Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Story of Stuff

If, like me, you have felt compelled in recent years to rethink your "stuff" issues, check out this video. It's about 20 minutes long, but it is well worth watching. It offers a lot of food for thought. (On second thought, even if you haven't been rethinking your "stuff," watch the video anyway...maybe it will get you thinking! :) )

The Story of Stuff

(P.S. I came across this video in my Local Harvest newsletter. Their site and newsletter are both great resources if you're wanting to learn about eating healthily and more sustainably. On the web site, you can also look for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs in your area.)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hope renewed!

Whew! I'm back from the abyss. Seems it won't be necessary to separate from my knitting, after all. Just needed to divert myself to something other than all of the things that were not going well.

So, I cast on something new. What? Another sock. Yes! Ok?! Yes!! I said, another sock! Yes, I realize it was zee sockeez zat were making me bat-shit crazy the other day. But as The Yarn Harlot pointed out the other day, like cures like, so if it was socks that were killing me, it had to be a sock that would cure me.

At work yesterday, I picked up a couple balls of Adriafil Knitcol in a loverly mix of colors.

Eeezent zsheee preeeetteee?? (No idea why I'm affecting a faux-French accent in this post.) I've never knit socks with this weight yarn before, but that's what made me think it might be a good idea now...something larger...bigger needles...thus, faster...less time to royally screw them up. (Will take a picture of the actual sock when I finish the first one. Hopefully later tonight.)

Using size four DPNs, I opted for the Broken Rib Socks from One-Skein Wonders (seriously...I love this book...if you had to own only one pattern book, I'd highly recommend this one). They looked nice and cushy, and indeed they are turning out to be so. The broken rib pattern is nice and easy, but even still, if you screw it up slightly (ahem), it camouflages minor mistakes very well. I veered from the pattern when I hit the heel, as I like my way of doing heels better, but it adapted just fine.

The only thing that is bugging me? Despite using larger needles and cushier yarn, I am still getting a ladder down the center of my sole (er, my sock's sole, as opposed to my soul). It's not as noticeable as with finer yarn, but it is still there, and that really bugs me. If anyone out there can fill me in on the secret to no ladders, I'd love to know it. I've tried all of the advice I've been able to find...tight stitches at the joins, using four needles to hold the fabric instead of three...none of it matters. I still get a ladder (or, in the case of four needles, I get TWO ladders! Argh!). I'm a really, really tight sock knitter to begin with, so I can't imagine making my join stitches any tighter than they are without breaking the yarn or the needles. Maybe I'm knitting TOO tightly? Could that be the problem? Anyone?

This actually may end up being a moot point after my discovery today! I've long heard of the Magic Loop method of circular knitting. I thought I'd tried it once and it didn't work well, but then today I got my newsletter and they had a link to an online tutorial for doing the Magic Loop and realized no, I didn't remember doing what the pictures showed. So, I pulled out some needles and followed along...

A little awkward at first, but I quickly caught on to it, and I liked it! After I got a rhythm going, it was as easy as working with DPNs (I love me my DPNs!) It ended up being way less cumbersome than using two circulars (I can do that, but I hate the unused circ dangling around...I find it very distracting). While the tutorial recommended using a longer circular for this technique, I had no problem using a 24" Addi Turbo, size 3. And after a little while, I ended up with this...

A little Magic Loop mini-bootie! (Chap Stick added to provide scale reference. ;))

And best of all...LOOK!

NO LADDERS! Not on the bottom! Not on either side where the loop separated the fabric during knitting...nowhere! I cannot tell you how jazzed I am about this! As much as I love knitting with DPNs, this may be my ladderless sock salvation!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Houston, we have a problem...

...I am in a bad place, knit-wise, at the moment.

I just finished a sock-from-hell tonight...I restarted this sock a couple of times before I got it going in a way I liked it. The yarn is fantastically beautiful, and that alone made me want to keep at it. So, tonight...made it to the toe of the first sock...which is when things got bad. Sparing you the long, detailed version, it will suffice to say that -- with 1" left to go on the sock -- I realized I screwed up big time about five inches back. I did five too few heel decreases, leaving me with a wonky number of stitches on two needles as I did my toe decreases.

