Thursday, May 28, 2015

Currents | May 2015.

yesterday evening, on the porch, with my sister, Holly, a bottle of wine and knitting
Loving: Porch time.

Hoping: My tennis elbow really does get better with rest, care and therapy (my first PT appointment is Monday). The rest and care is taking a toll on my knitting, for sure!

Reading: The Cuckoo's Calling on Audible (so good...and I'm delighted there's more Cormoran Strike already published) and A Sport and Pastime on my Kindle (also good). I'm finding it hard to balance the eyes and ears, but grateful I have time for both right now.

Watching: Not much. All the reading is consuming me. But I do want to watch the last season of Mad Men (I heard it was well-done) and of course I need to catch up with Outlander. Maybe once I can knit more...

Splurging: On new glasses. That eye exam I'd been putting off told me my prescription had changed a lot since I got my first progressive sunglasses back in 2008. I'm amazed how well I can see - on the highway! - with the new ones. I also got prescription readers for knitting and wow! and finally, I updated my over-the-counter readers (because really don't we need readers in every room?!) to better match the new prescription. (I can also say I'm slightly appalled at how many pairs of readers I had collected ... and will now donate).

Planning: Summer reading! (more to come on that very soon)

Craving: Some sort of routine for exercise, work and play. These past few weeks have been fun, but my body and my mind are ready for some discipline.

Wearing: Sonnet James dresses. They're so easy to wear and care for...thank you to Katie for introducing them to me.

Knitting: Not much. and it's so weird.

Drinking: Dry white Italian wines. I've been a Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc girl forever; this is new territory for me!

Eating: Berries with greek yogurt and walnuts and (still) avocado sandwiches.

Wondering: How I can keep up with the Prayer Shawl Ministry. Our meetings are Tuesday afternoons and that's really not a great time to be out and about with an almost toddler who needs an afternoon nap. I'm also wondering how I got so darned busy that I can't really think of another time I could suggest we meet?!

Remembering: Last summer and my first trip to Madison (and then the second when Sara lived there...and I flew back to Atlanta by myself).

Anticipating: Pool time with Charlie. Katie says he loves the water and that might be what gets me in...I think the last time I wore a swimsuit was November 2013 when Marc and I were in the Dominican Republic (and I'm not even sure I can remember when before that!)

How about you - what's current in your world?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend 2015.

...as promised! I have more than the usual number of photos, and a few of my favorites are thanks to Katie who spent much of the weekend like this

Lydia shared her weekend story yesterday, as part of Carole's Ten on Tuesday. My weekend was pretty much the same as hers, except it started Wednesday evening,
the view from our deck on Wednesday evening
had no canoe-ing, no ping-pong, no pool, no zilch (?yep, really!), but a lot more walks with Holly, and the special treat of a daughter who flew in from Madison Friday evening and arrived - with Marc! - just as we were finishing dinner (it was late, but meals on these weekends tend to run that way).

Here are a few of my favorite photos. I love the story they tell. This was a wonderful weekend full of family, friends, laughter and fun!
me, my dad and my brother, Steve (aka "Lydia's husband")
loved being with Steve on his 50th birthday!
8 months...my new iPhone lock photo
Katie, my dad and me
my mom & dad, toasting PJ (below - Steve & Lydia's older son) 
PJ is the most gifted musician in our family...he sang Turn the Page as a birthday gift to his dad
me and Sara...just hanging...

Late Saturday afternoon we took a lot of family photos...none of the whole crew, but each sibling with their family.
this is mine - me, Holly, Sara, Charlie, Marc, Katie & Rob 
highly cropped - but still such great smiles on both of them!
my dad loves to be behind the camera... sadly, I didn't take any when he was photographing my sister's family
Things slowed down a bit on Sunday... not sure why, except maybe we were tired and full from Saturday? in any event, I took a few photos, but this is the only one I saved.
life is good...this was the second book I read while I was there
Monday things really got quiet...no more lake photos! But still some very happy memories. And the drive home (even with the two hour detour to get Sara to the airport) was the perfect excuse to start another book. I spent a lot of the time I wasn't knitting reading, and planning my reading (more later on that.)

