Episode 15

In this episode, get caught up with what I’ve been doing for the past two weeks, including my knitting projects and other things that have kept me busy.  Today’s lesson is about responses to stress, which seemed an appropriate topic during the stressful holiday season.

Welcome to new and returning listeners!  And thank you to everyone who has contacted me these past couple of weeks.  If you haven’t already done so, you should join our erudite Ravelry group made up of fabulous people who are impeccable historians.  They know that, although the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 started in the barn of Patrick and Catherine O’Leary, it was not caused by their cow kicking over a lantern.   😉

I welcome your feedback — you can post comments here on the blog or in our Ravelry group.  You can also send me email on Ravelry or regular email.  It would be great if you sent me a card or letter via snail mail.  All of my contact information can be found on this site — click on the “About” tab at the top of the page.

This podcast is sponsored by Etsy shops Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and Evermore Studios.  Thank you so much to both sponsors!

You can subscribe to the show on iTunes or you can listen on the audio player below.

Listen to the Show:

SHOW NOTES

Awards and Scholarships

We are currently celebrating the Twelve Days of “Kris-mas” with daily prizes of yarn and other little surprises.  Each day’s winner is randomly selected from the Ewe University group on Ravelry.  We have two more days of giveaways — today and tomorrow.  So if you haven’t joined our Ravelry group yet, be sure to do that right away so you get included in the prize drawings!  Congratulations to all of our winners thus far!

Reminders and Announcements

The thread for the December graduating class is open on our Ravelry group.  You can enter as many finished objects as you complete this month — the more you post, the more chances you have of winning.  At the end of the month I will be drawing two random posts to be our December valedictorians!  One person will get a project bag of their choice from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories, and the other person will get a skein of yarn of their choice from Evermore Studios.  You must be a member of our Ravelry group to participate.

The Timber Ridge Winter Retreat is a wonderful one-day knitting retreat that will be on Saturday, January 4, 2014.  We will be there starting at 9:00am and will stay until probably around 5:00pm or whenever people start to dissipate.  This is a low-key retreat where you can simply come and hang out and knit with a great group of people.  There are no classes or vendors, only the nicest people and the birds and deer we watch from the window.  Lunch is pot-luck.  If you’re in the area and want to come, let me know and I will give you directions for getting there.

Around Campus

In this episode I talk about the snow and what I’ve been doing for the past couple of weeks which has kept me away from the recording studio.  I also update you on my snail mail news and the bittersweet closing of a local yarn shop.  As the end of 2013 approaches, I am thinking of my goals for this year, new goals for next year, and my personal theme for 2014.  As I discuss in the show, for my personal theme I focus on one of my Signature Strengths.  You can find out about your Signature Strengths by taking an online test (click on the “Questionnaires” link at the top of the page, and you’ll need to register), which takes a little while but it’s free and interesting.

For our mini-segment  highlighting a local point of interest, I talk about one famous native son of Monmouth, Illinois who was born in this house:

Wyatt Earp Birthplace

You’ll have to listen in to see who it is!

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

Not much knitting progress this week.

JUNIOR:  Neon Frog Socks

neon frog socksThese are the socks I’m knitting for the Dramatic Knits podcast Ribbit KAL (you knit any pair of ribbed socks by the end of the year).  I’m using fingering weight yarn from Leading Men Fiber Arts in the Show Stopper base, which is 75% superwash  merino and 25% nylon.  The colorway is called Lightning Bug.  I’m doing the Basic Ribbed Socks by Kate Atherley and using U.S. size 1 needles.

SOPHOMORE:  Raven Pullover Sweater

raven pullover

I’m considering giving this to my husband as a tube top!  Just kidding.  🙂  This is the Raven Pullover pattern from the Knits of a Feather book by Celeste Young.  I’m  using Cascade Greenland yarn, which is 100% superwash merino in black.  The needles are a 32-inch U.S. size 8 circular.

