wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

I knew 2010 was going to be a good year, because I started it off with friends, a couple of dogs, a win at Apples to Apples, some mojitos, a blue moon, and I was wearing my fierce tie-dye slouch socks and my Moonwalker shirt. Really, you can’t set a year up in a better way.

Today, I decided 2010 is going to be awesome, because I both started and finished a knitting project.

A few weeks ago, before the holidays, I had gone for dinner and shopping in the mall with a couple of my friends from work. We had ducked into New York & Co. to check out the sales. Their sales on pants are phenomenal, and the pants fit really nice. While I was busy looking at quilted vests (one of which I totally should have bought), my friends were looking at the knit hats. All of a sudden, I heard my friend Kate say, “This is such a cute hat! I want this hat.”

“Oooh! Lemme see!” I went over to inspect said hat. This was not a special hat, despite being my favorite shade of electric blue. It was just a ribbed hat with a stockinette crown. Just an ordinary hat. I picked the hat up, turned it over, and put it on the shelf. “Kate. Tell me how much that hat is. Betcha it’s twenty bucks.”

“Close. It’s seventeen.”

I seriously think I became apoplectic at that point. “SEVENTEEN DOLLARS?! You are kidding me. Put the hat down.”

“But–”

“Put. the. hat. DOWN. Back away. I can make you a hat just like that for about three bucks.”

“You can not.”

“If I can’t, I will come back here myself and buy you the damn seventeen dollar hat. Drop it.”

Today I sat down to make the hat. I looked at online, studied it, and told everyone who would listen that it was $17 and isn’t that CRAZY for a hat? I put on my Netflixed Mad Men disc, and got busy. Four hours and three episodes of Mad Men later (oh, that Don Draper. He is a mystery wrapped in an enigma and packaged in a pretty box, I tell you), I had a hat. I winged (wang? wung? What IS the conjugation of “to wing”?) the decreases, but it looks fine, and damn close to the original hat.

Fishface! The hat is dangerous.

To make this even better, I learned something new while I was knitting this bad boy, too. I magic looped the whole hat, after thinking for forever that I couldn’t. The whole thing went off without a hitch, the “designing” and the magic looping. Not gonna lie, I’m kind of impressed with myself.

I also found the knitting project(s) I lost, so that’s exciting. We won’t discuss where I found them, because I will wind up looking like a moron (said the girl with the fishface picture of her in a hat), but they are safe and locked up and now I know their whereabouts. All in all, it was a productive day. :)

Mirrored from winged orange.

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It’s the Eve of New Year’s Eve, and since I’ll be at Scott’s tomorrow, I figured I’d do my year-end/year-start report now. I’ll start by reviewing my “goals” from last year.

Resolution #1 – Find a New Job
INCOMPLETE. I tried, really, really hard. I mailed out well over a hundred applications, resumes, and letters of inquiry. I even had mild success; I interviewed for a behaviorist job I really wanted to get, but sadly, was not chosen for the position. But, when presented with adversity, I did what I always do: I reassess and re-plan. In this case, that meant taking the GREs and applying to grad school (again). I did the best I could on that one, but ultimately, the results were/are out of my control. This remains on the list for 2010.

Resolution #2 – Move Out
INCOMPLETE. I noted last year that this was largely dependent on goal #1. Part of me doesn’t even want to discuss this goal, because this is the only one that kind of stings that I couldn’t make good on. In some ways it’s good – Scott got a great new job and actually just got a promotion yesterday, and it makes going back to school easier because I don’t have to worry about leases or anything just yet. But in others…dear god, I need to be out of this house for a variety of reasons and it appears that I am stuck here until I either get into school or I get a new job. Sigh.

Resolution #3 – Be More Organized
BIG, HONKING, SHAMEFULLY INCOMPLETE. This one makes me laugh, because it was really setting myself up for failure to even put it on the list. Honestly, the most progress I’ve made towards this is regularly “tossing” the stash and reorganizing the yarn storage, but I can’t even mark this as a partially complete goal because I totally lost a knitting project. Remember that shawl I started over the summer? I lost it. Lost the whole thing, the bag with the yarn and pattern, and the size 6 KP Options needles (which is the part that really bums me out). The last time I saw it was when I packed it to take to Ohio over the summer, but my dad was just there for my grandma’s funeral, and both of my aunts say I didn’t leave it behind. I knew I hadn’t left it; the project never left my bag because for the entire five days we were out there, I was either in a car (and I can’t knit lace in a car – or at all, really), eating something in a restaurant, or watching the Michael Jackson news coverage because I left for Ohio two days after he died. Also, I may have lost my Bellatrix socks, as well, because I haven’t seen those in quite some time either, now I think about it…

So yeah. Organization = 1, me = 0. Fail.

