Thursday, June 22, 2017

Think Write Thursday | My Favorite Accessories.

Today's Think Write Thursday topic is to write about our three favorite things to wear.

The first one came to me in a second. Of course it's pearls. They've been my signature necklace for years. I have strands that belonged to my grandmothers and - thanks to Marc's many trips to Asia - I also have a wide variety of colors and sizes, plus bracelets and earrings. 

The second two I wasn't so sure about ... maybe lip gloss and mascara? my wedding ring? my Apple Watch?

But as I was taking the photo to share with this post, I saw it quite clearly.

Pearls ... with a hand knit and a smile.

Linking up with Carole and Kat today ... and looking forward to reading about what you love to wear!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday | A Spoiler and a Bingo!

Posting this mid-afternoon because until about an hour ago, all I had to share on the knitting front was a lot of stockinette. But after a few hours at the kitchen counter (listening to The Heart Goes Last), I have this
on Ravelry here
and only three more repeats of that mosaic left before I'm ready for clue 2 tomorrow. I'm calling this project "Never Say Never":
"I was explaining to my sister that I wasn’t going to participate in this year’s MKAL because I didn’t really like knitting (or wearing) two colored shawls unless they were Georgia Tech’s gameday colors. As soon as those words were out of my mouth, I remembered that I had white & gold to knit myself a new gameday piece for the fall. Never say never!"
This is my fourth MKAL with Kirsten and the first time I'm actually using more than one color.

Earlier this morning, I also finished another book and woot! I have a Bingo!
That book was Jimmy Carter's latest memoir, A Full Life. I completely enjoyed it and took a little more time than usual with my review on Goodreads:

A Full Life: Reflections at NinetyA Full Life: Reflections at Ninety by Jimmy Carter
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summer Bingo - Memoir of a US political figure.

I would certainly give five stars to the person that Carter is - his optimism, intelligence, integrity and basic decency are sadly lacking from today's political landscape. I was too young to vote for him (I missed the 1980 election by a few weeks), or to know much first hand about the issues he faced. And I was surprised (and also saddened, given today's politics) by how bipartisan Washington was back then. Carter had a bold agenda and managed to accomplish much of it. The book was a little choppy and I debated about four vs five stars, but ultimately decided it really doesn't matter. So - five stars!

I listened to him narrate about 80% of the book and read along as well. I really enjoyed listening to him tell his story, but think I'd recommend the book, because it includes photographs and paintings (by him!) that add a lot to the material.

Three quotations sum up nicely what I loved about the book - and the man:

From the Introduction, talking about his four years as President:
I look back on those four years with peace and satisfaction, knowing that I did my best and had some notable accomplishments. Vice President Mondale summarized our administration by saying, "We told the truth, we obeyed the law, we kept the peace." I would add, "We championed human rights."
Sad, isn't it - no President since then could say that.

From his 1970 inaugural address as Georgia's governor:
and I say to you quite frankly that the time for racial discrimination is over. No poor, rural, weak, or black person should ever again have to bear the additional burden of being deprived of the opportunity of an education, a job, or simple justice.
And finally, from a section titled "A Future America", on the second to last page:
When people in other nations face a challenge or a problem, it would be good to have them look to Washington for assistance or as a sterling example.

Our government should be known to be opposed to war, dedicated to the resolution of disputes by peaceful means, and, whenever possible, eager to accomplish this goal. We should be seen as the unswerving champions of human rights, both among our own citizens and within the global community. America should be the focal point around which other nations can rally against threats to the quality of our common environment. We should be willing to lead by example in sharing our great wealth with those in need. Our own society should provide equal opportunity for all citizens and assure that they are provided the basic necessities of life.
Joining in with Kat and crew today (and looking forward to seeing what y'all are knitting and reading this week)!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

In Celebration of Summer.

from this morning's (almost dark) early morning walk
While I Am Writing a Poem to Celebrate Summer, the Meadowlark Begins to Sing 
Sixty-seven years, oh Lord, to look at the clouds,
the trees in deep, moist summer,  
daisies and morning glories
opening every morning 
their small, ecstatic faces -
Or maybe I should just say 
how I wish I had a voice
like the meadowlark's,  
sweet, clear, and reliably
slurring all day long  
from the fencepost, or the long grass
where it lives  
in a tiny but adequate grass hut
beside the mullein and the everlasting,  
the faint-pink roses
that have never been improved, but come to bud  
then open like little soft sighs
under the meadowlark's whistle, its breath-praise,

its thrill-song, its anthem, its thanks, its
alleluia. Alleluia, oh Lord.

~Mary Oliver
Hope your longest day of the year is a good one!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Weekending.


It was a pretty typical weekend for us. Marc played golf. I knitted and read and took a few walks. We made Mexican for dinner Saturday night and, in honor of Father's Day, cooked sausages last night and watched a LOT of golf (did you know that the US Open is always played on Father's Day weekend? yep, me neither until this year!)

Lydia and I got together for a little wine and knitting Saturday afternoon - it was great fun to have some one on one time. Of course we talked a lot about our Alaska plans and we decided we're going to participate in Marie Greene's crazy knit-along to knit Stillwater in four days. We both anticipate a bit of free time over the 4th of July weekend, so we're going to start July 1 and hopefully finish up on the 4th. It looks like fun right? We'd love to have more of y'all join us!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend and your week is off to a great start!


Friday, June 16, 2017

Eye Candy Friday | A Three-fer.

My camera saw a lot more action this week. First, I took it - along with my new 24mm lens and a circular polarizer filter - to the library on Tuesday.  Our library is next to City Hall, which has a lovely little park with walking trails. I'm delighted with how much landscape fits into the frame

and the clarity of the water.

I also love the little park!

On Wednesday, it came with me to Katie's (this time with the 50mm lens and no filter). I was happy to hand the camera to Katie. and even happier to find these three images.



And this afternoon, I finally took some "modeled" shots of the finished test knit (Ravelry details here).


I had planned to share this with y'all last Friday (I finished and blocked the piece on Tuesday and bought the buttons Thursday), but I didn't get the urge to attach all 33 buttons until Sunday morning.

Rather than sewing them on, I used 4" pieces of the linen tied into square knots and trimmed. It took about an hour.


Turns out styling the piece is the "tough" part! It's really versatile!



But I've been unable to duplicate the very cool look that Melanie models (maybe she'll include a styling guide in the pattern).

Today was the test knit deadline so we expect the pattern to be published shortly. Highly recommend - it's a very fun piece to knit and wear!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Think Write Thursday | Thoughts at Mid-Year.

this morning's journal time

This week’s Think Write Thursday topic is to “consider what it means to be at the halfway point of the year. Did you state some intentions for 2017? If so, check in on them and give us an update. If you didn’t state any intentions then maybe you could tell us what you think so far about 2017 or perhaps you’d like to set some intentions for the second half of the year. Whatever you decide, however you approach this topic, regale us with your words!”

I did state intentions for 2017 - way back on January 5, which honestly seems like a lot longer than just five months ago:

more gratitude. 
more mindfulness. 
more exploring. 
more curiosity. 
more connecting. 
more yoga. 
more prayer. 
more letting (it) go. 
less busy. 
less worry. 
... more light.

When I sat down this morning to prepare to write this post, I made a list of those intentions, leaving a little blank space after each. My plan was to go back and jot a few notes next to each one and then see what sort of story all that told. I didn't make it very far. 

First, when I got to yoga, I crossed that out and wrote "pilates". and then a big smiley face and a check mark. Since I started the 21 Days of Pilates challenge on March 6, I joined Robin's Balanced Life Sisterhood and quit the YMCA (and my twice-weekly yoga routine). For the past three months, I've averaged about four pilates workouts a week and I am loving it. Now I just need to keep doing it. The good thing is that I can see the results, especially in the sleeveless tops and dresses I love to wear in the summer. 

When I got to the end of the list, what really hit me was the changes - big and little - that have happened since that early January list. Some I've already shared here, but not all:

1. Back in December, Marc started walking 3-1/2 miles at 6:00 am M-F. He invited me to join him in early January and that shared time has become - at least for me - one of my favorite parts of the day. I absolutely love watching the morning dawn over the lake, having almost an hour of uninterrupted time to talk and getting a nice head-start on the day's exercise.

2. Marc left his old job at the end of January, sort of took a month off and officially started a new job March 1. I knew the old job was stressful, but it wasn't until he started the new job - and would somedays leave the house and come home with a smile on his face - that I realized how awful it had become. It's almost like there was a little black cloud hanging over him and us ... and now it's gone.

3. I started daily stitching.

4. Marc gave me an Apple Watch for Valentine's Day. I had to give up my focus on steps (I got my first FitBit in 2013) and start thinking about simply moving. It wasn't an easy transition, but now - four months in - I'm completely on board. I'm also even more of a fan (I'm sure my mom is now rolling her eyes and wondering how that could possibly be) of the Apple devices and how well they play together. 

5. Charlie & Sam (and their parents) moved. I gave up my day a week with each of them. 

6. A few days after they settled their moving plans, I was asked to take on a three-year commitment to lead the women's ministry at our church. I said yes. The leadership role is shared among three women, with the "lead" lead role happening in the second year. My first year officially started last month. So far so good.

7. I decided to participate in #the100dayproject, with a focus on "finding light" through a daily photo. The daily photo habit is not new, but "finding light", taking a photo and sharing it on Instagram ... has some days been a challenge. But oh my goodness it's been worth it and I cannot wait to see all 100 days together. (and to not share a photo on Instagram come July 13!)

8. I quit teaching. My last class was the one Betty attended back in April. I felt, for a lot of different reasons, that the time was right, but mostly I wanted more flexibility to spend time with the boys. I realized in early June that a month had passed and I hadn't thought about it, let alone missed it. I'm still knitting (maybe more now than before?) but I'm not spending as much money on yarn/patterns and I'm certainly not spending as much time on Ravelry. I did miss the fellowship and inspiration; turns out most of my "in real life" friends are former students or LYS employees. This past Monday afternoon, a few of us met up at my house for knitting and I'm hopeful we'll become an actual "group". 


10. and started exploring Atlanta (with a toddler).

Katie asked me "what's new?" yesterday and I replied "not much". I don't think I'd have that same answer today! 

The cumulative impact of all these changes on my daily routine - and my life in general - has been huge ... and overall positive. Without taking much specific action on any one of those intentions (save the yoga pilates), I'm seeing progress on all of them.

I'm looking forward to seeing where all this takes me and my family over the rest of this year. My mom is planning to move in September and that will be a huge change, too - hopefully all positive (once the moving bumps are out of the way)!

Also looking forward to being "regaled by your words!" (linking up with Carole and Kat)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday.

In stark contrast with yesterday's most wordy post, today's is heavy on the photos. Knock on wood, but this past week was all about forward progress. I finished a few things (two books and two knitting projects - more on those later) and started a few more. First up, the books - I'm honing in on my first bingo with that fourth row.
I'm listening to (and reading) A Full Life. Carter narrates the audio and I highly recommend it (especially if you have that Audiobook narrated by the author square). The "audio" is actually eight CDs borrowed from the library and the only CD player I have is in my car, so (thankfully!) it's taking a little while to listen. I'm filling in with the book (also borrowed from the library) and so glad I have both. The book contains illustrations of Carter's paintings and photographs that really enhance the material.

I'm also listening to The Cold Dish.  This is the first book in the Longmire series (now on TV) and my dad loved it. I'm happy to finally be discovering it for myself.

