a leaf falls catches
itself on delicate wings
look! a butterfly
sitting alone I
vibrate full of thoughts and plans
my room is too cold
How is it that I never knew before reading Sorta Like a Rockstar that the goal of haikus are to capture a moment? These were two of my moments today--no judgment, no feeling even, just seeing the world as purely as possible.
Goodness, it has been a while, hasn't it? Well, let's not focus on that. Let's instead look at a thing which entertains me greatly, to the point that I am ignoring dinner to write this blog post. (Bad human; no cookie.) ::pauses to take bite::
When I was in high school, I took one of those free Myers-Briggs quizzes online--with the disclaimer and everything, that it isn't the full profile and so on et cetera, but fairly comprehensive. I remember, weirdly and possibly not accurately, that it was 99 questions (that might have been the Sorting Hat one. No, I definitely wasn't obsessed with taking personality quizzes, why do you ask?), and I scored as INTJ. For reference, that's Introvert, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging. This evening (in class no less! The professor even told us we could!), I played the Insight Game, and got . . . well, I got several possible results, since the answers for some of my categories were pretty close, but the ones that ring true from inside my head are ESFJ/ISFJ. For those of you playing along at home, that's a difference of up to THREE letters. Out of FOUR. (BTW, E=extrovert, S=sensory, F=feeling.)
I don't perceive myself as having changed much, by the way, from high school to college to graduate work--I'm a little more willing to talk with people I don't know and sometimes spontaneously decide to go to social events (two reasons why that's surprising: spontaneity and events. I have always liked hanging out with people and talking, but still don't really like parties). So why the huge change in how I view my personality, if I haven't really changed that much?
Let's go through the events of the evening consider the traits one by one, and start with the one that I always thought defined me--the T/F thing. I can actually understand how I misread this on a couple levels. First, I really wanted to be rational and logical. A lot. It really bothered me in college when I discovered that I would choose my belief system over scientific rationalism--I was taking Botany and reading about cool stuff like primitive cells that got swallowed by other primitive cells to become the first multicelled organisms, and thought about it until I found the sticking point, where I was unwilling to take science's word for it. (For the record, it's the origin of life--I decline to believe that life can arise out of nothing. And electrons out of nothing are just as iffy.) Second, this is the section, for me, with the most hard calls. Several times I almost chose the T side and decided the F side fit slightly better, and an almost equal number of times I did the reverse--and in the end the two areas I'm closest in are E/I and T/F. Third, I misread another aspect of my personality and used it to identify with profiles that I don't quite match.
That other aspect of my personality would be the J, by the way. Its opposite is Perceiving, the characteristics of which are spontaneity, a hatred of routine, tendency to procrastinate and end up doing too much at the last minute. They hate making up their mind about anything (in fact, this is a major reason they procrastinate), and they tend to second-guess their decisions even after they are already committed. The only aspect in which this describes me is that I dislike making decisions (I rarely second-guess my decisions after making them though, and almost never seriously consider changing them), and I think that might be a girl thing rather than a personality thing. Or a girl-in-Western-society thing--feel free to discuss. I make snap decisions, I hate changing plans, I adore routine, and I find it much easier to schedule my time (even though that's sometimes hard) and do things in pieces than have to do entire projects at the LAST POSSIBLE SECOND OMG. So rigidity is a Thing in my life, and a bunch of T personality types have the word "rigid" in their descriptors, and you can totally see how I misapplied it, right? I never figured out, until this evening playing the Insight Game, that my rigidity comes less from an inflexible mind and more from an almost religious devotion to Schedule.
Third, Extrovert/Introvert. I am an extrovert in the most internal sense--being around people winds me up and energizes me rather than wearing me out. I am not a traditional extrovert otherwise; I'm not particularly outgoing, nor do I always need to be around a bunch of friends, nor for that matter do I make friends easily. But I find talking to be an easy and enjoyable activity, and I will never turn down a conversation even if I happen to be doing something else. The reason I identified so strongly as introvert in high school is a combination of that tendency to create a routine and never want to deviate from it for the rest of my life mentioned above, and being homeschooled in a family that is 3/4 introvert. Both of my parents and my sister all need time away from people to recover energy, so I learned not to bother people unless they showed signs of wanting to interact with me, and had that lesson drilled into me until I started college at 19. I learned it so well, in fact, that I don't remember when I first learned it.
