Thursday, June 30, 2022


I got fired last week. It's not quite as bad as it sounds, and in many ways, it was actually a good thing. 

A little background information first. We bought Justin a house. This is something we have wanted to do for a long time. We bought a house for Ryan in CO in 2013 (back in the olden days when real estate was not a circus), sold it in 2021 with quite a gain, and used the proceeds to buy another house in PA. John has always wanted to be able to start both kids out with housing, so we've been looking for something for Justin for quite a while. 

We finally found it - 10 minutes from Justin's work, at the end of a cul-de-sac, on an acre lot with a creek at the bottom of the back yard, and bordered by county open space on two sides. Deer, rabbits, and other wildlife are regular visitors. The seller grew up in the house and when his father died, he wanted it to go to someone else who would appreciate it. It's a 60s-era house in need of some updates, but that's perfect for Justin who cares more about where his house is located than whether it has granite countertops, a kitchen island, and an en suite bathroom. 

John has been at the house for several days sanding and putting polyurethane on the hardwood floors, taking care of some plumbing issues, and getting a radon remediation system put in. Justin's girlfriend, Jess, will be living there with him much of the time, and she decided she wanted to paint some rooms. I'm engaged in the ongoing process of learning to keep my mouth shut, so I didn't blurt out, "But the sellers just painted all the rooms a lovely pale grey-green that will go with everything!" We all went to paint, and I was assigned what I thought were some easy tasks - above the taped baseboards, in the corners, and around the electric outlets that had the covers removed. All the places where you can be a bit sloppy before rolling the big sections of the walls.

I had done my painting in two bedrooms and went to make some lunch on the grill. When I came back after lunch and asked what I should do next John told me to go knit. It took me a couple of minutes to understand what he was saying, but he thought that I had done such a poor job on everything that I painted in the morning that he had to re-do most of it. I was fired, and have never been so happy to receive my pink slip! (I really hate painting!) I left the paint crew to go to the rug remnant store to give them measurements for some rugs that Justin is having cut and bound. This job was perfectly within my capabilities. :-)

You can see I was working with a very nice pale green before I was summarily dismissed. Next time we go to the house I have placed myself in charge of wet-mopping all the dust that John generated from sanding the floors and I will also be thoroughly cleaning three bathrooms. These are tasks I excel at and won't have to be fired!

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday: 6/29/22

I'm joining Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday with new yarn! I haven't bought any yarn for a long time but this arrived just when I was getting very tired of the current Hitchhiker. 

What's in the bag?

Some lovely colors for baby washcloths and a Baby Surprise Jacket! 

I am in a purple mood, so that's what I've cast on with. I'm going to do some solid ones and might even try a Ballband dishcloth with both the purple and the teal, depending on how much yarn I've got left when I think I'm done. It's a wild time here at Chez Highly Reasonable! 

I'm continuing my careful reading of The Transit of Venus but I haven't had much time this past week, especially time when I felt I could concentrate and give the book the attention it needs and deserves. I also got distracted by The Latecomer. It's a great story so far, both interesting and compelling. Baby washcloth knitting and a good audiobook are perfect together and just what I need!

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Read With Us: New Book for Summer

Today's the day we announce a new Read With Us book for summer! You might already be aware of this if you attended the Zoom discussion for Young Mungo, but now everyone will know. There are no nuns, no bleak poverty or alcoholism, and I think it's an easy read. 

It's Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason. 

When I say it's an easy read, I mean that it's on the shorter side (350 pages) and tells a relatively straightforward, linear story. But I don't think it's simplistic and I think there will be a lot to discuss. It's a story about mental illness, and all the debilitating effects it can have on a person's life and the lives of the people around them. The writing pulled me in, I was invested in the characters and the emotionally intense story. But it is also acutely observant, which results in plenty of humor. Meg Mason does a very interesting thing which I won't divulge here, in hopes that you'll want to read the book, but I think it will add to the discussion possibilities. 

I know that several of you have already read the book, but I hope you'll consider reading it again and sharing your thoughts and opinions. I only had a short wait for it from my library, and it's available from Amazon for only $6.99 for Kindle and $13.59 for a paperback copy. If you're lucky enough to have a local independent bookstore, I'm sure you'll be able to find a copy there. 

