April is for Poetry | 4.1.21

April is for Poetry | 4.1.21

Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance. — Carl Sandburg

Welcome to National Poetry Month! April has become my absolute favorite month and it is the perfect time to immerse yourself in poetry. That is just what I am going to do this month thanks to the genius of Kym who asked Bonny and I if we would like to have a bit of fun with poetry this month! I could not say YES fast enough and we will all be sharing some thoughts about poetry along with some poems that we hope you will enjoy!

There are so many different kinds of poetry and I am closing in on 40 days of poetry writing for Lent. It has been an incredible process that I have enjoyed tremendously. Three lines a day has not always been easy, but it has always been inspiring.  And I think that most often poetry inspires us and it certainly inspires me!

But!!

That is not always the case. Sometimes poetry makes you think in a completely different way… it makes you see things in a new light…it changes your perspective entirely like this poem by Sally Fisher and I think it is the perfect poem to ease us into the holiday weekend. I think most people are aware of the 23rd Psalm, but have you ever considered the Psalm from the sheep’s perspective? This poem hooked me from the first lines and I hope you find the different perspective enlightening!

“Here In The Psalm”

I am a sheep
and I like it
because the grass
I lie down in
feels good and the still
waters are restful and right
there if I’m thirsty
and though some valleys
are very chilly there is a long
rod that prods me so I
direct my hooves
the right way
though today
I’m trying hard
to sit at a table
because it’s expected
required really
and my enemies—
it turns out I have enemies—
are watching me eat and
spill my drink
but I don’t worry because
all my enemies do
is watch and I know
I’m safe if I will
just do my best
as I sit on this chair
that wobbles a bit
in the grass
on the side of a hill.

May your weekend have some inspiration, and maybe even a change in perspective! See you all back here on Monday!

Photo by Zak Bentley from Pexels
Unraveled Wednesday | 3.31.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.31.21

“Like thousands of others, we survived the storm and the many dark days that followed because of the kindness of strangers who brought food, water, and comfort’.” ― Vivek Murthy

To say I am profoundly grateful for all your kind words for my post on Monday would be an understatement. I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of kindness. Though I have not “met” many of you, the kindness you shared made me feel very much a part of a community…this absolutely amazing Blogisphere we all participate in together. Thank you all for your hugs and your support!

Carole posted something I found incredibly profound on Monday and it is a very good reminder to me that doing is so much better than not doing. If you have not read her post, it is absolutely a must read! Thank you, Carole for this gentle reminder to be a “doer”!

Now, how about some knitting content?

I cast on a new project yesterday!! As you can see, I have started my Daytripper cardigan and I am so happy! I did not spend a great deal of time knitting, but it is going so fast! Yay for US 11 needles! (Also, the Knitting gods are sending snow this week to Pittsburgh so knitting with wool will be extra pleasant!)

But this sweater…

It was just a bit windy…lol

I am in love! The fit is perfect… the amount of ease, the length of the body and sleeves, the neck band are all just right! And this deep inky blue! I have worn it several times already and I am contemplating a Marled Purl Strings… I don’t know how the yarns will work, but I hope to do some swatching tonight to see how it looks.

(I am really hoping the reality is a good as the vision in my minds eye!)

I also got those birthday socks done with days to spare!! Waahooo!

The reading was so very good this week! Oh my!

The Confessor (Gabriel Allon, #3)The Confessor by Daniel Silva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This series just keeps getting better with every book! Gabriel is again drawn in to help solve a murder. Intrigue at the Vatican makes for a fascinating mystery that you solve with Allon. The writing is good and the story is believable. Finally, I especially love the insights into art restoration… Allon’s “day job” and I highly recommend this series!

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult TimesWintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Wintering brings about some of the most profound and insightful moments of our human experience, and wisdom resides in those who have wintered.”

I had really hoped to read this book last year, but boy am I glad I read it when I did. May’s thoughts, ideas, and story-telling was exactly what I needed right now. This book is inspiring and comforting. If you are looking for a respite from a rough patch, I highly recommend Wintering.


That is all I have for today. I will be back tomorrow to usher in Poetry Month!

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


Release | March 2021

Release | March 2021

Hello Monday.

