Ode to Breakfast

So far my Winter Break has been going quite well.  Last night I spent the evening with friends at the Santa Monica pier.  We rode the Ferris Wheel since one of my friends has never ridden one (gasp!).  It was a bit chilly to be on the beach, but the company was good and there were lots of adorable dogs around to pet.

Today was for the most part quite relaxing.  I woke up later than usual at 8:30, just in time to see a friend off to the airport to return to their hometown.  Then I went out on a nice 30 minute walk/run.

I started running earlier this semester and have found that I quite enjoy it.  Since I’m nowhere near able to run a full 30 minutes without stopping so I found a beginners running plan and have been following that.  I try to run early in the morning when it’s still a bit chilly outside and there aren’t too many slow-walking people to have to dodge on the sidewalk.

After taking a shower and making myself pretty (haha) I went out with two of my roommates plus one of our friends down the hall to Grinder which is a breakfast place on Figueroa.  We’d seen it but never been inside and we decided to finally try it.  Inside it looks like your average American diner.  The menu boasted all sorts of tasty breakfast foods that I wanted to try.  Those who know me know that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and that I think that breakfast food is the best type of food.  I ordered eggs benedict and I was quite happy with my choice.  Very tasty.  I also tried one of my friend’s French Toast and it was quite possibly the best french toast I have ever eaten.  If you’re in the USC area you ought to try it.

Upon returning home I found out that my key card that allows me to do basically everything necessary at USC has somehow lost it’s magnetic-ness and will not work.  I’ve applied for a replacement and I’m hoping it comes soon.  Still, it’s such a bother.

After watching Leverage (I’m on the last season!) and knitting for a while, I had to go to work for three hours.  Today was my work in Special Collections.  I’m working with 3 other students and some supervisors on cataloguing and organizing the archives of Edward H. Fickett, a Los Angeles based architect who died in 1999.  The work is mostly boring, but it does provide me with money.  Unfortunately, I developed a headache and just about collapsed when I got home.

After eating some Ramen (we haven’t gone shopping in a while since everyone will be gone over break), I settled in again with Leverage and my knitting.  

Speaking of knitting, Razor Cami is coming along well.  I’ve started into the patterned portion and have gotten over 10 inches done.  It’s quite an easy and quick knit.  Additionally, I think as a Southern California girl I’m one of the few people who absolutely loves knitting with cotton.  I don’t find it hard on my hands and I think it’s so soft and light.  I can’t wait to finish this Cami so I can wear it when the weather gets warmer.  

Looking forward to tomorrow when I head home and help my dad pick out a Christmas tree.  Only 2 more days until the rest of my family arrives.  It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

Semester Down

I am officially finished with my first semester of sophomore year!  I had my last final at 8 AM this morning and I totally rocked it.  It was Northern Renaissance Art and I know I did well.  I also think I did pretty well on the other 3 finals.  I managed to stick to my final study schedule making my life much easier and enjoyable.  I was able to spend the time that I wasn’t studying (which meant most of the day) going around LA doing fun LA things with my friends.  The main reason for this is that one of our friends is transferring to a college closer to his home and wanted to do some LA things before he left.  We went to Little Tokyo and ate tasty Japanese snacks, The Last Bookstore which is an amazing bookstore that you cannot miss and where I bought a copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, and Koreatown for some tasty Korean food.  We also went to Hollywood one evening where 2 of my friends and I each got small tattoos together (not the same tattoo thank goodness).  I got a small outline of the boa constrictor that ate an elephant from The Little Prince on my hip.  I would take a picture but it’s still healing and doesn’t look to awesome at the moment.

I’ve wanted a tattoo for a while, but it was only recently that I decided what I would get.  I remember reading the opening of The Little Prince when I was a little girl and absolutely loving the story of the narrator drawing a boa constrictor and the elephant.  Part of this is because snakes are my favorite animal and part is because I love The Little Prince because it draws attention to how everyone sees things a different way and how it’s okay to look at things a little differently.  Anyway, I’m very happy with the experience and quite enjoy the tattoo.

During these study days I also managed to get some personal reading in.  I read University Park Los Angeles: A Brief History by Charles Epting.  It’s a book from History Press which puts out some really lovely books on the history of different areas.  There are quite a few on various parts of Los Angeles County and they pair written history with historical photographs.  A lot of what I read I already knew — knowledge that comes with attending USC and paying attention to one’s surroundings — but there was even more that I was delighted to learn.  An added bonus is that I actually know Charles Epting.  He’s a junior at USC (and already written a book — I have some catching up to do) and I work with him on one of the archives.  Just talking to him, it’s clear how interested he is in the history of USC and the surrounding area.  I highly recommend it.

