Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Measure a Life

Recently, and article from the Harvard Business Review titledHow Will you Measure Your Life stumbled into my inbox. Not only did the article provide great probing questions, but it also made me wonder how I want to measure my life. In addition to the article, Little Clover once again suggested I look into working at the zoo, his dream job office. I told him if I took a job at the zoo, then we as a family wouldn't be able to do some of the things we do. He then asked if he shouldn't grow up to be a zookeepper, if he should choose another job to take care of his family. With all my heart, I told him no. To do something he loved and the money would follow.

Blame my introspection on the recent round of lay-offs at my company, but his comments made me wonder if I'm on the right course for my career. The article did help reaffirm my focus, Little Clover. My job is not earth shattering, nor am I jetting up the career ladder. I used to struggle with my seemingly lack of ambition, but the article helped me articulate how I measure my life.

I measure life in the number of times I laugh each day, striving to laugh more than most adults do in a day. I measure life in memorable moments with my family, in the number of our inside jokes, in the trips we take, the fish we catch, the meals we share together, and in my knitted FOs. None of these are directly related to my career other than my job provides me with the means to be able to give my child a variety of experiences. No, Little Clover may not need to travel away from home to build fond memories, but it helps me unplug enough to have those moments with him. It is my goal for him to see the world so that when he's ready to fly off into it, it won't be a big scary place, but rather a familiar place, one he's experienced. Hopefully, he'll have a ton of warm knits to wrap around him to keep his body and soul warm.

As we wait for my job to settle down and for the summer to bring new adventures, I knit away on the tangible momentos. Yet another pair of socks to keep my feet warm and to burn up the sock yarn stash.
From 2011 Finished Objects

Monkey Socks by Cookie A
They are knit with Schaffer Nicole sock yarn in the colorway Peter. The yarn and pattern matched perfectly.

To help the Japanese earthquake victims, I knit Sakaki in Dream in Color Starry colorway Crying Dove. I hope Japan bounces back the resilience they've shown in the past.
From 2011 Finished Objects

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Would you like fries with that

Italian and I just celebrated another wedding anniversary. Since we like to eat, we try to make the most of celebrations falling during the week with an extra little night out on the weekend. This year, we tried Iris and loved it. The New Orleans inspired menu looked delicious on paper and sounded even better when our server hit the highlights. Plus, Iris tries to source food locally where it can, so I ate food with bacon without any twinge of guilt. Halfway through my soft shell crab served with English peas and polenta, as I contemplated which dessert sounded best, I started to laugh. Sitting next to my was not only my partner of over a decade, but a boy I met when I was 17.

He asked me what I found funny, and I told him Iris was a far cry from either of our two first dates (we can't agree on which one was our actual first date). He smiled back. I asked if he remembered them, and like a great husband, he did. For a couple who enjoys food, our begining was quite humble. On the date where I invited him, we dined at McDonald's before the movie. On the date where he asked me, we dined at a local Waffle House style coffee shop. Thankfully, the company is just as wonderful now as it was in those early days. I'm blessed to have a partner like Italian, my love and mate.

From Disney 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Best kid ever

Work life has been stressful. My company has completed a round of lay-off and benefit changes that have been quite taxing on a professional and personal level. During these trying times, I'm more grateful for my boss, who is truly an excellent boss, and my family who is truly the best family ever. In honor of this past Mother's Day, I will proceed with gushingly sweet "mommy moments."

Mommy Moment - The best baseball player ever
Little Clover has been playing a form of baseball since he was three. He loves playing short stop, but he is also quite the little pitcher. We practice with him at home, acting as his catcher. He's always had a decent arm and a pretty decent fastball. Normally, I'll grab my baseball mitt and we'll throw a few in the front yard. This season, he got two pitches on me. The first one hit my glove with a loud thud followed by an instant throbbing. The ball fell out of my hand and I told Little Clover I was done, he throws too hard and I needed a catchers mitt. He coaxed me with his sweet little face, begging, "Just one more, Mama." I could I refuse? I put the glove back on and attempted to catch the second pitch. He has just started pitching too fast for me to catch without additional gear.

He's pitching just as fast, and accurately on the diamond as well. His league plays for a set time limit instead of playing 9 innings. During his last game, the opposing team got two runs on him early in the first inning. After those two runs, Little Clover focus and proceed to hold them to those two runs for the rest of the game. They played a total of four innings, a total of 12 outs. He struck out 8 batters, caught two pop flies, and fielded a ground ball and threw the runner out at first. His team rallied as well, driving in 8 runs for their team. Needless to say, when Little Clover heard his stats, he was pretty thrilled.

Mommy Moment 2 - The most thoughtful child ever
With the lay-offs at work and the benefit changes, I've been pretty stressed and unbearable at home. Yesterday, Little Clover thought I could use a little pick me up. He grabbed my purse and told me I couldn't open it until I got to work. I told him I needed my keys to drive him to school. He handed them to me. I smiled with curiosity, but followed his instructions. Once at work, I found the little surprise, a key chain he bought for himself at Raglan Road in Disney World. The key chain has a four leaf clover in the center of a claddagh. Instantly warmed and touched by his present, I put my keys on the ring. I also ended up having the best day at work in a really long time, getting back some of the hope I had lost during the last few days. His little present was just what I needed.

In other news
We survived the great flood of 2011! Yes, the Mississippi River went from half a mile wide to three miles wide, but the river banks of Arkansas are pretty flat and uninhabited. There was a lot of damage to the north of the Memphis, and there will probably be more damage to the south of Memphis as the flood waters move towards the Gulf. Overall, the City was ok. We did have a couple of high schools in the city with low lying flooded athletic fields, but it could have been much much worse.

From Irish Clover

The river did flow across Riverside Dr onto Beale, and it covered Mud Island which has a scale replica of the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf. The replica normal mimics the water levels of the actual river, but for the time being, it is underwater.
From Irish Clover

Just for fun, because we love our ducks down here, here's a picture of some ducks at our zoo, posing for the camera.
From Irish Clover

Y'all stay dry!

Friday, May 06, 2011


It began with Maryland Sheep and Wool last year, this new need of mine to run off on an annual fiber themed trip. There is something about being surrounded by wool in raw and processed forms with other fiber enthusiasts who do not look at you oddly when you jump up and down with blissfully pure excited at finding the "right" yarn that really speaks to me for some reason. Having gone to a wool festival, this year, I looked for something slightly different and tossed my name into the Spring Fling lottery, not expecting to get a spot.

When the shock of procuring a place at the covetted Spring Fling table wore off, I put in my vacation noticed and waited. Now, a mere five days from coming home, I miss the other Flingers and I miss the little yarn world we lived in for four days. As with all other types of vacations, I'm going to excitedly show you all the wonderful knitcation photos and completely ignore your boredom.

Not knowing what to expect and honestly wanting a relaxing day, I arrived at Spring Fling the night before the scheduled start. Lo and behold, knitters were already in the lobby of the hotel right by the front door! I quickly checked in, dumped off my bags, and ran back downstairs to be with my people. As an introvert, I've made huges strides. This is my first trip alone, ever. I wasn't going to know a single person there, but with knitters, that doesn't really matter. Within a few minutes, I was comfortably settled in a chair knitting with a new group of other likeminded individuals until the wee hours of the morning.

The next morning, as I anxiously waited for Fling to begin, I fulfilled my promise to Little Clover and swung by the zoo. I love having a child who requests I conduct a photo safari at the local zoo and bring back pictures.
From Spring Fling 2011

Upon completing my mission, I returned to the hotel, found the Loopy Lounge, and retrieved my Fling cupcakes, a chocolate peanut butter and a coconut butter cream.
From Spring Fling 2011

The rest of the day was spent knitting and knitting and talking and knitting some more. In our registration bag was a skein of Wollmeise, and instead of putting the color on the label, Claudia (the talent behind the yarn) encouraged us to make a friend and trade. Watching all the knitters walk around and openly eyeing yarn was quite a sight! I swapped my lovely deep mauve for a beautiful grassy green. At some point there was dinner, then more knitting, and sleep, and then knitting again. I took an advanced lace knitting class with Anne Hanson, and tackled my fear of beads with Laura Nelkin. If you ever get a chance to take a class with Laura, do it! She not only crammed a lot of information in her class, but she really explained and demoed in a way to alleviate any fears. Plus, you can make something like this:
From 2011 Finished Objects

Still trying to wrap my head around seeing people everywhere just knitting, I talked to Italian about how my Type A nature was boggled by the downtime. He told me to think of it as a spa weekend and with that perspective, I kicked by and enjoyed the pace. The two classes I took were the perfect amount. I got to revel in the copious abundance of yarn and the civil nature of the multiple trading events, like the sock yarn swap.
From Spring Fling 2011

Look at that yarn! Even dumped their scrap sock yarn on a table and trade in rounds of 5 skeins at a time. When everyone had taken what they wanted, there was still yarn left for the taking. Finally, my turn to visit The Loopy Ewe came and it was yarntopia!

Another Flinger had to put some yarn back:
From Spring Fling 2011

And there were Little Loopies everywhere:
From Spring Fling 2011

With the weekend drawing to an end, a few of us changed into pajamas and shared a bottle of wine while we knit.
From Spring Fling 2011

I'd take a spa weekend like this again any day.