Things That Make Me Smile

You!! If you’re reading this and starting a smile, you make the list. I want to take a moment to recognize my readers out there. Love y’all and your “following of my blog” makes me smile. If you add comments, I’ll prolly smile even more…

Today while I was sewing the rest of the doll parts for my upcoming retreat I was listening to a comedy channel on Pandora and laughing out loud.


They're inside-out and not filled, but maybe you can see the beginnings of our Long-Legged Lulu doll?
They’re inside-out and not filled, but maybe you can see the beginnings of our Long-Legged Lulu doll? Pls note amazingly even hand-stitching on the orange piece that looks like machine-stitching. Oo’s and Aah’s are appropriate here – or maybe that’s just me. ūüôā


It’s my newest media addiction: listening to stand-up comedy while I’m sewing in the sun (Netflix is getting way too distracting). So I started thinking about all the things that make me laugh out loud these days, and I’m happy to see that the list is not short!

(some of the) Things That Make Me ROFL, LMAO and LOL:

  1. The Carol Burnett Show (Here’s one I actually own on CD! Subtitles are a youtube bonus and my encouragement to learn a new language if that isn’t your native: Carol and the Jackson Five. It’s PURE GOLD (I think there’s an earthquake during filming and she doesn’t miss a beat. Because she’s amazing.). And there’s so much more…Mrs. Ha-Wiggins!) A whole separate sentence goes to her recent SAG Lifetime Achievement Award¬†presentation (lots of tears, but happy tears so it counts for this list right?).¬†SHEESH. Way to start a happy list huh? I’m crying the happy/sad/happy tears over here – don’t mind me – nothing to look at – moving on.
  2. A station on Pandora called “Comedy Death Ray” (I don’t know why it’s named that – sounds kind of menacing – but it’s not!). I added a few female names to the channel (like Kathy Griffin) and now I’m finding gems like Jackie Kashian, Tracy Ashley, Ophira Eisenberg (of NPR “Ask Me Another” fame!), Erin Foley. And of course there’s Kathleen Madigan. (The fellas are still bringing the jokes – they just came with the channel. John Mulaney, Gary Gulman and Jim Gaffigan also make me smile lots. Like this: :D)
  3. Berkeley Breathed’s Bloom County¬†– He’s back on fb only y’all, and it’s a new highlight of my day (he happens to be on a brief sabbatical at the moment but you can spend the time until his return catching up – it’s so worth it).
  4. CakeWrecks¬†– I started following this site recently and now I can’t get enough. I also have a picture to submit of a strange T’giving cake I “captured” in an HEB in San Antonio, TX a few years back…I just need to find it in my files! This is real-life funny in every day life – can’t make this stuff up folks. Nobody’s photo-shopping cakes over there…I’m just sayin’…
  5. Jen Hatmaker¬†– She lives near my hometown, tickles my funny bone¬†AND¬†inspires me on a regular basis. (We didn’t go to college together or anything, but I feel like we could have…)
  6. Scruffy Momo (a.k.a. Scruff-a-licious; Scruff-a-Doodle; Scruff-a-Bee, etc.).¬†He’s such an old soul – a gentleman really, in the form of a small furry being. That’s why he never smiles in photos: he’s approximately 82 years old inside and really can’t be bothered. But you should see him chase a circle when it’s time for a walk! I’ll try to catch video of that to share, because it also makes me (and anyone else nearby) smile a lot.
    Grumpy Doodlebug
    Grumpy Doodlebug (taken on my lunch break today when he realized I wasn’t actually going anywhere; despite the all-black furry haze you can clearly see his¬†frown and lack of approval. So judgmental.)

    Plus there’s the left ear that only raises on special occasions. I haven’t captured the exact details yet – it’s still a random occurrence with no apparent pattern (I’ll keep trying to get a photo – it’s kind of like the Loch Ness Monster – you definitely have to be there).

  7. Heirlooms!!
    Gift from Marge, crocheted by Aaron's mother, which means it must be at least 60 years old - probably older.
    Gift from Marge today, crocheted by Aaron’s mother, which means it must be at least 60 years old – probably older. It’s freshly laundered and kind of curly – I tried to smooth out the middle design for the pic.

    Me and Scruff visited Marge and Aaron today and she shared some more amazing things with me that carry so much of their history. The doily above is one example, and the rocks below are another.

