I call it a cloud. A storm cloud. A storm cloud filled with tragic events. This cloud of tragedy chose our house and the residents inside to reign its terror. It has hovered for months but this morning, there was a phone call with news that may loosen the grip of this fury. Just enough wind of information, perhaps more like a breeze, I am able to document a tip or two that I have found helpful in coping with this life altering event.
This past year, I have made a conscious effort to utilize the growing stash that is forming. I don’t mean the stash of yarn waiting to be worked on with particular projects in mind, I am meaning the remnants or leftovers of yarn from already completed projects. I call the first the stash and the latter, the remnant stash. To help me think how I could utilize these scraps, I have organized them into bins according to their weight.
To be more or maybe less,
there is an option
neither to mingle
nor disappear like in nonexistence
stitch count, splat points, pace on a track,
number of cardinals in a winter’s scene
loved by dreamers
there are those who believe
Productivity, ambition, pride
sing their praises
of course, resting on one’s laurels
is a way to the future
Do they matter? Do they lead to happiness?
A digit that moves from a 5 to a 6?
Numbers. As I see it, define.
Topic: Wardrobe Planning. YES, I plan my wardrobe! I never thought to write about it. This question of wardrobe planning came up in the blog world and I am only too happy to answer. In short, I believe wardrobe planning, like everything, takes a certain amount of self-control and focus. The process for me begins with retiring belongings, otherwise known as cleaning out or donating, for the obvious purpose of organizing but in a knitter’s case, this careful consideration informs [knitting] project choice. Ravelry acts as a record-keeping system. What does this mean?
I haven’t written about health and wellness in awhile. It is not because I have been negligent rather, I wanted to collect some data to share and show that exercise continues to be alive and well in my retirement life.
When I retired, I said there were three things I wanted to focus on. They were and continue to be: knitting [of course], running, and writing/reading. In my knitting life, I knew I would be attacking the stash working up projects I had only wished/dreamed of finishing. UPDATE: I moved OUT a piece of furniture that was housing yarn as those bundled fibers are now finished objects!
For a project that pretty much flew off the needles, it is interesting that I have so much to say about it. I have lots to say not due to any pattern issue or yarn dissatisfaction, but rather the changes I made in how I constructed it. From long tail cast on to sewing on the seam binding along the back neck, I feel these changes led to its success and will lead to the garment’s longevity.
I want to capture, in writing, some of my thoughts from this last week when I was invited to speak to the Buffalo Knitting Guild’s Membership and be the first of its programming for the 2016/2017 season. The talk was advertised as such:
SEPTEMBER 8, 2016 HOW DOES YOUR KNITTING GROW?
Presented by Marja Coons-Torn, Holly Olmstead
Our Guild President and Vice President introduce the theme “Grow” for this year’s Knitting Guild Season with a program to help you grow your skills through photography and technology. We’ll learn tonight how to photograph our knits beautifully and stylishly, just like the top designers do! And we’ll go on an interactive journey into new technology that the Guild will be incorporating this season.
Funny, when I notice my frustration regarding housing all things knitting. I am quick to think it is the stash of yarn that needs some kind of attention. Whether it be shelving for the large collection of yarn, or a way in which to organize the yarn, a color coding system, a pattern to fiber system . . . these sorts of things. However I am noticing, it is not the housing of the yarn stash at all that is taking my planning and thoughtful consideration, rather the housing of my finished projects. And, of course, as time moves along, this ‘challenge’ only grows.
I know, I know, you thought I had a system and I did. Question. Do you ever re-visit your own thinking or walk around critiquing this or that about your house after you’ve come home from a trip? One of the things I like best about travel, besides the obvious, is that upon arriving back home, I do just that. As if I were a visitor into someone else’s house and seeing the house for the first time, I walk around to see what it looks like, feels like, I ask myself questions like what could I do to make my environment more pleasing? Have I utilized light and space to its fullest advantage?