I really enjoyed catching up on everyone else's weekend yesterday. It looks like summer is off to a fine start!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

...and on Tuesday, we played.

...high-fiving and pretty pleased with himself after chugging an entire eight ounces in record time.

And played. I should've known that little smirk-y smile (at about 12:30) meant "I'm not really gonna sleep for the rest of the day!" So we played some more.

And then it stormed. Charlie was delighted - for about five minutes - with the windows and the shutters and the raindrops.

Long-time readers might recall that Holly hates storms; and even newer readers probably know that Charlie and Holly don't exactly play well together. It was a busy afternoon. and of course the rain meant an extra-long commute home for Katie. One silver lining is that Marc had an hour with Charlie when he got home. They had a ball together. I couldn't even complain when the TV came on.

...but all that fun means my weekend post is going to be late. tomorrow. I promise.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Summer Book Bingo 2015.

...it's back (click here for the BotNS Podcast and here to download your card)! and just in time as my Memorial Day Weekend officially kicks off this evening. But for purposes of this Book Bingo, we'll count books finished between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends - Saturday, May 23 through Monday, September 7. I think this is the longest "summer reading" period possible...which is good since I've got some doozies on my card. "At least 800 pages", "Nonfiction" and "A biography of someone I dislike".

We'll follow the same rules as last year - each book you finish counts for one square. Each completed Bingo (a row, a column or a diagonal) earns you one entry in the drawing. I'll choose a winner from the pool of Bingos in September. (Bonny won last year - she covered her card, which counted for 12 Bingos...kind of a slam dunk!)

Wishing you a summer of delightful reading...and more than a few Bingos!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | A Commencement Address.

...this week, Carole's asked us to share ten things we'd say in a commencement address (quite fitting, since her daughter Hannah graduated with high honors and a double major from college this past weekend - you can see and read more about that celebration here). One of the very first Ten on Tuesdays I remember doing was way back in August, 2010 - advice for our new college freshmen. It's hard to believe that period is over ... for both of us!

It's been great fun these past few weeks to see photos and read about another class of graduates. I was saving this favorite of mine for a throwback, but it serves today's post better, I think.
at Sara's 2014 commencement (thank you to my mom for the photo!) - this is our Georgia Tech family!
Marc ('82 Architecture), Katie ('09 Industrial Engineering), me ('83 Applied Mathematics), Sara ('14 Industrial Engineering), my dad ('61 Chemical Engineering), Rob ('08 Business)
Here goes:

1. Yikes, I wish y'all had hired J.K. Rowling. Her speech was brilliant. smart, funny, poignant and memorable. Gay wizards, anyone?!
Delivering a commencement address is a great responsibility; or so I thought until I cast my mind back to my own graduation. The commencement speaker that day was the distinguished British philosopher Baroness Mary Warnock. Reflecting on her speech has helped me enormously in writing this one, because it turns out that I can’t remember a single word she said. This liberating discovery enables me to proceed without any fear that I might inadvertently influence you to abandon promising careers in business, the law or politics for the giddy delights of becoming a gay wizard. 
You see? If all you remember in years to come is the ‘gay wizard’ joke, I’ve come out ahead of Baroness Mary Warnock. Achievable goals: the first step to self improvement.
2. So was Neil Gaiman's. His address was to The University of the Arts, but it still speaks powerfully to this technical graduate. The closing bit is one of my favorites:
And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art.
3. But you didn't hire them. Instead you have me. I graduated from college 32 years ago with a degree in Applied Mathematics (from a school known mostly for its engineering degrees) and a job, engaged to marry the guy I started dating before classes even started my freshman year. We will celebrate our 32nd anniversary this fall. We've raised two lovely daughters, who did graduate with those coveted engineering degrees, and are delighted to have the start of what we hope will be a bigger extended family. We've certainly been through some very rocky times, and it's never easy...but it's easier with the right partner. Choose wisely.

4. As women, we've seen remarkable strides in career opportunities. Which also means we have tough choices. Make the choice(s) that are best for you and your family...and please, support all the other women, especially those who have made a different choice.

5. Take care of yourself. Your mind and your body will likely age at different rates...good care will help to minimize the gap(s).

