Monday, January 28, 2008

Sad, but true.

I realised tonight that tomorrow, I will do the dishes because there are no more clean spoons and all the dirty spoons are at the bottom of the pile in the sink.

And how else is one supposed to eat ice cream, I ask?  Or at least, serve it, because the ice cream scoop is currently somewhere in the midst of that pile as well.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Why I Will Never Fall Asleep before 3am for Spring 2008

(picture at the bottom for those who wish to skim.  Not that I blame you.)

This semester is going to kill me.  At the very least, it is going to kill my sleep cycle.

I only have class three days a week.  Three days in a row, even.  A three hour class on religious conversion in the Early Modern world of the Middle East on Monday.  An hour class on research methods on Tuesday, followed by a frantic dash  across campus to my car to meet a classmate and drive 1.9miles to the local YMCA for an hour and a half of rock climbing.  And a three hour class on ethnicity and class on Wednesday.

There's also a web-based class, for which I have five exams and two papers.   Oh, and attending five events held at my place of employment.  No, I see no problems with saying "sorry, can't work then.  Instead, I have to spend my paycheck on tickets for that event."  (just a tad bitter about that one, huh.)

There's also that pesky little thing called my "undergraduate honors thesis."  Which is due April 18th.  People, I HAVE NOT YET STARTED.  I have to write 40? 80? however many pages by April 18th.  Good news is, binding margins are 1.5" on the left hand side.  I shall love that half an inch, I imagine.

I think ten pages a week until spring break is TOTALLY reasonable and doable and yes?  No?  Should I just go cry in a corner now and forget all about it?

The research methods class, while also promising to be very boring and good lord, that woman talks a lot, seems like it will help me with my thesis.  The class is designed for honors students to have help with the research part of their thesis, or even deciding on their thesis topic.  Hopefully, that shall provide a nice kick in the butt to get working.

There's also the whole "applying to grad school" thing.  Because I decided to apply rather late in the game, I didn't have time to study and take the GREs.  I found four highly respected and ALA accredited programs that do NOT require GRE scores from students with a certain GPA (or higher).  Universities of Illinois, Maryland, and Wisconsin and the Indiana University.  My first pick is decidedly Illinois, and of course, that's the only one that's complete as of yet.  Of course, that's also the school with the earliest deadline and such. After that.. I don't know.  Maryland is close to TheBoy and rent, for a not-nicely-located-to-class studio apartment will be some $800 a month.

Illinois?  Three blocks from campus, hard-wood floors, fire place, dishwasher, utilities included, and I can have a cat?  $550 a month.  For a one bedroom.  That I wouldn't have to share.  And includes parking.  AND a washing machine and dryer.  That's just from scanning Craig's List, people.  Imagine what I could find if I tried!

Of course, there's that part about whole writing essays and trying to pimp yourself, at which I suck.  "Accept me because otherwise, I will live in a cardboard box.  Also, I can read."  That's pretty much what I want to write, but somehow, I don't feel the admissions committee is going to love it.

In summary:
Four day weekend = awesome
Three day week, with classes starting at 2:30pm = not getting up before noon
Thesis = the death of me
Applying to grad school = pimpage of self, at which self sucks

Time for a kitty picture?

(This is Kit, known as the World's Most Opinionated Cat.  I'm surprised her mouth was shut in this shot, because she was NOT happy with the camera in her face.  Hence the squinted eye.  And the tail, which was most decidedly twitching.)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Back to Our Irregularly Scheduled Knitting

So, knitting.. I've been doing a bit of that of late.

First, I finished a hat in a few days:

Odessa, by Grumperina. I used left-over Andean Treasure from knitting Blaze. Less than one ball later, I have a warm and fuzzy head covering. Only problem, it doesn't cover my ears. I'm considering picking up and knitting a longer ribbed band, to hopefully cover my ears. So far, I've just been wearing the hat.

I omitted the beads because I didn't have any and I wanted a hat NOW. I love the different orientation the stripes take, just by the increases and decreases. It was a fun, quick knit and I got to try out my new KnitPick Options kit. (Which, by the way, I LOVE. LOVE.)

And then.. the first of the Eagle's Flight Socks:

I've even cast on for the second sock. I really like this pattern - it is a six round repeat, and half of the repeat is simply knitting or purling the stitches as they appear. I tried something different on the heels for this sock - I like the results.

It is a little hard to tell in that picture, so I highlighted the changes with blue in this one:Looking at all of my purchased socks, I realized that many of them had a weird y-shape in their short-row heels. I figured that they knit a normal short row heel as normal, wrapping and turning as they worked towards the middle. When I had about 1/3 of the stitches wrapped, I started working back out the normal way - double wrapping, then picking up and knitting the two wraps and double wrapping the next stitch. I did that for four stitches total - two on each side, and then started decreasing again - single wrap and then turn around and head back to the other side again. I re-worked the four stitches I had worked earlier, then continued normally again.

