Wandering at the Shadows' Edge

exploring potential and possibility

Archive for the category “General Wandering”

Physical Shadows

One thing about roaming the shadows and not keeping track of where I’m going – I don’t keep track of other things, like my weight. And when I finally did step back into the light, I found I’d gained a fair amount of weight.

I was very unhappy with that discovery. And I decided to do something about it.

I joined 24 Hour Fitness and set up sessions with a trainer once a week. I started walking again and doing the lateral elliptical machine at the gym when it’s too hot or rainy to walk the hike and bike train behind my condo.

And I started eating better. Lots of fruits, vegetables, and such. Eggs and some cheese. I haven’t gone vegetarian. I eat some meat, poultry, and seafood. And I haven’t given up my beer. That’s not happening!

I tried Daily Harvest. I like the idea of having smoothie ingredients ready for immediate use. And they have dinner bowls, overnight oats, and snack bites. But I wasn’t fond of a lot of the flavors. Some of them were good, and I’m still ordering a limited number of them. I think I’ll be prepping ingredients myself and buying frozen fruits. That should make it quicker to fix smoothies and I can probably pre-mix the ingredients once I find the combinations I like best.

I’m just starting to lose some of the weight, but it is happening. I’m hopeful. We’ll see what happens.

New-Old Journeying

I’m still visiting old shadows and paths, but some of them are taking me in new directions. The two that are taking me the furthest from familiar paths are essentially new versions of things I’ve tried before. I’m only going to talk about one of them here.

I had a podcast for a little while over a decade ago. It was about creativity and I enjoyed it. Buth other things took priority and even though it was something I wanted to do, I just couldn’t find that one topic I could center a new podcast on. So I let it sit in the back of my mind in the mists and shadows until something came that I felt I could talk about for an extended time.

It took a financial podcast for inspiration to hit. “How to Money” is a podcast about all things money, hosted by two young men who share one of my loves – good beer. They have a beer while recording their podcast, talking about it at the beginning and end of each episode. And I can talk about beer forever.

So there it was – topic #1. But there are lots of beer podcasts out there. So what could I talk about that would make my podcast unique? What do I spend my time and energy on just for me? It really should have been obvious. I read, and I write. I love books of all kinds. Could I combine my love of beer with my love of books?

The answer was yes – and Books and Beer 2 Go is the result.

I got the intro and first episode out. Then I ran into computer problems. Then I ran into time problems. But the podcast is getting back on track – I think.

So, if you like books, or beer, or just want to hear me babble, go to your favorite podcast app and download an episode. And don’t forget to let me know what you think.

Making time

Time. It’s one thing we never seem to have enough of – just like money. Making a living takes over a third of my available 24 hours, five days a week – sometimes more. Sleeping should take another third, though usually it’s more like a quarter. At most we’re left with four to eight hours to do chores, feed ourselves, run errands, relax, and pursue our real interests. On the weekends, we may have sixteen hours each day – if we haven’t pushed all our errands and chores off until then, and if we don’t have to go in to work.

So how do we find the time to do the things we *need* to do and still have time to do things we *want* to do? How do we make sure we get some “me” time in the midst of all the things that need to be done? As fast and busy as life is today, it almost always feels like something is getting shorted.

I have to prioritize the things I need or should do. I also have to prioritize the things I want to do – the things I take joy in. That’s hard, because for me “my” things can’t possibly be as important as those things that need or should be done. Can they? They can. They are. For my own mental and emotional health, I need those things. So do you.

How am I making prioritization work? I prioritize “my” things, then I separately prioritize the need and should things. Absolutely necessary things – like getting groceries or gas, and paying bills, get scheduled first. That part is easy. It’s scheduling the rest of the stuff that’s difficult. That’s where I fall down repeatedly.

I’ve tried scheduling almost every hour. I’ve tried setting a goal of spending a certain amount of time on them. I’ve tried just writing them on my To Do list. None of these options has worked very well.

Currently I’m testing a new hybrid method. I have my two prioritized lists, and I’m trying to break the tasks down to as small and discrete pieces as possible. I’m blocking time for those absolutely necessary things, realizing some of them aren’t time exclusive – like laundry. I can do other things while the washer and dryer are running. Once those are blocked, I’m alternating between “my” things and the need/should things. I’m also making sure I leave some unblocked time, so that I don’t feel like every minute is planned.

I don’t know how this is going to work, if it’s going to work any better than my previous efforts. But I won’t know until I try. The whole process of balancing needs and wants, of reaching a balance that works for me, has been shadowy. I’m constantly mapping new processes and paths.

I’ll let you know what happens and how I feel during the process. Maybe my tests and trials will help someone else what works for them and what makes them happier.

Revisiting the Shadows

Sometimes you just have to travel back to someplace you’ve already been. That’s true when it comes to places, projects, stories, and many other things.

At the moment, I’m traveling in the shadows I’ve already mapped, going back to things that are familiar and, in some cases, comforting. I need to start exploring again soon.

Work has been taking a lot of my mental energies, so I’ve been reading old favorites. They’re fun and easy since I’ve already read them at least once. That leaves my brain cycles available for other things.

What are those other things? Revising the second and third Double Helix books into to drafts I can give to an editor is part of it. I’ve also been doing some editing on Secrets and Shadows before I release it wide and in print. And I’ve been working on the short stories my mailing list gets for free. And then there’s the zero draft of the fourth Double Helix book. That’s most of the writing related stuff that’s not new.

