Sunday, September 14, 2014

Fall Bucket List

I was recently telling my friend about how much I hate Fall, but how I am going to make an effort to enjoy it more this year. She was kind enough to send me a bucket list she created just for me. How sweet. I'll try my best to do them all with a smile.

  1. Have a PSL from Starbucks once a week.
  2. Make a fall wreath.
  3. Decorate outside entry way. 
  4. Have mulling spice on the stove on Saturdays. 
  5. Make a scarecrow for the garden. 
  6. Sit outside in ski chairs and watch the leaves fall. Perhaps next to a fire.
  7. Go apple picking.
  8. Paint some pumpkins and bring them to work.
  9. Carve a pumpkin.
  10. Wear a Halloween costume to work if allowed. 
  11. Host a harvest party and bob for apples.
  12. Buy a new fall sweater.
  13. Plant an acorn.
  14. Buy fall riding boots.
  15. Do a corn maze with friends.
  16. Buy real apple cider.
  17. Make apple sauce.
  18. Go for a long drive leaf peeping.
  19. Make a leaf pile. 
  20. Hike a mountain and admire the pretty colors below.
Anything you think I should add?

What's your least favorite season? 


Saturday, September 13, 2014

The One Where I Try To Be Honest About Blogging And Life

Ho hum...where to start. Brain dump coming at you.

I've been reading a lot, and hearing a lot about goals, setting goals, reaching goals, good goals vs. bad goals, and how if you don't have goals you're not likely to get anything you actually want to go. Heck I spend all day at work either writing goals, thinking of goals, or trying to get students to reach their goals. Lots of thinking about goals lately.

I didn't really want to write a whole post about this, because I feel like I would just be beating a dead horse, but I did recently quit facebook. There were lots of reasons, but mostly I was just sick of the time I was wasting on it, becoming absorbed in acquaintances lives, getting jealous/envious of others, wondering if my posts were making others envious/jealous and feeling bad about that possibility, and in all honestly I was friends with too many people who have passed away on facebook. I couldn't get myself to unfriend them, but then I'd look at their pictures and just get very sad and miss them. Or facebook would remind me it was their birthday and I would burst out crying over my breakfast. So I quit. And I feel much better. The only downside (or maybe not) is that my blog updated on facebook which is how 95% of the people who read it got here. My posts used to have about 50-70 people read them, and now only have about 8  (hi Dad!) Part of me feels upset about this; would I keep this blog if absolutely no one read it? Probably not. The other part of me is kind of happy about it. I miss the days when I would grumble on about my annoying neighbors, or the time I fell in a mud puddle, or giving up cable. I was funny back then, when no one read my blog and I didn't have to worry about being politically correct. But then I wonder, do I really want to go back to who I was in 2009?  A "stressed out" grad student with no money and nothing but humor and vegetarian meals to live off of? Not really. I can't go back to being her, and I don't want to.

 I also don't want to be a naive 23 year old who posts her early morning solo running loops, tells everyone when she's going on vacation (i.e. "please rob me I'm not home") and shares details about fights with her boyfriend. The internet is both wonderful and scary, you can literally find out almost anything about a person online, if it's been posted. And those things are permanent. I have stopped following bloggers who I felt shared too much detail about their lives, and especially their children's lives. I unfriended people who posted to many personal details on facebook because it made me feel creepy knowing that stuff about the, When the time comes that we have a baby I don't want to be the person sharing every detail, every picture, every embarrassing story about our kid.

