Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Yarn Along - Goldfinch and Gifts Edition

 (My apologies for a less than stellar photo; we're in the middle of a Nor'easter
 and won't see the sun until Friday.)

Audiobook: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I'm only about halfway through, but this is quite possibly one of the best books I've ever read, the perfect combination of a fascinating story, incredibly well-told and beautifully written. I'm listening to it in audio form; the photo above shows the print copy I bought to give as a Christmas gift. It's such an extraordinary book I'm tempted to give it to everyone on my list!

Print Reading: Longbourn by Jo Baker. I haven't had much time for print reading so I'm progressing slowly with this one. It's told from the viewpoint of the servants and domestic staff at the Bennet's estate, Longbourn, from Pride and Prejudice. I'm enjoying the realism of scrubbing petticoats and chilblains without the romantic swooning over Mr. Darcy.

Knitting: O Christmas Scarf, O Christmas Scarf! and Blue Lobster Waffles are both gift knitting. I don't knit very many Christmas gifts, but these were specifically requested. I feel grateful that family members value my knitting enough to ask for it!

What are you reading and knitting this week? Join in this week's Yarn Along, with Ginny at Small Things

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ten on Tuesday - 10 Things I'm Thankful For

I've been very busy over the past several weeks, too busy to do Ten on Tuesday, but this week's topic of 10 Things I'm Thankful For is exactly what I need. It's definitely time for me to take the time to reflect, think, and be grateful.

1. My Family!
Of course they're first on my list and in my heart. They add inestimable love, enjoyment, good company, fun, humor, education, and so much more to my life.

2. Good Food
I'm thankful that my budget allows me to purchase good food, and I'm also grateful that I'm able to grow good food in the garden. Our home-grown string beans, brussels sprouts, turnips, and even the bizarre humanoid carrots will be on the table at Thanksgiving.

3. Technology
Oldest Son will be celebrating Thanksgiving 1700 miles away from home but we'll all be able to visit with him through the magic of Skype. This will be quite a new experience for my father and my mother-in-law, so I think part of the fun will be watching their response. Hopefully my mother-in-law won't be too concerned when she sees my son starting his own Thanksgiving tradition of having Chinese food.

4. Knitting 
I'm currently knitting some Christmas gifts, but only because they've been requested. I'm grateful that others value my knitting enough to ask for it; I'm thankful for some very nice yarn to knit gifts with, and I'm thankful for everything that knitting gives me in return.

5. Cold Weather
This one might be a bit different, but I hate heat and humidity. I thrive and feel best in the fall and winter, so I welcome the return of cold weather, frost, and even blustery winds and snow. I'm also thankful for the ability to easily heat my home!

6. Longtime Friends 
Last weekend we had the pleasure of entertaining friends that we have known for almost 40 years. They have lived in Canada, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Washington D.C., Hawaii, and now back to Canada permanently, so because of the distance, many years elapse between in-person visits. While I was preparing for their visit, I was a bit worried about whether we would have things to talk about. As soon as they walked through the door we were busy chatting, catching up, and thoroughly enjoying each other's company. I'm thankful that we have friends that remain friends, no matter the years and miles.

7. Thanksgiving/Christmas Cactuses
I'm really partial to these easy-to-grow plants and have many of them, including some grown from cuttings from my mother and my husband's grandmother. When things start to look grey and dreary, I'm always thankful for their brilliant blossoms. They're called Christmas cactuses, but some of mine start blooming at Thanksgiving and continue through Christmas; I even have one that blooms at Easter!

8. My Senses 
They're all important, all the time, but lately I've been especially thankful for them. I've enjoyed the enticing smell of a prime rib roast roasting in the oven, the wonderful scent of spaghetti sauce made from our home-grown tomatoes, basil, and oregano, and the delicious scent of the bread for stuffing that I have baking right now. I look forward to touching the mink and cashmere yarn I'm knitting with, hearing the voices of my family near and far, and enjoying the smell and taste of wonderful warm mugs of tea and chai.

9. The Library 
As soon as my bread is done baking, I'm heading to our local library to pick up some books I've reserved. I know my tax dollars help support the library, but I gain so much more than I give. I enjoy books, audiobooks, ebooks, programs, art, music, book recommendations, and a huge used book sale. Thanks, Hunterdon County Library!

10. The Good Wife
I don't watch a lot of TV, but while I wait for the return of Downton Abbey and House of Cards, I've started watching The Good Wife. It's a legal soap opera, but I like seeing old faces in new roles (Julianna Margulies and Matt Czuchry) and even though they're lawyers, some characters do the right thing (or at least think about it!) The drama and availability of five seasons makes it an excellent program to watch while knitting.

I'm also very thankful to anyone who has taken the time to read my ramblings here!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Harvest Is In

Before some real frosts last week, the garden harvest was completed.

 No matter how early I start seeds indoors this is about as big as my watermelons get. 
Someday I'm going to grow a real one!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Family Matters

Because Family Matters So Much, sometimes family matters can be a bit overwhelming. There's nothing really big or life-threatening going on right now, but I've had more than enough family worries lately and find myself nostalgically longing for the days when problems seemed small and consisted mainly of lack of sleep for me and boo-boos that could be kissed away.

 I know in reality that there were plenty of sad, grumpy, disagreeable days, complete with lots of hurt, anger, fears, and tears, but how I wish I still had the ability to solve their problems and put big smiles on their faces with a bowl of strawberries or a blue lollipop.