Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I Found My LYS

One day, I will not need to physically type my blog posts.  When this day comes, you will all be graced with the eloquence and depth of the dozens of posts I have written in my head mere seconds after the thoughts occur to me.

This day will come shortly after the day we will all be able to take picture with a mere blink of the eyes and then it would be only a matter of mental concentration to implant them into my wonderful, thoughtful, inspiring blog posts (blog posts which, if you remember, don't have to be typed).

That day, unfortunately, is not today.  I say unfortunately because for many of the posts I have written in my head, the time has passed for them to be relevant.  It is unfortunate also because this post will now be devoid of pictures.

I am popping in only shortly to let you all know that I am still alive and my move to Pittsburgh was relatively uneventful.  Uneventful in the sense that the event of my hot water turning on didn't happen for a week.  Uneventful in the sense that the event of my knitting didn't happen.  Uneventful in the sense that the event of my having internet in my apartment has yet to happen.

Luckily events are now happening.  I have hot water, I am knitting (though have nothing to show you because I haven't taken any pictures), and although I still don't have internet at home, I can use it on campus when I'm here (I'm posting between practice sessions).

...and today, the biggest event of all happened.  After class, instead of dutifully marching to a practice room to practice my heart out, I climbed into my car and went for a bit of a ride.  A bit of a ride turned into quite the expedition after several wrong turns (thanks, Googlemaps...) and several episodes of construction causing me to end up nowhere near where I wanted to be.  (Here's a secret about Pittsburgh: there are three rivers.  If you accidentally cross a bridge, crossing another one does not, as you might think, ensure that you will be on the correct side of the river again.  Just thought I'd warn you.)

Once I found my way, I was able to hunt down my as-yet-unknown destination and finally, after driving a good three miles down the road of my googlemaps location, I had arrived.

I had arrived at my new LYS.  (that was spoken rather dramatically).

I wish I had pictures.  I really do.  I walked in and gasped (and I don't gasp easily).  An entire wall of cascade 220!  The most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen.  And what's that behind me?  Shelf after shelf of Malabrigo?  I swooned.  And next to the Malabrigo?  Manos.  On the other side of the shelves?  Dream in Color and Madelinetosh!  They had Noro like you wouldn't believe, incredible lace yarns.  Need Jamieson's for colorwork?  They have it.  Sock yarns, bulky yarns, washable yarns, books...  I nearly fainted.  Every turn I made brought my toward more and more wide-eyed happenings.  And when I thought it couldn't get better, I made it to the back.  In the back, next to the books, past the shelves and shelves of every yarn I ever dreamed I might find, was spinning fiber.  Spinning fiber!!!  I barely even spin anymore, but I nearly collapsed at that point.  This place has it all.

Here are some texts I sent to my sister while I was there:

"Holy crap, I just found the BEST yarn shop!"

"Oh my god, this store has EVERYTHING!"

"It's unbelievable!  A whole wall of Cascade 220.  It's a rainbow!"

"I feel like I just played hookie from school..."

I take it back, I did not find my new LYS.  I have found my new home.

If you need me, you know where to find me.  (And they're open until 9pm!!!)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sunrises, Shawls, and Squirrels (and Such...)

Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments on my Bali posts.  I hope I didn't bore you all to sleep with my endless ramblings about my trip with picture after picture after picture of scenes that I'm sure meant more to me than they did to you.  It was important to me to be able to document that trip, so thank you for humoring me for the past couple of weeks.

I returned home from my cabin a little less than a week ago and I, of course, can't help but show you all some pictures of the sunrises which I had the pleasure of watching every morning.

Honestly, nothing is more peaceful to me than sitting alone in the morning watching a sunrise.  I could do it all day long (if only... but then maybe it wouldn't be as special).

Every morning I would sneak out of my cabin before anyone else was awake to watch the sun come up behind the trees and listen to the birds begin their morning.

In fact, I would set up my own little stakeout on the deck with everything I needed for my morning.

