31 December 2012

Looking Forward

I tried to write one, but ultimately decided against a "year in review" post to wrap up 2012 here on Miles from Ordinary.

As you may have noticed, things have been a bit quite around these parts the last 2 months or so. Things haven't been great (it's been Stressville around here for much too long) and  looking back on all the wonderful things that did happen over the last year didn't feel genuine. My heart wasn't in it. It all felt a little forced.

Instead, I thought I'd look to the future. Focus on looking ahead to 2013 with an open heart and mind.

The Original 2013 List
I already posted my List of Suggestions: 2013 Edition non-resolutions for the upcoming year which came from a slightly longer list. One that took on a life of its own after I got past some of the "less personal" items.

2012 was the start of a new path. A new journey. A year of personal growth which contributed to so many of those up and even a few of those downs I went through this last year. I found new joys and started new friendships/relationships with others (near and far) which helped push me along my path. But I also let go of those things and even people who didn't support me and were standing (figuratively of course) in my way. 

I'd like 2013 to be more of the same.

I'd like 2013 to be a year where I continue to learn about who I am. I'd like it to be a year where I continue to discover what I love about this crazy life/world we all share. I'd like it to be a year where I learn to to embrace what I have, who I am, what I share with friends/family and let go of the longing for the life I don't/can't/won't have. 

You can't have the good without the bad.

You can't get to love and acceptance without going through a little hurt and disappointment.

You have to be open to it all to get to what you need. 

May this New Year bring you unexpected joys, undeniable happiness, and unending compassion!

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Honest to Blog is a series where I let my pen glide across the paper without letting my inner editor know what is going on. Some posts might be controversial. Some might be a bit boring and some might be downright ridiculous. But they will all be open, honest and 100% me.

30 December 2012

Slouchy Beanie: Crochet Link-Up


Prior to this link-up, I had never learned to read a pattern. I tried, but it never went well. I'm pretty sure it mostly had to do with the fact that I tend to have the attention span of  a gnat, which is why until now I stuck with scarves and afghans.

After a quick consultation though with a friend, I was off and running and did fairly well for my first time out.

I ended up using a variegated yarn from my stash and a 5.0mm hook. As I went along, I did have to modify it just a touch for my oddly sized head by leaving out a couple of rows at the end. I really love the way it turned out though.


I also used the same pattern with some really thick yard I had laying around and it turned out beautifully  Definitely not a lot of "slouch" in this one, but I still love it and wear it all the time!


21 December 2012

It's the End of the World As We Know It

And I feel fine......

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook last night:
It's not the end of the world, but the beginning of new enlightenment. Take that idea with you into the new year and believe in the possibilities!

Wise words to live by and I will definitely be taking them into 2013 with me.

Happy Apocalypse Day everyone!

19 December 2012

List of Suggestions: 2013 Edition

Each year, rather than make a list of resolutions, I make a list of suggestions for myself.

I always start before January 1 and I rarely actually stick to them in their original presentation. It's a system the works fairly well.

As long as the world continues to exist after Friday, here are my New Year Suggestions for 2013.

  • Read 52 Books: In theory, this should be the simplest of goals to achieve  It's one book a week. ONE. BOOK. But I've managed to fail THREE YEARS IN A ROW. I mean, seriously. How hard can that be? Eeesh. 
  • Read 10 Banned Books: Admittedly, but default this one should really fall in with reading 52 books a year but no. I'm keeping it separate. It's one of my 35 Before 35 goals hence it's own place on the list.
  • The Daily Square: My 365 project for the year which I wrote about here----->The Daily Square
  • Veg Out: I've talk about it. I've toyed with it. And now it's time to get serious about it. It's time to go vegan. Considering the last thing to cut out from my diet is what I am allergic to, it should be an easy switch. Unless of course you like cheese, which I do hence my inability to bid it farewell. 
  • Just Keep Running: I have no idea if this number is too low or too high. It kind of feels like an ok number but I'm exercising my right to change it at any time. I'd like to hit 500 miles for the year. That's three 3 mile runs per week, which I can do. I think. 
  • Get Centered: I need to do more yoga and more mediation. It's time to set up a truly dedicated space to both and I think I have just the spot. Before the new year rolls around, I plan on doing some work in one of my spare bedrooms to make it a space I can go to practice without all the distractions of the house. 
So there it is. My list of suggestions for 2013. It's not terribly exciting or life changing. Just a few simple (ha! simple my ass) things to work towards.

