Friday, August 15, 2014

Summmer time and the living is easy

It is hard to believe that summer is almost over.  Conversations have turned to school shopping and fall knitting.  I have a bit of free time tonight as BigJ and LilJ are both visiting family in NY.  Its been so quiet around the house with LilJ gone for 10 days now.  I am so happy that he is getting a chance to spend some uninterrupted time with his Grandma in NY.  My parents are blessed with living close to LilJ and have spent most of his 5 years seeing him almost daily as they are our daycare.  This September he is starting school full-time.  I wonder if there is such a thing as grandparent's empty nest?

As always, BigJ has been very busy with his tree business this summer. Of course, that is in addition to his "real" job.  He loves to stay busy and I'm just glad he's doing something he loves. 

I have started a new adventure at work, taking on some more leadership responsibilities in some restructuring.  It is always fun to mix it up a bit and flex those organizational muscles!

Summer has been fun for knitting too! In June I went to the Zombie Knitpocalypse, a retreat for knitters over in Rochester, MN.  I had a great time and felt like I had finally found my tribe.  A bundle of yarn also followed me home!  In August, a friend and I took a jaunt down to Chicago-suburbia and explored Stitches Midwest.  That was a crazy escapade of yarn-buying and hanging out with more new friends. 

All in all its been a great summer, enjoying the heat before the big chill which we all know is coming.  At least now I have enough yarn to keep us all warm! 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Blog-fading? No just Blog-sparingly

Long time, no see/read, eh?  It looks like the last time I update my blog was winter 2011.  Here we are in Spring (I think) 2014.  My have times changed!   There is still snow on the ground like the last photo shoot, but instead I have a big boy out playing in it!  LilJ is 5! I have to repeatedly remind myself that he is not a baby anymore.  But when does a kid stop being Mama's baby?  Never. 

BigJ and I have been doing updates to our house, what house you ask?  Well, our same old small town house in Shell Lake.  We moved back after a sabbatical, during which we got some much-needed perspective.  What we learned:  small houses are good, living in a small town fits our lifestyle for now, its ok to improve your house so you LOVE it.  We also have reiterated some things we knew before: TV is not necessary, internet is not necessary, but love, time, and energy are totally necessary.

BigJ has started a big adventure of his own Tree Business which is gearing up for its third season.  I'm enjoying working in Hayward at a clinic.  It was a great switch from the Hospital and I'm so glad I did it. 

For the last year we have been trying to focus on eating fresh, local, real food.  We have had some ups and downs, but its a day by day choice.  We try to follow a Paleo diet most of the time, but do allow some dairy.  Sweets, as always, are my biggest downfall and I can't seem to tame that lion.  The best strategy for me seems to be STAY FAR FAR AWAY as only one taste is a slippery slope.  My horrible feet won't allow me to run or train for a 5K as I've tried in the past, but I am able to use the elliptical often.  So our basic philosophy is move your body and feed it real food.  Its been a fun adventure learning to cook from scratch rather than from a box.  I've found some great Paleo cookbooks: Eat like a Dinosaur, Nom Nom Paleo Cookbook, Well Fed 1 & 2, Gather and as always Pinterest!

Knitting is my main form of entertainment, that and keeping up with the fiber world online.  Ravelry, like Pinterest, can suck the time away leaving me feeling guilty and without a warm sweater to show for it.  As I'm limited to my phone for internet time at home, I can usually get back to knitting rather quickly, but updating the blog is near-impossible.  In the past year or two, the sweater-bug has definitely caught me. I am finishing my tenth sweater in two years!  Its all I can do to finish one before casting on the next, but Barbara Walker really spoke to me in Fiber Hooligan's recent podcast saying that you need to power through and finish one project before starting another.  I like to do a "palate cleansing" project in between sweaters but I haven't knit nearly as many socks as I did in the past!  I'm excited to be signed up for my first knitting retreat, the Zombie Knitpocalypse in Rochester MN in June.  A whole room full of crazy knitters for a whole weekend! Its been fun getting to know them online.  A friend and I have also made plans to go to STITCHES Midwest in IL in August.  I feel like I might be a real Knitter now. 

