Monday, August 24, 2009

accountability, or "in which I do NOT talk about knitting"

So I've been writing this blog for over 2.5 years, and for a total of almost 300 posts. (I can't believe it's that many, I'll have to have some sort of 300th post contest!) But I don't say much about myself. I figure that many people who bother to check out my little corner of the internet either know me a) from "real" life, or b) from previous internet encounters. I used to have a blog that was connected to my real name and an identifiable email address, but I quickly discovered that that is a very good way to have everyone know what's going on in my life, whether we know each other or not... and I'm sort of a private person, for the most part. And yet a lot of the comments I get are from people I've never met IRL or online before... and there are some things I feel like putting down into words, and putting out there, so here goes.

Most of you who have read any of this blog know a few certain things about me. I'm Canadian, but living in the States, I'm a graduate student (in Spanish Literature, which might have been a little more obscure), I've also lived in Spain and done a lot of other traveling. I started doing hot yoga on a regular basis this past January, which I will talk about shortly. I also used to talk a bit about "Dr. BF", but some may have noticed he's been absent for, oh, just under a year... with good reason.

So, just under a year ago my long-distance, on-again, off-again bf of 4 years and I decided it was finally time to call it quits. And not in the "maybe we'll get back together again at Christmas" kind of quits like we had done over and over again in the past, but this time, I believe we both knew it was permanent. It wasn't an easy decision in some respects - I still loved him very much, and I will probably always have a bit of a soft spot for him - but he also made some decisions over the course of last summer, decisions that I wasn't really involved in, consulted about or even really fully informed of, that made it easier in some respects. We were also just not good for each other. We loved each other, but we were making each other miserable. I won't go into too many details, for his sake and the fact that some one may read this someday who may know him, personally or professionally, and I still respect him and don't wish him ill in any regard - it just takes too much energy.

I wouldn't say it was "his decision" or "mine" fully, for us to finally break it off... I sort of started the conversation rolling, but in the end it was a mutual decision that both of us had been contemplating for some time. It still saddens me, to some degree, because we did love each other very much, just maybe not in the right ways. I felt, and sometimes still do feel, that I lost a best friend.

All that said, it was really and truly the right thing for me. I've had some ups and downs in the last year, and at first did a lot of dating. Mostly online dates, most of which didn't last longer than one date, maybe two. I know it's sort of cliche and pathetic, but I'd never been "alone" longer than maybe a couple of months in my adult life, and it was really scary. REALLY scary. So I dated. A lot. And made some bad choices, some bad decisions in terms of judging character, but nothing so bad that I felt truly in danger or anything like that. And in the end, all of those experiences, both the good ones and the bad ones have taught me something. Being "alone" in the true sense of the word - as in, not a friend or family member to hold dear - would be scary. But I am so. not. alone. I might be single, but I have some of the best friends and family a girl could ask for. They have been supportive and caring in all of the ups and downs I have experienced so far, and I can't imagine they won't be in the future. And... I LOVE MY LIFE HERE. I can't say that enough. I have a GREAT life, that I have built for myself (in some ways it is fortunate that the ex and I lived so far apart because I was forced to have my own life here BEFORE we broke up and that life was waiting to hold me up with or without him) here and can't imagine it any differently.

It took me almost this full year to feel really, truly comfortable in my own skin. But now I wouldn't change me, my life, my friends and my family for ANYTHING. Or anyone. I decided to stop online dating about a month - 2 months ago for the time being... it was taking up way too much time / effort and I wasn't getting anything out of it. Most of the people I was meeting were either rude to me once we actually met, or alternatively we would have a great time and then I'd never hear from them again. It was not only time-consuming but also emotionally draining.

That's not to say I wouldn't want to meet someone to share my life with... but it would have to be a very specific type of person. They would have to fit my life in a way that was both unobtrusive but also supportive and "there". I know that sounds... weird? oximoronic? but what I mean to say is that I would want to spend time with them, talk to them, be with them, but I'd want us to continue having our own lives too... there has to be some kind of middle-ground / compromise possible, right? I'm holding out hope that there is, anyway.

As for the rest of my life, I've made some very positive changes in the last year. I mentioned earlier that I started attending hot yoga on a regular basis (generally 2 - 4 times per week, depending on my schedule... sometimes more, sometimes a little less). I also did a complete overhaul of my "diet" (and by "diet" I don't mean that I decided to eat differently / do one of those crazy purges for a few weeks to achieve instant weightloss, but rather a full overhaul of my nutritional mind. I eat differently, and conscientiously, and hope to continue to do so for the rest of my life. I believe this to be the only way to successfully lose AND keep off weight... / end digression) around mid-April. I had lost some weight before then, I'd say from the time we broke up (I had gained quite a bit of weight during our relationship due to stress and just general laziness / bad habits that we encouraged in each other) until April I think I lost 5 - 10 lbs. It's hard to say because I wasn't weighing myself consistently prior to April. In April I started weighing myself consistently (approx. once a week) for two reasons. 1) It kept me accountable. 2) It was great motivation to see those pounds shed off. Since April I've lost about 20 lbs. I've held relatively steady (within a 5 lbs range depending on the time of the month, etc) for about a month to a month and a half. I would like to lose another few lbs, but I have to say that I am happier with myself and my body than I have been in a very long time. I don't think I've weighed anywhere close to this in 2 or 3 years.

I wouldn't say it's all hot yoga, the weight really didn't start coming off consistently until I changed my diet. But the yoga has DEFINITELY helped in several areas, including helping me lose the weight faster, toning my muscles, increasing my flexibility, improving my digestive tract, reducing stress / anxiety and just making me feel better about myself in general. I'm not trying to "promote" any particular method or recommend it for anyone and everyone (because it definitely is NOT for everyone in my opinion) but just putting out there what has worked for me. I also remember someone asking me MONTHS ago when I casually mentioned trying it out if I could let them know how it's worked for me.

I'm not sure why I had such a strong urge to write about this today... I should be working on my dissertation proposal that is FAST approaching a deadline. But it was one of those almost uncontrollable urges, and maybe it's just to help me sort through some things in my head (which was necessary) or maybe it's the universe telling me to put this out there for someone else who might be in need of it (I've decided nothing is impossible and coincidences aren't always cigars). I might delete this 20 mins from now, if I decide I can't have this much of myself out there for the world to see... or I might leave it up there for all eternity, in the hopes that someone will find it when they least expect it and need it most.

In any case, thanks for listening (ok, reading) and please, if you want to comment and know who the other players are in this story, please leave names out of it! Thanks, and namaste.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

calling all test knitters


su├ęter profundo, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

argh... I hate when I accidentally close the page I'm writing a blog entry on and it isn't saved... soooo here we go AGAIN.

OK, before you email / comment saying YES I want to test knit, I have some stipulations. I am looking for a few people to test knit the sweater above (see more photos here on ravlery or here on the blog) but I need the following from any potential test knitters:

1. I knit this in about a 36/37" bust. I need people (bigger and smaller) of a variety of sizes to try this out. In your email / comment please send me your measurements so I don't get all one size of knitters!

2. This is going to be a plug and play style pattern, i.e. you must have a happy, healthy relationship with your calculator and / or personal math skills. ALSO: you must check gauge. I don't care what gauge you get (i.e. you can use the yarn / needle combo of your preference, although I would prefer to see it knit in worsted weight yarn...) you just have to check it in order for the pattern to work, ever.

3. You must provide your own yarn for this pattern.** You are making this sweater for yourself, to keep and use, like any other sweater you would make. Thus you should only volunteer if you REALLY like the sweater and think it is one you would make for yourself even if you weren't getting the pattern first, and for free. That said, I might be able to find some small prizes for those who do follow through and make a nice sweater for themselves!

4. You must have a blog and / or ravelry page that you update regularly enough for me to see how the sweater is progressing. Please provide your blog url or ravelry name in your email.

OK, I think that's everything... all that said, though, I'll have to take a look for my notes and / or measure the sweater when I get home, if there is enough interest from test knitters...

** If you are wondering how much yarn you will approximately need (and could then stash dive / run out to your LYS!) check out the chart here. You want to go to the bottom, where it says "Sweaters" and look at the Adult sizes for worsted weight yarn. Keep in mind that these are approximate and that this sweater is probably longer than the avg sweater. ALWAYS BUY A LITTLE EXTRA TO BE ON THE SAFE SIDE!!!! Please DON'T buy for this project, however, until you have heard back from me positively!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

the difficulties of photographing one's own foot


sparkly goodness!, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

I'm sure I've written before about how difficult it can be to take pictures of one's own foot. And I'm sure I'm not the first knitter to gripe about it either. This one is pretty decent, although it was only achieved through great contortion.

Here's a shot from above:

kai mine!

that makes me look like I have no ankle. Not my best angle... I pride myself on having fairly nice feet... which include ankles!

So the right Kai-mei sock is done, obviously, although I have yet to cast on for the left one yet. I'm sure that will happen today or tomorrow as tomorrow is going to be a long travel day.

I really like this sock, although I have to say the pictures don't do it justice. It's dark and rainy here this morning so the colour is totally off.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Something Fishy this way comes...


fish scarf, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

I came up with this fish scarf for my lys to display a new yarn, Knit1 Crochet too's Geologee.

Here's another photo:
fish scarf

The pattern is available on ravelry and on etsy.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

baby blanket fit for a king

Or a stone lion on my parents' front step. I finished this a few days ago for a new baby in my best friends' family.

Here's a better view:

baby blanket

So I'm not knitting much these days since I've developed pain in my wrist/hand (the right one, of course...) and I probably shouldn't be doing much typing either, but between my own work that needs to get done asap and the lure of the internet, that's a hard one. I should be working on a sample I promised to my local yarnstore but unfortunately that is the easiest thing to cut out, in the hopes that the pain will subside soon. It does seem to be getting better, but that might also be the tylenol ultra too.