Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"You sit on a throne of lies!"

I watched the movie "Elf" last night. I'd forgotten how much I love it. Of course, if the phone rings at work today I'll be super tempted to say, "Buddy the elf, what's your favorite color?"
My friend Casey and his boyfriend started a knitting circle, and the first meeting was last night. I went to that, which was really fun. It was at a local coffee shop, just a few blocks from my apartment, where my friend Lucy works. So in that respect, it was actually perfect because it's a place I know and love, where I'm almost guaranteed to run into at least one person I know, and even when the temperature is below zero the walk is kinda pleasant. (Yes, walking can be pleasant even when it's cold.) Mike, Casey's boyfriend, showed me how to do a new pattern, although I'll have to wait to try it out because I still need to finish the scarf I'm working on, and then the matching hat.
Since there are only so many people I know who would want/need a homemade scarf (and most of them I've already given something to) I've decided to start making them for local charities. There's so much need everywhere, but winters are so long and so dangerously cold up here that it's important to have good quality, warm things. I got in touch with the professor of the anthropology class I took last fall to ask which charities around here will need things. I don't really have anything to donate yet, but just knowing that I can and will, and now where to donate, feels great. And as I get better at knitting, I can start making things like socks and mittens.
I only have one project that I want to knit for myself. A scarf and matching hat in colors I already have. And I don't feel bad about this because I've only kept two things for myself that I've ever made, and I've been crocheting since I was ten. (The knitting is a really recent thing, because I realized I could do more with knitting, and it makes a tighter and therefore warmer weave.)
This week at work we're giving out free cookies, coffee, tea and hot chocolate because of finals. For the past two weeks all of the students have been walking around with hunted, frantic, or dazed looks, and I'm constantly overhearing, "Man, I've only gotten six hours of sleep this whole week." Ouch. I'm glad the coffee and cookies are helping. And I keep reminding people that it will all be over with in a couple of days.
I'm so excited to go home. As in, so excited that I can't really listen to much of the Christmas music I love because it makes me ache to be home. I did get to go Christmas caroling with friends, though. We went around to the family housing and student apartments to spread a little Christmas joy. It was so much fun. And cold! The night we chose was down around -15, so we had to duck into one of the dorms for a bathroom break and warm up. I did a duet with my friend Mitch, though. We sang "Baby it's Cold Outside". He's such a good singer, and he'd been wanting to do that one with someone all night. So I agreed to sing it with him and we hammed it up. So fun.
Then, on Sunday, Shane and I had a small holiday potluck with friends. That made me really happy, seeing everyone hanging out and talking. It was also the last thing I really get to do with Spencer before he leaves for Scotland. He'll be in Soldotna until he leaves in early February, but I won't get to see him. I think it will be a great experience for him, though. In a lot of ways I wish I had gone on exchange somewhere, but it would have cost too much and I didn't want to go somewhere without Shane. Oh well. My brother was telling me about a program that allows people to go to places like France to teach English. Maybe I'll do that at some point. Hopefully I'll do that.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Bringing home more dog than we came with."

Ahh, Thanksgiving weekend was exactly what we needed! It was so relaxing. I kind of feel like I did nothing but eat, which makes me feel a bit fat, but it was fun. We went bowling, we went to BJ's to play darts (twice), and I started knitting a scarf for Shane. Spencer knits, too, and Sally so we all went to JoAnn's together to get yarn and supplies. Shane is still biking to school and work, and obviously it's quite chilly out most of the time. (Not right now, though! Chinook winds, heck yeah! It's been around +30 degrees for the past two days!) Anyway, he was saying that his neck gets really cold, so he wants an orange and black scarf. So I'm making one. When completed, this will be my first successful knitting project. Usually I start knitting and end up thinking, "Crocheting is easier," and quitting. But I finally learned how to purl, so it's a bit more interesting now. I'll post pics when I'm done. The only mistake is one dropped stitch near the bottom, which I didn't notice until I was too far along to go back. Shane pointed to it and said, "What, I don't deserve a perfect scarf?" I told him, "It's a dropped stitch of love." We've been teasing each other about it ever since. "Oh yeah? When this spot is frostbitten because of that dropped stitch, I don't know if it's love I'll be feeling."
