Thirty-Third: What I Did on My Summer Vacation

I stepped outside of my apartment this morning and took my first full breath of crisp, fall air. All I could do was sigh with contentment. Of course, that made me realize exactly how long it's been since I blogged. The fresh air stifled the pang of guilt, though.

So, the feeling of fall (which makes me want to do and record and remember everything that I love) has jump-started me. I'm going to make a valiant effort a kicking this blog into gear again, for myself if nothing else. Lots and lots of exciting and just plain fun-wonderful things happened while I was on my summer hiatus, so now, in summary (and to catch us up to where we are now), I give you, "What I Did On My Summer Blog-cation." Oh yeah, elementary school style!

This summer, I:

*moved back into my apartment with Sweet Darold, ending the reign of the centipedes from hell and the 2 year old who wouldn't stop running above my head. Silence has never been so sweet.
*baked the world's best chocolate chip cookies, courtesy of the New York Times. And yes, they really are that good.
*started trying to ride my bike to work more often, and have the sore pelvis to prove it (still!).
*donated to the Obama campaign as many times as I could afford to.
*knit 2 market bags, one tube top, 2 pairs of fingerless gloves, and 3/4 of a sweater.
*ripped 1 ill-fated attempt at the Tempting II sweater, from Knitty.com.
*got a raise at work (whoo hoo!).
*went to Tybee Island with my family for our annual beach trip.
*got a sunburn.
*relaxed, relaxed, relaxed.
*got engaged!

Lots of eventful (and not-so-eventful) things going on, none of which I found time to stop, breathe, and blog about. So, you get a recap. If you're still out there after that lonnnnnng absence.

Hello? *echo* *echo* *echo*

Ah well. :)

PS - I'm intending to blog my wedding planning adventures and excitements separately on my new and as-of-yet-unposted-upon account, www.brideandjoy.blogspot.com. It's where I'll go to keep perspective on what this big, looming event is really all about. :)


Thirty-Second: A Mosaic

I'm just gonna bring this blog back from the dead with a brief bit of fun in the form of a mosaic maker. Saw this on A Caffeinated Yarn and Wine and Needles lately, and I want to play too. Welcome back. :)

My creation

The rules:

Using fd’s Flickr Toys,

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker).

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts & Humanities in Greenville, SC
4. What is your favorite color?
Peacock Blue
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
Ewan McGregor
6. Favorite drink?
Midori Sour
7. Dream vacation?
The Italian Countryside
8. Favorite dessert?
Everything Chocolate Raspberry
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
Content with my life
10. What do you love most in life?
My Westie (okay, my family, too, but he came to mind first!)
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.
driftslikesmoke (though, I had to search for drifts like smoke, since nothing came up for my flickr name!)


Thirty-First: Fun and Games

So, after my little grumping entry, I feel a need to do something a bit more fun!

I saw this on Jenny's Blog the other day & had to steal it. It was so fun playing hers that I had to jump on the bandwagon. The rules:
• Pick 10 of your favorite movies (okay, I got carried away, but why does it have to be just 10?).
• Go to IMDb and find a quote from each movie.
• Post them on your blog for everyone to guess.
• Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed it and the movie.
• Looking them up is cheating. Please don’t.

1.) "You may see me only as a drunken, vice-ridden gnome whose friends are just pimps and girls from the brothels. But I know about art and love, if only because I long for it with every fiber of my being." - Moulin Rouge!, Jenny

2.) "This isn't life, it's just stuff. And it's become more important to you than living. Well, honey, that's just nuts." - American Beauty, Jesse (who should get it, since he acted in a remake!)

3.) "It started as rioting. But right from the beginning you knew this was different. Because it was happening in small villages, market towns. And then it wasn't on the TV any more. It was in the street outside. It was coming in through your windows. It was a virus. An infection. You didn't need a doctor to tell you that. It was the blood. It was something in the blood. By the time they tried to evacuate the cities it was already too late. Army blockades were overrun. And that's when the exodus started. Before the TV and radio stopped broadcasting there were reports of infection in Paris and New York. We didn't hear anything more after that." - Children of Men, Holly

4.) "Bill Groundhog-Day, Ghostbustin'-ass Murray!" - Coffee & Cigarettes, Darold

5.) "I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don't want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I'd like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can't be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream." - Shawshank Redemption, Darold

6.) "On September 3rd 1973, at 6:28pm and 32 seconds, a bluebottle fly capable of 14,670 wing beats a minute landed on Rue St Vincent, Montmartre. At the same moment, on a restaurant terrace nearby, the wind magically made two glasses dance unseen on a tablecloth. Meanwhile, in a 5th-floor flat, 28 Avenue Trudaine, Paris 9, returning from his best friend's funeral, Eugène Colère erased his name from his address book. At the same moment, a sperm with one X chromosome, belonging to Raphaël Poulain, made a dash for an egg in his wife Amandine." - Amelie, Electronic Goose (which sounds like another movie all together!)

7.) "Look at it out here, it's all falling apart. I'm erasing you and I'm happy!" and "Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating." from the same film. - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Darold

8.) "A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one." and "This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time." - Fight Cub, Jackie

9.) "She doesn't get eaten by the eels at this time." and "You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles." and "No one would surrender to the Dread Pirate Westley." - The Princess Bride, Jessie

10.) "So I guess this is where I tell you what I learned - my conclusion, right? Well, my conclusion is: Hate is baggage. Life's too short to be pissed off all the time. It's just not worth it."

11.) "Ever fired your gun in the air and yelled, 'Aaaaaaah?'" and "My, my, here come the Fuzz." - Hot Fuzz, Jesse

12.) "K-mart sucks." - Rain Man, Jenny (though I thoroughly expected Darold to get this one!)

13.) "And finally, I must tell you that this year, the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side is out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a most painful death." - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Jenny

Okay. Let's see how you all do on these. There's a few that I know certain people - if they're reading this - should get. :) Have fun!


Thirtieth: Looking on the Bright Side

First of all, let me apologize for my little absence. I'm working on being a better, more reliable blogger, and I've actually started 3 new entries between my last one and this one. I'll probably rework the other two and push them out in the next couple of days. I've been busy with a big project, which is in part to blame for the lack of time I've had, but that's no excuse.

As for today, I came here on Sunday to make a gripe-entry, complaining about all the reasons that I was having a bad day, but you know, I just can't manage to do that now. I'm too lucky, too blessed with a great life to sit here and complain about "bad things" that happened, when really, none of it was really that bad at all. I was grumpy and self pitying, and that's not who I want to be. So instead, I'm going to have a little bright-side entry. :)

I ordered some clothes a few weeks back from Gap.com. Having tried them on in the store a couple of months ago and finding that they fit well, I decided to wait until they went on sale online and buy them then. They arrived over the weekend, and they didn't fit at all anymore. They were too big, too baggy, and altogether unflattering. I planned to return them, but since I bought them online, none of the tags had prices, and I didn't have a printed receipt. Therefore, I couldn't return them without paying shipping again, which was almost the price of the clothes. Grump.

