Monday, August 29, 2011

The state of things

What am I working on?

The grey blob. The epic shawl is still growing. I am racing toward the end of the second skein of yarn. I’m not sure if I will finish before I complete the first border.
The construction of the shawl is like this:

Center: normal back and forth creating a celtic knot
Then the first border (which looks like fir trees to me) is knit in the round after picking up stiches all the way around the center
Then, the final border (which is another celtic knot) is knit perpendicular to the first border so each row binds off 1 stitch

The charts get smaller with each section as well. 

Center: 1 giant 4 page chart. Every other row is charted and the uncharted rows are knit. Every row of the chart is knit 1 time, no repeats across the rows
1st border: single, smaller, one-page chart which charts every other round. The uncharted rounds are purled. The chart is repeated 8 times each round, but each round is only ever knit once
2nd border: super small , only one instance of the chart per row, but the full chart is knit roughly 8 bagillion times.

Basically the shawl is 3 different sections of ridiculousness and yet I still love it. It takes me just about 2 full episodes of LOST to finish a round (80 minutes or so) at this point. At the end of this section there will be 1,096 stitches on the needle. Crazy pants, I know.

Not a great picture, but you can see how big it is

I’m working on another project, but it’s for my sister and it’s sort of a surprise. I will tell you it involves a needle and a hoop. I love it so far. I’ve finished half of it and hope to finish the rest this week. I might post

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quick Flowers

Just popping by to post a few flower pictures from my garden. 


This one is little it is a cute little surprise

This one looks like a sunrise to me
Marigolds







This flower was super close to the ground so I had to play a guessing game to get a good pic
Hide and Seek Nasturtiums

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chopped!

Tradition: Haircuts

Story:
I am not one to go get my hair done. I don’t spend a lot of time doing may hair, so the fact that it had been almost two years since my last haircut is not surprising. What is surprising is how long my hair had actually become.

Growing up my mom had a semi-rule (more of a precedent than an actual rule) that if you didn’t want to take care of your hair it had to be kept short. This did not mean my mom chopped our tangled hair off in the middle of the night in some traumatizing act of parental craziness (though with 5 daughters you couldn’t blame a woman for going a little crazy). It just meant that if we had super tangly hair because we (ok just me, I was pretty much the only one with this issue) refused to brush it, then she would encourage us to keep it on the shorter side. So growing up I kept it short. Sometimes it was super short and I would be mistaken for a boy, sometimes it was super short and I wouldn’t style it and I would look ridiculous (oh the pictures!)

Now that I am a pretend grown up and don’t have to follow my mom’s rules about hair brushing I find medium length hair to be perfect. I can pull it into a pony tail or I can just part it and still look presentable. The other benefit is that if I want to style medium length hair it is not so long that it take numerous clips/ties/pins to keep it in place, but it is long enough to do something with it (on the extremely rare chance that I want to do such a thing).

Last time I got a haircut, my cousin was just finishing up at a great cosmetology school out west. I was in the vicinity so I stopped in and let her use some of her practical hours on someone she knew. She gave me an adorable bob shorter in the back than the front. It was super cute and I didn’t think about getting another haircut for ages.

Eventually, though, my hair did what hair does and it had grown to halfway down my back. The ability to style it was becoming limited. I couldn’t wear a normal ponytail because it was too long and annoyed me. So when I reached a reward point I chopped it off.

The pictures make me look grumpy, but I was quite happy actually

Before
Long hair in a low pony tail
 After
 Shoulder Length, being held back slightly by my sunglasses. Also wow giant nose and I should have worn makeup




Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rewarding the work

Today I am going to focus on rewarding milestones or recognizing something that has become a real tradition, a habit, something that defines you in the way you want to be defined. If you set goals for yourself then this is an idea similar to mini goals or short-term goals.

I do not set goals but rather define myself more fully through traditions and thereby have a general path to travel. Along the path I place reward points. If I am continuing to move along the path I am going to pass each point. At each point I can continue moving forward or I can redefine the path.

The one thing that makes these points special is that I reward myself. The reward may be small at each point or maybe because of the progression and general difficulty of the journey each reward is slightly bigger or more exciting than the one before culminating in a grand reward. Either way is great, but I think for some journeys they are crucial. Crucial because the progression is slow, and it is easy to focus on the future while ignoring the past. It is smart thing to take the time to see how you have progressed, changed and become more deeply you.

I recently reached one of those reward points and once I was there the reward was easy. I cut my hair. Such a minor change and yet it felt like a brand new start or platform to begin the rest of the work I need to do for this tradition.

Unfortunately, I have defined my next reward point, but have not figured out what the reward is going to be. Some things I really like to do as a reward:

  • Take a day trip somewhere you always mean to go, but have yet to make. If you need ideas look for state parks near you, search for a hike nearby or hit up a beach on a weekday
  • Indulge in your hobby – buy that special tool that you don’t need, but have been eyeing for years
  • Take a day off – some traditions take so much energy before they become a real tradition that giving yourself a break is the only thing needed to rejuvenate the plan
  • Get pretty – get your nails done, get a facial, get a haircut or buy a cute new top, a pair of shoes or a new pair of earrings
  • Do something different or new – this one works especially well for “traditional” goals (think saving money or losing weight) – the basic idea is to take what you are already doing and do something different and fun, something slightly outside your comfort zone. If you are saving money, use your entertainment budget to see a movie you would otherwise never see. If you are into mainstream movies maybe venture to an artsy theater this time instead of your standard Hollywood release. If you are losing weight try a new exercise. If running is your thing try a class, if you normally do classes maybe join a different class. Try yoga instead of zumba or try hip hop dancing instead of pilates. Just mix it up without committing to a long-term change in your routine
What are you going to do to reward yourself?

More on My haircut next time