Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ten on Tuesday | I feel...

..this week Carole's invited us to share ten "I feel" statements. Here goes.

I feel…

1. sun on my face… and that makes me feel...

2. oh so ready for spring!

3. thankful I can spend 2+ weeks with my parents

4. a lack of  direction about my one little word. what actions do I want to take this year?

5. like my smile looks brighter with red lip gloss (thank you Bobbi Brown!)

6. like the days are starting to run together. it's Tuesday, right?!

7. the weight of Holly on my lap.

8. so meh about the last episode of Downton Abbey. I recorded it but don't know when I'll watch it. (kind of glad I don't need to spend emotion here…there…here?!?)

9. sad that I didn't enjoy more of the Olympics. won't have that much sports on daytime TV until 2016.

10. a twinge in my right shoulder and wrist that most likely means I've been knitting too much. I don't plan to lay off…

and once more (for Margene),
flowers for my dad (from my family)
what about you? what are you feeling right now?


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Monday, February 24, 2014

Water-colored Glasses.

…forget rose-colored! In my life right now, it's all about water-colored, as in that waterlogue app.
Raindrops on Roses. Friday morning walk.
I'm down visiting my parents in central Florida. This is the kind of trip that's a lot of sitting in hospitals (my dad had surgery last Friday and we're hoping he'll come home this weekend) sprinkled with walking Holly, cooking (my mom is making sure I eat :-) and lots and lots of knitting.
Snapdragons at the hospital entrance. My mom says these are winter flowers here. LOVE that!!
Much of this is not great for photos, or blog posts, but it is central Florida in February. Late winter/early spring is beautiful here (especially when I was taking photos of snow at home last week!)

from this morning's walk.
Also, I've loved all your birthday wishes. Thank you! There are still four days left to comment if you'd like to win that skien of yarn.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Happy Birthday!

…to this blog! Yep, mere-et-filles turns seven today.

I guess blog years are like dog years because it seems like this space is my contemporary, not a crazy kid or moody teenager, but a friend. It gives me freedom when I need it, then nudges me with just enough guilt when I neglect it for too long. Gathering and then documenting my thoughts to share here helps bring order to the chaos and often leaves me with a different perspective. I like to think it's honest, kind, patient, inspirational and (on very good days) pretty, too!

Much about me and my life has changed since that first post. I'm so very grateful that this blog has been a part of it … along with all of you. I remember how excited I was the first time someone left a comment here. It still thrills me that people I've never met in real life read what I write and take the time to let me know. I consider y'all friends for sure. (and I hope to meet at least a few of you in real life … someday!)

To help say "thank you", I have a lovely skein of yarn to give away. It's not quite as old as the blog, but close. I acquired it in the summer of 2009 when the first Sock Summit happened (do y'all remember all the craziness that event sparked?) I was much into sock knitting then and Sophie's Toes (of the very talented Emily Parsons) was my favorite Etsy shop. Emily won the Indie Dyer competition with her Just a Small Gathering of Friends (you can read the color story here; of course I love the Harry Potter reference!)  I didn't get to attend the event in person, but I stalked her shop and was happy to get a skein. Over the years I've imagined a few projects for it, but none seemed worthy enough… until now.

I can't think of any better way to celebrate all this blog has brought me than to share this special skein with one of you. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post (please be sure I know your contact information; blogger isn't good about helping me track you down!) I'll choose the winner at random on March 1st.

I look forward to sharing the next seven (and more?!) years here…with all of you. Thanks so much for being part of my journey!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Better than I Imagined.

...I smiled this morning reading many of Cathy's "confessions" and thought it would be fun to share a few of my own.

Like Cathy, I do not make my bed, except for days when I change the sheets or I'm feeling the need to be super-nice to Marc. He loves having the bed made and will do it himself on the weekends. Funny, it only takes about five minutes but most mornings, I just don't have those five minutes to spare.

Other housekeeping chores that I don't do include ironing and dusting (and of course window washing…does anyone really wash windows?). Surprisingly, I don't mind cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry (although I do hate to fold and put away the towels and Marc earns weekly brownie points for that), washing dishes or emptying the dishwasher. Vacuuming is my favorite chore.
still smitten with the waterlogue app - from my kitchen counter this morning (what's left from Katie's birthday dinner bouquet)
So I typed a few more things, hit save and took Holly for a walk. side note - oh my. what a difference a week makes. I didn't see any visible signs of spring (in fact there is still snow on the ground in places), but I was plenty warm in just a long sleeved shirt and it feels like, maybe?!, spring is close.

Anyway, on our walk I started thinking less about housekeeping confessions and more about simply how different my life is on the older side of 50 than what I might have imagined at age 20, or even age 40.

