Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Inside the Tunnel

During my working life I thought of that period between New Year's Day and Easter as "the tunnel": that time of year when there were no holidays to break up the time and we all went to work and came home in the dark. Now that I am retired I don't have to come and go in the dark, but the cold grey of winter still feels like a tunnel. For the last few years winter has been hard here and seems longer than ever. I think time has made my feet unable to warm themselves. 
Seed catalogs have started to come to the door, making summer seem just a little bit closer.  I don't have a good place for indoor seed starting at the moment. Sometimes ambition gets the better of good sense and I think I could get some grow lights and set up a table in the basement, but I know I don't (yet) have the devotion to make that happen. Still, the catalogs are here with their alluring pictures and descriptions of things which are irresistible but will fail to thrive under my negligence, or which will be unsuitable for our climate or for the exposure in the place where they must grow. One of my friends is buying a house this winter after several years of renting and we can consider our gardening follies together. 

I was supposed to have a new patio door installed today, but one of the installers called out with a strep throat. Rescheduling will be difficult because I will be out of town for a few days at the end of the month visiting my children in Oklahoma City. The disappointment is considerable, but I imagine the installer is more disappointed in the missing day's work, even though the temperatures are not ideal. We are also adding a railing to our porch. Shana fell down two days running and torqued her knee. little ice patches were the proximate cause, but not having a railing to grab did not help. As with many things about our house, the front porch was added later and is not to code. In order to have a licensed person add the railing he also has to add the proper size barrier around the outside of the porch. You are supposed to have a 36" barrier, and we have a bench that is more like 24" surrounding the porch. Off with the bench, on with a railing in its place. Everything is more complicated than it originally looks so it costs more and takes longer. 

My knitting this week has consisted of fiddling around, mostly. One button wrap in a bulky stockinette, one pair of mittens, and 3/4s of a sock for myself. The Little Woman questioned how much need I had for another pair of mittens. Not only is this the ONLY pair of mittens I have (I have one pair convertible, 5 fingerless and one pair of utility gloves!) but also I just wanted them. So there!

We have our lottery ticket for the current billion dollar Powerball drawing. Hopefully we will not be like the restaurant employees who thought they won only to find out later that they were comparing their numbers to the results of a past drawing (after several of them quit their jobs). What a heartbreaker.

Primaries are coming up - don't forget to vote! I will be voting for Bernie is the Primary, but whoever the Democratic candidate turns out to be, that person will have my vote.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Progress towards 2015 Goals and 2016 Plans

Progress on 2015 goals:
Lobster trap floats on Macmillan Pier

During 2015 I lost 15 pounds and regained 10. Still ahead for the year, but a rather sorry showing. Back on Weight Watchers for me! I have already started that. I did not ride or paddle nearly enough, and Mitzi did not get a daily walk. I did some swimming, which I did not include in my goals but which surely counts as exercise. I not only finished the sweater in progress last January, but also knit another. The lace shawl I wanted to knit has been cast on, but is only about 10 inches square. I did not try entrelac at all. I did try needle felting, and made Vivian a needle felted gift.  I am not satisfied with my reading, although I probably read more than last year. I can't have posted here weekly - I can see less than 52 posts are up. Another goal missed. I did post daily on Twitter and probably at least weekly on Instagram. Better than nothing. Tumblr was a bust. Clearly 365 is not my Tumblr jam. Another theme will be selected. I did volunteer at MSPCA, but will be doing something different this year. The coffee dates I wanted to plan to increase how often I see friends were not weekly but not absent either. More follow up needed here. In the garden some goals were achieved and some not so much. I did get another flower bed well started, but my veggies did not do all that well. 

Goals for 2016: 
Matching Fleece

Improved weight management and fitness is on the menu again. Official numbers: three gym visits per week, one kayaking trip per week all summer, swimming every time I go to the beach, Cycling twice per week.

In knitting I want to finish the lace shawl, Shana's vest, a crochet cactus garden for Shana, a poncho for myself, and at least three pair of mittens. I still want to try entrelac or brioche stitch, and I will include it although I may not actually get to it. I will make at least another needle felted object.

I want to get a weekly post up here on the blog, and at least one weekly post on Tumblr. I think I will post pictures on Mitzi there. I have to have a specific theme for Tumblr for that little side project to work.

My volunteer gig this year will be two shifts in the office of Waquoit Congregational Church. Shana volunteered me, but I am willing to do it, particularly for a better connection with the other church members. I still need to call my other seldom seen friends for coffee dates. I have some free time to do it and I need to broaden and deepen my friend base. This year I will also join the Mashpee Women's Club and sign up for a book club therein. That will also improve progress towards reading goals.

good behavior
This year I will not put in another flower bed. I am going to turn over a portion of my veggie garden to flowers and double down on the veggie crops that do well for me. Collards, herbs and tomatoes for sure, string beans and carrots seem to do OK. I will move some of the plants from my entry bed to areas where their surprising and inappropriate size will be a better fit (I'm looking at YOU, miscanthus chinesis!). This will involve enlarging the bed at the front of the house a little - running it around the corner enough for the miscanthus and one or two substantial shrubs to give a better balance to the northwest corner of the foundation plantings. Even though the bed will be a little bigger I will not be planting anything fussy or expensive. I'll finish my delightful bottle tree, after giving it the winter to be sure it will hold up for me, and install a bird house in the northeast corner bed. I will improve the amount of time spent weeding the beds I already have instead of lounging about watching the Today Show. I'd like to add another bird bath as well. In order to improve my edging performance I need to either improve my wrapping skills or track down one of those aftermarket items that does not need refilling. I hate rewinding the edger string with a white hot passion. One of my friends is buying a house this spring, and I can exorcise any desires for new beds on her place. And maybe pass on some of my more vigorous devils!
On 6A

My out of left field goal for this year is to learn to play the ukulele. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube to choose from, and with only a few cords I think I would enjoy it. We have an instrument already.

This list of goals seems manageable and a little ambitious, so we'll see how I do. In the meantime here's a video worth seeing. It's in Russian, and the subtitles are a delightful diversion in themselves.