Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bridal Shower

This past weekend I went to my first ever bridal shower.

I do have one other married friend. But they didn't go the traditional route so there was absolutely no hoopla. And one of my other friends was engaged and I was in the bridal party but it fell through. So as of yet my feeling of being quite young for my peers to be doing such things is intact.

But alas my old roommate is engaged and is having a big ol' wedding. Courtesy of the parents of course. And so out I trekked for the wedding shower.

Large gatherings where I don't know people are quite intimidating. And being as my friend (and just about the only person I knew) was the star of the show I knew I'd be pretty much on my own. Thankfully carpooling was recommended and I ended up meeting and sharing a good bit of a car ride with someone else in a similar situation. It was like instant friendship for the sake of not being alone. Good times.

Also notable is the fact that I rocked a trivia game about my friend. This seems odd to me as I'm distinctly one of the newest people from her life that was in attendance. But I guess I ask many questions and actually remember stuff. That and multiple choice questions love me.

I suppose being social isn't the worst thing that could happen to me.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Awesome Lunch

Each weekday I pack my lunch for work. Sometimes this is a good thing, other times it can be pretty questionable. This week the grocery store had some pretty good sales. Oddly enough some of them that I made use of were even un-advertised (buy one get one cheese awesomeness). And so my lunches this week are, in my humble opinion, pretty awesome. They include:

Wheat Thins
Chicken Salad
Carrot Sticks
Cheese Slices (Cheddar and Colby Jack)
and Yogurt with Granola

I love all of those foods but the particularly big winners are the yogurt with granola (for some reason the crunch makes it so much tastier) and especially the guacamole. My love of guacamole is a rather new thing but a good one.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Drama in the Flute Section, part III

Present Day:

When I went to take a seat in the front row there were no other regular firsts. Just 1A, the piccolo player. She informed me that 1B was sick, 1D moved out of state, and I didn’t catch what was up with 1C but she wasn’t there. And so there were only two chairs set up for us making it quite easy to figure out where to be seated.

And so for the evening I played all 1st music. In one of the songs there were even little solos that I played. I'm pretty sure I played them well even. But my perspective on the situation is not ideal for being the most objective.

At the end of rehearsal our director listed of a bunch of music that she wanted us to practice for next week. I figured I really ought to at least take it home so I'd at least be able to practice if the miraculous occurred. But chances are I was using someone else's folder. Dun dun dun. So I told 1A as much and asked her that if others arrived before me to the next rehearsal tell them not to panic. And I'm really just trying not to step on anyone's toes.

I'm sure that the Queen is festering with anger. She really can't stand any of the other 1sts, and well ok they're playing drives me nuts sometimes too. But now that I may have been promoted ahead of her. It may be 'fair' because I've been with the band longer. But she's older and in her eyes a much better player.

All in all I really don't know if my move is permanent even. At some point 1A commented that I'm flexible, which is entirely true. I'll do whatever. And I'll do it well.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Drama in the Flute Section, part II

Background: When I started playing with the band in November of 2008 if everyone showed up (rare) I was the 8th flute player. The front row was pretty consistent. Sitting on the outside was the piccolo player who was quite good and a reasonable flute player (1A). 2 of the other firsts (1B and 1D) were just not good players. When playing with the entire group they just chug right along. But solos were painful. The one remaining (1C) wasn’t quite so bad but still not at all so much good. The three of them were frequently out of tune. Ouch.

In the second row on the end (2A) we had a moderate-ish player who was quite nice and frequently told me I was awesome. I appreciated this. 2B was frequently absent but a rather strong player. 2C was probably at the same level that I’m playing now. As 2D I sat next to her for quite a while and so struck up an ad-hoc friendship. I like her. But she was the first to go.

After a good many absences it was determined that she had too many other things going on and so 2C was out. I was sad but ended up striking up a good friendship with 2B, she was a highly amusing/fun and nice individual. But she got quite sick and was out for a long time. By the time she was back in attendance 2A was scheduled to be leaving.

Sometime in the midst of all of this a new player joined us. She had previously subbed with the group. A good player she is a strong believer that she is the queen of all flute playing. She likes to make comments about how oh she’s played this piece a million times but only on the first part. Or complain about other sections sounding poor. Or that the conductor is taking the wrong tempo.

The queen started playing sometime when I was really unsure about who was still playing/showing up. So I let her sit on the outside edge. I don’t care enough to pick battles with people like that. 2B started being able to attend more things and couldn’t stand the Queen. This amused me greatly. But then 2B decided to give it up entirely which was very sad.

