Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: A Year in Review

Gearing up to say goodbye to 2013...but first, let's check it out.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

Wow, lots of things.  Sold our house and moved to a different town is what stands out the most.  But I also tried yoga!  And I liked it.  

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I haven't done New Years resolutions in ages.  However, my Day Zero list is still going strong.  In lieu of New Year's Resolutions I would like to make a plan.  Because plans sound a lot sturdier than a fleeting resolution at midnight on 1/1/14.  I would like to be healthier. That is my plan for 2014.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?The only person that I can think of that gave birth were two ladies in my knitting group.  Both girls, one in June and one in August.  I had a lot of fun knitting for both of them.

4. Did anyone close to you die?  

No....I can't think of any this year.  

5. What countries/places did you visit?

We went on an adventure to Maine for a few days.  Travel was a little short this year due to the aforementioned house selling/moving.  We're making up for it in 2014, though.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

I'm continuing on my quest for patience.  

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 

None.  Seriously, the year is a blur.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Not to sound like a broken record.....but making it through the real estate fiasco with my sanity still intact.   

9. What was your biggest failure?

I've always credited myself as a "Go with the Flow" type.  This year has yielded a lot of truth in the saying "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."  

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Let's see.....I sprained my ankle.  I only mention it because of how ridiculous it was....it gave out as I was walking around my office.  Proof that sprains never ever heal right.  It was a huge pain in the rear for a while and still hurts sometimes.  Other than that and a bout of strep throat (which I guess was a first ever, too) I'd say it was a pretty good year.  :)

11. What was the best thing you bought?

 fixing the central air conditioning.  Moving into a new house in 95 degree weather with no air conditioning sucks.  

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Anyone who "paid it forward" this year.  Anything that gave your fellow humans hope, be it food, shelter, or just a cheery "hello" on a dark day.  

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I don't know about depressed, but Miley Cyrus just.....ugh there are no words.  Well, "trashy" is one, but I don't think it's strong enough.  

14. Where did most of your money go?

The usual suspects.  However....staging a house and selling it in terms of expenses was a real eye-opener.  And after we moved brought on new expenses so it was a bit crazy this summer!

15.  What did you really get excited about?

MOVING!  More importantly, selling.  We owned two houses for about a month and that was a nailbiter.  (Literally.)  

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
I never have an answer to this question.  

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Pretty happy for the most part.  There's been sad parts, but I've really tried to focus on the happy.

b) thinner or fatter? about the same.  

c) richer or poorer? Neither.  Just lucky and happy to have the essentials.  Heat, hot water, food and shelter.  I'm rich in love and family.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spending more time with the kids, playing.  They're only young once.  

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Worrying about things that one cannot control.  Getting frustrated when trying to view the future in a crystal ball, only to find out that I don't HAVE a crystal ball.  

20. How did you spend Christmas?

We hosted Christmas this year, with a holiday dinner for all of our family.  

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?

No.  But I continued to love.

22. What was your favorite TV program? I'm really loving Scandal.   

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I make it a point not to hate anyone. There's people that annoy me or I dislike, but hate's a pretty strong word. (yes it's last year's answer, but it still applies!)

24. What was the best book you read?

My favorite book this year was "The House at the End of Hope Street" by Menna von Praag.  Simply beautiful.   

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Brian and I saw "American Idiot" on stage back in February.  LOVED it.  I still listen to the soundtrack regularly.  

26. What did you want and get?

A happy ending and a new beginning.

27. What did you want and not get?

More time to knit.  But there's never enough of that.  :)

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Hmmmm.  I don't watch a lot of movies, usually.  But I did recently just see "Frozen" in theaters  with the family and LOVED IT!  Disney really knocked that one out of the park.  If you haven't seen it, you should.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?Ah.....37.  It was a good birthday this year.  For the first time in ten years, I didn't take the day off.  But I treated myself to a pedicure in the afternoon, and my family came over for dinner that night.  It was really great.  

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Trusting that things work out in the end.  Having a "vision" to see that things would really be OK when they don't seem like they will be.  

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

This is a stupid question.  Since this is the fourth year I believe that I have done this meme, I think I'll take all stupid questions out next year.  

32. What kept you sane?

Brian.  We have our ups and downs like any other couple but I never could have gotten through 2013 without him!

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Eh.....don't care..

