‘Twas the End of December, and All Through the Blog…

…the author was coughing from all the dust and cobwebs she let build up in here. Dang. So. End of 2019. How are we doing on those goals again?

Goal 1: Finish a project a month. Check. As of right now, I have 18 officially finished objects listed in my Ravelry projects list (a couple were multiples). Most of these were gifts or charity, but I did finish a couple of things for myself. If I can finish one more item almost off the needles (only 5 more rows plus an i-cord bind off to go), then I can have a nice, round 19 projects finished for 2019, not counting projects that aren’t yarn-based. My plan was to primarily finish projects that have been sitting around in various stages of planning or progress, and that accounts for about half of the FOs. Definitely need to focus on getting more of those unfinished ones done.

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Finished the little baabaabaas.

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Goal 2: Read at least 12 new books. Check. I think. I did manage to get 45 items read on my Goodreads list (not counting sets), and I can count at least 12 new ones in there, despite my tendencies to re-read things.

Goal 3: Lose 45 lbs. Um…nope. Sadly this year was one of my worst, movement-wise. 2020 -will- be different.

Goal 4: Write more. Eh. Started the year off well, but I kind of tapered off. I did write more than in the prior year, so it’s a minor victory, but I really want to flesh out some small short story ideas I had and maybe actually turn those scribbles into something worth reading.

Where does this leave us for 2020? Well, we have vision, I tell you! (Ok, I admit, I’ve been wanting to use that pun for the longest time!) January will be the reset month for my diet and exercise plan, to start off the new year on a good foot. I’ve also got a lot of unfinished plans/projects that need to find their way into getting completed. I’m not setting a number for this, but I’ve already pulled out a lot of the in progress items that either need to be finished or frogged. There are a couple of items on my possibilities list for the year, which depend on a lot of things coming together, but I will work toward those personal goals as well. Will I blog more? Who knows — it’s short attention span theatre up in here. However, I’ll be keeping track of my personal goals and sharing progress every now and again. Gotta keep the dust bunnies from multiplying. 🙂

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Where does the time go?

Y’all, it’s late March already. I didn’t think the year was passing so quickly, yet here we are. Generally I’d wait until the start of the new month for a goal check-in, but I’m terribly behind in keeping track already. Time to catch up!

Goal 1: Finish a project a month.
Perhaps I set this bar too low. Already at 8+ projects finished, two of which were long term items in progress. Four of the projects are new ones I started in 2019, so I need to focus more on getting older projects finished as well as getting to some things that have been on my to-do list for ages but haven’t started.

Goal 2: Read at least 12 new books. 
My progress on this one depends on how you count, but the low-end of my count would be five books read for the first time, if I exclude audiobooks and books I abandoned.

Goal 3: Lose 45 lbs. 
Well, I cannot claim as much progress as I’d like for this one. However, I’m refocusing my effort on getting to the gym regularly in the morning before I start work. Since I’ve started working at home I just don’t get as much general exercise/walking in each day and it makes a huge difference.

Goal 4: Write more.
Let’s see – I’ve already gotten a few blog posts in, so that counts for something. I have not been keeping up with my writing prompts. This can definitely improve.

Life has been a bit crazy busy of late, but that’s better than not having enough to do. Let’s get this party started!

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To keep a blog going, we must post once in a while, no? So here’s a status to start the second month of the year. At the end of December, I set my goals for 2019 — a few things at which to aim as life proceeds apace. 🙂 I thought I’d check back in to see how well I got through January.

  1. Finish a project a month. What this actually translates to is getting at least 12 projects completed in 2019 that I had started or prepared for in the past, but just hadn’t gotten through. So far I am ahead of the game – having finished five outstanding projects so far. The one I’m most proud of is finally finishing my Heroes of Yarnia scarf (pic below). This took me almost two years of knitting, mostly because I have a horribly short attention span and always want to start new things. Also done, an 1898 hat and headband that I had started before Christmas, some dishtowels that I first warped up over a year ago, and a no-sew fleece blankie I prepared for also before Christmas. The blankie is probably the least qualified to be on the list, as I had the materials but really worked on it just this last week, but it got done! Naturally, I have several other projects in queue, including plenty of snoozing WIPs that I need to finish.

2. Read at least 12 new books. This goes along with my annual Goodreads challenge to read a certain number of books each year. While I’ve finished five books so far this year, I’m only counting two as brand new (a third one is new to me but it is a reference volume I’ll be referring to a lot over time as opposed to a book I sat and read through). So I’m slightly ahead of the game there. Thankfully a reading club with a few knitster friends is keeping me supplied with ideas for new books to read, rather than revisiting my own extensive library.

