This year was a bit of trying one all around.  While the SO & I were better off than a lot of folks, we still spent 3/4 of the year stressed about the future – there were times when we didn’t think we would make through. But instead of dwelling on the negative, I thought I’d end 2011 on some of the positives that happened.  With lots of pictures!

First was adopting our silly cat.
2011-12-26_17-58-59_121.jpg

Even when we were at our most depressed, Rorschach kept us sane & laughing.  She really is the best thing that could have happened to us.

2011-12-18_15-25-13_168.jpg

On that same note, volunteering at Pixie Project was one the things that made me the happiest this year.  A bit of animal therapy for me every week was what I needed.
2011-07-29_13-14-57_487.jpg

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I ran my first 5K this year

my first 5k!

It was a lot of fun and I was very proud of myself.  I was never a runner but I was determined to complete it.  And I did pretty well actually!

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I got to finally see my beloved Red Sox play my second loved Mariners.  Even though the Sox lost (and ended up being the start of their horrible end of season) I had so much fun.

sox game

I also got to see the Blazers for the first time -in fact, I’ve seen them twice now!  It was a very sporty year.
2011-12-29_19-13-29_364.jpg

**********************************************************************

I got to travel more this year – mainly work related but it was all wonderful.

I went to OH in June for TNNA with my lovely coworkers.  Then a month later it was off to Boston where I visited 20 yarn shops for work.
MA trip

I got to reconnect with my dearest friends out there too
MA trip

Closer to home, I went to the coast with my Mom in the spring & again in the fall.  It was a good trip for both of us (and for Maddie the dog).
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2011-11-12_14-34-25_612.jpg

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We didn’t go to very many shows this year, but the few we did were great.  Eddie Vedder was probably my favorite, but I also saw Social Distortion, Thurston Moore, the Posies and a special performance by Wild Flag at OPB with only like 50 other folks.
wild flag

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Of course I knit a lot this year (it’s part of my job!)  Since I blog so much for work, it’s hard to find time to post to this blog.  In any case, I made a lot of stuff I’m very pleased with, including my favorite new sweater.
ProvidenceVert3

My friend Jenny is also an awesome photographer.

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It didn’t seem like I did a whole lot of reading but I read all three Girl With the Dragon Tattoo books (liked them all) and the three books in the Hunger Games (liked the first, didn’t think the others were as good) .  I seem to spend more time rereading Jane Austen (especially the new annotated versions of the novels).  I also discovered it’s far easier for me to listen to audiobooks – especially at work when I’m doing a lot of just data entry.  I joined Audible and made it through all 5 Song of Ice & Fire books (by George R. R. Martin – I’m pretty obsessed with the TV show as well) and my current favorite, Bossypants.
wpid-bossypants
I really do want to read more next year but I think it will mainly be audiobooks again.

I also I discovered I can’t live without the NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast.  It really gets me through the week & relisten to them all the time.

***************************************************************************

While 2011 was not a great year, I’m very thankful that the SO & I managed to get through it with our relationship still strong.  I think if we could get through the last 2 years, we can get through anything now
imagejpeg952.jpg

I’m also thankful for our fantastic friends who were also a huge help in keeping us sane through 3/4 of the year  (especially Carmel & Shawn, who were actually with us at many of the events I mentioned above).  Love you all.

Here’s hoping for a wonderful 2012 for everyone.

So it’s been a rough start to 2011 for me and for the ones I love – too much personal stuff to go into here.  I’ve try to stay positive and I’m usually pretty good but sometimes I just get really down – early last week was a good example of that, just days of  hopelessness.  But then something happened that made it all better.

I have a new love

Rorschach

Meet Rorschach, our new kitty!  I’ve been working at Pixie Project, as I mentioned before and when I saw her on Friday morning, I fell in love.  She’s a tiny friendly kitty, between 9 months & a year old and just the cutest, sweetest cat I’ve ever met.  CB took a little convincing but once he met her, I don’t think he could resist.  He named her in fact.  I usually call her Rory though.

Picture 680

With her favorite toy, a little foam ball

She came home with me on Saturday and has fit right in.

I wish all my pictures weren’t so blurry, but she is constantly moving and I really should get a better camera.  We just absolutely adore her.  She has a very different personality than Mina, which I think is a good thing – I miss Mina so much – but I’m not constantly comparing them.  Anyway, she’s just making us both so happy and that’s a good thing.

