Friday, November 30, 2012

21 Days again...

I am so enamored of the concept of tackling new projects and creating new habits!

21 Days - is enough that you can have some obstacles and use the MONTH to get your stuff handled.  My husband and I are talking about attempting 12 projects next year...... doesn't sound like enough but I don't know - I sure do feel pretty good about the quilt :-)  And, it is true .. discipline begets discipline!  For instance, when I hit the quilt roadblock, I naturally turned to the quilt mending which carries the theme through and kept me moving.  As the biking has become habit (it's an attachment to my total gym), I have set the machine up so I can flip over and do as many pull-ups as I can.  EASY!

So.... tomorrow is new stuff :-)
    new mega-project:  photo scanning.  I am not sure how much I will get done or how to break it down into 21 parts.... but I CAN spend 10-15 minutes a day scanning hard copy photos and categorizing them by year / month on my computer.  So THIS is the project that I will be accountable for during the next month (21 days anyway!)  [The side project for obstacle / roadblock / extra time/ extra energy... is creating online albums so we can order books]

    new small habit:  NOT chosen yet :-)  It will be household maintenance-related and I will think on that today and choose

    new life improvement habit:  strength-training 3X/week.... basic no-equipment exercises.. default routine= 50 various crunches, 10 pushups, 30 squats, 40 calf raise.  (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday fits my schedule)

**I have also committed to 3 miles a day to see if I can do it :-)


  My personal progress:

QUILT:  I did sit down to work on it yesterday and promptly stitched something backwards and had to rip it out.  At that moment, I set the ripping aside to work on later last night during a movie my husband wanted to watch... and moved on!  I went ahead and pinned 5 more patches on to the major quilt mending problem....  and added that quilt to the two with hemming issues that were also waiting for tv time!  (I accomplished the ripping and the two that needed hem mending.. and also worked on a crocheted afghan that needs to be finished by the end of next week)

Still on target with the exercise bike and bathroom spritzing.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to Start from Behind....

What a morning!!

The dogs started their ruckus around 3am... I THINK.. I didn't look at the clock.  What I KNOW is that they were restless for a really long time (in groggy sleep time) before we had enough and got up to walk them.  And THAT was around 4am.

My husband stayed up - like I usually do - and I went back to lie down for a while.  And I napped.

BUT when I got up at 6... it was awful - so very groggy!

I've been sitting here for an hour trying to go through emails and get a few business paperwork things accomplished.... but it seems to be getting worse and worse....  Not that I haven't gotten anything done - but staring at the computer or checking FB is not getting my morning handled!

so - here's the way I plan to get cracking!

Start a list of what must be done!

1. Errands - I will be leaving in an hour and a half (one son to Algebra, then to the men's store to meet up with another son to make sure his suit fits for an upcoming wedding, then to the mall (yuk) for a shower gift I need Saturday - these are the errands that MUST be done - there are others I may be able to fit in around there)

2. One mile & exercise bike. (We walked the dogs but did not get the mile at a frosty 4am!)

3. The usual rounds... a load of laundry, bathroom policing, pack cooler for the day's outing

4.  Pack bag of work to do during Algebra lesson

5.  Pull out quilt supplies and make sure sewing machine is set up.

If I can get this much done.. my morning can be salvaged...  the trick is GETTING UP OUT OF MY CHAIR!

      so..... do you have your list ready?

Then... let's go!

****ps I FORGOT a good breakfast......   but got it in while I was running around!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

One of those Days...

What a day I have had!

Do you ever have those days where all your time is sucked up somehow - yet you have very little to show for it??

That was today!

The kind of day where you wonder what God had in mind and you hope you lived up to it...

I went into town early to take my son to class.... and had the sewing machine appointment at 10:15.  I had an hour and a half to kill.. and only had one small errand I could do in that time period.   But it turns out my daughter and grandson were out and about too... so I joined them for a quiet treat cup of coffee.  Serendipity and nice... but "nothing done"

I got to the quilt shop a little early - and the ladies were running late.  It was okay - I had gotten myself so nervous.... so I spoke with the helper and found out about upcoming classes and decided to take one (making placemats).  I will get to learn how to use some of the special features on my machine - so that is good.  So I picked out fabrics for the class (next Thursday).  This was all done by the time the owner got there.

And she was perfectly nice - and checked out my machine... which was in pretty good shape... I really only needed a new needle and good thread - and I was using the wrong bobbin.  Who knew?  Well, now I do.  And she was a bit snarky - but it was the snarky where they do it because they LIKE you?  Where they have to put you down so they can get pumped back up?  Weird behavior.... and I can see that I don't want to be around it a lot.... but I can STILL use their knowledge and LEARN.

It occurred to me that perhaps God's plan has more to do with bringing sunshine into THEIR lives than to eliminating FEAR in mine....  I don't know about that - but my machine will work and I can get back on THE QUILT...  AND I will be in a class next week to make some winter placemats..

So.. by the time I got out of there... I had an hour to get to my next place (10 minutes away).  I went there.... and got a phone call.  I was kind of tickled that I got out of the car and took a walk during the call... I got a half hour of sunshine and walking.. SCORE!!  Also had a texting time with one of my sons..

And by the end of that time, I remembered I hadn't eaten at all today... so I pulled out my cooler and ate.  I was supposed to meet my child to delver something and the child was late - so I left the stuff.   Usually I fret and give my kid grief for being late.

Headed out for the next kid who needed me.. how can you pass up a plea for a mommy hug?  No matter how old they are.... there is nothing that can replace that - nor is there anyone else who can do it?

So.... so far today that is it... a day where I 'accomplished nothing'.. but seem to have been available to help or enjoy 4 of my 5 children in some way...  a day of blessings!


I am home now and need to go do my bike and set up my sewing machine.  Tomorrow is more errands.... and it make take a day or so to get back on the quilt stuff.. but I am still on track to finish this year!

I will keep you updated!

Oh yeah - I also figured out my next 21 Day project... I am going to tackle the photo scanning again.  I do love to pull together photos for the end of the year and this will get me immersed in them for 3 weeks in December.  I may get more accomplished than I know!

How about you?  Have you chosen a project for next month?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 22... good day for review....

After today, there are 3 more days in the month - and then one month left in the year.  It's a good time to set some FINISH LINE goals and see what I can accomplish

1.  Catch up on Bread blog posts
2. Write missing Children's Liturgy plans and prepare second half of year for sale
3.  Finish quilt :-) [assuming the sewing machine is a quick fix!]
4.  Complete quilt mending project
5. Update tithe and pay extra on credit cards (goal 5% reduction in principal)
6. Choose 2 habits and a project for the next month
7. Walk / run 84 miles  (average 2.75 mi / day)

..and live my life while I am at it :-)

Not too many goals - some catching up and some 'getting ready for new goals'.  The run/walk goal is due to a friend of mine who wanted to log 1000 miles in 2012.  She has a month to finish... and I had to play with the math... and decided that IF one could cover 2.75 miles per day, 1000 miles would be in the bag.  Well..  why not?  If a fit person has 5 miles of steps per day... then it would be no problem.  So.... I want to give it a try for a month before I make a goal for the year!

Today was a good day of thinking about what to finish up this year.... took the cats to the vet for shots....  wrangling out some financial bugs before tax season sets in.... and... making some yummy bread!

Tomorrow is errands.....

What did you do today?

Monday, November 26, 2012

21 Days,..... Day 21... Now what?

Many thanks to Crystal Paine for her inspirational book 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life

and to Crystal at
and laurajane at
and Erin at
for hosting this challenge!

The theme of today's reading is that "Discipline begets discipline."  That when you work for discipline in one area of your life, you really begin to find it in other areas too.

21 days ago, I set out to finish a craft project.  One I had been putting off for lots of reasons.  And I still haven't finished... but I did work on it most days along the way.  I learned to take a systematic approach to working on it.  (Okay, I am already good at systematic approaches - but I am NOT good at FOLLOWING THROUGH with them!)

While I am not finished.... I DID meet obstacles and work around them...  I DID get aggravated with it (and worked with that)... I DID plow my way through until I hit a major roadblock.. and, in addressing the major roadblock, I have uncovered some of the underlying reasons that I put the quilt away in the first place.  AND that is helping me grow.

