Friday, April 30, 2010

Papers and Writing

With two big papers due next week, I'm relishing the idea of having the weekend (pretty much) off of work in order to crank out over 40 pages of writing. These are my last big hurdles of the semester- even my one final doesn't come close to comparison. Luckily once they're done I can sit back, breath a big sigh of relief, and relax a little bit as summer begins.
I've been working steadily on the body of the Seneca sweater in down time and during class, and it's showing. I'm lucky that it's been easy so far- mindless stockinette for class as the semester wraps up, and if I can time it out I'll be up to the cables right when I have the time to pay attention to them again. The yarn is fantastic- soft and squishy, though it's been shedding possum hair all over my shirts when I'm knitting. A good bath will probably help that out. I've been a little nervous about the size- I'm off a little in gauge, but I'm making the extra small size, so we'll see how that works out. My gut says it's too big, but my gut is usually wrong. It's looking pretty okay so far though, so I'm just going to wait.
Back to the grind of writing, then.Wish me luck. If you don't hear from me, send coffee. And ice cream.
And probably black printer ink.
I had a problem with that last time, which I (hope) won't happen again...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Old and New

While stacking up bags of clothes for goodwill during spring cleaning, my friend Victoria had the idea that instead of giving a whole bunch of clothes away right away, she would let her friends have a quick look-through before she donated. When she mentioned the idea to her friend Anna, Anna said that was great, and she even had a bunch of clothes that Victoria could look at. One thing led to another, and last night I attended my first-ever clothing swap with about 10 other ladies- old friends, and now new. Everyone brought bags of unwanted clothes to share for others to pick through, and all the clothes left at the end were thrown into giant bags for Victoria to bring down to Goodwill to donate.
I was able to give away three giant bags worth of clothes that I didn't wear, and at least two of those bags were passed around to ladies that fit them better and liked them as much as I had.I was very excited to be able to find a giant bag's worth of clothes for myself, ranging from dresses, skirts, tshirts, climbing pants, even a couple of pairs of shorts. Instead of shopping for spring and summer, I have a whole new wardrobe compliments of friends.
The plan worked so well that another get-together is in the back of our minds for a clothing swap in fall, to exchange cardigans, sweaters, and fleeces.
It's always nice when things like this just happen to work out. :)

Monday, April 26, 2010


The week away from technology was actually one of the most refreshing weeks I've had in a really long time. I moved my laptop and all my books for research and school out in to the living room, so I wouldn't even be tempted by my laptop being in my room to watch movies or dink around on the internet. I got a lot of reading done, for both class and for fun.
I went over to a co-worker's house to help make a cake- specifically, a "Kitty Litter Cake". It was a ton of fun and super simple. Two different cakes- one vanilla, one german chocolate- baked in the oven then put in a blender. A little of the vanilla was blended with green food dye to make some of the "kitty litter" look like the scented litter, and blended Oreos made some more texture. Vanilla pudding was used to make "clumps" of... well, you can guess. And we shaped a bunch of little poops out of warmed-up to squishing Tootsie Rolls! The finished product was mixed and placed in a (new) kitty litter box with a (new) Pooper Scooper, with the poops and the pudding artfully displayed. To add a little moisture, we put a layer of pudding on the bottom as well as a middle layer of pudding. Poops were dispersed throughout. It was very tasty, even though it looked super sketchy.
I also started a beautiful new sweater- the Seneca sweater created by brooklyntweed.It took a little help to get through the sideways cables, but once it got going it turned beautiful fast and I'm really excited to make something for myself. I'm using gift yarn from Euan- a merino/possum yarn that's stretchy and super soft. It been leaving possum fuzz all over me whenever I knit, but I've loving working with it so far. I got a lot of the body started during a one-day trip to the Twin Cities (4-5 hours round trip) for my CPR re-certification this last weekend, and hopefully a couple of days in class will help the sweater get nice and far.
These next two weeks are going to be long and hellish. I have two 20-page papers due next week- one on Tuesday, the other on Thursday, and I'm trying to go at a reasonable pace so I don't pull a week of all-nighters. This means lots of work this week, which is okay in my book. I have all weekend off too, which should help.
Lots of coffee. And stress knitting. And stress typing.
I wanted to go back to school... right?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Palisade and Turning Off!

