Absolutely Giddy

I can barely express how wonderful yesterday went at the middle school. I was a bit nervous that though I used to like middle schoolers, I wouldn’t be as enamored with them. It’s been a few years, you know. Well, there are some middle schoolers in the program when I tutor on Mondays, but mostly they stay separate, and they’re absolutely crazy and there’s no structure. Anyway. The only disappointment I experienced yesterday was in remembering that I will be student teaching in a high school, not a middle school. Heartbroken about that.

I’ll try to keep this part short. The teacher I’m working with put me to work right away. I recorded assignments, separated them out for grading, recorded oral interviews with at least 12 students who struggle with writing, paired up with some students for partner work, and generally enjoyed myself thoroughly. I wish I was there today. When I was leaving the building, I thought to myself, “This is what I was meant to do.” I haven’t had a moment of clarity like that about teaching. I really felt called to youth ministry, and when I decided to change careers, I made the choice of teaching rather rationally. I knew I’d be good at it, and I knew I’d enjoy it. But yesterday, it was … more certain. “This is where I should be. This is what I should be doing.”

Bonus: It was light out when I left the house, and light out when I returned home. So very awesome to see sunlight. Plus, I took pictures for you! I think I’ll save many of them for Friday – there are only so many hours in the day and not nearly enough time to get everything done. Here’s how sunny it was: I barely had to do anything to these photos other than crop them. Awesome! (I promise that’s true for the other pictures, but the ones I have to share today are blurry, because I was taking them myself, in my bathroom, of… myself. Not the best recipe for pictures, but I was way too lazy to get out the tripod.)

Today, you just get to see a knitting project I finished. I completed it within 3 days, actually, which is always fun. This yarn was sitting near the top of the giant Ziploc bag of yarn to give away, so it doesn’t exactly put a dent in what I have stashed away, but that’s OK. I have destashed a significant amount of yarn recently, so I’ll give myself a pass on this.

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Black (which doesn't photograph well - good thing it was a sunny day!) with strands of silver woven throughout.

I had originally made myself a hat out of this yarn (which had no tags and I never recorded what it was, so it’s officially mystery yarn – I assume it’s a blend of partial acrylic and something else, as it was part of my attempt to find yarn that doesn’t make me itch). It was a lovely winter hat – double-stranded for extra warmth, cables (that you couldn’t see because it was black), it fit well…. The problem was, it was itchy. Like, really itchy. Red forehead itchy. So, I gave it to , who seemed more than happy with it.

So, what do I decide to do with this yarn that makes me itch? Make a cowl, of course! I know, wrong decision. But I only had a little bit of it (somewhere around one skein). And the pattern looked so… comfy and fun and easy (Ravelry link to the pattern called Marian). It was a nice, fast knit. Seed stitch is the same as doing 1×1 rib, just with an odd number of stitches instead of even. It’s boring, but with the big needles and fluffy yarn, the texture is really nice. And it’s really squishy.

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You can almost feel the squishy-ness.

I couldn’t make gauge with the circular needles I had, so we did some math and I cast on extra stitches, and then a few more to compensate for people’s complaints that theirs were too small. I decided to just knit until I ran out of yarn. Well, that I did. In fact, I had seven stitches left to bind off and was left with three inches of yarn. Oops. Ripped it back one row, re-did the bind-off, wove in the two ends, and it was done!

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I know, I know, not the most professional photo. It seems too long. And I did the moebius twist in it, but it seems like it's too twisted.

Unfortunately, I think I over-compensated, or ended up knitting looser than my gauge swatch (probably the latter). And, um, it’s still itchy (duh). Can one wear a cowl with a turtleneck? That seems… redundant. This may need to be gifted away to someone with less sensitive skin. I really want to make another cowl, in something that won’t make me itch, but I’m not sure it’s actually an article of clothing I can pull off. It just seemed… awkward. Any thoughts?

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Maybe doubled-up?

On Friday, I’ll share pictures of the Christmas sewing I’ve completed recently!

