Sunday, September 14, 2014

A little knitting, a little of this, a little of that

I haven't been posting my knitting projects on this blog space even though I originally started the blog to talk about fiber, knitting, and whatever else came to mind.  I guess Facebook got the majority of the pictures so they only went to my "nerdy" (and I use that term with endearment) knitting and spinning friends.  Now that I'm off Facebook, I will start posting pictures here again.  Since I started this blog years ago Ravelry has also come onto the knitting and fiber scene so I post pictures of my projects there.  Say hi if you're on Ravelry, I'm Gator.  I've even posted pictures on Ravelry of my yarn and fiber stash, more for my own benefit as I keep forgetting I have certain skeins of yarn or bags of fiber.

Above is the project I am presently working on, it's one of at least three on the needles as we speak, but it's the one I'd like to finish first.  It's the Canyonlands National Park Shawl pattern done in fingering weight wool from Mountain Merino Wool.  It's a very small company in Wyoming that has a woolen mill and does their own dyeing.  I really like the yarn, it's soft but not overly so.  This colorway is called desert.  It's still growing on me, but the color runs are short enough that they don't pool anywhere so that's a plus.  I thought the colors were perfect to represent the canyon areas in the west.

I also have this blue one above on needles.  It's handspun from fiber I bought at the Montpelier fiber festival last year and it really does look better in person.  This is a lace sweater pattern from the "Botanical Knits" book and I have the entire body and most of one sleeve finished.  I need to finish that sleeve and do the rest of the second sleeve before I can put it together and work on the yoke.  I finished a handspun cardigan this spring.  I love doing my own handspun sweaters.

 This is the beginning (I know, it's tiny here but I haven't photographed it since it's grown) of a hitchhiker scarf out of this lovely 50% merino and 50% silk yarn that I bought at one of my favorite yarn stores in Jackson, Wyoming.  Knit on Pearl has a lot of regional and unusual yarns.  This is handpainted locally to their shop in Wyoming.  I go there occasionally on layovers from work.  I wanted to do a lace shawl with the yarn but there's too much silk in the mix to get it to make pretty lace.  This project, however, is turning out well in this yarn.

I also bought some Manos at the same yarn shop in Jackson last December that I've now turned into a cowl, headband, and mittens.  I'm not sure how the yarn is going to wear because it's singles and it's really soft, but I hope it lasts a long time because I really love it.  Even though it photographed differently, the yarn is all the same colorway.  I intended it all to wear with the grey coat the cowl is hanging on.


I've also been exploring juicing.  I watched the documentary "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead." a couple of weeks ago, and using what I learned to make me healthier has been on my mind ever since. The link above will take you to Joe Cross's juicing/eating site which talks about the movie, but there is also a site for the documentary itself here.  The documentary is really well done and even if you're not into juicing all of your produce, there is a lot of great information and inspiration to live healthier in it.  It's on Netflix and Amazon Prime to stream for free.I am really enjoying learning more about releasing the vital nutriments through juicing.

I got really unhealthy from eating poorly and stress eating while I was traveling so I wanted to get back on track. I'm also overweight (down from obese earlier this year) so I am excited about the weight loss benefits. I know I'm addicted to snack-y types of food, especially when I'm stressed out over schoolwork, so I needed to "reboot" and that's what I am trying to do.  I began to do juicing last week but couldn't keep it up because I was so tired, but I realized that I was also trying to give up caffeine at the same time and that was too much for my body.  Now I'm just cutting back and not entirely eliminating caffeine while I'm juicing.  I also bought a new/reconditioned juicer so the whole process is easier. 

I was spending so much time cleaning the old one and it wouldn't get a lot of the liquid out of the fruits and veggies I was juicing, that it made the process more difficult than it had to be.  It was great for fruits, but kale?  Not so much.  So I sprung for the new one and I LOVE it!  It's a Breville but I bought a reconditioned one directly from the factory for less than on Amazon.