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

Nothing, really.  Though I was happy to see the right to marry who you choose has extended to MORE states.  :)

35. Who did you miss?

My far away friends and family.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Hmmmm....have I met anyone new this year?  :)  

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013:

Misery is contagious.  Fortunately, so is happiness.  And happiness starts with YOU, because it comes from within.  And sometimes, happiness is a choice.  Choose it.  

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
'Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
'Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me roar

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Diagnosis: Startitis

Being home this past week, I've gotten a lot of knitting done.  I've got 2.5 pairs of mittens done for Sean's school, I finished a baby blanket and I've almost got a hat going for Sean, since he's outgrowing the Angry Birds hat that my mom made Will a couple of years ago.  (Mom, I'm sad too.)  But I can't stop thinking about new projects!  Especially something for ME, after all of this charity knitting that I've done recently.  And now I'm officially over ten miles for the year too.

So tonight, I am going to make myself happy and cast on either Trillian or the Spiral Cowl.    See here:

 Spiral Cowl


Tomorrow, I will also cast on a sweater for my friend's daughter that she commissioned me to make.  Oh, and finally sew on the buttons to another "baby's" sweater!  But that's for future Ginny to worry about....tonight it's about what the heart wants.  Which is that?  Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas Aftermath

The meal has been had, and memories have been made.  All of the gifts have been unwrapped and the boys were happily spoiled by family and Santa alike.  There's plenty of leftovers and togetherness.  So far we've met up with friends at Chuck e Cheese and had a lazy day of movies.  Today is more friends and food and my mother's Christmas cookies!  (In case you were wondering, my mom comes up with the best holiday treats.  Her "Christmas Crack" this year, a concoction of chex mix, coconut and other goodies is aptly named because it is addictive.)

Only a few days of 2013 left, and it's going to be a quiet end to the year, with the four of us home with a steak dinner and a special cake made by Daddy.  We've told the boys that they could stay up as late as they wanted this year, which is probably about 10pm.  Enjoying the family time that we're having together right now, because all too soon it will be back to work and school and the daily grind.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Sweater's Done!

Finished on:  12/23.  Right now on Christmas Eve at 6:39pm, it's still damp and on the blocking board.  I'll check it in the morning and hopefully it will dry.  If it's not, that's OK.  Those Toy Story footie pajamas really give it something special, huh?  :)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Annual Random Christmas Post

A Random Post, the Sunday before Christmas:

1.  Wow, I have baked all weekend!  Will decorate gingerbread and sugar cookies tonight with the boys and then take them to the fire and police stations on Tuesday, along with a pound of coffee.  I'm thinking that this should be a new family tradition, a way of saying "Thank you" to our first responders in our town.

2.  We're totally losing on the wrapping front.  I started early but it's not looking like it's going to matter.

3.  I hate laundry.  And dishes.  I've done enough of both this weekend to wonder about their reproduction cycle, I think it rivals rabbits.

4.  Looking like a GREEN Christmas this year!  I don't care, the 63-degree weather with windows open is a treat.

5.  Sean's sweater has gained one sleeve, and I'll pick up stitches to start the second one later on today.  He'll look a little strange with only one sleeve, kind of like an elephant trunk.

6.  You know...for a sweater that wasn't meant to be a Christmas project, it could happen.  I probably can't block it in time but maybe.  Trying not to push myself too terribly hard on this.  Just saying though...if the knitting could come together and be finished tonight and I get it on the blocking mat early tomorrow......

7.  ...of course, I AM working tomorrow.  The rest of the family will be home (Bugger!) but tomorrow is my last day of work til the 31st.

8.  I should've taken the 31st off, too.  Darn you, sense of responsibility.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Knitting: Goals and Progress

It's nearing the end of the year, so my inner geek is checking the knitmeter.  Here's the 2013 progress report:

Number of finished projects:  41  (at time of writing this, could possibly be 43.)

Number of miles of yarn incorporated in these projects:  9.38 miles.  If I finish Sean's sweater by 12/31 (and it's looking good, provided that Webs ship the additional yarn needed quickly) it will be about 9.70 miles.  Last year I had over ten miles, and the year before was 12.5 miles.  (I knit faster and more when stressed out, and 2011 was apparently a stressful year.)   Still, 9.70 miles is fantastic!

Did I learn any new skills this year?  Looking back at my projects, no.  But I did get better at other things, like seaming, cables and lace.

Goals and Ideas for 2014:

It's gonna be another great year, knit-wise.