At the Library

Even though I didn’t accomplish a lot of knitting since the last episode, I did finish two books!  The first one is A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg.  It was excellent; I loved it.  I listened to the whole thing in one or two days.  It is one of those books you don’t want to end because you enjoy the characters so much.  It was heartwarming, wholesome, funny, and touching.  It made me laugh out loud and get tears in my eyes.  I highly recommend it.

The second book is The Kalahari Typing School for Men by Alexander McCall Smith.  It is one of the books in the Number One Ladies Detective Agency series, which I like a lot.  The book is good, and the audiobook reader is excellent.  I give this book a thumbs up, too.

 In the Classroom

Today’s lesson is about responses to stress.  I discuss the research on the prevalence of chronic stress in Americans as well as what types of life events are considered stressful.  Listen in to find out answers to questions like:

  • How do people cope with stress?
  • Is the fight or flight response universal?
  • Why are stress responses so important?

I’m sending out glad tidings to all of you for a Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Winter Solstice, Happy Festivus, Happy Boxing Day — whatever you’re celebrating, I hope you have a super fabulous holiday!

 

Episode 14

In Episode 14 I have a lot to chat about!  I announce the valedictorians for the November graduating class, announce some new giveaways for December, and talk about a bunch of miscellaneous topics.  You’ll be happy to see that I got some knitting done!  In the classroom, we discuss self-control and its importance in everyday life, not just during the holiday season when everyone is in a shopping frenzy.

Welcome to new and returning listeners!  And hello to everyone who has joined the Ewe University group on Ravelry, an erudite group of extraordinary people who are specialists in the gastrointestinal system.  We know that swallowed chewing gum does NOT take seven years to digest!  You should join us, if you haven’t already.

Thank you so much to everyone who contacted me this week.  I love hearing from you!  You can subscribe to the show on iTunes or on this web site by clicking on the “Follow” tab at the bottom of the page and entering your email address.  For the show’s RSS feed, look on the right sidebar menu — scroll down until you see the “Entries RSS” link and click on it.

Thank you to show sponsor Halcyarn Knitting Accessorieswhere you can get fun project bags.

And thank you to our sponsor Evermore Studios, specializing in hand dyed, hand painted, and kettle dyed luxury yarns.

 Listen to the Show:

 

SHOW NOTES

Awards and Scholarships

For the November Graduating Class, we had a total of 129 entries!  Using a random number generator, I drew two numbers to determine the November Valedictorians, and the winners are:

  • Twinimama from Austria, who wins a project bag of her choice from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories (post #118–a beautiful pair of red felted slippers)
  • Kansanatheart from Florida, who wins a skein of yarn of her choice from Evermore Studios (post #16–a gray balaclava for one of her grandsons and worn in the picture by an adorable model)

THANK YOU so much to everyone who participated in the November Graduating Class, and CONGRATULATIONS to our valedictorians!

Reminders and Announcements

Those who are doing the Pen Pal Project, you should have received a message from me with your pen pal’s information.  Contact me if you didn’t get it.

The December Graduating Class thread is now open on Ravelry.  Post your finished objects for December — the more items you finish/post, the more chances you have of winning our December Valedictorian prizes!  At the end of the month, two random posts will be drawn to win.  One person will get a project bag of their choice from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories, and one person will get a skein of yarn of their choice from Evermore Studios.

