Roundup 2013 October

What special or unusual event occurred?
Well, the government shut down. Being a Federal employee, I ended up with 16 days of staycation. It was a highly interesting experience. I enjoyed the home time, though at first I found it confusing.
What were my accomplishments this month?
I quilted a baby quilt to give later in the month. I also employed the staycation time somewhat usefully, while packing in plenty of rest time.
What were my disappointments this month?
I was distinctly delayed in getting some work done. This threw me off when I finally got back to work. It was difficult to get back in work mode for pretty much all of October, between furlough, vacation time, and consequent slowness to getting back into thinking in work mode.
What books/music/shows did I enjoy this month?
  • J.D. Robb kick
    • Treachery in death
    • Salvation in death
    • Survivor in death
    • Indulgence in death
    • Celebrity in death
    • Origin in death
    • Memory in death
    • Born in death
    • Innocent in death
    • Promises in death
  • by Nalini Singh
    • Wild invitation
    • Angel’s blood
    • Archangel’s kiss
    • Archangel’s blade
    • Archangel’s legion
    • Tangle of need
  • Redoubt by Mercedes Lackey
  • Bastion by Mercedes Lackey
  • Five little pigs by Agatha Christie (in Sigil)
  • The last boyfriend by Nora Roberts
  • The perfect hope by Nora Roberts
  • The mentalist
  • Skyfall
  • The Avengers
  • Murder at the vicarage
  • Sleeping murder
  • Nemesis
  • The A-team
  • Campion, season 2
  • Mansfield Park, two different versions
What crafts did I work on this month (not what I finished, but what did I work on)?
  • Baby quilt — started and finished in less than a month
  • Summerweight sweater — we’re getting close
  • Socks #29
  • Couture dress
  • Baby kimono #7 and #8
What fun things did I do with my family, friends, or by myself?
I was actually able to attend some daytime Bible studies with friends that ordinarily would never be possible, due to the shut down.
I also visited my brother and his family.
What gifts did I give and/or receive?
I received the gift of time.
What special or unusual purchases did I make?
Well, I tried to get maintenance done on the house, but delays kept happening.
What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
Allergies, allergies, allergies.
Anything else noteworthy to include?
Well, the HVAC man was supposed to come and follow up on my heater maintenance, and he called to say he could not come because of the highly unexpected death of his wife. Having experienced that myself last year, I had nothing to offer but sympathy and patience.
On the other hand, he pointed out a problem that I need to get fixed — a weird leak of some sort around the hot water heater pipe in my roof. Good thing I now know about it.
The roof guy is taking forever a while to respond. But I am also raising things that are getting added by the homeowner’s association and the HVAC guy, so I must possess my soul in patience.
What rest did I achieve this month?
I actually was pretty well rested, all things considered. But it’s a constant effort to do and redo.

Moving slow

It started, I think, with the Slow Food movement. It then moved on to lots of others things in the craft world. I’m not sure where else it is found specifically, but I generally find that the concept is around just in the general culture in the US right now.

Occasionally, I find it annoying, because I think some people misunderstand the point. On some of the quilt podcasts I enjoy, for example, Pam of Hip to be a Square keeps joking that she doesn’t really get into it, because she produces quilts and other projects regularly, at a fairly fast pace. Now, to me – and I have no idea if the general understanding of the slow movement is in agreement with this or its my own idea – but the actual speed of production has nothing to do with whether or not you are participating in the Slow movement. Because actual production speed is not the point, whether fast or slow. The difference is in the attitude.

No matter what speed you are producing at, I want to know:

  1. are you enjoying yourself?
  2. do you feel pressured to produce without much creativity?
  3. are you doing this because you want to or because you are “required” to?
  4. do you have sufficient time – I don’t care how MUCH time – to make the things you want to make and still immerse yourself in the process? To be creative?
  5. do you like the end product?

There are other questions you could ask and other ways you could phrase these. They are just a sampling of the questions that go along with it. But the fundamental point is the same: your attitude towards what you produce is what makes it a reflection of the slow movement or not. You and I could both be quilting for the same amount of time, you could make five quilts while I just made one, but if we both enjoyed the process thoroughly, then we did it plenty slow.

Staycation

Well, it finally happened…the government shut down, and since I work for the government, I am now not working. It’s an unplanned, unpaid staycation. I’ve always dreamed of a staycation – though not one that was unpaid – but never had the leave time to take it without giving up something else. So there has been a positive aspect to it. What? Well, I have enjoyed some time off, with lots of reading and relaxing. And, well, finally getting the chance to confirm what I’ve always suspected: I wouldn’t be able to enjoy unending leisure time for much more than a week. I’m starting to get busy.

