Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Looking for Focus

I wasn't going to write a One Little Word post today, mainly because I have been such a failure at Focus. I have left my poor little word sitting by the wayside. I have no focus. Sometimes not even enough to know what day it is, since each day is just like the others preceding it, and all I can see is more misery and climbing numbers in the days ahead. 

This is how I have treated poor Focus. I think I have been waiting for it to magically return instead of making a concerted effort to focus even a little bit, on Focus. After reading your One Little Word posts this morning I've been inspired by your efforts, struggles, and honesty in dealing with your own words. 

So thank you. Starting right now, I'm going to make a return to Focus. It may be just a little, but I am making the effort. Today is Tuesday. I am going to focus on meditation, mopping the kitchen floor, holding those dear to me along with some good friends close to my heart and in my thoughts, taking a walk even though the weather is poor, and maybe even some knitting tonight. That is enough for now. It will have to be because it's all I've got. 

Now, please go visit HonorĂ© and see how others are doing. 

Monday, March 30, 2020

Scenes from a Weekend

On weekends, John is not working his current usual 12-14 hour days, so we try and do something different to at least mark the days as different from the week. This past weekend those things were a long walk through the cemetery on Saturday and fishing on Sunday. Both provided us with the ability to stay socially distant from other people while still getting out to get some exercise, fresh air, and hopefully a slightly new perspective. 

There is an abundance of things blooming in the cemetery.

An odd yew with a spruce growing in the middle

Delightful daffodils

A beautiful sidewalk chalk creation

A profusion of grape hyacinths

A calm lake on a damp chilly day

The woods are beginning to green up

A bobber tree (surprisingly, it's not my bobber!)

Daffodils 'round the millstone

If you squint hard, maybe you can see two people fishing on the bank, Justin and his girlfriend, Jess.
 I know where they are and they're still difficult to see. Social distancing!

I hope this Monday brings you a good start to your week ahead, some moments of calm, and perhaps even happiness. 

Friday, March 27, 2020

Hope (of a sort)

Thank you so very much for sharing your good, positive, happy things yesterday. I was in desperate need of some good news, and you provided me and each other with plenty of it. I have read and re-read your comments, and they give me hope for humanity. I hope this sense of goodness and community continues long after the virus. Thank you (and I may be asking for more good news on a weekly basis)!


To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow. ~ Audrey Hepburn

 My belief is expressed in these trays of Jet Star and Roma tomato seeds,

along with Napa cabbage and Brussels sprouts.

I have no idea when, or if, I'll be back in MD to be able to plant seedlings in the garden, but starting seeds is a milestone in the spring for me. It made me feel better to get seeds started just like I always do, to anticipate their development into strong seedlings, to be optimistic that I'll be able to plant those seedlings in the garden, and maybe even hold a glimmer of hope that I'll be able to harvest a warm-from-the-sun tomato or two in August. 

I'm holding hope for better tomorrows for all of us. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Three (or more) on Thursday

I'm joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday. Today I've got three random good things, and one request.
First, the good things.

Go, Norway!

At least one day this week we have had blue skies, puffy clouds, and a good day for drying laundry on the line. I had the pleasure of sleeping on sweet-smelling sheets dried outdoors!

My next-door neighbor was running wind sprints back and forth on the sidewalk in front of my house. I had fun cheering him on from the porch each time he passed.

I found this. National Knitting Eve is a Norwegian program showing twelve hours of Norway's participation in an international sheep-to-jumper competition. I've only watched about 30 minutes, but it's entertaining and the narration is in English. It's compelling to watch!

Now my request. In your comment, please let me know at least one good thing that has happened, or that you've seen, done, or heard about recently. Feel free to list more than one if you've got 'em! I think we're all in need of hearing about as many good things as possible, so have at it!

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday. I have been feeling unraveled, just like so many of us, but that is about to get a bit better. 