Kym, Carole, and I will be talking about the book, giving additional information, and doing promotional posts throughout July. Discussion day for Sorrow and Bliss is scheduled for September 13, 7:00 pm Eastern time, so mark your calendars. We'll ask questions on our blogs that day and then host the always fun, educational, and entertaining Zoom discussion. How do you determine whether a person's behavior can be attributed to their mental illness or whether it is due to them simply behaving badly on their own? I hope you'll Read With Us and find out!

Monday, June 27, 2022

Human World

Sometimes the only way to take the human world is to leave it behind. 

I hope your weekend left you rested, rejuvenated, and ready to continue the fight.


Friday, June 24, 2022

Five Questions (or Maybe Seven)

A couple of weeks ago, a friend and I were discussing small talk. I had to attend a function (it was a Medicare information session, not even a social event) and I was amazed at the number of people who shared their life stories (including medical information) while we were standing around chatting before the session began. Being an introvert, I tend to be terrible at small talk. I am curious about people and their stories but have to be careful not to ask too many probing questions too early.

My friend sent these two articles and I wondered what you thought about the questions contained in them:

5 Questions the Most Interesting People Will Always Ask in Conversations

7 Questions Interesting People Always Ask in Conversations

Are they questions you might like to be asked in a conversation? Can you recommend anything to improve my small talk? I'm not necessarily trying to be interesting while conversing with a stranger, just like a relatively pleasant human being that can carry on a conversation. 

And while you're looking over those articles, feel free to answer any of the questions in the comments. I am always curious about people and would love to hear about a book that has influenced you or what excites you right now! 

Thursday, June 23, 2022


Who knew that a little bit of time invested in meal planning might save me frustration, aggravation, and maybe even some time in the long run?

Maybe many of you who have planned your meals knew this secret, but I'm really just beginning to give it a try. Cooking is solely my responsibility, which is okay because John usually takes care of plumbing and electrical issues (not at the same time). Often, I just stand at the kitchen counter while sipping my tea in the morning and wonder "What in the world am I going to make for dinner tonight?" I try and figure something out based on what I've got in the refrigerator and freezer, along with the additional questions of "What do I feel like making?", "What are the easiest, yet tastiest things I could make?", and "Why isn't John happy with just a salad for dinner in the summer?" It seems as if thinking about dinner, making dinner, and trips to the grocery store to get just a few things I'm lacking for that night are taking up far too much of my time, so I decided to try some meal planning.

Yesterday I needed to grocery shop, so before I went and wandered the aisles aimlessly, I made a menu list for six days. This is the scribbled list on the blue index card above. I had two trout in the freezer from fishing last weekend, and fresh snow peas in the refrigerator from the garden, so yesterday's dinner was easy. Then I just started writing down possibilities for the remaining five days. I'm not a big fan of pork chops (dinner tonight), but I'm a grown-up, don't have to eat any pork chops, and I'm also making a pasta salad that I do like. I thought about things that I haven't made in a long time (corn salad, broccoli salad, and a raspberry jello salad) and put them on the list. I have a wild turkey breast in the freezer from Justin's spring turkey hunt that should be used, so we'll be having wild turkey nuggets this weekend. 

Then I made a grocery list from the meal planning list so I would be sure to have all the ingredients on hand and wouldn't be running back to the grocery store for raisins or black beans or something else I was missing. (Shredded cheddar and bacon are both on the list twice, but you can never have too much bacon or cheddar.) I'm really not much of a planner so this is not my usual modus operandi, but I hope it pays off in the long run. (We'll see how long I stick with it.)

So how do you deal with the eternal question of dinner? Do you plan? Make things on the spur of the moment? Are you lucky enough to be part of a family that shares cooking, offers meal ideas, or is at least happy with a good salad in the summertime? I'd love to hear how things work at your house!

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday: 6/22/22

I'm joining Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday with a few projects. 

I finished my second Peace Cowl, and I'm pretty pleased with it. I used Kym's trick (Ravelry link) and knit four rows of stockinette at the beginning and end. This rolls nicely to provide a faux i-cord look without any of the i-cord angst like the pattern suggests. I used up some partial balls of the great merino, alpaca, and silk yarn left over from my Antler cardigan, and ended up with a lovely soft cowl that I'm looking forward to wearing in cooler fall weather. 

I already had a gift for my nephew's wife's baby shower that I attended last Sunday, but somehow I got the idea that she also needed a handknit. The baby isn't due until October, so I have been thinking about some bibs and/or a Baby Surprise Jacket, but I wanted something I could finish in a few hours since I got this idea Saturday night and the shower was early Sunday afternoon. VoilĂ  -- a baby hat. I think I need to have better DK yarn in my stash (that off-white was the only thing I had), but I'll work on that for bibs and the BSJ. (The order that I just placed with Knitpicks should take care of this problem.)

I'm back to working on the old Hitchhiker. It's rapidly losing its allure but that may be because I have some lace weight that I've been hoarding and wanting to cast on for a silk Hitchhiker. I think I better try and finish this one before I cast on something new and shiny or this might never get done. 

I read a few books over the last two weeks -- The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle, As You Wish, A Thousand Ships, How to Be Perfect, and I'm currently re-reading one of my favorites, Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories. It's a perfect book for summer reading! 

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Summer Solstice

Today marks the arrival of the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. That means we are at the point in Earth's orbit angled closest to the sun, so we're experiencing the longest period of daylight (and the shortest period of darkness) in the calendar year. This was always a little confusing to me when I was in school, so a picture might help if you are removed from the astronomic details like I am. 

I don't have any big bonfires planned or other celebrations, but I might sit outside when the sun sets with a celebratory vodka & tonic. It's always nice to slow down and notice the cycle of the seasons. However you choose to mark the day, I hope your long hours of daylight are good ones. 

Monday, June 20, 2022


Last week was a bit much, but this past weekend was almost perfect. The weather was gorgeous - cool, breezy, and almost fall-like, we had a family birthday party for three little boys on Saturday, and a family baby shower on Saturday. Sadly, there were some family members that got covid and couldn't attend, but I got to see others that I haven't seen for two years. We ate, drank, celebrated, and it was great. I know you don't know the people in the photographs, but maybe you can see that we all had a terrific time. 

I hope your weekend was as wonderful as mine was! 

Friday, June 17, 2022

So Where Were We?

It's been a week here, friends. I think I left off on Tuesday with a wrap-up letter to Douglas Stuart about Young Mungo. Several of you thought I should actually send it. Even though that wasn't my original intention, I figured "Why not?" He certainly couldn't object to a book group praising his books, so I sent it to his US contact at ICM Partners, asking her to forward the letter to Mr. Stuart. I did get an out-of-office reply saying that she was traveling and might be a bit slow in responding, but I will be sure and let you know here if I hear anything further.

My view for 6-7 hours on Tuesday. 

Early Tuesday morning, Justin called from work saying that he had hurt his back so badly that he couldn't drive home, and could we please pick him up and take him to the ER, which of course we did. John drove Justin's truck home and Justin and I continued on to the ER. It was an adventure. Only patients are allowed to enter the ER, so I waited outside in the sun and heat for six hours. Eventually, Justin got called into a room (called the "Fast Track" room - ha!) which I was allowed to go in. It was all a bit surreal - the automatic doors into the ER were broken so they had to bring me in some secret back way, there were signs all over saying "don't drink the water", the Code Blue button in Justin's room was broken and we were instructed to dial 444, but there was no phone in the room. At some point, it just became funny. He finally got an x-ray, which didn't show anything, and he was discharged after seven hours with three different pain meds. 

I guess I can wait for some water (there wasn't any available at the front lobby check-in,
  but they were sorry for the inconvenience).

Okay, I don't anticipate a code, and we can always dial 444.

Oops, no phone. 

Wednesday was my birthday and Ryan made me a lovely meal, which was exactly what I wanted. I got a call from the cardiologist saying that they needed me to come back for some more testing, so that happened Thursday morning. It was back at the same hospital we had been at on Tuesday, so I made sure not to drink the water. I have another appointment with the doctor on Monday morning to go over all the testing I've had and see what the next steps are. I would appreciate any good cardiac thoughts you might be able to send my way.

Just a pretty lily hiding in Ryan's hostas. 

