It’s the beginning of a story

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To tell the truth, every moment is the beginning of an entirely new story, so the title is a bit of a wash. Never mind. Here is what has been happening.

  • I jogged a very slow and wheezy 4K yesterday. It was 1K short of what my training schedule said I should have done, but it was also, miraculously, faster that what the schedule said I should have done. I didn’t use my race watch, so I was kind of winging it. Lesson learnt for next time.
  • I put a load more clothes, shoes and bags in the off-season suitcase. How much? This much.
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  • I found a few more things to donate to charity, including a vintage white leather jacket that I LOVE but which just doesn’t fit me. C’est la vie.
  • Between the additional off-season clothes and the charity donations, the wardrobe and dresser are now pretty darn empty. In fact, there are probably about 22 items of clothing left, far less than the 33 allowed in the project 333 challenge. I will have a separate post on what those items are later so that you can all be nosy and see what I chose. Unfortunately, those 22 items do not include accessories, shoes, bags, jewelry, gloves, sunglasses, etc. I am having a devil of a time deciding on these, because I just don’t know whether this winter will turn out to be blisteringly cold like the one 2 years ago, or quite mild like last year. I might have to cheat (ish) and swap out some items half way through if the weather takes a turn.
  • I attended the PhD defence ceremony of a colleague this morning, which made me really eager to just get mine done and out of the way. She is going on to be an assistant professor in Beijing! Well done to her. I don’t imagine that I will have such a short route to proffessordom, although maybe I could if I were applying to universities in China. I imagine that their universities are growing along with their economy, unlike all the universities (and economies) in Europe.
  • The double knit scarf is coming along, albeit slowly. I doubt I will finish it before it becomes scarf wearing season. Fortunately, there are other scarves to use in the meantime.

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.

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!