101 in 1001 ~ update the ninth

It’s time for the 9th update on my 101 in 1001 Challenge! If you haven’t been following along on this journey so far or have any questions about what the challenge is, you can check out this link for details.

I was hoping to get in 30 minutes, 3 days a week of yoga in this month, but I’m partly too out of practice – and partly too distracted this month – and so didn’t quite manage that. I did get in several sessions this month, though, and maybe this is one of those challenge items that needs to be worked up to before I can do the entire thing well.

I am also thinking that I need to focus on the 7 hours of sleep challenge item. I feel like I have been sleep deprived for way too long. And yet, I don’t think I’m really sleep deprived. Perhaps my sleep has just been too erratic, since I go to bed at vastly different times during the week and over the weekends.We’ll see, I guess.

Anyway, enough rambling. Here’s this month’s progress:

March 2017

2 items completed this month
29 items currently in progress

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Food #38: Replace my Crock Pot and try 10 new recipes for it ~ 3/1/2017

I replaced my Crock Pot with an Instant Pot, and the IP has a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the slow cooker feature. Recipes that say to cook on “low” don’t necessarily mean “less” for the Instant Pot. I’ve found that most “low” setting Crock Pot recipes should cook on “normal” in the Instant Pot, or you end up with under-cooked vegetables. And cooking rice in a soup/stew in the Instant Pot in slow cooker mode hasn’t worked well for me at all. (Crunchy chicken & wild rice soup? No thanks!) On the other hand, I do enjoy the Instant Pot’s delayed cook settings. It’s so nice to have a timer feature on a slow cooker.

Personal #56: Go through my mug collection and only keep the ones I (we) intend to use ~ 3/18/2017

This one was relatively simple, but it required getting off my butt to actually do it. I didn’t get rid of many mugs, but I did reorganize some of them – for instance, one of the smaller mugs that I don’t use but don’t want to get rid of (it doesn’t hold enough liquid for frequent use) is now a teaspoon holder on my kitchen counter. And one of the mugs I enjoy but which doesn’t fit in my closet well because it’s an odd shape is now at work to be used there. And there are a few which don’t get used for one reason or another which are in the donation bag to get re-homed. All-in-all, a good, quick, successful project.

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And that ends the first quarter of 2017! I hope the year has been good to you so far, and continues to do so. Happy April!

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Friday Reads ~ in which I forgot to post

Oops! One of the problems with scheduling my blog posts ahead of time is that sometimes I forget to get them ready in time. It can be anything: from forgetting to finish the post, forgetting to hit the “schedule” button, or neglecting to write the post entirely. In any case, this is late but IT’S STILL FRIDAY, so here’s what I’ve been reading this week:

WHAT I READ

I haven’t actually finished reading anything this week. That’s one problem with having both an audio book and a paper book in progress which require a little more attention.

WHAT I’M READING

My audio book is still The Higgs Boson and Beyond from the Great Courses lecture series. I’m enjoying this, but it does require focus. This is not car-listening.

I decided that it’s time to read Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris. However, I haven’t decided yet (and haven’t reached the point yet where I need to decide) whether I will read it straight through or in the “choose your own adventure” style where you jump to a page based on a decision made. I’m leaning towards straight through because I always used to miss options when I read the “choose your own adventure” books.

I’m still enjoying Kat Among the Pigeons as well, though my usual eReader speed never makes it seem like I’m enjoying eBooks.

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT

Next on audio might be another Jules Verne. (I know I bought another one on Audible, but at the moment I forget which one.) It also might be Time for the Stars by Robert Heinlein, or I might try to finish All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. (That one’s been hibernating since the middle of last year. I got sick of listening to the different messy tasks a vet has to do. It felt more like a warning to future vets than a novel to me.)

I’m planing on reading (or listening to) Bellwether by Connie Willis soon. Maybe next. I haven’t yet decided if I will read the print copy or listen to the audio book.

And my next eBook will still probably be another of Lizette Gifford’s novels, though I still haven’t decided which one. It will be whichever catches my eye when I finish my current eBook.

