Looking Back | December 2020

Looking Back | December 2020

“How did it get so late so soon?”
― Dr. Seuss

I have been debating with myself since the waning days of December about doing this last “Look Back” of the year. It was just such a month of “nothing.” Yes, I decorated for the holidays. Yes, I listened to music and sang along loudly! But it just wasn’t at all a “normal” year. Christmas gifts were ordered (for the most part) on Amazon and shipped directly to the recipients. If I thought mail was slow moving here in my neighborhood, well… Michigan said “Hold my beer” with their mail delivery foibles (a simple anniversary card has yet to arrive, though it was mailed on December 14th). A package that was full of special things for Vivi was sent at astronomical cost via UPS, but at least it arrived safely!

Yet, though all of this… it just did not feel like “year end” if you know what I mean. December just felt very discombobulated. I found myself waffling between these two sentiments: how on earth is this year over and how on earth is this year NOT over!

But there are photos (minus the 28th when I just did not take any photos at all!) and, though they are far from exciting, I am sharing them with you!


The Best Part of the Month

Are things that are not reflected here. A handmade Christmas and Birthday card from Vivi. My daughter’s ingenuity in making an ornament with Winston’s wee handprint on it! FaceTime calls, phone calls, and text messages galore. And my son getting a significant promotion at work. Those are simply the best things ever.

Something New Old

In this month that lacked any semblance of “sameness” I found the best comfort in “old things.” Things like ornaments my kids made when they were little and Firestone Christmas carols.

Also… me… yes, I quietly turned 60 in December. And that was exactly how I wanted it to be. It was a day of reflection for me… where I have been, where I am now, and where do I still want to be.

Best “Oh, Wow” Moment/s

I loved that the Scott Volunteer Fire Department brought Santa around… masked and safety protocols in place… so that the child in all of us could experience again the wonder that is Christmas.

The Christmas morning photos of Vivi and Win just make my heart sing with joy.

AND! That $6 amaryllis that I got from Trader Joe’s that started to open on my birthday.

What I did Well and What I can do Better

I did these “Look Backs” for the entire year, but I think they can be better. More unique. More individual. My word (Release) is helping with that… in fact it might be the very first thing I let go of… the rote task of scrambling to take a photo. Yes there will still be a look back in 2021, but it will look and feel very different!

That is it as I shut the door on 2020. I hope you enjoy this look back as much as I do! If you want to see the entire year of Look Back, you will find them all here!

Thanks and I will see you back here on Wednesday for some Unraveling!

 

100 Days of Hope | Week 3

100 Days of Hope | Week 3

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. — Anne Lamott

I think we all need a bit of stubborn hope today, even though it feels like all hope has vanished.

I expected *something* to happening on Wednesday…what I did not imagine was that a mob of white supremacist insurgents would actually gain access to the People’s House. Nor could I imagine they would gleefully post their criminal behavior all over social media and then just waltz out looking like their team just won the Super Bowl….while the Capital Police held the doors for them! Yesterday, as more news unfolded surrounding the horrors of Wednesday, my mood got progressively darker.

But despite the trauma to our great nation there were some things this week that gave me some hope to hold! Things like Reverend Doctor Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff… Stacey Abrams and Nsé Ufot… and the Atlanta Dream who did some research, liked what they heard, and lifted Rev Warnock up… by wearing his name on their shirts!

It still feels so dark to me today, but I am stubbornly holding onto hope.

Have a good weekend everyone, see you all back here next week!

Unraveled Wednesday | 1.6.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 1.6.21

“I recognize that knitting can improve my mood in trying circumstances” ― Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much

Today, of all days, is a day to keep your knitting at hand to help your mood for what certainly will be some trying circumstances. But, as Kamala said on Monday night, “We are going to be inaugurated. Period!” So keep her voice echoing in your head as you knit today!

A New Year and some new knitting perhaps? Did any of you cast on a new project to start the New Year? I did not cast on anything new but…

I did some spinning! First, after letting my singles rest a good long time, I plied my last skein of Prose from Hipstrings. It needed two “run through’s” to get enough twist, but it has had a nice bath and it poofed up beautifully! I love how all of this turned out. It is a little heavier than fingering weight and I think I have about 1100 yards of yarn, though I have not calculated the final yardage since washing, but I should have enough to do a cropped-ish sweater with 3/4 length sleeves.

AND!! I I spun up this beauty as well! It is a very interesting blend of fiber! I erroneously thought this was the same blend as Buoy, but I was wrong… however, I really like this yarn and I might have ordered some more of it. It would make a wonderfully cozy hat and a pair of mitts!

