Life Project #2 – Patience

This is something I’ve wanted to do for awhile. My high learning curve and IQ has made it possible for me to learn many things and I’ve accomplished a lot in comparison to the average person my age.

But when something doesn’t come to me instantly, I throw my hands up in frustration. I’m not used to being unable to learn things after just one reading or one video I get frustrated. I then bang away at the subject until I understand and if I don’t understand after that my self-esteem that is achingly low will perk up. You

    are not

good enough. You will never be.

My failing at life project one and this blog tapering off are signs of this. It is too hard, too ambitious and I will never be good enough.

So, to start over, I’m going to try and cultivate patience with myself.

Goal, set, match.

D.I.Y. Project #1 – Toy Mouse finished!!

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Everyone Welcome Thaddeus the Mouse to the world!

Now this is…a rough approximation of what this toy should look like. The ones that Abby Glassberg makes are so so so much cuter but Thaddeus has a certain charm.

Things I Wish I Had Gotten –

Invisible Thread – I thought the black thread showing would give it a neat look and it probably would if I was more careful with my stitching. The effect of the exposed thread gives it the homemade look I was going for but makes it look amateurish and honestly a little creepy. But Thaddeus does make the kiddo happy, at least that is what I take from him attempting to put the whole of his head into his mouth. It also pairs nicely with his lion and I told him about the Androcles and the Lion (fable link here).

Craft Glue – Whip-stitch for the feet and arms makes it very safe but it bunches the body underneath and ruins some of the effects.

And finally – a sewing machine. I like sewing by the hand-sewing on the larger parts is really just a way for my laziness to prevent me from making the stitches close and much better.

Next project to come!

Food Project #1 – My Last Supper (but not really)

This project is inspired by the 2007 book by Melanie Dunea called, you guessed it, “My Last Supper” which profiles 50 great chefs and what their ideal last meal would be, who they would eat it with, if their would be music and what would be to drink.

I can cook fairly well so what I’m learning this project is the balance of putting together a meal and to plan a menu.

So if the menu was based on the idea of my last meal, the last things I would ever eat, I would want two things 1) Everything would be homemade and bought locally, either by me or my dinner companions, but nothing store bought or pre-made. 2) I would want something for each person in my life, their favorite food or drink. Family has always been central to my life, even when I was flying solo, they were never far from my mind.

When I left home for the first time my Dad was the one who manifest as an absent pretty frequently. I remember the first time being away from home I went out and had a bottle of orange juice and cardboard box of chocolate milk because every time we went out to breakfast my dad would order both of those and drain them in alternating gulps. I remember staring at my purchase and feeling the weight of their presence in my life.

The problem is – how do I concentrate all of that goodness into a meal? How to I put my childhood, which could have been written by Mark Twain for all the amazing adventures and colorful characters that have populated it, into a meal that is small enough to consume over the course of a few hours?

There was one that was easy. My one and only dining companion at my last supper. His favorite food is actually akin to him. It is simple yet complex and full of flavor. Granted nothing comes close to the actual man, but his choice for this part of the meal would be as brilliant as him.

The biscuit.

Now the perfect biscuit is something pretty intense. The Rancher will always recommend Pine State Biscuits from Portland, OR.

I’m going to try three recipes, the first from A Cozy Kitchen whose Buttermilk Biscuits look mouthwatering.

After that, Smitten Kitchen’s cream biscuits which look like they would go amazing with a chili or curry.

And the Buttermilk Biscuits from my 1,000 page gourmet cookbook (not kidding, the biscuit recipe is on page 596).

All of these call for White Lily flour which is a flour that is more delicate than all purpose flour. The first thing you would notice if you bought a bag of the White Lily flour is that the bag is much taller than normal flour bags because the flour weighs so much less to get the same 5lbs or whatever quantity you buy it in, more flour needs to be used.

This means the fluffy light biscuits which makes the most delicate and delicious biscuits would be the same in the package as it mixed in.

So Part 1 of Project 1 – The perfect biscuit.

