November 30, 2006
Pursuit of Awesome
I have returned to the Twin Cities to well below freezing temperatures and another exam waiting. My orals are tomorrow and then I will finally be done. Until I have to write my dissertation prospectus. Great. Additionally, I am applying for a fellowship and the application is due, of course, tomorrow. I just have to write a personal statement. Whenever I start, it sounds like a cross between the memoirs of some ancient person (I was born at a very young age...) and a personal ad (and... I like surfing the internet and... playing computer games and...). Well, at least its not due until tomorrow.
No excuse for not posting, since I really haven't been doing very much of anything lately. Though J and I decided that we are going to cultivate a certain je ne sais quoi in our lives that is to be entitled "The Pursuit of Awesome." We watched the new Bond flick when I first got there and I was struck by how mundane my life has become. I mean, I don't even really drink anymore. Also, I food shop at Target. Not even SuperTarget. Just plain Target. Can a girl really live on fake chicken nuggets? I think not. Additionally, I have lost the ability to walk anywhere in high heels. I wear flat, sensible (read: old lady) shoes everyday and my Awesome quotient suffers for it. That is not to say that people cannot be Awesome sans heels or that all those who wear heels are Awesome. Certainly not, in fact. However, I do think that I need to be able to wear high heels. And nice clothes. For a change. Thus, I am going to attempt to be slightly more refined than my normal eating-peas-from-a-can-for-dinner-while-wearing-old-sweatshirt self. I even bought a new pair of heels in Boston. They are quite yummy and far far too cold to wear right now. It is hard to be awesome in such a frigid city. I am starting with a nice bottle of red wine... yum.
It would be Awesome to get a new camera, but that shall have to wait for another lifetime. (It's also hard to be awesome when you're pretty poor.) Mine eats batteries and only takes a decent picture when there is much much available light. Alas. Anyhow, here is a shot of my new velvetine minijacket. I <3 greatly! It didn't quite come out like the picture, but that is ok. I like it all the same. It was in "juniors" sizing, which somehow doesn't translate to normal pattern sizes. Gee thanks, Mccalls. I made one size bigger and boy am I glad I did. Phew.
Ok here's the jumper. Maybe it doesn't bring sexy back quite as much as I though/hoped it did, but it's still pretty cute. I am wearing the new heels as well, though they are not so visible. I made a li'l brown beret when I was in Boston and totally forgot to photograph it amidst my camera hate.
Also my legs look super short! Oh wait, they are super short! But maybe not that short. Sheesh.
I realized in Boston that I missed knitting. I like to have something visual to occupy my whilst I knit and thus my opportunities have been limited since J went away. We are on the computer chatting or playing WoW a lot, so that occupies me manually. I started another 3/4 sleeved One Skein Wonder in a juicy orange shade of Malabrigo from Spark and I love love it so far. It was so much softer than Manos! Yum. "Orange Juicy Couture" J has christened it. Who knows when I will finish it now that I have no hands-free time...
November 23, 2006
Dear TSA Employee
I realize that, in order to keep America free, you were required to search my carryon for a mysterious bottle of nail polish that did not exist. However, does this estimable quest for Americanism require that you fondle every item in said bag sensually whilst wearing filthy filthy filthy gloves?
November 22, 2006
Jump up, jump up and get down!
Anyone remember that one? Ahem well. I was at Caribou Coffee reading horrible horrible papers and one barista sang "Hangin' Tough" to the other, who had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. Sigh.
Well that pretty much sums up my recent life: reading bad papers. Done now, thank the gods. Besides that I have been sort of wandering around in a daze. I sometimes wish that I could write a nice, andecdotal blog along the lines of Posie Gets Cozy, one of my current faves. Then I got to thinking about what I actually do in an average day. Several winners spring to mind: drive around lost for an hour and a half looking for shoe outlet that does not exist, look at new shades of Neutrogena whatevers at Target, read the same blog over and over and over again. It is true that I have done some sewing lately, which I will get to in a bit, but the rest of my days have highlights like: ate a ton of mockduck at new vegetarian buffet on Eat Street. Delicious, but boring.
