Sunday and Goals

I got up earlier than I normally do on Sunday (need to change that habit) in order to write out the talk I gave in sacrament meeting today. I'd known about the talk for a month, which is somewhat unusual, but even with the extended time period I spent most of that time just thinking about how I wanted to approach my topic. I was asked to speak about Institute, and the other speaker was our current Institute teacher (and the regional Institute director) Brother Chapman. Overall I think my talk went well, though it was probably a bit short. I am pretty sure I started talking faster as I went along.

I also got a new calling this week. Previously, I had been the Institute co-chair (responsible for making sure the teacher has whatever they need, setting out hymnals, choosing the hymns, making announcements at the beginning and close of Institute, &c), but now I am the Gospel Doctrine teacher. It's a pretty big change, and a much more intensive calling as far as preparation goes. I know I am up to the challenge, but it is still a bit overwhelming to think about at times.

On the other hand . . . this new calling means I definitely need to stay on top of my focused scripture study, so it provides wonderful focus for a couple of my goals for the year. Win!

The evening was spent preparing dinner (red beans and rice, except I used a can of kidney beans and a can of black beans), cleaning up after dinner (hurrah for a clean kitchen!), and poking around on Family Search and Bible Videos. All in all a most excellent Sunday.
  • Current Music
    Mormon Tabernacle Choir channel on Pandora
  • Tags


Periodically I get bit by the urge to start every single project I have, right now at this very minute. Or, if not every project, at least something new. Despite having a huge pile of things already in progress.

A couple days ago my mum showed me a pattern she got, for a moebius cowl. She wanted my opinions on her gauge swatch, and also wanted to know if I had a 40” US size 8 needle. Upon seeing the pattern I, of course, immediately wanted to knit it myself. It is fancy and clever and it only has one side! (Yes, I am aware that a moebius only has one side, but that does not make this cowl any less fancy or clever) And since I spent a good day organising (albeit roughly) my yarn stash, I knew I had plenty of options to choose from in the yarn department. What is that, you say? I already have a good twenty (or more) knitting projects in progress? I should work on finishing those first, is that it?

Oh, thinking about yarn possibilities isn’t going to hurt anything. . .I have at least three skeins of Malabrigo Rios in the Archangel colourway that are not earmarked for anything in particular. One skein for a second pair of Ragtop mitts, one skein for a “matching” moebius cowl, one skein for something else (a hat, perhaps?). I should check my stash, just to see if I am remembering properly. Yes, three skeins. I can wind up two of them. Just in case, you know. And I should probably check my needles, just to see what I have in a 40” length.

No US size 8, but there is a 7. Hmmm, I wonder how a swatch would turn out with that needle. I remember what I saw of the pattern enough to swatch. It’s only curiosity. . .oh, wow! I get gauge with the needle I have. I’ll just tuck it in my bag to show Mum after stake conference. Maybe I can get another peek at her pattern. And watching the tutorial on how to do the cast-on is a good Sunday afternoon activity. . . .

And that, coupled with the fact that it is just plain fun to work on a project with someone, is how and why I started working on my own Infinity Squared cowl. Yes, even though I have a pile of works in progress. I worked on one of those today, too.
calm, Raku!

Organisation and Creativity

Yesterday I spent most of the day helping my mom go through things in the house and going through papers of my own that had been stored (loose) in a bag up in the attic. The end result of the day’s work was a more organised attic and a bag less of stuff. At this point I have a much better handle on what I still need to go through and where it is.

I now know that I have seven boxes of books I still need to go through (I thought I only had three, but there were four others hiding). The bins I have gone through are arranged in order. The bins I have with other things in them are also grouped in one place, rather than scattered all over the attic. I have taken care of a bag of paperwork, and know which things need to be filed from it and which things can be recycled (or shredded).

Another side effect of organisation (for me, anyway) is an increase in creativity. I am clearing out the excess baggage in my space and giving myself some room to breathe and stretch. Having that space means I actually have room for creative processes, and that overall makes me happier.

The whole letting go thing is still going to take some getting used to, I think, but I’m liking the results (and I haven’t missed any of the stuff I’ve gotten rid of). It’s easier to find books on my shelves; things aren’t as crowded. I have a better handle on where my important papers are, and the stuff that needs shredding is getting shredded. My yarn is (roughly) organised by weight, so I have a better idea of what I own there. I’m making progress on the less visible things, the out of sight spaces that may not have an immediate impact on visual organisation but which are absolutely crucial for long-term success.