Goal, set, Bake!

Life Project #1 – Update

I am starting to think I’m an introspection addict. Running (or on one night brisk walking) seems to be a portal into it, encouragement that I rarely if ever need.

I don’t find solace in introspection but to quote Tom Robbins “Solace? That’s why God made fermented beverages and the blues.”

I’ve been using Run Keeper to hold my times. With the iPhone app there are several views which includes pace at different times during the run, distance, elevation you moved onto. While looking over the pace screen I saw that my pace varies fairly drastically throughout my runs, going down as low as 6:30 minutes and upward of 17 minutes. The average of all of this being a 10 minute mile pace.  This brings up the question of distance vs speed.

When I was involved in sports the sprint times was my focus. If I run at a dead heat without holding anything back I can get pretty close to 6 minutes which isn’t bad for someone as massively out of shape as myself. But that dead heat lasts…a minute? 20 seconds?

I am learning toward distance for several reasons – In yoga the concentration is on endurance. Any pose is easy to hold if you hold it for a second, but holding the boat position for any time at all wears the body near to breaking. It is the long poses that really work the muscles, that help the strength to be fed into the body.

The other reason is – I’m always thinking. I am, forever, thinking.  While lying in bed and desperately wanting sleep I think about what I did in class. Why my code isn’t working. Why isn’t it better. Is the door locked? Will it rain? What would it be like if mutant guppies ran the earth?

I bury my face in my pillow or in my boyfriends hair. I try to not think. I try to just be. That moment is perfect so leave it there. Don’t think. Don’t write this story in your head just be a person, just be real in that moment.

So – from what I’ve heard and what trustworthy ranchers have told me – running and getting to that distance past whatever you think is possible is when that silence comes. It is worth a try.

So I’m deciding, for now, working on distance rather than speed.

 

D.I.Y. Project #1 – Update

Quick Update –

Yesterday I found myself with a little bit of free time (shocker) so I tried to make hay while the sun shone.

The NerdFriend took me to Gather Here on Sunday so I could get supplies, some of which I already had. If you live in or around
For Mr. Mouse, who I am thinking of naming Thaddeus, I am using a combination of fabric and wool felt. The pretty grey wool felt will make up the face, arms and feet of the mouse. The alphabet fabric will be the body and the red patterned fabric the nose and tail.  Boston and are interested in any kind of sewing, crochet, or knitting you ought to Gather Here. Fantastic store, wonderful people.

For the eyes I am just going to use black thread so there are no buttons for the kiddo to eat.

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I’ve sewn together the body and started on the head. After that I will have to stitch the head together and stuff.

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Thankfully Abby’s pattern comes with instructions so I don’t have to stop and research every five minutes. However if you are brand new to sewing there are some great online resources to help.

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For Step by Step Tutorials The Sewing Loft has some great beginner ones to build up confidence before taking on a project on your own.

Sewing.Org also has great guidelines and some project ideas.

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And of course, if you are close to Boston, Gather Here has amazing classes.

Update Complete!

Life Project #2 – Relationship With Significant Other

Life Project #1 is going well thus far. Running is as frustrating as it is exhilarating. Happily the nerd-friend has watched the baby so there have been mommy time runs. This has given me time to stop and think. Running for whatever reason really does unclog whatever neurological blocks I’ve set up for myself. I’m sure this is utterly revolutionary thinking and I’m the only one who has ever experienced this. 

Sarcasm aside one of the things I’ve dwelt on is my relationship. I am one of the few humans alive to be lucky enough to have met my soul mate. That may sound naive and maybe it is. I’ve had relationships before, good and bad, but my nerd friend is different. I could expound on how the sun rises only when he opens his eyes and says “good morning beautiful”. I could relate how ever since the moment I met him I’ve wanted to be that better person that I feel like I am when he is in my arms. It is what it is and I feel that every minute with him I’m left better than the one that came before. 

