Friday, March 30, 2018

Right Now March 2018

From last year, but hopefully we'll see this soon!

Here's what is going on for me Right Now as we near the end of March ...

Looking Forward To - Heading north to visit Justin this weekend! I'm feeling like I desperately need some time away, so this is going to be wonderful. 

Looking Forward To # 2 - A day when I don't have to deal with the bureaucracy and complicated paperwork of settling an estate. It's overwhelming on some days, but thankfully I had a respite yesterday. Fingers crossed that today's mail doesn't bring another batch of forms to fill out and get Medallion Signature Guarantee stamps. 

Knitting - The Match & Move I showed you on Wednesday and a Hitchhiker that just says Spring to me.

Reading - Re-listening to Eleanor Oliphant and I'm getting so much more out of it the second time around. I think Raven Black and/or The Weight of Ink will be up next.

Appreciating - This neat little browser add-on, Library Extension. I use it with Chrome and when I'm looking at books on goodreads, Amazon, or Audible, it shows me if the book is available at the libraries I use, along with a button to borrow or place a hold on the books. I used to spend lots of time going back and forth between goodreads and library tabs, so this extension has been quite helpful. My libraries were not initially among the supported library systems, but I sent an email and they were added within an hour. Here's what it looks like for Educated by Tara Westover:

Not Succumbing To - Jelly beans. I really like them, but I've made a renewed promise to myself to take my health seriously and pay attention to what I eat. I've resisted buying any so far, and I hope that by the end of next week they'll be gone from the stores and I will no longer be tempted.

Reveling In -  Prolonged daylight! I've made John take a walk almost every evening, rain drizzle or shine. 

Drinking - I've been enjoying my usual Celestial Seasoning Peppermint, but need to add something new, preferably uniquely good-tasting with words of wisdom on the tag. I welcome your recommendations!

Planning - Starting my tomato, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and pepper seeds for the garden. They'll be in their little cups under the grow lights by the middle of next week. Maybe I'll even plant a few annual flower seeds and see what I get.

What's going on in your world right now?

I have some things to take care of early next week, so I won't be around Monday through Wednesday, but hope to be back by Thursday. I wish you a Happy Easter, Passover, César Chávez Day, weekend, spring, or whatever you might be celebrating. Make it a good one!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Three on Thursday

Joining Kat and Carole for Three on Thursday, and today it's with some music.

Most of my listening is in the form of audiobooks, but I do occasionally have some music in my ears. Justin listens to music almost all day, every day, and I'm lucky that he often sends me Spotify links via Messenger (often from his Discover Weekly playlist). I love opening them up, listening, and adding them to my "From Justin" playlist. They're always new and very different from my usual listens. Here are three songs direct from Justin; two are from when I was with him in his truck and took photos so I wouldn't forget the titles, and the last one is an interesting speech/music combination he wanted me to listen to on his xbox. 


This is just a nice song that is fun to sing in the kitchen while I'm making dinner.


A poignant reminder of what we've lost in Afghanistan. 


This one surprised me the most, but Justin says it's helped him more than once to to get motivated to do what needed to be done. I found out it also helps me to get out there and walk when it's much easier to sit and knit.


I can't say that any of these are going to be daily listens for me; I'm pretty well stuck in the 70s and 80s when it comes to music (except for Jason Isbell). I mainly love that Justin shares his interests with me, and it's also proof that an old dog can listen to new things!
Head on over here to read more Three on Thursday posts.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday.

Today's knitting is a slightly larger Match & Move. The yarns looked practically perfect together in the skein, but I wasn't sure if I liked the second color (Wollmeise Pure in Spice Schwammerl) once I started knitting with it. It is growing on me a bit, and with just six more rows before I go back to the first color (Leading Men Fiber Arts in Copper Cloud), I'm going to reserve judgement for now. The rows are really fun to knit and go relatively quickly; I just need more knitting time. (Don't we all?!)

I'm re-listening to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and it pleases me that my knitting and reading match color-wise. I'm finding Eleanor and her circumstances even more poignant this time around. Slowing down my reading, really paying attention, and savoring this book has been a very good thing for me.

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Made by Hand

Kym's spinning wheel got me thinking about the handmade treasures here in my house. I'm lucky enough to have some creative and crafty family members, past and present, so I'm going to occasionally "show and tell" you about a few of the things they've made by hand.

I'm not much for keeping little tchotchkes around, mainly because I'm not a terrific housekeeper and they need to be dusted. I do have a small desk in the kitchen (the desk's made by hand story is here if you're interested), and the shelf on top is an ideal place to display some things that are important enough that I'm even willing to dust them (just not very often).

There are lots of memories displayed there, but today is about the two little wooden boxes. My grandfather was a shop teacher and it always seemed to me that he could make anything out of wood - coasters, salt and pepper shakers, chairs, desks, beds, even my grandparents' house. Not only was he an extraordinary maker, he also used every scrap possible. These two boxes are good examples.

He made these boxes from cut-off bed posts. The larger one came from a high-top bed that was in my grandparents' spare room. It was always a treat to be able to sleep in the bed when we visited, and the box was on the nightstand. I loved hearing my grandfather tell the story of how they tried to move his parents' bed into that room after he had built the house, but the posts were too tall to fit. He cut them off and then use a lathe to turn a box and a lid. The wood is lovely, smooth, and feels wonderful in your hand. As part of the story, he always used to show me the three little lathe chuck holes on the bottom of the box.

The smaller box is also a cut-off bed post, but sadly, I don't remember the whole story and don't know why this one was removed. I do remember my grandfather saying that he couldn't use the lathe for that one because it was too small, and he had to carve it instead. That's why the underside just shows the cut-off wooden support in the middle that was part of the bedpost and no lathe holes.

I wish I had asked my grandfather more about the techniques he used, but as a young child I was more fascinated by these wonderful little boxes than details about how they had been made. Sometimes special treasures are held within boxes, but I think these boxes are treasures themselves.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Judge a Book By Its Cover

Over the weekend I was looking for a book that fit my mood, and I was considering a re-read of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. I listened to it at the end of 2017 and gave it four stars, but I've been thinking that it really is a book that deserves a slower and more thoughtful listen. I'm not sure I really plumbed the depths of Eleanor and her story the first time.

While I was searching, I came across three versions of the book and was struck by how much the covers differ, and what each cover conveys to me.

Hardcover, May 2017, Viking

Paperback, May 2017, Viking

Paperback, May 2017, Harper Collins

There are also some interesting foreign language editions.

In the end, it was these two editions that convinced me a re-read was in order. I read the book only three months ago, but embarrassingly enough, I can't remember a thing about jaguars or flamingos. Clearly they figure into the story somehow because they're featured prominently on several covers.

Covers are important to me as I think they can reveal quite a bit about what is inside and set the tone before you even open the book. I started reading the Harry Potter series with the UK edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, cover art by Thomas Taylor. While I like the US covers illustrated by Mary GrandPré, they always feel a bit like second best to me. When I re-read The Shell Seekers, it is always the beautiful 1989 floral hardcover version.

So right or wrong, I do judge a book by its cover. (And I changed the artwork on the Eleanor Oliphant file in itunes to the Harper Collins paperback cover above. I think it's genius!)

Friday, March 23, 2018

Spring is Here!

Over the past week or so, I've been going through the photos I had posted on facebook, downloading some and deleting many. Apparently I felt the need to let people know that I made soup, bread, pie, or mowed the lawn when I first signed up eight years ago. But I also found some roses among all the thorns; while they're not literally roses, they are photos of some lovely spring flowers. This year, my snowdrops got crushed under snow from one of the Nor'easters; the next storm smothered the crocuses, and I'm not sure how my daffodils will fare under the weight of this latest snow. But these photos remind me that spring will come and flowers will bloom. Sorry, Cambridge Analytica, no signs of spring for you! :-)

I hope there are plenty of blossoms along with the joy they bring in your weekend!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Three from Wednesday

My plans did unravel a bit yesterday, and I never got a chance to post. So for today's Three on Thursday I'm going to give you three things that happened yesterday that I was going to include in my Unraveled Wednesday post. Cheating or efficiency? I'll let you be the judge. :-)

This picture doesn't pertain to the post, but it's all I've got this morning, and it reminds me of spring!

1.  My mother-in-law has been in the hospital since Monday the 12th, hoping that some intensive care could get her well enough to undergo a cardiac catheterization so would have a better idea of any treatment options. She was all set to undergo the procedure this Monday the 19th, but her kidney function was still not good enough to withstand the dye that would have to be injected. The doctors finally decided to do it yesterday, the day with 12-16" of snow in the forecast.

2.  After dithering about whether I should go to the hospital or not, I finally decided I would give it a try. It seemed important to my mil that somebody was there with her, and since nobody else could do it, that somebody was me. I got there after she had already gone into the cath. lab, but I asked a nurse to let her know I was there, and then waited with my knitting. 

3.  I sat in the waiting room long enough that I finished
The Winter King. I was able to give my mil a hug before she returned to her room and I started a somewhat treacherous drive home. I got home safely, shoveled the first 12" of snow, then shoveled another 7" this morning. I may be suffering from both storm fatigue and hospital fatigue, so today is for watching English gardening shows on Netflix and knitting as much as possible.

Head on over here to read more Three on Thursday posts.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Daphne Does It Again

During this past week, the blossoms on Daphne's first flower stalk faded, but there were four buds waiting to burst into bloom on the second stalk. They did, and they are glorious.

Her first bunch of flowers provided me with joy and wonder every day, and these are doing the same. 

John wondered why I was taking more photos of Daphne than I ever took of our kids (not true!) but when I tried to explain that I just wanted to show her blossoms, markings, color, and beauty in the best possible light, he shook his head and walked away. I'm not bothered by this at all as I don't take criticism of my flower photos from someone who has plenty of pictures of his boring old trucks and motorcycles. 

I'm afraid this might be her last blaze of glory for this year, so I'll admit I spent lots of time trying to capture just how beautiful she really is. It's never quite possible with a photograph, but I'll always remember Daphne, the perfect amaryllis at the perfect time. Thank you, Kym, for one of the most wonderful gifts I've been given!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Sometimes Monday ...

... is for moving on and starting anew.

Every one of us is called upon, probably many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis, a marriage, a move, loss of a job. And onward full tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in spite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another – that is surely the basic instinct . . . Crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is. 
~ Barbara Kingsolver

Friday, March 16, 2018

All My Ducks In a Row

This cupboard is against the wall directly opposite my knitting chair, and the other day I found myself thinking that if only I had some Steiff ducks I could write a post about having all my ducks in a row. There aren't any ducks in my collection but I'm going to show you a few of the other animals I do have. 

Cleaning out the house after my mother passed away 16 years was a momentous task, and after a while all the items we were going through just seemed like more stuff to me. One of the very few things I did save was my mother's collection of Steiff stuffed animals from her childhood. I also had some of my own as a child so our collections have become intermingled.

While I don't have any ducks, I do have many more rabbits than I remembered. The reclining rabbit was my mother's and always strikes me as a bit funny; I've never seen a rabbit take that position in real life but he's still adorable.

The two large bears also belonged to my mother, but the small ones are mine. I remember saving my babysitting money for them and giving them places of honor on my dresser. I thought the little brown bears and pandas were especially cute, and truthfully they were the only ones I could afford with babysitting wages.

And then there are these favorites -- Joggi the hedgehog, Flossy the fish, and the unnamed owls. I saved for a loonngg time to buy Joggi and the owls, and Flossy was my mother's. I don't know why I enjoyed these Steiff animals so much (and still do), but they are a nice reminder of my mother and something we shared. I also like that it's a contained collection that only takes up a small amount of space and still continues to bring me joy every day.

I think the phrase "all my ducks in a row" came to mind because for the first time in six months or more I am feeling like I can breathe deeply, worry a bit less, and appreciate a sense of peacefulness in my life. I hope all your bunnies, bears, hedgehogs, fish, and owls are in a row, and you can also experience some deep breaths, contentment, and peace.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Three on Thursday

Joining Kat and Carole for Three on Thursday.

Today, three signs of spring. Pussy willows, hyacinths, 

and of course, taxes. Progress has been made!

Head on over here to read more Three on Thursday posts.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday.

It turns out that not having electricity last week meant that I couldn't fritter away time online, leaving much more time to knit. That means I finally finished my gradient hitchhiker. I had to dig out Justin's headlamp to provide light, but knitting by the fire with a warm pile of wool on my lap and plenty of focused light on my needles was a surprisingly nice way to knit. All the snow we got provided a handy background for highlighting all the lovely blues.

Just like Daphne the amaryllis, my joy with this hitchhiker compelled me to take loads of photos.

See that heart in the middle? That's to show how much I love this hitchhiker and all the memories it holds. 

Margene has always called her Bluetiful and now I do, too. 

What are you making this week?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Amaryllis Watch

Without electricity I couldn't post last week, but since I could still charge my phone at the library, I took plenty of pictures of Daphne. So for this week's amaryllis watch you get twice the photos!

She was busy showing off her absolutely gorgeous blossoms last week,

along with her second bud and the promise of more flowers to come.

This week her first blooms are just beginning to fade the tiniest bit around the edges,

but are still so beautiful that I just can't resist taking multiple photos each day.

The bud on the second stalk is starting to open with a beguiling peek of what's to come next week.

More exquisite loveliness!