The start of July came and went… and despite me placing a notification in my electronic calendar, I entirely missed the notification reminding me that July brings another “Currently” post. Thankfully, Carole gently reminded me this week with her timely post on her current world!
So while this post is a bit late… July is practically over… how about a peek into what my world looks like! So get something to drink and let me tell you what has been going on around here!
Contemplating: Change… in so many things. One thing that has a big change happening wis the On Being podcast, which I was a faithful listener! It is changing… no longer a weekly venture for Ms. Tippet, but when it returns in the fall it will be different… but still centered around mind-opening conversation. But for the summer… Krista is bring us The Summer of Pause. And I must tell you… it is the perfect pairing for my word this month. I have been focused on filling my days with the simple, and what is simpler than to take a pause. This quote struck a deep cord and I have written it in several places as a reminder to myself…
When we pause, allow a gap and breathe deeply, we can experience instant refreshment. Suddenly, we slow down, look out, and there’s the world. — Pema Chödrön
Allowing a gap is a beautiful thing… and I am really loving it! So while change can be a struggle… I am such a creature of habit… there is something good about change as well. This focus on simplicity has allowed me to spend some time in the gap… pausing… relishing the simple… and in the process appreciated what all this has done for my mental health! Less reactions to stress. Better sleep… such better sleep. Feeling better about myself. Small wins with an immense impact!
Learning: I have completed my first watercolor lesson. And I have learned so much. I watched the video and took many notes. I then got my paper ready and started the video again… and started trying the new techniques I was learning. I can be very self-critical… and I see many mistakes. Too wet…. too much paint… not enough paint…. too dry. But I am counting a win that I can identify my challenges and will submit my homework for welcome critique. And I will keep practicing… I can tell you all this… time just flies when I am painting. It is a welcome pause in my day!
Starting at the very beginning…
Listening: Some weeks ago, I read that Heather McGhee was going to do a podcast and the first episodes dropped this week. It is called The Sum of Us and is available on Spotify. I have listened to the first two episodes and have enjoyed them tremendously. If you liked her book by the same name, you will love the podcast. Heather is traveling across the country and talking to people… something I think she does incredibly well. It is very different from the normal listening I do… it is not like listening to an audiobook and it is very different from a poetry podcast. A welcome change in my listening rotation!
In My Backyard: Recently I shared that “our” regular bunny pair had made a nest near our patio. In fact, she made her nest in a “Tomato Bag” that I had recently pulled out the tomato plant that was not doing well, but I neglected to empty the bag of the dirt and put it away… because lazy – or perhaps lucky?? Serendipitous most certainly because it was just so much fun watching them care for the wee little bunnies. Anyways, last Sunday was Baby Bunny Move Out Day, and we watched the littles (there were 4 of them) trying to figure out how they were going to get out of the bag! We watched them all day as they hopped around… peering over the edge and wondering which might be the first out. The daddy bunny was in the yard, watching them closely… patiently waiting. Sadly, we did not see The Great Escape and by morning the nest was empty. Sigh. We have gotten glimpses of them around the yard several times though! Sometimes it is the simplest little things that bring the greatest joy… and those little bunnies certainly brought so much joy!
Joni Jamming: On my bucket list is to someday be in person at the Newport Folk Festival… someday. However, the surprise visit of Joni Mitchell to this year’s fest has had me wishing I had been there and I have been Joni Jamming ever since. The only word that comes to my mind is miraculous… and tonights happy hour is gonna be all Joni!
Some of my all time favorites: Both Sides Now, Just Like This Train, and Big Yellow Taxi…
Over-done: As in the never ending heat. I try so hard not to waste the season I am in wishing for the next season to get here.. but gosh! This heat has done me in… I am really ready for it to be over. There is little joy in sitting outside in 90+ degree temps trying to be comfortable… so we have spent far too many days indoors with the AC blasting. I am ready for a break… although, all this heat (with very little rain) means that Steve has not had to mow the yard in weeks… so there’s that. But still… I am longing for 70-ish degree days that I can have the AC off and the windows all open!
And there you have it, gentle readers… a slice of my current life! Have a great weekend and I will see you all back here on Monday!
I am wondering how on earth I am welcoming April… no fooling! This year seems to be moving at a pace slightly faster than warp speed… sigh.
However, my Blog Calendar tells me that today is the day for my Currently Check In! I am excited to be documenting my year in this way. This feels better to me than the monthly review… which, for me, felt like Blog Overkill. For me it feels better to check-in with a current list that allows me to see what I am doing now and where I was with the hope of perhaps holding myself accountable for things that “fall off my radar” for whatever reason.
Decreasing: Stashes… of all sorts. I spent some time at the end of March going through my “Yarn Closet”… reorganizing and, yes, removing a good portion of The Stash. It felt good. I also went through some “unpacked boxes” left overs from my move from Michigan almost 10 years ago…Yeah, I should have just tossed those boxes but I went through them. Thanks to one of those boxes I have a new set of pjs and I will soon have another pair completed! But most of the stuff I unearthed is gone… or is waiting to be donated. Some time ago I started a box for each of my kids and then promptly (conveniently?) forgot about them. But those boxes are back on my radar and I am going to spend this quarter working on getting them filled (which I hope will empty more boxes!)
Increasing: Play Time! Thanks to Karen Abend’s Sketchbook Revival, I have been spending some time each day practicing not being perfect. Playing. Coloring outside the lines. Trying new things. Contemplating creativity. And it has been so much fun! This is a thing that I want to keep on doing… because it is such a great release! Because it is so much fun! And because I am inspiring myself.
Anticipating: Spring. Really. Mother Nature has teased us with some hints of spring but I fear that we are going to go from Winter to Summer… wham, bam. Boo, because I like the in-between seasons… spring and fall. A gradual easing into what is coming next…but I might need to disavow myself of that wish this year. Sigh. Instead, I am looking forward to April Poetryand an April Trip to Erie… things that I can be sure of! Ha! And speaking of April Poetry – you will find Kym, Bonny, Sarah, and myself sharing our love of poetry on Thursday’s this month!
Meanwhile, in the oven: Yes, I am still mixing up a “Tub of Dough” roughly every 20 days…and baking baguettes, boules, and lots of pizza! I just love the ease and simplicity of 5-Minute Bread… This was absolutely one of the best things I am continuing from the start of the year. I hope to figure out focaccia this quarter…I have a recipe, I just need to make the time to make the recipe!
The Bandwagon Knitting Ban: Yes, that is right… In January I jumped on the bandwagon to knit a Musselburgh Hat… and… it was a failure on a number of levels. First… my yarn was too fine… so my hat might have fit a shrunken head. Second… Bandwagon Knitting. Yeah, sometimes it works… but, for me, it has not worked for a long time. I end up with a thing I won’t use or wear. So yep, I have A Bandwagon Knitting Ban… for the foreseeable future.
Projects for Success: This idea really resonates with me. But what is it… well, for me, it is making things I love…and wear often….again. Sort of like a Uniform Wardrobe…pieces that wear and play well with the other wardrobe staples. In that frame of mind… I started another Tegna, this time with a warm weather yarn. I also want to knit another Fall/Winter Marsa Alum. (Ravelry Link) I also plan on sewing another Esme Tunic… in a summery linen. I am also contemplating knitting another Ranunculus, (Ravelry Link) most likely not out of linen yarn this time… but I don’t have any idea on what yarn I want to use, but I am thinking about it… lots.
Reading: My reading life is so much better this year. I stopped reading for a “number” and started reading more spur of the moment reads. These little changes have really inspired me! And the books I am reading are staying with me longer… which might be the best change ever. Sometimes small changes make a huge difference in the quality of ones life. That is certainly true for me and reading this year!
And there you have a snapshot of my currents… Have a great weekend everyone and I will see you all back here on Monday!
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!
I have not done a “currently” update for a very long time. Too long, maybe. Anyways, one has kind of been rattling around in my brain so I thought I’d share a bit. Sadly, it is not all of it is good… but that is often life, right?
Remembering — I read this morning that Senator Levin died and it reminded me of an interaction I had with him a very, very long time ago. I was at a gas station filling up my car on my way to work in Saugatuck. Senator Levin and his brother pulled in and while Sandy filled up their car, Senator Levin engaged in conversation with me. I, of course, recognized him and was kind of awestruck that he would talk with me. In our conversation, he asked for a recommendation on a place to eat. I asked him what he was hungry for… fish was the answer. I gave him a couple of options and he asked me where would I go… I gave him my response and he said that’s where they will go then! Such a great man with a legacy that will live on.
Tackling — This morning I have queued up a YouTube video on how to do horizontal mattress stitch. Honestly, it feels a bit daunting with all the “steps” because you bind off X stitches at the beginning of the row for X rows… which creates a series of steps. If I knit this sweater again, I will contemplate doing some knitting math and do some short rows to create the shoulder slant, which would allow me to bind off the row in its entirety (making seaming easier, I think…)
Reading — This week has been a banner week. First, I was finally “next in line” for Uncommon Ground and I stayed up a bit too late reading the past two nights – my plan for today is to get those shoulders seamed and then knit some mindless stockinette and read! Yesterday, I completed my Summer Book Bingo card with the finish of Ian McEwan’s Saturday. A brilliant way to finish my card… I just love his writing. And it is a book that will “sit with me” for some time.
(not) Growing — This summer will likely go down as the worst year ever for growing things. My vegetable garden has been a serious disappointment this year… I planted beans, some peppers, tomatoes, summer squash, and zucchini. Lots of things that are just not producing anything. Half of the zucchini have produced nothing… and this morning I noted that one plant has two zucchini starting… so maybe? The summer squash provided only 3 squash… and it appears there will be no more. Normally, I have more tomatoes than I know what to do with but it looks like I will be lucky to get a dozen tomatoes from 6 plants. I am holding out hope for some beans (to date, I have picked 5… that’s right, five beans) because I have blooms (again) so maybe this time I will get some beans. The peppers have had flowers, but no production beyond the flowers. One might think that my problem is bees… or the lack thereof. This is not the case… I have bees galore! So I am not certain what the problem is and Steve is now complaining about wasting water on a garden that is not producing.
(over) Grown — We made a decision earlier this year to not trim the bushes in the back yard in the spring, but rather cut them back significantly this fall. I worried about how “unkempt” the riot of bushes would look like, but I never imagined that those untrimmed bushes would be the source of some surprising visitors this summer! I usually hang a couple of hummingbird feeders, but had not gotten them out yet when the warnings went out about not feeding birds this summer… I was disappointed, because it is just so much fun to see hummingbirds from our porch. But, I never imagined the volume of birds that would flock to our Rose of Sharon… time spent watering in the yard is a joy with all the hummers zooming around. I have seen more of them this summer *with no feeders* than I ever did with feeders. This has caused me to reconsider garden beds and things that need pruning to “look good” … some good food for thought for the fall and winter!
Counting — Nine weeks from today we leave for Michigan. And while it seems like eons away… I know it will be here sooner than I think. I just can’t wait… although I have some trepidations about the trip (thank you, Delta Variant) My fervent hope is that both PA and MI will continue to stay out of the “red zone” as they currently are!
And there you have my “current” thoughts. I hope that you all have a great weekend and I will see you back here next week!
I cannot remember the last time I shared what is my “current world” (small as that world is these days) So here you have a little slice of my world!
K-A-M-A-L-A…. oh my gosh! Yes, there were tears and cheers! I am so thrilled! But honestly… watching Kamala debate Pence in October will be a must see event! Ha! But we have reached the 80 day mark, people. 80 days!! Although, I think these next 80 days are going to be a really rocky ride… but I will take a moment to ask you all… are you registered to vote? Have you applied for your absentee ballot? 80 days will go a lot faster than we think!
I am a huge proponent of my local library and usually I don’t mind waiting my turn for a book… that is until I listened to Isabel Wilkerson talk about her new book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. After listening to this and then this I don’t think patiently waiting to read this is an option. Now to decide, physical book? Kindle copy? Audible?
Some weeks ago, I made myself a promise to *finish my plethora of in process projects before starting anything new* but boy… the new MDK Field Guide has some amazingly yummy things in it! I can’t get the Aperture Stole out of my head and I am itching to make it however, I have not bought any yarn… yet.
I had a brief lull in bean production, but that has resolved and now I am back to picking an overflowing handful every day. And so.many.tomatoes! I roasted some cherry tomatoes yesterday. And have shared more tomatoes with neighbors… But I think the end is near for the plants. This heat has really put the garden on “fast forward” it seems. My containers look like they do after Labor Day and the tomato plants are about “done” so I don’t think I will have the luxury of a September garden that is producing anything significant.
This unrelentingly hot summer. Since Memorial Day we have only had 20 days where the temperature was between 70 and 80 degrees (no days below 70 at all) and 61 days of 90+ degrees. Steve has not mowed the yard since mid-June. I am not kidding you. We have had virtually no rain to speak of and it is so dry. It’s not that I want to usher in the next season early, but boy do I need a break from these endless days of heat and humidity. (And really… a week of soaking all day rain would be so welcome!!) The weather person (whose reliability in forecasting is really not good) says that next week no temps above 80…. I have my fingers crossed!
And with that… this week is a wrap! I hope your weekend is exactly what you need!