30 December 2009

The Obligitory New Years Post

The New Years Resolution is an odd creature. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing else that can, simultaneously, generate such attraction and such repulsion from me. Nothing else that I start out so excited and exuberant about only to regret it later.

Well, I guess tequila fits that bill pretty well too.

... And bathing suit shopping. And starting a new exercise routine. And watching anything Adam Sandler has recently been in. And... well, okay, I guess there are a lot of things that meet such qualifications. However, resolutions are the subject of this post, so lets stay on topic.

Last year, just like the year before, my resolutions never came to fruition. They were ridiculously unattainable, and I was in denial of that fact (I mean, really. Learn to figure skate? What was I thinking?).

So, this year, I'm not making resolutions. None. Zip. Zero. Nadda. No resolutions. Instead, I am merely using the second of the year as the start date for some short term goals. Not year long, nebulous and all encompassing goals. Short term, very specific goals with an equally specific end date. Also, a very specific reward will be included at the completion of each goal.

So let's run down the first goal set, shall we?

Lunaticraft's Short Term Goals/Rewards

  • Run the Scranton Pre-St. Paddys Day parade race. (Not quite a 5k) Reward: Post-Race Parade Day Debauchery.

  • Send out resumes for adjunct teaching positions by the end of February. Reward: Ebay purchase of season 4 of CSI: NY.

  • Purge stash of erroneous, purposeless skeins of acrylic by the end of January with charity knitting, and afghan finishing. Donate what's left to the Salvi. Reward: $50-$100 LYS shopping day (amount depends on finance situation, which in turn depends on frequency of substitute calls).

  • Purge fabric stash as well by end of January. Donate what I will not use. Reward: Season 1 of CSI: NY (If can be found on Ebay for less than $20)

  • Do not sleep past 9:45 am from January 3rd to January 31. Even on weekends. Reward: spend a weekend reading a non-school related, total guilty pleasure chicklit book.

  • Finish still open research project by Jan. 12th. Reward: CSI/Knitting marathon.

  • And for now, that's all. When one goal is complete, I will then insert another goal in its place, and hopefully 2010 will be a much more productive year than 2009!

    Hope everyone had a Happy New Year, and here's to an even better 2010!


    29 December 2009

    Well, THAT holiday flew by!

    Where did the last two weeks go?

    Christmas totally snuck up on me, bringing both the highs and lows for me this year, as is the case with every year since reaching quasi-adulthood. But the lows are mainly just the normal pressures that women face at holiday times: the baking, the shopping, the "Holiday Joy Creating." A little more fell on my shoulders this year since my mom is having some mobility issues (broken foot), and my grandmother is having back issues (which makes the kolachi making, the хрін (khrin - red beets and horseradish, a traditional Ukrainian dish that is often eaten with ham) making, and the fruitcake making difficult without some help).

    Funny how that all seems to fall on the shoulders of women. I just thank heavens that I'm not dating anyone and don't have that added holiday pressure of a bf and the family that ends up included in such a deal. I love being single right now. Seriously. I've just got way too much on my plate. Plus, lets face it, I refuse to settle for someone I'm not attracted to because they happen to be available and willing. In fact, I refuse to settle at all, ever again. When I decide to date again, it's going to be someone I'm really attracted to, and that just doesn't exist at the moment, nor would I particularly want it to.

    Anyway, the holidays came and went, and were overall a success. I received a lot of amazing gifts, including the repair of my baby (my cello) from my parents, which has been a year and a half in the works. I also received a lot of other great great gifts, which I'll brag about in a later post.

    The main reason behind this post is to show off my big gift giving project of the year: Matryoshki. My two grandmothers and my godmother all got one. Full, five piece dolls, hand painted by me. (Although I only managed to photograph two of the three. I'll get photos of the third next time I'm up my grandmother's.)

    I'm not totally happy with any of them, but I do like the end result of all of them, even if they aren't perfect.

    They started out as blank, wooden dolls, bought from the amazing Ukrainian Gift Shop. Great place, super fast shipping, also our source for pysanki supplies.

    Two weeks, and about a season and a half of both CSI and CSI: NY later, they gradually began to develop.

