Thursday, December 27, 2007

What I did on my Christmas Break

Christmas was nice and quiet and cozy. I talked to Gator a couple of times, made a little Christmas dinner, watched DVDs and knit. I finished my new hat!

I made up the pattern, but it's just alternating 6-stitch cables and stockinette, so no great shakes. But I like it! It has a nice, big brim that folds up to make a warm double layer over my ears and forehead.

The brim is so big that you can't really see the pattern unless I look down like this. Of course, now it's not cold enough to need it, but it looks like tomorrow I'll be glad I got it done -- big storm's a-brewing for Beer Town.

I mailed Gator's hat to him yesterday, so as soon as I have word that it's arrived, I'll post pics of it, too. But it doesn't really look right on my small noggin since it's made for a much larger head. Maybe sometime I can get pics of Gator modeling it. I wouldn't hold my breath, though.

I don't feel very well this morning, so I'll go to the lab a bit late. There's not a great deal to do there anyway, but I do have a lot of reading to do. I really wish I'd arranged to take more time off over the holidays, even if I didn't go anywhere. I feel I need some re-charging time after such a strenuous semester. I'm sure it will be fine -- it's not like I'm working that hard right now anyway.

It's been fun browsing around the Blogosphere, seeing what y'all did for the holidays. Plus, I got pulled into the vortex that is Facebook, so I've been strolling around there a bit, too.

If you haven't already posted it, what did you do for your holidays?


Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

It's been a quiet day today. I slept late (for me), lounged around, watched some episodes of The X-Files, and cast on a new hat for me.

I'm kind of making it up as I go, but I know I want a wide brim to turn up, so that's where I am so far. I'll keep you posted. I using yarn to match my braided cables scarf, though the pattern will definitely not be so intricate. I kind of like the matching thing, plus I think the natural color will go well with my new dye job (another fun Christmas Eve activity):

I was going to show a before pic, but it was too horrifying to see the light of day.

Right after I colored my hair, my wonderful Aunt Judy called me! It was a great surprise and a nice treat. I hadn't talked to her since I visited her last Christmas (I know, I'm a bad niece), and it was so good to hear her voice. Merry Christmas again, Aunt Jude, and a very Happy New Year. I love you!!!

This evening I'm going to watch a few more DVDs and knit some more. Nice, quiet, restful. And I'm going to get a warmer hat out of it, so hoo-yah!

Becky tagged everyone who visits her blog for the Ornament Meme, so I guess I'm "it". I'll pass on the favor -- consider yourself tagged.

Here are the rules:

1. Take a picture of your favorite ornament and put it on your blog telling everyone about it.

2. Post a link to the person on whose blog you found out about the Ornament Tag.

3. Post the rules.

This is my favorite ornament. It's the first in the Hallmark series of "Frosty Friends" ornaments from 1980. My mother won this as a deuce prize at a bridge game that year and we/I have collected every ornament in the series ever since. I still buy the new one every year. This year was the 28th year and they're all on my tree. In fact, those and several Star Wars ornaments make the bulk of my ornament collection. My tree is pretty full.

Here's where I cheat in the meme. I'm adding my two favorite new additions to my tree this year:

My dear blog buddy friend Judy sent me this lovely, colorful snowflake with my Christmas card this year. I really do have a card and flake for you, Judy, I'm just very behind this year! Thank you so much! Isn't it gorgeous?

Also, my neighbor and new friend Ron gave me this anchor ornament. He's a Navy man, loves the sea, boats, and sailing and I love how this ornament is so "him". I think it's charming.

I just talked to Gator a bit ago, and he told me the mailman knocked at the door with the books I sent him from Amazon just as they were opening gifts at his Mom's! What good timing! He also reports that he is now the proud owner of Guitar Hero III, so he's in hog heaven for a while. He won't even notice that his hat is late! ;)

Some hot cocoa is calling my name, so I'm going to enjoy the rest of my quiet evening. Best Christmas Eve wishes to everyone!


Sunday, December 23, 2007

My dilemma

My and my husband's families are in Missouri this Christmas.

I am in Milwaukee.

This decision was made for many practical reasons between my husband and I, and I believe all the reasons were good, sound and, in view of the bigger picture, completely right.

But it means that I'm isolated from my entire family for the holidays.

I rather like being alone, and can easily find a thousand ways to happily spend my time for a couple of days. I've been looking forward to the relaxation I will finally get. Except for The Day. I don't really want to sit around by myself all Christmas Day. Except maybe I sort of do. Maybe I can explain this crap.

