Fall Update

Hello everyone!

It’s been nearly two months since I’ve blogged.  I’ve been busy, but had also been feeling uninspired.  September had been full of frustrations and I just didn’t have a lot of energy to devote to my creative passions.  But October has been kinder to me; I’ve been feeling better lately and working on my crafts again.

I’ve been trying to make the most of my surroundings to satisfy this enormous wanderlust I’ve been feeling lately.  Some trips are definitely planned for the future, but for now, why not enjoy what is in my backyard?  We’ve been taking some bike rides, and enjoyed the Oddball Comedy Fest and ACL.  Fall is my favorite time of year and I have been relishing the coziness and onset of boot weather, even though it’s still in the 80s here in Texas.

We went to the Renaissance Festival yesterday. It was my first time ever attending, and I really enjoyed it. I had to get used to everyone speaking in British accents and saying the price in “pounds” instead of “dollars” (my nerdy brain immediately thought, “Do I have to make the conversion?”)  Boyfriend and I walked around and bought lots of trinkets (I have a weakness for pretty rocks and bird-related items, and bought multitudes of both).  We went to a petting zoo, which I think may have been one of my favorite parts of the festival.  I am pretty sure we were the only adults in the petting zoo without small children.

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Is it weird that I really want a goat?  I heard that they are total jerks but I really want one anyway.

I just got back from a groundwater sampling trip Friday, so I have spent today being completely lazy – reading, crafting, napping, and eating Starburst candy corn.  I read through Lena Dunham’s new book this weekend and really enjoyed it.  I am really looking forward to Amy Poehler’s new book next.  Boyfriend and I also watched the first episode of Sonic Highways, which fills me with hope that the Foos will play a show in Austin whenever that episode premieres.  The Chicago show apparently sold out in minutes, though, so I’m a little worried.  I missed out on an opportunity to see Dave Grohl last year at SXSW, and if I miss out on another chance, I will be sad.  SAD, I TELL YOU.  I haven’t been to a Foos show since 2011 and I have dreams about going to one and it’s pretty embarrassing, but whatever.

I’ve been pretty unfocused with my projects, but have been working through Marion Mandel’s The New Crotchet, with hilariously disastrous results that I will describe in a future post.  I’m also trying to learn how to knit and that is enormously difficult for me.  I even bought one of those small children’s kits and I can’t follow the directions there.  THERE IS NO HOPE FOR ME.

Alright, I will bid you adieu.  Until next time! I promise sooner than two months from now.

Sewing Adventures

Hello everyone!  It’s been a busy month.  There’s a big report due next Friday that has been keeping me on my toes.  I also found out that I have to go out in the field to my site quarterly instead of biannually.  YAYYYY!!!!!! Environmental sampling in rural south Texas is totally a blast.  This is what I tell myself, at least.

I’ve been trying to find the time to work on my craft projects to keep me sane and happy.  It’s been hard lately trying to focus my attention on one craft project. There’s a long-term cross-stitch project I’ve been working on since May (sigh), and I’m trying to learn how to crochet (crochet is HARD GUYS.  HARD.)

And I got a sewing machine!

I’ve been wanting to sew for a long time. My parents bought me a sewing machine when I was a kid, and I made a dress and sewed little things.  But it was difficult and I wasn’t very motivated to continue learning when threading the sewing machine seemed like an enormous undertaking.

But lately I’ve been regretting not learning to sew when I was younger, so when I received an Amazon gift card as a reward from work, I used it to purchase a Brother sewing machine.  I bought several sewing books and chose a simple pillow project from a Cath Kidston book.  I decided to make a pillow for Boyfriend since I’m more inclined to finish a project if it’s for someone else. I also figured it was the least I could do for him, since I was dragging him along on what must have been a very boring Joann’s trip.

It had been awhile since I’d purchased fabric, so I didn’t remember that fabric is only cut length-wise.  So when I gave the length and width dimensions to the Joann’s employee, she looked incredibly annoyed. In fact, she hardly acknowledged me at all throughout the interaction and when I asked her to cut one more swath of cloth, I thought she was going to murder me.  Thanks for hating your life, nameless Joann’s employee!

When I returned to Joann’s a second time to purchase fabric, a (much nicer) employee explained that she could only cut the fabric length-wise.  I was a little embarrassed at being such a noob, but grateful that she took the time to explain it to me.

After I compiled my materials with most of my dignity intact, it was time to begin!

Here’s how I made the first pillow. Since Boyfriend picked the fabric himself, I dubbed it the Man Pillow.

Cutting the fabric.

Cutting the fabric.

Any seamstress with maybe more than three weeks of sewing experience would have had a conniption fit with the haphazard way I was cutting the fabric.

Pinning the pieces together…

Viola!!

Viola!!

I was quite pleased with the final result and happy that the project was so easy.  Granted, the seams are horrifically crooked and it looks like my pillow is very close to getting a muffin top.  But I let out a laugh of glee when I finished it.   And Boyfriend likes it, so that’s all that matters.

The next pillow I made was for my brother, who challenged me to make him a girly pillow.

I hope this does not disappoint.

I hope this does not disappoint.

I decided I’d make one more pillow before attempting another project, but this one was doomed for the start. I should know better than try and complete projects while I’m tired.  I cut the materials incorrectly and even after an attempt to salvage it, I realized at the VERY END OF THE PROJECT that I had pinned the fabric the incorrect way, so that the wrong side of the fabric was showing.

SO MUCH GRRRRRRR.

SO MUCH GRRRRRRR.

The back looks nice, I guess.

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I decided to use it as a laptop cover.  I still have a pillow that needs a pillowcase, but I think I’m done with pillowcases for now.  Time to advance to the next project! :)

 

 

I’m Sorry!

So I spent some time crafting a post, and WordPress lost it.  And the draft wasn’t saved in my drafts folder.

THANKS WORDPRESS.

Anyway, I can’t believe it’s been nearly two months since I have posted. I’ve been keeping pretty busy this summer.  Here’s a quick update on what I’ve been up to.

1.  Field Work – The field work in June went as well as could be expected.  It was very humid and since it rained on the first day, we worked long hours (12-14 hour plus).  I was so relieved and happy to be done at the end of the week. Also, I’m not going to give myself a hard time about dreading driving down that hill anymore.  There genuinely isn’t a lot of pivot room so I am kind of forced to drive down the hill more parallel to it than perpendicular; I genuinely felt like my truck was going to tip over.

2.  Work – Work has been keeping me very busy. It’s been stressful at times, but I like what I do and have learned a lot.  It could be a lot worse.

3.  Down Time – In my downtime, I’ve been spending a lot of time reading and crafting.  Last month, Boyfriend and I took a day trip to see some friends. We spent all day relaxing near a swimming hole. I had never seen anything so pristine and beautiful!  I also faced a lifelong fear of deep water by swimming across it (it was about 40 – 60 feet deep).  I didn’t have the energy or gumption to swim back (I kept near the shore this time around), but it felt good to face my fears head-on.

Swimming hole

4.  (Briefly) Meeting Famous People – Last month, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton came to my city for a book signing.  My coworker and I very eagerly stood in line for two hours; the line outside the bookstore encompassed several blocks!

Once we made it inside the bookstore, we were frisked and led upstairs to the signing room. There were Secret Service EVERYWHERE in the signing room, which was very intimating.  We’d been told we were not going to be allowed to take pictures, but a bookstore employee allowed us to take a picture from the back of the signing room line, as long as we kept the line moving.

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Once we got to the front of the line, we were able to shake Mrs. Clinton’s hand and exchange a few words, and receive a copy of our signed book. Mrs. Clinton was very gracious and I told her it was an honor to meet her (she has a great handshake, of course).  It was a very surreal moment – it’s like when you eagerly anticipated graduating, and the walk across the stage was over in ten seconds.

5. Turning 30!  I turned 30 this month.  I was mostly ready for it, besides a couple of “Oh God, what have I done with my life?!” moments. It didn’t really hit until I blew out the candles on my cake.

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Overall, it was a great day spent with friends and family.  I look forward to this decade with optimism; age is just a number, right? I was ready to leave my 20s behind, anyway.  For my birthday, Boyfriend got me these really incredible personal gifts, and my parents got me birthday money that I promptly put into savings. Haha, just kidding, I put it towards the Wii U that I bought with Boyfriend.

6. Half Marathon Training – I started training this month.  I can’t say I’m excited to wake up early on Saturday mornings again, but it feels wonderful to be out there once I start running. I’m pretty excited about training season this year.

Well, that’s about it.  In terms of the blog, I am going to start focusing more on what inspires me creatively, which is crafting right now. I’ve tried to blog “old school,” where I just ramble about whatever happened in my day or vent, but it just doesn’t appeal to me anymore; I have a good network of people I can vent to now, whereas back then, I didn’t.  I’ll still update when there’s something “noteworthy” going on (take with a grain of salt, since I’m pretty settled into my grandma routine), but otherwise want to start focusing this blog on creative pursuits that I am passionate about. I hope you still stick around! I promise to try and make it fun.

I’ll talk to you all soon. Until then, have a great week!

