It’s Not an Excuse…

Well, yeah, it is. I haven’t been updating because my computer went kaput a few weeks ago, and blogging on the kids’ computer is not easy–especially when they are home. Good news, though, my computer has been replaced and I am back! :)

What have I been doing while I was away? Reading. Lots of reading.

Also, I had jury duty. I didn’t get chosen to sit on the jury, but I did get to experience jury selection. :) There is nothing quite like being asked personal questions in a room full of strangers.

I’ve done zilch with my sewing machine and fabric, and the only yarn I’ve touched in the last few weeks is the sock weight. My plain Jane socks are knitting up so slow, but that’s mostly because I haven’t been knitting them. I finally turned the heel…on the first sock. Progress!

What I have been doing is drawing and using my copic markers. Nothing earth-shattering.

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See? Not that great, but, man, did it feel great! My brain gets all soft and happy when I’m drawing these silly little things. Then, coloring it in? That’s the stuff.

I have fallen in love with Copic markers. I bought five more to go with the original ten my husband bought me for Christmas. It’s not enough, though. I need more colors. MORE!!

So, in summary, I’ve been gone. Computer was broken. Now it’s replaced. I’m back. :)

And, that is Why they are Goals, Not Resolutions

So, I missed last week. I thought about posting. I really did. I just got a little overwhelmed by all the celebrities dying. Around my birthday (it was last week). As I march slowly to middle age, and, ultimately, death.  (See. Total downer. I did you all a favor by skipping last week.)

I did finish one project and started another. I did finish one book and started another. I did pick up my pens and markers and doodle in my art journal. I won’t share everything I drew (some of it is a little dark, like my mood last week) but here’s something kinda whimsical (and maybe a little creepy?) I started yesterday.  I’m reading Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl and watching a lot of Portlandia and listening to Sleater-Kinney’s last album, No Cities to Love, so I felt compelled to not just “put a bird on it,” but make the entire drawing birds. I plan on coloring it. Basically, I made myself one of those fancy adult coloring pages. I keep looking at those at the [insert ANY store because they are EVERYWHERE], but decide I should draw my own. Also, Maggie has a few fancy coloring books, so I could always just steal a page from her if I didn’t feel like drawing.

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Speaking of Maggie, I finished her hat. Her second hat, because the first was too small. It was a quick crochet beanie in the same style as her scarf.

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I also started a pair of socks with some sock yarn I impulse bought a LONG time ago. So, that’s on track with my goals, right?

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Some how I thought it would go a lot faster, being such a small project, but that is some skinny yarn and it is taking FOREVER. I might just be a little impatient, though.

Lastly, I took all my finished hex-a-grannies and laid them out to see just how much of a blanket I have…then realized I barely have a lap warmer. So, I estimated how many grannies I need for a decent blanket and now I’m sad. It’s a lot. I’ll continue to chip away at it, though, and, maybe, I’ll have a new blanket by this time next year.

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All that work and this is all I have???

I had book club last week, and I do want to talk about the book and our opinions, but I’ll do that later, in a separate post.

So, things I’ve read this month, so far:

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Fates and Furies by Laura Groff

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (THIS BOOK WAS AWESOME)

Currently reading:

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (This is my “classic” pick, and it is boring me to death. Which is why I’m taking so long to read it.)

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein

 

It Catches Up…

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Everything has finally caught up to me–the holidays, the lack of sleep, the everything. I was so happy to be back home (despite loving my extended family) because it meant time with my yarn, time with my fabric, and time with my brand-spanking-new Copic markers. But then, everything caught up to me, as did a pesky immune disease I’ve been trying to hold off for months now. (Not so much pesky as life-halting.) I have Psoriatic Arthritis (or, so we are calling it, now, although it used to be called “maybe it’s rheumatoid arthritis?”) and my previous medication was no longer as effective, so I switched to a new medication–not an injection!!–that proved to be…COMPLETELY ineffective. So, the holiday rush ended with a major flare up of pain and swelling in my knee, and knocked me out for the last few days. That’s the most I’m going to complain, though, because I was put back on my old medicine (which was working, if not as thoroughly as I would like) and will be starting a new new new biologic injectable I’ve heard great things about, soon.  (Truth be told, the only reason I tried that other medicine–the one that didn’t help at all–was because it was a pill, and after years of injecting myself, I was a little tired of the shots. Unfortunately, looks like it is SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS for me for the foreseeable future. And not the fun kind that ends in a hangover.)

So, feeling better today, and, good for me, I’m still maintaining my goals for this year, since it is Friday, and I am here, posting to my blog.

