Looking Back | April 2021

Looking Back | April 2021

Snow in April is abominable,” said Anne. “Like a slap in the face when you expected a kiss.

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Ingleside

The start of April seemed to go unbelievably slowly – inching by at a snails pace. And there were so many days with snow! Gah, crazy I tell you!

I am dividing the month’s look back to Home and Away. One was obviously better than the other, but boy… both were good…different, but good.

First up… Home:

April absolutely fooled us with a snowy start. But Spring fought back and I attended and out-of-doors Easter Service and loved it! We got our Second Jabs done AND had our first outside Happy Hour of the year! Woo! And, speaking of outside eating! The patio opened at Spoonwood Brewery and we went! I also finished a very woolly sweater that I got a good bit of use out of in April…sigh. But, I was so happy that I had it! (Hint… I did not do a very good job on packing for Erie…I forgot a winter coat because my brain was apparently switched off)

Presque Isle…take me AWAY:

Traveling with an aging pet is a challenge – Sherman hates stairs, but he really hates unfamiliar stairs. We have found a place we like… and while it costs a little more than most places in Erie, it is all one level and it has a fenced in yard! And it is less than 2 miles from Presque Isle (and it is right around the corner from the BEST Mexican restaurant! Haha!) So a little more money to rent, but it really works for us. However!! It has ONE rug in the entire house… not good for my aging pup! So we brought Sherman’s Super Highway of Rugs so he could get off that one rug, lol. Oh, and we brought his “cozy blanket” because when you are professional napper you need a good cozy blanket! Hahaha (and yes… you do see a little sweeper in that last photo… Pug owners the world over know that if you go someplace, you need to be able to clean up after your beloved little Super Shedder!

I think the photos speak for themselves… we were outside all.the.time. In all.the.weathers! (only with a Lopapeysa for warmth…silly me!) One thing that Spring does well are skies and boy were they glorious! We got moody and broody skies, white wispy clouds in light blue skies, and not a cloud in sight deep blue skies! And I even channeled Vera a bit with those turtles on the log!

We stopped at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center on our first day there and a Presque Isle Conservation Officer told us about some “less traveled” walks that we would have never found on our own… they are less traveled for a reason! We made good use of these new found trails!

Yes, there was snow. But it was just so incredibly beautiful I could not even be upset about it. It did not last, but wow was it gorgeous! I think that even the plethora of diving ducks on Presque Isle Bay liked it!

I even saw a freighter and quickly texted my daughter to find out where Christian was! (He was not on that boat, but that is exactly like the boat he works on!)

All photos were taken with my iPhone but I was really wishing I had my “big camera” to get some photos of all the birds we saw! There were so many… and so many (more than two dozen!!) NEW to me birds. I have seen them in bird books, but never in the wild! We also watched members of the Erie Bird Observatory banding migratory birds! Watched… as in stood at the table and watched them weigh, measure, record, and band birds. It was so fun!

I worried we would not have a day that we could hike out to Gull Point but the weather and the wind cooperated so we could! The trails are underwater, so you have to traverse along the beach – so if there are strong westerly winds you need hip waders to get out to the point. It was an excellent trek! We saw Bald Eagles, Ospreys, and Common and Caspian Terns!

I will leave you with a wee bit of video so that you can see how Lake Erie can go from wild to calm… and it is beautiful in every stage!

I will be back here on Wednesday for some Unraveling!

April is for Poetry | 4.29.21

April is for Poetry | 4.29.21

Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during the moment. — Carl Sandburg

April is just such an amazing month and I hope that during the month we have opened some doors and allowed you to ponder the moments that poets captured to share.

And while I love every day of National Poetry Month… perhaps the best day is Poem for Your Pocket Day. The idea is that poetry is something you can carry with you. It is something that you can read and reread…over and over again. It is also for everyday life…and it can be very relatable like the poem I chose for my pocket today!

I heard a poem written by Connie Wanek and it caused me to stop what I was doing and go search on the internet to see what I could learn about her, which led me to Monopoly. It brought back memories of playing it for hours on end with my cousins and my cousin, Bill being almost always being that one person. I hope this poem brings back fond memories for you today, that perhaps you consider it again with adult eyes, and hopefully you will print it out and tuck it in your pocket to read again later today.


by Connie Wanek

We used to play, long before we bought real houses.
A roll of the dice could send a girl to jail.
The money was pink, blue, gold, as well as green,
and we could own a whole railroad
or speculate in hotels where others dreaded staying:
the cost was extortionary.

At last one person would own everything,
every teaspoon in the dining car, every spike
driven into the planks by immigrants,
every crooked mayor.
But then, with only the clothes on our backs,
we ran outside, laughing.

Poem copyright ©2016 by Connie Wanek, “Monopoly,” from Rival Gardens: New and Selected Poems, (Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2016).

I hope this month has been amazing for you. Make sure you stop and see what Kym, Bonny, and Sarah have for your pocket today! I can’t think of a better thing that a pocket full of poems to carry you through your day!

Finally, I’d like to thank Kym for including me in this amazing month! Have a great weekend and I will see you all back here next week!

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels
Unraveled Wednesday | 4.28.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 4.28.21

100 years ago, buying something you could make was considered wasteful; now making something you could buy is considered wasteful. I am not convinced this is a step in the right direction. ― Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

I thought this quote was exactly the reminder I needed as I am about to embark on Me-Made May – minus the IG posting frenzy, that is! I am going to do my best to wear only things I have made during the month. But I have plans to do a wee bit of sewing for myself in May as well. My wardrobe is in need of a little refresh after 12 plus months of Pandemic Living! Re-entry is not easy but maybe a couple of new items will help!

On the knitting front, I am almost to the sleeve division on my Marled Purl Strings – just 6 rows to go! I kind of worried that the “purled” rows would not show very much in the marled fabric, and while they are not as dramatic as they are on the single color sweater, I love how it looks and hopefully the body goes as quickly as it did on my first sweater. (at least once I picked it up and actually knit on it!)

Today though is all about learning as I have a full day of classes for MDSW! I will spend the afternoon with Maggie Casey learning about twist and this evening with Dame Judith and some Columbia fiber! I will have a tiny break between the classes and I made a pot of chili on Sunday so I could have something to “zap” and eat! lol

The reading this week has been wonderful! I had FIVE finishes!

The Thunder Before the Storm: The Autobiography of Clyde BellecourtThe Thunder Before the Storm: The Autobiography of Clyde Bellecourt by Clyde Bellecourt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A friend described this book as having the feel of the author sitting at the dinner table with you, sharing their story. Yes!! That is an excellent way to describe this book. I kn0w little about the plight of Native American’s and this book is an excellent introduction. It is eye-opening and stirs the desire to learn more. I highly recommend!

The Dead and the LivingThe Dead and the Living by Sharon Olds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think writing poetry is hard (if not impossible for most of us) but writing good poetry about hard topics is just amazing. This collection of poems made me stop and think. At times it made me uncomfortable. But the way Olds puts together phrases and uses words to paint an image in the readers mind are brilliant. I highly recommend!

Stag's Leap: PoemsStag’s Leap: Poems by Sharon Olds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Intimate, poignant poems… Sharon Olds has a gift… the ability to write about hard things and she does so in the most incredible way. She draws you in, shares the raw emotion, and then carries you along – tenderly – with her. I find myself wanting to stop and read everything Olds has ever written. I highly recommend!

A Death In Vienna (Gabriel Allon, #4)A Death In Vienna by Daniel Silva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Four in the Allon series, but Book Three in the trio of Holocaust series. In this story, the history of Allon unfolds and we learn more details about his past… and his parent’s history. Allon is an edgier, more turbulent version of Armande Gamache – and that is not a bad thing, he is complex – he has a sense of justice, and is brilliantly smart! I love watching him put together the puzzle and win! I highly recommend this series!

Homeland ElegiesHomeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Racism in America has to be the ugliest thing on earth. Like many others who have read this book, I had to remind myself it was not a memoir…but a novel. It sheds light on life as a Muslim in America post-911. It is a riveting story and I had a hard time putting it down. The writing is wonderful. I highly recommend!

That is all I have to share today, if you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below!

See you all back here tomorrow with my choice for Poem in Your Pocket Day!

Release | 4.26.21

Release | 4.26.21

Go outside. Don’t tell anyone and don’t bring your phone. Start walking and keep walking until you no longer know the road like the palm of your hand, because we walk the same roads day in and day out, to the bus and back home and we cease to see. We walk in our sleep and teach our muscles to work without thinking and I dare you to walk where you have not yet walked and I dare you to notice. Don’t try to get anything out of it, because you won’t. Don’t try to make use of it, because you can’t. And that’s the point. Just walk, see, sit down if you like. And be. Just be, whatever you are with whatever you have, and realise that that is enough to be happy. There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window. You’d be a fool to miss it.” –Charlotte Eriksson

This month was all about giving release a bit of a pause. This word has been so mentally taxing at times that it seemed necessary to step back and give myself a bit of respite.  So in the midst of that pause, I allowed April to be about something other than me. Instead I spent my time immersed in memories of my maternal grandfather – Oliver Emil Huxhold. Thoughts of my grandpa are always close to the surface in April because of his love of poetry.

But, this month was a “two-for!” Not only was my grandpa a poetry lover, he was also an avid birder! He knew so many birds (and his bird book library was most impressive!) But when MS curtailed his outdoor time – by the time I was 5 he could no longer manage stairs at all – he began to identify birds by their songs. The best times ever were sitting on his lap listening and learning. His absolute “Holy Grail” of birds was the elusive Purple Martin. My grandparents lived about a block off Lake Macatawa on 11th Street in Holland, MI and sadly, as close as that was it just was not close enough to the water. We tried however, and I remember the spring we got him a Martin House for the back yard. My uncle installed a super long galvanized pole first and then installed the Martin house on top of that – hoping that the added height would help. Alas it did not and my grandpa grumbled plenty over the Sparrow Condo in his back yard! To my knowledge he never saw or heard Purple Martins in his life.

Steve and I headed to Erie to spend 10 days at Presque Isle. And wow. Just wow. I went outside a lot (I did bring my phone, but only to take photos) and I have so much to share with you all about our trip but for now, I’d like to share just one thing…the bittersweet achievement of my grandpa’s Holy Grail with the sightings of so many Purple Martins! I love Presque Isle, but I think my grandpa might have thought he’d “died and gone to heaven” if he could have visited it!

Purple Martin Heaven! (with a little Tree Swallow Annex off to the right side!)

And so in all that “outside” time, I really felt like I had company. My thoughts were full of grandpa and remembering all those memories and being immersed in them was exactly what I needed this month.

And, of course, Carl Sandburg has a poem for us! I think he describes them perfectly.

By Carl Sandburg

If we were such and so, the same as these,

maybe we too would be slingers and sliders,

tumbling half over in the water mirrors,

tumbling half over at the horse heads of the sun,

tumbling our purple numbers.
Twirl on, you and your satin blue.

Be water birds, be air birds.

Be these purple tumblers you are.

Dip and get away

From loops into slip-knots,

Write your own ciphers and figure eights.

It is your wooded island here in Lincoln Park.

Everybody knows this belongs to you.
Five fat geese

Eat grass on a sod bank

And never count your slinging ciphers,

your sliding figure eights.

A man on a green paint iron bench,

Slouches his feet and sniffs in a book,

And looks at you and your loops and slip-knots,

And looks at you and your sheaths of satin blue,

And slouches again and sniffs in the book,

And mumbles: It is an idle and a doctrinaire exploit.
Go on tumbling half over in the water mirrors.

Go on tumbling half over at the horse heads of the sun.

Be water birds, be air birds.

Be these purple tumblers you are.

We sat and watched the martins “tumble” around us as time just faded away and I began to understand my grandfather’s love of these beautiful birds and perhaps leaving a “Holy Grail” item for the next generation to achieve is the perfect thing to do…

I want to thank Carolyn for hosting us – make sure you stop and see what everyone else did with their word this month.

Thank you for reading and if you want to see my journey with release, you will find it here.

I will be back on Wednesday with some knitting and reading! (and I promise to get caught up with all your blogs soon!!)

April is for Poetry | 4.22.21

April is for Poetry | 4.22.21

Sometimes poetry is witty and clever…I think my grandfather’s favorite poet, Carl Sandburg, hits this brilliantly with his poem Fog. When my grandfather would recite this poem to me I could see exactly what Sandburg meant in the clever way he uses a cat to describe fog. (Don’t ask me about Sandburg’s other poetry though because I have tried to read it but none of it grabbed me like hearing my grandfather recite Fog from memory.)

But recently a poem landed in my email just when the winds were racing around my neighborhood. It is witty, brilliant, it made me chuckle…and it made me look at things from that rascally wind’s perspective!

Bonus moments occur when I keep thinking about the poem and I read it again and again. This poem by Gwendolyn Bennett is just incredible (as is she!) A Black woman – a writer and and educator who was born in Texas in 1902 must have at times felt like the wind was raging around her… and perhaps, just maybe, she felt like the wind around her students!


Gwendolyn Bennett

The wind was a care-free soul
That broke the chains of earth,
And stood for a moment across the land
With the wild halloo of his mirth
He little cared that he ripped up trees,
That houses fell at his hand,
That his step broke the calm of the breast of the seas,
That his feet stirred clouds of sand.

But when he had had his little joke,
Had shouted and laughed and sung,
When the trees were scarred, their branches broke,
And their foliage aching hung,
He crept to his cave with a healthy tread,
with rain-filled eyes and low-bowed head.

This poem is in the public domain. 

Please make sure you stop by and see what Kym, Bonny, and Sarah have to share with you today!

See you back here on Monday with an update on my word! I hope you are having a great week and your weekend will be full of fun things!

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