 

Why Am I Still Awake?

Today I was a bit of a zombie.  I hadn’t gotten very much sleep, had driven the 2 hours back from Boyfriend’s this morning…I was tired.

“I will get a lot of sleep tonight,” I thought, and became overly ambitious with my plans for the evening. I would come home, exercise, work on poetry, drum, work on my craft project, and read.  I would be responsible and retire early, by 11.

I came home, sat on the internet for 30 minutes, took care of Puppy, drummed a little, and then worked on the craft project.  It’s 12:15 and I’m wide awake, unfortunately.

I bought one of these coffee press thingys. From Melitta? It was five dollars, why not?  Because a person already prone to anxiety needs more caffeine in her life. I’m going to give it a try tomorrow and I hope the lure of coffee will inspire me to wake up early.

It probably won’t.

I’m kind of in denial that it’s already June.  This particular June is full of anniversaries, some happy, one sad.

  • I moved to Texas twenty years ago.
  • I met Boyfriend five years ago.
  • My friend passed away a year ago.

I have a feeling June will go by fast. I’m looking forward to July, even if I have two monster reports to work on in July and so work will likely own my soul.  My friend Suchi is coming to the states for several months, so yay! Boyfriend and I will celebrate our 2.5 year anniversary.  My 30th birthday is in July too.  Actually, I’m good with turning 30. It’s been on my mind a lot, I’m not going to lie. I’m not really afraid of turning 30.  I would only be afraid if I wasn’t happy about anything I’ve done with my life so far, and  I’m pretty happy with most of the things I’ve accomplished so far.  My only quibble is I’d like to travel a little more. I’m going to work on that for the next decade.

Also, I’d like to get my nose pierced and a tattoo, but I’m a wimp so we’ll see how that goes.

So how have I not listened to very much of Mazzy Star?

Oh my god, Hope Sandoval’s voice is pure perfection.  She first came on my radar when I saw an episode of True Blood and this song was playing.  That song will always remind me of Summer 2010 because it was on replay a ridiculous amount.

Okay. I should really try to sleep. Night night.

Oh God, Is It Nearly June Already?

GUYS, SERIOUSLY.  HOW IS IT NEARLY JUNE?

Hi.

I know it’s been awhile.

I had honestly been dreading May a little, which is why I didn’t even make a progress post on resolutions because I felt like it’d be pointless.  And now the month is nearly done.  It’s been busy.  I had my first conference downtown, which went well.  Then my friend graduated, which we attended…then we had to housesit for my coworkers…then Memorial Day weekend traveling.

June will be busy, too. I have field work the second week of June. DUN DUN DUN.  I have been dreading it for over a month now, which is ridiculous. As many times as I have done it, I should be much more chill than I am about it.  I just don’t want to get stuck in mud again, or drive on the stupid hill that I should not even be worrying about because I’ve driven on much bigger hills than that (seriously, Jenny?), or have the pumps stop working, or whatever inevitable problem you face with field work.  I’m trying to be like, “Yeah! My life is so interesting! I get to sample wells in South Texas for a week and it’s gonna be a blast!” but my brain is just not having it.  I was more okay with field work when I wasn’t in charge of the event. There’s more pressure being in charge and staying schedule with the inevitable delays and problems. Sigh. I’m so done with field work. But I have been out in the field exactly one week this entire year so far, so I really have no room to complain.

I’m simultaneously dreading it and just wanting to get it over with.  This is what I worry about.  There are people whose jobs involve, like, rushing into burning buildings or chasing after crazy criminals with weapons or flying over to Afghanistan for a year to fight a war, and here I am being a whiny person about groundwater sampling at a site I’ve been to at least twenty times already, literally.

What else is going on?

I didn’t get into the Poetry Calendar after all. I found out on Friday, after weeks of refreshing Submittable and stalking the publishing company’s Facebook page for updates.  I’m proud of the poems I submitted but I knew that they just weren’t up to the quality of the poems that had been published in the past, especially since some of the published poets have degrees in creative writing, are established poets already, etc.  I was a little disappointed when I finally got the rejection email, but I was at peace with it.  It would have been too easy to get in the first time. I’m just happy that I put myself out there and I still want to get these poems published somewhere else.  I have a workbook from the publishing company about writing poetry so I’m going to work through that and just try again next year.  Rejection is just a standard thing in this industry so I’m not going to give up. SMILEY FACE.

I’m pretty much in an all-the-things mode. It happens every summer. Like I want to play guitar again?  Watching St. Vincent on SNL made me wish I could play more than five chords.  I gave it up two years ago when I realized I was never going to be that good, and to focus on drums.  But I want to play again.

I also kind of want to run another marathon. Even if I burned out hardcore after my first one in 2011, it was still one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.  And my half in February was really great.  I’ve been considering training for a half in December and then running a full marathon in February. Training starts in July so I have a little while to talk myself out of this idea.

Speaking of which, Boyfriend was able to get us tickets to see St. Vincent and the Black Keys in December, I’m sooooo excited. Mainly for St. Vincent. I mean, I like Black Keys and am pretty much obsessed with “Turn Blue” but I’ve been wanting to see St. Vincent more.

What else?

So we were watching Robot Chicken last weekend and there was a skit on George RR Martin. I told Boyfriend, “We should probably change.  I bet they’re going to throw out spoilers.”  Boyfriend, in charge of the remote, said, “Nah, I don’t think so.”  Ten seconds later, we find out who Jon Snow’s mother is.

THANKS SETH GREEN. THANKS BOYFRIEND.

I finished this project for Boyfriend’s aunt.

Flower

It was my first time stitching with evenweave, and it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. I actually like evenweave a lot more than the traditional Aida cloth.  It just feels more natural to stitch on and I think the stitches look better.

My next project is a sampler for my college roommate’s sister who just got married. It is my most ambitious project yet but it’s a fairly easy sampler to stitch.  It is also on evenweave and I have really been enjoying that project, even if I still have awhile to go to finish it.

I should probably go to sleep since I have to drive back to CS tomorrow, but here’s a song I’ve been obsessed with as a parting gift: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZvFGEE26vE&feature=kp

I’ll be better about updating this within the coming weeks.  Especially as I’m out in the field…be prepared for “GOD, THIS SUCKS” posts.

 

 

Bland Basic Bitch

I read Emma Stone call herself a “bland basic bitch,” tongue-in-cheek, based off of comments she’d read about herself on the internet.* I’ve been feeling that way this week, myself – the need to head to Target and seriously exchange my wardrobe for a new one. I try to be a good girl at Target – back in the day, when I was only in the city for a year or so and was still very lonely, I used to spend my weekends shopping. It made me feel better. There were so many things about the city I could have explored, but I was like, “NOPE, time to spend $200 at Target instead!” I no longer take what I call, “I’m bored, fuck it” shopping trips and try to cap any Target expenditures to $50 for one visit. It’s great for my savings account…but not so much for my wardrobe.

But yes. I need new jeans. I only wear skinny jeans and I’m getting tired of skinny jeans. Some spring dresses would be nice…as well as some fancier tops for work. I can never say no to new shoes either.

Also, when I inevitably get bored of my current hairstyle in another month or two, I think this is what I’m going to do:

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I love it!

So let’s see. What has been going on?  My family came to visit last weekend, and that was a lot of fun. My brother Patrick and I went to Aziz Ansari’s show, which was hilarious.  I really enjoyed his set and his thoughts on relationships and marriage.  Pretty insightful. I love going to comedy shows that make you think about how the way our generation lives and thinks – I love Louis CK for that reason, too.

The ACL lineup came out and I was pre-tty excited about it. I don’t think I’m going for the full weekend because Patrick and Boyfriend don’t listen to as much indie music as I do, so I don’t want them to pay a bunch of money for bands they don’t really listen to.  We’re going to choose a day (spoiler alert – whatever day Eminem plays, because my brother is a humongous fan).

Boyfriend is all caught up with Game of Thrones, which has filled a void in my life because now I can actually talk about my FEELINGS about the Red and Purple Weddings.

I haven’t been reading as much as I should because I’ve been working pretty hardcore on my craft projects. I finally finished this guy:

My heart beeps for you

I’m working on stitching a thank you card for Boyfriend’s aunt next; she brought me a shirt, scarf, and puppy treats for Apollo, which was really nice…especially considering I’ve only met her once, at his cousin’s wedding last year.

Yesterday was Apollo’s second birthday, and he spent it being a jerk.  Seriously, he peed on the floor twice.  Right now he is curled up next to me, asleep, so all is forgiven.

I better get my lazy self up and get ready…Boyfriend will be here in another hour or so.  We’re going to a drum clinic this afternoon that Michael is putting on…the former drummer for Chicago is leading it. I am very excited.

*If you think that Emma Stone is a “bland basic bitch,” then you have serious insecurity issues because she is amazing.  Does that sound too fan-girly? Whatever.  Also, I am emotionally invested in hers and Andrew Garfield’s relationship and would be sad if they ever broke up.**

**Other celebrity relationships I am emotionally invested in: Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis. Amy Poehler and Will Arnett used to be on that list too but they broke my heart by divorcing.