Saturday, January 31, 2015

Reading In Winter

1.  The Rosie Effect, Graeme Simsion - I wanted to start the year off with something funny and light, and this fit the bill perfectly.  In fact, I read it in a single day because I was so engrossed.  True, it's not as good as Simsion's first book - The Rosie Project - but it was still a treat. I kind of hope that Simsion leaves Don and Rosie alone for a while, though.  I think more books wuld spoil them.

2.  The Natural History of Dragons, Marie Brennan - Loved it.  Absolutely loved it.  It's writen as if it's a memoir by a particularly headstrong woman who bucked (Victorianish) convention to become a dragon scholar and adventurer.  I'm going to credit the recent rise in popularity of "gaslamp" fantasy for this and for several other lovely fantasy books I've read in the last couple of years.  Always a delight to read books about fabulous women!  The second book in the series is out now, but I might wait until the final book comes out this summer and then read those two back to back.

3.  The Leftovers, Tom Perrotta (audio) - This has been on my reading list for a very long time, and yet oddly I hadn't made the connection between it and the recent tv show.  Derp.  I actually really liked where Perrotta took this story of what happens after the sudden disapearance of a large percentage of the world's population.  I also actually liked the fact that nothing really was resolved...rather, it was a portrait of a few years of people dealing with the fallout.  Very interesting.

4.  Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood (audio), 5.  The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood (audio), 6.  MaddAddam, Margaret Atwood (audio) - It's been a really, really long time since I read Atwood, and perhaps I need to read many of her books again...perhaps.  I struggle, sometimes, with the bleakness in her works.  (Can't stand The Handmaid's Tale).  This trilogy in many ways shares that...they are particularly damning for big buisiness and science, and the future portrayed here is so very horrible.  At the same time, her characters are amazing, and there is enough humor and humanity to draw you in and keep you with her until the very end.  Altogether it was about 36 hours of audio...and I can't say enough good things about the readers, who really added a lot of depth to the story.  Reading them back to back the brilliance in Atwood's writing - in her ability to make connections and in the details she creates - is very apparent.  My only quibble...some of the connections felt a little bit too coincidental...but that's a minor complaint.  I really, really loved this read.  I'm also really, really done with post-apocolyptical books for a while.

7. On Chesil Beach, Ian McEwan - Funny story...I checked the digital ebook out from my library on a whim, knowing the McEwan is the favorite author of one of the BOTNS hosts, and knowing this is her favorite book.  Then I forgot I checked it out until about 48 hours before it was due to be returned.  Whoops!  I don't know that I was actually all that interested (I've read Atonement, and while it was a gorgeous book it certainly didn't wind up on my favorites list nor did it send me running to read ore of McEwan's work.), but I sat down with it, and within a few pages was hooked.  On the surface, it's a very simple story about the night of a young couple's wedding.  Dig deeper and it's a gorgeous character study and tragedy.  Bonus...the language is to die for.

Attempted:
1.  Never Going to Let You Go, - Seriously, it's the third time I've tried it.  Booker prize and critics be darned, I give. 
2.  The Children Act, Ian McEwan - this is his newest, and I'd had it on reserve for quite some time.  I read about a chapter.  Maybe it's just that I tired it right after On Chesil Beach...I don't know.  I really love McEwan's characters and language, but darn it...does nothing good ever happen in his books?

Some notes on reading in 2015:
1.  As much as I loved last year, I have no intention of repeating the numbers I hit.  It may have been a bit much, in retrospect.  As I have other things I'd like to do this year, I think I'll try to take my parents - ahem - 'advice' and get my nose out of the book once in a while. 
2.  Part of this, I'm going to separate attempted books from completed books as I did this month.  I want to make sure they are included in the record, but I don't want them inflating my numbers at the end of the year - even if I do try to get through a fairly hefty chunk before giving up.  Part of being more experimental with reading as I have been for the last few years is that there are more books that I give up on because they aren't my cup of tea.  Fortunately, it's still a fairly rare occurrence.

Finally, a note on this month:
I dealt with a serious headache problem for most of the month, which was bad enough that it affected my eyesight.  Thus...the higher number of audio books this month. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Because She Is, After All, My BKB!

Five or six years ago my friend Jenn stopped by a knitting class I was teaching so that she could do me the great favor of ripping out the entire back of a sweater that I had just determined wasn't going to work.  I was annoyed and dissapointed.  It was one of my first attempts at a sweater for myself, and while ordinarily I would have been rather mercenary about the need to start over, this time I was heartbroken.  Having no such compunctions, Jenn sat down in the corner and started to pull the thing apart with a smile on her face.

As my students looked on with amazement at this seemingly crazy act of destruction (They were all newer knitters who didn't yet know that this was just part and parcel.), I laughed and introduced Jenn to them as my "Best Knitting Buddy."  It was a spur of the moment phrase that just popped out of my mouth...and it stuck.  Jenn has been my BKB every since.

And years later, I finally have a way to repay her for her kindness that day.

You see, Jenn started knitting Ysolda Teague's beautiful Ishbel scarf/shawl some time ago, only to discover that lace really isn't her thing.  She made a valiant attempt, but ultimately decided she wanted the finished scarf a lot more than she wanted the process of knitting it.  Her knitting time is limited these days, and she'd prefer to spend it on projects that she enjoys.  She sent it home with me last fall, and I finally had the time this week to finish it up.

As it's not *really* my project, I won't do a formal finished project post...but it did deserve some blog love.  Ishbel really is a lovely pattern, and the yarn - Malabrigo laceweight - is divine to work with.  I did have to take a bit of time to figure out where Jenn had gone wrong.  (In her defense, the pattern is not nearly as simple as it's advertised to be, with a couple of little details that are easy to miss.)  I then had to frog and reknit one small section before moving on to finish it.  It only took two days to finish, and it's now washed and blocked and ready to go home.

I don't get to see Jenn that often anymore, but she'll always be my BKB.
Love you, Jenn!

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Monday List!

I wanted to share a favorite old picture of one of my orchids because it's getting ready to bloom again, and I'm very excited!  My orchids are thriving now that I've found them their ideal habitat in my home - my bathroom - and I believe this is the fourth time this one has flowered.
 
 
 
The truth?  Yeah...I was still sick for most of last week, so my list was once again not well attended to.  I am largely unconcerned about this...but I am also happy to say that I'm feeling a LOT better as of yesterday, so hopefully I'm now getting back to life as normal!
 
 
Briefly, last week I did finish rebuilding all of my playlists (so happy!), I finished the center of the Hap shawl, and I reluctantly began to deal with the tap and winter shoe problem.  Ugh.  That's it!  Oh, I did lots of other mom things, so it wasn't as lost of a week as the one prior...but I'm not going to bore you with any of that. 
 
This week's list:
  1. I actually started working on the yarn ends on my husband's sweater this AM.  Let's see if I can get it done before the weather gets cold enough (if it ever does) for him to want it!
  2. Speaking of my husband, I am going to sew labels on his sweaters this week.  He's been asking for years, but I've been lazy about it.  He wore one of them backwards to work last week.
  3. Also speaking of my husband, I did promise him that once I was finished with his sweater I would get back to editing his book. 
  4. Over the weekend I started working to do some repair work on a shawl that my BKB had started for herself.  As it turns out, lace is not her thing so I'm going to go ahead and finish it up. 
  5. Likewise, I have a special request....more on that later.  It's kind of exciting! 
  6. And...another gift project that took a backseat during the sweater knitting needs some attention.
  7. If - and this is a big if - I have some spare time I will be working on my Lisianthus shawl.  I need the needle to do the borders on the Hap.....
  8. Actually, my big task this week is going to be to figure out how to rebuild my journaling practice, which took a big hit this year because of my eldest child's super early school schedule.  I miss it, and I need it.  (And maybe I've decided what to do about the journal question....maybe.)
  9. This isn't so much a to-do item as a publically stated intention, but it's back to full compliance for foods for me as of today.
  10. Along with that, it's time to start rebuilding my exercise schedule post-illness.  Don't worry, I shall listen to my body.  Tired of feeling sluggish, though.


Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Five Good and One Bad

Friends, I confirmed this afternoon a harsh truth that I've suspected for a while.

As you know, since my allergy diagnosis I've relied on 70% dark chocolate as a fairly low-consequence treat.  Chocolate has been one of my favorite things for my entire life, and so long as I stuck with better quality products made with just the three simple ingredients it seemed as if I could continue to indulge once in a while.  (Or, ok, more than once in a while when I'm not doing so hot with compliance...)

Well, no more. 

This afternoon I ate some dark chocolate and promptly got sick.  It was pretty ugly, but not entirely unexpected as I've had similar, but less serious, tummy distress a few times over the last couple of months after eating chocolate.  I had tried to dismiss those experiences as something - ANYTHING - else, but today the cause and effect was instantaneous and obvious. 

The curious thing is that I really don't want to look at this as a great tragedy.  My body is doing it's best to protect me against a harmful substance...and it's doing that by making it clear that it doesn't want me to eat it any more. 

The fact of the matter is that this last week has been a good one, so rather than focus on that one bad thing I'd rather shift my perspective so that I can focus on the positive.  To that end, here are five GOOD things that happened this week that go a very long way towards making the one bad thing insignificant in the long run. 

  1. For the first time in years, I'm feeling contentment with regards to my home.  What's changed?  I've been making it a point to actually use my basement nook...and I'm finding that it's making all of the difference in the world. 
  2. I'm completely free of the shingles yet...but the symptoms are dwindling, and every day I feel better than the day before.  I don't think I can even begin to tell you what a blessing this is.  Curiously enough, the shingles did bring about a blessing through some insight shared with me by my acupuncturist during a treatment last Friday.  It's given me food for thought, and some ideas for how to fine tune my journey towards better health.  Once again, I'm amazed by this woman...who knows more about health, and about the connection between the emotional/spiritual and the physical than anyone else I have ever known.
  3. I discovered last week that the principal at our middle school is truly amazing.  She responded to a specific concern we had with the perfect combination of sympathy, concern and action.  It's good to know we have such good people looking out for our kids. 
  4. Yesterday I traveled to St. Louis for a meeting with the Mission Center Council for my church.  It was an amazing meeting that reconfirmed for me the fact that we have some really wonderful people working to face the challenges our church is currently facing.  I find myself reinvigorated and once again excited about my ministry. 
  5. I reconnected with an old friend this week, and it was a wonderful, and overwhelmingly positive experience that has pushed me towards making some changes to end the social isolation I've created for myself.  Powerful stuff. 
So you see, I'm not going to let what happened today ruin anything for me.  Life is better than that. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Monday List

First up - a review of how I did on last week's list....or in this case, the list I made two weeks ago before I got sick and life went to heck for a while.

1. Knocked those phone calls out on the same day that I wrote the post.  Excellent.
2. As you know, the knitting of the sweater is done...
3. ...but I haven't yet started on the ends.  When I got sick (It's shingles...no secret.) one of the things that happened was that my eyes became extremely light sensitive.  Unfortunately, my right eye was also affected, making close work pretty impossible. 
5.  I did blog about that new project, and I did play with it a bit.  No resolution yet, though.
10.  I did think about the yoga question a bit, and the answer is that it's just not time.  Maybe later.
11.  Most of the decorations were put away.  Those that remain usually stay up through the end of January.  I love my glitter balls so much they might stay up through February!
13.  I spent some time wondering if I really wanted to mess with it, or if I could live with new playlists.  Yeah, no.  I'm a creature of habit, and I wanted my playlists back.  I spent yesterday working on it.  I'm not in a huge hurry, so it could take some time.  (Big nerd alert...I keep my Glee music in playlists by year, and that's a major organizing job for this OCDish woman.  I also have playlists for all of my musicals...a LOT of musicals.)

Numbers that aren't listed can basically be considered victims of the shingles.  The less said about that the better.  I've done all of the complaining I really want to do, and as I'm recovering it doesn't really matter anyway!

So here is the plan for THIS week:
1.  Weave in the ends on Sean's sweater so that I can wash and block it and see what it looks like on my handsome husband. 
2.  Finish the middle of my Hap shawl and get it set up for the stripes.
3.  Finish at least the Glee playlists (I had some quiet time this morning while the rest of the family was in bed, so this is already done!  Yay me!)
4.  Back to tap tonight (yay!) so order possible new tap shoes.  I really MUST find something that fits better than the shoes I borrow from my daughter.
5.  Also deal with the winter shoe issue. 
6.  Thank you notes.  My daughters have done better than I this year.
7.  Update my Goodreads page...yikes.  I bought a lot of books in December....

