Tuesday, January 20, 2015

On the Needles (and Soon Off the Needles)

The house finally feels unpacked and a little better (minus the giant pile of boxes and recycling... but that's best left ignored for now).  I built Ikea furniture like a mad woman last weekend, and all the clothes are folded nicely in the drawers and hung in my closet (which is twice as big as the last place- huzzah!).
It's finally to a point where I can unpack just a little bit every day and I won't frantically be looking for a charger cord or a pair of pants or a belt.  Hopefully one or two boxes and some organizing (and purging!) will mean that by the end of January, early February, we'll be truly "moved in"!
Yesterday I was finally able to sit down and organize my knitting drawer.  I have a few projects that are very very close to being finished, and I'm excited to get a bunch of WIP's wrapped up before January closes out, if possible!
Projects to get off the needles ASAP:


The Armadillo Ornament
This was supposed to be done for Christmas for a certain little lad.  It got lost in a box during the move before Christmas, and I only just found it again yesterday.  Probably a few hours to finish, tops.


The Everlasting Gobstopper Mitts
I put this in the long-term hibernation box for a long time since I wasn't happy with them and had no one to give them to.  Luckily, when I was organizing yesterday, my new roommate Kim saw them and loved them.  These should take again probably one night of CSI-watching tops to finish.  It's about time I just finish them and get them out of the queue.


Onward Shawl
Another knit that I originally wanted to finish for Christmas, and did originally finish for Christmas, before the destructive little chubs got a hold of it and destroyed a part of it.  It's going to take some frogging, repair work, and finishing the last three section repeats before I can check this one off the list.  It'll take longer than the others, but it's my only really big project I have on the needles right now that I need to finish.  Plus the recipient should get it while it's still chilly out and she could use it...


Adama Cowl
This is part of a knit-along with S's Mom.  I'm finished with 3 of the 4 pattern repeats, and I'm hopefully going to be able to finish soon enough to wear while it's still nice and chilly out.  It'll look great to wear while teaching, which is added motivation to keep going on it.

I have some other knits that are sitting in the wings to start, so finishing these four projects would be really nice.  It'll clear up room in my knitting drawer and make me feel accomplished. :)  Plus, the knits that I want to start are all sorts of cool.

Tonight- sitting down and finishing at least one of these!  Onward!

Friday, January 16, 2015

15 in 2015

Now that I've recapped my successes (and failures) of 2014, it's time to make goals for 2015!  This is long overdue, being 2 full weeks in to 2015, but for myself, I needed to get this up.
Every year, I make a list of goals for the year.  This is everything from a specific knit that I want to finish to a fitness goal that I'm trying to push myself with to achieve.  Last year's list was pretty extensive, and I accomplished a little over half of them.  The ones that I finished, though, were pretty sweet!
This year, I have a mixture of specific goals that I want to accomplish and more abstract or weekly goals that I want to push myself with.  I feel like a lot of them support the others, and I've even already been off to a good start!
This year broke down nicely in to 3 distinct categories- Athletic, Personal, and Artistic.
Here we go!

Artistic

(The Knitting Drawer when it was actually organized)
1- I need to finish my Dad's Dale of Norway this year.  No excuses!
2- I have all the materials to complete a Project Life Scrapbook for 2014; time to put it together.
3- I want to knit at least 4 things for myself, including at least 1 sweater!
4- This might be a tad vague, but it takes a long time to make a house feel like a home.  My goal is to make our new house actually feel like our home in every room.  My guess is this will take a bit to really get down, hence the year-long goal.
5- I have a lot of extra art supplies and materials.  I need to cut my materials down to a realistic and manageable level (for example, am I really going to attempt to make 3 more Tshirt quilts?  Probably not...)

