Thursday, April 28, 2022

National Poetry Month: Week 4

To wrap up National Poetry Month, Kym, Kat, Sarah, and I are sharing Poems for Your Pocket. Poem in Your Pocket Day is actually tomorrow, but maybe our posts today will inspire you to share some poetry tomorrow. 

I've been struck by how green things are getting in my neighborhood, so I'm going to share a short-ish poem that seems quite fitting for this time of year.

Instructions on Not Giving Up
by Ada Limón

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then, 
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

Limón, Ada. "Instructions on Not Giving Up". Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 15, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.
You can find out more about the poet here.

Here are some suggestions about ways to participate in Poem in Your Pocket Day from

It's easy to participate in Poem in Your Pocket Day from a safe distance. Here are some ideas of how you might get involved:

  • Select a poem and share it on social media using the hashtag #PocketPoem. 
  • Print a poem from the Poem in Your Pocket Day PDF and draw an image from the poem in the white space, or use the instructions on pages 57-58 of the PDF to make an origami swan. 
  • Record a video of yourself reading a poem, then share it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or another social media platform you use. 
  • Email a poem to your friends, family, neighbors, or local government leaders.
  • Schedule a video chat and read a poem to your loved ones.
  • Add a poem to your email footer.
  • Read a poem out loud from your porch, window, backyard, or outdoor space.

Be sure to check in with KymKat, and Sarah for more poems for your pocket today, and feel free to make others' days a little bit more poetic tomorrow by sharing a poem at work, the grocery store, the bank, the post office, or around your own dinner table. (And remember that any time is good for poetry, not just Thursdays in April!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday: 4/27/22

What do I have to share with Kat and the Unravelers today on Unraveled Wednesday? A little bit of Hitchhiker progress:

and some progress on the Antler cardigan:

It's raining outside so none of the colors are right, but this is the best I can do for now. I didn't get a lot of big things done, but I did finish the neck ribbing and bound it off, wove in all the ends, picked up the non-button side of the button band, and am knitting the ribbing there. I still have to do the button side of the button band, graft the underarm stitches, block, and sew on buttons (that I may try to make myself out of antler slices). I'm taking small steps, but I'll get there.

Last week's reading was a mixed bag. When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka was a three-star story about the internment of an unnamed Japanese-American family for three years during WW II. The Whole Town's Talking by Fannie Flagg was a two-star fill-in book I read while waiting for some holds from the library, but barely worth the time I spent reading it. Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason was interesting, original, and worthy of four stars. It's a story about marriage, motherhood, and mental illness. The protagonist, Martha Friel, suffers from an unnamed mental illness, in fact, it's just identified as —. I got completely wrapped up in wondering what Martha had until I realized that was beside the point. Meg Mason even told me to get over it in her Note:

"The medical symptoms described in the novel are not consistent with a genuine mental illness. The portrayal of treatment, medication, and doctor's advice is wholly fictional."

I'd like to think that by being so non-specific, Meg Mason wants us all to be able to imagine ourselves in the story somehow. Whether we are the ones suffering from mental illness or family members trying to be supportive (and often failing), we would do well to remember that “Everything is broken and messed up and completely fine. That is what life is. It’s only the ratios that change.” I would like to read more by Meg Mason but she's an Australian author and her books are difficult to find. 

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Why You Should Read With Us: Young Mungo

I'm here today to give you some reasons why I think you should Read With Us. I'm literally doing this with a list. Here, in no particular order, are five good reasons to consider reading Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart. 

1.  I don't mean to speak for everyone, but many of us loved Shuggie Bain so much that we were very anxious to read Douglas Stuart's second novel. I've read reviews that call Young Mungo "a followup" and to me that makes it sound like a sequel. It is most assuredly not, and you can read this one whether you read Shuggie Bain or not. 

