Three on Thursdays

Do You See What I See?

For various reasons (mostly weather and schedule related), I haven't spent as much time at our cabin up north this summer as I usually do . . . or as often as I'd like to. But . . . I'm here now. So there is that.


And while sitting around last night, I thought it might be fun to share a little "game" we often play up here. (And, no. It's not Pass the Pigs.) (Although that IS a perennial favorite.)

The interior of our little cabin is knotty pine paneling . . . 


(Pardon the quality of these photos. It was dark when I took them. The photos are grainy. But you'll be able to get the general idea.)


Tom and my Dad installed all the tongue-and-groove pine paneling. It's really quite lovely, and it gives the entire cabin a warm-and-cozy feel.

It also gives us our "game" . . . Do You See What I See . . . in the knots of the pine paneling! For two decades now, we stare up at this pine paneling (often after a few drinks) (just sayin) and we find . . . things . . . in the knot formations. Pictures, if you will. Whenever we have guests, Tom gets one of his fly rods and uses it as a pointer to highlight the "family favorites." And our guests usually find new ones to add to our "collection."

Sometimes, we don't see the knot-patterns in quite the same way. Tom tends to see lots of "pigs" and "owls." I see more "dogs" and "koalas." But, generally, with some imagination . . . we DO see things in the patterns of knots on the walls and ceilings.

Here's one of the first we ever found. I think it was actually one of the kids who found it . . . and they're certainly the ones who named it "Mr. Bubble." (Now, I think he looks like the sunglass-emoji guy.) "Mr. Bubble" has been watching over us at the cabin for a very long time now!


In the spirit of Three on Thursday, I thought it might be fun to play three rounds of Do You See What I See. (These are all long-time family-favorites.) (Tom would definitely point these out to you with his fly rod if you were visiting us at our cabin.)

Here goes . . . 


I see an alien. How about you?
(And for advanced players, there is a little koala up and to the left of the alien. Bonus points if you see that one.)


We call this one . . . the kangaroo rat. I have no idea why . . . but it's definitely something. Can you see it? (Bonus points if you see JoJo peeking up from the panel above . . . just one eye and a her nose.)


This is a tricky one . . . because there are lots of knots here (it would help if I had Tom's fly rod to point things out). This is our old dog, Jake. You can see his two eyes and nose there in the in the middle panel (if you look closely and use your imagination). Jake was our white German shepherd - much beloved; our dog-before-Jenny. (Jake almost made it to his 100th birthday, but fell about a month short of Centurion status.) Jake loved being at the cabin with us, so it's nice to have him with us still, there in the knotty pine!

And that's it for today's installment of Do You See What I See!
Happy Thursday. And be sure to visit Carole for more Three on Thursday fun.


So . . . this week, Typepad (my frequently disappointing blogging platform) is not sending me comment notifications by email. This makes it challenging for me to respond to your comments. Just want to let you know. I am seeing them . . . and I love it when you comment! It's just hard for me to respond in turn.



Thursday Question

This week, I'm asking you questions!


Today's question . . . is about magical thinking.

Let's pretend . . . you've just been awarded one million dollars! You've been instructed that you MUST spend every penny on yourself within one year (you're not allowed to invest or save it, or give it away). What are three things (it is Thursday, after all) you'd do with it?

As for me, I'd . . . 

1 - Hire a general contractor and re-do my entire house and cabin up north . . . all to my dream-house specifications.

2 - Take a luxury trip around the world (with maybe an extended stay in Tuscany while they're re-doing my house).

3 - Build a backyard sauna.

How about YOU?
I can't wait to hear how you'd spend your magical million!


(And if you have any questions you'd like me to answer in a future blog post . . . well. Go ahead. Ask!)


And be sure to visit Carole today, for some Three on Thursday fun.


Signs In My Garden

Last week I shared three smiles in my garden.
This week? I'm sharing signs.

I have all kinds of "words" in my garden . . . 


(They're everywhere in my garden, actually.)
But today, I'm going to share 3 signs I don't think I've shared before.

First, there's this one.


This one is right next to my garage, right at the top of my driveway, so that anyone pulling in can see just what we stand for . . . in this house. It's a standard yard sign that I have nestled into my front flower border. It works. Enough said.

Then, there's this one . . . 


Many years ago, I certified my garden as a Wildlife Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation, and Tom was kind enough to get me this lovely plaque to mark my garden. The sign gets obliterated in the summer by my very happy and very vigorous Autumn Joy clematis, but I do get asked about it quite often - especially in the spring and fall, when the sign is more visible. I love having a garden that is welcoming and safe for "woodland creatures" . . . even if it means deer nibbling on my hydrangeas and bunnies shredding my basil. (If you want to learn more about certifying your garden, click here for the scoop.)

And last, there's this one . . . 


A gentle reminder.
And the epitome of what I want my garden to remind me (and anyone visiting it) to do!


How about you? Do you have any signs in your garden?


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

Smiles in My Garden

My garden always makes me smile . . . but there are also smiles IN my garden!

Sneaky little smiles.
Like this one . . . 


This little frog has been in my garden . . .  somewhere . . . since about 1998 or so. I used to take the kids to the plant nurseries with me when they were little, and I'd often keep them occupied by letting them "pick something out" for the garden. Usually, I ended up with some odd-colored annual or another, but one year, it was this goofy little frog. He's getting pretty worn now, over the years -- and one of his eyes is totally scraped off, thanks to Jenny finding him in the garden when she was a puppy . . . and giving him a good puppy-chew! This year, I stuck him in one of my front containers.

Every time I see him, he brings back memories of my early gardening days.
And I smile.

And there's this guy . . . 


A goofy little garden gnome I found at Walgreens a few years ago for $2.99. He used to be bright and vibrant. Now he's weathered and chipped. I actually like him more as he weathers, standing guard out there every season at the base of my (also weathering) garden bench. Most visitors to my garden don't even notice him, nestled there in the sedum . . . but I know he's out there. He's kind of my gardening good-luck charm! One of the first things I bring out every spring.

Everytime I see him, I remember that you don't have to be "fancy" to be charming!
And I smile.

And there's this guy . . . 

IMG_4750 3

My little Jizu statue. Standing about 10 inches tall, my Jizu guards the little "puddle pond" in my garden. I bought him several years ago during a visit to the Japanese garden at the Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids on a visit with my mom. (She just loved the Japanese gardens there.) I love the story and symbolism behind the Jizo statues (you can read more about them here if you're interested), and I love having my little Jizo nearby.

Every time I see him, he brings me a peaceful feeling.
And now he reminds me of my mom, too.
And I smile.


How about you? Do you have any smiles in your garden?


Be sure to hop over to Carole's today . . . for more Three on Thursday fun.

Very Random Things

It's been A Week around here, let me tell you. I worked at our special election all day Tuesday (and by that I mean 16 hours, beginning at 6 am, mostly spent sitting on very hard folding chairs) (for a mere 79 voters at my precinct, but the school millage renewal did pass, so there is that). And then yesterday I had a Zoom board meeting in the morning and a Zoom art class all afternoon long. And then I discovered a major issue that is going to completely disrupt my photo scanning project, and that . . . just took all the wind out of my sails.

I mean. . . none of this is a Big Deal.
None of it.
But it has combined to throw me off my game (as if I have one). 
I'm glad I thought ahead and stuck this sticker in my planner this week. . . 


Always a good reminder.

So. Because that's all the whining anyone needs to do (or read about) when it comes to minor inconveniences and silly blunders, here are three Very Random Things on a Thursday.

First. April has ended. . . which means National Poetry Month has ended . . . which means I'm not sharing poetry today. But I am sharing this stack of poetry books I purchased for my personal collection during April. (I'm very intentional about supporting poets and adding a few volumes every April.)


