where I could neither hear the professor nor read his handwritten notes.  Who does handwritten notes in a computer science class anyways?  Needless to say, despite my need to now find a seat near the front of the class, learning Java is not going to be fun.  I already feel way in over my head.

After a lunch respite, I had my probability and statistics class that afternoon.  I like the looks of this class so far.  Despite the lack of AC, I really enjoyed myself.  My professor also seemed to have a definite, well-defined sense of humor.  I think we'll get along just fine.  My favorite part: his socks that had the word "Sunday" written all over them.  I wonder what happened to Monday's socks...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Blogs Worth Reading

If you're like me, then you're always looking for good blogs to read. I read blogs about everything from everyday life to DIY ideas to being a woman in the field of mathematics--all of them embody my interests and represent my personality as who I am as well as who I want to be.

I started sporadically blogging about two years ago, and I had only just been starting to read other people's blogs shortly before that. Ironically, I started with a French photographer's blog that I probably only understood half of at the time. Overtime, my blogging interests developed, and I was checking Google Reader (an awesome Google feature that keeps all your blogs updated in one spot) more than once a day in anticipation of someone having written something new.

Of course, as I feel like happens with most bloggers at some point, I had about a year of a blogging hiatus. But being inspired by the amazing blogs that I read, I've been blogging a lot more regularly recently. I don't think I could exactly label what my blog is about, a look inside the life of Kerry Cogan with a dash of witticism, poignancy, and craftiness? I don't know; you tell me. But I definitely do draw a lot of inspiration from what I read, whether that be books or blogs.

And so, without further ado, I present the blogs that I think you should also go check out because, well, I understand the importance of having the back of your fellow blogger.

1) Clairely Molly: Written by none other than my good friend, Molly, this is probably the blog that I get the most excited about whenever there's a new post that I haven't read.  This is also the only blog that I read where I know the blogger personally.  But that's not the reason why Clairely Molly made this list.  It made the list because it's real.  The perfect combination of clever and whimsical, without being facetious, Molly's blog is my escape.  I love to live vicariously through her grand adventures.

2) Garance Doré: This is the aforementioned French blog that I originally started reading back in high school.  Luckily for all of us non-French speakers, she has it translated into English as well, and the translation is really good at preserving her humor and idiomatic expressions.  I'm not usually the kind of person that goes for fashion blogs, but her writing and her prints are sublime.

3) Tanya Khovanova's Math Blog: This blog feels like a guilty pleasure sometimes.  I'm a huge dork, I know.  But everything she writes about feels so easy to relate to.  Sometimes she talks about her education, sometimes her work and her family life.  But whatever she talks about, she always ties it into mathematics.  I think that's one of the awesome things about math--you can relate it to almost anything.  On top of that, this woman is a beast.  But other than her being wickedly smart, her blog makes me dream about one day being a mathematics woman too.

4) Good Women ProjectI really like this blog because it's religious and spiritual without making me feel bad about myself. Maybe that sounds weird, but the vibe I get from this blog is informative without being condescending. It's about real women actively working to make their lives better. Often the posts are about sex, love, or relationships, and I absorb every word. I, by no means, live a perfect life, but this blog helps me to take my imperfections, realize that all women have the same problems, and helps me to live my life in a better, more healthful way.

There's probably at least five other blogs that I could mention, but I tried to restrict myself somewhat. There's a handful of DIY blogs that I also read, and I love those to get crafty ideas for homemade things to make! Check out Sweet Verbena. Her blog is just one of many that I read.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Beach Week

"Jamaica, Bahama, come on pretty mama. Key Largo, Montego, baby, why don't we go."

This week's post inspired by my pal, Jimmy Buffet. For as long as I can remember, my family has been going to South Florida to visit my mom's step-dad. What used to be a 12-hour drive has now blessedly transformed itself into a two-hour flight into Miami which feels like a breeze compared to being cooped up in the car all day.

The vacation in Ocean Reef, Key Largo lasted about a week and was filled with lots of relaxation and sun time.  Here are just some of my favorite parts:

- Free snacks on the airplane.  Fastest way into my heart: feed me.
- Our waiter tantalizing me every night with wine because he knew I was turning 21 in two weeks.
- Figuring out why manholes are round.  Read the answer here!
- Working on my tan while drinking daiquiris.
- Talking to David on the phone while he was vacationing in California.
- Getting to spend some quality time with my grandfather.
- Playing tennis for the first time in years.
- Working on my future grandma skills by cross-stitching every night.

