Intentionally Hard | 9.29.20

Intentionally Hard | 9.29.20

I am joining Honoré again this month to share an update on my word.

Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen Hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is. — Mary Anne Radmacher

September was such a hard month. And that sentence is such a damned understatement, but I honestly have no words for how hard it was for me – even with a weekend away!

I thought that I was a pretty good manager of stress… oh boy. September showed me how I am managing nothing, and it is managing me, and it has been all along, if I am being completely honest with myself. Maybe I was just better at ignoring it.

One would think that 8 months into this insanity, I would be used to the mind-numbing sameness of the days. However, the reality is that 8 months in to this pandemic the “fake it till you make it” well has finally run dry. Instead September woke me to the malady known as cabin fever. Foolishly, I would have sworn I had experienced it before being snowed in a time or two, but no… being snowed in for a day or two, or maybe even a week ain’t got nothin’ on Pandemic Cabin Fever.

The things I can choose these days are not the things I want to choose, that is for damned sure! And so in September I chose to be absent from lots of things. Which, in light of my very bad attitude, is probably the smartest decision I made all month.

I would love to share with you that while I wallowed in the Sea of Self-Pity that I had some epiphanal moment resulting in a dramatic change of attitude. Nope, but what I did learn was that it was okay to not feel good. To not feel happy.

And that is okay.

You can see all of my Intentional Journey here.

 

Weekending | 9.28.20

Weekending | 9.28.20

Hi!

I know, I said I was not going to be back until tomorrow, but what can I say. Ha!

Do you ever feel in a rut? Well, I can tell you we sure do! Steve and I have been talking about how we are always doing/eating/listening to the same.things.every.week.

So this week, we changed things up a bit!

Happy hour was Thursday night, sans music, just quiet, some *different* food, and conversation.

Friday we did not have a happy hour, but rather we got take out (Pierogi Pie and beer FTW!) and we caught up on the Big Brother episodes we missed during the week. In hindsight, we probably would have been okay to eat there… it was a gorgeous day and we could have  easily sat outside. It was surprisingly not busy, but of course, if we went with the idea of eating there it would have been packed, right? lol

Saturday, we tried to have an “impromptu” micro-happy hour out on the porch, as you can see above. However, we had to bail and head indoors because the mosquitos almost ate us alive! Which is very curious to me, especially since we have had virtually NO RAIN, as you can see from a tweet our local news station shared yesterday…

Sunday morning Steve ran to Dunkin’ and brought home a pumpkin donut or two… oh man, are they so good!

The rest of the day was filled with Steve watching Steeler football while I finished the second sock for Winston! And they will be off in the mail today! Hopefully they will fit for at least a minute, lol.

And before we knew it, poof! the weekend was over and now we are looking Monday in the face. I have a substantial list of things to accomplish today, but I have a bright spot for this Monday morning… Pádraig Ó Tuama is back with a new season of Poetry Unbound!

I hope your Monday full of all kinds of good things!

 

Friday Finds | 9.25.20

Friday Finds | 9.25.20

I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice. — Theodore Parker, Sermon on Justice and the Conscience

In a week where any understanding of the “moral universe” is incomprehensible and I am absolutely not seeing it bend at all towards justice for BIPOC in any way at all, (although if your bullets randomly enter the homes of white people, police get indicted) it is hard not to feel beaten down and defeated. I cannot even begin to imagine how the Black community must feel, and yet they continue to make their voices heard. They are inspiring and so I will add my voice to theirs, hoping that with more voices joining that change will eventually happen.

This week though I did find some amazing things!

First up are some excellent finds from my new favorite newsletter: Biracial Bookworms Bethany M. Edwards shares the best books each week in her newsletter and this week was no exception!

Worthy books for any budding readers library!

Finally, I found these videos at Black Lives Matter: Six Poems

(And there are so.many.gems at Button Poetry…you should subscribe!)

That is all I have for this week, but I will be back on Tuesday joining with Honoré to share my word update! Have a good weekend all!

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.23.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.23.20

It has been hard to “get back into reality” even with just a few days away. But going anywhere in these Pandemic Times is a challenge, right? Our trip to Erie was no exception, we both worried about staying *any* place…even with the “enhanced cleaning” Airbnb suggests… So we brought pillows from home, and I “cleaned” the clean house when we arrived. I also got out all the dishes we might use over the weekend and washed them all before we used anything. Silly? Probably, but it allayed the fears a little. I also worried for the cleaning people who would come to clean after we left, so we cleaned the house again before we left on Sunday. The one bonus about going to an Airbnb is that there are no “tchotchke’s” on every flat surface, so it was not such a onerous task! Ha!

Knitting though, took an absolute back seat! I knit a bit in the car going to Erie and coming home but outside of that I did not pick up my knitting once so I don’t have much progress to show for the week! I was going to start a pair of socks for Winston, but I have yet to cast them on and there has been zero sleeve knitting either. My hope is today that I will find some knitting time. Wish me luck!

However, I do have a completed Avery 2.0 Vest… and gosh, it is just so stinking cute! I can hardly wait to see Win in it!

The reading this week included two powerful but unbelievably different books! Each excellent in their own way. The first will not be for everyone, and that is fine. But Hamnet. Yeah… get this book and read it. This book is exactly what your autumn reading list needs!

Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the USDear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the US by Lenny Duncan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read several faith-style books this year about how to be a better person/ally, but this is the first book I have read that addresses the “elephant in the room” in a frank, and at times, brutally honest way. Duncan’s perspective might be uncomfortable, but it is so necessary.

