Right Now

Right Now . . . March 2017

And . . . here we are at the very end of March.  It looks like this:

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Rain.

Cold, dreary rain.

Mud.  Puddles.  Ugh.

(But.  It's not snow, and for that I am grateful.)

So.  What's happening . . . Right Now?

Watching - Basketball.  Pretty much my entire March Madness bracket is toast at this point (beginning with Villanova; I had them to win the whole dang thing!).  I think I have North Carolina in there still, but otherwise?  A bust.  As usual. I'm also looking forward to watching the new season of Grace & Frankie, although I haven't tuned in to one episode yet.  (Anyone watched it yet?  Thoughts?)

Reading - It seems like I've been reading a lot lately!  In the ears, I'm reading Little Deaths by Emma Flint.  In print, I'm reading Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (and, while this one is quite short, I'm moving slowly -- because it's one of those books where the writing is So Fine that I keep re-reading, and then reading parts aloud to Tom).  Other recently finished books worth mentioning include:  The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride (this one was really irritating to me; I don't recommend the audiobook version -- and I'd avoid it altogether unless you're particularly fond of stream-of-consciousness writing without punctuation - à la James Joyce, but more "modern" . . . and quite a bit of fairly graphic sex); The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan (which I adored, but it won't be for everyone); and The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan (a whimsical, rather "lite" little story that is a bit fun and kind of like dipping your hand into a candy jar).

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Stitching - (you'll notice I don't even bother to call this category "Knitting" anymore . . .)  I've been totally captivated by my Alabama Chanin wrap skirt this month.  I'm finished with the stitching and cutting portions of the project, and now just need to stitch it together.  I'm so excited -- and already planning my next project!  Despite the allure of the Alabama Chanin world, I did manage to knit one sock this month.  Pretty basic.  (I'll show you sometime.)  But. . . as so often happens, the stripe-ish yarn pooled badly in the gusset portion.  And I despise pooled yarn.  So I'm Not Thrilled.  In other news, I decided I want to try the helical knitting thing (because how cool is learning something new???), and found this (stay tuned) . . .

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Listening to - Podcasts.  March has been #trypod month, where listeners are encouraged to recommend the podcasts they enjoy.  It's still March, although right at the wire . . . so here are a few I especially like: Happier with Gretchen Rubin, Freakonomics Radio, The Moth, From the Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl, and - of course - NPR's Wait, Wait. . . Don't Tell Me.  There's a new one that just came out this week - S-Town - which seems promising, too (although so far I've only listened to the first episode).  (Also, S-Town's website is one of the most beautiful websites I've ever visited.  Worth a click!)  (I also listened to Missing Richard Simmons, which was . . . well.  A bit weird.)  How about you?  Tried a pod?  What ones do you recommend?

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Drinking - YES!  Thanks to my sister, I can now enjoy wine - by the cup! - first thing in the morning.  (Does she know me, or what????)

Delighted by - A couple of little things that just make me smile every time I look at them.  First, my new coffee mug . . .

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and then, my Women's March pin from Penzeys . . . 

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Both of things keep me smiling -- and remembering that even though there is serious work to be done, we can still share humor and kindness and love in the world.

Gold Star - Awarded to ME . . . for not stressing about my taxes.  Here's the deal.  Every year, I do and file my taxes right around April 10.  It doesn't take me long, really, and as a former CPA (yeah . . . ) I pretty much know what I'm doing.  But.  Every year, I begin stressing in January about how I haven't done my taxes yet.  This year, I decided to drop the subterfuge.  No matter when I started the stressing, I still didn't DO my taxes until April.  This year?  I'll start stressing tomorrow.

Trying Hard - to tackle my Big Projects by spending small bits of time working on them on a regular basis.  I tend to put off my Big Projects (things like digitizing all of the old family photos . . . or a digital clean up of all my computer files . . . that kind of stuff) because I feel like I will need huge blocks of time to complete them.  And, really, that's true.  Those projects WILL take a lot of time to complete.  But . . . if I tackle them in small, 15-minute mini-chunks of time -- every day -- I will be able to get them finished!  So.  That's my plan now.  Project completion by degrees!

