In a week that did not at all turn out as I hoped or even in my wildest dreams imagined this poem from last Friday has been my lifeline.
At some point, Elizabeth Bishop renamed the poem… but I found her original name, Early Sorrow, to be so profound for me. But, the new name… Sestina… has stuck in my head and the words of the poem keep echoing there as well. It is a good time to plant tears… not very bright or cheery for a Monday but every day can’t be all sunshine and rainbows…
Sestina by Elizabeth Bishop:
September rain falls on the house.
In the failing light, the old grandmother
sits in the kitchen with the child
beside the Little Marvel Stove,
reading the jokes from the almanac,
laughing and talking to hide her tears.
She thinks that her equinoctial tears
and the rain that beats on the roof of the house
were both foretold by the almanac,
but only known to a grandmother.
The iron kettle sings on the stove.
She cuts some bread and says to the child,
It’s time for tea now; but the child
is watching the teakettle’s small hard tears
dance like mad on the hot black stove,
the way the rain must dance on the house.
Tidying up, the old grandmother
hangs up the clever almanac
on its string. Birdlike, the almanac
hovers half open above the child,
hovers above the old grandmother
and her teacup full of dark brown tears.
She shivers and says she thinks the house
feels chilly, and puts more wood in the stove.
It was to be, says the Marvel Stove.
I know what I know, says the almanac.
With crayons the child draws a rigid house
and a winding pathway. Then the child
puts in a man with buttons like tears
and shows it proudly to the grandmother.
But secretly, while the grandmother
busies herself about the stove,
the little moons fall down like tears
from between the pages of the almanac
into the flower bed the child
has carefully placed in the front of the house.
Time to plant tears, says the almanac.
The grandmother sings to the marvelous stove
and the child draws another inscrutable house.
Elizabeth Bishop ©
I learned last week that my years-estranged sister has been evicted (yet again) and has spiraled down to the bottom of the bottom of the bottom of the mental health ocean. There are volumes to this story that I am just not ready to share and my Monday is going to be full of making calls, asking lots of questions and I am hopeful that I will find an answer or two. I am sorry, but I have closed comments for this post… I hope you all understand.
See you all back here on Wednesday.
This week the making is beginning to feel like it needs to be at a “fevered pitch” but its is not. I wanted to have the “calendar” portion of the Advent Calendar in process… but it is not! I want to thank you all for your tips and encouragement… I am experiencing a great deal of FOMU (fear of messing up) but I think I have a plan mapped out both in my head and on the fabric… invisible mapping, but I think it will work… now I just need to take the bold words that Carole shared to heart and just “drop those feed dogs” and give it a go!
Thankfully, every ornament is done…all 4 layers of them! Whew!
Instead of overcoming my FOMU of quilting, I knit a hat that is all ready for a little soak, which is a good thing because we have a four-letter word weekend forecast! Gah!
The reading this week… there are a couple of excellent books and one that very much fell flat for me. If you are looking for a good book recommendation… I strongly recommend Oh William! My goodness, it was just so brilliant!
Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the way of life: the many things we do not know until it is too late.
Elizabeth Strout absolutely saved the best for last with Oh William! I loved the 2 previous books, My Name is Lucy Barton and Anything is Possible – they were really a wonderfully told story, but Oh William! takes that story to a new level. At times it very much felt like I was sitting and listening to Strout… rather than reading it. Her prose is really brilliant, and she manages to insert an aside exactly as one would if you were sharing a cuppa and talking.
I wanted to “ration” my reading so this book would not end. And I highly recommend this entire series… and save the best for last!
I want to thank Random House and Netgalley for providing me an ARC of this book!
How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope by James Crews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received this beautiful little book of poems from a friend (Thanks, Kym!) and I have been reading a poem or two a day, each morning to either begin or end my meditation time. I have probably read through all the poems at least twice… and just because I am marking this book “finished” here does not mean I am done with it.
These poems of hope and gratitude have been the most perfect way to start the day. I find myself wondering if I just keep reading one or two each morning… how long will it take for me to memorize them? Because they are all memorize-worthy!
If you are feeling overwhelmed with the state of the world… pick up this book and let the poet’s speak to you, fill you, move you to a better place, and perhaps even become a sharer of gratitude and hope in the world! I highly recommend this book!
Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I am not sure what I imagined this book was going to be, but it was not that… and not in a good way. At times, I felt much of what Kate is trying to share came across as trite, and frankly, she has profound luck… which I could not stop thinking about as I listened to her talk.
And while I have heard “everything happens for a reason” with sickening frequency in a faith setting (exactly where it should never happen), I don’t think I ever felt as she did when she heard it. I felt like she really believed that she should have had a “lucky” life because of her faith… except that is not how it works. And she did have incredible luck to be working in a place that moved mountains to get her an experimental cancer treatment. (I found it incredibly ironic that she gave God none of the benefit for that…)
I had originally given this book 3 stars, but since have downgraded it to 2 stars.
And, that is it for me this week… Steve is taking a longer weekend (thanks to Veteran’s Day) so I will see you all back here on Monday!
As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!
(a weekend update, and an answer!)
Debate over the Vintage Mixer continued on Friday evening and we made a plan for Saturday morning. Our plan… if and when it became too full to move around and still maintain safe distancing that would be our key to leaving. We arrived a little after the doors opened, hoping to avoid the initial rush of opening, but we still got hung up in a bit of a line. And from roughly 10 am to noon we had a wonderful time. We looked at so much fun stuff! We people watched all the “Vintage-dressed” people! (They are just so fun!) We had a beer and some Pie Bird Potato and Leek Breakfast Pie (yes, beer for breakfast!) and we did a tiny bit of shopping before it became almost impossible to move at all. It got so busy and so full. I have to confess that the female portion of the attendee’s seemed to have major issues with keeping your mask on correctly, despite there being signs EVERYWHERE about covering your nose and mouth. The men did not seem to have this issue at all, and frankly… I was a bit outraged at the women (can you say stupid??)
I was sad that I did not see a number of vendors that had previously attended… and most notably, Rick Sebak was not there. And we only bought 2 things! But what fun things they are! We got a set of vintage cocktail glasses and a very old little cast iron pug. I have plans to put out the Dickens Village this year and I thought this little pug would be perfect companion for Fezziwig!
Last week, Patty expressed curiosity about my Cinnamon Syrup making so I thought I’d share my little concoction with you all! Years ago I found a recipe on Pinterest for Cinnamon Syrup but it was way too sweet for my taste… so I tweaked it quite a bit. My recipe: 1.5 cups of water, 1 – 8″ length cinnamon stick or 3 small sticks (note… I buy cinnamon sticks from Costco, they are larger, fresher, and less expensive that the regular grocer – but they don’t always have them in stock) and 3/4 cup brown sugar (not packed… just loose scoops). Bring the water with the cinnamon stick to a boil and once it is boiling, turn off the heat and cover the pot and let it steep for 20-30 minutes. Remove the sticks and add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Voilá, the perfect hint of cinnamon-y sweetness to add to your coffee. (And if you froth your milk and sprinkle it with a tiny bit of ground cinnamon, you have yourself an incredible treat!)
And finally… my question of the week involves those ever-present stacks of paper that live in a house. Sadly, Steve and I are both paper collectors… but different sorts of paper. I like to print out recipes because I can make notes on them, but the kitchen drawer is overflowing and so this morning, I am culling the recipe herd and only keeping the ones we really love and I will be putting them in a new recipe book. Steve’s paperwork is a bit more “all over the house” than mine – he is a receipt and coupon hoarder. He doesn’t know it, but they are all going in the trash this morning… but how long do you all keep receipts? (and I am not talking grocery or fast food receipts… and yes, he keeps those too… sigh) I am talking ‘big ticket’ items, warranty items, etc.
But really, I want to know… how do you battle the Paper War?
That’s all I have for this morning… the stacks of paper are calling!
In November, the smell of food is different. It is an orange smell. A squash and pumpkin smell. It tastes like cinnamon and can fill up a house in the morning, can pull everyone from bed in a fog. Food is better in November than any other time of the year. — Cynthia Rylant
It felt like summer lingered for much of October and it was truly glorious, but November arrived with hints of winter. Colder temperatures, a crisp smell in the air, winds that now have a wind chill factor as part of their equation, and clear, quiet skies at night.
These things have encouraged a desire for seasonal cooking. I have a grocery list full of autumn-y things that includes the ingredients for the Cranberry Pie that Bonny shared this week. In addition, there was extra joy in making cinnamon syrup for my morning coffee… gosh, that cinnamon-y smell is just the best but it is even better on a chilly November morning!
I was even happy to see heavy frosts several mornings in a row! I am very ready to settle in to the beginning of the “indoor” seasons!