During the last week, I had put down my current Hitchhiker, cast on a Nightshift, and picked up a sock that has been resting for years, but as the days progressed and things seemed to get progressively worse with each one, I found that knitting was not having the same calming effect as usual. Picking up Nightshift seemed to cause more stress, I couldn't count well enough to knit a simple heel flap, I snapped a double-pointed needle, along with other tales of woe. When I saw that several other people were knitting lovely Hitchhikers, I wondered why I wasn't.

So now I am. My Nightshift and sock were placed gently in the craft closet, waiting for a better time when my brain is more focused and I don't need the calm that comes as I knit row after row of garter stitch and watch the number of teeth grow.

I've got at least four Hitchhikers in progress, so I may even finish one or two. If ever there was a time for me to knit Hitchhikers, this is it!

I have also managed to do some small amount of reading. I remembered a series that Ryan has been encouraging me to finish for a long time, The Enchanted Forest Chronicles. It's YA fantasy, but that seems to be about the level that my brain is capable of focusing on at the moment. I've listened to the first and second books and am currently enjoying the third. I was also lucky enough to find Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead in audiobook format. This came from a semi-local library that has previously been quite protective of their digital offerings, but they've opened all of them up to all residents of the county, so I snagged this one from rb digital on Kym's recent recommendation. 

I'm still very interested in Apeirogon, but it will take a month to get the dead tree format I wanted to read it in. I may break down and try either the Kindle or audiobook format when I'm done with my current reads. 

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

It's Been A Year ...

... and I'm very happy to say that I'm still here! 

I was fascinated by the pulse oximeter.

I went to the emergency room a year ago because I was experiencing severe shortness of breath and I was fairly sure I had a pulmonary embolism. It turns out I was wrong; I actually had two clots. This had most likely happened when I flew back from visiting Ryan the previous Friday. I went to the doctor in NJ on Saturday due to slight shortness of breath and they treated me for allergies. By Monday I was much worse and I remembered that my mother had experienced these same symptoms during her breast cancer treatment; in an opportune moment of remembrance, I knew exactly what was wrong. I was in the hospital for four days, and incredibly grateful for a kind and knowledgable doctor, great nurses, a hard-working patient advocate, decent health insurance, and an excellent prescription plan when I was discharged. My doctor told me that 
in about 40% of people who experience a PE, the first symptom is sudden death. I'm so thankful that was not my experience. 

I'm on an anticoagulant and feel good most of the time. I've resumed walking, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, and flying out to see Ryan several times. It's a bit scary to think about sometimes, but I stay hydrated, try and get enough exercise, never forget to take my Eliquis, and wear compression socks when necessary (to prevent a deep vein thrombosis). 

It's even scarier to me now because, in addition to being 62, this is my underlying health condition. My doctor thinks I may have some lung damage due to the pulmonary embolism, but as he said during my last visit, "Let's hope it's not too much!" 

I did have a check-up scheduled a week ago, but it was canceled because the doctor tested positive for the coronavirus. My well-washed fingers are crossed for him, myself, and all of you. I'm glad and grateful to have had this last year and hope to have many more. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

A Welcome Diversion

Hi, I'm Bonny and I like to play games. Board games like Monopoly or Scrabble are wonderful, but I don't often have someone to play with. Justin will play with me, and now that we're both in the same location for the foreseeable future, I'm betting that we may be playing Scrabble tonight. 

Since I'm usually on my own when it comes to games, I turned to online games a while ago, specifically Guild Wars 2. It's one of those MMPORGs (massive multi-player online role-playing games) and it was big. I created one character and my goal was to get her to Level 80. I did but it took lots of time. Once I had achieved my goal and the game kept getting more and more complex, I stopped playing. That made me a little sad because Ryan and I could play together. It was fun raiding with him and I appreciated that he let a n00b (newbie not very good player) join him.

But now there's something else and at the perfect time — the Nintendo Switch and Animal Crossing New Horizons game. I have a Gameboy DS that Ryan got me for my birthday about 10 years ago and I occasionally play Animal Crossing Wild World on it. Animal Crossing is the perfect game for me — there's no fighting, swords, or complexity, just cute animals living their daily lives in a community. I got the Switch Lite when I heard this newest version of Animal Crossing was going to be released last Friday. I eagerly downloaded it and have only played for about 10 minutes, but I can see it's going to be a welcome diversion. And the best part of all is that Ryan and I can play together once again. 

I still have laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, some work (most of that is on hold), reading, knitting, and taxes to do, but during my leisure time, you will most likely find me playing Animal Crossing unless Justin wants to play Monopoly (which I also have on my Switch!) 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Early Season Planting

We've been receiving seeds in the mail, and making decisions about when to start them, but I've been out in the garden to do some early-season planting. Our last frost date isn't until May 15th, but I think this crop is relatively frost-resistant.

It's a new planting of Relax, just what we all need!

Look how much the one in the corner has grown!

There was only one glass left in the bottle, but I finally gave in and enjoyed it last night. I wish I had stocked up
but I don't really want to expose myself to crowds at the liquor store just for wine. Rookie mistake!

I do have plenty of other alcohol and the liquor stores in MD, DE, and NJ have not closed. So tonight I will sip some
 peanut butter whiskey (don't judge it if you haven't tried it!) on the back porch and enjoy my growing crop of Relax.
 Here's hoping you are finding some form of relaxation at your home. 

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Three on Thursday

I'm joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday. I don't want to write about Coronavirus all the time, but these are good for a smile or two. 

I applaud you, appreciate your scientific information, and hope you stay well, Dr. Fauci.

And this classic from the Police. It's been in my head a lot lately.

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

Stop Panic, Clean Hands, Open Hearts

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and the rest of the Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday, with a pronouncement. And the pronouncement is that I am done making pronouncements about when this Hitchhiker will be completed. It will be done when I am satisfied with the stripes and their arrangement (and when Ryan has given it his stamp of approval). I'm not sure when that will be, but I won't be shy about letting you know.

I knit the blue, brownish-gray, and pink stripes like I had planned, but had a gut feeling that the brown didn't add anything worthwhile even while I was knitting it. I finished it and continued on to the pink stripe just so I could show Ryan and see if he felt the same.

He did. We talked about it for a while and he suggested that since the blue was only mildly bright and the pink was highlighter bright, maybe two blue and then two pink stripes would look good. Since I was ripping out the brown anyway, it sounded like something worth trying.

That's where I am now, knitting the second blue stripe. I'm afraid this project will always be Coronavirus knitting in my mind and the fact that the bright yellow colorway is called Nervous Breakdown adds to that, but I love it anyway and want to get the stripes right (or at least closer to what I've been picturing).

Washing my hands, wiping down surfaces, and feeling distracted hasn't left me with much ability to focus on reading. The World That We Knew got whisked back to the library because I wasn't paying attention to when it was due, so I'll have to borrow it again someday. I did start another book that I'm excited about, Why Fish Don't Exist. A dear reading friend recommended it, so I was thrilled to be accepted to read it from Netgalley. It's about taxonomist David Starr Jordan. Never heard of him? Neither had I so I will certainly learn a thing or three.

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Isn't It Marvelous?

Coronavirus and the havoc that it is wreaking on the world are terrifying, but we also live in a time in which we are uniquely qualified to deal with it.

I can contact my kids by cell phone or Discord to check-in. John has set up his office in the tiny third bedroom here in MD and I can hear his staff meeting in progress. I have a multitude of things to watch on streaming services and books to download electronically almost instantly from the library. I will never again feel the need to justify my yarn stash, to myself or anyone else. Just the existence of it made me happy as I loaded up on projects to bring to MD. These are the things that I find marvelous.

We can connect with each other through our blogs and Instagram. I look forward to and enjoy reading posts from many of you. It reassures me that you and your families are doing okay, and I also appreciate you sharing your experiences, ideas, and links. So thank you for your connection, friendship, and spending some of your time here with me. It's always been important to me, and especially now. 

Besides feeling connected to the world outside my home (even if I'm physically isolated) meditation has been most helpful to me. Here are some of the resources I've been using:

Weekly Podcast at the Hammer (you can listen to the Mindfulness of Washing Hands!)

Mindfulness Resources from UCSD (guided audio and video, mindful poetry, and research)

Guided Meditations from UCLA (free guided meditations via app or download)

Tara Brach (26 pages of basic meditations, heart meditations, open awareness, and special meditations)

I hope some of these might help allay fear and provide focus. 

Stop Panic, Clean Hands, Open Hearts 

Monday, March 16, 2020

The Best and the Worst

So how was your weekend? Good, I hope. I just can't bring myself to write my usual Monday post, recounting my weekend, and even a "Sometimes Monday" post feels a little frivolous. So I'm just writing, off the cuff and stream of consciousness, and I'll see what I end up with. 

It felt like things began to really go off the rails sometime last week, maybe when the WHO declared the coronavirus situation a global pandemic. I had thought of it in that way before the pronouncement, but I didn't know or even suspect what that might mean in how we all lived our daily lives. But then I traveled back to NJ and went to the grocery store and it became much clearer. The shelves were bare, with only some produce, a few steaks, and a moderate amount of snack-type things (which I don't usually buy). No milk, yogurt, bread, rolls, eggs, soup, pasta, or anything I consider staples. I wish I had taken photos but I was too dumbfounded. I had wanted to get a gallon of milk, some spaghetti, bread, and fruit, but all I bought was apples. We have a well-stocked freezer in both locations, but I don't keep milk and bread on hand. 

I'm sure that none of this is news to any of you, and I bet you've encountered something similar yourself. It felt a little surreal, and then I talked to Ryan. He had gone to the grocery store Friday night, put the last two gallons of available milk in his cart, then turned around to see if there were any eggs available. When he turned back to his cart he saw a man taking the milk out of his cart. Ryan said told the guy not to steal it and please put it back. The guy put the milk in his cart (not Ryan's) and then he turned around and punched Ryan in the head — hard enough to knock Ryan down. Other customers did come to Ryan's rescue and he was okay, just dumbfounded like I had been during my grocery-buying visit. Several customers chased the guy down and got Ryan's milk back and several other people got the manager. He was escorted out of the store.

I'm keeping busy here in MD with cleaning, laundry, possibly working on taxes (is it wrong to hope the April 15 deadline gets extended?), and then knitting. John and his boss had decided at the end of last week that everyone that could work from home needed to work from home. They informed people, but then over the weekend there were conflicting emails from the powers that be that be stating "we need you to come to work". John said he doesn't give a rat's a**,; he is not going to be responsible for any of his people being exposed to the virus in a work setting. So he has gone to work to send everyone home, shut things down as much as possible, and I expect him home later today for the foreseeable future. We will decide where we isolate, MD or NJ, and take the necessary actions.

I didn't find any bread, milk, or pasta, but we'll have chicken, rice, and salad for dinner. Baking helps me deal with stress, so I think I'll make an applesauce cake. I did find this lovely cyclamen at the grocery store and couldn't resist. We can't eat it but it provides me with some much-needed beauty. 

I'm still angry when I think about the guy that punched Ryan but I understand that we're all afraid. Here's hoping you are all practicing meticulous hygiene, curbing your fear, and staying healthy. Take care!

Friday, March 13, 2020

Sky Watcher

This has been a week of gray skies and rain, but sometimes you're also lucky enough to see a rainbow. 
No rainbows this week, but that's not going to keep me from looking for them.

Stop Panic, Clean Hands, Open Hearts 

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Three on Thursday

I'm joining Carole and friends for Three on Thursday, today with three random yet interesting (to me, anyway) things that I encountered this week. 

On Monday I took a walk to C3ntral Tavern for a bowl of delicious chicken, bacon and ranch mac and cheese. It was accompanied by a C3 — a delicious drink combination of orange vodka, triple sec, peach schnapps, pineapple, and cranberry juice. I sat at the bar so I wouldn't take up a whole table by myself and laughed when I noticed this sign directly in front of me.

My sister also has the best sister and I need to find a sign like that for myself!

On my way home, I passed a house on our street with this pallet leaning against the porch.

I can't imagine the circumstances surrounding its creation, but it felt like a personal message I needed to read. Thanks, neighborhood pallet sign painter!

This last one still has me just a bit baffled. I was heading out for a walk Tuesday afternoon when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was a garter snake, sunning itself on our front window ledge. That it was there on the warm bricks wasn't the baffling part, but how did it get there?

The window ledge is about two feet above ground level with a large bush in front of it. I showed the pictures to John and he agreed that the only way it could have gotten there was to climb up the shrub. After a little investigating, I found Jeff Beane, collections manager of amphibians and reptiles at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences who says “garter snakes are relatively fast-moving and highly terrestrial, but some may climb into shrubs or vines; some species climb more than others." Your fun fact for Thursday!

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

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat and friends for Unraveled Wednesday, today with what I hope is a penultimate Hitchhiker photo and what will come next. Last week when I was excited about Vicki's Nightshift KAL, I was all set to abandon the Hitchhiker and cast on my Nightshift as soon as I got to NJ and tore open my yarn package. I thought about it and decided it was better to finish the Hitchhiker first, especially because this one might be for Ryan. So that's what I'm doing. There is one bright blue stripe, I've just started a brownish-grey stripe, and next will be a bright pink stripe before I finish. I haven't been sleeping well, so I fell asleep at 8:30 in the middle of knitting last night. I'm not 100% sure about the stripes, but I think I'll chat with Ryan and get his expert opinion. I trust him in all matters of yarn and color, so I'll be interested to hear his thoughts. That's one of the nice things about knitting; it can easily be unraveled.

I did get my Nightshift yarn, and was initially a little disappointed when I opened the package. The purple yarn looked more like cobalt blue on the website photo and my monitor, so that's what I had been hoping for. I don't dislike purple; I just like bright blue a bit better, but I will cast on soon and see what it all really looks like when it's knit in the pattern.

I've had the pleasure of finishing two wonderful books and starting another (hopefully) wonderful one this week. My first finish was This Is Happiness, and I will definitely be reading more written by Niall Williams. The second book I read was Late Migrations, and I will read anything by Margaret Renkl. I think I've read most of her NYT pieces and followed her on Instagram, but I still want more. I borrowed Late Migrations from the library, but I will be purchasing my own copy so I can re-read it whenever I want to. This is definitely one of my all-time favorite books, and I'm very grateful to Vera for recommending it. 

I've started The World That We Knew and based on your reviews, I've got a treat in store. I really want to read Apeirogon (thanks, Kat!) but my wait at the library looks like it will be two months or more. I have a feeling Imay just give in and buy it soon. Stay tuned next week and see what happens with the Hitchhiker, whether I've cast on for Nightshift, and if I'm reading Apeirogon!

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, March 9, 2020


Last weekend consisted of a quick 36-hour visit to NJ where I got to survey the state of Justin's organizing efforts, do a few errands, and lose an hour when I could have used it. It's a story best told with photos.

The sawed-off fence post has found a new location

Some totes have been emptied, the rest have been consolidated into a smaller area, and now
 there is a bear reclining on the top of the pile.

Justin did restore a tiny antique oil can ...

... and a vintage knife sharpener.

And I replaced our old router that died, with a little frustration, but no swearing.

I also got to see the emergence of a bud stalk on one of my amaryllis. 
Now I'm back in MD, for more errands, the paying of taxes, hanging laundry on the line, and hopefully some knitting outdoors this afternoon so I can enjoy the predicted 70-degree day. I hope your Monday is off to a good start!

Friday, March 6, 2020

Sky Watcher

I didn't take this, but I couldn't resist sharing this beautiful photo that my SiL sent me from Kauai. Have a Happy Weekend!