Sometimes Monday | 7.13.20

Sometimes Monday | 7.13.20

‘Cause a little bit of summer is what the whole year is all about. – John Mayer

Joy of joys, this morning I found the temperature had departed from the 90+ degrees where it had been lingering far too long. A little bit of 90+ days go a long way, right? The weather person says that I will get a few days of reprieve before those hot days come roaring back. My plan for this welcome relief…knit.like.the.wind!

I finished Clue 5 last night, and I am having a bit of panic because I am not quite sure I will have enough of the darker yarn…sigh. If that is the case, then I will just figure out some work-around bind off.

I also have been watching the US COVID-19 numbers in horror. I listened to this timely Life Kit episode this morning. I added “make more masks” to my weekly list.

Random things from my Gratitude list last week:

  • Rain
  • More rain
  • Ripening tomatoes
  • All.the.beans!
  • AC

That is all I have for this slow starting Monday. How about you? What things were you grateful for last week?

P.S. Apparently, my brain was totally fried from the heat last week. I spent lots of time working on this post, which I then did not publish. What?  LOL So, you get a bonus post today… from Friday, published late. But, better late than never, yes?

Friday Finds | 7.10.20

Friday Finds | 7.10.20

It has been a very warm week here in Pittsburgh… I enjoy summer, but 90+ degree weather dripping with humidity…not so much. Hibernating in my house with the AC is not my favorite way to spend summer. But all that warm weather has made my gardens just explode! I am picking an over-flowing handful of beans every night, which means my 8 bean plants are producing way more than we can eat! Which means I will be blanching some beans to freeze! This is an incredible unexpected boon from my little garden!

This week I also made a delicious Clafoutis! (Nothing says summer like Clafoutis does!) I will generally pass up cherry pie, but Clafoutis…never! I love channeling my inner Julia Child while making it as well! Bon Appétit!

I am hesitant to post Ravelry links right now. I hope that fixes happen SOON to make it accessible for everyone. (although I did come across this on Twitter, which might help if you are having issues!) All that aside… I had so much fun looking at all the little boy sweater links that you shared on Wednesday! I will be ordering some yarn and whipping a few of them up! Thank you all!

Speaking of Twitter, this week was full of good things there!

First up, Romi shared this bit of information that I did not know! Again, Pittsburgh!! (and the episode IS very good!)


 

Next, some Brexit Hilarity thanks to a new account I stumbled across! RS Archer is a must follow!! Hi.lar.i.ous! (also, why aren’t my neighbors that funny??)

That is all I have for this week! Have a good weekend everyone and I will see you all back here next week!

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.8.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.8.20

Greetings, Unravelers!

Summer has arrived in Pittsburgh in full force. We are on, what feels like, day eleventy billion of 90+ degree weather. My yard is entirely burned out, as is every yard in my neighborhood. Yard burnout brings a bonus though…it is not growing so Steve does not have to mow! But boy does it look bad! We had some brief rain showers late yesterday, but I don’t think it was enough to revive the grass! And all this heat is making knitting not much fun either!

I *finally* completed Clue 4 and have begun Clue 5…but I am still on the first chart of Clue 5. Yes, it is slow going. But my love for this shawl grows with each clue! I am so happy with my low-contrast yarn choice! This will be done and ready for fall weather, once it arrives… oh, maybe in November! lol

I am also working slowly on Purl Strings… I love the dark, inky yarn but boy… not after sundown!

I also have been looking at baby boy sweaters! I usually knit up a BSJ with fingering weight yarn…but this is not sweater weather! So, I am thinking that something for the fall will be just perfect. I welcome all your little boy sweater suggestions!

The reading this week has had highs and lows. One book I loved, and one that really missed for me. AND!! I am one square away from a Cover All on my first bingo card!

So brave, So young, and HandsomeSo brave, So young, and Handsome by Leif Enger
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I did not like this book. I could not connect with Monte at all. A failed writer, who then flees his family… taking off with a criminal. Seems likely…not. I so enjoyed Peace Like a River and was eager to read Virgil Wander… but I think I am taking a break from Enger’s works.

An American ChildhoodAn American Childhood by Annie Dillard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loved! Entirely!

If you grew up in Pittsburgh, you should read this book.
If you live in Pittsburgh, you should read this book!
If you want to know about Pittsburgh you should read this book!

We said “tele pole,” pronounced “telly pole,” for that splintery sidewalk post I loved to climb. We said “slippy”—the sidewalks are “slippy.” We said, “That’s all the farther I could go.” And we said, as Pittsburghers do say, “This glass needs washed,” or “The dog needs walked”—a usage our father eschewed…

It is the epitome of Pittsburgh! I highly recommend!


And that is all I have for this week! What’s good in your world this week?

As always, if you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below and thank you!


Looking Back | June 2020

Looking Back | June 2020

Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June. — Al Bernstein


Something New

My new “thing” this month is thanks to Bonny… yep, I quickly became an Animal Crossings addict! So.much.fun! (do you play? we should be friends! lol)

Best “Oh, Wow” Moment/s

Every year, I micro-control what we plant in pots. I have specific ideas and want specific things. This year, I had to let go of that…the greenhouses were basically cleaned out when we went to get plants. So I ended up with things that would not  be my first choice…and they are just incredible! My pots are blooming and look gorgeous. So, perhaps I don’t need to be so controlling and picky!

What I did Well and What I can do Better

I finished a sweater, but I should be finishing the things in my “in-process” basket!

The Best Part of the Month / Something New:

The arrival of my new grand baby, Winston Gregory, was the absolute best part of the month! He arrived on the 30th, hale and healthy…and born at home! He weighed 10 lbs 4 oz and was 22 inches long! Yes, he is a big boy! As you can see, he is beautiful and is well loved by all! Genevieve adores him and is thrilled to be a big sister!

Christian, Heidi, Genevieve, and baby Winston!

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.1.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 7.1.20

My plan for today was to share a completed (and well-fitting) Zadie Jumpsuit. Well, it is completed but not so well fitting. I shortened the rise, so the pants fit well but I neglected to contemplate the length of the bodice (which I generally never have issues with) and it is way.too.short! But, I am not out much… I used the cotton fabric I got from IKEA for $1 a yard… so for $4 I know what changes I need to make.

So today you get a progress shot of my Mystery Shawl as I am working my way through Clue Four!

I also am moving right along on Purl Strings at night. I will share an updated image on that next week!

However, the reading this week was stellar. Oh.my.gosh. So, so good! Mill on the Floss gave me another bingo this week, but still no cover all. I have two squares to go on that Bingo Card. AND…I have five squares filled in on my second card.

Mill on the FlossMill on the Floss by George Eliot
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Saga of Maggie and Tom Tulliver… from childhood through adulthood. This is truly and epic novel… there is so much to unpack here and days after finishing it, I am still processing this magnificent story.

I laughed, I cried, and I cried some more. And the ending… wow. I did not see that coming at all. The writing and the language are just spectacular. It is brilliantly crafted and it is perhaps the gold standard for Victorian Age writing. If you have not read this, why not. Really. Get it and listen. (the audio version read by Wanda McCaddon is a stellar choice!)

The Rain in Portugal: New PoemsThe Rain in Portugal: New Poems by Billy Collins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The trouble with the present is that it’s always in a state of vanishing.

I simply loved every.single.word. This is a book I will read over and over and over!


That is all I have for this week! As always, if you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below and thank you!


Intentional Living…finally | June 2020

Intentional Living…finally | June 2020

I am joining Honoré again this month to share an update on my word!

Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen Hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is. — Mary Anne Radmacher

Six months in and I finally got it!
What intentional living is. What is should be. What it feels like.

And it is incredible!!

News Flash: I have been living such an unintentional life!!

Aimless (yes, maybe focused aimlessness…but still so aimless!) I am sad that it took almost four months of at-home-quarantine to figure it out. (but I am not sure I would have been able to any other way…)

I started out the year with an entirely different journey in my mind for this word. Haha! Well, it sure showed me!

So what changed? I finally gave up trying to pick the path and let the word show me where I needed to be. I stopped fighting it and gave myself over to it.

Here is what this month revealed to me:

Time in meditation is the best time I can give myself. And meditation paired with some time listening and a bit of writing sets the best tone for the day. (Listening, you ask? Yes… listening. Some days it is poetry, some days it is nature, and some days it is listening for a still small voice.) I have done some form of mediation regularly for a very long time, but this quarantine has helped me hone my meditation skills… or maybe it is that there is less on my “shopping list” (see below) and that has helped remove the noise and just be immersed in the meditation time.

Time mindlessly shopping was such a colossal waste. We have been grocery shopping once every 4-ish weeks…and you know what? We have not run out of things…once. I have not done any “clothing shopping” at all this year and have not died and my wardrobe is not lacking (see Me Made May for proof of that!) No aimless wandering in a store buying things out of boredom.

This month I’ve gone to bed earlier and I am sleeping better and waking up easier! (Most nights that is… sometimes the news just can’t be avoided and then queue the tossing and turning with a dose of worry)

I am giving up trying to control.all.the.things! (it’s a work in progress…) And as a result, I have started to stop worrying about those things. (okay, maybe not entirely…but I am working on it…see above, lol)

Now, here we are on the last day of June and I am excited to see what Intentional Living will look like in July.

You can see my Intentional Journey here.

 

Hello again, Monday | 6.29.20

“If your voice held no power, they wouldn’t try to silence you.” – unknown
Use your VOICE. Use your VOTE. – The Chicks

I heard this last week and have not stopped listening to it. The words are powerful, but the images are even more so.

I also read this article and these words from Katie Mitchell were an arrow to my heart: “We’re making a lot of money, and we’re happy that people are reading books. But it took the lynching of George Floyd to be played on a loop for people to be interested in things that we’ve been pushing for, you know, for a long time,” she says. “I’d much rather George Floyd be alive.”

In doing better…it means long term…not just now.
for the moment
because everyone else is doing it.

Because after everyone else is done doing it…

We need to continue to (or start?) shoulder the burden that, you know, some have been carrying alone for a long, long, long time. Thank you, Katie Mitchell, remind us so eloquently.

 

 

Garden | June 2020

Garden | June 2020

We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time:  How much is enough? — Wendell Berry

This week Bonny inspired me to share my garden with you all. We have problems with deer so the “main garden” is a little like Fort Knox. There is fencing, and netting, and woven mesh wire… and thus far we have been successful keeping the deer out.

We added the mesh wire (and a little garden annex) two years ago when the rabbits laughed at our fencing and netting. Peter Rabbit and his sisters slept under our rose plants (yes, they are in the main garden…don’t ask, lol). And they ate every.last.bean! Little rascals. They have yet to figure out a way around the mesh wire, but trust me…they are trying!

And around it all is netting, the deer really hate that stuff!

Let’s take a little walk through my tiny garden where I have four kinds of tomatoes (Pozanno, Oxheart, Husky Cherry Red, and Cuban Yellow Grape), yellow and green bush beans, and an unknown variety of orange sweet peppers…not too much, just enough!

Not quite open blooms

Open blooms!

Lots of open blooms!

Even the “patio pot” has blooms!

There are even tomatoes growing!!

And beans and sweet peppers are doing well in their garden annex!

There are bean blossoms!

There are even sweet pepper blossoms!

Yes, the patio pot is living on the edge. No fencing. No mesh wire. No netting. And curiously, not one animal has even shown a modicum of interest in it.

I hope you enjoyed my brief garden tour! Have an awesome weekend and I will see you back here on Tuesday when I join Honoré for an update on my word!

Post Script: I had written this post earlier in the week when the breaking news was, well, normal breaking news…and then all hell continued to break loose. From police brutality to an explosion of COVID-19 cases.

I don’t know what to do about police brutality, but their ongoing killing of people is making me so angry! 

But, I do know what to do about the spread of COVID-19…Please stay home, and if you can’t – wear a mask when you are out, and wash your hands! But really… just stay home! 

 

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.24.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 6.24.20

Oh the making! It sings for me this week!

