…And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.”
(T.S. Eliot)

And here we are, at the end of another year with the promise of a new clean future tomorrow. I’m not interested in looking back on this year, as it was one of the same old same old years. Instead, I am looking towards 2012 and thinking of the empty unknown, excitement, adventure, and clarity that it holds.

This is the year we will be putting our house on the market. This is the year we will be leaving to go on an epic adventure of the unknown on our bicycles (plans still unmade). This is the year I turn 30 and will change it all in my life in order to catch happiness and solace in myself and my surroundings.

I hope you all have a lovely end to your 2011 and a promising beginning to your 2012.

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Looking up on a Friday

September 9, 2011

30/365

Thought it was time for another Looking Up post.

Things that make me happy right now:

  • Cooler morning air. Cooler evening air. The signal of the change in season.
  • Making headway on the new backporch (details soon!) being built by us in the space that used to house our old kitchen.
  • A return to hot coffee from a few months of iced coffee (see first bullet).
  • Making good, healthy, wholesome food from scratch every night for dinner, and always having leftovers the next day.
  • Feeling grateful that the old bones in this old rowhome have withstood the intense amount of (more) rain we got this week. So far so good on the no rain *inside* the house. Our basement is dry and our roof is sturdy. My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones, lost their home, and have to deal with more flooding damage in Pennsylvania due to the overflow of the Schuylkill, Delaware, and Susquehanna.
  • A great guy who works on beautifying my bicycles for me. My Surly Steamroller fixed gear has been lovingly retrofitted, switched over to freewheel, and we swapped out the bullhorn bars for uprights. It’s a lovely lovely smooth ride and I am so happy that I have good, strong bicycles.
  • Hope you are looking to the positives, on this Friday.

    (And on a sad note. The hurricane kitty has passed away in the loving hands of his foster. He was doing well for the first few days and then took a nosedive. I’m thankful for the amazing help my friends provided as I was trying to save him from a life on the streets of South Philly and am sad that he was unable to make it to a long cat life. So it is, sadly, the circle of life.)

    After a storm, new life

    August 29, 2011

    First and foremost, thank you for the birthday wishes! 29 is turning out to be pretty great so far.

    In other news, Hurricane Irene came through here and left Philly with a flooding river. Other than that, we got out unscathed. We bundled down in South Philly armed with delicious food, knitting, the humor of Louis C.K., and crosswords (for me).

    On Sunday morning, Kasy and I rode up to the banks of the Schuylkill River to see the flooding. These were taken at 9:30am and the waters rose even higher later in the day. I know that we’re lucky to not have any damage to our persons or our home and my heart goes out to those who are still dealing with damage, major flooding, injury, and the sad loss of loved ones. While the storm may have seemed like hype to a lot of people (myself included, as I pshawed the warnings expecting nothing more than the rain we did receive) it really did reek havoc in many communities and we are lucky it did not cause more damage and sadness than it did.

    Hurricane Irene aftermath - Sunday 8/28/11 9:30am

    Hurricane Irene aftermath - Sunday 8/28/11 9:30am

    Hurricane Irene aftermath - Sunday 8/28/11 9:30am

    Hurricane Irene aftermath - Sunday 8/28/11 9:30am

    As parts of the city are still recuperating, we continued on with our home renovations today. I had scheduled some debris haulers to come in and remove demolition waste from the tear down of the back room (where the kitchen used to be). We’re going to be building a pretty excellent back porch in its place. Our trusty haulers came out and upon removing the ply-wood board we had covering the crumbling Sheetrock pile, they discovered a newborn kitten snuggled into the pile of debris. Now, I’ve had animals in my life every since I was a wee one, but this is by far the scariest, tiniest, animal I’ve ever had to handle. I was a nervous wreck. Luckily, I know some great people who are excellent foster parents for the strays and surrenders in our city, and I called one of them immediately after putting the kitten in a box with towels. My friend awesomely handled finding someone to come and pick up the wee kitty, have it checked out at PAWS and passed on to a wonderful foster parent who is well versed in bottle-feeding. It was a stressful few hours, friends, as this tiny life was in my hands and I felt helpless and worried.

    debris kitten

    I’m hopeful that this little hurricane babe survives, even though it was found relatively abandoned with eyes and ears closed and cord still attached. It is a cutie and deserves a lovely cat life, not on the mean streets of stray-cat-ville South Philly. It was also an interesting reminder at how tiny life can be and how tenuous it can be, and how scary change and the world can seem.

    can you handle the cuteness?

    Summertime

    June 8, 2011

    The temperatures have risen again, making Philadelphia a hot hot place for the next few days. Summer is always a weird time for me. It’s my least favorite season and it usually makes me feel restless and unfocused.

