Friday, December 30, 2005

Mom's socks

So this year I was a little bit behind on my Christmas knitting. In fact, my dad did receive one finished sock and one half finished sock for a gift. I was even knitting on it Christmas morning before anyone woke up, but it still didn't get finished.

As for mom's present. First she got a Branching Out scarf I made way back in the summer. Second, she got two balls of yarn with an IOU for a pair of socks to be made out of the yarn! Erin's been a busy girl this Christmas season and really should be cut some slack. I really had no time to even start them and mom understood.

Well, this nice (or you could also call it mind-numbing) car ride from NY to NC has provided me with some excellent time to start on her socks. (Incidentally I finished my dad's socks on Christmas day).
I decided I really wanted to try Grumperina's Jaywalking socks, plus mom really liked the pattern, so I tried it. It's very easy and pretty quick. The only things I've changed, and am planning on changing for mom's socks is instead of knitting a heel flap and all that, I decided to make it a short-row heel. It's my favorite and it just tends to fit better. Also, mom seemed to think that the "seams" made by the pattern might be uncomfortable on the top of her foot while she wears shoes so I only did the pattern for the leg. It still looks cute I think.

By the way, the yarn is from KnitPicks. It's called Dancing and it's made out of cotton, wool, nylon and elastic. It's a bit stretchy and pretty easy to work with. I'm sure mom will love them when I'm finished. I think her favorite part is that they'll be machine washable! Anything to make life easier right?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

A Very Merry Christmas

It's almost been a week since I last wrote. I feel so disconnected! Anyway, my mom loved all the comments you left. She definitely got a kick out of them.

So where do I begin to catch up on my past week. Well, Christmas Eve, my family and I drove up to my apartment to move up my larger things (also to put up the drapes, which of course, I forgot to get a picture of. Don't worry I will definitely get one!) That was quite the trip. It turned out that my matresses wouldn't fit up the stairwell so my brother and dad ended up hoisting the things up over the balcony to get them in! Don't ask me how they managed that!

Christmas day was wonderful. It was very festive and everyone loved their gifts. Some of my particular favorites were this:
It's a mix of some type of wool (I can't remember but it's similar to Corridale) and mohair. It should be interesting to spin up. And of course, as fate would have it, my spinning wheel was moved up the day before... Ah well. I had this to play with:

My mom and dad actually went out on Black Friday at 5am to pick this up. It's an mp3 player. It's one of those things where I probably wouldn't have bought myself one of them, but now that I have one I absolutely love it (and it's come in handy on the 13 hour drive to NC!)

I also got a bunch of kitchen things for the new apartment which will definitely come in handy. So the day was spent with the family and I spent the night hanging out with an old friend who was home for the holidays. All-in-all it was a fantastic day.

A bit of a side story here. I was going through the stash to try and separate what was mine and what was my moms when I came across a project that apparently has been in the bottom of a bag since this summer. What's crazy about it is the only thing left to finish was to bind off for the armhole and sew in the ends. Don't ask me why I didn't finish it. I must have gotten sidetracked. Well, I decided to finish it up and now I actually have a finished object to show you, however it's extremely out of season (and out of focus... sorry about that!)

At least I'll be able to wear it when the summer comes around again!

Anyway, yesterday we drove down to MD, spent the night at my grandmothers, then today we drove the rest of the way to NC to visit with the relatives. I actually only got here a few hours ago and I think one of my first question was "do you have an internet connection?" They do. Wireless no less and now I'm feeling slightly more connected!

Well, I hope everyone's holiday was wonderful. I'll be updating again soon now that I have an internet connection.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Drapes Story aka Why my Mom is the Best Mother in the World.

It is time for the long awaited, much anticipated drapes story (or maybe I'm just fooling myself into thinking it's much anticipated!)

This past weekend my mom and I went to JoAnn's because they were having a huge 50% off sale and we had been throwing around the idea of making some drapes for the three windows in my room. We discussed what I wanted, then she let me loose in the home decor fabrics section. I went up and down every aisle trying to find ones that "said something" to me. Just when I was about to call it quits and go with a somewhat plain, slightly boring solid hunter green with green swirlies on it fabric, I came upon the section that really did it for me. Not only the section, but the perfect fabric. It had an antique, sort of tea-dyed beige background with green and eggplant purple (though both were sort of diffused and not so solid) squares on it, along with antique looking butterflies on it. I was in love with this fabric. And I mean in love. I was prepared to spend the $100 on it because I loved it that much.

So we took it to the cutting station where my heart was broken because there weren't enough yards on the roll that they had. Not only that, it was clearance, so they couldn't order me more... Slightly disappointed at this point, I trudged back to the section that "spoke to me," though now I'm not so sure it wasn't telling me to "kiss off, you can't have the fabric you want!" Anyway, I found a similar fabric with the same sort of unevenly tea-dyed beige background, only this one didn't have the squares of color, it just had colored leaves on it, the leaves were the same sort of green and purple that was in the butterfly fabric so I went with it. It still spoke to the nature lover in me so I took it knowing it wasn't my first choice and I settled on it, which has never been something that sit well with me.

We cut the fabric, I paid the (now seemingly ridiculous because it wasn't what I really wanted) price of $100 on fabric that I settled for and we came home. We didn't get to work on the drapes until Sunday afternoon, and then it was just me. Mom told me to cut the panels so she could get to sewing them the next day. She explained to me how she wanted them cut, so I laid them out, showed her again just to make sure I was doing it right. Then I cut. I wasn't really comfortable with it though because sewing is not my forte. Ask me anything about knitting and I can tell you everything about it, but the language mom was using on me about sewing was like Greek.

The next morning I see that mom had started working on them after I had gone to bed. Mom got up to see my dad off to work and she comes into the living room with 4 little words... "We have a problem..." Turns out I cut the panels wrong. Instead of cutting 6 2yd panels I cut 4 3yd panels. To say I was slightly upset would be an understatement. I just spent a ton of money on this 2nd choice fabric only to cut it wrong and need to buy more fabric just to make up for it. I think I may have been more upset with the fact that I was uncomfortable cutting the fabric, mom knew I was uncomfortable and yet she still made me cut it. And she told me I was cutting it right, trusting in the fact that I'm a "smart girl" and could figure it out myself. Kind of childish, but I couldn't help what I was feeling at the moment.

I decided to get down to it with a pen and paper and map out exactly what it was that she had in mind for the drapes and see if we couldn't work with the mistake I made. Turns out we could. So I went to work relieved knowing that I wouldn't have to buy more of the settled on fabric. At one point during the day Mom called me and we talked a bit about the progress she'd made on the drapes. Turns out not much, I guess she was waiting for my help (possibly not the best idea in the world seeing how well I "helped" with the cutting).

I got home from work to find mom, sort of in a bubbly mood, saying she had to show me the progress on the drapes. So I went into the sewing room which was scattered with panels of fabric on every surface it seems. She held up one of the panels and smiled at me. Obviously I was being dense, a long day of work can totally do that to you, because it took me at least a minute to realize that the fabric she was holding up wasn't the 2nd choice leafy fabric, but the first choice antique butterfly fabric! I was totally taken back. Mom explained to me that because we found a way to make it work with the panels I accidentally cut, it turned out that the orginal fabric would work, so she spent the morning out at JoAnn's buying me the fabric I really wanted.

This is just one of many reasons why my mom is absolutely the best mother in the entire world. So what's going to happen with the 2nd choice fabric that I bought? The fabric that does match my most beautiful drapes? Mom's going to make me a bed spread... Totally the best mom.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sock progress update

Still not a ton of progress on the socks. This is how far I've gotten so far. My dad may end up opening a present with one finished sock and a promise for the other one to be finished in the near future. This wouldn't be the first Christmas where I've given him an unfinished knitted object. The last time it was a Dale of Norway sweater that was given to him in pieces. Though in my defense, I did finish that sweater before New Year's. I'm sure I can do the same this time. But again, I don't want to push it. I've given my wrists a good day or two off now and as we all know that's just a crime when Christmas is only 5 days away. Yikes...

Oh I have an excellent picture to so you.... This is why my final was cancelled last friday. And yes, I was driving and taking a picture at the same time, however you can see, not only was the road just fine, but there was no one else on the road, so I only would have hurt myself! It was actually quite a nice ride home, it reminded me of the Chronicles of Narnia. I just went to see the movie with my mom that past Wednesday and the woods with the snow sticking to every branch of the trees definitely reminded me of the snow covered woods in Narnia! I imagined some fairytale creature would come walking out of the woods at any moment. (Cut me some slack, it's a boring ride so I have to entertain myself somehow!)

I have an excellent story to tell you about some drapes. I know, a story about drapes sounds pretty dull, but this one is really great. However, it's going to have to wait. I have my final tomorrow morning and I need to do some more studying. I promise I'll have the drapes story for you soon!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Walking down memory lane...

Thank you to everyone who congratulated me and my new job! I have to say, I'm pretty excited about it. What I'm not excited about is moving all of my stuff up there. I've gotten a little bit of it moved already, but now I have a lot of the big stuff left to move, i.e. my bed, dresser, bookshelf. Speaking of my bookshelf, it was a complete mess, full of old papers, miscellaneous things and pictures. I spent most of the weekend cleaning it off so that I'd only take up what I absolutely want to take up.

I ran into some pretty interesting things while going through everything. Things that I haven't seen in years and some things that I had totally forgotten about. It's funny when you find a letter from a guy who you knew in high school professing his love to you and how he's always had a "thing" for you... and you don't even remember getting this letter... hmmm.. And then there was "the box." You know the one, the one where you keep all the old letters and pictures of old boyfriends, not to be opened for at least a year or two after you've broken up. Boy did that bring back memories. Luckily it only brought back good memories. It's funny, I know for some of those my heart was totally broken, but now when I think back on it and look at all the old letters, I don't feel anything but nostalgia and fond memories. It's interesting how after a few years you completely forget the bad times and all that's left are the good.

And then there were the pictures. Oh my god the pictures. Some made me cringe, some made me smile and sigh and others made me laugh my butt off. Those all went into a box to be sorted someday in the future when I'll cringe, smile and laugh again at them.

It was fun and frustrating at the same time to go through all of those things. Fun because it's always fun to go down memory lane, frustrating because everytime I ran across something I'd take a few minutes, sometimes more to reminisce on it, all the while knowing that I really didn't want to spend all weekend going through this stuff. And then there were times when I would stand in the middle of the room, look at the piles of crap all over the floor and feel so overwhelmed because I didn't know where to go from there so I'd just stand there, for minutes at a time not doing anything and then I'd get mad at myself for not doing anything and then I'd feel overwhelmed again...vicious cycle. Those were the times when I just had to walk away for a little while and do something else. God organizing and purging your stuff can be frustrating.

All-in-all, it turned out fine. I got rid of the things that basically made me say "why the @#$% do I have this?" And kept the things I thought I could use or were really sentimental. It really felt good to finally get rid of some of that stuff. Sometimes you just have to sit on those things for awhile, because you know after a few years, they are no longer sentimental anymore so you can get rid of them then.

So, in a totally unrelated topic, we had a huge ice/snow storm here last Friday. I'm a bit peeved about it because the final that I had on Friday has now been rescheduled for this Wednesday. I just wanted to take it and get the whole thing over with, now I have to drive back up there just to take the one test. Oh well, I suppose it's ok because it just means that I won't have to spend as much time at work on my last week! It feels so good to say that this is my last week of work here! Thank the lord!

As far as knitting goes, I finished my brother's socks and started a pair for my dad. Unfortunately I didn't work on them as much as I wanted to because I spent most of the weekend organizing and not only that, but my hands started hurting a little when I was working on them. I think it's because they're such tiny needles (size 1's) and I'm trying to go faster than I should. I've got to be careful with that. Don't want to put my hands out of knitting commission, where would I be then?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Doing the happy dance because today is a great day!

I have so much to tell you and so much to show you, so sit back and relax, cause this is gonna take awhile!

First off, let us all rejoice. Sing praises and throw your hands in the air, by all that is good, the mondo mittens... they are done!
I hope this will be the last pair of mittens I make until next year at the very least. Of course, we all know deep down I love making these mittens, I suppose what I don't love are deadlines...

They are now wrapped and ready to go. I finished these well ahead of schedule, but wouldn't you know it, because I'm now left with a week and a half until Christmas I seem to think that a week and a half is plenty of time to finish my brothers pair of socks, which it is because I'm close to finished...

Do you see how the stripes are so entirely different? I don't know if I was more tense on the first sock or the second, but judging by the evenness of the second sock I'd say it's probably the second. I think I subconsciously know that Christmas is only a week and a half away and that's screwing with my tension... and yet... I'm planning on just one more pair of socks. I have to make my dad something because I really haven't done any Christmas shopping (though shopping in general is hard for a poor college student!)

So I also wanted to show you pictures of the apartment... Be warned, it's quite sparse at the moment. None of us have entirely moved in our things!
This is my room. Obviously the TV won't always be on the floor and the room will have more color by the time I'm through, so ignore the glarringly white walls.

I am in love with this room. I have those three windows that let in so much sun. I tell you, sun makes me a happy girl! All this room needs is some plastic on the windows. I stayed here last night and thank the lord I had about a million blankets on my bed or I might have froze solid!

This is the living room. Again, the white walls will eventually be taken care of! Don't mind the books either, major studying was going on last night. As for the room itself, I think our little Charlie Brown christmas tree really warms the room up.

Oh and you'll be happy to know I fixed the bathroom door handle and now the door shuts all the way! It's amazing what a screwdriver will do isn't it?

I have very exciting news. First off I'd like to thank everyone who had their fingers crossed for me because guess who got a job? That's right! Yesterday I got a call about an interview, today I went to the interview and now I have a job. It is so exciting. What's really funny about it is, during the interview, the manager was looking over all of my past experience and I was telling him all about the things I've done and he looks up at me with a straight face and says "Do you want to be a manager?" I thought he was kidding! He was completely serious though. He said he started out as a chef and ended up being the manager 12 weeks later! Ha! So we'll see where that goes. For now, serving is just fine for me! Another perfect thing about it is I have to give my current job at least a weeks notice (though I'm not sure they deserve it!), then my family and I are going to North Carolina to visit relatives so I can't start until the 3rd of January, but he was happy with that, in fact, it worked out better for him. Woohoo! Doing the happy dance over here!

To say the very least today has been a great day. I went to the interview and then had one of my finals (not to say the final was great by any means, but it's over and that's great!) And now I get to lounge around, study for my final that I have tomorrow and knit a bit because I deserve it!

Friday, December 09, 2005

I really haven't fallen off the face of the earth...

Wow, can you say busy? This past week was the last week of classes. They are officially over. All that's left are a couple of finals. Then I'm done for the semester.

So, we got the apartment, officially (seems there's a lot of official things happening here!) and I've been moving some of my stuff up. Mostly the things I'm not using like kitchen stuff, dishes, glasses, etc. A few things for my room, but not many. It's funny how the character of a place can really come out once you start moving in. For instance, the bathroom door doesn't shut all the way. I found this out on my first day there. I went to use the bathroom and tried pulling the door shut. When it wouldn't shut all the way, I tried pulling harder and only succeeded in ripping the door handle off. Either I don't know my own strength or this wasn't the first time the door handle has been ripped off. My roommate rolling on the floor laughing her butt off pretty much confirmed that this has happened before.

Second, there are feathers in my room. Pigeon feathers. Haven't got the slightest clue how they got there. I checked all the windows, they're good and shut, I look around the ceiling (not really sure what I was looking for there...) and around the room, and the only thing I can figure is either they've been there for awhile, or they were blown in there through the heating vents... It's a mystery at this point and hopefully won't become a problem. I can see it now, some night I'll wake up and there will be a pigeon in my room!

Anyway, the job hunt is on. I have a couple of leads but nothing confirmed at this point. All I need is an interview to convince them I'm perfect for the job. That should seal the deal. Then I can officially move in...There's that official thing popping up again!

I have been knitting, but not nearly as much as I've wanted to. Luckily this weekend I'll be meeting with the knitting friends downtown at the coffee shop so I should be able to catch up. I'm working on the last lining of the last mitten...hopefully the last mitten for a long time. Also, the pair of socks I started for my brother are coming together nicely, but the variegated yarn is definitely striping in a swirlly sort of pattern. I suppose I can live with it. Once those are done my christmas knitting is done...officially.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Big News!!!

I am so excited about this big news that I was barely able to sleep last night. In fact, I spent the better part of two hours trying to convince myself that I really should be sleeping and I'd have plenty of time to think about all the things going through my mind later. Preferably during a time when I'd normally be awake.

I did finally fall asleep only to wake up early and start right where I left off... thinking about how exciting this is and trying to organize in my mind how it would all go... I do that, I'm a mind organizer. I think of all the possible angles of a situations, what could go wrong, how will I do this or what will lead to that, etc, so that I'm fully prepared and not taken by suprise if any of the things I thought of happens. Of course, the down side of this is that it's very exhausting, especially when it's your bedtime and you really have to sleep so that you can at least be a half-way functioning human being at work the next day.

And then I thought, screw work! this exciting news directly affects work and how long I will actually still be there. Which, in my perfect world, would only be another two weeks, but in the real world I'm sure will end up being a month to a month and a half.

So do I have you on the edge of your seat yet? Are you just dying to know what is so exciting that it could keep me up all hours of the night? Ok, I'll tell ya. A couple of friends and I have put down a deposit on an apartment. A really nice apartment, with new carpets, a new fridge and stove and a very lovely and quite large livingroom. And did I mention we have our own balcony?

It seriously couldn't have come at a better time. One of my roommates is desperate to move out of the apartment she's in because her current roommate is terrible (think: leaves dishes in the sink with food still on them for weeks at a time). My other roommate is also desperate to get out of her apartment, if you can call it that. It's basically a medium sized room with a tiny galley kitchen and a bathroom without a door. That's it. And me, I need to move up there for lots of reasons. The weather is starting to turn and the thought of driving through lake-effect snow seriously gives me a mini-heart attack. Also, I'd save a ton of money on gas and I'd be able to volunteer more at the zoo. And a ton of other reasons.

We just turned in the application today and if everything is alright (which I'm sure it will be) the apartment will officially be ours! It's the perfect location too. Halfway between the zoo and the school. Talk about perfect!

The reason I can't just go to my boss right this very minute and tell him I'm done!, finito!, no more!, is because, at this point in time, it's my only source of income and rather than rely on my nest egg, I should work until I find a job up there. I think it shouldn't take too long especially since I'm looking for a waitressing position. It's the only thing that will get the money I need for the hours I can put in.

So, my dear friends, wish me luck in finding a job quicker than the Yarn Harlot can whip up a sweater for Rhinebeck!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

It's December... Is everyone ready???

Though there is only a week and a half of class left, they have decided to put us through docent training. If you don't know, docents are animal eduators (I didn't know what they were when I started this program, if you had asked me before the program I would have told you it had something to do with music). They're the people you see around the zoo or in a school presenting animals to kids, etc. Totally cool because yesterday we got to handle all the education animals (education animals are animals that are used to being handled and are used to teach kids about animals and conservation). Many of the animals are reptiles, like Lucille the Ball Python, obviously we have some real comedians there!

These snakes are seriously easy to handle, even if you're afraid of snakes. They just sit there, curl into a ball (hence the name) and chill. Then there was the water snake which was much more active and would crawl all over your arms if you let it. The trick is to just let it crawl through your fingers and not squeeze it or anything.

We also handled the salamanders which were really soft and slimey. Very cool. Then the blue-tongued skink. He didn't do much but sit there, flicking his blue tongue. There were also geckos that we held. Those suckers are quick! (Edited: I had to take out the skink picture, it was mucking up my sidebar!)

If you're into the cute and furry types and not the cold-blooded scaly types, then you'll like these next pictures.

This is Chi-Chi, the chinchilla. Pretty much the softest animal you will ever feel in your life. Some really cool things about them are each hair follicle has 6 hairs growing from it, making their hair very dense. If a predator tries to grab them it will be left with a mouthful of fur instead of a mouthful of chinchilla because they have the ability to loosen their hairs when frightened. I could go on, but there's more to show!

If stinky and furry are more your thing, then this guy will be perfect. He's an oppossum. A very, very stinky oppossum. And he drools... apparently it's normal! The ferret was pretty stinky too.

Most of the animals we handled were given to the zoo by people who owned them as exotic pets then realized how much work they are to take care of and that they really don't make good pets. Don't buy exotic pets people, or at least do your research before you do. Grrr.

Anyway, it was a very cool day! So knitting, yeah, there has been knitting. I'm just now working on the thumb of the second mondo mitten. I was extremely bad though. I actually started a pair of socks. Don't get excited! They're for my brother, for Christmas. More Christmas knitting. Just 25 days. I have to start knitting faster.