After a bit of time I learned to deal with the Queen in a way that worked out well enough. I’d just roll my eyes or sometimes even make snide remarks back to her. One time I totally just shot her down randomly. But all in all I think it worked well for both of us.

And that’s where the season ended.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Drama in the Flute Section.

I’m a rambling type person. So this post became ridiculously long and I think I’ll just release it in parts:

After approximately a month break my Community Band had its first rehearsal this week. It was my intent to be a good little musician and arrive early. But as sometimes happens that plan fell through and I barely made it on time.

As I walked in I noticed that my normal seat in the 2nd row (2nd flutes) was occupied. That didn’t really bother me at all because I’m not very concerned about seating. However before I really had anytime to process anything the director waved me up to her and pointed me to the front row.

Methinks I have been promoted.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Well oiled machine.

I am turning into a yarn square crafting machine.

1. January Knitting Square:

Info: This square is actually completed but I took this partially knitted picture in actual daylight so it's a million times better than my completed pictures.
Pattern: Ridiculously easy. As previously mentioned each months square is supposed to be progressively more difficult.
Completion: Took me 2 days a good bit of the time being at a concert.

2. January Crochet Square #1:
Info: Aside from the random penguin a few months ago the last time I did any crocheting was probably around age 12. Grandma said I did it back wards then.
Pattern: I looked things up and frogged (ripped out) the beginning 4 or 5 times.
Completion: Persistance pays off. Once I figured things out I was off and running.

3.January Crochet Square #2
Info: I enjoyed learning a new craft so much I decided to go back and make the same square with multiple colors!
Pattern: Same as last time but this time I knew what I was doing!
Conclusion: I like the look of the crocheted granny squares with multiple colors. But have a hard time giving up my solid, each block one color, aproach.

4. January Crochet Square #3:
Info: I may be addicted to crocheting
Pattern: A second pattern that was posted on the group site. Technically it's for a different group.
Conclusion: I could not resist the siren song of my new craft. My memory is fuzzy but it's entirely possible I did this all in 1 day. 2 at most.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Light as a feather

I am and have always been a petite person. But I got into the habit of weighing myself every morning when my roommates had a scale in the bathroom. And also having read somewhere that people who weight themselves regularly are more likely to maintain a healthy weight, I wanted my own scale.

But I am cheap so I put it on my ginormous list of things I’d like but am not currently willing to spend money on. I also asked around the family and lo and behold when I was home around Christmas my Aunt brought me over an old bathroom scale that no one was using.

After haven eaten much delicious food at home as is appropriate I figured I might actually be up above my normal 105lbs. So when I stood on it and it showed a number sub-100 I was a bit startled. Running and stepping on my parents scale revealed that I was above 100, but not by much. So the thing was off by 3 or 4 pounds.

Since being home I have continued to use my slightly skewed scale most mornings. And well I’ve settled in around 95-96. So even if I add in the missing weight it seems entirely possible that I may be weighing in under 100 pounds. [Or its also possible that I’ve managed to find many skewed scales, one never knows.]

Now I also happen to be quite short. So my current weight is actually just about on the line of normal/underweight. And I feel perfectly fine. I’m quite capable of being physically active. I have my ballet class and am a relatively decent biker when the weather cooperates. Frequently I surprise people with my lifting capabilities. Most importantly I’m perfectly happy with the way I look.

But really now, it is just weird to have to worry about not weighing enough….sheesh.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Do not call. Please?

Recently I had to RSVP for a friends bridal shower. I absolutely hate/dread making phone calls so I put it off and put it off.

Before I knew it I had put it off too long and I had to call. Even that day I put it off and put it off for a number of hours. I went over what I could/should say in my head dozens of times. Eventually I dialed.

The phone rang a few times. Is someone there or has it been long enough will the voice mail pick up? Something clicked on. Voice mail. Oh thank goodness.

I muddle through my somewhat prepared message. All of the calling I have to do at work, which I have gotten relatively decent at, makes me sound very professional on the phone. I leave my message, name, and number. Very clearly, I think. It may have also been rather softly. Oops.

After the call I was rather subtly shaking.

Now I just heard that in attempting to arrange for car pooling I must call someone else.

Death on a stick.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It was a beginning.

I started re-reading the first of the Wheel of Time Books: The Eye of the World.

