Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 in Hindsight

I realized this morning over my coffee that while I had a great year, it was a pretty tumultuous one for me.  Since I'm prone to being a ridiculous list-maker, I've got a big one for this year.


1- I completed and received my Masters Degree in English Literature.  For me, getting this advanced degree wasn't really a question.  I love learning, and I know that in my future there is at least an MFA in Theater if not a PhD in English forthcoming.  While I would enjoy teaching at a larger university, getting these advanced degrees is something that I do for myself; I love the process of learning, the excitement of finding answers to problems, and the ultimate feeling of relief, happiness, and excitement at finding a new project at the end of the journey.  Getting my MA was a way for me to stay in academia, and be able to share my passion of reading and learning with others.

2- My trip to Yosemite opened my eyes to a whole new world of adventure, possibilities, and fears that I hadn't been able to dream of until now.  Yosemite taught me to take calculated risks, and occasionally face my fears and challenge myself to do something I normally would not.  The payoff was incredible, and I will never regret my time there.  If anything, it only fueled the need for more trips down the road.  Already in the works is a month-long jaunt to Wyoming this summer to climb Devil's Tower, the Wind River Range, backcountry backpack into Grand Teton National Park and climb the Grand Teton itself, which at 13,777 feet will be the highest elevation I've ever climbed.  It'll be hard to pack it into a month, but after the last trip I doubt I could do less.

3- Teaching dance for three competition lines for the first time last year was eye-opening for me, and having my dances and my girls get high scores in all the competitions was fantastic.  It's really forced me to become more diverse as a teacher, and use different approaches when teaching something like tap dancing, which can be very frustrating to learn if your body isn't cooperating.  This year's season is half in, and I'm very excited to work with my girls again, as well as take on numerous soloists for competition and even help with some adult tap classes!

4- This year has also been very up and down for me for relationships.  A very long one ended, leaving me pretty messed up for awhile, but I'm finally really doing all right and I'm happy with where I am now.  Bright thoughts down the road in this category... ;)

5- I tried to begin to push my comfort boundaries this year.  I started by signing up for a 5K race in September, and training for running for the first time this fall.  I'm not a runner- I will climb thousands of feet in the air, do long complicated tap dances and modern dances and ballet, and bike 20 miles for a triathlon team, but running for long periods of time (aka more than a mile) was usually beyond my grasp.  My cardio is less than steller, and to push myself I've been signing up for small races to keep it fun.  Coming up in March for me is the Mustache March Run, all of 2.65 miles along Duluth's boardwalk, but it's a fun way to stay in shape over the holidays.  Plus if I'm going to be hiking the Grand Tetons, I'll need the cardio workout. :)

Overall, 2011 has been a bit on the crazy side for me, but it looks like 2012 isn't going to be too much different. I'll do a knitting re-cap next post, since this year was pretty full of fuzzy goodness and big challenges, plus some thoughts and hopes for the year to come.

For now, off to refill my coffee and begin packing for another big thing- I'll be moving to a different address in Duluth in a few days to start off the new year!  It's not terribly far from my old place, but it's nicer and it'll be fun to settle in somewhere new.  For now, lots of boxes, packing tape, and discovering exactly how many books I have... eeep...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Old Blog New Blog

So this past few months I've been trying a new style of writing on this blog.  I've really enjoyed writing, but sometimes I miss updating just on climbing adventures or knitting updates.  So, for 2012, I've decided to keep two separate blogs.  I'll keep Knit One, Read One, Climb On for all regular life updates, pictures, knitting, etc.  I will be starting a new blog for creative writing within the next couple of days here, and post a link to it when I get it up and running (and figure out a name for it).  That way I have an outlet for writing and fiddling with different writing styles, but also keep a regular blog for family and friends to read (not to mention fellow knitters!).

