Friday, April 28, 2017

Book Bingo 2017 | Preparations.

I am delighted that so many of you are looking forward to another summer of reading, sparked by Book Bingo - we're going to have fun!

I'm pretty sure most of you know the "rules", but for ease of reference, here you go:

1. books you finish between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend count. This year that means books you finish May 27 - September 4. this might be a great opportunity to finish books you started a while back ... or you could simply get a headstart by "finishing" that weekend.

2. you get to interpret the relevance of the square to the book. You won't need to defend your book choice ... but I'm hoping that's because you won't need to. That said, I'm expecting that you'll read a book that matches the square. One of the reasons I wanted to host this "challenge" is to post a list of categories that I'd want to be part of. As I post this, there are 89 categories. Some of my lifetime favorite books have been books I read - unwillingly?!- as part of this challenge in previous years. I wish the same discovery and satisfaction for you.

3. each book you read counts for one square, so a "full" bingo card means you read a book for all 25 squares on your card. (yep, even the free space in the middle - but you can read any book you want for that square).

4. there will be prize(s). leaving those details TBD until I know how it's going. Regardless, to be considered for prizes - and honestly more because I want to keep in touch! - you need to share your Bingo card (plans, books, Bingos!). you can tag me on Instagram (@mere2007) or via a link here.

So - here's the list of categories (there's also a link on the sidebar). What's missing? what do you hate? what would you refuse to read? what might you be incented to pull off the shelf?

My plan is to have the cards ready to go by May 22, so I need your input by May 19. Please leave your input in the comments or email me directly.

And thank you in advance for your participation - reading is good. but reading in a community is better. (and filling your bingo card is the best!)

edited on April 29 to fix the link to the category list (sorry about that!)

More Photo Fun.

My cousin Beth arrived (on a 5am flight from Boulder!) at our house just after noon. First order of business was a run to the lake - it was misting, so we didn't stop for a photo. Then lunch and a lot of catching up (and a little bit of knitting) before we headed into town to have dinner with Katie and her family.

I had zero photos before we left and over twenty by the time we got home (not including a few that Betty shared with me - she's really good about taking photos and I love that we have so many!). Most of them showed a blurry toddler and/or a blurry baby. It wasn't hard to whittle them down a bit.

First, one without a little boy. This is Beth and me.

And you know all of these people. 
I wore that same scarf on Monday and Sam had it in his mouth then, too. 
Beth brought the boys new Legos. always a sure hit with Charlie.

And then our two best attempts at group photos - first with Rob

and then with Katie. Hands down this is my favorite of the whole evening!
love how Sam is watching Charlie ♥ (also the collar on Katie's sweater ... another teething ring)
 And all too soon it's Friday. We're hoping for a walk in the park before they have to leave this morning. It's been a wonderful visit ... but it's gone too quickly. That's a nice thing to say about family visiting, isn't it?!

It's also the last weekday of April and that would usually mean my last blog post of the month. But I'm planning to be back here this weekend with some information about Book Bingo. Stay tuned.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Wednesday with Extras.

Long-time (and maybe even not so long) readers probably know that my typical Wednesday routine starts with a walk (lately dark early with Marc), proceeds to knitting class and then to wine and knitting with my sister, Karen. It's a pretty fun way to mark the middle of the week - and with Betty here, we added in a few extras.

First up, we waited until it was light to walk. Hello sunny selfie!
Betty went to Alabama and her husband went to Georgia - this might be the first time she's ever worn a Georgia Tech hat!
A walk to the lake - with a lake view selfie - was high on Betty's list of things to do while she was here. Marc prepared her last night for the hills, and she said she was grateful ... but I think she was more grateful for the training from her hikes in the Colorado mountains (have I mentioned that the cousin who arrives tomorrow lives in Boulder?) last year.

She was proud to tell Marc that she did the whole walk just fine. I told him our pace was a little slower than our usual because we stopped to take photos.
I loved taking photos of my dad composing shots, too. Betty says her daughter likes to take these same photos.

The rest of the morning passed quietly. I'm pretty sure we both knitted at least a little bit.

On the way to the shop for class, we drove by the development where my mom will be moving this fall. Wow! I drive past the site at least once a week and they're making noticeable progress on the homes daily right now. yay for good weather!

I don't have a photo to document the "extra" that Betty added to my knitting class. But I had fun introducing her as "the daughter of the woman who taught me to knit". and then Betty added "and she taught me to knit, too." Betty told me she's surprised how much progress she's made on the sweater. (Wednesdays are usually good "forward progress" days for me, too.)

Karen and I loved sharing our Wednesday evening tradition. Betty didn't share the wine, but she held up the knitting end beautifully. Karen might've even convinced her to try socks. All too soon it was time for the photo we forgot to take yesterday.

And then we drove home ... and the rest of Wednesday played out like it typically does, except that we watched a movie* - and Marc went to bed before it ended and both Betty and I stayed up for the end.

It's nearly midnight now ... for sure another "extra" :-)

It's also nearly Thursday and I can't believe how fast this week is flying by. Good things and all that, I guess. Hoping you've had some good in your week so far and maybe an "extra" (or two)? do share!

*The Man Who Knew Infinity. Marc and I first watched it last weekend and loved it. Highly recommend. and now Betty agrees, too. Also, we all think they should teach "History of Math". None of us had heard of Ramanujan and that seems ... wrong.



Smile!

My Aunt Betty flew in yesterday morning. I rode the train down to the airport to meet her and enjoyed the perfect opportunity to cast on Colorwash.

We rode the train back together and spent the rest of the day (after an early lunch with Lydia - oops, we forgot to take a photo) chatting and knitting.

Betty's project is Ennis (for her daughter's 50th birthday next summer). and mine - of course - is the Polka Dot Scarf. Hopefully there will be bigger smiles today ... when that piece is finished!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New (and Old) Friends.

Next to Marc, I've been friends with Francie longer than anyone else. We met the day I started my first job out of college (the one I retired from 27 years later). It was a very small company (I was employee number 34; she says she was 33) and we soon became co-workers and great friends. She and her husband Dale have celebrated many happy occasions with us - our wedding, the births of two daughters and the wedding of one. They relocated to Portland, Oregon in 1996 so we don't get to see each other very often, but it doesn't seem to matter. She's the kind of friend I can see for five minutes after a two-year gap and it seems like we just saw each other last week.

We spent a great day together yesterday, but for me, the highlight was introducing her to Sam,

having her see how much Charlie has grown and changed since she last saw him (at age three weeks); and then having dinner - just us girls - with Katie.

new friends. old friends. great friends. dear friends.

P.S. Francie also accompanied me and Katie to Paris in 2009 and me and Sara to Florence in 2014. Some of our favorite shared memories were made during those two trips and I love that they include Katie and Sara.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Hello Monday.

yay for 10 minutes of pilates!
I hit the ground running (well, walking fast) this morning - with just a list in my head (choosing to spend that hour last night when I could've been making lists and getting organized knitting on the endless kidsilk haze and listening to a book) - and after 5-1/2 hours, I'm feeling good enough about where I am to take a few minutes to check in here.

It's going to be a busy week - I'm leaving as soon as I post this to spend the rest of the day with a friend visiting from Oregon (and woohoo - our dinner plans include seeing Katie and the boys!) My aunt arrives from Florida in the morning and my cousin joins us on Thursday. Hopefully there will also be time to share at least a few photos here.

Hope your week is off to a productive start, too!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ten More to Go.


The Polka Dot Wrap is progressing. I just completed the 17th (of 27) repeats. and I'm really wanting to finish it before I cast on the Colorwash Scarf ... tomorrow?!

Turns out this project is the perfect accompaniment to Lincoln in the Bardo (as both Margene and Vicki have shared, the audio is fantastic). I have 5-1/2 hours left to listen.

So that's how I'll be spending much of the rest of today - hopefully forward progress only!




Wednesday, April 19, 2017

An Updated View.

I mentioned yesterday that my desk also benefited from the bookshelf project ... and, from dear Honoré, a beautiful wooden rendition of my 2017 one little word - Light. Want to see?

This view holds many reminders of what's important in my life - photos of my parents and Katie and her boys, my dad's bible from when he was a teenager (a verse he'd highlighted is marked with a crocheted cross that a friend gave me when he passed), the handmade wooden cross from my church to mark his passing, devotions, "quiet" books (including works by Mary Oliver, E.B. White, Danny Gregory, Anne Lamott and Katrina Kenison), and of course the angels and those two wooden words.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. and sometimes a single word (or two) can tell a much bigger story.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Bookshelf Makeover.

aka how I spent* my first Tuesday without Charlie.

When I finished my closet "lightening" last month, I mentioned maybe wanting to tackle the bookshelf in my office. Today - that happened! It's not nearly as fun as a smiling toddler (and I'm just about as pooped out as one of those Tuesdays) but it feels good. and if any of y'all have similar projects waiting in the wings, maybe this will help.

I remembered to take the "before" photo this time. It looks a little different than the one I shared six weeks ago because this bookcase and the space in front of it seems to be my dumping ground. These shelves store books, knitting stuff (needles, yarn, patterns), photos and a few other bits of memorabilia**. 

My main purpose with today's project was the books and the yarn and I decided to tackle the books first. I did not follow Marie Kondo's process and empty everything out. Instead, I went shelf by shelf and aggressively culled my collection. Along the way, I rearranged. Here's what I was a left with after that first step.

And here's what I'm donating

and returning to the gracious ladies who've loaned me books I don't have any near-term plans to read.

I even brought back books that had been living in other places in my house. I do still have a small collection of books on my desk (but that's a post for another day)***.

Next, I tackled the yarn. I've done this (a few times) before, so I wasn't expecting to find much, but I did want to take stock. I pulled ALL the yarn off the shelves (sorry, no photo!), sorted through it and then purposefully put it all back. In the process, I found two skeins of green wool that I know I was saving for a hat ... that hopefully someone else will knit. The rest just got organized.
How about two empty shelves??!! 

I also revisited my Ravelry queue. I added and deleted (and didn't really make much attempt to organize) and ended up with 22 projects. I have yarn for 21 of those and I do intend to knit them! That 22nd project is the Calliopsis cowl that Kat mentioned two weeks back and I do intend to knit that too...with Shibui Reed that I just might be purchasing tomorrow. (Like I said, no order to the queue!)

I suppose it's a post for another day, too, how I might actually work my way through 22 projects. stay tuned.
.....

And after the bookshelf, a walk with Renie and a trip to the mailbox, there's this

My newest word, thank you to dear Honoré****, and the timing could not have been better. I like making little shrines with the words and this one fits right in with I Carry Your Heart and the photo books/albums I have of the boys (on an end table in our keeping room).

Getting a project done felt like a good way to spend today. But I hope future Tuesdays are a lot more interesting ... for all of us! I also hope they include some knitting (which today has ... so far anyway, not!)

*in addition to running a few errands, voting and enjoying an afternoon walk with a girlfriend 😉

**I decided up front that the bottom shelf was going to be off-limits. That's where I have all my knitting patterns, magazines, books, etc. and our high school and college yearbooks. We have room. The shelves are neat enough. Not going there!

***I also have books in my living room and a few other "decorative" places in the house. Again, we have room and I like having the books be a real part of the decor.

****Honoré has been gifting me wooden words for years - you can see a few of them in the bookshelf - mere, focus, shine.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Sometimes Mondays.

"borrowing" this Monday post idea from Michelle GD - just a small bit of the inspiration she's shared with  me!

...are full of unexpected delights.

It was nearly daylight when Marc and I passed the lake this morning headed home. (full disclosure if I'd paid attention to the sunrise time, this would not have been unexpected ... but I'm kind of glad I wasn't prepared for it!)

My afternoon plans got cancelled at the last minute - and my friend Lauren was available to meet for coffee.

The latest Field Guide arrived in today's mail - and I have the perfect yarn (thank you Bonny!) to knit one of the projects.

I spent the morning and a bit of the afternoon cleaning the porch - and got to enjoy a porch view (my first since last fall) for an early evening call with my mom.

Hoping all of this is an auspicious start to the week - and that your Monday included a few unexpected delights as well! (and if it didn't, please share some of mine vicariously 😊)

Friday, April 14, 2017

First Impressions.

I actually made it in 35 minutes - even with a missed turn!

The house is really wonderful (this was my first time seeing it in person). I can see them living there for years ... which is how long it might take Katie to recover from the move. and the unpacking. Here we are mid-morning.

By lunchtime we had most of the kitchen unpacked and put away. We spent the early afternoon on the pantry (sorry, no photos). I didn't think it was all quite ready for "after" photos, but still, feels like we made a ton of progress.

When I saw the Think Write Thursday topic this week - about treehouses - I thought immediately of this one.  What fun for the boys (and us grownups who get to play with them)!

The house was built in the 1950's, so the trees are tall and now, full green. This is the view looking up from the deck.

I left about 2:30 ... a few wrong turns later, I was back to that part of the map where the route takes a sharp turn north. This is the most traffic I've seen in a while - but I did make some headway in my (audio)book.

Tomorrow we're working on the boys' rooms - two bedrooms and a playroom. Maybe the in-progress photos will include little boys ... I hope so!

Happy Weekend!


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thursdays with Sam | Smiling.

When I picked up Sam this morning, Katie told me she'd read this week's blog posts (and the comments - thank y'all!) and that it sounded like someone had died.  All those "thinking of you" and "keeping you in my thoughts" and yeah, I get what she means (and I love how supportive y'all have been, truly!). This move is really a good thing - they're super-excited about the house and the location - and "with light traffic it's just a 30 minute drive". point taken.

We're smiling!





I had two wonderful days with the boys this week and even snuck in an extra hour with little Sam yesterday.  Tomorrow and Saturday I'll see them again (I'm helping Katie unpack) ... and I have plans to see them all once they're settled in. Tuesdays with Charlie and Thursdays with Sam are going to look quite a bit different going forward, but we'll still have plenty of time together. Thank goodness "Atlanta" isn't really as far away as it sometimes seems!

and this just occurred to me as I writing the post - think of all the books I can listen to on those "30 minute drives" 😃

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Looking Back | March 2017.

Today we're looking back at March. I take these photos one day at a time and last month I even managed to keep up with organizing them (I have a folder in Photos for all the daily photos - makes it easy to remember which photo is "the one" for that day), but it wasn't until this morning that I made the collage. Seeing the month laid out like this, it gets me every.single.time.

We transitioned from winter sweaters, wooly cowls and boots to Friday afternoon walks with a beer and Saturday morning runs in shorts. I started a new Pilates practice and continued daily stitching.  It was a month full of blue skies, flowering trees, azaleas ... and smiling little boys.

I'm still writing April's story, but I think it's going to be really hard to top March!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tuesdays with Charlie | Little Acorns.

Little Acorns* was a favorite activity of ours last spring and summer. The photo booth, the train, story time, the toys, wishes in the fountain and even an occasional lunch out. 

Thinking today might be our first and last Little Acorns for this season, I was happy we managed to do all of those things.
the "Easter-ish" photo booth

the train - favorite car this season is a closed one
toys on the lawn
making a wish
grilled cheese ... only when he's out to lunch (with me!)
...and then I was most happy for a nice rest while Charlie took a long nap.

But the light of my day was working a sticker puzzle (from my mom) and then asking Charlie to smile so we could text Gramma a thank you. that smile.

Thank you for all your good wishes for smooth transitions this week. Your warm, virtual hugs are a big help!

*Tuesday morning playtime at the outdoor mall near our house. They setup a few Little Tykes-like toys, play very kid-friendly music on the loudspeakers and find local businesses to sponsor activities like face painting and coloring.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Smile | Beaufort 2017.


We really had a wonderful time.

from last night's dinner
I'm sure you can't tell.

I took this parting shot this morning on the drive out of town. The road makes a hard turn to the left just after this and that turn always signals the end of the weekend. 

...and now back to reality.  

Katie called on the drive home to say they had the keys to their new home (Monday closings are wonderful, I think!); and earlier she texted that her drive from the office to the new house was only 12 minutes. The moving vans come Thursday. Tomorrow is my last Tuesday with Charlie and Thursday, well... 

I did not watch last night's Homeland finale, but I peeked at the spoiler threads after dinner. I told Sara I would watch this afternoon, so I need to get on that!

More soon.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Think Write Thursday | Again for the Very First Time.

Today's Think Write Thursday topic is to tell about a book we wish we could read again for the very first time. It took me all of about two seconds to come up with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - the seventh and last installment of the Harry Potter series (and even better if I could do it over the first two days of a girls beach week like I did back in 2007).

It's no secret that those books (and the movies) are all-time favorites. I'm grateful I got to experience the story as it evolved. and it's crazy to think that we once lived in a world where we didn't know how the story would turn out!

quick search through the mere-et-filles archives turns up quite a few mentions of Harry Potter - and many of them were Ten on Tuesday posts. Here's one about the things I love about the books, and this one about D.E.A.R. is a keeper if only for that adorable Charlie photo at the top (almost exactly a year ago!). I even found one from before I read that seventh book - about what I was planning to read on that beach trip (too bad there wasn't book bingo back then!)

But my favorite post - for reminding me about a wonderful time - is this one, from August, 2011.
Sara and I had a great day together just before she went back to school (her sophomore year at Georgia Tech). We saw the Harry Potter movie, we had lunch ... and of course we took a photo. Don't  we look young! (and happy!)

Thank you Kat and Carole for a fun topic and a great excuse to travel down memory lane!

I'm headed off to South Carolina this morning. I do have plans to blog with my iPad... and maybe this time I'll get the photos right!