I thought that by the time I was 33-34 I would be "there" but I find myself always yearning for something more in life whether its my personal growth, professional, relationship, home or family improvement. I guess its good to always be evolving, changing, and bettering ourselves.  My theme of 2014 is CONNECT.  Connecting with my vision of my best self, connecting with my husband, LilJ, family, friends, my community and the earth.  Its nice to have a theme to remind myself of when I'm feeling slumped or uninspired. 

I'm hoping I post more often than every three years... but only time will tell.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Its beginning to look a lot like Giftmas...

Winter has finally hit Northern Wisconsin this week with a blanket of five inches of fresh-fallen snow.  It really is beautiful and I think its a nice way to even out the shortening days, by making everything sparkly and clean in the sun and moonlight. Lilj was SO excited for the snow and of course he wanted to make a snowman however, the snow wasn't quite right for that. Instead, we did some sledding and walking in the woods.  We had to wear our Blaze orange as its deer-gun-hunting season here in WI this week.  I think his favorite part is eating the snow.  I guess I can't blame him when it looks like the whole world has been frosted.

We have found another house and are hoping to rent until next summer with the intention to buy.  It is quite near us and has a gorgeous 40 acres of wooded land as well as a garage and a shop.  I've been staying up nights redecorating it in my head as it needs some cosmetic updates: painting, cupboard painting, and eventually new flooring.  We will be starting December 1st by emptying our storage unit into the garage and starting to clean carpets and paint.  I can't wait to have a space to call my own again as I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels here at Mom & Dad's.  I am looking forward to having some creative space for my yarn and fiber crafts as well as a homeschool preschool area for lilj.

Speaking of yarn and fibercrafts, I am steadily working on my Giftmas list and am finally on my last project: Dad's socks. I'm trying out a new pattern for these using an afterthought heel, which means you knit a tube sock and then add the heel as an afterthought.  They are moving along swimmingly but would have more progress if I hadn't recently sunk in the hole known as Pinterest. More on that later.

I've decided to make 2012 the year of selfish knitting and not knit for anyone but me! That's right, no birthdays, no giftmas, just me me me!  And, I am going to try to knit a few sweaters for me while I'm at it.  I figure if each one takes about three months I can knit four sweaters throughout the year. I have patterns in mind for all four so we shall see how that turns out. Of course I also have yarn and ideas for many small accessory type projects for myself: shawls, socks, mittens, hats.  I am just so much happier knitting for myself than for others. It does make me happy to give the gifts I've knit, but in progress I HATE it. So, other than sweater yarn, I'm going to try NOT to buy yarn or fiber and instead to knit up what I've got so there is room for new yarn by the end of 2012.  I also picked up a drop spindle at WI Sheep and Wool Festival so I would like to try to conquer that during 2012. What are your creative goals?

As I mentioned above, Pinterest has caught me and is giving a good fight. I'm happy we won't have any internet access at our new place as I spend way too much time online doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. There are so many cool ideas out there, but really when all you do is spend hours looking at them, you never get anything done!

You may wonder why I call this time of year Giftmas and so I'll try to explain it. I don't believe in God or Christ as a savior, I believe he probably was a pretty good guy back in the day.  I believe the Christians have rewritten all the traditional pagan holidays in order to get the pagans to fall into line.  Those who didn't were killed which is somehow Christian. I believe in celebrating the return of the light on December 21st or Winter Solstice and I think Santa is an ok belief for lilj. As far as exchanging gifts with others, well, I really do enjoy exchanging small heartfelt or homemade gifts, but that doesn't seem to be the norm.  The big hullabaloo at this time of year I think is a lot more related to Gifts than Christ and therefore, Giftmas.  But as a good raised-Christian girl, I think everyone should be free to believe what they want and we should still all get together and enjoy each other this time of year.

