Thoughts to get through Monday | 1.17.22

Thoughts to get through Monday | 1.17.22

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. — Martin Luther King Jr.

This is the quote I wrote in my calendar to greet me this morning. An excellent reminder when the finite disappointment seems more like endless disappointment and I have lost sight of infinite hope. This week, I am going to be refocusing on hope.

An update from last week: I shared my Bialetti pots and Karen mentioned that what coffee you use is important. This is most certainly true! I have found that a darker roast beans brew a better pot of coffee and my favorite is one we can find at our local Costco… Mayorga Café Cubano. How you grind the coffee is also important… you can’t grind it so finely that the water cannot “perk” through the grounds. I have found that an “auto-drip” grind works very well.

Just when I had begun to wonder if winter would ever arrive… it did and then some yesterday! We have about 8 inches of snow (which shuts all of Pittsburgh down!) and it is still coming down this morning. My thyme that will not die is blanketed in snow this morning… still green and I will be picking some to make some breadsticks to go with dinner. (I think it is telling me that it has infinite hope!)

But yes, it was a morning that required all.the.handknits for Sherman’s morning constitutional! Ha! (Although, all the hand knits was probably overkill considering that Sherman was out for less than 3 minutes!)

If you too are in the path of this momentous storm, stay safe and warm! It is a morning for an extra cuppa and a good book!

See you all back here on Wednesday!

 

Thoughts to get through Monday | 1.10.22

Thoughts to get through Monday | 1.10.22

(And the necessary beverage to help! Ha!!)

In my household, we have finally gotten past the “Holiday Weeks” that encompass the end of the year and generally spill into the New Year. Today is the first “normal Monday” I have had in a while and it feels so good!

We had some snow on Friday for a hot minute… sigh. By Sunday it was all gone and the rains returned… by Sunday afternoon my poor yard was just one giant soggy (which then turned into the frozen tundra this morning!) Yep, weather whiplash is in high gear here… 40’s yesterday and a bitter 18° this morning.

I purposely left my Dickens Village up when I took down the remainder of Christmas… I really enjoyed it this year and leaving  it up for these extra days has been a treat. But today I will take it all down and tuck it safely away for another year. I am ready for a “cleaner” mantle.

Today all this will be packed away!

Last week Bonny shared that she picked up some instant espresso to treat herself and I loved this little idea of “treating oneself”. It is one of the best self care things ever… to do something special for yourself! Some years ago I “treated” myself to a wee little Bialetti Moka Express Pot. It was the best purchase I ever made for myself! I soon added a 6-cup model and I use one of these pots every single day. I don’t own a drip coffee pot any longer. I make myself a pot every single morning and on the morning’s that Steve is here then I use the larger pot to split between us. About once a quarter I have to change the rubber gasket and once a year I put in a new filter in as well. As you can see it is well-used! (Barkeepers Friend keeps it nice and shiny!) The best part is that the only “waste” I have on a daily basis are coffee grounds and I can put them in a container to mulch into my garden.

1. All ready for service! 2. Fill with water to “this” line! 3. Next, fill the basket with grounds. 4. Finally, add some frothed milk and a splash of cinnamon syrup and enjoy!

And that is my best advice for you on this “back to normal” (??) Monday… treat yourself to something special today! And skip those guilty thoughts… just treat yourself! You are so very worth it!

Happy Monday All!

Currently | 1.7.22

Currently | 1.7.22

In December, as I began thinking about my word for this year… one of the things that I also spent some time contemplating was this blog. I thought long and hard about its future and I determined that I still had things to share, contributions to make, and, especially, the connections I have made here over the years! But, this blog does not write itself and that means that I have to make an actual effort to… well… create content to post here!

I have sort of mapped out a plan of post topics to help me “jump start” my creativity and so this First Friday it begins!

I will be doing quarterly “Currently” posts as a check in with myself… what am I doing. (or most importantly…what am I not doing and what should I be doing!)

Unpacking: My word! January is always such a fun month to spend looking at all the possibilities a word has and in the unpacking of the word, I always always find things I did not previously consider about the word. And I just love writing down definitions, writing down the “stream of  words” that come to my mind as I unpack the word. Good things for January! It is the one month that I really like being at my desk!

