Nineteenth: Kind of a Big Deal

So much has been happening lately. It's been busy and hectic, I won't lie, but it hasn't been anywhere near all bad. In fact, a lot of what's going on has been pretty rewarding, in some way or another.

Work, first of all, has been absolutely insane. We had a grand re-opening for the studio to celebrate the completion of the renovation and give new students an opportunity to meet our beautiful new space. We expected about 75 to 100 people, including existing students, to come through the door in the course of the 9 hour Open House. Instead, we were blown away. Word must have traveled, because we had almost 400 people come in. I greeted, talked yoga with, and gave tours to so many people that I had no voice by the end of the day, but it was a smashing success. Since that day, we've been averaging over 100 students PER DAY. That, my friends, is pretty awesome (especially considering that it's almost double our daily student average for November and December - this is the thrilling data that I'm paid to crunch over the course of my day). Granted, more students equal more work, but with more work has come a raise and a boost in benefits! Oh, AND the studio pays for all of my gasoline now, which is basically an extra $120.00 a month on top of my raise. I'm a lucky girl.

Speaking of work and luck (or, well, being appreciated, I suppose), one of my fellow building-mates did something incredibly kind this past week. In appreciation of the little things that I do for her to keep her business running smoothly (none of which do I consider outside of the realm of common courtesy and kindness), she gave me a gift certificate for some private Pilates sessions with About Movement Pilates. I totally need it, and she suggested that it should be helpful as I continue training for my 5K goals. I can't wait to schedule my first appointment, but I'll admit that I'm a little shy about my lack of Pilates ability. My core is not my strongest region. :(

In terms of knitting, I've been on a roll. Not only did I finish my simple, garter ridge scarf, but I also finally finished the hat that I was making for Jesse. Of course, it took 3 tries before it was deep enough for his big head, but I finally got through it (and without having to buy a second ball of yarn! Hooray for leftovers from the garter ridge scarf!). I finished it just in time, too, since it snowed 2 days after I gave it to him! Atlanta doesn't see a lot of snow, so I feel like it was the universe's way of congratulating me on the hat. I'll show you the hat if Jesse ever takes a picture of it, but in the meantime, I can show you some of the snow!! To those of you who live further north, please bear with me. As a Carolina-born girl who now lives in Georgia and has maybe seen snowfall 12 times in her nearly-24 years, I am excited by even the most meager of flurries. :)

My parents came to town, and as you can see, we had a blast. There was sledding, snowball fighting, and all around revelry. Oh, and for the sentimental record, the scarf I'm wearing in those pictures is the first thing I ever knit. Wesley is also wearing a handknit "collar" that was really just a swatch of slip-stitch colorwork that ended up fitting around his cute little neck, so he told me he wanted to keep it. It was a good day for Atlanta-area knitters. Our work was called to task and performed in fine form. :)

I've had a considerable case of finish-itis lately, especially in terms of a few sock-mates. I'll show you some pictures of that next time. I've been on a budget-necessitated yarn diet lately, so I've been working with what I have. :) Though, speaking of yarn, I have to give a massive thanks to Holly of Hollyarns, who had an awesome destashing contest recently, and I won. The prize is 3 balls of elann.com Super Kydd in a gorgeous Ice Blue color and some fabric for quilting. I can't wait to make something out of it... perhaps a pretty lace shawl. I'll be sure to post pictures of what I make, Holly! Thanks again!

I'm still working on those 2008 goals. Look for a progress report in the next couple of days. For now, I've blathered too long. Thanks for all of the get well wishes! I'm feeling much better. :)


Eighteenth: Something to do when you're sick at work

Back at work today, still feeling sick and exhausted and unable to focus on any single thing for more than approximately three seconds, so what to do?

Budgets? Eh, requires at least six to seven seconds of consecutive focus for progress.

Answering emails and phone calls? Done.

Preparing to train the new employees coming in at 1:00? Ha.

So, yeah... Online quizzes? That, my brain can handle.

First, the results of a little political compatibility test I found over at Paperclips. I'm amused at how much quizzes like these, even when politically oriented, make me think back to, "Which movie hottie r u most compatible with?!?" sorts of quizzes from my middle school years. Oh, Barack Obama, we were born to walk hand-in-hand through the cherry blossom trees in DC. I knew it. :)

90% Mike Gravel
90% Dennis Kucinich
87% Barack Obama
86% John Edwards
82% Joe Biden
82% Chris Dodd
81% Hillary Clinton
74% Bill Richardson
37% Rudy Giuliani
24% John McCain
22% Ron Paul
20% Mitt Romney
19% Tom Tancredo
16% Mike Huckabee
8% Fred Thompson

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

There's also this fun throwback to chain-email quizzes that I found both at Jeneration-X and YarnCrawl's wonderful blogs...

What time is it? 12:14 PM
What's your full name? Courtney Johanna Elizabeth DeGennaro (My parents knew I was the last one they were making, so they wanted to squeeze all those unused names into me)
What is the most recent movie that you have seen in a theater? There Will Be Blood which is perhaps the best film I've ever seen, no exaggeration. Daniel Day Lewis gives what might just be the best performance in cinema history. Please please please go see it.
What are you most afraid of? To be honest, I don't know. I have a hatred of teeth and seeing them wiggled or removed or damaged, but I wouldn't call it a fear. I guess I'm with Robin in that I fear losing teeth or having them broken. Yuck!
Place of birth? North Augusta, SC/Augusta, GA
Favorite food? Oh, I can be such a foodie. I love sushi, but when the mood strikes, I can't pass up a Brickstore brick burger with bleu cheese. On a cold day or when I'm not feeling well, it's all about tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich with my mom. Oh, and muffins.
What's your natural hair color? Brown
Ever been to Alaska? No, but I hope to cruise up there some time. Seeing the Northern Lights is on my list of things to do before I die.
Ever been toilet paper rolling? I was such a goody-two-shoes... Nope.
Love someone so much it made you cry? Hmm... not in the psychotic and co-dependent way, no, but I've been so in love that the sheer beauty of it (and of life itself) brought me to tears. So in that regard...Yes
Been in a car accident? No, but they tend to happen within 2 car lengths of me with disturbing frequency. Either helping afterwards is my superhero power, or causing them is my supervillain ability.
Croutons or bacon bits? Neither, I prefer a fresh spinach salad with strawberries and mushrooms and balsamic.
Favorite day of the week? As cheesy as it sounds, I'm not partial. I try to make every day count.
Favorite restaurant? One Midtown Kitchen
Favorite Flower? Sunflowers, gerber daisies, freesia, orchids, lillies, and those gorgeous yellow/cream/orange roses with red tips
Favorite sport to watch? Football when it's an important game (like the superbowl or a college bowl game) or soccer, especially the world cup
Favorite drink? Diet Pepsi! Especially the wild cherry and vanilla variations
Favorite ice cream? All, please. I do love rocky road, vermonty python, cinnamon and anything with raspberry, though.
Disney or Warner Brothers? Disney movies, WB cartoons.
Ever been on a ship? A tacky gambling cruise ship for laughs. ("Girl, you know you don't never gamble wit' no panties on!" is a favorite quote overheard on THAT one)
What color is your bedroom carpet? My bedroom has black, polished concrete floors. That's why my slippers are my most prized possession.
How many times did you fail your driver's test? None, thank you.
What do you do when you are bored? Knit, read, check, and re-check blogs, Ravelry, shop on bananarepublic.com, jcrew.com, and gap.com, or read
Favorite TV show? I enjoy Grey's Anatomy, Survivorman, and Law & Order SVU
Last person you went to dinner with? Does lunch with Jesse at Taqueria del Sol count? Other than that, I don't recall. The under-the-weather brain refuses to dig up records for more than 5 minutes in the past.
What time do you get up? 7:45 to 8:00, unless I'm going for a morning run, in which case 7:00 or 7:15ish.
What are your favorite colors? I like peacock colors, specifically blues and greens.
How many tattoos do you have? None, thank you. I've never looked at my body and thought, "Wow, I should've been born with a butterfly above my butt. Let me fix that."
How many pets do you have? 1 dog, Wesley, the most adorable beast on earth. I also might be taking ownership of my family's Munchkin cat, Smidgen, soon.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? A circle has no beginning and no end.
What do you want to do before you die? Too much to list here. I've been thinking of making a goal list of 101 things, though.
Have you ever been to Hawaii? No, and I don't particularly care to. I'm more of a mountain person than a beach person.
Have you been to countries outside the U.S.? I've been in international waters. :(
Time this survey ended? 12:46 PM. Now I only have 14 minutes to kill before my trainees come in. Hooray.

Next time, a real post. Promise.


Seventeenth: A Brief Visit

I've been home sick most of the day today with a yucky feverishness, all-over-ache, inability to focus, and general exhaustion. Of course, to fight off the boredom that inevitably comes with being home sick, I've been fiddling with my Ravelry page and I've made some progress. I finally have pictures of almost all my projects up (except for the hat shot that I'm waiting on from Jesse).

Check it out! I'm so irrationally proud of myself. :)

Oh, and in my moment of weakness, I bought myself an early birthday present in the form of some Artyarns Supermerino from Wendy over at Knit and Tonic. Apparently my self restraint has fallen with my immune system. What can I do? :) Go back to bed, I guess....