    I learned some lessons in the process, the biggest one being that I should always leave space for white trim in the first place instead of trying to paint it over a block color.

    The other big lesson was something that I'm sure is simply common sense to most people: Don't spray acrylic sealer in your basement, unfinished though it may be. Just don't.

    I did gain some control over fine details that I did not have back when I was using toothpicks on my mini-canvases thanks to my investment in actual detail paint brushes.

    And overall, they were a big hit with their recipients, so whatever imperfections I still see in them don't really matter then, do they? My grandmothers and my godmother loved them, so... Mission accomplished!


    12 December 2009

    So close I can almost taste it...

    I'm so close to being entirely on break that I can almost taste it. Sadly, however, close is a far cry from having arrived, so there are still note cards, books, and first, second, third, and fourth drafts of things strewn across our table at home. Grad school can be so silly with the whole, "even if the semester is over for everyone else, it marches on for you" thing.

    I'm also currently trapped in a battle with myself over whether or not I should complete a thesis. I had wanted to, and still sort of do, just to have the experience of writing a paper that large under my belt. However, by the same token, I really want to get out on time (this May), because this whole not having a regular, steady job is a huge pain in the ass. However, that's a topic for another entry entirely.

    Today, I want to talk about decorating. Christmas decorating, to be precise.

    The day after Thanksgiving has been, for the past five or so years (since I left for college) our annual "decorate the house" day. It was moved from December first so that it would be done while I was home on break, and now that my baby brother is away at school, the tradition continues. We roll ourselves out of our Turkey-comas, throw on sweats (draw string, of course) and spend all day putting up the lights, the tree, the assorted nick-knacks and stuffed animals, and anything else Holiday related we can find.

    First things always come first, though. So, the morning starts out with our puppy baby:

    She gets her fancy jingly Christmas collar on. We have Christmas bandannas too, but the elf collar jingles, so it's perfect as she follows us around helping us decorate all day. The neighbors think its adorable. My mom and I love it. Rusalka even likes having it on. However, my father hates it. OR, at least he claims he does. In fact, the neighbors get to hear the same conversation about it every year:

    "Stop emasculating the dog!" He'll shout from on the ladder when we let the dog out into the yard.

    "But, she's a girl dog! You can't emasculate a girl!"

    "I don't care."

    "Dad, her eyelashes are longer and fuller than mine. She's a girly dog. Face it."

    "I don't care, take that thing off of her. She was bred for duck hunting, not fashion modeling."

    "Have you ever taken her duck hunting? Come to think of it, have you ever been hunting at all?"

    "It doesn't matter. It's the principle of the thing."

    "Well, if you ever decide to take her duck hunting, I'll take the collar off, but until then..." And that's where I stick my tongue out and return to the house.

    He puts up a blustery fight, but I think he secretly thinks its cute, because the collar never comes off until me or my mom takes it off. His lack of action betrays his true feelings. Kind of like how he claims to hate the cats, but hasn't yet thrown them out of the house. I've even caught him petting Chakka once or twice when he thinks we're not looking. Not Genghis though. Even I'll admit, Genghis can be kind of a dick. And he smells, so I understand why. But, even so, the mutant tabby is my cuddle buddy anyway.

    And so, anyway, the day of decorating begins. The reindeer come out, there are suddenly little tiny old men with big bellies and white beards everywhere. And the tree... oh, the tree! It is a sight welcome to sore eyes, a stunning focal point for our holiday season, the most amazing looking thing in the entire house... (can you tell what my job was? haha. But for real, it's beautiful.)

    However, every year I focus so much on the tree, that often some of our other charming little decorations fly under my radar. So this year, I'll be sharing some of my favorite decorations with you guys photographically, a little with every post. As you'll see, we take our holiday decorating really quite seriously.

    In addition, this might help my mom keep tabs on what she'll need to keep an eye on when I move out. I have every intention of taking some of this stuff with me, which I'm sure she won't like one bit.

