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April 2018

TGIF

It's Friday.  Spring is finally springing.  And I have a busy day today.  Time for some TGIF.

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T - Thinking about . . . my garden, of course.  Now that it seems to be Actual Spring (instead of Calendar Spring), it's time to get out there and get busy.  I can't wait.

G - Grateful for . . . those two little early tulips in my photo above.  They are "volunteers" that hitched a ride to my garden with a hosta transplant from my mom's garden many years ago.  (You may remember that my mom loved tulips, and had a garden full of them.  These are some of an early variety she planted.  They bloomed before her other tulips even popped out of the ground.)  Anyway, every spring they've been a surprise in my garden, but now they're more like a special gift.  (Hi, Mom.)

I - Inspired by . . . the success of my dining room re-do, I am thinking ahead to another big project.  (I have one last old wallpapered room to go.  It's my upstairs bathroom, and it is awful.)  But . . . not until next year.  (See "T," above.)

F - For fun . . . we're hosting a little beer tasting gathering for some of our friends tonight.  Tom has been busy making beer all winter, and it's time we share it!

Have a great weekend.  I hope you'll be able to enjoy being outside for some of it.

 


A Three on Thursday Poem in Your Pocket Mash Up

What I like about Poem in Your Pocket day is that it encourages people to just . . . share a poem.  

Simple.  

Although I won't actually be carrying a poem around in my pocket today - or standing on a street corner (or in the locker room at the gym) reciting poetry from memory, I will be looking for opportunities to share poetry today.   Here are three easy things you can do to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket day:

  1. Add a short poem to your email footer.
  2. Post lines from your favorite poem on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, or Pinterest.
  3. Send a favorite poem to a friend.

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Here's the poem in my pocket today . . . 

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Mind Body Problem
by Katha Pollitt

When I think of my youth I feel sorry not for myself
but for my body.  It was so direct
and simple, so rational in its desires,
wanting to be touched the way an otter
loves water, the way a giraffe
wants to amble the edge of the forest, nuzzling
the tender leaves at the tips of the trees.  It seems
unfair, somehow, that my body had to suffer
because I, by which I mean my mind, was saddled
with certain unfortunate high-minded romantic notions
that made me tyrannize and patronize it
like a cruel medieval baron, or an ambitious
English-professor husband ashamed of his wife --
her love of sad movies, her budget casseroles
and regional vowels.  Perhaps
my body would have liked to make some of our dates,
to come home at four in the morning and answer my scowl
with "None of your business!"  Perhaps
it would have liked more presents:  silks, mascaras.
If we had had a more democratic arrangement
we might have come, despite our different backgrounds,
to a grudging respect for each other, like Tony Curtis
and Sidney Poitier handcuffed together
instead of the current curious shift of power
in which I feel I am being reluctantly
dragged along by my body as though by some
swift and powerful dog.  How eagerly
it plunges ahead, not stopping for anything,
as though it knows exactly where we are going.

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To learn more about poet and essayist Katha Pollitt, and to sample some of her work, click here.

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Be sure to check out other Three on Thursday posts over at Carole's today.

 


A Different Kind of Finished Project

I have been waiting for this day for . . . almost 15 years now.

But, y'know, the task is just not much fun.  And I had a hard time settling on a color.  And then, well . . . I just could never line up the time to do it.  Not during gardening season.  Or during the Up North months.  And certainly not during the holidays.  Or probably right after, either.  Because recovering.

So, really.  It had to happen in . . . April.

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Yep.

I'm pleased to announce that my dining room re-do is finally finished!

Wallpaper removed.
Walls prepped.
Primer applied.
Walls prepped again.
Paint.  Paint.  Paint.

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It was truly a family project.  Although Tom and I did all the physical work, everyone else was involved in some way.  Remotely, the kids weighed in on color and design elements, with Brian suggesting we rethink the chair rail altogether.  My dad provided advice and general cheerleading support.  And my sister helped me choose the paint color (thanks to the magic of technology).

I wish we could all gather to celebrate!  (We'll have to do that remotely, too, I'm afraid.)

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I'm so pleased -- and so happy to finally be able to cross this project off my to-do list.

(Click here for the "before" shots.)

(Yikes!  So much better now.)

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Just a reminder:  Tomorrow (April 26) is Poem in Your Pocket day.  Share your favorite!


Don't Ask

I'm not quite sure how this even happened.  

I mean. . . the roads around town are a MESS after the winter.  Giant potholes.  Open canyons down the center of lanes.  Huge chunks just out of the roads altogether.  Washboards.  We're driving on washboards.

But here in my neighborhood . . . pretty much tucked away and not traveled except by the people who live here and the people who visit the people who live here . . . we've got this going on:

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Yep.  Our perfectly fine, pothole-free, entirely drive-on-able neighborhood streets are being completely resurfaced.

Right now.
This week.

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We've got scrapers and dumptrucks and smoothers and all manner of beeping back-up vehicles clogging our streets.

We even have a couple of sign-guys.  Which is kind of humorous . . . because we don't really have much traffic here, and I think we can all figure it out, y'know?  

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(This guy hasn't directed a single car in the hour I've been keeping watch.)  (His partner at the top of the hill did nearly fall over with grand gestures trying to get me to turn left . . . when I was just trying to turn right into my driveway.)  (Really, Guy.  This is my driveway.)

So.  Here we are.  Major street hassle in the 'hood.

I don't know how this is a priority, given the state of the main roads.

But there you go.

Don't ask.


Fridays are for Poetry

"Genuine poetry can communicate before it can be understood."
                                --- T.S. Eliot

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I am a reader of poetry.  Always have been.  I collect poems.  I seek out new poets.  I keep my poetry books on a special shelf in my library.  They are the words I go to when there are no words.