4 hours I’ll never get back

It was probably closer to 5, but whatever. Yesterday after lunch I went over to JoAnn to buy the zipper that had me stalled on the Amazing Fit Pants (Simplicity 0569). The pattern includes a lot of couture tips, which means that the pants are turning out really well, but they’re taking forever to complete. As of last night, I have the front partially sewn together, front pockets sewn in, and the zipper installed. Let me tell you about that zipper. It’s a fly-front (like jeans or many dress pants), which means there are about a zillion additional steps to follow, as if installing a zipper isn’t hard enough. And, to state the obvious, the fly is right there in the front for everyone to see, so every single little mistake is clearly visible.

This led to the ripping out of the left side of the zipper about 6 times (I don’t exaggerate here). The right side went in fine, but that left side, man oh man. It is now installed, as well as the flap that sits behind it (to protect your delicate skin from those mean zipper teeth), and it looks good. Darn good. And I’m sure that if I were to make these pants a second time (I’m really hoping they turn out well so that I can), it won’t take me nearly as long. But gee whiz! Several episodes of Stargate SG-1 (currently on Hulu) kept me entertained (and from losing my sanity).

The next step in the pattern was to start in with the back side, so instead of getting consumed by that (it was now 7:30), I went downstairs to watch football and attempt to knit. I haven’t knit in… many months, but I’m feeling the desire to start back up (I think it’s fall – it has that affect on many people). I have to be cautious, because knitting aggravates my tendinitis, which is no fun. I was trying to find a wip (work in progress) to complete, but the one I was looking for was nowhere to be found, so I settled on a infant hat that I started for ‘s daughter (who is now 2 1/2 – clearly the hat is no longer for her). Much to my surprise, I finished the hat last night! It was about half done, and baby hats are a fairly quick knit. It’s like the tomato hat I knit for , but I made it in purple instead of red, so it’s an eggplant hat. Quite cute. The next baby born is getting it. (I hope to take pictures soon – I have no pictures of the tomato hat, and it was kind of ruined by a growing boy and his love for his hat.)

So that was Sunday. Saturday was spent making Cinnamon Rolls with (or for her, actually), napping, and then going out to a birthday celebration for a friend of ‘s. Busy weekend, but nice, and made possible by fall break, which is now over, and I have to start doing homework again. Boo.

Minty

I finally remembered to bring the bag of Wintergreen Lifesavers I had bought to work, and now I’m minty fresh. Better than snacking on chocolate-caramel-peanut Turtles, right?

I worked on two of my papers this weekend and got all the research, quotes, and Works Cited parts done. Now I just have to write them. Also, since I have the wrong version of the textbook for my online class, the readings I had left for it (Chapter 16) are not in my book, and so I don’t have any reading left. Yay!

and I went shopping for a washer and dryer Friday night – I know, aren’t we exciting? We picked out a nice set (didn’t buy them, though… more on that in a bit), only to come home and find out that it was an HE (High Efficiency) washer, which means special laundry detergent. Well, I’m quite attached to my laundry detergent (All Free & Clear, recommended by my dermatologist), as it doesn’t make me itch (and we know how unhappy I am when I itch), and it was my one requirement for a washer (other than please no almond or black units). But, we looked it up, and my detergent does come in an HE variety, so we were happy with that. Now we just have to measure the spot at the new house, call an electrician to install an outlet, call a plumber to install the correct hookups, and then install the washer/dryer. Thankfully, it will totally be worth the effort when it’s done. (Who wants the washer/dryer in the kitchen? Not us. Apparently a lot of people love having the washer/dryer on the main level, but we are not those people.)

More boxes were packed and taken to storage, as well as a lot of stuff from the garage. We’re running out of things to pack that won’t disrupt our lives, which is good, because if you check the countdown timer over there –> you’ll see there are 11 days until we move. 11! It’s good that’s a small number, because we’d really like to be there now and have this all done. And then we can start mowing the lawn. Ah, the joys of home ownership (when you don’t live in a planned community or one with an association that takes care of all the exterior stuff for you).

Baby sent us a nice card this weekend announcing his birth. ūüôā

Class on Wednesday night was canceled. Originally it was supposed to be a library research night, and I was going to take advantage of that and skip class (and write the paper), since I have perfect attendance otherwise. (Perfect attendance, perfect GPA… teachers love me!) The professor decided to change plans and have us come in to class and give presentations instead (there was great complaining about this, since most people have a huge fear of public speaking), on an informal basis and not for a grade, but required nonetheless. This morning he canceled class for this week, since he will be out of town attending a funeral. So… plan A (skipping class to write the paper) is back on, kind of.

I’m not going to know what to do with myself when I run out of homework. Conveniently, there will be a house with lots of work to be done and many, many, many boxes to unpack, right after classes end. Knitting (tendinitis) and embroidery (finger callouses) and sewing (back pain) can only take up so many hours of the day before my body refuses to cooperate anymore.

Lastly, I finished the log cabin quilt for the Mini Quilt in a Bag swap, getting the last of the binding taken care of last night. And, I think I’m nearing the end of the first panel of the baby blanket I started out knitting for ‘s baby (you know, the one who was born right around the time we got married). So, I’m almost 1/3 of the way done with that. Have I mentioned they just announced they’re pregnant again? Clearly I’ve got some issues with completing baby blankets (though, in my defense, I did have tendinitis issues for quite some time that prevented me from knitting, and I’ve only recently taken it back up again).

It was a lovely Spring Break

I was so creative, and didn’t do any homework. I felt so productive, though!

I finally finished the black and white quilt in the spare bedroom. I had completed the top and hand-tying last June (10 months ago!), but never got around to putting the binding on (something that, at the time, I didn’t know how to do, nor did I have the right equipment for my machine). When I finally got to it last week, the binding that I’d cut (and ironed and coiled up so perfectly) had faded so much on the exposed edge I had to throw it away and start again. I added some stripes to make it more visually appealing, and then finally put the binding on. Yay! (On Flickr you can see more detailed photos, and there’s a link to what it looked like before.)

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Black and White Quilt finished

Before Spring Break started, I finished knitting two hats (I think I mentioned this).

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Here's my spring hat.

Since knitting had gone so well on the hats (and only slightly aggravated my tendinitis), I decided to start a new project. I’d originally bought this bamboo-blend yarn to make another spring hat, but thought better of it. picked out a bolero pattern (I had about four options and couldn’t decide), so I cast on the Ribbed Lace Bolero. By Sunday night, I was at 12″ (of 18.5), so I have hope that it might get finished this spring (though there is a time for every craft: embroidery on the bus, knitting while watching television, and sewing when I have energy and time to commit to it).

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Start of a bolero

Did you think that was all I did? Nope, there’s more! I made a pair of pajama pants for (finished up last night), and started a dress for myself. Go to the Flickr page to see my dilemma about it, and then give me some feedback!

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Dress in progress

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Unfortunately, my project area looks like this right now,

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I don't think I'll be able to fix that in the coming week, because, alas, it's back to work, as evidenced by my planner. (Each colored Post-It is a homework assignment, and each of my three classes has a different color, in case you were wondering what was going on there.)

is on Spring Break this week, and I’m sure she’s loving it. is on permanent Spring Break, lucky her. And, I just got a call that is being induced tomorrow, so she’s done teaching for the rest of the school year.

Productivity Levels on the Rise

Last night, I finished ‘s Christmas present. I just have to wrap it. Of course, her birthday present hasn’t been started yet, but the list of outstanding gifts is definitely shrinking. I also made more progress on ‘s scarf, and brought it with me today so I can knit on the bus ride home. I’m hoping I don’t have much more left on it. That leaves the fleece jacket I gave him for Christmas (well, I gave him the pattern, and we went and picked out the fabric together). That’s it – the rest is all done!

Swap-wise I’m on-track too, though I had somehow forgotten completely about a recipe swap that was due the day after Christmas. It’s fixed now, though. I think it’s time to start working on Tom’s [link removed] quilt for the Mini Quilt-in-a-bag swap, which means deciding on one of the three ideas I had. I think I might be able to get that cut out tonight though. The other “big” project is figuring out what to do for the My Favorite Things swap. The idea is to pick one of the “favorite things” from the Sound of Music song and make it in any way we desire. The person I’m creating this for has her profile filled out and I’ve perused her Flickr stream and her blog and still don’t have any inspiration. I will figure something out – the problem is that it has to be done by January 9th, which doesn’t give me too much time, and all the good ideas I’ve had so far would take much more time than I have.

We did have our last Christmas celebration over the weekend, with , , and , the latter of which loves his new “big boy bed” and was a hoot. He only had one present to open, since had given him money (or given his parents money, I should say), but it was an awesome gift. If you can’t tell from the picture, the screw driver is battery powered and really works, and you get all you need to make a car (two pieces of car “body” and five screws/bolts). got right to work assembling it, and was completely enamored, staying busy while the rest of us opened gifts. gave me exactly what I asked for – a black satin robe and some new canisters for the kitchen. did too – a sweater and some long-sleeved shirts. I was very happy. At some point, all the excitement became too much for , who had been up until midnight the night before, traveling back from Iowa, and he started running around the room yelling something only he could understand. He was very excited. We made our exit at that point (it was nearly 9:30) and left his parents to bathe him and put him to bed.

Sunday we attempted to stimulate the economy by participating in after-Christmas sales, but had absolutely no luck. was trying to find new jeans, but Lucky was out of his size, as usual (though he did determine that he can just order them online and save the shopping trip). I was looking for some casual work pants (preferably cords) and after half a dozen stores and pairs, we left the mall altogether, empty-handed. The pairs I tried on at Old Navy made me look like I was 5 feet tall (instead of 5′ 8″) and unflatteringly curvy, and the pairs I tried on at JCrew, who only had skinny-legged ones, made me look like my hips were transplanted from a very large person. It was very, very bad. As usual, Express has their store set up to make me want to flee the scene without shopping, and Limited, while calm and subdued, has even fewer casual clothes than they used to, which is unfortunate since one of the pairs of cords I’m getting rid of is from them (a Black Friday purchase five years ago that I didn’t even try on).

I will confess that in the midst of yesterday’s productivity, I completely failed to go to the gym. I thought about it at about 9 pm and decided it wasn’t worth it. I also did not eat what I should have. Full disclosure is good, right? Also, my skin no longer likes the lotion I’m using, as I am itchy again, but that’s OK because I am almost out anyways, and needed to buy a new bottle. I’ll just pick something different out – I did make it all the way through two bottles of what I had, which is pretty good for me.

It’s freezing at work (again, though I’m better prepared today), and I’m going to go take my break and get some decaf chai. That means my two visits for the week will be all used up, but Tuesday is double-stamp day, so it’s worth it. I’m not sure how I’m going to keep warm tomorrow though. I have some bags of tea in my desk drawer and there’s hot water in the break room. Doesn’t sound very exciting, but I bet it’ll work.

Getting Caught Up

Here, in a loosely organized list, are some of the things I would have talked about over the last week if my blog hadn’t been broken (my fault, by the way – thankfully figured out how to fix it last night and it was back up in about 30 seconds):

