Working From Home

We've been up at our cabin this week . . . and we've come home for a day before turning around and heading back. (Gotta pick up the mail. Water my containers. Check out the garden. Go to the library.) (And do something extra exciting, too!*)

Before heading up north last week, though, I was busy . . . working from home.
My office . . . 


I finally got my containers planted!


Those photos are all a week old now. I'm amazed at how much/how quickly things have filled in since then! It's hot and dry here this summer, so I'm not sure how they'll do longer term. Especially because I'm not here every day to water. But I have a trick up my sleeve! (I just received some self-watering "devices" I'm going to try. I'll keep you posted.)


*And now . . . for the excitement!

Tonight, we pick up our California girl at the airport for a week's visit. I can hardly contain myself! We haven't seen her since Christmas 2019!


I'll be taking a blog break next week . . . to enjoy every moment of Erin's visit. See you in a week! Enjoy yourselves!


Even Up North

A couple of month ago, I shared a post proclaiming my love (and Tom's too) of bulletin boards. (You can read it here in case you missed it.) This morning, I realized that my love of the humble bulletin board extends to our up north cabin!

Here's the view of our back hallway (back hallway? HA! What am I talking about? I mean THE hallway!) . . . 


What's on it?
Certainly not as much "stuff" as we have on our bulletin boards at home. But an interesting collection all the same!

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Something to make you laugh. Some phone numbers. The complete rules to horseshoes. And a spare "head net" for when the bugs are just TOO buggy. (One size fits all.)

For Tom and I . . . there is no escaping the blank canvas of a bulletin board!
Even Up North.


My view from the pontoon yesterday . . . 

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Hope your week is going well. We're heading back home this afternoon. There is excitement afoot . . . 


Summer Ease

I am all about the ease this summer. 

No big plans. No big events. No big expectations. Just . . . ease.

Kick back.
See what unfolds.
And drink it in.

That's my plan.

My knitting right now is all about ease, too.


This is the back piece (now complete) of this summer tank top. The yarn I'm using - Berroco Mantra (stonewash variety; it also comes in solid colors) - is 100% silk. It knits like a dream. It drapes like a dream. I'm hoping it fits like a dream. 

It's a perfect project when your goal is . . . summer ease.


How about you?
What are you making right now?


Be sure to visit Kat today for more Unraveled posts.

Read With Us: Let's Talk About It

Read With Us

Welcome to Read With Us book discussion week!

Bonny and Carole and I are each posting a different question (or questions) on our blogs today about our latest RWU book . . . Shuggie Bain. Join the discussion (which you're welcome do even if you didn't read the book).  I'll be answering your posts within the comment section for this discussion -- and you can comment on other people's comments, as well. Y'know . . . like in a real book group. (Please know . . . that because of the limitations of Typepad, I can't "layer" or "stack" the comments in my comment feed. Sorry. Bear with me.)

Let's begin. . . 


First . . . I'd really like to know what you thought of the book. How did it make you feel? Did you like it? Do you think it deserved to win the 2020 Booker Prize?

Next . . . The author uses Scottish dialect throughout the novel. What does this add to the narrative, and how did you find reading it if you weren't familiar with some of the words?

Last . . . Shuggie has two older siblings who eventually escape their dysfunctional mother. How do you feel about them leaving Shuggie behind? Was it their responsibility to protect him? Or were they right to try to save themselves?

I can't wait to hear what you think!


Don't forget: We'll be discussing the book on Zoom tonight - 7:00 pm Eastern Time. There's still time for you to join us! Just let me know of your interest either with a comment or by sending me an email (see sidebar, above) -- and I'll send a Zoom invitation. 

PS - If you have signed up for the Zoom, but you haven't received an invitation from me by noon today, please let me know so I can re-send the invitation to you.


Rocking the COVID Hair

The New Yorker did a special photo feature last week . . . The Unexpected Beauty of COVID Hair. It's pretty fabulous to see all that gray!

Several of my local friends decided to just let their gray hair grow out during the pandemic. A couple of them are leaving it; a couple of them have decided to go back to coloring. As for me? Well. I already had the gray thing going with my hair. (That was a post-chemo thing for me, when I decided I didn't want to waste my time, energy, and money coloring my hair any more, so my hair has been gray since 2009 when it grew back.) But it's been fun to feel "in sisterhood" with all the others using the pandemic as an opportunity to grow out those roots.

I didn't need to "go gray" during the pandemic (since already did that), but I did use the pandemic as a "cover" while growing my hair longer.

I had actually decided to grow my hair out some months before the pandemic arrived. I had a style in mind back then -- something "to grow for" -- and my hair stylist was helping me "manage" my hair so I could get there - eventually - without looking like a feral animal in the process. 

Here I was . . . back in mid-February 2020 . . . right after (what - surprise! - turned out to be) my last haircut for a very long time! (I thought it was long then. Just sayin.)


I didn't get my haircut again until I had it trimmed up a few months ago. By then, I'd gone through several awkward stages, grown out my bangs, and completely given up on that style I was working toward before the the pandemic hit. (Because who needs to fuss with a round brush and flat iron every day, huh?)

My hair now? At this end of the pandemic?


My hair hasn't been this long since, oh . . . 1983?

Friends ask me . . . what are you going to do with it now that you can get a haircut? And I have no answer. I just don't know. I have no plan for my hair. It's far easier to deal with now than it was when it was fussy and required styling every day in the Before Times. I like being able to pull it back in a ponytail. And I got through the hard part of growing it out when I wasn't going anywhere or seeing anyone anyway. (Besides, Tom says my hair reminds him of Emmylou Harris now. And that is NOT a bad thing.)

So I think I'll just keep going with it for awhile and see where it lands.

(Kinda like I did after chemo.)
Apparently I mark challenging times with a change of 'do.


How about you? Are you rocking any COVID hair?


Don't forget: TOMORROW - Tuesday June 8 - is Read With Us book discussion day for Shuggie Bain. Visit Bonny, Carole, and I on our blogs tomorrow to check out our discussion question posts AND then . . . join us for the Shuggie Zoom later that same evening at 7:00 pm Eastern. Let me know in the comments (or email me) if you'd like to join the Zoom so I can include you on the invitation.





Garden Explosion

"In early June the world of leaf and blade and flowers explodes and every sunset is different."
                --- John Steinbeck


This is truly a wonderful time of the season in my garden.
John Steinbeck was right. Leaf and blade and flowers . . . everything is exploding right now! The Bloom Show is about to begin.

Last night, as the sun was beginning to go down, the dogs and I headed out to water the trees. We're having a terrible drought here in my corner of the world; most unusual for this time of year. And, sadly, my sprinkler system is not up to the task and we're having trouble getting anyone out to look into it. Covid, they say. Short-staffed, they say. Let's just say . . . I'm dragging hoses to the garden beds and giving up on the grass.



Things in the garden are looking good.

The plants have grown up enough to cover up the (never-ending, always-growing) weeds. Plus, Tom's freshly laid mulch helps! And the flowers are beginning to put on their show.


Lots of purples right now. (And I really wish you could smell that wisteria. The whole backyard smells divine.)


(This is Baptisia, or wild indigo. It doesn't bloom for long, but it's glorious at the moment.)

My Satomi dogwood is really putting on a great show this year, too.


I love dogwood trees . . . but the Satomi is my favorite. It blooms later and for longer than most dogwoods, and while the flowers are white at the beginning, they gradually turn pink as the show continues. It's pretty fabulous.


I really love this time of year in the garden.

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So much hope. So much promise. 
(So much work.)

But now is the time for the payoff.


JoJo thinks so, too!


Have a lovely weekend, everyone.
(Mine will be lovely . . . once I get some dental work done later this morning. Ugh. I cracked a tooth and now need an unexpected crown. . . )

Enjoy whatever's blooming in your world.


R-E . . . or The Word That Got Away

Although it’s very welcome, the “re-opening” of . . . well . . . nearly everything sort of knocked me for a loop. I knew it would happen eventually . . . that once enough people got the vaccine, we’d surely be able to start moving around and doing things, taking off our masks and worrying if we had anything stuck in our teeth again. (Y’know.) But it just came about so quickly! And it’s been confusing, sort of. Do I wear a mask? Can I eat inside? Should I travel? What is safe, really, anyway?

It’s just . . . a lot of change.
After so much change.
And it’s hard to process and manage. Sure. I’m thrilled. But I also want to be . . . thoughtful. After all, now is one of those Big Chance times in life . . . an iedeal opportunity to rethink the way we live our lives -- and maybe to make some changes.


The other day, Tom shared an article with me about just this kind of thing: taking off our masks and moving forward, but maybe just a little differently. I read it and immediately thought . . . 

YES! It’s a real Re. . . . . .

Ummmmm. What????
Yeah. When I read the article, a word - a perfect word - came to mind for what this article described. Taking off our masks and moving forward, but maybe just a little differently . . . was going to create a Re. . . . .

