Category Archives: knitting

Also, I finished these.

Also, I finished these.

Waving my angry fists in style.

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Happiness in a Bowl

My roommate is out of town this weekend, and I’m relishing in pretending that I live alone again. Don’t get me wrong…I have no true complaints about my roommate. It’s just that I enjoy the restorative silence of being alone here, balanced by being able to blast Sleater-Kinney without worrying about the noise level.

To cap off a very long week, I gave myself a couple of hours of British-y goodness last night. I was excited to watch the third Sherlock Holmes episode of the second season until I realized that it is also the last episode of the second season. More now!

Afterwards, I watched a Doc Martin episode. I don’t know how I became sucked into that show, but I’m a devotee now (a devotee who watches it on occasion, that is).

There was also knitting. The Leftie grows slowly in fits and starts.

Someday. Someday.

Bounty of Autumnal Goodness

The summer sped by without me frequenting the Tower Grove farmers’ market. What the hell?

I hit it today and stocked up on my favorite fall offerings:

Hell yeah!

Butternut and delicata! I am in winter squash heaven.

I picked up the box of persimmons on a whim, and then remembered why I usually don’t buy them. They’re super tasty, but also super seedy. I believe the seed to fruit ratio is grossly out of proportion.

It’s a Good Day When You Use Your Food Processor Twice

First up, potato-cheese soup. Fall happiness dished out in a bowl. This picture makes it look like a bowl of blah, but it is anything but.

After eating this, I immediately fell asleep from carb overload.

Next up was making pumpkin puree for a yet-to-be-made quinoa-pumpkin pudding.

Pumpkin carnage

My food processor feels much less neglected now, and I feel happy from puttering around the kitchen for a good chunk of the day.

And now…now homework calls.

But, PS!!!

This morning I woke up at 6:20. Yes, there was some tossing and turning in the night, but I did not wake up at the dreaded 3:30 or 4:30! When I saw the clock, I nearly cried from happiness.

More Daybreak

Tired morning face, yet happy to be wearing my completed and blocked Daybreak:

Going to work is better in my Daybreak.

Daybreak close-up

When I look at all the stitches in this shawl, I realize why it took me so long. And why I usually stick with smaller projects.

Doing Things

Yesterday, I nailed down my academic reference for my OT application. Yep, I’ve decided to apply to the OT program here at Washington University. While I know it’s best to apply to more than one program, I’m not prepared to up and move in the fall. So we’ll see what happens.

Since my initial email request went unanswered, I ambushed my anatomy professor before class yesterday. Being back in the lab room made me feel so happy, and the professor and TA talked to me as though we had just seen each other yesterday. Anatomy lab was such a great class; I miss it all the time, but especially when I’m in physics.

Securing this final reference boosted my mood so much, I was a whirlwind of activity last night. I did things like block a scarf, cook dinner and prepare lunch/dinner for today, run two loads of laundry, mop the kitchen floor and dining area, run/walk 2 miles at the gym, and knit. And that doesn’t include the usual stuff of scooping litter boxes and doing my PT exercises. It was a very productive evening!

Now I just have to get serious about writing my statement of purpose and tying up some other application-related loose ends.

Knitterly Things

The knitting front has seen lots of activity recently! Most notably, I finished my Daybreak!

Off the needles at La Dolce Via

More Daybreak

I’ve since blocked and worn the shawl, and I really need to take another picture of it.

This yarn became a simple ribbed cowl, which I also need to photograph and post.

Smooshiness

Finally, I’m blocking my Interlocking Balloons scarf right now. Some alert readers might recall that I finished knitting it in January 2009. In the post documenting its completion, I noted that I started the scarf on “November 7, 200-freaking-7.” Quite tellingly, I elaborated, “For quite some time, I was convinced that this would be my perpetually unfinished object….Now I just have to block it, and that, my friends, will require blocking pins (which I don’t have).”

While I received blocking pins with my blocking wires last year, I just now blocked the darned thing. FOUR YEARS AFTER STARTING IT. That’s simply ridiculous. I will wear it this year!

Running Things

Readers might also recall that I started the C25K program at the end of the summer. I loved it, I really did. I worked my way up to running 15 minutes straight through, and I felt great.

Except for my left hip. Running for a 15 minute block crushed it. I was in pain for 3 weeks.

I laid off the running until I could go for most of a day without my hip reminding me of that run, and now I’ve started back from the beginning. While I won’t be able to progress as quickly as the program recommends, I will reach that 5K mark someday! Right now I’m back to running blocks of 1.5 min, and giving my hip time to strengthen and catch up with the rest of me.

Food Things

Porkchop and I hosted a pre-Thanksgiving dinner, and it was probably the best dinner we’ve ever hosted. All of the food was spot-on and delicious!