Sixteenth: Featuring frustration, a bit of gratification, and exceeding verbosity

It's only 10:35 AM, but so far, it's a beautiful Tuesday.

I went to Helen, GA this past weekend to pick up some Pioneer Porridge from a small, local mill up there (don't worry, they ship, and it's worth it). Their porridge is my absolute favorite breakfast treat, and having a big bowl sprinkled with brown sugar on a cool morning always makes me think fondly of early mornings with my mom, who introduced me to the wonderful stuff. Just smelling it cooking, even if I'm the one cooking it, takes me to the kitchen table in my parents' house, sitting with my mom and talking about everything and nothing while we plan our day. I had to get some for the "you're a part of my life and I love you" baskets that I'm making for a few people. They were originally going to be Christmas presents, then (when I didn't get paid on schedule) they became belated Christmas presents, and now they've become "Happy New Year/I appreciate you" gifts. Who says gift giving out of love for someone can only happen on a few, pre-selected days of the year? Down with that, I say.

On my way up to Helen, I got something of a shock. You've probably heard that Atlanta's been in a drought for the past several months, but nothing has been said about it lately, and it's rained several times, so I think a lot of people (self, unfortunately, included) have stopped worrying or being as conservative with water as they were when it was in the news all the time. Well, the drive through North Georgia was a wakeup call. The whole 1.5 hour drive, I didn't see a single stream, river, or lake that had more than a trickle of water flowing through it. It was an upsetting reminder of just how much we need to always be mindful of how much we take from this world. It's frustrating to me to see the yoga studio running ambient fountains because the owner likes the sound they make when water is in such dangerously short supply. It stirs my need to do something. I feel like contacting appropriate agencies and finding out how I can help, beyond the usual showering rather than bathing, not letting water run, only doing full loads of laundry and dishes, etc. The need to make a difference has once again been stirred in me.

Other than the water-shocker, the trip up to Helen was really lovely. I decided to pull over on the side of the road to stop at a farm (not an agri-tainment sort of farm, just one where all the animals were within sight of the road) and pet a few big, fleecy sheep, donkeys, ponies, and Shetland ponies. There were also goats, llamas, and alpacas hanging out near me, but none of them would get within reach. The sheep were so gorgeous and soft that I was wishing for shears. I don't know how to spin, but to play with that fleece, I'd definitely learn. The only disappointment of the trip was the lack of a yarn shop.

I suppose I owe you some knitting content, don't I? Well, the knitting life provided some frustration last night. I still haven't tried blocking the simple scarf I made. Instead, I've been working on Jesse's hat (putting aside the trial version, as he'd picked out a yarn and we were both a bit eager to see how it knit up). He chose Manos del Uruguay in granite, and it's really gorgeous. See? Not a colorway that I'd normally choose, but it's really beautiful and it's really him. The yarn, you see, is not the source of the frustration. Jesse's head? That's the problem. He's a normal looking boy, but you'd never know it if you were trying to knit him a hat that would fit, sight unseen.

I worked up the hat according to the pattern for the Irish Hiking Hat on Ravelry, and matched it, depthwise, to another hat that I know he's worn before. Even still, when I put it on (knowing that his head is bigger than mine) it didn't even reach my eyebrows. So, of course, I ripped. Being in the zone, as it were, I immediately started going again, leaving out numerous decreases in the pattern, almost doubling the depth of the hat, and finishing with about 2 yards of yarn to spare. He came over and tried it on, and it's still too shallow. Granted, not nearly as shallow as the first attempt was, but it still needs about an inch to an inch and a half more before it's perfect. Which means another $20.00 ball of yarn for a few measley yards. Curse him and his big head. :)

In goal-reaching news, I'm doing well, but it seems that my crazy-distractable brain can only achieve a few goals at a time. I DID get up and run for the first time this morning, though, and it felt really really good. I didn't hydrate enough before (or at all during), though, and I think that hurt me. I ran-jogged nearly 2 miles, which is good for me as a relative beginner. I think I need decent running shoes, though. The ones I have don't seem to be cutting it. Anyone have any recommendations?

So far, running in the morning has given me incredible energy, and I'm just in a darn good mood. I hope the day continues on this upward trend.

Namaste, everyone.


Fifteenth: In which we attempt to stroll down the right path a bit

Somehow, blogging has become my procrastination that keeps me from going to bed lately. I'm sure I'm the only 23 year old on earth who thinks that going to bed at 11:00 is late, but I'm trying to reset my circadian rhythms a bit so that I can start going to the gym in the mornings before work rather than after, when I often feel too exhausted to get anything productive done.

Speaking of productivity, though, I've felt like I've had so much more of it in my life over the past several days. I've started a new hat, the Irish Hiking Hat, found on Ravelry (can we all agree that Ravelry is such an incredible resource?) and knit in Rowan Cocoon's Frost. I bought the yarn, initially, to make something for Jesse, but I want to try it for this hat, and Jesse thinks the color will make him look like an old man with grey hair, so I'm working on it for myself first to see if he still likes the pattern, and then I'll make it for him in another color if he does, as he's been requesting a hat. :) I also recently finished a custom order scarf in simple stockinette with occasional garter stitch rows for texture, but it's curling terribly in spite of the garter edging I put on in an attempt to keep it from doing so. Any pointers are welcome, of course.

In regards to my other goals, I'm doing okay. I'm reading _The Other Boleyn Girl_ right now, and I'm over 2/3 of the way through it. I'm on a bit of a historical fiction kick, though it's never been a genre I've enjoyed in the past. I think I approach historical fiction differently from most people, in that I assume that all the people, places, and major events are factually based, but that's as far as I trust it. Though, I often let the things I encounter in such works inspire me to go on encyclopedia-diving sessions. I guess I was just in a psych-and-sociology phase for so long that other works got pushed to the wayside. The book is interesting, if nothing else. I've never seen Anne Boleyn painted in such a negative light. History always seems more interesting when it's written from the point of view of the losers.

I haven't started running yet, but I'm planning to soon. I need new running shoes, since the ones that I have now aren't really suited. The bedtime routine is going well, and it's helping a little, though I still need help relaxing and drifting off once I'm in bed. I've just been having trouble quieting my mind lately. I often sleep more easily and soundly when I'm sleeping beside someone, though I haven't done that in a while...

I've been finding lots of new blogs that I'm enjoying reading, and I'm making more attempts to comments, not only because I find lurking a bit boring, but because I like the feeling of community and sharing generated by it.

For now, I'm feeling somewhat disconnected and incapable of flowing naturally from one train of thought to another, so it's off to bed with my hiking hat and my book. Bon soir.


Fourteenth: In which we get in just under the wire

It's a new year. An even numbered year, which I've always found preferable to odd numbered years for some bizarre reason. One of my many... quirks. Some may call them oddities, but I prefer quirks, thank you.

I've never been the sort for new year's resolutions, as I'm not really the kind of person who believes in putting off a change you want to make. I believe that if it's important, you should just go ahead and do it rather that waiting for some symbolic day. Resolutions also feel inevitably doomed to failure, if only from the massive pressure riding on them. 2007 was - like so many others - a year without unrealistic resolutions, but it was also, unlike others, a year that felt generally unmemorable. I think that's because I didn't really have any goals for the year. It was a year of keeping going. Getting out of bed, going through the motions, and going to bed every night. I want 2008 to be different. I'll make it different.

This year, I've decided that I want to have some concrete goals for myself. I think it's different from having resolutions, which I see as rules that one forces oneself to live by. Goals are something to work towards. No restrictions. No sense of failure. Just, something to work towards. Something to motivate me. An extra reason to get up in the morning.

So, I have a large generic goal for 2008, which breaks down into smaller, more measurable goals (that I hope to keep track of here in the least boring way possible - I doubt that anyone wants to read a progress report every week). This year, I want to enrich my body, mind & spirit as much as I can. In each of those categories, I have a primary subgoal, then a secondary and tertiary goal. With so many goals, I'll always have something to work towards, I think.

So, in easy & clean list form, my goals for the coming year. We'll check in 52 weeks from now and see how it's going.

*run 2+ 5K races (bonus for completing them in 30 minutes or less)
*initiate a healthy bedtime routine (i've long had trouble sleeping, and i hear this is something that can help)
*stop eating anything other than fruit or vegetables after 9:00 PM

*read 2+ books per month, at least one of which much be a "valid" work, such as a classic, a memoir, nonfiction work, scholarly publication, or collection of essays
*enroll in a class of some kind (bonus for it being something that I have no experience with)
*knit 1+ project a week

*get in touch with the higher power once a week (bonus for variety, such as attending church, reading religious/spiritual texts, meditation & yoga, intelligent theological discussion, and spending meaningful time in nature)
*call a friend that I don't talk to enough at least once a week
*spend a full week on vacation (something I haven't done in years)

And another goal that seems to fit into all three, cooking dinner with someone lovable at least once a week (bonus for trying new recipes and cooking techniques)

So there they are. Little glimpses, I think, of the person I am, and the person I hope I'm trying to become.