Resolution #4 – Stop Making Excuses/Do More!
AS COMPLETE AS IT CAN BE. For a goal with no concrete “completion” criteria, I think I did pretty well with this one. For starters, I joined the gym, and have been going three days a week, most weeks, and the weeks that I don’t do three days, I do at least two. I can’t say I’ve lost a ton of weight, but I definitely have built some muscle and I do look better in my clothes. I’ve actually gone out with my coworkers for several work-related occasions and have been seeing quite a few of them socially just for fun. I still cop out of some things – who doesn’t? – but I’m not as isolated as I used to be socially, and even though I haven’t been doing anything extreme like traveling the world or climbing mountains, I feel better about myself and my ability to make friends and just generally be a person.

Despite the tally here, I still feel like 2009 has been a more successful year. I did as much as I could to progress on the two resolutions that were beyond my control, and I made more progress than I expected on #4, which I expected would have been my most difficult goal, because it required me to change some pretty ingrained aspects of my personality. For 2010, I would like to leave #s 1, 2, and 4 on the table. I’m taking #3 off, because, really, who am I kidding, and am adding some new ones:

Resolution #5 – Shut up and knit my damn yarn/spin my damn fiber.
Guys. I can’t even tell you how much yarn and fiber I have. I know there are people with more, but this is kind of an issue because apparently my stash is beginning to eat itself, if my missing project(s) are any indication. I have a large four-drawer Rubbermaid chest full of yarn, three queen-sized mattress bags stuffed under my bed full of yarn, yarn in random places in my room because they wouldn’t fit in the chest or the bags, and…wait for it…a 20-gallon Rubbermaid tub of unspun fiber in my closet. My stash may actually exceed my life expectancy, and I really need to shut up and quit being all, “I need new yarn!” because I totally don’t. However, I do still want to go to Rhinebeck in October and buy yarn, so I’m setting myself a goal of at least 8 completed projects for 2010, not counting the ones that are currently on the needles. I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but I’m not a particularly prolific knitter. (Also, a “completed project” also includes spinning, plying, and setting a batch of fiber.)

Resolution #6 – Give back.
I always say that I want to volunteer and be more charitable, and I never do. I’d like to change that this year. I have enough yarn for at least five Snuggles in my stash; I’d like to knit and donate those this year. I’m also thinking about volunteering at the local animal rescue, too. So I need to take that first step and contact the rescue to see if they have a spot for me.

There you have it. The State of the Orange.

Mirrored from winged orange.

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South Jersey got an inordinate amount of snow today. It’s been snowing since before 7 AM and is STILL snowing. We have probably close to two feet, if not more, on the ground. What do you when it snows out?

Well. I (foolishly) ran a few errands this morning, but I needed to grab the essentials…

Awesome shirt is awesome.

(Yes, I went out in the snow to grab this shirt. I also bought The Santa Clause on DVD.)

We played with the dogs in the snow…

Polar Bear Snowpuppy

Oh boy oh boy! Catching Snowflakes

I did some baking…

Holiday baking

And I took my little brother sledding on our mom’s 45-year-old Radio Flyer sled…

"It won't move!"

…Even if it was less sledding and more sinking and falling off. It was still fun.

Did you get snow? If you did, what do you do for YOUR snow day?

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Today was an odd day. It started with very bad news, which I can share, and very good news, which I can’t. (I can tell you that the good news isn’t mine, but it makes me happier than I have words for right now.) The bad news is that my grandmother on my dad’s side, my Grandma, passed away this morning. I’m having a hard time with it, but not as much because of her passing as because of my lack of grief. My Grandma has had Alzheimer’s for roughly the last ten years, and for the last seven or eight of those years, she hasn’t known me. We only saw her once a year as it was because my dad’s side of the family lives so far away, so that plus the Alzheimer’s didn’t add up to a lot of remembering. The last four years or so, she didn’t even know her own name. So in some ways, I let go of my Grandma a long time ago, and I don’t have a lot left to mourn. And in other ways, it’s…I don’t want to say it’s a relief, because that seems wrong. But visiting was always hard, especially for my dad, and it’ll be nice to visit my aunts without our “daily depression” as my dad puts it. And to be honest, living with advanced Alzheimer’s is really no way to live.

I always had a better relationship with my dad’s mom than I ever did with my mom’s mother, even though we see my mom’s parents every week. My dad’s mom was just more maternal, more grandmotherly. She was always happy to see us, always took us to Pizza Hut, and always made me bacon for breakfast when I visited. My Grandma and I are a lot alike, both physically (short, busty, round face, blue eyes) and in personality (always ready to go on a trip, nosy, domestic, and independent). My Grandma is the reason I knit. She always knit and crocheted and made toys and quilts, and I wanted to do it, too. She didn’t teach me, because we lived so far away, but it was a nice surprise for her when I made my first visit after I had taught myself. She was happy that I was knitting too, and impressed that I taught myself out of a book.

Grandma got married at 13 (I know) and had 11 kids (I KNOW), 9 of whom made it to adulthood (she had twins that died at birth), and 8 of whom I’ve met (my Uncle Finley died in Vietnam). So with that kind of a background, she was always after her kids and grandkids to get married. Even when the Alzheimer’s started to set in, in the early stages when she still knew who I was, she would always ask me the same three questions: “What day is it? What year is it? Do you have a boyfriend?” I never had the answer she wanted when she knew who I was, but I always made sure I told her, “And by the way grandma, I do have a boyfriend!” when I would visit, even when she was to the point where she didn’t know her own name. I like to think it made her happy.

Grandma was also awfully smart. She managed and ran several stores on her own, even with really no schooling because of being married at 13. She was loving and fun, but willful and stubborn.  She was a family woman, but still liked her independence. There is an awful lot of my Grandma in me, and that makes me happy. She was a pretty cool lady. :)

Scott and I have discussed baby names, and one of my favorites for girls has always been Isabelle, which was my Grandma’s middle name. I’m glad that I’ll be able to incorporate that into my own family someday. Maybe my Isabelle will be a knitter too.

…Well, okay. Probably my Isabelle will be a knitter. This is me we’re talking about. ;)

Mirrored from winged orange.

Krampus!

Dec. 14th, 2009 10:34 pm
wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

The Holidailies prompt for today challenges us to make up our own iconic character to symbolize Christmas. I thought about it briefly, considered instituting a mythical hippopotamus as the Christmas symbol, and then remembered Krampus.

According to Wikipedia, Krampus (otherwise known as “Krotchus” in America – I can’t make this stuff up!) is apparently a demon-like monster with claws who acts as an assistant to Saint Nick. While Santa makes his rounds, visiting the good children, Krampus finds the bad ones and punishes them. Young men traditionally dress up as Krampus in early December and terrorize women and children with rusty chains and bells. In some myths, Krampus actually carries naughty children away and dumps them in the pits of hell. How this is a Christmas story, I’m not quite sure, but there you have it. A letter opener.

…Oh, those wily Germans. ;) The Christmas pickle, Krampus…what will they think up next! (For what it’s worth, about a quarter of my heritage is German, so my ancestors undoubtedly partook in the Krampus myth.)

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This was a productive weekend in a lot of ways. First of all, I wrapped all the gifts currently in my possession:

Wrapping, Part One

And created a new gift that needs to be wrapped:

Modified Amanda Hat

It’s getting there. :)

Mirrored from winged orange.

Tradition

Dec. 12th, 2009 10:00 am
wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

I was kind of a slacker the last couple of days with my Holidailies posts, but we are allowed to miss a few days, and I had a good reason. Katie is home! She lives in Washington state, so I only see her once a year. This year (fortunately for me, not so much for her, since her visit home this week was not for a pleasant reason), I get to see her twice! She’s home this week and will be back again on the 23rd for more debauchery. And debauchery there was last night. I only ever really drink – as in, drink more than one alcoholic beverage in a row – when Katie’s home. She bought beer for herself and her friend Rance, and since I don’t like beer…well. She bought me bottled mojitos! Mojitos are my drink of choice, and these were really good; a little rum with a spearmint gum chaser. Mmm.

It was a good night. We watched Moonwalker because Rance and I love it and Katie had never seen it, and I powered through three mojitos in roughly two hours. By the end, it was kind of drunken Moonwalker, at least for me. Rance and I spent the entire movie yelling things like, “Michael Jackson is THE SHIT,” while Katie spent the movie yelling that plus, “Who WROTE this?!” and Rance and I would laugh hysterically. I demonstrated my ability to go up on my toes like Mike, which was fortunately before the mojitos started, and we decided that, “The whole world should take drugs because of me!” is the best line in the history of ever. When Rance started referring to them as “droogs,” that was it. I was done.

Last night was the first time I was the only tipsy person in the room, the first time I attempted to knit while intoxicated, and the first time I had to be driven home in my 25 years of existence. It was a good night.

