Tattoos and life and everything

I want to talk to you about New York. I have finished knitting projects (yes, two!) to share. I have many a thing to talk about.

But in the St. Louis area, things have been happening lately. I’m sure you’ve heard about it by now. I have been saddened by the news coming out of Ferguson nearly every night and hope for a peaceful resolution that also deals with the changes we need to make as a society. It’s tough to watch what’s going on & I’ve had to cut back on my news consumption for my own sanity, but my thoughts are with those fighting for justice and the family of Michael Brown.

And that is all I’m going to say about that here – this is not a blog where people come to keep up on the news and so many have said what I think so much better than I ever could or will be able to.

I will come back later to tell you about New York (Hedwig! NPH! Yarn! Work!), but for now let’s just catch up a bit.

The day after I returned home from NYC, I went out for the afternoon with knitting friend and fellow Harry Potter lover Grace (check her new blog – it’s entertaining!) so I could get a new tattoo. Grace was my moral support in this endeavor, even though it’s smaller than 2 of the other 3 tattoos I have. For someone who has as low of a pain tolerance as I do, I can’t believe I’ve now willingly gone under the needle FOUR times. This is likely the last time, as I get older the healing process seems to take even longer and I’m too whiny about the whole itchy process.

Untitled

So yes, I have an HP related tattoo because I am a dork. An awesome dork. And now my tiny Stonecutter sunflower will stay a tiny sunflower and my psychedelic sun will just…be on my shoulder where I can’t see it and fade into blurriness forever. (I asked about getting a cover up and my artist suggested something like a rose b/c of the color and layers and BLEH. DO NOT WANT.) The lily on my foot will continue to be awesome.

Next subject.

I’ve been getting out of the house a little more lately (yay) and hanging out with my awesome group of friends – some new in the past year or so, some who have now been friends for nearly a decade. And I’m going to get a tiny bit sappy here because THESE PEOPLE. They are MY PEOPLE. I love that I have found my people. I realized this as I was driving home from somewhere earlier this week – they’re just all fun to be with and we have a good time together and just YAY.

Speaking of my people – during one of the escapades, Mindy & the Nugget joined me for lunch, after which I came home covered in monster stickers. That kid is awesome (like a hot dog).
Impromptu lunch with Mindy & the Nugget means I came home covered in monster stickers.

What else? Oh, there was a cluster of late July birthdays in the knit night crew, so I made cupcakes for the first time in forever. I went with the standard Guinness cupcake recipe, but used a Double Chocolate Stout as the beer and YUM. We demolished 2 dozen of those bad boys. It was one of the few times I’ve not come home with cupcake leftovers.
Step 2: Frosted with a cream cheese glaze.

I’m swatching for my Hermione inspired sweater, which is fun. I am making a cardigan instead of a pullover, but this is the inspiration & my stripey color palette. (Side note: I’m loving this PicStitch app on my phone that lets me make these collages.)
Untitled

There was one more thing. Oh, yes. The semester starts next week (I accomplished NONE of the things I was going to get done this summer) & this week we had our yearly “orientation”. I was chatting with some fellow students afterward & I made a plan that involves goal dates to finish things. I also, thanks to a conversation with Mindy, have started referring to my PhD related milestones in Harry Potter terms. So I’ll finish up my OWLS (written exams) in October, then it’s on to the dissertation phase (the NEWTS).

And that’s about it. This is long, so if you made it this far give yourself a pat on the back and a cookie.

Burnout imminent

I have said it before and I’ll say it again – I took on at least one thing too many this semester.

Right now I am meant to be writing up an article critique that is due tomorrow (and is also the midterm for one of my classes). I still have a lecture to watch for my online class. There is a manuscript due in about 3 weeks. Maybe 2 weeks. I’m not really sure at this point. Plus I will have grading for the TA position next week. And all I really want to do is knit.

Made it through the first full highlighter repeat. #dyeabolical #knitting #seenfromspace

This project is my current obsession. It’s a scarf (pattern is Another Way) out of my Dyeabolical highlighter minis (mine are super sized) and an undyed hank of the same base – Super Ego. How can you look at these colors and not be happy? I blame Ann. Anything neon is all her fault. KNIT KNIT KNIT.

I should be working on this critique, but it’s not gelling in my head. I can pick apart an article with the best of them, but there’s a section where I need to come up with possible explanations for their null results and UGH. I am not feeling it. Maybe tomorrow I can do it with a fresh brain (you know, one that DIDN’T have chocolate donuts for dinner).

I really wish I would have watched that lecture for the other class during Spring Break, though. It’ll also wait until tomorrow.

Just a quick note

Today was the earliest we would hear if we passed the big hairy written exams.

At 5:01pm we got the email. EVERYBODY LIVES! Er, I mean passes.

WOOOO! Now I need to focus on finishing up all the loose ends before I take the last of my written exams (this one in my concentration) in October.

Gibberish

I had briefly toyed with the idea of doing NaBloPoMo this month. I thought it might jump start me into writing here more regularly (it has not done so in the past, I don’t know why I though any different this time). I’m glad I didn’t sign up – all it would have done is make me absolutely insane.

The first semester of the PhD program is winding down & I am feeling the strain. I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving break not only because of the turkey. Nope – that is 5 whole days away from work where I can hopefully knock out a chunk of the big final paper I have to write for one of my classes. Sure there will also be cleaning, knitting, and holiday decorating, but for once the big plan is to get to work on the paper more than 3 days before it’s due. Then there is a presentation on the big paper topic. And a mini-seminar to lead in my other class (along with a paper on said mini-seminar). But I’m all done by December 12, after which I have exactly 13 days to finish my holiday knitting/crafting. There may also be a good healthy dose of insanity in there, too.

The holiday crafting is actually going pretty good. I think I’ve got a handle on most of it & I’m not crafting EVERYTHING this year. There are just times now when I don’t do any knitting in the evenings because I’m doing homework. Sometimes I even wind up sitting with knitting in my hands and eyes glazed over while some nonsense plays on the TV in the background. So that’s fun.

How about some gratuitous cat pictures:
It's tough being a cat. Ziginator!

Aren’t they adorable when they aren’t being annoying?

What else? Ah, yes – since I last blogged, there was a big election. I stayed up too late because the results came in just as I was getting ready to go to bed & then I was able to breathe again. <insert rant about Missouri’s ridiculously low tobacco/cigarette tax here>

And…I’ve got nothing else. This semester has been a drain on my brain.

In which life happened and I wanted a nap.

Stripes

The past couple weeks have been. I have no word for what they’ve been, but it was something.

  • My Uncle Cliff passed away last Thursday, so Sunday & Monday were the visitation & funeral. I’ve been lucky that my family is full of pretty awesome people, Cliff included. He was a great person & will be missed. (This probably deserves it’s own post, but I don’t have the energy to write it.)

Moving on to other things:

  • The stripes up top are coming along swimmingly, though I’m considering ripping back the most recent “neutral and” section because I’m not entirely happy with the way it looks. I might go with the blue & green striped together, then bring in the neutral to finish off the green. I’m pondering.
  • This week I had orientation for my doctoral program, along with a minor panic attack when the graduate office told me I had a total of 7 years to complete my masters & doctoral degrees combined. 7 years of which I have already used 4 for my MPH. Nobody in their right mind can complete a doctoral degree in 3 years, especially not while working full time. Luckily, my panic was alleviated yesterday during the doctoral orientation. I may wind up having to pay for additional dissertation hours to take more time, but I’ll have to be okay with that.
  • Related to my return to academics, I upgraded my mac earlier this week. The OS change from my older mac (~4 years old) to Lion/Mountain Lion has made me want to scream and rip out my hair. I have found myself extremely frustrated with it, so much so that I might have ranted a little too loudly about it at knitting on Wednesday. The learning curve for previous mac user is a little steep, in my opinion. I don’t need my computer to be an iPad with a mouse, y’all. I am slowly getting used to the changes, at least.
  • Also related, I will be purchasing my first rolling backpack/laptop bag this weekend. This will make my back and shoulders happy, though I have some weird mental block about using a rolling bag (which I totally shouldn’t because shit is heavy and I really don’t need to be carrying a computer on my shoulder(s) for 30 minutes a day).
  • Finally, I managed to tweak the muscles in my back about 2 weeks ago & I keep thinking it’s feeling better, only to turn ever so slightly in the wrong direction and almost hear my muscles scream. So that’s fun (and yet another argument for the rolling laptop bag). And, unfortunately, I’m not able to see the amazing Dr. F until Monday.

(The nap mentioned in the title? I feel like I’ve needed one for about 2 weeks now. Also, some jackhole was trying to visit my neighbor at 1am last night & proceeded to wake up the entire building by knocking and leaning on the buzzer to his apartment. UGH.)