Start Your Engines

Just In Case You Lost Track

. . . it's Monday again.  Time to . . . 

IMG_8119

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

==

"Some days there won't be a song in your heart.  Sing anyway."
        --- Emory Austin

IMG_6244

(One of my neighborhood swans . . . )

==

IMG_8083

Let's talk face masks, shall we?  

I've been busy sewing face masks using this pattern, but . . . I really don't like the fit all that much.  I've tweaked and fussed with it for a couple of weeks now, and I'm ready to try something new.  After much (probably too much) research, I'm planning to try these today instead.  (This one is simple to cut out and simple to sew.  Fewer steps AND it looks like a better fit.)

Can't find elastic?  (Because apparently elastic is the new toilet paper. . . ) The pattern I'm going to try today includes options for elastic OR ties.  I've also read about suggestions for elastic-substitutes, including using hair ties or cutting up old pairs of tights or pantyhose.  Looking for an easy and effective fabric for making ties?  Use knit fabric or cut up old t-shirts (the knit will roll up on itself and make a comfortable tie). 

Want to make masks but don't sew?  Here are some great tips for making no-sew face masks.

==

IMG_8337

Looking for a creative outlet to get you through your days?  

Artist Kim Bernard is providing a daily 15-minute art prompt.  These quick little "exercises" are simple, fun, and a nice way to keep focused on something other than the news.

And artist/author Keri Smith is posting an Exploration of the Day (not every day but most days?) to help us all pay more attention to the world around us -- especially now that we are isolated, afraid, and unfocused.

==

IMG_7449

Have you heard about the Mouse Book Club?  I discovered these little books last year when I was trying to use my phone less (after my "digital detox").  These miniature phone-sized books are perfect when you're looking for a portable diversion out in the world.  (I used to keep one in my wallet, and pull it out instead of my phone when I needed to "kill time.")  Now that I'm not going out in the world anymore, I find I need a phone-sized something (now more than ever) to keep me from looking at my phone.  Again. 

Check it out!  A great diversion -- AND a great way to sample those pieces of literature you've been meaning to read anyway.

==

IMG_8335

Lastly, I have a couple of things to share that may help you with your anxiety and general stress about what's going on in the world.

First, something quick to read -- a simple antidote to help with coronavirus anxiety.  It's not going to solve all your problems, of course.  But it might help you make it through the next moment.  And maybe the one after that.

And then, something that will take a little more time -- but worth it.

==

And that's it for this Monday.

Be well.

 


Another Week . . .

Another Monday!  Time to . . . 

IMG_8119

==

" Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all."
        --- Dale Carnegie

IMG_8210

==

IMG_1C2ED7DF4A60-1

This week, I'm sharing a guide to Coronavirus-related words from Merriam-Webster.  This guide will help you decipher the terminology you've likely been hearing regarding the Coronavirus . . . and will help you understand the difference between an outbreak, an epidemic, and a pandemic (among other things).

==

IMG_7449

I'm sure that, like me, you are coronavirus-news'd out!  But this is interesting, and maybe worth the read.  (I live with a scientist, and he is interested in a slightly different angle on this pandemic thing.)  This interview (from Wired) with epidemiologist Larry Brilliant talks about what we can expect from this pandemic, and why testing is so important.

==

IMG_7137

This touching poem, penned by Brother Richard Hendrick, a Capuchin Franciscan living in Ireland, made the rounds last week.  I'm sharing it anyway . . . because even if you've already seen it, it's really worth another read.

Lockdown
by Brother Richard Hendrick

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
people are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
so that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary.
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting.
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way.
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality.
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul.
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic.
The birds are singing again.
The sky is clearing.
Spring is coming.
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul.
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.

==

IMG_8120

Yesterday, I went for a long walk with JoJo and along the way, we came upon this stretch of sidewalk in my neighborhood:

IMG_8209

It filled me with joy!  What a happy surprise.  (And as I circled back on the other side of the road, I saw another walker feeling similar joy as she discovered the happy chalk messages.)  It made me think . . . to look for some chalk and create my own messages of hope on the sidewalk near my house . . . to bring cheer to my neighbors as they walk by.  

