31 December 2011

That's A Wrap, 2011!

Over the past few days, I have been struggling to find an adequate explanation for this year. In many ways, it has been the absolutely most horrifying year of my life... yet, in others, I believe it has been a shining ray of accomplishment for me. So, I'm going to go ahead and give a recap of the year and how, at the end of it, I ultimately feel about the whole thing.

Well, I think the very first thing I should probably mention about this year was going back to school. For me, that was a really huge step. My previous experience with being in school did not end so well and, in a lot of ways, I was still very lost. Going back to school made me really figure out a few things and, well, even though the major I wanted to get into when I went back to school this last time ended up not being the right one, either, I now know what I want to do.

Sadly, I did not finish that Spring semester because of my car accident. I can honestly say that that was the worst experience of my life and probably pretty high up there for my loved ones, as well. The stay in the hospital and getting to know just how irresponsible some medical professionals can be was very irritating and scary, but I survived. I know that, with the horrifying nature of the car accident and how many ways I defied death, that I have a good reason to be here in this world. I may not be 100% sure on what that reason is, but I will figure it out somewhere along the line, I'm sure. Having such a close brush with death has probably been the biggest factor for growth for me, this year. I have realized that I simply do not have the time to waste on ridiculous things. I have developed an even more up front and honest attitude toward things and have been much more interested in trying the things I have always wanted to get to experience.

With my car accident came physical therapy. You don't break your femur, pelvis, and radius and jump back up good as new. It takes a lot of work to get back to "normal", though in a lot of ways normal has changed quite a bit. I will never forget the first time I went in to see the physical therapist. He asked me about my goals and I straight up told him that, in five weeks, I wanted to go from using a walker to barely needing assistance with a cane so that I could go to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. He got the most evil look on his face and, well, I did exactly as I had hoped. It was probably the most difficult thing, that first visit... harder than the first few times I got up and into a chair or walked around after my actual accident. It was so worth it, though. I am truly amazed by the fact that I am up and running around as well as I am and all of the blood, sweat, and tears I put into it were definitely worth getting back to the way I was before, for the most part.

Then, there was the trip to Arkansas to see my great-grandmother. It was really great to be able to reconnect with my family. For the past few years, I have been so busy with work and school that I have not been able to really make those sorts of trips. Being able to see her on her birthday was absolutely wonderful and she's still the crazy cool lady she's always been... if not more. It was also a great trip because I learned to cope with highway anxiety. It was the first actual "trip" I had been on since my car accident, really, and I think the saving grace on that was knitting socks, honestly! It was good to see everyone and I am determined to make some time to repeat the trip next year.

I also had the great experience of joining Weight Watchers in July! Yay! I did really well on the plan and lost about twenty pounds before I fell off the bandwagon in October after my knee surgery, sadly, but I am going back to a meeting on Monday to get restarted with all of it and get back on track. I felt really good on Weight Watchers and want to feel that way, again. I'm hoping to do well on the plan next year and get closer to my goal. My biggest fear is that I've gained it all back in my time of absence. However, if I have then I will have to chalk it up to experience and move forward in the next year. No use crying over something that's already been done, right?

Then, we had the amazing learning experience of my brief time working in an office environment. There were a lot of lessons to learn, there, and I feel that I did very well in trying to be a valuable employee. I think I did a really great job, honestly. However... despite work ethic and other important, great things that make an employee valuable, personal drama can really get in the way of things. It was not my personal drama, but rather everyone else's that became the issue. Some people just need better things to do, I guess. At any rate, I'm glad that I didn't hunker down and just take the crap for the sake of a paycheck. Once I finished my physical therapy, I called my old boss and got my old job back and have not looked back. I am much happier this way, plus my work schedule is much more flexible to allow me to go back to school.

