New year newness (and some sameness)

Happy new year!

I feel like 2014 was a pretty okay year. We had a lot more stability in our lives, which was a refreshing change from last year. We did move again in the summer, but it was just a couple miles away and we splurged on professional movers who packed everything for us, so it was a lot less stressful and strenuous than our previous couple of moves. We’ve been pleased with our new digs and they’re a lot less expensive, so I feel happy that we’re actually saving a small amount each month now.

In terms of reading, Goodreads says that I read almost the same number of books I did last year.

2014 Goodreads stats photo Goodreads_My_Review_Stats_-_2015-01-01_130559_zps9f437f3c.png

Except that their stats don’t count a lot of books including knitting and sewing books (many of which I admittedly skim or read only parts of) and picture books. If you count all of those, my number would be 397. I made a concerted effort to read more books by women this year, after noticing last year that my reading was ridiculously dominated by male writers. My fave reads from 2014 include: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, What If? by Randall Munroe, The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter by Susan Wittig Albert (this is actually an 8-book series, which I enjoyed more than I can say – it is cozy as cozy gets), Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (AKA JK Rowling), and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson.

I also wrote and published 38 knitting patterns!

Ravelry my shop photo Ravelry_AnneArchy_Anne_Heidemann_s_Ravelry_Store_-_2015-01-01_131432_zps43788c2d.png

They’ve been selling fairly steadily and people seem pleased with the clarity of my pattern-writing, so that’s pretty awesome. And I knit 96 things in 2014! That is a lot of knitted items. 23 of those were xmas gifts and 6 were craft-it-forward gifts made to help folks remember to be excellent to each other.

For sewing, I conceived and created my first art quilt, titled Figure and Flock.

Figure and Flock -  art quilt by Anne Heidemann

It was featured in the grand opening art show at the local Dreamer coffee shop, which was pretty neat.

Last year I made some resolutions, which have gone pretty well for the most part.

  • Blog regularly: I did this fairly well – I posted 94 times in 2014
  • Continue to attend yoga class once a week at OmBodies: This one I let go (consciously uncoupled from?) – I decided that having my Sunday mornings to myself at home was more valuable to me, and the cost of weekly classes felt like too big a sacrifice when we’re trying to save for a down payment on our next home
  • Take more photographs, especially of Coraline while she’s awake (this will require some effort): This one was middling – I took a good number of photos, but the ones of Coraline are definitely mostly sleepy-face photos
  • Go for more walks/explore Mount Pleasant (this may not happen robustly until spring): Success! Once the harsh winter abated, we took Coraline for lots of walks, especially once we moved into our current apartment where it’s more neighborhoody.
  • Create a couple of websites for folks who could use them: This one didn’t really happen, but only because the folks ended up not really needing them. However, I did create a site for the Blythe Swap Group, which helped us tremendously because we have avenues of participation on three different social media sites and it was getting really difficult to keep track of everything. I taught myself how to do a few new things with WordPress, which was cool.
  • Participate as a swapper in the Blythe Swap Group at least a few times: Done! I did the Baby Animals and Halloween swaps, both of which were super fun.

For this coming year, I’m setting some more goals:

  • Blog regularly (keeping this one)
  • Participate as a swapper in the Blythe Swap Group at least a few times (keeping this one again)
  • Find ways to be excellent to others on a regular basis
  • Write up and publish the remainder of the Blythe knitting patterns I have started working on
  • Complete my current art quilt project
  • Spend time with near- and far-flung friends more often

Feeling pretty good about 2014 in retrospect gives me a pretty optimistic view for 2015 (unsurprising, since I’m generally optimistic anyway). How are you feeling about the last year? And the new?

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you’re older than you’ve ever been

and now you’re even older!

In these sage words from They Might Be Giants, there is truth. I’m going to be 40 in a few weeks, and I’ve been thinking this year about age and aging and time and how it passes.

I’m not really too fussed about turning 40. It’s a nice milestone and it’s pretty difficult for me to believe that I have been kicking around for that many years, but I’m not upset about it or particularly bothered by it. Like a lot of things in life, it’s sort of weird, but it just is.

There are things that I don’t particularly care for, though, such as the fact that it means that everyone I care about is also older than I expect them to be, which means that we all have fewer years left than is particularly comforting to think about. I don’t want to live to be super-duper old – I’d rather not spend too much time struggling because my body and/or mind can’t keep up anymore – but that day better be way far off in the future (same goes for all those I care about).

When I look at myself, I realize that I have a lot more, as I like to think of it, silver hair than I used to. Again, I’m not particularly upset about this. It’s kind of like having highlights, and these days I’m too lazy to keep up with dying my hair with any regularity. But it does mean that I feel like I look my age more than I ever have before. I’ve pretty much always been told that I look younger than I am and it feels a little weird to think that this might not be true now. And of course, if anyone is going to judge me based on my silver hair, then screw them and their unreasonable beauty standards. I hope one of my silver hairs pokes them in the eye.

Mostly, approaching this age milestone is encouraging me to make the most of my time, since I’m theoretically approaching the point of having less of it left than I have already spent. I am always thinking, “I should write about that!” and then not making the time to do it, and I’m officially making a concerted effort to actually do it. I’m also hoping to be more resistant in the face of potential stress – I don’t HAVE to choose to give in and run myself ragged, just because it’s an option. Setting boundaries and making wise choices is the name of the game. Finally, I’m looking for opportunities to do good things, even (or especially!) small things. An awesome friend of mine started the Be Excellent Project and I’m super excited to share it here, so more people can get in on it.

Michelle’s husband Andy held Be Excellent To Each Other as his motto and lived his life with that at the core of everything he did. Michelle is now encouraging and inspiring us to do the same – to honor Andy’s memory but also because it is a thing we can do to make another person’s life better, even if in a small way, and those things matter. Working in a customer-service-based industry means that I go to work every day expecting to help others all day long, but how often do I consciously think about helping others when I’m out and about doing my own thing? The Be Excellent Project is helping me to remember to look for these opportunities, and I hope it will for you, too. Just seeing the things people having posted so far has been a great motivation. Plus, Bill and Ted! George Carlin! Time travel! Who could possibly resist?

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