Petrified wood, Rose Rock, Mica, and some other stones I haven't identified yet (clues welcome)
Petrified wood, Rose Rock, Mica, and some other stones I haven’t identified yet (clues welcome)

Aaron was doing well today and we talked about Scruffy as he sniffed around the house. On a good day dogs make Aaron smile, and this makes me smile. ūüôā

Garden Delights

Work is keeping me busy preparing for my upcoming “March Artastical Sabbatical” (trademark, patent pending). So there’s little time-slash-energy left at the end of the day for my blogging tomfoolery.

To that end, we bring you (recycled) images from this year’s family 2016 calendar.

 Protea on my block: pre-bloom
January: Protea on my block: pre-bloom (scroll down for amazing protea blossom)
February: Flowering Aloe
March- Azaleas
Cactus bloom
April – Cactus bloom
May - Martha Washington Geranium
May – Martha Washington Geranium
June - Succulent blooms
June – Succulent blooms
July - Rogue sunflower
July – Rogue sunflower
August - Amazing Hibiscus
August – Amazing Hibiscus
Protea opened - what we've been waiting for!
September – Protea opened – what we’ve been waiting for!
November - Kaffir Lillies
October –¬†Kaffir Lillies
November - Dragon Fruit Flowers
November РCactus Flowers
Grounds outside my work office in Portland
December – Grounds outside my work office in Portland

So there you have it. Nature pics from the year and a big (non-sponsored) plug for shutterfly, who helped me create gifts from all that. I highly recommend checking out the new gift ideas shutterfly offers each year. One year I made luggage tags with dog photos that were a big hit!

Serendipitous Sewing

Greetings after a quiet weekend here on the annabella blog. Craftin’ was a-happenin’ in the interim, just no postin’. I continued to follow¬†the¬†sun around the house and garden, take¬†pictures, contemplate (my navel and others’), read¬†and think¬†about¬†my current art path.

Here’s a quote from the Tom Robbins book I mentioned that I’d like to share:

That’s the value of artists, isn’t it? Even when they aren’t aware of it, they’re dreaming our dreams for us.” (I would argue this might better read, “that’s¬†one¬†of the value of artists…,” but I’m taking this out of context, plus who am I to split hairs with Tom Robbins?) The bottom line is that we are all, as artists, dreaming our own dreams as well as those of the collective conscious. What we do with all that energy and content is up to us.

Embroidering Escher

I spent some time with the embroidery quilting square and tried out another outline stitch.

on the left, the beginning of Whipped Running Stitch, a.k.a. cordonnet stitch); base stitches are yellow
on the left, the beginning of Whipped Running Stitch, a.k.a. cordonnet stitch); base stitches are yellow (they’re kind of covered by the thread in the needle)


1st round finished: the metallic red thread doesn't have enough punch the first time around
1st round finished: the metallic red thread didn’t¬†have enough punch the first time around; book suggests going back over everything to get a heavier wrap (will do!)


(I flipped the image for this pic so the comparison isn't as easy) Here's the double sewing of red metallic thread - better I think.
(I flipped the image for this pic so the comparison isn’t as easy) Here’s the double sewing of red metallic thread – better I think.

The swirls are slightly different from this angle, and it becomes obvious how the consistent outline stitch brings the curves forward more than the broken overcast stitch.

And a side image

Interesting effect to use the much smaller metallic thread with the thicker no. 8 base thread
Interesting effect to use the much smaller metallic thread with the thicker no. 8 base thread

I have my next outline stitch picked out, but I think I should add beads to those blue dots on the first “L” so I can get a balanced view of my next stitch.¬†It’s a fun project to pick up from time to time to push my free form skills.

On the patterned work front (also related to my upcoming Art and Soul Retreat…plus the reason for today’s serendipitous title…):

This weekend I started sewing the arms, legs and body as pre-work for a doll I plan to make at the Art and Soul Retreat. This would be quick and easy work with a sewing machine, but¬†alas. I got an awesome sewing machine as a gift recently, and I’ve read the manual front to back (with the machine in front of me, identifying each part), but I’m very intimidated when it comes to threading this bad boy and engaging that foot pedal with some cloth involved. I’m on a waiting list for a class in which I get to bring my machine, pick out a pattern, and pay an expert to walk me through the process.