Thanks for keeping with me as I figure this out over the last few months.  I'll be doing Christmas knitting updates now that most of the presents have been distributed, and more daily updates alongside of the creative writing blog.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Deep blue waters

You startled me as I fell deep into your hues.
Blues, blacks, purples, enough to pull me in and cover me and entice me to wrap it around my fingers and create and hope for it to grow big enough to cover me completely.
I think about how you got your name- Poseidon, god of the sea.  Poseidon's Adventure- a route twisting up the side of the cliff, sharp granite cutting into my fingers when I ascend and grabbing hold of my knuckle bones as I fall, trapping me with growing pits of fear in my stomach replaced by determination and feet sliding on nothing and a desperate grab for the top.  Even the beginning wasn't easy- moss-covered and wet, sliding shoes in the crack and tying in the wet end of the rope as droplets from Superior burst off the top of a wave and invite me into the depth.
Hidden rocks.
Hidden treasures.
Ensnare in the net.
I will be creating my own net next, adding purple grains of sand in to shine and entice and enchant as much as every adventure story, as much as the need to know what else is under the surface.
This is my song to the lake.
My ode to her beauty.
My connection to the years I've spent next to her shores.

No matter where I am, this will be my thread.
My reminder.
My own net, ensnaring me to keep going.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

FO: prAna Thorpe

I'm pretty excited that I'm at a point with my knitting that when I see something in a store or catalogue that I want, I can usually figure out how to make it cheaper (or at least more customized with much nicer yarn). Case in point when I saw this hat in the winter prAna catalogue:
I loved it- squishy and multi-colored with tassels and cables. I didn't like that it was made out of acrylic, and I really wanted the cables to go all the way down the earflaps. Therefore, using my hardcore knitting skills and the Thorpe hat as my base pattern, I took a few days to ponder and knit and came out with this:
My very own prAna Thorpe hat!
Pattern: a heavily modified version of the Thorpe hat, originally created by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: Two skeins of the uber-squishy Baby Alpaca Grande from Plymouth Yarn- one in a pretty dark purple and the other in an ivory white with strands of sparkle through it.
Needles: Bamboo size 9
Made for: Myself! (Weird, with all the Christmas knitting to do...)
Timeline: Dec. 5-8, 2011
Modifications: Quite a few.
On increases, I worked the increases to eventually be (K6 P3) 8 times in a round (to the number of stitches required for Thorpe size Medium). Once I finished increasing for the crown, I began this cable pattern:
R1- (Put 3 stitches on cable needle, K3, K3 from the cable needle, P3) 8 times.
R2 through 5- K6 P3
Repeat and keep with pattern as you follow the Thorpe pattern. Instead of doing the Garter Stitch, I just kept with the cable pattern until the hat measured 8” from the top, then did the BO row for the Thorpe Hat.
At the bottom of the ear-flaps, I stranded through a bunch of extra strands of yarn and braided them and knotted them off to kind of look like the picture. :)
The only thing I differed than the picture on was the edging- It looked almost like a Latvian braid, and since I was impatient and didn't feel like figuring it out I did the Half-Double crochet that the pattern calls for in the contrasting color.
Best Part: I now have a hat that I love in yarn that feels like a cloud- and it only took a couple of days to knit up!
Worst Part: Figuring out the sizing for my head and number of increases.

I have my new favorite hat for the winter season. :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Knitting Update, and how to make your cat hate you...

The crazy Christmas season is upon us, and I have to admit I'm feeling pretty good about my share in the madness right now. I have all of two (2) knitted gifts left to make, which in the grand scheme of Christmas knitting is piddles compared to where I was last year!
(Granted, last year I started Christmas knitting at the end of October and ended up having a few [lots of] late nights with coffee and swearing sessions near the end of December, while this year I started in July during a road trip with excessive amounts of knitting time...)
(and let's honestly look over the fact that I'm still working on my Dad's Christmas sweater I made for him starting in 2008)
(I'm still working on it)
(it's at the section that requires lots of math and is not very portable so it's difficult to bring anywhere)
For obvious reasons I'm not posting any pictures of knitted goods going to friends that are readers of this blog, which is why there has been such a dry stint of knitting posts lately.
In fact, the only knitting that I've completed in November that wasn't for a Christmas present was a bit of a fun, stupid knit for a couple of my best friends that have two cats.
In the spirit of being an awesome auntie to these cats, of course I had to knit something ridiculous and embarrassing for them to wear which at the same time would cause mirth and joy to the people around them.
Hence, the lovely Le Mieux beret!
Knit up with extra Cascade 220 I have laying around, mixed together for the ultimate horrendous color combination from Stacy Mar's pattern, these hats will cause cats of all shapes and sizes to loath you as you fix it on their head in various positions while you attempt to contain yourself as you view it!
Which, of course...
usually doesn't happen.
In this case, we snuck up on the lovely Bellatrix when she was sleeping, and I think her tired state was the only thing that allowed us to subject her to this without her getting extremely peeved.
Other than finishing Christmas knitting, I have been working on my Poseidon blanket (large shawl?) on movie nights for easy mindless knitting. Thanks to Thanksgiving, I'm past the lacy middle section and on to miles and miles of YO K2tog. Let's see... 580 stitches per round, and another 25 rounds to go?
Maybe I'll be done around June.
Off for more Christmas knitting. I'll have to show a project a day after all the gifts are delivered, but I'm really happy with the turnout this year.
And, hopefully, I won't be cursing over coffee on December 23rd at 2 in the morning.
Not that that's ever happened.


