Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Closing out 2015

The last two months have been a blur of school, dance, lesson planning and prep, grading, climbing board meetings, climbing, weekends in the cities, and new things happening; hence, the long absence from writing on here.  I have a day at home right now where I'm cleaning, organizing, purging, and reflecting before I head to the cities to celebrate the new year with friends and a new guy, but right now it's quiet in the house and I have a cup of coffee in front of me to fuel the changes.

2015 was a really rough year for me.  I started out excited for possibilities and prospects, then got thrown for a major loop just before my 30th birthday in the summer with a very nasty and horrible breakup with my long-term boyfriend.  After years of being in a great, stable relationship that I thought was going somewhere, I was hurt, betrayed, and suddenly on my own with my long-term plans dashed.

I had to take a few trips, learn how to be completely happy with myself and my choices, and I became stronger in my own ideas, thoughts and convictions.

I learned the value of unwavering friendship as people reached out to me, climbed with me, traveled with me, and supported me in so many ways.

I embraced the idea of time with my family, who are ridiculous and awesome all at the same time.
And I realized that while grieving for what could have been is important, it feels so good to say, "All right, it's time to move on to the next adventure." :)

I look at my ambitious goal list that I made about a year ago, and realize that I didn't quite get everything done that I wanted to.  In fact, I only achieved a handful of things on there.  But I learned and experienced and enjoyed so much more than what was on my to-do list that I consider this year to be one full of incredible growth personally, professionally, spiritually, physically, (grammatically?), that I'm not too worried about not putting a check mark next to the things on that list.
While I do believe that thinking one can change just because it's the new year is a little silly, I truly want to embrace that idea this year.  I know that I've changed.  I have scars that are still healing, I'm a little older (turned the big 30!), and the future is still open and scary.

But I also found out that even when things go terrible, I learned that I can still be incredibly positive.  Even when people do horrible things to me, I can still be excited and kind and happy and supportive to those around me that love me.  I have an incredible network of family and friends that will support me when I'm having trouble smiling.
And I'm almost relieved to be back to my excited and happy self at the end of a really rough year.  It took awhile to get that back.  My main goal this year is to keep that happy, even when things are tough. :)
Oh, and to KNIT AND CLIMB ALL OF THE THINGS.  But that's for another post... ;)

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

FO: Winter Winds Mittens

October blurred by in a mix of school, dance, climbing trips, reading, knitting, and rearranging my room and life around a bit.

Oh, and Halloween happened too. :)
Remember before, when I said I might have said "yes" to too many things this year?  I'm keeping my head above water, but some days are better or harder than others.  I'm learning to squeeze every last minute of the day, whether I'm waking up earlier to get to morning yoga (yoga and climbing have become my "me" destressing times) or staying up a little later to get either grading or knitting done.
We only have two months until Christmas, after all...
I have been trying to do more knitting for myself this year, and I finished my Winter Winds mittens just this last weekend!  I'm really excited- this is the first of part of a 3-piece matching knitted set I'm making for this winter!

Pattern: Striped Mittens according to Badagekk by Lena Gjerald (link goes to Ravelry page)
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock (Superwash Merino Wool) in Dewberry
Needles: Bamboo size 1 DPN's (love my bamboo needles)

Timeframe: October 14-25
Mods: None, really. I modified them from the first time I knit them; originally I made the cuff much shorter, but I did it as written this time.  It'll be nice to have them tucked under my coat against snow and wind.
Worst Part: None.  These knit up like a breeze.  I feel like I'm getting faster.
Best Part: Awesome and warm mittens.  :)  'Nuff said!

In between all the craziness, I did manage to find time for a little Halloween fun!
The kittens were in their Halloween best:

(Albert sticking his tongue out at the prospect of another Halloween costume)

(Maeby just rolled around in her attempts to get the costume off)
And I even managed to find time to carve a pumpkin, even if it was the night before Halloween.

My roommate Alex and I watched the obligatory The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Addams Family as we crafted and carved and drank hot apple cider squeezed fresh the weekend before!
I'm pretty happy with how my pumpkin turned out, and I feel like it captures the craziness and madness of my life right now.  :)

As the Cheshire Cat likes to say,
"We're all a little mad here... You must be, or you wouldn't have come here."