3. Lose 45 lbs. This is the toughest status to update. Somewhere toward the end of January, I discovered that my scale was weighing me several pounds light. After I replaced the batteries and resynced it several times, I had lost all my forward (downward!) progress. Still, that was only a minor speedbump. I know that I was already on a downward trajectory, and I’ll be keeping track of measurements over time as well.

4. Write more. This one I’m not counting as a success or failure at this point. I’ve written more at this point of the year than I have at similar times in recent years, but I’m not writing as much as I’d planned. Honestly, I don’t know if anything I write here or elsewhere truly gets read or strikes a chord with anyone who has read it, but I’m performing this part of the exercise to keep that part of my brain active and young. Still some work to do, but progress has been made, I think.

All in all, though January was a tough month for me, it was overall successful. Progress has been made on my goals, and I’m doing better at remaining accountable to them. Onward and upward!

Borrowed this screenshot of TI’s Alpiner. Onward and upward, y’all!
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Dream Diaries

Disclaimer: Before I get started, please know that I am not looking for any speaking or analysis of my dreams. Treat them as short stories born from my imagination. The subconscious is an odd beast and I just like to capture its meanderings. Thanks!

So. I was in a talent contest. We were at a camp of some sort, and there were only four of us present (four of us left?). There was no audience. The MC was also part of the contest. Only one of the other three was someone I definitely knew, someone I consider a good friend.

The MC really wanted to get the talent show started, and I had no idea what I would do as my talent. Suddenly I remembered that I could sing madrigal pieces that I had memorized, and felt secure in the knowledge that I had the capability of winning. (But who would be the judges?) My friend got a phone call and wandered off just as the MC wanted to start, and I was afraid they would miss their opportunity to perform. The MC was droning on and on – and I was just concerned that someone else wouldn’t get the opportunity to show their talent. It was no longer about winning, but about making sure they were there.

And then the alarm went off.

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2019: Setting Goals

It’s that time of year again – a time to set goals for the new year to come. The word resolutions is often tossed about willy-nilly, without regard to the fact that we, as a society, have a tendency to be anything but resolute about these things after the first week of January. Semantics aside, goal-setting is a good idea to start the year fresh.

Goal 1: Finish a project a month.
What does this mean? Well, it certainly will start with finishing some projects that have been in WIP status for far too long. It does _not_ mean that every project has to be an old one, nor am I tying it to specific dates per project since sometimes small ones take a long time and large ones go quickly. The projects do not have to be fiber-related either, although I have plenty of those.

Goal 2: Read at least 12 new books.
One of my favorite organizational applications is Goodreads, which allows me to track books I’ve read over time, as well as my planned reading list. When I was a child I devoured books, and as an adult I’ve gotten so bogged down with life that I often do not get to read as much as I’d like. My reading goal for next year is much higher than 12, but at least a dozen of the items I do read need to be new material (despite that fact that I love re-reading novels I’ve enjoyed).

Goal 3: Lose 45 lbs.
Yeah, this one has been there for a while, though not always with a number attached. Ideally I’d like to get back to the weight at which I started college, but I was still a teenager then. This particular number is born of the fact that I will turn 45 this next year. I’ve been successful in the past with increasing physical activity and changing my eating habits to better suit my metabolism, and it’s time to get back on that train.

Goal 4: Write more.
Writing more has been one of my goals for a very long time, and I’ve tried several tools to stimulate this activity. So far, I can get going for short periods of time and then it fizzles out for a very long while. Updating this blog will be one of my means to achieve the end – if I can keep to a weekly posting schedule, perhaps I can revive the habit.

This list by no means comprises all my goals for the year, but it is a good start. Keeping it simple. Onward, and upward!

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Today I learned…

Today I learned that exactly one person has visited my blog in the recent past. Well, one human person. One person who told me that my blog was redirecting to another site (due to an error in a sidebar link I had). Oops! 

Well, the error has been fixed, and I’ve dusted off the cobwebs, again. The bitter truth is that I’ve become much more of a microblogger since joining Twitter (and later, Facebook). I think I may have mentioned something about this before. 

At the same time, I often bemoan the fact that I am not happy with my writing skills and would like to write more often. Hm. 