  I DID stop by the quilt shop... and, OF COURSE, I was an interference in their day.  Actually I truly was - the lady who works on the machines was heading out the door.  I was polite but firm and will go back Wednesday at 10:15 to see what they can do to help me :-)

I don't mean to be unkind.... it is a grumpy old lady and her unmarried daughter who takes care of her.  I think the world is a burden to them.  Neither one is in good health.  The daughter teaches the classes and is quite knowledgeable.  She is a good teacher.  My quilt is pretty because of her advice and help.  That said... they snark about other people... I have always felt like I am an unwelcome interruption.  And I've gotten more assertive about NOT staying in places where I feel that way! 

The truth is though - that THEIR attitude and demeanor should NOT affect MINE.  I don't like to be fussed at for things I do not know - but in honesty - it is their demeanor - not their intention.  And I should not avoid them because of that.  I will go back in another day and then have more to write about - but hopefully I will also have a functioning sewing machine and a plan for how to take care of it in the future :-)

I apologize for whining about this - I am seeing a side of me that AVOIDS unpleasantness!   This can be a healthy thing, protecting my mind and heart - but it can also interfere with my life.  I need to be able to see the difference!

Is there something in YOUR life that you have been avoiding dealing with - that might actually be a place for you to grow?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bread Adventures - Almond Brioche

I know it's been forever since I've shared my bread adventures....  I have 'catching up' on my To Do List but I think that today I will jump in and share where I am!

As some of those who've been keeping up with me for a while know, I have been slowly and methodically baking my way through Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francoise.  (See their website

It has definitely been an adventure for someone as kitchen- challenged as I am....  or should I say USED TO BE :-)  I have spent the last year or so working on different kinds of bread - using the simple methods in this book!  And I have become a bread maker.  At least I have been creating breads that people are actually eating.... and today I made something called Almond Brioche.

It uses make-ahead Brioche dough........ is rolled out in a flat rectangle.  I made a filling using almond paste (an item I went to my favorite go-to place on the internet for -    I spread the filling on the dough and rolled it up like a jelly roll.  Then cut in 8 pieces and put into a prepared cake pan to rise.

Before baking, it is topped with sugar, orange zest & almonds... and voila!

How does it taste?  Like a french pastry.... oh my goodness.... I never would have thought I could do this :-)

And my beloved husband... who neither complains nor praises food.... well, he said, matter-of-factly.... "I would pay money for this.  I would pull off the highway to buy one of these"

You'd have to know my husband to appreciate the high praise in that statement...

Unbelievable pastry!  Get the book... if I can create this, anybody can :-)

I'll leave it at that.

21 Days... Day 20 Do It Now

It always amazes me how much time tasks REALLY take.... you know - the ones you put off..... and put off BECAUSE they take so much time? 

But when you really break them down - the task itself only takes a few minutes...

but you have hours - and sometimes days invested into DREADing doing themand putting them off.

"Most of the time, it only takes a few minutes (or less!) and suddenly the task is no longer nagging you. You’ve freed up brain space and energy."

This statement from today's reading is a fantastic NUGGET to take away with me.  Just like Nike's ad slogan - Do It Now! - this little mantra can save a whole lot of stress and worry.

Right now - at my computer is a handful of messy looking receipts - waiting for me to enter into my financial program.... I will sit here off and on for hours today - and usually will say "I need to enter those" each time I sit down.  Each time I sit down to my computer, they will bother me.  Yet I have the capacity to let this go on for a week or more (as more receipts are added to the mess).  Until ultimately I get really irritated and have to spend even more time with all the sorting and entering.

By employing the 'Do It Now' mantra.... I spend 2 minutes doing the job and spend NO MORE TIME thinking about it.  (btw, I took about a minute and a half to get them entered while I was writing this!)

As you go through your day today, what can YOU use the 'Do It Now' principle to free up your brainspace and energy?

***Update on progress

Well - one bit of good news - 21 Days later - my bathroom mirror is sparkling every day and making me smile!
And I am still spending 15 minutes on the exercise bike most days.  I've added 20 crunches 3X per week to this and am building a strength routine around them.

As for my quilt project roadblock:  The sewing machine is packed and in the car - IF time permits tomorrow, I will stop by the quilt shop to see f they can take a look at it..  If not it will be later in the week.   It is crazy how much I am dreading dealing with these women in this shop! 

In the meantime, I mended one quilt and put a few patches on another.  The second one will take a while.  Unfortunately it was tied rather than quilted and the fabric has torn where the ties were tied.  SO there are any number of small places that need a patch.  It will be a weird looking quilt when I am finished - but my mother-in-law's gift of love will be preserved in some fashion!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

21 Days... Day 19 Get it Done EARLY!

reading along with 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life by Crystal Paine

following the challenge lead by Crystal at

The nugget I got from the reading today is: Get your work done early!

This one reminds me of the other day when we talked about getting the task you are DREADing done first!

But this one is a little different.... getting tasks done early leaves you more time to play.... to dream.... to be available for others... in essence.. to DO WHAT YOU WANT.

Getting work done early relieves stress and guilt about things left undone... whether they be part of your WORK or part of another obligation.

Personally I have a hard time with this one - Early means COMPUTER and how much time do I spend on that?   Even with all the rationalizations about writing and listing and financial paperwork.... it is TOO EASY to let the input on this box suck up my morning!

How about you?  What could you be doing RIGHT NOW that would add to your feelings of success about the day?  (I bet it's not Facebook :-)


Update on my progress:
  ROADBLOCK!!  I spent an hour trying to figure out the sewing machine today and pretty much got nowhere.  EXCEPT that I did get it all nice and cleaned out and am fairly certain that this is a simple issue.  AND I did go ahead and pack up the machine and parts into a bag to put in my car.  I will go SOMEwhere as yet undetermined NEXT week and get this figured out.
  Where to go?
      Two choices:
         1) Find a place that fixes sewing machines
         2) go back to where I bought it (the more obvious logical choice)  But here is where I wrangle with myself.  Remember I started this quilt when I took a quilt class in 2008?  Well.... the ladies were not exactly warm and fuzzy people.  Not mean, exactly..... but you know the feeling when you are on the outside looking in?  I mean, even though I was one of the few who actually got the pieces done for class.... I felt like I wasn't QUITE in the 'cool kids club'.  I KNOW you know what I mean....  When the class was over, I did take another ONE DAY class to make a rag quilt and just recently finished THAT one up.  I TRIED to get involved... I really LIKE playing with fabric and wanted (WANT) to learn to quilt.  I even wanted it so bad I bought that quilt frame that I don't use.  And, of course, this nice sewing machine!
    They are not local to me and not on my regular route so I really did make the time to go there.  They were running a class in the summer with some specific fabrics and I had asked them to call me and let me know when that was.  I never heard a word....
   To be fair, I also never went back to them either.  They do not have an online presence (okay - I had to go check and see if that has changed in the last 3 years - it hasn't but I found another 2 shops to check out :-)

    Maybe that is why I didn't get this thing finished in the first place.   I LOVE the project - and maybe if I had felt more comfortable with the people I would have been more inclined to visit them and learn more.

  So that is the decision now - to go back to them (where I will probably get my problem looked at and diagnosed for free - but at what cost?) or to go somewhere else and pay a fortune to get this handled.

Don't you hate it when you feel DUMB about something?  The machine is in my car and I will decide next week as I am driving around.  Hmm.... I think I will pack up the quilt, too.... and maybe I will feel like sharing my progress...  IF I go there....  which I probably will because AVOIDING these people is not an answer either.  I'll let you know what I end up doing!

In any case, I will definitely schedule visits to the other quilt shops within the next week or so!

In the meantime..... quilt RELATED to finish out my 21 days.... I have several quilts made by my mother-in-law that need to be mended.  Some of them just need a little hemming... some need major surgery - but ALL can be done by hand.  I started this process a month ago and stopped when I started working on THE QUILT.  I have pulled out 2 of them - one quick mend and one to work on little by little.... and will start tomorrow!

Friday, November 23, 2012

21 Days... Day 18 Embrace Your Uniqueness

"You can spend all of your life trying to measure up to someone else."

This line from today's article is what hit me really hard this year.

