lovely/heavy.

31dec1

As in, good thing the snow is lovely, because it sure is heavy. Boh and I got home on Saturday afternoon. Can you see our foot- and paw prints in the snow? I parked at the bottom of the driveway and spent the last remaining hour of daylight shoveling a path to get the car up to its parking spot at the top of the driveway. And then it kept snowing, which meant I spent much of yesterday shoveling the whole thing again, but in batches because I was sore from Saturday’s shoveling effort. All of that strikes me as a pretty good stand-in for 2012. Some big stuff, some lovely stuff, and a lot of slow, steady working on and working through stuff.

In 2012, I turned 30. I published my first piece. I started writing my dissertation. I taught the first class that was entirely my own. I was the maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding. I returned to the Southwest for work and play. All good things, even that birthday. But 2012 was also a solitary year, filled with anxiety about work and life, about the future writ both large and small. Lots of reflection on my choices and what they might mean for what comes next. Lots of working on trying to let all that I have be enough for me right now, while allowing some space for the universe to surprise me. I’m going to keep working on that in 2013.

I read over my 2012 blog posts this morning in anticipation of an end-of-the-year entry, and I discovered that I actually did a fair amount of knitting this year. I completed 12 projects, including a handful of wedding presents and a shawl for my best friend. I finished some long-languishing projects, and even began my first destash. In 2013 I want to just keep going. There are more wedding gifts to knit, and more projects started long ago that I’d like to complete. I also want to knit up some yarn/pattern pairings I’ve been daydreaming about for years (hello, effortless cardigan, aidez, lightweight pullover, daybreak shawl, and others), and I’m hoping to use more handspun. And most importantly, I want to keep knitting as part of the pile of things I do to take care of myself.

I made solid progress towards establishing a writing practice in 2012. I struggled to balance teaching and writing in the spring, and did a better job this fall. In 2013, at least as things stand right now, I will not be teaching; only writing. I’m hoping this flexibility will allow me to create the kind of writing practice I want, and to make it a routine in 2013. And perhaps 2013 will be the year I get serious about my home yoga practice. I dabbled this year, occasionally getting out the mat and doing a few small things — dolphin, bridge, a sun salutation or two — in the morning with my coffee. But it isn’t enough. I could see and feel the impact of three classes a week on my happiness, health, and fitness, and though the two classes I’ve been able to make work with my schedule this year are wonderful, it isn’t the same. So that’s what I’m going to aim for this year: more writing, more knitting, more yoga.

31dec3

And when I finished my final round of shoveling yesterday, the sun came out.

31dec2

This guy knows 2012 is ending, and that in 2013 he’s going to spend a little bit of time frolicking at my parents’ house while I am in DC. (This was Boh’s big Christmas present, and I am so very grateful.) He crawled into my lap yesterday, and I managed to snap this blurry picture. I’m pretty sure Boh’s plans for 2013 are about the same as his plans for 2012: lounge, cuddle, eat, play, snore.

Happy New Year! And from me and Boh to you and yours: thanks for reading.

OWCH.

So, I went to bed last night sleepy after a good day of work and play. And then I woke up around 5 am — or rather, I think I went to roll over, and a not-so-pleasant twinge in my back woke me up. I think my hours of writing are catching up with me. Anyway, it took me forever to get myself out of bed and to the Advil. I was very sleepy, and muttering things like, “I need help. There’s no one here to help me” to myself. (Not helpful.) Poor Boh was very confused. The Advil helped me to get back to sleep, and when I actually got up, it became clear that while I was a bit more mobile than I’d been in the middle of a REM cycle, I was not doing a good job of turning my head to the right. OWCH.

Some stretching, some coffee, and a phone call to a massage therapist, and I’m feeling a little better. I’m functioning, but slowly. (And I’ve got an appointment for a massage.) If this is what 30 feels like, I don’t like it one bit. I’ve got a conference paper and a diss-chapter-chunk to finish up, both of which will likely progress more slowly now that my neck and back are in revolt. Boo. Allow me to distract you (and myself) with some pictures of very pretty fiber:

Floating Down (Hello Yarn Fiber Club, 75% BFL/25% Tussah Silk) singles on the bobbin.

A close-up, pre-soak.

Draped over my arm. Aren’t these colors lovely?

The whole thing, ready to air dry. I’ve got just over 400 yards of singles here, and I can’t wait to cast on something in it. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to take a few days off from yarn and fiber to let this twinge in my neck/back heal, but at least I can daydream about shawl and cowl patterns, right?

quotidian.

These days, I’m up well before the sun, and now that the semester is in full swing, there’s less time for lazy mornings. (For me, anyway.)

Morning oatmeal. I’ve been eating mine with a splash of milk, some agave syrup, and a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter.

Agnes. Perfect for weekend work.

A Bon Jovi pencil. Necessary for writing comments on student papers.

Rutabaga and turnip soup, with New Mexico chile powder.

Boh behind my desk chair, keeping me company.

Pasta with green olives, garlic, and crushed tomatoes.

Resting (Boh) and knitting (me) on the couch. Knitting pictures soon! (I just want to let something I put in the mail yesterday get to where it is going.)

thankful.

For so much, but these days, especially for this dog. This has been a weird semester for me: I’m not teaching, and I’ve been traveling a lot, which means I’ve spent a lot of time alone, working (or trying to work). Trying to both get my research done and make sure Boh is happy while I’m away has been a bit of a scheduling challenge, but I wouldn’t change my decision to add him to my family 4 and a half years ago for anything. His routine — and companionship — have been incredibly important for me, especially these past few months. And since this is probably the month of his birth, and he’s turning five this year, I’m taking a moment to be thankful for his wrinkly face and his place in my life.

There are so many people friendships moments words that I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving. I’m so lucky to have so many reminders in my life — of what’s good and true, of what’s worth fighting for. And in focusing on Boh in this post, I don’t mean to downplay those at all.

But this year, this fall in particular, I’m appreciative of what it means and how it feels to have the company of a sweet dog during a mostly solitary semester.

Boh and I are headed to my parents’ house tomorrow morning, and we’re taking along the hap blanket — so stay tuned for more actual knitting! (The wedding, by the way, was lovely. A chance to laugh and reconnect with dear friends, and even to get some quality hang-out time with the groom, who easily makes it onto my list of all-time favorite people.)

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you celebrating this week, and safe travels.

shake it out.*

A slow start today, folks. Yesterday I managed to get some serious revision done on the prospectus. (The trick? A five o’clock latte. I think I’m starting to resign myself to the fact that I need an afternoon change of scenery and a fancy espresso drink to get shit done and feel good doing it.) Boh looks like he could use a latte, and it isn’t even noon.

I’m making slow, steady progress on that BSJ I started a few weeks ago. I love this shade of green — so bright, so happy.

Here’s the side view of that sweet pout. Looks like somebody needs to give Florence and the Machine’s new album a listen. Seriously. I downloaded it yesterday, and it got me through a whole sink of dishes. There’s something about Florence Welch’s particular brand of big and epic that I love. (*”Shake It Out” is the second track on Ceremonials.)

fall.

I meant to post these earlier in the week, when they were still an accurate representation of fall here at the lake house. It is colder now — we’ve had a first dusting of snow, all the plants are now on the porch to avoid frost, and I’m back to wearing my uggs as my around-the-house shoes. There’s a sweater on the chair next to my bed, so I can slip on a cozy, warm layer as soon as I’m out from under the covers. I even trapped a mouse (using a jar and my bench scraper) and let him go at the edge of the yard.

Oh, and I made this amazing cauliflower earlier in the week, maybe the same day I snapped all these pictures of the dock and the yard. I think you should drop everything and make some at your house. Seriously — a friend on Facebook said this recipe changed her decades-long dislike of cauliflower. If that isn’t a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is. (And I didn’t even add the yogurt sauce or the pomegranate seeds.)

And then there’s this guy. Silly, silly dog. I think he’s pretty happy that I’ve declared November a research-trip-free month. I’m hoping to get into a rhythm, finally, of everything: writing, knitting, cooking, walking with Boh. I think we’re both creatures of habit, and I’m ready to settle into a balanced routine.

Happy weekend!