Now, where did I leave that?

Thursday, December 30, 2010


 This time last year I had some goals (vs resolutions):
I hope that when this year ends I'll have met my goal of submitting a finished manuscript to the publishing house that does an annual contest; that I'll have taken charge and finally lost the weight that has posed a real threat to my health; that I spend my days doing work that's fulfilling and feels good at the end of a day; that my loved ones are well and healthy and happy; that my serious crush on fiber will have blossomed into a reciprocal love affair; that I'll have deepened my spiritual connection; that I laugh often and fall asleep each night snuggled with Linda.
No manuscript winged its way to publishers, but I wrote more in various forms than I have in years.  Didn't lose ALL the weight, but made a great start at 30+ pounds (we're not going to talk about what I undid over the holidays...).  My crush on fiber has resulted in the production of four knitted scarves and a hat, I've been learning to spin on a wheel and am finally ready to start staining and assembling (okay, watching LINDA assemble) a wheel of my own, am just beginning to dabble in felt, and am relearning how to crochet. An altar is in the living room, I'm doing scheduled flamekeeping shifts in honor of Brigid more often than not. Work is still what it is, and I've been told I do NOT laugh often and am creating some very dark skies here at home. The metaphorical 'they' say it's the journey, not the I'm tugging on more comfortable boots, refilling the water bottle with resolve and determination, pointing my compass (granted, I can't actually figure out a compass), and resuming the trek; there are countless miles to go before I sleep.
2011 sounds so futuristic, which is mildly amusing given that my goals are pretty old-fashioned.  I'm not the 'don't worry, be happy' sort, but I've been told I need to relocate joy and positivity, so that's first on the list.  Not loving my stress-filled job isn't a good enough excuse for...all the things for which it takes blame. Time to suck it up, do well what I'm paid to do, and come home to the womon I love (and our menagerie) at the end of the day, while leaving the angst back at the office.  And then I need to focus on all the blessings. 2011 needs to be a year of creativity (more writing!) and learning--feltwork of all kinds, spinning, crocheting, knitting socks! Yes, learning to knit socks is high on my list (family needs to forget they read this lest there be no surprises under next year's tree). And I'd like to finish Linda's sweater by next Christmas (hey, no point in setting one's goals TOO high).
By the time we're halfway through 2011, the remaining 40 lbs needs to be burned away like the 40 lb bags of pellets we lug over to the stove each day.  Chasing after the chickens will help; 2011 will be the year of the chicken here. Winter will be all about research and planning, and in Spring we'll have our flock (about a dozen to allow for hawk snacks which I'm told by chicken-raising neighbors is a factor; looking at a combo of New Hampshire Reds, Plymouth Barred, Amercaunas and Dominiques). The chickens and expanded vegetable garden will be part of a plan to explore how the average, occasionally lazy, not independently wealthy, very busy person can reasonably be part of the locavore movement here in the abundant Hudson Valley. I want to explore how one can integrate sustainability and longing to be close to the land while working 40+ hours a week, and loving precious 'down time'.  To that end, I'll be launching a new blog (in addition to, not in place of this one); I'll post the details shortly. 2011 is gearing up to be an exciting leg of the journey; I hope you'll hike alongside of me, offering your own suggestions and comments, pointing out when I've got the map upside down....Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Have NOT Dropped Off the Planet

Quick recap:
--Christmas Eve with 'kids' and sister was heartwarming.  Delightful, thoughtful gifts, much laughter, the soul deep pleasure of a fire-warmed livingroom filled with those I love most.  All three scarves I'd knitted were well-received (photos to follow).
--Christmas Day was perfection.  We slept late, had coffee in bed, had a decadent breakfast by the fire, opened presents (I'm now the proud owner of three new Moosewood cookbooks, and Linda's new Lady Gaga CD made her laugh out loud), and spent most of the day warm and cozy, watching the film Oceans, poring through cookbooks, watching Elf explore, and being gloriously lazy.
--Snow!  About 16" of it fell and blew Sunday night....more than we had in total last Winter.  Yeti is not happy; our dog is a sissy. I completed my very first felt project--needle felted jingle balls.  I'm hooked.
So far it's been a delicious break; while not as much sleep as I might want, I'm feeling just a little bit more restored, and plan to savor every bit of the time I have left before the hounds of hell chase me back to work Monday! I wish for all who read this blog the same peace and pleasure to warm your heart and soul.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Blessed Yule

Winter Solstice happens at 6:38pm EST. May the love and joy of the Universe light your way and warm your soul...Blessed be!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Microfiction Monday--Courtesy of Stony River

Weeping, she wondered why Christmas is painted in sweet simplicity, no shattered ornaments or tears.  Don’t they know the wolf is waiting?

