Unraveled Wednesday | 12.8.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.8.21

This week has all been about “bite sized bits of knitting” in my house… you know, the things that are easy to pick up and put down.

I have the attention span of a gnat these days and so I am shuffling between the heel flap of a sock, the ribbing of a hat brim (sorry no picture of that hat), and (thanks to Vicki) a “Gnew Gnome”! (also… sorry about the dog hair on the yarn… that is life with a Pug who thinks that they must be next to you/under you/on top of you… in other words, zero separation… when doing all things!)

I have had a spate of Zoom meetings recently that, while enjoyable, were a very good reminder of how nice it is to have a small project (or three) to work on while Zooming.

And The Christmas Explosion was not such a huge explosion at all this year. Why, even the tree is done! Woo! I debated doing some heavy decorating in the dining room… but after thinking about it over the course of several days, I let that decorating go! (Yes, sometimes release is just what I need to do! Ha!) It is enough to have some candles on the table… more than enough.

So there you have my knitting update… now for the reading!

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and LifeA Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book! Amazing! Brilliant! And perfect for the reader who wants to learn how to read better!

I listened and I confess that once Saunders gave his “class” on the Russian story, I went back and listened to the story again. It was fascinating what I picked up the second time through with Saunders notes in my mind.

Also… who knew I would like Russian literature so much!

This book is absolutely in the top 5 of books read this year and I highly recommend!

Pax (Pax #1)Pax by Sara Pennypacker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am not quite sure how I feel about this book. I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did… The story is somewhat engaging (not quite believable, but engaging) but the ending was such a let down.

Your mileage may vary.

What about you… what’s on your making list this week? I will see you all back here on Friday!

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

Monday Poetry | 12.6.21

Monday Poetry | 12.6.21

I thought that for the month of December, it might be nice to spend Monday’s with a bit of poetry. I hope you find this a lovely way to start your week!

Winter Trees

All the complicated details
of the attiring and
the disattiring are completed!
A liquid moon
moves gently among
the long branches.
Thus having prepared their buds
against a sure winter
the wise trees
stand sleeping in the cold.

(And this week is a Two-fer because Jack Ridl sent this yesterday and it is just too good to not share and included is the sound clip of him reading it)

Happy Monday All!

TGIF | 12.3.21

TGIF | 12.3.21

Oh Friday… I am so glad you are here and bringing this week to a close. I tried to write letters this week, but gave up and decided a bit of TGIF was more in order.

Thinking about

Roe vs Wade and Sonia Sotomayor… specifically these words: “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don’t see how it is possible.”

And I am thinking lots about the lies that Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney Barrett glibly told in their hearings… their “assurances” in their belief in stare decisis – precedent – was how the court would decide. I wonder how that twat from Maine is feeling about her vote to confirm them this week. Coney Barrett set my hair on fire even more than all the others with her thoughts that women are all handmaidens and we can just give birth and give the baby away… thanks to The Land of Safe Haven in all 50 States.

I am sorry, Justice Sotomayor… but the stench is already there. There are 21 states with Trigger Laws all ready to go… The court is overloaded with political hacks and until the court is expanded (which should be happening NOW) I am expecting more of the same on things that will impact all of the citizens that the “moral-less minority” does not like.

Grateful for

November was a hard month for me… emotionally and physically because when your emotions are in the wringer, your body feels those effects too. But I had one incredible saving grace this month… poetry! From the poems in my in-box to the poems on podcasts… each day brought a poem (or two) that helped me get through that moment… that hour… that day. So many have been printed out and are tucked in the pages of my journal, but the month ended with a poem that I think will stick with me for a very long time. I have it printed out and it is next to Derek Walcott’s Love After Love… I think they are the perfect poems to be read one after the other and I thought I’d share it with you all:

When your son abandons the lawnmower for the second time in as many days

Peter Grandbois

We all want to leave this widening night,
this barking at the thing we can’t see.

No one walks through their story un-stung.
This yard, this life, like a book of changes,

the moment buzzing by like a prophecy,
your body a constellation of pain.

We spend our time stumbling through the white fog,
searching the doctrine of our own breath

when all we need do is crawl deep inside
the silence that comes after and face

the teeming hole in the ground, the wasp’s nest,
that cousin of the eyelessness of space.

Do not fear the ache and swell my sweet boy.
It’s easy to hate what we’re given.

Copyright © 2021 by Peter Grandbois. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 30th, 2021 by the Academy of American Poets. 

In search of any common sense, at all —

Another school shooting this week followed by a flurry of school closings/lockdown’s across the nation (even in Pittsburgh today) and I am just so angry and frustrated. But Garrison Keillor had some snarky wisdom this morning… and I will take the snark every.single.day.

I worry about how the Supreme Court might rule if asked to defend the right of high school students to carry a loaded weapon to class. And what is the constitutional basis for compulsory school attendance? Why shouldn’t six-year-olds be free to take factory jobs? Their little hands would be perfect for assembling small parts.

I am sure this snark will be lost on that moral-less minority who might actually think that compulsory school attendance is not something for all children… because after all, what could be better than to give those kids an early start in those factory jobs at greatly reduced pay, because they are so small!

Finally —

The tree is up and almost all decorated (I have a few finishing touches to get to this morning) and the lights are out on our bushes! Christmas can officially begin! LOL (and so can the weekend! Steve has today off!)

See you all back here on Monday!

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.1.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 12.1.21

I love palindrome days… and this is one of those days! (See how I find joy in the little things? lol)

Anyways… THE Advent Calendar arrived! And they LOVE it! I am not sure who loves it most though… Heidi or the kids! (And Olivia will have a Nana-made Advent calendar next year, promise!!)

But, holy cow was it a bitch to photograph! I made little button “hooks” on the back and I was worried that if I “hung” it on the shrubs, they would tear… and I really did not want to make any more hooks! lol Anyways, I sent along some 3M hooks for her to affix to the wall to hang it on. (The hooks on my mantle provided the most brilliant trial run but sadly… it is way too dark in my living room for good photos)

I heaved a huge sigh of relief that it arrived and safely! Thank you postal workers!

(One aside… the binding… which is brilliant!! I followed these instructions and my mind is blown! They worked PERFECTLY! I am STILL in awe of how well they worked!)

And now I am back to thinking about knitting more on The 2nd Sock in between doing some holiday decorating… no tree up, yet… but the box moved to the living room yesterday afternoon so the plan is for that to happen sometime today. Thinking about one…hopefully doing something about the other! Ha!

The reading has been a bit stunted because of you know who being home for 5 days for Thanksgiving. But I did find some moments to finish Matrix. Kym might have said it best last week… and I agree… I cannot wait to discuss this very, very curious book!

The English Spy (Gabriel Allon, #15)The English Spy by Daniel Silva
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just when you think you have figured out how Silva writes a novel… he throws you a huge curve ball. This book is that… and it is excellently thrown!

One last hurrah before Gabriel takes over The Office? Yes? No? Maybe? This story unfolds with just the “inside characters” Friends on foreign forces… as it were. This story takes Gabriel to uncharted territory… places he has never been and makes places he loves – less lovable.

I loved every minute of this book!

Faceless Killers (Kurt Wallander, #1)Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have never read any of the Wallander books, and I was in need of a bit of a “palate cleanser” and this very short book fit the bill perfectly.

It is a most excellent introduction to Kurt Wallander… a very troubled police officer. He has problems galore in his personal life, but boy is he good and piecing together a mystery!

This won’t be my last Wallander book!

MatrixMatrix by Lauren Groff
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh boy, this book… what a very curious tale! The writing is really beautiful… but the story sort of missed the mark for me. (Yet, still… 4-stars)

I really was loving the story of Marie being uprooted from all she knows and sent off to a monestery. (nunnery? I am really not sure what to call the religious order!) Anyways, I loved the start of Marie finding her way, making friendships… family, really… with the women.

Where the story began to derail for me were the “visions” – which to me seemed improbable, at best. And also… I began to detest Marie and her ever growing ego. These changes were not good ones for her at all. No one likes someone who thinks they are all that… and I thought Marie neatly fell into that category. There are more visions with even more improbable results…

And the ending… all I could say was WTAF. Really? I read this book for the Read With Me book club and I am very much looking forward to listening to what others thought and talking about this book!

That is all I have for today… are you in the frenzied making of the season?

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

Release | November 2021

Release | November 2021

I want to drown in my tears,
And my tears are my prayers. ― Luffina Lourduraj

Silly, silly me in thinking that I was done with release…  because it is certainly not done with me!

This month I got to put into practice all that I have learned over the past year – active, painful, excruciating practice. Somethings are easy to release… like tears. Other things are not so simple as that… but those hard things are sometimes the most important to let go of… and realize I cannot control *everything* (despite wishing I magically could)! One thing I did not let go of was Carolyn’s prompt this month! And while I am not sharing what I wrote… I will share how I used it! It became for me a lifeline… each day I used the space to help me stay focused on what I needed to let go of… (sometimes this was as simple as letting go of frustration, anger, and disappointment… other days, it provided me with things that I still need to work on!)

Earlier this month, I posted that my estranged sister got back in contact with me…but it was not a celebratory reunion, but rather one of desperation as she had hit the bottom’s bottom. (I thought…hoped?)

And so began some days of anguished conversation… anguished on my sister’s part while I tried very hard to stay calm… except when I couldn’t… which was often… so often…too often. Yet, still she called, providing more practice for calm and lots of time to remind myself that this perhaps was the entire reason release picked me this year. I don’t need to solve every problem… for anyone but myself. I can’t control what others do, what they say, or how they behave… I can only control myself. (And sometimes even that is a challenge!)

And in a frenzied week of me trying to find a place to take my sister with a plethora of issues…too many to list here…but in a small miracle a physician deemed her a threat to herself and made her go directly to the emergency room. That ER staff fortuitously kept her until they got her on medicaid and then found a place that would take her for 5 short days. Yes… just 5 days.

(Can we just have a small aside  for the staff at every emergency room in America? These are the unsung heroes of every hospital… the ones who deal with what has walked through their doors. I am sending a HUGE thank you to the ER staff that did the hard work for my sister… I am profoundly thankful for them… and my sister owes them a debt of gratitude, which, sadly, she will not remember and she certainly won’t ever thank them.)

I was incredibly surprised that my sister called me while she was in the “treatment place”. Sadly, I could tell that Fake Susan was back and with each phone call the lies and the nonsense got louder and louder. And I began to get the hint that this would just be a brief stint of re-connection.

But still… she called. She had no idea where she’d go after that brief five day 5  intervention and perhaps it was that fear of the unknown kept her calling. However, I was very honest with her… No, she could not come to stay with us. I made it very clear that I could not help her that way, I would be here cheering her on in her journey to recovery, but I could fix her.

Release… it is not a thing for the faint of heart and there were so many more tears.

Today, it seems that hint was correct. I have not heard from her since she briefly called to let me know that she was in a shelter and could I “pay to unlock her phone” (a sum of money that I cannot imagine was correct… but I said yes, I would pay them… which was, of course, not what she wanted me to say… or to do.)

I have no clue if she is still in the shelter or if she is not, where she is. I am not holding my breath, wondering if she will call or where she is… I am standing firm in release and letting my tears be as a prayer.

Release began this year as very hard work and it remains that 11 months in – no matter how I want to move beyond it. Some words linger on and gently remind my days… my hope is that release will eventually become that sort of gentle reminder.

A huge thanks to Carolyn for providing a space for us all to share our progress!

I will see you all back here on Wednesday!


Unraveled Wednesday | 11.24.21

Unraveled Wednesday | 11.24.21

Greetings Unraveler’s!

First up, I really LOVED all your answers to Monday Questions! My mouth was absolutely watering… I had to look up Watergate Salad (which I had never, ever even heard of before – much less eat!) and I am now very eager for the EATING to begin! lol

I had hoped to share the finished Advent Calendar… but it has not arrived yet. I have my finger’s crossed for next week!

Instead, as you can see above, I have started a second sock! And I am really loving Former Me who made such wonderfully detailed notes! I don’t have to think at all while knitting… it is simply the best!

Also… someone asked what yarns I used for the hat in this post. Sorry about that, I should have told you… I followed this pattern and used one skein of Hudson+West Weld and one skein of Wobble Gobble KidMo held together. I have LOTS of the KidMo leftover and I am thinking it might find its way into a cowl in the coming days! Karen knit one earlier this month that I think would be a fun knit and I have some handspun Cormo that would be a lovely companion to that fuzzy yarn!

These days, a sock and a cowl are about the extent of my Knitting Brain Bandwidth.

Unrelated to my making this week… I stumbled across this darling little stop motion video recently! I love all the needle felting, the knitting (the sweaters on the bunnies are just adorable!), and the hand sewing (That skirt! The Apron! Those trousers! That winter coat!!!) What an incredibly creative way to use wool! I thought you might all enjoy seeing it too!

As for the reading this week. I have two finishes to share but I will do that next week. I am in the midst of reading Matrix though… and I am wondering where this story will go! It is a curious book!

However, no reading or knitting will be happening soon… I have a list of things to prep and bake today for Thanksgiving!

What about you? What is keeping you occupied today?

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

I wish you all the Happiest Thanksgiving and I will see you all back here on Monday… (with an update on my word, if you can believe it!)

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