Saturday, December 31, 2011

welcoming in the new year

I've never been a big fan of New Year's Eve. It's such a strange holiday and I feel like there is so much expectation yet I never really know what to do with myself or how to ignore it. Come to think of it, I don't really even know what a perfect NYE would even look like. It's a darn good thing that I've stopped caring and thankfully, I've got a party to go to this year, so I think it will be a fun night.

Here's Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt with a little rendition of, What are you doing New Years?



But as cute as this little ditty is, and all due respect to lovely Ms. Deschanel and the charming Mr. Gordon-Levitt, maybe the jackpot question really could be,


what are you doing in the new year?


Me, I've got loads of great plans for 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011

far away from the cold night air

I came home to an empty house last night. As I unlocked the front door, I the sound of the latch echoed through the living room. Two of my housemates moved out this week and with them went all the furniture. It was eerie to see my home so empty but never fear, my new housemate is moving in furniture today and when I get home I'll come home to all new (read: new to me) furnishings.

And I'm on the hunt for a new armchair for my bedroom as the one that I was using belonged to those who just moved out. I love the looking, but wish I a bit more flush so that I could afford this:

Until then, Eliza Doolittle and I will keep on dreaming, "oh, wouldn't it be loverly."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

five golden rings!

It was a lovely holiday and now on the fifth day of Christmas, I'm back at back work, easing back into my routine while my internal clock and inner ears are still stuck mountain time and elevation respectively. 

This is the family photo that we took back in November that is going out with our New Year's card. I hate my hair in this picture, but what you gonna do. Luckily I was able to get a much needed hair cut while I was in SLC - Thanks Claire, I love my new bangs!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukka!

I made it to Utah, my shopping is done and all that is left is to do some finishing work on a couple of my knitted gifts. It's beautiful and sunny here in Utah. We got a bit of snow the night I arrived - just enough to make the roads really slick and clear out the air which reportedly has gotten quite gross.

Which leaves plenty of time for consuming inordinate amounts of sugar, and watching classic Christmas movies. Per tradition, we'll be watching All I want for Christmas.



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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

there's no place like home

Well, my bags are packed and in a few hours I'll be leaving cubicle behind, hopping onto the metro and be on my way to the airport. That's right I'm heading home for Christmas.

And when I come back, I'm bringing my lil' sister with me. Technically, she'll be following a day behind me but she's coming to DC for a semester and I'm so excited for all the fun she'll have here and all the fun we'll have together.

Once again, it has become abundantly clear that I am blessed.

Merry Christmas! And if you don't hear from me much over the next week, no worries, I'll be back before the New Year.


Another of my favorite Christmas Songs, Hard Candy Christmas. This one always makes me smile. Growing up we used to watch Dolly Parton's Christmas specials and well, I've loved her ever since.

Monday, December 19, 2011

let your hope make you glad*




Look at Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally here. What is it about this picture? I mean I can't stop looking at it. I think I'm getting emotional - must be hormonal. But seriously, isn't there something really sweet about this real life couple. Look how happy they are together, look at that love.

Here they are together in an episode of Parks and Recreation - the first of many episodes in which Megan guest stars as Nick's character, Ron Swanson's ex-wife, Tammy 2.

The picture above is actually from an episode of Mortified which I haven't seen yet, but looks pretty funny from the brief clips on the Sundance Channel's website.

Anyway, I just love seeing real-life people happy in real relationships. It makes me happy and hopeful, so I thought I'd share.


* Romans 12:12

don't we all work better on a deadline?

Before I left work on Friday, I announced to my coworker through the walls of my cube,

"I'm done with this!"

"With what? this job?"

"No, this cold. I'm giving it the weekend, but by Monday, it better be gone."


And I did. I confess that there are some lingering symptoms. I'm still a little stuffy and my voice is only at 50% (but that has more to do with my karaoke marathon Saturday night and my total disregard for proper singing techniques - it's all about the performance, you know). But I'm on the mend, no longer strung out on decongestants, no longer worrying about whether or not I can get another box of pseudoephedrine without being suspected of running a meth lab. No more sneezing, no more watery eyes, no more sudden chills. I feel good!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

my lil' cascade

A month or so ago, I posted a picture of this in my pile of unfinished projects. Well, I got on the ball and finished up my lil' cascade cardi on my trip home for Thanksgiving. And it looks like I finished it just in time because if fits my niece just about perfect (thank the heavens this girl grows so slow).


I really love the leaf detail that doubles as button holes. It was a bear to get straight and after frogging and reknitting it a couple times, I made a chart, checked off each row as I went and finally got it right. And I chose to just place the one button because, I'm kind of lazy and I think that she'd probably wear it open most of the time anyway.


Here she is reluctantly modeling her new sweater.


Now, that's better. Look how cute she looks!

Raveled here - you see that? I'm finally getting on board and posting my projects on Ravelry.

I dreamed a dream

I think that I can officially call it a head cold. Mostly just an annoyance at this point and I'm doing my best to contain my germs and prevent it from getting worse. And I don't know if it was my cold, the Advil PM or all the knitting I've been doing lately but I had the weirdest dream last night. I dreamt that I was finger croqueting this long chain which I somehow turning into a scarf and as it got longer and longer it wrapped all around me. When I woke up I almost expected to find yarn in my bed. But no, just my duvet. I haven't started sleep knitting. That would be pretty weird, right?


Maybe something like this - for which I can't find a source.

