Previous month:
October 2020
Next month:
December 2020

November 2020

It Sure Feels Like a Monday

That means it must be time to . . . 

IMG_1721 2

On Mondays, I usually share a few tidbits and miscellaneous things I discovered over the weekend. A little of this, some of that. Things to amuse, amaze, entertain, or inform. Maybe even something to rev you up! I don't know about you, but . . . it seemed like quite a long and leisurely weekend to me. I really need to get things revving and moving this morning.

So. Let's get to it!

==

"There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want."
        --- Bill Watterson

IMG_1722 2

==

IMG_9538

It's been a while since I've featured a word here to . . . start your engines. Let's dig in, shall we?

First, it's time for the folks at Oxford Languages to select their Word of the Year for this dumpster fire of a year. I don't know about you, but I've been anticipating their selection for 2020. Could it be . . . "Blursday?" "Doomscrolling?" "Lockdown?" "Flatten the Curve?" Nope! Turns out . . . instead of choosing a word for 2020, the Oxford folks have decided to highlight the entire pandemic's swift and sudden impact on the English language! Instead of choosing just one word to represent 2020, they have created a report: The Words of an Unprecendented Year. (Personally, I think "unprecedented" could have been the word for 2020. . . )

Next, I found this fun look at 25 words that are their own opposites! (Seriously. If you have fun with words, you're gonna LOVE this one.) I had never heard the term "contronym" before . . . but I am absolutely intrigued - now that I know it.

==

IMG_7449

It's been a tough several months. And it looks like things are going to remain that way -- dark, isolated, kinda scary -- for awhile yet. Oprah to the rescue! Yes. Oprah has put together her list of seven books that help her "through the tough times." Check out her list here, and maybe find something that will help you get through these tough times. 

== 

IMG_8564

Sadly, it looks like our best (and safest) options for travel . . . will continue to be from our own armchairs - and computer screens - for a while yet. Here are a couple of interesting destinations for you:

First, let's head to Turkey! Click here for a look at the fabled honey forest in northeast Turkey. This adventure comes to us via the New York Times as part of their The World Through a Lens series -- launched early in the pandemic as a way to help us visit some of the world's intriguing sites without having to leave our homes. This is a fascinating look at beekeeping traditions in a most beautiful corner of the world.

Then, for something completely different, let's take a quick peek at a preview of The Costume Institute's upcoming show (currently postponed) (I think you can guess whyAbout Time, which shows us how fashion has changed in the last 150 years . . . and how it hasn't. Looks intriguing!

==

IMG_8120

And now . . . for a wonderful little claymation short film . . . that reminds us all that nobody is normal, and that however weird you feel inside you're not alone.

Screen Shot 2020-11-29 at 8.53.46 PM

Click here and then click in to this sweet little 80-second film by Catherine Prowse. It's a great way to start your day!

==

And . . . that's it for me on this Monday morning.
Here's to a good one for all of us!

 

 

 


A Week of Gratitude: Friday

It's Thanksgiving week here in the US . . . a week traditionally spent cooking, gathering with friends and family, and reflecting on our many blessings. I've decided to take a little break from my usual blog "structure" (such as it is) to focus on gratitude this week.

IMG_1655

"Gratitude is a gracious acknowledgment of all that sustains us, a bow to our blessings, great and small, an appreciation of the moments of good fortune that sustain our life every day. We have so much to be grateful for."
        --- Jack Kornfield

I've had a daily meditation practice for a long time. Longer than I've been blogging, for sure. Way longer. Sometimes I just sit in silence with my coffee in the morning and meditate. Sometimes I walk and meditate. Sometimes I knit and meditate. Sometimes I pull weeds and meditate. Sometimes I sit down on a cushion and light candles. Sometimes I use mala beads. Sometimes I use an app. Sometimes I listen to music. Sometimes I balance my chakras. Sometimes I follow the moon. There are so many ways to meditate!

I got started with meditation years and years ago because my rheumatologist suggested I give it a try. So I did. Meditation wasn't such a "thing" back then . . . as it is now. You had to look pretty hard to find good information about developing a meditation practice in the early 90s! One of my very earliest meditation "teachers" was Jack Kornfield, who I discovered in books from the library and articles from my rheumatologist. (Because the internet was more just a new idea back then, and there were certainly no apps yet.) One of the first types of meditation I tried . . . was Jack Kornfield's gratitude meditation. It's still my favorite, and I do it regularly. 

I thought I'd share it with you today. Maybe you'd like to try it yourself.

Jack Kornfield's Meditation on Gratitude and Joy
(which can also be found on his website or in any number of books and apps)

Let yourself sit quietly and at ease. Allow your body to be relaxed and open, your breath natural, your heart easy. Begin the practice of gratitude by feeling how year after year you have cared for your own life. Now let yourself begin to acknowledge all that has supported you in this care:

With gratitude I remember the people, animals, plants, insects, creatures of the sky and sea, air and water, fire and earth, all whose joyful exertion blesses my life every day.

With gratitude I remember the care and labor of a thousand generations of elders and ancestors who came before me.

I offer my gratitude for the blessing of this earth I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the measure of health I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the family and friends I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the community I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the teachings and lessons I have been given.

I offer my gratitude for the life I have been given.

Just as we are grateful for our blessings, so we can be grateful for the blessings of others.

Now shift your practice to the cultivation of joy. Continue to breathe gently. Bring to mind someone you care about, someone it is easy to rejoice for. Picture them and feel the natural joy you have for their well-being, happiness, and success. With each breath, offer them your grateful, heartfelt wishes:

May you be joyful.

May your happiness increase.

May you not be separated from great happiness.

May your good fortune and the causes for your joy and happiness increase.

Sense the sympathetic joy and caring in each phrase. When you feel some degree of natural gratitude for the happiness of this loved one, extend this practice to another person you care about. Recite the same simple phrases that express your heart’s intention.

Then gradually open the meditation to other loved ones and benefactors. After the joy for them grows strong, turn back to include yourself. Let the feelings of joy more fully fill your body and mind. Continue repeating the intentions of joy over and over, through whatever resistances and difficulties arise, until you feel stabilized in joy. Next begin to systematically include the categories of neutral people, then difficult people and even enemies until you extend sympathetic joy to all beings everywhere, young and old, near and far.

==

My best wishes to all of you . . . for a weekend filled with peace and solace, time to rest -- and . . . gratitude. Thank you, as always, for being here!

 

 


A Week of Gratitude: Thursday

It's Thanksgiving week here in the US . . . a week traditionally spent cooking, gathering with friends and family, and reflecting on our many blessings. I've decided to take a little break from my usual blog "structure" (such as it is) to focus on gratitude this week.

IMG_1654

Today I share with you a poem by Joy Harjo, the current Poet Laureate of the United States. If you're not familiar with Joy Harjo, please do learn more about her (you can click here for a start) and immerse yourself in her words, in her experience.

==

For Calling the Spirit Back from Wandering the Earth in its Human Feet
Joy Harjo

Put down that bag of potato chips, that white bread, that bottle of pop.

Turn off that cellphone, computer, and remote control.

Open the door, then close it behind you.

Take a breath offered by friendly winds. They travel the earth
gathering essences of plants to clean.

Give it back with gratitude.

If you sing it will give your spirit lift to fly to the stars' ears and
back.

Acknowledge this earth who has cared for you since you were
a dream planting itself precisely within your parents' desire.

Let your moccasin feet take you to the encampment of the
guardians who have known you before time, who will be
there after time. They sit before the fire that has been there
without time.

Let the earth stabilize your postcolonial insecure jitters.

Be respectful of the small insects, birds and animal people
who accompany you.
Ask their forgiveness for the harm we humans have brought
down upon them.

Don't worry.
The heart knows the way though there may be high-rises,
interstates, checkpoints, armed soldiers, massacres, wars, and
those who will despise you because they despise themselves.

The journey might take you a few hours, a day, a year, a few
years, a hundred, a thousand, or even more.

