Roundup March 2013

Roundup questions for blog

What special or unusual event occurred?

We made it through Mom’s birthday. This was the first real event that we celebrated after her death. It passed pretty quietly; she was just on my mind a good bit more. Dad said he had some bittersweet moments that got to him, but overall he was okay. Those memory moments are to be expected, and certainly she was worth them.

What were my accomplishments this month?

Teaching in Spanish! And not to children! I actually traveled to Mexico for work, where I taught the same material I’ve been teaching in English for almost a year, but this time I did it in Spanish. I was so gratified by the compliments I received; I achieved my goals of being clear, comprehensible, and coherent. What more could I ask? I mostly read from a prepared text – there is no way I felt comfortable enough to do it seemingly off the cuff like I do in English – but that seemed to be acceptable presentation style at this conference, so I was comfortable with that. And I did make a serious effort to look up regularly.

Of course, going almost didn’t happen. There were money/regulations that had to be worked out before I could go, and I literally did not know for sure that I was going until about four days before. It was very tension-making. I continued to prepare as if I would be going regardless, and watched on the sidelines as my chief and the other institution had their discussions. It was not fun.

I made lemon mousse. I’ve been craving lemony things, so I decided to satisfy said craving. It turned out pretty well, but I think that I will still make myself the lemon mouse without the whipped cream, which is mostly lemon curd. I am still craving lemony not-too-sweet dessert-type things.

What were my disappointments this month?

I can’t think of anything serious that disappointed me. I just missed Mom a bit more, especially once I wasn’t distracted by work.

Well, my weight disappointed me, but that is standard.

What books/music/shows did I enjoy this month?

  • Celtic Crossroads concert at the Barns at Wolf Trap – that was really good, and a wonderful distraction from the tension of waiting to find out if I was going to Mexico
  • Magic bleeds / Ilona Andrews – re-read
  • Magic slays / Ilona Andrews– re-read
  • Gunmetal magic / Ilona Andrews– re-read
  • Absolutely, positively / Jayne Ann Krentz– re-read
  • The unquiet bones – didn’t finish
  • Frost burned / Patricia Briggs – pretty good “ending” to the series. I wonder if there will be more? I do know that the original contract was for seven books. But it is not like there will be no more in that world, as the Alpha and Omega series is still going.
  • Gifted hands / Ben Carson – I’ve seen the movie, and was curious about the book. Distinctly different, but interesting.
  • Gryphon’s eyrie / Andre Norton– re-read
  • Temptation and surrender / Stephanie Laurens– re-read
  • Wild / Cheryl Strayed – I really did not connect with this book. I finished it, but really!, I had a hard time understanding the character of the author. And truly, the biggest lack was the lack of God. It was understandable, but it was also the root of the problem for this woman, as she really was making her mother almost into a god. Not really, but occasionally, emotionally, yes. And I was so frustrated with her because of it. Plus, she engaged in some truly foolish behavior, at least some of which she acknowledged as foolish, but some not.
  • The crystal gryphon / Andre Norton– re-read
  • Parasol Protectorate series / Gail Carriger
  • Wild invitation / Nalini Singh
  • Mouse and dragon / Lee & Miller – skimming re-read
  • The hallowed hunt / Lois McMaster Bujold– re-read
  • The Mentalist, finishing season 2
  • Campion – watched Police at the funeral episodes
  • The Bourne legacy – boy, was that a setup movie! It was okay, but not especially thrilling.
  • Much podcast watching and listening. Especially listening to Jane Eyre as part of Craftlit listening. Really enjoying it, so much so that I am making myself not read ahead in the book, even though I am a little impatient!

What crafts did I work on this month (not what I finished, but what did I work on)?

  • Socks #26
  • Working on said new quilt pretty steadily – and I finished the quilt top! (Well, I need to add a border, but that is not what is called for in the pattern, so I am still calling it finished. In the meantime, I still have to work on the backing and binding, as well as a minimal border.)
  • Started cutting for a baby quilt for my new grand-niece to come.
  • Wave shawlette
  • Boiled wool knitting
  • Wool felt applique wall hanging – I don’t know that I will call it a quilt anymore. It just isn’t a quilt, even if it does end up with multiple layers!