Today I’m back in the Holidailies swing, and the prompt is one I’d like to answer. :)

Tell us about an odd-but-beloved holiday tradition you or your family celebrate.

Our tradition really isn’t that odd if you’re German, I think, but we didn’t start it because of our German heritage. Every year, my mom hangs the Christmas pickle on the tree, and us kids (who would be me, my brother, and Scott, even though we’re all over the age of 21 and look a little silly) race to find the pickle first. Whoever wins gets an extra present! I’ve won every year for the last four or five years. I’m excellent at The Christmas Pickle game, even though I’m short and have a marked disadvantage. We started doing the Christmas pickle about eight years ago. My ex-boyfriend’s mom did it at her annual Christmas open house, and I loved it so much I told my mom. She didn’t believe me, googled it, and found a pickle ornament of our own. Voila! A tradition was born.

Mirrored from winged orange.

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Christmas wrapping is going to kick my ass this year. A couple of things had started to trickle in through the mail over the last couple of days, and today I came home to a rather large amazon.com box in my room with even more presents. There are a few more that are still due to come in, but the bulk of it is in. Every day for the last week, I’ve come home from work, looked at the ever-increasingly pile, and said to myself, “Gee, I should start wrapping this” and then…don’t.

Usually Christmas wrapping goes as follows:

  • December 1 – 7: “I don’t need to wrap yet. I don’t have anywhere to put these presents anyway.”
  • December 7-14: “I should probably wrap at least a couple of these, huh? Maybe later.”
  • December 15-21: “These really need to get wrapped. It’s getting close to Christmas.”
  • December 21-23: “OH CRAP IT’S ALMOST CHRISTMAS AND NOTHING IS WRAPPED.”
  • December 24: “MUST. WRAP. FASTER.”

That last bullet? This is totally where I was last year. My dad and my brother always ask me to wrap the presents they’ve bought as well, because apparently they are helpless when it comes to anything that needs to look nice, so I wrap 2/3 of the gifts for my house. It’s crazy. Last year I was up until 2 AM Christmas morning wrapping, partly because of the sheer number of gifts and partly because of my own procrastination.

Let the games begin!

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I went out tonight with a couple of the girls from work to get drinks (OHAI, Bahamarita, your mango-y citrus-y deliciousness) and poke around the mall for a bit. I’m more or less done my shopping, except for a few odds and ends here and there. One of those odds and ends was a “Chinese Auction” gift for the work Christmas party. We had a $25.00 limit, so I was just looking for something that might be appealing but was still cheapish. My friends and I wound up in the Kitchen Kapers store because I had wandered in looking for Rachel Ray utensils for my mom. They didn’t have any, but I saw on the sale table this goofy looking thing… it turned out to be shot glasses on a magnetic tray, so they wouldn’t spill. It was on sale for $25. The girls were like, “Buy it, buy it!” because it was quick and easy and universal enough for the company party. And that’s when it dawned on me…

…If I’m out buying the first bullshit gift I see, isn’t everyone else that’s going to that party doing the same thing? And if everyone’s doing the same thing, aren’t I going to wind up with some cracked out gift that someone saw on sale at the “gourmet” store in the mall and thought, “Gee, I can get this for the office party and cross another item off my list!”? And if that’s how we’re buying gifts…what’s the point? Why do we all need to spend $25 we don’t have on some cursory gift that no one wants or needs? Why can’t the company party be more talking and laughing and eating and enjoying everyone’s company? What, no one wants to be there and be forced to socialize with each other, so let’s do a BS Pollyanna and call it a holiday party?

Suddenly I want to go to this party a whole lot less.

/thinly disguised work rant

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I’m participating in Holidailies this year, which is a pledge to update my blog daily between today and January 6, or as often as I can with holiday obligations, as long as I post 20 entries. There are daily prompts in case I get stuck, but today I think I have things to talk about.

This year, I tried avoid Christmas knitting. It’s never gone especially well for me (although in 2007, I almost “won” and finished everything on my list), and this year with grad school applications, I knew I wasn’t going to have time, so I didn’t even set myself up for the stress and disappointment. Unfortunately, I may have overcompensating by buying a ton of gifts to make up for the lack of handmade presents under the tree, even though I really don’t think anybody misses the handmade gifts all that much. I was going to finish my handspun scarf and my snowflake mitts so I would be nice and toasty for once while I waited outside on bus duty in the mornings.

