Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday: 8/31/22

I'm happily joining Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday,

with a finished Hitchhiker. It's even better because I've decided that it will be a Christmas gift for someone. I think I know who I'll give it to but won't mention it here because I know that she's read my ramblings on occasion. 

(They're Skittles I grabbed out of the candy dish on the way out to take pictures.)

And I cast on another one. I bought this yarn four years ago at NJ Sheep and Wool and I just haven't been able to bring myself to use it for socks. I love the colorway name (Nothing Says Screw You Like A Rainbow) and it knits into rainbow stripes interspersed with clouds in a blue sky. I'm not sure how this will play out in a Hitchhiker, especially when the rows start getting longer, but the only way to tell is to give it a try.

Reading has been varied, but there was one really stellar finish. I read The School for Good Mothers (ugh) but enjoyed Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting. Meet Me at the Museum was wonderful. It feels like I was lucky to find the right book at the right time with this one. This epistolary novel makes me wish I had a philosophical pen-pal to write to, and receive thoughtful answers. Tina Hopgood, an English farm wife, and Anders Larsen, a professor at Silkeborg Museum in Denmark, find each other through a chance letter that Tina wrote about the Tollund Man, and through this exchange of letters, they develop an extraordinary, life-changing friendship. Through their letters, they come to share more and more, and I found their exchange of ideas and emotions quite moving. Their letters are presented alternately, and I listened to the audiobook which I think gave even more depth to the story. The conclusion is open-ended which might frustrate some readers, but I found it perfect.

What are you making and reading this week?

Monday, August 29, 2022

Sometimes Monday ...

 ... is a day for small wins!

(This is just a picture I like from Ryan's time at Gettysburg College. It doesn't have anything to do with the post. :-)) 

Some of the small wins that I am anticipating and celebrating:

  • I am on my own until Friday. Retirement is good, but spending all day, every day together isn't good for anyone (or any couple).
  • Ryan and I will be having dinner together on at least one of those evenings.
  • I made baked ziti over the weekend and have lots of leftovers for when I'm not enjoying dinner with Ryan.
  • I am dropping off four boxes of stuff that I have decluttered at Salvation Army.
  • I have successfully removed the condensation from beneath my watch crystal by placing it in some rice. This is a small thing but might even be considered a big win because the watch is 18 years old and I'm quite sentimentally attached to it.
What are your recent small wins? I hope you've had several!

Friday, August 26, 2022

Friday Letters

I think I've finally gathered enough topics to write a few Friday letters. So without further ado, let's open the mail. 


Dear Justin,

Never fear, I was not having a stroke when I sent you this text the other morning. I have these stupid sloth gifs preloaded in my messaging app and when my fat fingers accidentally hit one, it sends immediately. I think the fish tire leak was autocorrected, or it may have been a case of fat fingers once again. There were no fish tire leaks. Sorry!



Dear Walmart,

I would have won the bet with myself when I went into the store on August 25 that you would have Halloween candy out, more than two months ahead of the actual holiday. You didn't disappoint me! I do think that your people in charge of what you display on shelves and when should learn the cardinal rule of Halloween candy: You do not buy it more than a week ahead of time. You will hide it and then forget where your hiding place is, or more likely, you will eat it all and have to repeat the Halloween candy cycle all over again. I am afraid that you might have Valentine's Day decor out the week before Halloween, but I'm still refusing to buy Halloween candy in August.

Disgruntled Shopper


Dear People That Make and Sell Slime,

No, simply no. This goo looks awful and I'm confused about this printed on the Unicorn Slime: "Squeeze and strain measured amounts of lemon and lime juice. Can also be used in a standard manner." My standard manner of using slime is to not use it. My sons made enough of a mess without me buying stuff for them to grind into the carpets or furniture. I'd love to see your sales figures for this stuff!



Dear SkinTē,

This stuff really had me wondering. First of all, this is a terrible product name. It conjures up a repulsive mental image for me. Secondly, this is tea with collagen in it? I don't remember much from biochemistry (and I did get a C) but I do recall that collagen is a huge molecule. I don't think drinking it (yuck!) will send it directly to my skin and make me look younger. Your website does tell me that this is "the first-ever collagen sparkling tea that benefits skin, hair, nails, gut, and mood." I could use all those benefits but I fear that I won't get them from your tea. I searched for the scientific evidence for this claim on your website, but it was surprisingly absent. The Cleveland Clinic says that "Collagen can’t be absorbed by your body in its whole form. Your body breaks down the collagen proteins you eat into amino acids. So eating collagen-rich foods doesn’t directly result in higher collagen levels in your body." So thanks but no thanks. Good luck to you (and the Slime people) selling this stuff!

A person who will never willingly drink SkinTē


I hope that you enjoy a lovely weekend without SkinTē, Slime, or fish tire leaks. (Feel free to enjoy some Halloween candy if that's how you roll.)

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday: 8/24/22

I'm happily joining Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday,

now that I'm once again knitting a Hitchhiker. I wanted to start a new one but decided that I should really finish this one that was about 30% done. I'm at 36 teeth and I've got another small ball of yarn to go before I call this one done. I already have a similar one, so I think this might be a Christmas present. 

It seems like I'm always dreaming of my next Hitchhiker while I'm knitting the current one, and this is no different. I really enjoyed the gradient ones that I've knit, so if I can get to NJ Sheep and Wool in two and a half weeks, I may look for some gradient yarn that says it wants to come home with me. I'd also welcome the chance to meet up with Dee and Vera, so fingers crossed I can make it happen. 

I'm suffering from a bit of a book hangover after finishing Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, so I'm listening to Iona Iverson's Rules for Commuting. It's enjoyable so far, but it's not what I would classify as an epic read. I have some exciting books on hold, so I'm sure another one will come along (soon, I hope)!

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Summer Book Report

I usually talk about books that I've read on Wednesdays when I link up with Kat for Unraveled Wednesday. Last week I was so thrilled to finally finish the BSJ that I didn't even mention any books, but there have been some good ones so I want to get caught up. 

First, there were a couple of average books. 

I think I would have enjoyed Bomb Shelter much more if I had read it 20 years ago. While many of Philpott's essays were humorous, reading about all of her anxieties got to be a bit much after a while. I found the essay about meditation especially tedious. She shares her worries and crippling anxiety, and while every mother (and really every human being has something), many of her concerns seem to be about her children leaving. Her son's pediatrician provides her with a brochure, “Getting Your Baby Ready to Leave Home,” and she sees this as an “attack upon my soul”. There may be some hyperbole there, but much of motherhood involves teaching your children to be strong, independent, and think for themselves. It's often hard to let them do it but you cannot "swallow them whole". "Sometimes when I thought about the children leaving, I had a primal urge to swallow them whole, just absorb them back into my body and keep them with me forever."

I rarely read publishers' blurbs anymore because they are too often way off the mark. I definitely should have looked at the one for 100 Poems to Break Your Heart more closely though. I was expecting a compilation of poetry for times of grief or sadness, and while it is that, it is also quite dense and full of analysis. Edward Hirsch has chosen 100 poems and arranged them chronologically, from 1815 to 2018, with poems from many diverse sources. There were several that really spoke to me, such as Sharon Olds' "The Race", Kate Daniels' "The Addict's Mother", and Patricia Smith's "Ethel's Sestina". The last one is about Hurricane Katrina, and begins "Ethel Freeman's body sat for days in her wheelchair outside the New Orleans Convention Center." It is indeed heartbreaking.

I would have preferred more modern poems with less analysis that would have allowed me to develop my own thoughts about the poems, but this is a good volume to choose if you are looking for plenty of grief ("We are not so much diminished as enlarged by grief") and analysis to go along with it.

Then I read two really good books. 