Bright Side
The clothes don't fit, because I'm losing weight. The running and lifting and hot yoga I'm doing are all clearly paying off, and that's rewarding. Plus, now I guess I have some cute, unused, quality clothes to donate to someone who needs them far more than I do. Sure, I'm out a few bucks, but I'll just save my donation receipt so that when the tax-man calls next year it doesn't hurt as badly. :)

Grump #2
Last month, when I went shopping at Limited, I received a $25 gift card free with my purchase, redeemable after April 7th. There were some spring clothes that I wanted there, so I decided to wait until then to buy them. Well, Sunday I went to the mall with Darold, planning to use my gift card (which he'd been holding onto in his wallet for me) only to find that he'd lost it. I couldn't justify making the purchases without it, since I'm pretty broke right now, so no new spring clothes, which I'm awfully short on since my last big charity-donation-closet-cleanout, for me.

Bright Side
I'm trying to be better about saving money, so maybe this was a blessing in disguise? I dunno, though. I'm having a tough time with this one. I was really looking forward to having some new, more adult/work-appropriate spring and summer clothes. I guess it at least taught me a lesson about not letting the ADD-kid keep something that you don't want to lose for you.

Grump #3
Darold ate all my Oreo cookies that I'd bought as my sweet treats for the month. Do we really need any more evidence as to what a petty, grouchy little brat I was feeling like when I started this entry? I mean, really. I'm embarrassed that this was even in my list. It's too petty to even warrant a bright side, I think.

Grump #4
This was the grand grump that really set my pissy mood in motion. A couple of months ago, I called my salon to schedule an appointment with my regular stylist, whom I've been seeing regularly for the last 3 years or so. I only decided to finally donate my hair to Locks of Love because I trusted her enough to make my hair look as cute as possible at any length, and I fully intended to stay with her as long as she was in the area (which she always said she planned to be forever, as she loved Atlanta). At any rate, I called to schedule only to be informed that she'd moved to Florida without notice, leaving no recommendations for her current clients.

I resisted going to someone new for weeks, asked around for recommendations, and ultimately couldn't find anyone who seemed both reasonably skilled and reasonably priced, so I chose to just start over at the same salon with a new stylist. They set me up with Sasha, who they said had the exact same hair and style as Andi, my former stylist. This was encouraging, since the reason Andi had worked so well with my hair was that our hair was the exact same texture, so she knew how to work with my wavy, often unmanageable mane. Imagine my surprise when I showed up to the salon and was introduced to Sasha, a stylist with thick, coarse, African American hair, which one must admit is not exactly what I have. I trusted that she would be a great stylist, though, and proceeded to communicate what I was looking for to her. She nodded and acted like she understood, though I admit I was worried at the time that she didn't seem to be paying much attention and was rushing the entire process. She proceeded to cut my hair, and then styled it the exact opposite way from what I told her I'd like (giving me flat ironed, stick-straight locks rather than the loose, spiral curls I'd requested). I politely told her that it was fine and that I loved how soft it felt (which wasn't untrue). I paid $15 more than the price I'd been quoted, because I was told there had been a mix-up and that Andi and Sasha were NOT in fact the same price (though I wouldn't have booked with Sasha had I known that) and tipped well in spite of it.

The entire ride home, I looked at my hair, played with it, and decided that I was really unhappy with more than just the way it was styled. The cut was all wrong, too. It was not at all the multiple soft layers around my face and neck and shoulders that I'd described, rather one blunt layer at around my mid-neck/shoulder region, done choppily so that it's nearly impossible to style neatly WITHOUT going the stick straight, flat ironed route. I decided that I had to call and ask if it would be possible for me to come in and have a few things fixed with the cut, even though I'm not generally willing to do something like that. I don't send back meals just because I don't like them; I don't ask for my money back on movie tickets when the film is dreadful (in fact, I didn't even know you COULD do that until I talked to a friend who used to work at a theatre). I've always assumed that such things were a "buyer beware" sort of purchase. If you don't like it, well, that's the risk you took, right?

Well, upon calling and asking as nicely as I could if there was any sort of policy in place for customers who found themselves unsatisfied with their haircuts (explaining that I'd just left and that the more I looked at my hair, the more I realized that it wasn't really what I wanted), and was asked to hold so that the person who'd answered the phone could find out. When someone picked up again, it was Sasha, who was really irate and snippy with me. Her tone was just awful and accusatory and mean as she demanded to know what had changed my mind, since I didn't say anything when I left about not liking it. I tried to explain that I had to look at it a bit longer before I realized that it wasn't quite right, and that I'd attempted to restyle it myself and that it just didn't work the way I wanted at all, all the while repeating that it wasn't personal; it was a great cut; it just wasn't the right cut for me and that I didn't blame her, rather myself for not communicating what I wanted clearly. She then accused me of just trying to get a free haircut. I explained that I didn't want my money back; I just wanted to fix the one I'd already paid for (and I should have pointed out that if I wanted a FREE haircut out of it, I would have called to complain 6 weeks later rather than 6 hours later). She said that she could schedule me to fix it, but I'd have to pay the full price all over again. I declined, and am now really pretty unsure as to what I should do next.

The customer service was absolutely deplorable, and I was shocked at being put on the phone with the stylist who'd cut my hair (who had clearly not been positively prepped for the call; judging by her demeanor by the time she answered, my guess is that the receptionist must have said something to the effect of, "This girl's calling to complain about the haircut you gave her." rather than "She'd like to talk about the style you gave her earlier today.") rather than a manager.

Should I call again and just ask to speak to the manager without giving a reason why? Should I just let it go? It's been over a week, and I'm still absolutely miserable with my haircut. I don't want to hate my hair for 6 weeks, you know?

Bright Side
Well, I'm clearly still unhappy about this one, but the bright side is, hair grows. And I'm lucky enough to have my health and my hair and the money to go to a salon to have it styled if I choose, luxuries that I understand that I'm blessed to have. Even still, I'm not sure how to handle the poor service I received, which is really the point at this point, I think.

If you made it to the bottom of all this, congratulations. I think I rambled too much even for ME this time!


Twenty-Ninth: Speed Demon

82 words


I'm such a nerd. Seriously. Such a nerd. I think I could have done better were my fingers not so sore from practicing the guitar, though. :)

(real post below this; I just had to add this in before I forgot about it)


Twenty-Eighth: Traveling (Wo)man

Darold and I took off for St. Augustine & Sawgrass this past Friday, and the 7 hour drive was just about the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I’d forgotten how good it feels to just sing along to my favorite iPod playlists and talk and laugh until I cry. I did my fair share of the driving (while he napped - punk!!), and it was nice to just watch the scenery zoom by. The conversation just flowed and flowed, somehow. We haven’t been like that together in ages. I didn’t even need to take out a book and occupy myself once. I’ve missed traveling, especially with a good, fun travel companion.

We had lots of silly fun taking my nephew's Flat Stanley project around historic St. Augustine for the day, which means we took tons of pictures. Flat Stanley visited the old drug store, the country's oldest wooden school house, Flagler College, and the coquina fort, which I always want to call the Castillo de San Rio (anyone else remember when the Hello Kitty stores were called Sanrio?) rather than San Marcos.
Flat Stanley and I enjoyed a bit of shopping on St. George street. I think this was right before I got distracted by something shiny in a jewelry store window, in fact. Saint Augustine has lots of cool silversmiths and local jewelers. I, unfortunately, bought nothing.

We also had lunch at the best little restaurant, Columbia. I tried to get Flat Stanley to pay the check, but no luck. Apparently 2nd graders aren't allowed to pay for lunches with copious amounts of sangria. Darold and I both had our fair share, as you can see... We got a little silly before lunch was over. Fortunately, St. Augustine - like Key West as a whole - is a little part of the world that beautifully and mysteriously seems to be in no hurry, and it seems to have no shortage of street musicians, so our leisurely lunch was accompanied by beautiful music from the absurdly tanned man across the street. We couldn't get a picture of him without being obvious, but trust me, his skin was bizarre. It was so tanned that it almost looked leathery and orange, but he had the softest, longest white-blond hair I've ever seen on a man. There was something almost oompa-loompa-ish about him.

After lunch, the next stop was a walking tour of Flagler College, which was just unbelievably beautiful. They have millions of dollars worth of Tiffany glass in their dining hall alone, a tiny fraction of which you can see behind me in the picture at right (Darold, for some reason, is loathe to take a picture without me in it, blocking the view of anything interesting). The story of Henry Flagler, his three wives, and his downright jerky, self interested business practices reminded me a bit of Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood. He was a man who apparently lost his soul and sense of ethics in pursuit of greatness and prosperity. Must have been a cultural theme around that time period. Not that we're immune from it now, by any means.

The rest of the day was spent meandering the pretty town in the gorgeous weather, riding the tour trolley with a woman who had to be the absolute worst tour guide ever born, and touring the fort, which is not advisable to do in heels. Forts are bumpy places.

I decided while on this trip that I must only hate central Florida, as I now have to reluctantly admit to loving both Saint Augustine and the Keys, and I'll confess that Sawgrass was relaxing, if uneventful. It was nice to see Darold's hilarious family, drink a lot of wine, and play my all time favorite card game, Nickel Nickel, which I would link you to, but there seem to be no rules available online.

Now that we're back, we've decided that we should try to go on a cool weekend trip like that every six months or so. It makes us obnoxiously happy, as evidenced by the goofiness of this (and all of these) picture(s). We're thinking the next stop should be Asheville, North Carolina, a town that I love but Darold's never visited. Plus, the last time I was there, I missed the yarn shop, so that's as good an excuse as any to go back, right?

Since getting home, I've embarked on two new learning experiences - making sushi and playing guitar, but more on that later. I've rambled enough for one visit. :)


Twenty-Seventh: Getting to Know You

If you've never written a letter to yourself when you really needed to listen to the deepest parts of you, I highly recommend it.

I recently did this massive mind-body cleanse that left my brain in a bit of over-focused, power mode. Of course, that meant that I had all sorts of mental energy overflowing in me, and nowhere to direct it. When that happens, I tend to turn in on myself, over-analyzing and questioning every aspect of myself, as is evidenced by my last, meandering journal entry here. So, Monday, I decided to write a letter to myself rather than let my thoughts consume me. I free-wrote, just letting my fingers do the work without really letting my brain interfere at all. I've never been able to do that on paper, but online it was much easier, since my fingers are usually a step or two ahead of my conscious mind anyway. In doing so, I managed to remind myself of a lot of things that I often forget and get lost in, and it's been really wonderful to have that letter to go back and review when I feel like I'm starting to lose sight of the things I want to do and the person I want to be again (which happens, inevitably; I'm human). I'm putting some highlights in here for myself, though if you take anything from them (which I doubt anyone will), then I'm glad. :)

"Let [life] be what it [is]. Be still. Let your mind be quiet... Let yourself be what you are, where you are, who you are. Don't ask questions of what it means every second. The meaning is in the quiet. In the instinct. Just be."

"Allow yourself to remember how it felt, and how much clarity you had, when someone asked you this morning what you took away from the cleanse and you didn't have an analyzed, thought-out answer prepared to give her. The right answer came to you instantly. Energy. The ability to focus your energy where it needs to go. The ability to have clarity and purpose and a sense of self again. That's what you have. That's what you need to continue to foster. That's what you don't need to lose. Please don't lose it. "

"Make the lists that you want to make for yourself about the things that you want to do to better yourself as a person. Keep them growing, and keep working towards them. Belly dance. Rock climb. Take cooking classes. Read more. See more plays. Run an endurance race. Just don't let yourself get so bogged down in the lists and the goals that you forget to just BE YOU and ENJOY YOU. Don't let your lists define or intimidate you."

"You're beautiful. You're loved and lovable and anyone who doesn't want to be in this beautiful life that you're continually fostering for yourself clearly has nothing to bring to it right now. Don't force people to be something they aren't. Don't pull them into a life where they have no purpose to serve and do not belong. Everything will be as it's supposed to be. Be sure of it. "

"Love yourself."

My trend toward self-exploration and thoughtfulness has continued over the past several days, and it's expanding itself into me branching out, getting outside of my bubble, and working to know others again as well. On Tuesday night, I went with Narissa and Danielle and their friend Kristy to Ten Pin Alley in Atlantic Station for a little swanky-bowling. The concept of the place (an 'upscale' bowling alley-slash-dance club-slash-pool hall) seemed a little silly to me, but it was actually really fun. I guess the trick to enjoying bowling is to make it NOT feel like you're in a bowling alley, be that by being with the right people or in the right place. At any rate, I hadn't seen either Danielle or Narissa for a while, and it was great to catch up with them and just laugh at all sorts of things that I hadn't thought about in forever. It reminded me of why it's actually a good thing for me to break out of my little hermit-shell a little more often than I currently do. :) It was refreshing to indulge the social side of myself - a side that's been largely hidden over the past several months as I tried to get to know myself again.

This weekend will include a trip to beautiful St. Augustine, Florida and Sawgrass. I'm excited, though I'm having trouble deciding what to take with me to knit. I don't have any warm-weather projects on the needles right now, so I'm at a loss. I don't want a big mass of wool on my lap while I'm knitting poolside, y'know? I also want to get my hands on some good books on tape for the 7 hour drive. Any recommendations?

I'll be back soon with pictures (I hope). :)


Twenty-Sixth: Expectation and Attachment

There are so many things floating around in my head right now, due in large part - I’m sure - to the cleanse I’m undergoing and the way that it’s affecting my brain and body. I feel an increase in mental clarity that seems to have brought with it an increase in thought and question. Currently, there’s so much in my head that I’m having trouble paring it down to its basic parts, but I think I’m getting close. Right now, I’m wrestling with expectations, attachment, and acceptance in all areas of my life, and it seems that the more I try to deal with them, the more obstacles arise that challenge just what I’m working on.

My inner wisdom knows that expectancy is powerful, magnetic. It acts at a cellular level to create an outcome for us, and it enables our intentions and beliefs to manifest. That’s why I try so hard to stay positive, because I know that expectation can easily manifest in either direction. I have to check that my thoughts and attitudes serve my highest purpose and that of others, but it becomes hard sometimes to recognize the lines. Where does my highest purpose cease to be of importance in the face of the needs of others? When is it okay to act in the best interests of now without regard for later? Is it ever? I don’t think it is, but waiting for the expectancy of later to manifest can leave us feeling empty or unsatisfied right now, and that’s difficult. I wait and give space in my life to so many people who need time to heal (this seems a pattern for me over the past years - I’m a nurturer; we tend to do that). I expect them to heal and grow and become better, and I deny myself the things that I’d personally like to manifest in order to allow them room to do that. I give space and manifest for others in the hopes that, in time, that will allow something to grow that will benefit everyone involved.

What happens, then, when the person for whom you’re manifesting space and health and growth isn’t manifesting it for himself? This was my constant struggle with Jesse. When someone keeps a negative outlook, my positivity can only penetrate so deeply. I guess that’s ultimately why I had to detach from that situation and work on acceptance of it as what it is. I have to trust the universe, the higher power, always, and know that the outcome - whatever it is - will be what is right and meant for me. I have to remind myself to keep my expectations attuned to a higher purpose, and not get bogged down by the wants and attachments of now.

This brings me to attachment, which I know is my biggest obstacle, always. I become attached to my expectations just as badly as I attach to my wants, my immediate needs. Yet, again, my inner wisdom tries so hard to remind me that attachment, especially to a person or an outcome, has its roots in fear and the need to hold onto or control what’s familiar. We humans are biological animals built to be wary of change, and yet my higher mind constantly wars with my biology, and I guess it should if I seek to be peacefully, truly, deeply happy. Happiness with attachment seems to be a superficial happiness, dependant upon maintaining the status quo. I don’t want that sort of happiness. I want the inner happiness first, and then others who choose to join me in my happiness are welcome in it with me. Detachment is what I need. It’s only then that I can allow others to be themselves (not the person I’ve created - I believe our perceptions of others are always creations, no matter how well we feel we know them - and attached myself to) and appreciate them for that.

The problem is, my wise-mind knowing all of these things doesn’t keep me from faltering in it. Every day is just a step on the journey, and every day I can succeed or fail a thousand times. I just have to do my best to keep myself on the right path with every step I take.


Twenty-Fifth: Spring is Here!

I love Spring this year. Normally, I don't want winter to end. I long to hang on to warm, cozy sweaters and being curled up under blankets with someone lovable, but this time the heralds of Spring are all around me and I'm thrilled about it. The weather these past few days has been gorgeous, highs in the upper 60s with a cloud-free sky that makes me hate the fact that mine is a desk job, and I'm loving watching everything come back to life. Every morning I seem to see another little sliver of beauty that makes me so happy to be right here, exactly where I am in my life.

To make all this even more exciting, I just got my package from my Longing for Spring Swap partner, Tami. Tami hit the nail on the head when it came to buying me stuff I love, and I couldn't be more grateful! She sent me the pattern for Sahara, which I've been wanting for over a year now, some Wintergreen Lifesavers (yum!), a big bag of chocolate Riesens (one of my very favorites!), a Dove chocolate truffle egg, beautiful star-shaped stitch markers, a skein of really cool, peacock-tail colored yarn (can't WAIT to see what I can make from it!), another skein of yarn in every shade of green imaginable (did you know that I'm planning a trip to Ireland, Tami? That yarn is en route to being the PERFECT Ireland hat!) , a great big green mug for tea in the morning (can't wait to show you - it's so cute!), a journal that's almost too pretty to write in, and some cocoa-chai tea. I don't even think I mentioned that chai is my very favorite drink, and yet she got it right! Tami, I can't say enough thank yous. You really really went above and beyond! I couldn't have asked for a better partner! I'll post some pictures when I get my camera charged and read to roll. :)

Unfortunately, I won't get to enjoy any of the candy until next week when I've finished the Ayurvedic cleanse that I'm doing to usher in the new season, but I can't wait until I can! For now, sugar (not to mention meat, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, and dairy) is out of my diet, but I'll surely be returning to normal, gradually, next week. Then, the candy better watch out! I'll post a full explanation of the cleanse and my thoughts on it next week when it's all over.

Thanks again, Tami!


Twenty-Fourth: Forgetful Girl

Leave it to me to come up with a fool-proof way to keep myself from forgetting things I'd like to mention in a blog entry, and then come up with a way to be a more capable fool. I tend to try to make my subject line of each post about what I'm planning to write about, but of course I left my entry for so long last time that I forgot to mention the "bugs from hell" part that so nicely rhymed and contrasted with the sweet wonderfulness of the wedding bells. In short, centipede season has apparently begun again, as my dog, Wesley, went nose to nose scary, nasty, feeler-things with one that morning. These centipedes are not the thick, relatively harmless looking things that one often finds curled at the bottom of an uncleaned pool. No, no. These are fast, nasty, spidery little critters that bite and sting and hurt. I personally haven't been bitten, but I keep a vigilant watch for the little bastards. As non-Zen and Buddhist as it is, I hate bugs.

On a non-forgetful note, I sent my Spring Swap package out (via my student assistant - love having one of those!) on Monday the 10th, and I have to say, I'm proud of the package I put together for my spoilee! I think she's really going to love it. I know I would. I took a few pictures, pre-sending. Check it out! I'm pretty proud of what I got. I wonder if the person this is for will know it's for her? Probably not, since you can't see the patterns in the picture. Anyway, I hope she loves it as much as I loved putting it together for her! Happy spring!


Twenty-Third: Wedding Bells and Bugs from Hell

This week is off to a fun start. The weekend was taken up almost entirely by festivities surrounding my friends Mike & Denise's wedding in Peachtree City. It was a really beautiful ceremony, and the reception was incredibly fun. Darold and I danced our little hearts out, and were so honored to be included in the bride & groom's small guest list. Mike & Denise are really wonderful people, the kind who could ask you for anything and you'd do whatever you could to help them out. I wish them the happiest of marriages. Of course, the wedding weekend meant I barely knit a stitch, since that's one of a very few places that I can think of where knitting is entirely inappropriate.

In other news, I received a package from Holly that she so graciously sent me for winning her most recent de-stashing contest. My digital camera is currently out of commission, but she sent some beautiful, ice blue, lace weight, Super Kydd mohair from elann.com that I'm so excited to try! I've decided to make a beautiful shawl out of it. With all the wedding fever from this weekend, I got it into my head that one day, the shawl I make might end up being my "something blue!" I'm nowhere near there, yet, though. :) The package also included a soothing, scented sachet and some really cool fabric pieces that I'm using to work on a quilt (well, probably more like a lap-blankie) for my year-old nephew Andrew. Black and white is great for developing a baby's vision, and his daddy's a Georgia Bulldogs fan, so I'm sure all of the black, white, and pops of red in the fabric will be much appreciated. I'll try to post a picture when I get done with it, though who knows when that will be?

I'm still working on my spring swap package! I've got 99% of it done, and I can't wait to share it all with you. See you soon!


Twenty-Second: A little catching up to do

Well, today has started in fine form. Oof, Tuesday did, I should say. I started this entry on Tuesday, which was a right mess of a morning. I woke up at around 5:00 AM to the cacophony of one of the worst storms I've seen in a while. Bear in mind that when you rent a basement apartment beneath a family home with two small children, the noise of a terrible storm is not by any means limited to thunderclaps, howling winds, and pounding rain. Oh, no. It also comes with the added aural pleasure that is the screams, teary wails, and running stomps of two very mobile, very anxious children. I am usually a big fan of taking the time to find the hidden symphony in the noise of every day life, and thunderstorms are usually great fodder for such meditative listening, but just as a wailing two year old ruins a "true" symphony, it also ruins a natural one.

I'm a smart cookie, though; I invested in earplugs a few weeks ago. I went back to sleep and happily stayed there until about 7:30. Of course, when I woke, it was not to the chirp of my alarm. Instead, I heard the pinging sound that my cell phone makes when it's inching towards a dead battery. This, of course, didn't make sense, since my cell phone was plugged in to charge before I went to bed. I went to flip on the light only to find that the power had gone out at some point in the middle of the night, and it wasn't back. Thanks to a handy flashlight given to me by my mom "just in case" (since she knows I'm seldom practical enough to think about my need for such things until AFTER I need them and don't have them), I was at least able to clothe myself and get out the door to work, if with crazy, damp, curly hair from lack of power to my hair dryer. The rest of the day was considerably uneventful, since massive storms and fallen trees tend to keep people away from yoga studios.

Wednesday provided a little reminder that we're not quite out of winter yet by dropping some snow flurries on the city, which I of course enjoyed. I've gotten to the point with this winter, though, where I refuse to wear big sweaters. If I have to have ten layers on, that's fine, but I'm not wearing a sweater again until next year, thank you. Being a knitter helps with this goal, I think. There are always more hats and scarves.

Wednesday afternoon and all of Thursday was spent with my family in my home town, which was nice, if at times a little draining. My sister's beautiful twins, Will and Emme, turned six on Tuesday, so it was good to get to see them. They're getting so unbelievably big.

I have some shopping for my swap partner to do today, so I have to cut this short. I'll certainly be back soon to blog about this Saturday's upcoming wedding. I'm excited. :)


Tweny-First: Getting Back on the Blog-Wagon

It's amazing how time just... slips by. Every day I come here, planning to write something, but lately I've been in something of a slump. I've been a little bummed off and on, which generally results in a lot of self-reflection and attempts at self-improvement. So, I've been doing a lot of the things that make me feel good outside of my regular routine. I'm working on sticking blogging back into that, so I hope you'll forgive my ridiculous absences. :)

I've been working on activating my brain a lot more, since I feel like intellectual stimulation seems so hard to come across since entering the 9-to-5 world. I've had a voracious hunger for leisure reading, which I finally indulged last week by buying five new novels, and borrowing two more. I got Stiff, which I've been dying to read (no pun intended) since I took a class on Death & Dying a few years ago, and The Princess Bride, which has been one of my favorite movies since I was a kid. I've never actually read the book, so I'm looking forward to diving into that one. I also got The Knitter's Book of Yarn, which I'm having a blast with, and The Monsters of Templeton. I've always loved Gabriel Garcia Marquez's magic realism style, and Monsters of Templeton is supposed to be very close to that, so I can't wait to see how it shapes up. I'll post some brief reviews up here if anyone's interested. :) As dorky as it is, I also like to keep my brain sharp with crossword puzzles and sudoku books, so I've been going through all of my old, finished ones and finding any puzzles that I haven't completed and finishing them off before I go out and by more. I know, I know, I'm a nerd, but I hate feeling like my brain isn't getting the exercise it wants and needs.

Speaking of exercise, tomorrow marks the beginning of a little test that I'm putting myself to. I want to work out every day for 30 days, either through hot yoga or through going to the gym. Since I work at a yoga studio, it shouldn't be too hard. I've prepared by spending all day today doing nothing more than running a few errands and casting on for a new pair of socks. Other than that, it's been a fat lot of being lazy.

I'm loving it. :)

I'll be back soon. We'll see if I survive the next 30 days. :) Wish me luck!


Twentieth: Something Springy This Way Comes

I saw this "Longing for Spring Swap" on a favorite blog, and was moved to participate. It's been a rough couple of weeks over here in my neck of the woods, so I'm doing my best to focus on the positive and do things that make me feel good about life, people, and the universe in general. Doing nice things for others tends to make me feel good, so here we go! I'm excited to join my first swap. :) Here's the questionnaire:

Do you knit or crochet?
How long have you been at your craft?
I only knit, and I've been at it for about 5 years now, though I really got serious and started knitting more than charity-blanket squares in the past two or two and a half years. My grandmother tried to teach me to crochet when I was very very young, but I never quite picked it up.

What are your favorite yarns/fibers?
I love anything soft, specifically alpaca and cashmere and non-scratchy wools. I also love anything in with an interesting colorway. Company-wise, I love almost everything by Malabrigo, Debbie Bliss, and Rowan (unless it falls into the dislike categories below! :) ).

What are your least favorite yarns/fibers?
I don't really like pure cotton (though Rowan Calmer is okay). Otherwise, I don't like novelty (eyelash, fun fur, ribbon) yarns or Noro, because it's much too scratchy for me, in spite of the beautiful colorways.

What are your favorite colors?
Anything that can be found in a peacock's tail. Jewel-toned blues and greens and purples. Rich, saturated colors tend to be my favorites. Wine and deep garnet and chocolate tones score well with me, too.

What are your least favorite colors?
Tans, creams, pinks, most oranges, and pastels (all colors that have a tendency to wash out my very fair, pink-undertoned skin).

