A Whirlwind

Last Wednesday, Erin arrived to spend a few days in Michigan.  It was great to see her --- but, WOW!  What a whirlwind!  (Because we had QUITE An Agenda for this visit.)

IMG_6234

We spent some time at the beach (specifically . . . Oval Beach . . . one of the most beautiful stretches of Lake Michigan shoreline in southern Michigan).  We were there, officially, to scope out wedding photography locations.  But the day was beautiful - warm and sunny - so we took some time to play.  (The water was icy -- far too cold to wade in, but the sand was nice and warm.)

IMG_6273

IMG_6275

We accomplished MUCH in the way of wedding planning, meeting at the venue to decide details, menu, photography, and flowers.  (Here's where the ceremony will take place.)

IMG_6374

And Erin said "yes to the dress." (But not one of these "lace monstrosities."  Erin has never "done lace," and nothing about that changed when it came time for her to choose a dress.)

IMG_6303

Both Erin and I needed to fortify ourselves frequently -- as the "wedding industry" is pretty disgusting -- and SO over the top.  (Just sayin.)

IMG_6373

We also did a lot of non-wedding shopping so Erin will have a good working-wardrobe for her summer internship at . . . 

IMG_6312

(She'll be doing technical writing and software documentation for LinkedIn in California beginning next week.)

There was still plenty of time for relaxing and eating and drinking; watching hockey with Tom; spending time with Poppy.  It was a great couple of days -- very productive and kind of exhausting, but fun.

Before we knew it . . . 

IMG_6371

she was gone.  (With a big suitcase that arrived Empty and departed Full Of Stuff.)

Definitely a whirlwind -- but the kind of whirlwind I welcome any time.

 

 


Reelin' in the Years

This week's Think Write Thursday needs a bit of a soundtrack, I'm thinking.  (Click here for a song.)

Scan 1

Dear 5-year-old Kym:

It's 1964.  There's a lot going on out there!  You're growing up amidst turmoil and change.  Don't be afraid.  Play and have fun . . . but keep your eyes open.  Pay attention.  And, remember -- it's okay to color outside the lines and make stray pencil marks once in awhile!

Scan 2 5

Dear 16-year-old Kym:

It's 1975.  You're driving now.  Becoming competent.  Standing up for yourself.  Beginning to understand that there are dots to connect.  Quit worrying about what "everyone else" is doing.  (It won't matter in a year or two.)  (Really.)  Try not to be so boy-crazy.  (You're wasting your energy.)  (They really are kind of jerks right now.)  And - for crying out loud - be careful out there.  (You make your future-self nervous.)  (You might also ditch that center part.)  (Just sayin.)

Dear 21-year-old Kym:

Scan 2 4

Dear 21-year-old Kym:

It's 1980.  You're completing your student teaching . . . nearly ready to graduate.  But what's that you say?  You think you made the wrong choice?  Maybe this teaching gig isn't for you?  Oh, Kym.  Don't despair.  You're only 21.  You're not supposed to have all the answers.  Even though you feel like you're all grown up and ready to make your way in the world, let me tell you . . . change is part of the game!  And you won't even believe the places you'll go.  (Trust me . . . I know.)  So hang in there.  Listen to your heart.  Things will work out.

IMG_6205

Dear 58-year-old Kym:

As Gretchen Rubin says, "the days are long but the years are short."  And now, well . . . you know that's true, for sure.  So grab life by the horns and hang on.  Enjoy every moment -- and keep reelin' in the years!

==========

Today's post is part of Think Write Thursday.  To see what other bloggers have to say, click here.  And to sign up to receive the weekly prompts, click here.

 


Readers . . . Start Your Engines!

When I was a little girl, I always looked forward to the Summer Reading Program at my local library.  I got so excited when my mom would take me to the library to sign up!  (The librarians loved me.)  I would faithfully use whatever reading checklist they had designed that season to track my progress and, ultimately, claim my certificate at the end of the summer.

Now, as a grownup, I still look forward to summer reading with . . .

IMG_6199

Summer Book Bingo!

Mary has been promoting Summer Book Bingo (a feature born of the old Books on the Nightstand podcast) through her blog for several years now.   With the end of the BotN podcast, Mary decided to carry the Summer Book Bingo torch on her own, keeping it alive for summer reading grownups . . . like me.   (All Hail Mary, Queen of Summer Book Bingo!)

Mary has created an inspiring and comprehensive list of reading categories and a set of Summer Book Bingo rules -- which you can access on the sidebar of her blog.  She's included the link to a bingo card generator -- so you can create and print your own bingo card.  (Go ahead and click the "Get a New Card" link a few times until you find a card that looks good to you.)

Here's the card I'll be playing this year . . . 

Kym's Summer Book Bingo Card 2017

(Although I'm curious about what "Alternate History" is, actually.  Anyone?)  
(Maybe something filled with "alternative facts" . . . hmmmm?)

I hope you'll play along!  Summer Book Bingo is a fun thing to do in the summer -- especially if you enjoy reading anyway.

It's fun to be part of a larger group of readers, all working toward a similar goal.

It's fun to use your bingo card to plan and track your summer reading.

It's fun to challenge yourself to read books you might not otherwise choose to read.

Heck . . . it's just fun to cry BINGO! every once in a while!

I hope you'll play along.  Set some summer reading goals for yourself.  Maybe you want to get a BINGO.  Maybe two or three?  Or maybe you want to cover your whole card this summer!  It's a lot of fun.

Let's READ.

 

 

 

 


On Celebrating in New Ways

I often wonder when I got "bit" by the gardening bug.  It might be just be in my blood -- because for generations and generations, my family (on my dad's side) were farmers.  (My dad was raised on an Illinois farm.)  

I like to think, though, that it happened when I was a very little girl, sitting next to my mom at the strip of flower garden planted along the side of our house.  She would name the plants for me . . . moss roses, four o'clocks, snap dragons . . . and show me magical things.  How to collect seeds from the moss roses and four o'clocks.  How to make the snap dragons . . . snap open their mouths.

I'm pretty sure it was there . . . alongside my mom . . . that I discovered the magic of flowers.  (And combined with my agricultural heritage, well . . . gardening seems kind of inevitable, doesn't it?)

IMG_6195

My mom and I spent many a Mother's Day over the years . . . planting.  Or shopping for plants.  Or planning what to plant.  Mother's Day and time in the garden with my mom . . . it's just the way it always was.

So this Mother's Day, my first without my mom, I decided to create a special garden in celebration of her.

It's right there . . . at the very front of the garden bed next to my pergola.  

IMG_6193

We had to have one of the pines removed last fall, so there was new space in the front of the bed.  Tom dug it all out for me on Saturday and prepared it for my planting.

Yesterday, I planted my mom's favorite flowers.  Dahlias.  Alstroemeria.  Snap Dragons.  And, come fall, I'll plant some tulip bulbs there.  (Because my mom loved her tulips!)  Many of the hostas in this garden bed came from my mom's garden over the years.

The location is perfect -- because I can see my new Mom-garden from my kitchen window or from the patio.  And it's right next to the pergola.  I used to sit on the pergola swing and talk to her on the phone nearly every day during the warm months.  She loved to swing.

It doesn't look like much today (you know how new gardens are. . . ), but it will grow and bloom and be a wonderful celebration of my mom all season long.

IMG_6190

The little red bird and the fairy house came from my mom's own garden, but I purchased the memorial stone especially for this space.

Planning - and planting - this garden helped me through a tough day.  I still got to celebrate and garden with my mom -- just in a new way.

==========

My sister, who loves to bake, celebrated Mother's Day by baking up some of our mom's special recipes -- using Mom's recipe box and baking pans.

IMG_6162

My mom's rhubarb pie . . . as baked by my sister.  New ways to celebrate, indeed!

 

 


A Knitting Story for Mother's Day

My mom was a knitter.

But she was a rather reluctant and not-very-confident knitter.  Mostly because she was afraid of making mistakes and wasn't sure how to fix them -- and she had no one around to show her how.

Still, she persisted.  She knit my sister and I little red cardigans when we were little girls.  (I still have mine; cables down the front.)  She also knit us little hats that tied under our chins.  And she was the Queen of the Ripple Afghan.

And . . . she taught me to knit.

As I became a better knitter - and especially as I became adept at fixing knitting goofs - my mom got a little braver with her needles.  She mastered socks and mittens, all the while keeping us supplied with a never-ending stock of dish cloths.

But what she really wanted to knit?  Baby afghans!

  IMG_6073

About ten years ago - back when my kids were still in high school - my mom decided to knit baby afghans for her future great grandchildren.  

She wanted to be ready, you see.  She had three grandchildren - and she wanted to be able to give each of them a handknit baby afghan whenever - and if ever - they had a child of their own.

First, she knit the yellow blanket.  For her oldest granddaughter -- my sister's daughter.

Then, she knit the variegated blanket.  For Erin.

And, finally, she knit the little aqua blanket.  For Brian.

IMG_6072

Then, she packed them away.  She just wanted to be ready for . . . whenever the time came.

Now, I have my mom's afghans.  Packed away safely and ready to distribute . . . when (and if ever) the time comes.

It's really comforting for me to know . . . that even though my mom will never be able to hold those future great grandchildren in her arms, those future great grandchildren will still be wrapped in her love.

(The power of knitting.)

(The power of Moms.)

Happy Mother's Day!


Piece of Cake

When I first read today's Think Write Thursday topic, I thought Piece. Of. Cake.

Because, really, how simple!  

All I have to do . . . is describe my ideal day.

A sunny day.  75ยบ F.  Up North.  Sitting on the dock.  Watching the clouds and reading a book in the sunshine.

But.  Wait.

What about . . .

Snowed in.  Fire in the fireplace.  Tea and banana bread and a big pile of knitting.  (With no ripping back.)

But.  Wait.

What about . . .

Sunny.  Light breeze.  Digging in my garden; maybe pulling some weeds.  Everything blooming.  Bees and butterflies everywhere.

But.  Wait.

What about. . . 

A day at the beach in Belize.  Barefoot.  Margarita in hand.  Sound of the ocean.  Perfect sunset.

But.  What about . . . 

Perfectly cooked Thanksgiving dinner.  All my family gathered around.  Laughing together.  Remembering.

But.  Wait.

What about . . .

Yeah.

I'm sure you're getting my drift.

IMG_6064

My ideal day?  

Turns out it's even more Piece. Of. Cake. than I imagined.  Because my ideal day is a day where I get to do whatever I want . . . in that particular moment . . . whatever it may be . . . with no hindrances or obstacles!

How about YOU?  What's your ideal day look like?

==========

This post is part of Think Write Thursday.  Be sure to see what everyone else has to say here.  And to sign up for future prompts, click here.

 


One Stitch at a Time

I finished something a few days ago.

IMG_5866

It's an Alabama Chanin wrap skirt.  

And I love it!

IMG_6026

I learned to hand sew when I was a very little girl.  My Great Grandmother Strom taught me when I was 5.  Simple, running stitches first.  And then backstitches.  I stitched all the time -- I was intrigued with how stitches could hold fabric together.  Plus, I was always big on "making stuff."

Mostly, as a child, I made clothes and accessories for my dolls out of scraps of fabric and old socks.  But, sometimes, I even hand-stitched items for myself.  (Although I must admit, the oil cloth "boots" didn't perform quite as anticipated. . . )  I didn't touch a sewing machine until 6th grade, so was quite practiced in sewing things together by hand.

When I first laid eyes on Alabama Chanin items (back when I discovered the very first - then the only! - book during a bookstore-browse), I was entranced.  But totally intimidated.  Looking back, I'm not quite sure why . . . exactly.  I mean, first I had all that childhood experience with needle and thread, followed by decades of sewing clothes for myself and my kids on a sewing machine.  I'm very comfortable putting garments together.  

It was the "stitched by hand" part that freaked me out.  Because . . . all that time.  So many stitches.  It would take forever!  And . . . would it hold together???

I bought my first Alabama Chanin kit years and years ago -- and then I just . . . got it out and looked at it once in a while.  For two years!

When I finally admitted my hesitation to Vicki, she kindly pointed out that we knit sweaters "one stitch at a time" . . . so why NOT sew a shirt or a skirt the same way.  Her gentle encouragement spurred me on!  Her words clicked.  I dug in.  (First making this, and then this . . . before tackling the wrap skirt.)

IMG_5412

It takes a long, long time to first embellish, and then stitch together, an Alabama Chanin garment.  The wrap skirt I made had some futzy finishing!  There are darts and facings and a waistband and ties.  All sewn by hand.

But so very worth the effort!

IMG_6025

I really love it! 

I'm so glad I got over the intimidation thing . . . and just went back to the basic running stitch my Great Grandmother taught me all those years ago!  

I'll be stitching more -- but don't be looking for any oil cloth boots, like . . . ever.


Time for Compassion

Compassion is not religious business, it is human business. It is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability. It is essential for human survival.

                                                                                                                       ---- Dalai Lama

IMG_5787

Working hard today . . . to maintain my balance.  And find peace.

Compassion . . . is the way forward.

==========

I also want to share this read on staying sane in challenging times.  It helped me yesterday.  Perhaps you will find it useful as well.