So I've been playing with finger knitting lately. It's something I saw a while ago and the other day as I was decorating my 8inch Christmas tree with yarn from my stash, I thought hey, I should try that. After playing with it for a few minutes I had a chord a yard long with which I tied a cute bow around the pot. It's got potential for decorating, gift wrapping and head bands. Here's a tutorial that spells it out nicely. The picture above looks to be a finger knitted cord that is being finger crocheted into a chain.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

unto you a child is born

I'm feeling a bit under the weather and trying not to get overwhelmed by all that I need to get done this next week. So I'll keep this brief and share the sweetest little Christmas video that my sister shared with me.

Somehow, the Christmas story always sounds best from the mouths of children - compound that with sweet little Australian accents and you get a real tear-jerker. And props to the costumer, best sheep costume ever!

Monday, December 12, 2011

you're welcome


I don't know where this all started but there are people putting words in Ryan Gosling's mouth, all over the internet. Yesterday, I happened to stumble upon this tumblr site devoted to "handmadery". And honestly, I went a little weak in the knees. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect anyone (especially a guy) to understand my passion for the fiber arts. And personally, I'm rather fond of the idea putting these words Joshua Jackson's mouth, but that's just about personal preference. Imagine with me.


Hey girl, it's killing me that you have to frog all those rows.

Yep, even better. I should probably be ashamed of myself.


Christmas is upon us*

Confession, this weekend I bought solar powered Christmas lights for my porch only to discover that this time of year, the sun rarely graces my front steps. Yep, not my finest moment. But seriously, this is the northern hemisphere! Maybe I'll put them away and bring them out in June or send them to my friend in Australia.

So, I hope you have all enjoyed my Knitters Gift Guide series. To recap, here are the links:


And if you're not a knitter, but would like to become one I can't think of a better new years resolution. Miss Nem over at Voice of Reason just put together a lovely and comprehensive guide on how to get started. I couldn't say it better myself, so I won't. Check it out here.

In other news, I've been channeling my sugar high* busily knitting and shopping for Christmas gifts and succeed in marking a few things off my list this weekend. Also, made said lists. It'll be here before we know it, better keep on moving.


* I'm inclined to believe that this is a song that has only ever been sung at my elementary school, a real shame. But to anyone else that went to Bonneville Elementary, I was an elf.

* What is it with sugar this time of year? I can't remember the last time I ate a real meal. Fortunately, I just received a crate of grapefruit (which I remember vaguely ordering from a neighbor kid who was raising money for a band trip or something) and I am hell bent on consuming before Christmas, in hopes that it will in someway counteract the sugar or at least prevent scurvy. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

knitters gift guide - scarves edition

Far be it from me to diswade anyone from jumping into any number of monumental projects with more or less ridiculous expectations of finishing them as gifts by the 25th. Be my guest and join me in the crazy. But if you're a tich more realistic than myself, I thought I'd suggest a couple of projects that are totally doable.

May I present my series of 3-strand scarves. The idea is to knit 3 strands together using a relatively simple stitch that really lets the combination of yarns shine. They knit up really fast because holding 3 strands together makes for a pretty chunky yarn and you can knit them on big needles. These are the sort of project that you could complete in an evening while watching your favorite Christmas movie. Selecting your yarns may be the hardest part - but if you like yarn shopping like I like yarn shopping, it's more fun than I'd like to admit.



Sample #1 - garter stitch

Here's the simplest of the lot (confession, I didn't make this one - it was purchased but I'm showing it for it's demonstrative value not to showcase my own workmanship)




Pick 2 colors - an accent color and a complimentary/neutral color, in this case red and white. Could be fun to use school/team colors to personalize it. To duplicate this look, your 3 yarns would be:

1) red
2) white
3) white - either use 2 strands of the same white or find 2 different yarns of differing textures to make it more interesting

The stitch: Garter (knit every row) on extra large needles - keep it loose.


Sample #2 - ribbed scarf

This one is almost as easy as the first and only requires that you know how to purl. And so as not to loose all credibility, I did make this one.






Find a yarn that is really interesting in color and texture and showcase it with two neutrals. I found a ball of recycled silk yarn at a quirky little store in Alaska and couldn't figure out what to do with it. I ended up pairing it with a white single ply wool and a silk bamboo blend in an oatmeal/taupe color.  So to duplicate this scarf your 3 yarns would be:

1) Recycled silk (find something showy - I like that this is verigated)
2) fluffy white wool
3) silk-bamboo blend (oatmeal)

The stitch: basic 1x1 rib. K1, P1 (repeat). On the next row, knit the knits and purl the purls and repeat to the end.


#3 - the stitch that shall not be named* scarf

This scarf is a little bit trickier. I wouldn't say that it's difficult but it requires a bit more attention than the previous two - which you could probably do with your eyes closed once you get a few rows in. Watch what you're doing and you'll be fine. It's really quite simple and looks awesome.


 

Here, I found a yarn I really liked and I chose 3 colors that looked good together. In this case, a worsted weight single ply wool, in 3 shades of purple.

The stitch: (co an even number of stitches) slip the 1st stitch; * yo, k2tog; repeat from * to last stitch, k1. The pattern is the same every row, front and back. 



Have fun with it and be creative. The possibilities are endless and you're sure to come out with a one-of-a-kind gift that will keep you're loved one warm this winter. A couple of final notes. 1) As I've noted on the #3, I like to slip the first stitch of a row, it makes a nice edge but really consistency is key. 2) Keep 'em narrow. Because with 3 strands these scarves will knit up quite thick, they can be quite narrow. I think that that #2 is only 12 stitches wide. 3) Also, as you can see, some of these have tassels which can be fun, or seam the ends together and make an infinity scarf.