I also went out for Yarn Crawl for the first time in October. I had a lot of fun with my friends Liz and Christine driving around to all of the various yarn stores in the Hill Country. It was a really great experience and there were a few stores that are now on my favorites list that I never knew about before.  It has been a great year for my knitting endeavors, in general, though. I have tried so many new things and worked on so many new projects. I am very pleased with myself and my progress for this year when it comes to fiber craft. I know that next year will be an adventure, as well.

This year, I also went to Kid N Ewe fiber festival up in Helotes, TX in November. That was a great experience and I had a lot of fun with my friend, Christine. We took some spinning classes and I fell absolutely in love with it and bought a spinning wheel. So far, things are going well. I need to get some more practice in order to get the evenness I really want, but I'm making strides and that is good. I'm not really spinning with the intent to use the yarn I am currently making, but rather just enjoying the practice of it. I think that makes it a lot easier on me, honestly, since I don't have to stress too much about it. Mistakes are mistakes. I'm hoping to spin enough to make myself a shawl or something in the next year. We will see.

Another great endeavor of this year was the making of jam. Oh my goodness, that was very fun! I had never made jam before at all. Ever. I was sort of nervous about the whole thing and very afraid of mucking the whole thing up. So, the first step was to drink half a bottle of wine. That helped with the nerves quite a bit and I just went ahead and jumped on in. I ended up making several different flavors and really enjoyed myself. I still have a few more batches to make for Red Oak's Yule and I think I'm going to try the previous brand of pectin I was using. For some reason, the Sure-Jell pectin hates me and the Ball brand worked perfectly. Ah, well. It doesn't really bother me, so I'm not going to worry about it. I'll use what works. That whole experience was a really great one, though, because jamming is sort of a family tradition and it was a great thing to try. I definitely feel more useful, at least.

Another thing I tried this year was going to a very large Heathen gathering. I went up to Oethelland's Mother Night celebration and was completely blown away. The hospitality was absolutely amazing and there were so many people there. I was surprised, really. Everyone I spoke with was very nice and welcoming and I had a number of great conversations with lots of different people. I tend not to do well speaking to people I don't know, so I was a bit nervous about the whole thing, but I didn't have any trouble at all. It was kind of like my experiences when I first found Red Oak. It was like coming home. At any rate, the jam I made went over very well and I am very excited about the next event, whatever it should be. It should be interesting. Over the past year, especially after my car accident, I have felt a very great pull back to my faith. During the odious Year of Silence with Red Oak, which was caused by a lot of different factors on my end, I felt so completely cut off from that feeling of fellowship and common bond. I had a lot of difficulty coming back to it, after that, because I was sort of sad about the fact that I had let some of those unimportant factors get in the way of that relationship. However, I have realigned my priorities and am looking forward to a year of good experiences and growth and joy with some of my favorite people in the world. :)

To close, the very last portion of my year involved quite a bit of pain. Finally, the horrifying ache from my wisdom teeth coming it became just too much. I was having trouble sleeping and was in a generally grumpy mood all the time. Well, I set up a dental appointment and had them all removed. It was a very expensive undertaking, but ultimately worth it. I am still recovering, but all in all the pain has been very manageable and I already feel much better than I did before those teeth got yanked out. So, here's to looking forward to a pain-free 2012.

At any rate, I guess that wraps up the year, for the most part. I feel I have grown up quite a bit and have adjusted my views on several things. I have tried to go through and sort out what is important to me, with some success. So, I would now like to list all of the things I want to do or try next year. This year has been a great adventure and I hope to foster the same attitude of trying new things in the year to come.

#1 Going back to school next semester. I am already registered and am fully committed to doing very well. I have had so much time taken away from being in school, I can't really allow myself to lose focus now that I'm going back.

#2 Losing weight. I am hoping to do very well on Weight Watchers, just as I did this year, only more motivated to keep going. I think the fact that I'm taking an aerobics class next semester will be helpful in this endeavor. I'm hoping to lose about 50 - 60 lbs.

#3 Spend more time with my family. I have not really had much time to see a lot of my family in the past few years, so I'm hoping to cut out a little bit of time here and there to go see some of them. I have an entire year, so hopefully this won't be too much of a hassle.

