October 28th, 2015

Ya Gotta Believe

by michelle in daily rambling, Let's Go Mets!

So what exactly does that mean? Ya Gotta Believe. I named my blog after it. It’s my username on most social media sites. I have it tattooed on my wrist. I say it all the time. Many days it feels like the little girl’s chant in Miracle on 34th Street “I believe, I believe, I know it’s silly but I believe.”
Let’s go back. For the last fifteen years, the Mets have consistently broken our hearts. Oh sure, they taunted…they teased…but they never came through. So “ya gotta believe” meant something more along the lines of “they still aren’t mathematically out of it.” We clung to it. Lived by it. We repeated the holy phrase over and over because it meant “you gotta stay loyal” and “there’s always next season.”
And then there was this year. Somewhere around June, even after an amazing start, they started spiraling downwards. And we all said, “ya gotta believe.” And then the turn around, the trade that wasn’t, the tears, the celebrations, and something even more miraculous - we actually believed. Not just lip service. Not just a worn and tattered mantra. We believed. And they kept giving us reasons.
And now? Here we are. Post season. All the way to the World Series. So excited that we start to remember those hazy images of winning.
But Game 1? That was a trial. Five and a half hours of holding our breath and biting our nails and yelling at the tv. And that’s just fine with me. As everyone knows by now, we didn’t win Game one in 86 or 69. But it wouldn’t matter if we did because it was just the first game. Yes, a first game that felt like that traditional Met gut punch, but just a first game. The first game in the World Series. The World Series. That thing that we hope for year after year.
So here’s the thing. I’m going to pull out all the superstitious good luck charms and chant and cheer and hope for the best. But what I’m not going to do is get angry. How can I be angry at the team? Do I honestly think for even one second that given the chance they would choose to make a mistake? Do I think Cespedes didn’t want to catch the ball? Do I believe that Wright didn’t want to make that throw or get the clutch hit? Do I think that Murphy didn’t want to extend his homerun streak or that Familia chose to give up that run? No. They’re human. They’re excited. And they’re playing a dynamic and aggressive team that very well might beat them.
But I don’t care. It’s the World Series. I want my team to win but more than anything I wanted them to play instead of watch from home.
And most important of all? Ya Gotta Believe. Not just say it. Ya Gotta Believe

November 9th, 2014

close enough

by michelle in daily rambling, NaBloPoMo, lost without the lists, 365 of Grace-ishness

A family weekend was a good plan and I may have slacked on the writing but I feel content and not stressed and definitely not like I’m going to wring anyone’s neck. Had a long, fun game day on Friday that, despite my earlier rantings, went very well. We played lots of miniature, strategy, board and role playing games. There were snacks and laughs all around.

That ended with a broken heater and a chilly night. And that night lasted on and on until the next night. And that night…well, you get the idea. Two nights, no heat. Finally repaired this morning but we got by with the fireplace and Laura Ingalled our way through. Of course, it wasn’t all that cold out so maybe we only Nellie Olsoned it. I am now cracking myself up. LHotP jokes - gotta love it.

Early morning text from Mom and we were off to help her xmas shop before knee surgery. Way too early for xmas for me since I like to give Turkey Day it’s full and glorious due. But we had a good time and got to eat out like grown ups sans children.

All of this plus movie watching and frantic cleaning for company means that I ditched the lists for the weekend. House is pretty clean and I’m feeling recharged so tomorrow I start again. Just keep working the list.

1 plot out a realistic list of holiday craft presents. I’m not Martha Stewart so I need to keep it in check.
2. Finish plying the singles on the last bobbin

1. Start tackling Jake’s room
2. Stick to the list and don’t half ass it

Five puppies and sunshine type moments from the wkmd
1. Sparky trying to use text to speech over and over with hilarious results. Just txt. Honestly
2. Rock Paper Scissors……oh, so close but you don’t win at Munchkin
3. Snuggling under blankets in front of the fire
4. a clean house
5. The woosh of a repaired heater

November 6th, 2014

why animals eat their young

by michelle in daily rambling

I know the answer to this. I swear I do. I just spent hours preparing for a day that J has been looking forward to only to have him in complete meltdown mode because someone might touch a book. We’ll probably have to cancel. And then I will sell him to gypsies or leave him for the wolves.

Long day. Not dealing. No lists.

November 5th, 2014

I elect to sleep in

by michelle in crafty, a little political, NaBloPoMo, lost without the lists, 365 of Grace-ishness, fuzzy fiber fun

Well, mid-term elections were a blood bath but now I guess we wait and see what the careful-what-you-wish-for crowd does with all their new found “power.” My guess is that there will be a little bit of the scariness that we fear and a whole lot of the same ol’, same ol’.

Today’s working of the list? Better but not great. I did get some basic chores done. Vacuum, dishes, laundry, etc. But then that pesky old work thing got in the way. I’m teaching a section on “The American Dream.” This was a bit discouraging this morning when we were discussing the election outcome. Also, a bit depressing when I had to teach that the country is set up so that there would be no titled or inherited nobility class. Hmmm….I think even without titles we may have bumbled that a bit these days. I do enjoy teaching this section though. I’m always surprised how passionate I can get about the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. It’s bit like a sister or a brother. I can say something disparaging about them but if you do, I’ll probably push you down and kick you a few times. Just sayin. (Ok, that sounded a little more Scott Farkus than I had in mind but you get the idea.)

As for the projects and the crafts. I finally got the singles about 75% spun. I started out trying to maintain the colorway and chain ply but that went horribly wrong. So, in an effort to spare anyone injury, I just plied them the traditional way. Since I had spun to chain ply they weren’t nearly even on two bobbins. Now I have to figure out how I am going to continue. I suppose I will have to wind half on another bobbin. That means finding another bobbin. sheesh. Nothing works out simply.

Ok, tomorrow’s list of add-ons
1. Sleep! Sweet beautiful sleep!!!! The boy has no school and I don’t go in until late. I am giddy at the prospect of getting up without an alarm
2. Dining Room - Need to get this room completely finished so we can spend Friday gaming in there.
3. Floors. My least favorite of all the drudgery.

Crafting will be on hold while I work and clean. Maybe I’ll sneak in a little but I need to get ready for Friday.

Five things:
1. A pleasant person at the grocery store. What could’ve devolved into a nasty, impatient situation was diffused with a kind smile and a little laughter. Well done.
2. Warm dip in a bread bowl for lunch. J and I had a yummy treat.
3. Nearing the end of my book. I am determined to finish this even though it is not my favorite. Take that reading challenge.
4. Daily Show election coverage. Made me smile even with bad news.
5. Quiet night at home.

November 4th, 2014

well that was close

by michelle in crafty, NaBloPoMo, lost without the lists, 365 of Grace-ishness

Seriously. One day into this writing thing and I almost forgot that I was supposed to actually write something every day. Actually, the whole list thing went a bit kerflooey today. I am going to chalk it up to the odd shortened school week and Sparky having two days off. Together time might be nice but it means that nothing gets done on schedule.

I did manage to get all the sewing done so go me. The quilt made of 48 of the boy’s baseball uniforms and t-shirts from t-ball to varsity is completed and he is happily using it. I did not stab anyone with sewing shears so all is well. I also managed to sew up tea towels from the first fabric off the loom and bags for the loom. Oh, and last but not least, I managed to sew bottom panels on the curtains in the dining room so that they are both the same length. (Slight shopping error by Sparky a while back caused us to have one shorter and one longer panel)

The rest of the list? The diet and exercise bits? eh. There’s still Halloween candy to contend with and the time change kicked my butt. Those are my excuses and I’m sticking with them.

So, there’s the short but sweet update which means that I have held up my post a day commitment. And here’s the lists for tomorrow:

1. Spin. Still haven’t gotten to this as I just can’t manage to get any time alone. It’s not something that lends itself to family time when I’m getting started.
2. Write. Apparently I need to put this on the list because I can’t seem to remember.
3. Read IN FRENCH. I have been getting to my book (although I can’t wait for it to finish as I am not loving it) but aside from Duolingo, I haven’t been practicing my French. So back to Harry Potter it is.

