So here it is. Today I turn 30. Don’t look different. Don’t feel different. So far, so good.

I think I’ll like being 30. I feel like I know myself pretty well by now, and I’m fairly confident in my life’s direction. I’m married to the best of men, I have two great kids who are a joy and a trial to me (and I wouldn’t have it any other way, because being their mother is teaching me so much), I’ve moved more times than I care to remember (all in the western United States, nothing exotic), and I have hobbies and passions and pursuits I enjoy and the time and energy to pursue them. I’m not sure that I could ask for more. If this is what turning 30 is like, I think I’m okay with it. And turning 40 too. After all, they really are just numbers. I’ll have to re-evaluate at 50, however, because by then I’ll have children in their early 20x, which means potential grandmother-hood, and that’s just a lot to take in. But that’s also 20 years from now, so I should really quit borrowing trouble.

My birthday wish today is that everyone on my friends list will have the best day possible. Make it so!

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First of all, happy late birthday to 

, my favorite Swattie. I remember when you were just a teenager and I was thoroughly impressed with your grammatical skillz.

Second of all, the leader of my church died yesterday, and I’m unable to feel sad about it. His cute, tiny wife passed away in 2004 and it was clear that he missed her so much. But now they’re together again!
President Hinckley was such a warm, funny man. I loved hearing him speak during General Conference and he always said something funny. His talks were spiritual too, but somehow, from the time he first cracked a joke over the pulpit, he made it acceptable to be serious and humorous in a talk, or even as a spiritual person. For my teenaged self, who vaguely thought that being seriously spiritual meant losing your sense of humor, his demeanor was a revelation. He was the prophet for twelve years, years that I count as the most formative of my life (end of high school, all of college, early marriage), and though I will miss his presence, I can’t feel sorrow. The Church will move forward, as it always has.

Third of all, I’ve come up with at least two goals I want to accomplish by the time I’m 40. I want to learn to ride a horse well, and I want to learn how to fight with a sword. Heh heh heh. I think this comes from reading The Blue Sword (Robin McKinley) once too often. It may also be a last nod to childhood and adolescence, fulfilling a mental image that isn’t related to motherhood or maturity in any way.

Three days and counting! And isn’t it cool that I’m turning 30 on the 30th? Numbers are fun!

I read my friends list every day, and every time I see someone post something along the lines of “I read my flist every day, even if I don’t comment and don’t post” I think to myself, “Self, it’s about time we posted.” And then I go do something else. Today, I have resolved to post if it kills me!

ACK……

Just kidding.

As a writing crutch, I will be pursuing 13 Random Things.

I’ve been projecting again! As in pursuing projects. Witness my latest creation, though it does not come anywhere near achieving perfection:

What you see is a “king size” quilt. This is a lie perpetuated by the makers of the batting I bought. In reality, this is an empire sized quilt. You see, said quilt in folded into quarters for the picture. There is nowhere big enough in my apartment to unfold it and view it in all its grandeur. It is big enough to hide two full grown adults and two pint sized children under, WITH ROOM TO SPARE! Perhaps I should buy my own island in order to display this thing.

The batting package said 120 inches by 120 inches. When I got the fabric all sewn together, I was sitting at about 115 inches by 117 inches. I had 10 inches of batting to spare on one side and on the bottom. That was ridiculous. But we love the quilt anyway, despite the monstrous proportions. It’s very warm and lots of fun to hide said girls under. And it has scraps from the t-shirts we loved to death sewn to it, as you can see. Also, we’re BYU alumni. Not very obvious, is it?

Thing the Second:  That whole process of self-discovery continues. Remember that entry on having cyclical interests? Well, I’ve hit the sewing cycle on my cycle and discovered that it eats up all my energy for housework. It also explains that when I wasn’t in sewing mode, I couldn’t bring myself to finish the simplest projects, so I’m knocking them all out now. My goal is to finish my huge project list before we move in May.

Thing the Third: The project list, broken into three categories, is as follows.
    Crochet: Slippers for the girls, a snood for my RenFest friend
    Hand Sewing: Attaching eyes for my kirtle and KidCelt’s kirtle, weaving a new belt, making rags
    Machine Sewing: redo kirtle skirt (FIX PATTERN!), edge shawl for KidCelt, make red apron, make black petticoat, make cavalier hat
    Machine Sewing (does NOT need to be done by February): black shirt, tunic shirt (trial), dress from tunic shirt?, recut pj pants, more jeans, Regency outfit (chemise, stays or pair of bodies, dress), small blue quilt (I’ve got all the right scraps and enough batting leftover from the monstrosity to pull this off)

Thing the Fourth: Have I mentioned I turn 30 soon? Nine days and counting. This is a Big Deal.

