Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday.

it made me smile when I saw how well the knitting and the book coordinated!
Linking up with Kat today to share a quick update on what I'm knitting and reading. 

Stole 2.0 is the last big project I want to finish for Alaska. I have about 40 more rows of stockinette (which will use up all of that ball and some of another) and then 6 rounds of garter stitch around the whole piece. It's certainly doable, especially if I can resist starting Granito when my Plucky yarn arrives on Friday!

I downloaded Magpie Murders this morning and 2+ hours in, I'm enjoying it. I owe y'all an update on my bingo card, because this book will be the one I finish for a cover-all. next week. hopefully.

But now I'm going to enjoy a little knitting with a little more book (and a glass of wine) ... the perfect end to a full-on Marmie day!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

100 Days of Finding Light.

Back on July 12, I finished a daily series of "finding light" photos for #the100dayproject. Yep, for 100 days, I found something Light in my world, took a photo of it and shared it on Instagram. Along the way I learned that 100 days, counted one day at a time, seems to last forever. and sharing something every single day on Instagram can be a real challenge! (I'm still enjoying a bit of a break from Instagram 😌.)

But I am so glad I participated. Images tell a powerful story. I have a deeper understanding of what Light means to me and how prevalent it is, if I just pay attention.

As the project drew to a close, I started thinking about what I'd do with all the photos. I originally thought about a video (like Carole and Kat - theirs are wonderful!), but I wanted to see all the photos together. Ah...the internet is a wonderful resource! Photoshop can create a "contact sheet" (aka a mosaic) and Costco can print a 14x14 canvas. In about an hour, I had the photos compiled and the canvas ordered

and a week later, I had the canvas.

I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. and having it so visible (in my study, behind my desk) is exactly the reminder I need. Light is everywhere. sometimes I just need to look for it.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sometimes Mondays.

from today's morning walk
...are full of promise.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Eye Candy Friday | Mosaic and Lace.

spoiler alert!

...and happy Friday! I've shared a few in-progress phone photos here already, but the finished project deserved the big camera (with the 50mm lens) and an Eye Candy post. This shawl was fun to knit - even the picot bind-off, which went surprisingly quick (I finished it before Federer won his second set on Sunday) - and the results are stunning.




Enjoy the weekend!




Thursday, July 20, 2017

Think Write Thursday | Staying Cool.

Today's Think Write Thursday topic is tell us what you do to beat the heat! We're deep into summer here and some of us love the heat and some of us hate it but either way we all have to cope with it. What do you do that works for you? Share your tips, stories and more on coping with summer heat!

I've lived in the South for most of my life (which still seems crazy, but it's most definitely true!) and I have to say that the number one thing is air conditioning. I do love fresh air and sunshine, but when the heat index gets into triple digits, I stay inside. We have ceiling fans running non-stop as well.

Some places (church, the grocery store, Starbucks) do air conditioning a little too well, but I don't mind that either. It's the perfect opportunity for a hand knit shawl, scarf or cardigan.

The other idea I have is a cold, icy drink. Last night, I mixed up a batch of Watermelon St-Germain Slush (thanks to A Beautiful Mess).

It only took a couple of hours to freeze the watermelon chunks (I layered them in a glass pan with plastic wrap between the layers to keep them from freezing together). I squeezed a little more lime over the slush before serving. Delicious and refreshing! and pretty, too!

Head on over to Carole's blog to see what ideas others have shared.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday | Finding Joy.

The Book of Joy is the next book for my Friday morning small group. I started reading it this morning and after just 16 pages, I'm all in.
"Together they explored how we can transform joy from an ephemeral state into an enduring trait, from a fleeting feeling into a lasting way of being." (from the Introduction)
We read slowly, so we have ample time in our 90 minutes together each week to really cover what we've read. I expect this book might take us nearly to Advent. It's a journey I'm looking forward to.

I'm also still knitting the same sweater I showed you last week, but this is a different part of it. I finished the back and that's the left front. One more piece after that and the knitting will be done. Then I'll have to block and seam, find buttons and sew them on. Those non-knitting finishing steps are not my favorite. I might need to read ahead a bit to learn how to find joy in them!