On the knitting front, I cast on the Quintissential Cardigan on Sunday. It's knit in pieces so I started with a sleeve (you know, a really BIG swatch). Happy to report it blocked out to gauge and I started the second sleeve today (seen in progress above).

I also swatched for Tide Chart and hope to get that started for real tomorrow.

I did make a little progress with the CDs and that second sleeve today ... because I visited Katie and Sam! This is the first time I've seen him in person since our lake trip. He's scooting around like crazy. and still just as happy and willing to ham it up for the camera.

...and now I have a new lock screen photo.

Joining in today with Kat and crew. Look forward to seeing what y'all are reading and knitting!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Found in Translation.

Back in March, as part of this year's Read Harder challenge (specifically, a collection of poetry in translation on a theme other than love), I found Osip Mandelstam. Along the way, not only did I develop a love and deep appreciation for his poems, I discovered how important a role the translator plays...in something other than the Bible. In my Bible study, I am continually struck by the subtleties of meaning among the different translations, but I hadn't considered it in other literature. After recently re-reading and completely loving One Hundred Years of Solitude, another translation, I decided to revisit those Mandelstam poems and share some of my discoveries with you.

My local library has a decent collection of Mandelstam's poems in translation. The Brown & Merwin (B&W) translation came highly recommended and I chose Wiman's Stolen Air because it was new (published in 2012). I honestly don't remember why I chose the McDuff, but it turned out that having all three volumes to compare and contrast was helpful. (but Goodreads makes it hard - the B&W and McDuff volumes are both listed as "different editions" of the same book. hummmm)

Both the B&W and McDuff start with the "same" poem:
The shy speechless sound
of a fruit falling from its tree,
and around it the silent music
of the forest, unbroken . . . 
The careful and hollow sound
of a fruit snapped from a tree
amidst the neverending song
of the deep forest silence . . .
I was captivated! There wasn't as much overlap across the three volumes as that first poem led me to believe. But two more examples - these both from B&W and Stolen Air - made me wish there were.

From the Voronezh notebooks, March 15, 1937
Maybe this is the beginning of madness.
Maybe it's your conscience:
a knot of life in which we are seized and known
and untied for existence. 
So in cathedrals of crystals not found on earth
the prudent spider of light
draws the ribs apart and gathers them again
into one bundle. 
And gathered together by one thin beam
the bundles of pure lines give thanks.
One day they will meet, they will assemble
like guests with the visors up, 
and her on earth, not in heaven,
as in a house filled with music,
if only we don't offend them, or frighten them away.
How good to live to see it! 
Forgive me for what I am saying.
Read it to me quietly, quietly.

Maybe madness too has making here.
Maybe conscience, knotted like a cyst,
Knowing and being known by sun and air --
Maybe life unties and we exist. 
Bring to mind the mindless spider, its care
For the pillared invisible, little crystal temple,
All air and otherness: 
As if a form could thank its maker,
As if every line of light back to one source were drawn,
As if, deep in wilderness
A raftered hall rose around the risen guests,
All pains purged from their faces . . . 
As it is on earth, Lord, not in heaven.
On earth, and in a house whose walls are song.
Even the birds, even the littlest, fearless.
O Lord, to live so long . . . 
Forgive me this, forgive what I am saying.
Whisper it, less than whisper, like someone praying.

The second example is from Tristia, one of Mandelstam's best known works; I'm not sure why McDuff didn't include it (or maybe he did and the translation is just so different, I couldn't see it!) It's four stanzas, but I'm only sharing part of the first; I think you'll get the gist:
I have studied the science of good-byes,
the bare-headed laments of night.
The waiting lengthens as the oxen chew.
In the town the last hour of the watch.
There is, I know, a science of separation
In night's disheveled elegies, stifled laments,
The clockwork oxen jaws, the tense anticipation
As the city's vigil nears its sun and end.
In their introduction, Brown & Merwin say "Reading literature in translation, in a different language, in a different culture, often means that one is reading a complete invention, distant from the original, a myth." (so true!)

and later, "By trying to bring something alien into English, we change English and broaden our own tradition. That is why reading works in translation is so important to us, why our language, since Geoffrey Chaucer, has thrived on translations, why ... every new great age of English poetry is also a great age of translation."

Wiman has included an end note, "Secret Hearing, on Translating Osip Mandelstam", in which he says "...I've been careful to call [these] versions and not translations, hoping to skip over the abyss of argument that opens underneath that distinction."

For myself, I have no desire to learn Russian in order to read the poems as Mandelstam intended. I am happy to have access to these beautiful words and images ... found in translation.

If you've read this far, thank you! Have you read Mandelstam (in translation)? is one a favorite? After today's revisit, can you guess with of the three books I intend to add to my collection?




Monday, June 12, 2017

Sometimes Mondays.



...smell wonderful.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Think Write Thursday | Summer Bucket List.


Compared with last year, there are definitely repeats (Botanical Garden, popsicles, gin cocktails) and a few notable omissions (fireworks, bike riding), but it's still full of exploring, learning and new experiences. Here's to a fun summer!

Joining in with Carole, Kat and the Think Write Thursday crew today. 


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Unraveled Wednesday | Time.

Huh, how did it get to be almost 3pm already? I guess my unraveled story today is about time.

A late-ish early morning walk with Marc, a quick walk with Holly, a delightful 90 minute FaceTime with Honoré, a most Important waxing appointment, a latté, a pedicure, another quick walk, catching up on a bunch of blog posts and a few minutes with my latest book and knitting and I guess 3pm makes sense! Only the FaceTime and the Important appointment were on my calendar. Sometimes unraveling isn't a bad thing!

The knitting is Colorwash (last seen here) and the book is The Keeper of Lost Causes (Kat's recommendation for "Set in a different country"). She told me it was one of those "you'll need to get your own dinner" books and I have to agree!

I have an hour before I need to shower (yep, "retired" life is good :-) and dress to meet my sister for #negroniweek. I wonder how many pages I can read?

Have you enjoyed any unraveled time lately?

Joining in with Kat and crew today.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Looking Back | May 2017.



Today I'm looking back at May through the lens of my daily photos. Apparently I have a thing for shadows?! It was certainly a great month to be outside, and inside, things were pretty fun too. Morning walks and runs, drinks with friends, countless games of Yahtzee, porch views, another epic knitting project, a few flowers and a handful of little boy smiles. Indeed it was a very good month.

and thanks to my mom, I have one more fun thing to share with y'all. You remember this?

The puzzle lovers in my family (a group which does not include me 😉) had a great time with it during our Memorial Day lake trip. The comments on the post where I shared an "in process" photo made my mom think one of y'all might like to give it a try.  If you'd like to have it, please let us know in the comments. We'll choose a winner and I'll mail it to you. It would be great to give this puzzle a(nother) happy home!

Happy Tuesday!


Monday, June 5, 2017

Weekending.

...ahhh, the first full weekend of summer.  I drove with a friend to North Georgia Friday afternoon to visit with another friend who just started chemotherapy (breast cancer). It was all afternoon, but the drive was pretty and the view from my friend's back deck (top center) is stunning... and she was having a good day so the visit was perfectly timed. 

Friday evening, a neighbor hosted an informal get-together (middle left) and we enjoyed the first fire pit of the summer on their back patio.

Saturday morning, I walked with Lauren (middle right); she's finally getting back on her feet after two knee surgeries. Boy have we missed our walks!

Saturday afternoon I met up with friends to knit (no photo) and then went to the visitation for the mother-in-law of a dear friend. Of course it was nice to be there for Denise (and to see her daughter who's starting vet school in Madison this fall and - finally - meet her son and husband) ... and I didn't even mind the unusually heavy traffic getting there thanks to One Hundred Years of Solitude on audible.

