Saturday, November 26, 2011

I realized that I haven't been posting anything that shows the crafting I've been doing, and wanted to give an update.  The shot above is a super easy and quick Halloween apron I made for a swap.  I used this tutorial.

Next up are a couple of Monsters with mouths made from the pattern here.  My partner is a huge Star Wars fan, so I made Yoda and an Ewok.

For an earlier 'Monster' swap where we all used the same pattern, I had a partner that loved Tim Burton and specifically Edward Scissorhands, so I made an Edward monster...

I've done a lot of other stuff since these, but wanted to show a few of the things I've been having some fun with in the past few months!!  I love


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My dear friend Lisa shared this with me, and I think it is just beautiful and wanted to share it with you (and save it for myself for later).

Listening to Autumn

Autumn is slipping through summer’s branches
                and I am listening.
I am listening to the dying
                flowing forth from autumn’s being.
I am listening to the life
                hidden in the dying.

I am listening.

I am listening to the trees taking off their lush green garments.
I am listening to the trees turning, turning, ever turning.
I am listening to the burning bush of autumn.
I am listening to the falling of this season.

I am listening.

I am listening to the song of transformation,
to the wisdom of the season,
to the losses and the grieving,
to the turning loose and letting go.
I am listening to the surrender of autumn.

I am listening.

I am listening to the music of the forest’s undergrowth,
to the crunch of leaves beneath my feet,
to the miracle of crumbling leaves becoming earth again.
I am listening to the beauty and fragility of aging.

I am listening.

I am listening to the wheel of the year turning,
to the cycle of the seasons,
to the call for harmony and balance.
I am listening to the circle of life.

I am listening.

I am listening to days growing shorter,
to the air turning crisp and cool,
to the slow waning of light,
to the stars that shine in cold, dark nights.
I am listening to the growing harvest moon.

I am listening.

I am listening to happy harvest cries,
to hearts overflowing with thanksgiving,
to tables laden with gifts from the earth,
to baskets overflowing with fruit,
I am listening to the bountiful gift of autumn.

I am listening.

I am listening to a call for inner growth,
to my need to let go of material possessions,
to my need to reach out for invisible gifts.
I am listening to a call for transformation.

I am listening.

I am listening to the death of old ways.
I am listening to the life force turning inward.
I am listening to the renewal of the earth.

I am listening.

I am listening to summer
handing over to autumn.
I am listening to the poetry of autumn.

I am listening.

~ Macrina Wiederkehr


Friday, November 18, 2011

Ok, I am way behind!
I am going to skip any forced date associations and just list some stuff that I've been thank*full for lately.
- Hokie Football, Logan Thomas and the whole amazing team
- Seeing family and friends that we haven't seen in a long time (Dad Baute, our marvelous friends Teague and Crystal)
- The Master Gardener program, and the Junior Master Gardener program which I was lucky enough to get to volunteer with this year (JMG will start up again in February)
- My Dad's ability to keep pushing himself - he has recovered from initially being almost completely immobile, to walking with a walker, to walking with a cane, and now just walking.  My heart is so glad.

And, finally...  One thing I am especially excited about is that I am putting together a giving plan for 2012.  This is the first time I have done it and I couldn't be more enthusiastic.  In the past I have happily supported numerous charities in a haphazard way, donating as a the whim hits me, often reactive to one plea or another.  It  occurred to me that I'm overlooking some that I'd like to support simply because they haven't made a recent plea.  So, for 2012 I'm making a list of 12 charities and will make a "planned" donation each month.  I can still do the haphazard stuff if an organization I didn't include in my list of 12 seems compelling, but I will make sure that I'm supporting the 12 charities I choose in the coming year.  I am super blessed to have the means to be able to give.


Monday, November 14, 2011

November 8
Aren't we all so blessed to have such great technology?  I mean, think about how far we've come.  I posted something the other day remembering back to typing on carbon copies on a typewriter.  What a miserable experience that was...  Each typo there in triplicate forevermore.  I spend hours each day staring at a computer - a mixed blessing, maybe, but I think a blessing nonetheless.  We don't need to buy the Encyclopedia Brittanica any more; all the information you could ever ask for is available at our fingertips at any time.  I'm super thankful for that.

