Monday, August 31, 2009

Orange to Purple

As the summer winds down, my excitement for school to start is piling in my stomach like a bunch of birds on acid. I'm furiously getting ready, compiling books I think I'll need, attempting to decide between my tried-and-true New York City Library Planner or the new Moleskin planner that I already have? Stupid decisions that have no bearing but seem important anyway.
I've also taken this empty canvasand worked like thisto turn it into thisbefore putting furniture in like this.I'm pretty excited- I've been living in the pantry-sized room for about a year now, and having a full-sized bedroom is new and fun, not to mention the awesome time decorating it! I'm going for a thrity-chic sort of look- second hand, yet loved and cared for. I'm trying to keep it minimalistic, and finding it a little hard (when you're as into office supplies as I am, where do you put the five things of post-it notes without making it looked cluttered, much less minimalist?) I'm only working B&N in the morning for the next few days though, so I'll have most of the afternoon to clean, organize, get things set up and ready before I have to start school.
I finished the Bartering Thorpe for Matthew- I made him a hat in exchange for using his U-card (free bus) all summer. The only problem- I lost his U-card, so I made him a hat and owe him $15 for a new card. Oops. Oh well- I had the card long enough that it probably was worth much more than a new card.
The hat turned out really well, though.Super simple, made with the leftover gray from my Bella mittens and midnight blue and some green from other random projects. It's nice to get a whole hat out of leftover scraps. I had to have Cheryl re-teach me how to do the double crochet thing for the edging (one of these days she's going to teach it to me and it'll actually stick), and besides a few odd loops it turned out great. It's knit on size 9's with two strands of Cascade 220 held together, so hopefully the double-knit will help keep him warm against the cold Duluth wind.
I spent most of today in bed, fighting off sore throat, a bad cold that makes me sound like James Earl Jones, and a cough that would remind a listener of someone with consumption. I'm feeling much better tonight, so hopefully some Gilmore Girls, raspberry tea with honey and knitting on the Whisper Cardigan will help me up a little.
Until later, m'dears... cheerio. ;)

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I'm a little over a week from Grad School starting, and the last week has certainly shifted things around a lot.
I finally got a couple afternoons off this past week, allowing me to move all the furniture and leftover items out of Teresa's room and get it ready for me. I painted over the orange wall- it's now a soft, pretty purple (and matches my blaze-blue bookshelf!) and I'm excited to get fully settled in there before school starts. Yesterday was running around for new school supplies (which turned out pretty futile- I have two classes and really no idea what I'm going to need) before sharing tacos, potato ole's, oreos, and a movie with a friend.
I've mostly been on standby mode though. Early last week, my old roommate and one of my close friends had her Dad pass away from cancer. He fought a long, hard battle and lasted longer than a lot of people thought he was going to, but in the end it was too much for his body to take. He was originally supposed to be okay through fall, but that ended up not being the case. This week has been phone calls and support system and basically keeping my phone close for when she needs me. The wake is Monday, and she said I didn't need to be there because there was going to be a lot of family support around, which means we're going to have a long, hardcore girls weekend sometime this fall.
In the midst of all this, keeping an upbeat attitude feels a little difficult at times. It's getting close to the time that my Grandpa passed away last year, and thinking about her father got me thinking about when my Dad had a cancer scare. Luckily the doctors caught his all right and he's been in remission for awhile, but it's still scary to think of. I can't even imagine how my friend must feel right now.
Anyhow, that's the goings-on here for now- sorry it's such a downer update. I also still have no internet, so no picture posts until that's up and running. Which is a shame, because I have some great painting shots of my new room as well as finished and in progress knitting.
I'm off to sit at work for the rest of the day and nurse a sore throat with some tea and honey, watching the phone in case she changes her mind about Monday or just needs a phone-hug.
Ciao, for now...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Crazy Weekend

My head is spinning from all the back and forth and up and down and driving and eating and up early and everything else that transpired this weekend.
For one, I have a new roommate.
His name is Evan, and after living on Steve and Cheryl's couch for awhile he took Juliet's room since she's not using it. He'll be living with me for at least through Christmas- maybe longer- and I've seen him maybe ten minutes so far, tops, between him and I running in and out.
I lost two roommates.
John and Courtney had been sharing Teresa's room, and they moved all of their stuff out on Friday (including the wireless internet/internet in general, which is why I'm writing this from Caribou). They were good roommates while they were here, and I'll miss the company, because they were home a lot more than I know Evan will be home.
I was able to scoot down to the cities to see my old roommate Larissa in the musical "Thoroughly Modern Millie", put on by the Bloomington Civic Theater. It was a fantastic show (though I'm a bit biased since it's one of my absolute favorite musicals), with great costumes, dancing, singing, and fun that made me miss being onstage.
I was able to hang out with my parents for a little bit on Saturday before going to a joint Grad party for two of my cousins, both graduating college. Lost two games of botchi-ball in the process, met my new 3-week old cousin Lacey, and ate too many mini-cheesecakes resulting in a cheesecake coma for most of the evening (probably the only good type of coma).
Got up early to cheer on a Triathlete before running back to Duluth for a surprise birthday party for a climbing buddy yesterday, and then I'm slowly but surely starting to move into Teresa's old room. I have my blaze blue bookshelf in there now probably half filled with books, and a minimal amount of stuff in the closet. Teresa still has a dresser, a big queen mattress on the floor, and piles of books in the closet, so I won't be able to actually move into the room until all of that is gone. I'm hoping she can move it out quickly and I can get settled before school starts, but I'm a little doubtful about that.
It was nice to relax a little bit today- after sleeping in and getting a slow start, I got to go to ballet for the first time in awhile, and I'll be heading to the studio for swing dancing fairly quickly. Walking home tonight is going to be interesting, as there's a definite chill in the air that wasn't present before. Makes it feel like fall is really coming. I start school in a little over a week, and that in itself feels very unreal.
I'll end this particular scatterbrained entry for now, and hopefully I'll be posting some pictures of recent projects I've been working on soon.
For now I'm going to relax a little, drink my yummy white chocolate mocha, and enjoy some swing dancing with friends. Because I haven't had enough fun and relaxing lately.
Coffee, probably enough. The latter, no. :)

Friday, August 21, 2009


I've lived in Minnesota all my life, and one of the big things that a lot of the guys in my family do is hunt. I've never had an affinity for wanting to shoot little creatures, but that's lead to me never even holding a gun before, much less shooting one. A few of my friends had plans to go out to a shooting range, and hearing that I've never touched a gun, invited me along with intention on teaching me. They felt it was necessary to my Minnesotan heritage to at least try, especially when so many hunt here.
I got to learn about the different types of guns, including the one I was going to use- a 20-gauge youth shotgun. Tricked out in a hunting vest weighted down with shells (don't call them bullets- I was told only amateurs do that!) I was very nervous for my first time. The boys were very specific- aim ahead of the target, yell "Pull!" when ready, and keep the gun jammed up against my shoulder so the kick doesn't give me nasty bruises.I was more worried about the fact that I was holding a loaded gun, but after some deep breaths I got in position as the first clay pigeon was released.No dice on hitting my first target, but I was holding the gun so tight from being nervous that I didn't have to worry about it bucking around against me. Score!The boys were almost professional, and it was cool to see clay pigeon after clay pigeon explode in a blast of dust whenever their shot met its match.I was finally successful near the end, as I got more comfortable with the gun and proceeded to hit two clay pigeons at one of the last stations! Not gonna lie- I was pretty excited to see the target blow up both times. I wouldn't mind going again, especially since now that I've been around guns and shot them I'm a little better (though I definitely was still jumpy whenever a loud shot went off near me).
I doubt I'll actually go hunting, but it was still fun to try the whole shooting thing. :)
Knitting update soon, I promise...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Climbing and Dehydration

