Not how I should be spending my time, but much more pleasant

Yes, I’m quite sure there are better ways to spend my time than drawing up diagrams for quilts that I won’t be able to even think about starting until sometime in June. Whatever. I got the idea in my head and went with it. Mostly because I could, and because there is a small pad of graph paper at my desk.

I present to you, the Disappearing Nine Patch. It’s how I made ‘s potholders. You make a basic nine patch (first image), and then you cut it (gasp!), and rearrange the pieces until it looks pretty (second and third pictures). If you’re actually curious about this, you should look on the internet, or Flickr, because it’s all been done before. At any rate, I figured out that if I did certain squares in white, and certain other squares in a solid, then I could leave other squares to remain whole and showcase those prints. That was a very sloppy way of putting it.

Disappearing Nine Patch Designs

I’ve only a little bit of the crazy today, which is better than I expected. Oh, had I promised baby pictures?

Joey March 2009
Well, far be it from me to keep you from the cuteness that is an 11-day-old baby...

Grant March 2009
or a 2-year-old who has discovered how to make funny faces (he'll hate me for these photos later).

Eyelids

In spite of my best attempts to avoid it, I have been spending a lot of my time today looking at the back of my eyelids. I’m having a hard time staying awake. I’m often tired at work, but not so much so that I can nap sitting up, staring at my computer. Now would be a really good time for caffeine, if only….

Last night I finished piecing the top for the Mini Quilt in a Bag 2 swap. It looks really good. A hot iron with lots of steam helped make that happen. Tomorrow I’ll piece the back, and sandwich the whole thing up, and it should be in the mail by Saturday, I hope (the deadline is Monday).

There was also a trip to the gym (the first since January), brownies (I found a box that “expired” last month, so made them up after dinner), and the start of a new embroidery project. No pictures of anything, though. There was also some split pea soup from the crockpot, which turned out well, though a little mushy (perhaps because I let the legumes sit in the liquid in the refrigerator overnight, perhaps because that’s how it’s supposed to be). liked it though, so that’s good. It was a basic Better Homes & Gardens recipe, so perhaps with some tweaking I’d like it better. Maybe bacon instead of ham….

Today, goes to the doctor and schedules the birth of her baby boy (sometime next week). I’ve been trying to be better at turning on the ringer of my cell phone when I’m at home, in case she goes into labor early. It’s not expected, but you never know. I’d hate to miss out on that phone call.

There are 9 pictures of posted in my cube right now. How will I ever make room for pictures of a new baby (who still doesn’t have a name)? I’m going to need more push pins.

Today might be a “cleaning the cube” day. is out all week, and left me with very little to do. I need to take care of what’s in my inbox, but that’s about it. Oh, and eat the brownie that’s sitting here, waiting for me to finish lunch. Yum!

Tonight, I’m getting together with my girls (affectionately re-tagged here as “wonder women“) and . We’re meeting at TGIFriday’s for dinner and margaritas (I’m assuming the latter, perhaps incorrectly), and then will head across the street to the MOA for some shopping. I haven’t seen either of them since January, so there should be plenty to catch up on.

Lastly, I have new shoes. And they’re wonderful. Have I touted my love for Clarks “unstructured” line yet? I don’t see in my archives that I have. Let me tell you, they’re well worth the money, and they’re currently on sale. No break-in time for women’s dress shoes? Priceless.

Update on Grant’s Quilt

As was making dinner last night, I told him, “my plan is to mostly finish or finish the ‘s quilt.” And then I promptly hid in my sweater, because that seemed like a huge undertaking for one evening. I already had the binding sewn on one long side and two corners, so I figured I should be able to make it across a short side and another long side. So after dinner, I pulled it out (it’s so lovely to work on binding a quilt in winter, because you’ve got a built-in lap warmer – who would ever want to do that in the summer without copious amounts of air conditioning?) and got to work. Two hours later, there was some squealing. Seriously. Sorority-girl-reunion-type squealing.

That’s right, it’s done!

Short of having to throw it in the wash (at the very least, all the cat hair needs to be removed, since is allergic), I actually finished it, days ahead of when it needed to be!

Lots of pictures were taken, but I’ll spare you. If you want, you can hop on over to my Flickr photostream to see them.

Most excitingly, while the binding looks fabulous, my corners are perfect! All 4 (8) of them (they have two sides, you know)!

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Perfectly bound corners

There are two leftover squares of patchwork, and some of the green used on the front, so I’m going to try to make a pillow sham with those, and see what I can find to make a pillowcase out of. I had originally planned on a bed skirt too, but decided that wouldn’t like it that much, and so it wasn’t important. Then, whatever I have left (I have a 2″ pile of strips used to make the patchwork), I’ll sell on Etsy.

