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May 2017

Love Don't Come Easy

Here's a little soundtrack for today's post.

You can't hurry love;
No you just have to wait.

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You've got to trust it, give it time;
No matter how long it takes.

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Love don't come easy;
it's a game of give and take!

So, yeah.  Sometimes projects drag on for months . . . maybe even for a whole year.  It sure feels good when you finish them, though.  

You just can't hurry love!

(Ravelry details here.)

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Today's post is part of Kat's Unraveled group. Click here to see what everyone else is knitting and reading!


Right Now . . . May 2017

Well.  May.  My goodness . . . you went fast.

In fact, you may have just set the speed-month record!

Zooooom.

Gone!

Just. Like. That.

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Here's what's happening for me . . . right now.

Watching - Having recently finished watching the latest seasons of both Grace & Frankie and Call the Midwife, I'm sort of at a loss.  Maybe I'll try the new Twin Peaks?  (Tom and I were big fans of the original . . . almost 30 years ago.)  Maybe Anne with an E?  (I've heard it's worth watching.)  Maybe I'll just watch the weeds grow in my garden instead?  (Because that's quite a show, let me tell you.)

Gardening - This is the time of year where everything just . . . pops!  All the blooms.  All the chores.  All the weeds.  All. Of. It.  And all at the same time!  It's joyous and wonderful and beautiful and exhausting.  May is a busy month -- but gardening is what makes my May schedule go all helter-skelter.  Because I could spend all-day-every-day out in the garden -- and still not be caught up with all the gardening chores!  I am not complaining.  Just busy out there.

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Reading - Book Bingo!  Game on!  Last week, I mentioned that I had just started reading The Lonely Hearts Hotel.  Well.  Let me tell you . . . the reviews call it an "adult fairy tale."  And they DO mean "adult."  As in . . . X-rated.  (Just a warning, folks.)  Now, I'm no literary prude, but this one?  Hmmm.  Not to my taste.  I'll finish it (because Bingo) - but it's just a bit . . . on the too-much side for me.  (Any Bingo squares for X-rated books, Mary???)  On a more positive note, I'm listening to The Dark Circle by Linda Grant (on the short list for the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction) and loving it!  If you're looking for something to fill the "historical fiction" square on your Bingo card, or even the "set in more than one time period" square, this might be the book for you!  Next up for me: Storm in a Teacup (for that elusive "non-fiction about science" square).

Stitching - I'm happily knitting away on my Colorwash Scarf -- a project that reminds me that knitting is magical and full of pleasure.  I also just cut out an Alabama Chanin dress.  It's going to be very basic (no stenciling) - but still interesting in that altogether Alabama Chanin way.

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Drinking - My new favorite summer drink:  The Michigan Mule.  Loosely based on the Moscow Mule (vodka, ginger beer, lime), my Michigan version features Vernor's, Michigan-made whiskey, and lime.  (The whiskey is sometimes substituted with cherry-flavored vodka, although I've not tried that version yet.)  It's FAB.  (And for those of you not from Michigan . . . Vernor's is a very strong ginger ale made in Detroit and popular throughout the state -- but not really available anywhere else.)

Humming - This one has been buzzing around in my head for several days now.  (Like a ceiling can't hold us . . . )

Delighted by - Being able to spend so much time outside.  The weather seems to finally be turning more to . . . summer.  I'm loving long walks with the dogs and plenty of time to garden; sitting in the swing in my pergola and having drinks on the patio.  We're coming up on my favorite season of the year -- and I love it!

Grateful for - Even when life is easy and things are going smoothly, you still need support sometimes, y'know?  I'm grateful for friends stepping in - just when I need them most!

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Gold Star - It feels like I really got off-track this month, schedule-wise.  I just had a lot of "seasonal" and "special" things that came up in May - all at once (from the annual Master Gardener plant sale to Erin's lovely visit).  Sometimes, I feel bad for getting "behind" on my schedule.  But.  This month, I'm trying to let it go and enjoy the variability of LIFE.  Being flexible is part of maintaining BALANCE, after all.  The fact the I've gotten through this busy month without a breakdown definitely deserves a Gold Star!

Looking Forward - to a summer I can sink my teeth into!  Time up north, relaxing on the patio, hosting a party, riding my bike, a nice vacation, puttering around in the garden -- and just kicking back.  I'm ready!

How about YOU?  What's happening for you . . . right now?

 


In the Bag

Until a couple of years ago, I had kind of a Thing . . . for bags.  Handbags.  Totebags.  Wallets.  Clutches.  I had quite a collection . . . far too many to use, truth be told.  (I actually started hanging some of my favorites on doorknobs -- as "art objects.")  (Because I think I was taken more by their design than their function.)

And then . . . I discovered the Marie Kondo method (Kon-Mari for those in the know), and discovered that most of those bags just . . . didn't bring me joy.  They're gone now.  Seriously.  Gone.

And replaced by the completely unattractive yet highly functional Baggalini Everywhere Bagg.

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Yes.  For two solid years now, THIS bag has been my only bag.  (I do actually have it in two colors -- black for the cold months and blue for the warmer ones.  Same bag.  Different colors.)

Although I thought I might die from bag-boredom early on, I can now say that this bag is the perfect bag for me!  Every. Day.

