28 July 2008

Unnaturally Hot

"The luxuriously rich are not simply kept comfortably warm, but unnaturally hot."

Walden has been on my mind several times over the last weeks. It's been a little voice in the back of my mind, though I thought my copy from college had found a better home and was long from my possession. Imagine my surprise when yesterday morning, as I reclined on the floor and J was spoiling me with a head scratch, my eyes, like a beacon, found the book nudged between others on my bookcase.

I've been carrying it around with me since, though in respect to our weekend company (J's mom), I've resisted the temptation to lock myself in a room until it's been read, cover to cover.

The issue of shampoo came up this morning. As I've amassed an unfortunate collection of the crap, I'm destined to be using it for probably months (and even perhaps years) until it's gone completely. It's not that I dislike clean hair, or shampooing my hair, or even being clean, but I am skeptical of the idea that humans couldn't exist without these stupid things. People have been procreating and snuggling and interacting for thousands of years. Bumble and bumble was only invented in the last 30 years. I think time is on my side here. Besides, I happened to look on the labels of all the potions and cleansers in my shower.. holy crap!

I think J is trying very hard to balance out my penchant for turning off the electricity, lighting candles and singing Kumbaya. I appreciate it.

So, other news...

I told work that I needed to go to part time as soon as possible. Part-time here meaning no more than 3 days/24 hours a week. Financially, that will cover our current bills and give us still a bit to put away. Surprisingly, I wasn't met with any resistance and I think I may actually succeed in making that transition. That will give me 4 days a week to live and 3 days to make that living until I can convince J to cover ourselves with leaves and run off for the mountains.

I think that leaves me about 80% of my life to myself and the other 20% (giving myself time for getting ready, traveling, etc) to work. It's a much better balance.

I'll be spending the rest of the day making peach and blueberry jam, as it's the season here for both.

Oh! Knitting news.. Some secret projects to share now:

These are pictures of the blanket I made for Craftster's IYP Round 9 swap for lilyvanilli. I was inspired by her favorite color (green) and her love for cables.

AND a knit tam from the Three Tams pattern from a past Knitty. (Sorry, too tired to link to the pattern.) It was a quick and fun project and I'm really happy with how it turned out. It's inspired more colorwork, too.

Thank you to everyone who has made a point to come up to me over the last couple of weeks to share your experiences, post blog comments and to email me. I've got a lot of email catching up to do and I'll be in touch as quickly as I can. It's really, really a wonderful feeling.. to be honest, I don't know if I've ever felt so alive.

21 July 2008


It's been a really interesting week. In the words of someone who I respect, admire, and whose advice I will seek out in my journey, there are three steps: awakening, anticipation and then action, and I've only dipped my toes into the pool of awakening.

This week hasn't been without slip-ups--you know those things that you do without thinking because right now, it doesn't really matter... and then as you munch of your ridiculously expensive bag of 'gourmet' jordan almonds (example only!) an hour later, you realize that it wasn't a good choice. Or, one that you should make again.

But, we did a lot of positive things. We turned off the air. We turned off the television. We did stick to most of the menu, but as it turns out, our ability to coordinate our schedules to have meals every night together isn't always at 100%, so we've still got food for three meals for this week that we'll carry over.

I'm going to sit down mid-week this week to plan the rest of the meals. J's mom will be in town Friday-Sunday so I've got to also think about feeding an extra person.

I've also done some 'research' to find people who are feeling the same way about culture and life as I have been feeling:

Simple Living Network
Choosing Voluntary Simplicity

That's a good start, I think, to keep some focus in my thinking.

The best part is, since I've started writing about this, several people have come up to me and said, "me, too" and that gives me a lot of hope for the future.

Crafty news... Well, let's see. This week has been a rush getting a bunch of late and soon-to-be-late swap packages in the mail. I'll be glad when I don't have to worry about them so much because it really is a drain. Of course I love getting packages in the mail, but there's just a point where it's too much.

Soon I'll be able to share pictures of all my recent top-secret projects!

16 July 2008


I'm so encouraged from yesterday. It's rare that I get one blog comment, and I got TWO, and both from people who didn't chastise me for running off the deep end. So, thank you Hannah and dragonflyducky. Your comments mean a lot to me!

