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!


Sometimes Monday | 9.14.20

Sometimes Monday | 9.14.20

Means a cooler start to the week! And the mornings are so dark now. The tables have turned and instead of the sun waiting for me to rise… I am waiting for the sun, which just might be the perfect way to ease into the week.

These words by Jericho Brown have lingered with me since I listened to them last week on The Slow Down and, like Jericho, “I am in a mood about America.”

Googling, I found this reading by Alfre Woodard to share with you all! Each time I hear the poem, something different speaks to me.

And, of course, the NYTimes did a lovely piece about this poem (and if you subscribe, you can hear Jericho read his poem to you!)

Happy Monday everyone!

 

Sleeve Island | 9.11.20

Sleeve Island | 9.11.20

It’s been a week, again. A world on fire… literally.

So to maintain some semblance of sanity, I have avoided the internet…which means, I “found” nothing this week to share with you.

But… I reached Dreamy Sleeve Island! Which means nine million stitches were successfully picked up and bound off! The finish line is calling and I want to wear this cloud!! I mean this blasted heat and humidity has to end sometime, right?

But today is also for remembering…

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11.” — Barack Obama

May your day include some remembering as well.

Have a good weekend all!

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.9.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 9.9.20

In retrospect, Gentle Readers, I should have done 1 more repeat of the patterning. In the end, rather than rip back 10 rows of ribbing, I just forged ahead and did an extra inch of 1×1 ribbing… Sigh. At no point in time did I ever try the body on to see how the length was. Yep, that’s right… not once. I went by the photo images on the pattern, and knit to the specified length from the under arm. Lesson for savvy knitters… always, always, always try the sweater on! Especially when the end result means additional inches of 1×1 ribbing… on US size 4’s with lace weight yarn. Anyways, I think the extra ribbing will be fine and most certainly will not roll or fold up, so there is that benefit. Today, I am working through picking up stitches around the fronts to knit the applied I-cord front/neck bands. Umm, I generally don’t mind picking up stitches. I usually do some knitty math to figure out my pick-up ratio and go. This time, the ratio has been calculated for me, but boy howdy… this fabric is not the easiest for picking up stitches! So I am armed with bright light and a good audiobook to keep me company with the task. I confess, I am a bit nervous about picking up stitches around the arm holes… I don’t know how that will work and in my mind, it has all manners of disaster written all over it. Keep your fingers crossed for me, and I welcome any and all helpful tips, suggestions, and/or knitterly mojo you’d care to send my way!!

But, challenging knitting aside… it was a summer for reading accomplishments and so many good books! Perhaps the best thing that all these books brought me was the expansion of my horizons through my reading. In the wee hours of Sunday morning, I finished my second SAH Bingo Coverall! (A reminder of my first SAH Bingo Coverall) I also finished my first “post-bingo” books this week! Yay!

  1. Month or day of the week Season in the title (yes, I swapped this season for “month or day of the week,” but my card – my rules): The Summer Book
  2. Part of a series: The Lewis Man
  3. Told from more than two different points of view: The House of the Spirits
  4. Prize-winning author (but not prize-winner): The Night Watchman
  5. Collection of poetry: The Rain in Portugal
  6. Recommended by a friend: The Things We Cannot Say
  7. By and  author on your current year favorites list: The Chessmen
  8. Historical fiction: The Good Lord Bird
  9. Blurbed by someone you admire: Tightrope
  10. Set in a different season: The Innocent (I loosely translated this to the Cold War season)
  11. Bird or animal on the cover: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
  12. Latest book by an author your love: Afterlife
  13. Any book: Counting Descent
  14. Recommended in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide (any year): The Sweet Life in Paris
  15. Originally published in the 20th century: Invisible Man
  16. Re-read a childhood/YA favorite: Stuart Little
  17. Recommended on a podcast: Intimations: Six Essays
  18. Children’s Classic: Wind in the Willows
  19. On a friend’s favorites shelf: Upstream
  20. Chosen by a celebrity the PBS/NYTimes bookclub (at any time): The Street
  21. About a homecoming: Their Eyes Were Watching God
  22. By a new-to-you author: The Rain in Portugal
  23. Person on the cover: Disappearing Earth
  24. Audiobook with one narrator: Song Yet Sung
  25. About travel: So Brave, So Young, So Handsome

Stuart LittleStuart Little by E.B. White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read this book dozens of times… alone as an early reader and out loud to my children before bed. The escapades of Stuart are simply wonderful. The joy of having it read to me, though was entirely unexpected! I could immerse myself in my inner child and lose my self in Stuart’s story. I highly recommend this audio version!

Breathe: A Letter to My SonsBreathe: A Letter to My Sons by Imani Perry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A beautiful companion to Ta-Nehisi Coates Between the World and Me. The writing is poetic and haunting. The view into the mother/son relationship is poignant, in a world where black boys are not safe in most places. Perry does a beautiful job of putting the reader in her shoes. I highly recommend this book.

The Wind in the Willows: IllustratedThe Wind in the Willows: Illustrated by Kenneth Grahame
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If it is at all possible, I think re-reading this as an adult made this book better. Or perhaps it is the time we are living in… the concerns of coronavirus, the worry about the political climate, the desire for racial justice. And for a few hours, I was able to escape all that to life with Mole and Ratty. A place where differences are not bad, where everyone is welcome, and where the ability to just head out to no where is absolutely okay. The writing is profound… with lots of adult nuggets tucked away! I highly recommend getting lost in the Willows!

Memorial Drive: A Daughter's MemoirMemorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir by Natasha Trethewey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A painful, yet moving memoir of a daughter trying to make sense of her mother’s life and death. I was left with many questions, as I think Trethewey intended… because she still has questions. The story is chilling and heartbreaking.

 

And that is all I have for today! If you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below, and thank you!


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