Monday, April 30, 2012

another monday.

...if you read last week (thank you!) you're probably expecting this. a post about another monday. for me the mondays are drawn in black and white - those where I spend half the day cleaning. and those where I don't. today was that latter kind of monday. yep, a "fun monday".

marc is away right now and I thought maybe I'd sleep later (I set an alarm for 5am), but I was downstairs turning on the coffee at 4:45. waking habits are hard to break! as are coffee habits. I told myself last night I'd be fine to have reheated coffee today...yeah, no. and tomorrow's coffee is already ready to go. leftover coffee is. not worth it.

funny. the dark early hours seemed longer without my usual wakeup call to marc at 5:30 and sending him off at 6:00. I finished up my bible study prep, paid bills, handled a few things I'd been dreading (like requesting a final distribution from my old 401k plan and cleaning out my top right desk drawer). I still had time to add a few rounds to jordan before I walked holly, ran two laps in the park, did a load of towels, a "light cleaning"*, a cup of yogurt, a shower, and out the door.

we're nearing the end of our 34 week bible study. 1 & 2 peter. definitely not the most exciting books, but we managed some interesting conversation. I'm really going to miss this ... and hoping I can find another monday morning study for next year.

one errand and then home to walk holly. lunch with a book, and carrots, cucumber and cottage cheese.
monday lunch
click the photos to go to flickr...more details (maybe)
now up to chapter VII of the sun also rises and I'm getting confused. the paris wife. the sun also rises. midnight in paris. they're all running together. I remind myself I'm reading this book because I've already read the paris wife. and maybe I should just watch midnight in paris again.

spend the afternoon catching up - on one little word. photos**. mad men (and knitting).
166:365 april OLW.
one little word
by 4:15 I'm ready to leave. we head to the park for a short walk (with my camera).
at the park

and we're to the shop by 5 (with coffee!). time to enjoy a good 30-minute chat with diane and kathy before my students arrive. FO photos (woot!), top-down sweater construction, babies, 50 shades of grey, pimento cheese, baby blankets, more books, more knitting... and it's 8pm. time to close. and it's the same.

...except that now it's after 11pm. and I still need to have some dinner!

*I promise I'm not a crazy cleaning person! today I used windex on the surfaces that need it, like the windows on the french door where holly can look out (and the glass table marc uses); and I swept the floors and vacuumed the rugs downstairs.

**here are the photos of my april OLW


and project life week 6

Thursday, April 26, 2012

try something.

from week 5 (full spread photo below)
...first off, thank you all for your kind words on my project life fail post a few weeks back. it means a lot to me to have friends here who not only have sound advice but also care enough to take the time to share it! I am happy to report that I found my groove. and I now have five weeks documented in a pretty orange album. which means I am - at least for the next 54 hours - caught up!

during the course of one particularly supportive exchange (thank you cynthia!) I decided to share a few thoughts here about my learnings and my process. I'm not sure how many of you even know about project life, but if you're curious or thinking about starting - or even if you're doing it already - I hope you can benefit a bit from the lessons I learned. over many long hours (and a few glasses of wine, thank you lydia!). these past four weeks.

in a nutshell - and in case you really don't care to know about project life :-) because I think these first four points are good for just about anything!

  1. it doesn't have to be everything
  2. it doesn't have to be perfect
  3. don't over-think it
  4. and learn how to use your printer!

and now if you want to know more...

I want to start by saying I LOVE this approach to documentation. I have been very good about documenting my life since 2007 - I have photo albums (which actually go back to 2003) and scrapbooks and photobooks and journals. but it's always felt a bit disjointed. or duplicative. like the trips sara and I took to nyc. they're in scrapbooks not photo albums. but the trip we took to mexico is in a photo album and a photobook (ditto a few other trips). and all the "stuff" of my life - tickets, yarn, letters and cards, really anything that's not a photo! - ended up only in my journals. and those journals are only for me (right now). so project life - which is really just a 12x12 album and a bunch of page protectors - appeals. I think I can combine the photo album with the scrapbook with the not-personal part of my journal. I still think I'll do photobooks for "special" events or trips. and I am definitely still keeping my journal. but now many of the bits and pieces I used to put there, will go in my project life album to share. and that album can be as "scrappy" as I feel like making it.

1. I am organizing my spreads by weeks...mostly running sunday to saturday. but the week we went to beaufort I used the left half for sunday to thursday and the right half for beaufort (friday to sunday). sunday mornings are a good time for me to work on project life, so it seemed like having my weeks end on saturdays made sense. we'll see.

2. I've gathered a small collection of supplies (dubbed "my toolkit" below) - pretty papers, adhesive, stickers, pens, inks, a few stamps, markers, my paper trimmer, and the box of project life page protectors - into a plastic bin. I'm hoping I won't get sick of seeing that bin on my kitchen counter, because I do love having everything I need right there!

3. before I started, I downloaded a few journaling and photo template packages from paislee press and this free one from paper peonies. I printed off the preview pages for each package and labeled those to show the filenames. I put those pages and a plastic pocket (to hold this week's "stuff") into a heavy duty folder (dubbed "my helpbook" below). when I want to print off a journaling card, or find a digital element for a photo, it's much quicker for me to page through my folder than to pore through the documents on my computer.
my little workstation - it's on my kitchen counter to the left of my desk
4. during the week, I have a big post-it in that folder to capture the key things. I jot down things there as they occur to me and then I use that post-it to organize my spread, decide the photos to print, etc.

5. I'm mixing up my own handwriting and computer journaling. I really like having both.

6. I haven't made a lot of rules about what I'm including except for:

  • one "pretty paper" piece at the beginning of each spread to document the dates covered (with a date stamp) and the highlights (in my handwriting)
  • one quotation.
  • for each knitting project I cast on, a pattern grab from ravelry, a label and snip from the yarn, and the date.

a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

here are the five weeks I've completed.
you can click on all the photos to see them bigger. and maybe clearer.
week 1 - this is the only week that's just one 12x12 page
week 2 
week 3
week 4
week 5
and a handful of close-up shots to highlight things I especially love about the album.

first, from week 1, a photo that marc texted me (he was tickled to see I'd included it) alongside the postcard (cropped) that accompanies your check at bistro vg. the two-of-us photo from that lunch was not album-worthly, but this card made up for that. you can also see my love of labels. these are the martha stewart ones from michaels.

and now I'm no longer attempting to round corners (whew!), but love the instagram photo I cropped and the paislee press card for the bible verse.

and now from week 2, the format I've settled on to document project cast-ons.

a 6x6 grid.... this is great if you have big "stuff" (that you don't mind cutting - or folding - or combining the two - the left slot has a cut page with a folded page clipped to it)...or if you have instagram photos that are great printed at 3x3, like the slot on the right.

from week 4, a screen shot from my iphone.

redeeming a starbucks reward coupon. I get these about once a month and hope to include them in my album (especially if I order something different...slim chance!) I scanned the coupon and then cropped it to print here...along with the label from my drink and a stamp - this is one of the "scrappier" entries, for sure!

labels on the outside of the page protector for photos that "go together".

from week 5, another journaling card from paislee press and a few of the teabag tags I collected. the tazo awake tag is actually a tag on the card and sticks out of its slot (I love things that stick out like that!)

a view of the weekly summary card (note to self - they probably need to be 4x6 - I don't write small!) and writing on photos with slickwriters (I have 5 colors, but so far only the black and red have appeared here)

again, I welcome any and all input, feedback, questions, etc. and most of all, thank you for all your support!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

10 good things about coming home from a vacation.

...she's back! and I can only imagine that today's topic means she might need a little convincing about being home again. I know the feeling, having come home twice this month from short little trips away. the first few days back are alway too hectic...but no matter what, I'm always glad to be home.
152:365 we love you because.
see #1 below - marc's welcome home from my most recent trip

1. 99% of my trips are without marc so coming home means seeing him.

2. sleeping in my own bed.

3. drinking good coffee from my coffee pot. sure, other places have good coffee and sometimes it's even great coffee. but even so, it's never as convenient or reliable as the stuff I brew day in and day out. (I also like getting that little splash of non-fat milk from the carton that sits just so in the right hand door of my refrigerator.)

4. deciding what to wear from my whole wardrobe and not just the small subset of outfits I thought to pack a few days ago.

5. my shower, hair dryer, curling iron, makeup light and mirror(s!!). getting dressed is always better at home!

6. seeing the park. this is especially true in the months where the seasons are changing.

7. not needing google maps all the time to get from where I am to where I'm going. (and if I've been someplace where english isn't the language, it's nice being able to understand without having to translate).

8. seeing my friends.

9. catching up with what I've missed at the shop. thankfully, it's not always like this!

10. remembering how much fun it was to be away ... looking through the photos (once I get them off my camera(s), and processed, and uploaded to flickr) and seeing those vacation smiles.


Monday, April 23, 2012

monday night.

159:365 monday night.
there are notes on this photo. you can see them here.
...I can see the light at the end of the "getting into project life" tunnel (more to come on that later this week - I hope!). and getting the first three weeks down on paper (so to speak) has reinforced how great this blog is to capture moments in time. you'd (or maybe it is just me) think the life of a nearly 50 year old empty nester who teaches knitting and walks a little dog at the park would be ... pretty much the same day in. and day out. and at 50,000 feet that might be true. but through the close-up lens of a week-by-week documentation project, not so much. I guess that's why currents caught on.

so for me right now, I want to capture the routine of my monday night. coming at the end of my busiest day of my week. I try to get to bed by 10 on sunday night so I can get up with my 4:35am alarm on monday morning. I missed today and didn't hit the start button on the coffee pot til 5:11. bible study prep. laundry. walking holly. 2 laps running at the park. a quick shower. a few minutes with maloka'i over a bowl of oatmeal. bible study. costco. kroger. house cleaning* (a new podcast...more laundry...two walks with holly).

and it's 4:50pm. we leave for the shop. hoping to have a few minutes to sit. and knit. and enjoy a cup of coffee before class starts at 6.

traffic was kind. and the line at starbucks was short. 5:22 and we're there. whew. it felt good to sit down. class was in full swing by 6. sock gussets, sweater sleeves, picking up stitches, picking out yarn, first socks, patterns, projects, first babies, grandbaby baptisms and birthdays, weddings, vacations, books, movies. life. all that I love about knitting. and teaching.

and before it seems possible it's nearly 8pm. checkout time! my may class is full already (whoa!) and the girls make sure I've got company to turn out the lights, set the alarm and lock the door.

I always let holly sit in my lap on drive home. (we don't go more than 35 mph, I'm pretty sure it's safe) I love her warmth, like a comfortable blanket, letting me relax for the first time all day. it's delightful. the drive home is quick and by 8:30 she's sitting at marc's knee waiting for her "piece" (of popcorn) and I'm setup with my own dinner of popcorn and wine, accompanied by gmail, google reader and ravelry - and tonight, maloka'i (oh my I LOVE this book!)

I take a photo. and I decide to write a blog post. (and hope I can include this in some shape, form or fashion in my project life album).

...and now it's nearly 10:30. marc has gone to bed. holly is curled up in her bed by my desk. it feels very late but the caffeine from that 5pm coffee is keeping me awake. I think I'm going to read....

*I should note - and my mom would be proud - the housecleaning is not a weekly thing (it used to be, but I've matured :-)...I now try to do it bi-weekly and those alternate mondays are definitely a lot less busy and a lot more interesting. maybe I'll share next week, too..

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

10 things I love about our weekend away in beaufort.

...carole is enjoying a vacation from her blog this week, but I'm fresh from a long weekend away in beaufort and thought it would be fun to share 10 things I love:
dinner at saltus river grill
karen, polly and me at dinner sunday night (you can see all the photos from this year here)
1. my sister and I share the driving; she drove down and I drove home. great for knitting (I started and knit about half the leg of a my first traveling sock). and for making sure we photo the state welcome signs.

2.  the weekend runs from meal to meal. you know, where we spend time at breakfast talking about lunch (and dinner) and time at dinner talking about the next day's meals.

3. our accommodations were luxuriously comfortable (I meant to take photos inside...oops!); the house was featured in december 2010 southern living. except for the christmas decorations, it looks just like the photos!

4. dinner conversations...my sister and I have learned so much about our mom over the course of all these dinners. something about a meal out, a few cocktails, and just feeling close.

5. pretty sights. beaufort is a lovely town full of southern charm. we walked along the waterfront and through the historic point on sunday afternoon. you really have to pay attention or you'll miss the best little details.

6. games. I am not a game player, but everyone else in my family is. this is the only time I'll actually offer "do you want to play a game?" (and even better, we all won!)

7. bach on the organ at sea island presbyterian. we initially chose beaufort because our longtime (since 1977!) family friend charlie is the music director there. and he plays the organ. and he knows I love bach...

8. crab cakes benedict. brunch on sunday is takeout from blackstones. five (my dad and charlie join us for lunch on saturday and brunch on sunday) orders of crab cakes benedict. they only make crab cakes for sundays. and I only have eggs benedict once a year. I don't even like eggs benedict, but I love this dish! (and oops, another photo I did not get!)

9. instagram. this was the first trip I felt comfortable enough with the app to really use it. love the real-time sharing and how quick and fun it is.

10. continuing a tradition we started 8 years ago...truly mother/daughter weekends away are a treasure.