=

And here is something to make you chuckle.  This guy in Great Britain - a sports announcer - is "sports-narrating" events from  everyday life (now that there are no sporting events to announce) and posting them on his Twitter account.  I don't do the Twitters, but I could still click in and watch these videos.  They are quite fun.  Give it a try when you feel you need a moment of levity today.

=

And you may remember last March when Tom and I went to the Butterflies are Blooming exhibit at the Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids for my birthday?  Well. . . the butterflies are back . . . but no one can visit them this year.  Meijer Gardens has a live butterfly stream on YouTube, though.  I'll be checking in from time to time to see what's going on.

==

And that's it for this Monday.

Stay well.
Stay home.
Flatten the curve.


Is It Monday?

Because, frankly, I've lost track.
(Right now, all days kind of look the same. . . )

But, I'm pretty sure it's Monday.  So let's stay in practice and . . . 

IMG_8119

If you are anything like me, you've probably got whiplash from trying to keep up with what's happening day to day, hour by hour. It's unfathomable and frightening and anxiety-producing and just . . . unreal.  Un.Real.  With so much changing so quickly, I'm going to just keep blogging away.  Not pretending everything is normal (because it just isn't), but being here.  Being . . . in community . . . with all of you.

Because we can keep each other going.
We can feel less isolated if we stay connected.
We can share information and ideas and comfort.
We can practice . . . commUNITY.

Here are some things I found over the weekend . . . 

==

"Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world."
        -- Desmond Tutu

IMG_8118
Right now in my garden . . . a bit of hope. Spring will come again.

==

IMG_8083

I'll get this Monday started with a couple of helpful coronavirus links:

First, this read from the World Economic Forum.  It's easy to get lost in the comparisons of today's coronavirus and the Spanish influenza of 1918-1919 (like . . . overwhelmingly lost).  This article (written by a microbiologist) provides a helpful perspective on just how far we've come since the dark days of the Spanish flu, and why there is reason for hope.

And next, this practical article from the New York Times on stocking your pantry.  (Coronavirus articles from the NYTimes are free reads for all right now, so you should be able to click in and read this whether you are a NYTimes subscriber or not.)  

==

IMG_6475

Many of us are practicing "social distancing" right now . . . which gives us unexpected chunks of downtime.  Maybe this is a good time to make a piece for the Tiny Pricks Project!  I'm sure lots of you have already heard about (maybe even contributed to) this project.  I know I've been following along on Instagram for a long time now . . . I think this is the perfect time for me to create a piece of my own for the project.  (There is certainly PLENTY of source material.)  (And, sadly, more created every day. . . )  

==

IMG_8122

Looking for something to watch?  Tom and I binge-watched High Fidelity on Hulu over the weekend . . . and we loved it!  You may recall that the 2000 movie High Fidelity (starring John Cusack) is one of our very favorite movies ever, so we had some (minor) trepidation about watching a "re-boot" series based on the movie.  If you share that concern, let me assure you:  No. Problem.  This is a delightful series -- true to the original movie in many, many (sometimes subtle) ways while bringing a freshness to the whole story!

So watch it!  And if you haven't watched the movie in a while (or a hundred times . . . like Tom and I), go ahead and watch that FIRST.  It makes the series even more fun!  (Sadly, the movie doesn't seem to be streaming anywhere right now -- but you can "rent" it through Amazon Prime for $2.99.)  (Worth it.)

==

IMG_8120

These are strange and challenging time, my friends.  Let's look for joy . . . 

YoYo Ma, the world-renowned cellist, has launched a hashtag over on Instagram -- #songsofcomfort -- as a way to share of the music that brings him comfort . . . in this time of high anxiety.  Other musicians - some you'll recognize, some just people in their living rooms with their piano or trombone - are sharing, too.  It's a joyful thing!  Check it out.

If you haven't signed up already, you may want to check out Clara Parkes' Daily Respite -- a "daily balm of escape, discovery, and delight" delivered to your inbox.  (Clara offers this daily subscription service for free -- or for $6/month if you can afford it.)  These daily, joy-filled surprises (because you never know what she'll send!) are great little pick-me-ups during dark times.

Missing March Madness?  You can still enjoy March Mayhem - knitting's answer to bracket sports - over on the Mason-Dixon Knitting website.  Check out the bracket and vote!  There are some great patterns in the competition this year.

