Monday, December 31, 2012

Farewell 2012...

scattered shadows on a wall, you watch the long light fall 
some impressions stay and some will fade
tattered shoes outside your door, clothes all on the floor
your life feels like the morning after all year long. 

every day it starts again

you cannot say if you're happy
you keep trying to be
try harder, maybe this is not your year.

movies, tv screens reflect just what you expected

there's a world of shiny people somewhere else
out there following their bliss
living easy, getting kissed
while you wonder what else you're doing wrong

breathe through it, write a list of desires

make a toast, make a wish, slash some tires
paint a heart repeating, beating 

~the weepies

Sunday, December 30, 2012

"Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore.”

~Fahrenheit 451

Color Affection

Finished a project today.  This was supposed to be a Christmas gift for my grandmother, but I didn't quite finish it in time.  I am debating whether or not I should give it to her now, or wait and save it for a birthday present (her birthday is in February).

Pattern: Color Affection
By: Veera Välimäki
Yarn: Valley Yarns Charlemont in Black, Grey, and Grape

Had a little trouble getting gauge.  Then I wasn't sure if I wanted to do the Lace or Fingering version.  I love how look together, and it looks fine on, but the shape came out a little wonky.  I think I probably didn't do a great job of keeping track of what row I was on.  Sadly, that is not unusual for me.  It was a pretty easy knit, but got rather boring after a while (all that plain knitting row after row).  

I actually made something from Pinterest

I got the urge to bake for a friend's holiday shindig.  This is very out of character for me...  I never cook or bake.  Well very rarely.  Decided to try two recipes that I found on Pinterest.  One was very successful, the other was okay but not amazing.

First, the not so good:
These weren't bad, but not as good as I had hoped they would be.  It's probably my fault though.  I couldn't find actual Rolos anywhere yesterday, so I settled for Mini Rolos.  Didn't work as well.  A few people at the party seemed to like them, but I wouldn't say they were the best.

Next, the success:

I really liked this recipe.  They were delicious and not that hard to make.  Of course, since I never bake, I  harassed a friend the whole time I was making them asking her questions and sending her pictures so she could tell me if they were done.  

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

This one is worth a read...

ZeitounZeitoun by Dave Eggers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I started reading this book I wasn't aware that it was nonfiction (it reads as a first person narrative).  For some reason the author's note about the content of the book was moved from the start in the regular print version to the end in the audio version.  I was about halfway through before I discovered that it was the true story of one family's experience during Hurricane Katrina.  The fact that it chronicles actual events makes the story all the more heartbreaking.   I thought it was an excellently written and powerful book.  I highly recommend this one.    

View all my reviews

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Own Worst Enemy

I have been in several situations recently where I have been asked to describe myself... I find this task incredibly hard.  I've had friends describe me as "so nice"and other friends laugh at that description.  I wouldn't say I'm particularly nice... but I'm certainly not evil either.  The more I think about it the harder I find the task to be.

I've been in a bit of a funk lately...  I have this tendency to hold myself to impossible standards, and then berate myself for not living up to them.  Even when I set achievable goals, I tend to be such a slacker that I never really follow through with them either.  Where is all this coming from?  I am done with grad school.  Finally.  I've been in school my whole life, I'm ready to be done.  Should be happy, right?  Twelve years since graduating high school, I've taken classes at 6 different schools, and will now have 3 degrees... but not a doctorate.  I always said I'd get my Ph.D. but I'm pretty burnt out at this point, so I'm stopping at my CAGS.  This is an accomplishment I know, but I'm beating myself up over it not being a doctorate... I'm also beating myself up over my GPA not being perfect...  Why did I slack off and get two Bs?

I think it drives me nuts because being smart is the one thing that I have.  I'm not hot or pretty. I'm not particularly funny.  I'm not talented.  I'm not all that likable.  I'm socially awkward and more than a little neurotic.  I'm not even a very good student.  But I am smart.  I have that.  And now, as my formal education is winding down, I'm stuck with all these regrets of how I never really bothered to apply myself in any real way.  Just coasted through school sometimes doing really well and sometimes doing nothing at all.  I'm stuck wondering how my life might be different if I had just put forth a little effort.

Can't really have this conversation with anyone in real life because everyone thinks I'm crazy.  So, I'm spilling here... Which is unusual for me.  I generally try to keep the "dear diary" personal entries down to a minimum.  I can generally recognize when I'm being irrational, but for some reason I just can't seem to let this go.

Catch and Release

After reading all about the filming of this movie in Kevin Smith's book (see previous post), I felt the need to watch it.  I was sad to discover it wasn't on Netflix and I had to pay to rent it from Amazon Video instead.  For some reason I thought this was a new movie than it actually was, but it's actually from 2006.  

I liked Kevin Smith's character because it was pretty much what I picture him to be like in real life, albeit a much tamer version.  It also reinforced my previous conclusion that Timothy Olyphant kind of rocks.  He plays the cool character with such ease... and that smirk...  I would hit that... Can't wait for Justified to return.  Sorry, got a little off topic there.  

I did struggle to get over the fact that the would be mother-in-law was the evil, possessed witch that tried to kill everyone on True Blood.  Couldn't help but keep waiting for her to go all crazy...

Not going to be one of my favorite movies, but it was definitely an enjoyable flick if you're in a sappy sort of mood.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Secret Santa Knitting

Every year we do Secret Santa at work.  It is a whole lot of fun.  In the past I've knit for my person, but it's alway tough to finish something when you have less than a week from the time you find who you'll be Santa-ing for and when the final gift it due (we do four days of giving).  

This year I picked a little bit of an ambitious project, a reversible cable scarf, but I knew the person who's name I pulled would like it.  I wish I had remembered to take a picture before giving it away!  It could have been a tad longer, but it wasn't too bad.  Next year I either need to knit something in advance, or pick a faster project. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Boring-Ass Life

So, I moved my book reviews out of the main page of my blog into their own section because they were kinds of taking over and because I read/listen to so many books I couldn't keep up with the posting.  However, I just finished reading this book (which is really just a reprinting of Smith's blog) and it has inspired me to try to get back into blogging.  I really like to write, I'm just not particularly good at it.  Maybe some practice will help...

My Boring-Ass Life: The Uncomfortably Candid Diary of Kevin Smith My Boring-Ass Life: The Uncomfortably Candid Diary of Kevin Smith by Kevin Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This wasn't a quick read because it gets a bit repetitive in places, but here are my thoughts after finishing it.

1."I picked up some McDonald's hash browns, two dozen roses, and both hot and iced lattes for Jen to celebrate the seventh anniversary of the first time we ever..." You had me at hot and iced lattes... I wouldn't mind being married to Kevin Smith. He is sweet to his wife and kid, and generous with his friends and family. He is both crude (in a way that appeals to me) and hilarious. When he's wrong he owns up to it. He also loves Veronica Mars and understands the power of bringing a girl both hot and iced lattes. Why can't I find a guy like this? He loves and adores his wife in a way that no one has ever loved me (or probably ever will).

2. After reading all about the filming of Catch and Release, I really want to watch it now. Wonder if it's on Netflix...

3. I've seen both Smith alone for a Q&A and Smith and Mewes together on their "Jay and Silent Bob Get Old" tour. I was well aware that Mewes had serious drug problems, but I didn't realize just how bad they were, how many times he tried to get clean, and how long he and the people around him suffered. You have to feel for Mewes. He's clean and sober now, but something about him makes me think of a little lost puppy that I want to scoop up and give a good home.

4. Essentially the book is a just a reprint of Smith's daily blog. As I was reading I kept thinking "I really should blog more." Then I remembered that no one actually reads my blog. My life just isn't that exciting and no one really gives a shit about what I have to say.