Planning: Some January sewing! I think this is the *second* winter that has passed since I determined that I’d like a pair of corduroy pants… (THIS is exactly what these posts are going to help me do… be more accountable on the things I “talk” about wanting to get done! HA) Anyways… I simply love Sew House Seven’s Free Range Slacks and I plan on getting the pattern cut out this weekend so I am ready to start sewing on Monday! I also really need a couple of “nicer” sweat shirt-style shirts. I have had the Cosmos Sweatshirt pattern for a while now and I have these two lovely pieces of French Terry from Blackbird Fabrics. FOMU (that’s Fear Of Messing Up) has stymied me however. But I did not buy the fabric to just look at it! So I am breaking out from the fear and at least getting them washed and dried today! Then I will plan my next steps… I have not sewn knits is so long. (but thankfully Sewing YouTube has dozens of helpful videos!)

Shaking up: Friday Happy Hours! Boy, have they felt stale as the year ended. So I have been spent a little bit of time finding some new recipes and ideas to “spruce them up” a bit! Phase One starts tonight with a something freshly baked… stay tuned! (And I will be posting an update on IG! What??? LOL)

Speaking of Baking: In November I began making a “bucket” of dough and have been using Zoë François/Jeff Hertzberg 5-minute bread recipe. It keeps is the fridge for 2 weeks and makes it so simple to just pull out a bit of dough to make a loaf of very good bread! I expect this to continue as the dough can be used for pizza as well! It is nice having home made pizza every other week! (A favorite of ours is one with a chicken breast that I have previously cooked and shredded, some artichoke hearts, a drizzle of olive oil and some parmesan cheese!)

Watching: Call the Midwife and loving every second of it! (I also watched the first episode of Around the World in 80-days with DAVID TENNANT… so far, so good…and DAVID TENNANT!) These have been my “companions” while I have been spinning… and they are such very good company!

Spinning… with a plan in mind: I started a “sweater spin” last year and it sort of lost its sparkle. I love the fiber but the sweater part of the spinning has been the issue I think. So I changed the sweater plan… drastically! I knit Romi’s Morinne sweater (Rav link) some years ago and I love the design and fit so much… but the yarn I knit it with… not so much. It pills horribly and now after some years of wear it really looks like hell. This change in sweater has spurred on my spinning… as has the excitement of opening a little bit of fiber each day from Hipstrings Base12 Advent spin… which I thought was just spinning with no plan until yesterday… I think that this will make a lovely Hitchhiker (and I am sure that I will have more than enough yarn to knit a generous one!)

Bandwagon Knitting: I know that I said I was NOT doing any bandwagon knitting this year… but I should know better than to every say never… because on Wednesday night I jumped on the Musselburgh Wagon and began that fiddly little cast on. I am not through all the increases yet so I have not quite gotten to the “mindless knitting” portion of the hat… but soon!

And there you have the things that are currently filling the minutes of my days! What about you? Tell me one thing that you are really excited about!

Have a great weekend everyone and I will see you all back here on Monday!

Monday Poetry | 12.27.21

Monday Poetry | 12.27.21

Happy Birthday to me! Today begins my 61st year! 61 years brings lots of retrospection and thinking about birthdays of long ago. When I was a child, it almost always seemed to snow on my birthday and I loved it so much! I have also been thinking about Christmas Vacation birthdays. That’s right…one of the benefits of having your birthday 2 days after Christmas is that you never have school… but that is one of the detriments as well. Sometimes it would have been nice to be in school on my birthday… and even better, it would have been so fun having a snow day!

I won’t see any snow today (it’s pouring down rain…sigh) but thankfully Billy Collins can conjure up a Snow Day for me!

I hope you all enjoy a bit of a Snow Day today (even if there is no physical snow!) I will see you back here tomorrow with an update on my word!


Snow Day

BY BILLY COLLINS

Today we woke up to a revolution of snow,
its white flag waving over everything,
the landscape vanished,
not a single mouse to punctuate the blankness,
and beyond these windows

the government buildings smothered,
schools and libraries buried, the post office lost
under the noiseless drift,
the paths of trains softly blocked,
the world fallen under this falling.

In a while, I will put on some boots
and step out like someone walking in water,
and the dog will porpoise through the drifts,
and I will shake a laden branch
sending a cold shower down on us both.

But for now I am a willing prisoner in this house,
a sympathizer with the anarchic cause of snow.
I will make a pot of tea
and listen to the plastic radio on the counter,
as glad as anyone to hear the news

that the Kiddie Corner School is closed,
the Ding-Dong School, closed.
the All Aboard Children’s School, closed,
the Hi-Ho Nursery School, closed,
along with—some will be delighted to hear—

the Toadstool School, the Little School,
Little Sparrows Nursery School,
Little Stars Pre-School, Peas-and-Carrots Day School
the Tom Thumb Child Center, all closed,
and—clap your hands—the Peanuts Play School.

So this is where the children hide all day,
These are the nests where they letter and draw,
where they put on their bright miniature jackets,
all darting and climbing and sliding,
all but the few girls whispering by the fence.

And now I am listening hard
in the grandiose silence of the snow,
trying to hear what those three girls are plotting,
what riot is afoot,
which small queen is about to be brought down.

Billy Collins, “Snow Day” from Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems (New York: Random House, 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Billy Collins. Reprinted with the permission of Sll/Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.

Monday Poetry | 12.20.21

Monday Poetry | 12.20.21

There are times when hindsight gives a clarity that is astounding… I should have voted with the doctor for stitches rather than voting for no stitches. Her wisdom has been so correct…she gave me two scenarios: One: get stitches, likely lose my nail, but my finger would heal faster…but likely probably with more pain. Two: no stitches, perhaps keep my nail, heal slower, but with less pain… and here I am more than a week in and my finger is still not healed and still not fully functional. My frustration level is moving towards the “off the charts” realm and I am sick of the entire process of healing/cleaning/bandaging/etc. (And while I can sort of type… mainly it is an activity that increases my frustration level!)

If ever there was a need in my life for poetry, it is this morning. And today… I am sharing two poems that I truly love. The first, In the Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti. This poem has always been one of my favorite hymns, but I did not know about Christina or her poetry until I did some research on the poem. Below is a very unique version of the hymn… which is usually sung by a boys choir (and quite beautifully, I might add) but there was something just stunning about this rendition.

And how can one ease into winter without a bit of Robert Frost? This poem sort of sums up my week ahead… I have miles to go before I can be ready for Christmas! lol

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

by ROBERT FROST
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Robert Frost, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” from The Poetry of Robert Frost, edited by Edward Connery Lathem. Copyright 1923, © 1969 by Henry Holt and Company, Inc., renewed 1951, by Robert Frost. Reprinted with the permission of Henry Holt and Company, LLC.


I will see you all back here on Wednesday with some knitting updates (hopefully!)

Happy Monday all!

Photo by Simon Berger from Pexels

Monday Poetry | 12.13.21

Monday Poetry | 12.13.21

When it seems like the world is collapsing in on itself and bad news is all around, poetry provides a respite that nothing else can.

The bird that came to my mind as I read Mary Oliver’s poem was a Cedar Waxwing with their distinctive white outline around their eyes. (and thanks to Pexel I found a photo to share on a morning as I am fresh out of Cedar Waxwing photos!)

This morning my thoughts are full of all those devastated by the spate of tornadoes that tore across so many states.

I will see you all back here on Wednesday.


White-Eyes

In winter
    all the singing is in
         the tops of the trees
             where the wind-bird
with its white eyes
    shoves and pushes
         among the branches.
             Like any of us
he wants to go to sleep,
    but he’s restless—
         he has an idea,
             and slowly it unfolds
from under his beating wings
    as long as he stays awake.
         But his big, round music, after all,
             is too breathy to last.
So, it’s over.
    In the pine-crown
         he makes his nest,
             he’s done all he can.
I don’t know the name of this bird,
    I only imagine his glittering beak
         tucked in a white wing
             while the clouds—
which he has summoned
    from the north—
         which he has taught
             to be mild, and silent—
thicken, and begin to fall
    into the world below
         like stars, or the feathers
               of some unimaginable bird
that loves us,
    that is asleep now, and silent—
         that has turned itself
             into snow.
Source: Poetry (Poetry Foundation, 2002)

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