Stony River: A Writing Life hosts Microfiction Monday, wherein one writes a piece of fiction of 140 characters or less, inspired by her picture of the week.  This is my first attempt! 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Golden Pink Memories

The drive to work this morning was bathed in a golden-pink glow that reminded me of a camping trip Linda and I took to Maine in Summer '08.  The intent was to see a moose; we discovered that, not unlike Yetis and Elves, moose are mythological fact, we've postulated that the Maine travel bureau hires Maine residents to dress up like moose to encourage tourism, but that 'real' moose don't exist.  Why do we think this?  Being us, we researched the best place in the whole state to spot a moose.  We camped near Lake Millinocket; every dawn and sunset we trekked over to Compass Point and waited and watched.  Nada.  One magical morning we took a sunrise moose-watching cruise on the lake....just us and the tour guide (whose boat it was) on the 40 acre lake.  Mt. Katahdin was golden pink, crowned by the full moon and rose above the glassy lake with all the power, wild beauty and majesty of a Goddess.  The only alleged moose we saw during that cruise was so far off in the distance as to be only visible as a brown blob, but we watched eagles soar, listened to loons, and knew silent awe in the face of the glorious mountain.

This bone-chilling December morning's light reminded me of that too-long-ago cool August morning, but this morning was also graced by the dancing glitter and sparkle of sun-kissed frost....exquisite!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wonders of the Season

 Elfkin, who comes home to us tomorrow

 Scenes from the living room:

Christmas Elves, Part 2

My last post was a plea for some elves; who knew I'd actually get my wish?  Alas, no elves will be cleaning or decorating, or going to work for me....but next weekend one tiny little Elfkin will be joining our family.  She's a 7 month old 'feral' kitten, born in the wall of  a barn up past Greenville, with a condition called cerebellar hypoplasia.  CH in cats translates to very limited motor skills, tremors, falling over alot, being a very messy eater, etc. It's a long story, but I heard about her at work from someone who'd found a notice on their vet's bulletin board.  We did the research, and there are some helpful videos online that demonstrate cats with CH having full--if wobbly--lives. They have a normal lifespan, are no more disease/illness-prone than any other cat, and many people think CH cats are sweeter in nature as a rule.  One doesn't see alot of cats with this condition because the conventional 'wisdom' is to put them down when they're kittens.  Fortunately for us, the womon whose barn became a nursery didn't follow conventional wisdom when faced with two CH kittens, and yesterday we met them.  One was a roly-poly, big gray boy, and one was a very small-for-her-age, slightly-shy-until-she-started-playing-with-my-sweat-jacket-string, tuxedo with silky black and white fur.  It was love pretty quickly--for me anyway!  Arrangements had already been made for her to be spayed today, and there's a question whether she's been tested for feline leukemia, so she didn't come home with us, but assuming the test is negative, we'll be CH-kitten-proofing our large office (the only fully carpeted room in the house) where she'll spend her time until she's fully acclimated and we assess the full extent of her motor skills, and lack thereof.  Given the season, Elf seemed the only perfect name, and Linda formalized it as 'Elfkin' since all the other animals here have 2 syllables; we didn't want to shortchange this little girl.  So looks like I'm getting an Elf after all!
Decorating is painfully slow here, and becoming moot pretty quickly. But yesterday we went with quality over quantity and are so pleased with what we've done in the living room.  There are some finishing touches to be done in there--Linda is hanging white pine roping--and we need to finish the kitchen and do a few touches upstairs, but by the end of the week, with barely a week to spare, we'll be in as much holiday mode as is happening this hectic year.
And for the long, cold, post-holiday winter ahead?  My plans are already in place--staining and assembling the spinning wheel FINALLY, planning gardens with Linda, and researching all there is to know about raising backyard chickens.  Yes folks, while sensibility has led me to put angora goats on hold until at least Spring 2012, this coming year will be the year of the chicken.  I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blue, not Red and Green

I've always loved this season, from Thanksgiving right to Christmas.  Oh, there were stresses, but the lights and glitter, carols and children's excitement, fragrant pine and crystalline nights blurred the edges of stress, gave it a fuzzy halo like Christmas lights on a snowy night.  Who can watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and be tense?  So it's tough going this year.  Feeling kind of overwhelmed, snatching at bits of time like Scrooge scrabbling for a ha'penny rolling along the cobblestoned ground, just not feeling that elfin spirit (despite being commissioned to write an elven note for a friend's daughter yesterday).  And that desperate, too-taut-threadness has left me bereft....afraid I've lost the sparkling, multi-colored magic I managed to carry with me all these years.  I know what I need....a snowy day, no obligations, no work--or work avoidance as is happening right now, and elves, lots of elves...elves to finish decorating the house with the promise of undecorating in the new year; elves to tackle the countless tasks that must be finished at work; elves to sweep and scrub and polish the house into gleaming, Christmas-star-bright submission; elves to finish training Yeti to be the calm, anxiety-free dog her sweet, gentle spirit deserves to be; set-the-calendar-back-by-four weeks-elves; Weight Watchers elves to prepare exquisitely flavorful meals and snacks that carry minimal PointsPlus and whisk away the remaining pounds (heck, elves that'll exercise for me would be TOO much to ask for, huh?); elves to lighten Linda's workload; elves to erase my sons' all-too-grown-up cares and worries.  And a few miscellaneous elves for whatever I've forgotten.  I'd be happy to pay them, with the molasses cookies I'd have time to bake, tiny scarves I'd have time to knit, felted sheepies I'd have time to create, and little beds made of roving still waiting to be spun to dream in when the work is all done.
So if you happen to see any odd little creatures dressed in green and red, with pointy hats and pointy shoes, wandering aimlessly and looking bored, send 'em my way, please.