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March 2019

February 2019

Looking for Signs

It happens every year about this time . . . my craving for spring.  Even though I know that spring is still a long (long) way off here in Michigan, that winter hasn't relinquished its hold yet, that snow is still falling . . . this craving just seeps in.  Slowly, at first.  But deeper and deeper.  Until, suddenly, it's a full-on longing.


I try to be Smart and Good Natured about it.  I tell myself all the things that northerners tell themselves - and each other.
I like living where there are 4 distinct seasons, I say.
The days are getting longer, I agree.
Isn't the snow pretty? I insist.

I work at being a Good Sport when my southern friends start showing photos of cherry blossoms and other outdoor blooming plants . . . (in freakin' February).  I always curb my first inclination (to yell "shut the f*%# up"), opting to take a deep breath and reframe my thoughts in more hopeful, optimistic, and forward thinking ways.

And it'll be fine.
It always is.
I get cabin-fever-y and garden-dreamy and up-north-crave-y about this time every year.  
And I always get by.

(Truthfully. . . I wouldn't want to live anywhere else!)

This morning, I decided to see if I could find any signs of spring in my garden.  Just, y'know. . . to build my spirits on this eve of March.  I know it's really too early.  Quite premature.  I KNOW.  But I did it anyway.

And . . . I just came back with a big old nuthin.  Disappointed.
(Because Thursday . . . here are three big-old-nuthin examples for you.)

1 - My earliest blooms (hellebores) are still buried in snow.

IMG_1983 3

2 - My garden bench is still very much closed for the season.


3 - Garden Buddha is still sitting sentry over a frozen pond.



But soon.

I'm sure I'll see signs of spring soon. . . 



An Embarrasment of Riches

Last year, I made some changes to my reading habit.   Changing not so much what I read, but how I was reading:
I slowed my reading pace.
I started taking notes and writing reviews.
I committed to using my library more.

It's that third one I want to talk about today.  Using my library more.


When I was a child, I loved going to the library.  It was my Happy Place!  I loved nothing more than walking through the stacks, choosing books at random.  Reading and reading and reading.

As an adult, though, with empty bookcases at home and suddenly-everywhere big box bookstores, I started purchasing books.  I built my own library.  Still reading and reading and reading -- but no more worries about due dates.

I told myself that the library didn't have the books I wanted to read anymore.  That I couldn't get the books I wanted to read immediately.  I convinced myself that it was better to just buy what I wanted to read.  So I did.

What was I thinking???

So, a couple of years ago, I went through every book in our house and ended up donating 30-some boxes of books to my local library for their quarterly book sales.  And I donated boxes of my kids' books to their former school libraries.  And I dropped off books to other local organizations that promote literacy or protect women and children.

And I started to use the library again.  

At first, I mostly used Overdrive to check out books.  I think Overdrive works wonderfully -- so convenient and so easy.  But I often have to wait months and months (and months) for the titles I most want to read.  So I started reserving books through my local library's online system.

Ohmygod!  It's raining books here!!!

It seems there are rarely people requesting the books I want to read through the actual library.  And although the library doesn't have every title I want, they have most of the titles I want.  I've been able to pick up books at my library - right away with no wait at all - that I've been waiting months to read through Overdrive.  I put in a hold through my library's online system, and I get a notice that I can pick it up. 

It's an embarrassment of riches, I tell you!


I'm making a few housekeeping changes here on my blog.  I've added a sidebar list of the books I've recently read (through Goodreads) if you're interested.  I stopped blogging about my reading when I started posting reviews on Goodreads -- so just click in if you're interested in what I'm reading and what I thought of it.


Inspired Documentation

Each year, after I choose my word, I try to find physical ways to keep it close to me.  I figure that if I can see it, I'll think about it more.  It's an awareness thing.  If I'm looking for it, I'll find it!  If I'm open to it, my word will continue to bubble up in meaningful ways.

One thing I always do right away . . . is set up some sort of journal to document my experience.  It's a great way for me to capture my thoughts and reflections and, ultimately, my "learnings" about my word.  

For the last few years, I've used a little cardboard album with binder rings that can (conveniently!) expand to hold any number of pages.


I nearly always begin my journal with the dictionary definition of my word for the year, and a collection of quotes that I find particularly inspiring. 


After that, well . . . it's a crap shoot!  I'm a visual person, so I like to collect little bits and pieces that resonate with me about my word.  By the end of the year, this binder will be stuffed with all kinds of goofy stuff --  images from magazines, photos I've taken myself, postcards, jottings on index cards, post-it notes, poems, lists . . . whatever comes my way.


The entire thing usually ends up looking like an overstuffed vision board by the end of the year, but it's always fun to look back at what has inspired me.