    Getting back in the saddle

    For the next month, I’ll be combating that with working towards better health, physically and mentally, through bicycle riding. Working from home has made it easier and easier to ride my bike less and less. Even though, when working at Penn, my commute was only 5 miles (roundtrip) a day, getting on the saddle every morning makes it easier to get on the saddle more often and for longer stretches of time. Kasy rides to and from work, a total of 22 miles a day, with most of the ride being on the river trail. Today was day 2 of me riding partway with him, down the river trail and up a big hill in East Falls before turning around and heading home. Each ride is ~15 miles and it feels good to get up and get going, and get home before 7:15am. It’s so nice to ride through city streets before many people are out and about. Morning emptiness in Philly streets is my favorite time in the city.

    Over the weekend, when the temperatures were still lovely, breezy, and low 80s at the hottest part of the day, Kasy and I took our scooter out for a morning ride to Penn’s Landing.

    Penn's Landing

    I love the waterfront and think it is such a shame that I-95 cuts the city off from easy access to it. Terrible planning. Penn’s Landing has such potential but a serious lack of community. It’s nice to head over there every now and then, and watch the boats. I need to remember to go there more often.

    Penn's Landing

    Jupiter of Philadelphia

    Seaport Museum

    Kasy and I both love being in quiet places, near water, so this was a sweet way to start our Saturday morning. Now, if only we were watching the clouds and the water from the cockpit of our own sailboat, in a small town far from here. One day…

    On the shore of the Delaware

    Happy Earth Day

    April 22, 2011

    I hope you are getting fresh air in your lungs and sun on your face. It is cloudy and chilly, here in my corner of Pennsylvania. I have beans bubbling away on the stove for a big pot of soup that involves low impact ingredients, as many of our meals do. Kasy and I talked about blogging a bit about what we make to eat for dinner and changes we’ll be making in that regard to ensure even smaller amounts of garbage and recycling. So stay tuned for that!

    In the spirit of Earth Day, I will take this moment to urge everyone to get out from behind the wheel of their car and get walking, get biking, get public transportationing. I’ll be posting, in the coming weeks, about how we’ve managed without owning a car and renovating a house by bicycle.

    And on that note, check out Kasy’s first fully handbuilt bicycle.* It’s replacing his Surly Crosscheck as his commuter. He’s been working on it for a few months now and is so pleased to see it finished. It really is a stunning bicycle.

    Kasy's newest creation

    Kasy's newest creation

    Kasy's pretty pleased

    *Kasy works in the handbuilt bike industry making racks, building wheels, welding and brazing onto frames, etc. This is the first bicycle he has built. I am so incredibly proud. Next on his docket is retro-fitting my touring bike, an ’86 Ritchie, with S&S couplers and new racks.

    right now

    February 25, 2011

    Teetering on that border between winter and spring. Loving that warmer cold air, knowing that the temperatures will rise soon. Friday nights are full of fun, beers, and thoughts of the future. The weekend is full of necessary work on the house of the present. Teetering on that border between now and soon.

    right now

    All I know is that I wish I were in the woods, in a tent, instead of in a rowhome in the deeps of South Philly. Never have I wanted warmer weather. I want to go camping now.

    Warm and happy

    In January, I cast on and cast off for the fastest sweater ever made. The oh so popular Owls by Kate Davies. Nothing but utter love for this knit. It took a total of 7 days and fits like a dream.

    o w l s

    No mods were made. I measured myself at the 38 inch bust size and knit the 38 inch bust size. I got spot on gauge with the called for needles. I lengthened the body and arms of the sweater since I am a long person. I used the called for yarn, British Sheep Breeds Chunky, in the now discontinued color of Dark Gray Welsh. Since I have a long body, the added length to the sweater required me to crack into a 7th skein to finish the ribbed collar of the sweater, but if I were a bit shorter I would easily get away with this size and 6 skeins of the yarn. (ravelry project page here) That’s ok. It leaves me with some yarn to add to my pretty scrappy hexagon crocheted blanket.

    hexagons in progress

    This blanket is one of the few yarn projects on my knitting/crochet priority list. I am a polygamous crafter and it stresses me out. The few times that I’ve solely committed to a singular project, I finish it so quickly and get to enjoy both the process and product. Unfortunately, after I work on something monogamously I usually have a fit of casting on for a large number of things and feel like a hurricane. It sucks, really. I am always flitting from thing to thing without finishing much of anything. I do this in most aspects of my life but it isn’t a comfortable role for me. I hate it every step of the way but have a hard time reigning it in.

    Enter my priority list. I have a few sweaters, a pair of socks, and this crocheted blanket on there. I’m only working on these projects right now and destashing a lot of yarn, ripping out long abandoned projects, and thinking of things besides knitting that I want to do, used to do, and love to do. I am going to try a bit of knitting quitting at the end of this list. I have a ukulele that I want to learn to play. I have a few quilts I want to finish. I have many books I want to read. I have lots of bike rides I want to take. And since I don’t know how to accomplish everything in my small amount of free time, I need to try freeing my time a bit more.

    It’s scary. It’s unsettling. And it’s weirdly freeing.

    Have you ever had to tell yourself to stop something, take a step back, and re-prioritize? How did you handle it?