Apart from the obvious technology things (that's a post in its own right for sure!), I know my 20 year old self would be surprised to know:

  • I still like milk in my coffee. And starting last year, that's almond milk.
  • I didn't make baby books for my girls. The first two years of Katie's life are captured in two photo albums...I never even started one for Sara.
  • My favorite exercise is yoga, followed closely by running and walking. I do one or more of those every day. It's a big part of my life (I even have friends who do them with me!), as evidenced by my wardrobe. I have four drawers in my dresser; two of them are devoted to exercise clothes. 
  • I am still a morning person. Getting up at 5am means I almost never stay up past 11pm.
  • I'm not much of a traveler. I don't like suitcases or airports (or sleeping someplace besides my own bed.) That said, I have taken some wonderful trips and I'm excited to be going to Paris and Florence with Sara in May.
  • I still live in (suburban) Atlanta
  • One of my daughters lives 10 minutes away (and she's married and I talk to her every day).

The almond milk and exercise routine would've certainly surprised 40 year old me, along with that part about Katie living so close. …and all of this:

  • I get paid to teach knitting and write a blog for my local yarn shop. Of course I didn't know about blogs back in 2002 (that's the technology post!), but I knew about teaching and knitting...just never dreamed I'd put the two together and be good at it!
  • I rarely cook. Leftovers is my favorite thing to have for dinner. We almost never sit at the table to eat, but Marc and I do eat dinner together (when we're both home).
  • I keep a journal. Of all the things I've done and not done, the only thing I regret is not starting this practice sooner.
  • Church is a huge part of my life. 40 year old me wasn't much into Church.
  • I have a dog. Her name is Holly (Berry); she's a nine pound toy schnauzer who goes everywhere with me. That means I have a dog seat in my car. (and a dog sitting in my lap as I type this).
  • My hair is almost long enough for a pony tail…and I'm growing it!
  • The 2-day walk.

(wow, this is turning out to be a much longer post than I planned!)

and now it seems only fair to document a few of the things that wouldn't be surprises:

  • Marc and I celebrated our 30th anniversary last year (we got engaged when I was 20).
  • I love to read; historical fiction, mysteries and epic tales are still favorites.
  • I get a thrill from solving a crossword or sudoku (I don't think I knew about these til 2004 or 2005 but they're number puzzles…no surprise there!)
  • I'm curious, optimistic, quick, healthy and generally tidy.
  • and I LOVE to make lists!!

in that vein, I'd love to know - what would your 20 year old self be most surprised about YOU today!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Ten on Tuesday | Red Hearts.

…in honor of Valentine's Day this week, Carole has us thinking about our favorite things that are red:

 Holly's ruffled dress. It was the first red thing that popped into my head and, without a doubt, this is my favorite red thing!

 wine. Cabernet, Merlot, Shiraz, Grenache, Zinfandel, Mourvedre…all good!

 my dining room wall. Love how the red shows off my collection of blue & white.

 cardinals. I know they're mean, but they are beautiful, especially against a winter landscape.

 apples, roasted beets, a very rare steak, tomatoes, strawberries; I was surprised how many of my favorite foods are red!

 a summer pedicure with OPI Red.

 Bobbi Brown's sheer red lipgloss.

 poinsettias.

 Renee Russo's hair, especially in that island scene in The Thomas Crown Affair.

 maple tree's leaves, in the fall.

Red is truly a year-round, all-around color. Food, flora, fauna, decor, make-up, clothing, knitwear…ruffles…

Now tell me, what did I leave off my list?
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Monday, February 10, 2014

Choosing the Present.

…I haven't been sleeping well lately. I wake up at 1 or 2 am and can't quiet my mind to fall back to sleep for several hours. Considering my alarm goes off before 5, these sleepless nights are taking a big chunk of my rest, leaving me heavy for the day. Last night was one of the worst…a bad start to a new week. Monday mornings I usually run six "hill miles" with my group and then take yoga. This morning, I wasn't up to a hard run (or conversation) and opted instead for an easier route on my own. The air was crisp and damp; I could smell the wet earth as I ran along the creek.
the cattails, waterlogued*
Two miles in, my mind finally wakened and I stopped to walk. The birds are everywhere, squirrels too…I think the weathermen are right about more snow and ice this week. The landscape is shaded brown and gray, and in the cloudy daylight seems almost black and white. I leave the trail to get a closer look at the cattails in the pond.

I can't remember what kept me awake last night.

I finish my run and head to yoga. I arrive a few minutes early (happy my run wasn't too slow) and have time to sit still and quiet on my mat.

Daniela starts class; we're going to focus today's practice on the present. on being here in the moment. with our bodies and our breath. I work my body hard as I focus my mind on right now. I hope I can take that practice into tonight. My body and my mind need the rest.

*and yes, maybe a bit late to the game but I am obsessed with the waterlogue app! here's the original photo:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Throwback Thursday | A Cabled Cardigan.

…I wore this cardigan to the shop yesterday and someone asked if I'd knit it. I said no, my grandmother did (about 35 years ago.)