Friday, December 2, 2011


i forgot my water bottle in my car last night.
i stumbled out to my car early this morning, balancing bag and keys while trying to keep my fingers curled around my warm coffee mug. the sun wasn't up yet, and won't be up for awhile. i slide into my car- the temperature gauge proclaims 9 degrees! as the car heats up, a light blue light, frosting over with my breath when my fingers grasp the steering wheel.
Next to me, the hard blue metal feels unnaturally heavy in my hands as i pick it up, realize what it is, realize that it was forgotten in the dark last night in the rush to get from heated space to heated space. Two weeks ago it would have been liquid- cold, but making pinging noises against the side of the container instead of a solid silence.

as my car growled then purred to life; as i hid fingertips inside coat pockets; as the steam curled and twisted from the hole in the coffee lid; as the crystals began to melt off the bottom of the windshield...

i knew.

winter is really here. :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


What do you take me for?
A fool?
Why do you tell me things that have no truth behind them, only spiderwebs and fluorescent lightbulbs burning my retinas?
and how do you expect me to trust you again, to let you near me and touch the bare skin on the small of my back?

i know that sometimes my understanding of reality is skewed. I grew up next to Anne of Green Gables and Sara Crewe, believing the best in everyone and all things turn out all right in the end and families are happy and sadness is overcome through sun and love and hugs. some childish thoughts must be realized as adolescence is left behind, but the vastness of the open night sky could either be a large emptiness of terrifying unknown or a sparkling place of wonder and i chose the latter. you might dwell on the unhappy pieces that you can't seem to work through, and you chose not to tell me exactly where that takes place. Now my eyes are opened, but more with dewdrops of sadness because you thought to shield me from this part of you.

do you think I won't accept you, all of you?

Can it hurt to try?

instead, you covered it, hiding behind planks with flowers painted fading orange ochre sage on a yellow background. did you think i would never find it, never notice?

and where to move from here?
what should I do now?

Saturday, November 12, 2011


for those out of state, it's a hopeful reminder of home and love. i took out an envelope this morning. i had a letter waiting to go to a place far south of here, a place where sun is constant and the temperatures don't get colder than a temperate morning up in the north in fall. hopefully with this letter, i can send walking around my apartment in slippers, thermals, and a mug of coffee just to keep warm before the heaters clank on. i want to fold up opening the back door on my way to work; that first intake of cold outside air and nestling farther inside the knits surrounding my body.
i tuck the letter in, alongside mounting my old road bike and crunching through the last leaves of the year as i speed down Superior street. the bare branches beginning to shake in a breeze coming off the lake. the few tourists left for the year wear large parkas and walk briskly along the boardwalk, couples holding each other close to keep warm.
which of them use it to block the wind, which use it as an excuse to get closer to the one they love?
i drop the envelope in the blue box, large and open and swirling leaves collecting beneath its feet with the promise of fast fast fast travel and the comfort of receiving a small envelope in a few days.
an envelope smelling of apples, cinnamon,
and the coffee i accidentely dropped on it this morning.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


How much am I really doing?

I thought that with academia behind me for now, things would be simpler. pressures would be less, the weight on my shoulders just a thicker coat to protect against wind and snow. Instead, Atlas and I look alike as I shift the weights of so many things around. my back hurts; the muscles knot up and don't release even in the blissful relaxation of dreaming. where did all this come from?
some are larger than others. mindless work day after day and i am anxious with the wait for something new, something better. I want more but my fingers are tangled deep and woven together and i can't move and now i can't breathe and the roof closes in so I can't see the snowflakes drifting outside.

how can I escape?

