Hello again! I have been meaning to sit down and write another “What’s Up With Ciarrai” post for some time now but I have run into a problem that I think is probably very common among bloggers – when you have stuff to write about, you do not have time to write and when you have time to write, you likely don’t have anything worth writing about going on. I seem to have gone from one extreme of the spectrum to the other. A few months ago, I had nothing but time on my hands and consequently, life was boring and uneventful. Now I have school, work, and all sorts of life stuff popping up and taking up my time. It’s been a bit overwhelming but I am hoping that the pace slows a bit or I gain some stamina soon because I am exhausted.
The semester is in full swing now. It’s going well so far. Every quiz I have taken has received a grade of 100% or higher (gotta love bonus questions) which has to be a good sign. I have been active enough in class discussions that the professors know me by name and I am keeping up with all the readings so far, so there is reason to be optimistic. I am really enjoying my first course, The Short Story. The professor is well spoken and entertaining (snarky as hell, but I enjoy snark when it is done well) and the stories have been fun to read and then talk about.
My second class, Asian American Literature, is a little more problematic. We had a last-minute switch in the required texts for the course so I had to do a little scrambling to get the correct books and not fall behind in the reading. And the professor seems to be improvising a bit with his lectures and the course objectives. It’s true that some adjustment was necessary because of loosing a class day due to Hurricane Irene and the fact that he has gotten called to serve on a jury but there is a bit more ambiguity on what we need to do and when we need to do it than I am comfortable with. *sigh* I am especially worried since I have a presentation that I need to do just around the time that I have some work and travel commitments. I can get everything done if I know what my timeline is and can manage my time effectively but the fact that so much is up in the air makes that a little more stressful than it needs to be.
The new and improved Keep Me In Stitches is up and running. We had some scrambling to get everything set up and ready in time for the Grand Re-Opening but we did it. We put out all the beads….
Stocked shelves with all the new yarns…
We generally worked out backsides off. I was exhausted so I can only imagine how Rebecca, the new owner, was feeling. The grand re-opening itself seemed to go really well. We had a constant stream of people in and out of the store and everyone seemed to think that the new store was beautiful (which it is). We had raffles for some swag that the yarn companies gave to us. I fell in love with this tote bag but as an employee, I was disqualified from participating in the raffle. Oh well.
Since the opening, I have been working a lot of hours. I don’t know how long (if at all) this stream of available hours will continue but the added income has been helpful. I have been knitting up a lot of samples for the store including a scarf made out of Flora by Pagewood Farms, a yarn with felted flowers attached to it and a scarf that is knitted out of Link which is basically a yarn made out of knitted i-Cord
We had our first special event, a guest speaker from Juniper Moon Farms and I think that went very well. The speaker was a woman named Susie Gibbs who used to work as a NYC news producer but left that life to become a shepherd. Her company just released their first three commercial lines of yarn. I am currently making a scarf out of their chunky wool, Willa. It is beyond yummy to work with.
Susie’s presentation was fun. I learned a lot but there is one piece of trivia that has caught my interest more than any other. When it is breeding season, the stud ram wears a special harness that holds some sort of crayon or dye under his belly. When he um… has a romantic encounter with a lady friend, the shepherds can tell who that lady friend was by who has a splash of color on their back from where the harness rubbed against them during their interlude. They change the color of the dye on a periodical basis and keep track of who was marked with what color so they can track who was bred and about when they were impregnated so they can have a good idea of when to expect the lambs to be born. For some reason, this has struck me as both very clever and very funny – sort of a sheep version of a college girl taking the “walk of shame” down the dorm hallway after a party.
We’ve started offering classes to our customers. I have been asked to teach a workshop myself (my first teaching job). I am going to run a workshop called “Ravelry for the Computer-Challenged Knitter.” A lot of our clientele are somewhat intimidated by the computer but still want to be able to find patterns and use some of the other great knitting and crocheting resources on Ravelry. I am going to walk them through the basics and see if I can make it a little less scary for them. The workshop is scheduled for mid-October. I hope it goes well because I would definitely be interested in teaching other classes if I do well with this one.
So all in all, things are moving along at a fast pace but I think there is reason to be encouraged. I am looking forward to just a little break in my own schedule so I can go to the store as a customer and get some knitting time in with my friends but in the meanwhile I am glad that I can be helpful.
As if work and school wasn’t enough to keep me busy, I have had a couple of not-so-great things come up. I was in a car accident at the start of the week. It was minor and no one was hurt (Thank God) but there was some damage to my car. The other driver was at fault (he merged into my lane without looking first) but he very honest about the situation and very eager to make things right. He paid for the car to be repaired and for a rental so I wouldn’t have to miss school or work. While it WAS stressful (they had to pry my car door open so I could get out and assess the damage), it could have been a lot worse.
Also, my aunt is in the hospital with some complications after a hip replacement. As a result, I have been spending a lot of time up at the hospital with her. And I plan on making a big vat of tapioca pudding for her on my next day off. My grandmother used to make it. Everyone in the family loves it but it is rather labor intensive to make so Nanny would only make it for someone if they were sick and in need of a little treat to make them feel better. Since she passed away years ago, it has fallen to other members of the family to pick up the task of making tapioca pudding when someone is sick or hurt. Aunt Sharon asked me to do it this time around. I am happy to do it. I love my aunt and would do anything to make her more comfortable and as an added bonus – I can make enough pudding that I can have some, which is definitely a plus.
Lastly, I have been hard at work on the Christmas present prep. As of today, there are only 100 days left until Christmas. But I have made a lot of progress. I’ve got 34 gifts done and ready to wrap. I have two that are in progress and six more to purchase. And I have to make 4 more including another stocking ornament / gift card holder, a pair of Space Invader socks for my brother-in-law, a throw blanket for my mom and a hat for my dad.
My dad and I have recently started a tradition where every Christmas I make him a silly hat. It started when we got him the DVD’s of the short-lived TV show, Firefly (which if you haven’t seen and you are into sci-fi / fantasy at all – you must check it out immediately). In the series, a character named Jayne receives a weird-looking hat that his mother made for him and wears it, not realizing that it looks ridiculous. Geeky knitters have embraced this hat and knit a lot of them. I made one (my first hat project ever) as a gift bag to put the DVD’s in. My dad LOVED the hat and work it EVERYWHERE (much to my mother’s delight).
The next year, I got talked into making a fish hat for one of my room-mates who worked at a local aquarium. My dad loved it and requested that I make one for him so I made this:
Again, he loved his hat and wore it everywhere. This year, I plan on making him a Viking hat, complete with horns coming off the sides. I haven’t decided if I will add some knot work from my Viking Knits book to kick things up a notch or decide to simplify and make my life easier. What do you think I should do?
So anyway, that is what I have been up to. I hope all of you have been having less eventful lives lately and that I finally find the happy medium between having time to write-up a post and having something to write about. Talk to you all soon!