friends


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

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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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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.

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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
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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.

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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)

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!

…yet

Calvin & Ripple Socks

Started: September 20

Finished: Oct 4

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Mediumweight End – no idea what color it was suppose to be but I love it.

Pattern: Calvin & Ripple by Cristi Brockway

Needles: size 1.5US circ – magic loop

Notes:  This is how I got my sock mojo back.

I manged to finish these in 2 weeks, which used to be normal time for me.  Of course I did little else, knitting wise, but these were so worth it.

I may have a new fave sock pattern.

This is a wonderfully unique sock pattern – one toe up, one top down, different stitch patterns for the front, the same stitch pattern for the back of both heels

And believe it or not, I enjoyed the toe-up sock more.  Maybe it was the very fun Calvin stitch pattern (it’s the one on the left in these photos), maybe it was the fact it was the first toe-up I enjoyed (Judy’s Magic Cast-On & doing Magic Loop instead of dpns played a significant reason for that), whatever the reason, I loved it.  While the Ripple pattern is lovely as well, I couldn’t keep the stitch pattern in my tiny brain – even to the very end I had to keep tinking back every other row because I would mess up somehow.  Still they look so lovely together – I never have had so much attention paid to my socks at work.

I didn’t really plan to use similar colors as the pattern – though it makes sense for a couple of orange kitties.  There’s not much more I can say about the yarn that hasn’t been said before by me or others – I freaking love love love Socks That Rock.

And am I over my toe up phobia?  Well I started another pair of Calvins for a holiday gift for my mom – what do you think?  🙂  Thank you Cristi for such an awesome pattern!

It was a lovely cool grey weekend (serious…NW girl through & through) and Fabric Depot had a big sale…and I had a long awaited sewing playdate on Sunday with a friend…what do you think I did all weekend?

First, the sale got me.  I seriously roamed around the store for like 2 hours, putting things in my basket, taking stuff out, trying to convince myself I do not need every single Amy Butler fabric they had, even if it was marked down.  Near the end of my wanderings, I ran across this kick ass fabric & knew it had to be a new bag for me.

It is now one of my top 3 favourite things I’ve made, it’s just so funky & fun.

At Sock Summit, I kept seeing these really neat project bags that several people I know bought…but I thought I could make something similar.  A friend found this really fun pattern & showed it to me so I decided to try it out.

I like them.  It’s great for hanging off my wrist to knit from – like at the movies or walking around, but I like my drawstrings better for actually carrying my knitting  – the top of the new one doesn’t close so if I stuff it in my purse, it gets all messy.  And yes, those are my Blue Moon buttons on there – I could not for the life of me find my entire pack of hand sewing needles to put an actual button on them.  I did finally find them, but now I kinda like having a good use for my Sock Summit flair.

Then I made a skirt – it’s from the Amy Butler pattern I made my first one from.  I figured, hey, may as well use some of AB fabric & try it out.

While I do like it, the fraying bit is going to take some time to get used to.  Hopefully it will look better after it actually frays.

I doubt I will actually make this pattern again – I didn’t enjoy it & probably could have done a better job on it.

I also probably should have not drank beer while sewing it up.

Mina still does not approve.

Mina still does not approve.

Then on Sunday, Carmel (that would be the NOPO Gal of the title) came over for a long planned sewing playdate!  I’m probably not the best person to show someone how to sew – I only started sewing a little over a month ago myself. But I gave it a go & Carmel made her first kickass rockstar bag.

How fun is this fabric?

She did a great job – I think I have her hooked. 🙂

We grilled up some yummy pizza with her boy (who spent much of the time chatting online with my boy – I don’t think he was excited about our girly craft time.) I have really gotten into grilling pizza – it is so much better than trying to bake it in the oven & even more fun with friends.  And beer.

Check one of our creations out (photo by Carmel)

mmmmm....bacon....pizza....

mmmmm....bacon pizza....

You can read more about our creations on Carmel’s blog post!

So all in all, it was a great relaxing weekend.  I still have all this:

So many possibilities to ponder….

Wow.

Where to even begin?  Can I just say I had the absolute best time this weekend?  So much to say & so many pictures to show, I need to divide it into 3 parts.  Otherwise, the posts will be miles long with hundreds of pictures.

