Repetition as Habit

Repetition as Habit

“We are what we repeatedly do, therefore, excellence is not an act but a habit.”


I always think about repetition when I’m stitching.  Stitching a few french knots?  How about a few hundred?  And what about some bullion circles?  A whole cluster of them is even better!

Clusters of Bullion Circles

In nature repetition is a constant and often what is most striking is in the sheer repetition.

The tail of a chameleon

Or look at one of my cacti…

While in Africa I was amazed at the patterns and repetition in the Zebra

Patterns on the giraffe

If I love a particular stitch, I’ll stitch a few hundred and over time I will have mastered it.  It’s like anything.  If I want to be a kind person, then I need to practice being kind.  Even when I don’t feel like it.  Even when I’m in a hurry.  Even when it means taking a breath, stepping back from the situation, and remembering that I’ve never regretted being kind.  Never.


Replacing “Have to” With “Get To”

Replacing “Have to” With “Get To”

My husband and I read and contemplate a philosophical reading of some kind every morning. Every now and then there is one that is so helpful it stays with me, like this one from The Daily Stoic:

“A long To-Do list seems intimidating and burdensome – all these things we have to do in the course of a day or a week. But a Get to Do list sounds like a privilege – all the things we’re excited about the opportunity to experience.”

Yesterday I was again reminded of this powerful reading as I sat waiting for my husband to be released from what we both had thought would be a minor surgical procedure. Until it wasn’t. Until things went wrong. Until this minor medical procedure turned into an all day long nightmare for him. A day in which I kept saying to myself, because of modern medicine he gets to have this procedure done, no matter how awful it is. Because of the times we live in, we get to call a car in 95 degree heat and have someone drive us to where we need to go. When stuck in traffic we get to consult WAZE and take the most expeditious route. And while waiting in the waiting room I get to have uninterrupted hours of stitching to calm my nerves.

He is home now and recuperating, for which I am extremely grateful. A big thanks to all of you who reached out to me and wrote such nice comments in my Stitching Circle.

And now I get to go do some work with my daughter and then I get to do a whole lot more stitching on my current project!

What do you get to do?

The Gradient Scale of a “Mess”

The Gradient Scale of a “Mess”

Someone commented on my Youtube channel about messiness, saying that she was happy my work area isn’t pristine as that would be intimidating. And it made me think about the various stages of messiness.

The gradient scale of messiness, because this is important.  

1. Kind of “messy”, but it’s not a problem and anyway to my mind, this is actually incredibly neat. Everything has its place, I know where things are, it’s easy to work on my current project and all is well with the world.

2. Okay, okay, things are getting “messy” but really it’s all subjective and yes, I’m having trouble finding things, but nothing I can’t handle. Besides, I’m working here and a certain degree of messiness is to be expected and even necessary.

3. Messy is to some, what neat is to others, I tell myself, and I’m working and anyway I just grab whatever is easiest and closest and call it a “prompt”. However if I’m being honest it’s starting to be a problem and I can’t find things I want to use, though I will never admit this out loud.

4. The tipping point: things have gotten out of control. I know it, in my heart, but I still continue to work, despite the mess, because the work takes priority and anyway I know what happens once I start “cleaning” things up. Still this has gotten beyond “messy” and I’m spending more time looking for things than actually stitching.

5. Clearly something has to change. I can’t even find the piece I’m working on and so resolve to clean everything up… tomorrow.

6. A thorough cleaning is done. I carefully put things in places that seem reasonable and make sense to me at that moment.  It’s all so neat and tidy, I hardly know where to start!

7. My work area is clear of everything but the piece I’m working on, only now I can’t find anything and spend hours looking for things that I knew were “just over there”.

8. Begin ripping the place apart in search of various much needed items.

Repeat steps 1-8.

You’ll be relieved to know I’m currently hovering at around a 3. Totally doable!


It’s so hot…

It’s so hot…

Dedicated to all of you who are in areas of the world where the heat is the only topic anyone’s talking about.

From the south there’s this one:

“It’s hotter’n a blister bug in a pepper patch.”

And this one:

It’s so dang hot, I just saw a hound dog chasing a rabbit and they were both walking.

This youtube video, which if you have delicate sensibilities is probably not for you, is silly and some of the jokes fall flat, but one can blame it on the heat.

I had to add this one, because… well who doesn’t hum this when everyone starts talking about how insanely hot it is?

In other news I continue to stitch away despite the heat and warnings from ConEdison that New York City is in danger of losing power, yet they still keep lighting up all the massive signs in Times Square, but ask that residents conserve and turn their air conditioners down, which we’ve dutifully done.

I’m wishing all of you a pleasant and not too hot day!