Then my mom asked for a new pair of fingerless mitts. I whipped one out for her right damn quick; the other is marinating for a bit because I can’t knit two of the same thing back to back, even if the two things will only constitute ONE finished project when they’re both done. The one that’s done looks good, though:

Doe Hill Mitts

And then the two girls at work started asking whether we were exchanging gifts, so to save some money (since I’m sort of bankrupting myself on Christmas), I decided to knit stuff for them. It’s not much – a halfway finished hat, and a simple drop-stitch scarf – but still. I am amazed at how often I say I’m not going to do something (go to the gym, sleep in, knit for people, take work home with me) and then I turn around and do it anyway.

I need to go finish that hat, now. :)

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For our Letters to Santa for Macy’s Believe, I asked my students to write a letter with a Christmas wish for themselves and at least one Christmas wish for others. The “others” could be their family, their friends, or the world at large. A lot of my kids are really giving on the natch – last year, we had a book drive, and one of my kids spent $25 at the book fair and donated all the books he bought that day to the book drive. Most of my kids made really nice wishes for others, and I wanted to share some of them. :) Just for information’s sake, my kids are all 11 to 13, overwhelmingly male (I have one girl this year), and have either autism, Asperger’s Disorder, or are PDD-NOS.

——————————————————————————————————–

“…And I wish my mom would win the lottery because she doesn’t have a lot of money right now, and she deserves it.”

“…I wish for a video game for my friend. He loves video games and he can’t afford this one.”

“…I wish for my family to be happy. Also, I wish my extended family liked us more. My mom misses them.”

“…I wish all the sick kids had toys for Christmas because everyone should be happy at Christmas.”

And my personal favorite:

“…And I wish for happiness and Skittles for everyone!”

(This one ended with, “P.S. – I also wish I could meet the elves. They could come to my house. I like elves.”)

——————————————————————————————————–

For as crazy as they make me sometimes, I have some good kids. These are the days when I’m proud to be a teacher. The world needs people like my kids. :)

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Happy holiday season, everyone! I love the holidays. They make me unnaturally happy. I feel like a better person at Christmas, and I kind of want to be a better person at Christmas. In that vein, I’m actually starting with the man (woman?) in the mirror this holiday. I’m having my students write Letters to Santa for the Macy’s Believe campaign, and we’re starting a Giving Tree bulletin board to track the good things we’re doing this holiday season. I’m also planning to knit at least one more Snuggle and hopefully some mittens for my LYS’s Giving Tree. I think that will be in my New Year’s goals this year – giving back. This year has been a better year for me. I want to make next year better for someone else.

Last year, I posted an entry on my anniversary about how 2009 would be OUR year. My anniversary was yesterday. Scott and I have officially been together for five years. That’s 60 months, or 1461 days (there was a leap year in there), or roughly 2,628,000 minutes for those that are counting. In other words, that’s a long time! Our relationship could go to kindergarten. It’s pretty crazy.

Roses!

What’s also pretty crazy is that, in a lot of ways, 2009 was really our year. Not in all the ways we imagined it, of course – I still don’t have a new job, for example, and Scott hasn’t sold a TV series. But I did apply for grad school, and Scott did get a steady new job in communications/film – he’s a content/outreach producer for a network run by Madison Square Garden. I did quit my part-time job, even though I didn’t get a raise or a flashy new salary to replace it. And we are getting engaged, probably in 2010. My ring is on hold at Helzberg, but Scott’s keeping a pretty tight lid on the details of when I’m going to get it. :)

Even though I’m not where I want to be in my life just yet, for the first time, I feel like I’m making real steps towards getting there. Submitting my grad apps, going to the gym, picking out my engagement ring, booking the trip to Disney…they seem like small things, but they’re all adding up to something big. I’m hoping by this time next year, I’ll be happily situated in a graduate program and planning my wedding. I feel like Scott and I are finally getting a handle on this whole crazy ride that we’re on, and sooner or later, it’s gonna be legen…wait for it…DARY.

Happy December, everyone. :)

Merry Christmas!

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Dear New Jersey Drivers,

When it rains, please do not drive like morons. Water falling from the sky is not an excuse to do any of the following:

  • Speed up unnaturally
  • Slow down unnaturally
  • Bob and wave in traffic
  • Use the shoulder as a passing lane
  • STOP, because, oh shit, you might HIT a raindrop and that would be catastrophic
  • Drive without your lights. Guys. Come on. It gets dark at 4:30 now. Also, wipers on, lights on. It’s the law.
  • TEXT AND DRIVE. For the love of god and yarn and all that is holy…what is wrong with you?
  • For that matter, use a cellphone at all and drive. You can’t handle it.