#4 Learn to quilt. This kind of goes along with the previous goal, as my grandmother has offered to have me over for a little while to learn to quilt. I'm hoping to do well with this endeavor, as I have always thought quilts were absolutely beautiful.

#5 Start a vegetable garden. This is something I have been interested in for a very long time, but have not gotten around to doing yet. I'm hoping to do more planning for this sometime in February and get ready. It should be quite an adventure and I'm glad that a lot of my favorite vegetables can be grown in my area. Squash, for example. We will see. I'm excited about it.

#6 Go fishing. My grandmother and her boyfriend go fishing all the time and I want to go with them, one of these days. It's such a peaceful and relaxing activity and, bonus, you end up with something tasty to eat, at the end. Hopefully this will encourage me to brush up on my fish recipes, as well.

#7 Learn to safely operate a firearm. This is something I have wanted to do for a very long time, too. I figure it's a good skill to have and would probably be a good bonding experience for my father and I. We'll see how that goes.

#8 Declutter. My living space is an absolute mess. My goal for the year is to simplify, get rid of clothes that do not fit and things I do not use and rearrange my living space to get the best use out of everything I can. I need to keep my area cleaner and more organized because finding things is almost impossible, sometimes!

These are my goals, for the most part. We will see how the next year unfolds. Happy New Year, everyone!

31 August 2011

Victory

So, the past week has brough quite a bit of triumph for me.

On Saturday, I drove up to Round Rock to celebrate Freyrfaxi with Red Oak. It was amazing and I am so glad I went up there. Having that feeling of reconnecting with my community was just awesome and very much needed. This was a great triumph for me in many ways, though. I drove all the way up there and all the way back. It was a very stressful experience. I think I am not fully aware of the true amount of highway anxiety I still have. Most of the time, I'm fine. I also have an enviably short commute to work that does not involve any highways. I do not have to face my fear. This weekend was really important because I proved to myself that it's okay to be on the highway. Yes, it's scary, but it's necessary. I have this huge part of my life that I'm going to miss out on if I don't face that fear and conquer it. I will not allow it to control my life. Yes, something absolutely terrible happened to me when I was in a car on the highway. Letting that event control me and make me afraid is not acceptable, though. It's not going to be fun driving on the next trip up there, but I think it will be easier.

My other huge accomplishment this week is that I have lost 2.2 more pounds on Weight Watchers! I am so happy. I have been working so hard toward this and I am really motivated to get it done. I have lost 15.6 lbs so far and I am not stopping. This week was won, but the war against my unhealthy lifestyle is not over. I have a lot of work to do and I'm looking forward to it. It's worth it.

Also, today is my parents' 25th wedding anniversary. I am very lucky to have parents who are still together and have a strong foundation for my siblings and I to look at and know that things can work out. Their marriage hasn't been easy, no marriage ever is, so I would definitely count that as a victory for them. It's a goal I hope to meet someday with someone worth the trouble.


24 August 2011

Update

Well, it certainly has been a long time since I have updated my blog. My life lately has been equal parts crazy and busy. I don’t mind it too terribly much, though. I have a new job, which I seem to enjoy to a certain extent. It’s not something I’m very passionate about, but it pays the bills and allows me to have weekends off, which is really nice. I have a good structure and I find I really needed that in the darkness after the accident. The only problem I have with this new schedule is the lack of time I can devote to school. That should be relatively easy to circumvent come Spring. I have not enrolled for Fall. Part of the reasoning is that I need to settle down for a little bit, the other is that ACCD has refused to acknowledge the fact that I have paid for last semester’s tuition, even though it was cut considerably short due to the accident, so I have a hold on my account. Their offices are a bit busy with the beginning of the semester and I don’t have extra time during the day to spend hours on hold, so I’m planning to make good use of the phone and call them to complain and get it removed in a few weeks once everything has calmed down.

I’ve been working diligently on the Yggdrasil Afghan. I am nearly finished with the center cable panel. Everyone says that it is beautiful, but I am quick to admit that it’s my first real cable project and I definitely need more practice with it to make it as nice as I want it to be. The good thing is that there are two other marriages in our Fellowship coming up, so I have plenty of practice with this particular blanket in the future. I may decide to make something else, but it’s a nice gift and when else will I have an audience that will appreciate the meaning behind the design? Exactly. I have not been having issues with it, really, except for the result of knitting while approximately 68% asleep on Liz’s couch. It was not quite catastrophic, though. I had to rip back a row and figure out why half of the sides of the blanket had two extra stitches on them. It wasn’t too bad, though. I am most definitely surprised at how well it is turning out thus far. I am also a bit terrified because I would say I am less than halfway through the first of three one pound skeins of yarn and I have an entire section left after this one is complete. 



I will eventually move on to working on something else, though. I need to get started on gifts for Yule. Dax wants arm warmers, though I’m testing the waters and hoping he forgets about that before October. I’m considering making him a zig zag blanket. I am not at all sure what to decide as far as colors, but that will be relatively easy to decide later on. I’ll probably do something that would easily coordinate with his bedroom d├ęcor, since I have the feeling that’s where he will be using it the most.

Andrea is going to be receiving either a nice star afghan made of bulky, fluffy yarn or a pair of socks with the butterfly lace pattern on them. I have some hot pink yarn floating around the house somewhere and I know she would enjoy the socks, besides she is the only human being that comes to mind when I thin of that sock yarn. The star afghan is a really fun project, though, and I am not sure I want to devote much thinking to the project with everyone needing gifts. Maybe I will make the socks after Yule, since her birthday is in late January.

I need to find the pattern for a cowl for grandma. She gave it to me, but I lost it. She also bought me the yarn for it for last Christmas and I haven’t gotten around to it quite yet. At least I still know where that is. I also do like the color of the yarn; it’s a very coral pink sort of color that suits her very well. I still need to get size 19 circular needles for that project. It’s a bit irksome; I would have to make several of those cowls in order to really have earned the use of the needles. They’re utterly huge and impractical. Maybe I’ll RAK them to someone on Ravelry later on down the road. I see absolutely no use for them other than this particular cowl pattern.

I have not decided what I am going to do for my parents. My mother has been asking about a scarf that is combined with a hood for quite some time, so I’m probably going to buckle down and go find a pattern for that. My father is impossible, though. I have no idea what to do for him. I was thinking maybe some good, thick socks that go with his uniform since he has to work in all kinds of weather conditions. Only time will tell on that, though.

I am hoping to finish the blanket I started for Aiden when his mother was still pregnant with him. I probably won’t get around to that one anytime soon and it hardly matters since they don’t celebrate any sort of holiday, as it is. I can just finish it up and give it to him whenever it is done. It has been on the needles for three years and it bothers me. I need to finish it. At this point I’m considering ripping it out and making him a toddler blanket, since the original was stupidly decorative and the correct size for an infant, not a two-year-old. I will probably end up doing exactly that in some primary colors. Maybe start something completely different and out of my current realm of experience for him. The only thing I can really think of that would be good for that is color work, but I have never been a huge fan since it seems that most of the finished objects are not reversible. I’m sure I can get some good ideas on Ravelry. It just takes some pattern searching.

I really can’t decide what to do for several friends. I’ll probably think of something, it just takes some time.

With Borders going out of business, I have picked up a rather extensive addition to my library. Mostly Scandinavian history books, sagas, etc. I have not had much time to really get into them yet, so I’m afraid I don’t have too terribly much to say at this juncture. I will, though! There are many interesting books sitting in that bag and I want to get to them.

