What could be more fun on a Friday than the photos that made me smile during the winter month of January, when the days finally began growing just a tiny bit longer?
Thankfully, January was not a sad month for me. I hardly had anything I could ascribe to depression, other than a nasty cold that really dug its heels in the entire 14 days I kept trying to banish it. More natural daylight at work definitely is helping, but I've also had a few momentous events bursting with smiles.
January marked the final payment on the final debt I took on more than ten years ago to help a loved one who made some bad choices. At one point, I was making three payments a month on a gesture that often felt unappreciated. This final piece of that shattered puzzle, making the final payment, has many times brought tears of joy to my eyes this month. It feels so liberating to be free of the debt!!!
Last Wednesday night, I graduated from physical therapy. I likely will have to do the stretches and exercises for life, but that's okay because I feel like my life is coming back to me. For eight years, I have lived with back pain that although better than prior to surgery, has been debilitating, demoralizing and yes, depressing. Now, the pain is managable and tolerable. Life indeed is returning.
While I was recooperating from emergency back surgery in 2004, The Lizard, whom I'd been dating for about six months, bought flowers for me for the first time.
It was the first time I'd ever seen a Christmas cactus. It was the beginning of a tradition. We have added a new Christmas cactus to our collection every year since. Until 2012.
I found one at a grocery store I really liked back in November. It had blooms of every color I've ever seen. I almost bought it.
But then I decided I can make my own after this winter's blossoms are done. Several of our plants need trimming.
In the meantime, I'm enjoying the gorgeous blossoms on that first hot pink Christmas cactus. All month long!
Color always seems to make me happy. That's why I love making things in rainbow shades.
My mailbox filled my creative life with color early in January. I nailed a colorful hand-dyed crochet thread destash, and I picked up some solid colors to go with some variegated yarn colorways I already had. Let the knitting (and crocheting) begin!
I've never been one to be happy with just one project on my needles. I'm also trying really hard to use up thread, yarn and fabric in my stash. I've found a perfect use for some of the sock yarn I picked up on close-out nearly two years ago. It's a secret, and it likely will take a year or more to finish, but it makes the perfect closer at the end of each day, even if only for a couple of rows.
I'm making the cheeriest quilt I've ever worked on, thanks to the bright, springy green, and so far, it's entirely leftovers.
Big smiles when in Ravelry's Star Fleet Fiber Arts Academy I was reassigned from the USS Kitchener, where I have been serving my entire two-year tour as a mere crafter with no responsibility, to the USS Noro. Of all the yarn-named ships, I got stuck on the one with the name of the yarn I love just about best! And now we find out what I'm really made of as I take on duties of First Officer...
A few of the bulbs I planted (in pots) in September were fooled into spring when Indian summer set in. So I brought them inside before the second frost could zap them. After three months of long, stringy greens, my grape hyacinths are blooming!
A huge accomplishment in January was successfully pedaling 60 miles on Martin Luther King Day even though I hadn't been on my bike on the road since December 1. (I'd done up to 18 miles in the basement on the trainer several times in December and January.) I wasn't sure if I could do 60 miles, and six months ago, I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to ride again. This ride was another particularly liberating achievement. Physical therapy and hyaluronic acid are working!
And just check out those calories burned. Soon to be no more Fat Cyclist here!
Saving the best for last, after graduating from PT on Wednesday night, I received word that my replacement camera has arrived. I picked it up yesterday!
During the recent office move at work, I dropped my trusty 10-year-old first digital camera, the one I use at work and just last summer began carrying in my pack during bike rides instead of the heavy Nikon workhorse (which I adore beyond measure) because the better camera weighs so much. I was trying to increase my chances of completing difficult rides while boosing my enthusiasm for taking photos during rides when I was sometimes too exhausted and sometimes suffering too much to play with the big camera.
The little camera still worked, with duct tape, but did not look professional at work, where I need to be professional, and I worried about how the duct tape would hold up in the humidity of my pack on long bike rides, assuming I could ride again one day. (Which, yay, I can!!!) My bosses took compassion on me and presented me with a gift certificate to replace that little camera for Christmas. I waited for after-Christmas sales, and it turned out the replacement model I picked happened to be one of the most popular. And on sale, too. It had to be ordered. I waited patiently. Sort of. Every day, I wondered where my new camera was en route to its new life with me.
It's here! It's here! I picked it up yesterday. Last night was my first time using it! It is just different enough from my other cameras that the learning curve is significant, but I love it! The old camera is sad and tired, but thankful it doesn't have to endure duct tape anymore. It is enjoying its new home in a display case amongst family treasures.
first shot with the new camera
fourth shot with the new camera