I realize that doesn't exactly make sense, but I'm not sure how else to explain it. Has anyone seen this type of heel before? Instructions for it? Once you understand how to knit a short row heel, I think it makes sense.

But that results in the y-shape and helps the heel really cup around your heel. It isn't that much more work, but the sock fits a bit better. A few socks I've knit with short-row heels ended up a little tight in the heel/instep area, and this seems to fix that problem. All in all, I'm looking forward to wearing these socks.

I realize that there are holes in my heel. I've only recently realized that you're supposed to knit the wraps as you work back out. I've tried it a few times, and never liked the look. So I tend not to do so. I recently got a copy of New Pathways For Sock Knitters, so I'm going to try those instructions and try that. But the holes are a result of the way I personally deal with the wraps, not the addition of my "y." So don't like that keep you from trying it yourself.

Look at the pretty scalloped edges that the pattern creates at the top, too:

Friday, January 18, 2008

What I did over my Christmas Vacation...

Anyone else remember those annoying essays you had to write in elementary school, about what you did over summer/winter vacation? Now that I'm older, I actually have interesting stuff to write about for such an essay.

First, we redid the kitchen floor the Sunday before Christmas. My mother visited for Christmas, driving up from VA, and one of her pet peeves with my father is his promises to do something and then... not doing it. When they bought the house 30 years ago, he promised her a new kitchen. So far, the floor is the closest he's gotten to delivering on that promise and it happened a year after she moved out.

My dad bought himself a Scooba, because he hates to clean the kitchen floor. Saturday night, we put Scooba to work and he did an awesome job cleaning a kitchen floor that had not been cleaned in a year. Vacuumed yes, but mopped? Nope, no way in hell. Scooba did such a great job that my father decided Scooba should have a new floor. (My mother, she did not find that funny because she does a better job than Scooba and she never got a new floor.)

We'd invited my best friend and her mother over for Christmas Dinner that night, and to exchange gifts between them and Mom, as she had to drive back on Christmas day. They were due to show up around 6:30 or so.

First, we ended up in Lowes around 8:30am, to purchase industrial floor tile, paste, wall coving, etc. Then we had to rip up the old flooring:

You can see why we all hated that floor. Ugly, ugly color, and it had worn completely through to the subfloor in a couple of spots. It came up pretty easily, and often in one piece. Then we placed screws along the seams of the plywood that was the underfloor, to make the floor surface more level. (I say "more level" cause that floor is not going to be level unless they completely redo EVERYTHING.)

In this picture, you can see the entirety of the kitchen, and why my mother wanted a new one. On the left side, you see the built in oven. On the right side, towards the bottom, you see the fridge. Doorways into and out of the kitchen are next to each of those, and then two blank walls finish the "box" of a kitchen. Because of the doors, you can only place the table in the far corner from which I took that picture. I think it would be easier to have two people in my current hallway of a kitchen than it is to have two people cooking in the kitchen at home. In other words, it sucks. Also, that's all the storage space available in that kitchen, and the only counter space is above the dishwasher. And no, I don't know why the dishwasher is missing its front panel.

My dad placed the first few tiles, and I ended up doing the rest as he cut the edge tiles to fit. My sister took over my camera and took a couple of action shots. The title is industrial tile, and you'll find it in grocery stores, schools, hospitals, etc. That particular color actually goes fairly well with the rest of the house, if not the kitchen. But then, we need a new kitchen, so whatever.

The final project, with new plastic wall coving, new title

Here you can see the other two walls of the kitchen and HOW USELESS OF A DESIGN it is. Also, the microwave cart that we bought around the time we first got a microwave. I think we used to store the doors underneath the cart. Here, I was standing in the one doorway. The fridge is on my right. At the end of the wall that the table is against is the other doorway, perpendicular to the oven.

Tina and her mother showed up around 6:30, as promised. However.. no one had started dinner yet, because we were still working on the floor. In the end, we didn't tile under the fridge that day, but went around with wet paper towels and mineral spirits, trying to clean up the glue that oozed up between tiles as we walked on the floor and then got tracked everywhere. Tina ended up throwing out those socks and my mother had to spend some quality time with the mineral spirits and her shoes.

(On Christmas Day, after my mother left, my dad and I tiled behind the fridge. Tina and her mother came over for dinner AGAIN, that day. And again, they found us on our hands and knees in the kitchen, covered in sticky stuff.)