Sunday, April 13, 2014

Socks and a re-set.

Spring has toyed with us this week - I have seen the sun, and now it seems to be hiding again. I can outlast this gray and see the sun, I dare it to elude me much longer...Meanwhile at least I have a clever pile of library holds to keep me occupied til the sun comes back..

On another note, I am doing another Whole30 this April. Last year it was a great opportunity to learn how food relates to fuel, pain, stress and sleep for me. After an unprecedented winter, I have needed a re-set in a very big way. The first week went well but ended with a stressful knot, unknitting my progress. If you follow me on Instagram, you have an idea why things hit the fan. My trigger for stress is food. I admit I threw in the towel and had a mangorita, yuck, during the Badger final four game, and indulged in a couple of homemade cookies. My husband was out of town during the hoopla, which I am sure contributed to the lack of focus. Anyways, I searched from some new recipes and will restart tomorrow. The good news is that tomorrow is always another day. I really encourage anyone else thinking they need a little recharge to try this - It Starts With Food is a great book and provides a solid foundation.

Hermione's Everyday Sock in True Love

I finished a pair of socks last week. Hermione's Everyday Sock. The Socks That Rock is a little thicker than I normally like, but I wore the socks anyways. The colorway, Truelove, is a mood booster fer sure. I immediately cast on a new pair in Ms. Babs Shining City. The pattern is Marooned. I have shamelessly copied Hey Ms. Porkchop, knitting the pattern on the front 32 stitches, while stockinette the back 32. Kind of like a mullet, except party is in the front here. I have one done and have cast on the second, which is typically a good sign of a pattern/ yarn marriage - start the second with no separation, no falling into "second-sock-syndrome. I love it and the mix-up of colors include fuschia, ochre, greys, ballet pink, olive - have inspired some pillow ideas for my living room. We got new couches which have changed up the over-stuffed look to somewhat "law office"...I am hoping some quilted pillows will change the direction to what I am looking for. I am thinking putty with these little color pops - stay tuned.

Marooned - in Shining City

Friday, March 28, 2014

out like a lion...

Whoa, March as flown by in a flash. The job change has evoked feelings of excitement, defeat, accomplishment and exhaustion. Ah, I am back. Funny how something so right can feel wrong some days. But it's good to always to be curious how you can do better, and what might be missing, what could change. Unfortunately you can only change yourself, but it's a start.

I recently read an interesting article about traits of creative people and found it intriguing and it seems to fit in many ways. One being they they lose track of time - and have I ever as I look around at my messy house knowing my family is coming tomorrow to celebrate my oldest's birthday - doh! But you know, it's often how we roll here - we work well under pressure thankfully! (and we even sarted to paint our living room this week - we apparently thrive on chaos - OR I know the added pressure of guests will get my husband moving along - either way - it's a win.)

My second Rayures scarf - made entirely of Plucky Knitter yarn bits...I started it for ravellenics and yet only cast off a little more than a week ago. It seemed like a great idea, I love working with little bits but now I have two. Funny - now I have to find someone to share one with. I once wore a scarf to work with the thought that the first person to compliment me on it would get it - I wasn't in love but thought someone else might be. My officemate about died when I gave it to her. Ever since, I get all sorts of compliments on my knits at work - I secretly think that that they are wondering if lightning may strike again. It's been a fun, unintentional game.

I also wrapped up both of my Through the Loops Mystery Socks. I love the striped toes a lot.

Plucky Knitter in Feather Duster and a random blue grey.

My daughter put on the hand knit sock I had taken off to model these and had to sneak her own foot in the picture. She was dropping big hints about how cozy the sock was, funny this is the same kid who complained about how itchy a pair was that I made her when she was a tot. Good to know that hand knits are appreciated by the littlest to the biggest here.

On the book front - I just wrapped up Motherland. It is the story of a young step-mother to three boys - her husband was a surgeon sent off to work in a Nazi hospital. Typically, I read WW II fiction that is told from the perspective of the holocaust survivor. It was interesting to perhaps realize how much the German people had to endure as their homes were destroyed, food was scarce, every day was about survival. It doesn't forgive what happened but it wasn't about one side vs another but just a story based on the author's grandmother. In the acknowledgments she wrote about how she grappled with the story and how to tell it without seeming overly sympathetic to the Germans, I think she did it well.

Off to clean something - have a wonderful weekend knitters!

Friday, March 14, 2014


My word this year is enough. I have enough. 2013 was about figuring out where I want to be. As I have mentioned, my career path took a u-turn, literally. From one position to another and back again. Well, that said, I am grateful to be back where I belong. I am relieved it worked out, as things rarely do in bureacracy. I have realized I have enough in my career cup. It has been a great first week back. My welcome has been so warm, as was my farewell from my short term position - wow, if that doesn't boost self-esteem, shucks. I am appreciated, and I dig that a lot. ;)

I am grateful that I have enough in my personal life as well. I am lucky to have a fantastic husband and kids. While sometimes I want to scream because could everyone please just pick up their socks? But, overall, they are pretty excellent people and we do okay, just us. I am also lucky to have some family I can count on. In terms of those relationships, my husband and I often puzzle over things beyond our control, and we have decided to try to be done with that. Just deciding to not dwell, or work harder than anyone else has made us feel relief.

I have also learned over the past decade the importance of female friendships. I have a nice ecclectic group of girlfriends, near and far, that I am lucky to have. Growing up a tomboy, I was late to the table - but have been blessed to find some amazing women who all have something different to teach me. I have a movie friend, a reading friend, knitting friends, a bitching friend, a pick up where you left off is good.

And I have enough hobbies to keep me busy forever. Wow - I have a lot to be grateful for and sometimes, I need reminding. 2014 has been about remembering what gifts I have rather than wishing for what I don't - and I feel very calm. Now, truth be told, I will have zany moments - but for now...enough.

So, I have also been crafting in between being grateful. I offered to make a prize for the Plucky Knitter group for ravellenics. I sewed a knit project bag using Noodlehead's tutorial for the open-wide zipper bag. I used a quilt as you go technique to add some body, and I really am pleased with how it came out. And I want to share it as part of Sewjo Saturday -

The recipient was so gracious, again - hello, big confidence booster. I am my own worst critic - but whoa, she loves it and wrote that she got some compliments at a knit store on it - bonus.

I am also knitting away on the last section of a Rayures - it is never ending. And have some socks also almost there, oh, and a quilt to quilt and bind...Wowza, I have enough to do indeed. Take care, knitters!

Shimmer in Blue in squooshy Malabrigo on my little sillypants.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Whoa, time flies. again.

I have been knitting, knitting, knitting this year. Last year was abysmal on the knit front, so I am proud to report that I have been "into" it again. I am so fickle with my crafts - but knitting is an old friend - one I can go without seeing for a bit yet can pick up where I left off - I love that, in friends and crafts.

Lots of KAL opportunities have inspired me - I am working on the Through The Loops Mystery socks this month, I have both heels done and am toiling away at the feet. They have stripe-y toes according to the spoiler photos and I am in love with stripes, so I am really motivated to get to the end. I also purchased the pattern for Ysolda's KAL "Follow Your Arrow" shawl - I have been watching spoilers - and I like the directions people are taking. I felt I had bit off too much though so I have that one in the

Through the Loops Mystery...

Speaking of stripes, I am also up to my elbow - literally in a Rayures. My knitting penpal, Christine, and I had talked about doing a BMC cowl for ravellenics in The Plucky Knitter group but she wasn't loving it and I knit the whole first color wrong, so it didn't take much to compromise on more stripes. I just love choosing what is next.

In addition to knitting, I have been reading - I came out of the gate in January reading 8 books but then have slowed up this month. I am listening to The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen - this will be the 4th time I have read this book, and I just can't get enough, and again - it's another old friend, like my knitting. I keep wishing I were Chloe - her character has books "appear" on topics she needs...if you are a reader - you totally get the allure of that. I would love to have books appear and guide me some direction as sometimes I don't know which way is up.

