Moving Madness

This blog is going up a little later in the day than usual – last week, I was super on top of things and had the post written Wednesday evening. This week, not so much. But hey, at least I wrote something!

We’re getting closer and closer to Song School, which means we’re closer and closer to moving. I am overwhelmed, but also really proud of how much we’ve managed to get done so far. Over the weekend, we went through our knitting stuff, which was the biggest and most daunting of things on our project list. We now have multiple ten-gallon tubs of yarn and knitting accessories that will not be moving with us. We’re still figuring out what WILL happen with all of it, but at least step one is done. I feel so much better about my yarn stash now. I’m letting go of a lot of beautiful things, but they’re a lot of beautiful things that I wasn’t realistically going to knit. Now they can go on to someone else who can appreciate them. (Fellow knitters: we were assisted in this process by the StashFit workbook. It was super helpful and I feel like now I have a better idea of what I actually use, which informed the culling and will also inform any future purchases, meaning my stash feels like it’s not going to balloon out of control again anytime soon.)

This week we’re shifting from sorting to packing. Friday we’ll be packing for Song School (which is still a couple of weeks away, but that way we don’t risk losing track of anything we’ll need for our trip). Saturday the moving boxes arrive. I feel a little bit guilty that if anyone tries to schedule a showing of our current apartment between now and when we move, they’ll be faced with walls of boxes, but…it is what it is.

My goal is to have things packed/settled enough by the time we leave for Song School that I can actually be present for the trip and not preoccupied with everything left to do at home. I think it’s an achievable goal, but it’s going to be challenging. It would be challenging enough on its own, but add the unpredictability of my chronic pain stuff and both of our mental health issues and…yeah. Fingers crossed that bodies and brains cooperate and we’re able to have a productive week!

Music and Mending

Our apartment is in a bit of chaos right now. We’re doing the KonMari thing and going through all of our stuff before we move. We made huge progress over the weekend – there’s a steadily growing pile under our dining room table of stuff that’s not going to move with us. I’m proud of the work we’ve done so far.

One of the things we decided when we went through clothes was that we wanted to mend as many things from our (rather sizable) mending pile as we could before we move, so we’re starting out in our new space with usable stuff. So I’ve been slowly chipping away at my share of the mending this week. I’m kind of making it up as I go, but so far I’ve made good progress:

So far, I’ve fixed two holes on the outside of the pocket of my favorite jacket, replaced a broken button on a pair of shorts, fixed a failing seam on a favorite bow tie, darned my favorite fingerless gloves, and fixed two holes in my favorite work shirt. I’ve never done much by way of mending aside from sewing buttons back into things, so it’s been a series of adventures and learning experiences!

The other kind of bananas thing we’re doing while prepping to move is a songwriting challenge called 50/90. The goal of the challenge is to write 50 songs in the 90 days between July 4 and October 1. So far we’re both on track to complete the challenge…I have more faith in my partner’s ability to see it through than mine, but it’s a fun thing to try! At the time that I’m writing this, I’ve gotten four new songs out in the last week, so that feels good.

Small Smiles

Hello, dear readers – I’m back! I took the last two weeks off because of some weirdness with the site that still isn’t resolved, really, but if I take any more time off I’ll be thoroughly out of the habit of blogging, so here we are.

I haven’t had a particularly eventful few weeks, either, so I haven’t felt like I have a lot to write about. This weekend is going to involve a solo road trip, so details on that will follow next week, I’m sure.

In the absence of profound thoughts, here are some things that have made me smile recently:

  • I’ve gotten a fair bit of knitting done lately, and only about a third of it has been for me, which is unusual. I’m working on a hat for a friend, and I knit a little vest and a stuffed spider for our friends’ baby. (The adults all agreed the spider was cute, but it scared the baby…oops!) I had so much fun making the spider that I made another one for my arachnophobic self:

I think she looks like Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon.

  • The details of my first ever work trip out of state are being finalized, and I’m more excited than I thought I’d be. I’ll be in DC in mid-May for a few days. I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to get away from the conference and see the city, but I haven’t been to DC since I was in high school, so I’m looking forward to it.
  • The D&D group I’ve been in for a bit over a year now just had our last big session over the weekend – one of our players is moving out of the country. It’s sad to know that we’re not continuing with these characters we’ve gotten to know and love (although we’ll still have the occasional one-shot game, I’m sure), but the whole experience of this game has been so great. We all meshed really well and could play off each other and consistently took the story in interesting directions. I love nerds.

Like I said, solo road trip this weekend (for reasons I’ll explain next week), so I’m sure next week I’ll have stories to tell. Meanwhile, what’s been making you smile lately, friends?

I’m sitting on the bus on my way to work Thursday morning, and I am not really sure what to write about. It hasn’t been a terribly eventful week. Truthfully, I’ve been dealing with a lot of pain and trying to navigate that reality. But there have been some bright spots, too. For example:

  • Friday night we had a chance to knit with a couple of friends for the first time in a while. I finished a pair of socks that I’d started two years ago, so that felt like an accomplishment.
  • Sunday night was the class showcase for the songwriting class I was in in January and February. I am always so impressed by the work that comes out of those songwriting classes, and that community is something truly special. I am grateful to be a part of it.
  • Last night I started taking a banjo class, and I am very excited about it. The instructor is a friend and an excellent teacher, and the class promises to be a lot of fun.

Creativity Abounds

I am dashing this post off on Thursday morning before I really dig into my work day. I am working from home today (I’ve been dealing with a lot of body/joint pain as the weather shifts, and it’s been exhausting, so I’m giving myself a little break from major activity, and I hear the internet at work is spotty, so I will probably get more done here than I would there, anyway), and am currently enjoying the morning sunlight and the glow of the Christmas lights we have strung around our living room windows. It’s peaceful.

The past week has highlighted how much I love being creative. Here are three ways that’s shown up:

  1. Last Thursday, while I was volunteering in the library area at the Old Town School of Folk Music, I finally finished the sweater I’d started working on over a year ago.  A couple of weeks before I’d been panicking a bit, because I wanted to get it done by Christmas, and I was in what felt like a bit of a black hole with the knitting – I’d knit and knit and knit and it didn’t seem to get any larger. Suddenly, though, it was done, and I got it sewn together, and it fits like a dream and it’s the most successful sweater I’ve ever made. I’m so excited to show it off at Christmas (and I’ve worn it a couple of other times already). Now that I finally have that project off the needles, I feel a little lost as to what I want to cast on for my next big thing. In the meantime I’ve started a new pair of fingerless gloves to replace some that got a hole torn in them last winter (I’m going to repair the torn ones, but I want a non-patched pair, too).
  2. On Saturday, my partner and I attended a songwriting workshop with one of our favorite teachers at the Old Town School, Sue Demel. (Sue is just one of my favorite people, period.) In the workshop, we went over a chapter from Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millennium, the chapter on “Multiplicity,” and Sue talked us through how we could use Calvino’s insights to improve our writing. We did a bunch of writing exercises in the workshop, and each left with at least one verse. After the workshop, I was once again volunteering in the school’s resource center, and I got a chance to work more on my lyrics. I managed to get I think four verses and a chorus worth of lyrics out before the end of my shift. I haven’t had a chance to go back and finish it yet, but I’m excited about the unexpected places it’s been taking me.
  3. On Sunday, I got together with my D&D group for the first time in a couple of months. I hadn’t fully realized how much I missed these friends and our shenanigans until we were playing together again. I love collaborative storytelling so damn much, and I’m glad to have people in my life who are just as into it as I am.

Low Key

It’s been a pretty laid-back week. I feel like I don’t have a lot to talk about. But here’s a quick list of a few things I’m grateful for or excited about right now:

  1. Knitting. I am a few hours of work away from being done with the sweater I’ve been working on. I’m hoping to have it done by the end of the weekend. It’s going to be gorgeous.
  2. Good food. My partner and I didn’t do a traditional Thanksgiving feast last week, but that’s not to say we didn’t cook! I think we counted eleven different dishes between Thursday and Sunday. Highlights that we’ve been enjoying all week: slow cooker carnitas, kharcho (a Georgian beef and rice stew), and about three gallons of borsch. We also had steaks cooked in our cast iron skillet one night to celebrate our anniversary, with a couple of hot dish sides. We’ve been eating well, for sure!
  3. Music. I’ve been reminded many times recently how much I love my Old Town School of Folk Music community. Also, my partner and I are both playing sets at an acoustic show on Monday, and I’m very excited for that.
  4. Nerdy friends. Earlier this week some friends and I resumed a DnD game we’d had to put on hold a couple months ago. It’s been so fun to dive back into the world we’re creating together!
  5. Snow. It may be a pain in the ass sometimes, but it sure is pretty.

That’s it for this week. I’d love to hear from you! What are some things you’re excited about right now?

Days Off and Happy Thoughts

This might be my favorite time of year. Not only do I love fall in general (apple cider! sweater weather! pretty trees!), but it’s also when a lot of major Jewish holidays happen, which, since I work for a Jewish agency, means I get a bunch of extra days off. This week, we had Monday and Tuesday off for Rosh Hashanah. I thoroughly enjoyed my days off. Here is a list of some other happy things from the past week:

  • Friends. On Saturday, my partner and I got breakfast with a friend in the neighborhood, which is something of a weekend tradition and time I really treasure. That afternoon, we went to a lovely, low-key baby shower for a couple of friends, and it was so fun to celebrate them and their little-one-to-be.
  • Self-care. I also got a much-needed haircut on Saturday, and bought myself a new book that I’m enjoying quite a bit (The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin). It always surprises me how much a good haircut can improve how I feel in my body.
  • Music. Sometime in the spring I started attending services at a Unitarian Universalist church semi-regularly, and now I’ve joined their choir (jury is still out on whether I’m going to actually become a member of the church). Sunday was the first service I joined them for. I haven’t been in a choir since high school, and since I also haven’t played much piano since then, my sight-reading skills have slipped somewhat. But I’m managing okay at keeping up with the rest of our tiny tenor section, and I’m having fun with it.
  • Knitting. I got SO MUCH KNITTING done on my days off. I am almost done with the second sleeve of the sweater I started last September. Once I finish that, it’s just the front left. I am so excited to be able to wear this sweater, and it felt good to really dig into my knitting again – I think I knit more in the past week than I’ve knit in the past five months combined.
  • Self-indulgent shopping. I bought myself some new work pants in fun colors, because I really didn’t love what I had. I also had a minor manic moment last week and ordered a pair of Fluevog boots. They arrived yesterday, and I am completely smitten. They’re exactly what I wanted. It feels a little silly to be this excited about shoes, but they’re pretty awesome shoes:

    New boots!

     

Sometimes Self-Care Looks Like…

We’re less than one week from Christmas. On Saturday, my partner and I will get up at an ungodly hour of the morning and drive to Minnesota, where we’ll spend a week with family. (Incidentally, there may or may not be a blog next week, on account of the holidays.)

As 2017 draws to a close, and I find my life in a relatively stable place overall, I am allowing myself some time to more closely examine the areas of my life that have long been neglected in favor of what felt like more pressing crises.

One of those areas is anxiety management. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, so I’m no stranger to anxiety, but with the current state of the world, I’m finding the coping mechanisms I have aren’t sufficient. I’m also noticing where my anxiety is affecting other areas of my life – how it makes me shut down around conflict, how it destroys my productivity at work, how it keeps me from enjoying social situations that didn’t used to be a problem. I had my first visit with a new therapist on Monday. Sometimes in therapy in the past I’ve had trouble articulating why I was there, and what I needed, but this new therapist was able to sort of draw that out of me and help me frame my goals for therapy more solidly than I’ve been able to in the past. I think things are going to work out well with them.

Another area that I’ve been neglecting is more physical. There are a lot of aspects of my physical health that I am not great at paying attention to, but I’ve been having particular trouble with my knees lately, as a joint issue I was diagnosed with in high school has flared up again. It’s done this occasionally over the years, but now my right knee has been swollen and stiff for a month, and my left knee is getting sore from compensating for it. Thankfully, this time when it flared up, I made an appointment with my doctor right away, who referred me to a physical therapist. I had my first PT appointment yesterday, and it was kind of miraculous how much of a difference a single, half-hour appointment made. I have instructions to do some stretching exercises every few hours during the day for the next couple of weeks, until my next appointment, and it’s encouraging to see progress on the first day.

Sometimes self-care looks like finding a new therapist, even if the process of finding a new therapist is, itself, kind of anxiety-inducing.

Sometimes self-care looks like making that doctor’s appointment that probably should have been scheduled months ago.

Sometimes self-care looks like knitting selfishly after working on a rare unselfish project for a couple of months. I knit my nephew a sweater for Christmas, and while it was fun and it looks super cute and I think he’ll like it, there’s something immensely satisfying about working on a sweater for myself with tons of cables (which is far and away my favorite type of project to work on).

The holidays are rough for a lot of people, for all sorts of reasons. My own holiday is looking like it’ll be bittersweet – I get to spend time with all sorts of people I care about, which will be lovely, but my 15-year-old dog (okay, she’s my parents’ dog, but we got her the summer I turned 14, so she’s still my dog) is not doing well, and it’s almost certain that next week I’ll be saying goodbye for the last time. I’m already sad, thinking about it, as much as I’m grateful that I will get one last chance to see her. Sometimes, for me, self-care looks like blocking out some time in my schedule to process the feelings I don’t have space for, say, at work. Which is all to say that this is a time of year where self-care is particularly important, and that self-care is going to look different for everyone.

I wish all of you the happiest holidays you can manage, and I hope you all find ways to take care of yourselves through the rough patches.

Writer’s Block

I put this week’s blog post off to the last minute this week (I’m writing this less than half an hour before my posts usually go live), because I just don’t know what to write about.

My songwriting class has been…frustrating, if productive so far, but I don’t really want to rant about that.

I’m still learning how to be a morning person. It’s been mostly going well, although the last couple of days have been rough, probably because of the weather.

Work is going okay; this week I took an eight hour online class (over two days) to get a better foundation in my knowledge of how to pull data out of our system.

I’m incredibly sleepy this morning. I’m working from home, waiting for someone from the building maintenance team to come and take a look at our tub, which has been draining slowly and dripping incessantly.

Basically, life is happening, moving right along, but it hasn’t been especially eventful or exciting this week. But in an effort to have something to post this week, here are three things I’m happy about right now:

  1. The songwriting class has been frustrating, but I’m getting back into the project I started a couple of years ago of writing a song for every card in a tarot deck. That’s 78 songs, and I’ve only finished four or five, so I’ll be at it for a while. But it’s fun to feel excited about it again.
  2. I’m working on some fun knitting projects. I’m making a sweater for my nephew for Christmas, a sweater for myself, and I started some socks last night that have an interesting construction that I’m excited about.
  3. We hung out with some new friends last night, and it was a lot of fun. I love finding people that I can laugh with.

Happy Thoughts for a Foggy Morning

I nearly forgot to write something for the blog this week – I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather, which has scrambled my brain enough that I’m a little more scattered than usual. But here I am, on the bus, riding through the fog, so let’s talk about a few happy things from the past week. 

  1. I started taking a guitar fingerpicking class last week. It’s kicking my ass already, but in a way that’s motivating me to practice more. I’m excited to add some new skills to my rather slapdash guitar-playing repertoire. 
  2. It’s starting to feel like fall. Granted, the next few days are supposed to get hot again, but generally the weather has been getting cooler. We’ve had several lovely days that have allowed me to pull some hand knit sweaters out. The only downside of fall is that my allergies tend to flare up again, so I’ve spent most of the week not sure if I’m getting sick or am just allergic to all of the outdoors. Still, it’s pretty, and I like not feeling disgusting every time I go outside. 
  3. My tattoo is healing nicely. I am still super happy with how it turned out. It makes me smile every time I look at my arm.