This rancher and I first locked messages and not eyes. His first sentence to me was that he thought he loved me and I was shocked and wanted to be off put by this dude’s utter surety. I was charmed and in spite of myself wanted to know more. We messaged each other for over a month trying to meet but life kept getting in the way. 

I would write down the full story of all the weird stuff that has happened to us since that first message where a strange boy told me he loved me before even seeing me but it is painful and it is hard to believe. Even for me the time we’ve had together has felt like a dream. 

But the thing that surprised me the most was that this wasn’t Gone with the Wind. After we fell in love and halved our hearts in effort to make each other whole there was no curtain call and my happy ending is still going on. In some ways this is great and in some ways it’s a bit of a what the hell. 

If you can’t tell by this blog I work toward goals. I enjoy having direction, conquering challenges and being super mom, super nerd and super girlfriend.

What is the goal here? To maintain? Maintenance is something you do to a broken thing and we are the polar opposite of broken, life is amazing! So what do I do to make it better? What is there to patch when there are no leaks? 

I am a rainy day person. I enjoy the sunlight but look for the storm clouds. 

My head goes on repeat – How do I have a boyfriend this amazing and intelligent who wants to spend the rest of his life with me? 

So that’s the life project. To turn that little voice in the back of my head to minimal volume and to, every time that voice pipes up to says you aren’t worthy, to look at my best friend, boyfriend and love of my life and tell him that I love him endlessly and always will. 

No goal, no countdown. Just thank you universe for letting me meet the love of my life. 

No Goal, No Set, Happy Sunday!!

D.I.Y. Project #1 – Toys!

I love playing with my six month old. He is just at the right age that anything funny I do it met with a cacophony of laughter that can be sometimes alarming. Now, however, I find myself waiting for him to get up from his naps so I can make noises while walking his Zebra (named Zeebs) around to make him laugh.

I am also not proud to admit then when I have a hard time sleeping I cruise diapers.com endlessly looking for (educational, I swear!) toys so we can have more friends at playtime.

While I’m absolutely going to go for the leap frog dog when he is slightly older I want him to have some super plush friends for the laughter-filled afternoons.

I’m working with patterns that I bought from Etsy’s own Abby Glassenberg (and I would highly recommend checking out her blog While She Naps and of course, the Etsy store).

The goal is eventually to make an entire stuffed animal zoo broken down into four sections. The first and my favorite is the “Woods” theme. This will encompass several of my favorite animals (mice, foxes, owls) and I’m already sketching out backgrounds for the play set I am intending to make. The next is a general safari theme (lions and tigers and…hippos, oh my!) which may get pushed up on the list as my son has already developed a deep attachment to his zebra to whom he can have separation anxiety if parted from for any period of time. After that is under the sea (lots and lots of turtles) and then finally the barnyard theme which I’ve put off to the last because I do not look forward to all of those safety stitches on the cows!

This weeks project however is much simpler. Make a toy mouse.

I have some knowledge of sewing already which should make this an easier project but there are several changes.

1) Time – I am hand sewing all of these. You read that right, completely appliqué.  While the patterns are beautiful they are also detailed and intense which requires small parts getting patched on and the smaller the part, the more time and precision it takes.

2) Dedication – I am a student in computer science and a full time mom. Some days my son has his zebra and they venture into their own Calvin and Hobbes-esque universe leaving me free to move them from room to room as I complete chores and homework. Other days he clings to me like there is no one else in the universe. I love those days, especially when it’s just the three of us in a cuddle fort while listening to Of Monsters and Men  but those are the days where little with pointy things gets done.

3) Frustration – The stitch was right the first time I did it, but it didn’t stick! or the eye shifted, or the thread is showing. With this my biggest concern is safety. Can he swallow this? Will this fall off? For those reasons the thread I use is always durable, the stuffing safe and the toys free of buttons or other hard ceramics. While this is, for me, of the highest priority, it does mean on occasion getting frustrated with that eye that you just cannot embroider no matter how hard you try.

But since I do have some experience with this the deadline for this mouse will be Friday August 16th.

So Goal, Set, Match. Time to put my needle where my mouth is.