Hey, Mr. Postman | 8.19.22

Hey, Mr. Postman | 8.19.22

Today I have a stack of letters that I need to get in the post… buckle up!

Dear Citizens Bank Mortgage Department,

I realize that your goal is that people who have a mortgage would never pay it off and make all payments on time…and refinance frequently. However, when we called for a payoff letter… we were serious. Never did we imagine that your payoff letter would be incorrect… by a whopping $3.00. Just enough to keep the loan open… Which would keep our auto-payment open, but not pulling any payment because $3.00 is, of course, less than our usual mortgage payment.

So we called you. And called you. And called you some more. And then we got a late fee. And you reported a late payment to the credit bureau… which I am wondering how that is even possible since we don’t owe a payment!

Likewise, it is so comforting to call a customer service rep who is working from home with audible television and kids in the background. I really don’t think she is going to make our problem a priority.

Anyways, you have assured us this will all be fixed *sometime next week*… excuse me if we don’t hold our breath and we will be calling on Tuesday just to make sure!


Mortgage Free, minus $3.00…

Dear Weekend,

I know that you are usually full of some fun, some good food, and for sure… a cocktail or two. This weekend will not be that. I just want to let you know that clear liquids and jello does not mean I am upset with you… I just have this little test on Monday to get ready for.

And the timing on the “prep” portion of my weekend “fun” will be determined later today when they give me a “go time” for my procedure…but I am really hoping that I do not have an afternoon appointment on Monday!

Nulytely FTW

Finally… a letter to myself:

Dearest Kat,

I found this marvelous quote this week… perfect timing for you!

To learn something new, you need to try new things and not be afraid to be wrong. ― Roy T. Bennett

It seemed to be your mantra this week because you tried lots of new things… (new shoulder seams, new bind off, and another painting!)

I know you felt a bit overwhelmed, but you listened to the advice in this week’s painting lesson and incorporated it in your painting! Yay for different brushes… and using those brushes differently!

I am so impressed with your bite-sized approach to this week’s lesson… a little bit each day and you did not get overwhelmed!

I think this is a painting that you will look back on and say things started to click for you… and you can even see the forest *and* the trees!


Your Kinder, Gentler Inner Voice

And with that, dear readers, it is the weekend.

I will be back on Wednesday with some Unraveling. Think good thoughts for me on Monday!



Unraveled Wednesday | 8.17.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.17.22

Greetings, Gentle Unravelers!

I have so much to share with you today… good things, NEW techniques. And a reinforcement that sometimes you just need to try more than once to achieve success!

First… I am happy to report that the 3-needle bind off I wanted to achieve (with purls showing on the front and the back) WORKED! Woot! Look at that! It is a thing of beauty!

Just a beautiful chain…

I have settled in for Sleeve Island and have gotten through some very smart short rows and am now at cruising speed with some interspersed decreases. These sleeves will have deep cuffs… the pattern calls for 3-inches… and I am making no adjustments, it just has all been so smartly designed! My only alteration is in the number of stitches picked up – I never seem to match what the designer suggests and that means I will do a few more decreases to get to the cuff stitch count.

The details are just so excellent like the line of chain stitches where the sleeve meets the body.

Next up… my non-flaring toe-up sock bind off win! This socks has no pattern, I am knitting to fit Big Foot’s foot, lol. I tried several stretchy bind offs and none of them liked the 3×1 rib pattern I am using. I think Genevieve would love Lettuce Edged Socks, but Steve… not so much, lol. Anyways, I finally gave the suspended bind off a try… in pattern… and it is a thing of beauty! Flaring… none. Stretchiness… the perfect amount! It took me several tries to find the Suspended Bind Off, but I am so glad I did not give up and kept searching for a solution! Now I am on to the heel with it’s short row bits for heel/ankle fit! I feel like I have finally become a knitter… one that can take all I have learned and apply those techniques to a thing I want to make! I am so proud of ME! LOL

Flutter-free bind off, FTW!

And… my daily spinning reminder has produced another full bobbin plus another well on the way!

A slower reading week with a book that I have not stopped thinking about since I finished it. Sorrow and Bliss for Read With Us (reviewed below) and oh my, I can hardly wait for the discussion on this one.

At night I am settled in to Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life… I have 11 days to finish it so I might have to put down the knitting and do some reading a couple of afternoons to get it done in that timeframe!

Sorrow and BlissSorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was very “on the fence” about this book after reading the “about” of it. Skeptical…sure I would not like it (because, I am the Queen of Preconceived Notions!) and I started it only to have a mini-avalanche of library holds come through. So I stopped listening and came back to it this month. This time with perhaps a bit more focus on my part.

And so I settled in with Martha and with those around her and Mason begins to paint a clear picture of what life is like for both a person with mental health issues and the people who interact with a person with mental health issues… in a very real and compelling way. Mason shows us how hard it is for the people around Martha so incredibly well.

I found myself, like her family members and Patrick… loving her and hating her… so much. Feeling guilty with I was angry with her, wanting to love her more and beyond that… helping her find a fix to make everything better. I did not cry as the book progresses, but boy… I truly felt all the emotions.

This is a book for the Read With Us Book Club and I cannot wait to talk about this book!

If you have not read it… my goodness, do! I highly recommend!

There you have my making good things this week… what about you, is there something you are proud of this week? Do share!

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

Sometimes Monday | 8.15.22

Sometimes Monday | 8.15.22

is for emptying out my brain…

Occasionally I have so much clutter just rattling around my head, I just need to dump it all out. Clean the slate, as it were. This is one of those Mondays!

I am wondering how there can be so many mosquitoes outside right now. It has been 90-gagillion degrees out for a long-ass-time, we have had scant to no rain (and the only standing water in my yard is in the bird bath and the bee bath… both of which get clean water every day.) And still… I have what feels like 12 billion mosquito bites on my ankles, arms, legs, feet… yep, every place that is not covered… is covered with bites. My itch factor is off the charts right now…

Toe Up Socks are great….until you get to that dreaded point of binding it off at the cuff. I have several stretchy bind offs in my repertoire but none of them have been perfect for this bind off. They all are flaring out at the top… ruffling a bit too much for my liking. I have ripped out three bind offs thus far and put the sock in Time Out for a bit. While said sock has been in Time Out, I have done some research on more stretchy bind offs (there are so many!) and I might have found one that might work! I have to rip this last bind off out… but then I am going to try the suspended bind off and see if that works in the round… it worked flat…but that does not always translate to binding off in the round. Send me some good binding off thoughts, please! I need to move beyond the bind off and finish Sock One!

Painting Class Three is in the books and my home work has been turned in. Gentle Readers, let me tell you, the struggle with this lesson was real. My result was not my plan…by a long shot. And so I spent the weekend practicing some of the techniques that I wanted to be different that my execution of them. Can I just say that I have yet to find my brush “sweet spot” I have a variety of brushes and have spent some $$ on them… and I am just really struggling with all.of.them. I know that this is mostly operator error… and I am trying to be gentle with myself, but by Sunday I was just so darned frustrated.

To escape all the painting frustration, I queued up the latest bits from The Summer Pause… and realized that knitting is my fishing. And so I left the painting and eased into my knitting and lost myself in the Stream of Knitting Timelessness and got the fronts completed on my Marled Sweater and, per the pattern instructions, got said sweater got washed and blocked. Shoulder seaming is on my agenda today so I can depart for Sleeve Island! Thanks to Kay for sharing this smart shoulder bind off (I will be doing a bit of practice on a swatch before I do the shoulders!)

And lest you think it was all painting and knitting… nope! I also had huge success with Peter Reinhart’s Focaccia – this is close to the recipe I used… if you are interested in trying, let me know and I will send you the percentages, times, etc. I started the dough Thursday and baked on Friday afternoon. It is a bit fiddly on the Day of Baking… but that fiddly-ness resulted in a gorgeous focaccia. Crisp crust and such tender, open, airy crumb. It was a huge success and I will be making more focaccia in the future!

And with all that… my brain has been nicely decluttered. I am savoring the quiet of the morning… and I have my usual Monday Routine beckoning me. I hope your Monday brings you a clean slate and a week full of promise!

See you all back here on Wednesday!



August Riffing | 8.12.22

August Riffing | 8.12.22

August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.
Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

We finally got some rain this week and that rain ushered in some cooler weather as well. Ahhh! A break in the heat and humidity was very welcome… even if it is brief! But the days are also visibly shorter, and despite my trying to ignore that fact… it is a reality. Autumn is creeping into my thoughts… and while I love that… I am going to keep my thoughts firmly in these days of summer.

Reclaiming  —

I mentioned last week that I was feeling very finished with my word this year… but this week, I took all the ideas that Ali Edward’s team shared and actually began again… just like I did in January, but with my August self. And a new thing popped out this week… one that was incredibly unexpected and most welcome! I noted that my mental health is less, well… mental-health-issue-y… I noted that I am sleeping better. I am worrying less. And this week… well I inhaled so many deep breaths of August! An unexpected Full Bonus… days (weeks? months?) full of better mental health, not at all what I expected but I am welcoming it in and I will spend the rest of the month making a bit more space for me.

Ignoring —

For those of you who pay attention to blog schedules… you might note that the second Friday of the month is Museum of Me post day. The post for this week was, for me, an impossible one to prepare (and I was truly at a loss in trying to figure out a replacement exhibit.) I tried. And so I gave myself permission to let it go and move on. (See above) Perhaps someday I can revisit this post suggestion (A photo from your childhood/youth that most capture the YOU of today) but I hope that you will go and see what all others have shared!

Focaccia (making) —

In my quest to bake, one thing on my list is to bake a good focaccia. One that has a crisp crust that surrounds a light crumb. I have been reading lots of recipes all over the internet. I also spent some time reading my Peter Reinhart Baking Bible and decided that my starting point would be his focaccia suggestions… and I began yesterday. It has been slowly rising overnight in the refrigerator and later today I will get it tucked into a pan. It is a lengthy process… but I am here to learn! Thus far, my dough is doing exactly what he said it should which gives me hope. Maybe you will see some focaccia slices on our happy hour table tonight! (Which will absolutely be OUTSIDE! It is glorious out today!)

Finding (time) —

Carole mentioned something she was doing this week that struck a cord with me. And while I am not using a habit tracker, at the beginning of the month I made a reminder on my iPhone in a similar fashion. She wanted to do more knitting… and she is succeeding! My thing I want to do more of? Spinning! Every afternoon a little reminder pops up on my iPhone asking me if I have done any spinning today… if I haven’t, it is my cue to go sit down for a few minutes and spin a bit. Before I know it, 15 (or more) minutes have passed and my bobbin is getting fuller as the week has gone on! It is funny what a little reminder can do… and that makes me wonder what else I could be reminding myself about! (Perhaps a morning reminder telling me that I am more than worth it… whatever the it is!)

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.10.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.10.22

Greetings, dear Unravelers!

Happy Wednesday to you all! Here we are moving quickly through August…how on earth is the the 10th already?

Anyway, I have some knitting to share with you this week. I managed to get the back of my sweater completed and I am working on the front now. The rows go quickly when you are doing short rows, don’t they? I will be well on Sleeve Island next week! Woot!

I also have finished my August Gnome. (and there is a NEW MYSTERY GNOME coming in September!!)

Marly with his Fiddlehead Fern hat and stand out beard!

Marl Meets Gnome FTW! If you are looking for a quick project that is not super fiddly, this is the gnome for you! I am calling him Marly… because he absolutely is that! Eventually, he will sit in my office where I paint and I am hoping that his whimsy inspires me to not take myself too seriously, to lighten up, and remember that painting is fun!

I know that last week was a slim reading week… it happens, right? This week however… I have all the finishes!

The Memoirs of Stockholm SvenThe Memoirs of Stockholm Sven by Nathaniel Ian Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don’t know how this book crossed my radar, but I am so glad it did! I quickly fell in love with Sven. I so enjoyed how this story moves from 1916 through the late 40’s and all of Sven’s adventures!

**Spoiler Alert** Eberhard, the dog, dies and it is heartbreaking.

Yet through all the hard times, Sven’s friends and family remain a constant for him. I love the letters to his sister, Olga. I love that his niece, Helga comes to stay with him with her daughter. But most of all I love the relationship he forges with his great-niece, Skuld. Sven, “Uncle” Tapio, and Skuld become the most lovely little family. And as Sven shares his memories, I could not help but be drawn in to their rich, warm world.

I highly recommend this beautiful story!

Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket: StoriesToday a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket: Stories by Hilma Wolitzer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book came on my radar thanks to a friend (Bonny)… and I thought that a collection of short stories would be the perfect before bed reading. It was, very much!

I found that I could relate to some of the stories more than others, but Wolitzer’s writing is snappy and on point (even in 2022!)

If you are looking for some “potato chip” reading… this is it!

Build Your House Around My BodyBuild Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have not stopped thinking about this story since I finished it…. for me, the sign of a very good book!

This book appeared on my radar when I saw that a friend (Margene) had read it… and my library had an audio copy!

It is a mystery. It is a ghost story. It is a revenge story. There is time travel. There is so much folk lore. And so many layers… and Kupersmith unwraps them masterfully! I did not want to stop listening!

I originally gave this book 4-stars, but because I cannot stop thinking about it, I have amended my rating to 5-stars. And really… read this book!

All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family KeepsakeAll That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Originally, I struggled to get into this story… I was listening to it and that format just did not work for me. So I got on the list for the ebook and waited.

In between I read The Love Songs of WEB Dubois and I think that was the perfect book to prepare me to settle in to read All That She Carried. They fit well together and the change in format to reading with my eyes worked much better with this book. There are images to see that make the reading more powerful.

I do very much recommend!

The Rising Tide (Vera Stanhope, #10)The Rising Tide by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Get your wellies on and grab your umbrella and come along with Vera as she and her very able crew work to solve another mystery.

This mystery takes place on Holy Island and, of course, I wanted to know more about this curious place where the tides can obstruct the causeway…either keeping you in, or out.

A weekend with friends and a suicide opens this story for us. Or is it a suicide? Vera has her suspicions!

I love Vera so very much. She is so lovable. Cleeves does a masterful job of drawing the reader into Vera’s team as you all work together to solve the mystery.

I won’t share more and won’t give away the ending… but it is brilliant! I highly recommend this latest installment to the Vera Stanhope series!

I want to thank Netgalley, Martin’s Press, and Minotaur Books for providing this ebook for review.

That is all I have to share with you today! What about you? What are you binging on this week?

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

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