Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Year's Thoughts

I know. I'm so behind on this one. But Happy New Year and what are my resolutions for 2009? I'm not one for making resolutions. I used to make them because on some level they appealed to me (the list making aspect of my persona, I dare say), but they never lasted more than a week. And being a different person since becoming a mother, I still like the idea of them but changed a bit to fit with my change in personality. Some people talk about intentions and that's a bit more my speed. Not hard and fast rules, nobody gets beaten up with guilt when I'm less than perfect; lots of flexibility built in since things can change. More like an evaluation on perspective - what's important? what do I like doing? what can I realistically do? what do I want to do that I'm not doing much on now? So what things am I thinking about with regards to how to spend my hobby and spare time? Well let's see...

In general. I was involved in planning two blessingways that took place about a month apart. I really loved doing that. I loved the creative process around it and I loved making new traditions. I loved doing something special for people who are special to me. And when it was over, I loved not feeling like I had any more obligations. I realize now that since my son was born, I haven't taken on many "have-to's" or "need-to's", instead playing it slow. I really like this lifestyle. So whenever possible I would like to keep that openness. Already there are several opportunities that are popping up that I would love to take advantage of, but am hesitant to add more appointments to my calendar, so it will be a balancing act.

Knitting. I have a few project on the immediate horizon, mainly gifts and requests people have made. Someone in my family wants a knitted item? Hell yeah, I'm there! Beyond that, I don't have any goals, like learn to knit intarsia, for example. However, I do have some thoughts on what I should be doing with my knitting time. I think I will be more productive if I stick to simple and portable projects. I got hung up on a few projects because I wasn't in love with them or they weren't practical with the realities of chasing a little boy wherever he wanted to go. So no stranded knitting (too many balls of yarn to tote around and get tangled) even though I loved how my last project turned out. And definitely no lace since its so hard to concentrate on - well very little lace and I'll have to think hard and long about that because some of my hand spun is calling out to be knitted in lace, so if I do knit lace it will be after hours knitting. Smaller to medium projects in patterns I can keep in my head are good (say k2, p2). Things that come in two's aren't ideal since I tend to lose speed but in general things that come in twos are smaller so I'll have to balance those two ideas. So baby things, toddler clothes, scarves, cowls, hats, and in twos, gloves, socks and fingerless mitts.

Spinning. I love spinning. I really do. I want a wheel and hand carders and other toys and fun stuff. But I honestly don't have the time and if I got a wheel I could only use it after hours when little fingers didn't want to play with it and I just don't have the time for special projects when my son is sleeping. Spindle spinning makes so much more sense, since I can spin in the living room, playroom, garden or bathroom. So no gadgets this year, I'm thinking. And while I'm at it no classes either, since I'll just end up buying gadgets or fiber if I take a class. Meeting up with other spinners may fit in there some where since it takes little time and it might help my spindle spinning. Getting more spindles is definitely in order, since I'm learning to spin finer and dropping my 2.2 oz spindle a lot in the process, which I believe means I'm spinning too fine for it. Plus most spindles are dirt cheap compared to a new wheel.

I have approximately 52 oz of fiber in my stash (and I've spun only about 7 oz on top of that EVER so yes, I'm still very much a novice). AND I signed up for the Wooly Wonders fiber club at A Verb For Keeping Warm, which will bring me an addition 4 oz of wool fiber every month. I would like to stay on top of my stash so spinning 2 oz a week seems like a reasonable way to do this. It remains to be seen if this is feasible considering how much time I'm putting into it. Perhaps budgeting for 1 oz a week with the expectation that my stash won't grow by much is more in line with reality.

Reading & screen time. I have no particular thoughts on intention or objectives with regard to reading or screen time but figured I would follow my status reports format and include it here. Reading and gaming interests wax and wane. I would like to work on archiving my blogs into a print on demand service like blurb. So I guess I can add that to my wish list. And what's on my reading list reflects what my current interests are, mostly since I'm not a big fiction reader.

Sewing. I have several projects I would like to work in with sewing. Some pants for my son and placemats and napkins for the kitchen. Perhaps some cushions and pillows for the house. But sewing is a tough one since in general it requires my complete attention and that's being heavily rationed lately. But I haven't felt a strong urge to embroider like I did last year. I suspect the time to reward ratio isn't good for me.

Cooking. So I've been reading Local Flavors by Deborah Madison and that has me all fired up on local food again or perhaps I should say more. I would like to try to shop at farmer's markets and give up grocery store produce as much as possible, including our delivery box which is somewhat local. I'm interested in learning what is truly seasonal and fresh from the field vs. taken from cold storage and learning more about who is farming my food. So, one, I want to try to visit all the farmer's markets in the city. I've already been to the Tuesday morning Ferry Building Market (I know, I know so behind the curve on this! but I'm learning!) and Heart of the City Wednesday market. Its nice to get outside and shop in the middle of winter - true its been sunny on the days I shopped, but hey, I'm trying! Two, I also want to try new and perhaps exotic to me produce. I bought a bunch of nettles earlier this week. I think Buddha's Hand might be up next. Three, I'm on a "storing food from when its at its peak" kick. In other words, putting food by - canning, freezing, drying, pickling, etc. So I'm reading quite a bit about it now, but trying to imagine how this will be implemented. It only makes sense to store foods that we'll actually eat. So on the canning front that pretty much means tomato and tomato products (tomato sauce, salsa?, chopped tomatoes). Canned fruits and vegetables don't have any appeal to me, nor does sugar loaded jams. And we don't have much room in the freezer. I could probably elucidate this idea a bit more.

Gardening. The weather has been gorgeous here and I'm fired up again about vegetable gardening after reading Local Flavors and any time I read anything by Pollan. So what's it going to take to make a productive garden? I think infrastructure will be the watchword for 2009. 2007 was about dreaming and removing the old pond. 2008 was making the beds and learning about pest management. That make improvements based on what learned in 2009 - lining beds with wire to help gopher proof (mostly done), low fencing to keep marauding toddlers and dogs out of the beds (purchased but not installed), and installing drip irrigation (big project with many trips to the store, I'm guessing). And if I have time, planting all of the raised beds with edibles, fill in central beds with edibles and organics, plant my lemon tree and look into limes, pineapple guavas, and other fruit trees. And if I'm still needing things to do, look at redoing my perimeter beds and starting on a compost pile. Although as important as that compost pile is it will take a bit of thought because it really is a compost system (how to gather scraps, how to turn the pile, etc.). So might be a 2010 intention.

Mindfulness - This is my big intention for the year. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself last month about my lack of crafting and I started thinking about 2009... What do I want 2009 to look like? And I realized that what's most important to me is my meditation practice of which I've been very sporadic this past year. I've never really gotten it firmly established and when it comes time at the end of the day, when I'm waiting for that opening to sit, I'm too tired and haven't found the initiative to make the time. But I know that this is what's important to me. I've signed up for a class(? for lack of a better word) to help me get going. Its a bit scary since some of the meetings are long (like 8 hours) and I haven't been away from my son like that before. But it seems like a good kind of scary. Honestly, I think the hardest part will be making time to sit.

So there it is! 2009 all laid out.

Have I mentioned how much I love planning even when moving at a snail's pace? Just keep plunking away at it, brings a smile to my face.
It sounds almost pathetic really to think about it - spinning only 1 oz a week?? But in a really weird way it makes me happy. I have so little free time and I'm still able to blog and take photos, sew and read, cook and garden, knit and spin! Such a lucky woman! I'm looking forward to reading this post in a year and see how much (or little) I've done and whether my thoughts on the subject have changed. How fun!

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