Thursday, February 18, 2010

Snow and self-betterment.

I think our season might be turning a corner. A pagan I used to practice with, Michael, celebrated a ritual with us that he called Vita! In Vita! attention was given to awakening the trees in the garden and surrounding woods, by striking them firmly, yet lovingly, on their trunks with decorated staves and sticks. It was a fun ritual, and usually performed in mid-to-late February, about the time that the maple sap starts to flow. I feel like it's time for Vita! right now, as our days are ever so slightly more light, and longer, I'm seeing new birds around and everyone seems to be singing a new song outside. Today it got up into the 50's. I can safely say that I think I have survived this winter, though there may be yet more to come.

We had our snow last Friday, about 3 1/2 inches here in Chamblee. It was spectacular. This is a pic of the woods across the street from our house. I love how beech trees look in winter, and how they don't seem to lose their papery leaves until the new buds push them off.

The view from the Clamcave window out into the backyard, the woods and the woodpile:

Ella loves cold weather, and will stay outside in falling snow until it piles up on her back and head. She also has been known to lay down in it.

This is Cricket's second snow. He had a good time in this one, and actually was seen frolicking in it. The first snow, he would hurry outside, do his business and race back in, but this time around, he relaxed a little bit. It looks like he's catching snowflakes on his tongue in this pic.

So I am caught in Spring Fever's thrall, and have big plans for enjoying the weekend's supposed 50's and possible 60's weather. I'm going to take my bike out for a ride, and enjoy the sun. I'm trying, somewhat vainly, to regain lost ground in my Ravelympics race...I havent knit in 3 days, due mostly to having too many math papers and tests to grade, catching up on lost sleep, yoga, and perhaps the most critical reason...disgruntlement at having lost my current favorite stitch marker, a red "maneki neko" lucky cat stitch marker that was given me by Opal. I lost the damn thing in the depths of our leather recliner chair, and it refuses to give it up! I turned the chair upside down, on both sides, I shook it, I dug around in it, to no avail. This chair, so comfortable, is all scarred, ripped and a little bit falling apart, but we love it so. It has also eaten quite a number of row counters, countless dpn's, stitch markers, highlighters, and a small fortune in pocket change over the years. It has consumed cell phones, iPods and car keys, and mercifully regurgitated those last critical items back up. But alas, the red lucky cat is not to be seen. I have other stitch markers. I'm just bitter, I guess. That this all happened at 1 am on Monday night is also part of the disgruntlement. I guess that's actually Tuesday morning. I had a long weekend off work, and so was being all crazy with bedtimes, in my Olympic zeal.

Nevertheless, I'm determined to get back up on the knitting horse tonight, and try and crank out some more rows on Talia. I'm enjoying the knit; I like the Lamb's Pride yarn, and really love the pattern, so I'm motivated. I doubt I'll medal. But it was a good way to get me started and jazzed up about a project.

Another project I've been working on is the photographing and uploading of my big scary stash onto Ravelry. I'm about 1/3 of the way through that project right now, and am kind of enjoying it. Seeing it all up there makes me realize that I really have no business buying yarn, like ever again in this lifetime. At least with it all up online, I won't have to go diving into it to contemplate future projects, though there's nothing like fondling one's yarn to get the motivation going...I have my sister to thank for all this stash documentation; she started putting hers up, and in true sibling rival fashion (I'll do it if you'll do it) I had to get in on the action.

The sleep project continues with some success. I feel better. I have fallen off the wagon a little bit on the weekends, but make up for it with a nap, and am usually back in bed by 10 on school nights. I haven't had a significant headache in a while. I've cut waaaay back on sugar, too, and carbs in general, and that's helping a lot, too, I'm sure. But I wonder when the compulsion to stay up til 1am or the impulsive desire to eat cupcakes goes away? I can put myself in bed at a decent hour. I note that I feel better, think more clearly, am less cranky and achey, but I still want to stay up late...I guess it's a life pattern, and 40-something years of nocturnal tendencies don't disappear in the space of a month. We won't even analyze the cupcake thing.

My husband used to humorously describe my permanent student status/gym-going/good habit-seeking as "self-betterment." I feel like I'm in some kind of sweet spot for considering options for self-betterment, these days. I know it's a newish moon, and Chinese New Year, and that Mercury has gone direct again. So I'm riding this happy energy of the lengthening days. Could be a function of only being partially employed, though the job feels like it has totally exploded all over my spare time. In a flush of enthusiasm over making positive changes in my life, I went and took myself off Facebook for the duration of Lent, too. That can only be a good thing. I'm missing it, but more like missing it as a thing to do, a compulsion, not necessarily as a thing that brings me pleasure (like a cupcake). I didn't give up blog reading, or Ravel-ing. A girl's gotta have some pleasures in her life... I love Facebook for connecting with old friends and keeping myself amused, but have recently just been blown away by how much time I was spending on it, and by how I was tipping over into potential meaningless drama. Time to get some distance.

For Chelsea: My tomato soup recipe comes from here. I'm going to make more tonight.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Waiting for the white stuff.

You may remember, if you are as old as me, those bumper stickers that people used to have back in the 70's, that simply said "Frodo lives!" Usually on the back of old volvos, driving around funky towns like Davis, Asheville or Hilo... maybe because I'm teetering on the brink of Ravelympics, about to knit something for the Lord of the Rings fandom's Team Middle Earth, or because I'm planning my long-awaited party of a Lord of the Rings reread, but I kept thinking of the phrase "Ariann lives!!" this morning as I continued to dither about how big to actually make her collar, as I still have a bit o' the yarn left. Anyway, my feelings of being strangled and consumed by this sweater have lessened somewhat.

We area all sitting around waiting for a "big" dose of winter weather here in Atlanta, as it's calling for up to 2 inches of snow to dump in the metro area in the next 24 hours. I am astounded and gobsmacked by the walloping that DC and surrounds got, in the big snOMG event last week and before. I'm even kinda over being jealous, as that much weather, repeated that many times, just ceases to be any fun for anyone. I cancelled a trip up to the Olde Country today, as my mom's driveway is reportedly a sheet of black ice, and snow is piled up everywhere around there, too. I'm a little sad, but far less stressed than I would have been, had I been trundling up the road for that visit. I'm a bit sick of winter, here, but if it's gonna stick around, at least bring me some o' that white stuff!!

This week has been parent-teacher conferences at my school, and sweet baby Jebus, were they ever grueling! Most parents were lovely, but doing the meetings (45 of them) at a round table with other teachers, and pretty much back-to-back for 2 days straight, took any voyeuristic joy out of seeing just how far the apples were falling from the trees. There's only so many times I can hear myself saying the same damn things over and over again, and listening to my coworkers do this, too, just made me want to scream. The few crazies we saw, though, were buffered by having the whole team at the table, which was good. We were also able to have our boss call us into (ahem) "meetings" if the conferences were anticipated to be potentially too long. I left work yesterday at 4:30, feeling like I needed to take my brain out of my head and scrub it. Mercifully, a 2 hour nap and a nice yoga class full of forward bends took care of some of that chatter in my head, and what was left was dispatched by a tall, cold Dos Equis draft and the 2 hour premier of the new season of "Survivor: Heroes vs Villains." Now I have a 5 day weekend beginning, so I'm ever so relaxed and happy.

I've been contemplating a severe break from the internets, at least temporarily. I blog rarely, and so taking a break wouldn't really effect this site, here, but I've been looking back on the past 15 years or so, and remembering the days when I felt like I had time to tackle refinishing big pieces of furniture, paint rooms in my house, bicycle 40 miles, go to the gym, keep a clean house, garden a bit, take fun day trips and cook ambitious things like souffles and empanadas. Funny, it turns out all this stuff was going on back in my pre-Facebook/Ravelry/long bloglines mindless internet timewasting era. Imagine that! I actually have some "gotta do" type projects that involve the internets; job applications, photographing and uploading the prodigious stash to Ravelry, Those things, however, do not involve hours of idle chatter on Facebook and surfing Rav for potential projects that I'll never get around to knitting because I'm online so damn much, goofing around. I need to get some balance, here!!

Trying to figure out how this will look, what the parameters will be, can I manage it informally, or do there need to be strict things like the use of applications like Leechblocker and Freedom software put into practice. I kinda think that might help. Anyway, stay tuned for more on this. Or less.

I'm off, now, to bring in a load of firewood for the evening's fireside knitting, and to contemplate dinner (I'm thinking homemade tomato soup) and some housecleaning.