I’m re-exploring the fiber arts as well. I need a new lanyard for work, so I warped up my inkle loom. I got a couple of inches dones then set it aside. I need to finish it because there are other weaving projects – new techniques – I want to try. Of course, I need to finish balling the yarn for some of those projects too!

I’ve been jotting down ideas and steps for completing some older SCA projects too. I need to practice specific calligraphy and illumination styles and figure out some fairly extensive blocking. I need to make a test batch of gesso, test some gilding options, and do some more research and practice on book binding.

I’m considering pulling an old project here out of the shadows. There’s a lot of negativity in the world and on social media right now. And there are a lot of people doing their parts to make things a little better, a little easier, a little nicer. They need to be seen though, and all too often they aren’t. So I think I may bring the spotlight back. There’s light in the shadows, though we usually only see the dark.

Hmm….

It looks like I’m not quite ready to start mapping new paths in the shadows yet. But I’ll get there.

Are you revisiting old maps or exploring new ones?

Emerging from the Shadows – again

*peeks out from the shadows*

Yep – the site is still here.

I went wandering in the shadows again and it took me forever to find my way back. But I did, and once I get the dust blown off the site maybe I can get back to some of my projects.

I definitely need to do a better job of mapping my shadow explorations. Maybe that will keep me from getting lost again! I hope I can figure out where I stopped mapping.

*dusts off the project list in the Idea archive*  *cough cough*

I did keep a journal of sorts while I was wandering. Between it, and the ideas in the very dusty archives of the site, I’m pretty sure I have material for weeks, if not months, of mapping. I just need to make sure I don’t get distracted or lost again! I’ve been reading, sewing, writing, trying new beers, and even trying to start a new podcast. And there’s this trip I’m planning for 2020 …

Let me go chart the next steps in getting the site set to rights again!

Spotlight: Kelly Paige Standard

Here’s the first Spotlight for 2018:

Kelly Paige Standard

Kelly is an extremely talented artist who has worked in several different media but she’s currently making her living mostly by her oil painting.  I’ve known her since she and my sister were in high school together and her art has only gotten better. She does all kinds of paintings – portraits, pets, still lifes, fantasical images. She’s incredibly creative.

You can find her on Facebook  and at her website.

Here are a couple of samples of her work: The first is my sister’s first Great Dane, Zoe and the second is part of a series of paintings that Kelly used my sister as the model for. Although the second one has a price listed, I believe that it did sell.

The Wandering Plan for 2018

I started and ended 2017 pretty well here…. the middle was a bit of a mess. I don’t want that to happen again. So here’s the plan and how I intend to stick to it.

  • I’m committing to one post a week here.  I may, at times, post more often, but the commitment is once a week.
  • I’m scheduling craft, reading, and posting time every week. So I’ll have projects and books to post about.
  • I’m setting up drafts for posts 3 months at a time. In most cases they’re just titles and a few notes bit they are ready and waiting.

And what will I be posting about?

  • I’m bringing back the Spotlights
  • I’ll be sharing my favorite authors and books
  • I’ve set myself a goal to work on a crafting project every day and I’ll be posting  updates on my progress
  • The actual projects themselves… some calligraphy, iconography, weaving, sewing, costuming, needlework, bookbinding, crochet and other fiber arts… And who knows what else.

I’m planning on exploring a lot of the shadows in 2018 and recording what I discover. Come wander with me.

2017 Sliding into the Shadows 

2017 had moments if brightness but a lot of the year was cast in shadows that were dark, even for me.

I wanted to post here more often but work and life got in the way.  The brightness I wanted to bring to people, the people I wanted to throw the spotlight on, I let fall by the wayside.

I think I’ve figured not only what went wrong, but how to keep it from happening again. So I’m coming out of the shadows, at least a bit though I doubt you’ll find me standing in the sunshine.

Cooking

I like to cook but I don’t do it as often as I should.  It’s a pain to cook for just one person and often it just doesn’t seem worth the effort. But I’ve been cooking more often over the last few months and it’s because of Blue Apron.

Every other week or so I get a box delivered. It has instructions and all the ingredients for three recipes and each recipe makes two servings.
Some of the recipes stretch to three servings, but whether they do or not I get the current meal and one serving of leftovers to take to work for lunch. That works out near perfectly for me.

I also get to try lots of different kinds of food without having to buy lots of specialty or hard to find ingredients.  If I like something a lot, I have the recipe and can go ahead and invest in the special items it may need.

Using the Blue Apron service helps my budget because I’m not wasting ingredients. It also expands my culinary experience and food palette. I’d recommend it if you’re interested in either.

Big Changes and a New Craft Space

It’s been eleven months since I posted here – good intentions got swept up in the chaos and shadows that sometimes overtakes life. 2017 was a busy year.

One of reasons this blog faded was because I didn’t have space to do much in the way of crafting. The biggest event of 2017 changed that. I moved from a 500 square foot, one bedroom apartment to a two bedroom condo with almost twice as much room.  Now I can find all my craft supplies without digging through stacks of bins and boxes. And my craft table isn’t piled high with some of those same bins and boxes.

Things are still a little crazy – I’m working swing shift for a few months as an instructor for our new hires at work, and I’m concentrating on my writing. But crafting is still important to me. So I’m going to start posting here again and by the beginning of 2018 I’m going to start actively working on it again.

I dropped off on the Spotlights I was posting too – and I’ll be bringing them back – along with book reviews and other wanderings in the shadows.

Post Navigation