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01/01 Direct Link
The assignment at first seemed rather frivolous. But as I continued to listen to the instructions, I began to see its true intent. Amid the constant messaging we receive about how we are inadequate, how we need to improve ourselves and our lives (and how this product or that thing will magically transform us), this daily exercise can foster a sense of individual self-worth. Iím not sure I can handle another daily thing to do at this point, I often find my current commitments daunting, but I will try to incorporate it into my existing routines on a rotating basis.
01/02 Direct Link
The holidays are over. The world outside is still pretty quiet because schools are still on holiday, but it is back to work. This will not be a work rant, but I am supremely unmotivated to do much of anything today. Often, I can sift through the various items and find something that is if not enjoyable, at least acceptable to do first thing in the morning, and the day flows from there. But the real news today is that it is the second day of the year and I have a finished knitting item: the fingerless mitts are done!
01/03 Direct Link
New Yearís resolutions arenít something I do. I do believe in goals, however, and I have set one specific goal for 2020 that is already proving quite difficult. This year, I want to be very restrained about buying yarn. But when certain colors and fibers are combined, they are my kryptonite. And my favorite indie dyer just posted a new batch of THAT color in one of THOSE yarnsÖ I must sit on my hands not to order. Maybe thereís something already in my stash that will distract me for an hour - the yarn will be sold out then.
01/04 Direct Link
I may have found the perfect approach to getting rid of unwanted bits of perfectly good things Ė a way to find a new home for stuff, where it is actually wanted. For example, a spendy British knitting magazine Iíve had for a decade Ė itís a duplicate and in perfect condition. Two skeins of complimentary laceweight yarn I wonít ever use and didnít buy. The odd coworker gift - I understand perfectly why it was deemed right for me, but it so.very.isnít. All of these things have been snapped up in an instant. Postage is a bitch but so is waste.
01/05 Direct Link
As a child, nearly every Easter, I went with my fatherís parents to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for spring vacation Ė at that time, typically a full week. Grandpa had a silver Airstream trailer, and we stayed in a campground well east of town. Every year, there would be at least one trip into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. In need of a topic I can riff on for a week of starts, this does seem to be the perfect solution. And one filled with absolutely gorgeous pictures. I may have to restrain myself to keep from writing a novel each day.
01/06 Direct Link
Back in the 70ís, there was a restaurant in Knoxville that served french fries that were hand-cut from absolutely monster russet potatoes - they were often nearly a foot long. It was somewhere in town, but it had to be easy to get to from the highway with trailer in tow. We didnít stop there every year Ė if weíd started the morning of Day 2 at the hotel in Berea, Kentucky, thereíd be no point to stopping in Knoxville. On a great trip, I got to eat there, at Berea and breakfast at a Bob Evans somewhere along the road.
01/07 Direct Link
I knew that the big, fat, white trilliums I sometimes saw in the Smoky Mountains were rare. I didnít know that trilliums came in many shapes, sizes and colors Ėthere 10 species in the GSM park. They are part of the ďspring ephemeralsĒ show from Mother Nature that appear above ground only in late winter and early spring, then flower, fruit, and die back within a few months. Having done some research for this weekís thread starts, I have a greater appreciation for the plants, particularly the wildflowers of the park. Perhaps someday weíll go on the Spring Wildflower pilgrimage.
01/08 Direct Link
As a child, I delighted in the Great Smokies at Easter - it much further south and spring was further along, enough so that the heavy coats and boots could be left at home. Sometimes it was even warm enough for the campgroundís water slide. There were many amusements in Gatlinburg (so many shops! things to eat!) and Pigeon Forge (the pottery, in particular). Every year, I discovered new things, new places, new aspects. A few years ago, I discovered something I missed because Easter is too early: the synchronous fireflies in the park. Someday I hope to see them.
01/09 Direct Link
As I child I didnít know or care that Cades Cove Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I never stopped to think that Cades Cove was once a real community where real people lived and that the formation of the national park might have come at an unthinkable cost to those who lived within the designated boundaries. I just knew it was a lazy drive (speed is quite limited, 10 MPH as I remember?) with everyone going in one way around the cove with all its old houses, barns, churches, and fences, a bucolic landscape.
01/10 Direct Link
If you do something for someone else because you want to do it Ė the doing of it, or knowing it is done makes you happy, do it. If you do something for someone else in order to be appreciated by the other, you shouldnít do it. And if you do something for someone else without them asking for it, and they say thank you, but for some reason you donít believe they appreciate the thing enough Ė too bad, just accept the thanks you were given and move on. Donít continue to make a big deal out of what you did.