When I did just that this last trip, I didn’t love the arrangement I had created for my finished objects. I also noticed the containers my sweaters were in looked sweaty, not a good look visually and I wondered if that was doing harm to the garments. Also, I knew there was more space in my upstairs due to the fact that I have been working down my stash and not purchasing more yarn which is an amazing thing in itself! Another thing I’ve felt, like children, when not in sight I miss them. Yes, these projects really are a part of me. ok . . I thought, I need to revisit my own system of organization of all things yarn and do so by utilizing one spare bedroom.
First step. Since my closets are painted as beautiful as the room, I thought, let’s take off the door so that it becomes an extension of the room. “Does this shelf unit fit in the closet? How ’bout a sweater nook?” I asked myself. The sun streams east to west and narry into this space. A bit of luck! Let’s remove this, put that there and let’s see, “I think this may work!” Not purchasing one new thing to pull this new arrangement off but rearranging in a smarter way, the look and feel is now quite different.
Feel free to browse my creative space. I think I’m quite happy!
Until my next critique (after travel), me thinks this looks pretty good!
The reader must be wondering, “Where is the knitting? I thought this blog was on knitting!” And, you would be right however, this blog also serves as a journal on related topics and I feel staying fit and making healthy choices interweaves in the kind of knitting I represent.
“How is staying fit and making healthy choices a part of knitting?” I’ll give you the top five answers that pop into my head. 1. (staying fit) I want to keep my shape for as long as possible for the fashion statements I make with my knitting. When asked why I knit, immediately I say, “for the fashion of it.” 2. (staying fit) We have a routine for exercise that is meant to help keep that shape. And, the routine is for two, hubby and me.
3. (healthy choice) Even retired, there are responsibilities and obligations that are part of my life. There is the enjoyable position as VP of the Buffalo Knitting Guild where I share my love and passion of knitting hoping to encourage and inspire as I go and there is a growing call for my time and service helping aging family members. I am beginning to take my knitting with me for waiting room entertainment.
4. And, full disclosure: (healthy choice) Don’t get angry, knitters, but I do find pleasure in other things that are not knitting related. When I take a break from knitting, coming back to it gives me a much greater appreciation of it. 5. (healthy choice) Did you know people who knit for too long a period of time can and have done bodily injury to themselves? If I sit for too long in one spot, my body get stiff and sore. The repetition of motion of one’s hand, wrist and elbow for extended periods of time can and does create injury that could take months, if not longer to heal. I purposely knit for short periods of time, involving myself in another activity in between. So, one reason why you haven’t seen any knitting is because I’ve spent time on a number of these other things.
Another reason is because I am attempting knitting more than one item at a time! Therefore, I am about 50% complete with two projects right now. If you count a quickie crochet scarf, then I am in the middle of three projects. ok, here is a sneak peak of the start of one and yarn (linen) for another.
I don’t think this multi-knitting projects is for me. I seem to have a certain guilt that arises when I am knitting on one of the projects and not on the other. I feel like I am not giving full attention to each project, like I am rushing through just to get them to completion. I notice I am not taking the time to appreciate the particulars like the detail, or whimsy of style, or innovative fabric. When these projects are finished, I will be going back to my mono knitting. Just call me a serial monogamist.
And, my last excuse why knitting has been missing in posts is because it’s been too blasted hot to knit! (We have no AC.) Even to have a photo shoot! I actually do have a beauty in queue for a fashion shoot but it is a turtleneck! It will have to wait.
So, enjoy some of these shots from our last bike ride. This is a bike path that is quickly becoming my favorite in the local area. I love how it follows a creek at times,
passes through a summer camp as it reminds me of my summer camp days, and winds in ever-extending trails through the University of Buffalo’s ‘playground’.
Feel the summer breezes, take in the fresh air, work those large muscles, and know that knitting is always in the forecast of the future.
