Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Two Years

A few weeks ago, Mr. Higgins and I celebrated our two year anniversary. In honor of our first date, we went downtown (seen above from the parking garage), where we met for the first time.

I can't believe it's only been two years; it feels like five! In a good way! So much has happened these two years, so much happiness has blossomed, so many dreams have come true... It all feels surreal, almost. I never imagined this would happen; I never thought to find someone who understands me so well yet still loves me; I never dared to hope I would marry and be this content.

Not a day goes by when I'm not thankful for this man, my soul mate, and all the blessings he brings into my life.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Dress Lodger

The other day, I finished reading The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman. Here's the review I posted I Goodreads:

This book is quite unique. The subject matter is gory, the main character's profession risque, the setting filthy. Yet I loved Gustine the moment I met her: a fifteen-year-old who works two jobs - one of which is that of a prostitute - to provide for her son.

The setting is historically interesting.... It's nineteenth century Britain and cholera has finally made it around the globe to land in Sunderland, England. This plague will ultimately kill thousands and will set the poor against the rich. The doctors frantically look for a cure...with no cadavers to examine and learn from.

This was a fascinating - and graphic - account of one woman's harrowing journey through the cholera epidemic.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Abusive Boyfriend: Knitting

Knitting is like an abusive boyfriend. I get so excited to see it, and it kicks me in the you-know-what. I love it and it knocks me down. I try to improve it and it tortures me. And after all this abusive, I keep coming back.

Last night, I was on a roll with the fingerless gloves. I was making good time and making no mistakes. Then I actually looked at the pattern....and my knitting. I'd knitted too far! I had to take out two rows to get in line with the pattern. Okay, deep breath. You can do this.

And I do. I take out two rows, slowly but surely. I try not to panic when a stitch drops; I just grab the crochet hook and get it back on the needle. Then I come to the section where I've been adding making stitches. And it all goes wrong. Suddenly stitches that should stay stitches are disappearing. What the heck?! I didn't add them on this row so whey are they coming apart on this row?!

I couldn't fix it. I'll have to wait until a Knit Night with my super-smart knitting buddy.

I hate that I can't fix these crazy mistakes by myself. I can fix most things but not the crazy things. I hate that something everyone says is relaxing is usually very stressful for me. I hate that I look forward to knitting SO much and so often come away completely dejected. And I hate that it makes me feel dumb; I can't think myself out of most knitting mistakes.

So my knitting confidence is rock bottom. I guess that's nothing new. But it would be good to feel like I'm doing something right every once in a while.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In Love with Project Life

I am loving Project Life!

It's so easy! It's so cute! I'm in love!

I love that it's making me taking - theoretically - a picture a day. I love that it's cataloging everyday life - something difficult to photograph much less scrapbook. I love that it's a journal, of sorts, and a scrapbook. I love how it inspires me to be creative - without stressing me out!

So many people who use Project Life are mothers. It's a great way to show your kids' day-to-day activities. But people without kids can do it as well! I love making a not of what I was reading or knitting when.... What Mr. Higgins was doing that week... What cute thing the cats did... What we did for our fun Friday night out... It's just a great way to tell your story.

I love it!

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Nightmare of a Situation

There's some stuff going on at work that has put the entire department on edge. Feelings have been hurt. Lines have been drawn in the sand. As someone said yesterday, "it's been a nightmare."

All of this stuff directly involves me and my position. Yet I am given no say in the matter; I'm the silent non-member of the departments, as always. It's not a fun situation to be in. Professors talk a lot about inclusiveness, collegiality....but when it comes down to it, they're on a power trip just like everyone else on this planet. In the long run, every man cares only for himself.

I don't have many friends in the department - people who I make an effort to connect with. But I thought I had one. Now it turns out that that person is not looking out for me behind closed doors. Like everyone else, this person cares only about himself.

I should have known better than to make a friend at work. When you get stabbed in the back, it hurts worse when the stabbing is done by a friend. I should have learned that from Caesar! But no. I wanted a friend.

Yes, it's a nightmare, for sure.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Knitting Update

The fingerless gloves that I'm making with my new knitting buddy are coming along....slowly but surely. It's definitely a challenging pattern for me....but I need to challenge myself! Too often, I become complacent in my knitting, which is not good.

We met earlier this week at a Panera close to my work for our knitting session. It's usually a quiet place to knit....but it wasn't on Monday. Students, newly returned from their Christmas break, were out in force. The cacophony of noise was deafening. At one point, when I was trying to do some tedious stitches, we became surrounded by a group of people, excitedly greeting one another. I suddenly felt very claustrophobic. It was not good.

Next week, we're meeting at my house to knit. There, the only cacophony is the pitter patter of kitty feet!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wolf Hall

I finally finished Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. This is a 500 page book about the career of Thomas Cromwell as he climbs the ranks in Henry VIII's court.

Let me first say that this book was shoved at me by a professor - "you must read this if you like historical fiction." This professor knows very little about me and I'm a bit annoyed that she would loan me a book. I know it sounds horrible, but I hate being pressured into reading something; it always feels too much like an assignment with a due date.

That aside, I've also gotten a bit saturated with the Henry VIII topic - it was never something that intrigued me and it's become too popular for my taste. In my opinion, that time period should be known as the Dark Age of Britain.

So this is how I went into this book. The bright spot was the focus on Thomas Cromwell - someone who I knew little about, mainly because his story so often gets lost in the chaos of Henry VIII's rule. Mantel's story was an interesting one. I liked Cromwell; I hated Henry VIII (go figure). The other main character was Anne Boleyn - who is presented as confident yet paranoid, jealous yet commanding. I did not much like her but that's to be expected.