This last weekend was a little on the interesting side.
It started off fantastic- I had Friday off, meaning time to go out to Shovel Point and go climbing with a couple of guys that haven't been outside before. It was a nice easy day, staying on routes that were a little on the easier side since the guys haven't been on real rock. I enjoyed myself, jumping on routes I haven't done since I first started climbing outside. Plus climbing over Lake Superior is top notch no matter what.The day was very warm, but beautiful. Temperatures were in the eighties, with a little breeze coming off the lake every once in awhile. I was a bit on the warm side, but that comes with the territory of climbing outside in the summer. It was fun showing the guys how to set up the top rope, and we were all having a grand time.I even pulled out the needles and worked on the sock a little, just for kicks.I put sunblock on twice, and tried to drink water as much as I could. I only brought one Nalgene full out with me, but since I don't usually drink a ton of water anyway figured that would be enough.
As the afternoon wore on, I started to feel woozy and dizzy, and had a whopper of a headache building up. I tried to lay down on the cooler rock in the shade while the boys were switching the climbs, but that really didn't seem to help at all. When we finished for the day and headed home, it grew to a level where I was just nauseous. Right when we got in the car I immediately layed down across the backseat to fall asleep, hoping it would help my headache and the nausea go away.
We stopped in Two Harbors at Culvers as was tradition after climbing on the North Shore, and I ate a burger hoping that it would help settle my stomach. It didn't. If anything, it made it worse as now I had greasy food churning in my stomach. I downed a lot of water but it didn't feel like it was helping all that much.
Again I slept in the car to Duluth, but as we pulled into town my stomach finally rebelled probably two blocks away from my apartment. The boys didn't care at all, and made sure I got inside and properly hydrated, but I spent the rest of the weekend feeling like crap and recovering from what I'm guessing was a whopping big case of Dehydration sickness. As a CNA, Tyler recognized it and said I should probably go into the hospital, but I don't have good insurance for that at this point so I just bummed through the weekend.
Along with that (adding, probably, as it definitely didn't help) was the fact that I got mad sunburn on my back and shoulders even though I put sunblock on.
Next time, I believe I will know better.
Next time- SPF 50, baseball hat, and two gallons of water.
At least I got a little bit of knitting in...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mosey-ing Legwarmers

Yesterday I proceeded to attempt to make up for any and all exercise lost over my long work period- I did hard lap swimming, two hours of ballet, and two hours of swing, not to mention biking all over town getting groceries (gallons of milk are heavy in backpacks, but feel great in the heat). I woke up this morning, swung my legs over the side of the bed, stood up (that term is to be used loosely), and was actually glad that I have to work all day today. I wasn't even close to this sore even after the Triathlon! Amazing how out of shape you can get in only a week of doing nothing.
Well, not nothing. I did finish up Jenelle's legwarmers on Sunday, pom-poms galore. I have to admit, I think between having some of the poms explode on me and learning how much to use putting the yarn on Cheryl's special little pom-pom maker she's borrowing me, I probably used almost a whole skein of yarn. Ah, well. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out (though not with the pictures, but I needed to pack them up to give them away so it's the best I got). It's just like always- once I actually sit down and do the knitting, it doesn't take me very long at all. No modifications on the pattern- it turned out and worked perfectly, as with the first ones I made. As much fun as it was to knit them, I probably won't make them again for a very, very long time (if ever), since I want to either design my own or make one of the many gorgeous patterns on Ravelry. Not to mention I have a million other projects to finish. But this pair were fun, and I always love using that yummy purple.
Time to eat some delicious wheat pasta with raspberry vinagrette- tasty lunch for a hot day. I wish I had a farmer's market to pass by on the way to work, to maybe get some cherry tomatoes. Maybe tomorrow I'll scout one out.
For now, it's off to VE... and the Dale... ::sigh::

Sunday, August 9, 2009

And... breathe...

I'm very excited to finally finish a very long stretch of working all day, every day. I was done at 6 pm tonight, just enough time to have a leisurely bike home on boardwalk, enjoying the lovely Duluth weather before heading home for a small pasta dinner topped with tasty vinaigrette and greens. It's still gorgeous out, and I'm contemplating a walk down the street to get milk and enjoy the sunshine.
The only good thing about this weekend was the sheer amount of finishing up projects that I got done.This is the Amanda Hat for one of my B&N coworkers, Lisa. The hat is my part of a trade with her- she's going to make me a necklace out of some sea glass found on the shores of Lake Superior last summer in exchange for my knitted goods! I'm excited to see what it looks like when finished, but in the meantime I'm pretty happy with how this hat turned out.The pattern calls for size 9 needles, but as I couldn't find mine I used size 8 instead, and I'm very happy with the results. Happy enough that if I make myself this hat I may use size 8. Nothing modified too much- I didn't do the garter rounds at the top of the pattern, and I definitely lost count on the top how many times I did the lace pattern. Oops. It was a joy to knit in yummy Malabrigo again- worsted weight, with gorgeous greens that are showcased nicely with the design. This particular stitch pattern does a really good job with varigated yarns.
The next few days are supposed to be real summer around here- as in above 60 degrees and sunny, so I'm excited to hopefully get outside, get some walks and some bike rides in, and work on some mysterious projects that I'm not allowed to talk about yet. ;) No worries, I'll give as soon as time permits. So for now, I'm off to the store for some milk and (perhaps) a carton of fresh blueberries (if they're still on sale!).
Yum! :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Don't Accept Spaghetti from a Stranger