With this recent third incident, I said to myself, “ok, now I need to write a blog post.” I am talking about our (hubby and my) morning outings for our daily fix of fresh air and exercise. They don’t always go smoothly and we’ve just had our third mishap. Me with my goals and hubby along for daily movement, we set out in the mornings either by bike, foot, or a combination of both, daily. This is meaning we are both biking, both walking, one running and one walking, or one running and one biking. I suppose it sounds confusing but there is a rationale for these combinations. The large picture for both of us is to have a daily dose of fresh air, to move our bodies, to be together, and to have fun. The main reason for the variety of combinations is due to safety, rest, and training.
Vignette one: About three weeks ago, we set out, both of us on our bikes. We got to our destination, were unloading our bikes, mine was unloaded first. So, I got on and was meandering in the empty parking lot behind us. We had not verbalized the direction we would take for our outing, so when hubby was ready he jumped on his bike looked both ways to see where I was but in so doing, twisted his bike and fell on the cinders and hard rock along the edge of the path. More unnerved and embarrassed than anything, we mopped up the bloody mess, attended surface wounds, turned around, and went home.
Vignette two: About two weeks ago we set out, both of us on our bikes. It was an absolutely glorious day. We do not always park in the same spot so as to vary up and keep interest in our activities. Also, we vary the mileage, both on the bikes and on foot as the more we go out, the stronger we become. Well, we were nearing the end of our ride, I was in the lead, and wasn’t even thinking of where we parked the car. This caused me to keep going. And, going. Hubby thought I would realize it, so he sat waiting at a nearby bench. But after some time, became worried and began searching for me. I got to a point that finally made me realize I was supposed to be looking for the car but by then, I had over shot it by miles! I turned around, he was in search-mode, I was sheepish and that was the end of that ride.
Vignette Three: I was running, he was on a different bike than he normally rides. He wanted to ‘try out’ this bike he hadn’t ridden in some time while being my safety guard. I took off, he took off, and I never saw him again until I reached the end of my run. He claims I must have started in a different direction; I claim the different bike underneath him distracted him and he forgot about me.
I say to myself, ok, three times is the charm. What are these stories telling me? What are we doing or not doing that we could change to avoid these minor mishaps that could indeed lead to major catastrophes?
I believe all three stories suggest a lack of focus on both of our parts and a lack of communication in the area of informing the intentions of the other. If I had said where I would be waiting for him in story 1, if we announced to each other where our car was parked in story 2, and if we reminded each other to stay near each other in story 3, these things might have been avoided.
Not a lack of communication in getting along rather a sort of reminder system realizing we are each getting older and need to say our intentions out loud. Then, we need to make sure the other received the message.
We notice that if a direction is said verbally, it tends to stay in our minds better. Much like counting the times around on a track out loud to know distance, or counting the levels in making coffee, hubby and I need to verbally remind each other of our intentions and desires more regularly and clearly enough so the other understands. And probably, waiting for a response from the other to ensure auditory contact is in order, as well.
Minor tweaks to a well designed routine ought to be just what we need. After all, Seniors, at least us, just ‘wanna have fun’, too!
Here I am, first year of retirement is in the books! And, as my goal-oriented personality is reminding me, it is time to check in to see how I’ve done with the annual goals I set forth for myself. The purpose of checking in is to see if these goals are still relevant and of interest. Remember, in retirement each of us is in control of our own destiny. I will ask myself if I need to change any of them for the upcoming year, make any of them more challenging or less ambitious. Have I put them into action? If so, I will ask, “how is it going” and if not, I will ask myself “why not?” Basically this is a review of where I am now in my thoughts, feelings, and well-being. Another way to put it is, it is an effort to be the best me I can be. There is no sense in posting goals if you don’t take the time to reflect, another reason why I am giving this some attention. I will re-post my goals from a year ago and below each section, in pink, write a synopsis of success, failure, and thoughts.
- running – minimum of running 10 miles per week
- minimum of 3 (5k) running races this upcoming season, looking to challenge my own times
- biking – enjoyment
- snowshoeing – a new endeavor with hubby, to begin, enjoyment
- ponder rowing for enjoyment, season is May – October
- ponder skiing for enjoyment, weather and time permitting
There has been lots of good, healthy running this year. I have either reached or surpassed the goal of running 10 miles per week. Weather conditions are not stopping me/us. We, hubby and I vary it up by going to the local track, park, and river.
I am noticing an ever-growing love of running by the river with hubby biking alongside and around as I know he enjoys it. Oh, dear . . . I did not participate in any races… yet however I AM registered for the Turkey Trot in November and have my sights on the half marathon in May, 2017! Registration is not yet, up for the half marathon. I just looked.
I perceive biking as a sport in support of running. We purchased a gorgeous new bike for me last summer and we’ve had many a splendorous outings together.
Snow shoes were purchased for both of us last Fall and as much as we loved our times out, snowfall was record low, so our times out were minimal. We will keep our fingers crossed for more snow this winter.
Rowing is out. There is not enough time to do it justice and the time frame for commitment does not work. Skiing is out until we see where our snow-shoeing takes us.
October 2016 I will begin classes at Orangetheory Fitness! I have signed up for 1 class/week. Orangetheory Fitness is a studio for classes of all types utilizing heart rate and data to grow one’s fitness.
- knitting – choose projects from stash only
- no purchase of new yarn through this year
- plan, make, finish, and wear ~ VK’s mantra
- attend churches for the purpose of familiarizing and ultimately joining to become part of its community
Ah, yes. I do put knitting into the category of ‘spiritual’. If you’ve ever knitted, you would see why. I have completed 7 projects since January, 2016 utilizing much of my remnant stash and some from ‘project’ stash. I did weaken, however and purchased some new yarn. Minimal bundles . . . three. But, for a full year and lots of temptation, I will pat myself on the back.
2016 collection Honeycomb is in ‘photo shoot queue’.
Church did not happen, that is attending one or becoming part of a membership of one. There has been lots of talking with hubby about faith, which location, the idea of membership at one specific church. Sundays (assuming we would attend on Sundays) rolled in and out, 52 of them to be exact and somehow, we are only in the discussion phase. I will need to study why I am not putting this goal into action.
- write posts on Holly knits ~ for enjoyment
- find and choose at least 2 other venues for writing, i.e. My View in the local newspaper
- read blogs, articles, books
- ponder accepting invite into book club
I have been quite regular posting on this blog. And, I have found another venue for writing! Wow, I really met this goal! The other venue is another blog attached to the website called The Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo.
Not only will I write regularly there (1x/wk), I took the old website and re-configured it, organized it, updated it, and brought it to WordPress!
My reading continues to consist of non-fiction, I do read lots of articles, and I did finish reading Knitting Pearls by Ann Hood. I am not ready for a book club at this time due to time commitment it requires.
- care take family members, as needed
- join the local knitting organization 9/10/15
- volunteer at least one task/job in that local knitting organization
Oh, it is fun to read goals written a year, ago! Not only did I join the local knitting organization, I now hold the position of Vice President of that organization! Yikes! I believe by October I was Social Media Chairperson and my enthusiasm just grew and seemingly noticed by others. What can I say?
Regarding the care of family members is, of course, a more tender subject. As we age, our needs change and sometimes our desires are effected. The idea of housing, safety, and therapy are very much in the forefront of parent-care. This is not easy, there are tears, and unwanted change is looming. Retirement, by definition means the ceasing of. Ceasing to work, ceasing to compete, ceasing to ______________ .
Here are some images of family care of a loving kind. circa 2016
I feel like I have met most of my goals. In the next week, I will write goals for the next year or group of years, a decision I need to make. I do not find this a chore, rather an opportunity to think deeply about who I am, who I want to be, and where I am going.