Thursday, November 3, 2011


we've turned a corner.
the ghosts and goblins and pumpkin-smashers came out of the darkness, scared and collected treats and got tucked into bed with mouths covered in chocolate. jack-o-lanters no longer protect the porches and front doors lining 1st avenue. instead, trees have been shedding all their leaves in the last few days.
I wheeled my bike out of the bike port yesterday, watching tendrils of my breathe curl in the early morning sunbeams. they lit up the trees like fire
then i noticed how scarce they looked
how bare, how sad, premonitions of the months ahead.

N O !

not yet. it barely felt like the colors were out before they left again. branches black and sharp against the sky. my lungs burned when i biked to the grocery store, ran in, added fall in my basket.
chocolate, both for drinking and eating
hurried home, burst in the kitchen, kicked out the remnants of leftover chinese, and began weaving a web of autumn on the fourth floor. no winter allowed.
batter on my hands, flour on my cheek, dishes steaming in hot water. the air in the apartment weighs down with brown flavors that warm and tingle and you can taste leaves and chill along with the oxygen.
i was putting chocolate on the last of the cookies as you came home. you took in the chaos and laughed, recognizing my motives. then we tasted my pumpkin cookies dipped in hot chocolate, still warm from the oven, licking milk chocolate drizzle from our fingers. Can we tell one more ghost story? walk on the hiking trail before it's lost under gleaming snow? can i tell you about the halloween blizzard of 1991, being pulled around on a sled by my dad, getting bags and bags of candy because no one else braved the storm? can we lay on the ground under the maple trees in the park? i get red leaves and yellow leaves caught in my long hair, and you pull them out and tell me i look like the wood nymph you almost caught last year.
for one more night, I'm going to wrap myself in a blanket, hide on the couch with Ray Bradbury's The Halloween Tree, and pretend that it's still the deep of fall. warm enough for a walk without a coat, layered in knitted scarves and handwarmers and hugs and the twilight of the sun, lighting up the trees littered with remnants of the season.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

pumpkin time

yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti yeti
and mustache!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

doppelganger 2

The sun creeps away sooner and sooner, giving way for butternut squash soup, garlic bread, and hot apple cider with cinnamon sticks. i accidentally dropped mine in my apple cider last night, then kept burning the tips of my already-tender fingers playing a fisherman. I sucked on the end of my right pointer finger, tasting cider, a piece of cinnamon, and a little bit of chalk from training on the wall earlier. it radiates heat, looks red and a little purple on the exact spot where my fingers kept sliding off the sloping hold.
it feels better fast, healed with the feeling of fall and the smell of the pumpkin bread my roommate has cooling on my cookie racks. tomorrow i'm going to roll out dough for almond cookies, cut like ghosts and causing smiles and content stomachs.
i squish down deeper into the couch, surrounded with blankets made by friends that gloriously don't match, a mix of bright blue and green with empty swimsuits dancing clashing with a crochet baby yellow and white wrapped around my feet. you put in 28 days later, continuing our horrorfest to celebrate my favorite holiday. i hide my eyes when the blood gushes, squirming but enjoying the feeling of contentment at sharing a night at home with friends. you reheat another cup of cider for me, ask me if I'll sleep at all tonight.
i'll be fine.
stop bugging me.

he doesn't know i'm leaving the christmas lights on to scare off any zombies.

this morning felt like the opening scene of the movie on my walk for coffee.
the streets were quiet.
the gales of november screamed off the lake.

i thought i was alone.

then i passed the empty popcorn wagon and started.
she scared me.
i walked by again, and she drifted by. silent.
i walked closer, and i could see the napkin dispenser through her shoulder.
her red hat blurred off the shiny oven in back.
she looked like me, but she was an echo, an afterthought, a reflection.

or am i the reflection?

the wind wound around the wisps of my braid and i walked away, shivering, trying to keep away the moment of unknown i encountered in the window of the popcorn wagon.
but secretly hoarding the thrill in my torso.
it is, after all, almost Halloween.

Monday, October 24, 2011

doppelganger 1

Saturday night was for Jenelle and Cheryl and me and Dracula, watching a ballerina as Lucy go from white and pure and flow and grace to red and black and sharp lines and quick movements. Girl's Night Out complete with cosmos, high heels, and laughing.
Sunday it changed. My whole body aged fifty years overnight and I creaked and moaned, and my eyelids could feel the heat radiating from my forehead. i'm bad at knowing how to stop, so i didn't try at first. lunch with out of town friends found me nearly asleep on the table between french toast and rubens, freezing with three shirts on under my black dance fleece. i'm lucky my eyes were still blue and my hair was still long and blonde otherwise they wouldn't have recognized me underneath the pale face resembling Lucy. I drifted home; floated up iron stairs and buried myself under mounds of blankets.
Luckily, I had a double that Cheryl made for me.
She covered for me on Sunday. While I wallowed and drank tea and slept hours and hours, shivering and overheating and shivering and overheating, she had on her purple rain boots and her yellow raincoat, dancing under the gloomy sky outside, being the sun when none appeared. not for me, not then, not when my head was too heavy for my neck muscles to support. She tap danced time steps in puddles and let her hair flow around her elbows.
it was nice that i could look at her and know that i could take a day to let my body fix itself. she holds her umbrella high and winks at me, and my pale cheeks flush with a smile and i wink back.
i'll dance with her soon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


The sink is full of dishes again.
three people in an apartment can be full sometimes, with roommates and girlfriends floating around and pizza boxes piling up in the recycling bin and beer bottles collecting on the living room table. a year ago I was more lenient. everything would be clean by the weekend, right? I'll clean the bathroom saturday if you clean the kitchen and you sweep the living room.
then people moved out and people moved in and now I'm living with two boys. Two Boys. Not quite grown up boys. They walk erect and have decent jobs and pay insurance on their cars regularly, but if asked even they would hesitate before attaching the label of Man onto themselves.

it's been happening gradually. i trip on beer bottles as I come in the back door, cursing "merde" and "schiesse" when the sink is so full I can't even drain pasta. posters fill the walls for movies, and i yearn for frames and a clean stovetop and to not be the only one sweeping once a week in the hallway.

am I growing up?
Does this mean I want to be a Woman, not just a woman, stuck in between school and girlhood and i'm now searching for stability and matching plates and a routine i can come back to?

i know what caused this need; i know where the insistent rolling of my gut comes from. i didn't know that it needed you to pull the bottom out holding my pieces together and leave me to pick up the different bits to realize that maybe my puzzle was put together wrong in the first place. before i fell, I found what kind of worked. I used my fist to force pieces in that might fit but really didn't. when you dumped the box of my insides out on the floor, i couldn't do that anymore. they fell out and the only way to really put them back together right is to spend time fitting them together correctly. Grooves fitting together easily, not forced this time.

I'm beginning to realize what I want now.
realize what I lost.

I'm going to take my time reassembling. Because if you help me, I want it to work this time. I want it to be for good.

Monday, October 17, 2011


you are so beautiful.
A vision in lace and white and satin and beads. Dress after dress, yards of fabric slipping over your body as you glow brighter than the whitest folds encompassing your body. You're calm, saying yes or no and that you like lace the best but no beads with sparkles even though your smile glows like the sunset. I knew you when we were younger and awkward and stumbling through college meeting and creating ourselves. Now you are growing up, taking steps that integrate you more towards adulthood with that ring on your finger.
You're patient as Dani and I prance around with excitement, stoic as each dress is carefully placed over your head, beautiful in your cheeks when they dimple with a smile.
I can't even breathe when a veil is put on your head.
You turn and look at me and through damp eyes I see a woman. I see a house and something cooking on a stove waiting for warm bellies on a chilly night. I see easy companionship and long weekends. I see love.
The white dresses fade away.
You are exquisite.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I tried to run this morning. Tried- past tense, an attempt to accomplish. how can i possibly run forward with blinders pounding feet on the pavement when there is so much color around me?
I stole three leaves from outside. One leaf, two leaf, red leaf, gold leaf. pressed inside English Romanticism, crunchy next to Christabel. Coleridge won't mind. I want to save them for the middle of winter, when the world outside is white and black and 26 shades of gray. By then, the leaves will have been forgotten until they fall in your lap. Surprise! See the change? Pressed and crunchy like corn on the cob but still smell like breeze and chilly mornings and fresh honeycrisp apples and cookies with ghosts in them and handwarmers.
Still red. still yellow. still orange. still gold. still green.
still holding my run this morning, 7:35 am in cutoffs and my old climbing longsleeve.
Press the leaves to my face and remember.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

