Monday, January 5, 2015

Apologies and Resolutions

So, I've never *really* been one of those people who have made resolutions in the past. Those of you who *really* know me in real life know that I am a very disorganized, distracted (some dare say, "absent-minded") person. I *am* highly motivated by To-Do Lists though (case in point, my 12 for 2012 projects, etc. I am also a person who struggles with a mood disorder and mild depression. Sometimes this cancels out the motivation. Some times it takes me 6 months to get around to make an appointment for anything. Apathy is often a worse place to live than depression. Depression is an emotion. Apathy is generally the lack of any emotion, one way or another.

I've been MIA on here for a while. I can't say that I'm back permanently, but I'm here *now*. There were a lot of factors that have kept me silent, the largest of them being my depression and apathy, recently made much worse by a persistent health issue. This year, I was diagnosed with an idiopathic gastrointestinal issue. It may be SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), it may be IBS (a diagnosis I will refuse to accept), it may be completely psychosomatic (if today is any sign, I'm thinking it probably is). It could be something *much* more serious. It's not a lot of things. I've been tested for a battery of things that it's not, among which are Crohn's, Celiac, Colon Cancer, Colitis. It's none of those.

It is something that has made me very aware of my body, how I've responded to it in the past, how I have to respond to it now, and my "new normal". I am not a fan of my "new normal", as much of it relates to my bathroom habits; and really, there are much more exciting things to deal with than that.

This health issue has taught me a lot this year, though. About how I respond to myself and all the ways I have and have not been taking care of my body, mind, heart and soul.

I may be getting *a little* off track here, though. 2015 is here, in all it's calm, new glory. 2014 was one for the books. If I believe my FB feed, it sucked. I think it really did. So many people in my life dealt with so much loss, so much pain, so much heartbreak. It seems to be universal sometimes. It was one of those years. I know it was for me. At the same time, 2014 has taught me some very valuable lessons about myself and my limits. It has taken back the power of the word "no", a word long stripped of power for me. It has made me realize that some small lies that were told to me a decade ago, and were beaten into my head so consistently, weren't true. Most importantly, it has been a spark, in so many ways. I have begun to recapture and rediscover some essential truths about myself. Things I had hidden, things that had just gotten old, tired, abused, disused .... hard.

So, in all this reflection about my health, my body and my mental state, I was terribly struck, and a little motivated, by this post in Elephant Journal, A Public Apology to My Body. If you have the time, you really should read it. Some of it rang more true than I will ever admit. Some of it I couldn't relate to at all. But, it got me thinking. I really need to apologize to myself for the past year. At the same time, I really need to recognize, appreciate and thank 2014 for all the important, poignant lessons it has taught me. Although I'm sure I will not be as eloquent as the aforementioned Sara Crolick (and much-longer winded, I can assure you), it's something I need to say, to myself.

My Apologies....

To My Body -

I'm sorry we had such a rough year this past year. I'm not sure how long you were trying to get me to listen to you, probably at least a year. I am thinking this all started in the Spring of 2013, perhaps? I thought I was doing well, I retooled my diet, I got us a new relationship with the food and sustenance and thought I had *really* started listening to you. We lost 15 pounds in 2013 and felt better than we had in a long time. We felt light, and was starting to feel powerful. Thank you for that lesson. In 2014 though, things started to go South. I think you were trying to tell me, "...since you listen to me so well, I'm going to teach you that you really need to listen to the other parts of you too...." Maybe they put you up to it, who knows? I'm pretty convinced that this GI issue is completely psychosomatic, though. Please tell me if it isn't. I'm listening.

I promise to continue to listen to you. To hear what you need and what you want. To stop and breathe when you're in pain; to push you when you're just being stubborn. I promise to try and learn the difference. I promise to help you find and maintain your strength, your flexibility, your limits. I promise to be patient and kind, to continue to treat you with gentleness and respect; to learn to love all the parts of you, from my slightly bouncy belly to my strong swimmer's shoulders. You seem to enjoy the calmness of acupuncture and regular massage. I promise to continue that.

To My Mind -

I'm sorry I've neglected you this past year. I spent so much time trying to understand what my body was telling me about my general state of well-being that I kind of neglected you. I can tell because you've gotten a little slower and a lot more stubborn. I know you're still in there though, because you've thrown yourself over-board on some really silly things, like grammar and editing and correcting other people and things. Where new information and challenges used to really get your neurons going, you really preferred to coast. You've partially checked out a little this year, especially where it's come to our career, and I can't blame you. I really think you're trying to self-preserve. I tried to fill you with new knowledge, but it's hard to really throw yourself into something when so many others parts are just fighting to stay alive and there's just not the extra energy, I get it. Recently though, you, along with soul, have rediscovered writing and word play. I think once we move onto our new adventure in life, you'll find something to go crazy for again. I think after 10 years, we need a shift, a change. You deserve as much.

I promise to be patient with you when you're being slow and stubborn. I promise that this new adventure will be exciting. I promise to try and challenge you more this year. I'll try really hard to find better books to read. I promise to listen to your interests and let you speak up more often. I promise to reconnect you with some old friends, and make some new friends. I promise to let you out a little more and stretch your legs. You deserve it, you have so much to offer.

To My Heart -

I think you've been the part that I've neglected most of all, and for that, I'm truly sorry. You got hard this year, and I let you. Part of that was depression and apathy, and not really having the energy anywhere else in me to push you. I let you run on "stand-by" mode this year, and that is *never* acceptable. I hope you can forgive me. At the same time, this year you fought for yourself. You started to open on your own (or, maybe, just maybe, it was the help of all those 'heart-openers' in our yoga practice), to come to some terms of your own and to stand up and make the rest of us take notice. You told me you weren't going to be quiet and you were tired of trying to be defined by anyone or anything else. I owe you so much for being brave like that.

I promise this year to listen to you. To let you love freely and to help you come less quickly to anger. I promise to not let you coast and to make the act of loving a more open, conscious, decision. I promise to make more play dates for you with soul. I know the two of you used to go hand in hand and that you are truly both the essence of my being. I promise to continue and clean out our psychic house, to get rid of baggage and heartache, things you don't need any longer. Sometimes that includes people; I promise to do it gently. I promise to acknowledge and validate your pain instead of letting it fester or just ignoring it away. I promise to face more issues head on. Most importantly, I promise to accept you, for all your facets, for the random, crazy, passionate, timid, frightened, alive thing that you are.

To My Soul -

I'm sorry I've tried to shallowly placate you this year. We've gotten a lot of things done, you and I. Oftentimes though, it's just been about you and I just going through the motions, instead of getting really down and dirty and inspired and creative. There's a place for both, there really is. I promise you to go deeper this year, to listen to you when you tell me that this is what you burn for. To listen to you when you say, "You need to stop and do this *now*...". Thank you for reminding me of the practice of grounding, for reminding me that my hands yearn to be in the dirt, to coax things to grow. Thank you for reminding me of things that used to soothe you, for finding a common language in music.

I promise to not just placate you this year. As I told heart, I promise to make more play dates for the two of you and that I will continue to purge that which has cluttered our path. Although I promised to let you burn, I'd rather not have a wildfire. I promise to make you try new things, and more of things that I think you really like. I promise to audition for more shows and to expand your knowledge of the things that do make you quiver and burn. I promise to listen to you when you say something isn't for us; I promise to not make you feel like you're wasting your time. I promise to challenge you and to really let your fire burn. I promise you that others will stand up and take notice.

To Myself -

I promise to be patient and kind. I promise to respect your essence and your limits. I promise to allow all of you to say no. I promise to support you either way, in all that you do. Most importantly, I promise to listen.



Monday, July 1, 2013

Week Four - Garden Shot Saturday (I really should rename it GSM!)

I know here in the Northeastern part of the country, this early summer has been one of the wettest on record. My garden shows it, for sure. The peas did not survive, the corn never came up. The cucumbers I planted didn't emerge, but plenty of compost cukes did. Just under half of the beans got eaten. Some things remain though.

Row of Radish

The radishes remain strong. I've thinned some out and have managed to harvest a mixed handful. I love planting a seed variety for this reason, especially in smaller gardens, it seems to work well.


The dill also continues to grow. Hopefully it will thrive along with its cucumber friends so that it can be made into some yummy dill pickles come fall!


The eggplant continues to blossom. Given its proximity to the bees, I hope they're pollinating them well!

Cherry Tomato

The cherry and paste tomatoes that didn't get chewed off are starting to produce. If only I could get on the garden to weed them out a little!

Pepper Baby

There are some more baby peppers. They seem to have become accustomed to the high amounts of rain, and after initially looking like they wouldn't make it have bounded back.


Some beans are thriving despite being chewed on a little. The black beans are doing the best of all. I think next year, there may be a garden fence instituted. There also may be a greenhouse come late summer/fall.

Cucumber Invasion

The cucumbers continue to be the winners this year. Tendrils have emerged and they are beginning to climb all over their friends and neighbors, carefully avoiding the trellis I gave them!

Apple Trio

Apples are another thing thriving in this weather. There has been almost *no* June drop. I've gone out and shaken a few branches, but got less than a dozen apples to drop off - everything is developing. I have some branches that are so heavy they are almost on the ground!

Cherry Hurrah

Despite all the rain, cherries had a bumper year. We got a total of 8QTS off the tree, in a span of a week and I was able to put a lot up. This year I tried something new.

Homemade Marashino Cherries

Yes, those are homemade marashino cherries. I cannot wait until later this summer to open them! I also made some chocolate cherry preserves and a QT and a PT of pie filling, so I'll have cherries throughout the winter!

Mulberries Ripen

The mulberries continue to ripen. Aside from grabbing some when I walk by, there really won't be a ton to eat this year. The birds will take care of them, but more will come as the tree grows.

Looking like Wine

The wild grapes are really starting to look like grapes at this point. They'll have all summer to fill out some more, too. I am curious to see what kind they'll end up being.


The blackberries also are tolerating this rain rather nicely. For blackberries, it can rain up until they start to turn, then only little bits with lots of sun, please and thank you.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Week Three - Garden Shot Saturday...on a Monday this time!

These garden shot Saturdays just keep getting later and later. It's Mother Nature's fault, I swear. Things have been so wet in upstate NY this year. As I type this, we've actually gone 24 hours without rain, given a brief shower yesterday. I'm hoping it keeps drying out a little, because most garden things aren't happy at the moment because they've actually had *too much* water!

Ready to Thin Out

The radishes are getting really close to being ready to be thinned out. I'm hoping if it stays dry this week, next weekend's picture will be of thinned out radishes. I planted carrots in with them, but haven't seen any carrot seedlings yet. Here's to hoping...

Definitely Dill

The dill is just starting to come up. It's very cute and I tried to weed it out the best I could. I'm glad I planted dill this year because.....

Biggest Thing so Far

The cucumbers are the only thing that has been *loving* all of this rain. They look amazing so far. This means, at the moment, I need to plan on making some more pickles. Bread and Butter most of all.

Pea Stretch

I have a handful of pea plants. Most of them are underwater. Next year, I'll plant rice, I swear. By doing this, it will not rain and we will be in drought conditions, I figure!

Both Sides Now

The beans are growing on both sides of the fencing now and are looking pretty good. If it dries out, I'll hopefully have some blossoms by this weekend.

Pepper Pregnancy?

The bottommost pepper leaves are starting to turn yellow, which means they are water logged. I'm not sure how many peppers I will get because I think the rain kept the bees away, but this is something else I hope a few dry days will cure as well.


I'm not sure what to expect from the eggplant. This looks like a spent blossom, hopefully?

Still wilted.

The tomatoes are still wilted, but there are blossoms that remain. Like the peppers, I'm hoping a few dry days improve their situation.

Compost Onions?

Some compost onions have sprouted up.


The cherries seem to be turning right on schedule. Unfortunately, so much rain has led to some early drop and some spoiling on the tree. I would love enough for a pie, but that is really questionable at this point.

Apple Growth

The apples seem to be growing well. I swear every day they are getting larger. Some branches are bending to the ground and I really think I should be tending to them and picking off some baby apples that are not forming. That's what June drop is for though, right?

Grape Babies

The wild grapes also seem to like the rain. After a week of nothing new, they finally appear to be growing. They won't be ready 'til fall though, so they have plenty of time!

Baby Berry

The blackberries are beginning to form. Yet another plant that needs some sun sooner than later.

Mulberry Blushing

The mulberries are also just starting to turn. The rain hasn't hurt them to speak of. I just don't remember if they are the white ones or the more traditional purple ones. I guess another time will tell item for the list....

Wednesday I get to pick up the first share of the 2013 Summer Share Season. I still think I'm going to post on Food Friday, but we'll have to see. Two more days, I can't wait!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

WIP Wednesday - 2013 Stitch Edition

I can't believe it has been over a year since I did a WIP Wednesday and had some stitching to show for it. It's not that I haven't been stitching, I just haven't been photographing. In my own defense - I have finished 5 quilts this past year.

So, over at Fandom in Stitches, they are doing a Doctor Who Stitch-a-Long and I signed up because it was embroidery, which I can do, but in a very functional (read "not always pretty") way. So, I took it up to challenge myself and because it's Dr. Who! I've been a Whovian longer than anything else as I am progeny of a Trekkie and a Whovian - so I couldn't wait to see these patterns! I haven't been disappointed yet! (In the embroidery skills...that's another thing)

There are five patterns out now but I only have the first two done so far.

Doctor the First

William Hartnell, the First Doctor. Done in back-stitch in a disappointing fashion. Methinks I need more embroidery classes/learning.

Doctor the Second

Patrick Troughton, the Second Doctor. I was a little more adventurous this time. Although you can't tell in the above picture, I added some green for his recorder and his spiffy bowtie.

Finger Detail

I'm actually really proud of how well some of this came out. The fingers in particular were fiddly, but I did the nails/fingertips with a stem stitch and I think they turned out really well.

French Knots

For the recorder embellishments, I did a circle of French Knots and then circled around them with a circle of green. I'm not a huge fan of French Knots, but I really think they gave it the added dimension.

Stem Stitch Two

This is the part I'm most proud of though. I did the entire number 2 in stem stitch and I <3 it! I wish I could now stem stitch everything! I love how it doesn't look all broken and dash-like like back-stitching does.

Jenelle Perrin Sampler

Next up, a class piece. It's a Jenelle Perrin piece called "Long Spring Sampler". She has one for all four seasons, all of which we'll be tackling over the next couple years or so. I have a thing for this palette, as I have two other pieces in this palette in my bedroom. After this is finished, I should put them all together.

Section One

Section One

Section Two

Two - my favorite section!

Section Three

Three - not finished yet!

Among the Cherry Blossoms

Everyone needs what I call "a 10-year project". Like my Polar Bears. The difference in this one is that it's one thread over one on 32-ct. fabric. I'm a sadist. It is a gorgeous piece though. Here's the link to the HAED site for it: Among the Cherry Blossoms.

Sheep Virtues

Can you believe I never did a monthly club or anything? Actually, I can, because I've never been a fan of any of the ones that have been at my LNS. Until these Sheep Virtues. They're really adorable. You'll have to take my word on it until I have something of substance to show you.

First Round

I've coveted a Chatelaine for a while now. They're absolutely gorgeous. Talking to some of the ladies at my stitch night, a couple either had ordered some or wanted to start one but hadn't. Three of us decided to form our own little rogue group and buy our own Chatelaine patterns. Finding out that one of them had a phoenix motif, I had to do that one first. You don't see them yet, they're in the last round. The first round is a temple and water garden.

Lantern Detail

I love these lanterns. They really make it, although they take a lot of thread!

How long before I finish something? Any takers on an over-under?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Week Two - Garden Shot Saturday...on a Sunday!

Oi. Since the first pictures it has rained...and rained...and rained here in the Northeast. It had just stopped *raining* and was more misting when I got on the garden enough to take these pictures. I almost had to call for rescue as the "wet part" of the garden was very like quicksand and I almost got stuck in the muck!

So, I'm just going to show you the things that have changed. No sense in re-inventing the wheel again...


My beans were the first things to come up. They're planted on both sides of the garden netting because last year, I learned that black beans climb. I've also been burned previously by so-called "bush" beans that end up climbing anyway, so I just usually give them something to climb to begin with.


The peas have started to come in slowly. I think I have three or so, but I'm sure the rest will come up eventually too.

Pepper Blossom

The peppers have some blossoms.

Yet They Blossom

So do the tomatoes. Despite being chewed on/off by something....I'm not sure what. I've never seen something come and lop tomato tops off like that.

Who's Been Eating My Tomatoes?

So odd....


I'm hoping that this turns out to be some dill....


Those are definitely radishes. Hopefully I'll see some carrots emerge too. Then it'll be time for some thinning out.


The cucumbers don't seem to mind the rain at all though. Which is awesome. I can't wait until they start climbing!

Apple Blush

The apples continue to grow and some varieties are starting to turn a little red.

Cherry Blush

As does the occasional cherry.

Berry Blast

The blackberries are in all their glory and in full bloom. I hope this rain tapers off - then we'll have a bumper crop!


Especially with the help of all our honeybees (rather, our neighbor's)!

Here's to a week with less rain (according to forecast) and more garden growth!