Nothing profound – just finding myself in the curious position of having to mindfully manage my time. My plate is not full, but certainly fuller than it’s been since 2020. The good bits of my ‘new normal’ are shining brighter and growing steadily.
After a period of deafening dormancy, many opportunities are opening up for me, of which I do not take for granted.
For the first time in several years, I spy the arc of this New Year’s horizon. I am excited about walking, exploring and cultivating those paths towards it and beyond.
I think many of us are experiencing the natural unfolding of each our own good bits of a ‘new normal’ since 2020 became 2021 which then painstakingly rolled into 2022.
That said, my screen time – including but not limited to blogging – is returning to a more balanced, albeit skinnier slice of the time pie.
So you see, this is not a final farewell post. It is merely an attempt to explain my irregular pattern of posting that has become more the rule rather than the exception and which will no doubt evolve over the course of MMXXIII.
We all take stock from time to time – just thought I’d let you in on my subtle (?) shift in Time Pie Slices.
I’m just doing the doing. More some days than others. A steady doing of doing that is mostly mindful, often delightful, surprisingly productive and always so very daily.
Hubby and I took on several home improvement projects since buying our little rental home October 2021.
Doing needful maintenance the landlord avoided doing – even when we volunteered to do certain necessary items.
Doing homey stuff the landlord didn’t allow us to do – even if it enhanced aesthetics such as hanging plants on the front porch or planting flower gardens.
Now that we’re homeowners again, we’ve been busy.
From power washing the vinyl siding, to cleaning the gutters in the Spring & Fall, to planting/hanging porch plants and garden areas, to sanding, sealing, repainting said porches, stairs & railings, to replacing the crummy kitchen countertops, sink & oven fan/hood, repainting said kitchen, changing out all electrical outlets/switches & updating some electrical issues, to installing new, working ceiling fans/lights in the kitchen, Living Room, Master Bedroom and hubby’s office, to replacing the flimsy flusher pixie toilet in the hall bathroom…and more.
All without breaking the bank or dumping too much money into the place from an investment point of view.
Here are a few snaps of just one of the many projects begun & completed as mentioned above – before & during prep of the kitchen (notice new hood in last photo):
Who knew we’d ever be able to afford granite in our modest home? When we ordered new counter tops, it was during a small window of time when supply of cheaper laminates were limited and granite actually was only a few hundred dollars more to buy & install!
BTW: this phone video is titled, “Glee over our Granite!”
If you listen closely to this vid, you’ll hear my signature laugh against hubby joking with the sales lady speaking in a typical South Carolina accent.
I guess we have been busy.
Our lives have certainly been enhanced by the doing.
Plus, we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor and share it with our kiddos over Christmas Holidaythis year. Our first time to host (for various reasons) in about 6 years.
My 2007 cd, unexpected, is now available for purchase on Bandcamp as a limited quantity item.
Long available via the now defunct cdbaby store (back in the Derek Sivers days!) and downloadable/streamable via iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, etc. I have re-released both the physical cds & digital downloads of unexpected for additional distribution on my Bandcamp site.
***Please take a listen***
Hop over to my Bandcamp page for details on how to order digital tracks and/or physical cds.
Due in large part to the fact of its prior release taking place during the early days of digital distribution (think: My Space Music, yes I had an account!) – my mixed and mastered wav files were on a special type of cd that I then sent directly to the cd replication studio. I essentially gave them up not knowing I’d need them somewhere down the line.
I won’t get too technical but having to reverse-engineer one of my own cds on hand in order to obtain wav files to upload was a huge obstacle for me.
Oh, not the actual doing of it, but wondering if the quality of said files would be the same as if they’d come directly from the recording studio files. Lordy, I am such asound snob an audiophile.
Add to that the amount of time required for uploading & entering each track individually, complete with a myriad of other digital data paraphernalia. No wonder I put it off for so long. (BTW: the digital files sound just fine!)
However, as I’ve been working on current projects – improving skills on my less dominate instruments, recording ideas, composing like crazy, collaborating with Banjo Guy and laying out pdf scores for future publishing & distribution – I could no longer drag my feet in getting this pesky task completed.
And now it is.
Ready for a new set of ears to hear and hopefully enjoy for hours of listening pleasure.
I am a turtle when it comes to making a quilt and/or creating fiber art of any sort. Quickening my pace often results in frustrating mishaps that require more effort and time to fix and undo than when I simply embrace my slow, steady tempo.
Mindful and contemplative sewing is a basic premise of the Slow Stitching Movement. One could say I come by that approach naturally, but truth to tell, nah. I do become completely absorbed with and extremely engaged in all steps within the process. And yes, I do breathe prayers, thoughts and love into the gifted pieces I create.
However – I Am A Slow Stitcher. Period.
In most areas of life, I am nothing if not steadfastly persistent and enthusiastic in the doing of anything – no matter how long it takes – but not necessarily slow or fast about it. Most who know me believe me to be quick witted, a fast learner and an efficient doer. Maybe.
This I do know: I am swift to laugh out loud in a huge guffaw just for the sheer joy in laughing!
Seriously, because I do ‘know thyself (myself)’, I take that time handicap into account whenever I decide to make something soft and comfy and/or display-worthy as a gift.
Which is why when the call for Comfort Quilts for Uvalde, Texas came within days of the senseless slaughter of innocent lives at Robb Elementary School, I knew I couldn’t participate. Even though I really, really wanted to and the desire and pull to participate only grew stronger as the days passed.
These types of reach outs usually have a short window of opportunity to contribute requested items/services to those intended recipients. Which I 100% get and respect.
In this case, my (he)art won out over my head. I decided to begin one small quilt regardless. Just in case.
At that time, I was just beginning to sort through some orphan blocks and excess fabric and realized they would make up into a rather nice 60 x 60 comfort quilt. As I worked on it and got closer to completing it, I reached out to a quilter blogging bud who was acquainted with the contact person and asked: Has the time come and gone for me to actually send this on to Uvalde?
She graciously went to bat for me (and others who had later quilts to donate) and found out my small contribution would be accepted long after the call went out for them. Her diligence enabled me to be a part of this effort. (You know who you are and I am forever grateful!)
Quite selfishly, this was a blessing for me to make on so many levels. I just wish the call to create a “Comfort Quilt” for such a reason wasn’t needed.
…purchased downloads from Amazon digital music a long, long time ago.
I ‘own’ these three pieces, but can’t offer them in total to you the listener as a share on my blog…interesting. This embed of Amazon’s ‘share’ include only excerpts. Click here for my ‘First Purchased Download’ List but then – you have to sign in/up to listen.
However, as another vehicle for sharing, I offer up the three pieces in their respective youtube embeds for your enjoyment!
note: I suppose you, my regular followers, noticed I’m not exactly rushing to finish up my ‘part 3’ of the Catching Up blog postings…it’ll come, just not now! 🙂Please forgive my indolence in this matter!Blame it on the Unending Summer Heat Wave of 2022. Stay safe & cool, all.
excerpt from: ‘Silence In the Age of Noise’ by Erling Kagge translated by Becky L. Cook
“Silence can be boring. Everyone has experienced the ways in which silence can come across as exclusive, uncomfortable and at times even scary. At other times, it is a sign of loneliness. Or sorrow. The silence that follows is heavy.
However, silence can also be a friend. A comfort and a source of deeper riches.
Silence in itself is rich. It is exclusive and luxurious. A key to unlock new ways of thinking. I don’t regard it as a renunciation or something spiritual, but rather a practical resource for living a richer life. Or, to put it in more ordinary terms, as a deeper form of experiencing life than just turning on the TV to watch the news, again. “
As per Banjo Guy’s suggestion in part one, I spent some time with my Hammered Dulcimer (HD).
Once hauled out from it’s resting spot under the skinny folding work table in my music ‘studio’, and set up in the living room, it was ready & waiting for me to play at my pleasure.
Our house is on the small side at ~1200 square feet. As you can tell, the HD does take up a lot of room. Once set up, there’s a certain feeling of commitment to sit down and really dig into the instrument. This musical outlet worked well for me as the strain to my wrists was almost nil while I worked through scales, hammering techniques and reading/playing HD tunes from HD playbooks and by ear.
Yep, I had fun!
My music ‘studio’ is nestled within a modestly sized bedroom, sharing space with a writing/computer area and a sewing/quilting area. If I have an unusually large project in the works or just need to spread out and ‘claim my space’ while creating (especially musically on several instruments at a time), my ‘studio’ overflows into the living room.
Luckily, Hubby understands the call & needs of the (he)artist. He actually encourages me to spread out and encroach on our living room whenever I need more space to create.
Meanwhile, enjoy this more traditional HD cover of Here Comes the Sun to get a feel for this dreamy, jangly instrument. If nothing else, that classic Beatles Tune is sure to bring a smile to your face and lighten your mood.
Perhaps you noticed the wall hanging on the brick wall over the fireplace. It serves as a subject clue as to what ‘creative activity’ I’ll be discussing in part three! (I’m)stay(ing)tuned…and yes, I do mean that literally. 🙂