Thursday, September 14, 2017

Three on Thursday | Super Quick.

Beginning this week, Carole and Kat are no longer publishing a Think Write Thursday topic. Instead, they suggest we post "Three on Thursday". They've done a great job with TWT; some of my favorite stories here (and on your blogs) were told in response to their topics. Thank you, Carole and Kat!

This new approach works perfectly for me today as the timer on the microwave tells me I have 20:37 to finish this post! That gives me a few minutes to take out Holly before I call the Uber for the airport. So ... super quick:

1. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that Charlie and his family paid us a surprise visit this week (thanks to Irma and an extended power outage at their house). It was fun to spend so much time with the boys, even though the whole ordeal was stressful for their parents. The best part was that were able to celebrate Charlie's birthday with him and his family ... on his birthday! We started dark early with a homemade card, continued with oatmeal blueberry pancakes (Sam had cheerios ... all over the floor), proceeded to Starbucks ... and ended the day with cake, ice cream and candles. Their  power came back on late last night; they packed up and drove home early this morning.

2. 2nd Avenue is now an FO! It took over two hours to weave in and bury the ends, but it was definitely worth it. It's packed in my suitcase, planning modeled photos in NYC.

3. The house is going to seem really empty when Marc gets home this evening. He and Holly are back on their own for ten days while I help Sara move. I hope to do a better job posting on this trip than the last one, but for sure, I'll be sharing little stories on Instagram. Stay tuned!

Happy Thursday, everyone - and again, many thanks to Carole and Kat for TWT, and to Carole for continuing to host our Thursday meet ups.

(5:45 to go!)

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

With a Grateful Heart.

from my journal
My morning devotion, from These Days, was based on Psalm 103. The first verse - copied above - sums up perfectly my feelings this morning.

Yesterday was scary, but we are all ok:

  • Mother's power came back last night; Betty and her friend left early this morning to return to their homes in North Palm Beach.
  • The sideways rain and wind showed up a leak in our porch roof that let water into our living room. And there are two big pine trees in the back yard that will hopefully be gone before we have another storm. Otherwise, we are just two tired folks (with one not-so-happy little dog).
  • Katie lost power yesterday afternoon and it's still not back on. With two little ones - and two working parents - that's the biggest concern for us right now. 
  • Charlie's home in Beaufort is ok (I haven't heard about the church).
  • Many of you heard yesterday from friends and family in Irma-affected areas; all are safe. 

Indeed, All Are Safe seems a most appropriate beginning for a gratitude alphabet today.

Thank you all from the bottom of my grateful heart for your prayers and concern.  I trust our continued support will give those who have been impacted and lost much courage, strength and lighter hearts. xo - M.

Monday, September 11, 2017


Yes, we still have power! and before I quickly share a few of the highlights from the weekend, thank you for all your care and concern about my mom and others in Florida. I am happy to say that they are safe, but without power or cell service. Mother's land line does work ... at least until her handset dies. I haven't called yet; figure I should help save those phone batteries for something important. Please continue to send those good thoughts. and for a smile, here's the photo Betty shared on Instagram Saturday evening. I hope they still have those smiles!
weathering the storm - Polly & Betty - September 9, 2017
Meanwhile, things here are rainy and windy. This is the first time Atlanta has faced a Tropical Storm warning. Metro area schools and government are closed along with many businesses; most "optional" activities have been cancelled.  I've lived here nearly 40 years and I've rarely seen wind like we have now. I have a hard time imagining what this evening - when it's supposed to be the worst (gusts of 60+ mph) - will bring.

and now some happier things. I did get Thursday's to-do list completed (checked off that last luncheon item over my coffee yesterday morning - whew!). 


high five, Marmie!
The birthday party was a lot of fun - Katie does a great job (invitations, decorations, food, activities) with boy birthdays and you can tell she enjoys it all. Planning for Sam's first birthday is already well underway. How has it been more than ten months already?

I have no photos from yesterday's luncheon, but hopefully another one of our women has some good ones. She graciously agreed to be the photographer so I could focus on other things. I did get to welcome a special guest. Our friend Charlie, evacuated from South Carolina's barrier islands, was there. Then he came over for drinks and snacks yesterday evening and we had a nice long catch up. We shared this quick selfie with Mother.

Back to the Weather Channel. and wishing y'all a good and safe week. with one more happy smile!
photo from Katie's instagram feed 💙

Friday, September 8, 2017

Alaska | The Beginning. always the best place to start, right? We all arrived in Vancouver at different times, but Thursday, August 17, we were there together. The cruise left that afternoon, so we had the morning free. After I wrote a quick blog post, I walked over to Stanley Park with Karen and Ron.