Folks, there is no way to really solve this problem except to rip this puppy the whole way back to where I messed up. I could pretend it doesn't matter, but honestly, the sock won't even fit properly if I don't fit is. The thought of ripping that much sock out, though, sickens me. As much as I wish I was a process knitter (and sometimes I am), for me, socks are all about product. Beautiful, soft, lovely finished products of hand knit sock goodness.

Me and the socks...we are not getting along well right now in general. I have a pair I started for Kevin months ago that are just boring me to tears and I know I will never finish them. They are due to be ripped so I can regain a set of DPNs for better use. I have a partially finished second pirate sock for my son, which I will probably work on next just to get that off my radar, but I'm not loving it as much as I thought I would. I started yet another sock a couple weeks ago with some beautiful Lorna's Shepherd Sock, but the pattern I chose for it really is not working well with the pattern of the yarn -- no matter how much I've tried to convince myself otherwise -- so by rights, it needs to be ripped too so the yarn can be put to better use.

I love to make socks...I really do...but I love them more when they work perfectly and I have a finished sock to show for my efforts in a short amount of time. Perhaps I was spoiled by the fact that my first half-dozen pair of socks I ever made DID turn out perfectly on the first try. That sure hasn't been the case lately, though, and it is depressing me.

Matter of fact, when I think of all of the projects I have started right now -- three scarves and one sweater (not counting a handful of officially "hibernating" projects stashed under my bed!) -- I cannot think of one that really gets me excited. I have two projects that just need a tiny bit of finishing work -- one zipper, one lining and a zipper -- and I have not been able to get the gumption to do those, either. What is wrong with me? This is so not like me.

I'm starting to fear that after a year of intense, nearly obsessive knitting, that I'm getting burned out. I do not want this to happen. I love knitting. I want to continue to love knitting. Maybe I need to do what I used to do when I was feeling burned out with my writing -- take a writing break for a week or so. Maybe I need a knitting break to refresh me. A week with no knitting. At all. I wonder if that's even possible?

Five Minute Friday: Things that Stress Me Out

Ok, so this isn't a particularly uplifting or edifying topic this week, but you know what? It is Friday at the end of a loooong week. It is COLD. I am PMSing big time. So, here goes....

Things that stress me out:

1. Technology that refuses to work correctly.
2. Not being able to find things that I KNOW are around here somewhere.
3. Being so disorganized.
4. My house perpetually looking like a cyclone just wandered through.
(Seeing a pattern here? What is UP with this?)
5. Not having enough "me" time to recharge my l'il ol' introvert batteries.
6. When I don't prepare the kids' school lessons in advance and having to wing it.
7. Knitting snafus.
8. When Kevin and I don't get to spend time with each other to reconnect.
9. Indecisive people.
10. A too long to-do list.
11. When I realize I've done something incredibly stupid.
12. Anything having to do with finances.
13. My church.
14. Or my response to my church.
(Either way, not a healthy thing.)
14. Setting unreasonable expectations for myself.
15. The unfortunate results of my own procrastination.
16. Finding new cobwebs on my ceiling every time I turn around. (Seriously...WHERE are the spiders that are making these things??)
17. Ignoring what my body is telling me.'s enough.

Honestly, I really try not to stress out about many things. Most things aren't really worth stressing over. It's not a productive reaction. And all of these things are not constant issues for me...they just creep up occasionally. But seriously, some times? Stress just happens. And during weeks like this one has been, when I've experienced several of the above-mentioned items, added to the hormonal-ness going on inside of me...well, yikes. Makes those Pomtinis sound really, really good. ;)

And don't think that I don't realize that many of these stressors are completely within my control to decrease or eliminate. I know that. And I'm working on them. I'm just...trying not to stress out over them. :::sigh:::

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I never own the right glasses...

Observe: the Pomtini. In a water-ish goblet. Which was previously purchased for containing margaritas. Which has also been used for wine.

