Giving up 2012 / Remembering worth 2013

2012 was the year of giving up…and not in a I-will-no-longer-eat-fast-food sort of way. In a I-can’t-commit-to-anything sort of way. I was restless and unfocused and, overall, uninspired. At some point in the year I started then later gave up on scrapbooking, wearing makeup, photography, writing a memoir, cross stitch, knitting, crochet, blogging, sewing, running, watching the X-Files, embroidery. Only thing I really stuck to was reading (three cheers for the Kindle) and dying my hair (though partly because of the appointments made in advance).

I felt not good enough. My photos weren’t as great as those of others on Flickr or Instagram, especially because I wasn’t willing to dress up in a funny costume and never figured out how to clone myself with software. My current life had no excitement to blog about and my past was too boring to write about even within the confines of the notebooks that no one ever sees. My cross stitch was mundane; my attempts at a TARDIS embroidery untidy. My knitting (except socks, everyone always love their handknit socks) was unwanted. My attempts at cooking, bland. My attempts to mentor the students at FIRST, ineffective. My job search did go well at first because my suit didn’t fit properly (not because a great job was waiting for my within my own company – where I wore jeans to my interview). The only thing I could do correctly was eat, it seemed. Oh, and fall asleep reading. Totally mastered that this year.

So..what will be different in 2013? I’ll learn not to care. Okay, still care about important things like doing my absolute best at work and not dressing like a slob and making sure the bathrooms are clean when guests come over. But, not to care about things which are creative.

My friend Heather once told me that you can’t possibly fail at creativity. And, you know what, she’s right. No one dies if your embroidery is crooked or your photos is a bit blurry (call it “artsy”) or your mac-n-cheese is a bit runny.

Because, for the 100th time, all of my creative (and running, ’cause, you know, there’s that, too) efforts are worth it. Because, greater than that, I’m worth it. My time, my energy, my effort, my stash of craft supplies – all worth it.

New Start

The last time I ran was August 23, 2010. I ran an easy three miles that morning through the exciting town of Milford, Delaware. The run was no problem, stopped partly because I was tired and partly because it was extremely humid that morning. The problem only came later, when I was walking around Rehoboth with family: suddenly, I couldn’t walk because my hip was in so much pain. Eventually went to an orthopedic surgeon and got a diagnosis: bursitis. That meant either steroid shots or physical therapy or, worse yet, keeping to old short distances. I went for the fourth, non-spoken option: I quit.

I’ve thought about going back before, lots of time. When I heard about friends who kept going in our training after our big race (that I missed), when I saw people running, when we moved to a neighborhood with good sidewalks and elevation changes.

But, today is the day: I will become a runner again.

I don’t have any specific goals just yet, as I’m not sure how long it’s going to take me to get back into things. The plan is to run 3 days a week using the 5k 101 program until I successfully complete the program, when I’ll do longer runs one day a week (hopefully with a friend or two).

I’ll post over here every time I run and on FB to friends who are interested. I’m also using the Runkeeper app which automatically posts to its own timeline of sorts.

So, yeah, let’s get started.

Now what?

I’m now a college graduate. I knew I’d say that someday but it’s so strange to finally do so.

Hat

I spent eight years studying, working on projects, taking exams, and attending classes (and worrying about all of this in my downtime).

But now? Now I have loads of free time. And, of course, my mind is full of ideas of things I want to do more of, do again, or start doing.