Misc Monday ~ in which we discuss Susan Pevensie

You’ve read the Narnia books, right? I hope so. At least enough to understand the basic fate of the main characters from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Because if you haven’t, you probably won’t understand this post fully. (And frankly, reading the entire series of 7 books won’t take you that long. They’re each about 4 -6 hours long as read by the Harper Audio narrators in the audio book version I have.)

Anyway: Susan Pevensie. Queen Susan the Gentle. One of my favorite book characters from my childhood. And yet, re-reading the books as an adult, I get the impression that her author was overwhelmed by her. I don’t know that C.S. Lewis really understood Susan, or at least not Susan as a young adult. Even looking at his treatment of her in The Horse and His Boy, which shows Susan as an adult Queen in Narnia, I don’t think Lewis really knew what to do with her.

When I was young, and I read these books, I empathized with Susan. I felt I was Susan, in a way. I was the eldest sister (though I only had one sibling) and I was the practical one. I was also not a tomboy. So of course I felt most connected to Susan. And when she was left out of The Last Battle, it felt like this world I had grown to love was abandoning me. This feeling didn’t last and I got over it, because by that time I had also found some small connection to Jill and so I transferred my empathy for that last book. But still, I felt hurt, and abandoned, and it stuck with me enough that The Last Battle is still the Narnia book I re-read the least often.

It is only recently that I have begun thinking about what Susan would have been like after the train accident. Not immediately after, because from the first reading of the book I understood that in one tragic wreck Susan was left an orphan, alone without her brothers or sister or parents. (I think at that first reading it slipped my mind that Eustace was her cousin.) So when I was younger and thought of Susan after the Narnia series was over, I knew she would be sad.

And that’s as far as I got.

I never stopped to think what it would be like to have to attend all the funerals alone. To be 21 and have no close family left at all. I started thinking about it when I read some great pieces on the subject a year or three ago, and that was reinforced when I listened to the books this time around. It seems to me like Susan is the most adult-like of the children throughout the entire series. And while I am not going to speculate (as many have) on Lewis’ prejudices or biases, I will say that indicates to me that he never really understood Susan. Yes, there are children who act older than their age. (I was one.) But there is more depth to them than just kids who act old, and Susan doesn’t show much of that.

Anyway, I haven’t fully formed my thoughts on this, because part of what interests me the most about Susan Pevensie is not what Lewis wrote about her, but what other people have. Here are some samples (by the same author, because I love them):

the Pevensies after the War

Susan after Narnia

Do you have opinions on Susan, or the Chronicles as a whole? Or have you encountered any beloved childhood books that have completely different meanings as adults? It’s an interesting thing to reflect on, and it makes me wonder what about me has changed to make the books feel so different… the books certainly haven’t changed, since I’m reading the same, much-loved copies I was gifted as a child.

Friday Reads ~ in which we throw out everything I said last week

So remember all of my predictions for this week that I made last week? Yeah. Now forget them. I certainly did when I was picking my new reads. Anyway, there was still a lot of fun reading happening.

WHAT I READ

I finished The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun. It’s a great start to the “Cat Who” series! Lots of fun to see how lifelike Koko (the cat) is. I’m going to enjoy reading more in this series, though it’s a LONG series so we’ll see how far I get in it. My full review is here. This is book #2 for my Purrfect Reading Challenge.

I also finished (and started, for that matter) Tuesdays at the Castle (Castle Glower book #1) by Jessica Day George. I love all of her stuff that I’ve read so far, and this one was no exception. I don’t have a full review of it up on my other site yet, but will link to it when I write one.

And I finished the final Narnia book by C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle. It… well. It doesn’t seem to be the same book I read as a child. I have a Misc Monday post in the works which should help explain that.

WHAT I’M READING

So, after The Last Battle I said I wanted a “fun” audio book, right? That must be why I just started The Great Courses: The Higgs Boson and Beyond (lecture series I found on Audible) by Professor Sean Carroll. Because nothing says “fun” like the Higgs boson particle.

I haven’t picked out the next paper book yet. My library book selection keeps shuffling around as I discover that I have checked out books I already own (The Ripper Affair) and as new holds arrive (Murder Past Due) and all that jazz. So we’ll see what I actually pick up when I’m ready for my next book.

