Sunday, December 7, 2014


I'm going to keep this brief because it is getting late on a Sunday and I still have a lot of things I need to do before work tomorrow.

Here are the latest items I've donated. My total is now to 614 items since 2009.

-9 pairs of mittens
-2 pairs of slippers
-1 pair of booties
-1 bookmark

-1 earwarmer
-6 cowls
-13 crocheted hats
-1 knitted hat (the orange one at the top left)
-4 scarves (including a braided one)
-1 knitted cowl

....for a total of 39 items donated in December 2014.


Monday, September 29, 2014

So now that I have some free time....

....I thought I would write up a post about the crocheted pieces I entered in the Howard County and Maryland State Fairs in August. Here they are with links to the patterns if I can remember them:

Kiwi - 2nd at HoCo Fair, no placing at State
Red Hat - 1st at HoCo Fair, Honorable Mention at State
Scarf - 1st at HoCo Fair, 3rd at State
Purple Hat (my own design; one of these days I'll write up the pattern. I know I have a similar looking pattern already on this blog but it is not the same. This one is double-layered around the brim.) - 3rd at HoCo Fair in Original Design category; I did not enter this at State.

I entered this as a child's pullover. I followed this pattern from Lion Brand. I made the "small" size. However, when I sewed all of the squares together, I did it so tightly that an adult can't wear it. Anyway, it got 1st at HoCo Fair and 2nd at State.

For the shawl, I did what I like to do when I use Purl Essence Rainbow Boucle yarn: crochet two  skeins together. It makes a thicker fabric and gives an interesting striping effect.
Shawl - 1st at HoCo Fair, no placing at State. 
Frog backpack for a child: 1st at HoCo Fair, 1st at State.

This was the first time that I sewed a zipper into anything. I think it turned out alright. I'm still not sure what to do with it. That being said, I have a few friends who just had kids and we are all paleontologists so they might be interested in it.


Monday, August 25, 2014

I'm 24 and I have back problems....

This has nothing to do with my back problems, but it is a picture I took this summer at the Zilker Botanical Gardens.
So I'm 24 and I have back problems that started in 2008. Two herniated discs, in consecutive discs at the base of my spine in lumbar. In late March, they flared. It felt like my latissimus dorsii had shrunk to half their length, they were so tight. I could barely sit (less than two minutes at a time). It is an uncomfortable and painful feeling to be aware of your coccyx because the connective tissue around it and the sacrum are so inflamed. The only position that didn't cause me pain was lying down. Four months of physical therapy (PT) later and everything was great. No more pain. I could finally sit without a back support, which I have had to use for the past six years. 

But on Saturday, as I was on the floor organizing papers in my home office, my back spasmed badly. Ever since then, I have been in bed. When I walk or sit or stand, there is pain. I can trace the sciatic nerve down one of my legs, from my hip to my foot, because of the searing pain. I should not be able to do that. I don't want to be able to do that.

I think I'm going back to my physical therapist this week and I'm getting some medicine to bring down the inflammation in my back, which is causing a lot of the pain. But the real issue is not that my back is hurting. It is why it is hurting.

I was on the floor going through papers, leaning to put some in my recycling bin. That should not have made my back muscles spasm. I can protect my back from motions and actions that I know will harm it. I can do nothing against actions that I think will cause no damage but then do. I am quite upset about that. I don't want this to become my future. That I'm constantly thinking about every movement and whether or not I'm going to wind up needing four months of physical therapy as a result. 

I don't know what to do now. For the moment, it is go to PT. Get the current pain down. But what about the future? When I'm back on the floor, organizing papers? Or when I'm doing laundry, yard work, petting an animal, swimming, driving, biking, walking? There was only a month of no pain in between leaving PT and Saturday's bad spam. When will the next one happen? I don't want this to be my life from now on.

I'm 24. I don't feel as though I have or can have a 'normal' life because of my back. Most of the time I can get by by not thinking about it. But on days like today, these thoughts all come flooding in. I don't know what do to. And it scares me not knowing things.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

575 Items

My graduate advisor and me.
Hello all. The semester has ended and now the summer is about halfway done. I'm very close to turning in my thesis and officially graduating with my Master of Science in Geological Sciences (Paleontology) from the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin. After that, I need to publish my thesis chapter and get hired. I've had one interview and I'm hoping the best for that one. But if anyone knows someone looking for an entry-level chemist who learns very quickly and is willing to move for free, please send them my way. I'm about to be unemployed and it scares the shit out of me.

But here are the latest crocheted stuff I donated to Jee Jee. This brings my total to 575 items donated since 2009.

