Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Resolutions

 So I've never been big on New Year's Resolutions. Partly because I think it's a silly tradition and partly because I've never actually been able to follow through with the resolutions I make. But on the other side of my first year as a parent (which I've loved!), I'm finding that it's helpful to make specific goals--even if it's just to relax and do something for myself. Without specific goals, by the time I get the little one to bed, I forget to do the things I enjoy before collapsing on the couch myself. So here are my goals for the New Year:
  • Read two books a month: this may not seem like a lot--mostly because it isn't a lot. I used to strive to read 50 books in a year and in my grad school years I actually came pretty close to that. But at this point in my life--working full-time, a full-time Mom, a full-time wife--I'm striving to make goals that are a stretch, but are attainable. Two books a month is that type of goal. My hope is also to work through some of the books I own, but haven't had a change to read yet.
  • Complete twelve knitting projects: the New Years before I got pregnant I had the goal to finish one unfinished knitting project each month of the year. Then I found out I was pregnant and got distracted working on baby projects. With this same idea in mind I've made a goal to work through twelve different projects throughout the year--working both on new projects and some unfinished projects.
  • Restart my blog: I love to write which has always been my reason for blogging. I fell away from blogging when I started grad school as I was doing so much writing for my school work. But since finishing my masters I've found that without deadlines and assignments I don't have the motivation to do much writing and I miss it. This year I'm hoping to spend more time blogging. Hopefully between the books I'm reading and the projects I'm knitting along with my every day life, I'll have plenty of content for writing. 
So here's to 2015--perhaps it will be the first year I actually keep my New Year's Resolutions!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

the double-edged fear of writing

Summer has drawn to an end and I find myself no more familiar with my blog than I was at the beginning of summer, 4 months ago. I read a book by beautiful author and friend, Jo Kadlecek this summer and something she wrote really stuck out to me:

"I have come to believe that writing is double-edged fear: You fear having your words, your thoughts, and your stories read, but you fear more that they will never be read at all."

Those words are so descriptive of my approach to writing. Half the time I don't stop to write my stories, musings, ect. because I think, "no one reads it anyway" and the other half of the time I don't because I'm afraid someone actually will read it.

Too many things in my life are run by fear. I don't watch certain movies because I'm afraid I'll have weird, disturbing dreams. I drive the speed limit because I'm afraid I'll get a ticket. I workout because I'm afraid I eat too much junk...and the list goes on and on. Obviously not all those fears are bad things, but, overwhelmed by them all, I find myself unwilling to give in to some of them.

And so here I am, back to blogging, making another attempt at putting together meaningful sentences, though no one may ever read them, because though I live under the weight of the double-edged fear of writing, I refuse to let it completely overtake me.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

my blog manifesto

My first full year of grad school has come to a close and I'm slowly emerging to find the things I left behind when school work took over my life. Though I haven't blogged in a really, really, really long time, I've been thinking a lot about my blog these last few months: why I have one - what purpose I see it fulfilling - what compels me to write my thoughts for all to see. What I've found is that I love to write. It gives me great enjoyment to process life by putting words on paper. I love that months later I can go back and reread what I wrote, remembering the process of writing itself--whether the words flowed effortlessly or I struggled to articulate my thoughts, writing the same paragraph again and again--I simply love to write.

As I thought about why I have a blog and what I want to do with my blog, I found that I don't want to have a theme--a knitting blog, a localvore's blog, a gardening blog, a married life blog--I just want to have a place where I can write. So as I struggle to find time to write for fun--in the midst of homework, class, work and life--though I may write about knitting, gardening, eating local or my faith, they will never be the purpose of this blog. This blog will simply be a place to process through life by writing my thoughts. Here's hoping the summer holds more time for this processing and more posts on this blog...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

hearts of flesh

I've been obsessively listening to the latest Regina Spektor cd since I bought it a week or so ago. I keep thinking I'll get sick of it, but the more I listen to it the more I want to listen to it. My favorite song so far is Calculation, the first on the album (you can listen to it below). I often find myself asking what makes a song good - what gives it worth? As a Christian many would expect me to claim a song has to be produced by a Christian label to be worthwhile, but I have to say I think there's so much more to good music than simply looking for a Christian label.

Regina Spektor's latest album, and her song Calculation in particular, are such a great example of this. A portion of the lyrics:

"So we made the hard decision
And we each made an incision
Past our muscles and our bones
Saw our hearts were little stones

"Pulled 'em out they weren't beating
And we weren't even bleeding
As we lay 'em on the granite counter top

"We beat 'em up
Against each other

"...We struck them so hard
So hard until they sparked"

reads almost exactly like an Old Testament passage from the prophet Ezekiel:

"I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh."
(Ezekiel 11:19 ESV)

where God, speaking through Ezekiel, says that he will remove the hard, uncaring hearts from his people and replace them with loving, compassionate hearts of flesh (embellishment my own of course).

I wouldn't claim that this song is good simply because it seems to parallel scripture, however, but that it's good because it's true. Our goal is often to not allow our hearts to break, to not feel pain, to deal with the realities of an ugly world without feeling anything, to be come numb because having a heart of flesh means that our hearts hurt regularly. Why should we allow ourselves such pain? Because it is our hearts of flesh that make us human. It's our ability to feel pain and compassion and love for and with others that separates us from machines. A truth that I think screams from the lyrics of Regina Spektor's beautifully crafted song.

Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Those of you who live in the north-east (especially those of you in State College, PA!) know that we've had a week or so of unusually cold weather for October. When Steve and I moved to Massachusetts along with a larger monthly rent bill we also inherited a utility bill we've had nothing to do with for the past three years: heat. Had we been in our old apartment in State College for this recent wave of cold weather, I imagine we wouldn't have hesitated to turn on our heat. Now that we're footing the bill, however, we're doing all that we can to hold off turning on the heat as long as possible.

For me the fun thing about cold weather and feeling cold is it puts me in the mood to knit, so this past week my knitting needles have been going like crazy. To start I whipped up a pair of fingerless gloves to wear around the house. I'm sure this sounds a little crazy, but it really helps; especially when I have to type papers, use my hands to turn pages while reading or, and this one in particular is key, when I use my hands to knit! The gloves are super cozy and definitely made braving the cold weather without heat more tolerable.

Once my hands were warm enough to continue knitting I worked on a project I started in March: a seamless yoke sweater. For those of you who aren't knitters and are unfamiliar with this particular sweater pattern it was designed by a famous knitter (yes, there are famous knitters, and yes I realize that admitting I know of famous knitters shows just how into knitting I am), Elizabeth Zimmerman. The amazing thing about this sweater is that it has no seams; if this doesn't seem amazing to you, take out any sweater from your closet and count the number of seams it has - now imagine trying to figure out how to construct a sweater without any seams - crazy, right?

Being someone who always has to do things the hard way I decided that I didn't just want a seamless sweater, I wanted a seamless cardigan. This meant that I was going to cut my knitting. Again, those of you who aren't knitters don't understand the seriousness of this task. Knitting is based off of a ton of string that is looped together in a way that if one portion of that string is cut the entire sweater would likely unravel. In order to prevent this from happening when I cut my knitting I created two very strong seams and then cut in between them. I then added a button band and a collar and voilá: seamless yoke cardigan!

This is the first official sweater I've knit so I'm very excited its complete. The yarn for my second and third sweaters has already been purchased. Thus continues my obsession with knitting.

Friday, September 18, 2009

sand animation

Classes have started and I'm officially loaded down with work! The immense amounts of reading I have prevents me from taking the time to write a long blog entry right now, so I thought I would share this cool video with you instead. My sister sent it to me a couple weeks ago and I was amazed at how talented this woman is. She does sand animation; this video is of her on "Ukraine's Got Talent". Enjoy!