Watch your mind. Without training it might run away and
leave your heart for the immense human feast set by the
thieves of time.

Do not hold regrets.

When you find your way to the circle, to the fire kept burning
by the keepers of your soul, you will be welcomed.

You must clean yourself with cedar, sage, or other healing plant.

Cut the ties you have to failure and shame.

Let go the pain you are holding in your mind, your shoulders,
your heart all the way to your feet. Let go the pain of your
ancestors to make way for those who are heading in our
direction.

Ask for forgiveness.

Call upon the help of those who love you. These helpers take
many forms: animal, element, bird, angel, saint, stone, or
ancestor.

Call your spirit back. It may be caught in corners and
creases of shame, judgement, and human abuse.

You must call in a way that your spirit will want to return.
Speak to it as you would to a beloved child.

Welcome your spirit back from its wandering. It may return
in pieces, in tatters. Gather them together. They will be 
happy to be found after being lost for so long.

Your spirit will need to sleep awhile after it is bathed and
given clean clothes.

Now you can have a party. Invite everyone you know who 
loves and supports you. Keep room for those who have no
place else to go.

Make a giveaway, and remember, keep the speeches short.

Then, you must do this: help the next person find their way
through the dark.

==

Today's poem was published in Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems, Joy Harjo, 2015, W.W. Norton & Company.

 

 


A Week of Gratitude: Wednesday

It's Thanksgiving week here in the US . . . a week traditionally spent cooking, gathering with friends and family, and reflecting on our many blessings. I've decided to take a little break from my usual blog "structure" (such as it is) to focus on gratitude this week.

IMG_1666

When I was growing up, "church" wasn't a terribly important thing for my family. My sister and I went to Sunday School on the regular, and my mom took us to church in what I'd call sporadic fits and starts. (My dad rarely went with us.) I sang in the choir for awhile in middle school, and went to a few youth group activities now and again. I went through confirmation in 8th grade. But . . . let's just say I didn't find what many others find in organized religion.

We did, though, say grace before every evening meal throughout my childhood. It went like this: GodisgreatGodisgoodLetusthankhimForourfoodAmen. Just those words, all slurred together. Every night. Eventually, as my sister and I got older, we just . . . stopped. 

Fast forward several years: Children of my own. Tom and I took them to church and Sunday School throughout their childhoods. We found a church that we liked, and so we dabbled in oganized religion for a while (until our minister retired, and we discovered it was him that made our experience special, not the church). 

Anyway. We did, as the kids grew up, say grace before every evening meal -- a very familiar prayer: GodisgreatGodisgoodLetusthankhimForourfoodAmen. Eventually, as the kids grew older and made the whole thing more like a game of who could get the words out faster, we just . . . stopped.

Saying those "grace words" - or not saying them - had no real bearing on the gratitude we felt for our meals. Not when I was a child; not when I was a parent of young kids; not now. But those words did create a pause-before-eating; a chance to separate our eating a meal from the rest of our lives. I would argue that "saying grace" before a meal doesn't actually need to include any words (rote memorization or spontaneous prayer) at all. For me, "grace" . . . is a pause. Just a quiet moment of gratitude for the meal before the eating begins. A pause . . . to acknowledge that our food didn't just appear out of thin air! Someone grew it, ground it, bought it, cooked it. And for that, we are grateful.

So tomorrow, as we gather in whatever form we're mustering this year, I encourage you to . . .  pause . . . before digging in. Fill it with words if that's your thing. Or don't feel guilty about silence if words aren't your thing.

"Gratefulness -- 'great fullness,' as Brother David Steindle-Rast reminds us, 'is the full response of the human heart to the gratuitousness of all that is.' Truly every single thing we have has been given to us, not necessarily because we deserved it, but gratuitously, for no known reason. And whatever source we believe is the giver - some concept of God or simply the breathtaking randomness of the universe - when we give thanks, we take our place in the great wheel of life, recognizing our connection to one another and to all of creation. Offering a blessing, reminds Brother Steindle-Rast, 'plugs us into the aliveness of the whole world.'"
       -- M.J. Ryan, in the introduction to A Grateful Heart: Daily Blessings for the Evening Meal from Buddha to the Beatles

Plug into the "aliveness of the whole world," my friends.
There is much to be grateful for -- and many ways to offer a blessing.


