Sometimes Mondays

. . . feel more like Mondays than usual.


For the first time all summer, we spent the entire weekend up north.  We don't usually -- as we much prefer the quiet of the lake during the week . . . to the weekend crowds.  (But sometimes, that new toy arrives.  And you gotta play with it, y'know?)

So, anyway.  This week . . . Monday feels very, very Monday-like for me.

I hope your week is off to a good start!


Glorious-ness, Pure and Simple



(Y'know . . . it doesn't get much better than that . . . on a Friday morning in August.)

It's Friday.  Let's TGIF!

T - Thinking about . . . how wonderful and laid-back this summer has been.  In fact, I would guess that I haven't had such a low-key and open summer since I was a kid.  I've also been thinking about how September will bring changes (because Structure Returns), and that's okay, too.  (But I'm going to hold on to this glorious-summer-feeling as long as I can.)

G - Grateful for . . . quiet mornings and a gentle start to my day.  One of my goals for the year was to start my mornings earlier so I could build in time for meditation and reflection and stretching.  It was really hard at first (because deep inside of me, there is a lazy bum), but I've gotten into the habit now, and I am so glad.

I - Inspired by . . . the light.  Although I am in deep denial about summer coming to an end, I love the long shadows of late summer.  So much drama!  And gorgeousness!

F - Fun . . . Today is the day Tom's new fishing boat is (supposed) to be delivered.  (Please keep your fingers crossed, because things happen when they happen up north, and this is sometimes Not Easy to Deal With.)  This little boat has been a long time coming (don't even get me started on "decision fatigue" that sometimes lasts for years. . . ), and it's going to be perfect and fun and glorious.  (And it's even red, so how fun is that???)

I hope your Friday is filled with good things . . . and your weekend, too.
See you Monday! 

Just Live Your Life

So.  This week was to be a Momentous Week for me.

But it didn't quite turn out that way.

You see, on Tuesday I was scheduled for my once-a-year check up appointment with my oncologist.  It would mark my ten-year-cancer-free-anniversary, and top on our agenda to discuss . . . was whether I really needed to continue coming in for my annual check-ups.


These appointments always fill me with a little dread.  (Because cancer is creepy, y'know?)  But I also was really looking forward to this appointment.  (Because graduation!)  I also just really adore my oncologist!  She is laser-focused and super smart, compassionate while being totally no-nonsense, pragmatic -- and funny when you need humor most.  I was looking forward to celebrating with her, sharing a high-five, and thanking her for, well . . . saving my life.

A few years ago, my oncologist had her own brush with cancer when her husband become ill and died (just after my mom).  She drastically cut her patient load and moved her office closer to her home when he first got sick -- about a 45-minute drive from Kalamazoo.  She allowed me to continue on as her patient, because I was on the once-a-year schedule by then, and it made sense . . . if I was willing to make the drive.  (I was.)

On Monday, I got what I thought was going to be a reminder message from her office about my appointment the next day.  Only . . . it wasn't. Not really.  The message said, "When you come in for your appointment tomorrow, you won't be seeing Dr. L; you'll be seeing another oncologist from the Kalamazoo office."


I called right back to reschedule.  But.  It turns out that my doctor had . . . retired at the end of June!  Just like that.  With no fanfare or communication or letter or anything. *

It was shocking to me.  Very distressing.  Suddenly, I had no oncologist!

I canceled my appointment.  (Because, really, who needs to drive an hour and a half to see a randomly-assigned oncologist who normally practices a couple of miles from my home?  And . . . who doesn't know me at all.)

And I've set up an appointment with my rather fabulous internist in a couple of weeks.  He'll go over my most recent blood work (which is reassuringly normal and very consistent with every other lab workup I've had in the last 9 years!) and help me decide how (and whether) to monitor things going forward.  

So. . . it's all good.

But also a bit discombobulating.  Because I was so looking forward to this appointment . . . as closure . . . for a very disturbing time in my life.  This should have been a celebratory week for me.  And, well.  It just doesn't quite feel celebratory yet.

I'm trying to just move forward.  And I will.

I remember how lost I felt . . . back when I finished my chemo treatments and felt so raw and exposed and vulnerable.  I asked my oncologist, "So, now what do I do?"  She smiled at me and said, "You get out there and you just live your life!"

I think that's what she would have told me to do - again - on Tuesday.  So . . . that's just what I'm going to do!


* I knew she was planning to retire soon.  I just didn't expect it before I had a chance to see her again.

Another Sort of Election Day

Yesterday was primary election day here in Michigan.  


But that's not what this post is about.  

This post is about another sort of election day:  A knitting sort of election day!

You see, I have just finished knitting a most darling baby sweater for a soon-to-arrive baby boy.  Here it is, on the blocking board back in my guest room at home (we headed north yesterday, after voting) . . . 


I'm experiencing Button Indecision, however, and thought I'd throw it out to a little vote.

What do YOU think?


Fun and charming little brass star buttons?  (Might be tedious for a parent attempting to button a squirmy-baby into a sweater, though.)



Rather plain yet perfectly serviceable standard round buttons?  (Certainly easier for putting on and taking off of squirmy baby.)

It's Button Election Day!  
(Please help me decide.)


To read more Unraveled posts today, head on over to Kat's!

Really . . . What Are the Chances?

So.  Yesterday I wrote that my afternoon had opened up due to a change in plans.  And I rejoiced a little.  Because I really did want to get some paperwork completed.  (Mission accomplished.)

I never expected a similar situation to happen today.  Two days in a row.  Another cancellation -- and a suddenly open afternoon. Again.  (Really . . . what are the chances?)

Only . . . well.  I'm not rejoicing about today's change in plans.  It doesn't feel like a gift, this one.  In fact, it's requiring a little bit of brain-space today; some pondering.  (Not all cancellations are equal.  Y'know?)

So, here.  Have a distraction.  Enjoy this little flower arrangement -- a random collection of what's blooming in my garden right now. . .


and I'll catch up with you tomorrow.  (Where there is no chance of an afternoon cancellation.)


Friday Fish Wrap

"The first week of August hangs at the very top of the summer ... like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning."
                    --- Natalie Babbit in Tuck Everlasting


Yes, my friends.  August has arrived!  I know many of you lamented the "end of summer" in posts this week (shoot ... Mary can't even find patio furniture in stores anymore!).  But I'm here to tell you that there is PLENTY of summer left!  (Unless, well . . . maybe not so much if you're a teacher or a student.  But for the rest of us, plenty!)  

So I challenge you all:  Get out there and enjoy it while it's here!  Step out . . . into the summer.  Eat some ice cream.  Get your feet wet.  Ride a bike.  Read outside while you sip lemonade.  Just DO . . . the summer things you don't want to miss!  

And now, let's have a Friday Fish Wrap.  (Click here if you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about.)


I base much of my fiction reading queue on three literary prizes each year:  The Women's Prize for Fiction, the National Book Award, and - my favorite - the Man Booker Prize.  These three lists provide me with endless selctions to read!  I rarely read all of the books on the longlists, but they do provide a deep well of books from which to choose.

The Man Booker Prize 2018 Longlist came out last week -- and there look to be some great titles in the mix.  I've already read one - Snap (highly recommended), and I'm at the half-way point of another - Warlight.  Three more titles are battling it out for read-me-next-please honors - Sabrina, From a Low and Quiet Sea, and The Overstory.  And there is one I can't wait to get my hands on - Washington Black (because I love Esi Edugyan's writing so very much) (but it won't be published in the US until September).  There's one I'm gonna skip right over, though - The Mars Room (because I just don't enjoy Rachel Kushner's books and life is too short. . . ).

Check out the list and see what you might want to read this year.




Speaking of books . . . Harry Potter is celebrating his 20th anniversary next month.  (Here are some fun facts about the Harry Potter book phenomena.)  New covers, people!  (And they look pretty cool.)  Much hoop-la.

My daughter and most of her friends did a bit of freaking out when they heard the news. Because How-Can-Harry-Potter-Be-Already-20-Years-Ago-Mom???  Erin tells me that, for the first time, she now feels . . . old.  Erin - who was always the exact same age as Harry when the books came out - grew up with Harry Potter.  Literally.

Ah. Time.  (Reality bites.)



Speaking of time . . . in the better-late-than-never department, I read a little blurb in the New York Times this week about Gray Panthers founder, Maggie Kuhn (who died in 1995).   Her story (which, of course, I didn't know. . . ) is fascinating!  The NY Times blurb piqued my interest, so I went searching more.  Here's a nice little bio if you'd like to learn more about her, too.

"I made a sacred vow that I would do something outrageous, at least once a week."
                --- Maggie Kuhn, age 85



Back when I was in high school, I had this pair of denim OshKosh overalls that I wore all the time.  (I know; they were A Thing.) (Thankfully, it didn't last long.)  


I used to embroider things all over my overalls, so they were Very Unique.  (I wish I had a photo to share, but I do not.  We just didn't photo-document every little thing back then. . . )


The other day, I came across a treasure chest full of free, downloadable embroidery patterns here.  (The photo above is one of the free patterns you can download.)  There are tons of fun designs there, and it's safe to say . . . my embroidery-crazy-overall-wearing former self would have had a field day.


And, finally . . . as much as I hate to admit this . . . THIS is pretty much always the state of my desk.


I straighten it up and organize it often . . . but THAT (above) is my desk's normal state.  Its angle of repose.  Every day.  All the time.

Lucky for me, I just read about a study at the University of Minnesota that concludes that . . . messiness can be good for us!  According to professor Kathleen Vohs, "Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights.  Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe."

(Note that she is talking about "messy" - not "dirty" - environments.  There is a a difference.)

So.  That's my story.  And I'm sticking to it!

"If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?"
                    --- Albert Einstein


And . . . that's a wrap!  Have a great weekend - be sure to have some summer fun.  I'll see you on Monday.



Garden Delights

My garden is full of things that make me happy . . . flowers, foliage, birds, pollinators.  (You know the drill.)  But there are also little hidden "garden delights" that bring a smile.

Like . . . my little stone turtle peeking out from his home in this succulent bowl.


Or . . . . this little yellow house with the stone chimney, standing sentry at my patio doors.


And . . . this little kitty, hidden in my herb garden.


Gardens delight . . . in so many ways!


Head over to Carole's to read more Three on Thursday posts today.




Stitching Alabama Chanin-style can become rather obsessive.

Once you actually get over the intimidation factor and just make something . . . Well.  You discover it's really fun to stitch by hand.  And the garments you stitch are super comfortable to wear.  And the creative opportunities are just endless.

Earlier this summer I decided I wanted a simple, black tunic.  Nothing fancy.  No stenciling.  No appliqué.

But then . . . I decided to add some beads.


(the front . . . finished)

And then . . . more beads.
(Because it really is an obsession.)


(the back. . . finished)

I think I'm done with the beads now.  
(But maybe not.)
(You never know.)


In the end, I got my simple, black tunic.  


(Now with bonus sparkle!)

Tell It Like It Is

Somewhere along the line this summer, Jenny misplaced her dog tags.  (I say that like she's a kid who has left her lunch box somewhere.  Or something.)  Anyway, Tom noticed they were missing a couple of weeks ago, and they haven't turned up anywhere either up north or here at home.

So I ordered new and updated dog tags for both pups.


At 11 1/2 years, Jenny finally gets to wear her formal title for all to see!

(Tell it like it is, I say.)