November 9
I am thankful for sharp cheddar cheese.  A deep and abiding love of cheese is something I share with my Dad (inherited from?).  He sent me a giant round thing of cheese from Figi's - three or five pounds or something.  I cut it into huge chunks and froze some of them.  I think the cheese arrived on Tuesday... As of Friday I'd finished one of the huge chunks....  <3

November 11
Today I am grateful for, the swappers there and the organized craft swaps.  This site really brought my creativity back into my life in a fun way.  The craft swaps are short turn around and a huge variety of options, so it is really fun for me as someone that is very fickle and likes to context switch.  I can work in paper one day and fibers the next.  I can sew, then make salt dough, then papercraft, and all of it for a fun cause of making something fun for craft partners.

November 13
Dar Williams in concert at the Lyric theater.  A great husband, and a new WOW group to play with.  Grateful for a great day!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November 7
I would like to give thanks for an awesome community of coworkers, an awesome job and a phenomenal company.  I got together over lunch with some of my coworkers today to do NaNoWriMo sprints (where one person provides a prompt and everyone writes), and I was able to get another 1000 words closer to my goal as a result.  The people I am surrounded by care about each other, and I have many mentors I can turn to at any time (and am thankful in some small occasion when I can return the favor).  I share an awesome, vibrant community with incredible people.  I am so very lucky.

November 8

On this day I am extraordinarily thankful for my right to vote.  My dear friend Lisa shared a song (a poem, really) by Ani DiFranco about feminism as she gave thanks for the suffrage ladies, and as I think back on them and all those who came before and fought for the rights we enjoy today, and I'd like to share it with you.

 Grand Canyon
By Ani DiFranco

I love my country
By which I mean, I am indebted joyfully
To all the people throughout its history
Who have fought the government to make right

Where so many cunning sons and daughters
Our foremothers and forefathers
Came singing through slaughter
Came through hell and high water

So that we could stand here
And behold breathlessly the sight
How a raging river of tears
Cut a grand canyon of light

Yes, I've been so many places
Flown through vast empty spaces
With stewardesses whose hands
Look much older than their faces

I've tossed so many napkins
Into that big hole in the sky
Been at the bottom of the Atlantic
Seething in a two-ply

Looking up through all that water
And the fishes swimming by
And I don't always feel lucky
But I'm smart enough to try

Cuz humility has buoyancy
And above us only sky

So I lean in
Breathe deeper that brutal burning smell
That surrounds the smoldering wreckage
That I've come to love so well

Yes, color me stunned and dazzled
By all the red white and blue flashing lights
In the American intersection
Where black crashed head on with white

Comes a melody, comes a rhythm
A particular resonance
That is us and only us
Comes a screaming ambulance
A hand that you can trust
Laid steady on your chest
Working for the better good
(Which is good at its best)

And too, bearing witness
Like a woman bears a child...
With all her might

Born of the greatest pain
Into a grand canyon of light

I mean, no song has gone unsung here
And this joint is strung crazy tight
And people been raising up their voices
Since it just ain't been right

With all the righteous rage
And all the bitter spite
That will accompany us out
Of this long night

That will grab us by the hand
When we are ready to take flight
Seat back and tray table
In the upright and locked position
Shocked to tears by each new vision
Of all that my ancestors have done

Like, say, the women who gave their lives
So that I could have one

People, we are standing at ground zero
Of the feminist revolution
Yeah, it was an inside job
Stoic and sly
One we're supposed to forget

And downplay and deny
But I think the time is nothing
If not nigh
To let the truth out

Coolest f-word ever deserves a fucking shout!
I mean
Why can't all decent men and women
Call themselves feminists?

Out of respect
For those who fought for this
I mean, look around
We have this

Yes, I love my country
By which I mean I am indebted joyfully
To all the people throughout its history
Who have fought the government to make right

Where so many cunning sons and daughters
Our foremothers and forefathers

Came singing through slaughter
Came through hell and high water

So that we could stand here
And behold breathlessly the sight
How a raging river of tears
Is cutting a grand canyon of light


Monday, November 7, 2011

I could proceed to run down what feels like an obligatory list of extended relatives, friends, and loved ones, but I am not going to do that. This is about the things I am truly grateful for as they occur to me, or whatever makes the biggest impact of a particular day. If you want a shout out, feel free to try to make my day. :) A few more days' catch up:

November 4th

I have to give thanks for the blessing that is the animals and pets in my life. Every day I wake up happy (ok, so sometimes at 3am maybe not so much, but in general!) and every night I go to sleep knowing that there is a living thing that looks to me as their world. I am their provider and they love me unconditionally. Pets are a blessing to me.

November 5th
I would like to express my extreme gratitude for my friends. I got to spend time on this day in Atlanta with my inner circle of friends and I love being around them and I love the energy we share whenever I get to spend time with them.

November 6th
I am thankful for Mac and Cheese, and Oven Roasted Vegetables. Seriously. I made the oven roasted veggies last night (recipe later, SOOOO GOOD) and tonight John is making good old Kraft Mac 'n Cheese to have with them. I'd rather have homemade M&C, but without the ingredients and an hour to kill, Kraft will definitely do. I am thankful for having the means to obtain and make these lovely items. If you think that this one is superfluous or don't believe that you should be thankful for food, ask the people in Africa. Sign this petition with me if you are grateful to be fed.

I am ALSO grateful for my work friends, specifically the Racker Writers group that got together to do writing sprints for NaNoWriMo over our lunch today. 1000 more words = all win! Every thousand words gets me another step closer to the 50k that are needed to "win" NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo Word Count du Jour

Friday, November 4, 2011

Word count, per MS Word, as of yesterday (11/03/11): 3,119

Only 46,881 words to go.

Did I mention I'm traveling to Atlanta this weekend (14 hours of driving)? And I have a lot to do tonight to get ready for my quick trip.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

I am totally stealing this idea from someone else - listing something you are thankful for each day in the month of November. I need to catch up, so today will be THREE things I am thankful for.

For November 1, I would like to start out with saying I am thankful to have gotten so close to my Dad, and that his battle with Multiple Myeloma seems to be going well. I have come to truly appreciate how lucky I am to still get to have him in my life.

For November 2: My heart is full as I give thanks for my husband John. He is my lover, my rock, my cheerleader, and my closest friend. I've been so fortunate to have enjoyed ten adventurous years with him so far, and can't wait to spend many more. He is a grace on my existance.

For November 3: I am grateful for my sister. She and I are like two sides of a coin - I think I am hard and she is soft (neither of those being particularly "good" or "bad", just different with their own prices and benefits). Externally I think we may seem totally different, but we are so interwoven and alike. I have and will always learn from her.

I am so Thank*Full. What are you thankful for?


Ok, so it is November, and the annual occasion of "NaNoWriMo," a.k.a. National Novel Writing Month. During the month of November, writers around the world sign up for NaNoWriMo and try to write 50,000 words before the end of the month.

I recently joined a group on our internal Chatter site (like Facebook, but internal to my company) for Writers and some of the folks there were talking about doing it. I've always fancied myself a writer and love this idea, so I decided to go along for the ride.

We're on Day 3 of the challenge and I thought I'd jump over here to do a quick update. Isn't it funny -- now I'm worried about "wasting" my words over here, versus putting them to my "novel." C'est la vie.

My friend Debbie Talley gave a great tip (which I didn't follow, but still think is a great idea) that last year she wrote out 30+ index cards with writing prompts, prior to Nov. 1st. If I had a plot in mind going in, I definitely would have done that.

So, anyway, the big news of this post is to let you know about a tool I found that I'm loving - it is called Write Or Die. You put in your target word count, and amount of time, set a few other options and away you go! It has a tracking bar at the top to show how you're doing on your word count, and another for your time. If you stop typing for more than a second or two the screen starts to fade over to a bright red color, and after about :10 an annoying sound (of your choice!) begins. I chose the 'bad violins' (or something like that, is what the sound is called), and BOY does it work! I HAD to start typing just to make that noise stop!! I set a goal of 1000 words in 1/2 hour (there is a twitter hashtag you can follow for others attempting to do this - #30min1k), and according to WOD I met it! (OK, the disclaimer is that the 1012 that WOD said I got only showed as 940 on Word, but still - 940 words in 32 minutes - I think that's great!).

You can also follow @nanowordsprints on twitter for word sprint suggestions (which I haven't found too helpful, personally).

Anyhoo - just checking in. Now to leave you with, hopefully, a smile... I had a silly idea this morning for a gimmicky novel about the future, where the English language has evolved (devolved) to the point that common phrases were converted to their TXT equivalents. Here's a sample:

"Well, teeteewhyell, got a meeting."
"OK, teeteeeffenn - just elmeekay if you can catch lunch later."

That's about it. Teeteewhyell!!

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