It has functional pockets --- that I actually use.  For my phone, for my lip gloss, for my bullet journal, for my cheaters, for my umbrella.  There is ample storage for those times I want to bring my iPad or a small knitting project along.  Everything fits.  Everything has it's place.  Shoot . . . there's even a hook for my keys.  And - maybe best of all - I can throw the bag in the washing machine and freshen it up if I need to.

It's time for me to switch out my bag . . . from the black version to the blue version.  Perfect timing for this week's Think Write Thursday topic!  Want to see what I keep in there?

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Let's see . . . 

We have my wallet (which doubles as a clutch if I don't want to haul the entire bag around -- it even has room for my phone), my grocery-list-memo-pad, my horribly hideous umbrella (I'm really hard on umbrellas; this is a free-with-purchase umbrella that came with some random totebag along the way), cheaters pair #1, bullet journal, wet wipes (just in case), my quick-sketch pad and pencil, some Imodium (because you need to be prepared, y'know), Altoids, spare hearing aid batteries, tissues, a decent pen, keys, hand lotion, lipgloss, and my phone.  (I just realized my cheaters pair #2 missed the photo . . . because they were on my head.  But they belong in the bag too -- right in the handy side zip pocket, perfect for cheaters or sunglasses.)  That's pretty much it for me.  I like to travel light . . . but also be prepared.  

And, with that . . . I've switched over to my warm-weather blue version of the Everywhere Bagg! 

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How about YOU?  What's in YOUR bag?

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Today's post is part of Think Write Thursday.  To see what other bloggers are carrying in THEIR bags, click here.  And to sign up to receive weekly prompts, click here.

 


Unraveling . . .

Here's what I started knitting yesterday . . . 

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It's Kirsten Kapur's Colorwash Scarf from Wild Yarns, the Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guide No. 3.  I've been planning this knit for weeks -- but wanted to finish a few other things before casting on.  I had planned to only knit with the "wild" yarn" (some lovely stuff I picked up at Rhinebeck a couple of years ago), but after I saw Vicki's finished Colorwash Scarf, I decided to throw in a contrast color.

(And hoo boy . . . so glad I did!  Because for the first several rows, I kept forgetting to pass the slipped stitch over.  If I'd been using just the one color, I would have had to unravel constantly.  With two colors, well . . . there is immediate accountability.)  (And I only had to unravel twice.)  (Full disclosure.)

Anyway.  This design hits all my knitting-buttons:  rhythmic pattern, fun color changes, and stripes.  Those three features can keep my interest for hours at a time!

As for reading . . . right now I've got The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O'Neill, borrowed through Overdrive, on my iPad.  (This title was on the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction long list this year.)  I've only just read the first 75 pages, so I'm guessing this will be my first Bingo square (although I haven't quite figured out which one yet. . . ).

Speaking of bingo, don't forget that Summer Book Bingo begins this Saturday, May 27.  Check out the sidebar on Mary's blog to learn more.  Grab your card and read along!

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I'm joining along with Kat's Unraveled group today.  See what everyone else is . . . unraveling . . . here.


Full Disclosure

The other day, I was looking through old photos, and came across a few from Erin's high school graduation . . . now 10 years ago.  I was kind of shocked at how drastic the changes to my landscape have been!  (A future blog post, perhaps.) Over the last 10 years, I have added garden beds to my yard in a rather significant way.

What this means, in practical terms, is that I've pretty much reached my limit of what I can possibly maintain.  (Actually, I've probably exceeded my maintenance capacity.  But, oh well.)  So there are always "good parts" of my garden . . . and "bad parts."  It's like a constant game of Whack-a-Mole to keep everything looking good.  

At this time of year especially - when everything in the garden is exploding - the "bad parts" are really, really bad.   (Especially in the areas that suffered from my neglect last year.)

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Case in point.  

This is actually my butterfly garden (officially certified as a Monarch Waystation).  But now totally overrun with weeds and random grass and and dandelions and out-of-control knautia volunteers!  I re-named this garden bed The Prairie earlier this spring -- but couldn't get to it right away (because other priorities in that great garden game of Whack-a-Mole).

But last Sunday, I was able to spend about 4 hours out there.

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I actually find weeding to be relaxing and therapeutic -- kind of like meditation.  Or yoga.  Or knitting.  Only with birds.  (And the occasional garter snake and a few toads.)  On Sunday afternoon, this was a great place for me to be.  I was missing Erin, mulling over some new ideas, and working out a few troublesome life-issues.  

Before I knew it . . . I'd filled up 10 or 12 buckets of weeds, located my wayward garden stones (thanks, Tom!), and enlisted my digger (Tom again) to remove some overgrown plants I no longer want in this space.

And . . . voilĂ !

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Not a great view . . . but you can see that the weeds are gone, the mulch is in place, and the stones are ABOVE the ground now.  Not so much with The Prairie motif anymore.  There's still PLENTY of work to be done in this particular garden, but I can consider this "mole" "whacked" for now.  

(And - in full disclosure - I've got 3 more "bad" garden areas to "whack"!)

 


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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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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.)

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

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

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(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 . . . 

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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!

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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:

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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.

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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!

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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 . . .

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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.