Five New Year's Days ago, we had a small shindig...the only kind of shindig I usually ever host because I am not, by nature, a consummate entertainer. I am a stressed-out entertainer, always worrying if my guests are having a good time. Hence the focus on alcoholic beverages. Even a sucky shindig is more enjoyable with booze present, right?

Anyway, five years ago, Jan. 1, we had some friends over to celebrate the New Year. The day included lots of food, a sometimes side-splitting game of Lord of the Rings trivial pursuit, and, yes, margaritas. Only, in planning, I was insistent we purchase glasses appropriate for serving margaritas. My husband, who does not drink alcohol (for health-related issues rather than moral ones) insisted that the crystal wine glasses we owned (because we registered for them when we got married...why we registered for them, I have no idea, because even I did not really drink wine at that time) would be fine. But no! I was not to be deterred. So off to Target we went (where else do you buy classy stemware?) in search of margarita glasses. But we could not FIND margarita glasses. The closest I could get in that post-Christmas economy was these big water goblet-ish glasses. They seemed far more appropriate than crystal wine glasses, so we bought four and went on our merry way.

And indeed, they did quite well to contain the margaritas. If anyone was put off by the fact that they were goblets and not margarita glasses, they didn't let on. A good time was had by all.

So, fast forward a little over five years. I was reading the Jolly Ewe's blog the other day in which she wrote about pomegranate martinis. Now, I have to admit that I've never had a martini of any flavor. Not a gin martini. Not a vodka martini. Not a stirred martini. Not a shaken martini. They always seem far more cultured a drink than anything I -- the lover of the Long Island Iced Tea or the rum and coke, or, heck, the plain ol' beer -- am usually found drinking.

However, last night, I found myself at Max & Erma's for dinner, and there on the drink menu was a Pomtini. Pomegranate juice, orange juice and vodka. It had been a long, long day, so I though, ok, why not? I'll give it a whirl. So I ordered the drink, and the waitress asked, "Straight up?" and I said, "Sure!" (Like I know how a Pomtini is best served? All I know is who needs that ice to water things down...really!)

Well, I'll be darned if it wasn't one of the most tasty beverages I've had in quite some time! So much so that when I was at the grocery store today, I thought I'd just buy me some of that pomegranate juice that comes in the funny, bulbous-shaped bottles and see if I can't whip me up my own Pomtini with the vodka that's been languishing under my kitchen sink since being left over from the oldest kid's wedding reception a year and a half ago.

Not one to get hung up on having an actual recipe, I figured equal parts of all three ingredients would be a good place to into my Tupperware mixer thingy I dumped two shots of each juice and of vodka with a bunch of crushed ice and shook. (I did not KNOW how voluminous a shot actually was -- I don't usually measure, I I got a pretty big quantity of Pomtini for my efforts.) Anyway...I strained that puppy with my pink, plastic, heart-shaped strainer and poured it into my goblet/margarita glass/wine glass/martini glass...and It Was Good. Yee-ha!

The moral of the story is: you can serve a really good alcoholic beverage in a Dora the Explorer sippy cup and it won't'll serve the purpose and no one will care. As long as you don't accidentally give it to a toddler or something.

Note, however, that the Jolly Ewe drinks her 'tinis from actual, proper martini glasses...she is far more cultured than I...or she had better sense when she did her bridal registry... :}

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Because, as I said last time...

...I really like lists, and it is very late, and I should be in bed but I'm not completely exhausted enough to go there yet, and because I just found this on Lain's blog and thought it looked like fun, I'm going to do it now, just for all three of you, my dear readers. ;)

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
Got a professionally-done tattoo (two, actually!); went blonde-ish; learned to straighten my hair in a way that makes me happyhappy; learned how to really knit, like sweaters and stuff; got a job working in a yarn store; experienced the theft of an expensive camera :(

2. What are your New Years Resolutions?
I don't make resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth in 2007?

4. Did anyone close to you die.
Yes, my mom's Aunt Zelda...95 years young, bless her soul.

5. What countries did you visit?
Just the good ol' USA...mainly Florida...three times.

6 What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
Better overall health and more confidence in certain areas of my life.

