Wednesday, January 31, 2007

97,000 stitches

I can't believe I went to San Francisco without a camera. What a beautiful city! It was only my second time there. The first time, HWWLLB and I were on a crazy west-coast road trip during which we visited Susanna and Mike, back in the days when they lived in that beautiful city. This time, I was there for a conference - one helluva conference - and sadly there was no free time at all. The only free moments I had were spent eating - once at a pretentious fish place and once at a cheap and delicious Indian restaurant, both times bleary-eyed and late at night, especially by my eastern time zone standards. There was no museum-visiting, vibrating, or even trinket-shopping. There was much listening to presentations, much learning, much networking, and much exchanging of business cards.

There was also much knitting. Very much knitting.

The project that I worked on during this trip: Ann Budd's Pullover Flair from Interweave Knits Spring 2006. Jenn is working on this one, too, so we decided to start a mini knit-a-long for motivational purposes. (You can join!)

I know, we are behind the times. Spring 2006! That was a whole year ago! Luckily, I have never been one to stay on top of things (see how I spin that into an asset?), so the non-timeliness isn't bothering me. I am just excited to use this lovely stash yarn that has waited too long in the yarn cabinet to be taken out and loved. Actually, I did try knitting a cardigan last spring with it, but the Knitting Olympics and some sizing difficulties put the kibosh on it. This time, I counted on the nearly-unbearable tedium of cross-country airline travel to seal this project's fate as a garment, and early indicators point to garment completion in the not-too-distant future.

Yarn: Queensland Collection Kathmandu Aran (a.k.a. Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran). It's mostly merino, with a little silk and cashmere thrown in for fun. I have been daydreaming about knitting something with it for far too long!

Pattern: A highly-modified version of Pullover Flair. I'm knitting it the Icelandic way, bottom-up, all-in-one. It's such a simple pattern, with such elegantly easy shaping, it really lends itself to reworking however you like (I realize as I write this that I may be back soon howling with regret for my lack of caution, but hey - we'll cross that bridge when we come to it).

Is anyone else out there knitting this sweater? Maybe it's just too straightforward and - dare I say it - perhaps a bit boring? But I love simplicity, and I think this is something I'll actually wear quite a lot. If you're knitting it (or thinking of knitting it), pop on over to the knit-a-long and post some photos!

So, the progress: after three days of airports and conference presentations, I calculate that I've put in about 97,000 stitches on this sweater.


That makes most of one torso (from the bottom edge up to the armpits), and the start of a sleeve. Now you know why I didn't have time to go take a cable car.

P.S. Egregious cat photo: Simon helping with the laundry.

lil' helper

Friday, January 26, 2007

frosty mornings

frosty grass

Cold, frosty mornings have been making it hard to get out of bed lately. I just want to snooze and snuggle under the quilts all morning long. But alas, if I did that there would be no tea, and there must be tea.

Back when it was still summer-in-December, we had lots of laborious projects going, mostly new-house related. But with the wintry weather finally arriving, the building, digging, painting, staining, loading and mulching is over and we are sitting indoors again, and the nesting has taken on a quieter tone.

a mosaic of laborious projects: the repainted bathroom (yes i am still excited about it), new vegetable beds (with snow!), staining some shelves, a new pantry built by my awesome dad into a little nook in the hallway.

All that tool- and muscle-using is now over, and it's back to the knitting. I am so glad! There are too many UFO's lying around my house attracting intergalactic energy vibes, and I prefer to attract only earthly creatures.

So I have finally finished my sister's birthday socks. They came out quite nicely, but I had to frog and re-knit half of sock #1 because you know what? If you knit lace socks, don't put the lace underneath the foot. It was way too delicate down there on the rough-and-tumble sole, and I don't think those socks would have lasted more than a few strolls around the neighborhood, so I re-knitted them with the lacey stuff just over the top of the foot, and good old tough stockinette on the underside.

ripple socks fini!

Of course I had to try on sock #1 before it ever occurred to me that this might be a problem, hence the frogging. Oh well. Lesson learned! With the socks out of the way, I had to get my travel project going, because I don't like desiging away from home. If a project is underway, I feel fine taking it to conferences, airports, etc, but please don't ask me to design a sweater on a plane. There is not enough caffeine in the world to allow such powers of concentration anywhere but on my couch. So here's the teeny start of the sweater, but from this I am satisfied that travel can begin:


And you know, I don't leave until Sunday... just enough time to get a scarf done? Can I go to San Francisco without a new scarf? See, that's why I had to start one. I'm hoping to finish it during a long meeting I have to attend this afternoon. Wish me luck!

P.S. Local knitter alert: Sauniell is rocking our world! Soon she will rock all of y'all's, too!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

most people

Stacie has tagged me with a meme: "five things most people don't know about me."

I guess this depends on which 'most people' we're talking about here. In the internets, for example, most people don't know me at all (let's be real - how many internet users are out there?). But I would venture to say most of y'all who stop by and read this blog have no idea what my real name is, what my day job is, etc., and generally I prefer that because the moderate anonymity lets me keep a bit of a fantasy-life in which to craft and commune with all of you.

Then again, some of the readers of this blog are among my closest and dearest friends. They know all kinds of things, from my bra size to my family crises. The blog world is funny that way. In some ways we're like a big mess of sewing circle participants who get together in this really intimate way, without really "knowing" each other very well. Slutty sewing circles.

Well, for some of you, none of this may come as news, but here are five things that most of y'all (and maybe most of my colleagues or neighbors, for instance?) don't know about me:

1. I don't believe in God. This is not to say that I don't believe in something much greater than myself, human society, or the "world," because I do, very much. But I don't believe in deities, or a Deity, or that there is any plan for humanity or destiny for any individuals. I believe that hell is something we make for ourselves here on earth through greed and ignorance, and the "kingdom of God" (if you are Christian) or Nirvana or heaven is also something we make for ourselves through compassion and unconditional love. It is all our own choice.

2. I do believe in prophets. Jesus was a brilliant teacher of compassion. So was Siddhartha Gautama (the man who became the Buddha). As humans we are blessed with tremendous intelligence and compassion, and among us there are sometimes prophets who call us to our own better natures and nudge (or shove) us back onto the path of righteousness. Dr. King was such a prophet, and so are Aung San Suu Kyi and the Dalai Lama. I do not believe in "worship," but I pay great respect to these prophets.

...lightening up a little...

3. I was a junior-high cheerleader. In 7th, 8th and 9th grades I cheerleaded (cheerled?) for my school's basketball and football teams. While I was always completely oblivious to whatever game was being played or what the apparently hunky (to an 8th-grader) boys were doing out on the field, I loved doing snappy, coordinated movements with friends in matching outfits. Once I started to clue in to all the subtextual sexual messages and popularity contests going on in the world of cheerleading, I had to give it up. Nowadays I get my need for synchronized moves met by watching old They Might Be Giants videos, and of course from radical cheerleading, which warms my heart in at least a dozen ways.

4. I'm allergic to latex. It was such a relief to finally figure this out after so many very-uncomfortable visits to the gynecologist and ironic punishings for safe sex (waay back in my wild single days). An itchy, weepy rash is not what you want to wake up to on the morning after, people! I always have to remind all my doctors and dentists to use the ill-fitting blue gloves (because they only ever keep one box of one-size-fits-none non-latex gloves in the office), and my choices of contraceptive technology are somewhat limited (latex is a little over-used in that particular industry), but learning to avoid what hurts you is a good lesson for all kinds of things. And the female condom is non-latex, FYI. In case you were wondering.

5. I just love trashy romance novels. The smuttier, the better! If they have a good story, I generally consider that a bonus. Basically I just skip from sex scene to sex scene. It was HWWLLB who got me hooked on them. He swaps them with my Grandmother, who keeps paper grocery bags full of them behind the couch.

tag, you're it: Billie, Jenn!

Friday, January 19, 2007

free pattern friday: mossy jacket

Whenever I see a pattern for a baby something-or-other that says it's a very special something-or-other for baby, that usually means it is hyper-ruffled, tied with 100 ribbons or made from artisan-spun cashmere. I think this little jacket is a very special baby gift because it's like, really nice. It has a funky off-center button band, it's cute, colorful, fairly quick to knit and made from merino wool - just a little bit chi-chi but not ridiculously so.

The jacket is knit top-down, all-in-one piece, and the yarn is knit tightly on needles slightly smaller than called-for to make a nice winter jacket for a babe. Just two buttons makes it easy to get on and off the very special tyke. (Note: I am a really loose knitter, so the needle size might not work for you - make sure you do a swatch to get the correct gauge for this project).

  • 3 (4, 4) skeins Classic Elite Beatrice (100% merino; 63 yards) in color A (#3428)
  • 1 (1, 2) skeins in color B (#3285)
  • US size 9 circular needles and DPNs
  • US size 10 circular needles and DPNs
  • scrap yarn to hold sleeves
  • two 1" buttons
  • stitch markers
  • tapestry needle
gauge: 3.5 st and 5 rows/inch in stockinette stitch on larger needles

size: 6 mos (12 mos, 18 mos)

Finished length: 10 (11 1/2, 13) in.
Finished sleeve length: 7 ( 7 1/2, 8) in.
Finished chest circumference: 20 (22, 24) in.

pattern notes:
  • make all increases (inc) by knitting into the front and back of the stitch (kfb).
  • notice that as you knit this garment, you begin with the neckline, and you will be increasing on the right side but not the left - that's how you get the off-center placement of the button band.
start at the neckline
Using larger needles and color A, cast on 3 st, place marker, CO 8 (8, 9), PM, CO 14 (15, 16), PM, CO 8 (8, 9), PM, CO 1. (34, (35, 38) st cast on).

Row 1: Kfb of first st, slip M, Kfb. *K to 1 st before next M, inc, sl M, inc, repeat from * to end, Kfb of last st (9 st inc).
Row 2: P all st.
Row 3: K1, *K to 1 st before next M, inc, sl M, inc, repeat from * to last st, Kfb (9 st inc).
Row 4: P all st.

Continue in this manner (repeating rows 3 and 4), inc at the M on every RS row, until there are 22 (23, 24) st btw the back two markers. At the end of this RS row, CO 4 (5, 6) st.
Next row: P all st.
Next RS row: As before, *K to 1 st before next M, inc, sl M, inc, repeat from * to end. You will no longer be increasing on the final st.
Next WS row: P all st.

Continue in this manner until there are 34 (37, 40) st between the back two markers.

divide for sleeves
Next RS row: K to first M, remove M. Using a tapestry needle, place all sleeve st on a length of scrap yarn. CO 1 st for the underarm portion. Remove next M and continue knitting the back of the sweater by Kfb of the first st. Knit to next M. Remove M, place sleeve st on scrap yarn, CO 1 st, remove next M, Kfb of the next st and K to end.
Now all your body stitches are knit continuously, and the sleeves have been separated out as in the photo below.

mossy cardi 1

Cont knitting the body in st st until it measures 9(10 1/2, 12) in long (from the back neck to the bottom edge).

Change to smaller needles and color B. K 1 row in st st.
K 4 rows in seed stitch, BO loosely following seed st (you may want to bind off using the larger needle size).

Using larger DPN's, put all held st on DPN's and distribute evenly. Join yarn (color A), pick up and knit the underarm stitch, and cont knitting all sleeve st using st st. At the end of your first rnd, place a marker to mark the start of the rnd.
K 3 more rows.

