We have arrived at the final Wednesday in February with the most un-February-like weather… mild temps, rains that have done an excellent job of washing away the frozen and brought a hint of green…at least to the grass in my back yard! I have done a “mini-shuffle” in my closet – pulling out some warmer weather things and have readied some of my wooliest sweaters for a nice spa treatment before packing them away. I need it to not be raining so they can dry in a reasonable amount of time!
Never fear… I still have some wooly sweaters, but lighter weight ones that are the perfect things for easing into spring. And yes, I am absolutely thinking about spring!
The knitting this week… good times! I have a Finished Gnome! Meet Gnathan! I love his cables, and his beard, and that hat! I learned how to avoid ladders whilst purling in the round. I began to understand “reading your knitting when cabling” better – although I am not perfect, I am better than I was before I knit Gnathan!
AND!! Since this photo was taken, I have begun the toe of Vera’s Sock! I hope to cast on sock two later today!
I have even done a bit of stitching… but I don’t have a photo to show you right now! (you can blame the rain!)
The reading this week… oh my. It was so good! (and it is even better than what is finished, I am finally back to Still Life!) This is the kind of reading that creates the dreaded reading slump… so many good books are a hard act to follow… I have some niggling worry. (But I do have some good things coming in my hold queue… pray they all don’t become available at once! lol)
How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America by Clint Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I listened to Clint Smith read this powerful history… he takes us on a journey that begins in New Orleans and from there he takes us to places I knew about but never considered those places to be markers on the history of slavery.
This book clearly showed me that I do not know so much.
It was not a book I could listen to in large chunks of time…and I understand the privilege I have in being able to say that. So many Clint talks with in this book are still living what I found necessary to put down… to take a break from their reality.
But in the midst of the nightmare that is this nations fixation with slavery – you cannot listen to the history of Angola Prison and not believe that for some people, slavery is not over – there are people who are trying to make a difference – glimmers of hope in a sea of despair…
I highly recommend this book.
Agatha of Little Neon by Claire Luchette
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It seems unfathomable that this is Claire Luchette’s debut novel. It is truly brilliant. The writing is so spectacular… and as Luchette slowly reveals more and more of the characters, it just gets better.
She draws you in, she makes you comfortable, and then she carefully changes your surroundings and niggles you with some questions that made me stop and think.
I am not Catholic, but I felt this incredible bond between Agatha and her sisters… until it wasn’t, or was it ever? I loved watching Agatha grow… and her concerns are worth noting. Write them down. Memorize them.
I am so eager to discuss a book I profoundly loved with the Read With Us Book Club.
I highly recommend this wonderful story!
That is all that I have going on in my making and reading this week. What about you?
As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!
Happy President’s Day. Sort of.
Anyway, if you have the day off today… good for you! If you don’t, I am so sorry. It is supposed to be simply glorious today in Pittsburgh with temps approaching the 60’s!
It was just amazing to head out with Sherman this morning to hints that the day would be sunny and bright and with just a sweater on! The air was full of birdsong and it was simply glorious!
Speaking of Birdsong… my favorite app has had some recent updates that are quite spectacular. You can now record the birdsong and it will identify the birds it “hears”. I have tried it out and find it to be insanely accurate! (This morning’s chorus included House Finches, Robins, House Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Crows, and Blue Jays!) Some of the birds I could see but many I could not see at all! If you are a “birder” and you have not discovered The Cornell Lab’s Merlin…well, you are missing out! And! Right now there is a bit of a Bird Count going on and you can help by noting the birds you see and hear!
Over the weekend the Great Planning of All The Trips began… oy. Why does something that should bring such joy create such friction? I think we have our trips to Erie worked out and I am still waiting on some schedule confirmations from my kids. (It’s times like this that I wonder if a single child might have been a better idea, lol) The meshing of multiple schedules is not for the faint of heart and it was so much simpler when at least 2 of them were in the same state. That luxury is one I took for granted…sigh.
The single thing on my agenda for today… The Great Closet Shuffle! Yes, we have reached that time of the year when you need to have a 4-season wardrobe so I need to pull a few warmer weather things out.
My treat for getting this promptly done? Agatha of Little Neon! I am almost done and am simply loving every single thing about this little book! (That and turning that heel of my Vera Socks!)
Happy Monday everyone! See you all back here on Wednesday!
these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips — Lucille Clifton (homage to my hips)
This week I want to share some poetry that, I think, is one of the best ways to celebrate Black History Month.
Poetry has become part of my daily life… I cannot imagine a day without poetry. It opens my eyes… it opens my mind… it opens my heart. This month, I have been focused on reading a poem or two a day from Amanda Gorman’s new book of poetry – Call Us What We Carry (and it is so very good!)
I also spent some time Googling Poetry for Black History Month and I found some of the most wonderful rabbit holes that exist on the internet!
Of course The Poetry Foundation has a wonderful resource that includes poems, articles, and podcasts… there is just so much to read here! I have been happily working my way through every bit of it. Some poems were familiar to me and some were not. There was one that I knew as a song but I did not know that it was written by one brother and set to music by another brother! And speaking of that song… was it just me or did anyone else find it more than disconcerting that this song was performed outside the stadium (versus being inside? watf…)
If you’d like to start with a less daunting list… Read Poetry has 10 Poems to Celebrate Black History Month
Finally, if you want to add a book to your Poetry Library (because don’t we all have a Poetry Library?? And if you don’t, you should!!) I am excited to get Tracy K. Smith’s book, Such Color. (And I am loving Call Us What We Carry!)
I am going to close with one of the poems from Amanda’s new book:
by Amanda Gorman
It is easy to harp,
Harder to hope.
