Start Your Engines

Monday Morning You Sure Look Fine

Hey, gang. It's Monday again! Time to . . . 

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Nice long weekend? Watch Hamilton?
Yeah. Here, too. I hope you stayed home and stayed safe!
(JoJo is VERY pleased that the fireworks have lessened considerably in our neighborhood.) (It was a tough couple of nights, but we got through it.)

As usual, on Mondays I share a bit of this and a little of that and things I discovered over the weekend.

(And I always start things off with my quote-for-the-week.)

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"Could be worse. Not sure how, but it could be."
            -- Eeyore

(Yeah. I know. Sometimes it's just . . . the quote that makes the most sense to me at the time.)

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Last week, I introduced (or re-introduced!) you to the Faith Ringgold and her Tar Beach quilt. This week? Let's check out the quilts of Rosie Lee Tompkins! You may already have seen this article and accompanying images -- they were published in the New York Times last week, and then picked up by Ann and Kay at Modern Daily Knitting and elsewhere in the fiber world. I still want to share the link here, though. Just in case you missed seeing it last week -- or if you'd like to see those quilts again.

Incredible stuff! The quilts. The story. Every stitch. Check it out -- you're in for a treat!

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How about a little D-I-Y "project"??? I know a lot of you have probably headed back in to the hair salon already . . . but I haven't. And I don't plan to for a while longer. (Actually, probably a lot longer.) It helps that my hair is already its natural color. And that I was growing it out before the pandemic. But . . . there's the question of my bangs. Grow them out? Keep them shorter? I've given myself frequent trims over the past few months, but this may be the time to just let them grow.

Anyway . . . our local "paper" (which is online these days) published an article last week with tips for cutting your own bangs, complete with a video featuring (apparently famous???) hair stylist Brad Mondo walking three women through cutting their own bangs. I got some good tips, and I thought maybe you might, too. Click here to watch the video.

(Tom is also letting his hair grow. His goal? A ponytail.)

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Maybe you've heard, but probably you haven't . . . it's Plastic Free July. Yes, it's A Thing. This month there is a global challenge to reduce the amount of plastic in our lives, and particularly single-use plastics. The environment (in general) is not getting much news-time these days, but it's still there . . . clamoring for our attention. We may not be able to bring our own grocery bags to the store right now, but there are plenty of other things we can do this month to use less plastic. 

Check out the Plastic Free July website for more information and ideas about going plastic-free this month. You can also check out this list of 5 tips for reducing plastic disposables from Greenmatters.

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And what kind of Start Your Engines post would I be putting together without a few tidbits from CoronaLisa???

Starting off, here's a great little article from The Atlantic about taking personal responsibility in the time of re-opening: Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should. Read it whenever you feel like . . . caving. Stay strong, my friends. (Cut you own bangs. . . )

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Then, here's a really interesting site: The Harvard Global Health Institute has put together a COVID Risk Levels Dashboard to provide you with detailed risk levels for each county in the United States. It's updated frequently and includes a lot of other helpful information besides the dashboard. This is a helpful collection of metrics, and especially useful since . . . it's all on us to make our own decisions about what we do or don't do.

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And then . . . I know that most of you already know that the federal response to the pandemic has been a total toxic dumpster hellfire. Well . . . this article from The Atlantic spells it all out for us. This is an excellent, important, and sobering article. Well worth the time it will take you to read it. Share it with your friends.

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Let's end on a high note, shall we? This article will warm your reading hearts! It's the story of a retired Cincinnati teacher . . . and how she started the Book Bus, a mobile book store (complete with book groups!). 

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And that's it for me this Monday morning.
I hope your week is off to a good start!

 

 


Start. Your. D@mn. Engines.

Yep. It's the last Monday in June. And I see no significant improvement in my Mood.
(Working on it though.) 
Let's go. Time to . . . 

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As usual, on Mondays I share a bit of this and a little of that and things I discovered over the weekend.

(And I always start things off with my quote-for-the-week.)

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"Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up."
        --- Brené Brown

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I'm showing up.
It might not be pretty.
But here I am.
(How about you?)

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It's the tail end of June already.
And the end of Pride Month. 

Ever wonder how the rainbow flag came to be the symbol of the LGBTQIA movement? Well. Here's the story. (And it's a good one!)