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Blooming - Before yesterday's day-long deluge of rain, I was able to get out in the garden and find my first hellebore bloom of the season.  It gives me hope for what's to come!  (And deer don't like to eat them, by the way. . . )

Celebrating - While the main birthday hoop-la is now complete, I am still celebrating!  Right now, I'm celebrating the incredible support from all of you yesterday -- when I revealed that this birthday was a struggle for me, without my Mom.  Your words felt like hugs -- all day long.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  You all helped me get through a difficult day.  (I can't really express how much your comments meant to me.)

Coming Up - Although I tend to like March (this year it was rather challenging -- because the weather was so nasty and didn't much feel like spring at all), I'm looking forward to April.  I'm taking part in Michelle's Just Five Things workshop for the first couple of weeks in April.  (We'll see how things go, but maybe I'll share some of my experience with you.)  And (although I haven't officially signed up yet - but plan to yet today), I'm going to dive in to the #The100DayProject.  (Stay tuned.)  I'm also going to continue my quest to find BALANCE . . . by balancing my chakras and following moon phases!  Yeah . . . things are going to get interesting around here!

How about YOU?  What's going on for you . . . Right Now?

 


Right Now . . . February 2017

Well.  February certainly zipped right by, didn't it?

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Freakishly warm weather.  Lots of letter-writing.  Hardly any knitting.  Maybe too much chocolate.  
Ah . . . February!

Here's what's going on for me . . . RIGHT NOW.

Reading -- In the ears, I have Richard Russo's Everybody's Fool (just as delightful as Nobody's Fool, in case you're wondering).  In words, I'm reading E.B. White's One Man's Meats.  I'm also re-reading The Nightingale for my book group (I originally read it last August).

Knitting -- Well.  Actually.  NOT knitting.  I started out knitting a pair of these socks for Erin (with some modifications to make them more "standard" socks, plus cuff-down).  Anyway.  I HATE the yarn I chose.  Hate.  It's lovely yarn . . . but not for socks.  (Too much silk.)  So I got frustrated and decided to let them go.  I may try again someday -- with other yarn.  THEN . . . when the weather suddenly warmed, I lost the desire to knit winter-ish things altogether and just sort of went into a knitting tailspin.  Maybe . . . this next?  Thinking about it, and looking for my knitting mojo.

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Watching -- The Oscars.  (And, wow.  That was quite the clusterf^*k there at the end, non?)

Having Way Too Much Fun With -- My new Lipsense lip color.  Not kidding . . . this stuff is incredible!  It looks great, lasts all day (even after swimming), and Tom doesn't mind it at all (so BONUS).  (Want some?  Ask Carole.)

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Delighted by -- My watercolor class.  Not because of my "skill" (although I'm definitely making progress) (some days, at least), but because it is a wonderful creative outlet for me right now; something I'm really needing these days.  And my class is full of the most encouraging, supportive people I could ever paint with.  Cheerleaders and gentle critics, all!

Gold Star To Me -- For regularly making calls to my representatives.  As an introvert who hates talking on the phone, this is WAY out of my comfort zone.  (WAY.)  But . . . I'm doing it!  And you can, too!  (It gets easier . . . once you've made a few.)  (Really.  It does.)

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Looking Forward To -- Consistent spring weather!  Now that I've had a taste of spring, I'm all the more impatient for "real" spring, (as opposed to "freak" spring) to show up.  (Because running outside - even though painful - is so much better than running inside.)

Doing Something -- In January, I was certified as an adult literacy tutor with the Kalamazoo Literacy Council.  This month, I started working with my first "learner."  I cannot express how wonderful it feels to be  . . . doing something . . . to help someone take a huge step forward.

How about YOU?  What's going on for you . . . Right Now?

 

 

 


Right Now . . . January 2017

Oh, January.  What a crazy month you have been!  

Gloomy pretty much every day, but not very winter-y.  

Filled with politics and protests and painting and packing.  

Heartache and hope.  

Memories and moving forward.

Can't say that I'm sad you're nearly over.  (But, really, I say that every January.)  (Sorry.  But you are not my favorite month.)

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Here's what's happening in my world . . . Right Now:  

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Watching . . . Movies.  Lots and lots of movies. Each year (as I've blogged about before), Tom and I try to see as many Oscar-nominated movies as possible before Oscar night.  This year, we have really outdone ourselves.  Let's just say that by the time the Oscar nominations were announced last week, we had already seen all but one of the Best Picture nominated movies!  And, after this weekend, we only need to see 4 movies (and all will be available to "rent" before the Oscars) to have Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress covered.  This is a first - it's kind of like getting a black-out in Bingo!  (Our favorites?  Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, and Lion.)

Reading . . . Well, lots of articles from the New York Times, the Washington Post, Atlantic, and the New Yorker, that's for sure!  When it comes to books, though?  I just finished A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.  Delightful, and . . . I must say -- this one will be hard to beat for my favorite of the year.  I also recently finished Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance.  Right now, I'm reading Swing Time by Zadie Smith (in the ears) and The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (in print).

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Knitting . . . Well.  Not a thing.  I have Not One project on the needles at this moment.  I finally finished my Peace Project cowl (maybe I'll show you later this week), but I haven't cast on a new project quite yet.  (Thinking maybe these . . . or this.)  (Or maybe both.)  In the meantime, I got out my latest Alabama Chanin project, and I've been stitching away on that.

Humming . . . I saw La La Land on Christmas Day.  Since then, I have had this song just hanging there . . . on the edge of my consciousness.  All the time.  I can bring it up anytime I want.  (It's catchy, that's for sure.)

Practicing . . . I'm back in my watercolor class for the semester.  It's amazing to me . . . just how much paper I waste when it comes to watercolor!  But.  I like it!  And I'm just going to keep at it.  So, there.  (See little painting, above.)

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Drinking . . . I have been trying really hard to drink more water these days.  Just plain, old, water.  I bought myself a 32 oz. glass water bottle, and I cart it around all day.  So far, just having that bottle with me . . . is working!  I'm drinking more water than usual.  (And, thanks to the new administration, I'm also drinking more wine than usual.) 

Planning . . . A little summer getaway with Tom.  Can't wait.  (There's nothing more soothing than planning a vacation, y'know?)

Celebrating . . . New digs for my dad!  By the time you read this post, we'll be loading up the moving van and transporting him to a new adventure -- right down the road.  It's been a lot of work -- but so worth it.  We're all ready for some settling-in -- and happy to have him near by.

And that's pretty much how things look for me here at the end of January.  What's going on for YOU . . . right now?

 


Right Now . . . November 2016

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November has been a crazy-busy month for me, end to end.  Filled with stresses and emotions and too-long ToDo lists . . . but also with love and gratitude and turkey!

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(These gorgeous flowers are from my mom's memorial service last Tuesday.  Aren't they lovely?)

Here's what's happening in my world . . . Right Now:

Watching - I finished watching The Crown last night.  I loved it.  Tom and I watched Love Actually the other night.  Other than that, not much watching going on.

Reading - But . . . I do have plenty of reading happening!  I finished reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (and winner of this year's National Book Award) just yesterday morning.  This is a powerful book -- one I will be thinking about for quite a while.  I also recently finished Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.  Again, powerful.  I have two books on library loan through Overdrive -- and I'm going to have to read fast because they're due far too soon (when it rains it pours, it seems): Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh and Hot Milk by Deborah Levy.  (Luckily, they're both on the short side.)  

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Knitting - I have been finding some time to knit a bit.  Not much, but some.  I'm knitting this sweater, and I'm nearing the end (just one more sleeve and the pockets).  On size 11 needles with bulky yarn, this one is clipping right along (so to speak; it's a relative statement).  I'm anxious to try some of these cute little guys -- and I'm still looking forward to knitting up some of these.

Drinking - Tea.   And plain old water-infused-with-oranges.  And wine.  (Natch.)

Humming - This one.  Four Strong Winds was one of my mom's favorites.  (She was from Alberta, you know.)  Erin sang it at the memorial service last week --- quite a bit different than Neil's version, of course.  Seeing that Erin's voice is classically trained.  And Neil's is . . . not.  Anyway.  I've been humming this song ever since.