Mantel is a gifted writer - of this, there is no doubt. But the story went on and on....and on. It ended with Cromwell scheduling a trip for Henry to visit the Seymours. No good will come of that, we know.

I'm glad I was able to get through this book - proud that I was able to do it. Mantel is supposedly writing a sequel. That book, I'm guessing, will not send so well for Cromwell.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cruise Planning

This spring is going to be a busy one. One of my best friends is planning a March wedding while my other best friend is due to give birth to her first child in May. Whew!

On top of that, Mr. Higgins and I are trying to plan out our travel for the year. He loves cruises so we've been looking at a lot of those. We actually already have one booked - the family is taking my mom on a cruise for her 60th birthday next month! We can't wait!

We were then planning on doing an Alaska cruise in June.... But the prices have not come down and are just too much right now. (Airfare is astronomical, too.) Though we were planning on this cruise, we've started looking at other options should we have to change our plans.

This is made difficult by a conundrum. All - well, 99% - of the cruise ships stop running good Caribbean routes in mid-April. They go to Europe for the summer. Good Caribbean routes do not resume until the end of hurricane season. There's no way I'm getting on a ship until hurricane season is well and truly done - so in December. That means no cruising from mid-April to December. So, we're looking at cruises in April....which is not that long after our February cruise.

Such a conundrum! But I'd rather be discussing travel options than to have no options all together!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pushing On

At Knit Night last week, I started my first pair of fingerless gloves. Me and my knitting buddy are doing a knit-along with the pattern....and thank goodness! The pattern is far outside my knitting capabilities!

In fact, on one part of the pattern, the stitch is so difficult that - after hours of trying to get it to work - I busted out the crochet hook and did an entire row with it. Much easier! I like pushing myself with new knitting techniques but I'm hoping the hardest part of the pattern is over..... But, wait! I still have the thumb to go! Eeek! And another glove!

Wish me luck. The yarn is so tiny and I'm constantly afraid I'm going to break my awesome wooden needles... But I'm determined to persevere and make it work!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Baby Socks Repeated

I finished these baby socks before Christmas. I used the same pattern as the previous pair - so cute! And I love the cotton yarn!

Pattern: Baby Socks by Joelle Hoverson
Yarn: Knitting Fever Cotton Candy
Needles: US 5 dpns
Made for: someone
Time to completion: 20 days (the holidays didn't help)


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Archies: 2011

As a recap for 2011, I've decided to follow Donna's lead and put together my version of The Archies....or, my top things from 2011. To be fair, I first encountered The Archies on The Secret Knitter's blog a few years ago. I put together a list in 2009 but was too overwhelmed to do one in 2010...which was a great year to miss. Such a shame!

In 2009, I did 51 so this year I'll do 52. Here we go....

1. marriage to Mr. Higgins.
2. a wedding to Mr. Higgins, presided over by my favorite absent-minded professor, DG.
3. Dallas Mavericks' championship year - GO MAVS!
4. Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, and Tyson Chandler.
5. Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her biography, Infidel
6. in-laws and new family!
7. knit nights.
8. Jekyll Island, GA.
9. a new house with Mr. Higgins.
10. Dooku the Cat.
11. sunsets seen from Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI.
12. cooking in my new kitchen!
13. pretzel rolls.
14. Yosemite National Park.
15. George R. R. Martin's Song of Fire and Ice.
16. HBO's Game of Thrones.
17. Lois Lowry's The Giver.
18. homemade apple pie.
19. pizza on St. John, USVI.
20. X-MEN: FIRST CLASS soundtrack.
21. Amos Lee's Mission Bell.
22. zumba.
23. food blogs.
24. knitting baby socks!
25. the Avett Brothers.
26. Max Brooks' World War Z.
27. Game of Thrones theme song. For an cool, unofficial version, go here.
28. AMC's The Walking Dead.
29. Kate Middleton's wedding dress.
30. Community.
31. yarn wreaths.
32. bushwackers (think alcoholic milkshake) on St. John.
33. an end to the Harry Potter movies - finally.
34. Mafolie Hotel views of St. Thomas.
35. Michael Fassbender in....anything.
36. pulled pork.
37. ranunculuses - especially in my wedding bouquet.
38. Dorie Greenspan's Corniest Corn Muffins - delicious!
39. Greenberg Smoked Turkeys from my hometown.
40. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.
41. Container Store's Elfa Shelving.
42. frozen yogurt - so many places have opened up here!
43. In-N-Out in Texas.
44. cake mix cookies and muffins.
45. chocolate gingerbread.
46. Shaw's Burgers and Shakes.
47. Jekyll Island Club - the perfect setting for a southern wedding.
49. Pizza Inn's buffet.
50. pumpkin scones.
51. Wilco.
52. a best friend's engagement.

Wow, there's a lot of food on here! That comes from having a new kitchen to cook in and finally get settled into. 2011 was such an incredible year, full of changes. 2012 will be even better!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year!

It's now 2012! I can't believe it! 2011 was an amazing year! Let's recap what happened...

- I married Mr. Higgins.
- I bought a house with Mr. Higgins.
- We had 80 days of 100+ temperatures.
- We had an especially snowy/cold February...with a snow week!
- I got to spend a week on St. John, USVI (honeymoon).
- We traveled to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite for my 30th birthday.
- Oh, yes, I turned 30.
- My best friend is pregnant with her first child.
- My other best friend got engaged.

There was also sadness in 2011...but we were lucky to not lose anyone close to us. I had to give up my cat, Sybella, but she's in a loving home. She's also become quite the indoor/outdoor kitty - she apparently catches snakes and chases away dogs! That's my girl!

It was a truly great year - the best of my life, actually. I'll never forget it and how blessed we are.

Happy 2012!