Happy knitting!



*This stitch has a name, which though in a historical context is probably not only understandable but also descriptive, it's nowadays a derogatory slur that I don't like to use even in this context.

let saints and angels sing

Just spotted this on PoppyTalk and the mere idea of these make me wish that I were the type of person who sends out Christmas cards.

Mind you, not so much that I'd actually do it, just opine about it. Anyway, if you're more ambitious than I, they can be purchased at One Lantern's etsy shop. The shop is worth checking out even if you're not in the market for Christmas cards - they've made some really lovely stuff. 

And I'm working on my next Knitter's Gift Guide: Scarves. Because, hello, how could I have over looked such a staple in handknits and Christmas gifts. See hat and mitten guides.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

if the fates allow

In honor of this lovely season, I share with you one of my favorite Christmas songs from one of my favorite movies. But I'll warn you, it's a tear jerker.

queue Judy



The holiday season isn't always joyful for everyone all the time. And so many of my favorite Christmas songs are bitter-sweet.


Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

it must be requited

Last weekend I went to see Much Ado About Nothing at the Shakespeare Company. And I was struck by one line, or word rather. Requite. It is used twice, once by Benedict and again by Beatrice. It's a word that is so often used in the passive tense with a negative prefix. As such, it is something I am all too familiar with. Unrequited, as it is applied to love is a concept that I have spent far two many hours dwelling on. But as sad as the word unrequited is, to requite is possibly the most glorious verb in the english language. Sure, Christ told us that to love those who love us is no great feat and we are to strive to love all. Well, I'm working on the loving all bit, but I'm ready for some requition.

If you haven't seen this movie, consider it homework but I'll set this up a bit. Benedict and Beatrice can't stand each other. But their friends decide that with a little manipulation, they might actually stop their bickering and fall deeply in love. So, they set a trap. They set it up Benedict to overhear his friends describe Beatrice's undying love for him. And this is his reply.





Oh that my love could inspire such enthusiasm. Isn't Kenneth Branagh absolutely dreamy here? I can't get enough of that beard. I was going to make some sort of joke about "l[ying] in the woolen" here but they all came out overly dirty and totally obscure (harnessing my inner Shakespeare nerd). 

Back to my point, Beatrice's response is precious. 
And, Benedick, love on; I will requite thee, 
Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand.
It is such a great love story, and one of Shakespeare's best. And it's currently getting a modern revision by Joss Wedon of all people (think Firefly and Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog). I can't wait to see Nathan Fillion (Captains Reynolds and Hammer) as Dogberry - sure to be brilliant!

Monday, December 5, 2011

thrumming along

I stayed up way too late last night knitting. It's a sick obsession but I liken it to what video games must be, though I've never played them. I'm driven to get to the next part, to finish  this section, to reknit this section, to get it right and to make it better.

So I ventured into the soft and cozy world of thrumming. And because I don't expect anyone to know what that is I'll remind you of my knitter's gift guide: mittens edition. I included a pattern which actually turned out to be quite confusing. It seems the the author drinks a lot of wine while she knits, and I'm thinking it might have a two drink minimum.

As a sober knitter, I sought out another pattern, which I like much better but chose not to follow it either. I went rogue and made it up as I went, which is always risky (especially when you're attempting a matched pair of something). But so far so good. And maybe if we're all lucky I'll write it up.

Here's a picture from Yellow Dog Knitting - I think their patten is pretty good and isn't this the sweetest little mitten? I love how the thrums make lines of puffy little v's.

Friday, December 2, 2011

unpublishable

Today I am grateful for unpublished posts. Honestly, some of my favorite posts just aren't publishable. Some I are ideas that I never flesh out, some are personal, and some are just better kept to myself.

Since high school I have always kept a journal, not the sort of journal in which I chronical the details of my day but rather bouts of confusion, frustration, gratitude and love.

I've be terrible about writing in my journal since I started this blog. But I still love taking pen to paper. I love the process of filling a page - my entries usually fill page, generally quite precisely. There is something magical about filling a single unlined page with all that I'm thinking, all that I'm feeling, to dedicate a page to one moment in time. I love to look back and see the emotion in my script, the drama, the angst and the passion. I am transported back into those moments when I couldn't keep it in and I let it spill out onto the page, uncensored and unedited.

Sometimes I worry that in blogging I sensor myself too much, that I loose too much in the process. So, I am happy when I look at my long list of posts and see a few that are unpublished.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

it's gonna be a good day

I'm going to try not to sound smug* as I describe the total joy that filled me when I woke up this morning on the first of December to sunlight streaming through my window. Such a sublime moment and a true blessing for this seasonally affected girl. Nothing like sunshine to coax me out bed on a chilly morning. I contemplated digging out my sunglasses as I walked to the metro but risked the eye damage to take it all in. There is simply nothing better than a crisp sunny morning. The newly hung Christmas decorations looked out of place in the bright morning light but by the time I walk home, they'll twinkle like stars in the dark winter's night.

And when a handsome gentlemen gave me his seat on the metro, I thought to myself, "yep, today is going to be a good day."

*Sorry Alaskans and others who are not as meteorologically blessed - you're in my prayers.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

and I'm back

My Thanksgiving was splendid. The turkeys were in fine form, the sweet potatoes were indulgent, the mashed potatoes were so creamy, and the stuffing was scruptious. And don't even get me started on the pies, Aunt Kath certainly outdid herself this year.

All of my family was there even Mal's dog Karl. Which meant that there was quite a lot of baby-puppy, puppy-kitty interactions to be monitored but in the end even the cat and the dog made peace with each other. And after spending a few days with Karl, I realized what I already knew, the national dog show is really all the dog that I need in my life. I must say that I am oh so pleased that the fox terrier won this year - some thought he was too strange looking but I thought he was adorable. I do quite enjoy watching perfectly groomed canines prance around on blue carpet.



So here I am back to work, and back to blogging.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

ignorance is bliss

I've been taking a sabbatical lately, a sabbatical from the news. It's been weeks since I visited the New York Times or watched any news shows. I've even gotten into the habit of turning my radio to regular music stations when NPR gets too newsy. And it's been nice.

Last night I was talking with a friend about my sabbatical and we started talking politics. It was politics that inspired the sabbatical and I don't know exactly where he stands, so this discussion wasn't about platforms, or scandals, it was about leadership. He asked if days of great leaders were over. I responded by asking if we have rewritten history and compare our modern leaders with legend instead of fact. I think that the answer lies somewhere in the middle. 

Somedays I feel like I might be the only person in this whole country who is satisfied with the president. And yes I did vote for him, and yes I didn't have incredibly high expectations of him to begin with. So, I'm satisfied. He has fulfilled my expectations. And I'm certain that he has faced the challenges at hand with at least as well as our alternative, John McCain. Not that I don't think that McCain could have done a good job, I only doubt that he would have done things much differently. (How's that for cynicism?) I am speaking mostly about the economy. A problem for which no one has presented any magic bullet. Because, while in campaigns it is easy to speak of simple solutions, in life there are no easy answers.

So I've heard rumors of terrible things happening all of the world. Protests and wars and failing economies and abuses of power. And I'm pretty sure that there will be plenty of news to catch up on when I get back to it. But for a little while, I am going to happily ignore it all, think deep thoughts and indulge in a good book or two.

Friday, November 18, 2011

this I used to believe

I while ago I read this blog post on The Mormon Child Bride and it sort of stuck with me and today I thought I'd add my demons and misconceptions to the list. 

1 - I used to believe that if I died in my current single state, the only way I'd make it into to heaven* was through an arranged polygamous marriage.

2 - I used to believe that my divinity was tied to my fertility.

3 - I used to believe a man could never love me unless I was both perfect and subservient to him.

4 - I used to believe that women were better than men - more spiritual and incapable of going to hell. And that men were less spiritual, somehow accountable for "the sins of their generation" and yet inherently smarter and better suited to leadership.

5 - I used to believe that if I was good enough and loving enough that I would be blessed with the perfect life that I wanted.

6 - I used to believe that capitalism was ordained of God.

7 - I used to believe that the Church welfare program was perfect and that all government welfare programs were inherently insidious and corrupt.


Like Nephi said, "I don't know the meaning of all things" (1 Nephi 11:17) but there are a few things that I know for sure and I build on those. Some of these have cultural bases and others doctrinal but to my knowledge are found nowhere in scripture and the result of misinterpretation and speculation. If the devil teaches us the philosophies of men mingled with scripture, I think that these qualify as such. And I document these fallacies here to remind myself of that these are ideas to be questioned, not relied on.

What lies have you carried around?


* I use the terms heaven and hell quite loosely here, as we Mormons have an incredibly nuanced of view of the afterlife that I make no claims of understanding fully.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

And there better be fresh flowers!

I called home on Sunday to get the scoop for Thanksgiving. It's been so many years since I spent a Thanksgiving at home that I'm getting really excited. And well, I wanted to make sure that this Thanksgiving was going to be up to snuff. Specifically, I was worried about the turkeys. Yep, turkeys, plural. See, in my family, one is not enough. We need two. Because my uncle makes this amazing smoked turkey and we all love it so, but we also love gravy. And there's no way to make gravy from a smoked turkey, hence the roasted one. Which is great for me because I love 'em both.

And the better be two turkeys!*

*A little homage to my Padre's favorite movie, The Man Who Knew to Little. Because, my family doesn't really know how to communicate except through the quotation of our favorite movies.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

knitters gift guide - mittens edition

Yesterday I shared a few of my favorite hat patterns and today I thought I'd indulge/bore you with mittens. Don't you just love mittens? I've never tried knitting gloves, all those fingers, too much work for me. Plus no one ever sings about warm knitted gloves. These are a few of my favorites:


Pescovegetarian mittens by Veera Villapuu

I can personally attest that these are deceptively quick and easy, and lovely. Lovely, first. Plus they're designed by a Finn, so of coarse I can't help but love them.

You can find the pattern on her blog here.
 
 

Bella's Mittens by Marielle Henault

 You guessed it, these were inspired by Twilight. Whatever, they're still pretty cute and maybe an awesome gift for the Twilight fan in your life.

You can download the pattern for free here or here.

Yarn Harlot Thrummed Mittens by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

I know that these may not be the cutest mittens you've ever seen but they are quite possibly the warmest. This is a technique that I've been meaning to try for a while, maybe this year.
 
You can download the pattern for free here
 

 Herringbone Mittens with Poms by Elli Stubenrauch

I love how this pattern feel simultaneously traditional and modern - right in line with the current chevron trend. And the stranding (using 2 colors/strands) makes 'em warmer.

You can download the pattern for free here.
 

