Monday, May 14, 2012

A Very Colorful Mother's Day

By some wonderful glitch, this year managed to be the first mother's day in two years that I was home for - the first which happened after finals week instead of before.

It also just happened that The Color Run was on Sunday, and, for some reason, I decided I really wanted to go.  You know, because I just love running.  As does my mom.  Oh wait, that was sarcasm.  But we went for it anyways.  Our first 5k.

The morning after getting back from school, we got ourselves up at 6 in the morning (on a Sunday, no less!) and drove out to Seattle Center to... walk... a 5k.  And get covered in colored corn starch.

Well, it turned out to be awesome.  Way more fun than my mom expected.  (Maybe even more fun than I expected, but I already know how much fun it is to be covered in colorful stuff, thank you battle tie dye...)  Everyone was just super excited (lots of high fives all around as we passed people), and having a "reward" every kilometer broke things up nicely into manageable bits.  Plus, everyone looked awesome.

The best part, however, was the color throw at the end.  They gave every runner a packet of the colored corn starch, which we were told to save for the end.  At the end of the race, they'd count down every 15 minutes to a color throw, where everyone (with a packet) would throw their color into the air.  While you were under it, it resulted in being covered in dust and having trouble breathing and seeing.  However, the view from above was spectacular, and pretty much made the whole thing even more worth it.

Oh, and one more thing?  My mom is awesome.  Awesome for trusting me that we'd enjoy this event, and awesome in general.  That's all...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Dalai Lama, Banana Muffins, and how I relate the two...

I went to see the Dalai Lama talk when he visited Seattle a few years back.  For reasons I don't entirely recall, we didn't stay for his whole speech... something to do with all the pre-speech festivities which took way longer than we expected.

When he finally did talk, he had a very thick accent and the crowd was still noisy, so I was relying on my mom to translate for me.  Which means that only one point sticks in my memory...

There are two kinds of selfish acts, he told us.  You can want something so badly that you take advantage of or hurt others in order to get it.  This is the bad kind of selfishness.  However, there is also a good kind of selfishness - you can do good things for people because you want the good feeling that comes with service, or you want karma to be good to you in the future, or, from my own experience, you want them to eventually decide to do nice things back.  Your actions are motivated entirely by your own desires, so they are selfish.  But they help others, they do good things: This, he told us, is the good kind of selfishness.

As some of you know, and maybe can tell from reading my blog this semester, it's been a rough semester.  Mostly because my grandmother passed away (which I'm expecting to really hit me when I get home and back into the routines that usually include her), but also because I've been... well, to put it lightly, finding out who my true friends are.  Who loves me versus who just spends time with me.

When I say that I'm finding out who my true friends are, though, I mean it.  I've been disappointed a bit, but at the same time, I've been overwhelmed by love from unexpected places.  People who were mere acquaintances before have suddenly become my best friends, and I love the kindness that they are bestowing upon me.  I want more - so I return the favor, hoping that it will continue.  Selfish, but not bad, I hope.

I've heard from various Christians that it isn't good enough to do good things and be motivated by the happy feeling you get to see people being helped, or by the expectation of karma... that we need to be motivated only by our love for God.  But I hope this isn't true.  I hope this doesn't mean that we shouldn't act on our desire for a good response to our kindnesses, as long as, should people not respond well, we do good anyway.

This week, I've been cooking a lot.  Mostly, I've started trying to use up ingredients that I have leftover at the end of the year (half a box of Bisquick and 6 frozen bananas, among other things that would otherwise get thrown away).  But... 6 bananas makes a *lot* of banana muffins, and half a box of Bisquick leaves you with quite the pile of cheesy biscuits... I have no desire to eat that much, and, as I mentioned before, I feel loved, I feel valued as a person, when people enjoy the food I cook (though, for those of you who are subject to my cooking experiments in the future, don't take this as a reason to fake it...)  This means that when I pull my 39 biscuits out of the oven, I want to give them to everyone who will take them - not everyone will come back and tell me they liked them (and, I admit, the banana muffins were much better), but for the few people who do, I will happily pass them out to whoever will eat.  Selfishly, because I want people to enjoy the food.  Not selflessly, not entirely out of my love for the people around me (though I do love them), but because of the satisfaction I get from feeding them, and because, and the men who have most frequently been the subjects of my food-giving will happily agree, the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.

I found friends, I fed them, and, before I knew it, they turned out to be some of the best friends I have.  That friendship is worth more than all the banana bread I've ever made... I guess that means its time for cheesecake.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Very Own Narwhal

I've been crocheting seriously for a bit over a year now, which means I've pretty much got a handle on how the basics work.  For a couple weeks, I've been thinking I want to do my own thing, so, after finishing up a batch of angry birds, I went ahead and made myself a narwhal.  My first pattern free stuffed animal!  (I'd say my first pattern free project but I made a blanket a long time ago... not that those are hard, it was just a lot of single crochet)

The pictures aren't great, but I wanted to share.  Apparently messy desks are a bad background for colorful projects... and the rug pattern in the dorm is just distracting.  But that's okay, Narwhal is cute enough to make up for it.  I believe this one is named Dick (short for Moby Dick).

Standing up on his own...

View from the front! (There's nothing on the back)
I'll be writing up a pattern over the summer (probably going to try to sell it on Ravelry), but if you want to try and make one yourself, I'll explain what I can.

The body started with a standard spiral, 6 evenly spaced increases a round until there were 36 stitches.  After about 10 rows of straight single crochet, I began to decrease 2 per round, once a couple stitches after the start of the round, once a couple stitches before the end.  (This is where I need to figure out my specific pattern, I was eyeballing it a great deal).

The fins were made in the round with increases and decreases next to each other instead of evenly spaced (so there would be two flatter sides).  The horn was from a pattern called "Charlie the Unicorn" that I actually wouldn't recommend.  The face was embroidered.

Hopefully I can manage to recreate this little guy from memory to make a pattern.  I say from memory because I sold this one... I guess I shouldn't call it "My Very Own".  Until then, it's on to a horse (the rest of Charlie the Unicorn), a few more angry birds (people keep wanting to buy them) and a huge batch of safety cones.

Over and out.