Monday, September 05, 2005

Back to School

Tomorrow the kids go back to their old grind. Max has the same teacher he had last year (he's in a multiage class) and Hannah has her best friend's teacher from last year (high-fives all around!)

School again - and it is high time, indeed (yet I'll miss those crazy redheads, go figure...) I'm looking forward to having time to myself, time alone, time to work - just plain ol' time. Those 6 hours a day seem like a lot right now, but I have a feeling I'll use them up in short order.

Someone wrote and asked me about time management - or rather, how do I get done all that I need to get done?

Need is a relative term. I feel the need to do a LOT, but when I'm honest with myself it's not need that drives me, but desire to complete projects. I'm very goal oriented, and when I'm in the middle of solving a problem (design, spatial, database) it's almost impossible to pull myself away.

Right now I will say that I'm pushed to about 95% capacity. I have 'down time' built into my schedule (I try not to schedule two weekends away in a row, I try to keep months at a time open so I can have the time to design) but I am feeling the effects of so much concentrated thought pushed into a small time period.

When I get up I make breakfast for the kids (or rather, for Max as Hannah is a RIce Crispy kind of gal and can get them herself)

Then I answer email for about an hour.

Then I print out invoices for items which have sold the previous day that I need to send out. My dirty little secret is that if I've only sold a small amount of books I'll sometimes skip this step and send out double books the next day. Then I pack the books and get them ready to ship. During this time I try to get the kids setup with a playdate or a game with each other to keep them occupied. I'm not always successful.

While my mind is fresh I revisit any math problems that have been causing me problems. This is when I write patterns, or work out charted repeats - numerical stuff.

By this time it's noon, the kids have been playing outside or watching a video if the weather's bad, so I break for lunch and we all do something (drive to the pool, go to the post office and shopping, drop them off if they have a playdate...)

After lunch Gerry comes home (he has an odd schedule) and he's in charge of kid wrangling to give me a good solid 4 hours of non-kid time. He also usually does a load of laundry now. I have married a mensch.

After lunch I return to math stuff, and this is when I tend to update webpages, and answer email in more detail. Recently this is when I do assignment work on the Men who Knit book (assigning yarns to sweaters and knitters to yarns) and do pattern writing for the Wire Knit Book. I also keep my kid's elementary school website going this year, so I put in some time on that if I need to. This is when I usually write in my blog if I'm so moved.

After this I take a break, have some tea, and now it's about 3:00 and I like to listen to the radio. Yes, I'm a lefty (although it's not really knit related so I don't harp on it as much as I might - consider yourselves lucky). Somehow this gets my creative juices flowing and this is when I like to try to work out creative non-math related problems. Picking collars for things, workingon sketches, working up swatches, etc.

Throughout the day I do a LOT of correspondence.

Around dinner time (my husband fixes dinner! Didn't I tell you he was a mensch?!) I stop and we eat. We don't always eat together at the table, which I should feel worse about, but I don't. We should - we don't. I'll have to change that. The table is usually jammed full of boxes of yarn, though...

I spend some time with the kids - we'll play a game, watch the Simpsons (see, I really AM a terrible mom!) take a walk if the weather's nice. We'll sit outside or run around and catch fireflies. Some evenings I leave for class or to go to a knit group (which I try to take one of the kids to every few weeks - they both knit and I think it's good for them to learn to sit and knit - or run around the bookstore picking out books they'd like me to buy as the case may be) and then I come home.

The kids go off to bed at 8:30. Actually, the kids are suposed to go to bed at 8:30, but 9:00 - 9:30 is more like it. Hey - it's the end of summer... Gerry does most of the kids to bed stuff, which is why they go to bed late because he's a soft touch that way. Sometimes I'll pay 'bad cop' and go up and hurry them along. I expect I'll do that tonight. Gerry goes to bed around the same time - he needs some pushing, too!

Back downstairs to watch Law & Order or listen to a book on tape (currently it's the Future of Freedom by Fareed Zakaria) while I engage in some "me" knitting. Often the me knitting is swatch knitting or projects for the wire book, but sometimes it's actually knitting for ME! What a concept. Right now my carry around mindless knitting project is a very simple version of the silk corset for Knitty Gritty which will - oddly - fit ME!

If a design deadline is looming I'll use this time to do research on what I'd like to present in a hand-knit version, and work up sketches. My favorite resources are costume history books, but I also really like to look through European fashion magazines to give me a good idea of what may translate into knit garments in the next few years. I also have a few catalogs that I really like to look through to see different silhouette shapes (and how they look on the models)

I don't read much fashion forecasting stuff, I find that it somehow paralyzes me to feel I have to fit my designs into a structure. Vogue & some other magazines send design proposal packets of fashion trends they'd like us to refer to as we design - and I find these helpful - but at some point I do have to just put them away and close my eyes. Speaking of which, I haven't received my VK design info yet - I think it was supposed to come at the end of August...

When I go to bed I read to relax. I try really hard NOT to read design related stuff. Right now I'm reading Foreign Devils on the Silk Road by Peter Hopkirk. It's not as exciting as I'd hoped, but it's very rich and I'm enjoying it a great deal.

This is just a snapshot of my day - it's a changing schedule - fluid - and I don't adhere to this. But it is a good indication of what my 'average' day is like.

So you see, even though it seems that I'd have hours and hours of knitting, I really have very little knitting time - and almost NO knitting time just for ME!

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