Yay! Hopefully I’ll get some better photos this weekend, or at some later date. Sunlight doesn’t happen much these days, so good photo-taking opportunities are few and far between.

A very boring post

I have fun things to tell you, but they won’t seem that way, because I don’t have the necessary pictures to make it truly exciting. So, I’ll try to keep it short and sweet (or at least sweet – I don’t do “short” very well), and post the good stuff with pictures later.

Saturday started early and quite boringly (it’s a word, I promise). We woke up at 7 to clean the house because we had some showings (one? two? we weren’t sure) and so we pulled out all the stops for them. The house looked spectacular. (Feedback report – one buyer “not at all” interested, haven’t heard anything from the other one.) We then went over to the bank to open a CD, which they made quite easy and was a nice, risk-free way of saving – earning slightly more in interest than our savings account.

No Coast Craft-o-Rama was excellent – crowded as all get out, but great. I bought stuff. did too, and she wrote about it on her blog. I think made it through without buying anything more than lunch, lucky her. I could have totally spent a lot more money, but it would have required much more patience than I brought with, since by the time we were “done,” I was ready for the crowds to go away. I could have looked at the cool stuff for hours longer, if all the people had miraculously disappeared. (However, it sounds like that wouldn’t have been a very successful craft show, so I’m glad that didn’t happen.)

After parting ways, I did a very luxurious thing and spent the rest of the afternoon shopping, alone, for nothing in particular (OK, I had some ideas of what I was trying to find). This is why it took me over 2 1/2 hours to get from Minneapolis back home, because I stopped at Super Target, Half Price Books, and JoAnns. It was glorious (and I didn’t even spend that much money, and got some stocking stuffers, and a few things I needed too).

I was still feeling very tired Saturday night, but somehow managed to make it all the way upstairs to the spare bedroom where my sewing machine is set up. I wanted to get the two center lines quilted on ‘s quilt – the big X in the middle, if you will. However, it all went so easily and smoothly that I did the whole thing. It took about two hours, which isn’t bad considering that it’s a twin bed-sized quilt and my machine was not meant to create anything that large.

Sunday, I got the binding made and sewn onto the front. I took a break to decorate the tree that had been so nice as to go get from storage. He hung our “Let it snow” signs too. Now our house is all Christmasy, especially since I bought a wreath while I was out at JoAnns.

After dinner, I started hand-sewing the binding onto the back of the quilt. It looks spectacular. Really. I stopped several times to admire my work, and made look too. My corners are turning out perfectly, which is a first (though it’s only the third quilt I’ve put binding on, so maybe I’ve finally had enough practice to be halfway good at it?). I can’t wait until I have pictures to show you all, because it’s p-e-r-f-e-c-t!

Today, the reindeer ornaments made it out in the mail, which is a good thing. They’re not due until Wednesday, but I wanted them to get out this weekend (however, getting to the post office seemed to be difficult).

When I finally get pictures, here’s what I’ll post: the doll quilt I received in the mail for the DQS5, ‘s quilt (at whatever percentage complete it is when I have a camera in hand), Christmas decorations, my craft fair purchases, and whatever else catches my eye.

Coming up this week: a few swaps (CD, charm squares) to complete, completing ‘s quilt, cookies for my co-workers on Wednesday (holiday party), and ‘s second birthday on Friday (celebrating Saturday). Oh, and picking out fabrics for ‘s Christmas gift (she requested new pillows for her living room, and has a very narrow idea of what is acceptable, and a very difficult color scheme).

At last, a post with pictures!

I managed to take pictures this weekend of some of the craft projects I’ve done, even though the sun wasn’t shining and so these were all done in bad lighting in our kitchen, of all places.

My goal was to finish all 10 ornaments (the embroidery part, that is) for the swap by Friday. I finished the last one on Saturday night, so that was pretty good. I’ll only show a few pics here, because I’ll make up a nice mosaic when they’re all finally done (I still have to put felt on the backs and attach a hanger).

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Prancer
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Vixen
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Donner

There are also two non-reindeer ones:

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Bell with Holly
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Snowflakes

All were done using DMC perle cotton, which is much thicker than regular embroidery floss. I kept looking at it in the store thinking it was lovely, and I really wanted to stitch with it. Well, it is lovely, but terrible for doing detail work. I probably would have liked this project more if I had used the regular stuff. It’s OK, though, because all of these are leaving our house, and I’d like a set for myself, so next year I think I’ll make some up for us, using the regular stuff.

I also finished up the first towel for for Christmas. It turned out really well.