House stuff:
1. Floors. Supplies are being delivered tomorrow to help restore wood floors a bit. Hoping for the best.
2. Porch stuff needs to be stored for Winter

And five bitty things that made me smile:
1. I voted. Might not mean much but I know I’ve done my part
2. Watching history of Marvel with J. It’s a good time to be a nerd.
3. Listening to the boy play ukulele. He has a knack for picking up instruments.
4. Early to bed. Tucking in early with my book.
5. My whole crazy zoo jumping up on the bed to snuggle in.

November 3rd, 2014

And once again we attempt November

by michelle in daily rambling, crafty, NaBloPoMo, lost without the lists, 365 of Grace-ishness

I looked back at the entries and the last one was in May. I didn’t read it but I’m sure it was full of hope and promise and a “let’s start this thing over” attitude. Or some snark and venting. Seems that’s what I do here and I’m ok with that. I was one of those blog people. Way back in the days of yore when we didn’t document our every thought on Facebook and Instagram. When I didn’t spend my time “liking” other people’s ideas. When I tracked views instead of likes. Yes, I’m shallow like that, it’s ok.

So here we are again in November and I’m gonna give it another go, the writing every day thing. I’m aware of the slight fail of starting this two days late but I’m gonna jump on in anyway.

Spent the weekend doing…well…doing almost nothing. It’s was blissful. It was the first weekend of no baseball which means that we are really and truly into the depths of Fall. I worked on some crafts, cleaned a little (very little) and spent a fun Sunday afternoon wandering around outlets with Sparky and the boy. It was cold and blustery and my favorite kind of weekend.

But it is indeed Monday and I am determined to stick to the lists this week. I have been tweaking and perfecting a set of lists to help with housework, goals and apparently more list making. There’s some self improvement drivel in there as well but I swear I won’t wallow in finding myself. Actually, I am having people over on Friday so the goal is to have this place in decent shape and the lists are the only way to do that without binge cleaning and sacrificing a small child or a live chicken.

In order to write every day I am going to use a few gimicky lists on here as well. I’m fairly sure that no one is reading this at this point but in case you are, my apologies for the cheesiness of the daily update sections. It’s more of a way for me to keep track and less of a way to entertain. The three sections of lists on here will be crafts, house and the dreaded self improvement. So, here we go:

Projects for today:
1. Finish the boy’s quilt. It’s been long enough. It’s time. And I want my Dining Room back. Mistake was fixed over the weekend and pinned and ready to sew.
2. Curtains. I think three years of two different length curtains in the Dining Room is long enough. I’m going to attach a band to the bottom of each and voila! They match
3. Spinning - ply the singles that have been sitting on bobbins for way too long so that sometime this week I can start the gorgeous roving I bought at Rhinebeck
4. Cut and hem tea towels

Accomplished over the weekend: Eh, not as much as I would have liked. Finished weaving tea towels. Very excited to have a real project done on the new loom. Cut patch and pinned for the boy’s quilt. Hoping that it looks ok but it is what it is. Better a finished quilt that’s a little quirky than a pile of scraps.

(In addition to Monday’s list)
1. J’s desk so that I can take back my Dining Room table (there’s a Dining Room theme here)
2. Flannel sheets for J
3. Catch up
4. Look at alarm (terrifying dream and I want the alarm working in tip top condition)

Accompished over the wknd: Ha! Kept my head above water…barely. I didn’t lose any children or pets in the chaos but there is definitely a price to be paid for lounging about all wknd.

The dreaded self-improvement:
1, walk. just go walk
2. reset the fitbit program
3. eat better

Over the wknd: a little walking, more candy. Clothes shopping was an ego tromping experience. Time to get something done.

