Thursday, March 28, 2013

I'm Gettin' Hitched!

Yesterday, I had spring break from one of the colleges I work for, which meant that I was free on a Wednesday night and could attend my favorite Zumba class ever.

My boyfriend always goes to this class too, and we were excited that we could go together. But I learned later he was excited for a whole different reason.

The instructor had us do a song together at the front--a fairly common occurrence there--and afterwards, he started talking to the class and I couldn't quite figure out what was happening until...

Oh my God, he has a ring. 

And that's how it happened. We're engaged!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

I Am Caroline

Have you ever seen the movie The Ref? It's what I consider a good bad movie, if you know what I mean. The story goes that Lloyd and Caroline, a couple on the brink of divorce, are held hostage by a thief trying to evade the police on Christmas Eve. The hostage situation is disguised in an elaborate charade that simultaneously gets Lloyd and Caroline to work through their issues and of course results in much hilarity. 

At one point in the film, Lloyd criticizes Caroline for not following through on anything. She signs up for classes she doesn't finish; she gets a wild hair to prepare Christmas dinner according to some bizarre Scandinavian myth. Apparently, she's aimless and never satisfied with her life.

Sound like someone you know? That's it; I'm Caroline. See, I look at her character, and I'm like, Doesn't everyone make their Christmas dinner guests wear wreaths and lighted candles on their heads?

Monday, March 18, 2013

8 Things I Dread

I'm the world's worst (or is it best?) procrastinator when I want to be. People often remark about how much I do, but I feel like there's so much I don't do on a regular basis. Here are some tasks that I will put off to the point of ridiculousness.

1. Grading papers. There are just so many of them. Grading all the papers from one class can often take several hours, and sometimes I have more than one class's papers to grade at a time. They're sometimes pleasant to read, but reading and evaluating each essay sucks the life out of me.

2. Washing dishes. I don't think this needs explanation. Ugh. 

3. Putting things away. I try not to have a lot of stuff, mostly for this reason.  What I do have, I like to have lying around because I can't be bothered to, say, take my shoes all the way to the next room to put them in my closet.

4. Organizing paperwork and mail. Having to read something, decide what to do with it, and then do whatever needs to be done with it is annoying. And I loathe the paper that I don't want to keep but feel I should for record-keeping purposes that adults are supposed to care about. I hate even checking my mail for this reason. 

5. Doing all the things (language borrowed from this). I have a real problem finishing things. For example, I'll fold and put away the laundry when it's done, but I'll leave things like socks and underwear to deal with later. I will do it but not now. When I have grading marathons, I'll leave 3-5 papers for the next day. Putting groceries away, same. Dishes, same. Seriously, what's up with this?*

6. Organizing the Zumba CDs and DVDs that I get in the mail. It's annoying because I don't even use most the stuff they send, but I feel obligated to keep them. And if I keep them, I want them to be neat. It just feels like so much effort to organize something I don't even care about!

7. Checking work email. I don't particularly like the various email services I use for the two colleges I work for. They're not the most user-friendly, and I usually have dozens of crap emails and maybe one email from a student or a boss that actually needs my attention.

8. Making appointments. Oh, how I hate to make an appointment over the phone. I wanted to go to the dentist in January, and it still hasn't happened. It's not because I don't like the dentist; it's because I don't like calling to make appointments. I love it when they ask me if I'd like to schedule my next appointment while I'm still in the office--no way out!

What about you? What do you put off?

*I'm not joking: I sat down to write this post and wrote seven items. When I got to eight, I stopped and did something else. There has to be a name for this condition.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Making Better Use of My Mornings

Moomies high-stepping morning routine
by Meigs O'Toole, Flickr
One of my New Year's resolutions was to make better use of mornings. I didn't necessarily mean that I needed to get up very early--only that I wanted to do more stuff soon after waking up in the morning.

Considering that my teaching schedule is primarily an afternoon/evening schedule, this resolution wasn't looking good right out of the gate, but surprisingly, I've been holding up.

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I have a yoga class at 8 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays I also have a Zumba class right after yoga (in the same room in fact).

Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have a Zumba class at 10 a.m., and I teach my first class of the day at the college at 12:30 p.m. That means, although 10 a.m. isn't very early, I'm usually up around 7 a.m. to get ready for my class.

Weekends? Eh. Not so much. But 5 out of 7 ain't bad.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Adventures in Felting!

I tried felting for the first time!

Bag before felting. Cat shown for scale. 
If you're unfamiliar with felting, here's how it works. You knit an item. It has to be quite a bit bigger than the finished product will be because it'll shrink. Then, you have to do what you should not normally do with 100% wool--wash it in a washing machine and agitate the heck out of it. The result is that the yarn will blend together into a solid, flat material.

It's great for bags, for example, because if you just knitted a bag, the yarn would give quite a bit and you might have things poking through. Plus, the bag would snag easily.

Bag after felting. 
On the other hand, felting is quite a process. Sane people buy felted material and sew it together. Knitters, however, hand knit an item and then run it through the washing machine several times before it resembles a finished product. I like the look of felted things, but there's something odd about taking so much time to create something that doesn't show the work you've done. In other words, I doubt people will know that I knitted this bag.

"I can put so much crap in here!"
As for this specific project, it was easy to knit but time-consuming and so simple I got really bored. I really like the slanted pockets. On the other hand, I do not like the short strap. I thought it was going to be a cross-body bag, but it's too short for that. I would probably need an extra 6-8 inches (that's what she said). I'm actually thinking of making another bag just like this one but with a longer strap. 

One thing I did, which everyone says you should absolutely not do, is to let it run through a spin cycle. Gasp!

I went to a friend's house (thanks, Ruth!) to use her washer because the ones at my apartment complex lock. I put it through the wash cycle three times but no spin. When I left her place, it needed just a little more felting (and even now it could probably use another wash), but I thought maybe I could do it by hand. When I got home, I instead threw caution to the wind and washed it with my regular laundry and let it go through a spin cycle. I didn't end up with any weird creases or anything, and it was a heck of a lot drier than it would have been without the spin. Maybe I got lucky. 

Honestly, it probably still needs another wash or two before it's 100% felted, but it's good enough for me. At any rate, this might be my favorite knitting project I've done!

Get the pattern here.

Friday, March 8, 2013

8 Things I'm Thankful for Right Now

I'm experiencing some stressful events in my life right now; at the same time, I feel it's important that I stay in good spirits to keep these temporary issues from getting worse. The other night, I was in such a foul mood, and I watched the Shawn Achor TED Talk (below) and felt I needed to take some time to recognize the good things in my life. At the time, I literally couldn't get into a positive mood, and frankly that scared me a little. So, I'm going to try to be more thankful and focus on the good stuff in life. 

1. My boyfriend is a good man. There's nothing better than having love in your life. I'm grateful for being with someone who loves me for being myself, someone who doesn't hope I'll one day turn into somebody else, someone who thinks the worst parts of me aren't so bad.

2. I'm employed, and I get to work with a diverse group of people who teach me things every day.

3. My mom is going in for surgery next week, which will hopefully get her on track for being in a lot less pain and greater mobility.

4. Several of my friends are having babies. I'm thankful that these kids are being born to great people and will be given lots of love.

5. Massages. 90-minute massages with my favorite therapist to be exact. I don't splurge on much, but this is something that's totally worth it.

6. My apartment complex maintenance crew did not shut off the water all day Thursday (as they informed us they would), which meant that I got to shower after my morning Zumba class before teaching at the college all day.

7. And although my apartment complex management did decide to the close the stairs that I use (and that lots of us here in this neighborhood use) to walk to the college, the college picked up the slack by opening another gate by the track so we can still get in without having to go too much out of the way. 

8. When I decided to have a cell phone again (yep, I did it), I was able to keep my home phone number and transfer it to the cell, making the transition seamless. It took a bit of finagling, but it was nearly hassle-free. I now pay $25/month for a pay-as-you-go phone that's easy to use with no bells and whistles. Let the not-keeping-it-charged, not-keeping-the-ringer-on, and not-keeping-it-with-me begin! 

Okay, I feel better already. What are you grateful for these days? What do you do stay in a good mood?