Second, remember when I told you I have a love/hate relationship with houseplants? We're entering the "hate" phase again, unfortunately. I discovered spider mites on three of my plants. Two are now out the door and in the yard waste recycling bin (hopeless cases). I'm working hard to treat the third with organic options (soap, essential oils, rubbing alcohol), but I'm not confident that any of it will work. Oh, well. (And this photo has nothing to do with my spider mites or their treatment but I'm throwing it in anyway.)


Third, Tom has unlocked the Pandemic Ponytail Achievement! This was his pandemic goal, so I'm not sure what he'll be doing next with his hair. (He did complain that it "gets in the way" just yesterday . . . ) So much suspense.


I don't think I could get any more random than that if I tried.

Happy Thursday, everyone.
(And be sure to jump over to Carole's to read other Three on Thursday posts this week.)


Also. . . 

If any of you have used an outside photo scanning service, would you mind sharing your thoughts, experience, suggestions with me? Let's just say . . . I'm in the market for such. But I'm nervous about sending/shipping my actual photos . . .


When Knitting = Grumpy: Figuring Out the Formula

Usually, I start my morning with some knitting while I sip my coffee. And then I pick it up again in the evening, usually while I watch something on TV with Tom. It's such a nice, relaxing way to begin the day -- and wrap up the day. I find it calming and relaxing and centering.


Except . . . when I don't.

For the last week, I've been knitting the colorwork portion of the sleeves on my latest sweater, and it turned out to be a total Knitting GrumpFest!

But not for reasons you might think. I mean . . . everything is working out splendidly, gauge-wise and fit-wise. So that's all good. Yet . . . I was finding No Joy in my knitting last week. Every time I picked up my sweater, it was just . . . ugh.

So I decided to stop and analyze: What was it, exactly, that was making me so cross about knitting those damn colorwork sleeves? 


First . . . I enjoy knitting when everything "feels right." I like nice needles with smooth joins. I like having the "just right" number of stitches on the needles so I don't have to have scrunch up the stitches overmuch -- or deal with having the uncomfortable s-t-r-e-t-c-h of having an almost-but-not-quite-enough number of stitches on the needles. I hate "kinky" cables, and I especially hate cables that are too long for the project I'm knitting. For sleeves, I almost always just use my double-points, and that's usually fine, although sometimes I use "magic loop"-ing. But with colorwork, double-points don't feel exactly right (those floats), and magic loop? Well. That brings us to . . . 

Second . . . I am not a huge fan of tangles when I knit. I like stripes and fair isle colorwork, so I can deal with SOME tangling. But let's just say . . . you won't find me knitting a lot of intarsia. I decided to knit my sleeves using the magic loop method, but discovered that looping magically AND colorwork make for lots of tangled yarn. And that pretty much made me lose my $h*!. So. Double-points for me. Still a lot of yarn-wrangling on every round, but at least I wasn't also fighting the extra cable "loop."

Third . . . You may remember that I'm already not terribly fond of knitting the sleeves in the round on top-down sweaters. All that twisting and turning. So tedious. 

So. There's my answer to why I wasn't finding joy in my knitting last week:

Didn't Feel Right + Yarn-Wrangling/Tangles + Twisting/Turning = Grumpy Knitting

That's the formula!
No worries, though.


I got through it!

Now it's smooth sailing with just plain old stockinette.

(Until I have to finish the sleeves.)
(But that's just twisting/turning - all by itself - without colorwork, which will seem like a walk in the park now.)
(Nothing like a little small-circumference colorwork for perspective!)


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


Love the One You're With

Yesterday, here in Michigan, they announced that beginning this week people in the 50-64 age group will be able to sign up to play . . . Vaccine Lottery! (Beginning with those with medical need first, and then by mid-month the rest of us in the 50+ range will be able to sign up.)

It's exciting news, to be sure.
But my first thought was . . . I bet it will be the J&J vaccine we get. And I'd rather have one of "the good ones."

Oh, Kym! 
Not the right attitude.
Flawed logic and bad assumptions on my part.