Just so you know, these rules also apply in snow, sleet, or perfectly normal weather. Just don’t be tools, okay? Thanks.

_________________________________________________________

Dear Work,

I know this is a short week. I know we have a long holiday weekend coming up. Kids are squirrelly. I get that. But is there a reason you need to send me a child who is actively trying to kill me? Today he attempted to both hip-check me with a desk and trip me. Also, just so ya know, this was not the first time for these attempts on my life. Just sayin’.

So in short, please stop trying to kill me. Thanks.

CC: Workweek, with attachment
Attachment: GO FASTER.

_________________________________________________________

Dear AMAs,

I know we had this discussion last night, but since everyone at work felt the need to bring it up today, I feel it bears repeating. You were highly disappointing. Taylor Swift? Really?

Also, Adam Lambert…part of me wants to never speak of this again, because it was just this side of horrifying. However, part of me feels the need to ask why, out of all the numbers in the show, this was chosen as the closing number? This number cemented my fear that the music industry is all flash and no substance, and honestly? You can do better. Let’s go, step it up. Bring. It.

… Thanks.

_________________________________________________________

Dear Slapsgiving,

I love you. You made my Monday worthwhile.

Love and slaps!

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wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

I stayed home from work today. Apparently I’m having an allergic reaction to the Z-Pak I was given for a sinus infection, which basically means low-grade fevers, stomachaches, nausea, a nasty headache, and not a lot of eating or moving, both of which cause lovely gastrointestinal pyrotechnics. I slept pretty much all day, but around 3:00, I decided I’d better get up so I’m not up all night. I have to go back to work tomorrow.

Since I’ve been up, I wanted to be productive, so I pulled out my Moonwalker batt. I’ve been kind of mulling over how to spin this, and then I saw a project on Ravelry. It was this lace scarf, knit out of handspun pastel singles. I loved the color progression more than the pattern, but the pattern really is pretty, looking at the other projects. My brain immediately replaced the pretty pastels with the blues and purples in my Moonwalker batt, and I went, “OOOH! DO WANT!” The nice thing about spinning singles is that, first of all, I won’t lose any yardage in plying. Also, there will be minimal opportunity for me to screw it up, unlike the great beaded yarn fiasco of 2009. It’s still in time out. We don’t talk about it much.

So anyway, I unrolled the batt, got an idea of the color sequence, and decided that I wanted to mirror it. So the pretty turquoise is in the middle, and will be flanked on both sides by purple, dark blue/indigo, and black. And once I decided that…I took a million pictures! Click for bigger.

Moonwalker Colors Moonwalker Unrolled Moonwalker Macro - Dark

Moonwalker Macro - Medium Moonwalker Macro - Light Moonwalker Spin Sequence

So much blue. I love it. LOLRabbit says it best:

Humorous Pictures

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I’m glad that I’ve chosen this point in my life to pursue a doctoral program…

I feel that my experiences make me an ideal candidate for…

I would be right at home in the school psychology department of…

Based on the program website, I think I would contribute nicely to the atmosphere..

I really dig the vibe y’all have going on over there…

Look, I really love kids and I’ve been doing this for three years…

I’d be awesome in a doctoral program because I’m a huge nerd.

…Just let me in and give me some cash, okay?

(This personal statement stuff is getting old. Is it December 1 yet?)

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Well, my Monday morning actually looked a little crazy. It sort of started with me running back into the house, yelling, “I FORGOT MY PANTS!” In reality, I had put on the wrong pants – navy blue instead of black – gotten down the street on the way to work and came running back for the right ones, but I was reminded of this How I Met Your Mother episode where Marshall forgets his pants, and giggled the whole way.

I knew it was going to be an interesting Monday, especially because after that setback, I was still a good 15 minutes early for work. Monday’s starting off well.

Work itself was uneventful, but I felt like going to the gym, which hasn’t happened in while. I’ve been going, but I haven’t felt like it in weeks. Today I was really in the mood to go, which was nice for once. Monday’s not so terrible.

And then I get home and there’s a package waiting for me from Krissy! I love mail, especially spontaneous, unexpected mail. So I opened up the package and pulled out lots and lots of lovelies. Holy cow, Monday just got awesome!

Krissy rocks!

Some fantastically bright knee socks, a promo badge from This Is It (because my lame-o theater didn’t have any, so Krissy sent me hers. Awwwwww. :), and…Moonwalker! I can’t even tell you how freaking excited I was by that. I love Moonwalker in a way I can’t quite explain and now I own my very, very own copy. SO HAPPY.