Needing to - Resume my usual fitness routine.  Because my life has been so upside-down and inside-out lately that too many of my workouts have, well . . . pretty much disappeared.   (I also need to quit eating so much cheese.)  (But let's not talk about that.)

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Delighted by - Shhhhh.  It's kind of under the radar . . . but I'll let you in on a secret.  My knee has improved enough that I am running again.  Just a little.  And very slowly.  But I'm delighted.  (I'm also delighted by the shoelaces in my new running shoes.  Aren't they great?)

Looking forward to - Bringing light and winter comfort into my house during these dark times (seasonal AND political).  (Stay tuned.)

Celebrating - Something that I can't quite blog about yet.  But it's fun.  And I'll tell you as soon as I can.

Planning - A party.  The holidays.  My dad's move.  What to knit next.  Which book to load on my iPod.  Year-end tax stuff.  Pretty much . . . All The Things.

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Grateful for - These four goofballs.  I was so happy to have them all home last week.  I was happy to buy them drinks and take them out for dinner and laugh with them and listen to their banter.  It doesn't get much better!

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


 


Right Now - October 2016

October, you have been a busy month . . . with so very many lovely days. 

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Yesterday I finally had to break down and put on Real Shoes with a pair of Real Socks.  Although it always pains me to put on shoes again, I think this may actually be a Personal Record in terms of wearing flip flops right through the end of October!

Here's what's happening for me . . . Right Now:

Watching - Why . . . the Cubs, of course!  I'm also looking forward to The Crown, beginning on Netflix next week.

Reading - In my ears, I've got To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey, and in print, I'm reading His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet.  Both are excellent reads so far. I'm also reading Upstream, Mary Oliver's latest -- but I'm savoring it slowly and intentionally . . . doling out one chapter each morning with my coffee.

Knitting - Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  But I plan to rectify that situation soon -- by casting on some Squad Mitts.  And maybe this.  Because I need some immediate gratification knitting going on!

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Drinking - Peppermint tea!  (I've been in the mood for peppermint tea ever since spending time in the "Mint Room" at the Celestial Seasonings tour in Boulder back in August.)

Stuck in my Head - Doobie Brothers . . . Listen to the Music.

Needing to - Finish cutting back my perennials and bringing in all the little garden doodads.  (I'm late this year . . . because of the glorious fall weather we've been having.)

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Delighted by - Finding so many wonderful old family photos while sorting through the nooks and crannies of my parents' condo.  I certainly have my work cut out for me now . . . in the organizing and chronicling.  But what a treasure!

Looking forward to - The end of the election.  Really.  So. Sick. Of. It. All.  So ready to vote, already!

Planning - So very many things.  There's a lot going on in my life at the moment, and some days . . . I really wonder if I can manage everything.  But pieces are beginning to fall into place, and I have confidence that it's all going to work out.

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Celebrating - Can you believe that yesterday was Brian and Lauren's first anniversary already???  Time really does fly!  And today is my sister and brother-in-law's anniversary.  There is much love to celebrate!

Noticing - That the leaves are slower to turn than usual here in Michigan this year.  We still haven't hit peak-color here in my neighborhood, but it's been just lovely, watching the colors unfold gradually.

Grateful for - Working together with my dad and Tom to move, well . . . move mountains!

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

 

 


Right Now - September 2016

I just can't believe it's the end of September already.  My head is spinning.  How can this be?

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Yet . . . it's suddenly darker.  And cooler.  And the leaves are beginning to turn.  (Time flies.)  

Here's what's going on for me . . . Right Now.

Watching . . . As usual, not much on television or at the theater.  I've watched a few baseball games.  And I watched the debate the other night.  (Oh, brother.)  Best post-debate summary? Click here.  (And if you are the one person on the face of the earth who hasn't already seen this clip, do watch.  In the words of Ferris Bueller . . . "it is SO CHOICE.")

Humming . . . Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious.  (Because above.)

Reading . . . I've been reading a lot of poetry lately, mostly Mary Oliver.  I find it very soothing right now.  In print, I'm currently reading The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie.  I've been waiting MONTHS for this on Overdrive, so I'm thrilled to finally dive in.  (This one was nominated for both the Women's Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award.)  In my ears, I'm listening to The Dig by John Preston.  It's . . . fine.  Walking that fine line between Somewhat Interesting and Kind of Tedious.  (But it's short, so there is that.)

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Knitting . . . I've picked up this sweater again -- after quite a long hiatus.  There's actually not much left, but I'll be slogging along for awhile.  (Even though it's cotton.)  (And I had intended for it to be worn during the warmer months.)  I would say, actually, that it's quite likely I'll be wooed by something more . . . woolish soon.  Like maybe something from this great new book.  (Stay tuned.)

Drinking . . .  Hot tea.  It's suddenly (like overnight) turned very fall-ish, so a cup of tea is very comforting right now.

Itching to . . . Bring out the Woolen Garments.  It's Sweater Time!  (But . . . I am NOT yet putting on socks and "proper shoes.")

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Delighted by . . . Fall blooms.  (And toad lilies, in particular.)

Needing to . . . Clean out my herb garden (a true casualty of my lost summer).  Maybe there are things worth harvesting -- but I'm afraid my attention at this point will just be too-little-too-late.  Best to just clean it up and plan for next season.

Looking forward to . . . Tom and I have tickets to see Book of Mormon later in October.  We've not seen it before, but we're pretty sure we're going to like it.

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Creating . . . I'm back in my colored pencil class this semester.  Same great teacher; lots of great art-friends.  Still struggling with my drawings, but gaining more confidence all the time.  (This drawing is very much still in process.)  (But coming along.)  (And, yes.  That's a beer with jalapeños in it.)

Planning . . . My mom's memorial service.  My sister and I have lots of ideas, but please feel free to share any particularly meaningful things you've seen at services you've attended.  (I'm always looking for interesting ideas.)

Grateful for . . . All the support and kindness I've received from you!  The LOVE from this virtual community is more powerful and immediate than I ever, ever imagined.  Thank you.

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Noticing . . . The leaves just beginning to turn.  With our very suddenly-falling temperatures and the disappearing daylight, it's only a matter of time now . . . before fall color is everywhere.  

How about YOU?  What's happening for you . . . RIGHT NOW?


Finding the Good

So.  As I mentioned the other day, it's been a rough summer.  And August, in particular, has been Truly Crappy.  Usually, as the month wraps up, I put together a "Right Now" post.  But this month?  Not so much.  (Although you can be assured that I'm . . . drinking, reading, and dreading . . . every day.)

It's really easy to get swallowed up by the overwhelming tough stuff of life -- especially when it sweeps you away suddenly.  And completely.  

So I'm trying to find the good.  

Because it's still there.  Under all the crap and maybe hiding in the corners.

Like . . . despite my absolute breakdown in the gardening department, flowers are still blooming.

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And Erin came for a visit.  She even extended her stay by several days to offer help and support, which was lovely.

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Tom and I quietly celebrated our 35th anniversary earlier this week.

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A new gelato shop opened in my neighborhood!

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And tomorrow, thanks to a lot of last-minute problem-solving and a bit of magic (thanks, Di!), Tom and I are heading to Boulder for a quick visit with Brian and Lauren.  This trip has been on the books for quite a while -- and I'm very happy to not be canceling.

So.

There is good.

I just have to keep finding it.

Have a great weekend, and I'll be back after my trip.


Right Now - July 2016

July ... has just flown by in a flash!  (Probably because I was gone for half of it. . . )

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I still feel like I'm buried deep in "catching up" mode, but there are lots of other things going on, too.  Here's what's happening . . . RIGHT NOW:

Watching:  Although I'm keeping up with various convention speeches, I'm not watching any TV in real time. I am, though, watching the weeds grow in my garden; every day more and more.  

Reading:  I just finished The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild.  This one was short-listed for the Bailey's Women's Prize this year -- although I must admit to wondering why for the first 100 pages.  In the end, though, it was delightful, and I highly recommend it.  Now I'm reading The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney, the eventual winner of the Bailey's Women's Prize this year.  More Bingos are coming!

