Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday Thoughts

Today has been a nice quiet Sunday. We took my grandson out to lunch for his birthday celebration. He'll be 20 on January 22.

After we dropped him off at his apartment, my husband and I toured two Open Houses in our neighborhood. The perfect thing to do when the temperature is in the low teens, right? Actually, I love touring houses, so the weather didn't bother me, since the sun was shining. We especially like to look at houses for sale in our neighborhood just to compare them to ours. And today, ours was definitely the winner! The two houses we saw had very cramped layouts with lots of narrow hallways and strange traffic flows. Also one had a kitchen that was definitely still in the late 60's with orange and green flowered wallpaper. We both decided that we love our home even more after seeing those houses. We have an open layout with space and light and a flowing floorplan. I am so thankful to live in this beautiful house and to be warm and cozy on this bitter cold day.

Thanks to Becca I tuned in to watch Northanger Abbey on PBS. I loved it! The actors were perfect in their parts, and I loved seeing the scenery. It's been a long time since I've read anything like Jane Austen. Maybe watching a few shows like this on television will tempt me to pick up some of her books.

Becca commented on my taking up knitting. I think I became interested in it for several reasons. I read some knitting based books. Our local bookstore began carrying yarn and slowly turned into a yarn shop with books rather than the other way around. I've read and enjoyed several internet sites about knitting. And I love the scarves and shawls and hats that I see. So I decided to take some lessons and really learn how to do this. You'd know that knitting isn't something that anyone expected of me if you could hear my brother. Mom said that he couldn't stop laughing when he heard that I was learning to knit! He laughed all the way through their phone call! Even my boss and coworker laughed when I told them what I was doing.

I still don't know if I'll become a devoted knitter. I'm much more likely to have a book in my hand than knitting needles. But I am feeling a sense of pride and accomplishment as my first project assignment begins to take shape. We're done with the practice stitches and actually working on our dishcloth, and I've already finished my assignment for this week--and I've started another one for my daughter! And I'm still working on that scarf for my granddaughter. I guess I'll just enjoy it while I'm living it!

Saturday, January 19, 2008


It's Saturday, blessed Saturday, a day to unwind from a busy work week. Today the temperature outside was only in the low teens, with a wind chill factor of minus 4 degrees--yikes! The sun was shining early in the day, though, so it was a beautiful day if you didn't have to be out in the cold.

I went to my knitting class this morning. It was exciting. I had finished our assignment and took a picture of it before going to class, because I knew once we got there we would have to frog it and start over. I'm going to insert the picture here, so that is something else new that I will learn how to do. The sample shows 10 rows of knit, 10 of purl, ten of alternating knit rows and purl rows and the most exciting one--alternating knit and purl stitches to create the rib effect.
I was correct about having to rip it all out. We did, and then we started our first real project, a dishcloth. And we can't rip it out, we have to fix our mistakes--yikes! I started knitting like crazy on the dishcloth and got so enthused about it that I stopped and bought three more balls of colored yarn to make some for my daughter. And some yummy red yarn to make a scarf.
I came home and immediately started a new dishcloth and a new scarf--obviously I'm not a patient delayed gratification kind of gal--and I knit like crazy for a while. And now I know that it is possible to have a knitting hangover as well as a reading hangover!
I thought about going to the library this afternoon. Then I thought about the minus four degrees, and I just stayed put. Now it's dark, so I think it's time to put on my comfy warm pajamas and do some websurfing or some reading. I think I'd better give the knitting a rest!
I also tried taking some self portraits with my digital camera today. I've seen these on other sites and admire them so much. Mine always turn out looking goofy though--and I always seem to highlight double chins and other unflattering features. Photography is not my strong suit. So for now, I guess I'll keep looking at the photos on Flickr and keep trying to replicate them. Thank goodness for digital!
Have a safe, warm, cozy weekend if possible. That is what I intend to do. Tomorrow my husband and I are taking our grandson out to dinner to celebrate his upcoming birthday. He'll be 20, which sounds impossible. And as my husband says, when they get to be this age, we don't know what kind of gift to buy, but we do know that they still love to eat--therefore we'll take him out for dinner. And a good time will be had by all!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Good News!

