Three on Thursday | 5.22.19

Three on Thursday | 5.22.19

I am happily joining with Carole and friends this week to share some “ah-ha” things in my world this week!

Thing One:

Tuesday was local Primary Election Day in PA and turn out was sad… so sad. However, despite the horrendously poor turn out (we only had 82 voters in our precinct) the numbers were most interesting! The Democrat turn out beat the Republican turn out – in fact it was almost double! But the horrendously poor turn out meant I could spend more time talking with the people who voted! I met the gentleman who was Michael Chabon’s teacher and advisor when he was a student at Pitt! We talked about books and shared some “new to each of us” titles. It was almost the best moment of the day. The only better moment was the gentleman who was born in 1918 who came to vote. He still lives in his own home, he is very ambulatory, but his eyesight is “not what it once was” and he was happy that his son in law (who lives next door to him) drove him to vote. We should all take a page from this amazing 101-and-a-half-year-old man – voting is indeed our right and a privilege and we should exercise that right every single time we can!

Thing Two:

Book Bingo is on – and I “reset” the card twice and ended up with this one – lots of “ah-ha” things on here! And, I think it will work for my “Summer of Classics and New to Me Authors”!

Thing Three:

My final ah-ha moment this week was when I realized yesterday that this weekend is a LONG weekend! Now, I am hoping that Steve will be able to at least leave work early on Friday and our long weekend can be a little longer!

That is all I have for today – did you have any “ah-ha” moments this week?

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.22.19

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.22.19

Greetings, Unravelers!

I am writing this post on Monday while sipping my second iced coffee of the day. Tuesday will find me working the poll for PA Local Primary Voting Day. And, despite my thinking that it will not be at all busy for us – I still don’t think I will be able to get a blog post done on my phone. (Because, you know for certain if I was planning on that, it would be busy! Lol)

Anyways, I am taking the shawl to knit, and I have high hopes of finishing it! Once that is done, I can get back to my Marsa Alam. I did find one glaring error in my pickup of stitches for the neckband so I will have a tiny bit of unraveling to do. But it will be quick to rip out the neckband and redo it and then get started on the sleeves.

Juliann asked me on Monday if my weekend included any sewing. Sadly, it did not (nor did Monday!) I did get the pattern jigsaw puzzle put together and the pattern traced out, but then the reorganization of my sewing/craft room preempted any actual sewing. I hope to spend today cutting out the pattern and sewing up my muslin. I will update you how that all goes later this week!

As for reading, I have had no finishes this week and I am feeling a bit a drift in my reading – usually about now I am planning out my “Summer Book Bingo” books and I am definitely feeling like something is missing because of it! But I do have a plan for my summer reading – which includes reading some classics, and some authors I have never read before. New things can mean new reading excitement! My first book is by Eleanor Roosevelt – It’s Up to the Women – I thought this title was most timely for all the nonsense that is going on right now and a good place to start!

I have no set number of books I want to read but, my over-achiever success from last year is niggling in my brain…although I am not sure I want to repeat that feat! I would rather read more challenging books versus speed reading through a summer. Super long books – fine by me! Books that make me think – bring it on! The summer is all about expanding my reading horizons!

Last summer I read Anna Karenina and it was good, but I did not think it great – Carole suggested that I read War and Peace so that will be up soon in my listening queue. I also have Joe Wilkins novel in the above stack of books that I think I saw on Kwizgiver’s blog, which I am eager to get started!

I am listening to The Great Believer’s – all 1,097 minutes of it. I am almost 1/3rd into it and I hope to have it finished for next week’s post. (fingers crossed!)

I am also reading The Widows of Malabar Hill on my Kindle™ and I will bring that with me to work the polls on Tuesday, so that might be in the finished column by the time you are reading this!

That is all I have for today – a whole lotta not much, amirite? So, inspire me Unraveler’s – what are you making and reading this week?!

Oh, and what classic do you think I should add to my list?

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And thank you all so much for participating!

Post Script: As I said, I wrote this post on Monday morning and by Monday night the Reading Gods had pity on this Summer Reading Fanatic. Mary will be hosting Summer Book Bingo! You can find all the deets here and you will find the rules here and can print your bingo card here! And, yes… I still want you to tell me what Classics I should add to my summer reading!

A huge thank you to Mary for putting this together! XO

Weekending | 5.20.19

Weekending | 5.20.19

A normal weekend – that is what I wished for and I’d say that was exactly what I got!

FriYAY Happy Hour made me very happy – we sat outside, and it was so lovely! And, can I just say that my new favorite drink might be a gin martini… that Bombay Sapphire is amazing stuff!

Saturday was full – so full! A trip to Costco, some yard work, and I then I decided to reorganized my “craft room” to accommodate sewing machines being out all.the.time! It took all afternoon and a good chunk of the evening. It just needs a few odds and ends put away, which I hope to finish up today. Fortunately,  dinner was super simple! Fresh asparagus and some amazing shrimp we picked up from our Costco trip – Steve grilled all of it and it was just so delicious.

My son sent a picture of the dog he is fostering – Sam (the feet, in case you did not know, lol) and Bowser (on the left) feel completely at home with Shakespeare (who Sam is calling Shake) – or maybe it is Shake that feels completely at home with them. I have my fingers crossed that I will soon have a new grand-dog to love!

Sunday morning, Steve did some more yard work – and really – all the heaving lifting yard work! He moved our fire pit to its new home…which allowed for the patio heater to move to its new place. We just have a few final things to finish up and the summer living areas will be all set. The temps got a bit warm and muggy on Sunday, so we cranked on the AC – which thankfully is now fully operational!

We closed out the weekend with a simple Sunday Happy Hour (inside this time and with AC!) in preparation for the GoT finale… no spoilers here, so I can’t tell you if those eight questions were answered! Sorry!! However, I will say that I was very happy with how the series ended.

My weekend hope that remains unfulfilled was to finish that blasted shawl, but I barely knit a stitch all weekend! However, I am working at the PA election tomorrow, which is a local primary election so sadly, it should not be too busy so I am hopeful to finish it then!

How was your weekend? I hope it was awesome!

TGIF | 5.17.19

TGIF | 5.17.19

Ahhh! This week, despite its disasters, was one of getting back to normal. Steve was back to work on Monday and I spent the week easing back into my daily routine and I am very ready for a normal weekend so let’s get this started!

Thinking About –

Women’s rights. I confess that for the first time in my life I am genuinely concerned about things I have taken for granted for almost my entire life. And the things happening recently in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Ohio are scary – so scary. But, honestly, for me it all comes down to this – no one should ever tell a woman what she can or cannot do with her body. And, in case you think this is all about the “sanctity” of human life – realize this: not one of the people voting for these laws gives a rat’s ass about children in cages, or about helping single mothers on WIC, or about the thousands of children in the foster care system. This is all about men controlling women and it makes me insanely angry.

Gardening –

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day here in Pittsburgh – so I took advantage of that fact and spent some more time trying to finish up the vegetable gardens. Thankfully, gardening is the perfect outlet to direct some of my anger from this week’s news! And I even planted a few things! Steve added Moo-nure to the big beds yesterday and I hope to get the rest of the little plants in today. All this gardening has really done a number on my hands though, especially my poor nails. Oh boy. They are such a sad mess and I don’t think a manicure is going to fix them! But those garden beds are looking awesome, so it is a worthwhile trade off or at least that’s what I am telling myself! lol

Inspired by –

The latest Pom Pom Quarterly! Bravo to them for the beautifully varied body sizes! And, there are so many “I want to knit that” items! Like this, and this, and this, and this!

Focus –

My focus entirely slipped off the radar at the beginning of the month. Vacation time is not at all conducive to having any morning quiet time to get my inner self ready for the day! I missed it so much and I learned how important this time is for my focus! So, despite having a couple of days with a plethora of work men around, for the most part I was able to start my day with a focus – quiet and alone (except for Sherman who fortunately is not chatty in any way at all, lol). I did not realize how much I crave quiet in the morning nor did I realize how important that quiet is to my mental well-being.

That is all I have for today. I hope that your week was full of good things and that your weekend will be full of weekending! See you back here on Monday!

Three on Thursday | 5.16.19

Three on Thursday | 5.16.19

I am joining up with Carole and friends to share three things happening in my world this week!

Thing One:

Sometimes doing one thing leads to a another and sometimes it leads to a catastrophe! Case in point: Monday’s AC Check revealed an electrical disaster that resulted in the replacement of the weather head, all exterior wiring, the box for the AC unit, and a new electric panel in the house (which thanks to our Pittsburgh toilet** had to be relocated to a new location). These repairs coming on the heels of an extended vacation was such an awesome bonus…NOT!

Thing Two:

It is mid-May and I am sitting here writing this post wearing winter pajamas and a thick wool sweater. Mid-freaking-May (and that is not even talking about the amount of rain we’ve had!!) I would like to put my “cold weather” wardrobe away for the season…instead my closet has had an “all the seasons” bomb explode in it! However, the forecast looks like we are warming up over the next few days, so maybe some semblance of Closet Order can return, and I can finally put the winter wardrobe away. Fingers crossed!

Thing Three:

I see some sewing in my “weekend forecast” all because Rose is here! Coming up this weekend, a Capri muslin for starters and I am so excited!

Those are my things but, what about you? What things are in your world this week?

**thankfully our Pittsburgh Toilet is not just a toilet sitting in the open in the basement – there has been a bathroom constructed around it, lol.

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.15.19

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.15.19

Do you think May is moving at warp speed, or is it just me? It feels like it is flying by and its going too darned fast! I need to find the brake and slow this month down!

However, I do have a Finished Object to share – The TRAVEL Socks are done! That’s right – the socks I started for Steve last October are now on his feet. Good thing the weather has been decidedly sock-ish the past few days. I got a thumbs up on them – despite them not matching perfectly. Now, some notes from the knitter – I used this pattern, but I cast on 72 stitches instead of the what the pattern called for. Steve does not like “tall socks” so I knit to a height of 4 inches on the leg… and then that foot. Size 14 feet take forever to knit, just saying. The bonus to these socks is that they have been knit on in almost all the drinking establishments in Northern Michigan, including the Empire Hops Festival, much to Steve’s dismay – he actually thinks that I am the only person who knits in public. I know – I think that is so hilarious.

This week I should have been hanging out on Sleeve Island with my Marsa Alam – but I have not knit one stitch on it. I was advised on Sunday by the person who asked me to do some charity knitting that she told me the wrong date – it is not the end of June, but the end of May that they need the shawl I am knitting. So, in my brief moments to myself on Sunday – I got just past the halfway point. I should be able to get further tomorrow thanks to some stunningly amazing news we got on Monday during our “Annual AC Check Up” on Monday. The electric panel has become “unraveled” and will be replaced Tuesday (fingers crossed it just just Tuesday!!)

Thus – I will spend a good bit of Tuesday without power. (I am writing this post on Monday as insurance just in case their 10-hour estimate is somehow extended – because that would be just our luck! LOL)

Thank goodness for reading for always being the best escape ever and I have some amazing finishes this week!

There was more John Boyne, and each was so incredible: First up – Noah Barleywater Runs Away. This is an amazing, yet poignant tale. The story revolves around the title character – who has run away from home. He ends up in a simply magical place where he is able to unpack what has caused him to run away (no spoilers here). Boyne is a master of bringing you into the story and he delivers things in such an incredible way that you gasp as you take in the words. He is hands down my favorite writer – ever.

My second Boyne finish is Stay Where You Are and Then Leave. This is another WWI story – and delightedly it has some of the same characters as The Absolutist. This story, however, is told from the perspective of a boy whose father goes off to war. I would suggest reading this before you read The Absolutist – I think the flow will be a bit better. Both books got 5-stars from me and I highly recommend each of them!

The Tattooist of Auschwitz: This book was everything I hoped it would be and more. It is the story of Lale Sokolov, the Tätowierer of Auschwitz and Birkenau. The humanity that is miraculously maintained by the prisoners in the midst of the sea of hatred surrounding them is incredible. I highly recommend this beautifully retold story – 5-stars.

Ghost Wall: A Novel: this was a short, gritty read. Down and dirty with no wasted words – the ending… oh man…it was so unexpected!! 4-stars and I enjoyed this on a very visceral reading level!

Finally, The Girl with Seven Names: I started this Tuesday and finished it Tuesday! (I am updating this at 8:30 PM, yes that would be 12 hours after the power was shut off!! AND, it is back on and they are finished!! YAY!!!) This book grabbed me from the beginning sentence: “My name is Hyeonseo Lee. It is not the name I was born with, nor one of the names forced on me, at different times, by different circumstances. But it is the one I gave myself, once I’d reached freedom.” This is an amazing story of one woman’s escape from North Korea. I was moved, I was on pins and needles for Hyeonseo in her journey, and I was elated with the ending. 5-stars and I highly recommend! (P.S. Thanks to Hyeonseo, I did not knit a single stitch on Tuesday… I am correcting that problem today! Ha!!)

That is all I have this week! And, the weather is supposed to be sort of nice – and at least not raining! And maybe even with a bit of sunshine!

What about you? What are you reading this week?

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As always, thank you all so much! 

Sometimes Monday | 5.13.19

Sometimes Monday | 5.13.19

…mean taking a few minutes to sit quietly listening to the birdsong and rainfall while knitting a few rows before Monday Reality takes over.

My thoughts linger on the weekend – especially Saturday, which was spent working outside all day. Thankfully it was sunny but not too warm almost all day. We expanded a garden bed. We washed all the outdoor furniture and put it back in new places! We put the canopy on the pergola and rearranged the new lights a bit. And we discussed expanding another garden bed. It was along but very productive day.

I love this simple change of furniture on the porch – I think it will get lots of use in the coming months!

How was your weekend? Are there moments that are lingering for you this morning?

TGIF | 5.10.19

TGIF | 5.10.19

It feels like ages since it has been Friday while simultaneously feeling like I have had a month of Friday’s!

Today my thoughts are full of getting my brain and body moving back to a normal schedule – vacation eating, drinking, and sleeping are not the same as home eating, drinking, and sleeping. My body is ready to move on from vacation even if my brain is not. And, to begin that return to normal, I thought that a TGIF post was the perfect transition!

Thrilled –

My garden and especially my rhubarb! Two years ago, I divided my plant and last year I thought I had killed it. Several of the plants looked like they were not going to make it. I did not harvest any stalks and it was a very sad year. This year is a different story though – while I did lose a couple of the divided plants those that survived are thriving! I will be harvesting stalks soon and I was surprised to see these interesting blooms. I will be making rhubarb syrup soon and I am also going to make some rhubarb compote to add to my morning yogurt.

Gobsmacked –

I did indeed go to the quilt show yesterday and was absolutely amazed at the beauty I saw! Every quilt was amazing and there were so many of them! I saw and voted for my friend’s quilt, of course. But the Best of Show was truly stunning! I tried to get photos, but the lighting was just so horrid, so I apologize for these less than wonderful photos – but these quilts were some of my favorites! Bonus…Steve won some money while I was spending some! Haha

Inspired –

#memademay – I have been participating but am not as creative as Mary! If you have not been following her on IG, you are missing out! I am impressed with her lack of repeats 10 days in – I have had repeats, partially because of my limited vacation wardrobe. But, honestly – I was totally okay with those repeats. Things that good very good rotation were my Sigla sweater and a couple of Esme tunics. And, when I think about what I want to wear every day something easy like those items are the first thing I grab. What I really need though are a couple more pairs of capri length leggings and I think I might try and make a self-drafted pattern. I also have an eons old Chico’s linen shirt (truly, it is at least 15 years old) that I wear and wear and wear – I have often thought about drafting a pattern from it, but it has so many pieces (collar, cuffs, facings, button plackets) but maybe I can modify a pattern I already have to give it the things I love about the shirt.