We’re starting the second week of this shut down, and I am finally establishing a bit more of a routine and working out how to achieve my goals, which is to use this time properly. So I have been getting busy. I’ve been slow to do this, I think, for two reasons: one, I did want some rest; and two, not having any sense of how long this thing is going to last makes it hard to plan my activities. To a certain extent, I have to plan day to day, while still balancing my enjoyment of time alone with the need for some social interaction. I may be an introvert, but that doesn’t mean I don’t also enjoy people.

Last week, I mostly rested and relaxed, with intervals of doing chores like cleaning and cooking. This week I have planned a bit more. I have a list of things I would like to get done. I want to:

  • do a good bit of scrapbooking
  • make a baby quilt for a baby shower at the end of October (piecing all done, quilt sandwiched and ready to go)
  • maybe work on purple leftovers quilt? or quilt on the big quilt that is ready to be quilted?
  • work on the couture dress
  • set up my loom for weaving with the warp that is currently wound
  • catch up on my spinning study
  • as well as spin some on the brown Romney
  • install the SSD in my old laptop, and get Linux Ubuntu installed
  • kill weeds, then pull weeds
  • scan a lot of old paperwork so I can get rid of it and/or organize it
  • get rid of some furniture and other items at the thrift store or via Craislist and/or Freecycle

And of course, enjoy myself with reading a lot. And maintaining my regular schedule of eating right, exercising regularly, Bible study, and reaching out to some friends for visits, especially some that I haven’t seen in a while.

I have a feeling I won’t get it all done, but I’ll give it my best try.

Ten books I want to read

Sometimes Carole’s Ten on a Tuesday are easy, sometimes they are hard. This one is actually right in the middle, because really, only ten books I want to read? I read way too much. But we’ll give it a try.

  1. Beowulf by Seamus Haney – although actually I want to listen to it, not read it on paper
  2. On Walden Pond by Henry David Thoreau. I wonder if listening to it would work better?
  3. Archangel’s legion by Nalini Singh – well, whatever comes out next, I guess.
  4. Thankless in death by J.D. Robb – or whatever else is most recent. I really like this series, even if the individual books don’t live up to my expectations.
  5. 1636: the Devil’s opera by Eric Flint and David Carrico – whatever else is most recent in this series
  6. The long ships by Frans Gunnar Bengtsson. I read a fascinating review that struck me as equal parts funny and interesting.
  7. Cobbled Court quilt books by Marie Bostwick, both the main series and the related books. Oddly enough, I’ve only read one, but I liked it. I just haven’t gotten around to them.
  8. Eat, pray, love – curiosity mostly
  9. Patricia Briggs books – whatever is next to come out. I have read all of hers (I think, because not sure about the oldest stuff), currently buy them as they come out, and re-read them regularly. (Night broken in March 2014)
  10. Ilona Andrews books – once again whatever is next to come out. I like the Kate Daniels series best, but have read almost everything else she(and he) have written.

Project list, aka, ideas

I’ve got a lot of fiber projects going, and I suddenly realized that I am feeling slightly overwhelmed, so I need to re-establish my list so that I can see the priorities. So…

Items in progress

  1. Summerweight sweater, very close to being finished – take this to work
  2. Socks #29, just started, can be done leisurely, as they are not a high priority
  3. Pine & Ivy shawl, just need to plug along on it a little at a time
  4. Shelter sweater, need to focus a bit on numbers so that I can finish sleeves and put it together – take this to work
  5. Baby quilt, needed for end of October as baby gift
  6. Baby sweater, another kimono, to use up some yarn and have a gift ready
  7. Bedsize quilt, called Forgotten dreams, I think, which is ready to be quilted and then gifted. However, not a TOP priority
  8. Do next row on French braid quilt, which is meant eventually for my own twin bed.
  9. Purple leftovers quilt, which needs to be measure out a bit more precisely
  10. Blocking and/or washing of several knitted and handspun projects
  11. Need some knitted flowers to put on a baby hat for selling at Christmas craft fair
  12. Couture dress
  13. Dragged down old princess-seams dress
  14. Shorts in knit fabric
  15. Spinning Romney fleece, almost done
  16. Handspinning sampler project: finish Cheviot and move on to October sample
  17. Wool felt applique wall hanging

Bolded items are taking top priority.

Things I want to do that I haven’t really started yet

  1. Handweaving some more dishcloths, then some dishtowels: a warp wound but not on the loom
  2. Weaving a lacy stole on rigid heddle with some of my handspun, multiple skeins (gray wool, purple/gray bamboo/silk, beige camel/silk) – do a sample and/or get input from guild members
  3. Inkle loom weaving of shoe laces? playing with patterns, really
  4. Gray sweater with handspun
  5. Brown sweater with the Romney handspun mentioned above
  6. Purple Cascade yarn for cowl; hat from leftovers, I hope
  7. Leftover Shelter for hat? scarf?
  8. Creatively Dyed yarn for sweater
  9. Leicester longwool yarn for knitted stole
  10. Neighborhood Fiber Co. yarn for orange raglan cardigan (use the Knitter’s handy book of top-down sweaters)
  11. Enough heavy laceweight or light fingering weight yarn for four or more shawls
  12. Another large quilt. I enjoyed the last one I made, and small quilts, though nice in the visual sense, are less useful.
  13. Sewing some knit shirts, skirts, and shorts. Maybe pants? New Craftsy class that I just bought!
  14. I want to sew some skirts and dresses, especially re-creating some of my favored clothes that are showing signs of wear.

    Other things demanding my attention

  1. Money needed for Thanksgiving travel
  2. Visit friend travel
  3. Roof replacement
  4. Antenna for tv
  5. Scrapbook work
  6. Organizing for 16th birthday celebration
  7. Electrician work
  8. Underclothing purchase
  9. Contact teenager re: mowing and tree-cutting
  10. Air conditioner maintenance

Roundup 2013 September

What special or unusual event occurred?
I signed a contract to get my roof worked on. It was a deal to to get them in the neighborhood and would save me much money, so I said yes.
What were my accomplishments this month?
Translations of work material into Spanish. I did two modules, which were quite large. Those who are not colleagues here at my office were quite prompt, but my colleagues right next to me? Much slower. Being “in charge” of this process may turn out to be a little annoying because of that.
Finally made the calls so I can get some house stuff done. Electrician coming to enable my front yard light to finally work.
What were my disappointments this month?
Just…missing Mom a bit more. This month would have been their 52 anniversary. Dad felt it a bit.
What books/music/shows did I enjoy this month?
  • Nero Wolfe DVD
  • A game of chance / Linda Howard
  • The Quilt Show
  • The Mentalist
  • Blaze of memory, in a distracted kind of way
  • Heart of obsidian
  • Sins and needles / Monica Ferris
  • Brides quartet / Nora Roberts
  • Secrets of a summer night / Lisa Kleypas
  • Tried Consider the fork, but I just couldn’t get into it.
  • Delusion in death
  • Bronze gods / A.A. Aguirre — new author and I definitely liked him/her.
  • The vanishing man / R. Austin Freeman
  • Thankless in death / J.D. Robb
  • Deception cove / Jayne Ann Krentz
  • Five little pigs / Agatha Christie
  • Fair game / Patricia Briggs
What crafts did I work on this month (not what I finished, but what did I work on)?
  • Summerweight sweater — I’m SO close.
  • Socks #28
  • Spinning for fiber study: Brown Manx Loaghton
  • Spinning Romney
  • Oak trail hat (#2)
  • Leftovers hat with the same yarn as the Oak trail. This one will be for sale.
  • Big quilt got basted at my sister’s, where I had room to spread out.
What fun things did I do with my family, friends, or by myself?
Lunch with a friend (sort of) that I hadn’t seen in a while. She attends another congregation, mostly, so it is not easy to see her. But oddly, I don’t necessarily feel a strong sense of connection to her. She is a sister in Christ, but I’m uncertain that calling her a friend meets my definition.
I visited my sister later in the month. We had a good time together.
I indulged in a lovely meal at Macaroni Grill for my birthday, including the mozzarella sticks.
What gifts did I give and/or receive?
Dad remembered to send me something for my birthday!
My sister took me out to lunch.
And for my birthday, I was well-remembered by those I love. I still missed Mom, though.
What special or unusual purchases did I make?
A case to carry books back and forth from work. It is something I have been needing, and I really like this one, as it is hard-sided and looks more durable than the previous ones. I sincerely hope I will be able to use it for a long time.
Finally got back to the place where I buy bras. I bought a good one, and ended up trying out sports bras there as well. I think I will like this one, thought it had to be ordered.
What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
Allergies, endless allergies.
Anything else noteworthy to include?
I watched the coming government shut down with a mixture of apprehension and anticipation. As a government worker, it would most definitely affect me.
What rest did I achieve this month?
Pretty good, although it is always interesting to notice that I will sleep well over  a weekend or vacation, and then the night before I go back to work? I sleep badly, which means I return to work as tired as I left it, more or less. I’m really not sure why.

INTJ, or am I?

The Mastermind

I found out some time ago that my Myers-Briggs personality type is called the Mastermind. It was an interesting read, especially since I could definitely see some likenesses. And in some ways I found certain elements of that description to be freeing, in the sense that I could see those elements to be justified, in a sense. It was part of the balance of my personality to be an introvert, for an example, and it helped me to understand that I really do need to have time alone in order to balance my personality. Understanding that about myself helps me to make good choices for what I actually do need, both in choosing to be alone and in choosing not to be alone.