I am doing the happy dance tonight! My older daughter called and said that her older daughter, one of my beautiful granddaughters, was accepted into Ball State University today AND she won a Presidential Scholarship which will provide half of her tuition! I am so excited and so proud of her. Of course, I have always thought that she is brilliant (of course, of course!), and it is so exciting to know that she will be able to come to the university and study, learn and grow. Congratulations, Shannon!

My younger daughter was presented with a Remarkable Service award this week at her job. I am so proud of her too! She is such a good worker, and has such a wonderful personality, so I am happy that she has been recognized for her hard work.

And my youngest stepdaughter was able to pay off her car this week. That is a blessing, and I am proud of her.

So this week has just given me lots of reasons to do the happy dance! I am still taking my knitting lessons. Until this evening, I had thought "Knitting just may not be my cup of tea." Then tonight I was able to go online and find out what I was doing wrong--and now my practice piece is actually starting to look like it is supposed to--and that makes me happy too.

I am so thankful for these happy occasions and happy feelings. I've had the blues for far too long! So now I think I will take my happy self and get ready for a good night's sleep. Unless I knit just a few more rows! Or surf through just a few more blogs! Or read just a few more pages! Nah, I think it's time to call it a night!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Today's Creativity

One of the creative things I did today was practice casting on stitches, tearing them out and repeating. That was the assignment from my first knitting class last Saturday. I now have 20 stitches cast on to take to class tomorrow--that was the rest of the assignment. I signed up for a knitting class which will meet these four Saturdays in January. Tomorrow we will learn to knit, purl and maybe increase and decrease stitches. I am excited about learning more.

The crazy thing is that last year, my granddaughter showed me how to do casting on and the knit stitch and I knit two scarves--one for my mom and one for my granddaughter. Oh, and I also knit two baby bibs. Then I put down the knitting for a year and when I picked it back up, I couldn't remember how to do it. I finally managed to knit about two inches of a scarf for another granddaughter--but I kept making mistakes and having to rip everything out and start over. That got frustrating very quickly! I decided that I want to know how to knit well and how to fix my mistakes without ripping out the entire piece of work. So I finally signed up for beginner classes at our local yarn, gift and book store. I've seen the work that the teachers do, and their stuff is fantastic. So maybe if I finish a scarf or the dishcloth that they are using for our first lesson, I will post a picture.

I also wrote my Morning Pages today. And I wrote in my journal at lunch. And read some poetry by Luci Shaw, one of my favorite poets. I was reading in Water Lines, one of her books.

I created a work schedule for our seven student workers for this Spring semester. That does require creativity because I have to work around their class schedules, give them all a comparable number of hours and cover two workrooms from the hours of 7:30 until 5:00. And usually as soon as the schedule is done, one or more of them has a change in their clinic schedule, so we either make adjustments or start over. At this point we are set to begin next week, so I feel good about that.

And I've posted here one more time! So that is going to be all for today. The next thing I create will be a nice cozy nest of warm blankets and my cushy pillow to inspire a good night's sleep. Good night!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Do it!

I'm very tired and sleepy tonight, and my usual habit would be to go to bed and forget about posting. That is a habit I'm changing, and since I've read several sites today about doing something creative every day, here I am. Also, I've been reading several different advice and self help books and I've realized that the messages are all the same. We KNOW what to do--we just don't DO it! If I ate less and exercised more, I would be healthier and lose weight. If I saved money and cut expenses and found ways to increase my income, I would become wealthier. If I wrote every day, my writing would improve. We all know these things. And I've realized that I want to be someone who does these things, who practices ways to become healthy, wealthy and wise. As a matter of fact, I almost chose 'DO' as my One Word for 2008. If I would think "DO," I would get up and finish my million craft projects lying around the house. I would clean the house more often and do dishes before bedtime. I would meditate. So, tonight I am DOing by blogging, even though I'm tired.

