Goals and Such

Trying to get back to weekly (or maybe monthly) goals reports, plus some other stuff. Here is the pared-down list with updates!

Career:

  • Complete the Emerging Leaders training (10 sessions)
    • Attended my third session: learned some stuff, including that many, many people are terrified of writing coherent statements. Interesting.
  • Look into Mediation training; if applicable, take a class or course
    • The mediation company called me to see if I am interested. It is not inexpensive, so I need to review and see if this is something I should move forward with or not. Sooner than later.

Creativity:

  • Get home ceramics ‘studio’ area set up. Make leaf tiles for kitchen windowsill.
    • No progress; chicken coop construction is taking up all free time!
  • Creative practice every week: drawing, painting, ceramics, sewing, etc.
    • I will attend ceramics class this week and I have a painting project to complete ASAP, so hopefully lots of progress here in the next week or so.
  • 3 “other” art classes (other than ceramics)
    • One down; eyes open for two more.

Physical/Health:

  • 25 real pushups
    • Foot is still healing so I don’t want to flex it too far yet, but I am doing weights and can really tell a difference so I’ll say that’s progress!
  • Yoga or stretching every day, even just 5-10 mins
    • Have not got back into this habit yet but I need to.
  • Exercise 20+ mins 3x weekly
    • I have gone on a couple small hikes and foot did OK; I also spent a lot of time walking and flexing and bending yesterday doing chicken coop construction, so I’ll count it towards progress.

Spiritual/Soul-feeding:

  • Read 52 books, including 5 that I already own (15/52, 3/5)
    • I have read 15 books so far, and have lost track of the ones I own, so I’ll just say I need to read two more already-owned books. I’m reading one now.
  • 5 mins meditation 4x weekly
    • I am (currently) bad at this. BUT I am reading a Buddhist/meditation/mindfulness book so hopefully this will inspire me.
  • Visit Quakers
    • This isn’t really a goal but I’m keeping it here as a reminder. Have not yet done.
  • Visit UU service
    • This isn’t really a goal but I’m keeping it here as a reminder. Have not yet done.
  • Read 3 Buddhist books
    • Working on book #1!

House projects:

  • Order and spread gravel on the walkways.
    • This needs to happen; has not happened yet.
  • Landscape the area in front of where the garage door used to be.
    • I have a plan for this! See updates below.

Other:

  • Backpacking trip with Erin (2-3 nights)
    • We have plans for another overnight trip later this month (staying in a camping cabin as it’s too cold still for tent camping). Progress!
  • Use mesh vegetable bags
    • I need to be more consistent about this. I am also repurposing and recycling the plastic bags we have.

Other Stuff:

In other news, the chicken coop is coming along! My dad has all the plans in his head so I am unable to make progress without him (and also I have pathetic building skills so I can’t do much without him anyway), but thankfully he has committed to seeing it through so we are working on it weekly (weather permitting). So far we have a floor and a wall! We have about five more solid days of work ahead to get it ready for chick-habitation, which should work out since we’re getting chicks this weekend. They’ll live in a box in the guest room for a couple of weeks and then my plan is to get a large stock tank and put them in the tank (with a mesh cover) in the garage while they grow and while the coop is constructed. Then, once they can go into the coop, I will use the stock tank as a large planter in front of the house where the new wall is, since the ground is basically packed gravel and dirt (driveway) and impossible to dig in. So, I think this plan is very tidy and I am very pleased with it. Hopefuly it will work out as planned!

I have been really enjoying the coop construction project. I love working with my hands in general and being outside, doing physical work, really agrees with me. It’s also fun working with my dad, who is a very good teacher. I did some electric sawing and tons of hammering, plus holding up large pieces of plywood while Dad leveled them, etc. It was hard work (in the rain!) but it was really fun and I am excited to keep working on it. Dad reminded me of this little joke he and a friend used to have about their joint efforts to construct their houses and such, back when they were young and poor and had to use their creativity to get things done. They called themselves “Rinky-Dink, Inc.” which I vaguely remember. Funny. We have a slightly larger budget than the original Rinky-Dink, Inc., but we’re still using scraps and doing this as budget-minded as possible, so it’s the second generation of Rinky-Dink, Inc.