I really have pretty wonderful friends. Scott bought me a This Is It poster (and a 3 DVD set of MJ videos) out of the goodness of his not-particularly-MJ-lovin’-but-very-supportive heart when he was in the city a couple of weeks ago. Krissy sends me joy in the mail. Katie’s not buying me Ghosts for Christmas. Someone’s sending out a major love over here. You guys are awesome. :)

Other happiness includes the fact that I am done spinning for my alpaca scarf. I have a little more left to ply and then everything needs a wash and whack, but it came out exactly as I hoped it would. It’s slubby and thick and thin and underspun in some places and soft and squishy and fluffy. I tried long draw spinning for the first time with this project, and I really loved it. It’s going to be a really beautiful one-row handspun scarf. After the beaded yarn of DOOM, this was exactly what I needed to remind me that no, I don’t really fail at spinning. ;)

Handspun Rhinebeck Alpaca

Also, over the weekend, we did Leaf Roundup 2009. I hate raking leaves, but we had a good weekend for it, some extra hands, and we managed to bang out the majority of the raking. We have 27 trees on half-acre my parents’ house sits on (I know), and they aren’t bare yet, but the rest of the raking will be maintenance, not a huge chore like it was over the weekend. Still, look at these leaf piles! They’re crazy! The leaves are (mostly) dry, but there are…so…many of them. What’s in the picture is maybe a fifth of the leaves. The piles are everywhere, all along the front of our house, and they are well over four feet tall. I’m 5′0″, and we had a picture of me next to one, but it was terrible. Still. You could kill me, bury me in the leaf piles, and no one would ever find me. Unreal.

Leaf Round-Up 2009

And finally, revisiting Moonwalker for a moment, the final reason why I am joyously happy on a Monday. Remember that really fabulous batt I bought at Rhinebeck? The one I wanted all year? I knew there was a reason I loved it.

I knew there was a reason I liked this batt.

Yeah, that’s what I said. ;)

Mirrored from winged orange.

wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

My weekend, in a nutshell:

Good Weekend

Translation: Michael Jackson’s This Is It, two full bobbins of alpaca all spun up and ready to be plied, my stuffed llama buddy, and six pages of notes for the Personal Statement of DOOM.

I spent probably ten hours of my weekend – six yesterday and four today – hard at work on that damn statement. Man, this is hard. The last time I applied to grad school, during my senior year in college, I didn’t find it this difficult to write a statement about myself. I had one basic draft that I futzed with a little, but nothing like this. This go-round, I really struggled. I tried writing a coherent draft from the get-go and that just exploded in my face. I tried bulleting points to get me started, as Jacey suggested, but it wasn’t getting me anywhere. I tried walking away and leaving it alone, like Katie said. I read through Krissy’s personal statement from her applications about a gazillion times. I even looked at the other prompts for my other three schools. I think that was what ended it for me – there WERE no prompts for the other schools! Just “tell us about your professional interests and career goals”. Well, balls. What the hell was I going to do with THAT?

At some point, it dawned on me that I could, with minor adjustments, use the same statement for all four schools, since the other three had no concrete prompt for me to write from. I finally just stared at the prompt I posted the other day and broke it down into what they wanted to know. I made each one a heading in a Word file and wrote something coherent for each category: Personal & Work Experience, Research Experience & Interests, Coursework, and the Damn Diversity Crap (yes, that was my heading. I was a little bitter). I wound up with six pages of reasonably coherent thoughts, in no particular order, and with no transitions or connections to anything else in the statement. But it’s something! The max length for Lehigh (the school with the prompt) is two pages, so there’s a lot of editing that needs to be done. That’s where I stopped, because I couldn’t figure out what to cut and what to leave in. I’m going to let it be for a day or so and then come back to it to see if it makes more sense later.

I still kind of wish I could submit the version I ran past Katie: “I love my students with autism. I want to be a psychologist, so please accept me and give me funding, and I’ll knit you a sweater. I’ll even poop rainbows for you. The end.”

Yeah, that’s the state my brain was in when I was finished. So rather than do anything that required any of my neurons to actually fire, I pulled out my spinning so I could finally finish the alpaca for the Rhinebeck One-Row scarf. Halloween cake challenges on Food Network plus nice, mindless spinning helped my brain re-solidify a little. So in that picture, there’s eight ounces of alpaca – four of the brown and four of the gray – that will get plied together tomorrow after the singles have rested a bit. I’m hoping I’ll be able to start knitting by Thursday, because I have two days off work this week for NJ Teacher’s Convention. Hello, four day weekend. I’ve missed you.