The first night I think I must have been quite tired. Such as I really have no idea why I thought it appropriate to read before bed, but nevertheless I did and only got through the prologue. It was not all bad however as the prologue is pretty awesome and made me a bit excited for when things start really rolling later in the series.

On another night I picked it up and only got about 20 pages in or so. I’m thinking my recent yarn craft obsession is really cutting into my reading.

But then finally on Sunday I had a mostly all free day. So after accomplishing much crafting in the afternoon I devoted a few hours of the evening to my book.

Closing the book I was over 100 pages in and quite proud of myself. Until I realized that I am reading a ridiculously large book/series and so still have at least 600 pages of The Eye of the World to go.

I have a feeling this series re-read may be a love/hate task.

"The Wheel of Time turns, and ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legends fade to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the third age by some, an Age yet to come, an age long pass, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings or endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning."

Too cute.

I hadn’t crocheted for years. But I kept drooling over the ridiculously cute Amigurumi patterns I found online. And the fact that there were Penguin patterns was eventually more than I could resist.

So I took this free Lion Brand pattern and decided that it couldn’t hurt to try.

I like him.

Sometimes my own abilities to do pretty much anything amaze me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

is reading better than tv

The other day I read an online article titled “Watching TV shortens life span, study finds”. Now the idea that watching television is a (relatively) unhealthy activity is nothing at all new. But it got me thinking…what about all of the other sedentary activities found in our lives.

Most specifically I wondered about reading. When reading one is distinctly physically non-active. And yet this activity has absolutely none of the stigma that television does. Perhaps because too many people don’t do it? Or it’s quite likely that there are other correlations that exist between the variables. For example: reading is considered to be a higher level thinking type activity and better educated people are typically healthier.

I wonder as to which activity has taken up more time in my life? For most people I’m sure the answer is TV. But luckily for me I am highly abnormal. As a child my parents would only allow us to watch a very limited amount of TV. And as a child I was a ridiculously voracious reader. These days I’m sure that my tube viewing hours dominate by far. I like to try and justify this as also being in correlation with my craft time (unless I am absolutely exhausted or hanging out with the boy I never watch TV without a craft or sometimes a meal). But just knowing how much I read when I still had those empty hours (before high school) I really have no idea which activity would win out.

Moral of the story: I really ought to be more physically active but I'm really not too concerned about it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Being square

I’m not sure where or how I first heard about it (probably my craft geekyness) but I’ve been a member of Ravelry for maybe a year now. Ravelry is an online community for knitters, crocheters, and spinners. It’s awesome.

Mostly I like to use it as a place to find patterns and keep a list of what I would like to make in the future. Plus I can keep track of everything I’ve made in the past. But the site also has a large number of groups and forums.

Having completed my holiday knitting I went on ravelry to decide what to do next. They have groups called “alongs” where the idea is that a pattern is posted and everyone goes off on their own and makes it. If you need help you can always ask, and once you finish you can share it with everyone. I quite enjoy the idea but have never given it a try….until now.

First I found the “Knit a Block a Month KAL” (KAL=knit along). The idea is to knit up 12 different 12 inch squares, one for each month, which are then sewn together to make an afgan. The patterns are progressive and designed for the beginning knitter who will learn something new each month. I am not a beginner and some of the patterns are really really easy. But some of them have color work which will be new for me.

Often times, as with the Holiday crafting, projects will quickly loose their luster when I’m working on them. And so I thought the block a month idea would be an excellent idea. I went hunting for more….

Quite happily, although somewhat cautiously, I found a Crochet a Block a Month group. Same deal, different yarn craft. Years and years ago I taught myself to crochet. But I never did much with it. And only just a few months ago did I again pick up a crochet hook to make a cute amigurumi penguin. This group will hopefully help me to get into crocheting!

It’s very excited and I’ve made quite a bit of progress which I shall save for another post.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

He went to the chimney and stuffed the tree up!

This year for the holiday's I got a real Christmas Tree.

I absolutely love the holidays and it wouldn't feel like Christmas with out a real tree. But I did learn some things.

Firstly the watering of the tree is very important. By the time I was taking the lights off of the tree on this Tuesday just leaning into the tree would cause bunches of needles to embed themselves in my shirt and pull right off of the tree. Needless (but much emphasis on needles) to say this resulted in ridiculously large quantities of needles being shed upon my carpet.