Friday, April 13, 2012

on starting project life.

148:365 starting project life.

...this was my kitchen table and desk after four hours of "starting project life" yesterday. and the sad thing is that the only tangible output I have is two 4x6 photos. they are good photos...but still. 

I have a long way to go before I'm really up-and-running with this whole process. and I'm admitting it. I'm overwhelmed. I'm not usually overwhelmed by starting something new. but this time I am. I'm not sure why. I have plenty of photos, great documentation about what's happened these last few weeks, a decent pile of ephemera, my supplies all in one place, new ink in my printer and a fresh stack of photo paper....but still. 

no pages done. katie says I need to just do it. I know she's right.

curious if anyone reading - other than katie! - is in a routine with project life? and if so, how does it work for you? I'm planning to make weekly pages, with my weeks running from sunday to saturday (and I'm planning to start with march 18 - yes, that means I'm already in week #4!) welcome any and all suggestions.

...for next week. because this weekend is another trip. my sister and I are meeting up with our parents in beaufort for a few days. this will be our fifth visit. and I'm pretty sure it will be the best one yet!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

delight of spring.

146:365 first rhodie bloom.
first bloom on our rhodie - about two weeks earlier than usual!

She had not known before how much the beginnings and progress of vegetation had delighted her. -- What animation both of body and mind she had derived from watching the advance of that season which cannot, in spite of its capriciousness, be unlovely, and seeing its increasing beauties from the earliest flowers, in the warmest divisions of her aunt's garden...
- Jane Austen, Mansfield Park
of course it's no secret how spring delights me. and this passage made me love jane austen all the more.

(yay! I finished the book! another fifty for 50 done!)

Monday, April 9, 2012

knitting.

...and dreaming of knitting. feels like all I've been up to these past few weeks months (let's be honest here, right?). these past few years have been a lot about about knitting, but now, it's really all I want to do. I keep thinking there's no way this level of obsession can last. that I'll wake up one day and "knit" won't be the thing I want to do most. yeah, there have been a few days like that - like when sara was home last month and we went for make-overs and lunch, or when katie was home back in february and we shopped for wedding dresses and checked out venues (full disclosure...I did a good bit of knitting that weekend...turns out there's a lot of waiting time doing those things!) - but mostly, it's all about knitting. and I think I should probably just go with it while it lasts.

of course all this knitting means I haven't taken time to blog about it. I do think about it though. last week I had a "finished friday" all planned out in my head to share meadowlark.
meadowlark finished
raveled here (with more photos)

I'm sure I also thought about blogging ella (but only briefly, since I finished her back in march...on a saturday, and I was quickly onto other things).
ella modeled
raveled here (with more photos)

like francis.
knitting francis
this photo was from last sunday - I finished that half on monday and am now just a few rows from finishing the 2nd half

and figuring out what I wanted to knit next.
143:365 today's knitting plan.
my board as of this past saturday

whoa. that "next up" list has been through a lot in just six weeks! my lenten yarn-buying fast ended yesterday, but I'm not going to settle on (or buy yarn for) my next project until francis is done (today or tomorrow, I think).

I wonder if my choice will still be ada?
dreaming of ada
from the same book as francis and by the same designer. love the heichi in hydrant and the silk cloud (for that little bit peeking out the bottom front) in watermelon

Sunday, April 8, 2012

happy easter.

144:365 happy easter.
the irises in our yard are in full bloom. perfect timing!

Friday, April 6, 2012

cross creek.

...my sister and I went to visit our mom and dad last week (in florida. gainesville to be precise) and my mom suggested a field trip to marjorie kinnan rawlings' home, cross creek. I admit to not knowing much about rawlings, except that she wrote a very entertaining cookbook - arguably less about cooking and more about old florida - (no, I never read the yearling...nor have I ever seen the movie!) - but my folks had visited a few years back and said it was well worth a visit and the tour of her home was not-to-be-missed.

