The view from my bedroom window just now!
Today we adopted our new little BFF: Greta!!
I don't know why she's sticking her tongue out - I swear I'm not squeezing her, even though she looks like it!
Greta is a tiny petite little girl - she weighs about five pounds like my sweet baby Gilda did. We are hoping to fatten her up just a little. But her fur is very soft and silky and she is a lap cat all the way. She loved to be petted and held nonstop. She was a stray according to the shelter, and is two years old but is more the size of a five or six month old kitten. *Love* :))))
As evidence that I have, in fact, been knitting, here are pictures of the sweater I'm wearing today. I actually started this one in the beginning of August and finished it a few months ago, but never took pictures.
I just got an email about these new AGL shoes. I've been wearing their flats in various flavors over the past year because of the back injury I had. I still am trying to wear flats or gym shoes whenever possible, but I am wearing heels again when the outfit or occasion calls for it.
I've found that European shoes fit my "wider across the toes-narrower at the heels" feet much better than others I've worn in the past, even though my inner cheap accountant self complains about the higher prices. Wearing flats was tough - it was sooo painful to get used to being short most of the time, but I finally got over it. I had been wearing 4" heels all the time for years, because I lived and worked in the suburbs and didn't walk places. But anyway, it is taking every bit of self-control that I possess not to buy these shoes. I don't even know what I'd wear them with as I wear mostly knit print dresses.
Yesterday I had a randomly fun time that I didn't see coming, but it was another experience that helped me in my decision making process. I got an email last week about RA Sushi's new "respect yourself in the morning" special. It is a sashimi plate with a choice of one of three "skinny" cocktails. I asked one of my friends who lives a few blocks away if she wanted to go there to try it for lunch but she already had plans. (As an aside, I like that life is pretty spontaneous here- I can just text a nearby friend, see if she's up for doing something and about half the time, it ends up working out. It's fun!)
So anyway, I decided to take the subway over there (which is a 2 block walk away) and 10 minutes later, I was there. The restaurant is a few neighborhoods away from me, in the Gold Coast area, which I hadn't explored much before. I sat at the bar and ordered the special and proceeded to connect to the AT&T wifi from the Barnes & Noble across the street with my iPad and wait for my order. (Btw, do NOT order the skinny cucumber-Rita - it is terrible - I will skip the special and just get Sauvignon blanc and a spicy salmon roll next time.)
There was an older couple at the bar and myself, and the restaurant/bar had a fun neighborhood feel. An older gentleman came in and sat a few seats away from me and started asking me about my iPad and other Apple and non-Apple devices, and I actually started helping him figure out a few things he wanted to know about his iPhone. It was a nice, neighborhood bar like, friendly, conversation and we ended up talking about other topics like MBA programs, accounting, Eastern medicine (as he had a background in investment banking, then a current second career in various Eastern medical techniques he went to China to learn) and he bought me a few more drinks while we were conversing. It was fun, no harm done, I wasn't driving anywhere, and I enjoyed it. In the suburbs, my experience was that no one talks to each other. I was just as guilty of it. I used to do the same thing at the RA by my old house, many times, and not once did anyone strike up a friendly conversation.
So anyway, just another pro to put in the pros/cons list of living in Chicago vs. the suburbs.
Hope everyone is having a great weekend! I'm getting together with another long time friend who lives two miles away this morning for coffee/brunch. I really do love my new life.
Thank you to everyone for the outpouring of support on yesterday's post! I am still in the process of responding to the comments and I appreciate every one of them. THIS is what I missed about blogging.
The new Blogsy app for the iPad is making getting back into blogging that much easier, as well. It makes it very easy to post pics from your camera roll and is a very easy to use interface. There are some bells and whistles I haven't explored yet, but it is a really good app to have and well worth the $4.99 or whatever it was.
I thought I'd show a picture of a knitting project I'm working on. A number of years back, I made an Opulent Raglan from the pattern that Wendy Bernard published in Knitscene and have worn it quite often (something that unfortunately I can't say about that many of my handknit sweaters - there are maybe 10 that I wear often and the others mainly sit in the drawer.) I had purchased four skeins of Madelinetosh Vintage in "tart" (a luscious red) on sale and needed to find a sweater pattern that only required 800 yards or less of yarn, so I opted to make another one. Here it is so far:
Another thing that just occurred to me as I go through this decision making process about where to live: I have a great local yarn shop, Loopy Yarns, just around the corner from where I live now, which is where I got my Madelinetosh. How cool is it that I can actually WALK to buy yarn?
On a separate but related note, I did a lot of thinking when I was reading all of your comments and I decided to do a pros-cons list. I've not decided yet, but it came out highly in favor of staying in the city. My "gut" tells me it's what I want, but it's just the financial aspects that make my practical finance person self squirm and try to go the less expensive route. but my happiness is worth something too.
The other thing I thought about was that for the same or less than what I pay in rent right now, I could also buy a great condo or townhouse in the same neighborhood (from which I can and do walk to work- I did yesterday both ways, logging four miles) with more space and have the tax deductions that go along with it. I can't do it right now, because I would have to get a renter in my old house and save some money to put down as Jim's "parting gift" is going to hit my savings fairly hard, but in only six months to a year from now the picture will be very different.
Back when I was trying to decide what to do about my former marriage, a friend of mine asked me to imagine how I would feel if he and I mutually agreed to split, and he was ok with me leaving and things could be cordial. I immediately sighed in relief. She told me that was my answer. That's how I feel about living in the city. If someone told me that I could have good renters in the house who at least covered the mortgage (realtors I've consulted are telling me this is very likely the case) or I could sell the house and break even, I would sigh a big sigh of relief. Throughout this whole thing, I haven't asked for much and have been willing to compromise a lot. Now I don't want to compromise. I want what I want. That may sound selfish, but I can be that way now.
