Thoughts for a Monday | 3.14.22

Thoughts for a Monday | 3.14.22

Our life is March weather, savage and serene in one hour. ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Truer words were never spoken, no? The weather certainly brought that point home in my neighborhood this weekend,,,with an exclamation point! We have had rain, snow (the official total is 8″ but I think we got a bit more than that in my neighborhood), ice, winds, more winds, and even a bit of a warm weather teaser to usher all that crazy weather in. I am hesitant to say this… but it was a balmy 29° F this morning for Sherman’s walk. Yes, balmy! After a weekend that spent too much time in the single digits I will take a balmy 29°!

But really, I am not complaining about the weather. I am hopeful that this mornings peace talks are more serene and perhaps even fruitful (although, I am not holding my breath) my heart and prayers are with the Ukrainian people.

I tried valiantly to ignore the savage reality this weekend and engaged in The Great Pattern Cut Out. Yes, I cut out patterns… pajama’s (hopefully a wearable muslin… in wait for it…a vintage set of sheets, HA!), two sweatshirts, and another pair of Free Range pants. Lots of cutting… oof.

I don’t have a table big enough to cut on, so yes, I commandeer a good portion of the living room floor and begin the process. Hopefully I am getting bonus points for practicing this tricky move that Kym showed us last month! FYI… I can’t do it yet, but I am trying!

And when I needed a bit more than that, I discovered sew-ga thanks to Bernina’s We All Sew. FYI… Head Rolled Hems and Seam Rippers are excellent to get the kinks out after you have been hunched over fabric, pinning out patterns for hours.

And now I have my work cut out for me (literally, lol) for the week. I am starting with the muslin and will move on from there. Why the muslin you ask? Well… button holes, oy. I want them over and done with…ugh! One thing I have been able to do with this pattern is what I hope are some very good pattern alterations (thanks to excellent finished garment measurements) I have very high hopes for a very wearable muslin that will need little to no alterations!

I hope your Monday is productive! I will see you all back here on Wednesday with a knitting update (and perhaps even a sewing update! Ha!)



Museum of Me… the travel edition | March 2022

Museum of Me… the travel edition | March 2022

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Yes, today we are heading to a destination that feels light years away. Back to my pre-children life…and specifically, What I Used to Do At Work!

Once upon a time… after I was a struggling waitress, and before there were kids… I used to be a travel agent.

This was back in prehistoric travel times when travel agencies had specific computers that you could access an airlines schedule… via each individual airline (AA, UA, USAir, etc… each entity would set up an office with a terminal… yes, one of those very same clunky old things they had at the airport counter back in Olden Times)

I actually went to “travel school” at the Herman Miller Headquarters in Zeeland, Michigan (taught by the lovely woman who was, at that time, responsible for all their corporate travel). It was curiously a lengthy course, 6-weeks as I recall and it was not free! I think it cost in the area of a whopping $150 (which in the mid 80’s was a good bit of money, at least on “waitress pay!”) Anyway, I remember being more than a bit overwhelmed. Not only was there oodles of things to learn, it was the first time I ever worked with a computer. And there was so much memorization… the most important of which was all the airport codes. (Life pre-Google required a lot of brain bandwidth! lol) If you did not know the airport codes, there was no way to look them up on the computer. Really. So LOTS of memorization and yes, there were tests… about which I remember stressing over… greatly. But I passed and went on to use almost none of the things I learned in the 6-week course (outside of the airport codes) because back in that galaxy… technology was moving at warp speed. (Yes, beam me up Scotty speed!) Within a couple of months of being hired by Pathfinder’s Travel (which is still in operation and owned by the lovely, lovely, lovely gentleman who hired me) the airlines moved from having a “terminal” in our office to allowing travel agents to access their system directly via a DOS computer… (So all the things I learned for ONE airline, I now needed to learn for ALL the airlines… or at least all the airlines that serviced the airports in my area.)

I did a mix travel coordination for both corporate travelers and leisure travelers…both fun but very different clients! However, neither was the reason why any sane person would go into the travel industry. One went for the perks… which back in prehistoric times were really awesome. My office had a regular cache of dozens of tickets – honestly, more than we could use in the time allotted – and they were replenished on a regular basis.

This did not include accommodations, but a couple of phone calls and you could pair a free ticket with free or greatly reduced accommodations, car rentals, and touristy things like museums and this was how I saw a small bit of the world. Literally. Which for a girl from Holland, Michigan, living in a family that did not vacation… anywhere… it was so amazing!

NYC, Washington DC, California. Florida. Washington, Idaho, and a large chunk of Canada. Japan. British ruled Hong Kong. Mainland China (a mere two years after they opened up for tourist travel… which is a story all by itself). The Netherlands, England and Scotland are just some of the highlights of my “work benefits”.

Most of this travel I coordinated with Rachel, Heidi and Sam’s dad… before we had Rachel, Heidi, and Sam… he would be working and if there was a free ticket and I could join him away I went. I liked this kind of travel…last minute, no itinerary, no group… and most of the time it was really just me… he’d be working and I would be on my own. My gosh, good times.

I have had the incredible fortune to stay at places like  The Roman Camp in Callendar Scotland (my gosh, it was divine), The Grand Hotel in Amsterdam with all it’s incredible history, The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong, and The Hotel Intercontinental in Kowloon (where we had our own butler… what?!?) with a view of Victoria Harbor at night that was just magical. And I have seen Kabuki Theatre in the Ginza and stayed in a hotel next-door to the US Embassy in Tokyo (When Walter Mondale was the ambassador!)

Sometimes the perks of being just a travel agent were incredible… and they helped build some of the most amazing memories ever. Like the time I went to a koffee house in Amsterdam, but really wanted to be in a coffee house, and the lovely lovely people who enjoyed my faux pax… and just gave me coffee… yes for free. Or the time I decided I wanted to visit the Ueno Park Zoo in Tokyo…during morning rush hour…but how incredibly helpful every single person was to this very naive American…. so helpful that even the rush of workers coming up from the subway all made space for me to make my way down the stairs. Added to those memories were the life skills I learned… how to exciting it is to step outside your comfort zone and be immersed in new things.

Good times… such very good times. (And all before cell phones… yes, you read that right, before cell phones!)

Once we had Rachel… work soon ended. I did not “earn enough” to cover daycare expenses and thus began my life of Being  Just a Mom for a good number of years.

And when I finally did go back to work, the travel industry had changed dramatically (with a significant reduction in those perks) and so I set my feet on a different pathway… with fond memories of what once was my my life in a galaxy far far away.

These days, the extent of my travel is limited to a quick trip to Erie… or an annual trip to Michigan. Would I like to do overseas travel again? Yes! There are so many places I’d like to go and see.

A huge thanks to Kym for these Museum of Me prompts!

Have a great weekend everyone! See you all back here on Monday!




Unraveled Wednesday | 3.9.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.9.22

Happy Wednesday, Unravelers!

I do not have a whole lot of making to share with you all this week. I do have an almost finished gnome (the hat needs a wee bit of steam.) But my March Never Not Gnoming installment is finished. Oh, Gnome You Didn’t. Meet Gnellie…and my back story for her is that she is the younger sister of Gnutmeg (the family resemblance is amazing!) and her Gnana gnits and spins – thus her darling handspun scarf! Ha! Confession time… I have not had so much fun knitting as I have making these Gnomes. I am contemplating my April installment. (And for those wondering, yes I have knit Gnellie before – for Steve’s mom… I am so happy to have my own Gnellie on my mantle now!)

I have also been slowly adding “teeth” to my Hitchhiker but I have not picked up my second sock at all this week…and that means there have been no mistakes made! haha!

It has been a quiet week of reading here as well (sort of) I somehow forgot to cancel an audiobook hold when the physical book came through… so imagine my surprise when I got the notification that The Sentence audiobook was available! And loving Louise Erdrich as much as I do the opportunity to listen to her read The Sentence was just too great to pass up (perhaps forgetting to cancel that hold was not a mistake at all!) I loved “reading it with my ears” as much as I loved reading it with my eyes. I also spent quite a bit of time immersed in poetry this week… and that, my friends, is never, ever a bad way to spend a week.

UnravelingUnraveling by Brandon Leake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have listened to Unraveling several times now and each time I hear something new…something moving, something sacred, something that causes me to stop and think.

I had no clue who Brandon Leake is (He won America’s Got Talent) but his poetry is moving. Perhaps even more so because Brandon reads his poetry.

My favorite of Unraveling… Breonna. It is such a beautiful tribute.

If you are looking for a fresh new voice in poetry, I think you will enjoy this collection of poems… very much.

I want to thank NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Audio for this ARC of Unraveling.

(P.S. if you want to watch Brandon recite Breonna, you can watch him here starting at 4:15)

What about you? What is keeping you sane this week?

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

Sometimes Monday | 3.7.22

Sometimes Monday | 3.7.22

It was not my intention to skip my post on Friday, but with the news in the world… it just seemed frivolous to post about trivial things. And I am sitting here this morning with much the same feelings… how does one talk about the triviality of “normal life” when for far too many normal life is trying to stay alive.

But there are slivers of humanity rising up to help… (I really can’t use the word hope right now because it seems a sentiment for fools)

I am sure by now you have heard about the amazing new use for Airbnb’s in Ukraine (and you can now donate to help Ukrainian refugees as well), but in case you didn’t… now you have.

Last week, Carol Sulcoski provided a blog post with some Ukrainian designers… and Vicki updated us all that Ravelry is now making it easier to find more Ukrainian designers as well. I am not in need of new things to knit, but I think purchasing a pattern is something everyone can do… so go buy a pattern or two!

I will be back on Wednesday.

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.2.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.2.22

Greetings Unraveler’s!

I wish I could tell you that there has been *loads* of making this week…but that is not the case. It seems very wrong to indulge in the luxury of knitting, stitching, sewing, or baking when the world is collapsing around us.

I did a bit of stitching, but I need something that I don’t have… maybe a brighter color (yellow?) or a much darker color (black?) or maybe both? So I need to get to the stitching store to see what I might find.

I tried to work on the second sock, but even the simplest pattern was beyond me and after I ripped it back – twice – I put down the knitting.

My night time knitting (which you can see above) is at the long, longer, longest row point. So I am lucky to get a “tooth” repeat done before my eyes are closing. (Although, I am not sure I am going to get 5 more teeth done… boo hoo! I might have to toss the handspun yarn to see if I can find something that might work to finish this off…)

While there has been a lull in making, the reading was just what I needed to take my mind away this week! I had two spectacular finishes. And I picked up a lovely stack of poetry books from the library… I am not at all missing the making this week.

Still LifeStill Life by Sarah Winman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are moments in life, so monumental and still, that the memory can never be retrieved without a catch to the throat or an interruption to the beat of the heart. Can never be retrieved without the rumbling disquiet of how close that moment came to not having happened at all.

Wow. This book. This story. These characters.

Every page was divine… it was a book I never wanted to end. I started reading a hard copy of this book, but I did not finish it before it was due back to the library. So I put myself back on the long waitlist and this time, I expanded my options and also got on queue for the audiobook as well – and that is what came available for me to finish this incredible story. The narrator, by the way, is incredible. It was a joy to listen!

If you are wondering if a book can restore your faith in humanity… this is the book that can. PLUS! Any book that includes Fernet Branca and wool… well, just pour yourself a delicious sip, gather your knitting and let Winman take you far, far away. The writing. My gosh… so so so good.

I highly urge you to get this book and read it! Now! You won’t be sorry!

Young MungoYoung Mungo by Douglas Stuart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is not light reading, but that should not stop you from reading Stuart’s follow up to Shuggie Bain.

Young Mungo is simply brilliant, although it took me a little bit to realize that the story is being told in two different timelines… at the same time. What happened and what is happening…but stay with Mungo… he will show you what a true survivor is.

Thanks to Stuart, I have a clear picture of how incredibly challenging it must have been to grow up in Glasgow… at least how challenging it must have been for poor, struggling single mothers. (Please don’t think I believe that Mo-maw has one redeeming quality, because she absolutely does not!) But still, I cannot imagine the struggle… Her frequent absences might have been a gift… thankfully, Mungo has a barely older sister who tries to fill the shoes of parent. He also has an older brother who, though he is not a sterling character, he inadvertently teaches Mungo the skills he will need to survive.

And despite those struggles, Mungo finds the strength to survive as well as beauty, joy and yes, love.

I highly recommend this book!

I would like to thank Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for the ARC of this book!

What about you? What are you doing to take your mind off the catastrophe that the world is right now?

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

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