Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tuesday with Charlie | Capturing the Moment.

...Charlie and I met up with Katie this afternoon at Avalon. We grabbed a blanket and sat down in the courtyard. The last time I was outside in the afternoon (without sweating) was in Madison...at the beginning of July. Of course it's not going to last - yes it is August...in Atlanta - but wow, this weather is glorious!

And oh my is Charlie having fun moving around! Katie took the camera first and then I did. It's always hard to "capture the moment", but getting the good ones, with an almost one year old, yeah... he's off in a million directions and when we're looking here, he wants to look there (especially when "there" is a pair of sisters aged four and two - strangers to us before this afternoon - who delighted in showing off to make him smile...or flirt?!).

Case in point.
and as if the toddler isn't enough, I have a curl that wants to mis-behave!
The courtyard where we sat is huge. Once those sisters left, Charlie had the run of the whole space. He loved it. (apologies for the lighting...we didn't want to apply sunscreen, so we were all in the shade!)

So glad I had all this to share because the rest of the week might be light here. I've got a big newsletter to get out Thursday evening...and I've just started to prep. Hope to be back soon! (and with  at least one FO to share!)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Happy Birthday!

...to my mom! I don't often get to share in the celebration in person, so it's especially sweet that I'm visiting this weekend. We have big plans later today for brownie pie, games, mimosas and FaceTime with family. Hopefully it will seem like 2008, when my brother, sister and I were all here together.

Happy Birthday, Mother! xxoo.

 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Watercolor Wednesday | Home.

...how meta it is to watercolor a photo taken through raindrops on a windshield?!

I'm glad I turned on the porch lights before I left earlier this evening...and really glad my coming home view inspired a post about something other than Charlie or knitting!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tuesday with Charlie | Action!

...we had a day filled with all sorts of action - and I finally managed to shoot a few short videos on my phone to share*with y'all!

First up, his favorite "Where's Charlie?" game.


then Muppet Arms!


...and finally - steps. Today was the first Tuesday he really walked. Thankfully he "really walked" at home for his mom and dad over the weekend, so this was a joy to see...and share!


*sadly, turns out sharing videos on my blog isn't as easy as I thought it would be! I started this post three hours ago...and now I'm finally going to sit back with a glass of wine, a bit of knitting and some HGTV...and relax!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hello, Monday!

...hello one of my favorite days of the week - because you're all mine!

I was up with my alarm. Coffee, email, Instagram (love all the on yesterday's Charlie photo), planner, devotion, journal...and by 6:35 I was out the door for a four-mile run/walk with Lauren. Then a quick yoga stretch routine, a short walk with Holly (it was starting to rain), housekeeping, laundry, a shower...

...and a nearly two-hour FaceTime call with my friend Diane. While we chatted about all sorts of things, I finished square #11 and made a good start on square #12.

I'm headed to Florida Thursday to spend the weekend with my folks (my mom's birthday is Sunday - yay for in-person celebrations!) and I'd planned to take the afghan, but I think I'll have the knitting done - or nearly done - before I go. Since sewing up 16 squares is not a travel project...I'm going to treat myself to three skeins of the new-to-the-shop Woolfolk FÅR and knit Pure. Not that I needed any (more) justification to abandon all my recently organized stash, but next week's newsletter is about the Woolfolk yarn and I think we need a beautiful FO to showcase the yarn. #amiright?

Which means I'm going to finish up here and head to the shop. Nothing like the promise of a new project to get me moving. And nothing like a rainy Monday to make an afternoon at my LYS sound like heaven.

Hope you've got something lovely in store this week, too!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Tuesday with Charlie | Eleven Months.

...wow, there is nothing like a baby to make you realize how quickly time flies and how fast things change. It had been my plan to write a monthly post about what Tuesdays look like, and apparently I did it once...way back in March. What a difference five months makes!

My new favorite thing is muppet arms - which he will do whenever we say "Yay" or clap our hands, usually in response to something he's just done - like stack a ring, take a step, throw a ball, drink from  the cup all by himself, fit a shape into the shape sorter, (you get the idea). I tried and tried to capture that in action...but just couldn't. This is the best I could do.

Mealtime is a messy affair. He feeds himself (except for oatmeal). Tuesday's favorites were macaroni and cheese, yogurt (from a pouch), banana and string cheese. Yep, a white diet...but at least he won't starve and he's getting lots of protein. I should add that he is - so far and knock on wood - not at all picky. I think he's liked everything he's tried except broccoli. And he's tried a lot of different things, including eggs, chicken, fish, all the fruits and vegetables, pasta, almond butter, toast, crackers and hot cereal. He also likes to taste whatever I'm having. I'm not sure if water takes better from my cup or not!

Or maybe he just likes the way the straw moves around and makes a clicking noise?

He takes a thirty minute nap mid-morning and an hour-ish one in the early afternoon. After lunch, we have quiet time with a few books - current favorites are Farmer Duck (thank you, Bonny!), Corduroy and Where the Wild Things Are. Then we walk around my yarn room, pointing to colors and shapes and people (my bookshelves are a treasure trove for pointing!). And then it's nap time. I'm amazed how well that routine works.

Of course when he's not eating or sleeping he's moving around and playing. He loves to play hide and seek by crawling behind a chair or pulling a blanket over his head (or having me do those things - my knees get a real workout crawling around on Tuesdays). He loves to stack the rings (lots of muppet arm opportunities), but he hasn't quite learned the order to get them all to fit. He also likes to sort the shapes, especially once they're all back inside the box and he can shake it (lots of noise) and then open it to dump them out again.

He's taking a few tentative steps on his own. Katie FaceTimed last night to show he's getting even more confident. I expect next week will be a whole new world of toddling!

I wonder what other changes there will be...it's hard to believe his first birthday is just a month away!

Monday, August 10, 2015

480 Pages to Go.

...yep, I started 11/23/63 on Saturday afternoon and to say I'm obsessed would be an understatement. What a story! All that reading doesn't leave me much to share here in the way of "weekending"...except for a few knitting updates.

First, I finished the body of Lucinda - and blocked it. This photo is pre-blocking, but it doesn't look much different now. It still needs two sleeves and a neckband and a bunch of ends woven in!

I also knit two blocks for Charlie's Fly Away. (I'm not even going to let myself think about what I have to do once I finish knitting all sixteen blocks!)


And I started the Rivington Cowl, my (first?) project for Kirsten Kapur's Summer Shawl KAL. I bought this yarn way back at Stitches South 2010, intending to knit Sara something for Georgia Tech game days. Well, I actually bought the gold skein that day and had Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark custom-dye the white skein. It's a great white and gold pairing; but Sara subsequently told me she didn't want anything like that so it's been sitting in my stash since. I think it's going to be perfect for a game day cowl for ME! and I should have enough of the gold leftover to knit another small cowl.

That's about it... and that might be all you get until I finish those 480 pages!

Hope your week is off to a fine start... Happy Monday!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Throwback Thursday | First Day of School.

...it's back to school time here big-time. A few of the local counties started this week and ours starts Monday. Of course our girls are way past those years now, but I remember well the mix of excitement, anticipation, fear and stress that accompanies the First Day of School.

My First Day was back in September 1969. We lived in Houston. I look mostly scared, not excited, don't you think?

My dress was red. Maybe one of my grandmothers made it? And no backpack or book bag for me - nope - a little pocketbook! (I wonder if my mom remembers what I carried in it? I hope a pencil!)

My mom also saved my class picture, taken the following spring. I'm on the bottom row, second from the right.

Look at all those dresses(!!), politely crossed ankles, neat (short) haircuts...and smiles! A 5x7 time capsule for sure.

I don't remember much about that first year of school except that I rode the bus.

Do you remember anything special from your first day or year of school?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Looking Back | July.

...I keep waiting for the month where, when I compile this collage, I think "well, ok, that's another month done", but yeah, that hasn't happened yet! These looking back posts are some of my favorites to share each month (and not just because they're easy!).

It's hard to believe I was Madison a month ago. It seems like longer; but that might be because our summer has been so unbelievably hot that I can't remember what it was like to sit outside in the afternoon without sweating (which I did back on July 2!)

I think I've only missed two Tuesdays of Charlie photos all year (both days that Katie was on vacation). These photos are a wonderful timeline of how he's growing (so fast!) I count it as a bonus when I get extra days - his wide open smiles on the 16th and 24th are pure delight. What fun, too, we're both having with coloring.

July was a great month for sharing cocktails. Sara & I on the 3rd, Karen & I on the 8th, Katie & I on the 12th and Marc & I on the 25th. I'm pretty sure that's a record!

and Hooray! for finished projects. My Mystery Shawl debuted on the 26th and Orbit the day after.

One project I haven't shared here - it's not quite finished - is my summer bingo card. I took this photo back on the 23rd, just after I finished When Women Were Birds (it was amazing and I highly recommend it to everyone!) - my 24th book since Memorial Day.

I haven't started 11/22/63 yet - hopefully that will happen later this week - so I still have 849 pages to go to cover the card. In the meantime, I started a second card.
No bingo's yet, but I've checked off a half dozen squares. I really enjoy figuring out what to read next within this framework. I've made great progress on my to-read list...and found some surprising favorites. I expect finishing this card will take me well into the fall, but hopefully I'll manage one or two bingo's by Labor Day.

The only square I haven't planned is the Nonfiction (top row). I'm not much of a non-fiction reader - in fact I went years without reading any - but the last few I've read, including Boys in the Boat, One Summer and Emperor of All Maladies, have been excellent. Being Mortal has been on my to-read list for a while, but I'm in a very long line to get it from the library. Any suggestions on something that might be a little easier to get?

Happy Wednesday ... I hope you have a fun shared cocktail and finished project in your near future!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Go Set a Watchman.

...it's taken a week, but I'm finally ready to share a few thoughts on Go Set a Watchman.

Please note that I am not calling this "Harper Lee's latest novel." My understanding, rather, is that this is the first manuscript she submitted for publication, back in 1957. Under the direction of her editor (I think she passed away in the 1970's...boy would it be great to have her perspective now - although I have to admit, if she were alive, I doubt this book would've been published), she re-worked it into the novel that was ultimately published in 1960...our beloved To Kill a Mockingbird.

I re-read To Kill a Mockingbird earlier this summer and have to say I loved it even more this time around. And after reading GSaW, I still love it just as much. Maybe even more since I now have a glimpse into the process that created it. In fact, I think I want to read TKaM again in another month or two to really appreciate all that editing!

I don't plan to ever re-read GSaW, however, for two reasons. First, it's simply not well-written. Yes, there are places where Lee's wit glimmers. One scene that I even enjoyed - for about two pages - described a "coffee" hosted by Jean Louise (Scout)'s Aunt Alexandra.
What do they talk about these days? Jean Louise had lost her ear, but presently recovered it. The Newlyweds chatted smugly of their Bobs and Michaels ... The Diaper Set ... distressed her beyond measure ... The Light Brigade ... in their early and middle thirties, they devoted most of their free time to the Amanuensis Club, bridge, and getting one-up on each other in the matter of electrical appliances ... Jean Louise looked at the three Perennial Hopefuls on her right. 
But the plot feels contrived - if anyone does read this and can explain what Dr. Finch (Scout's Uncle Jack) was talking about? - and the flashbacks to Scout's childhood don't always support or even follow along with the present-day story.

And then, of course, is the subject matter. A small Southern town trying to deal with the 1954 Supreme Court decision that ultimately led to desegregation. It's just plain ugly. Even more so because I know it's a true recount of small Southern town life then...and sadly, still ... and not just in the South (although I can only hope it's not quite as prevalent).

The media has made much out of Atticus Finch turning into a racist (and make no mistake, Atticus Finch in GSaW is a racist!) But if you think about GSaW as the precursor to TKaM, the transition was the other way around; he evolved from a racist into a civil rights advocate. I don't know if we have Harper Lee or her editor to thank for that, but I'm grateful nonetheless. Or maybe we can thank Harper Lee's father who was the model for Atticus. Apparently he was a segregationist when GSaW was written and had a change of heart while Lee was reworking it. One review I read references Charles Shields, author of the biography Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee:
Mr. Shields said Mr. Lee's late-in-life shift could explain the transformation of Atticus through the authors' drafts from a bigot in "Watchman" to a civil-rights hero in "Mockingbird," and why in interviews after "Mockingbird" she spoke glowingly of her father. "She may have been very proud of him," Mr. Shields said.
I'm still waiting to have an in-person discussion about the book; hopefully that will happen tomorrow evening with my sister (over wine and knitting...seems like the right backdrop for that discussion). But I feel like I've come to terms with it.  I wanted to read the book so I could participate first-hand in the conversation; I'm still glad I did.

Thank you to my mom for sharing so many clippings with me. And to this Bookriot podcast.  I also spent many hours poring over the articles posted on the Bookriot website on July 14, "Harper Lee Day".

...of course today is Tuesday, and that means there's a whole lot of fun happening with the Ten on Tuesday crowd. Check out Carole's blog to see what the fun's about today.

There's also a whole lot of fun happening here. Charlie had fun exploring the newly organized bookshelves in my yarn room this morning. with a ball of yarn in tow :-)
I don't think he recognized either his mama or me in that photo! (ca. 2005)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Getting Organized | Done!

...I didn't quite make it by the end of July but I came close. Yesterday afternoon, I turned my yarn room into a mess photo studio.

Thankfully it wasn't too much to clean up - and I love that I now have photos of all of my multi-skein quantities...in Ravelry!

Next I revisited my queue - deleted a few items, swapped around a few more and attempted to arrange them in roughly the order I need to/want to knit them. All said and done, I've got just a bit of stash still waiting for the perfect pattern. (I'm pretty sure the KFI Indulgence will be socks, but given my lousy track record with finishing socks these past few years, I haven't queue'd them.)


One of those is the Spud & Chloë Fine (it's a fingering weight merino/silk blend). Looking at the rest of my stash (and my closet), I'm thinking one reason I haven't been able to find the "right" project for it (I've tried two cardigans so far) is the color. I love it...but I have nothing to wear with it - save for black/white/khaki/gray pants and black/white/gray t-shirts. I think that means it needs to be a pullover! Suggestions welcome!

Of course the reality of working at a yarn shop also means new stuff is coming in all the time. Those two skeins of Cascade Eco+ weren't there two weeks ago. But two customers needed some ... an order was in the works ... I'd always wanted to try it ... and yep, now I have almost 1,000 yards of it to knit. If you'd like to knit along, I'm planning Kirsten Kapur's Laight Street.

The shop is going to start carrying Woolfolk any day now; I've seen the yarn samples in person and I'm excited to knit with it. There's also a new pattern collection (designed by Olga Buraya-Kefelian - just like last fall's collection) coming out in early September; I'm going to (try to) hold off until then to buy anything. I might even try to limit myself to an accessory since...my sweater queue is already pretty full?!

But - in September, we are also getting in new colors and patterns and a brand new base from my very-favorite Shibui. I've seen the pattern previews and want to knit two of them - a pullover with a deep v-neck and a cardigan/coat. I think I can use my stashed Merino Alpaca for the coat ... and it that's the case, I'm going to buy new yarn for the pullover. (yes, that adds two more sweaters to my list!)

You might be wondering just when am I going to knit the yarn I already have? good question. I'm wondering the same thing! The good news is that I can knit ... an hour or two a day (yay!) so at least I'll be making forward progress.

And I'm so glad fall is on the horizon...knitting sweaters and shawls seems much more appealing for cool(er) weather.

What are you looking forward to casting on for fall?