Do you listen to the Happier podcast (with Gretchen Rubin and her sister, Liz Craft)?  Gretchen and Liz have put together a "bonus episode" podcast specifically designed to help listeners cope with COVID-19.  I haven't listened yet, but I plan to later today.

==

Okay, everyone.  That's it for this Monday morning.

Stay well.
Wash your hands.
Flatten the curve.

==

AND . . . If you have any hints or tips or thoughts about getting through these days of "social distancing" tell me about them in the comments.  I'll be sure to share them in later posts!  Right now, it's all about  . . . commUNITY.

 


Here We Go Again

It's Monday.  Time to . . . 

IMG_6471

"Springtime is the land awakening.  The March winds are the morning yawn."
        --- Lewis Grizzard

Welcome, March.  
(Let's get this party started.)

IMG_8027
Signs of life in my garden.

==

IMG_1C2ED7DF4A60-1

I don't have a word for you this week.  Instead . . . I have a rhetorical phrase.  And a question for you.

So.  Let's say you're . . . unconcerned about something.  Maybe you're unconcerned in a sarcastic way, or maybe it's because you're just not at all interested.  What do you say?

I couldn't care less . . . 

OR

I could care less . . . 

And . . . do you think that one of these phrases is more grammatically correct than the other?  (I have always been in the couldn't-care-less camp myself.)

Well, it turns out that the Merriam-Webster dictionary considers these two phrases . . .  synonymous.  While "couldn't care less" is the older and more obvious phrase from a grammatical standpoint, the two phrases have been confused for so long now that both are considered correct.  (You can read more about it here, if you're so inclined.)  (Or perhaps you couldn't - or could - care less?)

How about YOU?  Which one do you say?

==

IMG_7708

I generally avoid news-related topics here on the blog (you get enough of that on your own time, I'm sure), but there's one particularly important topic right now that I think we should all pay (at least some) attention to you.  Yeah.  I'm talking about COVID-19 . . . the coronavirus.

Like most people I talk to, I'm kinda creeped out by the possibility of a pandemic . . . while at the same time trying not to dwell on it . . . and determined not to panic about it.  But still, I'm paying attention to it.  I'm not so worried about getting it, but I am trying to be smart and prepare myself for the possibility that it may cause hiccups.  So I wash my hands all. the. time.  (While singing Happy Birthday or maybe running through the ABC song.)  And I'm using those little wipes they have at the grocery store and Costco to clean off my cart.  That kind of thing.  And over the past few days, I've started stocking up my pantry, my freezer, and my medicine cabinets --- NOT because I think there's going to be a shortage (or armageddon), but because if there IS an outbreak in my town, I want to be prepared to hunker down at home for awhile.

Anyway.  Here's a practical and not-panicky article from NPR . . . about how to prepare at home for the coronavirus.  It's worth reading!

How about YOU?  Are you doing anything to prepare for the coronavirus?  Or . . . is this something you (ahem) couldn't care less about???

==

IMG_7449

So.

Is anybody else counting the days until the third installment of Hilary Mantel's trilogy hits the bookstores?????  (As of this morning, there are 8.)

I've had my copy on pre-order for months and months.  I. can't. wait.  (Even though I know how it ends. . . )

==

Speaking of books . . . be sure to join Bonny, Carole and I TOMORROW as we announce the next Read With Us bloggy-book-group selection!  

==

IMG_6476

Okay.  I feel sort of guilty telling you about this -- because I lost a couple of hours down this rabbit hole -- but I must!  Last week, I discovered Blue: the Tatter Textile Library -- which is physically located in Brooklyn . . . but you can bring a lot of it right into your own home thanks to your computer!

I won't tell you any more right now . . . but when you need a little break, go take a peek.  It's balm for the soul!

==

And there you go!
Monday morning, started right.

Enjoy your week!


Here We Go

It's Monday again!  Time to . . . 

IMG_7394

(On Monday mornings, I share a few things I found over the weekend.)

==

"If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it."
            --- Lucy Larcom

IMG_7881

==

IMG_7449

Did you happen to catch this over the weekend?  Yes!  It's one thing to read an awesome blog post by one of your best pals.  But . . . it's EVEN BETTER to read it again when it's picked up by one of the "big blogs!"  If you haven't already read Carole's most excellent essay, be sure to click in and read it now.  (And if you have already read it?  Well.  Click in and read it again.  Because it's a good one!)  Congratulations, Carole!  Thanks for speaking up - and speaking out!