-9 cowls
-1 scarf
-3 hats
-1 pair of mittens
-1 pair of slippers


Sunday, May 11, 2014

A post about a beard again...

So you all may remember a bit of a kerfuffle a few years ago about a woman who misused my beard pattern. This resulted in me taking it down for everyone. Well, now I have decided to start selling my pattern. Right now, it is only on Ravelry at this link: Warm Beard. I might add it to etsy after I get my thesis turned in, but it would still be for the same price.

Hopefully, I'm not making a mistake by doing this.


Monday, April 7, 2014

An angry rant...

WARNING: This post is about me ranting on why I'm so angry right now. I'm hoping that this will let me calm down a bit. It is cool if you don't want to read it. I certainly wouldn't want to read it if I was anyone other than the person writing it.

I haven't been on here in a while. Right now, I'm trying to finish writing my thesis. At this point, one chapter is with my committee for corrections/suggestions. The other chapter is with my advisor, who will likely tear it apart like she did the first chapter. 

But the reason why I'm here right now: I need to write. I'm so frustrated and angry. It's hard not snapping at everyone because of how angry I am. I've been in almost constant pain for the past two weeks because of back problems I've had for the past 5 years. Two nights during the past week, the pain was actually so great that I slammed my fist into my desk at home to try and, even if momentarily, distract myself from the searing pain in my legs and back. Even now as I write this I'm laying on top of my desk on campus because it hurts too much to sit. Other reasons why I'm so angry right now....well, I'm tired of getting things wrong, on quizzes, on homework for my graduate mass spectrometry class. Growing up, in school, I would usually get things right. I guess if I wasn't already so angry from other things, I may not be as mad that I'm getting things wrong a lot now. The stress of being a graduate student finishing up isn't helping things right now. I haven't heard back from my advisor about my second chapter and I don't like that. She told me to rewrite the first chapter in its entirety. I'm worried as hell that she'll do the same again. One thing that has been nagging at me for a while is how little UT Austin cares about its students and parking. I have a C permit, which is not okay but that is a different story, and this means I'm at the bottom of the totem pole. Today and for all of this week, the lot I usually park in will be closed. Several hundred parking spaces for C permit holders gone for the week. Not cool. UT, if you want to have parking for a special event, tell the attendees to park in Longhorn Lots, not in a lot that is filled by 9 am. 

I'm stressed that I don't know what I'm going to be doing when I graduate. I don't know if I will have a job (I've applied to more than 50). I don't know if I'll be going to grad school again, but for a masters in chemistry (I applied to two schools and haven't heard back from either). I'm annoyed that I'm almost 24 and have never been on a date. I'm frustrated that I can't go to Krav Maga because my back hurts so much. This means that the one thing that has allowed me to lose weight the most I can't do. 

I'm really on the verge of tears at the moment. I can't do that, though. Not that anyone would mind at campus. They've seen me cry before. But I cried last night. Then it was because of the pain. I had really reached my breaking point. Now I want to cry because of all that I just wrote. At times, I feel alone down here in Texas. I don't have friends that I'm nearly as close to as my friends from high school. But they are in DC, Maryland, Pennsylvania, or New Jersey at the moment. And I am 1500 miles away. Sometimes I just want to rage quite everything and get on the next plane to somewhere that isn't here. Maybe the Caribbean or Europe. I've always wanted to go there.

Monday, January 13, 2014

560 and I'm graduating in May (hopefully)

 And thus we start what will hopefully be my last semester at UT. I'll likely post again about finishing my master's here, but it is after midnight on the night before school starts for the semester and I want to go to bed after I post this, so this is going to be short. And that was a run-on sentence. Yes, I am in graduate school. :P

Anyway, I'm now at 560 items donated since 2009. Here are the items from the latest shipment to ARC:

-1 cardigan for a ~2-year-old
-9 hats
-6 earwarmers
-3 pairs of mittens
-1 pair of slippers
-27 scarves and cowls

Monday, January 6, 2014


You ever get feelings that home doesn't feel like the same home it was when you were still living at home? I've been home in Maryland for the past three weeks and I can't help but feel this place is my childhood. Well, it is. I grew up here. But now that I live in Austin, it feels different. Like EC should be where I'm a kid and now that I'm an adult living on my own far, far away, it doesn't feel the same. It feels like home, don't get me wrong. But it doesn't feel it the way 'home' does in Austin or did when I was still in school in Maryland. Maybe it's that there are more people that I see almost every day in Austin and most of my closest friends don't live in the EC, MD area anymore. Or that it's the typical winter blues. I don't know. I need to get back to working on my thesis and applying for jobs.