Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A week, a nasty nasty cold, and a good book later...

This past week and a half has felt like it was a month long. (It doesn't help that it's the 30th now, and I'm wondering where the month went!) It started out unassumingly, like any other, but ended with me having spent a good half of it stuck in bed with a fever and some flu-like sort of cold. Early on, I decided I needed a book to keep me company, and so I grabbed The Once and Future King by TH White.

Still haven't figured out what rock I lived under, but White's take on Arthur was incredibly fun to read... all of it was. The story ranged all over the place from uproariously funny to appropriately serious to distressingly sad, with histories that made me feel as if I'd known some of the characters all my life.

If I had to pick a friend from this book, it'd be Merlyn. :-) After all, he knits!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Once and Future King (TH White)

I've been eyeing this book for a while. Today seemed a good day to start it, since I haven't had the energy to do anything else. I don't know what rock I lived under as a small child or teenager, but I didn't have a clue the story was going to be funny. Sword in the Stone, at least, is hilarious.

And Merlyn knits. Can't beat that.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Creating & Resting...

This week has been a bit of a whirlwind, and today was no less so... but more in a restful way, I guess. This week at work, I pretty much officially took over responsibility for scheduling & coordinating bookfairs & signings. No big deal, just a few new things to learn & process. Today's whirlwind was more of the creative sort.

I got up to my alarm clock (!!), checked email/blogs, ran an errand (in case it *actually* snowed significantly... it didn't really do much), and spent the rest of the day in the craft room sewing and knitting. I managed to alter a wool skirt I found at a thrift store a few weeks ago, finish the curtains for the room (long time coming), and finish the fingerless gloves I started earlier this week.

It felt good to finally seize some time to exercise a bit of creativity. Working on projects tends to get me thinking about new ones, and it seems that the energy I spend making something just brings more energy with it. Unless I'm burned out. Running does that to me too. :-) Today was the first day in a while where I felt alive and resting ~ full of growing and mending and dreaming and resting and hoping, connected to my soul. As opposed to alive and wrestling, I guess, which tends to feel more like dying sometimes.

I don't really want the day to be over, but I won't cling to it and ruin the grace that it's been thus far.


Kindling Fingerless Gloves

I think this experiment turned out pretty well!

A note: The fingerless gloves are my first real attempt at putting together my own pattern for something other than a scarf or a simple tube. The process was so much fun that I have to resist the urge to start working on another one right away!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Nearly Perfect Evening

Today at work was a bit hectic, but the evening has been almost heavenly... and it's only getting better!


- run / walked on a crisp, cold evening
- come home with froze nozes and...
- made hot chocolate with peppermint sticks!
- listened to good music and laughed about how our iTunes has one of Phil Keaggy's acoustic albums labeled as EXPLICIT
- made delicious cake that involved some chocolate pudding
- made a yummy alfredo with mushrooms & spinach (2 favorites)

and then we:

- looked out the door to see a dusting of snow and more coming down!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Photo Adventures

Last Friday morning, Jeromie and I woke up on the rather early side and drove out to Eden Farms for an advent photo hunt. We got to the barn just before sunrise and hiked up into the woods to a place where there is a small clearing and a cross. Jeromie did the main shooting, while I wandered around, adjusted the flash, helped a little with composition, and played around with my little A85.

I'd been unable to really use my camera for several months because the cable was MIA, but I've got it back now! Here are some of the more interesting shots I got while we were out. Can you tell I like the sky as seen through trees?

A random styrofoam cooler - tied with string, topped with a rock -
that we decided to refer to as "Davy Jones' locker"

The cross in the early morning light

Gotta practice the "myspace" pose
(that one's actually just for you Danielle!)

Jeromie hard at work/play

The sky through the trees...

Shortly after sunrise

The hike back

I know Jeromie's already posted one picture from the outing (a funny one), but not the one we went out to get. Skip on over to his blog, Whistling in the Dark, in a day or so to see the end results!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Not yo' mama's koozie...