Well, hellooooo everyone! It has been forever since I posted anything, but I will just dive right in even though the water feels a bit nippy right now.
[Warning- personal stuff ahead. Feel free to skip ahead to the pretty pictures. Believe me, I will understand!!]
The title of my post - a year of rebuilding. 2012 was the opposite of a year of rebuilding. 2012 was a year of breaking down what no longer worked and figuring out who I am. You'd think I'd know that already at 40 (now almost 41) but somehow I needed to revisit everything to decide "what was in and what was out" (channeling Heidi Klum.) The decisions kept evolving and they are still evolving now, as I believe they always should. I think my biggest mistake is that I forgot that I always SHOULD be thinking about what works and what doesn't and stop situations from getting out of control that no longer work.
Anyway, that is where I've been in 2012. I moved to the city from the suburbs (and moved again to another larger apartment in the same building in the same year), lost the second of my two 18-year old cats, my parents moved to another state to officially retire, I got divorced, got back into the dating world, met a great guy, and had back surgery. All in one year. Now for 2013, I have to build on what I have and make up for lost time (and money, etc. etc.)
My biggest decision right now is whether to live in my suburban house again (redoing it from the ground up - not structurally, but practically everything else, so it feels like an entirely new place) or rent it out. There are pluses and minuses on both sides. I have a leaning toward living in it right now (maybe it's driven by too much perusal of the Restoration Hardware catalog) but I have to assess whether I can make the house feel different enough that it is "me", and "me" as I am now, not the "me" that was lonely and isolated. I think redoing it and making it truly my own might be therapeutic, but the old feelings are strong.
Financially, moving back is the best decision I could make, as being a landlord isn't the easiest thing, involves some risks (both of not renting the place and having to pay the mortgage anyway while not living in it, and of people ruining the place) and also because it is much less expensive on a monthly basis to live there than it is for me to live in my new penthouse apartment and I would have more money for starting to travel again and just doing things in general. The rental market here is much stronger than the sale market, so selling the house is not a great option.
So anyway, life is overall better than it's been in a long time because I am living an authentic life of my own choosing, but it's still a work in process and the price of my freedom was a bit higher than I would have hoped. It's worth it though! (Two words I need to remember. Prenuptial agreement. When you're younger and not so weathered by the world, this sounds overly harsh and unoptimistic. When you've been through a battle royal from hell over the course of an entire year, you understand the rationale. And that's all I'm going to say about that. I'm rebuilding.)
So how about a finished project? It's just on the dress form, and just another Kwik Sew 3489 wrap dress, but it's documentation of actual sewing taking place. I sewed three dresses in the last few days, after a long sewing hiatus, and have been knitting a few projects as well.
Just for fun, here's a few pics of my newest place, which I may be moving from soon.
It is very nice, as you can see. It would be fun to stay for the summer and enjoy the large outdoor space. But living here means I have to become a landlord, and spend a bigger percentage of my $ on housing. Is it worth it? I'm still figuring it out.
Besides sewing together my behemoth Sampler Afghan, I have been working on a new summery project - the Lelah top. I had some Cascade Pima Silk in my stash that I had tried using for a project before and ripped, and it seems to be working great for this:
With Craftsy.com! Now I've signed up for five classes, with the recent Susan Khalje class that I bought this morning. They never expire or anything, and I know eventually I'll go through them, but now I need to actually start doing them! I am four lessons in on the bombshell dress class, but will get back to it soon.
Hi, it's been awhile. It has been a whirlwind of activity over here - riding the emotional roller coaster with all its accompanying ups and downs. I think things are starting to get back into some sort of sustainable pattern now.
Yesterday I sewed all four large squares (each made up of six panels) of the Sampler Afghan together, and am almost done with the knitting on one of the two rectangular strips on each long side of it. After that one is sewn on, and the second rectangle is knit and sewn on, there is picking up to do (mercifully, for only a few rows) for each of the four sides of the afghan, with mattress stitch to sew the corners together. I can't believe I can finally see light at the end of the tunnel of that project!! No pics yet.
I haven't done much actual sewing, though I did do a muslin yesterday of a new pattern, and have signed up for no less than THREE Craftsy.com classes. I'm working through the Perfect Fit Bombshell Dress class, and am at the stage where I've cut out the muslin and have done the thread tracing on the machine. I have to say that is a really nice way of working with "no seam allowance" patterns and I will use it again in the future. The other classes I bought are her follow-on Starlet Retro Jacket class and the Jean-ius class to "knock off" jeans that already fit.
I went to Vancouver a few weeks ago for work and stayed in a great hotel - the Fairmont Pacific Rim. I would love to come back to this hotel, maybe in the summer. It was extremely luxurious and I loovvvvved that Vancouver seems to be teeming with both great sushi/seafood and Asian food of all types. I also liked that you can walk virtually anywhere "downtown". It was my second trip to the city and won't be my last. Here are a few pics from my hotel room, which had an amazing view.
and the room, which was actually quite reasonably priced (I wish I would have taken some of the hotel lobby, but there are some great ones on their web site I linked)
What else? I made another lamb cake for Easter
went to a 40th birthday party for a good friend and had a quasi "high school reunion" of sorts (here we are, the recently turned or soon-to-turn 40 crowd)
and am going to Tampa this weekend to visit my parents, going to NYC for PR Weekend in a few weeks, and going to Germany for a week at the end of the month for work/visiting friends.
Hope everyone is well!
I really like a few of the new top-down summer top patterns in the new Knitty posted today.
My favorite is Gemini. I think it's ok for me to repost pics here as I'm also linking to the page where the pattern and source pics can be found.