Despite this year being the lamest Halloween ever, what with five trick-or-treaters, the rain, and absolutely no good movies on TV, this was still a decent weekend. I was very productive; besides the spinning and the statement-ing, I also made sugar skull dough for my Spanish lesson tomorrow on Dia de los Muertos. I went Friday and saw This Is It, which was as awesome as it could possibly have been, given the circumstances. I don’t think it’s possible for me to have any MORE love for “Smooth Criminal,” and I will probably giggle each and every time I see a cherry picker for the rest of my life. I’m going again on Thursday night with a friend, which makes me happy. Scott went to New York today and bought me a present, and that makes me happy.

It was a good weekend. :)

Mirrored from winged orange.

wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, EVERYONE!

Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y’alls neighborhood

The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom

And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller

mj thriller zombieshoulder

(That’s why you got to feel threatened by me.)

Mirrored from winged orange.

wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

I sat down tonight to look at personal statement stuff for grad apps, and I’m finding it really frustrating that I can’t think of an interesting way to answer these fairly straightforward questions for one of my grad school applications:

For Ed.S. applicants:

1. Describe your professional interests and how your interests match up with our school psychology training program.
2. Tell us about your applied experiences and how these experiences relate to the field of School Psychology.
3. Describe your experiences in working with individuals and/or groups from diverse backgrounds.

Really, this should be way easy, but I’m having a hard time. Do I just answer straightforwardly? Do I include amusing anecdotes? Do I write a poem? They give me two pages to work with.  I need to give answers that show what I can do and what I’ve been doing with the last three years of my life, but also answers that show me as a strong candidate for funding, which in this case, is an autism training grant I would give my left arm for. Where’s the line between interesting and informal? Should I just write the draft and punch it up later? Sadly, this statement has to stand on its own, because the other schools are more research focused. I’m a little afraid to touch those, because the last time I wrote research-focused personal statements, I wound up sounding like, “Wheeee I wanna be a psychologist wheeeeee!” *headdesk* I just can’t process stuff anymore.

My life would be easier if I could submit a knitting sample as a personal statement. Or a sleeping hamster.

I’m just not on it these days. I think I’m coming down with something, I’m unfocused, I’m snippy, and I’m impatient. That’s spilling over into work a little; today I was really impatient (and maybe a little short) with all the kids, even the ones who are never on my nerves and really didn’t do anything out of the ordinary or annoying. On the way home today, I tried to go the back way, made a wrong turn, and wound up about half an hour out of my way. Again, this was on my way back from my job, where I have been working for three years, to my house where I have lived with few interruptions since I was six months old. I’ve been seeing things out of the corner of my eyes lately – things I know logically are probably reflections off my glasses, but that really, honestly, for all the world, resemble men running by my door or right next to my car. I’ve been smelling weird things – yesterday I came home and smelled wet dog (neither of the dogs had been out or were wet or were even in the vicinity) in the kitchen and then later, I smelled hamster cage in my room near my desk. I haven’t had a hamster in five years. Christmas is coming, and with the exception of a few, “Oh man, it’s almost Christmas and I haven’t thought about gifts yet!” moments, I haven’t really given it a second thought. I’m not on it.

I don’t know if I’m just stressed out and potentially sick, or if I’m really cracking up. It’s freaking me out, not gonna lie.

Mirrored from winged orange.

wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

Or, alternately: “Lloyd Says, ‘Don’t Trust a Ho’.”

It’s Monday and I miss Rhinebeck already. I was missing Rhinebeck once I got back to the Garden State Parkway yesterday, because people don’t drive like jackasses in upstate New York. Honestly, I was on the Parkway about thirty seconds before I was honked at twice, passed, and cut off on a lane switch. Sometimes I am so not proud to be from New Jersey.

Anyway. Rhinebeck was, as usual, awesome. Amanda and I had a really good time, even though it was gray and cold and kind of rainy. We knew we had to get a bad year weather-wise eventually, but I was kind of hoping it would be some other year far in the future at a time when I maybe couldn’t go to Rhinebeck (i.e. a time that does not exist). The drive was really pleasant, and fast this year! We also tried an alternate way of getting into the fairgrounds, which was amazing, because we waited maybe two minutes to park instead of the 45 minutes we waited last year. I was better prepared for the cold this year, and did not freeze. And on the way up, Amanda played me a song called “Don’t Trust a Ho”. I died when I heard the lyrics. “Did they just say, ‘Don’t trust a ho’?!” “Yep.” “*cracks up* That is sound advice!”

(Also good advice? Following the cut so your blog reader doesn’t die when the pictures load.)

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from winged orange.

January 2010

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