What fun things did I do with my family, friends, or by myself?

I went to Woodlawn Needlework exhibition with a friend. She is retiring this year, so it was a last opportunity to share that time with her. I’ll miss her next year.

Craft Saturday was again enjoyable, because a good friend came over for a good bit of the time.

I tried a waffle restaurant, attempting to satisfy my craving for a good Belgian waffle. I don’t think I quite achieved it, at least partly because now that I know what good maple syrup tastes like, I just can’t get enthused by the fake stuff. I think I’m going to have to give up on restaurants and make my own waffle. Of course, I want a whole wheat version, and it will not have the characteristic waffle ridges, since I am NOT buying an appliance for something I will use maybe once a year, but I can still make the recipe and simply do it in the iron skillet. Or maybe I could borrow a waffle iron?

What gifts did I give and/or receive?

I received the gift of comfort. A friend at church reached out to me on the Sunday of Mom’s birthday with a bit of encouragement and a promise of ongoing prayer – and she didn’t even realize it was Mom’s birthday. Truly God provides the comfort we need when we need it.

What special or unusual purchases did I make?

I bought a whole bunch of fabric. Since I finished the quilt top and had baby quilt in the offing, I needed to buy backing and border fabric, as well as the fabric for the baby quilt top. Of course, now I need to go back for the border and the baby quilt backing and border.

I bought the Finding photo freedom class from Big Picture Classes at the beginning of the year. (I also bought the One Little Word and Move More, Eat Well classes, but they are once a month things.) The FPF class actually started in February, but I didn’t really focus on it until beginning of March. It is definitely offering me possibilities in scrapbooking more of the stories I want to scrapbook. After all, as I regard it, this is my form of journaling, it just includes pretty paper and pictures. So making sure that I figure out what pictures I really want to use is powerful. I’m glad, though, that access is perpetual, because I am finding it hard to find the time to really do it properly, even though I want to.

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?

Morning itchiness, sneezing, and/or drainage, due to allergies. This started about mid-February, and continued until mid-March. Once I got back on schedule with my allergy shots, it disappeared pretty quickly. However, I would say that the duct cleaning, which actually happened in March, even though it was initially scheduled for February, did help a bit while the shots took effect. Personally I am just grateful it quit!

I got back the blood work from my regular checkup. Once again, the bad LDL’s are just slightly over the edge of what is okay. Personally I think if I lose the weight I need to lose, then that would correct itself. I do not regard my overall diet as bad. But we’ll see what can be done. Just as a baseline decision, I am going to focus on making sure that I have lots of vegetables – cooked or raw – to eat, plus regular amounts of protein. Too often I fall into the habit of not having meat ready to eat, and I end up unsatisfied. Then I eat more of what I should not eat. That is not good.

Lately, I’ve been experiencing noticeable tightness in the hips, especially the left one. I decided to do some extra massage as a result. I think it helped, but by its very nature, massage is temporary. What I really need is regular, intense stretching.

Anything else noteworthy to include?

The new foreign country that I have now included in my list is Mexico. Of course, it was for work, and Very Short. I was only there 48 hours! But I am sure that I will return.

A new Bikram yoga studio is coming to my neighborhood. I’ve been wanting to do yoga regularly for a while now – see stretching comment above – but haven’t been able to fit it in at my gym, which is frustrating, since that is already paid for. I’ve looked into other area yoga studios, but same thing. But this new studio is literally within walking distance, so if I can’t find a time that works for me…It hasn’t opened yet, but I am watching with bated breath.

Google Reader announced it is going away.

B&N Nook app updated – and now it is much less stable. I am cranky.

Beach week is happening. We won’t all be there, but at least we are getting there!

What rest did I achieve this month?

The whole tension thing with the uncertainty of going to Mexico, plus the tension of doing the actual teaching, left me with some nights of really disturbed sleep. I tried not to let it get to me, but it doesn’t always work. But once I got back, well then I relaxed. I occasionally have restless nights regardless, but the mental relaxation is immense.

Of course, the weird thing about those nights of disturbed sleep was the dreams. I didn’t dream about the teaching in Spanish; I dreamed about Mom still being alive. I guess my mind is still processing the reality of her being dead. Even now, it still doesn’t feel real.

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