Joining in with Kat and crew today.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Morning Run Haiku.


ruffled blue sky blooms,
birdsongs greet the day; press on,
a warm welcome home


Monday, July 17, 2017

Book Bingo 2017 | Mid-summer Update.

you can see all these books on my Summer Bingo 2017 shelf on Goodreads
Hello, readers! Do y'all feel like it's "mid-summer" already? School starts around here in just three weeks (yep, August 7 ... crazy, huh?!) so for a lot of folks, summer is winding down. Same with my bingo card.

Friday morning I finished Hallelujah Anyway for a fourth bingo. I also finished South of Broad (upper right corner); it was even better than I expected, which is saying a lot! I gave it five stars, bringing my summer reading total to five five-star books. I've already raved here about Jimmy Carter's A Full Life, but I haven't shared much at all about the other four. Here are the short reviews I posted on Goodreads.

South of BroadSouth of Broad by Pat Conroy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Bingo - An author who died last year.

Pat Conroy can tell a story beautifully and this is one of his best. Beach Music has been on my all-time favorites shelf for years; this one goes there, too. It has all the things I love about a book - an epic story, family secrets, interesting characters, great settings (Charleston and San Francisco) a little mystery and a little love.

As I was reading this - and raving about how good it was - a few friends said they'd read The Prince of Tides and wasn't Conroy a really dark author. I replied that Beach Music was different - all the great things, and yes, a little dark, but the overall feeling is that the book is just.plain.good. South of Broad is like that, too.

Note - I listened to parts and read parts. The audio was decent. The southern accent wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible; and the male narrator did a fine job with both male and female characters.

The Snow ChildThe Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Bingo - Set in a place I'd like to vacation.

An hour into the book, I wasn't sure I'd chosen the right square for this book; the cold, hard frontier of 1920's Alaska is certainly not a place I'd like to vacation! But as I got deeper into the book, I saw love and friendship and wild beauty and I decided it was OK.

I love everything about this book. It's magical, heartbreaking and beautifully written.

Sigh, I can't wait for Ivey's next book!

The Gene: An Intimate HistoryThe Gene: An Intimate History by Siddartha Mukherjee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summer Bingo - Non-fiction about science. I'm adding this book to my "everyone should read" shelf (along with Gawade's Being Mortal, Mukherjee's previous book The Emperor of All Maladies and Ellenberg's How Not to Be Wrong) and recommending it to nearly everyone.

My friend Bonny wrote a wonderful review.

I'll just add this:
Fascinating material, beautifully presented, ultimately approachable and such important information for everyone to understand. The moral and ethical problems we're facing now around genetic testing and gene therapy give me pause. Where we could be in another five or ten years, well ...
The genome is only a mirror for the breadth or narrowness of human imagination. It is Narcissus reflected.

It is nonsense to speak about nature or nurture in absolutes or abstracts. Whether nature, that is the gene, or nurture, that is the environment, dominates in the development of a feature or function depends acutely on the individual feature and the context.


One Hundred Years of SolitudeOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summer Bingo - Translation. Wow. I LOVED this book on audio. Listening to it - hearing the names just roll off easily, the inflection that helped me see the really funny parts (seriously, I laughed out loud many times) and the sad parts. I am so glad I gave the book another chance - a big thank you to all my friends on Goodreads who kept telling me how wonderful it was!!

notes from my 2008 reading: it was ok, but honestly, after so loving love in the time of cholera, i was disappointed. it may be a while before i attempt another of his books.

That's right, back in 2008, I read the book and gave it two stars ... just goes to show that time of life - and book format! - can make a huge difference in how we perceive books.

I then spent most of the rest of Friday (hence, no blog post 😉) sorting through my to-read shelves to come up with a plan for the remaining six squares. I started LaRose (An author of color) and A Piece of the World (About art) and committed to three others (Strangers on a Train, The History of Love and The Memoir Project).

That leaves just the Free Square undecided. I've only purchased two books this summer - The Memoir Project and Hillbilly Elegy (which I was going to read for Bingo, but decided I'm just not in the mood); there's room in the budget for a third (and I have audible credits). I'm hoping y'all can help me choose something good. Recommendations welcome!!

Once I finish this card, I'll get back to the Read Harder Challenge. I still have a ways to go ... but there are several titles (including Beartown, Their Eyes Were Watching God and One Man's Meat) I've been looking forward to for months!

It's been a wonderful summer - and honestly a pretty good year - of reading so far. I hope you can say the same!