You know...sometimes these lists are long, and sometimes these lists are short.  Having started out with a giant list, and then having had life throw me a curve ball, I think I'm inclined to keep it simple this week. I'm also aware that even though I'm feeling better I probably do need to take it somewhat easy until I'm back to 100%.  So...this is it for now!

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Great Journal Debate

 Tucked away on the bottom shelf in mostly hidden corner of my basement office/studio/work space is a treasure trove.  Here you will find 28 years of my life contained in my journals.
 After an initial - and rather clumsy - attempt at a handmade book, I switched to small 3 right binders with narrow lined insert paper which my mom and I found at a locally-owned office supply store in my hometown.  They were a perfect fit for me, and I would continue to use them faithfully throughout high school and college.
 The problem came when my OCD tendencies kicked into gear.  It became difficult to find just the right binder and just the right insert paper.  After spending an entire day driving all over town, hitting up every office supply store and every other store that carried such things, I knew I was defeated.
 
So if you look at that picture of the shelf, that's when you will see journals with different binders begin.  I tried a large binder once.  I went through two of Julia Cameron's Artist Way notebooks.  (I figured that gave the exact amount of prescribed morning pages space every day.)  Friends during my newlywed years talked me into trying some of the gorgeous blank journals that by that time had become popular and easy to find.  (Let me just tell you....it's a sign of how nuts I can be at times that it was next to impossible to let myself use those pretty books at first.  Sweating bullets!)  They worked, but in some ways it added a level of stress to the process.
Then Moleskine notebooks started to become popular again, and when I stopped to examine them in the store my heart sang.  This was the modern equivalent of my little black binders...with a historical twist that helped to ensure they would never go out of style.  Everything about them felt good, so I went back, and have been using them faithfully for a while now. 
Then...a complication.   A year ago I decided to try a journal app on my ipad, and to my great surprise I actually enjoyed it.  So 2014 became the year of my first successful electronic journal.  ( I've tried a couple of times before, but they never lasted that long.)  I loved that the app automatically recorded not only the date, but also the time, location and weather during each writing session.  Together the iPad and keyboard didn't really take up any more space in my purse/bag than the original journals did (portability has always been key), so it was a win-win.
 
In one of my earliest iPad journal entries, I actually laid out a pros and cons list for an electronic journal v. a handwritten one.  The funny thing was that my logic brain could come up with a whole bunch of reasons why that electronic version was the clear winner....but even with that list my heart knew handwritten was best.  It didn't deter me from the experiment, though, and I have to admit that there are a lot of benefits to using a keyboard for journal input.  (Not the least of which is that my hands have a better chance of keeping up with my head...)
 A few months ago, though, I found this lovely thing.  I went back to look at it three times before I finally bought it.  I just couldn't get it off of my mind, and I've been carrying it with me since.

 Which brings me to this morning.  You may remember that included in my New Year Resolutions was a desire to rebuild my journaling practice into a more regular part of my life.  I've always done better when I'm actively using a journal on an (almost) daily basis, after all.  My plans were thrown off my by recent illness, but now that I'm feeling better it's time to get back to it!  I'm ready, I'm willing, and I have something to say!
 
The strange thing is that I don't know which format to choose....
Tradition, pleasure, or practicality?
They all have their merits...they all are equally appealing....
and I'm having trouble making a decision.
 
One option...do I give them each a different purpose?
Inspiration and growth in the Tree of Life...
Regular journaling in the Moleskine...
Dreams in the iPad, where swiftness is a benefit as I capture fleeting images...
 
Or is that too much?  Do I roll everything back into one?
 
Clearly, I've a lot to think about.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Yeah, Baby!

So yesterday this happened.
 Oh yeah, I finally finished knitting Sean's sweater!
 Now this needs to happen....
But first, let's all take a moment to bask in the gorgeousness that is the backside.
These things are important!
 
 
My apologies for making some grand pronouncements about the blog....and then disappearing for a week and a half.  Promise, promise it wasn't my intent.  Life rather got in the way with some pretty significant headache/migraine problems.  I'm on the mend now, so will be back to regular posting asap!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

For My Gram...and For Me

 
Sometimes I need a quieter, more gentle project.
 
After months of intricate fair isle on tiny needles, my hands and my heart were yearning towards something simpler...something easier...something that I could work on while letting my mind go free.
 
For a long while I've had this yarn in my stash.  I purchased it as the Woodland Winter Mittens Kit, having fallen head over heels in love with both the colors and the mitten patterns. (I think I even got it on sale....I have a (not so) terrible habit of buying palette kits when they are on sale.....)  Much as I love the mittens, though, I eventually admitted that I'm just not a mitten-wearing sort of gal.

So then the question becomes, what do I do with this beautiful yarn when the colors go so very well with each other?  It seemed a shame to me to break the kit up....
 
The solution presented itself a year or so ago.  My beautiful basket of palette would be perfect for a Shetland Hap Shawl.
 
My first attempt ended in frustration and boredom.  Frustration because I thought I hadn't picked the right needle size, and boredom because the garter center can be rather tedious if you're not in just the right mood...and I'm rarely in the mood for garter stitch.  I wasn't even halfway through the center diamond when a flashier, more complicated project distracted me.  Back in the stash it all went, and I thought that was that.
 
Just after Christmas, though, it occurred to me that a Shetland Hap was exactly what was needed to provide the counterbalance to my husband's Christmas sweater.  (Which I will finish tomorrow...I'm so, so close.)  I pulled the yarn back out of the dresser that houses my stash, and got back to work. 
 
This time around it's true love.
 
Why am I dedicating this piece to my Gram?
 
She's been dealing with some health issues since Thanksgiving....problems which hopefully will find resolution today.  As you can imagine, she's been in my prayers and in my thoughts almost constantly since this began, and though I'm not one for 'prayer shawls' in their traditional usage, I do think that sometimes the work of my hands can help focus my thoughts and still my heart.
 
And so a Hap shawl...which combines the two elements of knitting that are the ONLY knitting my Gram has even done.  Didn't even occur to me until after I had started my Hap that I was mimicking her knitting.  The diamond center?  That is representative of the diamond shaped cotton dishcloths that Gram knits by the dozen.  The feather and fan border...well, my Gram knits the most beautiful feather and fan blankets.  In all of the world of knitting, those dishcloths and those blankets are the ONLY thing any of us have ever seen her knit.  Every time I pick up my needles I'm reminded of my Gram and I smile.
 
Which makes my Hap just about perfect right now, doesn't it.
 
Well...ok, no.  If it were red, than it would be perfect.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Once Upon A Time....

I used to make these lists every Monday on the blog. 

They were super-fun, and I really enjoyed doing them.  They were never meant to be serious check-lists, but were aspirational in nature.  However, occasionally someone would indicate in the comments or through a private email that they were worried about the amount of stuff I was trying to get done, and so eventually I stopped doing them because I got the idea that I was stressing people out. 

Too bad, people!  They are back!

Ok, that was a bit snarky.  Truth is, I've missed my lists.  Not only were they always fun to write, but they helped to give a little bit of structure to the blog and to my creative life.  A big plus...they really enabled me to branch out and do other things. 

So I thought I would start 2015 by returning to the Monday List.  I took a moment to review a few of the older lists, and I think I'm going to stick with the format I was using in 2009 or so.  Basically, every Monday I'll start with a wrap-up of the items on the previous week's list, and then will write up my list for the week to come.  Please remember, it's just a list, and there's no do or die scenarios in which I will always have to accomplish every single item every single week.

 No stress people...I like lists!

Here goes!