I really enjoyed Kevin Wilson's previous unique and quirky novel, Nothing to See Here, so I was quick to request Now Is Not the Time to Panic when it was available on NetGalley. This story about two 16-year-olds who don't quite fit in, the art that they make one hot summer, and what spins out from there is just as interesting and original as Nothing to See Here. Frankie and Zeke are both just muddling along in Coalfield, Tennessee when they meet, create an arresting and enigmatic phrase (“The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with hunger for us.”) and artwork to go along with it. They make copies, post them anonymously all over town, and then things begin to spiral out of their control. The glimpse into Frankie's and Zeke's lives 20 years later, who they have become, and the tale they tell and why added a welcome element to the novel beyond the usual coming-of-age story. There are several other characters, Frankie's mother and her next-door neighbor, that provide more elements of surprise. This is a story about not fitting in, identity, who owns art, the power of art, and secrets, all wrapped up in a captivating novel.

The only thing missing from my ARC was a page with the poster, but I don't know if that is something that will be included in the final edition. If not, the reader's imagination may serve just as well. Something that I especially liked was Kevin Wilson's "On Writing Now Is Not the Time to Panic" at the beginning of the book. He explains how and why he came to write this book and what it means to him. It was so personal and good that I felt primed to like this book before I even started the first chapter. This book will be published on Nov. 8.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is quite simply, an epic book. I was not a big fan of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and found it a sappy fairy tale, and I'm also not much of a gamer, but this coming-of-age story about Sam Masur and Sadie Green was one that I was happy to immerse myself in. From Sam and Sadie's reconnection in a Cambridge train station after an initial meeting in a hospital game room where they met as children and bonded over Super Mario Bros., Zevin tells their story over 30 years through the video games that they design together. From their first success with Ichigo, through other successes and failures with games like Both SidesOur Infinite Days, and Pioneers, there is intense collaboration, heartbreak, shared passion, and creativity. Sam's roommate, Marx, is the third person in the triangle, adding to this long-term relationship's messy dynamics.

Zevin shows us that games are just another way of telling stories, ones we can immerse ourselves in for escape and art. She does this incredibly well in Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and I highly recommend you consider reading it, gamer or not.

"What is a game?" Marx said. "It's tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. It's the possibility of infinite rebirth, infinite redemption. The idea that if you keep playing, you could win. No loss is permanent, because nothing is permanent, ever."

There are still a couple of weeks left to fit in some summer reading. What books have you read this summer that you would recommend? 

Monday, August 22, 2022

What This Blog Needs

As I was mulling over the possibilities of things to write about, I thought, "You know what this blog needs? More poetry!" That may not be the most popular answer, but since I haven't posted a poem all summer (not since June 2), it's long past time for one. Here's one that I think works well for a Monday morning, and I think it's better than telling you about my boring weekend (laundry, vacuuming, accompanying John to pick up more free furniture, but that's a story for another day).

by Alex Dimitrov

I was just beginning
to wonder about my own life
and now I have to return to it
regardless of the weather
or how close I am to love.
Doesn’t it bother you sometimes
what living is, what the day has turned into?
So many screens and meetings
and things to be late for.
Everyone truly deserves
a flute of champagne
for having made it this far!
Though it’s such a disaster
to drink on a Monday.
To imagine who you would be
if you hadn’t crossed the street
or married, if you hadn’t
agreed to the job or the money
or how time just keeps going—
whoever agreed to that
has clearly not seen
the beginning of summer
or been to a party
or let themselves float
in the middle of a book
where for however briefly
it’s possible to stay longer than
you should. Unfortunately
for me and you, we have
the rest of it to get to.
We must pretend
there’s a blue painting
at the end of this poem.
And every time we look at it
we forget about ourselves.
And every time it looks at us
it forgives us for pain.


Dimitrov, Alex. "Monday." August 30, 2021, The New Yorker. 
You can read more about the poet here


And, just in case you'd prefer, here's a blue painting at the end of this poem so you don't have to pretend.

I hope your week is off to a good start!

Friday, August 19, 2022

Up On the Roof

I called five roofing guys, two called back, and one showed up. That's about par for the course, especially because we have box or Yankee gutters on the house and there seem to be about three guys in the state that will work on them. 

That ugly area in the middle at the top has been leaking. The three-foot icicle that we noticed last winter as we were leaving for MD was our first clue. 

