Friday, January 30, 2009

Works In Progress

When I wrote "finish works in progress" on my New Year's Resolution and To-Do List, I was thinking mainly of unfinished craft-type projects (the boxes in the basement containing partially-pieced quilts, a half-knitted scarf, a skirt that will be unlikely to fit, a quilted/embroidered wall-hanging that I've been working on for approximately 10 years), but since then it has come to my attention that there are many areas of my life in which I have things left undone.

The mending bin. I took on another round of mending last weekend, patching three pairs of pants and "darning" a couple of sweaters (which I'm very glad to add back into my wardrobe).

The bookshelf. I have a section of my shelf dedicated to books I've started in the last couple of years, but not finished--Leap, Slouching Towards Bethlehem, A Natural History of the Senses, A People's History of the United States--plus several volumes on my bedside table--Sisters of the Earth, A Midwife's Tale. Monday I determined to not start another new book until I had finished at least one of these, but then I picked up The Year of Magical Thinking at the library Tuesday night and polished it off in 24 hours.

Writing. Several times in the last couple of years I have determined to set myself on a home-school writing course, following the exercises in the books Wild Mind, What If?, and Writing the Natural Way. I have not gotten very far in any of them, but am now forging through Wild Mind and WILL take on the other two next.

Drawing. When I was pregnant with the twins I bought the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook, sensing that I needed something non-baby to focus on. I did the first exercise (pre-instruction self-portrait) on Jan 19, 2005 during a lovely Women's Ski Weekend, which I spent in the cabin (because I was pregnant with twins and could barely walk to the refrigerator without hurting myself, let alone ski ten miles) reading, knitting drawing and writing. I made fairly decent progress, working through about half the book over the next year, but the last drawing I completed (sighting an open door) in January 2006--three years ago! I got stuck on the next one, a corner of a room. I skipped over it and drew my foot and knee Wednesday during our snow day. I can't say I'm exactly talented in the drawing area, but I find it so relaxing and meditative (my monkey mind finally shuts up), even with kids hanging off the foot I was trying to draw.

Swimming. Many long years ago I started teaching myself the Total Immersion method of swimming (my stroke was just not working for me), which involves erasing the muscle memory of your usual stroke and rebuilding it from scratch. Just as I was getting to the whole-stroke swimming point, my early pregnancy with the twins made me too tired and hungry to swim at 5 p.m. on a Friday (even if I ate a giant sandwich on the way to the pool). I tried again when the twins were about 9 months old and my MIL came over to watch them once a week, but I developed a never-ending cold and sinus infection and had to stop swimming again. Now we have a Y membership for three months, C takes the kids to daycare Tuesday mornings, and I go to the pool and swim with a friend at 6:30 a.m. I WILL have rebuilt my stroke by summer (only five years after breaking it down!)

I could go on and on--deferred house maintenance (paint doors, re-paint door and window frames, re-finish numerous surfaces); gardening (i.e. from acre o' weeds to real yard); relationships--but I think this is enough to show that a) I am really good at starting but not finishing things and b) I'm ready to clear out this old baggage so I can start something new!


  1. Ugh! Don't get me started. The "Secret" guy, who normally I would dismiss utterly, but because he was on PBS I felt compelled to watch, said I should make a list of all the undone things nagging at me.

    I tried to do it kind of geographically, starting at my driveway, crossing the dooryard, into the garage and mudroom, etc. I filled a page and got utterly despondent and overwhelmed before I even got into the house.

    This morning I looked around and decided I love chaos.

  2. I may not love chaos, but I clearly am going to have to live with it! I remain amazed by all that you accomplish.

  3. I don't accomplish anything Lone Star Ma--I just start things!


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