Monday, September 28, 2009

More Towards Fixed

It's amazing how everything feels like it's falling apart, then a couple of friends step in with kind words and distractions and things don't feel so overwhelming. For instance, I was taken bowling by some of my friends on Sunday night when I had been stressing all weekend over two papers and a presentation. They said I needed a break, and I did. This included 5 games of bowling, pepperoni pizza, bowling-alley-beer, and onion rings.It was just what I needed. I even broke 100 once!
I had a couple calls and messages from amazing friends (thanks lovely Larissa!), and hugs from those closer by (which we all know are important). I have 3 amazing ladies visiting me this weekend for a girl's weekend, and that helps me look through the long week ahead.
One of the best things though, I have to admit, was getting a message from a present I made a long time ago for a friend. Remember Elijah the elephant, made for the not-yet-born little baby girl?Apparently "Elmer" is now Lucy's favorite toy.
I almost can't deal with how adorable this picture is. It's so nice to know that something I made is going to be loved.
Makes the whole rest of the crappy stuff go away pretty fast. :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I'm feeling a bit all over the place lately, with not much down time at all. What down time I might have is usually spent reading or studying for school, and barely any time for crafting or knitting or even just sitting and breathing.
Between school, ballet, and two jobs, I'm feeling a tad bit that I may have bitten off more than I can chew. Usually after a morning shift at B&N, I go to class before biking down to VE until late. Sometimes instead of VE I have ballet, or both, and we're not counting time for homework. The only problem is I really can't quit either job, because I need one for the benefits and one for the grocery money and tuition.
My knitting is showing my all-over state of mind. Take, for instance, the "Melody Socks":I was psyched about the yarn (still am), but after the ribbing and an inch of stockinette I found the Midsummer Night's Dream socks on knitty and wanted to do those. So I ripped out the Melody socks thus far and read the pattern for Midsummer. Lo and behold, it was toe-up knitting. I've never done that before and right now I don't have time to learn it. So... Melody socks are hibernating for awhile.I pulled out the Whisper Cardigan to work on instead- nice easy stockinette in the round with lace malabrigo- yummy, right? Well, I'm starting to have second thoughts.They start right about where the sleeve is about three times the size of my arm, and end where I'm finally is admitting that I don't think lace-weight knitting is for me. Like, at all. The yarn is so light and tiny and maybe I just have to get used to it, but I need something simple and easy and not tiny and troublesome for a stress-relief knit right now. Plus if I'm going to knit a sweater for myself, I want one that I'm going to wear a ton- mostly for being comfortable.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. I dug in my sock yarn stash and came up with remnants a ghost from the past- the yarn from the cursed Harlot socks. They were my first fingering-weight socks that didn't turn out so well, and after much cursing I gave up on them. Now that I actually know something about knitting socks, I thought I'd give them another try. Just to keep things fun, I'm going to do the ribbing, heel and toe in a different color- which is where the extra yarn from Cheryl's Anemoi Mittens came in. These socks are probably going to end up being the most ridiculous socks I've ever knit (although the zebra socks run a close second), and right now I'm okay with that because I need something small and easy to travel around me with between all these places and the colors are bright and cheerful. I haven't decided yet if I'll keep them for myself or give them to my friend Sam at B&N- she saw them and said they were going to look amazing- and right now I don't care. I just need to get some order back in the world, and until then, I'm going to work on my pink and blue verigated socks.
Which I keep in a lovely little carry-case I got at B&N for half price. It has owls on it and cheers me up quite a bit as I try to keep everything together.Send coffee-like happy thoughts towards a stressed grad student if you can...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's Over Between Us

Dear Inside Out Sock,
From the moment I saw you, I was excited to create you to encompass my foot. Your sleek design displayed on Knitty was gorgeous, and seemed like a simple design that flew off my needles when I started. We had such a good thing going, and then... then you decided to get difficult.Now, I'm not saying it was all your fault. We both know of my short attention span and ability to put down (sock) problems to sit patiently until I feel like dealing with them, but usually with a little bit of concentration and help from friends I can push through the difficulties to achieve a happy end result all around.
I wanted us to work. I tried quite a few times to get past parts in the pattern that I just didn't understand or was having trouble getting, and I even took you off the needles just to try you on and feel like we were doing well together. You fit really well and looked super pretty!But, ultimately, I don't think it was meant to be. I'm sorry that we couldn't figure it out. There was so much potential. I took you off the needles (and my heart!) in a way that there is a possibility you could come back, but after that bad late night that resulted in lots of cookie dough and milk and cereal I don't think we can take any more.
I like you, but it's over.

Oh, and PS- That green yarn on my needles right now- not replacing you. It's just... keeping the needles warm... while you hibernate...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thunder Bay

I got to travel the few hours north this last weekend to the lovely Canada! A last-minute climbing trip to Thunder Bay was decided upon, and gear was loaded into the car. Don't worry, I took my homework with to make sure that it would get done (early in the morning... monday... when we drove back at 6 am... and I did it the entire 5 hour car ride home... oops...).A half hour car ride over very very rough back roads got us to a place called Squaw Bay, which was pretty much the middle of nowhere and happened to include some beautiful cliffs that just begged to be climbed.
So we indulged them!My first multi-pitch climb was had that trip as well up a route called "Starlight Express". Multi-pitch climbing is where one person leads up a route, then sets up an anchor at the top of the route (our anchor in this case was about 60 feet up). The leader then belays while the original belayer climbs up to them- this is called "seconding". You now have two climbers at the first anchor, ready to go up the next pitch! Our climb was only 2 pitches, putting us a little over 100 feet in the air when we got to the top. I have to admit I was thrilled belaying that far up, looking out over Lake Superior. Isle Royale was just barely visible through the fog, and we were far enough out of town that you couldn't hear anything that even hinted at civilization.Our campsite was just as spectacular, with a lake right outside the back door of the tent. Delicious eats helped hungry climber stomachs, including steak stir fry with vegetables, french bread, and wine. Definitely can't complain about that.
Climbing the next day included more trad and sandstone crack that my hands fit into like a glove. We only had trouble with the rope getting caught in the anchors once, resulting in a fun tug-of-war game we were determined to win!All in all a fantastic trip, making it hard to go back to the real world. With winter coming in soon, there aren't a lot of chances for too many long, outdoor trips left.
Ah, well. You do what you can. :) Back to homework and Grad School stuff!
::note- knitting update soon- believe me. There have been issues...::

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First Day

The last couple of days I've had the first day of the two classes I'll be in this semester- American Renaissance and Intro to Critical Theory. I'm pretty sure I'm going to thoroughly enjoy both of them! I'm a little sad that American Renaissance doesn't include any dramatic lit in the syllabus of reading material, but that doesn't mean I can't perhaps do a side project on it connecting it to either an author or novel we're reading. Critical Theory is with the rest of the first year Grad Students, and it's going to be... interesting. I'm happy to know at least two people in the class, and I got to catch up with one of them right away the first day.
Honestly, the hardest thing about the last couple of days has been the bike riding around. My legs aren't used to this hard of ride this often. It'll probably take a couple of weeks before they finally get to a point where I won't drop in bed dead tired from my ride at night. By then hopefully I won't have man-legs the size of tree-trunks. Yuck.As a last hurrah before I started school, I had the day off on Monday to do a nice long day hike on the Superior Hiking Trail with T and one special little visitor- a 5-month old puppy named Bella! She was great to play with- completely uncoordinated, limbs everywhere, falling in the water when we were hiking along the river- for once, I wasn't the only one (I'm including myself on the falling in the river bit- I may have been trying to cross and completely wiped out in the middle. Good thing I was wearing fast-drying clothes... oops...). It was a great day- beautiful for hiking, with sun and warm weather with a slight breeze to cool you off from time to time.The waterfalls on this particular hike are spectacular, and I love being able to hear them roaring as I hike right next to the river. Of course, a trip to Grand Marais after the hike included some delicious pizza and fudge before a tired and satisfied drive home again. I have to admit, I was a little surprised to see that the tops of a lot of trees were already changing colors. The beginning of school always has been the signal for fall, but this year especially it's been taken to heart. I'm excited for the leaves to change in full blast technicolor in a couple of weeks now- this is my favorite part of the year!
After my first class yesterday, I made a quick stop at Yarn Harbor before I cruised back home to grab some pretty sock yarn in celebration of becoming a Grad Student- check out this beautiful Melody superwash wool I found, in tweedy greens and purples. I need to get a plain sock on the needles to knit in class, and this yarn grabbed me right away. I was really lusting after some yarn that was called "Mini-Mochi", but at over $8 a skein and tuition payment coming up, this poor Grad Student couldn't splurge. Maybe next time. :)
Well, time to crack the books and look over my notes before I pack up for tomorrow again.I have to admit, it's a bit of a relief to be back in school.
My brain is officially happy again to be working hard.
Now time to work on making other parts of life a little happier...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bikers and Brooklyntweed

