Jun 10, 2014

the end!

after going back and forth on this for literally years, i have decided to end my run with this blog. it has turned into something i feel vaguely guilty about not doing rather than something i enjoy, so it is time to say goodbye.

i hope that finally closing the book on this particular project will free up some mental energy to work on my other two seriously-neglected blogs that more accurately represent my current passions/fascinations. if you are so inclined, please visit me there.

science happens - a blog about science
data is your friend - a blog about teaching and using data to improve instruction

Jan 26, 2014

A Spending Hiatus

Image via LobotoME Brain Fog Blog

I have decided to begin a spending hiatus. I did this pretty successful a few years ago when it seemed like everyone on the internet was doing one, and I think that it's time to bring it back. If you haven't heard of this phenomenon, it is basically what it sounds like: a hiatus from buying things that you don't strictly need. The inspiration for this round is that I am hoping to make some major life changes in 2014, and major life changes often go more smoothly when you don't have to worry about money. The easiest way to not have to worry about money is to avoid spending it unnecessarily. I haven't set a time limit for this project yet; I want to go for at least a month, and then see how I'm feeling.

Image via Perfect Sentiment

It's a great time for a spending hiatus because I'm currently single and not actively seeking a new relationship. (Major life changes are also a lot easier to make when it's only your own life that is affected.) I didn't do this last time around, but I do plan to do a more serious spending hiatus that will involve clearing my freezer and pantry. This may mean that I end up eating some semi-weird and/or not-terribly-varied meals--much easier to get away with when it's only me. I will allow myself one indulgence: going out with friends and/or coworkers. I don't do this very often, so it's not going to create a huge dent in potential savings, and I think I'll be more successful in this endeavor if I allow myself a little fun.

Are you interested in doing a spending hiatus of your own? Have you done one in the past? Was it successful? Not so much? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences.


Jan 22, 2014

In the Land of Works-in-Progress

Have you ever found yourself in a position where you just can't seem to finish a project? Perhaps you're so interested in working through your yarn stash that you keep starting new projects, but then end up with a stash of works-in-progress? That's absolutely where I find myself right now. I may be moving in the not-too-distant future, so I very much want to knit/crochet through my yarn stash (less to pack). I've cast on a lot of projects lately, but I haven't exactly finished a lot of projects lately.

If you've been a reader of my blog for awhile, you might recognize "great at starting projects, not so great at finishing projects" as a recurrent theme. I'm just a tad ADHD that way. I also have a pretty time- and energy-consuming job that sometimes gets in the way of things like personal projects and blogging. But I figure it couldn't hurt to put together a list of my works-in-progress (WIPs) and try to use my blog as an accountability tool for maybe, just maybe actually finishing some of them.

Without further ado, my impressively (depressingly?) long list of WIPs:

1. Gaia by Kristen TenDyke in Lion Brand Amazing (Mauna Loa)
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2. Stoker Pullover by Caro Sheridan in Stitch Nation Washable Ewe (Strawberry)
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3. Union Square Cowl by Melissa Wehrle in Stitch Nation Washable Ewe (Lilac)
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4. February Fitted Pullover by Amy Herzog in Stitch Nation Alpaca Love (Dusk)
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5. Regatta Tee by Olga Kasey in Knit Picks Shine Sport (Arbor, Jay) and Comfy Sport (Jalapeno)
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6. Arching Cables Jacket by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark in Stitch Nation Washable Ewe (Robin's Egg)
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7. Cap Sleeve Henley by Veronik Avery in St. Denis Nordique (Emerald)
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8. Northlight Mittens by Jared Flood in St. Denis Boreale (Black, Chalk Blue)
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9. Cabled Beret by Veronik Avery in St. Denis Sommet (Magenta)
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And then there's a myriad of other assorted, mostly crochet projects that are too numerous to really even name. Looking back at the "official" images for these projects makes me remember how cute they are and how much I want to wear them already. Must knit faster...

What are you working on right now? Have you ever found yourself with a glut of nearly-finished projects? Do you have a trick for staying motivated long enough to get those seams sewn and ends woven in?


Jan 6, 2014

the temperature is too damn low!