I am joining Carolyn again to share my March update on my word. A word that I have again considered dumping… releasing release. Or maybe just curtailing release to be my clean out the physical closets in this house companion, and keeping release out of the emotional closets of my mind. But I am persevering, because I am reminding myself how hard Focus was and how challenging Intentional was. Starting something new is never easy and so I persevere.

I have spent this very long month with my thoughts. And this quote from Brené Brown in my head:

When you numb your pain, you also numb your joy. 

Oh boy. Yep, that is absolutely true. I am the master of saying nothing and numbing/ignoring the painful memories of an abusive and dysfunctional house. This month I have been opening the doors in my brain that I have kept shut and discovering that by locking those painful memories in, I was also locking in some good memories as well. I can’t erase the painful memories, but I don’t have to be numb and thus avoid all joy. It has not been easy and honestly, I considered just shoving all those memories – good and bad – back in the farthest recess of my brain and locking the door again.

But then I started reading Padraig Ó Tuama’s new book and this passage has become my new meditation, especially when I am feeling like shutting that door, locking it and throwing away the key:

To greet sorrow today does not mean that sorrow will be there tomorrow. Happiness comes too, and grief, and tiredness, disappointment, surprise and energy. Chaos and fulfilment will be named as well as delight and despair. This is the truth of being here, wherever here is today. It may not be permanent but it is here. I will probably leave here, and I will probably return. To deny here is to harrow the heart. Hello to here.
Pádraig Ó Tuama, In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World

The emphasis is mine, but the power of that sentence is exactly what I need. It is just for today and it might not be tomorrow. Yes, it might be back, but just like that small determined child…I will survive.

And I have a list of things I can begin to work on releasing next month: the shame of being a victim of abuse, the guilt that it was somehow my fault, the embarrassment of being talked about, the worry of being judged.

Thank you for reading and if you want to see my journey with release, you will find it here.

See you back here on Wednesday with a knitting update!

 

Friday Brain Dump | 3.26.21

Friday Brain Dump | 3.26.21

After 100 days of Hope I struggled a bit to figure out what to post today. So I decided to just empty my brain and write.

It was a week of ups and downs. On the upside…as my snowdrops faded, the forsythia started to bloom! On the down side COVID has struck close to home. And while it is not in my house (that I know of), it is just too darned close for comfort and any plans I had for the weekend have been reduced to just staying home.

I thought I had a plan for my Daytripper Cardigan but as I colored, it was nice, but just not exciting. So I colored more. And still more. But finally, I left the plan and tried something different. And then I tried something even more different and the excitement grew! There is some real magic in finding the correct gauge AND the best colors for a project! Now, I just need to make a new “color” chart and I can cast on!

Out with the dark grey and the beiges, in with purple, raspberry, and a spring green!

While I am not trying to make the months go faster, I am excited for April because April is National Poetry Month!  And this April will be the 25th Anniversary! I am so ready! I have a stack of “new to me” poetry books! I am really looking forward to immersing myself in poetry all month long. I am late to the joy of poetry. I read some poetry in school, but just did not “get it” although I had a grandfather who had memorized poetry and shared it often. I liked listening to him recite poetry but I did not really fall in love with poetry until I read Kym’s blog as she shared poetry during National Poetry Month! This April, I am going to join her and Bonny as we each share poetry with you all!

I am so excited about all these books!

I had been really hoping to go get a hair cut soon-ish. However, the Close Encounter of the COVID kind plus this has put that on a back burner for the foreseeable future. However, I did do a little online therapy at Ulta and I can tell you that this is some awesome lip color! Also, these foot treatments and this hair treatment are the perfect things for a mini-spa day at home! (also, I have been watching Messy Bun tutorials on YouTube and while I am not 100% hair-styling proficient – I am trying to get better, but does it really matter in Pandemic Living?)

That is all I have for this week, I will be back on Monday to share an update on my word! Have a good weekend all!

 

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.24.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.24.21

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better. — Samuel Beckett

This quote is my mantra for knitting this week. Yes, I have tried. Yes, I have failed. Yes, I tried again. Yes, I failed again. My attempts are not always better, but I still keep trying…as you can see from my foibles this week!

The foot looks long because it is!

