Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pumpkin Time

Halloween is bar none my absolute favorite holiday- better than Christmas, better than birthdays, better than the endless supply of peeps at Easter even. Halloween means cool breezes, warm coffee in chilled hands with fingerless mittens, leaves at the peak of their color, pumpkins, costumes, snuggling up and watching scary movies all night, corn mazes, and tons of other things. To me, Halloween is more than the holiday- it epitomizes the best of fall- that time of year when school is back in session, when you see friends again after a summer away, and having pumpkin-flavored coffee while knitting and listening to the wind howl outside the window. My Halloween essentially lasts from the beginning of September until Halloween night. This Halloween, Duluth is cheering us with a sampling of what's to come:
We had record low barometric pressure two nights ago, bringing winds, rain, and eventually snow that made me happy the heat was on in my apartment and my coffee maker was working. Coming to school yesterday meant soaking my sneakers in a few inches of wet mush, making me wish I had repaired my galoshes before I went out.
Despite the snow, I've been gearing up for this weekend as much as I can. I took a break from homework and grading earlier this week to carve pumpkins!
Tyler and I made homemade chicken noodle soup, making the entire main floor of his house smell delicious, and found the original 1970's version of Evil Dead on Netflix instant-watch as background entertainment.
I have to admit, I haven't seen the original in a long time, and it was both cheesier and much gorier than I remember it being...
I'm pretty happy with how much pumpkin turned out. The last couple of years I've stuck with the "Nightmare Before Christmas" theme for carving, so this year I branched out a little bit and carved one of the aliens from the "Toy Story" trilogy. It turned out really well!
Tyler did an angry looking pumpkin, and they're being displayed proudly outside his front door. My hope is they last at least until Halloween (no crazy kids smashing up pumpkins, hopefully...)
More celebrations this weekend, along with writing papers, grading, and more coffee. Maybe climbing, but outdoor rock season--sadly--might be over. Or, I may just need to pack my down jacket. Hmmm... :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

One More

I had one last wedding to attend this last weekend before winter rolled around- my cousin Maggie got married. I packed my climbing stuff for a quick stop to Taylor's Falls, and joined my gigantic extended family for a beautiful fall wedding!
I had that one guy with me for the wedding, dressed nice and snazzy.
The next day, we dropped the snazzy, threw on warmer clothes for climbing, and stopped at Taylor's Falls on the way back to Duluth for a little outdoor climbing time.
It was a little weird to be somewhere sort of new, and the crowded routes gave me a newfound sense of how lucky I am to climb regularly at somewhere like Palisade. Taylor's was nice, but the number of people there- both tourists and local Twin Cities climbers- was a little overwhelming. Normally, even a busy day at Palisade is maybe three or four groups of people, and odds are I know everyone out there. It's hard to find that anywhere else. :)
I have to admit, I was pretty excited when I got a bouldering route that neither of the boys were able to accomplish. It was exactly my type of climbing- static, tight but fluid moves, and flexibility in the end allowed me to get up where the boys didn't. Huzzah for climbing!
School has forced me to take a mini-hiatus from knitting and crafting (plus being shut down by that stupid hat didn't help), but this weekend I've been getting back into the swing of it between working yesterday and today at the gym all day, plus a movie night last night resulting in a good first chunk of my next Holiday knitting to get started.
Tyler's back today from a 5-day climbing trip to Devil's Tower, so hopefully tonight I can get some good stories and a decently cooked meal. Leftovers and pasta are starting to not cut it. :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Aww... Bugger

Things were going... okay, in getting the sparkle motion hat done.
The yarn was driving me crazy right from the get go, but I was pretending that everything was ok.
Then, right as I was doing the cable part of the hat, I set it down on the table and took a cold, hard look at it.
I didn't like it. It was sparkly to the point of hurting my eyes, you couldn't see the pattern at all, and the yarn was scratchy and itchy. I took a giant gulp of coffee, and started re-winding the ball.
I figured that I would instead use the yarn to make a bunch of K1P1 headbands for a few of my younger cousins, since the yarn was stretchy and if the headbands were in the hair it would probably be okay.
I got to the brim of the hat, and instead of putting it back on the needles to have one finished headband I decided to pull it all the way back and start over. I don't know why. That was a dumb move.
I put the rewound yarn back in the ziplock bag, then started to cast on. Instead of smoothly coming out, the yarn became a gigantic ball of muck.
I tried for about five minutes to untangle it, then decided it was stupid and fruitless.
It was time to throw in the towel.
Guess I need to think up something else for my cousin. Bleh.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Study, study, study...

