Getting Started Counts

img_3731Here it is the first of December and I haven’t finished my knitting project from last month.  Last night, as I was adding a couple more inches to my project and mentally beating myself up for not having completed it, I realized I was being too harsh with myself.  After all, my Someday for November was to learn to knit and there I was knitting!  The project I’m working on is from a starter kit I purchased at least five years ago.  It’s been sitting in the closet ever since waiting for me to get around to learning to knit.  Well, it’s not in the closet anymore; it’s sitting beside my chair with several inches completed.  Sure, I have a lot to learn about other stitches, adding and decreasing (I’m not even sure that’s the right terminology), but the point is – I’m knitting!  Getting started does count!

Wish vs. Do

Think deeply and separate what you wish from what you’re prepared to do.

–Percy Cerutty
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A view from my afternoon walk

Yesterday I walked – twice.  I also made cards.  I ended the day feeling relaxed and peaceful (even with the political storm swirling around).  I walk or run in the morning almost everyday, but yesterday I went longer than normal and, later, when the beautiful November afternoon beckoned, I didn’t look at my extensive To-Do list; I went outside.  Before my afternoon walk, I spent a few hours working on greeting cards I wanted to send out.  A couple of hours slipped by as I experimented with my cutting machine, selected papers, found quotes, glued and taped, but they were restorative hours that were thoroughly enjoyable.

During the twelve months of this 366 Somedays, I will have tried twelve activities I’ve always thought I wanted in my life.  I’ve discovered some of these activities simply don’t call to my heart as I thought they would – speaking Italian, for example.  Sure, I’d love to speak Italian, but not enough to put in the time to learn it.  Unfortunately, the same may be true for learning to play drums.  I’m not ready to cross that one off my list, but I’m getting close.

Yesterday, as I practiced a little self-care, I realized I really love walking and running, especially when I do them outdoors.  I also really love making cards and playing with paper.  It dawned on me that a benefit of this 366 Somedays process is I’m homing in on activities I truly love and am prepared to pursue as well as discovering which activities are simply wishful and probably need to fall by the wayside.  I want to spend my time pursuing those activities that leave me with the relaxed, peaceful feeling I experienced last night.  That feeling shouldn’t be reserved for days when I have made a concerted effort at self-care.  That feeling should be the norm and getting there requires letting some activities go in order to focus on others.

1,000 Miles

My January “Someday” was the physical challenge of walking or running 1,200 miles this calendar year.  This challenge is part of the Oregon Road Runners Club’s 1,200 Mile Challenge.  This is the “Someday” at which I’ve been most successful and I’m excited to announce that last week, on the last day of October, I went over the 1,000-mile mark, right on schedule.  I worked hard before October to put in extra miles knowing October’s travel would make it difficult to accumulate miles at my normal rate.  Extra banked miles plus a few runs in Italy and I made my mini-goal of staying on target throughout a month with very low mileage.

I have 200 miles to go, but I’m feeling pretty good about putting this “Someday” to rest before December 31st.  Then what?  I’m thinking another “Someday” will be to learn to swim adequately enough to be able to complete a mini-triathlon.  Right now, though, I need to go pick up my knitting needles and work on this month’s “Someday”.

November’s “Someday” — Knitting

img_3428-2Time for a new “Someday” and I realize I never made the announcement last month that I was taking another hiatus.  I was out of the country for almost three weeks in October – not the time to take on a new “Someday”.  We were in Italy where, if I’d actually learned Italian earlier this year, I’d have been able to try out my new skill.  However, my realization during my Italian language “Someday” regarding my lack of skill with languages was reinforced during this trip.  I use the basics: per favore, grazie, si, ciao, but even after being there for more than two weeks I can’t say much more.  Perhaps if I were immersed in the language for a decade or two I’d be able to carry on a simple conversation, but I’m not terribly certain of that either.

So, I used last month as a hiatus and now it’s time for something new and this month I’m knitting.  As a teenager, I learned to crochet and made a typical granny square afghan along with coasters and a pretty cool mobile using little crocheted doilies dangling by fishing line from cut wire clothes hangers.  I tried a brief stint (15 minutes, maybe) of knitting, but it just wasn’t happening.  I see people knitting and I think it looks like a relaxing way to spend time, not to mention the beautiful scarves, sweaters, and blankets knitters be produce.

To kick off this month’s “Someday”, I’m attending a local knitting club’s monthly gathering this afternoon.  They’ve assured me they can get me started.  I’m determined to give this more than a 15 minute try and, since the meeting this afternoon lasts 2.5 hours, I’ll have reached my goal.  Seriously, I really would like to give this enough of a try to see if it’s a fit for me.  I’m a fidgety person and having something to do with my hands seems like a good thing.  Of course, it will be tough to eat popcorn or other snacks while knitting, but that’s probably another good thing.

Just Living

joy-girlI’ve been working in my new journal and thinking about what I will put on my vision board, but this process is more difficult than I expected.  (Geez, how many times have I said that?)  In my teens, 20s, and 30s I had goals, plans, and visions.  In my teens I worked toward getting into college in order to prepare for a career.  In my 20s I worked on finding my way in that career.  In my 30s I worked toward specific levels I wanted to achieve in that career.  Having achieved those goals, in my 40s and early 50s I volunteered in an area I’m passionate about.  Now, I’m ready to move on to the next phase, but I’m also heartily enjoying right where I am.

I read a book recently where one of the characters, a famous author and illustrator, is asked when she will produce her next book.  She replies that for now she just wants to live.  I understand completely!  I’m enjoying my life.  I have always enjoyed my life, but I’m beginning to feel very settled right now and I like that.  However, I don’t want to become stagnant and “old” so I also desire change, adventure, challenge.

