Thursday, January 26, 2023

Why Again

I posted before about wondering whether I should choose a word this year when I've been spectacularly unsuccessful at doing anything with my chosen word in the past. I thought I might need a plan about what to do with my word once I made a choice, and I was very leary of journaling, scrapbooking, and buying "stuff" that might go with One Little Word.

But so many of you left comments about how choosing a word was helpful to you throughout the year, and quite a few of you have done this for multiple years. I've been thinking about this for almost three weeks and have decided to give it a try. Why not? 

So I've chosen Why as my word. Kat suggested this in a comment (thank you!) and that helped to clarify my decision. I can't promise I'll post monthly about my word, and I doubt that I'll be journaling or following prompts, but I do think this might prove to be a fun word this year. I'm a naturally curious person, I wonder why about a lot of things, and it may help me to question why I behave the way I do or do things in certain ways. Questioning my behavior may lead me to change some of my behaviors. I also think I might learn a few things along the way. My mother always said I asked why too much, and it may be even more this year.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday: 1/25/23

I'm happy to join Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday, with a small palate-cleanser of a project, the Sophie Scarf that much of the knitting world seems to be making. 

No soft cashmere or qiviut had miraculously made its way into my stash, but I did have an extra ball of Knitpicks Swish DK left over from my BSJ, so cast on six stitches and began. My first attempt was a little tight, so I went up a needle size and started again. It's better this time, but the fabric still feels stiff, and some of my i-cord looks a little wonky. I was going to cast on for a third time, but I decided this was my practice Sophie and I'd see how I felt after it was finished and blocked. I do have to pay attention to what row I'm on and I haven't yet figured out a good way to do that aside from a row counter, so this is not mindless meditative knitting for me like the Hitchhiker pattern. 

I finished three books last week. All the Dangerous Things was only two stars for me, and the only thing the author excelled at was the use of similes. There were so many it was like trying to count the stars in the sky. An example: "... seeing that man - his eyes like peeled grapes as he stared into the darkness; the way he creaked back and forth in his rocking chair, a methodical rhythm like someone had wound up a key in his back ...". I thought that "eyes like peeled grapes" was simultaneously creepy and hilarious. 

A Silent Fire: The Story of Inflammation, Diet, and Disease was informative enough to earn three stars. The winner was a pre-publication copy of The Wind Knows My Name by Isabel Allende. It's an engrossing story of war and immigration told through two different children in Austria in 1938 and the United States in 2019. I have started Spare and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude so it looks like a good reading week ahead. 

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Read With Us: It's a New Book!

Today's the day we announce a new Read With Us book for winter! You might already be aware of this if you attended the last Zoom discussion for The Marriage Portrait, but now everyone will know. Would you like to read a classic book that won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1993 and the National Book Award for fiction in 1994? It is set in Newfoundland and Labrador and the author writes with a strong sense of place. Her characters are memorable, the language engaging, and I found the book to be thought-provoking. 

I'm happy to say that we're going to be reading The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx. Many of you may have read this at some point, but I think it's a book that stands up well to a re-reading, and I very much look forward to discussing this book with all of you. 

As the book was first published 30 years ago, it should be readily available from most libraries without a long hold list, and the Kindle and paperback versions are available from Amazon for $12.99 and $11.99 respectively. If you're lucky enough to have a local independent bookstore, I'm sure you'll be able to find a copy there. Edited to add: Kat commented that she found the book available on Hoopla, so if you have access through your library, it should be available any time without a wait!

KymCarole, and I will be talking about the book, giving additional information, and doing promotional posts throughout January and February. Discussion day for The Shipping News is scheduled for Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at 7:00 pm Eastern time, so mark your calendars. We'll ask questions on our blogs that day and then host the always fun, educational, and entertaining Zoom discussion.

“We face up to awful things because we can't go around them, or forget them. The sooner you say 'Yes, it happened, and there's nothing I can do about it,' the sooner you can get on with your own life. You've got children to bring up. So you've got to get over it. What we have to get over, somehow we do. Even the worst things.”

I hope you'll Read With Us and find out if Quoyle and the rest of the characters in The Shipping News can get over the worst things. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

Sometimes Monday ...

 ... is for reminiscence. Over the weekend I spent some time in my messy back bedroom. My original goal was to bring some organization to the various photo albums that I've removed from the bookcase and are currently lying piled up in various places around the room. Photos are my organizational downfall, and it was pretty much the same with this attempt. I started paging through the albums, quickly getting sucked in by how cute everyone was when they were younger, people and events I have forgotten about, and quickly abandoning any attempt at organizing. I thought I'd share a few examples of what waylaid me. 

Me, five years old

Me in college with my dulcimer

Ryan eating strawberries, two years old

Ryan in a tree in Rocky Mt. National Park

Justin after catching two fish on one lure in TX

Justin with the inconnu he caught in the Yukon

Justin and Ryan trying to catch a squirrel by painting themselves with mud. The plan was that the mud would act as camouflage
 and they would be able to hide in that little tree and catch squirrels unaware. Alas, they were not successful. 

I hope your weekend was filled with lots of things that brought a big smile to your face!

Friday, January 20, 2023

Red In the Morning

Sailors did need to take warning as it was a rainy, dreary day yesterday, but it sure started out in a beautiful way. I was glad to be up to appreciate all the colors of the sunrise before the gray gloom set in. 

I hope your weekend is full of good things, whether they are sunrises, sunsets, or good times in between!

Thursday, January 19, 2023

A Gathering of Poetry: January 2023

It's the third Thursday of the month so I'd like to welcome you to A Gathering of Poetry. Today's poem is one that I've read multiple times and each time I come across a new word, a new idea, or a new mental picture. I've written before about my love for Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro (one of the best books I read in 2022). The author quotes this poem in the book's epigraph, and once I read the whole poem I was completely smitten.

by Carolyn Forché

A peacock on an olive branch looks beyond
the grove to the road, beyond the road to the sea,
blank-lit, where a sailboat anchors to a cove.
As it is morning, below deck a man is pouring water into a cup,
listening to the radio-talk of the ships: barges dead
in the calms awaiting port call, pleasure boats whose lights
hours ago went out, fishermen setting their nets for mullet,
as summer tavernas hang octopus to dry on their lines,
whisper smoke into wood ovens, sweep the terraces
clear of night, putting the music out with morning
light, and for the breadth of an hour it is possible
to consider the waters of this sea wine-dark, to remember
that there was no word for blue among the ancients,
but there was the whirring sound before the oars 
of the great triremes sang out of the seam of world,
through pine-sieved winds silvered by salt flats until
they were light enough to pass for breath from the heavens,
troubled enough to fell ships and darken thought—
then as now the clouds pass, roosters sleep in their huts,
the sea flattens under glass air, but there is nothing to hold us there:
not the quiet of marble nor the luff of sail, fields of thyme,
a vineyard at harvest, and the sea filled with the bones of those
in flight from wars east and south, our wars, their remains
scavenged on the seafloor and in its caves, belongings now
a flotsam washed to the rocks. Stand here and look
into the distant haze, there where the holy mountain
with its thousand monks wraps itself in shawls of rain,
then look to the west, where the rubber boats tipped
into the tough waves. Rest your eyes there, remembering the words
of Anacreon, himself a refugee of war, who appears
in the writings of Herodotus:
How the waves of the sea kiss the shore!
For if the earth is a camp and the sea
an ossuary of souls, light your signal fires
wherever you find yourselves.
Come the morning, launch your boats.


Carolyn Forché."Mourning". In the Lateness of the World. Penguin, 2020, New York.

You can read more about the poet here


Triremes, pine-sieved, luff, ossuary, and more. I love the language in this poem and the pictures it conjures for me. 

Thanks for reading and joining us for our monthly Gathering of Poetry. Be sure to visit Kym and Kat so you can gather more poetry and you can add your link below if you would like to share one of your favorite poems. The more the merrier!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday: 1/18/23

I'm happy to join Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday, with lots of real unraveling. I started Cloud Cover (ravelry link) way back at the beginning of October. I was initially enthused, but after knitting the yoke, separating for the sleeves, and starting the left sleeve, it just languished in a pile by my knitting chair. Every time I thought about working on it I just thought, "Ugh!" I like the sweater but the pattern instructions got to be too much for me. I don't know enough about sweater construction to know what I could disregard (like leaving the needle in the yoke while I knit the sleeve on another circular) and the whole thing just got too cumbersome. 

This is what it looked like: 

And this is what it looks like now: 

So what's next? 

I found another sweater pattern that I like and swatched for it with size 5 and 6 needles, but my gauge is way off. It's DK weight yarn and the pattern suggests size 7 needles and a gauge of 4.5 stitches/inch. The fabric I'm getting even with 6s is too loose and holey for me, so I can't imagine what 7s would be like. I think I can use size 5 needles and knit the largest size in the pattern and math tells me that this would work. But, like I said, I don't have enough sweater-knitting experience to trust that this will really work in real life plus it's a bottom-up sweater. That's a lot of knitting to get to the top and find that gauge and math have lied to me. I think I'm just going to sit with this, knit on my Hitchhiker, and see what I arrive at. (Looking back, I was a lot happier with the gauge on Cloud Cover, so maybe I need to add re-starting it as an option?)

I read two books this week; one was disappointing but the send one was stellar. I started George and Lizzie with high expectations because it was authored by Nancy pearl, superstar librarian. But just because she can review and recommend books does not mean her talents extend to writing fiction. It read like YA and the timeline was almost incomprehensible, so I only gave it two stars. 

But Inciting Joy more than made up for it. Every year in January or February, I read a book that I'm sure will be among my top 10 books for that year. I'm fairly sure that Inciting Joy is that book for 2023. I tried to slow down and savor Ross Gay's essays, but I started listening as soon as I downloaded the book and didn't want to put it down. Like any other book of essays, there were some that I didn't connect with as much as others, but that is because I don't have a lot of interest in skateboarding or basketball. But I listened to "Through My Tears I Saw" three times because this reflection on what was healed while caring for his father is one of the best I've read. In the remainder of the essays, Mr. Gay asks us to pay attention to what brings us together (like eating good food, dancing, and gardening) rather than focusing on our differences. Several reviewers have said they're not fond of the author's digressions, but I loved them as his curiosity always leads to more compelling writing about how joy is deepened by grief, fear, and loss.

What are you making and reading this week?