TWELVE DAYS OF “KRIS-MAS” GIVEAWAY!  The real Twelve Days of Christmas starts after Christmas, but ours starts before.  Beginning on December 13 and continuing until December 24, each day I will randomly select a member of the Ewe University group on Ravelry to win a yarny prize.  There are all kinds of yarn included–fingering weight, sport weight, lace weight, worsted weight–and from many great companies like Malabrigo, Louisa Harding, Asland Trends, Plymouth, Cascade, Kraemer, Blue Sky Alpacas, Elsebeth Lavold, and more.  Here is a picture of the Yarn-a-Palooza:

Prize Yarn donated from my stash

Prize Yarn donated from my stash

Each of the yarns is in a different zip-lock bag, and I will randomly pull out one bag to be the prize each day.  Watch your Ravelry email daily to see if you won!  Please respond within one week and give me your mailing address information.  If I don’t hear from you within a week, I’ll draw another person to win that prize.  Obviously, you must be a member of the Ewe University group on Ravelry to take part in the Twelve Days of “Kris-mas” giveaway, so be sure to join us if you haven’t already!

Letter Writing Social:  If you’re in the local area, you should come to a Letter Writing Social on Monday, December 9 from 6:00-7:30pm.  We’re meeting at the Warren County Public Library in the second floor meeting room (same place we meet for knitting group on Saturdays).  We will provide stationery and envelopes.  You bring postage stamps, your address book, and your favorite pen.  Thank you to Lauren (tskmstr on Ravelry) for organizing this event!

Craftsy Class Giveaway:  The Quiltmoxie Podcast is having a giveaway for a free Craftsy class!  You should definitely check out the podcast, which is hosted by a delightful Ariana, and join her Ravelry group.

Free Online College Courses:  Check out Coursera if you are interested in taking a class just because you enjoy learning.  There are hundreds of courses to choose from in pretty much the entire range of topics, and they are taught by professors from some of the top universities in the world.

Around Campus

I talk about the Timber Ridge Winter Knitting Retreat, which is going to be on Saturday, January 4.  If you’re in the area, let me know if you want to come and I’ll give you the information.

I’ve received several inquiries as to whether the podcast will continue after my sabbatical ends, and the answer is YES.  🙂

My first Postcrossing post card was received in Germany (yay!).  I still have four other post cards in transit to China, Indonesia, Russia, and The Netherlands.  Check out this organization if you want to send and receive post cards from around the world.

Postcrossing members can also get a 15% discount on post card printing from Moo.com.  I love Moo because they use super nice paper — heavy card stock — and a very nice finish.  They also allow you to upload as many different images as you want within a single order.

I sent out over 60 hand made greeting cards (donated) to Operation Write Home.  This organization provides the cards to military personnel stationed overseas so that they can use them to write home to their friends and loved ones.

I did some sewing this week and made a little flannel snuggler blanket and pajama pants for my friend Angela’s one-year-old son.  But I forgot to take pictures of the finished objects before I wrapped them up!

This week I’ve done a small amount of Christmas decorating.  Here is our mini tree:

Our pretty little table-top Christmas tree.  This is the table I got for $10 (or less...I don't remember) and painted.

Our pretty little table-top Christmas tree. This is the table I got for $10 (or less…I don’t remember) and painted.

This was the table when I got it...ugh!

This was the table when I got it…ugh!

I talk about these fabulous Smell of Christmas wax melts by Aromatique that I am in love with!

The best smelling Christmas scent ever

The best smelling Christmas scent ever

 The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

GRADUATED:  Sock Circle Socks

FINALLY they graduated!

FINALLY they graduated!

JUNIOR:  Neon Frog Socks

Hooray!  One sock is finished!

Hooray! One sock is finished!

SOPHOMORE:  Raven Pullover Sweater

Christmas gift for my husband, if I get it done in time!

Christmas gift for my husband, if I get it done in time!

This project is living in my new Kikiboo Bag from my friend and pen pal Denise, host of the Knitting Den podcast (one of my favorites).  She also has an Etsy shop — check it out!

I love my Kikiboo bag!

I love my Kikiboo bag!

In the Classroom

In this week’s lesson I talk about the research on self-control, and in particular, the Strength Model of Self-Control.  This model says that self-control is like a muscle, and if we use it a lot it gets depleted.  Just like muscles get tired the more they are used, each time we exert self-control (or willpower), it uses up some of our self-control energy.  If we engage in a lot of self-control, our energy resource gets depleted and then we lose our willpower.  I discuss the research on self-control failure resulting in drug addiction, school underachievement, obesity, personal debt, violent crime, and unprotected sex.  I also cover the research supporting the Strength Model as well as some interesting studies confirming the advice, “Don’t go shopping when you’re tired or hungry!”  Listen in to find out the source of our self-control energy and how to replenish it.

 

 

 

Episode 12

Episode 12 features my experience with the terrible storms that hit Central Illinois on Sunday, several knitting projects I’ve been working on, the interesting book I’m currently reading, and a lesson about the research on trauma and resilience.

Welcome to new and returning listeners!  And hello to everyone who has joined the Ewe University group on Ravelry, an erudite group of fabulous people who are astonishing chemists.  You should join us, if you haven’t already!  Thank you so much to everyone who contacted me this week.  I love hearing from you!  You can subscribe to the show on iTunes or on this web site by clicking on the “Follow” tab at the bottom of the page and entering your email address.  For the show’s RSS feed, look on the right sidebar menu — scroll down until you see the “Entries RSS” link and click on it.

Thank you to show sponsors Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and Evermore Studios.

Listen to the Show:

SHOW NOTES

Reminders and Announcements

Tomorrow (Friday, November 22) is the deadline for joining in on our Pen Pal Pair-Up Project.  If you’re interested in having your very own pen pal, go over to the pen pal thread on our Ravelry group, get the questionnaire that I have posted there, and email me your answers asap.  If you’re a day or two late, still email me because I can probably still include you.  I will review everyone’s information and match you up with a pen pal.  You’ll get your pen pal’s information by the end of the month.

Remember to post a picture of your finished object(s) in our November Graduating Class thread.  You must be a member of the Ewe University group to participate, and you can post as many objects as you finish.  The more you post, the more chances you have to win!  At the beginning of December I will draw two random posts to be our valedictorians!  One person will get a project bag of their choice from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories.  The other person will get a skein of yarn of their choice from Evermore Studios.  Thanks to all who have posted their beautiful and inspirational finished objects so far!

Around Campus

You’ve probably already heard about the horrible storms we had here in Central Illinois on Sunday.  In the show I talk about the storms as they passed through my town.  We were under a tornado watch all day but we were lucky that the tornadoes didn’t form until the storm crossed the Illinois River, about 60 miles east of here.  However, others were not so lucky, and the town of Washington, Illinois was severely damaged by an EF4 tornado.

The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

SENIOR:  Sock Circle Socks

I completed my section on Gail’s socks in one week!  I even knit a few inches extra (5 inches instead of 2 inches) so that they would be ready for Gail to start decreasing for the toe.  The yarn I used for my section is Crazy Zauberball, which is 75% wool and 25% nylon, in the Fliederduft colorway.  I think  fliederduft means lilac.  It is a transitional yarn in different shades of purple.

I knit a 5 inch section on the foot (bottom section of the socks) and then passed them back to Gail, who will finish her socks this coming week!

I knit a 5 inch section on the foot (bottom section of the socks) and then passed them back to Gail, who will finish her socks this coming week!

Last night at knitting group I got my own socks back from Rose, and this coming week I’ll be knitting and finishing up the toes on both socks.

FRESHMAN:  Raven Pullover

This is the sweater I’m making for my husband for a Christmas gift.  I only got about an inch done.  The 2 x 2 ribbing is already tiresome, but I’m plugging away!  This pattern is the Raven Pullover from Knits of a Feather by Celeste Young.  I’m using Cascade Greenland yarn, which is 100% superwash merino in black.  You can listen to the show to find out my opinions about this yarn.  This project is on a 32-inch U.S. size 8 circular needle from my Hiya Hiya interchangeables.

The blue stitch marker indicates where I left off last week, so I only completed about an inch more on the sweater this week.

The blue stitch marker indicates where I left off last week, so I only completed about an inch more on the sweater this week.

ADVANCED FRESHMAN:  Ribbed Socks

I’m joining the Dramatic Knits podcast Ribbit knit along.  For this KAL you knit any pair of ribbed socks, and you have until the end of the year to finish.  I should be able to do that!  I’m using my favorite ribbed sock pattern, Basic Ribbed Socks by Kate Atherley.  I’m using fingering weight yarn by Leading Men Fiber Arts in the Show Stopper base in the Lightning Bug colorway.  It’s a nice sock yarn — 75% superwash merino and 25% nylon.  I’m using a 9-inch U.S. size 1 circular needle (Ciaogoo).

You might need your sunglasses to look at this yarn!

You might need your sunglasses to look at this yarn; it’s pretty bright!

FRESHMAN:  I also started a super secret gift project that I can’t tell you about or show you yet!

 At the Library

This week I started listening to the audiobook We the Living by Ayn Rand.  So far I’m only on Chapter 2.  In the show I talk a bit about the background of this book, introduce the setting and the characters, and discuss a little about the author.

In the Classroom

The storms and devastating tornadoes which hit close to home this week made me think about how people cope with disasters.  So in this week’s lesson I cover the research on resilience of people who have suffered all sorts of trauma.  Caveat:  I am not a clinical psychologist or a therapist.  I am an informed consumer of research, and in this episode I simply summarize what we know about resilience based on scientific studies.  I talk a lot about the research of Dr. George Bonnano, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University in New York City, who is one of the foremost experts on psychological resilience after disaster.  He has conducted dozens of studies on topics such as bereavement, serious illness, and the terrorist attacks on September 11.  Listen in to find out answers to questions like How prevalent is resilience? and What makes people resilient?  

Episode 11

In Episode 11 I discuss the research on belonging, which explains why it is so important to us knitters (and spinners and crocheters and weavers) to be a part of a supportive community like our local knitting groups and/or our groups on Ravelry.  I also talk about the snow we’ve had since Monday, my Etsy shop update, new yarn, progress on my knitting projects, and the “fun” books I’m reading.  Click on the media player below to listen to the show!

Welcome to new and returning listeners!  And hello to everyone who has joined the Ewe University group on Ravelry, an erudite group of fabulous people who are sharp mathematicians.  You should join us, if you haven’t already!  Thank you so much to everyone who contacted me this week.  I love hearing from you!  You can subscribe to the show on iTunes or on this web site by clicking on the “Follow” tab at the bottom of the page and entering your email address.  For the show’s RSS feed, look on the right sidebar menu — scroll down until you see the “Entries RSS” link and click on it.

Thank you to show sponsors Halcyarn Knitting Accessories and Evermore Studios.

Listen to the Show:

 

SHOW NOTES

Reminders and Announcements

Please join us for the current class project, the Pen Pal Pair-Up.  Complete the questionnaire on the Pen Pal thread on Ravelry and email me your answers no later than November 22.  You will receive your pen pal’s information by the end of November.

Also, remember to post pictures of your finished objects for November in our November Graduating Class thread on Ravelry.  You can enter as many projects as you finish this month.  At the beginning of December I will be drawing two random posts to be our November valedictorians!  One winner will get a knitting project bag of their choice from Halcyarn Knitting Accessories, and the second winner will get a skein of yarn of their choice from Evermore Studios.  Links to both Etsy shops are above.  P.S.  You must be a member of the Ewe University group to participate.

Around Campus

It snowed on Monday!  The snow has stuck around all week.  The fall foliage peaked last week and now the trees are pretty bare or are otherwise looking brown and dried up.  I talk about sewing on my new, dreamy sewing machine.  I did a small update in my Etsy shop this week with some holiday-themed bags and am working on more (not necessarily holiday-themed) bags to add in upcoming days.  I am excited to be doing a trunk show at Knit 102, a yarn shop in Galesburg, Illinois, from December 4-7.  If you are in the area, stop by and say hi — you can look at all the project bags in person and do some holiday gift shopping!  This week I also got some new yarn from Leading Men Fiber Arts, which is gorgeous and I can’t wait to knit with it.