I have several options for spending my Christmas day. My friend Anne has invited me to her family's celebration at her grandmother's home which is about an hour out of the city. There will be Christmas dinner, much game-playing, and a gift exchange. I like Anne a lot and I've met her parents and they are great. I think it would be a really fun time. Any other day. I don't really want to be the poor little friend who didn't have anywhere else to go on Christmas. I don't have any food to take, and no money to buy any. Do I think they would actually care if I brought a dish? No. Would I feel retched if I didn't bring something to this stranger's home? Most definitely. I'm sure I could whip up a gift for the exchange, but I already have gifts I haven't made for people I love. And apparently you get a gift if you go, whether you reciprocate or not. I just can't not take a gift. This option has several strikes against it, but a big pro -- namely it would be fun. Most probably.

Alternately, several of my friends from school are international students who will be around and who aren't Christian, so it's just another day to them. A couple have said that I should call them if I want to do something on Tuesday. That's very nice, but I don't want spend the day pretending I like curry and explaining what I would be doing to celebrate if I were with my family. So, bah humbug, I'm not likely going to do that, either.

Another problem with both of these options is that I don't want to be caught amongst strangers when I have my "Christmas Moment". Ever since my parents passed away, I cry at Christmas. Not for a long time, and usually not full-on weeping, but it always happens. And I never know what's going to set it off. And I really don't want to be the girl who not only doesn't have a place to go for Christmas but who still cries randomly because, poor thing, her parents are dead. Of course, it appears that I am that girl, but let's not make a big production of it, shall we?

Part of me wants to just lay around the house in my pajamas, eat random stuff, play with my Ipod, and knit. But I know I will look out the window at the empty streets, at my empty stocking hung by the heat vent with care, at the empty area under my tree, and at my near-empty pantry and that will depress me. Apparently, its already depressing me.

I fully admit that there's something really fulfilling about wallowing and throwing a little pity-party. I know that if I'm alone on Christmas day, it will be my own doing. I know I'm being a brat -- if I can't have my family and my husband I don't want anything, so there! But it's really partially true. Someone else's family, no matter how wonderful and charming and welcoming, can never substitute for my own. How fake is to put on my happy face and feel awkward all day just so I can say, "By Golly, I didn't spend Christmas alone!"

I know I should have more grace than this. I hope get over this pre-holiday PMS and become my normal, cheery self. I hope desperately that I re-read this post tomorrow or Tuesday and think, "Egads, I'm glad I'm not always such a freaking little ball of sunshine!"

How much beef jerky and pretzel chips do you think that will take?


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Gray day

Happy Winter Solstice! Yes, it's the shortest day of the year and I, for one, am quite thankful for that fact! I currently go into work at 7 am, as soon as dawn breaks, so that I can leave while the sun is still up and don't have to walk home in the dark at 4:30. Milwaukee is just enough farther north than Missouri for me to really feel the difference in daylight hours. I'm looking forward to the days slowly getting longer and having more light in my life!

Today I ::gasp!:: have a Saturday Sky to share with you.

Now, lest you think I just made a big gray square in Photoshop, I'll let you in on the secret as to why my sky picture looks as it does:

It's foggy, kids! Gray, dreary, and limited visibility. I'm very glad that my trek to the lab will be on foot.

Most of the day will be spent in the lab, trying to optimize the Proteinase K concentration for my next experiment. Oh, you are dying from the jealousy, I can totally tell. Everyone else's pre-holiday-Saturday activities pale in comparison.

Tonight I may do something completely radical: Write my Christmas cards. Yep, I'm obviously right on top of things this holiday season. Does anybody really care that much if cards are late? I sincerely hope not.

Once the cards are done, I will get back to work on my other great holiday tradition -- late handmade Christmas gifts! Gator's gift hat was already going to be late, but I've just discovered that, despite my best calculations, it's going to be too small for his sweet noggin. So, it's getting frogged and re-knit in a slightly different pattern with a different gauge. Which means that it's going to be even later than originally planned. I'm very glad I already sent some non-handmade gifts so he will certainly have some goodies from me under the tree. I'm also very glad he loves me for more than my punctuality.

Off to work with me! Enjoy your weekend!


Friday, December 21, 2007

The fun never stops -- and I'm pooped!