Athletic

(Working Sigma once last summer)
1- Redpoint Mr. Lean (5.11d) on trad lead at Palisade Head, MN
2- Redpoint Sigma (5.12a/b) on sport lead at Sandstone Quarry, MN
3- Trad Lead all of the climbs rated 5.10 and lower at Palisade Head (that aren't chossy and crappy)
4- Make it my goal to train and climb at least 3 times a week
5- Cross-country Ski 500 K over the course of 2015.  I want to successfully classic ski the Birkie in 2016, so I feel like this would be a good number to aim for.

Personal

1- Do 2 phone calls or hang-out times (longer than a few minutes) and send out 2 pieces of mail to friends and family every week to stay connected to people.
2- Read 40 books.  This number seems to work well for me.
3- Learn and really nail my proper climbing rescue techniques and spend time practicing it this summer.
4- Actually do some research to be able to properly handle and budget my finances better.  Time to grow up in that department.
5- Become comfortable in speaking and writing basic French.  Time to get back on that horse.

It feels like a really big list, but it actually almost feels more realistic and attainable than last year's.
Here's to staying focused, strong, and really pushing myself this year in a lot of different ways while staying cheerful, excited, and motivated (the first two are usually not a problem!) :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2014 Recap

So I realize that we're almost 2 weeks in to January, but I'm finally getting my life, my jobs (school started on Monday!), and my house organized enough that I can spend a minute reminiscing about 2014.  I did a ton of traveling (which I need to keep doing!), I continued to rework my curriculum at my job, and I tried some things that I generally wouldn't have otherwise!  While I didn't complete all my goals, the ones I did complete I was really happy about!
My mantra for 2014 was Be Silly, Be Honest, Be Kind, an Emerson quote that I'm particularly fond of.  While there were times that following that was difficult, I feel like I did a pretty good job overall of staying positive, having fun, and attempting to keep kindness in my everyday interactions.

Successful goals-
- Running a Half-Marathon

Success!  This one was big.  I'm not a runner.  Repeat:  NOT a runner.  I ran Grandma's Half-Marathon, got a time of 2:32:27, and learned that while I'm not cut out for long-distance running, I have a very high pain tolerance threshold.  As a climber, I feel like that's important. :)
- Finish 4 Knitting Projects for Myself
Another success!  First and foremost, I finished a pair of socks for myself at the end of January in 2014.

I knit my first hat and mittens set for myself- my first matching set in like 8 years of knitting!  Unfortunately, the hat fell victim a couple of months later to Maeby's tummy, but for awhile I had my very own set of hand-made goodies!

I also finished an entire sweater in the span of the 3 weeks I was overseas on my Europe vacation.  Woowoo!  This only shows that when I actually put my mind and efforts towards a big project, it's not that difficult to complete.
- Read 40 books
I officially read 34, but that's not counting the thousands of pages of student papers I read throughout the year.  I feel like that more than makes up for the books I didn't get to.
Favorite books of the year include:
"A Dance with Dragons" by George R.R. Martin (when is the next book out??!!)
"The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance" by Laurie Garrett (I don't know why I'm so fascinated with nasty diseases lately...)
"Faithful Place" by Tana French (need to check out more books by her...)
The Southern Reach Trilogy, including "Annihilation" and "Authority" by Jeff Vandermeer (I'm reading the third and last book in this new series right now)
Obviously there are more that I enjoyed, but those are the highlights.
- Finishing "The Dude Sweater" during the Olympics

I love and hate this knit so much.  Great conversation piece, huge and awkward to knit.  Also fairly ugly.  Working well for S's new man-cave in the basement, since it's chilly down there.

Non-successful goals-
- Finished my Dad's Dale of Norway
It's the the docket for this year.  I. WILL. PREVAIL.
- Create a Personal Website
Pshh.  Nope.
- Work on German
I did a little bit, but not nearly enough for it to count.
- Learn Photo Software for Editing Photos
I mean, I learned how to do it on my phone.  Does that count?
- Climb 5.12 on Sport and 5.11 on Trad
Started to toe that line, but not last year.  This year is the year!
- Reach the 200 Hexipoof mark on the Honey Quilt
Nope.  I kind of forgot about this project in like mid-February...
- Break Procrastination Habit
This was mostly to do with grading, and while I got better, I still have a ways to go.

Uff-da!  Well, besides the hard and fast goals, it was a great year.

I went on a climbing trip to Mt Rushmore with one of my besties in Spring.

I got to do an all-ladies climbing trip to the Red River Gorge, which has become a yearly MEA-break tradition in October.

I met Ben, an honorary nephew and a pretty sweet little dude.

I got to visit Denmark for the first time and see one of my best friends while she lives there.

I joined my family for a fantastic two weeks in Italy.

I went on a chilly but fun weekend trip to the BWCAW with my guy for his Bday.

I got my diving certification and went on my first dive in Lake Superior- a night dive!
Come to think of it, 2014 was pretty sweet.
It may be difficult to top... :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wedding and Unpacking and Constructing- Oh, My!

Over the weekend, I was honored to be the Maid of Honor (oh, puns!) in my friend Celeste's wedding!

Celeste is one of my best friends from Graduate School, and she decided to stay in northern MN after we graduated.  Lucky for both of us- I get to see her all the time now!

The wedding was gorgeous, and the party was fantastic despite the slightly-chilly temps that rocked outside.  During the ceremony (held in a greenhouse), we could hear the wind whistling around the glass as it frosted over.  Very dramatic and cool!

(Eric, the groom, totally photobombing us while we tried to take a serious photo)

(Scott was my dapper and all-around awesome bearded date!)
It was fantastic fun all around- probably one of the more low-key and all-around fun weddings I've been to in a long time!  Less than a day after they got hitched, Celeste and her husband are off on their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic, and it's probably a good thing...

It's gotten a little chilly up here in Duluth.  Sadly, that picture doesn't depict the -40's that the windchill gets down to... burr!  Luckily, that's given me plenty of time indoors to do a ton of unpacking, organizing, purging (which I realize is what you're supposed to do before you move... oops), reorganizing, and all around making a mess of the new house as I try to figure out where everything will go.

(The living room is pretending to be organized.  What's that?  Why, yes, there isn't a couch.  We're definitely using bouldering pads instead for now...)
One of my big YAHOO moments between wedding help last weekend was putting together the bedframe we got from Ikea to replace our old and broken one.

Constructed.  ALL.  BY.  MYSELF!
I had only a couple of minor mistakes where I had to learn to slow down when reading the directions, but overall it looks and works great!  It's quite nice to be sleeping on a frame again instead of a mattress on the floor, reiterating the importance of owning real furniture.  Scott and I are doing a trip to the cities this weekend for one more big Ikea run.  On the top of that list- a couch!
Besides finishing unpacking, spring semester is already creeping up.  Classes start next Monday, and with Faculty days on both Thursday and Friday, I've been scrambling to get my syllabus and lesson plans ready to go before two days of meetings.
One of the good things about those meeting days?  Lots of knitting time. I have a couple of projects in mind to work on.
And apparently I need to knit myself some handmade socks.  :)
Those have officially been added to the "Things I need to Knit for Myself" list for 2015...
Speaking of lists, hopefully I'll get my official "15 in 2015" list up in the next day or two when we officially get internet at my house.
Yep- still without.
Crossing my fingers for Friday.
Until then, stay warm out there folks.  It's a tad chilly...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Moving is a Pain

Christmas was really nice this year.  I was grading and entering grades right up until the 24th of December, and then Scott and I shot north to finally unwind for a couple of days in northern MN.

It was great- cold but gorgeous, lots of good times, laughs, awesome people, great food...
and at least one 12K cross-country ski trek!  I'm firmly committed to getting in to this sport. :)
We came back on Saturday, went almost straight to the UHaul store, and spent the entire weekend schlepping all our crap to our brand-new place!  I'm more than a little excited- we're still renting, but we're renting from awesome people, and we're renting an entire house!  No more apartments or duplexes for us!
The last few days I've been getting all the last bits moved and spending hours cleaning the heck out of the old apartment.

Literally hours of cleaning, scrubbing, sweeping, steam cleaning, and doing all I can to make sure that we get our full deposit back, which we successfully did!  We did our final loads last night around 6 pm, and were so tired that we watched a couple episodes of Fargo, clinked our toast around 9, and were in bed and zonked by 10:30.  A bit lame for New Year's Eve, but after the days we had, it was welcome relief to get a full night's sleep and just relax a little.

Today we finally had time together to begin to unpack the place and put it to rights.  I built our new bedframe from Ikea, and I'm already making a shopping list for when I make a trip down there next week.
This weekend is my friend Celeste's wedding, and hopefully I'll have internet hooked up at our new place early next week (hopefully!).  I apologize for the lack of posts lately, but no internet makes it difficult. :)
I'll do my 2014 recap and 2015 hopes in the next couple of posts- I'm really excited for the year to come, in so many ways!!!
Happy New Year, everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Featured!

Holy buckets, everyone!
One of my favorite knitting blogs, Knitted Bliss, decided to feature my Classy Fornicating Deer Vest on her weekly feature "Modification Monday"!  I was incredibly flattered when she sent me an email concerning a possible feature.  The blog post about it went live yesterday.
You can find it here!
I'm pretty excited that she picked that vest, and if anything, it's inspired me to branch out a little more in my knitting! :)
Tomorrow, I'm off to the north for a fun-filled Christmas with Scott's family, and hopefully fixing the Onward Shawl.
Yeah... I haven't looked at that yet.
It's still a little raw.
Just to make me feel better, here's one of the outtakes from our Christmas photo shoot.  Maeby looked a little too upset for us to use it for the actual photo.  Therefore, it's good for me to use when I'm upset at her.

Happy Holidays, everyone. :)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Just when you think it's safe...

I finished the Onward Shawl yesterday while watching my students frantically typed their finals.
I was really excited- it was gorgeous, not too crazy-huge, and I eliminated doing the extra repeat because I finished the cast-off with a nice comfortable tiny ball of yarn left, saving my extra skein for a future gift.  It couldn't have worked out better, timing-wise and yarn-wise.  It was beautiful.  It's still 7 days before Christmas.  I planned on blocking it today and getting it in the mail tomorrow, to arrive under the tree by early next week.
It was too good to be true.
I came home and happily displayed the shawl in all its glory to Scott.  He complimented the pattern, said it was really cool but not too fussy, and stated that the recipient would probably really like it.
I folded it carefully, put it on the dining room table, and we went in the kitchen to make dinner.
It only took about ten minutes.
She apparently had been lurking nearby.

I think she was waiting for the opportunity to get back at me for the (only slightly) humiliating photos I took of her for our Christmas card.
She was waiting for the perfect moment.  Plotting, planning, and being patient in a way that only a cat with limitless time can.

%@#$!!!!  Rotten little furball with no respect #%!@$#!@%@$^@$^@#$#%&*^#^$%!!!!
She is the WORST!!

She not only ate the tip of the end of the shawl, she nommed on the end of it as well, displayed in the pic above (comparing it to the good, non-nommed side).  She wasn't content with just destroying one part of it- she had to show her dominance over all knitted goods by eating two very different parts of the shawl.
Even now, as I type this, she's lazily chilling in the kitten bed, acting as if it never happened.
Just. the. worst.
She's lucky I don't put out a Craigslist ad for her right now.
::sigh::
Guess I'll rip back the last two sections and reknit them.  I suppose it could have been worse.  This also gives me a chance to add another repeat on to the shawl if I wanted to make it bigger.  Not that I wanted to in the first place.
::grumblegrumblegrowl::
Stupid cat.