I also got quite a bit of knitting done.  The longer size 5 cable needles arrived making the knitting a lot easier on my wrist and hands.  I managed to finish All the Shades of Truth last night and am quite pleased with how it turned out.  It hasn’t been blocked so the edges are still a little wavy but I love it.

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 I love the way the rectangles go in different directions and how the borders are different sizes.  It really does remind me of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture.  It was also incredibly easy to knit although the rows were quite long for the final borders — over 400 stitches.  I’m glad it’s done though because I’m in need of a smaller project to knit.  

And that new project is Razor Cami!  i’ve had this project in my queue for ages — like since I joined Ravelry.  I finally bought the yarn to make it — Rowan Cashsoft 4 Ply in Kiwi — and have knit about 5 cm of the 6 cm ribbing.  I love how small and light it is compared to the behemoth that All the Shades of Truth became at the end.  Should be a quick, fun knit.  

That’s about all.  I think I’m going to go enjoy more of my break.  We’re probably going to be headed to Venice Beach and the Santa Monica pier for one last hurrah before everyone leaves for their respective hometowns.  

Done

Well, almost.  I still have finals, but I’ve managed to develop a schedule that, if stuck to, only requires an hour or two of studying each day.  So far I’m doing well although I’ve never had much luck in the past sticking to study schedules so we’ll see.  

Last week was a ridiculously busy week for me.  Although I kept up with my work all semester, this past week was when all the big projects and papers were due in every class and it was just so much stress and work.  On Monday I had to do a presentation for my Extensive Reading in Japanese class.  This meant that I had to pick out a picture book, write an original story IN JAPANESE, rehearse it, and then present it in front of a class which is made up mainly of people who speak much better Japanese than I do.  Nonetheless, I think I did a pretty good job and was particularly glad that that’s over.  

Then, on Tuesday, I performed a skit with my group for my Japanese III class.  This required a 4 scene script to be written utilizing as many grammar points as possible, lines to be memorized, props to be found, and finally a presentation to be made where I did not just crack up laughing.  It went pretty well.  I remembered all my lines and managed to make it through the whole presentation without laughing too much (pretty difficult for me).  

Those three projects caused so much stress because not only they had to be done in a short amount of time but also because all the work that I did on them was in a language that I only sort of know.  Nonetheless, they are over and I think that my Japanese is the better for it.

The final project that had to be done was a short (5 page) literature review for my Northern Renaissance Art History class.  I had already read the 5 articles that we were to be writing about and had decided on the points that I wanted to make by the time Thanksgiving Break had begun so you’d think this would be easy.  Not so.  Trying to fit my argument into only 5 pages was a problem that was difficult to overcome since this is probably the first time I’ve ever been in danger of going over the page limit.  And by in danger I mean that when I was done writing I had close to 10 pages and then had to cut it all down as much as possible.  Very stressful.  Especially when the paper was on Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights which is one of my favourite paintings by one of my favourite artists.  Too much to say in too little space.  Anyhow, that was turned in on Thursday and I am now pretty much free of obligation until finals start.

 

On the knitting front, I am working diligently on the shawl.  It is currently on circulars that are too short for it so it just looks like a funny scrunchie of colours.  I have ordered a longer needle that will hopefully arrive soon.  Until then, pictures will not be provided because it really doesn’t look like much.  I also ordered enough knitting related stuff for the next 3 or so projects.  I got one blanket kit from knitpicks, some yarn to knit two pillows, and some yarn to knit a razor cami.  I am very excited.  

 

Finally, our apartment has been Christmas-ified.  My room mate Jonathan got a fake tree and various Christmas ornaments and decorations from his parents and our apartment is now happily seasonal and wintery.

And now I’m going to bask in my done-ness with this semester.  

Thanksgiving! (Almost)

I say almost because the big feast isn’t for 2 more hours and I’ve spent the entire beginning of the day reading knitting blogs, watching a movie, and knitting.  Oh and going on a walk because I can’t stay in the house that long.  And yes, I said house because I’m spending these four days at my mom’s house because I miss her and I wanted a little change of pace from the apartment (much as I love the apartment).

Speaking of the apartment, now that I have my very own place to live I’ve decided that I need to knit for it.  I never felt this need to knit home stuff before but now all I care about are pillows and blankets and wall hangings.  Anyhow, I decided to go on Ravelry.  And while I was there I decided to clear up my queue.  I went through the six pages and removed the items that I knew I wasn’t going to knit.  This included all of the crochet (I can crochet but not well enough to make a complicated shawl and I don’t really have any desire to get any better.  It also included most of the garments.  Let’s face it, I live in Los Angeles.  My family lives in either Los Angeles or Miami for the most part.  I have no need to knit a bulky sweater.  Plus it’s expensive to buy all that yarn and I’m trying to save money.  I’d much rather work on smaller and functional items.  Maybe someday I’ll move somewhere colder but for the next 2 and a half years I’ll be in sunny Southern California.  Plus, my queue is now only 3 pages.  

After I cleared up my queue, I decided to organize everything in it under tags so now, when I want to knit a bag, I just go under the Bag Tag and find all the patterns.  I’m feeling much better.  

Then I went on a project page for the perfect blanket.  I wake up the earliest out of the four people in my apartment.  I like to go to bed at 10 and wake up at 6 (very unusual for a college girl) because I get so much more work done in the morning before anyone is up to distract me.  However, it gets chilly at 6 AM and I’ve been thinking about how nice a big knitted blanket or afghan would be when I’m lounging on the couch.  So I checked ravelry and went through everything tagged blanket that wasn’t crocheted.  And I decided not to use a pattern.  Well, not really.

I have tons of random balls of yarn that I acquired from people or thought that I would use but that I don’t have enough of.  So why don’t I do what it seems like everyone is doing and knit up a mitered square blanket.  Mitered squares allow me to get the same size squares no matter what weight yarn I’m using.  It’ll be quirky and fun and I’ll love it.  I already went through my stash and found some balls of yarn to use.  When I’m done with All the Shades of Truth, I’ll start on that. 

I’ll also knit up some pillows.  For those I’ll probably use a pattern because I saw some that I really loved.  We have pillows for the couch in the apartment but, while they are very nice to look at, they aren’t very functional because the feathers keep poking out of the fabric and scratching you.  Plus, a lot of the feathers come completely out of the case and are a real pain to clean up.  I do the most cleaning in the apartment ( for some reason I really love cleaning.  My roommates aren’t complaining) and I don’t want to ever have to clean up another feather again.  So knitted pillows it is.  I’m excited.

But first I have to finish All the Shades of Truth.  And I have made quite a bit of progress since I started yesterday.  

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Excuse the crappy photo.  I have an iphone and a lamp.  

I’m up to the fourth stripe of section 1.  It’s garter stitch so I can knit it while reading or watching a movie or a TV show.  I always forget how much I love garter stitch at a smaller gauge.  It’s got amazing drape and it feels so soft.  I like just running this over my hand while I knit.  So far so good.

The movie I decided to watch today while knitting was In Bruges.  It was a very fun movie in a dark comedy sort of way.  I recommend it to everyone (unless you aren’t good with some violence.  Then maybe not).  It’s on Netflix instant play so you’ve got no reason not to watch it.

Only two more hours till Thanksgivikkuh feasting.  I can’t wait.  I hope that everyone has an absolutely wonderful Thanksgiving!

Break Time!

Whew, it’s been a while!  Sorry about that.  But in the many months since I last blogged, I have been busy doing things.  Stuff!  Things!!

But first, let’s appreciate that it’s Thanksgiving Break!!  This morning I woke up at 8 (a full 2 hours after my regular wake up time), puddled around the apartment, cleaned a little, and then knit and knit and knit.

What have I been knitting?  Let’s see.

First off, I finished a project a couple of weeks ago and just got around to blocking it yesterday.  I worked on it mostly over the summer and then on and off during the fall when I wasn’t busy doing homework.  The pattern is Arctic Diamonds Stole from Interweave Winter of 2006.  This is my first project from an Interweave magazine even though I used to have a subscription.  Mostly I haven’t knit anything else because it’s too expensive to buy yarn for a sweater.

I have to say, I LOVE THIS PATTERN!!!  It’s much simpler than you’d think and it produced amazingly beautiful results.  This wasn’t my first foray into lace but it was my first big project and I’m so pleased with how it turned out.  It’s really long (I added in one more lace repeat) and feels so light and airy, perfect for wearing in Southern California on a college campus.

Anyway, I finally finished and blocked it and it looks absolutely amazing.

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Various shots of the stole as it blocked.  And yes, this is what college blocking looks like.  That’s my bed (I had to sleep on the couch overnight while it was blocking) with the stole held open by thumb tacks (I had to be really careful not to snag the yarn).  I have never blocked anything I’ve knit (gasp) mostly because I didn’t really care, but I am a changed women.  The stole already looked amazing before and now it looks and feels like something I could have bought at the store.  I am planning on wearing this to Thanksgivikkuh dinner tomorrow and will hopefully get some shots of me wearing it to post.

Then I bought some yarn to make a cowl for a gift.  There are no photos because even though I am sure that the recipient doesn’t read my blog (actually I’m sure that no one reads my blog) I want to be sure.  Anyway, I finished the cowl in about 2 days and it was also a fun easy pattern.

This morning I wound up some yarn that I had bought to knit All The Shades of Truth.  I saw that this pattern was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and knew that I had to knit it  (albeit not in very Frank Lloyd Wright-ian colours).  I totally would have done it in Frank Lloyd Wright colours, but I couldn’t find Cherokee Red and so decided to go my own route.  Who knows, maybe I’ll decide that they are Wright-ian when I’m done.  In any case, the design looks beautiful and simple and I have already begun.  IMG_1079

 

This is the post it note that I’m using to keep track of which colour goes on which section of the shawl.

