On a lunchtime hike

img_20191008_134455One of my favorite things about living where I live is that I have the ability to hike all year round and other than putting on the proper attire, it doesn’t take a lot of effort. I can walk out my door and within minutes be at a trailhead. If I hop in my car, expand my choices dramatically — especially if I’m willing to drive an hour or two. As more time passes, I find myself increasingly drawn to my hiking shoes and the adventure that comes with putting them on. There’s something truly beautiful about leaving behind pavement and being surrounded by nature, and my ability to hit the trail is rapidly becoming something I need multiple times a week if not daily.

img_20191008_134251This means, that when my coworkers and I hiked together at lunch for the second year in a row, I was struck by how lucky I am to work where I do. To be in an environment where we can take a little longer lunch to enjoy being outside together and to experience what the community around us brings to the table has been instrumental in both my job satisfaction and the relationships I have with my coworkers.

mvimg_20191008_133010I love that we can work towards a common goal and that we push each other to be better. I love that we can take some time to do this outside of the office, during a time when as many of us are available as possible. It gives us a relaxed space to discuss what we’re into, what we’re looking forward to. Sure we have staff parties during the holidays, but that time is not the same as the time we spend in the woods walking and talking. Experiencing the area were we live and working towards the common goal of wanting to see something beautiful. The fire tower is a tall structure, to climb the many steps to the top and we encourage each other the entire way up (and down) because the view from the top is worth it.

img_20191008_134220-1These moments allow us to see that we bring different things to the table, something that’s easy to forget when you’re all doing your respective jobs and don’t see each other every day. But the best part is that we take this back with us when leaving the trail. We leave feeling lighter, happier and feeling a stronger sense of community, all because of leaf season and it’s beauty.

 

On Growth and Reknitting Patterns

Mud Pond
Mud Pond, Mt. Moosilauke

The more I find myself walking in the woods the more I find myself reflecting on the world around me. After a chaotic week, there’s nothing better than taking a moment to enjoy where I live and to remind myself how lucky I am to be where I am.

The interesting thing about getting older is that things don’t get easier they get different. Problems that are now easy to solve are replaced with new challenges and situations that I’ve grown comfortable dealing with are replaced with new ones that make me uncomfortable. As my values and morals continue to shape the person I am, it’s becoming easier to set boundaries. And yet, sometimes it still really hard to say no to people that I care about. Perhaps I worry about how the boundary will be perceived, will the person I’m politely declining think that I don’t care about the relationship?

My strategy to choices is often to ask my self the question “Will I look back on this in 30 years and regret not doing it?”, if the answer is no because the time spent will not be of high quality then I allow myself to set the boundary. Sometimes the answer is yes and I challenge myself to find pieces of the activity to enjoy. Sometimes the answer is so obvious that I don’t have to ask the question at all.

As I continue on my journey, I remind myself that we are all writing a our own story, and the roles we play in others take different shapes. We have little control over the actions and perceptions of others, but we do have control over our own. I challenge myself to embrace differences, but I also challenge myself to be ok with myself when I am the one in the group who is different.

I’m a better knitter than I was four years ago when I took on the Embrace Octopus Sweater for the first time. My color work has improved and I can knit short rows while following a chart. What took me several months the first time was completed in about three weeks the second. Yet just as with life it wasn’t easier, just different.

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Octopus Embrace Sweater: Take two

Since I have a better understanding of how colorwork and charts work, I was less frustrated with the charting of this sweater. Then again, because I have a better understanding of colorwork and charts I found myself with different frustrations. For starters, why wasn’t the yoke chart laid out as four different charts instead of as one that I had to rotate? Better yet, why did I modify the chart myself to eliminate the problem? Additionally, not carrying my floats over large gaps meant I didn’t have to focus too much on my tension. Then again, not carrying my floats over large gaps meant that I had to weave in a lot of ends. At first I did this as I went, but this became too cumbersome when working on the yoke/short rows. In other words, after I finished the sweater I still had two hours worth of ends to weave in. Huge shout out to my SO for sitting with me and laughing when I reverted to Gollum impressions of “but we hates it”.

I once said I would never knit this one again, and yet here I am joking at work that there is an octopus in my bathtub. The once $20 pattern is still frustrating to follow and needs to be rewritten, but I find myself wondering if seeing my coworker in this one will create enough envious feelings to cast one a third — this time for myself. Either way, I think there is something to be said about reworking patterns that made you struggle or that you simply enjoyed working the first time, something I didn’t believe when I began to knit.