Here's the guy yelling down to John that the ugly area is really just peeling paint and doesn't seem to be rotting wood. That was good news, but the estimate that we got today wasn't quite as pleasant. It includes labor of $130/hour and a 10-hour minimum, using materials that are currently running $550 for a 5-gallon can of the sealant goop. There is no estimate of how long the job might take, or how much of this stuff and other materials might be needed. I've never seen an estimate quite like this and will continue to seek out others while I lament that old all houses are not cheap to own.

I hope your Friday has better news than mine and your weekend is a good one!

Thursday, August 18, 2022

There Was This Comment ...

... that quite frankly, pissed me off on my post on Tuesday

I'm sorry but I thought this was a knitting blog, not a political blog. However, I realize you crazy dems can get away with anything. Fun's over in November dear knitter!

  1. I was initially tempted to delete this comment but have decided to leave it. Thank you for the blog fodder, Anonymous. I'll be responding in a post I'm writing for Thursday since I have no other way to enter into a reasonable discussion with you due to your anonymity.

I reply to almost every comment on my blog, directly by email if I can, or in the body of the comments if I'm not able to respond by email. I have enjoyed many direct discussions this way, and not surprisingly, sometimes people have even expressed opinions that differ from mine. I respect differing opinions and have often learned something from them. I have Comcast to thank for not immediately deleting the comment since we didn't have internet for a few hours on Tuesday morning. That gave me some time to think about a reasonable way to respond. (I am Highly Reasonable after all!) Since I can't reply to Anonymous by email, and I have too much to say to do it in a comment, I thought I'd express my feelings here in a post.

Nine years ago, I did start this mainly as a knitting blog, but as possibly one of the slowest knitters around, anyone that has read my ramblings for even a few days knows that there is not enough knitting going on here to support a whole blog only about knitting. So I certainly do write about other things - books, the garden, recipes, not winning the lottery, the drought in NJ, cutting cable, life in general, and sometimes even politics. Knitters are complex and multifaceted people, able to hold more than one thought in their heads at a time so they think and do many, many different things. 

I have written about politics on quite a few occasions before, and I'm pretty sure I will continue to do so after the November 2022 elections (even if the "fun's over", whatever that means). Just because I am a registered Democrat doesn't mean that I'm having fun now in this political climate, and I don't agree with every Democratic idea that comes down the pike. 

Back in January of 2020, this "crazy Dem" even got away with combining politics and knitting! I don't feel the need to apologize for it, will most likely write about politics in the future, and may even break that mug out again if it's needed.

What I hope I don't ever do is call people names, belittle their ideas, and offer vague threats about the fun being over in November. I am inviting people into my "virtual living room" here to read my thoughts and express their own. Just like I wouldn't invite an unknown stranger into my real living room to insult me, that shouldn't be happening here. People are free to offer their thoughts, ideas, and opinions about my knitting, book reviews, or any other thing I've written about, and I welcome the idea of carrying on a reasonable and civil discussion. I'm sorry you didn't give me the ability to discuss this with you directly, Anonymous. While I doubt that either one of us would have changed our minds, we both could have learned something from it, even if it was simply respect for another human being. 

So I've changed my comment settings to no longer allow anonymous comments. It pains me to do this because I haven't had a problem in nine years, but it was probably just a matter of time. If this becomes cumbersome or unworkable for my regular and much-appreciated commenters, I may change my mind and go back to allowing anonymous comments, or I might have to moderate comments. We'll see. 

This comment was left later in the day, and I'm assuming that it was from the same person, now with a Google account:

My main purpose for even responding to your comments regarding Cheney and Trump was to remind you that this is not the proper place for a political discussion.

I respect your right to hold this opinion, Iwill, but I happen to think this is a fine place for a political discussion. If you disagree, you are free to not read and participate in that discussion, just as I am free to determine my own blog content and whether it is proper or not. 

Now that I've had my say, I do hope that other readers will feel free to keep commenting and offering their opinions. Republican, Democrat, Independent, or no political affiliation at all - I don't care one single bit about someone's political registration and leaning; I care about whether they do the right thing and are kind to others.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday: 8/17/22

The BSJ is finally done so I'm joining Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday to celebrate!