Anyone else have any New Year Suggestions or Resolutions you'll be working on for 2013? 

17 December 2012

Music Monday: Sparklehorse

Sparklehorse......one of my absolute favorite bands. A band that drew me in by their name and the title of their album Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot and kept me with their lyrics and tunes (i.e. melodies, harmonies, etc.).

Sick of Goodbyes

It's A Wonderful Life

Someday I Will Treat You Good

Happy Monday everyone!

16 December 2012

Sunday Confessions

Compassion: I have to admit I've managed to avoid nearly all coverage of the tragic events that took place in Connecticut on Friday. It's not that I don't care: I do. There is no other way to describe what happened other than an absolute tragedy. But I don't deal with such things in a way that most feel is "appropriate" so I stay away from it: reading about it, watching news coverage, talking about it, etc.

But my heart does go out to the parents, friends, families, communities who are dealing with this terrible loss of so many lives, young and old.

Friends: This weekend I was reminded that I am a lucky girl. I spent the weekend with two friends who are the BEST. It had been two years...over two years in fact since the three of us were together but we picked up right where we left off, as if we had just seen each other the weekend before. It was a brilliant time: my face and sides still hurt from smiling and laughing for almost 16 hours straight.

Relish 12: I love this project, but you may have noticed an absence of posts about it this week. Here is the deal....I'm still writing every day, using the prompts. BUT as I'm reliving this past year and really focusing on what happened and how I feel and yadda yadda yadda (doesn't that just devalue this whole post!) it started to get real.......real personal. Too personal. As I told a friend yesterday, I've decided to keep most of the posts too myself because one starky word or misplaced sarcastic comment about it would crush me. This year has been such a growing experience for me, I just don't want to put myself vulnerable self out there just yet again.

Cheap Eats: I have been obsessed. Yes, OBSESSED with Ramon Noodles this week. I don't know if it's the crappy rainy weather we've been having or because I'm stressed out or just plain exhausted and don't want to have to deal with cooking an actually meal, but these packages of sodium filled goodness have never tasted better.

Commitment Issues: A.K.A. I'm not doing New Year Resolutions again this year. Instead, I am doing what I like to call New Year Suggestions. It's less official. Less stressful than a resolution. I'm nearly done with them. They are all pretty superficial this year so I feel like I need to throw something really deep an introspective on the list but I'm just not sure.

Masters of the Shadowlands: Ok....we all know how I feel about the Fifty Shades series. I actually said they were the "nursery rhymes of porn" recently. Anywho, this series was suggested to me by another blogger and holy mother of pearl. Not for the faint of heart. I'm reading the last book of the series right now and am torn because I want to see what happens (there is a legitimate storyline in this series) but I also don't want it to end! I've grown kind of attached to this cast of surly dudes and even though I read there is going to be another book out eventually, who knows what that will actually happen!

15 December 2012

The Daily Square

There is no way around it.

I need a project. A creative project.

Something big. Something time consuming and frustrating. Something I will mostly likely end up hating half way through but loving when it is done. I crave the challenge and discipline (yes, discipline) needed to finish it.

So, I'm doing a 365 project again this year.

In 2009 and 2010 I completed a 365 Photo a Day project--one photo out of my day for a year. In 2011 and 2012 I tried do do the same, but with self portraits and failed miserably.

I've thought about it and made a list of all the possible things I could do. Writing something everyday seemed a bit disingenuous--unless I mixed fiction and non-fiction but there are days when nothing and I mean nothing comes to mind in terms of putting words to paper. Doing a mileage challenge--a mile a day was far too intimidating and I know would be nearly impossible. And as much as I want to I just don't have it in me to try and do another photo a day project. Yes it is on my 35 Before 35 list (the self portrait project) but I have other plans for that.

And then I came up with The Daily Square.

Another item on my 35 before 35 list is to learn to quilt and actually make one. I'm modifying that "goal" a bit and changing it to an afghan. A granny square afghan. I have lusted after having one for as long as I can remember and am using this project to make one or two depending on how may squares I end up with (above and beyond 365 of course!).