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When Erin was a little girl, one of our favorite books to read together was Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold. For both of us, that book was pure wonder! The colors. The textures. The story. The magic. I was entranced by the quilt behind the story. (And the colors.) Erin was completely taken by a little girl who could fly!!! 

Ever since seeing that book for the first time, I have been enamored with the work of Faith Ringgold. I was able to see it in person when I was in Washngton D.C. during the mid-90s and caught a special exhibition. I was thrilled over the weekend when I found this blog post from Selvedge Magazine about her work -- which includes a couple of interviews. I highly recommend spending some time getting to know Faith Ringgold. (And if you haven't discovered Tar Beach . . . oh. do check it out! You'll be delighted!)

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If you've ever seen Hamilton, you already know this:

You'll never be satisfied . . . (ahem) with seeing it once.

Take it from me. I've seen it FOUR times. And every time - before the first act is even over - I'm already telling myself I MUST (simply MUST) see it again.

So.

I am counting down the days until July 3 -- when the film version of the Broadway musical comes to Disney Plus. (I signed up for Disney Plus just for the occasion!) If you haven't been able to see Hamilton yet, here's your chance! (Or if you're like me and just haven't been able to see it ENOUGH.)

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I know, I know. I wish she wasn't still around either. But Corona Lisa still has Things To Say.

First, you probably already saw this, but just in case you didn't . . . here's a little PSA for you. The FDA put out a "do not use" warning about hand sanitizer made be a company called Eskbiochem last week. The sanitizer uses a toxic ingredient (methanol) that can be absorbed through the skin. So you might want to check out the list of santizing products they make. 

Next, are you wondering about going to the dentist these days? I was due for my regular cleaning appointment in late March. Obviously, that was canceled. But the office called to reschedule. I asked a lot of questions . . . and found out that my dentist had installed an entirely new filtering HVAC system AND implemented many coronavirus "practices." I was convinced, and I set up my appointment for late July (it took a while to get in because I requested a first-of-day appointment to lessen my risk even further). Here's an article from the Washington Post about what to look for as you return to the dentist. (Turns out it's a whole lot safer than going for . . . oh, say a drink at a bar.)

And finally. I know most of you are already pros at wearing your masks. But here are some helpful tips for finding, proper fitting, and wearing masks (from the NY Times). Maybe you can share them with a new mask-wearer in your life.

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Well. It may be awhile before we're welcome in Europe, but we can still take an Armchair Adventure. This week, here's an incredible journey to the Dolomites in Italy. Happy (armchair) travels to you!

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And that's it for me this Monday morning.
I hope your week is off to a good start!

 


First Monday of Summer

Happy Summer!

I hope you all enjoyed a lovely solstice evening. It felt pretty weird for Tom and I not to be hosting our annual solstice party. That said, it was kind of nice to enjoy a low-key summer evening with just the two of us. 

And now it's the first Monday of summer. Time to . . .

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As usual, on Mondays I share a bit of this and a little of that and things I discovered over the weekend.

(And I always start things off with my quote-for-the-week.)

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"Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields…Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness."    --- Mary Oliver

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Like many of you, I am working especially hard these days to learn all I can about race in America. It's hard work - but I'm determined to listen and learn, apply those learnings in my day-to-day life, and - bottom line - be a better person and do what I can to bring about change.

Here's an article from the Columbia Journalism Review that explains why it is appropriate to capitalize 'Black' -- and not 'white' when referring to racial groups. It's worth the read! (And also, just to add, the Associated Press style guide did announce that it had changed its writing style guide - the "bible for journalists" - to capitalize the "b" in Black last Friday.)

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Take a few moments and scroll through these gorgeous images by artist Tawny Chatmon in her collection The Redemption 2018-2019. Breathtakingly beautiful. (If you click on any of the images on the site, you can see a bigger version and then you can scroll through each piece.)

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I have followed Lewis Miller - of Flower Flash fame - for years and years on Instagram. (Flowers are magical! He proves it every day.) His floral designs are incredible, always an inspiration -- and the "flashes" he creates on the streets of NYC are AMAZING. You can read more about him in this profile article from the New York Times -- and if you're looking for some inspiration in your Instagram feed, he is truly worth following.

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And now . . . the biggest rabbit hole I've discovered in a while! Each Sunday (beginning last January), The Atlantic adds to Fifty -- a photo collection from each state in the nation. (A new state collection is added each Sunday.) Oh, we may not be able to travel very easily right now . . . but we can certainly visit each state in the US through these incredible photo collections. 

Go ahead. Click in. Get lost in this armchair adventure!

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And that's it for me this Monday morning.
I hope your week is off to a good start!

 

 


Perfect Weekends

. . . just go too fast, don't they? But now it's Monday again. Time to . . . 

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As usual, on Mondays I share a bit of this and a little of that and things I discovered over the weekend.

(And I always start things off with my quote-for-the-week.)

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"Resistance is the secret of joy."
        --- Alice Walker

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I haven't shared a dictionary word on a Monday for quite a while, but I wanted to share something about a word today. Merriam-Webster is planning to revise its definition of the word racism. You can read about it here -- and be inspired by the young woman who spoke out and asked Merriam-Webster to make the change.

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Ever since my childhood, I've had a fascination with . . . scissors. I wondered how they worked and how someone figured out that they could work. I marvelled at how efficient they were at cutting paper or cloth or flowers or hair. Over the years, most of the crafts and projects I like best involve scissors, and I've amassed quite a collection (and just ask my kids: don't EVER use my sewing scissors to cut paper) (ever). I have everyday scissors for paper cutting and special paper scissors (that I hide) for cutting paper when it really matters. I have my sewing scissors for cutting cloth and snippers for cutting threads and pinking shears for a zig-zag edge. I have embroidery scissors and knife-edge scissors (especially good for cutting Alabama Chanin layers) and a couple of small snips in my knitting bag. I have garden snippers and loppers and flower stem cutters. I have kitchen shears.

Basically, I have a lot of scissors.
And probably there is not a day that goes by when I don't use at least a couple of different pairs.

So. I was intrigued by this article about scissors (from the Alabama Chanin newsletter). If you're fascinated by scissors, you might enjoy reading it, too.

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I was sitting in a Zoom meeting last week, and the topic drifted (as they do). We got to talking about things we'd created during the pandemic . . . and one of the participants showed us an amazing paint-by-number painting she was working on. She explained that paint-by-numbers had gotten her through the lockdown months. She'd tried various kits from various makers with varying success (mainly related to paint-quality), but she particularly liked ordering kits from this company: MiiCreative. They put together custom paint-by-number kits from your photographs. I haven't tried one, but they sound like fun and got a rave review from my Zoom-pal.

(I loved paint-by-numbers when I was a kid.)
(Even though they didn't involve scissors.)

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Still not traveling? Yeah. Me neither. But thanks to The World Through a Lens series at the New York Times, we can go to the Nash Islands in Maine for the annual sheep shearing! The photos will almost make you feel like you're there! (Almost.)

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And that's it for me this Monday morning.
I hope your week is off to a good start!

 


It's Time

Monday again.

Time to . . . 

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As usual, on Mondays I share a bit of this and a little of that and things I discovered over the weekend.

(And I always start things off with my quote-for-the-week.) (Only this week I'm starting off with my mantra of late.)

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Artwork and words by Lisa Congdon.

(If you're not already familiar with Lisa Congdon, do check out her website and Instagram posts. She's an inspiration.)

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I am continuing my own education on racial injustice in America. This is something I actually started decades ago in my foundation work, but something I will never "finish." One thing about this particular time in history . . . it's a great time to LEARN about racism and racial injustice. There are so many more resources now than there were back in the 1990s when I first began my learning journey - and so many ways to access these resources. I hope you'll join me in this learning process.

Here's an excellent list of movies, shows, and documentaries that you can watch to educate yourself on racial injustice.  I would also suggest Just Mercy (available to stream on Prime Video right now). It is so well done -- and it's based on our first Read With Us book selection Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson.

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Speaking of reading . . . 

I always think of summer as my prime reading time. I don't think it's actually true for me, but I think my brain is wired to associate summer with the Summer Reading program at my library when I was a kid . . . and how I loved thinking about the whole summer unrolling ahead of me with my stack of books, fresh from the library!

Here's a summer book preview for you, just in case you're looking for something new to read this season.

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Did you see this? Check out illustrator Roz Chast's "lockdown sampler" and read an interview with her in The New Yorker.

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And because no Start Your Engines post would be complete without some advice from CoronaLisa . . .

Here's a handy article from my local Michigan news source ranking 36 activities by coronavirus risk level. I found it extremely helpful, and thought you might, too.

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And, finally, one more thing before you get on with your day.  You may already have seen/heard this, but it is a moving performance -- and one worth watching more than once.

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That's it for me this Monday morning.
I hope your week is off to a good start!


Not the Usual

It's Monday. Usually I'm here bright and early on a Monday . . . to help you Start Your Engines. But I'm not feeling much like that today, really.  It's just feels too dark right now. (Even though the sun is shining brightly in my corner of the world this morning.)

I'm just too sad.
And too tired.
And it doesn't feel right . . . to Start Your Engines and all.

But I will do this instead.
I will encourage you to pay attention.
To listen.
To learn.

It's time we . . . 

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"Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted, when we tolerate what we know to be wrong, when we close our eyes and ears to the corruption because we are too busy or too frightened, when we fail to speak up and speak out, we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice."
        --- Robert Kennedy

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If you, like me, live a life of privilege, I encourage your to do something right now to understand your privilege. Open your mind to seeing and accepting what life gave you . . . just for being born white. Educate yourself. Open yourself. 

Start here.

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Then read.

Don't know what to read? The NYTimes published An Antiracist Reading List over the weekend. (If you can't read the article, let me know and I'll figure out another way to send you the list of titles.)  Ibram X. Kendi put this most excellent list together.  He is a professor and director of the Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University, is the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America and the newly-released How to Be an Antiracist.

I've just started reading his How to Be an Antiracist, which is apparently sold out of most major online book stores at the moment.  (I had no trouble purchasing and downloading the ebook version, however.)

I'd also recommend Robin D'Angelo's excellent (and brain-exploding) book White Fragility. And also The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. I read both last year -- and still think about them nearly every day. They are powerful books that will challenge your world and the way you think it works.

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And listen.

We need to listen to new teachers -- to the voices of people with lived experiences of racial oppression, people whose realities are different from our own. It's not easy to do this -- it's painful to learn how the systems really ARE rigged and to understand how complicit we are in perpetuating these systems. But it's important that we do it.  It's the only way anything will change.

Maybe start by listening to Brené Brown's Unlocking Us podcast this Wednesday. Her guest is going to Ibram X. Kendi -- and I can't wait.

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Put your money where your mouth is.

There are always multiple ways to support a movement. Maybe you aren't ready to pound the pavement in protest -- but maybe you can make a donation in support of organizations who are trying hard to make a difference and fight racism.  Here are a few to consider:

Southern Poverty Law Center

ACLU

Black Lives Matter

Color of Change

Equal Justice Initiative

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One more thing . . . Here's a list of 75 Things White People Can do for Racial Justice. This article was published on Medium. I don't have a paid subscription to that service, but I do know they allow a few reads for non-subscribers each month. It's a new month -- so check it out.

Bottom line: There are lots of things we CAN do for racial justice. I hope you'll join me and . . . do something.

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"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."
          --- Maya Angelou

 


Monday Monday

. . . can't trust that day.  Time to . . . 

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As usual, on Mondays I share a bit of this and a little of that and things I discovered over the weekend.

(And I always start things off with my quote-for-the-week.)

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"Be careful not to sleepwalk through the only life you have. Wake up. Blink hard. Stretch. Keep moving."
                    --- Maggie Smith

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I don't know if it's spring or resilience or working through the cycles of grief or what . . . but I'm feeling more myself these days.  Or at least more ready to tackle my days.  No more sleepwalking for me!  

How about you?

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Probably the most common "pandemic complaints" I hear from my friends revolve around the weirdness-of-time . . . or the fact that they can't seem to read anymore.  I know I suffer from both of those things, although the time thing is getting a little better lately.  The reading thing? Still pretty weird. It's not that I can't read. It's more that I am not enjoying the kinds of books and stories that I used to be able to depend on.

I read this article (from Vox) last week - about why it's so hard to read a book right now. The article is a summary of an interview with a neuroscientist, and it's interesting (although a little long). Basically, he says that our brains are anxiously busy right now . . . "trying to resolve an uncertainty that is unresolvable."

Yeah. I guess that'll do it.

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And, speaking of reading . . . 

I read mysteries/detective thrillers once in a while, but they need to be a certain kind of mysteries/detective thrillers. (I'm particular.) Although not my typical genre, I find I'm really enjoying mysteries and detective thrillers these days. Because I'm (ahem) kinda picky, I like to scour lists of book recommendations to find authors and titles that might interest me.  The other day I found this list of detective novels set on the New England cape and islands. Many of the books/series in this list look interesting to me. Maybe there's something there for you, too?

And, while we're at it . . . what mystery/detective thriller series do you recommend?  

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I love seeing all the craft workshops making their transition from in-person to online offerings. I actually think this is one of the best things coming out of this stay-at-home situation. Yes, nothing beats hands-on learning with a small cohort of crafters in a remote location . . . but that's never been within reach of more than a handful of crafters. It's exciting to see these formerly "restrictive" workshops opening up to all of us with an internet connection.

And, sure. There's gonna be a learning curve. Not all workshops can manage that jump from in-person to online smoothly. There will be kinks to work out. Yada-yada. . . But I think it's pretty cool that it's happening!

Here are a couple of workshops for you to check out:

The Lakeside Fiber Retreat has been an annual, in-person retreat in New Hampshire for a number of years.  This year, the entire retreat - including an exclusive marketplace - will be held virtually.  There are several workshops that sound great (I think I may sign up for Ellen Mason's rope basket workshop), with a variety of price options.  (You can sign up for just one workshop - or for an all-access pass, for example.)

The Makerie is sponsoring another Playful Pause this Wednesday (May 20). If you're hesitant about paying for an on-line class or workshop, and you just want to dip your toe in and see what it might be like, this is your opportunity.  (In full disclosure, I really liked the first Playful Pause workshop . . . but the second one just didn't quite work for me, and I ended up leaving early.) 

Let me know if you give these workshops a try -- or if you hear about any others that sound interesting.

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I am a big fan of The Moth Radio Hour. I just love listening to people tell their own stories! Here's a link to an older show (recorded in 2016) featuring Natalie Chanin (of Alabama Chanin fame) telling her story of coming home to Alabama to launch her company.  It's a great story -- and hearing Natalie tell it herself is a bonus. (Plus . . . the episode also features Tim Gunn.) Definitely worth a listen!

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We all need some humor in our lives -- and specially when our world is just so absurd. This clip of comedian John Mulaney is not recent (and it's likely you've already seen it), but when I saw it again last week I found it to be . . . well . . . let's just say it's still quite relevant. And worth watching over and over again.

Enjoy. . . 

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That's it for me this Monday morning.
I hope your week is off to a good start!


Sometimes Mondays

. . . are the most Monday kind of Mondays.  (Like when you oversleep and didn't get to most of yesterday's to-do list yesterday and now you're starting the day already feeling scrambled AND you have a zit on your face to boot.)

Time to . . . 

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As usual, on Mondays I share a bit of this and a little of that and things I discovered over the weekend.

(And I always start things off with my quote-for-the-week.)

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"Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it's less good than the one you had before  You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you've lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that's good."
    --- Elizabeth Edwards

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I've been thinking a lot about resilience lately.  Acknowledging what's happening in my life.  Accepting the changes that I see.  Grieving them.  And then . . . moving forward.  This quote seemed to be just what I needed right now.

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This week's advice from CoronaLisa:  Something Worth Reading!  You may have already seen this very useful explanation about COVID transmission and the risks of exposure - and how people can best avoid those risks.  If you haven't read it, though, please take the time (an estimated 12-minute read) to educate - and protect - yourself.  Especially now . . . as so many states are "opening up" again.  The blog post (which is going viral itself) is written by Erin Bromage, a biologist and professor of infectious diseases at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.  It's a clear synthesis of other studies and explains in plain, understandable language (with diagrams) how COVID is spread, and how you can minimize your own risk.

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And while we're talking about COVID (because aren't we always talking about COVID these days?), here's another article that might interest you.  It's about COVID-19 "Infowhelm" and explains why our brains are having trouble taking in and processing all the information that's being thrown at us.  Important and interesting.  (But if you're only going to read one of these articles today, read the first one, okay?)

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So many great live music performances have been canceled because of COVID-19.  Which is a true tragedy, and one of the things I'm having the most trouble accepting (see looking for resilience, above).  If there is a silver lining in any of this, it's that so many of those canceled live music performances are now happening virtually.  And that means more people can enjoy them -- even if they can't be there in person.

The New York Guitar Festival is one of the live performance "casualties" of COVID-19.  But . . . the festival has changed gears (resilience!) and is offering many of their favorite performers via their YouTube channel.  You can read more about their revised schedule here or find the New York Guitar Festival YouTube channel here.  

And here's my favorite so far (and it's a real treat) . . . 

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Need a lift today?  Feeling like spring is being just too much of a tease this year?  Well, here's something that will cheer you right up:  The cherry trees at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden are in full bloom right now. But the garden is - of course - closed to the public.  Never fear -- you can take a long walk along their Cherry Esplanade today . . . from the comfort of your own computer.  Take a walk -- and enjoy at full screen for an almost-like-you're-there view.  (I only wish they could include a smell-the-blossoms feature.)

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I've saved the best for last!  Whenever you're feeling low, or you need a quick diversion, just sit back and enjoy this . . .

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That's it for me this Monday morning.
I hope your week is off to a good start -- and that it isn't snowing in your corner of the world today.

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PS - Don't forget to join Bonny, Carole, and I tomorrow for the blog book discussion (part 1) for this quarter's Read With Us selection I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter.  We're mixing things up this time around, and you'll find a different question on each of our blogs tomorrow.  We can't wait to hear what you thought of the book.


Monday Again

After one of the most beautiful spring weekends I can remember, it's Monday again. 

Time to . . . 

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As usual, on Mondays I share a bit of this and a little of that and things I discovered over the weekend.

(And I always start things off with my quote-of-the-week!)

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"Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm."
    --- John Muir

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If you follow along with me on Instagram, you already know about the finch nest on the top of the forsythia wreath on my front door.  The little nest is in clear view from one of the tiny windows at the top of my front door - so Tom and I have a ringside seat to all the finch-goings-on.  (We also have to be careful -- because if we get too close, Mrs. Finch gets freaked.)  All last week, Mrs. Finch was busy laying her eggs.  Each day, we'd find one more!  (There are at least 5 eggs.)  Now, though, she's in the nest all the time, incubating.  (Mr. Finch visits often to bring her food.)

It's exciting to watch this spring work going on . . . right outside our door.

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It was 100 years ago this year that the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified and passed in the US.  (That would be the one giving women the right to vote.)  2020 was meant to feature big celebrations commemorating this most important event . . . although, like so many other big celebrations, these events, too, are moving into the #together/apart realm.

Here's an interesting thing: The women's suffrage movement 100 years ago ALSO ran into a pandemic!  Yes, my friends.  Our suffragette sisters had to fight through the Spanish Flu to get their message heard!  Strange how things come around, isn't it?  Here's a great article about the women's suffrage movement and the Spanish Flu pandemic if you're interested in learning more.

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A couple of Mondays ago, I shared an invitation to a free Zoom-workshop sponsored by The Makerie that my sister and I were planning to attend.  It was called a Playful Pause, and it was just that!  It was a well-done, little breath-of-fresh-air workshop that made both of us feel a little bit pampered - and a whole lot inspired.

Well.  I'm happy to let you know that Playful Pause 2 is happening this Wednesday, May 6.  (Here are the details.)  This time, the group project involves paper . . . and I think that sounds fascinating and fun.  It's free -- and easy to sign up. Come on along!  Join us!

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And now a word sponsored by CoronaLisa . . . 

I'm sure many of you - like me - are emerging from your "pandemic trances" and settling in (at least a little bit and mostly begrudgingly) to our newly-changed lives.  I know I am finding a little more focus in my days, though I'm still quite surprised by the bizarre nature of time (but oh well, we can't have everything I suppose).  Still.  It's easy for me to end up going down a rabbit hole of despair, thinking about what I've lost and, of course, paying too much attention to the news of the day.

I found this little article from The Atlantic - about two "errors" in our thinking about the pandemic - to be helpful for me in understanding my own despair and rabbit-holing.  Maybe it'll help you, too?  Let me know what you think!

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Stuck at home . . . no travel coming up anytime soon . . . let's have some Armchair Adventures instead!

The New York Times has started a new feature: The World Through a Lens, a new in-depth look at some exotic locations around the world. Their first destination?  Easter Island!  Come along for a great Armchair Adventure with me.

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That's it for me this Monday morning.  
I hope your week is off to a great start!

(Oh . . . and how could I forget?)

May-the-4th-be-with-you

 

 


Just Another Monday

Like all the other Mondays lately.
(Actually . . . like ALL the other days lately.)

Before we get to "starting your engines," though, I just want to tell you that my blog platform (Typepad) has some . . . issues . . . now and again with commenting.  I have my account set up so that I receive an email notification whenever a blog comment comes in.  Every now and then, though . . . no notification!  That happened last week.  Y'all were commenting.  I just didn't hear about it!  I try to respond to most comments (although sometimes I don't manage that so well) (sorry), but when I don't get an email notification, it makes it really hard for me to write back to you.  So.  If you commented last week and I didn't respond, please know that I went back to my posts and read each one.  I'm sorry that I didn't reply personally.  I so appreciate all of your comments!  I love hearing your thoughts and suggestions or just sharing our friendship.  It means a lot to me when you take the time to let me know you're out there.  Thank you.  (And it looks like I'm getting notifications again, so let's keep our fingers crossed for this week.)

Now.

It's time to . . . 

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As usual, on Mondays I share a bit of this and a little of that.  Things I discovered over the weekend.

(And I always start things off with my quote-of-the-week!)

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"You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming."
                --- Pablo Neruda

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I cut this little bouquet of hellebores when I was out working in my garden yesterday afternoon.  So very many things in our lives have been canceled or restricted or have just plain vanished over these past two months.  Spending time in my garden reminds me that there are some things that can't be canceled:  spring, blooms, grass growing, buds bursting, birds nesting.  It's good to get out there and bask in what CAN'T be canceled.

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You know how it seems like time has sort of . . . folded . . . lately?  That we can't seem to keep track of the days?  And weeks feel like months while the days fly by?  Well.  It turns out there's something called 'The Oddball Effect' at play for all of us right now!  Usually, this time-folding thing happens most often for people on vacation.  (Or . . . staying at home in a global pandemic, apparently.)  Read all about this interesting phenomenon here.  (It's pretty fascinating.)

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I know many of you already listen to Brené Brown's new podcast Unlocking Us . . . but just in case you haven't given it a listen yet, let me push you in that direction.  Truly, this podcast is one of the bright spots in my weeks now.  It is the right listen at the right time -- every week.

New episodes drop each Tuesday.  (Extra bonus:  This helps me remember when it's Tuesday!)

Unknown

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Vacation plans . . . have fallen like a house of cards. I try not to think too much about it, but it has been rather heartbreaking to see my travel plans for the year totally unravel.  California. Scotland. Italy. POOF! Gone. And I can't even console myself with a weekend in Chicago. It's rough. For all of us. No matter where we wanted to go.

Thankfully, we still have our computers. This year, we'll just have to do virtual vacations . . . Armchair Adventures!

Let's start off with a trip to Yellowstone. The National Park Service has put together a fabulous virtual tour of this terrific travel destination. The site includes maps, videos, photos, educational information, and lots more! You can even use it as a starting point to plan a REAL trip . . . y'know. For Someday. 

Have fun visiting Yellowstone from the comfort of your own armchair!

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I don't know about you, but I'm having a hard time settling in with books lately. I feel kind of like . . . Goldilocks.  This book is too sad. This book is too predictable. This book is too . . . pre-pandemic.  I've been having a hard time getting comfortable, although it looks like mystery (but not too "cozy" a mystery) with a bit of crime drama thrown in might be the "just right" genre for me right now. Classics also seem to be working for me these days.

Maybe it's time I combine the two???? Here's a list of highly-regarded classic crime stories for you to check out if you, too, are having a hard time finding that "just right" read. 

(I've always found that when I lose my "reading mojo," a bit of Agatha Christie or Jane Austen will usually get me back on track.)

And . . . just in case you missed it, the Women's Prize short list was announced last week.  I've read 3 of the 6 so far.  Two of the books won't be published until late summer here in the US, so those will have to wait.  I have Hilary Mantel's The Mirror and the Light in my Audible library . . . but even though I was really looking forward to listening to it, I find I'm not in the mood for it right now.  (It's partly that Goldilocks thing, but also, well, everytime I look at it and see that it's over 38 hours I just . . . can't.)

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Lastly . . . I'm sure you've all already seen this.  But just in case you haven't (or if, like me, you can't quite see it often enough), I'll leave you with this.

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Be healthy, my friends.  And get out there and experience some can't-be-canceled Spring!