    A quick digression before I sign off (although lets face it, digressions are my forte): In knitting news, I do have some FOs. I have only managed to get one photographed, but in addition I have two hats, a scarf, and half a crocheted scarf complete as well. Pictured below are my first successful pair of mitts, that were not knit flat, and that are more than just k1p1 ribbing. They are the Cafe au Lait Mitts (Ravelry Link). This photo was taken before I wove in all the ends (I tried my best to hide them in the picture). The ends have since been buried, so I'll go into more detail on the project when I get around to rephotographing them on my hands!


    07 December 2009

    Second Musical Monday of Advent!

    I just got back from a concert I had to play, and lo and behold, I realized I almost forgot Musical Monday!

    I do have some FO's to show off (a scarf, fingerless gloves, and a hat) as soon as I get a free moment to weave in the ends and get a decent photograph of them, but for now, let's just get to the music!

    Today's selection is one you'll almost all recognize once you hear it. What you may not know, however, is that the Troika from Prokofiev's Lt. Kije Suite was not originally meant as Christmas music. It has become synonymous with sleigh bells, snow, travel and the holidays thanks to movies, but in reality, though it was originally movie music, it had nothing to do with Christmas.

    Prokofiev was commissioned to write a soundtrack for the film adaptation of the Russian novella Lt. Kije (in Russian Поручик Киже... had to dig back into my high school Russian notes to remember how to spell that one. Three notebooks later I found the Cyrillic... and then I remembered that Wikipedia exists. D'oh.). The novella is really a governmental satire more than anything else. However, this particular movement from the suite that Prokofiev wrote for the movie has a lot of sleigh bells in it, so of course modern Hollywood has made it into a Holiday song.



    30 November 2009

    First Musical Monday of Advent!

    Happy Musical Monday (aka Music to Knit By Monday) everyone!

    I am currently in the middle of a crazy crush of school work... some major things due in the next 48 hours (and saying it as 48 hours instead of two days makes me panic just a hair more!). So, this post will be just a solitary Musical Monday for now. I've got some major FOs to show off from the holiday weekend, so I'll update you once everything is in on Wednesday.

    For now though, it's the first Musical Monday of the Christmas Season! This round of holidays is my absolute favorite, along with the music that goes with it.

    Our selection today is a classical piece by Benjamin Britten, "This Little Babe." It's part of a larger work called A Ceremony of Carols, but this is by far my favorite movement. Traditionally it's sung with boy's voices (boy's choir) for the soprano and alto, but I personally prefer the sound of adult voices on this one. I think I'm biased because I love singing it (as an adult) myself. Plus girls aren't allowed in boys choirs, so shit on that.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy this and the upcoming month (and one week due to my Russian Orthodoxy! I love the two Christmas thing. Seriously) of various Holiday music!


    23 November 2009

    Oh, Starbucks Holiday Cups... You Complete Me...

    Well, it's that time of year! Time for my annual ode to the Starbucks Holiday Cups and the Peppermint Mochas/Eggnog Lattes they tend to contain.

    I was on my way to the farmers market to meet my Grandmother and pick up her winter veggies along with my pie pumpkins before they close at Thanksgiving, when I swung by Starbucks. And then, my day was made.

    The holiday cups and specialty drinks are back (pictured here it all its glory next to farmers market potato pancakes)! And apparently have been for a while!

    Now, these little red cups of awesome bring me such an irrational and disproportionate amount of joy that I sometimes have trouble expressing it. But sadly, before you know it, they're gone, well before my holiday season has ended, and I'm left pouty and holiday cupless.

    This year, though, I decided to take action. No longer am I to undergo that annual disappointment of walking into Starbucks on Russian Christmas only to find the regular old cups! No longer must I endure the end of my holiday season without that perfectly red cylindrical container of happiness! No longer, I say!

    So I bought a more permanent version. Mug and Christmas tree ornament. That's right, Chronos. I've outsmarted you.

    Kind of.

    And before I forget, it's Monday! Music to Knit By Time!

    For our pre-Thanksgiving selection, I bring to you a traditional American folk tune arranged for choir. There is something so simple and beautiful about the harmonies in this version, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is one of the best choirs around. I'm a sucker for a good puritan melody at any time (kind of ironic considering my background), and this is just sounds especially proud and pilgrimmy to me. Especially the bit in the middle with the men. Sends shivers down my spine. There's nothing like an amazing men's choir. Really.

