Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm back!

Wow that was a whirlwind trip. I wish I could magically transfer the handwritten letter to my brother in the blog post, but that's not technically possible, so I'll do my best to sum it up here before I dash out the door to work in 20 minutes.

I didn't take many pictures, so this post will be lacking in them. The trip was lovely. A quick drive up after four hours of crappy sleep, good food, football on my aunt and uncle's new big-screen HDTV, and two phone calls from my brother! They were given phone privileges for the holiday. He sent us a hilarious picture message, too, of him in his Army-issued glasses. (Here's a good look at them if you don't know what they look like.) We watched some of my pap's old slides, which we had converted to DVDs, too. It was a lovely Thanksgiving.

I spent Friday running around with my parents - meeting my dad's cousin for breakfast, shopping in the Strip District (where I bought yummy romano cheese, Jordan almonds, an "I'm a Polish Steelers fan" shirt for my brother, and an awesome $3 hat with black and gold flames, for running). My parents got a lot of food to take home with them - I'm generally not a fan of sausage but this place smelled amaaaaaazing. My parents generously offered to buy me a new winter coat, so we went to a mall (and it wasn't *too* crazy by Friday afternoon) and I got a really nice one at Sears. It's kind of black/grey checked and has a hood. It's really cute. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

We went to the yarn store next - I had been really psyched for this because last year was such a great visit. Well, they've moved locations and I think the old house must've been a lot of the charm for me. Also, I think the selection wasn't as good as last year. Maybe it was picked over for the sale? I bought three things - two skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in Pollen, a beautiful pale yellow that looks like butter (see this Rav link or this link - and scroll down - for the color). I've already started a garter stitch scarf but seeing that gorgeous scarf, I might have to frog it and make something lacy! I also got a skein of Dream in Color Classy in Blue Lagoon for a cowl for myself and Dream in Color Baby in Visual Purple for some kind of lace project. They're stunning. Pictures will come eventually; it's a rainy day.

My parents and I met up with family friends for dinner - where I ran into my favorite teacher from high school, which was odd, because she didn't remember me and seemed kind of out of it, so it was sad. I think my dinner made me a little nauseated. I had pumpkin squash soup, which was great, but my pasta sauce tasted a little off to me. It was rather bland, too. Blah.

After breakfast Saturday with my Granddad, I made the long trip home. Traffic was heavy around D.C., so I stopped at Chipotle for a salad (my new favorite dish there. I'm never eating one of those burritos AGAIN!) at Tyson's Corner Center, a huge mall. It was kind of crazy.

Here I am after I got a space:

151/365: pure win!

All in all, the weekend was a success and I can't wait to see my family in four weeks. Now I've got to knit like a maniac - I've got three mittens and a hat to make before my trip (not to mention a cowl for a co-worker) ... yikes!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

happy Thanksgiving!

Notice a new look around here (unless you're reading in a blog reader)? I updated my template and *tried* to update my blog linky list but only managed to delete the whole section. So I tried to rebuild it, and I hope it's all/mostly there.

I'm getting really excited for Thanksgiving. It's always been my favorite holiday, but when you've gone through some tough weeks recently, it means that much more to spend it with your loved ones. I'm a little sad that my boyfriend won't be making the trip with me, but we have a weeklong visit with my parents in Ohio next month, and a month after that, we're heading to Georgia to see my brother graduate from basic training. So he'll be ODing on family time soon enough. =)

This will be a whirlwind visit. I'm driving up to Pennsylvania on Thursday morning and driving back Saturday afternoon. I'm especially excited for Friday; my parents are I are having dinner with one of my dear friends from high school and her parents. It's been two years since I've seen her! And my mom and I are going to my favorite yarn store in the world, Bloomin Yarns. I wish it had existed when I lived there (and, um, that I had knitted then). We went there almost a year ago (here's my blog post) and the store was in a cozy house. They recently moved about a mile down the road, and they're having a big moving/post-Thanksgiving sale. I am psyched to spend some $$$ there (even though I've only cast one with one of my four purchases from a year ago!).

I had a really good run yesterday (3 miles) and Saturday (my fastest 2 miles in a long time). I'm aiming for a 4-5 miler tomorrow ahead of my road trip - I need to earn my Thanksgiving dinner!

Oh yeah - I saw "Twilight" on Sunday. I enjoyed it a LOT, and I kind of want to see it again. There were some parts that were awkwardly cheesy or unintentionally funny, and I don't think they were supposed to be (at least the book didn't come across that way). And I am undecided on Kristen Stewart as Bella. But I thought Robert Pattinson was *awesome* and I am going to run away with him like every other fan in the world. haha.

This will probably be my last post before my trip, so happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sorry for the absence; things have been a little rough around here so I haven't really felt like blogging. There were layoffs this week at my workplace. My boyfriend and I are still employed, but about 15 people in the newsroom aren't. It was a really depressing, stressful week. One of the toughest weeks of my (all of three-year-long) career, for sure.

It was a bad week for me running-wise, too. I can't even remember if I headed out in the past week. I think that means the answer is no. This morning, though, I got up early, bundled up and headed for a 2.3 miler. It felt really good, and was a reminder that my mood - and health - will vastly improve if I just make the effort to get out there.

I'm a little worried about where I am in my training for Shamrock - as in, I haven't been sticking to my plan I mapped out a few weeks ago. The upside is, I scheduled quite a few weeks of cushion time to get myself up to speed. I just need to get my butt out of bed and do it first thing in my morning. I'm trying to remind myself that my goal this time around is the Capital City Half, not Shamrock, since I'll be running it with my brother. Shamrock is the training for the real deal.

It's not all doom and gloom at Casa Laura, though. I stopped home to check the mail on a break from work and got two letters from my brother. Yay! I sat in the parking lot at Moe's reading them when I felt my cell phone vibrating. I looked at the display and saw a 706 area code - western Georgia. It was my brother!! I haven't talked to him in a little over a month, since he was getting on the plane to go to basic training. I have never been so glad to hear his voice. Words can't describe how my mood improved after we got to chat for 20 minutes. He was given free time because he had to serve in a funeral today, and that took his time away when other people in his unit had some free time. Yesterday, he had to serve on another funeral detail (he was asked to do this because he's so tall) and, because it was a bit of a drive off base, they got to go to Wendy's. (Side note - in just about every letter, he says how much he's craving a root beer float from Wendy's.) He has not had anything beside Army food in a month. Well, they were out of root beer, and he had to make do with a Coke float. His exact words - "Who the hell runs out of root beer?" And he was amazed at how gas prices have dropped in the past month. He filled me in on his graduation from basic training - and my boyfriend and I are going to make that road trip at the end of January. It should be really neat. (And I secretly want to drive across the state border to Alabama so I can cross it off my list of states to visit. Nerdy, I know.)

I'm trying to keep everything in perspective. The economy won't always be this bad. I am good at my job, and if I lose this one, I *will* get another one. Maybe in a more secure industry, though. And, best of all, I have a family and boyfriend who are the most important things in my life. Everything else will just fall into place.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Christmas knitting check-in

Hat for Dad? Check. Sorry it's a photo in progress.
Hat for brother? Check. And ditto on the progress shot.
Gift for mom? She's so special she gets two knitted gifts. One is done, one is halfway there. I'll only post a link to a sneak peek picture cuz she reads this!

As for stuff I haven't started ...
Hat for boyfriend? Nope. I'm holding back on this because his head is huge and will require some math to cast on. Dag. Also, we live together, so knitting this in private will be tricky.
Cowl for Bernadette (red yarn in this pic)? Nope. I'd better get on this. I'm not looking forward to knitting a cowl out of such thin sock yarn, to be honest. (It's Cherry Tree Hill.) I'll hold it double, but I still think it will take forever.
Cowl for Jamie (variegated yarn in this pic)? Nope. This is STR mediumweight, so at least it's a little thicker. She lives in NYC, so it can be a late gift.
Cowl for Lauren? No way. She lives in NJ, again, so it might be a gift for early next year!

I also decided I want to knit a gift for my aunt (the one who lives in the area). What else but a cowl? She likes pink, and I have some dusty pink Malabrigo in my stash, but I think I might look around for something a little more perfect. She wouldn't like variegated, so it would have to be a solid or semi-solid. And she's very fashionable so it's gotta look good. I love tricky yarn purchases - see my orange yarn shopping a few months back!

If I feel up to it later (I'm sore throat/chills/sniffly), I might visit a couple LYSes to browse for her. I had vowed not to buy yarn until my visit to Bloomin Yarns in Pittsburgh in two weeks, but I might want to cast on sooner.

So yeah. I've got a lot of knitting to do in the next month and a half!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

a week?

I can't believe it's been a week since Election Day (and my last post). It feels like three weeks, so much has happened. I can't get into too many details, but big stuff is happening at my job, and it's something that I must keep to myself. So now I sit and wait for it to be resolved and hope for the best, and for me, that means lots of anxiety-reducing activities like knitting and running. I've been sticking to the 4x a week run schedule and it's going great. I finally stopped bringing the dog with me and my times improved drastically. Imagine that! I'm really pushing myself and it makes me super happy. It helps that the weather is in the low 50s and sunny, just perfect for running.

Another reason I haven't checked in here is because most of my writing energy has been directed toward letters to my brother while he's at basic training. I am writing about two a week (and I'm running to the post office a mile away instead of mailing them at the box on the corner!). I forgot how nice it is to receive (and send) hand-written notes. I love getting to hear about his life there, and I love calling my parents and reading his latest letters to them. I didn't realize how much I would miss him while he's gone! Before he left, we only talked once a week, if that, but now I realize our conversations about nothing were really important to me!

Oh - and today, I got to meet a brand-new baby. My co-worker Laurie had baby Jonah early Monday morning. He was a teeny baby (barely 6 pounds) and super sweet.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

obligatory Election Day post

Whew - you won't find politics here, only a cranky copy editor relieved not to be working tonight (is that even grammatically correct?). I worked til midnight last night and was back before 8 a.m. today. I edited stories for the paper's Web site, typed up blog posting for our precinct blog, and approved comments on stories. Lots. Of. Comments. I was outta the building by 4:40. Super sweet. Tonight I'm headed to a co-worker's house for beer and election results. I will probably be knitting the heck out of a Christmas present.