Monday, December 31, 2012

Resolutions -Bah! Humbug!

I really hate making New Year's Resolutions. I think it's mainly because it's so cliche. Add that to the fact that most people don't last through the first two weeks of January with most of them anyway. But I need - and have needed - to make some serious changes for quite awhile now.

1) I don't maintain my blogs like I want to and they aren't growing AT ALL.
2) My house was beginning to look presentable, but it all stalled and now I'm living in CHAOS* again...and thereby forcing my loving hubby to live in it, too! (*a term coined by FlyLady to stand for "can't have anyone over syndrome")
3) I stopped reading for pleasure to finish my degree but I haven't really started up again with any kind of consistency - ergo, my writing has stagnated and suffered from severe drought.
4) My yarn crafting has gotten away from me to the point where I'm behind on obligations and gifts so that I have to turn most of Christmas 2012 into Christmas 2013 and hope I don't blow it again!
5) I never practice. :(

So, here I am on New Year's Eve with a bright, shiny new keyboard for my iPad and a murder mystery nearly finished (reading) on my end table. Do I make a New Year's Resolution? Hmmmm...

How about this for a compromise? I won't call it "resolutions," I'll call it "goals" for the New Year. In 2013, I'll make small but permanent (I hope) changes to my routines and lifestyle until I get things sorted out and manageable - and moving FORWARD instead of dragging me back! Okay, here goes:

1) Blogs:
January - I will post one entry (at least) to each blog each week.
February - I will learn how to market my blog and get the exposure I want to make them successful.
March - I will post at least two entries per week to this blog and one to the DogBlog.
April - I will reassess.

2) House:
January - I will restart my FlyLady notebook and MyRoutines app and begin (again) the clean-out process. That's right. Time to Shine My Sinks! AND I will get the basement floor cleared and my library reassembled (for my hubby's sake).
February - I will reorganize my craft shelves and library again to rid myself of any unnecessary clutter I missed or can't find/use.
March - I will reassess.

3) Reading:
January - I will read one book for pleasure each week.
February - I will read one book for pleasure AND one book for professional development each week.
March - I will read and annotate magazine/journal articles (1-3 per week, as time permits) and dispose of ancient or non-useful crap that's clogging the system.

4) Yarn:
January - I will begin Christmas 2013 crafting and mark/store them as I go.
February - for each gift I make, I will make one item to sell.

5) Practice:
January - I will reduce my church obligations to one Sunday per month and will prepare that service daily as soon as I know what the hymns are.
February - I will start Hanon again on a daily basis.
March - I will begin to revisit old organ exercises and re-learn things I knew and have let go by the wayside.
April - I will reassess.
May - ???
June - I will begin composing and arranging again.

Yeah, that's a lot to bite off and chew. But I used to be able to do all that before I went back to school. Somehow in the process of moving from Missouri to Ohio and back again, the whole thing became a mess and I hate myself! I'm not getting any younger and I'm not going to stop living just because world around me is crushing me. That's mostly my own doing and allowing others to encroach.

How about this for an overall change: I WILL LEARN TO SAY NO! Maybe if I quit taking on more because people ask and I know HOW to do something (even if I have no time or feasible means to do it), maybe then I'll be able to get life in order and get back to a state of being where I CAN do things again - and enjoy them!

Hmmmm...looking back at this list, I know it's going to be too big to accomplish by these deadlines ALL at the same time...maybe it's the list for the year and some may take two or three months to grow into habits. After all, the goal is to have things under control and flowing smoothly by this time 2013. ;-)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Moving Forward

I'm trying to a regular time and day for blogging. So far, it's not working. I keep thinking I just need to get in one blog post a week to get started, but the days and weeks fly by and the "great idea" I started in draft is weeks old now. Consequently, the project that is the focal point of that post is also in limbo, poor thing being relegated to the "to do" pile.

But today I decided to post - little did I know the new app I paid two bucks for would go ahead and post a paragraph at a time rather than letting me work in draft first. Has anybody figured out how to get a refund on a bad app?

I'm trying to make Sunday afternoon my Writing Time. I was pretty much in that habit, whether it was blogging or master's thesis or fiction bits or even just research. Then Borders died and I crashed... Well, Panera has free wifi and great bagels so it's currently my writing spot.

One of the challenges of coming to Panera has been passing the empty hulk of Borders. Today I'm happy to say that is not such a hardship. It two stores to fill the space so the facade has totally changed.

(Note: further busy-ness prevented me from posting this. The stores are probably open by now. Ugh.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Beginning my CAL Mandala

Back to work next Monday, trying to get things around the house to an in-progress point so I can keep things flowing smoothly once school starts and my at-home hours dwindle drastically. I'm failing epically.

But today, in honor of my last day of summer break, I started my mandala and my foray into overlay crochet. The main reason I can give for my delay after all my excitement is color. I am insecure about my ability to choose colors that accent each other well. This project, while exciting for me, also requires me to stick my neck out and post pics of my color choices in an open forum on someone else's page. I can do this!!!

(Update...) Ha! Here's how long it's been since I started this - I've already BEEN at work a week! Ugh. Time flies when you're busy, busy, busy!