A Week of Gratitude: Tuesday

It's Thanksgiving week here in the US . . . a week traditionally spent cooking, gathering with friends and family, and reflecting on our many blessings. I've decided to take a little break from my usual blog "structure" (such as it is) to focus on gratitude this week.

IMG_0030

When I was a growing up, my mom had many "Mom-isms" that she used to repeat to my sister and I. You know ... those words-of-wisdom that you roll your eyes at when you're a kid and swear you'll never say if you have kids someday. But, well. They tend to stick. Because they were usually true and right and worth noting.

Anyway. One of my mom's frequently-used phrases (that I particularly chafed at) was . . . You'll catch more flies with honey.

I really didn't like this one. Because first of all . . . ewwww. Not a picture I like to hold in my mind, really. But mostly because when I was a kid, I rarely saw (or could quite imagine) a payoff from being "nice" to people I didn't want to be "nice" to, mostly because they weren't being "nice" to me in the first place. But I was a good girl and I (mostly) listened to my mom and I did try to be "nice" to people I didn't want to be "nice" to (mostly).

And, of course, like so many things my mom used to repeat . . . she was right. You DO catch more flies with honey! And . . . being "nice" - which is really being KIND - is a simple way to spread reciprocal joy and gratitude!

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God's kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."
        --- Mother Teresa

(Yep. Mother Teresa again.) (Because she isn't a saint for nothing.)

When I'm out and about in the world (which, granted, isn't as often as it used to be these days), I try to keep my mom's words - and Mother Teresa's sentiments, too, when it comes right down to it - in mind (and in my heart). I do try to be kind to all people I encounter - friends or strangers, happy or grumpy, calm or frazzled. I don't mean that I'm Miss Jolly Sunshine everywhere I go or anything, here . . . but . . . 

I smile. (Even when I'm wearing a mask.) 
I meet eyes.
I might chit-chat.
I say thank you. And please.
I even give random compliments.

If I have an opportunity to make someone else feel good - to put a smile on their face - why be stingy about it? Why hold back? It's easy to smile. To say thank you. Or even to pass along a random genuine compliment. 

There are no strings attached when it comes to kindness.
And . . . it forges a human connection that fosters gratitude.

And we all need more of that right now!

(So, thanks, Mom. I was listening even when you thought I wasn't.)

==

And now, a poem. . . 

==

A Gift
Kathryn Starbuck

Who is that creature   
and who does he want?   
Me, I trust. I do not   
attempt to call out his   
name for fear he will   
tread on me. What do   
you believe, he asks.   
 
That we all want to be   
alone, I reply, except when   
we do not; that the world   
was open to my sorrow   
and ate most of it; that   
today is a gift and I am   
ready to receive you.
 
=
 
Today's poem was published in the journal Poetry, March 2009. Click here for more information about the poet (who has a wonderful personal story about becoming a poet in her 60s, by the way).

 


A Week of Gratitude: Monday

It's Thanksgiving week here in the US . . . a week traditionally spent cooking, gathering with friends and family, and reflecting on our many blessings. I've decided to take a little break from my usual blog "structure" (such as it is) to focus on gratitude this week.

IMG_0028

Now I've long subscribed to the notion that noticing and acknowledging the things we're grateful for . . . makes us more happy in our lives. Like many of you, I keep a gratitude journal, and in it I list a number of things I'm grateful for each day. It's a lovely ritual, and really does make me pay attention to and think about the things that I am particularly grateful for.

Some days, though . . . it's hard.

When life feels dark and tedious and harrowing (y'know . . . like now), it's easy to get caught up in all the things that are wrong or fraught or not-quite-what-we-had-in-mind. Like, well . . . who is grateful for this dumpster fire of a year, right? There have been many mornings over the past months when I open my gratitude journal and just stare at it for a while. Cranky and not feeling particularly grateful at all.

