Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Intentions

First, a hilarious list of realistic new year's resolutions.

Now, onto a recap of 2013's resolutions:

1. Increase my annual income by $8,000. This did not happen. But I had an okay year with finances without feeling like I had to sell my soul or burn myself out. Still, I know I need to continue working on income-related goals this year.

2. Learn to sew. Not even remotely! But I did a lot of knitting and re-opened my Etsy shop. So there. 

3. Make better use of mornings. Yes! I aced this one beautifully and got into a nice yoga routine. Doing yoga, by the way, was a resolution of the past that I never accomplished, so I should get an extra point for that.

4. Take more photos. Yes! 

I've been thinking about my goals for 2014, and I've been kind of stuck. On the one hand, big changes are coming; on the other hand, I'm not totally sure what they will be and how they will affect my priorities.

Then, just in time for this post, I came across an article about focusing on process, not goals (via Austin Kleon, whose advice is to do something small, every day). It's nothing new exactly, but I needed the confirmation. Comparing myself against where I should be means focusing on what I haven't accomplished; I'd rather look at what I have accomplished and make the most of each day. For that purpose, I'd like to develop some better habits and processes in 2014 regardless of where the current takes me. Here are some of my intentions:

1. Do more stuff with my hands. Writing (on paper!), cooking more, knitting more, etc.

2. Reading more. I'd really like to get into a habit of reading before bed, but however I can fit it in is fine with me.

3. Professional development. I'd like to take some courses and add specific skills to my repertoire.

4. Taking better physical care of myself, including but not limited to: eating better, lifting weights, more yoga, flossing, getting an eye exam (and probably glasses), and visiting the dentist. I also want to take better care of my physical space too. A messy place is a real drag in more ways than one.

How has 2013 treated you? What are your intentions for 2014?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

8 Good Things

I hope you all had a nice holiday! Our weather has been oddly warm and summery, so it's difficult to believe that it's almost time for the new year. Here's what I've been up to lately:

1. Posing like a caution sign by the coast. Oh, and I guess the sunset was nice too. And, while out on that same walk, we saw a hawk on a sign post that was so close you could almost reach out and touch him.

2. A new haircut.

5. A friend and her baby getting a fresh start and the support they need. I wish them the best. Also, she gave me tons of food and a heart-shaped cake pan as she was packing up her things :-)

6. My UFO: Unidentified Finished Object. It's a cowl/snood thing, and the way the pattern turned out reminds me of a UFO from one of the stories on Unsolved Mysteries*. I kind of love it and can't decide if I should keep it for myself or sell it in my Etsy shop. The yarn was re-gifted to me, so it's pretty much great all around.

7. Spending Christmas with my in-laws' in-laws. My sister-in-law's parents cooked an Italian-style Christmas dinner for us. It was delicious.

8. Some general business: getting the dinner table free of mail and junk, dealing with backing up files, making a Goodwill pile. It feels so good to have the time and energy to deal with this stuff.

*To satisfy my curiosity, I googled the image/episode I was thinking of, and it turns out that the UFO story came from Gulf Breeze, FL, which was the neighboring town of Pensacola, FL, where I used to live. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

8 Good Things

1. Finishing the semester. I made it out alive. Phew. I had a really fun semester, but I'm so ready for a break.

2. Star Trek: Into Darkness. I saw it in the theater (of course), but I had forgotten a lot of it. I got it cheap on Black Friday, and and AND I convinced the husband to watch it. He liked it. He has no idea what I'm going to subject him to now.

3. "Eat, Papa, Eat."

4. The Big Sur wildfire being 74% contained as of this evening along with some cooler temperatures today and a chance of rain tonight. Things were pretty nasty yesterday, and a lot of people are losing their homes out there.

5. Dancing! If you had told me 5 years ago that I would be a fan of dancing, in partners, to Latin music one day, I would not have believed it for a second.

6. Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson. I'm only a few pages into it, but I love it already.

7. A really great meetup with my knitting group. We had a bunch of new faces, and our usual spot was open again after being inexplicably closed. Our group is still going after nearly two years!

8. Watching grown people get really, really excited over raffles, putting games, and tossing sandbags at a holiday party. Adults need play too! 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Story Time: The Professor and the Asshole

The Nutty Professor, by Skley, Flickr

When I was an undergrad, I had a professor who was kind of a jerk--or he pretended to be a jerk anyway. I think he wanted the reputation so that students would work hard and not give him lame excuses, but once you got to know him, he was a good guy. 

At the end of the semester, when it came time for students to evaluate him, he would explain the directions and leave the room as required. We'd work on the surveys in silence for about ten seconds when our professor would stick his head back in and say, "By the way, asshole is one word, not two." 

He was also known for such gems as, "I never understood war. You have to kill someone you don't even know. If I'm going to kill someone, it's going to be someone I know." He once uttered this while co-teaching with his wife. By the look on her face, she had not heard him say this before. 

And his best advice: "When someone gives me a responsibility, I mess it up. That way, they don't ask me to do anything else."

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Giveaway Winner & Some To-Dos

Cariann, you are the winner of the Cyber Monday Cowl giveaway! Woo hoo! Thanks, Pat, Meagan, and Ms. Congo for playing along. By the way, I selected the winner randomly, not based on the quality of your answers. You all gave very high-quality answers :)


Onto other news: These past couple months have been a big, hairy mess. I keep saying, "I just need to get through this week/this day/this month/this semester." And when I get to that point, there's just another big, hairy mess waiting for me. I hope this doesn't sound tragic; I'm in good spirits, really. But I want to get caught up.

I am so looking forward to the upcoming break--first, from teaching, and then from ALL THE JOBS. Yes, you heard me. I'm going to have, like, two whole weeks without working a paid job. For those two weeks, I am planning to relax, and for the entire break that I have off from my main job, I am going to relax as much as possible; however, I still have some tasks to work on to help me set the tone for the new year. 

I promise, these are things I want to do, and if at any point it feels too much like work, I'll stop. 

  • De-cluttering, organizing, and cleaning. Talk about putting something on the back burner (although oddly enough, my burners are actually pretty clean at present). I have things to donate/sell, things that just need to find a place in the apartment, and things that are dirty as all get out. Time to work on all that.
  • Reading. I miss reading. I have books I want to read. I have the time to read said books. Now I just need to put those things together. 
  • Bullet Journaling/Non-Planner Datebook/Workbooking stuff. I want to write on paper. 
  • Running. Oh, it's time. 
  • Making business cards. I've gotten tons of compliments lately on knitted stuff I've worn, and the best I can do is jot down the name of my Etsy shop. I'd like to be able to whip out a business card.

Maybe there are other things, but making the list is starting to feel like work, so I'm going to stop. 

What's on your to-do list lately? 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

8 Good Things

1. Cut-out paper snowflakes. 

2. The job market in the Denver area. We're seriously considering moving there next year, and there seems to be quite a few jobs that I am both qualified for and interested in. Imagine that! 

3. Austin Kleon's weekly newsletter. 

4. Hour of Code. I'm thinking of participating, and it's come right at the time I was thinking I should finally learn how to design some simple sites (although Wordpress makes it very very easy). 

5. Striped socks. I used to have a thing for argyle, but now I've moved on to stripes. Also, we have not one, but two sock shops in the area that sell surprisingly high quality socks.  

6. The husband surprising me with a veggie burrito after I got off work. That was cool. 

7. Hot tea. I'm drinking copious amounts since I came down with a cold a couple days ago. It's soothing.

8. Meeting a really interesting Israeli woman at a birthday party for a friend. She was a like a character from a movie, this wise, well-traveled woman, regaling us with her stories of hearing Mariachi music for the first time and being mistaken for a prostitute. She said that something's wrong with America--we're so wealthy yet we don't really have anything. 

Don't forget to leave a comment on my giveaway post below! I'll be drawing on Tuesday!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday Giveaway!

Ignore the double chin please.

Is it snowing indoors or just a dirty mirror? Also, cat litter.
To commemorate my Etsy store reopening, I'm giving away a one of a kind hand-knit cowl. 

Because this is the story of my life, I of course waited until the last minute to take these photos, and it's quickly getting dark outside--so much for awesome photos. The primary color is a dark plum with several different colors and textures of yarn. It's a combination of wool, acrylic, and cotton yarns. It kind of goes with anything, but looks best with pinks, purples, and grays. 

Want it? Just leave a comment, telling me what you're doing this year to make the holidays merry and bright. That's all. I'll choose a winner next week! 

My etsy shop is just a little blip on the map, but I hope this holiday season, you'll support small businesses and local artisans and encourage your friends and family to do the same. 

Wishing you well!