Porch-view this morning.
We have a large maple tree in our front yard that on Wednesday still had most of it’s leaves. This morning the branches are almost bare and my yard is covered in a carpet of gold. And while I am not thrilled about raking… gosh it is just so gorgeous right now! That yard full of leaves stirs up the joyous memories of childhood walking through the crunchy leaves. I even remember *liking* raking… making huge piles of leaves and laying in them…throwing them at my cousins… and laughing the entire time!
Steve and I have debated (each of us firmly on a very different side of the debate) attending the return of the Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer. Steve is very…leery about attending because COVID numbers are just not going down in Allegheny County and have increased over the past week. However, I feel confident that it will be okay to attend because of these two simple requirements: EVERYONE must wear mask. No mask, No Entry. And EVERYONE must be FULLY vaxxed. No Vaxx, No Entry. (These should be the rules for everywhere…but that is a debate for another day!) Steve is worried that because it is the first event following last year’s COVID Hiatus that it will be packed full of people… perhaps too many people, making social distancing challenging and he really hates crowds. But, as of right now… we are planning on going which means that I am currently winning the debate…for this moment in time, lol.
And with that… let’s get this weekend started! Happy Friday everyone! I will see you all back here on Monday!
First, I’d like to thank you all for weighing in on cardboard recycling! It is a challenge to be an avid recycler living with a rather lackadaisical recycler… and while I am all for compromise on many things – this is not one of them. Now to get that certain someone on the bandwagon with me! LOL
I have made great progress on super secret sewing project that is consuming my making minutes! I think next week I will be able to share a tiny glimpse of the fiddly bits I have been working on. I will have the “ornaments” all finished this week. Then on to the calendar portion of the making… I have some ideas of I’d like to do, but having never done any “free motion quilting” I am more than a bit nervous. Perhaps the smart thing to do is to just mark a “grid pattern” on the diagonal and put the walking foot on my machine and just sew straight lines. In all honestly, I doubt my grandkids will even notice the difference… but a part of me wants this to be the best it could possibly be… and I think this would lend it self perfectly to some free motion quilting!
So… for the quilter’s out there… is there a YouTube video on free motion quilting you’d recommend?
I have been doing the tiniest bit of knitting at night… enough to realize I am not going to have enough yarn for the Socks for Big Foot. But, I found something in my stash (this might be the best reason of all to have a stash, imo) that I will use on the “straight away” knitting to the toes. It is also handspun yarn and while it is not a three-ply (nor is it plied perfectly) I think it will work because it is the same thickness as the yarn I am using. I have 4 more rounds of gusset decreases at which time I will begin knitting the the “new” yarn. I am telling myself it will be alright… they are just “house socks” after all…
But!!! I am happy to report that the Knitting Mojo has returned… have you seen the latest Making? (The knitting patterns are amazing but there is so.much.more in the latest issue!) I really want to just stop everything and cast on all the things! (but especially the Jasper Cardigan!)
Reading this week has found me with a bit of a “reading hangover” from Finding the Mother Tree. I am listening to The Rose Code but I am really struggling to get into the story so I am not sure it will be a book I finish. (BUT!! I just started reading Oh, William! and I really want to slow down and savor Strout’s incredible writing! I will try… but gosh she is hard to put down!)
Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you think this book is just about trees, you would be wrong. It is so much more than that. It is part memoir, part discovery, part aggravation at trying to be successful in a male dominated industry, part history, part recovery… or quite simply, the best book I have read all year. Perhaps the best book I have ever read!
Simard opens the door for you to step into your world and look around you and realize that those things around you are doing the exact things she talks about in her book. She ignites a spark or fans the embers of readers wanting to know more about the world around them through the simple and complex lives of trees.
I have not stopped thinking about all that Simard shares. I need a physical copy of this book to turn back to again and again… although listening to Suzanne read me her story was so powerful! I highly recommend!
The Heist by Daniel Silva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Silva finally gives us a taste of what The Office will be under Allon’s leadership. And yet, as Allon has been all along – a quiet, very unassuming man – he is bring a dynamic new twist to the leadership. One that is not surprising and really shows the depth of Allon’s good qualities (that make him such an incredible character!)
This book starts with one thing that is, of course, curiously connected to something much larger.
Each book gets better and better! I highly recommend this series!
That is all I have for this week… what about you? What is making you excited this week?
As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below!