Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy Saturday

Eaten so far:
One Pancake (literally one)
One tablespoon of syrup.
One quarter sandwich from Jimmy Johns
(Weekends at home are often difficult to keep track of nutrition facts so I just try to be reasonable)

Knitted thus far:
Meli's Purple Mosey Legwarmers
Legwarmers are finished! Oh my God They came out looking so kick ass!
Mom's straight legged legwarmers in Black
Now I'm working on my mom's which are more straight legged than my flared ones. Plus they are in Gloss HW Black from Knit Picks. Just let me say they feel like a dream though I think some balls may have been affected by moisture. They were a bit felted while knitting but barely noticeable once knitted up. I'm including a picture of my mom's as well.
I'm already on the second one with good reason. Christmas is coming up and though my list is brief (Dad, brother, sister, niece, brother in's gift is the legwarmers), I have holiday knitting to commence.

Well here we are approaching autumn and isn't it grand. I mean really...isn't it grand? How can you not love the visual miracle of the way our world changes almost overnight? To me you KNOW God exists when you see how the leaves change, the trees go to sleep, the air crisps just enough to suck in that sweet fall breeze. If you could not tell dear reader, I am in love with fall.
Last fall, I was not in a good place personally and it reflected mostly, in my knitting. I was living with a boy who did not love me. I was drowning in school work, using it as an escape to hide from everyone how big I was getting, how sad I was, how alone I was feeling even when I was in a bar full of people. I was drinking alot more, smoking like a chimney and doing other things that were self destructive. It was also last fall that it was the first anniversary of my grandma's passing which made it all hit rock bottom.
Did I tell you about my grandma?
My grandma was my closest confidant. I could tell her anything and she would never judge me. She was the pillar and the glue of our Santiago family. We lost her October 5th 2008, two months shy (exactly two months) of her birthday. I was devastated. She was everything to me and she died just as  my marriage was falling apart and I was out of school. I didn't want her to remember me like that. The last things we talked about was how I was getting a divorce at 25 and that I would be graduating college without my teaching certificate. I felt like a complete failure.
Fast forward one year, I was back in school and trying to work out my relationship with my ex husband. Both of these things failing miserably once again. Had I really stayed that still that entire year. Was I so numbed by her death that I didn't even try to move and improve myself? Or was I that good at lying to myself and trying to make myself believe that I was improving? I'm pretty sure it was me lying to myself. I lied to myself that I could be a teacher, I lied to myself that my boyfriend actually loved me when I knew in my heart he didn't, I lied to myself that I didn't need anyone and I could do it all on my own. I just couldn't cope with life, especially a life without my most unconditional support, her.
Fast forward another year. October 5th is approaching. I still cry when I think about all that she's missing here. My niece growing, my upcoming graduation, my sister's life, my little siblings growing up without that warmth and love (my rant about my dad and his wife will have to be left to another post). All these things my grandma is not here with us to enjoy where we can see her, hug her, cry with her, and laugh. It's been two years since I've been able to ask for a blessing before we part and have her putting the cross on my forehead giving me a 2 minute blessing in Spanish.        
I am going into a field where I can do God's work as He wants me to. I am single but I am happy and loving myself again. I am more aware of my needs as well as what God expects of me as a Christian woman, sister, aunt, and daughter. I am forging that relationship with Him, even though I falter, I know I try earnestly and I will keep on trying with all my heart. So the two year anniversary is fast approaching and I know on that day I will be sad but I will also be happy because at least now I KNOW she will see what her family is doing and hopefully be proud of me.
From Left to Right: My Grandpa Vicente, Meli (Me), and my grandma Maria Cristina at my Quince Anos (Sweet 15)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Allergies!! Dame youse!!

Current weight: 296.5LBS (Gained a pound and a half but I'm able to fit into 2x clothing now so I'm hoping that's just muscle from the increased activity.

Eaten so far today: Nothing, just woke up. :( I plan on having one ounce of chorizo with a quarter cup of egg substitute and 1 low carb tortilla.

Knitted so far these past two weeks. I completed one leg warmer and am currently working on the other. I received my KnitPicks Options interchangeable needles last week and have been using them like mad. Love them!!

If you want to watch the progress of these legwarmers check out my Ravelry page:

I wake up this morning just coming off a week long allergy attack. And I literally mean attack. I've been as sick as a dog, tearing, coughing, sneezing, stuffy nosed, runny nosed (yes both at the same time!), scratchy throat, itchy eyes, etc etc. It's made my life pretty unpleasant but hasn't stopped me from knitting. Really, only the hand of God itself can stop me from knitting, but I digress.

This past Friday I attended the Young Adult Group Kick off BBQ for my church. Mind you I'm not a social person...perhaps why I communicate so freely with a blog...but I digress. I went to this barbecue with the intention of trying to make new friends but quite honestly, I was terrified out of my mind. It wasn't my hearing loss and the thought of communicating with these people that terrified me, I'm used to having to maneuver among hearing people. What terrified me was that I am putting myself in the middle of a group of people I don't know...and I actually cared if they liked me or not. What if I'm not a likable person? A social outcast? I had been used to being one through high school and most of college. In the end I really ended up with two good friends, both of them I rarely see due to distance. These people though, the group, would see me more often and live in the same vicinity as me. That scared me. So I went, and though there were awkward moments of communication (the entire back yard was dark so lipreading was very hard) I think it went fairly well. I did get to talk to a few people and those that I didn't get to chat with I am sure I will meet this coming Friday at bible study.
This Sunday my mom took me to Kohls. Now being 27 years old I prefer to shop for myself but being Puerto Rican and having a Puerto Rican mother like mine, you really can't say no when she tells (not asks) you, you're going shopping. I do appreciate the clothing she got me though, they are really nice and they are 2X sized and they fit! Holy cow. I was shocked since it's been a while since I could fit into 2X. I am usually a 3X. Any little sign of progress helps you know? I have to be more focused on writing down what I am eating though. I've gotten it to such a routine that I don't want to keep on writing down the same thing over and over. Lame I know, but I know I will have to do better. My eating hasn't increased though which is a relief and I've practically cut out fast food (I think I had an Italian beef sandwich that I shared this past weekend and a chicken pita sandwich two weeks ago). This hasn't been easy though. I feel the pull of temptation every time I pass a Burger King or McD's . How I miss the taste of a yummy burger but I am trying hard. Hopefully it will pay off.
This past Tuesday I stayed home so I could attend the Comforting Legacies Prayer Shawl ministry meeting. As you could probably guess, this was a crafting group ministry (knitting/crocheting) and they were making prayer shawls for people in need. I loved the idea of this when I got the flier at church last week so I decided to make a go of it. I was a few minutes late due to dropping off the little brother at his bible study but I got to sit down and meet this wonderful group of women. They were all so nice and warm. The only complaint that I would have of that evening was that I had to crochet! *laughing* I am not against crocheting but I just don't have a feel for it. I was totally able to finish a square before I left but I prefer knitting and I feel (I'm pretty sure I actually do) knit faster than I crochet. It's a comfort level and I am not comfortable with crochet. So I did a square of single crochet and handed it in to be part of a larger quilt then asked if I could start knitting again. She said that I could knit a square by next Tuesday and I agreed. While working a legwarmer I have already finished have the square that is set for a few days from now. I am confident I'll have that and some done soon.

When I arrived back to my dorm I found a happy surprise. I had received packages! Packages are like early Christmas presents to me for several reasons: 1. I get to open a big box with my name on it, 2. It is typically something that I will really like, and 3. The anticipation of picking it up from the front desk. I received two new books and a package from KnitPicks! The two books I got were a Hip Knits pattern book and the Free Range Knitter book from the Yarn Harlot. I am a huge fan of the Yarn Harlot and whenever I read her books I feel like she crawled into my brain with a megaphone and is shouting everything I am thinking. I just wish I could get her needles! She uses Signature which she dubs the "Ferrari" of knitting needles. I have long wondered how I could save to get a set for myself. Mind you one set is over 300 dollars. I consider that I did save for my iPod touch which was over 300 as well and since I would use these needles til the finish wore off it might be worth the investment. If you haven't seen the Signature Arts website do so as soon as you can, it's like a candy shop for knitters, or better said a candy shop for rich knitters. KnitPicks is really the candy shop for us all.
The KnitPicks yarn shown is the Black Gloss HW. I was originally going to use the yarn to make my mom a set of legwarmers just like the Mosey but I found out this weekend (to my absolute surprise) she wants her legwarmers to cinch at the ankle so they tuck into her boots! I was like O.O...seriously? I've shown my mom this pattern 100 times and finally she got that they are meant to drape over the shoe not tuck into it. So now I have to find a pattern (or modify the Mosey) to close about her ankle so it tucks into the boot. Ugh!
Well friends that is all I have for today. I head to class then tomorrow I return home as per usual. Friday night I have my second gathering with the Young Adult group which I am looking forward to. On Saturday is my niece's first birthday party and for those who do not know who my niece is, she is the light of my existence, my precious one. I love that little girl more than life itself and can't imagine my world without her. Hard to imagine that only a year ago (On the 26th), I was in the hospital room with her mom (my sister). After the delivery my sister was so exhausted she went right to sleep. I stayed the night and rocked and snuggled my new niece spending the first hours of her outside life with her. Those are precious memories that will stay with me forever.

My Jazmin and her Tia Meli (me) on her birthday

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How Lemons become Lemonade

Ate So Far:
Can of Diet Sprite (0 Cal, 0 Fat, 0 Carbs)
1/4 cup of almonds (180 Cal, 14 Fat, 6 Carbs) (Not my best meal but all I had that I could make without water due to water shut down)

Knitted So Far:
4 new rows! I'm shaping the triangle section of my Kri-Kerchief.

This week has definitely been one of ups and downs. When living on campus you are truly at the mercy of the university's policy changes. I don't mean small policy changes like "no more chicken soup on Wednesdays." I mean policy changes that are done without involving the student body that DIRECTLY affect the student body.
This is my mini rant as I had been fuming about this since I discovered the change to the point that I wrote stern emails to the higher ups at the university and am still hoping for a response.
Monday night I went to class for the first time (Last week I was driving back and forth with my sister trying to get my car out of the shop). I left class at 7:30 that night and waited by the bus stop that I always waited by to head home to the far west side of campus (classes are on the east side). I waited...and waited...and waited...for over an hour. I called the bus service 4 times, the first three times the phone rang until it automatically disconnected, the last time someone finally picked up. It was then, four phone calls and an hour later that I find out that bus no longer runs. Now for us who live on the west side of campus, we have to take the east campus route to an obscure stop and wait for another bus to take us to the west side of campus. That was upsetting enough being in a part of the city that is not exactly safe but then I discover this West Campus bus no longer stops at the dorms at all but stops a block away! Are you serious? Seriously?! So not only do I have to transfer between two buses at night in the dark but I have to walk home alone in the dark? This makes sense when we receive numerous emails about violence and crimes against UIC students? Policymakers! Listen up! Students who come to your university expect some reasonable level of security! Let's be responsible here! Dropping off students away from their dorms in the dark is not acceptable. What's even more nerve-wracking is that my dorm is directly across the street of Cook County Hospital. Cook County Hospital is not the swankiest of hospitals like Rush or University of Chicago. It looks nothing like it did in the show ER. Let's be reasonable, people please.
End Rant
So these lemons that are just growing through the week til Wednesday. Wednesday I had my first meeting with my internship adviser. I was understandably nervous being this is my first internship ever. I had no idea what to expect or what was expected of me. So I had my meeting yesterday and right away we start discussing what I would be doing. Originally I applied for my Masters to become a special educator. After the first year, it dawned on the professors and myself that being a teacher in a classroom may not be the best place for me. The professors did say that I could achieve success at school and learn all the techniques but my hearing would prove to be a challenge that could adversely affect my students. Had I been in a Deaf classroom with Deaf children, that would be a different case but children with Autism, Downs Syndrome, Cognitive Delays, and the like need their teachers to be fully aware, which includes hearing. I was sad about it but first and foremost I do not want to be a determent to any student out there. So it was time to figure what to do next. My internship adviser suggested I switch concentrations and look into careers in early intervention or transition services in which I would still be servicing children with disabilities, but in a different capacity. I don't need to tell you, dear reader, that I was all kinds of cool with that. If anything, this is more toward what I do enjoy which is consulting, educating, and advocating. I want to be the one fighting for my student to have everything he or she needs and be given every opportunity to be full participating members of society.
So back to the meeting...
We agreed that I would start investigating different agencies, interviewing students and professionals who work with children with needs, and starting a resource guide to early intervention and transition services as well as student input onto what they would like. I loved the meeting. I was so inspired and still am. This is doable and not only will I be able to accomplish my requirements but I will be able to learn so much from the students and other people. I just feel so blessed. I was in school so decorum is vital so I couldn't squeal for joy in the halls, so I did squeal for joy in thanks on Ravelry.
Now I still have the bus issue to contend with but the bus issue is so small when compared to the great light shined on my path and how I can serve Him. Since I've started this journey into knowing my God, I always was afraid that I would miss the clues on what was my purpose. Why did I loose my hearing? Why did I struggle so much in school? I just felt like I got some big answers and a big red arrow pointed "THIS WAY MELI!" This is how He can work through me...more so this is how He intended to work through me. How can I not be just bursting in joy and gratitude? I can't so now that I'm in my dorm room. *SQUEEEEEL!!!*