    So, for your pre-Thanksgiving pleasure, Lunaticraft presents to you, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing arranged by Mack Wilberg, and performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.



    21 November 2009

    Flashin' the stash...

    I've been stocking up on stash for Christmas presents and other various things to work on over the Thanksgiving holidays, courtesy of Summit Yarn Studio's amazing selection, and I think it's time for my first official bloggy stash flash.

    First up is the Lamb's Pride worsted, which will hopefully become a Summit Yarn Chullo (ravelry link). The colors are more accurate in the closeup below.

    Some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino in a pinky color, for a pair of mitts, also probably for me.

    Next, a whole slew of Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed Chunky in various colors. I think they will be hats... The tan is an extra skein to finish up my dad's Irish Hiking Scarf, and we'll have to see how much I have to use. My optimistic side is telling me that I'll have enough for a simple matching hat at the end, but reality will probably prove that impossible. I'll keep hoping though!

    And last, but what I'm most excited about is... Noro! It's the worsted weight stuff, Kureyon(? I'm too lazy to go look at the label right now for the proper spelling), and I can't wait to try it out. The blue and grey skein is going to be a hat for my brother (he has requested a Thelonius Monk style hat... We'll see how close I can get to that), and then the pinky green one is going to be something for me. Maybe a little scarflet of some kind. Or maybe mitts. I don't know yet, but I'm excited about it none the less.

    I think this is going to be the last of my stashing for a few weeks... I've got plenty of projects to last me through the holidays. Or at least until I get paid again. After all, car insurance comes before yarn... sadly. ;D


    16 November 2009

    Busy as a Bee on this Musical Monday

    I've finished the Collared One Button Scarf! Well, almost. I still have to find a button that's perfect for it, and weave in the ends. But other than that I'm totally done, and I love it.

    The pattern itself was a very quick and easy knit, great for when you've got to multi-task, and the result is super cute. I suspect that in the future this will be getting as much use as my calorimetry pattern. I'll just have to stock up on big buttons.

    I did have to do a quick steam blocking of it to even it out, as my gauge changed not only from my swatch but as I knit. Changing gauge as a project progresses seems to be a common problem of mine, and I'm not sure what to do about it. So far it hasn't caused any real issues, because a) I don't really do big projects yet, so no sweater sizes to mess up or anything, and b) it's usually fixed by blocking it out. However, whenever I do decide to tackle my first sweater, I hope I will have conquered that particular issue.

    Just as I finished up the Collared One Button, I realized my Dad's birthday was coming up. Well, actually technically it's today. So, on Saturday I stopped by SYS and grabbed myself some chunky Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed and cast on for the Irish Hiking Scarf. It's my first project cabling, and frankly, cables are SO MUCH EASIER than I thought they'd be. Like SO MUCH EASIER. Even so, it's been slower going than I anticipated, so it is not finished to give him today. I have about three feet done as of writing this post, and I have class and rehearsal later, so I've given up hope of it being finished by the end of his birthday at midnight. I tend to follow the scarf rule of "as long as the intended recipient is tall," (although that might just be a rule I made up, as I don't know where I got it from), and my dad is a little over 6 foot, so I'm hoping the finished length will end up being about five and a half to six feet. I think I bought enough yarn for that, but we'll see.

    Other than that, it's been a crazy week in concerns to school work, and it's only about to get crazier. The library is going to be seeing a lot of me until the end of the semester, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I like our library quite a bit, actually. It's cozy. Anyway, I'll keep ya'll updated on the lead up to Thanksgiving and Christmas in the meantime.

    For now though, it's Monday. And that means... Music to Knit By Day! I've missed doing these, and am determined to be better at remembering to post on Mondays. I've actually got all of December planned up already (HOORAY CHRISTMAS MUSIC!). But for now, I'm going to leave you with some Coloratura soprano awesomeness.

    Everyone knows the Queen of the Night's aria in Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen (and if the German's not ringing a bell, Youtube it. I promise you'll recognize it). However, the character's other aria, O zitt're nicht...Zum Leiden bin ich auserkoren is not nearly as well known. The last minute or so of the aria is probably one of the most difficult passages out there ever written for soprano. So, what I leave you with today is actually a compliation of multiple versions of that last section by some of the greatest Coloraturas of the recording era, for comparison purposes. It is MINDBLOWING. Actually, more like BEYOND MINDBLOWING. Especially if you know anything about vocal technique and exactly how much control and supreme awesomeness this requires to pull off. (Also, I'll attach a recording of the full aria as well, in case anyone is interested in the, well, less showstopping part.)

    Enjoy, and have a fantastic Musical Monday!


    08 November 2009

    Fit as a Fiddle and Ready for Yarn!

    Finding the Summit Yarn Studio has opened up a whole new world for me in terms of fiber. So much softness! So many options! The possibilities are so wonderfully overwhelming!

    With the help of Mary Ellen (the shop owner), I made my first forays into the luxury yarn world (or at least it's luxury to me after working with only acrylic all these years!) and I'm loving it.

    I picked up a ball each of alpaca and merino, for use in one skein projects, and three hanks of Silky Tweed in a beautiful chestnut brown with flecks of awesomeness, which I hope to use for my mom's Christmas present. She's got a coat that matches it perfectly.

    As soon as I could after I brought it home, I used the alpaca to cast on for the Collared One Button Scarf that I had spoken about last post. So far it's going well. I learned the cable cast on for it, and while it took me a few tries, I think I've got the hang of it. I do suspect that my gauge has changed since I swatched (I undid the swatch to conserve yarn, which I probably shouldn't have done), but I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that it's not going to make too much of a difference. I'll keep you posted. It's going to be super cute.

    Speaking of super cute, there has been a slight break in the weather the past two days, which has done me a world of good. My sinuses acted up again on Friday night, way siding me for any weekend festivities, but after sleeping well into the afternoon on Saturday I woke up fit as a fiddle (and ready for love? Not so much, but yarn? Yes!). Combined with the warm weather, my dad, the pups, and I were able to get some Frisbee time in.

    Isn't she freaking adorable?


    PS - I now have Fit as a Fiddle stuck in my head, and I hope you all do too! Gene Kelly = Love.

    04 November 2009

    The Tale of Epic Fail. (Alternate title: Lunaticraft is an Annoying Perfectionist with Serious Issues)

    So you know how I was so excited that my Swallowtail shawl was finally going to happen?

    Yea, not so much. I'm frogging it.

    One night as I happily knit away into the Lily of the Valley Border, my mother, a former knitter (now retired from the craft due to arthritis problems), looked up from her book and watched me for a minute, after which she let out a puzzled sounding "hmmm."

    "What?" I asked.

    "I've never seen YOs done that way. Does it work?"

    Well, I didn't really have an answer for that, so the next day I pinned out a section of my Swallowtail, to try to find out. What I found disturbed me slightly. As far as I could tell, it was a busy mess where nice clean YOs are supposed to be.

    Well, maybe that's a little dramatic, as you can see the photo above. But it certainly wasn't the nice, clean and clear delineation that I had been imagining. Every YO, instead of being one singular line of yarn as I have seen on other's knitting seemed to be forked. Two strands, diverging from each other in a "V."

    But maybe it was just the yarn. Maybe it was because I was using needles that are two sizes two big. I comforted myself with these thoughts and turned to the last minute lace scarf that I had just taken off the needles (started on a whim during the daily show the week before). It was still not killed (it being Vanna's Choice, and not yummy natural fiber... I'm trying to use up my acrylic stash so I can replace it with better stuff now that I'm working and know of a LYS nearby), so I didn't yet know how it was going to turn out.

    Many pins and curses later, I had my answer in a far more obvious fashion. Yep, my YOs were forked for some reason.

    Now, in reality, I probably shouldn't feel compelled to frog the Swallowtail (I'm not going to bother with the scarf). The pattern is still identifiable, if not the perfect vision I had imagined. However, I'm an anal retentive ass. So, within hours of this post, the Swallowtail will be back to balls of yarn. Again. If I'm going to make this thing at this point, it's going to be all that I imagine and more. It's woman against yarn now.

