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February 2017

Sign of the Times

I have to admit . . . when I first saw the Pussyhat pattern I thought . . . No.Way.  

But it didn't take long for me to, well . . . see the charm!  I jumped right on the Pussyhat bandwagon and churched out 6 hats in a little over a week before the Women's March on January 21.


I love that KNITTERS have created this incredible symbol of feminism, freedom, and resistance.  I get goosebumps whenever I see the ever-farther-reaching impact of the Pussyhat Project.  

I gasped out loud last week when I heard about Missoni using Pussyhats (and super awesome Pussyhats, at that!) on their runway models at their Milan Fashion Week show.  (They also provided Pussyhats for all in attendance at the show to wear.)


A knitter on Ravelry has already duplicated the cool Missoni hats (pattern here), so now you can make your own version of the Catwalk Pussyhat.

I mean, really.  How cool is that?

Right Now . . . February 2017

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


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.


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.)


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.)


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?




A Date With . . . SCIENCE

Last night, Tom took me to the 75th anniversary celebration of the Kalamazoo chapter of the American Chemical Society.  


Yeah.  I didn't do so well on the trivia challenge.  But they had wine, so I was good!

The celebration was held at the Kalamazoo AirZoo - a unique and popular aviation museum here in town.  I was excited to go . . . because I have never actually been to the AirZoo.  (I know.  It's one of those wonderful community treasures that you send visitors to all the time . . . but never quite make it there yourself.)  Tom has been there; my dad has been there; my kids have been there.  But me?  Not until last night.  


It was a great venue for an event like this.  Guests could take in the museum, get a drink, and then gather for the dinner and presentations.


There are tasteful "rides" for kids, full motion flight simulators, and something called 4D Missions Theater.  (These last two came with the caveat that you might want to try them before dinner.  Yeah . . . no thanks; think I'll just skip those. . .)


There are really cool interactive "experiences" throughout the museum -- hands-on activities to explain flight concepts like air flow, lift, and circuitry.



And let's just say this . . . once a science-nerd, always a science-nerd!


Tom had fun exploring (playing?) at all the interactive stations -- but he especially loved launching rockets.

The big feature of the evening (and the topic of the guest speaker) was the SR-71B Blackbird (U-2 spy plane).  This is the plane that Gary Powers was flying when he was shot down in Soviet airspace back in 1960.


So . . . what did the AirZoo and the presentation about the spy plane have to do with chemistry?  Why . . . I can't really tell you.  Because it wasn't really clear that it DID have to do with chemistry!  It was just a fun, celebratory evening for science nerds!  (And the people who love them.)

Plus . . . swag!


Now we have commemorative, his-and-hers pint glasses to remember our date with science!

Have a great weekend.



So Darn Quotable

Thinking about this week's Think Write Thursday topic (writing about the movie we can quote the most from) was just, well, fun.  Also . . . revealing.  Because Tom and I realized just how often movie quotes fit right into our everyday conversations.  Just part of our lexicon, y'know?

I mean, how perfect is this line from Love Actually:  "Just in cases."  
It creeps into our conversations all the time here, I can tell you.

Same with this one from Best In Show:  ". . . in his mind, the judge can pick up on the telepathy."  
We use this line WAY too often - and especially when talking to each other about our dogs.  (We also go into the whole "namin' nuts" thing whenever we, well . . . say the name of a nut.  Just can't help ourselves.)


And Tom . . . with The Big Lebowski.  Oh, my.  Don't ever get him started . . . "if you're not into the whole brevity thing." 


There is one movie that stands head and shoulders above the crowds when it comes to sheer quotability for Tom and I.


Bull Durham -- a movie we have watched probably 50 times since we first saw it in the theater back in 1988.  Bull Durham is a romantic comedy sports film (now there's a genre for you!).  A minor league baseball team serves as the backdrop for a romantic triangle featuring a veteran catcher, a rookie pitcher, and a baseball groupie.  The film combines sport, philosophy, humor, and love to . . . well . . . hit it right out of the park!  (Sports Illustrated ranks this movie as the #1 sports movie of all time.)  

The movie has two charming and very well-known "monologues" that are always worth watching/listening to.  (You can watch Susan-Sarandon-as-Annie-Savoy's "Church of Baseball" speech here, and Kevin-Costner-as-Crash-Davis' "I Believe" speech here).  

There are so many great quotes in this movie that there's even a poster series!


There are really great quotes in this movie -- the kind of quotes that cover the spectrum of human existence.  Sort of . . . The Philosophy of Life, by Bull Durham.  Tom and I find ourselves using these quotes all the time:

"The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self-awareness."

"After 12 years in the minor leagues, I don't try out."

"I didn't get lured; I take responsibility for my actions."

"They're young.  Scare 'em."

"You know that that makes you?  (Larry?)  Lollygaggers!"

"I want to announce my presence with authority."

"Don't think.  Just throw."

"We're dealing with a lot of shit."

"Honey, we all deserve to wear white."

"I hit my dinger and I hung 'em up."

"It's a very simple game.  You throw the ball.  You catch the ball.  You hit the ball."

"Never fuck with a winning streak."

"Sometimes you win.  Sometimes you lose.  Sometimes it rains."


Words and wisdom - compliments of Bull Durham!


Today's post is part of Think Write Thursday.  Read more posts about favorite movie quotes here -- and sign up to receive the weekly prompts here.




Wearing My Word

Each year, I look for ways to "wear" my one little word.  It's a tangible way to keep my word close -- my own little "word in the wild."  And, well . . . it's fun, too.

Sometimes I find necklaces and charms that represent my word. Sometimes I find rings.  Sometimes I find bracelets that spell out my word.  

And always . . . I find a MantraBand or two (or even four!) to wear as a motivational "chant" . . . helping to keep me focused and on target with my word and my intentions for the year.


My bracelets for this year:

  • Balance
  • Live in the Moment
  • Have Courage and Be Kind
  • Alis Volat Propriis (she flies with her own wings)

These bracelents will be a perfect reminder of my intentions and my word for the year ahead -- and will blend perfectly with the bands I have already collected from years past.  (You know. . . for extra word power!)  

Do YOU have a mantra for the year?  (Because I bet there's a bracelet for it.  Just sayin.)

Keeping Up With the News

A while ago, I started listening to Gretchen Rubin's Happier podcast (you can find it here; it's a good one).  Each week, she and her sister, Elizabeth, talk about  being . . . happier.

IMG_4287 2

(This photo has nothing to do with the podcast or with news . . . but I was out in the garden on Saturday when I found these Japanese anemone seed heads, and I thought they were cool.  And . . . being in the garden again definitely made me happier!)


In the podcast 104 (from February 15), Gretchen and Elizabeth talked about dealing with the emotional toll of the news -- which they call a stumbling block to happiness, or something that takes up a lot of real estate in your brain and limits your ability to "find the good" around you.

They gave the following helpful suggestions for dealing with the news:

  1. Limit your news intake to just one time per day.  Really, that's enough to keep up with what's happening.  
  2. Just read (or watch or listen to) ONE story on a given topic.  Then stop.  You've got the details; you know what's happening.  Taking the same story in from multiple sources just ramps up the drama in your head.
  3. Consider reading the news instead of listening or watching.  Written articles are more "information-dense" than news items produced for radio and tv -- which tend to be far more emotion-driven (and, ultimately, emotionally upsetting).  
  4. Take action.  Take your feelings and make something happen instead.  (Even if it's just baking banana bread.)  Doing something active provides you with distance . . . from the emotional toll of the news.

They also discussed the conundrum some people feel right now . . . should we even be striving to be happy, given the current state of affairs?  Their answer?  An unapologetic YES!  Because happier people are more resilient people -- and better able to manage tough situations with an active response.  Happy people are hopeful people.

My take-aways from the podcast?  Stay informed -- but keep your emotional distance!

February. It's the New April.

I can't even . . . with this weekend.


Record-breaking warmth.


Almost flip-flop weather.

Rather unnerving . . . to be out in the garden.  

In February.


Totally unexpected . . . to be driving around with the sunroof open.

In February.


So surprised . . . to be throwing together impromptu snacks-on-the-patio.

In February.


And yet . . . here we were.


(It's the new April.)


We interrupt this blog post to bring your this special NEWS FLASH!!!

These two . . . 