My boss at VE- Nick- found out early this week that his Grandmother passed away. We all offered condolences and offers to help in whatever way possible. My way to help came about in taking every shift at VE this week, open to close, from Tuesday onward. Normally Juliet (the other shift manager) would be able to help out with some of those, but she's teaching our kid's climbing camp every morning and can't go overtime, so it's all on me.
Now, I've done a few days where I open at B&N 7am to noon, then do VE 1:30 to 9pm, but I've never done as many in a row as this. Tuesday and Wednesday were semi-okay (Wednesday started to feel long) but today I'm really starting to get burned out. It's not even like I've been able to just chill and knit- we've been so busy I barely had time to wolf down a can of cold spaghettios last night while standing and getting waivers filled out between belay tests. One of my buddies saw this sad pathetic excuse for dinner and offered to bring in something for me tonight, as he likes to cook but doesn't enjoy only cooking for one. Since I knew my fridge was starting to look rather empty, and that meant less time for me to worry about making food during my tiny breaks, I accepted happily, looking forward to tonight's meal.
He showed up promptly around six, carrying a container with whole wheat spaghetti and sauce and a container of cantalope (yum!). He explained as we both sat at the counter with forks poised and ready that he felt the sauce had been a bit bland when he first was making it, so he added some Cayanne pepper to it. And some Tabasco sauce. "It's got quite a bit more zing now," were his exact words to describe it.
I didn't think much of it and dived right in.
First bite- delicious. I haven't eaten something that wasn't out of a can or from the B&N cafe in awhile, and in comparison this tasted like heaven. Two or three more bites in and I started to notice how much my nose was starting to tingle. Or how my face was beginning to feel hot.
Five bites. My mouth was feeling quite hot now when I swallowed.
Six bites. Wow, my nose is running like crazy but my sinuses cleared up and I can smell everything.
Nine bites. My face is so hot I can't even feel the tears running down my cheeks. I have to chew with my mouth open just to be able to breath properly.
Ten bites. My buddy practically snorts noodles out his nose he's laughing so hard as I fumble with the lid of the cantalope container because with no water, anything I can lay hands on has to be some relief from this pain.
I have to admit, I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to food. I'm a full-blooded Scandanavian, and though that's probably not a great excuse, it means that my body really isn't used to handling spices or hot stuff. I'm the kid that bawled after eating two Hot Tamales at the same time. So usually I try to avoid things with too much kick, but I was unable to this time. And since my friend made it special for me, I finished every bite of that pasta. I probably won't have functioning taste buds for a week, but it doesn't matter.
Moral of the story- if a friend offers to make you food, be sure to know what you're getting yourself into before you agree, no matter how nice or sugar-coated the offer is.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Brewhouse Triathlon

Sunday was the big day for my team- Team B&N- to compete hardcore in the Brewhouse Triathlon! Bright and early (with no coffee in us, including me), we met at the side of Pike Lake to join in the craziness that is a Triathlon (event including three parts- a swim, a bike, then a run). This particular triathlon evolved out of me being kicked off a boy's team (they wanted a different swimmer) so I formed my own awesome team with two friends from B&N- Christine (middle) and Sam (right)! Originally I was going to do the swim, Sam was going to bike, and Christine was going to run, but once we realized that each of us was really personally quite terrible at those events, we switched to our natural abilities- Christine was a competitive swimmer in High School, Sam a Boston Marathon runner, and I bike as a form of transportation, so naturally we did what each was best at.Christine started the day with a .8 mile swim, gunning it like crazy in Pike Lake (which isn't exactly clean) and being one of the first swimmers out of the water to tag me to go on the bike.I then had a 22 mile bike, which I clocked in at 1 hour, 12 minutes and 8 seconds- meaning that I went over 20 mph average for the ride! I was super excited for my time, but not nearly as excited as Sam:She ran just over 7 minute miles for 5 miles, getting first place in the relay division for her run time- yay crazy runner girl! :) Overall our team did spectacular, earning us 4th place out of the female relay teams (only 7 seconds behind 3rd place and 4 minutes behind first- so close!) and with high spirits that if we actually trained for this next year, we may take home a first place beer mug!
I have to admit, for as nervous as I was leading up to the race, I had so much adrenaline on race day I think that helped me go that much faster on the bike, and I'm proud of my time and my team's time.
I can't wait for next year! :)