Until then, here’s my hand-stitched version (front and back). Hopefully this holds up in the “stuffing” process for an appendage so skinny. Please note strategic positioning of hearts – at least one of those¬†are gonna be a tattoo¬†y’all!!

Arms for my doll, hand-stitched to look/act like machine-stitching
Arms for my doll, hand-stitched to look/act like machine-stitching

I’m working on the legs and body next, but the serendipitous part is that I found what appears to be a machine-sewed skirt at the very dimensions of this future doll!!! I was unfolding the material to lay out the arms and legs and found this!

pleated skirt in complimentary material, created by someone else's sewing machine!
pleated skirt in complimentary material, created by someone else’s sewing machine!

I can’t decide if I’m more pleased by the triangle of sunlight on my dining room floor or the ready-made pleated skirt. They’ll each get reused multiple times…it’s a skinny doll.

Here’s what we call “stress flowering” in a plant we got from a neighbor. (Get that baby in a better pot with auto-watering asap!)

String of Pearls plant and its other-wordly bloom
String of Pearls plant and its other-wordly bloom

There’s lots of wackiness going on in the garden these days – I’ll try to capture some better photos to share soon.

Embroidery in the Sun

[First of all:¬†Look at me trying new site templates and stuff! For those of you following me: how ya’ diggin’ it? Suggestions for improvement? I LERV that top photo. I found several logs fallen that had been drilled by woodpeckers in another life. Alongside a bunch of fun acorns with stems. I couldn’t stop until every hole was filled!]


This morning was kind of weird because my power went out right after I made my ceremonial morning latte (Krups has started my days¬†for the last 19 years, which is – not coincidentally – the age of my child. Making a good latte¬†before venturing out into the world became important early on…and early in the day…).

It was weird at first because my kitchen electronics started beeping at me while I was making my coffee. My stove beeped and flashed a cryptic “PF”* message in the digital display. Huh.¬†Moving my purse strap from the surface of that, in case it decides to turn itself on later. Steaming milk on my Krups. Microwave beeps and flashes. OK, need to reset the clock – must be a power surge. Then, as soon as my milk is steamed and my latte machine is cleaned and put away – all power in the kitchen goes off. What timing! Thank you Coffee Gods! (* “PF” = Power Failure; I thought I would have to consult the manual but I figured it out all on my own!)

Shoes=wonderful Christmas present; Socks=Attempt to trick daughter out of stealing my socks (P.S. It didn't work. Thus the mismatch.)
Shoes=wonderful Christmas present; Socks=Attempt to trick daughter out of stealing my socks (P.S. It didn’t work. Thus the mismatch.)

A quick trip outside (in my house shoes and star socks, because I work from home and have no shame) tells me that¬†one of those transformer electrical thingies attached to¬†a nearby telephone pole has stopped working and they have to “call in a crew.” Bummer. Huh. What now?

I’ll remind you in this moment that I work in IT from home, so I’m pretty much reliant on every electronic device in my house – including that stupid WiFi router whose plug now means nothing. If I’d had a bunch of meetings scheduled I would have hoofed it to the nearest Starbucks, but today was a magical no-meeting day, so I informed everyone of my electronic tragedy (via text – my only way out!) and hunkered down.

Then I actually wandered around the house in a strange fog thinking: what shall I do next? How will I communicate with anyone? Who might have started following my blog while I was asleep and how can I thank them?!?!

Oh dear – dire straits. So I drank my coffee, read a little (Tom Robbins, Tibetan Peach Pie is the book du jour – I recommend it if you can handle his brand of zany. I think it’s entertaining, especially in smallish bits.) Then I¬†went really crazy and walked the Scruff-Man¬†over to Marge’s to pick up some new wooden spools she recently found in a drawer. (Apparently “morning sun” smells different in the neighborhood than “evening breeze.” I was equally entranced and sad that “morning smells” seemed like distant memories. Maybe I should be getting up earlier again – instead of hitting snooze – and hitting the streets with the dogie. It was quite lovely and not too hot at all.)

The wooden spools are great, but here’s what really caught my eye.

Crochet Rose by Marge
Crochet Rose by Marge
It unravels to a crocheted string!
It unwinds to a crocheted string!








Like the hero and mentor that she is, Marge asked if I brought any of my current art with me to show her. Like the artistic coward that I am, I admitted that I didn’t think any of it was “good enough” or “done enough” to “show anyone.” Silly rabbit. I promised I would get over that and bring her something soon. I’m Girl Scout Promising and Pinky Swearing on this y’all.

