Saturday, December 31, 2011

On to 2012

A new year, time for new traditions

My opinion of resolutions and goals has not changed in the past year, so once again I’m going to work on building traditions.  I haven’t solidified my list, but I have settled on a theme for the year: More and Less.
More good food, less rushed dinners
More internalization, less socialization
More creating home, less living in a house
More projects, less lifetime achievements
More acceptance, less confrontation
More saving, less spending
More responsibility, less ignorance
More planning, less making do with the unsatisfactory
More engaging, less passive watching

You get the idea. I will have to really focus my traditions this year, but I think the theme is a fantastic one for me, right now. What is 2012 about for you?

Friday, December 30, 2011

Finishing the Caterpillar for 2011

I had tons of free time at work at the end of the year so I poured through a couple more books. This means I met my goal of 30 books for the year.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote - No idea how this has been such a major part of popular culture and I still didn't know it was about a real event. For some reason I thought it was just a normal, fictional novel. I was wrong. I enjoyed it a ton, sort of reminded me of books by Ann Rule that I liked as a teenager
Tinkers by Paul Harding -  Weird book. It was fragmented, bouncing between different generations of the same family. I really liked it by the end, but found some of the chapters a bit confusing and out there.
The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg - I enjoyed this book, though it was frustrating and annoying at times. It got me thinking of a speech given by one of my favorite chefs awhile ago.
Bailey's Cafe by Gloria Naylor - This is by the author of Mama Day and is a completely different novel, with some of the same things I loved about Mama Day, but with more dark stuff of life. This novel did completely surprise me on the last two pages with a small detail that alludes to another book. It was sort of a prize for reading books and I loved it.

What books did you read to finish out the year?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Last Tradition for 2011

The last tradition that I worked on in 2011 was Religion expanded. I will not call this a success I will say I attended more meetings, felt slightly more included and realized (as usual) that religion works for me in a doctrinal way, but not in a social way and that is ok with me. I'm not sure this tradition will continue in the "expansion" that I worked on in 2011, but religion will always be part of my life.

What did you learn in your resolutions or traditions in 2011? What was your favorite part? What was your least favorite part of the year or your traditions?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Caterpillar and Time Out

This set of traditions really suffered this year. Between January and April (when I changed jobs and lost my commute) I read about 15 books in the other 8 months I have read only 10. My reading has definitely tapered but I am allowing myself to stay motivated through bookclub and perusing my local used book shop. I even got to go back and read Mama Day which I didn't read last year, even though I try to read it every year.

My latest additions to the Caterpillar

60. Unbroken - for book club. read like an encyclopedia, not in love
61. Mama Day - still love this book, find something new to focus on, this time it is the description of the marriages throughout the book.

Time Out really fell off. I love the theory of this and there were many days when I did not watch TV or work on the computer after work, but those were usually the days that I did not get home before bedtime. We did take time to do other things, but it was definitely not what I wanted when trying to imagine this new tradition. I don't think I'm going to keep investing energy into this tradition, it didn't work and I need to figure out a better way to get what I wanted from this.

Was there anything (goal, tradition, or god forbid a resolution) that you are going to give up on in 2012?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Garden and Time based on RoI

 Super picture heavy post, I love my garden what can I say?

Zinnia from my garden, photo edited in instagram. I want this on a pendant

The garden served us well this year. We are still using up the pasta sauce and salsa and we still have beans in the freezer. We had a long temperate fall so we still had lettuce growing until a couple of days ago. 

Garlic scapes, radishes, carrots and sugar snap peas
Cucumber (which was eventually made into a pickle
Summer squash - will not grow next year, zucchini instead
I had amazing nasturtiums that I just can't describe. I could see the color from my house and every time I walked out to the garden there were more and more of them. There was one that was a coral color, and it opened so wide it looked like a hibiscus. Unfortunately I can't find that picture

Planted in with the tomatoes

Such vibrant colors

Wide variety of colors too
Reminds me of a viola
They bloomed all summer
We had a plethora of sunflowers and that made me so happy!

sun setting behind a super tall one
Sunflower bud, I'm in love with this picture

Red sunflower with a bumblebee
Happy, traditional, sunny sunflowers
Awesome sunflower about 4' tall, but the "petals" are little tubes. SO COOL!
Funky one I tried this year, it stands almost 4' tall but the flower itself looks like a giant dandelion
GIANT leaves oh man they were huge!
Better look at the tubular "petals"
Next year I want to plant even more flowers, even though we had a ton this year.