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A World with Octobers

October is easily my favorite month.  I love Halloween, I love the leaves changing, I love drinking a few cups (pots?) of coffee in the morning because it's that much cooler outside.  Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books from growing up, and the incredible redhead summed it up perfectly:

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."

I don't think I spent a single weekend inside through the first half of October.

I had a very chilly adventure up at Palisade...

where the wind kept trying to dampen our spirits, but we simply laughed and kept climbing.  I had a weekend climbing at our local Ely's Peak after a nasty bout with the flu, enjoying the incredible color show that MN is so good at.

Even on weekday mornings that were full of grading, I had the windows open just to feel the breeze and enjoy being chilly.
Just this last weekend was MEA, which means MN schools have Thursday and Friday off.  For the third year in a row, I wrangled a group of fellow lady climbers to head down to the Red River Gorge in Kentucky to climb.  It was all sorts of magical, with a great group of friends.

Emily has done the trip three years in a row with me, and I love having her energy every year.  Oh- and can you see the shirt that I had made for all the ladies that went this year? :)

Zay enjoyed taking a multitude of selfies while I was up climbing, and it was a fantastic surprise when I finally went through my phone.  Her excitement to get on everything was contagious!

Jamie was new to the group this year, and she rocked it.  Like, rocked it.  She was leading and having a blast, and won the snarky and sarcastic award for the trip.

I jumped on a lot, including a 5.12d called "Triple Sec" that was really fun to try!  Every time I come down to the Gorge, I always come back with a renewed energy to train even harder.  Once you start enjoying those fantastic and hard lines, you never want to stop!  Next year- go go go and send send send!

We had the obligatory night of pizza at Miguel's, where we inhaled an entire pizza in about 7 minutes and ended up buying an entire second pizza, which we also inhaled.  Apparently climbing makes you hungry...

I visited the Shire.  Bilbo says hi.
Oh- see that hat on my head?  That's my newly finished Winter Winds hat- I'm going to knit the cowl next, and have a complete winter set soon!  I'm also finishing up a pair of mittens to match, since le petite Godzilla cat ruined my old pair.

I made sure to rock some super awesome Halloween tights to show my love for my favorite holiday.  They also helped keep back the chill, besides just making my large calves look fantastic and festive. ;)

Other knits were abound, which made my little knitter heart happy!  Both Zay and Emily brought and wore their Venga Las Chicas hats that I knit for them over the summer.  Huzzah for seeing people actually wearing things I made! :)

Overall it was an amazing trip with some incredible ladies, and I came home rejuvenated spiritually and emotionally (physically I was pretty spent!).  It's a good thing, too- I have a lot of grading to do this week, a lot of lesson planning, a lot of choreographing, and a lot of catching up to do in general "life" things.
Though sneaking in a hike and an outdoor climbing day here and there might definitely happen, especially this weekend... :)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Rolling in the Deep

Last weekend, my brother came up to finish his 4 open water dives in a lake to get his PADI open water dive certificate.  I, of course, tagged along, but this time with a camera!
My cousin Ben has one of those GoPro cameras, and I found out that despite the slightly fuzzy pics, it works great for diving!  I'm not sure how deep these cameras are supposed to go, but I brought it down to around 50 feet and it worked very well.
Kyle did his course in Lake Orebegon, which is one of my favorite places to dive because of all of the stuff to see down there!

There were two train cabooses..

A helicopter (hey, that's me swimming through it!)...

A school bus (Kyle waving hi)...

An old '57 chevy... (I think a hose sprung a leak, maybe...)

Another bigger helicopter...

And I'm saying hi from inside an old WWII fighter plane!

(Kyle has the bright yellow fins, I'm in black fins with the yellow mask)
We had a blast all weekend, and I couldn't have been more excited for Kyle to finish his cert so we can go out wreck diving in Lake Superior now (if we ever find a free weekend together... that's going to be the big challenge!).
I'm pretty lucky that my family loves adventures, and are willing to do the crazy stuff with me. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

FO: Late Night Grading Handwarmers

Wow, it's been awhile, hasn't it?
It's amazing how fast September blew by.  After the engagement party, things kind of took off.