However, and this is where I am a bit of a rebel about personality tests — allowing oneself to be defined by your “personality type” is a form of self-limitation. Yes, there are likenesses in that description, but there are also warnings. I can look at that description and recognize several weaknesses in my character, and so work to avoid and/or strengthen them. I don’t get to just accept them. That’s a cop out.  I take responsibility for my actions; I don’t accept the excuse of saying, “oh, that’s just the way I am.” Maybe you do have a tendency toward such and such a character trait, but if it is a bad character trait, you are the one who decides to act upon it. I recognize in myself a tendency toward arrogance, and when I read the mastermind description it is there. But I take precautions against my own arrogance, with specific actions included in that to balance out the arrogance that is part of my nature. I do NOT allow it to have full play without any limitations.

In the same way, I find generational descriptions to be amusing and annoying at the same time. Yes, I am like my generation in many ways, but there are plenty of ways in which I am distinctly different. Aggregated data is limited when it comes to defining the person. Don’t assume that you are always a reflection of the aggregate. You are you, and should not be constrained by the box of the group.

Ten things I miss when I am away from home

Carole Knits has come up with an interesting ten things this time.

  1. My own pillow
  2. Milk, where I can drink right out of the bottle without feeling guilty
  3. the yogurt I make
  4. the ability to wear whatever I want, even if it is less than appropriate
  5. my own eating schedule
  6. having ALL my crafts ready to hand
  7. not having the television on
  8. the temperature I keep my own house
  9. Mobility — I do like having my car to get around.
  10. all my books at my fingertips

There’s just nothing like the convenience of home to be the way I like.

Roundup 2013 August

Roundup questions for blog

What special or unusual event occurred?

Travel to Mexico. It was a big event for me. It was a work trip, but I was able to pack in an extra day for sightseeing, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Dad had a car accident. He scared us a bit, especially since we had to find out long distance. Fortunately my uncle, aunt, and cousin were right there, so there were able to get him out and take care of him. He was okay, but very lucky.

What were my accomplishments this month?

Co-teaching the class in Spanish. I also went through pretty much that whole week without speaking any English, except to myself. Now this is not to say I didn’t have English around me — I was still reading books in English, etc. But all my communication was Spanish-based, and I am pleased to say that I received several compliments on my speaking ability, and everyone understood me without much problem. Being able to describe something even if I can’t think of the word is a valuable skill. Plus I regularly looked words up whenever I thought of them, even if I didn’t really need them at the moment. It’s good to constantly build your vocabulary.

What were my disappointments this month?

Odd sickness, off feeling after coming back.

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

  • Raven’s shadow & Raven’s strike
  • When demon’s walk
  • last of the Daisy Dalrymple books
  • Black sheep’s daughter / Carola Dunn
  • Mentalist, end of Season 3 and beginning Season 4
  • Magic rises / Ilona Andrews — newest book out!
  • Silver Shark / Ilona Andrews
  • The red thumb mark / R. Austin Freeman
  • The mystery of 31 New Inn by R. Austin Freeman
  • Captain Blood / Rafael Sabatini
  • Amaryllis / Jayne Castle
  • The happiness project / Gretchen Rubin
  • Second confession / Rex Stout, and other Nero Wolfe stories
  • Key of light, knowledge, valor / Nora Roberts
  • Happy ever after / Nora Roberts
  • Vision in white / Nora Roberts
  • If he’s tempted / Hannah Howell — okay, but not an author I will pick up again, I think.

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

  • Socks #28
  • Baby quilt
  • Purple scraps quilt
  • Pine & Ivy shawl
  • Couture dress class dress

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

The beach trip ended in August.

What gifts did I give and/or receive?

Sent gift certificate to my nephew for his birthday. Right now, money is most useful to him.

Plus I bought several souvenirs for the females of my family. I didn’t get anything for the guys because, well, I couldn’t figure out anything they might like that I could get.

Also finished the baby quilt to give, although I actually gave it on Sept. 1.

What special or unusual purchases did I make?

Found some material that I hope will enable me to re-make my knit shorts.

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?

Stress is leading me to do some teeth clenching at night. I can feel it. I don’t know how to solve this, other than to get through it.

Allergy flare-up.

Anything else noteworthy to include?

Not really. Mexico just totally consumed my mind, so that I couldn’t really give attention to anything else at work.

What rest did I achieve this month?

Better than most during the first half, even during the week away teaching; not so good during the last week after I got back home. It takes time to get back in rhythm.

Ten on Tuesday: 10 words to describe yourself

  1. analytical
  2. introvert
  3. bookworm
  4. crafty
  5. organized
  6. Christian
  7. reserved
  8. self-confident
  9. easy-going
  10. subversive

Ten on a Tuesday for August 6, 2013

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