Saturday, January 1, 2011

Dear Blog Reader,

I think this is the first time in quite awhile that I haven't told the previous year not to let the door hit its ass on its way out. 2010 wasn't too bad, maybe it was even good. More good than bad happened for our family, by a long shot. There's so much I want to say in this post, but my brain just isn't fitting itself properly around it. When all else fails, try a silly metaphor, right? So, I'd like to summarize this year with the following photo:

Let's allow this humble bobbin of homespun to represent a lot of what has gone on in our home this year. Please, allow me to elaborate.

Well, first, it's just awesome. The fiber is from a little local dyer named Dyeabolical Yarns in St. Louis, near where my mom lives. When I saw this colorway my heart totally melted and I sent my mom one of those "PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE CAN I HAVE THIS FOR CHRISTMAS PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE?!?!" emails. The colorway is called "Little Bo Peep". Sounds like me, right? *snort* But it is awesome. I haven't even plied it yet. I'm calling it my "Yearlong Yarn" since I started it on Dec. 30, 2010, and finished it on Jan. 1, 2011 (at 1:30am).

Anyway, I digress. First, I should refer folks to my post on spinning and my own personal mental state, and point out that I am still happily spinning away. So there's that.

Also, this represents my new job, which I've prattled on and on about elsewhere. A lot of my job is about fiberwork, since we have alpacas, and hence, a sea worth of alpaca fiber. So my homespun often reminds me of my day job, and since my day job is so awesome, that's okay. Some folks here will remember than in January 2009 we were finishing up 9 months of unemployment, and were quite literally one month away from "Uh... I don't know what to do now, actually." I got this job in the middle of that month, and I cried when I accepted. The job has provided monetary and mental stability, which is worth more than a King's ransom. Considering I work for the Sisters of Providence, I cannot help but at least consider that there was a Providential hand in all of this....

The homespun also represents our family's ability to remain true to our values of homemaking and homecare. This is somewhat because my salary is decent, but also because our lifestyle is much more frugal than most, and because I have a husband that is willing to buck accepted social norms in order to stay home and learn how to manage our household, which is not easy. I am more blessed than I have any reason to deserve to have a husband like Brian. Not just blessed--straight up lucky. Becoming a homemaker is hard for a woman in our society, but at least it's still socially acceptable. A man as a homemaker is becoming more common, but still isn't considered appropriate. It is so bizarre to me how much we have devalued the most important of careers--home & family care, teaching, farming. It's insane. But screw society. Having one adult at home, at least part time (by preference, full time) has always been important to us, and we're lucky to be able to keep to this value, no matter what anyone else thinks. Oh, and ginseng. Never underestimate the value of ginseng in a family with depressed individuals--seriously.

And also on the homemaking front, let's not forget the chickens, and our expanding ability to be more self-reliant. Now, we don't delude ourselves that we'll be able to become fully self-sufficient on our little under-1/10-acre lot, and frankly I don't even think that this is desirable. I would vastly prefer working together with my neighbors to create a more self-reliant neighborhood, and working with local businesses to create a more self-reliant community. But we can live as much of the values as we can, and get better and better about it as we go. We can be one of the families that helps others see how a different, slower, lower-energy life could look, and that really it's pretty cool. AND, to that end, we will hopefully be scheduling an Urban Chicken Open House this spring! Woo-hoo! (My husband said it was okay--really!)

One of the frustrating things this year has been the relative lack of progress on starting our local foods co-op. We continue to grow in membership, but we are not bringing in the investments and member loans we need to really get off the ground. But we have an amazing team of leaders who, somehow, remain dedicated to this, and a membership that is being patient and forgiving and, hopefully, will soon begin to really step up and make our store a reality.

There's just so much else to say, but no way I could fit it all in here. I didn't even come close to finishing the "To Do 2010" list, since most of 2010 was spent adjusting to our new lifestyle. But hope springs eternal (as my boss loves to say), so I will rename that list "To Do 2011" and maybe even add a few things to it. I've got posts rolling around in my head already for the upcoming year. I hope you'll stick around, and share your wisdom with me whenever you can. Y'all have been invaluable to me, and I wish each of you the best of New Years, with prosperity and happiness in everything you do.


1 comment:

  1. Happy new year.

    We actually got to go on a five day holiday this time - first in three years.

    viv in nz