6. Laugh often. especially at yourself. and never at the expense of others.

7. Be generous.

8. and kind.

9. Always keep learning.

10. Wear sunscreen.

Good luck, best wishes...and congratulations!

(click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun!)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Charlie's Back!

...yep, he and his parents are back from the beach. I wasted no time and hosted a little brunch yesterday. So many photo opportunities! (which was a very good thing ... thank goodness we'll have more time next weekend to practice!) In all seriousness, I love that my dad wanted to try first. "Try", of course, being the operative word. But these five photos (all taken in under one minute) are my favorites of the whole party.

They tell part of a wonderful story, Little Charlie Clay and his Grandpa Roy.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Not Knitting.

Thursday's walk...the baby geese are growing up fast!
...I woke up Sunday with a very sore right arm; the few rows I attempted made it worse. I gave it a few hours rest and some ice and tried again that afternoon. nope. I haven't knitted since then. Five whole days ago. I am happy to report that my arm feels a lot better - and I'm going to try a little (really, just a "little"!) knitting this weekend just to see how it goes. I have an appointment with an elbow specialist on Wednesday. I wonder if I'll be the first knitter she's seen? my guess is no.

In any event, it's been a weird week. No knitting. No Charlie (although Katie has been very good about sharing photos and we've even facetimed a few times). No long walks with Holly (of course she can't walk the whole way so I'd carry her...in my right arm). No TV (I just can't do it without the knitting!).

Instead, I've been

reading. I started and finished Liane Moriarty's Three Wishes, Lucy Knisley's Relish and Gretchen Rubin's Better than Before. That many books in a week makes it almost seem like vacation!

running and walking. My friend Lauren is back and we did our regular four miles at the park Monday and Thursday. I ran the other days. I'm really enjoying my solo runs - I even put a little music on my phone to keep me company this morning.

last night's bookclub
catching up. correspondence, blogs, housekeeping, to-do lists, plans...things that require all of my brain and two hands to execute. geez, even the laundry hamper is empty (right this very second, anyway - that will change as soon as Marc gets home!) ... and no, the ironing is still not done - that seemed to require too much "right arm" ;-)

re-thinking my summer knitting plans. If I'm going to be knitting less over the next few months (yikes, I hope that's all it takes) I want to be sure I'm knitting the right things. For sure I want to knit Kirsten's Mystery Shawl (in Shibui Twig. the ash colorway). and I need to knit the baby girl sweater for our pastor's new daughter.  I'd love to finish Same Same and the Fine Bias Scarf so I could wear them. My sister started Twinleaf this week and I'm going to knit-along with her. And then - surprisingly - I want to finish the crocheted afghan.

this morning's run...it smelled wonderful
paying more attention. being truly present. definitely an intention, so I'm (trying to be) grateful for the opportunity to make it happen. (yeah, you know I typed and re-typed this last sentence. the first iterations were nowhere near that...nice!)

Five days is nothing really...and all the things I've done more of this week I'd like to keep doing. But I hope to be back to knitting...just a little...soon!

Wishing you the very best of weekends...and much happy knitting!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Throwback Thursday | Cousins Re-connecting.


That's me in July 1968 (age 5) in my first and only appearance as a flower girl. My grandmother made my dress. Pale yellow dotted swiss with a yellow satin ribbon. with white patent leather shoes, gloves, and even a bow for my hair.

The bride was my dad's first cousin Becky (that makes her my first cousin once removed; she's the youngest daughter of my grandmother's youngest sister... these details are important for small-town Southern families). She married George, her high school sweetheart, shortly after he graduated from the University of Alabama. Becky's older sister Kay was her matron of honor.

The wedding took place in my dad's (and Becky's and George's) hometown church (those stained glass windows are stunning, aren't they?)

Fast forward a dozen or so years and I was in Atlanta, attending Georgia Tech. Becky and George and their two little boys lived here. I remember she came down to campus a few times to pick me up for a lunch/shopping date. No photos...but I'll bet we both looked 35 years younger than we do now!

Fast forward another 35(ish) years and Becky and George still live in Atlanta, and so do their sons, and a daughter-in-law & granddaughter. And of course now I'm here with my husband, a daughter & son-in-law & a grandson, a sister and her family and a brother and his family. At my parents' urging, I arranged a lunch (no shopping!) for us to re-connect. The five of us enjoyed a three hour lunch on Tuesday...and had a ball. I can't wait to see them again - and introduce them to the rest of my family! I think we're going to have some very good times.
Becky, me and George
my mom, Becky and me
George and my dad
my dad and mom and me 
all of us
I'm not much for regrets (35 years??!!), so I can only trust that the timing was finally just right. Becky and George have re-done the family home in that Southern small town and made it comfortable and welcoming for guests (even, George assures me, little dogs!) I'm hoping to visit this fall. I would love to have some good adult memories to add to the ones I made as a child - and I would love for my family to make some too!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Watercolor Wednesday | Be Still and Know.

Rock Mill Park, from this morning's run
When we were in Beaufort last month, Charlie gave me a CD of the Sea Island Chamber Singers' March 2015 concert. He directs this choir and he's justifiably proud of the work they do. But I'm pretty sure he gave me the CD because he has two organ solos in the middle; one of which is a Bach Fantasia and Fugue that is a shared favorite. And while those two pieces are fantastic, the song I've got playing on repeat is a brand new one, Be Still and Know, composed by Michael John Trotta.

I could hear it playing in my head this morning when I ventured out onto the greenway for a run...my first there since last fall. It was a glorious sunny morning. It's hard to believe that the last time I saw this pond, it was frozen over!

Be Still and Know

Even if the mountains were to fall into the sea, 
Waters were to surge upon the earth, 
Hope still lives in a most holy place, 
A place that shall not move for I am here. 

Be still and know, 
Be still and know, 
Know that I am your God. 
Be Still and know, 
And you’ll find rest, 
A refuge for your soul. 

When nations roar and kingdoms fall still you shall not fear, 
My strength and hope will keep you on your way. 
Wars shall cease and the shields melt with fire, 
Listen then for you will hear my voice.

Be still and know, 
Be still and know, 
Know that I am your God. 
Be Still and know, 
And you’ll find rest, 
A refuge for your soul. 

Keep your mind on things above and not on earthly things;
You're hidden with me in the safest place.
Your old self has died and is risen again;
Your death shall be what brings you to new life.

Be still and know, 
Be still and know, 
Know that I am your God. 
Be Still and know, 
And you’ll find rest, 
A refuge for your soul. 

~Psalm 46, adapted by Michael John Trotta

There's a nice recording of the song here. It works really well with the volume turned WAY up!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Ten on Tuesday | Just Do It!

...this week, Carole's asked us to list things we need to quit procrastinating...and just do! This is going to be an interesting set of posts, assuming we're all honest ;-)

Of course it's nearly 8pm as I sit down to write this, so I'm happy to report that the prompt worked - I did a few of these things...today!

  1. The scene above is my desk at 6:40 am this morning. That pile of cards-to-be-written has been nagging me for days - thank you notes, a birthday card, a sympathy card and a few "hello" cards. All but the "hello" cards made it into today's mail.
  2. ...so those cards are tomorrow's Just Do.
  3. Get my eyes checked. This has been on my to-do list for months... and I finally made the appointment last week to get it done today (yes, this one is a cheat but I wanted to document that I finally did it!). Happy to report no issues...and two new pairs of glasses on their way. Nothing beats seeing the best we can see.
  4. Take the winter coats to the dry cleaners. Again, happy to report this is done (finally - they sat on the stairs for over four weeks...really, we have the air conditioner on here now - I don't think we'll be needing winter coats for a while).
  5. File the paperwork in my office. It bugs me that this is even on my list. (I wish I didn't have "paperwork" to file - has anyone figured that out?) I do it about once a month...and April's stuff is still out. ugh.
  6. Create a family photo gallery wall in our entry hall/staircase. Marc and I have been talking about this since we moved here (ahem, almost three years ago). We have a huge (blank) wall that will be perfect for black and white photos. I was hemming and hawing until I snagged a bunch of great photos from my folks (when I visited in March). Now I really want to dive in and do it.
  7. Go through the boxes (and boxes) of photos our family collected from the mid-80's through 2003 (when I started putting photos into albums). Katie helped me get a decent start on this before we moved, but there is still MUCH to be done. And I kind of want to do this before/in conjunction with #6.
  8. Start running again. My best running friend (who isn't Katie) got injured at the end of last summer. Katie - of course - gave birth in September and couldn't run. I was ready for a break, I guess... but now I'm ready for it to be over. I ran down to the lake and back again this morning. 3-1/2 miles. 30 minutes. IT FELT GREAT! (but I think I might need new shoes :-)
  9. Something silly (but then why is it still not done!?) - iron the napkins we used at CHRISTMAS so they're ready the next time we need them.
  10. and finally - I'd like to get into a much more regular posting habit here. I'm not completely sold on M-F, but I'd like it to be five days for sure.

Thank you, Carole, for the kick in the pants to get going! If anyone else wants to join the Ten on Tuesday fun, click here. (and I promise, it really is fun!)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Weekending.

...it got off to a great start when I arrived home Friday afternoon to see this note.

The quiche was delicious and we opened a nice Petite Syrah. No movie, but a little bit of golf instead (I never complain about golf because it makes it easy for me to knit!)

Saturday morning Holly and I took a long walk; I'm struck right now by how good it smells...

 

The mailman delivered this delightful package - thank you, Bonny! I've never knit with Shalimar Breathless...can't wait to try it (in a few months...when it's time again to knit for cooler weather.)

 

Marc went to bed early (golf can really tire a guy out!) and I stayed up with Holly, knitting and listening to Neil Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors (which I finished Sunday morning - 4 stars).

 

Sunday was Mother's Day and the first one since I've been a mom that I didn't celebrate with either daughter...instead, I shared it with my mom (her first Mother's Day since 1979 that she got to celebrate with all three of her children!)

I did get cards, notes, texted photos, two phone calls...and my favorite bacon, tomato and avocado sandwiches for dinner.

 

Hope y'all enjoyed a weekend full of good things, too ... and belated Happy Mother's Day wishes to all the moms.

 

Friday, May 8, 2015

FO Friday | A Blanket for Charlie.

...a week ago Sunday, Katie sent me this text:

I think Charlie wants a blanket to sleep with eventually. Like a lovey. Before many naps and bedtimes, he tries to snuggle the bib. Or will reach for the gray pottery barn blanket to lay his head on. Could you knit something I could wash and dry in cotton? Or would I be better to buy something?

A few texts later, we'd agreed on the Swans Island Finest Kind Baby Blanket and Blue Sky Alpaca's Worsted Cotton, likely in the Sky colorway (I love that my LYS is online now and I can check out colors and quantities on hand...from home on a Sunday evening!)

Monday afternoon, I bought the yarn and cast on 131 stitches. (no, I didn't swatch, but I did a quick calculation figuring I'd get about 4 stitches per inch and wanted a blanket roughly 30" square, but not a skimpy 30"). I got a good start that evening and when I finished the first (of seven planned) skein on Tuesday evening, decided I'd try for a skein a day...and a finished blanket in a week.


By Wednesday evening, I'd joined the third skein.

Thursday morning I could hardly move my right arm. I took a break and planted flowers. and cleaned the garage. and KonMari'd the cupboards and drawers in my bathroom and part of my closet. and a few bookshelves. I finally picked up my knitting around 5pm...

...and it was after 10 before I finished that day's skein. Friday morning I was still sore, but I measured my progress and realized I would only need to knit six skeins (and the finished piece would be more like 40" square!)

Friends at the shop suggested I soak in Epsom salts and use some Aspercream. I couldn't figure out a great way to soak my entire arm (without taking a bath?!), but I did buy the Aspercream. Man, that stuff is awesome! I powered through another two skiens and had one to go by Sunday. I finally bound off and buried the ends on Monday afternoon. I gave it a quick wash and about an hour in the dryer. It was ready for Charlie on Tuesday.

He does seem to like it!

Raveled here.

(and my arm is almost back to normal...but I'm not going to knit cotton again for a while ;-)