Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

So Long, 2014

I don't have a lot of negative feelings about 2014, despite the fact that both of my parents underwent treatment for cancer. The good news is that both are considered to have beaten their cancer and are in excellent health. The fact that I still have both of my parents is a wonderful gift and I'm grateful for it.

I have a wonderfully supportive network of friends and family, including my husband, Steve, and my lovely daughters and stepchildren, and I do work that I'm very proud of and am passionate about.

I just found out yesterday that I have a liver disease that can only be managed with diet and exercise, so while I sulked about it for about 18 hours, I'm grateful that I can do something about it. The plan is to follow a Mediterranean diet and exercise at least three times a week, so I started today with a forty minute walk on the beach I love so well. I always swore that if I lived this close to the beach, I would walk on it every day, and it's way past time to make good on that promise.



Happy New Year!


Monday, December 29, 2014


I'm enjoying my after-Christmas knitting, although I'm actually still knitting a Christmas gift for Steve. But since it's an extra gift, I don't feel any pressure. I wanted to use this gorgeous Green Mountain Spinnery Alpaca Elegance yarn I bought in May at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival and I decided on the Ancient Mariner Watch Cap pattern. I absolutely love how it looks. (Oops, I finished it since I started this post. Not working seems to make my knitting go faster. Huh.)

My oldest daughter is in town and since they're vegetarians, I wanted to make sure I had some snacks for them. Even though Steve and I don't eat a lot of meat, I sometimes feel stressed about having a variety of foods.

I made a White Bean Dip, using lots of garlic and lemon juice and loved it, although it was thinner than I expected. I also made a Black Bean version, swapping out the lemon juice for lime, and adding jalapeƱo slices and chili spices in place of the garlic. (I would have left the garlic in, but not everyone loves it as much as I do.) I also had a pan of macaroni and cheese and deviled eggs, along with a bunch of other stuff. They left today and our refrigerator is still packed with food, so I'd say I made enough.


Oh, how I love having my girls in the house at the same time. It happens so rarely and it makes me so happy. I was in the kitchen a couple of times doing dishes and listening to them talk and it was so very nice. They both missed Stephanie, which tells you how much they love her.

This is the old advent calendar the girls loved when they were growing up. They used to compete to see who would be the first one up in order to move the mouse to the next pocket and they still love it, even though they usually aren't here to move it anymore. Melissa told me she loves that I still hang up the Christmas cards on the door; my mom always did it and so do I.

I bought a personalized bone for my parents dog, Bailey, for Christmas from an Etsy seller, and she loves it.

I hung the girls' stockings up too, even though they are too old for them. Traditions are important, especially to them.


Melissa posed with her dad's dog, Henry, at his house.


And Gracie napped on the hand knits I had on the bed, before I was able to wrap them.

Olivia, known as Ollie, enjoyed her rope toy that I bought her for Christmas, although her look seems to say, "Why are you bothering me?"


The day after Christmas was so warm that we all took a walk on the beach.


This is Steve, Meredith, and Ollie, as they enjoy the smells of the bay.


Meredith and Ryan left around 3:00 this afternoon, which makes me sad, but we definitely enjoyed our time together, as short as it was. Today was a rainy, cold day, so Meredith and I elected to stay curled up in the couch in our pajamas until they left, knitting, chatting, and eating leftovers. Oh, how I wish she lived closer so we could spend more days like this together.

Hope your Christmas was lovely and your after Christmas even better.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas Trees

My shell tree, bought for me by my mom, two years ago.

Our tree, exactly the size and shape I wanted. It smells so green and good.

A downtown tree, at the bonfire, two weeks ago.


How are the trees looking where you are? Hope you love them, wherever you are.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Catching Up

Steve and I took a day trip to Charlottesville last month to celebrate our 8th anniversary and the weather couldn't have been more beautiful.

We went to a couple of apple orchards and brought back twenty pounds or so, some of which made it into my Thanksgiving pie.


As anyone who is married knows, it can be difficult, and second marriages with blended families are even more difficult, but we are still here and still committed to each other and for that I am grateful.

Another event I'm grateful for is the fact that my dad successfully completed his prostate cancer treatment and did amazingly well. Doesn't he look wonderful, especially at his age of 77?

I do still knit, by the way. This is the second Thoreau hat I've made and I really like the pattern.


And this is the Koolhaas hat, a Jared Flood pattern I've wanted to make for a year or so. I love it although it was slow going, mainly because it required my full attention on every round. But worth it, don't you think? It has to be warm, because it is the heaviest hat I've ever made. Steve loves it

Next time, pictures of our tiny Christmas tree!


Monday, December 8, 2014


I'm hoping I have finally solved my blogging issues. I deleted and reinstalled the Blogsy app, and I can access my photos again.

We finally got our heater repaired, which saved us some money but as we know, nature abhors a vacuum, which meant something else needed to break down.  So I spent the weekend mopping up after our water heater died, and the money we saved by repairing the heater instead of replacing it was used up in buying and installing a new hot water heater.  I guess I shouldn't complain, but man, we have had our share of house issues this fall.

I made an apple pie for Thanksgiving using the all butter recipe from Smitten Kitchen and I've got to say, this may be the prettiest pie I've ever made!
I finally get to post a few pictures from my Rhinebeck trip! I love this shot of the World Trade Tower taken from the Tribecca area on my last night in the city.
This shot in Central Park was taken the day I arrived; it was a gorgeous weekend.
Me and Meredith; I have on my Transatlantic Shawl and she is sporting a wool scarf she bought there.

My Lisa Souza purchase, which I plan to use for a Nymphaldeia shawl. Not sure when I'll start it but I think it'll be beautiful.
Not the most flattering photo of me, but I sure enjoyed being there.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Still Trying

Still trying to post photos but having issues, which seems to inhibit my blogging.  I want to share photos of the gorgeous fall leaves and sky, yarn I bought at Rhinebeck, and projects I've completed, but am having no luck.

I have been sick again, an ear infection, of all things, but I think I'm on the mend now. I had jury duty this month, but only had to show up one time.  I had to sit in a room for three hours before being released and I didn't have my knitting so I ended up with a migraine brought on by the stress.

On to happier things: my heat has been out for almost three weeks now, and while it's been sort of fun, in an indoor camping sort of way, I'm really about ready to snap at this point.  We had temperatures in the mid twenties last night and the space heater has been going nonstop.  I've also used the oven quite a lot lately and even resorted to hanging a sheet up in the kitchen doorway in an effort to maximize the retention of warmth.  Needless to say, this lends an air of rustic simplicity to our living space.

Oh, the life of a homeowner.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Wow, I can't believe I haven't posted my Rhinebeck story.  Part of the reason for the delay is the Blogger app on my iPad, and part of the reason is the crazy amount of work going on now.  I got sick the weekend after the trip, which as we all know, means I lost an entire week by the time I caught everything up.  My sister had a medical scare, which turned out to be just fine, and the heating system in my house has died, which means we are in the process of buying a new unit and scheduling the installation, a $1000 expense, more or less.  Unbudgeted, of course.  Luckily, the coldest temperature in the house was this past Sunday, at 54 degrees Fahrenheit, and this week has been warmer.  I've heard it's supposed to drop again this weekend, which means we may be layering up, as I doubt the new heater will be up and running until next week.  Thank goodness Steve and I both have an abundance of handknits and wool, right?

And speaking of wool and handknits, the visit to Rhinebeck was wonderful, as always.  I didn't see every vendor on my list, but rather chose to wander around a bit, and focus on meeting some people and enjoying the views of the leaves and the clothing that was worn.  When a tent or area was too crowded, I left and spent time elsewhere, rather than feeling crushed.  We also got there early enough for the Ravelry meetup this year, the first time I made it!  It was so nice to see people and chat about patterns and yarns.  And although the skies were a bit gray, there was a chill in the air that was enjoyable to someone like me who hales further south. 

I made sure to buy a skein of Dragonfly, two lovely skeins of Lisa Souza Hardtwist, and some of Green Mountain Spinnery's Weekend Wool, as well as a number of stitch markers from Melissa Jean.  I deliberately cut back this year, and have specific plans for both the LS Hardtwist and the Weekend Wool.  I want to make the Nymphalaeida with the Hardtwist and the Shetland Wrap with the
Weekend Wool, but probably won't start either of them until Christmas break, as they will be my selfish knitting.

Meanwhile, I've been stern with myself about pulling out my WIPs and either finishing them or ripping them.  And I'm making lots of the Almost Lost washcloths, using very deep stash cotton yarn,  either for gift knitting or for craft sale items.  More on that, if it comes to pass.  And I've been doing it while watching the first season of Elementary, which I'm loving.

I had today off, as it is Veteran's Day, and I spent it visiting with friends and taking my dad out to dinner.  I also saw a movie, Gone Girl, which was very enjoyable.

Hopefully I'll have some photos next time, if I can figure out the glitch in my iPad and/or my Blogsy app.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Rhinebeck Wish List and Reality Check

My Rhinebeck wish list is as follows:

Bijou Basin Ranch
Mainly to see the Outlander inspired yarns.

Dragonfly Fibers,
Because I love their yarn and the only local person who sells it is not my favorite place to go.

Green Mountain Spinnery;
They have wonderful, crunchy* yarns.  I may not buy anything because I still have yarn I purchased from them last year (and the year before that), but I love looking.

Hope Spinnery
I love this yarn, despite the fact that I haven't knit with it.  I think it's the colors and the crunchy* factor.

Into the Whirled
I know I've seen their yarn before, but I want to take a closer look this time.

Jennie the Potter
Even though I've never bought from her, her stuff is amazing and maybe this year, I can pick up an ornament or something.  

Lisa Souza
THIS yarn I love and I've made a scarf I love out of her Polwarth Silk and am half way through a Wingspan in a gorgeous blue/green yarn.  I will definitely buy yarn from her.  Definitely.

Melissa Jean
I love her buttons, but I think I'm only buying stitch markers this time.  Some more for me, but mostly for my knitting friends' Christmas gifts.  Love them!!

Similar to Hope Spinnery, I love the colors, the fact that they dye with sea water, and the crunchy* factor.

*When I say crunchy, I mean the yarn feels homespun and rustic, but in a good way, if that makes sense.

Truly, this is the year I need to be careful with my money, as I don't have a lot of it and I already own a RIDICULOUS amount of yarn.  So this list is to help me focus on keeping my acquisitions under control.  After all, the experience of the festival is really enough of a thrill; I truly don't need to load up, especially since I get to go fairly often.  This will be my fourth time and I'm just as excited as I was the first time!!!  And I love that I get to share the experience with my daughter.  That makes it extra special. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Finished! On a Friday

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Achingly Beautiful

Sailboats on the bay:

This weekend was another gorgeous one with more than a hint of autumn in the air, and as a result, I spent lots of time outside, either walking, sitting on the beach, or knitting on the deck. When I was inside, I had the windows wide open and the bay breeze blew the curtains about constantly. All the sunshine, blue skies, and breezes gave me so much energy that I ended up accomplishing a lot in the way of cleaning and cooking. It felt a lot like nesting, which makes sense if you think about the cooler weather coming soon. I shook out rugs, washed blinds and window ledges, and baked. I made pumpkin bars from a Trader Joe mix, pan-fried oysters, delicious black beans with lime juice and mushroom quesadillas, and roasted butternut and acorn squash. Warm, delicious, comfort food that tasted fantastic.

Steve and I went to Arbor Day yesterday and brought home three trees, drank good coffee, and wandered around downtown a bit, including a visit to the Farmer's Market. I met Melissa for more coffee today and the two of us walked around as well, just to enjoy the amazing weather.

I'm almost finished with my cousin's shawl, I'm on the third section of my Lisa Souza yarn Wingspan (shown above), and itching to cast on for something else, although I won't just yet.


Also enjoying my Shake It photo app, shown above.

Apologies for the randomness of this post, but it's either this or nothing. Be kind this week.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Girls Weekend

I had some much needed girls-only time in the Outer Banks of North Carolina this past weekend and the weather was amazing. I came back so relaxed that the workday just flowed by as smooth as silk. We hung out, ate, knit, played cards, and talked nonstop, as well as soaked up some gorgeous late September sunshine on the beach. Our ages ranged from early thirties to late fifties and I think that added to the depth and range of the conversations.

I started a new Wingspan, using a skein of Lisa Souza merino, bought last year at Rhinebeck. I figured if I want to buy any more of her gorgeous yarn, I need to knit up what I already own.

I met my youngest, Melissa, for dinner after work, just to catch up with her, and have been snuggling with Gracie ever since I got home. I need to knit some more, so I can have another lovely day tomorrow, don't you think?


Monday, September 22, 2014


The upper respiratory virus kept me flattened the entire weekend, so I took today off to recuperate, which turned out to be a great idea, since I slept until 10:30 and felt like I'd been run over by a truck when I did get up. Mostly I sat around and read until around two o'clock, when I decided that getting out in the fresh air could only help, so I walked down to the beach and sat for an hour or so, knitting.

I finished the Hitchhiker and the blue-green mittens, and I know the sun and fresh air made me feel a lot better, even if I was exhausted by the time I walked back home. Love the look the wind gave my hair, don't you? (Not really.)

I took a picture of the bulletin board in my classroom last week; I used the Mary Oliver quote I love so much and surrounded it by my students' goals in the shape of a peace sign.

The whole board is surrounded by goals on sentence strips; a school wide activity. The left side of the board is filled with quotes about reading.

Gracie kept me company today. She's my little shadow. I love this pose of her with her little paw covering her eyes.

Back to work tomorrow, in the hopes that I have enough energy for the day.