Building up steam

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So, my mini-resolutions for January are going well. I have been stretching every day and I have been flossing most days. Not every single day, partly because the weekends throw my whole routine out of whack and partly because I ran out of floss. I have now purchased more floss.

Outside of my resolutions, things are going well-ish. I finished a square in a geeky knit-along project that I started. I wanted to use up all my random leftovers and never-started-project-stash, so I figured I may as well work in my double knit skills and get a nerd-tastic blanket (or wall hanging) out of it. I have also taught myself how to Russian join yarns, so you know… Boo. Yah.

I did some running last week too. 4K on Thursday and 5K on Sunday. I discussed with my partner and we are both up for signing up for a couple of 10K races this spring, so that should keep us motivated. We are also looking into obstacle course races, but we need a bit more all round fitness for that. I guess we can find some hills or steps to run up, and can do some burpees, push ups, sit ups, etc. We no longer have gym memberships, so the weight lifting that I would like to do is not really an option. Hmmm. Maybe this is not the time to take on a new kind of challenge… or is it?

I have received comments back from 2 of my thesis committee members. They are generally positive but both seem to want some rewrites that might be time-consuming and a bit discouraging to do. Le sigh.

My partner and I set a date and filled out all the paperwork to get a civil partnership. We never thought we would bother with this sort of thing, not being believers in the need for the government to recognise our relationship and all. But the immigration route requires that it all be official… Fortunately, there is an option to get it done in about 5 minutes at the city hall building for free on a Monday. Sounds about right. I may wear jeans to the ceremony. Not sure yet.

And I cracked a tooth. After repairing it, my dentist said I must be grinding my teeth at night during this stressful period. Well, yes. I do feel stressed. Not sure how best to deal with this at the moment. I guess the running will help, so that is another reason to get out and exercise at least 3 times a week. I should also look into some meditation practice, I suppose. Maybe a mini-resolution for February?

Flawed but forgiven

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Hello all! I am sure you will be delighted to hear that I have been working on the double knit scarf as shown in the featured image.

I think it is looking pretty good. There are, however, a couple of flaws, including at least one time that I failed to move both yarns forward (or backward) when I switched from a purl to a knit, and at least four stitches where I apparently had a massive brain fart and just broke the pattern. Ah, well.
I have learnt a few useful things. First, bigger needles is easier, possibly because of the fuzziness of these yarns. I started with smaller needles and just had a devil of a time trying to see which stitches were knit and which were purl. Second, it is important to twist the yarns together immediately after the first stitch of each row. This keeps the two sides from separating. It isn’t so important during the rows that start with both colours in quick succession, but it is important for the rows that start with big patches of solid colour. And third, relax. It is hard to maintain an even tension of you are not relaxed. Remember, this is a hobby, so should be fun, not work or anxiety producing.

One the wardrobe challenge front, I have identified at least 3 more items to pass on the the charity shops. I have also identified at least 3 more items that can go into the off season clothing storage to make more space in my limited wardrobe (and also to make the project 333 challenge easier by virtue of not having to look at loads of items that are not in my 33).

The thesis is making less progress, although there is really nothing I can do about that at the mo’. I have implemented all the feedback and comments that have been given to me and am waiting on the supervisors to make the next move. I do plan on printing out the first two chapters to give to me partner to read. Mostly, I need him to tell me if there are any typos, Americanisms, confusing parts, or illegible graphics. I suspect there will be more than a few. In the meantime, I am searching for and applying to job offers, prepping one chapter from the thesis as a journal article, and continuing to work on the scarf during my RSI breaks.

The wheels have been put into motion.

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First off, minutes (and I literally mean minutes) ago, I submitted all the required paperwork to initiate the PhD graduation process. Bam! (Emeril Lagasse style… you’ll just have to imagine that in your head.) There are six parts to this paperwork and I just submitted one and two, which are arguably the easiest ones. Despite being the easiest, they were still a pain in my ass. Honestly, why do they need to see the grades from my masters degree when I also submitted the diploma from my masters degree? Fortunately, it turns out I did have a copy of those grades and didn’t need to contact my old uni to get them.

Next, I have started the double knit scarf (no picture yet because it is only one and a half rows in and doesn’t look like anything) but have learned that fuzzy yarns are not ideal for learning to double knit. They just make it hard to see which loops are knit and which are purl. I originally bought this yarn for a stranded knit-in-the-round hat, which of course only ever has knit stitches so the fuzziness was not an issue. Nevertheless, I shall overcome. Mostly because the fuzzy yarn is what I have to work with but also because I can be very bloody minded when I choose.

Then, I started the wardrobe detox. I took 4 dresses, one skirt, one t-shirt and a pair of trousers to the charity donation box. I feel good, and I vow never to buy cheap crap from H&M again. All but two of the items were H&M and I really should know by now that their stuff doesn’t hang well, doesn’t fit well, doesn’t wash well and doesn’t look good. There is also a pair of sandals that I think might get the boot and some belts and scarves that I haven’t used in a while. I should also go through my jewelry, but that is a little emotionally charged so I am not sure I am ready to do that.

I also swapped out the clearly summer stuff for the clearly winter stuff from the suitcase where I keep my off season clothes. Flip-flops, summer dresses and swimsuits are gone, sweater dresses, sweaters, knit hats and furry coat liners are out. Unfortunately, the winter stuff takes up more space so the drawers are still crammed full, despite the trip to the charity box. Le sigh. I may have to be a bit more ruthless than I originally thought. My partner is out of town this weekend, so I may take the opportunity to lay everything out and have a good look at the big picture without worrying that he will make fun of me for my OCD tendencies.

Two new kick-ass goals.

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So, since I have been struggling with the fitness goals, and because things are so up in the air right now and I don’t feel comfortable signing up for any runs, I am setting those goals aside. This decision took a bit of soul-searching. I have to be ok with not reaching all of my fitness goals, and ok with not working on them right now, without being ok with quitting them altogether. This is just part of a acknowledging that life is fluid and unpredictable and that changing my mind and reorganizing my priorities to deal with life’s vagaries is not a bad thing.

But I do like to have some goals on the go at all times, and they should always be kick-ass. Naturally, I still have the goal of getting my PhD. That one is highest priority, and definitely a sound, kick-ass goal. There is still a lot of work to do on that, and it does involve some work every day. Nevertheless, that goal is clearly a career thing and I need some non-career goals to occupy my time outside of office hours. I have selected two.

First, I want to teach myself to double knit. I have been crocheting for a decade or so, but only took up knitting in January 2013. I have taught myself a lot, like stranded knitting, knitting in the round, seaming, etc. I have made some items that I am pretty happy with, including a pair of spats that I recently wore to a wedding (they received confused compliments, and some gifts for others (I promise they weren’t horrible). Now is the time to raise the bar again, so I will be making this pattern, in blue and off-white, as a gift for my partner. I made him a hat last year out of the same yarn, so it should be a nice set without being too matchy-matchy. I shall keep you informed.

Second, I want to overhaul my wardrobe. I have been researching capsule wardrobe plans, clothing challenges, etc. I have previously done a few wardrobe challenges, like the six items or less challenge, which was really enlightening and surprisingly easy. I have been wanting to do something like that again. At the same time, absolutely all the clothes that I own have to fit in half of a tiny wardrobe, slightly less than half of three drawers in a dresser, a drawer in a nightstand, a rack of scarves and belts, a rack of jewelry, a shelf for hats and half of one suitcase for out of season clothes. That sounds like a lot of space, and I honestly classify myself as a minimalist, but I am seriously struggling. I haven’t had a clear out recently, I have inherited a fair few new, high-quality and emotionally charged items, and I have purchased a few new things of my own recently anyway. For example, my partner encouraged me to buy a new dress for a recent wedding (the one with the spats) rather than re-wear the dress I had bought for a wedding earlier in the year. I thought the first dress would be fine for all the weddings I would need to attend for the next year or so, but the partner found it distressingly 90’s. I also bought a fedora in what a shop clerk described as `petrol’ coloured, and I picked up a few new things in the sales that perhaps I did not strictly need.

So anyway, I am feeling overwhelmed by the clothing, the lack of space and the emotional baggage. Thus, I will be overhauling the situation and using this blog as an emotional outlet and progress tracker throughout the process. What’s that? You are not interested in knitting or wardrobe organization? Well then, to quote Malcolm Tucker… Fuckety-bye!