01/11 Direct Link
Taking down any Christmas decorations is always faster than putting them on. Our outdoor decorations go up in a gradual process, done over the course of a few weekends, often because we run out of batteries for the front. Today, we de-christmased the front yard, in one fell swoop. It was so warm we didnít wear coats outside. And I removed decorations (but not the lights) from the tree so that tomorrow it can go out. I donít think weíve ever done both at once. There are very few remnants of Christmas left inside, but they will stay another week.
01/12 Direct Link
After spending a week writing about the delights of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, researching the history, the landscape, the sites and attractions in the park, I want to go there again. In fact, I now really want to visit all the NPS sites on the east coast. I had no idea that NPS had such a breadth - there are National Historical Parks, National Seashores and Lakeshores, Scenic Trails, Heritage Areas, Monuments, Historic Trails, Recreation Areas, and more. Letís get an RV, throw the cats and some yarn in the back (not!) and hit the road! I wish.
01/13 Direct Link
The row count between cables was off on my new sweater. I contemplated dropping down, butÖ multiple columns of cables, staggered in different rows across a 20 row chart repeatÖ too many opportunities to make another mistake, and there are rows of ďuntidyĒ knitting as YH says; I was demoralized. Itís on the back of a low tunic, can I live with it? No. It was easy to frog, once I got my courage up, which shouldnít have been so hard, the sweater is barely started. Now, it just plain looks better now, so Iím not demoralized Ė am I ďre-moralizedĒ?
01/14 Direct Link
How is it that even without a day that is end-to-end meetings, I donít make any substantive progress at work? I know Iím not supremely motivated at the moment Ė just the opposite, in fact - but it seems that I am not actually finishing anything at work. The list of reminders in my Task list is getting longer. If Iím honest, Iím not actually getting a lot (anything?) done on my personal list either. Not journaling is contributing to that, certainly, but right now I have the winter blahs. Some sunshine would help, so would eating better. Must do better.
01/15 Direct Link
Looking back, I cannot remember when my desk at work was last cleanedÖ when did Al leave? Today I took the time to move stuff on my desk and do a serious wipe-down with a damp cloth. The dust bunnies were vicious, fighting back, and I know thereís still more lurking between the desk and the wall, but that was beyond me. The accumulation of detritus is rather shocking, but it is the same in any building. Although at home, I know the grey stuff is from the cats, but what the grey stuff is here, I donít wanna know.
01/16 Direct Link
Why did I open work email before Iíve written my words? I just had this conversation with myself: I will sit down, have coffee, write words and then get on to work. As soon as I look at work email I am gone, thereís no two ways about it. Even though things are quiet (quiet enough I am once again attempting to Write That Paper) there is always something in email that will suck up half an hour, at least. Particularly now that I feel I have the freedom to look at those stories of interest Iíve had to avoid.
01/17 Direct Link
The thread about snowmageddon and a post from Vienna triggered the memory of 35 years ago, traveling with Monica during winter break. We arrived in Vienna from Bonn and schlepped a rather long distance to the hostel we were staying at. Overnight, about 2 feet of snow unexpectedly arrived, and I had no boots. Or no functional boots. The hostel kicked everyone out during the day, we had to go somewhere, but nothing had been plowed yet, so we struggled through the snow to get to the Innere Stadt Ė I donít remember what we did, but remember moonlight on snow.
01/18 Direct Link
This isnít how I planned to spend the afternoon, but after finding more moth damage this week, I donít feel that I have a choice: every bit of stash, work in progress and other yarny bits in the knitty room will be in a gasket box. I got more gasket boxes which are a different size than the old boxes, so I have to adjust the Rav listings as well. Something clearly went amiss in my previous updates, because a lot of yarn is still listed as being in boxes that no longer exist. And I need two more boxes.
01/19 Direct Link
In my beloved babysitterís family there were three sisters, the youngest was my age, the middle one was three or four years older. The oldest was two more years older and always somewhat apart, but the younger two were like my sisters for a while. My momís parents were always quite generous and would invite the two younger sisters to go with me when they took me on outings Ė like a weekend at Cedar Point. It was quite a surprise to learn today that the two sisters had never eaten in a sit-down restaurant until they went with my grandparents.
01/20 Direct Link
Waking up this morning, I felt alive for the first time in many days. I slept all night. I have no memory of waking up until just before the alarm went off, as daylight was coming into the room. I went to sleep quickly last night, I donít remember himself coming to bed. And maybe even better than the actual sleep was waking without a headache, without pain in my neck and shoulders. What was different about last night? Was it environmental? Clean sheets alone donít cause such changes. Was it the pillow change, the venta? I wish I knew.
01/21 Direct Link
There have been more visits to a dentist in the last five months than in my entire life. At least, it seems that way. And for whatever reason, it isnít getting easier, so I am almost as tense going in as I was the first time I came in for anything other than a cleaning. The usual thoughts of ďwhat shall I knit nextĒ didnít really distract me today while things were ongoing; at least afterwards it didnít hurt. I think Iím done with fillings, and am half way done with restoring the lost tooth, at least I hope so.
01/22 Direct Link
As the bright sunlight hit my windshield, I saw faint traces of snowflakes. Hundreds of them, spread out over the glass, except it wasnít the actual snowflakes, but their outlines left behind. Ghostly remains, faded footprints, pick your metaphor, simile or comparison. When the light was right, I could also see the outline of snowflakes on the rear window. I donít think Iíve ever seen that before. They didnít look like the tracks of hoarfrost. The windshield held the impression of a field of big, fat, individual snowflakes, as if they were laid out on a department store jewelry counter.
01/23 Direct Link
Another trip to the hospital ER for my parents today because dad isnít taking meds the way he should. Heís an adult, but Iím not so sure he can really be held responsible for taking his own meds at this point. He doesnít seem to recognize the passing of time (how can he when he sleeps most of the day) and he doesnít want to acknowledge his symptoms. I think he needs more care and direction than mom can give him, but neither of them is willing to acknowledge that. I apparently cannot escape using this space as a diary.
01/24 Direct Link
Sharing is caring, they say, but this isnít something that should be shared. Himself got a voicemail from his mother that sheís in hospital after reporting vision issues and wobbly legs. She is so much easier to get to for a visit than my parents, so I am expecting that we will going in to the city this weekend, unless she is magically discharged tomorrow morning. As they donít yet know if she had a stroke, that seems unlikely. I canít imagine being in the hospital without seeing familiar faces, especially when thereís so much family that is essentially local.
01/25 Direct Link
I awoke early, just after sunrise and looked out the window to the back yard. I wasnít really awake and I didnít have my glasses on, but something in the view was arresting. I stood there for a while before I slowly realized that everything was bathed in a magical, pink hue. It only lasted a few minutes before regular daylight arrived, returning everything to its normal color. Iíve never seen anything like that before, although I often catch the gloaming, the amber light gilding the land in the late afternoon. I would like to see that pink world again.
01/26 Direct Link
As I go through boxes of yarn, moving and shuffling into new boxes, I am trying to update the records to keep things accurate, so I can find yarn when I want to use it. I add pictures to listings that have no images. I rediscover favorites, and consider how to Some skeins escaped being previously listed, so I add those to the list and watch the yardage grow. It appears Iíve added 50% in the last seven years. The number is approaching stash acquisition beyond life expectancy, depending on how much is laceweight that will knit with multiple plies.
01/27 Direct Link
It isnít a particularly cold day, not for January. We have had colder days this winter. But today, in the office, I am freezing at work. Yes, my office is a bit cooler than other places in the building. Typically, thatís not an issue, why is it now. I am so cold I am wrapping my slightly-ratty cashmere shawl around me. Hot chocolate in the afternoon seems pale and tepid and does nothing to warm me. Surprisingly, the cold follows me home, and I swath myself in layers and blankets in order to feel warm. At home, I am warm.
01/28 Direct Link
You give your family explicit directions to not contact you, then are raving and pissed when they do as you asked?† Because they didnít magically know that you had exceptions to those directions, which you never articulated to them? Sorry, but thatís all on YOU. You just sound like a precious special snoflake who is amazingly self-centered. Having looked up your profile, all I can say is yeah, every word Iíve read from you betrays your privileged existence. Iíve never done it before but Iíve put you on Ignore. I canít bear to read another word of your self-indulgent crap.
01/29 Direct Link
The last time I was sick and in isolation upstairs, I ďdiscoveredĒ the PBS American Experience series about New York. It is a bit slow moving, which is perfect for watching when youíre sick. It is also filled with stunning images of both archival stills and early film clips, and of the now-lost World Trade Center. I have returned to the series, narrated by David Ogden Stiers (also lost) and commentary by a host of erudite NYers. The history of the city is always surprising and the series is a perfect escape from the current unrest erupting in our world.
01/30 Direct Link
BooBoo is soÖfuzzy, and happy to have his tummy petted. He is adorably cute when he curls up with his paws bent and showing their tufts. Being so very dark he is difficult to photograph well, particularly at night in a low-lit room. I keep trying to get a really good photo, but in the meantime, Iíve learned to caption the photos I have, which I use as comments - when I have time to create them. Being not quite well at the moment, I have both time and a skewed perspective, which helps me come up with new ideas.
01/31 Direct Link
End of the month means reflecting on my goals. But it is hard to understand what progress youíve made when you donít really know where you started. I have spent some real time this month trying to wrap my head around the yarn stash and get real numbers. Looking at the current numbers, I amÖ surprised. And very disappointed when I realize that despite all the updates I made earlier this month, my listings are still not correct. Yarn that Iíve actually used up is still included in these numbers. So Ė hurrah, I have less yarn than I originally thought?