Showing posts with label journal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label journal. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New Routine

Well suddenly it's been a minute, hasn't it? I wrote in my last post that I was making a move, and I in some ways I've been in motion since!



I started a new job on May 1, and it feels like it was a good move. It's simultaneously familiar and new, but it feels like I've got my feet under me now. I'm getting to know people - it helps that there seems to be an abundance of social opportunities. I wonder if that's just how it is, or just because it's summer? Time will tell, obviously. I feel like they are getting to know me too, getting familiar with my skill set, and where I want to go. People seem to have the ability - for real, not just for lip service - to choose their own adventure. I've been in my career field for...10 years now, and I feel like this is the first time that I can say, hey, I'd love to try THAT, and actually be given the opportunity to learn that skill. It must be some combination of the culture here as well as this point in my own development - that I can see what I'd like to do, the humility to admit that it's something I need to learn, and the courage to ask for the opportunity. It's a good place to be, all in all.

And there's a roof deck. Win.



I've had a bit of a summer fitness kick, which was unexpected. Seems more like a new year's resolution thing, which I didn't even bother making this year because I so seldom put any effort into them. We've been doing some family bike rides, and I've been working up my courage to do a charity ride for work (the shortest distance option, if that's even possible!). I have until August 2 to sign up....I'd like to do at least one more 20 mile ride beforehand just to make sure I can really do it. The options are 20, 35, 70, and 103 miles. One huuuundred miles. So much no. I've only done one 25 mile distance so far this summer (possibly for the first time ever? I'm really bad at biking. We lived near busy roads when I was growing up and we were only allowed to ride in our cul-de-sac....which was boring and there was gravel at one turn where we would always wipe out, so I didn't ride much), but it wasn't all in one shot. Timing wise, that leaves me just this weekend to try to do it. We don't have anything on the calendar, so if the weather turns out....it's actually possible to give it a shot. I even mapped out a route. Perspective is funny. I'm sure tons of people wouldn't even think to practice for a 20 mile ride, but it's really far for me. Typically any time I sign up for a fitness thing, I don't bother to train either, but it's out of laziness, not belief that I don't need to. I really regret it halfway through!

This year though, I might get strong. I've been going to yoga too. A perk of my old job was weekly yoga classes, and I'd missed that. I was going to just buy a 10 pack of classes as my mother's day present, but they were running a sale for 3 months unlimited.....I ran the math on it, and it balanced out if I went 2x a week, so I went for it. Actually all but last week I've made it 3x a week. Usually just lunch classes, but I've been doing the early class on Wednesdays fairly regularly. We've been using the roof deck of the building, and it's a pretty refreshing way to greet the day.  Not a chance though will I continue once my 3 months is up in September. I can't justify the cost of continuing at that rate unless I hit another special, but I've got time to think about what I want to do. I'd like to just work out at home, but I suck at it. Just too many distractions, responsibilities, demands on my attention, couches... I can definitely tell that I've increased strength wise in both yoga and biking compared to my baseline, but overall I'm still pretty soft. We love watching American Ninja Warrior (so random). I tried crossing the monkey bars yesterday. Instant blister and I couldn't even go 2 rungs. Those ninjas just fling their bodies around and do pullups like it's nothing. So weird how watching it on tv hasn't transferred actual ability to me....

Roof yoga view



In sad knitting news, my fave LYS shut their doors this summer. I feel so adrift without my place to hang. The groups have continued meeting, though it hasn't worked out much with my schedule this summer. I'm hopeful that I'll be able to hook back up with them this fall on a more regular basis. I've still been knitting, super monogamously on the exact same 3 things lol. Last time I was around here I think I was working on my cabled cowl, something that's been on my list for me for yeeears. I finished that in early May, right after I started my job. Since then, I've consistently had 3 things on my needles - a pair of socks for purse knitting, a "big" project for at home, and secret knitting for after the kids go to bed which is my REAL "big" project.

cowl, ends still not woven in, buttons still not purchased....I've got time before winter...

 

For socks, I worked on and finished a pair of Rose City Rollers (the biggest size of the littles, after knitting almost an entire pair of the second biggest size and deciding it was too small). It was my first time using Trekking. I liked it! The yarn didn't stripe, but it didn't pool either, so that was good. It tolerated being ripped back pretty well, but it has gotten rather fuzzy. That could come from being worn nonstop for about 72 hours after they were finished, but that's considered high praise as it was the hottest it's been all summer at that time.

I finished those on June 21, and rather than casting on the next sock club suggestion, I picked back up my zigzagulars that I'd set down months ago. I started them back in February, but only got through the cuff and the first or second zig or zag. Come to think of it, that yarn had been ripped out too. It started life as a more heavily patterned sock, the Tornados I think. This pattern is a much better fit, and it's holding up just fine, as you'd expect from Regia. The contrast cuff is Brown Sheep Wildfoote Luxury sock. It seems like it will be really hard wearing, which is good as I plan to use it for heels and toes as well. It's one of the things I stocked up on when Wild Haven closed. I definitely had mixed feelings about that - on the one hand, you don't want to pass up a good deal, and it would benefit Kate more to have the cash than the yarn sitting around after the shop closed. But on the other, it just feels icky to be getting a good deal at the expense of your friend. I tell myself that I was a regular, if not high volume because I certainly don't NEED a lot, customer before the closing sale, and that I'd planned to just buy it as I needed it....but still the mixed feelings. Anyway. So those are my socks of the moment. I got down the leg to the heel in the car yesterday. I'd have started it, but I'd forgotten to pop that contrast yarn in my project bag. I'd rather knit than not knit (I'd have slept had it been quiet, but alas it was loud. Also my driver was quite sleepy, so better to be an alert pair of eyes) so the legs may be an inch or so longer than they'd have been otherwise. Now the contrast yarn is on board for the next time I find myself with time.




I cast on my "big" project right after the cowl, on May 14. A year or so late, I jumped on the Fade bandwagon. I've got 2 of Kate's Wild Haven yarns in there (one knit, one still to come). I've got the yarn specially dyed up for sock club that I didn't want to "waste" on "just socks," a sweet georgia color (that's the one I'm on now, color 4 of 7) also from Wild Haven (see self! Regular customer!), and a Leading Men Fiber Arts and a Madelinetosh that I got at the Knitting Pipeline Retreat. (I never told you about this, I guess it was in my break back in February? It was my first retreat, it was lovely, I hope to go again next year.) That's only 6 colors....I must be missing one. Oh, I see, as I check my project page - I guess I have 2 Leading Men colorways in there. All of the colors are super neutral, gray and white and purple, but light purple. Since it will be so huge, I'm hopeful that it will be versatile enough to wear with everything. If not, I guess it's a big at home blanket. I didn't stash bust for this project, as I'm not really a collector of the special skeins. Most of these were purchased with this project in mind over 6 months or so. (Better to spread it out, and to never calculate the sticker price.) I'll have leftovers, so I'm going to put a row of squares all in a row in my sock yarn blanket, and then knit a fade pair of socks with probably the rest, depending how much there is.




Ok, and then my REAL big project is a pair of Phoebe dresses from the Joanna Johnson book Phoebe's Birthday. I'm sure I've talked about the Phoebe mouse dolls and sweaters that I've made from another of her books, Phoebe's Sweater. Those dolls have been such a big hit at our house, so I hope these are loved as well. I have less than a month to finish, but I think I'm on track. I knit the first one (the smaller, darn. I was hoping it would be the big one (it's the size 4), but as it turns out it will be the smaller of the two) in just over a month. I've been working on the bigger (size 6) for exactly one month now. It's bottom up, and I've finished the waist decreases. I figure I should have the bodice finished this week, and then another week or two for the flounce.




After that (so we're getting into future knitting now, I guess), I want to make a little hat for a friend's first baby, and then the Fade will probably move into primary "big" project status. Come to think of it....the hat COULD supplant the socks as purse knitting and therefore arrive a little faster. That may be a good idea, because babies come whenever they want. Note to self. *Pause on heels, cast on hat.* Ok, so THEN when that's all finished....well then I'm not sure. A sweater, I think. I have several sweaters' quantities. I should let some of them grow up to be sweaters. I have a list in my queue. I'll have to see what moves me when I get there.

So also, because there's also, because it's been months since I wrote a darn thing, I think I'm nearing the finish line of a spinning project that's been sitting nearly finished for months. I didn't keep good track, but I think I started spinning it a literal year ago. I got a lot done in one shot, and since then every time I tried to spin it, my singles got too thin and it would snap, I'd get frustrated, and let it sit a couple more months. The Tour de Fleece is going on right now though (the fiber people's play on Tour de France....because both "spin," haha), so that inspired me not to "compete", but just to finish this one project! I missed the end of the tour, but it's fully spun, and maybe half plied now, so that's a win I think.

Finally, I sewed a bunch of stuff. My friend Meagan and I road tripped down to Vogue Fabrics in Illinois one day while I was on a mini vacation between jobs, and it really inspired me. I'll maybe do a separate post on what I've sewn, but maybe not because that would require effort and photography. (I will say that I've worn every single thing more than once since I made them. Perhaps I'll try to awkward selfie the next time I wear them and revisit this list.) At the end of my headlong immersion into my sewing room, I came out with a drapey (voile? lawn? Lawn I think) black dress from Burda with little yellow and white hearts with pockets and a keyhole that I wear with a belt because it's kind of shapeless but I like it, a waterfall front jersey dress from Burda, a short sleeved Burda sheath dress for work, a white jersey dress (McCalls I think) with a probably quite versatile gray slip (date night slip), a super simple black long sleeved jersey dress that I want 10 of based on an Alabama Chanin pattern (I like the look of her hand embellishments but I'm realistically never going to do that. I like the simple shapes of the base patterns though!), a black short sleeve tee shirt which I like but I'll make with more ease next time, Chanin again, and another Chanin, this time an oatmeal colored tunic that I attached some lace from an ill advised similar tunic from Old Navy that never fit. I like this tunic, but the fabric is sheer so I've been wearing it as an undershirt for a sort of boho look. I think......that's it. EIGHT garments?! What? I also made half a fail of another tunic because the fabric was really pretty but like trying to cut water. I should have paid more attention to how the pattern landed, and I ended up hating it and not finishing it. I'm also in progress of a blouse by Burdastyle that I WOULD have finished, but I forgot to mark the darts on the pattern and had to get the book back from the library. Now I've had it 3 weeks and still haven't traced the darts....my sewing room got a little bit tossed when we unexpectedly decided to remodel our bathrooms. How does one toss a basement sewing room while doing a completely unrelated remodel? Well, as this is already crazy long....I'll get to that later. :)




Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Inertia

Try as I might, I just can't think of a better word to describe the past few months.

I feel as though my mind has just been spinning without knowing what direction I should choose, what direction I even WANT to go in, and I've had a really hard time with that. I've thought many times about using this blog or a journal or something to get my thoughts out, to see if that would help clarify what my next move is, but I've come to a funny realization.

It turns out that if I don't feel like I know where I want to go, I just go.....nowhere. I have a really hard time even forming thoughts to MYSELF that go anywhere when I don't know what I want to result to be. 

There is precious little in my life that has not had a definite plan, a goal, a trajectory. I typically know what I want my result to be, and while the steps to get there may require work, it's generally been easy to map out those steps. 

I knew in 4th grade that I wanted to be an architect. A teacher suggest it to my parents at a conference, and I latched onto that idea, and I worked my butt off to achieve it. I didn't necessarily have a specific picture of my family life, but I suppose I always had an ingrained picture of what it might look like based on how I grew up, and I (we) have made that happen. In many ways, there has always been a "next" step to look toward, something that would drastically change my life. College, grad school, work, wedding, house, professional license, family.

And now? Now I'm not sure. It seems like the next.....well.....30 or so years are going to either be much the same, or just incremental change, right up until retirement. That doesn't necessarily feel big, or scary, because it's so far away and something we've been planning for and saving for like most people our age and circumstance, the ones not expecting a pension and not coming from any family money. And we'll continue to do that, but daaaang that's a long time of "the same" until then. 

I guess this is what a quarter......third.....some random fraction before mid-life crisis feels like?

Crisis feels too strong though. I'm not in "crisis." Maybe I'm in doldrums. I just feel in the middle. Ok, not even the middle, but over the beginning parts, the getting used to it bits, and it just feels.....directionless? 

While I've been doing all of this mental spinning, I couldn't even seem to come up with a couple of scenarios to flesh out. That's actually a tendency I've been working on at work too. I'll partially develop all kinds of different layouts in my mind and reject them for one reason or another, and the only one that will make it onto paper (or screen) looks like it's the only one I've tried. It's something I really should work on more in life too. Sometimes when you lay something out, even if it's wrong or it won't work or you don't like it for some reason, it may spark some other thought that IS an interesting idea. 

I think I have fear of the blank page. I've had a hard time looking at the blank page on my blog. I have a dim desire to write a book sometime in my life, but because I can't picture what I would want it to be about, I'm not sure I'll ever start. (children's, fiction, research, professional, not sure, therefore I don't want to think about it.) I have been wanting to start drawing again, but I'm paralyzed by doing it "wrong." I used to draw all the time. It's the REASON that 4th grade teacher thought I'd make a good architect. Then I got to college and saw all these people who were actually REALLY good at it, and I just....stopped. I felt intimidated and sloppy. I went to a design school, and in some ways it made me afraid to design. How messed up is that. I look around at all the makers and Etsy-ers and quit your day job, make your own way-ers. It feels so romantic, that overnight success which probably took years, but it looks effortless and fun. I can't even bring myself to sign up for a table at our school's craft fair, because what would I even make that's worth making that people would want to buy when surely someone is already doing it, and doing it better. And then, if I hit on that awesome thing that people love that they DO want to buy, do I really want to BE a one man sweatshop churning out the same widget day after day? On top of a job and all the other stuff? Or, even scarier, INSTEAD of a job, where you're livelihood depends on keeping people interested in that widget or the next one, living life on social media and marketing and selling all the time? (Actually thinking of all that has made it easier for me to say, um, no, that's not what I want.)

Plus there's the time factor. I want to go in all of these directions, all at the same time, but there isn't the actual, physical time in which to do it. Most days, the hours between 7am and 8pm are fully spoken for, and mostly not directed by me. There's the j-o-b on the weekdays, and the aforementioned hands on season of mothering the other days and after the work time. And don't get me wrong, I want both of those things. But I also want me time, quiet time, creative time, lazy time. But also there's sleep. And couple time. And family time. And friend time. And laundry time (always laundry). And there's just not enough time.

I know I don't have life rocking changes on the horizon. But I know there are incremental changes coming. Soon my day hours won't be quite so intensely directed by small people. I will be able to use my sewing room more freely once everyone in the house can navigate the stairs to and from. Then I don't have to be so ELSEwhere to work on things, which will make me feel less guilty for abandoning people or not carrying my load. Even this summer will be easier to leave the house and just spend time in the yard. It's just the getting there that's been kind of hard. I know I'm certainly not the first nor the last to say it, but mothering certainly has a way of making you lose bits of yourself.

Despite all of that, I guess I'm starting to feel my way out of that "getting there" fog, that directionless spinning. Maybe part of it has been work stuff, as I've had some loss of direction in the past few months. I made a decision, finally, last week to accept a position with a new company. I've been with my current company 6 years, which is not a super long time, but pretty respectable in today's work world. It was a really hard decision for me because, while I've been in a project lull for several months, I can see real potential for things to improve in the future. Another local firm reached out to me with an interesting offer, and I decided to go for it. A lot of coworkers from a past firm are there and quite happy from what I hear, and I think it will be a good fit. It would have been a much easier decision if I was REALLY not into one or the other, but I had the distinctly first world problem of two very good options, and good enough terms at my current (soon to be former) firm that the door would remain open to me if things change in the future. I had a cup of tea the night I accepted the offer and saw this, and that settled my mind a bit. I always believe in fortunes when they feel so spot on, even if they are more "statement of fact" than "fortune." (Of course I ignore them the other 90% of the time when they don't make sense or tell me things I don't want to hear, so take that with a big grain of salt.)



Another thing that will be sort of huge will be building our new house. We bought land last year, but have had a hazy 2-3 year timeline since then on when we will actually start. The new job, and pay increase that should usually come with a new job if you're lucky, are helping bring that timeline into sharper focus. We still.....still....haven't had our plans priced out, but I feel like building next summer or fall (2018) may be a reality. There hasn't been much impetus to develop our plans to a pricing level so far, because without a deadline....well, we aren't good at working without a deadline. Plus it just felt unattainable to get what we wanted with my salary what it was. But now that's changing, so it feels like it's time. It's scary though, because as architects, we can't just pick something from a catalog and build it with its pre-figured pricing. No. We know too much about what we want, so it of course must be custom and non-standard. However....we are not residential architects, which means that we simultaneously know too little, and I'm terrified that a builder will take one look at us and our precious plan and raise his rates by 150%. Which will make the financing out of reach again, and the timeline could fall back out of focus, and with just feeling out of focus in general, well, that's been a hard step to take. 

And like always, just putting SOMETHING down to start feels better. It always does. Something to build off of, or something to scrap because at least now you know.

Decisions made - no, I will not be quitting my day job to become an artisanal soap maker, yarn dyer, professional knitter. I will, however, be trying out a new day job. I (we) will work to bring our house plan down to the square footage that we think we can afford, and set meetings with a couple of builders. Like writing that first word or drawing that first line, at least then we will have a place to start from. Maybe it will be ok and within range, and we can start the next steps of securing financing and setting down a schedule. Maybe it won't and we'll have to value engineer ourselves, and that's ok too. Lord knows we've done it enough at work! 

But I guess the lesson for me in all of this ramble is to just start. It's ok and GOOD to rip that bandaid off. Make the first mark. Just pick something. Apply force....overcome inertia.

Friday, November 4, 2016

It wasn't for me

With no fanfare, and not even any real discussion, I decided that selling It Works isn't for me. I thought about quitting in the beginning when I didn't get a super warm reception from family and friends, but decided to push on through and give it a real chance. In the end, for me, that was about 3 months. About a week before I officially quit, I just couldn't stop thinking about it. Much like the decision to join, once that gut feeling was there, I knew that following it was the right thing to do.

I'm actually really happy with the whole experience. I'm glad I decided to give it a try. I don't have to question "what if?" down the road. I did meet some nice people. I pushed my comfort zone, and I feel pretty happy with the way I was in it too. I was sure to try to make any social media post that related to my business genuine. I didn't go balls to the wall and try to push products or the distributor gig on everyone I know, which is probably one of the things you are supposed to do to be successful, but I did reach out from time to time when I really thought that it might be right for someone. Some people were interested, most weren't, and that's totally fine. Like I mentioned, I wasn't interested myself for over 2 years. Maybe, given time, it would have been like that down the road if I'd decided to stick it out, but I decided that it wasn't worth it for me. I didn't start out with much in the way of "quick wins" or momentum, and I decided that the best thing for me would be to let it go before I was in for too long. It was getting a little difficult self-esteem-wise to separate people not wanting to buy a product with worrying if people maybe didn't like me either, you know? I would feel a little sad if I couldn't "grow" my networks, and I don't like to worry about that kind of thing. I think it can really bring you down if you need to focus on big numbers and needing to convert those numbers to sales rather than just getting to know people, and that's how I prefer to use my social media. That, and a record of projects I've made or books I've read or whatever. Just personal, not business. That's my happy place.

In case anyone is ever wondering, it wasn't hard at all to "get out." All I did was turn off my personal shipments for products as well as for my website....and I think that's it? I did export my customer list and passed that along to my upline so that she can take care of them. Being a customer is actually a pretty decent arrangement, and something I might end up doing myself. I had actually ordered a 90 day supply of the Greens in my last shipment, as well as my face lotion, so I'm probably good for awhile. You get the same pricing as a distributor when you are a customer, so the real incentive to distribute is if you're going to get out there and build a big network of customers and teammates, and in the end, that wasn't me.

Blink and you'll have missed it, but here ends my tenure in direct sales. :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

October 2016 Day in the Life

According to my sidebar, I did one of these posts a year and a half ago, and it's also one of my most popular posts! I haven't been moved to do it in a while, but this year, something about it spoke to me, so here we go!



Again, I chose a Monday, but that's just a coincidence. It's still my day off, and I still love that schedule. I woke up around 6:30, which sadly is sleeping in, and even more sadly is hours later than it was a few months ago. Everyone slept all night too, so it was a relatively restful sleep. It's October and a gorgeous fall day. It's cool this morning, but should be nice later.




Feeling a bit like a mad scientist, I crush up some vitamins in almond yogurt (fun with food allergies!), and make some coffee in the french press. Which, can I just say, I think I'm doing fancy coffee wrong. I don't have a teapot, so I have to heat the water up in the microwave, and half the time I don't get to the second cup in the carafe while it's still hot, and I have to nuke it anyway. None of this is fancy. I should be demoted back to drip coffee with the hot plate to keep the second cup warm. I also threw in a load of laundry.






Breakfast is followed by playtime, and I remember that I'd planned to put something in the slow cooker for dinner. Yesterday I pulled out both chicken and a roast to defrost. The roast was still a bit frozen, so I decided on chicken, and, feeling uninspired, I googled. Cilantro lime chicken tacos sounded good, but I didn't have any salsa. Knowing I was probably making a mistake as I did it...I put in tomato sauce instead. I know, I'm ashamed. I didn't actually have any cilantro either, so I put in parsley and wondered if this was even going to be edible. I finished up in the kitchen and unloaded the dishwasher. At this point it is about 9:30




I was surprised to see a familiar face on the tv when I walked back into the living room. A dad of a school friend was on some morning show talking about bike and pedestrian safety. I was glad that I was able to go back to the top of the segment to catch his name and confirm that he WAS who I thought he was. I have such a hard time recognizing people "out of context".



After that we settled back in for some more playing while I played my youtube "watch later" list in the background. I was treated to a podcast episode from Susan B. Anderson. I just love her, and knitting podcasts in general are just so great because you are nearly guaranteed that there won't be anything offensive to little ears. I pulled the sheets out of the washer and threw in the still gross shower curtain liner again with a couple of towels in super hot water to see if I could get rid of the mildew spot I had been trying to address. We have a block window on the back wall of our shower that is super not waterproof, so we have a clear shower curtain hung in front of it. We don't open and close it frequently since that's not the in and out curtain, and I had noticed a couple weeks back that I hadn't noticed a hidden fold and it was looking yuck. Spoiler alert, my plan didn't work.



Naptime = me time. 10 am, and I get set up to do some yoga. A friend saw my complaining that the 90 min P90X workout is just way too flippin long to get through, so he shared the newer version from P90X 3 with me (no, I did not know there was more than one version!). This one is only 30 minutes which is MUCH more manageable with my limited free time. I was surprised that it wasn't a super tough workout, but instead more on the level of a moderate flow class. Other than my lack of flexibility, I could do all the poses with the group, and only nixed the extra stuff like pushups during vinyasa and some of the more difficult yoga trick toward the end - I did manage all of the balance poses though, even crow!



Then I grabbed a quick shower and another #nomakeup selfie. In fact I skipped makeup all day because lazy.




I still had a little time, so I headed downstairs to continue working on a Halloween costume. So many layers of slippery, sheer fabric going through my poor machine. What a pain.



Around noon I stopped to get lunch going. We had leftovers, one with cheese, one sad without. Same serving sizes, and still the small one screeched when the food was gone. Which is nuts. Little bottomless pit!



I got the mail, and my husband is apparently A List now on Southwest. This is great and horrible, because we should get upgraded seat assignments if we can ever get away, and horrible because it means he's logged enough trips to have earned that status.





We headed outside for a bit to enjoy the weather. It was very nice in the sun without our jackets on, but there was just enough crispness in the air that I half regretted not putting them on. Oh well, I knew we wouldn't be out for long.




When we got back inside, it seemed like I was going to get a few non-hands on minutes, so I sat down to frog back a couple rows of a pair of socks. Now that I'm on the home stretch of my other in progress pair, I wanted to get these back to a pick up and go spot. I had started them back in June when I was doing a test knit for Chrissy and I didn't love how they were going so I switched from the pattern to just doing stockinette...but then I didn't like that either and decided to go back to the original plan. So that meant ripping back several rows of plain knitting. Props to the Kroy yarn, I think I only dropped two stitches....despite all this fun going on as I ripped.



3 pm, and naptime again. I mixed up my daily glass of greens. I'm surprised again and again how much I really like this stuff! I like the taste, I like that it makes me drink more water, and I like that I have more energy and have NOT caught the plague which is constantly surrounding me from my coworkers! I've been ordering the "old" version because they are on sale and I'm cheap. :) (Also, Miller glass - #milwaukee)




The skirt is now attached to the costume, and I set about installing the zipper. I hate installing zippers, and am extra nervous about all of those slippery layers and fluffiness. I put on Buffy to keep me company (YES I watch a lot of tv), and it's the horrible, sad episode where her mom dies. Still gets me, every time.



I get the zipper in, hold it up, and have done a crap job. I put it aside for now and contemplate redoing it. One the one hand, it's just a kid costume. On the other, it's an opportunity to practice a skill I suck at. I'll probably decide to fix it, but not today. I head upstairs, continue watching Buffy (alternating with Angel because I'm watching them all in original airing order because my friend Maggie mentioned doing that once) and started the first colorwork rows of my hat. So far, so good!



4:30, and the rest of the evening hours fly by in a flash. It turns out we didn't even have any tortillas, so I popped out to Target when my husband got home to grab those and some other random things, including the crazy pea protein milk I can ONLY get at Target (annoying) (I could also go to Whole Foods, but it's not conveniently located for me, and probably more expensive) and some new shower curtains because I give up. And fell victim to a $5 deal at the checkout line, which reminded me that I forgot to grab that movie as I flew out the door to return at the library. I made a mental note to drop it off before work Tuesday so we don't get fined. I stopped by my parent's house on the way home to collect my other child. We ate dinner, and while it definitely wasn't cilantro lime chicken (how can it be when you are missing 2/5 ingredients!?), it was edible, so that's good. After dinner we watched some Hocus Pocus before bedtimes for about an hour.


After bedtime, my husband and I popped on the Netflix series we are watching (oh my GOD we are going on some kind of screen time diet!!!), Bloodline. We are about halfway through season 2. It's ok, but it's something we can watch together, so that's always points positive. By the end of the episode, I finished the colorwork portion of my hat, hooray! I even learned how to "catch my floats" in the middle sections of the hearts.


10 pm, weirdly on the dot, and it's time for bed for me. Tonight's featured 20 minutes of podcast is an episode of the crafty planner, which is an interview based show by a former city planner. I usually have no idea who her guest is, but the host does a lot of research and asks pretty insightful questions, and I like that. Happily, I fall asleep easily.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Full of Fail

This week was full of sewing fails, file disasters that nearly made huge trouble at work, and that time I got stranded at a fiber festival. I'm not sure I ever really believed in the whole Mercury in retrograde thing before....but I might now!

I typically work 4 days a week - I chose Mondays as my usual day off, and I really love that schedule. When the weekend is over, I still have that ONE extra day to get stuff done. The only real bummer is that there are a surprising amount of businesses which are closed that day, but that's not terrible because I frequently don't get out of pajamas when I'm home! I work enough hours though that I still get paid for holidays. When they fall on a Monday, I get to choose another day to stay home, which varies depending on what's happening at work that week.

So, all that to say that I took Thursday as my day off this week since we were off Monday for Labor Day. I planned to go for a long run, do a whole bunch of sewing, maybe record a podcast, all on deliciously on my own time before the daycare pickup around 5. HA. HAHAHAHA

Where oh where to begin? First off, I didn't want to run at all, because while the temperature was a comfortable 75 or so, the humidity was nuts. I'm not a very experienced or good runner, so the thought of running in soup? No thanks. I ended up doing a DVD at home, but even that wasn't very satisfying. Maybe I just didn't pick a good one for me that day, or didn't push myself hard enough, but it sort of felt like a waste of time. (The one thing that did kind of work out was that I washed my hair with a "no 'poo" recipe that called for first scrubbing with baking soda and then with apple cider vinegar. It really helped my hair feel quite clean, as lately I've felt like I've had a lot of shampoo build up or something. Anyway.)

By that time it was about 10:30, and I was feeling quite stressed that I was wasting my day. I went down to my sewing room, and cleaned up a whole bunch of past project debris that was holding me back from doing anything else down there. It took me SO long after that, but I finally finished the bra I started a couple of weekends ago. I am pretty sure I put the back part of the band on upside down, but it turns out that makes no difference at all because the fit was BEYOND horrible. It was just....so bad. So, so bad. I was essentially swimming in this thing, in all of the ways that a bra can just NOT fit. I don't know where I went wrong. I even made a muslin! Just....the front didn't fit, and there were seriously extra INCHES around my ribcage. It was not a, well, let's tweak it here and there and see if it works. It's a full on chuck it in the corner and be mad at it for awhile kind of fail. My friend said that hers really didn't turn out either. Perhaps not as full of fail as mine, but still not good. She said that maybe for the next go round, if we can bring ourselves to go there, we should try doing the fitting with the foam for the cups, rather than just fabric. That's a pretty good idea, but I don't know when I'm going to feel like going for it again. Ugh, such a bummer. (I was using this pattern, which I feel bad even saying because I was so unsuccessful!)



After all of that, it was about 3:30. I thought ok, let's change gears. I got out a pattern that I've wanted to make for years, the Lola dress by Victory patterns. I have the fabric too, a navy sweatshirt material. I thought a cute sweatshirt dress might be the perfect palette cleanser to a horribly ill fitting bra. I got the pattern pieces all traced and cut out before I had to leave to get the kidlets, so I was feeling like maybe I turned this thing around and salvaged some of the day after all!


And do you think that was true? No. After dinner and baths, I headed back down because I wanted SOMETHING cute to show for my precious solo day. The pattern directions were really easy to follow, and by 11 pm, I had a totally assembled dress except for the neck, wrist and bottom bands. Before going through the effort of putting those on, I decided to try the dress on for fit. I'm sure you see where this is going....

I could get it ON...but I was totally uncomfortable, and couldn't really move my arms without feeling like I was going to hulk the thing apart. Before completely throwing in the towel, I let out the seam allowance on one of the arms (which, ugh, was only 3/8" instead of 5/8" like many clothing patterns! Now is one of the only times I wished I had that extra 1/4"!!), and it was a great improvement. I can probably go through and let out some of the other seams and it should fit ok in the end, but ugh! I cut the same size in the bra and the dress, and ended up with a tight sweatshirt dress and a bra so loose I could have put it on over said dress.

The following day at at work, I'd left just a couple of things to finish off when I left Wednesday night. I thought, surely I'll have enough time to do these things before my 2:30 call to sign off on these plans!



 Yeah. There was some kind of ridiculous file problem which made it so that I couldn't get into the file until 1 pm!! I had an email window open on my other screen about to cancel the meeting, which would have been sort of a disaster to the project timeline, which obviously would have been very bad. Let's just say that when I finally got in there, I was drawing like the wind and there might have been smoke coming from my mouse. In the end, I got everything done that needed to get done and I got the sign off, but MAN was I stressed out!


So that's Friday. Friday night, I made a last minute decision (in hindsight, OHMYGOD stop making last minute decisions!) to head about an hour away to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival. I dragged my family along last year, and when I brought it up to my husband he seemed pretty enthusiastic about it....ha, wait, nope! So I decided to go on my own, and rather than drive, I caught a bus from one of our local yarn shops with a friend from knit group. She had told me that it left at 7:45 and would leave the fairgrounds at about 5:30, and I thought that sounded fun. A whole day of shopping, watching the sheep shearing, maybe petting some baby lambs, and I could knit the whole way there and back!







And it was a really great day! It was fun to hang out, I spent way too much money buying pretty things that I don't need, and just had a really relaxing day. We headed over to where the bus had dropped us off around 5:15, and saw zero other people waiting.

And that's when I got nervous. You see....I didn't reserve my spot on the bus ahead of time due to aforementioned last minute decision. One of our other friends decided not to go, so I just took her spot. This meant I had no official confirmation, and no contact info in either direction. The friend I was with is one of those rare birds who does not have a smartphone, and also doesn't know her email password and only checks it at home. The shop website mentioned the bus, but again, no times. I tried calling the shop to see if they could hook us up with a cell phone of the owners, but it had closed at 4, so no answer. The woman standing near the entrance said that yes, there WAS a bus, but it had just left at 5. It was scheduled to leave at 4:30, but hung around until just after 5 when they finally left....just minutes before we showed up at 5:15.

In the end, we got home ok because luckily another friend was vending the event, and luckily not staying overnight between the Saturday and Sunday shows, and we were able to catch a ride with her back to the city. Even if that hadn't happened, I'm sure my husband could have come to rescue us, but that would have been about as exciting as coming along in the first place.

All this ramble to say that in the end, really, no harm, no foul on all of it.....but I am definitely staying in bed Sunday. (She says while typing this during a bout of insomnia in the wee hours Sunday morning....)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

One of "those" people

I've been thinking this over for awhile, and I've decided to become a distributor for It Works, a direct sales health and wellness company.



I'm just going to go ahead and let that sink in for a minute. In a lot of ways, this doesn't feel like something I would do, but in a lot of other ways, it does. I've written before about my feelings about those sort of parties and those sort of products. While I was thinking about taking something like this on, I went back to read my own thoughts - they are here if you'd like to read them as well: http://cozycapecottage.blogspot.com/2013/09/those-parties.html?m=1

If you haven't heard of it before, It Works is an industry-leading network marketing company that focuses on all-natural health and wellness products, the most famous of which is their It Works wrap. (I'll share a #truth moment here and say that the wraps are something that honestly turned me off to the company for a long time because they just sounded like a gimmick. However, the wraps are included as part of the package for becoming a distributor, so I plan to find out for myself if they are worth the hype!) The company began in 2001, and has been growing like crazy since then.

So the question I expect I'll get the most - why? Well the short answer is that I'm interested. I'm interested in trying several of the products, and I'm interested in making a little bit of extra money on the side, especially as we move toward building a new home in a couple of years.

I have watched my friends Erin and Andrea skyrocket through this company over the past two years, and something in me finally opened up to wanting to see what I could do too. While I say friends, I should clarify that the relationship is fairly one sided. I came across them both way back on theknot.com message boards back when I was planning my wedding. (Ever the researcher, I was on there a year or two before my actual wedding in 2007. I think they both got married in 2006, but I may be slightly off there.) Anyway, back then I  was much more a consumer of information than an active participant, which is a bummer since it obviously laid the groundwork for long lasting relationships! It's hard to believe, but I've followed their blogs for over 10 years now! (RIP google reader....I like feedly, but it's just not the same)

I've definitely heard of the pyramid scheme thing, and the get rich quick scams, and the possibility of losing all your money (the investment, yes, I'll get there in a little bit, especially if you have questions like I did. Erin could tell you, boy did I have questions!)  I give you the back story above to say that I think it's dangerous to look at the income projections of companies like this, to look at the people at the top and think that of you sign up, then you will automatically be just like them and just as successful and all that because you never really know their background and whether or not they are just putting on a show or what. However, I've followed both of their stories for a decade, since way before either of them got involved with it works. I know you can never know a person's finances, but neither of them seem the type to go overwhelming into debt to project a certain image, and both of them have built or bought their dream houses this year thanks in no small part to their success with it works. That's incredible. That's real. That's here in my backyard. It's not some crazy dream or facade on the Internet. They are real women whom I've met in real life at one of Erin's charity events. Yes, they both have a much larger social media presence than I probably ever will, so I don't expect that I can attain the same level of success...but if I can achieve even a fraction of that it would be incredible. 

In some ways, it feels like I don't have much to lose. I buy things like vitamins, skincare, heck, even essential oils regularly, and I do tend to switch those brands up every so often, so why not try them through It Works? I like to think I'm a pretty discerning consumer. I don't tend to jump on fads, and I don't believe in spending money for the sake of it. I like to buy and use products I believe in, and I pass on what I've learned in the event it may help someone else solve a problem or reach their goals. For example, I can think of several friends with digestive issues that may be helped by the probiotic. I know some people have trouble getting their kids to eat enough vegetables, so greens might be great for them. (If I'm honest with myself, they would be great for me too, because I don't do as much cooking as I used to.) I know a lot of people looking for great anti-aging skincare, so why not give this a shot? My point is, I wouldn't want to simply blanket my friends and family with an annoying sales pitch, but I am likely to recommend things that they might want to try, whether it benefits me or not.

The gist of the commitment is this - it costs $99 to sign up, which gets you samples of several products and a business builder kit. After that, it costs $20 to maintain and run your unique website storefront where customers order products directly. You are also required to spend between $80-100 per month on products. Another #truth moment...this was the place where I thought aha! That's where the scam is! They just want you to buy things! Well, on the one hand, yes, that probably is true that they want you to buy products....but personally, I can't in good conscience recommend or sell things that I haven't tried, and can't wholeheartedly say that I like. (I was also pretty surprised to read that my personal finance Jiminy Cricket, Dave Ramsey, is not against MLM's as a rule.) For me, that monthly commitment is going to serve as my barometer for this whole experiment. If it turns out that after 3 or 6 months that I'm not making that investment back in commissions, I'll probably chalk the experiment up as a loss and call it a day. If I like what I've gotten, I'll probably continue to order, but just through Erin and not through myself, and at the end of the day I'm out the initial $99.

But on the chance that it actually works out? Well then it's win-win! I have to say, signing up for something like this through someone like Erin gives me a lot of hope that it actually could work out, and turn out to be something amazing. She started just two years ago, and is ranked at Presidential Diamond. I realize that title sounds made up, but what isn't made up is that a Presidential Diamond distributor brings home an average of $16,000. Per month. Again, this is one of those things that won't be true for everyone, but it is true for some. We were chatting about what level the rest of her team is at, because I don't want to be completely dazzled by the off chance potential of $200k per year, and she said that 20% of her team is at Ruby and above. So 20% of the people she helps support are bringing home an average of $500 per month, which, when you back out that $120 or so in product purchases and website fees, is $380 in profit. That's an extra $4,500 per year, which isn't exactly life changing, but is nothing to sneeze at. It's plenty to pay an extra bill or two, and it would be some nice padding to our savings account. But look at those numbers again. If you follow the link to that chart, only 10% of the company distributors are Ruby and above, and Erin's team has doubled that. This tells me that there is something special about her team. Plus she's got 20 or 30 Diamonds on her team which are part of that 20%, so they aren't just stopping at Ruby, and honestly, that's really attractive.

So what changes here? Honestly, probably not much. I've never been someone to post 5 times a day and clog up your feed, and I'm not going to. I'll continue to post about what I'm working on and snippets of my life. I'll continue to talk about things I've tried that I'm liking, and now some of those things will be from It Works. Just like when I was actively running my Etsy shop, I'll pop in a link as to where you can find them, but you'll never get any pressure or a hard sell from me. I'm starting up an email newsletter, which you should sign up for if you'd like to read more. I think I'll send something out 1 or 2 times per month. Fill out the form at the bottom of this post or at the shiny new sign up widget at the top of my blog to sign up. If you are interested, check it out, if not, well stick around for the knitting. There will always be knitting. And if any of what I've said sounds interesting to you, then you should definitely think about getting started with me. It would be so exciting to learn the ropes together! Who knows, in two years we could be sitting in our dream homes like Erin and Andrea! Shoot me an email at cozycapecottage@gmail.com if you'd like to chat. :)

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