It was a beautiful blue skies day and we had a gorgeous view of the city from the park.

We boarded the ship just in time for lunch.
That was the first of many (many!!) wonderful meals, but the only time I visited the "all you can eat" buffet for lunch. It was also the only lunch I had outside!

It was a beautiful afternoon and evening as we sailed from Vancouver.

After a restful night's sleep (also the first of many - I love sleeping on a ship!), I was up early to see the sunrise.

This was a day at sea, and we had no plans but to explore the ship and get our sea legs. It took the better part of the morning for me; and by the late afternoon, we were all in good shape. We showed up for Team Trivia (this was a cruise-long tournament; we played every day!) and got off to a great start - second place! We called our team "Famous Grouse" after Daddy's favorite scotch.

We had dinner that night at The Grill, a poolside restaurant featuring "hot rocks". Yep, they put a hot rock in front of you; you cook your food yourself! It was fun, but messy (and chilly). That was the only time Mother and I ate there.

The evening was really windy!

But the sunset was glorious.

We all went to bed early, anticipating a full day when we docked in Ketchican the following morning.  And so ends the beginning!

A quick Irma update - my mom is bunkered down at her house with my aunt and her friend, who evacuated from North Palm Beach yesterday. The three of them are well-provisioned and prepared for heavy rain and wind. We are getting evacuees here, too (and expecting a few more at Sunday's luncheon as a result). The lines for gas and groceries are already long.

Wishing everyone a happy and safe weekend!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Think Write Thursday | Top of Mind.

Joining in with Carole and Kat for Think Write Thursday, who wrote "This week we are asking you to share 3 things on your To Do List with all of us."

Ok, then - I love a list! Here's what's top of mind for me today and tomorrow:

1. Finish Charlie's birthday socks. That first one just needs a little kitchenering (and an identical twin).

2. Shop for and then bake the cupcakes for his party on Saturday. Katie chose this recipe to go along with the "camping" theme. The recipe looks like fun; stay tuned!

3. Prepare for Sunday's Women's Luncheon at church. This is the kickoff event for the year and one of my primary responsibilities in this first year as Moderator. We're expecting about 50 women. I need to work on my opening remarks, find an ice-breaker and prepare the introductions for our two speakers. It's been a long time since I've led a meeting like this; I sure hope it's like riding a bicycle!

I couldn't help thinking as I typed that this is a really nice list. Not to mislead y'all; there are certainly some things top of mind that aren't nearly as much fun, but for the most part, I'm free to choose to spend my time on things like this. Yes, life is good.

How about you?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday | Travel Knitting.

Remember when I posted a few weeks back about the knitting I had planned for the trip? I asked y'all to weigh in on how much of it I might actually finish ... and Patty guessed right with "very little"!

I did start 2nd Avenue on the plane and made it an inch or so into that first pink section before we landed. I also worked a little on Whiskyfied. 2nd Avenue saw a little more play time in Vancouver. Then Whiskyfied was the first project I pulled out on board. It was the morning of our first day at sea, and it was a little rough. In hindsight, a chart and a project to pay close attention to was not the best choice. I haven't picked it up again since! I also never started the socks. There was indeed, very little knitting.

I just looked back through all the photos and found evidence of knitting in only three of them - and none from the cruise!

This is the Saturday we were in Anchorage - a full ten days after I started and I'm still only on the second pink section.
me and Lydia - twinning!
And this is Monday night, on the flight home (the third photo was taken about 15 minutes later, so there's no real progress to show :-).

I finally finished that gold section Wednesday

and started the speckled part Thursday.

This morning, I started the final section - nine rugby stripes (eight more to go)!

Then a garter edge and a picot bind off in pink. I'm hoping to take a finished scarf with me next week when I fly to Madison. Pre-Alaska me might've planned to wear it this weekend (and likely would've done it). Post-Alaska me, well...of course I do have a 15 hour road trip in my future. Next week I'll share my plans for that (and hopefully an FO).

Joining in with Kat and friends. Happy knitting and happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Looking Back | August and Labor Day Weekend 2017.

Well hello Tuesday! I can't quite believe it was a week ago that we arrived back home from Alaska. My mom got home yesterday afternoon, after almost four weeks away; spending a few extra days with us at both ends of the trip provided more opportunities for family gatherings ... and recovering from the four-hour Alaska time difference and the red-eye flight home. For me the long weekend also gave me a chance to get started on the massive project that is sorting through 1,000+ photos and videos from our trip.

I started with my August photo-a-day.
Choosing one image to represent each of the 13 days I was gone was both a challenge and a wonderful reminder since most of the days had multiple stories (and at least dozens of photos). I plan to share a lot more here over the next few weeks, and if you followed along on Instagram (we tagged most of our photos with #alaska2017💙🚂 in memory of my dad, whose love of trains inspired several of our adventures) you've already seen a few highlights. For today, I have two short stories:

The first - from my summer bucket list - a whale near Juneau on August 20.
I'm not 100% positive, but I think that whale's name is Flame. I couldn't identify her fluke from my photo, but another woman on our excursion captured a much clearer image and our guide said it was Flame. (also, photographing whales is really hard - I probably have over a hundred photos of water "where the whale was")

And this one, from August 17.
My sister and I knitted our mom the same matching hat & mitts set that we both made for ourselves; Karen knitted the hat and I knitted the mitts. We gave them to her the second night of the cruise when it was starting to get chilly. She certainly appreciated them, but she never wore them (we're expecting she might have an opportunity - or two 😉 - this winter).

I also have a quick peek at the past weekend. It was another whirlwind.
Friday evening, we had a family gathering at Katie's. Saturday, I took my mom to the Botanical Garden (her first daylight visit and my first full-on blue sky visit in a while). She's planning to join when she moves and I know she'll enjoy it as much as I have. Sunday, I finally made it down to the lake in the daylight and started a pair of socks for Charlie (which he insisted on modeling on his hand, not his foot). Yesterday, I spent the morning working on photos (that image I captured is from the Collect app) and in the afternoon I babysat the boys while Katie and Rob attended the (oh-so-disappointing) Georgia Tech home opener. I shared some of that fun on Instagram.

...and just like's Tuesday! Hope you enjoyed your weekend and here's to a great week!

Friday, September 1, 2017

Hello September.

this morning at my desk - 7:55 a.m. and I still need lamplight...
Hello September.

Hello blank pages, fresh starts and new beginnings.

Hello family birthday season (which officially begins next weekend with Charlie's third birthday party!).

Hello cooler temperatures and sweater weather (Alaska spoiled me).

Hello college football weekends with bourbon cocktails.

Hello falling leaves and changing colors.

Hello finding joy in the little things*.

Hello long weekend (what a perfect beginning).

These monthly lists are a wonderful reminder about what I love in each month and season. Thank you Carole and Kat (and the rest of the Think Write Thursday gang) for another great week with one of my favorite prompts!

Also - Book Bingo officially wraps up this weekend. Books you finish by midnight on Monday, September 4 count for a square.

*from Ali Edwards' OLW prompt for September - so glad I made time this morning to watch the video!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Throwback Thursday | Moving to NYC.

Hello and happy Thursday! I'll be back next week with more about our trip (in short, it was awesome!), but today, I have a different story to share.

Way back in 2009, Katie's first job out of college was in New York City. She worked for NBC/Universal at 30 Rock.
Katie in the driver's seat - June 2009
That June, she and I made two trips to the city - the first to find an apartment (we flew) and the second to move in. For that second trip, Katie drove a U-Haul and I rode shotgun. Looking back, it was a crazy couple of weeks (here's a link to all the photos and the story I shared here on the blog), full of wonderful mama memories.

Next month, I have the privilege of helping Sara make her own move to NYC. Her last day with Epic in Madison is September 15. She starts a new assignment working from New York on October 2. Last week she found an apartment on the Upper East Side and signed a lease. She'll be driving a U-Haul from Madison to NYC - with me riding shotgun - starting September 16.

I'm excited to be part of this new chapter in Sara's life - and look forward to sharing the story with y'all.

I'm also looking forward to catching up with you and the 100+ blog posts in my Feedly reader. But my mom is here until Sunday and the weekend is full of family plans ... so, next week for sure!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Quick Hello from Vancouver.

Hello! Stopping in quickly to share a few photos of the beautiful sights:

I took a scenic walk along the waterfront yesterday afternoon - lots of activity 

and lots of boats!

The view was a lot calmer when I took the same walk early this morning 

...and the view from our room as I type this post - we'll be sailing in that harbor on our way out to sea this afternoon.

...more soon from the ship!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Words on Wednesday | The Sun.

Sharing something special from my Monday with y'all today.

Lauren and I attended a class (on chakras - more to come on that!) at Mary and Martha's Place. It was our first - and hopefully not our last - experience with this community. The director opened by lighting a candle, reading this poem and then we all shared a moment of silence. It was the perfect way to begin. I hope it provides a lovely beginning for your day, too.
The Sun 
Have you ever seen
in your life
more wonderful
than the way the sun,
every evening,
relaxed and easy,
floats toward the horizon 
and into the clouds or the hills,
or the rumpled sea,
and is gone--
and how it slides again 
out of the blackness,
every morning,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower 
streaming upward on its heavenly oils,
say, on a morning in early summer,
at its perfect imperial distance--
and have you ever felt for anything 
such wild love--
do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough
for the pleasure
that fills you,
as the sun
reaches out,
as it warms you 
as you stand there,
or have you too
turned from this world-- 
or have you too
gone crazy
for power,
for things? 
- Mary Oliver (from New Poems)
My next post will be from Vancouver, assuming I can remember how to post from my iPad.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Travel Knitting.