2.  I have read very few bad reviews of Young Mungo. Yes, there are a few on Goodreads (55 one- and two-star reviews out of 58,365) but I disagree with some of the points they have tried to make. One said the "writing style was too wordy and descriptive", but Stuart's accomplished prose is one of the reasons I appreciate the book so much. Another complaint was that the characters speaking in their Glaswegian dialect was "too thick to read effortlessly." It may require a little more effort to intently read and/or listen, but I would argue that any extra effort required is worthwhile. Some readers have said that the book jumps around between two timelines too much. I'm not often a big fan of a story told in a non-linear fashion, but even I can figure out the timeline in Young Mungo, with chapters clearly identified as "The May After" and "The January Before".

3.  It's not another book about nuns! 

4.  Young Mungo is about much more than poverty and misery. Stuart has replied to critics who have called his writing "poverty porn" by saying, "That phrase tells poor people that they don’t deserve to write about their own existence truthfully. People from the middle classes never have that leveled against them. It’s never hummus porn, or baba ganoush porn, it’s just literature. All that kind of banter does is silence anyone who wants to write with clarity about poverty.” One reviewer said that Young Mungo was "nothing but non-stop misery". Stuart says, "I didn’t know people felt that way. I understand I’m writing about tough lives, but I don’t see my books as miserable at all.” While it's nice to imagine the world as a place filled with rainbows and cute puppies, not everyone gets to live there, and I would rather read something filled with honesty and truthfulness. 

5.  This quote from Nasim Asl from Books From Scotland may be the best reason of all: "Despite the hardships and horror, the fear and danger present in the novel, Stuart has captured what it is to love, in all its complex glory – and more importantly, what it is to hope."

Our Read With Us book discussion day is scheduled for Tuesday, June 7 (six weeks away so you've still got plenty of time). Kym, Carole, and I will each post discussion questions on our blogs that day, and then at 7:00 pm Eastern time zone, we'll be hosting a live book discussion on Zoom. I think the book is wonderful (so far) and the discussions are always educational and fun, so I hope you'll come along and Read With Us!

Monday, April 25, 2022

auf Wiedersehen!

I've finished my (virtual) 30-mile trek through Berlin, and am happy that I did it. It provided me with the motivation to walk (almost every day), some interesting scenery (via Google maps), and I learned plenty of things about Berlin and the Berlin Wall along the way. 

Ryan has friends in Germany that told him they view Berlin as a crowded, somewhat dirty city, but that could probably be said of almost any place with a population of 3.7 million. Even with my small virtual trip from Waltersdorfer Chaussee to Hermsdorf, I've seen that it's also a city with politics, culture, history, academics, and plenty of good food. Maybe someday I'll be able to visit Berlin and Germany in person, but until then I'm going to keep walking in NJ so I'll be able to walk in other real geographic locations in the future.

So where is my next challenge taking me? For a 145-mile journey through The Shire. I've just begun, and I think this will take me much of the summer to complete, but I'm excited to travel to Middle-earth!

Friday, April 22, 2022

Friday Letters: 4/22/22

Today I'm taking my virtual fountain pen in hand to give you a few updates and offer a possible solution to a problem many of you expressed some frustration with. Let's open the mail ...


Dear Colorado Department of Revenue,

Do you have so much money from selling medicinal and medical marijuana for nine years that you can take days to debit the income tax money that is due to you? After spending almost three hours on hold with you on Tuesday, I was relieved to finally talk to a human being to see why you hadn't taken my taxes. He said that it can take 5-7 business days before you actually debit taxes from a bank account. I said I was not aware of that, and he told me that everybody in CO knows this. The Federal government and NJ don't take this approach, but we've only been selling recreational marijuana in NJ for one day. Four days after taxes were due, you still haven't taken the money I owe you but the man I spoke with said that it was scheduled to be withdrawn. (You guys really are laid back in CO!)


Dear Governor Murphy,

I'm sure you chose the date to begin recreational marijuana sales in NJ very carefully. By picking 4/21 you sure did get a lot of people talking about it, but I fear you missed an opportunity to have a little fun with your pronouncement. 4/20 was right there, but I'm glad you still chose to be grownups and wait until 4/21. 


Dear Readers of Carole Knits,

Back on April 14, Carole wrote "It frosts my ass when drivers on the highway fail to merge for a lane closure. I was driving to a meeting yesterday and they were doing work on the highway and the left lane was closed. This was announced with a sign WAY AHEAD of the actual closure. I was already in the right hand lane so I stayed put but, to my dismay, cars continued to pass me on the left and they didn’t merge until the lane was literally closing." Many people expressed their frustration with the situation in the comments, but I may have a possible solution - the Argo Sherp Pro XT 4x4

I wish I could have fit my Subaru in the photo with the Sherp to give you a real idea of how massive this vehicle really is, but it stands 10 feet high on 71" tires. I don't think anybody is going to mess with you if you happened to be driving this while merging. There is the small matter of the price tag ($130,999) but I sure would like to take this out for a test drive on one of the three traffic circles we have in town. I can only imagine its usefulness in circles, while merging, or really anywhere you might want to go. I was a little concerned that it would be difficult to get into the driver's seat, but they seem to have taken care of that. 

Let me know if you're interested in one!


I wish you a lovely weekend with your taxes all taken care of, enjoyment of whatever legal substances you choose to partake in, and no issues on the road or with other drivers. Let's all make it a good one!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

National Poetry Month: Week 3

To celebrate National Poetry Month, several of us are sharing poetry with you on Thursdays in April. Today's poem is about something that I need to practice more: FORGIVENESS. 

I love this poem because of the imagery it conjures up. The "cuttlefish of my ego that scuttles backwards, spewing out clouds of ink" describes me pretty well when I know I need to apologize or express forgiveness. "Time's slow ambulance drawn by a brace of snails" is the exact way that time seems to move when we are getting over being hurt or need to repair the damage we ourselves may have inflicted. 

by Henry Carlile

I'd like to turn the other cheek,
the one I haven't shaved yet,
but something stops me
like a jab to the solar plexus,
a blow to the immense 
unmissable cuttlefish of my ego
that scuttles backwards
spewing out clouds of ink,
self-consoling platitudes
like she wasn't worth it, or
I'm better off without her,
which of course do not console
because they are platitudes.
And time's slow ambulance
drawn by a brace of snails
arrives too late to do anything
but remind us that this
was the scene of an accident
long after the damage
has been swept away. 


Carlile, Henry. "Forgiveness", Poetry, February 2001. 
You can find out more about the poet here


Be sure to check in with KymKat, and Sarah for more poems of forgiveness today, and join us next Thursday for our final week of celebration of National Poetry Month. (And remember that any time is good for poetry, not just Thursdays in April!)

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday: 4/20/22

I'm joining Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday, with some progress on the Antler cardigan yoke. 

I've finished the cabled decreases and most of the neck ribbing. I'm trying to decide whether I quit now and bind off or do another two rows before binding off. I've got kind of a strange situation going on as I write this on Tuesday. In an ideal world, I would try the sweater on and make the decision, but I'm on hold with the Colorado Dept. of Revenue and have been for an hour and 50 minutes. We had our taxes done in March, and the tax that we owed to CO for selling Ryan's house last summer was supposed to be automatically withdrawn from our bank. I noticed this morning that it had not been deducted so I called the tax preparer. He said that the taxes showed as filed and accepted on his end, so he advised me to call the CO Dept. of Revenue and see what the story was. It might just be some sort of glitch on their end, but I can't reach anyone to find out. I don't have any kind of online account with Colorado so I can't just check the situation online, and I'm hesitant to just hang up and lose the time I've already spent on hold. I suspect that's what I may end up doing, but I decided to at least use my hold time for something constructive. So I've made progress on the sweater but am afraid to try it on for fear I'll lose stitches if I end up frantically trying to take it off in case CO ever answers their phone. Do you believe they keep playing the same song continuously, interrupted only by an occasional announcement saying they are sorry for the increased wait? You can't make this crap up. 