The perfect word had been there for me, but it was one of those words that turned out to be elusive; one of those words that flickered away before I could grab hold of it. (Don’t be alarmed. This happens to me sometimes with ideas or words. Not a lot, but once in a while. And it has for years and years. It’s not a sign of dementia, and I’m not losing my mind. It’s just a thought that flickers in and out on the periphery of my busy brain before I “catch” it in some way.)

Anyway. It was bugging me so much that I couldn’t remember this word that so perfectly described my feeling when I read that article . . . that I stopped thinking about the article and focused on the dang word! Then, of course, when I was doing something like working in the garden or carting laundry around . . . it would flicker in again, but just for a second. So annoying. And I WANTED that word!


I knew it started with R-E . . . so I started thinking about R-E words. (There are a lot of them, by the way.)

Reorganize? Realign? Reorder? Restructure?

No. It was none of those. Although they could actually work, because they perfectly describe how many of us feel about putting our lives back together, post-Covid.

Remake? Rebuild? Repurpose? Revamp?

No. It was none of those either. But, again, they also perfectly describe our efforts at picking up the pieces after the last year-and-3-months. So . . . they could work, too.

Reconnect? Reconvene?

Nope. Not my word. But most of us are looking for ways to get together with people we’ve missed and gatherings we long for. So those words are also appropriate.

Reiterate? Reignite? Regenerate?

No. Not my word. But, again, yes. That IS what we’re looking to do.


No. But I think . . . closer?

And then, quietly . . . it snuck up on me!


Yep! That’s the one! 

Taking off our masks and moving forward, but maybe a little differently . . . is creating a great RECKONING for us. It’s an opportunity to think about what we want to let go of, what we want to hold onto, and how we want to step out - masks off - into this changed world.


Now that I’ve Reclaimed my R-E word, I’m ready to think more about my own post-Covid Reckoning

Stay tuned!


Speaking of a Great Reckoning . . . Tom’s little “pandemic project” has come to an end! It was fun while it lasted, but he was several exits past “ready” for a haircut.

Before (15 months of no haircuts) . . . 


After (goodbye ponytail). . .


Just In Time

Ten years ago . . . I knit a baby sweater for our first grandnephew. It seemed a fitting thing . . . to knit a tiny sweater for a tiny guy, the newest member of Tom's clan. And when his sister came along a couple of years later, I knit a sweater for her, too. And her sister, after that. And then another nephew started his family, and I knit a couple more sweaters. And then another nephew started his family, and I knit another.

Basically, I became the Great Aunt Who Knits Sweaters . . . 

I finished another one over the weekend.


And just in time, too! Because another grandnephew arrived on the scene just last night.

Of course, it'll be awhile yet before the tiny babe will be able to fit into this one. There's plenty of growing room there!


It's a tiny sweater for a tiny guy, the newest member of Tom's clan.
(I kind of love being the Great Aunt Who Knits Sweaters.)

If you're interested in the details, you can find them on my project page over on Ravelry.


Be sure to visit Kat today, for more Unraveled posts.


Sliding Into June With a Reminder

I hope you all enjoyed a pleasant extended weekend.

I'm welcoming June with a quick reminder: Our next Read With Us book discussion is coming right up!

Read With Us

First, the book . . . 


Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart. If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, you still have time. Although it's a longer book, it's quite compelling and doesn't take as long to read as you think it might. (You'll want to get started soon, though.) You can probably pick it up at your local library or bookstore (it's out in paperback now), and it's available on Kindle for $8.67 right now if you like to read on an e-reader. (And I'm sure it would fit quite nicely into one of your Summer Book Bingo squares!)

Then, the discussion.

We'll be talking about the book on Tuesday, June 8 -- both on our blogs and with a Zoom meet-up. 

  • Bonny, Carole, and I will each post a different discussion question on our blogs next Tuesday -- June 8. Feel free to post your thoughts about the book by commenting throughout the discussion week.
  • Later that same evening, we'll be hosting a Zoom meet-up at 7:00 pm to discuss the book "live" and in person. If you want to join us (and we hope you will; we've really enjoyed the previous two Read With Us Zooms), all you need to do is . . . let us know! Just RSVP by leaving a comment on any of our blogs beginning today -- or you can send us an email. I'll be sending out the Zoom information prior to the meet-up -- AND I'll be sending out some background information about the book and the author to deepen our understanding of the book prior to the discussion.

If you've read the book - or if you're still planning to - we hope you'll join us for the discussion on June 8.

And . . . welcome June!