Ever since finals, I've been relishing the thought of having some nice, veg-out time for myself -- maybe a whole day in my pajamas kind of thing. But it seems, instead, that I've been in uber-socializing mode every night of the week. Christmas parties, graduation parties, dinner at friends' homes, stitch night. Oh, and there was some massive paper grading thrown in there last week. All of this has been incredibly fun and I'm so happy I now have the time to enjoy all this socializing without guilt (except for that still-not-sent-Christmas-card guilt), but I'm still almost as exhausted as I was during finals! Since I'm on my own for the holiday, I hope to get caught up on some serious sloth.

Tonight the professor I was a TA for is taking me to dinner at the Water Street Brewery and to my very first Marquette Men's Basketball game as a thank-you. Isn't that sweet? I'm very excited. I'm not a basketball fan, but going to a sporting event is always fun, even if the sport itself isn't my favorite. Plus, this is my school now, and I'm a supporter, even if the constant sound of soles squeaking on the floor drives me a little nuts. Anyway, I think it will be a really good time. Plus, I really like Dr. Waring and I always have fun with her.

Last night's festivities included attending a Christmas concert put on by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. The music was varied (Farandole, pieces from The Nutcracker, Silent Night, Sleigh Ride, etc.) and the performance was top-notch. The space in which it took place was amazing, too. The Basilica of St. Josaphat is a beautiful old Polish cathedral on the south side of the city, built in the late 1800's using stone from the demolished Chicago Post Office. It was completely renovated in the 1990's, and the interior is crazy with its ornamentation.

I don't think pictures can do it justice. There was just so much to look at!! It was a magical evening.

This weekend won't necessarily be all that restful either, considering my darling little Tetrahymenae have seen fit to be difficult and now I must run experiments tomorrow that were supposed to be run today. Darned little guys. Like they have their own little lives to live, or something!

Oh well, I can sleep when I'm dead, right?


Monday, December 17, 2007


Hi! Still not dead! In fact, feeling fairly jaunty for the moment. How are you?

In order to accomplish everything I needed to towards the end of this semester, I had to just put the hammer down and remove myself from the blogosphere entirely. So I haven't posted, and I haven't read any blogs since before Thanksgiving. So I have no idea what's up with y'all. It'll take forever for me to catch up. But I'll get there!

But I have officially made it through the semester, taken all my finals, written all my papers, and graded all the exams for the class I TA. I'm free! Well, except for all that research, but I'm actually looking forward to being able to focus on that alone for about a month. It will be great, in fact. And fairly normal feeling -- I'll spend a lot of time in the lab, I'm sure, but I get to actually leave at some point, and then I don't have to study or grade or prepare for discussions, etc, etc, etc. How novel! That means I get to knit and crochet some! Awesome! I've been jonesing.

The first thing I did was finish a little project I had started over Thanksgiving. See, every year the Biological Sciences department has a Christmas party that includes a potluck and a white elephant gift exchange. Last year I decided that this year I would make something for the gift exchange. So I whipped up a little something and I just finished it -- happy dance!

Oh, what is it, you ask?

Well, what would you make for a white elephant gift exchange?

I thought it was a no-brainer, actually...

I also started a couple little projects that I can't show just yet... But when I can, I will. Ah, this project startin' and finishin' just feels so good!!

Hopefully, we're back to our regularly scheduled blogging...


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Long time, no see!

::crawling up from underneath a mountain of research papers and PowerPoint presenttions::

Hi! Wow, it's bright up here. Even though it's overcast all the time and the sun is only up for about 4.5 hours per day, it's still much brighter than my dark corner of studyallthetime-ness. But it has to be done. The only way I accomplish anything is to just remove myself from the innernets altogether. Otherwise, I start "checking my mail" and the next thing I know, three hours have gone by. But I know what Britney bought at the convenience store yestrday, by golly. And isn't that what's truly important? I think I'll be back among the living sometime before Christmas. At least until I start studying for qualifying exams...

Anyway! I promise not to bore you with my exciting stories of learning about paramutation or oxygen-hemoglobin binding kinetics. No, really, I promise! You should really just praise me all day for this.

I poked my head out of the jumble because I'm winding things down so I can enjoy four uninterrupted days of not studying -- I'm going to Missouri to see Gator for Thanksgiving!!! I'm so excited!! I leave very early tomorrow morning for Chicago, where I'm meeting my friend Amanda, who is driving to Columbia. Roadtrip with fun friend and a long weekend with Gator! AWESOME!!

But before that happens, my cool New Friend Veronica (it's been, like, a year. You'd think I'd stop calling her "New". Apparently not.) is taking me to see Debbie Harry tonight! How fun is that? I'm so ready to rock out to Rapture. And now I'm in the Man From Mars! Tee hee.

