Giving Thanks


It's that time of year . . . when we focus, especially, on things we're thankful for.  

Snowy hydrangea

Now, I'm always thankful for the things you'd imagine I'd be thankful for . . . 





But . . . today Carole asks us . . . what are we thankful for RIGHT NOW.


Here are the things I'm thankful for - stream-of-consciousness-style . . . right now:

  1. That the snow happened last weekend.  Not this weekend.  (Because I want my kids and my parents to be able to travel to my house safely and without weather-hassles this Thanksgiving.)
  2. That I've already done my Thanksgiving shopping.  (Except for the turkey.  I'm hoping Tom will pick that up on his way home today.)
  3. That I enjoy the right to vote.  (Yeah.  I saw Suffragette this weekend.)  (Go see it.)  (You'll thank a Suffragette.)
  4. That my kids love me and turn to me for support.  (Even though they're grown and on their own.)
  5. That I do not have to take the GRE again.  Ever.  In my whole life.  (Because I did that once and it was miserable.)
  6. Wine sales.  (Because stocking up is a good thing.)
  7. Music . . . 
  8. and Humor.  (And especially when they intersect, like . . . here.)
  9. My dogs . . . having them, playing with them, hanging out with them.
  10. Plenty.  Because no matter how you slice it, that's what I've got.

How about YOU?  What are you thankful for . . . right now?


Join the fun!  See what everyone else has to say today here.


Awesome! YUM! Fabulous!


Yesterday, I pulled out my Thanksgiving recipes and cookbooks so I could make my shopping list.  (The menu itself is easy.  It hasn't changed in over 20 years!)


I love the "history" there on the pages.

The drips.

The stains.

The fact that the book opens up RIGHT to the dressing page (even without the bookmark ribbon).

Which got me thinking.  I really USE some of my cookbooks.


I pack them with random bookmarks . . . 


so I can remember the recipes I really liked - or want to try.


Often, the binding just doesn't hold up to my use!


I also write notes on the pages . . .


To note our reactions.


Or to make notes for future attempts.


And to note changes if the recipe is to be salvaged.


I've even got Tom in the habit now!  (This is his turkey "procedural.")


Sometimes I even create a little mini-table of contents inside the front cover -- for my special favorites that might be hard to find quickly.


And sometimes . . . I discover (later) that I've created some "artwork" on the pages of my most used cookbooks.


I own a lot of cookbooks - and (thanks to my recent KonMari-ing), I find joy in all of them.

Some, though?  They're USED and LOVED a whole lot more than others!

Sundays are for Poetry



We stand shivering at the door,
terrified and panicked
that we have lost the key.
We waste lifetimes
in the waiting
because in the haze,
the painted fog
our fear,
we forget
to check the handle
and disover
it has never been locked
at all.

            --- Tyler Knott Gregson
                 chasers of the light: poems from the typewriter series

Good Thing I'm Not Being Graded


As I've mentioned in previous posts, I've been taking an art class this fall at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art. I've discovered that I really like to draw (who knew?) and I especially like working with colored pencils.  (I also really like my current instructor -- and would take nearly any class she might teach in the future.)

Anyway.  Today is my last class in this session -- and to celebrate, we're having a show-your-work/critique session  - with wine and treats.  I'm not nearly as intimidated by this (the showing and critiquing; not the wine) as I once was.  

I'm not really ready, though . . . it turns out - when it comes to art - I'm really slow.

(And busy.)

Finished or not . . . here's what I have to "show" today:


This is my flower.  I worked on it for weeks (I think I showed it in an earlier iteration here on the blog, some time ago.)  Not happy with the background, but - really . . . I needed to move on.


This one is actually finished.  (Watercolor pencils; how I love them!)  I like this one quite a lot, and I'm inspired to do more -- in a "series."  (Someday.  When I finish some of my other pieces.)


JoJo.  This one is off to a good beginning (as in, hasn't been tossed in the trash yet), but not even close to being finished.


And this is a brown trout.  In the water.  I've been working on it for weeks.  (This one WAS in the trash for a while, but Tom convinced me to keep going.  And my instructor encouraged me to keep going.  So I am.)  Again.  Not close to finished.

I work very, very slowly. 

Good thing I'm not being graded!

(At least I finished baking my treat-contribution to the class party.)

P'update: Hound of the Baskervilles


JoJo and Tom like to play fetch games every evening -- either frisbee or ball.  It's gotten really hard now, though, with the dark coming earlier and earlier.

Until today!

I picked this up at our pet supply store . . . 


a ball that lights up and glows! 

Seemed ideal, but I had my doubts.  Would it work?  Would JoJo freak out?  (She's a bit of a 'fraidy-dog.)

But, no.  Great Success!  Here.  See for yourself!


I'm not sure who had more fun -- JoJo . . . or Tom.  Whichever.  JoJo looked like one of the hounds of the Baskervilles, glowing and flashing.

Despite the darkness . . . game on, JoJo!



This week, Carole asks the Ten on Tuesday crowd to describe . . . Ten Places You Hang Out.

(Which got me humming.)  (To just hear the song, skip to :54.)


And then . . . I started thinking how really dull and predictable I am.  Because this list turned out to be hard for me.  And made me think that, well, maybe I need to get out more.

Kym corner

1 - Because mostly . . . I hang out at home.

2 - And, specifically, I hang out in this corner of the couch in my library.  (It's where I knit.  And read.  And stitch.)

3 - Or in my garden.  (Although at this point in the year, not so much.)

4 - Or on the patio.  (I'm missing my patio furniture.)  (But that means more time in my corner in the library.)

Gym in the mornin

5 - I also hang out at the gym.  (This photo shows my gym at 7:45 in the morning.  Still pretty dark.  But busy.)

6 - Mostly in the pool.  Or the spinning room.  Or the yoga/pilates studio.  (And whenever I get the chance -- in the hot tub or the steam room.)

7 - Tom and I frequent our neighborhood bistro quite often.  (We're "regulars" . . . so I guess you could say we hang out there.)

8 - And we have a great neighborhood coffee shop I visit quite a bit.  (It's my #1 place to meet up with friends.) (I'm headed there this morning.)

9 - I hang out at the KIA for weekly art classes.  (At first I was kind of initimidated there, but now I'm comfortable enough to consider it a "hangout.")

10 - And, of course, I hang out on Facebook, too. (Like so many of you.)

How about YOU?  Where do you like to hang out?


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here, or read other hanginaround posts here.


It's the Little Things


It all started about a year ago . . . when I needed to replace my refrigerator.  

It quickly became clear . . . that my kitchen was terribly out of date (although pretty wonderful -- after all, I had a few up-to-date features like granite countertops and recessed lighting).  But out of date all the same because . . . 

Oak cabinets.

Brass fixtures and cabinet pulls.

Black appliances.

Just. Not. Cool.

I ended up switching out my refrigerator with one in a new "color" -- slate.  (Not stainless -- because it really doesn't go with oak at all; not white -- which just seemed way too stark in my kitchen.)  (Of course, black appliances are SO 1990s.)  (And not even available anymore.) Ultimately I replaced ALL the appliances with slate.  (So at least everything matched.)

But the brass?  Really dated.  (Especially with the new slate appliances.)


I would've loved to re-do the kitchen.


Already doing the master bathroom/bedroom.

And so silly, really . . . because everything is in fine shape.  
(Also.  Despite their being SO . . . outrĂ© . . . I actually LIKE my oak cabinets.)  (Just sayin.)

And money doesn't grow on trees.

For a while, I thought about painting my cabinets.  But there are just too many. 

So I decided to settle for a few minor tweaks.  Little things that would make a big difference.  Like. . . switching out the brass fixtures with new ones in oh-so-much-more-current oil rubbed bronze.

New cabinet pulls.


New fan.


New recessed light covers.


And . . . "conversion kits" to create pendulum lighting over my kitchen island!


Yes.  I still have my oak cabinets.  (My kitchen is VERY 1990 when it comes to woodwork.)


I have an updated look, and  I'm really happy.  (And it didn't cost a fortune, either.)



I'm thinking window treatments. . . 


And my special thanks to Tom.  Because he did the actual work to switch everything out.  (There were 40 cabinet pulls in the kitchen alone.)  (And I did sort of extend the switching-out into the bathroom off the kitchen.)  (I know that towel rod was a real bitch.)  Thanks, honey!



I found a great online source for cabinet pulls and fixures.  Great selection.  Really good prices.  Excellent customer service.  And . . . quick delivery!  And I got the light covers and conversion kits here.





Sundays are for Poetry




The sky began to tilt,
a shift of light toward the higher clouds,
so I seized my brush
and dipped my little cup in the stream,

but once I streaked the paper gray
with a hint of green,
water began to slide down the page,
rivulets looking for a river.

And again, I was too late --
then the sky made another turn,
this time as if to face a mirror
held in the outstretched arm of a god.

                        ----- Billy Collins
                                 Horoscopes for the Dead