Sometimes I think about how hard and long I tried to be the brilliant lawyer or businesswoman like my parents worked so hard for me to be.

Sometimes I think about how long I tried to keep a house as nice as my mom did.

Sometimes I think about how long I tried to cook as good as my first mother-in-law did.

Sometimes still I think about how hard I try to fit in with others.

But then I remember that I am ME.

I have my own journey.... and while I may be talented enough to be what my parents wanted me to be....  it has not been my nature or calling.  I can take classes all day long but that will not make me excel in a bureaucratic environment.

As for keeping house, that is dependent on so many factors!  And one of those is household help - which my mom had.  And one of those is early training - which - because of household help and older siblings - I did not have much of.  Except dusting.... I SEE the dust bunnies :-)  I can and will keep working on habits and will have a happy life anyway.

Cooking?  Has always been an issue!  As the younger daughter I had salad duty.  My sister was the cook.  Not my mom... she never liked it.   So I identified with  a mother who did NOT like to cook and I married a man who used his mother's good cooking as a weapon.  Not my fault!  But I am learning to have fun in the kitchen..... and when I removed the comparison factor... I am becoming a pretty good cook.

And fitting in with others is over-rated.  I can fit in where I want to.

But I LIKE my tendencies to question the status quo.  It makes me adaptable and able to learn and grow.  (It also makes me an uncomfortable, though capable person to have around)

I LIKE my ability to see the many sides of an issue.. positive and negative.  (This definitely hampers my decision-making, but makes me relatively non-judgmental and compassionate.)

And I LIKE my ability to focus on the end-game.  (It makes me very resilient to what happens today... but many people lose patience with my apathy towards minor (IMO) crises.)

The point here is that the qualities that make you YOU are important!  Just as the ways that others excel make THEM important.

It is critical that you keep learning and growing.... IN YOUR OWN WAY!

Assignment for today:

  Start thinking about your NEXT mega-project.  How can you use your strengths?


Update on my progress:

   Yesterday, as expected, I did not have the time to focus on THE QUILT.
Today I will have a little extra time to play so I will work on the sewing machine FIRST (because I like it the LEAST) and will go on from there depending on my success (or lack of it)

How are things going for you?  Do you have ideas for another (or a first mega-project?)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Just a quick note of thanks to you, my readers!

For your limitless support and kindness in allowing me to use this venue to move forward along the journey!

I hope this day brings you great joy and is a beautiful place to stop along YOUR journey :-)

...I am certain that I will not be working on my mega-project today....  so let me show you where I am on it....

All that is left is the border....

21 Days... Day 17 Don't Compare Yourself to Others

using the book 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life by Crystal Paine

following the challenge set by Crystal at

I mentioned yesterday that I have been a little disgruntled with my quilt lately.  I figured out in the last few days that I don't like the way I quilted the long strips.  Someone else would have done it differently - heck, I would have done it differently if I had done it when I was supposed to and was comfortable going back to the teacher and asking the question.

AND I am not happy with the stitches.  They should be neater.

But the reality is that it is MY quilt.  My FIRST hand-quilted quilt.

It should not be compared with projects by experienced quilters.  It should  not be compared with my NEXT quilt.  It is beautiful the way it is.

The message in today's reading is 'Don't Compare Yourself to Others'.

How appropriate when I am at a point of thinking that what I do is not good enough!

Why would it not be good enough?  This is My LIFE to live - no one else's.  My mega-project will be different from yours....  and your needs, goals and desires are different from mine.  Not better or more important.... not worse or less important... DIFFERENT!  And we need to wind our lives around our own paths and appreciate our own progress!

It's time to look at the lists of goals and projects we have been working on and make sure that we are truly working on our OWN PATH and not trying to become someone we are not.


Do Step 17 on your mega-project!


Update on my progress:

   Yay!!  I did get the hand quilting done and am giving myself a pass for the day!  It did occur to me though - that my daughter might want to take a look at my sewing machine while she is here today.. simply because sometimes she likes to mess with things.  I will ask.  If that problem is resolved... then I am one step closer though I really don't think I will finish in the 21 Days allotted, even with my flexible definition :-)

But I am kind of tickled that I haven't thrown in the towel on this project yet.  The reason it has sat so long unfinished is because I have packed it away when the going got a little tough and I didn't prioritize finishing it... and THIS time, it will be a priority until I DO finish it!

I haven't mentioned it but I am still managing the 15 minutes daily on the exercise bike and am just about ready to commit to 50 crunches 3X per week.  ALMOST!

How about you?  Do you have a mega-project going?  How is the process working for you?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

21 Days... Day 16.... Worst First, Best Last

Using the book 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life by Crystal Paine

following the challenge set by Crystal at

The reading today points out that you get more done... and your day runs more smoothly.... if you do what you like least.. FIRST!

I remember doing this with my food when I was a kid.... save the best for last :-)

With tasks that lie before me, I find the same process is more effective.  If I hem and haw and wander around avoiding doing something I dislike..... it takes days (or more!) to get it done.  No wonder I think it takes FOREVER to get some things done.... I have to consider my WHINE factor!

If I leave the things I don't want to do until LATER, I often can wiggle my way out of it altogether for that day - and this usually does not serve me or my family.  And this also makes ME feel like I am a procrastinator - a NEGATIVE term that I don't need in my head!

So - today's nugget is: Next time you make your list of things to do - take the one you want to do the least - and tackle it FIRST!

  How does this apply to your mega-project?  Is there something about this that you are avoiding?
  *TODAY is the day to DO IT!


Update on my progress:
       Yes - I managed to do some of the hand quilting yesterday as I putzed around getting my thoughts and house ready for the big day.  Hooray for me!

My goal is to get the hand quilting on the long strip completed before Thanksgiving Day.  I will not be working on the quilt that day (I don't think!)

As for things I am putting off with the quilt?  Right now it is working with the sewing machine since that is a road block - but seriously this is a timing issue and there is no time for it with the holiday coming up.  I will give myself time on Friday to play with the sewing machine and see if I can sort it out.

I am finding it really annoying at this point to keep working on the quilt.  This is a good exercise for me - and I can certainly see value in keeping ONE big project going.  I feel a little bit behind in my life (because of THE QUILT) but I am also more focused and getting more accomplished overall.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

21 Days.... Day 15 Just Say NO!

You do so much for so many people.

Are any of your other commitments affecting the goals you set for YOURSELF and your family?

You can't do it all.

It is so hard to say NO to people when they ask you to do something.

I mean, first of all... aren't you flattered?  That you are THE ONE chosen to do this thing... this oh so important thing....

But, consider....  could your pleasure at the flattery be THE OBSTACLE that keeps another person from shining in a new spot?  Could you actually be preventing someone else from learning to serve?

Saying NO is not a bad thing.

And, how about those outside commitments?

Are any of those responsibilities dragging you down?  Is there something that your heart is not involved in any more?  That is important to know - AND it is valid.  God lays things on your heart for a reason... and sometimes when you are no longer excited and happy - maybe it's because the task is not for YOU any more.

Are any of those commitments keeping you from your ultimate goals?  I know that one of my goals is to serve my family.  Any outside commitment that does not make me a better family person.... will not serve my goals.  It is difficult to sift through the many worthwhile things you are doing and decide what needs to go - but it is absolutely essential to your ultimate success!

AND one more consideration raised up by the author......

Saying NO to many spread-out jobs or responsibilities...

allows you,

FREES you...

to say YES to doing really well at a few things....... things that will lead you to being the person you are meant to be!

Assignment for the day:

Finish Step 15 of your mega-project  and don't get overwhelmed!
**  I found it interesting that the author discusses major events right now in this '21 Days'.  She encourages us to take care of ourselves and not to get overwhelmed with our projects.  She reminds us that the project will still be here.  I agree - but want to MAKE SURE that I keep the project at the forefront of my mind so I don't let it slip back into the ozone for months of waiting again

I totally agree that keeping a 'mega-project' going in your life helps you focus in better on all the other responsibilities.  EG for me specifically....  making sure I get something done on the quilt is ensuring that I make good preparations for the Thanksgiving festivities.


How are things going for you?

Are you ready to throw in the towel yet??

Hang in there.....  the end is coming (even if not in sight yet!)

