lovely/heavy.

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As in, good thing the snow is lovely, because it sure is heavy. Boh and I got home on Saturday afternoon. Can you see our foot- and paw prints in the snow? I parked at the bottom of the driveway and spent the last remaining hour of daylight shoveling a path to get the car up to its parking spot at the top of the driveway. And then it kept snowing, which meant I spent much of yesterday shoveling the whole thing again, but in batches because I was sore from Saturday’s shoveling effort. All of that strikes me as a pretty good stand-in for 2012. Some big stuff, some lovely stuff, and a lot of slow, steady working on and working through stuff.

In 2012, I turned 30. I published my first piece. I started writing my dissertation. I taught the first class that was entirely my own. I was the maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding. I returned to the Southwest for work and play. All good things, even that birthday. But 2012 was also a solitary year, filled with anxiety about work and life, about the future writ both large and small. Lots of reflection on my choices and what they might mean for what comes next. Lots of working on trying to let all that I have be enough for me right now, while allowing some space for the universe to surprise me. I’m going to keep working on that in 2013.

I read over my 2012 blog posts this morning in anticipation of an end-of-the-year entry, and I discovered that I actually did a fair amount of knitting this year. I completed 12 projects, including a handful of wedding presents and a shawl for my best friend. I finished some long-languishing projects, and even began my first destash. In 2013 I want to just keep going. There are more wedding gifts to knit, and more projects started long ago that I’d like to complete. I also want to knit up some yarn/pattern pairings I’ve been daydreaming about for years (hello, effortless cardigan, aidez, lightweight pullover, daybreak shawl, and others), and I’m hoping to use more handspun. And most importantly, I want to keep knitting as part of the pile of things I do to take care of myself.

I made solid progress towards establishing a writing practice in 2012. I struggled to balance teaching and writing in the spring, and did a better job this fall. In 2013, at least as things stand right now, I will not be teaching; only writing. I’m hoping this flexibility will allow me to create the kind of writing practice I want, and to make it a routine in 2013. And perhaps 2013 will be the year I get serious about my home yoga practice. I dabbled this year, occasionally getting out the mat and doing a few small things — dolphin, bridge, a sun salutation or two — in the morning with my coffee. But it isn’t enough. I could see and feel the impact of three classes a week on my happiness, health, and fitness, and though the two classes I’ve been able to make work with my schedule this year are wonderful, it isn’t the same. So that’s what I’m going to aim for this year: more writing, more knitting, more yoga.

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And when I finished my final round of shoveling yesterday, the sun came out.

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This guy knows 2012 is ending, and that in 2013 he’s going to spend a little bit of time frolicking at my parents’ house while I am in DC. (This was Boh’s big Christmas present, and I am so very grateful.) He crawled into my lap yesterday, and I managed to snap this blurry picture. I’m pretty sure Boh’s plans for 2013 are about the same as his plans for 2012: lounge, cuddle, eat, play, snore.

Happy New Year! And from me and Boh to you and yours: thanks for reading.

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that time of year.

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Last weekend I helped a group of grad student friends decorate Christmas cookies.

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I also got out my long puffy coat.

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Dear friends sent me this gorgeous woodcut print they made.

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And Boh cuddled up to J., here working on another knitting project! Boh and I are gearing up for a week at my parents’ house, which means there’s a flurry of activity (and of light snow, actually): cleaning, packing, making sure I’ve got all of my presents, deciding what books and work to bring home…

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And also, which knitting should accompany us. This is the Hudson Bay Inspired Crib Blanket, which I’m making as a lap blanket in shades of blue against a natural backdrop. I think it is the perfect pattern for friends of mine who got married last year.

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Other things happening around here: chocolate chip cookies, latkes, and reading/dog-cuddling.

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I’m not sure I’ll be blogging between now and the new year, but Boh and I will be back soon with all the regular stuff and perhaps some 2013 fibery goals/plans!¬†Happy everything to you and yours this holiday season.

FO: nanny’s mittens.

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These little mittens have a big story. Long-time readers may remember when my grandmother, Nanny, gave me all sorts of old patterns and yarn. I donated the yarn and kept the patterns, along with a small ziplock bag with these mittens inside. They were finished, except for the thumb of the second mitten. (And there was a third, which looks to me like something went a bit awry with the beginnings of the thumb.)

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It didn’t take much to improvise a thumb for the second mitten, and now I’ve got a pair. I’m extra excited about this because there’s a great-grandchild in our family now, and this will be her first Christmas. I’m planning to take these mittens to show Nanny, and to remind her that she did most of the knitting, and to ask her if she wants to be part of my surprise: we’ll wrap them up and give them to our family’s newest addition, my cousin’s 11 month-old daughter. The mittens will be a bit too big for her this year, but I’m not sure Nanny will be quite as lucid next Christmas. Sewn, knitted, and crafted gifts from her were always a big part of our family Christmas celebrations when I was little, and I love the idea that there will be something made by her hands under this year’s tree.