I started back at the dance studio, which is 3 nights a week (before I schedule my solos/duos/trios).  I'm loving being back, though it's a hard thought to know that I have half a dozen or so seniors graduating this year.  I'm firmly ignoring that thought until at least May, though I have to start planning senior gifts now (lotta knitting this year- uffda!).
One of my old college friends got married a week after the engagement party.  My house that weekend became a gathering place for old college roommates, and it was amazing!

I haven't seen a lot of those awesome folks in awhile, and it was a ton of dancing, movies, talking, laughing, and late nights.  I loved every minute of it!

I spent the following weekend at the Sandstone Climber's Festival, hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones!  It felt really good to stretch my muscles, sleep in a tent under the stars, and find some new projects to thrash myself on!

(Pic is of my friend Katie working Sigma, a 5.12 line that I haven't touched in 3 years, but I'm going to jump on it first thing next week!)
I'm going to be heading to Sandstone next week a few times to hopefully project some routes, and I couldn't be more excited to actually work hard and push myself!
I also was appointed to be the faculty adviser for my school's honor society, which is great- more face-time with students!  I'm also now going to start teaching 4 credits at my old University in October, so my schedule is about to get super crazy!
Throughout all of this, I've been trying to keep up my knitting, and been mildly successful.
Case in point- a long-standing project that's been idling at the bottom of my knitting drawer finally got finished a week ago- my Late Night Grading handwarmers for my chilly office!

Pattern: Carrie Handwarmers by Doris Chang
Yarn: Malabrigo Rios in Archangel
Needles: Size 6 DPN's, bamboo
Timeframe: March 3-Sept 23

Mods: I knit in the round instead of flat, and to get a thumb, I added a 12-stitch thumb gusset.  I kept the gusset in the moss-stitch that the rest of the pattern asked for.
Worst Part: This took way too long to make.  I shouldn't have let them languish.  Also, when I finished, because I was eyeballing the entire thing, I knit one slightly shorter than the other.  It's only visible when you lay the handwarmers side by side, but it'll still both me just a little.
Best Part: I love that I finished these in time to wear with fall colors, and I love the way they look when stretched out on my hands!

I'm actually really excited about the next post- I finally have some underwater pictures to share from my recent diving adventures! :)
Until then... more knitting, lots of grading, lots of choreographing, and lots of snuggling with these guys... :)

Friday, September 11, 2015

FO: Gift Hats

So one of the big events that kind of ended my summer was my brother's surprise Fiesta Engagement Party last weekend!
It was a ton of fun, and we had about 70 people show up to wish my brother and his betrothed their well wishes.  My dad flew up from Florida for the festivities, a keg was tapped, tequila was passed around, and eventually...
a conga line was set up.  
My family is kind of amazing at partying- festivities went on well into the night.
Another cool thing that happened?
I was asked to be a Bridesmaid in the wedding!  SOOOOO excited!  I'm kind of a professional bridesmaid by now.  I can bridesmaid the crap out of a wedding. :)
The next day, despite some headaches, the partying continued on the golf course!
I don't golf.  I feel like I've explained this before.  Me golfing is like a two-year-old who's had too many juice boxes swinging a pinata stick around their head.  It just doesn't work.  
So what do I do instead?
Hang out on the golf cart and get in 4 hours of quality knitting time!
18 holes of golf means that I started and finished an entire hat- the second of two gift hats I knit for people over the last couple of weeks!  Really happy to get these done, because Christmas knitting is beginning to loom...
Pattern: Turn-a-Square by Jared Flood
Yarn: Leftover Cascade 220 in a forest green and a dark blue (the tags are long gone) and Noro in Worsted.  I'm not actually sure what kind- Maeby may have run off with the tag...
Timeframe: August 25-September 6 for both hats!  Woowoo!
Worst Part: None.
Best Part: Knowing that I have this pattern MEMORIZED, since I've knit this hat so many times... uffda! 
Onward to a barter knit, and some knits for myself to wear as the weather begins to turn!