Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Saturday, May 20, 2017

This Week

After my legal event last week, plus a minor outpatient surgical procedure that required two days off work, I felt like I was playing catchup all week.  The thing about teaching is that when you aren't there, you have to work extra to prepare, then you work extra when you return.  It's why most teachers accrue so much leave: it's such a pain to be out.  But now that it's Friday, I feel like I have finally caught up, or at least as much as I ever can catch up, if that makes sense.

There was a faculty happy hour function Friday that I attended, but unfortunately, I wasn't able to stay very long, as a cool weather front coming in gave me a rather severe headache.  I came home and had some coffee, medication, and spent most of the evening knitting quietly in my lovely yarn room, with Gracie nearby.  Luckily, it eased quite a bit.  Maybe I need to spend more time knitting quietly?  I know Gracie enjoyed it.  Here she is after climbing into an empty basket.




 I'm working on a Playground Shawl, using two skeins of stash yarn, Frolicking Feet, and Fiber Company Canopy.  It's an easy pattern, but I have had to start over a few times for one reason or another.  No matter, I'm quite happy with it anyway.




I bought more mulch this week, in the hopes of doing some more yard work, but the weather might not cooperate this weekend.  I want to extend the flower bed by my front porch to include some bulbs my parents gave me from their yard, an azalea my sister gave me, and a butterfly bush that I need to move, before I kill it by dragging the garden hose over it.


The shells I've placed around this bed make me think of the book, Roxaboxen, I used to read to the girls.



I spent today doing everything but gardening however.  I took my mom to the Hermitage Museum, consignment store shopping, and lunch, to celebrate Mother's Day, since last weekend was my dad's birthday.  Then I met a friend at the Norfolk Greek Fest for dinner, so all in all it was a lovely Saturday. 


Now Gracie is ready to curl up and snooze. 


Monday, May 15, 2017

It's Official

My divorce was finalized on May 10 and I have to say, it's a relief to have it over and done with.  Other than a few glitches every so often, my life is in a really good place.  My health has improved, my house and yard are looking better than they ever have, and summer is not too far off.
Aren't these pictures of the beach beautiful?
Gracie loves to hang out on the back of the couch and sometimes, she falls asleep in the most interesting poses.
I don't know why she loves to do this but she does.  So cute.
I finally reorganized my yarn room; I moved some furniture around, moved some out, and this time, I think it'll stay this way for awhile.
I still have some odds and ends to sort, but I enjoy being in there now.
I really love my fairy lights; can you see them?
This was taken in there as well, after Gracie crawled up on the back of the pink chair to get closer to me.  Such a face!
It's been busy and hectic and stressful, but I think it'll be a bit calmer now.  I hope you all enjoyed Mother's Day, no matter how you celebrated it.  Back again soon!

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Still Here

Gracie and I are still here, going through our days.  She loves her window perch in the kitchen.  Work is going really well, which helps a lot.  I can't believe I only have about seven weeks left, although I probably say that every year.  

When the weather is good, I'm in the yard as much as possible, and as a result, I think it's really shaping up.  I had a small setback last weekend when I ran over my electric cord with the lawn mower but thankfully my dad repaired it for me, so I didn't have to replace it.  The 100 ft cords are not cheap.  I'll have to be more cautious from now on, especially since it seems it did blow out the circuit.  But those are only around $10-$15 to replace as opposed to $50-$60.  I stopped by Home Depot on the way home today and bought ten bags of mulch and put them down tonight.  I can't remember how many bags I bought over spring break, but it was at least that many.  I could easily use another ten, but as it's supposed to rain on Friday, I think I'll wait.


I feel as if I'm at a different doctor every time I turn around these days and I'm healthy!  I saw the dermatologist on Monday, and had something taken off my knee, I go to a hand surgeon tomorrow to have something removed from my finger (yard injury), and next week I'm having some outpatient surgery on my eyelids, which of course requires a pre-op visit.  Not the best time to be missing time from work but I don't have a lot of choice.  I'm also having bunion surgery on one foot this summer, as well as some oral surgery!  Being over 55 years old definitely requires serious upkeep!  

I thought about going to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend, but decided I have too much to do around here.  My plans are to clear out some more clutter and take care of some paperwork I've been procrastinating.   But hopefully there will also be time for a little of this:

Monday, April 24, 2017

Betwixt and Between

I feel as if I'm in a bit of a holding pattern as I wait for my divorce to be finalized.  There are many things I'd like to write about, but can't, as this is too public a platform, and that has had the effect of keeping me quieter than I'd like.  This past weekend was a challenge but I'm not really sure why, unless it was due to the grey weather.  I saw friends, took walks, and generally tried to make sure I did some things that I know are good for me, but I was a little blue nonetheless.  Anyway, I came through it and I'm back at work and feeling much better, so all is well.  I know there are some things I need to do inside my house that will help my state of mind, so the sooner I stop procrastinating, the better.  
I am very happy with the amount of yard work I did over my spring break.  I ended up planting three cherry tomato plants, three zucchini squash plants, and three eggplant plants, all in the front beds.  I transplanted a few rose bushes to make room for the vegetables, and I did lots and lots of weeding.  Still plenty to do, but I'm okay with that.
I only managed to walk on the beach once that week; the light was gorgeous.
 My knitting room is a disaster area and I think it's having a negative impact on my knitting.  I pulled these two skeins out and began the Nymphalidea shawl, but I'm not in love with it, which is weird, because I bought these at Rhinebeck in 2015 with that pattern in mind.  I've stuck with it so far, but I'm really considering ripping it out and casting on for the shawl in the Mason Dixon Knitting Book #3, since I have so much yardage.  Then again, maybe not.
One constant is Gracie.  Whether she is napping with one eye open,
 Or sound asleep,
Or giving me the cutest look ever, 
She's my sweet shadow, sticking by my side as much as she can.    

Hope you all have a lovely week.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Busy Days

Oh my goodness, this has been a busy week.  I had brunch with friends on Saturday, bought a new lawn mower and weed trimmer on Sunday, and have worked in my yard for three to four hours every single day since then.  But I made sure to do other things as well, like reading, knitting, walking, and meeting friends for coffee and lunch.
My mom has wanted to ride the Tide, our area's light rail, so we did that on Monday.  We met my daughter, Melissa, for coffee, then mom and I played tourist, walking around downtown Norfolk, touring the Slover library and the newest hotel on Main Street, before having lunch in a bookstore cafe.  It was such fun!
 This view was from the hotel; the little bit of water you can see is the Elizabeth River, Norfolk's waterfront harbor area.  Those heads in the picture are actually a sculpture in the hotel lobby, not real people.  We had gorgeous weather for our little adventure, and walked a lot!
 My tulips have finally blown, but it seemed like they lasted a long time this year.
Gracie enjoyed my week off, although I wasn't inside with her very much.  Still, she knew I was around, and in and out of the house; here is a shot of her enjoying the morning sunshine.
I took advantage of the beautiful weather to photograph my finished Hitchhiker shawl.
I spent Wednesday morning in the Ghent section of Norfolk, at Baa Baa Sheep, my local yarn shop, but I also spent a lot of time walking through the neighborhoods there too, enjoying the azaleas.
Today, I walked around the Freemason area, which has a lot of Victorian style homes, before visiting an exhibit of Toulouse-Lautrec's work at the Chrysler Museum with Melissa, who had the day off.
We ate our fish taco lunch al fresco; the weather this week could not have been better.
This picture was taken at the end of the street Melissa lives on; I love the view.
I came home to finish tidying up my yard work by mulching the vegetable bed I planted.  I put in two cherry tomato plants and three zucchini plants, although I may need to move one of the zucchini; not sure there will be enough room for them all.  
 Although my yard is looking pretty nice, the inside of my house looks as if I'm in the process of moving in or moving out!  At the beginning of the break,  I decided that I would work outside as long as the weather was nice, and work inside if it rained, but it never rained!  So now, I need to get the inside straightened up before Monday.  I can't believe the week is over already!  Other than that though, it really has been a nice mix of relaxing and working in the yard.  I'm very happy with all I accomplished outside, and I think I'll go back on Monday satisfied and rested.  
And before I know it, it'll be summer break! Right?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Gracie and Gardening

Spring break has officially begun for me!  Oddly enough, my semester has been going so well that it kind of snuck up on me. More often than not, I'm beyond ready for the break, but this year, not so much.  Which is not to say that I won't enjoy it, because I definitely will.  I plan to do a lot of relaxing but I also want to work in my yard as much as possible too.  First item on my to-do list is to buy a new lawn mower.  I'm getting an electric one so I don't have to bother with gasoline or with starting one.  I owned an electric one years ago and it suited me just fine.
Meanwhile, the tulips continue to look beautiful.
I planted snapdragons and spearmint in a pot together for my front porch.
 I also put this lavender plant in a pot for the time being; I've planted lavender in the flower bed before and it never seems to survive, even though the sandy soil should be a good fit for it. I'll see how it does in a pot.
My new door mat looks pretty alongside a big pot of geraniums; those petunias in the far right of the photo still need planted somewhere but I haven't decided where just yet.
Gracie was watching me through the kitchen window while I weeded in the back yard the other night. She is strictly an indoor cat but she has lots of windows to look out of.
She naps everywhere.
 Guess she knew I was taking her picture.
Another favorite napping spot.
Vera, I hope you got your Gracie fix! Thanks for asking about her.
I was fortunate enough to meet up with another internet friend yesterday. Larissa, a blogger I've read for years, was vacationing in the area with her family, and took time out of her schedule to meet me for tea and a chat.  It was so good to meet her in person and get to know her better.  She is as lovely as I thought she'd be.  I know that social media can have negative implications in our lives, but it has also enriched our lives in so many ways too.  I think it's like anything else; it all depends on how you use it.  And I'm grateful for the connections I've made through it.
Have a great week!