I finished three books last week, Seasonal Work by Laura Lippman, The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka, and Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Seasonal Work was a three-star collection of short stories, but it suffered from the same issues I often find with short stories - not enough plot or character development, simplified relationships, abrupt endings, and this bunch has different narrators for each story (some of whom are better than others). The Buddha in the Attic was also a three-star read for me, again written in first-person plural like The Swimmers, but it was less effective in this story about Japanese picture brides.

And then there was Lessons in Chemistry The fact that this book was blurbed as "a delight for readers of Where'd You Go, Bernadette and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" and "laugh-out-loud funny" just may win the Absolute Worst Blurb Award in 2022. I had many huge issues with this book but your mileage may vary. I'm going to link to my review here in case you want to read about the problems I encountered. I feel funny about discussing this book that has received a lot of positive hype but I also want to warn potential readers that might have the same issues I did. 

What are you making and reading this week?

(Two hours, 32 minutes on hold, and counting ....)

Monday, April 18, 2022

Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate, and a Jump

I've completed 19 miles of the 30-mile Berlin Wall walking challenge I started last week. I've learned a few things about the Berlin Wall, increased my motivation to exercise, and I even look forward to walking (most days). 

After passing Checkpoint Charlie (which was really just a wooden shed when it was used as a crossing point between East and West Berlin), I came to the Brandenburg Gate. I've always imagined it as a magnificent sort of gate that was opened to mark special occasions, but I learned that while it was a gate when Berlin was a small walled city circa 1730, the current structure was built between 1788 and 1891. It has stood since then despite being damaged in WWII, through war and peace. 

Yesterday I reached Bernauer Straße where the first casualty of the Wall happened. It was also where 34 West Berlin students dug a 475 ft tunnel under the street, and 57 people used it to escape. An East German border patrolman, Hans Konrad Schumann, decided that he longer wanted to keep his fellow citizens imprisoned, so he dropped his machine gun and took a leap of faith over barbed wire to safely escape to West Germany. Things like this give me some small glimmers of hope today. 

I'm enjoying my trek through Berlin. Only 11 miles left to go!

Friday, April 15, 2022

Friday Letters: 4/15/22

Today I'm taking my virtual fountain pen in hand to wonder about a few things, and express my mower preference. Let's open the mail ...

Dear Twisted Ink,

Your directions were intriguing so I tried to Enter through the Exit. The only door marked Exit was locked from the outside during business hours, with its own sign marked "Exit Only". You may be making custom apparel EASY but entering the building seems HARD


Dear Justin,

You've been telling me for several years that I really need to get a zero-turn mower as they are much easier to mow with (and lots of fun). If you are thinking about getting me one for my birthday, this is the one I would like. Maybe "BAD MAMA" would be better than "BAD BOY", but I'm sure they could change the personalization. I think this would add a lot to my reputation around the neighborhood! 


Dear Neighbor,

I hesitate to say anything, but I'm a bit ashamed at the paucity of your Easter decorations. Yes, the eggs on all of your trees and bushes are nice, and so are all the pots with extra Easter trees and rabbits, but surely you could have found a way to drape a few more strings of Easter lights on the porch railings, or included a loud audio version of "Here Comes Peter Cottontail" blasting from the large Easter Bunny. I do appreciate your decorating efforts, but hopefully, you can do a bit more for Memorial Day. 


I wish you a lovely weekend with an easy way to enter whatever you're trying to get into, a mower that makes mowing more fun, and decorations (Easter or not) that make you happy. I hope you have a very nice Easter if you're celebrating, and an equally wonderful Sunday if you're not. 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

National Poetry Month: Week 2

To celebrate National Poetry Month, several of us are sharing poetry with you on Thursdays in April. Today we're all sharing different poems from the same poet, Sharon Olds. She is a contemporary poet that you may or may not have heard of. She's won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award, but I am most impressed by her ability to write personal, emotional poetry, poems that are full of details about her personal life but that I think many of us can relate to.