FO: Vivian Sweater

Another break to check off one of my happiest knitting accomplishments right now- the Vivian sweater! The lovely Duluth fall colors helped to show off the bright awesome coloring.
Pattern: Vivian by Ysolda Teague
Yarn: 7 skeins of Cascade 220 in Colorway 9455, Lot 0241- or as I call it, Caribbean blue turquoise!
Needles: Size 8 Denise interchangables
Size Made: 36 Bust (it's nice and snug- no baggy Tshirts under this!)
Made For: Myself!
Time Frame: May 7, 2010-October 9, 2011
Modifications: I added two mirroring cables in the seed stitch on the back, so it's got even more cables, and I increased the width and depth of the hood by increasing the seed stitch on rows 15, 17, 21, 25, 29, 35, 41, and 49. Instead of knitting only 50 total rows for the hood, I knit 71 rows, then worked row 51 on row 72, worked row 52 as written in the pattern, and rows 53-62 became rows 74-83, ending with row 63 as Row 84. I'm much happier with how it turned out with the bigger hood, so I highly recommend doing that.
Worst Part: Letting an entire winter go by and not working on it at all, when it easily could have been done just after Christmas. Knitting-wise, getting the very first row with all the cables established was definitely the worst. From there it wasn't bad at all.
Best Part: I love love LOVE the cabling on this thing- this only solidifies the fact that my favorite type of knitting is that with cables in it. I wore it out last night and got a lot of compliments already- most people can't believe that I knit it, and when they ask if it was hard I usually say as long as you know where you are in the pattern, it's fine. :)
I also loved doing this sweater as a KAL with Red, one of my knitting partners. It was excellent motivation when I heard she was done with the body or arms to really kick me in the butt to get going again. We're going to do a photo shoot with the two of us together in our Vivians sometime soon here, when our crazy schedules finally match up. :)
Until then, I'm happily warm in my bright sweater... maybe pondering what my next sweater will be... this? Or perhaps this?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Peck

You've been eating all my food.
The cupboard this morning had coffee, rice, Campbell's chicken noodle soup, and 13 packets of hot chocolate mix. No cereal, no oatmeal, nothing resembling food for when I'm yawning and wiping the guck out of my eyes trying to see. The fridge hums when I open it, i'm trying to keep my bare legs from the tentacles of cold leaking out the bottom. No milk- but there's 3 eggs and some cheese and taco sauce, so I have just enough to make an omelet and one hardboiled egg for lunch.
I love biking to the grocery store. My hands are warm in light green handwarmers knit by a friend, and I almost stray off the road as I look around me. The colors are more vivid than they were climbing on Sunday.
I loved seeing the leaves against the black rock against the baby blue sky. Their pigments blinded my eyes, screaming at me RED! ORANGE! YELLOW! The long blue rope matched the sky and I dug my fingers into a crack and balanced on purple shoes on footchips too small to see, but we'll pretend they're there because I can't fit my toe in the crack.
Inside the grocery store, my eyes are blinded again, this time by fluorescent bulbs and neon signs yelling "CHEF BOYARDEE 5 FOR $5!!". Orange pumpkins line the floor, guarding the fresh produce and hoping to soon guard a front door with a scary grin cut into his face. It's hard to pass them, but I'll be making my jack-o-lantern soon enough. Instead, I grab milk, eggs, cereal, and bread before heading to the check out. I pass another sign proclaiming "HOT EATS FOR COOL NIGHTS" and then I see it.
Bushels of apples. Bags of apples. Reds and yellows and greens mixed together shiny and tasty. Bushel and a peck of apples. I love you... a bushel and a pack... a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck...
I can't help it and one bushel finds a spot in my bag and I carefully pack my backpack so they won't jostle and bruise during my ride home. I lock my bike and sit on my front stoop with an open backpack, biting and tearing through apple skin while sticky juices roll down my fingers before I lick it off. Then more apples find their way in my bag for work, and I'm happy because it's the perfect snack, so tasty and fresh and October in every bite.
I leave you plenty, because I know how much you'll like them too. Just make sure to leave me a couple for tomorrow. :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Making Up

Time disappears. Rolling down the black hole of appointments and books and going from one job to another and of course I can help with that of course hours pass and well will you look at the time we still aren't done?
If only I were on friendlier terms with time, then maybe it would be easier to fit everything in or speed things up. Take advice from the Mad Hatter, since he told Alice "if you only kept on good terms with time, he'd do almost anything you liked with the clock." Time makes you cranky, unhappy with everything around you from stopping to get gas to seeing the dishes fill up in the sink with no clean ones filling the cupboards. Am I the only one refilling the butter in the butter dish?
After so much time spent worrying and buried in books and notes, I told Time this morning that we needed to talk about our relationship. It's not you, it's me.
We need a break.
then I took a walk in the rain.

The wind was blowing the cold drops on my cheeks, but I'm on a break and instead of getting upset I closed my eyes and let them fall on me. My jacket turns from fuzzy black to midnight black as it gladly takes in moisture. I soak up cold and wet and could be upset and frustrated but instead I decide I want to be elated, excited, and my smile gets bigger than it has been in awhile.
I walk over to drop letters in the big blue mailbox, and see more people out walking.
More people that saw the magic and happiness in a morning fall rainstorm and maybe couldn't resist it like me. I tell a girl on the way out of Caribou that I really like her purple raincoat, and she looks surprised but smiles and I see her white white teeth and my heart is warmer than my pumpkin coffee in my hands.
Before I walk back in to the quiet of inside I put my cup down, stretch my arms out, and stand with polka-dot rain boots in a puddle.

The rain is forgiving. Gentle.
I feel time glow at me. I think everything will be okay. We'll work it out today.

Monday, September 19, 2011

FO: French Press Slippers

Going to take a break from my slightly free-style form of writing to update on my recent knitting finishes. The big one this week- the French Press Slippers for a friend living far up north and in need of something toasty for her toes!
Yarn: 2 skeins of Patons Classic Wool in a fun pinkish shade!
Needles: size 15 on Denise circulars
Made for: Carly
Timeline: September 10-18th
Modifications: None, though next time I'll seam it a little differently. Instead of just doubling up the strands and seaming once, I'll seam it once with one strand of yarn, then seam it again with the second. Not that these had problems, but I could see where they might.
Worst Part: I had a lot of loose ends to weave in, and after felting it once and realizing it was too big for my size 8 feet (Carly's feet are size 6) in a panic I felted them again, luckily with good results. Moment of "oh shit" wasn't very pleasant.
Best Part: Despite the moments where the knit pieces looked like banana slugs, when they came together it was really cool to see how all the parts worked. And, of course, knowing that they'll keep a new teacher's feet nice and cozy in her new home far in the north!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


One week. Two weekends. My test is coming up, and it's looming bigger and bigger in my head like the giant ball of stone chasing Indiana Jones out of the ancient temple that it doesn't seem like he can escape. i'm getting up earlier and earlier and and pacing the apartment on my second cup of coffee by the time you get up and see me wringing my hands in the living room. i tell you the colors of the sunrise and you tell me the colors of your dream; both with reds and yellows and dark blues. as your steady hands hold a warm cup of tea you watch me flip through Norton Anthologies and casting them off like orange rinds- british literature, american literature, romanticism, chaucer, poetry...
you make me stop.
put the books down.


get in the car.
you play fleet foxes. the last time I heard them was in Yosemite, driving up to Tioga pass to get in the park every day before climbing. My hands relax in my lap. you begin to whistle along to "helplessness blues" and "sim sala bim" and my back releases tension. i begin to hum "bedouin dress" and my neck relaxes and my head rests on the car head rest, squishing my messy blond ponytail. i close my eyes and picture domes rising up as we round the corner and the pine trees open up like a christmas present.

i begin to breathe.

we get breakfast burritos, bursting with eggs and cheese and i ask for guacamole in my burrito and guacamole on the side and i eat all of it like i forgot to eat last week and why thank you this tastes amazing may i please have some more?
we go to another safe place, surrounded by books and the smell of text and glue bindings. I get a pumpkin white chocolate-filled coffee drink, able to focus with less and more distractions around me as you sit next to me reading magazines and novellas. once in awhile you look over and smile and wait. patient. willing my nerves to slow on their own just by observing your aura.
our field trip comes home, and now i'm taking study breaks to stretch and seam and remember that sometimes the most important thing isn't that i know everything and feel overprepared...

the most important thing
is that i




Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dance Week

In high school, i didn't want to be a dancer.