==

IMG_7766

I tend to think that emojis are generally self-explanatory.  But maybe - before you hit "send" - you have a fleeting worry about that emoji you're using.  Will your recipient understand the meaning you're trying to convey?

Well.  Just in case you want to be certain, there is an encyclopeida of emojis for you to consult!  An . . .  "emojipedia"!  You can even track the "trending" emojis.  Or find the newest emojis.  (Hoo-boy.  Who knew?)  

==

IMG_7893

Hold on to your hats, everyone.  Mercury is in retrograde again!  Curious about what else is happening in the night skies this month?  Here's a quick run down for the month of February.  (I'm happy to be able to see the stars in my night sky again . . . for the first time in months! Thank you clear skies.)

==

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

And don't forget to check in here tomorrow for the third and final week of our Read With Us discussion of Fever.  (If you've been waiting to talk about Alfred . . . well.  Tomorrow is your chance!)  See you then.

 


Happy Monday

Time to . . . 

IMG_7394

(On Monday mornings, I share a few things I found over the weekend.)

==

"Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine."
                        --- Anthony J. D'Angelo

IMG_7763

(That's a real blue glow . . . coming from sunshine - actual sunshine - shining through my stained glass window yesterday.)  

==

IMG_1C2ED7DF4A60-1

This week, I have another timely, science-y word from Tom:

IMG_7764

It's one of those words that just . . . make sense.  But I still don't like to think about it.

==

IMG_7770

Have you ever wondered . . . how deep the ocean really is?  Click here for the answer!  This fun, interactive graphic will take you to the very bottom of the ocean, showing you what you'll see at every level all the way down.  It takes a while to get there . . . but it's totally worth the trip!

==

IMG_7769

Speaking of "bringing your own sunshine" . . . lately, I've been kinda cranky -- and I'm pretty sure it's not just the State Of The World.  I think it's because we only had a few hours of sunshine during the entire month of January.  And when it's dark and gloomy day after day (after day), it starts to wear on you!  If that happens to you, too, you might be interested in this simple meditation/visualization exercise I found -- a way to keep the sun inside you. Even when the sun is nowhere to be seen.

==

That's it for this Monday morning.
Have a great week!

(And don't forget to join us tomorrow for the first of our Read With Us book discussions on our current book, Fever.  Carole will be hosting this week's discussion.  Please stop by.  The best part about a book group is hearing everyone's thoughts about the book.)


Monday Means

it's time to . . .

IMG_7394

(On Monday mornings, I share a few things I found over the weekend.)

==

"A sobering thought:  what if, right at this very moment, I am living up to my full potential?"
    --- Jane Wagner

IMG_7709

==

IMG_1C2ED7DF4A60-1

Okay.  So today's word is . . . not so interesting, really.  And we all know what it is and what it means.  But it's worth a bit of pondering anyway!

IMG_7712

Here's a little opinion piece from The New Yorker that talks about . . . milk.  And its evolution from something everyone drank (definition 1 b (1), above) . . . to, well, more the "food product produced from seeds" version (definition 1 b (2), above).  It's interesting.  (And did you know that milk - the traditional kind - is one of the official beverages of the impeachement trial?)  (You can't make this stuff up.)

==

IMG_7449

Have you seen Greta Gerwig's Little Women movie yet?  I am a huge Little Women (the book) fan, and I loved the new movie version.  Not only did I like the way Gerwig chose to tell the story, but I loved the way the whole movie looked.  And especially the costumes.  What a feast for the eyes!  Period details, historical context -- and so much color and texture and layering and . . . hand knit shawls!  If you loved the costumes (or if you're just interested in costuming and/or fashion), you might like to read this piece about Jacqueline Durran, the costume director for the movie (and one of the Oscar nominees for Best Costume Design).  

(And here's a link to the Little Women movie trailer.)  (Those costumes!)

==

IMG_6475

I tend to be very monogamous in my "making" process.  I (pretty much) knit one thing at a time.  I tend to be the same way with my stitching or sewing or even drawing.  So I tend to finish what I start . . . and usually in a fairly timely manner.  (I know. Bor.Ing.)  But I understand that lots of Makers do things differently -- and love having multiple projects going at the same time.  

If you fall into the latter category, you might be interested in this blog post from the owners of Wool & Honey (a really charming and wonderful yarn shop in Cedar - near Traverse City - in northern Michigan).  The post explains how to use "The Gideon Method" for finishing those projects you may have hanging around.  It's pretty brilliant!

==

IMG_7708

And now . . . I have a question for you.  Over the weekend, I went to a little "wine and wool" festival with a friend, and while I was there, I purchased 3 wool dryer balls from one of the vendors.  I've been wanting/meaning to make some wool dryer balls for myself for quite some time, but . . . there they were:  ready made and selling like hotcakes!  So I bought three and give them a "spin" in my dryer yesterday.

And my dryer (a very nice and perfectly functional Speed Queen dryer) . . . didn't like them.  
At all.

As in . . . my dryer shut off after a minute or two of drying with the wool dryer balls bouncing around inside.  Repeatedly.  When I dried the load in my usual way - without any dryer balls - it worked without a hitch.  What is going on here????

At first, I thought maybe the dryer balls (which are pretty dense, to be sure) were bumping the dryer door open and stopping the cycle.  Nope.  I had Tom check the dryer vent to see if it was clogged.  Nope.   I googled.  It doesn't seem to be an issue for others.  

So I'm throwing it out here:  Any ideas about what might be happening here?  Has this happened to anyone else?

(And . . . anybody want 3 brand new dryer balls?)

IMG_7711

==

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

 

 


Back At It

I'm feeling much better.

Tom is safely back home.

In other words, I'm settling.  It's Monday.  Time to . . . 

IMG_7394

(On Monday mornings, I share a few things I found over the weekend.)

==

"I have decided to stick with love.  Hate is too great a burden to bear."
     --- Martin Luther King, Jr.

IMG_7655

==

IMG_1C2ED7DF4A60-1

Tom suggested this week's word to me.  It's one we both run into quite often in our reading.  It's fun to say . . . and fun to think about.

IMG_7658

(Interesting tidbit:  This word is often capitalized.  Why?  Well . . . it's a German word.  And in German, nouns are capitalized!)

What's the zeitgeist of the 21st century?  A quick google search indicates that maybe it's globalization.  Or misanthropy (hint: general dislike of humankind).  Thoughts?

==

IMG_4930

The Oscar nominations came out last week.  Because we go to the movies all the time, Tom and I have already seen most of the nominated movies across the major Oscar categories.  Here's a quick rundown of the Best Picture nominees, including tips on where you can see them.  (My favorites?  I'm firmly in the Parasite camp this year, but I also really liked JoJo Rabbit, Little Women, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.)  What's your favorite?

==

IMG_7449

I just finished reading a new book, Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope by Nicholas D. Kristof and Cheryl WuDunn.  (You can read reviews/more about the book here and here.)  This book is about marginalized American people, and my friends . . . it is a real gut-punch.  It's depressing and discouraging and frustrating.  But it also . . . explains a lot.  How we got here, as a country, and where we might go in the future.  If we all work together.  And, yeah.  The book is written by two people leaning left.  But they don't just tow a progressive line. They also validate conservative stances on personal responsibility and the importance of a strong work ethic.  They are looking for solutions -- where we (as a country) could do the most good to change the tide. It is one of the more balanced perspectives I've read -- which is refreshing.  Because it's going to take all of us - working together - to fix the mess we're in.  (The book does offer hope, with many possible solutions -- both for the country as a whole and for individuals.)

It's worth reading.

==

IMG_6475

And . . . just for fun . . . here's an article about "craft trends" for the coming year!  Get ready for stained glass, color blocking, chartreuse, 3D printing, embroidery, and a continued focus on both eco-crafting (mending, zero-waste, use-what-you-have) and inclusion in the craft world.

==

I hope your Monday is off to a great start!
(I know I'm happy to be back at it this week.)

 

 


Here We Go Again

It's time to dust off the holiday cobwebs and get moving again!  
Yes, my friends.  It's time to . . . 

IMG_7394

(On Monday mornings, I share a few things I found over the weekend.)

==

A Quote

"Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing."
--- Sarah Ban Breathnach

IMG_7454

(Believe in yourself.  Believe in whatever you've decided you want to do this year.  Believe you can.)