Final thoughts... If you're a hardcore Smith fan you'll likely enjoy this book, but might get bored in parts where it is a little slow. Stick it out as the second half is pretty interesting. If you're only a causal fan this is probably a little too much Smith for you.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Another great weekend!

I've been very busy with my job, my second job, and grad school since the summer ended.  It's nice to have good weekends to decompress a bit.  I always have more work I should be doing.  I swear I could just keep working continuously and never completely catch up on everything.  Because of this, I sometimes feel guilty when I take time out to do fun stuff, but I'm trying to get past that and do something fun every weekend.

This weekend's adventure included:

Road trip to Webs - got some lovely lace, enough tweed for a revamped version of my Estelle sweater, and another skein of the yarn I was originally using for my Estelle sweater.

 Next we went for a short hike in the D.A.R. State Forest.  It was a little muddy, but the weather couldn't have been nicer.  I forgot how much I like hiking.  The trees were pretty and the scenery was lovely.  Definitely need to fit more of these types of adventures in.

Stopped for lunch on the way home at Red Robin.  Good burger, fries, cherry lime-aid... Yum.  I also witnessed my first beer milkshake.  That was interesting.  

Wrapped up the evening by picking out a knitalong project to do with A and B.  We all got the same yarn in different colors and are going to all make this cardigan: Waiting Cardi.  I'm using the yarn that I started my Estelle sweater with.  I wasn't loving my sweater.  I still love the yarn and the pattern, but I'm not loving them together.  My gauges was just so far off it wasn't going to look right.  So, now the Charlemont will be used for this knitalong project, and then the tweed above will eventually become my Estelle sweater!  

So far I have cast on and am almost done with the cuffs.  No more knitting today though, too much work to catch up on.  

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lovely Weekend

Well, I didn't get quite as much work done this weekend as I would have like to, but it was a fabulous weekend none the less!

Friday - suffered through the traffic to make it to the Friday night knitting group. There was a good crowd and it was fun as always.

Saturday - cleaned the apartment, went food shopping, did laundry and then had knitting buddies over for take out Indian food and Sherlock. Watch all of season 2 and now am sad that there is no more on Netflix to watch!

Sunday - slept in and then went bowling. I prefer candlepin. The lack of wood and the big balls are just not my thing. However, a friend's team was going to have to forfeit and need subs to play, so it was all free (except forte drinks) and was quite fun. I definitely didn't win, but I didn't come in last either.

I managed to get 10 more hexipuffs knitted as well. That brings my total up to 66! Still a long way to go, but definitely making progress.

-- Posted From My iPhone

Monday, October 08, 2012

12 more...

12 more hexipuffs done.  That brings the total to 56!

Monday, October 01, 2012

The Dangers of Tipsy Knitting...

Thought I was finally off to a good start with my Estelle sweater...  Then at knitting Friday night I discovered that I skipped an ENTIRE SECTION of the pattern during my previous tipsy knitting adventure with a friend who shall not be named...

In my defense, I think the pattern is kind of poorly written... but still, how does one manage to skip a whole section?  Particularly after they correctly managed the math required to adjust the size for a different weight yarn...  Drunk algebra, no problem!  Drunk reading, apparently not my forte...  Probably could have just ripped back to the end of the lace chart, but I was so annoyed that I just frogged the whole thing and figured I would start completely over.  I still love the yarn and the pattern, hopefully I'll cast back on soon, with better results the second time around.

On a positive note, the same unnamed friend introduced me to Sherlock on that evening of knitting fiascos, and I loved it.  Watched the first three episodes, can't wait to watch more!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Puff Update

Very little knitting time at the moment, but 9 more done....

That brings the current total to 44!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Estelle off to a rocky start...

So, I had yarn all planned out for my Estelle sweater.  However, it turns out that the yarn I bought is really more sport weight then worsted, thus I really struggled to get the correct gauge.  I ended up compromising and finding a gauge that looks good with the yarn, and then attempting to do some algebra to decide what size I would need to knit to have it fit correctly.  Now we will knit and see how it comes out.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Pattern: Estelle
Yarn: Valley Yarns Charlemont Kettle Dye in Mulberry

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Hexipuff Update

So... I've been slacking a bit on the puff making.  Since my last update I've only knit 9.5 more puffs, that brings my total up to 35.  Look at them all pretty and puffy in a basket!

I've been busy trying to get my classroom all set up and ready to go.  Can't believe it's already September!  Where did the summer go?  New textbook series this year, which I'm pretty excited about. It's going to be a lot of work revamping all my powerpoints and other lesson materials.  On the positive side, once I recreate all these materials I'll be able to use them from year to year.  It will be nice to have a textbook that is not pushing 2 decades old for once!  Like my lovely owl top down web?

I also dyed my hair red again.  Really red.  I think I should have been born a redhead...  I think I will keep it this shade for a while.  The purple highlights were fun for the summer, but not so professional for work.  

Oh, and I'm casting on a new sweater tonight... more details to come soon!

Monday, August 27, 2012

My So-Called Scarf

I wanted a quick project to work on because: a. my last several took forever to complete, b. school starts next week and I wanted to finish something before the craziness that is a full time teaching position, a second part time job, and grad school all start again.  Side note, last class until I graduate (again).

I've started this scarf several times, but never liked how the yarn I was using looked with the pattern (weird pooling once, weird striping another time).  Last month the yarn that the pattern calls for (Manos del Uruguay, Wool Clasica) was on sale on so I ordered some.  I even got the same colorway the pattern used (Wildflowers).  Very happy with how the scarf turned out... Can't wait to wear it this fall, just wish the summer wasn't over already...  Not ready to go back to school yet!

Such pretty colors!
Stitch pattern up close
Finished scarf

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Hexipuff Update - Week 3

Week Three
Completed Hexipuffs: 1.5

Current Total: 25.5

Feel behind while on vacation...  But I finished my Citron so I'm not disappointed.  This project is going to take forever.  I'm only going to knit them when I'm in the mood or I will get burnt out too fast.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Flashdance Citron

I love that satisfying feeling of finally finishing a project.  Started this shawl June 1st, finished and blocked it this evening.

PatternCitron by Hilary Smith Callis (Knitty, Winter 2009)
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Lace
Colorway: Flashdance
Modifications: Knit nearly twice as large as the pattern called for.

Not yet blocked

Up close of ruffle detail

No wonder my fingers sometimes turned
purple while knitting this! 


I love how it came out and I am super excited to wear it.  Won't be long now, you can start to feel the fall chill in the air already.  I'm glad that I made it as large as I did (almost twice as big as the pattern describes).  However, those long purl rows were BRUTAL.  I discovered that I hold my needles/yarn really weird when I purl.  It works for me and it's fast, but having that many stitches in a row caused my hand to cramp really badly.  That has never happened to me before and I've been knitting for a long time.  I worked on practicing other ways to purl, but they were all so much slower and those rows were soooooo long that I gave up and just went back to my awkward way.  Oh well, some times you must suffer a bit for your art, right?

Now to figure out what I should knit next... I'm thinking something in the round so there are few to no purls!  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Remember that time I said I should put in a life line and then didn't?

Yeah, I should have put in a life line.  I thought about it.  I even told a friend I was going to.  And then I didn't.  I ran out of yarn.  As I suspected I might.  So I had to rip back one pattern repeat of my Citron so that I had enough yarn left for the ruffle edge.  Wouldn't be nearly as big a deal if there were not so damn many stitches to pick up.  I think there are well over 800 at this point.  I tried to count but kept losing track.  Pictures coming in 10 more rows...

Next time I think I should put in a life line I should really listen to myself.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


So last week I went on my first real vacation.  The kind of vacation that doesn't involve family and requires a passport.  It was amazing.  I had so much fun and had plenty of relaxation time as well.  I would definitely go on a cruise again, but I did wish I had more time to explore the island itself.  

Here are some of the pictures I took: