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October 2018

Celebrating . . . 120 Years

In December, Tom will turn 60.

Then, in March, I will turn 60.

Together . . . that's 120 years!  And that calls for a Big Celebration, don't you think?  A real shared Birthday Extravaganza!

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We don't know what our celebration will look like quite yet.
(But we will NOT be throwing any surprises of any type.)
We're not sure what we'll do.  
(But we do know there will be adventure involved...)
We just want it to be . . . well . . . EPIC.

We've decided to create a "60 for 60" list for us to work from.  Kind of like a bucket list . . . but just for our 60th birthday year.  We're working on it now (Tom will have 20 items just for him, I'll have 20 items just for me, and we'll have 20 items for the both of us together), and we've decided that our timeframe for completion will be the 15 months beginning on Tom's birthday in December, and then extending through my 61st birthday in March of 2020 (which gives us 15 months to work with).

Thinking about our lists has been fun, but also much harder than I thought it would be.  We want our lists to be well-rounded, including travel, personal goals, significant experiences, learning things, and stepping outside our comfort zones.  So it takes a lot of thought and consideration -- especially when it involves the "together" part of our list.  Because we BOTH have to want to do/see/experience whatever it is!  

It's going to be interesting to see what we come up with -- and even more interesting to see what we do with it.

How about you?  What would you include on a special-birthday-bucket-list?

 


Going to Seed

It's the time of year for garden clean-up.  Time to prepare the plants for winter and maybe even get a head start on next year's garden.  

But . . . I'm kind of a lazy gardener in the fall.  I've grown tired of weeding and the more tedious garden chores.  I want to just sit back and relax at this point.  (And, besides, I still have plenty of things blooming!)

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Really, though, I do a lot of garden "prep" in the fall.  I move plants around.  I weed (it never ends).  I cut back some of the plants that really need it.  I plant bulbs.  I make a lot of notes for next year.  I bring in all my little garden tchotchkes.  I pull out the annuals and empty my hanging baskets.

But.  I don't tend to cut back my perennials.  I don't mind a garden (even in the off season) that is . . . less than tidy.  I leave seedheads that are . . . interesting.  Or that provide food for the birds.  Or that will seed in a way I want them to seed.  Or that will collect snow in a particularly beautiful way (when that happens) (because it will).

Besides . . . I find seedheads to be quite lovely all on their own.  Here are three that have caught my eye this week:

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Penstemon.  When at it's peak, this penstemon - called Husker's Red - features white blooms on reddish stalks.  I often cut these stalks with seedheads for fall flower arrangements. 

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Butterfly weed.  At it's peak, the blooms are bright orange and a staple in butterfly gardens.  Butterfly weed is in the "milkweed family," so is especially beneficial for Monarchs.  I often share the seeds with friends (intentionally)*, and with my neighbors (unintentionally, but purposefully).  (They love me so.)

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Clematis.  At its peak, this particular clematis ('Tranquilite') sports huge white blossoms with a burgundy/purple center.  Although I go a little weak-in-the-knees for pretty much any blooming clematis, I also love their interesting seedheads once the blooms have faded.

How about you?  Are you a neat-and-tidy gardener come fall?  Or, like me, do you let seedheads . . . do their thing?

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

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*If you'd like some of my butterfly weed seeds for your garden, send me an email or let me know in the comments and I'll mail you a batch.

 

 


Take My Hand, We'll Make It I Swear

Let's set the tone for today's post.  

Knitting with linen . . . is not for the faint of heart.

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Because knitting with linen?  Well.  It looks like C.R.A.P. on the needles.  

The gauge is off.
The stitches are wonky.
It twists.
It puckers.
It is incredibly . . . not nice to work with.

You need to have faith.  You need to keep that washed-and-dried gauge swatch nearby at all times during the knitting.  Because it all feels so very, very wrong.

We've got to hold on to what we've got
It doesn't make difference if we make it or not
We've got each other and that's a lot for love
We'll give it a shot. . . 

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You knit on when you're knitting with linen.  Just hoping for magic to happen in the blocking (which often means the clothes dryer . . . instead of blocking pins).

Ohhhhh, we're half way there
Oh-oh, livin' on a prayer
Take my hand, we'll make it I swear
Oh-oh, livin on a prayer

And sometimes?  It all works out in the end!

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Me and Jon Bon Jovi . . . livin' on a prayer!

(Find Ravelry details here.  And once Tom gets back home, some better photos!)

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And here's something very funny.  Jon Bon Jovi and I . . . used to have the same hair!

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(Oh. . . those 80s. . . )

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Be sure to head over to Kat's today . . . for more Unraveled posts.

 

 


Escape to the Movies

Looking for an escape?  The news is crap and things seems pretty bleak at the moment.  So, hey!  Let's go to the movies!  

Tom and I saw the new A Star is Born yesterday.  No spoilers here . . . although I will say we both liked it  (And that one song?  So stuck in my head . . . ) (And when GaGa ooooooo-aahaa-oooooo?  Oh, yeah, best part of the movie . . .

Anyway.

The Streisand/Kristofferson version of A Star is Born came out when I was a senior in high school, and my friends and I so-so-so loved it.  This new one?  Better music.  Grittier.  More Real somehow.  Extremely well done.  (Plus Bradley Cooper.  With an Eddie Vedder look.  What more can I say?)  Overall, a very good way to escape for a couple of hours.

Because I think some of you might be interested, here's a fun little video . . . analyzing the evolution of A Star is Born from 1937 to 1954, 1976 to 2018.  Enjoy!

And then . . . maybe escape to a movie!


