Giving up 2012 / Remembering worth 2013

2012 was the year of giving up…and not in a I-will-no-longer-eat-fast-food sort of way. In a I-can’t-commit-to-anything sort of way. I was restless and unfocused and, overall, uninspired. At some point in the year I started then later gave up on scrapbooking, wearing makeup, photography, writing a memoir, cross stitch, knitting, crochet, blogging, sewing, running, watching the X-Files, embroidery. Only thing I really stuck to was reading (three cheers for the Kindle) and dying my hair (though partly because of the appointments made in advance).

I felt not good enough. My photos weren’t as great as those of others on Flickr or Instagram, especially because I wasn’t willing to dress up in a funny costume and never figured out how to clone myself with software. My current life had no excitement to blog about and my past was too boring to write about even within the confines of the notebooks that no one ever sees. My cross stitch was mundane; my attempts at a TARDIS embroidery untidy. My knitting (except socks, everyone always love their handknit socks) was unwanted. My attempts at cooking, bland. My attempts to mentor the students at FIRST, ineffective. My job search did go well at first because my suit didn’t fit properly (not because a great job was waiting for my within my own company – where I wore jeans to my interview). The only thing I could do correctly was eat, it seemed. Oh, and fall asleep reading. Totally mastered that this year.

So..what will be different in 2013? I’ll learn not to care. Okay, still care about important things like doing my absolute best at work and not dressing like a slob and making sure the bathrooms are clean when guests come over. But, not to care about things which are creative.

My friend Heather once told me that you can’t possibly fail at creativity. And, you know what, she’s right. No one dies if your embroidery is crooked or your photos is a bit blurry (call it “artsy”) or your mac-n-cheese is a bit runny.

Because, for the 100th time, all of my creative (and running, ’cause, you know, there’s that, too) efforts are worth it. Because, greater than that, I’m worth it. My time, my energy, my effort, my stash of craft supplies – all worth it.

Today shall be known as Awesome Day

Today was a great day.

I slept in until what is now known as 7:30.

I got all of my digital scrapbooking supplies organized and made it through four days worth of editing of my Europe photos to be scrapped.

The church service had an excellent sermon and communion.

A friend I knew at UF and haven’t seen since 2005 grabbed my attention after the service.

Sunday School was filled with people our age and at the same point on their lives (and this week was a good discussion on the purpose of prophecy).

Everyone from SS went and got burgers together.

I got through editing the rest of my Europe photos.

I kept Matt company while he canned veal stock and made dinner.

We watched lots of DVRed cooking shows.

Dinner of gnocchi.

Finished the first sleeve on my sweater.

Watched Ravens/Steelers football.

Yeah, it was an awesome day.

List 2: Things you are good at [30 Days of Lists]

What am I not good at?

Shush, I can hear you all laughing from here. Stop it.

In all seriousness, things I am good at:

  • Knitting lace shawls and socks
  • Making funny faces
  • Taking photos of my cats
  • Eating (you know it’s true if you’ve ever shared a meal with me)
  • Getting freaked out about things that don’t matter
  • Keeping perfectly calm with regards to things that do matter
  • Making lists, especially to do lists that get ignored
  • Cleaning toilets
  • Getting work done on time despite much procrastination

This was a really hard topic. No one wants to brag and I’m just starting my career so it’s not like I have any work-related things to mention. Plus, I tend to think I’m bad at everything (imagine that). But, still, I did manage to write the list.

Today’s unrelated photo: the street signs near where we had dinner last night. The location isn’t worth mentioning as it was pretty “eh,” overall.

Street

Now what?

I’m now a college graduate. I knew I’d say that someday but it’s so strange to finally do so.

Hat

I spent eight years studying, working on projects, taking exams, and attending classes (and worrying about all of this in my downtime).

But now? Now I have loads of free time. And, of course, my mind is full of ideas of things I want to do more of, do again, or start doing.