Snow!  View down the alley next to our house

Snow! View down the alley next to our house

And the front yard

And the front yard

 The Academic Status of My Knitting Projects

GRADUATED:  Charity Hat

This is the fifth hat I’ve finished this month.  That just goes to show you how easy and fast this hat pattern is.  It’s the Four Hour Hat–Bulky by Marilyn Clark.  It’s a free pattern on Ravelry.  I’ve been using Cascade 220 Superwash held double to emulate a bulky yarn, and it works great.  The hat I finished this week is black, and I’m planning to do as many more as I can for the rest of this month.  The hats are knit on a 16 inch U.S. size 11 circular needle.

Black hat for charity

Black hat for charity

SENIOR:  Sock Circle Socks

I finished my section of Laurie’s socks and passed them on to Gail.  Can you believe I did this in one week’s time?!!  I used Pagewood Farm Alyeska in the lavender fields colorway on 9 inch U.S. size 1 circular needles

Laurie's sock circle socks

Laurie’s sock circle socks

FRESHMAN:  Raven Pullover

This week I started a sweater to give my husband for Christmas.  The pattern is from a new book Knits of a Feather by Celeste Young.  I’m making it out of Cascade Greenland yarn in black on a 32 inch U.S. size 8 circular needle.

So far I have about 3 inches done on this sweater

So far I have about 3 inches done on this sweater

FRESHMAN ORIENTATION:  Ribbed Socks

I’m going to join in on the Ribbit KAL with Dramatic Knits, where you knit a simple pair of ribbed socks by the end of December.  I think I can do that!  🙂  I’m going to use my new Show Stopper yarn I got from Leading Men Fiber Arts in the Lightning Bug colorway.

 At the Library

I finished The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.  Listen to the show to find out my reaction to the surprising sinister ending.  And find out what book I decided to read next on a whim.

In the Classroom

This week I cover the research on the concept of belonging, from the seminal research paper published in 1995 to more recent research.  You might be surprised at some of the fascinating new studies linking social and physical pain.  No wonder we are motivated to seek out meaningful friendships with our knitting companions both in person and in virtual communities like Ravelry!  Listen in for all the details!

 

Episode 4

Episode 4 features a lesson about positive psychology, optimism, and the experience of “flow.”  I also talk about my quiet week in Minnesota, visiting the hometown of Judy Garland, and astonishing facts about the loon.  Additionally, I convey some scholarly information about the historical figure, Vlad Dracula.  Well, that sounds like a hodge-podge of  material for this week’s show!  Give it a listen and see how I manage to tie everything together.

Welcome to everyone who has joined the Ewe University group on Ravelry!  You can subscribe to the show here by clicking on the “Follow” tab at the bottom of the page and entering your email address or by subscribing in the iTunes store.

Thank you to show sponsor Halcyarn Knitting Accessories.

Listen to the show:

 

SHOW NOTES

Around Campus

Last week I recorded from our cabin in northern Minnesota.  This is what I got to wake up to every morning.

lakesunrise

You can see why I spent my days sitting by the lake and knitting.  I also got to watch four eagles who were around our beach area for a few days.  They are magnificent!

I visited The Yarn Gallery in Grand Rapids and got some souvenir yarn.

I talk about the Minnesota State Bird, the Common Loon, which cares for its young by carrying the babies on its back.