First, and this one is a surprise:  starting on 1/1/14, I am only going to knit from my stash.  That's right, I'm going on a yarn diet, and I will not be buying any more yarn until the Webs tent sale in May.  I will attempt to stay strong, in order to save up for a big surprise family trip in April.

And then the big news, to me anyway:  Webs has a colorwork class that's four Sunday afternoons, and each session the student learns a kind of colorwork.  After the third try to sign up, I got in!  I'll be learning fair isle, intarsia and entrelac this winter/spring!   Yes, I know that I could learn these things at home, alone.  But it turns out, sometimes my teacher is a nut and gets easily confused.  :)  So this is sooooo gonna be worth it!  Hence, this workshop series is the reason why the yarn diet starts on 1/1...I have to order specific yarn/colors to learn the techniques.

MORE charity projects, starting with the Hats for Halos of Hope.   I've got two patterns ready to go right after Christmas, and yarn in my stash.  One is the "Dean Street Hat"  and the other is called "Foliage."  Both use chunky yarn so they'll knit up quickly.  And of course, hats and blankets for Stitches from the Heart.

I also say that 2014 is going to be the Year of the Sweater.  After Sean's is done, I have patterns picked out for both Will and Brian.  I really want to make a sweater for myself too, and we'll see what the year brings.

It's My Birthday!!!!

I woke up briefly at 4am today and with dread....yep.  I'm 37 today.  37 sounds so, so much older than 36.  But Brad Pitt woke up yesterday staring at 50....so I'm feeling pretty good.

When I woke up and got out of bed I was my usual birthday self....smile and ready to party.  That's the Sagittarius taking over.  It's my birthday today, let's party!

It's the first birthday I've had in like 10 years that I didn't take the day off work.  I'm kind of a princess that way, but it's the only princess-y thing about me.  It's gonna be a good day though, Chinese food with co-workers, a pedicure this afternoon, my parents are cooking spaghetti at my house, gifts and time with my family, and my husband made me an incredible-looking chocolate cake.  I say "incredible-looking" because I didn't have any for breakfast.  That doesn't mean I wasn't tempted.  After Will got on the bus I treated myself to reruns of The Big Bang Theory and knitting the hem of Sean's sweater.  (What can I say....I'm easy to please.)   And I wasn't late to work!   My phone has exploded with Happy Birthday texts and Facebook postings, someone sent me an online gift card for a Starbucks fancy coffee.....it's a great day.

37, you are going to be a great year.   And Brad.....50 will be a good year for you, too.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Let it Snow.....Dammit Let it Snow, Let it Snow.

Not even Christmas yet and we're on the second snowstorm.  This weekend involved eight inches of snow and a birthday party on Sunday morning.  What kind of sadistic soul schedules a birthday party on a Sunday morning?????

Today's snowstorm brought on an early release from school.  That's a special kind of hell, getting your kidsready for school, and then messing up the day to be home for when they get off the bus, etc.  I got the call from Will's school that there was no afterschool program today, which wasn't in the original call.  Naturally, this call came AFTER Brian had left to take Sean to preschool.  Had I known that, I would have kept Sean home with me.  Instead I went to work for 2.5 hours.  And I did it in jeans, a sweater and no makeup.  Yep, I sure did.  The world didn't end, and only one person said "You look really pale, do you feel alright?"  

Now the boys and I are home, and Daddy is at work.  And will likely be at work because his boss doesn't believe in closing early.  Ever.  I've baked cookies though, and am about to settle down and watch Phineas and Ferb with the boys and work on that blue sweater for Sean.  Which is knitting up nicely by the way.  Optimistically, he might be able to wear it on Christmas.  Pessimistically, it will somehow wind up having a third sleeve at the neck.

So keep snowing, dammit.  Snow all you want.  I'm not going to let you break my spirit, Mother Nature.  It's way too early in the season for this New Englander.  :P

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Parking Brake


I'm usually so much more on-the-ball about the holidays and everything this time of year.

Hubby's been sick so it's been crazy.  The kids are crazy.  The house is crazy.  Me?  I'm crazy but you all knew that already.

The to-do list keeps climbing, despite cutting back on things this year.  Does my oldest friend really need homemade fudge in the package that I am sending her?  No.  Nobody's going to notice that I didn't use decorative rubber stamps on the backs of the card envelopes.  Heck, nobody keeps the envelope! But, there's still  packages to send, Christmas cards to stuff and mail, goodies to bake, shopping to do, gifts to wrap.  On top of the clutter and the dirty laundry, the homework and the daily routine.  

