Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Time. And Space.


And space.

That is what I have given myself this past month.

Time to spin.  Time to knit.  Time to read.  Time to sketch.  Time to catch up on movies.  Time to walk around and stare up at the trees.  Time to do nothing.

And space?  I've been a little more reclusive that usual lately.  I have stayed home instead of gallivanting around town.  I have retreated to my garden when family is home.  I have been lax about answering emails--even those from friends.  I have hermitted.

And you know what?  It felt GREAT!

I had no idea how overwhelmed I had become with all the going and the doing and the people and the emails and the Twitter.  I thought I was living the dream.  A busy career, and active family life, a big circle of friends and acquaintances.  And I was right, to a certain extent.  It was really good.

But I had no idea how much time and energy all of that was taking away from me until I walked away from it.  Don't get me wrong.  I wasn't miserable.  Oh, I was getting a little testy.  I was letting little things stress me out.  I wasn't sleeping.  But I didn't feel that bad.   Really.  I was loving it.

Truth be told, at first, I found it stressful to be doing "nothing".  I was constantly leaping up with the feeling that I should be doing Something Important.  I felt anxious and fidgety.  So I made myself sit.  I set knitting targets:  "You can't do anything else until you knit 6 rows of lace."  I would not allow myself to go to the grocery store until I had filled a bobbin with singles.  I learned to sit and be quiet.

I spent three weeks thinking that way, and I found that I could sit and do nothing.  I could feel "busy" when all I was doing was spinning.  I found a pace that worked for me.  A balance.

Now, I am starting to ease myself back into being busy.  This week is the deadline for Fibre Week proposals and I'm checking the emails--and answering them!-- three or four times a day.  I invited a friend over for dinner.  I am going out for lunch with my daughter.  I am getting out of my pyjamas before 3:00.  But I am also saying no.  And taking time, every day, to do small, quiet things that make me happy.

And now I see why I had to stop and rest for a bit.  I was am a stress junkie.  I like to have too many things going on at once.  I like to be the one running around doing ALL the things.  It makes me feel good to solve all the world's problems, then go home and cook a gourmet meal while answering emails and knitting a little bit of lace.  I feel powerful and capable when I do those things.

Not so much when I was sitting, alone, in my garden, making up a mitten pattern.

And WHY NOT?  Making up a knitting pattern is a good thing.  It's something that not just anybody can do.  I am still powerful and capable.  But it didn't feel the same.  The rush wasn't there.

That's when I realized that I had a problem.  Like a heroin addict,  I had started out with the thrill of a small dose of stress--a gram of paperwork here, a gram of travel there, a spoonful of committee.  But after a while, the thrill got harder to find, so I needed larger fixes to feed my habit.  I had to add a couple of grams of curriculum review,  then a spoonful of article writing, and a couple of big parties.   And another four grams of travel.  And pretty soon, that wasn't even enough to get me high.

So I quit.  Cold Turkey.

Now here I sit.  I have survived the withdrawal, and I can look back and see where I was.  And how far I have come.  I can find a thrill in answering one or two emails.  I feel like I have Accomplished Big Things when I get 6 rows of lace knit in an afternoon.  I'm happy with making hot dogs for dinner while I listen to my husband talk about his day.  I feel powerful and capable, without the constant go-go-go.  I'm good.

For now.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Catching Up

The Prodigal Blogger returns!

I am a sporadic blogger at best, but the past few months have been ridiculous.  I was overwhelmed by work and exhausted, so I stepped away from the job.  Right in time for some travel.   So I will use "I have been to interesting places, doing interesting things, with limited internet access" as my excuse for the latest blog silence.

I am home now, and settled for a bit, so it's time for some catching up.

Here's what I've been up to:

I have been married to Mr. Stephen Boyd for 30 years.  It has not always been easy, but we have somehow managed to cling together through all of it.  This, in our opinion, was worthy of a special celebration.  A cruise, at trip to Disneyland, something "big".  And what did we decide?  Sentimental fools that we are, we decided to go to our honeymoon destination and do it in the style we could not afford 30 years ago.  We went to Victoria, BC.

We drove through the mountains, dropping in at Vancouver to spend a couple of marvellous days catching up with our two older progeny, then off to Victoria.  We stayed in the lovely Magnolia Hotel and Spa (but did not spa), we ate fabulous food, and we walked our little feeties off.  We did not "do" anything.  We wandered, we drank wine, we talked.  We bought matching PFDs for kayaking.  It was AWESOME.

After a couple of days of that, we meandered up the Island to Nanaimo, where I was going to deliver one of the last Master Spinner books that I had marked.  That turned out to be a delightful side trip when the our hosts, Liz and Mark, proposed an impromptu kayak trip before a lovely salmon dinner...

We had to leave the paradise of Protection Island and mosey on, but we were going to Qualicum Bay, so it was worth the moseying.  We spent the next day wandering beaches in the rain...

...and enjoying the excellent local food at The Shady Rest Pub.

Then it was time to head back to the real world.  Back through the mountains and home again, home again, jiggety-jig.

Where we stayed for about 10 days.  I had a birthday in that time span, so we ate cake.  I weeded the garden.  I warped and wove a wee scarf.  I cast on a wee shawl.  I designed a pair of mittens, which are still progress.  I tidied the studio.  Nothing very interesting at all.  It was great!

Back on the road for the August long weekend, this time to Edmonton.  We hung out with family, we raided not one, but two farmers' markets, we visited with friends, and we did the doctor thing for Miss Julia.  (Her Juvenile Arthritis appears to be in full remission and all is well there, so it was a good visit.)
Then back home, where I have spent the last 2 days pickling and preserving and baking all the goodies we picked up at the farmers' markets.


So, now I knit.  And spin.  And rest up from all of the "resting" I've been doing.

And blog.

Because now I have TWO blogs.

After much frustration in searching for recipes for sweet treats that do not call for processed sugars or, worse, artificial sweeteners, I have started adapting and inventing my own.  And I want to offer them to those who are seeking, as I am, alternatives for diabetics or others who want to eliminate sugar without relying on artificial sugar substitutes.  So, because I have so much free time, I have started Life After Sugar.  Go check it out when you have a minute.

There is pie.