Notable

This list came out this week in the New York Times.  Each year, I'm surprised by this list - the 100 Notable Books of [fill in year here].  I mean, I regularly scan the New York Times book reviews, and I (mainly) read from the longlists of the Man Booker Prize, the Women's Prize, and the National Book Award.

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And yet . . . 

I usually haven't even heard of the 100 Notable Books of [fill in year here]!

This year, I've read 5.  (Which includes one I'm in the midst of reading right now.)  And a few more are on my want-to-read list.  But not many.

So.

Looks like my list of possibilities just got longer.  (Again.)

How about YOU?  How many have you read? 


Sometimes Mondays

. . . feel like the start of something new.

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This year, I've decided to re-think all the ways I celebrate the holidays.   Kind of a . . .Kon-Mari of my holiday traditions.  I know it's time to let some things go -- and then, perhaps, I can make room for the new and the different.  Or just create some empty space to relax and enjoy.

And I'm kicking things off with a big Thanksgiving . . . shift.  
Because this will be the first year that none of my kids will be around my table.  In fact, this will be the first year that NO ONE (even Tom) will be around my table!  

This Thanksgiving, I'll be driving Tom to the airport  . . . so he can fly off for another fishing adventure at his favorite lodge in Patagonia.  I remember many, many months ago, when Tom was first arranging his trip, and he told me it would mean flying out on Thanksgiving Day.  My first thought was . . . (gasp) Not Thanksgiving!  But that thought only lasted about 15 seconds.  Because . . . why not?  We already knew the kids wouldn't be able to come home for Thanksgiving this year.  It would be just Tom and my dad and I anyway . . . 

So why not celebrate Thanksgiving on a different day???  We'll be celebrating with our turkey dinner tomorrow night! 

(And isn't this the perfect way to start my holiday shake-up?)


Big As the Nose On Your Face

So.

Yesterday I got a new phone.  (Very cool.)  But there was a little glitch in the setting-up . . . and I needed to "erase" and "re-pair" (not repair; just re-pair . . . as in bluetooth) my Apple Watch with my new phone.  (Not cool.)  Now, if you've read David Sedaris' newest book, Calypso, you'll be familiar with David's obsession with his FitBit and Apple Watch.  I'm just . . . slightly less obsessed with my Apple Watch.  So losing all my watch data and awards and records and all of that?  I got an eye twitch.  But only for a couple of minutes.  (It's not like I lost my contacts or my photos or anything. . . )  I'm coping.

Anyway.  Here's something fun for you to read today . . . while I play with my new phone and marvel at the facial recognition feature.

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A couple of weeks ago, I went to Chicago for the SOFA exhibition.  It was an overload of cool stuff.  And pricey stuff.  And some really bizarre stuff.  (More to come.  Eventually.)

Here's my favorite thing from the exhibition . . . 

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It's called "Truth Be Told" by artist Joan Rasmussen.

Joan, who creates her sculptures from found objects and clay, happened to be in the gallery space when I walked in, and she was happy to tell me all about the piece -- which is about 3 feet tall and designed to hang on a wall.

Joan told me that she found the little wooden cabinet first.  The cabinet has a hinged door that opens to reveal about 99 little compartments.  She knew as soon as she saw the cabinet that it would be a perfect torso, and she added the head and limbs to form a clown.

Inside the cabinet, Joan crafted a small "tablet" to fit into each compartment.  Each little tablet has a . . . lie . . . written on it.  Properly attributed to its teller, of course.

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Each tablet is attached to the cabinet, so you can easily fit them back in place, or you can let them rest on the shelf, or dangle from the compartments.  

Joan encouraged me to explore all the lies.  While most of them were political in nature (and certainly represent Joan's response to the current state of affairs), some were more innocuous . . . about Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, for example.  And the last tablet in the cabinet?

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A quote from Pinocchio, of course!

Best of all?  The clown is holding a counter in his hand.

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Each day, Joan checks a site like this one (which tracks the number of lies Trump has told since his inauguration) and adjusts the counter appropriately.  (The counter does get clicked during the day by gallery visitors like me, who can't help but add a few clicks to the counter.  Joan encourages this.)

I loved this piece.  (I actually loved ALL of Joan's work.  It's incredible.)  It was fun and whimsical . . . all the while making a point.  

And telling the truth.

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Have a great weekend!  (I'll just be sitting here.  Playing with my phone.)
 

 


In Other News

These days, I avoid watching and listening to the news, entirely.  I even limit myself when it comes to reading the news these days.  But, one thing I do every day . . . is scan the headlines.  (I want to know what's going on, but I don't want to upset myself with news-overload.  Y'know?)

Anyway.  Sometimes the headlines are . . . interesting!  My son-in-law, Keith, has a little project going.  He's "collecting" strange and humorous headlines, and I've decided to help.  (Unsure, of course, if my help is welcome or annoying.  But he's a very good sport and seems to be willing to humor me.)  Here are three I've sent him recently:

1 - From our local online "newspaper":

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2 - And here's another gem from our local online news source:

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3 - And, saving the best for last, here's my favorite headline EVER . . . from NPR:

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(If you want to actually read that NPR story, here's the link.)

And now you know what to do if you stumble across an odd headline . . . send them on to me!  And I'll pass them along to Keith.  (Until he cries "uncle"!)

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Be sure to stop in at Carole's for more Three on Thursday posts!

 


Unraveling . . . On Paper

I'm busy, knitting a few Christmas presents (and making fine progress, I might add; no panic at this point), so I have nothing to show for it here yet.  

In the meantime, here are a couple of other things I've been . . . unraveling.  I finished my colored pencil drawing of the water lily in my garden pond a couple of weeks ago.

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And then I started a drawing of my lake up at the cottage.  (If you use your imagination, and squint just a bit, you can maybe-sorta-see that there is mist coming off the water.)

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Still a way to go on the lake drawing, but I'm not tempted to throw it in the trash!  (Which is the drawing equivalent of . . . unraveling.)

How about YOU?  What are you working on this week?

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If you're curious about what I've been knitting -- and you happen to be on Ravelry (Ha!  None of my gift-recipients are. . . ) -- you can see this and this.

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Be sure to visit Kat today, for actual knitting (and, hopefully, not much actual unraveling).


Thinking About . . . 60

Way back . . . in 1996 . . . as my mom was getting ready to celebrate her 60th birthday, she struggled.  The whole concept of aging was hard for her to accept, and she fought it.

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(My mom and dad in July 1996, as they celebrated their 40th anniversary -- days after my mom's 60th birthday.)

I think that, somehow, for my mom, "turning 60" meant walking through a door clearly marked ELDERLY.

I didn't understand this at all at the time, and quite frankly, I probably didn't try that hard.  Because as my mom was turning 60, I was 37.  With a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old. . .  

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And a job.  And a dog.  And a husband who worked really hard.  And we were building our cottage.  And I was applying for grad school.  So.  Probably not at my most sympathetic.

And especially because my mom was vibrant, active, beautiful!  Not . . . OLD.  And certainly not on the verge of elderly.

But, at 60, she was mourning her younger self.  The smooth skin.  The tiny waist.  Jeans that fit.  Feeling good in a bathing suit.  A sense that life had meaning and purpose . . . and a future.  She was beginning to feel time slipping away.  And she didn't like it at all.

Eventually, she snapped out of it and got through it.  She turned 60 and settled into her life and pretty soon, we kind of forgot the difficulties she had . . . turning 60.

Fast forward . . . 23 years.

Now, it's me on the cusp of 60.

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I've been thinking a lot about my mom.  Remembering what a hard time she had when she was standing where I am today.  And I've been thinking about how . . . I don't feel like my mom did.  At all.  Not even a little bit.

It makes me wonder why.  What's the difference?  Why was 60 so hard for my mom . . . but not for me?  

First, there's the cancer thing.  Once I got through chemo, I just didn't care about how old I was anymore.  Because getting older . . . means you're still alive!  And, for me, that's a gift.  (More birthdays!  Yes, please!)

So there is that perspective.  But even without the cancer thing, I just don't feel bad about getting older.  Sure, there are things that just suck about aging (lack of collagen in the skin, for example, or degrading eyesight; colonoscopies; the shingles shot. . .to name just a few), but generally, I feel READY to to turn 60.  
Ready to embrace my years -- ALL of them.  
Ready to tackle aging -- with intention!

Because, really.
What ELSE is there to do about it?

So.
As I turn 60 next year, I'm going to be exploring . . . aging with intention.  I want to embrace turning 60 (and 70) (and 80) . . . 

  • feeling as good as I can
  • feeling as happy as I can
  • feeling as badass as I can

So stay tuned.
(Because we're all in this together.)


Sometimes Mondays

. . . look like you better get your butt in gear.

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(Yeah.  This photo has nothing to do with Mondays at all.  But it is pretty.  And it will serve to remind me that I still owe you a post about the SOFA exhibit I went to in Chicago . . . 10 days ago already.  Because this is one of the photos I took at SOFA.)

Last week became one of those "lost weeks" for me.  Between the election and then that dang shingles shot . . . and then feeling like I was entitled to a bit of a break because of that dang shingles shot . . . and some other commitments, I just sort of checked out on Regular Life.

Definitely time to get my butt in gear!
(And how about YOU?  How's your Monday looking so far?)


Friday Fish Wrap

It's been a weird week here (between the election and my shingles shot, the days just disappeared), so I'm ready to wrap things up . . . with a Friday Fish Wrap!

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(Yep.  That's the same view I featured in yesterday's blog post.  Only . . . now with added snow.)

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I don't know about you, but I had a moment of near-panic yesterday . . . when I realized that Thanksgiving was only 2 weeks away.  (Really.  How did that even happen???)  So.  The holiday season is (pretty much) upon us.  It's time to think about d├ęcor and food flourishes and such.

Like . . . this (from The Chic Site).

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Are these not the coolest DIY ice buckets you've ever seen?  Click here for a wonderful, detailed, step-by-step tutorial on how to make your own festive ice bucket.