Zinnias, color was so bright I couldn't get my phone to not make them so crazy looking

These remind me of a toy I had as a kid

Hosta flowers are so short lived I can't usually catch them during daylight when they are all open
Our hostas doubled in size this year, we'll split them in 2012
Balloon flowers are so fun! Looking like little square balloons before they bloom
Lilies at night. These were awesome I wish I had a daylight picture
More perennials
Salvia at the edge of the perennial bed
These bloom like cuh-ra-zee

weeds, a turtle stepping stone, groundcover and some first year plants
overexposed, but one of my favorite views of the perennial bed. Such a fun section of my backyard

I haven't decided if we will do a whole other raised bed garden dedicated to flowers, but I did plant even more bulbs this year, including Queen of the Night tulips, my favorite flower of all time.

Time Based on RoI
This one is going to be a long one. As I explained at the beginning of the year I spent a ton of time on work and work related (read commute) stuff. This was completely dissatisfying. My job was not going to get better and the commute was not going to change. I had two choices, work harder to make the job what I wanted or find a better job. I started looking and interviewing almost immediately, while at the same time attempting to figure out what opportunity I could make at my company. Then I had a meeting that made clear how little opportunity was going to be available to me. Thankfully my applications and interviews finally panned out and I was able to leave and cut my commute by 2 hours per day.

This singular change has had a huge impact. First, I get to sleep enough, I can get up early and accomplish something whether that be chores or attending bootcamp. I get home about the same time, but I have so much mental energy left it is amazing. My mood is better because I don't hate 1/2 of my day and my commute is amazing. I drive by a wall of lilacs and then a perfectly New England field with an adorable farmhouse at the other side. I'm hoping that next spring I can take a weekend and drive my commute, stopping to take pictures along the windy hilly road.

I also crossed something off of my life list. I made the epic shawl in less than one year and even though I was sick of it by the time I finishsed, I am so glad I did it. In every stitch there is the progression of this year. The year when I built my life as my own. There have been no regrets this year and that's because I focused my time on what I knew to be the best investment. Absolutely going to continue using this mentality as I go forward

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Running and Moment of Happy

We are still running, though in the month of December I felt the need to mix it up a bit. I have started going to a bootcamp workout class ever Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning. I love it. Even in just the first two weeks I have made major improvements in strength and tone throughout my entire body so I'm pretty psyched. I am not sure that the monthly cost going forward will be feasible, but the amazon local deal made it worth trying. We'll see come January if I keep going for a month or two.

The new tradition I wanted to build in 2011 was a Moment of Happy. I think the general idea was a huge success. The little things became even more enjoyable, I laughed with friends and family. I noticed the small things that were worth a smile. I also found some silly jewelry and accessories that make me smile!
This one is courtesy of my friend Christina
 Since this was such a success I've decided that I am going to keep this tradition going, but next year I think I will focus on documenting a little bit better. I haven't figured out how I want to document, but hopefully I'll figure it out come January

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Winding up 2011

At the beginning of the year I set out to incorporate some new traditions into my life. Over the next month I’m going to review them, determine how I think they are working out and whether or not I think the tradition should be continued going forward.

I’ll start with the theme of the year: Get To It I have a self-sufficient opinion on happiness and the pursuit thereof. I think that most people know the things they need to do and most people find excuses not to do those things. I am most assuredly one of those people. I re-recognized this at the beginning of 2011. So much had happened in 2010 that made me sad, angry, etc. So back in January when I wrote the theme Get To It, I knew what I needed to get done to be a happier more complete version of me. I also knew I was the only one who could make these changes. 2011 was not perfect, it has had happy things, sad things, fun things, hard things, but it is ending with the Britt I have lived my whole life for. It is cliché to say that I have been waiting for a year like this my whole life, but I have. It was a year that was full of me dictating actions, plans and filling my days with the things I needed to be doing. There will be more long winded explanations as I go through each tradition in the next week or two.

Old: Running
New in '11: Moment of Happy

Old: Garden
New in '11: time based on ROI

Old: Caterpillar
New in '11: Time Out!

Old and New: Religion expanded

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Nine Months

9 months. Some people use 9 months to make a human being. I would not do such a life changing thing, but I did use 9 months to create this

The Whole Kit and Kaboodle
This would be the epic shawl. Let me give you a closer look
Center Celtic Knot

Edging 1
Edging 2, the Second Celtic Knot

Gratuitous Close-up Shot
The shawl called for 3800 yards, I bought 4125 yards, but still ran out and had to buy a partial skein off of someone from ravelry. I ended up using an extra 5 grams. The dye lot doesn't match so the color is more of a true grey than the rest of the shawl (which is a brownish grey). You can see the color difference in the first picture (upper rightish)

The blocking was tough. I pinned out just the center, sprayed it with water and let it dry. Then I folded the shawl in half and pinned out just the edging. I could have done a better job with that, but It still worked out. The biggest problem is that I could have stretched it a bit bigger if I had tried and maybe I should have, it would made it even bigger, but believe me when I say it is big enough. i would guess that mine is about 6.5 ft across.

There is so much more to write, everything else that happened in my life as I was knitting, but I'll save that for my traditions posts to wrap up the year.