This weekend was my last "Huzzah!" to the outdoors before I hunker down into paper-writing and studying mode for the remainder of the semester. It was an amazing weekend for it, too. I went up with a bunch of my guy friends right after I finished with work on Saturday, then we stayed at my buddy Scott's house (he lives maybe fifteen minutes from the cliffs) so we could get to early climbing on Sunday, all day.Saturday was gorgeous- the weather was warm and fantastic, with an inland breeze that kept us cool while climbing. Because we got there a little later, I was only able to mark a couple of routes off my to-do list. After warming up on Danger High Voltage, I jumped on one of the longest climbs out there- Scars and Tripes Forever, a 200-ft pump-fest of hard 5.10 crack with three roofs to pull through. I fell only once, 30 feet from the top, with my arms burning from the climb. The crack goes from fantastic hand jams to little finger cracks (I fell at the second roof, where you have to grab a finger crack to pull over, and there's not much for feet), although the granite is harsh and not very forgiving to hands. Sunday the wind switched and started coming from the lake, making it really hard to stay warm. I pulled out my legwarmers and five layers of clothing while the guys stayed warm in their down jackets- I suppose it is April, so we can't complain too much. After a warmup on Phantom Crack, I got on Hidden Treasure- a 5.11b sustained corner, where I fell once at the crux before I figured out a way to do a side pull and shimmy up past the hard part. I'm excited that I got it the rest of the way, and I'm pretty sure I found my new project for the summer. A couple of the guys trad lead Urge to Mate, a beautiful 5.10c crack, and I followed after without falling once (woohoo!). The guys set up and worked one more route before we bowed up late in the evening and headed back to Duluth.
This week is going to be full of homework, and it's also National Turn-Off Week in honor of Earth Day. It's supposed to only be for TV, but I'm going to extend it to as many electronical devices as I can. I'm spending only today online before I turn off all my electronics for the week that I don't need for school. Therefore you probably won't see me till next Monday, since I'll only be using my computer for research and writing papers. No blogging, facebook, ravelry, watching movies on here, no TV, minimum electricity use, and I've parked my car for the week as well (though that's not too much of a change, since I didn't use a car for the last few years). It will probably help me stay focused on school, too. If you want to participate, feel free to join me- I feel like it's for a good cause, and it'll help open my eyes to other things as entertainment (as if I'll have time with school... gulp)- more knitting, embroidery, cleaning around the house, things I enjoy as much as watching a good movie! Staying away from certain sites will be the only difficult thing, I believe.
See you all in a week, I'm going to go boil some water for French Press coffee (woohoo!!!) and get me some reading and research done. :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Alice in Wonderland- the Mittens!

I went to hang out with Red earlier this week, and she knew I had been having a rough week- so she got me some yarny goodness to help cheer me up a bit. It certainly worked!She got me some Baby Dale yarn to go with one of the coolest patterns I've ever seen for mittens- a pair of Alice in Wonderland colorwork mittens, with buttons and scalloped edges and adorableness that I can't wait to start! I'll do more photos while I knit the mittens- I think it'll look cooler seeing the pattern come out that way. After I get past the cable on my new sweater cast on and into the mindless stockinette, I'll start these mittens.I started knitting the Seneca pullover by brooklyntweed (another of his brilliant designs), although I was stupid and hit a self-inflicted snag today. I cast on and was already a couple of rows in before I realized that there was a twist in the sweater, so I spent a good chunk of knitting time today frogging and re-doing the sweater cast on. It's fixed now, but I hate that I wasted time on a stupid mistake.
Oh well- happens to the best of us, right?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Night with a Friend

The best remedy to any problem is a night hanging out with a good friend, drinking coffee, and knitting while watching a movie that you half watch out of the corner of your eye while the two of you talk and catch up on things.Add on to that delicious Snickerdoodle cookies, finishing the Daisy hat for my little cousin Lacey, and watching the steam lift off the mug of the coffee as you curl up with yarn and you've got one of my favorite ways to pass a chilly Duluth evening. It was a night that needed to happen, and I'm really happy it did.I get to send a hat onward to a little lady tomorrow, too.
The rest of this week looks a lot brighter.
I'll have to show off more kindness and support next post- it deserves its own explanation. :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Breathe, Rebuild, and Repeat

I took this weekend to breathe, sit back, and reevaluate things. I'm still stuck in what I'm doing next year for money, but after talking with some Non-English Professors, I've got a solid track for things next year to do what I want. I'll say more when the paperwork is stamped and approved. For now though, I'm just taking it one day at a time.
I got to do some home improvement stuff this weekend to keep my mind off of things.
Tyler is moving in to a new place, and there's a lot of fixing up that needs to be done before he can even think about moving stuff like furniture and gear. I helped him pick out paint and carpet samples before we ripped up the floorboards in his new room, scrubbed the under-part clean, and prepped and painted the walls a primer white. He's going to to paint the walls a nice darker-but-still-bright red (the color on the left- my suggestion!), and I've been excited to help, as it keeps my hands busy, and friends and support (and burritos) were exactly what I needed this weekend. There's still a lot to be done (the bathroom is pretty... um... gross) but it's looking better already, and more like a home than a shell.
When going through my Grandma's old sewing box, I ran across an amazing keepsake that I'm really excited for!She kept her buttons in an old snuffbox belong to her Grandpa, which is now passed down to me and I plan on using for my own buttons and other goods. It's seen better days, but it's still in great shape for how old it is, and knowing it's been in my family is really cool.
I also got a pair of ceramic holders that my Grandma made in one of her art classes.They're beautifully made and colored, and I'm excited to figure out a safe place to put them.
Today is reading, research, and some quality time with a lady to catch up and further help rebuild. And possibly a chance to finish the daisy hat for my cousin's kid. :)

Friday, April 9, 2010


I don't like doing down posts, but right now it's hard to be positive.
I applied for a grant that I needed very very VERY badly for tuition help next year, and I didn't get it. I'm stuck in a place that I have no idea how to fix- I only have a year left for my Master's, but if I don't get grants or TA-ships or anything of help, I can't afford to go over $10,000 into debt for my last year. Transferring elsewhere might solve it if I get a TA-ship, but that would take a year- the year that I would finish my Master's in. Applying to PhD programs is something I need to do too, which I would start doing in the fall (the same time I would put in a transfer).
I don't know what to do. Either way I'm screwed. Either I stay in school and go into debt to finish my Master's before going to get my PhD (where I won't be able to pay it off very well or quickly) or I quit the program halfway through and work as much if not more than this year to save up while applying for a transfer or a Master's/PhD program after wasting a year and a lot of money.
It's Catch-22, only it's not funny.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter Duckies

I was able to spend Easter weekend down at my parent's home in Mound, and it was a great weekend filled with fun- competitive Pictionary, a ping-pong tournament, climbing, Peeps, and a special project that turned out way better than I expected.I found a sweet book at work called "What's New, Cupcake?" filled with great cupcake-decorating recipes that used tasty stuff like donut holes and regular frosting to make fun and creative baked goods. Inspired, I bought the book and decided to attempt the duck recipe for my contribution to the family get together on Sunday.It was a ton of fun to make, and although it took awhile to do each one, seeing the stages develop was really cool. For example, the heads were donut holes that had frosting to stick them to the cupcake, and the tails were marshmallows cut in half diagonally. Beaks and feet were shaped out of orange Starbursts. The concoction was dipped in yellow frosting, which was the only difficult and worrisome part. Luckily there was only one mild decapitation, which was easily fixed with more frosting on the base (that one went to a young cousin, who can handle the extra sugar!).
The end result?Excited little Easter duckies all ready to go! We had 12 full body ducks and 8 where it looks like they went head first in the water, with just their butts and little feet in the air. Even though they were a little finicky and took awhile, I'm really excited with how they turned out, and they were a hit at Easter with my family!
Will I make them again? Probably not, but they were easy enough that it's a 'probably'. There's plenty of other creations in the book to try first.
On the way back up to Duluth, a quick stop at Taylors Falls satisfied the climbing itch, with my highest Trad lead grading thus far- a 5.7 (yeah, pretty easy, but trad lead is a little harrowing) then I worked a 5.10 and played around on a 5.12 (getting farther than I thought- the crux was the only place that stumped me!). No pictures, but since there were only two of us it was probably a good thing. :)
Lots of homework and researching this week, but hopefully squeezing the end of one project in plus maybe beginning another. Off to pour some coffee and get started on those- good night everyone, and good luck. ;)