competitive paint-by-number.

That’s right. Last night I attended the first annual [alcohol-fueled] paint-by-number competition. I already can’t wait for next year. A colleague of mine in the department came up with this incredible idea, and, inspired by the problematic and inappropriate depiction of a native woman (complete with spirit eagle, wolf, etc.) in this kit, planned a competition between two teams: Pocahontas and John Smith, with the prize (of course) of a map of the state of Virginia, as well as bragging rights associated with having the winning creation hung in the office of said colleague, who shares her office with a friend (also present last night) who works on issues of race and gender, and the representation of native women in early America. If we can’t eliminate these representations, I guess we might as well do the paint-by-number…

First of all, this was way more complicated than the paint-by-number kits I remember. This involved 18 colors, as well as mixing colors 1-18 to create shades labeled A through X.

Yours truly, working on the spirit eagle’s wings.

Here you can see a bit more of the “competition.” Timed, side-by-side painting for each color, complete with painter’s smocks and penalty drinks for the painter to complete less of his/her color. (Ginger beer for me, as I was driving.)

Team Pocahontas’ creation: in a re-writing of history we all could appreciate, they won Virginia. (And continued to paint, filling in missed areas from earlier rounds to finish off their masterpiece.)

Everyone brought deliciousness: homemade bread*, tater-tot hot dish, peanut-butter cookies, and our host made pasta with broccoli raab and fancy mixed drinks. I brought my mom’s artichoke dip. Despite the competition, it was a laid-back, relaxed night of mostly history-department folks, and a chance to be a little silly among friends.

*Delicious bread — and all of the photos in this post — supplied by my dear friend K.

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twenty-nine.

Yesterday I turned twenty-nine. I’ve been thinking about this birthday a lot, and trying to come to terms with where I am in my life right now, versus where I might have loosely imagined I’d be when I turned twenty. I remember feeling anxious about twenty. I had just decided not to become a doctor, and so many things were unknown. It was exciting, but scary, too. And twenty, well, twenty marked the beginning of what then seemed like the decade that would determine so much of what my life would be: graduation, the start of a career, a family? The idea that this would be the decade for all of those things weighed heavily on me.

And now? Well, I have to admit, I thought I was beyond thinking about these kinds of expectations for myself, but this birthday has brought a lot of those thoughts back. Intellectually, I am quite comfortable saying out loud that I am happy with the decisions I’ve made, and the unexpected places they’ve taken me. Emotionally, though, I think it is okay to acknowledge that maybe I’m not where I thought I’d be at twenty-nine, at least in the non-academic parts of my life, and that I’m a little bit sad about that. And that’s okay. I no longer feel like my twenties will determine my future, and I have a much stronger sense of myself than I did at twenty.

So Boh and I celebrated quietly yesterday, with an extra-long frolic in the snow, and dumplings. This is the kind of meal I rarely prepare for myself — it is a lot of work for just me. But yesterday, I decided that I would give myself extra time in the kitchen, instead of putting something to simmer on the stove so that I could continue to read. (And I’ve got leftovers for tonight.) I’m sure I’ll do some celebrating with friends this weekend, but yesterday was what I needed. I crossed some things off of my to-do list, indulged a bit in the kitchen and outside, and knit a few more rows on my terra shawl.

Here’s to twenty-nine.

FO: elsa wool pebble.

I am so pleased with how this turned out. After a few false starts — once because I wasn’t happy with the stitch count (it looked too big) and once because I twisted my knitting when I joined it in the round (what? I haven’t done that in years!) — I got into a rhythm and just knit-knit-knit to get this done in time for Sunday’s shower. I made some modifications based on other projects on ravelry: used worsted-weight yarn and size 7 needles, CO 70 st, made the garter stitch sides 5 st, and knit in the round with buttons only at the shoulder, rather than all the way up the side. I used more of the elsa wool cormo from my idlewood (maybe just over half a skein?), and oh my goodness, do I ever love this yarn. Squishy, woolly, and absolutely gorgeous.

Pebble might be the perfect gender-neutral baby gift. (I’m all about not adhering to gender-specific colors, but I can’t help myself when it comes to patterns for baby knits. I’m waiting for baby M. to arrive, and then I absolutely must cast on for either a frilly girl cardigan or an “old man” style cardigan.)

Snowy and lovely outside. Off to campus!

 

february?

Whoa. This week totally got away from me. Last night I realized that I haven’t blogged since Tuesday! Consider today’s post a rather disjointed “show and tell” from the week.

Tuesday’s outfit, ready for dog-walking. (I love my Sorels — perfect for frolicking in snowbanks and walking through slush-puddles.)

Quick, warm, hearty lunch: sauteed mushrooms simmered in homemade tomato puree, pasta. I might have accidentally eaten the whole bowl. Sometimes it is hard to shake that “big spoon” mentality — I have to remind myself that I’m not camping, and that leftovers are not just allowed, but desirable! (Big spoon is where everybody takes another spoonful, and another, until it is gone. With a group, it isn’t that hard, and that way there is nothing to pack out — and you can do the dishes.)

A homemade treat from my friend M. She’s already finished with her comprehensive exams. Isn’t it beautiful? I can’t wait to try this pear-honey wine (also known as liquid encouragement).

No handknits in this picture, but one of those accidental outfits that somehow made it out the door. I like all the pinks and purples.

Mushrooms and komatsuna sauteed in a balsamic vinaigrette. I ate this over fresh spinach from the farm. A winter treat, to be sure.

Friday night. late. A hot toddy to keep me company while taking notes. So good.

Parsnip soup (with maple syrup and mustard) in a favorite mug. Baby-shower knitting. And reading. The shower is today, so I’ll post less cryptic pictures soon!

knits in the wild (and shh, don’t startle it — actual knitting progress).

Yesterday. (Garter yoke cardigan.)

Today. (Idlewood.)

I’m about a third of the way through the first lace chart of the edging for Terra. I cannot wait to wear this — maybe it has something to do with the snow that just keeps falling? (I’m not complaining. I love snow.) Hoping to knit a few rows after I finish today’s reading. Stay warm!