She didn't knit it for me, but she brought it along when we went to Europe in August 1979 (my high school graduation gift from them) and by the end of the trip I'd "borrowed" it enough times that she said I could keep it. I have a handful of photos from that trip showing me wearing the cardigan, but this one, noted "outside the wooden shoe museum, August, 1979" is my favorite.

It's a classic fisherman pattern (I think my grandmother knit several similar ones), with raglan sleeves…all seamed - even the button bands.

It's acrylic (she lived in southern Alabama; I'm sure acrylic was all she could find and I'll bet she'd think a wool sweater might be a bit too warm for the climate) and boy has it worn well. In all the years I've had this sweater, I've had to repair it only once; a button came off and I sewed it back on.

It's my go-to sweater for comfortable cozy (especially because I can toss it into the washing machine and the dryer!) and I hope it lasts another 35 years. Because I could knit another one, but, quite simply, it would never be the same.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ten on Tuesday | I am...

…this week, Carole's invited us to share ten "I am…" statements. Here's mine:

I am writing cards and letters every day. It makes me happy to raise that flag on my mailbox each morning.

I am re-reading the Re-enchantment of Everyday Life.

I am hoping to finish Katie's sweater today.

I am looking for signs of spring (and sadly, finding none.)

I am swatching a new yarn for the shop … and dreaming about what I might knit with it.

I am drinking the second pot of coffee for the day.

I am looking forward to Katie's belated birthday dinner this weekend.

I am loving Sherlock (and feeling just meh about Downton Abbey.)

I am planning a trip to Florida to see my parents and looking for a good audiobook to keep me company on the 14 hour drive. Recommendations?

I am working through a long to-do list today, and glad this post was a quick one!

What are y'all up to?

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Looking Back | January.

…through the lens of my daily photos.
cool collage thanks to the collect app. note that it does a lot more than simply collect photos. the output options are amazing…especially for project life!
I recommitted to the fatmumslim daily prompts in December. It is great fun to take a photo with my phone, add a few filters and post it on Instagram*.  And starting this year, I'm going to round out that daily experience with a monthly look back here on my blog. I know a few of you have seen these daily photos already so I'll try not to duplicate too much.

Here's the story I see from this month's photos:
::From Where I Stand (3 photos) - Uggs, ballet flats (and bare feet) and boots. What a weather month we've had!
::Knitting (4 photos) - the beginning of Katie's Beaubourg (which I've been blogging about for the shop), Ysolda's Mystery KAL and my Pebble Gradient. 
::One Little Word (3 photos) - one of Grace (last year) and two of Choose (this year's word).
::Selfies (not of feet - 5 photos) - this is one of my favorite things about my phone and quick photos! although hand selfies (I had two) and neck selfies (I had one) get pretty tricky at my age. just saying! those filters - and especially black and white! - can be a lifesaver.
::Holly (5 photos) - she makes very regular appearances. I have a special hashtag "HollyaDayforSara" to call them out. 
::Project Life (1 photo) - and that was way back on January 1…when I was finishing up 2013! Of course I am now three weeks behind for this year, but if things go well, I'll catch up this week. positive thinking!

…and what I didn't see:
::Snow! I guess I wasn't creative enough to figure out how to incorporate it into any of the prompts for this past week, but that was a Huge Big Deal here.
::Knitting FOs. I had four (baby hat & mitts, a sweater, mitts and mittens). I blogged about all but the sweater.
::Food. a cup of coffee with a few almonds and a glass of wine with a piece of chocolate doesn't count! I ran a race last weekend. I definitely ate! (New Year's leftovers, salad, pizza, fish and mexican chicken soup featured prominently in the menu).
::Fitness. pretty much daily walking or running, last weekend's 15k, and three times weekly yoga. This is a big part of my daily life (it takes up a lot of time!) and I'm surprised I didn't find even one day's prompt to highlight it.
::People! I rarely include anyone other than me (or Holly) in these photos. I'm not sure why. (I have included their feet or their wineglasses, but very rarely their faces!)

This has been a good exercise for me - I'm going to try to make February's collage tell a more balanced story. We'll see!

I'd love to hear if you see something I missed from the collage! If you make collages like this are you intentional as you go through the month to tell your story?

*I finally realized Instagram is the main reason I've missed so much time here. It's easy! And the community is amazing. But it's quick - and I feel like the connections I have there are quick too. They're very supportive, but I doubt they know me or my family the way anyone who reads my blog would. (ok, they do know that I knit, have an adorable dog, drink wine and coffee and love to take photos of my feet). But the connections I can make sharing not just images and a quick caption, the ones that result in real mail in my mailbox, and genuine caring about life (and death), those connections are the ones I have here. And I'm recommitting myself to holding up my end of that relationship. Quite simply, one of my first choices of 2014 was to be present here.