Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Carry On

While it hasn't been the climbing-action filled break I had originally aimed for, it's been really nice to take a few days to wind down a bit and enjoy relaxing.  I've gotten some quality time with Scott, climbed a bit at the climbing gym, graded some papers, watched some movies, and enjoyed other spoils.
Highlights include beating Scott at Scrabble:

enjoying our new (old?) NES system that Scott got at a retro gaming store over the weekend:

and getting a lot of work in, both at home and at school.

I've got my lessons planned for the next two weeks, including any handouts or peer review sheets, and all I have left to do before break ends is grade 2 batches of papers.  I may have procrastinated those as long as possible...
Besides grading, the rest of this week will hopefully include a night out on the town to watch live music tomorrow, lots more knitting, climbing, maybe a movie night with lady friends, snickerdoodle cookies, and of course more beating Scott at Scrabble.
This time off stuff is nice... :)

Friday, March 15, 2013

Not the Break I had Planned...

After my students handed in their grammar test yesterday afternoon, spring break officially started for them.  I had a little more to do, but last night, instead of packing gear for my trip after dance, I moped around the house, watching CSI and casting on for what was supposed to be my trip knitting.

This is the first of my Christmas knitting for 2013- something small and compact, easy enough to grab on the way out the door, and in bright colors to combat the brown snow outside.  This is a leftover skein from another project I did (another pair of handwarmers, in fact!), and I'm really happy to be knitting with something bright that reminds me of outside.  The pictures don't do the colors justice.
Just imagine the colors as the trees at the height of fall colors!  
I figured I could bring this small project to my Duty Day meetings this morning to get a start on it- and boy, did it knit up fast.
My Duty Day is finished now, and all I have scheduled for the long week off ahead are a couple of dance lessons and some working time at the gym at the end of the week.  Don't get me wrong- I have a lot of grading to do (2 batches of papers, plus tests and daily work) and plenty on my to-do list.  But this is one lady that's a little sad there isn't more on my docket.  I'm exceedingly bummed that I'm not down south climbing, even though there was nothing I could do to change the circumstances.  I figure I'll keep up my moping through tonight before I snap out of it and find another adventure.  
Maybe I'll check out Palisade sometime this week and see how much ice there really is in the cracks... Tuesday is a high of 23- balmy!  ;)

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I sat down yesterday with Emily, one of the ladies coming on the Red River Gorge climbing trip with me.  We sipped coffee and contemplated this weather forecast:
It's pretty bleak.  The four days we were planning on climbing was Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday- and every single day has rain forecasted (Tuesday was 30% chance).  There was a little bit of climbing one could do in the Red while it rained, but driving 850 miles for 4 straight days of rain was not worth it.
We then checked Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas- three days of rain.  Southern Illinois- four days of rain.  Devil's Tower in Wyoming- Rain/Snow/Slush wintery mix for the whole weekend plus temps hovering around freezing.  Anywhere else was too far of a drive to make precious days of climbing worth it.
While I have the entire week off of school (but not dance), the other three ladies had gotten time off for our trip.  We couldn't move days off around for the forecast, so we had to do the only thing that made sense at this point.
We postponed our trip until mid-May, when the semester is over and we're all a little more flexible in timing.
I'm super bummed.  I was really looking forward to climbing outside and getting away from Duluth, school, and responsibilities for awhile.  It'll be nice to have some time off at home (Scott and I are already planning some date nights!) but nothing beats a climbing trip with some awesome ladies.
We're hopefully going to get down to Sandstone and clip some bolts in chillier temps on Saturday, and maybe make a day trip up to Palisade on Sunday, but the big driving plans will have to wait for now.
Damn you, mother nature.
I bite my thumb at thee for thwarting my escape plans.

Monday, March 11, 2013

FO: Climber Baby Hat

I have a few friends that I've known since I started climbing, and one of them has a wife expecting their first baby this spring!  My friend is a tall, lanky dude with a full red beard mismatched to his blond hair.  He's a little quirky, which is why I figured a quirky hat was in order for his first little boy.

Pattern: Stripey Stocking Cap from Susan B. Anderson's book itty bitty hats
Yarn: I used Jarbo Garn Raggi Solid, in three different shades of blue.
Needles: Size 9.  Loving the big needles.
Gift/Barter? Definitely a gift!
Size: Since the baby is due in early spring and it's not going to be chilly again until fall, I made the 6-month to 24-month old version of the hat.  That way, when it gets chilly again, it will (hopefully) fit his head!

Timeframe: February 12th-March 10th, 2013
Worst Part: Weaving in a million ends.  Every time I changed colors I cut the previous color, leading me to have to spend a loooooong time weaving them all in.
Best Part: It's a pretty ridiculous hat- my Dad would probably call it a "Dr. Suess" hat, reminiscent of a Who from Who-ville.  Best part is the finished product!

Glad to get this project done, and get it done before the baby is due.  Babies have a habit of not being on anyone's clock but their own. :)

(No Alberts were harmed in the process of creating this post, though when I tried to put the hat on his head he wasn't very happy or cooperative about it.)

Sunday, March 10, 2013


I worked a couple of shifts at the climbing gym as this week wrapped up.  When I wasn't clocked in, I was there climbing!

Yes, that is a picture of me bouldering... it doesn't happen very often.  I would always much rather be at the end of a rope.  Bouldering, however, helps you improve at the higher grades.  Since I want to push to the 5.12 range, bouldering can only help me.  Despite how much I grumble while doing it. :)  I've been climbing with anyone I run in to at the gym- coworkers, friends, people I don't know but get to know as we scale walls.  One week from today I'll be down in Kentucky- SO close!

It's especially hard to believe I'll be climbing outside after last night- Duluth got dumped on with half a foot of wet, heavy white stuff.

I got to have a great dinner with my brother and his girlfriend at the local new place, Canal Park Brewery, but driving home turned out to be a slippery adventure.  My car only has front-wheel drive, so getting up the hills can be interesting scary fun when it's crazy out like this.  I was pretty happy to get home, and even better was being greeted by Scott with a glass of wine and a movie.

It was also the perfect time to finish up the baby hat for a friend's expected little one!  Weaving in a million ends is always better with wine and distractions.

It's a pretty ridiculous hat, and all it lacks is the pom-pom on the top.  I'll hopefully get that made this evening after teaching dance, ready to wrap up before the baby arrives!
Time to run errands.  AKA, time to go find my car under a heavy blanket of snow.  Uffda, I'm glad I have a little extra time to dig it out today...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Packing Break

It's been a crazy first half of the week.  One of my classes ended today with a final (and a pile of late work), and I received another round of papers from one of my Comp classes on Tuesday.  I'm now on a hiring committee for my college which starts this week- very interesting to be on this end of the spectrum!
Tonight was therefore a relief when three good lady friends stopped by my apartment for more than just a little lady time.
A week from Friday, I'll be heading down to Kentucky for a few days of climbing.  My lady friends and I are going to climb at the Red River Gorge- 4 glorious days outside, climbing hard overhanging sport lines and the occasional trad climb.

Tonight we got together to go over logistics- food, gear, car, etc.  It felt so good to plan something like this.  Cabin fever has set in hardcore for me, and even though it's starting to get nicer out, I need to actually go outside.  For a long period of time.  Stretch my muscles, push my body, and do it with a bunch of friends.
It's going to feel so good.
I just wish it were this week instead of next...

Just have to decide- what brew from the Brewhouse should come down to the Gorge with me? :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

FO: Mustache March Run 'Stache

Living in Duluth (and Minnesota in general) usually means that around spring, there's a lot of cabin fever going around.  I start to feel it around mid-February, and it does nothing but get worse as the days pretend to get nicer (but really don't).  To combat this, we have a few ridiculous things to keep us occupied.  
One of these is the Mustache March Run, put on by a local running company!
This year was the second year, and I decided to put a little more effort into my mustache for the event.
It took about 3 CSI episodes to whip out my mustache, but I was exceedingly happy with the result!
Not only did it keep my face pleasantly warm the entire windy run, but I won FIRST PLACE in the "Best Imposter Mustache" competition held after the race!  How's that for awesome knitting?
Pattern: "Beard", by Joanna Rankin (link goes to Ravelry page)
Yarn: I used my extra Cascade Yarns Eco Wool (from the Dude Sweater!)- maybe 30 yards tops, and that's being generous.
Needles: 10 1/2 bamboo
Mods: I didn't finish it the way it was intended- instead of making it to wrap around the ears, I simply left yarn strands on the ends of the sideburns and tied it up high behind my ponytail.  Much better for being active.
Worst Part: I just sat here and stared at my keyboard for a full 2 minutes.  Nothing comes to mind.  Creepiest part might be that the 'stache and beard move while I'm talking, giving them a creepy life-like quality that several friends said really added to the experience... :)
Best Part: The number of compliments I got, and the number of times people asked me "Where do you get that?" and seeing their faces when my reply was, "I knit it!".  Probably could have sold a ton if I felt like an entrepreneur.  Or the fact that it took only part of an evening to make.  Or the fact that it's a beard, and it's awesome.
You get the picture. :)
The run was 2.65 miles, and honestly... it didn't go that well.  I mean, I'm in great climbing shape.  I did 4 laps on the hueco wall at the climbing gym yesterday as my cool-down.  I'm climbing hard, too.  But I've been avoiding the elliptical as of late.  And to be fair, it was like 20 degrees out with a bit of a breeze.  Whatever the reason... when I got to the first mile marker (mile marker 1, mind you), I was already ready to start doing a little walking.  
It made me a little more nervous for the Half-Marathon coming up in June.  I still have a lot of training time, but I'm definitely not in running shape right now. 
More like anti-running.  Climbing shape.  Knitting shape.  :)
I ended up coming home yesterday, sticking in Gilmore Girls, and nursed my worries with hot chocolate in my new mug from the race.  This morning, my quads were letting me know that going from nothing to 2.65 miles is not a good idea.
Uffda.  This is going to be a long training season.  Starting Monday, probably, if I don't want to collapse on race course in a few months...