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Lots of little details
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including this cute buzzing bee

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and an extra little something on the other end.

<

And Sunday, I made a pincushion for a swap on Craftster. The pattern was in Pretty Little Patchwork, and was not very nice in some aspects (my first attempt failed miserably), but after a modification, I made it through.

pincushion_swap3
For the pincushion swap

I finally got around to taking apart my first attempt last night – I’m not sure if the pieces for the star are salvageable or not, but they’re from the only charm square I have in that print, so I’m going to try. I’d like to make one for myself, only much shorter (the flowered band is 2″ tall, which is a bit big for me).

Also, though I don’t have photographic proof, I pieced together the “back” of ‘s quilt (which means that I put borders on the center panel, and then cut out and appliqued on the large G). Then I laid out all three layers and pin-basted. Hopefully tonight will help me draw out the grid pattern, and I can start quilting it. asked on Saturday, “how soon can it be done?” When I told her I had 10-20 hours left on it (because I have no idea how long it will take me to quilt it, and the only binding I’ve ever done has been on small projects which take 2-ish hours), she was shocked. Yes, darling, while this quilt isn’t terribly complicated or difficult, it still takes time to complete. I am pretty sure that she will love the end result, though, because the “back” (which, the more I look at it, is really the front) is quite darling, with the green plaid and the large G.

The new phone duty schedule at work was working really well until about 2:15 today. Yesterday morning (my turn), I answered the phone promptly and politely, knowing that it was only for the morning. Coworker B stopped by at 11:45 and said she was going to the gym, but would be back by 12:15 (when it was her turn). She answered the phone all afternoon and I barely had to think about it. (Coworker C was out sick, but she doesn’t have scheduled duty on Mondays, though she did have other tasks for a big event today that I had to complete.) This morning, Coworker C answered phones, and this afternoon Coworker B did (I don’t have to answer phones on Tuesdays or Thursdays – yay!). However, Coworker C came over at 2:15 and told me she wasn’t feeling well and was going to go home (fine, is gone and Coworker B is answering phones anyways), and did I want to take a break first. I declined, thinking it was odd that she even ask. A few minutes later, I walked over to where the other two have their cubes, and lo and behold, Coworker B has left for the day, without telling me. Seems she was allergic to her phone duty or something. So now I’m here, stuck without any backup, to answer phones for two hours when it’s not my turn. Boo on that.

But, on the bright side, tomorrow is the monthly meeting that I normally have to go to, and I’m not going, for the first time, because it’s no longer my responsibility! Hopefully things will go flawlessly, and I won’t have to deal with it any more. So that’s a big “yay!”

In the mean time, I’ll leave you with this reindeer, who’s doing what I’d like to be right now:

ornament_swap_blitzen
Blitzen

Dying from the adorableness of it all

I remembered to bring the memory card for the camera to work today, so I can present you with pictures from this weekend. Oh my goodness, I nearly died from the cuteness in some of these pictures. There’s more in the Flickr photostream, but quite a few turned out not very well, due to the awkward lighting in the RV. That’s right, we spent 3 hours in the car (round trip) to spend an hour and a half in an RV with and . We sure must like them.

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Someone discovered the “field” and was instructed to stay on the grass.
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Of course, to get to this patch of grass, he had to cross a sidewalk, which he had no qualms about.

is definitely starting to show his own will and defiance, as all nearly two-year-olds should.

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I have no idea what he was trying to communicate to Alison here, but isn’t that look just adorable? I could just eat him up!

And then, discovered the most excellent game of hide-and-seek, with Grandpa (it is only slightly weird to call my parents Grandpa and Grandma).

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rochester13.JPG
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Did you catch that sweet face?

rochester11_closeup
rochester12_closeup
rochester13_closeup

!!!

is definitely showing, much earlier than she did while pregnant with . We did have an excellent, albeit short, time. Much better than the rest of the weekend that I spent doing homework.

I did, however, finally finish my annotated bibliography last night. Those things are a beast to do, especially when you haven’t actually read the books (nor were we expected to in this case, but still). 25 books on social studies that focus on traditionally underrepresented groups, that are appropriate for ages 10-18. I’m quite proud with my end result, in that I included every people group I wanted to, and managed to fit in anthropology, economics, ancient history, world history, current events, fictional stories, autobiographical memoirs, and primary source books. It’s a tall order for a short list, but I had to keep in mind that this was not a list of “the only books I’ll ever use teaching,” but rather a beginning exploration into oft-missed subjects. Just getting our feet wet, we are. Some of my classmates didn’t understand that and tried to argue to include traditional sources on their lists, like Shakespeare and stuff.

