Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Decorating for Christmas

This is a neighborhood kitty that sits on my porch sometimes, but never lets me pet him/her.  He/she is a beautiful tuxedo cat, with more white than you can see here.
I took a walk today and it still looks like autumn, which I guess it is.  Isn't this tree gorgeous?
 Regardless of the season, I decided to begin decorating for Christmas.  This is unusually early for me, but I'm having a little party/get-together next Sunday, and with all the tutoring I'm doing after school, I decided this long weekend was my best opportunity.  Plus, this way I'll also be ready when Meredith and Ryan get here on December 11, for their early Christmas visit.  She can't get off work at Christmas, so we'll be doing it early.  
This photo collage shows off some of the decorations I've put out so far.  The advent calendar is one I've had since my girls were little, but the pelican picture is something I picked up at the thrift store last year.  I think it goes with my beach cottage look.
I bought my tree from the local hardware store yesterday, and put four strings of 100 lights on it, but decided I need a few more sets.  I bought some more today, but didn't get around to adding them just yet.  The house smells good though, my favorite part of buying a cut tree.  The needles on the floor are my least favorite part.
I hung some icicle lights on my front porch railing this year. Move had the lights for this for a few years, but finally decided to use them this year.  It was much easier than I expected; I simply used twist ties to hold the string on!
I also have the shell tree my mom gave gave me, which I love.
And since I was on a roll with the twinkle lights, I put a longer string up in my bedroom.  I love these lights so much!
When I was in Target buying more lights, I saw these mugs with knitted cozies:
Trends are funny, aren't they?  I go back to work tomorrow, and although I'd rather stay home, I'm sure I'll be fine once I get there.  Hope everyone has a good week!

Friday, November 25, 2016


I have to say, this was the most relaxed Thanksgiving I've had in years.  I took two pumpkin pies to my parents' house, and celebrated with them, my sister and her husband, Melissa and her boyfriend, and my two nieces and their boyfriends.  We had such a lovely day, and on my way home, I stopped by my first husband's sister's house to visit that side of the family.  So nice.  It took a long time to heal from that divorce but it seems as if we've all made it through the other side, a little wiser and kinder.  Time does that for us if we let it. I'm so thankful for these relationships.   Melissa is so photogenic, I don't think she ever takes a bad photo!
I wasn't able to walk on the beach like I usually do on Thanksgiving day, because it was rainy, but I did last Sunday when it was absolutely gorgeous. It was truly breathtaking.
I rearranged my bedroom today, something I should have done two months ago, which meant I did some deep cleaning as well. The curtains are still in the dryer and I forgot to plug in my fairy lights, but I'm happy with the changes.
 I'm having a little party next Sunday to kick off the Christmas season and to get ready for Meredith's visit the week after.  I initially was going to skip the tree this year, but changed my mind and decided to start decorating even earlier than I usually do.  I will probably get the tree on Sunday so it can soak a few days before I bring it in the house.    
Gracie worked hard too, watching me clean in the living room.
Apparently it tired her out:  
But this one is the cutest picture I've taken of her in awhile, don't you think?  
I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving, and enjoys the rest of the weekend. I'm going to take a nice bath and treat myself to some knitting time.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016


Happy weekend, friends!  I found a pattern I had printed awhile ago and decided to give it a try; it's a Valley Yarns pattern called #509 Knit Stars.  I used some leftover yarn, and while it was fiddly to knit two and sew them together, I quite like it.  I'm making another one in a heavier weight to see how it turns out.
 I also finished my 21 color hat; I just don't like how inept my joining of the different colors look, but it'll keep someone's head warm.
 A lady at knit night on Thursday was shared her latest hat projects.  She's using pom poms as the ears; aren't they adorable?
Another lady showed off her Christmas stocking, although she isn't quite finished.  She said she's going to bedazzle it up.
This picture from last year showed up on my Facebook memories feed and I wanted to share it again because I love Melissa's expression so much!  She's modeling a hat I made from a pattern collection I bought last year called The Tea Collection; I need to pull it back out, I think.
I ran some errands yesterday, including going to another book store that buys DVDs and books, to sell some of the stuff the first store rejected; this store gives you credit instead of cash.  They sell their stuff at 50% of retail and they buy at 25%, and I now have $80 worth of store credit.  I think I'm going to cull some more books out, and do some Christmas shopping with them.  Not that I have a lot of people to buy for, but they had a good selection of vegetarian cookbooks that Melissa may like to own.
I decided to stay home and do some knitting and cooking today.  I have a vegetable soup in the crockpot, and I roasted a butternut and an acorn squash as well.  The house smells lovely, just like Thanksgiving should smell.  
As for progress, I'm coming along nicely on my Mary Rebecca sweater, and when I'm not working on it, Gracie is guarding it with her life. Or something like that.
 Happy Thanksgiving week to all who celebrate it!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Giving Thanks

A fairly random midweek post; still having ups and downs but the downs aren't as low or lengthy as they have been and the ups are more frequent, thanks to so many different reasons.  Friends, family, work, knitting, the light of autumn, Gracie, good food, coffee, and the kindness of strangers.  People I've never met but who are kind nonetheless.  People like you.
Knitters are the nicest people.  Noreen, a lovely woman who reads my blog, sent me a beautiful note through Ravelry, along with a free pattern, just to brighten my day! Isn't that the sweetest thing?  I was gob smacked, to borrow a British phrase.  But it really does describe my sense of surprise perfectly.  Thank you again, Noreen!
Speaking of Brit speak, I've been binge watching Midsomer Murders every night as I knit on my Mary Rebecca.  Isn't she pretty?  I love the front panel details.  
I went to the Chrysler Museum this past Sunday to meet up with Melissa; she told me this was one of her favorite paintings and I liked it because of the sheep.
 I put a fern in the bathroom to help with air quality (it's the bathroom where the litter box is located), and also to keep the clutter from accumulating in the basket.  That's the one I spray painted quite a few years ago.  I may need to repaint it to contrast better with the plant, but I'll hold off for a bit.  This room has a skylight, so I think the plant will do well in there.
I came home Monday night to a neighborhood cat on my front porch.  He/she is a beauty, but a bit shy. Since I don't have a new photo of Gracie, this cat will fill the void.
 I've been trying to eat better; this is the last of the kale, after roasting.  It tastes so good but smells up the house so bad.

 I took some DVDs to a used bookstore and sold them for $15 yesterday; and I have a load of miscellany that I'm taking to the consignment store tomorrow, in the hopes of making a few more dollars.  The rest will go to the thrift store.  I've definitely cleared out a lot of stuff from the garage, mostly stuff that Steve left, but I've also been trying to weed out all the clothing I've been hanging on to over the years.  The attic was where I stored my off season clothing, and it's looking a lot emptier.  And I've finally cleaned up the yarn room.  I'll take photos this weekend, because it's dark by the time I get home, now that daylight savings time is over.  It's not exactly the way I want it yet, but at least the floor is clear.

Tomorrow night is my knit group night, and then it's Friday and the weekend.  The weather is supposed to be beautiful.  Not sure what I will do just yet, but I'm hoping to get in some outdoor time.  Wishing you a lovely weekend as well.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Shifting Seasons

The weather is gradually changing, and I can finally feel a chill in the air, hinting of cold weather heading my way.  My comfort food eating is changing too, reflecting a shift towards cold weather vegetables.  Sweet potato soup, cranberry beans, roasted beets, roasted Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and acorn squash.  A different category of comfort food, a little healthier than my first round of comfort food was, but comfort food nonetheless.   My knitting is comfort knitting as well. After struggling with a number of different projects, I started the Churchmouse 21 Color Slouch Hat, for the simple joy of knitting with all the colors and following a straightforward pattern.  This may be the beginning of a hat binge, who knows?    
Here are all the yarn bits, sitting on their little name tags: 
And since I can't really manage all of those colors unless I'm at home, I started my Mary Rebecca sweater with the raspberry yarn I bought at Rhinebeck, because, why not?  
I finished setting up my craft room last weekend, although the yarn room needs some attention now.  But I think that will be an easy and enjoyable fix.   I may do that tomorrow, since I'm feeling pretty goal oriented at the moment.  I managed my first electrical repair today and I'm pretty excited about it.  My clothes dryer stopped working in August and I determined that it was actually a bad circuit in the circuit breaker panel, but since I love using the clothesline, I've made do and put off the repair.  I read about it on YouTube and although it seemed simple, I was still a bit nervous about doing it myself.  Finally, I realized that as long as I cut the power off completely, I should be safe, and if I wasn't successful, I could take another route.  So this morning, I took out the bad circuit, took it to the hardware store, brought it back and installed it, and it worked!  I now have a functioning clothes dryer! 
It was a beautiful day here today and even though I am still scared about our future and grieving for what could have been, I have to move on as best as I can.  So I took a picture of Gracie in front of the kitchen windows, with my cheerful yellow curtains and leaf mobile against the breathtakingly blue sky.
And I met my daughter for an hour or so to catch up and saw these lovely roses, still in bloom.
And I hung pink gingham curtains in my yarn room because I can.
This year has been a tough one for me and Tuesday did not make it any easier, but what else are we to do but keep trying to make every day a good one.  I hope you have taken care of yourself this week and continue to do so.  Go outside, hug a friend, make a cup of tea, take a warm bath, and be kind.  To yourself as well as others.  We are all we've got.  Peace be with us.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


I woke up at 3 am and checked the New York Times on my phone and was devastated to read the news.  From that point on, I wondered how I would speak about it in my classroom.  Fortunately, there was this. Not sure what else to do but hope and pray.

Friday, November 4, 2016

It Looks Like a Beautiful Weekend

It was a lovely day today; the students don't come back to school until Wednesday, because our district has an in-service day on Monday and a teacher workday on Tuesday, which made today seem like the day before a holiday.  I had my honors kids in the computer lab to complete an essay contest assignment, and my fourth block students got to watch the second half of The Crucible.  All in all, it was a pretty relaxed day, despite a paperwork deadline that I had to scramble to meet.  After work, I met my parents for dinner, and then stopped at the farmer's market for my soup vegetables.  I think it's amazing that I got all of these wonderful vegetables for $29.  
A huge butternut squash, an acorn squash, carrots, celery, shallots, garlic, apples, beets, sweet potatoes, and even purple sweet potatoes. A panoply of produce.  
I don't remember if I showed you the lovely color of the sweet potato soup.  It was so good I've been excited about making it again, but first I have to eat the pot of cranberry beans I cooked in the slow cooker yesterday.  They were so creamy and good, even just plain, with only a little butter.  
I picked up two free bales of hay yesterday to use in the weedy area beside my garage.  I would have gone back for more today, but I had my car in the shop for a door lock issue and had to leave it overnight. If there is any hay left tomorrow, I will pick up two more bales.  Why only two? Believe it or not, that's all I could fit in the back of my car!   I'm looking forward to being outside tomorrow, spreading the hay, taking a walk on the beach, and hanging my sheets out to dry on the clothesline.  Since the temperatures are supposed to be in the low sixties, I plan on opening all the windows too.  I so love the cooler weather, especially this close to the water.  
This is a close up of the shawl I finished up a week or so ago.  The lighting isn't great, but it's good enough to show the grellow and grey yarn, aptly named A Crack in the Sidewalk.  How cute is that name? Still not sure how to separate my paragraphs on the new app, so apologies for that.  A reminder on the importance of touch from the NYT. I feel so lucky that as a teacher, I am the recipient of hugs almost every day, even though I teach high school kids.  Trust me, they still love to give and receive hugs, and since I'm old enough and have the motherly (grandmotherly) vibe, it's never been an issue for me.  Now that I live alone, I am even more grateful for them.     Hope you have a lovely weekend and thanks for the love and comments.  Peace.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


I made a crockpot soup Monday using the recipe that Mason-Dixon posted the other day.  I used two large sweet potatoes, one apple, and a box of chicken stock, cooked it on low for 8 hours, and used the immersion blender on it when I got home.  It is a tad bland, but as the author suggested, I started from there and will tweak it in the future.  Meanwhile, it is a healthy, autumnal soup that will keep me fed this week. And it was easy.  It's very similar to the butternut squash soup that Panera sells but it didn't give me heartburn.  I plan to make it next time using some Strongbow Apple Cider in place of some of the broth.  I think soups are in my future this season.       Meanwhile, my knitting is all over the map.  Probably representative of my mental state.  I still haven't taken steps to fix the Guernsey Wrap, and instead, pulled out an old project that was barely started, unraveled it, started a shawl, didn't like it, unraveled it, and have started yet a third pattern for the poor yarn.  I'll let you know if this one sticks.  And even crazier, I impulsively bought a kit from Churchmouse Yarns & Tea for a hat.  What sold me was the chance to get 21 tiny skeins of every color of the yarn for a 21 color hat.  It was like buying the big box of crayons.  I've resisted buying the gradient kits my friends have been buying for the past two years, but this got me.  It's not a gradient, per se, but it'll do.    
I was supposed to go out of town with friends this coming weekend, but I've decided to stay home instead.  Even though it wasn't going to cost me anything to stay in the beach house, I just couldn't justify eating out so many meals, with my new, less favorable, financial state.  (Another reason I shouldn't have bought the damn hat kit). I also need to replace a circuit for my clothes dryer and I want to do that in daylight hours, plus I have some other stuff that needs doing around the house.  As nice as a girls weekend would be, the thought of it was making me anxious.  Once I made the decision to stay home, I felt such a relief that I know it's the best choice for me.  I think I just need to do some nesting.  I want to clear out some more stuff to take to the thrift store, maybe take some things to the consignment store, make some more soup, snuggle with Gracie, and do some knitting and reading.  I'm going to try and get ready for the colder weather that is eventually coming our way, and try to incorporate some hygge into my home.  I'll let you know how it goes.