Monthly Archives: February 2012

How Close Is Too Close?

Brandon and I do a lot of things together. As far as couples go, we’re pretty tight; he is easily my best friend, and I his. So when we are going places or doing things, we want to include the other, even if it is an event where someone would not normally bring his/her girlfriend/boyfriend. When the guys were all going to shoot guns a few months ago, I was practically begged to tag along, despite my complete lack of knowledge pertaining to guns.

As exhibited by the way I’m holding this AR15
That look of pride in his eyes as he watches you load
your first cartridge

Brandon, who knows nothing about weddings and had never been to one personally – and in general is afraid of and confused by the huge event that is most weddings – has been to two family weddings with me. In the same summer. Where he had to dress up. Both times. Which he hates.

Brandon looking uncomfortable at my sister’s wedding.

More comfortable at my cousin’s wedding.

And a few weeks ago when a friend was celebrating her birthday by having an ugly sweater party, guess who jumped on board?
That would be us.


But how close is too close? Being the kind of couple that enjoys spending time together is a good thing almost always, but sometimes it gets into shadier territory. At the end of last semester, as I was trying to decide what I should do for my Capstone project (a project that sums up your college career, essentially), I was offered a great opportunity. The game majors at our school have a year-long Capstone project called Senior Team, and their job is to produce a fully functioning game by the end of the year. Brandon is a Game Art and Animation major, and luckily his team was one of five out of the original nine teams chosen to move forward into second semester. I had been toying with the idea of asking to join one of the teams in the role of Producer for my Capstone, thinking that it would be good management experience before I got out into the real world. Brandon and I discussed it and both agreed, it would be a good idea – but not for his team. A few weeks later I got a call from a Game Designer friend, asking if I would be Producer for his game. Which is also Brandon’s game. Meaning I would be his boss.

Clearly this is a decision that was fraught with danger. What if we disagreed about how best to handle a problem? What if I had to ask him to do something he didn’t want to? What if we ended up hating each other? What if we broke up and died and the whole world exploded in a fiery ball of passion and despair? After a (very) long discussion, Brandon and I decided we could do it, and I accepted the Producer position. So far, it has been one of the hardest and most rewarding things I have ever done. 

Making the decision of where to draw the line between being involved in each others’ lives and being TOO involved is not always easy, and it’s always important to have your own space. But if you have great communication and feel that you can be professional with each other even when tough things come up (like when he tells you that a major art asset is going to take six of the nine remaining weeks to complete, which it cannot), then you may just be in for one of the coolest working experiences you’ll ever have – with your best friend.


Where do you draw the line of “too close” with your significant other?

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The Point of Counted Cross Stitch

At first glance, counted cross stitch seems like kind of a silly pursuit. Explaining it to someone usually starts off enthusiastically, and then trails off towards the end once the incredulous stares of the listener have broken through my outer crafting haze.

“So, I’m going to look at hundreds of tiny little boxes with different symbols in them on a big piece of graph paper, find the color thread that corresponds with that symbol, and then create an exact replica of the graph paper, box for box, on a piece of cloth with tiny stitched ‘x’s!” Right…

There are times when I am working on a cross stitch piece that I am baffled. ‘Why exactly am I doing this?’ I ask myself, ‘and why is it so freaking fun?’ It doesn’t look, sound, or in any way remotely seem like it would be an enjoyable pursuit. This craft can cause pain in the wrists and hands and inflammation in tendons from repetitive movement. It strains the eyes and can cause back and neck pain from bending over the cloth.┬áThis is a craft of patience; larger pieces require hundreds of hours to complete and often go unfinished for years. It is not a craft for the faint of heart.

And yet… I have gone for weeks at a time happily cross stitching for 8-10 hours per day, every day. I have used up whole vacations on cross stitching, and I sometimes find myself staying up until 3:00 in the morning with a looming 7:30 wake-up call, zoned into my work completely. Its simplicity is addictive, its rhythm mesmerizing.

Unlike knitting, where the end of a row can easily be used as a good stopping point, calling for a break in cross stitch is much more arbitrary. It is easy to get into a mindset of “just one more stitch, just one more” or “I’ll go to bed after I finish this section, this flower, this color….” Before you know it, five hours have gone by – and your piece looks practically the same as it did that morning.

Finishing a big cross stitch project is like running a marathon: you feel completely relieved, proud of yourself, and like you probably won’t do something like that again for a long while. But, as with those addicted to the rush of a good run, we cross stitchers inevitably get the itch in our fingers, start taking down the pattern books and idly flipping through pages. We are driven by the promise of a good cross stitch pattern – a rewarding finish, and a fantastic journey.

Below are some pictures of my current cross stitch project – a medieval sampler by my favorite fantasy cross stitch designer, Teresa Wentzler, in her book, The Best of Teresa Wentzler: Fantasy Collection. It’s got everything I like in a pattern – a story, a lot of detail, and an eye-catching finished piece.

A portion of the pattern
What the finished product will look like
My progress so far
Detail

 

Fun Fact: The only cross stitch piece I’ve done that I still have (read ‘have not given away’) is a tiny image of Henry Vlll that I picked up at the Tower of London last spring; it hangs on the wall of my apartment. The one of Queen Anne, still in its wrapper, sits un-stitched on my bookshelf after my boyfriend’s mom pointed out that it would probably be some sort of bad karma to have those two hanging up side by side in our place of residence.

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