I never intended to let the blog languish for so long, but somehow, it seems to fall off the list of things to do when life gets really busy. And it has gotten really busy this year - which, by the way, seems to be whizzing past a light speed!
There's been a lot going on around here, without even commenting on work (which we won't). It's still there, it's still crazy and it will never be done - which is why it's called work, right? (OK, that's really all there is to say about it.)
Here are the highlights since the last post, back in February:
* went to Stitches West, had a great time, bought lovely yarn
* started a serious yoga practice (mostly Hatha flow, with some Yin and Vinyasa and - best of all - restorative!
* went to a wedding in Corpus Christi, had a great time, nearly melted and did manage to knit some
* went to PIQF (Pacific International Quilt Festival), bought lovely fabric, had a great time
* visited MIL in her new assisted living place 4 times, each a long and lost weekend, lots of knitting
* we have decided to think about retirement! Still negotiating time frames: he says 2 years, I say 10...we're talking 5 to 7 right now. Manchester, NH is the likely landing place, which will be a world away from the San Francisco Bay Area,
That's occupied a lot of spare time and brain power and even computer time. We started with a list of 10 cities from some magazine or something and checked out each city. He checks the everything else, and I look at houses for sale. I love looking at houses for sale, but it can really be a time sink! More to come on this topic.
I've been knitting rather a lot. In October I finished a Mizzle scarf / shawl and 1 sock (it's lovely yarn, but the 2nd sock is in timeout until it learns to behave. I had more trouble with that 1 sock than with the other 75 or so pairs I've knitted all put together!) I'm almost finished with a Grand Palais scarf / shawl started in 2011 and stalled when the 9 stitch knitted-on lace border stymied me. Turns out it's really easy and only the i-cord edge remains to be done.
As the month goes on, I'll post photos of the finished objects - it's been ages since they were even mentioned, much less posted.
It's good to be back, and I hope to see some old friends and even some new ones around the blog.
So far, 2015 has been rather a disappointment and very difficult. I was inspired when Barb suggested a do-over, therefore, I am shouting "Happy New Year" tonight in hopes that 2015 has had enough time to get over it's childish temper tantrum and get on with making this the year it is meant to be!
Happy New Year!
I'll be back with plans and observations later. No resolutions. There lies madness.
Today's topic is 10 Stores (actual brick-and-mortar stores) I like. Rather challenging since I'm a cyber-shopping fool, and think actually setting foot in a store is akin to torture, but here goes!
1. Dale Hardware This is our local Ace Hardware store, and it seems that if they don't have it, I don't need it. They have a wonderful nursery and garden section, several paint brands, and I can spend hours wandering the aisles. Ken brought me here on our 2nd date!
2. Corrie Glass A local business, which is closing at the end of the year (more or less) when the owners retire after 40 years. They have beautiful lamp-work glass beads, blown and spun glass items and truly unique and lovely necklaces and earrings.
3. Imagiknit is a yarn store in the Mission District of San Francisco. Wonderful yarn and lots of interesting colors, textures and fibers; nice people, and it's close enough to my office for an extended lunch hour visit.
4. Britex Fabrics is 4 floors of floor to ceiling fabrics, buttons and sewing notions. Fabrics that cost multiple hundreds of $$$ per yard, fabulous buttons that make the outfit, and knowledgeable sales staff make this store an overwhelming delight to visit.
5. Nine Rubies is a lovely yarn and knitting store nearby in San Mateo.
6. Sprouts is a farmer's market and natural foods grocery store, with lots of beautiful organic produce and fresh herbs.
7. Alexander Books in San Francisco, because what's not to like about a local independent book store that's close to the office?
8. Fog City News is street level in my building, and has newpapers, magazines and chocolate from all over the world. They also carry a world-class selection of cards, both naughty and nice.
9. Cost Plus World Market and Pier One - both have wonderful and interesting items for the home, and are great places to browse for special gifts.
10. Regan's Nursery has the best selection of roses I've ever seen. Hundreds of varieties, fabulous colors, fruit trees, perennials, vegetables - they have it all, and the staff knows about gardening. I love to wander their grounds just for relaxation.
This year has flown by, and it's December already, and I feel I have very little to show for the year. I've knitted some, gardened some, read some and dabbled in lots of things some. Somehow it feels like nothing was finished, nothing came to fruition, and very little was accomplished. It's not true, of course. Lots of things happened, and were finished, and there's a long list of accomplishments, but 2014 (at this point) feels like a frustrating waste of a year.
It wasn't a good year for the garden at all. After 3 years of drought, we were under severe water restrictions. Only 1 raised bed was planted and production was minimal - watering was allowed for 30 minutes, once or twice a week, which wasn't enough during the hotter than normal summer. I used my sparse water rations to keep trees and roses alive, and let everything else fend for itself. The grass was dead and brown, and nothing really thrived.
I'd never realized before how much of my emotional well-being was tied to how green my surroundings were. The hills behind the house haven't been fully green in 2 or 3 years, my yard hasn't either, and I had little desire to spend time in a dull and brown yard.
Oddly enough, things turned around in November and accomplishments happened. We had some rain - not a lot, but some - and it cooled off enough to wear a sweater. I felt more energized and started back to work of some house projects. I started cooking again, and getting out for walks. It was almost like I'd been in a cocoon of drabness, and now was emerging to a more colorful world
More later this month, as I try to resurrect this blog.
Well, it's been a while. I don't think I've ever let the blog languish this long without posting something - anything! - no matter how inane or ridiculous.
It's been an eventful couple of months, to say the least. Not only did I try to make some changes in my personal life (little ones, articulated below, and which I will address) but there were some larger ones as well.
On May 9 my dear in-laws were moved out of their home for the last 24 years and into an assisted living facility. It's a lovely place with room for much of their accumulated stuff, and it had to be done for their own safety. When we last visited them at their home, the first thing we noticed was the noise of the smoke alarm - its battery was dead, and it was chirping madly but neither had noticed. That's just one of many examples.
(My sister-in-law made all the arrangements without asking us for input or help, and there has been some friction due to her heavy-handedness with the whole process. They were moved 90 miles to the town where s-i-l lives and where they have no friends. When you're in your 90s, most of your friends can't drive that far for a visit!)
May 17 my dear father-in-law suffered a brain-stem stroke. He was alert, conversant and himself when he was awake, but it was next to impossible to keep him awake. We moved him to a nursing home on May 20 so he could get some rehab therapy if he was able. Unfortunately he continued to deteriorate and died early the morning of June 3.
This has all been a drain on my mother-in-law, but she is coping and her strength has improved some as well. She's meeting new people, but hasn't yet made the one friend that she can pal around with, and that's hard for her.
Ken and I have driven to Southern California three times in the past 6 weeks and stayed a few days each time. Last time was very unpleasant - Ken's sister was more difficult than usual - and we have decided it will be mid-August at the earliest before we visit again.
How did I do on the 5 minute changes? It was a seriously mixed bag.
Giving up artificial sweeteners was actually much easier than expected, and there's been an interesting side effect. My joints - knees, mostly - ache a lot. When I went off artificial sweeteners, they stopped hurting. Pretty cool, but I didn't manage to put 2 and 2 together until our last stressful visit down South when it was really hot, and I drank Diet Coke by the boatload. Got home to sore knees, figured out the reason, and am well on the way to non-sore and non-creaky knees again.
Time on my face - not consistent at all. I'll do fine for a couple of days and then something gets in the way and it's a week or so before I get back to attempting to create a routime. Still need to work on this.
Nightly work in the garden, pretty spotty. It's hard to be very enthusiastic when we are in mandatory water rationing! The few veggies are doing well, and I am grabbing moments here and there to groom the roses. Just trying to keep the roses and trees alive, the grass is brown and ugly.
Quiet contemplation, meditation or stillness - not perfect, but not terrible. Even if it's tuning out the world on my commute home, this is making a difference. I'm more "there" when I get home, and Ken has noticed!
Knit every day - pretty much. Sometimes it's just 1 row, others it may be a ballgame length marathon, but my knitting and quilting and sewing and crafting mojo has returned!
And the kitchen and dining area? Pretty proud of this - every night! Mail is sorted and put away, catalogs and magazines read and recycled and the dishes are done! Yeah me!
Summer has been lovely and I'm spending less time online and more time doing things that are real and that make me happy. I can't give up online completely, but do admit that there are some nights after work that I don't even turn on my home computer, and that's a good thing indeed.
Over the weekend, Barb challenged readers to commit to making small changes to our daily routines for 30 days. She suggested 5 or 6 small things - 5 or so minutes each - that would start an immediate move down the path to where you really want to be in life. While I think Barb is just so smart and wish I lived closer than 2000 miles away because I'd love to do yoga practice with her this was actually something I'd thought about for a while. I want to make changes, but I know me well enough to know that I can't commit to more than about 5 minutes daily to anything. I've thought about it, and here's my plan for this 30 day challenge.
First, and hardest for me, I'm giving up all artificial sweeteners. If I want a sweet drink, and let's face it - sweet tea is where it's at for me - it will be sweetened with sugar, honey, or maybe stevia. I
Second, every night I will spend 5 minutes on my face after washing it. Toner, serum and moisturizer done twice a day will make a big difference, and it's not that hard to do! I mean, I already use the products every morning!
Third, I will spend at least 5 minutes working in my gardens every night after work and at some point on weekend days. That's not enough time to deadhead even one rose bush but it gets me out there, and 5 minutes are better than none.
Fourth, every night I will spend 5 quiet minutes in contemplation or meditation or just stillness. My mind will be quiet and thoughts will be stilled. Doing nothing is not natural for me, yet I feel so centered on the rare occasions when I am still and quiet for a while.
Fifth, every day I will knit for at least 5 minutes. Probably longer, but there are no guarantees. Sometimes it's just so hard to knit that first stitch and the pleasure and flow are so wonderful!
Finally, every night I will leave the kitchen and dining area neat and ready for the next day. What could be better than coming home to a clean kitchen and an inviting and cleared off dinner table?
I might start tonight, although it feels sort of like cheating since today was a telecommute day and that extra 90 minutes makes a huge difference in my mood. It also means I started work at 6:45 this morning rather than 7:45, and that it's over 11 hours later and I just logged off! Perhaps it all balances out, and there are some giant overgrown geraniums out there calling me.
Todays 10 on Tuesday is 10 foods that belong together, which seems easy because some foods are just made for each other - peanut butter and jelly, for example. Let's see just how easy this is, shall we?
1. Blue corn tortillas, red chile and fried eggs
2. Peanut butter and chocolate
3. Eggs and ham
4. Cheese and crackers
5. Yellow curry and coconut
6. Fresh ripe tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella
Ten on Tuesday is a little different this week. We are to name 10 favorite things that are red, and since Ireally love red, it should be pretty easy. I am, after all, the woman who told her new husband that red was a neutral color!
1. My toenails have been red ever since I started polishing them - in junior high school I think! Today they are painted my favorite "Frankly Scarlet" by Revlon.
2. Chili Red Metallic is the "official" color of my car.
3. "Mr. Lincoln" is the reddest rose ever, and it smells divine too.
4. Home grown "Brandywine" tomatoes cannot be beat.
5. Millefiori bead necklace from Italy.
6. My new winter coat from the sale at Talbot's!
7. More red roses: "Oklahoma", "Show Biz", "Blaze".
8. Pomegranates, especially fresh off my tree.
9. Garnet rings and earrings that go with lots of my work clothes.
10. Red yarn - Renata Tebaldi, red cashmere, red wool, and the lovely things knit with it!