So, before being waylaid, I snapped a pic of Aaron looking dashing in his new Tire Tread scarf. (Also, I made the hat, but that was last year.) Over our trip to New York, like promised, I worked diligently on those hex-a-grannies. Sorry to say, though, I haven’t touched them since getting back, other than to take a photo.

have picked up my new fancy-schmancy markers, though. Today. Mostly just playing around. Seeing what these puppies can do.

And, before I got too immobile, I said so long to the Christmas tree. See you next year. It was okay while it lasted. (Seriously, my tree was looking rough at the end, between the cats and the toddler.)

I also read one book last weekend. It took just a few hours. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. It’s a kid book, but, I swear, I cried through the entire thing. Although, that could’ve been the spiraling depression that accompanies autoimmune disease. (Damn. I’m still complaining, aren’t I?) Trust me, you want to read this book. It’s good. Really good.

I’m currently reading Fates and Furies by Laura Groff. It’s…interesting. I’m not sure how I feel about it, yet.

And, next week my book club is meeting! We are discussing After You by Jojo Moyes. After we meet, I’ll post how it went. I already have some advanced reactions, and they are mixed. Just like I like it. A book club meeting in which everyone agrees about the book is just not fun. Like in any good book, a good discussion needs at least a little conflict. ;)

Happy trails!

Brand New Year

*Seriously? A bonus post?!*

So, it’s a Brand New Year, and how do we commemorate the passage of time? By looking forward and setting goals, or resolutions.

Personally, I prefer to set goals over “resolving” to do anything. I know me, and I love to defy myself, like a two year old who just learned she doesn’t actually have to do anything her parents say. (“Oh, you say I need to stay away from sweets? Well, here’s a dozen glazed donuts and grande mocha. Ima eat it. You can’t tell me what to do!”)

Besides, resolutions are so twentieth century.

Last year I set up some unofficial* goals for myself (*as in, I may or may not have written them down, I don’t remember), and, as a whole, I think I did pretty good throughout the year.

Here are my goals  for THIS year (which ARE written down…since I’m writing them down right this second…):

Crafting Goals:

  • Finish (or Toss) outstanding WIPs (Toss?? Isn’t that extreme? Perhaps. But, I think outstanding WIPs my be up there with unnecessary clutter. Am I really going to finish the Super Mario toss pillow I was making for Aaron? Probably not. Is it creating a creative block by taunting me with it’s incomplete-ness? Probably so.)
  • Reduce fabric and yarn stash through stash-busting projects
  • Only buy enough yarn or fabric to complete specific projects, i.e., no more impulsive “maybe I’ll use this” buys at the craft store
  • Start drawing and painting more, producing at least one drawing (with my fancy new Copic markers Santa brought me) a week, and one painting a month

I considered making “I will craft this many of that” goals, but I felt it was too restrictive. Instead, I just want to craft until I’m sane. Is that too much to ask for? Sanity? I don’t think so. Pretty colors. Just look at the pretty colors. All will be okay….

Reading goals:

  • Complete GoodReads challenge of 48 books in 2016
  • I want to break that down into what to read each month:
    • 1 fiction
    • 1 nonfiction
    • 1 classic
    • 1 freebie, anything goes book
  • Read more books to Marcy, as well as read whatever the older kids are reading

Every year I do the same thing. I set my GoodReads goal and speed through books at a break-neck pace. Until about May. Then, I stop reading for a few months. Around November, I look at my GoodReads challenge and see I’m suddenly three books behind, when, last I checked in May, I was five books ahead. Then, I spend November and December cramming books like a procrastinating college kid who didn’t start studying until two days before the final exam. Because, you know, November and December are such slow, boring months in which I have ALL the time in the world for leisurely activities like reading. Then, on the last day of the year, I spend my day reading, just squeaking by with the last book, less than two hours before The Ball drops. (That may have happened last night…) Or, worse, missing my goal by just two measly books, like in 2014. Well, I say “no more! Not this year!”

Blog goals:

  • Blog at least once (better, twice) a week
  • Carry my camera with me more often and take more photos

Blogging goals…I know I didn’t have any of those last year. There is nothing worse than visiting your blog after a several month hiatus, and sheepishly apologizing for falling off the face of the Earth. You may not realize it, but I’ve been blogging for a long time. A LONG time. (No, really. Check my archives.)  The problem is, life gets busy and I disappear for months, sometimes years, at time. And, people don’t like inconsistency. If I visit a blog, and the last post was from two months ago, it doesn’t matter how awesome the photos are, or how clever the writing is, I’m not coming back. Because, clearly, this person doesn’t have her poop in a pile. I want to know there will be new content every few days. I want to know I can count on you.

