wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

Man, I was doing really well with the updates until August, and then The Suck happened. The Suck being that I took my GREs and did…not as well as I’d hoped. I think the GRE practice tests are – pardon my (completely characteristic) uncouth language – a crock of shit. I was scoring well into the 680-700 range on the math section on the computerized practice test ETS sent me, and then I got to the actual test and got a freakin’ 590. For reference, that’s only 40 points higher than I got on the math section when I last took the GREs in October of 2005. Niiiice.

I have opinions on the GRE, and my hatred for it is almost unnatural. It’s deep and it’s real. I think the computer format is awful because you can’t omit questions and you can’t go back to questions later, so everything anyone has ever taught you about how to take a test to maximize your score does not apply. You can’t just not answer questions if you run out of time at the end, because they penalize you for that. You can’t say, “I’ll take a little more time on this questions because the others look easier,” not only because you can’t skip ahead to see the other questions, but also because it’s a “smart” test. To use one of Katie’s new favorite terms, there is a little fuckface elf in there that says, “Oh, boy, you got a question right! Well, good on you that time, but we can’t let that happen again. Here, have a harder one! Muahahaha!” Or, conversely, if you get one wrong, “Well, good, I’m doing my job. Have an easier question because I pity your weak intellect, but just know that I’m taking points off for that error there. Muahahaha!” The worst part is that it totally psychs you out, because you can tell when the questions get easier, so you start going, “Oh, balls, I know how to do these blindfolded; I must be failing!” and that then screws your mindset for the whole rest of the test. It’s cruel and inhuman. Don’t take them if you can avoid it.

The point is, I don’t think a score of 590 will get me anything in terms of funding for grad school. I can get all the acceptances in the world, but if the program won’t fund me, I can’t go, because I refuse to take an additional $200,000 worth of loans. I just won’t do it. I know a lot of programs use cut scores for both admissions and funding, and I’m betting that anything under a 600 or a 650 gets cut. So I registered to take the GREs again on Sept. 28th because my school is off for Yom Kippur and I figured I’m better to take them on a long weekend where I’m not coming off of 5 days teaching hyper children. I’ve been trying to put in at least an hour every night studying and mostly just being able to complete a certain number of problems within a time limit, because that was my biggest problem – I got down to 10 minutes and still had about 13 problems to go. I answered the last question at the 1 second mark, so clearly I have issues with time management. If I can raise my score another 50 or 60 points, I can put myself right in that range. It just irks me that I had to pay ETS a grand total of $300 ($150 per test) to stress myself out and lower my self-esteem.

In between my bouts of studying, I’ve been doing a lot of knitting. I recently finished several things, including a hat for my brother, and a baby hat and shrug for my cousin’s baby girl on the way. Since I’ve been doing so well with finishing things and using up yarn and all that, and since I had to buy a yarny birthday present for Katie anyway, I stalked the shop updated and scored a skein of Green Eyed Monster’s sock yarn in the Dye For Glory-winning Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes colorway. Just as my hatred for the GRE is unnatural, so is my torrid love affair with this colorway. Again – it’s deep and it’s real. So real, in fact, that I only had the yarn for about an hour and a half before I wound it up and cast on a project. I’m making Snowflake Fingerless Gloves with it, which I think will be fabulous eventually. Since the Wizard Wheezes is so busy, I decided to only use one other color -Dale Baby Ull in white. Sadly, there are a few spots in the Wheezes that didn’t get dyed and are consequently white, but I’m hoping it won’t disrupt the pattern too much. Anyway, the original pattern calls for seven colors. So I pulled out my trusty highlighter and a black & white pattern printout, and set about converting the pattern to two colors. Also, I started the knitting (click for bigger):

Winter Wheezes Start

There’s a little less knitting now than there was in that photo, because I’m pretty sure I screwed up the colorwork, so I went back to the plain white row to start the diamond motif again. Aside from my obvious inability to read and follow printed directions (hence the post-its with the arrows in the photo) and the copious need to frog, it’s going really well for my first attempt at Fair Isle. Sadly, I still cannot knit continental, so I’m a dropper when switching colors. It’s slowing me down, but it’s forcing me to pay a little more attention, too, so the Wheezes is always the dominant yarn. Because it’ll be so easy to tell if I made a mistake with this pattern, I foresee much more frogging and tinking. Hopefully I can finish these before Rhinebeck. Of course, if I do, that’s an invitation for it to be 80 degrees and sunny that weekend. ;)

Mirrored from winged orange.

wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

(…you take ‘em both, and there you have the facts of life… :)

As often happens in life, we’ve had good news and bad news at Chez Winged Orange.

The bad news is that I was not hired for that job I interviewed for. What makes me mad about that isn’t that I wasn’t hired, because I can completely understand if someone more qualified came in and got the job, but that the rejection letter they sent me was dated Aug. 3. This means that they knew they weren’t going to hire me when I called in on Aug. 5, and they told me that they hadn’t made a decision yet. They likely knew when I called the week before, as well. Now, I completely understand not wanting to give someone bad news over the phone, especially if you’re just the secretary. But why lie to me? Why not just say, “Yes, we’ve made a decision, and we’ve sent out a mailing to our candidates”? Or hell, why not just give me the bad news nicely? Something like, “Yes, we’ve made a decision, and we’ve decided to go with a more qualified candidate.” It’s straight, to the point, and not inflammatory. It’s not like they’d be saying, “You suck and that’s sad!” Ugh.

The good news is, on the same day I was not hired for my job prospect, Scott was hired for his! He’s working for a new sports channel at Madison Square Garden now, doing camera and editing to start off, with a lot of opportunity for advancement. His starting salary is more than I make at my job after two years, so that’s fantastic for us. We’re still going to be living with our parents for at least another year, mainly because I still can’t afford rent AND my student loans, and Scott doesn’t make enough to support both of us, but we’ll be able to afford to do fun things again, and our Disney trip isn’t going to break anybody.

The biggest “good news” (although, really, for me, it’s fantastic, wonderful, stupendous, news-of-the-century news) is that now that Scott has a steady job at a reputable company with advancement opportunities, we can really think seriously about getting engaged some time soon! We can go ring shopping! Scott won’t tell me exactly when I’m going to get my ring, but he did say within the next six months to a year. I want a long engagement anyway (two years maybe), because hopefully I’ll be going back to school next year and I don’t want to rush wedding planning, but I’m really thrilled to be making serious steps towards our future after five years of theoretical “when we finally get married…” discussions. Eeeeeeee!

Now that I know for sure I’ve not been hired for a glamorous new job, I’ve kicked the studying back in high gear. I take my GREs again on Aug. 20th, and there were like two weeks in there where I didn’t study because I was stressed about the job results. I think it’ll be okay; from the stuff I’ve been doing lately, I seem pretty on top of my game, but then again, I haven’t gotten to the higher math stuff yet. That having been said, I’d rather study math because it’s more active. The verbal stuff annoys me; analogies suck ass, in case you were wondering, and the book I have seems like it’s just yelling, “Know more words! Be smarter!” It frustrates me, and makes me want to punch someone in the face. Ideally I want to break 700 in both sections; realistically, I’d settle for a 680-700+ math and a 650+ verbal.

Mirrored from winged orange.

wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

So after I spent all that time spinning, beading, and crying about my Aeolian yarn…I think it’s going to be okay.

I sat down yesterday to unply the beaded thread from the rest of the singles, and it was apparent in the first thirty seconds that if I kept it up, I was going to have a hell of a mess. Fortunately, yesterday was a rational day for me, so I stopped trying to unply and decided just to wind the hank into a ball. As I was winding (by hand, because my ballwinder kept trying to eat the beads), it became apparent that when under a little tension, the goofy plying issue with the thread evened out. It still looks pretty nutty in the ball, but I have faith that if I choose to knit with it, it’ll be more or less okay.

I’m spinning up the other half of the singles now, and once I see what kind of yardage I get, I can see how to proceed. I know that I will not be beading the second half of the yarn, just doing a standard two-ply. My thought so far is to use the non-beaded yarn to knit the main body of the shawl and then use the beaded part for the border. However, since the border takes 45% of the yarn, it’s really going to depend on what the yardage is on the second half of the spinning. If I’m short, I can always substitute a commercial yarn or spin something else.

It’s to the point where I don’t even know where I could possibly wear this shawl, but I’m so far invested in it that I. Will. Have. A. Handspun. Aeolian.

In other news – no, I still haven’t heard about my job. I’m hoping tomorrow will be the day, because I’m tired of literally ducking my principal to avoid being asked about my contract. Seriously, on Friday, I saw him coming down the hall and I dashed into the ladies’ room and stayed there until the hallway was quiet.  Scott’s making out a little better; he has a second interview for his job prospect on Wednesday, which is encouraging.

Let’s see. For those who care (i.e., Katie), I’m still going to the gym. I went Wednesday/Thursday/Friday last week, which may have been a mistake, because I am so sore. I’m used to doing every other day, but things came up last Monday & Tuesday, so I rearranged. Also, I completely stand by the claim I made on Plurk that Michael Jackson’s “Morphine” is the shit for workouts – I ran 8.5 mph on Friday while listening to it, which honestly is crazy, considering that when I started going to the gym (sans-”Morphine,” mind you) I could only do about 3 mph. It’s at the top of my workout playlist now, so we’ll see if it continues to motivate. :)

Mirrored from winged orange.

Firsts

Jul. 29th, 2009 07:54 pm
wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

I kind of thought that at this point in my life, I would be through with little firsts and onto bigger ones…first home, first baby, first brand-new car, that kind of thing. Apparently, the little firsts are still coming. In the last two weeks, I:

  • was a bridesmaid for the first time.
  • cried at a wedding for the first time.
  • attended my first bachelorette party.
  • got my first manicure (and liked it!).
  • uttered the phrase, “I can’t wait to go to the gym” for the first time.
  • actually wanted people to take my picture at a social function for the first time.
  • wore my first “Spanx”.
  • caught the “bouquet” at a wedding for the first time.
  • realized for the first time that going to the gym is not, in fact, a waste of time, because I am losing weight.

Granted, most of those are related to my roommate’s wedding, and despite my initial fears (and thanks to the gym routine and the Spanx), I was able to breathe, sit, and EAT! in my bridesmaid’s dress. I could have even danced if there had been dancing involved in the wedding festivities. Photographic evidence:

Jaime Dance Reception - Scott Jaime & Trike Ceremony - Jaime Entrance

There are tons more photos on Flickr, and a lot of them came out really well. I had a really good time at the wedding, needless to say. :)

In other news, I’m still waiting on the hiring decision for that job I interviewed for, much to my chagrin and to that of my bosses. At my interview last week, I was told if I didn’t hear Thursday, I’d hear by Monday or Tuesday at the latest, as the office is closed Fridays during the summer. Thursday came and went, the weekend flew by in a wedding-related blur, and then it was Monday. Then Tuesday. Nothing. I called yesterday, and was told they hadn’t reached a decision yet and hoped they’d know within a week. Not gonna lie, the waiting’s stressing me out, because a.) my principal is kind of on my case about it, since he either needs my contracts or needs to know if he has to put an ad in the paper for a new TA, and b.) I feel like my entire life is riding on this job. I’m trying not to make so much of it, but if I get the position, I’ll be making at least twice what I’m making now, and can pay down my loans, move out, and just generally start really living my life again. Scott also had a job interview last week (the day before mine), so we’re both waiting to see if things are finally going to turn around. Lately, phone calls have been going like this:

Me: Hi, hon. Do you have a job?!

Scott: I don’t know yet; do you?!

So that’s the State of the Orange. Fingers crossed that soon I’ll have another first: first major job change.

Mirrored from winged orange.

wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

Have any of you felt cold lately? A bone-chilling, all over sensation that starts with your feet and works its way up? If so, I apologize deeply. It’s my fault.

You see, I’ve caused hell to freeze over. I did the unthinkable.

I went to the gym today. And I enjoyed it.

I’m not enjoying it now, though. My arms and shoulders are rebelling in the worst way possible. I put my hair in a ponytail after my shower, and let me tell you, it was an effort to raise my arms above my head. I’m going to be in even sorrier shape tomorrow. This is the part of my body that says, “See, this is why the gym is bad, you dumbass.” This is why I have avoided anything resembling heavy exercise for 25 years.

But while I was there, doing my 20 minutes on the treadmill and 25 on the elliptical, I was enjoying myself a little bit. The anti-gym part of my body was going, “Seriously, how can you possibly be liking this?!” The rest of me was kind of getting a kick out of working up a sweat, and pounding out the beat of “Smooth Criminal” on the treadmill. It was also saying to the anti-gym part, “You are not 20 anymore, and all of those pictures of you on Facebook from junior year of college? When you could still fit into those cute tank tops because you worked at the barn all summer and got buffish? Yeah, you don’t look like that anymore. You ain’t losin’ that spare tire unless you get off your ass and work for it!” I really felt like I was doing something good for myself, even though I was kind of dying there on the exercise equipment.

Also, I’m in my college roommate’s wedding on the 26th, and since she’s a low-key, nontraditional kind of girl, she decided we should all be allowed to buy our own sundress. Well. I bought a killer one. I’m not a girly girl. I don’t like dresses. But this dress…this is adorable. Sadly, however, it also runs crazy small. I’m a 12 in dresses, maybe a 14 if it’s cut weird. I ordered a 12 and had to send it back. I got a 14 and had to send it back. It only comes in sizes up to 16, so that’s what I finally ordered, even though the dress itself is only a couple of inches wider than my old high school graduation dress, which is a 10. So it’s really a 12 masquerading as a 16, which meant I needed to lose five pounds to zipper it.

I tried it on again last week. I knew I’d lost some weight just by watching what I ate a bit, and I was right – the dress zippered. But there was still a problem. See how the description of the dress says, “Room to breathe”? Well, I couldn’t! I can get into the dress, but I can’t sit, dance, eat, sneeze, or exahale. These are all desirable functions to be able to perform at a wedding. Especially that last one. In a fit of desperation, frenzy, and an intense desire NOT to be the token fat girl in the wedding party, I registered for Planet Fitness this morning. And then I drove to the gym this afternoon and worked my ass off. I’m hoping that if I work hard over the next two weeks, I’ll be able to breathe while I’m performing my bridesmaidly duties. After the wedding, I’m hoping that if I work really hard, I’ll look damn cute in my vacation pictures from Disney in December!

In other news, I haven’t reached a definite decision on the Aeolian yarn, mostly because I’ve still not washed the first skeins. I’ll get there. I’m leaning towards just spinning the second batt and seeing what I get. Worst comes to worst, I’ll just order some KP lace yarn for Aeolian and use the handspun for some other lace project. I’m trying not to be too bitter about the whole thing because the merino was a joy to spin, and the yarn is really pretty, if not exactly what I wanted/needed for the shawl. It was a learning experience, and I have learned that beads and I should retreat to separate corners forever. ;) Still, if you have thoughts on the last entry, please, comment! I wanna hear them!

This should be a good week. On deck: Scott’s coming Wednesday, dinner out on Thursday, school field trip to the zoo on Friday, and also on Friday, Half Blood Prince in IMAX!

Mirrored from winged orange.

wingedorange: Fuzzball from Captain Eo (fuzzball)

I love summer, especially this summer, because it’s not been oppressively hot. I went to the Philadelphia Zoo yesterday, and the weather was fairly nice. There were a couple of uncomfortably hot moments, but overall, it was pleasant weather. Lots of the animals were out, too!

Rainbow Keets Fud Pleez Prairie Doggin It

Sleeping Merlin Okapi Chuck

You can click any of those for bigger, and there are more photos and a couple of videos on my Flickr page. Not to be missed are the large version of the Prehensile Tailed Porcupine (you can see his little tongue!), or the video of the crazy duck that dogged us during lunch. He was too funny. I’m going to the Zoo on Friday with my students, so I kind of hope we see that duck again.

I’m alone today, so I felt it was a good idea to finally get the first half of Aeolian shawl yarn off the bobbin. I’ve put off spinning the second half because I am so ambivalent about this yarn, and the combination of the shawl pattern I chose and the yarn I’ve got so far. So before I explain my issues, I’ll show you the yarn first. ;) Once again, click for bigger.

Aeolian First Batch Aeolian First Batch Skeined

Okay. So here are my issues:

  1. Not enough yardage. Between this and the other skein I got from the first batt, I only have about 160 yards. Assuming I get similar yardage from batt #2, I’ll only have 320 yards, instead of the 400 (bare minimum) I need for the small size of the Aeolian shawl.
  2. The ply is loose in places, due to the quilting thread I used to ply and also to the learning curve involved in spinning super thin beaded yarn. This might change once it’s washed, though.
  3. I worry about the structural integrity of the yarn. There are a couple of places where the plying thread snapped and needed to be knotted, and in the first skein, there are a couple of places where the single snapped and needed to be knotted. Since it’s superwash merino, it couldn’t be spit spliced. :P I don’t think it’ll hold up to frogging well at all.

So, what do I do now?! I haven’t spun the second batt yet, because I’m trying to decide what to do with this yarn. The way I see it, these are my options:

  1. Spin the second batt with my new laceweight whorl and see what yardage I get. If it’s not up to 400 yards minimum, I can reassess from there. This locks me into a laceweight project, though, since I’ll have four ounces of wool spun up into laceweight.
  2. Spin the second batt a different way/as a different weight and knit a small scarf from the first couple of highly imperfect skeins and something different from the second batt.

I’d still like to knit Aeolian, but I don’t think this is the yarn to do it with, especially with the structural issues it has and my propensity to make mistakes that require frogging. I could scrap the (very stalled) Laminaria I started and knit Aeolian with my KP Shimmer instead. But still…what do I do with the yarn I’ve spun and with the other batt I still have to spin?! Any options I missed? Opinions? Pattern suggestions? Sedatives? Therapy?

Mirrored from winged orange.

January 2010

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