Start Your Engines

A Most Monday Kind of Monday

Okay, gang.  
My Summer 'O Fun is officially over.  
I'm behind in every. single. aspect. of my life (except my garden - which isn't too bad given the season - and my workouts, so at least I've got those).  
It's time for me to pay the piper.

Also time to . . . 

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(Here's where I share things I've been thinking about over the weekend.)

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A Quote

"Time is a created thing.  To say 'I don't have time' is to say 'I don't want to.'"
-----Lao Tzu

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A Word

I recently finished reading Inland by Téa Obreht.  (Excellent book, by the way.)  I looked up several words while reading, including this one:

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Redoubtable . . . is one of those words that I always think means one thing, but it really means another.  Somehow, I've never been able to keep the actual meaning straight in my head, and I need to look it up every time I encounter it again.  But I think I'll be able to remember it now - after reading Inland.  Because  (and this isn't really a spoiler) it's a bit of a plot point.

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To Read

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Okay, so maybe I've already convinced you that you might want to read Inland.  But just in case you're looking for more reading suggestions, here's a preview of fall book releases to watch for in the coming months.  

(The article calls itself the "listicle of listicles" -- which is perfect.)
(I wish I'd thought of it first.)
(I may borrow the term in future.)

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A Reminder

Although planting time is several weeks off, it's time to get your spring bulbs lined up now.

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Now is the time to pick up - or order from online bulb specialists - the bulbs you want to see flowering in your garden come spring.  Do it now -- while the selection is still good.  I know . . . the hardest part is remembering to plant them later in the fall.  When you're not wanting to think about your garden anymore.  And the weather is a bit crappy.  And the ground is cold and hard.

But.

Next spring - when you are desperate for color and blooms of any kind - you will be so glad you did!  (Always totally worth it.)

I recently ordered crocus, daffodils, and allium bulbs.  And I saw a nice assortment of bulbs at Costco last Friday.  It's time!

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And that's it for this Monday.
Here's to a good and productive week for all of us!


That Last-Monday-in-August Feeling

When I got up this morning, it was dark.  Not just . . . a-bit-darker-than-yesterday dark.  But dark.  It's the last Monday in August, and I am really starting to feel the change in seasons.  

Monday.  
Last Monday in August.  
Time to . . . 

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A Quote

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened"
---Dr. Seuss

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A Word

Encountered this word in something I was reading over weekend . . . 

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It's kind of like "proximity."  In fact the two words are related through the Latin root prope, which means near.  In English, "propinquity" conveys a stronger sense of closeness than "proximity."  (I think both words are fun to say, but "propinquity" is Even More Fun.)

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Read

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During the summer, I tend to go way off my "normal" schedule.  My calendar looks very different from it's usual and more structured form.  And my "to-do" lists?  Ha!  Depending on the week, they are extremely vague . . . or non-existent.  

Lots of people get themselves organized at the new year, but for me . . . September IS the new year.  So I'm getting myself organized and back on track now.  Here's an interesting article (from last December) about bullet journaling and to-do lists. Worth a read if you're looking to change the way you track your calendar and organize your list(s).

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A Factoid

According to Earth Day Network:

About 8 million metric tons of plastic are thrown into the ocean annually. Of those, 236,000 tons are microplastics– tiny pieces of broken-down plastic smaller than your little fingernail.

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Do Something About It

Although it seems overwhelming, we can all do something to help reduce single-use plastics.  Today's tip:  Make sure you always have reusable bags with you, and use them whenever you grocery shop, visit the farmer's market, or pick something up at the drugstore.  I keep an assortment of bags and baskets in my car (and have gotten into the habit of using them -- which is the trickiest part for most people I talk to), and I keep a small, foldable tote in my purse.

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And that's my start to this last Monday in August!  
Enjoy.

(Also, be sure to check out this month's Stash Giveaway and let me know if you're interested by Thursday at 5pm EST.)


Monday Means

It's time to . . . 

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On Mondays, I like to share some of the things I've been thinking about over the weekend.

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A Quote

"A good marriage is one which allows for change and growth in the indiviuals and in the way they express their love."
--- Pearl S. Buck

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On Thursday, Tom and I will celebrate our 38th anniversary.  Last week, as we were dealing with a car salesman, the fact of our anniversary this week came up in conversation.  The young salesman asked us for our "secret" to so many years together.  (He recently celebrated his 3rd anniversary.)  Tom answered . . . make each other laugh.  And I think that about sums it up!  

I also think the Pearl S. Buck quote (above) is a good "secret" to a long marriage.

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To Read

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Last week, the New York Times Magazine devoted their entire issue to the 1619 Project.  This issue - which includes essays, timelines, poetry, and photography - commemorates the 400th anniversary of American slavery, retelling the story of America's origins by "placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center."

I started reading over the weekend, and highly, highly recommend it.  Here's the link.  It is very well-done -- and vital to understanding the role of slavery in America's history.  SO worth reading.  I hope you'll set aside some time this week to check it out.

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A Word

In doing some reading about the 1619 Project over the weekend, I came across a sentence that read (something like this; not a direct quote): The bondage of slaves brought to America, their enforced servitude, and their struggle for equality became the leitmotif of our national narrative.

I knew exactly what "leitmotif" meant in the context of the sentence, but hadn't heard/seen the word used since college.  I decided to look it up . . . 

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A perfect word, I'm thinking.

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To Cook

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Probably my favorite dinner of all time . . .  is a nice risotto with a basic salad.  But I've never really had success making risotto on my own.  Until last weekend, that is . . . when I made a batch of this most excellent Tomato Risotto from a David Tanis recipe.  So good!  And not a hassle to make at all.  I'm looking forward to playing around with the basic recipe so I can have risotto in my regular dinner rotation from now on!

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Oscar Watch

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Tom and I saw another movie on our "Oscar Watch List" over the weekend:  The Farewell.  

 
This is definitely a movie worth seeing.  It's subtle - a slow burn kind of movie.   Well-acted, funny, and very touching; really, it's just a delight.  Highly recommended by both Tom and I.
 
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And that's it for this morning.  I hope your Monday is off to a great start!

 


Start Your Engines

I'm up north . . . where "starting my engine" still happens.  Just at a more relaxed pace!

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A Quote

“I thought of myself as like the jazz musician — someone who practices and practices and practices in order to be able to invent and to make his art look effortless and graceful. I was always conscious of the constructed aspect of the writing process, and that art appears natural and elegant only as a result of constant practice and awareness of its formal structures. You must practice thrift in order to achieve that luxurious quality of wastefulness — that sense that you have enough to waste, that you are holding back — without actually wasting anything.”
--- Toni Morrison, The Art of Fiction, in The Paris Review, 1993

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A Word (or two)

I heard both of these words in the news this week.  I think it's important that we understand the distinction.

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Vs.

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What do you think?  
Does an angry rant qualify as a manifesto?

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It seems that there is such a push "out there" (in the world) to Read More and Read Faster.  As if . . . any of us could ever read ALL the books we want to read.  As if . . . reading more books would make us "happier" (yeah, I'm looking at you, Gretchen Rubin).  Last year, I made a decision to slow down my reading pace -- and to read more deeply and more thoughtfully.  For me, it's been all about the books themselves, not how many of them I can get through.  And that has made such a wonderful difference in my reading experience!  I'm enjoying reading at a more leisurely pace, I'm taking notes and saving quotes and favorite passages, I'm writing brief reviews, I'm thinking more critically about why I like certain books -- and why I don't.  

Anyway, if you're interested in reading more deeply, here are a few suggestions from David Mikics (who wrote the book on "slow reading"):

  1. Notice when you start to skip or skim sections.  Go back and try to read them again.
  2. Keep a dictionary nearby so you can look up unfamiliar words as you encounter them.
  3. Actively re-read passages that seem confusing.
  4. Use a highlighter or sticky-notes to mark passages that intrigue you, or when you are particularly taken with the author's language or turns of phrase.  Go back and review the passages after you've finished reading; maybe even "collect" them in your notes.
  5. Summarize or write a review when you're finished with your reading.

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A Challenge

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Summer is winding down.  
Get out there!  
Bask in it!

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Here's to a good week ahead for all of us!


Monday Means . . .

it's time to . . .

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A Quote

"There is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for."
--- J.R.R. Tolkien

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I found this little tree "volunteering" in a piling along the beach near Hoonah, Alaska.

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A Word

We all know this word.  But did you ever look it up in a dictionary?

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Do you have a favorite meme?

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To Read

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I've never really been a horoscope kind of gal (my "sign" - Aries - doesn't really seem to suit me all that much), but I think it's kind of fun that LitHub has a "book club" featuring a new reading suggestion each month based on your astrological sign.  Click here to find out your suggestion for July.  Or to just find some interesting book selections, no matter your sign.

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A Question

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Speaking of astrological signs . . . what's yours?  Do you think your sign "lines up" with your personality at all?  And do you read (or even follow) your horoscope?

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Here's to a good week for all of us!  Enjoy these waning weeks of summer.

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PS - Typepad is doing That Thing again . . . where I'm not receiving email notification of your comments.  Which makes it super hard for me to respond.  Please know that I read and appreciate every one of your comments.  (And, probably in a day or two, ALL the comment email notifications will flood my inbox.) (Because that's how Typepad rolls.)

 


Start Your Engines

We're just back home from our trip -- slightly jet lagged and certainly sluggish.  That makes today a Super Monday.  Today it is really time to . . . 

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On Mondays, I share things I've collected over the weekend . . . to get the week off to a good start.

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A Quote

"And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it's a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end."  
--- Pico Iyer

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A Word

polymath

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To Read

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I like to think of myself as an open-minded person.  But after reading this essay in the Washington Post over the weekend, I can see that, well . . . it's a bit more complicated than that.  I think the essay is fascinating -- and especially given that I've been thinking about polymaths already, since it seems that polymaths may tend toward more open-minded thinking.

What do you think?

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A Challenge

Be curious.
Challenge your own thinking. 
Use "however" more than "moreover."

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I hope your week is off to a good start.  I'm looking forward to catching up with all of you again!


Start Your Engines

It's Monday.  Time to . . . 

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On Mondays, I share some things I've collected over the weekend . . . to get the week off to a good start.

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A Quote

"Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen."     --- Leonardo da Vinci

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A Word

There are certain words that we use in my household . . . because Chemistry.  Turns out that chemists describe things with very specific words that (I've discovered) sound odd outside the lab, when used by non-chemists in . . . oh, say . . . a social gathering.  Here's one:

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It's not that it's such an unusual word.  You've probably come across it in your reading now and again - and understood exactly what it meant without needing to look it up in the dictionary.  It's just that you don't . . . hear it used in normal, everyday conversation all that often.  (Unless you're married to a chemist. . . )

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To Read

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Last week, the Washington Post put together a list of the best books to read at every age (from 1 - 100).  Their premise is that certain books resonate best at certain ages.  Check out their list and see what you think!

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A Challenge

Try to use the word "turbid" in a sentence.  
Out loud.  
In public.

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Hope your week is off to a great start!

 

 


Start Your Engines

Another Monday.  Time to . . . 

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On Mondays, I share some things I've collected over the weekend . . . to get the week off to a good start.

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A Quote

"There is a lie that acts like a virus within the mind of humanity.  And that lie is, 'There's not enough good to go around.  There's lack and there's limitation and there's just not enough.' The truth is that there's more than enough good to go around.  There are more than enough creative ideas.  There is more than enough power.  There is more than enough love.  There's more than enough joy.  All of this begins to come through a mind that is aware of its own infinite nature.  There is enough for everyone.  If you believe it, if you can see it, if you act from it, it will show up for you.  That's the truth."
--- Michael Beckwith

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A Word

There are a few words that just don't seem to stick in my brain.  I've looked them up over and over (and over) again.  For whatever reason, I continue to need to look them up every time I encounter them.  (Does that ever happen to you?)  (Please tell me it does.)  Anyway.  Here's one of them . . . 

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To Read

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I often say flowers are magical.  According to this lovely essay by the late Oliver Sacks, they really ARE!  Read about the healing power of gardens.  Nature . . . is a powerful force!

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A Challenge

This week, make a point to spend some time in a garden -- either your own or a friend's or a public garden in your community.  Enjoy the blooms, listen for bird joy, watch the butterflies.  

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And in the Audacious BADASS Department . . . 

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We have Ravelry (following in the footsteps of RPG.net) banning Trump and his administration in a brave, bold move to put an end to white supremacy, hate, and bigotry on the site.  I am so proud to be a knitter today.  Read Ravelry's statement here.  Check out RPG.net's list of citations and reference materials here.  And read this opinion piece from The Mary Sue for a glimpse of just how audacious and badass Ravelry's move really IS!

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And, lastly, if you're interested in my monthly Stash Giveaway, be sure to let me know by tomorrow evening at 5:00 pm EST.  I'll contact the winners by email on Tuesday night.


Start Your Engines!

It's Monday.  And that means it's time to . . . 

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On Mondays, I share some things I've collected over the weekend . . . to get the week off to a good start!

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A Quote

Each week, as I set up my calendar, I find a quote that seems appropriate for the week ahead.  Here's my quote for this week:

"Sun is shining.  Weather is sweet.  Make you wanna move your dancing feet."
                            --- Bob Marley

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This Friday, we celebrate the Summer Solstice.  Here in my corner of the world, summer can't seem to get a good grip on the season (very wet, very cool).   Maybe if we collectively think pleasant, sunshine-y thoughts, Summer will wake up and join us?  

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A Word

I first heard this word as a child (it's in the lyrics to Bippity-Boppity-Boo Impossible from Disney's Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella*).  I've always loved saying this word out loud (usually followed by ". . . and fiddle-dee-dee"), but never bothered to look up the definition or proper spelling until recently.  Now, I'm looking for more ways to use it in casual conversation!

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To Read

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Looking for something new and interesting to read this summer?  Why not start here . . . with this new paperback series from The Modern Library.   Challenge the classical canon!  Discover overlooked women writers who deserve a place in classic literature.

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A Challenge

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Remember to look up!  
(You find the most surprising things.)

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Happy Monday!  
I hope your week is off to a smooth start.

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One last thing.  I know that I typically do my monthly Stash Giveaway on the third Monday of each month.  I've decided to switch that feature to Wednesdays, beginning this month.  So be sure to check back on Wednesday when I'll be telling you about this month's Stash Giveaway.  (Hint:  It's sock yarn.)

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* And one more thing.  Thanks, Pam, for pointing out that I mixed up my Cinderellas!  (I always liked Rodgers & Hammerstein's version better, so I don't know what I was thinking. . . )


Sometimes Monday

. . . looks entirely different.  

But it's still Monday, y'know?  The start of a new week is always tough in that here-we-go-again kind of way.  But it's also an opportunity for a fresh start.  After all, a whole new week lies before us.  

However you feel about Mondays, it's definitely time to  . . . 

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On Mondays, I'm going to share some things I've collected over the weekend . . . to start our engines and get the week off to a good start.

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A Quote

Each week, as I set up my calendar, I find a quote that seems appropriate for the week ahead.  Here's my quote for this week:

"If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair.  We'd never have a friendship.  We'd never go into business because we'd be cynical.  Well, that's nonsense.  You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down."
---Annie Dillard

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A Word

When I read, I keep a dictionary nearby.  Usually I just use an online dictionary, but I often drag out The Real Deal just for nostalgia's sake.  I love learning new words.  Here's one I looked up last week:

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(For further reading, here's an interesting little blurb about how "liminal" is not a "fancy word.")

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To Read

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Here's a fascinating article from The Atlantic, adapted from the book How to Disappear: Notes on Invisibility in a Time of Transparency by Akiko Busch.

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A Challenge

Today, set an intention for the week.  See where it takes you.

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Happy Monday!  I hope your week is off to a great start.