Monday, January 01, 2007

Still Waiting...

...for the bayberry candle to burn down, and its 8:00 Central time here in North America on New Year's Day, but lemme tell ya, this puppy is gonna burn out, you hear me? I lit it yesterday evening and it's still chugging along.

Last year, I made a big mistake. As in, "huge." The bayberry candle was still going when I woke up New Year's Day, so I figured it had done its job of burning overnight ... so I blew it out.

And all the bad Karma of 2005 just poured into 2006 like some sort of bad-luck levee had broken.

So Dave and I spent this New Year's Eve at home, safe from misguided drivers, and I spent the entire day being happily Irish and OCD, making certain to go through each and every ritual conducive to good luck in the New Year, from making certain that the house was reasonably clean and the chores done, to putting shiny new pennies in our pockets and a loaf of bread on the table ... and the bayberry candle burning ... and a log in the hearth ... and sweeping the old year out the door with a new broom (not forgetting to give 2006 a good swift kick in the arse on its way out) ... and and and...

Last year, I also neglected to make any real resolutions, partly because I didn't have time to make any --what with my workload in the aftermath of Katrina -- and partly because I didn't know exactly what I wanted to resolve to do, except to work.

It was kind of hard to think about anything except fur and paws, this time last year.

So here are my resolutions for 2007. Numeric listing represents the order in which these things came out of my head and made their way to my little scratch-pad -- this is not necessarily their order of importance.

1. Do everything within my actual, personal control to make 2007 not suck.

2. Go on a yarn diet. Let's be honest. I am putting this high on the list because this is the very first resolution I am likely to break, so I might as well break one resolution, and get it over with as quickly as possible. But my honest goal is to at very least look in the stash first when the urge to knit something new strikes, and not to buy any more yarn unless I actually need it -- "need" being defined as "Mom wants a Chanel-pink wool vest for her birthday and I truly have no Chanel-pink wool whatsoever in my stash".

"Need" in 2007 shall not be defined as, "it entered my field of vision."

Our house is not so big, and I have a lot of plastic tubs full of yarn. I also have all of my office stuff stacked in Permafiles all around the house until I find new office space.

Have you ever seen, anywhere in any Feng Shui book, the following words? "To increase positive chi, stack plastic tubs full of yarn and cardboard boxes full of books and files in every corner of your home."

Neither have I. Therefore, I have a sub-resolution (I should run for Congress) promising myself to:

2a. Organize the stash better. At the moment my stash is somewhat tidy, but it is not truly organized. It is roughly sorted into kitty-litter tubs marked "Koigu," "Cotton," "Wool-Ease," "Sock Yarn,""Handspun," "David Bowie yarn," "Various Alpaca," "Noro," "Magpies," "Brown Sheep," etc. If I have a whole bunch of one brand of yarn, it gets its own plastic tub (or two). But I have to come up with a better way to sort things out, particularly in the "David Bowie" and "Magpies" departments. Right now, if I have more than one skein of anything flashy or glitzy, like eyelash or metallic yarn, it goes in the "David Bowie" bin. Individual, impulse single-skein purchases, glitzy or not, go in the "Magpie" bin. Now "Magpies" is a great place to rummage when I need to crank out a one-or-two skein project for a hurry -up gift. But really. I have to do something about this. If the stash were better organized, it just might be easier to hunt for what I really and truly need, instead of buying more yarn.

3. Walk every day. Walk outdoors, unless the weather is absolutely severe. Okay, I can hear my fellow Southerners choking (sorry about that) and blowing coffee through their nose: "Mambocat is going to take a walk eleven times in 2007!" But I am serious: I shall walk outdoors in the winter, spring and fall until I cannot distinguish betwen outdoors and the Amazon Jungle (this is roughly May 1 through September 30). Cold I can deal with. Cold I can walk in. Cold? Drizzle? Bring it on. But heat? Mais non. I'll get on the treadmill at the Y in the summer, and on days year-round when the rain is coming down like a carwash. But every passably decent day shall be walked in.

4. Drink lots more water. This is both a little thing and a big thing because walking and drinking more water are part of my plan to:

5. Lose about 15-20 pounds over the course of the year. Not all at once. I know that's likey impossible, and not a good idea for weight stasis. I just like my jeans better when they are not so tight. One pants size down is all I ask.

6. Go to bed earlier and stop trying to get "just the laundry and blog and dishes and and and done" before tucking in. If you ever look at the time/date stamp on my blog entries, somewhere after 11pm is my average posting time. This is because I usually update my blog while the dishwasher is running and a couple of loads are going through the washroom. Granted, I am also having my Lunesta and a cuppa herb tea about that time, because if I didn't, I would be up till four. If anybody ever comes up with a real cure for insomnia, please let me know, okay?