So back to the "jump around" bit: I made a jumper. Now you might think this a strange article of clothing to make and, indeed, it is. There is a certain country-stencil-kindergarten-teacher thing about jumpers. Can't you just imagine one with a bitten apple on it? And you would not be wrong. Also, I was confused when I read British( and other) folks referring to sweaters as jumpers, since in ye olde America they are primarily lame dresses that you wear a turtleneck under. WELL. During one of my increasingly frequent Target shopping excursions, I found these great turtlenecks with a bit of ruching in the front that satisfies my current quasi-Victoriana fixation and also looks SUPER HOT with my new jumper. I know that some will not belive me when I call any jumper-affiliated item super hot, but soon I will have a pic to prove that it is possible. I am not saying this to brag, but merely to rescue the long-abused jumper from ignominy. Also, high heeled shoes help. I used Simplicity pattern. 4097.
In other sewing news, I made a tiny brown velveteen jacket with green lining (with tiny paisleys!) the other day when I was supposed to be working on a fellowship application. That, too, will be photographed soon. I haven't washed my hair in nearly three days because I colored it, so I will wait until I am not quite so greasified. In fact, J will be able to take the pix! Yay! I leave for Boston tomorrow, the busiest travel day of the year. I bought some yarn at Crafty Planet to keep my hands busy. I think I will make a beret and some wrist pooflets.
I have gotten away from knitting as of late because sewing is just SO DAMNED FAST. I mean, the sewing time on the jumper was really only about two hours. Two hours of terrible radio to enjoy. Today I tried to listen to the "adult contemporary" station, but it's really just as bad as the pop station, except that all of the songs are somehow about "angels" or tell the never-before-heard story of the singer/songwriter sitting at a diner contemplating deep thoughts about the mysteries of love and loss. Never heard that one before, dude. At least with pop, you know what you are getting and can be ironic about it.
In a similar vein, and now that the big Prelim Rush is over, I have been reading a bit of bad fiction. I picked up a paperback thinking it would be cheesy but fun. I was wrong. Pure cheese all the way through. Very little fun to be found. After I was halfway into it, I discovered that the publisher is a branch of Harlequin Romance. Oh, your remember, good old Harlequin, don't you? That club that I joined (didn't you?!) illicitly when I was 12 to get those tiny romance novels. Needless to say, the writing quality wasn't very high. I always seem to have to finish books like that, as if I hold out some kind of hope that they will redeem themselves. They never do.
Hey, at least I can breathe a little easier knowing that, although it hasn't really got much literary merit, my NaNoWriMo book is better! All 17000 words of it. Heh. It is pretty fun to write, though I haven't gotten all that far. I am approaching plotdom, but slowly.
Other day highlights: Annies Mac and Cheese, having to go to Target to buy gravy to bring to Boston. Apparently every single jar of gravy in Boston has been sold. Eh, J? Tomorrow we shall enjoy some traditional Turkeyday fare, including cranberries! Now, my mom LOVES the disgusting fake-cranberry gelatinous ooze that comes in a can. I have never been able to stomach it, though I aimply adore real cranberries. Also, Cosmopolitans, but I digress. So anyhow, I found a great recipie for some chutney/relish stuff at Sundry Buzz and will be attempting it tomorrow.
I guess I'll start packing now, well as soon as my back recovers from sewing. One of these days I will get a table/chair set up that is the proper height. One day...
November 13, 2006
Less is Less
It seems like the more I have to do, the more I get done. For example, when I was in my last semester of college, I took 19 credit hours and worked about 30-35 hours a week at The Body Shop. I was never particularly stressed out and always managed to get stuff done on time. Fast forward a bunch of years... Now that I am done with writtens, and only have to be on campus two days a week (and not even that, really) I feel like I am getting nothing done. There has been a sort of anti-climactic "so there isn't anything else to cram for?" period during which I have done things like drive around for an hour and a half looking for a shoe outlet that doesn't exist or wander dazedly around the fabric store or read mediocre novels. Thus, I have very little to do right now and it means that I am getting even less done. Go figure.