So I’m starting with one of the most awesome things this weekend – hanging out with friends either I hadn’t met in person yet or else hadn’t seen for a long time.

First, it’s always a bit of a gamble meeting someone from the internet who may or may not be exactly how they appear (hey, I did internet dating.  I know of what I speak). It’s especially nerve wracking when you’ve invited them to stay with you for the entire sock summit.  I’ve “known” tutlegirl76 for at least 4 years – we’ve read each others blogs & shared a love of knitting (of course) but also of Deadwood, among other things.  We are in pretty much the same groups on Ravelry & a few months ago I offered a place for her to stay.  As the summit drew nearer, I got really nervous.  What if we don’t get along? What if she’s not like she is online? What if I’m not like she expects?  Will it be a long uncomfortable weekend where we will be glad to see the back of each other by Sunday?

I had nothing to worry about.

yes, same picture as the one on Cristis blog - its her photo but the only one of the two of us together and seemed to sum up the weekend perfectly

yes, same picture as the one on Cristi's blog - it's her photo but the only one of the two of us together and seemed to sum up the weekend perfectly

It was a wonderful weekend with her – full of beer, laughter, yarn love, knitting, naked men, and debates of toe-up vs top down socks (I promise I am making a pair of toe up socks!).  I was so sad to see her go on Sunday and even though we live on opposite coasts, I hope we will be able to hang out again in person sometime soon.

I also got to meet several other “internet friends.”

Melanie, my favourite indie dyer who is just cute as abutton and funny as hell.  I even worked her booth for a short amount of time & got to fondle all her yarns.

Carrie & Cristi - somehow, I never got a photo of me & Carrie!  What the hell?

Carrie & Cristi - somehow I never got a photo of Carrie & me! What the hell?!?!?

Carrie, who I feel like I’ve known forever.  Had such an awesome time hanging out with her & running into her all over at the Summit, teasing each other about the amount of Blue Moon we were adding to our stash (purchases is part 3 of the write-up by the way).

It was also nice to see old friends I hadn’t seen since I came back Portland (I’m a hermit who’s too lazy to drive all the way over to SE, what can I say?)

Nothip Christy is so adorable.  I wish I got a picture of her gorgeous knit dress, but maybe she’ll blog about it.  Hint hint.

Melissa, so funny & awesome.  I’m actually going to get myself out to Abundant to hang out, even if it is the furthest yarn store from me.  After Twisted, Abundant is my fave LYS, but it’s just a pain for me to get there sometimes. Both places have such a fantastic staff, which really makes all the difference.  (not to insult the other wonderful yarn stores in Portland – we have a bunch!)  I even ended up buying from both of those booths, even though it’s not a huge deal to go to those stores here.

Also hung out with my awesome coworkers.  Seriously, not only do I have a fun job, I have the best coworkers.

Me & KpKate - man, i look awful but it was really late at that point.

Me & KpKate - man, i look awful but it was really late at that point.

I actually took Kate’s place after she moved to a different position so we have lots to discuss & commiserate about.  I didn’t get photos, but I also did a little marketplace wandering with Tina and I ran into Kelly & Xena every time I turned around. Speaking of, I’m going to be on Kelly’s podcast this week, so check it out & listen to me dork out about the Sock Summit.

Then there was people I “knew” of on Ravelry & the internet, but only just met.

cristi (again) and Anne (Annimol on Ravelry) dancing to some Abba at the Sock Hop

the famous Jenifluer who is so funny & awesome

the famous Jenifluer who is so funny & awesome

Last but not least, The Rubberneckers.

I don’t post a lot on message boards but I will say I’ve been a card carrying RR since day one.  I probably post there more than anywhere else – it’s the funniest, foul mouth bunch of hoars in all of Ravelry.  We have the reputation of being the Mean Girls (and Boys) of the Ravelry, but seriously, we are mostly just laughing & insulting each other.

we like to stay in disguise.  Though its perfectly obvious who I am since I am apparently a giant.

we like to stay in disguise. Though it's perfectly obvious who I am since I am apparently a giant.