Fun –

I took so many photos this time in Michigan – I think because I only took my iPhone and left the “big camera” at home. I also took a good bit of video! I have been thinking about how best to utilize, save, and share the images and videos I took. I will be spending some time next week playing with some programs to put something together. It is amazing the volume of apps there are to do this, but not all of them are “this user” friendly, lol… but stay tuned!

That is all I have for today! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Happy Mother’s Day and I will see you back here on Monday!

Three on Thursday | 5.9.19

Three on Thursday | 5.9.19

I am joining Carole and friends today to share with you three things today!

It feels so good to almost be back to my normal routine (Steve still has a couple of days of vacation left this week) but it was especially wonderful to sleep in my own bed last night! I really love the little “cottage” we stay at in Interlochen, but that bed… and there is just something about sleeping in your own space, amirite? I get more restful sleep for sure! But as we are still technically “on vacation” – my things today are all about what’s happening around here as we wind down our vacation with a few days of stay-cation!

Thing One:

Asparagus is IN at my local Farm Market! These are my favorite words ever! And, we plan to head there to load up! When the asparagus is in, it is almost all we eat, and my mouth is just watering thinking about it!

Thing Two:

This weekend is Mother’s Day and Steve is going to the Three Rivers Quilt Show with me… okay, maybe he is going to the casino while I go to the Quilt Show, lol. I am super excited to see it because one of the knitters from Tuesday night has a quilt entered!

Thing Three:

Spring continues in my world – I came home to find my iris blooming and this year the display is fantastic! My rose bushes are covered in buds and I am excited to see that some of the poppy seeds I planted much earlier this spring are also growing! But the craziest thing of all is the volume of “helicopters” that cover my lawn (front and back!) from our maple tree. I am not sure what that means regarding weather – but they are a carpet on my lawn and my tree is still loaded with them!

There you have the things that are filling my brain but what’s on your list today?

P.S. I know I have a back log of comments and blogs to catch up on! I hope to get caught up over the weekend! XO

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.8.19

Unraveled Wednesday | 5.8.19

Greetings, Gentle Readers! It’s a travel day and as you read this we will be packed up and on our way home. However, I do have some vacation knitting to share with you! Yes, it’s true! I have finished the body and the button bands and neckband of my Marsa Alam!! Woo Hoo! Sleeve’s won’t happen until I am back home and draining the DVR of all the things and that is okay. I am not sure how long I want the sleeves and trying things on while driving are not the best combination! Never fear, I do have travel knitting!! I am speeding along on a second sock – which has made the most lovely companion on this trip – I hope to have it finished on the trek home and there is a very good possibility that will happen! And, I might even be able to put some time in on my Tegna on the journey home if I  get that sock done early in the journey!

I am looking forward to being back home and back to my routine! Vacation is fun, but sometimes it is more fun for some than others.This said by the person who made the bed every day and did all the dishes and walked the dog 99% of the time. However these tasks are the perfect companion for audio books which means I got some reading in this week!

First, I finished Saints For All Occasions which is the penultimate dysfunctional family tale. There were times that I debated about stopping and moving on to something else, but I persevered. I was not greatly rewarded for this perseverance as I thought the ending was rather lame, but it was a book in the finish column – so there’s that. This book had great potential but never really took off, it was also excessively wordy – just 2-stars.

I also finished reading to the Museum of Modern Love. I really wanted to love this book and  while I enjoyed it, I did not love it. However, the writing earned 3-stars.

And finally, I finished another John Boyne novel – The Absolutist. Wow. Boyne again draws you into a story you cannot imagine ever being part of – yet he not only draws you in – he takes your hand and gently brings you along. This story took me for a journey and the ending was incredible. 4-stars (because it could have been LONGER!!)

What are you making and reading this week?

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

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