Thursday, July 13, 2017

Think Write Thursday | Three Good Things.

Today's Think Write Thursday topic is to write about three good things that happened this week.

Sitting here Thursday evening with a grapefruit vodka tonic (and a shaking dog in my lap - thunderstorms!) and only one item left on this week's to do list (a Friday afternoon trip to Costco), it feels like a very good week. Here are my top three highlights:

Tuesday bedtime
1. I had not one but two playdates with Charlie. Tuesday afternoon I picked him up from school and we went out for frozen yogurt before heading home to play with Sam and Katie. I stayed through bedtime - always a treat - and then enjoyed a delicious dinner and some good girl-talk with Katie. This morning, we went to the park and then out for pizza. I'm really happy one of the guys in my life loves pizza as much as I do!
Thursday at the park
2. I also met up with friends two times for knitting. Our Monday afternoon group is coming together nicely, and it helps to have a common project.
FIVE mystery shawls!
My shawl is bottom left - all the way done with clue 4, so I used the time to finish up the second sleeve on Tide Chart (aka the "four week sweater").

3. And thanks to that, and a little more time on Tuesday morning, Tide Chart is done and blocked!

We all know that focus on the GOOD is GOOD for us so let's do it!  Head on over to Carole's blog to share your GOOD this week!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday | A Singular Focus.


I can't remember the last time I was reading (and listening to) just one book and actively knitting on just one project. South of Broad is really that good ... and the sweater, well, it's probably going to take a back seat to the mystery shawl tomorrow morning (when the last clue comes out), but for today, it has my complete attention!

Joining in with Kat and looking forward to seeing what y'all are reading and knitting this week.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Looking Back | June 2017.


Today I'm looking back at June through the lens of my daily photos. It was a surprisingly full month! No out of town trips left plenty of room for exploring closer to home, meet-ups with friends to walk or knit, FaceTime with friends who don't live nearby (that's Honoré's dear face on the 7th), and lots of walking, reading and knitting on my own.

also cocktails. That pretty drink on the 30th is a raspberry elderflower gin and tonic; it's delicious. I'm hoarding a few raspberries to make another batch this week. I followed the recipe pretty much as written except I omitted the simple syrup and used elderflower tonic just because I had some (I'm hoarding the last bottle of that as well).

I didn't realize until I compiled the collage this morning that there's no Charlie - yikes! Hopefully July will tell a more "balanced" story of my time with both boys. Maybe I'll even have a finished sweater (or two) to share as well, along with a few more book bingos!

Good thing it's a long month, right?!


Monday, July 10, 2017

Weekending | Haiku Fun.

Friday evening fun
planning a fourth pen purchase
easy lace with gin

Sunday morning run
brilliant blue skies, a cool breeze
lake as smooth as glass

mystery shawl caught up
back to Alaska knitting
a four week sweater!

😊 that pretty much sums it up! Hope your weekend was a fun one, too!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Eye Candy Friday | Another Morning in the Garden.

Any morning that starts with this view is bound to be a good one!

...and we ended with this. I taught Charlie the proper way to eat pizza - point first! He was a quick study 😉


In between, we visited the Botanical Garden for Story Time and a quick walk to the big lawn for some exploring and camera practice.  Quite unlike our last visit, the sun was shining and the sky was clear and blue.








I used the 24-105mm f/4L lens (with a hood, but no filters). It's a little big - and heavy - for being out and about, but when it's just me and Charlie (no stroller, no diaper bag), it's manageable. I love how versatile it is!

The garden is really a fun place to practice. But of course, the best part is sharing it with Charlie!

Happy Friday!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Hello July.

from today's morning walk ... sadly not in my yard!











hello mid-summer 
blue sky days full of sun, blooms
dark nights full of stars






















Dipping my toes into the #dailyhaiku pond 😉 (I can see how addicting this might be!)

Joining up with Think Write Thursday and a big thank you to Carole and Kat for hosting another wonderful week!






Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Four Day Sweater.

I did it. Stillwater is finished (well except for blocking which will most definitely happen today, I'm almost sure). 

I shared my progress on Instagram - many of you were following along and it was wonderful to have your support! - so I have lots of photos. This morning I put them all together - they tell quite a story!


I used just over 800 yards of yarn (I added an inch of length) and made about a 33" sweater (details on Ravelry here). It fits great for a summer cardigan. When I knit it again - in wool - for winter, I'll add a little more ease.

I love the pattern - it's easy to follow with nice details (mirrored shaping, lace, the beautiful 3x2 ribbing) and look forward to knitting more of Marie's designs.

I'm not so sure, though, that I'll knit anything in four days! It was way more knitting than I expected - yep, turns out both of those time trials were optimistic - maybe 20-22 hours total? And the cotton, especially in that lovely 3x2 ribbing was hard on my shoulder and elbow. It worked out well that I finished the body (the first 2-1/2" of ribbing) on Day 2 and rested until Day 3 to start the neckband (293 stitches and another 2-1/2" of ribbing).  The neckband took me all morning and I had to ice my shoulder before continuing. I knitted just a little more that day (half of the first sleeve). Yesterday (Day 4), I felt fine (whew - I was worried!) and had no trouble - or pain - finishing the sleeves. 

All that knitting went along great with audiobooks - I finished two: Kerouac's On  the Road (About travel) and Auster's New York Trilogy (Set in a place I want to know more about) and started Ivey's The Snow Child (which will finally give me a second bingo when I finish). 

I also got outside to walk and run - we had a little blue sky amidst all the thunder storms.

In the evenings, we watched a few movies - The Infiltrator (Bryan Cranston is wonderful as always but the story is really bloody), Manchester by the Sea (definitely award worthy, but whoa, not very uplifting) and the latest Mission Impossible (I am not a Tom Cruise fan, but it was entertaining and perfect summer fun) and caught up on Grantchester (sigh. I love that show) - while I worked on some mindless stockinette (yep, Stole 2.0 is out of hibernation!)

And now it's Wednesday - feels like I've been away for weeks, not just days. I'm happy to be back!

Here's to a short week ... and another weekend just three days away!

Linking up with Kat to see what are y'all are knitting and reading.






Friday, June 30, 2017

Ready, Set.

...wait. But just until tomorrow. The Four Day Sweater KAL - at least for me - starts tomorrow and continues through Tuesday. I've swatched (and woot! I'll be using size 7's!) and planned out my modifications (I'm adding a few rows and a few stitches).

I even did a little "speed swatching" to figure out how much time I'll be knitting over the next four days. I'm going to use about 775 yards of yarn.

Sleeves in the round on double points is slow going.  This swatch was six yards on size 4 dpn's.
At that rate, it would take me nearly 22 hours ... or 5-1/2 hours each day. YIKES!

Flat stockinette is a little better. This swatch was six yards on size 5 straights.
This works out to about 16-1/2 hours total ... just over 4 hours a day. I can do that!

The body is on size 7 circulars, sleeves on size 7 dpn's and ribbing on size 5's (circulars and dpn's) ... I can only hope that second swatch isn't the one that's lying.

I'll be sharing photos on Instagram. Here's to forward progress only!

Enjoy the long weekend - I'll be back on Wednesday. Hopefully with a finished sweater!

P.S. the bagels were a huge hit!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Think Write Thursday | Career Plans.

high school graduation - June 1979
Today's Think Write Thursday topic is to write about what you wanted to be when you grew up. How does it compare to what  find yourself doing?

This is a story I've never told here. I'm not sure my kids even know the whole thing! So I'm taking a break from the Mystery Shawl ... and writing a lot more than I usually do!

Growing up, I don't remember ever wanting to be anything other than a Chemical Engineer and a Rambling Wreck ... just like my father. We visited Georgia Tech the summer of 1977 and I was settled; it was the only school I applied to and I was accepted. Classes began in September 1979 and I loved everything about the school (not only because I met Marc before classes even started - he was a year ahead of me). I did well in my classes and had fun! I found Tech challenging, but I also found myself - for the first time in my life - surrounded by others who enjoyed working hard.

My father worked for Texaco his entire career; most of that time was spent in refineries (when he retired, he was managing a refinery in Kansas). In the fall of my sophomore year, I interviewed for a co-op job with Chevron (and remember getting teased about that from home) and spent my winter quarter working in their Richmond, California refinery.

I was a Craft Helper, which meant I rotated through various crafts - machine shop, pipe fitting, maintenance. I wore coveralls, work boots and a hard hat. I spent days chipping black yuck out of a bubble tower. I was 2,500 miles away from everything I loved. I hated it.

and organic chemistry. That was the first (and only?) class I ever dropped.

I changed my plans! Leaving Tech was not an option and I still wanted to graduate in four years. I was probably the first Applied Mathematics graduate with nearly all her technical electives filled with Chemical Engineering classes. I loved my math classes, especially statistics. I also enjoyed teaching; I graded for a professor my junior year and taught freshman calculus recitations my senior year.

I had only vague plans about what I might do with my degree. Marc and I got engaged the December before I graduated and he planned to return to Connecticut to an architecture firm he'd interned for the summer before. I thought I could get a job with an insurance company in Hartford, or maybe teach.

Marc ended up getting a job in Atlanta ... and so did I. A small actuarial consulting firm called Hazlehurst & Associates asked me to interview; I got the job and started in June 1983 (a week after I graduated). I really had no idea what actuaries did, but I knew it involved studying and tests (I was good at that), paid well and I would never have to wear coveralls to work. Turned out it wasn't as much about math as I thought and the studying was on my own time (but required). But there was new legislation taking effect that created 401(k) plans. Hazlehurst had a few clients that were interested in starting plans and they needed help administering them. The timing was great for me - I read a COBOL programming manual on the bus - and joined the new team. It was a great fit ... finally!

Hazlehurst was acquired by Northern Trust in the early 1990's and then sold to Hewitt Associates in 2003 ... I was there for all of that. My career included programming (I also taught myself two more languages to "keep up"), administering and consulting about benefits ... and ultimately managing folks (here in the US and in India) who did those things.

The Hewitt transition was difficult - too much work, too few people, not enough money ... and unhappy clients. I missed out on much of Katie's high school and college and was determined to do things differently with Sara. In September 2009, I announced my retirement and left - on the best of terms - in early 2010.

I did see Sara play tennis ... and move into her own apartment ... in Wisconsin! and I did get to teach knitting ... and work in my LYS. (truly every knitter's dream, right?!)

Then two months ago I retired. for real. (in other words I am no longer getting paid. for anything!)

I'm still adjusting to days on my calendar with no commitments and a much smaller to-do list. I love the flexibility, but I do find myself craving structure. TBD how this whole thing works out.

and whew. long post. but I'm glad I got it all down. and if you read this far, wow! (and thank you!) did anything surprise you?

Of course I'm linking up with Kat and Carole today!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday | For Real.

While there has been a decent amount of forward progress this week on both the knitting (Clue 2 of the TTL Mystery done and the body of Tide Chart bound off) and reading fronts (two more books added to my "read" pile), there has been a bit of real unraveling.

First, I frogged Lucy. Maybe I was never really committed to her (quite unlike me, I never added a photo to my Ravelry project page), but when I got to thinking about the upcoming Stillwater KAL, I thought that cardigan - especially in cream cotton - would be a better fit for my wardrobe. Sunday afternoon, I unraveled a sleeve and half a body, re-skeined the yarn, soaked it and hung it up to dry.

This morning, I wound the yarn, printed the pattern and thought about swatching :-)

On the reading front, the unraveling came after I finished The Heart Goes Last (for the Speculative Fiction square). It was a disappointment and I needed something good to get back on track. The Classic square seemed like a good bet. I tried Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities and Wuthering Heights. ugh, ugh and ugh. I visited my bookshelves and considered re-reading Heidi, Little Women or anything by Jane Austen. But I already have a Re-read square ... and mostly, I'm sure there are plenty of classics I still need to discover.

Searching around on Goodreads, it appeared I'd never read Howard's End. A quick visit to LibriVox turned up a recording by my favorite narrator (Elizabeth Klett). The first couple of chapters seemed really familiar (I remembered the concert scene with the lost umbrella), but after that, it was all new. And most enjoyable. I was hoping - foolishly I know - for a happy ending. Forster writes manners like Austen, but his social commentary - and plotting - is much more like Wharton.

After all that, here's what my Bingo shelf looked like early this morning
The first two rows (12 books!) are finished. I'm still re-thinking and shuffling those bottom two rows. I haven't committed to the free square and there is more unraveling to come. I just downloaded Hillbilly Elegy ($4.99 on Kindle today) and think that will be a nice fit for Set in a place you'd like to know more about. ...in any event, it might be a while before I get another Bingo!

Linking up with Kat and looking forward to reading about forward progress!