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.

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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.

 

Goals: Week 3

  • One “offline” day per month with Keith
    • Not yet, but it’s on the calendar

Career:

  • Complete the Emerging Leaders training (10 sessions)
    • Second session coming up in February
  • Look into Mediation training and make a few steps
    • Nothing yet

Creativity:

  • Get home ceramics ‘studio’ area set up. Make leaf tiles for kitchen windowsill.
    • Not yet; we are working on the large garage where this will be and it’s a process…however, I’m happy making progress in my ceramics class and hope to start a few coil or pinch pots here at home soon, just to keep in practice and fire up the kiln. I do need some pots for herbs…
  • One drawing a week; this can be anything
    • I got out the bird drawing book I want to use; haven’t started a drawing but I did do some more painting on my illumination: see below. I may change this goal to “creative practice” rather than just drawing, since I find that I am feeling pretty good with all my various efforts, no need to add guilt if I’m not doing one certain arbitrary category.
  • Practice piano 10 mins 4x weekly
    • I practiced 3x last week — ramping up! It is fun.
  • 3 “other” art classes
    • One more illumination class to go, plus maybe a make-up class. I’ve been painting on mine at home and really enjoying it.

Physical/Health:

  • 25 real pushups
    • My form still needs work (core muscles!) but I am able to push myself up from flat on the floor pretty well now, and can do 3-4 more if I don’t go down all the way. I would like to be able to go down to a few inches from the floor and back up but I’m not there yet. I did notice that I felt stronger yesterday when I was doing tons of pretty physical yard work, so that’s a plus.
  • 5 real pull-ups
    • Not yet; haven’t gotten around to putting up the bar yet. Hopefully this week!
  • Yoga or stretching every day, even just 5-10 mins
    • I did stretching and a bit of yoga most days. I think this is totally necessary for me; such a difference when I do it.
  • Exercise 20+ mins 3x weekly
    • I went for three walks I think? I am bad at recording stuff. I subscribed to Scribld and I find that having a book to listen to is very motivating!

Spiritual/Soul-feeding:

  • Read 52 books, including 5 that I already own (5/52, 2/5)
    • I finished one or two (see: bad at recording stuff) but one was something I owned. I’m reading another from the TBR stack; I would really like to get through a bunch of these novels I have stacked by the bed.
  • 5 mins meditation 4x weekly
    • Nope, nothing yet, although I did work in the yard for 4 hours yesterday and found that very meditative. I am practicing self-care in allowing myself to integrate all of these goals slowly, rather than all at once.
  • 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.
    • Not complete, but I did move a bunch of rocks and one of the garden beds is now halfway edged.
  • 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
    • Outside containers are not allowed at the big grocery store we go to; I will try to get my bulk foods from the co-op and use our re-useable containers.
  • One new recipe a month from actual cookbook I already own
    • Yes! I am continuing to do this. I bought two more cookbooks from a line I am enjoying at the thrift store and used a few recipes from those.

Goals: Week 2

  • One “offline” day per month with Keith
    • Not yet, but it’s on the calendar

Career:

  • Complete the Emerging Leaders training (10 sessions)
    • First session down; online intro session
  • Look into Mediation training and make a few steps
    • Nothing yet

Creativity:

  • Get home ceramics ‘studio’ area set up. Make leaf tiles for kitchen windowsill.
    • No, but I did start my other ceramics class again and am going to be working on mugs this term (along with some other projects). I do have a couple of easy things I want to make here at home too.
  • One drawing a week; this can be anything
    • No, but I will start this today.
  • Practice piano 10 mins 4x weekly
    • No, but this is ready to go! Starting this week!
  • 3 “other” art classes
    • Two illumination classes down; the 3rd is today. I thought there were only 3 but I think there are six (mistake in the catalog) so I will have to miss one, apparently I won’t be the only one so it should be fine. It is really fun. So far we have done our drawings/tracings, added gold leaf, and today we start painting.

Physical/Health:

  • 25 real pushups
    • I did my exercises every day and am still at around 1.5 pushups, but I can do three if I don’t go down all the way. Very hard!
  • 5 real pull-ups
    • No, but I did bring the pullup bar inside and we’ll install it this week.
  • Yoga or stretching every day, even just 5-10 mins
    • I did stretching and a bit of yoga most days. I really notice a difference when I do this.
  • Exercise 20+ mins 3x weekly
    • I went for two walks, I think. This week will try to get 3 in.

Spiritual/Soul-feeding:

  • Read 52 books, including 5 that I already own (3/52, 1/5)
    • I read one book last week (I think)
  • 5 mins meditation 4x weekly
    • Nope, nothing yet.
  • 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.
    • Nope, although we are making plans for Keith’s office and trying to choose the white paint for the bedroom.
  • 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.
    • Nope
  • 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
    • Outside containers are not allowed at the big grocery store we go to; I will try to get my bulk foods from the co-op and use our re-useable containers.
  • One new recipe a month from actual cookbook I already own
    • Yes! I made a couple of new recipes this week and both were excellent.

Things I Love

In this edition: my newest cutting board.

I love it not only because it’s beautiful and functional, but because my dear best friend Erin MADE IT. She made this. Did I mention that she’s only taken woodworking classes since September? She made a few of these for lucky recipients, and I treasure it. I especially love the purple heart wood.

It’s also so functional; these non-slip grips are awesome. Why don’t all cutting boards have these?

Anyway, just had to brag and share. I was cutting up a gorgeous red kuri squash today and the whole visual experience was pretty great.

(Squash was yummy, too. Made this for lunch with a different miso dressing. It was really good)

2019 Goals: Week 1

Relationships/Family:

  • One “offline” day per month with Keith
    • Nothing here yet, although we had a really fun night last night in the hot tub until the storm came in, and then we played dominoes until 11:30 pm. Good times!

Career:

  • Complete the Emerging Leaders training (10 sessions)
    • Nothing here yet, although I amended our March travel plans to accommodate the training schedule
  • Look into Mediation training and make a few steps
    • Nothing yet

Creativity:

  • Get home ceramics ‘studio’ area set up. Make leaf tiles for kitchen windowsill.
    • Nothing, but we are heading out to start cleaning up the big garage today and I hope to work a ceramics area into our plans for the space
  • One drawing a week; this can be anything
    • Nothing: starting this next week. I will work through some of my drawing book exercises to get started.
  • Practice piano 10 mins 4x weekly
    • Nothing, although I got my piano set up and found my sheet music, so I’m ready to start next week.
  • 3 “other” art classes
    • I take the first Book Illumination class tomorrow!

Physical/Health:

  • 25 real pushups
    • I did my exercises every day and am now all the way up to 1.5 pushups, but my form needs work.
  • 5 real pull-ups
    • Nothing; need to install the pull up bar this week
  • Yoga or stretching every day, even just 5-10 mins
    • I did stretching and a bit of yoga every day. Definitely felt a difference.
  • Exercise 20+ mins 3x weekly
    • Nope, but we were recovering from colds and I spent part of every day in bed, so I gave myself a pass.

Spiritual/Soul-feeding:

  • Read 52 books, including 5 that I already own (2/52, 1/5)
    • I read two books this week, one of which I already owned on Kindle
  • 5 mins meditation 4x weekly
    • Nope, nothing yet.
  • 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.
    • Nope, although we are making plans for Keith’s office
  • 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.
    • Nope
  • 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)
    • Nope. Need to plan our next training trip!
  • Make and use mesh vegetable bags
    • I bought some! Using next time we go shopping.
  • Find alternative for plastic bags for the bulk bins at the big grocery store
    • Next time we go to our main grocery store I will ask what is allowed.
  • One new recipe a month from actual cookbook I already own
    • Yes! I made meringue cookies from a Cooks Illustrated cookbook I have; they were great, if a little deflated (wet, rainy day probably not the best for these)

Observations from bed

Felled by a lingering cold and vigorous cough, I am back in bed this afternoon trying to rest and get well. I finished my book and was laying here watching the birds out the window, when suddenly they all took flight, all in a burst. A second later, the resident hawk who frequents our yard swooped down and settled into the fig bush that stands behind the bird feeder.

She (he?) is beautiful, small and brown and striped, and blends in perfectly with the fig bush. She hopped around a little, settled down into the roots of the bush, I thought maybe hiding herself to wait for prey. But no, soon she flew off again, landing in the tree on the edge of the garden, and then away again, I couldn’t see where.

From the bed I have a lovely view out some large windows to our bird feeder, a large stand of trees, our small meadow. Thomas sits in his kitty window, in his “hot tub”, and watches the world outside. This large window puzzles me; there are spotlights mounted in the alcove, but I’m not sure what they are supposed to illuminate. It’s not really meant for a reading nook, although I suppose it could be, but other than that, why the spotlights? This funny house is full of mysteries. I love it.

The narrow window is just to my right, looking out at the bird feeder and makeshift bird bath and the trees and the meadow. The birds are just now staying away because of the recently-departed hawk, but usually this small area is lively with sparrows and dark-eyed juncos and towhees and doves. I absolutely love our little birds, and I am torn about the hawk. She needs to eat, of course, and while I suppose she’ll find her meals whether there’s a bird feeder there or not, I wonder if I’m leading innocents to the slaughter. There is sometimes a rat or mouse under the bird feeder and I think it lives in the roots of the fig bush; I don’t mind it living there, as long as it stays out of our house, but I did think (rather unkindly) that the hawk could have that rat for a meal instead of one of our sweet birds.

It is gray and chill outside, and I am light-headed and weak and sore from coughing, so sitting in bed watching the birds is just the right thing for a day like this.

That’s all for today.