 Rib Mittens ( AAde Mittens) by Tognato Barbara

Ah, look at all those glorious cables. I made these last year for my little sister and they were really fun but I'll warn you, quite time consuming. See my final product here.

You can download the pattern for free here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

knitters gift guide - hats

I'm starting to think about Christmas - gifts that is. A knitters gotta start early or she'll find herself knitting through the night facing hand cramps and a very unhappy back. So I ask you, how many times can a girl give hats to everyone on her gift list before it becomes a cop out?

Well, here's a few patterns that I have my eye on, that are far from cliche (and p.s. they're all available as free downloads).





I just love this vintage inspired tam. 
You can download the pattern for free here


 
Regina by Carina Spencer

This art deco inspired hat is absolutely beautiful. And what's really cool about this pattern is you can use any weight of yarn you choose - which is great for rebels like myself who hate to use the proscribed yarn for a pattern and often end up paying for it with and ill-fitting final product.
You can download the pattern for free here



I'm Glad it's Plaid by Jane Roberts

I've already got this one on the needles and it's getting me all nostalgic for Christmas and snow days. 
You can download the pattern for free here.



Milanese Lace Topper by tante ehm

Isn't it lovely, don't let the word lace scare you, you just might find it a fun challenge.
You can download the pattern for free here.

 

 
 A Better Bucket by Amy Swenson

And if you're not into beanies or tams, how about svelte bucket hat? 
You can download the pattern for free here.

 

Maybe I'll throw some mittens in the mix to keep things interesting. Come back tomorrow and I'll share some of my favorite mitten patterns.

And then there's the question of what to get the men in my family. I never know what to make them. knitted ties? golf club covers? another beanie? I could depart from the knitting theme, but I don't have any bright ideas there either. Good thing I've got some time to think about it. think. think. think.

Monday, November 14, 2011

out of small things

I've been making making these balloons out of church programs in Sacrament meetings for as long as I can remember. Totally digging the maps and garland twist to my otherwise useless pass time. Put's a whole new spin on folding maps, thanks Poppytalk.


Speaking of church, over the weekend, I discovered President Uchtdorf's talk, Providing in the Lord's Way, from Priesthood meeting*. And there's some really good stuff in there. He speaks of the welfare program and Lord's continual exhortation to care for the poor. I especially liked this part here:
"The lesson we learn generation after generation is that rich and poor are all under the same sacred obligation to help their neighbor. It will take all of us working together to successfully apply the principles of welfare and self-reliance."

Because, even though I know that I am the beneficiary of rich blessings sometimes I feel like I am too poor to help. And it doesn't really matter if my income is above or below the national median or what percent I happen to fall into. We are all obliged to help our neighbors and seek out the poor - myself included.



* I feel like this message holds special significance, as it is addressed to the men of the church in light of the current social and economic events. It feels quite progressive, but I don't won't speculate further here. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

wwjd

Steven Colbert, December 16, 2010 show, see clip here.

Sometimes I just can't help myself. Politics and current events have been getting me down and I can't help thinking that we're reaping what we've sown. So yeah, some days it seams that Colbert is the only clarion voice in the wilderness (i.e. media). When are we going to stop bickering about who's Christian and start following the example and teachings of Christ?

"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 13:35

Thursday, November 10, 2011

baggage

My first year of law school nearly did me in. I came so near to calling it quits that if it hadn't been for my hefty financial investment, I couldn't have forced myself to stick it out through my second semester. But I learned an important lesson. I learned that I couldn't do it all on my own and that I was going to have to learn how to ask for help. And while there was little anyone could do to help me get through the mountains of reading assignments or perform better on my finals, the moral support of family and friends was incredibly fortifying.

I talked to one such friend (and mentor) before I went back to Vermont to start my second year. I told her how hard it was and how I wasn't any good at it. And she said something that's stuck with me ever since. She told me that people have done studies on the lasting psychological effects of law school.* That's right, there are lasting psychological effects. And after that, I started recognizing that there are a lot of aspects of the legal education that are unproductive and amount to little more than hazing. And though I believe that my particular law school was probably better than some, they still carried on their fair share of the tradition.

Despite my efforts to overcome, I carry around a lot of baggage from law school. Included in that baggage is an obsession with citing sources. This is something that was drilled into my head time and time again and has become deeply ingrained in my brain. In the legal world, citations are king. The more citations the stronger your argument, it doesn't matter how brilliant you are, or how revolutionary your argument is, it'll be stronger if you can show that someone else said it first. It's not uncommon to have multiple citations for a single sentence, and a dozen citations in paragraph. It can be rather awkward to read, but it is those sections that are riddled with citations that I'll skip ahead too.

I have found this obsession migrating into everything I see and hear. In everything from craft ideas to talks in church to arguments about politics, I want sources. If you're going to use facts or anecdotes to support your argument, I'm going to want sources. Opinions and new ideas are fine, but if you've come to a novel conclusion, I'll probably dismiss it if you don't back it up with your own analysis (tell me how you got there) or cite your source. And I think that's what irks me about Pinterest**, which I'm the first to admit is engrossing and inspirational. But it leaves me empty, because even though I can search down a source for many of the images I like there, detached from their source the images loose some of their meaning. I love beautiful things, inspiring quotes and new ideas but I need to have a framework to put them into and I need to know where they came from. 


*Which I ironically I have no source for. And it's really bugging me that I have nothing to link to here.
** See yesterday's rant. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

seriously?

So what's the deal with Pinterest? After hearing about it for months, I finally signed myself up and gave it a look-see. And you know what? I don't get it. I find it simultaneously boring and overstimulating. And what's more, frustrating. I feel bombarded with images of things I don't need and can't afford. And when I do find something inspiring, that sparks my creative juices, I can't find the dang source or the instructions or pattern of said blasted muse.

Case in point. Is this not the cutest thing you've ever seen? Yeah, I know, I'd totally entertain the fantasy of making this beauty. But wait, where's the pattern? the instructions? Seriously! Turns out the only source is a stupid Flickr pic.


Source: flickr.com via Alicia on Pinterest


So yeah, Pinterest, we're dunzo.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

the world of lovely things


Every Saturday there is a farmers market and flea market in my neighborhood. And you wouldn't believe the some of the amazing things I find there. Last Saturday I picked up a quarter of a loaf of rye sourdough bread that rivals the best stuff I ever ate in Finland. It is so good.

I often talk myself out of my greatest finds but a couple of weeks ago I decided to treat myself (Tom and Donna style) and purchased this. A lovely clipping from the Lady's Home Journal, circa 1918. I love fell in love with the colors and the style. The texts is pretty amazing too. I wanted it and I bought it.

The World of Lovely Things  
What is Newest and Loveliest in It

Some of the Happy Results of our Shopping
Lovely Aren't They? - and So Easily Made When They are Not Buyable.

Some of the Many Attractive Accessories
Which Complete Our New Costumes and Gladden Our Old
(on the back)
And This Wold of Lovely Things has certainly gladdened my wall.

Monday, November 7, 2011

why I'm still single

There are moments, when I am faced with the cold hard truth. Maybe there's a reason that I'm still single. Last Friday night I went on a date. He was a perfect gentleman, for the most part: chivalrous, attentive, doting, generous, complimentary. So why was I so annoyed?  By the end of the night I was ready to scream, to call him out on... well, that's the problem. It's kind of hard to call someone out on their attempts to be nice. Only a terrible anti-romantically person like myself to could find romantic gestures grating.

For example:

  • He insisted on picking me up from work, which sounds nice but all the time I was waiting for him to arrive, and then waiting in traffic on the way to my house, I couldn't stop thinking of how the metro would have been so much faster. 
  • He offers to stop and get me something to drink and I answered, "no thanks" - but I was thinking, "why the hell would we stop now, let's get going already!"
  • He offers to buy me something at a kitschy souvenir shop and I this is were I stopped being sweet. I told him I was tired and that I didn't need anything from this shop. 

In my head I knew that he was trying, trying to be a gentleman, trying to be romantic. And yet I was incapable of accepting and appreciating his gestures as such. I think it irked my inner independent feminist, who can take care of herself and enjoys the control that that brings.

And this is why I'm still single.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

i feel wonderful

I've got a lot on my mind lately and I don't really know what to think of any of it. At times I catch myself mumbling "i don't know i don't know i don't know i don't know" like a mantra of the disturbingly uninspiring sort. Truth is, there are a lot of things that I just don't understand, a lot of unknowns and uncertainties that boggle my simple little mind.

To counter act it, sometimes I'll borrow a mantra from Bob Wiley, who went on to become a psychotherapist and author Death Therapy.

I feel good. I feel great. I feel wonderful. I feel good. I feel great. I feel wonderful. I feel GOOD. I feel GREAT. I feel WONDERFUL! 

And even though it isn't always true, thinking of this makes me laugh and then I'm half way there.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

work[s] in progress

Saturday morning, I ventured out into the rain and made my way to the yarn store. I was on a mission, to buy yarn for my very own chevron scarf. And boy oh boy, Fibre Space sure does have some be.a.u.tiful yarns right now. I was hard pressed to choose and there were several that I just can't stop thinking about.

Back at home, as I was searching for the right size of knitting needles, I came across a sad little queue of unfinished projects. "This has to stop!", I told myself. And I forbade myself from buying any more yarn, starting any more projects until I've finished all these. Now, let's see if I can hold myself to it.


Clockwise from upper left: Baby Jacket, Fern Lace Scarf, Chevron Scarf, Simple Baby Shoes, Cascade Cardigan. Looks like somebody loves purple, no?

It's going to be hard because, I really want to make this.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

oh so tempting

I can't tell you how much I want to do this to my lil' Yaris.

I spotted this over on PoppyTalk. What do you think, maybe just the bumper? Could be a creative way to cover up some unfortunate blemishes - a sort of diy body work.

Uh, oh. Is this the sugar talking? I've heard that the best way to treat a sugar hang-over is with more sugar. That's why I ate brownies and licorice for breakfast. 

Have I mentioned how much I want a Fiat? Every time I see one, it pains me. Is it just me or are the ads EVERYWHERE? I've wanted one ever since I laid my eyes on 'em in Rome, back in 2001. And now that they are here in the States, it's just so hard. Maybe someday.

Monday, October 31, 2011

owls debut

Here it is, the moment you've all been waiting for.

OWLS
Pattern by Kate Davies

2 skeins - $40
pattern - £3.95
knitting time - 2 weeks
ta dah!
And I've already worn it twice.

Friday, October 28, 2011

taking requests

As you might have noticed, in the past month I have dedicated myself to this blog, posting four to five times a week, and it's been a learning experience. By pushing myself to say something even when I didn't think I had anything to say took some serious work and it meant that for a week straight I just posted random youtube videos - sorry about that.