Rescue Efforts:

The other thing that happened this weekend was we rescued a little kitty from our yard. We noticed her on Saturday, wandering around in the rain and cold, obviously lost and not doing great. We couldn’t do anything then, but kept an eye out for her. The next day we saw her again and a few things were obvious: she was very young,  and she was suffering from a kitty cold and an eye infection of some kind, and she was completely unable to take care of herself as she kept wandering out into the rain, looking VERY lost and sad. Our hearts were breaking! We borrowed a humane trap from a neighbor and locked it open and put food in it so she would get used to going into the trap for food, then once we knew she’d been in and out of it several times, we set the trap. Actually it turned out this trap didn’t work correctly and I had to go rent a different trap, but once we got one that worked well, we got her. What a relief! I think she is feral but she is so young, she might be tamable. We took her to the humane society where she will be assessed, given medical attention, and fixed (once she is healthier). I’m hoping she pulls through, she’s pretty sick. We are such soft hearts and are now attached to her and her well-being. I don’t know if we will have a larger role to play in her life from here out or not, but for now, she is safe and cared for.

 

The year marches on; as usual things shift and change and we adapt as we go. So far this year has been much more relaxed than the last few; we are aiming to keep it that way!

 

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Catching Up: Goals Post

As usual, the year is going a slightly different direction than we’d planned. Keith’s mom passed away and Keith has been going through the grieving process; it has been transforming in many ways. He is taking it to heart and making some good changes in his life, including removing several outside responsibilities that aren’t serving him (several art-related community boards or committees, no CatCon this year, etc.), and we have stepped up our health routines and committed to lowering stress and busy-ness this year overall.

In that light, I have pared down my year’s goals and gone back to my usual attitude of “practice, not perfection.” Goals are good and these are ones I want to achieve, but I also know that I only have so much time and attention. With that, here are my pared-down/updated goals for 2019.

  • No goals here; just taking opportunities when we can to spend time with the people we love as much as possible.
  • Including our ‘digital-free days’ as needed.

Career:

  • Complete the Emerging Leaders training (10 sessions)
    • Working on this.
  • Look into Mediation training; if applicable, take a class or course
    • This is now available again; I need to see if I can and want to do this again.

Creativity:

  • Get home ceramics ‘studio’ area set up. Make leaf tiles for kitchen windowsill.
    • I do want to get this studio area set up and make the leaf tiles. Keeping this one.
  • Creative practice every week: drawing, painting, ceramics, sewing, etc.
    • This is a good one to keep also; ceramics class counts and I have several projects I want to work on. No structured goals; we are artists, after all!
  • Be able to play 3 of my old piano pieces by the end of the year
    • Ditching this one. I love playing but it is clearly not enough of a priority right now. I will keep my piano out and work on things as inspired.
  • 3 “other” art classes (other than ceramics)
    • Keeping this one; I have one done, and would like to do two others if they present themselves.

Physical/Health:

  • 25 real pushups
    • I had a foot injury that prevented me from being able to flex my toes properly to do pushups, but I have been doing our weight workouts for the past 3 months and that certainly counts. I’m not sure how many pushups I can do now but I know I’m stronger. I’ll keep this one.
  • 5 real pull-ups
    • Ditching this one; we can’t figure out where to put the bar and I might as well take the pressure off.
  • Yoga or stretching every day, even just 5-10 mins
    • I should keep this one because it is truly helpful when I do it.
  • Exercise 20+ mins 3x weekly
    • I had to temporarily ditch this one too because of my foot injury. I am going to keep it as I am now working my foot back up to active level.

Spiritual/Soul-feeding:

  • Read 52 books, including 5 that I already own (6/52, 3/5)
    • I love this goal so I am keeping this one. Not sure what number I’m on but I’m working on it.
  • 5 mins meditation 4x weekly
    • This seems important too. This is hard for me for some reason but I want to get this going.
  • Visit Quakers
    • Would like to do this; keeping but it’s not necessarily a goal, more a reminder.
  • Visit UU service
    • Would like to do this; keeping but it’s not necessarily a goal, more a reminder.
  • Read 3 Buddhist books
    • Working on book #1!

House projects:

  • Finish painting 4 remaining rooms in house.
    • This will happen when we want it to. It’s not a goal, it’s a necessity.
  • Initial upgrade to the hall bathroom.
    • This may or may not happen. Taking it off.
  • Learn to do a drywall patch, repair/patch 4 heater grates.
    • This may or may not happen. Taking it off.
  • Order and spread gravel on the walkways.
    • This needs to happen. Keeping.
  • Finish taking out the rotten edgings and replacing the edging on the garden beds.
    • This may or may not happen.
  • Landscape the area in front of where the garage door used to be.
    • I have a plan for this!
  • Install a dishwasher, hook up fridge to water for ice maker
    • Ditching this one, it’ll happen or it won’t.
  • Install shelving in the laundry room for storage.
    • This may or may not happen.
  • Get the wood stove in the outbuilding garage going.
    • This may or may not happen.

Other:

  • Backpacking trip with Erin (2-3 nights)
    • Difficulties have arisen with Erin’s new job and schedule, but we are determined to make this happen!
  • Make and use mesh vegetable bags
    • I need to be more consistent about this; our grocery stores make it a little difficult but we’re working on it.
  • One new recipe a month from actual cookbook I already own
    • I don’t know if this needs to be a goal; I already do this and enjoy it.

Friday Photos

Here are some current pictures…

Chicken deck! It looks like Keith and my dad are mad at each other but Keith was just getting out of the direct sun to check a message.

Dad says it should be “cat height” so the cats can get under there to catch mice. Thomas is testing it out. Looks about right. The farm next door has lots of barn cats, I’m sure they’ve investigated as well.

Every year I think daffodils are my favorite spring flower, but then tulips come and I think it’s definitely tulips. But then all the other flowers start blooming and I can’t make up my mind. But this year, definitely the daffodils. :) There are so many on our property! I look forward to planting lots of different varieties to continue the legacy.

So. Many.

Ok, the daphne is a favorite too.

My brother got chicks and my nephew loves them. Cutie.

Speaking of my brother, we sneaked in a couple hours of night skiing a few weeks ago. I’m definitely doing more skiing next year.

These kids are killing me. So sweet.

I’m glad spring is here; it wasn’t a particularly bad winter here but it got cold and dark and snowy and I’m ready for a brisk, rainy-sunny, green and fresh Oregon spring.

5 Things That Are Great Right Now

I should include pictures for this post. Maybe next time.

  1. The scent of early spring outside. Seriously. I mowed the lawn last weekend for the first time this year and now, coupled with the daphne and daffodils blooming, it smells amazing outside. Especially today, when it’s overcast and damp, and everything is just about ready to burst into flower and leaf.
  2. Erin and Madeline exploring Spain and Morocco. I would love to be with them, but it is still pretty amazing to see their photos and get texts from them on their adventures. I am thoroughly enjoying their trip vicariously. Plus I got to spend a few evenings with Abigail; we indulged in nerdy documentaries and peel-off face masks. Bonding with teenagers!
  3. The baby calf in the field next door. Yes, I know ‘baby calf’ is redundant, but he is such a sweet little baby calf! Prancing and leaping, all soft brown fur and big eyes. The cows in general make me happy, even with they are mooing all through the night. The little old white ponies have come out from their barn too, and I gave them some carrot tops the other day. We were all happy with that!
  4. My book: Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman. It is reminding me of Garden Spells, by Sarah Addison Allen, a guilty pleasure author. This book is definitely a bit grittier than Garden Spells but it’s still very enjoyable. I have not seen the movie; I know it didn’t get great reviews, but I still might watch it when I’m done with the book.
  5. The chicken deck! We are currently calling the newly-constructed floor of the coop the ‘chicken deck’ because there aren’t any walls yet, but it is a very nice deck right now, and perfect for sitting on and enjoying the view of the meadow. Soon we’ll put up walls and get it ready for the chicks, but for now it’s a deck. Bonus item: thinking about getting chicks in a few weeks!

There, 5 great things. There are plenty of things to obsess uncomfortably over, including the 1.25 acres of winter detritus that needs to be mowed, trimmed, hacked, raked, etc. Actually, I am looking forward to it and am also just sort of observing what happens as the weeks go by; what truly needs to be cleaned up and what can be left to naturally decay or get blown away by the wind. Sadly, I think we do need a leaf blower. I was trying to get away without one (I hate the sound of them) but there are SO MANY LEAVES and we couldn’t keep up with it last fall, and honestly I was at a loss what to do, so I just left a lot of it. I was hoping they’d all crumble over the winter. Some of that happened but there are still plenty that need to be cleaned up or moved into bigger piles to turn into mulch or whatever. I think we’ll get an electric blower and just use it as needed to clean up the leftovers, and blow the dried leaves onto the lawn/meadow and then mow them up. Next fall we can do the same when they first fall, and they can make the meadow happy as mulch.

I travel to Tennessee this weekend for a few days of work-trip, and then I think I’m home for awhile, with a few day trips here and there for work, but nothing big planned. Keith has been working very hard to pare back his extracurricular activities and responsibilities in the hopes that we can have an actually relaxing, fun summer this year. We have decided to spend at least two days (possibly all three) at the Oregon Country Fair this year, and have reserved our camping spot. I’m very excited; I’ve wanted to camp at Fair since I was a teenager. We chose one of the quieter campgrounds but I’m sure there will still be plenty of free-spirited fun to observe and enjoy. I really want to spend more time enjoying the entertainment at the fair this year — so much music and theater, so many costumes, so much to see. I want to slow down and really enjoy it. We are also planning to keep the rest of the summer weekends as free as possible, to allow for more spontaneous activities. I hate it when the entire summer is booked up before it even starts. That is not relaxing. There are no big birthdays, no overseas trips, no extended-stay visitors planned yet, and we are trying to keep it that way! Time to relax. We’ve moved three times in the last three years — it’s time to just stay put and enjoy our home.

Coming Up For Air

So… yeah. A lot of things happened recently.

  • My mom had hip replacement surgery. I was supposed to stay with her for 1-2 weeks while she recovered. Unfortunately…
  • My mother-in-law, who hadn’t been doing well for a long time, got pneumonia and things steadily got worse, until…
  • Sadly, she passed away the day of my mom’s surgery. Which meant that we suddenly had to plan travel to Florida and all the other stuff, and we needed to find replacement care for my mom (who is fine, thankfully!) so that meant…
  • There was a week or two where things were just really all over the place, with hospitals and surgery and death and funeral home stuff and memorial planning and travel plans to cancel and rebook (we had intended to go to Florida to visit in a few weeks) and last minute plan changes and snow and travel and family and all the everything.
  • In the midst of all this, a small foot injury that has been lingering but not getting better, finally reached the point where I went to the doctor and long story short, I ended up with an air-cast (a boot).
  • Plus add in some minor work travel, some more mom-visiting, and I’m pretty sure some other stuff happened there too.

So. I have not written in awhile. I have not worked on my goals in awhile. I missed a ton of ceramics class.

We are fine; Keith’s mom was ready to go and isn’t suffering any more. Keith is OK; he is grieving and sad, but OK. My mom is healing up and doing really well. My foot will be fine. Work survived without me and the train just keeps rolling.

The next few weeks look busy as well, but with exciting things:

  • We are building the chicken coop! We will be getting chicks in April, hopefully!
  • I decided to run for local office: my tiny town’s Fire Board. This is a volunteer position and shouldn’t take up much time, but is very relevant to my life (since we are surrounded by a very large, very dry field) and I’m excited to have my name on a ballot. So far, I’m running uncontested, so there probably won’t be any election night ballot-counting, but it’s fun anyway. The election is in May.
  • Spring is here, the flowers are bursting out of the piles of winter detritus and there are daffodils and crocus everywhere; soon it will be time for after-work sitting on the back porch and lots of lawn mowing. Right now there is a lot of tree-trimming, yard-debris picking-up, and garden planning.

So, I don’t know what I will do with my goals; some of them have emerged as more important than others, so I may edit them again. However, I will pick up my reporting again next week.

Just wanted to break the non-post streak with a mini update.

Actually, This Is What Matters

I came up to see my brother, sister-in-law and nephews today, driving through snow and over the mountain to get here — a little nerve-wracking but it was totally fine. Upon my arrival, nearly immediately my brother and I went back out and spent 2 perfect hours cross-country skiing in perfect conditions and it was amazing. We are going downhill skiing tomorrow, before I take a late evening flight to Oakland for a work meeting all day Tuesday, and then I fly home Tuesday night. It’s kind of a lot, but we are having the kind of snow that begs for a ski day if you can manage it, and I don’t get a lot of time to ski with my brother (or to ski at all – didn’t go at all last year so I am trying to make up time this year). I am a tiny bit worried about my flight — tonight is supposed to be a huge snowstorm and it may delay flights tomorrow which could make for a very late night, and a tired day Tuesday, and a long drive home Tuesday night, if I can get home at all Tuesday night (more snow expected). But, I was reminded today that that stuff doesn’t really matter. A good friend from high school, who has already battled breast cancer and has been in remission, just found out that she has another tumor on a lung and another possibly in her liver. I cannot imagine how she must be feeling, and I keep thinking about her. I think about my little nephews and how much I love them, and how much I could be missing if I don’t make the effort now. I think how I could spend all my time working, or making sure that I never over-extend or do too much, or cram too much in, and that sometimes I struggle with feeling oddly guilty for enjoying my time with my family and friends. I mean, I spent a long time far away — I want to take advantage of every opportunity to do these memorable things with my brother, my nephews, my mom, my dad, my best friends. But still, that feeling lingers that somehow I should be spending my time differently, more productively, or something. And then, I get a reminder like my friend, and it makes me think how fragile and fleeting this all is, and how I just have to take advantage of everything I can, when I can, and if I get a little too tired sometimes from cramming in too much, well, oh well. I can always take a nap, I can always go to bed at 7:30 if I need to. I can’t always read adorable storybooks to my 2-year-old nephew and talk to him about kitties and spaceships and dump trucks. I can’t always snuggle my chunky six-month old baby nephew and kiss his chubby little hands and squish his adorable sausage legs. I can’t always spend a perfect 2 hours skiing with my brother, or a day with my dad on the mountain, or a week or two with my mom helping her recover from surgery (she is fine, and will be fine). Indeed it is my responsibility as a human, with the privilege of being alive and healthy, to do these things. What a waste if I didn’t. These are the things that really matter, and I am so glad to know this, so that I can fully enjoy them while I’m experiencing them, and know that they are special, and to be treasured.

Winter

I’m skipping my goals post this week. I have been writing them on Mondays but this Monday I went skiing with my dad, and I just haven’t felt like doing the goals post so I’m just gonna skip it. Because I am a REBEL.

Had a great time skiing with my dad, although I’m not sure how I feel about the fact that it is only now that he is 72 that we are skiing at a somewhat matched level — he is an expert skier and can out-ski me anytime, but he’s not as interested in breakneck speeds anymore and we both agreed that our goal for the day was “Have fun, don’t get hurt” so we skied at more or less the same pace. I’m a pretty solid “Intermediate” skier but a little timid on super-steep slopes, whereas my dad can handle pretty much anything, but at least now he’s going a little more cautiously. We both had our new (used) downhill skis to try (we got matching skis at the last ski swap) and so there was a very short period of time where I was skiing better than he was, only because I am used to the new style skis and he had been using ancient giant slalom-style skis, so I relished the hour or so that I had him bested. No, there is no competitiveness in this family at all.

Anyway. Had a snowy ski day on the mountain, and then the next day woke up to snow at home.

We don’t usually get much snow here in the valley so of course this was An Event. It melted pretty quickly, but there is more on the way in the next week or so. I am supposed to drive to my brother’s house on Sunday with the hopes of getting in a little more skiing before heading down to the corporate office for a day (and of course seeing the nephews!), but there is supposed to be a boatload of snow dumping everywhere in the Northwest so I am not sure how any of my plans will go: driving, skiing, or traveling to CA. We shall see! I’m just excited for more snow. I would really love to X-country ski in our yard this year.

Of course, I’m not supposed to be doing ANY skiing since apparently I am injured. My big toe/ball of foot has been hurting for quite awhile now. Nothing serious, and not enough to really stop me from doing anything, but it hasn’t been getting better so I finally went to the doctor today. He thinks it is an over-use injury, so I am supposed to wear supportive shoes (like runners or hiking shoes) all the time, even in the house (I hate wearing shoes in the house!), for about 2 weeks, plus round the clock naproxen, plus no foot-based exercise for that time. Arg. I know I shouldn’t but I won’t be able to resist skiing if the opportunity comes along. It might mean a longer recovery time but you can’t just ignore snow right outside your own door! I can’t, anyway. I’ll be good the rest of the time. Honest!

That’s the latest post from here. Stay tuned for PNW Snowpocalypse 2019 (fingers crossed!)

Better

Last week I just felt so blah, low-energy and sort of flat all week. This week, I definitely feel better. I credit taking a day to myself last week, plus a weekend full of productive activity and rest.

We have been going at the big garage full speed, and it’s starting to pay off. The previous owners left us all sorts of farm treasure to sort through so we’re deep into that process. Lots of old paint, mysterious garden and household chemicals, questionable electrical bits and bobs… all destined for the Hazardous Waste Day in February. We’re going through all our stuff that has been stored in there as well. We weren’t sure what we’d need at the new house and so brought it all — much of it can be donated to Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity shops. We had so much cardboard that we celebrated with a mini burn pile on Saturday night — it was very fun to stand outside with a bit of whiskey and enjoy the fire for the 20 minutes or so that it burned. Inspired us to have a fire pit night soon, weather permitting.

I was able to get out for some hiking, enjoy the hot tub, read my book, do a little yard work, and sleep in. It was very restorative and I feel armed for the coming week.

Went over to my dad’s house tonight after work to give him something and ask a few chicken questions (my dad is the chicken expert). He will be helping us build the coop and so he gave me some initial assignments — we have a ton of random building material here and I’d like to use that as much as possible, so I need to do some measurements. And then we’ll start building the floor soon! We can’t really get the chicks until the end of March or first part of April because I will be traveling a lot until then, but that gives us some time to get the coop built. The little babies will live in our guest room (in a little pen, of course) for awhile and then in the garage, but they need a snug home to move into when they get big enough. Can you tell I am excited? I am thinking of names.

I am reading a new book, The Fig Eater. I hadn’t heard of it but was intrigued by the cover and the back of the book, and it was a .50 thrift shop book so what could I do? So far I am really pleased with it. I’m hoping to have a better reading year this year — I feel like the past few years have been sort of ‘off’ for me — not finding my reading groove, even though I’ve read lots of really great books. Here’s hoping.

On the house front, I think we are gearing up to paint Keith’s office. It has a ton of white trim (closet, built-in cupboard and drawers, lots of trim) but I think the walls will be a very rich emerald green, which I love. Kind of like this. We’ve also decided on a bedroom paint color, a beautiful warm white that we used in Keith’s studio, and I’m tempted to start painting the bedroom one wall at a time. It’s a huge room with high ceilings so it’s a little overwhelming (and it’s painted this kind of awful mustardy tan color on three walls and then the bathroom portion of the room is painted teal, which isn’t bad on its own but the overall effect is a bit much). The room has lots of pretty wood trim and tons of light, and since we have a lot of color elsewhere in the house, I think the white will be refreshing and calming. We might do a color for the bathroom area but I think we’ll wait until we get a lot of the white done to choose that, it’s hard to tell right now what would look good.

Anyway, good stuff. We had some sun over the weekend and today, and it felt like spring during the day even though we had a good freeze last night. I took Thomas outside for a short break and he enjoyed the sun, and got a bit of energy out by dashing up a tree. He only goes about 5 feet up and then freezes, looks around with this crazy look in his eye, and then jumps down to the ground and dashes back to the house. It’s pretty funny. I’ve been taking him out without a leash for short, ultra-supervised outings and it’s been going well. The other night I heard coyotes howling nearby and we definitely have a fox who visits our yard, so he won’t be going out unsupervised, but he’s enjoying a bit of freedom and definitely knows where “home” is now. I go with my gut — sometimes he still gets the leash, if I feel like it’s too late in the day or if he’s acting a little funny — but overall he “herds” well and stays where he should. I wish he could go out by himself for short periods of time but it’s just not safe. Oh well, he has it pretty good!

So, I’m grateful to be feeling more like myself and catching up on stuff. A good reminder to take care of oneself as needed.

Goals: Week 4

I decided to change some of these to make them more achievable.
  • Six “offline” days with Keith
    • Not yet, but the first one is on the calendar

Career:

  • Complete the Emerging Leaders training (10 sessions)
    • Second session coming up in February
  • Look into Mediation training; if applicable, take a class or course
    • Nothing yet

Creativity:

  • Get home ceramics ‘studio’ area set up. Make leaf tiles for kitchen windowsill.
    • We are making progress in the big garage, so I have hope for this. In the meantime, I have plans to start some coil pots and other small hand-building projects here at home.
  • Creative practice every week: drawing, painting, ceramics, sewing, etc.
    • I decided to change this because while I’d like to draw every week, it seems that I am actually pretty busy with creative stuff! I have a cross-stitch project going that I work on nearly every night, I have my ceramics class, and I am totally inspired to do more illumination at home. And, I would like to draw more, but I am going to follow inspiration and just try to do creative stuff every week regardless.
  • Be able to play 3 of my old piano pieces by the end of the year
    • I have three pieces that I used to be able to play that I’d like to be able to play again. This is now my goal: I will practice towards this.
  • 3 “other” art classes (other than ceramics)
    • Last illumination class today. I loved it and totally want to do another. Not sure what my next class will be; there are lots to choose from around here!

Physical/Health:

  • 25 real pushups
    • So my form still isn’t great, but I am feeling much stronger and once I have pushed myself up from the ground, I can do 5 pretty good pushups. I am trying to lower myself as far as possible each time so these are still pretty difficult for me, but I am getting there!
  • 5 real pull-ups
    • OK putting up the pull-up bar this week FOR SURE
  • Yoga or stretching every day, even just 5-10 mins
    • I didn’t do as well on this last week but I can tell that it’s helped me overall — newly determined to continue this.
  • Exercise 20+ mins 3x weekly
    • Keith is way more disciplined about this stuff, so I am just going to work out on the days he does — he’s up to 4 days per week, and I think I did that last week? Maybe I missed Friday. Still: better! Also, we got some weights yesterday so I am looking forward to doing some weight workouts too.

Spiritual/Soul-feeding:

  • Read 52 books, including 5 that I already own (6/52, 3/5)
    • Read another from the TBR stacked and loved it (Miss Garnet’s Angel). I am diving into another this week (The Fig Eaters)
  • 5 mins meditation 4x weekly
    • I downloaded Headspace and did one meditation. I need to make an effort this week to work this into my routine.
  • Visit Quakers
    • Nope, nothing yet.
  • Visit UU service
    • Nope, nothing yet
  • Read 3 Buddhist books
    • Nope, nothing yet

House projects:

  • Finish painting 4 remaining rooms in house.
    • Not yet, but I think we have a white paint chosen for the bedroom and I believe we have chosen the paint for Keith’s office. Not sure when we’ll do these.
  • Initial upgrade to the hall bathroom.
    • Nope
  • Learn to do a drywall patch, repair/patch 4 heater grates.
    • Nope
  • Order and spread gravel on the walkways.
    • Nope
  • Finish taking out the rotten edgings and replacing the edging on the garden beds.
    • One garden bed is now complete! I am not sure what I’ll do with the rest of the beds, but at least the main one got done.
  • Landscape the area in front of where the garage door used to be.
    • Nope
  • Install a dishwasher, hook up fridge to water for ice maker
    • Nope, and we are still undecided on the dishwasher.
  • Install shelving in the laundry room for storage.
    • Nope
  • Get the wood stove in the outbuilding garage going.
    • Nope

Other:

  • Backpacking trip with Erin (2-3 nights)
    • No, but we did plan out some more training hikes and put some possible days in the calendar!
  • Make and use mesh vegetable bags
    • I am using these — I can use them at any grocery store and have been.
  • Find alternative for plastic bags for the bulk bins at the big grocery store
    • As we were unpacking the garage some more, I found a bunch of glass jar containers for bulk foods and transferred a bunch of stuff into them. I can take those to the co-op when they need refilling.
  • One new recipe a month from actual cookbook I already own
    • Yep, another new recipe this weekend! So good.

Winter and A Mid-Week Break

Actually, it’s been a mild winter here. Plenty of rain (although it came late), and some freezing temps, but no snow here in the Valley and the rain and drear hasn’t been as unrelenting as some years I’ve known. The deep gray skies have settled in for the duration, however — cloudy skies until at least May. I have been pleased that my time in California had not dampened (excuse the pun) my enthusiasm for rainy & gray Oregon winters; I enjoy winter and look forward to it all year.