==

A Word

IMG_1C2ED7DF4A60-1

Today is one of those especially challenging Mondays for many of us . . . that first Monday after the holiday season.  It's time to go back to work or to school or to routine.  And, sure.  It feels kinda good.  Because you can only be in a holiday-coma on the couch for so long.  But still.  It's a tough Monday.  

To help you find the best word to describe your mood today, here is a list of 19 Words for the Cranky and Disagreeable from Merriam Webster.  

So.  How are YOU feeling today?  Are you a bit peevish?  Surly, maybe?  Splenetic?  Or perhaps just a tad . . . narky?  However you're feeling . . . you can be sure there's a word for it!

==

To Read

IMG_7449

If you follow along with the daily news, you might feel a bit . . . discouraged with the State of Things.  You might feel like we're all going to hell in a hand basket.  Or that it's just one big dumpster fire out there.  (Maybe you're feeling, oh I don't know . . . captious, perhaps?  Fumish?  Shirty, even?)

Well.  If you ARE, indeed, feeling a little shirty, the headline on this opinion piece from the New York Times may take you by surprise:  This Has Been the Best Year Ever.  Go ahead.  Read it.  It'll give you a different (and maybe better) perspective on the times we live in.

==

To Listen

IMG_6663

I love to check out all the "best of" lists that come around at the end of the year.  One list I took special note of this year came from NPR: the 25 Best Albums of the Year.  I decided to listen to all 25 albums (because I want to challenge myself to listen to more new music) (you'll hear more about this in future posts).  I'm not even close to completing NPR's list yet, and I don't like everything I have listened to.  But. . . there is some really good stuff on this list!  My favorites, so far, are Lana Del Rey and Brittany Howard.  (But of course, I'm familiar with - and like - both of them already, so no surprise there.)  But I also really liked John Luther Adams Become Desert.  

Check it out.  Listen along with me.  Challenge yourself -- and listen to something new.

==

And that's it for this first Monday in January 2020.
I hope your week is off to a great start!


Start Your Engines

It's Monday again.  
Time is just racing, non?
Preparations.  
Celebrations.
Contemplations.

Time to . . . 

IMG_6471

(On Monday mornings, I share a few things I found over the weekend.)

==========

A Quote

"In a way Winter is the real Spring -- the time when the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature."
    --- Edna O'Brien

IMG_7111

==========

IMG_5908

In case you missed the announcement earlier this month, the next Read With Us book is Fever by Mary Beth Keane.  We won't be discussing the book until February, so you have plenty of time to find the book and read with us after the holidays!

In other reading news . . . here's an interesting article from The BBC about how reading has changed over the past decade.  Have you noticed any of the trends noted in the article???  Or maybe . . . some trends that aren't listed at all???

==========

IMG_4930

This is the best time of year to go to the movies.  Most of the year's top movies have release dates from October through December, so there's something good playing at the theater all the time.  Last week, Tom and I went so see Dark Waters and Parasite.  Both are excellent movies. . . but Parasite?  Oh, my!  If you have a chance to see that one . . . GO!  I'll just say . . . wow.  (And don't let the Korean subtitles intimidate you.  After a couple of minutes, you don't even notice the whole movie is in Korean.)

I know I know.  A lot of you don't like going to the theater.  Lucky for you . . . there are all kinds of Oscar-buzzy movies you can watch right in the comfort of your own home!  Like . . . Hustlers.  (You can rent this one on Prime.) (Jennifer Lopez is awesome -- and expected to be a major Oscar contender for her role.)  Or Rocketman.  (You can rent this one on Prime.)  (Oscar buzz for Taryn Egerton, who plays Elton John.) (If you liked Bohemian Rhapsody last year, you'll probably like Rocketman, too.)  Or Marriage Story.  (Streaming on Netflix.) (Probably the most Oscar-buzziest of the bunch, and totally worth the hype.)  

How about you?  Have you seen any movies to recommend lately?

==========

IMG_7137

Although I don't have a word for you this week, I do have a poem to share.  

White Lie
Austin Smith

Christmas Eves our dad would bring
Home from the farm real hay
For the reindeer that didn't exist
And after we were finally asleep
Would get out and take the slabs
Up in his arms and carry them
Back to the bed of his pickup,
Making sure to litter the snow
With chaff so he could show us
In the morning the place where
They'd stood eating, their harness
Bells dulled by the cold, their breath
Steam, all while we were dreaming.

==========

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