I actually would love to read every single book on my list, which I think is a good starting point. I have refrained from purchasing even one of them, which is also good. We have a lot of books already, and I don’t have enough time to read the ones I want to. Especially when I have to stand on the bus ride to work and so I can’t read.

My new craft project arrived in the mail yesterday, and I bribed myself to finish the bibliography with its opening. So, at 9:45, I finally got to open it, and it looks wonderful.

(Not my photo, but stock from their website, as I didn’t get around to photographing mine last night.)

The only problem I’ve run into so far is that I neglected to think about the need to pre-wash my fabric (the apron), and so I couldn’t actually start today. Hand stitching is not really my thing, since I seem to be no good usually and my hands tend to cramp up. But, I was looking for a portable craft (i.e. small, which knitting baby blankets is not, and requiring minimal tools, which quilting and sewing clothing is not), and this fit the bill. Also, they have this cool starter kit (which I ordered) that provides you with everything you need to get started, which means you have only a small investment (if you end up hating it or just being no good or whatever). Here’s what’s been tagged “sublime stitching” in Flickr [link removed], if you’re interested (the SS website seems to be having issues at the moment).

Enjoy your Tuesday!

Bestill my heart

and I have been emailing back and forth today about our trip to see this weekend (they’re camping somewhat locally for a dog show), and she just sent me this:

Grant is doing super.  He’s talking more and running around a lot.  He’s super happy all the time. He wore your tomato hat last night for 2 hours.  He only took it off to put on a helmet at our friend’s house. 🙂  He really likes the hat.  It’s a little small now, but he loves it.

Sigh. How could a girl not love her nephew who loves his tomato hat? (I wish I had a picture to share with y’all, but I stupidly never took one of the hat.) Now I’ll have to knit him another one, this time larger. Only, all my knitting stuff is in storage, and I have no time.

Pictures for you, pictures for me

An overview of the last few days, in no particular order… [Editor’s note: in an attempt to be less verbose, if you want to know more, click on the pictures to go to the Flickr pages where I’ve already made comments.]

Wednesday night, in addition to making meatballs, I also attempted to make chicken stock. It turned out well.

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Now… what should I make with it?

I must praise Plaid’s website [link removed], makers of Mod Podge [link removed], for their excellent advice. I was worried because it wasn’t very detailed, but I thought it was worth a shot. Thursday after work I stopped and picked up some Hard Coat Mod Podge [link removed] and followed their instructions [link removed] and the candle holders I’m working on didn’t bubble up and wrinkle like before! Amazing, especially in that it took me 5 tries of continually worse attempts before I checked their website.

candleholders_closeup
Here are the bad ones (before I tried their instructions):
candleholders_in_progress
Work in progress

No pictures yet of the good ones – I’ll hopefully finish them this weekend and then will have pictures to share. The only bummer about the Hard Coat Mod Podge is that it has to cure for 4 weeks. So either they sit around the house for 4 weeks curing, or I put them on Etsy and tell people I can’t ship for 4 weeks (or can, but they’ll have to keep curing at the purchaser’s house). Not sure which one is preferable at this point.

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Korben expressed his love for tablecloths, by doing his “sexypose” on the dining table.
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On Wednesday, two of my textbooks arrived in the mail! So fast!

Also, the samples I ordered from J Caroline Creative arrived.

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Tuesday’s crowning achievement summed up.

And lastly, an obligatory photo. His parents gave him a buzz cut on Monday and sent me some pics. He’s so cute!

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Can’t wait until he lives nearby (more so than now, at least)!

Oh what fun

Yesterday, I discovered a new feature on J Caroline Creative. You can order samples of fabric, which is just wonderful (assuming you’re not buying the clearance fabric, which I’m drawn to – not that you can’t buy samples of the clearance stuff, but it may very well be gone by the time you receive and evaluate your sample, so it doesn’t seem the wisest choice). So, I ordered 18 samples (at 50 cents each, I figured I could afford it), mostly to see what other fabric would work with the tablecloth fabric I already bought, and some for fun.

Here are the tablecloth options (as presented via photos from their site, and while I’m hoping that colors are true to life, you can never be too sure):

Tablecloth fabric options

The big sample in the middle is what I already have. I have enough to make a tablecloth out of, but it will have a large seam down the middle. So I thought that if I put a stripe of something else down the middle, it’d look better (more purposeful that there was a large seam, that is). So, here are some of the fabrics I thought might go. I had to shrink the samples a bit, so they look a bit different, and I’m not sure about how the colors will really look. All the very dark colors are actually brown, not black as they may appear. And the lightest colored parts should all be cream or white, even though sometimes they appear bluish. My favorite is the lower left corner, the stripes, but I don’t know how the colors will end up looking. Anyone have any favorites?

