Category Archives: other

I knitted a hat!

When I was a kid, my grandma taught me to knit, and I made a few simple little things. In middle school and high school, I’d knit skinny “fashion scarves” with fluffy sparkly yarn, and I did some granny-square blankets, teddy bears, and mittens with the church youth knitting group (I was suuuuper cool /sarcasm). I hadn’t really touched it at all since starting college, but I noticed it becoming popular again among my generation in the past five or so years. So, I finally properly picked it up again earlier this month and knitted a hat!

Checking the circumference and length of the body of the hat. Yes, I’m using a paper clip for my row marker.

At the suggestion of the ladies at Sticks & Strings in Lansing, I joined Ravelry and found a cute, easy pattern for a winter hat (/toque, for Canadians). I used the Bankhead pattern by Susie Gourlay, adult size large. It fits pretty perfectly! Have a look at my project page on Ravelry for the technical details. I’ve noticed that it’s easier now to do “longer” patterns while binge-watching tv shows! I also have a longer attention span as a 28 year old than I did as a 12 year old. I made this hat in probably 5 days (two weekends and a workday evening) working at a leisurely pace. I’d say it was relaxing to work on this, but mostly, it was nice for my anxiety to be channelled in a focused, creative outlet where the input-output relation (so much work for so much result) is basically linear 😊 I’m looking forward to the Fiber Arts Fest in Ann Arbor in October!

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Great podcast episodes

I got into podcasts maybe 6 months ago (I know, I’m like 10 years late to the game), and I really love them. I listen to them when I’m waking up and getting ready in the morning, driving, doing chores or tasks around the house, and working out. My podcast app of choice is Podcast Republic for Android, which lets me play episodes through my Chromecast when I’m at home, and it saves the podcast files to my phone’s SD card (where there’s a lot more space). Below are a list of my favourite podcasts so far (in alphabetical order) with a particularly great recent (or recent-ish) episode.

99% Invisible

99 percent invisible podcast logo: 10 by 10 small black squares with a yellow square towards the upper right
The gist of it: Design of everyday things
Recommended episodes: “Bijlmer (City of the Future, Part 1)”
“Blood, Sweat, and Tears (City of the Future, Part 2)”

By The Book

The gist of it: Living by a self-help book for two weeks
Recommended episodes: “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck”
“Epilogue: The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck”

Can I Pet Your Dog?

The gist of it: Dog-lovers talk about dogs they met
Recommended episode: “CIPYD 113: David Huntsberger Returns and the Brittany”

Hidden Brain

The gist of it: Life’s unseen patterns
Recommended episodes: “Men: 45, Women: 0”
“The Lonely American Man”


The gist of it: Invisible forces that shape human behavior
Recommended episode: “I, I, I. Him.”

My Brother, My Brother and Me

The gist of it: Horrible advice for hilarious questions, or hilarious advice for horrible questions
I generally like all of them (except the live ones). If you’re new, ignore the backlog and just start listening.


The gist of it: Miscellany
Recommended episode: “Radiolab Presents: More Perfect – The Gun Show”

Revisionist History

The gist of it: Untold stories/perspectives in history
They’re all great, just start listening.


The gist of it: How revolutions shaped history
They’re all great, just jump in.

Rough Translation

The gist of it: American current events in international contexts
Recommended episode: “American Surrogate”

Self Care with Drs. Sarah

The gist of it: Academic self-care with two lady astronomers
Recommended episode: “Episode 19: Jealousy”
(I’ve loved every episode, but the one I link to is one that stuck with me extra)

Stuff Mom Never Told You

The gist of it: Feminism
They’re all great, just start listening.

Stuff You Missed in History Class

The gist of it: Untold stories/perspectives of history
They’re all great, just start listening.

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

The gist of it: Miscellany
They’re all great, just start listening.

The Memory Palace

The gist of it: Historical narratives
They’re all great, just start listening.

Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!

The gist of it: Weekly news quiz with comedy
Recommended episode: “Andrew Farah”

Where Should We Begin?

The gist of it: Actual couples therapy sessions on deep issues
They’re all great. Work through the short archives.

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Why donate monthly?

Why donate monthly to organizations
After the US federal election and subsequent strong increase in hate crimes and bullying of minorities (source), I and many others have decided to donate to organizations that protect and fight for human rights, civil liberties, and the environment. When you find the organizations you want to support (see below for a list), you get the option to donate once or donate monthly. Here’s why you should donate monthly.

They get to plan with a stable budget

With monthly donations, the organization can have a stable budget and make longer-term plans, instead of just building up and draining the coffers. This allows it to have paid staff with some semblance of job stability, and to take on projects or actions with a larger scope. It may only be $10-$20 from you each month, but when lots of people do that, it adds up. So you can even donate the same amount as you might do in a one-time lump (usually there’s a minimum donation of $5 or $10), but the way it’s structured is more beneficial for the organization’s planning.

Set it and forget it

Monthly donations are automatic, so they require no extra effort from you, and many organizations take PayPal in addition to credit cards. For me, it’s easier on my own budgeting to donate $15 per month than $180 all at once.

Organizations to support

Jezebel put together a list of organizations. Not on there that I also like: Trans Lifeline and the National Resources Defense Council. Also, local organizations in your community (crisis centers, education reform groups, advocacy groups, etc.).

But this is too many organizations!

Yes, it’s a lot. Pick a few that really speak to you and set up $10-$20 monthly donations. Maybe pick another few and do a one-time donation. You can, for example, donate to Lambda Legal or Planned Parenthood in honor of VP-elect Pence, and he’ll get a certificate stating so!

You can also sign up for email newsletters from organizations to get more involved in their local/state/national actions and campaigns.
Header image source

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Against Cobbs Hill high-density housing proposal

UPDATE: The mayor asked the developer to submit a new design!
Cobbs Hill reservoir at sunset, by Trisha G.
Rochester friends! Please email the city in opposition to a large housing development in Cobbs Hill park. They’re accepting comments until this Friday, June 17th. I’m publicizing this on behalf of my mom, the head of the Upper Monroe Neighborhood Association.

For more info, check out this report of the Upper Monroe Neighborhood Association meeting with city representatives. There’s also this article with a bunch more background info.

Feel free to copy/paste the message below or write your own.

Email subject: I’m against the Cobbs Hill Village proposal
To: jason.haremza AT
Dear Mr. Haremza,

As a resident of the City of Rochester, I am opposed to the 645 Norris Drive Proposal. It is not appropriate for the site and will detract from the park in which it sits. I am not against building new senior housing, but I am opposed to doing so at 645 Norris Drive. Our park and forestland are treasures for all our citizens to enjoy, unmarred by large housing developments.

Thank you,
[your name]

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Two new blogs!

Two of my favourite people have new blogs! The first is my sister, Emily, who’s doing volunteer work in Asheville, North Carolina supported by the Presbyterian church, at Habitat for Humanity.


The second is my friend and “PhD-sister”, Catia, who has an eye for fashion and sews amazing clothes.

Check ’em out!

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