Also, one of my friends and former co-workers is forming a knitting circle with his boyfriend and he invited me. Mostly it will be people that Mike (the boyfriend) works with, who are all deaf. But Casey's a really, really good knitter so he invited me along. I'm excited. They won't start meeting until the 15th, though, and after that I go home for 2 1/2 weeks, then I'll be super busy next semester.
I figured out my classes! I'm going to take two that work toward the paralegal degree, just to see if I like it. One is online but the other is on Monday nights for three hours. Plus, I'm going to take beginning ballet. I love ballet, but haven't taken a class since I was little. When I saw it offered here, I had to do it. So that will be basically a lunch hour thing, and I'll have to work an hour longer three days a week. (I'm thinking that on Monday nights I'll be away from home from 7:30-9:00--yuck.) Plus, there's always Symphony on Tuesday nights and I was asked (and accepted) to do the FLOT (Fairbanks Light Opera Theater) production of "Sweeney Todd". I'll be getting paid for it, too! Not much, but enough to help out with some of the expenses for my brother's wedding next summer. I have a lot to look forward to, if it all doesn't drive me insane.
This is concert week, and I'm so excited. I always love our concerts, but the week leading up to it is always crazy because we have two extra three-hour rehearsals on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. But I don't mind this time because it's the holiday concert! I love Christmas music. As well as classics like "White Christmas" and "Hallelujah Chorus", we're doing most of "The Nutcracker"!! (This was another inspiring factor for taking that ballet class next semester.) It's so much fun. So fun! We're doing this with the Choir of the North and a children's choir. My friend Mitch is in Choir of the North, so it was fun to see him at rehearsal last night. He's one of the few people I know who loves Christmas and Christmas music as much as I do. We were both grinning away and having a blast. I always leave rehearsal feeling numb and energized all at once, because the music gets me really happy and excited but some of it is really hard, and three hours of practice is very draining.
Mitch invited me to go Christmas caroling with some other people, so we're going to do that in two weeks. I think that same weekend Shane and I are going to have a holiday potluck with friends, since we don't get to celebrate either Thanksgiving or Christmas with them. His parents sent us home not only with leftovers, but with a 10-pound turkey and a ham as well so we need to cook those up anyway. What better way to do it than with lots of friends to share it with? I'll also make home-made rolls and a dessert.
Is it any wonder I love this season?
One final word on Thanksgiving, the blog title is because we brought Pepper down to Soldotna with us and she got soooooooo spoiled. She ate nothing but turkey, bacon and moose meat. On Monday morning I gave her her regular little bit of kibble for breakfast and she was so excited, wagging her tail, until I put the bowl down and she saw what was in it. Slowly her tail stopped, she looked at me, then back at the bowl. Finally she sat down and started arf-ing at it quietly. "You are not what I want. Turn into turkey. Do it!" So funny. She finally ate it, but it was quite the production to let me know that she wasn't happy about it.
Ooh, and we saw a caribou on the way down to Soldotna! I was listing in my head the animals I've seen since moving up here, that I haven't (or wouldn't) see wild anywhere else: moose, caribou, beavers, river otters, bears and foxes. This is excluding all the birds (like eagles) and rabbits that I've seen, since I can see those in WA. I just think it's cool that I get to see these animals in the wild, rather than a zoo. Most of the time I see them running along or across the road. And most of the time they get a, "What the that a...?" reaction out of me, because I'm just not expecting them. (Who expects to see four river otters running across a fairly major road at 2 a.m.?)
I hope everyone else is having as happy and wonderful a holiday season as mine is starting out to be!