Early December RIFFing | 12.2.22

Early December RIFFing | 12.2.22

December. A desperate celebration of an end.
— Chandrama Deshmukh, A Teaspoon of Stars

This quote sort of sums of December for me…the end of a year, the end of a word (which has been a very good word for me!), the end of my being 62, the end of my Year of Gnomes (yes… I am doing a +1 in January… there is no way you can quit gnoming cold turkey! haha)

And with all those ending things, it is so hard to not look ahead to what is coming.

I don’t want to do that and so I am going to daily remind myself to savor the day… be full of the moment… and not filling myself with the anticipation of what is to come.

Do I need to do some planning and thinking about January? Yes, I do… but I am not going to allow that to overtake the Celebration of December!

Now, how about some things that have been on my mind recently!

Remembering —

Christine McVie. Her death came as a gut punch to me this week. I will forever remember her singing this:

Infatuated (with) —

Three hand knits have found me circling back to look at them for a while now. I have been in the ‘wait and see’ mode… waiting to see if this infatuation I have for them will grow into a lasting love… which will mean I can cast on with confidence!

  1. Kate Gilbert’s Nouvelle Vague (From Knitty Deep Fall) or really… a Clapotis Gradation. IMO, the Original Clapotis has the preferred shape and I had I had knit one eons ago but maybe I need a new one? I don’t know, but I am enamored of the idea of doing one in the Fade Fad. But the fad idea has halted me from moving this from infatuation to project.
  2. Drawing Sweater. Oh my. Sweater as a work of art… absolutely. And when I first saw this, if I had the yarn to knit one in my stash, I would have instantly cast on. But then I saw this….
  3. Flutter. Wow, right? Anyways, in my brain, I would do this and steek it. Flutter is just so lovely… and maybe more useful than a sweater?
(be) Fuddled —

Imagine my total surprise when Spotify notified me that my Spotify Wrapped 2022 was ready for me. Huh?

We regularly listen to Spotify, but we *always use Steve’s Spotify* … as in I make the food, Steve does the music. I know, it is a massive contribution that he makes! LOL

Anyways, the *only* thing I have used Spotify for in the past year was to listen to podcasts that were only on Spotify.

However, the list was even more befuddling… I have never listened to any of these songs, nor has Steve ever selected any playlists with any of these on it! WTAF Spotify, WTAF!

(some word) Forethought —

As my year with Full draws to a close, I have had the curious incidence of a new word nudging me for some time now. I ignored it at first, but the nudges persisted and became more frequent. I have settled in to the idea of this word, but it is a bit scary as I contemplate “the how” of this word so I have been contemplating it lots. In lots of ways. So to make sure that I capture any and all ideas that pop into my head during the day… I have started an Apple Note(s) for it. Some ideas I am sure will be hilarious to look back on, but I am capturing them all. And, while I think this technically might be Word Cheating, I am happy to be filling the tiniest bit of my days with Word Planning 2023!

And I am even more excited to sign up for Ali Edwards OLW 2023 “class” and this year I think my word will work in such a way that I can do some journal documentation! Stay tuned!

And there you have some very varied RIFFing for this first weekend in December! See you all back here on Monday!

Early December RIFFing | 12.2.22

Pre-vacation RIFFing | 10.14.22

First up… before any fun begins… I want to give a bit of a reminder to check your voting registration… in PA you have until October 24th to register to vote in the November election AND there is still time to get your mail-in ballot! You will find your state information here! There is so much that is not on the ballot, so who you vote for has never been more important.

No matter who you vote for, the most important thing is that you vote! (and with that I will get off my soap box and return you to your regularly scheduled blog post)

Now how about some excellent RIFFs for this chilly Friday!

Radiant —

A clip of the video below showed up in my Twitter feed one afternoon this week and I just needed more. I thought this might be the perfect way to usher in Friday. Brilliant, joyful, so uplifting and I believe that this was exactly what Mr. Vivaldi was hoping would happen with his music! This week, the Goede Hoop Marimba Band has given me the best “ear worm” ever! I hope you enjoy it as well!

Indigenous (Mapping) —

Steve had the day off on Monday for The Holiday Formerly Known as Columbus Day. In all honesty, I never spent much time thinking about the greatness of Columbus on this day. But recently I have been thinking much more about the silliness of celebrating a day of discovery of a land that was already discovered… and had been for roughly 25,000 years. I had so much fun with this map that NPR shared this week. It shows a well-inhabited North America… and drilling down to my neighborhood, I now know that I live on lands of Osage and Shawnee as well as the ancient tribe of Monongahela Indians.

