Looking Back and Looking Ahead
I find that I get very antsy in the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve. The arrival of the new year is a relief I look forward to after the hustle and bustle of the holidays is over. The days are getting longer—incrementally so, but longer nonetheless—and I am full of energy and ready to move forward. I lost so much time last spring with that unexpected illness that I feel like I have to make up for it this year.
One of my favorite activities of this week is to read David Collum's Year in Review and listen to his podcast interview with Chris Martenson of Peak Prosperity. David is no lightweight—he is the Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University and a very savvy investor. He has a gift for observation, collecting folders full of information over the course of a year and then distilling all of it down into a very entertaining read. Be warned: it isn't light bedtime reading. If you give it the attention and consideration it deserves, you likely will spend hours pondering David's insights. He and Chris really only hit the highlights in their podcast interview, but it's fun to listen to them. If you're feeling particularly brave, I also recommend John Michael Greer's traditional end-of-year blog post in which he scores how well he did with last December's predictions and makes some new ones for the coming year. The more optimistic among us might find his comments unsettling; those who regularly read that class of reality writing known as "doomer porn" likely will nod their heads in agreement.
I've started checking Twitter more often (DD#2's Twitter feed makes me laugh). I follow both David Collum and John P. Hussman there; they are gems among all the white noise.
I always feel that it's best to go into the new year with my eyes as wide open as I can get them, even if that includes considering some future realities that make me uncomfortable. I don't have much tolerance for people who stick their fingers in their ears and sing la-la-la when they hear things they don't want to hear. Denial is not a good life management model.
The making world has its own Year in Review, put together by the excellent Abby Glassenberg at While She Naps. Craftsy—now owned by the NBC conglomeration of companies—sent letters to all its crafters in December. Some makers received letters informing them that their pattern stores would be shut down and they would not be allowed to sell on the Craftsy platform any longer. Other, luckier makers received a stay of execution and will be allowed to keep their shops open. These constant attempts by big corporations to monetize creativity—in many cases preventing the people doing the actual creating from getting decent compensation—is becoming very wearying and I'm only watching from the sidelines, not trying to keep my business afloat. Knitters, I think, have an advantage in having Ravelry available for marketing our patterns, so we are less dependent on these other platforms. Knock on wood.
On a lighter note...I noticed yesterday that the employees at Target wasted absolutely no time in tearing down the Christmas displays, deeply discounting the leftover merchandise, and getting items set up for the next major retail holiday, Valentine's Day. I expect the same thing to start happening at Joann Fabrics soon.
[Interestingly, we did not see the huge day-after-Christmas crowds yesterday that we have seen in the past. Our one big department store—Herberger's—closed earlier this year after a massive expansion of their store. The parent company announced shortly after doubling the square footage of retail space that they were closing the store. It was one of the dumbest retail moves I have seen in a long, long time. Our mall is struggling as a result. We mostly stuck to the smaller boutique stores in Kalispell and Whitefish, but even the traffic at Target was fairly subdued. I wonder if this is a reflection of current consumer sentiment or if everyone just went to Missoula to shop, instead.]
My friend Marcie posted this on her Facebook page this morning:
It's Cori Dantini's new fabric collection called Love is Spoken Here, available from Hawthorne Supply Company. I love Cori's fabrics and Marcie happens to be good friends with her. (Sadly, the last time Cori came to visit Marcie, I was on the east coast.)
The job search will ramp back up in earnest next week. The Ritzville quilt is at the top of the quilting to-do list, and I still need to get that industrial serger up and running. Seed catalogs should be arriving soon. I am excited about gardening this year. We are not going to do pigs in 2019, so that will give us some breathing room and allow the pasture to recover. I am kicking around the idea of seeding a cover crop out there. Oh, and there is that new blog I need to launch soon...