I can't wait to go back!

Why are Manholes Round?

This question was posed by my grandfather during dinner with him my first night in Key Largo.

The answer to this question can, naturally, be answered using just a little bit of math.

As a table, we collectively came up with two solutions.

1) By using a circular design, the manhole cover can be oriented in any direction, thereby making it easier to place because, being made of cast iron, they aren't particularly light.

2) They can't fall through.  If one were to use a polygonal shape, such as a square, where the distance between two opposite points is greater than the length of any one side, then the cover would be able to fall through the hole.

Later, reflecting upon the question further, I came up with another answer using the semantics of geometry where I realized that the shortest path that can be taken where one starts at a single point and finishes at that same point is, in fact, a circle.  This solution would allow for the least amount of iron possible to be used in the production of a manhole.

Math is cool :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Five: Five Reasons Why _________ is One Of My Very Favorite TV Shows

This week's Friday Five:  Five Reasons Why _________ is One Of My Very Favorite TV Shows.

I have chosen How I Met Your Mother to fill in this blank.

1) It never fails to make me laugh.  Seriously, nearly every single episode (save those that focus more on tear-jerking, touching subjects) have me doubled over with laughter.  There is not one cast member that fails to deliver their lines perfectly, and I really think more credit needs to be given to the writers of the show for their comic genius.

2) Neil Patrick Harris.  *See comment above about cast members delivering lines perfectly.

3) It feels real.  While I feel like all sitcoms try to go for a level of reality, I think How I Met Your Mother gets highest marks.  It brings real situations to the forefront as they talk about everything from marriage to failed love to surviving the real world.

4) Ted and Marshall made a pact to watch the Star Wars trilogy every three years.

5) It already has seven seasons and doesn't appear to be stopping anytime soon.  By this point, most TV shows feel like overkill, but this one gets more engrossing with every episode.

Don't forget to check out Molly's blog, the originator of the Friday Five.  She was awesome enough to give me a shout-out :)

You and I

"Maybe I think you're cute and funny; maybe I wanna do what bunnies do with you, if you know what I mean."  ;)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Five Literary Characters That I Think I Could Actually Be Friends With

Trying very hard to not steal any of Molly's Friday Five (because let's be honest, I want to be friends with all of her literary buds too), the following is my list of Five Literary Characters That I Think I Could Actually Be Friends With.

1) Severus Snape, Harry Potter: Okay, maybe this one is a little bit of a stretch. Maybe in my perfect world would I be best friends with none other than the greasy Potions master from one of the most beloved series of all time. Underneath that snarky guise, I can see a mutual love of reading and a dry sense of humor. I definitely think I could make him laugh.

2) Claire Randall (née Beauchamp), Outlander*: Brave and charismatic, Claire will always be one of my favorite literary characters. And she travels through time. That could seriously have its perks. But despite that, she is genuine and honest and beyond innovative, and for that, I truly admire her.

3) Cassandra Mortmain, I Capture the Castle: We have three solid things in common: a love of reading, a love of people watching, and a love of writing. Above that, she has the kindest heart. Willing to make sacrifices for anyone, especially her older sister, Cassandra is quiet and innocent but has incredible drive.

4) Fr. Ralph de Bricassart, The Thorn Birds: A rather un-kosher choice, I know, but I feel like I could tell Fr. de Bricassart anything without judgement because I feel like he above anyone else understands the limitations of humanity.

5) Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh: Besides his tremendous love of food, Pooh has the biggest heart and loves unconditionally, especially his great friend Piglet. I think I could fit into that friend group quite well. Besides, he's Pooh Bear and I'm Ker-Bear. It's meant to be.

*P.S. Molly, I think you would really like this series.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Semester's End

Finals are over, I went on a mini-shopping spree to use up all my Rambling money, and now not a lot separates me from doing nothing for the next two and a half weeks before, well, I start ANOTHER semester. It gets old really fast.

But, I'm leaving for Key Largo Saturday morning, so I do have a list of things to do before then.

- pack up all my things in North Ave
- move said things into new apartment
- pack for Florida
- wrap David's graduation present :)
- go to David's graduation!
- watch Kathleen Hersey in the women's 200m butterfly Olympic finals
- paint nails :)
- catch up on a summer's worth of sleeping, knitting, cross-stitching, and reading