If you want to take a job in Panama, it's complicated. And I don't just mean the part about convincing your wife you should do it and she should keep your hunting dog for you while you do, when she isn't busy flying back and forth to keep you company. It seems there are a lot of hoops to jump through between here and there, and we're just getting started. 

One thing on the list is getting our marriage certificate (which miraculously, I was able to put my hands on) apostilled. 

"Huh?" I said. 

"Because I'm pretty sure that's not a word. See? Here we go, already encountering the language barrier that is going to plague us until we learn Spanish (after which it will probably still plague us because our Spanish will be so bad)." Direct quote.

But as it turns out, the nice Panamanian woman helping us through the process actually knows more English than I do! Because it IS a word! Further proof that there are still a whole lot of words left for me to learn. (I didn't really need additional proof. My son-in-law proves it to me over and over again each time he beats me at Wordfeud. Which is constantly. At least he is kind enough to let me keep practicing.)

But I didn't need to go looking for exotic words of international intrigue in order to expand my vocabulary...because I also find myself looking at some new definitions for familiar words right now. 

January, for instance. I have always thought of January in the context of bone-chilling cold and mind-numbing gray...a trudge on a 30 day treadmill-of-penance for all my holiday overindulgences: overdecorating, overeating, overspending...leading only to more cold and gray in donut-craving February. 

But suddenly I find myself in a world where January means heaven, full of 70 degree days and sunshine and blossoms and...although I'm trying my best to ignore them, possibilities and beginnings! Difficult old-year in the rearview! New-year adventure ahead! I can choose where I want to live and do whatever I want to do. 

Huh? Because I'm pretty sure that can't really be an option...

Even things that you think can never change sometimes do. So I'm going to have to rearrange my position on January. I'm working on that, because 50 years of conditioning is hard to undo. Maybe I should just start with a whole new dictionary...or probably two. 

Because one will need to be Spanish-English.

(How's your January so far? Been forced to step forward yet? If not, don't worry...there's still time.) 



Here's the problem. I miss Small Works. I miss it, miss it, miss it. So yes, I've been cheating on you, Sidebar. I can't help myself...I sneak over to Small Works to visit sometimes and click, click, click...half an hour is gone. It's just that I miss my friends there. I miss the goofy color combinations (on my new MacBook with the fancy-schmancy retina display, some of the posts are kind of an assault to my...well, retinas. Sorry about that, any of you Dear Readers who got fancy new MacBooks before I did). I miss the black background that virtually every web professional advises against but that I love. I even miss the silly header that I was sick of and wanted desperately to replace for at least the last year or more...absence must indeed make the heart grow fonder!

I thought I wanted to just use words for awhile, but the thing I have discovered is that, as a result of my 573 Small Works posts, and my two full years of posting 365 Creativity Challenges, I now have a very difficult time separating words from pictures. 

I miss vintage underwear ads, and figuring out ways to relate them to completely unrelated topics. I miss the chatty, alliterative voice of Small Works Susan. Sometimes she still talks in my head, pointing out possible Friday Favorites or posing important existential questions about perception vs. reality while considering the color of a Tootsie pop wrapper. Those were the good old days.

Problem is, how can I have a blog called Small Works in Wool when I'm not currently making small works in wool? A conundrum, to be sure.  I have no answers. I just needed someone to talk to about it. So I thought I'd try talking to one blog about the other blog to see if something could be done to reconcile the two. If somehow they could get together and work out their differences. Or if maybe just admitting the problem might help...

I do have a tiny inkling of an idea. Something highlighting work by other artists (who are working!), but with the kinds of things that I miss writing about stuffed in all the cracks. A sort of Small Works Looks at Other People's Work for a (Welcome) Change...not a really catchy title, I admit. But what do you think?

Hmmm. My name is Susan, and I am still a Small Works addict. Goofy old blog. I know, blogs are SO 5 years ago. I should really consider a Twitter account instead. Or is that outdated too? It must be if I am even talking about it...sigh.



Things I learned from 2013:

1. There may be something to the whole "number 13" thing. Although I am not a superstitious person in general, I have decided I will be skipping 2113. 

2. There is an alternate reality in which you can eat anything you want and not gain weight. However, it's not as great as you might think. You really just find different things to worry about (but admittedly, you get fries with that).

3. Some things we do not grow out of. My fear of spiders, for instance, only seems to increase with the size of the spider. And I probably have yet to meet my biggest spider.

4. Everything you say can and will be used against you in a court of actual life events. In fact, it really may be safer to just never say anything. One illustration of this principle is the fact that my daughter Hannah's new beau appears to love country music. The irony of this fact is so delicious that I may not need to eat again until June. Hannah, on the other hand, will probably be eating a great deal, and far into the future. On the plus side, words are not fries.

5. Stuff happens, and it appears this will continue to be the case. As a simple test of this fact, close your eyes and complete this sentence..."I WILL NEVER ____________." Once you have filled in the blank, just wait. But you should probably open your eyes or you won't see it coming.

6. If you do not want to be where your feet are standing, move. For years I dreamed of moving to the desert, and having just finished my first year of actually living here, I find it to be even better than I imagined. For instance, I did not know that the desert not only blooms, sometimes the entire thing shouts for joy in amazing and endless yellow. (I wonder sometimes whether I am also in possession of such miraculous, unrealized possibilities? Because I look at you and I'm pretty sure you are.) The first time I saw the miracle grass spring up 6 hours after a rainstorm, I knew why I felt so drawn to this terrain. We understand each other. And on most days, we both fail to fully utilize our potential. The desert will teach me things.

7. If you grew up sleeping in a bed with someone, you probably have certain responsibilities to that person for the rest of your life. It appears that families may actually be forever...yes, starting now. So enjoy the good bits more, and never give up trying to improve the not-so-good bits.

8. There is a strong possibility that turning 50 is more than halfway. However, you still can't see the end. In fact, you can hardly see anything at all without your glasses. On a related note, menus are written for young people.

9. Learning the same lessons again and again means you haven't learned them. Perhaps you should meet with the teacher, evaluate the way you learn and come up with an individualized learning plan to help you make more progress.

10. Whatever doesn't kill you, leaves you alive so you can grow from it. Or at least write about it.

This is not a comprehensive list. In truth, it is merely a list of "Things I Realized I Learned from 2013 While Eating the First McDonald's Breakfast of 2014." So don't read too much into it.