Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wahoo! No More 2008!

Not that 2008 was a particularly bad year, it was just...hectic. But looking back on it, what year isn't hectic? Here are the major things I accomplished this year:

1) Completed a grueling internship in Hollywood
2) Wrote my thesis and finished grad school
3) Moved to San Diego
4) Survived six months (and counting) of no work, but several hours a day of trying to find work and all that entails
5) Survived a visit by the in-laws

Hmmm...most of that stuff happened in the first half of the year. And it's not all that exciting. But I was sure busy for most of it! This is off-topic, but I used to work for a graduate program in psychology, and one day just for fun I took some kind of stress test in which you get a certain amount of points for having gone through certain life events in the past 12 months. Major events like getting married, moving to a new city, switching jobs, the death of a loved one, etc. were given the most points. I forget all the details, but there were "healthy" levels of stress and you were supposed to try to stay within the point count for those levels. Anything above those levels was considered extreme and a person who had these elevated stress levels was supposed to do whatever they could to reduce the stress. I scored hundreds of points above the healthy level, and going back year by year, it was clear that I had scored well above healthy for as far back as I could remember.

At the time, I was quite proud of myself for handling stress so well. Now that I look back on it several years later, having had what would be considered "extremely" stressful years in the interim as well, I have come to the decision that that's just normal life, and that my life is no more or less stressful than anyone else's.

Just take care of yourselves is all. :)

I also knitted a lot more than I ever have before, completing 54 projects in all (not counting one adult sweater that is almost done). This includes 8 scarves, 6 pairs of mittens/gloves, 12 hats, 8 accessory/misc. projects, 2 full-size lace stoles, 3 baby sweaters, and 7 adult sweaters. My knitting goals for 2008 were simple: make a sweater that actually fits (done, done, done, done, and done), and do some colorwork (also done, done, done, and done).

In 2009, I would like to:

1) Complete an adult-size colorwork sweater (which would actually be done by now, except that I am still waiting on the yarn I ordered back in August).
2) Knit more lace...I love knitting lace and I don't really know why I don't do it more often.
3) Use up all the yarn I have in my stash at present. I don't think this will be too hard since my stash is manageable by comparison, and I still don't have a job. (No extra cash makes spending money a bit of a problem, therefore I must knit with what I have.)
4) Knit one thing from each of the pattern books that I had to have, but which have since languished on my shelves. This may be a bit difficult.
5) Try my hand at designing a garment for myself.

These aren't hard and fast goals that I will be checking back in on throughout the year, but I am a very goal-oriented person, and I like to set challenges for myself. It's also nice to see that there are still plenty of things to accomplish and learn.

Happy New Year to everyone! Sorry for the lack of pictures in this post, but...I got a new camera for Christmas! Yay! I'm still trying to figure out how to work the new software and all that jazz, but I am planning on my next post, all about my new knitting-related acquisitions. Stay tuned!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Gross. Just gross.

Hi all. I was feeling too lazy to post today, but then I found a silverfish running all over inside the box of crackers I was eating out of, and since that was supposed to be my lunch and I have nothing else to eat in the apartment, I'm blogging instead of eating. Good times.

Great. I just linked to a Wikipedia article which states that silverfish consist on a diet of carbs, particularly starches. Like my crackers. Bastards.

We have no food left in the apartment because we're heading out tomorrow to spend Christmas with my family. In the Twin Cities. Yes, the same cities that are supposed to get their share of the ginormous snow storm tomorrow. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for being stranded in one of any random Midwestern airports for an unpredictable amount of time. I'm also planning on arming myself with plenty of entertainment options and food. Those crackers were going to go with me, but now they're in the trash.

Speaking of nasty bug infestations, we bought a new pot for our growing hibiscus a month ago and got a special treat along with the new potting soil: fruit flies! (Or some little flying bug. I'm not an entomologist so I don't really care what they are.) They have been EVERYWHERE around the apartment ever since, and they seem to prefer faces. The Brain tried spraying the plant with Raid a couple of times but it wasn't working. So yesterday I coated the plant and the soil with the spray and left it out in back by the washing machine overnight. I'm going to give it one more night out there and then hopefully the pests will be gone. At this point, I don't care if it kills the plant. No plant? No more bugs! Bugs are a serious pain in the ass.

On a happier note, I finished a few more projects:

Pattern: Traveling Vines Scarf by Cari Luna
Yarn: Shibui Sock in some kind of purple-ish colorway with the poetic name of 229
Notes: Boring pattern--I think I'm done with scarves for quite a while. The yarn was heavenly soft and squooshy though!

Pattern: White Witch Mitts by Laura Rintala
Yarn: Knit Picks Telemark in Skyline, Colonial Blue, Snow Leopard, and Grey Wolf
Notes: My colorwork is getting looser, so that's good, but I still don't know how to prevent the two strands from twisting around each other. So annoying!

I also just finished up a hat out of Malabrigo and am going to cast on for a second one, just to use up the yarn. I finished up a pair of booties last night but forgot to take a photo. More later. Oh! I also finished up my Coraline and I loooooove it, but it deserves its own post, so more about that later too. I also knit up most of a Central Park Hoodie in a few days, but once more seem to be in a problem with yarn may need to go hoodless. More later on that, too.

I don't think I'll be posting while I'm away for the rest of December. I'm going to try to be better about posting my projects in the new year. I think my main problem is that my camera is a pain in the ass and pictureless blogs are no fun, so I tend to avoid taking pictures and as a result have nothing to show in my blog. Who knows? Maybe Santa will finally bring me a new camera this year. ;-)

I'll leave you with some pics from La Jolla last month. Happy Holidays, everyone!

Monday, December 1, 2008

I Survived the In-Law Invasion of 2008!!!

That's right, folks. I survived my very first ever visit by the in-laws last week. I think the time leading up to the visit was so much more nerve-wracking than their actual stay, so that's something to keep in mind for next time, I guess. They informed us of their impending invasion from Montreal about six months ago so I've been dreading it since we moved down here to San Diego.

And it's not even that my in-laws are horrible people. They're not! They're perfectly lovely and kind and generous and they made themselves as scarce as possible by taking themselves out to do touristy things and were very clean and quiet around the apartment. But see, here's the thing: I just didn't know them very well and I already really don't like people staying at my apartment, so people I don't know very well (and with whom I am obligated to have a relationship) make me particularly nervous. Why didn't I know them very well? THAT'S a story that coincides well with our anniversary, which also happened to be last week. (At this point, I need to request that you excuse my hair in these photos. I couldn't find a single person in Pittsburgh who knew how to cut hair, although I'm sure they exist. Plus I was traveling and forgot half my hair stuff. Gimme a break.)

Three years ago, in September, The Brain and I met in Minneapolis and started dating. He brought me up to Montreal to meet his parents the following summer, before I moved away for grad school. We had a nice dinner on their back deck, overlooking the nearby apply orchard.

Two years ago, I was out in Pittsburgh for the first year of my grad program while The Brain was back in Minneapolis (my home town) for the final year of his post-doc. He came to visit me in September for our one-year anniversary (of dating) and over pita and hummus at the local Middle-Eastern chain restaurant, we decided to get hitched. (Yeah I know, so romantic. :-P)

Anyway, two months later we headed to New York City over Thanksgiving and got married in the courthouse. Then we took ourselves out for lunch, bought a wedding cheesecake at the deli near our hotel in Times Square, and called our families. (Hey, it doesn't work for everyone but we had a blast and avoided all the unnecessary crap that can surround a big wedding.) Keep in mind that at this point, I had still only met his parents that one time. After Thanksgiving weekend was over, The Brain went back to Minneapolis and I returned to Pittsburgh. We didn't get to live together for the first seven months that we were married. :(

That Christmas, The Brain and I traveled back to Montreal to spend a couple days with his parents and celebrate the wedding with them. That was the last time either of us saw them until we picked them up at the airport a couple weeks ago. I was nervous because I had no idea what my in-laws would be like. Would they be nit-picky and critical? Would they see a piece of dust and think I forced The Brain to live in a pig sty? What would they think of my yarn stash? Would they think I was lazy and obsessed? I still haven't found a job (not my fault!)--would they think I was content to sit around doing nothing while their son went off to work every day and supported me? And perhaps the most important worry of all: Oh dear god, what are they going to think of that horrible stain in the shower that the previous tenants left for us?!? (Magic Erasers are miracles, that's all I gotta say.)

They left early in the morning on Thanksgiving. We had a lovely visit, we celebrated our second anniversary with them, and we're even talking about going on a holiday cruise together sometime in the future (the far future). I obviously survived because I'm here to talk about it (phew!) and now I can turn my attention to other things because this is supposed to be a knitting blog, right?

I have been knitting up a bunch of stuff for my fam; not for Christmas, but because they bought the yarn and they still live in Minnesota and are cold, dammit! And so I present to you:

The Quickie Parade of FOs!
click links for Rav page and notes

Pattern: Melon Pattern for a Shawl or Scarf by Jane Sowerby
Yarn: Malabrigo Lace in Paris Night

Pattern: Traveling Stitch Legwarmers by Lisa R. Myers
Yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport in Butterfly Blue

Pattern: Green Honey Man-Scarf by Mary Townsend
Yarn: Karabella Aurora 8 in Medium Heather Gray

Pattern: Lettuce Leaf Scarf by Janice Lynn
Yarn: Cascade Heritage Paints

Pattern: Elm Row Scarf by Anne Hanson
Yarn: Wagtail Yarns Kid Mohair Lace in Sage