Friday, May 31, 2013

a new normal.

sunrise, from my porch, last Monday
...the day after the wedding Marc asked what I was going to do "now that you have all that extra time?" I quickly responded "get back to normal...you know...cook...and do laundry." I gave that same response for the next few days (note that I have since cooked once and that was with Sara when she and Katie & Rob joined us for dinner Monday night, but the laundry is all done) and since most of the other people who asked were fellow knitters, I added in that I also planned more knitting, more time at the shop and really getting the prayer shawl ministry off the ground at church.
Sara & Katie, after Monday's dinner
But what I've come to realize this past week is that I'm not sure what "normal" looks like anymore. The past nine months have brought so many changes (a new house, a move, half marathon training and a running group, a wedding) that the normal I knew...just isn't anymore. So what will the new normal look like?

First, my knitting. I finished a scarf and a sweater this past week and hope to finish a shawl today or tomorrow.  Not bad from a production standpoint (never mind that those projects were all started two months ago), but two of them are just knitting (a stockinette sweater in the round and a garter stitch shawl) and the third is plain stockinette. The next project in my queue was the Churchmouse Folded Poncho - basically a big stockinette rectangle. Note the "was"...yep, no longer. Instead, I'm going to knit an allover lace tunic and a square shawl with a cool slipped stitch texture and fringe. (not to mention the linen stitch scarf and a new mystery shawl for upcoming KALs). I've started a pair of socks; for the record, I haven't knitted a pair of socks since December 2011 when I knit a pair for Marc and I haven't knitted a pair on my size 1 dpn's since 2010. I also started a lap robe for the shawl ministry. I hope to get back to a mix of social (easy) and challenging, but with fewer sweaters, more accessories and more for others. oh and socks, too.
FO #1 - the Bias Scarf
FO #2 - My Perfect Sweater
And the shop. I quit working on the shop floor last October, but I'm still writing the shop's blog and maintaining our Pinterest boards and Twitter. I also teach three classes there each week. I'm still trying to get the hang of keeping up with everything that's going on there - new yarn, new faces, etc. - and on the knitting front in general. I'd like to shift the blog to be more community focused (what we're knitting, meet our staff and our customers) and start providing project suggestions in a newsletter format, maybe bi-weekly...while still keeping it a (very much) part time job!

On the home front. I'm finally in a good place keeping up with the house (especially because I found a wonderful green cleaning service to help with the dusting which I really dislike) and really, laundry/etc for two people isn't hard. I am absolutely enjoying the house, especially the screened porch. It faces east so I have a lovely view of the sunrise and it's sheltered from the afternoon sun. However, I'm struggling still with the cooking, or really the lack thereof. Marc is home for dinner only two to three nights a week and I hate cooking for myself. But my old diet of popcorn, cheese and carrots had to go; not only to fuel the running (I'm averaging about 20 miles a week), but also to keep my cholesterol in check (bad genetics and I'm not ready for drugs). I'm about five weeks into a high fiber, low/no cholesterol diet that's mostly fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts. I even switched to almond milk for my coffee and cereal. That was actually pretty easy; I still miss the cheese (and the daily popcorn)!

Exercise. I'm running three to four days a week and taking a few pilates/yoga classes at the Y. Last week I added in two four-mile walks with Holly - our first since I could remember - and realized how much I'd missed them. I think she missed them, too. So I'm trying to get in one a week. Which is great time for...

on my phone, last Friday
...Reading/Listening. For last Friday's walk, I tried out a new-to-me podcast called Books on the Nightstand. Oh my. I listened to two episodes and immediately came home to 1. subscribe and download more episodes; 2. subscribe to two more bookish podcasts - New Yorker Fiction and BBC4 Books and Authors; and 3. add two books to my Goodreads queue (The Woman Upstairs and A Constellation of Vital Phenomena). I've since listened to at least 20 hours of those podcasts and added quite a few more books to my queue/samples to my Kindle. Of course that's not really reading, although the New Yorker podcast is short stories, but it's smart talk about reading and books and I'm loving all of it. Also, I joined in the Craftlit read along for Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair; I'm listening to Susan Duerdan's Audible recording and it's excellent. I'm finally now past page 100 of the Art of Power (and realized I probably should've listened to that one, too, instead of reading!) So...more books.

Project Life is still around. I made a huge push before the wedding to get caught up - and I got close. I'm still missing three weeks from March and the three weeks since "just before the wedding" to now. Marc's going to Asia next month and I will get caught up for good then. ...and stay that way! I'm printing my photos here and that helps a lot.

One Little Word. It's been three months since I put anything into my album, but I'm definitely thinking about Grace and my monthly intentions. Hopefully I'll get back on track with the class in June...

...and with this blog. I have missed sharing the bits and pieces here. Hopefully I'll get back to a post or two (or three) each week. We'll see. I think just getting started is the hardest part. and now I've done that!

Thanks for staying with me!  Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

to love and be loved.

...it's all we ever hope for. and when we're blessed (or lucky?), it happens. the invitations were focused on these words and I think that helped all of us - at least me! - to keep our focus last week. as I type this, I can't help but feel that Katie and Rob are blessed (and lucky!) because truly...they loved and are loved.

I just spent three+ hours going through the several dozen photos I have on my phone (plus a few more that Katie forwarded from Rob's mom and the bridesmaids) because I promised "photos....soon!" and it will be at least a few more weeks until we have the Professional Photos. I'm excited about the story those photos will tell, but honestly, I'm pretty pleased with the ones I have to share now. love does that, doesn't it? shines through no matter what.

The celebration got off to a great start on Friday night with the rehearsal dinner at our favorite Bistro VG.
Erica did a beautiful job with the rosemary, kraft tags and white calligraphy
I was seated across from my favorite girls.
just a hint of the tops of the beautiful flowers...
...Saturday started dark early, in the rain ("good luck" I told Katie and she said "they have to give every bride something". true. no one tells a bride that a sunny wedding day is bad luck) but by 10 am the rain had stopped and we were in full-on hair and makeup mode in the bridal suite at the hotel. We had hair going on in the bathroom and makeup at the table in the dining room. It was a big window...great light. I even had time to knit.
love the girls on their phones!
fast forward and we've moved to the wedding venue.  Sara and I helped Katie into her dress. and it's time for the "first look".



next it's Katie with her bridesmaids (see what I mean about wanting the "real" photos?!)

This is one of my favorite moments. Marc together with the bridal party while the guests arrive.

We were tucked into a little room - Katie, six bridesmaids, me and Marc. The girls loved it - he had fun stories (one of the bridesmaids married one of Marc's fraternity brothers last summer...and Marc told a story about a brother who ended up with a phony cast on his leg after a crazy bachelor party...the brothers telegrammed the "good news" that his leg wasn't really broken after the honeymoon started. seriously. I think I'm glad Hollywood wasn't there!) and he gave Katie a great piece of advice. Really, you don't need to worry about the wedding. There's no test. Anyone can do it. (especially you!)

Then the ceremony (I have no photos but it was lovely). and after that we're taking the last few formal photos with immediate families and grandparents.
Marc, his mom, Rob, Katie, me, my mom, my dad
...and finally, the party!
Katie & Rob having fun

Marc & Mary having fun
I have to say...I had a ball. more kudos to Katie for all the planning - it was perfect. smiles ALL around!

a lot of good food and dancing and drinking happened...and all too soon it was over. time for a sparkler send off.
LOVE this photo...best wishes to my favorite couple!
 and a ride in the Ramblin' Wreck
I have nothing more to share after this...but Katie said they had a great ride through campus and a photo stop by the Tech Tower.
...to love and be loved. very special. for two very special people.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Social Grace(s).

