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I know that technically it isn’t summer yet, but since the temperatures have already reached the low 90s here (not to mention the fact that I’ve worn white shoes) I think it’s safe to say that summer has reached Texas. And, since everything is bigger in the Lone Star State, right now we’re having one hell of a storm. We’re talking about a shaking apartment with thunder and lightening shattering the skies less than a second apart, and torrential downpours that have made even this brave Seattleite frightened of venturing outdoors*. So, I’ve spent the morning knitting. I’m up to the Lily of the Valley border on the Swallowtail Shawl, and am almost done with the latest Mindless Baby Knitting project. Next up I’ll tackle Jared Flood’s Koolhas hat (for coffee shop knitting) and this Rauma pattern for more intricate knitting.

This sudden summer storm also has me smitten with Lucy of Attic 24, who makes me desperate to begin crocheting brightly-colored afghans and run off in the Volvo with a vintage trailer in tow**. Summer dreaming, folks. It’s that time of the year again. I’ve got another two weeks of school-free bliss, to be followed by 15 hours of 4.0 GPA maintenance before diving into a fall of math and science. Is it naive to think that some finished knitting projects, a clean house, cheap afghan yarn, and a road trip will help?

*For the record, I’m not scared of driving in the rain. I’m scared of Texans driving in the rain.

**Someone is snorting at the idea of attaching a trailer hitch and a camper to my station wagon. Someone should know by now that snorting only makes me more determined, no matter how ridiculous the idea. Hmph!

It’s been another good week. We’re nearing the end of the semester, with only one exam left to go – Freshman Comp. While I dread the tedium of spending hours on end writing yet another trite essay describing vague notions of social equality, it’s good to know that by Thursday afternoon it will all. be. over. Until June, anyway, when summer semester starts. Earlier this week, I officially changed my major from Humanities* to Geology, so the coming two or so years will involve many more complaints about clastic rocks than classics. I’m both nervous and excited. I wasn’t really a sciencey/mathy person in high school, but then again, I didn’t really apply myself. Now that science seems cool, we’ll see if I can maintain my 4.0. Gulp.

In addition to finishing the semester, I’ve also finished a sweater and bootie set. There is a young lady who sits in the back of my Freshman Composition class who is pregnant with her first child – a little girl. The sweater is Debbie Bliss’s Hooded Jacket from Simply Baby – it’s a typical Debbie Bliss pattern with lots of seaming, but it turned out well and I’d definitely knit it again. The booties are called Bundles of Love and were designed by Crumgrubber Knits. I adored knitting them – easy, quick, and darling!

Next – finished yarn, spinning in progress, another baby sweater on the needles, and maybe even some sewing to show!

*I chose Humanities as my major because when I initially applied to go to school at Major State Institution as a transfer student, I thought that I’d be seen as wishy-washy if I didn’t have a declared major. Humanities was the most innocuous thing I could think of. Little did I know that I would be attending a school where at least 85% of applicants are accepted. Whoops. Ironically, I decided to major in Geology based on a prerequisite course that 85% of students hate. Go figure.

…the more leisure we have. I’ve started about half a dozen draft posts but something has prevented me from actually publishing them each and every time. There was the post about the amazing progress my caladium had made since planting the bulbs three weeks ago. I just needed to wait until daylight to take pictures of the beautiful, leafy growth – but one of the cats decided to have a midnight snack and the leaves are no more. Tracking progress in another department, I thought about starting “Fitness Fridays” as I’ve recently taken up running again in an effort to fight the sneaky Texas fat. But that’s vain and boring. Then, there were posts about knitting, accompanied by lots of inexcusably crappy photos.

Finally, some better pictures… Voila – the Wrenna Sweater from French Girl Knits. Made with just over two skeins of Lion Brand Thick ‘n Quick, it was a fun, easy knit. And, it’s actually pretty versatile. I’ve worn it several times since it came off the needles, usually with a broach as a closure since I’m too lazy busy to sew on proper hooks and eyes or find some lacing. The stitch pattern is simple but adds visual interest – even more so had I not knit it in black. But, it’s an incredibly quick project on 15mm needles, so maybe I’ll make another one soon.

Speaking of knitting another, the latest Baby Surprise Jacket is ready for seaming. Few things in the knitting world are easier to seam than Baby Surprise Jackets. Unfortunately, I’ve been lazy busy over the past few weeks and haven’t gotten around it it. Fortunately, the its intended recipient isn’t due until August. There’s already another baby sweater in the making – this time with some lovely Regia (I think) cotton sock yarn – that’s a sleeve and a yoke away from completion. But that’s been on hold since last weekend, as a couple of papers and five finals are looming in the not-so-distant future. I’m finding the balancing act between school, work, and leisure to be do-able, but precarious. Which is why I’m only planning on signing up for 18 credit hours this summer. Cough, cough.

One of the things that my “52.5 in 2010” group has taught me is to seek opportunity in unexpected and often mundane places. While my photo of The Husbeast’s near-empty cologne bottle didn’t get more than a half dozen comments (I admit, I am a sucker for comments) in this week’s pool, I had a bit of inspiration realizing that I could take a semi-decent photograph of things in everyday life.

…actually, I didn’t participate in weeks five (seasons) and week six (close up). That brings us to week seven, water:

The Most Awesome and Excellent Husband took this shot with his iPhone. It was far better than anything I’d done for the week.

Then we had a collaboration challenge during week eight, to be done with a photography partner. The only real criteria given was that we had to come up with some sort of diptych. My partner and I chose the theme “church” and then combined images.

Week nine’s theme was flare. I took this photo with a few minutes to spare between post-morning coffee dash for the shower, application of intimidating makeup and rush to pack appropriate schoolbooks. I didn’t superimpose any textures to the photo or edit it, aside from cropping. I’m really pleased with the way it came out.

For week ten, our theme was work. Aside from studying, this pretty much sums up my working life.

This week’s theme is “blue”. I’ll keep you posted.

Yesterday’s predictions in the mood department calling for a 95% chance of happiness, optimism, and jubilance were counterweighted late in the evening by a quick-moving cold front of pessimism and doubt generally associated with PBS fundraisers (Barb will know what I’m talking about). By 9:30 last night, I had somehow convinced myself that going back to school and accepting the part-time barista position was the worst. decision. ever. and that I had no idea what I was doing. Yikes.

While my own feelings were a bit more rational following a few hours of rest, I was still up well before 5:30 this morning, unable to sleep due to some really nasty, cold wind that’s been blowing through our area, which produces both a chill that renders our neglected art deco-era windows totally useless and a whistle that could very well come from the demonic spawn of Howdy Doody and Shari Lewis. Fine start to the day. And, to make a long story short, let’s just say that I’m not impressed with My Big State School’s organizational and administrative skills. For fuck’s sake, who doesn’t take Visa? Wait, I can answer that one…

Anyway, life isn’t so bad in the long run, so don’t mistake my complaining for anything overly negative – just venting. Speaking of negative, my roll 0f 620 film came back today, without any images. Bummer. On the bright side, the weather cleared up enough this afternoon that I took advantage of what will probably be my last “free” day in a long time and went to a local historic landmark for some fun with both the Kodak Jiffy and my D-SLR. The shot here was taken with my trusty Canon – with any luck, you’ll see the results from the Kodak in about a week.

Last week’s 52.5 group photo theme was “new” – this week’s is “happy”. And, while I’ve taken a few shots so far of things that make me happy, pretty much everything I’ve pointed the camera at (or even thought about) falls under the new category, too:

  • New discoveries: Realizing that my rug has Arabic writing
  • New opportunities: The barista position is mine if I want it (hours aren’t the best, but hey, it’s at a coffee shop)
  • New toys: Somehow (cough, cough) I ended up at one of the city’s biggest and best antique stores after my interview and left with a Kodak Jiffy camera, which can only be described as really flippin’ sweet
  • New anticipation: Said camera contained film (!) that has already been dropped off for processing – what will it reveal?

All happy stuff – and all new! It’s going to be difficult to pick the best illustration of happy this week.