Friday, September 30, 2016

The Road to H-E-Double Hockey Sticks . . .

 . . . is paved with good intentions.


I know now for sure why Joan Anderson says you must leave home to retreat.

I had great plans for last weekend - a personal retreat for myself.  I was going to walk the labyrinth that is not far from me, and I was going to go to the club to get into the water.  I was going to walk around the retention pond for some nature, and I was going to work through some of the exercises in Joan's fourth book, A Weekend to Change your Life: Find your Authentic Self After a Lifetime of Being All Things to All People.  I was going to watch Wayne Dyer's film, The Shift.  I was going to write and goal set, and just generally come home to myself as we enter into fall.

Nearly none of that stuff happened.  Other great stuff happened, but not my planned mini-retreat.

So it's true that it's nearly impossible to "retreat" at home.  The telly calls, and house things call, and it's super easy to stay in your jams and not get out.  And that's exactly what happened to me.

I did watch The Shift again, on Saturday night, and on Sunday morning I watched the bonus DVD features that came with it.  It's even better than I remembered it.  I think that's pretty much the only thing I accomplished from my retreat list . . .

On the bright side, however, I got a lot done on my Quick Sand sweater . . .

. . . but I just had to put it down when I was so close to finishing.  I needed a break from it.  And the socks I cast on for September - a pair I was experimenting with - the colorway looks like mud to me.

 I don't know how something can be so gorgeous in the skein and so not-gorgeous on the needles.  This hardly ever happens.This has been frogged and the yarn will be up on my trade/sell page on Ravelry soon.

I wanted to knit, but neither of these projects called to me.  So I cast on the Nefertem shawl using a Knitcircus gradient that I picked up in April at YarnCon.  I worked on it pretty exclusively all weekend long - and discovered that I'd make an error about halfway through the first repeat on the lace border.  :-S  I ripped it back to the stockinette and started that section again.  I think I'll have enough of the yarn to made a third repeat of the lotus lace.  I'm further than this now - well into the darker charcoal shade you see in the skein.

I made a lasagna using whole wheat lasagna noodles.  It's not very good.  In fact, I ate it for the next couple of days, but I didn't freeze servings.  I discovered - to my dismay - that I was out of oregano, so that could be some of why it wasn't all that great, but I think it was more the noodles.  I eat whole wheat pasta pretty exclusively - except for lasagna.  I was very excited to have found whole wheat lasagna noodles, but they just were not great.  Live and learn (and buy oregano).

Friday, September 23, 2016

Books . . .

I was going to post this yesterday, but the info about The Shift seemed more important.  :-)

Onward . . .

In the interest of finishing what I start, after Tuesday's post I updated my Goodreads with as much info as I could, and created a list that I'm calling The Unfinished Book List - The UBL for short.  I suppose it's not as bad as The Big List of WIPs was, but I had eight or nine books in some state of partially read.

Much like with my WIPs, this is supremely irritating.  For some of the books on The UBL it's been so long that I'm probably going to have to start over because I'm sure I will have lost the train of thought completely.  I mean, seriously - I need that brain space for other stuff.  Bugger.  :-D  But, as I did last year with my WIPs, at least now I have a list and a plan, and I can - hopefully - plow on through.

My goal is to read one of The UBL books in the evenings and on weekends, while still enjoying the Outlander series on Audible during my daily commute to and from work.  Currently, the Audible book in process is #4 in the Outlander series, Drums of Autumn.  I have been enjoying the series all summer long.  Here's what Amazon says about #4:
"The magnificent saga continues....

It began in Scotland, at an ancient stone circle. There, a doorway, open to a select few, leads into the past—or the grave. Claire Randall survived the extraordinary passage, not once but twice. Her first trip swept her into the arms of Jamie Fraser, an eighteenth-century Scot whose love for her became legend—a tale of tragic passion that ended with her return to the present to bear his child. Her second journey, two decades later, brought them together again in frontier America. But Claire had left someone behind in the twentieth century. Their daughter, Brianna....

Now Brianna has made a disturbing discovery that sends her to the stone circle and a terrifying leap into the unknown. In search of her mother and the father she has never met, she is risking her own future to try to change history...and to save their lives. But as Brianna plunges into an uncharted wilderness, a heartbreaking encounter may strand her forever in the past...or root her in the place she should be, where her heart and soul belong...."
If you have any interest at all in the Outlander series - you must start with the first book:  Outlander.
"Scottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.

Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of a world that threatens her life, and may shatter her heart. Marooned amid danger, passion, and violence, Claire learns her only chance of safety lies in Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. What begins in compulsion becomes urgent need, and Claire finds herself torn between two very different men, in two irreconcilable lives."
Audible rocks.  I didn't think I would enjoy listening to a book - I never got in to books on tape back in the day.  But I'm enjoying hearing these.  The only bad thing about Audible thus far, is that I have been known to drift off on the train on the way home from work, and more than once I've lost 15 minutes and had to go back and attempt to find where I lost the story.  There might be a way around that, but I'm still relatively new to the app and I don't know all the ins and outs yet.

I never thought I would like reading a book on an e-reader either, but I do, particularly for travel and evening reading.  It's great for when you want to read before falling asleep - you don't have to have the light on - or, in my case, wear my miner's light :-D (my bedside lamp is not bright enough to read by) - you can read and then just drop off to sleep - and unlike with Audible, where the story continues if you've fallen asleep, when you're reading on a Kindle or Kindle app, you can wake up and find your place again without too much difficulty.  Yay!

So - as mentioned Tuesday, my current finish-it-up book on my Kindle app was Becoming Marta, by Lorea Canales and translated by Gabriel Amor.  Here is what Amazon says about it:
"Thanks to her wealthy and well-connected family, twenty-six-year-old Marta is used to getting whatever she wants. And what she wants is a good time.
That is, until her father’s wife—the woman who raised her—becomes ill. Beautiful young Marta is forced to witness her unfaithful, brutish father abandon her adoptive mother in her final moments. After her father’s swift remarriage, Marta is surprised to discover that she is now the sole heir of her late mother’s sizeable estate. For the first time, she can choose to cut ties and establish her true self, apart from her parents, her social standing, and the complications of a life of excess. From the balmy beaches of Mexico to New York City, Marta searches for clues to her unconventional heritage and seeks to shed her family’s tradition of secrecy and betrayal as she finds her own way."
It sounded good - which is why I selected it as my free Kindle First monthly read back in January.   If you are an Amazon Prime member, one of the benefits is Kindle First, where you can choose a free download of one of the six choices for the month.  There wasn't all that much left of it to read, and I finished it yesterday.

I didn't like it and I gave it one star on Goodreads.  I think it was well-written, and it was somewhat Chekhovian in style, but I didn't enjoy the subject matter, I guess.  Still, it's one down on The UBL, and that makes me all happy  :-)

Next up on The UBL is Already Home, by Aruni Nan Futuronsky.

But first, some music to think about Scotland . . .

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Shift . . .

Yesterday I shared my Tuesday experience of all-Wayne-Dyer-all-the-time :-D and of my plan to watch his film The Shift again this weekend.

And then, this morning in my email was the following from Reid Tracy at Hay House:
"Wayne had a dream to get 3 million people to watch The Shift during his lifetime so that people could really learn how to go from Ambition to Meaning in their life and then share what they learned with others. So far, over a million people have watched The Shift since its release. Hay House would like to give those of you haven't seen it yet and those of you who would like to watch it again the chance by offering The Shift for FREE to help us reach 3 million in celebration of Wayne's life and legacy."
I urge you to take some time - maybe this weekend :-) - and watch this movie.  They will ask for your email address, but you can always opt out of their emails at a later date if you don't want to receive them.  Other than your email, it's free to watch the film and the offer is good through September 30, 2016.

Please note that no one is paying me to share this - I have no affiliation with Hay House.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pay Attention . . .

Yesterday, a very interesting thing happened.

I was rootling around with my Goodreads and trying to get things updated.  Three different Wayne Dyer books are in various stages of not finished/left in the middle.  THREE.  I really like Wayne Dyer - his later works have been really important to me.  I discovered him through my friend, T.  I was saddened when he died last August (2015).

If you know me in the real world, you've heard me say the following many times:
When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
It's very much a life mantra for me - and it's very, very true.  For example, one day I heard a woman say that she was always going to have really fat legs no matter how thin she got.  And I thought, "what if you thought of your legs as strong and athletic, and resilient - carrying you everywhere you need and want to go?"  All of a sudden - when you change the way you look at them, those legs change into something magnificent!

How we use our words is so very important.  I am often laughed at and/or teased for asking my friends to relanguage something, but I believe this is too important to let slide.  We are harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else.  For most of us, the channel running in our heads is full of negative, hateful things - things we would NEVER say to a friend or family member, but we willings say them about ourselves.  Nope.  No more.  Change the channel.  Put in a new CD and begin to pave the way to move into the positive.

I digress . . .

So anyway - I'm checking Facebook later in the day, and a friend of mine has posted a short slide show entitled, "12 Things Wayne Dyer Wanted You To Know."  I'm going to share them with you as they appeared, because they are so awesome and important.

  1. Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future isn't guaranteed.
  2. Practice being the kind of person you wish to attract.
  3. Conflict cannot survive without your participation.
  4. Anything you really want, you can attain, if you really go after it.
  5. How people treat you is their karma. How you react is yours.
  6. If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
  7. When you judge others you don't define them, you define yourself.
  8. Abundance isn't something we acquire. It is something we tune into.
  9. You cannot be lonely if you like the person you're alone with.
  10. You are not stuck where you are unless you choose to be.
  11. Love is co-operation rather than competition.
  12. Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing.
I clicked "like" on the post, and - as Facebook is wont to do - three other "possibly of interest" little posts pop up.  But only one of them was about Wayne Dyer.  It was the trailer for his film The Shift.

When stuff like this happens, I pay attention.  Clearly the Universe was really trying to get my attention - initially I had thought Wayne Dyer had appeared in my path four times - but it was five because I forgot one of the books from the morning.

Five times.

And then, again on Facebook, Girish posted a Wayne Dyer quote.

SIX times.

And then I forgot to go to Tai Chi (seriously irritated about that because I look forward to it so eagerly every week).  I've been majorly discombobulated for a few weeks - a number of people I know lost their jobs and that always unsettles me even though it's nothing I ever have any control over.  Stuff like this happens when I'm not paying attention . . .

Clearly, I need some retreat time this weekend.  I'm already planning what I want to do and how I will do it.

Here is the trailer - I will be watching the film again this weekend as part of my personal retreat.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ten on Tuesday . . .

Today's  prompt is a little different.  She's asked us for two lists of five things each!  Here we go!

First:  The 5 Best Things You Did This Summer
  1. I took a play day with my cousin, ME, and we went to Naperville to participate in the events surrounding the Midwest premiere of Joan Anderson's film, Year By the Sea.
  2. I started Tai Chi lessons at the Kenpo Ki Do Karate Studio.
  3. I chose to have surgery on my partially frozen shoulder.
  4. I took care of myself by having my annual mammogram, and my 10-year colonoscopy.
  5. I went to Kripalu and studied Yoga for the Rest of Us with Peggy Cappy for a week (OK, this was in May, but it's really one of the coolest things I did all year, so I had to include it here).
And second:  5 Things You are Looking Forward to Doing this Fall
  1. "Being" more rather than doing more  ;-)
  2. Continuing to "shrink."  ;-D
  3. Continuing my study of Tai Chi, and beginning a daily practice to go with my weekly lesson.
  4. Completing the final two WIPs on the Big List.
  5. I am looking forward to whatever comes next - it's always an adventure :-)
I have more than five things I'm looking forward to this fall . . .

I'm looking forward to finishing a lot of books that I started and left languishing.  At the moment, I'm listening to the Outlander series on Audible on my daily commute.  That will keep me busy for some time, but I've also picked back up an unfinished Kindle book, Becoming Marta, to read each evening before falling asleep.  It's not thrilling me, but the book is not long.  I started this one in January, I think - at least that's when I purchased it.  The "To Read" list is long and I'd like to get cracking again  :-)  To that end, I'm going to take a page from Crazy Knitting Fool, and start chronicling those books here.  I'm also going to update my Goodreads and see if I can get myself on track there the way I was able to get on track with my WIPs using The Big List.

I've gotten a lot of free books from Book Bub, and I also get a free book every month from Amazon.  I usually take advantage of these offers - sometimes the books are duds, however. 

I'm looking forward to cooking more.

I'm looking forward to picking up my pipes again. (So glad some of you enjoyed Hevia's Busindre Reel yesterday.  It's pretty awesome, isn't it?  :-) ).

Lughnasa and Samhain are the times of the year where I feel the best and do the best work for myself - and on myself . . .

What about you?

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Busindre Reel . . .

I've had a Hevia CD for many years and this tune is on it.  I've been listening to it over and over the past couple of days, so had to share it with you here.  He is playing Asturian pipes.

Enjoy  :-)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Unfinished . . .

On Wednesday, my cousin, ME and I played hooky.  Well, sort of, we didn't call off work, we planned ahead for a day off mid-week.  Why?  Because Joan Anderson was in town!  We attended a talk and book signing event in the morning, had a wonderful lunch at Cooper's Hawk Winery with one of my Iona sisters from my first retreat to Iona, attended the film's pre-party event, and saw the movie, Year by the Sea.

The film was made from her first three memoirs, and had its Midwest premiere at the Naperville Independent Film Festival. It's been on the festival circuit for most of this year and won all sorts of awards already.  If it comes to a film festival near you - see it. This is the initial trailer that was made through a Kickstarter funding drive in 2014:

Joan's books, and Joan herself have been very important in my life for the better part of the last decade.  I discovered her books at a very low point in my life.  I was stuck, stuck, stuck.  Long story short, I ended up retreating with her to the Isle of Iona in March of 2007, and the path to my myself that you hear me mention here quite often, became very, very clear thanks to that "time out of time," as Joan often calls it.   I've retreated with her several more times.  She has been a mentor to me and I'm very grateful. 

Her story speaks to all women - and her husband's story speaks to all men! 

I'd start with the first book, A Year by the Sea, if you want to read her story. The book that I first discovered was her fourth, A Weekend to Change Your Life: Find Your Authentic Self After a Lifetime of Being All Things to All People, but I had to stop part way through because I needed to know how she'd gotten unstuck - how she'd gotten to the place she was writing about!  So I quickly picked up A Year by the Sea and then read the next two books before picking back up with A Weekend to Change Your Life.

My time on Iona was life-altering for me, and I now seek retreat time on a regular basis - it's not always far away or for very long, but it feeds my soul and spirit.  In fact, it's about time for me to spend some time in retreat - particularly after the year I've had healthwise.

All the events were wonderful!  Here is a photo of Joan's assistant Cathy (one of my Iona sisters), Joan, and my cousin ME at the premiere  :-)

And if you would like to see me, and some other women who were at the book signing talk a little about our journeys and how Joan has impacted our lives, I'm the redhead on the right in the group at the beginning; one of my Iona sisters, Susan, is the first solo speaker; and my cousin ME is the second solo speaker - wait until you hear her story!

Read Joan's books, explore her website - maybe even retreat with her.  She is a watchwoman for our times and her story is universal. 

You can thank me later  :-)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Sunday Wrap-Up . . .

Time has been getting away from me again, and money is being spent . . .

Here's the update:

The Meret Hat is, indeed, TOO BIG!  Seriously, this NEVER happens  :-D  Since it's finished and wet-blocked, I am not going to deconstruct it.  I have enough of the yarn left to make another - in the next smaller size, and I guess I know now that Woolly Wormhead's hats are going to fit my noggin'  :-)

I took Friday off and headed up to the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival.  It was my first time going - I've wanted to go for years.  It was a long drive, but well worth it.  I got to catch up with some of my friends, and I fell in love with Ewetopia Yarns.  There is a lot going on at their fiber shop - including a mill that's jumping off on December 1st, so definitely check out their website.

Here's what came home with me:

Clockwise from the far left:

Notecards from Barb Lassa.  Many of her holiday photos are of her husband and their Border Collie, Tess.  I met her husband.  He really does look just like Santa  :-D

The New Directions Infinity Scarf kit from Hearthside Fibers and the pattern for the matching New Directions Hat.

Three skeins of Yara Bulky yarn in the Charcoal colorway, from Ewetopia.

Two packages of Fiber Optic Yarns Foot Notes Unspun - Kimber didn't have much of this the last two times I've been somewhere where she was.  The fiber is 80% Merino superwash and 20% nylon, and it's pencil roving.  Perfect to attempt to spin for socks.  The colorways are Red Queen, and Blackbird.

One skein of Ewetopia BFL BFF in the Tapestry colorway.

Two skeins of Opal yarn in Harry Potter colors, Dumbledore and Lupin, in sport weight.  My friend, Tammy, actually found these in Germany and she brought my two skeins with her this weekend - so I didn't buy them at the festival, but they did come home with me, so they got to be in the shot  :-)

Two skeins of Ewetopia Cashmere Sport (it's gorgeous).

