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November 2016

Finding Peace


I don't know about you, but I could really use some peace in my life right now.

So . . . I joined Project Peace.  Knitters.  Knitting for Peace.  Thinking Peaceful Thoughts.  Sending our Peaceful JuJu out into the universe.  (And creating a lovely, warm handknit in the process.)

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Last night, I downloaded the pattern, settled on my yarn, and decided to wind it up.  Maybe I'd even cast on, y'know?  Let that Peace start flowing.


Let me tell you . . . I did not experience ANY Peace last night.

Because my lovely skein of yarn?  It turned out to be one of Those Skeins as soon as I put it on my yarn swift.  Knotted.  Tangled.  Two too many yarn ends.  A MESS.  I struggled on.  Swearing a bit and maybe throwing my scissors.  (No Peace.)  I wrangled the thing onto the ball winder, but it was uncoorperative every step of the way.  (Not even a Little Peace.)  Then, of course . . . it was wound onto the ball winder so tightly that I coudn't get it off!  (Forget all about Peace.)

I walked away.  Then I came back.  I took a deep breath.  

And started winding the too-tight yarn from the ball winder into a ball . . . by hand. 

I wound and I wound and I wound.  Around and around and around.  Once I relaxed - and stopped being so angry about the whole mess - I found the process to be (sort of) meditative.  Not Quite Peace, but closer.

Definitely better.  (But I decided to hold off on that cast on.  Because I didn't want to push my luck casting on 318 stitches.  Y'know?)

Want to join the Project Peace and knit your way to peace -- for yourself and for the world?  Find more information on Christina's website or here on Ravelry.


(And with that . . . NaBloPoMo is over for another year!  Thanks for hanging around with me this month.)

Right Now . . . November 2016


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!


(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.)  


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.)


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.


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?


Gold Rush


Tom is contributing to NaBloPoMo this year by writing the following "guest blog."  Enjoy!

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Jenny, top dog in the pack, the sheriff, not inclined to suffer fools or foolishness. Attitude. But, beneath it all she is a lab mix, always on the make for food, insatiable.

Just before Thanksgiving, Kym has placed chocolate kisses, a mix of plain and almond in a dish on the low-slung coffee table. Amid regular visits to the dish, I find it empty and so transfer the partial bags to refill the dish, pleased with the abundance of almond in the mix.

Next day, a full dish, but all plain, no almond. Strange.

Later, an empty dish. I confer with Kym and we conclude that the dogs have been into the kisses. Interrogation begins. Jo Jo looks vaguely guilty but clueless (as usual); Jenny however looks Very guilty. That was a lot of chocolate, and what’s more, there are no wrappers around meaning that the foil was part of the feast.

I know that dogs are sensitive to chocolate. Caffeine and related compounds like theophylline. But milk chocolate is better than dark, less dangerous. But what of the wrappers? I am also concerned about blockage. We wait.

Over the next couple days Jenny coughs up a few soggy foil wrappers, but not enough to account for what was eaten ("missing mass" in technical terms). Then, Jenny appears to have a bowel movement out back one night. When she’s done, I take a flashlight to investigate. I find it and…EUREKA! A silver-encrusted nugget fit for a miner’s dream. Striated veins of glittering ore run through the turd; Together with the relieved dawning that this too shall pass.

Sundays are for Poetry



The Peace of Wild Things
by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief.  I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light.  For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Look Up


In about an hour, my household will have transitioned from 9 people, 3 dogs, and 1 cat to just the normal 2 people/2 dogs.

I plan to sit back, kick my feet up, and knit.

I will look up, though - frequently - to keep up with The Crown.  And to grab my wine glass.


(I'll also be tackling a massive pile of laundry.)
(But who wants to blog about that.)

Enjoy your weekend!

Full of Thanks . . . and Turkey


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration yesterday.


It's hard when there is someone so obviously missing from our table.  But we took comfort from memories of Thanksgivings past and the love that we all share.  

(The food was really fabulous, too.)

I have more to tell about the last week or so.  But for now?  Excuse me while I go collapse in a corner for awhile. . .



I am grateful for what I am and have.  My thanksgiving is perpetual.
---Henry David Thoreau


Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Imaginary Conversation


We gathered for my mom's memorial service yesterday.  It was a hard day for all of us -- but an important milestone event in our grieving process.

The hardest part for me was not being able to tell my mom all about it.

That's what I'm really missing most often these days . . . the ability to pick up the phone and share the latest news with my mom, or to sit down and "debrief" an event or happening in my life, to make plans - or just plain old gossip with her.

Our conversation last night might have gone something like this . . . 

Oh, Mom!  Can you believe all the people that came to your memorial service?  So many friends -- from your neighborhood and your church and even the pool!  There were lots of relatives from Rockford.  You would have loved to catch up with Aunt Nancy and her kids.  LaVern and Kathy were there, too.  I wish you could have seen Dad's face when he realized it was LaVern!

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Mom . . . Both your hair stylist and Dad's barber even came.

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And, Mom!  The flowers!  They were so gorgeous -- your favorite colors and beautiful fall blooms.  My friend, Sharon, did them here in Kalamazoo -- and then Di and Erin and I carted them to Holland in my car.  Sharon gave me sandbags to hold them steady for the drive -- but Erin still had to do some emergency rescue on the way.

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People loved the slideshow, Mom!  We had photos of you throughout your life . . . right there on the big screen.  Yep.  Even the 1960s hair and the 80s perm.  (And those glasses!  So huge!)  Dad loved going through all your old photos and choosing his favorites for the slideshow -- and I added all the more recent shots.  We had a little of everything -- and people really enjoyed seeing you through the years.

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The family looked so smart and dapper.  Oh, Mom.  All of our men in their suits and ties -- Dad and Tom and Kurt and Brian and Keith.  So handsome.  (I don't even need to tell you that we girls looked great.  Because you know we did.)

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Erin sang, Mom.  It was beautiful.  You would have been so proud!  And Tom gave a wonderful eulogy -- telling all the best stories and helping people remember you with a smile and a laugh.  (And, yeah.  He told both the dingbat story AND the one about the rhubarb pie.)


Everything was perfect, Mom. 

You'd have loved it!