Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WIPs, Wine and Catching up.

...Wednesday evenings with my sister.

Of course I can't photograph the catching up, but there was plenty. It's hard to believe we did the same thing just a week ago. And now we're only three weeks away from our trip to Madison. We're making plans...for cold snow, meeting a new-to-us cousin, cooking in ... and going out. (we even talked about looping Sara into these week!)

And amidst all that interesting conversation, I made real progress on my hat.

This is the first piece of a set I hope to take with me. The hat and the mittens will be green bordered with the purple. The cowl will be purple (I'm undecided about bordering it with green). Yes, I have a lot of knitting to do. (and no, Katie's sweater is still not finished).

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | Oh Happy Day.

...Tuesday again. already?! This was my third Tuesday with Charlie and we're having a ball. Life is good and I am happy about so very many things. Carole's asked us to share "Ten Things You're Happy About Right Now"...and here are my 10 for today.

1. I got up with my 5:15 am alarm. This hasn't happened the last two Tuesdays. I teach until 8pm on Monday nights and by the time I get home, and eat dinner, and unwind...I'm up way too late and 5am is way too early. But last night I was in bed at 10:30 and the whole day got off to a better start.

2. All the laundry is done. the sheets are clean. the kitchen sparkles. (this makes me happier when it's done than when I'm doing it, but it still counts).

3. A glorious sunrise.

4. Charlie came over. (his mama dropped him off at about 7:45) We played. He napped. I knitted. He ate. (we did this three times).

5. Holly was very good. She's still figuring out what he's all about - and today he started to notice her. But there was no barking and no snapping (and only a very tiny bit of licking the quilt where Charlie plays.)

6. We used the self-timer on my phone and took photos. This one is my favorite (and my new wallpaper - 4 months!) That certainly makes me happy, but so does the self-timer feature that takes a burst of photos and allows me to choose my favorites (or just dump them all if I forget to turn the camera around and I take 11 photos of the ceiling).

7. Charlie went home in the same outfit he arrived in. (I didn't change clothes either). This is a first. Katie noticed (and I'm not sure if this is because she was pleased, or surprised, but I think it made her happy too!)

8. I wound the yarn to cast on the hat I hope to finish for my upcoming trip to Madison (eep! Madison! in February!!). I also hope to finish a few more warm things. more to come.

9. We had our first Deacon meeting of the new year. I wasn't looking forward to it - I thought I'd rather pour a glass of wine and settle in here a lot sooner. But it was great. The new class is excited about being there and I think my care team is going to have a good year. I also got to eat slow cooker barbeque.

10. My fitbit buzzed as I was getting into my car after the meeting. 11,000+ steps today. That always makes me happy!

I'm usually a glass half full kind of girl, but I can't say that finding 10 happy things in one day is typical even for me. This was a fun "challenge" ... and maybe one I should take on more often. It certainly puts the day into a different frame when you try to find all the good!

Click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun! (and huge thanks to Carole for hosting the party!)



Thursday, January 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday | Retirement.

just before I blew out the candles!
...five years ago today my leadership team treated me to lunch - to celebrate my upcoming retirement*. We went to Maggiano's (always a group favorite) and I'm sure we shared fried calamari, Maggiano's salad and gnocchi (those were my favorite dishes!) There was even cake for dessert. and candles. I know I made a wish when I blew them out...but I have to say - I'm pretty sure things turned out better than I could've wished. These last five years have been so full - and taken me to places I couldn't imagine!

Beginning with learning to use a calendar...for my "real" life. It was so simple when I worked. I was busy all day during the week. I made the occasional weekend plans, met up with my sister on Wednesday evenings and had bookclub the third Wednesday of every month. That was pretty much it. I kept an "upcoming" list on my blog sidebar and that was all I needed. Now each day is different, but full-ish (except for Tuesdays when I babysit Charlie...all day :-) and my calendar is a huge friend. "Empty days" are rare.

I've re-joined my church and stepped up to lead women's groups, bible studies and the prayer shawl ministry, as well as teaching high school Sunday School and serving as a Deacon.

Teaching knitting. Managing the shop's on-line presence (except for Facebook...tried it, hated it, quit!) Carole wrote yesterday about "hobbies" and I have to say mine has turned out well. In my official "I'm retiring letter" I wrote that I'd be teaching knitting because I'd promised Marc he wouldn't have to support my hobby. My boss borrowed a bit of that language when he formally announced my retirement. But at that point I had only one planned class (the February Lady Sweater, to be offered on a Sunday afternoon so folks who worked during the week could participate). It filled up quickly and I was asked to teach a Monday night beginner class too. Things have ebbed and flowed and now I have two full classes - Monday night and Wednesday afternoon. No more beginners (whew!). I also write the shop's newsletter and blog, manage our Ravelry forum and Instagram account and dream up ideas for all that...including knit-alongs. (post to come shortly on what that's meant for my own knitting! spoiler's not all good!). I never dreamed I'd love teaching like I do, and the whole on-line aspect of knitting is...huge! and fun. (and it more than pays for my yarn!)

The Knitting Club. A few years back, one of my friends started a knitting group on Thursday afternoons. at the local nursing home. She asked if I'd be willing to help and I said yes. We've since added another volunteer. And a LOT more knitters. None of our original "students" are still there, but we have a new group of regulars and now it's knitting and crocheting. and it's one of the most rewarding hours of my week. Holly loves it too...and the ladies love that she's there - always "willing" to be held and petted!

House 2.0. I can't believe we've been in our "new" house over two years now. It's totally home. and I'm finally learning my way around this new part of town.

Working out. I have time for walks with friends (taking a break from running...maybe a permanent break?!) and yoga classes at the Y. In the spirit of managing my calendar, these are all appointments. in purple :-)

Katie moved back to Atlanta and married a wonderful guy. They had a baby last September. Sara graduated high school and college (with highest honors) and got a great Wisconsin. I got a dog.

I've had time to spend with my parents (hey, Florida in January and February is not a bad thing!) when my dad's had surgery. We are so very grateful there is nothing in the plans for 2015... not that I wouldn't welcome a week of sunshine...or even temperatures above 40 degrees.

...and maybe the only things I could've imagined and wished for. Marc and I are still happily married. I still knit. and occasionally...I write about all of this. apparently way less than I did when I "worked". which still amazes me!

*I wasn't actually retirement-eligible when I left... Marc says I merely quit a very well-paying job. He's right. But I had good reasons!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Words on Wednesday.

...this has been hanging in my sister's kitchen for years. But I never really saw it until tonight. I'm not sure I even read the words.

paying attention. counting my blessings.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | The Bright Spots.

...this week, Carole's asked us to share things we do to make winter less bleak. It doesn't get nearly as cold here as it does in other places; snow and ice make rare appearances. But January here is often dark and chilly wet. I snapped the photo above yesterday afternoon (stopped at a red light :-) on my way to class. Black and white straight out of the camera - in the middle of the afternoon! - is pretty bleak. So for me, this list is all about the bright spots - finding or making them!

  1. Candlelight, especially when it's Thymes Frasier Fir.
  2. A fresh pedicure (hopefully Thursday).
  3. Red lipstick.
  4. A smile.
  5. January birthday celebrations (I'm fortunate to share in two - one for Katie and one for my sister - just three days apart at the end of this month.)
  6. Fresh flowers on the kitchen counter.
  7. Beach trip plans (sadly this isn't in the cards for this year...maybe next?)
  8. Fresh oranges with greek yogurt and almonds for breakfast.
  9. A cozy fire (with knitting and a glass of red wine).
  10. Storytime with my favorite little boy (who is four months old today!)

What brings a smile to your face on a bleak winter day? Click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun!