Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ten on Tuesday - Last Week


The Ten on Tuesday topic this week is 10 Things You Did Last Week. Not surprisingly, Carole chose vacation, sun, tequila, and the beach over blog reading last week, and this week will provide a fun catch up. So, last week I...
  1. Appreciated the spring flowers that are blooming, even though spring is dragging her heels in these parts
  2. Missed Carole, so I did my own lone 10 on Tuesday
  3. Cleaned the wet leaves out of flower beds, and trimmed mums, hydrangeas, and roses
  4. Was itching to plant some flowers and vegetables, but...
  5. Got surprised by snow on Thursday and Friday
  6. Was quite happy that the snow melted almost as quickly as it fell
  7. Saw the return of my sock knitting mojo
  8. Walked to the dentist, bank, locksmith, florist, etc. to accomplish all my errands, and I'm really starting to like it
  9. Started a new book, The Children's Crusade. It's becoming a bit of a slog, so I'm already looking for my next book.
  10. Began planning my own summer vacation
What did you do last week? Hope it included plenty of fun and interesting things!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Look for Them

I've heard these wise words from Mr. Rogers' mother far too many times - after the Oklahoma City bombing, 9/11, the Aurora and Newtown shootings, the Boston Marathon bombing - and they still make me cry.

Nancy Rogers has given all of us a way to deal with tragedies of unimaginable proportion, whether they are man-made or natural. Her words have been so helpful to me in processing too many catastrophes, and now I always look for the helpers.

That was the first thing I did when I heard the news of the Nepal earthquake. Images show the overwhelming scope of the catastrophe, but just as Nancy Rogers and her son reminded us, there are always helpers.

Omar Havana/Getty Images
Omar Havana / Getty Images
Prakash Mathema/Getty Images
Omar Havana / Getty Images

I don't have much to offer to all those suffering except thoughts, prayers, and donations. But I guess in some miniscule way, that makes me a helper. Doctors Without Borders, Unicef, American Red Cross, and many others are providing help; please consider being a helper yourself. If you leave me a comment about how you have helped recently (for anyone, in any way; it doesn't have to be earthquake-related or a monetary contribution), I'll hold a random drawing on Monday, May 4, and award some yet-to-be determined yarny prizes. Thank you to all the helpers who give me hope.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday Letters

I've written a few Friday Letters to recap my week, say what's on my mind, and take the opportunity to offer a thank you or two. Let's open the mail...

Dear Mother Nature,

I know I whined about the weather all winter and I'm determined not to do that now that spring has (sort of) arrived. So even though it is snowing today and you have deposited graupel on my grape hyacinths, I'm not going to complain. Instead, how about if I thank you for providing me with the obvious choice for dinner - chili in the crockpot! Never mind that I originally had planned to do hamburgers on the grill; I'm sure it will warm up enough for that by August or so. 


Dear Drivers,

Since Justin had his accident in March and has not yet replaced his totalled vehicle, I have been without a car. I'm a sucker for loaning him my Subaru, but his being able to get to school trumps my need for a car. Life and errands don't stop, so I've been walking everywhere - to the bank, locksmith, florist, post office, and I may attempt the three mile round trip to the grocery store next week if I feel adventurous. Exercise with a purpose! 

However, I kindly request demand that drivers pay attention to pedestrians in crosswalks and look for people walking across the road before you screech around the corner making your right turn on red. True, I have been getting a small amount of upper arm exercise by shaking my fist at you, but I would really rather not end up run over in the street next to the "Yield To Pedestrians in Crosswalk" sign. Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.

Dear Sock Knitting Mojo,

Welcome back! I don't know where you went or what caused you to leave in the first place, but I'm glad you have returned. It became clear that you have been gone far too long when I could barely remember how to knit a heel flap last night, but I'm humming along now, looking forward to the magic of the heel turn. I may even throw you a party if you stick around long enough for me to finish both socks!


Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, safe, and warm weekend!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ten on Tuesday - Many Reasons

Since Carole is enjoying sun, fun, and tequila on vacation in Mexico and not around to do Ten on Tuesday this week, I've come up with my own list - Ten Many Reasons Why I Would Love to Move to Colorado.
  1. Oldest Son lives there
  2. Youngest Son would like to live in the West (as soon as he finds a job there).
  3. Mountains
  4. The climate
  5. A Reader's Haven 
  6. A truly wonderful library system that is quickly becoming my local library even though I am currently 1700 miles away!
  7. So much good beer
  8. Whiskey, too
  9. The best reuben I've ever had
  10. The Loopy Ewe
  11. Celestial Seasonings and the Mint Room
  12. Pike's Peak
  13. Mesa Verde
  14. Friendly, accomodating, and accepting people
  15. Gorgeous wildflowers 

 Some day!


Friday, April 17, 2015

B is for...

Bird houses!

Several people commented that they would like to see the bird houses I mentioned on Tuesday, and since it's time for me to get out the ladder and put them up, I'm happy to oblige and take some pictures. They aren't terribly artistic, but it really makes me smile remembering all of us painting together, with both boys very concerned that they were painting designs that the birds would appreciate and make them feel welcome.

This one says Welcome right up front.

 This one Welcomes the birds, both forwards and backwards.

What family wouldn't also enjoy the covered porch and the green and gold striped
 awning over the side window?

This one has a skylight.

Here is one of my personal favorites, with some lovely nest-related art on the back.

I spent some time climbing the ladder and also climbing some trees
 to hang the bird houses, including one on the porch in a prime spot
 just a few feet away from one of the feeders.

Now all I have to do is wait for the birds to get ready to nest. We've been hanging these bird houses for fifteen years or so, and they've had nests, eggs, and baby birds almost every year, maybe because we made the birds feel so welcome!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A is for...

I've taken some long blog breaks this winter; some were due to lack of time and many happened because I just didn't feel like I had anything worthwhile to say. I was thinking about NaBloPoMo last November, and while posting every day was difficult at times, it became easier once I overcame my initial inertia. I know an ABC-along was a blog thing long ago and while this might be a similar idea, I hope it will provide me with a way to find a topic when I'm stuck. So, with the intention of posting more often (definitely not every day, and I'm not making any promises), A is for abecedarian.

Izambert, Cecile. "Lettrine A". Atelier Cecile Izambert. 2011. Web. 15 April 2015.

More tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Seeing Poetry II

After my rediscovery last weekend of the poetry right in front of me, I went in search of more poetry. Youngest son Justin wrote a lot during his high school years. Most of his writing was penned only for himself, privately filling many journals still housed in his desk, but I did find one of his public poems in my copy of his high school literary magazine.

He hadn't shared it with me before it was published, but when √Član came out, he left a copy on the kitchen table, knowing that I would read it. As soon as I did, I knew exactly who and what it was written about. I had inwardly fumed at the initial incident; how dare someone hurt my son in the dismissive and yes, callous, way she had done it. Justin showed me a much more effective and beautifully-worded way of dealing with feelings - by writing a poem. I was reminded of this lesson again just a few weeks ago when this same woman behaved in an even more callous and downright cruel manner. Sadly, I don't think Justin is still writing poems, but perhaps I should start writing and stop fuming.

As his mother, I'm completely partial, but I do love this poem. In honor of National Poetry Month, my youngest poet son who has the ability to use just the right words and things to teach me, I'm sharing: 

Callous Liasons


Struggling to hear
             Yearning for the words.
Why can't they say

We all covet it
At some point.
Sometimes at
             Arduous for some
             Effortless for others.

High school.
Should be simple,
             Not for me.
                          Not for them.

Not an ordinary
             Met once before
             Mesmerized then
                          Still now.
Must restrict myself
             But I asked.
I got an answer.

She said
             She must shout.
So my heart can hear
             The lethal response.