Wardrobe Planning ~ Retiring Belongings

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?

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On Fitness

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!

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Buffalo Knitting Guild Presentation, 2016

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. 

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When Seniors Exercise

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.

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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.

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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!

First Year Goal Check

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.

Here is the blog post of goals and the how research I did to get them.  And, I DID say that knitting was only PART of the plan.  I broke my life into 4 categories:

PHYSICAL

  • 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. 

SPIRITUAL

  • 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’.

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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.

MENTAL

  • 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.

SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL

  • 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.

Childhood Dream

“When I grow up
I will have my own house.”
Her inner voice would repeat
“My own place, yes
complete with a pet.”
Her childhood dream.

Closing the door to what ailed her,
She wished away the years
to
adulthood
She plotted, “Now I’ll sneak around. . .
A little cape may do.”

Marriage, children, work.
Common living,
The little house served the family well.
The family thrived,
The home owner, however
her dream, not quite fulfilled.

Years of banter
as it was no longer a decision
for one
She struggled.  “Maybe, I’ll sneak around
to find a dwelling
of satisfaction.”

Oh, boy
a quiet little block
quaint and serine
A lovely neighborhood
it might just work
They all agreed.

Long settled in their home
they are getting older now
which is presenting new questions
about their abode
This dream of childhood is returning
to the center of their attention.

When does a person own a house
When does a house ‘own’ its owner?
They have no answers right now.
But she is coming to realize
the dream is not about the house
rather the memories that are formed inside.

Sweet Boyfriend Sweater and its Unlikely Source for Inspiration

A retirement gift, a plaque from the District where I worked, beckons me.  It is as if it can talk and recall; that plaque with the Varsity letter.  I hear students’ voices, excited anticipation in the air, their endless desire for learning.  It speaks my tongue and reminds me about lesson planning into wee hours.  It sounds with the hustle bustle of school life:  hallways all abuzz, meetings with teachers and/or parents, the frustrations voiced and the sharing of successes of each day.  One glance at this wall plaque of mounted school letter and personalized engraved plate, now hanging on a wall in my yarn room, does all of that every time I look at it.

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Blue Skies Trench

First and foremost in choosing a project, that project must be wearable in my lifestyle and go with the existing pieces I have in my wardrobe.  Of course, I am always looking at new trends in fashion, as I would like to think that even in retirement, I can continue on this quest of always looking fashion-forward.  But, what I have realized is that not all the pieces I intended on knitting are appropriate to wear in retirement and that I need to tweak my intentions for better purpose once knitted.   In an effort to get my yarn and pattern stash aligned to my lifestyle of retirement, I’ve had to do some reconsidering of patterns and re-shifting of yarns.  This has encouraged me to catalog remnants into their respective weights.  The more I play with my yarn, the more ideas I am getting and the more possibilities I seem to muster.   While this is exciting and certainly mindful of utilizing all of the materials I have here at home, I continuously need to remind myself to have patience and that I will eventually be able to act on many of these ideas.

This process has me researching in places I didn’t even know patterns existed.  Such places as VogueKnitting.com > free pattern tab or LionBrand.com > free  patterns.   Maybe, most yarn companies with websites have free pattern availability.  A function on Ravelry that has become most helpful is the pattern tab and its settings on the left-hand margin with specific criteria, being able to drill down to what you are looking for thus making pattern research more expedient.  Also, the function on Ravelry called queue has never been as helpful to me as it is right now as I can keep my pattern ideas listed there so as not to forget.   Well, one thing led to another and pretty much this is how I found ‘Trench Coat’ by Wilma Peers, a pattern from Vogue Knitting’s online pattern store.  Not a free pattern, but on sale.  I literally paid pennies.

I am drawn to the unexpected when knitting.  Or the juxtaposition of opposites which oftentimes leads to the unexpected.  For example a cardigan that can be flipped upside down or right side up or glamorous yarn knitted into a hoodie, or pleats in super bulky weight yarn.    When I think of a trench coat, I think of rain or wind and in a twill type of fabric.  So, the fact that this pattern was suggesting knitting a Trench Coat was highly interesting to me.  Hmm. . . I thought.  A trench coat for blue skies!  Complete with lapels and pocket flaps and what appeared to be a beautiful contrast edging, I had to go for it.

Then I noticed the suggested yarn.  Acrylic.  100% acrylic.  Oh, boy my mind began racing with all the thoughts of what could go wrong with this project in this yarn.  On the other hand, being so inexpensive I thought I would give it a try and when all fails, simply start over with yarn I knew more about.

So, I began and learned the half linen stitch.  This half linen stitch, formed with slip stitches and yarn carried on the outside of the work, creates a woven looking fabric.  Being of bulky weight (by title only as the yarn itself is as light as a feather), knitting the pieces really just motored along.  No button holes, no pockets (what you see are just flaps added on at the end),  this was really a breeze  to knit.  5 pattern pieces (back, 2 fronts, 2 sleeves, and the collar which is picked up from the neck and knitted) and it was time for my favorite part of any project, the finishing touches.   Bands were fairly easy to knit up the front however I had to readjust the number of stitches I picked up (way less than what was called).  And, for some unknown reason, the side seams were not cooperating as I felt they should.  A minor bit of blocking helped that matter and truthfully I was surprised acrylic even responded to blocking.  The collar edging as well as the flap edging was downright fun to do.  One has to pick up the stitches neatly as when the lapel is wide open flips to the front with the raw edge to the outside.

Well, I kept waiting for epic fail of this project.  I got to the end and to my surprise, I have what I think, is a beautiful, trendy trench that can easily be worn with today’s shapes underneath.

Stash Talk, Again

Stash.  Definition:  stash 1 |staSH| informal
verb [ with obj. ]
store (something) safely and secretly in a specified place: their wealth had been stashed away in Swiss banks.
noun
1 a secret store of something: the man grudgingly handed over a stash of notes.
• a quantity of an illegal drug, especially one kept for personal use: one prisoner tried to swallow his stash.
2 dated a hiding place or hideout.

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It’s Not Just About the Sweater

Part of why I write a journal is to reflect upon my knitting.  I find thinking about a finished project quite satisfying and informative.  It helps me to improve my knitting skills to think what went right as well as what went wrong with either the process and/or the finished project.  Viewing photographs of me in my knitting is also helpful to know what styles and designs look best on my shape and to compare what I see with how I feel about a particular garment.  This also drives future pattern decisions.  The reason why I write online is to share these thoughts thinking/hoping readers may learn from these experiences, as well.

Another reason why I write is to reflect upon the sites hubby and I travel to for our photo shoots.   There have been many.  I catalog these places on a page I call Fashionscape, here in The Blog.  Since this particular photo shoot also served as a trip down memory lane, I am writing about it here, too.  We continue to choose places that hold some kind of significance to us and this last photo shoot was no different.  Here we are at Chautauqua Institution, the furthest we have traveled yet for a photo shoot, officially closed for the season, however open for travelers who want to walk the grounds during the day.  Many of the cottages were covered in tarps, construction workers dotted the place doing off-season repairs, and you could see evidence of changes that are being made to the main structures of the institute.  In fact, you really needed to watch your step due to fallen debris of repair work.

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Retirement Identity

Retirement identity?  So, you thought you knew who you were?  Well, the truth is you knew who you were but part of the emotional preparation behind retirement is realizing you will need to find out who you are all over, again as everything in your life becomes upheaved the minute you begin your retirement.  Well, these items, below are helping me regain my confidence and identification of self.

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