Friday, February 29, 2008

Au Revoir, February!

I do not heart February 2008. It was a bad month. I think I had five separate floods at the Pilates studio to deal with, the furnace at our house went out (on a Saturday night, no less, when they charge $120 just to pick up the phone), work was completely overbearing, graduate school is kicking my butt, and an old friend from college passed away.

I found out about my friend in a strange way: she works for the University, and as I was downloading some slides for my Operations Management class, I saw an announcement that the flag had been lowered for the students at NIU, and also for the woman who was one of my best friends when I was an undergraduate. It was quite a shock, and I have to say, I didn’t fully believe it until I found her obituary. Our lives took different directions in the years since, and I hadn’t actually talked to her for a long time.

It’s a strange thing to have an old friend suddenly die, especially one who is so close in age. These kinds of things always make you think a little, about your own life, where it’s going, and wondering what her life was like in the past few years as well.

Turns out that she and her husband (I knew them both in college) were in the finishing stages of what could only be described as building their dream home. I found the house after a Google search, and it was remarkable, especially for two people with rather modest jobs. Absolutely no detail was left to chance; you could see that every room, door, wall, floor, and fixture was carefully planned around their tastes and styles. With a fantastic view and special touches, it will be a beautiful house.

I am so sad for her husband; what a tragedy to suddenly find their dream shattered. As I said, the circumstances have really let me reflect on my own life. Not so much in that “I must start living” thing, because I really do feel like I live my life to the fullest extent, but in the way that I want to think about how I live, and be somewhat more purposeful about that. I know that I wouldn’t want that particular “dream home,” because for me, part of the dream is not being at home so much. My tastes are really much simpler-sparser- than those of my old friend. When I really think about where and how I want to live, I feel more comfortable in monastic surroundings. I like whitespace. Or maybe just space.

The problem with this scenario is the fact that even after multiple moves (and subsequent purges) to increasingly smaller living spaces, I have so much stuff. Maybe it’s a symptom of being so busy and doing so many things (I think we have seven or eight pair of skis between us, not to mention equipment for beer making, cheese making, soap making, all the accoutrements for knitting, sewing, and other hobbies and enough of my clothes to outfit a village), maybe it’s that my mom keeps giving me stuff or I keep getting stuff, but whatever it is, it doesn’t fit my preferred style of living.

So, I’m giving myself a deadline: I really need to get rid of everything I don’t want or use anymore by June. Considering that school is on overdrive until the first part of May and we have a major audit coming up at work in June, the next three months are going to be crazy. Hopefully I’ll have some spare time for stress-relief knitting!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Valentine Tradition and New Project!

I don't remember exactly when this tradition started, but probably the second year that my husband and I were dating: he took me snow camping for the first time, and it just happened to be Valentine's Day weekend. Now most people proably wouldn't consider snow camping to be at the height of a romantic getaway, but we kinda like it. We go to our favorite hot springs, Gold Bug, which means that if you get cold, you just have to hike "upstairs" (it's quite a huff, actually) to the most beautiful hot pools.

Sadly, this year my knees just wouldn't cooperate. I thought I'd be okay, but three months and one day after surgery, I guess I expected too much. I couldn't even carry my backpack the whole way (and I'm sure having crampon's on my feet didn't help). Thank goodness for my wonderful husband who not only carried my pack, but stayed with me in the tent while I just slept and slept. Bummer, but at least it was a good hike and a fun time in the tent. This is Kodi and me, looking out the next morning:
And now, for some knitting. Well, as you might expect, there's been a fair amount of de-stress knitting going on amidst all the school and studio-flooding mayhem (I think I've had three total floods so far, although I'm losing count...not to mention a power outage and THEN the furnace in our house went out Saturday night...sheesh!). So, I've been doing a lot of knitting that I haven't told you about, and I've been buying yarn like there's going to be a shortage soon, but this is a much-anticipated project. Ever since I saw the Interweave Knits Spring Preview and the Auburn Camp Shirt by Chrissy Gardiner, I've been waiting no-so-patiently for the issue to come out.

I love the pattern, and was actually thinking of hand-dying some yarn especially for the project (see, there's something else I haven't told you about!), but when I actually saw the yarn, and saw the exact color I wanted, well, I was sold! The yarn is Naturally Dawn, a 50/50 blend of merino and silk, and is a soft, floppy, totally gorgeous pile of fingering-weight bliss that I'm about to use for a sweater. Well, leave it to someone who brilliantly designs socks to make a sweater out of the same weight! But, oh, is it lovely!
The color is so perfect for a summer knit--with a bit of a tan, it will make my eyes just pop. I can't wait!