Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Sunday, September 25, 2016

A Fine Saturday

I first heard about the Shenandoah Valley Fiber Festival last year, but wasn't able to go, so I decided I would attend this year, if at all possible. Well, my life changed a bit this summer, and I wasn't sure whether I'd go or not, as no one was able to make the four hour trip with me. I was still waffling about it Friday night, but when I woke up at 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning after a great night's sleep, I took the leap and hit the road. And I'm so glad I did. I didn't buy a single thing, mainly because I'll be in Rhinebeck in three weeks, but it was lovely wandering through all of the booths by myself.

I love this license plate; one of the cool things at fiber fests is the collection of knitting/spinning related personal plates. I really should spend more time in the parking lot photographing them all.

The festival was held in the small town of Berryville, way out in the northwest corner of the state. I spent a little time walking on Main Street, but didn't take as many photos as I usually do.

I passed through a lot of small towns on Route 17 as I headed home, and I stopped at a few that caught my eye, like this old mill in the town appropriately named Millwood.

I also stopped at a pick-your-own apple orchard, as this area of the state is a big apple producer.


I only picked one peck, but it's a variety of Winesap, Honey Crisp, Red and Yellow Delicious, and Gala. I plan to make a pie or two, eat some plain, and maybe a cobbler.

I also stopped in Warrenton to have tea, knit, and walk around a bit, just enjoying the moment and the hint of fall in the air.

The main reason I needed to take this trip was to remind myself that I can do these types of things on my own. It's not like I've never done things alone, because I have, but somehow it's a bit different when there's no one to come home to. The last couple of Sundays have been difficult for me, and I think it's because I've stayed at home by myself too much lately. My eyes needed to see new places and I am so pleased with how I spent my day. I spent time and energy taking care of myself and I feel so much better for having done so.

Although I do have Gracie, don't I? Sweet Grace.


Thursday, September 22, 2016


My 5th year teaching high school started off a bit rocky, but given that my personal life is in a state of flux, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. I hope things settle down soon; I've spent a couple of afternoons making parent calls, both positive and negative, and that usually helps.

Meanwhile, I've cleared out some clutter and dropped a load off at the thrift store after work on Monday, last week. I need to gather up another load or two. I really want to finish setting up my yarn room, but every time I try, I get overwhelmed and wander off. I did get the newly painted bookcase in there though, so I am making progress.



I'm almost finished with my Antartik shawl, knit mostly while watching all of the Father Brown series, followed by the HBO mini-series, John Adams. I'm glad I watched it but I almost gave up as it went on and on and on.

I've actually started a second Antartik shawl, using a gorgeous skein of Periwinkle Sheep yarn called A Crack in the Sidewalk. Not sure why I started the second one since I have so many projects already in progress, like the beautiful Guernsey Wrap, but there you go. Such is the knitting life.

We have had some crazy rain and flooding this week, so much so that the area schools shut down yesterday!


I'd like to say I accomplished a lot with my free day, but in truth, all I did was take a nap, and then spend the remainder of the day reading. Lovely. I think I needed the rest, since I spent the entire weekend doing some major cleaning. I like how it's coming together.




Anyway, I'm doing so much better as time goes on, despite a hiccup here and there. Time heals, just like we always say. And of course, Gracie is helping.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Week One

The sky was so beautiful Thursday night, I took a picture from the grocery store parking lot.

I spent Labor Day at a beach club in Hampton with some friends, before starting school on Tuesday.



I finally started painting the bookcase I had planned to do all summer. I saw something similar on Pinterest and loved it, and so far, it's going well. I think I'm going to use it in one of my craft rooms, but I may change my mind and put it in the kitchen if it turns out well enough.


Gracie is doing her usual routine of sleeping and looking pretty.

Her eyes look beautiful in this photo.


My first week was awfully tough, unusually so, but the good news is that it will have to improve, right? Fingers crossed.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Weekend Plans

I am so glad it's the weekend; I think I worked at least 15 hours "overtime" this week in order to make up for the15 hours of time spent in meetings. I finally left at 7:30 Friday night, but be assured, I brought some work home to make sure I'm well prepared for Tuesday. I forgot to take pictures of my room, so I'll have to wait until Tuesday to do it. Normally, the building would be opened for 4-6 hours on Labor Day weekend, to allow teachers to finish up whatever they needed, but not this year. Our building is a designated emergency shelter and the city decided the expected flooding from Tropical Storm Hermine warranted putting it to use. I would have thought that would have allowed us more access, but apparently not. Just as well though, because this meant I had to wrap it up today and I'll be forced to stay in my pajamas, while knitting and watching some British tv instead. As I'm writing this, I can hear the wind and rain lashing against the windows.

If I feel the urge to be productive this weekend, I'll have plenty to keep me busy. I haven't touched either of my spare rooms for over a week, and they are a disaster. But at least the living room is in decent shape. I need a lampshade for the lamp on the table, but either it's an unusual size or else I have no talent for choosing the correct shade. I've bought at least two a couple of years ago before I gave up; I saved the lamp because I love the colors, so I'll have to try again soon.

The china cabinet has never looked so neat. I tried to be thoughtful about my arrangement and I'm pretty pleased.

I need something in this corner, perhaps a large plant? Maybe colorful curtains? Not sure just yet.

The large bookcase needs some decluttering, especially the top, but again, not my most pressing priority. The stuff on the floor is destined for the thrift store, but I'm waiting until the rain stops before schlepping it out.


As you can see, Gracie is exhausted from all this activity. I took this picture of her on Friday morning, as I was getting ready to go to work. Apparently, she needed a little more snooze time. Lucky girl. But that will be me this weekend, so lucky me as well!

Edited to add: You may need to click on the photos to see the entire image; they are cropped on my iPad so not sure what you're seeing.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Back to Work

I go back to work tomorrow and I'm kind of looking forward to it. I tend to do better with some structure, and with so much change happening now, I think it'll be a good thing. That being said, I'll miss my beach days. We had some beautiful days this last week, with lower humidity and temperatures in the eighties. These were taken Monday through Thursday and I can't even tell the difference between the days, they were so uniformly gorgeous.




I have the living room sorted out, thanks to a quick trip out of town. I emptied the china cabinet out on Sunday, but didn't finish culling and replacing everything that was left until Friday morning, right before leaving town for the weekend. I knew I didn't want to walk back into the house tonight to find a mess on the floor. I need to rehang the curtains and maybe add a small rug but I can live with it as-is for a bit.

My friend, Lori, and I drove out to Lynchburg to visit her daughter this weekend, and we visited this adorable yarn shop; it's a converted house and I love the kitchen, with its built-in shelf and Formica from the fifties! The entire place was darling.

Lori's daughter has a French bulldog named Piper, who has the sweetest disposition. We tired her out playing fetch with her. These are my notes from the shawl I'm still working on.

Gracie was glad to see me, following me everywhere when I returned. I've never had a cat but I thought they were generally much more standoffish than she is.

My sweet Gracie.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Carrying On

Now that I'm at the one week mark, I think the most difficult thing I'm feeling is the sense of aimlessness. I can't seem to settle on anything. When I'm at the beach, I'm thinking of what I need to be doing in the house, yet when I'm in the house, I'm thinking it's a waste of time to be indoors. I go into a room, wander into another, pick up a book, pick up my knitting, pick up the phone, or start cleaning something. I know I'll settle into a routine soon enough, especially once I go back to work next Monday, but it is challenging at the moment. Thank you to all who have commented or emailed; it is so lovely to feel your support.

Beach pictures!

I'm not sure why the water has been looking so sparkly lately, but probably something to do with the angle of the sun's rays. These were taken early Saturday morning.


I've been weeding all the flower beds, an hour here and there. Can't do longer stretches because of the heat and/or my sore toe, but it is looking better.


I will take the winter to decide how to change a few things up so that there is less maintenance for me. I think planting more rosemary is in my future though. Such a great plant for this area.

I like my homemade wreath on the front door, but I think it needs something else; a bow, maybe?

One of the changes inside has been to swap my craft room from the front bedroom to the back one, which is a tiny bit larger and has two windows. And this piece of furniture is now a yarn cupboard. I'm nervous about taking it out of the ziplock bags, but I've put plenty of moth repellant herbs in there.

The room is still a mess, but I'm taking my time. Truthfully, I'm a bit overwhelmed and will work on it when the mood strikes me.

Instead, I've been knitting more than usual. This is the Antarktik shawl, and I'm using two skeins of Sundara yarn that Meredith, my oldest, gifted me a few years ago. It's a pretty intuitive pattern, easy to work on while binge watching Father Brown mysteries.
We had a storm last night which lowered the humidity and temperatures just enough to make it a gorgeous beach day. Again, the water is just sparkling! Lots of waves for the bay, but typical after a storm.
Lori and Martha came over to hang out with me today and it was lovely. I love seeing the sailboats out.


That blue!

This photo of Gracie was taken last week on one of our hotter days. I had the ceiling fan and the floor fan going.

And this was last night, while I watched my PBS Sunday night shows; she's just not that interested in Inspector Lewis!