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When I saw the Reversible Stripes Scarf in Purl Soho’s shop, I knew I had to give the stitch pattern a go. The stitch pattern is a bit confusing for the first few rows but once you get going it is easy, easy, easy. It is also a great pattern for impressing onlookers. I can’t count the number of inquiries I got about the pattern while knitting. If you want to look like a knitting master, you should definitely give this a shot.

 

ImageI love the way the stripes knit up. The vertical side reminds me of a circus performer. My mind has also been on men’s neckties lately and so this reversible striped necktie was born. You can’t see in these pictures but this is a square bottomed tie. I think the square shape really helps to emphasize the geometry of the stripes. This tie became a gift for JB’s brother. It is so wonderful to see my knits being worn with love!

ImageAnd a close up to showcase the knot.

ImageI am working on writing this up as a free pattern. I figured I would start small and work my way up.

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Ahhh, woke up bright and early at 6am today. There is almost nothing better in my mind than waking up fully rested about an hour before my alarm. Had a leisurely morning with coffee, overnight oats, some Bible reading, and knitting. I almost had a full day before work this morning. The only thing that would have made it better would have been the absence of a roommate who was way too eager to converse with me.

Such is the life of an introvert who lives with people.

withdrawals

I am having all sorts of withdrawals these days. Cooking withdrawals, friend withdrawals, family withdrawals, and school withdrawals. Let’s talk about them in that order shall we?

Cooking withdrawals:

Life has been a whirlwind of travel, visitors, and general busyness and I have been left with few chances to cook for myself. From a car accident in Maine, a weekend on Long Island, and an emergency trip home to Washington, I have kept my fridge clear of anything fresh for fear of spoiled food. If you would believe it, I almost lost faith in my cooking skills one night and I threw away a whole casserole in favor of a pbj. Yep, it was a bad night. Not to worry though, I am making up for it this week with a potato and butternut squash quiche, crispy baked tofu and sweet potato fries, raw kale and brussel sprout salad, and a black bean and butternut squash pasta concoction that is on the stove as I write. The only thing that would make this week better would be if I had someone to share it with (which I sometimes do these days).

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Friend withdrawals:

Nothing new here. It is both a relief and a burden to know that there is no one place I could move to be close to everyone I love. I have friends across the globe (literally) and it is a joy to share their excitement about new life opportunities. Last week I had the great privilege of hosting one of my best friends in NYC. It felt so good to share life with someone who just knows me inside and out. There were so many shenanigans I can’t even begin to write about them all. One of the most memorable ones was probably eating a giant cookie that was still warm from the oven. Yum.

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Family withdrawals:

Family withdrawals have probably been the most painful ones lately. On January 26th my grandmother passed away. I was able to travel home for her death and it was without a doubt the most beautiful thing I have ever been a part of. Saying goodbye was also without a doubt one of the hardest things I have done in my short life. Grandma was really more like a third parent to me and she lived with our family since I was 7. Some of my fondest memories were times I spent with her. She taught me how to play the piano, showed me the glories of crappy television, and even took special care to bake me the worst tofu pumpkin pie on record. I choked down a whole piece to show her how much I loved her. One of the first things I did whenever I visited home was go to her room to wake her up with a hug, tell her I loved her and that I would see her in the morning. I don’t know what I am going to do when I go home this summer.

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School withdrawals:

To end on a somewhat brighter note, I will start by saying that I miss school terribly. I am anxious to take up my research again and I can’t wait to code some data. The good news about all of this is that I was accepted to Columbia’s Doctoral program for Sociology! Woohoo! I have to say that I am so excited about this. I get to pursue a dream I have had for a very long time, in a city I have fallen in love with, surrounded by people I love and adore. I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is still a very long tunnel that will take me around 4 years to travel through but I am beyond excited, relieved, and most of all at peace. My acceptance to Columbia was the answer to more prayers than I know of. The journey ahead of me is so beautifully crafted I can hardly believe it is true.

While it may not seem completely relevant to the topics above, I will end with a short passage that provides a glimpse into how I have experienced God in this past month or so.

In the midst of what we are going through this summer I have to hold onto this, to return to the eternal questions without demanding an answer. The questions worth asking are not answerable. Could we be fascinated by a Maker who was completely explained and understood?The mystery is tremendous, and the fascination that keeps me returning to the questions affirms that they are worth asking, and that any God worth believing in is the God not only of the immensities of the galaxies I rejoice in at night when I walk the dogs, but also the GOd of love who cares about the sufferings of us human beings and is here, with us, for us, in our pain and in our joy.

Madeleine L’Engle, Two-Part Invention

new year, new start

Friends, life has been real crazy as of late. I think it has been about a year since I have posted a blog or anything and I feel horrible about that. There are so many feelings I have felt in the past year or so and I cannot catch up on them all. Let it suffice to say that there were feelings, there were happenings, there were places, and there were people–some of it was hard, all of it was good. There, my summary of the past year.

So where am I now? I am fully settled in New York City. I love it here guys. I have a wonderful church, some friends, and a man… yep, a man. My newest digs in Harlem are treating me well, mostly because I can walk most places I need to go. I take great pride in my recent identity as a gratuitous walker (courtesy of my man). I have knit a ton of things, including toys for many of the new adorable children in my life. I am a “mostly” vegan these days. “Mostly” because it is still too hard to pass up the delicious baked goods that make their way to my plate every now and again. The veganism is made a little easier by the fact that aforementioned man is dairy-free and I generally enjoy the challenge of baking delicious treats that he can enjoy. More to come on that front under the tag “confessions of a reluctant homemaker.”

Perhaps the biggest change that has happened in this past year is that I have obtained a Masters degree (Woohoo!) and I am now awaiting responses from the seven PhD programs I applied to. Compared to last time, there is a lot less anxiety about it all (read: none at all). I feel entirely at peace which is weird. I think I have learned to be comfortable dwelling in ambiguous spaces.

In the interest of keeping this post simple, I will leave you with this amazing photo I recently found by Fan Ho titled, “Approaching Shadow.” It speaks to me in so many ways, mainly because it is beautiful. I have many other thoughts about life that I would love to blog about but I will save those for a little later.

Approaching Shadow

I discovered something about myself this week and I have to admit, I am a little ashamed that it took me this long to realize it. People keep me honest. More specifically, they keep me honest about myself–who I am and how I am doing. As an introvert, I have come to see that my my interactions with others really serve as a sort of barometer on my life. When I have had a rough go of things, my interactions with other generally invoke feelings of anxiety and frustration. When I have one of those Austin Powers sort of days where everyone stops to gawk as you pass buy, my interactions are joyous; I am funny, witty, and in general fun to be around (or so I think).

This week brought out the worst in me. I don’t know what it was because there were seriously a lot of awesome things that happened throughout my week but nonetheless, I was a monster. To be fair, I don’t know if anyone else picked this up because I am actually a pretty good liar, which is its own problem but this was one of those weeks where the only place I wanted to be was in my room sitting in my comfy chair.

While I realize that it is perfectly acceptable to have a bad week, the thing that scared me was that I felt like I was being a monster to everyone around me. The woman coughing next to me on the subway was offensive. The person craning their neck next to me in class was an obnoxious person who needed to mind their personal space. All of the other people on the sidewalk were obviously not in a hurry and were just trying to thwart my plans to be on time. Even close friends became enemies in my own mind. Yikes, even as I write this I am appalled by my thoughts and feelings this past week. The only consolation is that my perception of these interactions was really more of a picture of a couple other stressors/problems/general aspects of myself that I needed to keep in check. Remember the barometer? 

Last Sunday (or a couple Sundays ago, I can’t quite remember) we had a guest speaker who spoke about giving ourselves permission to fully feel emotions like anger, sadness and despair. What is more, we need to allow ourselves the space to really feel (and express) joy and happiness. One way we can do this he says is through the Psalms which really embody many of the intense emotions we often try to ignore or dampen.

In the Psalms we see prayers asking God to strike people from the earth alongside proclamations of joy that should be reserved for only the most spectacular of occasions. 

I have been trying to give myself some space to feel lately and there have even been (*gasp*) tears! But one thing I have to keep reminding myself of is that I should also experience great joy. For me, this means simply acknowledging the good in my life because it is there, I just choose to look over it when I do a survey of my day/week/life in general. In our sermon today, the speaker ended with a question: “are you happy?” He responded with, “then tell your face!” Which got a chuckle but really there is a lot of truth in there. 

I will leave you with something that makes me happy right now. It even brings smiles and even a little dancing whenever I listen to it. 

May you come to feel anger, sadness and despair, joy, and happiness this week. Also, I hope you laugh in public and maybe even dance a little.  

long time no see

Wow, I am embarrassed by how long it has been since I have posted on here. It doesn’t seem like much has happened since then but I did finish my first semester of grad school which feels pretty good (and is also what I will blame for my lack of posting). The end of the semester happened something like this…

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… with lots of books (I can’t actually tell you how many because I stopped counting for my own sanity), some writing (including a paper that I am pretty proud of), a research proposal (which I will be formally submitting soon), and a stomach virus that pretty much knocked me out for a week. I came out of it all alive though and I am sitting at home waiting for my family to get back from their various commitments. 

I think the best way to recap my time at home is through pictures, mostly because I am sick and my brain doesn’t feel like crafting sentences.

I made it home just in time for the wedding of my neighbor’s son which was a blast. My family was clearly the life of the party and we looked pretty good doin’ what we do. 

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The week before Christmas I kicked my butt into gear and helped with grocery shopping (with cute grandma in tow), baked Christmas cookies with a good friend, and made homemade butter (and scones the next morning with the buttermilk). 

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Per usual, my family drove me to drink with wonderful martinis, really good beer, scotch, and various mixed drinks made by my father. Don’t worry, we are not drunks I swear, we just like to have a good time…

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To top it all off, I have unwittingly been holding a blanket hostage (out of courtesy the owner shall not be named…) and I spent quality time with some great friends. 

ImageWell, that is pretty much my life in a nutshell. On Friday I am heading up to the mountain with my family for a weekend snowshoe adventure–one last hurrah before I head back to the eastern time zone. Other than all this stuff, I have been reading and knitting a ton. I just finished my mom’s Christmas sweater today while watching Vision, a movie about Hildegard of Bingen. It was a great reminder of the passion that drove me to where I am today. With that, I will leave you with a quote from Hildegard herself. 

There was once a king sitting on his throne. Around him stood great and wonderfully beautiful columns ornamented with ivory, bearing the banners of the king with great honour. Then it pleased the king to raise a small feather from the ground, and he commanded it to fly. The feather flew, not because of anything in itself but because the air bore it along. Thus am I… a feather on the breath of God.

Instead of a New Years resolution, I think I will just keep this close in the year to come.

best saturday ever

This post is best read while listening to the following:

Wow, I meant to blog about this on Saturday but I have been reluctant to look at a computer screen because my eyes have been screaming for a rest. They are still screaming to me in the form of an impending migraine but I am going to push through it this time to share the glory that was my Saturday.

I spent the morning just wandering around my house, doing homework and having a leisurely s-hour breakfast (my favorite kind of breakfast). When I finally decided to leave my house I decided that travelling all the way to Staten Island would be a good idea. I had grand plans of discovering a wonderful cafe and falling in love with “the forgotten borough.” Little did I know that it is forgotten for a reason (sorry to anyone who lives there); it is really just a giant suburb. Nonetheless, I had a great day and here are some of the highlights.

Exhibit A:

Best Cannolo I have ever eaten in the U.S. Okay, it is the only Cannolo I have eaten in the U.S. but it was still pretty good.

Exhibit B:

Beautiful sunset over Staten Island. This was the first in a series of amazing sunsets that I have enjoyed this week. Today was the first day that I couldn’t see the sunset because I was in the basement of the library, writing a stats paper, boo.

Exhibit C:

The best ferry ride ever. I stood on the front of the ferry and watched as we approached Manhattan while listening to Holocene by Bon Iver (the track you should be listening to right now). I think Bon Iver sums it up in this song.

… and at once I knew I was not magnificent
Hulled far from the highway aisle
I could see for miles, miles, miles

Wow. The man standing next to me was also by himself listening to something over his headphones. I like to think we shared a moment…

Also, on the way home I bought my first pack of Oatmeal Stout for the season. Bring on the cold weather!

So here is a quick summary: Staten Island is not so great. The ferry ride there is awesome, especially at sunset. Beer is good, especially seasonal beer.

And now, I am off to bed. I have a lot of other thoughts running through my head but I am too tired to write them (I also wrote two other papers today so my brain is tired…)

Peace to you all.