Allergies to dust and grain, maladies, remedies and still these allergies remain. — Paul Simon
Spring is … wonderful … well, except for that little allergy thing that happens every year. I have some generally mild allergies to tree pollen and usually I can count on 5-7 days of itchy eyes, a scratchy throat, and – of course – a runny nose. This morning brings Day Fifteen of the most horrible spring allergies I can remember in … well … a long-ass time! So I did a quick Google search yesterday to see if my Off-The-Charts allergies were a one-off, or not… (really, I should have included a box of Kleenex™ in the above photo because we spent so much time together! lol)
Turns out, it’s a Big OR NOT… sigh.
So this weekend was all about not thinking about my allergy symptoms (and not rubbing my eyes, gah!)
My Mind Over Matter things… knitting, that water color class, and some Word contemplation (this month Ali Edwards is having us look back and look forward a bit, which is such an interesting way to consider my word at the “mid-year” point!)
First up… Knitting. In my Year of Never Not Gnoming, I began my June Gnome (a repeat of Gnombleberry that I had previously knit for Steve’s mom.) I have Gnombleberry’s body done… as well as the start of his “backpack”… which I am going to change up a bit and make it a cross-body messenger-style bag I think. Stay tuned.
Next… that watercolor class. I have watched the “make thumbnail sketches” video twice. The first time, I just watched what Rick Surowicz did. Wow, is he fast! LOL Anyways, the second time watching I picked up my pencil and managed to get two thumbnail sketches done in the time he did four. The first is perhaps too detailed for the watercolor process and the second might be a bit closer to how Rick did his four. The best thing about a video class… I can play the video’s over and over and over if I need to. I am working on letting go of my desire for perfection… but gosh, the struggle is real. Haha. Today I am going to watch the value study video … likely several times.
And that word work… I have made some notes from each month that fell into the “out of sight, out of mind” hole. A mid-year reflection is exactly what I needed to gather up some pieces I do not want to lose!
Finally, another list… and boy, I really wish that this would be the last ever list like this that anyone has to make:
- Philadelphia, PA
- Omaha, NE
- Chattanooga, TN
- Summerton, SC
- Phoenix, AZ
- Mesa, AZ
- Socorro, TX
- Chesterfield, VA
- Macon, GA
- Saginaw, MI
That’s right… 10 cities, 10 mass shootings, 15 dead, 60 injured…during the weekend.
Enough. Really. My gosh.
Oof..these numbers are so troubling. I hope we have reached the tipping point and that change will happen.
In these troubled times I am so thankful for poetry. I read poetry every single day but recently I have spent even more of my day immersed in poetry and one poem keeps calling to me over and over and over. It is a poem by Ada Limón from American Journal Fifty Poems for Our Time.
by Ada Limón
Six horses died in a tractor-trailer fire.
There. That’s the hard part. I wanted
to tell you straight away so we could
grieve together. So many sad things,
that’s just one on a long recent list
that loops and elongates in the chest,
in the diaphragm, in the alveoli. What
is it they say, heartsick or downhearted?
I picture a heart lying down on the floor
of the torso, pulling up the blankets
over its head, thinking this pain will
go on forever (even though it won’t).
The heart is watching Lifetime movies
and wishing, and missing all the good
parts of her that she has forgotten.
The heart is so tired of beating
herself up, she wants to stop it still,
but also she wants the blood to return,
wants to bring in the thrill and wind of the ride,
the fast pull of life driving underneath her.
What the heart wants? The heart wants
her horses back.
“Downhearted,” from Bright Dead Things by Ada Limón (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2015). © 2015 by Ada Limón.
My heart and I wish for you a good weekend…perhaps with a Lifetime movie or two. See you all back here on Monday.
The making over the past two weeks has been varied! Some Gnome Knitting means that I have finished my May Mystery Gnome and I love him! I also added some inches to the Sock for Sam.
First Finish is Gnocchi! And I have some Gnome deets to share with you all: 1. The Third Beard was the charm! I used low twist handspun singles and they did exactly what I hoped they would do after a little soak. 2. The Gnocchi pattern is written sans arms. However, I thought he needed them so I cast on for a six stitch I-cord, knit for 1.25″ and then added “hands”… I increased 3 stitches, knit four rounds and decreased over 2 rows to 3 stitches. To give the arms some “body” I added a bit of paper clip wire inside the I-cord tube. Voila!
I now have 5 Mantle Gnomes, and soon to begin my June Gnome. Year of Gnomes is going incredibly! Haha!
Second finish was my Out of Sight, Out of Mind Hitchhiker. Yes, I finished my Base 12 Handspun Hitchhiker and I love it! No really… I absolutely love it! It will be the perfect companion once summer is over…a bit of sparkle, the perfect blend of colors, and the perfect size at 45 “teeth” and the add in handspun to get to 45 teeth worked perfectly.
One other thing I did over the past couple of weeks was a bit of a “look back” on some knitting photos from previous May projects. May seems to be the month that I knit Close To You shawls… I have knit 4 of them that were either slated for a fundraiser or as a gift for someone.And, however improbable this seems, I do not have one for my own wardrobe. I know!! I began remedying that last week. I had a special skein of Miss Bab’s Shaken, Not Stirred in my stash and so I cast on! Selfish knitting for the win, right? (see it way up top with Sam’s Sock!)
The reading has been so good over the past couple of weeks… despite a couple of books not quite living up to the hype.
Weather by Jenny Offill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
For a very short book, there is a lot of meat… err, meaty topics? Perhaps stormy is the better analogy, lol.
Anyways, part of the time I was wondering if all accidental librarians are also pseudo-shrinks. I mean it fits… ask your librarian to recommend a book for you and you will be incredibly surprised at how well they know you!
But back to this story… yes, it is stream of consciousness and sometimes hard to stay with Offill, but do, because it’s worth it. This book made me think about so many things… some I have thought of before, some I have never thought of… but all in a very good way. All in all, I really enjoyed this journey.
The Order by Daniel Silva
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Order really missed the mark for me… yes, I know. I thought the same thing…how is that possible.
Well it’s entirely possible when a writer brings in an entirely implausible story line… like Silva does in this book. Yes he brought back characters I enjoy, but not one part of this story is believable… sadly. And part of that… that what Silva is writing about could happen…. is what makes these stories so good… at least for me. Or maybe this series has met it’s ending because I have just started #21 and it is not grabbing me like previous books have…
If you are an Allon fan, I’d say skip this one.
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book was a recommendation from a friend… and what a perfect recommendation it was! It fit in so well with my One Little Word (Full) and I really enjoyed the bits of insight that I gleaned from it!
I listened to Burkeman read it to me… and I found that helpful… it felt very conversational, and I wrote down so many little things.
My main take away is that this book has something for everyone and it is not a huge time commitment to get to the nuggets! (and curiously, I thought this book fit very well with Offill’s Weather… this book made me think of so many things Offill talked about there!)
If nothing else, this book gives you permission to step away from that which you don’t like and lean into the things you do love… because if we get four thousand weeks… we are so fortunate. Time is a treasure, fill it with all that you love!
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“It demands great spiritual resilience not to hate the hater whose foot is on your neck, and an even greater miracle of perception and charity not to teach your child to hate.”
This book begins with a letter from an uncle to his nephew… and continues with a letter from Baldwin to the reader. Tough love comes to mind, but perhaps total honesty is more accurate. That which is hard to hear… yet Baldwin holds your attention and states it clearly… as only he can do.
These words will be ringing in my head for a long time: “We cannot be free until they are free.”
Amen, Mr. Baldwin. Amen!
The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a book that did not live up to the hype… at least not for me. IMO, the book could have been infinitely improved if the Fig Tree had told all of the story…I completely agree with a friend who felt the same way.
I did not connect with the other characters and really struggled to stay focused on the story when the Fig Tree was not narrating.
Shafak talks a bit about the partition of Cyprus… but she barely scratches the surface. I think a bit more could have been included about that that might have piqued my interest more.
I cannot give a rousing recommendation on this one… but others have enjoyed it tremendously so YMMV.
That is all I have for today! What about you? What are you making today?
As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!
This month was a month full of “ah-ha” moments. So many.
In fact, this month was so full, I even found a theme song… listen if you like and see what I discovered this month! The song starts at 1:40… (but if you listen to the bit of the talk before the song I found something magical there…do what you love, every day!)
Slow down, you’re doing fine. You can’t be everything you want to be before your time. — Billy Joel, Vienna
This month I contemplated what I am filling my time with. Do I over think? (Yes…) Do I under think? (Again, yes…) Do I think at all? (Oof… sometimes I don’t)
And then that quote… slow down, you’re doing fine.
I finally read Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks, and while there were some very repetitive bits, there were some very good nuggets waiting for me there and, if I am blessed to live to 80, that leaves me with just 968 weeks to fill.
And with those numbers in mind I am going to feel less guilt about “not doing all the things” … I know, but in choosing to not do all the things, I will have time to do the important things… without guilt.
The other thing I struggle with is FOMO… no, not fear of missing out… my FOMO is my fear of messing up. That perfection issue I have… and one of those little nuggets Burkeman shared was some wisdom from Rilke:
…the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. ―
Live the questions now. Gosh, what incredible advice…because I might not have the answer until tomorrow, or next week, or next month. Or, perhaps… never... and that is okay!
This kind of thinking has absolutely changed how I am thinking about my days… the lists I make (or don’t make and really… not making lists, my gosh it is freeing!)
And so what did I do with all the extra time I found this month… what did I do with the four weeks that May gave me? I slowed down… drastically.
I signed up for an art class… water colors… and I am loving the time I spend there every day. Why is it so good? Well because I am messing up… lots! What better way to overcome that fear than just messing up, right?
And there you have my very full May… full of so many ah-ha moments. And that is exactly what I want… to be full of the things that matter.
A huge thanks to Carolyn for providing a space for us all to share the discoveries we made this month!
See you all back here on Wednesday!
Bring poppies for a weary mind That saddens in a senseless din. — William Winter
One of the most fleeting of things… my poppies… and yet, perhaps I love them so much because they are so fleeting.
One thing I hope is not fleeting… our outrage at the gun violence of the last two weeks. May our fervor burn red like my poppies and light a fire under those who think doing nothing is our best choice.
I will be back on Monday with my May word update.