7. What date(s) in 2007 will remain etched in your memory and why?
October 22 -- the day my oldest son left for Marine boot camp.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Learning how to knit really well and making over 50 items, including six sweaters and five pairs of socks.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I don't really consider this a failure, but more of a continuing frustration: dealing with C.'s learning issues.

10. Did you suffer any illness or injury?
One bad back spasm, but then I started going back to the chiropractor regularly, and it's made a world of difference!

11. What was the best thing someone bought you?
Well, I did get my red Grand Am this year, which technically my hubby bought (or is paying for! LOL) since he's the one with the full-time job, but I picked the car out. So the best thing someone actually bought for me would have to be my sheepie mug I got for Christmas from my brother-in-law and his wife and daughter...small, simple, yet perfect! :)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My oldest son...joining the Marines brought about an amazing transformation in him.

13. Whose behavior appalled and depressed you?
Benazir Bhutto's assassins.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Bills. Yarn. Gas. Travel.

15. What did you get really, really excited about?
Knitting! (Sensing a theme here?0

16. What song(s) reminds you of 2007?
Linkin Park - Bleed it Out
Kelly Clarkson - Breakaway
The Cat Empire - Sly
FLOW - Go!
The Be Good Tanyas - Rudy
The Puppini Sisters - Sway

17. Compared to last year are you...
a.) Happier or Sadder? Happier
b.) Thinner or Fatter? About the same
c.) Richer or Poorer? Financially, about the same; richer in the important things in life.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Been more patient.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Comparing myself to others.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At home, with family visiting.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007.
In many ways, yes.

22. How many one night stands did you have?
Ha! Not that kind of girl... ;)

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Pushing Daisies; Survivor; Amazing Race; Gilmore Girls

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't this time last year?

25. What was the best book you read?
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

26. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I turned 41, and I cannot remember what I did. LOL I'd just gotten home from Florida the day before, though.

27. What was your best musical discovery?
The Cat Empire

28. What did you want and get?
A tattoo; a red sportscar; an iPod; stability and direction for my oldest son.

29. What was your favorite film of the year?
Pirates of the Caribbean: World's End

30. What did you want and not get?
A new kitchen.

31. What one thing would've made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Feeling more settled in my church situation.

32. How would you describe your fashion concept for 2007?
Comfortable and fun. ;)

33. What kept you sane?
Knitting (LOL); my wonderful girlfriends...Amy, Myrna, Peggy, you guys!

34. Which celebrity or public figure did you admire most?
Not sure.

35. What political issue stirred you most?
Religious freedom; parental rights; socialistic trends in legislation

36. Who do you miss?
My son.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
The ladies I work with; Cosy (fun, creative girl!); Denise (a stunning writer who I haven't technically met yet, but who I did talk to on the phone once and with whom I have played several games of Scrabulous).

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned.
Live your life, not the one everyone else wants you to live.

39. Quote a song line that defines your year.

I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly
I'll do what it takes til' I touch the sky
And I'll make a wish
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway
Out of the darkness and into the sun
But I won't forget all the ones that I love
I'll take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway
(Kelly Clarkson,

Friday, January 18, 2008

Five Minute Friday: Things I Love

Lots of bloggers take part in a lot of different weekly blog events -- there's Ten on Tuesday, Studio Friday (which I used to do), Thursday Thirteen, and I'm sure there are plenty for all of the other days of the week as well.

Not feeling inclined to jump on another's band wagon at the moment, yet still enjoying the opportunity to make a list and share it with the blogosphere, I'm hereby instituting my own weekly list meme of sorts, aptly named: Five Minute Friday (I like that alliteration thing, don't you?).