I did manage to make a dress, but it is a sort of silly costume dress that I made for no particular reason except that purple velvet seemed really really cool at the time. I'll post a pic soon. Most of my future projects are also somewhat whimsical costume-y things that might just end up being overgrown nightgowns. Well, at least they will be more interesting than my usual camisole and boxers...
I have also been trying really hard to write that novel. I got a late start so I am only somewhere in the vicinity of 9000 words. I would love to keep a 2000 a day schedule, but it is really hard. Also, I seem to write better at night, so I have been drinking caffeinated beverages wayyyy later that I should, which means I sleep in very late and thus the cycle beings anew!
In a last-ditch effort to do something constructive today, I got out the ol' manual camera and shot some slides. I used the "flip the lens around to get really really closeup shots" trick. Damn, I love that trick. Sure beats buying a bazillion dollar macro! I will have them processed soon. It was really great to use one of my "real" cameras again. I was a little worried that I would forget everything, but it seems to come back. Digital certainly has its place, but there is something very special about the experience of film: winding onto the bobbin, hearing it creak. My digital camera makes fake "shutter" noises, a trait that I have always found rather amusing. It was nice to hear the real thing and connect to it again. I think I will get digital versions of the slides too, if its not too expensive. Hopefully they will be worth sharing with you...
November 8, 2006
all she wrote
Well, after nearly a week and more than 40 pages, my Writtens are done. Some speak of the oral exam that follows as the true test, but I am not nearly as worried about it as I was about this. Honestly, it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. Not that I would choose to do it all the time (though I did tell an old coworker that I would rather be in a constant state of prelim writing than to ever ever go back to the museum shop again) or that my writing was perfect, but I belted it out and it is over with.
But what do I do with myself now?! I have a couple fun/silly sewing projects in the works, but I feel like I've lost some focus. And of course there are skool things to do, but who wants to do that?! I would much rather play on the internets.
There is something really profound in the apparatuses we use to connect with our information. I really love my new computer and I know that I would not have been able to complete my exams in my old style. I used to hand write everything first. Can you believe it? I really can't. It was only very recently that I started writing first drafts on the computer, even though I was already addicted in every other respect. My newfound adoration of this technological wonder has led me to think that I might actually be able to participate in National Novel Writing Month, even though I am getting a late start. I was inspired by Flibbertygibbet's progress and I think I may just toss my hat in the ring.
mmm I can already feel my fingers fusing permanently with the keyboard...
November 5, 2006
I am so close to the end that I can taste it. It tastes like a nice tall glass of amaretto, really, so I'm not complaining. Well, maybe I am a little since I'm not done yet. I am on about page 7 of the last question, so that brings the writing total to about 38 pages since Wednesday. Soon. Sigh.
So here is the cape I made last night! It still needs a couple of snaps to keep the top together. I am using a straight pin in the photos. I had bought the fabric to use for a jacket (so glad I didn't -- waaaaay too thin) and so I didn't quite have the right amount. I had to skimp on the lining (even though the pattern (New Look 6537) called for less?!) and it came out a bit wonky in the end. I mostly fixed this by turning up the bottom for another hem. the hem is not even all the way around on the inside, but looks fine on the outside (and mostly ok on the inside, provided one is not examining it with a purpose). If I get some energy I may try to rehem it to look more even. Chances are pretty good, though, that this idea will end up the same as when I said to myself, lying awake at 2am, that I would redo the black and white jacket's lining again. Yeah right. It is cute and I love the collar, though if I were to make another cape-type-object, I would do it with a hood. I have some raw silk picked out for one already...
Well, I think that I will have to finish the paper tomorrow, as I am somewhat burned out for tonight. Time for some videogames! Also, laundry...
The end of the dreaded Prelims is in sight! Two questions down and only one left to go. They're not due until Wednesday morning, so I should be fine as long as I can stop listening to the little devil that says, "99 cent patterns! Another dress! Maybe a jacket!" I got a little distracted and threw together a cute if not particularly well-made cape last night. I will post it when I get distracted again, which will probably not be very long.