Monday, April 30, 2018

Random Scenes From the Weekend

This weekend began with a beautiful 72 degree day on Saturday; that meant lots of laundry as I made the annual transition from flannel sheets back to regular sheets. In between loads of laundry I did lots of yardwork - clearing leaves out of beds, weeding, pruning roses, mums, and hydrangeas, and dealing with my excess columbine seedlings.

When Ryan moved to Colorado, it seemed as if I saw columbines almost everywhere and I was entranced. I bought some seeds, planted them in pots indoors, and carefully tended them for almost two years before I thought they were ready to plant in beds outside. I attributed my success to all the loving care I lavished on my seeds, but now I have to laugh at how easy they really are to start. I have hundreds of volunteers growing in between the stones in the garden path, so I dug out quite a few of them to transplant to a relatively bare bed. I know that more columbines means even more volunteers sprouting where I don't want them next year, but too many columbines is a better problem than not enough.

 My amaryllis is blooming again, at the end of April! It's a true wonder to see.

I also have a slightly confused Easter cactus just starting to bloom and covered with buds. No complaints here; I'll take blossoms wherever and whenever I can get them.

I needed to get a sympathy card and because our Hallmark store is crammed full of every kind of knick-knack and tchotchke imaginable, I had some fun looking around.

If anyone needs a large stuffed sloth (cute or creepy? I can't decide), just let me know. 

Sunday was cold and chilly so I was just puttering around inside when Justin arrived for a very quick visit. He's been trying to convince me that I need an xbox one, and once he explained I could use it for Netflix, Amazon video, and Spotify, we headed to GameStop. I am now the proud owner of a used console, and Justin even help me set it up. 

He played a few of his video games, "just to make sure everything works, Mom", but I'm hopeful that I'll be able to finish my sister's socks even more quickly knitting along with my Spotify knitting playlists. 

Truer words were never stitched on a tea towel!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Better Late Than Never

A while ago, Carole posted about finding a nearly-completed pair of socks while cleaning up her craft room, and she just finished them on vacation. I had cleaned out my stash and ufos about six months ago, so I was fairly sure that the sock knitting fairy had not hidden a pair of socks in my craft closet. This morning I decided to take a look - you know, just in case. And look what I found!

A promising project bag!

I found a pattern, a few pattern notes that don't make much sense, and best of all, a sock that only needs the toes grafted and the half-completed second sock! 

While I'm thrilled to find my own pair of almost-done socks, the details are a bit quite embarrassing. I started these socks for my sister many years ago, so long ago that I'm not even going to write the year. Let's just say that the project is way down in the first row of my ravelry notebook. Now that I've posted this photo, I really do need to finish them. So, sorry for the delay, Jill. I guess it's better to receive long-promised socks later than never. Or, like Dad used to say, I'd rather owe you socks than cheat you out of them. :-)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Poem in Your Pocket

As Kym has so kindly reminded us, today is National Poem in Your Pocket Day. I don't think carrying a poem in your pocket, purse, backpack, or anywhere else is ever a bad thing, and I love the idea of a special day to share poetry with each other.

My choice to share with you today reflects the many funerals I've attended recently - three so far since February, one this afternoon, and the fifth one is Monday morning. I don't think this poem is morbid, but instead it strikes me as almost amusing because it's so universally true. If anything, this poem makes me slightly less sad about funerals; life does go on.

A Funeral ~ Wislawa Szymborska
Translated from the Polish by Mikołaj Sekrecki

"so suddenly, who would've expected this"
"stress and cigarettes, I was warning him"
"fair to middling, thanks"
"unwrap these flowers"
"his brother snuffed because of his ticker too, must be running in the family"
"I'd never recognise you with your beard"
"it's all his fault, he was always up to some funny business"
"the new one was to give a speech, can't see him, though"
"Kazek's in Warsaw and Tadek abroad"
"you're the only wise one here, having an umbrella"
"it won't help him now that he was the most talented of them all"
"that's a connecting room. Baśka won't like it"
"he was right, true, but that's not the reason for"
"with door varnishing, guess how much"
"two eggs and a spoonful of sugar"
"none of his business, what was the point then"
"blue and small sizes only"
"five times and never a single answer"
"I'll give you that, I could've, but so could you"
"so good at least she had that job"
"I've no idea, must be relatives"
"the priest, very much like Belmondo"
"I've never been to this part of the cemetery"
"I saw him in my dream last week, must've been a premonition"
"pretty, that little daughter"
"we're all going to end up this way"
"give mine to the widow, I've got to hurry to"
"but still it sounded more solemn in Latin"
"you can't turn back the clock"
"how about a beer"
"give me a ring, we'll have a chat"
"number four or number twelve"
"me, this way"
"we, that way".


And because I also wanted to share a shorter poem in person today, I printed out copies of this one and tucked them into the books in our Little Free Library in the park across the street. I also left one in my mailbox, so I'll be interested to see the mailman's reaction. Here's hoping that people enjoy a nice, concise poem that still makes you think.

The Three Oddest Words ~ Wislawa Szymborska

When I pronounce the word Future,
the first syllable already belongs to the past.
When I pronounce the word Silence,
I destroy it.
When I pronounce the word Nothing,
I make something no non-being can hold.

I hope you have (and share) a poem in your pocket today!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday.

I have spent much of my knitting time over the last few days unraveling yet again, ripping, and tinking, just like last week. It turns out I missed a slip, slip, knit waayy back, but now I'm back on track. So 96 rows back, 22 rows forward, and hopefully I've learned enough to pay attention and won't have to unravel that much again. I certainly understand the pattern much better and what the ssk and the two kfbs are doing in each row after unraveling so many of them. :-)

My reading is also déjà vu all over again, with Us Against You on my Kindle and Foolproof in real book form. I'm anxious to finish at least one of them because The Feather Thief looks so intriguing to me that I want to drop everything else and read it - right now.

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, April 24, 2018


I was checking out a new-to-me library yesterday and came across a book of poetry from one of my favorite poets, Wislawa Szymborska. When I took the book off the shelf, it fell open to this poem. I took it as a clear sign that I needed to share.


I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love's concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms' fairy tales to the newspapers' front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes, since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven't mentioned here
to many things I've also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Sometimes Monday ...

... finds you in a different place.

I'm not trying to be cryptic on purpose; I just don't have details on this whole situation yet. I will share them with you as soon as I do. :-)

But in the mean time, they do have some great new-to-me beer here!

I hope your weekend was filled with some new (and hopefully good) surprises!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Let Them Eat Cake

I've been working on organizing digital photos (still and always), and when I came across folders labeled "Food", "Baking", and "Cakes Cookies Pie", I decided that some of these might be worth a blog post.

Our whole family loves cake (like most families!), and since I like to bake, it was nice when the boys were young and lived at home. I used to use almost any excuse reason to bake a cake, and my two growing boys were always willing to eat cake.

You did well on a spelling or math test? Let's celebrate with cake!

If you got a 5 on your AP Chemistry and Calculus exams, you deserve a cherry cheesecake.

Justin wanted to practice baking a German apple torte for home ec. extra credit, so he did the baking; all I had to do was get some ice cream to go with it.

And then there were birthdays. While this one didn't involve baking, the boys decorated the ice cream cake for John's 94th birthday (which may have actually been his 49th).

Ryan baked my birthday cake, and decorated it with chocolate syrup. (It was delicious!)

Ryan celebrated his 19th birthday in the fall of his freshman year at college. It was his first birthday away from home, so I made his cake and took it to Gettysburg. Have cake, will travel.

And then there was the cell cake. Justin had a biology assignment to make a cell using materials of his choosing, and he chose cake.

I baked the cake, but he decorated it with a cookie nucleus, green gumdrop chloroplasts, fruit leather vacuole, licorice Golgi apparatus, pink taffy mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell!), icing for the endoplasmic reticulum, and sprinkle ribosomes. You can tell it's a plant cell by the yellow fruit rollup cell membrane and the outer green cell wall.

My weekend may need some cake, and I hope there is some in yours also!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Three on Thursday

While I don't think Carole is hosting Three on Thursday today because she's kicking her heels up in new cowboy boots on vacation in Nashville, I do have three things to share today that are blooming here in my yard. This is not to rub salt into the winter wounds of those that still have or are getting snow, but hopefully they might be a small reminder that spring will eventually show up in your neighborhood, no matter where you live.

I've got grape hyacinths,

my favorite bleeding hearts, 

 and the cheeriest of flowers - daffodils.

And for a bonus fourth sign of spring, while I know these tiny green leaves aren't technically blossoms, I just have to celebrate the first sprouts of my mint. I'm looking forward to mint tea (and maybe even a mint julep) in a month or two.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday.

I was happily knitting along on my Match & Move last night, having completed the most recent Copper Cloud section and started again with Spice Schwammerl, when I felt something funny.  Examining it closely, I knew I had once again made a mistake, but I couldn't rip down because I wasn't even sure what I had done. 

So I did some actual unraveling this morning.

The stitches are back on the needles and I'm ready to proceed - a bit more carefully this time. This is a simple pattern, but this is also the second time I've made a mistake and had to rip back. There just may be some sort of lesson here (like pay attention)!

I'm also trying to pay attention to my reading. I've complained to several people about being in a reading slump, so I went to the library, perused shelves without overthinking, and came home with some books that looked interesting. I've started the first of these, Foolproofand this mathematical nonfiction may be just what I need. I'm also lucky enough to have an advance copy of the second book in the Beartown trilogy, Us Against You. Both of these books are providing good reasons to pay close attention.

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Poetry at Home

April is National Poetry Month and I spent some time yesterday looking through my bookshelves. Poetry has often brought a sense of peace, solace during difficult times, and I often feel wonder at how poets can express emotions so beautifully and completely. Sometimes they can even adroitly point out things you didn't even know you were feeling. I only have a few volumes of poems on my shelves and nothing really struck me. Then I remembered I am lucky enough to be the mother of poets.

Ryan wrote this as a school assignment back in sixth grade. His teacher was taken with the imagery, submitted it to Creative Kids magazine, and he became a published author. I remember reading this for the first time and shedding some tears myself, thankful for being able to see things through his eyes, and that he could describe a perfectly average scene from his window so beautifully. I'm not impartial in any way, but I do love this poem. In honor of National Poetry Month, my oldest poet son who still has a way with words, I'm sharing:

 Gutter Filled With White Flakes

Gutter filled with white flakes as they billowed out-
ward, roof dappled with melting snow. I sat watching
 birds. By chance, I saw them, flooding by like water in
 the rapids, rippling, fluttering about madly as dragon- 
flies. Small, dark, brown birds with tan flecks all down
their bodies ending in bristled curls on their tails. One
halted its skyward ascent to sit on the edge of the
snow-filled gutter. A twig snapped above the bird's
head and plummeted. The bird, startled, slapped its
wings and gracefully soared away from its certain peril. 
One bird gone, yet another replaced it almost immedi-
ately, squatting down, making itself look ever more
pudgy, so pudgy in fact, that I almost had to laugh. 
That bird's visit, too, was cut short. A heavy truck rum-
bled down the road startling the bird, it drove onward 
in its trek to an unknown destination. A cardinal sits
on a tree branch, tree's trunk striped with ribbons of
rolling droplets as if in tears, weeping with sorrow 
at the cardinal's departure. As the smudges of dirt with 
which my window is speckled begin to cloud my view, 
I begin to slip into the world of knowingness. I turn
away, in tears, vowing to look back on this day and
behold again all the glory and peace it brought.

Justin wrote a lot during his high school years. Most of his writing was penned only for himself, privately filling many journals. He wrote this one in high school and it was published in the school literary magazine. He told me the other day that he is still writing poetry, and this makes me and my heart happy. As his mother, I'm completely partial, but I do love this poem, even as it breaks my heart. In honor of National Poetry Month, my youngest poet son who has the ability to use just the right words and has things to teach me, I'm sharing: 

Callous Liasons


Struggling to hear
             Yearning for the words.
Why can't they say

We all covet it
At some point.
Sometimes at
             Arduous for some
             Effortless for others.

High school.
Should be simple,
             Not for me.
                          Not for them.

Not an ordinary
             Met once before
             Mesmerized then
                          Still now.
Must restrict myself
             But I asked.
I got an answer.

She said
             She must shout.
So my heart can hear
             The lethal response.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Weekend Wedding

My nephew got married last weekend, and it was a fun family affair. 

My SiL who performed the service, my nephew the groom, and the guy in the shades is my niece's husband.

The lovely young woman with the long blond hair is my niece (the groom's sister),
and the woman smiling with anticipation is my other SiL (the groom's mother).

There was also a beautiful bride, another back view of my SiL, and my sweet grandnephew.

We enjoyed being together with people we don't see often enough.

My BiL and Justin

My nephew, his wife and their son, and my SiL

My wonderful niece and her two handsome sons

Justin, John, me, and my MiL

We ate cake,


And had a lovely time. A cold font blew through during the reception, so we were all a bit surprised by the 40 degree drop in temperature when we left, but we had been blessed with a gorgeous, sunny, 82 degree day, fun with family, and a wonderful start to Levi and Adriana's lives together.

Friday, April 13, 2018

And So They Grow

My seedlings don't sing like John Denver's, but most of them are up and growing.


Napa cabbage

And this is pop corn!

I hope your weekend has some sunshine, warmth, and signs of spring.