Right now I'm making homemade veggie broth and stock (left picture above) from the pulp from this morning and last night's juices.  It will be a good (and free) supplement for my cooking as I usually use powdered broth mix to flavor recipes, and to sautee my veggies in (I don't use oil and don't miss it at all).    The recipe is in the "Reboot with Joe" book which has a ton of recipes for foods, juices, smoothies, and ways to use up the pulp from juicing.  This time, without trying to give up caffeine, I feel great, but it's only the second day so far.  I think I'll be running to the Asian market where produce is cheap more than once a week.  They're cheaper and have better stuff than even Trader Joe's.  Sorry, TJ.

And school.  Hmmm, school.  I finished my BA (with a 4.0 average, I'm proud to say) at the end of last year and I'm working on an MA now.  The coursework for graduate school is ridiculously intense compared with what I did for my BA.  I find I'm pretty burned out from the extremely heavy work load and needed to get myself moved away from the distracting area my study/desk area had been in.  I spent two days moving my work area out of the kitchen where it was since I moved up from the basement which was too cold to endure in the winter time.  I now have myself set up in a guest bedroom and it's tight in here but cozy.  I feel like I'm in a dorm room here, but without the extra set of everything for a roommate. As you can see, my feline roommates like exploring in there, and especially the calico is always on the bed when I'm working on here (like I am now).  I have a huge assignment to work on as soon as I finish this post.  So I probably should be moving on.  Enjoy your day!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Week 2 of No facebook is a rousing success

So here it is, September 13 already.  I de-activated my facebook account on August 31 because I found I was spending entirely too much time on there reading, playing games, and generally wasting my life.  The first few days were most difficult as it was a habit for me to check it every time I had a minute before. I had to remind myself that I wasn't on facebook right now when the desire to check it came over me.  I was like an addict missing my fix.  I felt ridiculous even caring about it.

A few days after the deactivation date, hubby and I drove long distances with his parents on our way to some sightseeing destinations and then to his daughter's wedding (which was beautiful).  I knitted in the car and took notes on my school books I have to write papers on when we stopped.  I didn't spend any time on facebook.  That's good because I didn't have time to spend, or waste.

It's funny though, that a few family members seemed annoyed at my being off facebook because they couldn't share pictures with me of the wedding and the family events easily.  I asked them to simply email the pictures to me.  Only one person has done that so far, and she's the mom of the groom who I didn't even know before.  (She is a lovely person that I would very much love to get to know better.)  Everyone else I suppose just assumes I'll see the error in my ways and rejoin facebook so I can get the pictures from those family members' pages.  Maybe, but maybe not.

Now I've been home for a week or so.  I'm still on the internet, I've been emailing and texting and talking (yes, talking!) with some dear friends who I used to keep up with more on facebook.  And it's been far more personal and enjoyable than a public facebook post or a private message session ever was.  I've been working on schoolwork more than I used to, (I just finished a paper last night!) and I've been spinning and doing things around the house that I've been putting off for a very long time.  Much of the time I'd not been doing all of those things in the past, I was on facebook.

And you know, I find that my mood is much better since I'm not on facebook.  I don't read things from my interest groups that distress or anger me, and I have somehow managed to live without my food groups and recipe sharing.  But mostly I don't spend time reading stuff that I can live without knowing.  Much of the information on facebook can be found elsewhere online, minus the copious amounts of comments, pissing contests, and negativity.  I find that I appreciate most not having people comment on everything because though everyone (even me!) is certainly entitled to their opinion, most people wouldn't be so crass or argumentative in person.  Rules of friendly and civil conversation seem to be suspended on facebook a good amount of the time.

So will I go back?  I'm not sure yet.  I'd given myself 30 days off to think about it and I still have 17 days to go.  If I had to make a decision right this moment, I'd say I probably won't return.  So feel free to email me, text me, or call.  And if you need my contact information, send me a message here and I'm glad to respond.  But don't send me a message on facebook.