Category Archives: Lifebits

On the Needles.

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I’m about done with WordPress. I have been trying to complete this post for a week. I can’t link anything, my drafts don’t save, the app crashes… Oy.

I am nearly finished with my fifth Stripe Study shawl. Crazy, I know, but this is comfort knitting at its best, and I love the funky vibe of the asymmetrical stripes, and the colors. I have given some away, but I reach for the ones I have kept frequently.

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In keeping with the blue theme, and the idea of comfort, here is Moon Pulls, a wonderful pullover that I will finish up before the return of the Polar Vortex.

And now that I (fingers crossed) got through this without crashing, and just possibly with both photos and links, I’m outta here!

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Not Your Mother’s Middle Age.

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I passed a certain milestone birthday in the spring.  I’m still not sure how I feel about it.  I find myself telling people sort of apropos of nothing “I’m 50,” just so I can say it out loud.  It’s weird.  I don’t ~feel~ 50.  But telling someone much younger – a colleague, for example – makes me feel the tiniest bit irrelevant, maybe just a tad past it.

People are quick to jump in with “you don’t look 50!” What does 50 even look like?  My mom at 50 looked, and acted, how I envision 50.  Except that I can’t imagine myself like that even at 80!  So I got to thinking, and came up with another list.  This one explores some fundamental contrasts between my mom at 50 and me at 50.

1.  Mom had the ubiquitous 1970’s permed helmet hair that was washed and set and baked under one of those beehive hair dryers at the hairdresser every week.  Her do was pretty much the same from her 30’s through the end of her life.  She never colored it.  She slept on a satin pillowcase with a couple of curlers pinned in the front to preserve the style.  When it rained, she would whip out one of those plastic rain bonnets from her purse and pull it on to protect the helmet.  

I have shoulder length straight hair that I get trimmed maybe every 8 weeks.  My hairdresser is awesome. Smart, funny, and rocking some interesting body art (she’s about my age).  She scans my credit card on her iPhone.  She puts in a semi-permanent rinse every several months to hush up the gray.  I get a scalp massage.  If it rains, I hope I have an umbrella, but if not… Oh well.

2.  I never saw my mom break into a run, for any reason.  She could have been on fire and she wouldn’t have run.  Nor would she have dreamed of lifting weights or participating in any sort of sweat-inducing exercise.  She golfed, riding in a red golf cart between shots, usually with a lit cigarette in one hand.  She would drop this in the grass nearby as she moved to address the ball, and pick it back up after her shot.  Kinda badass.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I exercise.  A lot.  I don’t golf, neither do I smoke.  Having said that, I am also not a badass.  

3.  My mom did not own a pair of jeans, or any sort of athletic shoe (other than golf shoes).  She wore polyester pants in winter, and knee-length shorts or culottes in summer.  Tops did not generally involve natural fibers.  There may have been appliqués of holiday-themed characters, or flowers.  It would not in a million years have occurred to me to borrow her clothes, or vice versa

Jeans are my life.  I have my own, but I have been known to pilfer a daughter’s cast-offs.  They wear my cardigans; we all own Birkenstocks and Nikes.  And I tend not to wear things that will melt when held to a flame.

4.  My mom had zero interest in popular music.  She actively disliked what she called “all that screaming.”   I suppose this must have been in vague reference to, who, the Beatles?  The Stones?  She pined for the 1940s, and loved the Big Bands.  That, to her, was “music.”

I don’t claim to have any taste whatsoever, but I like my kids’ music, and I have to stop myself from singing along to the (very young) trainers’ mixes during workout classes.  These tend to involve Katie Perry, Usher, Fun…  

5.  Mom had about five or six meals in her standard repertoire, and they all started with meat and ended with potatoes. Vegetables were from a can in winter or the garden in summer.  Butter was usually involved.   It was all good, but not a lot of variation, and definitely no unusual flavors or ethnic foods.  Unless you count spaghetti with a hamburger and tomato sauce.  And Parmesan from a can.  My dad wouldn’t have cooked dinner for the family on a bet.

Most of our meals are one course, using as few pots and pans as we can get away with.  Beans and rice.  Stir fry. Something on pasta.  Stews, soups, chilis.  Always with some spice, and often with hot sauce on the side.  Mexican, at least weekly.  Sometimes I make Indian.  Probably half or more of our meals don’t include meat.  My husband makes meals, and usually helps when I’m in charge.  And sometimes, when we just damn well don’t feel like it, we put in some frozen pizzas and call it good.

So yes, things are different for today’s 50-year-old.  I guess it’s just a number, after all.

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Things I Like.

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A few things that make me feel happy…or maybe the slightest bit smug?

1.   Karma.  I scored a parking spot on Saturday because the guy ahead of me got mad and did the vehicular equivalent of storming off while waiting for someone to back out of a space.  I had a full minute to spare before my hair cut appointment, and I got a free parking spot in the teeming Third Ward during Irish Fest.

Now, if those women who were rude to the sub at Zumba yesterday would wake up covered in boils, I would be even happier.

2.  A crock pot full of marinara and meatballs with plenty to freeze.  

3.  When my kids volunteer, or, at home, when they empty the dishwasher, vacuum, or clean out closets and drawers without being asked.  

4.  Bandwidth.  (Hey, you try living with teenagers.  My binge watching has been seriously curtailed this summer.)

5.  Birds at the feeder.  Almost as good as Netflix.

6.  Merino, silk, and cashmere on my needles.

7.  A big juicy novel on my Kindle app.

8.  Enough garden tomatoes – finally – for a tomato and bread salad!

9.  A vacationing co-worker’s rock star parking spot.

10. Buying a new bra that actually fits.  (Yes, seriously smug about this.)

Happy Monday!

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Fresh Start.

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It’s been a while.   When I originally started blogging years ago, my chief motivation was my desire to write.   After two or three posts, I learned that whatever my motivation, I had entered a community that demanded daily participation.   It was incredibly rewarding in a way I had never anticipated when I set out.  I knew little about knitting at the time, and I understood nothing of the truly kind and generous support that virtual strangers were so willing to extend to me.  It was wonderful and absorbing for a long time.

After a while, though, blogging became a strange sort of obligation that sometimes made me feel uncomfortable.  I hesitated to post when I was short on time because I knew I wouldn’t have time to reply to comments.  This sucked in many ways, because I was writing for me, to feed my own soul, and I pushed that to the side because I felt guilty and selfish about my inability to give other people what they needed.  Also, it got a little weird for me when people I knew in person followed my blog.  That’s mostly about my own self-consciousness and insecurity.  Obviously close friends I know and trust wouldn’t take advantage of my vulnerability in publishing my thoughts or creations.  But then a couple of people I don’t know well took a bit too much interest.  At that point it wasn’t fun anymore.  I stopped.

I was fine with my silence for a long while.  I would scribble in a notebook when I needed to make words into thoughts.  But I missed that feeling of having created something when I hit “publish” on a post I had noodled on, edited, mulled over.  I considered what to do.  I locked down the old blog address and did some writing there, strictly for myself.  That was good, not great.  Not quite the same.  I wasn’t really accountable for thinking ideas through when I was just writing for myself.  I thought about it some more.

I finally decided to start fresh, with new rules.  I changed my blog address and name, but I moved all the old content so I wouldn’t lose it.  I opened the site, but I did not opt to have traffic to the old blog redirected here.  I will let folks who may be interested know I’m here.  I have decided to disable comments for the time being, not because I don’t love hearing from you, but because I don’t want you to feel like you have to say something, which will then result in me saying something back, and then there we are again, both spending too much time feeling stress over full “in” boxes.  

So, please feel free to read or not.  Shoot me an email if you feel like remarking, but really, it’s not necessary.  I shall use this space to ponder and report and share stuff that pleases or provokes me.  Just be well, and do what fulfills you, while I try to do the same.

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Through New Eyes.

Every once in a while, I get a wild hair. By this I mean that certain ideas sort of smack me over the head. I go from something being entirely off my radar to suddenly knowing that THIS is what I’m going to do. Knitting was like that. And starting a blog. And buying an iPad. Sort of minor stuff in the grand scheme, you know?

Deciding to apply to law school was one of the more wild of the wild hairs that got me. Luckily, that worked out, as I passed the 20-year anniversary of my swearing in last May and I have practiced full time for that entire span.

Recently I got the wildest of the wild hairs of my life. I decided to have Lasik surgery. I have needed vision correction since the fourth grade. I wore contacts through my teens and twenties, but became increasingly intolerant of them as I aged. My last try at the latest technology in both contacts and cleaning solutions failed. I got new glasses last winter, and found them uncomfortable. In addition, my close vision, which had been OK with glasses, started to go, so I was looking at needing bifocals soon enough. Finally, I had enough. I happen to see a very fine Lasik surgeon for general ophthalmology, so I called for an appointment.

The preliminaries took some time, so I certainly could have backed out. I had an initial consultation, was cleared as a candidate, and set an appointment that was sufficiently far in the future as to seem distant. I had a vacation, the surgeon had a vacation, summer drew to an end. I saw my glaucoma specialist just to be sure he was still on board, then had my pre-op screening and prep. I got more excited, then nervous.

Last Thursday was the big day. There are many step by step accounts of the procedure available on line, so I won’t add another here. I will say that it all went just beautifully. No surprises, excellent and professional care, and it really took no time at all. I was out of the laser room within 15 minutes, and only a fraction of that was spent on the actual procedure. I had iLasik with wavefront guided correction, which means that everything was done with lasers, and the correction was based on a mapping of the exact refractive issues and shape of my own eyes, rather than a model. This is the most expensive of the surgical corrections, but considered to be the safest and most effective. Anyone over 40 will need reading glasses after the procedure, but I was having issues with that anyway so felt this was not a big deal.

The hardest part was the immediate aftermath, when I was sore and blurry. I could tell that my vision was corrected, but the procedure does beat up your eyeballs and they have to heal. I followed instructions and went home to try to sleep or at least keep my eyes shut for most of the rest of the day. By the next day I was reading and functioning normally, but still a bit irritated and hazy. Over the weekend, I continued to heal, and I would say that today, 4 days post, I’m at a good 95%. My distance vision tested 20/20 one day post op, the reading glasses take care of the close vision, but the mid range continues to be less clear as I heal. This will just take some time, and I have noted imrovement each day.

In all, I call it pretty amazing! Today will be my first day back in the office, so I’m sure it will be somewhat tiring, but I’m excited to return to normal.

And that’s the story of my wildest wild hair, and my new eyes.

Happy September, everyone!

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Sunday.

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This is what my afternoon looks like. Recovering from a wonderful trip to the Bay Area, Tahoe, Napa… Wondering what life will be like when the Olympics are over… Doing this and that around the house… Pondering dinner, which will involve potato salad and barbecue sauce.

Hope your day is peaceful.

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Ten Minutes.

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Reading. I’ve recently enjoyed Defending Jacob by William Landay. A little disturbing for parents of teens but still a well-done mystery. I also read Divergent by Veronica Roth. Another YA future dystopian thrill ride. The author is only 23! Did I like it? Well, I ordered the second book from the library!

On a related note, I don’t really understand readers who won’t use the library. Of course this doesn’t apply to those who do not have ready access to a library, but I’m amazed by the number of people who live literally within a few blocks of a local branch yet never set foot there, instead choosing to buy all of their books. At the rate I go through books, I would be bankrupt within weeks. It is so tempting, when I really want to get my hands on something, to buy it and have it on my iPad in seconds rather than waiting on a library hold, and sometimes I do for a treat, but I really try to be patient.

The Back. I have been swimming a few times a week, since that is the only really vigorous exercise I can do right now. Well, other than the elliptical, which I detest. It really is a good, very efficient workout. The pool at our club is not chlorinated, but instead treated with an ozone system, so it is very pleasant. The downside is that swimming is just me and my brain. Scary.

Knitting. The Madison contingent got together Sunday for a lovely few hours of lunch, chat, and knitting. I made the trip and it was so worth it. What a wonderful group. One of our number was destashing and I wound up with the most generous gift of a sweater’s worth of merino cashmere in a glorious purple. I did not accomplish much. I cast on a sock and screwed up the ribbing, because apparently I can’t knit and talk at the same time.

That’s more than 10 minutes, so off I go. Enjoy the day!

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