And I’m still reading Kat Among the Pigeons in eBook format. I might concentrate on this one for a bit before picking out my next paper book, but we’ll see. I really prefer the paper to eBook format, though eBooks undeniably travel better. Hmm. At any rate, Kat has just gone to visit the pigeons, and it looks like things are about to get interesting. (Not that the beginning wasn’t interesting, but there’s a difference between background-set-up-interesting and action-adventure-excitement-interesting.)

WHAT I’LL READ NEXT

Next? Hmm. I can barely decide what I’m reading NOW. I think I’d better hold off on deciding what will come next for a week or two.

Have a lovely weekend!

WIP Weds ~ in which it is all Babette, all the time*

* not actually true… there has been other knitting; it’s just not being shown here today.

Babette progress

Remember last week, when I told you I was almost done with the Babette squares? Well, this week I have finished them!

Babette progress

Or, I have finished them if I counted correctly. If I discover while joining the squares that I mis-counted, I will make whatever squares I determine I’m missing as I get to the stage of joining it. I’m hoping that I won’t have to do that, though, because I counted multiple times and came up with the same number each time.

Babette progress

Now I need to determine a basic layout for these squares and then start joining them. I don’t want it to be too planned out, because that wasn’t the point of this blanket. However, I also don’t want it to be too random, or with my luck I’ll end up with two essentially matching squares right next to each other. The blanket does have you join the larger section in sections, if I remember correctly, and then you join the big sections together. So at the least I will clump the squares by section and then join them randomly from there. We’ll see. I may lay out the entire thing. I haven’t decided yet.

Babette progress

The cat, of course, thought I was providing her with toys.

Babette progress

It didn’t help that I haven’t woven in all the ends yet. (I won’t be weaving in all of the ends – one of the joys of crochet is that I can hide the bind-off tail when I join the squares. But I will need to weave in the starting ends, and I haven’t done all of those yet.) Still, it’s very exciting to have hit this point in the project!

Hoe you’re having a great week, too!

Misc Monday ~ in which there are not enough spoons

Many of you are probably already aware of the Spoon Theory. (Those of you who are not should read up on it. It’s a great way to describe energy rationing for those with chronic illness or disabilities. Even if this doesn’t impact you at all, it probably impacts one or more of your close friends or family members, whether or not you know it.)

Now, usually I have plenty of spoons. However, I do have occasional depressive tendencies. (I think many of us do, whether or not we acknowledge them.) I do not mean “ooh, you get sad a lot” when I refer to depression. I am referring to the more physical version, which comes with fatigue and a complete lack of energy or motivation to do anything. And I don’t mean that I don’t want to do my chores. When I get depressed, I don’t want to do anything. And I don’t have the energy for much, either. There are days when the only reason I get out of bed is because I have to go to work. (I don’t have bad enough episodes to prevent me from going to work on my worst days. I have it comparatively good, and I recognize that. But I have also learned not to belittle my issues just because “someone else has it worse”.)

Anyway, like I said, usually I have plenty of spoons. But last week, I had barely enough spoons for the entire early part of the week. I managed to do what I had to, and only what I had to. Once that was done, I collapsed on the couch, staring at the TV and not even really doing any crafting because even knitting or crocheting took too much energy.

This is something I am both used to and not. I am used to it enough that I know there are days when I am not going to get anything done and have come to accept that there’s no use beating myself up over it; that will only make things worse because guilt feeds my depression and makes it last longer. Sleep is one of the things that helps, but it seems I have to force myself to get sleep because getting ready for bed takes too much effort.

So… all of this is to explain why this blog post is delayed, and being posted in the afternoon instead of the morning. Once my spoons were replenished toward the end of last week, I didn’t have time to catch up on everything and scheduling blog posts was one of the easy things to set aside.

But, I am also writing this post as a reminder. Sometimes people who seem perfectly fine aren’t. And sometimes they need extra understanding or extra help even when there’s no visible reason why they should. If you have enough spoons, and you see someone who is running low, please consider doing something to help them out. Even a small thing for you could be huge for them.