And to be honest, it hasn’t been all gloom & doom since my last post, thought it feels like it sometimes.  So here are some more Good Things.

I had 2 “patterns” published

Semplice Fingerless Mitts

A  really simple fingerless mitts pattern – it’s so simple I feel silly calling it a pattern, I didn’t even add my name to it.  Anyway, I just wrote it up & knit up the sample in a weekend – it’s the one I use all the time.  And the nice thing about working for a yarn company, I have access to good photography – that’s my coworker Jenny – not to mention an outlet to publish it.

Put a Birdie On it Dishcloth

Once again another silly free pattern – several of us at work did them for our release of our new yarn.  This one was fun, thought I honestly don’t like to knit dishcloths – I crochet them now – but how could I resist not putting a bit of Portlandia on it?

As for my own projects, I finished a pair of sunny socks

Just basic top down socks out of Felici Sport Sunny Day. It’s been such a crappy grey spring again this year so I wanted a bit of sunshine on my feet.

I picked up this old project…and I’m finally almost done!

body done

Yep – this is Cables & Os that I started 4 years ago! I wrote a more extensive blog post on it here, but  now I’m done with the sleeves! Just need to sew it up & had the button band (and find buttons for it)

Oh and one more thing…I”m going to TNNA in June!  I’m so excited and I get to meet several of the designers I work with.

So that’s the happy things update – hope you all are well!

Note:  Sorry, this ended up to be a nonknitting post again.  I was going to go over my knitting/crochet/craft year too but when I started writing, I realized I had other things I needed to write about first.

I’ve been trying to think of ways to describe 2010.  I had the highest of the highs (CoffeeBoy back for good, work successes, weight loss, the wedding of two very close friends) and the lowest of the lows (spending the first half of the year in a depression, my only constant companion in my life passing away, family issues, problems too personal to post on the internet). So I guess to sum up, 2010 was just…a year.

I went through a depression for the first 6 months, to the extent I’m not even sure anyone realized.  I pretty much only left the house for work, I blew off friends invitations and just sat around and ate, knitted,and  zoned out on the internet/tv and just couldn’t shake it. I hate when I get like that – I don’t want to bring other people down so I don’t whine about it. So I retreat deeper & deeper in my own mind, which wasn’t a pleasant place to be.

And I gained a lot of weight, which made it worse. I just couldn’t get motivated to do anything about it.   I’m going to admit somthing that very few people know about –  I think I was pushing 250lbs – I was too scared to actually step on a scale. I’m 5’11” – I felt like this huge monster.  I’ve always had problems with self image and this is the heaviest I had ever been and I hated myself for it.  I wouldn’t buy myself new clothes because I wanted to cry when I saw the sizes I was fitting into & it was all my fault for letting myself go.  In 2007 I weighed about 175lbs, I was working out & was happy & healthy.

Finally in June I had enough.  May was a pretty good month – I had a wonderful trip with my mom to the Oregon coast, which we both really needed and I finally got my self out of the house to go to a show, by myself even, of one of my favorite bands Mumford & Sons.  And I realized I couldn’t continue with this fucking depression & I needed to do something about it. Immediately.

I bought an ipod touch and downloaded the Couch to 5K program and started.
I can call myself a runner
It was tough starting.  I honestly never liked running, even when I was fit & happy but I did once in awhile, usually about a mile at a time.  But now, running even for a minute at a time was tough.   I had an old treadmill my mom gave me & ran outside a bit.  But slowly I started to improve and finally felt brave enough to go to the gym again.

Then at the end of July, I decided to push myself and join my friends at a Boot Camp.  My close friend was a trainer there and other friends were going and I figured that I did want to lose more weight before CB came home and honestly, I think I realized I  needed to be around people more.  Again, starting was rough – I stepped on the scale for the first time in well over a year (231) & during  the first class I wanted to die because I couldn’t keep up. I came home & cried.  But I went back and other days I spent at the gym closer to my work & home.

By the end of the 6 week session, I had lost 13lbs and actually went out and bought some new jeans that actually fit me  for the first time in years (instead of not letting myself buy the size I actually needed because I was embarrassed by the number. Yes, lame I know.)

CB came home & my depression for the most part lifted.  We took a trip to Seattle, our first “vacation” in years (all of our vacations was flying back & forth between MA & OR) and in Oct was the wedding of our very close friends.

wedding
Blurry, but it’s one that I took.

CB & I had a nice picture taken together though.
wedding photos

It was a good month.