Knitting:  No changes since I shared a peek inside my knitting bag on Wednesday!

Humming:  This one . . . 

 

Drinking:  Lots of water.  It's been so very hot here . . . 

Itching to:  Dig out a little "extra" patch in my garden border and replant a few things.  But.  It's been so very hot here . . . 

Needing to:  Oh. My. Goodness.  If I don't catch up with all my paperwork, I'll be buried alive at my own desk.  Soon.

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Delighted by:  My little garden ponds.  Moving water is a delight in the height of summer.

Looking forward to:  A week up north (next week); I need another get-away already.

Planning:  I have a Big Idea.  But it's still in its very beginning stages.  So that's all I'm going to say about that for now.

Celebrating:  Improvement and baby steps.  (At this point, I'll take what I can get.)

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


Right Now - June 2016

Usually, here at the end of the month, I do a Right Now post.  You know.  Right Now . . . I'm watching, knitting, listening to, drinking, etc.

But this month?  June?  I just can't.

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Oh, it's been a GREAT month.  Filled with fun and parties and gardening and Carole and Dale and the kick-off of Tom's new consulting business.

But it's also been a rough month.  Because my mom is having some pretty significant health issues.  It's stressful for all of us, and I've been spending a lot of time on the road . . . or (as Tom photographed yesterday) on the phone.

And . . . right now . . . I'm packing for my trip* (we leave tomorrow), running to Holland for one more visit with my mom (and to pick up my sister; she arrived on Monday), and dealing with window installation (here's my garage).

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Right now?  I'm pretty much a mess.

How about YOU?

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* Guilt?  I'm soaking in it now. . . 


Right Now - May 2016

Oh, my.  Time is just completely getting away from me these days.  

Let's stop.  

And take a breath.  

And catch up with the end of May.  (Since June is already WAY underway!)

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Here's what's happening . . . RIGHT NOW:

Watching . . . Birds and toads and unfolding blossoms and weeds.  (Lots and lots of weeds.)

Reading . . . I'm already making a dent in my summer BINGO reading.  Last week, I finished The Boys in the Boat (a pretty good book about a most awesome feat) and The Dictionary of Mutual Understanding (. . . meh).  Next up? LaRose by one of my all-time favorites, Louise Erdrich (in my ears), and My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout (from the library).

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Knitting . . . It is summer.  And I am in full-KAL-mode.  First, I am slogging through this sweater as part of Kat's KAL (brilliant in it's simplicity).  (Plus cocktails.)  Second, I am trusting my knitting-soul to Kirsten Kapur and her Through the Loops Mystery Shawl!  (I think this is my fourth year.)

Listening to . . . Sirius radio in my car.  I've got The Bridge (just like listening to the radio in my high school days) or Classic Rewind (just like listening to the radio from college and Tom's grad school years - but with maybe a bit too much Van Halen for my taste) or Lithium (for my grunge craving) or Pearl Jam Radio (when I just need a bit of Eddie Vedder).  This all works for me!

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Drinking . . . Oh. Yeah.

Itching to . . . Have my NEW, IMPROVED windows installed!  We're having ALL NEW windows (and sliders) installed in our house.  We bit the bullet.  (Because pretty much like having college tuition again.)  But, now?  SO EXCITED.  (Unfortunately, it's going to be another month before it happens.)

Humming . . . Night Moves.  Bob Seger.  (I never know where these things come from.)  (Let's blame . . . Sirius radio.)

  

Needing to . . . Do some "deep dives" into heavily weeded areas of my garden . . . (wish me luck).

Dreading . . . A couple of "light" commitments coming up this week and next.  Neither is particularly terrible -- but, still.  They do not Bring Joy.

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Delighted by . . . Blooms!  Every day . . . blooms!

Looking foward to . . . Sailing off to Scotland and Ireland with my sister in a month!  (Oh, yes.  This thought gets me through rough spots in my days.)

Thinking about . . . ALL the Projects I want to get rolling on.  

Planning . . . A party.  A visit.  A trip.  (Now THAT sounds fun, doesn't it???)

How about YOU?  What's happening for you . . . RIGHT NOW?