...and when I'm done, I study and write papers and research more. Funny thing is, now that I have an office at school, I find that I'm more and more often drawn out here:Away from my windowless room, enjoying what's left of fall. The courtyard outside the building where my office is luckily has full internet access, so I can research and write all I want in the warm fall sun.
This weekend is my weekend off, and yet again I have to travel down to the cities for a wedding- this time for my cousin. She'll be married on Saturday, then Sunday we're meeting a friend or two at Taylor's Falls to get some afternoon fall climbing and bouldering in. Don't worry- I'll have my books along for studying, but it'll be a nice chance to really take a break, be outside and enjoy fall. I know it's important to stay on track for school and everything, but I'm a firm believer in enjoying what's going on around you.
I've started on my Holiday 2010 knitting, and first up is a hat for a younger cousin of mine, which I've lovingly dubbed "Sparkle Motion" (describes the yarn, and I love a good Donnie Darko reference).It's the pattern Hermione's Cable Hat, though with this yarn you'll be lucky to see any stitches at all. It's a pretty sparkly yarn, not terribly warm or soft, so I'll probably need to sew some fleece on the inside of the hat to make it wearable. I can't look at the hat as a whole while knitting or my eyes hurt, but a little at a time is okay. One big complaint, however, is the yarn. It doesn't stay wound in a ball, and in the little ziplock bag I keep it in, it turns to this:That's not just a lot of unravelring- it's a fairy unhappy knot that constantly needs fidgeting. It's a (lot) of a nuisance, especially when attempting to untangle on the bus ride to school.
Tonight, stretching muscles from teaching an extra two hours of ballet before more writing papers and lesson planning.
Would it be bad to make a pot of coffee at 11 pm at night?

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Fall is my favorite season by far- the changing colors, warmer in the day but chilly at night, layering of clothes and handwarmers and scarves, hot coffee cupped in chilly fingers. Duluth does a great show, too. I haven't been able to see the full extent because of a very busy school year, but I'm learning to look out the window on the bus at a street lined with yellows and reds and pumpkins.
Fall also means planning. As a crafter, I have to make my Christmas to-do list and start on it now in order to make sure I get everyone in. I've made up my mind about most of my friends and family members, but a recent addition to my craft library has thrown a lot of that in the loop.When I found out Amy Butler put out a new book on sewing handbags, I was hooked. I received an Amy Butler bag this summer made by a close friend, and it rarely leaves my side. Her patterns range from easy to intricate, and there's a few that caught my eye for a couple of people (I'm not going to say who, some read this blog!)- it's hard not to want everything she designs.My only problem is the time- sewing is a lot harder for me. Knitting can be thrown into a bag to take down to work or on the bus with me, while when sewing I have to be at home with the pins and sewing machine in front of me, not multitasking. After I get my first of two thesis papers in, I'm hoping that I can finish at least a couple of these bags for Christmas time, along with the rest of my Christmas knitting.
I've set lofty goals for myself for this year, but I think I can accomplish it! It helps that I'm psyched to work with such beautiful patterns.Off for a quick knitting session before writing. Perhaps knitting outside? Hmmm... Intriguing :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Roommates Tie the Knot

This last weekend was very full and a lot of fun for me!
My old roommates Mark and Larissa, after being together for years, finally tied the knot. I was lucky enough to share the day with them as a Bridesmaid, enjoying dancing and photos and laughter.
Larissa was a breathtaking bride in a beautiful gown, and the ceremony was very reflective of them as a couple and their personalities.
We had a lot of fun getting ready, getting hair done, and causing a slight ruckus with cups of coffee in our hands.
I brought Tyler along with me, and he had no problem getting to know them better than he did before. He also did a kickin' job on the dance floor.. :)
All in all, it was an incredible weekend, and one that I won't ever forget.
Congratulations, Mark and Larissa!!