What ‘warm weather’ project are you looking forward to making this year?
I've been wanting to attempt a lace shawl (this one, specifically), though I don't normally give much attention to the season of what I'm knitting. I'd love to do a cap-sleeved Sahara sweater for spring this year, though.

What are you favorite scents?
Anything natural and light and not overly perfume-y. Nutmeg and chai and pumpkin are wonderful, and I also love honeysuckle and gardenia and Japanese cherry blossom in the floral vein. Quince and brown sugar and vanilla and clean linen are also favorites for my oil-burner/incense habits! I also love those smells you can't bottle, like the way it smells when you drive up a dirt road on the way to the lake in autumn.

Least favorite?
Citrus smells, sun tan lotion (that awful, overbearing, coconut smell), and all heavy, fake scents.

What is your favorite flower?
Orchids, lillies, tulips, freesia, sunflowers and honeysuckle.

What are you favorite spring time hobbies/activities?
My absolute favorite thing in spring is going to a grassy spot with a blanket, my dog, and a book (and usually a pretty journal, too) to spend the day outside reading and soaking up nature. Nothing inspires me like being outside in the springtime. Dying Easter eggs with the family and having a cup of warm tea in the morning when the air still has a chill on it are also great.

Do you have a garden? If you do, tell us a little about it. Do you like to plant flowers or vegetables?
I live in a basement apartment with very little natural light, so no. :(

What are your favorite sweets?
Smarties, wintergreen lifesavers, and chocolates (chocolate/caramels, like Rolos & Riesens, especially).

Do you collect anything?
I love books (I really want to build a wonderful library... my amazon.com wish list is far too long!) and yarn, of course, but I also like beautiful quotes and old typewriter keys (I'm odd, I know). I wouldn't call any of them collections, though. Just things that I have trouble resisting when I see them.

Do you have any allergies?
Gratefully, no.

Do you have any pets?
A west highland terrier (Wesley) and a white, long haired munchkin cat named Smidgen who eats yarn.

I always give such long answers to things like this. Can't wait to see who I'm spoiling!!


Nineteenth: Kind of a Big Deal

So much has been happening lately. It's been busy and hectic, I won't lie, but it hasn't been anywhere near all bad. In fact, a lot of what's going on has been pretty rewarding, in some way or another.

Work, first of all, has been absolutely insane. We had a grand re-opening for the studio to celebrate the completion of the renovation and give new students an opportunity to meet our beautiful new space. We expected about 75 to 100 people, including existing students, to come through the door in the course of the 9 hour Open House. Instead, we were blown away. Word must have traveled, because we had almost 400 people come in. I greeted, talked yoga with, and gave tours to so many people that I had no voice by the end of the day, but it was a smashing success. Since that day, we've been averaging over 100 students PER DAY. That, my friends, is pretty awesome (especially considering that it's almost double our daily student average for November and December - this is the thrilling data that I'm paid to crunch over the course of my day). Granted, more students equal more work, but with more work has come a raise and a boost in benefits! Oh, AND the studio pays for all of my gasoline now, which is basically an extra $120.00 a month on top of my raise. I'm a lucky girl.

Speaking of work and luck (or, well, being appreciated, I suppose), one of my fellow building-mates did something incredibly kind this past week. In appreciation of the little things that I do for her to keep her business running smoothly (none of which do I consider outside of the realm of common courtesy and kindness), she gave me a gift certificate for some private Pilates sessions with About Movement Pilates. I totally need it, and she suggested that it should be helpful as I continue training for my 5K goals. I can't wait to schedule my first appointment, but I'll admit that I'm a little shy about my lack of Pilates ability. My core is not my strongest region. :(

In terms of knitting, I've been on a roll. Not only did I finish my simple, garter ridge scarf, but I also finally finished the hat that I was making for Jesse. Of course, it took 3 tries before it was deep enough for his big head, but I finally got through it (and without having to buy a second ball of yarn! Hooray for leftovers from the garter ridge scarf!). I finished it just in time, too, since it snowed 2 days after I gave it to him! Atlanta doesn't see a lot of snow, so I feel like it was the universe's way of congratulating me on the hat. I'll show you the hat if Jesse ever takes a picture of it, but in the meantime, I can show you some of the snow!! To those of you who live further north, please bear with me. As a Carolina-born girl who now lives in Georgia and has maybe seen snowfall 12 times in her nearly-24 years, I am excited by even the most meager of flurries. :)

My parents came to town, and as you can see, we had a blast. There was sledding, snowball fighting, and all around revelry. Oh, and for the sentimental record, the scarf I'm wearing in those pictures is the first thing I ever knit. Wesley is also wearing a handknit "collar" that was really just a swatch of slip-stitch colorwork that ended up fitting around his cute little neck, so he told me he wanted to keep it. It was a good day for Atlanta-area knitters. Our work was called to task and performed in fine form. :)

I've had a considerable case of finish-itis lately, especially in terms of a few sock-mates. I'll show you some pictures of that next time. I've been on a budget-necessitated yarn diet lately, so I've been working with what I have. :) Though, speaking of yarn, I have to give a massive thanks to Holly of Hollyarns, who had an awesome destashing contest recently, and I won. The prize is 3 balls of elann.com Super Kydd in a gorgeous Ice Blue color and some fabric for quilting. I can't wait to make something out of it... perhaps a pretty lace shawl. I'll be sure to post pictures of what I make, Holly! Thanks again!

I'm still working on those 2008 goals. Look for a progress report in the next couple of days. For now, I've blathered too long. Thanks for all of the get well wishes! I'm feeling much better. :)


Eighteenth: Something to do when you're sick at work

Back at work today, still feeling sick and exhausted and unable to focus on any single thing for more than approximately three seconds, so what to do?

Budgets? Eh, requires at least six to seven seconds of consecutive focus for progress.

Answering emails and phone calls? Done.

Preparing to train the new employees coming in at 1:00? Ha.

So, yeah... Online quizzes? That, my brain can handle.

First, the results of a little political compatibility test I found over at Paperclips. I'm amused at how much quizzes like these, even when politically oriented, make me think back to, "Which movie hottie r u most compatible with?!?" sorts of quizzes from my middle school years. Oh, Barack Obama, we were born to walk hand-in-hand through the cherry blossom trees in DC. I knew it. :)

90% Mike Gravel
90% Dennis Kucinich
87% Barack Obama
86% John Edwards
82% Joe Biden
82% Chris Dodd
81% Hillary Clinton
74% Bill Richardson
37% Rudy Giuliani
24% John McCain
22% Ron Paul
20% Mitt Romney
19% Tom Tancredo
16% Mike Huckabee
8% Fred Thompson

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

There's also this fun throwback to chain-email quizzes that I found both at Jeneration-X and YarnCrawl's wonderful blogs...

What time is it? 12:14 PM
What's your full name? Courtney Johanna Elizabeth DeGennaro (My parents knew I was the last one they were making, so they wanted to squeeze all those unused names into me)
What is the most recent movie that you have seen in a theater? There Will Be Blood which is perhaps the best film I've ever seen, no exaggeration. Daniel Day Lewis gives what might just be the best performance in cinema history. Please please please go see it.
What are you most afraid of? To be honest, I don't know. I have a hatred of teeth and seeing them wiggled or removed or damaged, but I wouldn't call it a fear. I guess I'm with Robin in that I fear losing teeth or having them broken. Yuck!
Place of birth? North Augusta, SC/Augusta, GA
Favorite food? Oh, I can be such a foodie. I love sushi, but when the mood strikes, I can't pass up a Brickstore brick burger with bleu cheese. On a cold day or when I'm not feeling well, it's all about tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich with my mom. Oh, and muffins.
What's your natural hair color? Brown
Ever been to Alaska? No, but I hope to cruise up there some time. Seeing the Northern Lights is on my list of things to do before I die.
Ever been toilet paper rolling? I was such a goody-two-shoes... Nope.
Love someone so much it made you cry? Hmm... not in the psychotic and co-dependent way, no, but I've been so in love that the sheer beauty of it (and of life itself) brought me to tears. So in that regard...Yes
Been in a car accident? No, but they tend to happen within 2 car lengths of me with disturbing frequency. Either helping afterwards is my superhero power, or causing them is my supervillain ability.
Croutons or bacon bits? Neither, I prefer a fresh spinach salad with strawberries and mushrooms and balsamic.
Favorite day of the week? As cheesy as it sounds, I'm not partial. I try to make every day count.
Favorite restaurant? One Midtown Kitchen
Favorite Flower? Sunflowers, gerber daisies, freesia, orchids, lillies, and those gorgeous yellow/cream/orange roses with red tips
Favorite sport to watch? Football when it's an important game (like the superbowl or a college bowl game) or soccer, especially the world cup
Favorite drink? Diet Pepsi! Especially the wild cherry and vanilla variations
Favorite ice cream? All, please. I do love rocky road, vermonty python, cinnamon and anything with raspberry, though.
Disney or Warner Brothers? Disney movies, WB cartoons.
Ever been on a ship? A tacky gambling cruise ship for laughs. ("Girl, you know you don't never gamble wit' no panties on!" is a favorite quote overheard on THAT one)
What color is your bedroom carpet? My bedroom has black, polished concrete floors. That's why my slippers are my most prized possession.
How many times did you fail your driver's test? None, thank you.
What do you do when you are bored? Knit, read, check, and re-check blogs, Ravelry, shop on bananarepublic.com, jcrew.com, and gap.com, or read
Favorite TV show? I enjoy Grey's Anatomy, Survivorman, and Law & Order SVU
Last person you went to dinner with? Does lunch with Jesse at Taqueria del Sol count? Other than that, I don't recall. The under-the-weather brain refuses to dig up records for more than 5 minutes in the past.
What time do you get up? 7:45 to 8:00, unless I'm going for a morning run, in which case 7:00 or 7:15ish.
What are your favorite colors? I like peacock colors, specifically blues and greens.
How many tattoos do you have? None, thank you. I've never looked at my body and thought, "Wow, I should've been born with a butterfly above my butt. Let me fix that."
How many pets do you have? 1 dog, Wesley, the most adorable beast on earth. I also might be taking ownership of my family's Munchkin cat, Smidgen, soon.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? A circle has no beginning and no end.
What do you want to do before you die? Too much to list here. I've been thinking of making a goal list of 101 things, though.
Have you ever been to Hawaii? No, and I don't particularly care to. I'm more of a mountain person than a beach person.
Have you been to countries outside the U.S.? I've been in international waters. :(
Time this survey ended? 12:46 PM. Now I only have 14 minutes to kill before my trainees come in. Hooray.

Next time, a real post. Promise.


Seventeenth: A Brief Visit

I've been home sick most of the day today with a yucky feverishness, all-over-ache, inability to focus, and general exhaustion. Of course, to fight off the boredom that inevitably comes with being home sick, I've been fiddling with my Ravelry page and I've made some progress. I finally have pictures of almost all my projects up (except for the hat shot that I'm waiting on from Jesse).

Check it out! I'm so irrationally proud of myself. :)

Oh, and in my moment of weakness, I bought myself an early birthday present in the form of some Artyarns Supermerino from Wendy over at Knit and Tonic. Apparently my self restraint has fallen with my immune system. What can I do? :) Go back to bed, I guess....



Sixteenth: Featuring frustration, a bit of gratification, and exceeding verbosity

It's only 10:35 AM, but so far, it's a beautiful Tuesday.

I went to Helen, GA this past weekend to pick up some Pioneer Porridge from a small, local mill up there (don't worry, they ship, and it's worth it). Their porridge is my absolute favorite breakfast treat, and having a big bowl sprinkled with brown sugar on a cool morning always makes me think fondly of early mornings with my mom, who introduced me to the wonderful stuff. Just smelling it cooking, even if I'm the one cooking it, takes me to the kitchen table in my parents' house, sitting with my mom and talking about everything and nothing while we plan our day. I had to get some for the "you're a part of my life and I love you" baskets that I'm making for a few people. They were originally going to be Christmas presents, then (when I didn't get paid on schedule) they became belated Christmas presents, and now they've become "Happy New Year/I appreciate you" gifts. Who says gift giving out of love for someone can only happen on a few, pre-selected days of the year? Down with that, I say.

On my way up to Helen, I got something of a shock. You've probably heard that Atlanta's been in a drought for the past several months, but nothing has been said about it lately, and it's rained several times, so I think a lot of people (self, unfortunately, included) have stopped worrying or being as conservative with water as they were when it was in the news all the time. Well, the drive through North Georgia was a wakeup call. The whole 1.5 hour drive, I didn't see a single stream, river, or lake that had more than a trickle of water flowing through it. It was an upsetting reminder of just how much we need to always be mindful of how much we take from this world. It's frustrating to me to see the yoga studio running ambient fountains because the owner likes the sound they make when water is in such dangerously short supply. It stirs my need to do something. I feel like contacting appropriate agencies and finding out how I can help, beyond the usual showering rather than bathing, not letting water run, only doing full loads of laundry and dishes, etc. The need to make a difference has once again been stirred in me.

Other than the water-shocker, the trip up to Helen was really lovely. I decided to pull over on the side of the road to stop at a farm (not an agri-tainment sort of farm, just one where all the animals were within sight of the road) and pet a few big, fleecy sheep, donkeys, ponies, and Shetland ponies. There were also goats, llamas, and alpacas hanging out near me, but none of them would get within reach. The sheep were so gorgeous and soft that I was wishing for shears. I don't know how to spin, but to play with that fleece, I'd definitely learn. The only disappointment of the trip was the lack of a yarn shop.