My suitcase isn't packed, but my knitting's ready! Would you like to see?

I wound 3,166 yards of yarn today (and 218 yards on Sunday; one of the projects is already underway) - nine cakes plus Sunday's one for a grand total of ten. Five of those cakes (and nearly one-third of the yardage) is for 2nd Avenue.

It's a very colorful (and most uncharacteristic for me ;-) wrap with a LOT of stockinette. Yep, this is my social/cocktail project. I plan to cast on tomorrow morning en route (accompanied by a mimosa).

Four of those cakes are for Whiskyfied. Melanie Berg gifted me this pattern as a thank you for test-knitting A Twist to it. I told her I was planning to knit the piece as a souvenir for an upcoming trip...and that I hoped there would be no whisky spilled on it (gin, maybe, but definitely not whisky).

I'm a few repeats into the first chart and the pattern is clear, rhythmic and surprisingly addictive. This is also in my carry-on for tomorrow - but I can't get too far - the other three balls are going in my checked bag!

Last but by no means least - socks! I fell hard for the NoShow Socks when the pattern came out last month. It's been ages since I knit socks (and those size 0 needles are brand new - yep, a first!).  But the pattern promises to teach me a few new techniques and I actually wear no-show socks. Plus I have a  lovely skein of souvenir yarn from my sister's trip to Scotland last year. Lydia and I will be knitting these together. over coffee, I'm thinking.

I've also put together a very streamlined knitter's toolkit. Thinking through the three projects, I shouldn't need much, but I want to be prepared. Do you see anything missing?

...and the million dollar question - how much of this do you think I'll actually knit while I'm away (remember, I'm gone for two weeks!)? leave your answer in the comments!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Drive by Monday.

Since my lists are multiplying, I think it's a perfect Monday to borrow Kat's wonderful meme.

My mom arrived Thursday and the whole crew met Saturday morning to tour her "new place". The development has a long way to go (they're now hoping to be moving in residents in October), but her cottage is getting close. The walls are up, the granite's in, the tile is laid. We were able to take lots of photos and measurements and ask questions. We're all getting excited for her move!
the front door to Mother's cottage - my sister, nephew, brother and brother-in-law in the back and me, Mother and my sister-in-law in the front
Yesterday afternoon I finished that last layer and blocked it. I think I'm set ... at least in the hand knit department. Seems like the only to-do I don't still have on my list is "finish up Alaska knitting".

Hope your week is off to a good start - happy Monday!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Five on Friday | In Pictures.

Trying to figure out what I would post about today, I realized I have five photos from this week that I haven't yet shared with y'all. Here you go!

 Alaska Cardigan ... done! (modeled photos coming from Alaska!)
a half scoop of coffee chip ice cream (for my summer bucket list)
Lauren and fabulous author Karen White (Lauren invited Karen - and me! - to her bookclub yesterday to talk about The Night the Lights Went Out ... and a lot of other things :-)
Alaska Hat & Mitts ... done!
... so of course I had to start another Alaska project (I still have 4-1/2 more days before I leave!)
Looking back on the week, I'm reminded - yet again - how powerful photos are to tell our stories. I'm so grateful to each of you for reading mine! Have a wonderful weekend. Take photos!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Thursday Haiku.

dark early today
making lists, drinking coffee,
and shortly, knitting.

Hope you've enjoyed a productive day ... or maybe I should say productive week. How did it get to be almost Friday already?!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday | For Real (again).

Joining in with Kat and friends today to share a good unraveling story:




I am so happy I decided to frog the sock and knit this little set instead! I bought the yarn from my Madison LYS way back in February 2015, fully intending to knit socks, but I just couldn't get enthused about the project. When the shop published this pattern for a slouchy hat and fingerless mitts, I knew I needed them for Alaska (how perfect is that pattern photo with the camera?!)

Last week I finally pulled the sock out of its months-long hibernation, took a photo and unraveled it. After a good soak, all the kinks disappeared. It's knitting up beautifully. I finished the hat last night and started the first mitt this morning.

This is the last bit of knitting I want to finish before my trip. I think I'm in good shape!

I finished my Bingo reading yesterday and find myself not quite sure what to read next. Perfect timing to catch up on that last season of Sherlock that I somehow missed.

Looking forward to seeing what y'all are knitting and reading this week!