After managing to move the tree outside (this involved untying it from the ceiling as it had fallen over sometime early December). I was very impressed with myself and feeling good. I figured I ought to try at needle removal with the vacuum cleaner.

This was a mistake as after 2 minutes or so of more or less futility….*zzzt* everything went dark.
I have now learned many things about fuses, crazy old ones in particular. While rather ridiculously inconvenient the generation of this knowledge I feel will definitely be useful later in life.

I strongly recommend shop- vacs for needle removal.

Crafting burn out.

As has happened to me now for many years I went and had some big ideas for my holiday crafting. This year it was all about the hand-spun (by me of course) alpaca yarn being used to knit stuff for people. Needless to say I bit off way more than I could chew and even having only 3 projects just finished knitting a gift last evening.

It’s some crafting burn out. Mainly the problem is I feel like I must devote all of my free time to these projects which tend to be not the most exciting or something that I’m really into. Plus all while I’m (theoretically) furiously knitting or spinning I’ll be drooling over all of the other things I could be doing instead. Very sad.

But the holiday’s are over! And I even managed to make a big push to finish the one "IOU" project that remained.

Here's what I made:

All three of course started as raw wool and so required: carding, spinning, plying, washing, then finally the knitting. So overall I suppose only having gotten through 3 is ok.

But I'm really looking forward to all the new and exciting projects I can tackle!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Simple Delights.

A few weeks ago I decided I wanted croutons for a lunch salad. The debate was then should I buy a box/bag or should I try making them.

Quick research indicated $2-$3 for store bought. Then I found this recipe for homemade. And as I actually had all of the ingredients it was the obvious winner.

At some point I decided that trying to eat a whole loaf of bread on my own was ridiculous and so I have a loaf of sliced wheat bread in the freezer. I pulled out two slices. Frozen bread is awesome in its ability to thaw in absolutely no time. I chopped up the bread (crust and all).

Then I melted probably 2 tablespoons of butter. I suspect that this was overkill. However I started with a smaller amount and it just disappeared when I mixed it with the cubes so I was afraid some of them and soaked up nothing. Even when I added more it still seemed iffy.

Having inherited garlic salt from the pantry of my old shared residence I made the first use of it in what I suspect has been a few years when I sprinkled it liberally over the cubes.

I spread everything out onto a foil lined pan and popped them into the toaster oven. When the cubes had reached some varying degrees of brownness I pulled everything out and gave them a taste.

Best. Croutons. Ever.


So since moving into my very own apartment which I don’t share with anyone else I’ve quite loved it. But this winter the utilities costs may be the death of me.

When I first moved in things were pretty ok, with the exception of evil Comcast ridiculous charges. My first electric bill was like $19. I was being pretty ridiculous about not having anything on and come to think of it I also didn’t have much stuff for some of the time.

Things have changed.

Mainly I blame the cold weather. I knew the cold factor was pretty much going to be the demise of my thriftyness. To combat this I set the thermostat originally at 65 but soon down to 60. Then sometimes I’d turn it up to 65 if I were home for the entire day (weekend). But now even if I’m home I tend to leave it at 60. I survive mainly by more or less sitting on top of a space heater when I’m at home in the evening. And to sleep I typically wear: socks, pajama bottoms, 1 or 2 shirts, and a sweatshirt. Plus on the bed is: a sheet, a velour blanket, 2 comforters, a decorative fleece blanket, and a seriously retro (probably from the 70’s) electric blanket (donated by Mother) which I try to turn on 30 minutes or so before bed and then turn off while I’m sleeping. I most always wake up toasty and it is awesome.

But attempts to save/conserve are only getting me so far. The electric bill is around $40 now and I’m dreading what it will be now that the rate caps have expired. For me the uncertainty is worse than anything.

The oil is the heavy hitter however. Early December I almost ran the tank dry (which is very bad). So to fill it was 214 gallons. It was 2.60 something per gallon I think. That hurt, a lot. But I hoped it would last me a good while. Then when I looked at the tank gauge approximately 2 weeks after it was filled there was already ¼ of the tank gone. Doom!

Just yesterday I arrived home and found that they’d come and filled the tank again (I signed up for automatic delivery so I don’t almost run the tank dry again). And even though it was a little under 100 gallons thankfully, the price was up to 2.90 something. More Doom!

The carnage (so far):
12/12 – $557.06
1/6 - $274.95
Total: 832.01

I predict things will be getting a bit worse before they get better on this front.