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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Watercolor Wednesday | Morning to Night.

...sunrise to sunset. Today we had them both, beautifully.
I snapped this first shot on my early walk with Holly. at 7:50 a.m. I remember thinking how weird it was to see "sunrise" at ny 8 a.m. I also remember thinking it was too bad I was running late for yoga and I wouldn't have time to post it to Instagram (nope, even with #nofilter!)
I left yoga just after 9:30 and the weather had changed. It was wet and about 10 degrees cooler. Great weather for grocery shopping. I went to Whole Foods, Costco and Kroger and made it home before 11:30. Time to unload, walk Holly and have one last cup of coffee before I had to get ready for class. Fast forward through knitting class (by the way, I'm now 16+ hours into Outlander #3. loving it!) and then a very fun wine and knitting Wednsday. My turn to host, and Penny is visiting from Birmingham and she dropped in. As did Becca and Virginia (along with Karen and Katie...and Charlie). Loved that they all got to meet Charlie (and agree with me that he's the sweetest baby ever and that his mama looks great) ... and then Marc came home and he had a great time with Charlie, too. His first time seeing Charlie (in real life :-) with his eyes open.
Katie left a little early and Karen helped them to the car; she came back to say the sunset was amazing. And of course she was right.
The girls all stayed a little longer. We shared WIPs and swatches (and thoughts about next projects) and then everyone packed up. It was all over well before 8...and long before the first run in that last World Series game.

Marc's gone to bed and now it's just me...and seven more innings to play. (Marc and Karen are cheering for Kansas City, but me...Giants all the way!)


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ten on Tuesday | Feeling Good.

...Carole's suggested topic this week is things that we're feeling good about. That should be easy (provided we don't linger too long on those scary numbers I shared on Friday) and I'm not even gonna make this ten photos of Charlie!

1. But I will share one. This is from Sunday. I feel good that I can see Charlie and his mama nearly every day. (and oh my, that little curl on the top of his head!)

2. Inspired in large part by Dinner: A Love Story, I haven't had popcorn for dinner in days. Friday night wasn't going to be anything special, but turned out I had all the ingredients for a roasted shrimp caesar salad. (and there was enough leftover for my dinner last night).

3. Loving my exercise routine right now. It's a mix of running and long walks (with a friend and/or Holly), yoga and pilates. Saturday morning was just me and Holly (and Wonder Boys on Audible) for a four mile walk. It was also nice that Georgia Tech beat Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon...I'm sure because Holly had her spirit wear on!

4. Getting Sara's birthday package mailed off on time (this is the first year I've had to mail presents.)

5. Holiday knitting plans. Yes, I know it's not even November yet (so remind me I wrote this on October 28) and maybe too soon to have any sort of confidence. But I've scaled things WAY back this year. Hopefully I won't be madly finishing on Christmas Eve.

6. 35 more hours to go on Voyager (aka Outlander #3) on Audible. I started it late Sunday and oh my, it's good! It also means I'm making lots of time for needlepoint and knitting!

7. This is my Lindsay coat, blocking. I promised to have it finished by November 3. Once it's dry (and it almost is) I have to seam the sleeves, pickup and knit the collar, and knit on the cuffs. I think it's really doable. I might even be able to wear it this weekend?

8. That extra hour Sunday morning. Seems like my Sunday mornings are always rushed so it will be nice to slow down a bit.

9. My Halloween plans. Just like last year (even down to the snack I plan to share), except that I have a very fun fascinator to wear instead of a witch's hat. (stay tuned for a photo!)

10. A good balance between blogging and Instagram. Also, my new daily photo routine. I stopped the FMS prompts this month and I've found myself taking more photos, not less! I've also not felt compelled to share every day on Instagram and I think that's been nice for the blog. to be continued, for sure!

Now it's your turn - what are you feeling good about these days?
click here to join the Ten on Tuesday fun!

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Friday, October 24, 2014


...please forgive me. I think a few of these numbers are gonna be tough. I apologize in advance!

One of the things my sister and I discussed at some length on Wednesday was the Thanksgiving social calendar. My parents are visiting (as they do) and we wanted to be sure we provided ample opportunity for seeing children, grandchildren, and great grandchild...and football and cocktails and holiday meals... and I do vaguely recall she threw out a crazy "four" number.

but it didn't really hit home until I was at my hairdresser yesterday. needing to reschedule my every-five-weeks-without-fail appointment that would fall on Thanksgiving. yep, my folks will be here in just four weeks. and we'll be having our first of many get togethers at my sister's four weeks from today.

then Katie and I talked a bit yesterday about holiday plans and I realized then that Christmas was exactly four weeks after Thanksgiving. that's actually really great news for those of us who have live trees. it's a really short advent season.

this morning I noted those things in my journal ... and it hit me. that means it's going to be 2015 in only 4 + 5 + 1 = 10 weeks. yikes!!!

ok, the scary part is over.

now I have photos of a nearly six week old (tomorrow!) little boy to share. I visited last night for dinner and bath time and Katie was nice enough to take a few photos of play time. He's learning to smile (practicing to be a charmer is what I think) and loves the ceiling fan. and books. and close up faces. six weeks.





Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Watercolor Wednesday | Wine & Knitting.

...I was sure I must've blogged about this at some point, but I just did a quick search and didn't find it. Maybe it was all just for "wordless" Wednesday?

In any event, my sister and I have been meeting every Wednesday evening for years. We open a bottle of wine, fix a light snack (popcorn is a sure favorite, but if Katie joins us we can manage a full vegetable plate and hummus) ... and knit... and talk. Until the wine or the talk runs out (the wine nearly always wins that race).

I get choked up just typing this when I think about the joys and tears we've shared over all that time. It was a highlight of my mama-life when Katie started to join us last fall. Chalk up another one for knitting (and for wine!) - it's cross-generational.

We mostly rotate houses. This week was Karen's turn to host (which meant just two of us - Katie isn't venturing out that far this late in the day with Charlie just yet). Karen's the green thumb in our generation and I love the view onto her deck with pots full of living things! She opened a delicious grenache/syrah/mourvedre blend. and popped corn. and we talked. about everything. and about nothing. Really...the stuff of life and especially (these days for all three of us!) motherhood.

Special, treasured times. for which I am beyond grateful. xo!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Embracing Fall.

...way back in September, many of my Ten on Tuesday friends wrote lists about getting ready for fall. I mostly wrote about enjoying a new baby, and being grateful I didn't need to think about fall just then. Fast forward to October 1 and I started to think about it. And finally, this past weekend, I embraced it. Full on.

I spent Friday re-working the containers on my front porch. Gone are the tired lantana, deer-chewed sweet potato vine and faded petunias (also gone is the dead sky pencil holly!)

Now we have living sky pencil holly, pansies, creeping jenny, dianthus and compact loropetalum (that the Lowe's gardener promises I can get to "weep" over the sides of the pots with careful pruning).

There's a welcoming wreath on the front door.

Inside, there are apples and pears, pinecones and a few candles adding a spicy scent.

(I still need candles for the dining room table).

Holiday menu planning is in full swing, too, inspired in large part by this ad that I stumbled across on Sunday.

Katie just gifted me that Sunday Suppers cookbook* so I have all the recipes. (thanks to a bit of on-line sale shopping, I have some pretty new table linens coming, too!)

It even feels like fall now, too. Low temperatures in the 40's and high's in the 60's. Our bright blue skies are back this week and it's sweater weather! I just need to find a pumpkin or two and we're set! How about you? What are you loving about Fall?

*oh my, it's gorgeous! beautifully styled and the food looks delicious! She also gave me Dinner: A Love Story. Coming soon - an update on cooking inspiration!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Watercolor Wednesday | Sunset (promised).

...I think I jinxed us when I shared that poem last week about "bright blue skies". yeah, since then we've had rain, thunder, lightening and tornados. but mostly rain. and lots of gray skies. finally this afternoon the sky cleared and promised a beauty of a sunset

just before I had to leave for bookclub*. As I drove I watched the sky darken and the clouds turn to a luminous pink. I barely caught the last glimpse of that promised sunset once I arrived.

*the book was A Prayer for Owen Meany, one of my all-time favorites from last summer. I had volunteered months ago to lead the discussion and I did my homework this morning to prep, but whoa. The group came through big. We talked about the book (one thing I love about church bookclub is that we do talk about the book!) for over an hour and I think everyone left with a renewed appreciation for both John Irving and Owen Meany. This was my first meeting with the group since January when I read (and was charmed by) a book about Downton Abbey. I was happy to re-connect. This group definitely expands my horizons (it's a goal to read many different genres, including non-fiction - not my favorite) but I haven't always followed through on the reading. It's a church bookclub; you're almost encouraged to show up especially if you haven't read the book! We vote on our 2015 reading list in December. Stay tuned.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ten on Tuesday | Weekending.

...this week Carole's asked us to share about our weekends. It wasn't a holiday for either of us yesterday (although school was out so we had a holiday from traffic which was pretty sweet), and today is a dreary rainy Tuesday. The weekend already seems like a long time ago, but here are the top ten things I remember:

  1. Friday night was our usual pizza and wine and we watched Monuments Men. We both enjoyed the movie; it's a great story with a really fun cast, including George Clooney, Matt Damon and Bill Murray.
  2. Saturday morning I went for a solo run, my first in many weeks. The early morning rain left signs of fall on the sidewalk
  3. I met Virginia for coffee and knitting and a nice long catch-up.
  4. Then we toured the soon-to-open Whole Foods Market (it opens today). This store is five miles from my house; I expect I'll be a frequent visitor! Can't wait to try the cappucino or the wine & tapas bar that overlooks the store (there's also a cooking school up there).
  5. Marc and I ate turkey sandwiches (on a fresh whole wheat of several delicious takeaways from the Whole Foods tour... I guess I should add I'm excited about the food there, too!) for dinner and watched the last two episodes of Masters of Sex Season 2. We really enjoyed the first season, but wow, the second was so much better.
  6. (this is where I might include something about football...but I don't really want to remember anything about football from this weekend).
  7. Sunday morning's service centered around Family Promise, the homeless ministry we joined in 2012. Once a quarter, we host a few families (typically mothers and children) for a week. One of the women who was part of the program and has now been in permanent housing for nearly a year spoke; it was quite moving to hear her story. Did y'all know that the average age of a homeless person in the US is nine? It's scary and sad.
  8. Sunday afternoon it stormed; the golf course closed for lightning, so Marc was home (that's weird on a weekend afternoon!) I spent the afternoon stitching and knitting and listening to back episodes of The Readers (my latest favorite podcast about books and reading).
  9. The rain subsided for a bit - see? blue sky! Holly and I went for a walk, which was really just an excuse for me to start listening to Sense of an Ending.
  10. Happy to report that - although we did watch TV (all caught up now for the series finale of Boardwalk Empire) while we ate - Sunday dinner was a homecooked hot meal! Shrimp and grits...and it was tasty!

And that's it. Nothing too exciting (but then again, that's pretty normal!) How about you, did you do anything exciting this weekend?

one last look...from Sunday's walk


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Monday, October 13, 2014

Book Bingo | The End.

...way back in July (three months ago??!) I posted a mid-summer update on Book Bingo. At that point, I had four books to go to cover my card. I finished up the last book on August 23. Those last four books were:

Life After Life. recommended by Carole, a librarian.  5 stars. I love love loved this book. I can still hear "Snow...." in my head, evoking that night in February 1910 when Ursula begins and re-begins her life. It's sparked some interesting discussion with a few close friends, but I'm hesitant to suggest it for a full-on book club discussion. Maybe in a few months when the points aren't quite so close to my heart.

Liar's Club. found in a used book store (by Sara). I'd intended this to be my "by an author who shares my first name" selection, but Liar's Club seemed a better pick (and I had time to find another Mary). I did enjoy the book. Parts of it were tough, but not in an "I can't finish this" way. We lived in Groves, Texas (where much of the book is set) during the sixties and my memories are child-like. I left the book with my mom and dad, who have much clearer - and likely much harder - memories of that time and place... I do hope they read it so I can learn more about that time from their perspective.

Rebecca. the re-read. and oh my what a good one this was! Actually, I listened...but I think that made it even more dramatic. (also, I couldn't so easily flip to those last few pages to remind myself how it ended!) I still haven't watched the movie. but I will. I think I'm gonna need a sleepover pal or two, though (this is definitely not one that I want to watch with Marc!)

The Proposal. by Mary Balogh, an author who shares my first name. A pretty delightful romance. and a nice palate-cleanser. I might even track down another (this was #1 in the series)... but no time soon!

24 books = 12 bingos. (not that anyone's counting!)

Three other readers also completed the challenge:

- Bonny also covered her card (24 books and 12 bingos). She also had a great summer of reading - mostly.
- Carole played two cards; she read 18 books and scored three bingos. She piggy-backed the whole bingo idea for her library's summer reading program. How cool!
- Kym read 18 books and scored four bingos...and emailed me a photo of her finished card.

And I know many more of you played along. We read more, especially outside our typical comfort zone; we found new favorites; we surprised ourselves.  I'm calling it a huge success!

As promised, there's a prize. Given the odds it's probably not hard to guess the winner!

Congratulations, Bonny! (there's a little something coming to your in-box tomorrow).

And thank you everyone! This year has been a great reading one for me and I'm looking forward to expanding my horizons and stepping outside my comfort zone even more in the coming months. Stay tuned. I'm still getting my thoughts together... so this really isn't "the end" of reading, just of Summer 2014 Bingo!

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Five on Friday | Reading Time.

...I visited Katie & Charlie yesterday afternoon to help with bathtime. Lucky me, before that, was reading time. As much as I loved that naptime "quiet" a few weeks back, this is my new favorite pastime. and I'm incredibly grateful to Katie for these five photos!

p.s. the book was Brown Bear Brown Bear (followed by The Little Blue Truck). I just ordered a few more board books (they'll be here Sunday :-), including Dr Seuss' One Fish Two Fish. I can't wait to see the expressions on his face when I read that one!

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Watercolor Wednesday | Bright Blue Weather.

from Saturday morning's walk to the lake with Holly

My dad shared this poem with me last week. It was new to me, but he said he remembered learning it in grade school. He grew up in southern Alabama where the seasons don't change nearly as noticeably as they do here in Atlanta. I'm guessing it must've been hard for those kids to imagine what "bright blue weather" was like when it was still hot (and most likely humid). But he went to college here and those falls might've been his first real taste of what October is all about! (well, bright blue weather and college football!)

October’s Bright Blue Weather

O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October’s bright blue weather;

When loud the bumble-bee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,
And Golden-Rod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When Gentians roll their fringes tight
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields, still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks,
In idle golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October’s bright blue weather.

O suns and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October’s bright blue weather.

~ Helen Hunt Jackson


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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Ten on Tuesday | Nothing Scary.

this photo has nothing to do with scary books...but that double chin makes me smile!

...Carole's topic this week is "ten favorite thriller/suspense books." I don't like to be scared by what I read (or watch). I've never read any Stephen King (but his 11/23/63 is on my to read shelf) and I didn't think I had much to contribute...until I read Carole's and then Margene's posts and saw Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca - a 5-star re-read from this past summer - on both. hummm... maybe this genre is something I've read...and even enjoyed!

I couldn't come up with ten favorites, but I did come up with six. And four more I want to read. Maybe by this time next year I really will have ten!

  1. Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier.
  2. Shadow of the Wind, by Carols Ruiz Zafon (I didn't think this was suspense, but Goodreads does...and I LOVED this book!)
  3. Inferno, by Dan Brown. My favorite Robert Langdon to date, I'm sure because I was planning a trip to Florence when I read it...but still.
  4. The Bourne Identity, by Robert Ludlum. I read this way back in the summer of 1983 (which sticks in my mind because that was the summer after I graduated college; I commuted to my job downtown on the bus and I had a lot of time to read!); it seemed smart and well-plotted, but not scary.
  5. The Charm School, by Nelson DeMille. I'm sure it's been more than twenty years since I read this, but it still stands out as my favorite of a child of the cold war years it was spooky to think about all those Soviets living among us!
  6. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, by Agatha Christie. I'm not sure this really counts in the genre, but Goodreads did have Christie's And Then There Were None on the list. And this one was my first encounter with the unreliable narrator. Of course even that couldn't deter Hercule Poirot for too long!

...and on my to-read list, four more:

  1. Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith. I haven't read anything by JK Rowling since I finished the Harry Potter series. I loved that enough to want to read more of what she's written.
  2. 11/23/63, by Stephen King. This would be my first Stephen King and I love time travel stories.
  3. Secret History, by Donna Tartt. This one sounds a little scary (is it?) but everyone says it's sooooo goood!
  4. The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell. It's already sitting on my Audible shelf...but I've heard it's scary, too (it was described as a nightmare - yikes!) Oh well, I'm just going to have to wait until Marc is home for a few weeks and then dive in.

I look forward to reading everyone's lists...and fine-tuning that to-read shelf!




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Monday, October 6, 2014

Weekending.'s got to be a good one when it starts out like this, right? #sunset #nofilter showed up throughout my Instagram feed Friday evening and they were all just as spectacular!

But I still haven't worn a new sweater. We did have sweater-chilly weather all weekend, but I stayed in gym clothes on Saturday (morning walk, pilates and then an afternoon walk and by the time I showered... well, you know) and I dressed up a bit for church yesterday. Hopefully soon. It's unusual for me to have something waiting since I nearly always knit for the season.

In addition to those walks, there was plenty of football...which meant plenty of knitting (and needlepointing!!) and now my Lindsay coat is even closer to the armhole shaping. I gave myself an October 31 deadline to finish and I'm feeling pretty good about that right now.

This was late Saturday night; the piece is almost 12" now!

I finished watching Outlander. whoa they chose a cliffhanger to end on, didn't they? Makes me want to continue reading the books (I heard from everyone that the second book was slow and "least favorite" of the whole series, so I didn't pursue it. Instead, I read the wikipedia plot summary and now I'm ready to start book 3!)

Also, I started listening to The Elegance of the Hedgehog. My sister really enjoyed it and I know Margene did, too. This was previously on my "not gonna finish" shelf and I have to say...listening to this one is much better. There are two narrators and I think they've nailed the voices. Bits of it have even been laugh out loud funny.

There was also Charlie time - this is from Friday afternoon.

He was three weeks old on Saturday. I can't believe how much he's changed already!

Hope y'all had weekends full of good things, too. Did anyone eat pumpkin or put out mums? That's on my list for next weekend!

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Friday, October 3, 2014

Looking Back | September.

...a quick look back at the month of September through the lens of my daily photos (again, and maybe for the last time*, with fatmumslim's daily prompts).

September was the Charlie show, with a little bit of knitting thrown in. He arrived late on Saturday the 13th (maybe it is surprising I only included him four times?!) I have seen him almost every day, but I haven't taken photos every day and really, some days the prompts just weren't newborn-friendly.
I did manage nine knitting photos, including two FOs (Ravello and Mix No 34), one swatch (Amanda, which I don't think I've talked about here yet) and six WIPs (Charlie's blanket - since finished, Wheaten - since frogged, Mix No 34 - since finished, Hudson - since finished, Amanda and Lindsay).
Two photos (Saturday the 5th and Tuesday the 9th) were from morning walks with Katie. We walked a few miles nearly every day leading up to Charlie's arrival. Good stuff.
Two photos were from evening walks with Holly and one from a morning run on September 11.
I cooked! That frittata with fruit was our lunch last Tuesday. We have been doing better about #nosnacksfordinner, but mostly that means pizza or a salad or a rotisserie chicken from the store. I really am hoping to get into the kitchen more this month (does anyone have good slow cooker recipes that don't use beans?)
All the other photos were taken at home (mine or Katie's), mostly inside and mostly late in the day.
For once, though, I'm ok with that - it feels like this collage really does capture what September was. Even that blurry black and white from last Friday evening - that's the Wedding episode from Outlander, which I watched three times (twice that night :-)
You already know I have great plans for October. And now those plans also include better phone photos. My new iPhone 6 arrived yesterday and I think it's gonna be a game-changer for me. The main reason I upgraded was for the camera. I'm excited to see what it can do!
...*so I've decided to let go of the daily prompts and just let the photos flow.


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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Watercolor Wednesday | Hello October. finally seems right to order a Pumpkin Spice Latte and to be madly knitting a sweater I can only wear when the temperature drops below 50 degrees. and maybe...just start thinking about the holidays...knitting and menus and a younger daughter with two plane tickets to Atlanta and birthdays and family get-togethers and a little one who might need a 3-6 month sized sweater by Christmas.

I haven't been this glad to see a new month in a long time! hope y'all are looking forward to something good this month, too!

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