2013 Resolutions

Three-Quarters

So posting has been slow with new baby in the house and a work project in full-swing. For the sake of getting something down, here are my standings for the year. I’m feeling pretty good about the outcome so far. I’d like to post specifically about some of the projects, but that will have to wait until there is more time. Is there ever enough time?

 

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red=done; yellow=in progress

A few words:

  • I’m working on a three-day getaway idea for the fall, but I have to get certain other member of my family on board.
  • I have been inspired in many ways this year, just not in the original intention of the resolution.
  • I have officially read more than four classics in the year, but still have to read the last book chosen by vote – Walden.
  • I have tried out way more than six new recipes, but haven’t really come up with a sixth ‘theme”.
  • I’m am making an effort to spend more quality time with the husband and the oldest child. Those are on going and I will be posting soon. I may fall short of 12 here, but I think I feel pretty good about my efforts so far.
  • I forgot knitting required two hands – I’ve had half a hat since May. Six word stories are ongoing as I think of them. I am writing and editing a poem about my crazy neighbor. I am in the middle of a drawing project. I have a few more ideas for the rest of the year – maybe sewing, a one-night pottery session, a series of haikus. Open to more ideas as inspiration hits!

How are you doing on your resolutions this year?

Efforts and Intentions

by Erin

After a little over six weeks, I’m semi-back in the land of the living. (It’s a boy, by the way.) I have not abandoned my resolutions entirely, nor have I really taken a break. Some of my resolutions are in progress and may not really have an end. So here is what I am working on and I will update once there has been further progress…

In the “creative” category:

  • I have learned and practiced purling. Combined with my old skill of knitting, I am about four inches high into a bright red knit hat.
  • I have been reading about and rekindling my interest in poetry. Once I feel due diligence has been put in to the “how-to” I will begin writing with intention. I’m interested to see if the process feels different with instruction versus just writing from the gut.

In the “reconnect” category:

  • I have been going out of my way to find little ways to spend extra time with Kid 1 now that baby brother is in the world. I’ll report back with some of our excursions/activities.
  • Oh, yeah and husband and wife time has been a little neglected lately, too. We’re having “date night” in (almost) every Friday. That means media-free and household chores-free. That may still mean time with baby, but at least it gets us face time together.

 

 

One-Third

by Erin

We are one-third of the way through the year already. Holy moly.

I feel good about my prospects for resolution completion (red is done, yellow is in-process).

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Where I am headed:

1. Explore – Still thinking about that one.

2. Learn about someone ; be inspired by their story to act/do- I kind of want to read about Mark Twain, whose stories I finally got around to reading recently. Maybe some inspiration will come from there. Otherwise, I am  open to finding inspiration elsewhere.

3. Read  classics – The blog poll still says the next books are Candide and Walden. I assume that won’t change. After blasting through some newer novels recently, I might be ready for another classic. There has been talk about some sort of parallel reading of Walden. As I may be distracted these next few months, Candide might be first so I can be a better reading partner later, when I am out of my baby fog.

4. Try new recipes – I have all the equipment for cheese making, so that is coming up. May also marks the beginning of CSA season. With Kid suddenly discovering his aversion to veggies, I may try a “kid-friendly” veggie recipe theme. Or maybe it will be a “CSA survival” theme. I also want to make more use of our Crock pot, so perhaps there will be something there.

5. (Re)connect – These are coming more easily than expected. There are a lot of people who deserve connection but I don’t want to ruin any surprises. In addition, I am exploring the possibility of what it means to connect to oneself. Connecting to a stranger is also intriguing, but I don’t know what that looks like yet.

6. Get selfishly creative –  I don’t have enough ideas to get me through the rest of the year, but some that I have been kicking around are: taking a “pop-up” art class at a local art center, writing poetry, draw portraits of my kids, take on a sewing project, attempt a solo painting, revisit “photography” projects from earlier this year after learning more about photography and recreate some of the photos.  Of course, “to create” doesn’t have to be arts related. Any suggestions on alternate ideas of creation and accompanying activities are welcome in the comments.

So, how is everyone else doing?

Goodbye February, Hello March

by Erin

It is the end of another month. I would still say that I am pretty pleased with what I have accomplished. In addition, I feel like I have already learned a lot in just these two months.

Explore a new place:

No progress yet, but I am thinking strongly about the possibilities. Does this mean something in my hometown? Does this mean some sort of trip? Or is this spiritual? And what does “explore” mean?  Does it mean simply encounter for the first time, or does it mean to really dig in?

Be inspired by two great people:

I am holding off on this one, too. As above, I’m thinking about what this could mean.

Read four classics:

Two down, two to go. What have I gained from this resolution so far?