Inspiration!  That's the whole point of having a word, isn't it?


How about you?  How are you inspired this month?




Sometimes Mondays

. . . are quiet.


As in . . . really, really quiet.

Like living-in-an-upturned-barrel-placed-over-your-head kind of quiet.  

You see, I flew out to Colorado last Thursday with a little touch of a cold.  While there, the high altitude and super-dry air did a number on my sinuses.  And then I flew home.  Let's just say . . . the pressure in my head (and particularly in my ears) has not quite normalized.  

In other words, I can't hear a freakin' thing!!!

Today is quiet.  
Very, very quiet.

(And Tom wins the True Love 4-Ever'n'Ever award.  Because he watched the Oscars with me last night with the volume set on MAX and didn't even complain.)  (Now that's love!)

How's your Monday?


By Request

Last week, I shared that Tom is the Poet Laureate for the Kalamazoo Curling Club.  And several of you called me out . . . for not including some of his (rather naughty) limericks.


Here you go.  
Three (because Thursday) of Tom's limericks.  
By request.


Curling Limerick #1

I met a skip last November
Had a curling tattoo on his member
Most times it said “MEND”
But on cue would extend
To say “Hey, come check out my 8-ender”

Curling Limerick #2

There once was a curler named Ina
Who’d learned how to guard in Regina
Twixt her knees held a rock
And with that she did block
Any draw attempt to her . . . button

Curling Limerick #3

Twas a curler who got into some trouble
Drank too much and passed out in the rubble
He woke up sick and giddy
With only one kidney
And a tramp-stamp that said “missed the double”

And.  There you are.


Be sure to visit Carole today for more Three on Thursday fun!


I'm heading to Colorado this morning for an extended weekend visit.  There may or may not be a blog post tomorrow.   (Oh, the suspense. . . )


Where Knitting Meets Intention

Last fall, I took a good look at my knitting.  

Like. . .  at all of it.  Past and present and future.  Completed projects.  Projects in my queue (which is entirely a queue-of-the-mind in my case; I don't utilize the Ravelry Queue feature).  Yarn in my stash.

And after a bit of an inventory and some careful analysis, I came up with a few shocking revelations:

  • I have three drawers full of shawls/scarves/wraps, a bin full of hats, and a bin full of mittens/fingerless mitts.
  • Most of the sweaters I knit . . . have ended up at Goodwill.  
  • I knit things in colors I love to look at -- but never actually wear.  (Although I do wear some rather surprising colors all the time.  Like yellow/gold.  And orange.)
  • I knit sweaters I would never purchase if I were shopping - and that don't fit into my wardrobe at all.  (Which explains the Goodwill thing.)
  • Tom has stated out loud and on numerous occasions, "I do not need any more hats."
  • My children have also mentioned, "Enough hats."
  • Etc.

Shocking.  True.  And why last fall I stopped knitting . . . whatever I felt like knitting.  You know . . . whichever new and groovy pattern happened to catch my fickle eye.  (Because there are plenty.)  Instead, I specifically asked my kids what they might like me to knit for them -- and I knit those things as Christmas gifts.  I knit little gnomes -- because family and friends loved them and wanted one.  I knit dish cloths -- because I needed them.

And I've been thinking a  lot about . . . where knitting meets intention.  (Because you know I won't stop knitting!)


So for now (and maybe for the rest of time), my goal is to knit in the "sweet spot."  Which means:

  • Making a careful analysis (BEFORE the excitment of casting on) of whether a given project is something I will actually wear, something I actually need, and something that will fit into my existing wardrobe.  (Because I'm tired of knitting for the Goodwill bag.)
  • I'm paying close attention to the kinds of knits I actually DO love and wear (and there really are many of them) as the key to where I might keep my knitting focus.
  • I'm going to use yarn in my stash first.  And I'm also going to give away and donate the many beautiful yarns I have in my stash that don't fit into my "sweet spot."  (Remember to comment by Friday if you'd like Monday's Giveaway yarns!)
  • I'm staying away from any of the FOMO kinds of projects:  the"mystery" knits (which account for many of the shawls at the very bottom of my shawl drawers), "challenge" knits, or KALs.  Knitting with a group is great fun -- but I'm fine knitting on my own at this point in my knitting "career," and I no longer feel the need to "bang out" anything alongside other knitters.
  • I'm going to ask family and friends what they might like me to knit for them before foisting yet another hat on them.

This process was very enlightening for me.  I feel good about the knitting-direction I'm headed in now -- very much like I did after my reading-epiphany last year.  Knitting with focus; knitting with intention.  

Stay tuned. . . we'll see where this ends up by the end of the year!