I completely appreciate Elizabeth Zimmerman's creativity and ability to look at garments in different ways and translate her ideas into knits, purls, increases, and decreases, and I'm glad I finally knit a BSJ. I was explaining the iconic nature of the pattern to Ryan and he asked if it was some sort of knitting milestone, like socks. Maybe it is, but now that I've made one, I don't think it's the kind of knitting I enjoy. I don't enjoy counting every other row despite using markers so I could make sure that my increases and decreases lined up correctly. I really dislike not knowing what part of the garment I'm working on. The pattern is written to make buttonholes on both sides and then sew up the holes you don't use. I wanted to make buttonholes on the left because we know the baby is a boy, but I ended up not making buttonholes at all because I wasn't sure which side was the left. I opted to use one button and a loop instead. I crocheted around the neck opening with my almost non-existent crochet skills because the neck edge looked a little raw to me.

The sweater seems to be a bit oddly shaped with three-quarter-length sleeves. There are plenty of people who have added ribbing to the cuffs, but I chose not to. I don't have an actual baby to try it on, but if it fits the baby it was knit for this fall and winter that may be the best I can hope for. He won't even be able to say that his wrists are cold because his sleeves are too short! There will be another baby in the family in February of 2023, and I might try another baby sweater for comparison. (Or I might just knit booties and call it good.)

When we re-did our kitchen after we moved in, John got frustrated because I couldn't translate his carefully-drawn plans into how the kitchen would look in real life. This struck me as much the same. I may be a bit spatially challenged but this is not my type of knitting. I knit for relaxation, comfort, and pleasure, and I just didn't like thinking this much while I knit! So I'm back to knitting on a Hitchhiker, and much happier for it.

What are you making and reading this week?

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Dear Liz

Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was one of 10 Republicans brave enough to vote to impeach Donald Trump. She was censured and removed from her leadership position because of this. She has been disparaged by Trump and the Republican party. I watched and listened to Liz Cheney's honesty and calm demeanor in her position as vice chair of the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack. She is facing a primary today, and things don't look good in the polls. 

“Tonight, I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible:
 There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain.”

Cheney's opponent, Harriet Hageman, is leading by nearly 30 points. It looks like she may lose her seat, but as a registered Democrat living in New Jersey, there is nothing I can do to prevent that. Since I can't vote in the Wyoming primary, I wrote a letter to Ms. Cheney this weekend. 

Dear Ms. Cheney,

In all the tumult and chaos created by Donald Trump, I have been heartened by the actions of people that have seen the massive damage he has caused and spoken out, even when they have suffered personally. You have fought against the lies and the liars, upheld your oath to the Constitution, and not backed down. I hope that you can continue this work as a member of Congress, but if the voters of Wyoming feel differently, I hope that you will continue your work as an honorable public servant in whatever capacity might be available. The world is always in need of people who do the right thing, and you are certainly doing that. 

She will probably never see the letter, and even if she does, I doubt that a letter from a NJ Democrat will make her feel better. But anytime somebody does the right thing, great or small, it should be noted and celebrated. While I don't agree with all of her positions (she's an opponent of abortion rights, same-sex marriage, and gun control for a start), Elizabeth Cheney is absolutely doing the right thing here and I appreciate and respect her. 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Sometimes Monday ... a day to breathe a big sigh of relief. 

We still haven't had any rain, but the temperatures and humidity dropped over the weekend. I managed to mop the kitchen floor without sweating and even turned the oven on to bake some zucchini bread. The temperatures look bearable this week and there is that ever-elusive prediction of rain by the weekend. I have hope this week and I hope you do, too!

Friday, August 12, 2022

Museum of Me: August 2022

For the August installation of The Museum of Me, we're opening the portrait gallery. It's not a large wing of the museum; it only contains one portrait. Kym's suggested topic for this month is a photo from your childhood that most captures the YOU of today. 

Except this photo captures the ME I'd like to be today. It's an old 3x5 black and white photo that I found while going through things we cleaned out after my mother died. It was dog-eared and water-stained, so I had a copy made and restored as much as possible. The copy doesn't look much better than the original, but I can see things in this photograph that may not be evident to the casual viewer. I see a five-year-old girl who was pretty happy with her world. I was attending a sort of casual kindergarten program at the local Y and my mother and I had just shopped for the best napping rug. It was gorgeous shades of blue and purple and I can even recall playing with the fringe while trying to fall asleep. Why we needed to nap during a three-hour program remains a mystery, but I had the best rug. I was sure that everyone else was envious of me and my rug.

Even though it's a black and white photo, I see the lovely yellow and white gingham pinafore that my grandmother made for me and the white blouse that fit perfectly. There was a yellow, blue, and pink border around the bottom, and it was one of my favorite outfits ever. It just felt good and I can still remember how happy and confident I felt while wearing it.

I remember one of our elderly neighbors calling me Suzy Sunshine, especially when I was wearing this yellow pinafore. She said my smile brightened her day and she liked to chant jump rope rhymes along with me when I was playing on the sidewalk. I felt strong, confident, and full of fun.

Not much of the above describes the me of today. I'm 60 years older, have been through a pandemic, have responsibilities, health issues, aches and pains, concerns for my kids, and money worries. I don't always feel comfortable in my clothing and don't feel strong, confident, and full of fun. But I'd like to think that that smiling five-year-old in a sunny yellow gingham pinafore and a sunny disposition is still somewhere inside. I just have to figure out how to let Suzy Sunshine out a little bit more, have a little bit more fun, and show the strength and confidence I felt so many years ago. 

We'll be back on the second Friday of September with a brand new installation. Thank you for visiting The Museum of Me!

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Before and After

It's approaching mid-August and the garden is showing the expected effects of heat and lack of rain, but there were still plenty of things to pick and process. 

Tomatoes before:

Tomatoes after:

Two gallons of roasted and blended tomato "goop" to freeze and cook down in the winter. I was hoping for more regular tomatoes but we only got two, and those got eaten right in the garden!

Zucchini before:

Three giants and two babies

Zucchini after:

12 cups of shredded zucchini for the freezer, to be baked into zucchini bread when it finally cools down. 

Zucchini, spaghetti sauce, cheese, some Italian seasoning, and a little garlic powder. I like it cold. 

Cucumbers after: (I forgot to take a before photo!) The container was full originally but cold cucumbers are just crying out to be eaten when it's hot.

Hot peppers before:

The after photo will depend on what Justin's hot-pepper-loving coworkers do with them. They're pretty, and Ryan has used a few in eggs and stir-fried rice, but I tried a small piece of one and my mouth burned for 10 minutes. These are all getting passed along to people that can appreciate (and tolerate) them. 

These few green beans will just stay in the refrigerator and I'll make them for dinner over the next few days. 

Not too bad for only receiving about 22 sprinkles of rain in the past week!

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday: 8/10/22

I'm joining Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday, with very s-l-o-w progress on the Baby Surprise Jacket. I knit in the car on the way up to my SiL's and then got to the somewhat crazy row 80: k124, turn, k90, turn, k90, [turn, k90] 18x, knit up 10 sts from edge of flap, k34. 

I didn't feel like I could keep track of where I was and get this row knit correctly during John's stop-and-go driving during 12 miles of construction on Route 80, so I put it away for the weekend and just started working on crazy row 80 yesterday. I only have a couple more k90s to do, and then 17 more rows before the end, but I will be glad to see the end of this project. My fingers are itching to work on a Hitchhiker!

I finished a book from the Booker Longlist, Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies, and even though I wrote a review, I'm still not sure how I feel about it. There is a very fine line between pushing the form of the novel and becoming so inventive that you create something far too strange. I can't tell which side of the line Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies lies on. The book starts out telling the story of Lia who has been diagnosed with recurrent breast cancer and her relationships with her daughter Iris and husband Harry. Iris is a very perceptive child and some of her experiences at school are more than a child should have to bear. There is a disembodied voice in bold type that I took to be the personification of Lia's disease - disorienting but effective. There is also interesting non-linear typography that I found to be mostly distracting. Lia's story of growing up in a vicarage, her parents taking in a young man named Peter, and their eventual sexual relationship is told in bits and pieces. As Lia grows sicker, the voice of her disease begins to take over the narrative. My mother died of metastatic breast cancer, and the malevolent voice of Lia's disease was almost more than I could stand to read at times. Maddie Mortimer has written a unique, sad, and poignant debut novel, based on her own experience with her own mother, but I don't think it was a book for me. 