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School has already been called off for tomorrow in anticipation of the incredibly low temperatures. I've never been one to mind an unexpected day off, but it is seriously, unpleasantly cold. I don't normally like to post about the weather or really even chat about the weather, because I usually feel like there must be something more interesting to talk about, but... damn. This is the biggest news going. In recognition of facing these potentially historically low temperatures, I'm breaking with this personal rule to bring you some tips for braving the polar vortex. (If you haven't heard, 'polar vortex' is seriously the term for this weather event. I thought it was a joke when I first heard it.)

If you are lucky enough, like me, to be able to stay in until this thing blows over:

  • Make sure you have emergency provisions in the event that the power goes out while you're hunkering down. Don't forget about your pets! They need food and clean water, too. 
  • If you're trying to decide between making something for dinner in the oven or on the stove, go for the oven. When your food is done, leave the oven door open so that the residual heat will spread throughout your house and give your heating system a small break.
  • Turn down your thermostat and put on an extra layer or two. Even if you don't have snow or ice in your area, having everyone in town running their auxiliary heat constantly for 24 hours could be enough to overload the system and trigger a power outage, especially if you live in a place that doesn't normally get all that cold in the winter. 
  • Use the weather as an excuse to watch movies, read a book, knit, or do whatever in bed in your pajamas. Nothing is cozier.
If you still have to go to work in the morning:
  • For the love of God, dress warmly. The only thing worse than having to haul in to work in sub-zero temperatures is having to take a sick day so you can go get your possible frostbite checked out.
  • Plan your layering strategically, considering the fact that you may or may not have power at your workplace all day. Don't skimp on layers for your morning commute because you expect the office to be warm.
  • Aim for at least three layers: a warm, synthetic base layer that will wick away any sweat, a thick fleece layer over your base, and a coat that will block as much wind as possible. Don't forget to layer your feet--a pair of synthetic socks topped with a pair of fleece socks with snow shoes or leather shoes should do the trick. And, obviously, you will be wearing a scarf, gloves, and hat, too.
  • If you don't have special outdoor gear, just avoid cotton. If you sweat in cotton, it's going to stay damp, which will only make you feel colder. 
  • If you can, significantly lower your thermostat before you head out for the day. It may or may not help power grids stay online, but I'd much rather come home to a slightly chilly apartment than a freezing apartment with no power.
  • Try not to complain constantly about the weather while you're at work. It's cold. We know. Complaining about it won't make the mercury rise. Instead, daydream about putting on your warmest, comfiest clothes and settling in with a cup of hot cocoa when you get home.

Stay safe out there, friends!

Jan 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

These are my goals for 2014: 

Be content. Be mindful. Be joyful. 

I like the idea of choosing feelings rather than actions for New Year's resolutions--it's maybe a little more 'life coach' than I tend to operate, but isn't the ultimate goal of a typical New Year's resolution to feel a certain way? Don't people resolve to lose weight so that they will feel happier with their bodies? Don't they resolve to save money so that they can feel more secure? Or resolve to get organized to feel more in control? Why not just cut to the chase and resolve to feel how you want to feel?

If I set my goal to be content rather than to lose 5 pounds (and, as a result, become content), I'm already setting myself up for success. I can feel content doing lots of things: reading a book, doing yoga, cooking a healthy meal, doing the dishes. I can experience contentment, even if it is fleeting, every single day of the year. By contrast, if I make it my mission to lose weight, there's a period of time during which, by the standards that I have set for myself, I can't feel content because I have not reached my goal. And, of course, I would need to maintain that weight loss to avoid undoing or giving up the contentment I have 'earned.'

There's also the possibility that reaching the goal won't actually have the desired emotional outcome. What if it is a struggle to maintain my weight once I reach the "-5" mark? What if my natural, healthy weight is higher than my desired weight and my goal isn't realistic? What if I can't indulge in the foods and drinks that I like? Is this contentment? I may have met my weight loss goal, but if I am carefully budgeting calories and have a list of 'bad' foods a mile long, that doesn't sound like I have found myself in a state of contentment.

How do you want to feel in 2014? What steps will you take? Please feel free to take a page from my book and download the 'Content Mindful Joyful' image above. I made it as a reminder to myself, but I would love it if someone else found it inspiring, too! Use it as your desktop background or print it out and post it somewhere as a reminder.

HAPPY 2014!