April Promise | 4.3.20

April Promise | 4.3.20

Another week, another un-Friday! March was the longest year of my life and how is it only April 3? However, I am managing to keep my mind occupied and away from activities that allow it to stray to worried thinking!

First, Steve thanks all of you for your birthday wishes! He wants you all to know it was the perfect day – a day at home that was all about him! He is the one person who is not stressed about sheltering at home – it is his favorite thing ever! The cake was incredibly delicious! (although next time I will halve the frosting recipe) It is moist and reminds me of brownies…but so.much.better. This is absolutely a recipe I will make again!

This week I spent lots of time happily noticing that despite the insanity that the world is these days, spring is blind to the uncertainty and slowly, steadily, each day it shares a new promise. My forsythia are a riot of yellow, the bridal–wreath has a veil of white lace, any my saved-from-the-dump lilac has dozens and dozens of dark purple flower buds! I have rhubarb leaves unfurling, the raspberries are getting new leaves, and the garden is calling to me. (I am ignoring the bushes that are screaming to be trimmed, and the yard that needs to be mowed – another month at home allows for the luxury of being able to take time to get the least favorite tasks done, amirite?)

I really tried to stay focused on small things. diversions, distractions, and remembering to breathe. The following are some things that have been the most pleasant distractions this week:

I discovered Patrick Stewart reading #ASonnetADay He is brilliant and I have loved every lovely word of them, but the best is when William Shakespeare retweets them!

Baking was truly a life-saver for me this week. I baked lots! I savored every step from making to the clean up – which for me was always the least fun part, but this week I welcomed the task! I also spent time tending my sourdough starter! My question for you all is this: Have you baked banana bread this week? You are not alone! (and if you didn’t, this is the bandwagon you want to get on ASAP!)

Poetry remains my favorite distraction and I have found so.many.new.poems on Shelter in Poems:

This week, there were so many moments of unexpected kindness…and I am profoundly grateful for each one.

And, finally… later today, I will begin the first clue of Romi’s Mystery Shawl!

I would say “let the weekend begin” but in these days of the never-ending weekend, it seems a moot point! I will be back on Monday and hope that you are all staying home, washing you hands, and flattening that damned curve!

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. from Pexels

 

Three on Thursday | 4.2.20

Three on Thursday | 4.2.20

Joining with Carole and friends today to share three things that made me feel much better this week!

Thing One:

I was really concerned I was drinking too much, but Ina told me I wasn’t at all. God love her…

Thing Two:

Shelter in Poems Oh boy, did I need this!

Thing Three:

Queue the Music… today is Steve’s birthday!

And, I spent most of yesterday baking him a cake!

I just have one question…what the hell did I do before I had sourdough starter?

Unraveled Wednesday | 4.1.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 4.1.20

Greetings Unravelers!

I am making small bits of progress in the making department. On Saturday, I jumped on the bandwagon to try making a sourdough starter. Starter Success Achieved! I loved having a tiny reminder to go and take care of it every day. And yesterday I had enough “discard” starter to make a batch of Blueberry Sourdough Muffins, which were so good. They are not too sweet, and that delicious tang of sourdough made for the perfect “second cup of coffee” companion!

I  picked up a big bunch of banana’s at Trader Joe’s on Friday and they are slated to become a loaf or two of Sourdough Banana Bread!

My knitting this week has been mainly focused on those mystery socks. The charted stitches are just what I needed…a simple pattern complete with some soothing repeats.

March reading saw a significant slow down…focusing on anything has been a challenge. I only read seven books this month, one of which was an audiobook. The best book of the month was Apeirogon, with 5-stars.

Felon: PoemsFelon: Poems by Reginald Dwayne Betts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Challenging poems that speak volumes, but the redacted poems… wow. Brilliant.

 

The Blackhouse (Lewis Trilogy, #1)The Blackhouse by Peter May
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A mystery within a mystery! The stories unfold slowly, intertwined together until the end when they are solved. I enjoyed the story tremendously and will be reading more in this series!

 

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


Missing Intention | March 2020

Missing Intention | March 2020

Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen Hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is. — Mary Anne Radmacher

Oh boy, can you say Intention Derailment? I feel like I am living on the edge.

Stuck on that dammed edge, wishing like hell that I could go back to last years word… to pick it up and wrap it around me because I really need something familiar right now. Something easy.

And then I read this:

Whenever something bad happens, keep calm, take a few deep breaths and shift the focus to something positive. — Roy T. Bennett

Yep, that is where I am right now… trying to stay calm, trying to breathe, and unsuccessfully seeking anything positive.

