Even More Poetry

Wasn't it wonderful yesterday -- filling your pockets with poetry?  I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did!

During April (National Poetry Month), it is my intention. . . to share some of my favorite poems and poets with you.  Poems and poets that you may not be familiar with yet.  Poems that are accessible, insightful, and even FUN.  Poems I think you'll like.

Like this one . . . 

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Pulling Up Beside My Husband at the Stoplight
by Marjorie Saiser

We are going to the same place
but we take two cars.
Sunday morning and there’s not much traffic,
so I pull up beside him at the stoplight.

There he is, in his car,
beside my car,
the profile of his face in the window,
the brown of his hair against his neck.  He turns
and blows me a kiss.
I watch it float on by. . . . I ask for another.

I remember then how he wakes me on the workday mornings,
his boots across the carpet of the dark bedroom,
the scent of his face when he locates me in the covers,
kisses my eyebrow and the corner of my mouth,
tells me the weather report
and the precise time of day.

So. . . I roll down my window, whistle in my throat,
pull my glasses crooked on my face,
do my best baboon snorting,
pound the horn as if it were bread dough.
There is only the lady in the white Buick,
but he is embarrassed, glad to see the green.

Me--I’m stepping on the gas, catching up,
wondering what I can do at 56th and Calvert.

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Marjorie Saiser is one of my favorite poets -- and another voice from Nebraska.  (I think there's just something about the Great Plains - the heartland - that inspires hauntingly beautiful poetry.)  I first discovered Marjorie Saiser's poetry when I picked up her award-winning "novel-in-poem" Losing the Ring in the River.  Since then, I have greatly expanded my list of Marjorie Saiser favorites!  I love the poem I'm featuring here today - Pulling Up Beside My Husband at the Stoplight - because (in the words of the poet herself, in the introduction to the poem on her website) "poems, like life, should be sometimes nothing but fun, don’t you think?" Ms. Saiser has won numerous awards and critical recognition for her poetry, including an Academy of American Poets Prize, the Vreelands Award, the Nebraska Literary Heritage Award and several Nebraska Book Awards. She was named 2009 Distinguished Artist in Poetry by the Nebraska Arts Council. Ted Kooser (featured in my post earlier this month) has said that "no contemporary poet is better at writing about love" than Saiser.  Check out more of Marjorie Saiser's poetry here.

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The poem Pulling Up Beside My Husband at the Stoplight is from Beside You at the Stoplight, published by The Backwaters Press Press in 2010.  Poem copyright Marjorie Saiser, and printed in this blog post with the author's permission.

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AND . . . don't forget!  It's your LAST CHANCE to leave a comment if you're interested in my April Stash Giveaway!  (The deadline is TODAY at 5pm EST.)  (The winner will be notified by email tonight.)

 


In My Pockets

What's usually in my pockets?

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Used tissues, a lipstick, and poop bags. 

What's in my pocket today?

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A poem, of course!  

(I printed several to share with my art class this afternoon and my book group tonight.)

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

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I hope your pockets are full of poetry today!

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If you have a minute and 10 seconds to spare today, here's a real treat:  Mary Oliver, herself, reading this poem.  (So worth it.)

 


In Season

I am not a terribly speedy knitter.  
And I'm a pretty dull knitter.  Meaning . . . I pick something I want to knit, and then I knit it.  Almost always until it is finished.  And I'm usually just devoted to one knitting project at a time.

And that means . . . I'm usually off by a season whenever I end up knitting something to wear.

Like, well.  Just before I knit the bunnies, I had decided that I wanted to knit this.  In wool.  (I even swatched.) Because it's still cold.  And a new wool pullover appeals to me pretty much any time except in summer's heat. 

But I know what would happen.  I'd get started, and then I'd finish.  But it would be the end of May.  And then I'd have to put it away until fall.  And, sure.  That's a fine thing.  Because next fall, I'd open my drawer of sweaters and be so pleasantly surprised to find a new one, ready and waiting.

That's what happens to me all the time!  (Just last week, for example, I was delighted to open my sweater drawer and find a lovely linen Tegna -- all knit up but never worn, waiting to greet the spring.)  (Because I finished it in October as the temperatures were plummeting and winter was calling.)

Anyway.

I decided to try something new.

I decided to . . . knit in season for a change!

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I'm making this sweater in this yarn.  It will be perfect for the warm weather months.  Maybe even the soon-to-be-here warm weather months!

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Now wouldn't that be nice and seasonal?