"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin."
                -- Mother Teresa

I moped around last week, thinking about how long it's been since I've seen my daughter in person, how my son is less than an hour up the road -- but still out of reach, how much I miss my mom at Thanksgiving. I got caught up in the pointlessness of cooking a Thanksgiving meal this year. And then I thought of Mother Teresa. I mean . . .she was a great one for shining her light on blessings when things appeared amazingly dark and utterly hopeless, wasn't she? Maybe her words - and her example - could inspire me to find the the blessings in my life.

I realized it was time for me to shine a light on my life.
To flip the switch.
To change my perspective.
To begin.

Instead of focusing on not seeing my daughter . . . 
I started thinking about how proud I am of her for working so hard to land - and succeed at - her dream job; how delighted I am that she is happy and independent in her life; how grateful I am for the many ways we have stayed connected at great distance - and even during a pandemic; how pleased I am that she is making many of our family dishes this year for her own Thanksgiving with Keith. Yes. I miss her. But she is a blessing wherever she is!

Instead of focusing on not seeing my son . . . 
I started thinking about how lucky I am that he is only just up the road now; how lovely it is to see him in person once in a while - even behind a mask and at a distance; what a blessing to me that he is settled and happy - even during a pandemic; how pleased I am that we can share a Thanksgiving meal this year even if it's just dropped off at his door with a wave. Yes. I miss him. But he's close enough to wave at through a window, and that is a blessing!

Instead of focusing on how much I miss my mom . . . 
I started remembering all the happy Thanksgiving times we were able to share over the years; all the pies she baked and her love of dark meat and how much we laughed. Yes. She isn't here around my table this year. But her memories live deep inside me, and her spirit is with me every day -- and especially at Thanksgiving. What a blessing to have such wonderful memories woven into my week!

Instead of focusing on the "pointlessness" of cooking a meal on this weird Thanksgiving . . . 
I started thinking about how I CAN cook a meal on this weird Thanksgiving; that I have access to the ingredients and cooking utensils I need; that I am blessed with recipes and know-how and experience; that I can share my meal - and my love - with Tom and Brian and Lauren and my dad. Yes. We won't be gathering together. But that doesn't change our enjoyment of a shared meal. And this meal - even though shared in a completely different way - will tether us to each other and ground us in our traditions anyway.

Really. I have an embarrassment of riches. So many blessings. So much to be grateful for!

It does work . . . changing your perspective. Flipping the switch. Shining a light on your life.
Even when it seems dark!

Begin!

==

(And now . . . a poem. Because why not.)

==

Messenger
Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird ---
  equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
  keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
   astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
  and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
  to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
  that we live forever.

==

Today's poem was published in Thirst by Mary Oliver, 2006, Beacon Press, Boston.

 


Rekindling the Inner Fire

All week long I look for . . . 

IMG_0929

And then on Fridays, I report back.

==

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
                – Albert Schweitzer

I'm an introvert. Which doesn't mean I'm shy or retiring (because I'm neither). And it doesn't mean I don't like people (because I do). Or parties and social gatherings (because I enjoy those, too). It just means that I get my energy from spending time on my own; I need to recharge - I like to recharge - all by myself. As fun as parties and social events are, well . . . they wear me out. And after time "peopling," I really need some down time with my knitting or my paintbrushes or a book . . . and a glass of wine.

As my sister (also an introvert) likes to say, "We are built for a pandemic lockdown."  Yep. Able to withstand limited contact and alone-time with minimal discomfort. Plenty of books and hobbies on hand to last for a good long time. Techology to reach out when we want to reach out. But really not getting that itch to go to a party or any other social gathering that might risk our health, y'know?

But recently, I've discovered that my introvert-ness has a limit. And I'm there. I find, after nearly 9 months of connecting with my friends via FaceTime and Zoom happy hours and online-whatever-you-haves, I'm missing . . . 

community
connections
PEOPLE, in general
seeing and spending real time with my friends

(And my family, too - but that's a whole other kind of missing.)

