Wednesday, August 31, 2016

WIP Wednesday | August Knits.

today's WIPs - clockwise from top left: Rose Granite Quill, Shelter Baby Blanket, Bradway, Fall Hoodie, George
I had planned to finish three projects - one for me, one for Charlie and one for the baby - this month. Back on August 1, that didn't even seem like a stretch. But today?! Yep, not gonna come close. I'm not going to have even one of these projects done before September arrives.

But those first two projects are really close (neither has any more knitting to do - just a little seaming, a whole bunch of ends and blocking) and Bradway is ... kind of close (less than 30 rows of knitting, but those are longer and longer rows, then ends and blocking). Of course, the two projects for Charlie (on the bottom row) are the ones that need to get done - George is for his birthday (in less than two weeks) and I expect he'll need the hoodie before the baby arrives and needs a blanket (and goodness knows I don't really need anything new right now!)

It's funny - before I sat down to write this post, my plan was to knock out my sweater and the baby blanket this weekend, along with Bradway. But now, I think my best plan is to knock out the projects for Charlie (along with Bradway since it's easy to knit during class and I have four hours of class in the next two days) and then come back to those others.

Along with that other baby blanket - the one that I haven't worked on in months!

With any luck, September might just be a great month for finishing... let's hope!

Do you have a project you'd like to wrap up next month? I'd love to cheer you on.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Ten on Tuesday | Home Sweet Home.

Carole's back from her two weeks at the Cape and this week, she's asked us to list things we miss about home when we're away. Of course it's a timely topic for me as well - here are ten things I missed last week:

1. early mornings at my desk with my journal. this is always my favorite way to start the day.

2. this spot at the kitchen counter where I spend most of my waking hours when I'm home. (it's also the spot where I usually read blogs...and I've missed reading about what y'all are up to!)

3. all the clothes in my closet. it's not that I'm bad about packing, but I always seem to want something else. (last week it was another clean top for walks with Holly - I underestimated just how hot those walks would be).

4. all the toiletries in the shower and under my sink. I really could've used hairspray and a leave-in conditioner (but sadly had neither with me).

5. seeing my neighbors when I walk Holly. I feel really out of the loop about what's happening on my street.

6. the lake, the park and the greenway

7. and meeting up with friends to run/walk there.

8. Wednesday morning yin yoga class at the Y. I just don't have the discipline to do yin on my own.

9. Tuesdays with Charlie - especially selfie opportunities

10. and finding out what's new with him. today it was hummus! I served him cucumbers for lunch (I know it's a favorite); he pointed to an empty spot on his plate and said "hummus?". The only kind I had was roasted garlic, but he didn't seem to mind it. He even asked for more (cucumbers and hummus :-)

Traveling is wonderful. But as much as I love visiting friends and family and seeing new (or sometimes familiar) places, I am a homebody at heart. Home sweet home for sure.

Thank you, Carole, for hosting another fun week - if you're already playing along, click here to join in.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Our Week in Florida.

riding shotgun
Holly and I spent last week in Florida visiting my mom. In case you're wondering why we'd drive to central Florida in August, here's why!

It's my mom's birthday,
a birthday toast
homemade banana-orange ice cream for dessert
knitting and baseball go very well together!
I never even knew about the LLWS, but my mom says she's been watching it for years.  This is my third time and I have to say I'm a fan. I didn't keep count of how many games we watched over the week, but I'd guess close to 20! It's baseball with heart... and now that I have little boy(s ... soon there will be two!) in my life I've added a trip to Williamsport to my bucket list.
text with Katie

Apparently Katie hasn't seen the LLWS either!

So there was plenty of good wine, food, baseball and knitting. And also a long list of to-do's with my mom (Alaska trip planning, sorting through files and more files, and a few other lingering tasks since my dad passed away).

Of course there were also daily walks with lots of blue skies (not so great, really - they need rain desperately),
from Thursday's walk
only one scary alligator sighting,
from Wednesday's walk
and Friday night happy hour with Mother's girlfriends.
such great sports to pose for a photo (I had to promise it wouldn't end up on Facebook ;-)

...all too soon it was time to head home.
late Sunday morning
I will say traveling on Sunday is about as good as it gets. I've got lots to catch up on...good thing it's only Monday!

Have a great week!


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Throwback Thursday | Happy Birthday Holly!

Holly turned seven on Monday. In dog years this is the last birthday when she'll be younger than I am. Which makes me happy and sad at the same time. I've had a very fun time today thinking about this throwback post and all the wonderful memories we've shared.
2nd birthday - August 2011
The last time I threw her a birthday party was back in 2011 (when she turned two); she didn't have much fun even though she did look very cute in her hat!  So this year, instead of a party, I'm writing a blog post. She's asleep in her bed behind me and I think she's perfectly happy with the low-key celebration.

our first meeting - December 4, 2010
In case you weren't reading my blog all the way back in December 2010, you might not know that's when Holly arrived in my life. December 4 to be exact. Pretty much love at first sight - at least for me. Sara had started college, Marc was traveling a lot and I was home by myself too much. Holly was the perfect solution. She's wonderful company here at home, but also

...she's a great travel buddy - by air (we flew to LA in 2011 to visit Katie) and by car. I might've missed a few trips, but I count Hilton Head and Beaufort, SC; Rosemary Beach, Leesburg, North Palm Beach and Gainesville, Florida; and countless trips to the yarn store, the nursing home, the park and a host of other local spots.
Riding shotgun - July 2011
(Holly)wood - February 2011
Rosemary Beach - September 2011
Thanks to Sara (moving so far away she only gets to see Holly a few times a year), she even has her own Instagram tag. If you ever need a quick boost, check out #HollyaDayforSara.
see what I mean?!
119 and about to be 120 posts - as soon as I share this one.
Holly, age 7 - August 2016
This is the birthday girl today - still looking sharp and aging remarkably well!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Watercolor Wednesday | Every Fair Flower.

this morning in the garden at our local YMCA
Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful. Beauty is God's hand-writing -- a way-side sacrament; welcome it in every fair face, every fair sky, every fair flower... 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tuesday with Charlie | Twenty-three Months.

...presented - in honor of Carole's vacation this week - in list form:

1. He ran to greet me - first time - usually I'm there at the car after his mom drives into the driveway, but I missed their arrival today. And now that I know he'll run to see me, I think I'm going to stop being so punctual so I can get a running hug to start all of our Tuesdays.

2.  After waving good-bye, we went right up to the playroom for "toys". I'm never quite sure which toys are going to strike his fancy and this morning he surprised me by going first for the "monster truck" (all trucks are "monster trucks" right now). Then he dug a little deeper in the box (freeing the alligator) and found the puzzles. Sara gave him three for Christmas - colors, numbers and letters. We worked them all (and found all the pieces!). And ended with "fash cards". He loves them - lots of pictures for him to practice his words. 

3. Next up - second breakfast. Oranges and cheerios and some of my apple. We talked about what we'd do today and I showed him some pictures of himself on Instagram (fun for both of us). Then morning chores. He loves to help make Marmie and Poppa's bed. His favorite part is Poppa's pillow. He takes it from me when we start, carefully sets it on the rug and then gravely hands it back when it's time. Marmie and Poppa have different pillows and he seems to know this - he never mixes them up. We also clean the bathroom counters and this is when Charlie gets to put two "wishes" (pennies, from Poppa's dish) in his pocket for later.

4. Prepping lunch. He's been on a pretty steady diet of hardboiled eggs (naturally cold and really quick to prepare) these past few weeks but today he opted for chicken (fingers). also tots ("don't tell your mother"), mixed vegetables and strawberries. I put his plate "in the fridge" so it would be ready once we got home.

5. Little Acorns at Avalon. Monster trucks (there are two big buildings under construction), a slide and coloring. Then he remembered his "wishes". He pulled me up to the fountain, found the two pennies in his pocket and threw them in. This is the look when I asked him if his wishes would come true.

Next up, story time. and finally

6. Riding the train. His favorite car is the open one up front (not gonna lie, it's mine too - more air = good thing in the summer). He's perfected the "waiting to leave the station - selfie with Marmie" wave... and the one he gives to everyone he sees along the way.

7. Lunch. of course we added ketchup to his plate. and he ate all of it, and the chicken and the tots (but left a few vegetables and strawberries). After lunch, we cleaned up (he mops and loads the dishwasher - seriously, his mom is training him well - he loves it!) and then got ready for nap.

8. Nap. He naps on our living room floor on a sleeping bag. We retrieved the bag, a blanket and "old macdonald" (his chosen story - actually Eric Carle's Around the Farm). He drank his milk while we read the story. Then he made sure Holly wasn't lying on his bag (I make a point of showing him that she was settled in my chair), lay down, and went to sleep.

