Twas the Day of Black Friday…

•November 27, 2015 • Leave a Comment

…and all through the house,
Not a creature was about
Except for this mouse.

Hello. I hope you and your family had a lovely Thanksgiving if you’re in America. If you are somewhere else, I hope you had a great Thursday.

Today is the official beginning of the Giftmas Shopping Season/sporting event. To celebrate, Baby Bat decided she really wanted to go shopping and dragged Dad Goth with her. In order to combat boredom, I decided to revisit my former hobby of making holiday music CDs to send to friends. This year, I went with 8Tracks. The result is a representative sample of what we have here in the way of holiday music. Some is normal, some is not, but all are both favorites and owned by a member of this household. Here it is:

It's Giftmas, Man from spyderkl on 8tracks Radio.

I have no idea whether or not this will work, but you can go over to 8Tracks and have a look if it doesn’t. It’s honestly the best way I could spend Black Friday. Enjoy.

Gratitude : The Professor’s Homework Assignment

•November 13, 2015 • 6 Comments

So, I decided to do this month’s homework assignment at the last moment (just like every other assignment I’ve ever had – ah, memories). This time of year, American Thanksgiving, is a time of giving thanks for what we have. I have a lot more than some: a roof over my head, food on the table, and people that I love. This post is about some of that.

Today was an especially good day. I have been working toward a new career of sorts for the past couple of years: medical coding and billing. It’s been rough even getting an interview, even with passing a certification exam. This past week I had two interviews and a job offer. Right now – and for the near future, at least – I am incredibly grateful for the woman who decided to give me a chance.

I am also grateful for my family. Parents, sister, in-laws, nieces and nephew; and especially Dad and Baby Goth.
Some of them are pictured here. Continue reading ‘Gratitude : The Professor’s Homework Assignment’

BatFit 2016: One More Shot

•November 2, 2015 • Comments Off on BatFit 2016: One More Shot

Well, yesterday was the first of November, and the beginning of a new round of BatFit. BatFit is a health and wellness support program started by the lovely Franny at The Curious Professor Z. There’s a Facebook group (where I found them), and she has different challenges on her blog as well. She posted her goals yesterday. Here are mine:

1) Get a job. Preferably a job doing what I went back to school and got a hideously expensive certification for, but I’m getting more flexible at this point. I love teaching piano, but it’s not paying the bills any more. I did meet my goals from last year to finish school and get certified. Now for the big one.

2) Eat better. That’s a surprisingly tough one. Dad Goth likes to cook, and fortunately he is a mostly healthy cook (the exception being the insane amounts of red meat he eats/cooks). The only exceptions are his whining whenever I try to make a plant-based meal. Unless I cook for myself, that’s not happening. We have had “meat-free Mondays” in the past, but it usually winds up being some sort of veggie burger and oven fries. Meal planning, beyond “hey, I’m going to the store. What do you want for dinner?”, is going to have to happen. Especially if I hit Goal #1 soon.

3) Exercise. I would like to lose some weight. Realistically speaking, I am very, very old. I don’t think that’s going to happen. On the other hand, I still would like to be stronger. This fall I started Zombies, Run!; first the 5k training, which was going just fine until the game started glitching (it’s probably just on Androids), then I started the “big” game. I even treated myself to a membership for my birthday. I can get out every other day right up until something happens. Like a disastrous job interview, say a couple of weeks ago. Then my depression gets worse and not much will get me out of it. This time, Halloween happened. It was a fun evening “watching” our trick-or-treaters, who are almost too old to have anyone supervising them. Just ask them…
But today I went out and ran our dog for half an hour. Something happened to the program again, and most of the mission didn’t play. But I got 30 minutes in, so that’s a start.

4) Practicing every day; either piano, flute or both. Even though I’m not going to be teaching to make a living, I can’t seem to give up music. It really does help mentally, and piano especially is as good as lifting weights for my arm strength.

5) Spinning at least 5 days a week. Once I go back to work, every day may not be an option. But I can get an hour in at least 5 days a week. Giftmas is on its way, and I’m not ready quite yet.

So there they are. My goals for the year ahead. I see there’s a challenge up already, but I’ll talk about that tomorrow.

I Survived Spinzilla 2015

•October 12, 2015 • Comments Off on I Survived Spinzilla 2015

Yep, I did. My family did too, surprisingly – and I got very little pushback this year. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that I spun less than last year. I decided to go as a Rogue spinner this time. Last year, I made it to exactly 0% of all the events our team held. We live in the middle of nowhere, and it’s a big ol’ deal to leave here to get to anything except some hiking trails and a state park. So Rogue looked pretty good to me.

This is what I did:

Spinzilla 2015: the aftermath

Spinzilla 2015: the aftermath

Not nearly as much as last year, unfortunately. I think I did 1700+ yards last year; this year it was 1,448 yards. Some of it was 3-ply this time, and roughly 1/3 of it was spindle spun. I did make a modest dent in my stash: 6 oz of “mystery wool” and 2 oz of alpaca/CVM-cross blended roving.

It was a shite week, honestly. I’ve never been more grateful to have spinning as a distraction. There was a miserable job interview last Friday and not hearing back until this past Friday didn’t help much. This gave me something to focus on, and it helped me mentally. This year I had a goal of spinning every day, and I did that. Some days were only for an hour or two. But I did spin every day.

Now for what to do with all this. It’s Baby Goth’s fall break, so I think we might do some dyeing.