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And there’s this guy, holding onto his favorite bone. It has nothing to do with the mittens, but I had to share.

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View from the porch, sometime last week.

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Homemade hummus with toast.

Stay tuned for more holiday knitting…if I finish it in time!

FO: cider press hat.

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Here are a couple of pictures from that walk I told you we took on Sunday.

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I wore my new hat. (I’m much happier with it than I appear to be in this picture. This is clearly me focusing too much on keeping my eyes open.)

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I cast on the hat from the Cider Press Set, an Amy Christoffers hat and mitts pattern pair that I purchased a few weeks ago when they were on sale. This ribbed and waffled combination is awesome: squishy, stretchy, and oh-so-warm.

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Also, totally addicting to knit. I made this hat out of most of a skein of Berocco Ultra Alpaca, and I love it. Good thing this color has my brother written all over it, or I’d keep it too! (I might make one for me out of handspun.) I used US 4 and US 6 needles because I couldn’t find my 3s and 5s.

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Hooray for last minute (and late-night) Christmas knitting. I’m so excited to send this, along with the rest of his present, to my brother, who has to stay in Colorado for the holidays.

another -itis.

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Yep. Startitis. Does codeine cough syrup cause that?

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Excuse the terrible picture of this finished Snow Cowl. J., of new-knitter/fingerless-mitt fame ’round these parts knit one of these and I loved how squishy it was. And then I was organizing my stash and came upon two balls of Malabrigo Gruesa, already wound, that I’d planned to turn into an Urchin so very long ago. This was a fast and super satisfying knit. It’s blocking now on the dining room table, so I’ll snap a better picture or two once it is dry.

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I began and finished this Early Morning Beret yesterday. (Excuse my bleary-eyed state in that photo — I finished the beret while I was waiting to take one more dose of cough syrup before bedtime.) I knit it out of some absolutely swoonworthy Fibre Company Knightsbridge (70/30 alpaca/merino, now discontinued) that I acquired when I was first accumulating a stash. I started knitting this as a gift, but I’m keeping it. I’ve got enough yarn to knit another, or I might knit myself some matching fingerless mitts.

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And here’s Boh, helping with yarn organization.

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And helping some more. (Keeping me warm?)

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More helping? This dog has been nothing but sweet to me while I’ve been feeling lousy. Today I took him on a special walk to say thank you. More on that soon!

destash.

It turns out that when I’m sick I love to organize. Also, I’m gearing up for a couple of months in DC, which also means getting ready to take Boh to hang out with my brother in Colorado, and preparing my home for a subletter. I’m going to try to pack a bunch of personal stuff into my office so that there’s space for my subletter to get comfortable here. My office is also my fiber room — hence, the destash.

Ideally I’d do this with natural light, but it is getting dark before 5 pm, so I decided not to hold my breath for sunshine. I laid out a dropcloth for snapping a few pictures, but while I was busy putting the battery into my camera, this happened:

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Silly dog. Anyway, you can find all the details on my ravelry destash page: a bunch of brightly colored fingering weight yarn, and a fair bit of cotton yarn. (Also, a huge lot of black KnitPicks Gloss, from back when I was a brand-new knitter and thought I was ready to knit myself a black fingering weight pullover…) I’m still not ready. Maybe you are?

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If you see something you like, message me on ravelry or shoot me an email! Thanks!

persistent.

Unfortunately, that’s the word I’m using (and the word the PA I saw today used) to describe my cough. Though I started feeling a lot better by the end of last week, there’s been almost a whole second week of coughing, which basically means I’m not sleeping super well. The good news is that the PA prescribed some codeine cough syrup to help me sleep. Here’s a bunch of pictures from this week: lots of dog cuddling, and some knitting and cooking amidst the paper-commenting I’ve been doing.

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Brussels sprouts and bacon, before and after.

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Tuesday it was warm enough on the porch for me to spend the day working at my yellow table. Boh took a really good nap out there.

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Dog cuddling and movie-watching.

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More dog cuddling.

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Peanut butter popcorn, this time with sriracha instead of vanilla. I might have eaten this instead of my dinner on Wednesday.

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The cough was keeping me up at night — tough to get to sleep while laying in bed. On Wednesday night I got out my sleeping bag and slept in my grandfather’s chair.

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Boh is also a master of sleeping in strange positions…

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Bristol in progress. I love how this is knitting up! I’m a couple of repeats in. Can’t wait to wear this! (Or at least see how it looks on my head.)

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My dear friend M. invited me over for dinner last night. This pear and blue cheese salad and some mushroom, rosemary, and cheese-medley pizza were exactly what I needed. (This hearty meal plus some nighttime cold medicine helped me sleep much more soundly last night.)

That’s what I’ve got for now. Happy weekend!