This past week, though, I have been feeling a bit subpar. Not quite myself. A bit down, although that’s not quite right. Just ‘off’. It started on Sunday; all I wanted to do was stay in bed all day and rest and sleep and read. I should have — it might have staved off a week of feeling not quite right. Nothing in particular is wrong; actually I think I am feeling the consequences of not taking a longer break in December — I took time off, but we traveled over the holidays and it was full of family and activities, and I could have used an entire long week at home, doing nothing, recovering from the year. I usually do, but didn’t this year. Oh well. All of January has felt a bit uneven. Also, I think I am just feeling the need to hibernate a little bit — this is the first year in many that we haven’t had a big trip scheduled in December, January or February, and I want to take advantage of that and settle in to our home. We have so many house projects, and it’s good to be making progress, but I think I need to listen to myself and let myself rest a bit, enjoy the dark days, not be quite so task-oriented for a bit, stay in bed a bit longer when I can, work on smaller projects as inspiration strikes, work on my TBR pile.

Anyway, this week I just haven’t been up to standard. Work has been weird — not bad, but apparently everyone is having an off week — and yesterday I woke up with that feeling of dread — I just knew it would not be good for me to sit at my desk all day. It’s bad enough to feel bad at work, but when you feel paralyzed and aren’t productive, then the guilt sets in and then it’s just a bad day. Even though I have a long list of things that I need to do and projects to make progress on, there were no urgent tasks on my list and I decided to take a mental health day. Once that was taken care of, I went straight back to bed for awhile and rested and thought about what might feel good for the day.

It was a good day.

  • I did a meditation, spent some time stretching, and read a magazine while having coffee and breakfast.
  • Then I worked on my illumination painting for awhile; my class was later that afternoon and I wanted to be caught up. I am really enjoying the process, using egg glare, natural pigments, learning to use these materials. The colors are so luminous. I want to do another when this one is done.
  • Then I put on some gardening clothes and finished rounding up chunky rocks from various corners of our property (left from previous owners’ projects) and finished off the edging to the planting bed I am planning to rehab into an English cottage-style bed. If I had been really industrious I would have dug out a channel for the rocks but I just set them in place and then shored up the inside with more compost. We are going to have a delivery of river rock to top up the walking paths in the back yard and the extra layer of gravel/river rock will help keep the rocks in place too. Anyway, that’s done, and looks good. Then I fixed a few leaning fence posts that have been bothering me.
  • After that, it was time for class so I cleaned up and ran to the school. Even though I’d missed a class last week, I was ahead of most people due to my morning work and so spent the time refining what I’d done and thinking about my next project. My teacher was very pleased with how my painting is going and said all kinds of very nice things that boosted my delicate artist ego and made me feel all puffy and proud, which is nice every once in awhile, especially when you are feeling somewhat blah overall. There is a make-up class on Monday which I will attend to finish it up — touching up the gold leaf, final input from the teacher, etc. I’m looking forward to my next two (according to my goals!) art classes this year. I want to take a drawing class, and maybe some other craft class, like the spoon-carving class I took last year. Maybe if its offered I’d just take that class again; I’d like to make another spoon and haven’t gotten around to it by myself.
  • Errands and some leisurely running-around-town came after that. I went to the thrift store and found a couple of new office-appropriate blouses, did a few necessary errands, went to the record store, decided against a few optional errands when I felt my energy flagging, and then went home.
  • At home I considered starting a coil pot (I want to make some planters for our front yard and it will be a large project) but decided not to — instead I read two more magazines, including the latest Chickens magazine (Keith is the online editor of this magazine so we get it for free) — it was all about chicks and I got very excited thinking about the chicks we are getting this spring. I have been worried about the coop — I want to make one, but weekend time is short due to to lots of upcoming travel and such, so I think we will just buy a small pre-fab one if we need, and the chicks can be cozy while they grow, while we finish the big coop. I need my chicks!
  • I spent the evening reading my book and thinking about the Bible. No, really! I am not very religious (at all) but I am fascinated with religions and do occasionally think Big Thoughts about various religions and God and nature and various spiritual paths. My book (Miss Garnet’s Angel) features an apocryphal Bible story and the angel Raphael (and Venice!) and is very good — it made me want to revisit Karen Armstrong and do some more reading about angels. Then I remembered a children’s Bible that I used to have; my grandma gave it to me and I regarded it like I would fairy tales — stories with sometimes a lesson inside. I don’t know what happened to my copy, so I actually tracked down a used copy online and bought it (for $5!) so I can look up the stories I want to remember without having to go through the grown-up Bible, which I have mixed feelings about. So there’s that.
  • Ended the evening with soup and more book-reading in bed.

And now I feel somewhat more myself, more rested and certainly a bit more revived after a day of wandering, art and books. Sometimes you just need a day to yourself.