This week has felt very disordered to me… a not very weekend weekend, a missing day on Monday, and then trying to catch up with what day it is… I am really glad that the week is over! But before I close the curtain on this week, I have a few things to share!
First up… I got notification from my gastroenterologist that the polyps were benign and she will see me in 5 years! Whew! That is an enormous relief… I have a family history that is heavily laced with colon cancer and this news was a very good thing!
Next, I am painting way more than knitting these days…what? I know… but it is true! I am feeling very good about what I am learning. This is week five and, of course, there were new things to learn this week! The goal… to not have my deciduous trees not look like cotton balls on a stick. I won some, I lost some… and I especially like my hard edge trees.
I am getting a very good feel for the amount of moisture will do for a painting. Now, that does not mean I have a good handle on that moisture, but at least I am able to recognize issues, lol! And I was inspired to try another go at the little barn image. So a little free hand sketch… some Arches paper (I don’t have any Arches paper in 11×15… but I am going to get some!) and I found the sweet spot for my sky wash!
I also did better, IMO, with the grassy area. Layering is still a bit of a struggle but I am eager to practice every day! I am loving painting so much, I have signed up for a fall class with the same teacher and I am looking forward to more challenges!
Finally… perhaps my favorite thing of the week is that today is Sherman’s birthday. He is 10 years old today! (60 years in dog years based on his weight) I cannot imagine what life would have been like these past 10 years without him. He is my bright spot of each and every day. I absolutely would not have survived Pandemic Living without him. I have never had a dog with so much personality…and I love him so much! This weekend will be full of extra snuggles with him as we celebrate this milestone for him!
He looks grumpy, but he is the biggest softie on the planet… grey face and all! Happy Birthday, dearest Sherman! (who really just wants to know where his next treat is! Haha)
And that is all I have to share with you all this week. Have an amazing weekend and I will see you all back here on Monday with my August OLW update!
Today I have a stack of letters that I need to get in the post… buckle up!
Dear Citizens Bank Mortgage Department,
I realize that your goal is that people who have a mortgage would never pay it off and make all payments on time…and refinance frequently. However, when we called for a payoff letter… we were serious. Never did we imagine that your payoff letter would be incorrect… by a whopping $3.00. Just enough to keep the loan open… Which would keep our auto-payment open, but not pulling any payment because $3.00 is, of course, less than our usual mortgage payment.
So we called you. And called you. And called you some more. And then we got a late fee. And you reported a late payment to the credit bureau… which I am wondering how that is even possible since we don’t owe a payment!
Likewise, it is so comforting to call a customer service rep who is working from home with audible television and kids in the background. I really don’t think she is going to make our problem a priority.
Anyways, you have assured us this will all be fixed *sometime next week*… excuse me if we don’t hold our breath and we will be calling on Tuesday just to make sure!
Mortgage Free, minus $3.00…
I know that you are usually full of some fun, some good food, and for sure… a cocktail or two. This weekend will not be that. I just want to let you know that clear liquids and jello does not mean I am upset with you… I just have this little test on Monday to get ready for.
And the timing on the “prep” portion of my weekend “fun” will be determined later today when they give me a “go time” for my procedure…but I am really hoping that I do not have an afternoon appointment on Monday!
Finally… a letter to myself:
I found this marvelous quote this week… perfect timing for you!
To learn something new, you need to try new things and not be afraid to be wrong. ― Roy T. Bennett
It seemed to be your mantra this week because you tried lots of new things… (new shoulder seams, new bind off, and another painting!)
I know you felt a bit overwhelmed, but you listened to the advice in this week’s painting lesson and incorporated it in your painting! Yay for different brushes… and using those brushes differently!
I am so impressed with your bite-sized approach to this week’s lesson… a little bit each day and you did not get overwhelmed!
I think this is a painting that you will look back on and say things started to click for you… and you can even see the forest *and* the trees!
Your Kinder, Gentler Inner Voice
And with that, dear readers, it is the weekend.
I will be back on Wednesday with some Unraveling. Think good thoughts for me on Monday!
Welcome to the first Friday in August! I have had an incredible week. So read on and see what I did this week!
Refocus and Recenter —
I have changed up my morning meditation time a bit. My time now includes reading a couple of Derek Walcott poems, ignoring the darker mornings, and setting my focus on August days. Ignoring the heat is a challenge, but then I look at all the tomatoes turning red and the heat does not seem quite so bad. So rather than wishing away the month… I am going to focus on the good things that August brings.
Likewise, I am going to recenter myself and my word. Last month my word felt very finished to me and I was contemplating five months more of…. coasting? Silly me! Enter the brilliance of Ali Edwards and her OLW Team of Word Super Hero’s! I watched the videos (yes, more than one) and took a page of notes about Beginning Again. August me… not January me… re-centering my word right now. Best phrase of all the videos… Welcome to the deep breath of August. I am taking that as my mantra for this month as I contemplate what beginning again looks like with all the work I have done this year! One week in and I am already seeing new possibilities for full!
Itty-bitty steps —
That would be me…as I paint…or don’t as the case might be. I did watch the second painting lesson but, more importantly, I listened. Surowicz not only shows the how of painting via the videos, he shares the how and the why in his words. This week’s takeaway… plan where you are going to go before you pick up your brush. Wow! Yeah. That struck a huge chord with me… huge! Linking ideas and actions are not things I thought about with painting! Good things to think about especially in light of my homework critique that I watched on Tuesday, it was good but…there was that moment when he talked about the importance of planning which I did not understand until I watched the new lesson. Light bulb moment for me!! I have several things that I wrote down to practice this week but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and budding painters! (Please forgive my twist there, dear Robert Burns) If you guessed that there was no physical painting practice this week, you’d be correct. However, there was lots of thinking about planning and I have made time today to put the practice on paper! I promise to share next week.
Fluff into yarn —
What did entirely occupy my time this week? Plying up the singles I spun! And ply I did! On my new Starling! My goal was to spin thin… consistently… and for the most part, I did! Consistent singles makes plying so much easier. This skein took me roughly 3 hours to finish and it all went on ONE bobbin! It is getting a bit of a soak this morning, and I have no idea what the finished yardage will be but it will bloom and shrink a bit in the finishing. I am not sure there will be enough to knit a sweater, but I really love the muted colors of this skein! Stay tuned!
Friday Libation Ideas —
Every so often Happy Hour Libations seem… well… in the all.too.much.the.same. category. So this week I have been contemplating something different…something with Aperol! Last night we sampled my take on a Paper Plane. Oh gosh… so good! Citrus-y. Refreshing. Lightly herbaceous. So perfect for a hot humid August! Tonight though, I have another cocktail on the horizon inspired because I have a basil plant that is overly abundant right now, so for tonight’s sipper, I am thinking about trying a Basil Daisy. I will share how it turned out on IG later today!
And that is all I have for this week, I will see you all back here on Monday. Have a fantastic weekend everyone!
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!
Hello from an extremely muggy, warm Pittsburgh. I confess that I am really just sooo over all this heat and humidity! Steve has not mowed in a month… yes, you read that right. We did get some rain which curiously made the weeds grow, but the grass is still… dead. Lush and green are not terms to describe summer in my backyard right now! (Although I think nothing can kill those damned thistles…they are green – always!!)
I checked the court website after 5PM on Wednesday, and sure has heck… I was called up! So I scurried and finished getting my “court bag” ready for my service to the courts. Water – check. Book – check. Knitting – check. Masks – check. ID – check. Jury Summons – check. Traffic from the South Hills into Pittsburgh Proper can be a gamble. It can go from 20 minutes to an hour in the blink of an eye. Actually, a mere 5 minutes can make or break your commute… and the 8:30AM starting time put me right in the cusp of that travel dilemma. I erred on the side of caution and left at 7AM and got to court at the screaming early time of 7:30AM. Good thing I was early, I had no clue that knitting needles were considered weapons. (However, the much pointier ink pen… fine, just fine!) Purposely pulling the needles out of ones knitting is painful no matter what time it is, but 7:30AM… the swear words were echoing in my head! I briefly considered telling the gentleman that me without knitting was not a good thing, but I bit my tongue. I have never “checked my needles” before but there is a first for everything! I was masked, and I counted 104 potential jurors, including myself. Yep 104 souls in a small room, with no ventilation, and a noisy-ass, but barely working AC unit… and just 9 of us were masked. However, each and every one of us were released from our service because all *three* criminal trials decided to proceed without a jury… thank you very much, citizens of Allegheny County for sitting around for HOURS on end. I was fortunate (??) to sit next to a masked physician who shared that COVID is “so bad” in Allegheny county right now… his office is packed full of sick people. Yay. But, I don’t need to return… so there is that!
New watercolor paints (Daniel Smith Watercolor tubes). A new ceramic palette. New paper (Arches on a recommendation by Kym). New brushes. My first watercolor class drops Monday and so I am going to spend some time this weekend getting acquainted with my new tools! I also have been thinking lots about a permanent watercolor work space… 90°+ is not comfortable for my outside spot and right now my “dumping ground” is a table in the living room… which needs to stop! So my goal today is to figure out a permanent inside home for my paints and get it set up and ready for Monday’s class!
Forced (reading) FTW —
One very good thing that was the result of yesterday’s attempt at Jury Duty was the removal of those knitting needles because it forced me to pick up the book I brought along… The Transit of Venus. I had started this book at home where the distractions are many… and the start of this book is a bit tricky. There is a writing style to get comfortable with, there are characters that sort of just drop in on the page to get to know… and there is a time line to figure out. I pulled out the book mark and restarted (sitting next to that physician who was reading The People in Trees.) Sometimes, all a book needs is a bit of time… (in a space where you’d really like everyone… okay, I’d settle for most… masked!) I ignored everyone and got lost in The Transit of Venus… and you know what, that was all it took! I am now counting the minutes until I can pick it back up today!
I did not forget the simple things this week. I embraced the simple. Pulling a few weeds each morning. Dishes as meditation. The simply joy of stockinette knitting. And yes, pinning out some patterns so I can begin sewing next week.
That is all I have for this week! I will see you all back here on Monday (with a word update! Gah!!)