So, okay, yes. I do get study breaks. And I've even spent some of them crocheting. Cwazy, I know! So I finally (only a couple of months late) finished "Sister" Annette's wedding potholders! I hope she likes them! (Of course, I hope Mick likes them, too!)

Bright and cheerful and cool. I like them, anyway. :)

And last, but CERTAINLY not least, I got the best surprise in the mail yesterday (all the way from England)! A pressie from blog buddy Judy! It's a little crocheted turkey "butt" refrigerator magnet and it came with the most lovely card. Ain't it the cutest? (And don't I look tired?)

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love making friends on this here Interblag!

And now, excuse me while I go eat guitars... Hee!


Thursday, November 01, 2007

That was Halloween?

Hope you all had a safe and happy Halloween. I stayed home, read a book and talked to Gator on the phone. I didn't really want to do anything else, but it seemed so weird that I wasn't doing something else. It was nice, quiet, and I was asleep by 10:30. I like sleeping, so this was totally acceptable.

Hi! I'm old and boring! Wanna party?

I actually meant to share this with you guys yesterday. It's my new favorite Halloween song. (This implies that I had an old favorite Halloween song, which isn't the case, really. Though I suppose I never really get tired of the theme from The Munsters.) If you follow the link above and then click on the link that says "Re Your Brains", you can extend the Halloween spirit by one more day. I think it's funny as all get-out. Office Space meets Dawn of the Dead. Lurve!

Okay, I'm burrowing back into my hole now. I'm preparing a big seminar presentation and house/kid sitting for one of my professors this weekend. Give me strength.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wonder Twin powers, activate!

When Gator and I engaged, we found rings we loved in a catalog, but we couldn't afford them. We were poor college students, and the "three months salary" rule would have allotted about as much money for a ring as a thorough searching of the couch cushions. Gator's parents lived in Chicago at the time, and they knew of a Russian jeweler who could make any ring from a picture at a reasonable price. So they asked us for the page from the catalog. Right before our wedding they presented us with our wedding gift -- gold rings exactly like we wanted. Here's mine:

Gator's ring got too small (love how we blame the ring!!) so he didn't wear it and then eventually got lost. He bought a random clearance ring once, but it never fit right and was too delicate for his hand and was, though he disagrees with this point, freakin' ugly.

So years have gone by and Gator hasn't worn a wedding ring. It's no big deal -- I'm not one of those who freaks out over it and assumes he's out there outrageously cheating on me because he doesn't have a piece of metal wrapped around his finger. It's fine. Whatever.

But I do really miss having matching wedding bands. It just seems so right.

One day a couple of weeks ago I was happily partaking of my daily phone call to Gator. I was surprised when he announced, "Oh, my ring came today!"

"Ring? What ring?"

"Oh, I ordered a new wedding ring."

"Another wedding ring?"

"Yeah, it's really cool. It's titanium!"

"Really? What does it look like?"

"You can see it, I got it off Amazon. Just search 'titanium ring'..."

Anyone who followed the above link now realizes: The ring is $21.95. $22!!! Plus shipping. Whatever.

Do you know what this meant to me?? It meant that, considering that the smallest size available is the size of my left ring finger, we could once again have matching wedding bands! So I suggested the idea.

"But what about your claddagh ring?"

"Well, I'm not going to throw it away or anything. It will have a place of honor in my jewelry box, and I'm sure I'll wear it sometimes."

Somewhere along the line he started to believe that I really wanted matching rings and that I really liked the ring he'd picked out. And for $22, they can get lost or get all banged up or get too small, and we'll just get another one.

So he ordered me a matching wedding band and it came about four days later.

I've worn it ever since. I love it.

We're Wonder Twins again. My hubby rocks. :)


Monday, October 15, 2007

Weekend of sloth

Wow, I didn't do much of anything productive this weekend. No grading, no studying, no reading. I meant to, I even made plans, set things out, and got all settled to work. But I was tired. So I took a nap first. Then I was hungry. So I cooked and ate. But that made a mess. So I cleaned. Then I was tired again.

It was tragic.

It was also very restful and I think I needed that kind of recharging. But I should have just said, "I'm not doing anything this weekend and I refuse to feel guilty about it." Instead, I did nothing this weekend but spent the whole time feeling like I should be doing something, and, so... the Guilt.

I'm pretty much over it, though. :)

I did make a little progress on the Star Potholder:

Now you can see a little better what it's going to look like when it's done. It's mate will be the opposite color way. I think they will be spiffy. I've missed making thread potholders. They're really quite fun.

Now I'm off for another rousing week of making up for my weekend sloth. Weee!!


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Oh look, a Saturday Sky, knitting, and everything!

It's a gray, hazy, autumn day in Beer Town. I rather like it, actually.

I had two horrible exams this week, a lab meeting presentation, and tons of research both in the lab and for future papers and presentations. In short, busy. I think maybe I've caught up on some sleep and no longer feel like an overwhelmed mess. The second test this week went well, I think, but the first one did not. In fact, I may have failed it. Straight up. Not that, "oh, that test went so badly and I'm sure I failed" and then it turns out I got a high B kind of thing. More like, "I left about half the answers blank because I didn't even have a bullshit answer for them and then I ran out of time" kind of thing. Pretty brutal. I could go on and on about why this happened, but I'm not going to because a) I don't want to think about it anymore, b) it won't help anything, and c) you don't really care. At least I wouldn't if I were you. So, onward and upward to handwork content instead!

Gator's best friend's baby came last month (welcome baby Owen!!), which meant that I had to get off my lazy butt and finally put the zipper in the zodiac and get it sent off. I had thought I would embroider a design on the body, but I finally decided against it altogether and went with simplicity. Plus, the buttons are pretty cute and add just a sweet touch of interest. I think it's perfectly fine just as it is.

The baby socks I made this summer were also intended for baby Owen, and I think together they make a nice little baby gift:

I've also started a new project -- a wedding gift for best friend Missa's sister, whom I call "sister" too. The wedding was actually last week, but I get a year to present them with a gift, right? So I figure I'm okay. I'm making them a set of the Round Star Flower Potholder, like the one I made for Gator last year (yes, I made my husband a potholder, and he loves it. What of it?) but in blue and yellow. I got a good start on it during a mini S n' B at Veronica's on Thursday night.

I have a lot of work to do this weekend, but I'm going to take a little time to crochet, too. I just feel better when I get some handwork time in. Otherwise I'm not sure what the weekend will bring, but I'll let you know if it's anything cool!

Have an awesome weekend. :)


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Local color

There is a man, homeless I think, that walks through the Marquette campus nearly every day. I don't know anything about him; I wouldn't even know him if he walked right up to me. But he has a very identifying quality -- he whistles. It's never a recognizable song, just tuneless intervals. Now, many people whistle, but Mr. Whistle (as we call him) is different. He whistles loudly. Think you know what I mean? Try this: I live on the fourteenth floor of my building. When I am in my apartment, with all the windows closed, A/C or heater running, listening to the news on the radio, I can hear him. From three blocks down the street. That is some loud whistling.

Rock on with your bad self, Mr. Whistle.


Sunday, September 30, 2007

The new reality

This semester is not going to leave much time for blogging. It won't last forever, but it's going to pretty much be this sporadic all fall. Not that I'm that exciting to begin with.

Baseball season is going away and I'm sad. Of course I'm sad that my Brewers didn't make the playoffs after such a promising start, but Gator is a Cubs fan, so one of us was going to be happy no matter what. As long as the Cardinals bit it.

My last game of the season was a blast, as always. I've totally gotten the "going to the baseball game" bug. It's just so very fun. This time, V invited me along to her workplace picnic at Miller park.

At the tailgate, there were celebrity sightings! Exciting!

I was accosted by a Klements Racing Sausage (My favorite! Bratwurst!):

Bernie Brewer was starting to drag after many pictures wth fans. I admit that I perked him up a bit by patting him on the behind. That's why he's looking a little shocked in this pic:

I've loved every second of my time at Miller Park this summer. I can't wait until next year.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

'Tis me risin' from th' dead

Arrrr! It be International Talk Like A Pirate Day! Shiver me timbers!

As much as I would like to post entirely in Piratese, it just doesn't come across in print very well. Arrrr!

Oh, yeah, Hi! Been awhile, eh? After my company left, I got a wicked cold and the workload this semester is crazy. I haven't blogged, I haven't done any handwork -- I do homework and sleep. Mostly, that's totally it.

But that's no fun to blog about! Luckily, I have a whole passel of pictures from when my Best Friend Missa came to visit me weekend-before-last. Yay!

She flew up from Missouri to see me, obviously, but also to see our favorite band, Rush, when they played here on Sept. 6. The concert was a total blast and we had a ball. Afterwards, as we walked to the bus stop, a couple of college-age guys on bikes stopped us. One had a bouquet of roses in his hand. He offered them to us and we were trying to politely refuse ("candy" from strangers and all that -- it was around midnight in the middle of the city, after all), when he explained that he was just having a really hard time riding his bike while carrying these flowers -- and wouldn't we like some beautiful flowers? So we finally accepted. Unless they contained this cold virus Missa and I both seem to have picked up, no harm came from taking flowers from a stranger. They were pretty beat-up at the time, but I trimmed them and put them in water when we got home and, by morning, they had perked up to be very lovely indeed. Missa beautifully posed with them:

Saturday morning we drove down to the Lakefront and Missa posed,

I posed,

We met some birds,

and Missa tried to get to know one of them better (it flew away seconds after this photo was taken).

We took in a few more sights, then met up with New Friend Veronica for the Miller Brewery Tour. It was fun, free, and included beer. Perfection? Dang close. Missa and I got up close and personal with a large fake beer bottle. Why not?

Missa, me, and V posed together at the back of the High Life Cruiser, a big, very retro Miller bus thing-y that we decided was just pretty cool. Although, I think that great old "Girl in the moon" logo may be the best thing about Miller. They should use it more, methinks.

Missa didn't get to stay nearly long enough, if you ask me. But it was great to see her, hand out with her, and to have my first official out-of-town visitor come to my humble abode in Beer Town! Yay! It was fun playing hostess and I tried to instill my insane crazy love for this city into Missa. I think I did a pretty good job. I can't wait until she can come back!


Seriously, do you think those guys made us sick with infected roses??


Yeah, okay, maybe not.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I have company!

Today's Saturday Sky is courtesy of Best Friend Missa, who visited my roof earlier this morning and shot this pic. It's going to be a gorgeous day today in Beer Town -- perfect for visiting friends from Missouri!!! Missa flew in on Thursday and will be staying until tomorrow morning. We've been having all kinds of fun and have a great day planned for today.

So I'm off, but I'll tell you all about our fun weekend later, I promise!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dad's new job

Dear Gator,

When the Biology Department has functions, they provide water for us packaged in these bottles. They're cute and round and kind of funny:

They are also apparently marketed by your father:

That's right, baby -- they're ORBTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Movin' right along

So, I didn't study very much over the long weekend, and I certainly didn't clean my apartment. What I did was sit on the roof during the day and enjoy all the sunshine I possibly could, and watch X-files DVDs in the evenings. Both activities were perfect for doing handwork.

Knitting ballbands frees my eyes up for more important uses, like looking at David Duchovny. I finished number four.

Days in the sun were perfect for completing the squares necessary for the next strip of the Crazy Quilt Coverlet:

Talking on the phone to Gator, my Sis, and Missa were perfect opportunities to complete the strip...

...and attach the strip to the rest of the afghan. That's the new one there on the right.

There's only one more strip, then the border. Thank Goodness. The border in the pattern is quite narrow and I've been thinking of beefing it up a bit. We'll see when we get there. I'll probably make it up as I go along.

Speaking of making things up as I go along, I got a wild hair. I had laid out my completed ballband cloths and realized that, really, they're just big ol' afghan squares. I'm completely addicted to making them, so perhaps I should make a stash-busting Ballband Afghan. I'm going to use the same color for the background of all the squares and mix up the 'ridges'. I'm still mulling around the joining technique, but I think I know exactly what I want to do -- if I can just get it to work (those sides are messy). I'm not ready to post any pics, but when they come, you will eventually get sick to death of them. Also, this may kill my ballband addiction. We'll see.

Teaching on my own for the first time this morning. Gots me some butterflies. I'm sure it will be fine. Wish me luck, though, anyway, K?


Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Labor Day!

I hope everyone has time for a little fun and rest today, even if it's not an official holiday where you live. Fun and rest are always a good idea, especially on a Monday!

I have labored (in the sun, on the roof, by the pool) this weekend and I'll have a little to show on that tomorrow. For now, I'll get back in the flaking groove:

This is another snowflake done according to Judy's pattern. I love this design. The first time I made it, I used #20 thread and the flake is pretty small. I wanted a larger one, so I whipped out the #10 thread and went to town. Hmmm. They're both pretty good, but I think I really like the small one best after all.

Have a great day!!


Friday, August 31, 2007


My Ravelry invitation came today! And I'm at the lab, so I can't immediately play! And I have to study this weekend! The temptation! Is! Killing! Me!

No matter what I have to do this weekend, I will totally take some time out to bop around and set up a few things. I'm Sus there, too ("asparagus", however, was already taken as a username. WTF??), so look me up if you'd like to be "friends". :)


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bargain therapy

The semester is off to a rip-roarin' start, but I don't have much to report. I went to Walgreens on Tuesday to get some bandages (my heel is still popping open and is going to be a bi7ch to heal up) and got caught in the throes of a back-to-campus sale! Retail therapy will surely help me wee wound, no?

Buy one, get one half price -- and regular price was only 9.99 to start with! They could be crap, or they could be just fine:

1.5 qt. crock pot and 3 cup rice cooker ($14.98 for both) in their new habitat.

My labmate, Lihui, said she had purchased one of these rice cookers several years ago and used it every day for two years. If I can get anything close to that much use from it, I'll be thrilled.

I just made rice in it for the first time this morning and everything seems just peachy! Yay, bargains!

That's all, back to work!


Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Why I'm not in the mood to blog:
  • Classes and my TA assignment have started. I did get the assignment to TA Cell Biology, which is only going to involve leading discussion (recitation) sections, not teaching the entire class (they don't do that here), so it's not quite as bad as some of you may have thought, but it's still about 10 hours a week that I can't research, plus it breaks up my days in annoying ways so some research is even more difficult.
  • My course meeting times (the courses I'm taking, as opposed to the one I'm TAing) have been changed so that one meets at 7:45 am and the other runs until 5:15 pm. Long-ass days.
  • Sunday, when coming home from the grocery store on the bus, my grocery cart-thingy rolled into my heel while I was taking a step and sliced open the back of my heel. It bled A LOT, right there on the bus, and the only thing I had to staunch the flow was my receipt from the grocery store. It was gross, uncomfortable (all those people sneering at my for having the incredibly poor manners to BLEED all over the bus -- and I mean there was A LOT of blood -- and of course none of them were at all interested in helping me), and a challenge to get home from the bus stop with my groceries while BLEEDING PROFUSELY, so much so that it was spattering out of my sandal with every step. It took forever to stop bleeding and it now pops open regularly due to heel flexion when I walk. I'm sure it needed a couple of stitches, but it's not going to get them, so I deal. But I don't feel much like doing anything -- even knitting or crocheting.
  • Four big readings assigned yesterday, due tomorrow for intense discussion. Argh.
  • General grumpiness.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Don't worry, I know what I'm doing

Classes start next week which, while I'm not really enthused about because it will take so much time from my research, is not really too stress-inducing. But I also start a teaching assistanceship, which I am a little freaked out about. I've never TA'd before and, in order to do it right, I'm sure it will take a lot of time. The thing is, no one in the department wants anyone to spend a lot of time on their assistanceship because the priority is research. Now, apart from the educational priorities in higher education debate this could start, I am, of course, more concerned about how this affects, well, me.

See, I'm a bit of a perfectionist. Those who know me well are now howling with laughter at the understatement. And if I can't always be 100% competent, I like to at least appear 100% competent virtually 100% of the time. Now, we don't have official TA assignments yet -- we should get them today (and don't even get me started on why they wait so long to let us know what we'll be teaching -- classes start Monday, for Goodness' sake), but I'm fairly certain that I will be TAing Cell Biology. This is all well and good -- it's an upper division class, populated by fewer students than the survey courses and only biology majors, so they should be more dedicated, but there's a reason that this strikes some fear into my heart. I took cell biology as an undergrad in 1989. Oh, I know the basics, plus anything that I use regularly in my research or that applies to classes I've taken more recently, but there are a lot of details I've forgotten. The professor of the class thinks that this means that TAing this class will be particularly good for me, as I need a refresher on this material and this is an excellent opportunity for that. She's absolutely right. However, my stress level has ratcheted up several notches at the prospect.

So much so that last night I had a nightmare about it. Granted, in true dream fashion, it was ridiculous, but it was definitely a manifestation of my current apprehension. In the dream, I met my class in the proper room, only to find that the proper room was an ice cream parlor and that I was to teach them how ice cream was made and sold at said parlor, except I had no idea how ice cream was made and sold at said parlor because I had just gotten the TA assignment previous to entering the room. So, while under the guise of waiting a bit for latecomers to arrive, I tried to surreptitiously quiz the employees about the material and considered just delegating the actual instruction to the employees. While I debated whether this plan was smart or just lazy and whether I would look more incompetent if I tried to bullshit my way something I knew nothing about, or if I handed off instruction to a high-school age part-time worker, one of the students announced that my friends had arrived. (Never mind how they knew they were my friends -- this is a dream, kids. Wherein I'm TAing Ice Cream Parlor 101.) Sure enough, my friends, Meredith, Liz, and Laura were walking down the hall. I excused myself and went to greet them. As I explained my predicament to them, they all just looked at me like I'd lost my mind and told me that, no matter what, I had to go back and teach the class. I was disappointed that they hadn't seemed more compassionate to my plight when it hit me: They are all teachers. And that if I didn't somehow pull this out of my ass and find a way to be successful, I was not only going to look like an incompetent loser in front of my students, but I would also seem that way to my friends.