Last of all, Sensory vs. Intuitive. I have no idea how I ever deluded myself into thinking I was intuitive. Yes, I'm an inventive, imaginative person--but all my imaginings stem from other people or my observations. I observe more intensely than I do anything else, with an insane eye for detail. There's nothing wrong with that, I know now--even for creative writers, it all falls flat without close attention to world-building and character detail, and my sweetie says I would have been an excellent actress with my ability to get inside people's heads and construct their stories from their actions. Maybe it's that I observe so well that I thought I just intuitively knew things--for example, in my teens I had a trait I called "emotional chameleon" (picking up what people around me are feeling and feeling the same way), which I trained out of myself as soon as I realized I had it. (It's very uncomfortable, being dependent on everyone around you being in a good mood.) Maybe it's just that the dividing line between intuitive and sensory is more arbitrary than most, and I in my practicality and care for details fall on the sensory side rather than intuitive in this emphasis, where the dividing line between the two would fall elsewhere in another, and I without moving would change sides.
I wrote Mom a note for Mother's Day explaining her present, and realized after a while that it sounded a lot like a poem. So I rewrote it a bit and reformatted it to look like a poem, and thought I would share. :-)
This Mother’s Day
I will make anything
you ask for.
Chocolate cake or
An acre of peach lace.
(If you want a project, I will have it done
I can’t buy you
But I still have time
This Mother’s Day
Your present from me
And in case you're wondering, she plumped for this sweater, in cardigan form. I heart Anne Hanson designs :-)
Specifically, three things about the US that I didn't realize I missed till I got back. :-)
Item 1: street lights. Now I'm used to navigating OU's campus, which is not universally lit, so it wasn't unnerving to tromp around in Leipzig and Berlin with their noticeably lower density of lights. (Besides it's not like I was out after dark much--when the sky's light till your normal bedtime......) Still, looking out the window of the plane at Chicago was a reassuringly homecoming feeling.
Item 2: streets on a grid system. They appeal deeply to my sense of symmetry and tidiness, not to mention how much easier it is to orient oneself when wandering around. Plus they're very pretty seen from the air around sunset, so that all of the aforementioned streetlights are glimmering. It's a bit like a very neat constellation.
Item 3: urban sprawl. Go figure. I thought that something I would really miss about Germany would be all the green space within the cities--there are parks and gardens everywhere--and perhaps I will. One of the things that says "home" to me, though, is a sprawling city; even though I love the green space and parks, it feels Other, not like home.
As may be obvious, all three of these occurred to me as we were taking off from Chicago. These observations thus may or may not accurately represent my attachment to actual cities. They are nonetheless representative of a general trend--I was happy in Germany, even to the point of not really wanting to leave, but now that I'm back, I'm very happy to be home and keep seeing all kinds of stuff that was different. Not bad, not even things I disliked, just Other--just not home.
Wait, before I dive into my actual post, let me bring everyone up to date on news-ish stuff. As should not be a shock to anyone who actually knows me (or who follows me on Plurk, for that matter--I'm very clearly on European time), but which I have not yet posted on the blog because I'm a horrible blogger (as previously established on many occasions), I am in Germany at the moment--Leipzig, to be specific, in the break between Kurs A & Kurs B. Class starts again tomorrow, so I will have slightly more to do than I have for the past 4 days, which have been a giddy round of sleeping in and not leaving my room ;-)
So, the dream! I would suppose I have the same number of strange dreams here as elsewhere, but I seem to remember them better. There was one about Spindle, who adopted me and who was then held captive (slightly less than I was--nothing stops cats from going where they want) in our apartments in the back of...... apparently the women's clothing section of a posh department store. It was all deep pink and plush, and filled with clothes--like a very done-up boudoir, except everything was for sale. That was more than a week ago, though, and I don't remember anything very clearly from it except the adorable brindle cat who I named Spindle. (That was obviously the most important point anyway, right? Of course right!)
This morning's dream was once again on the theme of hostages and captives--apparently my brain likes that sort of thing. The first moment I remember clearly was handing my knitting to a Kern-monster-who-was-not-a-Kern-monster, in the way of dreams (oh. Another thing I've failed to keep the blog up to date on--the Kern-monster is a certain boy I met in January, with whom things look very promising)--anyway, handing over my knitting and book in the clear expectation of getting in the car (a rather old-fashioned convertible, by which I mean approximately Model T vintage) and driving off, only I was stopped firmly by the warden and told I couldn't leave. Or get my knitting back. Or for that matter my book. I of course considered this tremendously unfair, and told the warden so--apparently my dream wardens are a bit soft, because he didn't respond at all to this piece of cheek, but ignored me. I'm glad, really--it would be dreadful to get beaten up in my own dream. Insult to injury, sort of thing......
Then there was a middle stage of wandering around camp (not a very strict camp, apparently) and making friends with the other inmates--there was one sweet gentleman who I think was trying to make plans for an escape, and invited me along. Then the last part of the dream that I remember was strolling casually away from the camp, having no idea how I got outside but being equally certain I was completely at liberty. This amnesia worried me a bit and I tried prodding at the edges, without recognizing it as one of those fluid dream changes that your brain perpetrates when you're asleep--apparently my mind is very resistant to lucid dreaming, because that was as close as I can ever remember being to realizing I was dreaming while I was asleep. And really, it's not very close ::laughs::
The end result was that I woke up at 5:10, stayed awake for long enough to go over the details of the dream and think, "Well, that was strange," and slept again till my alarm at 6:30. Which I have, incidentally, because getting up early is a reality of life here in Germany--class starts at 9 and I usually leave my apartment five minutes before 8 in order to be properly early for class--and because I choose not to knock my body rhythms out of sync just because I happen to not have to get up for five days straight between sessions. And also because the sun shines straight in my window at 6:30 and I wouldn't sleep much past then anyway--it's easier for me to go to bed early here than to stay up late, with the result that a "late evening" for me is now 10pm. ::laughs::
So. I've been a horrible horrible blogger and dreadfully neglectful and all that. I've just had nothing I wanted to say that couldn't be fit into 140 characters for a while.
And now, I would like to break my established pattern, and share with you, not deep thoughts on knitting or learning experiences or even amusing vignettes of my life at college or home, but rather a recipe. It's from this book, although since I don't have it here with me it's more inspiration than word for word.
It's called Pasta alla Crudiaola (I make no guarantees as to spelling; I know German, not Italian), and it is so. good.
Recipe-ish Start by cooking about 8oz of pasta to your preferred doneness. Pot, salted water, stove, bring to boil--right. I have every confidence in your abilities. Now, about the time you add the pasta to the water, heat some olive oil in a skillet and add a 14oz can of diced tomatoes. At the same time, throw a few spoonfuls of garlic (I think the original recipe calls for 6 cloves--you can really use a LOT) and some more olive oil into a bowl. At this point the tomatoes have been cooking for, what, one and a half two minutes. Add them to the bowl with the garlic. When the pasta is cooked to a suitable doneness, drain, rinse if you want but there's no obligation, and add it to the bowl too. (You need a pretty big bowl for this.) Then add some crushed red pepper flakes, stir it up, serve and devour.
This is an incredibly easy recipe, but you can easily make it as intensive as you want. You could peel and chop your own tomatoes, mince your own garlic (I use the jarred minced garlic), you could even make your own pasta if you wanted! It also lends itself well to gluten-free cooking--it works just as well with rice or quinoa pasta as with regular wheat pasta. You can easily double it (just use 16oz of pasta, a 28oz can of diced tomatoes, and more garlic), or add protein like ham or shrimp to the tomato mixture to make it a more filling meal (just cook your protein of choice in the oil before adding the tomatoes--make sure that shrimp or what have you is fully cooked or heated through or whatever your goal is *before* adding the tomatoes, though, because you don't cook the sauce for any time at all after that).
......This is making me hungry. ::wanders off to eat dinner::
I've been thinking about how I refer to my knitting, as compared to how non-knitters talk about it. The most common question that I get when it comes to my knitting is, "What are you making?" My answer is almost always, "It's a sock," though it might in rare cases be "It's a shawl," or "It's a shell." The point, though, is not that I mostly make socks, but rather that I think of my knitting as already being the finished product. Sure, I'm working on it right now, sure, it's in progress--but really? It's a sock. It's not going to be a sock when I finish, it already is one. (Perhaps that's why it hurts so much to rip things out--you already consider that you have the thing you're making, even though it isn't finished yet.)
This morning in history, instead of being asked, "What are you making," I was asked, "What is that going to be?" As usual, I answered, "A sock," but it got me thinking. I see my knitting as something which already exists--as the finished product which is not yet manifest (or visible--sorry, I'm thinking about the theological aspects, and manifest is a very theological word).
All that is interesting enough on its own (and knitters, feel free to chime in--do you think of your knitting as the product even from the beginning stages, or do you say "it's going to be"?), but of course, being me, with my background, this whole concept immediately struck a familiar chord. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1, KJV). As Pastor describes it, faith is saying that I have it, even though it isn't in my hands; hope is saying, it's coming! It's coming! Someday it will be here! --I wonder if this is the result of long training, that I see even something very prosaic through eyes of faith--seeing what isn't there as if it already existed? Does walking by faith in your spiritual life change your outlook on material things? Am I boring my blog audience out of their skulls? ;-) Do comment--and feel free to tell me if you think the topic completely uninteresting.
I can be found on Plurk, http://www.plurk.com/Cinnabars/invite, where I babble about anything I happen to think about, and on Ravelry, also as Cinnabars, where I spend most of my time in the Sock Knitters Anonymous and Language Lovers forums, and in my group, Read From Your Stash. (I sometimes also update my projects.)