Sometimes Mondays

. . . look a little foggy.

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Seriously foggy.

Like outside.  And also in my head.

It was a tough weekend - emotionally - for me (and, I imagine, for many of you, too).  I indulged in a little despair and a lot of anger.  I whined some (and "wined" some).  And I have sworn off the news for awhile.  (Again.)

But now it's Monday.  Time to clear the fog.  To find a way to move through it.  And to figure out how I can shine my bright light in it . . . however I can.

Let's go!

 


Finding the Space

Today . . . looks to be a hard day.  After a rough week.  (My heart aches that we can't - at this stage of history - come up with solutions that make life better for ALL of us; that we can't listen and hear; that it always has to be a power grab.  That we can't seem to ever get it right.)  (And I'm done now.)

So.

I thought we could all do with . . . something beyond ourselves.  Something lovely.  And meaningful.  And purposeful.  To lighten our load -- and to find the space in our souls . . . to maybe relax for a moment.  And breathe.

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This art installation piece is called Intersections, by artist Anila Quayyum Agha.  It was the grand prize winner in both the juried and public vote categories back in Art Prize 2014.  I didn't see it then -- because the lines to see it were just too long at the time.  I always regretted it, because I kept hearing how powerful it was -- how peace-filled and magical.

I was thrilled to discover that it is back on exhibit in Grand Rapids (at the Grand Rapids Art Museum) right now -- during Art Prize 2018.  (It is not part of Art Prize.  It is simply on exhibit at the same time.)

Tom and I popped in to see it when we were in town on Tuesday . . . and - unbelievably - we were the only people in the space at that moment!

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It was such a treat . . . to be able to experience Intersections . . . privately.  Absolutely on our own.  Which made it even more amazing than it already is!

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On this heart-wrenching day . . . after a heart-breaking week . . . may you find some space, some magic, some peace . . . within yourself.

Intersections, indeed.

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If you click in to the link above (about the exhibit in Grand Rapids), you'll be able to learn more about the piece itself.  There are a few video links as well.  But to really get a feel for the story behind the piece, watch this video:

Anila Quayyum Agha: Intersections from Walley Films on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Catching Up . . . In Three Photos

We had a perfect California get-away last week.  It was ideal, really -- a quick trip with only one objective:  spend time with Erin and Keith.  No side trips.  No schedule.  No expectations.  We loved it!

Erin gave us a personal, guided tour of the LinkedIn campus when we arrived.  I have visited LinkedIn before (back when Erin was an intern), but Tom hadn't been there yet.  It's very cool to see where your kid works . . . and it's super interesting to see one of these tech companies from the inside!

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We had a lot of fun just hanging out . . . sampling California beer (so many great ones to choose from!) and eating what turned out to be a lot of amazing gourmet hamburgers.  Erin and Keith introduced us to Mochi ice cream.  (I'll just say . . . some flavors are better than others, but the texture takes some getting used to.)  And we also visited Psycho Donuts -- Silicon Valley's "gourmet donut asylum."  Great fun.

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We played a lot of games.  Erin and Keith love games and puzzles of all kinds -- everything from sophisticated video games to Uno around the dinner table -- and we were happy to play along with them.  They introduced us to a couple of new board games, we went mini golfing.  We even did an escape room, which was WAY fun.  (Basically, it was like a real-life video game where walls move and things happen when you solve the puzzles.  Very exciting!  Highly recommended for family fun.)

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We had a fabulous time.  It was so nice to just relax for a few days with Erin and Keith.  I'm so happy that Erin has a job she loves, and has settled so well into her new life with Keith in California.  
(It's just . . . so far away.  Y'know?)  
(But a great place to visit.  So there is that.)

And here's a bonus photo (because this one just kind of sums up the whole trip) . . .

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Head over to Carole's to read more Three on Thursday posts today!

 

 


Unraveled: Art Prize Edition

Tom and I spent a lovely afternoon wandering through several Art Prize venues in Grand Rapids.  (To read more about Art Prize, click here.)  As always, there were lots of very cool pieces to see . . . and a few that I thought would be perfect to highlight here on an Unraveled Wednesday.

First, there is this piece. . .

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Cacerolazo by Saskia Jorda (click the link to learn more about this powerful piece).

Red yarn.  Spilling out of pots and pans . . . and terribly hard to photograph.  (Here's another try of the red yarn with a filter.)

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This powerful piece is in the running for the public vote top prize in the installation category. 

Next, an amazing quilt. . .

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Pacific Quilt by Sarah FitzSimons (click the link to learn more).

This quilt is HUGE . . . and displayed on the floor -- which made it difficult to really see and appreciate all the detailed hand stitching involved.  (The colors represent the ocean topography, and the stitching represents the currents.)  Apparently, the artist intends it to be used as bedding!  (Personally, I think it would have been better displayed hanging -- because it was impossible to get a close view with it on the floor like that.)

Then, there was this collection of pieces. . .

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Making Mends by Mark Newport (click to learn more about these pieces).

Many of us have been jumping on the slow stitching bandwagon lately -- embracing hand-stitching and embroidery and mending -- so these pieces especially intrigued me.

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Finally, there was an incredible piece I want to share with you -- but, sadly, I don't have a photo. Oh . . . I could have taken a photo -- and it would have looked like a beautiful painting of a black panther.  But . . . it wasn't really a painting.  It was silk embroidery -- and I was just blown away!  You must click the link below to see it for yourself -- although even the artist's photos don't accurately depict the beauty of her delicate stitching.  

Black Panther by YanFang Inlow 

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It's always a treat to visit Art Prize.  You just never know what will be . . . unraveling!