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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Birding in 2021

 I'm having a great time birding in 2021. I've completed an eBird.org checklist every day this year. I've seen 54 species! 

I wanted to celebrate my 50th species for the year - it was a sharp-shinned hawk - but I wasn't able to snap a photo. 

My 51st was a grackle, no photo either. 

I saw a raven - species #52! No photos. 

Sorry. It's hard to get photos sometimes! 

The same day I saw the raven, I saw canvasback ducks and greater scaups, two different kinds of diving duck. 




Now, to celebrate the wonderful birds I've seen, I'm adding two more bird photos. One is of a bird people love: a bald eagle. The other is a bird people hate: the European starling. 




I know why people don't love starlings. They are an invasive species and very aggressive. But they have the most interesting songs, and iridescent feathers. It's hard for me to not like any bird. It's not their fault they are here. They are just doing what they do. 

Bald eagles are so epically big. They are awesome to photograph. 


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Paint By Number Winter 2021

 I had fun doing this paint by number project in January. Parts were frustrating - like sections that were too small for any of my paintbrushes. But it wasn't as stressful as the crochet project because I could listen to webinars or podcasts while I painted. Here's the progression of my paint by number! 



Sunday, January 31, 2021

Give Blood

 I gave blood for the first time last week. A friend urged me to and something clicked - it was time. Turns out I'm O+, a very useful blood type. I found out my mom has donated over a gallon of blood! I'm inspired by her and eager to follow her example. It felt good to know I was helping people, but I'm not going to lie - someone bringing me snacks and drinks while I chilled in a quiet room was pretty nice also. 



Friday, January 15, 2021

When Will the Penguin Get Its Wings?

I love doing crafts but I'm actually really bad at most of them. That's because I'm impulsive and impatient and not particularly good at taking the time to re-do things when I do them wrong. I just keep going and don't worry about if things are perfect. I don't like to go slow. I just want to DO the things. 

I really wanted one of these little amigurumi crochet animal kits from The Woobles. Honestly they are so cute. And so small. I thought it would be a good first project. I put it on my Christmas list and on Christmas morning it was there under the tree. 

I started the project that day!! 

But it was hard, actually. And I made some mistakes. And I realized I couldn't rush through this. So I stopped, undid my few stitches and waited. 

A few days later I gathered things I would need: a laptop for videos. The pattern. Pens to check off rounds. I watched the first videos a few times. I started. I messed up. I restarted. I messed up. I restarted. This is very unlike me to undo and restart. I would much rather push through. I restarted. 



I thought it would be good for me to try a new way of doing crafts. I'd practice being patient and fixing mistakes instead of just making an imperfect final project. 

I made some progress. I watched videos. I counted stitches. I restarted. I started getting some pains in my hands so I adjusted my grip. I counted stitches and kept track of my progress. I restarted. It got very hard. 


As I made my way to the end of the project, I realized I was not near the end. I would have to do a stomach and beak, too. Yikes. I actually felt real anger at this point. Anger at myself. Why was this so hard? Why did I make so many mistakes? How do people actually stand to do crochet? It required so much intense counting I couldn't believe people did these projects for relaxation. My shoulders were cramped. I was breathing weird.  

I was angry at the penguin, too. 


I probably should have stopped and taken a break because honestly I wasn't having fun at this point. No fun at all. This craft wasn't satisfying and creative. It was a torment. I'll just stop, I told myself. 

But there was a deep part of me that worried if I stopped, I wouldn't finish it. Ever. Because I wasn't having fun. My hand hurt. I was frustrated at how many times I messed up. If I stopped when I wasn't having fun, why would I ever pick it up again? 

I kept going. I finished a version of the stomach and a version of the beak. 

Then I read the rest of the pattern and realized I was supposed to make wings, too. Sigh. I did not do the wings. 




The penguin currently sits wingless on my desk. It is cute. It is darn cute. But it is also a little terrifying. I'm scared of how this penguin made me feel about myself. I was really, really hard on myself. I was judging myself for how unhappy I was about a craft. This was a sobering, strange experience.  

I don't know when I'll have the gumption to go back and finish the wings. There's a gamble here. If I wait too long I'll forget the skills I acquired to make this project. If I go back too soon I might be just as frustrated. 

What if I didn't do the wings? Would that be so bad? 

But every time I sit at my desk, I see the unfinished project. I know it's not done. 

And the penguin is there. It's shiny plastic eyes beg for wings. 

Friday, January 8, 2021

2021 Focus Words

 Here are our 2021 focus words. 


I'm excited about these. I think they will help us move into the new year in a good mindset. What are your words for 2021? 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Words for 2020 and Words for 2021

 On New Year's Eve 2019, we had no idea what 2020 held in store. We wrote down some words that we wanted to think about for the coming year. 


There are seven words here because my parents were visiting. That won't be the case this year. 

Some words, like travel, were harder (impossible) to achieve. Being outgoing also wasn't really a good idea. 

Other words like patience and love, were unbelievably essential this year. 

Steady and hardworking were also key.


We're getting ready to head into 2021. Everyone keeps talking about how things will be better. I think things will be different, but many things will be the same. 

I'm thinking about my word for 2021. What would yours be?