Having 8 readers instead of 60 has made me think about what I really want from this blog, what's my blogging goal? I don't want to be a "famous blogger" with thousands of readers. I don't even want to quit my day job to be a blogger, which seems to be a lot of bloggers goal. I don't ever see myself designing a fabric line, or making up sewing patterns like the other bloggers I follow. I kind of just want to tell you 8 people about things I've sewed, home improvement projects, share funny stories, tell you about running and the dogs. There are so many posts about random stuff that I have never published because I think the posts are just too random. Then I think, well your interests are pretty random Lauren so if all you want to do is post about things you like or funny things that have happened to you then keep doing it. I also have some unpublished posts that are for lack of a better word "dark", and I don't publish them because I'm too scared of how people will react. One of my main complains about facebook was that it was all fake; that you could choose only the good stuff to share. Only the best picture (out of 100), only the most exciting thing you did over the weekend; not that you emptied the dishwasher and cleaned the shower drain, only a happy update when something good happened, not an update about how mundane your life is. I feel like the past few years I've been doing that here. I only blog about clothes or projects that turn out perfectly (or close enough by my standards); I have tons of failed projects, or butt ugly clothing I've sewed, but that never makes it here, it only makes it to the scrap pile. I take 50 pictures of myself in an outfit and only 3 make it to the blog. I don't blog about the hard stuff in life, because for one it's hard to talk about, I also don't want to depress people. When my friend was sick she said she reading my blog made her laugh even when she was having a really crappy day so I never talked about anything sad or not perfect because I wanted her to be happy reading it. I felt I had nothing to complain about when I put my life into perspective; she was dying of cancer and I had tons of free time to sew and live my life so I started putting up a perfect/happy front and stopped writing about the hard stuff. Then last year a friend committed suicide. I started writing several posts about this topic over the last year, but never got over the first sentence or two. I'll never know exactly what contributed to her decision, but part of me can't help but feel that the "happy front" we all (I have) put up could have had something to do with it.

After my brain spins for 20 minutes on blogging goals I usually then inadvertently move on to what my life goals are. Is being a good wife and friend, becoming a mom, working hard at a job that I like and being happy enough of a life goal? Isn't that essentially everyones goal? Do I need to be different? If my goals are the same as everyone else's doesn't that just make me another cog in the wheel. I'm happy with my job and there really is no "moving up" in it. I'll never be a CEO or a principal, I don't even want to get my Ph. D like I used to think I did/would. I never want to be in charge of a lot of people, and I don't want to wear a suit to work. I like cardigans too much. I love our home and would be (I think) happy to live here for 30 years (or longer). I'm so very happy being married to Charlie, I think to myself at least once a week "how'd I get so lucky that he not only likes me but loves and tolerates me?" I am realizing slowly that friendships take work in order to maintain them, but I have never felt more solid in knowing exactly who my friends are. I feel like I am a good friend to them. It's taken me a while to realize that having 1,000 friends is not what I want. I want 10 really good friends, so that I have more time and energy to spend with those people who really matter.

Is that enough? I could think of a thousand things I'd like to do, goals I'd like to accomplish (have grass in our yard instead of dirt, figure out what the heck is wrong with my garden, knit a sweater, write a memoir, go to Iceland, have a perfectly clean house all the time, learn to cook, lose 3 pounds) but in all honesty those have been things I've kind of wanted to do for a while and they never actually get done, so that must mean they're not the most important things to me.

In summary, I am happy that you 8 people find me interesting enough to read my blog. I am going to be more deliberate and honest/real in my blogging. Life is sometimes really hard, I do not have the perfect life, and I never intended to make anyone feel like I did. I want my blog to be a place where I can not only share my sewing projects, but other random stuff (which I am told by my dad is more interesting than my sewing projects anyways). I am working on not caring if lots of people read what I have to say, if anything the blog serves as a good reminder to me of stories, projects, and pictures from my life. Blogging is pretty selfish and egocentric to begin with (sometimes I count the number of times I say "I" in a post and am stunned), people blog because they think they have something important to say that others should or would like to hear about. Truth is I'd probably still write here even if my only reader was Charlie (who I force to read my blog.)

This is usually the part where I hit "save" and never actually publish what I just spent an hour writing. But here goes.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Summer Reading List

I feel like I read a lot this summer, but didn't really end up finishing that many books. I started reading a few books that were highly recommended or I had heard a lot about, but didn't end up liking them, so I didn't finish them (The Interestings). There were a few books that I did read cover to cover, and really liked.