So, what else have I been doing lately? I have joined Weight Watchers. I finally realized that it was something I need to do. I have quite a large amount of weight to lose and I am very determined. There are all sorts of things I’ve realized that I have been missing out on and for what? Laziness, basically. I have been doing well with the program. I joined on July 16th and have lost 13.4 pounds so far. I weighed in today and have lost 2.2 pounds in the past week. I'm feeling very encouraged and hopeful, so we'll see how it goes. 

I'm going to try to update this blog regularly to track how my life is going and share the things I find useful as I go along.



11 June 2011

The Pink is Upon Us!

So, today was my cousin's baby shower. She's having a girl. The shower was a lot of fun with some interesting games. One of which included melted chocolate and baby diapers, which was oh so much fun! So, now that the gift has been given I can now post pictures of the awesome and utterly humongous baby blanket I made for her. Yay! (I'm sorry the picture is blurry, the camera on my phone is a bit iffy these days.)


I actually started this blanket back in late February and it was in the car during the accident. It was salvaged, washed, and I continued working on it to make it into the huge monster it became. I love it and hopefully my cousin and her new baby will, as well. 

After the baby shower, we went to the Blanco Lavender Festival. It was on the way home, and very interesting. We shopped and got some nice sundresses and I got some awesome yarn! It's 100% merino in a sockweight. I'm considering either socks or a shawl. It doesn't much matter, I love the colors. :)


The lady selling it also sells soap, her shop is called Soapmarked. I didn't buy any due to lack of funds, but she has this chocolate scented soap that is absolutely to die for. I'd consider eating it, seriously. Anyway, we got to chatting and I found out she lives in San Antonio. Hooray for having another local yarn hoar, right? Anyway, she seemed neat. She doesn't sell her yarn on her website, but either way her items are worth interest.

We also stopped and got some tasty Fredricksburg peaches. They are absolutely delicious and my grandmother plans to make a peach cobbler tonight with some of our bounty. I am sure it will be beyond yummy. :)

Oh, also! I began the Yggdrasil Afghan. It looks really awesome so far, but I only have a picture of the beginning supplies. I already have had to frog and restart due to being not quite right in the head when I began and screwed up the cast on, somehow. Okay, so the way it works is you have to do an invisible provisional cast on, but I didn't think that was working out too well for me. The pattern says to do it "into a slipknot". Well, I decided to take it at its word and made a slipknot and used that as my waste yarn and then pulled on the tail to tighten it. Basically, a magic loop. It worked fabulously and I am pleased with the way it's turning out, now.


Oh, also I finished the socks. I absolutely love the way they turned out and my sister does, too. They fit her and she wants them. They would fit our little brother better, but it doesn't really matter. She likes them, that's all that matters. They are definitely fraternal twins. The second was knitted while I was on the road to Arkansas with my grandmother. I guess I was having highway anxiety, because it knit up a bit smaller. The colors spiral rather than flash. I like that they're fraternal twins, and the size difference is marginal, but I wish they weren't different. Ah, well. 


Also, I will have you know... I got a new job. I'm excited about it, but everything is happening so quickly lately that I don't really have time to be running around screaming woo hoo about it. I start on Monday, it's doing data entry. Mom is excited about going shopping tomorrow to get me some more office-type clothing. I'm sure I will do well and it may end up being a wonderful fit. I just miss my old job. 

02 June 2011

Intermission

I had intended to type up a quick post about the Scarborough Renaissance Festival trip, but I haven't had time. We've been getting ready to go to Arkansas to see my family to celebrate my great grandmother's 90th birthday. So, I'm going to just insert a quick blurb about what's been going on in the interim between trips and I will post about both of them when I get back. Huzzah!

Well, I had a doctor's appointment yesterday with my surgeon. Despite the hideous wait even though I was on time for my appointment, it went well. I am doing well, well ahead of the curve. My right radius looks perfectly healed and my left femur is looking about 90% finished. I'm feeling really great, and he seemed very pleased with my progress. I did tell him to look into doing a clinical study on the benefits of kicking as applied to bone healing. I'm fairly certain it helped me.