So, I ask you, my devoted reader, if you're out there, what do you want to hear from me? What would you like me to write about? Are you sick and tired of waiting to see pictures of my owl sweater, or could you care less about my silly obsession with knitting?

If you're only here because you're looking for pictures of the Dread Pirate Roberts, you're not alone. You can find that here.



I get hits almost everyday from google searches for the Dread Pirate Roberts and it makes me laugh. On another unrelated note, but having to do with the Princess Bride, my roommates are moving to Guyana where it just so happens, R.U.O.S.s may be a very real thing. We'll hope that's the only danger or the fire swamp that they face in their new home.

Back to my original point, leave your requests in the comments and I will do my best comply.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

chevron love

Look at this darling scarf that my dear friend down under made. Despite the fact that she is in the hemisphere that is going into Summer, she's still got the knitting bug. And what's more, I've been thinking about making a chevron scarf for weeks now. The only thing that was stopping me was the notion that I may have to crochet it. But never fear, Merja has gone and written a pattern and shared it with us all on her blog, h.e.l.m.i. so that we can be warm and chic this winter.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

out of small things

I used to hear people talk about how they couldn't watch the news because it made them depressed and I'd roll my eyes. And I'd think, are we watching the same stuff? Don't you want to know what's going on in the world?

But, you know what? I've kind of had it. with the news. the papers, the radio, the tv (all of which I get online these days).

It all just seems like a lot of arguing... the economy is continually in one sort of crisis or another... wars going on all over the place... we're poisoning the planet... people are dying. It all just seems so unwieldy, what's a girl to do?

And then I remember this:

"... I, the Lord, declare unto you, 
and my words are sure and shall not fail... 
but all things must come to pass in their time. 
Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing
for ye are laying the foundation of a great work.
And out of small things proceedeth that which is great." 


The beauty of Christ's atonement is we aren't required to fix all of the world's problems. We are asked to do good. And when we do good, our meager contributions are made holy through the power of the atonement. There are so many opportunities to do good in this world that we need never let the heavy problems of the world weigh us down. Mine is to get to work and trust in the generosity of God, as well as the power of Christ's atonement to provide for our needs and make me better than I am.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Is there more?

Yesterday afternoon I sought out a lovely garden, and there I basked in the beauty of a perfect fall day. My senses were awakened by the life all around me - stirring something deep inside of me. I closed my eyes taking it all in and found myself asking,

"Is there more?"


A while back, Elder Scott gave a talk about receiving spiritual guidance. In his talk, he told of an instance in which he received revelation, recorded it, and then asked, "is there more?" And he received more, asked again and again received more. 

I have found myself returning to this idea, pondering it I find myself asking, "is there more?" It's an interesting question really. There is so much implication tied up in those three little words - such humility, trust, curiosity and gratitude. To ask for more requires the asker to acknowledge that which they have already received, to recognize what they have received and seek. Seek out more, not knowing what is to come, hoping there is more and trusting it will come.  

It is a question that I keep asking because...
because I am continually assured that the answer is always YES!

Friday, October 21, 2011

ch-ch-ch-chu-Chan-ges

Upon moving to DC, I had one primary goal in mind. That goal was to stay in one place for over a year. Ever since I left home to go to law school, I've been bouncing around this glorious country, never able to settle down. For 3 years in a row, I resided in 3 states. That's 3 states in one calendar year, repeated 3 times. Filing for taxes alone was a headache, not to mention all that moving.

When I spent an entire 12 months is Alaska I set a sort of record for myself. But I knew that Alaska and I just weren't meant to be. So I took a lesson from Robert Poste's Child* and resorted to the kindness of relatives. My dear Aunt agreed to put me up while I looked for a job and a place to live. And last October, I quickly found both. So here I am. Living in the same house for more than a year (a year and a week) to be precise and it feels so good.

But change is inevitable and it seems that all of my housemates have decided (for different reasons) that they will be moving out in the next couple months. And that leaves me in the predicament of trying to fill all the rooms in the house or abandon ship like the rest of them. Boo. Just when it was starting to really feeling like home.

Change can be good. Right?


*Have you ever seen the movie Cold Comfort Farm? It is truly a gem and may have a little bit to do with my affinity for biplanes. I tried to read the book, but couldn't get into it. But the whole premise of the story is Flora (recent orphan) decides to live off of relatives, so as learn about real life and get material for the novel she plans to write. She ends up at Cold Comfort Farm and goes about trying to fix everyone's problems (of which there are plenty) and she does. Here's the trailer, complete with biplanes.

 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Parenthood (the tv show)

Just watched last night's Parenthood and I am in love. With Joel (with the idea of him anyway). Watch it and maybe you'll see what I mean - the way he stood up for his wife and sister-in-law. Possibly the most romantic thing I've ever seen. Maybe I'm tired or a little hormonal but it would be really nice to have someone who has my back. Someone with whom to make big life decisions. It may even be worth giving up some of my autonomy for - if I could ever find such a man.

Oh just watch it, you'll like it. www.hulu.com/parenthood

I've said it before but I really like this show. And I like it because if feels authentic and the characters are so good, not perfect but loving and smart. As silly as it sounds, they value family, and I like that - it's refreshing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

wanna try that

I've finished my sweater (I promise pictures soon) and I'm on the hunt for a new project.

I'd really like to try my hand at these lovely felted bowls.


These were made by Maria Roth, a designer based out of Vancouver, Canada. You can find her shop here. And a brief tutorial on PoppyTalk.

