Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Catching Up, Part 1

Oh, my poor little blog, neglected these past few weeks in the flurry of holiday preparations, in addition to the usual obligations – work, family, guitar lessons, cat cuddling. There has been sewing and knitting and even a couple of finished projects, which I need to get posted soon. These include a wonky but warm pair of mittens and a scarf that had long malingered in the UFO pile. But I’m determined to catch up here this week, even if it means a smattering of rapid-fire posts.

Normally, November is a terrible month for me; however, this year I seem to be sailing along quite nicely. I’m not sure why, but I’ve been feeling quite content lately. Uncharacteristically content, to be frank, to the point where my inner hypochondriac is starting to wonder what on earth is wrong with me. I'm feeling more "me" than I have in years, and I must say that I'm quite happy about it. That's not to say everything is going well (for example, my car got sideswiped in Providence a few weeks ago), it's just that I don't constantly feel like the Peanuts character PigPen, surrounded by a cloud of dust and doom.

A lot of this change has to do with the fact that I started the year following The Happiness Project, and while it didn’t turn out the way I had thought it would, I definitely feel like I’m in a much better place than I was 11 months ago. Here are my top 5 reasons why:

1) New job. I've written before about how the focus for The Happiness Project in March was work, and how it catapulted me into finding a new job. And truly, I’m so happy to be back in a small nonprofit organization again, working with people I genuinely like and who are committed to our mission and are not motivated by their own egos. And, the lack of bureaucracy has enabled me to submit 26 grants in 4 months PLUS write and mail an end-of-year fundraising appeal (not usually my bailiwick), so I’m feeling ridiculously productive. While the commute still stinks, my stress levels have plummeted and I *so* needed that.

2) New kitty. Adopting Calypso, or Callie as she has come to be called around here, has been such a great thing for me (in spite of the tapeworm incident). It's odd because she is the complete antithesis of Wilbert, my niece’s cat that I cat-sit for two years: he loves catnip, she is immune; he loves having people around, she hides whenever someone comes to visit; he hates being held, she cuddles up and purrs any time she can. It’s the latter quality that I love so much, particularly when I get home after a long train ride. She jumps up and snuggles right into the left side of my neck, nuzzling my face and purring loudly, and it’s a great thing to come home to. Plus, she will actually drink out of a bowl, rather than insisting the bathtub faucet be permanently set to drip.

3) Guitar. While it is still a struggle, and I still have a very long way to go, I am finally getting to the point where I can play music now. And it makes me inordinately happy to be able to sit down and strum chords. It has been shockingly difficult to learn a new instrument as an adult, but I’m glad I did. And I'm glad I didn't quit this summer when I really, really wanted to!

4) Nieces and nephew. This is the first time I’ve lived close by to them (roughly a 20 minute drive), and it’s been so great. I get to see them almost every weekend, and I love being able to spend time with them, and be a part of their lives (even if it did mean sitting through several cold and rainy middle-school football games this year!). And it's been great to have my sister back here, too.

5) Speaking of rain, I’m going to Ireland for my birthday next year! After a series of awful birthdays, I was determined that this next one be really good – particularly since I’m turning *gulp* 40. My best friend from college, who turns 40 a week after I do, is coming with me, which is a HUGE thing since she is married and has a child. Because of that, we’re not going for very long (we leave on a Sunday and come back on a Friday), and we're doing a tour because neither of us dared try driving on the other side of the road, but still: we’re going!

So that's the best of the good stuff. I'll be back over the next few days to catch up on craft projects and update on some of the "still needs work" parts of my Happiness Project!

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