Speaking of, I am making a big change back to my old job in three weeks. I have tried something new in the Department of Corrections - that comes with a cubicle and a library quiet atmosphere. After 20 years as a probation agent, in the field, the thick of it - with raucous co-workers and poorly behaved offenders - the transition has been hard. It is perhaps a step back wards in terms of professionalism (no more dress pants 5 days a week - yay!) but a step up in camaraderie - and did I mention I'll have a DOOR?! My new and old co-workers have been incredibly supportive of my decisions - I think they can see where my passion lays. I have met some great new people and have no regrets. BUT I am so glad I figured it out. Back to the field I go. Not to mention, I apparently like addicts more than a harrowing commute. It's the strangest thing. It won't be easy - but my professional motto has always been "what is easiest is not always what is best" - I need to put my money where my mouth is.

I saw The Lego Movie with these two yahoos today - it's was "totes adorbs" - (that feels wrong!)

Friday, November 29, 2013

grateful for the little things.

Tis the season to be mindful of what we are grateful for. We had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner at my sister's yesterday and I feel like a squandered a moment to list what I was grateful for by "wasting" it on being grateful for health and family. Of course we were all a broken record of grateful for those big ticket items. I felt in retrospect like I could assume those are "given" and focus on the day to day little things that we rarely take time to notice. The little things that really help you get through the day...I was in the habit of listing things daily and have gotten away from it, and truly, it is those little things that knit us back together after a tough day, a lousy week.

I am grateful that my two little nephews piled on my lap for a paraphrased version of Mike Mulligan and Mary Ann again. I love those very rare moments when I can find them alone for this very selfish reason - it feels good to be loved unconditionally by little people - even though I don't see them as often as I should.

I am grateful my kids can be decent citizens without constant reminders. Sure, they could do better, we all could. But overall, they are pretty nice little people. Though truly, my 8-year-old has been trying to donate every book we own to someone lately - it is the thought that counts. My kids seem to understand the importance of giving to people with less, and that is a good thing.


I am thankful for JK Rowling and George Lucas - two people who can get my kids in a room with me to just relax and watch TV. (I am grateful I can almost speak the parts of all the Star Wars movies as it allows me some spare concentration to knit along.)

The Plucky Knitter Bello

I am grateful for Plucky Yarn - it makes me want to keep on knitting.

I am grateful for Pinterest, Instagram and Feedly - 3 time sucks that just allow me to think about being creative even when I am too lazy to actually do anything creative.

I am grateful I could run almost an entire 5k (had to walk for 90 seconds after a hill stole my breath) yesterday even if my calves are killing me today - I am grateful for this excuse to relax. See how even negatives can be positive? I am grateful I have a sense of humor about most things - sarcastic perhaps, but still. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I've fallen and I can't get up...

Wow - the summer flew by and now in Wisconsin we are having a November thunder storm. It has been so dreary and tired lately. And then daylight savings always seems to slow me down a bit this time of year. Which isn't all bad - to slow down, regroup, take stock. But whoa. Where is the line, when have you loafed too much?

My husband had a wonderful work opportunity which took him to Hawaii last month and I went along. He was very busy much of the trip which left me to really chill. And I can't seem to stop.

knitting on the big island.
On the shore of the Pacific at the Mauna Lani Resort.

Have you ever been here? I don't feel depressed or sad - just not really like doing housework beyond the basics and my knitting has gone on ice since I finished the Bees to Honey Shawl below. I knit sand and sea into it and simply loved every minute. But then I started an Ashburn shawl and suddenly...I am not sure where my mojo has gone.

Bees to Honey shawl
Bees to Honey in Plucky Primo Little Reata and Social Graces

I have so many ideas starting to swirl as Christmas is making it's approach but I am beginning to worry it may just pass me by. To be fair, I have been reading a lot, hanging out a lot with my kids and husband - having some friend hook ups for movies or shopping. - so it is not like nothing - but I am feeling a little bereft wondering if I will want to knit or sew again - or shoot, even paint the walls. We need some sprucing and I am not sure how to get the steam. I guess it is good that I am worried about it. I think I'll go in search of my passion and hope it sparks something - soon!