9. for three hours. (subject of another blog post about Tuesday nap time ... three hours is over the top unusual, but I can usually count on two). Today I finished listening to Nobody's Fool - which I loved!! - and added a couple dozen rows the front of my Rose Granite Quill

10. After he woke up, we took Holly out. Then had snack (applesauce and milk) on the porch. and one final bit of toys (we built a tower with the legos) before getting ready to head home.

11*. We left here about 4:50 and I had him home at 5:15. Not great for a 3-1/2 mile drive, but the school traffic is back in session. Along the way we talked about what we'd done today so he could tell his dad.  Sounded pretty fun. and it was.

12. Home. I walked Holly. then came inside, poured a glass of wine and sat down to write this.

I can't help but wonder what the next few months will look like for him. for us. big changes coming!

Hope you've had a list-worthy Tuesday! and thank you for all the good wishes about my phone woes. I was able to get the old one up and running. and hey - the camera still works!

*this really isn't Ten on Tuesday!

Monday, August 15, 2016

First World Problem(s).

I got caught in a downpour on my run this morning. The really hard stuff started just before the halfway point and I was soaked by the time I made it back home. My immediate concern was for my phone. but all seemed fine when I checked it out in the garage - fine enough that I ventured back out into the driveway to take a quick photo to share on Instagram. 
(I was especially proud of the time I clocked for my four mile run - a personal best since I started running again in April!)

A half hour later, things weren't seeming at all fine. I buried the phone in rice (and geez, I hope brown rice works - it's all we had!) and started thinking about what to do in case it doesn't work. The new iPhone is rumored to be coming out September 16. I briefly considered simply waiting until then - I'm due for an upgrade (and I have a birthday, anniversary and Christmas coming up) - but then remembered Tuesdays with Charlie and my upcoming trip to Florida. I need a phone.

So I found my old one (wow, it hasn't even been two years but it seems really old), charged it and was pleasantly surprised it seems to still work. I took it to the AT&T store this afternoon and - even better surprise! - there was no charge to reactivate it. Five minutes later I was out the door with a phone. 

Now I'm waiting for the latest iOS to install (and hoping it will!) - and then I anticipate a few hours for my latest backup to restore.

Hope your week is off to a smoother start...or maybe I need to consider that mine is actually off to a pretty good one, all things considered!

First world problem(s), right?! :-)



Thursday, August 11, 2016

Like a Bee.

from Saturday morning's run
Happy to report that I haven't filtered all my recent photos to black & white. This lucky shot is straight off my phone, although it did take a few tries to capture that bee just still enough to not be a blur. Over the course of those few photos, the bee went in and back out of a half dozen of those purple flowers.

My mind's a whirlwind today rethinking a few plans to make room for a new priority...that I can't share here until it's a bit more...formed. I don't like "busy", but like that bee, I do like to plunge into something sweet and new headfirst.

(wish me luck!)


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Ten on Tuesday | M is for ...

Today, Carole's asked us to share ten words that describe us...and they all have to start with the first letter of our first name. How about:

1. married.

2. mother.

3. Marmie.

4. maker.

5. Mozart lover.

6. mathematical.

7. morning person.

8. mostly vegetarian.

9. miniature schnauzer snuggler.

10. motivated.

That photo strip to the left was part of my Marmie fun today. my first time using the Pocketbooth app (which I might've downloaded from one of Starbucks' free app deals months ago?) We had a lot of fun with it and hey! - more black and white!

Also, when I was little - maybe the early elementary school years - I didn't like my name at all. I wanted to be a Candy (caring, curly-haired) or a Susie (strong, sophisticated) or a Kim (kind). But now - I know my name is just right for me. look how well it fits!

If you're not already playing along, click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun. And thank you, Carole, for another great week!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Stories in Black and White.

We had a family gathering yesterday afternoon to celebrate my nephew heading off to graduate school next week. Of course it was really just a wonderful excuse to get everyone together - good food, good drinks, good times. I took a dozen photos with my phone (and experienced a bit of camera envy - Katie has a new Canon 6D and my sister has a new Olympus mirrorless that's about the same weight as my iPhone and takes way better photos...) and was mostly disappointed in all of them. Lighting, outfits, food, ... ugh. 