Porkchop and I have a series of Thanksgiving photos just like this one:

I could do without this part of dinner preparation.

These are the items Porkchop and I made:

Alien vegetables

I hope we can do it again next year!

Anyway, that’s a wrap. Have a great week!

Hello, November

It’s a blustery fall day out, and I wish I could be doing anything but sitting in this darned office!

My motivation for work has reached an all-time low. I want to be doing so many other things, but most of all, I want to be somewhere different than this office. It’s a stagnant pool for me.

There are things to do, conference-planning stuff I could work on, for example. However, have I ever mentioned how I hate conference planning work? It’s my least favorite activity, and when I was hired, I was told we had only one a year. Now I roll from conference to conference, and each one grates on my nerves more than the last.

Last week, I had a horrible physics test. I came out with a 67, a C+ and a little below the class average. Before the test, I felt quite confident. I understood all my homework, and I could do all of the suggested problems. Struggling through the test, I felt my confidence wither away until I just wanted to stop trying.

My original goal for physics was to earn at least a B+, but now that will be quite difficult. If our last test isn’t as brutal, I might be able to swing a B.

Given my desire to get out of this life-sucking office, and my faltering physics grade, I’ve started reconsidering my school options. I could apply to the WUSTL OT program for Fall 2012 entry. I have all except one requirement nailed down, and OT doesn’t require physics or chemistry classes. It’s also a two year program, so I could be doing something different sooner.

Or I could apply to the accelerated, one-year RN program and start in Fall 2012 or Spring 2013. I could be happy doing that, right?

I want a big life change, and I want it now, damn it.

On to other things…

Homecoming

A few weekends ago, I visited my friend Jean in Columbia. Going to Columbia always feels like going home to me. It’s such a comfortable little city, and I could probably be happy moving back there.

There are fun things to do, and getting around is easy. In five minutes you can be downtown having delicious soup before watching an indie movie (the Uprise Bakery/Ragtag complex). Or in ten minutes you can be driving on country roads, poking around old cemeteries.

As a student in Columbia, I had a lot of time to drive around exploring. Gas was cheap, and I loved taking random roads to figure where they went. Back in the day, I was an expert in navigating the little towns and backroads along the Missouri river. Jean and I revisited one of my finds, Mt. Nebo cemetery outside of Huntsdale.

Driving to it, I kept asking Jean, “how did I find this place??” I regularly biked through Huntsdale while on the Katy Trail, but I don’t know how I happened upon the cemetery.

The first time Jean and I visited it (12 or 13 years ago, I suppose), a big cow was blocking the road. We didn’t encounter that obstacle on this visit, but we did spot this very neat headstone:

No name, no dates, only a photo.

During my visit to Columbia, many little roads were taken and many a good meal was enjoyed. I look forward to returning!

Old friends now older.

P.S. The above photo shows my hair at the longest it’s been in ages. I was giving the “grow it out” thing a shot, but I couldn’t handle it. The long hair made me feel tired, and I was always concerned about it. I’m now back to my regular length, and I couldn’t be happier.

A Random Mishmash of Other Things

There are good things that happened in October that I haven’t written about!

In knitting-related items, I attended a reading by the entertaining and super-smart Yarn Harlot. I had to leave the reading early for another engagement, and I regret missing out on some surely funny anecdotes.

Taking a photo of the Yarn Harlot taking a photo.

Also, I bought some Habu yarn, a most wonderful impulse purchase made while our car was being inspected! (The knitting shop is across from the car dealership. I did not buy this yarn at the dealership!)

Delicious Habu

The red is a silk-stainless steel yarn, and the grey is merino. One day, it will be a Kusha Kusha scarf.

I’ve never knitted off of cones before. Does one keep the yarn on the cone, or wind it into a ball?

The sales person who rang up the yarn warned me to not let my pets play with the stainless steel yarn because it could cut their paws. When I asked if I should wear gloves while knitting it up, she laughed. She said I would be fine. But if it can supposedly cut pet paws, why wouldn’t it cut me? I guess I will find out!

Speaking of delicious things, I made this Butternut Squash, Coconut, and Lentil Stew using one of our homegrown butternuts. While I didn’t have the recommended toor dal, substituting red lentils gives one a super tasty stew. I could eat this everyday!

YUM.

Finally, I don’t think I ever mentioned here that Porkchop bought everything from a letterpress studio outside of Minneapolis and carted it back to our garage. The garage is being slowly transformed into a studio, and I will have to post a picture of the exterior soon.

Porkchop working it.

Tomorrow, we’re having some folks over for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner. We have so much to do! With the exception of the turkey, we haven’t bought any ingredients! We haven’t even really planned the menu!

Have a great Friday, friends.

Stuffies!

There’s nothing like attending a one-year-old’s birthday party to bring you out of a funk.

Porkchop’s niece Ruby is the most precious, happy, funny child ever, and her birthday party was hilarious and heart-warming. I hope to snag a photo from someone else later to share.

To mark the occasion, I made this pair of stuffies using Ysolda Teague’s free pattern.

Almost as precious as Ruby!

The green one is a much better green than this photo shows! I did the eyes and hearts with a felting needle. It was my first time to use one, and I loved it! I’m going to put little felted stuff on everything now.

Have a good week!

FO: Monkey!

A rather homely monkey.

I finished this monkey on Sunday.

While knitting the various pieces, I had high hopes for the end product. Unfortunately, I find it to look terribly homemade, rather than delightfully handmade.

I wish I had stuffed it more and sewn the mouth on better. Oh, and the legs aren’t centered. But it’s going to a newborn, so I’m trying to not be so uptight about it. While I don’t like it so much, I refuse to take it apart and redo it.

The friend who introduced Porkchop and me had a baby a couple of weeks ago. She and I were anthropology classmates, and she actually followed her dreams and became a primatologist! Her dissertation is on a monkey population in Gabon, so of course we have to send her monkey-themed items. Because she surely won’t receive enough of those from other people.

Other Things

School starts next week, and I’m taking Physics I and Abnormal Psychology. The physics book looks scary.

As of last week, I started volunteering Thursday afternoons at a physical rehabilitation center. I first contacted the center in January, so I’m excited and relieved to start accumulating volunteer hours!

All is not doom and gloom, but I surely could do with some laughter these days.

Snow Day!

For the first time in over a decade, my university canceled classes and work today! So here I am, trying to eke out the very last bit of this free day.

We were supposed to be hit pretty hard with the massive storm making its way across the country, but the snow prediction has dropped off dramatically. I can’t imagine I’ll have another snow day tomorrow – Porkchop already knows her classes are canceled (lucky).

Our streetscape hasn’t changed much from this shot I took earlier this afternoon:

Classy cardboard

None of the white stuff is snow. It’s all sleet, which is kind of crazy.

During all the sleeting, I did stuff like yoga, knitting, homework, and baking. A darned good snow day all around, except Porkchop had to open the UPS Store at 8 am. Boo. But don’t worry, she was back by 11:00 and able to partake in much of the fun of having a day off.

Here is documentation of the day:

A dedicated student even on a snow day

Knitting action!

I love these colors and this yarn

This afternoon I made peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, and Porkchop made orange-glazed sugar cookies. I also made knock-off Larabars. I love Larabars, but my habit was becoming expensive! This week I made a knock off of the cherry pie bar, and I can’t wait to try another knock off this weekend.

Tricks! No flour!

Rolling out cookie dough

Fake Larabar brick = 8 bars

Observant readers will note that the peanut butter cookies are flourless. A few weeks ago, in the midst of major sinus problems, an old friend suggested I try going gluten-free. Being game for any possible relief, I did.

Sinus-wise, my nasal passageways seem less swollen. Previously, I would wake up during the night, unable to breathe through the right side of my nose. Since going (nearly) gluten-free, this hasn’t happened.

However, the biggest change is in my energy and focus level. Before, there were days during which I would get so tired. I don’t just mean tired, I mean unable to think, fuzzy-brained, bone-dead tired. I would also get really hungry. My hunger was always a desperate, if-I-don’t-eat-now-I’m-going-to-die sort of hunger. I was tied to my hunger in ways I didn’t like at all.

This past weekend marked two weeks of gluten-free for me, and I decided to dip my toe in the gluten waters again by eating some pasta. I made a big bowl for lunch on Saturday, and an hour later, my brain hurt and I was so tired I had to take a nap (even though I had been completely fine before lunch).

This afternoon I had one of Porkchop’s sugar cookies, and about an hour later, I could feel it in my head. Not bad, but a difference.

I call it fuzzy brain, because it feels like my brain is turning into cotton candy. A sort of pulsing cotton candy. But when it’s really bad, it feels like sludge. Fuzzy brain means I can focus with extra effort; sludge brain means I’m lucky if I remember how to tie my shoes.

Given that I don’t like the sludge feeling, I’m going to stick to a very light gluten habit.

Also, I enjoy being a prisoner to my hunger no longer. I still get hungry, but it isn’t an all-consuming, must-eat situation. It’s more of an, oh, I’m hungry, guess I should eat in a bit. But if I don’t eat in a bit, it isn’t the end of the world.

I’m not allergic to gluten, so I’m not really sure what the deal is. But according to the internet, which is the expert on everything, many other people experience “brain fog” with wheat, so I guess I’m not alone.

I know I’m not allergic to gluten because I had an allergy test done last week, in the hopes of getting some answers to my chronic sinus problems and other issues. The answer is that I’m not allergic to anything! Not even tree pollen, which was an assumption under which I’d been operating for half my life.

