Sunday, November 29, 2009


You know, as nice as it is to be home at my parent's for a little bit, enjoying the family at the holidays...It's nice to be back home again. Duluth home. Surrounded by my books, my own coffee machine (and an abundant amount of hot chocoate), my craft stuff, and my Christmas tree... I've got a warm mug of hot chocolate in hand with Gilmore Girls on in the background as I finish up a pair of warm, crazy looking socks for a friend before bed, and I feel at home.
It's nice to have that.


It's been a fairly relaxing break for me compared to my normal schedule. I've been able to get a lot of my reading done, as well as work on both of my papers for my classes. It makes me a little nervous how slow the progress is on them compared to how much time I have left to work on them, but as always I have high hopes.
I got to spend some quality time with the family, especially helping to decorate our Christmas tree- a big deal for my folks. When we went on family vacations, we always picked up an ornament or two of where we were and (if possible) what we did there. We have a lot of skiing Santas from our trips out west, sea kayaks from Hudson Bay and the Pacific, and sailboats- as well as a good collection of hockey ornaments, Nutcracker ballet, and one of my personal favorites-A climber rappelling down a line! I got this from my parents last year, and I have to admit I'm pretty impressed that they managed to find one like this.(I'm overlooking the fact that he's not tied in at both strongpoints, is using a double fisherman as his main knot, and is using a bell to rappel instead of a regular belay device, but you take what you can get, right?)
My other project this weekend occured when my Mom dumped a giant tupperware in front of me when I was reading and told me to start sorting. She had me in a place to finally go through all of my books, sorting those that I could give away, those to keep, and those I was to bring to Duluth.It didn't seem like a problem until she brought out another one box... then another one... then yet another one... and they kept coming from places around the house that I've been hiding books for years... without my brother and I there, she had time to go around and find all of them, and I have to admit even I was a little surprised at how many I owned, especially considering how many I already have in Duluth.
I found some of my favorite classics that I haven't seen for year, like my original battered copy of Matilda by Roald Dahl, a copy of English Romatic poems from an old professor with her notes, and my entire collection of plays and play anthologies that I've been looking all over the place for. I finally got them all sorted into five giant plastic tubs, with another tub to bring up to Duluth with me.
Heading back to Duluth at lunchtime today, then funnelling my vision down to reading, papers, and preparing for the North Shore Style Climbing Competition on Saturday- I'm excited for that! I'll post pictures of my recent finished knits when I get back to Duluth, as I didn't get pictures of them before I left.
I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday weekend. :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkeys and Gobbles

I'm down in the cities for the weekend, hanging out with the family and getting as much homework done as I can before I start class again for the week. Turkey day was at my aunt's house, and it was fabulous (as usual!).The best part was that one of my uncles made a plate of green jello on top of a bed of carrot shavings, topped with... actually, I don't even know what it was topped with. Something white in the shape of a flower. I had a tiny sliver of the green jello (minus the white) just out of tradition, and the addition of the carrot shavings was pretty bad.
We played a few games of Bingo, and I won a box of Gobstoppers, some coffee, and a blaze orange soup ladle. Unfortunately, the soup ladle succumbed to my cousin Ben's flailings, breaking in half. He tried to tape it back together- with scotch tape. Gotta love the family. My uncle Brent and I did our annual tequila shot- which he started when I was 18, and which taught me that I don't like tequila. Which is why I only do one tequila shot per year.
I got up early this morning to go help my Dad pick a printer for my Mom at Office Depot. I couldn't believe that there was actually a line- post-its couldn't be that popular! I forgot that they had laptops to give out for cheap. We got the printer and pretty much got out of there.
Off now to get some coffee and do some homework.
I hope everyone had a good Turkey Day!
Gobble gobble...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Christmas Stuff

As Thanksgiving looms a few days away, I'm already starting to feel two very large balls of panic in my stomach. The first is school related- I have a lot of reading, researching, and writing to do before the semester is up, and I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to fit it all in. The second has to do with the holiday season. Christmas always looks a lot closer after Thanksgiving, and my lack of homemade gifts is making me nervous. This time last year I was knitting like crazy, working on a list that included hats, mittens, and one very big Dale of Norway sweater (that hasn't been finished yet... oops).
This year, I only have two handmade items so far figured out. For my Mom, instead of giving her a hand knit, I'm going to spend a couple days after finals to make her a mother-daughter scrapbook with pictures going all the way back to when I was teeny. My Mom's big into crafts and knows the time and effort that will go into something like that, so I know she'll appreciate it. My last final is on December 17th, so after that I'll have a couple of days to go crazy working on that.
My Dad was hard to figure out- he isn't even close to catching up on the books that I've given him in the past for Christmas, and knitting is out of the question since I'm still doing his knit from last year. It wasn't until I was doing an odd shift in the kid's department at B&N that I got an idea.
My Dad is a collector of children books from all over the world. He doesn't necessarily collect first editions or even well-known titles; he collects ones that have meaning to him and our family. For instance, my first copy of Madeline is in the collection- beaten, torn, and worn apart from the number of times he read it to me. Right along side is the french copy that he bought while in France, and which he would read after the english version for story time. The entire Babar series is also up there- english and french. My copy of Anne of Green Gables that I got at Prince Edward Island is up there, complete with pictures in the pages of me at Green Gables when we visited, dressed in period costume and proud as could be at 12 years old. He would often bring books home from his business trips to Japan with the Japanese characters in there, and my brother and I had to tell him the story as he turned the pages based on the pictures.
Long story short, kid books have a very close place in his heart as well as mine, so I'm going to surprise him with an addition to his library this year. I chose the book Toot and Puddle. This particular book is about two very different best friends- Toot loves to Travel, and Puddle loves to enjoy home. Toot goes on adventures all over the world, and sends postcards to Puddle of the places that he's been.
It's exactly the kind of book my Dad will love, and I'm going to personalize the book by making my own postcards based on the places Toot went and putting them in between the pages. The postcards will have drawings, pictures, and any memorabilia I can find on them, with notes to my Dad about each place and a memory from it or how special it was to me.
I think he'll like it, as it's personal and has to do with our family vacations, which are very important to him and us.
Now I just have to get started on those... after papers... and reading... ;)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


After the first few days of not writing, I thought, no biggy, I'll put something up eventually.
Then, after over a week, the guilt set in.
I kept thinking, "I can't write now, I'll have to go on and feel like a dork for not being able to keep up with the writing-everyday thing." Which, of course, is silly, but there it is.
As it were, I've been kept busy with surprises- big and little. Plus the constant barrage of homework keeps my life interesting.
School: I've got two huge paper deadlines looming over my head, and I'm getting very nervous about both of them. I've done a lot of research on my topics, but some of the research isn't going the way I thought it would, which is making things... difficult. I feel as though I could work on just one of them nonstop, no work or sleeping until it's due and I still wouldn't be happy with it. Perhaps that's the world of academia I've entered into...
Work: B&N has been fine, but I'm getting very burned out at the climbing gym. Don't get me wrong, I love working there, but my boss has been scheduling me so much lately that I don't have time to finish my homework... or get enough sleep to function well elsewhere. Today I was over 200 pages behind in my American Renaissance reading for class in Moby Dick, which isn't okay. This situation needs to be fixed immediately.
Play: Not much, let me tell you. My knitting has slowed to a crawl- though I'm finally almost done with the ridiculous socks for my friend Sam- I have the silly pink toe left on the last one and that'll be it. I also quickly knit up a hat during a long car ride for a buddy who bought the yarn for me. Short story behind it- he's one of those guys that always wears a hat, and only recently did he stretch his one trusty beanie out enough that it doesn't fit anymore (plus gross climber boy = unwashed hat). We have our local climbing competition coming up, and he's very superstitious about needing a hat. Which is where I came in. I just need to close the top and it'll be ready to wear. It's been a nice brainless knit, perfect when my head is stuffed with so much other stuff.
I have a couple of projects in the works that I'm excited about, but those shall be revealed at a later date... ;)
Off to do some reading now, and not feel as silly for taking such a hiatus on my blog. It won't happen again... at least for awhile... :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fresh Bread!