I couldn't settle on anything new that I wanted to read so I decided that some re-reads were in order. The Shipping News is an old favorite and I'm also re-listening to Everything I Never Told You. Sometimes special re-reads are just what is needed. 

What are you making and reading this week?

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Unraveled Wednesday: 8/3/22

I'm joining Kat and fellow Unravelers for Unraveled Wednesday, with just a bit more progress on the  Baby Surprise Jacket. 

I was about 20 rows further along but spied a dropped stitch while I was taking photos for Unraveled Wednesday. I tried to fix the dropped stitch but managed to do a sloppy job of it. It's just a few rows of knitting, so I unraveled it and will try to knit it right the second time. I don't have a lot more to knit and hope to finish this small purple blob while I'm spending some travel time in the car this weekend. If I do, I may make a return to Hitchhikers!

I only finished one book this week, but it was a long one. Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark was a saga that took me several tries to really get into it. Once I did, I enjoyed this tale of two old ladies. (I mean that sincerely.) I found myself wondering how Agnes was doing and if she was over her writer's block, and if her friend Polly was still deferring to her clueless husband. The book focuses on family and their many grievances, but Dark also writes about work, land ownership and stewardship, loyalty, and female friendship. I'm trying to read Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer, but it's quite a different book. It's from the Booker longlist, about a family coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis, and the author has given the cancer its own malevolent voice in the book. It's horrible and innovative at the same time. 

What are you making and reading this week?

I'm visiting my SiL in northern PA for a long weekend so I'm taking a small break. See you sometime next week!

Monday, August 1, 2022


That's what I spent time doing from Thursday when I bought the Mega Millions tickets to Saturday morning when I woke up and checked my numbers. While I didn't win, I think it was worth the $10 just to think about how I might spend $1,280,000,000 (Billion with a B!) or if I would be satisfied with the $747,200,000 million lump sum.

I think more than $740 million dollars would be plenty, and the first thing I would do is call the guy who did our taxes last year and ask him to set up an arrangement to pay the taxes on our windfall. Then I might pay the property taxes for the remainder of the fiscal year on our house (we pay them quarterly in NJ), on Justin's house, and the same for Ryan in PA. Then I would immediately call an AC contractor and have him come install mini-split AC units in our house. We could use units in seven rooms and eight would be ideal, so let's go with eight (since money is no object). 

Once I've got central AC units in the house, I might re-do the bathroom and have the porch painted. Maybe I would even think big and have the whole house painted (all the exterior woodwork and the interior) along with the barn. 

John would probably want to buy an old truck since he sold his a few years ago and I think I could go along with that. 

So how much have we spent so far?

   $747,200,000 winnings
   $179,328,000 taxes
             $28,000 property taxes
             $22,000 AC
             $15,000 re-do bathroom
             $28,000 painting house and barn
             $30,000 old truck for John
That leaves $567,749,000 dollars left over! So maybe John could get a slightly more expensive old truck, a really nice 1932 Ford like he's always wanted. John says he might buy a $1,000,000 ranch somewhere, but I bought the tickets so we'll have to see about that purchase. I would make a big contribution to PBS, enough so they would read my name at the beginning of Masterpiece. I can just hear the announcer saying, "Funding for MASTERPIECE is provided by Bonny H. Becker". Another big donation would go to Olivia Julianna for abortion care. Who knows, I might even splurge on some nice yarn and a book or two.  As for the rest of it, I really have no idea what else I would spend it on.

The odds were a staggering a staggering 1 in 302.5 million against winning, but it was fun to dream. Maybe you had some Mega Millions dreams, too. How would you have spent your winnings?