The poem below struck a chord with me. I distinctly remember a moment in the living room when Ryan was 15 and Justin was 13. They were both wearing shorts (showing their young men's muscles and hairy legs) and sitting on the sofa playing a video game. I looked over and thought, "They are young MEN! When did this happen and why wasn't I paying attention?" It was almost surreal, and it feels as if Sharon Olds could have written this poem for me for that occasion.

My Son the Man
by Sharon Olds

Suddenly his shoulders get a lot wider,
the way Houdini would expand his body
while people were putting him in chains. It seems
no time since I would help him to put on his sleeper,
guide his calves into the gold interior,
zip him up and toss him up and
catch his weight. I cannot imagine him
no longer a child, and I know I must get ready,
get over my fear of men now my son
is going to be one. This was not
what I had in mind when he pressed up through me like a
sealed trunk through the ice of the Hudson,
snapped the padlock, unsnaked the chains,
and appeared in my arms. Now he looks at me
the way Houdini studied a box
to learn the way out, then smiled and let himself be manacled.


Olds, Sharon, "My Son the Man." The Wellspring, Alfred A. Knopf, 1996. 
You can read more about the poet here


Be sure to check in with KymKat, and Sarah for more of Sharon Olds' poetry today, and join 
us next Thursday for more poems in celebration of National Poetry Month. (And remember 
that any time is good for poetry, not just Thursdays in April!)

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday: 4/13/22

I'm joining Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday today. I'm still working on the Antler cardigan, but to save you from another photo that doesn't look significantly different from the previous one, we're going to revisit the current Hitchhiker. It's also not a lot different from the last time you saw it, but I'm enjoying it as my car and travel knitting and I'm loving the colors.

I've listened to several good books this week, including The Swimmers and Heavy. On its surface, The Swimmers is a story about a diverse group of swimmers that swim their laps in an underground pool. They may be "overeaters, underachievers, dog walkers, cross-dressers, compulsive knitters (Just one more row)," above ground, but "most days, at the pool, we are able to leave our troubles on land behind … And for a brief interlude we are at home in the world. Bad moods lift, tics disappear, memories reawaken, migraines dissolve, and slowly, slowly, the chatter in our minds begins to subside as stroke after stroke, length after length, we swim." No swimmers are named except for Alice, who has dementia. She may not remember the combination to her locker or where she left her towel, but she knows what to do once she gets in the water.

Then one day a crack appears in the pool. Some won't swim over it, some are obsessed with it, some ignore it, and there are "crack-deniers". “Because the truth is, we don’t know what it is. Or what it means. Or if it has any meaning at all.” The pool eventually closes and the rest of the story follows. I enjoyed Julie Otsuka's writing style so much that I've just started The Buddha in the Attic

Heavy is a memoir by Kiese Laymon, unlike any other book I've read before. It's about family, relationships, love, race, addiction, and much more as he makes the journey from Jackson, Mississippi to teaching at Vassar. It's a powerful, difficult book, and one that I will need to read again. 

“I learned you haven't read anything if you've only read something once or twice. Reading things more than twice was the reader version of revision.”
― Kiese Laymon, Heavy

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, April 11, 2022

Walking in Germany

I was so inspired by Vicki's post on Friday (and desperate to find some way to keep myself inspired to walk almost every day) that I perused The Conqueror Events website a few times, made a choice, and then signed up. 

I'm doing The Berlin Wall Virtual Challenge, 
a powerful 30-mile journey through the center of Berlin, Germany, from Waltersdorfer Chaussee to Hermsdorf. What used to be a symbol of a world split in half by the Cold War now is the symbol of freedom, liberty, and unity. The description of this one spoke to me, and I wanted to start with something on the easy side so I could make sure that I would actually do it. I usually walk 2 miles a day, so I think that I should be able to complete 30 miles relatively easily. 

If I can keep this up, I may sign up for The Lord of the Rings challenges. This is a series of five different challenges, going from The Shire, through the Mines of Moria, to Mordor. The Shire alone is 145 miles, so that one may fit my mileage and budget for now. No point getting ahead of myself now when I've only gone ~ six miles, but this is a lot more fun than just plodding along. 

Thanks, Vicki, and I hope to get to Sonnenallee Border Crossing this week!

Friday, April 8, 2022

Museum of Me: April 2022

Hello and welcome to the April installation at the Museum of Me. The staff has been working hard on a new exhibit. This has involved some searching through the archives, dusting, and rearranging. If you'll please follow the docent, she'll show you around this month's exhibit. This month it's a job I had early in my life.

That job was at McDonald's. I grew up in a rural area so there weren't a lot of nearby options for summertime work. McDonald's was only 25 minutes away, they provided me with full-time hours, and it even turned out to be fun. So much fun, that I worked there for three summers, from 1973 to 1975. 

I don't have any actual pictures from that time, but this is what we wore:

I have no idea why this is in the National Museum of American History, but the photo does show the delightful shininess of the 100% polyester uniform top. We wore these along with navy blue polyester pants. Polyester was the perfect fabric to hold in the delightful smell of old grease from the grill, but at least I was lucky enough to have two uniforms. I would come home from work, soak the uniform in some Lestoil and then wash it while wearing the spare uniform the next day. 

I started working on the counter taking orders but was quickly moved to the grill. One day we were getting timed by some McDonald's corporate people. They were using actual stopwatches to see f we could serve people at lunchtime in 60 seconds. A woman brought her cheeseburger back to me and said she had ordered it without pickles, but this one had pickles. I was more worried about going over the allotted 60 seconds, so I told her she could just remove the pickles herself. For 33 cents that seemed reasonable to me. My kind manager thought I might do better on the grill.

And I did. We had a great team of four of us that worked the grill. We were all high school students of the same age, and we learned to work together so efficiently that we also had time for lots of fun. We all worked from 6:00 am to 2:30 pm, so we made each other very strong coffee in the morning, sometimes adding a shot of vanilla, chocolate, or coffee milkshake. If any of us happened to feel a little hungover, the others would cover for us while we rested on the five-gallon buckets of pickles in the walk-in refrigerator. During downtime after the lunch rush, we would melt the white plastic coffee stirrers on the grill just enough to stick them together into sculptures. We made little people, wheelbarrows and bicycles, and even a moving ferris wheel later on. 

The four of us returned every summer for three years until we went to college. The kind manager had been to Hamburger University to become a manager and our last summer he sat us all down as a group and said he wanted to recommend all of us for Hamburger U. We had all been accepted to different colleges, and the kind manager seemed a bit sad that none of us were willing to continue our careers with McDonald's. I remember him telling one of the boys, "Anyone can go to Lehigh, but Hamburger U. is very selective!"

I didn't think I would work there for three years, but it wasn't a bad job for a teenager. I still hate the smell of grease from the grill, and that has put me off eating at McDonald's for the past 48 years, but that's not a bad thing. Like many other things, it was the people that made it enjoyable. 

Thank you for visiting the Museum of Me to hear more about McDonald's than you might have wanted to. The Museum of Me exhibits will be changed monthly on the second Friday of the month, so please stop by again in May for the next carefully curated installation. (The gift shop is on the right on your way out!)

Thursday, April 7, 2022

National Poetry Month: Week 1

To celebrate National Poetry Month, several of us are sharing poetry with you on Thursdays in April. Today's poem is about something we can all use more of, wherever and whenever we can find it. It's about HOPE. 

I love this poem because it speaks eloquently to something I often find difficult, praising the mutilated world. In the face of refugees, war, executioners, and sometimes oblivion, the poet reminds us that though the world may be mangled and marred, we must still look for and honor even the smallest signs of hope. 

Try to Praise the Mutilated World
by Adam Zagajewski
Translated by Clare Cavanagh

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees going nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.


Adam Zagajewski, "Try to Praise the Mutilated World." Without End: New and Selected Poems, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002.
You can read more about the poet here


Be sure to check in with Kym, Kat, and Sarah for more hopeful poetry today, and join us next Thursday for more poems in celebration of National Poetry Month. (And remember that any time is good for poetry, not just Thursdays in April!)

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday: 4/6/2022

I'm joining Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday, with a little bit more progress on the cabled yoke of the Antler cardigan. Except ...

when I was looking at the photo, I noticed that I had done something wonky with the end of the third cable in the middle of the picture. It looks like I might have held the cable needle in the front when it should have been in the back. So that means tinking back to my mistake and fixing it. I think it's just three or four rows back, so hopefully, I'll have it fixed and be able to move on in a relatively short time. 

It might be Paul Simon's fault. I finally finished listening to The Sentence this week, and also read The Violin Conspiracy. Both were four-star books for me, and then I got the notification that it was my turn for Miracle and Wonder from the library. I anxiously checked it out and started listening. This isn't exactly a memoir or even a book, but the title says it's Conversations with Paul Simon and that's exactly what it is. Malcolm Gladwell and Bruce Headlam ask Paul Simon questions and then shut up, allowing Paul to speak uninterrupted about his creativity, curiosity, influences, songs, and collaborations. I haven't listened to much of Paul Simon's music since Graceland but I will be remedying that. First, I'm going to re-listen to this conversation and fix the wonky cable. Even if it is Paul Simon's fault, it was well worth it. 

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Read With Us: It's a New Book!

Welcome to the Spring 2022 announcement of our new Read With Us Book! This is not a very well-kept secret, especially because we announced it during a previous Zoom book discussion, but I hope you'll all be as excited as I am to read our choice.

Because so many of us loved Shuggie Bain, we were compelled to choose Douglas Stuart's second novel, Young Mungo

NPR's Maureen Corrigan said, "Reading it is like peering into the apartment of yet another broken family whose Glasgow tenement might be down the road from Shuggie Bain's." Shuggie and Mungo are both gay, with alcoholic mothers, and growing up in working-class Glasgow. But never fear, Stuart has said he doesn't want to take readers on what he calls a "working class poverty safari." “These characters are very close to my heart. I’m writing about me. I think my entire life’s work will be about searching these wounds. I am fascinated by belonging and families when they disintegrate, about what it means to be young and queer and working class, what it means when you don’t belong in the only place you know. What I’m always writing about is gentleness in the face of oppression. Really, I’m only writing love stories.”

I was initially a bit fearful of Shuggie Bain because I anticipated a heart-breaking, gut-wrenching, and emotionally intense book. But Stuart's writing carries such depth and is so powerful that I call it my favorite book of 2021 and my favorite Read With Us book (so far). Young Mungo has the same stunning writing, and I'll admit, some of the same dangers.  Because Stuart's writing is so detailed, we see the scenes he's written, both brutal and beautiful.

Young Mungo is being published today and is available from Amazon, Audible, and hopefully, your local book store and library. I'm in the process of reading it on Kindle, and will also be listening to it in audio format because I want to hear it in the voices it's reflecting. Kym will be doing a promotional post on April 19th, I'll have one on April 26th, and Carole will write one on May 3rd. Our blog and Zoom book discussion will be on June 7th. And a possible helpful reminder: Kym had previously linked to a useful Glaswegian dictionary while we were reading Shuggie Bain, so here it is again as I've found it helpful while reading Young Mungo.

I very much hope you'll grab a copy of Young Mungo and Read With Us!