Dinner was a lot of fun, even though it made us late for the Ravelry party.  I did get there in time to see the Rubbernecker Mods meet Casey.

a very blurry but very funny photo that just makes me laugh.

a very blurry but very funny photo that just makes me laugh.

On that note, I’ll leave off for today.  Next post – the knitteratti.

Today is my last full day in Massachusetts.  While I am excited to go back home to Portland, there are a lot of things I am very sad to leave behind here.  It has been a great experience, living on the East Coast after living in the West all my life and while not perfect, has had more good than bad.

My friends

I’ve known Debb for nearly half my life – we’ve had so many adventures in our early 20s, living in OR – trips to LA, exploring Portland, where I knew I would make my home one day, and just goofy things to amuse ourselves.  After she returned to MA, we kept in touch – my now ex was one of her close friends so I visited a couple of times and her & her husband took a cross country trip and visited me in OR.  So it was a wonderful coincidence that I ended up living near her again.  I didn’t get to see her as often as I would have liked – life gets in the way – but I will miss knowing she is nearby.

I will also miss other knitty friends I wish I could have gotten to know more – Britt, Amanda, and Marianne.  I don’t care what people say – I don’t think the East Coasters are more rude than West Coasters.  Nearly everyone I’ve met out here has been fantastic.

My job

 

my office

my office

I really lucked into my job here – I was a temp & this was the third temp job I had.  I loved nearly everything about it – it was challenging & fun and I worked with fantastic people.  After a year, I got my first office.  I was so sad to leave it – even the chairman as well as the president both sent me a very nice emails saying how much they’ll miss me, which made me feel really good.  Very different from when I left my previous job.  My biggest worry (with good reason) is finding a job that I will love as much as this one out in Portland.

The Sox

Yes, I can be a Sox fan in Oregon.  It won’t be the same – it’s not like I can turn on the games every time they play.  I only wish I could have seen a game at Fenway.  I’ll just miss living in a sports town honestly – I’m really not a huge sports fan (except the Sox) but it has been fun following all the teams.  I have my sports memorabilia – several Sox items, a pair of Celtic sweats (that I honestly bought because I got caught in a downpour in a light coloured linen skirt – oops) and some Pats slipper socks (a Christmas gift).

WEBS

Okay, so I only went there twice & ordered online from once – but just the fact that I lived in the state with the biggest yarn store just made me happy.  If I had a car here, I probably would have made many more trips.  Other places that are just out here I’ll miss – Dunkin’ Donuts (large iced coffee – black), Au BonPain (love the sandwiches) and Windsor Button & Woolcott & Co as well as many restaurants – Ricardo’s, Blue Taleh, Mela, Maggiano’sDesfina – really it’s no wonder I’ve gained so much weight out here!

The History

I am such a history nut and it’s been really exciting to live where so much US history has taken place (I’ve been reading a lot about the Founding Fathers – especially John & Abagail Adams).  Yes, Portland has it’s own history, but seeing buildings that are nearly 400 years old is very exciting to me, after living in the West.

But, most of all, I will miss my dearest friend & love.  CoffeeBoy will not be joining me for an undetermined amount of time and that makes me dreadfully sad.  When we moved out here, we lived together for a year, but because of opposite work schedules and separate friends, we didn’t seem to spend much time together.  But here, we live a bit far from our friends and our work schedules were the same so 90% of our free time was spent together.  And, after living alone for several years, I never thought I would get used be in the company with the same person day after day but now…I can’t see myself without him.  We’ve never even been separated by more than a week since we met  nearly 3 years ago & I just don’t know what I’m going to do.  😦  I feel so silly saying that but it’s true.

Okay!  No more sad things.  A couple of things I will not miss:

  • My neighbors.  They’re not as horrible as some, but I’m so sick of dealing with them.
  • The commute.  I spent 3-4 hours getting to & from work each day.
  • Most Masshole drivers.  Luckily, I rarely dealt with them while driving, but I’ve witnessed some of the asshole things people do in their cars.
  • The super dry winters – my skin gets so dry it hurts – as well as the super humid summers – icky sweaty all the time.
  • Lack of excellent coffee – nothing has been as good as the artisan coffee back in Portland.

Tomorrow I get on a plane to Portland with Mina so my internet usage will be limited for awhile.  Wish me luck!

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