Friday, October 30, 2015

A Pro and Con list

I'm back from my visit with Ryan in Fort Collins, and ever since my arrival at lovely Newark airport yesterday evening I've been composing a mental pro and con checklist. This is what it looks like:

I'll elaborate on some of these during NaBloPoMo, but for now I think it's clear why 

A Happy Weekend to all and I'll see you Sunday!

Thursday, October 22, 2015


When Ryan was making a decision about where he wanted to attend graduate school, I made a concerted effort to keep my opinions to myself. But you may have heard my resounding "Hooray!" on April 10, 2013 when he decided on Colorado State University in Fort Collins. I was thrilled because I really did think this school was the best fit for him, and there is the (big!) added benefit that The Loopy Ewe also happens to be in Fort Collins, just 5 miles from his house! 

I've visited The Loopy Ewe during each of my visits with Ryan, and he has always accompanied me. I was pleasantly surprised to find that he is a patient and exceptional yarn-picker-outer, even choosing some yarn for himself. This was one of his choices because it reminded him of his favorite flannel shirt, worn out long ago.

Because he keeps his house cool, he finds that his fingers get cold while working on math late into the night. He always likes fingerless mitts, so this skein finally became Nostalgia.

I really enjoyed knitting with this String Theory self-striping yarn and may be inordinately proud of how well the stripes match. There was a bit of finagling, but not much. I'm taking these mitts and a matching shirt along during my visit. How handy that once I give Ryan these belated birthday gifts, there will be room in my suitcase to bring home at least another two skeins of yarn from The Loopy Ewe!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Ten on Tuesday

The Ten On Tuesday topic for today is 10 Things You Take In A Travel Tote Bag. I'm traveling later this week, so this will be an easy list. I'm a devoted carry-on passenger, never checking luggage unless I absolutely have to, so I'm going to list the things I'm putting in my carry-on.

  1. My wallet with driver's license.
  2. My boarding pass. I always think that if I've got this and my photo i.d., I can buy anything else I might have forgotten.
  3. My phone. I finally got a smart phone several months ago, and now I'm wondering why I didn't do it sooner. I love having everything (boarding pass, travel info., camera, phone numbers, email, etc.) right in my hand.
  4. Chargers for electronic devices. Since my phone and ipod are necessities, the chargers are important.
  5. The book I'm reading/listening to. This time it's Career of Evil, the new Cormoran Strike novel. I'm thankful to Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) for publishing it just when I need a good book to travel with.
  6. My knitting. I'm traveling to Colorado for a belated birthday visit to Ryan, so my plane knitting is a pair of fingerless mitts for him that I hope to finish, at least before I leave to come back home.
  7. Clothing. Minimal and multi-purpose, this time it will be a spare pair of jeans, several corduroy shirts, and one of my Hitchhikers. 
  8. Medication. If I have travel-size Excedrin and Sudafed, a headache and allergies won't spoil the fun.
  9. Toiletries. The usual accoutrements, plus hand sanitizer to get rid of germs.
  10. Extra room. I'm visiting Ryan, but also The Loopy Ewe. I'm taking a few presents for him, so that means I'll have room on the way back for a skein or two of yarn!
Thanks for helping me get organized to pack a few days early, Carole! I'm looking forward to reading everyone's lists today so I can see if there is anything important I've forgotten.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Fall Light

It's been an upsetting, unsettling, and disquieting week, but while returning home from running errands I was treated to an amazing sight. Driving along Lake Nockamixon, I was struck by the golden glow coming from the lake. I quickly turned around, drove down to the shore to see what was going on, and was rewarded by this beauty.

I wish you could have seen it in person, as my photos don't come near to doing the scene justice. I was passing the lake at just the right time and the glow from the near-setting sun on the trees and the reflection was simply incredible. I spent nearly half an hour along the water's edge, taking photos, lying flat on the ground to try and best capture the reflections, and just enjoying the views. What a treat to be in the right place at the right time, and be privy to something so awe-inspiring.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ten on Tuesday

Since yesterday was Columbus Day, the Ten On Tuesday topic for today is 10 Things You Did This Weekend. It wasn't really a long weekend for me, but Carole did give us plenty of notice, so I had time to plan some things for my list. (And I knew why the post office was closed!) I didn't do anything terribly exciting or thrilling, but I did have a wonderful weekend while I:

  1. Cooked down (and boiled over!) some tomatoes I had frozen for sauce.
  2. Snipped some mint and started it inside for mint tea this winter.
  3. Put the amaryllis to bed for their rest.
  4. Paged through garden catalogs trying to decide what new amaryllis bulbs I might want.
  5. Brought the rest of my plants indoors for the winter. I move all of them outside for the summer, but bringing them back in before frost requires finding places for them, shoving furniture around, cleaning and dusting, and some heavy lifting for the overgrown Norfolk Island pines that have a strong will to live. 
  6. Took some walks looking for fall foliage. Most of our leaves are still green, but I found a few maples looking showy.
  7. Collected acorns on my walks and put them in damp sphagnum moss in the refrigerator for stratification and germination.
  8. Said goodbye to Justin as he headed back to NY state for his internship.
  9. Recovered from a cold. It was just a cold, but the cough is lingering...and keeping me up at night.
  10. Knit.

I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend, long or not!

Friday, October 9, 2015

He's Back!

There's mud from Montana...

and layers of bugs collected along the way...

but after several 14-hour days of driving, Justin is home. For a few days, anyway. He leaves again on Sunday to head back to New York state for the second stint of his internship, but it's wonderful to have him home and back in the same time zone.

I'll be enjoying a wonderful couple days with Justin home, and hope everyone has a terrific weekend!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Quarter Century!

Twenty five years ago, one of the very best things in my life happened; Ryan was born!

He spent much of his adolescence engrossed in video games,
 and still loves any free time he can steal to enjoy the diversion.

He likes to find places far from the madding crowd.
The standing ovation he received at graduation was a well-deserved 
recognition of all his hard work, motivation, and responsibility.

Ryan does difficult math and loves it.

He has always liked looking for and finding good rocks,

and still enjoys the search. (Living in Colorado is perfect for this!)

This is one of Ryan's photos; he says he identifies most strongly with the
 goose on the right. (He definitely knows how to think for himself!)

Happy 25th Birthday, Ryan!
Thank you for giving me the privilege of being your mother, 
and thank you for being such a wonderful, extraordinary son (and person!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ten on Tuesday

Today's Ten On Tuesday topic is 10 Things You Can Do To Be Supportive When Someone Dies. As Carole mentioned, this isn't our usual fun topic but it is important, and sadly, a part of life. Everyone experiences grief differently and in their own personal way, but these things have been helpful to me, both the giving and receiving of them.

  1. Make food. This may be a cliche', but people want to do something to help, and I think food does that.
  2. Express your sympathy. We all wish there were magic words to take away the pain, but there are not. Simply saying how very sorry you are can be supportive.
  3. Offer hugs.
  4. Ask if they would like to talk about their loved one. When my mother died, I did not want to talk about it in the immediate aftermath. There was no way to avoid much of the conversation as we were planning her funeral and people were offering their condolences. One of the nicest notes I received was from my sister-in-law who knows me well. She said she knew that I probably didn't want to talk about it so she wasn't going to call, but she would be there when I did want to share memories. 
  5. Offer to help with all the "stuff" that needs to be done. There are a million mundane details that need to be taken care of after someone dies. Many of them need to be handled by the family, but you can offer a ride and company to the courthouse, attorney, bank, or DMV. Maybe they need help watering plants, mowing, raking leaves, picking up dry cleaning, or grocery shopping.
  6. Offer help with thank you notes. My mother was a postmaster in a small town for many years, and had long-term relationships with lots of her customers. Because of this, there were multitudinous thank you notes to write; this felt like an almost overwhelming task for me. The family may want to write notes themselves, but you can help by gathering addresses, cards, and stamps, addressing envelopes, and going to the post office.
  7. Make specific offers. Many people told us to call if we needed anything, and I've certainly said this myself, but it may be difficult for the grieving person to ask for help. Ask if Tuesday would be a good day to drop off lasagna, how about sharing a cup of tea on Wednesday afternoon, or can you take a walk together on Saturday morning.
  8. Be there. This might mean sitting quietly with the grieving person, really listening when they want to talk, or just being there when they don't.
  9. Continue to check in. The period immediately after someone dies can pass in a dark, heartbroken haze for the bereaved. When some time passes and the loss gradually becomes even more real, grief can become more profound. Your support may be needed even more after several months and throughout that first year of awful firsts without the loved one.
  10. Knit. This is more of a long-term thing, but a comforting shawl or afghan can offer tangible support.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Homeward Bound

This is a beautiful song, sung beautifully. I promised myself I wouldn't listen to it while he was gone, but Justin left Montana yesterday and is now homeward bound. Since he's out west, he decided to stop and visit Ryan in Colorado. The first eight hundred miles of his trip are completed, and I was glad to receive his text (even at 1:08 am).

Only 1,803 miles to go!

Homeward Bound

This is a beautiful song, sung beautifully. I promised myself I wouldn't listen to it while he was gone, but Justin left Montana yesterday and is now homeward bound. Since he's out west, he decided to stop and visit Ryan in Colorado. The first eight hundred miles of his trip are completed, and I was glad to receive his text (even at 1:08 am).

Only 1,803 miles to go!