November came, and I started another session of boot camp, more intense than before, but I could see the changes in my body.  I also became more outgoing and more of a team player than before, which kept me going. It also was the month I lost my cat – which I’ve already covered in detail so I won’t go into it again.  But having CB here and some really close friends, as well as a job I loved helped me through it.

As of yesterday, my weight was down to 207.  Higher than I wanted (I was really hoping for 200 by NYE) but still pretty good.  While I had a really awful day this week, I think I’m ending this year much happier than I started.  Tonight I will celebrate with friends the passing of 2010….and hoping for a wonderful 2011 for us all.

A long December and there’s reason to believe that maybe this year will be better than the last…

(okay, a Counting Crows song, but I love it & it fit my mind right now)

Thank you so much for all the kind comments on my last post.  Obviously, I still miss my Mina very much – I don’t think I’ll ever get used to walking in the door and not having her greet me.  But I’m trying to stay busy & am actually going to volunteer at a place called The Pixie Project in the new year.  It was funny how I discovered it, we were going to a show across the street from the storefront about a week after Mina passed away and in the window was all these kitties – and one looked exactly like my cat.  CoffeeBoy & I just stared (and started to tear up) but it didn’t devastate me as much as I thought it would.  It just made me want to be around them.  I looked them up after we got home and just thought it was a really great organization.  We probably won’t get another pet for awhile so this gives me a chance to play with dogs & cats every week.

I didn’t mean to leave such a sad post up for so long – I’ve had long thoughtful posts written out in my mind, but finding the time to actually get them in here seems to be an issue with me. Right now,  I will leave you with Christmas wishes (or whichever holiday you celebrate) and hope to be better at updating in the new year.

Merry christmas

Mina

I didn’t talk about my kitty Mina a whole lot on this blog.   But she was always a big part of my life and my constant companion since she was a baby kitten.  This morning I had to say goodbye to her and my heart aches.

I got her from the Eugene Humane Society way back in 1995.  She was such a tiny little thing and in fact, wasn’t even my first choice of a kitten to adopt.  I had another kitty that I was going to adopt, but that kitten had already been adopted, so I chose the little black cat that cried all the way home.  But I never regretted for a single second that I ended up with her.

Mina and her new toy

I named her Mina, after the character in Dracula.  And she ended up being the best cat for me.  She was bratty & sweet and loved to play with her toys. And eat!  She was shy around strangers – she always hid when someone other than me was in the apartment or house.

mina, staring me down

She saw me though good times & bad – moving so many times, including a cross country move & back, relationships that started & ended, the death of my father and of course meeting & moving in with CoffeeBoy.   CB was never a cat fan, but he grew to love her just as much as me.

Mina & Chris

The past 6 months or so, I knew she wasn’t do so well she was losing a lot of weight & having other issues but there would be times when she would be perfectly fine, playing and eating normally. But the since mid-October, she started getting worse & worse. I took her to the vet & they basically said (in a very kind way, I loved them) there wasn’t much they could do for her, considering her age. But she still seemed like herself & not in pain so I brought her home. I’ve been giving her fluids & we’ve been keeping her safe & loved and with us at all times.
IMAGE_227
I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Are we ever?
This morning I hugged her goodbye before I left for work and after discussing it with a dear friend at work who just lost her kitty last weekend, I knew we had to not be selfish & just bring her to the vet for the last time, as much as it hurt.
2 hours later, CB called me & told me she passed away.

I’m glad it was at home & she was with someone who loved her. I didn’t want it to be a vet’s office as much as it hurts right now.  She never liked to leave & it made sense to have her long & loved life end here.

It’s therapeutic writing this all down today, even though I’m crying my eyes out – writing always helps, I did something similar after my father passed away.
It’s just so hard to not think of her greeting me when I come home or following me around the house wanting food or attention. Hardest will be at night, as she always slept right next to me.
What is this?
Goodbye sweetheart. Thank you for spending your life with me and I will never ever forget you.

Ahem.

It’s been a crazy couple of months, obviously – not bad crazy but just trying to get used to a new lifestyle.  CoffeeBoy is back home for good, which is wonderful, and we’re still trying to find a happy medium of living together again after living apart for a year & half.  Work in progress, 2 steps forward, 1 step back most weeks.

I don’t mean to ignore this blog – I love blogging but mainly I only have the energy to blog my crafty projects on my work blog and more personal stuff/photos goes on facebook. So sadly this gets neglected.