We saw the last of the sunshine Saturday evening (bottom middle) and I finally remembered to take a photo of the front porch pots. All the rain has done wonders for the flowers!

We woke up to rain yesterday (and it's finally ending ... there is a little blue sky outside the window as I type this). Somehow, Marc managed 16 holes of (very wet and muddy) golf while I comforted Holly and enjoyed a two hour FaceTime with Sara.

Last night's dinner was Mexican. Marc loves to make all the things for that except the guacamole. I sort of consider that a specialty of mine ... and last night's batch (bottom left) was the second one of the weekend. I also made it for Friday's get-together. Love that it's the time of year when I have everything for guacamole - two batches even! - on hand!

Marc introduced Holly to popsicles and she's a fan. I'm not sure what she likes about them (cold, wet is not at all her favorite thing), but now when Marc opens the freezer, she gets excited! 

...and just like that - it's Monday. The week is off to a fine start - I spent over an hour on FaceTime with Kat this morning and wow! I normally spend Monday morning on house chores... what a welcome change of pace!

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

Friday, June 2, 2017

Eye Candy Friday | Another Day at the Park.

Wednesday morning, Charlie and I visited Tanyard Creek Park. I'd heard the playground was nice and there's a railway trestle bridge; both sounded great for exploring ... and photos. The weather wasn't great; it rained most of Tuesday and Tuesday night and was still drizzling Wednesday morning. But it worked out fine; we had the wet playground to ourselves.

The playground features two play areas - one for big kids


and one for smaller kids. Charlie enjoyed both!



Back to the big slide.


and spinning dials.

Then back to the small side. He asked for the towel.




We played for about an hour and then spent some time walking around. We spied birds, squirrels and chipmunks. Looked at the creek. and then found a spider web. (and thankfully no spider.)

We didn't find the railway trestle ... another time I guess.

The sun finally came out when we headed back to the car. and then to lunch. Charlie asked for eggs, so we went to West Egg Café. Katie says this is one of Charlie's favorite places; I can see why! There was plenty of activity to keep him occupied while we waited for our food. And the food was plentiful and delicious. (no photos of my fried green tomatoes with pimiento cheese - but yummmmm...)
back to the iPhone for photos!
The café is in an area called "the westside", northwest of the Georgia Tech campus. Back in the 1980's when Marc and I were in school, it was a part of town you did not visit. By the time Katie was there (late 2000's), it was starting to get redeveloped. There were a few restaurants and shops and now, wow! There are lots of restaurants, shops, places to live and work, yoga and barre studios ... it's very cool. I definitely want to explore more ... but maybe with a girlfriend next time. 

Charlie started school yesterday. It's a Montessori program and seems to be more structured than the school he left in Alpharetta. We're going to give him a chance to settle in (he had a great first day) and then I can pick him up for afternoon playdates. There will definitely be more parks - and next time, I think, ice cream!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Hello June.

on today's morning walk*
Hello June,

You are right up there in my top favorite months because you are all the best parts of summer.

The smells of freshly cut grass, magnolias and gardenias.

The sights of sunrises on our morning walks and late evening sunshine on the porch and the glorious riot of colorful blooms.

The sounds of birdsongs, whirring fans and ice tinkling in glasses.

The feel of warm sunshine on bare arms and legs and of grass under bare feet.

The taste of fresh tomatoes and basil, peaches and watermelon.

You are truly a treat for all five senses.

Let's enjoy it, shall we?

xo - M.

Joining in with Carole, Kat and the Think Write Thursday folks today. What are you saying "hello" to this month?
the full inspiration for mere-et-filles' summer style (from Tuesday)
*I shared a similar photo for last month's Hello post. What a difference a month makes in terms of morning light! Our sunrise this morning was 6:26 am and pretty much perfect timing for when we arrived at the lake.