OK, that’s it. One day down. Let’s see how it goes. Ah, and to complete the cheesy sign off? My five (or so) things that made me smile:

1. Ghosts, goblins and too many Elsas. I love Halloween
2. Warm fire on a cold day
3. New loom
4. Time with the boy
5. Scones and tea

May 1st, 2014

rainy day aftermath

by michelle in daily rambling, lost without the lists

Yesterday was the kind of rainy day that starts to wear me down. I’ve always been one who needs a bit of sunshine to function but I can usually fight off a dreary day with a cuppa tea and a good book. I had both of those yesterday (more about the book in a bit) and yet still I couldn’t shake the gray, pressure of that rain. This morning the fog is still there both literally and metaphorically but I’m hoping for a more productive day.

I had been feeling quite accomplished when it came to my list of goals but a few off days and I need to really work at getting on pace. My “work the list” plan really seems to be what I need to do and the bonus is that if I fall off track I can just hop back on on any given day. I put annoying little quotes around the house — might as well be cat posters decrying my need to “hang in there” — but they work. I hate to give credit to the woo-ers but a small nod is required.

40 bags in 40 days challenge went fairly well. I’m not sure I hit 40 but considering we filled a dumpster recently, I did well. I decluttered almost every closet in the house. Jake won’t cooperate just yet. I emptied all of the cabinets, drawers, dressers and got rid of any excess. I completely overhauled the craft closet and the office which was a huge undertaking. Maintenance is going to be the challenge now. Keeping the spaces open is simple until a small stack of anything appears. And Sparky? He’s a stacker. So this will always be a work in progress. I will say that after the challenge I am much more motivated to remove clutter when I see it. The mental benefits of orderly spaces far outweigh the effort needed.

Knitting/Spinning/crocheting - Nothing, Nadda. I’m not going to beat myself up too much about this. I did learn to make some great jewelry and as long as I have some creative outlet the rest will cycle back through. Made some amazing paper beads for my mom out of brochures from places we had visited this past year. Simple but effective as far as crafts go and the results were greatly appreciated. I will definitely do some more of these.

Cooking/Baking - I’ve been better about cooking and I’d imagine that as the weather breaks that will continue to improve. The farmers’ market becomes an option and we’re picking up a new grill. Baking seems to have fallen off a little bit but I think it’s more seasonal than anything else. Winter requires more baking.

Reading/writing - Reading is going great. A continuous three books going. My audible listens right now are Austen for book group (which needs a bit of a kickstart!) I just finished one of my favorite books in a long while Galway Bay Was really just an engaging and rather epic story of a family that struggled through the Potato Famine in Ireland and moved to America. I was sad to see it end. I’m continuing to work through Harry Potter in French. I’m about halfway. Feeling proud that I’ve managed to get that far but it is still tiring and not as easy as I would like.

French - Ok, so here I’ve made some progress - 92 consecutive days working at it on Duolingo with most of those days including other resources as well. Not fluent. Not even close. But actual progress has been made.

Diet - Not good. Haven’t even charged the fitbit in weeks. I’m hoping, as with other goals, that the nicer weather will help a bit here. I can get back outside and go for walks, hikes, etc. J is on board to try it as well but now that his new computer arrived that might be a tougher sell.

Doing a little more day trip style travel with J and spending lots of time at the fields with C. For the most part, things are going pretty well. I think right now I just really need to shake off winter.

February 21st, 2014

foggy sky and mind

by michelle in daily rambling, baby steps

Still going fairly strong on the step by step process. I have decided not to allow for missed days. The only way to do this is to remain honest about the process. I realize that I am going to skip days here and there but if I don’t stick to the original goal - seven consecutive days of a step before adding a new one - I will be overwhelming myself. Some days I am very good at convincing myself that I can add everything on and it will work damnit! But the truth is that’s for the crazy, manic days and not for the foggy, dreary ones. I need a pattern that can survive days when I wanna compete for the gold medal in napping. Good news is that I’m keeping up on 4 out of 5 steps for 4 days in a row. I’ll take it.

Still on organizing binge. Wondering if this can be profitable and if I feel like dealing with the hassles and craziness of eBay. Might be worth it. I am seriously beginning to understand that a) having less makes me appreciate the things I have more b) it’s time to stop collecting things for what if and start using the things I have and c) holy crap! things look cool when they’re all organized and put away.

I have J working on creating his own lists. He’s fighting me which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Just hoping that I can help him. He’s beginning to set some real goals as well and that’s encouraging.

