To many people in the world El Cinco de Mayo commemorates freedom but for me it is the anniversary of my aunt and uncle. These two very special people waited for me to be born so they could set their wedding date since my mother was to be the matron of honor and my father the best man. They have been like parents to me in many ways but were also just some one I could turn to when I did not want to speak to my parents. This is the value of an extended family. I grew up with lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins. There was always someone around I could go to if I didn't want to confide in my parents. Even though our homes were different ( some noisy, some quiet) the values were the same. I remember having cousins coming to my house to talk to my parents and I couldn't understand why. My parents were so strict. Well so were my aunts and uncles but they didn't have to enforce the rules for me so it was easier to talk more freely. Weekly all the families got together at my grandfather's house. The parents in the living room and the children in one of the extra bedrooms where we were allowed to play. Now I imagine that they discussed the children as well as world affairs on those Sunday afternoons. I'm sure it never occurred to us that they actually talked to each other about us but they did. In that way they knew how and what we were doing and we felt we had a someone we could comfortably talk to. So I thank my family for providing me with a loving supportive environment to grow up in. And to the aunt and uncle whose anniversary is today thank you for always loving me and for showing me how to love forever.
Today DH and I have been married for 24 years and I am looking forward to the next 24. What fun we are having. Raising a family, creating a home, getting to know each other, and helping each other grow. Being there for each other whether we get it or not and facing whatever comes together. Even when the road is not smooth we find a way to laugh together. Although we have very different personalities we love each other so much we are always trying to accommodate each others needs. Love and marriage are a wonderful thing if you find the "one" like I have.
Up until this past Monday my OAAT project was Michael Powell's Spanish Mini Cottage. Last week I signed up for an exchange ( I couldn't resist). So now I have to put this aside and stitch my exchange piece. Of course I can't put a picture of my progress on my exchange piece since it has to be a surprise but here is a picture of my progress on the Spanish Mini Cottage.
In February I joined a TW 12 Days of Christmas SAL. We started with the 1st Day of Christmas. I am stitching mine on off white Jubilee as a 3 X4 banner. I decided to stitch this on TW Mondays only and complete at least one ornament per year. After 10 weeks here is my progress:
I love this time of year and spring has been particularly beautiful this year. I love to watch everything renew itself. The daffodils are out and the trees are budding. I can leave my windows open and fill the house with fresh air. I can watch my drapes and curtain float with the breeze. I feel lighter and energized somehow. My children say I am solar powered and it must be so. Everything seems to be so much more fun somehow. So I am off to rum errands and enjoy the sunshine and warmth of a spring evening. I hope that where ever you are you are enjoying the day as well.
Do I not post on a regular basis? I am not a lazy person but for some reason this activity which comes so easily to many of you is one that eludes me. By the time I even think about it a week has passed by and then a month and so on. So I haven't posted in over two months. However whether I post or not life marches on and winter has melted into spring; an absolutely gorgeous spring.
Yesterday I flew to NYC and attended a concert at Carnegie Hall. I was so excited to be there because you see I was going to listen to my younger son sing with his high school choir. They were the featured choir and a part of the National Youth Choir. Words alone can not express how proud I was of him and his 64 classmates as they proceeded on stage in their tuxedos (for the boys) and long black dresses (or the girls) and gave an outstanding concert. They are an outstanding group of young people and they are led by an outstanding choral director and accompanist. These adults expend a lot of time and energy working with these young people and have a great influence on them. In return these teenagers respond positively to their leadership.
The only sad note is that no one but the audience there will know how wonderfully these young people performed. No one will know how many hours of rehearsals and individual practice they put in to become the best high school choir in the country because no one from the press was there. They were probably too busy focusing on all the negative events of the day instead of spending an hour listening to these heavenly voices . Perhaps if we focussed on the positive activities of our youth on the 6 o'clock news other young people would be influenced to follow their lead. In any case, I am one happy and proud mother of a wonderful young man and a proud community member of the the best high school choir in the country.
I had this kit in my stash and I stitched it for my 15 month old grandson. It took longer than I anticipated. I am still not good at judging how long some of these small projects will take. I will finish it with a red felt backing and a green ribbon hanger.
I initially set the goal to stitch two hours a day. At that rate I will finish my stitching at a lot slower rate that I originally planned. That means updating my stitching rotation. As I mentioned in an earlier post I am a one at a time stitcher and I am focused on finishing the projects from my WIP list since most of them have been WIPs for a number of years. I will however give myself the opportunity to start new projects three different ways. I will do eduCATed later this spring because I want to give it to my son when he graduates from HS. I will stitch on Ornaments and very small projects as my travel projects. I may have a couple of these going at a time since I am going to participate in the 12 days of Christmas SAL and I also want to stitch some simpler ornaments when I need a break from confetti. The last will be for larger projects. I will stitch my WIPs OAAT. In the month that I finish a WIP I have the option to spend the rest of that month on a new start or move onto the next WIP in my plan.
I plan to stitch my WIPs and one planned new start in the following order:
Chatelaine's Christmas Tree Mandala - Done 1/16/08
I am committed to stitching OAAT for my major projects. There are a number of reasons for this but the major one is that I get comfortable with the design and can therefore stitch more quickly. I have been working on Chatelaine's Christmas Tree Mandala for several months. I haven't had much time to stitch since September so it is with great pleasere and pride that I announce that I have finally finished this piece this morning. It will become a topper for a wooden keepsake box which will be a gift to my parents. This piece was fun to stitch for the most part. Unfortunately it called for 29 french knots in each tree. After finding an online tutorial on french knots and practicing them I did one tree and did not like the effect. I then tried petite gold beads instead and did not like that either. I finally used gold very fine braid and stitched regular cross stitches in those locations. The only other modification I made form the original design was the use of DMC 500 instead of black for the outside border. I didn't like the idea of so much black on a Christmas piece. I also love DMC 500. It is difficult to see all the metallic braid and beads on this design but it has about 300 beads on it and lots of gold and silver braid. Thanks for looking. Now I get to move onto my next WIP which is TW's Wedding Sampler.
I have been struggling to finish Christmas Tree Mandala so instead of working on it today I pulled out a little kit I had in my stash called "Heart of Gold". It is intended to be a little keepsake bag but I am going to make it into a scissor fob. It felt so good to start and finish something today. Now maybe I can face finishing Christmas Tree Mandala. I only have about 100 stitches of gold braid and 78 beads to put in and I am done with it. I will try to do it on Tuesday since Monday night I will stitch on Wedding Sampler as part of Monday with TW.
It is 10PM and I have been up since 5am. Since I have gotten home at 6pm I have cooked dinner, answered email, talked with my kids and my husband, made some phone calls, done a couple of loads of laundry, and prepared my lesson for class tomorrow. Now when I can hardly keep my eyes open I have time to stitch. This is what has been happening to me since September which is why I haven't gotten a lot of stitching done. I am going to have to try and change my strategy and do my stitching in the morning. That means getting up at 4am. If I go to bed now and sleep fast I think I can make it. So I will say good night because I would really like to stitch more than 15 minutes tomorrow which is all I got in today. Have a great night everyone.
It is wonderful that after almost 24 years of marriage my husband and I can still tell each other our stories and laugh together. We were on our own this weekend and were doing dreaded chores like cleaning out the garage and organizing Christmas decorations. As we worked we would share a memory or a story from our childhood and end up laughing together. Some of these experiences were shared while others while similar were from a time before we met. We were able to see the humor in our past experiences and have fun reliving them together. I love being able to laugh and cry with my husband. He is my safe haven. I wish everyone had someone they could laugh with the way I can with my husband. It lightens the heart and makes life a joy. I hope everyone is having a joyful day.
I never thought to write about my quest to become physically fit in my 50's. When I was young I was a good weight and had a nice figure but I am not sure I could say I was physically fit in the way we talk about it today. Although I have always liked to walk I haven't made it a point to do so over the years or take up any other form of regular exercise beyond housework and chasing after my children. I also love to cook and eat so the inevitable happened. From the time I married until this past fall I gained 60 pounds. Some of that was gained during pregnancy and then never shed so which each new pregnancy I started out a bit heavier. The rest just added on due to my lifestyle. I am one of the fortunate few whose husband loves every bit of me but I have always disliked being heavy. I just did not dislike it enough to head for the gym.
This past summer I broke my ankle and this event in combination with watching my in-laws become less and less mobile transformed me. I realized that I was fast approaching my senior years and that I was no longer very strong nor was my balance good hence the fall that led to me breaking my ankle. Also for the last few years arthritis has been creeping up on me making my ankles and knees painful and less flexible. As I watch some of the older members of my family become less mobile I knew this was my opportunity to work on gaining back what I had lost; my strength, my flexibility, and my aerobic fitness. This was a time when I was in good enough health to fight back and mentally prepared to do so.