**Quick update - I read back and see my last post was in May when I made a huge life change, leaving a position I had for 20 years as a probation agent. Which I truly loved, until I didn't. A lot of union drama and feeling lumped in with people who don't do a good job will run a girl's well dry. My new corrections position requires a lot less direct contact with offenders, more public speaking and teaching potential. The job change has been tough as it is too quiet in my new cubicle (tough after a killer office with a big window) but I can sleep at night with far less worries of my offenders getting into some kind of trouble that could be blamed on me. Unfortunately when someone on supervision screws up the witch hunt to make some responsible is scary when you are the type of person who wants to do a good job. Anyways, the new gig is much better for rest - which might be part of the issue too - maybe I am too relaxed now? Who knew?

Monday, May 27, 2013

What a month it has been...

Wow, my head is spinning with all of the things going on right now. All good, but still...

I finished Whole30 on April 30 and I have to say it was somehow profound and life changing. Giving up many nummy vices (sugar, dairy, grain to name a few...) really helped me gained some perspective on how much my mood and the way I feel is driven by the sugar dragon. The first two weeks were very hard in that I missed soda and really, honestly, emotional eating. It's hard to binge eat "whole" and healthy food - so when I would feel frantic, I didn't have any go-to "grab-able" favorites. It was a painful, wonderful a-ha moment. I have a new found love of eggs - it's crazy. I have found myself thinking I could put an egg on just about anything at all. And like it. (Old peaknit did not like eggs that much) Overall, the "whole" experience made me realize that I could kick cravings and feel empowered over my own bad habits. I didn't lose a lot of pounds but my body seemed to recalibrate - not so much "congestion" in the middle - my old pants are out of storage. I would recommend this process to anyone really wanting to put their habits under the microscope. A side note - I found a great deal of inspiration as well as some recipe ideas at Living, Loving, Losing. I felt a kindred spirit with the author, which helped keep me moving forward. The book It Starts with Food was also very helpful.

In addition to the Whole30 piece of the process, I did this with a group of yogis at DragonFly Yoga Studio, a "hot" yoga studio located in Madison. After experiencing a serious disc injury about 5 years ago which led to some talk last year about considering surgery (hell no!) - I had fallen away from yoga. I have felt mad at my body, and at myself, that I allowed the injury to get in my way. I had a nice practice prior to my injury, and was sad to allow myself to become inflexible and negative. This joint program of yoga/ Whole30 support was really inspiring for me. Katie Hill, the leader of this process, was very excited and amazing - her gregarious personality is absolutely contagious. And, I found that I actually felt better than ever getting back into sun salutes, and have been able to continue my former practice. It has been such a blessing.

So what else did this "selfish" (in a good way) journey do for me? I think that somehow, this empowerment gave me the courage to apply for a new job. It is still within the Department of Corrections - but it required an interview and a nice jacket. I started this new position last week for a couple of days, and continue full-time as of tomorrow. I am wanting to document this for myself because it is tremendous to me - I have been a probation agent for nearly 20 years (and mostly really dug it), so this change is pretty awesome for me. I have been comfortable being savvy at the same job for so long - comfort is good in that I went to to work feeling confident even if the offenders were sometimes tough to face, comfort is bad in that I have recently wondered if I am on autopilot, and can I do that for 15 more years? Yikes, I didn't think so. So now I am moving into a less offender contact position with potentially a better view of the landscape. While I am scared out of my mind to not know what I am doing and to leave some very dear co-workers behind, I feel ready for a new challenge. I can't help but wonder if the mind clearing process of Whole30 combined with recommitment to my yoga practice really helped me make this decision. (pipe in "I can see clearly now, the rain is gone" - cheese)

goodbye office...hello cubicle...
Goodbye Office, hello CUBICLE!

What am I doing now? Well, I turned 42 this month - so I confess pizza and cake was ingested - as well as my mom's annual rhubarb birthday pie (OMG). But I am continuing to try to eat more whole, be mindful and feel better. My husband is curious and has expressed that he would like to try Whole30 with me for June so I think I will do it again - with the idea that it may help me to keep the cobwebs clear as I turn this new chapter. In the big picture, I hope to maintain some level of "paleo" eating so I can feel better physically and think a little clearer. Time will tell.

birthday pie!
Birthday pie!

I'm knitting a little, reading more - I'll be back soon...