Monday, October 17, 2011

marriage talk

Yesterday was my ward's ward conference. And the stake president took the opportunity to remind us all of the blessings of marriage, that we as singles are incomplete. He did so gently, lovingly and tactfully but it's never an easy thing to hear. Do the wicked take the truth to be hard? Most certainly. But that's only part of it.

As someone who is single long past any time that I would have thought prudent or opportune, I am well aware of the void in my life. The desire is always with me. I could get lost in it's depth and breadth - exploring it's varied qualities, searching out the bounds. I am drawn to it, like a girl in a horror film drawn to a door way, unable to hear the music that warns of the danger that awaits her. I peer across the threshold into this space where unanswerable questions and missed opportunities loom. But don't allow myself to venture far into the deep for fear that I might loose my way and find myself trapped in the void.

I try to keep that door closed. But the door is flimsy, the latch unsound - it is prone to swinging wide with any jostle, nudge or strong wind.

A bit disheveled, I close the door again and go about my life.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Miss Representation

I've posted a lot of videos this week but I'm begging you to bear with me because this is something you must see. This is a trailer of a documentary about women in America and how they are mistreated by the media.

Please watch

Go to missrepresentation.org to learn more and find a screening.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

on second thought, I love taffy too much

So I just realized that this is a really dull post and apologize in advance. Here's my favorite youtube video to sweeten the deal.


Oh shoot, now I want a kitten.

Well here's where it gets boring but keep reading if you're up to it.

Yesterday I bought the tickets, so it's official. I'm going home for Thanksgiving. Something that I haven't done for 5 years. You heard me, 5 years.

A couple of weeks ago I was reading my sister's blog - cuz that's how we communicate (don't judge) - and she mentioned that she was going to home for Thanksgiving. And that got me thinking. What if I went home for Thanksgiving this year? And after thinking it over and talking to my Mom, I figured, Why not?

I love being in a place in life where I can do this sort of thing - nothing tying me down or holding me back. I think I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

The only down side is that I won't  be going to New Hampshire for Thanksgiving this year. I do love spending Thanksgiving with my doting Aunt and Uncle in New England - they are so good to me and indulge me in my favorite Thanksgiving tradition, the dog show.

So look out, Utah, I'm coming. And I expect 2 turkeys, gloriously fluffy mashed potatoes and Grandma's cranberry relish. And I'm reserving the tv in the family room now - for the dog show of course.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

it'd take a miracle

As I am still under the employ of the Dread Pirate Roberts, I was delighted to see the photos of the Princess Bride cast reunion in last week's Entertainment Weekly.  

Here's an interview that the cast did on Good Morning America a couple of days ago. 


I love Robin Wright's comment about asking for take 57 and hoping that no one could see her heart pounding. And though I thought that maybe Cary Elwes had gotten a little soft and lost a little of his edge, goodness gracious, by the end of this interview, my heart was pounding too. And can you imagine Andre the Giant's hand covering your head, like a hat? Priceless!

I think that I may be rewatching this movie tonight.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

all tied up

So I know that I've made it perfectly clear that I think autumn is lover-ly. But in case you need another reason to love the season,

Scarves!

Oh, so pretty and versatile. Not only do they take off the edge off of a crisp autumn day or an over air conditioned room, but they delicately cover my decolletage and can add a little somethin-somethin to an outfit. Also, the right scarf can also function as a neck pillow - give it a try next time you're trying to sleep sitting up (like on a plane or at church).

Here's a nifty video I found on Creature Comforts with some interesting ways to tie a scarf. This definitely gave me a few new ideas.


Monday, October 10, 2011

flying circus






RAAAASPBERRIES! *

A few weeks ago on a be-a-u-tiful saturday afternoon, I traveled down to Bealeton, Virginia to visit the Flying Circus. I never imagined that such a place still existed and I fell in love with biplanes allover again. Is there anything more romantic? I think not. I've added a new item to my list of 30 things to do in my 30's - ride in a biplane. Now, if I can only locate a "flying instructor" who can treat inner ear troubles.

* see clip

Friday, October 7, 2011

what's making me happy this week

There's this podcast that I listen to. It's called Pop Culture Happy Hour and it's hosted by Linda Holmes, who has become a hero of sorts to me. She used to be a lawyer and now she's a pop culture blogger for NPR. She's witty and geeky and all together quite lovable.

Once a week, she gathers together some of her friends at NPR and they chat about pop culture. It's sort of like eaves dropping on a really great dinner party.

At the end of every episode, they go around the group and everyone shares something that is making them happy that week. It's really interesting to hear what makes people happy and often it's small or obscure things that truly bring the most pleasure.

So here it is,


what's making me happy this week


1) Jujy Fruit. I can't really explain why I like them. They're weird and always getting stuck in your teeth. But every time I see that yellow box, I want them. A couple weeks ago, I passed a display of Halloween candy and there was a big bag of little boxes of Jujy Fruit. I couldn't help myself. They were still soft so they didn't even stick to my teeth and I love eating them out of those teeny tiny boxes.


2) Geraniums. Last Saturday when the weather suddenly turned cold I decided to dig up my geraniums and bring them indoors. I may have been a bit  premature, but I have loved seeing them on my window sill in the mornings.

3) Knitting. I'm closing in on those owls now. 

Okay, okay so my happy things don't have much to do with pop culture, although I think I could make an argument for the jujy fruit, but, here's another

4) Revenge. This show is either really good or really bad but I'm seriously hooked. It's sort of Gossip Girl meets Lifetime movie. Yes, it's total trash, but if into that sort of thing... feel free to join me.