Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"









Saturday, December 9, 2017

Cosy Weekend

I'm having a cosy weekend so far, probably due to the weather, which is rainy and gray and cold, just perfect for December.  There was even some sleet last night as I drove home from work.  As the forecast had called for a wintry mix, I changed my lesson plans yesterday, and instead, had a snow themed day.  First, I read Snowflake Bentley, a picture book about the Vermont farmer who first photographed snowflakes, back in the late 1800's.  Then we read and discussed two Robert Frost poems, Dust of Snow, and Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, and watched a time lapse video of a snowstorm that someone in Northern Virginia had filmed in 2016.  And finally, just for fun, I had them cut out snowflakes, using a variety of patterns I found on the Internet.  I have to say, the Internet does help when I want to do something on the spur of the moment.  I used to use the picture book and snowflake patterns when I taught science but trust me, the high school students enjoyed them just as much.  On Monday, I will start Dickens' The Christmas Carol, and as it is the first time I'm teaching this text, I hope it will keep them interested enough in the remaining eight days before break.  They are already getting a little rambunctious.   

I slept in later than usual today, and then sat around reading and listening to Christmas music until the afternoon.  The house smelled delicious because I decided to dry orange slices in the oven so I can use them as a garland.  I did this last year, but I overcooked them, and ended up piling them in a bowl instead.  They smelled great, they were just a little too brown.  Gracie enjoyed our quiet time, as she always does.

   I decided to go to the library, and I also stopped in at a little local craft fair.  There were lots of cute things, but I'm trying not to spend much at the moment.  Besides, I have so much stuff already, either bought as gifts, or supplies bought to make gifts.  I saw this very cool British car in front of the bookstore when I parked my car.

I went to the thrift store after work on Wednesday, and I got so lucky!  I bought seven pairs of pants for $22, most of them "name brands."
The young clerk who was in charge of the changing room was quite diplomatic about it being senior citizen discount day.  She phrased it as, "You're not 55, are you?"  Since I am, I was entitled to an additional 20% off the prices shown above.  I was very pleased indeed.  The pair I don't have in the picture still had on the store tag because they had never been worn; they were the highest priced pair, at $6.99, before the discount.  Crazy, right?  Almost all of my skirts for work have been bought there over the past eight or nine years, and quite a few coats and jackets as well.  I can't remember the last time I've bought a new coat.  As a matter of fact, I bought a really nice coat there a month or so ago, but as it had a suede collar, I've had it in the car ever since, intending to take it to the cleaners before wearing it.  After I bought it, I had buyers remorse, mainly because I already own more coats than I really need, so I procrastinated dropping it off at the dry cleaners.  On Friday, one of the teachers I work with asked me if I had a coat I could give to one of the students we both teach, and I was so happy I still had that coat in the car.  This student has been homeless, on and off, and is hard working and sweet, and I knew this weekend was supposed to be cold and rainy.  I was able to give that coat away immediately, almost as if I had bought it for that very reason.  Funny how things work out.
 
 
Gracie is still perching on the kitchen hutch every morning.  She looks kind of cranky in this picture.
 I took this one of her today, while I was reading.  She loves sitting on the arm of the couch while I read, or knit, or watch television, although she never sits on my lap.  Silly girl.
My weekend treat with my coffee:  a slice of vanilla cake with cranberries.  As delicious tasting as it looks.  And it was gone too quickly.  Sigh.
 
I still haven't gotten my outdoor Christmas lights up yet, but I'm hoping to do that before the weekend is over.  I thought it was going to stop raining early enough today to get started, but it didn't, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for a sunny day tomorrow, as the forecast has promised.  Or at least a day without rain.  For now, I'll go home and snuggle up with Gracie again, listen to more Christmas music, and start writing out my Christmas cards.
 
I hope you are having a good weekend, whatever the weather, and whatever your plans.  Peace to you.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

December

Melissa gave me this lovely wreath last weekend and I have it on the inside of my backdoor so I can enjoy it while I'm in my sunroom.  Isn't it sweet?
 
I cannot believe this year is almost over. It's been a good one in many ways, even though there have been some difficult times as well. But that's pretty much the nature of life, isn't it?    

Here I am with Kristin and Lori at a baby shower for our friend Melissa's daughter, who is expecting her baby in January.  I didn't know the picture was being taken, and as you can see, I'm knitting.  We each gave her a small knitted item and a sheep related children's book purchased at NY Sheep & Wool.  Such fun.

 
 I think I mentioned that I couldn't find my favorite hand mitts, but I finally did.  I had a smaller box tucked away in the yarn room closet, and they were in there.  I found them just in time, as we are finally going to get some seasonal weather!  
I took a few photos recently and used the black and white filter; I kind of liked these two.
 
 
 
Gracie loves sitting up on top of this hutch sometimes, but rarely lets me take her picture.  Usually she jumps down as soon as I pick up my phone, so I was happy to get these of her.
 
And she's off!
 
I had lots more to say, but as it's a Tuesday night and I'm tired, this will have to do for now.  I hope you enjoy this month, whatever you celebrate.  I'm focusing on the light, in the form of candles and twinkle lights, the music, and friends and family, but that's what I enjoy regardless of the season.  I read The Gift of the Magi to my students today and played Christmas music while they did some related activities and it felt like a good day to me.  I'm planning to read portions of The Christmas Carol over the next week as well, and hope that goes well too.  Not sure why I haven't done more themed selections before now, but I'm glad I decided to do it this year.  Have a peaceful and joy filled week, dear ones.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Thankful

I hope everyone had a wonderful and peaceful Thanksgiving.  I certainly enjoyed mine, and the grateful feeling continues today.  Yesterday, I took a walk on the beach before heading over to my parents' house for Thanksgiving with my parents, my sister and her family, and Melissa and her dad.  I am so grateful that he and I have gotten to the place where we are able to share family time again without all the hurt feelings we used to have.  It took many years, but we are here and I am truly, truly grateful.  Afterwards, I visited with a friend, Lisa, and her family; I've known them for over twenty years, which is a lovely gift.  Finally I stopped by Lori's house to visit with her family, before heading home to Gracie.  All in all, a lovely day.  
 
 
I took another walk this morning, and it was much sunnier.
 
This was my Black Friday haul, by the way:
The trees are stunning here in Norfolk right now:
 
 
And of course, I'm always grateful for my Gracie-cat, who loves her sunny spot in the kitchen.
 
Hoping the rest of the weekend is as calm and relaxing as these first two days have been.  Be good to each other, dear ones.
 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Saturday Morning

Although not having wifi at home is inconvenient at times, it has really helped me in terms of reducing the amount of time I used to waste on my iPad, especially the hours spent playing solitaire and clicking down rabbit hole links, although the links weren't always a waste of time.  Solitaire was always a waste of time.  I'm not sure I can quantify what I've done with the saved time but that doesn't really matter, does it?  I know Gracie enjoys having me pay more attention to her.  
I found the mitts I was looking for last month; when I realized I hadn't found my woven scarf, I looked in my yarn room and found a smaller bin of hand knits, and there they were.  Unfortunately, I had used so much cedar, that everything needs aired out a bit before I can wear any of it without smelling like an old lady, but at least it deterred the moths!
I'm hurriedly finishing up a pair of Churchmouse Stay On Booties for a baby shower today; I'd be finished but for the fact that I've had to knit four in order to complete one pair.  All entirely my errors.  These are adorable and easy to knit, despite my problems, so much so, that I'm planning to knit a few more pairs immediately, so I can have them on hand.
 
I posted this photo of my dad on Facebook last week for Veterans Day, and it occurred to me that we look more alike than I realized, especially when you see both photos in black and white.  Of course, I'm about forty years older than him in these photos, so take that in account.
 
 Remember the cute woven felt bags my friend, Kristin, gave our group for Rhinebeck?  Well, in true cat fashion, Melissa's cat felt the need to nest in it.  Cats recognize quality when they see it.  She looks a bit like Gracie, I think.
 
Wishing you and yours a wonderful and peaceful Thanksgiving.  I am very grateful for my life, which includes all of you.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Cold Weather Weekend

I am so happy that we have finally gotten a taste of cold weather, allowing me to pull out and actually wear some of my handknits.  Not sure how long it will stick around, but I do enjoy it.    

I have almost finished the cowl I started last week, but put it aside for a minute, for some reason.  ADD kicked in, I guess.

 
 
I decided to cast on for the North Light Fibers hat using yarn Lori and I bought on last year's Rhinebeck trip.  The pattern was written to use two colors, so Lori and I each bought one skein to save money.  
I also felt like I needed to put a pom pom on my key chain; I like the cheeriness, plus it helps me find them in the bottom of my bag.
 
Tuesday was our in-service day, and Lori, Brita, and I wore our tee shirts commemorating our friend, Chris.  
 
Gracie always enjoys a good nap while I knit, watch tv, or read.  Clearly, this was one of the days my allergies were bothering me, as evidenced by the tissues, but she doesn't mind.  Have you used the Puffs brand infused with Vicks?  I love those!
 
I saw this odd license plate today and took a photo of it when I was at a stop light.  
Thank you for your kind comments about my blue mood.  As I suspected, it passed quickly, and my week was a good one.  I had a doctor appointment yesterday to discuss migraine medication and I'm hoping that will help.  I don't think I suffer from them as badly as some women do, but I do have certain triggers and/or cycles when they seem to happen more frequently, and fall is one of those times.  Even though I love the cold weather, it makes my neck and shoulders tighten up, and going from outdoors to overheated indoors can cause problems too.  Wow, that sounds pretty negative, but it isn't meant to be.  

Only taught two days this past week, which is a great work-life balance.  I have a full work week coming up, then it's Thanksgiving already.  Hoping to get some serious knitting time this weekend, since I did some cleaning Thursday night.  The extra day really helps.  Why can't every weekend be three days long??  Hope you all have a lovely, peaceful week.  Virginia did well in the gubernatorial election this time, in my opinion.  Love trumps hate.

 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Self Care Sunday (on Monday)

I've loved the Mason-Dixon knitting blog for years, but since they revamped it a year or so ago, it's become so much more than a knitting blog.  The addition of Max Daniels's articles has really resonated with me, and this post from last week is one I want to print and put on my refrigerator.  Do read it if you haven't already seen it.  

I also read A Cup of Jo, which seems surprisingly relevant to me.  She's a blogger in her thirties, who writes about life in NYC as a mom of two young boys, but again, it's so much more.  Friends who know me would be shocked to hear that I actually enjoy many of her style and fashion tips, as I have never been into any of that.  But, life is all about change, isn't it, and there's nothing wrong with mixing it up now and then.  The short sleeve turtle neck I wore in my last post's selfie is a direct result of reading something on her blog, and it contributed to me feeling really good about myself Friday.  This illustration by Mari Andrew is another reason you should check her blog out.

 

Knitting is another self-care strategy for me, and if you need any encouragement to get knitting, take a look at the price of these mittens!  I can't imagine how much they would charge for these hand mitts.  I only have a thumb to finish on my right hand mitt, and I'll be ready to begin my left hand one.  Sadly, I think these will be too small for my rather large hands, so someone will be receiving a beautiful surprise.    
   

To give my eyes a rest, I cast on for a cowl using aran weight Jill Draper Middlefield yarn I bought at last year's open studio sale, and some Weekend Wool from Green Mountain Spinnery, purchase date unknown.  I'm using a Bristol Ivy pattern, the Underscore Cowl, that is in the latest Making issue, and I love it.  

 
   

Speaking of self care, Saturday was my mammogram party day, words rarely heard in the same sentence.  My friend, Lori, included me a few years ago in one of her friend's group yearly events.  This friend coordinates the appointments for the group's yearly mammogram, but she turns it into a party, complete with doughnuts and lunch out afterwards.  She buys enough doughnuts to give to everyone we come in contact with: the technician and receptionist, as well as every other woman in the waiting room waiting for her exam.   It's a great way to hold everyone accountable (no more putting it off for a month or six), and to have fun while doing it.  I highly recommend you give it a try.

 

 

And oddly enough, despite my fabulous Friday, and the good things I did over the weekend with friends, I find myself feeling very blue today.  It was a teacher workday, yet I felt so aimless and restless that nothing was accomplished.  I have the beginnings of another cold/allergy thing, I made some poor food choices over the past few days, I'm worried about money, and I haven't gotten to bed early enough for about a week, so that is part of the explanation.  But I know that another part is the fact that tomorrow is the anniversary date of my second marriage, which I'm sure has contributed to my sadness.  Isn't it weird that you can know you're in a much better place and yet still be weighted down by sadness? Anyway, I wanted to include this last paragraph in the interest of keeping it as real as I can.  I know I'll be fine soon enough.  Take care, friends.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Friday Features

Friday had a festive feeling about it, probably because I will only have students two days next week.  Monday is a teacher workday, also known as "the day teachers get to go out to lunch like regular working people do" day.  Tuesday is an in-service day, which has the possibility of knitting time, although sometimes we have to do cooperative groups/bonding activities, which severely limits the amount of time I can knit.  And Friday is Veterans Day.  Throw in the Thanksgiving holiday, and November isn't such a bad month.  

 

To kick off the weekend, I stopped at Cafe Stella, and feeling pretty good, took a selfie that I quite like.  
On my way home, I noticed a gorgeous moon rising, so I stopped, and walked along the river to take some photos.  Sadly, no cell phone camera could capture it.
 
 But the glow of the sunset was quite nice.
 
Although I have a few more things to photograph, here is a sneak peak.  It's the two skeins of Miss Babs yarn I bought: one in the Rhinebeck 2017 color way, and a solid green to coordinate with it.  Probably going to knit another Brickless with it, but I'm going to finish my lovely Make a Wish Mitts first.  
 
And now my local coffee shop, Coaster Coffee, is closing up and kicking me out.  Talk soon.