I was chatting online with Brian earlier and I likened this feeling to being a car in neutral.  His analogy was better.....you're in drive, but someone has put the parking brake on and not told you.  So you're just revving in the driveway.

Here's to hoping that we can pop the brake soon, and hope not to slide on the ice.  :)  Just have to keep remembering to breathe, let go,  and to stop to live in the moment.  This really is the best time of the year, if you slow down to enjoy it.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I've Got the Blues.

It's an absurd concept, not having any Christmas knitting to obsess over.  Just plain whacked, that's what it is.  The last few days I've had only one project going at a time.  And that just will. not. do.

Blue yarn seems to be calling my name.  Instead of going to bed, I'm buried in my yarn stash, picking what new project is coming with me to the Hook and Needler Potluck and Swap tomorrow night.  The yarns on the left and right are sweaters for Sean.  Sweet boy....he asked if Mommy could knit him a blue sweater.  "Soon, Mom?"  Blue's his favorite, and oh, does Mama have options.  One would be a cardigan, and the other is a pullover.  Not sure which one to go with!  The turquoise-y wool in the middle is for a shawl for me.   That can wait to be cast on....a sweater for Sean should be next.

Aw heck....I'm tired.  I'll decide and pull out needles in the right size tomorrow.  Zzzzzzzzzzz.  Night all.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Duty to Warn

I've discovered another reason why I keep a blog, and why I go back and read things again.  Especially during the month of December.  It's the definition of insanity......"doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

Oh the potluck dinner.  I both love and despise you.  I love the fact that everyone shares the cooking by bringing something to share, instead of one person/family being responsible for the whole thing.  I detest picking out something to bring.  And then I re-read posts like this one that serve as a not-so-gentle reminder to cut the crap and pick out something simple.  Or if at all possible....something jazzy that Hubby is happy to make.  That's why I'm bringing stuffed shells and a case of soda to Friday Night's knitting group swap and potluck.  Stuffed shells aren't something I'd ever consider making myself, but he looks forward to it.  And I play with the kids/keep the house going while he cooks.  Sounds pretty sweet to me!

Another potluck for work on Tuesday....and it's an hour away.  Looking at the list of things that people are already bringing, I see that it's short on entrees and quite heavy on dessert and appetizers.  Then I spy that someone is bringing roast turkey.  So I'm bringing a potato side dish.  Not sure what kind of potato yet, but even I can handle that.  Done, and done!  No cookie craziness with five hundred ingredients, no possiblities of inhaling jalapeno.  Merry Christmas to ME!  :)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hats n Mittens

I picked up Sean at school the other day, and I told the teacher that I would like to get a gift for the school for Christmas instead of for each teacher, and asked what they need.  Besides the usual "everything,"  (i.e. art supplies, paper, etc, like most preschools they have a very small budget).  The teacher hesitated and said, "Well, I was thinking about the mittens that you made for Sean.  A lot of kids come in here every day that don't have hats or mittens, and we have to keep them inside at recess when it's cold out.  Do you think you could make some hats and mittens?"  Tug on the heartstrings.  Because that is my Kryptonite....I cannot tolerate the very idea that there are kids that don't have hats and mittens.  We live in Central MA, in the heart of New England, where we get a crapload of snow and ice in the winter.  The thought of these parents (for whatever reason, be it money/budgeting or neglect, I don't care) not using hats and mittens on their kids breaks this girl's heart.  I told the teacher that I may not be able to do it by Christmas, but I would certainly do some.  

And that night, I started right away.  Yeah, I have a Birthday Swap package to finish (with a really cool cross-stitch!) and an ornament swap that I haven't even DECIDED on for this coming Friday.  Not to mention the two Christmas gifts that I want to make, but they're both for immediate family who I think would understand.    But kids without cold weather accessories and me with a huge yarn stash?  "Im right on top of that, Rose!"*

One red wool hat finished already, and I used Sean's head as a guide.  I started  a sparkly white acrylic hat for a little girl and well....it fit me.  Serves me right for not doing a gauge swatch.  I won['t be making that mistake again.

Luckily, I found a little girl at our Philly Thanksgiving that it fit.  This is Brian's cousin's daughter, so I guess that makes Brian and Miss K. second cousins.  Pretty sweet, no?  She wore it the rest of the night, which of course makes me very happy.  :)

*  Fifty cool points to you, my nineties friends, if you knew that this movie quote was from "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead."