Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Hello from New York!

Well hi there, it's been a while!
leaving Madison, Sept 16
If you follow me on Instagram, you know we arrived safely last Monday and have since made Sara's apartment into a home.
last Monday evening 
Friday afternoon
We've also had time to explore - a play on Thursday, local restaurants, the 9/11 memorial and Central Park.
dinner out after the play, Thursday evening
9/11 Memorial, Saturday morning
view of the Upper West Side from Central Park, Thursday morning
Her neighborhood on the Upper East Side is great - lots to do, family friendly (the mama part of me feels like she's safe) and easy access to the rest of the city thanks to the brand new 2nd Avenue subway (which will - hopefully - be the site of an FO photo shoot later this morning).
neighborhood wine bar, Sunday afternoon (we've since completed the puzzle!)
Sara has a good friend here (about ten blocks away) and two more friends visited for the weekend. It feels like she's in a place (and the mama part of me feels especially good about that!)
hosting friends, Friday evening
We had one more lunch out yesterday and I got to see the friend's apartment and meet her dog.

Sara and Cody
Today Sara and I are taking the train to New Haven. My mother-in-law passed away on Saturday and the funeral is there tomorrow. The whole family (including the two great grandsons) is coming; it's going to be a wonderful celebration of her life and legacy. I won't be home until Sunday, and don't expect to be back here until next week. I do hope to share bits and pieces on Instagram before then.

As always, thank for you for reading and being part of my story. xoxo, M.

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

Weekending.

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!). 

Socks.

Cupcakes.
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.

...is 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 that...it'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!