Crochet Post Dishcloths #327 -330 and # 331 - 334 and more!

I really love finishing up projects!  The afghan below is a free sampler pattern from Red Heart Yarns that was published on Maggie Weldon's site  

LOVED making it but then I am a sucker for sampler patterns :-)   I just wish it were bigger.  It's a great size for a THROW but I personally like a bigger afghan.

Anyway - I loved using colors from my stash and think it turned out pretty!  I just may make another one in a completely different palette just for fun... [SOMEDAY]

and a hat!  Another from Maggie Weldon's   Just the right size for a little one!   (and NOW I can give it to my grandson!)

I have actually been doing a lot of crocheting lately - and have loved finishing up projects and using up my stash as I go...  At this writing, I still have ONE more dishcloth I am stuck on.... but have been spending time crocheting cowls and hats for winter gifts!   More next week!

Dishcloths for this week are below:

#327 Whirligig Dishcloth  Pictured below on the upper left - This pretty cloth is done in Christmas colors.... quick to work up with easy stitches and clear instruction, this is a great beginner piece.  I enjoyed making it and could see making them in different color combinations for different holidays!

#328  Camo Print Dishcloth - pictured on the lower right.  Not quite camo - but a variegated similar colors, this is a pretty circular cloth.  I would be tempted to try it in a more floral color.  The pattern is lacy and would look striking in a solid.

#329  Simple Cro-Hook Dishcloth  Pictured above on the lower left.  I had fun doing this one but it took me WAY too long :-)  New technique with the hook on both ends... fun to LEARN!  Obviously I got messed up somewhere along the way because the pattern switched up in the middle.... still works fine as a dishcloth and not worth tearing out and starting over.  I did discover that this is probably not a hook / technique that will work well for me!

#330 Mini Pineapples Dishcloth If you look closely at the yellow variegated cloth, you can see little pineapples in the pattern.  I do enjoy trying new patterns and would definitely encourage new crocheters to test out these pattens! This particular pattern would make super afghan squares!

The next 4 dishcloths are pictured below:

# 331 Sock Dishcloth.. I bet you can pick this one out of the photo below! Easy to make and cute to look at.. but I have to ask WHY?  Yes, it is  dishcloth or washcloth... a strange shape but functional.... but seriously I don't know who I would give it to!  I did learn how to make a flat sock shape, though, in case I ever need to :-)

#332  Flower Scrubbie Dishcloth  pictured below on the lower right.  I have found making this type interesting.  This particular one was done by actually crocheting onto the scrubbie....  a serious PAIN.  Once that part was done, the pattern was pretty simple.  I like the concept of cloth and scrubbie but will have to test-drive it to see how it goes..... (certainly I won't have the ease of tossing it in the dryer after I wash it!)

#333 Tea Pot Dishcloth  Above on the upper left.... actually, I think it is a creamer!
    paired with
#334 Sugar Bowl Dishcloth
   These two are whimsical and fun and made me smile.  I enjoyed making these and think they would be super for tea or coffee drinkers.  I know I would smile when I used them to clean my kitchen!

Monday, November 19, 2012

21 Days ... Day 14 Set Yourself Up for Success!

day by day with Crystal Paine's book 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life

following along with a challenge set by Crystal at

The quote that hit me the hardest out of this reading is:

"It’s easy to make excuses for a lack of discipline, but excuses don’t get you anywhere.  Instead, choose to invest the time you usually would devote to formulating an excuse to considering what you can do to set yourself up for success in achieving your goals."


It does take a certain amount of creativity to come up with the wide range of excuses that I can find....  but I think the trick is to know when your obstacle is an excuse or a reason.

Reason = valid obstacle or obstruction
Excuse = something that is standing between you and your goal that you can FIX with self-discipline

Here is MY thing right now....

In my mega-project, I have hit an obstacle. 

There is something wrong with the tension on my sewing machine.

I'm not knowledgeable enough to know what that might be - but I HAVE noticed some trouble with the bobbin winding mechanism.  So..  additional steps in my quilt project need to be:

a) cleaning the machine well
b) winding new bobbins and trying again
and possibly c) taking the machine to be serviced

My first reaction?
  Put the thing away!  I am too busy right now to deal with a QUILT project!  I mean Thanksgiving is THIS week and I need to cook and clean - and I have a TON of unresolved angst about the holiday anyway...

reason or excuse?


But I WANT to succeed!  I have chosen this project and it is the vehicle which will help me LEARN.  So, putting it away will ensure failure OR, at a minimum, it will be a few months before I pull it out yet again to finish!).  Certainly it won't see the light of day again until after Christmas.

So.... what to do?

Part of it I did above.... I laid out steps for succeeding.  Part of it I did the other day.... I laid out other steps that do not require the machine
a) putting the quilt on the bed and deciding the width of the border
b) locating the backing
c) cutting the border pieces that are ready and the backing to go with them
d) deciding how to treat the corners and cutting those pieces
....and I STILL have a couple of days worth of hand quilting the last strip (and the lighting/vision issues that go with that)

AND ONE other little adjustment I have made to set myself up for SUCCESS....  I have re-defined my 21 Day Project.  In the scheme of life (or my mega-project), what does it matter if MY 21 Days is actually 28 days? 

  What time of day works best for your project?

  The purpose for this assignment is all in planning.  Typically it is easier to handle a new project earlier in the day... when you are fresher and more energetic.  AND you can check the work off your list and that always feels good!
  I have already discovered some of the timing issues with MY project!  On days where I must drive into town, it is harder to fit the project work in.  Because of lighting and vision.... sometimes I have to wait.  The hand sewing on the dark fabric is not something I can do at night - but I often do it to the television.  But if I turn on the tv early in the day, that is another problem :-)

For this project - I generally do the hand sewing after lunch... early afternoon.  Other parts have been fit in different days as possible.  I will try to find a better schedule to handle this.

How are you handling the scheduling for YOUR mega-project?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

21 Days to a More Disciplined Life... Day 13 READ!!!

following along with Crystal Paine's book.... 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life

this challenge is being led by Crystal at  
Crystal, at the moment, is working on HER mega-project of finishing up her masters degree... so I am hopping over to her co-host, Laura at

So this is my favorite!  I am a read-a-holic!  But Crystal cautions that we need to read INSPIRATIONAL books and books that will help us reach our goals.  In today's reading, she has several suggestions for self-discipline and motivation... some of which I have read.  Actually a friend and I have a joke that between us, we have all the organizational and weight loss books that have been printed.... and WE need to actually implement the things we now know...

So there is the problem for some of us.... I read and read and read... and it is time for me to DO and DO and DO :-)

If reading is a problem for you, tackle it the same way you are tackling your mega-project... lay out small achievable tasks for yourself.  Set a goal of finishing the book and break it down into manageable chunks.  I have a couple of books on my reading list that have been there most of the year.... one I am baking my way through and one is a money management course.   I will lay out a plan of action for those two books and make sure I finish them in 2013.

Today's Assignment:
     Step 13 of your mega-project
     Find a book to read that correlates to your project.


My progress.....
     Today is a family day!  My grandson is being dedicated today and then we are eating lunch out.  With the 2 hours of travel time involved, I am not sure how much I will accomplish.

  Since lighting is an issue for me, I really should have done some hand-quilting yesterday while I had the opportunity to be home in the morning... BUT I didn't - so that is past :-)  I will think about what I can do today.

I CAN machine stitch the border pieces
I CAN locate the muslin backing and quilt batting that I will need
I CAN lay the quilt out on the bed and make a decision about the width of the border
I CAN make a decision about how I want to make the border corner pieces

I will come back later in the day and update you as to what I DID do :-)

How about you?? Do you have a plan for the day?


Wow - things did not turn out as planned....  My sewing machine started acting up and I ended up leaving it... frustrated!  I worked on crocheting cowls last night.. and also have 2 afghans that I am closing in on finishing (I have a Dec 8 deadline on those).

I think the sewing machine is a bobbin winding issue.. but will try again when my attitude is a little better.  I am struggling now with the upcoming holiday and all the preparation and (more like) anxiety that comes with it.  Since I am working on my BRAIN and ATTITUDE this year... I think I need to journal some of the unhappy negative feelings that are surfacing underneath this aggravated behavior.  I don't know how much I will share here .. but I feel the UPSET rising already and it may impact the progress on the quilt.... and probably should take precedence though I am not quitting!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

21 Days... Day 12... FOCUS!!

oh boy
distracted much?

This was actually a really good reading for me yesterday!  I knew I needed to work on the quilt because I have not gotten to it all week.  Yet I have been away from home every day so....  I am just now getting to thinking about all the things I need to handle before next week's holiday.  I wandered around today - trying to focus on different rooms.... but I found something in the living room that belongs in the laundry room... which led me to folding laundry and putting away clothes in my bedroom, where I noticed something that needed to go to the laundry room.... where the freezer is and I pulled something out for dinner.. which I brought to the kitchen to thaw.. where I noticed that....  well, you get the picture!  All the while, stewing about the quilt and then the dogs needed walking again, where I noticed that the bok choy needs to be picked and used (file away stir fry for next week's menu)...  Today my brain seems to be a sieve!

But I did keep coming back to center.... and balanced several bank statements... gathered mailing envelopes and addresses for packages to be mailed, finished up a skein of yarn, and got that strip of quilt marked and stitched.

I got a LOT done.. but I felt out of focus - like I was being pulled in several directions.  I find it extremely difficult to put my head down and stick to just one thing!

Crystal Paine writes "Multi-tasking is the  death of FOCUS"


Her suggestion is one we've heard before but always works.... use the timer.  It works for me too!  I get derailed by trying to decide what I am doing - AND making myself do what I don't wanna.   I have to get that inner child under control :-)

What I can see happening here is that I am starting to worry about the holiday meal and company next Thursday - and I am losing focus on what I need to do TODAY.  (EVEN what I need to do today FOR next Thursday!)  Will have to think about this one!


  Do Step 12 of your mega-project and begin to visualize the finished project and how you will feel.


My progress.......

Goal for today:
    Focus on today's plans (some household catch-up, a 2 mile walk + bike, review pantry/freezer and plan menu for week, make bread dough for fridge, QUILT - work on hand quilting AND machine stitch some of the strips for the final border AND review process for making the border so that when I can work on that I will now what I am doing).

      AND - find time to WRITE down Thursday's meal plan, prepare ahead list AND housework preparation list

Will be back later to share how I did -

    what are YOU doing today?

****** In many areas, today was a big fail... I spent most of the day watching holiday movies and crocheting cowls for friends  (using up my yarn stash!). 
* I did the bike, half the walking (my knee hurts today)
* I started to do the bread but forgot that I used up the eggs making breakfast for my husband and me
*I started to stitch some of the border stripping but the bobbin ran out of thread...

It was one of THOSE days!  I did review the process for finishing the quilt and have an idea what happens next... I DID refill the bobbins eventually... I DID mop the living room floor and do some neatening when I got up for commercials.... and I DID write down my holiday meal plan.    So it wasn't a total waste... I just didn't necessarily accomplish what was on my list!

Friday, November 16, 2012

21 Days.... Day 11.... How to..

... find an accountability partner...

Yesterday we talked about how hard it is to find someone to be accountable with.  This is something I so struggle with!

Who can you find that is good with the TOUGH LOVE part of support?

I will need to think about this reading a lot.

My family are softies!  They love me and will support anything I want to do.... but not one would be the taskmaster / reminder / NAG I probably need.  In honesty, though - that is not what I need.  I do not respond well to people telling me what to do - and my family knows it!  That plus there is always a tendency to rely on someone else's reminders.  Some days you need a gentle nudge.... but I am wary of creating a scenario where it becomes someone else's responsibility to remind ME of my goal.

So then what??

Friends who are successful at what you want to accomplish.... friends who want to accomplish what you are working on...  somehow if someone else is waiting on you, you tend to get things done!  And then I start to get bogged down with WHO for WHAT?

I mean..... will my potential health & fitness partner also be a good 'finish the quilt' partner?  Will that person be at all willing to help me account for the housekeeping goals I have?  I am not sure.....

Online communities are golden for support...   as long as (the author warns) they are not so large that you can escape unnoticed.  And I see this is true!  When you are in a large group, you don't have to be accountable because no one notices when you don't post.  I really KNOW this one because that is ME!

I think this blog is one way that I try to stay accountable.  I do know that I don't want to write something here - and not do what I say I am going to do..... even if NO ONE were to read it :-)

Ultimately - I think it still comes down to me.... but I DO need to find help on those days I can't focus.  Especially because I need to re-gain focus quickly and not sink into the mud....


Find an accountability partner for your goal & make a specific plan for accountability and checking in.   (I see the assignment, I understand it.. but am not sure YET how to go about implementing it)  I am grateful that LIFE is a JOURNEY and a PROCESS and I can FUTZ this assignment and keep moving.....


Update on progress?

WEEELLLLLLL.... in theory I am halfway done with the mega-project but for lots of reasons, I am pretty much where I was a couple of days ago.  I am home today and tomorrow with no running around so we will see where I get!  The project is on my mind and ready to work on but life hasn't been too cooperative.  Excuses?  maybe.... I will pop in again later today with updates.

Okay - Quilt strip marked and ready for hand quilting.
   and..... 2 loads of laundry.... race pictures posted from last weekend.... photos taken to update event photo album.... and some bank balancing done.  One long and one short walk taken outside... and a good breakfast.

Time for lunch and round 2!

****  In the final analysis, I did get about 1/3 of the hand quilting done on this last long strip!****

How is it for you??  Do you have accountability partners for your goals?  How did you find them?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

21 Days.. Day 10 - Support Team!

Using the book 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life by Crystal Paine

Following the challenge led by Crystal at

I invite you to come play along!  Start where you are... you can go back and read my blog from Day 1... or go to to read there and/or find many other fine bloggers who have joined the challenge!


    Today's reading is about the importance of gathering accountability partners to help you reach your goals.  In the book, they are referred to as cheerleaders.  I find this (locating accountability partners) extremely difficult!

Not asking for help.... that is not a problem.  Even accepting help is not a real issue for me.

I think it comes down to 2 things for me: In MY life, I am the accountability partner.  I am the cheerleader!  I am the one who gets invested in other people's goals and helps them to achieve!  And, I admit, I love doing it!

I have not yet gotten to the place where I can figure out how to turn that part around to help ME.

If I lived where I had a local friend who was interested in the same things I am, we could meet and I would have a real life partner who be disappointed when I don't show up.  And I wouldn't do that to them.

A case in point - this morning as my husband and I walked the dogs....  it is COLD this morning!   We reached the 1/4 mile mark (where we turn a corner into a wind tunnel :-)... and my husband turned around to go home.  I forged ahead telling him I was going to finish.  But I thought of all the times I simply followed...  The reality is that I NEED that full mile - even the COLD - to be a healthy person.   And I need to be the one of the two of us who is diet and exercise-minded.  In a sense, MY focus on diet and exercise is what will keep HIM alive longer because I know in my heart that he wouldn't have done the quarter-mile if I didn't routinely go that way.  

I will need to give this some thought today as the day goes on!

Assignment for the day:

Complete Step 10 of the mega-project.  (Yikes, I need to work on this one!)

Write down the names of 3 people who might be willing to help me be accountable with my personal goals.  (I think this is where it is really useful to know what those goals are :-).... The suggestion is to find people who are successful in what YOU want to achieve!

Will be back later with the day's recap of events and progress!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

21 Days... Day 9.. Create Success!

Break the goal down into mini-goals!

Sounds like it is watering down your achievement when, in reality, doing this allows you to create and achieve even more.  By creating 'do-able' min-goals... you create an environment that will allow you to BELIEVE in yourself and your goal.

Difficult goals are fantastic - but you need to be careful not to sabotage your success!  If you don't have mid-range, achievable benchmarks, you set yourself up for failure.  It is important to ensure your own success - and you do that by your own definition of success.

When you can't see (and celebrate) each individual step towards your goal, you allow yourself the possibility of failure.  You create a sense of doubt and disbelief.  If you really plan to reach that goal, doubt and disbelief are not something you can afford to indulge in.