And here are a few more samples I got for some fun projects.

The bicycles one is so cute, that if it looks good in real life I might try to make something for our Korea friends (not Korean, as only one of them is actually ethnically Korean, but our friends who are currently residing in Korea), who are big bikers. Not sure what, nor that I will have the time to make anything before their one-year wedding anniversary, but it’s a nice idea, right? The top right corner would make a nice pillow, and the bottom right corner is exactly what I want to make roller blinds out of, but I can’t find it in real life or in black (instead of brown). The apples and pears would make some fun kitchen stuff, like an apron or place mats or napkins or something, don’t you think?

And lastly, here's the fabric I already bought (in addition to the green and brown silverware pattern above).

At least, that’s what my invoice says I bought, but I remember that something was back ordered or out of stock or something, so I’m not definitely sure what came to the house. The top left corner came, and it’s beautiful (it’s brown, if you can’t tell). The top right corner came, and it’s black, and while I don’t love it, I bought it to make a pillow for the spare bedroom, so it’s all good. I love the one on the bottom right corner, but I’m not entirely positive that it came, or that if it did, all that I ordered came (I think they didn’t have 4 yards, so they sent 3 or something like that). I had plans for something that I don’t remember, but I might have to rethink that anyways, so it’s all good. What would you make with it? And lastly, the bottom left corner may not have come, I don’t remember. Nor do I remember what I was going to do with it. It’s pretty, but that’s all I know.

Lastly, since I reference it yesterday, here are the fabrics that have inspired me to make something for Grant.

They’re not to scale, since the two fabrics are from different sellers. Also, the top three skinny ones are ribbons/trim, so they’re definitely not to scale. But aren’t they cute? Really, sometimes it’s hard to be inspired by cute little boy things, but these worked for me.

I also got a lot of ribbon on clearance, which is beautiful but I won’t bore you with. Hopefully one of these days I’ll have some time to at least decide on a project and cut something out. (I know, I know, I keep saying that, and nothing ever gets done.) I have a deadline for painting the spare bedroom – the girls are going to come over to our house next week for SNB, so I want to have the bedroom primed and all painted before then. I think that’s a reasonable goal, and the only kink in the plan I foresee is if my tendinitis decides to flare up and I’m unable to paint.

Tonight’s plans include putting away a lot of clean laundry and studying for my final exam. I’m all registered for summer semester classes – Gender and Culture (an anthropology course; I had the choice between that and Comparative Women’s History, which sounded better but wasn’t offered and isn’t being offered this fall either), and Introduction to Urban Education and Reflective Teaching (required to get into the program). Should be good, I hope. At any rate, I’m getting closer. All 4 of the remaining content courses I’m required to take are offered this fall, as well as the other education course required to get into the program. Not that I can take 5 classes and work full-time, but it means that I am very close to being done with the less-important part (meaning I could really take those classes at any institution and they’re not as specific to urban teaching as the program is, though there are a lot of ethnic studies courses required which I believe is special to the program) which means that I’m left with a whole bunch of education courses, 11 plus student teaching, to be exact. I’d like to think that I could take 4 classes a semester (after all, I did take 3 and plan a wedding and managed to get straight A’s), but that may be pushing it (especially since classes at Metro State seem a bit harder than those at Saint Paul College). It may also depend on what else is going on in life at the time, like whether or not our house sells or a whole bunch of people plan weddings in the fall out of state that we have to travel to or… you get the idea. If the house miraculously sold and we moved before the end of the summer (not really predictable, but it’s a nice “what if,” isn’t it?), I think I could handle 4 classes, as long as there’s only the one out of state trip that’s already planned (my cousin’s wedding in Michigan in October). Fall seems a long ways off and I can’t register until August, so there’s really not much point in spending so much time thinking about it.

isn’t feeling well, so if you think of it, send happy thoughts of chicken soup his way.

Like manna from heaven

How many more gifts like this do you think we’ll get this season? Just a thought…

I’d show you a picture of my Christmas gift from , but I haven’t been carrying my camera with me, so you’ll have to live with a description. is a great boss for many reasons, one of which is that she is always appreciative of the work we do. One of the ways she shows this appreciation is with huge gift baskets at Christmas. This year, though her last working for the state, is no exception. It appears that in my basket is:

  • disposable camera
  • small photo frame (looks like a CD but says something about a frame)
  • No less than three photo albums
  • caramel chocolates
  • miscellaneous chocolates and candy canes

I actually haven’t unwrapped it – it should be easier to get home that way – so there could be more lurking inside. It’s quite nice, especially since we have tons of wedding pictures to put in albums, as well as I’ve got a huge back log of pictures to put in albums that aren’t wedding-related. I promised DAD that I’d bring wedding pictures home, so this should make that easier.