And then I woke up.

Not that I have issues, or anything.

Nope, not at all.

I've got it completely under control.

I know exactly what I'm doing.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Threats and rewards

I'm not sure why, but the last two evenings have been a furious flurry of handwork progress. Granted, it hasn't been a particularly focused flurry, but a flurry nonetheless.

First of all, I am trying to cajole, coerce, and/or threaten myself into finishing the frickin' frackin' Crazy Quilt Coverlet. I love this afghan, but I can't stand making it. I dread every single square. It's been this way since the beginning and that's why it's taking me so amazingly long to finish the galdarned thing. I finally convinced myself that I could not work on anything else until I finished one more strip of the afghan. So, I hunkered down, cranked out seven squares, blocked them, and sewed them together last night. This is the seventh strip of the 'ghan; there are only two more. Once I get to the border, I think I won't hate it so much. I'm giving myself two more weeks to get to the border. I. Must. Finish. This. Thing. Soon. If I do that, I might consider taking the Square A Day Tablecloth out of time out. But don't hold me to it, for Goodness' sake.

Crazy Quilt Coverlet. That's the latest strip on the right. It's going to be so very cool when it's done.

Once I had sewn on the strip, I had to reward myself with a rush of non-coverlet activity. I finished the psychedelic lime ballband cloth,

then I decided I couldn't wait one more minute to start something with my yummy alpaca yarn that I got on clearance at my LYS, Ruhama's. I had been collecting lace scarf patterns and finally settled on the Ziggy pattern because it is pretty, interesting, asymmetrical, and not too girly. I'm not sure it will be the best match with this yarn, but I should know fairly soon. I got started on it last night:

I soon realized that there is no way I can work the chart while watching the X-Files, so I did the only logical thing. I set the scarf aside and started a new ballband. Hee!

So it seems that my solution for finishing one WIP involves starting a bunch of new ones. I'm not sure how that's going to work out, but at this point, if it gets me to finish that coverlet, I'm thrilled.

Now, I have to finish another square before I'm allowed to breathe anymore today.


Monday, August 20, 2007

What would the DSM-IV say about this?

It's been raindrop time in Beer Town for several days and more to come, but here in Sus' House of Yarn All Over the Floor by Her Chair it's once again snowflake time!

I really like this design -- I enjoyed making it and I like the look of the finished product. It's Number 43 of Leisure Arts' 99 Snowflakes. It's made with #10 cotton and a US7 hook, and I altered it from a seven point flake to a six pointer. I'm not a total convert to my buddy's strict criteria for flakes, but I am not a big fan of seven points. It just doesn't seem right, somehow. I like this one so much I may make it again next week with #20 thread.

On Saturday afternoon, I went to a production of the musical version of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Now, I may be the only person in my age bracket that hasn't seen the movie (those who know me well, however, are never surprised to find that I haven't seen a movie), so the story was fresh to me. It was a great production and I had a terrific time. Spamalot is coming next season and I must find a way to get to that one. While I wait I can play the Spamalot game.

It was a pretty random weekend for handwork. I flaked, obviously, and tried to work on a WIP, with only a little luck. I kept being distracted by other things.

I made three new blocks for the Crazy Quilt Coverlet:

I finished the baby Ballbands:

And because of crazy Ballband addiction, I started a kicky new one:

I also spent a lot of time this weekend collecting patterns from the 'net and thus my queue of projects I want to start next is growing at a scary, scary rate. Is there a psychiatrist/psychologist out there? Because I'm thinking knit/crochet project counseling could become a really hot area of therapy. Throw in some group sessions on stash management and I think maybe you've got yourself a hoppin' little practice. Think of all the people you'll free from the stress of getting projects done on time, the painful process of deciding what to start next, the guilt of multiple WIPs and UFOs taking over all available surfaces, and the compulsion to continuously increase the stash. I'll happily settle for a 10% commission for giving you the idea.

You can pay me in yarn.