1. From The Great Gatsby: Surrounding yourself with people does not mean you have friends. You have to truly connect to others. (Thank goodness for resolution #5!)

2.  From The Jungle: Though the book was written over 100 years ago there are still so many people hanging by a thread in our nation.  I believe that the book has renewed values in me that may have been quieted for a little while.

3. Also from The Jungle:  I am thankful for my vegetarianism. I do not advocate that everyone should be a vegetarian, but I do feel that we need to continue to look at our meat industry and decide what we are willing to accept as high quality practice and standards. Possibly to the detriment of our family grocery budget, I want to be even more vigilant when buying meat for the omnivores in our family.  There is so much more to learn. Do I sense another resolution?

4.  I have been inspired to read more classics beyond my goal. With this resolution I find that people keep giving me books. There is no reason I can’t knock off a few more from my “to read” list now.

Try six new recipes:

I found quickly this had to be tweaked. I guess I try out new recipes much more often than I anticipated.  So now it is recipe themes or “cooking adventures”. Where it stands so far:  I have made two of the three 15-minute meal recipes again and they will probably surface many times this year; I am on a citrus hiatus for a little while; I am still happy with my homemade cleaners. Where I am headed: I’m thinking about making my own cheeses. I also want to try a few recipes from the “Real Snacks” recipe book that I got for Christmas. This has led me to the purchase of those “strange” flours I keep seeing on the grocery shelves. The sixth theme/adventure idea has yet to surface and I will welcome suggestions.

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(Re)connect about once a month:

So far it has been a “first date” with another woman that I had only previously spent time with as members of our family units. We just made plans again, so this was worth the anxiety of trying the one-on-one for the first time. Then it was the family trip to meet friends for a weekend getaway. It was a nice reminder that creating a family does not  end your social life, though it does change it in profound ways. Currently, I have four envelopes addressed and sitting on my desk. My intention is to connect by means of those old fashioned letter things…now for the writing part of it. There are many more plans in progress so I feel good about my future prospects with this resolution.

Get selfishly “creative” about once a month:

I crave the process of creation. Beyond what I have shared here, I often take opportunities to make something new, something beautiful, something useful. The key word here is “selfish”. In this case, it is not doing it for others, but for myself, just because. With Big Box of Citrus and my upcoming 318 project, so far it has been about creating photos. As there are many more ways to create, there are many more ideas in progress. I’m just waiting for the right time. I am finding I am shy of a few ideas, though. Some of them also depend on timing as well as finances. I am sure that I will get close to fulfilling this resolution, but I may need more inspiration to come my way. Any ideas?

Learning to Shake It

By Rosie

Hi there.  

When I first found out Erin was doing this blog, I thought, what a great idea! I should do something like that too! There are just so many things I’ve been meaning to do.  I finished grad school about a year and a half ago (egads, it really has been that long), and for a while after, I was just having a breather. But then I discovered something about myself- if left to my own devices for too long, I can be kind of lazy. And so, when Erin asked me to contribute to this project, it sounded like a great way to push myself a little harder and do some of those things I’ve been meaning to do, but just haven’t gotten around to yet.

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Me (on the right) with Erica, my awesome line dancing teacher.

First on my list of things to do: write more. Done and done. Second on the list: I’ve always wanted to learn to dance. Trouble is, I’ve never felt like I was very good at it (being 100% Caucasian and all that that implies).  I imagine myself gliding gracefully across the floor like a finalist pro on “Dancing with the Stars,” but I know that in reality I look a lot more like a week 1 B-lister.  Conveniently though, I have many friends who are excellent dancers, and I know I can trust them to teach me and not laugh at me, at least not to my face.

For my first dancing adventure, I decided to learn how to line dance. This choice is not obvious to most people who know me.  I am not particularly into country music, nor do I wear cowboy boots, hats, or belt buckles. (Although if that’s your thing, rock on.) But I wanted to learn because I have several friends who LOVE to go line dancing. I’ve been to line dancing bars with them a few times before, but I’ve never quite caught on. I imagined though, that with a little focused instruction, I could figure it out.  It seemed like the most important skills for it were being able to count and follow a pattern, and, despite lacking natural rhythm, I can do both of those things. So, I asked my friend Erica to teach me. Erica is a fantastic teacher and a really good friend, so I knew that even if I didn’t master a step, this would still be fun. I went over to her apartment one evening recently for my first lesson. My goal was only to master one dance and I’d call it a successful night. Before long though, we had worked our way through four whole dances- the Bombshell Stomp, the Canadian Stomp, Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy, and, the one with the best name, the Tush Push.

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Concentrating on the “Tush Push.