For instance, if you need to lose 100 pounds.... that sounds impossible! (Which often drives you right back to the ice cream!).  If you don't set (and allow yourself to REACH) mini-goals, you will continue to focus on the pounds you have not yet lost!  (like you successfully take off 5 of those pounds, you can't feel good about it because you are focused on the 95 still to go)

Set up manageable mini-goals.....  like 'lose 5 pounds'.

Maybe pounds isn't it....  Maybe YOU need to simply focus on 'work out today' or ' don't eat candy today'.

Everything that you do that moves you toward your goal counts!  Find out which mini-goals feel do-able and worthwhile.

And don't be afraid to change or re-define your goals!  If you are not making progress, change it up... be your own coach and create a way for you to succeed!

Your assignment for today is:

Step #9 of your mega-project!

My personal progress.....

Not so much!  Today I realized that Thanksgiving is NEXT Thursday.... and, of course, Christmas is right around the corner..... AND the end of the year after that.  YIKES!!

So..... preparation for the family dinner next week.... what on earth am I giving for gifts this year?.... am I doing cards?....  how did I do on annual goals?  Where am I and what can I reasonable complete?

... and this in the midst of an upcoming wedding, teenage angst, a potential flea issue with the pets.. and, oh yeah, our regular schedule...

Quilt?  what quilt??

Nope!  Halt right here and stop freaking out!

So what did I DO?

I bought the frozen turkey and fresh cranberries, bathed the 3 dogs and dosed 2 of the 3 cats (will grab the other one tonight!), washed the rugs and towels that belong to them (and will spray the couches when I go to bed), I paid bills and am starting to think about the foods I need to prepare in advance for next week.


As for the quilt, the next thing to do is use the chalk pencil to mark the quilting pattern.  I am afraid that I don't have the lighting to do that so will probably continue to work on the winter cowls I am crocheting for gifts...  BUT I WILL lay out the quilt and see if I am able to do it tonight...

more tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Crochet Post #335-338 and #339 - 342 and more :-)

As I started to get back to my sewing projects - I found this pre-shirred fabric on clearance and decided to do up a couple of dresses for my girls!  Easy, cheap and quick success - my favorite way to do things :-)

I also completed another gift - one of my favorite baby girl projects... easy to do with beautiful results.... I really need to do a few of these to keep on hand for new babies :-)

Dishcloths for this week are pictured below:

#335 Tea Cup Dishcloth Pictured below on the upper right.  A companion to the sugar bowl and creamer in the last Crochet Post, this is adorable and easy to make!  A fun addition to a tea or coffee gift basket!

#336 Pink Pansy Dishcloth on the bottom right.  This one is really simple to make.. the base is double crochet with a nice edging and a flower that was intriguing to figure out.  This was a nice project to learn to make flowers with.  I think I would choose different colors if I did it again...

#337 Treble Textured Dishcloth pictured above on the bottom left.  I liked making this one because it is a little different from the ones I have been doing.  It has a nice texture for cleaning and the pattern would be good in many different colors.  I could also see this as an afghan square!

#338  Poinsettia In A Square Dishcloth Above on the upper left.  LOVE this one - a huge THUMBS UP from me :-)  The flower was a little challenging to figure out but once I did - it was totally worth it.  The results are stunning!  The pattern is also generic enough to use other colors to create a floral collection.  Definitely a FAVE!

The next 4 dishcloths are pictured below:

#339 Red & White Pinwheel Dishcloth  Pictured below on the upper left.  Wow!  This one drove me crazy!  It took a while to figure out the pattern and get in the groove... and then the rows with the red knots came along and were really challenging.  I'm still not sure I did it right.  Anyway... try it and see if you agree!  Not only will I not do it again, I need to give it away because it makes me aggravated to look at it!

#340 Little Black Purse Dishcloth  Cute and easy to make.... designed to go along with the black tie of a previous post Crochet  (and quilt) Post # 311-314 & 315-318   I am not sure how much I would like actually cleaning with either cloth but they DO make me smile... which would be a bonus while doing dishes!  Might be a good holiday hostess gift with a bottle of bubbly :-)

#341 Spider Lily Dishcloth  Pictured above on the upper right.  Unique and fun to figure out!  The spider lily is worked in the center in a raised stitch.  This one looks like it would be very functional - the raised flower would work well as a scrubber!  Definitely would do this one again :-)

#342  Indian Summer Dishcloth  Above on the bottom right.  This is another of the circular patterns that I enjoy doing.  The only thing I did not like - which might be me - is that I didn't quite get it to lie flat.  This indicates that I most likely did not follow the instructions and count properly!  It's pretty nonetheless and I will enjoy using this one in the summer / fall.

All of these patterns are available free from Maggie Weldon's site in the Nov and Dec 2011 archives as part of the 2011 Dishcloth challenge!  Thanks again to Maggie for a fantastic challenge and a lot of fun!

21 Days to a More Disciplined Life - resumed.. Day 8

The book?     21 Days to a More Disciplined Life by Crystal Paine

The challenge?  Being led by Crystal at

Join in!  21 Days can begin ANY day.. and there is no time like the present!

I was away for a weekend and dropped off the blogosphere on Day 7... I am going to pick back up with Day 8's reading

Put Your Goals on Paper...

oh yeah - one of my biggies!!

On paper, it's real... one of the main reasons I struggle with journalizing my food intake.  Not that I don't freely admit my excesses... but to WRITE them?  Yikes!!  That hurts!

But I do love my lists.... I make a list every day because if it isn't written, I don't remember it all.  Thing is, I sometimes have to make 2 or 3 lists because I don't know where I put my list!  But it does prove that if it isn't written, it is all too easy to forget.

This is especially important for larger goals... like paying off bills or losing weight.  If you have a SMART goal (Day 6 in the book!)... specifically a GOAL that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Rewarding and Time-Specific... then it is WORTH writing down!  Make notes and put them everywhere so you see them!
Don't let the everyday crises pull you away from your goals simply because they aren't in the front of your mind.  And, let's face it... your mind is on the crisis in front of you... NOT the one down the road.  And the long-term is down the road.  You need some UP FRONT reminders of your desires!

My husband and I have a notebook where we put in all the things we agree on for goals... house renovations, paying down debt, places we want to travel, things we want to do.  Once a month or so, we go out to eat with THE BOOK and revisit our dreams.  This has helped us connect on a lot of levels and also keeps our joint wishes and goals UP FRONT.

One of the things the author, Crystal Paine, warns about is making a list and hiding it neatly in a notebook.  I am definitely guilty of that - which is why THE BOOK was born for our joint projects... and I have a binder that I can easily access that keeps me kind of on track most days.  I DO get a sense of satisfaction from crossing things off :-)

Assignment:  Write down your current goal on a sticky note in a positive format and post it in several places that you can see.

What you need to remember is not:  'I want to be' or 'I am working toward' but I AMI AM breathes faith into your belief system.  I AM sounds like you believe you can achieve your goal.  I AM makes your goal a reality.

Write that goal like it is already completed!

For me?   I am a healthy athlete who trains and competes regularly.  

my personal update?

Still sore from walking my racing weekend... but MUCH better!

Staying on top of the bathroom mirror(little habit)!  It is starting to get easier and makes me smile.... a LOT!  AND the attention is spilling over to the counter.... NICE!

Monday & Tuesday nights right now my husband and I watch television together and I had saved the quilt (mega-project) for then BUT (don't you LOVE 'buts'?) I couldn't lay out the work to do the hemstitching in a way that was physically comfortable and still allow us a chance to snuggle.  I opted to work on some current crocheting projects instead.  Today I have a lunch date with a friend and will work on the quilt this afternoon when I get home.  My general game plan is to get that long strip hemmed, marked and quilted before the week is out.  Lighting may be an issue because the fabric is dark and morning light is best with my eyes but I will continue to tackle this one day at a time!

The 15 minutes on the bike (major habit) absolutely did not happen!  Yesterday needed to be a complete rest for the legs!  My training recovery plan calls for 20 minutes of cross-training today and I'm not sure what I will do.  I will try the bike and see how my legs behave.... but will probably end up with arm work.  At a minimum I pledge to LOCATE the dvds that will allow me to choose body parts to work :-)

So... how's it going for you?  Are you working on self-discipline?  Do you have any goals that you can put on paper so that you can stay on track with them?

Monday, November 12, 2012

21 Days... Still on Break...

Yeah, yeah, I know... I said Monday.... and here it is....

I did write up my weekend race report and am trying to settle back in.

I have a list of things to do this week and will hand hem my quilt strip this afternoon.  The bathroom is spritzed and laundry is humming as I bring the house up to speed :-)  So maybe I am not on break exactly..

I have no intention of trying to 'catch up' on my 21 days.... but will pick back up with Day 8 tomorrow....  the whole idea is about setting goals and making them happen - and I am doing that.  Are you?

These few days are all about slowing down a little.... BUT still moving toward the goal!

Will talk to you tomorrow about Day 8 - Put Your Goals on Paper!

OBX Half Marathon Event Report

What a fantastic weekend this was!  The weather in the Outer Banks was perfect for an outdoor weekend.... and I was still spinning happily that my husband had decided to do the 5K event with me.  His idea to join me – so I smile.  Our trips away are more of an adventure now since we go by ourselves... it’s fun to discover each other again when it’s ‘just us”

We drove to the Outer Banks on Friday, stopping to meet one of my imaginary friends (this is a term my kids gave to my internet friends a long time ago).  I try not to pass up a chance to meet some of these special people who have been so important to and supportive of me for the past several years!  The race directors had asked that runners bring food donations for the food bank because it was recently emptied due to Hurricane Sandy and my friend offered to send some with us... thank you, Sara!

Then lunch out and a beautiful drive to one of our favorite places :-)  We visit the Outer Banks several times a year – it’s like home away from home.  This time we found our favorite hotel chain (more home away from home) – brand new in Corolla.  We LOVED staying in that area!  SO much more peaceful and wooded.... much more our style :-)   Anyway, I digress!

We headed to pick up our race packets first... so some locating and driving around... and then wandering around the crowded EXPO to see what was there.  I am proud of us that we didn’t buy anything that first night.. except Body Glide because I was OUT.  We just wandered and looked and noted a few things to think about and maybe purchase the next day.  Once we were finished, we headed out to find where we would be starting the next morning... and then off to locate the hotel.  The Hampton Inn in Corolla is gorgeous!   A little difficult to locate but, in my book, that can be a plus!

It was dark already by the time we checked in and we weren’t sure which restaurants were still open in this post-Hurricane Sandy off-season.... so we headed for a grocery store to pick up salads, celebration wine coolers and snack-type items to enjoy back in the room.  After we left, we headed back to the hotel and almost missed it – it was SO DARK.   We located a parking space and noticed that there were no lights on in the hotel either, except dim ones in the lobby.  Obviously a power failure but we went in to see what was going on – and, at that time, no one knew.... so we went back to the car and had a picnic :-)  An adventure!  And the night was crispy cool.... so we couldn’t stay outside too long – but the stars were magnificent!   Serendipity – a few hours to chat and plan and just be together.   It turns out that the entire Outer Banks was plunged into darkness for several hours that night... it happened just AFTER we bought our goodies.  Thank heavens we weren’t in a restaurant or anywhere else.... What a blessing to be right where we were :-)

We finally thought that the emergency battery lights inside looked like they were dimming and we figured we’d better get back inside before they failed too – so made our way in and up the stairs to our room.  Propped the door open with the coffee table since there were no lights inside at all.... and began to locate our possessions.  About that time, the lights were restored and this part of our adventure was over :-)

Saturday morning was beautiful and kind of lazy for us.  The start of the 5K was not until 10am so we had a leisurely breakfast and headed out when we were ready.  Just a 3 mile walk, right?  We do that all the time....  for Don, yes!  For me, NO!  I was a wreck.. I have no idea why.  Maybe jitters for the half the next day?  I’m not sure yet – but I know that I should have paid more attention to my fueling and hydrating!   The whole event was set up as a family weekend so there were lots of activities for kids of all ages – including a climbing wall.  Of course, I wanted to try it but we decided to deal with it AFTER the race.  We wandered around a bit until it was time to line up.  Don, of course, is all ZEN... no worries, unflappable... never mind that it is his first race.  It is ME that has the butterflies.. so we start!  And he is walking faster than ever.... and I, never one to be left behind and keeping right up with him.  (If he ever decides to train to run, he is going to leave me in his dust :-)  We were fine until the end.... he decides to run the last bit on the school track.... and he is off!  I try to jog and keep up but my stomach said NO WAY!  I felt it seizing up right away.... I do have to say though – that these legs never stopped.  I made my way over to the side (just in case) and kept going.  Fortunately the heaves were dry so I didn’t embarrass myself too badly.... and I was only a minute behind him :-)

After that, I was way too shaky to even think about a climbing wall.  We walked it off.. rested, drank and ate a little of the food provided.  Then we went back to the EXPO to purchase some items we decided we needed... and then headed off for lunch and a wandering kind of afternoon – especially locating the start for the next morning.

Up Sunday early... well, early for Don.... I have a hard time sleeping the night before an event.  I just make my body lie there until at least 4:30 before I give it up :-)  We had packed up the night before and loaded the car so we prepared pretty quickly and headed out.  The start was at 7am and I was there and ready to go a good bit earlier.  I am always the calmest right before the start... when I am where I am supposed to be and lined up.  At that point – for me – there are no more worries... there just is a task to be completed.  Before then I die a thousand deaths in the throes of WHY OH WHY did I make this choice... but at the line?  Nope, it’s a done deal so I go forward...

Anyway, he dropped me off and headed out to find coffee and wi-fi, knowing that he had 3-4 hours to read and surf and chill out while I walked!  And walk, I did :-)  Mile 1 & 2 are always a bit hard for me while I wonder why I am here... especially when my muscles were already talking to me.... especially when I don’t feel like I have been serious about my training!  But here I was – and here I was going to stay until I got to the end – or at least THE BRIDGE.  According to the website, Miles 6-8 were pretty flat and Mile 9 was THE BRIDGE.  I know that bridge and it is TALL!  It gives me the creeps when I have to drive it....  but I had already decided that it would be an opportunity to be there on foot. 

The weather was glorious!  Sunny and bright but so early in the morning that it was still a little chill.  I really loved walking by all the places that we drive by regularly.... it was just fun!  I took a lot of photos.... one bonus of walking instead of running!  Of course I can’t see the screen anyway so it might not matter :-)  

By Mile 4 I had met a friend that stayed with me to the finish.  And I was glad!  I was starting to hurt a lot by Mile 7..... and I was close to quitting by the time we got to the bridge.... but I had promised myself THE BRIDGE and my new friend really wanted a picture on the top of it... so I knew I had to go that far :-)  Of course, once you are on top of a bridge.... well, you HAVE to go down it, right?   We stopped an stretched at the bottom and moved on.   And she kept saying – it’s only a 5K and a fun run from here, right?  She was right – and I knew I would keep going at this point. 

And I got a lot of new information about half marathons because it seems like my new friend is a half-marathon fanatic.  She does them every few weeks somewhere.  Good incentive for me, I think!

I felt better after that but close to the end?  Yikes!  The last Mile point 1 was pretty rough.  By that time my knees and ankles had started to complain and I was visibly limping (but still keeping the 15ish minute pace :-).  We got to where we could see the end... and sprinted for it!  But oh wow.... once I crossed the line, I was bent over and winded!  The medical people checked on me but I really felt that some liquid and walking it out would be enough.  And, for the most part, I was right.  My friend met up with her people and I sat down to try and contact Don.  Two things then... my legs seized up tight AND I found that my cellphone had lost all power.  Uh-oh.

Not knowing about the layout of the end.... we had not made plans to meet, exactly – but I knew that if I stayed somewhere visible at the end, he would find me.  Unfortunately that was all sunny.  I got more drink, wandered a little.... then hunted down a little shade, hoping to find someone I recognized that I could borrow a phone from.  By then, I was starting to feel a little dizzy, the cramps weren’t leaving... and my swollen Minnie Mouse hands were starting to cramp too.  I sent a quick prayer that Don would find me and decided to go find a Race Crew person to get me to medical.  I figured at least I could rest and they could re-assure me that I was fine.

So I located a person to help – and Don found me at the same time.  So I went off with him to rest and re-hydrate.  The biggest problem was that I felt dizzy.... and every time I tried to rest or put my head down, the rest of my body would seize up in a great big full-body charley horse.  He decided that medical would still be a good idea so we went back and got some attention.  Ultimately I was right that I needed to cool down and rehydrate.. but it was good to get it checked out.  By resting with them – and they did make me eat a banana (YUK!) – and an ice bag to the carotid... everything settled back down and was fine.

We wandered back to the van... and went to eat lunch.. and then headed back home!  Both of us are a little sore but that is to be expected.... but let’s see... what did I take away?

a)     Training starts tomorrow (with a rest day :-).  I have a recovery plan but I do need to find a good ‘regular plan’ that will keep me in a good condition to race.
b)     I will eat a stupid banana after every race.  I might even have to learn to like the things.  I was shocked at how quickly the cramps subsided after I ate half of it.
c)     I will work more on drinking FEWER dehydrating drinks (coffee specifically) or making sure that I drink water in a 2:1 ratio instead of the 1:1 that I drink now.
d)     LOVE the ice bag to the carotid tip!  Cooled me down quickly.... I usually put it on the back of my neck – but no more.
e)     And, I need to be willing to stretch more DURING the race.  I get so caught up in my time that I don’t take care of myself.  When I already know I will spend hours on a course, it doesn’t make sense to NOT take a few minutes every hour and stretch out the legs!

MOST of all.... what I take away is that Don and I need more weekends away for just the two of us :-)  So I will work with him to make this happen again soon!

Final stats:
  Saturday's 5K:
        Don's chip time was 42:56; mine was 43:57
 Sunday's half:
        My chip time was 3:33
and,of course since I did both (the Rum Runner's Challenge), my total time was 4:17  and I get an extra medal.... it IS all about the bling, after all, isn't it?  Or maybe the shirts... I got 2 shirts out of the deal...

Friday, November 9, 2012

21 Days - Break Day 1 :-)

Heading out for the weekend - I will pick back up with Day 8 on Monday!

I am inordinately stressed about this BLIP in my carefully orchestrated program - which is probably EXACTLY why this is good for me!  One thing I always need to remember is that I am living a life and trying to improve it NOT following a program!  Any good program - like the one outlined by Crystal Paine in 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life - HAS TO be flexible enough to fit into MY life!

Will I lose momentum if I spend these days NOT working on the habits and projects I chose last week?  Will I be able to get back on the program?

The bigger question is why should I worry about this?

IF, in fact, these are habits I want to encourage or develop, then - well, OF COURSE I can jump right back in where I left off!

Here's what I did to get ready and here is my plan for my return:

1.  I went through my crochet projects and picked one to FINISH (my LAST dishcloth to crochet from my previous blogs), one ongoing (afghan gift for my son's black belt achievement), and one I am having fun with 'using up' (neck cowls)

2.  The quilt's final long strip is pinned and ready to hem.  After that is marking and quilting (next week's achievement) and then I can work on the border and binding.

3.  I have a recovery exercise routine planned for when I get back home after my half marathon on Sunday.  (I have not exercised enough  for this event but am walking and will do what I can)

4.  Oh yeah..... in the car and during solo time... I will create those LISTS I haven't completed yet!  I am not taking my laptop but I AM taking my notebook so I can review readings and make notes.

So... there you are - I am prepared and ready to let go!

Actually - this is a great thing for YOU!  You have time to start your own projects and catch up with me!

ps.... I KNOW you are laughing now.... my husband had to stop the car and let me run back in to POST this blog.....  because, while I had written it... I had not actually posted it.....

have a good weekend!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

21 Days - Day 7 - I CAN'T!

"I CAN'T" 


Negative language derails us every time.  How many times do YOU mess up your own good plans with negative language?

Never?  You never say I can't or I won't?

Well... how about hedging your bets?  Making sure you aren't committed or responsible?

"I'll try....."


" IF possible..."

Can't be held accountable for these....   yes, my friends.. these count as negative language too.

And that doesn't even address the usual negative remarks like...

"I ALWAYS procrastinate"

"I NEVER follow through"

"I'm lazy, that's just the way I am"

Again... no commitment here.... just accepting that you are flawed... which is FINE but not at all helpful assuming you want to make a change!  Which is WHY you are reading and trying to be more self-disciplined, isn't it?

Pay attention to the dialogue going on in your head!  Does it serve you to beat yourself down?  Does it serve you to create a life where you are not able to succeed?  Or does it simply give you another excuse?

Think of an uplifting thing to say to yourself when you catch yourself in a negative thought mode!   Re-frame your statements TO and ABOUT yourself to reflect the positive disciplined person you really are :-)

Day 7 Recap:

Sooooooo... for all those beautiful words about being positive?  YIKES!!  It has not been a busier day than usual... but I am leaving in the morning for a date weekend with my beloved.  And I am stressing!  Why?

Well.... it's an interruption (no matter how much fun it will be).  I won't be working on my blog again until Sunday night or Monday morning.  My quilt isn't a portable project.  I certainly can't spritz the bathroom.  I will be participating in a race this weekend so the exercise bike is out.  SO, projects will be completely interrupted for 3 days.

I am leaving my two sons here at home (understand that they are men - so this is a non-issue!).  They will be responsible for the pets and the house.  And, I remind myself, it doesn't MATTER if they run out of food or clothing.  They are MEN and perfectly capable ones at that.

So, it's just me winding up loose ends and preparing to spend time away.  It's okay, I tell myself.  And it's good.

I will post again in the morning and then pick back up Sunday night and be farther behind but continuing the journey!

21 Days - Day 6 - Plan your Success!

The watchword for today is BE REALISTIC!

I have to admit - when I read the topic for the reading today from 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life , I thought of my "almost" mega-project... the photo scanning one I have been stewing over.  But I KNOW that can't be done in 21 days... or I THINK I know that :-)  I had 24 hours to commit to a project to complete in 21 days and ALMOST went with the photos... but wasn't sure about total quantity or follow-through.   It didn't seem realistic... so I will keep on with the 30  min per week idea... which I haven't done this week either!  But I digress.... ONE thing at a time!

Lasting change happens slowly.  Just as a tiny rivulet of water created the Grand Canyon over time... our little habit changes create new and better lives!

Thing is... when we start out with too many changes, all of our enthusiasm and good intentions go by the wayside when the going gets tough!

Just like with anticipating problems (Day 5)... making sure that your new self-discipline FITS in your life is really important!  It is so hard to scale back when we want so desperately to create a new habit... but if you really want your habit to stick... you have to have a reasonable expectation of yourself (and those around you!)

Barring doctor's orders, it is not reasonable to drastically change your diet immediately!  You may have a few good days to begin but are almost certain to drop this project pretty quickly.  Better to break it down into smaller chunks that you can handle.  Start by doing something very small.... like adding a salad to your processed food dinner... OR replacing one meal a week with foods you learn to make from real ingredients.... and then build on that as time goes on.

It almost feels insulting to start so small.... kind of like you are setting the bar too low... but it is the small changes that are not TOO painful that will be permanent ones that you can build on!   And if you look at the BIG picture, this one little change is a step on the road to the BIG goal.

Make your goals realistic and achievable (and break them up into parts you can manage successfully).

 And never, ever give up!

Today's assignment:

1.  Continue the small habit... bathroom mirror spritzed!(This one is getting a little tougher... hard to remember the good intentions before I run out to jump into my morning.  I MIGHT have to tweak this to allow me to do it at a different time of day)
2.  Continue with larger life change....  15 minutes on the bike (added 8 pull-ups for upper body)

3.  Step 6 of mega-project - stitched last panel onto the quilt... also plan to cut batting and pin strip in preparation for hem-stitching it to the back

4. Re-evaluate steps for mega-project... are they manageable?

     I have kind of cheated on this one.  I never actually did make 21 steps because I really don't know everything involved with finishing the quilt.  I just know that there isn't too terribly much and it will take consistent effort to finish it up!  I have worked on little bits each day.  I think I will continue as I have just so long as I do some work each day with a focus on finishing by the end of the 21 days!

How is your 21-Day journey going?  Especially your mega-project....

Read more at the inspiration site: www.serving