Sunday, July 30, 2017

Sunday, July 30: Top. Ten. Day!

Truly, it's the kind of day to store up against a February or March sneezing, flat, nasty stretch of gloom and rawness. Blue, gold, green, breeziness. Wow. Can't think of a better day to go watch "The Tempest" on the lawn of the Saltair Inn in Bar Harbor. Ahhhhhhh.

And I am near to the final bind-off for my alpaca shawl project, and I am thinking I might take a risky step and change the pattern for a more elegant finish: instead of the garter stitch stop, I'd like to add an eyelet row before I bind off so that the top mirrors the sides. I've found a tutorial:

 and her basic product matches my basic idea, so that's a step in the right direction

For me, inveterate rule-follower, this is a Very Big Deal. More to come. My goal is to be done by July 31, though the blocking may not happen till later, since I need to borrow blocking wires.

Here's a link to my ravelry page with my pattern info and musings on it.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Saturday, July 29: Work in the morning, loll in the afternoon

It is a lovely July afternoon!  Some pictures from past lovely days (it also rained on Wed. night into Thursday, which was a real gift.) of the cats enjoying the weather:

A and I headed out early this am for a work day at church, and spent four hours working on the garden/yard/outside. It was nice communal work--for me, the kind of gardening of a hugely-overgrown-but-potentially-lovely garden that can be completely overwhelming if you don't have a really good group of people behind you--which we did, and so the garden has improved immensely. Lots of witch grass, overgrown phlox, widely spreading lamb's ears, and happy irises that were nevertheless in need of a spa treatment and relocation all got dug up--satisfying but hard and dirty labor.

Then the ladies gave us lunch, we did about another 1/2 hour of planting, a few errands downtown, and then jumped in the lake for a cool-down/clean off (though I am realizing I will need a real shower: the combo of dirt, sunscreen, sweat, and bug spray is a bit more resistant than mere lake water can handle).

Soon I want to break out my shawl as I am in danger of not meeting my "done by July" deadline, and I will plug into an audibook--probably A Useful Woman so I can finish it off and give the reader the low rating she deserves.

This past week featured a great hike with Cathi G--here are some pictures to commemorate our Acadia/St. Saveur hike!

a fun evening/book lecture/dinner out with Heather, and the victorious completion of prepping L's room for V's arrival. (Picture to follow, probably!) I'm also, once again, stunned by how wonderful small town living is: N is working full-time at Flexit with good people, many of whom he went to high school with, greeted by (and hired by, actually) many people who've watched him grow up, meeting other new people he really likes too. We are lucky.

And I am going to change out of my damp bathing suit and get my audiobook and my knitting. Here's my setting. How lucky am I?

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tuesday, July 25: Just Read This One

Belgian Waffling. .  . she just about nails my summer, but she is far, far funnier than I could ever hope to be! This post is especially on target.

Yesterday rained! YAY! And we remembered a meeting we had to go to, and it turned out to be a very important one. Good for us.

Today is mixed sun/clouds and cool. The road guys are actually addressing the washed out road that occurred last month. I did two hours of school work in the am (earning my time off), plan to go for a rehab jog/walk/jog and then tackle the room that will be our AFS boy's. Much stuff there that L has generously said, "You can just put it in a box." Challenge #1. But I do know what we're having for dinner!

Sourdough bread/avocado/provolone/neighbor's lettuce/tomato/bacon sandwiches. Probably ice cream for dessert. 6:30 pm here we come!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Sunday, July 23: Slightly out of focus!

A sense of our lake. . .

A lovely weekend: Lyle up for three days of river/lake floating with friends, Nate off enjoying his time with Ben, A and I down for the twins' b'day and a wonderful visit with various of his relatives whom we haven't seen for . . . 10 years to 1 year! 

Today A and I swam the lake for 45 minutes after a nice church service: I used my "Sporti Safety Buoy" (close to the item in the link) for the first time, and it was perfect, providing just the right blend of security, visibility, and freedom that my open-water swims have needed. We came home, and I ate lunch and zipped through a wonderful book, Ms. Bixby's Last Day, by John David Anderson, and I am just about to go downtown to see Ursa Beckford's senior movie project (wrong showing, but topic is same)--what a great day! 

Friday, July 21, 2017

July 21: Friday! Already?

Another hot, hot, hot day: we got up and went out to breakfast prior to Nate's trip to Littleton MA to see his friend Ben, and then I started working on stuff, and basically didn't stop till after dinner. Well, I did stop for a WONDERFUL half hour swim/loll in the river--heaven! Yesterday Andy, Nate and I had a river time: we took the kayak, the paddle board, and a lifejacket down and spent two splashy hours falling off, paddling, floating, hitch-hiking, fishing (Andy, in life jacket and flippers. He loved it!). . . . We are so lucky to be so close to the river!

And today I made the Thai rainbow noodle sesame salad, which was delicious--I doubled the dressing recipe, just in case, and we used some of the extra, but we have more zesty goodness for future salads. I subbed in a few items, but overall, it is a keeper, and maybe a potluck special. So that's one item off my to do list!

Tomorrow A and I drive downstate to his twin nieces' b'day gathering. I will knit on my shawl at least en route down--probably have to drive on the way back, and I haven't cracked knitting and driving yet. Probably not safe!

I did wash my linen/cotton blend for a potential dress, but it was too darn hot and I was really too busy with b'fast out--bank--post office--library--bread--food shopping--four loads of laundry--salad dressing--tons of salad chopping--making iced tea--making dessert (these, with berries instead of icing). . . . to actually fulfill my dream of sewing today. Sunday, maybe. We'll see.

Lyle is here for his annual day of floating down the river with Sam--what a great day they picked! They both got a bit burned (he's 24. I offered sunscreen. . . ) but had a terrific time. A and L are now watching "Kong." I'm in my study and about to do my toe nails after a week of thinking I should!

Onwards into the summer.

Here's how hot it was: cat pictures.

Oh, they're downstairs, so they'll wait. Let's settle for a dessert picture:

Thursday, July 20, 2017

July 20, 2017: Well, hello!

Hard to wrap my head around the passage of time since my last post! Today is a hot, still, humid, sunny day, and Andrew, Nate and I are planning a "float on the river" day once we get our acts in gear, and deal with the fact that there is very little food in the house but also very little motivation to do anything in particular about it. The half and half (I have just realized what a weird title that is--it always makes me think of my grandparents, for whom we would buy it specially when they visited) is nearly gone, so I, at least, am hyper-focused on the need to get to the store before 7 am-ish tomorrow. Some fruit would be nice as well.

So: I am a month into summer vacation. As usual, I have not been as focused or productive as I'd hoped: have not finished the shawl I'm knitting, have not finished or started any sewing projects, have not finalized any of my writing pieces nor completed my summer teaching prep tasks. I feel that I've spent a lot of my summer imitating Katniss:

or the deer who's starting coming around to our smorgasbord--errr, garden: 

(look closely. She's there, digesting.)

However, much good has unfolded:

I had an excellent (mostly-train-based) trip to CT to see Julie and her family and then to PA to see my mom's family down there. I was gone from June 23 to July 1, did a lot of visiting, saw this wonderful adaptation of Pride and Prejudice AND watched "Wonder Woman" as well, met several new baby and spousal additions to the PA family, knitted, read, and listened to audiobooks, and generally had a great adventure to kick off my summer.

Nate came home from France/Russia (6 months and 6 weeks, respectively)! He also turned 21 in short order, and we had a double celebration last weekend with a lunch in Windham with family on Saturday and a lawn party/Game of Thrones season opener party for his friends on Sunday. Camnesia was widespread, but I did take these stealth photos of the friend gang playing Kubb before dinner:

So. Now I am bugging him to get money-making jobs doing yardwork and / or catering support. . . . so clearly he's enjoying his vacation. :)

I have also read a lot (I may insert a pic of my books-read-to-date from Goodreads), slept a lot (I do think I would like to sleep from 10 pm to 7 am every single night of my life: life goal), had a fun "staycation" day with Andy and a lovely anniversary dinner at the Crocker House to celebrate 28!!!! years together, hiked Bernard Mt. and swum at Echo Lake with Cathi, picked strawberries with Lyn and Heather and made jam, watched several good movies at the Grand ("A Man Called Ove," and "A United Kingdom" to date; plan to see two more next week), gotten good exercise, and done a bit of knitting nearly every day, often while watching the Sox: my rule is that if I'm watching TV, I need to be knitting. I've done some school stuff, switched the ownership of this blog over to my personal gmail account (I think) and helped demonstrate in favor of the ACA on Tuesday. . . . . 

Here are some plans/hopes/ideas/goals for the future: 

1. finish and block the shawl by the end of July. 
2. start the body of my knock-off J. Crew sweater by Aug. 1. 
3. have at least one beach day in July and another in Aug. with our boy.  
4. make some good new dinner recipes. I have this book and this idea
6. finish and submit the family food memory piece for Zest. 
7. fix up Lyle's room for our incoming AFS student: paint the door, tidy up. 
8. start doing four hours of school stuff Tues, Wed, Thurs.
10. finish reading The Book of Joy

That's enough to be going on with, yes? 

I also want to organize an activities jar for when our boy arrives. So far I think we'd include: 
--trip to the water park
--beach day
--cooking adventure
--road trip up to Jasper Beach in Machias
--real-deal kayaking trip
--trip to Portland (he wants to get an iphone)
--hike up Cadillac (maybe the South Ridge as I haven't done that one)
--something oceany like a boat trip to the Cranberries or to Swan's? 
--breakfast out. . . 

Amazing: the list is not simply made up of eating activities! Progress!

Okay. I think I will save this fascinating entry and begin to do some basic stuff: laundry and cleaning up the kitchen. First steps first, after all! 

Feb. 27, Monday: Ways to Make Yourself Crazy, GUARANTEED.

First of all, look how we've glommed onto the word/concept "hygge", part of which, I think, means not really trying very hard to be comfortable and cozy. And now we're trying really hard to get that!

So open your mind to the infernal crazy-making options of even opening this post: Look at the list of books: not stories that make us feel cozy or take us to an ordered, reassuring universe, but books designed to make us focus, be "zen", etc.

Then click on this one:
"A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart is a celebration of remote togetherness, of the routines and rituals that shape our days. It’s a meditation on the kind of connection, remembrance and impermanence that characterize hygge. In photographs that spontaneously share an uncontrived visual language, the two friends and photographers pause and to notice and appreciate details of everyday life in the morning hours before the day begins. Humble and full of quiet vitality and generosity, this book is now echoed by so many blogs and Instagram posts that have appeared in the years that followed its publication.
Their new book, A Year Between Friends has just been published."

Really? REALLY? I can't even consider the mind-blowingly intimidating aspect of reading a book full of one picture for each morning: how are they "spontaneous" and "uncontrived" if the photographers set out to take them and then choose to share them? I laugh when I think about a book of actual moments taken by, say, an automated camera set unforgivingly in my kitchen, set to go off at 5:30 am during school and 7:30 am during the summer. . . . No flowers here, baby. 

And, lastly, read this description of the woman who came up with this whole post: . . . . "was born in Uganda to a Danish mother and English father. Louisa is a mother of four, an amateur naturalist and wild swimmer. She has been a radio restaurant and arts critic and a tribal bellydance teacher. Louisa is interested in the overlooked details of ordinary lives, liminal places, community and craft. She writes about the art of living, the nature of things, our common life and the rhythms and rituals that unite and define us all."

How nice. Can I get that job, too?