Next rnd (dec rnd): K to last 2 st, K2tog. K three rounds.
Repeat dec rnd on every 4th rnd until 5 st have been dec (23 (25, 28) st rem). Sleeve should measure about 6 (6 1/2, 7) in from armpit.

Change to smaller needles and color B. K 1 rnd in st st.
K 4 rnds in seed st. BO loosely in seed st.
Repeat for second sleeve.

button band
Left side: Using smaller circular needles and color B, pick up and K 3 out of every 4 selvedge st up the left side of the cardi (about 30 (34, 39) st). K 4 rows in seed st, BO in patt.

Right side: Using smaller circular needles and color B, pick up and K 3 out of every 4 selvedge st up the right side of the cardi (about 30 (34, 39) st). K 2 rows in seed st.
Row 3 (buttonhole row): Patt 2 st, YO, K2tog (or P2tog as appropriate). Patt 5 st, YO, K2tog (or P2tog as appropriate). Patt to end.
K another row in seed st, BO in patt.

Using smaller needles and color B, pick up and knit 4 button band st, 11 (12, 13) front right side st, 8 (8, 9) right side shoulder st, 14 (15, 16) back section st, 8 (8, 9) left side shoulder st, 6 (7, 8) left front st and 4 button band st.
K 3 rows in seed st. BO in patt.

Mark placement of buttons and sew on securely. Weave in loose ends.

peek at mossy

important notice: This is a free pattern and you are welcome to use it for all the non-commercial purposes you like. However, you may not reproduce this pattern to sell, and you may not sell what you make with it. You may donate what you make with it to charity, and you may use it for charity fundraisers only if 100% of the proceeds are donated to the charity (and by charity I don't mean your kid's college fund). Thanks for understanding!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Here it is, our freshly-repainted bathroom. Sherwin-Williams calls this color "Liveable Green." It is a lot more liveable than the peeling-off cream color we had before:

sorry for the lame photo. there's not much natural light in there - i'll try again on a brighter day.

I am really happy with it - it is very clean and bright looking. You probably already read all about the trials and travails that went into these bathroom walls, which have resulted in a laundry list of back pain, sore knees and - worst of all! - achy wrists (from the death grip I kept that paint scraper in for so many hours, I guess). Whine, whine, but the bathroom looks fabulous.

The wrist problems have kept me away from doing much knitting, though, so unfinished projects are lying strewn about the house feeling neglected.

socks in progress
half-finished birthday socks for my sis

afghan in progress
simon's afghan

sweater in progress
that dang mis-sized baby sweater


...and here's a suspicious-looking gauge swatch for a sweater I'd like to knit for myself. I wanted to get it rolling before taking off for a conference on the 28th, because I'll have lots of airplane time, airport time, conference presentation time, and of course late-night cable-watching hotel room time in which to get a sweater done. But only if my wrists will cooperate!

Maybe I should go soak them in a hot bath... in my bee-yoo-tee-ful bathroom.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

audacious faith

"...Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood.

"If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love. The tortuous road which has led from Montgomery, Alabama, to Oslo bears witness to this truth. This is a road over which millions of Negroes are travelling to find a new sense of dignity.

"This same road has opened for all Americans a new era of progress and hope. It has led to a new Civil Rights bill, and it will, I am convinced, be widened and lengthened into a superhighway of justice as Negro and white men in increasing numbers create alliances to overcome their common problems.

"I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts him.

"I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

"I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.

"I believe that even amid today's motor bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men.

"I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down, men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive goodwill will proclaim the rule of the land.

"And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid."

"I still believe that we shall overcome.

"This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born."

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech, December 11, 1964.

For futher reading:

Beyond Vietnam, sermon at Riverside Church, New York City, April 5, 1967.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

our war: now bigger and badder

I have heard complaints from many of you that the war in Iraq just wasn't very impressive. Not enough dead bodies, not enough murder and mayhem, not enough scandal. "I want to see more ass-kicking," is the most common criticism that most of us have heard of this war.

Well, fear not. More mayhem is on the way.

Last night our President laid out his plan for Extreme Tweaking of the Iraq strategy, with a great big 15% temporary bump in troop levels that is sure to win the day. Because being a loser isn't an option for Mr. Bush.

Look out, Baghdad! We will kick down more doors! We will smash more houses in! We will stalk more neighborhoods together with our allies in the Iraqi Police-by-day-Militia-by-night squads. Do those sound like the activities of "losers"? I should think not.

With all the ass-kicking that is about to ensue, how could the Iraquis not come to love us American winners? And with that love will naturally blossom peace, freedom, stability, the death of Osama and an end to the terrorist killers that want to murder us in our freedom-loving beds.

If we were to start bringing our troops back now, they would have to miss out on all the fun ass-kicking that they will get to do under this bold new Tweaking, and that would not be fair to the troops or to their families, who at this point are willing to give up another 6 months with their loved ones, or possibly risk death, because of the great first-hand stories they will get to hear about our awesome war later at their dinner tables. I really hope the Democrats don't try to deny them this family experience they so richly deserve.

Also, there will be some kind of diplomacy, or political finagling, or something in Iraq, because of course there will be. It will be really impressive, we just don't have the details yet... I'm sure those are being strategerized right now. But details, schmetails - let's kick some more ass!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

my mom is the bomb

Do moms go to Awesome School to learn how to be so amazing? How do they know how to do absolutely everything, from stocking their purses with every conceivable item a child might need to installing ceramic tile? My mom can do anything. Here she is with a scraper removing evil paint from my bathroom.

My mom innocently agreed to come spend Saturday at my house helping me repaint the bathroom. She is a whiz with paint and loves home decorating and fixing-upping, so we thought it would be a fun afternoon together. Little did we suspect, the bathroom walls were some tough customers who were not to be underestimated.

The problem:
Brand new paint job (by previous owner) peeling off the walls. More paint comes off every time we take a shower. We eventually figured out that they had painted flat latex paint onto a shiny plaster wall covered in oil-based paint without preparing the surface properly.

The solutions (there were many tried and discarded):
  1. Scraping it all off with scrapers. Discarded after we realized it might take the rest of our lives.
  2. Sanding it off with a power sander. Discarded from within a fog of toxic dust.
  3. Steaming it off with a wallpaper steamer. Yes! More paint had been peeling off with every shower taken - clearly moisure is not this paint's friend.

First we experimented with my compact portable steamer (heretofore used only for blocking) and found that the paint came off like goopy, stringy, icky globs of wallpaper, revealing a smoooth, shiny painted plaster wall beaneath. So we raced out to the rental store (again) and rented a great big wallpaper steamer. Then we spent the rest of the day steaming, scraping, sweating, cursing, steaming and scraping some more.

mom (left) is even stylish while scraping paint. i look like a ragamuffin, but i'm having a good time.

Then we went out for Thai food. I had the Green Curry Vegetable Tofu.

My mom is not one to walk out in the middle of a project. She is not even one to go home when it's bedtime if there's still work to be done. People, the woman slept on the futon at our house and got up early to help me scrub all the goopy, stringy, icky globs of paint out of the bathroom, and then prime the walls. She really did.

one tiny corner of a tremendously goopy, stringy, icky mess.

Then she really needed to see how the paint was going to look, so she stuck around after lunch and helped me get the first coat of paint onto the wall. Satisfied with the results, she finally headed home late Sunday afternoon after giving her entire weekend and a wealth of home-improvement expertise to my bathroom walls. She is incredible.

The job is just about done; I caulked the tub tile this morning and we'll finally be able to shower again in our own home tomorrow. Once the place is back in order I'll post an "after" picture. Til then, here's a "before" shot of my peely bathroom wall with a wide selection of paint chips tacked up for comparison:


Friday, January 05, 2007

sock or tacky afghan?

