So easy! My New Year's intention of presence has made this topic simple.
1. A glass of wine. Something so mundane, yet one still sits up and notices.
2. Yarn. Fleece. I doubt elaboration is needed.
3. Homegrown plants and flowers. They bring a smile, a joy, to think that I helped bring them about.
4. My house. Ha. Sometimes more than others. But still.
5. Unwinding my body out of bed in the morning. Isn't that first stretch of some body part lovely? And isn't it fine to discover you have not died in the night?
6. Packages. Retail therapy. Dangerous. I limit this severely.
7. Blue clothes. So me.
8. My husband. Perhaps I should not think of him as everyday. But I do think of him every day.
9. Food. So blessed. To have it, to be able to enjoy it, to have appetite, means, and people to share it.
10. Smart phone convenience. Makes the details of life so much smoother.
Spring is finally here. Daylily noses have emerged. Snowdrops bravely wave in the up and down of the temperatures. I have some volunteer croci that the voles somehow missed. I am spreading compost as I rake.
So much damage! My entire line of front plantings will probably have to be replaced. Branches that were stuck in the snow were ripped out of trunks when the snow lost moisture and contracted. The weeping green japanese maple is hurried along the road to her premature death. I am sad.
New opportunities abound. I am poring over Michael Dirr's hardy tree and shrub book to search for replacements.
The last ten books I read make up a motley assortment.
1. Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo - lent by my neighbor, related to a discussion of what comes after life ends. This didn't do it for me. There was too much possibility of unremembered contamination by a pastor father who really wanted to believe.
2. The Android's Dream by John Scalzi - I like the way he writes, and I like the way he twists a tale. His creature creation is wonderful, and you don't always see where he is headed, which I love.
3. Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi - Less strong, read after the Android's Dream. But still entertaining.
4. Fool's Assassin: Book One of the Fitz and The Fool Trilogy by Robin Hobb - This broke little new ground, but it didn't matter. I really wanted to live in the Fitz world once again. This did that.
5. The Martian by Andy Weir - Unlike Carole, I DID like the science in this. But it got far too implausible when the number of problems divided by the available resources became vanishingly ridiculous. (Sorry, Carole. More math.)
6. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard - This woman knows prose. She describes how she rips it out of her unwilling soul. I now own several of her books, just waiting for me to luxuriate during a rare vacation when life isn't falling down around my ears.
7. Proof of Heaven by Eben Alexander - Far less contaminated, provocative, and thoughtful.
8. Norwegian Pick-Up Bandweaving by Heather Torgenrud - A how-to, plus patterns, plus history. YUM. I am now an official weaving geek.
9. Ski House Cookbook - Yes, read. Delicious! Food you can make in quantity with easily available ingredients, and not a huge time or technique commitment.
10. Uhhhhhhh. No. Too far back for me to remember.
1. Presence - This has been a surprising learning experience. Life has taken a turn for the better.
2. Restarting some old UFOs - At a certain point, psychic weight becomes tiring. Not wanting to frog, but having them sitting there haunting me - I am making headway. Tulip sweater is becoming a sweater. Brando pieces are blocking prior to finishing sleeve #1. Natsu is at the do or die stage.
3. Solving some knitting problems - How long for the Brando sleeve? The pattern measures apparently make the assumption that I possess subhuman primate upper extremity dimensions. That is why the pieces are blocking. And in other news, I may indeed frog Seaweed and knit her less wide.
4. My current state of fitness - That rowing machine really rocks.
5. Three day weekend.
6. I have been given the task of organizing a new service at work. It is making me happy.
7. Winter - Crisp. Austere. Monochrome.
8. My place in the world - how unusual is THAT?
9. My darling husband who experimented with the sous vide setup and served me the best lambchops of my culinary life.
10. My current WIPs - I started Vinkler. One has to pay attention, but just to stitch counts and cable cross directions. The yarn (FAR) is stunningly soft. The FO will be heaven around my neck.
Sucked in by the title of the post, are you? This year is different.
My fiber goals were ravishingly articulated by Gail-of-the-comments last year. They are, for 2015, as follows:
Knitting: 1. Knit with joy. 2. Maybe finish something. Now and then.
Spinning: 1. Spin with joy. 2. Maybe finish plying something. Now and then.
Weaving: 1. Weave with joy. 2. Learn lots. 3. Maybe finish something. Now and then.
You know me. Of course I am listing some achievable endpoints for the year. Maybe I will post that later. Maybe not. They are currently not the point.
My blogfriends, Margene and Carole and Kim, ignited the idea of one word to provide a focus during the coming year. My FB feed coincidently sent me to BrainPickings earlier this month. She posted a 10-best list, and there, I found my word.
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” Annie Dillard wrote in her timeless reflection on presence over productivity — a timely antidote to the central anxiety of our productivity-obsessed age. Indeed, my own New Year’s resolution has been to stop measuring my days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence. But what, exactly, makes that possible?
This concept of presence is rooted in Eastern notions of mindfulness — the ability to go through life with crystalline awareness and fully inhabit our experience — largely popularized in the West by British philosopher and writer Alan Watts (January 6, 1915–November 16, 1973), who also gave us this fantastic meditation on the life of purpose. Watts argues that the root of our human frustration and daily anxiety is our tendency to live for the future, which is an abstraction."
I want to be in the present as much as I can. Such a habit, this hurling oneself into the future. Being present is an antidote to that feeling that life is going by so SO fast. Each set of moments is marked in the mind, which makes them all different. It is the flow of same moments linked together than makes time feel that it is going quickly. Slowing the timeline as I experience it seems a worthy goal.
BrainPickings is very cool. I guess there is actual reading in my future.
I suppose one could call it restructuring. Or reaffirmation. Avoiding the word 'resolutions' is difficult, but necessary in order for the redefinition to have legs.
My language has actually cleaned up this year. "Flipping" is my substitute.
Fiber goals, in review, may come later, closer to New Year's. Right now, I wanted to review for myself where I am and what I need to focus on for the near and farther future of 2015.
1. Weight. Still an issue. This is more than cosmetic, as clothes would fit better if I dumped 7-10 pounds.
2. Exercise. YAY ME. I completed the 100,000K indoor rowing challenge between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Finishing felt good, but the real motivator was avoiding how bad I would have felt if I had given up. I will try to keep to the 150 minutes recommended weekly. (Oy.)
3. Eat less crap. I am very sorry to be the bearer of bad news. The data for what is good for you and what is bad for you is currently in significant disarray. A study came out in December suggesting that low glycemic carbs were not as good for you as once thought. And that high glycemic carbs might not be as bad for you as previously stated. The study definitely has major limitations, but one of the markers chosen (insulin levels) pointed towards conclusions that became confusing. So the bottom lineage is that I now have no idea what to eat.
My plan is to eat as I have previously known is reasonable, and follow my numbers (HDL, LDL, total cholesterol, triglycerides, HbA1c, body weight). Maybe I will feel less guilt for sweets. But maybe I will feel less confidence in bulgur. If I am confused, how do nonmedical people sort this out??
4. Organize my papers better. Organize the stash. Bleah. This is a psychic weight lifter only.
5. Do more stuff that I want to do. This focus is to make sure I wrest time for me from the unpaid, underappreciated, timesuck stuff that has become attached to work. There are days where I feel as if I have stepped into a tarpit.
6. Spend more time being a human being. I really don't want to elaborate on this. It simply means more outreach, more expressions of appreciation and thanks, to those I care about and love.
ENOUGH. I used the word focus, because almost none of this can be accomplished in most lifetimes. Typing it down puts it into my mindfulness bin, which I am dipping into more and more these days. I am looking for peace, I am seeking healing, and hoping for what really matters - connection.
When I give a knitted gift, my road to sanity is to let go. I gave my niece a Hitchhiker, knitted in BallandSkein yarn, merino/silk. When we visited, I didn't ask about its acceptance or utility.
The niecelet is going on a trip. We were sent bon voyage pictures. And yes, there is Hitchhiker flying proudly around her neck.
Yeesh. I knew this would happen. I haven't updated from iTunes (either ripped nor downloaded) in a Very Long Time. So what you get is exercise music. Book. Classical music. Be warned.
1. K-klass, Don't Stop: Exercise music from Shape M@agazine
2. Adele, Set Fire to the Rain
3. Bach, Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Zoltan Kocsis and Andras Schiff: I love Kocsis for his early maturity and expression, and Andras Schiff, who bucks Steinway tradition by insisting on Bosendorfer pianos for his performances. He usually brings his own.
4. Beethoven, Symphony #4 in B flat, Op #60, Lorin Maazel, Cleveland Orchestra
5. Boyce, Symphony #6 in F, Trevor Pinnock, The English Concern: Good, solid, melodious baroque repertoire.
6. JS Bach, Concerto in F minor, BMV 1056, English Chamber Orchestra
7. Metamora, This Rush of Wings, A Winters Solstice II, Windham Hill
8. Enya, Storms in Africa, Pt 2, Watermark
9. Beethoven, Symphony #9 in D minor, Op 125, "Choral", Lorin Maazel, Cleveland Orchestra
10. Anita Diamant, Red Tent, Chapter 05A, part 3
Shuffle is just shuffle. These selections are not in proportion to the various genres that live on my iPod. I love thinking about iPods. No two will ever have the same music. It is like human genetics in electronic form. Each iPod is born as a clean slate. It develops depending on its parents. It changes over time. That is us.
Meeting for big medical outcomes study: I was the only one that did any work. Presented that. Now have to create Google Drive document for the three of us on the project and start filling in the cells.
Meeting for department service segment I am in charge of creating: Lots of input. Rollout January 12. I thought it was going to be March. Oof. More work needed.
Resident's wine tasting: all of Thursday evening spent doing the Powerpoint presentation. You would think a wine tasting would allow me to taste lots of wine beforehand. Nope. Unpaid, underappreciated, timesuck.
Sekrit project: Very few rows knit. This is getting seriously behind.
Life: I am living one inch from destruction at every hour. Wish I was exaggerating. Nothing accomplished over the week.
Weaving: none. But I did find my October 2012 Vavstuga notebook of samples and drafts.
Chilly sheep: 100% accomplished. No time to look at yarn this week.
Weekend: wedding on Saturday, bailed on a department Xmas social event on Sunday in the neighboring town because I didn't have time to 1. bake 3 dozen cookies and 2. obtain then wrap a Yankee swap gift.
Exercise: Didn't row yesterday. I am now significantly behind on the 100K meters. I got home at 10:15pm fer gawds sake.
Sekrit project: Must stop with the email and the blogging, and get back to the knitting.
4. Formaggio Kitchen - If there is a food heaven on the planet outside of San Francisco, this is it.
5. Nordstrom's - There still is a department there for me. I occasionally find something. Mr. E finds stuff more often than I do. The customer service there is excellent, and that is half the battle.
6. My local wine store - The marketing that these people do is incredible. Free wine tastings! 20% discounts! Cool seminars that highlight a region or a winemaker.
7. Home Depot - Wonderful potential in a store. My HD amaryllis is blooming in my kitchen. The DH just put up a whole bank of shelves from the HD in the loom room to stow all the stuff. Lightbulbs! Plastic containers for weaving shuttles!
8. Whole Foods - Regardless of the whole paycheck moniker, if you shop carefully, you can buy things that are somewhat less toxic than many. I am a big fan of their bulk grains and nuts section. I gave up on their cheeses when they went to fully pasteurized products. That is when I transferred my loyalties to Formaggio Kitchen.
9. Roche Brothers - Superb store, with a heart. Great bread. Fine meat department.
10. All my local farmstands - Local produce, local cheese, local pumpkins, excellent baked goods, local plants. Shopping there is good for the soul in ways I can't begin to articulate. It just feels right.
Wegman's is a possibility, but did not make the top ten. The Fold is another, but circumstances have conspired to keep me away from the bricks and mortar version for too long. Naturally, my local nursery would make the top ten in the spring. But it is not spring right now, and I am not thinking of them.
I really did like the November posting. I fell behind in responding to comments (unusually). Know that I appreciated your visit and your thoughts. Thank you for making this so fun.