Sadly, I haven't gotten any farther with this since I took these pictures. *sigh* The beginning of the school year is always hectic, but we also have foundation issues we need to fix - thank you Drought of 2012. Needless to say (but that never stopped me) I've been too busy for yarn working this week. But I'm looking forward to doing plenty of knitting and crocheting this weekend - camping with Robin and lots of yarn!

I love the way colors are working in this pattern. the first 4 rounds are in one color (I chose pink), but then I've had to change every round or two since. The first picture is through round 5, adding purple. Even though it's only one round of the new color, it completely changes the feel of the piece already.

Round 6 and the character has changed again.
Round 7 and the drama is beginning. This is a dark blue I found in my cotton bin.
The purple comes back, grabs the first round of purple and pulls it back to the foreground. Ahhhh. The design is starting to take shape! So exciting!!!

...aaaaaaaand life takes over and this is where it's been for a little over a week. *sigh* But I'm still part of the CAL and it's still not too late to join! The flickr group page has all the gorgeous variations the other crocheters are posting. I was excited this morning to see that mine already auto-updated to Marinke's blog!

Until next time, I'll be preparing my basement for massive mess work, knitting another baby blanket (I guess I need to blog THAT story ;), working on my mandala (the colors are about to REALLY get dramatic!) and...oh, yeah! Teaching. Gotta remember to go to work, eh? Helps pay for my yarn...

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Stupid Excited!

Okay, I'm so excited this morning I've gone stupid. I saw a gorgeous pattern on Etsy, then I learned that another blogger got together with the pattern creator to offer the pattern at a discount for a Crochet Along. I'm not the most techno-savvy person around but lots of people seem to think I am (ask for my help, think I know what I'm doing...which I usually do...) and I try to stay as functional as possible. This morning I made myself feel like a rank amateur - totally confused myself doing the most basic thing: buying a PDF and getting it to download.

First, I thought I'd be paying through PayPal but putting it on my credit card. Nope. I managed to empty my little PayPal account and they'll pull about a dollar out of my checking to make up the difference. No biggie but annoying.
Next I viewed my Etsy receipt and it said it would ship to my home address. Well, you can't send a PDF file to a snail mail address...and I'm excited about this pattern so I don't want to wait a few days or a week to get it... So I sent semi-panicked emails to the poor woman, Carola, who designed and sells the pattern (and English is not her first language, so I confused her, too) and after I managed to get a good stir going - BANG - there it was in my inbox.

*sheepish grin*

So here are my goals:
  1.  Calm down (Easier said than done. If you know me, you understand.)
  2.  Finish the baby blanket I've spent over a month working on. (Okay, it's not the only thing I've been doing for the past month+...again, if you know me...)
  3.  Get my other in-progress projects organized better and closer to finished.
  4.  Learn how to do a Crochet Along.
  5.  Blog my progress and learn more about blogging and CAL in the process.

Now let's see if I can figure out how to post the banner on my blog...(probably not, if this morning's stupidity is any indicator...)

Okay, 6. Figure out how to put the banner on my blog...*sheepish grin #2* 

If the banner doesn't take you there, maybe this will...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Half-Century Down - Almost Halfway There!

My favorite uncle always said life ain't so hard, it's just that first hundred years. I miss him.
It's been rough finding my way this past year, but I think I'm ready to begin this next half-century...maybe...
It's been a year since Borders died and I have felt the loss quite keenly. Instead of receiving an email with a coupon for a free coffee for my birthday last year, I got the email informing faithful Borders Rewards members about the end of that era. Oh, sure, they didn't just shut the doors. They had a Going Out of Business sale so we got to pick away at it like vultures until it finally emptied completely. I was surprised how intensely that store closure changed my perspective. Quite honestly, I grieved the loss of a dear loved one - me.

Almost every Sunday for the better part of a decade, I had indulged my inner self at Borders Cafe. I knew baristas by name and they knew me. It was a comfort zone on my favorite day of the week. I wrote the majority of my graduate papers there, including the Big One. I escaped there for peace when I could find none anywhere else. I met friends, made friends and even hid from friends there.

And now it's just gone. The once-busy parking lot is a vast, empty space. Last fall a temporary Halloween store went in. I stayed out. Now a fence around it says a new store is finally going into the space. It's time to move on.

Of course, a year of wondering why it hit me so hard has led me on a journey that I needed to take. Here I am now realizing the death of Borders was the culmination of several years of pain and struggle. Over those years I struggled with the gamut, as it were. Work issues, continuing education issues, family issues, financial issues and, finally, the death of the aforementioned uncle and his wife, my favorite aunt. It just all came to a head right there when those doors finally closed.

Now I see it as a new beginning. It's time to let it go and move on to the next part of my life. The kids are doing well now. My marriage is stronger than ever. My degree is complete. I have a beautiful granddaughter and just found out another grandchild is on the way. I can't be the child anymore and look to my auntie for support, but I have others to hold me up. It's my turn to start being the eldest generation and I think that's what bothered me most. Will I have the wisdom? Can I be strong enough? How can I hope to follow in those footsteps?

Then it hits me: they felt that way once, too. I'll manage.