Just me and the outside world.  A stack of bird books within arm's reach, a pair of binoculars, my camera, and a towel to dry off in case I chose to go for an early morning dip.

I really do miss that place when I'm not there.

Though you may have noticed that I didn't have any knitting with me in the mornings, I did find time during the evenings to work on my Aeolian shawl a little more and wouldn'tchaknowit, I finished!

It still (obviously) needs to be blocked, but I'm going to wait until I get to Pittsburgh to do that.

It seems like it would be a good project to christen my new apartment with.

Speaking of my new apartment... I'm moving on Wednesday.  And yes, I am overcome by a wave of stress every time I think of this.  Moving to an apartment in itself shouldn't be a stressful event, but the composite effect of several events occurring at the same time is quite overwhelming.
  • First of all, did you know I've never lived in an apartment before?  For undergrad I was required to live in the dorms for all four years, so I have never experienced the wonders of paying rent.
  • I am moving to a new city on the other side of the country - a city in which I know absolutely nobody
  • Top it off with a large amount of stress about preparing for grad school
  • Then add the cherry of the fact that I have an audition a week after I arrive and my clarinet has gone untouched for the past few months.  And let me tell you, I may mentally know how to play, but the physicality is gone.  Sadly, this is not one of those times when the "riding a bike" analogy can be used.  The muscle memory in my fingers is fine, but the muscle development in my embouchure is gone, and that can only be fixed with careful practice.
I don't think a day goes by in which I don't think to myself, "What the f#$! am I thinking?!"  Ah stress, how I missed thee.  (Now please go away).

Also, my landlord seems to think that I owe him rent beginning from July 15, which is something he never stated until today, I have not yet signed a lease, I wasn't even in the country (let alone this half of the globe) on July 15, and my early correspondences with him state that I was looking for an apartment beginning on August 1st.  I kind of wish everything weren't happening all at once, you know?

Anyway, I'm done complaining for the day.  Look what was in our yard a couple of days ago?

It's a baby squirrel!!!!  And also adorable.  It fell out of its nest in the maple tree in our front yard and cried and cried and cried until we picked it up.

It was such a precious little thing, its eyes not yet open and its body nearly naked sans its cute little whiskers and a bit of peach fuzz on its head.  Those cute little ears and tiny claws were so endearing, I didn't want to return it to its family, but we all know that mother knows best and it was back to the tree for this little fellow.  What a cute little guy.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Bali: The Final Days

Friday, July 16, 2010:

This was our last day in the program and in the morning we were all madly rehearsing trying to remember all the parts of the pieces we were going to be performing that evening.  After lunch we all made offerings to decorate the Pondok for our performance and then took a break for the afternoon to rest up.

Making offerings
to decorate the ceiling
It was fun to hang out with everybody before the show and the show itself was fun, too!  There was actually a pretty decent turnout of an audience considering that we were all foreign visitors who had only been studying these tradition arts for three weeks, but I was touched that so many people came to hear and watch us perform.  It started raining halfway through our performance, so the audience had to crowd onto the platform with us, but hey, that's Bali, right?

After the performance we all hung out for a while before calling it a night.  What a fun time!

Saturday, July 17, 2010:

This was my last day in Bali.  The afternoon was spent as a group reflecting on our experiences in the program and we did a final prayer service to close up the institute.  It was definitely a bittersweet time for us all and I'm so glad I had the experience.  When our time together ended at 5pm, my driver came up to me and said, "So I'm driving you to the airport at 10pm tonight, right?"  I thought I wasn't leaving until tomorrow!!!  I had to run home and pack in a mad rush and then had time to briefly stop in at the karaoke bar where everyone was hanging out to say a quick goodbye and run off to the airport to begin my 30 hour trip.  It was such a bizarre feeling as I was planning on an addition 24 hours to prepare myself to leave, but maybe it was better this way.  It was much more surreal, that's for sure.

And with that my tale has come to a closing, I hope you all enjoyed the pictures and thanks so much for reading!  Hopefully I'll have an update in the next day or two with some actual knitting content.  Have a great day!