  • Knitting: Obviously, I already do a lot of this. But I have big, specific goals for what I want to do. I want to knit colorwork mittens for everyone I know. I want to knit lace shawls for anyone who wants one. I want to make things for the children of friends, family, and coworkers. I want to maybe, someday, knit myself a sweater that fits and makes me feel great about my body (but doesn’t make it sweat like a pig every single time I wear it).
  • Sewing: I have a machine. I know basic construction. My husband’s boss got me a gift certificate to an excellent sewing shop for graduation. Heck, I even have a few friends who, I am sure, would be happy to share their fabric stash with me. And, well, I miss sewing, I really do. Even if my machine can’t be fixed (the tension cannot be adjusted correctly, no matter what I or my mother-in-law have done), I can still sew again. May even get back into quilting. Or just stick with making little bags and fun skirts and..
  • Running: I miss it. Even the agony of having to tell myself “just two more miles” and the possibility of having to do physical therapy. I don’t think I’ll ever run a half marathon or even train for one but this area is full of fun 5k, 10k and 10 mile races. I wasn’t built to be a runner but I really do enjoy it. And can you imagine the fun of going running when I’m in Europe in the fall? Talk about a great way to see a city!
  • Writing: Journaling, specifically. Actually writing down my thoughts on paper. I miss it even more than I miss sewing and running. I’ve been journaling since fourth grade, why did I stop?
  • Reading: I admitted to Jocelyn the other day that I haven’t really read anything in a long time. Sure, I read dozens of blogs and news websites and food magazines, but when was the last time I actually read a real, live book? We even have the Kindle. And the public libraries near here are great. And I’m pretty sure the DC public library will give cards to non-residents, as will Fairfax County.
  • Photography: Matt got me an amazing lens (which I must blog about later) for graduation. It’s an amazing macro lens, great for both super close up shots and the intimate portraits I love to take. And, well, it’s summer in the DC area. Perfect time and place for photography.
  • Cooking: I want to get more into cooking, not to the level that Matt is, but at least to the point where I can make us dinner once a week without freaking out halfway through. I know, generally, what I’m doing, just have to develop an intuition for it like Matt has.
  • Blogging: Both here and on Two Yolks, the food blog I made Matt start but that he hasn’t written in for almost a year. I have the great camera, he’s still cooking awesome (and pretty!) food. No excuses. There will be more food blogging (and more blogging here, like I said in a recent post). Hopefully blog both places once a week, even if it’s just a few photos with short descriptions. (Like the post I’ve already got in draft form on Two Yolks, just need to polish it a bit and press Publish.)

So, now what?

The rest of my life can start.

Day in the Life: 14 May, 2011

Last night, before I went to bed, I stuck a post-it on my computer reading, simply, “blog.” And, while I’ve got a few posts already started, I decided to forget about them entirely and, instead, write something related to what’s going on in my life right now.

There’s a meme that I first saw wayyyy back when I blogged on Live Journal: A Day in the Life. Essentially, you take photos throughout your day, then go back later and write short captions about what’s going on. And the blogging group on Ravelry reminded me of this meme and I figured, hey, I should do that today.

So, today, you’ll see what it’s like to, you know, be me – without the Ally McBeal-like internal monologue (though I have never imagined my office filled with water or a dancing baby).

6:50 am – I’m not someone who sleeps in but, usually, I am not awake by now. But Matt was up, realized it’s sunny out, and decided today was the day to smoke all of the meat for my graduation party next weekend. I attempted to sleep in, didn’t work.

DiTL: early morning

Instead, I decided it was a great time to soak the shawl I want to block later.

DiTL: soaking

7:15 am – Pulled the shawl out of its water bath and spent far longer than normal pining it out. Last time I blocked this shawl, it did not turn out well. Hoping for a much better turn-out this time. I have a feeling the edging stitches are far too tight to get the blocking I want but hoping it will be somewhat ok when complete.

DiTL: Just out of water bath

DiTL: Blocking the corner

At some point – pulled the shawl off the bed. Blocking success!

DiTL: Post-Blocking

10:39 am: Watched some home improvement shows on PBS while finishing knitting Foliage. All started some laundry.

DiTL: Finishing the shawl

DiTL: Laundry

12:30 pm: Lunch (not pictured because I ate it too fast) then more TV watching and knitting. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to knit. I fiddled around with leftover silk lace first then decided it was better to go back to working on a different project I started earlier.

DiTL: New project

DiTL: More knitting

1: 15 pm: Attempted making paper roses. Only wound up upset with a mess of magazine spirals.

DiTL: Papercrafts

2:30 pm: Was starting to go stir crazy. Went shopping. Bought a pair of shorts and a purple and white checkered shirt.

DiTL: Shopping

After shopping, more bad TV watching and knitting. And lots of checking my grades over and over again to see if my senior project grade was posted.

6:45 pm – Dinner of some of the pork Matt had smoked. Yeah, no photo of this, either.

(After dinner all I did was knit more and catch up on Bones. And now I’m off to bed.)

Almost

To put it simply, I haven’t felt like myself for a month and I’m finally starting to get myself back.

Almost.

I won’t dwell on how or why I haven’t felt like me but, rather, what’s been helping me to get to being myself again.

Of course, Matt has helped immensely. He let me have only very temporary pity parties but also made me eat even though my jaw hurt*, go to the farmer’s market and have friends over for dinner when I didn’t feel social, work on my project although it was after bed time, took me to a big box craft store when I wanted to try cross stitch again, and even sat through a Disney cartoon when I was feeling nostalgic.

And then there was crafting. Crafting both makes me feel better and helps me to realize when I’m not feeling like myself. So it helped and didn’t, all at the same time.

I did a little cross stitch.

Back to it

Also, some knitting for baby Ada. Finished a blanket for her (no photos yet) then made a BSJ with the scraps.

BSJ for Ada, Pt 2

And, then there’s the trip planning. Both a short trip in the near term and our big European trip in the fall. Almost every day, Matt has some new question or fact related to that trip to distract me with. Plus promises of finding the jewelry shop in Venice where he got my engagement ring.

Finally, reminders that graduation isn’t that far off. Just over two months away. I have the announcements and the cap and gown to prove it.

I may not feel like myself yet, but I know that this “almost” should turn into “completely” very soon.

* Sore jaw due to four dentist appointments in 10 days which helped diagnose and treat what had been a multi-year problem with a single tooth. After a round of anti-biotics and a root canal, all is pretty much normal.

Year in Review

Alternate title: The New Year is not nearly exciting enough to blog about, yet, so I’m going to cheat and blog about what last year was all about.

January: Worked part-time during winter recess from school. Found myself with more free time than I knew what to do with. Did almost no blogging but lots of knitting. Matt was away for work for a week and I passed by time by hanging out at the yarn store and going to lunch with my friend, Rosemary.

February: Started the Couch to 5 K for the first time (which ended a few weeks later when I got sick and could barely breathe). Went to West Virginia so Matt could go skiing with Alex and Shelly during a horrible snow storm. Two days after unburrying a parking space for Matt’s car, we got another 20″ of snow. I did get to miss four days of both work and school, though my poor car remained burried for a full three weeks. I participated in and nearly finished my goals for Ravelympics. The semester really got going, including two classes which went late into the evening. Thanks to Dan’s wife, I got a behind-the-scenes tour of the Mason Inn construction site.

March: Spent a week feeling like death which was really just a bad cold. Did a lot of knitting while Matt spent my Spring Break skiing in Vermont.

April: Decided to train to run a half marathon, while only being able to run for 2 minutes at a time for 30 minutes.

May: Learned to crochet, hexagons specifically. Spent a long weekend in Chartlottsville wine tasting. Went strawberry picking. Finished up what turned out to be a 4. 0 GPA semester.

June: Went back home for a friend’s wedding. Managed to also go to the Florida Keys (finally) during the same trip.

July: Celebrated the 4th at Arlington, as I did last year. Knit a shawl for a coworker and an ill-fitting sweater for myself. Got an iPhone 4, an upgrade I really didn’t need.

August: Made fingerless gloves for Sarah. Gave away about a third of my stash, finally got the last of it to the recipient this past week. Went to DE to go to the beach (but forgot to take photos, apparently).Visited the National Zoo.

September: Began my penultement semester of college. Got eaten alive by my senior design project. Celebrated my 26th birthday by not being able to talk for three days. I finally went to the doctor about my hip and was told no more running until some physical therapy (or a monthly injection). Had family over for labor day.

October: Went to the Rally to Restore Fear/Sanity. Celebrated fourth wedding anniversary but going somewhere for dinner than neither Matt nor I can remember. Ran out of candy at 7:15 on Halloween, despite expecting very few children.

November: Had a cousin’s-only Thanksgiving, again. Lots of school stress. I’m sure I did some knitting.

December: Last days of the semester. Caribbean cruise with parents and MIL. Barely stayed up until Midnight on New Year’s Eve. GOT NEW CAMERA!

Random Friday

It’s Friday, which means I’m even more scatter-brained today than usual. Therefore, a list is in order.

1. I finished up the body of Metro first thing this morning. All excited, I decided to try it on. Horrible idea. Apparently my gauge is way off as it’s much more likely to fit my thin friend, Leah, than my chubby self. Hopefully she (or someone else of a slender build) will claim it when it’s done. I’ve decided to put it aside for a bit so I can calm down and find a recipient. And I was so excited about it, too.

2. To work towards calming myself down (and so I didn’t feel horribly incompetant knitting-wise), I cast on for a half-circle version of the Elizabeth Zimmermann 100th Anniversary Pi Shawl. The designer of the other versions just created the pattern so, in a way, I’ll be acting as a test knitter. I’ve only gotten to row 10 so far as there were no seats on the train this morning and knitting laceweight as you stand is far harder than even I anticipated.

3. Next week is Restaurant Week here in the DC area. This means getting to eat at amazing places for a much cheaper than normal price. Matt and I are going out for dinner twice and I have a lunch date with a coworker, as well.

4. Matt’s working tomorrow. I have big plans to either finish watching Pride and Prejudice or hang out at my LYS though he’s likely to be home by the time the shop even opens. A morning with Mr. Darcy, it is. Darn.

5. I only have to run 8 miles Sunday morning. Never thought “only 8 miles” would ever enter my vocabulary.

Weekend Recap

(Yeah, there are no photos. I had my camera with me through all of my various adventures, other than my run, but only took one picture that turned out badly.)

Not in a mood for real sentences. Not sure why. Blame missing of bus due to not paying attention and having to wait 30 minutes in the humidity. Did get some amused looks from people as I ate my breakfast at the bus stop (crackers with cream cheese straight from the tub without utensils).

Friday night: Headed to Fibre Space where I sat and whined about the heat and knit maybe three rows on the first sweater sleeve. The author of Blueprint Crochet happened to stop by and she signed a copy for me. I’d been eying the book for awhile, anyway, and figured it was the perfect time to pick up a copy. Also grabbed a new size 7 32″ circular as my poor Addi one is coming undone. Yummy dinner of lamb chops then we headed to Baltimore. Much, much nicer driving up when you leave at 8:00 versus directly after work. Plus I was already fed and showered before we left which made me far less angry than previous trips up.

Saturday: Rain, rain, rain all day. Slept in until (ya’ll will be amazed) 9:30! Cancelled plans to go tubing and get a snowball and instead knit while watching Oceans 13. Attempted to buy energy goop but none at mega sporting goods store in Hunt Valley. Hour-long trip to Wegmans. Found (and purchased) 15 different energy gels/goops/bars to try out. Hope at least one doesn’t make it want to vomit. Picked up and devoured four dozen steamed crabs (not just me, but all four of us). Watched a little more TV then had second dinner – was good and only ate two ears of corn on the cob. Headed back home and watched Matt stink slightly less at online violent video game version of Capture the Flag.

Sunday: Up horribly early after bad night’s sleep. Nine mile long run with running group, more specifically, with my running buddy, Jen. Very difficult run. At halfway point, I was ready to give up and walk the whole way. Jen helped me continue and we eventually finished. Over 14 minute / mile pace but I’m trying to forget that part of things. At least we survived. Ten weeks to get from barely surviving 9 miles to easily surviving 13.1 miles. Or learning how to ignore the pain and exhaustion. Resisted urge to take very long nap and instead headed to Leesburg. Bit of BBQ, bit of outlet shopping and bit of wine tasting then headed home. Shrimp and fish on the grill followed by another evening of video game-watching and knitting.

(Oh, the first sleeve is done and the second only has about 40 rows to go. Far more accomplished than I anticipated. Hoping to finish second sleeve by Wednesday. Dreading lugging around three-quarters of finished sweater remainder of the week.)

The Leftover Bits

Skipping three days of blogging meant there a few leftover bits I haven’t mentioned. Nothing earth-shattering, just some things rattling around in my head.

1. Our house is officially falling apart. After several days (weeks?) of wondering why our kitchen floor would be mysteriously soaking wet first thing in the morning, we finally figured it out. The hot water line that feeds the kitchen sink was leaking. Of course, we checked the sink before but somehow missed it. Plumber Willie (our new best friend, it seems) is coming out today to fix it. No more having to wash dishes that require hot water in the upstairs sink – though, it’s not nearly as hard to do as one would think.

2. Shortly after I woke up yesterday, Alison called out to me asking where cleaning supplies are. A bottle of wine had mysteriously lost its cork in the middle of the night, leaking wine all over the basement. Thankfully, it was a small bottle of wine and didn’t get on much other than the floor and a set of plastic bins that can be easily washed off. Alison had heard the noise in the night and smelled the spilled wine but believed the cats were making the noise and that the smell was just a result of her dreaming about fruit salad. Mess is now cleaned up and we’ve emailed the wine makers in an attempt to find out what in the world would have caused the non-sparkling bottle of wine to suddenly open.

3. This was the weekend of work parties. First, mine which was at a beautiful park off the GW Parkway. Not as much sports were played this year compared to last due to the heat though we did enjoy ourselves, just sitting and talking and eating BBQ. Saturday afternoon was Matt’s work party, held at the home of a coworker. Lots of games, pool-swimming for the kids, smores, and more BBQ. Finally got to meet more of the people he talks about all the time and put names to faces.

4. After my work party, we headed up to Baltimore to see the Orioles take on the Mets. Being the Orioles, they lost pretty badly but I didn’t care. The game was actually an RIT alumni event, so we had food included in the ticket price. I was expecting hot dogs and soda but it actually included burgers, hot dogs, salad, popcorn, dessert, soda, and beer. Even had our own little room to sit in and hang out beforehand.

5. Although I can’t say I’m really into it, the World Cup does have me at least a little excited. Sunday we watched the Germany/Australia game. Matt rooted for Australia just to annoy Alison who was, rooting for having lived there and still very culturally tied to the country, Germany. I rooted for whoever was doing best at the given moment. The US plays next on Friday against Slovenia (I think) though we’ll both be at work during the game. Hopefully next week my parents don’t mind if we watch a game or two.

6. Running is going decent, I’d say. I haven’t missed a run in a few weeks, after having three straight weeks of missing shorter runs. The Sunday (long) runs haven’t been nearly as hard as I thought though the longest distance we’ve ever done was five miles. Next week, it’s 6. My group will run the bridge that’s at the tail-end of our race while I’ll be in my hometown, hopefully running the big bridge there. I just hope I don’t get really discouraged when the running starts to get truly difficult.

7. Work in a little stressful right now. We have a big meeting tomorrow that we’re getting ready for. The slides are finished but it’s just that last-minute anxiety going on.

So, yeah, there’s the leftover bits. Tomorrow, there should be pictures again. Maybe. Of something.