One Skein of Ewetopia Kickapoo Sock in the Monet's Lilies colorway.

Ten skeins of Ewetopia Ramboulee in the Sumac colorway.  There's a cabled sweater in my future :-)

Those knives went with me to be sharpened at one of the vendors.  They are all my old kitchen knives!

The drive home from Wisconsin was brutal - I hit rush hour traffic both ways, but coming home was the worst - it took me four hours to get home.

In other news of the past couple of weeks, I bought a new bed the Thursday before Labor day, and it was delivered yesterday.  I love it very much.  I also love being back in my own room.  I'd been sleeping in the guest room for the past four or five weeks because my old bed had become too uncomfortable to sleep on, and it hurt my shoulder.  I'm really looking forward to sleeping again tonight  :-D

Michelle asked if I decorate seasonally - I do, but not nearly as much as I used to.   This is for my front door (I'm looking for the wreath hanger at the moment  :-D):

My wee village for the seasonal kitchen shelf:

It's in the middle set of the kitchen bookshelves: 

My birdcage, which actually hangs over where you see that big plant hanging (it got moved).

And I burn Harvest candles from Yankee.  It's really not all that much, and pretty easy to change it all out for Fall, Christmas, and the rest of the year. 

And speaking of my shoulder - I'm on the tail end of PT.  I'm going 2x/week now through the end of the month and I go back to the surgeon for my third post-op check in mid-October.  I'm hardly ever in pain, and although I don't have full mobility back yet, I'm at 85-90%.  I started water aerobics last weekend, and I also started swimming again, something I really used to enjoy back in the day.  I think they are both helping my shoulder, and helping me.  I had forgotten how much I love being in the water.

That's the news from The Third Coast today, but before I go, a moment of silence in memory of those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on 9/11 - can it really be 15 years ago?

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Ten on Tuesday . . .

Today's Ten on Tuesday prompt is:  10 Things You Did This Weekend.
  1. Took stuff to the Second Chance Shop.
  2. Emptied and wiped down one shelving unit in the basement.
  3. Wiped down all the stuff that was on the shelving unit, tossed some, and put the rest back neatly.
  4. Pulled my old mattress and box spring into the hall in preparation for my new bed arriving on Saturday.
  5. Took the car to the car wash for a MUCH needed cleanup.
  6. Went out for lunch to Lassen's for burgers with my cousin ME and her husband R, and then went to Andy's for an end-of-summer frozen custard cone.
  7. Went with ME to Michael's to spend our birthday gift cards
  8. Got a haircut at Great Clips (!)
  9. Went to water aerobics at the club.
  10. Finished my 3-Color Cowl
An excellent list!  I think I only got this many things down because I took an extra day off - I go back to work tomorrow.

Here is the rest of the stuff I did:
  1. Went to the club for a workout.
  2.  Pulled out my Fall decorations.
  3. Watched the Rizzoli & Isles marathon (and yeah, I'm bummed that this series is over - it was so wonderful.  I do not know why they cancelled it).
  4. Cast on for a pair of plain vanilla socks that I'm going to experiment with.
 And tonight I have Tai Chi.  :-)

Here's a photo of that cowl:

I wanted to make this worsted weight yarn, so followed some pattern mods from a couple other folks who did so.  The yarn is Cascade Elite Posh, which is 70/30 Silk/Cashmere (and is discontinued).  I had enough left to make a hat!  It's Meret.  I probably could have gotten by with only three patter repeats, but I did four to be safe with my melon head.  It will be slouchy  :-)

I still have some of the yarn left, so I'm planning on some matching fingerless mitts.  It's been a very long time since I've had a matching set of anything  :-)

Here are the beginnings of the experimental socks.  The yarn is Socks That Rock Lightweight in the Carbon Dating colorway.  This colorway looked super fantastic in the skein - and not so great on the needles.  I had started socks with it earlier this year and frogged them.  But I decided yesterday that I would cast on and use them as experimental socks - I cast on 68 stitches instead of my normal 64, and I'm going to put the purl stitches on the outside of the sole, which is something I've wanted to try for some time.

I have one other finished object to share - these are the Burning Rings of Fire socks.  I played serious yarn chicken with them and have only a tiny bit of yarn left  :-D   These will be a gift.

Alrighty then - I need to get a load of clothes into the dryer  :-)  I hope you've had a great Labor Day weekend  :-)