If this was all just about me only…I think I’d be fine with little or no hiccups in my day. But every day there seems to be some new thing to be concerned about for those I love (specifically my kids) and, honestly, it is damned hard to “put on a happy face” or find something positive.

But I have discovered that even small breaths are good. And faking calm works in a pinch – or at least for the duration of a phone call, then all bets are off.

And silent tears sometimes are the most positive thing in a day.

And that is all I’ve got.

Now, please go visit Honoré and see what everyone else has!

You can see my Intentional Journey here.

Weekending | 3.30.20

Weekending | 3.30.20

It was a wild weekend here in the Burgh! Crazy winds brought insane storms over the weekend, but the temps in the 70’s were awesome!

Steve is not working on Friday’s these days as his office is closed, but the power went out so all the pc’s turned off so no one could remote in which meant he did have drive in at a time which used to be peak rush hour traffic. On Friday however, there were less cars on the road then there is at 5am when he normally drives in. Eerie.

We did make a visit to our local TJ’s on Friday as well. We stood in line roughly 30 minutes… the sidewalk was well marked and the people in line were lovely

Photo courtesy of @stevofc who does not understand the concept of landscape photos….

Friday there was a typical happy hour with French Manhattans… they were so good!

Cognac, orange liquor, sweet vermouth, orange bitters, and a cherry.

No one takes better photos of the Pittsburgh area than Dave DiCello… but his lightning photos are just crazy.

The Monongahela River is doing its thing overflowing the wharf. This is about what my back yard looked like for most of Saturday and Sunday morning.

Sunday meant sock knitting and Negroni’s. (I don’t know if it is just me… but are you all drinking more these days?)

Working through clue two!

Then the sun came out and dried up much of the rain, so I could drag Steve out for a “forced photo shoot” (which he hates so much, lol) But anyways, here is my finished and MUCH loved Nightshift! It is HUGE and it is perfect! I only pinned the edges so they laid flat with really no stretching at all and it is so generously sized! I love it so much I **almost** wish for the tiniest sliver of cold weather to wear it a time or two…

There you have my weekend…I hope you managed to find some bright spots in yours! It seems unreal, but I will be back tomorrow with an update on my word!

Friday With More Perspective

Friday With More Perspective

You cannot see the wood for the trees. — John Heywood

This week brought increased worry for both the rapidly increasing numbers of the sick as well as all those who are caring for them. The stories don’t sound like something from a first-world country, but rather they sound like the horror stories from a war zone or a third-world country that you might vaguely notice in the news.

I read this post yesterday and it really made a huge impact on me. Gratitude + Perspective is my new focus. Less complaining. Less rose-colored glasses views. Less meaningless lists. Less foolishly looking back at unimportant things with misplaced longing.

But, it’s not all less…because there is so much more! More heartfelt conversations with loved ones. More prayers for the sick and those caring for them. More gratitude that I have a home to shelter in and that I can easily communicate with my children. More gratitude that my library is serving the community mightily from a distance. More gratitude that I have no lack of projects to work on. More gratitude that I have an abundance of food. And, finally… more gratitude in just staying home!

Thank you, Carolyn for helping me adjust my perspective!

I do have some “lighter” things to share… things to, you know, STAY HOME and do!

Have you wanted to learn to crochet? There’s a CAL for that! Thank you, Casapinka!

How about knitting a bit of Wool Week? The hat pattern is out today!

I don’t know how this pattern appeared on my radar, but it would be the perfect spring shawl!

Then there was this from Lori Versaci. Gorgeous, but and the color combinations in the test knits are what really caught my eye!

That is all I have for this week. Again my mantra… stay home, wash your hands, and stay well!

Three on Thursday | 3.26.20

Three on Thursday | 3.26.20

I am joining Carole and friends today to share three things I stumbled across this week!

Thing One:

Really, how long can the coronavirus live on surfaces and how to clean them! Thank you NPR!

Thing Two:

A talking schnauzer to get you through with a smile! (and yes, I am following Pluto on IG!)

Thing Three:

Yesterday, The Hidden Brain podcast shared Lessons from the 1918 Flu Pandemic.

I hope that you found these things helpful! Stay HOME, wash your hands, and be well!

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.25.20

Unraveled Wednesday | 3.25.20

Greetings Unravelers!!

I have finished my Nightshift and I am so smitten!! My ending was a bit sketchy but, I like how it turned out and I used up so much of my handspun yarn! You can read my pattern notes here where I explain my “recipe” for knitting. My goal was to have this completed before I start any of the “mystery” knits coming up (Yes, I am going to knit both Romi’s Mystery Shawl and the Lunar Phases Mystery! It’s Corona-Mystery-Knitting time because I **also** started a mystery sock on Sunday as well!)

The reading has been a challenge in this topsy turvy world. Focusing has been rather tricky, but at least I had 2 finishes this week!

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican DaughterI Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I do not typically read YA novels but this was the next selection in the Read With Us book club. I grew up in a city that had a very large Hispanic population and growing up I had neighbors/friends that I spent time with. I found Julia’s home to be very typical but her friends…not so much. I found that to be curious and it did not quite ring true (at least to me).

I also did not find it believable that Julia’s parents kept so many secrets about their lives “before they crossed the border.” But, it made me think about how tragic it is to be an undocumented worker, never feeling safe and never being able to travel to see family.

There are some significant gaps in the story line with little explanation of what happened. All in all, I do not recommend this book.

What Never Happens (Vik & Stubø, #2)What Never Happens by Anne Holt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I started this book thinking there must be a book missing between the first book and this one but I could not find one! So suddenly Johanne and Adam are married and have a new baby. How they got there from book one is an unanswered mystery!

Gruesome murders are taking place and you are nicely drawn into the work to solve the crimes. Overall it is fairly fast-paced, although some parts parts drag a bit. BUT!! the ending is brilliant! No spoilers here, but it was genius and I did not see it coming!

That’s all I have this week! If you wrote a post to share, please leave your link below and thank you!


Haiku Monday | 3.23.20

Haiku Monday | 3.23.20

Grey skies whose raindrops
Gently caress the new leaves
Teasing them to wake

My daily goal is to seek out something beautiful in the tiny world around me and some days I actually succeed. Today was one of those days! The return of tiny green leaves on the bushes in my yard reminds me that despite the uncertainty of life right now, some things are constant and don’t require any human assistance. I am thankful for these small leaves!

I am also thankful for these smiling faces from yesterday! Thank you to Mary for hosting us again!

However, I did learn that slippery needles make for easy dropped stitches! The sock I was working on is up next for a “do over”! (FYI, Vera!! CoopKnits is hosting a FREE Mystery-Sock-Along! Clue ONE is up here!)

Happy Monday (yes, it is Monday even if it doesn’t feel like it!) Have a great day and stay home, wash your hands, flatten the curve!

Spring TGIF | 3.20.20

Spring TGIF | 3.20.20

Time is the longest distance between two places. — Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

This quote perfectly describes how the passage of time feels right now. Monday seems like it was eons ago and today does not feel like Friday at all. And topping off the already chaotic week…life changed dramatically last night here in PA. All businesses that are not “life-critical” are now closed…for.the.indefinite.future. Which means Steve is suddenly not working anymore… PLUS My son is calling me multiple times a day to have me talk him down from the ledge, and my heart is breaking that there are so many miles between us because all I want to do is gather him up in my arms like I did when he was little and hold him close. Hard times, so.hard.

Tension-reliever –

This lovely gift arrived in my email this morning and I signed up before you could say Settling the Mind! Thank you, Michelle for this! Please join me… we can settle our minds together and be part of the best commUNITY, even though we are miles apart!

Great finds –

This week there were many!

First, NPR now has a very short new podcast: Coronavirus Daily. I love that I can get an update that is straightforward, no hype, no bs… just a simple update.

Want to learn to sew? (because you now have the time to learn, amirite??) Here you go… seven free and very well-done lessons! This will get you from wanting to doing!

I have a friend who recently started her “Magnum Opus” project – a Russian lace shawl with something like 60 pages of charts… Yeah, my thoughts exactly! However, I did come across this beauty, which I think could be classified in that Magnum Opus category!

Remember last week when I told you about Hinterm Stein’s KAL? Well, she released a sweater this week that is DIVINE!! (and it is on sale right now!!)

Added Inspiration –

April 7th a new #100DayProject begins and I have re-assembled my “stitching basket” and will be stitching a bit each day. This time it is a more ‘planned out’ project. I know what I want it to look like…so my inspiration is to take that thought and make it a reality on my fabric!

All.the.FUN –

Last night Mary hosted our first “Long Distance Knitting Group” on Zoom. I was concerned that I would have trouble staying awake…HA! The truth is, I had trouble going to sleep afterwards! Want in on this riotous group? We are planning to meet again this coming Sunday afternoon… watch Mary’s blog for details. We talked, we laughed, we knit… and the joy overflowed! I can tell you that this was the BEST thing I did for my sanity all week… thank you all!

That is all I have for this week… my “forced” forsythias have been a ray of sunshine in this week! (Their outside compatriots are just starting to bloom – so soon, sunshine inside and out!) Have a great weekend, stay well, wash your hands, and keep flattening that curve!

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