I suppose I owe you some knitting content, don't I? Well, the knitting life provided some frustration last night. I still haven't tried blocking the simple scarf I made. Instead, I've been working on Jesse's hat (putting aside the trial version, as he'd picked out a yarn and we were both a bit eager to see how it knit up). He chose Manos del Uruguay in granite, and it's really gorgeous. See? Not a colorway that I'd normally choose, but it's really beautiful and it's really him. The yarn, you see, is not the source of the frustration. Jesse's head? That's the problem. He's a normal looking boy, but you'd never know it if you were trying to knit him a hat that would fit, sight unseen.

I worked up the hat according to the pattern for the Irish Hiking Hat on Ravelry, and matched it, depthwise, to another hat that I know he's worn before. Even still, when I put it on (knowing that his head is bigger than mine) it didn't even reach my eyebrows. So, of course, I ripped. Being in the zone, as it were, I immediately started going again, leaving out numerous decreases in the pattern, almost doubling the depth of the hat, and finishing with about 2 yards of yarn to spare. He came over and tried it on, and it's still too shallow. Granted, not nearly as shallow as the first attempt was, but it still needs about an inch to an inch and a half more before it's perfect. Which means another $20.00 ball of yarn for a few measley yards. Curse him and his big head. :)

In goal-reaching news, I'm doing well, but it seems that my crazy-distractable brain can only achieve a few goals at a time. I DID get up and run for the first time this morning, though, and it felt really really good. I didn't hydrate enough before (or at all during), though, and I think that hurt me. I ran-jogged nearly 2 miles, which is good for me as a relative beginner. I think I need decent running shoes, though. The ones I have don't seem to be cutting it. Anyone have any recommendations?

So far, running in the morning has given me incredible energy, and I'm just in a darn good mood. I hope the day continues on this upward trend.

Namaste, everyone.


Fifteenth: In which we attempt to stroll down the right path a bit

Somehow, blogging has become my procrastination that keeps me from going to bed lately. I'm sure I'm the only 23 year old on earth who thinks that going to bed at 11:00 is late, but I'm trying to reset my circadian rhythms a bit so that I can start going to the gym in the mornings before work rather than after, when I often feel too exhausted to get anything productive done.

Speaking of productivity, though, I've felt like I've had so much more of it in my life over the past several days. I've started a new hat, the Irish Hiking Hat, found on Ravelry (can we all agree that Ravelry is such an incredible resource?) and knit in Rowan Cocoon's Frost. I bought the yarn, initially, to make something for Jesse, but I want to try it for this hat, and Jesse thinks the color will make him look like an old man with grey hair, so I'm working on it for myself first to see if he still likes the pattern, and then I'll make it for him in another color if he does, as he's been requesting a hat. :) I also recently finished a custom order scarf in simple stockinette with occasional garter stitch rows for texture, but it's curling terribly in spite of the garter edging I put on in an attempt to keep it from doing so. Any pointers are welcome, of course.

In regards to my other goals, I'm doing okay. I'm reading _The Other Boleyn Girl_ right now, and I'm over 2/3 of the way through it. I'm on a bit of a historical fiction kick, though it's never been a genre I've enjoyed in the past. I think I approach historical fiction differently from most people, in that I assume that all the people, places, and major events are factually based, but that's as far as I trust it. Though, I often let the things I encounter in such works inspire me to go on encyclopedia-diving sessions. I guess I was just in a psych-and-sociology phase for so long that other works got pushed to the wayside. The book is interesting, if nothing else. I've never seen Anne Boleyn painted in such a negative light. History always seems more interesting when it's written from the point of view of the losers.

I haven't started running yet, but I'm planning to soon. I need new running shoes, since the ones that I have now aren't really suited. The bedtime routine is going well, and it's helping a little, though I still need help relaxing and drifting off once I'm in bed. I've just been having trouble quieting my mind lately. I often sleep more easily and soundly when I'm sleeping beside someone, though I haven't done that in a while...

I've been finding lots of new blogs that I'm enjoying reading, and I'm making more attempts to comments, not only because I find lurking a bit boring, but because I like the feeling of community and sharing generated by it.

For now, I'm feeling somewhat disconnected and incapable of flowing naturally from one train of thought to another, so it's off to bed with my hiking hat and my book. Bon soir.


Fourteenth: In which we get in just under the wire

It's a new year. An even numbered year, which I've always found preferable to odd numbered years for some bizarre reason. One of my many... quirks. Some may call them oddities, but I prefer quirks, thank you.

I've never been the sort for new year's resolutions, as I'm not really the kind of person who believes in putting off a change you want to make. I believe that if it's important, you should just go ahead and do it rather that waiting for some symbolic day. Resolutions also feel inevitably doomed to failure, if only from the massive pressure riding on them. 2007 was - like so many others - a year without unrealistic resolutions, but it was also, unlike others, a year that felt generally unmemorable. I think that's because I didn't really have any goals for the year. It was a year of keeping going. Getting out of bed, going through the motions, and going to bed every night. I want 2008 to be different. I'll make it different.

This year, I've decided that I want to have some concrete goals for myself. I think it's different from having resolutions, which I see as rules that one forces oneself to live by. Goals are something to work towards. No restrictions. No sense of failure. Just, something to work towards. Something to motivate me. An extra reason to get up in the morning.

So, I have a large generic goal for 2008, which breaks down into smaller, more measurable goals (that I hope to keep track of here in the least boring way possible - I doubt that anyone wants to read a progress report every week). This year, I want to enrich my body, mind & spirit as much as I can. In each of those categories, I have a primary subgoal, then a secondary and tertiary goal. With so many goals, I'll always have something to work towards, I think.

So, in easy & clean list form, my goals for the coming year. We'll check in 52 weeks from now and see how it's going.

*run 2+ 5K races (bonus for completing them in 30 minutes or less)
*initiate a healthy bedtime routine (i've long had trouble sleeping, and i hear this is something that can help)
*stop eating anything other than fruit or vegetables after 9:00 PM

*read 2+ books per month, at least one of which much be a "valid" work, such as a classic, a memoir, nonfiction work, scholarly publication, or collection of essays
*enroll in a class of some kind (bonus for it being something that I have no experience with)
*knit 1+ project a week

*get in touch with the higher power once a week (bonus for variety, such as attending church, reading religious/spiritual texts, meditation & yoga, intelligent theological discussion, and spending meaningful time in nature)
*call a friend that I don't talk to enough at least once a week
*spend a full week on vacation (something I haven't done in years)

And another goal that seems to fit into all three, cooking dinner with someone lovable at least once a week (bonus for trying new recipes and cooking techniques)

So there they are. Little glimpses, I think, of the person I am, and the person I hope I'm trying to become.