  • Knitting: Obviously, I already do a lot of this. But I have big, specific goals for what I want to do. I want to knit colorwork mittens for everyone I know. I want to knit lace shawls for anyone who wants one. I want to make things for the children of friends, family, and coworkers. I want to maybe, someday, knit myself a sweater that fits and makes me feel great about my body (but doesn’t make it sweat like a pig every single time I wear it).
  • Sewing: I have a machine. I know basic construction. My husband’s boss got me a gift certificate to an excellent sewing shop for graduation. Heck, I even have a few friends who, I am sure, would be happy to share their fabric stash with me. And, well, I miss sewing, I really do. Even if my machine can’t be fixed (the tension cannot be adjusted correctly, no matter what I or my mother-in-law have done), I can still sew again. May even get back into quilting. Or just stick with making little bags and fun skirts and..
  • Running: I miss it. Even the agony of having to tell myself “just two more miles” and the possibility of having to do physical therapy. I don’t think I’ll ever run a half marathon or even train for one but this area is full of fun 5k, 10k and 10 mile races. I wasn’t built to be a runner but I really do enjoy it. And can you imagine the fun of going running when I’m in Europe in the fall? Talk about a great way to see a city!
  • Writing: Journaling, specifically. Actually writing down my thoughts on paper. I miss it even more than I miss sewing and running. I’ve been journaling since fourth grade, why did I stop?
  • Reading: I admitted to Jocelyn the other day that I haven’t really read anything in a long time. Sure, I read dozens of blogs and news websites and food magazines, but when was the last time I actually read a real, live book? We even have the Kindle. And the public libraries near here are great. And I’m pretty sure the DC public library will give cards to non-residents, as will Fairfax County.
  • Photography: Matt got me an amazing lens (which I must blog about later) for graduation. It’s an amazing macro lens, great for both super close up shots and the intimate portraits I love to take. And, well, it’s summer in the DC area. Perfect time and place for photography.
  • Cooking: I want to get more into cooking, not to the level that Matt is, but at least to the point where I can make us dinner once a week without freaking out halfway through. I know, generally, what I’m doing, just have to develop an intuition for it like Matt has.
  • Blogging: Both here and on Two Yolks, the food blog I made Matt start but that he hasn’t written in for almost a year. I have the great camera, he’s still cooking awesome (and pretty!) food. No excuses. There will be more food blogging (and more blogging here, like I said in a recent post). Hopefully blog both places once a week, even if it’s just a few photos with short descriptions. (Like the post I’ve already got in draft form on Two Yolks, just need to polish it a bit and press Publish.)

So, now what?

The rest of my life can start.

Year in Review

Alternate title: The New Year is not nearly exciting enough to blog about, yet, so I’m going to cheat and blog about what last year was all about.

January: Worked part-time during winter recess from school. Found myself with more free time than I knew what to do with. Did almost no blogging but lots of knitting. Matt was away for work for a week and I passed by time by hanging out at the yarn store and going to lunch with my friend, Rosemary.

February: Started the Couch to 5 K for the first time (which ended a few weeks later when I got sick and could barely breathe). Went to West Virginia so Matt could go skiing with Alex and Shelly during a horrible snow storm. Two days after unburrying a parking space for Matt’s car, we got another 20″ of snow. I did get to miss four days of both work and school, though my poor car remained burried for a full three weeks. I participated in and nearly finished my goals for Ravelympics. The semester really got going, including two classes which went late into the evening. Thanks to Dan’s wife, I got a behind-the-scenes tour of the Mason Inn construction site.

March: Spent a week feeling like death which was really just a bad cold. Did a lot of knitting while Matt spent my Spring Break skiing in Vermont.

April: Decided to train to run a half marathon, while only being able to run for 2 minutes at a time for 30 minutes.

May: Learned to crochet, hexagons specifically. Spent a long weekend in Chartlottsville wine tasting. Went strawberry picking. Finished up what turned out to be a 4. 0 GPA semester.

June: Went back home for a friend’s wedding. Managed to also go to the Florida Keys (finally) during the same trip.

July: Celebrated the 4th at Arlington, as I did last year. Knit a shawl for a coworker and an ill-fitting sweater for myself. Got an iPhone 4, an upgrade I really didn’t need.

August: Made fingerless gloves for Sarah. Gave away about a third of my stash, finally got the last of it to the recipient this past week. Went to DE to go to the beach (but forgot to take photos, apparently).Visited the National Zoo.

September: Began my penultement semester of college. Got eaten alive by my senior design project. Celebrated my 26th birthday by not being able to talk for three days. I finally went to the doctor about my hip and was told no more running until some physical therapy (or a monthly injection). Had family over for labor day.