  • bought the Salad Blaster Bowl¬† this weekend. I had thought that would like this product. I wonder how it’s working out for her….
  • This keyboard [link removed] reminds me of ‘s kitchen remodel. I wonder if she wants computer accessories to match her flooring…. Additionally, you can do your whole bathroom in bamboo¬†[link removed] (it’s very popular right now).
  • These containers¬†[link removed] remind me of a trip to Ikea that and took a while back, whereas this article¬†[link removed] shows an alternate use of all those mirrors hung at ‘s.
  • I love this staircase[link removed]. I doubt I’ll ever get to have one, but it’s a nice idea. I think I’d store my shoes in it.
  • I knew I was a semi-untraditional bride (but not really – I mean, we still had a church wedding and I wore white and stuff), but this article [link removed] cemented the idea that we bucked the trends. What a horrible trend, in my opinion!
  • Ready for some spring cleaning? Caring for your mattress [link removed], making your bedroom prettier [link removed], putting a map on the wall¬†[link removed] (I’ve wanted to do this since I found ‘s National Geographic stash in junior high). [Editor’s Note: I don’t know what kind of magazine stashes your parents had, but mine had National Geographic and the Smithsonian.]
  • Maybe you’re still trying to cope with winter (like those of us in Minnesota who are dealing with single-digit temperatures, still): a tea mug¬†[link removed] for or a sweater for your coffee pot.¬†[link removed]
  • Hungry? Here’s some recipes I’ve wanted to try:
    • Braising in a Slow Cooker¬†[link removed]
    • Chocolate Pudding¬†[link removed]
    • Coffee Fluff¬†[link removed]
    • Pork Verde¬†[link removed]
    • Wild Mushroom Pasta Sauce¬†[link removed]
    • Chocolate Krispy Rice Easter Eggs¬†[link removed]
  • Feeling crafty? I was, and I keep meaning to actually make some felt coasters¬†[link removed] for our house. If you don’t feel so crafty, you can just buy some [link removed]. Also, I’ve been looking for fabric to make new roller blinds out of, and found this shower curtain [link removed], which would make really cute curtains if I had a 4 year old. Which I don’t. And don’t plan on in the near future. I also found this one [link removed], which I wish I could figure out how to use, because it’s just super cool. Lastly, this one¬†[link removed] would be perfect, if I could find it cheaper.
  • An article on painting stripes¬†[link removed] – I keep finding stuff like this, long after and I finished painting her entryway. There’s always next time….
  • I wouldn’t want to actually live here, but if I did choose to live my life “off the radar” and be very eco-friendly, this is the way to go [link removed].
  • A study found last week that Prozac isn’t that effective [link removed]. Bummer. It’s been around forever. The article didn’t have enough info for me to talk much about it, but I can say that I found it to be effective for me – I just couldn’t live with the side effects. I should note that I was on generic, not name-brand.
  • Some random iPod things I’ve found while pondering the possibilities of hacking mine. The problem I’m having is finding Mac-friendly stuff, since I’ve almost completely switched over (at home, that is):
    • MakeZine¬†[link removed]
    • eBook Creator¬†[link removed]
    • Notes Packager¬†[link removed]
    • soundcrank.com¬†[link removed]
    • Canto Pod¬†[link removed]

I’ve also found the following websites interesting:

  • Wists [link removed] (short for web-lists, like creating a wishlist based on the whole internet, not just Amazon – and if you find a way to stop the website from asking me to log in every time I load a new page, you get mega bonus points, and maybe a prize!)
  • Distributed Proofreaders¬†[link removed] – help with Project Gutenberg [link removed], if you’re into that sort of thing
  • LibraryThing¬†[link removed]
  • Domino Magazine¬†[link removed]
  • and, the site that I could spend hours on (it helps that there are dozens of updates every hour), if you couldn’t tell from the plethora of links above, Apartment Therapy [link removed]. You don’t even need to have an apartment!

Well, I hope that keeps you entertained for a while. I think I’ll start another post later about some home improvement and other projects we’ve been working on, but they’d be best illustrated, so you’ll just have to wait for photos….

Wah

I am regretting taking this knitting class now.¬† If I hadn’t signed up, I could take off an hour early tonight, and be on my way to the bus right now, with the promise of bed not too far off.¬† But, since it’s only a 3-week class and I will probably have to miss half or all of next week’s class, I have to go.¬† I have been getting steadily sicker all day.¬† I came down from my Alka-Seltzer high, and when I took my next dosage I only took half, but now I just feel like crap.¬† And my legs are jumpy.