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


Into the Future

Have you ever thought about yourself . . . in the future?


(This photo has absolutely nothing to do with today's blog post.  But it's lovely, isn't it?  A new cyclamen plant. . . Here are some tips for getting a cyclamen plant to re-bloom.) (So.  Maybe this photo IS related to today's blog post after all.  I'll let you decide.)

I don't mean what you'll look like in the future.  (Although there is that. . . )  I mean what life will be like for you.  What you'll do with your time.  How you'll spend your days.  How you'll feel.  That kind of thing.

In this, my year of intention, I've been thinking a lot about my future self:  Future-Kym.

Turns out that most of us have unrealistic notions about our future selves.  It is human nature to believe that tomorrow will be different for ourselves.  We'll have more time.  We'll be in better physical shape.  We'll have enough money for retirement.  We'll knit ALL the yarn in our stash!

And while, yes, our lives will continue to change and evolve (because the one constant in our lives is change), we are not going to become totally different people.  You know. . . healthy and fit people who have time for learning new languages in preparation for trips around the world while knitting all day and never eating sweets with perfectly organized photo albums and a sparkling clean house. 

Unless we start working on it today, that is.

Consider this blog post fair warning:  You're going to hear a lot more about Future-Kym this year.  As I work through my goal of living with intention, I'm going to have to bring her into the spotlight!

How about you?  Have you given much thought to Future-You?


Don't forget:  If you'd like to be included in the drawing for yesterday's Stash Giveaway, let me know in the comments this week.  I'll be drawing a couple of names on Friday!

Sometimes Mondays

. . . mean it's time for another Stash Giveaway!


These two skeins of yarn have held space in my stash for a very long time.  They are probably the most lovely yarns in my stash -- they are a true treat for the eyes, AND they feel like a dream!

But, alas.  They do not spark joy for me.
Perhaps they will for you?


Each skein is Silk Lace hand dyed by Sundara of Sundara Yarn.  1000 yards of 100% silk.  The colors?  They shimmer!  The reddish skein is in the Copper Over Bamboo colorway, and the grayish/bluish skein is in the Granite Falls colorway.

Truly, these are gorgeous yarns.  They deserve to be knit up in a beautiful lace pattern.  Or even to just be displayed.  Or touched.  

Interested?  In one?  Or both?  Just let me know this week in the comments.  On Friday, if there is interest, I'll draw a name (or names) out of a hat -- and the yarn will be yours!

Happy Monday.



Sums It Up

"Sometimes you just have to put on lip gloss and pretend to be psyched."
                                          -- Mindy Kaling

And sometimes you just need to pick up a blooming plant at Trader Joe's. . . 


and ignore those snowflakes you see out the window.  

Because it's only mid-February, and we have a lot of winter left (here in Michigan, at least).  
Pretending to be psyched!  (Happy weekend.)

My Funny Valentine

Me and my Valentine (who really is funny, by the way) . . . don't do anything special to celebrate Valentine's Day.  


But I thought it might be fun to acknowledge the day -- AND the fact that it falls on a Three on Thursday -- by sharing some things (three, in fact!) that you probably don't already know about my Valentine.

1 -- Tom grew up in Manhattan!


Here he is back in 1969 (Tom's the skinny blonde kid on the left) in J. Hood Wright Park, which was across the street from his apartment building.  For those of you familiar with Manhattan, he lived at Ft. Washington Ave. and W. 173rd St, and attended PS 173.  It was quite a shock (as in culture shock!)  . . . when his parents moved the family to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where he spent his adolescent years.  (And met me.)  (He can still bring back that NY accent when he wants to.)  

2 -- Tom used to be blonde!


Yep, there we are.  1980.  Tom's college graduation.  Blonde.  He was blonde as a baby, blonde as a kid, blonde when I met him.  Somewhere along the way, though, his hair turned dark brown.  His hair hasn't been blonde in decades -- but I still think of him as having blonde hair.  (Erin's hair was exactly the same -- blonde until she got out of college, when it turned dark brown.)  (And that photo?  That's my natural hair color.  Until it turned gray, of course.)

3 -- Tom is a "Poet Laureate". . . 

Tom curling

of the Kalamazoo Curling Club, that is!  Tom loves to play with words -- rhymes, funny turns of phrase, puns (and especially BAD puns, I might add).  He's also very good at telling jokes, and has quite a repertoire of memorized stories.  These skills have landed him a gig as the First Curling Poet Laureate.  He has written - and presented - many curling-themed poems and (rather naughty) limericks at curling events all around the region.

And now you know a little bit more about my funny Valentine!
Happy Valentine's Day to all of you.


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