Nothing is Better

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Few things are better than having time to do as one wishes and I am learning there is nothing wrong with sitting to knit and/or read for awhile. I have a favorite spot on the couch and I hunker in with pillows at my back and a pile of knitting at my feet. Of course I have a pile of  books and periodicals at my side and often a book in my ear.  I spent an hour or two indulging my love of the word and the feel of yarn flowing through my fingers.

As it turns out I've hit my first Bingo and should have another before the end of the week. After that I expect to move to the bottom of the page and work on getting a third Bingo before the month is over. In a perfect world, I'd make the fourth Bingo, but I don't think I'll be able to read the whole row (with the Magpie Murders at the center) before Labor Day weekend ends. I will not, however, give up hope!

The project is On the Spice Market, which I though I'd be knitting forever, but as it turns out, I'm nearing the end of the color spot rows and will soon start the sequence of end stripes. This shawl gone much faster than I thought it would. Since my knitting is usually just about the process, I don't remember much about a project if all goes well, I only remember if things go badly. I've had a few bumps and a few rows unraveled, but over all the knitting of OtSM has gone well. 

Make sure you visit Kat to catch up with everyone else who's coming Unraveled on Wednesday


Catching You Up

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Celebrating - Still!  When last I posted you knew this was going to happen. My office threw retirement party in my honor. I can't tell you how surprised (and happy) I was. My office friends are people I will never forget and never give up. One of my girlfriends said she had never seen a smile that big and beautiful on my face--ever. I have to admit it was a pretty great day. 

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Traveling - The very next Monday I took off for my date with Will! Camille and I saw Guys and Dolls, Midsummer Night's Dream and Shakespeare in Love. I enjoyed and loved every single play, each one excellently played. 

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Visiting - My sister, Neena, was kind (and generous) enough to invite us to dinner two nights in a row. She knew eating in Cedar City would be dangerous for a celiac (and she was right). We were treated to delicious duck the first night, and perfectly grilled grass fed beef the next. Her hilarious and kind husband, Don, was also there, but got short shrift in the picture department (he took this one of us). 

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Sightseeing - Camille and I took a day and drove up to Cedar Breaks to see the glorious canyon that is so majestic, unique, and impossible to photograph. We were there at the time of the wildflower festival and saw nearly every color of the rainbow represented in flower form. 

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 I tried and tried to get a good picture of the canyon, which glowed in the cloudy light. Hoodoos became dimensional, while the canyon's depths felt dizzyingly hypnotic. Like I said, it is nearly impossible to do justice to the canyon's color and perspective with a camera lens.   

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Delighted by - TIME! I've been running non-stop since coming back home, that is, until today (yesterday as you read this). Between time in the car (Camille drove the whole trip), and snatches of time here at home, I've been able to finish the long suffering socks. This is my fourth pair of perfectly stripy socks in the last year. I am finished with stripy socks, for now. 

Reading (and listening) - I've finished four books since retiring and have two more in the works. Lab Girl, was the latest and my favorite of the lot. I credit Vicki with my desire to read this book as she gave it 5 stars, which it truly deserved. Hope Jahren's writing on science never got boring or became difficult to understand (for a non-sciency person). This book is a memoir about her life (her very interesting life) and the story is fascinating and packed with emotion. This is a great book to listen to as it's read by the author who isn't afraid to tell of her weaknesses (and strengths) throughout.  

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Hanging - Pictures in my bedroom, which have been sitting around since we finished painting the room, about (or over) a year ago. I also hung pictures above my desk and have more pictures yet to go (which is why I stocked up on nails).

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Walking - I took a walk around Silver Lake (my first since last summer!) and found many wildflowers still in bloom. I missed the Silver Lake iris, but caught the tail end of the elephant head and bog orchid season. I found a columbine which had color, which was exciting, as I have only ever seen pure white at the lake. I didn't see a moose, but did see a doe and her fawn (too far away to photograph). I expect my trips to Silver Lake will increase as summer's days decrease. I have a chance to enjoy summer before it's over and for that I am very grateful! 


Three Good Things

The Think Write Thursday topic for  today "is to write about 3 good things that happened this week. We all know that focus on the GOOD is GOOD for us so let's do it!" 

35048349454_2103eaa287_h1.  A while I posted about my newest hobby, Postcrossing. Every few days I receive a postcard from a different Postcrosser somewhere in the world. This week I reached the milestone of 650 cards (coming and going). I have "met" some of the nicest people from hundreds of cities.  In just a few words we share our hopes, dreams, a little about our lives, and the local where we live. The world feels smaller, closer, more connected.

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2. Packing (yes, me!) for a trip to Southern Utah. I have a date with Will and company. I'm heading south with Camille and we're going to see Guys and Dolls, Midsummer Night's Dream, and Shakespeare in Love. Since I haven't been to the Festival in years, I'm very excited! 

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3. One good thing that's coming up is tomorrow is my LAST DAY AT WORK!! I am sad to leave my work friends, as they are all caring, lovely people. We have worked together for many years, through thick and thin, through change after change, and milestone after milestone. I feel very fortunate to have had them in my life. Every photo in this post is from my office view. I see it in the morning when I'm walking into the building and I'm going to miss it very much!