This truth, like the white-blown sky,
Can only be felt in its entirety or not at all.
The glorious was not made to be piecemeal.
Despite being drenched with dread,
This dark girl still dreams.
We smile like a sun that is never shunted.
Grief, when it goes, does so softly,
Like the exit of that breath
We just realized we clutched.
Since the world is round,
There is no way to walk away
From each other, for even then
We are coming back together.
Some distances, if allowed to grow,
Are merely the greatest proximities.
Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman, published by Viking Press. Copyright © 1921 by Amanda Gorman
Have a great weekend everyone… see you all back here on Monday!
The Test Knit… she is finished! Wooo! I have even weighed my yarn and sent in all the pertinent details. Photos coming soon… I promise!
But today I have an almost finished Gnome… he needs a wee bit of blocking, some stuffing, a beard and some arms!
AND!! I started Vera’s Socks! (Petty Harbor – Ravelry Link) and I am not-quite mindlessly knitting the leg. It is some Rainy Day Yarn from my stash that I got from Wool & Honey… Dyed by Up North Yarns. Colorway: Market Day from Wool & Honey’s August 2020 Sleeping Bear Yarn Club.
I have knit another tooth on my Hitchhiker… but really it does not look much different from the last photo I shared with you all.
I was surprised to get my results on Monday from my mammogram… those results said “no visible malignancies” hmmm… are there invisible ones? It just seemed like strange wording to me… but what do I know. (Said results and those thoughts about invisible malignancies might have made me knit a wee bit faster on that Gnome! A plus, perhaps!)
The reading this week…I listened lots which helped me finish that test knit! I finished listening to Hollow Kingdom and started listening to Clint Smith’s How the Word is Passed. (Two books that you would think would be on opposite ends of the spectrum… yet perhaps they are not so far at all!) Anyways, I had 3 finishes this week:
Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Whew… two dystopian novels in two weeks! This one was an entirely different take (and perhaps more believable than Home of the Living God, but a bit more rawly written)
The MoFo’s (humans) have brought about the destruction of life as they knew it. What is left are the Animals. Of course the “narrator” would be a crow named Shit Turd (S.T. for short) and I really loved him! Why? Because he was raised by a human and thinks that he is a human. So we travel through the book with S.T. and see things through his eyes…which is especially wonderful when he starts to realize just how flawed the humans are. Yes, there are some very sad moments…but the ending is quite spectacular.
I had originally given this book 3-stars but has since upgraded it to 4 because I can’t stop thinking about dear S.T.
Mecca by Susan Straight
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I was grabbed by the opening to this book: “The wind started up at three a.m., the same way it had for hundreds of years, the same way I used to hear it blowing so hard around our little house in the canyon that loose windowsills sounded like harmonicas. The old weather stripping played like the gods pressed their mouths around the screens in the living room, where I slept when I was growing up.”
I want to say I loved this book… but I just liked it. It is a compelling story – or at least that is how it starts. But then it takes some twist and turns, not all of which make sense and still don’t in the finishing of it. This story is one of Southern California… but not one you might expect. It is about people who have been in Southern California for eons and those who are brought by coyotes from Mexico and how the two, though very different, are considered the same. I loved learning about the history that Straight brings to life in the pages… the past sometimes merging with the present in a very compelling way.
Things I struggled with… there is lots of dialog in Spanish – with no translation. I also think that some of this book (about 2/3’s in) could have been edited out.
The ending was not at all what I expected.
I would like to thank Netgalley and Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for this ARC.
The War of the Poor by Éric Vuillard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I don’t remember what (or who) directed me to this little book.
It is the bits of the story around the Protestant Reformation… or how everything old is new again. Or perhaps even better… how everything old is still here and simmering under the surface. The parallels between then and now are impossible not to draw…the ultra-wealthy, the working poor never getting ahead, and even crazy religious fanatics fanning the flames.
An interesting read and if history does indeed repeat itself….
That is all I have for today. What about you? Is there something you are knitting faster on this week?
As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!
It seems that last week we reached a bit of a seasonal tipping point, at least in Pittsburgh… the incremental increase of daylight is now pleasantly noticeable, there were also days last week that smelled like spring so despite this morning’s dusting of snow and bitter cold… I know that winter is in its waning days. The birds know it too and hearing their increased birdsong in the morning is a welcome treat! Yes, winter with a bit more light and some birdsong is not a bad thing!
But in your corner of the world does winter seem interminable? Even for those of us experiencing a “February Thaw” and some precious extra minutes of day light … we still have miles to go before spring gets here. This week I want to focus on me … it is not something I do often and I am reminded of these wise words from Katherine May’s Wintering: “When I started feeling the drag of winter, I began to treat myself like a favoured child: with kindness and love. I assumed my needs were reasonable and that my feelings were signals of something important. I kept myself well fed and made sure I was getting enough sleep. I took myself for walks in the fresh air and spent time doing things that soothed me. I asked myself: What is this winter all about? I asked myself: What change is coming?”
And that, dear friends, is the perfect quote for all of us on this Day of Love… how are we treating ourselves as we begin (or continue!) to feel the drag of winter?
I have had a “thing” on my To-Do List for far too long… get my mammogram. Sigh. I was supposed to go last spring and well, I allowed this to fall off my radar. So when I got an email on Friday that there was a “Love Your Breasts” Walk-in Mammogram clinic on Saturday…I went. A spur of the moment self-love act that is incredibly important. (Hint, hint… if you have not gone in the past year for your mammogram, pick up the phone and make an appointment!)
There are some other things on my To-Do List that I am going to stay focused on getting done this month… and shower myself with self-love.
What about you? What’s on your list!
Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels