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!
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!!)
This week I am doing a TGIF-like post… sort of. I think you will get it once we get started! Some weeks Friday feels like, well… just another day in the week. This week, it feels very much like a Friday… and that, my friends, is a very good thing!
This week saw a changing of the poet… the Poet Laureate, that is. From Joy Harjo to Ada Limón. Two poets I love deeply. I have been spending my mornings in Ada’s The Hurting Kind… one poem each morning to end my meditation time. It is such a lovely place to be… immersed in Ada’s poetry. But this change over has made me want to do the same with Joy’s poems… I had borrowed latest book of poems, Poet Warrior, from my library… but I think it merits some meditation time as well so I will be purchasing a copy for my poetry library. NPR’s Book of the Day podcast shared this lovely interview on Wednesday, it is worth the listen. Likewise, hearing Ada share how she learned that she was selected as the 24th Poet Laureate is an equally inspiring listen (and includes a poem by Joy Harjo!) It makes me a bit sad that Ada will be moving on from The Slow Down, but change is the one constant in life… and so I will embrace her replacement with great joy!
In (case you missed it) —
Change seems to be a common theme most days and there was another big change this week. And the minute I heard of it happening, I knew it was going to be a giant disaster for the City of Pittsburgh. If you are not a Steeler fan, you might have missed the insane news this week that Heinz Field will no longer officially be Heinz Field. Heinz did not renew their Naming Contract. Now, remember what I said about change being constant? Well… all bets are off in Pittsburgh. This is the city that does not do change well! LOL But no one tells it better than the Pittsburgh Dad does!
And for those of you who do not get Pittsburgh, sorry… much of this won’t make much sense to you. However, this Michigan Girl is LOVING that a Michigan company is the new Name Sponsor for Acrisure Stadium!
(in a galaxy) Far, Far Away —
This week had me blown away by the images from the James Webb Space Telescope. Fascinating. Awe. Wonder. These are just some of the adjectives to describe my feelings as I looked at the pictures! However, perhaps the most inspiring is Gregory Robinson… the son of a sharecropper… the man who made all those images possible! (You can hear his interview this morning with NPR’s Steve Inskeep here) Of course, NASA has a blog for The James Webb Space Telescope where they are sharing images and information. It is my new daily check in! Ha!
Okay, maybe not fresco’s per say, but I have signed up for some more watercolor classes which start later this month! This one is an actual class with actual homework. I know! I am so so so geeked! Anyways, I soon will be posting my homework to a private Facebook Class Group for us to see each others work. I am really rather eager for this… as I love learning things from others. This class will go through the end of August. I very much like Rick Surowicz’s style of teaching and I am really looking forward to all the things I am going to learn! (For those interested: I have signed up for the Beginning Landscapes Class)
And there you have my RIFF on TGIF… have a great weekend all! I will see you back here on Monday!
Today I have a bunch of random things to share and I am making them fit TGIF. I think it works.
And so let’s get started!
Last year, I mentioned that I had some socks in need of some mending… well, the number has grown since then. How is it possible that all.the.socks. are wearing out all at once? It is boggling my mind to be sure! And, ironically, this arrived in my email the same week the latest sock become “holy” … a darning “class”? Okay. I am in! And the same day a darning mushroom was on sale on Amazon and it seemed inevitable. It is being delivered to my house today (along with some darning needles). I have 4 pairs of socks in need of heel repair and I am determined that I will learn how to do this and have the end result be four *comfortably* wearable pairs of socks! (and then I can fix the uncomfortably repaired pair!)
A Healing of the Heels is in order!
Speaking of uncomfortable…it needs to get real, Gentle Readers. Very real. Uncomfortably real… this is our year to be uncomfortable. I lowered my reading goal this year… for a reason. I wanted to spend more time reading things that made me uncomfortable. Things that will help me see beyond my white privilege. Things that will help me better understand what the BiPOC community experiences on a daily basis. Things that will make me uncomfortable…
This thread by Nikole Hannah-Jones. It opened my eyes. It shocked me. And yes, it now has me wanting to find all of MLK’s writings that I have never, ever read and get uncomfortable! (and to have some wearable reinforcement…I have asked Steve to get me this for V-day instead of flowers)
In (my worry corner):
The past 3 weeks have been rough. My son’s girlfriend started the COVID Train… she was exposed and then, sadly, came down with it. Which meant, of course, that my son got it. (She was quite sick, he had a slightly milder case) and yesterday another family member let me know they now have COVID. (It’s my sister who is not boosted… who is living in group housing… and is now in isolation… which I don’t think is good for her at anytime, but right now, I think it’s especially bad.) I realize it is but a matter of time… so to speak… until we all have it with numbers skyrocketing. But my worry level is off the charts… (add to all this there was a tragic accident on Monday at my son-in-law’s place of employment … a boat … and I am really needing for my people to be close enough that I can see them, hold them, and feed them…)
This week it was all about occupying my mind… so I wound the Base 12 yarn and cast on that Hitchhiker. I also wound so many skeins of yarn… enough to fill a HUGE knitting bag… and started Gnome One in the Year of Gnomes. It is a pattern I purchased but never knit! Welcome to the start of ADVENTure Gnome! I have started on the hat and I am loving how this looks… now to figure out the ball at the top of the hat! LOL
A Worry Hitchhiker seems so appropriate but coupled with the silliness of Gnome Knitting… there is a bit of balance.
Both knitting projects are excellent diversions because they require me to keep track of something physical… in other words, they are not mindless knits!
I also was shocked to find that Stacy Abrams book, While Justice Sleeps, was available on Overdrive so I downloaded it. And yes… it is lovely to have breathing space between reads to be able to read something totally unexpected!
And that is all I have for this week! Have a great weekend and stay warm if you are in the path of this bitter cold!
Oh Friday… I am so glad you are here and bringing this week to a close. I tried to write letters this week, but gave up and decided a bit of TGIF was more in order.
Thinking about —
Roe vs Wade and Sonia Sotomayor… specifically these words: “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don’t see how it is possible.”
And I am thinking lots about the lies that Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney Barrett glibly told in their hearings… their “assurances” in their belief in stare decisis – precedent – was how the court would decide. I wonder how that twat from Maine is feeling about her vote to confirm them this week. Coney Barrett set my hair on fire even more than all the others with her thoughts that women are all handmaidens and we can just give birth and give the baby away… thanks to The Land of Safe Haven in all 50 States.
I am sorry, Justice Sotomayor… but the stench is already there. There are 21 states with Trigger Laws all ready to go… The court is overloaded with political hacks and until the court is expanded (which should be happening NOW) I am expecting more of the same on things that will impact all of the citizens that the “moral-less minority” does not like.
Grateful for —
November was a hard month for me… emotionally and physically because when your emotions are in the wringer, your body feels those effects too. But I had one incredible saving grace this month… poetry! From the poems in my in-box to the poems on podcasts… each day brought a poem (or two) that helped me get through that moment… that hour… that day. So many have been printed out and are tucked in the pages of my journal, but the month ended with a poem that I think will stick with me for a very long time. I have it printed out and it is next to Derek Walcott’s Love After Love… I think they are the perfect poems to be read one after the other and I thought I’d share it with you all:
When your son abandons the lawnmower for the second time in as many days
…I worry about how the Supreme Court might rule if asked to defend the right of high school students to carry a loaded weapon to class. And what is the constitutional basis for compulsory school attendance? Why shouldn’t six-year-olds be free to take factory jobs? Their little hands would be perfect for assembling small parts.
I am sure this snark will be lost on that moral-less minority who might actually think that compulsory school attendance is not something for all children… because after all, what could be better than to give those kids an early start in those factory jobs at greatly reduced pay, because they are so small!
The tree is up and almost all decorated (I have a few finishing touches to get to this morning) and the lights are out on our bushes! Christmas can officially begin! LOL (and so can the weekend! Steve has today off!)