In the interest of historical documentation, here are the changes that have started to take place:

1. Canceled Directv. We have it until the 9th of August, but after that, it's gone. In a way, it's a bit sad. I do like the music channels on further up the end of the channel, and we'll all know I'll miss Keith Olbermann, but in another way, it's really wonderful feeling. We both made a point to not to turn it on yesterday (except to peek to see if Keith O was back, but he wasn't, so it was turned off again.).

2. I sat down on Sunday evening and actually planned a week's worth of meals. Taking into account what we got in our CSA box, I planned out the following:

Monday - Eggplant Curry, Wild Rice, Pita
Tuesday - Falafel Burgers, Whole Wheat Couscous Salad
Wednesday - Herbed Tofu, Vegetable Tian, Green Salad
Thursday - Sundried Tomato Pasta, Green Salad, Homemade Garlic Bread
Friday - Homemade Pizza
Saturday - BBQ Seitan w/ Veggies, Green Beans, Green Salad
Sunday - Vegetable Fajitas

I've planned it so that on the busiest days (like today, for instance), the meal would be ready with minimal effort. Because I had extra time yesterday, I slow cooked the tian so when we get home tonight, we can warm it up in a couple of minutes. Tonight before bed, I'll throw bread in the bread machine and it'll be ready when I wake up for Thursday's dinner. This Sunday, once I see our CSA box on Saturday, I'll be ready to sit back down and plan out another week's dinner.

3. I've reopened the book "Your Money or Your Life" that I nabbed at the first Free Market I went to. At the time, even, I found it as an omen for things to come. I started reading it once before, but this time, I intend to make it past the first chapter.

4. I am making the commitment to be less active with swaps. I love them, I do, but I can't keep doing them at this point. I've got one more that I know I'm obligated to be a part of, but I will be phasing the rest out as we go. I'll still do personal swaps and I will probably still be active in Shop the Swap, but I need to really give myself more boundaries.

I feel like that's quite a list for so early in the morning. As I actually need to be leaving for work, I should end this here for now. I'm going to start looking for part-time work doing something that I don't have to take home with me and something that doesn't leave me feeling so exhausted. If anyone in the area knows of anything, please keep me in mind. In the meantime, I'll probably be at work thinking of a different life.

15 July 2008

A New Beginning

Before I go off on the tangent to which I am struggling to find the words for, I did want to share this--my Tour de Fleece "Burning Bush" BFL, spun into a lovely, soft, two-ply at around 107-ish yards? (Ok, I forgot the actual yardage, so that's a guess). My other TdF pursuits have been pushed onto a back burner so I could make it through the past week at work...

... leading me to my non-knitting, non-crafty tangent. (So, if you want all the latest and greatest from knitting projects or from the Tour, stop reading now!)

I've really be struggling with a lot of concepts lately. The concept of modernization, the concept of division of labor, the concept of emotional labor, the idea that I can lead a sentient, inspired life, a creative life.. an unentangled life. An off-the-grid life. A meaningful life. A worth-while life. A life I want to wake up for.

I'm really, really having a difficult time with it. J and I are very fortunate that we don't have any real financial obligations.. we don't own our house, we don't have children. Our two cars are paid off. Basically, we have a disposable income that affords us the luxury of doing whatever it is that we want. But, it's becoming more and more obvious that this isn't what I want.

If I weren't married, I think I'd live in a tiny place, I'd grow my own food, I'd have no electricity. I'd be asleep by 8pm each night, up with the sunrise. I'd spend time doing whatever it was I found most rewarding -- spinning, knitting, or god forbid I may actually pick up a book. I would not have a telephone. I'd write real letters. I'd walk more. I'd learn to bake.

.. And instead, my life is working. And sleeping.

And I've just come to a point where that isn't good enough any longer.

There are going to be some big changes in the house over the next couple of months. We're getting rid of the satellite TV (RIP Keith Olbermann, wherever you have been over the last week?). Our discretionary income is going to be gone.. no more trips to Urban Outfitters because we can't decide what to wear, no more trips to the LYS because I'm having a bad day, no more ice cream unless it's part of the budget. We're going to have real meals that we'll really sit down for. I'm going to find a part-time job that will give us enough to cover the bills, but I can't do this anymore. It's not worth it.

These are the easy things we can do.. and still, some of them are going to be really, really difficult. But, I only have one life, and there is only one today. And if I can't be happy today, then I may not have another chance.

I've had this gnarling, ever-present lump of stress in my throat over the last month. It's been growing and growing. At first, I couldn't figure out what it was--am I getting sick? Am I already sick? Could it be allergies? Then I realized, it's the feeling that my stomach is in a ball and wound so tightly from stress that I can barely swallow without feeling it. I've wondered how to get rid of it.. would crying help? Would quitting my job help?

I think these are the only answers. So, today is the mark of a new life. This first month will be really rough, but I really, really need these changes more than anything.

Cheers to a new beginning and let's hope for the best.

07 July 2008

Tour de Fleece 2008 - Days 1 and 2

Am I fooling myself that I will actually spin all the days of the Tour?

So far, I've got 2/2 and I'm getting ready to take my shoes off to start a new bobbin for day three!

Day 1 got me spinning this:

into this:

1.5ounces, 100 yards. Nice worsted weight single (See, Grieney? You're not forgotten!)

Day 2's spinning:

about 2 ounces of Spunky Eclectic's "Burning Bush" BFL.

(Remember this one? That's it on the bobbin)

The Ravelry group has been very active, which is great for keeping me sticking with it, but man, am I out of my spinning league!

05 July 2008

All The News

Holy shit.

I will never eat french onion dip again. Ever.

And I'm sorry, but I just will not.

I've given the speech to the husband to spare him the anguish of having to grapple with whether or not to divorce me given the current state, but damn.

Because (despite the language), I will keep this family-friendly, I will spare everyone the details. Let's just be thankful that I'm not divorced and there are more interesting things going on.

The fourth we spent with a friend, playing the Wii, drinking beer (and perhaps America is getting back at me for drinking imports?), and eating good ol' American food--we grilled out with veggie dogs and burgers, made some chili, baked beans and potato salad. (And this intestinal riot is the thanks I get!)

We did also manage to give Q a haircut while he was least expecting. (I joke, really, because he's ALWAYS good about baths, haircuts, nail trimming.. he's almost always good, even. Really. I'm not lying.) But, LOOK what a handsome dog I have! I swear!!

I couldn't be more proud of him if I really was his mother. Mom, Dad -- you would have been SO proud of him yesterday! Even with strange people over, he barked once, and within a minute or two, our guests were petting him and everything was completely fine. Q is such an affirmation of life. I think he started off with worst circumstances than most other dogs, but he's just so.. amazing. He's a lesson that hard work and patience pays off. And that love truly is unconditional.

AND that a haircut can make a big difference!

Okay, enough gloating about the dog..

My car is practicing its camouflage:

... or did we just get a terrible storm?

And in fiber news (no pun intended with the first mentioned subject), I haven't carded up anything new, but I have managed to put about 75% of my stash on Ravelry AND I reorganized a bit, too.

(Luckily, you can't tell the other 80% of the craft room is still a bit of a mess.)

I finished up a project that I started in March and I'm pretty happy with the results. I'll post pictures here in just a couple more weeks.

I'm off to sip tea and relax. I hope.

03 July 2008

Grr.. I can't believe my vacation is officially over the hill. I think I'll spend the next three days consulting sages, oracles, psychics and throwing bones to figure out what lottery numbers will get me the jackpot.

J wanted to go to Urban Outfitters yesterday to get some new, widowmaker-friendly pants. I managed to get a new, ugly-color cardigan out of the journey, though, and tried to snap a shot of me in it so I could see exactly how ugly the color was on me (I don't care, thank you):

(Excuse the rumpled shirt, too. Mom, I promise I do laundry but this is vacation!)

(Oh, and mom and dad, you may not know this, but I got extensions about 6 weeks ago.)

Not really getting as much knitting done this week as I had hoped. Ravelry has sucked a lot of time out of me, and I started adding pictures of my stash, which led to me reorganizing the craft room... I did make a new batt, though, called "Spice Rack."

Merino and corriedale wool, glitz. A tiny batt, but spicy! 0.6oz.

I think I may be dying of a spider bite, too. I just went out to the shed to get our second box fan and felt a sharp bite. It started itching, I scratched it, but then I noticed all the spiders around and started freaking out. (Important for the story--we recently had a pregnant black widow that lived right outside our door.) So, now I'm carefully watching it, wondering if my turned off phone has enough juice to call the hospital when I start fading. I'm feeling a bit numb in my hand, too, but I'm also crazy and a hypochondriac.

I did look around at the possible spider culprits (there were several) but I can't say who it may have been. Let's hope, for their sake, that this is just a mosquito bite.

It's dinner time for the pup. I can tell because he's moved to being in the same room as me and is panting and staring.