I wish I could tell you that there has been *loads* of making this week…but that is not the case. It seems very wrong to indulge in the luxury of knitting, stitching, sewing, or baking when the world is collapsing around us.
I did a bit of stitching, but I need something that I don’t have… maybe a brighter color (yellow?) or a much darker color (black?) or maybe both? So I need to get to the stitching store to see what I might find.
I tried to work on the second sock, but even the simplest pattern was beyond me and after I ripped it back – twice – I put down the knitting.
My night time knitting (which you can see above) is at the long, longer, longest row point. So I am lucky to get a “tooth” repeat done before my eyes are closing. (Although, I am not sure I am going to get 5 more teeth done… boo hoo! I might have to toss the handspun yarn to see if I can find something that might work to finish this off…)
While there has been a lull in making, the reading was just what I needed to take my mind away this week! I had two spectacular finishes. And I picked up a lovely stack of poetry books from the library… I am not at all missing the making this week.
Still Life by Sarah Winman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There are moments in life, so monumental and still, that the memory can never be retrieved without a catch to the throat or an interruption to the beat of the heart. Can never be retrieved without the rumbling disquiet of how close that moment came to not having happened at all.
Wow. This book. This story. These characters.
Every page was divine… it was a book I never wanted to end. I started reading a hard copy of this book, but I did not finish it before it was due back to the library. So I put myself back on the long waitlist and this time, I expanded my options and also got on queue for the audiobook as well – and that is what came available for me to finish this incredible story. The narrator, by the way, is incredible. It was a joy to listen!
If you are wondering if a book can restore your faith in humanity… this is the book that can. PLUS! Any book that includes Fernet Branca and wool… well, just pour yourself a delicious sip, gather your knitting and let Winman take you far, far away. The writing. My gosh… so so so good.
I highly urge you to get this book and read it! Now! You won’t be sorry!
This book is not light reading, but that should not stop you from reading Stuart’s follow up to Shuggie Bain.
Young Mungo is simply brilliant, although it took me a little bit to realize that the story is being told in two different timelines… at the same time. What happened and what is happening…but stay with Mungo… he will show you what a true survivor is.
Thanks to Stuart, I have a clear picture of how incredibly challenging it must have been to grow up in Glasgow… at least how challenging it must have been for poor, struggling single mothers. (Please don’t think I believe that Mo-maw has one redeeming quality, because she absolutely does not!) But still, I cannot imagine the struggle… Her frequent absences might have been a gift… thankfully, Mungo has a barely older sister who tries to fill the shoes of parent. He also has an older brother who, though he is not a sterling character, he inadvertently teaches Mungo the skills he will need to survive.
And despite those struggles, Mungo finds the strength to survive as well as beauty, joy and yes, love.
I highly recommend this book!
I would like to thank Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for the ARC of this book!
What about you? What are you doing to take your mind off the catastrophe that the world is right now?
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At the atomic level, the glass is 99.99% empty space. Hope this helps. ― John Alejandro King
This month I have spent time thinking about the opposite of my word and while there are many antonyms for full, but I have focused on empty this month… and what is lacking, missing, needing a bit more of.
And I also considered what is overly full…overflowing as it were.
Of course the list of empty is significant… but perhaps that is always the case. After all, we gravitate to the things that we like, things we do best, things that are easy… so yes, there is lots that is empty.
But in making my list, I discovered that there are some things that are empty because not because I don’t like those things… but rather it is because I am not making time for them.
And once I got to the time quotient… oh boy. Yeah. I began to look at my empty and full minutes, and you know what… I waste lots and lots of time. Doomscrolling is the main culprit… Open app and before you know it an hour has just vanished…Hello Twitter, IG, and even web browsing (looking for recipes is a category unto itself…sigh) I am looking at you.
Now, I do not believe that cramming every single thing you can into your number of waking minutes equals a satisfied fullness… sadly, I think it is the exact opposite. You know… the full you feel after Thanksgiving Dinner Full… too much, uncomfortable, ready for a nap full that might be good once a year, but on a daily basis… hoo boy, not how I want my minutes to feel like. Instead of trying to cram more in… I have stepped back and really examined why I am wasting time… i.e. what am I really avoiding.
Yeah, that… avoidance is such an insidious thing!
And so this month I began to look at my day and how I spend it. Actually, I began thinking about this way back in January, but I have really spent time tweaking it more this month.
I am not a fan of lists, although I always had a lengthy list of “must do’s” and… confession time… so many things I put on the list always got moved to the next week because they were not completed. And those things just kept moving from list to list… but!! I had them on a list, and sadly, that is as far as it went.
So back in January I began trying a new way of “list making”… and it is having some good success, especially with the tweaks I have made this month! My new lists… “start” – “progress” – “finish”
When I began this in January I was of the mindset that each list needed to have the same amount of things… balanced, as it were… Oh boy, that was a big wake up! By the end of January… Progress and Finish were not having much success, and they kept growing…and approaching the the same result of what I was trying to get away from… lists that exist, but they are perpetual… same things, different week.
So I started by not putting anything on my Start List… it was gloriously empty. Which allowed me to work on Progress and Finish…with much greater success.
And suddenly, the lists are no longer the enemy… they are becoming partners in making my time count for something better than being wasted.
A month with less empty minutes is a very good thing! (and I hope that this leads to days that are more full!)
I want to thank Carolyn profoundly this month… she has kept her link up open even for very late stragglers (me!) But really, you should go and see what others have learned this month in their word journey!
The final Friday of February is upon us before I am ready to let it go. I have really loved immersing myself in Black History Month so I plan on staying there for a bit longer. There is just so much to read, to learn, and to lift up.
Have a vision. Be demanding. — Colin Powell
And now… welcome to some people with incredible vision. For me, there is nothing better than hearing poetry read… but watching these brilliant productions might just be best of all!
Happy Friday everyone! I will be back on Monday with my February update to my word! Have a great weekend!
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)
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…
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!
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!