This sock… sigh. I started once, but the pooling and looseness of the fabric meant I ripped it out and started over. Second start was fine until I got to the heel. Can I just say that counting really matters in knitting and if you are 3 stitches off on heel placement… well, it matters! lol So, that got ripped back and knit again. I kept wondering why it was “off center” but never sat down and counted. (Also, knitting while Zooming with the Exhuberant Jillian is a great way to make lots of mistakes, just saying.) Anyways, I ripped that back Monday morning and started the heel again… counting correctly this time! Then I got to the portion where I can start the cuff ribbing … and started until I realized that in order for this shortie sock to fit well, I will need some short rows on the heel side of the cuff, sigh. That meant a bit of tinking back the couple of rows of ribbing I had done to raise the back cuff. AND!! At long last sock ONE is done! Hopefully I took good notes so I can do the second one with no ripping back and just some speedy knitting! (That birthday is fast approaching!)

The faded blue sweater body with the charcoal grey button bands!

My initial color thoughts… I need 5 colors.

Although, maybe I did not pick great hues…

At some point today I am going to be doing some coloring to determine colors for my Daytripper Cardigan! I have the body and the collar/button band colors decided… I just have to figure out the remaining 5 colors… wish me luck! (Or at least lots of fun coloring!)

The reading this week was so good! (and I am almost finished with another Gabriel Allon mystery!! So, I mean it when I say SO GOOD!)

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed AmericaThe Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America by Erik Larson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The tale of two stories, expertly woven together! I knew that Chicago had a World’s Fair but I knew little beyond that. I never knew that Chicago was called the White City nor all the fascinating details around the fair construction. This book is a history lover’s dream… I learned so many things I just had no clue about! Add to that this intertwined story of a string of disappearances and murders that happened and you have a mystery that unfolds with the fair. I highly recommend listening to this book… and the ending where the author shares how he went about gathering the information he used to write the story! Thank goodness for libraries!

SummerwaterSummerwater by Sarah Moss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The task of writing about the sometimes ugly side of humanity cannot be an easy task… however, Sarah Moss does so and she does so so well that you just can’t stop reading. I saw myself in her writing, and so many people I know there as well. This book made me stop and think. It made me nod my head in agreement and consider the way that people, by nature, just irritate each other! The writing is just so beautiful and the humanity so real. I highly recommend this brilliant little story!


That’s all I have for today… what about you? Is your knitting always successful? If not, do you keep trying?

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


Good Things for Monday | 3.22.21

Good Things for Monday | 3.22.21

Each morning I begin my day the same way…before I can just sit with my thoughts I take Sherman out. He is a fine and quiet companion in the early morning… and he does not mind my silence while I listen to The Writer’s Almanac podcast and this morning’s edition was just spectacular. It’s Billy Collins’ 80th birthday today and  if you want to listen to Garrison read a lovely Billy Collins poem you can do that here!

Listening to poetry really is a very good thing to start my day.

Another good thing I listened to this week was this episode of On Being. I think I knew some of these things, but boy did it help to hear someone talk about the stresses we’ve been living with… and how do we re-emerge when this is all over.

The On Being discussion on stress really helped in light of a conversation I had about gauge on Saturday with Sarah and Jane. You might have read about Kym’s gauge struggles so I felt a little déjà vu when I sat down to swatch for the Daytripper Cardigan… a MaryJane Mucklestone design… which, by the way, is the same gauge as 3 other MaryJane Mucklestone sweaters I had previously knit. I got gauge on each of them with absolutely no issues. This time? oh boy. I have a stack of swatches to show how I struggled with it!  First I thought just do some knitty maths and go with my original swatch… good in theory, but the maths and the sizing did not work out for me. End result, while I have not measured my last swatch this morning, pre-washing it was on gauge. That swatch? Knit with a US 11 needle… on the bright side, my sweater will knit up even faster now! So even in struggles as you work your way out good things can be found!

Another good thing was this photo my daughter shared… and I just laughed right out loud!

Vivi, the chicken wrangler!

Finally, buds are appearing on my forsythia and lilac bush in my yard. It makes me smile to see them! Happy Monday everyone! See you all back here on Wednesday!

 

 

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