However, this is not a cause for celebration. Instead, I have “non-allergic rhinitis,” which seems to translate into my respiratory system being sensitive to anything, really. I get all of the allergy symptoms, but it isn’t an allergic reaction. Well, I’ve certainly been fooled all of my life!

The allergist pushed some new nasal spray on me, but I’m going to try some other avenues first. Another avenue being acupuncture. I’d rather have a placebo effect from some needles and herbs, than continue to use nose spray for the rest of my life.

Flonase started giving my horrible nose bleeds this past fall. Horrible as in it looked like an entire blood vessel was falling out of my nose. This new nose spray isn’t supposed to do that, but if you spray any nose spray incorrectly, you run the risk of damaging your septum.

So…nose spray is safe, but it can damage your septum. I sincerely want out of this nose spray craziness.

Well, I don’t really know where this post is going any more. It started out light-hearted, but took a serious turn around gluten. I guess the major points are: the snow day was great, I’m trying to find non-damaging relief for my sinus problems, and wheat makes me feel funny.

Obviously, it’s time to go to bed.

Good night!

If you’re in the path of the snow storm, stay safe and warm!

New Objects

I have some new/recently finished items to show you!

Over Labor Day, I finished knitting my Springtime Bandit. However, I didn’t have a good way to block it until recently, as I received blocking wires from Porkchop at Christmas. This new scarf is fresh off the blocking wires:

Springtime Bandit in the Winter Time

It is made of Malabrigo Twist and is super soft and squishy.

Don't look too closely, or you'll see my mistakes.

After I finished knitting the bandit, I made a Daybreak shawl for Porkchop in St. Louis Blues colors. I wrapped it up at the beginning of November, and it too sat around unblocked and unworn until recently.

Styling with the Daybreak

The blue yarn is Malabrigo sock yarn, and the gold is Madelinetosh. It was my first time using Madelinetosh, and I see why everyone loves it so much.

Porkchop's St. Louis Blues Daybreak

I’m happy that Porkchop is happy with her Daybreak. I’m working on one for myself, but I’m sure it won’t be finished until next year.

This afternoon, I had tea while studying GRE math, and I used my new mug.

Pretty new mug!

Porkchop picked it up at a St. Louis Community College – Forest Park ceramics sale, and it’s a wonderful addition to our mug cabinet.

I used a bit of honey because it was green tea, and I took a picture of the honey too. The names of the honey producers amuse me.

Jehovah and Jireh's honey

We picked up this jar last April while staying on Mt. Magazine. We went with my family to a cemetery that holds a couple dozen of our relatives, and the gas station near the cemetery was selling this honey. This is my favorite type of souvenir.

Other Stuff

Tomorrow is the last day before this year really picks up. My classes start this week, and it will be strange to be a student again. I’m taking Anatomy & Physiology II and Statistics for the Health Sciences. Depending on the stats workload, I might pick up a late-start, online Abnormal Psychology class through the community college.

Porkchop starts teaching on Tuesday as well. She has two sections again, and will be in the classroom 4 days a week (in addition to maintaining her manager position at the UPS Store). Porkchop is also curating a show for the Southern Graphics Council conference this year! The conference is here in St. Louis, and Porkchop put together a University of Wisconsin-Madison alumni/faculty show. The reception will be during the conference in March, and I’ll post details later. It will be packed full of great prints!

Have a good night and a great week!

Spin Me Right Round

Yesterday afternoon at 4:00, I was struck with dizziness, and I’ve been plagued by it since then. I think it’s a combination of fatigue, low blood pressure, and the heat. In any case, I don’t like it.

You know I feel bad when I decide to skip the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market.

Sadness.

We did, however, stop by the Mud House for brunch. Last night I saw a picture of the Nutella and Nanners crepe, and I started craving it big time. It probably isn’t what the doctor would suggest for someone with the dizzies, but it’s darn good.

Nutella, bananas, and more Nutella. And then some more Nutella.

And then we went home and watched a bad gay movie, Make the Yuletide Gay. The Netflix instant play pool is really kind of small, thus this laughable movie. (Another sign I feel bad: I watched a movie at 11 am.)

We went out to REI after the movie and procured a new bike helmet for Porkchop. I’m hoping to feel tons better tomorrow and go on a bike ride.

After REI, it was back home to watch a baseball game (see – another sign I feel like crap!). I knitted during the game on a new project, Springtime Bandit. I’m loving this pattern! Easy, but not boring.

Pretty!

During the game, Porkchop went outside and came back with potatoes!

Potato success!

One potato, two potato...

More potatoes!

After last year’s letdown, we’re pretty happy with this harvest. If the chickens hadn’t turned the potato plants into a roost, maybe we would have more. Note for next year: build chicken-proof potato area.

All for now…