You've been such a notable month, December. Full of activity. Warmer than ever. And gone in a flash! (Of course, you're also ushering in the new year with ice and sleet and snow. Cue winter . . . )
Here's what's happening . . . RIGHT NOW.
Watching . . . Movies. All the movies! Tom and I have been on a movie tear lately (because this is the season for all the movies we've been waiting to see). Before Christmas we saw Spotlight (excellent; my favorite so far), Room (good - but the book was better), and Brooklyn (great - and far better than the book). This week (so far!) we've seen the new Star Wars (so fun), The Big Short (excellent, plus awesome soundtrack), and Joy (Jennifer Lawerence is great; much better movie than the reviews would have you believe).
Reading . . . In the ears -- Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay (Elena Ferrante) (Neapolitan #3); on the page -- H is for Hawk (Helen MacDonald). Earlier this week, I finished the challenging, heart-breaking, and eye-opening Between the World and Me (Ta-Nehisi Coates). (Really . . . everyone should read this one.) I'm also enjoying my new Christmas gift cookbook Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix.
Knitting . . . I've just picked up my never-ending sweater again. (You know why it's never-ending don't you? Because I'm never-knitting. . . ) (I WILL finish, though.)
Listening to . . . a Solstice playlist. Tom and I hosted a Solstice party this year, and we created a special playlist for the party. It's, well . . . very eclectic! We chose songs about the sun, sunshine, light, darkness, winter . . . and burning (as in candles) -- and it beats the heck out of Christmas music!
Dreading . . . the January People at the gym. (They've already arrived, actually.) (I hate January at the gym.)
Drinking . . . Ballast Point Sculpin. (A new discovery.) (YUM.)
Planning . . . How to move forward with my intentions for 2016. I have some cool things in mind, and I'm looking forward to putting some of those plans and ideas into action.
Humming . . . this one, from the Gorrillaz. (I have it on several playlists, but heard it again in The Big Short the other day.)
Wondering . . . what the new year will bring! It's always kind of amazing to look back and see all that happened in the year just ending - expected and unexpected. So I'm just wondering what will come with the new year.
Itching to . . . just sit and knit for awhile. But there are so many other "shiny objects" to play with right now . . .
Organizing . . . my digital photos. Ugh. What a monumental undertaking. My advice: DON'T store all your photos (like. . . for years) on your hard drive. And, really. Get rid of the bad ones and dubplicates right away. (Just sayin.)
Delighted by . . . a new Alabama Chanin kit I received for Christmas from Tom. (He got a big hint.) (It's the wrap skirt!)
Needing to . . . clean out my refrigerator. And clean my oven, too.
Enjoying . . . Erin and Keith! Thanks to an extended vacation, I've got them through the weekend!
Celebrating . . . the end of a challenging year. (Although we've certainly risen to the occasion!)
Looking forward to . . . returning to my Regular Life . . . after all the Holiday Madness!
How about YOU? What's happening for you . . . RIGHT NOW?
This week's Ten on Tuesday topic lends itself to further year-in-review reflection. Carole asks us about Ten Things That Make Us Feel Proud in 2015.
- Effectively purging so much of my stuff . . . KonMari-style. It really does feel good to let go of so much stuff, and I am committed to living with less.
- Taking a drawing class . . . and reviving my long-ignored artistic side. When I started out with my class (taken only so I'd have the prerequisite for other kinds of art classes), I had no idea how much fun I'd have!
- Culling my yarn stash and organizing the remains on Ravelry. I never blogged about this, but it was a monumental undertaking all the same. (No worries. I still have plenty of yarn!)
- Beginning a daily meditation practice. I've discovered that meditation really IS all it's cracked up to be!
- Getting through some pretty serious sports injuries -- and changing up my whole fitness regimen. I used to run. Now I swim. I used to dance. Now I row. I fought it with a vengeance -- but the change has been really good for me.
- Completing an Alabama Chanin t-shirt project. Which just whet my appetite for more!
- Finally getting to Rhinebeck. (Thanks for making it possible, Patty.)
- Brian and Lauren's wedding. I didn't have anything to do with this one, but I'm so proud all the same.
- Re-doing my bathroom, with spill-over into a bit of kitchen-updating. (I'll blog about the finished bathroom someday in the near future.)
How about YOU? What made you feel proud this year?
See what everyone else has to say here!
Here it is - the end of December - and I've entered my year-in-review time. I really like looking back over the almost-finished year -- to reflect on what I did, what I accomplished, what I learned.
Let's begin with One Little Word.
If you've been reading my blog for a while, you already know that I choose "one little word" to live with every year and invite into my life. I sign up for Ali Edwards' online workshop, and I use her prompts as a sort of jumping-off point for exploring my word.
This year, my word was JOURNEY.
When the year began, I was hoping for a journey that would help me make new discoveries about myself, inspire me to keep moving and reaching, shake up the status quo of my life a bit . . . and maybe . . . get a little lost. I really was ready for something new-and-different, and I was open to what that might be.
So . . . what happened?
I found that it's quite difficult to step outside the comfort of where you are . . . to get lost somewhere else. UNLESS . . . someone (or something) pushes you . . .
And that, of course, is exactly what happened to me this year. Lots of somethings, actually, pushed me out of the comfort of where I was. And I DID manage to get lost for awhile.
I set off last January on a JOURNEY with a vague sense of direction, but an uncertain destination. After some frustrating detours and more than a couple of missed exits, I ended up stranded in a wilderness for awhile. Eventually, I sorted myself out and found my path again.
You know what?
It was NOT the path I expected. (And that was the entire point!)
As I say goodbye to my word this year, I want to remember what I learned:
- That it's good to stretch in new ways; if you keep doing the same things in the same way, you're going to keep feeling the same feelings.
- That it's okay to be uncertain . . . of where you're headed, of what's going to happen next, of which way to turn.
- That barriers don't have to be permanent -- and can be breached, broken, or trampled.
- That sometimes detours offer an even better view (that you would've missed altogether otherwise).
- That stepping out of your comfort zone is not comfortable -- and that's okay!
I've reached the end of my 2015 JOURNEY. Onward . . . to new discoveries (and a whole new word) in 2016.
If you're interested in exploring a word of your own in 2016, it's time again to sign up for Ali Edwards' One Little Word workshop. I've taken part for the last five years (and will be joining again in 2016) -- and have gained some powerful insights about myself each year. The workshop is very adaptable. Ali provides a monthly prompt to get you thinking about/connecting with your word. You can use these prompts as a springboard for just personal reflecting or journaling -- or you can go all in and create a lovely scrapbook/mixed media/photography project for your word. There are community forums and a Facebook group to connect with other participants if that's your thing. Really . . . adaptable, and always thought-provoking. (This year, I created a little "journey journal" where I reflected about/responded to the prompts -- and collected all kinds of other things related to my "journey." Not a scrapbook at all -- but something that worked for me.)
Join in! Sign up for One Little Word here.
Like many of you, over the last couple of weeks I have . . . Done All The Things.
Shopping, wrapping, shipping, baking, planning, partying, decorating. All The Things.
I don't know about you, but I'm pooped! (This photo is a picture of our living room . . . before our Solstice Celebration party on Sunday night . . . and before Jenny helped herself to most of those M&Ms.)
I'm looking forward to some Down Time . . . so I can . . .
- Mostly just not feel like I should be/could be doing something . . . seasonal.
- Knit. I haven't knit in several weeks, and I'm itching to stitch!
- Read. My reading has slowed to a crawl lately, too.
- Draw. I haven't picked up a pencil since my last art class ended before Thanksgiving.
- See All The Movies. We've seen several lately, but so many good ones are coming out right now that it's been impossible to keep up!
- Stitch. As in an Alabama Chanin project (that I think I'll be unwrapping soon).
- Sew. I cut out an apron before Thanksgiving; it's still sitting on my sewing table.
- Finish organizing my digital photos. It's a huge project, and I got a good start before the holiday crush, but lately? Not so much.
- Put the finishing touches on my "new" bedroom and bathroom. It's all finished now -- but there are no pictures on the walls yet.
- Think about my next home renovation project . . . which involves removing the wallpaper in my dining room.
How about YOU? What are you looking forward to doing . . . once the Holiday Rush is over?
Be sure to check out what everyone else has to say here.
A special song . . . for a special day . . .
Happy Birthday, dear Tom.
A year ago, when we were celebrating your last birthday, we would have had a hard time imagining all that would transpire over the next twelve months. (Really. This has been a banner year, hasn't it?) And all through this rather mess of a year, you have maintained those qualities that drive and root you (and that I love most): balance, integrity, thoughtfulness, creativity, and - best of all - a winning sense of humor.
Last January, I found this quote by Zora Neale Hurston and I wrote it in my journal:
"There are years that ask questions, and years that answer."
Looking back now, I'm thinking that, for you, this was one of those years that ASK questions. And I'm thinking, then, that this coming year will be one of those with some answers.
I can give you a few answers right now, though . . .
You are the sunshine of my life.
You are the apple of my eye.
I feel like this is the beginning, though I've loved you for a million years.
“A jug fills drop by drop.”
The last weekend before the Christmas holiday is always a bit nuts.
Take a deep breath.
(And . . . May the Force Be With You!)