Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Watercolor Wednesday | Wine & Knitting.

...I was sure I must've blogged about this at some point, but I just did a quick search and didn't find it. Maybe it was all just for "wordless" Wednesday?

In any event, my sister and I have been meeting every Wednesday evening for years. We open a bottle of wine, fix a light snack (popcorn is a sure favorite, but if Katie joins us we can manage a full vegetable plate and hummus) ... and knit... and talk. Until the wine or the talk runs out (the wine nearly always wins that race).

I get choked up just typing this when I think about the joys and tears we've shared over all that time. It was a highlight of my mama-life when Katie started to join us last fall. Chalk up another one for knitting (and for wine!) - it's cross-generational.

We mostly rotate houses. This week was Karen's turn to host (which meant just two of us - Katie isn't venturing out that far this late in the day with Charlie just yet). Karen's the green thumb in our generation and I love the view onto her deck with pots full of living things! She opened a delicious grenache/syrah/mourvedre blend. and popped corn. and we talked. about everything. and about nothing. Really...the stuff of life and especially (these days for all three of us!) motherhood.

Special, treasured times. for which I am beyond grateful. xo!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Embracing Fall.

...way back in September, many of my Ten on Tuesday friends wrote lists about getting ready for fall. I mostly wrote about enjoying a new baby, and being grateful I didn't need to think about fall just then. Fast forward to October 1 and I started to think about it. And finally, this past weekend, I embraced it. Full on.

I spent Friday re-working the containers on my front porch. Gone are the tired lantana, deer-chewed sweet potato vine and faded petunias (also gone is the dead sky pencil holly!)

Now we have living sky pencil holly, pansies, creeping jenny, dianthus and compact loropetalum (that the Lowe's gardener promises I can get to "weep" over the sides of the pots with careful pruning).

There's a welcoming wreath on the front door.

Inside, there are apples and pears, pinecones and a few candles adding a spicy scent.

(I still need candles for the dining room table).

Holiday menu planning is in full swing, too, inspired in large part by this ad that I stumbled across on Sunday.

Katie just gifted me that Sunday Suppers cookbook* so I have all the recipes. (thanks to a bit of on-line sale shopping, I have some pretty new table linens coming, too!)

It even feels like fall now, too. Low temperatures in the 40's and high's in the 60's. Our bright blue skies are back this week and it's sweater weather! I just need to find a pumpkin or two and we're set! How about you? What are you loving about Fall?

*oh my, it's gorgeous! beautifully styled and the food looks delicious! She also gave me Dinner: A Love Story. Coming soon - an update on cooking inspiration!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Watercolor Wednesday | Sunset (promised).

...I think I jinxed us when I shared that poem last week about "bright blue skies". yeah, since then we've had rain, thunder, lightening and tornados. but mostly rain. and lots of gray skies. finally this afternoon the sky cleared and promised a beauty of a sunset

just before I had to leave for bookclub*. As I drove I watched the sky darken and the clouds turn to a luminous pink. I barely caught the last glimpse of that promised sunset once I arrived.

*the book was A Prayer for Owen Meany, one of my all-time favorites from last summer. I had volunteered months ago to lead the discussion and I did my homework this morning to prep, but whoa. The group came through big. We talked about the book (one thing I love about church bookclub is that we do talk about the book!) for over an hour and I think everyone left with a renewed appreciation for both John Irving and Owen Meany. This was my first meeting with the group since January when I read (and was charmed by) a book about Downton Abbey. I was happy to re-connect. This group definitely expands my horizons (it's a goal to read many different genres, including non-fiction - not my favorite) but I haven't always followed through on the reading. It's a church bookclub; you're almost encouraged to show up especially if you haven't read the book! We vote on our 2015 reading list in December. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ten on Tuesday | Weekending.