I'm writing this on Thursday afternoon after meeting with our financial planner and hoping that all the crises have been dealt with this week. Our 401k has lost 25% of its value since John retired in February, so we had to do something to ensure it would last a little longer than just this year. Justin is feeling a little bit better each day, he has probably learned that he should not be rolling giant eight-foot sections of a tree into the backhoe bucket no matter how strong he thinks he is, my heart has not stopped yet, and our finances are (hopefully) a bit more secure. I just had a piece of the delicious chocolate cake Ryan made for me, but don't tell my cardiologist. I am learning that life may be short, so make sure you eat chocolate cake when you get the chance. 

I have high hopes for a calmer weekend, and I wish the same for you!

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Read With Us: Young Mungo Wrap-Up

It's my turn to do the Read With Us wrap-up, and I've been considering what I wanted to say about Young Mungo. I did take plenty of notes during our discussion last Tuesday night (although I completely forgot about taking a picture), and while I was scribbling things down I kept thinking about how much I would like to tell author Douglas Stuart about our discussion and what Young Mungo (and Shuggie Bain) have meant to our book group. So here's the wrap-up, in a letter to Mr. Stuart. 

This photo of Douglas Stuart is a bit different than his usual adult black & white photos.
I like to imagine him having at least a few happy moments growing up in Glasgow. 

Dear Douglas Stuart,

We, the Read With Us bloggy book club, would like to say thank you, and at the same time, what were you trying to do to us?! We read Shuggie Bain back in April of 2021, and it was kind of a landmark book for our group. It was a difficult read but at the same time, it was beautifully written. Our book group had a great discussion, it helped to "crystallize" us as a book group, and we anxiously looked forward to your next book.

We just finished Young Mungo and had our online discussion last Tuesday night. There were about ten of us, and we both loved it and hated it. I'm sure this is a reaction you have heard before, and it encapsulates our feelings. Many of us were upset by the violence and emotional intensity. Several participants agreed that because your writing was so detailed we felt everything that Mungo, Jodie, and James experienced. This was a tough read and quite a few of us had to put the book down and take some pauses. The dual timeline did help but at least one of us had to quit reading for almost six months. We all read the book, even though at least one of us simply did not like it  ... at all. She needed more than lovely writing and was dragged down by simply Too Much - too much violence, homophobia, poverty, alcoholism, sadness, dire despair, and lack of hope. But she showed up for our Zoom book discussion, and we are all quite happy that we could have a wonderful exchange of differing opinions in a civil, respectful, and enlightened way. I think your books help make that possible. 

The leader of our book group found this quote from you about your goal for your novels:

“I think good art's only obligation is to move you, to make you feel rearranged. If you're going to give me 16 hours of your time, then I'm going to try and move you as best as I can to make you think. I like to create an immersive world for my readers because I think most readers might never see a working-class community or people living with poverty or travel to Glasgow. … Before I'm a writer, I'm a reader. And for me, the thing I love most in a book is when I close the last page, I want to think, 'Don't go, stay with me, or tell me what you're going to do next.' And that's all I really tried to do with my books.”

I would like to extend my congratulations because I think I can speak for most of the group and say that we did feel moved, rearranged, and immersed in Mungo's Glasgow. The three days he and James spent together was a simply beautifully written love story, and the time that Mungo was with St. Christopher and Gallowgate was as horrific as anything we've ever encountered. Like one of our members said, "We can do hard things." We found that out by reading Young Mungo, but the reading and our rearrangement were worthwhile. You moved us and did make us think. 

We are mainly a group of knitters who enjoy reading, so we also have an interest in fiber. I've read that your third book is set in the Outer Hebrides with textiles and crofting workers. This sounds wonderful, but can we maybe have just a touch less violence? Just enough to feel moved and rearranged, but maybe a little less so. (Just kidding, you write whatever you want to, and we'll read it.) 

Thank you,
The Read With Us Book Club

Monday, June 13, 2022

Museum of Me: June 2022

The June Museum of Me opening was delayed slightly until today, mainly because I forgot all about it! 

This month's exhibit isn't much of a "sit still and look at it" type. It's June and the perfect time for your Favorite Outdoor Game As a Kid. So get up off the bench, step this way, and see if you might remember this. (I realize that many of you may be way too young.)

Does this thing look familiar at all? Step over to the video monitor and see if this catchy commercial stirs any memories. 