Sand Animationn - Kseniya Simonova

Sorry the link isn't fancy and embedded - I do know how to embed YouTube videos, but have my reasons for not doing so.

Friday, September 4, 2009

turning lemons into lemonade

or pricey tomatoes into tomato soup!

I was pretty frustrated after my last post and, at first, didn't really want much to do with my pricey tomatoes. However, after spending so much on them I had to do something with them, so I started hauling out my canning equipment and went to work making tomato soup. After canning this soup last year I don't think I'll ever buy Campbell's again; we ran out toward the end of winter so we've been missing it for a while and were very excited to have a fresh batch to devour. As I worked away, preparing the soup for preserving, my anger at the woman who doesn't know a bushel from a half-bushel subsided, as it was overtaken by excitement and anticipation for more delicious tomato soup.

Since then I've made a lot of progress with the whole localvore in MA idea. I went back to (a great resource for anyone trying to buy local produce, by the way) and started calling farms again - this time extending the radius a bit. After a comment my brother-in-law made on my last post about traveling a bit for cheaper produce, I realized that one of my biggest problems was that I was trying to find cheap produce 15 minutes or less from home. In State College I traveled 30-40 minutes to Belleville for cheap prices; if it's necessary, why not do that here as well? As I made my way through the farms, checking out their websites and calling, when necessary, to check prices or amounts they sell their produce in, I started to find some really cool sources for local produce in the area. Here are just a few:

Connors Farm: This farm has a really cool CSA you can sign up for and is actually really close to us. They provide all the vegetables a typical CSA would, but, being primarily a fruit farm, they also provide a lot of berries. As a CSA member you also get to pick a bouquet of fresh flowers from their gardens each week and you get 2 free passes to their corn maize in the fall. As you can imagine I'm already on their waiting list for 2010. :) For those not interested in being a part of a CSA: they also have a lot of fruit you can pick yourself, which helps to keep the cost down. I'll definitely be checking them out when I'm ready to make applesauce.

Brooksby Farm: I actually found out about this farm when I called Connors Farm to get a price for peaches - Connor's peaches froze earlier this year, but the guy I talked to said he thought Brooksby still had some peaches. This farm also has a lot of fruit you can pick and they sell their peaches in 20 lb. boxes at a discounted rate (though you do have to order them ahead of time). So you get them fairly cheap and you don't even have to pick them yourself! Canned peaches were our lifesaver when we were craving fruit last winter; needless to say I'm picking up a box tomorrow morning.

Wilson Farm: This was a very exciting find; its a huge farm that has an equally large farmstand that is open year round. They're two time winners of the "Best of Boston" award and...they sell a very reasonable rate! We checked them out yesterday - the farmstand really is huge and has a lot of cool things. They do import some of their produce, but from what I could tell they were very good about marking where things were from, so you knew if it wasn't local. When we did find things without labels the workers were able to tell us, without any trouble, where the items were from. They also sell meat and cheese: other than the beef, their meat is all from local farms and I believe most of their cheese is local as well. Though this place ended up being about 30 minutes away from us it was definitely worth the trip! In addition to my tomatoes, meat and cheese, we found some hot peppers to spice up some salsa for Steve and a fairly large, really healthy basil plant that I plan to re-pot and eventually use to make pesto.

Since my last post I also found a Boston Localvores website which has a ton of great resources for people trying to eat locally in this area. They even had a fun blog about canning together which reminded me of canning together with my friends in State College....good times! Also I found this blog which explains that the northeast area of the US got hit with late tomato blight this year which destroyed a hefty portion of their tomato crop; this definitely explains the strange looks when I ask for large quantities of tomatoes.

So for now I'm celebrating 13 jars of tomato soup, our first batch of salsa with our garden tomatoes, the 50 lbs of tomatoes I have to can this weekend and the 20 lbs of peaches I'll have to can tomorrow! Major progress from my last post...very, very exciting!
Related Posts with Thumbnails