Where'd You Go Bernadette? By Maria Semple. This book was so interesting. It was a fast read and I literally devoured it. It's written from a 12-year-olds perspective about her eccentric mother's disappearance. It sounds really sad, but it wasn't.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman.  I saw the preview for this movie when I went to see The Fault In Our Stars and it seemed intriguing so I decided to read the book, since we all know I'll most likely never see the movie. I read most of the book on the flight to and from Washington, it's YA so it was pretty fast. I was a little miffed about the ending. It was an okay read if you like young adult novels and don't want to think too hard when you're reading. A summer beach book for sure.

This One Is Mine by Maria Semple. I liked her second book so much that I read her first. It was not nearly as good. I only finished it because I wanted to know if one of the characters died or not. I think I would have liked it better if I had read it first and not had the expectations of it being as good as her second book.

Brain On Fire by Susanah Cahalan . My mom was reading this book and I stole it off her night stand when we were visiting and stayed up too late 2 nights in a row finishing it. It a true story of a newspaper reporters mystery illness that made her "crazy" for over a month. I think I liked it so much be it talked a lot about different parts of the brain and potential things that could have been wrong with the author. She also mentioned that she relieved speech/language services while she was in rehab, I wish she had gone more into it however. It was nice to read before school started to get my brain thinking of actual work, not just relaxing.

Overwhelmed Work, Love, and Play When No One Has The Time. By Brigit Schulte. This was a fiction book with lots of references and statistics in it, and it's mostly geared towards working moms or (in my opinion) women who are fed up with their husbands, but I still felt like I took meaningful pieces from it. It seemed to outline the problems a lot of people face but didn't have a whole lot by means of suggestions for fixing those problems.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. I whispered this title to the librarian to ask for her to fill out an inter-library loan because I didn't want people to think I was a racist. I love this book. It has multiple different story lines with lots of drama. It's also set (mostly) in Singapore which I know next to nothing about, and has little side notes to tell you about cultural references you wouldn't otherwise understand. It's also about really rich people, and I've come to realize that I usually read sad stories about really poor people so it's a good change. (Side note, I am not done with the book but I don't think my opinion will change unless all of the main characters are killed in a freak elephant trampling).

What have you been reading?

Am I the only one who feels like a total loser if I don't like a book that tons of other people love?


Monday, September 8, 2014

City Gym Shorts Take 2!

I knew I wanted to make another pair of City Gym Shorts so when my friend Sam said she'd take a pair I decided to whip her up a pair. It was even easier the second time. 

My one complaint (aside from the upside down birds) of my last pair was that it was difficult to tell which side was the front and which was the back, until you put them on and they either fit great or give you a huge wedgie. To eliminate this problems I used some selvage to make a "tag" of sorts to tell which is the back.

I hope it stays warm enough for her to wear them.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Summer Bucket List: What Actually Happened

I figured since school started today and summer is unofficially over for me I'd see what on my wish list got done. 
  1. Pick strawberries.- Yes! Thank you Liz. 
  2. Hike to the top of the logging road 4 times. - Only twice. Once for sunrise. 
  3. Swim, swim, swim. - Yes! And should I add, I did not get swimmers ear once due to my obsessive use of rubbing alcohol post swimming adventures. 
  4. Wear sunscreen everyday and not get sunburned once. - Almost! I got a bit of a sunburn on one tiny speck of skin that I missed. 
  5. Go to concerts. - Totally! Four of em. And another next week. 
  6. Hike a 4,000 footer and not cry. - No. Didn't even try. 
  7. Host a Summer party. - Yes! It was so fun. 16 people spent the night, including three hilarious children. 
  8. Finally figure out what poison ivy looks like and not touch it. - Kind of, I think I have a good idea, and I did not get it once. 
  9. Eat fresh veggies from the garden. - Ha! I've eaten about 4 peas, and five tomatoes from the "garden". 
  10. Hold a baby. (I'm looking at you Liz!) - Yes! I need more baby snuggling, now I am looking at you Jaclyn! 
  11. Go to a yard sale. - Yes! I went to one early in the summer that was a bust. Don't you feel super weird when you go to a yard sale and look around and you're the only person there and everything is crap so you try to stay longer to make the people not feel bad that you assessed all of their for sale items as junk within seconds of seeing it. The second one I went to was much better. I got a kerosene lamp (thanks Dad) and a wooden elephant statue. 
  12. Write my Mum one snail mail letter a week. - Almost. Some post cards. 
  13. Float the Saco with Sammy and Keith. - Yes! Is it bad that I had more fun blowing up the floats in the driveway and laughing from oxygen depletion than floating the river though?
  14. Sew a pair of shorts.- Yep! Two actually. 
  15. Have fresh flowers in the house. - Yes! I was hoping there would be more flowers from my garden, but alas most were from the farm stand. Still pretty. 
  16. Eat dinner on the deck. - Totally rocked this one. Comfy chairs, good weather,a beautiful view, a nice table, and wonderful company made eating outside so delightful. 
  17. Read five books. - Still working on it. I've read 3 totally through. Reading 3 at the moment. Oy. I started several books but couldn't get into them. 
  18. Make popsicles. - Yes, but they tasted like crap because there was no sugar added to them.
  19. Go to concerts. - Jaimie said I was so excited about my concert going that I added it twice. 5 concerts guys! 
  20. Learn to use the grill. - Um, no. That would just have lead to us going out to eat I am sure. 
  21. String lights over the deck for summer ambiance. - No. It doesn't get dark until 9! I am in bed then. No need for lights. 
  22. Tackle the list of home projects we have on the fridge. - Yes! The list accidentally got thrown away but I think we tackled everything. 
  23. Spend a few days "tech free." -Eh. Kind of. Like 3/4 of a day. 
  24. Make fruity drinks. - Yep! 
  25. Play frisbee golf. - Watched people play frisbee golf. I need to remember that I hate playing yard games. 
  26. See "The Fault In Our Stars". - Yes! Again thank you Liz. I wouldn't have done half of this stuff without your help! At one point I think all 6 people in the theater were crying except the 4 week old baby we brought! 
  27. Make friendship bracelets. - Yes! For myself, and I love them! Something tells me making your own friendship bracelets is really un-cool. 
  28. Have fires in the fire pit. - One! 
  29. Go to five NH State Parks. -None! I did go to two National Parks though. 
  30.  Visit farmer's market.- Yes! But only twice. 

I think the biggest thing I learned in looking over this list is that it's hard to do fun things around your house when you are not really home very much. We were gone almost every weekend, and for a few week long stretches over vacation. I am looking forward to spending some time relaxing at our house instead of coming home with lots to get done before we rush off to the next event. I am really going to also try to enjoy fall instead of hating it, which is what I've been doing for the last 25 years. 

Anything you wished you'd done this summer but didn't get to?


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

City Gym Shorts

Summer is fast coming to an end, and one of my bucket list items was to sew a pair of shorts for myself. No better time than the present right?! The pattern for these City Gym Shorts was free, and I had the perfect voile-ish fabric that I bought ages ago. I also had enough of it that if I messed up the first time I could try again.

I did not however have enough double fold bias tape, only single fold bias tape. It worked out alright though, the tape is just thinner than the other ones I've seen. I could have made my own bias tape but that just sounds terrible, so I didn't.

They were super easy to make and took me only two episodes of the trashy TV show I've been binge watching lately.

The shorts are a little baggy in the front, and a little tight in the butt. I am also not sure if I feel comfortable wearing them out in public a whole lot or if I'll just wear them around the house and as P.J. bottoms. I did wear them to Rite Aid this evening, but I can't tell if I was embarrassed to be seen because of the shorts or because I was unfortunately wearing a plaid shirt with the shorts. In my defense I didn't think I would be leaving the comfort of the car on our quick errand to get S'mores fixings.

My only other complain is now that I look at pictures I realize the birds are upside down on the fabric. I really need to learn to take the print into consideration when cutting out patterns.

Off to tackle more items on my bucket list.

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