Museum of Me | September 2022

Museum of Me | September 2022

This month the curators were encouraged to update the thoughts about school exhibit… not necessarily a back to school exhibit, for which my curator heaved a sigh of relief. No need to stress over my lack of “back to school wardrobe, notebooks, binders, pencils, etc.” Whew! It is not my desire to have you all feel sorry for me…at age 61 I promise you that my lack of those things then have had no lasting impact on my well-being now.

Likewise, this will not be a picture heavy post but rather a bit of a commentary on my thoughts about school… of which I have a few… thoughts that is!

I had a “love hate” relationship with school. I have already shared that I was the child who was picked last for everything. I had some amazing teachers – who are still impacting my life today! As well as some less than amazing ones, who thankfully, I barely remember them today.

However, today I am going to talk about two teachers that altered my life dramatically…

When I went to high school (back in pre-historic times, lol) every sophomore had to take “Speech Class” – it was required for graduation. And, somehow, the education gods smiled on me because my teacher was magnificent! Mr. Berghorst opened my eyes to a world beyond Holland, Michigan. He challenged me to over come my fears of public speaking – for which I am profoundly grateful. He also inspired us to read… everything. His class room had a border of dozens of The New Yorker covers encircling it. He had a copy of The NY Times in his classroom for students to read. He knew that reading could take us anywhere and everywhere – and he encouraged us to read to learn, not just to read for “fun”!

The other “set” of teachers that changed my life were the cluster of history teachers I had in high school. They unlocked for me my deep and abiding thirst to learn about the past…every bit of the past, but the one who most significantly altered my life was my “Michigan History” teacher, Mr. Schaap. Michigan History was a required class for graduation as well, and I took it my junior year. Through Mr. Schaap, I learned a bit of the ugly history of Holland Michigan. (What today, I am certain would be erroneously classified as CRT and removed from the curriculum!) But Mr. Schaap also helped me start the Young Democrats. There was a group of us (laughably, The Young Democrats were a larger group than The Young Republicans) and we worked with the Ottawa County Democrats and even helped get the first Democrat elected to a county seat! Through Mr. Schaap, I made some delightful connections within my community that I did not know existed. (Apparently, there were lots of ‘hidden Democrats’ in Holland! HA) I also learned that the best history is the history that is painful to learn… because that process is the one that begins change.

I think often of these two men and the impact they had on my life. I also think that sometimes taking a class you think you will absolutely not like, or don’t see the value of what you might learn in that class… is exactly what you need to do. Go in, open your mind, listen, challenge yourself to do what you think you cannot, learn something painful, and grow! Those things are the keys to success in life…

Thank you for stopping and listening to me share a bit about my thoughts on school. I would like to thank Kym for leading us (and for the new artwork!)

Have a great weekend and I will see you all back here on Monday!

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.7.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.7.22

Greetings, dear Unravelers!

Welcome to the first Unraveled Wednesday of September!

It has been a slim making week… too much Holiday Weekending which left me with lots of catch up things to do on Tuesday! But!! There is a new Mystery Gnome… and I have Clue One done! Woot! Clue Two comes out tomorrow and I am planning that for my evening knitting!

Sadly, no sewing… which I hope to remedy today. Really! Ha!

I did however manage a few minutes each day for spinning… thanks to my trusty pop-up reminder! It is a thing I look forward to each afternoon. I have spun about a third of this “braid” and enjoying it tremendously! It is really such a lovely mix of fibers…BFL, Shetland, and Manx Loaghtan – a signature blend from Hipstrings. It is lovely to spin – not to slippery, not to sticky… just right!

The reading this week though… oh my. Excellent books, each and every one. And all so incredibly different from one another and all new-to-me authors!

Did you hear mammy died?Did you hear mammy died? by Seamus O’Reilly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am not quite certain how this brilliant memoir came across my radar, but I am so very glad it did!

A peek inside a family living in Northern Ireland… a family of larger proportions…so buckle in and enjoy the ride.

Seven would have been considered crisply eccentric, and nine plainly mad. To be one of eleven was singularly demented.

O’Reilly tells a poignant tale… life after his mother died… poignantly, beautifully, and with a healthy dose of gallows-ish humor. The writing is pure and so spot on… at times it made me chuckle and at times it took my breath away. I finished it and wanted so much more…

I think you will too… I highly recommend!

The Shell SeekersThe Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my first Pilcher book and I am left wondering why on earth that is!

This was a beautifully written story of the very well lived life of Penelope Keeling and her entirely imperfect children… and some “children” who were not really her children, but she loved them profoundly.

At times I worried this story would fall into the “romantic novel” category and while it veered close, it never quite crossed the line into that territory. The characters are richly developed… the story is beautiful and it quite made me want to say YES, I will go with Penelope to Cornwall with you! I confess… I shed a few tears through the journey and this is a book I won’t soon forget!

Dead-End Memories: StoriesDead-End Memories: Stories by Banana Yoshimoto
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I knew nothing about this author or this book, but the cover called to me and so I requested the audio version of this book from Netgalley. And then, I was simply blown away…

This is a collection of 5 short stories with a common theme… they are all lonely women. The stories at times discomforting… and more than a bit strange… but despite that, I could not stop listening. I needed to know where the stories would go… and they left me with a bit of hope and the promise of something better. They are stories that require some work for you to get through… you must listen carefully and sadly, I found the audiobook narration, by Kathleen Li, a bit stilted at times – making it difficult to pay attention. I had to go back and listen to bits several times. Thus, I think this book would be better read with your eyes… and that was the reason this book did not get 5-stars from me.

I would like to thank Netgalley and HighBridge Audio for the copy of the audiobook.


And there you have my update on what I am making and what I have read… what about you? What are you beginning September with?

As always, if you wrote a post to share please leave your link below and thank you!


September RIFFing | 9.2.22

September RIFFing | 9.2.22

At long last we have arrived at the cusp of my favorite season… autumn. I live all year for autumn… and though I have learned to live happily in the moment of *now*… my heart is always longing for autumn! This week we have had some lovely “teasers” with cooler days and nights and I am so ready! I am sorry Summer, but I am really over baking hot days, endless sun, and all.the.humidity! And I’d be ever so grateful for some days of soaking rains… all day soaking rains! Yes, September brings lots of hopes for so many things!

So let’s get RIFFing, shall we?

a REAL goddess —

The Goddess in action!

I don’t know about you all, but this week I have had a laser focus on the US Open! Why you ask?

One word… Serena! (and personally, I think all players should be in self-designed twirly, sparkling tennis attire!)

As of this writing she has played just two games, but both were both so incredible! She is sparkling from head to toe… and taking no prisoners! And I am here for every single bit of it! (She played again Thursday evening… doubles with Venus! Sadly, they lost… but what a match it was!)

Inspired —

This is Week Six (and the last week) of my Beginning Landscape class. This week the Watercolor Gods smiled on me as I feel I did better that I had in any previous week. I know I still have miles and miles to go on learning, but small bits are beginning to click. I have roughly 3 weeks before my next class begins and my plan is to go back and redo each and every lesson… begin again, as it were… with my newly acquired skills! That means 2 lessons a week and I am so excited to “do them all again!” Is there anything in life better than inspiring yourself? I think not! (If you doubt that… see the Goddess above!) And no photo’s here… I shared both paintings on IG!

Finding (my inner sewist) —

Autumn is looming and I really need to sit down at the sewing machine and actually do some sewing! I have things cut out… patiently waiting… to be assembled into garments. In the same thread… I have a garment in mind that I want to make. I have looked for patterns, but have found none that check all my boxes… so I am going to make my own pattern for a simple a-line denim jumper/tunic. And…. I have another Grinch-y Advent Calendar to make for Olivia. (I need to get black flannel and an assortment of colorful buttons…) Anyways, this is notice to me that the coming “Unraveled Wednesday” posts should be all about the sewing… NOT the knitting!

Finding (visibility) —

I saw this tweet yesterday and was intrigued by the photo… Ruth Marcus and Strega Nona? What?

I am gifting you all the article so you can read as well. It very much struck a chord with me having made the decision some years ago to stop coloring my hair… the invisibility factor for women of a certain age (and older) is very real. Ruth goes on to address how a woman looks… you are damned if you are gorgeous (See the Sanna Marin nonsense) and you are damned if you are not. Women have to think about tone of voice, inflection, what they are wearing, hair – as in appropriately colored hair. This is not a new thing… I am sure you have all heard the adage about Ginger Rogers “doing everything that [Fred Astaire] did…backwards and in high heels.” 

Some days it really feels like that for every step forward, we are knocked dozens back… but maybe, just maybe… Ruth has cleared the pathway for us all a little. Maybe we can all pick up some of Strega Nona’s bad-ass-ness, which in my mind… is a very good thing! (And in case you are wondering, yes… I absolutely have read the Strega Nona books to my kids… they are so awesome!)

And I think, Ruth is the perfect Goddess Bookend for this blog post… two amazing women how showing us all how to be the most amazing badass women!

And with that, I am out of here! I will be back on Wednesday with some fun unraveling to share! Have a great LONG weekend everyone!

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.31.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 8.31.22

The making this week… so very good! I have a finished sweater! Woo hoo! And I love it. The fit, the details, the yarn, the marl-y-ness! It is just the Perfect Sweater! This is the pattern. This is the yarn (my colors are Escoria and Nightshade) I apologize for Porch Pictures… but it rained all day yesterday so there was no chance of getting any photos of me wearing the sweater… but I promise you that I have barely taken it off since finishing it!

I told myself that when I finished Calamus, I would pick up – in earnest – my Pheasant Pullover and I have. I have made some serious headway on the body and have about an inch to go… then I will try it on and see how the length is. If it is okay, a couple of inches of ribbing and then I will set off for Sleeve Island! Or maybe I will put the body on pause and knit the sleeves and then use the remainder of the yarn to knit a tunic-y sweater. Really, I am seriously considering it! But either way with just a bit of focused knitting and this will be a finished sweater with plenty of time for lots of fall wearing!

I also did a bit of sweater swatching….for a warm fall days sweater and a warmer sweater for cooler days…yes two sweaters from the same pattern! I started the warm fall days version… and yes, it is the remainder of my cone of Tides in the Escoria color way, but no marling this time! The warmer sweater will be knit from HolstGarn Supersoft which will create the loveliest warm layer! I love the puzzle-y start to this sweater… and soon I will be picking up and knitting the front shoulders! I think the lace panel makes it so pretty and breaks up the miles of stockinette knitting a bit!

The reading this week… so stinking good! Any week with More Lucy Barton is a good week! If you have sworn off Pandemic Books or if you have said I won’t read any Pandemic Books… you might want to reconsider and settle in with Lucy by the Sea!

Lucy by the Sea (Amgash, #4)Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had sworn off any more Pandemic Novels… but perhaps this is the ONLY Pandemic Novel one should read. Honestly, skip all the others and settle in with Lucy as together, you begin to make sense of what we have/are living through.

We are all in lockdown, all the time. We just don’t know it, that’s all. But we do the best we can. Most of us are just trying to get through.

This story begins at the very beginning of the pandemic when William whisks Lucy away from NYC to settle into a home on the coast of Maine. I found myself at times in agreement with William and at other times in sync with Lucy. But really, what this story all boils down to is how people deal with isolation, loneliness, the uncertainty of an illness that has killed far too many people… and in those trying circumstances… how can we maintain our humanity? It is also about relationships… especially how the bonds of friendship are exactly what we need to get through challenging days/weeks/months/years.

To say I loved this book is an understatement… I highly recommend!

I would like to thank Netgalley and the Random House Publishing Group for the ARC of this e-book.


There you have my making and reading for the week. What is filling your days?

As always, if you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below and thank you!


Full: Beginning Again | August 2022

Full: Beginning Again | August 2022

I mentioned earlier this month that I was feeling “done” with my word. And then I really settled in and spent time with Ali Edward’s team as they invited me to look at my word as if I was beginning again but from the perspective of how beginning in August looks so differently than it does in January.

Welcome to the deep breath of August… words that spoke to my heart. These words became my mantra this month especially as I began again contemplating what a full life might be.

I took a cue from a friend and made myself a daily reminder on my iPhone to sit down and spin. It is working so beautifully because I am almost done spinning for a sweater I want to knit! A simple reminder to make time to do something that I enjoy so very much.

I prioritized time for me… which is not ever on my list of things to do but this month I made space for me. I read poetry – specifically Derek Walcott. I have made a note in my calendar to spend every August with his poetry. It was so perfect this month…and especially Love After Love – it just fit so perfectly with making time for me!

I also did some knitting and lots of painting! The realization that not making space for myself results in a poorer quality of mental health which might actually be a gift to those around me!

I noted the changing light in the days, the difference in the birdsong, the groaning of my garden as the long string of dry weather took its toll. And rather than bemoan these things… I reveled in them.

In other words, I filled my days with August… and I loved every single second of it!

I want to thank Carolyn for so graciously providing a space for us all to share our journeys! See you all back here on Wednesday (hint!! There will be a Finished Object!!)

 

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