The project, in theory, should be pretty easy (aren't all project "pretty easy" before you actually get started?): one granny square a day for a year. And at the end of the year, I'll put it together and hopefully have a beautiful new afghan to show for all my hard work.

Because I am so excited about the project, I'll be posting about it here: The Daily Square. Complete with pictures, links to the patterns I'm using, general updates and whatever fun crochet related items I find!

I'm really looking forward to getting this project started. But am more excited to see the final project! Is anyone else doing a 365 project this year?

Compassion & Understanding

12 December 2012

Relish 12: Light Bulb Moments & The Call of Nature

Relish 12 Day Six Light bulb moments… 
Insight and inspiration know no schedule and worry not about convenience. We consider ourselves lucky when they strike us at all, ill-timing aside. What light bulb moments did you have this year?

Is it just me or are most of these posts taking on a similar theme?

My big "ah-ha!" moment this year came during one of my runs. I kept telling my friends (jokingly) that I felt like my morning runs were better than therapy. As well as early morning entertainment for anyone who happened to be out and about while I ran past their house, usually singing and dancing as well.

Anyway, while I was out running and talking (yes, out loud--this post is going to make me sound fifty shades of crazy) to my imaginary running coach, arguing with myself about whether or not I could push myself a little hard, run a little farther, run a little faster it hit me like a brick wall. What it was I fighting against and what it was I needed to overcome.

I had a number of moments like this throughout the year. Moments when I finally opened myself to what I never wanted to see (or feel) before and embracing it for all its worth.

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Relish 12 Day Eleven: The call of Nature… True, for some it may only come as a whisper, but for many the call to be out in nature is nearly impossible to ignore. We are a part of it, as much as it is a part of us, and honoring that desire to commune with the land and its creatures is also honoring all that is still very much wild and untamed within ourselves. When did you answer the call of nature this year? Where did you go and how did you spend your time connecting?

I started running again this summer after quite a hiatus and spent most mornings at my favorite running spot, near the lake. I'm a morning runner, so I spent most mornings up with the sunrise and enjoying the quiet of the moment and on more than a few occasions was greeted by a rabbit who I am sure was checking on my progress. I also ended each run with a meditation session at the cottage (which we all know I adore). While sitting (and while running) with myself, I was able to find a calm to settle myself which I know I drew from where I was. It's hard to be anything but present when everything else around you seems to stop.

11 December 2012

Relish 12: A Soft Place to Land

Relish12 Day Five: A soft place to land… 

Over any twelve months there are bound to be bumps in the road, rough patches, and bruises to bear. The other side of these scrapes and hazards is the place you find where there is solace and healing and home. If we’re lucky we always find ourselves with a soft place to land. Who, what, or where was yours this year?

I have an incredible group of friends spread out all over the place. But it never fails, when I need them or a kind word they are never more than an email or a text message away. Their support this year has been invaluable. I would absolutely have been lost without them. I would especially be lost without four incredible ladies: whether its a texting marathon with Jen or Micah as they reassure me that I'm not crazy and that taking a chance really is a good idea or a surprise email from Heather and Vickie that they are coming for a visit, just knowing they are there for me is enough. I just hope I am able to someday repay their kindness and friendship.

10 December 2012

Music Monday: Andrew Belle V2.0

My love of Andrew Belle's album The Ladder continues. I has been on constant repeat for at least the month. It's now at a level of being a little ridiculous.

Here is another of my favorites from the album, Static Waves.

And a little bonus for your listening pleasure, his version of Knockin' on Heavens Door.

Relish 12: Sweet Treat & Letting Go

Relish 12 Day Two: Sweet Treat… Life is littered with sweetness, of all kinds. What was the sweetest treat you enjoyed this year?

This is the year I managed to get my creativity back.

Creating things. Making things is one of the great pleasures I take in life, especially when I am able to share it with others.  And finding that again this year has been brilliant.

I've been bouncing all over the place with it--I did a little painting, I started writing (obviously) again. I found a new found love for making jewelry and I am currently a woman obsessed with her yarn and crochet hooks. But every time I finish something new, I am filled with a joy I haven't experienced in a really long time even if it isn't perfect.

