Friday Finds | 2.18.22

Friday Finds | 2.18.22

these hips have never been enslaved,
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips — Lucille Clifton (homage to my hips)

This week I want to share some poetry that, I think, is one of the best ways to celebrate Black History Month.

Poetry has become part of my daily life… I cannot imagine a day without poetry.  It opens my eyes… it opens my mind… it opens my heart. This month, I have been focused on reading a poem or two a day from Amanda Gorman’s new book of poetry – Call Us What We Carry (and it is so very good!)

I also spent some time Googling Poetry for Black History Month and I found some of the most wonderful rabbit holes that exist on the internet!

Of course The Poetry Foundation has a wonderful resource that includes poems, articles, and podcasts… there is just so much to read here! I have been happily working my way through every bit of it. Some poems were familiar to me and some were not. There was one that I knew as a song but I did not know that it was written by one brother and set to music by another brother! And speaking of that song… was it just me or did anyone else find it more than disconcerting that this song was performed outside the stadium (versus being inside? watf…)

If you’d like to start with a less daunting list… Read Poetry has 10 Poems to Celebrate Black History Month

Finally, if you want to add a book to your Poetry Library (because don’t we all have a Poetry Library?? And if you don’t, you should!!) I am excited to get Tracy K. Smith’s book, Such Color. (And I am loving Call Us What We Carry!)

I am going to close with one of the poems from Amanda’s new book:

& So

by Amanda Gorman

It is easy to harp,
Harder to hope.

This truth, like the white-blown sky,
Can only be felt in its entirety or not at all.
The glorious was not made to be piecemeal.
Despite being drenched with dread,
This dark girl still dreams.
We smile like a sun that is never shunted.

Grief, when it goes, does so softly,
Like the exit of that breath
We just realized we clutched.

Since the world is round,
There is no way to walk away
From each other, for even then
We are coming back together.

Some distances, if allowed to grow,
Are merely the greatest proximities.

Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman, published by Viking Press. Copyright © 1921 by Amanda Gorman

Have a great weekend everyone… see you all back here on Monday!

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.16.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.16.22

The Test Knit… she is finished! Wooo! I have even weighed my yarn and sent in all the pertinent details. Photos coming soon… I promise!

But today I have an almost finished Gnome… he needs a wee bit of blocking, some stuffing, a beard and some arms!

AND!! I started Vera’s Socks! (Petty Harbor – Ravelry Link) and I am not-quite mindlessly knitting the leg. It is some Rainy Day Yarn from my stash that I got from Wool & Honey… Dyed by Up North Yarns. Colorway: Market Day from Wool & Honey’s August 2020 Sleeping Bear Yarn Club.

I have knit another tooth on my Hitchhiker… but really it does not look much different from the last photo I shared with you all.

I was surprised to get my results on Monday from my mammogram… those results said “no visible malignancies” hmmm… are there invisible ones? It just seemed like strange wording to me… but what do I know. (Said results and those thoughts about invisible malignancies might have made me knit a wee bit faster on that Gnome! A plus, perhaps!)

The reading this week…I listened lots which helped me finish that test knit! I finished listening to Hollow Kingdom and started listening to Clint Smith’s How the Word is Passed. (Two books that you would think would be on opposite ends of the spectrum… yet perhaps they are not so far at all!) Anyways, I had 3 finishes this week:

Hollow Kingdom (Hollow Kingdom, #1)Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Whew… two dystopian novels in two weeks! This one was an entirely different take (and perhaps more believable than Home of the Living God, but a bit more rawly written)

The MoFo’s (humans) have brought about the destruction of life as they knew it. What is left are the Animals. Of course the “narrator” would be a crow named Shit Turd (S.T. for short) and I really loved him! Why? Because he was raised by a human and thinks that he is a human. So we travel through the book with S.T. and see things through his eyes…which is especially wonderful when he starts to realize just how flawed the humans are. Yes, there are some very sad moments…but the ending is quite spectacular.

I had originally given this book 3-stars but has since upgraded it to 4 because I can’t stop thinking about dear S.T.