(today celebrating 7 years of "coupledom") announced this . . . 


It's Breaking News, people:  Erin and Keith are engaged!  

(Isn't that a fun way to start the week.)


Something Shiny

Last Friday, I needed to pick up a book-ish gift for a friend, so I headed to Barnes & Noble.  
(Which is always a bit of an issue for me.)  (Because I am FAR worse in a book store than I am in a yarn store.)

I got to wandering.  
(As I do.)

And something shiny caught my eye.  
(Something shiny that I absolutely did not need and had no intentional of buying.  Especially when I saw the price tag.)


Yes.  That's a Kate Spade "rotating stamp" with pad.  (Because every handbag designer needs to wade out into the world of office supplies, non?)

And what, you may ask, caught my eye about this particular item?

Well. . . first off, I've always loved rotating stamp pads.  You know . . . the old-school ones in offices that sport "RECEIVED" or "ENTERED" or - my personal favorite - "EXPEDITE."  This one, though, had inspirational rotating phrases (the product box refers to them as "Calls to Action") that are even better than "EXPEDITE."


I was charmed.

I put it back, though. 

Because $24.95.  (Yeah.  For a rotating stamp.)  (Plus bonus mini stamp pad.)  (But still.)

After more browsing, though, I went back and picked it up.  
(You knew I would.)

Not because Kate Spade.


Not even because shiny.  (Although it is.)


Totally because Calls to Action.


All week long, I've been using my stamp everywhere!  
I especially like including the calls to action in my planner.  Little To-Do items. . .


Because doesn't everbody need to "live colorfully" on Thursday?  Or "be an elegant thinker" on Friday?  Maybe "call the shots" on Saturday? 

So.  Yeah.  It was ridiculously overpriced.

But sometimes . . . you just need to grab that shiny object and have a little fun with it!

Happy weekend.




A Sort of Balance



Generally speaking, I am not a Procrastinator.

What I am . . . is a Just-in-Timer.

I tend to get all the things I need to get done . . . done.   Always on time.   (Although sometimes right at the buzzer.)

So I may tell you all that I'm "needing to get started on my taxes."  
(Which is true.)  
But.  When are taxes due?  
(Yeah.  April 15.)  
Do I need to do them right now?  
I can guarantee you, though, I'll have my taxes finished and submitted in early April.

Because if I need to do something . . . and if it has a specific time frame or a deadline . . . I WILL get it done.

The problem, you see, is the things I just kinda sorta WANT to do.  You know . . . those things that have no meaningful deadline attached to them.
Like . . . removing the wallpaper and then painting my dining room.
I WANT to do that.  I really do.
But . . . because I have no specific time frame or deadline . . . I haven't quite started yet.

My solution to the kinda sorta thing?
I set "pretend" deadlines for myself.
Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't.  But when I set a "pretend" deadline, the chances are much better that I'll actually get moving on a project.

That's why my house is looking its best . . . whenever I host my book group or have a party.
That's why my garden is weeded and freshly deadheaded . . . whenever we're having folks over for a drink on the patio.
That's why I take art classes . . . to get myself busy painting or drawing so I have something to contribute and show.

It's a sort of balance for me.
Make my task meaningful - and, better yet, give it a deadline (even a fake deadline) - and I will do it.
Left to flail about on my own, though?  It will slip right through the cracks!

(As for my dining room?  It's going to take a while.  So I'm going to say . . . I want my dining room re-finished and painted by next Thanksgiving!)


Today's post is part of Think Write Thursday.  To read other posts on today's topic, click here. To sign up to receive the weekly prompts from Carole and Kat, click here.




Living with Intent

Every year, in January, I come up with a list of intentions to guide me through the year ahead.

I don't consider them resolutions or even goals.  Just . . . intentions.  Ways I want to live.  Ways I want to BE.

And I try to distill them down to just two or three words.  So they're simple and concise -- and open to interpretation (re-interpretation?) as the year unfolds.  Here's my list for 2017:


Now that I've been living with these intentions for a few weeks, I wanted to take a close look at them again -- as a review, and to see if I wanted to make any adjustments to my list.

I think they're good, though.  I can already feel them taking root; guiding my thoughts and actions.

I'm off to good start . . . at living with intent!