Saturday, April 1, 2017


March went out like a lion in our area, with torrential rain and even some tornado action, but today was clear and beautiful.  I had heard there was to be a Quilters Guild Show in Elizabeth City this weekend, so my mom and I made the 45 minute drive to see it, and had lunch out afterwards.  Part of me felt I should have stayed home and started working in my yard, but the smarter part of me knew it was a better use of my time to spend it with my mom.  She's become less willing to venture away from home over the last year, so anytime I can tempt her to do so, I have to take the opportunity.    

When I got home, I potted the plants I had bought this past Monday.  These are the plants beforehand, since I didn't take an after photo yet.

I bought a geranium, lavender, snapdragons, petunias, spearmint, lemon balm, and lemon thyme.  The fern on the far right is a houseplant I put outside so I could give it a thorough watering.    

More tulips have opened since last week.

And this groundcover plant has really spread, although the perspective is off; the plant is much smaller than it looks here.
I wish I remember what it's called.
I begin tutoring another student who is on home bound instruction tomorrow, which is a good way for me to earn some extra income.  I did this back in December and January with another student, and it really helped me out, so I'm grateful another opportunity came along.  I need to buy a lawn mower and an airline ticket to New York so I can pet sit for Meredith and Ryan in July.  I can't believe I haven't been up there since last July!  This is the longest I've gone with out traveling there, but at least I've seen her since then.     I'm still working on my Hitchhiker shawl, although I think I'm about three-fourths done.  School is still going great, and believe me, if I can say that a week before spring break, it's amazing.  My youngest, Melissa, had her 28th birthday on Friday, which of course is simply unbelievable to me. We celebrated last weekend, so I took flowers to her last night; she was working a double shift, but I wanted her to celebrate it anyway.  

Still reading lots, so much so that the librarians recognize me again, which I like.  I've always loved the library, ever since I was little.  And since I'm teaching Fahrenheit 451 to my Honors 10 class, I've been reminded of that.  I had them listen to a podcast the NEA did for the novel that included an interview with Ray Bradbury discussing his love for the public library, and it was just wonderful.


Wishing you a wonderful week filled with books, friends, and other things you love.


Sunday, March 26, 2017


I can't believe I forgot to share this photo of our knitting retreat tees; Kristin bought them for us from Cafe Press, and we think they're adorable.  It's getting to the point where I need a separate bin for all my knitting themed clothing, but that's a good thing, I think.  
Speaking of knitting, have you been following the March Madness that Mason-Dixon Knitting has put together?  It's a great way to showcase some patterns, and one of the designers, Nell, of NellKnits, is local.  She's been working with BaaBaa Sheep, my local yarn store.  Unfortunately, her sweater pattern, Crete, didn't make it to the second round, but it definitely made it into my knitting queue. Nell designs patterns that are beautiful yet incredibly wearable, if that makes sense.  Check out her Ravelry page, when you have the time.
I went to see two movies last weekend, and I enjoyed both.  The Sense of an Ending, with Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling, and Emily Mortimer, was an adaptation of a Julian Barnes novel, and quite good.  The other movie, was a French film, Things To Come, and was shown on Sunday morning, at a weekly event the Naro does called FirstLook Film Forum.  It's an advance screening of a film, along with coffee, bagels, and a discussion and critique about the film. Even though I hardly ever see a movie at any other theater, I had never attended a FirstLook Forum.  It feels a little odd to me to sit in a movie theater so early on a Sunday morning, but it's also kind of nice.  Apparently there's a core group that attends and I think it'll be a nice way to develop some new aquaintences with similar interests.  This morning I saw a really emotionally intense movie from Iran, The Salesman.  I think it won an Oscar this year, and if I'm correct, it was well deserved.
Afterwards, I went for a long walk, so I could enjoy the warm weather and spring flowers.  Speaking of spring flowers, my tulips are just starting to bloom.
 These are the tulips from my stepdaughter's wedding and luckily they continue to multiply.  
These are some type of naturalized flower that I see in a lot of neighboring yards, but I don't know what it is.
Here is a close up; they are little onion type bulbs, but that's really all I know.  I transplanted a bunch of them last year to my corner flowerbed, but there are still quite a few sprinkled randomly across the yard.  
I've also amassed quite a little collection of succulents, and I quite like how they look clustered together.
And Gracie continues to rule the roost around here, often from her new favorite perch.  I moved the hutch I had been using in the craft room to the kitchen a few months ago.  My kitchen has very little storage space, having been built in the fifties, and since I had plenty of room for it, I thought it would be a good move.  So far, I like it, and Gracie loves it.
Last night she was snuggled up in bed with me like this.
Is that not the cutest?
I only have two more weeks until spring break; I'm not going anywhere this year.  I have a dental surgery appointment and once I feel better, I hope to do some yard work.  And reading and relaxing.  Other than that, I really don't have plans, which sounds pretty good to me.