Thing the Fifth: There is another project I’m working on that I’ve kept entirely mum about. It’s nearing completion and I might talk about it soon. You know you’re excited.

Thing the Sixth: Magnatunes is my new favorite music website. Well, I didn’t have a favorite *music* website before, but now this is, forever and ever.

Thing the Seventh: Speaking of music, I have a mix to create soon for a certain group I belong to, and I hate the playlist I have now. This sucks. I wanted to be done obsessing over the thing already. Why don’t I listen to cool music like everybody else?

Thing the Eighth: So I have an excuse for not updating all that often–nothing changes! Honestly, we’re just…waiting. Waiting for my acceptance/rejection, waiting for The Hub’s graduation, waiting to move to Lubbock. Waiting.

Thing the Ninth: I’ve come up with an interesting defense mechanism, should I be rejected by Texas Tech. I’m currently very content with my life. If I don’t get accepted, I’m fine. I like being a mother–I’ve got some things figured out, so I worry about it less–and now that I understand my hobby/interests/passions cycle, I feel less scattered.

Hold on. Is this what maturity feels like?

Thing the Tenth: The endless waiting should come to an end by the first week of March. Stay tuned!

Thing the Eleventh: KidCelt is obsessed with the music from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. This morning she was singing bits and pieces of “Under the Sea” to herself as we did chores. ToddlerCelt turned to me and asked, “Why is she singing?” KidCelt heard her and replied, “I”m singing for my own entertainment.” Ladies and gentlemen, I may have a precocious four-year-old on my hands. Heaven help me!

Thing the Twelfth: I like this thing where kids do chores I normally do. I could get so lazy when they get older! ToddlerCelt set the table (with a little help from The Hub) and KidCelt is clearing the table. Someday, I won’t have to do dishes. I look forward to that day.

ToddlerCelt continues to grow in her cuteness. For example, she just smooshed her finger slightly–I think she bit it accidentally. Anyway, she wouldn’t rest until she got the wounded appendage kissed by every single member of the family. “I hurt my finger,” she says very seriously, holding her finger out. “Would you like me to kiss it?” we ask. She nods very seriously and puts the finger on our lips. So cute!
Also, I gave her a haircut. It suits her, even if The Hub prefers her with long hair.
So I’ve had the black kirtle on my list cut out since early last year, but I finally got around to it today. Don’t know why I was avoiding it–I got the bodice assembled in three hours! I keep thinking that my projects are hard, but after I quit trying to reinvent the wheel (also known as making my own patterns), things have gotten much easier. If I get my butt out of this computer chair and back over to the sewing machine, I might even get the skirt assembled tonight. Then there would just be the joining of the two pieces and some hand sewing.

I did try to put in some crimson silk as a stripe on either side of the front opening. I don’t know why–I just thought it would look cool. But it doesn’t look right and I don’t want to mess with it, so I’m tearing it out.

All right, I have nothing left to say and the temptation of making progress on the skirt is strong….

One more thought: I could throw something together pretty easily for KidCelt. Since she’s four now and pretty autonomous, I’m tempted to take her to the RenFest with me. But would a four-year-old, no matter how intelligent and independent, survive a full day (10 am to 5 pm) at an outdoor Renaissance Festival? Would I survive it? I must ponder.

And NOW back to the machine.

Apologies for the depressing post a few days ago. It was a great way for me to work out how I felt, however. I figure I ought to know how I function before I turn 30–it’s taken me a long time to get to know myself and my reactions to things. I think it’s why I was addicted to personality tests in my late teens and early 20s. I still find personality tests fascinating, really. But that’s not what this post is about.

See that mess of straps and buff-colored material on top of the storage bin? They’re some of the grocery bags I made for Christmas. I ended up making thirteen altogether. I am SO GLAD to be done. The Hub’s glad I’m done too–he’s sick of hearing me whine about it. And I adjusted the princess dress KidCelt got for her birthday. It wouldn’t stay on her, so I filled in the shoulders with some of the pink cotton-linen I had scraps of. She loves it. ToddlerCelt is looking forward to growing big enough to borrow it.