I recently discovered that making a "coffee cuff" is a fun way to experiment with different stitch patterns while still making something useful. My first one was a mid-project switch, so it ended up being an improvisation on the beginning of the Fetching cables. For the second one, I took the stitch pattern I used for my grandma's Kindling scarf (faggoting stitch? = bundle-of-sticks stitch), and turned it into a sleeve.

I'd rather use my travel mug than disposable cups, but I think these little cuff-things work pretty well for the times I don't have it with me. And it saves a little piece of cardboard, I guess.

Here's the first intentional cuff:

Mmmmm... coffeeeeee...

A straight-on shot of the interesting part

One of my coworkers thinks I should sell these... I dunno. What do you guys think?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Trumpet Child (Over the Rhine)

While I'm on the subject of things that have moved me, or that I just plain enjoy, I think I'll share some music too!

The Trumpet Child
Over the Rhine

Jeromie and I were introduced to this album shortly before Christmas by our friend, Dave Smith. He lent us his copy for about a week and I spun it pretty much all week. Played in the car, played it at home, missed it when I gave it back, got it for Christmas!!! I've not tired of it yet.

I haven't listened to much Over the Rhine before, but apparently this is not much like any of their earlier albums. To me, it's a mix of jazz and 50's and playfulness and beauty, and I rather like it. The DCF band played the title track, "The Trumpet Child," just before Christmas - Monica did an impressive job with the vocals, and even pulled out her trumpet.

Tis' many much goodness. :-)

What is the What (Dave Eggers)

I have just finished an incredible book:

What is the What
by Dave Eggers

I first came across this book when I started work at the Open Book. I was intrigued by it, but could only add it to my quickly growing list of books I wanted (and still want) to read. Months passed and it called to me all the while from its little shelf. I picked away at other books on my list that I already owned (I'm trying to make this my primary source of reading despite a lovely discount at work), and still it nagged me whenever I walked passed it at work. Finally, the book pounced. Jeromie and I went to the library to get an audiobook for our Christmas trip to Alabama, and it ended it coming home with us. I know I'm anthropomorphizing a book... or feline-pomorphizing it, but it did feel like a friendly kind of stalking.

We started the book together in the car a few days before Christmas and were captivated. The writing itself, the voice and storytelling, is incredible, and the actor that was chosen to read it for the audio format only brought the story more to life. We didn't want to turn it off! It occupied the whole trip to Alabama and back, and I finally bought the book when I came back to work. The book has been no less incredible to simply read.

What is the What is the story of Valentino Achak Deng, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan who trekked to Ethiopia, then to Kenya as a young boy because of the conflicts (understatement!) that engulfed the whole of southern Sudan beginning in the early eighties. The book is biographical fiction - written this way because, as Deng says in the preface, "I was very young when some of the events in the book took place." He notes that all major events are true and that nothing occurs in the book that could not have occurred in the real experience of these Lost Boys.

As a book, What is the What is gripping - it captures the reader from the very start and holds one's attention throughout. As the story of one life, and the lives of millions, it is many things: sad, hopeful, frightening, outraging, indelible. I hold images from this story burned into my mind, ones that I do not want to forget. I am ashamed that I have not been more than peripherally aware of the atrocities that have taken place in Sudan - southern Sudan, and now Darfur. I have been aware of suffering, even in my own town, but it has not brought me to my knees. I do not simply want to put down the book and go about my life unaffected. I also don't want to get worked up for a short time and fizzle back into the wretched complacency I've let in the back door.

This story has made me think, it's called me to pray - it has helped me to engage with my broken world in a way that I have not in a long time. It's one that I would suggest to anyone to read and consider.

In house church this week, we talked about our word for the year, and I think I forgot to share mine: SPEAK. As I finished reading, this word was reinforced to me. I am excited and hopeful of what this year holds, and of what God is doing.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Mostly Handmade Christmas...

I had a lot of fun hand-making some of my Christmas gifts this year. Since I started at the end of October, I didn't get to make something for everyone I wanted to, but I got a couple of things done. This year, I intend to get a jump-start on knitting Christmas gifts... maybe in July. :-) It's really hard to just sit on gifts for that long though. When I finish something, I get so giddy that I want to give it right then!

Warning: the pictures aren't all that great. I ran out of time for creating, and I also ran out of time to get some good pictures. These were snapped just before I wrapped them. :-\

Handmade Christmas 2007

Fetching Fingerless Gloves x4

Source: pattern by Cheryl Niamath in Knitty Summer 2006
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted (blue) and some kind of yummy soft grey wool that I've lost the label to. :-(
Thoughts: A fun and easy pattern... well, easy once I got the hang of it. Also, I now understand why everyone raves about malabrigo yarn. It's incredibly soft!

Cap Karma x3

Source: Smariek's blog for the hat, with Jared's decreases
Yarn: Moda Dea Washable Wool
Thoughts: I was a bit wary of the the yarn at first because it seemed shiny, but it ended up working very well with the pattern... and it's washable and comfortable to wear, which are both good. As for the pattern, including Jared's decreases, I think it's beautiful, well-written, and fun to work.

Branching Out

by Susan Pierce Lawrence in Knitty Spring 2005
Yarn: Andean Alpaca Regal
Thoughts:I'd never tried any sort of lace knitting before this project, and I was a bit intimidated. It took several attempts, complete with frogging an hour or so's worth of work, to get the thing going. I finally wisened up & figured out how to use a lifeline... after that, the pattern became thoroughly enjoyable. I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for more lace-knitting opportunities.

Kindling Scarf

A stitch dictionary from the library and my head
Yarn: Lamb's Pride Bulky in a sage-green color
Thoughts: This one started out as just playing around with the stitch dictionary & some yarn I had in my collection, and turned into a scarf. If I do this one again, I'll use a lighter yarn and make the scarf longer.

Kategirl Messenger Bag

Kategirl's post on
Materials: brown canvas fabric, a thrifted tablecloth, cream grosgrain ribbon
Thoughts: This was my second bag by this tutorial, and it went a little more smoothly the second time around.

That's all for now, I guess. :-)

Sunday, January 06, 2008

I did it.

I've felt for a long time that God was leading me in the direction of counseling. I've been beating around the bush for a looooooong time about sending off my applications for grad school, and today I submitted one.

Some may say whoop-dee-doo, but for me this feels a lot like getting on a rollercoaster. I've been standing in line biting my fingernails for months: afraid of rejection, afraid I wasn't hearing God right, just plain afraid... and now I'm on the ride. I still have a few things to do to complete the process for this particular school (Denver Seminary), but I should have those done by the middle of the week.

Here we go...

Saturday, January 05, 2008


I realized just now that it's been a couple of weeks since the last time I posted anything... and since it's been holidays, a number of things have passed since. Like Christmas. And New Years. I might have to break those up into other posts... they deserve their own. For now, I'll stick to today's adventures.

One of Jeromie's Christmas presents this year from, um... Santa, was a crash pad for bouldering, so we made it a point to plan a trip as a soon as possible. This morning, we headed up to Rumbling Bald in NC with Lance, Catherine and Daniel, hiked up to the boulders, and promptly pounced on them. We played on a number of routes, scratched our heads at some, and watched Lance rock a fair number of them.

Here are a few pictures of the action:

Jeromie on Crescent

Daniel trying out a toe hook

Daniel checking out a hi-ball from the top

Catherine gives it a shot

Lance starts...

Lance continues...

And Lance completely rocks it!

I took a shot at a couple of the routes... since I'm rather out of shape for climbing, they were mostly just shots. Just playing, as Catherine said. I took the outing in general as an opportunity to take pictures. I misplaced my camera cable several months ago and have thus solely used Jeromie's SLR for that time (which is great... I love it... but it's harder to get pictures to the computer, at least for me. Perhaps I should learn how to tell it to take JPG's). I got my cable back over Christmas and so decided to take the camera today.

Turned out to be a good time to catch some of my knitting in action:

Smariek's Cap Karma for Jeromie

My Kittyville hat from last February

The current WIP: Dashing for Jeromie

And the sky was beautiful:


PS - I finally made it onto Ravelry too (as Lizzle). Apparently my original invite got sent to the spam folder. I was starting to wonder too... I mean, I know there's a waiting list, but several months? My bad!