I have been knitting/crocheting a lot, of course – not as much as when I lived in MA though, which is funny considering my job.  That long train commute really gave me the knitting time! But here’s some photos of what I’ve done recently:

Stacey'sSasquatch

Rolf, the Sasquatch

Beer Mitts!
Beer Pint Mitts

my model
Berruti for CoffeeBoy

Mittens
Inuvik mittens – yep that’s crochet

Not shown – a heck of a lot of stuff, including my Greenfield Cardigan which I wear all the time but never seem to be able to get pictures of.

Other stuff going on the past couple of months:

Spent a lovely weekend in Seattle:
IMG_5704

Got all dressed up for our wonderful friends’ wedding:
wedding photo

And had a Twin Peaks Halloween:
twin peaks halloween
Yes, I was the Log Lady. Funny thing about that, we came up with the idea one week before Halloween – and CB hadn’t really seen it, while several of us are fanatical.  It was a great time and plans are in place for Twin Peaks version 2.0.

Not shown is the cooking I’ve been doing (not great pictures), which has been really nice to actually cook for someone other than me!  Also not shown (with good reason) is the fact that I’ve started an intense (for me) Boot Camp for the next 6 weeks.  I’ve been doing pretty good with my weight loss – since I first got weighed at the beginning of August, I’ve lost about 20lbs – and probably more since I actually started working out in June.  It’s a great feeling.  I have about 15 more pounds to my New Years Eve goal, then another 20 to be back to my weight 4 & half years ago when I was at my slimmest.  I have a lot of support from my friends, and I’m having a great time.

Now I’m off to work on Christmas gifts – probably not as many handmade ones as usual – my grandmother asked for a sweater so of course I’m going to do that.  But I honestly hate working on it, so I’ve been working on smaller projects that I can’t post here.  But I’m determined to finish the sweater at least.

So that’s my life in a nutshell.  I do read everyone’s blog, even though I don’t comment very often so I’m still around that way :)  Hope you all have been having a great fall!

So the somewhat uncomfortable thing about my work life & hobby being so closely linked is wondering how much to talk about it on my personal blog without it sounding like advertising or something.  Obviously I love the company I work for (and have before I even started working for them, pretty much since I became serious about knitting) but I don’t want to sound like a walking advert.  Either you like KP or you think they are the “Big Bad” (which cracks me up, if those who think KP is a huge company, they should see our office). In any case, mostly I try to keep this nonwork related but I had some really awesome things to show.

So part of my job is doing photoshoots once a month. It’s really fun (correction, outdoor shoots are really fun, indoor shoots get mindnumbingly boring.) I’ve done a bunch of them since I started in this position – I obviously don’t do the photography, mainly I just help with the styling to make sure the knitted or crochet item looks good.  We hire a model for a few hours for the main part, but when it comes to children, we use relatives of our employees.

Last time I had a sweater that didn’t fit any of our office kids, so I asked my sister if my niece would be able to do it.  She was really excited, so they made the 2 hour drive up.

And seriously, my youngest niece was perfect.

And my older niece came along too, and I actually had some things that she could model as well, since she was even more excited about it.

I can’t get over how grown up she is getting – I mean, I was present at her birth, the only birth of my 4 nieces & nephews I actually got to witness.

One of my favorites shots was this one of them together, mainly because it was my idea for it.

I wish I had the other shots of this (there was one that was more active that I really liked), but this one is still really cute.

The nice thing is my sister got a disc of all the shots we took (usually between 25-40 of each item), though of course I forgot to get some copies after I gave it to her.  Sigh.

Anyway, I just wanted to share some fun things from my job.  Knitting wise, I’m working on the Greenfield Cardigan still.  I’m hoping to finish it by my Seattle trip (yes, with CoffeeBoy, looks like it’s a sure thing he’ll be back here for good in a little over a week, fingers crossed).  I had to take a break though – I’m on the sleeves and wow, sleeves are boring enough, but garter stitch in the round makes me want to stab my eyeballs.  So I started a crochet hat.  My favorite crochet designer is Linda Permann (not only talented, but a fantastic person to work with) so when she put her Blackberry Beret up, I immediately bought it and decided it would be a nice quick project to do.  And it is!  I finished it pretty quickly (even after 4 restarts, due to my own stupidity rather than the pattern) and I’ll have take some photos when it’s dry.

And maybe actually do another post here.

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