I was super excited to get to work this morning and see this:a huge article on the front page of the Duluth News Tribune about my old roommate Sadie and her boyfriend and friend getting citations for "impeding traffic" from the Duluth Police, even though Minnesota state law clearly says that bikers are to ride on the road- not on the sidewalk, not on the shoulder, not even if there's a separate bike lane- bikers must stay to the side of the lane of traffic and follow all traffic laws that cars do. Sadie's group in particular were taking up a little more room, only because they had a trailer hooked to one of the bikes so they could tow donated leftover food from the co-op to a soup kitchen/shelter. It was completely legal, and yet they were stopped by the cop and given citations! It's crap, because for bikers it's the classic situation "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. If we go too close to the shoulder, we risk getting doored by someone in a parked car (which happens and hurts). If we go on the sidewalk (besides being illegal), we're always in the way of pedestrians and risk hitting people or kids- it's not worth it. If we go too far into the street we get yelled at and almost hit by cars. There are a good number of cars that give me at least the 3 feet of room they're supposed to, but all it takes is one stupid driver that doesn't care and gets to close. In the battle of Katie on bike vs. Big Metal Heavy Car, Katie loses every time- and in a very bloody and not so nice way.
The classy thing about the article is that it paints the bikers to very much be in the right- but not enough that you don't like them. Which is good, because being a commuter biker is hard enough as is we don't need front page bad press. I'm happy with the article, almost to the point of writing one of those "letters to the editor" thanking the Duluth paper for running a story in favor of the bikers, giving the cars a much-needed "heads up".
In other happier bike news, I did a successful time trial of my bike ride from Barnes and Noble at Miller Hill Mall to UMD- specifically, to the bike park area that I'll be stowing my bike while I'm at class. I left B&N's parking lot at exactly 12:12 pm... and pulled in to the bike park area by the campus doors at 12:33 pm. I couldn't believe it. 21 minute bike ride? It's not all downhill, either- it's a little uphill, a bit downhill, then a lot of flat and a couple of uphills before reaching the edge of campus. I was really psyched. Psyched enough that I took my time, enjoyed, and ran into Yarn Harbor as a special treat.
I got some pretty new yarn:Don't worry, I'm saving it for a Christmas present, and I don't plan on starting that Christmas present till after I'm done with the stupid Dale of Norway.
Let's not talk about that right now.
Instead, we can marvel at this amazing booklet that's found its way into my collection:Brooklyntweed's new collection, Made In Brooklyn. I can't even begin to describe how pretty and amazing his designs are. I'm particularily excited to start the pretty Grove Mittens- I almost don't even care if they're for me or someone else, they're so pretty I just have to knit them on principal.
Don't worry, I didn't start any new projects when I got home. Instead, I worked a couple of lines of the Dale, then pulled my ballet slippers on, warmed up for awhile, and then did this for a good part of the afternoon:Sometimes, you just need to dance. :)