This longing for community, for my friends, seems especially hard right now -- as we head into what will surely be a long, dark winter. Five more months of being cooped up inside (even though I do have plenty of diversions inside with me) until it's warm enough to meet in the park again for lunch at a picnic table? Five more months of meet-ups and "parties" and happy hours on Zoom (even though I'm grateful for technology that allows this kind of connection) until maybe the vaccine is available? It just feels really bleak right now. And where is the HOPE in that?

So you might say I was at a low spot.
My inner fire was definitely diminished.

And then, something happened.

IMG_1514

I got a note from a friend!

A really wonderful note.
The kind that warms you up and brings a smile and . . . makes you shed a tear or two.

This note bolstered my spirit and . . . gave me hope!
That we will get through this.
That we will get together again.
That we are friends.
That we remain connected.

I discovered that it's actually pretty simple . . . for a friend to rekindle your inner spirit when your inner fire goes out.

Just words.
Just a note.
A simple, heartfelt note.

This week I decided to start writing my own notes to friends. I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and start trying to spread some hope out there among my friends.

Maybe those notes will hit at a low spot . . . when the inner fire has gone out.
Maybe I'll be able to rekindle some inner spirits with my words.
I think it's worth a try!

==

My best wishes to all of you . . . for a weekend filled with peace and solace, time to rest -- and things that rekindle your inner spirit.

 


A Different Kind of Holiday

Last Friday, I wrote a blog post about hope and gratitude when it comes to the Thanksgiving holiday this year. In the post (which you can read here), I explained my heartbreak at needing to change our plans this year . . . because of Covid. (Aren't we all just so tired of saying that?) But change our plans we did. Because it's the right thing to do. And many of you shared how you'll be changing things up this year, too.

Just a couple of days ago, James Hamblin wrote an essay called Cancel Thanksgiving for The Atlantic. Hamblin writes, "few things sound nicer than sitting around eating with friends and family, after so much isolation and worry over this decades-long year." But . . . then he goes on to explain that we're in "precarious moment" in terms of the pandemic, with infectious-disease experts giving us some very straightforward advice:

  • limit activities to those essential to life
  • don't gather socially
  • don't travel
  • don't celebrate Thanksgiving in anything resembling the modern American way

IMG_F0EF8BEC0718-1

Of course, this is a very unpopular message, and few of our country's leaders are brave enough to deliver it. (Although just today, in the Washington Post, seven governors - 5 Democrats and 2 Republicans - published a joint statement imploring people to re-think their Thanksgiving plans and stay home this year.) (And a shoutout here to my own state's governor, Gretchen Whitmer, one of the seven governors.)

In his essay in The Atlantic, James Hamblin tells us "this is a moment for creativity," and encourages us to think about what we like most about the day -- and then to think about how we can make that happen in a different way this year.

In my house, we've decided to cook our same menu (although we'll do the cooking ahead of time and over the course of several days) and then pack it up to deliver to my dad and to Brian and Lauren so we can all share the same meal - separately - on Thanksgiving Day. And I've sent Erin several of my recipes so she and Keith can try them at their own dinner this year. And we've got a family Zoom planned, as well. (Erin and I are also planning to do our annual gingerbread house decorating via Zoom this year. It won't happen on Thanksgiving Day, probably, but sometime over the weekend. I'm putting together a "kit" for her, which will soon be on its way to California.)

Many of you who commented on my blog post are planning to celebrate in similar ways:

  • Most of you are planning on family Zoom get-togethers.
  • Almost all of you are scaling back the number of people gathering around your tables, just keeping it to your household and maybe including a couple of family members from your "bubbles."
  • Some of you are changing up your menus (Kay), or scaling back the amount you'll be cooking or the size of your turkeys (Carole), but some of you are cooking just like always (because who doesn't want those leftovers!) (Bonny).
  • Several of you are coming up with creative ways to share your family recipes with kids - even incorporating cooking-together FaceTimes. (Kat)
  • A couple of you are excited about starting new traditions (this will be Sarah's first time cooking a turkey, for example), while others are figuring out clever ways to carry out your usual traditions (Kathy will still be making treats for the birds in her yard as she does each year -- and this year, she's put together a tutorial in case you want to try this, too).
  • Some of you are keeping your fingers crossed for decent weather, which would allow for family hikes or campfires, and might make getting together with others possible and safe (Patty and Geri).