...this week Carole's asked us to share about our weekends. It wasn't a holiday for either of us yesterday (although school was out so we had a holiday from traffic which was pretty sweet), and today is a dreary rainy Tuesday. The weekend already seems like a long time ago, but here are the top ten things I remember:

  1. Friday night was our usual pizza and wine and we watched Monuments Men. We both enjoyed the movie; it's a great story with a really fun cast, including George Clooney, Matt Damon and Bill Murray.
  2. Saturday morning I went for a solo run, my first in many weeks. The early morning rain left signs of fall on the sidewalk
  3. I met Virginia for coffee and knitting and a nice long catch-up.
  4. Then we toured the soon-to-open Whole Foods Market (it opens today). This store is five miles from my house; I expect I'll be a frequent visitor! Can't wait to try the cappucino or the wine & tapas bar that overlooks the store (there's also a cooking school up there).
  5. Marc and I ate turkey sandwiches (on a fresh whole wheat of several delicious takeaways from the Whole Foods tour... I guess I should add I'm excited about the food there, too!) for dinner and watched the last two episodes of Masters of Sex Season 2. We really enjoyed the first season, but wow, the second was so much better.
  6. (this is where I might include something about football...but I don't really want to remember anything about football from this weekend).
  7. Sunday morning's service centered around Family Promise, the homeless ministry we joined in 2012. Once a quarter, we host a few families (typically mothers and children) for a week. One of the women who was part of the program and has now been in permanent housing for nearly a year spoke; it was quite moving to hear her story. Did y'all know that the average age of a homeless person in the US is nine? It's scary and sad.
  8. Sunday afternoon it stormed; the golf course closed for lightning, so Marc was home (that's weird on a weekend afternoon!) I spent the afternoon stitching and knitting and listening to back episodes of The Readers (my latest favorite podcast about books and reading).
  9. The rain subsided for a bit - see? blue sky! Holly and I went for a walk, which was really just an excuse for me to start listening to Sense of an Ending.
  10. Happy to report that - although we did watch TV (all caught up now for the series finale of Boardwalk Empire) while we ate - Sunday dinner was a homecooked hot meal! Shrimp and grits...and it was tasty!

And that's it. Nothing too exciting (but then again, that's pretty normal!) How about you, did you do anything exciting this weekend?

one last look...from Sunday's walk


Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Bingo | The End.

...way back in July (three months ago??!) I posted a mid-summer update on Book Bingo. At that point, I had four books to go to cover my card. I finished up the last book on August 23. Those last four books were:

Life After Life. recommended by Carole, a librarian.  5 stars. I love love loved this book. I can still hear "Snow...." in my head, evoking that night in February 1910 when Ursula begins and re-begins her life. It's sparked some interesting discussion with a few close friends, but I'm hesitant to suggest it for a full-on book club discussion. Maybe in a few months when the points aren't quite so close to my heart.

Liar's Club. found in a used book store (by Sara). I'd intended this to be my "by an author who shares my first name" selection, but Liar's Club seemed a better pick (and I had time to find another Mary). I did enjoy the book. Parts of it were tough, but not in an "I can't finish this" way. We lived in Groves, Texas (where much of the book is set) during the sixties and my memories are child-like. I left the book with my mom and dad, who have much clearer - and likely much harder - memories of that time and place... I do hope they read it so I can learn more about that time from their perspective.

Rebecca. the re-read. and oh my what a good one this was! Actually, I listened...but I think that made it even more dramatic. (also, I couldn't so easily flip to those last few pages to remind myself how it ended!) I still haven't watched the movie. but I will. I think I'm gonna need a sleepover pal or two, though (this is definitely not one that I want to watch with Marc!)

The Proposal. by Mary Balogh, an author who shares my first name. A pretty delightful romance. and a nice palate-cleanser. I might even track down another (this was #1 in the series)... but no time soon!

24 books = 12 bingos. (not that anyone's counting!)

Three other readers also completed the challenge:

- Bonny also covered her card (24 books and 12 bingos). She also had a great summer of reading - mostly.
- Carole played two cards; she read 18 books and scored three bingos. She piggy-backed the whole bingo idea for her library's summer reading program. How cool!
- Kym read 18 books and scored four bingos...and emailed me a photo of her finished card.

And I know many more of you played along. We read more, especially outside our typical comfort zone; we found new favorites; we surprised ourselves.  I'm calling it a huge success!

As promised, there's a prize. Given the odds it's probably not hard to guess the winner!

Congratulations, Bonny! (there's a little something coming to your in-box tomorrow).

And thank you everyone! This year has been a great reading one for me and I'm looking forward to expanding my horizons and stepping outside my comfort zone even more in the coming months. Stay tuned. I'm still getting my thoughts together... so this really isn't "the end" of reading, just of Summer 2014 Bingo!