The 2nd Annual Twenty Days of Thankful (now with words!)

Last year I jumped on board the happy, cheesy, month of thankfulness train by posting a picture a day of things I was thankful for. I thought I might like to do it again, but like last year, I couldn’t get myself together enough in time to start on November 1st… can we just say that I’m fashionably late to the party?

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While I’m not sure I wholly endorse the thankfulness project (as I rarely endorse anything that’s trending with stay-at-home moms on Facebook), I will say that my attempt last year was fun, and cathartic.

For me anyway.

I hope you enjoyed it to.

Then again, honestly, blogging is a selfish pursuit so even if you didn’t like it I’m going to do it anyway.

Last year’s 20 Days of Thankful was housed in this other blog – which is more conducive to micro-blogging and posting single photos. This year I’m upping my game (which might be a little crazy considering my schedule, but what the hell). I thought it would be fair to evolve the project and actually, maybe, explain why I’m thankful for that thing you’re seeing.

It’s going to be a challenge. I mean, I blog a lot (like, a lot), but the Crafty Lady often gets neglected while I pursue those things that you know, are going to advance my career. The point is, I’ve blogged every day for 20 days, well, never. Here’s hoping I can make it happen, starting now….

Day #1: Leftovers

photo-3I’m staying at my mother’s house in my home town for the week taking care of her  dog while she and my step-father are in Hawaii (way to go, champs!). While Crystal Lake is not a realistically commutable distance for me, I figure I owe the lady a favor for bringing me into this world.

There is a feeling about coming home, and I’ll be honest, I’m old enough and far enough removed from this town that I no longer think of it as “going home.” It’s my Mom’s house. My bedroom was redecorated 10 years ago. The only things that remain is a bunch of my childhood toys in the basement in boxes and bins that I don’t have room for in my apartment, but which nobody wants to part with.

But then, the first night I arrived, there were labelled leftovers in the fridge, and I got an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. Taking care of this dog is pretty inconvenient, but I’m sure that, like, 20 years of my Mother’s life were inconvenient because of me. Like how she used to fix me dinner, pick me up at school, drive me to dance class, pick me up again, drive me to band practice, pick me up again, and console me as I cried over Algebra at midnight. These labelled leftovers were a little reminder of what it takes to be an awesome parent, and also a reminder that I don’t have that in me now, if ever. So thanks, Mom.

Knitted Pot Holders (i.e. Sometimes I live up to my name…)

I know what you might be thinking…

I don’t get it.  How come this Lauren chick calls herself crafty, and yet I never see her doing any crafts!  What gives?

Life gets busy, you know?  I excuse myself by saying that Crafty is a state of mind rather than a state of being.  We all aspire to be as crafty as we perceive ourselves to be on Pinterest, but sometimes life gets in the way.

And then other times, on the rare occasion that you have a four day weekend and an emotional commitment to watch several hours of football, your fingers start twitching for something to do.  I used to knit (like, a lot), but somehow let it fall by the wayside.  Last weekend, however, I dug out my needles and scraps of yarn and it was just like coffee with an old friend.

I’ve started up again, but simply, by replacing a few grubby old potholders with this little beauty:

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I once made the mistake of committing to an entire afghan in this pattern, seed, not realizing that it takes twice as long as most other patterns because you have to switch your yarn after each stitch.  That blanket took my entire undergraduate college degree to finish.  But, I’m at it again because, being the perfectionist that I am, it comes out so beautifully and those little tiny bubbles of yarn are going to keep my hand from burning on a fresh loaf of zucchini bread. Plus, you don’t have to count anything.

tumblr_mh94vyVpmm1qmywbko1_500Seed Pattern (Knitting)

  • Cast on an odd number of stitches (I used 35 for this fairly generous-sized hot pad)
  • K1, P1 until the end of the row
  • Repeat
  • That’s it.

Disclaimer: The blanket underneath this work in progress was not made by me, but by my Great-Grandmother Cora.  It was crocheted haphazardly (so she said) using scraps from her yarn basket and was gifted to me when I was about 10.  It’s either been at the end of my bed or on the back of my sofa ever since.

Leaving my heart in San Francisco…

Want the truth?

It is dangerously easy to fall in love with this city…

I had the teensiest of legs up coming to San Francisco for the Dance/USA conference in that I was born in the area and had family I could stay with.  Because we’d often come back to visit, I’ve seen the major sites already: The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, Ghiradelli Square, Lombard Street, and the list goes on.

So, knowing I had limited time outside of a conference room during my three days here I didn’t want to revisit things I’ve already seen.

I chose, instead, to just walk.

Even though I’ve been here a countless number of times, this is the first time I’ve visited as an adult.  I was surprisingly disoriented, being used to a really strict grid system, but SF is quite small by comparison to Chicago and after I got my bearings I really started to enjoy my walking tours and trips on the BART.

Produce market in The Mission

Without any goals or preconceived destinations, I feel like I got to walk among San Franciscans as if I was one of them, and, I gotta tell you, I could get used to that.  In both neighborhoods I visited (Union Square and The Mission) I found happy accidents such as live music performances, farmers markets, and fantastic murals to gaze at.  Not to mention the fantastic weather and interesting mix of Victorian and Spanish Colonial architecture.

In most cities I feel like I have to squeeze it all in. I have to see as much as possible in a limited amount of time, and take the city by storm.  Rarely do you get the opportunity to sink in and go at a normal pace, and maybe it’s for that reason that you start to miss home or feel like “it’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there”.

San Francisco was dangerously different.  I never felt like a tourist (even when I was wearing a big conference name tag).  I fit right in.  I didn’t feel like walking the bridge or hitting the nightlife; I felt like shopping for deli meat and bananas.  It felt like home.

Does San Francisco have this effect on everyone, or is it just me?