I am almost done with Clue Three (Clue Four is out, but I have not peeked…yet) and this shawl is singing to me! AND!! It is spurring me to get some sewing done – this will be perfect with a denim Uniform Tunic this fall! I know that high contrast is key sometimes…however, I have several high contrast shawls and I just don’t wear them much. I like this muted contrast so much better…and this will get worn!

Not much to look at just yet, but that inky color and the stitch definition!

But the best thing of all was getting gauge ( I was deeply worried when Mary told me that she could **NOT** get gauge with Coast to knit her Purl Strings) However, NO WORRIES AT ALL! I was spot on on gauge once I washed and laid the swatch out to dry! So… last night I cast on my Indigo Purl Strings and began. Of course I twisted the damned cast on and did not discover it until **after** I had completed all the short rows for the upper back section. So, I unraveled one row, twisted the crochet chain of my provisional cast on, and moved on. I will have to cut the chain there, but that was far better than starting over! (and it is singing in tune now! lol)

The reading this week was powerful. When I saw the Now Read This selection for May, I got on the wait list at my library. It is not a new book, it was published in 1946 – but the message in the book is eerily relevant to life today.

The Street (Virago Modern Classics)The Street by Ann Petry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like all the masters of noir, Petry looks into the abyss without falling in. This is a story that is dark, but not depressing. It is disturbing, yet intriguing. Tayari Jones

Teyari’s introduction set the stage for Ann Petry’s novel. It is an incredibly dark story. This story changed my thoughts about what life in Harlem was like… I had fairy tale beliefs that sadly show my ignorance and my white fragility. Ann Petry invites me in to real life in Harlem. Real life is gritty, it is not fair, and it does not always have a “nice” ending. This story is Lutie Johnson’s though… and Ann tells her story masterfully.

Streets like the one she lived on were no accident. They were the North’s lynch mobs, she thought bitterly; the method the big cities used to keep Negroes in their place. And she began thinking of Pop unable to get a job; of Jim slowly disintegrating because he, too, couldn’t get a job, and of the subsequent wreck of their marriage; of Bub left to his own devices after school. From the time she was born, she had been hemmed into an ever-narrowing space, until now she was very nearly walled in and the wall had been built up…

Yes, there is lots of despair but through it all Lutie does not give up. Her struggle is this story. I had originally rated this book 3-stars, because the ending was so “not white” but I have not been able to stop thinking about Lutie and through her the struggles that are real daily life for much of the Black community. I highly recommend this book!

That is all I have this week! What about you? Any good reads? Is your making singing in tune?

As always, if you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below and thank you!


Hello, Monday! | 6.22.20

Hello, Monday! | 6.22.20

I discovered this weekend that there is a poem for Lamb’s Ear. As you can see, my garden has a sea of Lamb’s Ear! And it has an army of happy bees that spend their days marching the stalks to harvest every drop of nectar held within those “pink tongues”.

I swore off vegetable gardening after last year, but then the coronavirus changed what life looks like (at least from my perspective) And it made sense to put in a SAH Garden. Apparently, this was the plan of everyone else in the area as well because the nurseries were all cleaned out by Memorial Day Weekend. My choices were not usual, but perhaps that is a good thing. So new varieties of tomatoes are growing quickly and I even have some tomatoes growing on the plants! There are sweet peppers instead of spicy ones. And beans – yellow and green. One important key is that I planted what I can manage by myself, in case Steve bails on me again this year. Rather I should say, he has bailed. His gardening input was to add some fresh dirt to the beds. But, a garden planned for a solo gardener is not a burden at all.

My containers are not full of the usual things either, my thoughts are mixed on how they look right now. But I count myself lucky that there was one lone verbena left for me to get! The color is really lovely!

I am almost done with Clue Three of the TTL Mystery shawl… and my love grows for the design work! I will share photos on Wednesday – but it is the perfect pairing of yarn and pattern!

But!! I started swatching last night and I am very happy with my initial results. It needs a bit more knitting and then a nice bath. But, I think this yarn will work beautifully!

I hope your Monday is full of good things!

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