Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Summer Break

I'm taking a bit of a summer break. I hope that when I return, there will be more sunflowers,

more Radler,

fewer beans to blanch,

and much less hazy, hot, and humid weather (and crankiness on my part). See you soon!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Sometimes Monday ...

... is a day to tear out beans. In a sign of slowly-approaching fall, they have slowed their production, and are beginning to senesce, so out they come. Pulling them out is kind of satisfying and there are still some big beans to be picked before the vines go on the compost pile.

It still feels very much like summer outdoors. It's already 80 degrees at 6:45 and the heat index is supposed to feel like 105 later, so I'm starting early. I hope your Monday is also off to a good, productive start, doing something where you can clearly see results!

Friday, August 16, 2019

The View From Here

This is the view from my kitchen window, looking over the ivy-covered fence toward my neighbors' house.

It's tough to read, even enlarged, but they've written "Change is Good" on a slate. It's gotten a little faded from recent rain, but I see this five or six times a day when I'm at the kitchen sink. I've thought about it a lot - Why would they choose to hang this directly in my sight line? Why did they write this statement on it? And is change really good?

Whatever the reasons, as someone who is resistant to change, just seeing this sign has made me think about change quite a bit. There are signs of it as summer slowly winds down, but I think it's more than that. I'm not sure what forms it might take, but stay tuned  as I read the writing on the wall and take heed.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Three on Thursday

Joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday, today with Three Reasons Why I Did Not Write An Unraveled Wednesday Post Yesterday.

1.  I thought I was getting tantalizingly close to a lighter green section of the sock blank, and if I just knit a little bit more it would be more interesting than another photo looking much the same as the previous ones. It turns out that was not really the case. 

2.  I let myself get waylaid by three loads of laundry, and then a washing machine that would not drain. The laundry is done, I've cleared the clog in the drain hose, and order has been restored to clean clothes world, but this took me several hours.

3.  Today is John's birthday and I baked him a cake. He's celebrating 72 happy years! (Just kidding.) It is his birthday, and he is a mere babe of 61, but he argued with me for far too long on my birthday this year that I was 65. I was actually 62, but it just makes me feel good to chuckle at a semi-private birthday joke. He never reads my blog, so I'm the only one who know I'm making the joke. Shh ... don't tell him!

Head on over to Carole's for more Three on Thursday thoughts.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Taco Tuesday

This place has been on Main Street in Flemington ever since we moved here 30 years ago. They made average pizza, but it was only one block away, so perhaps closeness made up for the ordinary pizza.

Jack has been trying to sell the business for at least two or three years. Imagine my surprise and delight when I saw that he had, and I was really excited when I saw the green posterboard sign in the window.

The new owner still makes pizza, but he's added tacos to the "Latino Menu". Last week I walked up to give the tacos a try.

I wasn't sure what to try first, so I got three Adovado and three Chorizo. Ryan laughed when I told him I was afraid they might be too much like Taco Bell because the picture on the menu was of hard-shelled tacos. In my mind, real tacos are on soft corn tortillas, and I wasn't disappointed.

They were delicious! The Adovado (also known as Adobada) were pork marinated in a red chile sauce. The Chorizo were just that, and I think they were my favorites.

I ate two Adovado and one Chorizo, saving the leftovers for lunch the next day. I wanted more tacos that evening, but I decided to wait. I have no idea why I made that dumb decision, because good tacos are hard to come by, and I think the new owner of Jack's may need all the support it can get (I'll have to ask his name next time). I'm ashamed to say that Flemington is a fairly intolerant place, and there is plenty of prejudice against "those people". This is what one of the borough committee members called Hispanics when they were discussing whether to print a change of day notice for garbage collection in Spanish.

But these tacos were "El Primo", just as advertised, and the next time I'm in Flemington, I'm going back to Jack's for more tasty tacos.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Could This Be a Trend?

Saturday was the second good mail day in a row!

This is a skein of Berry Colorful Yarnings Saturated Sock in the happy-making colorway called Happy Life. It's hard to find because sadly Berry Colorful Yarns has discontinued dyeing.

I had knit Ryan some fingerless mitts out of one skein I bought at The Loopy Ewe, and while I was knitting recently, an idea for another skein (possibly a two-color Hitchhiker) popped into my head. A search on Ravelry revealed a nice knitter who was willing to part with hers, and now it's mine!

The stripe colors remind me of the Obama Hope poster, so that's part of why this skein makes me happy. I don't think I'll be casting on in the near future, but for now a second good mail day and a second skein of Happy Life are enough to make me happy.

I hope your week is off to a happy, hopeful start!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Three on Thursday

Joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday, today with three books that I'm looking forward to. I was searching for a good audio book after I finished The Great Believers, and it seemed that all I could find were books that wouldn't be published until later in the fall. I figured I might as well get a blog post out of them (and did finally settle on The Lager Queen of Minnesota).

It's just a little over a month until The Testaments is published, Margaret Atwood's sequel to The Handmaid's Tale. I'm really looking forward to this, and also a little afraid. The Handmaid's Tale is dystopia, but becoming reality, so this book is bound to be disturbing. Somehow the back cover gives me a little hope.

Bill Bryson has a new book coming out on October 15th, The Body. I love his attention to detail, even minutiae, so I'm betting this will be one of my favorites. As much as I enjoy his books, I like his voice even more, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he himself will narrate the 17-hour audio book. 

Lastly is False Value, the eighth entry in the Rivers of London series that Ryan and I read together. It's urban fantasy, complete with wizards, magic, ghosts, and evil, but it's really fun. Of course, I've forgotten what went on in the seventh book, but this one won't be published until November, so there is plenty of time for a re-read. 

What are you looking forward to reading this fall?

Head on over to Carole's for more Three on Thursday thoughts.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday. I'm still plugging away on my repeat Hitchhiker, still in the dark green section, so there's not much new and exciting there. 

I'm not a great long-term monogamous knitter, so I've also been feeling the need for another project, and socks sound just about right. I found this bag without too much digging in my stash closet,

and it had this sock in it.

I started these more than two years ago as a project to work on when I took my father to doctor appointments, and there were a lot of appointments. (At one point he had twelve different doctors.) He got sicker and sicker, needed more attention, so there was less and less knitting until I finally put these away (but not before I had a wonderful experience related to them). So now I'm back to knitting a few calming rounds on this sock whenever I need a break from the Hitchhiker.

I finished Middlemarch and The Great Believers (both excellent!), so now in addition to Balance, I'm working on finishing Snowball in a Blizzard. It is a really good book, but it's also making me think long and hard about my own medical care. Sometimes it's difficult to read about just how much uncertainty there is in medicine, but for me it's still better to know than not to know, and be able to make educated decisions.

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Looking for Balance ...

... in books.

I'm focusing on balance this year, and thought I'd do a little catch-up on my efforts. So far I've added more poetry, gratitude, mindfulness, meditation, and just plain breathing to my life. As a reader, I've always felt that many answers lie in books, so this month I'm reading a few, specifically about balance.

I've just started listening to Balance by Suzie Doscher. The subtitle explains why I chose it: Finding Balance During Life's Difficult Moments. That seems to be exactly when I most need to remember balance and not let myself get way out of whack. Both of my kids have issues, and I have my own, so I've spent recent days worrying and playing that dangerous game - "what if?" This is the thought process where I head down the road of doom and gloom, imagining all kinds of not-delightful outcomes for myself and those I love and care about. So far, this book seems to be helping me with new ways to view things and the skills to see things differently.

Next on my list is Finding Your Emotional Balance by Merry Noel Miller. The author states that "women are busy trying to keep everyone happy while taking care of parents, spouses, and children. Sometimes, doing it all is doing too much." That sounds like my story for the past several years, so I'm looking forward to seeing what words of wisdom I might find here. 

I'll post reviews after I finish these and let you know if my abilities to balance various aspects of my life are continuing to improve. If you have any other suggestions for reading material, I'd love to hear them. Websites, articles, even fiction that includes balance as a theme are all welcome!

Monday, August 5, 2019

I Don't Like Spiders and Snakes

But I do like snake skins. When Justin was in Texas, he encountered lots of snakes, including rattlesnakes, water snakes, coachwhips, and huge indigo snakes like the one pictured here.

He taught himself how to tan snake skins, and I've written before about blocking one of the rattlesnake skins.

It turns out that New York isn't a lot different from Texas in terms of snakes. They also have plenty of rattlesnakes and have to be on the lookout for them every day. The timber rattlesnakes are on the threatened list in the state, so they can't be harmed, and they are just supposed to be moved out of the way with snake tongs. Funnily enough, it's not harm befalling the rattlesnakes that I worry about!

Justin was on the tractor in NY the other day and spied a copperhead, but they are not threatened. Now it's on my dining room wall, blocked and pinned.

I might even call it pretty, considering that it's a snake!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Three on Thursday

Joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday, today with three random bits.

I was happy to get a clean bill of health (so far, four months post-PE) from the hematologist in Elkton yesterday. I just have to keep taking my anticoagulant, go back for another doctor visit at the end of October, get a CT scan so they can check to make sure that the clots in my lungs are gone and there are no new ones, and then I can go on a maintenance dosage of the anticoagulant, and hopefully be done. So there are still several more months and tests to get through, and the doctor is considering if I can fly to CO in early October to see Ryan. I made my case by saying that I would be fully anticoagulated and would get up and walk around the aisle, but we'll see. There's always the train!

Since nobody at home even noticed (I'm looking at you, John and Justin), I'm sharing a picture of my new glasses. I got Transitions lenses put into my old frames, and then because I wanted a spare pair, I chose these new frames with Transitions lenses also. It's not a great photo, but I wanted someone to notice, so I'm sharing with you. 

This is something new and different from Central Tavern, honey barbecue macaroni and cheese, and it was absolutely delicious. I enjoyed it with my usual vodka and tonic with lots of lime, and I was inordinately pleased that Beckie, the owner and bartender, asked if I wanted "my usual". In my mind, that now makes me a regular!

Head on over to Carole's for more Three on Thursday thoughts.