(I'm planning to try make one or two for our Solstice Party next month.)

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How about . . . a little fictional speculation . . . to read in front of a cozy fire???  

Late last month, the New York Times Book Review asked 5 novelists to do a little speculating . . . about what might happen next . . . in terms of Trump, post-Mueller.  

Here's the result:  Trump's Next Chapter.

(Happy reading.)

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Here we are, deep into November (already), with thoughts of gratitude, of giving, of helping, of serving on our minds.  Here's an idea for you.

Glennon Doyle (author, truth-teller, and general all-around rabble-rouser and founder of Together Rising) is sponsoring the 8th annual Holiday Hands program.  This incredibly personal program offers a way to match people who need something this holiday season (help to put gifts under the Christmas tree, food for a holiday meal, basic things I take for granted every day that make life a little easier and more pleasant) with people who want to share.

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You can read more about the Holiday Hands program here.  Right now, Glennon is collecting the needs.  On Tuesday, November 13, she'll be ready to match those needs with people who have something to give.  

I've never participated in this program before, but I'm going to check in on Tuesday . . . to see if there's anything I can do or contribute.  (It looks like the matching happens super fast -- she mentions in her post that the 700 needs last year were fulfilled in 6 hours -- so don't dilly-dally if you're interested in helping someone through this program.)

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Recently, I was talking to a non-knitter about knitting.  She had admired one of my lacy shawls, and I explained that it wasn't all that complicated, really.  It just took some concentrating -- and counting.  After all, I explained to her, knitting is just 2 simple stitches . . . that you can arrange in endless varieties and patterns.  Kind of like . . . morse code . . . I told her.

(It was this one. . . )

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And then I stumbled onto this article about wartime spies . . . who used knitting as an espionage tool!  I mean, really.  Knitting . . . that totally innocuous activity and pastime of Grandmas the world over . . . an espionage tool???  Yes!  It's true.

Knitting as morse code!  (Can't you just picture it?  Purl one if by land; knit two if by sea. . . )

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Speaking of knitting, be sure to read the latest about Project Peace 2018.  Dates to note:

  • Pattern details will be released on November 15 on Ravelry.  (That's next week, folks.  November is whizzing by. . . )
  • Pattern instructions will be released on December 1.

As in past years of Project Peace, Christina will be providing periodic prompts and thoughts about peace throughout December.  This year, she'll also be releasing extra Peace Project patterns in January and February (so you can keep that Peace-full knitting going all winter long).  

Read more about Project Peace and Christina's plans on her blog -- and spread the word!  

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"First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others."
                        ---- Thomas A. Kempis

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I'm always looking for fun cocktail napkins (like good bumper stickers, only more fleeting and they don't mess up your car).  Someone brought this one to a little gathering at my art class yesterday . . . 

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Good one, non?

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And, lastly, just some glamour shots of one of my favorites -- Jamie Lee Curtis, in all of her realness.  Because we can always use a bit of awesome, y'know?

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And . . . that's a wrap!  Have a great weekend, y'all.

 


A New Day

Today, I am returning to the world.  Slowly, but surely.  And I am thankful . . . 

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For the flexibility to carve out time to just roll with a rather nasty reaction to my shingles shot.  (As in . . . sleeping for 18 hours in a 24 hour time span.)

For Vernors . . . because when you're not feeling well, there is nothing quite like it.  (Thanks, Tom.)

For having completed the 2-shot regimen and never having to go through this again!  (Also . . . for effective shingles protection.)

How about you?  What are you thankful for today?

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Be sure to visit Carole today for more Three on Thursday posts.

 


Totally Unraveled

Yesterday I had my 2nd (of two) shingles immunizations.  (Shingrix -- the new and highly effective vaccine against shingles.)  When I had my first one, my doctor didn't warn me of the side effects.  (In fact, he told me there really were none.)  (Which proved to be Not True.)  Anyway, I had some pretty dramatic - and surprising - side effects.  As in . . . I was out of commission for a full day after the shot.  (Think flu symptoms and you've pretty much got it.)

So, when it was time for my 2nd immunization, I planned a bit more.  I cleared my schedule and warned people that I might be feeling bad.  And I kept my fingers crossed that maybe for the second go-round, I wouldn't feel so bad.

But, no.  
Here I am.  
Feeling like total crap today.  
(But I won't get shingles, which has got to be WAY worse than a couple of days of flu-like symptoms, y'know?)

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Let's just say . . . I'm totally unraveled today!  
So I'll just sit and knit . . . and nap . . . and sip my tea.  And wait for my symptoms to pass.

(And, on the plus side, I woke up today in a Michigan where weed is legal, gerrymandering is outlawed*, voting laws are loosened, and my Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and U.S. Senator are all Democrats -- AND WOMEN!  If that doesn't help my flu-like symptoms, I don't know what could.)  (Well.  Actually I do.  But this is a good start.)

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* This one is especially satisfying because Betsy DeVos and her family POURED money into the campaign for the opposition.  (Ha.)

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Be sure to hop over to Kat's for more Unraveled stories.