But when I tell other people that, they tend to look at me funny.  Like . . . poetry?  Really?  And so I don't always tell people.

For me, though, there is power in poetry.  Big magic.  Even before we understand it.  

ARS POETICA #100: I BELIEVE
by Elizabeth Alexander
 
Poetry, I tell my students,
is idiosyncratic. Poetry
is where we are ourselves
(though Sterling Brown said
“Every ‘I’ is a dramatic ‘I'”),
digging in the clam flats
for the shell that snaps,
emptying the proverbial pocketbook.
Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,
overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way
to get from here to there.
Poetry (and now my voice is rising)
is not all love, love, love,
and I’m sorry the dog died.
Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,
and are we not of interest to each other?
 
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Learn more about the poet Elizabeth Alexander and her work here.
 
And remember, next Thursday - April 26, is Poem in Your Pocket day.  Carry a poem in YOUR pocket that day.  Share it with someone else.  And maybe join me in posting it on your blog.
 
 

Three on Thursday, Random Style

I call this Still Life with Primer . . .

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(And, sure.  Red wine goes with everything.)

Try as I might, I've got no clever or even mildly entertaining Three on Thursday ideas this week.  How about some random instead?

1 -- The sun is shining!  This lifts my spirits in a major way.  I'm always amazed at how glorious the sun really is . . . when it shows up after a too-long hiatus.  Welcome to my world, Mr. Sunshine!  Please stick around for awhile, okay? 

2 -- We have reached the painting stage of the dining room re-do!  It's been a long haul, this project.  We'd be able to finish it up this weekend, but we won't be here.  (And I don't guess our dog-sitter will surprise us by painting another coat. . . )  Next week, though.  Just in time for a little gathering we have planned for next Friday.  (That's me.  Always cutting it right to the last moment no matter how much time I give myself up front.  I'll be hanging the pictures on the walls again as our guests arrive, just you watch.) 

3 -- Finally, this KnitStars thing that Ann and Kay are involved in sounds rather intriguing to me.  I like the selection of workshops, and feel like I could really learn some cool things from teachers I'd never have access to otherwise.  Still, I'm on the fence.  I haven't signed up.  (Early bird registration - with a special price - ends tomorrow.)  Thoughts?  Have any of you signed up?  Are you thinking about it?  

And that's a wrap . . . random style . . . on a Thursday.

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(Carole is doing a bit of boot-stompin' down in Nashville, so there is no Three on Thursday host today.)

 


Raveling Along

When I have time to pick up my knitting, I pick up my mitred square project.  It continues to delight, and I love watching it grow.

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It’s a perfect project: portable, easily memorized, and endlessly entertaining.

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Even though it doesn’t look it, the project is already at the midpoint.  It’ll be completely raveled before you know it!

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How about you?  What are you raveling right now?

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Posting on my phone today.  Hope it works...

 


G.R.U.M.P.Y.

Okay.

So I took a "personal day" yesterday and didn't blog.  Because . . . well . . . Sometimes Mondays . . . just look like the same old crap, y'know?

Same old weather.
Same old dining room project.
Same old cup of morning coffee.

Yeah.  I was not in a positive, thoughtful kind of mood.
To tell you the truth, I was grumpy.
As in G.R.U.M.P.Y.

I tried all my tricks to de-grump.  I had a nice cup of tea and thought about gratitude.  I journaled.  I meditated.  I did some yoga stretches.  I went to the gym and kick-boxed.  I knit a little and drew a little and talked to my sister on the phone.  I ran some errands and crossed things off my to-do list.  I even took a nap.

Nothing worked.
Still grumpy.

I've decided it's because this. . . 

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Crap weather.
Continuing north winds.
Cold.
For days.

I've really tried to be a good sport about all y'all's buds-and-blooms pictures.  And at first, when they started popping up on blogs and Instagram, it gave me hope.  But now, they just depress me.  Because we don't have buds on our trees yet.  No forsythia blooms are ready to explode here.  There is not a sign of life on my lilacs.  (I know.  I have had crocus blooms.  And I am grateful.  Because I know many of you further north have only snow-and-more-snow and what-am-I-even-whining-about.) (But still.)

Then!  Then. . . I saw photos of some of y'all wearing spring shoes.  And even flip-flops.  Bright pedicures reflecting the sun!  And I am still wearing boots.  (And don't even get me started on the whole sitting-on-the-patio-furniture-OUTSIDE-while-sipping-drinks situation.

It was too much.  It sent me over the edge of despair!

I'm working on it.  
I'm trying to be positive.  
To be grateful.  
To turn that frown . . . upside down. 
Because I know spring will get here, too.  (Eventually.)  The winds will switch direction at some point.  The sun will shine.  A couple of warm days will bring those buds out, nice as can be.  And the blooms will come.  And I'll be able to get the flip-flops out.

On my way to the gym this morning, I even glimpsed a little sliver of blue sky, trying it's best to peek out.

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(I took this photo at a long red light.  No worries.)

Of course, by the time I was at the gym, it was snowing like crazy and that little sliver was long gone.  But I saw it there.  For just a minute.  (It looked like . . . hope.)

On my way home, I stopped at the grocery store and picked up some spring blooms to take home.

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I'll make my OWN spring, damnit!

(See?)  
(G.R.U.M.P.Y.)

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Icing on the cake:  Tom and I have a little get-away planned for this weekend.  He'll be curling in a bonspiel, and he asked me to come along -- because it's in a really fun place that we both love to visit.  Traverse City, Michigan.  Up north.  Where it's snowed like . . . 100 inches or so in the last 5 days.

(I know.)