Random Thoughts

On January 13, 2018 my mother-in-law passed away.  We got the call that morning and were on a flight that evening.  We spent the first week we were here assisting with funeral preparations, attending the services, and visiting with the many family and friends who were here for the services.  My mother-in-law was a wonderful person and will be very much missed.  I encourage you all to read her obituary, which will give you just a taste of what we have lost.

On Sunday, we started on the long, slow process of sorting through her things.  We started with a pile of boxes in the basement.  Most of the boxes contained things like old checks and bills, as far back as the 1940s.  My husband and his brother have been sorting things to save, shred, and recycle.  I’ve been working my way through the shredding pile.

We have two shredders.  One is a small one that can only handle a few sheets at a time and the other is a more robust machine.  I’ve been shredding on the small one until it can’t take anymore (which takes 15 minutes) and then switching to the big one.  Since the machines are loud enough that it’s difficult for me to hear while I’m working, I’ve mostly been left to my own wandering thoughts.  The rest of this post is a sampling of those thoughts.


99 duplicate checkbooks to shred

99 duplicate checkbooks

Take one down, grr grr grind

98 duplicate checkbooks to shred

(I counted.  That particular box actually had 100 duplicate checkbooks)


1980s hair band music is an excellent accompaniment to the sound of the shredder.


We’ve filled 7 thirty-gallon trash bags with shredded paper.  Each bag holds about 4 of the shredder bins.  Each shredder bin holds shredding from 1/2 – 3/4 of a banker’s box.  That means we’ve shredded 14 – 21 banker’s boxes worth of paper.


My hands are so dry. The forced hot air in the house dries my skin out. The humidity here is so much lower than at home. Handling all this paper dries out my hands. I’m washing my hands A LOT.


We’ve recycled at least 5 banker’s boxes worth of paper.


My mother sometimes tells the story about the New England winter when she had two kids in diapers.  The cold and low humidity always dry you out and she was washing her hands A LOT because of all the diaper changes.  My parents were on a very tight budget and hand cream wasn’t something they could afford, so her hands were cracked and bleeding.


Just glancing around the basement, I can see at least another dozen boxes my husband and brother-in-law still have to review.


I’m very happy that I have hand and body cream that I can deploy against the dryness.


Lanolin would be even better.


Mmmmm lanolin.  If I were at home, I could just go pet that beautiful Corriedale fleece in my office.  It’s got lots of lanolin.


I think I might spin that Corriedale for the Sweater Spin along / Knit along Beth Smith is hosting on her Patreon.


Alice Starmore’s Raven costume, from her forthcoming book Glamourie (Amazon affiliate link), which I’ve had on preorder for several months, would be stunning in that glossy black Corriedale.


Am I that crazy?


My degree of crazy may be dependent upon how much more time I spend shredding documents in the basement.

2018 Word of the Year

This is my third year picking a Word of the Year.  If you haven’t heard about this idea before, basically you pick a word as a touchstone for the year.  Instead of making resolutions, you let the word guide you.

Honestly, when I first heard about it, I thought the idea was kinda crazy.  I’m not as intentional about picking a word as many people are.  Look on the internet and you’ll find plenty of people describing a process for picking a word.  Think about who you want to be, make a list, etc, etc.  I have never done a process like that.  I don’t do any of that.  Every year, sometime in the late fall, a word has just sort of bubbled up into my consciousness.  I roll it around in my head for a few days and see what comes up as I think about it.  Every year, the word that has bubbled up has felt right.  In addition, each year, something has happened to affirm that the word was the right one for me.

What does it mean to let the word guide you?  Again, there’s a variety of approaches.  Some people are very formal, meditating on and journaling about the word.  I’m less formal.  In 2016, the first year I picked a word, my word was CREATE.  During the time I was contemplating whether this was the right word, I got an order in the mail that included a bookmark as a little bonus item.  The bookmark has a bright yellow background and the word CREATE in big block letters.  I stuck that bookmark to my office door so I would see it multiple times a day.  I didn’t do anything else in terms of meditating on the word, but it was right in front of me every day.  I was incredibly productive in my creative pursuits in 2016, more than I had ever been.

Last year the word that came up was FINISH.  It was an interesting word, that played out in unexpected ways throughout the year.  I didn’t have a good way of connecting with the word though, and there were entire months when I didn’t consciously think about it at all.

My word for 2018 is MOVE.  On New Year’s Eve, I got an affirmation that this was the right word for the year.  My fortune cookie told me, “It’s time to get moving.  Your spirits will lift accordingly.”  I’ve actually taped that fortune to my computer monitor so I will see it every day.

MOVE is such a dynamic word that can be interpreted in many ways.  Move my body by exercising, moving forward, moving on, moving to a new home (I’ve really wanted to move for several years, but circumstances have meant staying put was a wiser choice).  It’s an encouraging word for me.  Due to various circumstances, I’ve felt rather stagnant for a while.  I’m excited about the idea of getting MOVING and out of this stagnant place.

It’s only the second day of the year, but so far I’ve found that I’m regularly asking myself, “How can I move right now?”  Is there a task I can do to move a project forward?  Can I do a little exercise?  What would it mean to move right this minute?  I’m looking forward to seeing where all this moving takes me!