I’m bringing the black lacy stole I knit to the “clinic” tonight that meets before class.¬† There’s a spot that has come undone, and I need help fixing it, and that’s what they’re there for.¬† I also brought my fingerless gloves that bow out instead of clinging to my hands, hoping that the instructor of my class will be able to help me come up with a solution.¬† And I picked out a pattern to knit for which I can purchase supplies at the Yarnery and use my 10% off coupon.¬† So, you see, I have to go.

If I don’t go crazy (from the jumpy legs) or fall asleep first.¬† It’s a toss-up.

Complications

You know, it’s quite difficult to work my way through my archives and update the broken links, fix the photo pages, etc, when my blog spends about half of its life with an “error connecting to database” message.¬† I know it’s annoying for you.¬† Imagine how I feel.¬† I am unfortunately much further from the end of the archives fixing than I’d like to be, in large part because my efforts are often thwarted by the downed database.¬† Yesterday’s message to the support center at my web host simply said “again,” tacked on to the end of the long ongoing ticketed issue.

But enough about that.¬† Life is going well.¬† I’m quite tired.¬† Our new receptionist started today.¬† Relief won’t come immediately, since she has to be trained, and the other girl who answers phones is taking all next week off, so I’ll be answering them, but soon things will be better.

I’m taking a short knitting class, which is interesting, though at times a bit boring.¬† It’s only three sessions long, and didn’t cost that much.¬† I’ve offered to teach one of my co-workers how to knit.¬† That should be interesting.

Unfortunately, I didn’t know that the class wasn’t canceled until Monday night, which meant dropping by the shop on Tuesday to buy supplies and furiously knitting Tuesday evening and when I could Wednesday before class.¬† It also meant that I’m now behind on homework, since Wednesday night is my usual homework night.¬† I have a paper to write this weekend, so it doesn’t sound like I’ll be doing much of anything fun.¬† That’s OK, though, because the weather is supposed to be cold.

Boring, I know.  Hopefully things will turn around on my server here and I can get back to regular posting and more exciting things, or at least something interesting now and then.

Shimmery Shawl for Grandma

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Shimmery Shawl

Last weekend (or the one before), I finished knitting/crocheting my Grandma’s Christmas present, and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. You can see the rest of the pictures here [link removed]. I hope to get a picture of someone (me, probably) wearing it over the weekend – I was taking pictures last night while slept, and taking pictures of oneself doesn’t often work out well….

This is such a heavily modified version of the original pattern that I’m posting it as my own. I’ll explain as I go through. There’s a link at the end to the short version of the pattern without all the prose (or at least there will be after I get a picture of someone wearing it for the official pattern write-up).

The original pattern for this came from one of the basic knitting magazines you can purchase at JoAnn or Michaels. The yarn I bought was not exactly what it called for, but was close. It started with casting on 3 stitches, and then increasing one at each edge via a yarn-over every-other row. Well, I just didn’t like the way it looked, between the yarn-over and the Patons Brilliant and the larger needle size. So, I decided to do it my own way: reversed.

So I cast on 165 stitches in the Nuance (which is a pretty nice yarn to work with – beautiful in its color changes; you just have to be careful about the gold thread that runs through it, because I had some problems with the first skein where it was shorter than the rest of the yarn and there was bunching; not much fun, but I finally figured out how to work around it). I knit the first row, then purled the second row, then repeated that (so there is a nice sturdy base of stockinette at the widest part of the shawl in the thicker, warmer yarn).

The original pattern also wanted four rows of each color before switching, but I couldn’t get the edge to look right when I did that. Carrying over and weaving in just wasn’t working for me. So in my version, I did two rows of each.

The Nuance rows (the blue-brown-beige colorway) are in Stockinette – knit on the right side, purl on the wrong side. The Brilliant rows (the solid brown colorway) are in Garter stitch – knit both rows.

So, switch to the Brilliant for row 5 (right side), and: k1, k2together, knit to last 3 stitches, ssk, k. (You’ve just decreased by 2 stitches.) Row 6: knit.

Switch back to Nuance and repeat rows 5 and 6, purling row 6 instead.  (This is much clearer in the PDF version.)

Continue switching colors/yarns every 2 rows, decreasing by 2 stitches every 2 rows, until you have 3 stitches left. The first few inches take a long time, but then it goes pretty quickly after that; the math actually works out that you’re halfway done (stitch-wise) when you’re down to 121 stitches on your needles. Bind off.

The border was done with the Brilliant and a crochet hook. SC all the way around the shawl (you have to do 3 SC in the corner stitches to make it look right). Do this two or three times, or until you feel like the border is sufficiently wide. Tie off. Weave in loose ends. Voila!

This took me about two or three weeks, while studying for finals and taking an out of town trip for a weekend.

Here are some further options:

You could do wider stripes, assuming that you can make the edges look good. Your call.

If you look closely in my pictures, you can see that every 6th row of Brilliant (brown) is in Stockinette instead of Garter. This was an oops that I didn’t want to frog, so I made it work. It’s really not noticeable, and I like the look of the Garter stitch with the Brilliant, the way it’s raised so it stands out, so I don’t advise making my mistake.

You could make this shawl as big or as small as you want to, by changing the number of stitches you cast on. Just make it an odd number. The original pattern suggested an odd number, and while that was probably logical for it, I don’t suppose it’s necessary for this version.

Likewise, the border could be done in any sort of fancy crocheting edge you can come up with. I tried picot and it didn’t look right, and decided that simpler was better for my intended recipient, but everyone is different, and if you (or the intended wearer) are a little bit fancier, there are tons of options. You could even do fringe instead of a crocheted border. That’s what the original pattern called for (in Brilliant).

PDF of the pattern, all official-like and stuff.

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.

This weekend in word pictures

I could have quickly and easily described my entire weekend with a few well-thought-out photographs. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any, so you’ll have to suffer through my wordy description of my weekend instead.

Friday night, while was out getting drunk with his friends (Editor’s sidenote: can someone please explain the idea of bachelor and bachelorette parties to me? I mean… guy proposes, so clearly he wants to get married. Girl accepts, so she probably does too. So why the need to celebrate singleness one last time? Is marriage really such a hideously awful idea that drunkenness is the only way to cope? Do most people foresee marriage as giving up all of their freedoms so that they’ll never be able to go out and have fun with their friends again? I just don’t get it.), I went to ‘s to help her paint. She detailed that experience on her blog, so I’ll just let that be. (Editor’s note to : thinks perchance primer would have prevented peeling. I don’t have any solutions for peeled paint patching, however. Can you sand it down (once dry) and then you wouldn’t have the 3D thing going on?)

Then I went tanning, or rather got some fake tan sprayed on me (it was very cold for some reason, which is quite unpleasant when you’re already buck nekkid in a tiny booth with a woman’s voice talking loudly to you). And bought some chocolate at Target. And… watched some bad TV and crocheted a really ugly purse (that I took apart the next morning) and… probably some other boring things that I can’t remember because… they were boring.

A large portion of Saturday was spent waiting for to recover from his previous night’s activities. I kept busy with crochet/knitting projects, more bad television, and unpacking some boxes. There are now photographs on display in two whole locations. Still no candles, because, well, I don’t actually live there yet, and marriage is a stipulation for candle placement in ‘s house. So I refrained. Oh, I also spent a large amount of time cleaning the fish tank. It was gross. I took a shower shortly afterward to remove said grossness because I didn’t even want to touch myself.

Another large portion of Saturday was spent loading most of the rest of my possessions into ‘s dad’s Bronco and then unloading them into the spare bedroom, which is now very full after the addition of my twin bed. What’s still at my house? My mattress, laying on the floor. My television, also on the floor. Five outfits for work. My computer, on the floor. Two under the bed storage boxes, two other shelf-organizy-type-things, my jewelry, my wedding-day supplies including reception decorations, some files, my bedside table, and some bathroom and kitchen stuff. And .

Sunday we spent a lot of time (some would say too much time) at Ikea, and considerably less time putting two of these together (in black-brown, the wider version). also bought me a step stool for the kitchen so I can reach things on top of the cabinets. And he’s nearly done fixing my dresser. (It’s amazing how much time it can take to fix something that I lived with in its broken state for so long.) It’s quite wonderful, all the work he’s put into it.

So, yeah. See, wouldn’t pictures have been better? And much shorter. Oh well.

Classes start tomorrow. And I have a hair appointment, which will be sad because I won’t go back to my stylist after this, and I liked her. But she wasn’t like the world’s best hair stylist or anything. And Kari is now back in my neck of the woods, instead of being up in Rosedale (plus I have a car), so maybe I’ll go back to her. I never had any complaints with her, and trusted her implicitly with my hair. I’m sure I also have many wedding related things to do. That’s what I’m doing next, looking at my checklist.

Slight Swooning Required

I have a co-worker who’s getting married next weekend. He’s done this before, and as is stereotypical of most men, hasn’t been too vocal or stressed about his pending nuptials. Well, he’s leaving for the day, and I overheard this conversation:

Groom: See you Monday! Have a good weekend!
Co-Worker: Yeah. Hey, last weekend of freedom! Haha
Groom: Yeah. After this, life will be much more enjoyable.

Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did ya.

Now, I have no doubt that there are many men out there who think that very thought (or at least did at some point, since they shelled out some cash for a ring and proposed and thought it would be a good idea to be married). But how many times do you hear something so honest, especially at work, instead of the usual jesting about the ole ball-n-chain or a lifetime sentence or whatever.

In other news, yes, I am very glad that it’s Friday. Maybe not so much “glad” as “relieved.” You see, on Wednesday I could have sworn it was Friday. Yesterday too. So by today I feel like it has been a very, very long week. And I am much relieved that today actually is Friday.

For those of you who cared, I did almost no packing this week. And very little wedding planning (except for that whole hair thing). Why? Well, quite frankly, there’s not much to be done. And I was a little tired. I got the things on my list done, but they were kind of minor things. I cleaned off my bedside table and another side table so that they’d be ready to move. I have an ever-growing pile for Goodwill. We’re taking some things to ‘s this weekend so the stacks of boxes in ‘s spare bedroom will decrease. I went through the stuff on the last table in my room (that’s three tables, if you’re counting) and got the box of reception decorations all set to go. But that was kinda it.

And I keep having these thoughts like, oh, I’m going to need to go to Goodwill, I should email and and see who might want to go, or I need to go to a different Macys that has a bigger selection to buy this thing, and I should see who would like to take me, and then realizing that, unless things go horribly wrong with someone’s Visa to Korea, I’ll have a car next week and won’t need someone to go with me (not that I wouldn’t want someone to come with if they desired). It’s a whole mindset change I’m not really into yet. I have had some positive thoughts this week regarding my future car, like Wednesday night when I was hungry but it was too late to find food anywhere that was accessible to me, and I knew that if I had a car I could have gone to Cub which is open 24 hours. Or last night when I ran out of yarn for a hat I’m attempting (why, I’m not sure, because I’m guessing it’s going to look laughable on me and I’ll just have to give it away) and thought that it would be silly to spend an hour in transit on the bus to and from WalMart for a $1.50 ball of yarn.

Last night I was good to myself, to make up for Wednesday when I was apparently feeling that I needed to be mean to me. So I went grocery shopping. And then I made (and ate) dinner. And took a book and some crochet out onto my deck and sat in my hammock for about an hour until the sun disappeared. And when I got hungry, I ate again. I supplied myself with the chocolate of which my house had been completely devoid. I went to bed before midnight, and fell asleep quickly. So no more grouchiness today. (I’m sure is thrilled to hear that.)

Crap. I just realized I forgot to feed . Must go email .

Hmm

Last night I… spent an hour and 40 minutes on the phone with . I also took a lot of pictures, which I hope to post later today. And I spent a couple of hours crocheting a hat that turned out to be really, really hideous, so I ripped it out and threw the pattern away.

Exciting, I know.