I didn’t mean to fill it in quite so far, but she wouldn’t hold still for a measurement, even an eyeballed one. And I was halfway done basting in the first piece when I realized that the elastic wasn’t giving as much as I assumed it would. Because I am lazy, I did not rip out the basting and start over after trimming the piece. Nope. I just kept sewing and figured it might work anyway. And it does, well enough.

I’ve potentially arranged to spend Saturday and Monday of Presidents’ Day weekend off RenFesting and Warring and what not, so I really need to get going on my black kirtle, at least. And the black petticoat. And the rose gard on my light pink kirtle from last year, because I might be loaning it to a friend and who loans a stained kirtle, I ask you? I don’t, anyway. And I really, really want to finish the cavalier hat I’ve had planned for almost a year. And a messenger bag for War to hold my food and my loom and some thread and yeah. My stomach’s starting to clench up. I’d either better get a move on or move the date of my RenFest attendance.

So there have been a few people among my general acquaintanceship who have died in the past few months–one, named Pat, a few days before Thanksgiving, one, named Robbie, a few days after Christmas.

I know I’ve talked about being LDS (Mormon) before. One of our fundamental beliefs is in a pre-life and an after-life. We believe we existed before we came to earth as spirits and that we’ll exist after death as resurrected beings, having both a body and a spirit. We also believe that we’ll be dwelling with our families after this life and that we’ll enjoy the same sociality that we enjoy here. So, really, a faithful LDS person shouldn’t fear death–it’s just the gateway into the next life.

With Pat, that was easy to think about. I felt almost cavalier about her death–she was in her 70s, she’d lived a full life, and she’d been a widow for some time. I believe that after she died she rejoined her husband and is happy where she is. And if I believe that, why should I be sad at her passing?

However, with Robbie, it’s a bit different. He and my husband were friends before Robbie and his wife moved away so he could join the military. They were out shopping and he just dropped. At the time of his death, she was pregnant with their second child. I can’t even begin to imagine her panic or her devastation. It’s a little harder to be cavalier about his death, because even though he might be happy where he is, his wife has a huge struggle ahead of her. So maybe it’s not him I’m sad for, but her. And we’re not even in a position where we can help.

This isn’t my only contact with death, of course. Death is a part of life. But the situation created when someone young dies and leaves a young family behind, or when a child predeceases his or her parents, makes me unbelievably sad. I know that this life isn’t all there is, but it still has to be endured when a loved one dies. And that’s what scares me, I think–not death itself, but surviving life when someone else close to me dies.

Aren’t those wonderful ruminations for a Sunday afternoon? I thought so. I blame my upcoming 30th birthday. Not that turning 30 is something to be feared, either, but unconsciously 30 is the age in which I truly become a grown-up. I’m not sure I want to be a grown-up quite yet. This in spite of the fact that I’m married with two children and have an advanced college degree–most people would consider those grown-up accomplishments. Some days I wonder how I got away with it all. How in the world do I have the knowledge to raise small children correctly? What was the university thinking, giving me a degree? Why did they set me free upon society with just enough book-learnin’ to be dangerous?

Perhaps I have some confidence issues. 😀

Anyway, to end on a happier note:
Happy New Year, everyone!

I’ve been avoiding posting an entry, mostly because I”m BUSY, but also because there’s too much to write and it would take forever and yeah. I’m writing now.

Man alive, my brother got married four days before Christmas in a different state. For some reason, this meant that I had to be completely ready for Christmas before I left. Did that happen? No. Though I did come close.

In one of my earlier entries, I stated that I was going to make a million items of clothing for KidCelt. Thanks to a trip to Deseret Industries (similar to Goodwill), I was spared that much effort. I also said I was going to make her a dress. And then I counted the dresses in the girls’ closet: 16. And they have eight apiece that fit just fine. Thus, no new dresses for them. And yay! Less time in front of the sewing machine for me!

This is important because I have spent much of the last few months in front of the sewing machine or behind the crochet needle making gifts for people. To wit, the family gift this year was hand-made grocery bags made from batiked cotton and organic cotton. Now the cotton choices were a stroke of luck, really, as they were free from a friend. And I’ve got several I made myself earlier this year that have worn well. So why not spread the joy of less plastic bags cluttering up the house while making a gift I’ve made before and can make for free? Exactly. Of course, when my stepmother opened hers, the first thing my stepsister said was “Are you guys greenies, granolas?” while laughing. It was all in good humor, but I felt duty-bound to point out that I had a lot less of the annoying plastic wandering around. Anyhoo, I’ve made six bags so far, and I have to knock out two more before New Year’s Eve.

So that was project #1. #2 I actually started in June when we drove to Utah and back. I’ve had this huge spindle of kitchen cotton wandering around for years and I finally decided that now was the time to get rid of it. So in the car I crocheted ten washcloths, two each for the ladies I visit teach and one for my visiting teaching companion. (Visiting Teaching: an LDS practice in which a companionship of two ladies are assigned two to three other ladies in the ward (congregation) to visit once a month, sharing a spiritual message and making sure that the ladies’ lives are going well. One of my more cynical roommates at BYU called it the “Assign a Friend” program, but it’s fantastic to get to know these women on a more personal basis.) Used up all of that kitchen cotton, so yay me!

Oh, and remember that brother who got married in the first paragraph? He got two grocery bags and two freshly made washcloths in his wife’s wedding colors. And some little kitchen things from IKEA, like bag clips and clip fridge magnets and cork hotpads and other fun things.

I like documenting things this way. I’m feeling more productive now that I”m looking back on everything I made. And I’m not done yet! You see, said brother got married in Utah. Utah is much, much colder than Arizona. So not only did I need to purchase a winter coat, I had to make a scarf too. Crocheted it, of course. Lovely acrylic blend in bronze-based fall colors. It’s a little short, but I just needed it to fill in the gap the coat left around my neck. And remember that weight I’d been whining about gaining? I’ve decided to embrace it and work with it, instead of wishing it gone. (Exercise? Me? What in the world are you talking about?) In that train of thought, I found a fantastic yet simple palazzo pants pattern for $2, so in the two days before I flew to Utah, I made myself two pairs of pants, one denim, one out of black cotton-linen blend. It was an easyeasyEASY pattern, so I intend to use it again. And I love the pants it made!

And now for the projects I have actual pictures for. I’ve been working on this shirt for my friend Tibbs on and off most of the year:

Turned out pretty well, I think. As did the sash, one of three that he is now the proud owner of. We should have gotten his collection of Pre-Raphaelite prints in the backgrounds–they would have gone well with the shirt. Life should be so serendipitous.

And last, but of course not least, we have the sweaters that I spent a couple of months making for my girls. ToddlerCelt hated hers yesterday, but she’s had a cold and is teething and generally cranky, so I’m trying not to take it personally. KidCelt, on the other hand, loves hers.

The green one belongs to ToddlerCelt and the blue one to KidCelt. They are kind of bulky and made of cheap-ish yarn, but I intended them for outdoor wear, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

All of this done before Christmas! Hurrah for me! There were some other projects cut out too, like the ornaments I was going to cross-stitch. Perhaps if I start now, I’ll have them done in time for next Christmas.

Projects I have left to do:
finish black kirtle*
finish black shirt*
put buttons on rose chemise*
family quilt–attach t-shirt patches, sew together
sew rose gard on pink kirtle*
fix KidCelt’s princess dress
test run blouse patterns
make more pants!
make cavalier hat*

That’s not too bad. The ones with the * should be done by February. And I’m doing some grading for my mom. You see about the busy?

Whew. That’s a lot of project stuff. I’m crazy. But if you believe that I”m filling up my spare time so I don’t think about being accepted or not accepted to a certain university, you’d be right.

Petullant, I loved your Christmas card! It hangs in snarky glory next to the rest of our cards, making them jealous. Thank you.

Christmas was fabulous and low-key. We spent some time opening presents, ate decadent cinnamon rolls, then hiked A (as in ASU) mountain. The girls like that so much that we had to go back yesterday and do it again. Family fitness, here we come! For Christmas dinner we had oven-fried chicken, rolls, mashed potatoes, and peas. I love my oven-fried chicken recipe almost as much as I love my stroganoff recipe. They come from, and I highly recommend, this cookbook, especially because the recipes sound hoity-toity, but are easily adjusted for use by lesser/cheaper mortals and STILL taste good.

All right, Sesame Street is over. I gotta go pay attention to my kids. I’ll post more later. Happy Holidays, everyone!