I did a bit of research before we left and learned that her home (and the 72 acres of her citrus farm) is a state park and national historic landmark. it was a delightful trip. just a few miles - maybe a thirty minute drive? - from gainesville...it was indeed out in the middle of nowhere. but pretty nowhere. especially in late march.
sign at the entrance to the park
we arrived just before noon and used the hour before the next home tour at one o'clock to walk around the grounds.
view of the house (see it way off in the distance) from the park entrance
I enjoyed the farmyard - the rooster and the chickens were pretty tame around all the visitors (even holly),

but not so much the walk along one of the trails (where we - me! - saw a BIG snake...my mom hadn't heard my snake scream in nearly forty years...) shaken, we returned to the barn to wait for the tour.

our guide - ugh, I can't remember her name (mom? dad?) - was a gem.
our guide, appropriately attired in 1930's farm "style"
obviously a huge fan of rawlings (I'm sure they'd be on a first name basis, so I will be too), her tour was packed with all sorts of interesting stories.
the house, and a car similar to the one marjorie drove (she wrecked hers!)
like how she used the proceeds from an early story to install indoor plumbing and then put flowers in the toilet when she invited the neighbors for a party to celebrate the new bathroom. and how spencer tracy had stayed with her before he quit the movie...and gregory peck had taken his place.

she made me wish I'd had an opportunity to visit marjorie at her home...to share a meal, or even to be a fly on the wall when she entertained f scott fitzgerald or gregory peck...but at the same time to be thankful I live when and where I do. with all the conveniences of a 21st century city (indoor plumbing, an electric oven, telephones, paved roads!).

the table where marjorie wrote (on a screened porch)
but most of all, she made me want to read cross creek, marjorie's compilation of autobiographical sketches. my sister and I were, I think, the only two on the tour who hadn't read it. and I was looking forward to getting it on my kindle that afternoon and diving right in.

only to learn that the book is out of print. I found a decent used copy on amazon and placed my order. it arrived today. I'm already enchanted.
142:365 cross creek.
I wasted no time brewing a cup of tea (and taking a photo!)
and looking forward to reading about this view, from marjorie's kitchen window. our guide says it's in the book!
this is the view out the window to the left of marjorie's kitchen sink
I'd love to hear from y'all. have you read any of marjorie's books? what do you think (or better yet recommend)?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

ten favorite side dishes.

...welcome back to the real ten on tuesday! the one that carole hosts. the one where this week we're sharing ten favorite side dishes. our go-to accompaniments with that special turkey, or a steak dinner. I decided I would skip the side dishes that only grace our table once a year (like the stuffing and carrot ring at thanksgiving) and instead share those that get requested - and prepared! - for meals any time of year.
thanksgiving dinner
thanksgiving dinner, 2011
...it just so happens that two of those are also featured for thanksgiving! and no surprise to anyone who knows me well - the list is all fruits and vegetables!

1. roasted vegetables. this is probably my family's favorite non-salad side dish. and it's one of sara's (many) specialties.

2. green beans with lemon vinaigrette. we've always loved green beans, but until two years ago, we simply served them steamed with toasted slivered almonds. that's still delicious, but now we have this version and the bright lemon, especially in the winter, really makes the dish.

3. barefoot contessa's caesar salad. love love love the roasted cherry tomatoes. we only include the prosciutto for company, and roasted mushrooms make a great addition.

4. mixed green salad with barefoot contessa's vinaigrette and whatever fruits are in season. we use peaches in the summer, apples, pomegranate seeds and oranges in the winter, berries in spring...you get the idea.

5. tomato mozzarella salad. especially in the summer when the tomatoes are at their best. I like to make a big plate with the tomatoes and cheese layered around the edge and mixed greens lightly dressed piled in the center. (and I was really surprised I couldn't find a photo of this on my flickr feed as often as I make it!)

6. barefoot contessa's roasted broccoli. almost never with the parmesan, with basil only in the summer, and always with the garlic and the lemon!

7. and roasted asparagus. try adding fresh raspberries to the hot spears when they're just out of the oven.


9. creamed spinach. this has always been one of my favorite sides, and I love that sara's figured out how to make it healthy (or healthier?)

10. applesauce. another one of sara's specialties. I don't have the patience for all that peeling!
click here to join the ten on tuesday fun!

Monday, April 2, 2012

hello april.

from the park this morning
...green leaves, sunshine and a morning walk with holly never fails to make me smile. I needed it this morning after discovering a very wet carpet inside my basement door...and a very wet brick wall outside that door.

marc was able to arrange for a contractor to come over this afternoon. and while my grand plans for today - it's spring break for public schools this week and my calendar is uncharacteristically free! - have been dashed, I'm hoping to make up the lost time later this week.

because it's a new month. a new project. another trip with my sister to see my parents. sweater knitting. new fitness routines. doctors' visits (just checking up). and hopefully plenty of green and a lot more sunshine!

celebrating the end of march madness, my friend kym needs our help to decide her bracket winner (no worries, it's not about kentucky vs kansas!) visit her blog and leave a comment to vote on the winner (and mention me - we'll both be entered to win a cool prize!).