Girl Scout as youth - GS Leader as adult
Girl Scout as youth – GS Leader as adult

Make new friends, but keep the old

One is silver and the other gold.

A circle’s round and has no end,

That’s how long I will be your friend.

[I had to stop my Pandora Lauryn Hill radio station to remember that song enough to web search it. Audio-multi-tasking-challenged]

So here’s one of the things I could have/should have taken to show Marge.

Overcast stitch around the first "L"
Overcast stitch around the first “L” – caught in the sun (I followed this sun spot around the house this morning. Sewing in the sun is more satisfying than I could have imagined – plus easier to see stuff for us near-sighted folks sporting the goggles.)

The previous versions of this were here and here. I’m having a lot of fun with these¬†pre-printed quilt squares¬†my mom sent me as a package. It’s puckering a bit because I don’t have it in a hoop – not sure how to solve that problem (believe you me, I have imagined several self-made “square hoops” that are exactly this size – some made of twigs and pine needles. Is there a market for this?! I doubt it. Is it even possible?! Probably, but why?)

After the basic French knots I looked to my favorite embroidery pattern book for some outline stitches (another amazing Christmas gift…that I requested):

My favorite embroidery dictionary
My favorite embroidery dictionary

I used yellow thread for the base stitches and I’m using the dark orange for the overcast stitches.

Not the greatest lighting, but progress persists...
Not the greatest lighting, but progress persists…

I’m planning to add beads at some point, but I may put¬†more outlining in place before I do that.

Nighty-nite for now. See you in my AM.

Netsuke Mermaids

I made this several years ago from some mermaid netsuke I purchased in Hanalei, Kauai. It hangs in a window of my office and today I happened to look up when it was catching some cool sunlight.

Mermaid netsuke, round wooden beads, shells, gemstone chips on a hemp string
Mermaid netsuke, wooden beads, shells, gemstone chips on a hemp string

I made it one day on a whim when I was cleaning up. I had these netsuke that didn’t want to stand up on my desk (they aren’t really made to work as statues), and a set of chakra gemstones that didn’t want to stay strung together. I have seashells in, well, every room of my house now that I think about it. And out in the garden strewn about in flower beds. Huh.¬†I live at least 20 minutes from the beach but it turns out I’ve surrounded myself with ocean artifacts right here “in the inland!” (I have a couple of bottles of sand too.) This is as good a time as any to mention that I think I might have been a mermaid in another life.

the wooden beads between them used to be blue - looks like they're fading with the sun
the wooden beads between them used to be blue – looks like they’re fading with the sun

I love a lot of things about this piece:

  • I made it in 20 minutes
  • with pieces of things that:
    • were cluttering my world (including a big paper clip to hang it from the curtain rod – so much cleaning happened)
    • but that also mean a lot to me (I remember where I got each piece, minus the paper clip)
  • and it’s¬†functional.
  • It came together so simply, with a short series of fun logistical puzzles (what materials have holes in them that I can use? what cord will make it through these tiny natsuke holes?¬†where do the knots go and which beads can slide?).
this mermaid carries her child on her back - love!
this mermaid carries her child on her back – love!

You can see the chakra gemstones in this shot (slightly out of focus) and I forgot until I saw this close-up…there’s a Hamsa at the bottom!! This symbol has particular significance to me after a trip to Spain several years ago when I was lucky enough to visit a museum in Cordoba that focuses on the story of Sephardic Jews in Spain. It’s called Casa de Sefarad¬†and I highly recommend it if you find yourself in southern Spain. I felt a deep connection with the people in the stories¬†I learned there and began to appreciate¬†the history and symbolism of the Hamsa.

I had to get my scrapbook out to remember the name of the museum, and now I have to share a couple of pages. (Apologies for the lighting Рit was hard to capture on a whim.)

Page from my Spain scrapbook for that day.
Page from my Spain scrapbook for that day

The picture in the bottom left is of the museum owner/creator, his translator, and the back of my head listening to them. It was an honor to hear his story.

OK – I’m officially out of control with the reminiscing and memorabilia. But just this one last thing.

scrapbook page focusing on mosaics
scrapbook page focusing on mosaics (+ amazing pasta restaurant, upper right corner)

I took approximately 1.6 zillion photos of the mosaic and tile work that decorated just about every surface in every historic building in Spain. Some of these were ceiling tiles and the zoom on my camera was pretty amazing, so I was able to print and cut these out as if they sat inches from my face.

For those that actually were in reach, I had to touch them from time to time. All placed by hand, by artisans, so many years ago. I’m certain their energy and dreams still hum within each tile.

Feeling the energy of history
Feeling the energy of history

Palms and Patterns

Today I was kind of all over the map. I worked crazy hours in meetings and also seemed to manage some interesting art in my breaks. Sometimes it seems that one feeds the other…

On my lunch break¬†I took (daylight) pictures of the palm pieces I’ve gathered over the last 5 years. These are pieces of palm trees (usually really tall ones) that fall to the street in wind storms where I live. These storms aren’t necessarily “rare” here, but they happen seasonally and for the most part we don’t see this kind of stuff in the streets on a regular basis.

But then there’s a crazy wind/rain storm that happens for a couple of days (if we’re lucky) and people tend to leave them in the streets and sidewalks for awhile. So the last storm is responsible for my cool eucalyptus leaves hitting the ground from so high up (poor worms/bugs who were feasting on their edges! They’re left with the remaining leaves I guess.). That recent storm¬†also left some¬†new palm pieces I came across in a recent dog walk.

Current doggity pic - he's not happy here because I'm heading out of town
Recent¬†doggity pic – he’s not happy here because I’m heading out of town. The scowl is¬†obvious.

Which inspired me to post a bit of a gallery here, of my palm canvas finds. The first two I came across were way too big and intimidating for me to start painting on, but I have a vision for this medium, and the smaller pieces I came across recently seemed like a good testing ground.

My first palm canvas
My first palm canvas – I imagine a giraffe on this one
close-up of the grain
close-up of the grain









This one sits in a corner of my office, by turns mocking and inspiring me.

my 2nd palm canvas - sitting in a rocking chair It's huge y'all
my 2nd palm canvas – sitting in a rocking chair –¬†It’s huge y’all

This one arrived at a craft fair as possible table decoration, and when they didn’t have room for it they said out loud, “I guess we should just throw it away.” And my supersonic-craft hearing kicked in and I ran across the room to say, “I’d like to stow that in the backseat of my car, if that’s ok with you?” So now I have a life-size palm frond on which to paint my next masterpiece. Get started already, huh?

my 3rd palm canvas(ses); the small middle piece is for test paint
my 3rd palm canvas(ses); the small middle piece is for test paint
close-up of the cool grain
close-up of the cool grain

Is it just me, or do the 3rd palms look like Alien casings? I’m not sure if I’ll be painting on the front or back of those (which is all relative, in relation to the tree right?).

So I’m excited about the 3rd palms because they’re not as big as #1 and #2, so whatever I paint on them can’t possibly be as serious as what happens on #1 and #2, right? Anyways, I picked up a stub palm frond that I can try all my acrylic pain on first. So nervous I am, with these palm fronds. I see the possibilities but I’m not sure how to get there.

[Brief Interlude]

I tried to use my lunchtime sun to also capture some better pictures of my drawings without much luck. But I did capture this, which I like. The wind kept blowing the paper off the stump I was using, so I grabbed this glass orb to weigh it down (used to be part of a solar light in the garden). Turned into a nice shot, I think.

Reflections: Going, Going, Gone
Reflections: Going, Going, Gone

[End Interlude]

During lunch I also separated (OCD fashion) all the quilting squares mom sent me recently. Turns out there’s lots of similar patterns in different colors, and that got me thinking about free-form embroidery options.

So I picked a square¬†and decided to start sewing French knots in the loopy pattern. Turns out there’s a cursive capital “L” in the loopy pattern that I didn’t see when I started.

I started with red French knots and saw the pattern; ready to continue with yellow "L's" on the next row
I started with red French knots and saw the pattern; ready to continue with yellow “L’s” on the next row
I just realized these "L's" are visible when this is right side up and upside down. Escher!!
I just realized these “L’s” are readable¬†when this is right side up and upside down. Escher!!

This is one of¬†my first free-form embroideries – what fun! I have big plans for these L’s involving beads and outlines of other colored threads. Stay tuned. It was fun to free-form on this square, but¬†it’s interesting working without the tension of a hoop. By the last “L” I think I finally had it figured out.

the other patterns in different colors
the other patterns in different colors (see the cursive “L”?!)

I wish I could sew all night, but time for bed. See you in the new creative AM.


Eucalyptus and Leaf Rubbings

I’m happy to report that I got a tiny bit of exercise today walking to run an errand.¬†And Scruffy is happy to report that he got a walk today!

Scruffy Momo as a wee one. He's 8 years old this month and the exact same size.
Scruffy Momo as a wee one. He’s 8 years old this month and the exact same size.

On our walk I picked up some fun things to make art with. The first was a set of eucalyptus leaves that got blown down in a recent wind storm we had.

Eucalyptus leaves
Eucalyptus leaves

What I love most about them is all the chomping bites that were taken out of all the leaves before the little branch got blown down. All the leaves on the ground were chewed up like this and it was all I could do not to gather them all up to take home with me. Because I. Love. Leaf. Rubbings. A. Lot.

"Indian Feathers"
“Indian Feathers”

I’m addicted to the unexpected textures of the leaves that I often can’t see with my “naked eye,” and also to¬†the variety I can create with different colors. My sketch pad cover has a great bumpy rough texture that I like to use as a background/stage. Maybe you can see it in the background colors on the close-up of this one.

"Going, Going, Gone"
“Going, Going, Gone”

But mostly I love the mystery of coloring over something to find out what shape it is. I figured out today that it reminds me of these books.

It took me at least 5 minutes to figure out the right search term for this dinosaur!
It took me at least 5 minutes to figure out the right search term for this dinosaur!

Ah the memories (“Yes & Know” so clever!), and now the smirks (“HOURS and HOURS of “BY-YOURSELF ENJOYMENT” – their capitalization, which also happens to be a registered trademark apparently). Uhm, oh my…but only in retrospect. At the time, my mom included these as part of her genius “Travel Treat Bags,” which¬†we took on any long car/plane ride, and since I was¬†an only child and she was the only adult…these were pretty fun for both of us! (P.S. I used the “Travel Treat Bag” strategy countless times with my young’uns – highly recommended. The younger the child the cheaper the “treats.” They tend to lose the pieces en route – it’s all about short-term fun.)

So anywho’s – grab a greenish leaf from the ground, a piece of scrap paper from the counter and a pencil and see what secrets that leaf has to offer. I guarantee you’ll reveal¬†life-giving veins and edge details you couldn’t see with your indecently “naked eye.” I would love to see pics of your findings! Post a link in the comments and we can start a gallery!


Coloring meet-up!

I love the site – such a quick way to find folks nearby with similar interests!¬†Usually my groups meet in other parts of town, but tonight I got to attend my across-the-street neighbor’s meet-up for coloring!! So fun! Our hostess provided lots of books and coloring tools, but what really interested me is how many folks came with their own supplies, and in same cases pictures already started that they wanted to finish (and their own portable ott lights…I WANT!!! My ott lights have a very heavy base and are not fun to tote around the house, much less across the street.).

I also need to order a set of gel-pens immediately, some of which must have glitter in them. Because of this y’all!

dragonfly wing (w/ glitter pen!!) thru a magnifying circle on my ott lite!
dragonfly wing

(be sure to click on it for a close-up of glittery goodness)

Unfortunately I didn’t have an ott light while coloring this, so the detail could be better. But who cares about that when there’s shiny glitter!!

(plus I like how my stalwart home ott light provided a magnifying circle)





A broader picture. I think he needs more color but I ran out of time. I’ll tend to him later (with my new glitter pens…mwhahaha!)

Actually I think pencils could fill in some of those spaces nicely…(calm down crazy artist who needs new supplies all the time.)


Another thing I really liked about tonight’s meet-up is the camaraderie and support between artists. We really took time to look at each other’s¬†work (past and present), commenting on things we loved and giving support and encouragement for stuff not yet done. We all need that extra nudge past the “I think I hate this” moment that usually precedes an amazing work of art. My favorite advice is to put it away for awhile and look at it again later. Amazement usually follows, if even just at the magnitude of the effort and the obvious step forward it represents from your past stuff. We’re moving forward all the time but it seems so hard sometimes to note that forward progress while it’s happening.

I can’t wait for my March time off to focus on these (most important) things full time! Sabbatical here I come!