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.

wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

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.

wingedorange: Mr. Muggles! (Default)

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. :)

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.

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)

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.

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.

January 2010

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