Wednesday, January 27, 2010

OK, Now it Feels Real.

Sure, there've been weeks of decluttering. Sure, I've been telling people that we've decided to sell. Sure, we signed the listing agreement. But let's face it, nothing says "I'm selling" like a realtor's sign on your lawn.


I took this lousy picture with my Blackberry phone this morning, so I could post and share. And it really does have that finality to it - we have definitely made the decision. And when the "sold" banner goes on it, that will be the beginning of this end.

For the kids too, it's starting to become real. It's been in the works for so long, but it was just floating out there somewhere. Now the rubber is hitting the road and there will definitely be some emotional road kill - not a great turn of phrase, but somehow appropriate.

Only one more room to stage and then it's just a matter of keeping it perfect until next Tuesday.  The guys are heading north, so it will be easy looking after just me.

Tomorrow is the Agents' Open House and then the showings begin. Hopefully, lots of folks will fall in love with our house and a perfect buyer will love it for the next 26 years.

Wish us luck!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

LOST Socks

Not to be confused with MISSING socks, these are two of the pairs that I knit while watching the 5 Seasons of LOST. There are two more pairs that my husband refuses to part with – one in the wash, one on his feet.

I have always been a TV knitter – can’t seem to sit still while watching, so it’s a good busy thing, as long as the pattern is easy. I am also a TV hooker, but only when the show is easy – which LOST is not. It has so many twists and turns that you really have to pay attention – not look down too often. Simple socks are perfect, and I have the pattern memorized.

I must say that it was a fun way to watch this series – getting lost in it – no pun intended. And I would heartily recommend it to anyone. It’s amazing writing, acting, everything.

And so incredible how scenes from Season 1 mysteriously re-appear again 3 seasons later – from another perspective. Very smart. This was obviously well mapped out from the onset, so the storylines criss-cross through characters and time in an unbelievably complex way.

I’m sure there will be more socks to come – that aren’t specifically LOST. But my sock time is about to be cut wayyyyy back. No more driving to the office after this week (I’ll be walking the 3 blocks to the new location.) And once we move north, there will be far less more to-ing and fro-ing to the city.

However, I have wool for at least 5 more pairs of socks, so will find time somewhere. Perhaps starting with Season 6 of Lost.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Creativity breaks through.

The brain is truly amazing and every once in a while we are reminded. Despite insurmountable interference, it still manages to generate new ideas - and this weekend, I experienced just that.

Right now, my head is so packed with lists and deadlines for a home move, an office move, pending (semi) retirement and our upcoming Hook In, that I was pretty sure that all cells were spoken for. But I was pleasantly surprised.

With everything on my plate, I had resigned myself to the fact that I would not be hooking a "happiness is" piece for our Feb. 6 gathering. Instead, I wrote a little something that I plan to read for 'show and tell'.

But Saturday morning, I awoke with a fully-formed design concept in my head to go with my words. A little fine-tuning in a sketch book and it was ready to go on backing. Since it seemed like such an unlikely gift, I felt compelled to dive in - so Max got sidelined once again.

I don't know if this little mat will be done for the hook in date, but I will share the progress as well as the words. And I will marvel at the power of creativity to burst through when the brain seems to be a virtually hostile environment for anything to grow.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

What happens when you head up north and leave your hooking box behind? Well, you figure out how to use what you have. No, I didn’t bend a nail and stick it in a wooden handle, though I was tempted. Instead, I did something much, much easier.

This is my crochet hook with lots of duct tape. See, you really can do anything with duct tape, and it more than filled the bill. I got quite a bit of hooking done on Max and am feeling like I can get it done in time for the annual – mind you there is a house sale and a relocation to interrupt my plans LOL.

Here’s a picture of Max progress. I got a fair amount done on the bear, finished Max’s chest and got a good start on his legs. Then worked on the log in between. Realized I was running out of wool, so dyed some more on Sunday morning for the logs. And voila – a perfect match. The old is the little piece on top of the new. I think that’s my biggest victory so far in a dyeing match. I felt quite proud.

In order to make sure that my hookless situation never repeats, as soon as I got home, I put some of my hooks into a separate “cottage” pack along with some small scissors and a magnifier and measuring tape. So I’ll leave that pack there to make sure I always have tools.

But it was great to discover that no amount of adversity can keep a gal from hooking when she’s determined.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The excitement begins.

On January 5th, the landscape of my life changed dramatically. Not only did my dear hubby turn 60, but he also retired from our business. This is not a surprise - in fact, this was always the number that he associated with retirement.

In the advertising business, very few people reach 60 actively working. You are generally "old" in your 40's and new blood is the lifeline of staying creative and cool and desireable to the young brand managers who are churned out each year from the biz schools and into the companies that have big marketing budgets.

But everything has changed!!! The internet has had a more profound affect on our industry than just about any other. Not only is traditional adveritising (TV, radio and magazine) going the way of the do do, but the plethora of designers and writers who you can find online willing to sell you a logo for $50 or write a brochure for $75 is staggering.  We have been commoditized!

Years of experience matters little when you are dealing with young clients, shrinking budgets and the new reality of a world that allows people to control what messages they see. It's incredibly easy to edit out all commercial messages from your life except the ones you want to see. And not that there's anything wrong with that - I think it's brilliant actually. It's just not a good thing for a 30-year copywriting/creative director veteran. Or for a new one either, for that matter.

This was not meant to be a diatribe on the state of marketing in the universe, but somehow that all needed to come out.

And, by the way, I am NOT retiring - at least not yet. And I'm hoping in the next few months to be able to establish a "virtual" scenario that allows me to stay as involved with this business as I choose to be.

Now that the line is drawn, it does set in motion a number of changes and we have a timetable and a plan to move forward. I'm relieved, since I kind of feel like we've been in limbo for a while now. We will be listing our home on February 1st and depending on how quickly it is snapped up and what kind of closing is arranged, we will mark the calendar with a definite departure date.

As I start sifting through the 26 years of stuff in the house, in an effort to "de clutter" and maximize the assets of my wonderful house, I realize the magnitude of all of this. Luckily, since we are going to the cottage (which will need a new moniker), we can start moving as much stuff as we like at our leisure. And we can determine what is not going to make the trip.

But I also realize that for the first time in over 40 years, I have no real clue about what happens next. I have dreams and hopes and wishes - but nothing concrete. And I find that very exciting - Rick on the other hand is a tad terrified. I am definitely a glass-half-full gal and figure that we'll just make the leap and figure it all out on the way down. I'm a believer that what will be will be - not a fatalist - just a person who thinks that it will unfold as it was meant to.

My big thing is to cross all appendages for good health for enough time for us to enjoy this. Too many times, I have heard stories of people who retire and then one of them immediately gets sick. It's like the stress of their lives is what kept everything glued together and when you remove the stress you remove the glue. That's a scenario I do not wish for.

But when you think about the last time that you really didn't know what came next, that's really kind of fun.
We won't have the finances to traipse around the world, exploring here and there like some of our friends, but I'm sure we can do some exploration within certain perameters.

And the prospect of not having to go to a job every day is pretty darn appealing. Everyone tells me that I should expect to be even busier in retirement, and I'm up for that too, but not right away.

So the first step is gearing up for February lst. (Oh, to add to the frenzy, the office is also moving - January 31st!)

Stay tuned.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy 2010!

This is not a hooking picture, but a sample of the view that greeted me pretty much every morning of my holidays. Not one that I would get tired of too quickly. Sorry there's not a picture of progress on anything, but this is pretty darn "pretty" don't you think?

Certainly, I did enough stuff over the much-enjoyed holidays to warrant a picture or two, but I just didn't take any. But from the 24th of December until this morning, I enjoyed every moment of my winter break and got lots done.

As per tradition, we had Christmas in our house (the last one there, boo hoo) and then Boxing Day at my sister's in Oakville (hopefully not the last one) and then headed north on the 27th. Our Christmas feast was delicious as was the Boxing Day buffet and many leftover goodies made their way up north. Those that were not consumed did not get brought back.

I worked away on Max and meant to take a picture, but it's just soooooo big that without taking it completely off the frame, you really can't tell. I did get to roll to a totally new section of the project, though, which really is a good sign of progress. And I plan on having this whole thing finished in time to display at the Annual in April. With a definite deadline, I'm bound to get it done.

One of the highlights of the time at the cottage, along with some cross country skiing and wayyyy too much cooking and eating, we ended up discovering the first two seasons of LOST. Our daughter figured it was the perfect opportunity to devote some time to it and brought it with her on the 27th. Rick immediately was hooked, so we devoted part of every day to watching and managed to plough through two seasons!! (She brought seasons 3 and 4 over last night. They will take far longer to get through, but we are now devotees and since she got Season 5 from Santa, we have our watching all laid out for the foreseeable future.)

Since knitting and LOST go so well together, I actually managed to finish a sweater I was working on and get a sock and a half done. I'm totally incapable of sitting still and just watching, so easy knitting is definitely the ticket. And I have yarn for 6 more pairs of socks, so that can just keep going.

Before we headed north, I purged my hooking room/office at home, disassembled my cube shelves and packed all my wool into Rubbermaid bins to transport up to the "future studio". Although I had some separation anxiety at the thought of not having my stash with me, I knew it was the thing that needed doing, and I actually managed to clean out the whole room on Christmas Eve day. Amazing what a difference it made. Now only a zillion more rooms to de-clutter!!!

So, before I came back to the city, to stave off wool withdrawals, I sorted all the wool and took a strip from everything! That way, if I need it in a city project, I can get more from the now-labelled bins at the cottage.
I still have to get it all organized on rings, but will do that at some point this week. A pretty productive and relaxing time, all told.

Now, back to normal. Am tapping this entry at my desk, postponing opening my email to see what awaits, but I must go now and do that.

No big resolutions for me, other than to embrace this new year of change. And to give my poor body a break from the too-much food and too-much wine that were enjoyed on the break. But after all, that's what makes holidays so special, isn't it? I never beat myself up over it, since that would kill the joy. My theory is that as soon as I stop "over-ing" everything will go back to normal. So far, that theory has held true.

So happy New Year everyone. Let's hope it's a happy and healthy one for all of us!!