    In the mean time, I've been experimenting. Cue another stash ball of Vanna's Choice, and I think I've got my YO problem figured out. I was going to stop by Summit Yarn Studio and get some help (minus the ball of Vanna's. I'd have brought the actual Swallowtail with me), but the night before I had planned to, I managed to create this:

    How much neater is that? Also, I checked my new technique against my mom's copy of Knitting in Plain English, something I probably should have referred to before starting the Swallowtail in the first place.

    I did stop by SYS today anyway (about a week after I had planned to, because of work), and came out with some amazing yumminess. I'm going to try Alpaca for the first time on this Collared One Button Scarf pattern, which is super cute and is actually designed by the SYS's owner. I also picked up a skein of Merino in a beautiful charcoal color and some great chestnut brown silky tweed. Those have plans for them that can't be divulged until Christmas time, I think.

    And those are pretty much the deets on my yarny life as of late. Hopefully, I'll be around a bit more in the coming months. But for now? Rehearsal time.

    See ya on the flip side! (I'm feeling a little 80's and 90's lately)


    31 October 2009

    27 October 2009


    Well, crying disaster considering all else that is going on in the world may be a little melodramatic... and ridiculous... and downright hyperbolic... so...


    I don't have a ton of time, and no pictures, so I'm just going to share with you an old fashioned list, in no particular order, and all kind of scattery sounding. (I'll include a Too Long: Didn't Read synopsis after each one, as these are bound not to be my best writing ever.)

    Ah, lists. I love them.

    1) My RSS feeder exploded. Or rather, totally reset itself to factory (or more likely programmer's basement) defaults. So I lost my entire blogroll and am going to have to go through and reassemble it through the LKS site. Luckily I have all the lists at my disposal, so as I go through and update the LKS blog (which will happen very soon), I will gradually cobble my blogroll back together. TL:DR - RSS feeder = kaput. Will get back to blogroll soon.

    2) I think I have been doing my YOs backwards. I'll have pictures and details, and more information on that coming up soon. I popped into an LYS outside of Scranton looking for blocking wires last week, and in the course of talking the lovely shop owner was very helpful and comforting, so as soon as I have time I'm going to pop back in and hopefully figure out why my YOs look funny when spread. Not to mention walk out with way more yarn than I can currently afford, I'm sure (MY GOODNESS there was beautiful yarn everywhere... I'm SO GLAD I now know of an LYS within reachable distance, and especially with such a welcoming atmosphere... now just to find the time to get there). TL:DR - Might have to frog swallowtail, might not. And the Summit Yarn Studio is beyond awesome.

    3) I finally figured out why I was not being called in as a substitute teacher, and over the course of a few days finally got that worked out. Which is actually very good, because while I was enjoying the extra time for schoolwork, my bank account was not doing so hot on gigging alone. However, this now leaves far less (or rather NO) time for me to get my shit done during the days when I have rehearsals and classes every night. So that's where the minor inconvenience part comes in. TL:DR - I am now gainfully employed. Sort of. As a result, schoolwork just became quite a bit harder.

    4) I've been at all out war with my sinuses for about three whole weeks now. I developed my seasonal sinus infection about two and a half weeks ago. Now, I get these things three or four times a year. Me and seasonal sinus problems are old, intimate friends, and when she comes to visit, we just go everywhere together, no problem (and yes, my sinus infections are gendered, apparently). But this time, she turned on me. Stabbed that knife right in my back. I went on like nothing was different, as I usually do, but apparently this time she wanted more attention and fought back in the form of debilitating fatigue. I kept powering through, but she ran a blitzkrieg on my voice, stripping it away and leaving raw, irritated tissue in its place. Damage control was the name of the game at this point, with General Tea with Lemon, Commander Honey Water, and Special Ops Force Vitamin C leading the way. But then came the final blow... the cough made a surprise attack and the win went to the sinus infection. So two and a half weeks later and I'm finally finishing the clean up and getting better TL:DR - I've been sick. Rather sick, but I'm finally getting over it. Also, I'm terrible at making (somewhat inappropriate) military metaphors and probably should never attempt to do so again.

