Sunday, December 29, 2013

Auld Lang Syne

After the hustle and bustle of Christmas it seems natural to sit back and contemplate the remains of the year. I linger with a cuppa tea in my rocker, simply staring at the lit Christmas tree remembering holidays past, then finally digressing into memories accrued in 2013. It seems a necessary sweep of the waning year to consider events or decisions made and glean a bit of wisdom from them for guidance in the new year. Not a "should'a-could'a-would'a" pining but a hmm... what did I learn and what shall I do, perhaps, differently. I have long thought life events happen for a reason that can neither be rushed or even foreseen in their long term effects. Not to say I just sail along for the ride, but instead, "finger stirring the pot," I try to intelligently plot choices making positive life course directions or at least what I consider forward motion. All very subjective this annual philosophizing, but somehow appropriate in the cold, dark days of winter.

I have been waffling, actually fearful of taking the next educational step in my plans for my future. You know all the reasons to delay big changes too I bet,'s too expensive, a big time and energy commitment, how will I fit it into my schedule, or the totally unanswerable, is this the right move? I have again re-read my April 15, 2013 post, On Fear, and have concluded I just need to step off another cliff and be done with it. Even having stepped off a couple of metaphorical cliffs previously, the first step is always a shock that I am never thrilled to repeat. I'm pumping myself up with the Holstee Manifesto which is pinned to the curtain in front of my computer. For those of you uninitiated, visit here for a read and scroll down for a terrific video, . It may sound childish, selfish or hipster, but as you get older this manifesto is a good reminder to kick yourself in the pants & get the lead out, time is slipping by a little faster and...What do you want to accomplish with your life? I would hate to have geriatric regrets from a missed opportunity.

So New Year's eve, while I am freezing outside, clutching a glass of champagne and watching my son light fireworks to bring in 2014, I'll toast a new year with growing bravery for new challenges. Happy New Year to all! Remember when you sing Auld Lang Syne, written by Scotsman, Robert Burns in1788 it's about remembering the past kindly while sharing that drink, and even though we've worked and wearied this year gone, the song ends with, "And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
                                               And give me a hand o’ thine !
                                               And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
                                                for auld lang syne"  (see ).

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

*Happy Christmas*

Things are winding down here, I engineer the holiday to be free of headaches; no last minute shopping and no massive cooking efforts. I spent Christmas eve doing a little light cleaning and making dinner reservations at our local Thai Kitchen. Since I normally work for a major shipping firm (post knee surgery I missed this year's holiday rush), the Christmas holiday is hectic enough at work. I don't need hectic at home, so I have crafted a mellow holiday routine.

Our neighborhood has a Christmas eve tradition of lining all the streets with candles set in either jars, white paper bags or gallon milk jugs. It looks lovely at street level and must be absolutely gorgeous viewed from above. We got ours out & lit, edging the yard, then drove around looking at the rest of the neighbors' luminaires. Later, we placed our gifts for each other in colored baskets beneath the tree. Val is busily completing the last two knitted items she is gifting in less than twelve hours.

Ah, Christmas morning... No longer the crack of dawn early rush of little ones, I was awakened by Emma Beagle around 9am. The snow has melted and although we had temps into the single digits it is above freezing this morning. Simply a grey foggy morning, even the atmosphere outdoors seems very quiet. It's a contemplative time to have my cup of tea.

Once everyone had crawled out from under their duvets, we enjoyed a leisurely morning, brunching on Val's homemade waffles. Emma & Wendy each got a Christmas-y decorated dog cookie which they politely took then greedily crunched up, happy dogs. We ooh-ed & aah-ed over each others' gifts. Everyone had made at least one gift for each other. Jim had taken a jewelry class at the community college and crafted the most charming items for the three women he lives with. Val finished her knitted items by 4am, some beer cosies and a lovely cable purse for me! I hope to photo and include the instructions in a post soon. Books, music, yarn and art supplies were happily given & received. I've got the pot roast simmering in my cast iron dutch oven, so we will share a hearty meal later.

Blessings to all for a wonderful Christmas with family & friends!

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Projects are being completed, just in the nick of time. This baby project came up suddenly, when I realized I might not catch up with the lucky woman until after she delivered in February. Anyway, I sat down and found a couple of easy patterns. The booties are from the book, One Skein: 30 quick projects by Leigh Radford. I added a green stripe on the booties so they would co-ordinate better with the hat. The little fruit beanie is on Pinterest (of course) and it knit up beautifully. Here's the link to the free pattern:  
I used Crystal Palace Yarn Merino 5, in what I call raspberry crush, but is labeled color #1013. This yarn is very springy, 100% superwash merino and it comes in 110yd balls. I got both the hat & booties out of one ball. The lime yarn is Simplicity by Hikoo, 107m ball with fiber content 55% superwash merino, 28% acrylic, 17% nylon. This yarn is lovely and soft, it almost feels like a plush cotton. I plan to knit up a few pairs of booties just using this yarn in total or better yet... a pair of cozy big people socks! Hmmm... later after Christmas.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Full Cold Moon

Our December full moon is shrouded in fog this evening, yet the moon glow gives a soft blue white radiance to the snow. A pair of Great Horned Owls have started their evening mating calls, hoo hoo hoo-hooing from the pine trees across the street, to as close as my magnolia in the front yard. I find the owl's call very soothing and often go outside to try and get a glimpse of them. Here in Missouri they are year round residents. Fortunately, there is a huge cemetery across the street with abutting state & city owned green space, allowing for at least 20 acres of forest and field open habitat. Take a peek at this website for terrific info on our local owls

I have been a bit slow to get the Christmas tree decorated. I have not succumbed to the ease of an artificial tree yet, preferring a fresh fir with its spicy scent. Our tree is about six feet tall and very full; so far I have only draped a tree skirt around the base and placed the star on top. So many holiday projects are demanding attention, it doesn't seem to matter how well planned you think you are, crunch time is always the last week before Christmas!

Well, nothing like blogger's guilt to get one motivated! The tree is now decorated. I will be heading back to work December 30th, so I am re-inspired to make the most of my remaining time off. One thing I have learned from this accidental episode is that life truly is what you make it and to accomplish your goals it is important to stay focused on the long range outcome, not the daily plodding.

I plan to continue exploring this life, exercise 150 minutes a week and regularly create with words, yarn and gardens. Yikes, this resembles a New Year's resolution list!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Rushing to the end of the Year

A fierce December is truly upon us now; there has been a sprinkling of snow and bitterly cold temperatures hovering around 18F/-7C. Black ice on the roads was quite dangerous for a day, but has currently cleared in my area. Tonight we are forecast to have our temperatures drop to 4F/-15C, but no further snowfall until Friday.

The weekend after Thanksgiving, brought unusually mild weather with (60F/15C) temperatures and lovely sunshine. Yard inspiration struck and we did a mow and mulch of the the lawn & raked leaves onto the front gardens for a protective winter blanket. The rogue Queen Elizabeth rose, which had separated from its trellis last windstorm, was tied and anchored without serious injury given its huge thorns (nicknamed the "waving wands of death"). The final less risky job was hanging the outdoor ornaments across the front porch, beneath a single strand of LED Christmas lights. Given the current weather conditions, I am certainly glad we got these chores done then!

Venturing into my own front yard was the extent of my jaunt into the world though, as I completely avoided the shopping madness associated with Black Friday sales. I puttered around the house happily working on lots of little chores; like knitting those soon to be gifted Christmas items, dicing the last of Thanksgiving turkey into bits for soup, addressing holiday cards and organizing closets. 

My homefront efficiency has increased significantly, since I am still off work, recovering from knee surgery. I seem to come up with a new to-do list daily. Thrice weekly physical therapy is most helpful and a therapeutic leg massage has made a world of difference in knee stiffness, but my mobility is still impaired. I think it will be prudent to take the whole amount of recovery time allotted.

Truly there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to complete all the items lingering on my lists, exercise and tidy up. I marvel at how many activities I had let slide when I was working. I think I will be very busy when I return to work and start university classes in January. Happy Holidays to all!