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. :)