    Other points of possible interest:

  • I am now on twitter! follow me @lunaticraft. Still pretty new to the whole thing, so lets see how this goes.

  • It's almost pumpkin pie time! I'm hopefully going to get some awesome pie pumpkins on Friday when I skip up to the Farmer's market after my class.

  • Paper season is quickly approaching. I'm going to try to stay ahead of the game this semester. For real this time. I've only got two big ones, so it should be a tad easier.

    Aaaannnnndddd.... That's about all I have for now.


    p.s. - Sorry for the scatteriness of this, and the lack of pictures. It's been a whirlwind of a few weeks.
  • 13 October 2009


    The onset of October always starts that inevitable swing down to the holidays that I so love. Some of my favorite things come about in October. Halloween... Weather cool enough to require gloves when playing Frisbee with the pups so I don't get doggie spit all over my hands... Sinus Infection season... Err, wait. That one's not so fun. But, pumpkin lattes are! As are pumpkin pies... Pumpkin carving... Pumpkin everything, really... Blanket weather... Chestnuts... The turning of the leaves...

    And of course...


    Now, I'm not a big drinker. Never have been. I'm one of those people who really didn't start imbibing until I was actually legal, and even now that I am, I don't drink often, and I don't drink much. Being buzzed or drunk is simply not a feeling that I enjoy. I like control too much, I think.

    But that's not to say I don't enjoy a good beer now and again, and Oktoberfest is the perfect opportunity to try some new ones.

    My favorite so far this Oktoberfest season has been the Spaten Oktoberfest brew, although nothing has yet come close to replacing Guinness as my all time favorite beer. But, even so, there have been a lot of good times with friends, with more to come in the next two weeks.

    Sadly, all this social activity (compounded by the chronic sinus infections that hit me every change of season) means I have not finished my swallowtail shawl yet. The only things I've finished in the last week or so have been a number of pints, and a lot of homework. I have made some progress though, finishing the budding lace repeats, but it's going to be a little while yet before I can cast off and start blocking. I've also gotten distracted by a number of other projects, namely a lace scarf and some more matryoshki designs for a super special Christmas project.

    But for now, I'm not going to worry about it. I'm just going to enjoy October for what it is, because once November hits, it'll be time to buckle in on my various papers. And then, before you know it it'll be Finals time, and then the holidays. So I'm going to have a pint here, do some knitting there...

    While I still have the time to do it!


    02 October 2009

    Wha? Fall? When did that happen?

    Autumn has clearly sprung early here in the Northeast, with no hope of abating. One minute it's tank top and shorts weather, and the next I'm dragging out my sweaters and long pants. I guess that's what I get for letting September get away from me. And August. And July. And let's not even talk about June.

    So the weather has turned, and with it, I have finally caught up with everything I was behind on. Except my thesis. But we're really not going to talk about that. Hopefully I can put a tiny dent in that process this coming week, now that I'm up to date on everything else.

    Hopefully, I'll be back on track, and maybe even have some extra time to play Frisbee with the pups (who has gotten shockingly little attention from me over the past few weeks, and I feel so guilty about it), or *gasp* get something substantial done craft wise!

    That's not to say I've been totally negligent of my knitting (or the pups for that matter... no Frisbee, but a lot of love!). I did get quite a bit done on my Swallowtail Shawl, which is finally working now that I've got my awesome new KnitPicks Options. I'm twelve repeats into the Budding Lace pattern courtesy of the Daily Show and Colbert Report, and it's going swimmingly. I am a little apprehensive about the nupps that are coming up in the next pattern shift, but I found a great online tutorial for them that I hope will make the going a little less scary. I should be hitting them within the next day or two, and I'm hoping to be totally done and blocking in a weeks time.

    But we all know what happens when I set goals for myself (I fail...), so, maybe I shouldn't say that.

    But here's hoping anyway. And now, I'm off to do some reading about 19th century New York City.

    WOOHOOO!! (And that's only half sarcastic!)