October: Went to the Rally to Restore Fear/Sanity. Celebrated fourth wedding anniversary but going somewhere for dinner than neither Matt nor I can remember. Ran out of candy at 7:15 on Halloween, despite expecting very few children.

November: Had a cousin’s-only Thanksgiving, again. Lots of school stress. I’m sure I did some knitting.

December: Last days of the semester. Caribbean cruise with parents and MIL. Barely stayed up until Midnight on New Year’s Eve. GOT NEW CAMERA!

Things I May Do Next Year

Because we all know how good I am at following through, here’s my list of things I may possibly do next year.

1. Learn how to use my new camera: What new camera, you ask? My pretty Canon Digital Rebel something-something Matt got me for Christmas. While I know the absolute basics of how to use it due to prior experince using his (original model) Rebel, I really don’t know what I’m doing. That being said, I do have the manual and Matt, of course, to help me figure it out. I plan to take lots and lots of photos, not just on special days like vacations but also on normal days and throughout my normal, daily life.

2. Take self-portraits: I know better than to try to do this every day, but I do want to take self-portraits that really show where I am in my life at that particular moment.

3. Graduate: Okay, this isn’t a may do but a WILL do. I have been in college since 2003, it’s about dang time I graduate. Only two courses remaining, the second half of my senior design course (did I mention I got an A in the first half?) and a final course in stochastic modeling. I can’t believe I’m almost, at last, done.

4. Visit more touristy places in DC: Sure, I’ve been to most of the Smithsonians and the National Gallery of Art, but want about the Udvar-Hazy Center, Arlington Cemetary, and the moments (other than the Washington Monument). I live less than 5 miles away from the city, there is really no excuse. Okay, maybe the cold. The cold is a good excuse.

5. Blog more: Partly because I feel better when I write, partly so phone calls to my mom aren’t nearly as necessary. Man, that sounds horrible. I really like talking to her. Really. I just don’t want her to worry that I’m dead. Blogging means she’ll know the important (but not super private) stuff and will only have to fill her in on the important but not blog[able and stupid stuff.

6. Get back into running: Sure, tehre was the whole injury thing which I never followed up on. Then school got busy and now it’s cold. But, really, there is not adequate excuse from now on. I have a great gym on campus with decent treadmills and have both the time and money available to get physical therapy for the injury. And I’m pretty sure I can convince my former running partner, Jen, to keep me focused.

7. Watch what I eat: And not in the “watch as I eat it all” way. I’m not talking a diet, per say but being more mindful of what I’m eating. Again, school was busy last term so it was all about just eating anything that was available. But this next term, I only have two classes and a part-time job. I should have more than enough time to eat healthier.

8. Figure out what I want to do for a career: Although I know what industry and discipline I want to work in, generally, I really need to work on figuring out specifics. Performance? DOORS and other database stuff? Project management? Risk mitigation? Find a manufacturing job? Process improvement? Work on a software-based program? Small program? Big program?

And, just so this isn’t a totally boring post, a random photo I took on our cruise this last week (that I’ll blog about in detail at some point).

In the water on Princess Cays

Into the Swing of Things

Monday was the first day of classes and things are already starting to get busy. Most of my classes this term are more about gleaning information from reading than trying to figure out a difficult mathematical concept. It’s quite a shift from the norm and I’m finding myself a little off-kilter as a result. Add to that the stress of my senior design project (which I was chosen to lead, eep!). Sure, it’s really an “on paper” design of a system but it’s still a rather difficult problem that will take two full semesters to solve.

Thankfully, knitting is still there, willing and able to calm me down when I get stressed out. Of course, very little knitting has happened since classes began but this semester has far fewer hours of being alone on campus with a designated lab where my colleagues are located throughout much of the day.

Awhile back I nearly finished a Vine Yoke cardigan. I knit it while working through two group projects, one simulating my work group and another a proposal for sound system installation in a series of new homes. Things were stressful, so I picked up this pattern for it’s easy, albeit abnormal construction and, well, the FO would be pretty.

But, alas, it didn’t work out. The sweater turned out extremely short and too large overall. Stupid garter stitch.

I tried to frogged it but decided, in the end, to just dump it in the trash. Re-knitting yarn I’ve frogged from a sweater has rarely gone well for me. I wind up irritated and knitting is my hobby, it’s supposed to be fun.

More recently, I finished a shawl for a co-worker who’s always chilly in the office. Unfortunately she’s wool-allergic so I had to find an alternative fiber. I’d hoped for bamboo but the only blend at my LYS is, of course, a bamboo-merino blend. But all was not lost; Veronica pointed me to Hempathy, a cotton-hemp blend that it’s DK weight unless you live on Mars, despite it’s Ravelry classification. It turned out beautifully in Lolly’s simple Perseverance pattern.

I do have to admit, though, that the pattern bored me to tears. Same thing, over and over again. Oh well, I know she’ll be highly appreciative of the FO. As I informed her of my progress her only words were, “You spoil me so!”

Another recent FO was the fingerless gloves for my friend, Sarah. Her top pattern choice was a pair of long crocheted gloves but, man, I could not figure out how to join a crochet chain such that it wouldn’t get twisted. Must have tried it ten times and every time, wound up with a mobius. Oye.

I made another of her favorites, instead, a fun cable-ish pattern named Winning Waves. I will certainly be making this pattern again, though not with the picot hem. Just not a big fan of the picots. The pattern was pretty good although could have been a bit more clear after the cuff. If you make the pattern, let me know and I’ll give you a few pointers in following along.

My latest (and really, only) WIP is a sideways-knit shawl/scarf named Chinook. I love the sideways construction although it does sort of mess with my head to be knitting the body and border at the same time. I’m using the Rowan Milk Cotton DK I got at Knit Happen’s going out of business sale. Great yarn, sad occasion for a deal. I may just keep this FO for myself though if it suits your fancy, go ahead and claim it yourself.

New Project

Well, that’s all for now. Must get dressed and ready for my day. I’ve got two classes followed by an appointment with an orthopedist to make sure this craziness with my hip is just overuse and not something worse (and to get a professional opinion as to just how long I can’t run, which may include my race day).

Three Day Weekend

I forgot about how much I love three day weekends.

Matt and I took off Friday from work so we could enjoy a good two days in Delaware before my run early Sunday morning.

Though I wasn’t able to run, which I’ll get to later.

After work Thursday, I changed into comfortable clothes, packed for the trip, and started back working on my Metro cardigan.

It’s not quite as small as I first feared.

The torso portion is fine, the hip area, not so much.

Not everyone is the same width at their shoulders as their hips.

I finished the first sleeve and started on the second.

The sleeves are a little tight but blocking may save me.

I also brought the shawl I’m making for a coworker out of Hempathy.

At the beach (Deleware State Seashore), I enjoyed a few hours of knitting while Matt read a book (1491).

Of course, we also played in the (very cold) water and otherwise relaxed.

The beach had a fancy shower facility – indoors and everything!

After the beach, quick trip to the outlet mall. Tried on lots of things, only bought a basic black tee.

Then, to Rehoboth, the beach Matt always went to growing up.

We did the true shore experience: lots of people-watching, some skee ball, and a trip to Candy Kitchen.

Wanted boardwalk fries but wasn’t at all hungry until dinner time.

Got to see Charis on a couple rides.

Matt and Jesse took a spin on the bumper cars, like they were little kids.

Dinner at Dogfish Head brew pub in town. Yummy yummy.

Walkign to dinner, my hip suddenly gave out.

Horrible, horrible pain with each step I took.

Of course, my hip had hurt earlier in the week (on my Sunday run, just sitting at work) and I should have listened to my body and not run Friday morning.

Even if Delaware is painfully flat.

So, I had to skip my long run (12 miles) yesterday and will likely skip at least one short run later this week.

I am not a happy camper.

My race is only four weeks away.

But at least I should still be able to run if I relax for awhile.

Back to my weekend.

We left Delaware Saturday morning and got back just after lunch.

I hung out at my LYS for awhile then knit at home while Matt played video games.

Yesterday, we just hung out at home.

Except for a quick trip to Costco and the library.

We managed to arrive home during the 15 minute heavy downpour.

Not five minutes after getting inside and drying off, the rain stopped.

Watched Star Trek II and III.

Ate a spicy version of meatloaf.

And I tried not to think about the fact I can’t run.

——————–

How was your weekend?

Random Friday

It’s Friday, which means I’m even more scatter-brained today than usual. Therefore, a list is in order.

1. I finished up the body of Metro first thing this morning. All excited, I decided to try it on. Horrible idea. Apparently my gauge is way off as it’s much more likely to fit my thin friend, Leah, than my chubby self. Hopefully she (or someone else of a slender build) will claim it when it’s done. I’ve decided to put it aside for a bit so I can calm down and find a recipient. And I was so excited about it, too.

2. To work towards calming myself down (and so I didn’t feel horribly incompetant knitting-wise), I cast on for a half-circle version of the Elizabeth Zimmermann 100th Anniversary Pi Shawl. The designer of the other versions just created the pattern so, in a way, I’ll be acting as a test knitter. I’ve only gotten to row 10 so far as there were no seats on the train this morning and knitting laceweight as you stand is far harder than even I anticipated.

3. Next week is Restaurant Week here in the DC area. This means getting to eat at amazing places for a much cheaper than normal price. Matt and I are going out for dinner twice and I have a lunch date with a coworker, as well.

4. Matt’s working tomorrow. I have big plans to either finish watching Pride and Prejudice or hang out at my LYS though he’s likely to be home by the time the shop even opens. A morning with Mr. Darcy, it is. Darn.

5. I only have to run 8 miles Sunday morning. Never thought “only 8 miles” would ever enter my vocabulary.

awake

It’s amazing how much more awake you are when you go to bed an hour and a half earlier (for those playing along at home, that means I was out by nine). I figured I should probably take advantage of the awake-ness and write a short (or, possibly, very long) blog post. Plus, I really don’t feel like getting to work at 7:30 and today’s not a scheduled run morning. Time to kill at home and all that.

1. I’ve been knitting a lot recently. Finished the sweater, finished the shawl for coworker Kim, started and finished a worsted shawl for myself, started a shawl which I frogged, and started a sweater for myself. All the photos I’ve taken are “off.” I blame the new iPhone wanting to get in as much light as possible. I got so used to the old one not letting any light in that I tend to overlight (is that a word?) photos now. Go to my Flickr to see what I mean.

2. Crochet has taken a backseat to knitting. I did start a doily yesterday (in worsted weight, ’cause I’m a rebel). I really need to get working on some amigurumi animals and imaginary critters for the young children in my life. My little cousin is having heart surgery today and I meant to make her a critter and just never got around to it. I feel like a horrible cousin. :(

3. Running is still going. Seven weeks until my race. Ten miles last Sunday, eleven this Sunday. I’ve realized that my body likes 8 miles then spends the rest of the mileage convincing me I shouldn’t run any longer. My shoulders, hips, and bottoms of my feet all, suddenly, start to hurt at mile marker 8. Hopefully that’ll pass soon so I can much more easily complete the last miles. It’s one thing to be too worn out to go, another when you’re body’s just being stupid and painful.

4. I’m considering another half marathon in Pennsylvania’s Amish country in November, but Matt wants me to wait and see how my first goes. A long November run sounds heavenly plus I always hear so much about Lancaster County but have never actually been.

5. I have three and a half weeks of work before I return to school which means 3.5 weeks to complete my boss’s to do list. I like a good challenge. I also have to schedule in a time for Alison and I’s grand school supply shopping trip and textbook ordering. No other real prep required. Oh, how I do not miss having to move into a dorm just before classes begin or otherwise adjust to returns to school. There’s a big mental adjustment from corporate world to school world but that can be more gradual.

6. Speaking of that transition, I think I will focus more on dressing up this school year. Get into the mindset that “grown up” clothes are my real wardrobe, not jeans and t-shirts. Sure, I’ll still wear them on weekends, but dressing up more during the week will probably help me to act more professionally on campus. Wait, that sounds wrong. I always conduct myself with a modest amount of professionalism, but something about school just brings out my immature side. Must find a way to quiet it. As Jocelyn says, I am a grown-ass woman. [Anyone else picture their mother, looking disappointed every single time they curse?] I should learn to act like it (almost) all of the time.

7. Sometime this week I will have a post in which I’ll have some FOs and yarn I want to get rid of for the cost of shipping. It’s all been weighing me down and I just need it out of here. The timing depends on when I have an evening to really take time and get some decent photos.

8. We went to the National Zoo on Saturday, but I’ll talk more about that in another post once I get the photos off Matt’s camera. It’s a rather nice zoo, seeing as it’s free and we went on one of the most beautiful days we’ve had this summer (read: very crowded). I just wish you didn’t have to walk the whole way uphill at the end of your visit to get to the exit that’s closest to the Metro.

9. We’re looking into doing a Caribbean (1 r, 2 b’s, must remember) cruise again this summer. Trying not to get too excited. [My favorite story my mom tells about her Spanish students is the kid who asked, "Who is Al Caribe?" It took her awhile to figure out they meant "al caribé" as in "to the Caribbean." The textbook had all dialogue text in capital letters, it was just a matter of incorrectly parsed capitalization on the student's part.]

Weekend Recap

(Yeah, there are no photos. I had my camera with me through all of my various adventures, other than my run, but only took one picture that turned out badly.)

Not in a mood for real sentences. Not sure why. Blame missing of bus due to not paying attention and having to wait 30 minutes in the humidity. Did get some amused looks from people as I ate my breakfast at the bus stop (crackers with cream cheese straight from the tub without utensils).

Friday night: Headed to Fibre Space where I sat and whined about the heat and knit maybe three rows on the first sweater sleeve. The author of Blueprint Crochet happened to stop by and she signed a copy for me. I’d been eying the book for awhile, anyway, and figured it was the perfect time to pick up a copy. Also grabbed a new size 7 32″ circular as my poor Addi one is coming undone. Yummy dinner of lamb chops then we headed to Baltimore. Much, much nicer driving up when you leave at 8:00 versus directly after work. Plus I was already fed and showered before we left which made me far less angry than previous trips up.

Saturday: Rain, rain, rain all day. Slept in until (ya’ll will be amazed) 9:30! Cancelled plans to go tubing and get a snowball and instead knit while watching Oceans 13. Attempted to buy energy goop but none at mega sporting goods store in Hunt Valley. Hour-long trip to Wegmans. Found (and purchased) 15 different energy gels/goops/bars to try out. Hope at least one doesn’t make it want to vomit. Picked up and devoured four dozen steamed crabs (not just me, but all four of us). Watched a little more TV then had second dinner – was good and only ate two ears of corn on the cob. Headed back home and watched Matt stink slightly less at online violent video game version of Capture the Flag.

Sunday: Up horribly early after bad night’s sleep. Nine mile long run with running group, more specifically, with my running buddy, Jen. Very difficult run. At halfway point, I was ready to give up and walk the whole way. Jen helped me continue and we eventually finished. Over 14 minute / mile pace but I’m trying to forget that part of things. At least we survived. Ten weeks to get from barely surviving 9 miles to easily surviving 13.1 miles. Or learning how to ignore the pain and exhaustion. Resisted urge to take very long nap and instead headed to Leesburg. Bit of BBQ, bit of outlet shopping and bit of wine tasting then headed home. Shrimp and fish on the grill followed by another evening of video game-watching and knitting.

(Oh, the first sleeve is done and the second only has about 40 rows to go. Far more accomplished than I anticipated. Hoping to finish second sleeve by Wednesday. Dreading lugging around three-quarters of finished sweater remainder of the week.)