Monday, December 31, 2007

My Guiding Word for 2008 - "Awareness"

Each year, my friend Phyllis and I choose a word to guide us through the coming year. If you've never heard me go on and on about this before - then read about how we came up with this by going here. I've chosen excellent words in the past, some were more effective and rang truer with me than others. Last year, I selected "self-control" but it was one of those clunkers that didn't work as well because I think it was too extreme and non-forgiving. I didn't feel comfortable with it - and thus didn't exercise much of it. I guess the rebel part of me rebelled against the very thought, not to mention the adherence, to that word!

So this year, I am selecting "Awareness" with a great deal of consideration and I think it will work for me! I've actually been using it since October, when the word was mentioned at a Weight Watchers meeting and the word resonated and clung to me like the finest cashmere.

Why Awareness? Because it covers all areas of my life - my personal life, my health and fitness efforts, my career, my knitting life, my spiritual development, my financial prosperity. By being aware, I gain the power to make informed and heartfelt choices. If I'm AWARE, I have a choice. If I'm mentally asleep at the wheel, I lose it all to old, destructive habit, to living on automatic pilot, to taking the easy, but wandering road that too often gets me off track on my personal goals.

So my word for this year is "Awareness." By choosing to be aware more often, about more things, and to come back to that awareness without chastisment, but with an attitude of "Oh yeah, now I'm THERE, centered, I can make the best choice for me in this moment." Awareness is what it really takes to steer my year ahead. Here's to 2008 - here's to being more aware. Not being perfect, just walking toward what I want with the magic word in my heart.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Reeling From the Yarn Stash Inventory

I used to think that the stash folder was the one thing on Ravelry I would never use. Why? I told myself that I already know what is in my stash, that it’s “not much” and that ”I’m going to use it all eventually.” Also, that’s it’s manageable because I already know what projects I’m going to make with most of it. Yeah, right. What obvious rationalizing I’ve been doing.

In recent days, I’ve been pulling bags and bags out of not only my yarn room closet, but also other closets in the house, including mine upstairs and storage containers downstairs in the family room closet. Yikes! Just gathering it altogether and setting it out is a chore. Then I started photographing it on my digital camera. Wow! What a chore. I have used up most of my monthly uploading allowance on Flickr. I still haven’t finished uploading yet. Jeez.

I’m finding yarn and projects I’d totally forgotten about. It’s like finding gold (and lots of Fools Gold too). Along with the yarn, I’m finding old patterns I wanted to make - and matching yarn with projects I’m much more excited about than the original pattern intention.

I am tackling this task a little bit each day. It’s amazingly time consuming.
It's been quite an eye opener logging these thing. Ugghh!!! I am slowly but surely getting them photographed, then downloaded onto Flickr and finally on Ravelry. It's a 4 step process: 1) finding the yarn; 2)blushing with chagrin at how I "really intended on knitting that" but never did! (or if it's yarn I no longer love wondering, "What in the world was I thinking?") 2) photographing it; 3) Entering it into Flickr with a description and identifying information; 4) posting it onto Ravelry.

I am feeling much better about it today than yesterday. I'm mentally "fessing up" to my yarn transgressions and feeling more excited about using what I have, and feeling guilt-free to sell or give away what I really won't ever use.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Happy Birthday - To My Favorite Person

Happy Birthday to my favorite man - my husband of almost 22 years - Bobby. He's getting near in age to a major milestone, but we won't go there about the exact age thing.

He's been off this last week on vacation days, so we've been able to spend some time together. It's been really nice. Today he's decided that for his birthday, we will go bowling.

I'm bad at bowling. Really quite bad. Imagine nothing but gutter balls. But I'm going because it will make him happy.

We are hoping this next year will be much better than 2007, which was kind of a "blah" year for both of us, nothing really bad happened, but it just felt "flat" somehow and we're ready for more happy and exciting things to happen in 2008.

Here's to my favorite person, bar none. He's easy going, fun to be with, has the dryest, sharpest sense of humor of anyone I know. He's smart, and again, FUN. And he's an extremely responsible husband, father, and all-around nice guy. He's the most balanced person I ever met. He's down-to-earth, practical, and demands much more of himself than he expects of others.

He likes: chess, ping pong, politics, computers, all things computer geekish, loves old classic rock, i.e. YES, Dave Mason, Allman Brothers, Rolling Stones. He's a die-hard movie buff. Most of all, he's a devoted family man and will do anything for people he cares about. Bob, may you have a very Happy Birthday, and the best year ahead of your life. I'm grateful we get the chance to spend our days together.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things

Okay, since FluffyKnitter Deb and several other folks on various blogs have posted their Favorite Things, (see Deb's December 13th entry for her favorites),I decided to join in the fun and post mine as well.

Many things occurred to me over the past week or so as being among my favorites, but these are ones that immediately popped into my mind this morning, I may be adding more later as they occur to me. They are very trivial, but fun things that hopefully will spark in you some of your own favorites, or spur you to try some new things:

Favorite all-time music album, Carol King's Tapestry. I sang this album, over and over, by rote, by memory and with deep emotion all throughout my teen years. It still stirs bittersweet coming-of-age memories in me.

Favorite mindless book I read as a girl that I still treasure and love: A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford. A great long soap-operish book that I thoroughly enjoyed - it's total brain candy but sweet and enjoyable, nonetheless.

Another old time book I loved and still re-read every few years for the romance, history, suspense and mysticism is Green Darkness by Anya Seyton.

Volume Express mascara by Maybelline must be mentioned. I like this mascara because I have thin, almost impossible to see eyelashes, and I like my lashes to be noticeable, even when I wear my glasses. It's is really easy to use, glides on smoothly with just a couple of swipes, and stays on all day. It's a bit hard to remove, but it's waterproof, so that is all part of wearing waterproof mascara. I've been looking for something this good for several years and this year, I found it. Yay!

Favorite movie seen this year (it's cheating because I actually saw it just before the turn of 2007, it's called "Pursuit of Happyness" with Will Smith and is available on DVD now.

Favorite relaxing balm for body and hands: Gardeners Body Butter by Upper Canada. I bought this at Beauty Brands but think you can buy it cheaper all over the web. I use it mainly as hand cream, but it soothes dry skin anywhere. Also, it smells pleasant and minty, but not overly strong. Clean pleasant smell.

Favorite oldie but goody "get a kick of it" book (for the excellent zany and hilarious based-on-true life characters) forever - Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. And no, the movie just ain't the same - you need to read the book. Even though it was a bestseller years ago, in 1997, it is still one of the most deliciously gossipy and fascinating sort-of-based-on-truth books I've ever read.

Favorite place I've ever visited, no surprise there, Savannah Georgia. Not just because of the book, but also because it's one of the most beautiful, friendly and fascinating places I've ever been. Granted, I'm not well traveled, but it's truly memorable.

Favorite candle: WoodWick soy candles that Mary told me about. You can buy them at Cracker Barrell restaurants in the gift shop. They are the most delightful candles you will ever experience - they have a wood wick (and thus the name), they smell delightful, burn twice as long as a normal candle and give off a wood cracking sound that reminds you of a crackling fire. My personal favorite scent is RUM RAISIN. It's delightful, but they have many scents to chose from, including Fireplace. Speaking as a bonafide candle fanatic I can testify to the fact that these are the --- the best!!! Made even better by soaking in a big bubble bath at the same time as burning the candle. It would make a lovely and affordable post-Christmas gift for $15.99 if you haven't found a special gift for someone on your list.

Best (natural) and helpful headache remedy and stress reliever: Origins "Peace of Mind." You can buy it at any Origins store.

Favorite coffee drink to make at home: Michaels coffees, but my special favorite is Chocolate Raspberry Dream. I buy it for cheap at Gordman's discount store, but they are available online at Michaels website.

Favorite place I've never been but long (deeply) to go: How about anywhere in Alaska? You name it, I'd go there. I want to take one of those cruises where you go from Seattle or Vancouver and travel up through Alaska. Speaking of Alaska, another movie I really loved was: Into the Wild. Another based-on-true-life story that was just fascinating, and frightening. And emotional. All at the same time. I loved it! It ought to be out on DVD soon, if not already. Made me want to go to Alaska even more.

Favorite "How to" or self-help book this year (and I read a LOT of them) is definitely, "This Year I Will" and I'll be re-reading this one this week as the new year approaches.

Favorite styling tool: Chi hair straightener.

Favorite nail polish brand OPI, favorite colors, "More Time for Me" and "Abbey Rose." Yes, superficial but painted nails make me happy!!!

OPI - Abbey Rose NLB22OPI - Abbey Rose

Favorite Knitting Book of 2007: Definitely, Victorian Knitted Lace by Jane Sowersby. Read this interesting article about her and her heavenly shawls here at Knitting Universe. I have a confession to make: somehow this knitter, author, designer intimidates me to no end. When we were at Stitches Midwest last summer, I enjoyed her display and presentation of her shawls better than probably anything else (except for sitting around in the lobby of the hotels and knitting and chatting with strangers). But of all the total strangers who I met and enjoyed talking with, when I met her in the Marketplace and had a chance to talk with her, all I could do was admire the beautiful green shawl she was wearing and stutter when she tried to explain which one it was, and how she made it. Yes, she actually tried to patiently explain how she made it, and where I could find it in the book. Do you think I remember a thing? Nah. But I don't know if there are any specific shawls in there I actually want to make - flipping through the pages of this book makes me wnat to knit lace, definitely, but I have several shawl pattern projects in my shawl notebook that I'm actually more in love with. So I don't know if I will ever make a shawl from this book or not.

Favorite old TV laughs. Sure to make me laugh, with fond memories: watching old Fawlty Towers and old Carol Burnett reruns. And my favorite old TV show -- I used to LOVVVVEEEEE (and still do) watching Johnny Carson reruns of The Tonight Show. Go to his website here, and see the video of the world's only fruitcake . . . he has this theory that there's only one in the world, and it's been passed and passed around to unappreciative recipients. Oh, just go there, it's really funny!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Stash Knit Down 2008

Thanks to the thoughtful post of my online friend, and fellow blogger, Elysbeth, I am joining her in the Stash Knit Down 2008.

Okay, last year I avoided an official Yarn Diet. My thinking was that if I did that by officially restricting myself, I'd merely rebel and buy even more. And I did pretty well on not adding new yarn purchases to the stash. I just didn't do much to knit it down, either.

I may be under the mistaken belief that if I keep it tucked away in plastic bins and in project bags in the closet - it doesn't exist. "I don't think (about it), therefore it isn't." Is that the reverse form of the "I think therefore I am" philosophy or what?

Seriously, I don't have as much stash as I used to. Throughout 2007, though I wasn't on an official "yarn diet" I truly did buy a lot less, and even gave away a bunch of yarn that I knew I'd never use. I even managed to survive Stitches Midwest last summer and only buy 3 skeins of yarn for a specific freeform project I'm working on. I even have many of these stashed yarns bagged, usually with the intended pattern in the bag, and sometimes even the needles! Since I'm a slow knitter, though, I have more of these future projects in the queue and in the closet, than I can realistically knit in a couple of years. Sometimes a project or a yarn is no longer appealing to me because over time, and with increased knitting experience, my tastes change.

So by joining this Stash Knit Down 2008 group on Ravelry, I hope to get the stash OUT of the closet, to photograph and log it into my official Stash inventory over on Ravelry. I intend to be more aware of the in-house store I have in my closet, and to turn to it first before buying more yarn. One more thing: if I buy a whole new project's worth of yarn for something new that grabs me, I have to first somehow get rid of another project from the stash, either by knitting it, selling it, giving it away or whatever. I don't want to add more to the stash, without first reducing it - and ideally the total result will be less money spent, less stash added, and more used for a good purpose - that's the point.

All this goes back to my word for 2008 "Awareness" - by becoming more aware of what I'm buying, why I'm buying, and how I might better use the resources I already have, perhaps I'll strengthen awareness in other areas of my life as well, i.e. diet/health, personal finances, etc.

I also hope to use some of my stash to do some Charity knitting for local kids - I'm not much motivated to knit things for far away people in foreign countries. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I was talking with Rita at Knitcraft the other day, and she pointed out that she donates all her charity knits to the local Children's Mercy Hospital. That definitely appeals to me, and I promised that I'd join her in contributing at least a few knitables this year.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Rose Hearts Shawl

About a month or so ago, my talented friend Jeanie at Dances With Yarn made her mother, who she calls "Glamaw" a very beautiful Flower Basket Shawl out of the Malabrigo yarn. If you look at her November 13th entry, you can see her lovely shawl. I fell in love with it and decided it would be a great idea to knit my own Grammy a shawl because she's been coveting my Forest Canopy ever since I finished it early last summer. I placed an order for Malabrigo worsted weight merino in Dusty Rose (Grandma's favorite color) and plan on making this one Rose Heart shawl - a new design by Elizabeth Matthews.

I started knitting on this shawl on the 19th, then had to scrap it and start over on Thursday the 20th. (There are some errors) and be sure and check the Errata before you start this pattern. But now that I've figured out the bugaboos, with the help of the techie LanieRed, I think this shawl is now on it's way to being a satisfying knit! There is even a Yahoogroup and Ravelry Group set up so that folks can do a knitalong that starts on January 18th. Me, I couldn't wait because NOW is the time I have off to make it, since I'm am still officially unemployed.

Good news on that front, too, though. I received "the call" yesterday afternoon from my new employer telling me they've completed the background check, drug test, etc. I've jumped through all the hoops and will officially begin working as a customer service rep on January 7th! Yay! Great way to start off the New Year. Not only will I be making a bit more money, but I think I'll really be happy in this job. Yes! It helps me relax over the holidays, knowing there's another paycheck coming sometime in my future. Whew.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thoughtful Gems from Oprah for the New Year

I like Oprah. I love her magazine, especially this latest (January) issue on newsstands now. Have you seen it?

It's just the shot in the arm I can use right now in thinking about my new year. Maybe there's something of interest to you too?

I particularly liked the article on page 72 called, "The Willpower Myth" about how to make changes that are hard ones to make, the ones where you are weak and low in self-control. Remember the trouble I had last year using "self control" as my touchstone word? Well, heck, no wonder it didn't work well for me. This article examines the commonly held belief that failure to make change is a result of weak willpower, or that one didn't try hard enough. This article talks about research that examines the ways that change occurs successfully. I won't give away the contents of the article, but it's very interesting.

Another article in there, on page 164, talks about "The New and Improved Self-Esteem" - ways that self-esteem can be learned, taught, developed and spread to others. Very insightful! It's a self-esteem repair kit.

Then there's an article on "The Energy Makeover" which talks about ways to get through the day - alternatives to 4 cups of coffee. In fact, as the article so truly points out, the very things we're typically drawn toward to boost energy are seldom the things that actually help us be more energetic. There are some great ideas here - and the cover photo of Oprah wearing those gorgeous purple PJs wanted me to spruce up my own pajama wardrobe. I've been wearing some plain old ugly, misshapen and OLLDDD long t-shirts and they are pretty rattty. I think I'll be shopping for some more PJs soon.

Finally, there's a fantastic article on "How NOT to Look Old" on page 186 which talks about age fashion traps, many of which I have fallen into. I've been feeling kind of matronly and sloppy lately, wearing jeans and t-shirts constantly. Part of it, I know is that I need and want to lose weight, so since I feel frumpy, overweight and dowdy, I dress accordingly. That really needs to stop. I currently dress like Mom #2 - she's wearing a turtleneck and jeans with tennis shoes. But at least she has on a belt and a tucked in shirt. I don't ever wear belts, nor do I like to tuck in my shirt, because it emphasizes my apple-like mid-section!!! But she's the "functional but forgettable" Middle-aged Mom. That's me, all right. This article talks about to regroup with your wardrobe by buying a few classic pieces that you can mix and match - all look very attractive and up-to-date for a more youthful and attractive appearance.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Knitting Projects - Looking Ahead to 2008

Over on Ravelry, I posted a question that bears further exploring here on my blog, especially since I'm in that end-of-year ruminating place, and I'm temporarily unemployed, so have some free time to think about these things:

Okay, I'm throwing this question out there. Since I'm currrently in a reassessment mood, I know that immediately after Christmas (and in my case even before), I'm getting that organizational fever. The "goal oriented" part of me is cleaning out, organizing, reassessing . . . and looking anew at what projects I'm going to be doing in the new year. I even took a fresh look at my Ravelry queue and tried to reorder them by what I'm realistically going to try to do during 2008.

This question has also prompted me to re-read last years blog entries and completed projects. My primarily goal each year is to GROW, as a person, as a parent, as a wife, as a friend, as a knitter. In terms of knitting, I've really expanded my skills and horizons. In February, I completed my first freeform project, a vest. Also faced lace head-on by completing my first shawl - the Forest Canopy Shawl, and promptly and utterly fell into shawl LOVE. I intend to make at least a couple more shawls next year.

Last summer, I learned to do at least rudimentary crochet, I learned to make a foundation row, a slip stitch, single crochet, double crochet, half double and triple. I still don't feel comfortable reading patterns yet, or doing anything very complicated, but I feel good to be able to just do it!!! Big mental hang-up overcome by becoming bi-craftal.

Next year, I intend to complete some UFOs, including Wrap Me Up and the Einstein sweater. I want to create some long-admired "oldies but goodies" patterns I've been wanting for a long time, such as the Klaralund (Noro), perhaps in Spring I'll finally do a "Sitcom Chic" cardigan. I've had my "Vintage Vest" kit that I bought from The Studio sitting in my closet for a year now. I bought it at the last retreat.

The projects I was LEAST satisfied with last year were the two pullovers I made. Yuck! I wear neither one very often and they just aren't worth the time and money invested in making them. This should tell me something: I don't like the look of pullovers on me - and they are too hot for me at this hot-flash age. I need something I can throw off quickly when my internal theromstat rises.

Added Note Later: The fact that I don't like pullovers brings me to the sudden realization that it probably is NOT a good idea to make Klaralund. Much as I like it, I probably won't like wearing it. Hmmmmm. Maybe I can turn that Noro Yarn into a cardigan instead of a pullover.

My personal goal this year was to wear more of what I make. I succeeded in doing this. My three favorite projects last year NO QUESTION, was the huge carpet bag I made, as well as the Forest Canopy shawl, and the denim jacket/knitted sleeves that I made. I wear/use these three projects constantly. I also made a real effort to wear something I knitted to almost every knitting get-together I attended. This made me more aware of making things I really enjoy. I felt freer to scrap or dump any project that wasn't bringing me joy in some way - either in the process or the end result.

That end-result focus led me to consider what I really like to wear regularly including handknitted: shawls, jackets, cardigans, socks, VESTS. So next year, I'm making more shawls and vests for my own private consumption and delight.

Since several of the 2008 projects I've bookmarked are Modular in nature, I predict that I'll be doing more of that next year. (Unless I try it and get totally disillusioned with the technique - see note about not knitting anything I don't enjoy - this is the fun part of my life, after all, remember?)

One thing I'd like to undertake, for the first time, is a bit of Charity Knitting. I've always been a selfish knitter, but I'd like to make a few more knitted gifts for others, as well as for charities, whether it's a prayer shawl, or . . . I don't know what quite yet. I'd like to at least explore it.

While I still am not declaring a stark and total Yarn Diet for 2008, because being too harsh on myself usually backfires, I am seriously going to buy even less new stuff and try to focus on using what I have before undertaking major new yarn purchases.

What are you considering? What are your top knitting targets?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Jitterbug Socks Finished; New Pair Started; and A Lot Left of the Jitterbug Sock Yarn

On the sock knitting front - news to report:

Over the weekend, I finished my Jitterbug Raphael Toe-Up socks. They were made on size 0 needles using Chery's Toe-Up pattern and a turkish cast on (56 stitches cast on). It was really easy. That pattern (a free pattern on her site) uses a heel flap method, which I prefer over short-row type heels. It simply fits my foot better, and I don't mind picking up stitches. I've used this pattern before to make worsted weight and sport weight socks, and it works just as well for fingering weight. By doing just a little 3rd grade math, you can use this pattern for any size, any weight of yarn so it's really versatile and I love it. It's probably my favorite sock pattern thus far.

Though I've used Jitterbug sock yarn to make a shawl, I never used it for socks yet, this was the first time. I'd been warned that these skeins can run short if you make high cuffs. That's one reason I chose to use toe-up on this particular yarn, but I'm happy to report I had this much left.
I guess I'll use the remainder of this skein to make some motifs for my Capricious Capelet that I'm slowly crocheting. The fall colors will go along quite nicely with the Capricious Capelet's color scheme. That capelet is going along SLOWLY because I've only finished 2 out of about 8 motifs in it. Also, I'm not quite sure of how I'm going to put all these motifs together, but I guess I'll worry about that farther down the line. It's Freeform but I'm trying to use a Margaret Hubert pattern, and I'm not sure how it all works together quite yet, so that is going to take a while. I'm just making separate leaf and flower motifs right now and hoping they will eventually turn into what it's supposed to look like, but no matter, it's fun experimenting and learning with it. I also need to learn to do mesh crocheting to unite the separate pieces.

In other sock news, I have cast on (for the second time) to make the Knitpicks pattern, "Girl's Best Friend Anklets" - they use double pointed needles, so I'm trying out my new needle set from Knitpicks, the Harmony wood double pointed needles.
They are gorgeous needles and knit like a dream. It feels like an old-fashioned luxury making socks on these needles.

I first cast on for these a couple of weeks ago, but the pattern calls for 64 stitches and that is WAY too wide for my narrow foot. So I frogged the first effort to make them out of Knitpicks regular sock yarn and am now starting over with Cascade Fixation sock yarn - in color 4447 - a warm orangey color, because this yarn is elastic and pulls in, I'll be able to get gauge, hopefully, so I don't end up with gigantic socks. This was Carol's brilliant idea, and she was my enabler in selecting this yarn to make the socks. So if they turn out well, I'll thank Carol, and if not, I'll blame her (not really).

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Holiday Survival Reminders

When I was a child, Christmas seemed magical. Even though things were tight for my family financially, I always enjoyed the holidays and felt it was a magical time. That's probably because my mother and grandparents were busy getting everything ready to go and running around like heck to do everything, and me in my innocence, just sat around enjoying it all unperturbed.

As an adult, in our own household, we celebrate Hannukah, but we also celebrate Christmas with my family. Things get pretty hectic. Not only do we have both holidays to celebrate, but also my daughter's BD, my Grandma Ferne's birthday, and oh yeah, my husband's birthday, all within the last couple of weeks of December. So things can be pretty nutty busy for our family - and we're probably not unique in that over-the-top busy-ness at this time of year.

What I've learned in terms of holiday coping is that if I lower my expectations on everything, be it gifts, activities, cards, you name it, I create a "comfort zone" that actually enhances my enjoyment of the holidays and my loved ones. I found that less is really better when it comes to all holidays and birthdays!

The only gifts I actually buy these days is a gift for my daughter, mother,and grandmother. Sometimes, Bob and I buy one another a gift, but often not. This year, we bought a hard drive for our computer because it was something we both needed and wanted, but often we just buy one another random gifts throughout the year when we see something special that we'd really enjoy. And the best gifts of all are the odd gifts - like when I buy him chocolate covered cherries or a bottle of Baileys. He sometimes buys me a special book, pair of earrings or something I've been admiring for a while. We don't buy gifts out of feelings of obligation, guilt, or "tit for tat" gift exchanges.

Sometimes I send holiday cards. Often with the price of postage these days, I don't except for a few special far-away friends.

I don't make hand-knitted gifts, especially if it is done in a rush out of a feeling of obligation. One year, when Mom and I first started knitting, we made a whole bunch of scarves for friends, relatives and coworkers. We started in June, and by December, we had many goodies to give away. It was fun.

Several years, we've made Christmas hard candy. We've been doing that since I was little, and it's a special fun three generation treat - my grandmother, my Mom and myself. This year, if I have time, I'd like to do it again and share it with Emily. We can all get in on the act of boiling that candy, trying to pour it on onto a powdered sugar tray and cut that hot candy without burning our hands to a crisp. It's a blast. Plus, it scents the house up with the smell of spearmint, cinammon, wintergreen and raspberry.

Most of all, each year, I engage in a series of Christmas rituals that are still special to me even though I'm not a practicing Christian. For instance, watching the Charlie Brown Christmas movie, listening to the accompanying music on DVD. Then there's my "must do" tradition of reading Truman Capotes, "Christmas Memory" short story. If you click on the link, you can read the story online. Capote has always been one of my favorite authors and that bittersweet story brings me to happy tears every year.

So if I don't see you in person, just know that I'm sending warm holiday wishes to you and yours.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

In Spite of the Ice - The Play Must Go On - And Did

Over the weekend, Emily had the lead in the play, "The Best Christmas Pagent Ever." She played the mother character, Grace Bradley. I was so worried when I heard that an ice storm was approaching at the beginning of the weekend that they'd cancel her whole performance and all her hard work would be for nothing. Plus, since this is a children's theater and she's having a birthday next week, she can no longer participate in this theater group. It would have been really sad if her final play was iced out. Luckily, it all worked out fine.

I must say (no bias here), she did an outstanding job. Not only did she do the acting, but she also sang a solo of "Come All Ye Faithful."

Her performance brought tears to my eyes, and I'm not easily moved to tears.

Even though we were hit with an ice storm on Friday night/wee hours of Saturday morning, they went ahead and gave all 3 performances of the play. We had a large crowd Friday night - very sparse but enthusiastic audience Saturday night and a fairly good crowd Sunday for the matinee.

Most moving of all was at the end of the final performance, the theater President called the entire cast back onstage and brought Emily to the front to honor her as an outgoing member of the troupe. They gave her a goodbye sendoff, and both the Theatre President and her Director were crying. They said, "You'll always be a star in our hearts" and gave her a beautiful little star ornament with her name, the theater group and the year engraved on it.

Last night, we were hit with another ice storm that have cancelled most activities, including school. And we're supposed to get more throughout the day and night.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ice Storm is Really "Socking" It to Us

The sock is growing - almost finished with the first one. I am up to the top of the cuff.

We are really getting hit with ice here - hope it doesn't lead to downed powerlines, etc. Already there are some accidents on the road. Not sure, but the play performance may be cancelled as well. Hope not, but I'd also hate to see anyone getting hurt to get there.

My daughter performed wonderfully last night. I am so proud of her. She can really sing and act. Don't know where she got the singing from, but the high drama --- ah, admittedly, probably me.

If this storm continues, we'll be iced in and will be forced to cook, bake and eat. Not to mention knit and watch movies by the fire. Comfort activities abound here in the nice warm household.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Hannukah oh Hannukah

Yesterday, my fellow blogger and friend Lynn of ColorJoy asked her blog readers what we were going to concentrate on during the last 3 weeks of the year. She is a terrific sock knitter. In fact, I think she's knit well over 300 if I'm not mistaken? Correct me if I'm wrong Lynn, but it's a whole LOT of socks. She even has a "sock tour" you can go to on her site, where you can see the socks she's made. Last year she ended the year by finishing up many of the sock projects she'd started earlier in the year. This year, she's putting her attention toward nurturing her relationships, trying to connect with people.

My end of year focus: well for these past two weeks, I've been really intensely focused on my daughter's community theater play, "The Best Christmas Pagent Ever." My daughter plays the lead role of Grace, the mother (gloat, gloat). This is her last play with this wonderful theater group that she's been participating in for several years. Therefore, it's a very busy and emotional time for us, because we are all involved in it. Both my husband and I volunteer. He's backstage guy and I'm mainly the Greenroom babysitter, but I also do whatever needs doing in refreshments, dressing room, makeup or whatever. So we've been immersed in the rehearsals and things are heating up fast - this weekend we have 3 nights of performances. Whew, and then it's over.

This week has in fact been Hannukah season, but we haven't even had time to celebrate properly as we usually do. We'll light the candles tonight - it's the third night. For us, it's not much about the gifts, because we don't exchange gifts. It's about being together, eating a nice meal together as a family, talking about how lucky we are to have freedom, and celebrating what gifts we are to each other - an important fact that we've sort of forgotten this year in the heat of some family conflict.

I must say, 2007 has been a largely frustrating and unsatisfying year for me personally - mainly due to my own sucky attitude and not knowing how to make changes to deal with things that have emerged in my life, or have failed to emerge as I had hoped. I am going to spend the next few weeks doing some soul searching about how I can make 2008 much better!