Anyway, for the foreseeable future (or whenever I remember), I'm going to post some sort of list here on Fridays...a list on whatever topic I choose for the week, and I'll list all of the items I can think of for it within a five minute time period. I know you're just giddy with anticipation over this, aren't you? Uh huh. :}

So, this week, I think my list will be: Things I Love. In no particular order:

1. Mythbusters
2. Chai tea lattes
3. Naruto
4. Knitting
5. The nighttime sky
6. A good Long Island Iced Tea
7. My family
8. Ireland
9. Sleeping in
10. Mandarin oranges
11. Tattoos
12. Making lists
13. Winter sunshine
14. Tank tops
15. My job
16. Cats
17. My hair (for the first time in my life!)
18. Being 40-something
19. Books
20. Trivia
21. Moleskine notebooks
22. Body + Soul Magazine
23. Hampton Inns

Time's up! So...go make your own list, if you're so inclined. Or don't. But it's fun, so maybe yes...go make a list! :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


...I just learned that I have only a 43% chance of surviving a zombie apocalypse.

And yet our local rec board's adult classes never offer anything that could even remotely help me improve those odds. How un-useful is that? Seriously. :::sheesh:::

(Perhaps if I was more amenable to recklessly blowing the heads off the undead, my odds would be better?)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Free Pattern: Fast & Easy Fingerless Mitts

Red pair is made from Gedifra Fashion Trend Color; Brown pair is made from Malabrigo Merino Worsted.

After making about a gazillion pairs of these for Christmas gifts this year, each pair tweaked a bit from the last, I finally came up with what I believe to be an easy-peasy pattern for fingerless mitts that yields a lovely finished pair in very little time. You could easily do a pair in an evening if you're a fast knitter. I averaged one mitt per night, just because I get bored knitting the same thing for too long. I thought I'd share the pattern I came up with for anyone interested in giving them a try.

(Note added 1/20/10 - I've written a second version of this pattern for those who would like to knit these mitts in the round instead of flat. You'll find the circular version here.)

Yarn: 50 g of your favorite worsted weight (I use grams here rather than yardage because in every pair I made, I was able to get a pair out of a 50 gram ball, regardless of yardage, and I had a little bit left over.)

Needles: US 7

Abbreviations: K = knit; P = purl; SS = stockinette stitch; M1 = make one increase

Size: This pattern will fit an average woman's hand. After working the thumb, you can adjust the length of finger portion of the mitt to accommodate a number of hand sizes.

Both Mitts:

Cast on 34 stitches.

Work K1, P1 rib for 18 rows.

Work SS for 4 rows, ending on a purl row.

For Right Mitt:

K17, M1, k3, M1, K to end of row.
Next row: Purl.
Work SS for 2 rows.

K17, M1, K5, M1, K to end of row.
Next row: Purl.
Work SS for 2 rows.

K17, M1, K7, M1, K to end of row.
Next row: Purl.
Work SS for 2 rows.

K17, M1, K9, M1, K to end of row.
Next row: Purl.

You should have 42 stitches at this point.

K28, turn work, P11.

For Left Mitt:

K14, M1, K3, M1, K to end.
Next row: Purl.
Work SS for two rows.

K14, M1, K5, M1, K to end.
Next row: Purl.
Work SS for two rows.

K14, M1, K7, M1, K to end.
Next row: Purl.
Work SS for two rows.

K14, M1, K9, M1, K to end.
Next row: Purl.

You should have 42 stitches at this point.

K25, turn work, P11.

For Both Mitts:

On these 11 stitches, work K1, P1 rib for 4 more rows or until you reach desired thumb length. Bind off loosely. Break yarn leaving approximately 18" tail. With tail yarn, seam up thumb from top to bottom. After seaming, continue using tail yarn to pick up two stitches at the base of the thumb and then K to the end of the row. Rejoin yarn.

Next row: Purl.

Work remainder of the mitt in SS to desired length, minus one inch, ending on a purl row.

Work six rows of K1, P1 rib. Bind off loosely. Seam mitt down outside edge.

Monday, January 14, 2008


...or maybe schizophrenic is more apt? What a scattered collection of tunes.

This recent post from Cathy Zielske got me wondering what was on my own Top 25 list. I don't remember the last time I looked at it. Now that I've checked it out, it makes me smile. Music makes me so, so happy. (Live music makes me even happier...the louder, the better.) It is a simple joy.