But then I added a black and white filter. and saw two of the stories shine through. literally!
That's my sister reading The Bear Ate Your Sandwich (upside down ;-) and truly, the only downside to black and white is missing out on the completely delightful illustrations in this book!

A little later, Charlie's mama joined him on the floor
...and my camera envy has subsided. (just a little!)

Friday, August 5, 2016

FO Friday | Summer Navy.

One of my favorite parts about finishing a project for myself is having Katie take photos. Tuesday afternoon, she obliged me and my latest FO - Summer Navy.

I fell in love with this pattern - it's Bleached, by Amy Miller - the day it came out. Believe it or not, I've never knit a short-sleeved cardigan for myself - and having one in a fingering weight blend of wool and cotton seemed pretty perfect for summer. plus pockets!


The cardigan body is knit seamlessly (in one piece) from the bottom up and the shoulders are joined with a three-needle bind-off. Then the sleeves are worked seamlessly from the armhole down, with short rows to shape the sleeve cap (I shared a little about that in this post last week).  Which all means I didn't have to get any sewing needles out until I was ready to sew down the pockets, weave in the ends and sew on the buttons (and all that took almost as long as knitting the eight rows of 1x1 ribbing across 392 stitches last weekend!)

That sleeve technique is definitely fiddle-y, but it works! I still can't believe how beautifully this sweater fits me.



I worked the entire pattern exactly as written except that I worked the sleeve decreases earlier and faster and worked the bind-off a little tighter (to accommodate my skinny arms).

All the details are on my Ravelry project page (here). Highly recommend the pattern for everyone - it's easy, fits great and works up surprisingly quickly - even on those tiny (size 1 and size 3) needles.

Now I'm working on one more summer-y piece before heading full-speed into fall (and baby) knitting. I did a little work on my queue this week...and then the new Interweave Knits magazine dropped. I haven't been this excited about an Interweave issue in years. Seriously fun inspiration for cooler weather knitting.

And for some fun weekend reading that won't upset your queue, here's a great blog post by Katrina Kenison about her visit to E.B. White's farm (and a whole lot of other wonderful things).

Wishing y'all a whole lot of wonderful things, too, this weekend! ...and one more big smile for a Happy Friday!


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Cheers | Summer Cocktails.

As part of my Summer Bucket List, I'm on a quest to find a new-favorite summer cocktail. Turns out I don't have a favorite (or maybe it's hard to pick just one?!) So how about four?
clockwise from upper left - Moscow Mule, Thyme Salty Dog, Strawberry Mint Sparkler and Peach Fuzz Buzz

Moscow Mule. This is the easiest drink of the bunch. especially if you keep Ginger Beer on hand. My favorite brand is Reed's, but I've had trouble finding it lately; my local grocery carries Cockn' Bull and it's a great stand-in (they must know it, too, because it says right on the bottle that it's for Moscow Mules). I follow a traditional recipe - fill a chilled cup with ice (I don't have copper mugs, but my pewter julep cups work fine), add the juice of half a lime, 2 ounces of vodka and top with ginger beer. One bottle of ginger beer works for about two drinks.

Thyme Salty Dog. This was the first fancy cocktail I tried. I followed this recipe exactly (even to styling the photo!). My sister and I both thought it was delicious - and worth the trip to the store for thyme and fresh grapefruit. Now that I'm getting more confident with my cocktail skills, I want to try a wintery version with gin and rosemary syrup.

Strawberry Mint Sparkler. This one I created all by myself (a first!) for Friday evening snacks with Sara.  For each drink, I muddled 1-2 strawberries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker then added ice, 1/2 ounce of mint simple syrup (made following the same technique/proportions as the thyme syrup for the Salty Dogs), the juice of half a lime and 2 ounces of gin (Death's Door of course since it's local to Sara) and shook to chill. I poured the chilled mixture over ice in a highball glass and topped with sparkling water.

Peach Fuzz Buzz. My sister and I both remember our parents making this when we were kids. I don't have my mom's recipe, but I remember gin, unpeeled peaches, limeade concentrate and the blender. Here's my version - it makes four drinks (perfect for entertaining!)
Add the following to a blender:
3/4 cup simple syrup (3/4 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar)
1/2 cup lime juice (2-3 limes)
2-3 sliced peaches or nectarines (2 if they're big, 3 if they're smaller)
1 cup gin

Blend until the peaches are almost pureed, then add 4 cups ice and blend until frozen.

Easy, cool, and tastes like summer - Enjoy!!



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Watercolor Wednesday | Here.

from this morning's walk
Here

It's always here, the silent
underpinning, the foundation
beneath the foundation. When
I reach deep enough into darkness,

inside fear, self-doubt, aversion or
despair, there's something so intact
I almost miss it in my focus on
brokenness. It's always here, this

ground of being. Like the water in 
which fish swim, it's easy to overlook
the eloquence of truth. It's here, this
guiding presence, this calm, abiding

stillness. It's here when I don't try 
to make life any more or less than
what it is, when I stop trying to be
right. It's here when I unclench my

fists and breathe, when I let go of the
demand to make life smooth or easy.
It's here, the oneness underlying
multiplicity, the exquisite "is-ness"

of everything. I could shout it from 
the rooftops, but it's true no matter
what I say, and I know you'll find
it in your own time, your own way,

that precious moment when you 
choose to meet life exactly as it is.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Ten on Tuesday | A(nother) Bucket List Update.

We shared our summer bucket lists back in June and today, Carole's suggested we post an update. Perfect timing since August is already here (and most of the kids around here are back in school this week and next!)

I shared my list back on June 8

and got off to a great start. But it felt like - except for July 4th when I saw fireworks from Sara's balcony - I hadn't made much more progress.

Thank you, Carole, for suggesting we check in. Because turns out I have!

First, summer cocktails. I owe y'all a round-up and a few recipes because, so far, I have four favorites, and I've purchased ingredients to try a few more recipes. Katie and my sister Karen are my cocktail muses and I'm not gonna lie - having Katie out of cocktail commission this summer is making this one a lot harder :-)

I'm just three books away from covering my bingo card. and yep, another update is due here too.

I saw Me Before You and Finding Dory in the theater and I'm hoping to see The BFG with my sister soon (I still need to read the book, but I'm thinking I can do that once we have our movie date set).

...and for the rest -

That popsicle mold I purchased back in June is still sitting in the box. I know. pitiful. especially when Deb of Smitten Kitchen shares photos like this one on Instagram. Charlie, however, has been enjoying "ice" every Tuesday afternoon. If we don't visit Whole Foods for gelato (like last week), he has a frozen yogurt. easy, healthy and nearly drip-free.

Also still to do - a bike ride, the botanical gardens (this is probably going to wait until after Labor Day when it might be a little cooler?), a picnic (ditto), travel postcards (I'll be in Florida for a week later this month), and sparklers.... August and September look like they'll be fun!

Can't wait to read about what you've been up to ... celebrating summer!

(and if you're not already playing along, click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun.)


Monday, August 1, 2016

Weekending.

So, it turns out that finishing my sweater - knitting the second sleeve, a neckband (392 stitches of 1x1 ribbing!) and two pockets, then seaming those pockets, weaving in ends, blocking and sewing on buttons - took longer than I anticipated. I didn't actually sew on the buttons until early this afternoon. 

And while I think most of my memories of this weekend will center around all the finishing*

I also want to remember what else happened along the way:
  • Finished two excellent books - Screwtape Letters and Redefining Realness.
  • Watched Concussion (so good!), the first two episodes of Ballers Season 2 (entertaining) and Suffragette (one of the darkest - literally - movies I've seen in a while. I'm still not sure it has a happy ending). Marc also watched a lot of golf :-)
  • Enjoyed a long FaceTime with Diane (two rows of 392 stitches) and then met up with friends at Starbucks (two more rows).
  • Perfected my Peach Fuzz Buzz recipe (no finishing progress :-)
  • Two runs, two walks, including one with Katie ... reminiscent of two summers ago when we walked in the park a few times a week (no finishing here either).
...and of course, I dreamed about what I'd knit next. Now I'm off to wind yarn!

Do you also daydream about your next project while you're slogging through finishing up the last one? I hope you had a delightful weekend!

*notes to self for the next time I think three days must be "plenty of time"! I finished the sleeve on Friday afternoon, picked up the neckband stitches on Saturday morning and spent the rest of Saturday knitting that ribbing. Sunday morning dark early, I bound off. Then came the two pockets, which went pretty quick. But seaming them to the sweater (keeping the edges straight and making sure they lined up "just right") took a few hours. Then I wove in the ends, gave it a decent soak and laid it out to dry. It was just damp when I got up this morning and ready for the last bit early this afternoon.