None of us like the changes we're making to our usual Thanksgiving traditions -- but we're finding ways to make it work and keep our families safe. Like Geri said in her comment last week, "With such encouraging reports regarding a vaccine I want to make it to the finish line, healthy, whenever that is!" That's what it's all about: Keeping ourselves - and our families and friends - safe and healthy!

It's going to be different.
But we're going to be okay!

 


A Little Riff . . . Sound of Music Style

Things got you down?
Me, too.
Let's take some advice from Maria . . . as the thunderstorms rumble around us . . . 
Let's SING!

IMG_1503

blue and white dishes
and
things in grid patterns

IMG_1508

flowers
and 
polka-dots
and
warm woolen everything

IMG_1510

knits that look great from their back side as well

. . . these are a few of my favorite things!

IMG_1496

when the Trump tweets
when the pandemic bites
when I'm feeling sad

I simply remember my favorite things . . .
and then I don't feel . . . 
so bad!

==

This is the Pressed Flowers shawl, finished and with some modifications. If you're interested in more information (and, I promise, no more strangled lyrics) you can click here for Ravelry details and more photos.

==

(And, yep. That is my current full-on-pandemic hairdo. Because if you can't grow out you bangs during a pandemic, when CAN you grow them out???)

==

It's not too late to join the book discussions for The Women of Brewster Place! Bonny and Carole and I each posted questions yesterday. We'd love to hear what you think.

 


Read With Us: Let's Talk About It!

Read With Us

Welcome to Read With Us book discussion week!

Bonny and Carole and I are each posting a different question (or questions) on our blogs today about our latest RWU book . . . The Women of Brewster Place. Join the discussion (which you're welcome do even if you didn't read the book).  I'll be answering your posts within the comment section for this discussion -- and you can comment on other people's comments, as well. Y'know . . . like in a real book group. (Please know . . . that because of the limitations of Typepad, I can't "layer" or "stack" the comments in my comment feed. Remember when I was having so much trouble with my comments last summer? Yeah. It was because of my attempt at "stacking." Sorry. Bear with me.)

We have another "book lovers" surprise package for you with this book discussion. Just leave a comment on any of our book discussion blogs and your name will be entered in the drawing -- the more you comment and participate in the discussion, the more chances you have to win!

Now, let's get on with our discussion.

The Women of Brewster Place

First . . . I'd really like to know what you thought of the book (or the movie, if you watched that). How did it make you feel? Did you like it? Do you think it deserves the attention it got when it was first written? How does it compare to more recent/contemporary novels you've read?

As I read the book (and, later, watched the Oprah Winfrey movie version), I was captivated by the physical "location" of the walled-off Brewster Place. That wall! It just kept everything/everyone in -- or out. And, then. Well. There was that ending! I know a lot of readers didn't like the ending of Brewster Place, or were confused by just what it meant. So, let's talk about that, too.

The actual street - Brewster Place - and its wall are like characters, personified. Do you agree or disagree? And would you say the street/wall is a protagonist or an antagonist? And does the street/wall, itself, have any impact on the story or its outcome?

Okay . . . that ending! What do you make of it? It's meant to be Mattie Michael's dream-scene, with the women of Brewster Place dismantling the wall brick-by brick. Does that work for you? Or not?

I can't wait to hear what you think!

==

Don't forget: We'll be discussing the book on Zoom tonight - 7:00 pm Eastern Time. There's still time for you to join us! Just let me know of your interest either with a comment or by sending me an email (see sidebar, above) -- and I'll send a Zoom invitation.