I started these last year, and would love to make progress (there are 6 more, I believe).
*Someone* in my house is getting sick, and it’s not the someone who got her flu shot this year. OK, that was a cheap shot. It’s probably just a cold that is coming down with, and I was felled by one of those in early October. But, two facts remain: has not gotten his flu shot [again] this year, despite my nagging, and is sick. Correlation does not equal causation, so I’ll just leave it at that.
Already divided up into color groups and ready to be cut up to make potholders and coasters.
He predicts that he will be fully sick by Wednesday or Thursday, just in time for serious work to start on the family room. Right now, we’re playing the lovely waiting game of patching up concrete. The walls need to be cleaned before we can paint, but mostly the concrete needs to be patched.
It's a panel. So easy... just find some backing fabric, do some rudimentary quilting, bind, and hang. (12 days of Christmas by Moda)
[You can see the whole panel here.]
So, I can’t help but wonder if this sickness might end up benefiting me. Tonight is my last class, and my paper is due Thursday at 9 pm, and then the semester will be done. I have… two and a half Christmas-y sewing projects that I’d really like to start. Last night I settled for cleaning my office (while waiting out restless legs, which are totally not conducive to reading research articles), but I’m itching to cut into some fabric. Alas, crafty things take a back seat to major home renovation projects, so while I have some time off before the next semester, I am not sure how much I’ll end up getting done.
I don't even know what to do with these guys but they're so cute it hurts! I want to figure out how best to use this piece, since it's out of print. Table runner? Apron? Pillow?
That said, if, perhaps, is sick all weekend and doesn’t want to work on the family room (and who would blame him?), that would mean that I get to sew all weekend. Really, I don’t want him to be sick, especially not all weekend. But I would like the chance to sew….
Fat quarters... my mind is churning away on how to best use these too.
For now, we’ll continue pumping him full of Vitamin C and cough drops, and let his immune system fight it out. More likely than not, even if he is sick over the weekend he’ll want to work on the family room, so I probably shouldn’t get my hopes up.
Lest you think I'm unprepared in case I get some spare time (if the rest of this post hasn't already convinced you, I'm not sure this will help)... here's the rest of my Christmas fabric stash. There's even some flannel in there, and some stuff I bought a decade ago before I had... taste.
[Editor's note: No, I don't want anyone to actually fall ill. I would be perfectly happy if everyone stayed healthy and I had to work on the basement all weekend long. I just... was able to find the silver lining in this poorly timed sickness, that's all.]
At least that’s the premise we’re operating under.
This weekend, I did homework (and am honestly not sure if I completed the assignment properly, though you’re all tired of hearing that), hung out with (we conclusively proved that shopping at Marshalls is infinitely better with a friend and without a goal), finished my puzzle, got a lot of sleep (but not enough – I’m still tired), didn’t do yard work as scheduled (it rained – soggy leaves does not make for good raking), and made 2 coffee cakes. On Sunday, and I finally installed a lightswitch/timer in the basement hallway where the litter box is – this involved running new wires (because the switch required a neutral wire, which it didn’t have) and fumbling around a bit in the dark, but it went relatively smoothly (says the girl who only had to watch as struggled to get 6 wires twisted together in the cap). The light will now only be on from 7 pm to 7 am, instead of 24 hours a day, so we should see some savings on our electric bill. During this project we were again made aware of some of the strange wiring that is going on in our house. Wires that went into one of the ceiling lights were connected to two different circuits, so someone got a nasty shock since only one of those circuits was turned off. At least this time we were dealing with normal-colored wires (unlike the three-way switch in the hallway that has purple, yellow and pink wires). Ah, the joys of a 55-year-old house.
is taking the week off because he has too much time off saved up. I don’t know what that’s like, but it must be nice. I have some coworkers with that problem, but they’ve been here 30 years. At just about 8 years (my anniversary is Halloween), I am only earning 5 hours of vacation every two weeks, and 4 hours of sick leave. Of course, I almost never use my sick leave, so I’ve got about 3 months of that saved up. However, I have only a little over a week of vacation available. Bummer. But, to look at the silver lining, according to my countdown on the right, there are 18 months until I graduate, and then I will hopefully get a new job, and my vacation and sick leave balances won’t carry over, so I might as well use those when I can, right?
Tonight we’re going out to PF Chang’s for dinner. Yum! Better eat my light yogurt and apple now (you know, in case it gets too late and then I’m not hungry for dinner – just kidding).
Has anyone else felt like October has been … unsatisfying? Sure, the weather was nice, but the daylight hours are steadily shrinking. We have not made progress on yardwork like we should have. I have barely even turned on my sewing machine, let alone create anything. Blah. Maybe November will be better. If it’s not, well, December will definitely be productive (since we’ll be gutting the family room, it will be hard to not be).
I’m getting weird PHP errors today – sorry if the blog is acting weird for you.
I am experiencing regret, and I really try to live without any of that (it’s totally not helpful, you know). Fortunately, this regret is based on… paint color. See, it could totally be worse.
If you remember, back in June, I painted my office. How I ended up at these color selections was a very logical process. (Bear with me.) I knew I wanted blue and brown, and then somehow decided that it would look best if it were a darker blue and a pale brown (also known as beige). So I took my paint samples and figured out which beige ones didn’t look horrible with the wood trim and the wooden furniture. And then I figured out which blue looked best with that. And this is what I ended up with:
Beige, chocolate, blue....
And it was… OK. I mean, I’d already painted it, so I just went with it. Mistake #1. I even made curtains (which are… 80% finished – just need to seam up the two for the other window).
Do you know how hard I worked to find fabric that I liked and matched the paint? That is not how you're supposed to do it. Paint comes in every color imaginable - fabric, not so much. Mistake #2. Mistake #3 may very well be that the curtains should be a solid color so that I could decorate the walls and not have it feel so... busy.
Since the painting, furniture has been moved about twice, and built an epically awesome collapsible cutting table.
It fits my 36" x 72" cutting mat perfectly (rounded corners and everything!), and collapses against the wall so that it only takes up 1" of square footage when not in use, which has been... never. But the point is that it could collapse. This will never be considered a mistake.
[Yes, my office is also home to the antenna for all the television in the house. Before the switch to digital, we got reception just fine in the basement, but no longer. My office is on the correct end of the house. Maybe some day we'll get an outside mount. Some day when there's no longer several feet of snow and below freezing temps to deal with.]
Here’s the problem: I don’t actually like it. I know, I know, I should have listened to that nagging voice in my head, and I didn’t. Back in May, I even blogged about the color scheme I did want. And then, a few months after finishing all the painting, I found this blog post by nannygoat and realized that’s what I wanted to do. Well, not exactly. Not with the crib, and not the green (robin’s egg blue or turquoise, please), but you get the drift. How gorgeous is her room?
I’ve had that post bookmarked ever since I found it, and every once in a while I pull it up and wish that I’d done things differently (you might consider that mistake #4, hanging on to that link and dwelling on the situation). Boo hoo hoo, poor me.
So… do I just keep on living with it and make the best out of it? Do I re-paint? If I do, there are logistics to figure out. I’ve been wanting to do a shelf like nannygoat did, but haven’t been able to figure out where in my tiny office I could do that and still make the furniture work (I like the bridge it makes between the two windows, and I could very well do that, keeping in mind that the cutting table is not going anywhere, because it was made for that space). I have a closet, two windows, and a door that take up wall space, and then I have a desk and two large Ikea shelving units that are very, very full of stuff. Non-negotiable that they stay. One is quite tall. And… exactly what colors would I put where? Do I leave the beige (I really do like it) and find a blue I actually like as the accent color on two walls? Because I think that might be genius. But would it work? I’m sure I could figure out new curtains and would only cry a little bit about the fabric that I’ve already used on the current ones.
And then someone please tell me where to hang all my gorgeous mini quilts from swaps (that don’t match any of the decorating schemes anywhere in the house), because the walls in this office are boringly undecorated but I haven’t been able to commit to anything. Everything I think of seems to make the room feel busier and more cluttered, and that is not the way I want to go. I do have some bird decorations that are unpainted and could be used in any variety of ways (hanging from the ceiling, mounted on the wall – they’re these MDF cutouts from popalicioustoo on Etsy). One silver lining is that I never got around to painting the mural (silhouette of birds on a branch around the window with my sewing machine) in chocolate like I planned. That would have only further complicated things.
If you think I should live with it, and make do, some suggestions would be nice. I have come to an impasse with this room. Also, it barely needs repeating that I don’t actually have the time to do anything with this room right now, which might be why it is bothering me so much. Also, it’s dark outside a lot still, and I’d rather have a cheerful room, and the existing color scheme is not cheerful or warm in the slightest.
Should I also mention that were we to decide that we were ready to have kids, this is the room that goes first? It’s the only upstairs bedroom besides the master. That’s certainly a ways down the road (we’re finishing grad school before we even think about it, except for all the times everyone asks when we’re having kids), but I don’t want to have to completely 100% remodel a room again in a few (several? many? who knows?) years.
Just to prove that we do have home improvement projects that are making headway and are going quite well, I present to you this month-old picture of Prince Charming's office.
I know I’m over-thinking it. But my poor choices the first time around are making me doubt myself. Which is also delaying picking a color for the master bedroom. Apple green (cute, but that’s the direction I was leaning in for the kitchen)? Orange (too bright for a bedroom perhaps)? White/cream (the room is huge, as some people have pointed out – possibly too big to be painted white)? I refuse to do mid-tone brown in the master bedroom – that’s my only stipulation. Our last bedroom was that color, and while it was nice, I’d like something different this time.
If I say I want the room to be bright, cheery, warm, comfortable, and not super-cluttered, my current office is not what I picture. It is, however, cozy, not too girly, and calm. See, I can find good things about it!
Weigh in, or not. Either way, the cats won't lose any sleep over it.
I’m working at finding silver linings today, and trying to think positive. So, I’m not even going to share with you the complaints that inspire these thoughts. How about that?
Today, I’m thankful…
… for long underwear, scarves, space heaters, and hot drinks.
… for a full head of hair.
… I don’t itch everywhere.
… that the more classes I take at once, the sooner I graduate, and the less it costs.
… I get to sleep in on weekends.
… that I don’t have class on Wednesday and Thursday nights.
… for no yardwork.
… for 9 1/2 hours of daylight! (Compared to 8.75 at our darkest point, 12/22.) By this time next month, it will be over 11 hours!
… a wine cellar full of Riesling.
… it’s Thursday!
OK, so, yes, it’s been hot out lately, and it’s only getting hotter. I will whine and complain about that later. For a moment, let’s find the silver lining in this. That silver lining is… sweat.
Yes, I am generally not a fan of 1) other person’s sweat near or on my person, 2) the odor of some sweat, or 3) being sweaty for no good reason (I break out in nervous sweats when on the phone – haven’t been able to figure that out, but it has been happening consistently for years, whenever I’m on the phone except for at work, even if I’m on the phone with ).
But, sweating is a good thing. If there’s a nice breeze, and it’s not too humid, it accomplishes its purpose of cooling. More than that, sweat apparently helps cleanse your body, as it gets rid of unwanted stuff in your body. (Dr. Weil also says that it improves circulation, which is a good thing.) Plus, sweating always makes me thirsty, and drinking more water is always a good thing in my book (since it’s quite rare that one would actually drink enough to get water poisoning). And, while technically one doesn’t lose weight just from sweating (only water weight, which doesn’t count), I do think that generally sweating helps one to be aware of how strenuous the work one is doing (for instance, my earlier-noted floor washing).
I will now await the comments from , who will correct all of my medically-related errors, because she knows this stuff and I don’t.
p.s. You don’t love me any less, now that I’ve spent several paragraphs talking about sweating, do you?
This morning, as my bus rolled down the highway, I looked out over the Minnesota River Valley, covered in a thick blanket of fog. It brought back memories of some of the beautiful places I’ve had the privilege of living.
Far West Suburbs of Chicago – quaint in its hometown nature, but just an hour’s drive to downtown, which can also be done by train (yes, people, it’s called a train – none of this light rail business – the Metra can moooove). Swedish days and sidewalk sales. Home (I think a part of me will always feel that it’s home there – I did spend the first 18+ years of my life there).
Judson – nestled down in the valley between the highway and the river, completely shut off from the world. The bridge over the creek that runs through town. The trees that are perfect for sitting under. The view of the athletic fields from the upper commons. The drive into campus down that hill (not the main entrance). The little area between the library and the student services building.
San Francisco – low-hanging fog, sometimes all day long. The bridges over the bay. John Muir Redwood Forest. Brightly painted Victorian houses. Each little neighborhood, with its personality and individuality, all uniquely beautiful. The food, oh, the food! Golden Gate Bridge park. The little town across the bridge (not Oakland – the other bridge).
Michigan – the sweet, loving, generous, innocent kids I worked with. Orange Spice Mochas at the coffee shop near the bookstore where I worked part time. Quiet and slow-paced. Living on my own for the first time. Dirt roads, farm animals, and fenced-in fields. Dewy Sunday mornings. Nighttime star gazing.
Arizona – rusty colored rock formations. Dry, dusty stretches of land. Forest-covered mountains. Gentle, kind people who were struggling just to get by. Rich history. Thunderstorms. Stars.
Twin Cities – lakes, lakes, and more lakes! A few river valleys too. Historic houses with stories. People who truly appreciate spring, summer, and fall. Cherry blossoms. Diversity. Urban wildlife (rabbits, squirrels, and the occasional pheasant, to name a few). Sunny winters. St Paul Cathedral.
I can think of a few more beautiful places that I’ve had the pleasure to spend a bit of time in….
Washington DC (national monuments, green grass), San Diego (sunshine, ocean, seals, colorful flowers), Seattle (ocean, flowers in February, relaxed atmosphere), Santa Barbara (flowers, sunshine, vineyards, great views), Romania (old buildings, peaceful country retreats, early mornings with dew-covered grass in absolute peace), Hungary (bridges, history, quaint), Florida (ocean, sun), Tennessee / Kentucky (nighttime star gazing), South Dakota (carved rocks, buffalo, rural, truly “away from it all”), North Carolina (toes in the sandy ocean, sand dunes, fresh seafood, coastal living), Denver (mountains), Grand Marais (lake Superior, peninsulas, forests, quiet walks)….
Where do you see beauty in your life today?
As much as I hate the bitter cold of winter, the biting wind that blows through to your bones regardless of how many layers of clothing you’re wearing, the short days with the late sunrises and early sunsets, the need to hibernate… in truth I can appreciate this time of year. If winter wasn’t so miserable (in all the aforementioned ways, as well as others), I wouldn’t appreciate spring, summer, and autumn nearly as much. When the mornings start to be bright again (when the sun rises before 8 am), when it’s still light out at the end of a workday, when I can go outside without gloves and a scarf, when I don’t have to wear long underwear to work… I truly appreciate these times. How ever would I have realized that the feeling of pants on my skin (instead of long underwear) was something to be thankful for, if I didn’t have to wear long underwear for a week or more at a time? It doesn’t matter that they’re all spiffy and from REI, they still get annoying after a week. (Lest you think I should buy more than one pair, I don’t think it would matter, as I’d still buy ones that felt basically the same, and that wouldn’t fix that problem.) Plus, can we talk about the design of long underwear? Is there a manufacturer out there who produces long underwear pants where the waistband doesn’t reach my rib cage? As if long underwear wasn’t already attractive enough, folding the waistband down half a dozen times so that it’s at my natural waist or hip line is even more attractive (and doesn’t help when my pants are already tight).
Tangent aside, while I am not particularly enjoying the weather right now (though it is much nicer than it was last week), I can appreciate it for its gratitude-producing aspects.
What do you despise yet are secretly (or openly) thankful for?
See, I’m all about finding motivation to become happier with my job. For instance, I know that I have a raise etc coming up (because I’ve put in my time, you know). So I went onto our intraweb to find out when and how much. October 31st is my 5-year anniversary, which means that I start accruing vacation and sick time at 5 hours a pay period instead of 4. Do the math, and that’s an extra 3.25 days of sick leave and vacation leave each year (for a total of 6.5 days per year additionally, or 32.5 total per year). Also, on October 4th, I get a raise from $15.88 to $16.31 per hour (which is over $800 per year, before taxes and stuff), and that’s before our salary increase which we think we’re getting (contracts still being negotiated). Of course, health care costs are rising enough that our cost of living raises won’t cover, but that’s to be expected, and is unavoidable.
Well, I think I’m off for the evening. I’m not sure what I’m doing, but I know it involves bringing boxes back to my house.
I just read the most fabulous “instructable” of someone who truly tried to make lemonade out of lemons. “Make Life Better with a Sailboat-in-a-Closet” was written by a guy after his divorce, and he’s got some tongue-in-cheek humor and while I’ll never make a sailboat, I just thought it was clever enough to focus your attention on.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend with friends and family. I had to work really hard to come up with a list of things I’m thankful for – not because there aren’t plenty of things to go on the list, because they are, but generally I forget about them or am really bad about acknowledging them. So here’s my list of what I’m thankful for:
- Wonderful goodbyes – to kids and adults at who were so generous with their love and good wishes for my future; to a career path that no longer made me happy; to not having a spare moment spent thinking I should be doing something else; to the cute Mercury Topaz I borrowed for the school year (and it’s “Have A Liking For A Viking” bumper sticker); to co-workers during our reorganization (both those who annoyed me and I was happy to say adios to and to those who will be missed)
- New parts of my journey – new career path (though delayed); new friends; having spare time to lounge about (and not feel guilty); learning new skills
- Transformations – my relationship with ; promotion at work; life outside of church; life without a car; not being the single one
- People – all of my wonderful friends, for whom I am entirely grateful for your friendship and love, for all the advice and compassion and laughs we share, for all the memories good and bad — I hope you all know exactly how much I love and treasure each of you
- More people stuff – that has had another healthy year; finally got a job (and kept it); that my grandpa wasn’t in the hospital at all this year; all the people I know going through chemo etc and all the strength they’ve shown; my cats (they are too people – just ask them!)
- For the bend in the road up ahead (you just never know what’s actually going to happen next, and right now that’s an exciting thing)
- No major life crises this year
- For not having to move
- For all the people who have challenged my views on life, my assumptions and stereotypes, and helped me remember that there really are good people out there (specifically, quality guys, who I was beginning to think had ceased to exist)
- For the ways I have been able to watch others grow and change, and occasionally get to know that I had a part in it
- Knowing that my next church is my choice, that it’s OK to take a break, and the wonderful feeling of longing I get sometimes to be part of that community again
- For the positive attitude that has only increased this year (for a couple of good reasons), and how different life feels when seen in that light
- For all the ways God has helped me to grow, heal, learn, become….
- For the promise of tomorrow