Monday Musings: Where the Heck I’ve Been

The month of January didn’t have much for me in the way of knitting.  I was far too busy getting used to a new schedule, starting a new part-time job, and overcoming a trepidation with highways that it didn’t leave much time or inclination for knitting.  February wasn’t looking much better for me. However, I was able to finally finish the cowl last week and was so pleased with myself for doing so.  In the past, I wouldn’t have maintained nearly as much discipline with sticking to one project to completion.

It’s certainly a change from how I used to knit before – come to think of it, I was more of a “competitive” knitter due to my role as a knitting group organizer on  I felt the need to keep progressing and challenging myself with knitting since I was in a position to teach and promote knitting to other people.  It’s so much more different now that I’m no longer organizing the group.  Now knitting’s more of a joy & a hobby that I can enjoy for the sake of itself.  I didn’t really realize it until after I stopped organizing for the group but it was honestly more of a “job” for me back then.

Monday Musings: Holiday Celebrations When Your Family Lives Overseas

As both an American & Filipino national, I fall into a category that many of us do:  I don’t have very much family nearby to spend time with for the holidays.  Most of them are overseas and are not easily accessible.

Tree outside of our home. The star decorations are parol, otherwise known as Filipino Christmas lanterns.

This circumstance has led me to think about the nature of holiday celebrations.  For many people in my life, they are a time to do the same thing every year, with the same people.  A time for traditions to happen over and over again.  A time for the same food & drink to be had… in the same location, with the same company.

Christmas in a hot country, where tropical trees meet the poinsettia.

Because many of my relatives live overseas, my perspective is a bit different. It’s nice to have the company and time while we have it. Location & having certain foods doesn’t matter.

I spent this Christmas overseas with relatives that I hadn’t seen in over a decade.  I did this after spending a great deal of money and time (23 hour flight!) to get over there. At that point, they were just happy we showed up at all and spent the time with me and my husband over a meal while the kids opened their presents:

Thinking about these things reminds me what this holiday season is about for me – more about gratitude for just the time that you can have with one another.  We may not have had Christmas cookies, apple pie or other Western holiday traditions that for some people, are incredibly important to have for their celebrations.  We had other things & but more importantly, just each other. After a very eventful 2016, I’m quite thankful for it.
Happy 2017!

Monday Musings: On Being Childfree

I’m childfree but only recently became comfortable with advertising it a bit more in a public space.  In fact, I started this blog as a means for me to get comfortable with myself and the concept of being able to publicly admit my childfree status to many people.

I’m not militantly against kids & in fact, strive to be a great aunt, cousin, & sister. I love knitting baby things for people!  I’m the annoying person that the adults make the younger ones look up to – not on purpose or anything, but because I care a lot for the younger ones in my family.  Some of them are in dire need of a good example of a successfully married & working woman.  I strive to be the most authentic & strong person that I can for them.  I encourage them to push as far as they’re willing to go to better their lives.  I consider this my duty to them – and it’s something I could not do nearly as well if I had my own children.  Not to the degree some of them need me to do it.

My reasons for not having children are incredibly personal & painful outside of some of the common benefits others site for not wanting children:  wanting to have more disposable income, more free time, et cetera.  That stuff is nice too.  But ultimately: being childfree is not about what my reasons are – because they should not matter.

Being childfree, ultimately, is about choice.  It’s about choosing to live the life you want to live outside of societal norms or expectations.

It is about supporting my choice and the choices of those who choose to be childfree for the reasons that you don’t agree with… and the reasons you do.

Monday Musings: On New Year’s Resolutions

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions.  In the past, I’ve failed to keep them.  Furthermore, I felt that they contributed to a cycle that I’ve been very guilty of: committing to a goal of some level of importance and then castigating myself for it when I don’t reach it.

I’ve decided to make 2017 different.  I’ve decided to go back to my elementary school roots and purchase a weekly planner.  In school, I was required to keep a planner in order to keep track of assignments.  I would get a new planner every year.  There was a level of discipline that was required in order to use the planner effectively.  With daily use, the habit became easy and almost effortless.  More importantly: the discipline that was needed to keep up with the planner trickled down to other areas in life.  I’m currently at a point in my life where I need an extra boost of that discipline in order to keep track of the stuff in my life right now. So I’ve decided to make attaining that my resolution for 2017.

In 2017, the only resolution that I intend to make is to use the planner that is currently being shipped to me. We’ll see if I can keep the resolution.

What about you?  Do you believe in making resolutions?


Monday Musings: Knitting Mistakes Inject Peace Into My Life

Last week, I joined The Healthy Knitter‘s knit-a-long, called Project Peace:

A March Through Time_Campbell_2015

Project Peace is a knit-a-long (or in this case, a peace-a-long) with a waffle stitch-esque pattern cowl… for the purposes of thinking of peace.  From the Ravelry page:

What’s a peace-along? There will be a daily tip on how to infuse more peace into your life. These tips will be available on my blog each day from December 1-21. They’ll be simple things, some from me and others from a few guests.

With little time to knit lately & with my commitment to knitting blankets for hospice patients, I thought that a knit-a-long where I’m expect to knit 1 4-row round a day was perfect.  I’ve got a hectic line to the finish of 2016 with my academic career coming to an end after December 16, work ramping up, & a trip to the Philippines planned on December 21st.  I’ll be gone for over 2 weeks.

I found the idea of using a knitting project to remind myself to “inject more peace into my life” very intriguing because I’m a bit type-A-ish in my life.  I often want to do too many things at once & I strive for perfection. However, one of things that knitting does for me is remind me to do what I can with the time that I have and that making a mistake in my project (or in my life) isn’t the end of the world.

This cowl is a great example.  When I started the cowl, I mis-read the pattern.  I realized that the first round was going to be wrong, as I had miscalculated the number of rounds that I would need for it. 1 round was going to be wrong. “Fuck,” I thought.

In the past, a mistake like that (even after casting on 318 stitches) would have meant me patiently ticking back every single stitch cast on using fingering weight yarn and re-working the round. I’ve had friends, two of them being yarn shop owners who are expert knitters, tell me that I was nuts for doing this on something like a cowl’s beginning round.  Why? It’s a place that no one would notice except for me. Yet I’d do it. Every time.

Until now, that is.

This time, I looked at it and remembered that I’m supposed to be putting more peace into my life & and thinking about concepts of peace within the world. I thought about how much of a bummer it would be to tick back all of those stitches.  I also considered how thankful I am that I don’t live in a wartime zone. Peace has an entirely different meaning in these parts of the world: a meaning that I couldn’t even begin to comprehend as someone with the ability and privilege to be able to participate in a knit-a-long with a peace theme.

Then I gave the cowl an honest look:

“Yeah,” I thought to myself.  “It’s fine. Make a note of what you did & if you want, just make your last round mirror the first one, so that the cowl looks like same.”

I moved on to the next round & continued to watch episodes of The West Wing & I didn’t think about it again. (Unless you count this blog post.)

Because if there’s anything that knitting has taught me, it’s this:

Life isn’t about the mistakes you make but how you handle them. It’s about moving on to the next round as gracefully as you can to get the job done.