Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pic of the day: February 2

Oxford picture of the day:

When the sun decides to come out, this is a really beautiful town.

Pic of the day: January 31

Oxford picture of the day:

January flowers.

Pic of the day: January 30

Oxford pic of the day (really from London!):

Taken at midnight while waiting for the bus back to Oxford.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday, January 7, 2013


A month or so before I moved here, my mother watched a program about moths in Britain. Probably on PBS or BBC America or something. And she was all "Oh noes! The moths will eat you!" and I was all "Chill, I'm living in a dorm, not a Victorian house, and I am not an old lady who packs her wool sweaters in tissue." I don't even have wool sweaters because of my freakishly sensitive skin. Seriously - even pure cashmere can be too itchy sometimes. As much as I love my fancy silk and cashmere stuff, it's only when it's 10% fancy, 90% cotton.

However, as I was unpacking my clothes upon returning from my trip to the US, I noticed a particularly... active piece of lint. I leaned in to look closer, but it hopped, which made me jump, and I let go of the sweaters I was holding, letting them fall back into place, closing like curtains to shroud the tiny white flying mothy-like thing.

Obviously the first instinct was to email mom, because at 3,000 miles and 5 time zones away, she could TOTALLY do something about it.


I took to the Google, as you do, and got kind of terrified at the slew of articles about moths eating peoples wardrobes, carpets, furniture, and sheep. In googling, I learned some facts about moths.

Things moths like:
*Dark (well, these kinds of moths anyway)
*Natural fibers
*Your sweat and skin cells on natural fibers (ew!)

Things moths do not like:
*Being disturbed (join the club)
*Cedar (but that's debatable)

Some of the recommended ways of dealing with moths are dry cleaning all your stuff (way too expensive), calling an exterminator (expensive - plus chemicals), or putting all your stuff in a freezer for a bit (not in a dorm!). On top of all of that, my best friend emailed me to let me know that it's bad luck to kill a moth in the house. However, upon Googling further investigation, I discovered that

*A black moth in the house means the spirit of a deceased loved one is visiting,
*and a white moth in the house means death. Yeah.

Death for the moth, maybe.

Step one was to rush to Amazon and purchase some cedar things to put on my hangars, cedar balls to put in my drawers and in the pockets of cardigans in the closet, and two different kinds of moth traps.

This one contains female moth pheromones that lure the male moths in, thinking they're going to get some moth-loving, only to catch them on a sticky strip of despair. Then things get a little freaky, as the the female pheromones get all over the stuck male moths, causing other male moths to think that the stuck male moths are females... well, you see where I'm going with this.

This trap... well, I'm not sure HOW it works, but it says "MOTH KILLER" in big letters on the front, so it probably works, right?

I went to bed feeling a little prepared and more than a little creeped out.

This morning, I woke up with a mission: to take the first steps to eradicating these pests on my own. I started by taking everything out of my closet. In batches of four or five, I

*took the item off its hanger,
*gave it a good shake out the window (One of the sites said to shake your clothes out in the sunlight, as the UV rays will cause the larvae to be uncomfortable and perhaps let go of your clothing. I was skeptical but desperate. It was cloudy out, but I work with what I'm given.),
*and hang it on my drying rack, which was placed by the window.

In addition to sunlight, moths apparently don't like being chilly; improved indoor heating is apparently one reason they've become so prolific. I hoped that spending a minute on the dryer, being aired out in the sun, might annoy them enough that they would go away forever. That's how it goes, right?

While the clothes were airing on the rack, I laid out my hangers on the bed. They're the super-narrow, kind of fuzzy ones, so I hoped that would help this step work better than it might on plastic hangers.

Now, if you are an insomniac, like I am, chances are someone has given you something lavender-scented at some point in time. It's supposed to help us sleep. It never does. HOWEVER, I have never been as grateful for my little spray bottle of Essence of Vali Soothing Mist as I was today. While the clothes were airing, I spritzed the hangers with the lavender spray, gave each item of clothing another good shake out the window, and put it back on the hanger and in the closet.

Tomorrow I will walk up to my college to pick some of the lavender that grows there, and make little sachets or something to put in my drawers and closet. Then I will wait with bated breath for my moth-killing apparati to arrive.

Work update

I'm going to be posting stuff on here to chronicle my progress in pretty much anything I do. Call it motivation. I'd say I'm keeping myself accountable but that would imply someone's reading this.

SO. Today I took the preliminary steps in de-mothing my wardrobe (details to come).

Then, work-wise, I:

Typed up my notes on "'The Closet Opened': A Reconstruction of 'Private' Space in the Writings of Margaret Cavendish," did a really rudimentary summary of that article, then did a summary of ""Making a Spectacle": Margaret Cavendish and The Staging of the Self."

They're not really summaries as much as they are a list of main ideas, a brief outline of the structure of the essay, a list of other authors they reference, their thesis, their conclusion, and who the author is. Oh, and which of Cavendish's works they reference so I can narrow down which ones seem the most important. That sounds like more work than it was. I'd wanted to get more done, but we all know how that goes.

Tomorrow my goal is to set my alarm and then actually get up and start doing shit when it goes off. Wish me luck.