I report, you decide.

This is the sock that I've started for my Sis's birthday gift (it's safe to post; she doesn't use these newfangled internets). I really shouldn't be knitting it just yet, since her birthday isn't til the end of the month, but I can't help it, it's fun. The other things I *should* be knitting include a little afghan for the cat to keep his hair off HWWLLB's favorite chair, and a baby sweater. Yes, another new baby. The breeders just won't quit, I tell you!

chevron sock in progress

So is this sock ugly? Really, be honest.

Sometimes I look at it and it's fun! So cute! Stripey! Chevroney! Lacey!

Other times I look at it and it reminds me of the extremely tacky 70's afghan in my mother's hall closet. We used to make it into a tacky tent in the living room when we were small (in the 70's) and play campout. Tacky campout.

I am torn, but I can't stop knitting on this sock because it's a really fun little lace repeat, so much more interesting than the never-ending garter stitch of Simon's afghan. Also, the afghan is being made with cheapie yarn, which does not feel as sweet and silky on the fingers as this nice Meilenweit sock yarn does.

The other project, the baby sweater? Ugh. Don't get me started. Well, okay, I'm started now, so I'll tell you about it. It is a very cute design, which I have designed myself thankyouverymuch, but something very bad happened. The gauge swatch lied. Lied!

After knitting about 2/3 of the sweater, it just looked big. Bigger than a newborn really needs. So I measured and checked gauge and as it turns out the gauge is not 4 stitches to the inch, it's 3.5 stitches to the inch, and so now I have a sweater perfectly sized to an 18-month old. This is not to imply that I don't know any 18-month olds (boy, howdy!), but rather that what I meant to knit was a newborn sweater.

This will probably all work out fine in the end, once I order more yarn and knit the smaller version (as long as the baby doesn't grow in the mean time - is that too much to ask?), and I'll be able to post nice accurate sizing instructions if I include this sweater on a Free Pattern Friday. But, but... I don't feel like it! I've already done this once! It is so hard to knit the same pattern twice, I just don't have the attention span.

So it's back to the sock. In fact, I think I'll pick it up now, it's looking cute and stripey to me at the moment. Or is it...?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


What could be more important than friendship?


I am a schizophrenic combination of very social and somewhat introverted. I love people, but I can't be around them too much. I need emotional intimacy with different kinds of people, but I am very hesitant to share much of myself with anyone.

On the other hand, some of my friends are excellent friendship role models.

Some of them are very far away, but they always send emails, letters, updates on how their lives are going, little "I'm thinking of you" packages, funny photos, and invitations to whatever's going on. Even though I don't see them very often, they always seem close by.

Some of them are not so far away, but have incredibly busy lives. School, work, family, volunteer stuff, saving the world... yet, they are never too busy to make a call or send an email to say hey, here's what's happening, come on over on Friday.


Not me. I am terrible at all these things.

I am the sort of friend who has your birthday in my calendar, thinks about you all the time with great affection, but doesn't call. Why don't I call?

I am the sort of friend who will spend weeks making you a present but never send it. Why don't I send it?

Maybe it's a fear thing. Emotional intimacy terrifies me sometimes. But it's so fulfilling! I often find myself diving in headlong, especially with someone new, plumbing the depths of our souls, living through something kind of incredible together... and then never calling. Only answering when called. I am like that guy the girls warned each other about in college. The nice guy who will string you along. He doesn't mean to be mean, he just can't commit...

elizabeth in lights

I am really grateful for my friends who put up with this unreliability from me. On the one hand, if you are sick I will totally cook you some vegetarian chili and cornbread (even if you don't want it). On the other hand, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD don't ask me about my feelings. Opinions, yes. Feelings, verboten!

So on to the New Year's resolution: I resolve to follow the example of you beautiful friendship role models, and be a better friend.

I will send you a card on your birthday. Maybe even call.

I will answer your email.

If you call me, I will call you back. Maybe I will even call you first.

I will remember the Incredibly Major Thing you told me the last time we talked, and I will check in to see how that worked out. And also to see if you need some chili.

If I am very sad or happy, I will share. God help me, I will share my feelings. Sometimes.

I'm starting by writing some long-overdue letters and emails. This has the added incentive of letting me use pretty paper and stickers, which I find motivating. I am also motivated by the fact that since my friends are so kind and responsive, they will probably write me back, which will be really cool.

So thanks to all of you for putting up with me. This is the year that I do better. And sorry about all the times I didn't call you back last year... can I make you some chili?


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

new start

I hope everyone is back safe and sound from your holiday travels. It felt good to come back to work today. I had so much been looking forward to a relaxing break over the holidays, and in some ways it was, but in other ways... um, I am very glad to be back at work. I think I OD'ed a little on family time.

I am pondering New Year's resolutions and what to promise to do this year to make the world a better place and myself a better citizen of it. Every year I get awfully ambitious. This year I think maybe keeping it simple will be a smarter thing to do. In contemplating this year's resolutions, I thought it might be wise to see how last year's resolutions fared in 2006.

The 2006 Resolutions End-of-Year Progress Report

2006 personal resolutions
  • Stop thinking that my job is the most important thing there is.
So, maybe I don't think this quite so much anymore, but I sure do act like it. Right thinking, right acting. I need practice.
  • Go to yoga at least once a week.
I actually did pretty well with this. Many weeks I went twice.
  • Stop being so G-darn bossy, especially to Sis and HWWLLB.
You would probably have to ask them how this went, but I continue to make a conscious effort on this, and that's probably the most important thing.
  • Wear something I knit once in a while (I have become the butt of jokes at Stitch & Bitch. They just don't get it. I don't feel the need to wear the things I make - I recently learned the term "process knitter" to describe this very phenomenon. But I will do it - to avoid further mockery).
Yes! This has gone well. I think I'll knit myself some more things (and wear them) in 2007.
  • Practice violin at least three times per week.
Oh gosh. This may be my biggest bomb. I haven't picked up the violin since March.
Hm. I kind of forgot about this one. Does playing more Boggle count?

  • Become a kick-ass fundraiser! Raise twice as much money as last year!
I wouldn't say I have become kick-ass, but we definitely raised more money from more donors this year, and it felt really, really good.
  • Spend more time enjoying the wonderful people I get to meet through work.
I don't think I did this. I am such a darned introvert.

saving the world
  • Eschew plastic. No more plastic take-out containers, no more toxic Nalgene bottles, no more plastic bags from the grocery store. I have around 100 canvas bags and I'm darn well going to use them.
Man, I suck! I definitely cut back on the grocery bags, but take-out containers? Sheesh. There is plastic in piles all around me right now. Argh!
  • Buy less crap. Crap includes: new clothes, anything from Target (even things with amazing ylang-ylang nano elf technology), and especially things that I justify purchasing by thinking about how the item will make my life better. Crap does not include: yarn, pricey Japanese-made knitting tools, or things purchased at thrift stores (it's my list and I'll write my own definitions, thank you).

So, I'd call this last one a C-plus. I did buy a little less crap this year. I participated in the Wardrobe Refashion and went two months without buying any clothes at all, until I crashed on hiking gear at the end of the two-month run. I bought only two Christmas presents, and made everything else that I gave. On the other hand, I have spent a small fortune on crap for the new house at the Home Despot lately. Probably all crap I could have scavenged or bought used at a thrift shop, too.

Overall, I think I was a little too ambitious, and that's probably why my ratings year-end are so mediocre. I'm always setting too many goals for myself anyway. This year, one goal only. But what??? Are y'all making resolutions? Should I resolve to say y'all less? Or more...?