MeccaMecca by Susan Straight
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was grabbed by the opening to this book: “The wind started up at three a.m., the same way it had for hundreds of years, the same way I used to hear it blowing so hard around our little house in the canyon that loose windowsills sounded like harmonicas. The old weather stripping played like the gods pressed their mouths around the screens in the living room, where I slept when I was growing up.”

I want to say I loved this book… but I just liked it. It is a compelling story – or at least that is how it starts. But then it takes some twist and turns, not all of which make sense and still don’t in the finishing of it. This story is one of Southern California… but not one you might expect. It is about people who have been in Southern California for eons and those who are brought by coyotes from Mexico and how the two, though very different, are considered the same. I loved learning about the history that Straight brings to life in the pages… the past sometimes merging with the present in a very compelling way.

Things I struggled with… there is lots of dialog in Spanish – with no translation. I also think that some of this book (about 2/3’s in) could have been edited out.

The ending was not at all what I expected.

I would like to thank Netgalley and Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for this ARC.

The War of the PoorThe War of the Poor by Éric Vuillard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don’t remember what (or who) directed me to this little book.

It is the bits of the story around the Protestant Reformation… or how everything old is new again. Or perhaps even better… how everything old is still here and simmering under the surface. The parallels between then and now are impossible not to draw…the ultra-wealthy, the working poor never getting ahead, and even crazy religious fanatics fanning the flames.

An interesting read and if history does indeed repeat itself….

That is all I have for today. What about you? Is there something you are knitting faster on this week?

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

Thoughts for a Monday | 2.14.22

Thoughts for a Monday | 2.14.22

It seems that last week we reached a bit of a seasonal tipping point, at least in Pittsburgh… the incremental increase of daylight is now pleasantly noticeable, there were also days last week that smelled like spring so despite this morning’s dusting of snow and bitter cold… I know that winter is in its waning days. The birds know it too and hearing their increased birdsong in the morning is a welcome treat! Yes, winter with a bit more light and some birdsong is not a bad thing!

But in your corner of the world does winter seem interminable? Even for those of us experiencing a “February Thaw” and some precious extra minutes of day light … we still have miles to go before spring gets here. This week I want to focus on me … it is not something I do often and I am reminded of these wise words from Katherine May’s Wintering: “When I started feeling the drag of winter, I began to treat myself like a favoured child: with kindness and love. I assumed my needs were reasonable and that my feelings were signals of something important. I kept myself well fed and made sure I was getting enough sleep. I took myself for walks in the fresh air and spent time doing things that soothed me. I asked myself: What is this winter all about? I asked myself: What change is coming?”

And that, dear friends, is the perfect quote for all of us on this Day of Love… how are we treating ourselves as we begin (or continue!) to feel the drag of winter?

I have had a “thing” on my To-Do List for far too long… get my mammogram. Sigh. I was supposed to go last spring and well, I allowed this to fall off my radar. So when I got an email on Friday that there was a “Love Your Breasts” Walk-in Mammogram clinic on Saturday…I went. A spur of the moment self-love act that is incredibly important. (Hint, hint… if you have not gone in the past year for your mammogram, pick up the phone and make an appointment!)

There are some other things on my To-Do List that I am going to stay focused on getting done this month… and shower myself with self-love.

What about you? What’s on your list!

Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels



Museum of Me | February 2022

Museum of Me | February 2022

“Without Valentine’s Day, February would be … well, January.” — Jim Gaffigan

Welcome, Gentle Readers to the second exhibit of the Museum of Kat. We are going to be using the Way Back Machine today and I also have the BIG flash light just in case because we are going to the furthest depths of the Museum… watch your step and no lagging, please! Stay with the group so you don’t get lost on the way to our Valentine’s Day Exhibit.

You might think it is curious that we are so fixated on being loving for one day a year and if you do, I think your thoughts are on the right track! One thing I have learned in life… one day does not make love. One day does not make the year special. In fact… I think that how you show love on the other 364 days of the year are far more important than any single Valentine’s Day.

But I digress…today we are going to an exhibit on the Love of Extended Family!

So let’s go back in time… Stay together, please, the Way Back Machine can be fussy and leave some of you in an area that has not been curated… scary places, trust me!

We are going back to in time to a very much younger me…. I think I first realized that Valentine’s Day might be something to take note of was in school. Now I went to school long before anyone worried about a child’s self-esteem… suffice it to say, I never, ever brought Valentine cards to school to share with the other students. I was not the only child in this predicament… but we brought nothing, we were not allowed to participate in the “card exchange.” Sad, I know… but we all survived.

If you look at the sum of this exhibit, you might think it is very sparse on material…and you’d be right. However, it is not sparse on content. The content is incredible and despite the fact that I have been dreading this month’s exhibit because of the lack of content (I honestly worried that I’d have to post the Valentine’s Day cards from my ex… oy! lol)

But I persisted! And on a whim I opened a long forgotten box of things and found some treasures.

My sister, Susan, my Nana – Mae Jacoby-Huxhold, me, my Grandpa – Oliver Emil Huxhold, and Great-Aunt Marion Huxhold-Bollendorf. You can’t see in this photo, but my Grandpa is standing with the aid of a cane… this was the last year he could maneuver himself outdoors. 

Rather than talking only about the treasures… I am going to talk about the treasure givers. I was one very blessed child to have not one, but two incredible and amazing Great-Aunts. My gosh, I loved them so much. Now… I looked high and low through so many boxes for a single picture of my Great-Aunt Sylvia (who lived in Kenosha, Wisconsin almost her entire life) but I could not find any pictures with her. What I do have is this fabulous picture from July 1965… My Nana (on the left) My Grandpa (in the back), and my Great-Aunt Marion (on the right). My sister, Susan, is in my Nana’s arms, and I am standing in front. This picture was taken at my grandparent’s house… and I remember this day very well. Aunt Marion and Aunt Sylvia were my grandpa’s sisters. Aunt Sylvia, was the second child of five, my grandpa was the middle and the youngest of two boys, and Aunt Marion was the fourth child… the second of three girls. (Oldest brother Albert, was named after their father, and youngest sister, Kathryn… who I am named after!) Aunt Marion and Aunt Sylvia were maiden aunts for most of their lives, but then came Uncle Fred Bollendorf. His first wife died, and his second marriage was to my Aunt Marion. We all loved Uncle Fred… he was the perfect addition to our family!

Whenever they came to visit my Nana and Grandpa, I always, always spent the night… and I slept downstairs with Aunt Sylvia. It was the best… that picture above… it was the first time I spent the night and Aunt Sylvia was so worried I would wake up and want to go home. But nope! I spent the entire night and in the morning we are all treated to the absolute best pancakes in the world made by my nana. The memories of time spent with these ladies are some of the sweetest ever and I cherish them!

Aunt Marion and Aunt Sylvia were the only people in my childhood who sent Valentine’s Day cards to us (My mom, dad, sister, and me) At least that is how it started.

Now I am a card saver… I think I have every card I ever received… honestly. So I am not sure what happened to any other cards they absolutely sent. All I have are these four, but I am so happy that I have them!

This card, which is 3-Dimensional, was sent to my entire family.

I have no idea what year this card might have been sent. The envelope is long gone… the price of the card though… 50 cents.

Then we have the cards that were just sent to me! Treasures, I promise you!

This sweet little bunny was from my Great-Aunt Marion

Again, I have no idea at all of a date on this card… but I believe this predate’s the “group Valentine” since the price is priceless… a whopping 15 cents!

Finally we have a card with some dates! Aunt Marion sent this in 1974 (I guess by age 13, I knew who was sending me this particular Valentine, but I love the “Guess Who”). It included a Love Stamp that in February 1974 was 8 cents. I know… it seems insane to me!

I think Aunt Marion knew I spent every moment I could in my Nana’s kitchen!

Finally, I have one single solitary card from Aunt Sylvia, which seems unlikely to me because I have dozens and dozens of letters from her. But one card was all I manage to save…

While I like the others very much, this one is my favorite.

Suffice it to say that flowers for Valentine’s Day are lovely and chocolate is too! But nothing beats these little bits of sunshine that I had all but forgotten from my childhood.

I hope you have some little bits that make you smile on Valentine’s Day too!

Thank you so much for visiting this very nostalgic exhibit. Now, if you all stay together once again the Way Back Machine will get us back to the present day! I so appreciate your taking the time to stop and listen today!

A big thanks to Kym for being the Master Curator for these posts!

Happy Early Valentine’s Day and I will see you all back here on Monday!

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.9.22

Unraveled Wednesday | 2.9.22

The making this week has been entirely focused on the Super Secret Test Knitting I am doing… In a different world, I would be done already. But instead I am on my third try…yes, you read that right. The third try! First time… I cast on 4 too many stitches. And while I might just do 4 k2tog in real life, in Test Knitting Life that is not what the designer is hoping I will do. So… Ripppppppp! And start again. The second try I entirely effed up the pattern (because… somehow I thought when the designer said to “put markers” between sections… I did not think she meant me! Ha! I think she wrote that direction because of me!) Again… Ripppppppppppppp! (The second time I was a lot farther along… sigh.)

So today I have the exact amount of stitches, markers were placed exactly when the pattern says. And I am past all the previous knitting I did (albeit incorrectly) and, though I hesitate to say it, all is good!

Instead you have a photo of my Base 12 Hitchhiker in the brief but spectacular sunshine we had late yesterday!

I am hoping that I will be back to knitting a Cabled Gnome and that Hitchhiker later on this week! Fingers and toes crossed!

The reading, though sparse, was so very good this week!

The Lost SpellsThe Lost Spells by Robert Macfarlane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A book to savor – and I did! I read it slowly in delicious little bites. A book to read over and over – I want to read this book until I have it memorized! A book full of beautiful artwork – oh my gosh, the artwork… it is just perfect.

I loved every minute of this book and I loved it so much I have purchased my own copy. I want to take this book to Presque Isle Park in Erie PA and read it to the birds, the water, the trees, and think about how beautifully written this book is.

I highly recommend!

Future Home of the Living GodFuture Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oof. This was a chilling read… but so brilliantly written!

Enter the world of Cedar Hawk Songmaker (perhaps the best name for a character… ever!) and what a messed up world it is. Some cataclysmic event has happened and the word as we know it is gone. It is both a journey of discovery and a journey of desperation.

For me… listening to Louise read her novel made the journey better for the listener. I might have missed things had I been reading… but listening, I allowed myself to be drawn along in the story as it unfolds.

And the ending… oh my. It was not at all what I expected… and yes, I cried.

I am excited because I have picked up Agatha of Little Neon and if the Knitting Gods keep smiling on me… I might be able to start reading it this week!

That is all that I have for today… what about you? What is on your making or reading radar this week?

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

Thoughts for a Monday | 2.7.22

Thoughts for a Monday | 2.7.22

We are just one week into February… how then does it feel like that week had way more than 7 days. Is it just me or does it feel like it should be the 17th of February?

I don’t think this bodes well for the remainder of my month! Haha!

What have I been doing in the past seven days? Hmmm, if productivity equals time… then in reality it should only be the second or third! Sigh.

What I have been doing is lots of thinking about Full and it’s Opposites (my list currently has the following: lacking, empty, inadequate, wanting, and incomplete.) And that last word has really been getting a work out.

Some years ago, I did a Year Long Stitching project and I loved every minute of it. I did not have a pattern, no charts, no direction… except my own. And for as much as I loved that project… it is incomplete. I stitched, I washed, I dried, and I readied them to be assembled… and they are *still* waiting exactly where I put them.

But I loved stitching so much, I thought that perhaps doing *more* stitching would help inspire me. So I signed up for a 100 Day Poject and I stitched for 100 days. And that has likewise sat, tucked away in my stitching basket.

Above you can see the “top half” of the 100 Day Project… this is the “bottom half”

Perhaps you can see where this is going. My thinking has turned back to stitching… it is a thing I miss… lots. I have tried to do cross stitch and it just does not bring the same joy… nor does it spark the same creativity. And in the past few days I have been looking at that 100 Day Project… and it seems…. lacking… unfinished… incomplete. (Exactly like the Year Long Stitching Project!)

As soon as I am done with my Super Secret Test Knit, I am pulling out both projects and plan to fill some of the moments from my week with them. I have an idea of what I want for the Year of Stitching… I just need to begin the work to complete them!

And it brings me great joy to think about filling in that incomplete 100 Day Project!

And those are the thoughts filling my brain on this cold, but very sunny Monday morning! What about you? What is filling your head right now!

See you all back here on Wednesday for some Unraveling!


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