...whoa, I am delighted that so many of you are still reading - and taking the time to comment on - this blog! especially because I realized as I read those comments on Tuesday's post that I hadn't done a good job of letting y'all know what I've been up to while I haven't been here.
...on my mind | instagrammed april 20, 2013
yep. our Katie is getting married. next Saturday. I cannot give her enough credit for all the planning and good sense (and good sense of humor) and practicality and consideration and compassion and love that she's pouring into this event. but turns out simply being Mother of the Bride takes time. and energy. and patience. and composure. I am so very grateful that I have enough of these (most days anyway) to help. and most of all to simply be present.

Way back in January, as I was thinking about my one little word, May seemed so far away. I remember choosing social grace(s) a bit tongue in cheek. turns out it was the perfect focus. mind my manners. watch my tongue. and celebrate.

Katie and I met for a few hours this morning (after a 7am run...she's still my favorite running partner hands down) to review the final to-do lists and lay out the hour by hour schedule for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It's a busy week (especially for her since she's not taking time off from her job until Thursday) but it works. I love that we're starting both Thursday and Friday with 7am runs and if all goes well, we have a bit of time each day to just chill. The planners in both of us feel much better that we have it all mapped out (and it works!). And I hope it gives us the freedom to have fun and enjoy. and to celebrate.

...so there you have it. not an excuse, but a very good reason! I'll be back soon. with photos. promise!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ten on Tuesday. Why I Knit.

...I smiled when I saw Carole's prompt for today. It's a topic I remember thinking about last summer, after reading this delightful article by Ruth Marcus, which she wrote in response to the hullaballoo around Ravelry's version of the Olympic Games. I re-read it this morning and can I just say - wow, time flies. Last July seems like eons and eons ago, doesn't it?!

And apparently, all I did was think about it. I can find no record in my July 2012 journal of any list. Bummer. Because given how much I feel like my knitting itself has changed since then, I wonder if the reasons why I knit are still the same? That's one of my favorite things about these kinds of Ten on Tuesday topics; like a little time capsule just waiting to be opened by a future me.

So here goes - here are the top ten reasons I knit. today.
self portrait, knitting My Perfect Sweater | May 2, 2013
1. It keeps my hands, and sometimes my brain occupied. Which allows me to do all sorts of things I otherwise would not have the patience for. Like waiting, watching golf tournaments and baseball games (ok, pretty much any sports), riding in the car, you get the idea. Even better, if I choose a project that keeps less of my brain occupied, I can still talk or watch TV or listen to a book, and then it's like I'm doing two things at once, and that makes me very happy.

2. I have something to show for my time.

3. ...that's useful and fits (and hopefully flatters and is in a color/pattern that enhances my wardrobe).

4. Handknits are one-of-a kind special pieces and they make wonderful gifts. Something, I think, about the bit of me that goes into the piece. And for sure, no matter what it is (socks, cowl, sweater, hat, mitts), it's simply going to be more personal than its store-bought counterpart.

5. I love being part of the knitting community, both in person at my LYS and virtually, through blogs, Ravelry, Twitter and Instagram.

6. It's portable. There are certainly other crafts that satisfy those first five reasons, but I might not be able to do them anywhere.

7. It's relatively cheap in terms of pennies per hour of enjoyment. $100 worth of yarn can keep me busy for 100 hours. That works out to a dollar an hour. How many other pastimes are so affordable? (certainly not golf; we don't even have that conversation in my house anymore!)

8. It can be relaxing, exciting, surprising or frustrating...all depending on the project. I like to have a relaxing project and an exciting/surprising project going at the same time (and of course I try to avoid the frustrating ones).

9. The craft is evolving. New techniques, new fibers, new tools...it's not the same today as it was even last month or last year (and it's certainly not the same as when I started) and that presents learning and growth opportunities that motivate me to keep learning and growing.

10. It's multi-generational. As I've gotten "more experienced with life", I've come to appreciate more the different perspectives that age, seasons of life and interests offer. I know knitters in their 20's, 30's...on up to 80's. They are single, married, mothers, empty nesters, grandmothers, working, retired, students, gardeners, quilters, cooks, readers, runners, whatever. It all makes for richer experiences. And it definitely makes the conversation much more interesting.

And there you have it. Are your reasons the same? or different? I can't wait to see!

click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun!