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October 2018

September 2018

Baby, Baby

I know you've seen this before (and - hands down - voted for the round buttons), but not in finished form.  The little guy arrived this week, so it was time to get those buttons sewn down snug!


I think baby sweaters are so much fun to knit.  Tiny.  Sweet.  And full of hope.


I hope this little baby has many happy hours of playtime ahead -- wearing this warm little sweater, knit with love.


(Ravelry details here.)


The Seedy Underbelly

Over the last few years, I've been chipping away at what I've taken to calling . . . Streamlining.  I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.  And whatever you choose to call it . . . KonMari-ing.  Swedish Death Cleaning.  Simplifying . . . it all comes down to the same thing:  throwing stuff out

I've done the easy stuff.  My closet.  The linen closet.  Kitchen cabinets.  The junk drawer.

Now, though?  It's time to take some Serious Action.  I'm headed to the Dark Side.  To the seedy underbelly of my streamlining projects . . . [cue Jaws soundtrack music] . . . and it's not pretty.


I have this giant filing cabinet.  It's a lovely piece of furniture, actually.  And it harkens back to the days of . . . paper.  Back when I had an analog filing system.  With hanging files and color-coordinated file folders and labels.  And I used it!  I was organized and I kept up (pretty much) with my filing, and when Tom asked, "Do you know where [this or that] document is?"  I could say YES with confidence.

And then. . . it all went digital.  

And now I have a digital filing system.  With organized Documents files and a back-up system and Evernote.  And I use it!  And when Tom asks, "Do you know where [this or that] document is?  I can say YES with confidence.

But I still have . . . all that paper.

And, what's worse is that for far too many years, I double-dipped.  I had the new digital system AND I still had the old analog system.  Except I didn't keep up with the paper filing.  At all.  I just opened a drawer and jammed it in.  Like this . . .


Every drawer looks like this.  Packed to the gills.  And now (as you can see from the first photo), spilling out onto the floor.  And the desk (that you cannot see in any photo).  (So you'll have to use your imagination.)

In fact, I cannot use the office at all.  Because it makes my stomach turn to just walk in to the office and see the . . . paper.  All the paper.  All the paper that I no longer need.  


I have this perfectly nice office.  
With a lot of storage space.  
That is totally unusable.  
Because it is filled with paper that has long ago reached its potential usefulness.
In any way.

For YEARS, I have wanted to tackle this project.  To clear the space.  To make things functional again.  But there has always been a huge barrier:  SHREDDING.  (Plus time.  Always the time.)  (But mostly . . . shredding.)  Because a lot of the stuff in those file cabinets really needs to be shredded before it can be recycled.  And . . . well.  UGH.  It will take hours and will burn out the motor on my shredder and will make me terribly grumpy.

So I try not to think about it . . . while continuing to experience that stomach-turning sensation whenever I walk by the office.


Yes, friends.  I am going in there today.  
I am going to begin.  
I'm going to empty those drawers and create some physical space in the office -- and some mental space for myself.

My secret weapon?  
I found a local, drop-off shredding company that charges 18 cents a pound!

Here I go. . . 

(And how about YOU?  Do you have any spaces in your house that you are loathe to tackle?  Maybe we can cheer each other on?)



Friday . . . so glad to see you!


Let's TGIF!

T - Thinking about . . . planners!  I've been researching and asking and watching YouTube videos and trying to figure out which planner would be perfect for me. (Did you know that there are hundreds of YouTube videos documenting how people set up and use their planners?) (I was floored by this.)  (People are zealots about their planners, let me tell you!)  I think I've made my decision.  Planning to order today!

G -  Grateful for . . . a break in the weather.  After days and days of sticky, hot, muggy weather, a cool front finally moved in.  And it looks like it may last a few days.  I'm eager to get outside -- and I'm especially happy to have my windows open again to gentle breezes.

I - Inspired by . . . a personal training session at the gym earlier this week.  Although I work out regularly, I've never worked with a trainer before.  In an attempt to mix things up a bit, I purchased a series of sessions with a trainer at my gym.  I'm inspired to try some new things -- with the confidence that comes from knowing I'm doing them correctly.

F - Fun!  The fall semester of my colored pencil drawing class started up again yesterday.  I love the class - and the structure it provides for me to work on/finish my drawings.  I like learning new things and having the opportunity to experiment a bit.  Plus . . . I really like the people in my class.  Many of us have been working together for years now, so there's friendship and support and laughter and encouragement.  Great fun - every Thursday afternoon.  (And sometimes a beer afterward.  BONUS.)

Here's to a great Friday - to start off a great weekend - for all of you!

See you Monday.



The Cat's Away. . .

I dropped Tom off at the airport yesterday.  It's just me and the dogs for a few days!


You know what they say?  While the cat's away, the mouse will play!

Not that I change my routine all that much when Tom is away.  (We really don't get in each other's way.)  But there are some noteable differences when I'm at home for a few days on my own.

  1. I let the dogs sleep with me on the bed.  (No room when Tom's home.)
  2. I spread projects all over the kitchen island and leave them there.  (As my kids would be quick to tell you, this is taboo in our house!)
  3. I don't cook.  (I have a batch of leftover carbonara that I will eat for every meal until it runs out.  Then?  Take-out sushi!)

How about you?  Do your routines change when you're at home on your own?


Head over to Carole's today to read other Three on Thursday posts.


Instrument of Grace

"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.  Gardening is an instrument of grace."
                                                                        --- May Sarton


Gardening is so easy in the spring.  Everything is exploding into green and foliage and colorful blooms.  It's exciting and fresh and new . . . everywhere you look.

In the fall, it's a bit harder.  Enthusiasm wanes.  The garden is tired, dying back, preparing for the dormant season.


I love my bedraggled, heading-into-dormancy late summer garden, though.  It has a skeletal beauty that can only come from age and wisdom.  Successful young flowers turn into future-thinking seedheads.  Dead stalks shelter overwintering insects.  Spent foliage and grasses become cover for birds and rabbits and other woodland creatures.

Slow circles of nature.


A garden . . . as an instrument of grace.


September Unfolding

Here we are.  September . . . unfolding all around us.


Last week, I wrote about my "September feeling" . . . and the fresh start effect that often accompanies a new season (and especially the back-to-school season).

Since then, I've spent some time looking back over the plans and intentions I set for myself at the beginning of the year.  Usually I set up intentions for the year based on my one-little-word (this year's word = focus), and this year I also made an "18 for 2018" list (along with many other listeners of Gretchen Rubin's Happier podcast).

I was pleasantly surprised when I went through this reflect/review exercise.  I can actually see that I'm making consistent progress toward most all of my goals and intentions.

Some of the plans I set out for myself were very concrete and easy to measure:  painting my dining room, for example, or re-configuring the path through the garden.  (Happy to report that both of those goals are in the books for 2018.)  

Most of my intentions, though, were much more open-ended:  "follow your heart," for example, or "chew slowly."  Although I know that I've made good progress regarding both of those intentions, it's harder to measure such nebulous goals. (When I set these intentions, I start with broad statements, and then I whittle them down to just two or three word phrases for myself -- so they aren't quite as nebulous as they sound.  I do have some something to sink my teeth into behind those catch phrases.)


The best thing about my recent review, though, is the fact that I can see just where I want to/need to focus my efforts for the rest of 2018 -- when there are still a solid 4 months for me to work on my goals and intentions.  Now, I can put together a road map for where I want to be by the end of the year -- and, in some cases, I can even chart out where I want to go next . . .  as 2019 rolls around.

How about you?  Have you put together a road map for the rest of the year?  Anything special you're hoping to accomplish before January?