Thursday, December 24, 2009

*tap* *tap* Is this thing still on?

Dum, de dum, de... Oh crap! I have a blog!

Things have been a little crazy the last few months. Autumn is over. Solstice was Monday. I am tired. I'm also mostly on vacation. When I declared myself to be on vacation yesterday afternoon, I felt guilty about it for exactly 3.4 seconds. Then I remembered what I've been doing for the last four months (longer, really, since I was also teaching in the summer and last Jan-May).

From September to now, I have:
- Taught a class of 140 students, with 2 TAs. Finals still need to be graded, but I'm working through that. The first part-time job.
- Finished and submitted the written version of my Big D proposal, 70+ pages. The other part-time job.
- Defended that proposal orally, in a 1 hour presentation to the faculty and graduate students of my department. I am now *officially* ABD (All But Dissertation).
- Given two conference presentations, on different topics, within 2 weeks of each other in October.
- Done the final re-read on a joint paper so that it could finally be re-submitted.
- Tried, with medium success, to attend my weekly band rehearsals, occasional quintet rehearsals, and SCA meetings.
- Helped out with two full-day SCA events in September, and played 4 or 5 concerts, between the band and quintet.
- Helped to nurse a very sick kitty (Tiger) this past month. We almost lost him, but he's doing much better now.
- Not fallen apart, mentally or physically. Mostly mentally.

That last one is huge. I can't tell express how huge. A year ago I was in complete shut down. I still have *days*. I still don't like getting out of bed most of the time. But I can, and I do, and that's what counts. I still drop balls (see that bit about the final exams still needing to be graded!), but I usually catch them on the first bounce.

Of course, there has been knitting and otherwise playing with string. The double-knit hat from hell is has been finished since September, and even now it's almost too warm to wear. It's a hat for the coldest of the cold sub-zero plus windchill days:

My model prefers to retain his anonymity

I also just finished this scarf, probably my longest-term WIP ever, started on July 4, 2001. I hadn't bought my own set of knitting needles at that point, and started it on a pair of Gram's old 1950's metal needles (pink). I'm not fond of knitting on metal, and the combination of yarns was extra frustrating (mohair and rayon). I would do an inch or two and then put it up for a year. Long ago, I declared it would be done when I ran out of one or the other yarn. I finally, blessedly ran out of rayon Monday night! I present the lace scarf, final length just over 7 feet (before blocking):

Lace scarf from Knitting for Dummies, started July 4, 2001, finished December 24, 2009.

And then there was this little guy, made not quite in time for Remembrance Day.

Pattern available from Laura Chou, Cosmic Pluto, and please donate to the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund

There has also been yarn shopping therapy, oh yes. I have plans for all of these...

Top to bottom: malabrigo chunky, some worsted-weight merino-silk blend, and DK alpaca.

There has also been spindle-shopping therapy. First, the good deals:

Inexpensive beginner pine spindle bought, along with four of its siblings, at Pennsic from Baron Tancred of Tancred's Tangled Wood (no website). Boat-anchor spindle by Roger Hawins (Peterborough, ON), bought for a holy-crap-whattadeal price at Gemini Fibres.

And then the other very good deal, but not due to the price:

A Forrester supported spindle with yellowheart whorl and birch shaft, and a paduak bowl, bought at Gemini Fibres in Mt Albert, ON.

I was torn between this bowl and a purpleheart one that had a small hole in the corner to hold the spindle, but the yellow whorl and orange bowl are beautiful together in a uniquely warm way. The fibre is this cochineal-tin dyed roving that I bought at Pennsic in 2008. Now I just need to learn to use a supported spindle properly!

In eight minutes it will be Christmas Day. Nothing special planned, we prefer no-stress holidays. We'll have the usual lunch at the in-laws, perhaps a board game or three, some knitting, and possibly our traditional trip to whichever local Starbucks has the honour of being open so that their employees don't feel like they're there for nothing. Overall, it's going to be a good day, that much I know.

Five minutes. G'night.

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