 

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This is an incredibly bad photo of the progress I have made since I started knitting about thirty minutes ago.

Anyway, I’m pretty pleased about what I’ve been up to.  I’ll try and start up regular posting again.   I do love blogging!

 

Wishing I Lived In A Nudist Community …

… Because it is so damn hot!  Just laying around doing absolutely nothing is enough to make you sweat in this heat.  

However, I braved the heat this morning and first rode my bike to the grocery store with mom and then went on a longer bike ride on my own.  The ride to the store was nice and short — pretty much no hills and still early enough that the sun wasn’t beating down on us.

The longer bike ride came from Short Bike Rides: Los Angeles, a book by Robert Winning. I just borrowed this book from my step-mom and I really love it.  Today I did The Real Hollywood Bike Ride.  It was a nice sized loop that was a little over 21.3 km or 13.2 miles.  It got really hot by the end but thankfully I had gotten all the uphill stuff done early in the ride and was able to relax on the way back.  I had a lot of fun and would love to do this ride again sometime (maybe when it’s a little cooler).  I’m also definitely going to check out some of the other rides in the book.

I’ve decided to do more biking outside of my daily commute because I have joined a challenge on Strava — PowerBar’s Take on the Tour.  Basically, between June 29 and July 31, you try and ride half the Tour de France length — 1,680 kilometers.  I’m pretty positive that I won’t even get close to that number, but it has inspired me to do more biking which is good.  So far I have ridden 27 km and it is only day two.  I’m feeling pretty good.

Later in the afternoon, I met up with my dad and my step-mom and we took the metro over to Grand Park for Eric Garcetti’s inauguration.  I love this park so much and there were so many different types of people at the event — a real cross section of Los Angeles life and style.  The inauguration was great — all the speeches were fantastic — and the backdrop of city hall made for a beautiful picture.  Also, I think Garcetti wins the Most Attractive Politician Contest — very handsome!!

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The crowd in front of city hall.

 

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Garcetti being sworn in.

 

Besides biking, I have begun reading The Accidental Connoisseur.  I only started yesterday so I don’t have too much to say.  I’m really liking all the history of the different wines and wine makers that you get.  However, I think that Osborne’s writing can be really pretentious at times.  If you can get past that, though, it’s a really interesting read.

I’ve also started knitting again.  I took some Trekking that I’d had for ages and cast on Jaywalker — one of those patterns that was super popular but that I hadn’t used.  I totally understand why people love this pattern.  It’s super easy — just a two row repeat — but it makes for some great results, and it looks great in the Trekking.  I completed the first sock with no problems and am now working on the heel flap for the second.

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Both socks.

 

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Close up of the pattern.

 

I start working again which is good because I’ve missed my daily commute.  Also, the library is always freezing so it will be a good respite from this crazy heat wave.

Happy New Year!

Hey, so it’s been a while.  Sorry about that.  I’ve just been having so much fun doing absolutely nothing over Winter Break that I sort of forgot to blog.  This will be a short post to just catch up.

I spent Christmas as I always do with family in Miami which was super fun.  It was a little weird because this was the first year in a while that I was the only kid around.  Still a lot of fun.  The weather was great as it usually is and I went into the pool which was fun.  

I also got a ton of knitting done.  I finished Stripe Study and knit up the Endpaper Mitts (photos later).  I love this pattern so much.  It was easy, fast to knit up, and the finished product is great.  I’ve worn the mitts a couple times out on walks since we got back to LA because it’s been a little chilly here.  

I started the Snicket socks and finished the first one and have gotten through 2 out of the 3 repeats on the leg of the second.  This is another fast project.  I need to look into buying yarn for my next few projects, whatever they may be.

I’ve been watching a lot of Supernatural.  It’s a little less scary than it was.  That or I’m just getting used to it.  I’m about 5 episodes into Season 3 and I am still loving it.   That’s really saying something because usually I get tired of watching one TV show.  I seriously love this show.  

And now, my resolutions.  I’ve never actually done formal resolutions so we’ll see how this goes.

1. Exercise at least 30 minutes each day – this shouldn’t be too difficult since I go on so many walks but I figured I’d put it in anyway.

2. Continue eating healthfully – this means continuing to drink water and tea instead of sugary fruit juices and sodas, not overeating at meals, and being honest about when I’m hungry and when I’m just bored and need something to do.

3. Write a novel – I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and I think this is a good time to start.  We’ll see what happens.

4. Read at least 1 hr a day – again, this one isn’t much of a challenge, but I figured it would be good to put it in.

Okay, those are my resolutions.  I’ll look back on these next New Years and see how I’m doing. 

Bye!