What does this mean? (Confirmation flashbacks for all you Lutherans out there! You’re welcome!) Well, for now, it means that I am going to try to deliberately come up with content for this space on a semi-regular basis. Why should social media have all the fun? 

To my one recent visitor (you know who you are), thanks for letting me know that the site was broken. To any RSS readers that may still be tracking me, hello again! To everyone else – welcome, I hope you enjoy the ride. 

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Kenya adventures, section IV

Help, I’m running out of snappy titles! 😀

May is still the rainy season in Kenya, and rain that started about 8 pm yesterday evening did not stop until about 8 am this morning. Grounds at the health clinic that were already waterlogged became worse, and we were all slogging in mud the majority of the day. On the plus side, we should have beautiful weather for our last clinic day tomorrow, and then for our safari on Saturday. Hard to believe this trip is almost at an end already!

2016-05-19 09.25.162016-05-19 10.19.31

You can see from the photos above just how swampy it got. Still, we had a better crowd today than yesterday. It continues to amuse me that the Kenya residents always want to ask us how we can stand the cold in our short sleeves. It was in the mid-60s to low-70s today, which is normally a bit chilly for me, but with little breeze and high humidity I was quite comfortable with no additional layers.

Amazing things continue to happen this trip – several more people accepted God’s call, and the Pipeline church community has continued to be outstanding in their volunteerism and hosting. One of my favorite happenings of today was a bit simpler, though — a little girl and her brother were waiting by the table you see in the above photo, and I said hello and shook their hands as I passed. Once I turned to go into the tent, I felt a small hand grab mine again, and I turned back around to see the little girl grasping at me and beckoning me down to her level. I leaned down and she whispered, “Give me chocolate!” Choking back the desire to laugh, I had to smile and explain that I had no chocolate on me, but I did share some masala sticks I had in my pocket. This is a local snack of potato shoestrings flavored with masala.

Looking forward to helping more people tomorrow. Signing out for the night. 😀

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Kenya adventures, part C

The third clinic day was a little slow,  slower than expected, perhaps. Or friends from Pipeline explained that it was too cold for people to come – indeed, here you’ll see children bundled up in temperatures that seem too warm for such. It was in the 70s, with a breeze that may have been a little chilly at times,  but that is really cold weather for a population that lives so close to the equator.

All week an inoculation clinic has been taking place in the same health clinic space,  so scores of school children have been coming through. This clinic is a government mandate, as recently one child had come down with measles even after having shots,  so all the children must come through and have their immunization shot again. There is no such thing as an anti-vaxxer here. The nurses did start telling people about the eye clinic,  so we got more traffic from the mothers already there.

Once we packed up for the day, we headed out to a very nice meal with our guide Catherine,  at a place called Carnivore. It is a churrascaria, Kenyan style. Rather than a salad bar,  they bring you first soup and then bread and a salad/sauce tray. Then come all the meats. Most were normal fare, but they also offered crocodile, ostrich meatballs,  rabbit, and ox balls. I tried everything but that last. 😀 Catherine’s son Mark agreed to the ox before he realized what it was,  but I’m pretty sure he didn’t eat it. After a very filling meal, we came back to the hotel and all surrendered to our beds.

It has been raining all night,  so I don’t know what that will mean for today’s clinic,  but we shall see.

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Kenya adventures, part the second

So…clinics. Our mission here with Vision for Kenya/Vision for Africa is to share the gospel as we hold free eye clinics for the people in underprivileged areas. Some teams head out into the villages, some teams (like ours) work in more urban settings. The church we are partnered with is Pipeline, an ELCK church that is located in the Mukuru slum. Although the people acknowledge they are poor, the church members consider themselves all very rich. Throughout the work we’ve done so far, they have been outstanding partners, even having some of the women bring lunch for all the workers each day.

The first day of the clinic, I ran the eye charts. Lining people up in Kenya is not hard – they are used to waiting and very good at knowing exactly whose turn it is. Pole pole – things go slowly. We actually didn’t have too much of a delay getting set up the first day, and I was working with the church choirmistress, a young lady named Judy. She helped me greatly whenever we had people in line having trouble with English. In all the areas of the clinic, it is necessary to have Swahili speakers for those who cannot understand us Mzungus. Of course, we are close to the equator, so I got a little more sun than I had planned for, or at least I didn’t reapply as much sunscreen as I needed. Not a bad sunburn, but not something I wanted to repeat every day. 😀

Reading Glasses

Reading Glasses


For the second day, I worked the reading glasses table. Each person coming to the clinic gets a registration card, then follows a path through the clinic, depending on their needs. They open at the evangelism tent, where they hear the gospel story, and from there proceed to have a basic eye chart check to establish their vision level. Those who have bad vision are marked as such and either sent to the autorefractor, or noted to be seen by the doctors. Each person is then sent to triage, which you can see across from my table. Two or three team members take patients one at a time and ask what their eye problems are, to get a better idea of what they need, and then the triage team member will ask the patient if they have any requests to pray with them. For those of you who know me, this is a bit outside my comfort zone, but even I did a little triage when we got busy.