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Be sure to stop by over at Kat's today for more Unravelled posts.  AND . . . don't forget to leave a comment if you're interested in my April Stash Giveaway!  (The deadline is this Friday at 5pm EST.)


Summing It Up

Okay.

So, last week I wrote a blog post that asked a question:  What's stopping you from starting to focus on your fitness?

I'm just gonna admit it.  This was a scary thing for me to do.  Because what if you thought I was full of crap, talking about fitness on a (sort of) knitting kind of blog.  What if you weren't interested?  What if I was just way off base on that topic?  What if . . . no one even responded???

But.  I think I wasn't really off base.  Because you DID respond.  And I am so honored to have received your responses.  (Thank you.)

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It turns out that many of us share the same barriers to working on our fitness:

  • TIME  . . . turns out to be The Biggie.  Finding it.  Having enough.  Balancing it with our other priorities.
  • What I call "The Hassle Factor" is also big.  Needing to change in and out of appropriate clothes.  Having the right gear.  The distance to a gym.  Sweat.  Dealing with our hair.  Depending on someone else's schedule (the gym's, for example).
  • Boredom.  Just not liking to exercise, generally.  And being bored while we're doing it.
  • Needing to find a partner or "accountability buddy."  Because for many of us, it's easier to exercise with a friend.
  • Health issues.  It's not as easy to move as it once was.  Injuries mean we need to change up our preferred ways of moving.  It's hard to get started again after a set-back.
  • Weather.  Too hot.  Too cold.  Too windy.  Too icy.
  • Isolation.  If we living in a rural area, it's hard to find a convenient gym.  Or a nearby exercise buddy.

It also turns out that many of us are motivated by the same things when we do focus on our fitness:

  • Wanting to feel better.  Lose some weight.  Be healthier.
  • Being part of a "community" of exercise friends and "accountability buddies."
  • Our dogs!
  • Wearing our fitness trackers or watches.
  • Finding good instructors or trainers.
  • Our grandchildren.
  • Endorphins.

We're very willing to share our advice and tips for what does work for us:

  • Figure out what you like to do, then do that.
  • Find the time of day that works best for you.
  • Mix things up to avoid boredom.
  • Schedule your fitness first, and then work your schedule around that.
  • There's a lot of value in a 10-minute workout.

Best of all . . . You shared your mantras!

  • "Get outside and GO." (Margene)
  • "I can do anything for 10 minutes." (Carolyn)
  • "I'm training for my next decade." (Yvonne)

So.
Now what?

Oh, stay tuned!
(Because now I'm really motivated!)

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Don't forget to check out this month's Stash Giveaway.  Comment by Friday at 5pm EST if you're interested!

 


Time Again

. . . for another stash giveaway!

This month, I have 4 skeins of Noro Ayatori in a charcoal/grey/chartreuse mix.

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This (now discontinued) sport-weight Noro yarn is 60% wool and 40% silk, and feels very much like a slightly thinner version of Noro Silk Garden.  There is 155 yards per skein, and the yarn would make a great scarf or shawl.  Originally, I had planned to knit this scarf with it -- and I still think that would be a great option.  And check out this Hitchhiker knit with this very yarn!  

The yarn is especially lovely -- but it has been sitting in my stash for a very long time now.  It's time for it to go out in the world and bring joy to another knitter!

How about YOU?  Would it bring you joy?

Let me know in the comments - by this Friday.  I'll choose a winner on Friday at 5:00 pm EST (through a highly scientific, random draw-a-name-from-a-hat process), and will contact the new joyful owner for their address by email.

Thanks for letting me share the joy!

(Tell your friends.)


 


It's Friday . . . Let's Celebrate with Poetry

During April, it is my intention. . . to share some of my favorite poems and poets with you.  Poems and poets that you may not be as familiar with, but that are still accessible and full of insight.  Poems and poets I think you'll like.

Poems and poets like this one . . . 

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Balance
by Jane Hirshfield

Balance is noticed most when almost failed of --

in an elephant's delicate wavering
on her circus stool, for instance,
or that moment
when a ladder starts to tip but steadies back.

There are, too, its mysterious departures.

Hours after the dishes are washed and stacked,
a metal bowl clangs to the floor,
the weight of drying water all that altered;
a painting vertical for years
one morning - why? - requires a restoring tap.

You have felt it disappearing
from your own capricious heart -- 
a restlessness enters, the smallest leaning begins.

Already then ineveitable,
the full collision,
the life you will describe afterward always as 'after.'

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Jane Hirshfield (one of my very favorite poets) is known for combining keen philosophical meditation with spare domestic observation; she often writes of turning points or moments of insight that resonate with readers.  A prolific poet, Jane Hirshfield is also an essayist and translator, and she has published two important anthologies of poetry by women.  Two interesting facts about Jane Hirshfield:  She graduated from Princeton as a member of the first graduating class there to include women, and she took a break in her early career to study at the San Francisco Zen Center.  You can learn more about her here.

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The annual Poem-in-Your-Pocket day is Thursday, April 18 this year.  Think about sharing YOUR favorite poem with your friends next Thursday.

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The poem Balance is from Given Sugar, Given Salt, published by Harper Collins in 2001.  Poem copyright Jane Hirshfield.


Greeting Spring In My Garden

"I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose, I would always greet it in a garden."
                    --- Ruth Stout

Spring is fickle, to be sure. 

But it's also. . .  here.  (Finally.)  
And Ruth Stout is right: I will always choose to greet it in my garden.  
Which is definitely coming back to life!

Sweet crocus are blooming.

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My hellebores are waking up.

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And my larch tree is greening up again.

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My garden is the perfect place to greet the spring!
(Even though it's cold and windy today.)  (But, hey.  No snow.)

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Head over to Carole's today for more Three on Thursday.


Because You're Never Too Old . . .

for an Easter Basket from your mom, are you?

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These little guys are so cute -- and so quick and easy to knit.  (You could easily crank one or two out by Easter. . . )  (Just sayin.)  I just used scraps from a couple of other projects.  And I used ready-made pompoms (because my pompom game is not up to par when it comes to smaller sizes).

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Wouldn't you love some"bunny" to love?

(Ravelry details here.)

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See what's Unraveling today over at Kat's!


Let's Start With What's Stopping You

I've been doing a lot of reading and thinking lately . . . about physical wellness . . . and, specifically, about exercise.  Or working out.  Or fitness.  Or whatever we choose to call it.

And why it's so very hard for most people to DO.

(Because it is.)

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I decided I don't need to write a blog post about WHY we should focus more on our fitness.  Because we already know that.  

I decided I needed to write a blog post about . . . what's stopping us from doing it.  What is it, exactly, that's keeping YOU from a fitter YOU?  Could it be . . . 

  • that you just really don't like exercising?
  • that you hate to sweat?
  • that you don't know where to start?
  • or that you've "failed" so many times before you just can't bear to try again?
  • or maybe because you're just too busy?
  • don't have time?
  • don't have energy?
  • that you don't have a gym nearby?
  • or that you hate gyms?
  • that you'll do it some other time . . . later . . . ?
  • that you don't think you can do it on your own?

There are so many reasons for not doing it; so many reasons for not moving.  
What . . . do you think . . . is the nugget of something that keeps you from moving?

I think that's the place we should start!

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Let's discuss this!  Leave a comment and let me know what's stopping you from starting . . . working on your fitness.  And - if you have started (yay!), please share your tips.  Because we can all learn from each other.  

I'll put together a little summary for next week -- and share some things I've been reading lately that may help us all get moving.


Moody Broody Lake Michigan

On Saturday, Tom and I were in South Haven (Tom and 4 friends having just run a 33.5-mile relay from Kalamazoo to South Haven on the Kal-Haven Trail).  While Saturday started out foggy in Kalamazoo, the fog burned off during the run and it ended up as one of those beautiful, sunny, blue-sky spring days.

A great day to head out to the South Haven beach and walk the pier!

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Or maybe not so much.

A block from the pier, the sun was shining.  But as we got closer to Lake Michigan, everything was socked in with fog.  Very . . . moody-broody.

(Usually, at this point in the walk, the bright red lighthouse at the end of the pier is an impressive sight.)  (Promotional shots here.)

It was fun (and chilly) to walk the pier in the fog.  Everything was subdued.  Kind of . . . wrapped up and quiet.  
Eventually, the lighthouse revealed itself.

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This moody-broody fog is "sea fog" or "lake fog" -- a phenomenon that happens when warm, moist air flows over cold water.  It happens over coastal areas of the oceans, the Gulf of Mexico . . . and the Great Lakes.

I'd never experienced it on Lake Michigan before (although I've seen it pretty much every time I cross the Golden Gate Bridge).

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Things are always interesting on the lakeshore!

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Ahhhh.  There's that bright, red lighthouse!

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Happy Monday!