Good news today--my older daughter has moved into the new house that she and her husband built! The final inspection was Tuesday, and they started moving in on Wednesday. When I say the house they built, that is exactly what I meant--they did the physical building themselves. They have spent the summer and fall hammering, sawing, hanging drywall, painting, and whatever else they could do. They spent their first night in the new house last night. I am so happy for them. And I haven't seen it since they've finished it, so I can't wait to see it. She lives about 40 miles from here, and with work schedules, car trouble and the weather, it hasn't been easy to get down there. I hope to get there soon.

As the weekend approaches, I am looking forward to my granddaughter Maria's second birthday. She lives here in town, and we will be going to her party on Saturday. She is such a sweet baby, and I can't wait to see her with her cake and her presents.

So, on those two good notes, I am signing off and heading toward that warm cozy bed! More later, when I can take time to write about all the ideas swirling around in my head.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

One Word for January

Two bloggers, Christine Kane and Ali Edwards, advocate choosing a word to focus on for the year rather than making New Year’s resolutions. I did that along with them last year. My word was “Trust.” They recommend journaling about the word, doing collage or scrapbooking, writing a poem or whatever will help you express your word and keep it in your mind. I did very well focusing on Trust during the first few months, and then it drifted out of my thoughts until the end of 2007.

I like the idea of focusing on one word, so this year I proposed to my Journaling group that we each choose a word to focus on for a month and choose a new word at the beginning of each month in 2008. They liked this idea, so Monday we all chose a word. We wrote an entry on what the word brought to mind, and it was so serendipitous that every person’s word fit something that they needed or had been thinking about. I love that!

The word I chose is “Heal.” Here is what I wrote for my entry:

Heal. This word is already taking place in my life. I’ve begun to write 30-minute entries on focused issues and exercises from Writing From The Source, by Allison Price. I’ve had the book for a few years and never read it. One day in November, the book just caught my attention on the shelf, and I picked it up, read it and started doing the exercises. I wrote 21 days in a row. Then I re-read and thought about the entries. I’ve also written about Christmas, an assignment my friend Sherita gave me two years ago in order to heal my angst about Christmas. I put it off until now. And I’ve started writing long entries about money issues also.

I think, feel and believe that I’m in a place of being ready to heal. And the healing is taking place.

A big part of the healing is using the focused writing prompts. I feel kind of stupid in some ways—I’ve been teaching journal groups and classes for years, teaching other people to use their writing as a healing tool. Yet somehow my head knowledge didn’t translate into real knowing until I started writing these entries. And all the things I’ve been teaching are true—just continued deep writing brings all sorts of things into my awareness. And being aware brings healing either through change, new choices, or acceptance. So I will continue to write, and I will continue to heal.

Healing also comes from allowing in the love and kindness that is there in my world, from becoming aware of it, and accepting it. From being thankful.

Here’s to a healing, thankful, wonderful 2008!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A New Year

A New Year has started, and it is a time for new beginnings, turning over a new leaf, making resolutions, etc. I haven't really made any New Year's resolutions because they are so often broken. I did take time for reflection in the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. For the first time in nearly 20 years, I was able to take vacation time during that week, and I loved every minute of it! I didn't accomplish any grand plans--I mostly rested, read, reflected and wrote. And I think that was exactly what I needed to do.

I've spent a lot of time reading blogs that I love. And each time I read something so poignant, beautiful, witty, philosophical, insightful, or just plain wonderful, I want to be a part of the blogging group, to get to be friends with all these wonderful people, to share in the camaraderie. Yet I hang back, get too busy to post, make determined vows to "start again" then don't write because I don't have time for a long post--you name the excuse, I probably have it! One of my blog friends said that she had noticed that my blog was rusting! :)

Well, after reading some wonderful entries tonight, I decided to just do it. Write something, even if it's only a few lines, even if it isn't deep and philosophical, even if it sounds trite and says nothing. I read somewhere that real love is being present for someone. And as I've pondered this, I believe that it's true. And that this can apply to activities as well as people. so if I really love blogging and my blogger friends, then all I need to do is be present. Show up, write something, keep learning as I go.

So, Happy New Year! and may my blog never "rust" again!