The making this week feels slow… just lots of round and round and round knitting. But all that round and round knitting means that there have been inches added! Yet I happily remind myself that I am not a “finished project every week kind of knitter” and that is exactly how it should be, amirite?
I have roughly 3 inches to go on my sweater and perhaps a bit less on Sock Number One. I need to try it on Steve and see how much more is needed…but I have been avoiding doing that because I know I still have miles to go! lol
The Grey’s of Summer Knitting
I also began my July Gnome… I have a hat completed, washed and blocked. My July Gnome has a “leafy” theme… which I thought was perfect for the height of summer! He is currently nameless, but rest assured, he will have an appropriate name!
As you can see above, I have spent a good bit of time sitting outside painting. Gosh, I am really loving it! so much! I love sitting outside, under the pergola, and I had a lovely little treat this week. “Our” bunnies made a nest very near the table and she gave birth on Tuesday… and yes, I unexpectedly witnessed this bit of wonder! So I have painting buddies, lol! Mom and Dad are hovering nearby and I love watching them from my seat!
And we have a week with no reading finishes! I know. But that is okay, I am have about 8 hours to go in The Love Songs of W.E.B. DuBois… I am enjoying it, but gosh is it long and it has so many really difficult bits.
I am almost finished with a book I got from Netgalley. Blaze Me a Sun: A Novel by Christoffer Carlsson is a mystery and it is so so so good! Carlsson is a new to me author and this book, which was a best seller in Sweden, is being released soon here in the US. If you liked Henning Mankell’s writing, I think you’d like Blaze Me a Sun very much.
What about you? What is in process for you?
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One of the things that I am focusing on this month is to fill my days with simple things… which is not as easy as it sounds. Life is complicated… hard… painful… and these days, it seems that there is a daily new calamity to keep me anchored in that space.
Yet this month, I want my focus to be on ending the month by discovering what being full of the simple feels like… and gosh, it seems like complicated life just does not want to let go… amirite?
So this is my inspiration for the month:
Simple things bring infinite pleasure. Yet, it takes us a while to realize that. But once simple is in, complex is out – forever. — J
And so I am going to use the remaining Monday’s in July to keep myself focused on the simple… a reminder for the week that will hopefully set me on the simplest path.
I wanted to give you an idea of what simple things are filling my days this month so here is a short list of my simple focus right now!
- Hand washing dishes. Yep, you read that correctly. This is a bit of necessity since the automatic dishwasher is not functioning currently, thankfully… the manual one never fails. lol But rather than complaining about having to wash the dishes, I am using the time to do a little meditation… I am freeing my mind of all the outside noise, and just being in the quiet – and yes – very simple moment of washing dishes. Honestly, I am loving it… but don’t tell Steve that, I also like the simplicity of loading the dishwasher and then heading off to do something else!
- The constant simplicity that the weeds provide me. Really, if they did not grow, would I spend as much time in my garden? Can anything be simpler than pulling weeds? I don’t think so… and it gives me a bit of a work out (those thistles can be a challenge to pull out!)
- Sewing. Especially the bits I don’t like… cutting out the pattern. However, there is a simplicity to that task… it is one that has not changed much, if at all, since my nana taught me to sew. I can hear my Home Economics teacher, Mrs Larr, talk about this being the most important part of making…and she was so right. So I am going to focus on the importance of this task and savor it… or at least I am going to try!
So there you have it! My simple focus right now.
I hope your Monday is full of good things… and maybe even some simple ones as well! See you all back here on Wednesday!
Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.
― A Hat Full of Sky
Greetings, dear visitors and welcome to the Vacation Exhibit at the As Kat Knits Museum.
This, dear visitors, is the most unusual exhibit I have ever prepared for you all. I did not start with words, but rather with images… and then added my very brief memories around those images. In looking back at the photos from this trip, it makes me sad that I do not remember more but, I will share with you what I do remember so come along with me as I take you all back to 1996 and the Great Train Journey to the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks!
Our trek started from the Amtrak station in Holland, Michigan… heading for Union Station in Chicago. A bit of a “lay over” and we then boarded a train for Denver, CO. We had sleeping accommodations, which were… tight… with 2 adults and 3 kids. The start was flat and soon dark as we began our overnight journey to Denver. I don’t remember much of that overnight trip, but I do remember our approach to Denver and the mountains, plus all the new wildlife we could see from the windows!
The train from Denver to Grand Teton National Park was equally incredible for the scenery. Lots of buffalo and antelope! Our destination… the Grand Tetons and all the surrounding area! And a mere 24 + hours later we had arrived in the Tetons…yes, that was a long time to be traveling… with 3 kids… what were we thinking? All these years later and I still don’t have an answer to that question! Although Mac and Cheese in the dining car with Heidi and Rachel watching the antelopes play interspersed with an occasional prairie dog sighting was certainly fun. And the herds of buffalo… so many herds of buffalo!
The Snake River in the background!
I think we were heading to find some water but Sam’s face tells it all… NO MORE PHOTOS, DAD! LOL
We did lots of hiking. Lots. Perhaps too much with a seven year old, a six year old, and a four year old. But you know what they say about hindsight… Anyways, we hiked lots!
Benetton and a Stage Coach… how’s that for an oxymoron!
Sam apparently LOVED the stage coach ride… although, I don’t remember it at all even looking at the photos! But there are notes in the photo album! So there’s that… sigh! Jackson Hole really felt like a strange time warp of a place. Old and New meshing in the most curious of ways. We spent a day exploring and of course we visited an Olde Tyme Photo Shoppe! I remember the kids loved it…so much! I don’t think the Red Dog Saloon was the same after our departure!
The Christensen Outlaw Family!
I do, however, remember the Jackson Hole Antler Arch… the south entrance to Yellowstone. It was so memorable!
One tiny bit of Jackson Hole’s Antler Arch… and me rocking the Teva’s
I think my favorite part of the trip was our trek into Yellowstone. I had never been before and even thinking back now… I still cannot comprehend how massive Yellowstone is! With two + million acres, it is immense and majestic. I was awed by the magnificence of the area. We spent a couple of days dipping our toes into the park… and it was not enough. I would like to return… someday soon I hope!
Old Faithful being… well, faithful!
We did the typical touristy things.. Old Faithful, of course. Only a mother could appreciate its reliable schedule… my good days ran likewise but most days were on a schedule of time that I was not the master of, lol! (please see the three small but mighty beings in front of me… they ran the schedule every.single.day!)
Yellowstone Falls… and me rocking the Mom Jeans!
Likewise, I do not remember this hike either. But I do remember this gorge. It was so loud!
Ride ’em cowboy!
Sadly, I do not remember the name of the place we stayed in the Teton’s… but you can see it behind us here. It was sort of Swiss Chalet-y and the rooms were homey, as I vaguely recall. But!! They had horses and the kids loved them.
Okay, maybe Heidi loved them most, but Sam’s tongue out determination here was quite accurate! (and no… at this time I was not a knitter, but I did have a nice sweater! LOL)
Rachel, the bird whisperer…
The place we stayed also had people who came and did a falconry show of sorts. There were hawks, a golden eagle, and an owl, as I recall. But I absolutely will never forget the hawk that landed on Rachel’s head. She loved it. I loved it! it was just so magical! I wish I remembered more of the things we did… but honestly, these vacation days have blurred a bit for me. Even photos are not jogging my memory. I do remember trying to keep everyone happy, relatively quiet, having enough snacks and water, and making sure we did not lose anyone. Perhaps not the best memories.
But all things must end… and too soon. Goodbye elk and moose and buffalo! See you later mountains, and geysers, and sulfur springs!
Let the waiting begin…Sam, me, Heidi, and Rachel.
In this moment, I was truly wishing we had picked the fly home option… but no, here we are at 6AM at the Pocatello, ID Amtrak station… waiting for our train which at this point in time was 3 hours late. Yes, we got there at something like 2:30AM… how is it that I remember this so clearly! LOL Heidi was really expressing what all of us felt… why the heck are we not on the train. OR!! Why the heck are we not still in bed!! Not an auspicious ending to our trip…which made the 24 + hours even longer!
A fun trip, from what I can remember… oof! Sam has similar memories as I do… a few brief but spectacular ones. Heidi and Rachel remember a bit more… Heidi told me that this trip is what inspired her love of horses. (She was always, always, always asking if we could get a horse!) No one remembered food or restaurants or eating out. However, the girls reminded me of me packing Teddy Grahams for them every day… they said they were so delicious, lol!
Thank you all so much for reliving this vacation with me! I do so hope you enjoyed the exhibit! A huge thanks to Kym for inspiring me to dig out these old photos!
Have a great weekend all, see you back here on Monday!
(I am not mentioning any of the shootings that happened over the holiday weekend but that does not mean they are not on my mind. They are. I just don’t have any words to express my thoughts how is it possible that we are on the 187th day of 2022 and there have been 300+ shootings nationwide. I do know that I think about public spaces differently these days… and that makes me so very sad.)
Meanwhile, of course there is knitting…I am making slow progress on the socks for Big Foot. And honestly, I do not know who I am knitting by the seat of my pants with these socks! No pattern… making it up as I go! What?? I am not quite to the halfway point of the foot but I am through the toe increases. I am going to do another short-row gusset after thought heel… that will have planned placement! I am making good notes, which if I got by Sam’s socks… the second went much faster than the first! So I knit on!
And I pulled out that sweater and managed a few dozen more mindless rounds. It is good TV knitting.
The reading this week was a rather mixed bag…one book was rather meh and the other a huge hit for me at least. Your mileage for either book may vary!
Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
It took me several days post finish to rate this book. First, this book is a commitment, it is long and that does not mean it was good. It is wordy in a way that was unnecessary, imo.
Next, the cast of characters are utterly unlikable… Russ, Marion, Clem, Becky, and Perry are seriously the family you hope you never meet. They are off the charts dysfunctional…really, not quite believable dysfunctional. There is an abundance of religiosity that, to me, seemed stereotypical of non-denominational churches of the time that this was written. Much of this book missed the mark for me and several times I considered not finishing…but I held out hope for an ending that gave me some hope.
My rating… 1.5 stars rounded up to 2 stars. I do not recommend.
Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
If you are looking to add a bit of whimsy to your summer reading, look no further than this whimsical tale! It is heartwarming. It will lift your spirits. It will pique your interest in the Giant Pacific Octopus! And this book does an excellent job of reminding me that I do so love an octopus who can tell his story… who is smarter than humans… and who loves a happy ending.
I loved Tova and Marcellus so much! I confess that I cried…lots. And I gasped a few times!
I highly recommend this fabulously whimsical tale!
That is all I have for today. What about you? What are you making this week?
As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!
Is still the weekend! And what could be better than that?!
If the blooms on my tomato plants are an indicator of fruit volume… it looks to be a banner year! I am practicing patience waiting for said fruit to develop. But the plants are lush, green and growing like crazy… so I have hope!
It is been a curious start to summer. The lawn looks like late August…very, very dead. Steve has not had to mow in 2 weeks. And the heat is absolutely ON outside. I hope you all have AC… if not, Life Kit shared some great tips for staying cool! I am doing my weeding early in the morning hours… and why is it that the weeds regardless of the amount of water they get?!
My summer reading is going exceedingly well. I am currently listening to Shelby Van Pelt’s Remarkably Bright Creatures… and it is lovely! So lovely! If you need a reading suggestion… NPR’s Books We Love list came out last week and it is chock full of good things! I added quite a few to my TBR list!
Enjoy your weekend Monday! See you all back here on Wednesday!