Saturday, December 26, 2009


In a couple of days, I'll be driving out to Colorado to do a little bit of this. I'm crazy ridiculous excited to do it, since it'll be a nice break from sitting in front of my computer typing papers or reading or researching or working. We're going to a couple of amazing places, like the Ouray Ice Park for ice climbing. We're also doing the skiing thing at SnowMass and Aspen, pretty much until our legs fall off.
Another good thing- car knitting time (in the form of Nebraska).
SO... EXCITED... :)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

This Christmas went quickly south for me as the weather up here went to crap.
We had a blizzard forecasted for the entire Christmas weekend, and I missed my window to be able to drive down to the cities. Therefore, my Christmas eve was spent with a family that took me in for the night, and instead of enjoying the pandemonium of my family's Christmas, it was low key and quieter. I did get to talk to all of them on the phone, and I had a nice long conversation with my Dad today, but overall I was pretty bummed that I missed Christmas.
The blizzard outside has turned from snowy and at least pretty to crap- snow/rain mix with 50 mph winds. The roads are worse than yesterday, covered in ice and slush, so I'm enjoying my Christmas day snuggled in my apartment, making coffee and cleaning up after a hectic semester.
I did, however, finish a pair of mittens for a friend yesterday!These are from a pattern I got at Yarn Harbor awhile ago, and besides the Bella mittens, I'm pretty sure this pattern is my favorite mitten pattern I've found thus far. There's an outer layer of Cascade 220 Worsted Weight, ready to take the toughest of abuse, but lined with 100% baby alpaca wool. I figured I'd make a pair for Molly first, and if I really liked them I'd make a pair for myself, since I don't really have a good pair of mittens like this.
I don't just like them- I absolutely love them! The double layer makes them super warm, perfect for driving to work with in the morning, and a lovely soft layer on the inside that keeps you fuzzy warm all day.Molly's Mittens are lined with Blue Sky Alpaca sport weight yarn, and I'm very glad I got a skein for myself to line my mittens with. I can't wait to start! To make hers extra-special, I used some of the leftover bright pink Alpaca to embroider some hearts by the wrist- she's a pink and hearts type of gal, and she was super excited about them, so I think they'll be put to good use. :)
I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas, and enjoy spending time with family. :)
I'm off to get a cup of coffee... maybe find Rudolph on TV and do some fuzzy knitting.
Merry Christmas!! :-D

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tired... Content

I know it's been a good day when my ice crampons and big thick winter mittens are drying by the radiator.
The little lights on my Christmas tree are on, my room is warm, and I'm finishing studying for my last final tomorrow.
My body is sore from climbing hard today, but it's a good sore.
I'll put up ice climbing and knitting pictures later, but for now I'm going to go over my notes a few more times with a mug of warm hot cocoa and just relax a little bit.
I think I'm doing okay. :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gear = Happiness

Things are better since my last post. Partly because there's not much I can do about the papers I've already turned in, and partly because I have a lot of other stuff to worry about.
Luckily, a big happy package came my way that cheered me up immensely!I had a special super low price deal with a climbing distributor called Black Diamond (one of my favorite gear companies) for a short time period, and I jumped on getting a bunch of very expensive stuff for waaaaay cheaper than regular. So cheap that I almost feel bad (but then I look at my bank account and realize I'm a poor Graduate student, and then it's okay).
I'll give a full inventory later, but let's just say that I'm completely set up to do my own top rope and limited trad lead climbing once warmer weather rolls around (minus a rope)!!! I no longer will have to always borrow other people's gear, because I have my own shiny stuff now! :)
The one bad side is that this lovely, shiny gear is now going to be sitting on my hook in my room, mocking me because it's too cold to use it quite yet. That's what vacations are for... right?
Which reminds me- I'm heading to Colorado for a trip right after Christmas! Through a friend I found a bunch of good deals on free/cheap places to stay, and super super cheap lift passes for awesome ski areas, so me and a couple of friends are throwing everything in my little car and we're heading out there to do a week and a half of hard skiing and ice climbing. I'm soooo ridiculously excited to just get away and beat my body up- it's going to be great! :) Winter sports at their best!
I've got a couple of Christmas knits to finish up, but I've run into a problem in one of them. I ran out of crazy bright pink yarn for this hat, so I'm still wondering if the stuff I bought to finish it matches well enough to make it okay.
What do you think?

Friday, December 18, 2009

It can only go up... right?

Hullo, everyone.
Well, since I wrote things have just gone to crap. Getting my papers in and done was a lot of work that I shouldn't have left for so long, and it resulted in too many sleepless nights and stress.
One of them, I found out right before turning in, was a page below the minimum page requirement.
I don't even want to get that paper back, I'm so worried about the grade.
I wrote the date down wrong for the last day of my special "employee discount days" at B&N, and therefore instead of getting a bunch of books and christmas presents for 40%, I only got my regular 30%.
Then, as the topping on the cake, my beautiful red Schwinn mountain bike was stolen from my apartment building. The bike that's been all over the US and Canada with me, gotten through numerous scraps and rough times (we have a love-hate relationship with how many times it has pitched me over the handlebars), and been my rock for transportation for my entire college career without a car.
And with a quick smash of a cheap lock, it's gone.

I don't mean to be down. I don't like to be down. But it's like karma decided to steam and drop a ten pound load of poo on top of my head.

I've got VE for a ten hour shift tomorrow, but the last thing I have to do before relaxing for a bit is studying for my last final on Tuesday. So knitting and studying tomorrow. I'll do a knitting update soon, because I've been doing quite a bit, and yarny goodness always makes things better.
But for now, tonight, just sleeping a full 8 hours is going to be a fantastic upper and hopefully the start of going back up towards a peak... right?

Friday, December 11, 2009


I've made a couple of stops at Yarn Harbor over the last week for yarn therapy, and it's probably helped in ways I can't explain. I got two skeins of Malabrigo- one in a beautiful variegated blue and one in a variegated white/light pink/purple (picture sucks for showing the colors- I need one in the sunlight). I'm going to finish up the crazy pink hat with the light pink/white part (which shouldn't take up much at all) and make a hat for christmas gifts with the rest. The blue one will hopefully eek out at least two hats, if I play my cards right. Oh, and check out the way the pink one wound- really awkward. That's a good sign... right?I also got yarn for myself to make a doubled layer pair of mittens. I have two pairs of my own circulating at the moment- my "twilight" pair I made which practically go up to my elbows, and my hardcore outdoor OR mittens, good in -50 degree weather. Since the temp has taken a turn for the worse lately (it was -10 this morning when I went to work with a -20 windchill) I want a nice pair of knit mittens that aren't huge and aren't winter camping mittens- something I can wear to, say, an evening event. And something that are normal-sized mittens that are still fuzzy and can take the Minnesota temps (or at least keep my hands warm on the steering wheel). I'm knitting a trial pair right now as a Christmas gift, then will forage on to my own as soon as possible. The best part is that the inside purple layer for my mittens is 100% baby alpaca wool- can someone say amazing??
Paper tonight and tomorrow before work, but I get to have fun and go to see the Minnesota Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker tomorrow night- so excited! :) It'll be a nice break from homework, and hopefully an inspiration to really step my dancing up a notch.
Time to study :) Stay warm, folks.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Vibrating from either coffee or lack of sleep...

This week has been horrible. So much homework coupled with work and lack of sleep has worn me almost completely down, and I'm ready for the semester to be over so I can sleep for three days straight.
This was my view when I wasn't at work or in class:The only time it changed was when I moved my computer to my lap when I was in bed to edit... I won't mention the time (either really late or really early), but it wasn't pretty. I got one of my big papers turned in on Monday, then I had my rough draft for my big Grad thesis due this afternoon. It's due on Tuesday, which means after Tuesday I'll be able to breathe and nap before my last final a week later.
Luckily, I've had an amazing pick-me-up from a friend:a beautiful pair of reading mitts to keep my hands warm when I'm typing late at night! They have a gorgeous lace pattern with garter, ending in a scalloped top (and at the bottom) that leave plenty of room for typing and making notes and post-its. I adore them, and they came right when I needed a little lovin'. A big thanks out to Red for those :)I've picked up on the knitting a bit lately, and as I pour one more cup of coffee to do more reading before dragging my research with me to work, I'll leave you with the picture of an almost-finished mitten to go with a happy hat I was working on earlier.
I hope everyone has a chance to sit down with a hot chocolate and relax a little these last few weeks if it gets stressful, and remember to take a little time for yourself! :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Uh Oh

I know I barely wrote a little bit ago, but remember when I mentioned that I was excited for a salad tonight and no junk food?
That was before my roommate went crazy and invited over a bunch of people to watch the Vikings game, made a crap ton of chili cheese sauce, and between that and mug after mug of milk my stomach feels ready to explode.
Soooo good... but so bad... blurgh...
Epic food fail tonight...


I can't believe the climbing comp is over. So much time was spent on it this last week. I'll safely be able to blame the climbing comp for a rotten grade on my American Renaissance paper.
We did a lot of this:And a lot of this:I did much more of the later. I have admit, I really enjoyed trying out all of the routes this year. We had a big variety that were challenging in different ways, which is half the battle. You don't want all the routes to have the same types of moves over and over again, or make the hard routes harder just by making the reaches longer and holds tinier. We had a good variety of setters and forerunners, and it made this year's comp very successful.
The comp yesterday was fantastic. We were at the gym late on both Thursday and Friday night, with some finishing setting and the rest of us climbing hard and climbing a lot. My fingers and joints have been feeling it like crazy the last couple of days. Saturday morning we had 90 competitors show up at the door to go at it, and it was a long day of belaying, cheering, handing out prizes, and then a big party for the volunteers later at night (after I stayed to close up the gym). My boss treated a few of us to breakfast this morning at the local favorite place, Uncle Loui's, then after a run to get some greenery in my fridge (the thought of another Subway sandwich after eating them for like 5 days makes me want to puke a little) I'm now hunkered down tonight surrounded by books, coffee, my laptop, notes, and hopefully within an hour a tasty salad to finish my big American Renaissance semester paper that's due tomorrow. I'll be up late tonight finishing it, then up early tomorrow morning to tweak, revise, add, and make it look like a legitimate "I know what I'm talking about" sort of paper.
Wish me luck on that. One more big paper after this one, plus finishing three books and my last final before I'm done with my first semester of Grad School.
I see.... lots of sleepless nights in my future... bleh...
Oh, and that Christmas knitting?
Proooobably not.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Late Night

My first late night at the climbing gym just finished as we prepare tirelessly for the climbing competition on Saturday. It was a quiet night in general, which was nice because I had a lot going on.
I finished gluing the pieces on the trophy prize for the crate stacking competition:and I think it looks pretty ridiculous, which was exactly what I was going for. I showed it to Ross, the guy running the whole thing, and he laughed and said, "Well, I guess I asked for it to be bedazzled, and you took me seriously! You bedazzled the hell out of it!" I took it as the highest compliment he could bestow. He mentioned perhaps making a small version, but I told him that the second one would require regular coffee payments- the first one was free, after all.I got to do some forerunning of the routes too, which means I climbed a whole bunch of the routes and gave my opinion on their difficulty level. This is important for a competition, because in order to fairly grade the new routes and give them point values, there has to be a general consensus on the level. It's also important to get several people with different styles of climbing to try them- for instance, a lot of the boys setting are tall and lanky. I'm shorter, but I'm a very technical and flixible climber. I can curl and shove myself into corners with no problem, where as the leggy and lanky boys pop right off the wall. They, however, can reach something no problem sometimes whereas I'll have to perform some maneuvering to be able to reach that high.
The diversity is one reason why I love climbing, and what can make it so difficult.I also had a work station set up after hours at work for doing research for my American Renaissance paper- my big focus tonight. I was able to shape my thesis a bit more, and in turn moved my arguments around a little and sharpen them in relation to my thesis, which was really nice.I started making another Amanda hat- this one is a little more of a reach, since I don't have a ton of friends that are wild over a pink this ridiculous. Luckily I have a taker, but I'm getting very nervous for the ratio of yarn left versus the ratio of hat left to knit. Notice how small the ball of thick, chunky yarn is? Yeah, I do too. Gulp. I'm just in denial right now, and hope that it's a magical regenerating ball of yarn. I don't think I'll have enough. But I want to. So it should work out... right? I'll just keep knitting and it'll be fine...
I actually started the hat last night, but had to frog it today when I realized that my gauge was off and would run out of yarn much quicker. This is my second time to be as far as I am on the hat, and I hope that I don't have to start again.
Finally off to bed, another crazy full day tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Alaska Hat

The Amanda hat for my friend in Alaska flew off the needles this afternoon, ready to be shipped tomorrow!I can't believe how fast this hat knits up. It's going so fast, in fact, that I'm stopping at Yarn Harbor tomorrow to pick up a couple of skeins more of Malabrigo to make it for friends as Christmas gifts this year. If one hat took me only a few days, it shouldn't be too tough to pump out about four more hats... will it?
(Famous last words as the knitting Gods smile mockingly down upon me, lightning bolts and exploding needles ready...)I have a couple of friends in mind that I haven't knit anything for yet, and one especially that would enjoy having a hat that someone knit for her instead of her knitting herself one. I'm kind of sad that all my green skein is gone, because it's a really pretty variegated yarn that fades from light green to dark green very dramatically. I'm excited to see the color choices for the next couple of hats- I haven't been to Yarn Harbor in awhile, and every skein of malabrigo is different! The pattern for the Amanda Hat is nice too- different, interesting and easily adaptable. My Ravelry page will be full of them, but I'm not worried about that.
More working on papers tonight, with breaks in between to glue jewels to the milk carton for the comp. I want to get a running copy of my outline done tonight so I can type up a rough draft tomorrow night at work to send to peer editors Friday. That way I can not worry too much till after the comp about them, giving me all day Sunday for revisions (note to self- do not consume large amounts of alcohol at the volunteer's after-comp party Saturday night... must do paper and function following day). Sweet. :)
Time for more coffee and hot glue-ing plastic jewels before reading again...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Life is starting to become hectic. The countdown to the end of the semester has begun, with Monday next week being my first paper due date for American Renaissance (a look at why the American Renaissance cannon does not include Drama in its short list of celebrated works, and why it should) and a week and a day later being the due date for my Critical Theory paper (how different narration affects the tragical look on characters in a certain classic book). I'm getting that slow feeling of dread creeping more and more in my stomach as these due dates approach, and I have to say it's not feeling great.
Knitting isn't even helping that much- even with yummy Mmmmmalabrigo. I've only been doing it in class, and I'm just knitting a super simple Amanda Hat (tried and true pattern- boring, I know, but again the mindless knitting is important) for a friend who took off to teach in Alaska. I'll probably need something else to start on since the hat is almost done, but you'd think between the two papers and the always endless reading I wouldn't have time.
Not to mention a special side project that needs to be finished for the Climbing Competition on Saturday...
As per tradition, while the scores are being tallied after the climbing is done, we have a "milk crate stacking" competition to keep everyone entertained. It's exactly what it sounds like- you put a milk crate open part down on the ground, then stack another on top while you're standing on the lower crate and maneuvering to get up. Crates will be thrown the higher the stacker gets, and the stacker is tied in to a belayer so when the stack comes tumbling down, the person will not. Lots of balancing and stakes and heights, which are essential to a good time at a climbing competition.
The winner this year will receive a much better prize than last year- a glass milk carton decorated by yours truly in the gaudiest jewels I could find at a craft store. We're talking full on glitz and grossness. Only problem is, while working on it between chapters of Moby Dick tonight I ran out of jewels, so I'll have to get more tomorrow. Who knew a milk jug would need so many jewels?
Off for a tad more reading then off to bed. I had a late night last night and I need to make sure to keep up on sleep this week.
If only Melville had just condensed a little when writing this whale of a book... (pun intended! Aaaahaha late night humor... )
Or maybe it's just time for bed.