Tuesday, December 22, 2009

switcheroo

All right. I don't know how many times I've been advised to give my blog the same title as my shop. I read that advice one more time today, and that pushed me over the edge. I'm now shifting my blogging over to http://sarahsamiables.blogspot.com/. I think I'll leave this one up as it is, but I don't anticipate posting here anymore. If you want to keep up with me, visit my new blog!

Monday, December 21, 2009

end of the marathon

I am pleased to report that I finished and mailed off the marathon sweater! I'm very proud of my work on this one. It is really quite soft, especially after the second blocking. It took me about 80 hours, I think, not counting the three times I frogged and re-knit the left sleeve, or the frogging and re-knitting of the collar, which came out too tight the first time. I find it promising that Evan loved the sweater, too. He said that he would be thrilled if I made him a sweater half as good.



I've also been spinning a bunch of awesome looking fiber I got from the Village Yarn and Fiber Shop in East Rochester. I meant to go there on my birthday, but there was a nasty snowstorm, so my trip got postponed until the following Tuesday. I think the roving is a blend something from the Fingerlakes region, but it's not labeled, so I forgot. (Edited to add: The website says the fiber comes from Spinners Hill and their fiber is Corriedale, Finn, Rambouillet Cross.)

I love the colors! So visually stimulating! As I'm plying, I'm trying to maximize contrast. And the yarn is quite soft, too. But I'm having trouble deciding what to make with it. Any ideas? Scarf? Hat? Mittens? Something not wearable? Something that has never been made before?

Seriously, I have a grand total of ZERO comments right now. I would love it if someone would pipe up and cast a vote for the fate of this yarn. Or anything else. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

purchases for prayer shawls

I recently heard that the church in what I still consider my home town has run out of prayer shawls! I want to help, but I need a push to actually get down to the store and buy the yarn so I can start knitting.

So: For every item I sell between now and January 1, 2010, I will purchase one skein of yarn for a prayer shawl. (Each prayer shawl generally consumes 3 skeins.)

I invite you to visit my shop and consider supporting the prayer shawl ministry which brings warmth and comfort to those who need it.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Birthday Recap

All right, Rochester, you win. I said "I like snow," and you buried me in it.


My birthday went slightly differently from what I'd planned. Evan and I had a late dinner instead of an early dinner, with him driving his jeep in the narsty weather and the even narstier traffic. He gave me nice presents, wrapped furoshiki-style, per my request. I've decided I will wrap all my presents this way, because the wrapping is reusable, and totally gorgeous, I think.


I did not get to visit the yarn shop, and I canceled dessert with my brother, because the weather was so oppressive. But I did get a bunch of crafting done. My birthday marks the transition into Christmas, in my mind. I know Advent began a while back, but until my birthday has passed, I can't get into it.

To facilitate getting into it, I made my own version of AddieBugs seasonal fabric banners. They look so festive. Here's mine:


Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's my birthday!

Yay, it's my birthday. I'm 26. I'm not old enough to hate birthdays, yet, so I still like 'em.

And it's snowing! This is why I love Rochester: it actually snows on my birthday (a wish I've long had.) Last year was the first time I saw it. I was taking Human Structure and Function at the time, and we had a long dissection that day in the anatomy labs, and my lab had lots of windows, so I got a great view of the falling snow.
For today, the snow had already fallen when I woke up. And we've got a 50% chance of more snow later this afternoon. Score.

Looking forward to a pleasant evening. First: Evan's taking me out to dinner at a fun restaurant. Second: Mom got me a gift certificate at a local yarn shop, which happens to have knitalongs on Thursday nights, so I'll go there for some fibery bliss. Third: When Jonny gets out of his drum lesson tonight, he'll take me to a fancy dessert, and bring his girlfriend along, so I'll get the chance to get to know her better.

Things are looking pretty nice. :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

high altitude hat

This is a hat I knit way back when. And this is my brother wearing that long-lost hat at 14,000 feet on Mt. Yale in Colorado. How awesome is that?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thanksgiving recap

I did something completely out of my comfort zone this Thanksgiving. Well, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Mom offered to sign us up for ziplining. I bit my lip and said "sure."

Here are Jonny, Dad, and Evan in their harnesses.























































Here we are on one of the platforms. Check out how the trees are swaying! Of course our platform was swaying, too.
video


There were suspension bridges, too. Here are views from up high and down low to give you perspective:


I went down the last zipline with camera in hand:
video

Monday, November 30, 2009

mystery socks!

I am so proud of myself -- I finished the mystery socks in time to submit them on the Ravelry thread to possibly win a prize!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

knitting encounter in the cashier's office

I stopped in at the cashier's office this afternoon to get reimbursed for some paint brushes I bought for the lab last March. (We use really thin paint brushes for mounting 30-micron-thin slices of tissue on slides.) Stupid bureaucracy. I was ready with my knitting, just in case I had a long wait, but I did not, which I guess was nice, though it meant I didn't get any extra knitting done. Still, the woman at the counter noticed my knitting and commented "that's a new one." We launched into happy fiber-related conversation (she had tried crocheting, but could only work in one direction), and even to the woman standing at the window to my right chimed in (she took up knitting as a means to stop smoking. So cool.). And at the end, I walked away with my long-lost $9.96 in my pocket.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Swine Flu?

I had Something last week, and it was a doozie. It came on over the entire course of Sunday the 8th, starting as a sore throat. For several hours I dismissed it as nothing significant: just a dumb sore throat from taking an overnight train. In the late afternoon, however, this pesky sore throat blossomed, knocked me out around 6:00 pm, and kept me in bed for a Full Three Days! Yowch. I'm finally feeling pretty much like myself, now, except that I have a semi-productive cough that acts up when I'm out in the cold, or going up stairs. I was hoping to go to KardioFusion tonight, but I don't think I can, for the coughing. Maybe I'll just use one of the eliptical machines, and burn my calories more gently tonight.

So, mysterious diagnosis:
1. This bug took a whole day to come on. Hence: a cold, not the flu.
2. This bug laid me out flat for 72 hours. Hence: the flu, not a cold.
I am dumbstruck.

The really sad part about the bug was that I was too sick even to knit. I could be awake for maybe half an hour at a time before plunging back into unconsciousness, and while I was awake, my hands felt too weak to manipulate the needles. It was a truly desperate and tragic situation.

But now I'm better, and I'm zipping along with the knitting. First priority still goes to that marathon of a sweater. I'm 9 inches into the right sleeve, and I really want to finish it by this weekend, so I can work the left sleeve, seam the sleeves, pick up and knit the collar, and finally call this thing finished. At some point I'm going to actually calculate how many stitches are in this thing. It will be a very large number.

I am one of those ADD knitters with several projects going at once, though, and I finished and mailed off the gray hat for Laurie (I really hope her project works out!), and cast on for the baby sweater my mom requested. The difference between the baby sweater and the marathon sweater is nearly laughable. Marathon sweater: size 3 needles, fingering weight yarn, 6.5 stitches to the inch, men's size large. Baby sweater: size 8 needles, worsted weight yarn, 4 stitches to the inch, 6-month-old size. The baby sweater is zooming, which is wildly satisfying.

For myself, I really want to knit a coif, because I sometimes wear my hair in a bun, which makes a standard hat not fit, and my ears get really cold outside in this maturing Rochester autumn. The coif should also zoom, since it is a small thingy and uses size 9 needles! 3 stitches to the inch, baby!

I even bough yarn specifically for the coif this weekend during the Rochester Yarn Crawl, which was awesome. At my first stop, my LYS of choice the Yarn Boutique, I bought my first skein of Malabrigo yarn. Chunky. Colorful. Soft. And presumably warm. From there I proceded to the other three yarn shops in Rochester, which I had never visited. I find I really like the Village Yarn and Fiber Shop. I was especially impressed with their book selection, which even included a book on spinning and knitting dog hair! I thought about getting it, but refrained, and instead purchased Knitter's Gift and America Knits. I've actually been looking for a book like America Knits for a long time: something not just technique- and pattern-based, but something, well, inspirational. About knitters and designers and fiber artists and their lives and ideas. With gorgeous pictures. America Knits totally caters to that.

Another bit of reading I've especially enjoyed is this series about working on a sheep farm all year-round. I love the specific, vivid, and humorously related anecdotes, supplemented with beautiful photographs. Barbara Parry's writing really encourages me to luxuriate in my fantasy of having a fiber farm. I kind of want to be her. Especially when I'm sick and tired of counting microglia in the substantia nigra, and there are no windows in my lab, and I just want to get home and knit and read books about knitting and spinning and really work with my hands to create something soft and beautiful and useful.

Then again, today I do have a sense of accomplishment, because one of my advisors approved my abstract, so I can submit it today for the 1st D-CFAR World AIDS Day Scientific Symposium on December 1. Then I need to make the poster... blech, formatting data.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dead Dog Parable

Yesterday I was reminded of one of my favorite stories of all time, and I felt compelled to share it here.

Once upon a time there was a girl. We'll call her Samantha, because I honestly don't remember her real name. The family nextdoor was going on an extended vacation and asked Samantha to babysit their dog. Naturally, Samantha accepted. This dog was very old, however, and passed away during the family's vacation. Samantha called the family with the sad news, and the family requested that she bring the dog's body to the vet for disposal. So then there was the problem of transportation. Samantha didn't want to be seen struggling with the carcass of a sizable dog, and decided to put the body in a suitcase. As she eased the suitcase down the steps of the porch, a man walked by and offered to carry it for her. "Jeez," said the man, "What do you have in here?" Samantha didn't want to admit the true contents of the suitcase, and answered "Computer stuff." The man then took the suitcase and ran away.
The End.

Karma in action.

Monday, November 2, 2009

covet

This looks like one of the coolest dorky things I've seen in a long time:

Star Wars Lightsaber Laser Pointer! I covet this, but cannot yet bring myself to actually spend money on it. I love thinkgeek.com for creating things like this. I actually subscribe to their newsletter for entertainment value.

Knucks are done! Only problem is that the ends of the finger bits roll over. I think this happens because I cast on too loosely, and the more generous length around the edge allows enough leeway to give in to the tendency of the stockinette stitch, which is to curl. My counter strategy is to weave a length of matching thread (not yarn: too bulky) through the edge stitches to cinch them a bit and prevent their expansion and hopefully combat the rolling.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

cat's in the bag

Jude really likes to get into things. One of his favorites is the wicker laundry basket when it's empty. The other day he spent 10 minutes in the recycling bin, just chillin'. Last night he sort of fell off the bed into a large paper bag. And he stayed in there, quite content.


A week from Saturday my family, Evan, and I are taking the train out to South Bend, IN for my sister's birthday and the Notre Dame football game. Mom tells me the games last a long time, and are outside, and are very cold.
Long game = I must knit.
Cold = I must have fingerless gloves to knit.
So I've been working on making knucks just as fast as I can.



The going was a bit chaotic at first, as you can see, because knucks are worked from the top down, to abolish anxiety over long cuffs (similar to toe-up socks). But I've joined the thumb now, and it's starting to look functional.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

just have to laugh

Sometimes things just seem to go perfectly wrong. The preparation is great, the lead-in is promising, but something critical falls through, and all is for naught.

This morning: I made myself the most perfect large cup of coffee to offset my 8:00 am biostatistics class. I even added extra cream to make it taste super-luxurious. I was stopped at the red light where I usually crave my first sip of caffeinated beverage. There was a moment of disorientation as I found nothing in the cup holder, supplanted by utter dismay as I realized I had left my red Fiber Fest '09 mug standing conveniently on the table about 6 inches from the door knob so I could not possibly leave it behind. This was the moment of truth. I was half-way through some particularly stirring profanity when I decided this would be a funny story. I would tell someone, she would commiserate and laugh, and I would just slog though class and spoil myself with something extravagant later. (Nevermind how this sounds like rewarding stupidity with an expensive treat.)
Somehow I made it through 75 minutes of hypothesis testing, Z tests, and t tests, staggered up to my lab, dropped all my stuff, and went straight to the coffee kiosk down in the atrium where I spent $4 on a pumpkin spiced latte to alleviate my morning's failure, and rescue me from violent yawning.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

midterm: check

I so way-over-prepared for my midterm in biostatistics this morning. I had time to basically take the exam twice, and still leave 40 minutes early. Somehow, though there's kind of a victory in this, I also feel frustrated. Where was my promised challenge? I enjoy that little burst of adrenaline when you read the next question and think "I have no idea how to answer this," but then comes the Eureka moment and the pride and satisfaction of defeating the nasty exam question.

I took some time this afternoon to sketch out a design for the save-the-date postcards. I'm rather a fan. It looks fairly standard, I guess, until you notice the border of neurons. Anyway, I think I'll try to carve the design into a stamp and use that to mass-produce my cards.




And I've started making Christmas goodies. Here's a picture of a mini knit hat. There will be a pompom on top, made of the purple yarn. The purple is my handspun (I had only a little left after knitting the Soft Midnight hat for my Etsy shop, and this is using it up nicely), and the pink is recycled yarn from a Goodwill sweater.







And now it's my turn to use the microscope.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

packaged

Shame on me for my heinous delay in posting.

Here are some pictures to make it better.

I shipped off an Etsy order recently. I'm trying to improve my packaging, and this is my latest effort.







































I've also been working furiously on my sweater commission. It's taking sort of forever because the yarn works out at about 6.5 stitches to the inch. I finished the back section, and I've already passed the hem ribbing on the front. I hope it stays fun at least through the sleeves.

And I've had a design inspiration. It has been coming on for a while, now, but today during biostatistics class I actually drew up a schematic and some rough directions. I have some chunky yarn and a couple hours tonight, so maybe I can give this thing a whirl. What the heck am I talking about? Not telling. Hopefully I'll have pictures soon. Really hopefully I might even get gutsy enough to submit it to Knitty.com!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

106 years

I just saw and read this story about a 106-year-old woman who still knits blankets for hospitalized children. I would love to be that woman someday. The story gives me good feelings all over.

I've been commissioned to make a sweater. Many knitters will shudder when they read that the sweater is to be a men's V-neck pullover in stockinette stitch, made with fingering weight yarn on size 3 needles at 6.5 stitches to the inch in charcoal grey. But I'm enjoying myself. The yarn is a delicious 50/50 alpaca/wool blend. Super soft! And the basic stitch means I can multitask. I took the project to the art gallery with me last weekend. That was rather fun, strolling around, admiring art, and keeping my hands pleasantly occupied with super soft knitting. I'm nearing the end of the first skein, and I'm 8.25 inches up the back.

I was totally sick in bed with something flu-like for the last two days. Evan was wonderful to me the whole time, offering back rubs and soup and tea, even though his first exam for Human Structure and Function is looming on Monday. He gets major fiancé points. I'm about 90% healthy today. Still a little stuffy and a little sleepy, but the sore throat, achiness, and extreme fatigue have gone (I must have slept 17 hours on Tuesday), and the swollen glands have mostly subsided. I always take for granted how I feel when I'm healthy: that I'm-alert-and-aware-and-happy-to-be-here feeling. It's so refreshing when it comes back after leaving for a while.

Jude is getting more determined about getting out. He's not allowed to be out, according to the rules of our apartment lease. He recognizes the sound of the key in the lock, and dashes over to the door, and slinks there, crouched low with his nose pressed against the door crack. So now when I enter the apartment, I make sure to shoo Jude away from the door with my foot before opening it enough for me to enter. Evan has not yet accepted this practice, and so Jude has a better escape record when Evan's opening the door. At least there's a hallway outside our door, rather than our door opening straight to the outside, and at least Jude doesn't spaz and run away when we scoop him up to return him to his rightful place.

Friday, September 25, 2009

favoritest toy

My cat has a favorite toy. There are several things he loves to play with (including my hair, which can be simultaneously funny and perilous), but clearly one stands above all the rest. It's not the laser pointer, which he will chase and chase and chase until the sun comes up, even though he appears to have figured out where it comes from. Jude's favorite toy is this:

It is a strip of cardboard, the bit that you yank off to open a package sent by priority mail. This strip of cardboard is about a month old, and has somehow been split lengthwise into two pieces that travel mysteriously around our apartment. The most mysterious part to me, though, is how one of these twin strips has ended up in my bed -- literally in the bed, under the covers and all -- and not once, but twice.

I take this to mean that Jude loves his cardboard strip as a child loves a teddy bear, and carries it to bed with him. Either that, or Evan has developed a cardboard fetish.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

#8 love

Man, I gotta say, I just love the feel of US 8 needles in my hands, cruising along with some worsted weight wool (working on the wedding afghan for Thatcher and Izzy, or maybe Izzie). It feels so fast! So substantial! And I especially like this new pair of 8s I got at the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival last weekend. They're a little shorter than most needles I have, so they feel less cumbersome, and more nimble. Ahh, sweet pleasure.

Last night I unpinned my improv lace shawl from its position blocking on the floor in the second bedroom. (As Evan reminded me to do, by saying, "That's a nice rug in the other room." I nearly punched him.) Picture-taking ensued.

The pictures above have kind of lame light, so I draped the shawl on the couch, for another photo op:



Luscious.

So, thank you, Myra Wood, for teaching me the technique of improvisational (crazy) lace knitting at the Knit and Crochet Show in Buffalo, NY. I heart it.

PS - bonus points to anyone who can tell me where my yarn scale is. It hasn't resurfaced since we moved, and I miss it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Mostly fiber stuff

This luscious fiber arrived a couple days ago from Chimera. Definitely looking forward to spinning it.





And here is some yarn I spun with fiber I got from SarahWood3587. I just finished plying it this evening. I had to re-wind one of the bobbins into a ball before plying to get the color contrast I wanted. I love how soft the yarn is. I don't think there's enough for a scarf, but definitely enough for a hat.





And I finally finished my improv lace shawl! I cast off last night. I've got pictures with and without Jude. The shawl is currently blocking on the floor in the second bedroom. It seems pretty dry, but I'll still wait to unpin it until tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jude nap

Knitting news: I'm still plugging along on the improv lace circular shawl. The end is in sight. I'm on the third rep of the feather and fan border, and I think I'll go for 5 reps, or maybe 7 to balance out the size of the shawl. The crazy part is: I still love working on this project! How many tens of hours have I spent on it? And it's still pretty much my favorite project to pick up! I don't understand it. I do look forward to wearing it, though.

I've been somewhat succumbing to startitis lately. Luckily my supply of needles is limited, else I would have three more hats in "progress" right now. I did start the Litla Dimun shawl from Folk Shawls, because it's a moderate size, simple-looking, and the kind of thing I can finish. As much as I would love to have the Irish Diamond Shawl, I don't think I've quite reached that maturity level, as a person. The KnitPicks podcast on charity knitting from 9/9/09, and especially the Sticks and String podcast from 9/6/09 inspired me to cast on for a baby hat to send off to Afghanistan, where many babies die just because their heads get too cold. I even have the perfect yarn for it. But I'm going to let that wait until I finish a few more projects. And then there are various promised presents I need to make this year. And stocking my Etsy shop. And Christmas...

I just discovered a new blog today: AndreaKnits Fiber Arts Blog. I'm going to just eat that up. Her work is gorgeous, and her pictures are plentiful and lovely. And it's fun to read.

In other news, Jude is outrageously cute. Jonny came over to pick up his mini fridge, which Evan and I had been storing for him over the summer. Jude was as friendly as ever, and lay down as Jonny and I were chatting in the living room. Jude fell asleep. Nothing strange there, except for his position:

I couldn't help taking many, many pictures. Jude didn't move through the whole thing. Sleepy, sleepy, sleepy.

















Oh, my gosh, I love my cat!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

April

Yesterday Evan and I had to euthanize his pet rat, April. April had had a very long and happy life, though in the last several months she had been developing tumors. Evan operated on her three times to remove these tumors, which were superficial, but the tumors spawned and grew faster with time, and though she recovered quickly from the surgeries, they were still hard on April, especially as she got older and the cancer took its toll. These past weeks April hasn't been eating or drinking. She couldn't make it up the ramp to the upper floors of her cage, and couldn't even navigate around the lowest floor. So Evan made the tough call, and we took care of it. As he says, it was harder than he expected. This afternoon he went to his parents' house to bury April in the back yard.

Here's a picture of Evan's rats, Lily and April. April's probably the one on top.

There's still Lily, who is remarkably healthy, feisty, and cancer-free. We wonder whether she will notice that April's gone, or if she will care. More banana chips for her, I guess.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Crows

So apparently crows can recognize human faces. However, humans are hopeless at telling one crow from another. Interesting. NPR told me.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Weddings suck

After having dealt with barely the tip of the catastrophic iceberg of wedding planning, I have determined that weddings are impossible. Mom says tradition dictates that the wedding should be all about the bride (me). Evan insists that he (groom) is part of the wedding, too, and that his preferences should be taken into consideration. So we must find a way to be married in both Connecticut and New York simultaneously so all parties are appeased. Meanwhile, it turns out that there is no time when we actually can get married. Evan's two-week winter vacation is clogged with holidays and impossibilities, spring break is too short, and then we're into summer already. I don't want to be one of the multitude of summer weddings. Besides, I dislike summer.

To quote myself:
Every five minutes I revert to thinking we should just go do the legal paperwork at the town hall, have a nice lunch, and call it done.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Engaged!

Yesterday, Evan and I went to look at an abandoned cat at the vet where his parents take their pets. We absolutely loved this cat -- friendliest, chillest cat there ever was, loves to be held, playful, and with beautiful markings, to boot! He didn't even make Evan sneeze. So off we went to get cat stuff (food, litter, etc), and returned to the vet to pick up the cat, whom we named Jude. I was thinking maybe Jasper, because I was getting a "J" vibe from him. Evan suggested Jude, since the song Hey Jude has significance to us.

When we were getting our Petco card for discounts and stuff, the application asked Jude's birthday. We counted back 6 months, and decided that he was born on February 22nd, which is our anniversary.

In the car on the way home, Evan said we should probably wait until we got a house to get a second cat, and this ruined his proposal plans. He had been planning to surprise me on some Saturday morning with a new cat with a ring attached to the collar, but that plan was out. I said he could still surprise me with the ring. He complained that the cat didn't have a collar. I said he could tie a piece of string around the cat's neck, and that would be fine with me.

At home, Jude quickly warmed up to us. He slunk around the apartment for a bit, and then chilled under the dining table, but he came out before long and was very affectionate (and I made sure to introduce him to the litter box).

Then Evan shut himself and Jude in the bedroom and wouldn't let me in. I assumed he was trying to get kitty bonding time behind my back, while I cleaned up in the kitchen. After a minute, Evan came out, holding Jude with a red piece of yarn tied around his neck. I thought maybe he was just being cute, since we had already discussed that whole proposal plan and thereby disqualified it. But, sure enough, there was a super-sparkly ring under Jude's chin. "Sarah, will you marry me?" asked Evan. I answered something to the effect of "yes!"



















There followed the usual phone calls and such, but otherwise, things remained quite casual. Evan did his reading for class. I cleaned up the second bedroom for Jonny's arrival and played with Jude. The whole engagement thing hasn't quite sunk in, yet. But I am loving this ring!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cold, ick

I seem to have been the victim of a hit-and-run cold. I felt hunky-dory yesterday morning, but as the day progressed I developed a major sniffle, along with aches, swollen glands, and what I think was a low-grade fever. I left lab early and slept most of the afternoon. Evan was an angel and made me chicken noodle soup. Granted, it was canned, but he still made it for me. :)

Today I'm still somewhat achy, and moderately sniffly, but much more functional, which is good, because I need to generate an experimental design for discussion with my advisors tomorrow. I think I have it pretty much done, but I'll re-visit it later today. And I should finish taking pictures on the microscope. Only four more slides to go. Then I can start getting into the higher magnifications.

Tomorrow afternoon I'm driving to CT for a friend's wedding. I'm looking forward to it. This friend is an organist, so I have high expectations for the service music. On Sunday my mom is paying me to serve as organist at the church she's preaching at. They have one of those ridiculous organs that plays music off a CD, so having an in-person organist will be new for them. The church won't pay me, but Mom feels that it will be worth it. So, cool.

Oh, and I'm very proud of myself. My examination committee has unanimously decided that I passed part I of my qualifying exam with honors.

Monday, August 17, 2009

White Coat

Evan (my love) had his white coat ceremony last Friday morning.
video

I've been knitting like crazy on my new circular improvisational lace shawl. I'm not sure why I'm so addicted to this project. Maybe the size 6 needles feel just right? or the 4% cashmere content is heavenly? or the low stress of not having to stick to someone else's chart? or the fact that I've just recently finished blocking my circular wedding shawl/veil and think it's awesome? or I can't wait to finish this project so I can start another one? or it's still small enough to be portable? Probably all of the above.

To get a cat, or not to get a cat? I definitely want a cat. A rescue cat. Problem: money. The cat itself will cost a fair amount, and the apartment wants a $120 deposit plus another $50 a month. Damn. The temptation is that a friend of my mom's has a new very friendly stray black cat hanging around her house. She cannot adopt this cat because they already own a very aggressive dog. And I'm going home this weekend for my friend's wedding. Such temptation.

Also: to take another job, or not to take another job? The organist position I was vying for last spring has opened up for next year. It's at a catholic church, which is not my specialty, but, my goodness, they have a terrific organ. I also know and like their choir director, and the choir is also quite good. I guess I'll ask for more details about the salary and the regular liturgy, but I'm thinking I might go for it. Then I could afford a cat! :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Health Care: my two cents

[I don't mean for my blog to be political, but I've gotta vent on this one.]

I am infuriated by how the health care debates are going. The shameful lies and violent argument tactics employed by those who oppose reform are completely counter-productive, preventing intelligent discourse and transmission of information.

Where does one even begin with such a mess?

I believe that health care reform is needed. Insurance companies are greedy and have been screwing patients over by denying them coverage for pre-existing conditions, or dropping their coverage in case of serious illness. Am I the only one who thinks that these are precisely the situations in which health insurance providers should step up and give support? It appears that health insurance companies are happy to collect people's premiums and promise health care as long as it's unneeded, but the instant people really, really do need medical care, the insurance companies split. How does that make any kind of sense?

I think that Obama's plan is a good one, targeting these and other loopholes insurance companies have abused to dupe the public. Americans will get affordable, reliable health care, especially when they need it, without discrimination or irresponsible price gouging. The really beautiful thing is that this plan is going to kill two birds with one stone. American health care will be improved. And since the current health care system is so expensive and dysfunctional that it's dragging down the entire economy, removing this dead weight will vastly improve the fiscal side of things.

Basically, everyone wins with this plan, except for the insurance companies and people who receive financial support from them. And, my God, these people are making a fuss! How selfish of them. They're perfectly content to live their luxurious lives, even if it means the entire country suffers for their bliss. Further, these gluttons audaciously attempt to convince Americans that maintaining the defective status quo is in their best interest. The most shocking, unfair, and insulting part is that they're succeeding.

The blatant lies these people have spread are appalling. No wonder the administration waited so long before attending to the fallacious statements: they must have felt, as I do, that such ridiculous propaganda could never take hold in the minds of intelligent individuals. Apparently we were wrong. I want to know who started the rumor that the new plan will encourage, nay, require euthanasia for the old and infirm. This plan is supported by AARP. I am quite certain they have read the plan, know what it says, and would never support anything that threatened their population. Then there are the statements that the new plan will bankrupt the country, when it's the current system that is hurting the economy, a situation that reform will remedy. Here's one of the few times I will ever quote Sarah Palin in earnest: "Quit makin' stuff up!" The whole discussion has become a matter of telling truth from fiction, with one side saying "X will happen, and Y will not!" while the other side disagrees: "X will not happen, and Y will!" People will probably agree with speakers they are more familiar with, or whom they find more entertaining, regardless of their reliability. No wonder people are confused. At this point, it seems that in order to get any unbiased facts, people have to go to the primary source, the bill itself, and read the damn thing, which I'm sure is no easy task.

Here I see a failure of the media. I believe that one of their duties is to simplify the complex workings of the government and truthfully and without bias present this information to the public. Major failure in that.

Finally, I am disappointed in the behavior of the American people. A willingness to be sheep, to unthinkingly adhere to the ideology and follow the commands of overtly biased icons, does not become us, especially when this behavior leads to disruptive yelling and violence at meetings that were intended to clarify the matter at hand by simply presenting information and having civil discussion.

Sure, gossip and controversy and hype are fun, but let's leave those things to Hollywood, where the fate of a country does not hang in the balance.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Hampshire, hats and bookmarks, moving

Phew, I'm finally settling back into lab. Last week I was in Squam Lake, New Hampshire with my family and boyfriend, which was a welcome break after my qualifying exam the week before. I suppose my exam went well, though none of my committee members has given me definitive feedback on my answers. Meh. As long as I don't have to do it again, I'm happy.

I suppose a couple pictures are in order.

This is Evan on top of Mt. Rattlesnake on Sunday morning:
As my dad says, Rattlesnake really is the best in terms of the view you get for the amount of climbing you do.


Here is the view from the boat coming back from the Loon Island picnic last Tuesday:

And here's a short video of Jonny (my brother), Nathan (my cousin), and Brooke (a girl who also goes to Squam Lake the same week we do) in the wacky canoe races, demonstrating a rather successful switch:
video

I've resumed crocheting a bit recently, mostly (well, exclusively) making lacy book marks that I suppose I'll have to try to sell, because there are quite a lot of them. And they're pretty! In my knitting, I've been mostly working on hats. I've come to a bit of a standstill on the pi shawl, now that I'm pretty much at the edge. I know I want to include beads and some sort of a pretty border, but choosing which one is difficult.

I'm also trying to psyche myself up for a big push on Etsy. I've been making hats and scarves for months now, waiting to get a little closer to the cooler weather and the holidays before posting them. And I think I'm about there. I also want to publicize a bit, probably by (1) buying one of Etsy's promotion spots for a day, (2) posting fliers, and (3) maybe making promotional bookmarks, which I read about in an article from Etsy. I think that's a great idea, but I'm blanking on a design. I'm thinking card stock rectangles with stamps and a ribbon or tassel. Somehow I want to get information about my shop on there... maybe I'll print up little info blurbs separately and glue them onto the card stock... Yeah, I'm still at the drawing board on this one.

I'm delaying the Etsy push, however, until I'm at least mostly moved in to my new apartment. Well, I should say, Evan's and my apartment. Yes, we're moving in together. Exciting. Over the last couple days I've been coming to the unpleasant realization that I really do have entirely too much stuff. I'm not filtering as I pack, but I plan to keep a Good Will box handy as I unpack. Evan has been an angel, generously using his dwindling vacation time to haul my stuff from my current apartment. I owe him a tremendous back rub at the end of this week.

Oh, and this weekend is the Knit and Crochet Show in Buffalo! Can't wait! I'm taking classes on creative knit/crochet (stash bust!) and improvisational lace knitting, both offered by Myra Wood (what a beautiful name). The problem is that my car needs an oil change, which I would like to get done before I drive back and forth to Buffalo, but that only leaves a couple days.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Five Day Weekend

Most important: Evan has been accepted to the University of Rochester Medical Center. The is the best thing ever. But now we have to (quick!) look for a place to live, and move there, which means packing up my obscene amount of crap. I was actually really stressing about it the other night and had to do breathing exercises to go to sleep. TMI? Still, it's kind of fun. We're planning a bike ride this evening around the "white coat ghetto" to look for places available for rent or sale, while sneakily getting exercise.

I actually have been working on the Serenity/Knights of Cydonia music video. I think it's awesome. Not done yet, but close. I'm shocked at how much time it takes! Importing the movie, converting the files, cropping the files, then finally starting to put stuff together... oioioi.

I've just subscribed to the Stuff You Should Know podcast, from howstuffworks.com. I love it. You will, too. The podcast led me to the Five Day Weekend movement. I'm not sure if this is a terrific idea or not. I love the idea of a shorter work week and longer weekend. As they say, work expands to fit the time allotted to it. I could be so totally productive if I knew I only had to keep it up for two or maybe three or four days, rather than a grueling five, with only two days to recoup and go at it again -- especially when those two days get sucked up by cleaning, errands, laundry, and general maintenance. Where's the fun time?

I started a puzzle last night, and I really want to get home to finish it! It's one of those mystery puzzles. One side is a crime scene (cartoon version). You assemble it, look around it and collect clues about the criminal. Then you flip the puzzle over and pick the perp out of a line of suspects. I love seeing a puzzle come together. It's so satisfying! I suppose it also helps that I'm really good at 'em. :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

AMV inspiration

Oh my goodness, do you know what would be the coolest thing in the world? An AMV of Serenity set to Knights of Cydonia by Muse. I must learn how to make those.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Stony Brook

PS ...

EVAN GOT ACCEPTED TO STONY BROOK MEDICAL SCHOOL

I'm a proud, proud girlfriend.

microtome haiku

sharpest blade ever
slicing tissue whisper thin
magic microtome

Friday, May 29, 2009

love these colorways

http://spirit-trail.net/laceyarns.htm

If I were rich, I would buy and knit all of these lace weight colorways. They all rock my world. The pricing isn't too harsh, but still a bit out of my league. Besides, the Shepherds Wool Market is tomorrow! I'll splurge there.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Knitting for Little Ones

I just listened to the knitpicks podcast, episode #96, Knitting for Little Ones. And I've once again been hit/bit by the knitting bug. Need To Knit! Can't possibly knit enough! But this one's really bad, because I want to knit tons of stuff all at once -- bonnets and socks and toddler sweaters and especially leggings! I get like this about books, too: I feel like it would be just great not only to read several different books, but to have read them, to know that I am a better person with deeper and better developed character because of all the new sequences of words I've exposed my mind to. But there is no time. And I have no attention for reading heady books. Doesn't necessarily stop me from buying them, though.

Maybe I can start a pair of baby socks tonight. With a soft worsted or maybe DK weight yarn. Something quick and satisfying that won't drag me from my other 15 projects.

New project urges are tricksome. Like devious siren mermaids. They beckon and seduce, and drag you along merrily for quite a ways, until you're deep enough into the pattern that you can't possibly turn back. Then the muse leaves you. Like, poof, gone. Or you think the muse was never there in the first place, and how the hell did you get so far into a project that now amounts to work, on par with doing the dishes that have been piling up for a fortnight?

So the trick that I'm using here is selecting a pattern that doesn't go deep. A pattern that will breeze by so quickly and be so satisfying that my muse won't have the chance to escape. Or if she does, there will only be a tiny amount of knitting work left at the end, through which I can bribe myself with chocolate or wine. Or Sam Adams Summer Ale. I love that stuff.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My new favorite people

I love old men on bikes. I rode to the library yesterday and passed three old men on bikes. And I saw another one this morning on my way to the church I subbed at today. All of them smiled, said "hi," and seemed really friendly, courteous, and generally pleased with life. I love 'em.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Also, my new favorite word: embiggen. Found on Yarn Harlot's blog in the entry for today (5/21/09).

5/21 update

Phew. I've finally gotten through all the knitting for baby Ayla, who was born earlier this month. I mailed off the blanket on Monday. It's relieving to be done with that. It took me more than 40 hours to knit it!




And so now I'm torn about what to do next. Start new projects to celebrate my freedom? Or finish all those WIPs I put on hold for the baby knitting? I'm sort of compromising, I guess. I started a pair of baby socks last night, for a new project with minimal commitment, and I've finished the main body of the stadium blanket for Leah and Dan (originally meant to be a wedding gift last December... maybe it can be an anniversary gift?), and I'm nearing the end of the green shawl. I look forward to wearing that one!

And I'm nearing the end of The Knitting Circle. Finally things are starting to look up for the protagonist.

Tomorrow is the annual Neuroscience Retreat. Last year it was rather boring -- several really dry presentations, except for one about Brahms, of all things, and a rather nice lunch. At least it's all free, and it's at the museum. If all else fails, I'll knit. Heck, I'll knit if all goes swimmingly. :)

On Sunday I'm substituting again at the Presbyterian church across the street. I love that church. Lovely congregation, and a sweet organ! I need to pick out the prelude, postlude, and offertory tonight, and maybe practice tomorrow, because I'm thinking about going to the Springside Farm Annual Shearing Festival on Saturday.

Hmm, tomorrow's the 22nd, huh. Another 22nd. I love 22nds. It's another month anniversary for Evan and me. Insignificant, now that we've passed a year, but still. Nice to think about.