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Monday, December 28, 2009

Blogging Break

I've missed my Friday post this week because of Christmas. Likewise, I'm heading out of town today to meet with my roommates, so I doubt I'll have time to really post today. Regular blogging schedule will resume Friday, perhaps with a surprise for New Years :) Hope every one had a wonderful Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Two Shameless Plugs

First, for myself and the Track Shack Blog I help run.

I've rewritten "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" Track Shack-style, and would like to encourage you to go read it on the blog. My Dad laughed so hard when he read it that he choked on chip, so I figure it must be halfway decent. (And Re: the new blog disclosure laws, I work for Track Shack, but I don't get anything for advertising their blog).

Second, for an Orlando Sentinel columnist I usually disagree with.

I generally can't read Mike Thomas' articles without getting angry, but his column today was amazing, and I think I agree with every word. I like supporting print, so if you can get a hold of a hard copy of the Sentinel, I'd encourage you to do so. Otherwise, you can read his column online here.

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! May it be filled with joy, and family, and not too much stress.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Holiday and Christmas

I don't mind stores celebrating the "Holidays" instead of Christmas. In fact, I myself wish people a "Happy Holiday" if I don't know their religious beliefs. Why? Well, for the simple reason that not everyone celebrates Christmas. And that's okay. In the following post, I'm going to get up on my soapbox (just a small one, though) and share what I see to be the difference between the Holiday and Christmas. And why I celebrate both (C.S. Lewis wrote a satyrical piece on this topic, which you can find here if you're interested).

Christmas
What is Christmas? I asked my Sunday School class this and the most common answer I received was "Jesus' Birthday" (one girl pointed out that Jesus was actually born on Christmas Eve). Whether or not Jesus was historically born on December 25th, Christmas, derived from "Christ Mass" is the day that church commemorates the birth of the Saviour (incidentally, my protestant Sunday-schoolers didn't know what "mass" was...except for one girl who said it was how much something weighed).

Christmas, for me, is a religious day. A holiday in the true sense of the word, "holy day". The culminating moment of Christmas is the Christmas Eve service, a celebration of birth of Christ, but also a solemn reminder that, as on Christmas song remind us, the shadow of the cross lay over his cradle. All of which is to say that I find Christmas to be a far cry from Santas and trees and lights.

The Holiday
If Christmas is not Santas and trees and lights, then the Holiday is. And I admit that I am taking leeway with the word "holiday" and am using it in its modern sense of a celebration, or a vacation from everyday life.

The Holiday has many traditions, like exchanging gifts, decorating everything in sight and, my personal favourite, Christmas Music (I have a pretty lame music collection, but I'm pretty proud of the over 10 hours of Christmas music I have on my computer).

What is important to keep in mind, though often overlooked by those who protest the replace of "Christmas" with "Holiday", is that the Holiday is itself not without meaning. The Holiday is time to come together with friends and family. It's time of celebration, and also a time of reflection on the past year. The Holiday is also a time when we remember the best of what humans are capable of, when people come together to help the less fortunate, and remember those who can't be with families.

And so, I wish you all a Happy Holiday, and a Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Oops...

Go so caught up in my knitting today I forgot to post....mea culpa. On the bright side, one more project is done!!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Short Fibre Friday

Christmas knitting continues...and it looks like I'm might actually make it (knitting gods, please note I said "might").

I actually do have a post, but I'm totta;y beat. It was a good day, but long, and I need my beauty sleep. Look for a proper post on the 'morrow.

Good night!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tilting at Windmills (And Other Metaphors for my Life)

Tilting at windmills. That's what I feel like I've been doing today. Of course, the thing about fighting windmills is that, while to everyone else they're just windmills, to the person doing the fighting they are, in fact, giants.

*****

Or fighting a Hydra. That's what my to-do list has seemed like today. Every time I finish a project, three more pop into place to replace it. They way to defeat a Hydra, is, of course, to burn its head(s), but as my to-do list is saved on my computer, victory through such means comes at too hight a price.

*****

But there was one calm moment. You know how when the AC is on, and you don't realize how much noise it was making until it suddenly clicks off? My day had that constant roar of pressure to it. Phones were ringing off the hook, e-mail kept coming in, and of course there's always the constant feeds coming in from social media sites. I got home feeling stressed and overwhelmed, when I plugged in the lights on the Christmas tree. "Click". It was the like the AC turning off in my head. Suddenly, for a brief moment, all was silent. It didn't last, but it was nice. (Yes, it's mid-December and we have the AC on.)

*****

Unrelated: I'm looking for a home for my rats, Knit and Spindle. They are healthy, very friendly, and use to people. Rats are highly intellegent and make good pets. My Mom is allergic to them, and while they've been living outside, its too humid here for me to keep them there. They are free to a good home, along with their cage and supplies.

Friday, December 11, 2009

How I Became a (minor) Ravelry Sensation

It started innocently enough. My great-Aunt Joan, who passed away a few years ago, published several knitting patterns in her lifetime. And ever since I started knitting, I've wondered what became of those patterns, and if I could track some of them down. So, I decided who better to help than the knitting and crochet community at Ravelry.com? (Ravelry, for those of you who are knitting muggles, is like a Facebook for fibre artists. Only much, much better. If you are not a knitting muggle, but aren't on Ravelry, Go. Join. Now.)

So, on the "Patterns" discussion board in Ravelry's forum, I made a post entitled "The Search for Great Aunt Joan's Patterns" and followed it with a list of pretty much everything I know about my great-aunt, which isn't very much. Well, within the first five minutes, I had a post from someone who had found a hat pattern by Joan called "Alice's Hat". I couldn't believe it. Alice is my grandma, Joan's sister. It grew from there, with people tracking down my great-aunts pattern, or just stopping by to wish me luck in my search. My post was even mentioned in the Ravelry newsletter.

It has been incredible how many people have reached out to me to help me to knit together these pieces of family history, and I just wanted to share that with you all.

*****

A quick Christmas knitting update:

It continues. Desperately. I'm hoping that I won't be giving any gifts still on the needles, but that might be happening. I'm knitting non-stop. I've even given up spinning until Christmas, despite the lovely new soysilk fibre I have from @yarn2spin. I've reached a whole new level of KIPping (Knitting In Public), having even gone so far as knitting while taking a walk around my block (yep, I can walk and knit), knitting during the class changes at school, and knitting at the drive-thru. I haven't given up hope of completing everything just yet.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

So...

Yes, I know. I missed my Monday blog. And I can't blame it on the internet, busy-ness, or anything other than a pure lack of motivation which seems to be a virus I've caught that is quickly spreading to all areas of my life. *sigh*

But I decided to write every Monday and, later, every Friday, to combat exactly that disease. And skipping out on the cure will only make things worse.

Doing much of anything is a struggle for me right now, and I'm not sure why. I had thought I was past all this, but apparently I wasn't. But I am determined that I will get through it. So, please forgive me for the abruptness of my post today, but it is the best I can do right now.

Happy Holidays everyone! I am going to try to get up at least a few Christmas stories/post like I've done in the past this year.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Early Morning

I'm up early tomorrow to run the OUC 5k with my running buddy from Girls on the Run, so I'm off to bed. But first...

Tonight was the last episode of Monk. I've spent many hours of my life with Monk, watching his show almost every Friday, procrastinating on my papers while watching Monk marathons, and of course, knitting  with my roommates.

Goodbye, Mr. Monk. You will be missed. I was hoping you'd make it to an even 10 seasons, but it was not to be.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dear Internet...Grrr!

I missed my Monday post last night. It wasn't my fault. My internet was out again. Grrr. That being said, it seems I have fallen behind a bit in posting, so instead of nice coherent post, I'm going to write several little posts tonight.

Steve-an update

I talked about Steve last week in my first Thanksgiving Post and just wanted to hive an update. His surgery went well, and they didn't have to use the radiation seeds they thought they would. Hopefully, the doctors got all the cancer out, but it will be a bit of wait-and-see while he heals.

Turkey Trot

I ran the Turkey Trot 5k this weekend (and once again missed meeting Robin in person :( ). The Turkey Trot was my first 5k, at age 8 (and no, I won't tell you how many years ago that was) and so I thought that it would be fitting, since I've been training, to try to run a PR (personal record) at the race this year. And.... I did it! 30:55! That's a sub 10-minute mile the whole way :D. I never would have made it on my own, though. By chance, I ended up running with a mother and her daughter (who was doing her first 5k) who were running the same pace of me. Without their encouragement and help pacing, I would have given up and walked. I normally use run-walk intervals, but I ran the race the whole way. It was hard, but so worth it. And as the mother told her daughter, "Lots of people may be faster than us, but it doesn't mean they're working harder than us". So true! 30:55 might sound pretty slow to a lot of people, but it took everything I had in me to do it.

Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving in my house is always a little odd, since our tradition involves putting on a race for several thousand people (pre-cooked turkey is a must). This year, Thanksgiving was smaller than usual, with all my grandparents being out of time. But at least one tradition remained the same: my Mom insisted we attempt to make gravy, even though none of us really like it, believing that if we don't make gravy on Thanksgiving, my brother and I will be missing out on something important (at least I think that her belief).

Grad School


I'm still working on my grad school applications...barely. Its been really hard for me to work on them, and I think I'm still afraid of going through the rejection I went through last time. The deadlines are coming up, though, so I really need to focus on them. I just find myself feeling stressed out and overwhelmed every time I think about them. I could use any encouraging thoughts and prayers you can send my way.

Christmas Knitting


Continues....so many projects, so little time. But knitting keeps me sane, so its a good thing.

Well, that's all for tonight folks. In the words of Samuel Pepys, "And so...to bed".