It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Day

•September 24, 2015 • 2 Comments

For the past 2 + years, I’ve been going towards a new and different career path. My family are all chemists/retired chemists: Mom, Dad and younger sister, all of them. I, on the other hand, have been the family freak (in many ways). Science and medicine were interesting and seemed fun, but were beyond me. Music wasn’t. So that’s what I did, for a long time.

I’ve been pursuing a new career in health care. If you don’t have experience in the field, it helps to have certification and an education.
We’ll see how much it helps. In May, I finished taking classes for medical coding. Two weeks ago Saturday I took a certification exam. Today I got the results.

I passed. No idea how, and by much more than I expected – SO much more. But yeah. I did it.

So this morning, I celebrated by scouring some more Churro for a rug that I’m planning for our basement. Re-scouring it, really; but it’s coming out really silky and just right for combing, so I think the extra washing round will be worth it. That and another hike to Zombies, Run! was my celebration.

Now all I need is a job…

School’s Back

•September 5, 2015 • 5 Comments

So, our Baby Goth is back in school. She started 8th grade about a month ago, and it’s…going. The days begin far too early for our little night owl; she gets on the bus at 7AM and gets home after 3PM. We’re having more and more arguments about homework and practice time. I guess that’s all part of the fun-filled world of Having a Teenager in Your Home.

Other than that, it’s been hot. Really hot. Like in the high 80s to high 90s F for over two months now. Which could be worse, but the fire danger is getting considerably higher. Again, that could be a whole lot worse too. (We’ve had it a lot worse, in fact.) Hot doesn’t lend itself well to fiber things.

I did manage to finish the Wavedeck shawl that I made from the yarn I spun during last year’s Spinzilla week.

I finally blocked my Wavedeck pi shawl today. #knittersofinstagram #handspun #lace

A photo posted by karen m (@spyderkl) on

This was really a lot of fun! I wasn’t sure whether or not the yarn would work, but I like the way it turned out.
Also, another pair of socks. For the person who almost never wears them.

Socks are finally done. Whoo! #ravelry #sock #knittersofinstagram #knitting #knitty

A photo posted by karen m (@spyderkl) on

Perhaps she’ll wear them this winter.

I’ve also been learning how to make a rug. Donna Druchunas has a class in Amish rugs at Ruzuku, and I decided to give it a try. My grandmother, and most of the women in her family, made a lot of rugs from rags and leftover yarns. Most of them were woven, but I did recognize some of the rug styles; especially when she showed combinations of knitted and woven rags in rugs. Mine is nowhere near that impressive, but I’m still at it.

Now for a bit of a BatFit update:

Have I mentioned that it’s been hot? There’s a small window between when I take Baby Goth to the bus and it’s too hot outside to breathe. So I’ve been walking our dog in the mornings. For the past two weeks, I’ve been trying Zombies, Run 5K training. It’s a little more fun than the average C25K program, so that’s been nice. I used to run when I was Baby Goth’s age. I had enjoyed it so much that I talked to the high school cross-country coach about starting when I got to high school. That was the summer that we moved away to the End of the Earth. When I asked the cross-country coach there about joining, he smiled politely and said that that wasn’t open to girls. And that was the end of my running.

Running is hard now. I’m a hell of a lot older now. But. surprisingly, I’m able to do it. I feel better mentally afterwards, which has been helpful. Since I’m about to start working in health care soon, it’s not a bad thing to be more healthy. It’s gotten me to eat slightly better again, too. We’ll see whether I can finish this, but I really want to.

As for one of my other goals, I finished my certificate program in May and have been studying for a CPC certification. I have a certification exam in one week. I’ve been studying, but I’m not certain if it’ll be enough. As I’ve said before, this is a huge 180 shift for me, so we’ll see how this goes. It’s also a test that people seem to take multiple times, and that makes me more than a little nervous. But we’ll see what happens. In the meantime, studying and spinning will be on my to-do list for the next week.

Yes, Goths Can be Geeks Too

•April 13, 2015 • Comments Off on Yes, Goths Can be Geeks Too

My Geek-a-Long 2014 blanket is finally finished!  Squares joined. Border knitted.  Done.

GAL2014BlanketNot the best picture – it’s from my phone – but you get the idea.  It’s done.  Whew.

I began this around the end of August 2014.  Most of the squares that I finished are things that I love.  Doctor Who, Jules Verne, Studio Ghibli, The Nightmare Before Xmas, Douglas Adams, Atari, Harry Potter and Pong.  Yes, I was a kid when Pong first came out; I thought it was the greatest thing in the world!  You could play a game on the TV!  Whoo!

Now, when I try to describe the wonders of Pong to my now-13-year-old, she looks at me like I’m insane.  Sigh.

The first Geek-a-Long blanket (and the one for this year) is for charity; the original blanket was auctioned off, with the proceeds going to Child’s Play, a charity that provides video games, controllers, and fun to hospitalized children.  It’s an amazing charity.

This year’s blanket has a theme: Mad Science.  So far, I’ve finished squares dedicated to Nikolai Tesla, Dana Scully, Rosalind Franklin, Princess Bubblegum, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker, Stargate, Attack on Titan, and I’m finally starting Indiana Jones (my favorite fictional graverobberarchaeologist) this week.  It’s been a long winter.  Two birthday parties, two visits, present shopping/making, getting ready for spring planting – I’m a little behind.  But I’ll catch up.  I think.


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