Loon

The Dean’s List

This is a segment where I recognize high achievement and excellence in some domain.  Today I am acknowledging and thanking the podcasters who keep me company on a regular basis and bring a little bit of “home” to wherever I am:

Paula from Knitting Pipeline
Dawn and James from Wolfe Farms
Hannah from Traveling Sock Knitter
Denise from Knitting Den (who is my friend and pen pal!)
Jasmin and Gigi from Knitmore Girls
Aimee and Darren from Knitting in Circles
Mel from Single Handed Knits
Zena from Knittynatter
Steph and Stacie from the Must Stash Podcast
Tina from Knitting Blooms
Steve and Callie from Dramatic Knits
Dr. Gemma from the CogKnitive Podast

I enjoy your shows so much and truly appreciate all your efforts in putting out such well-produced and inspirational shows.

A new podcast that I love:  Yarns at Yin Hoo with Sara
{P.S.  Sara and I are working on a joint activity with prizes which we will share with you when we get the details worked out!}

The Academic Status of my Knitting Projects

Last week while on vacation at the lake, I knit like a maniac!  I made great progress on several projects:

GRADUATED:  Striped Socks

socks

These are knit from the Basic Ribbed Socks pattern by Kate Atherley. The yarn is Tough Love by Knit and Fiber Creation in the Bill Weasley colorway.  I knit them on U.S. size 1 (2.25mm) Hiya Hiya Sharps.

GRADUATED:  Melon Sorbet Shawl

shawl

This is the Melon Sorbet pattern by Hale Prinzessin.  It is knit out of Walkabout yarn by High Prairie Fibers (DK weight).  This yarn is 100% Australian wool — it’s a sturdy yarn, a little bit rustic, in a custom colorway that I commissioned.  I knit this project on U.S. size 8 (5mm) needles.

FRESHMAN:  Drape Front Sweater

DSCN1764

Still languishing in the Freshman class, this sweater is apparently in no hurry to graduate.  I have worked on it, though!

The pattern is Drape Front Sweater by Roberta Rosenfeld.  I’m knitting it out of Lana Grossa Meringo yarn, which is an angora/wool blend in pink.  It’s very soft and nice to work with.  It’s on U.S. size 6 (4mm) needles.

FRESHMAN ORIENTATION:  Sock Circle

I am joining a sock circle that is starting at one of my local knitting groups.  We will each be knitting the cuffs of a pair of socks and then passing the socks around for each member of the group to knit on each week.  At the end I will have a pair of socks which has been constructed with knitting contributions from all my friends in the circle.

At the Library

Don’t be too scared by the creepy werewolf howl on the show in honor of Dracula, the book I am currently reading.  I’m on Chapter 10.

I also talk some more about the real historical person, Vlad Dracula — also known as Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Tepes (pronounced tse-pesh in Romanian), summarized from the work of professor Elizabeth Miller, an internationally recognized expert on Dracula.  (What a fun job!)

In the Classroom

Today’s lesson is about positive psychology, optimism, and the experience of flow.  Psychology has historically been lopsidedly focused on the negative aspects of human nature — psychopathology and mental illness.  We’ve spent less time studying the positive side of human nature — how people flourish, thrive, and become happy.  Since 1998 we have been trying to remedy this neglect and have promoted more research on human strengths, virtue, and satisfaction with life.

I talk about the research on happiness.  Listen in for answers to questions like:  What do people want more–happiness or fame/fortune?  How happy are people?  How do happy people benefit over those who are more gloomy?  Are rich people more happy?

I also discuss the personality trait of optimism, the belief that, in general, good things are likely to  happen.  I cover some of the research on what optimistic people are like.

Lastly, I talk about professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced chick-SENT-me-hi-ee) and his research on flow.  Have you ever been involved in an activity–maybe knitting or spinning–so deeply that nothing else seemed to matter and you lost track of time?  You were probably experiencing flow.  Listen in for the nine qualities that characterize flow experiences.

Final words for thought:  Savor the present, be wise enough to catch moments of beauty — the sunset, a hummingbird, the smell of orange blossoms, your yarn.  A mere ten seconds can create a happy memory for a lifetime!