 “I was a little amazed at how easy it was to fall into the patterns of the dances. At first I was super focused on the counts and trying to remember to turn to my right (no my other right). I had this awkward habit of wanting to start on the wrong foot, and that kept messing everything up. But it got better, and by the end of the evening it was coming pretty naturally, and I didn’t have to think quite so hard about it. I only need a semi-focus to stay with the music.  I started to feel like my legs knew what they were doing, and I even found myself enjoying the quaint corny-ness of the song lyrics. Luke Bryan’s song “(Country Girl) Shake it for Me,” became my anthem. I began thinking that maybe I should start looking for a pair of cowboy boots. But then I turned the wrong way again and bumped into Erica and decided I should probably hold off on that. 

It turns out line dancing was pretty fun once I got the hang of it. Now I am ready to try it in public. I’ll let you know how that works out.  

 

The Next Creative Endeavor: 318

by Erin

  • Explore someplace new
  • Be inspired
  • Read a classic
  • Try a new recipe
  • (Re)connect
  • Get selfishly creative (project 2 of 12)

Do you have a lucky number? Or  a number that follows you around? Lucky or not, you probably notice it because it has some significance in your life. 318 is that number for me.

I was born at 3:18 a.m. Our first house address, the one where I spent the majority of my childhood, was 318. I seem to find that time on the clock often (although maybe it is because I am just in tune to it now. Who knows? I may more frequently look at the clock at some other time…like 5:56, I just don’t know it.) It also seems odd that my longest relationships happen to be with guys born right around that time: 3/17, 3/19, and 3/21. The latter is my husband … perhaps ripened three days and eighteen minutes longer to suit our longevity needs? (Yeah, I know that was a stretch.) There have been times when the number came up in other ways in my life, but I can’t seem to remember them all right now. That’s not the point anyway.

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The point is, I am looking for another “selfishly” creative project. While I have a few ideas in the works for the rest of the year, some of them require a little more time or the right time of year to execute. I’ve been looking to be inspired by something recently so that I didn’t get too far off track from a once-a-month creative endeavor. Then I woke up from a nap at 3:18 this afternoon (seriously), and thought, “I wonder what I do every day at 3:18.” So, with March just around the corner it seems fitting that in the month that contains 3/18, why not another photo project?  What am I doing/looking at/thinking about at 3:18 every day for a month?

Do you want to join me in sharing some daily/weekly/theme-ly photos in March? Let me know and we can set something up.

(Dearest Beck or other experimonthers, I fully realize that this seems suspiciously familiar <see also: Eyes of March>.  It is either a product of thought + timing or the sincerest form of flattery. While you decide, if you want to recreate a four-year-old Experimonth, here’s your chance.)

My Valentine

by Erin

  • Explore someplace new
  • Be inspired
  • Read a classic
  • Try a new recipe
  • (Re)connect
  • Get selfishly creative

My husband? Not a huge fan of social media. The fact that he even knows that I am doing this blog at all is a surprise. The fact that he actually read anything on the blog and turned it into a Valentine’s Day gift: heart-melting.

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Though two polls are still open for voting, I’m pretty sure he picked at least one of the winning books. Even if none of them end up winning, I come out ahead in the end!

Has There Been Progress?

by Jennifer

I am quickly discovering that there is a flaw in my plan, a snafu, a fly in the ointment – there is a disconnect between posting regularly and my new method of task completion. It is proving difficult to accurately track progress when tasks are taken in such small sips that they can’t always be quantified. I have been pondering this for several weeks and still have no clear idea for corrective measures. Hmmmm, what to do? Well, since one of my goals this year is to simplify I shall let things fall into place as they will.

There, I feel calmer already!

Now to the progress so far this year:

Use Skills:
1. I have tried several new cupcake recipes and shared them with neighbors, friends and teachers. Because of the yumminess being passed around I have been commissioned to make mini cupcakes for a babyshower in March. Getting paid for something so yummy is a bonus!

2. I knit LaLa a scarf (Totally Fabulous Scarf – I think it is ugly but she loves it), completed a pair of handknit socks (Ichabod’s Bad Night Socks), finished knitting a shawl with my Christmas yarn (Pomegranate Shawl) and knit matching cowls for LaLa and I (Bandana Cowls).

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Try New Things:
1. The new cleaning products are working well but I need to add some essential oils or make some infused vinegar because both kids complain about how gross it smells. I’m on the look-out for an allergy/pet carpet cleaner too so it must be time to search pinterest again.

2. Bleu Cheese has been haunting me. Because of this I have discovered that it is tasty on burgers (from Granite City) and also on pizza. Oh, and it is also yummy on turkey sandwiches.

Try New Techniques:

1. I sampled a new knitting technique in December when I knit five new stockings for Christmas (yes, I am insane!) Fair Isle, or stranded knitting, has always befuddled me but this year I will master it, or at least become familiar and comfortable with it. I knit a hat (First Fair Isle Hat) and picked up a great tutorial that will walk me through six more projects.

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2. I spun bunny fur! One of our local farms raises English Angora Bunnies and I purchased a small amount of fiber last summer to try. It is amazingly soft but the fiber sure floats around in the air during spinning. Maybe that was why both cats were drawn into the room? I would like to try some more but I need to wait until the weather is nicer so I can spin outside.

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Research SPD, PDD-NOS and Anxiety:

After reading many blog posts, searching through my books and having discussions with Topher’s OT I have ordered a weighted blanket for him. He is a sensory seeker and comes home from school so wired that he crashes into everything in an effort to signal his brain where his body is. Hopefully the blanket will provide him a safer and less boisterous way to self-regulate. Maybe it will help him sleep better at night too…

Simplify:

1. Since we have been using safe cleaning supplies the kiddos have taken over bathroom cleaning. Three cleaning tasks eliminated from my list – yippee! Topher does a much better job than his big sister. LaLa is planning to have a maid and housekeeper as an adult and feels that learning the correct methods of cleaning are a waste of her valuable reading time.

2. The playroom has been rearranged, the new storage boxes have been purchased, the built-ins are undergoing a transformation, the toys and books are still being sorted and both children are doing a great job tidying up every night. Now I just need a few pieces of artwork and decorative touches and that room will be complete – for a while anyway!

3. I have reclaimed a small part of my fiber studio. In theory it is the dining room but since the kitchen was remodeled no one eats in there and it seemed like a waste of space to me. Now I am turning it into a lovely little sitting room filled with my spinning wheels, loom and office.

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Be Mindful:

This is ongoing as I try to experience mundane, ordinary or boring activities as something to cherish. This is going to be a tough sell as there is little about certain tasks to cherish. Unless I reward myself with chocolate…..

January Recap

by Erin

red = done

yellow = in progress

green = yet to do

January

I think I am “suffering” from new resolution excitement. I’ve been kind of knocking things off at a good pace and have many more ideas on the horizon.  I’m anticipating a slow down by March, but we’ll see. The whole point was to find things that I really looked forward to doing.

How are the rest of y’all doing so far?

Has any one else been inspired to start something new for yourself that you want to share with the rest of us?

A Resolution for January.

So, I’m a little late to the Resolution Revamp party due to my completely retarded computer savvy.  (And before you cringe at that statement, I mean to use the word “retarded” in its actual meaning, not as a derogatory slur.)  I, as many of you out there, have a very uncomfortable relationship with New Year Resolutions.  So, in an effort to be respectful of that relationship, I am choosing to not make a list of resolutions this year.  Instead, I am going to periodically choose some way of bettering my Self and/or my life, and document it for posterity.  My hope is that in doing so, I will A.) be able to reflect on how my choices and actions form my daily experience, and B.) offer up some inspiration on how you might find a little more growth, joy, ease in your life, as well.

Today’s ‘resolution’ centers on framing.  No, I don’t mean creating a pleasing surround for a portrait or painting.  What I refer to here is the way in which I choose to view a given experience or situation.  I believe that the best way to actualize resolutions, or goals, is to address them in very specific ways.  Instead of making the vague statement that I will begin to re-frame my perspectives of all my experiences, I am choosing to change the way I frame one particular experience in my life right now – my school experience.

Some of you may know that I am currently enrolled in an esthetics training program at the local community college.  The experience, thus far, has been disappointing for me.  Not wanting to come back to the same disappointment following winter break, I made the decision to try to re-frame the way I view this experience.  As I began to explore what might be the root of the problem causing the unpleasant symptoms of disappointment, defeatism and foul attitude, I realized that the school program is not the problem at all.  The real issue in play here is my reaction to my unmet  expectations of what I believed this experience would/should be.  My reaction is something over which I have control.  And there’s the A-HA!

Rather than gripe about what the program isn’t giving me, I’m trying to focus on how I can get as much from it as possible while also contributing to the collaborative experience in the best way I can.  So far it seems to be working.  My school experience is still not ideal, but it’s a million times more enjoyable than it was before the winter break.  I am learning more and smiling more and sharing more.  And that, to me, is what resolutions are all about:  making life a little more enjoyable.

Have any of you had any similar experiences with changing your framing of a given experience or situation?  Please share if you do.  I’d love to hear about it.

Happy January!

xoxo,

Melanie