So, happy giftmas shopping!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

There is no excuse...

For those of you who aren't aware I'm not a petite person.  Recently, at a professional inservice I overheard another nurse speaking to a friend and coworker; she was talking about going to an inservice on Obesity in Pregnancy and said she was interested in learning about it because, "there is just no excuse for obesity." For some reason that comment stuck with me and it has been my mantra for the last week.  Every time I daydream of chocolate or lazying on the couch I tell myself, "Lea, there is no excuse for obesity." I'll never be thin but I work on it almost daily.  And I hope someday that lady has to work as hard on it as some of us obese.

It has been a busy couple of weeks driving all over Northern WI and MN for nursing inservices and training: Breastfeeding, Wound Care, Trauma Nursing. We are such well-rounded nurses here in Shell Lake! I am glad they are all over and I can stick around home for a couple of weeks.

As I've been cramming for my Trauma Nursing class I haven't allowed myself any knitting time but I am close to finished with lilj's Birthday sweater.  He even tried it on last week, and it fits!
I cast on BigJ's second sock so hopefully it will be done before Solstice or his birthday. He is a size 13 so on little tiny needles and little tiny yarn it takes FOREVER.  I hope he enjoys and cherishes these socks for many many years; yeah right!

On the home front: BigJ has been looking at other houses as it seems with the economy now days you can buy a lot more 'house' than building it. We're still thinking about building, but looking while we think about it.  

Newsflash: I found my camera, apparently I had asked my cousin to hold on to it while we were playing in Bayfield and she forgot to tell me she still had it. yippee! I feel so much better knowing I didn't loose it and I don't have to replace it.  It came home with about 120 pictures that she and her kids had taken that needed to be promptly deleted and my fun pics remained.

Fall is definitely here, we've had frost and rain, no snow yet.  Mom and I took lilj to the pumpkin patch, he just wanted to roll them all around.
We also took a daytrip to Bayfield and Madeline Island and *gasp* started Geocaching.  BigJ had not been to Madeline Island so it was fun exploring together. I though geocaching was really cool. It was like a scavenger hunt, although I couldn't find anything without BigJ and he just rolled his eyes and laughed at me. Fall is beautiful in WI.

I finally finished A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin and I'm really relieved since Game of Thrones is all I have been reading for months.  Now I'm listening to Dracula and Sleepy Hollow on CraftLit.  Gotta love the fall and Halloween Holiday reading... oooohhh spooooky!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

update on the update

Just a quick update on the update: we are not moving, the deal fell through on the farm we were moving to.  So, we're back to square one.  :*(

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The reason for the season

Summer is coming to an end, mornings and nights are cooler, trees are changing colors, and Halloween decorations are in the stores! I love the changing of the seasons and I really love the holidays it brings: Halloween, Leaves, Thanksgiving, Snow, Solstice, New Year's.  I get excited just typing them! The thing about holidays is that I'm not sure why I love them so.  Its not the material part/buying stuff, its not trick or treating, but it is decorating and celebrating with friends and family.  I can't wait to take Jameson to the pumpkin patch for his third year or dress him up in a costume he hates... again!  I'm even debating hosting a Halloween party for the neighborhood and our friends.  Children definitely take the holidays to a new level as you get to share your beliefs and family culture with them, but they also bring out the child in us all.  Happy Fall to you all and a Happy early Halloween!

Fiber-wise, September was a big month: Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival! I enjoyed a great day with my Aunt talking sheep and yarn and fiber.  I mentioned that we were interested in getting some wool-breed sheep when we move again and get settled.  Coincidentally my Uncle picked up a flock that weekend!  By next spring we'll be set to have our own sheep!  In that spirit, I bought some Shetland fleece and a drop spindle to try (again) at spinning yarn. This is a pretty low investment ($30) and I can learn at my own pace.  I also picked up some fabulous yarn from Sun Valley Farms its a single-ply in dark purple for a winter shawl for myself.  One of the other things I wanted to try is knitting from stretched silk cocoons so I bought enough for a lovely pair of mittens.  Silk is purportedly warmer than wool, we'll see!  I haven't made a lot of progress on my giftmas knitting... bigJ's socks are huge and taking forever, probably because I'm begrudging knitting them! I have a self-imposed rule that i can't knit for myself until after my holiday knitting is done and there is plenty still to knit--Aggghhh!

You may have noticed my eluding to settling again and yes, there is an end in site!  BigJ and I have pondered and pondered and decided that building just isn't necessary, so we'll be renting with the intention of buying.  The place is actually my great-grandparents' original farm and is only about 1 mile up the hill from my parents.  Its a 20 acre piece with a home that we both really like.  We can't wait to move in October 1st!  There are outbuildings galore and pastures for horses, sheep, cattle or whatever we decide to have.  So, wish us luck on another move.  We plan to live pretty simply and enjoy a peaceful farm in the country.

Disclaimer: I apologize that i don't have any pictures to share but I've lost my camera... bummer!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Win or Lose

So I started out this week with a new mantra, "every decision I make [regarding food and exercise] can mean a pound gained or lost". As I replayed this in my head throughout the last few days I realized it can be applied to a lot of things in life, each decision can be a winning decision or a losing decision. Our attitude can be gaining or losing. So, I have made the conscious decision to make winning decisions or "losing" decisions as much as possible.

It has worked as I'm down 5 pounds this week so far. Alas, the lifelong weight, exercise, healthy lifestyle battle. I just wonder why it is such a battle when we should be genetically programmed to live a healthy lifestyle because that would propagate a more healthy species.

In other news... in order to enjoy our northwoods more fully, BigJ bought he and I kayaks. We took them camping with us to Totagatic this weekend and had a great time even though it rained for hours straight. Lilj likes to ride with us and we enjoyed them Sunday at Leesome Lake as well. I really make an effort to enjoy our surroundings and integrate our lives into the outdoors. We may not do it BIG but we keep it simple and local and enjoy Northwestern Wisconsin.

Knitting-wise: I'm finished with clue #2 in the WestKnits knitalong and my little nugget of a shawl closely resembles clown barf. Yup, I said it. I took yarns out of my stash in order not to purchase new ones and the sock yarns I had that "go" together are BRIGHT pink, BRIGHT orange, and BRIGHT variegated which includes pink, orange, yellow, blue, green, and brown. The resulting shawl-bit is kind of colorblocked currently and is obnoxiously bright. It will make a perfect gift for a BRIGHT friend of mine, but that was not my intention. However, knitting socks in these obnoxious colors didn't appeal to me either.

I finished the "When I'm an old woman I shall wear purple socks" which are a giftmas present for my mom, she tried them on, they fit and they were promptly put away until December. Next I have to cast on for BigJ's giftmas socks as he is the only one in my immediate family who has not received a pair. His will be on Knit Picks Felici Sock Sportweight which I am very excited to knit again as it's delightfully soft and more of a heavier fingering.

I have been listening to a lot of knitting related podcasts and I am having a really hard time explaining podcasts to other people. Why do we listen? I think for me it is like having knitting friends. I have only a few close friends who are spread all over the country and many acquaintances but none are knitters. Sure, some have knit here and there or know how to knit, but none of the local-yokels are really INTO it like I am. Podcasts give me a chance to hear what's new in knitting and yarn and to share knitting experiences with other knitters without leaving home. It also appeals to my introverted side as I can listen without talking back and it is like having chatty friends on demand with no maintenance. I realize that looking at it from the outside it seems odd, but we all know I'm odd. New podcasts this week include Knit Knit Cafe and The Pagan Knitter. Also, my iTunes updated today and totally screwed up the podcast format... odd + annoying. BOooo Apple.

Things I'm excited about: I ordered a tee from Teefury that has Dr. Who fighting Harry Potter. Need I say more? AND Seriously considering Lasik.