Friday, September 2, 2016

Pulling Myself Together

Must  be lunch time!

Pavlov’s dogs have nothing over me. For the last 42 years I have been conditioned to respond to bells. They only make me salivate at lunch time. But they are the cue that it’s time to transition to a new activity. As a student and then a teacher, the schedule for each day was predictable and planned in advance. I really like that structure. I need structure.
My health has screwed that up. I don’t always know if I will be functional when I agree to an activity next Tuesday at ten, or this afternoon at three. I miss more family get togethers than I attend. I struggle to plan quality time to spend with friends. 

I plan my knitting around my energy levels. The last dragonfly shawl, that I am making as a Christmas present, is not quite finished yet because I have to read a pattern. After that, I have to wash, stretch, and pin down the shawl in the shape I want. Thinking about it can make me tired.

I wish my binge watching looked this good.
So I have brainless knitting projects going too, things that are simple and repetitive. Today I have a sweater and a wash cloth on needles that I can pick up and work on when my energy is fairly low. When energy hits rock bottom, I can't even knit. Then it’s hours in bed with NPR or Netflix. 

But without a plan, I feel lost and disorganized. So I’ve mapped out my week now in a way that I hope will work: 

Monday: Prepare wool for spinning.
Tuesday: Write the first draft of this blog.
Wednesday: Finish blog-related knitting for the week.
Thursday: Find and take pictures. Revise and Edit.
Friday: More revision and editing; Set up and publish.
Saturday: List Etsy Items.
Sunday: Crochet Christmas presents.

Other than the knitting, most of these tasks can be done in an hour. I definitely don’t need any sort of planning calendar. But planning this schedule felt good and I think it’s realistic.

Notice what is not in my schedule—most of the things I do every day. I accomplish about the same amount of housework as a disabled stay-at-home mom as I did as a tired teaching mom: almost enough dishes and laundry to keep us from drowning in filth. When things get bad or I’m down for an extended period, my husband marshals the troops and makes the kids sweep and vacuum.     
How did it work? I did a reasonably good job getting to my tasks first thing in the morning on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday, I didn’t feel great, but got to the work by late afternoon.

As I write this paragraph, it is Thursday night at 8:19. I am editing and proofreading. I found a picture of a sick skunk. He represents me today.
Some days showering is optional.
I’m not really hurting, but I have been down mood wise. I haven't showered. I didn't wash any dishes. I didn’t take blog pictures. I did binge watch about five episodes of
Haven on Netflix. And I knit, but I still don’t feel productive. We’ll see what time I actually get the blog posted tomorrow.

THE KNITTING (kind of)

I don’t actually have new knitting to show today. I have a problem to solve. Most of the things I have ordered from Etsy come with cute tags or business cards and sometimes little freebees. I would like to improve the “experience” of ordering from my ETSY shop.         

Notice the hand-knit dog sweaters. My dog doesn't have one.
Not my cookie.
The problem is, I am no Martha Stewart. Once I watched her make some American flag cookies and thought, “I can do that.” Then I instantly realized that my guys would appreciate sugar cookies just as much in any shape with frosting of any color. 

Likewise, my sold items arrive on-time, clean, and in good condition, but they are usually just put in an Express Mail envelope or box with their receipts.

Still not my cookies. These are colorful and have glitter on them
I’m going to start with the wash cloths. I think they are wonderful, but they don’t photograph well. I want to package them to look like a cute shower gift. I’m also considering putting in beaded friendship bracelet with each order attached to a “thank you” tag (I bought the PDF on Etsy.) These are my attempts. 

Better, but  not great yet.

I also want to show off the final dragonfly shawl. I finally finished Friday Morning as well as getting the listing knitting from the last two weeks in my shop.

Finally a sneak peak of next week. I haven't chosen a topic, but I am working on two projects. 

A homespun merino wool sweater-- I’ve finished the front and most of the back. I’ll know how long the sleeves are when I see how much yarn is left over. 

A summer scarf/wrap made of a linen/cotton blend--linen and cotton both start out quite crisp, but then soften with washing and wearing.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

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