The church is political. Feeding the homeless is radical. Marriage is radical when it’s offered to everyone and blessed by clergy. God’s justice is radical. Centering the oppressed is radical. Our task is not so much to reject politicism as it is to reject evil. The message of Jesus is radical and political.

This book will not be for everyone, but if you are looking for someone to tell you hard truths, this is the book for you!

HamnetHamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read rave reviews of this book, and every one of them is absolutely right… this is a phenomenal book! The writing is just so damned excellent! The story is so incredibly engaging! This was a book that was easy to lose myself in and each chapter was better than the one before! The ending though, oh my gosh, wow! This is a book you cannot read without a tissue box near by…trust me on this!

Is this the best book I have read all year? While I absolutely loved this book, it did not unseat Apeirogon for me, but it is a very close second!

I urge you to get this book today and start reading!


On a more urgent note, I got an email from Allegheny County letting me know my ballot is on its way! But, are you registered to vote? Are all your friends and family registered to vote? Have you made your plan to vote? I have! I will be filling out my ballot and hand delivering it to a drop off location! We need to vote like our lives depend on it because, sadly, I think they do! And the clock is ticking, we are just 41 days away!!

That is all I have for this week, as always if you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below.


Sometimes Monday | 9.21.20

Sometimes Monday | 9.21.20

is all about the memories of sunsets and long walks, of the thrill of seeing a kettle of Turkey Vultures floating on the high winds, unexpected artwork, some history, a houseboat community (What?? I might have new summer goals!!), so.much.good.food! and icons (RBG and Cat Bordhi) too soon gone.

And the 1 minute 20 second video mash up of an amazing (yet distanced weekend)

And while I’d love to while away the day lost in weekend thoughts…a mountain of laundry is screaming at me. But fortunately it is a task that allows for contemplative thinking, so maybe I can stay immersed in my weekend thoughts a bit longer while being productive! I hope your day allows for some of the same!

See you all back here on Wednesday!

 

 

 

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.16.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.16.20

This week’s knitting was a brief interlude from sleeve knitting, because I finally got some Winston Measurements from my daughter! So before he grows any more, I picked up his Avery 2.0 Vest! The front is done, and the back is almost done! Which means I will just have to join the shoulders, seam the sides, and add a wee bit of sleeve/neck edging and it can be on its way to Michigan so it can get some wear this fall/winter! And once that is done, it will be all sleeves, all the time, promise! Ha!

This week, I am sharing my top five books of the summer… and picking just five has been so.hard! I read so many good books! And although SAH Bingo started way back on April 1st, my time frame starts June 1st and ends August 31st. All books here got a 5-star rating and they are books I have not stopped thinking about since I read them because the best books stay with you…amirite?

I had never read George Eliot’s Mill on the Floss (you can read my review here) and after immersing myself in 19th century life in England, I am so very glad I picked up this book. It is a book that I continue to think about, especially Maggie and her life. And while I do not live in England, nor is it the 19th century…it is easy to draw parallels with life for women today in this book. Also, it was marvelous to “escape” to England and settle in to the community on the Floss for a few hours each day, because this book was a very good reminder of how books can take us on a journey, even when we cannot go anywhere! If you have not read Mill on the Floss, I highly recommend it!

 

 

I simply adore Louise Erdrich, and The Night Watchman (my review here) did not disappoint. It is based on her grandfather’s life and I love, love, love Louise’s characters so much. They are so interesting and memorable! I knew absolutely nothing about the 1953 Indian Emancipation Act, but Louise piqued my curiosity to learn more after reading her book. It is no surprise that, as a nation, we have a long history of taking advantage of just about everyone – including Native Americans. This was a book that I simply could not put down, and loved Louise reading to me! I highly recommend any of Louise’s books, but this one especially!

 

This summer I tried to “read outside of my comfort zone” and pick up books I might normally pass by for a mystery… I had never read anything by Zora Neale Hurston and that is a sad thing to confess. Their Eyes Were Watching God (my review here) was the perfect introduction to this prolific author! This book takes you back to the 30’s and immerses you in the life of Janie Crawford. Hurston does a magnificent job of clearly showing you Janie’s world and all its faults through her eyes. Her writing is lyrical, almost poetic, and listening to Ruby Dee read the story was exactly perfect! I highly recommend this book!

 

What would any summer be without reading any Ian McEwan? Boring, I think… horribly boring! The Innocent (my review here) is a quick read… only 242 pages, but those pages are just packed full of twists, turns, and all the unexpected! And don’t let the title fool you, the characters are absolutely not innocent at all! The story revolves around post-WWII Germany, with Berlin being newly divided. There is a bit of espionage and some highly dysfunctional characters! And the ending… oh boy!

 

 

 

Finally, with a book I just finished under the wire, Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (my review here). Another book I am ashamed to admit I had never even considered reading. The nameless narrator – the invisible man – tells a story that could be about life today, although this book was written in the 50’s. It is a compelling story, and it felt so real. I truly could not stop listening – a key factor in my deciding how “good” a book is, well this one was even better. Again, I highly recommend this book… the audio version especially, Joe Morton’s narration is excellent!

 

 


So there you have it, five books you should absolutely consider reading this fall!

And that is all I have for this week! I will be back next week in time for Unraveled Wednesday. As always, if you wrote a post, please leave your link below and thank you!


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