What's on your Top 25 Most Played list? Take a look...see what it says to you about you and life and where you are and where you have been. It's an interesting study, I think. I can look at each song title on this iTunes list and almost every one brings to mind a specific memory that drove me to add it to my iPod to begin with. It's autobiographical. It's memoir in music.


Music is a form of memory for me. For instance, Cher's "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" will forever be embedded in my mind, as it was on one of the first two albums I ever owned, purchased for me by my parents for Christmas one year in junior high, along with my first stereo -- AM/FM, turn table, cassette player AND 8-track capable. (The other album they gave me that Christmas? Something by The Captain and Tennille. LOL How's that for musical dichotomy?)

I will always connect Dire Straits' "Skateaway" with the summer my dad was in the hospital having gall bladdar surgery, because I heard it on the radio so many times as my mom and I drove down to Shadyside to see him.

There will always be an angsty connection for me between The Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams," my senior year of high school and my then-boyfriend/later-briefly-married-to-husband.

Grateful Dead's "Ripple" has always, always made me cry. It not only reminds me of the tear-jerker movie Mask (hm, another Cher connection) that I've seen dozens of times, but it reminds me of a guy who I had been good friends with...we used to talk about all kinds of things together and had this connection to each other that I can't begin to explain even now. I've never had another friend like him. Only, later, this same guy came to like me just a little too much in a scary sort of way, and I had to make a choice to close him out of my life. It was the right thing to do. But the song still makes me cry.

Then there are songs I learned to play on the guitar. It was during a time when our oldest son was going through his own teenage angst. Relating to him was often dicey, but music often connected us. The year he was in 10th grade, he learned to play guitar. We both played for a while in a worship band at our church. Open the Eyes of My Heart was a song we often played, and even now when I hear it on Sunday morning, I can remember all of the parts, and how my son started it out on the bass and we all came in after him. It was the coolest thing. (There was another song whose name escapes me now that we all rearranged to play calypso style...that went over less well with the congregation at large. LOL) And even though it was "just" a church worship band, it was also cool that I was in it with my teenaged son. That group was a lot of fun. I have some really good memories there.

During that era, sometimes my son and I would sit down and he'd teach me bits of the songs he enjoyed. Earlier today, I had the urge to pick up my guitar after not playing it for a long time. My fingers had their own memories, letting me recall how to play (not well, mind you) the opening bars of Collective Soul's December. That simple thing stirred a particular joy in my heart, because as minor as that may seem, it was a connection between my son and me at a time when connecting wasn't always easy.

I'd like to think that music was, in the very beginning...God singing the world into existence, like Aslan does in The Magician's Nephew. Music is basic. It has meaning. It is full of life. Music can bring you home when you can't get there any other way. It can connect you to other people and other times. It can rip you open, and it can heal you. I cannot imagine life without it.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

So far, so good...

...happy to report that no further appliance tragedies have occurred since my last posting. The dryer stopped ticking. My hair dryer is mysteriously working again. And Husband replaced the motor in the furnace tonight and it seems to be working better than ever.

Keeping fingers crossed, burning incense and dancing around with a live chicken in hopes that the trend continues. ;)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Our appliances are possessed...

And yes, he just loved having me taking pictures at this point in time...

Our furnace began making a high-pitched whining sound last Saturday evening just as the Steelers-Jags game got started. (Considering the outcome of the game, I suppose it was an omen.) Husband diagnosed it as a bad capacitor, which he could replace. Considering that this is the 30+ year old furnace that was originally put in the house and that we've had blessed few problems with in the 14 years we've lived here, that seemed pretty lucky. We've got a wood stove that keeps the house pretty warm most nights anyway, so a day without a furnace during unseasonably warm weather was not a big deal.

Fast forward to today. I called Husband at work today to ask if I should be alarmed that our dryer was ticking. It was not running, but it was ticking. Like a clock. Or a bomb. He was too busy to diagnose it, so I just unplugged it and left it for him to check out when he got home. By the time he got home, I was at work and he did not hear any ticking sounds when he plugged it back in, so apparently all is well.

Or is it?

I got home from work to an empty house, Husband and the kids off to visit his grandfather. It had gotten colder all day today, thus the furnace was running. Upon coming downstairs to check e-mail and Scrabulous games, I noted a weird sound coming from the vicinity of the furnace...kind of the sound UFOs made in 60s TV shows? You know the sound. So, when Husband came home, I told him there was a UFO in the furnace. (He loves it when I tell him things like this. Really. You have no idea.) No sooner did I say this than the furnace started making the same high-pitched whine as it had made last Saturday.

Going downstairs, he shuts off the breaker to the furnace, opens it up and begins grilling me on the noise I'd heard earlier.

Him: So, what kind of noise was it making before?

Me: I told you already. I even mimicked it for you.

Him: :::heavy sigh::: Well, can you mimic it for me again?

Me: OoooooEEEEEEEeOOooooooooo


Him: So, was it like the sound of a bad bearing?

Me: :::heavy sigh::: I don't know. I'm not all that up on my bearing sounds.

Him: But you're up on your UFO sounds?

Me: Yes!

Him: :::heavy sigh::: This will be so helpful at the hardware store tomorrow.

So...he's now removed the motor from the furnace and started a fire in the wood stove. It is going to be cold out tonight, thanks to a clear sky (which, I must say, is making for an absolutely stunning view of the constellations!). And did I mention the age of our furnace? Yeah. I'm thinking we're going to be biting the big one and buying a new frickin' furnace soon. Though I did point out to the husband that we should probably weigh the cost of any new home improvements against the possibility of needing to move out of the country should Hillary Clinton actually get elected president. But that's a whole other issue. And really, it's best not to discuss politics and major appliance replacement in the same conversation. Seriously.

(Oh! I almost forgot! I was drying my hair today, and my hairdryer shorted out on me! Started to make a bad, burned electrical smell and then shut off! Granted, of the three appliances, this is the least problematic to replace, but still...what the heck is going on today?)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Inspired 365

In an effort to reinvigorate my enjoyment of chronicling my life in pictures, I've decided to undertake a photo-a-day project this year (รก la Project 365 and 3191). If you'd like to peek into my world and enjoy daily glimpses of my life, you can check it out at its own blog: Inspired 365.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year...

After what was a busy couple of weeks for us over the holidays, I'm finally taking some time today to think about the new year. I love this time of year...I love taking the time to reflect on life, on where I've been in the last year and where the next might lead.

I used to be a resolutions fanatic, but I gave that up some time ago. Three years ago, I created instead a list of intentions for the new year...thoughts about how I wanted to live my life more intentionally. I liked having those thoughts to guide me through the year instead of a harsh list of resolutions that left me feeling guilty when they so easily were broken.

That year, I also chose to use one word as my word for the year, a word to encompass all those things I wished to focus on. Appropriately enough, that year my word was intention. Living with intention. It was also the year I turned 40. I do not think the two things were unrelated.

Last year, I chose a new word for my year...balance. Looking back, I'm not sure I achieved balance in the way I'd intended it when I first chose that word. 2007 was a year of some amazing revelations for me...primarily, I realized how much I'd been living my life the way I thought other people wanted me to live it and not paying much attention to who I was and what was important to me. I spent a lot of time last year working though some periods of anger and resentment in certain areas. It was not easy, but it was good. I let go of a lot of the fears I had...fears of disapproval and judgment from those I love. Thus, I feel like I began to balance my life out on a grander scale...all those years of trying to fit into other people's expectations, now beginning to be balanced by fitting into the life that is truly my own. And thankfully, I feel free of most of those angry feelings I went through as I was re-discovering who I really am. It was a weird, unexpected process to go through, but I'm glad it happened. It's made me a better, happier person.

So, this year I've been trying to think of another word to capture that which I want to focus on for 2008. I've decided on deeper. Now that I feel like I have a renewed direction for my life, I want to explore it more deeply, continue to get to know myself as a woman in this stage of life and examine what that will mean as things continue to change. I don't want my passions and enthusiasm to stop at a superficial level but instead I want them to go deeper into both the big things in my life, as well as the little everyday things.

I think it is going to be a good year.