I had my first afternoon/evening off for a long time yesterday, so I got to go home, relax... do a bunch of reading homework... and then get some projects done I've been needing to for awhile.
For instance, I packed all my yarn in an old suitcase around the apartment, and now if it doesn't fit in the suitcase I must have too much of it (I know, I know... but honestly, the stash was getting ridiculous and I have to go on a heavy yarn diet anyway).I also started on a long-overdue project- one that I wanted to wait on until I had all the proper tools, but realized that it was silly to wait and I wanted to get it done soon anyway. So I started on it, enjoying the feeling or creating again.I also endeavored on a brand-new adventure- MAKING BREAD! A lot of coworkers have been raving about something called Artisan Bread- super simple bread recipe that takes four ingredients and makes up in practically no time at all! Since I'm the type that burns toast, it was a pretty crazy endeavor for me to embark on, but it was really challenging and really fun.
It went from doughto rising dough in just a couple of hours, with me only mixing things and leaving the bread mixture on the counter for effort.Then this morning I stuck a test loaf in the oven, and it came out beautifully!!! So beautifully, in fact..That I had to prepare another one right away!
My bread for a wonderful sandwich for dinner is cooling out on the rack right now, and if it work out I will ecstatically post the recipe that I used for all to try.
Tonight- work and a lot of reading.
Along with tasty homemade bread sandwich.
Mmmm... :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Because of daylight savings time, I got to see something this morning at home that I normally see much later, while shelving at work:The sunrise!
It was pretty enough for me to stop getting my things together for a very long day, warm my hands on my mug of coffee and watch for a little bit.
Sometimes, no matter how busy or crazy life can be, it's nice to just take a minute to breathe and watch the sun come up... if only for a minute.
In regards to the busy/crazy life mentioned earlier... let's just say I'll be very happy when Friday rolls around this week. I've been swamped with extra homework and research, a group presentation tomorrow that turned into me doing most of the work so it's acceptable, and extra shifts at work. Tomorrow is one of my first evenings off (starting at 6... is that sad?) and I may try my hand at making Artisan Bread. It should prove interesting and exciting! If I have too much homework to do that, I'll probably attempt it on Friday instead. We'll see how it goes- it would be nice to have homemade bread. Much tastier, too.
Off to get some sleep before another long and hectic day.
Hopefully I can enjoy the sunrise a little tomorrow, too.

Monday, November 2, 2009


My knitting project right now is something that I'm very ready to be done with. Awhile ago I started a pair of socks as my traveling project, and I'm making them out of leftover bits of yarn from other random projects. I didn't realize until I was well into the cuff of the first sock that they were going to be pretty close to ugly. Pretty close only because they were pretty colors individually (variegated sock yarn for both colors) but together, the striping and the colors are... well, let's say they're not to my taste.
Because of how they looked, I've been putting them off for the longest time, and only this week did I really take them out to finish them. I'm just finishing the short row heel on the second sock, and a couple more nights at VE and class periods will hopefully finish them off for good.
I need to get them off the needles not because I need the needles, but they've been my only project I've had time for since I started school, and I hate that I've been working this long and hard on a stupid pair of easy to knit socks that I don't even want to do because they're ugly... but they're for a friend. And I'm willing to suck it up because of that.
Plus on this side of Halloween, Christmas is starting to look awful close...
Less than two months close...
Scary close...

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Halloween is hands down my favorite holiday of the year. This includes planning for costumes, making cookies, decorating all around the apartment, and most of all, making my costume.This year I had big plans. My costume idea was one I've wanted to do for a long time, and the parts slowly came together- but I was foiled again this year. Carmen Sandiego will have to wait until next year, since I have this thing about wanting to have my costumes be good and accurate. When a decent hat for my Carmen Sandiego costume didn't materialize, I had to switch to something else- something that fell right into my lap when I walked into Ragstock and saw the dress hanging on the shelf, with minimal tweaking and heming to get exactly the effect I wanted.Alice in Wonderland is up there on my list of awesome Disney movies, and it never occured to me to be her until I saw a dress that fit the part perfectly. I did have to buy a skirt to convert into an apron, but that was piddlesticks compared to trying to make a Carmen Sandiego hat.
I'm really happy with how it turned out, and my costume was recognized all night long! Lucky for me, I had a prop to make it easier to recognize me.Tyler bit the bullet and went as the Mad Hatter to complete the look, and we got a lot of compliments on the costumes.
Oh, and yes- we made the hat. It took a lot of foam and cursing, but it got done.
Halloween was fantastic as usual, with the rain holding off till today, and only a chilly breeze off the lake deterring us from wandering around town too much. It was a great Halloween, and now that it's over I'm a little sad- especially since that initiates one of my busier months as far as homework and knitting go. After all, Christmas seems a lot closer this side of Halloween.
Today I'll be ignoring the Packers/Vikings game (which I've heard every other Minnesotan is watching, but it's not hockey so I'm not terribly interested) to work on my two papers and getting a bunch of reading done, and if time lets me I might go check out Where the Wild Things Are at the local theater.
One last note- November has typically been the month that I attempt to do a post a day, and I'm going to try my hardest to keep that up, but don't be surprised if it turns into a post every other day. I'd feel bad if every post becomes, "Homework today, not much else", but hopefully I can keep it more interesting than that. We'll see how that goes. With the amount of knitting I have to do, it shouldn't be too hard... :)
Off to read!