So in September of 2007 after my ankle healed and I finished with physical therapy I signed up to work with a personal trainer. My goals were to improve my overall strength and balance and to lose those 60 pounds I put on over the last 23 years. I stay focused on this because for our 24th wedding anniversary I would like to be able to wear the dress I was wearing when my husband and I met. I not sure if I will make it by our anniversary but I will continue to work toward being able to wear all the size 12 dresses I still have in my closet.
So what is the tale of the tape? When I began I was a size 18 and now I am a size 16 having lost a total of about 7 to 8 inches from various parts of my anatomy. I have lost 15 pounds for an average of about 1 pound per week which is my target since one is likelier to keep weight off if it is lost slowly . I am eating better and have more energy on most days. The days where I have a very tough session I may crawl into bed early but otherwise I am not as tired anymore. I am also much stronger and my balance has improved. The most significant change I think is mental. I no longer have to force myself to go to the gym. Now I want to go and work out. It helps that occasionally I can convince one of my kids or my husband to go with me but whether or not they come with me I go.
I am 25% of the way to my weight goal and I am not sure where I will stop with cardio fitness and strength. What I do know is that I am developing a new lifestyle which will serve me well now and through my senior years. One that includes not only my love of reading, cooking and eating, and needlework but one that includes one more thing I love, exercise.
Mira RR Deco Spirits - on Mira RR - 20% - Stitched 5 % in 2007
StoryTeller - 5% - I did not stitch on this one in 2007
Dragon Ride- 8% - Stitched 4 % in 2007
Autumn Sampler - 70% - Stitched 65 % in 2007
TW Wedding Sampler 5% - Stitched 5% in 2007
Winnie the Pooh Christmas Ornament 10% - stitched 10% in 2007
My Plan is: I will plan to stitch an average of 2 hours per day. I am a One At A Time (OAAT) stitcher for my major pieces. I will stitch Christmas ornaments and other small projects as travel projects. Winnie the Pooh Ornie occupies that spot right now. Each of my WIPs will come up to be stitched in a specific month based on how long I thing it will take to complete them. This will enable me to stitch on all on my WIPs this year and hopefully finish all but one, the afghan. I am currently working on Chatelaine's Christmas Tree Mandala and plan to have it completed by Saturday. At that time I will start TW's Wedding Sampler. I have given myself until the end of February to complete this one. If I complete before the end of February I can use the remaining time for a new start. I will follow this practice as I complete each WIP. This will allow me to finish my existing WIPs and start a few new projects throughout the year. I am very excited about this variation on OAAT stitching and look forward to an exciting and fun stitching year.
So what abut you? What are you looking forward to accomplishing this year?
Reflection is an interesting and important process. As this is the first day of the year what better time to institute the practice of internal reflection if you are not already in the practice of doing so. Many of us spend a great deal of time looking at our external reflection so we can evaluate our physical appearance. But how much more important it is to look inside yourself and reflect on what you have done with your life so far, and whether you are happy with what you have done or need to do some things differently. On a more immediate perspective today is a good day to look at your actions and accomplishments for the past year and determine what you would have done differently and then make your your plans for the new year.
Although I spend time reflecting on my life I am not good at recording my reflections or the events of my life. Therefore it is sometimes difficult to evaluate my growth and progress. So here I am at the beginning of another year pledging to myself that I will use this blog on a regular basis. I have also purchased a hard-copy journal to see if I can establish this habit and leave my children something of my inner self for their future reading. I don't want to be a mystery but I think I am in many ways even to my family. I do not spend much time analyzing myself or my feelings and I certainly do not spend much time communicating it to anyone else. So this year I am going for two major goals:
1. Get physically fit and lose weight. 2. Reflect more and share my thoughts and feelings with those close to me.
I think all the rest will fall into place if I can successfully carry out these two goals.
Happy New Year to all my online friends and may 2008 bring you peace, health, and happiness.
Some of my favorite things are my family, teaching, sunshine, warm weather, books, chocolate kisses, my husband's kisses, my children's and grandchildren's hugs, cross stitching, needlepoint, and other needle arts. My goal this year is to continue developing my fitness so I can enjoy my family , my work, and my hobbies. This is truly a wonderful life and I want to savor it each and every day.