Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday.

This yarn is becoming this.

It's a Rikke Hat for Ryan, but since I'm flying back to Colorado very early tomorrow morning to help him car shop after his accident, I'm not going to knit much farther until I have the opportunity to have him try it on for fit. He does have a fairly large head and I want to knit it with the right amount of slouchiness for him. Unraveling may have to occur, but hopefully, there won't be too much. 

That is why my lovely sunset yarn is wound and ready for plane knitting. I can not wait to see how this knits up!

I'm also taking Just Mercy and The Body along for plane reading. It's a four-hour flight, but I think I've got enough reading, knitting, and downloaded movies to entertain myself for much longer.

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, October 29, 2019


Balance has been a bit difficult to focus on recently, but that is exactly when it is most important to try. Paying attention to nature and poetry has helped me to regain some balance, and sometimes I'm even rewarded with candy luminous edible spry pinks shy skies.

Reading and educating myself about others in different circumstances than the lucky ones I find myself in also helps in maintaining balance. I hope you'll stay tuned over the next four Tuesdays because Kym will begin our first Read With Us discussion of Just Mercy (the first third of the book) next Tuesday, November 5th. I'll be continuing the conversation on November 12th, and Carole will be wrapping up the discussion on November 19th. Kym will be back with a summary on November 26th, so there are going to be plenty of opportunities for your comments, thoughts, opinions, and questions. We value your input and really hope you'll join in and Read With Us!

Joining Juliann. 

Monday, October 28, 2019

Sometimes Sunday ...

... is a day to make good things to eat on Monday.

Knead the dough and set it to rise.

While it's rising, gather your equipment,

mix the filling,

but do not eat.

Roll the dough, place it in the press, and fill.

Let them rise again,

Bake, and voila, calzones!

I wish I could share, but you can't have the little round, using-up-the-last-bit-of-dough one. That one is always mine. Baker's choice!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Three on Thursday

I'm joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday, today with three things that fall brings.

Flannel sheets

I've made the switchover in MD, and changing all the sheets here in NJ is on my list today. The fall days are still fairly warm, but having cozy flannel sheets takes the chill out of getting into bed. They also make me want to linger in bed a little longer in the morning, but the next item helps with that.

Good Tea

I look forward to a good cup of tea in the morning and I've found a couple of new ones that fit fall perfectly, Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Gold and Yorkshire Tea Biscuit Brew. The first one is a strong-bodied British brew that tastes so much better to me than weak American teas. I often enjoy the Biscuit Brew in the evening. The taste reminds me of tea with oatmeal cookies, and I've even taken wild decadence to another level by dunking a cookie or two in it. 

Apple Cider

We're lucky enough to have the largest apple orchard in NJ local to us, and they press their own cider. I always try to get some apple cider there during the brief window that it's available. It's fresh, sweet, and tastes like fall. They've also started crafting their own hard cider. With five different varieties available, I think it might be a good idea to drink locally and try them all. 

Be sure to visit Carole for more Three on Thursday thoughts!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

And Then Your Gutter Bracket Breaks

We used to live next door to a 94-year-old woman named Josie. She had been widowed for decades and didn't drive, so the little things in life that I took for granted were much bigger issues for her. One day I was looking out the window and saw that her gutter had broken and was on the ground. I walked over to take a look and figured out that it was just a broken bracket. When I told her that John and I would fix it as soon as we could, she started to cry. It seemed to be a combination of frustration at things falling apart and gratitude. Josie said, "You think your life is going along fine, and then boom, your gutter bracket breaks." John and I still say this when something happens that may not be major, but sure feels like it at the time. Yesterday morning it felt like my gutter bracket broke. 

(Photo: Colorado Department of Transportation)

I got a call from Ryan at 7:00 am, which meant it was 5:00 am for him in Colorado. Right away I knew that something was wrong. It turns out he had had an accident but assured me that he was fine. He had just taken an Uber home from the hospital and wanted to reiterate that he was fine. Sunday night he picked up a friend from the Denver airport and drove her to her apartment in Laramie when her flight got canceled due to high winds. On his way back to Fort Collins it was snowing, he lost traction, ran into the bank and flipped his car onto the driver's side. He's okay but has bruises and stitches and his car may be totaled. So I might be visiting Fort Collins again soon to help him out and shop for a car. 

I'm writing this several hours and several texts with Ryan later so I have had time to calm down and feel less shaky. I'm mainly feeling some sort of maternal guilt that I'm not there to make him grilled cheese and tomato soup and that I'm not there when my son is hurt. I've had a lovely offer of help from a kind Fort Collins knitter. Ryan says he doesn't need help, but "I'll most likely muddle through" is not 100% reassuring to me. I am so incredibly grateful that Ryan is basically okay and the accident wasn't much worse. I'm thankful that my metaphorical gutter bracket will be fine. 


We don't have a specific Read With Us post today, but this is just a reminder that we are reading Just Mercy and will start discussing the book on Tuesday, November 5th. I know that several of you are waiting for the book from the library, but hopefully, you'll be able to read the first third of the book and join the first discussion on Kym's blog

Monday, October 21, 2019

Weekending in the Woods

I spent a good part of the weekend tramping around the woods, checking Justin's trail cameras, and enjoying some gorgeous fall weather. I'll let the pictures tell the story.

I hope you have some glorious fall weather in your neck of the woods and you get to spend some time enjoying it!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Thinking of My Father

I came across this in my jewelry box, and it was a sweet and timely reminder. 

My father on the far left, with his brothers

Tomorrow would have been my father's 87th birthday. He's been gone for a little over a year and a half, but of course, I still miss him. I'm glad that I can think of him and remember the silly little dad jokes without recalling the years of sickness and sadness first. And the silly little dad jokes do make me smile. :-)

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Three on Thursday

I'm joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday, today with three other things I did in Colorado (besides shop at The Loopy Ewe). 

Baked Ryan's birthday cake

I had looked forward to doing this, but Ryan also likes to bake. He rarely gets to do it because he lives by himself, so I let him enjoy making his own cake. He used my MiL's chocolate cake recipe, one we both recall with love and happy memories.
(Yes, he also collects blue bottles, so far only on his kitchen counter.)

Had a delightful birthday dinner at The Welsh Rabbit (our favorite charcuterie)

So many heavenly meats and cheeses! (Also note the original John Deere Hitchhiker.)

Cherry cider casts a beautiful reflection. 

Hiked at Reservoir Ridge

We went out for a hike at one of Fort Collins' parks on this beautiful 78-degree day, the day before it dropped 60 degrees and snowed. Quite a contrast! It's a nice, steady uphill hike, and if we keep our eyes peeled we can even find lead balls buried in the trail

Be sure to visit Carole for more Three on Thursday thoughts!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday, with some new yarn just waiting to be raveled. I'm still working on the last green ---> yellow Wollmeise sock blank Hitchhiker, but instead of boring you with another photo that looks much the same, I'll share some new yarn purchased at The Loopy Ewe.

Ryan, yarn chooser extraordinaire, was almost as anxious to visit The Loopy Ewe as I was, so after making his birthday cake last Monday we made the five-minute trip. He spied the shop sample for the Rikke Hat as soon as we walked in the door and decided he would like one. He chose a nice grey and red Cascade 220 Wave that I'll be casting on in the next couple of days. 

The only other yarn I bought was this stunning Uschtita Merino Sock. I don't know what it will become, but for now I'm content to have it sitting nearby so I can admire it. When Ryan picked it out he said it reminded him of a sunset and I'm anxious to see how it looks when I knit it. I know I say this every time I shop at The Loopy Ewe, but I think this may be my favorite yarn ever.

While I was enjoying myself in Colorado, books I had put on hold were piling up at the library. I'm finishing up our book club pick, Just Mercy, but have also started A Circle of Quiet by Madeline L'Engle, Grief is the Thing With Feathers by Max Porter, and The Body by Bill Bryson. So many interesting and enjoyable books all at once! With beautiful yarn and good books, I am as happy as the proverbial pig in poop (and hope you're feeling much the same today).  

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, October 14, 2019

Sometimes Monday ...

... is a day to catch up. 

I'm back, and busy with laundry, mail, bills, emails, appointments, work, and the other pesky details of my life that I put aside for five days. It was a lovely trip, and I was especially glad that this time there were no pulmonary embolisms. I was a little nervous, but anticoagulation, graduated compression socks, staying hydrated, an aisle seat in the exit row with plenty of legroom, and walking the aisle in the plane as often as possible all worked well. 

I got to experience Colorado's record temperature drop, with 78 degrees and sunny last Wednesday to 18 degrees and snow on Thursday morning. I do miss Ryan and being there, but it is nice to be back to a more moderate fall. I hope your fall Monday is off to a good start!

Monday, October 7, 2019


My weekending included a bit more than I had originally planned.

I flew to Colorado. I had intended to visit Ryan sometime this month for his birthday but hadn't even looked at flights. I find it confusing (carry-on allowed or not, seat choice or not, good base price but too many add-ons, taxes, and fees) and frustrating, but I finally sat down on Thursday night to see what my options might be. I found a good fare, left on Sunday morning, and now I'm here with Ryan. Today is his actual birthday so I even get to bake his birthday cake for the first time in many years!

We don't have any big plans, but I might even get to Knit Night at The Loopy Ewe. I'm sure I'll also eat and drink well, and enjoy spending time with my now 29-year-old son.

Be sure to visit Kym tomorrow for the next entry in our Read With Us book club. I hope you'll read Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption along with us and join the discussion next month!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Three on Thursday

I'm joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday, today with three random photos I found on my phone. Carole is at a conference, so I'm not sure if she'll be doing a ToT linkup today (it turns out she did, and she's shared a very interesting design thinking method) but I was clearing out my phone photos, found a few surprises, and decided to share them with you. 

This may look like just a yellow car with a missing piece sitting in a damp Walmart parking lot at night, but it's really my turn at playing Yellow Car with Ryan. You can click here for the full rules of Yellow Car. It is as ridiculous as it sounds, but if you get a chance to listen to Cabin Pressure it will make more sense and you'll laugh yourself silly. Yellow Car is in the Ottery St. Mary episode of Series 3, but all four series (plus Zurich) are fantastic. You can't go wrong with John Finnemore, Stephanie Cole, Roger Allam, and Benedict Cumberbatch. 

This is from just a few days ago when I was walking down to pay the water bill in Elkton. I love how black and white it looks without a black and white filter, and the gathering birds made it even eerier.

For a bit of contrast, here's the sky on fire in Elkton. I noticed the light had changed indoors, and this is what I was treated to when I went outside and looked across the street. 

I don't often clear photos from my phone, but maybe I should do it more often as I found some pleasant surprises!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday, and this week is more of the same in the knitting department. 

I am moving gradually to a slightly lighter and brighter green section of the blank. I'm anxious to see what comes next and how the transitions look, so I'm going to keep plugging away.

If my knitting is a bit routine and mundane, my reading has not been. I just finished an absolutely wonderful book, The Dutch House. I actually listened to it and that was part of the reason it was so good. It was read by Tom Hanks and was the perfect narrator-story match. I'm still reading our Read With Us book, Just Mercy, along with looking for my next audiobook that will measure up to The Dutch House. Suggestions are welcome!

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Read With Us

Today's Read With Us is going to focus on the book we're reading this quarter, Just Mercy, and provide you with some background information. Hopefully, you've already decided to join us, but if you haven't yet, maybe I can convince you. 

Just in case you missed the first post introducing this bloggy book group, click here, and you can easily catch up. The discussion hasn't started yet and we'd love for you to join us!

Just Mercy is the memoir written by Bryan Stevenson, describing his early days growing up in a poor and racially segregated area in Delaware and how he came to be a lawyer who represents those who have been abandoned. The book description from Stevenson's Equal Justice Initiative website is better than anything I could write, so I'm quoting it here.

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machinations, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.
Just Mercy is an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of justice.

I've just started the book myself, but I can already tell that it's going to be a powerful read. By telling the story of Walter McMillian, Stevenson personalizes the struggle against injustice. As a 62-year-old white, middle-class woman, I'm lucky enough to have very little experience with injustice, but because of that fact, this book is something I need to read, and I think the same can be said of almost anyone, no matter what their experience has been. 

Many of us have read To Kill a Mockingbird and view it as a classic coming-of-age story about justice, discrimination, and racism. Atticus Finch is the epitome of what we should all aspire to be -- someone who stands up and does what is right, no matter how difficult. In an interesting parallel, Harper Lee grew up and wrote To Kill a Mockingbird in Monroeville, Alabama, the same community where Walter McMillian was accused, wrongfully incarcerated, and the six-year fight for this innocent man took place. Stevenson writes, “Sentimentality about Lee’s story grew even as the harder truths of the book took no root.” Stevenson fought for McMillian's exoneration against hatred, indifference, bribery, bomb, and death threats. Is he a real-life Atticus Finch? Read Just Mercy along with us and decide for yourself. 

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.
-- Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

If you have 23 minutes, you can listen to Bryan Stevenson here. While he's not talking specifically about Just Mercy, you will hear his powerful thoughts about injustice during this TED talk.