Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | Time Travels.

...Carole's topic for this week threw me for a loop - "Time Periods You Would Visit If You Had a Hot Tub Time Machine".

1. I hadn't heard about the Hot Tub Time Machine; but I knew
2. there wasn't any other time period I'd want to visit - clothes, food, hygiene, technology, feminism...God knew what he was doing to bring me here in the 1960's. I'm pretty sure I was very unhappy in any previous life.

So I was planning a post about today. It snowed.
the view from my front porch this morning
I babysat Charlie (at Katie's - like last week). Got in a bit of knitting while he napped.
my 6th(?) Traveling Woman; a prayer shawl for a friend's daughter who's having surgery next month
And when he had the second blowout of the day (you know what pears and winter squash can do to your digestive system) we gave him a bath.

love that he's covering up the boy-parts so I can share the whole photo!
Then I walked Holly and drove home...grateful I wasn't living in some other time period where today would've been ... uncomfortable at best, and cold starving at worst.

But now I've had a glass of wine. and I thought I'd see what that Hot Tub Time Machine really was (please - I never want to live without google...ever!) and oh. It's not about visiting a time before I was born, it's about visiting a time I lived...and doing things just enough different that today turns out better/different.

Yep, nothing. still. I might be ok with revisiting a few time periods just to watch (and take a photo or two - I missed many photo opportunities when my girls were young). But I wouldn't want to change a thing - in case today wouldn't turn out exactly this same way.

I'm sure the other Ten on Tuesday contributors have much more imagination than I do! Click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun and here to see what Carole (and everyone else) has shared.

Monday, February 23, 2015

FO's!

...that's right, folks, it's plural.

I finished (and mailed!) Sara's socks

and that Squirrel! project I posted about last week.

I'm delighted with both - even though neither one was even close to my radar two weeks ago. Quick happy is good happy!

There are seven more balls of that Pure Wool Worsted (assorted colors, left over from last summer's Martin Storey mystery) on the shelf upstairs. I can only hope at least a few have the full 100g so I can turn them into three day socks.

And I have almost half a skein of the laceweight color leftover from Polar Opposites. I'd like to pass it along to one of you (not that I'm encouring more Squirrel! behavior ;-) But if you'd like this extra, leave a comment telling me what yarn you'd mix with it. I'll choose the winner on February 28; depending on where you live, there still might be Polar time to wear it when you finish!

of course I still have more WIP's than I can count on one hand and two deadline projects to start - and finish. more on all of that...soon!

Happy Monday!

 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Squirrel!


...I've never seen the movie Up, but I've been hearing about "Squirrel!" for years. And it's the best metaphor I have to describe what I experience every other week authoring the shop's newsletter.

I started writing the newsletter late last summer; to date, we've published 18 issues. And I've started ten eleven projects as a result. The good news is that I've finished all but two of them. 

One is the Casco Bay Cardigan I started last week. I was patting myself on the back after publishing the Sparrow Sans letter four weeks ago...and then we got some new cotton in the shop. I bought a sweater's worth before it had even been shelved. I finished the body today (and the FO might even be featured in a future newsletter. win!)

The other is Polar Opposites. I know the exact moment I heard Squirrel!
Yep, this photo - I just love the textures and the colors.

And I realized I had a really nice neutral bulky yarn on hand. Never mind that it was partially knit up in another Squirrel! project. Yesterday morning I ripped out Kantha and and yesterday afternoon I bought a skein of Ulura...and cast on.


Here's my progress after about two hours of knitting. Given our weather forecast, I'm thinking I'll be able to wear it at least a few times this season. (that's good news and bad news :-)

Do you succumb to Squirrel! please share!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | Good Things to Come.

...or what we're looking forward to. Seems like a fun way to forget that outside it's icy. I know it's snowy for many of you and colder; this week's topic is a welcome break from winter! Here are ten good things that will be coming my way...soon!

1. Seeing Charlie (and his momma); the ice storm closed schools today and Katie is taking extra care about getting out on the roads. I expect they'll be here later this morning.

Sara's socks...one toe to go!
2. Finishing Sara's socks. She asked for new socks and I hoped to get a pair out of one skein of Rowan Pure Wool Worsted (that I bought Friday at her LYS...along with new dpn's). The first sock weighed 45 g so I thought I'd be fine...but boo! I ran out of yarn just before the second toe. I'll finish off the toe with some fun color and get them into the mail soon (of course she'll have plenty of time to wear them before it gets too warm for bed socks!)

3. ...and a cardigan for me.

4. Sunday's Red Carpet show.

5. Cutting up magazines for this month's One Little Word prompt (also glue and a big piece of canvas).

6. Catching up with all of you - I haven't read blogs since before I left for Madison (yikes! the days just flew by!)

7. A long weekend with my parents next month (and also in April and a whole week in May!)

8. Knitting with the newest Shibui yarn, called Twig. It's a sport-weight linen/silk/wool blend blend and it comes out March 2. I'm still trying to decide on a first project, but thinking I might knit this.

9. Spring. duh, right?!

10. Seeing Sara again...when Madison is green and warm.

How about you? what good things are coming your way?

Click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun. and Thank You, Carole, for hosting another fun meet-up!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Words on Wednesday | Travel Plans.

...that swatch is in progress. and Marc just got home (I have the drink coupons now, too!).

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | Hearts (just for fun).

...it's Valentine's Day this Saturday. And in that spirit, Carole's asked us to share about love. I've had fun thinking about this list all day - things that make me smile and warm my heart...hearts (just for fun).

♥ Tuesdays with Charlie. He'll be five months old this Friday and I love that I get to see him at least once a week. On Tuesdays, I have him all to myself (although I think Holly is just about to insert herself and demand her own Charlie time). I love that I get all the photo ops. And if I'm lucky, I get a really wonderful one. (this one happened before noon... so I could relax for the rest of the day).
♥ my iPhone. phone (probably the least used function :-), camera, texts, podcasts, books, weather, fitbit,  mail, Instagram ... all in one little device.
♥ Instagram. yeah, it deserves its own heart. If this had been around before blogs, I'm not sure I'd even be writing this.
♥ knitters. I am so blessed to know quite a few in real life...family and friends....and on-line. 
♥ Ravelry. no explanation needed here either, right?
♥ quiet time.
♥ walks in the park with Lauren. exercise and girlfriend time combined.
♥ a new (knitting) project. hopefully I'll have more than one to share tomorrow.
♥ signs of spring. when I walked Holly this afternoon I saw pink buds. yep, February 10th. 
♥ this Ten on Tuesday community - supportive, encouraging, inspiring...and fun!

click here to join in!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Monday Night Catch-up.

...yikes, it's after 9:30 already. which doesn't bode well for being a playful and wide-awake Marmie at 7:30 tomorrow morning, but oh well. I've been away from this space for a few days and wanted to do a quick catch-up.
Here's my latest (knitting) obsession - the Kantha Cowl.
This is the cowl that was featured on the latest Raverly "tips" page. I first saw it on Friday, and then all the other times I clicked over to Raverly, there it was. Yesterday I finally took a few minutes (really it was more like seconds) to do the advanced search - cowls, 2 colors - and there it was. I bought it. And then tonight my class gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up and there were only three balls left of that natural Cocoon. I knew I had a ball of variegated fingering in my stash and ... it was meant to be. (except that the finished piece is less than 13" around so I think I'm going to have to 1) work magic loop; and 2) buy a new needle!)
I'm feeling uncharacterically "free" about my knitting because I actually - finally! - finished Katie's sweater today. I spent Friday and Sunday afternoon seaming and wove in (all!!!!) the ends in this morning. I started it two months ago...since then I've finished a handful of small pieces, but this one has been with me the whole time. I hope to have modeled photos to share soon.
We had an April-like day yesterday. Marc golfed in shorts and I had my sunroof open. I'm starting to wonder if we're going to get by without any winter-ish precipitation this year. At least here...the forecast for Madison this upcoming weekend (my sister and I are flying up Thursday and back on Monday) is more than making up for it!
and two more things:
1. I LOVED all the thoughtful comments y'all left on my last post about book ratings and reviews. Thank you! It was helpful to get your perspectives in writing (instead of trying to read it into your ratings). I think I'm going to (try to) be a harder grader going forward. And yes, I'm going to allow a 5-star rating without crying.
2. Woo Hoo!! about the new Harper Lee book. I didn't realize it was out on Goodreads until this morning when I read my "friends" update email from this past week. Pretty cool - I think most of y'all are planning to read it. And are you planning to re-read To Kill a Mockingbird, too? I've tossed that idea out to my church bookclub (the serious one ;-) and hope it gets some traction. I last re-read the book in the early 2000's (for another bookclub) and I have to say - it was one of the very few of my high school/college reads that stood up to its 5-star rating. And I haven't yet seen the movie! (Gregory Peck?! I'm not sure how I missed it!)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

On Rating Books (and book reviews).

...I've started and restarted (and titled and retitled) this post a few times today (and not just because I got to visit this little guy - and his mama - for a spur of the moment evening date.)

And I don't know why it's so hard for me to write about it for real because the conversations I carry on in my head make it seem so easy. oh well. I hope you'll bear with me! I want to talk about book ratings (and book reviews). Yeah, I finally just went with the simple title!

This whole conversation stems from my recent 4-star rating (and accompanying review) of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. This book has been on my radar for years (Katie left a paperback copy on her bookshelf when she moved out...8 years ago?) and I attempted to read it way back then but just couldn't get into it.

My sister listened to it (David Colacci narrates - he also narrated The Sparrow) and loved it. She'd give it five stars if she did that kind of thing. But she and I tend to agree about the books we love so I decided to try it. I was completely and totally engrossed the whole time (I might've even folded laundry just to grab a few extra minutes...that's telling).

Here's what I wrote on Goodreads:

I really really wanted to give this one five stars. the story captivated me. there was a bit of magical realism, david balladicci's narration was superb, the jewish theme, the gay theme. the comics theme. I really loved this book! maybe I need to let go of my "made me cry = 5 stars" rule. I didn't cry. but I wish I had. I also want to read ALL the comics. and more about golems.

And it's that 5-star rule that I want to talk about. My sister thinks I'm crazy not to rate this book 5 stars. but I didn't connect with it the way I expect to connect with my 5-star reads.

Up to now (and yes, that means I'm probably going to make a change!), my scale has been:

1. oh my, I hated it. this is rare for me because I usually stop reading a book like this.

2. ditto. although I have plowed through a few so I could discuss them at bookclub.

3. average. interesting enough, but not compelling. maybe a nice story or an interesting character/setting.

4. keeps me engaged with a good story and interesting characters. at some point I was making time to read(listen) to this book instead of doing other things. I think about the book when I'm done reading it and want to talk about it. most of the books I read fall into this category.

5. all of the 4-star scale...and an emotional attachment that makes me cry, usually about the characters or the story. almost never about the writing - you know the turn of phrase that makes you want to highlight the words.

I look at my ratings history in Goodreads and I think maybe I've been an easy grader. I rely a lot on the recommendations of friends to be pretty sure when I start a book that I'm going to like it (church bookclub aside, yet also notable for the solid 4 and 5 star reads I've had there) - so I expect everything will be at least 3 stars or better.

But now that I'm reading more, I think it might be time to change my scale. I want to rely less on emotional connection and more on simply connecting. I'm not sure that means books I highlight more, maybe it's just books I enjoyed more.

So - question to y'all is about how you use the stars? specifically what makes a book four vs five? and how much attention do you pay to others' ratings when you decide what to read?

p.s. I also look at all of your Goodreads ratings before I pickup a book to read (yikes! as I type this I think I do need to get outside my box a bit and read something none of you are reading!)

 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Looking Back | January.


...oh my - is it really February 4th (already!)? Looking back at these photos - some of which were taken just this past weekend - it seems like January was a long time ago. Especially those early days. I was just starting my daily yoga practice (spoiler alert - there will likely be a lot more yoga in my photos this year!) and Charlie and I had our first Tuesday together on the 6th. 

Amidst all that, I committed to another One Little Word, saw some lovely sunrises (and a few sunsets, which didn't make this cut!), knitted a lot (I count five WIPs and no FOs - except for a long ago completed Mix No 9 on the 7th, Color Affection on the 22nd and Ravello on the 29th - apparently Thursdays are big on hand knits!), endured a good bit of rain and black and white days, enjoyed a few home cooked meals, finished (and started) another journal and got my hair cut.

High fives for selfies! I have just hands and feet four times and actual face three more times. I'm getting myself into the story.

Certainly nothing earth shattering, but on the whole, I'm surprised by the abundance of new...and ordinary. and missing the twinkle lights.

Did anything surprise you about January?

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | Guilty Pleasures.

NOT a guilty pleasure...just a pleasure. one of many out-takes from today - and a fun way to kick off the post!
...nothing like a little bit of secret sharing to brighten up our days, right! This week, Carole's asked us to share guilty pleasures - here's my top 10 list:

1. popcorn and wine. for dinner.

2. buying yarn when I already have yarn.

3. Bailey's in my coffee.

4. an afternoon nap.

5. HGTV.


7. Martha Stewart and Ina Garten. (magazine, cookbooks, cooking shows and some of the best tasting recipes. ever. not sure I really do feel guilty about that)

8. Downton Abbey. I only say I'm watching it for the costumes...

9. Horoscopes.

10. People-watching at Starbucks. (yep, they nailed me!)

...and one more for the few of you who didn't see this on Instagram. Guilty? not a chance!!!
Click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun!


Monday, February 2, 2015

Daily Yoga | January.

...I just shared this photo on Instagram. All those little green and blue circles are making me smile!

Green means I took a class (at the Y) and blue means I did a routine with the Yoga Studio app on my iPad. This morning I took a look back at January:

  • 17 classes
  • 14 Yoga Studio sessions
  • 1,500 minutes (25 hours! this number surprised me. that's 25 hours I didn't read or knit or walk or do anything except yoga. I'm honestly not sure I can commit to that much time each month, but I want to try.)

I'm slowly starting to see progress. A little more flexibility (I can get all the way into child's pose at the beginning of my practice; I still can't do a forward fold, though, with anything close to straight legs). A little more upper body strength. A little more balance. And best of all, no pain! I haven't run since the fall; I'm sure that's helped me stretch out and given my knees a much-needed rest.

One of my biggest surprises has been how much better I'm sleeping. Nine of those 14 Yoga Studio sessions were the "15 minute Intermediate Relaxation", which I do just before bed. I have much fewer "restless" minutes (my Fitbit records this :-) and almost no "awake" minutes those nights.  It's awesome!

332 more days to go. Taking them each one day at a time.  So far the results have been worth the time. As long as that continues, I'm going to stick with it!