Tonight we’re exchanging gifts with ‘s dad. There’s talk of going to see National Treasure 2 also. I’m too lazy to link that up for you. If only I could get that plugin to work for the movie/book/music tags. Oh well. Tomorrow, aside from cleaning and packing (and putting pictures in photo albums), hopefully we will also take a trip to the local recycling place and drop off tons of cardboard boxes. We’re working, slowly but surely, on getting the garage usable. I’ve temporarily given up on the spare bedroom. Taking all our Christmas stuff to ‘s should help though. Then there should be room to walk in and move about freely. Or somewhat freely.

Sunday we’re leaving for Chicago. It will be a short trip, because… there’s not much to do there, really. But good, nonetheless. I will try to not get overly emotional about missing my Aunt Shirley (I’d been really good for the last couple of weeks, not really thinking about it at all, and then in the last week it’s been much more in the front of my mind, perhaps because there are Christmas ornaments everywhere that remind me of her). And if I do, that isn’t actually a bad thing anyways.

I think we’re getting together with and and and next Saturday, which should be fun. We got some of the cutest clothes ever for , which I’m very excited about. The rest of the gifts, eh, whatever. and were still emailing me about gift ideas for myself and as late as Wednesday. No joke. I’ve given them about a bazillion gift ideas – and they were all good ideas. I’m not sure what their problem is this year.

emailed me and asked if grades were in, which means I forgot to mention them here. They’re not officially out yet, but my academic record states that I got A’s in both classes. Yay me! I registered for one course this Spring – Introduction to Social Science. It’s a required class, and it meets on Monday afternoons, so that should be nice. No night classes, less homework. It’s a 100 level course, so it should be no problem. Hopefully they’ll offer enough classes this summer that I can make up for the paltry courseload this spring. We’ll see.

I’ve found several new blogs and sources of entertainment this week, but I’m going to give them a little bit before sharing them, lest they turn out to be not nearly as cool as I thought they were.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas. I’m not sure how much posting I’ll get done in the next week, so that’s my holiday wish for you – have a good one! I’ll try to bring back lots of photos and stories of lutefisk.

Catching Up

Have I been out of touch with the world, or has it been out of touch with me? I don’t even know.

The semester is almost over, thank goodness. I have 1-2 more papers left for Politics, Markets and Civil Society (I’m a bit confused as to whether or not that second paper has been canceled). I have half an assignment and a final exam for Geography. Both classes meet three more times. Whew! It hasn’t been a hard semester, per se, but I haven’t exactly enjoyed it. Especially the Geography part. Next semester will be significantly easier. There were only five classes being offered that I could take, three have already filled up, and one probably will before I can register. So I will just spend my time… getting our house ready to sell or getting my stuff ready to move or making baby blankets or something.

I might have mentioned that we joined a gym the weekend before last. All went well for a while – I worked out for six days in a row (don’t freak out – I rotated between cardio and strength training, and I can only do like 20 minutes of cardio before dying), and then I injured my foot on Thursday. It’s still not back to normal. So on the plus side, there are a few minutes of each day that I have to spend doing other things, but on the minus side I am not working out, losing ground I’d gained, and have to get my remaining 5 workouts for the month done in 10 days (because we get a $20 credit each if we work out 12 times a month). Plus, I’m getting tired of wearing this ankle brace (not really sure if it’s even helping, since it’s an ankle brace and I hurt my foot, but whatever). Sunday I was at 90% of “optimal,” and then yesterday I was back down to 80%. It would help if I never had to walk anywhere, but that’s not exactly realistic (which is why I felt so good on Sunday – I was a lazy butt).

We had my family over for brunch on Saturday, which was fun. wanted to get a picture taken of all of us for her Christmas card, so we posed for that:

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Josh, Grant, Alison, Mom, Prince Charming, and me

tried out Guitar Hero, where he rocked out. Or, rather, he quickly became disinterested.

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Cute nonetheless.

What else did we do this weekend? We dropped some stuff off at Goodwill (and our house has been without a Goodwill pile for over 24 hours for the first time in a very long time), stopped at a store to get some stuff so I could start working on ‘s Christmas present. Actually, stopped at a few stores for that. Went to Macy’s to get some Christmas decorations (because I can never own enough of those). What didn’t we do? Go grocery shopping. Didn’t go last night either. At some point this will be a problem, and that “point” could be tonight around 5:30. We’ll see.

Last night I worked on homework, and a little bit on the new blanket that I’m making for ‘s baby boy (who was born on our wedding day, so a gift is long overdue). Yes, I said “new.” The knit one I was making, while very cute, was just taking way too long. I showed it to over the weekend and she loved it, but the fact is that it had months of work left on it and there will be another baby to give it to. So helped me pick out new yarn and a new pattern (which I eventually ditched for a different pattern idea) and now I am crocheting a blanket, which will hopefully go much faster. I need to start working on making a scarf for my Grandma for Christmas.

Sunday night we spent a bunch of money and got our trip to Alabama all arranged. That’s right, I said Alabama. Actually, we’re flying into Pensacola, which is in Florida, so maybe we’ll just call it our trip to Florida. ‘s cousin with my same name is getting married, and we were invited to the ceremony which will remove her from the pool of people with my name. We got a hotel in Pensacola, which is about half an hour from the wedding. Originally, we were going to fly into Mobile, but it’s way more expensive to go there and also about half an hour from the wedding, so it was kind of a no brainer. We rented a car too ( was hoping to get something cool like a Mustang, but the price difference was just too much), and hopefully will spend one of the days exploring Mobile (which is apparently “the place to be”). ‘s dad and brother are driving down, which might be my definition of insanity, but is totally understandable considering how expensive flights are down there. We were happy to be able to do the whole thing for under $1000.

This, of course, means that I will not have a “normal” work week until well into December. Last week was weird, with the holiday and then the statewide staff meeting. This week is short due to Thanksgiving. Next week is only four days long due to our trip to Alabama, like the week following it. The week after that life returns to normal, I think. Only by that time we’ll be full into the Christmas holiday season and nothing is ever normal then.

Last weekend when we did grocery shopping, I bought a box of Fruit Roll-Ups to enjoy with my lunch. I have become quite addicted to them. It was ‘s idea, only he ended up buying some generic brand of Fruit By The Foot, which is no good at all. I, on the other hand, could have consumed about a billion Fruit Roll-Ups by now, they are so yummy. I haven’t, but I could. I’ve had major sweet tooth cravings lately – sugar, instead of my usual chocolate. What’s up with that?

In the blog world, the author of one of the blogs I read just broke up with his girlfriend of two years, and another author just got engaged. Actually, that’s the second blog engagement lately (of those blogs I read). And another got married a few weeks after we did. Sometimes it seems like the whole world is doing that. Then I remember that this is not the case, and life returns to normal.

But speaking of marriage etc, I ran across this article [link removed] yesterday in the Strib that I could relate to on a couple of different levels. On one hand, I acutely remember being single and having older relatives ask me if I was dating anyone, trying to hook me up with relatives with weak or non-existent blood ties, etc. And I remember hating it, as if people seemed to think that the only way I was ever going to be happy was if I was married. It comes from a good place, this sentiment, because really people just want you to be happy, and they see marriage as a good way to get there. It just doesn’t always come out the right way. And I love the Bridget Jones’ movies (well, the first one was quite good), and am appropriately horrified every time she has a conversation with her friends over her marital state. I hope that I don’t turn into one of those people who tries to get all their single friends married. Probably more annoying than those people who have kids and try to get all their friends to get on that bandwagon, but I have several of those in my life, so we can all share that pain. Single friends, you’ll let me know if I become that annoying person, right? I totally respect your right to be happy in any way you see fit, whether that be as a single person, someone in a monogamous relationship, or a married person, and am quite happy to help you achieve whatever state it is you’d like to be. I hope I don’t pressure you to be something that you’re not. Smack me upside the head if I do that.

Lastly… because I know this has been a long post, has anyone used bookr before? It’s supposed to work with Flickr, which I’m just starting to use in a very limited fashion. We got the photos from the reception photographer back yesterday, and we’re looking at a way of making them easily accessible to all our loved ones. I don’t think bookr is the answer, I think Flickr is, but at this point I’m just rambling on about vaguely related things.

ATL (After the “Lastly”), I am loving “Bubbly” by Colbie Caillat. You can Google that to watch a video on YouTube, which I can’t access at work, so that link might be total crap, or you can go to her MySpace page (which apparently I can get to from work) and watch the video there.

A Photo Update

First off…

Here’s the pumpkin I carved last week for Halloween.

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I was aiming for a cute wink and a grin, but I think I just got grumpy. Oh well.

But, on to more exciting things – pictures of my weekend in Illinois!

Friday night we drove into Illinois and met up with some of my friends from college for dinner. We had a wide range of people, from two newlywed couples, to a couple who’s been married for four years, to a couple who’s been married for eight and has two kids and another on the way! We had a great time and some great food too.