I didn't know what dance really meant.

Back then, it was all about pink sparkly costumes and too much make up and snappy hard movements. All the girls that wore the right clothes and had the right boyfriends were dancers. i was onstage in a different way, reciting Shakespeare's lines and playing Holst's suites in F. I never understood how I could possibly comfortably move my body like that; it seemed unnatural, unyielding.

When I got to college, my musical theater major required that I learn how to dance. My first ballet class was in UMD sweatpants and cotton socks rolled up to the balls of my feet. I learned first and second position, trying to stay turned out as my arms swung through the air like machetes. French vocabulary felt awkward on my Scandinavian tongue- releve, pointe, tendu. It took over a year before I began to feel comfortable; over two years to feel like it was working.
Then I tried on tap shoes for the first time. Finally. THIS made sense. With years of musical instrument training behind me, I realized that the only difference was my instrument was now on my feet! Different noises come from the toe, the ball, the full heel, the inside of my foot, even knocking my toe behind my other leg hard against the ground. Snare drum, base drum, even cymbals rang every time I pranced across the floor.

Now I'm showing a new generation of dancers how to do it, how to count, how to get EXCITED for dance! See, all this work sounds effortless! LISTEN to the difference between them all!

Learning to watch and listen from dance goes into your everyday life. Waiting in line is when i practice 5th position tendus. Standing behind a cash register means I can do the time step.
In climbing, you see a sequence, a crux, a rest. I see one foot here and move your hips and drop your knee and your arm goes above your head in a beautifully choreographed movement up the wall. A good route feels like a great dance.

tonight is the first night of dance for the year, and I couldn't be more excited to begin.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Early Nervous

i was up early enough to see the sun rise this morning.
the sky was dark, then the rim of the lake turned blue then red then orange then yellow as a ball of warmth burst over the horizon. my spoon full of honey-oh's was frozen in mid-air over my bowl as i watched the world wake up. good morning, Duluth! did you sleep well?
last night I did. i normally toss and turn between my side and my stomach, getting too hot and tearing my socks off then getting too cold and feeling around in the dark with blurry vision to find them and put them back on my feet. but last night i was exhausted, with a week of worry and test dates figured out behind me. i don't plan on sleeping well tonight. tomorrow I have to run.
i'm not a runner. my body is built for climbing and tap dancing and hugging and biking and ballet and lying in a hammock, but not running. honestly, i would rather climb and jug thousands of feet instead of run a 5K, but it doesn't really matter. my friend is running the entire event, and i'm running to support him and the soon-to-come Duluth Children's Museum. i figure I hiked miles and miles uphill in the high sierras for days in a row, so how hard will it be to do a 5K all at once?
plus there's a 1/4 children's fun run early, and i want to hold 2-year old Lucy's hand and see her smile and know that if she can do it and smile at the sun and the people and the love and support all around her, than of course I can too.
tonight i will toss and turn. i will probably wake up and watch the sun rise, nervous and jittery and jumping up and down while drinking milk and water but not too much food because apparently that's bad before a longer run.
then I will go run.
afterwards i'm going to wade in the shores of the lake and fly a kite.
and probably eat some ice cream.


Monday, September 5, 2011


i went home this weekend to do a bit of regrouping and to celebrate my dad's release from a week in the hospital. my Mom was cooking for all of us- beef stroganoff, french bread from the oven burning my fingers, crab smothered in melted butter, asparagus dark green with seasoning and oil. I feel weighed down more and more after every meal, unable to stop filling my mouth with delicious rich foods normally absent from my northern diet. i try to go for a run, but my limbs are slow through the humid morning air.
what wakes me up and keeps me moving are the little tendrils of family that wrap around the entire house. Music fills the empty space between the tops of our heads and the ceiling. you and I grab our instruments, and we begin to play without paper in front of us, trusting only the memory of our fingers as we play faster and the rusty understanding of when to shift to a new section materializes without effort.
New musicians enter the house, bringing welcome music and inspiration as one song leads to the next leads to teaching leads to understanding.
I begin to remember being unconditionally happy. trusting without boundaries. singing loud and proud and laughing until i can't speak and salty tears roll into the sides of my mouth.
when it's finally time to leave, I hug hard and don't hold back saying "i love you" as many times as I want.
i remember, now, where i started.