(This would be an ideal spot to insert a photo of, oh . . . say me, getting the vaccine. But since that hasn't happened yet, here! Take a look at my new mini-orchid instead.)

Lucky for me, the New York Times addressed this very issue in The Morning (their daily e-newsletter). Since it's Thursday, I thought I'd share three pieces of information I gleaned from the information I read this morning . . . regarding the vaccines and J&J's entry into the arena. (Because I kinda bet I'm not the only one feeling like they may have to "settle for" the J&J vaccine.)

First of all, here is the basis for all the "brand hesitancy" regarding the three vaccines (and this is directly copied from the The Morning e-newsletter today, links included).

"The perception stems from the headline rates of effectiveness of the three vaccines: 72 percent for Johnson & Johnson, compared with 94 percent for Moderna and 95 percent for Pfizer. But those headline rates can be misleading in a few ways. The most important measure — whether the vaccine prevents serious illness — shows the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be equally effective as the other two. All work for nearly 100 percent of people. The picture is murkier for mild cases, but they are not particularly worrisome."  --- The Morning, March 4, 2021

Okay. So all of us know that 94% and 95% beat 72%. That explains why we might prefer the Moderna and Pfizer vaccinations. But . . . let's dig further:

  1. Those "headline percentages" (94%, 95%, 72%) describe the vaccines effectiveness at preventing ALL infections from the Covid virus. But preventing ALL infections isn't really as important as it sounds. WHAAAAT??? you say. According to The Morning, "The world is not going to eliminate SARS-Cov-2 anytime soon. Coronaviruses circulate all the time, causing the common cold and other manageable illnesses. The trouble with this virus is its lethality. It has killed 15 times as many Americans as an average flu season. Turning Covid into something more like a mild flu or common cold means victory over the pandemic."
  2. So the real goal of the vaccines here . . . is to keep Covid manageable. Like the way colds or the garden-variety flu are manageable for us. And all three approved vaccines do just that! Again, according to The Morning, "all three vaccines being used in the U.S. are accomplishing that goal. In the research trials, none of the people who received a vaccine died of Covid. And after the vaccines had taken full effect, none were hospitalized, either." So, with any of the vaccines, we may still get Covid. But it will only be a mild case; something we can manage and - most importantly - survive.
  3. So why isn't the J&J vaccine as effective as the other two? There are a few theories. One is that they were performing the clinical trials AFTER the more transmissible variants had emerged in the population. (Neither Moderna's nor Pfizer's vaccines were tested against the variants.) Another possibility is that the J&J vaccine only requires one dose. (Maybe a second dose would give even higher results; they didn't test that.) But . . . look to the UK, where they decided to only give everyone one dose of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines: the numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths there are all dropping drastically. Basically, after ANY of the 3 approved vaccines, you have very little chance of dying from Covid. And that, according to The Morning, is "breathtaking."

Bottom line: Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the just-as-good!

All three vaccines are WONDERS!
Any of them will keep you from serious illness or death from Covid.

When it's your turn to grab a vaccine, listen to Stephen Stills . . . and love the one you're with!


For more Three on Thursday posts, be sure to head over to Carole's today.





I love the word tending. As in . . . to care or look after.

It's such a gentle word.
So soothing.
It just exudes love-in-action to me.


I think about the word tending most often when it comes to gardening. I love to . . . tend . . . my garden. I like to care for my plants. I'm one of those gardeners who actually prefers the tending kinds of tasks - weeding, deadheading, picking off pests - more than the planting and harvesting kinds of tasks.

That's what I miss most about my garden in the winter: Puttering around and tending.
(Well. That's not really true. I mostly miss just seeing it all unfold and being IN it.) (But tending is a close second.)

So I'm biding my time until garden-season by tending to my little indoor garden for now . . . 

First, there's my Aerogarden. Which is really coming along nicely!  Not much tending to do with this one, actually. It really is a Just-Add-Water kind of thing. But fun to watch all the same -- and soon I'll be able to harvest fresh herbs for my cooking.