  1. Phone calls...bunches of them....not creative, but things that HAVE to get done.  (No need to bore you with the details of those.) 
  2. Finish the knitting on Sean's Christmas sweater.  The yarn arrived on New Year's Eve!
  3. At the very least, get a start on weaving in the ends on said sweater.  The sooner it's done, the sooner I can get moving on other stuff. 
  4. I have a special project for which the primary materials should be arriving in the mail today.  It's a secret, and it'll be quick.  It gets my undivided attention when it arrives.
  5. Do some planning work on another new knitting project...which I will be introducing to you in the blog tomorrow!
  6. Speaking of which, at least 4 blog posts. I have mixed feelings about setting goals with the blog, so I'm going to try it for now.  Curiously enough, I seem to have ideas running over all of the sudden.  It feels like it used to...like I just can't wait to share my creative life with the blog, and have to write NOW!!!!!  (The introduction into my life of a new laptop....which isn't high end by any means but which is considerably better than my old laptop, seems to have contributed greatly to my desire to write.  Friends, it has a touch screen.  I am in love.) 
  7. Purchase some cold-weather running gear.  Don't need much - and am not sure how much colder we'll be able to stand even with gear - but it's needed.  Probably will do that today.
  8. 3 runs
  9. 2 strength training sessions
  10. Face the yoga question.  I love yoga...but I had a bit of a panic attack in child's pose the last time I took a class, and it's got me spooked. 
  11. Put away the Christmas decorations
  12. Compile all genealogy info I have in my home.  I'm playing with Ancestory.com now, and have a plan in my six month membership to do as much as is humanly possible.  I'm starting our tree from the girls...so it's both my family and Sean's family.  (I'd kind of forgotten how much fun this is.  I only signed up yesterday...and I could get lost in it!)
  13. Rebuild my playlists on iTunes.  It's the only thing that didn't transfer over to the new computer.  The music is all there, but the playlists aren't.  Most of it will be super-easy, if time-consuming. 
  14. Reboot my early morning meditative time.  It'll mean getting up at 5 AM...which will stink, but it'll be worth it.  I always did better when I had some time to myself before anyone else got up.
  15. Journal, journal, journal. 
That's it for now! 

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

'Tis The Season!

For Resolutions, that is....resolutions and goals.

I debated whether or not I wanted to share mine with you, and in the end public accountability won out.  Fact of the matter is that it's easier to stick with resolutions and goals if you've made them known to your friends and family.   
  1. This might sound silly, but I resolve to actually USE my corner of the office in 2015.  The fact of the matter is that I've had  my space set up for quite some time now, but I only rarely use it.  Given that I've spent a lot of time lately working to make sure it's organized to my liking it would stand to reason that I would actually want to then spend time in it.  The only thing it's still lacking?  A door.  Some things we just can't do anything about.
  2. Design my own knitting projects.  I've been talking about it for forever.  I just need to get over my fear of failure and do it.
  3. Branch out a bit with my handwork/creative work.  I've got some ideas percolating.  It's hard to pull me away from the knitting, but there are other things I would like to do. 
  4. In 2014 I managed a 2 month period of 100% compliance on my allergy diet.  I will be working to get 3 full months before my next allergy appointment in April.  (I'm in process of getting back in compliance now by stepping down with a bit of dark chocolate to help manage the withdrawal symptoms.  I should be able to give that up in the next day or two.)  At this point, I'm not looking past that next appointment.  I think it's important to take life in smaller chunks when it comes to my allergy journey.
  5. Add strength training and yoga to my exercise schedule.  I'm super-proud of what I built in the second half of 2014 with my daily steps on the pedometer, running and tap dance.  These are the next logical steps.
  6. Get back to blogging on a regular basis.  Off to a good start with that!
  7. Rebuild my regular journaling practice and finish my project of revisiting all of my old journals.  I started reading them a couple of years ago, making notes on what is and isn't contained in their pages as I traveled back through time.  I stopped when I hit a particularly uncomfortable stage of my life.  (That might be one of the biggest understatements I've ever made.)  It's an important process, and one that I think holds some keys to my future.
  8. I've two major organization projects that I've been avoiding for a long time - our photos and our storage area.  They have to be done, it's as simple as that. 
  9. Reduce the distractions in my life.  Less TV, less mindless Internet time, etc.  I'm a very typical of the type of introvert who's brain is constantly on overdrive - I struggle to maintain focus at times, and I let myself be distracted by silly things.  If I'm ever to actually get things done, I need to learn to let go of the distractions.
  10. Learn something new.  I don't know what...but I'm thinking a new challenge would be a good thing.     
It is and it isn't a big list.  Notice that most of it actually builds on things I already do, and the rest is open ended enough as to not put a lot of pressure on me. 

It's going to be a great year! 

Friday, January 2, 2015

Knitter, Clothe Thyself

As I think my husband would really prefer that I stop wearing my favorite black sweater in public, and as my mother, in fact, gave me birthday money to replace it  (I don't know what's wrong with these people...it may be well loved, but a few holes and a gazillion pills never hurt anyone.), I have decided to make 2015 -
 
drumroll, please....
 
 
THE YEAR OF KNITTING ACTUAL, HONEST TO GOODNESS, REAL SWEATERS FOR MYSELF!!!!!!!! 
 
 
I know, I know.  Shocking pronouncement from this particular knitter.
 
 
The truth is that all knitters have a crazy hang up somewhere.  Some of us fear lace. Some of us hate reading charts.  Some of us don't like certain fibers for whatever reason.  Ask around, and you will find that almost every knitter has something they don't like, won't do, or are terrified to try.
 
 
Mine?
 
 
Knitting sweaters for myself.
(Is this a secret?  Probably not.)
 
 
There have been a few valiant attempts over the years, but none of them have ever turned out *quite* right.  Most of the time it's a fit issue, as in they just don't.  Once it was a style that was just flat out wrong - especially in the fiber I chose for the project.  A couple of times it's also been a style that just didn't end up looking as nice on me as I'd hoped.  (ahem...the sweater that is super cute on Mom, but ages me like you wouldn't believe!)
 
 
What's so crazy about this?  The simple fact that I can fit ANYONE else with sweaters that are gorgeous, sized to perfection and are shaped to flatter.
 
 
Me, not so much.
 
 
Clearly, this is a problem.
 
 
It's also a problem that really and truly needs to be solved - in part because it's a ridiculous problem to have, and in part because I have dozens of lovely sweater patterns picked out that I really would love to tackle.  My wardrobe isn't quite so desperate as it once was, but still.  An infusion of lovely handknit sweaters would make it pretty darn special.  (Seriously, several months ago I went through ALL of my knitting pattern books, and I have a five page list...and I haven't even gone through my magazines yet!)  Just thinking about the possibilities makes me smile!
 
 
Now comes the part where I stare at my knitting supplies with a fear in my eyes as I contemplate getting started.....
 
 
Suck it up, buttercup, you've got work to do.
 
 
We shall discuss later what my plans are to actually follow through on the sweater knitting this year....right now I kind of feel like lying down for a moment....

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Dear 2015,

I have high hopes for you.

Apparently, 2014 took to heart my admonitions because it turned out to be a much better year than it's stinky predecessor.  This bodes well.  Indeed, it bodes very, very well. 

I don't like to place to many expectations on you, dear 2015.  Resolutions are made to be broken, and heartbreak is often the result of getting one's hopes up too high.  We've only just met, and I don't know you well enough yet to know what to expect of you or how you are likely to behave.

BUT...

I kind of can't help myself.  I've always found something magical about New Year's Day.  There's just something about having a special day set aside where life can begin anew.  I'm a sucker for that sort of thing!  I always like to start new things on a special new day (first day of week...first day of month...birthday), and what is more special than the first day of the NEW YEAR!!!!

And hey...it worked out pretty well last year, didn't it?!

I apologize in advance if this is placing a lot of pressure on you, but there are some things I'd like to see us accomplish in the 364 days to come.  Our time together may be brief, but together we can make it amazing.

Without further ado, my expectations for our relationship:

First of all, let's keep up the good work.  Easy-peasy.  I spent a great deal of time working with your predecessor on making some improvements in my life, and together we did a really great job.  If you'll help me continue on that path.  I promise you that these changes are mutually beneficial. 

Second, let's try some new things this year, shall we?  We're in a bit of a rut, and it might be time to shake things up a bit.  Now...let's not go getting all crazy...but still, new could be good. 

Finally, I would really like this to be a year of discovery.  There are so many questions I've had for so long, and I feel like 2013 helped me to get to a place where I could finally start to look for the answers.  It's curious.  For a while now I've felt the power of change coming my way.  I even think part of my funk last month was in preparation of that.  So let's see where this takes us, shall we?

Love,
And all of my very best,
Kristin

PS.  I kind of sort of have some New Year's "Resolutions."  I'm going to keep those to myself for now.  You don't need to worry about it.