I really enjoy blogging, so it makes no sense I keep taking these extended breaks. I resolve (I mean, I’m setting a goal) to continue blogging as long as I have something to say, or something to share.  And, I’ll try to be better. Better photos. Better projects. Better insight.

Other goals:

I also have many personal goals I won’t bore you with, like, continuing to organize, drink more water, etc. You’re not interested in that, right? Seriously, just run of the mill stuff.

But…I am reluctant to mention it, lest I fail, but I would like to write more. My dream has always been to be a writer. Or an artist. (A writing artist?) I’ve lost touch with this dream over the years. It’s SO MUCH easier to kick back and admire what other artists and writers do. But…

But…I still wonder, “what if?” What if I actually tried? What if I practiced? Maybe I’ll find out this year.Maybe it’s a goal. Maybe.

What are your goals for this year?

I hope everyone has a wonderful 2016, filled with love and contentment! (And, should you be so lucky, completed goals.) It’s a NEW YEAR! A fresh start! Make it wonderful!

 

Christmas 2015

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We spent about a week in Upstate New York over the holiday, visiting John’s mom and extended family. The kids had a wonderful time, and I took lots of great pictures–so much, in fact, that this is only a fraction of what I uploaded to my computer.

I plan on writing a “Happy New Year” post later–tomorrow, maybe–outlining some goals for the upcoming year. For now, I just leave you some pretty photos to peruse. I hope everyone had a great holiday–whatever you celebrated.

I Break for Christmas

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Whoa, last week was a blur! The week before Christmas break always is! I DID finish the diagonal striped scarf, which I’m now calling “Tire Tread,” but I haven’t gotten a picture of the final result. Next week! I’ll have the pictures (and very simple pattern) up next week!

I’ve also been working on my hexagon blanket, a project I plan on working on over the winter break.

Last Wednesday was Aaron’s winter band concert. He’s the kid on the end who looks like he’s giving instructions. ;) They played beautifully. I wish I took band when I was in school. I am definitely living vicariously through him–like those crazy sports parents who say to their kids, “no, you can’t quit! You’re playing! I don’t care if you don’t like it!”  I don’t say that to him, though, because he loves band. If ever the day comes, though, I’m ready with my, “you’re going to do it and like it!” :)

That same day Sean’s autism class invited the parents in for a Jingle Bell Jam. It was NOISY! But very sweet. :)  I didn’t get any photos of that one. :( I did get a short video of them singing Jingles Bells. I won’t assault your ears with all the jingling. (There were A LOT of jingle bells, and, thank you, sweet teacher, she sent their homemade, bell-covered noise makers home. HA! )

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It looks like a medieval torture device, because it is.

So, this is probably my only post this week. Time for family, and all of that jazz. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season–whatever holiday you will be celebrating–and I will see you in 2016!

Diagonal Striping

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As I suspected, I was not able to find the chunky yarn I “tested” with for the scarf pattern the other day. No biggie. I just frogged the few rows I had and rolled it back into a ball. I have several different color balls of that yarn, so I’m just going to turn it into a multi-colored scarf at a later time. I ended up grabbing a few new skeins for Aaron’s Scarf, but kept with the gray color, since I want to match his hat (that, hopefully, still fits). I haven’t spent much time on the scarf, yet. The progress above is less than an hour of knitting. Instead, I’ve been reading Imagine by Jonah Lehrer, which is a pretty interesting read.

And, I’ve been baking. Maggie’s school has their teacher appreciation cookie feast on Friday, and I sent in two dozen snickerdoodles, which are, by far, my most requested cookie among friends and family. And, it’s not my recipe. It’s Mrs. Sigg’s Snickerdoodles, a recipe I found on Cookierecipe.com back before it became Allrecipe. (Remember that?When the websites were separated by type of recipe?) Anyhow, YEARS I’ve been making the same snickerdoodles, and it really fools people into thinking I’m great. I’m not. I’m just following a recipe. ;) Anyhow, the recipe can be found here. Now you can impress and amaze your friends, too.

This weekend was also the Marce-monster’s second birthday. So, more baking. (I’ve been churning out baked goods like I’m running an Entenmann’s .) Her cake was just a white cake with raspberry jam filling and cream cheese frosting. I am NOT a cake decorator, so, don’t laugh. I wanted polka dots–a spur of the moment decision–and if I had the foresight to know this was going to be my plan, I would’ve picked up some fondant for the dots. (But not for the whole cake because fondant is yuck.) The cake tasted great, though.

My, how time flies!