7. Eat healthier. I got into a wicked pattern of convenience food in the months after Katrina -- not to mention the first few months when there was nothing but calorie-packed FEMA food for relief workers. Don't get me wrong -- we were very grateful for the food tents, but FEMA meals have about 11,000 calories per portion to keep you going when you are working your arse off. Which is fine while you are actually doing the physical work of disaster recovery, but once you slide into the management part, and spend more time in front of a spreadsheet than in the field, you just don't burn those calories quite as fast. And it's hard to cook when you are working 80 hours a week, even once the grocery stores were opening up again. Katrina Fatigue also hit me about the same time that I realized I had been married for twenty years, that I am the sole cook (I think my husband is the only Louisiana man ever born who cannot cook), and I have literally thought up, shopped for, prepared and cleaned up after thousands of meals. That realization makes it super-easy to pick up Chinese take-out, which also has the advantage of being cheap. So: More meals from sratch this year. Lighter, fresher, more use of the wok, less use of the pizza delivery people. It is very bad when all the kids who work for PIzza Hut know your first name.

7a. Also: take a multivitamin and a calcium supplement every day.

8. Try to get my act together to create some sort of online means to sell my patterns for extra income. This would also mean:

9. Get more original patterns into saleable condition: make graduated sizes, do them up nice on the computer, etc. My horoscope says that this September will present planetary conditions beneficial for Capricorns to turn a hobby into a career. I would like to do that very much, without losing focus on my animal work.

10. Do something pro-active to stop feeling like I have to be all things to all people all the time. This is a very vague resolution, but it is important. I don't know what "pro-active" means for me yet -- anti-anxiety meds? A shrink? Yoga? -- but I am sick and tired of wearing myself out because I can't stop raising the bar on myself in ways that it does not need to be raised.

11. There is a very important career goal I need to focus on, but I can't reveal the details yet. I need to focus on it really hard, and really soon.

12. Spend more time with friends and family.

13. Do something concrete to really and truly understand my finances. This year I want to learn how to manage money better. Something besides piling all my receipts and W-2's and such into a box and dropping them off at the office of the ever-suffering Peter The Tax Guy.

14. Floss. More often, anyway.

15. Clear my closet of clothes I haven't worn in ages. Shoes too. I am really not much of a "shoe person," but I never get rid of shoes, either. I own far more boots than shoes and I spend about 99% of my shoe-wearing time in Birks or roper boots anyway. And sneakers for walking or the gym. I have shoes that are so old, I could sell them to the retro store. Hmmm....

16. Read (or re-read) one classic book each month. There are too many great books I either read far too long ago, or did not read completely because I procrastinated until the day before exams and I had to default to Cliff notes. I am starting the year with Origin of Species, which I did read in its entirety the first time around, but so long ago that it smells like patchouli.

So there I am. Putting up my resolutions for the whole world to see, or at least that portion of it which reads this blog. Maybe it will be motivating. I hope so. I can also check back now and again to see how I am coming along.

A happy New Year to all of my readers. I do value each and every one of you. May 2007 bring peace, health, prosperity and happiness to you all.



At 6:50 PM, Blogger Patience said...

Good for you, Dez! I need to look into the "need" defined as "came within sight," myself, particularly when it comes to lunchtime kiddie cups of ice cream.

For the insomnia, you may find the walking and drinking water instead of other drinks (like soda) helpful. Caffeine is in a surprising number of drinks as are unexpected calories. It's hard for me to get the squirrels in the thoughts to quiet down once the light goes out, but more regularly moving the large muscles seems to help. And it's the 2nd 20 minutes of walking when I notice the BG numbers drop best.

At 7:04 PM, Blogger Diann said...

Dez and Dave - Just a quick note to wish y'all a very Happy New Year! We received your totally unexpected and wonderful package, and I'm just stunned! More on that later on the blog.

As far as knitting from stash - well, hell yeah! Mine is out of control STILL, so if you need something, feel free to shop at knitswithcats...

At 3:46 AM, Blogger LornaJay said...

Not a cure, but you may just find that "3" and "6" are linked. Nothing like being physically worn out to help you sleep well....

Happy New Year to you too - it sounds like you've done it all right this time round!

At 8:52 AM, Anonymous Debbie said...

How can we blog reading fans help you with that published pattern thing? I have always liked your "portable passion" booklet and would like to buy more patterns from you. It's not just the patterns, it's also your voice that comes with it making it enjoyable. Suggestions ok? Don't over-think what needs to be included in a pattern. Simplify when possible. Not everything needs to be offered in more than a size or two, unless its wildly popular and then publish (sell) another version. Lots of us love basics with a smart twist in them for interest. Like the python bag. Gotta love it!

At 4:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe it! Have you been reading my mail? THis might as well have my photo next to it...

At 6:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of your first patterns could be how you make a square from the center out into a baby blanket.

At 1:08 PM, Blogger Dez Crawford said...

Howdy, everyone, and thanks for the moral support for all my resolutions.

Glad there's still a few copies of Portable Passion floating around out there. It needs to be updated. It needs pictures. All that stuff.

And the center-out baby blanket? That's actually high on my list (an intermediate-skill lace one) but I will also (soon) post instructions on how to knit a square from the center out, in which you can insert any pattern of your choosing.

Happy New Year, Folks!

At 5:51 AM, Blogger eaparis said...

Where can I find a copy of "Portable Passion"? I lost mine and so totally would love to find another copy.


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