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Relish 12 Day Three: Let Go… What did you let go of this year? This could be a specific belief, or a relationship, or something else in your life.

Funny how what you think you need to do the most to focus on yourself can seem like such a small thing but end up costing you the most.

I've actually already touched on this in others posts so I won't rehash all of that again, but letting go of any kind of relationship, big or small can be hard. There is bound to be hurt, misunderstanding and in my case a good chunk of time wishing I could take it all back because the last thing I want to do is cause anyone pain, even if it is for a single fleeting moment.

But that is what I did this year. I let go of the relationships that didn't serve me well anymore. I put myself first. I played the rarely used selfish card and walked away. And once the sadness melted away, I felt free to be.

09 December 2012

Relish 12: Your Mountain & New Beginnings

I started writing today as if I was writing two separate posts, but quickly realized these two things go together. For me, they are are one and the same which is why I have combined them into one.

Relish12 Day One: Your Mountain
We all face challenges during the year; some we meet, some we don’t. What was your mountain to climb this year? Did you reach the top?

Relish12 Day Nine: New Beginnings…
The only constant in this life is change. That’s it. Change can come in all forms; some brilliant, some downright painful. We grow each and every time we navigate change, exposing more strength, wisdom, and courage the deeper we let it do it’s work within us. Some change comes as an ending, some as a fresh start to something totally different. What was one new thing that started for you this year? What was one new beginning in your life?
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I didn't really start the year off with any "goals" in mind or anything I wanted to "work on". I have a huge fear of commitment thus am not big of making New Year Resolutions (although I did make a list of suggestions for myself this year). Besides, coming into 2012 I was pretty happy with where things were  at with my life and where things were going.  Why change it if it's not broken, right?

But as they do, things changed.

Through a series of life events, stumbling across a number of amazing bloggers and their strength and words (knowing, even if you've never met them, that someone somewhere is feeling or has felt the same way as you are feeling can be a powerful force), something inside of me started churning. I began to realize something anything needed to give. Because if I was really being honest with myself, I was miserable. I didn't like the person I had become. Something needed to change or I would always feel like I was waiting for the "other shoe to drop". I would continue to carry this intense sense of unease around with me everywhere I went and with everything I did. I had grown so accustom to it being there, to feeling that heavy weight with me all the time, I started to forget about it. Forget that it was there. Forget that it didn't need to be there and coming to that realization scared me.

I started to really pay attention to how I reacted (or didn't react) to things going on around me. How I dealt with friends, family, work, relationships, etc. I started to really pay attention to the life I was living and working towards living the life I wanted to live. I began working on figuring out why and what it was that kept me from moving forward.

I've always jokingly said I was my own worst enemy and the more I looked at things from a fresh perspective, the more I began to realize that it wasn't a joke and that this immense wall of "protection" I had thrown up around myself was doing anything but protecting me. It was in fact doing just the opposite. What I thought had been put in place to keep out the "bad", the things I couldn't control, was in fact keeping out everything.

It is easier to simply step aside than to take a step forward. It is easier to simply act like it doesn't exist than having to admit that you are afraid.

But easy isn't always better and making a conscious decision to start facing the mountain fears head on has, for a lack of a better term been excruciating. I've started peeling away layers I've built to hide demons from the past. I have listened to my instincts and distanced myself and/or ended relationships with friends that didn't serve me in a positive way. I started a new journey of self-acceptance and truth that others have found difficult to understand and accept, but know that even at what seems to be an age where I should have figured "it" out already, that it's not about when you started, but that you did start.

08 December 2012

Relish 12: Rest & Replenish

I know there is still quite a bit of December left, but I've already begun the process (like I do every December) of looking back over the past twelve months and reflecting on the year that is coming to a close. It's been kind of a bizarre year with a lot of ups and downs, personal growth and unexpected events which has made it hard to put into words.

And then, thanks to Nikkiana at Authentic Experience (If you aren't already reading her blog, please do so! It is open, honest and one of my favorite blogs to read) I found Relish 12, a series of writing prompts from Rebecca Murphy "where we spend the month of December relishing & remembering the year about to end. ". As soon as I read what it was all about, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for as look back over the last 12 months.

Since I'm starting a bit late, I'll likely go out of order with some of the prompts or possibly include two in one post (I don't plan on posting everyday--some things will be too personal to share I am sure) but I am looking forward to using this series as a way to remember 2012.

Relish 12.8: Rest & Replenish
How well did you allow for resting and replenishing? Where, when and how did you fill up your tank? 

Mt absolute favorite place to reset myself is my families cottage on the lake. I spent most summer afternoons there playing in the sand, flopping around in the water like a fish and pretending I was part of a synchronized swim team as a kid. It felt like that was where I was supposed to be. The cottage and the lake felt more like home than our house in town.

Even as an adult, as soon as I pull into the driveway, I still feel that same sense of calm and "right" as I did then. I can, have and do spend hours sitting at a picnic table writing, sitting in a lounge chair just simply staring out into the water  while Sadie wanders off to explore.

For me, it is a place of healing--there is no pressure to be someone I am not or watch what I say or watch what I do. I can just simply be.

I spent nearly every morning at the lake this summer and used my time there to refocus my meditation practice. It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle of schedules and other people that making sure to take a few minutes for myself each day has been invaluable.
Even if it was only 10 minutes to sit in silence, focusing on my breath did wonders to calm and center me. It was able to ground me to who I am and what I need. It's a practice that I would be lost without.

Running with the Devil


It's been quite a few weeks since I've updated this series, but for good reason.

Until last week, even though I didn't totally follow his directions, I was on doctors orders to not run. At. All. Sure, I snuck out for a couple of runs here and there just to see if he was right and he was. But we aren't going to tell him that.

Anyway it was supposed to be no running for first it was 6 weeks, then 8 weeks and then 12 weeks. The reason.....I somehow managed to completely eff up my hip through a combination of doing too much too soon (rookie move, I know) and from a lingering "side effect" from the surgery I had done on my Achilles tendon and foot last summer (my gait had totally changed and not for the better).

Thankfully though after MRI's, x-rays, a little physical therapy and a whole lot of stretching I was back at it this week and it was FANTASTIC! I had forgotten how much I actually love to run, even if on the first time out it was extremely windy and cold. Not going to lie--running along a windy lake, in winter, even if there really isn't any snow yet, is a pretty chilly adventure. But it was great.

I am happy to say getting back out there wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. My pace was (not surprisingly  a bit slower than it was when I had to stop. But what is important is that I was able to do it. I only managed to get out there three times this week and as much as I keep thinking "You could have done more!" I'm not pushing it. I'm starting out slow and steady because the last thing I want to do is bunk up my hip again.

I'm hoping the icy weather conditions/roads hold off for at least another week so I can continue to run outside and get myself used to the cold weather. And also to give me a chance to head to my local running store for some winter running gear.

Sadie has even been joining me when I go out to run and loves it!

01 December 2012

Hooked on You

I come from a pretty crafty bunch. My mom paints and used to own a craft store with my grandmother. My grandmother used to sew, quilt and crochet. I have aunts who also knit and quilt. And I have two handmade quilts from my great grandmother.

My grandmother taught me and friend how to crochet when I was 10 years old. I'm pretty sure it was to keep us occupied while we spent the afternoon at her house, but I fell in love with it almost immediately. I remember sitting on the floor in the living room for what seemed like hours, crocheting chain after long chain, pulling out the stitches and starting all over.

When I moved into my house, all of my unfinished projects were tucked away with a promise that "when I have time, I'll finish them". But other things around the house took precedence, schedules filled up and I just plan forgot about them. A couple of weeks ago, while cleaning out one of the spare bedrooms, I came across my yarn stash, crochet hooks and the afghan I had started that was intended to be a gift for my grandmother. I decided to see if I could still remember the stitches I had learned all those years ago and it was like I had never put the projects away.

I have been having a lot of fun rediscovering a hobby I used to love as a kid. I've already finished one gift for a friend and have been scouring the web and Youtube for tutorials for some other projects to start this winter. I've also started working on a new afghan for Sadie as she has decided to take over the section that I've already completed.

Practicing my stitches

Yarn Stash

Choose your hook wisely

A gift for a friend

Thanks for reading!

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