Friday, June 30, 2017

One New Thing

This is the wall in the park in Colorado where Ryan and I had a great talk. We had been on a long hike, and because John was still fishing, we sat down to rest and drink lots of water. We started to chat, and the conversation flowed easily from one topic to another. I mentioned how much I was looking forward to dinner that evening, as we had plans to visit an English pub-like place for their delicious fish and chips. Ryan commented that I should look for a fish and chips place at home, and I explained that much of my enjoyment was really due to having dinner with my oldest son while on vacation. The conversation progressed and Ryan eventually declared that he thought I should make an effort to try at least one new thing every month. Now that's an interesting idea ...

We've been home from Colorado for almost a month, and I haven't really done anything new yet. I tried to explain to Ryan that I've switched from drinking half lemonade/half iced tea to raspberry iced tea, but he wasn't having any of it. Due to Ryan's reminders during phone calls, I finally searched for and found a surprisingly close English brewpub and we I will be heading there this weekend. I've invited John, but he seems to be dragging his heels for some reason. Maybe one of my new things in June will also be eating alone in a restaurant!

I recently came across a women's archery course given at the end of July, and began pondering this as a new thing. Both John and Justin shoot bows, and I think I like archery target shooting, but I'm not sure. I have shot Justin's youth bow because it requires less upper arm strength, but it's really too small for me. I signed up for the course, so archery safety, recurve vs. compound bows, determining the correct draw weight and length for me, and trying out some bows will be my new things for July.

I'm very grateful to be Ryan's mother because he will push me (gently, but still insistently) to get out of my stagnant mindset and try one new thing. He's helped me to start looking at things from different perspectives and I'm seeing new possibilities. Your suggestions are welcome!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Right Now - June 2017

Spending lots of time - In the garden.

Picking - Snow peas, Napa cabbage, radishes, spinach that has bolted, and chard.

Making - Lots and lots of this salad. It's the whole reason we grow Napa cabbage. The printout is my cousin's original recipe, and all the notes were for Ryan when he asked for the recipe.

Drinking - "Homemade" shandy/radler, courtesy of Vicki. I've only had Leinenkugel's and for some reason it never occurred to me to to mix my own. That's what I'm doing now and it's delicious!

Grateful For - A long weekend. I'm not doing anything monumental, and there may be people planning my participation in things that sound suspiciously like work, but the prospect of four (currently unscheduled) days in front of me is delicious. 

Ready For - Watching fireworks. The town fireworks are a block away, so I'm happy to get out my lawn chair, bug spray, and beverage in the back yard and not to have to fight traffic and crowds. 

Enjoying - Cool mornings with low humidity. This officially ended today, but it has been nice while it lasted.

Not Looking Forward To - A big pruning of our two big oak trees. It's expensive and a little nerve-wracking to watch guys climbing trees with chain saws and hoping that the limbs don't come crashing through the roof, but very necessary. There is the added bonus of spending time with my tree guy. He's cute, funny, teaches me about trees, and tells the best stories. Yes, I'm old enough to be his mother, but I like to think he likes me well enough to spend two hours here when he could do the estimate in 15 minutes. John wants a discount on the pruning before I run away with Mike.

Watching - Leverage and Grey's Anatomy. I have to pay attention to Leverage to understand the plot, but Grey's Anatomy is a good show to knit to. I don't have to follow every detail, and I can easily take time to roll my eyes at Meredith's histrionics without dropping stitches.

Learning - That I don't have to answer every question and reply to every request. My initial reaction is so often to blurt out my first thoughts, but I'm slowly learning that things often go better if I think before I speak (at least about the big stuff). Good lesson to finally start learning at age 60, huh?!

Contemplating - An important long-term project. I'm not being secretive, but before I write about it, I have to make plans and work out the details because I really want to succeed. I hope that even mentioning it here will help me stick to it and be accountable. 

What's going on in your world right now?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday.

My knitting is not particularly exciting since last week. I've only got nine more teeth on my Hitchhiker because knitting time this week has been limited to a few minutes here and there. Better a little bit than none, and I have high hopes for the upcoming long holiday weekend.

Current reading is also not going to provide many thrills; it is the same three books I mentioned yesterday. I'm anxious to finish The Chalk Artist because I mainly want to just get it done and move on to something better. My high hopes for good reading this weekend are with Bambi's Children and Whispers Under Ground.

My high hopes for Book Bingo reading beyond the weekend got a boost when Mary suggested Cutting for Stone for the "More than 500 pages" square, and since we're all part of a blogging family, I'm taking her great review of A Full Life as a recommendation from a family member. The idea of knitting and reading on the porch with an ice-cold shandy is going to carry me through the next few days to Friday and a loonngg weekend.

What are you knitting and reading this week (and weekend)?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Summer Book Bingo ... So Far

Mary's Summer Book Bingo started May 27, so I thought it was time for an update after a month of reading. I've finished eight books, am currently reading three, and am still enjoying looking for the ideal books to fill my remaining squares. I've added my star ratings below, but since your mileage may vary, I've linked to the goodreads book description so you can judge for yourself it it's a book that might interest you.

Moments of Seeing - 4 stars

Option B - 4 stars, and I was surprised I liked it as much as I did.

Bambi - 5 stars; this is one of my favorites so far.

Moon Over Soho - 4 stars

Chemistry - 3 stars

Before Green Gables - 3 stars, nothing compares to the original.

Mercies in Disguise - 3 stars

The Verdict - 2 stars, ugh! (But thriller is just not my genre.)

Currently Reading:

The Chalk Artist - I thought this book was mainly about a chalk artist, but it's taken a crazy turn to include virtual reality and video gaming; I have no clue where it will end up.

Bambi's Children - Because I loved Bambi so much, I had to find a way to include this one in Book Bingo. I'm very grateful that I have the "Backlist from an author you read for another square" square!

Whispers Under Ground - Book 3 in the Rivers of London series; Ryan assures me it's one of the best.

Book Bingo runs through September 4, so we've all got plenty of time. I'm glad of that because I have the "More than 500 pages" square on my card and plan on reading Centennial (with 909 pages). I've started it twice before but never been able to get very far into it, so I hope the third time is the charm.

If you've read anything really good lately, I'd love to hear about it. I hope everyone is finding some time to enjoy a bit of summer reading whether it's for Book Bingo or not. A hammock or porch swing is even more enjoyable with a cold beverage and a good book!

Monday, June 26, 2017


The weekend in photos.
A picture is worth a thousand words, or I'm just too lazy to come up with too many words on a Monday? I'll let you decide!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Bloom ...


Where you're planted!

I'm not sure if this struggling sunflower is the result of some strategically-placed bird poop or a squirrel raiding the bird feeder,
 but it's growing out of the top of a stone pillar in our front wall.

I can hardly believe it will actually bloom, but it sure has been doing a good job
 of growing for almost three weeks now. We shall see ...

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Think Write Thursday

The Think Write Thursday topic for today is to write about your three favorite things to wear.

I work from home and rarely have occasion to dress up, so the clothing that I wear now is fairly boring. It's jeans, a blouse, and hitchhiker scarves in the winter, and short overalls in the summer. (I literally work in the field and overalls give me lots of pockets for carrying lots of things.) So, I'm going to interpret this topic as the three favorite things I've worn throughout my life. They're probably not any more fashionable than what I wear now, but they were more fun.

First Favorite: The multi-colored, flowered bell-bottoms that my Grandmother sewed for me.

Girls wearing pants was a big deal to my father and school, so I was only allowed to wear them as "play clothes" at home,
and bell-bottoms were absolutely forbidden ( I have no idea why). In 1967, my grandmother made these for me and I loved them. 

I wore them as often as I could, while eating cheese steaks on the floor

and celebrating our cat's birthday with my sister.

Second Favorite: My Southern Belle outfit

We lived in Florida for a few years while John was working on his Master's degree and I had a job in the lab at Tampa General Hospital. Every single one of of my lab colleagues was from the South, and they were fascinated by my northern accent and speech. They tried to get me to use "y'all" instead of "you guys", and wondered why I never said "Bless your heart". When we had a Halloween party I thought the best costume for me would be a Southern belle with a hoop skirt. I was pretty as a peach!

Favorite Number Three: My graduation gown

I got my Master's in Syracuse at SUNY Upstate Medical University, but had decided not to walk at graduation. My family asked (some might say practically begged) me to participate and promised they would come for the occasion, so I grudgingly signed up. There was a family kerfuffle and I ended up attending graduation and walking across the stage all by myself without any family members in the audience. I was upset for a long time, but now I like the photo as it reminds me of hard work, perseverance, and maybe even a little forgiveness.

Bonus Favorite: Glinda costume

I've posted this photo several times before, but have to include my Glinda costume in any list of my favorite things to wear. 

I can't wait to see everyone else's three favorite things to wear!

Read other Think ... Write ... Thursday! posts here, and sign up for Carole and Kat's great idea here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday.

There was unraveling this past week, but it was for a good purpose. After digging through my stash, I sat down and knit an experimental swatch with all the colors I was considering for a Match and Move.

The black and white photo looks like they all might have enough contrast, except the black and blue at the bottom. (I'm not sure what I was thinking with that combination!) Originally I was contemplating just two colors, but now I can see several options with three or four colors. There are too many choices, so I'll need to think about this for a while.

This was what my knitting chair looked like, so after I took photos, unraveled the swatch, carefully wound the three unwound skeins, and put them all away, I wound my Birthday Cake yarn and started a Hitchhiker. There has been some unraveling there also because I wasn't paying attention and split the yarn on several rows. I've found that it's best to enjoy only one vodka gimlet if I'm Hitchhiking! Unraveling fixed things and I'm back on track.

In the reading department, I finished Moon Over Soho and Bambi, and started Option B and Bambi's Children, all for Book Bingo. This has happened in previous years with Book Bingo; the time comes when I look at my card, see that I've finished several books, but also notice that I've got a lot more to go for a cover-all. I'll just keep reading (since that's what I would do anyway, even if I wasn't participating in Summer Book Bingo).

What are you knitting and reading this week?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Two on Tuesday

I found the fawns and there are two of them! I expected the family to head to the woods after a few weeks,
 but they seem to like the area. 

(I thought about the family while I was reading Bambi, and will probably call the fawns Gino and Gurri since I've started Bambi's Children.)

Monday, June 19, 2017

No Laundry ...

No cooking, no Netflix, no air conditioner, and sadly, my plans included all of these on Saturday.

We heard several loud explosions on Saturday morning, lost power, then heard the fire and rescue squad sirens. That combination never bodes well, and it turns out that this happened:

There is construction going on in a lot about a block behind us, and the bulldozer operator hit the electric wires, blowing the transformers and blasting two electric poles apart. I still haven't found out details, but I sincerely hope the bulldozer driver is okay.

We were without power for about 18 hours, and I couldn't do any of my planned activities, so I had to spend the day reading, knitting, and facing the hardship of making drinks without a blender. It was tough, but I persevered. We were also without electricity to run the sump pump, and that made for a tense afternoon during some torrential deluges, but we were lucky enough to avoid a flooded cellar.

Our power was back on Sunday morning, so I got to do lots of laundry, make lasagna, turn on the air conditioner, watch some Netflix, and even use the blender. All in all it wasn't a half bad weekend, and I now have completed laundry and a new appreciation for working electricity. I hope your weekend was a good one!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Walk with Intent

Last week when I posted some quick photos of our trip to Fort Collins, several people wondered about these things.
Today I'll tell you about them. 

At the end of Ryan's first year in CO, he was recruited to be part of the prospective graduate students' visit. This is three days of providing the next cohort of grad. students with information about the program, the university, Fort Collins itself, food, and beer. While he leapt at the chance to use the department credit card for entertainment and enjoy some free food and beer himself, he was also in charge of showing the prospective students some of the area's wonderful outdoor activities. He chose one of Fort Collins' 46 Natural Areas for a 9.6 mile hike. While the students seemed to prefer food and beer over a long hike, Ryan came to love the place.

Some of it was the hike, varied views, and quiet solitude, and some of it was the prospect of finding things. He spotted one of these buried in the trail, dug it out, and was surprised to find that it was a round lead ball. He found several more during that hike, took us on our next visit, and we've been hooked ever since.

Our best guess is that these are lead balls that were used in black powder rifles. Cylindrical pointed bullets began to be used around 1825, so these may have been used around that time. We haven't been able to find any historical facts, but have had fun speculating about people shooting at buffalo or target practice with their muzzle loaders. It's hard to explain, but there is just something about searching for an object that is partially hidden, rare, hard to find, and old, and quite gratifying if you can actually find one.

We've collected 91 of them over the past four years, and the photo at the top shows our best day so far with 31 of them from our latest visit. We count the "splatted" ones that actually hit something, and even shards. They look like stones, but as soon as you pick them up, you can tell that they're made of lead by their weight. Ryan is the winner with the most found, followed by John, Justin, and I think I've contributed four to our overall total. This could be due to the fact that I get frustrated when I don't find any and concentrate more on the views, wildlife, wildflowers, and paying attention so I don't step on a snake.

Every time we head out we talk about how we've surely found most of the lead balls we're going to find and maybe we'll have to use a metal detector some day. We haven't yet resorted to this because it would feel like cheating and we found more on this latest visit than ever before. For now, it's fun to walk with intent, and share our finds as a family.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Birthday Presents and Birthday Cake

Yesterday I told you about buying some yarn at The Loopy Ewe, today I'll confess to the rest of it.

Ryan and I wandered around the store for quite a while and had decided on two skeins of Hedgehog Fibres sock and three skeins of Uncommon Thread Everyday Singles, but then we spied the Wollmeise and Fresh From the Cauldron skeins. I put our first choices back and happily purchased the ones I wrote about yesterday.

We were sitting at dinner, and Ryan (excellent yarn-chooser and enabler extraordinaire) mentioned that he had been thinking about our first yarn choices and wondered if I should have gotten them. I pack in only a carry on bag, so I knew I didn't have one bit of extra space for more yarn beyond what I had already purchased, and then there was the cost of more yarn ...

Some birthday presents to open!

But the more I thought about it, the more I convinced myself that I needed more yarn. Ryan pointed out that the timing was right and one of the colorway names seemed like it was meant to be, so I went ahead and ordered the yarn, had The Loopy Ewe ship it, and it arrived on my doorstep before I did.

Happy 60th Birthday to me!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A True Unraveled Wednesday

I'm joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday. 

When Ryan chose the graduate program at CSU, my first reaction was happiness that he would be working on his PhD at a school that was an excellent fit for him. My next reaction was dismay that it was 1700 miles away, but that was later followed by excitement because Fort Collins is also the home of The Loopy Ewe. As much fun as it is to shop with them on line, it's overwhelmingly wonderful in person.

I have shopped at this terrific store every time I've visited Ryan, and have more yarn than I need, so this time I told myself I was only going to buy one skein of sock yarn. [Insert peals of hysterical laughter here.] Ryan is an excellent yarn-chooser, and even though he helped me choose too many skeins, I just had to get them all.

Lynn, the Loopy Office Manager, checked me out and of course asked what I was planning to make with my yarn. When I told her I didn't know yet, she offered a great idea. There is a lovely Match and Move displayed right by the front door, and Lynn went right over to show me how it is knit, how my Fresh From the Cauldron and Wollmeise could work together, and just what a great shawl it is. I was so excited about my yarn and the whole experience of shopping at TLE that I didn't take any photos. I was very tempted to wind the skein of Wollmeise when we were on the plane in Denver and delayed due to lightning in the vicinity, but I did muster enough patience to wait until I got home to wind the yarn and cast on.

I gave it a few rows past the color change and admitted that these two yarns are not meant to be used together. There isn't enough contrast between them; in fact, I can barely see the difference no matter how much I try to convince myself. I love the Match and Move pattern, just not with these two yarns.

I will be unraveling as soon as I post this, and getting started on Plan B. I also came up with Plan C, and have high hopes that one (or maybe even both) of the alternatives will work.

Thanks to Ryan and Lynn for inspiring me to knit something besides a Hitchhiker, and thanks to Kat for Unraveled Wednesday so I can look at unraveling in a happier way!