Fretting (over) —

Throat-Clearers and Wan-Intensifiers” (I have gifted this very thoroughly enjoyable article from the WaPo for you all)

My library does not contain many books so the fact that I have a copy of Dryer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style should tell you that I thought this book was important and very necessary. Reading his article has reminded me that I am long overdue for a reread.

But… this could have been written for me: “Good writing, I think, ultimately exists between the twin goal posts of as-few-words-as-you-need and as-many-words-as-you-want. I, a natural natterer, lean toward the latterer.”

I am thankful for Dryer’s reminder on my over use of very and actually… at least for the moment! LOL

(and) Finally —

A bit of a vacation blogging schedule notice. Next Thursday (10/20), we head off to my most favored of places on the planet – Mississauga Lands (otherwise known as Presque Isle in Erie, PA) for a bit of a rest and rejuvenation! There will be an Unraveled post on Wednesday (10/26) but that is it. I don’t know how much making and reading I will have accomplished while on vacation, but you never know… I might even surprise myself! Ha!

I will be here as usual next week. On Monday the docent will have a new Museum of Me exhibit, and of course, there will be some Unraveling on Wednesday. I will be closing the week out on Thursday with A Gathering of Poetry installment and I’d like to invite you all to join in with us and share a poem that you might have stumbled across recently. Or share a poem that is near and dear to your heart. Really. The more the merrier… life can never have too little poetry!

And with that I will let you all get on with your day! Happy Friday All!

 

 

Early December RIFFing | 12.2.22

October RIFFing | 10.7.22

This week moved at warp speed… or at least it felt that way to me! I kind of had a mini-freak out this morning when I realized it was the 7th. Why this surprised me, I am not sure… as long as I can remember 7 follows 6… but yeah. Why this sudden panic? I realized that in two short weeks we will be on vacation!! Yikes!

Anyways, I have two patterns to finish cutting out this morning… so this post will be direct and to the point! Let’s get started!

Resilience —

As in the new podcast series from Sharon Says So. This series is touching on some history that I know little about, and though I have dipped my toes in to learn more, I have miles and miles to go.

From Sharon’s Blog: “For the next few weeks, we are going to explore a part of American history that we tend to learn very little about: the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.”

I am avidly listening and eagerly awaiting each episode. (Sharon has a vast library of podcasts so if you just want to listen to this series – it begins at episode 185.

Inspired (textstorming) —

As you all know I am taking another watercolor painting class this fall, but what you all might not know is that Kym is taking the same class with me! This has provided an entirely new line of learning for me and I wanted to share that joy with you all. The teacher provides feedback each week, but it is especially wonderful to get feedback before you turn your homework in… We have had several “textstorming” sessions and her input has helped me be better. We have both grumbled about the subject matter, and shared that we were yearning to paint some pumpkins! The Painting Gods must have read in on our texts… because this week is all about PUMPKINS! A huge thanks to Kym for all her input, advice, and inspiration!!

Finding —

I am a fairly new poetry reader. I know some (of the more famous) poets, but I feel like there is this deep and wide ocean overflowing with poets I have yet to discover. Sometimes I find a poet and I just don’t “click” with their poetry but other times, I find someone whose words just sing to me… loud choruses! That happened this week… I stumbled across a new-to-me poet (Dr. Rafael Campo) and since then I have been driving Steve mad making him listen to Dr. Campo’s poems. I will be sharing more about Dr. Campo later this month, but for now I am sharing his TED talk about how poetry heals us.

Fall (gnoming) —

I began the October Gnome on Wednesday and it has been a bit of a challenge. I started with a yarn, but very soon things just felt very wrong. The October Gnome did not want to be all grey and dark green… at all. So I got out my “odds and ends bag” and I found some more Autumnal Yarns and that felt so much better.

The hat looks grey, but it is not… it is very tan in color!

The hat is done and I have begun the “body” and I think I see braids (and an acorn or two?) in this little gnomes future!

And with that, I am out of here! Happy Weekend everyone! See you all back here on Monday!

 

 

 

Early December RIFFing | 12.2.22

Another Friday RIFF | 8.5.22

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!

Early December RIFFing | 12.2.22

a RIFF on TGIF | 7.22.22

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!!)

Released —

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!

Investigating —

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!

eFfortless —

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!!)

 

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