Invented new system of keeping dog diapers on Roxie with harness and mitten clips. Oh yea. I have exciting afternoons.

I see a small piece of grass peeking out on the front lawn. Granted, it’s because the pump is running non-stop but i’m going with basement half empty view of this situation. (way better than glass half full) Green grass, sunshine and baseball can’t be far away. Right? Please? c’mon?

February 17th, 2014

Step by Step

by michelle in daily rambling, 365 of Grace-ishness, baby steps

I do understand the concept of a calendar and that turning the page to February does not constitute the beginning of a new year. However, I was taking my time with the resolution process. I’ve come to the conclusion that big grand resolutions are too difficult for me to maintain, that while I can be successful, very successful, for small bursts of time, I cannot keep up that pace. So, instead of throwing in the towel, I am going to go about this a different way this year. To be honest, I have dipped my toe into the waters already with some moderate success and I am going to continue forward on this path. So here’s the plan - lists. Yes, it’s that simple. My ADD/OCD brain loves lists - color-coded, post-it aided, multi-paged lists. So first things first, a list of categories of goals. I am breaking it down into large groups - household, personal, health, financial. Don’t worry, each of those lists have lists but I am going to decide how much of that I will share. Some of it can be painfully personal. But the general idea is to make a list for each day (with it’s own color!). These lists are small and contain mostly household items at this point with a few odds and ends tacked on. I broke down the house work into a 5 day routine. I set it up to coincide with my work schedule so I wouldn’t be overwhelmed on my crazy days. For every consecutive day that I complete an item on the list (which is conveniently stored on my Kindle) I add a check mark. When an item hits 7 marks, I can add another item to the list. Little by little, step by step.
Of course, the first week I was hit was a mother of all colds and that pretty much wiped out all check marks. But the good thing is that the list isn’t punitive. You just start again. Miss Monday? Just start with Tuesday’s list. It isn’t all or nothing. And so far it is working. House is noticeably cleaner. I’ve worked on French every day for 18 days.
So what’s a Monday like? For now, it looks like this: Catch up day for living room and dining room (de-weekend the place!), laundry, dishes, pay bills, practice french, meditate, remind myself to make healthier food choices. See? Minimal list. Some days I am on a roll so I added a list of bonuses - little cleaning projects I can add on any given day - cleaning out a closet, medicine cabinet, etc. I also have a long list of further steps toward all my goals - things to cut from my diet, writing goals, exercise goals.
Mostly I am attempting to recognize my personality and not beat myself up for it. A bit new-agey, I realize but since changes need to be made, I have my lists all color-coded and ready.
Five things that made it worth while this week:
1. snow day baking with the boys
2. learning to build an upside down fire. who woulda thought?!
3. warm cups of tea
4. geeky movies
5. long snow/holiday weekends

August 22nd, 2013

why can’t it grow on trees again?

by michelle in daily rambling, 365 of Grace-ishness

Trying to just breathe and do what I can about money. Nothing good will come over stressing. But then again…AAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaahh! Hopefully today will be the end of it. We will just have to wait and see.
In happier news, if the rain doesn’t dampen it, C has his first game with newly reconfigured travel team. Only about 4 of the players are from his original team and the rest were hand picked to rebuild. I’m hoping it isn’t like a Mets’ rebuilding year. Should be exciting to watch them play if the rain lets up in time. Right now the rain is reflecting my mood, or the other way around.
Meeting with friend who will be teaching J’s first college class today just to touch base and let him know what to expect. I truly believe that J will do much better here than in HS and I can’t wait for him to realize what he is capable of doing.
Tomorrow is last weigh in for fatbet. So far I’m doing well. Just have to get through today without diving into a box of chocolate. Stress eating? me? But I think if I make one of my goals I’m going to start looking into my next tattoo. Non-food reward :)

Still trying to practice gratitude:
1) typing to the sounds of a snoring pup while the boys are still asleep
2) hoping for a positive answer today
3) lunch with friend (even if it is water and a piece of lettuce!)
4) board games with the boys
5) a break in the rain to get in my morning walk