As I work through this process I’m reticent to mix-up my happy life, but I’m also excited about what prospects might be out there.  Can there be a balance between just living and taking on the world?

September’s “Someday”

We’re well into September and I haven’t yet announced my September “Someday” – perhaps that is indicative of why I have chosen the “Someday” I have for September.  My life, wonderful though I admit it is, often feels hectic and rushed and days, months, and years (even decades) slip by.  Perhaps this “Someday” should have been the first “Someday”, as a plan for the rest of them.  Oh well, that, too, is indicative.  So, my September “Someday” is to work on a life plan using a planner and a vision board.

img_2438I bought a vision board kit several years ago.  I was so excited to get started on it, but by the time it arrived in the mail, other “stuff” had come up and, though I did unwrap it, I never did anything more with it.  There it has perched on my office shelf for the past three years (at least).  Recently I came across a life planning journal and the urge to create a plan rose again.  So, I ordered the planner and pulled my vision board kit off the shelf.  Now all I have to do is plan in the time to plan.

Rockin’ On

Picture1I’m still plugging away on my January “Someday”: running and walking 1200 miles this calendar year.  My routine has changed throughout the year with the changing seasons and circumstances.  In the early months I did quite a few miles on the treadmill as I waited for dawn to arrive so I could finish my daily miles outside with my dogs.  I live in a resort town, so during the summer months I’ve tried to be out the door no later than 6:00 in order to avoid the crowds of vacationers running, walking, and biking on our trails.

Whether I’m on the treadmill or outside, one of the pieces of my routine that doesn’t change is my running.  I consider myself a runner, but I do enjoy walking, as well.  However, when I run, I do not run continuously.  As the well known running coach Jeff Galloway recommends, I run with walk breaks – a form of interval training.  A problem has arisen for me, though, in how I refer to my workouts.  I am an extremely honest person and I feel uncomfortable saying, “I went for a 3-mile run this morning,” when I actually took walk breaks in that run.  Lately, I’ve been using the cumbersome term, “run-walk” as in, “I ran-walked 3-miles this morning.”  As I was motoring along during my 3-mile run-walk this morning, I was pondering this issue when a lightening idea struck.  From now on, I will combine the two words and I will RALK!  When you say the word “ralk” it sounds like “rock”.  I’m feeling pretty good saying this out loud:  I ralked 3 miles this morning!”

Stick Figures & the Creative Process

As I work toward stepping up my card-making a notch, I’ve thought a lot about what creative process happens as I come up with a card idea.  I have to admit, first, that I had a hard time typing in the word “creative” in that last sentence.  I had always thought of creative people as those who “make art” – painting, drawing, sculpting, etc.  I cannot replicate an image, in any medium – I can barely draw stick figures.  Several years ago, sitting with my family, I said something about not seeing myself as a creative person.  My oldest son, who I consider to be a creative person, piped up and said, “You’re creative, Mom.  Creativity isn’t just painting or drawing.”  Since then, I’ve struggled to remind myself I am creative.  My writing is creative, my cards are creative, and I know I have other creative outlets just waiting to be discovered.

IMG_2286So, what’s the process of creating a meaningful card?  Just as with my writing, sometimes the ideas just come to me as I’m walking.  I see something or think of something and suddenly and idea has sparked in my brain.  A couple days ago, as I walked in the morning, I passed over an area where somebody had used chalk to write a word on the path.  The word was “ROAR”.  I looked at it and suddenly an idea for a card popped into my mind.  I’ve been playing with options for completing the idea ever since.

A week ago I sat down to make a card for a special occasion and wondered where to go with the card.  I paged through my paper scraps and came upon a piece of paper with a calendar image in one corner.  I found a quote to go with the image, pulled out some coordinating paper and, quite literally, the pieces came together.IMG_2276

So is this creativity?  Just being open to ideas that form from all the stimuli around me? Maybe, for me, the key to continuing to be creative is to continue to be “out there” embracing my world and keeping my mind open for those little stimuli that can turn in to words, or cards, or maybe even stick figure drawings!

The Flip Side

Marie's Card

After lamenting last week about the card I’d found in the garbage can, I’ve received an outpouring of support and encouragement.  Last night I received one of the nicest forms of support yet.  I went to a friend’s house for an event and, sometime during the evening, she said to me, “By the way, I love your cards!  I even keep one you made me on the buffet,” and she motioned to the adjoining dining room.  Sure enough, there amidst her other décor and trinkets was a card I’d made her.  Heartwarming!

Is Handmade Obsolete?

Email.  Snapchat.  Skype.  Instagram.  Twitter.  Vine.  Facebook.  Text messages.  FaceTime.  Google Hangout.

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Three cards I made earlier this week.

In a world with instant communication, where using the telephone to make an actual call is a bit outdated, is there a place for a piece of paper conveying a sentimental feeling or thought?  Is the message in a greeting card actually read?  Is the care and effort put into a handmade card acknowledged and appreciated?

As I began working on my August Someday of advancing my card-making abilities and exploring avenues for possibly marketing my handmade cards, I had these questions slammed into my head when I emptied a garbage can and saw a card I’d made for someone had been tossed in the can.  My feelings were a bit hurt, of course, but seeing my little piece of creativity thrown into the refuse, also makes me wonder where we are headed.  Is our world moving so fast that we’re losing the ability to cherish a small gesture?  Is handmade obsolete?  I don’t know the answers, but being an optimistic person, I’m going to forge ahead with my August Someday and do my part to revitalize what I believe to be a lovely form of communication.