Yesterday, unfortunately, did not have such an awesome feeling for very long. Our good ol' family dog, Missy, passed away. She was a sweet girl. I remember when we got her Labor Day weekend when I was eleven years old. She was my first dog and I doubt there's another dog in the world as special as she was... in both affection and stinky farts. There's not a whole lot I can really say about her. She was getting quite old, well over fourteen years, and we didn't expect her to do well this summer due to the heat. She lived a full life and will be missed. Rest in peace, girl.



Along with everything else, I finished up A Game of Thrones today and have begun A Clash of Kings. I also finished a sock. It doesn't fit Sarah very well, I think I'm going to make Dax wear them.

31 May 2011

Tragedy

As some of those local to me may know, a Bexar County's Sheriff's Sargeant was murdered early Saturday morning. I would have blogged about this earlier, but I was unfortunately out of town.

Sgt. Kenneth Vann and his wife both worked with my father very closely and this tragedy has hit close to home for us and the families of LEOs everywhere, I'm sure. So, I'm just going to post a link to the news article, which also links to the memorial funds if anyone is interested in contributing.

The Article

19 May 2011

Renaissance Festival Dress

So, the day of my accident I was supposed to go shopping for fabric with a good friend of mine to make festivals for the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. Due to the accident, this was not possible but, since I thought I'd probably be able to go on Memorial Day weekend, I decided to go ahead and purchase a dress that I thought would be functional and not too terribly heavy for the event. I decided to order from a really awesome site that sells handmade dresses. I did not regret it! The dress came today and looks absolutely amazing!


As you can see, all I need now is a good pair of shoes. :)

It's a brand new day

I can honestly say that today has been really awesome. I have been feeling pretty productive, lately, and I think that has helped my self-esteem quite a bit. It's difficult to give up my busy lifestyle to stop and recover, but I think I'm getting much better. It's probably because I'm much more mobile, walking with a cane and feeling awesome about it. I have several projects I'm planning and I have some great things to look forward to.

Today, I worked on the pair of socks I'm making for my sister, Sadie. I'm following the Hidden Stairways pattern. I am really liking it, so far. It's actually a really quick knit and very easy to remember the leg pattern. I am currently at the heel flap on sock 1, and I have found that there's a little bit of a problem with the pattern as it's written. As it's written in the pattern, the heel flap does not work up into your run-of-the-mill eye of partridge heel. I think you're supposed to knit one of your heel flap rows, then begin in order to end to where you're sitting with WS facing and it shows the typical eye of partridge pattern with a garter stitch edge. As it is, my sock is showing the reverse because I knit it up as the pattern indicated and add in another k3, p to end row so that I have WS facing to pick up my gusset stitches on the side. I like the way it looks, so I'm not too terribly worried about it. I'm going to go ahead and turn the heel and fix up the gusset and take a brief pause before starting the foot.


During my little day off from knitting, I'm hoping to catch up and read a bit of the book A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. I have several friends reading this series and I have heard that they are very good books so I am planning to enjoy them quite a bit. I have been watching the HBO series that is based on the books and enjoy it, and I have heard that the show follows the book very well, so I'm sure it's amazing.

Well, other than that, I have been doing quite a bit, today! I spent a lot of the day knitting while watching Stargate: Atlantis. I love that show. A few good friends of mine introduced me to it and I'm really enjoying it. It has more of a sense of wonder and exploration that SG-1 seemed to, which is another show I really liked. 

I also went to physical therapy. Today was really inspired by Thor, I can feel a lot of my strength coming back and I hope to be walking without the use of a cane very soon. My physical therapist seems to be very pleased with my progress, today we decided to increase my exercises by adding a 15 minute bout with a treadmill. It wasn't just me walking on it, though. There's a harness connected to a machine that pulls you up and takes some weight off. I have decided that losing fifty pounds is absolutely necessary and would be beyond awesome. Anyway, I'm hoping to continue the upward trend during my sessions next week. I'm going at precisely the rate I want to.