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Me being a dork
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Me, Amy, Kate, and Danyel
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Saturday we went to a family wedding. I won’t actually bore you with all the pictures, but here are a few (so you can see how very different it was from our wedding).

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Bridesmaids
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Flower girls
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Bride and Groom
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Unity Candle
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Me, cousin Kristen, and Mom
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Sleepy Grant
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First dance
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Eric and me

And Sunday, we met a friend of mine from high school (as far back as 7th grade, actually) for coffee, and then had brunch at my aunt and uncle’s house. On the way out of Illinois, we stopped at 7-Eleven for Slurpees.

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Wish they had those here.

We actually did grocery shopping on the way home and had the car unpacked by 6pm, which was nice. It felt much later, though. It was a busy weekend, but overall I was very happy with our plans and how things worked out. I was quite surprised that everyone was actually free to get together, and it was good to see them. Most of my friends that we saw I hadn’t seen in at least three or four years, and none of them had met .

I also got a lot of work done on the baby blanket that I’m knitting for ‘s baby (who was born on our wedding day). There’s still a lot to be done though, and I’m not sure if it’s going to be finished by Christmas, which would be a vaguely reasonable time to get it to her. Oh well. I remembered the other day that the reason I stopped working on it was because my tendinitis flared up right before the wedding which stopped my knitting altogether. I’m back and trying to work speedily to make progress though.

Not much planned for this week – homework and house cleaning and so forth.

When you least/most expect it

Sometimes it hits when I least expect it, and sometimes when I most expect it.

For instance, two Saturdays ago (the day before my aunt died), sent me a link to a slideshow from that morning’s Race for the Cure. I totally ended up bawling because all I could think was, “she should be there for this,” since she was a breast cancer survivor for 9 years, but instead she was lying in bed at home on pain meds with a very limited amount of time left on this planet.

And this morning, I was thinking about how it’s soon to be ‘s first birthday (!!!) and trying to figure out what a good birthday present would be. Then I immediately thought of Christmas, since it’s only another two weeks later, and that I wanted to get him an ornament, just like Aunt Shirley always gave and me. And that made me sad, that the tradition had in some ways ended and in some ways needed to be carried on / passed on to the next generation, and that she won’t be with us this Christmas.

And there ya have it.

Crying Brides

This is the sort of thing that makes brides cry, in case you were wondering.

So my aunt and uncle on ‘s side cannot come to the wedding because my aunt is doing chemo right now. She wrote me a very nice letter about it, and I totally understand. I know she wants to be there, so that’s enough for me. (Sidenote: I need to stop being sad on behalf of people who want to come but can’t. It’s not helping.) Well, emailed me and said that a friend of hers from back home said my aunt isn’t looking good. She asked if I would write her a letter, saying it would probably help her spirits, from her favorite niece and the bride (which is what my aunt called me in the letter she wrote). Initially I was frustrated that I was being asked to do something else. And then I was just sad about the whole thing. More motivation to go home for Christmas this year. After all, I can see any time I want, right? And I wouldn’t get to see him on Christmas day anyways. We’ll see how my grandpa looks at the wedding, and that could cinch the deal. But it means missing ‘s family’s Christmas Eve celebration.

Back at work for the rest of the day. Not much exciting going on there.

Well, at least I’m productive in one part of my life

Last night I did homework from 6:30-12:30, and I didn’t even get my paper written (I did do the research for it, however, and decided that I wasn’t in the mood to write it, and it’s not due until Tuesday, so it’s all good). I didn’t get laundry done either. And there’s a growing pile of papers near my chair/window that is gonna be declared a hazard zone soon.

Since I got my new computer at work, I’ve been busy, busy, busy. I think I’m mostly set up the way I want to be, though. I managed to bring over the extensions I wanted for Firefox, and sync my bookmarks, which was the last step. I’m back in business!

Can I get an extra day in my week or weekend somehow? Or a few hours to sleep? is in town this weekend, so I get to see on Saturday, and I hope and I will have time otherwise to go take a walk outside, since the weather is supposed to be so nice. But I also have a chunk of homework, and it’s that point in the semester where slacking, even a day or two, really can’t happen. There’s too much to do and very little time left, so no getting behind schedule now. I also need to find the time to re-design the website that I was already paid for, and and I need to put a website out their for our upcoming nuptials and register and…. You get the idea. I will be quite happy when the semester is over – I may be too exhausted to celebrate, but I’ll have happy dreams.

The wonderment word of the day? Connubial. It’s a Jane Austen-esque word. I’ve been reading (well, not this week) Mr Darcy Takes a Wife, which is about 400% more racy than I expected it to be. Good, nonetheless. Anyways, connubial is used a lot.