30 Days of Thanks – November 5 and 6

Yesterday’s work schedule got the better of me and by the time I knew it, it was knit night and then bedtime, so I totally missed blogging my thanks for the day.

So, for November 5, I am thankful for my knitters. My tribe. My people. I went into knitting feeling stressed and frustrated but I came home calm and feeling as if the world is an okay place. I’m very grateful for these folks.

Today has started out a little rough, work-wise, but has improved as the day went on. I’m grateful for the beautiful Colorado weather. The blue skies and warm air perks me up, even if I can’t go linger about in it at the moment.

So that’s what I have today. What are you grateful for?

30 Days of Thanks – November 4

One of the things I love best about fall is the time change, when I can finally get back to what my body feels is the “real” time. I know it’s just a one-hour change but for some reason, I’ve never been able to fully adjust to daylight savings time, even when I was younger. Add in a little mid-life insomnia, and you have a recipe for some very grouchy mornings.

But now that the time has changed, I can wake up naturally and have a full morning. This morning, I was awake at 5:30 and started to feel grouchy about it (having wanted to sleep at least another hour) but then decided to roll with it and see where it took me. After a nice half hour of dog-assisted yoga, the Westies and I went on a one-mile walk. It was crisp and frosty but the sun was shining and it is a lovely day. We got home with time to spare, allowing me to listen to a podcast while making a nice omelet. All of that, and I still didn’t have to rush to work!

So today, I’m thankful for time changes, frosty mornings, and doggies who love me, even if they do interfere with proper posture while doing yoga.

How about you?

30 Days of Thanks

Somehow we blinked and it’s November. You can feel it, too. The weather is colder and we had just a touch of snow this morning, although it was melted into a wet snowy mix by the time I got out of bed. The Westies are confused. They keep going out, only find it’s cold, then coming back in giving me a look that says “what did you do?” Silly puppies.

Every November, I try to celebrate 30 days of Thanks on the blog. Since I don’t log onto the computer on weekends (part of my “save the brain” campaign, if you will), I have a little catching up to do today.

November 1- I’m grateful for friends and funny Halloween costumes. We had a great time at a friends house with food, drinks, and Cards against Humanity (shamefully fun). Because things were so hectic, we had to make a last-minute trip to the costume store but we made a reasonably convincing Lancelot and Guinevere, I think:

 

Lancelot and Guinevere

Of course, I am always the one with either my eyes closed or my mouth open when there is someone nearby with a camera.

November 2 – I am grateful for “a chicken in every pot.” Whole chickens were on sale this week so we used the opportunity to slow roast a chicken yesterday. I first brined it overnight in lemon, sage, garlic and brown sugar, then put it in the French oven to slowly cook for several hours. It was really yummy!

November 3 – I am grateful that Election Day is tomorrow and the phone will (hopefully) finally stop ringing. I also think we sometimes miss the point with our elections, because they are so undramatic. In America, we have a long history of peacefully handing over power, whereas in many countries, transfer of power occurs at gunpoint and with loss of life. We are very fortunate.

You’re welcome to join me this month – feel free to post to your favorite social media website, blog, or simply put a mason jar on the counter and toss in slips of papers. It’s a very restorative exercise.

Happy November, everyone!

She spins and she spins and she spins…

I love fall. The food, the crisp weather, the chance to finally wear sweaters again without, well, sweating.

The other lovely part of fall is that it’s no longer too hot to be covered by fiber of all sorts. One of my favorite ways to end up covered in fiber is spinning. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a better evening than watching British detectives on PBS while spinning. (Unless it’s Italian detectives and knitting, but knitting while reading subtitles can get a bit dicey. Definitely not a time for working lace charts).

I’ve been spinning a lot lately, as I work my way through an entire alpaca blanket that belongs to my mother-in-law. An excellent fiberista herself, she came upon said fleece in a trade for a knitting machine she was re-homing. After a trip to the mill, it now it sits in my spinning basket, as I spin my way through it evening after evening.

You would not think alpaca were large beasts, at least not compared to their cousin, the llama, but an alpaca blanket takes a lot of time to spin. At this point, I’ve been spinning for weeks and I have one last bag to finishing spinning, then ply, and then I have a big bag of newly made yarn that needs to be washed so that the twist will set.

Now, I love to spin but I have to admit that I’m looking forward to the end of this one! It’s a beautiful black fiber, made a bit more manageable by blending with just a tad of merino (20%), so it spins up nicely. But, it’s a big project and we’ll both be gratified if I get it done during our lifetimes. I think she’s planning a sweater and it will be a very warm sweater indeed.

I’ll post photos once I get to the end of the project. At the very least, I need photographic evidence that I managed to finish!

Ah, Fall!

I think fall is my favorite season. The weather starts to cool, the crock pot comes out of hiding, and stews and soups are back on the menu. Also on the menu is home-baked bread and muffins and biscuits and well, you get the picture. After a tough year of eating gluten-free, I’m finally well again, so this fall, I’m baking again. I never did figure out the high-altitude baking thing and going gluten-free made it just about impossible. My husband is enjoying the inspiration (not to mention the home-baked bread), even if there still are the occasional flops. (Even flops taste good if you put enough homemade jam on them).

Fall also inspires me to start knitting again. While I am a knitter year-round, it’s a bit hard to focus on knitting a wool sweater when it’s 90 degrees outside. There’s something about the crispness of the air and the sight of leaves turning that inspires me to get that sweater back out and finish it so I can wear it this winter.

It’s also a time to finish off a couple of pairs of knit socks that are in progress, and perhaps start something new. It’s time to start thinking about holidays and having all the kids come home. For me, it’s just a lovely and hopeful time of year.

I hope you’re enjoying the cool weather too. Maybe settling down in a chair with a book and a nice cup of hot cider, or enjoying a bowl of chili with cornbread after a football game.

Happy autumn, everyone!

Mardeeknits’ 2013 in review

This was kind of interesting so I thought I’d share. The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,800 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 30 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Reflections on the Birth of a New Year

Today is January 1st, the first day of a new year. Across America, people will be joining gyms, making resolutions and generally deciding to be a better person in 2014. I’m not against that, but I think moving into the new year without looking back at the past can sometimes be a mistake.

I have to be honest and say that 2013 will go down in my own personal recollection as a really tough year. Not the worst I’ve ever had but certainly in the top 5. It was characterized by a major illness and one of the most difficult kind – when doctors have no clue what is going on, so they really can’t help much. In the end, we finally figured it out and I will go into 2014 feeling much better.

It was also a rough year socially. Being sick (and especially having an illness which affects what you can eat) cuts at the bonds with family and friends, and really tells you who has your back when things get hard. Some people surprised me, and not in a good way. Others have turned out to be the kind of true friends I’ll cherish forever.

So, how does 2014 look? To start with, I’m optimistic that it will be better. I’m not making any real resolutions, merely planning to expand my horizons, continue to work on my health and get out more to meet new people. I’m going to start quilting again, and plan to buy the supplies to make a new quilting frame this week. I’ve joined the local quilt guild and may take some classes at the local quilt shop. I’ve got several quilt tops I hope to finish and several fleeces at the fiber mill that I’ll be spinning. I have a couple of new sweater patterns I want to try. All in all, I’m guardedly hopeful that 2014 will be a good year.

As for you, friends and readers, I hope for you, whether 2013 was good or bad, that 2014 is an outstanding year, filled with all the things that make you happy. I wish you health and hope and the love of family and friends.

In fact, I guess I wish that for me as well.

Happy New Year.