I also have been knitting a few rounds on my socks, as you can see, and I might be done but after I completed the heel I just started knitting the leg… sans the pattern. Sigh. I was about 20 rows in when I realized it, but rather than rip it all out I tried something new. I just unraveled the 4 stitches on each side and reknit with the pattern this time! Yes, I shocked myself! Yes, it was a bit fiddly, but I did it!!

Remember that Twitter Sock KAL I did with Kate Atherley last year? Well, she has released the pattern (you no longer have to thread the tweets together to knit!) It is a great sock construction, a different toe (no grafting!) and they are so comfy!

Now, how about a little reading? I have managed to finish ONE book to start the new year (although I am close on a couple of others…) It was a lovely book to start the year with!

History of the RainHistory of the Rain by Niall Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“We tell stories. We tell stories to pass the time, to leave the world for a while, or go more deeply into it. We tell stories to heal the pain of living.”

This book. Oh my goodness. The writing. The words. They gathered my hands and drew me gently in to the most wonderous story! I laughed, I cried… a lot, and just did not want it to end. I want to be Ruth Swain! I want to have Niall Williams gift of writing! I want to live in a place where…It started raining here in the sixteenth century and hasn’t stopped.

But more than anything, this:
I am plain Ruth Swain. See me, nineteen, narrow face, MacCarroll eyes, thin lips, dull hazelnut hair, gleamy Swain skin, pale untannable oddment, bony, book-lover, reader of so many nineteen-century novels before the age of fifteen that I became too clever by half, sufferer of Smart Girl Syndrome, possessor of opinions and good marks, student of pure English, Fresher, Trinity College Dublin, the poet’s daughter.

If this brilliant book is not on your must read list, put it there immediately. But better than that, get it, open it and start reading!


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Monday Magic | 1.4.21

Monday Magic | 1.4.21

Happy First Monday in January! There might be a wee bit of excitement in my house this morning as Steve returns to his “usual schedule” this week…whew! LOL

My day is full of so many things from laundry to Undecorating to OLW contemplation… a truly varied list. I am hoping that laundry becomes less “mundane” when paired with OLW contemplation.

This short poem that I listened to yesterday was so full! It is going to be my guide for a January of quiet contemplation. I hope you find something in these words to help your January get off to a very good start! See you all back here on Wednesday for some “first finishes” of the New Year!

Winter Is the Best Time
by David Budbill

Winter is the best time
to find out who you are.

Quiet, contemplation time,
away from the rushing world,

cold time, dark time, holed-up
pulled-in time and space

to see that inner landscape,
that place hidden and within.

David Budbill, “Winter Is the Best Time” from While We’ve Still Got Feet. © 2015 by David Budbill

100 Days of Hope | Week 3

100 Days of Hope | Week 2

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’ — Alfred Lord Tennyson

Happy New Year! I have written this quote in my journal to greet me next week, although… doesn’t it feel like today is the start of a new week rather than Friday? Is it just me or are any of you all turned around on what day it is. That upside down factor has been amplified because Steve has been working from home more recently so I don’t have his normal routine to help me with days! But… happier. Doesn’t that sound lovely? It certainly does for me. There were glimmers of hope this week again… seek and ye shall find… yes, indeed!

The birds again were Harbingers of Hope when one morning about 20 robins were flocking in the bushes next to my porch, enjoying a breakfast of the frozen berries that are hanging in bunches all over. I saw some birds standing guard, alert for danger while the others gleefully gobbled up the berries… and then I saw them trade places so the “guard birds” could participate in the feast! If the birds can care for one another, surely that gives us all hope that we can too!

Our Christmas snow melted away this week, but twice I woke to a fresh dusting of snow making everything look so bright and clean… a visible reminder that each day we have a clean slate – a chance to begin again. And that is the best kind of hope of all… that no matter how miserably I failed the day before I have a chance to try again.

Sometimes, hope comes only when you have torn everything away…a 6-minute listen from Clint Smith (and you absolutely should listen). And if you have not read Clint’s Counting Descent… do! It is some of the best poetry I have read all year!

A new year means setting a new reading goal (or at least for me it does, lol) and setting that goal is the epitome of hope! The wishful thinking of how much I might read in a year… it is like that open door, smiling with a promise of happiness. In previous years, I have set a challenging goals, and I knew that in order to achieve the goal I would have to stay focused and work at it. Sometimes I met the goal, other times I did not… so last year I set a what I call a “fake goal” one that was low and I knew I could easily meet it (and I did and then some). But you know what? There was absolutely zero satisfaction in my achievement this year… I cheated myself. Oh, I read and I certainly enjoyed the books I read, but I learned that “faking myself out” has no rewards. So while I am still contemplating my reading goal… it won’t be a cheater goal. I found some interesting books on this list that will help me with the start of the New Year (and they are all about Fresh Starts – and a fresh start is always full of hope!)

And there you have it, the hope I found this week. Welcome 2021, may you be brimming with happiness!

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