I was born in 1957 and my sister was born three years later. When Kym asked about our favorite outdoor game, I had to think for a bit. My sister and I grew up in a rural area, on a dirt road with just one other house, so it was just us in the summer. We rode our bikes up and down the dirt road and wandered endlessly in the woods, but besides tea parties and solving made-up mysteries, there weren't a lot of games that you could play with just two people. 

But then I remembered the Jingle Jump. It had been advertised on TV, with that catchy song and irresistible lyrics, and we just had to have them. I remember pleading with my mother, and my begging must have worked because both my sister and I got Jingle Jumps. The yellow contraption strapped onto one of your shoes with the blue strap, and the goal was to swing the ball around in a circle, jumping over it with the other foot. That little box at the back of the foot held a couple of jingle bells, thus the clever name. 

I know it took me a long time to get this figured out, but my more coordinated sister quickly achieved the kind of rocking motion that it took to swing the ball, jingle, and jump successfully. Eventually, I did get it because I remember spending a lot of time on the cement front porch doing just what the commercial showed. I can't say I ever twisted while jumping, but of course, my sister and I mastered hopping and bouncing a ball while Jingle Jumping. Looking back, I suspect my mother may have taken the bells out of their little plastic box at some point so she could get a moment's peace. I know we were always yelling, "Come watch us!" so she could appreciate our superb mastery of Jingle Jumping. 

We did find our Jingle Jumps when we cleaned out my father's house several years ago, but alas, the plastic straps had broken and we couldn't try them out to if we retained any muscle memory of how to Jingle Jump. That might have been a good thing, but they sure did provide a lot of fun for just $1.00! 

Thank you for visiting the Museum of Me for one of my favorite outdoor games. The Museum of Me exhibits will be changed monthly on the second Friday of the month (as long as I don't forget), so please stop by again in July for the next carefully curated installation. (The gift shop is on the right on your way out!) If only we sold Jingle Jumps in the gift shop!

Friday, June 10, 2022

What's (Not) for Dinner

John is one of five kids and the last time we were together they were reminiscing about favorite things their mother had made. One item was applesauce cake. We couldn't find the recipe in my MiL's recipe boxes, but we did find one in her Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. I made it and they all confirmed that this is what they had remembered. 

Another thing they fondly remembered was something the family just called "green Jello salad". I think everyone's mother made some sort of green Jello salad in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, but John's brothers and sisters couldn't even agree on ingredients. Some of them said it had a crushed pretzel crust, some said it had cream cheese mixed in and John's oldest sister was sure it contained cottage cheese. Without much guidance, I wasn't too successful in searching for green Jello salad recipes. I did find some that were clearly not what they remembered. 

Nothing goes together better than lime Jello, grapefruit, cabbage, and scallions! (And remember a Jello salad makes the meal!)

At some point, Jello even came in vegetable flavors, like mixed vegetable and celery for those awful salads. Yum!

Nope, this is not the green Jello salad I was looking for either. 
I haven't yet found the Becker family green Jello recipe they all loved, but if the photo above is any evidence, Jello does not mix well with cottage cheese.

Here's hoping there is some actual good food in your weekend and not regrettable weird Jello!

Thursday, June 9, 2022

In Recognition

This is graduation season and I've received several graduation announcements, lauding the students and their many achievements. These students certainly deserve the honors and recognition they are receiving for all of their hard work. They are at the top of their classes and will most likely go on to make their marks in the world. One of the announcements struck me as bordering on being over the top. The student was graduating from high school and going to a prestigious college. I understand the parents' pride, but he hadn't won a Nobel prize or made a landmark scientific discovery. I started thinking about all the "average" kids.

I want to recognize all the kids who didn’t win an award, make the honor roll, and those who struggled and had difficulty, maybe just barely making it through the school year.

Big hugs and a pat on the back also go to the moms, dads, grandparents, caregivers, and foster parents that stuck by them, offering help, support, and encouragement as they guided their students through the school years.

To the kids that aren't the most popular, didn’t get invited to the prom, didn’t get a scholarship to college, win an athletic award, and are maybe going straight to work out of high school or even entering the military - you are all worthy of a pat on the back and having people talk about how amazing you are.
Some kids have to work twice as hard as other students just to get a C. Their achievements deserve recognition. Don’t forget those kids. We live in a bell-shaped curve world, and the truth is that most of us are simply average, occupying the 68.2% area in the middle of that curve.
But kindness, honesty, generosity of spirit, diligence, responsibility, conscientiousness, and creativity don’t often get the recognition and accolades they deserve. They aren't celebrated every day and certainly not on graduation announcements. I think those are qualities worth looking for and praising the people that exhibit them. Here's to the good human beings that get up and try their best every day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday: 6/8/22

I'm joining Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday with a view of the Peace Cowl, and the mistake I made on it last night (right at the orange stitch marker, about six rows back). 

The cowl has provided some lovely, peaceful knitting this week, and I sat down with it during our Read With Us discussion of Young Mungo last night, thinking that I would be able to focus on the relatively simple four-row pattern while our reading group talked. The book was so emotional and difficult that I really couldn't focus on knitting while we shared our reactions. But reading the book was also so worthwhile (I feel rearranged and think differently) that a small knitting mistake was completely worth it. I may have to rip back to make repairs, but that's okay. Now this cowl will always remind me of peace and the wonderful discussion we had of Young Mungo. Time to unravel!

In other reading news, I listened to The Island of Sea Women and The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle last week. They were both perfectly pleasant three-star reads for me but lacked the emotional impact of Young Mungo. (And now I'm finally done talking about Young Mungo, at least until our wrap-up next week.)

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Read With Us Discussion: Young Mungo

Hello and welcome to our Read With Us discussion of Young Mungo by Douglas Stuart. The format is the same one we have used before. CaroleKym, and I have each posted a question or two on our blogs today, and we will have an in-person Zoom discussion at 7:00 pm Eastern this evening. You can send me an email (email address is in the upper right) to RSVP and I will make sure you get an invitation with the Zoom link if you haven't already.

Please feel free to answer the questions and add your opinions in the comments, no matter whether you have read the book or not (or even if you tried and didn't finish). I'll be replying to your posts within the comment section for this discussion - and you can comment on other people's comments, as well. If you are unable to attend the Zoom discussion tonight, we'd love to hear your thoughts, but you needn't feel obligated to comment here if you'll be attending the Zoom discussion. Your thoughts, comments, and opinions are valuable and we'd like to hear them here or in person tonight. I just don't want you to feel like you need to discuss the book twice (unless you want to)!

My question has to do with the ideas of family and forgiveness in Young Mungo. Mungo Hamilton is a sensitive, anxious, fifteen-year-old gay young man in a family made up of his single, alcoholic mother Maureen (Mo-Maw or Tattie-Bogle if she's drunk), brother Hamish (Ha-Ha), and sister Jodie. They live together sometimes, when Mo-Maw happens to come home, or when Hamish isn't with the fifteen-year-old girl that he has had a child with. Even though they could be considered a family unit, they are each alone in their own world, with problems, dreams, and hopes that the others are completely unaware of. I was struck by their situation when I read this quote: "Mrs. Campbell started back down the stairs. Jodie reached out to her, but the woman shrugged her off. When she was back on her landing, she turned and looked up at the Hamilton siblings. "Ah've known you since you were in nappies, and ah've known that selfish mother of yours even longer. If anybody should understand making excuses for the person they love, it's you two. Can ye no forgive me that?"

Mrs. Campbell had just been violently beaten by her husband, was making excuses for her husband's behavior, and pointed out to Jodie and Mungo that they should understand that behavior since they did the same thing day after day. I started to wonder if the Hamiltons really were a family or just a group of people that had been thrown together by genetics. Can you call yourself a family if the people in that group rarely consider each other, know or accept each other for who they really are? I think Mungo certainly forgave his mother's behavior, and also Hamish's. Is forgiveness a necessary part of family dynamics, even if you aren't living in a dysfunctional family? Do you think Mungo and James come together in their own family? 

I have an admission to make. I started to read an advance copy of Young Mungo way back in January of this year, got to a certain grim section (you can probably guess where it was if you read the book), and could not read any further, for almost six months. It was all just Too Much - too much violence, homophobia, poverty, alcoholism, sadness, dire despair, and lack of hope. I was afraid I might have to try and bluff my way through the discussion, but I respect you all too much to do that. I sat down last Sunday and finished the book. It was still Too Much, but I have hopes that your discussion in the comments and tonight will help clarify this book for me. It is Too Much, but because of that, it's also a powerful book. I can't wait to hear what you think!

Monday, June 6, 2022

Things I Learned About From My Kids

My kids think I'm old and stuck in my ways. They may be right, but I prefer to think of it more along the lines that I've been alive long enough to know what works best for me. However you look at it, I am always open to new suggestions in the areas of food and drink. My kids have given me some suggestions about both recently and I'd like to share some of the better ones with you.

Ryan called one day all excited about a new condiment he found at the grocery store - chipotle aioli. He said it's really delicious, especially on roast beef sandwiches. I was excited to try it because John's palate is geared towards the bland, so I'm always looking for ways to add a little spice to the things I eat. I looked for it in two stores, finally found it at a third, and thoroughly enjoyed my chipotle aioli roast beef sandwich. 

Justin left a little bit of ice cream in our freezer for three weeks, and one day I finished it up. I later felt bad about eating it so I bought him another pint to replace it. He told me this week there was an even better flavor and he had gotten me a pint. I'm now the proud owner of a pint of Little Debbie Zebra Cakes ice cream and proud that I haven't gobbled it all up in one sitting. 

Ryan also told me about some really good things that he had to drink that were recommended by friends. The first is White Claw spiked seltzer that is good by itself or as a mixer. I bought a mixed case of it and have yet to find a flavor that I don't enjoy. The other thing is Monster. I laughed when Ryan was telling me I should try this "energy drink", but it has enough caffeine to wake me up in the morning, doesn't make my stomach hurt like coffee does, and they have some low-carb and low sugar flavors. I especially like the "blue" flavor, but with 140 mg of caffeine, it's not something I sip in the afternoon. 

I'm quite late to trying White Claw, Monster, chipotle aioli, and probably Little Debbie ice cream, too, but I'm glad to add some new tastes to my summer flavors. These are all great and even help me feel like I'm not too old and stuck in my ways. 

Friday, June 3, 2022

A New Way to Stop

 Boring old run-of-the-mill stop sign:

My new favorite stop sign:

I will be making detours often just so I can stop at this stop sign. I love it and it's amazing how much it can make me smile every time I see it. I hope you have a great weekend, and remember, you are fabulous!

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Poetry on Thursday

This is the flag at our borough hall. I'm not sure exactly why it's flying at half staff; it's been like that for at least 18 months or more. While there are many good reasons that the flag could be at half staff, it reminds me of a poem from Goldenrod, so I'm sharing it with you today. 

Half Staff 
by Maggie Smith 

Why don't we leave
           the flags at half-staff
& save ourselves

the trouble? Save
           the kids in coats & hats
on flag duty in the snow.

That morning I sat
           in traffic by the school,
waiting for the light.

to change, and there
           they were, pulling 
the rope hand-over-

hand-over-hand. First 
           thought: do children
lowering the flag

at an elementary school
            know it's for children
shot dead at another?

Then the minivan
           behind me honked.
Red to green. So often

I'm reminded the body
           is built for ending.
How have we not

evolved past these
           temporary containers?
I mean, what a place 

to keep everything
           everything! Four days
after Sandy Hook,

I walked my daughter
           to her classroom,
kissed her head

wished her happy
           birthday, & sent her
inside. So often

the mind whispers
           to the body, I am not
safe here, and the body

never bothers 
           to answer. Because
what could it say?


Smith, Maggie. "Half Staff". Goldenrod, Atria, 2021.
You can read more about Maggie Smith here


Wishing you love, protection, and poetry as this week winds down. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday: 6/1/22

I'm joining Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday and returning to my comfort knitting with a Hitchhiker. 

The true colors are somewhere near this photo, but I will take a photo in natural light when I'm a bit further along.

I have plenty more yarn than the tiny little ball I'm working with, but this is some of the oldest stuff in my stash and I had to cut out some carpet beetle-chewed damage after the yarn spent a couple of years in the freezer. Between this Hitchhiker and the cowl I showed you yesterday, I'm all set for meditative projects. 

I've read a few books over the past couple of weeks - ranging from Bittersweet ( a disappointing two stars for me), to three-star Search and Instructions for a Heatwave, and a surprising four-star time travel novel, This Time Tomorrow. As always, if you're interested in my reviews and thoughts, you can click on the titles in the "Bonny's Bookshelf: read" sidebar on the right. 

What are you making and reading this week?