Gloria helping with an active young boy

Gloria helping with an active young boy

Pastor Kevin praying with a triage patient

Pastor Kevin praying with a triage patient

From triage, the patient would come to see me at the readers, or go directly to the doctors for vision testing or medication. The slums are very polluted, and all of Nairobi is not

Dave making glasses

Dave making glasses

much better, as there are no limits on car exhausts and other things that add to the smokiness of the air. A lot of people have come through complaining of light sensitivity or tearing eyes, and they get eye drops from the doctors. For those who need more vision correction, those we are able to help get sent to the glasses table to have distance glasses made for them. Some we have ready made, but some require assembly to get the correct prescription. Usually Dave or Pastor Kevin will make the glasses for those who get to this station, as the frames are a little tricky to handle – the lenses we were shipped this time are slightly too large, so assembly has to be done carefully. The beautiful young lady in this photo had the most amazing smile when she discovered that she really could see distance objects clearly.

All in all, it’s been a successful couple of days. We may not have seen as many patients as we hoped, but we’ve had over 500 come through the clinic so far. Word of mouth is a very big thing in the slums, so hopefully more will come as the week progresses.

Signing off for now!

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Kenya adventures, Part 1

Jambo, from Kenya! It’s been a great couple of days here,  after the longest travel period I’ve ever taken.  🙂 Forgive the wordy post,  but Internet access has been spotty. I’ll supplement this with photos hopefully later this week.

We left Austin early Thursday morning, on our way to Nairobi to host a free eye clinic for one of the slums. We’re working with an ELCK church called Pipeline,  which used to worship near the big gas pipeline but was forced to relocate.  They now have a few buildings in the Mukuru slum.

The trip itself was long,  but mostly uneventful – the plane from JFK to London was half empty, so we all got to stretch our legs a bit.  Getting through customs in Nairobi was the most interesting. After 30 hours of travel,  standing around for a couple hours waiting for a customs agent to decide whether you can bring in your supplies is not what I would consider fun. By the grace of God, we finally got through with our footlockers. One of our team members traveling separately had a delay that caused her to get rerouted through Dubai, so I’m glad that didn’t happen to everyone!

We finally got to our lodging near midnight on Friday – a pretty little convent called Little Daughters of St. Joseph. The sisters were very welcoming and I’m glad we were able to stay there.

Saturday morning we left the other mission team to go to Lake Navaisha on a boat safari. We saw mostly birds,  with a few hippos tossed in. On the road there,  we even saw zebras standing around. I got lots of great nature photos,  including shots of a fish eagle diving for some fish we bought for them. That evening we worshiped back at the convent with the Salem team.  A children’s choir came and sang for us,  and I’ve posted some of the video to Facebook.

Sunday morning we said goodbye to the Salem team, as they headed off to a village about 8 hours away. Then we headed into Mukuru to worship at Pipeline. Getting into the slum was an experience – the road is not in good condition,  and the people walking have no care for whether you are driving through. We nearly got stuck in the mud a couple times,  but our driver Rosemary is amazing and got us through (though she was stressed!). It was funny when one of the people passing yelled at us with a smile, “Next time take a helicopter!”

The worship at Pipeline was amazing. Lots of music,  lots of testimony,  and all of it in a mix of Swahili and English. They do not currently have a pastor, and so rely on elders of the church to lead services. Many of the members are involved in worship leading,  either through reading,  giving testimony, leading prayer,  or singing. It was truly a blessing to be involved. At the end of the service,  they brought us up to be recognized, as the church will be volunteer partners with us all week. Then they surprised us with an amazing lunch. The church is located in the slums,  and the members and leaders all live there,  too. They said that they were poor, but always very rich. I can believe that,  as each and every one that I have spoken with has an amazing faith.

This morning (Nairobi time) we headed out for our first clinic session. I’ll cover that in a post to come. Goodnight,  my friends!

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