Then, there's this first-ever possibly-re-blooming amaryllis bulb. This is very exciting for me. I've never been good at saving my spent amaryllis bulbs from one season to the next, but last year I followed Bonny's instructions . . . and look!!! A green shoot! (I stuck it next to the Aerogarden, so maybe the light is helping it come back to life?)


And then, there are tulip bulbs that I picked up at Costco last week. They don't require much tending, either, really. Another Just-Add-Water project. 

IMG_2646 2

But a winter delight for this gardener all the same!


Are you tending any plants in your indoor garden this winter?


Be sure to visit Carole for other 3-0n-Thursday posts today.

Love At the Movies

Love Week continues!

Love week

When I was in sixth grade (1970), the movie Love Story came out in theaters. It was the TALK of the sixth grade! Of course, at age 11, none of us had seen it, nor were the chances good that any of us would be allowed to see it. But Sharon Jenkins had an older sister who did see it, and she shared ALL the details with us. I remember just being shocked by the sucker punch of an ending. Shocked. Because love stories could have sad endings???? (Oh, my tender 11-year-old heart. . .)

I didn't see the movie until several years later. Back then, you couldn't just grab a VHS and watch when you wanted, of course. If you missed a movie on its theater release, you had to wait until it showed up on TV at some point. (Bleak times for movie viewing, for sure.) And by the time I did see the movie, I had read the book (all in one day, ending up with a tearful session reading under the covers with a flashlight late at night) -- and had already cycled through "the poster" that hung in my bedroom for years. (I thought the movie was okay; nothing can compare to Sharon Jenkins describing every detail at recess -- and the book was better.)

Screen Shot 2021-02-11 at 7.15.04 AM

So. Movie love stories. Do you prefer tear-jerkers like Love Story? Or are you more a fan of the rom-com . . . where eveything eventually "fits" in the end?

When I started thinking about love story movies earlier this week, I figured I would come up with my best three movies about love . . . and call it good for a Three on Thursday post. But the more I thought about it, the longer my list became! Ultimately, I've got a list here that can't even remotely qualify for a Three on Thursday post. (Three-Times-Three-Plus-One On Thursday?) (How about that, Carole?)

So, here you go. My Three-Times-Three-Plus-One list of favorite movies about love . .  

  • Amelie
  • Something's Gotta Give
  • Shakespeare in Love
  • Under the Tuscan Sun
  • Brooklyn
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral
  • The Big Sick
  • The Holiday
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Bull Durham 

I could add more . . . but I decided to stop with my top 10. 
What about you? What are your favorite movies about love???

(And did you have that same Love Story poster hanging in your room? It was ubiquitous in my 1970s world.)


"Life is one big love story with hundreds of little love stories within it."
       --- Ram Charan




Speed Trap


I ended up taking an unanticipated blog-break last week. Because . . . last week? It was A LOT.
Just . . . A LOT.
(Any way you slice it.)

I feel like I've been holding my breath for a really, really long time now. I keep thinking that I'll be able to (finally) let it out again. But, no. Still holding it.

I had a blog post nearly ready for last Thursday, but my heart just wasn't in it. So here it is today. . . a Three-on-Thursday on a Monday.



Many, many years ago, Tom and I took the kids on an Epic Family Vacacation Through the American West, with an ultimate destination of Bozeman, Montana (where Tom had a conference to attend). We hit as many National Parks and Memorials as we could along the way, enjoying the Badlands and Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone and the Tetons, Devil's Tower and Bighorn Canyon. (We won't talk about one kid pushing the other kid into the Lamar River in Yellowstone. Or how tempted we were to drive away from a raging kid in the parking lot at Devil's Tower.) (Long family car trips. What can I say? ) We have a lot of fun(ny) family memories. And that's what it's all about, right? Anyway. When we finally drove into Montana, we were greeted by a speed limit sign that looked a lot like the one in the photo above.

Reasonable and prudent.

I thought this would be a good way to continue . . . my yoga post from last Monday. Because after I wrote that post - and inspired a lot of you to give yoga a try - I had conversations with several of you that made me realize I maybe should take that yoga post . . . a little bit further. So, in the spirit of Three on Thursday, here are three more thoughts about . . . yoga. . . and watching for speed traps . . . on a Monday. (Please bear with me here.)


  1. Be Reasonable and Prudent about developing your yoga practice! There are many benefits to doing yoga. So many. And you can reap these benefits . . . by establishing a regular and consistent yoga practice. Now, what "regular and consistent" means is totally up to each of us individually. Kind of like that "reasonable and prudent" speed limit sign we encountered in Montana. Sure, Adriene touts doing yoga-every-day, and she comes up with a nicely packaged 30-day program each month so it's possible. BUT . . . that doesn't mean we need to DO yoga every day. Last Monday, I explained that yoga has made a huge difference for me as I deal with rheumatoid arthritis. And - until quite recently - I only did yoga once a week! My regular and consistent yoga practice . . . had me going to a studio yoga class once a week, every week -- for years. 

    So if doing yoga every day doesn't work for you -- because you already have a fitness program and you're just looking to add a bit of yoga to it, for example, or because you're working or have kids at home (or both!) and can't fit an every-day ANYTHING into your life, or because your body needs time to recover after a yoga practice - then be . . . "reasonable and prudent" about what's "regular and consistent." Maybe your 30-day program takes 30 weeks of once-a-week yoga. That's just fine. You'll still get the benefits -- if you keep practicing, regularly and consistently. It is absolutely not necessary to do yoga every day to get the benefits of yoga! (And it's absolutely okay to ignore the words "30 day" before any "challenge.") (What is that about, anyway?) (But I digress.)

  2. Start at the beginning! Although Adriene claims that this particular new 30-day program is designed for anyone, I have a feeling that if you've never tried yoga before, well . . . it might seem to be too much. Maybe a little intimidating. Perhaps trying yoga at a slower pace might give you the confidence you need to stick with a regular and consistent practice. Here are some links to Adriene's beginner level classes that might be worth checking out:

    Yoga for Beginners - Here are six classes from Adriene that move at a slower pace, provide beginner-level instruction, and demonstrate more modifications for poses (and ways to ease into them) than the current 30-day program does.

    Foundations of Yoga - Adriene has also done a series of shorter videos, each featuring the "foundations" of various yoga postures. This is a great series if you want more specific instruction in some of the basic yoga poses (or even some of the more advanced poses). It's ideal for when you're trying to figure out just what you're "supposed to be" doing to get yourself into all these poses.

  3. Modify! Although Adriene does talk about modifications in this new 30-day yoga series, she doesn't demonstrate them quite as much as I hoped she might. Here is my modification advice for you:

    First, don't force anything! Only bend or reach or twist as far as it's comfortable for you to do. (If you keep up with a regular and consistent practice, you'll be amazed at how quickly you'll be bending or reaching or twisting further.)

    Second, keep a small pillow or rolled up towel nearby and use it to . . . prop whatever seems to need propping. And keep a dining room chair nearby to hold onto whenever you feel wobbly or out of balance. There is no "cheating" in yoga -- only supporting. Meet yourself where you are - and make good use of your props. (Again, as you do yoga regularly and consistently, you'll notice yourself reaching for props less often.)

    Third, try everything -- but rest when you need to. You can pause the video, or you can just let it continue on while you rest until you're ready to jump back in. It's not "cheating." It's meeting yourself where you are. And that's what yoga is all about.

So, if you tried the yoga thing last week and you were finding it a little bit too much for right now - either schedule-wise or body-wise, maybe you'll consider trying it again. Just a little slower.

Like . . . at whatever speed seems reasonable and prudent to you!


And here's to a good, safe, and non-eventful week for all of us.
(I'd really like to exhale, y'know?)