I read a lot of blogs every week. Mostly, I read and follow women bloggers who, when it comes right down to it, are, basically, a lot like me. I feel a certain affinity with the bloggers I follow -- a kinship; a connection. We share . . . hobbies, histories, outlooks on life. We laugh together. We support each other.
It's definitely the best part of blogging!
A while ago, I discovered Mary's blog. (I think I may have stumbled upon it through our mutual participation in Ten on Tuesday.) Right from the start, I felt like I was on the same wavelength as Mary.
There were the Quite Obvious things: We're roughly the same age. Our kids are roughly the same ages. We knit. (A lot.) We're both "retired" from our former jobs. . . but we both work at yarn shops now. Our husbands travel to Asia for their work. We both have black dogs . . . and we walk them every day. We're both committed to staying fit, exercise, and healthy eating. We like to travel. We're close to our families. We both have "bird trees" as part of our holiday decor.
But there are also some Less Obvious things: We are both long-time journalers. We both like personal introspection. We both keep inpsiration boards near our work spaces. We're often thinking/mulling about the same kinds of life-questions. We both seem to be drawn to the same types of outlets for creative expression.
Many times, when I read something Mary has written on her blog, I just stop and say out loud, "Huh! Me, too!" I'm often inspired to think a little deeper, reach out for a new idea, or connect some loose thoughts together after reading Mary's posts.
Earlier this year, I read about Mary's One Little Word experience. I was intrigued. I was inspired. She encouraged me to try it myself -- and I did. I liked it so much (even though I didn't blog about my experience in 2011), that I decided to participate in One Little Word again in 2012.
I started thinking about my word in early December. It just sort of . . . came to me. . . my word. In a song, in random thoughts, as I was working on household chores, as I was knitting. One word. It just kept surfacing.
Imagine my surprise, last week, when Mary revealed her own word for 2012 on her blog. . . and it was the same as mine!!! (Talk about . . . sharing a wavelength.)
This year, my One Little Word . . . and Mary's One Little Word . . . are the same. SHINE.
It was sort of shocking, certainly, to discover we both came up with the same word. Independently and without shared discussion. But I think it feels . . . right . . . to share this One Little Word with Mary. (We definitely have some sort of wavelength thing going on!) I'm looking forward to the process.
Four weeks ago, my mom drove down to my house for a little gingerbread house decorating party. It was mid-December. She left her chores and her Christmas preparations where they were. . . and came to enjoy a little afternoon with me and some of my pals.
You know what happened, though.
She's still here!
My sister laughed with my mom . . . that it was a little like Gilligan's Island. You remember -- when that famous three-hour-tour that turned into an indefinite stay on an uncharted desert isle!
So. Tom decided to write his own theme song for my mom. . . stuck here on Recuperation Isle! So, sit back, and sing along . . . (to the tune of the Gilligan's Island theme song). (Thanks, Tom!)
Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
a tale of a Christmas bash
that started with some gingerbread
and ended with a cast!
The Nanny was a veteran of fun and gingerbread,
and everything was A-OK
till she felt light in the head
(felt light in the head).
Alberta started feeling faint without a drinking binge.
If not for the hostess and the other guests
Her head would hit the fridge,
would hit against the fride!
The head's OK but her leg is not,
it got a double break.
It landed her in the basement,
in a cast for pity's sake!
With Kymberly (like Nightingale)
Therapy Dog and Green Puck
The Longboard Kid
Poppy and Mr. Tom
On Recuperation Isle!
So this is the tale of Yvonne's bum leg
They're here for a long, long time.
They'll have to make the best of things.
It's an uphill climb.
The walker and the wheelchair, too
will do their very best
to make Alberta comfortable
in the basement re-coop nest.
No shit, no shower, no Zumba dance,
no free license to pee!
Just sitting in a plaster cast,
As primitive as can be.
So join us here each week my friends,
It's sure to take awhile
As Nanny's leg is on the mend,
here on Recuperation Isle!
Sometimes, it's humor that gets you through! As an update, my Mom is doing well following surgery -- and graduated to a "boot" last Friday (still no weight-bearing on that leg, though). She is making great progress, and will be leaving Recuperation Isle later this week.
Note: My Mom -- whose real name is Yvonne -- also goes by "Nanny" (to my kids) and "Alberta" (to Tom). (She's Canadian; from the Calgary area. Tom has always called her "Alberta.")
I read a lot. Like. . . I typically read somewhere between 45 and 65 books a year. Mostly, I read contemporary fiction, but I like to mix in some literary classics and non-fiction books for good measure.
When I look over my book list for 2011, I see that I read 48 books. I was on track for 52 (my goal this year). . . but my reading-train derailed when my Mom had her accident in mid-December. (I actually haven't read a page since. . .) In review, I can see that I was heavy on contemporary fiction this year; a little lighter on the classics; and there were plenty of non-fiction books in the mix.
I'm pretty picky when it comes to reading, and I have my own "star-rating" system for rating the books I read. Most of this year's reading fell into my 4-star category (which is typical), but 8 of them were 5-star books (not counting Get the F--- to Sleep, which was brilliant, and definitely worthy of 5-stars, but sort of out of my usual "realm" of categorization).
Here are the five absolute-best books I read in 2011:
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I loved this book so much. It actually may be one of my favorite books EVER.
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch. Fabulous! Insightful! AND. . . I now have enough book recommendations to last a good, long time!
Parrot & Olivier in America by Peter Carey. Delightful. Such wonderful contrast in perspectives. (Plus, I sort of have a secret-love for American history.)
On Canaan's Side: A Novel by Sebastian Barry. Lovely writing; compelling characters; heart-tugging story.
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safron Foer. So moving; I just loved this book. (But I won't be going to the movie.)
At the end of the year, I always enjoy looking back to review what I did with my time. Today, let's check out my knitting in 2011.
Generally, it was a far less prolific year than usual when it came to production. I think I spent as much time knitting as usual, but just didn't seem to end up with much to show for it. Seems I was more focused on small things. . . baby sweaters, hats, vampires. And, of course, the slippers. All the slippers!
If I choose my five favorite knitting projects for the year, I think I'd have to choose these:
My Summer Solstice cardigan. . .
My Bettie Boop Noni bag. . .
The little Gift Wrap Sweater . . .
My Cladonia shawl. . .
And, well, the Duffers! (All of them, actually. . . but I like the color combination on this pair for Erin best of all.)
This week, Carole has us thinking about Ten Things We Want To Do in the New Year. I've been having fun thinking about this all day! Here's what I want to do:
Keep Doing What Works -- keep my good habits going strong into the new year. . . a commitment to fitness, healthy eating, getting enough rest, leaving room for a little excitement now and then
Take Time to Reflect -- about myself and who I am -- and find outlets for expression . . . journaling, blogging, writing, One Little Word, exploring creative outlets
Use Bold Strokes -- color with all the crayons in the box. . . create, explore color, and texture, and mix things up a bit; let my craft reflect my self . . . with fiber, fabric, flowers, photos, and art materials
Expand My Personal Toolbox-- learn new things and take time to experiment . . . finish the Master Composter program, broaden my skills with PhotoShop, find a new camera, travel to new places, try new recipes and restaurants, knit gloves
Practice Kindness -- what can I do to lift someone's load. . . smile more, say something, lend a hand, reach out -- it's the little things that make a difference
Celebrate the Ordinary -- after all, the Ordinary is ExtraOrdinary. . . keep my priorities straight, acknowledge and celebrate the every-day-ness, and use the Good China (for Pete's sake)
Simplify -- get rid of the baggage. . . organize, prioritize, shed
Do a Good Job -- if I take it on, I need to give it my all . . . so choose my work carefully - and then. . . do it well
Maintain Balance -- pay attention to the yin and yang . . . consider consequences to personal balance when choosing to add new activities and commitments
Take Delight -- enjoy life. . . laugh, smile, see the lighter side. . . because if there is One Thing I Know For Sure, it's that life can change in a heartbeat. So enjoy it while you can, and take delight in what is around you -- every day!