I just need to keep moving forward, and things will continue to improve. Mindful organisation decisions lead to greater peace of mind, increased creativity, and a more balanced life overall. Definitely something to work towards.
calm, Raku!

Hello, universe! No, I am not dead....

I just took a year-long plus hiatus from the world of blogging/online journaling. Sometimes these things happen. Anyway, I have returned from my hiatus.

I haven’t normally been one for much official goal-setting, at least not of the "New Year's Resolution" variety. It always seemed a little artificial to me, and there are also all the jokes and comments about how New Year's resolutions seem to inevitably fail or be forgotten. Since I don't like the idea of setting myself up for failure and ridicule, setting New Year's resolutions hasn't really been high on my list of priorities.

It just so happens that this year I found myself wanting to make changes in my life and set goals right at the turn of the new year, so I’m going to be setting goals that could be viewed as New Year’s resolutions. These goals fall into several broad categories, and I’m working to make them specific and attainable while still being things that inspire growth and personal improvement.

I want to improve my overall physical fitness, with a focus on strengthening my core muscles and bringing my diet more in line with the principles found in the Word of Wisdom. I’ll be using the Core Program and body weight training in addition to my week-day walks, at least for a start.

A second, related physical fitness goal is bringing my sleep schedule around so I am waking up by 6:00 each morning while still getting at least seven hours of sleep. The net result of this will be me getting in to work earlier, which means I will be able to leave at an earlier hour and still have a goodly amount of time to do things in the evening. I know this will be a challenge for me--bedtime always has been--but I also know that I will be much better off by doing this.

I want to read (again) the Book of Mormon in 2012. Since the course of study for Sunday School this year is the Book of Mormon, as long as I keep up with reading each week I will read the entire book by the end of the year. I also want to read the George Albert Smith manual (Relief Society course of study) and Daughters in My Kingdom.

On the non-reading front, I again want to attend the temple at least once a month, and I want to do better at my visiting teaching. I know that both of these are very important things, and that I can do them.

Hold game nights at least once a month. I have loads of board and card games, and they need to see more play time.

Write and post at least one blog entry a week. Need to stop half writing and never posting them.

Read 120 books this year, and have most of them be books that I already own (instead of books bought new that year) or books I’ve borrowed. A corollary goal is to only buy books in 2012 that I know I want to devote the shelf space to.

All of these are completely doable. They will provide challenges, but not overwhelming ones, and the overall result should be a more balanced life. I really desire that.


January, February, March, April, May. . .June. Welcome to summer! Wow, my track record this year has been rather hideous, hasn't it? Lots of things have happened since the beginning of December, and at the same time not a lot has really happened. Funny how that works out, isn’t it? Here’s a quick rundown:

Christmas: Good, but I was a bit out-ninja-ed with regards to gifts for immediate family and local friends (I blame the cold I picked up the weekend before the holiday). Spent wonderful time with my family, and managed to wear nearly exactly the same clothes I wore the previous Christmas (based on my father’s photographic journal).

New Year’s Eve: Quiet and low-key. Had lots of fondue at yumearashi’s place, and we watched the ball drop and it was fun. Started to write a 2009 In Review post, but never finished it. Am not going to stress about that at this juncture; it isn't worth it.

Birthday: Turned 28. Had carrot cake and a candle race. Got presents. Generally enjoyed myself. Still went to work, though.

Easter: We didn’t really do much Eastery stuff for Easter this year. Probably because it was the Grand Conjunction of events. . .Easter weekend was also General Conference was also my sister’s birthday (Saturday) was also Anime Boston. Really hoping that sort of thing doesn't happen again. The first three as a group? Fine by me. Just...don't throw in the anime convention on top of it.

Anime Boston: Fun stuff. Registration/badge pickup went smoothly, there were lots of nice people in the Artists’ Alley, and I did reasonably well on the sales end of things. Not quite as well as past years, but that’s okay. I did give out a lot of business cards, though. Also, I finally got to meet Eldanis in person! I've been following her on dA for years, so that was very spiffy.

Work: Goes well. I’ve been learning a lot of different things, and I quite enjoy my work environment. In the past weeks I learned about thermal printers and CD creation. They’re kinda crazy expensive if you want to get the type to print CDs, and that's only really useful if you plan on doing a lot of stuff with it. If you're just needing it for a small project or to then it gets rather cost prohibitive. Also am learning PHP and MySQL (probably about time), but this is sort of in spare bits of time here and there. I should probably work on that in the evenings when I get home to speed up the process.

Entertainments: Went to a production of The Scarlet Pimpernel with my parents. It was delightful, and I was very glad to be able to see it performed again (the last time I saw it was when I was out at BYU). Attended two different piano recital/concerts, both in the Cambridge area. Both were excellent. Went to Pickity Place with the other sisters in the RS Presidency; I got to introduce all of them to one of my favorite places to eat and poke around. Saw Avatar in the theater on New Year's Day. Been borrowing anime from Netflix and watching some other stuff on Hulu. Good times.

Jewelry/Beading: Still need to take pictures (read: good pictures) of things to post on Etsy. Also need to get my rear in gear and clean up my craft area (again). Took a beading class over the past two Saturdays this month, so I've actually done some bead weaving with seed beads. Previous to this I'd only ever done some simple stringing, and most of my seed bead use was in the form of accents on wire-based things. Thanks to the class I also learned that it is much more cost effective to purchase Fireline from the fishing section of a department-type store than to buy the "beading specific" type (far as I can tell there is no appreciable difference in the two, but the beading specific stuff is about twice as expensive, and only goes up to 6 lb test).

Knitting: Been doing a goodly amount of knitting. I finally went and made myself some socks, and they are some of the most comfortable things I have ever worn. I am currently working on a second pair of socks that uses a more complicated pattern. I am also just over halfway through working on a gorgeous lace shawl designed by Elsbeth Lavold. And about a quarter of the way through an afghan. Additionally, I have made a list of knitting goals I want to try to accomplish this year. We will see how that goes. I think my current number of active projects on the needles is at least ten, and most of them are scarves.

Reading: Lots and lots. Well, I'm at least on par with previous years, anyway. I've been borrowing more books this year, which is good. Well, it's good that I'm not further increasing my owned TBR pile (not by as much, anyway). Borrowing rather than buying still doesn't reduce my TBR pile. I did the math on that. . .at my current average reading rate (yearly) it would take me around five years to read my catalogued TBR pile. This is assuming I don't buy, borrow, or reread any books in the interim. I'm still not sure how to calculate the amount of time it would take with buying, borrowing, and rereading included. I suspect this would be a very difficult task.

So that's where things stand, more or less. As for upcoming plans, I'm going to keep reading and knitting. I want to practice more with seed beads and bead weaving. I want to do more with photography, particularly of my adorably cute little Carmy and of all sorts of different projects. If things continue to go as they have been, the summer will be fairly low-key, which is something I really have been needing.
  • Current Mood
    busy busy

Out-ninja'ed the ninja

Last year the holiday season came upon me as the ninja do--silently and secretly for a surprise attack. This year, I am more prepared. Much more prepared. I mean, It's only 3 December and I have already completed most of my holiday shopping and crafting. Furthermore, I had the shopping done before Thanksgiving. This weekend I will be wrapping presents and preparing things that need shipping to go out on Monday morning.

My family already has the tree up, so it's lots of fun to go visit and see it. I need to see about getting a tree for the apartment, subject to flatmate approval, of course. Dad shared the mp3 folder on his D: drive at work, so I've been listening to Christmas music while I work. He also set up the music bridge at the house, so we have 50+ hours of streaming Christmas music at the touch of a button.

Of course, some things haven't changed much from last year. I still need to desperately put in time cleaning my room. I've been putting it off for a while, and it really does show. A half an hour of work will get it looking quite presentable, but there's still the underlying clutter control problem. I have a plan, though, to take care of it. We'll see if said plan withstands first contact with the enemy.

Things I've done in which I am well pleased: mostly finished my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving. Mostly finished my Christmas crafting before Thanksgiving.

Things that make me happy: Christmas trees, Christmas music, knitting, reading, fires in the fireplace, candles, time with family, fun movies
  • Current Music
    Loreena McKennitt - The Seven Rejoices of Mary
train, dramatic

The weather continues to be odd

There was a possum in my parking spot when I got home this evening. It skittered off into the trees when I pulled up, but I could still see it thanks to my headlights. So I sat and watched it. After a couple minutes it moved out from the trees and waddled past my car. I think it was probably about the same size as my family's cat (didn't realise the critters could get that big).

I've managed to get a lot of my Christmas shopping done already, which makes me quite pleased. It definitely reduces my stress levels (though I do need to figure out how to work shipping to various individuals). I'm still in the process of making some things, but that's going well too and I am quite hopeful with regards to finishing.

Things I've done in which I am well pleased: Got most of my Christmas shopping done. Went to Institute and contributed to the discussion.

Things that make me happy: Thanksgiving, fruit baskets, getting things done
  • Current Mood
    chipper chipper
calm, Raku!

Ice cream!

I had Heavenly Hash ice cream this evening, and it was wonderful. When I was a kid you could find the stuff in every grocery store under several brands, but I haven't seen it anywhere for...years. So I've more or less resigned myself to making do with Rocky Road (anyone who tells you that the two flavors are exactly the same is wrong. Oh so very wrong) when I want something approximating the flavor. But this evening I was up at SNHU with my family for a concert, and afterwards we went to the student center for ice cream. Apparently the selection of flavors they have isn't consistent from day to day, but they had lots of good flavors this evening. Including Heavenly Hash. Now I want to know where they get their stuff.

I have not been participating in NaNoWriMo this year, at least not officially. My goal instead has been to do something creative every day. Could be writing, could be knitting, could be jewelry designing. It could even be cooking or decorating. The point is I do something. I determined before the month started that forcing myself to try to write 50,000 words in an already busy month (not just that many words--reaching the total would be easy--but that many words in a sequence to tell a story) when I haven't really been writing much for the past year is not the best way for me to go about things. Rather than being an inspiring activity it would be stressful and turn into drudgery. That is not how I want to view writing. While I know writing may not always be easy (and sometimes I'll probably say I dislike it greatly) I feel it should be enjoyable.

Things I've done in which I am well pleased: Wrote up a flavor email for my character's between-game actions for Mage. Planned out my Christmas presents. Daydreamed. Attended the temple.

Things that make me happy: Heavenly Hash ice cream (now I just need to find/make Mayan Chocolate), One Piece, fairytale retellings, audiobooks
  • Current Music
    Christmas music (in my head)

Writer's Block: Airplane reading

If you're going on a long plane or road trip, what sort of reading materials do you bring along? Is it different from what you usually read? Will you watch a trashy movie or read a bad novel or magazines just to pass the time?

Well, I will always have my scriptures with me if I plan on being away from home overnight. Beyond that the amount and type of reading materials I bring depends on a number of factors, including how long the trip is and how long I will be staying at wherever I am travelling to. In general, however, I'll have at least whatever book I'm currently reading plus two to five alternate book selections and possibly a couple of magazines. I may make concessions based on weight or space (paperbacks instead of hardcovers), but my travel reading material is not substantially different from my non-travel reading material.

I read a lot of fiction (most of it genre), but in a pinch I'll read pretty much whatever is close at hand that looks interesting. Usually this is something of my choosing, since if I have a bag with me I likely have at least two reading choices available to me. Right now my backpack has five or six different books in it and about four magazines, and I'm not even planning on going anywhere far away.

Current Reading: Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading by Maureen Corrigan; Witches Incorporated by K.E. Mills; Candle Man by Glenn Dakin
  • Current Mood
    amused amused

Phenomenal cosmic powers, and we use them to pants people.

This evening was our first session of Mage (well, we had a character generation session last week, but that didn't involve any playing; it was explanation and tossing ideas about). So this evening we introduced our characters to the group, outlined some backstory elements (I still need to work on mine, but this happens), wrapped up a few lingering mechanical details, and then started playing. Session ran for about five hours, and we all had loads of fun.

When you get right down to it on the most basic level, we spent five hours stealing a spork from another group of mages. We now have enemies, and it promises to be loads of fun. Sadly, I will be missing the next session, but I've already come up with a plausible reason (well, semi-plausible at least): my character is a landscape designer when she isn't doing magic stuff, and she's working on a big contract in western Massachusetts. Her clients have an appalling lack of taste, for they want pink and purple striped roses in their garden, which already has a mess of...interesting flowers (many of which probably should invoke paradox, but they don't since they weren't made with magic).

I'm really looking forward to the next session where I can play.

Things I've done in which I am well pleased: socialized with people, made plans for the long weekend which include outdoor activity, spent time with my family

Things that make me happy: taking walks, playing games with friends, fun stories, good books, knitting, having plans
  • Current Music
    Pride & Prejudice audio book