On to a new adventure!


Piled High & Unraveled

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This beautiful pile of knitting (3 projects) and sewing (Alabama Chanin T-shirt), plus oodles more great crafting ideas, are awaiting my attention. I have stacks and stacks (shelves and shelves, too) of books to read and explore, plus tons and tons of other things ways I'd rather do than sit in front of a computer screen wishing my life away. Friday is my last day in the office and I hope to have more time to spend attending to my projects and ideas. I'm rather stoked about that!

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I'm closing in on a Bingo and might even have one by Friday! I'm nearing the end of Home by Marilynne Robinson, which is the middle book of the Gilead Trilogy. I loved Gilead and Lila, but have not found Home quite as compelling. However, it's still good reading. Maybe if I'd read them as they were published I would have been more receptive, but I don't think Home has as strong a story as the other two. 

Kat has a listing of all the other participants with Unraveled Wednesday posts, so head on over!


Beginning

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Last Friday my yarn arrived from The Woolen Rabbit, a beautifully Blush (the lightest color) with the perfect compliment of Sweet Cheeks. So pretty, so lovely! I am ready! For the last four summers I've joined Kirsten's TTL Mystery shawl KAL.  Of all the shawls I've knit, three of my most worn are shawls from Kirsten's TTL Mysteries. I am a user of shawls of all colors, sizes, and styles. Winter's chill is kept off with the extra layer of lace and summer's artificially cool air conditioning about drives me wild. Knitting is a slow process any more and I take a long to finish a project. In between beginnings I forget how wonderful it feels when starting something new, something mysterious, something lacy. Kim's Opal might be my favorite yarn ever.

I am beginning the count down to July 14th. It hadn't crossed my mind to check how many days were left in my worklife, but yesterday Bonny reminded me I had only 23 days to go! How did that happen? I am thrilled! The company can't extend my stay as I'm heading out on a road trip July 17th!  I see knitting, reading, and lots of time with friends (among other things) in my future. Yay, summer! Yay, me! The countdown begins!


Waterlogged Unraveling

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Yesterday was chilly, rainy, dreary, which was bad enough, but a water main leak, added insult to injury. The leak had gone on for some time as the lawn was saturated and our neighbors tiny garden emulated a pond. The management dug a hole to find the pipe and diverted the water away from the houses. A contractor has been called to do the digging and replace the broken pipe. I don't think our home was ever in danger, but the lawn and sidewalk may not be as lucky. The repairs could happen Thursday, maybe Friday, or even into next week. At least the beautiful hostas in my little front door garden will not be troubled. 

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My reading is going as slowly as my knitting, but The Essex Serpent is in my ear and (so far) living up to expectations. I've enjoyed getting to know each character, in turn, and find the story entertaining and interesting. The mystery of the serpent has me wishing I had more time to listen. Going even more slowly is my rereading of LaRose. Last year I listened to this book, but reading has a way of taking me more deeply into the story. Roz Reads is a group that comes together to fully explore a book and immersing myself in the book makes the discussion more fulfilling and interesting. I love listening to books, but seeing words on paper can be very powerful.

34483594923_45a36d1da7_kTo end on a bright and colorful note, this past weekend I was able to plant our carport pots with brightly colored petunias. Petunias may not be a favored flower, but I've tried all sorts of pants and nothing holds up in excessive heat of summer (which, so far, hasn't made an appearance) nor to my usual neglect. The petunias are expected to thrive no matter the conditions (that's my expectation, in any case). 

Last week I forgot to link to Kat who is the friend who started this whole Unraveled Wednesday fun.


Unraveled By Stripes

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For the past year I've had a bit of a thing with stripes. This is my fourth (and final, for now) stripy pair of socks. In started this year long odyssey because I was inspired by Carole's colorful stripy socks, as well as, aided by her pattern Picot Edged Socks. Knitterly Things Vesper Sock yarn is also a big draw, as it create perfectly spaced stripes. I'm taken with the latest offering "Boardwalk Games" but think I need a break from my current run of stripes only sock knitting.

I'm far from a Bingo, but I have finished two books and started two more. Moonshine is a book I recommend to NO ONE! It was too vulgar and strange and I could only make it half way through. It's my Bingo and half way (in my book), with a tale this bad, is a win! I finished Midwinter, but found it a little too spare, even lackluster, but Melrose did a good job of framing the differing avenues grief can take. I'd rate it a 3 1/2. At least I know my next book is a great one!

I've started to reread LaRose, which is Roz Reads choice for June. I am just as brokenhearted the sec0nd time through and enchanted once again by Erdrich's prose and story telling acumen. This is a must read, imo.  I'm also starting another book I've wanted to read for months, The Essex Serpent. I'll keep you posted! A few of the books titles I had written on my card have changed and I expect a few more will over time. This card is a WIP and one that will be tweaked and bent over the course of the summer.

So, what's the last book your read and are you playing along with Summer Bingo?


6 on 6

June 6th sneaked in and smacked me upside the head. So many, too many, things are happening. I decided to take a cue from Honoré and write a 6 on 6 post for today.

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Our weather went from freezing (literally) to near 100 degrees within a couple of weeks. Nature is crazy, this year more than any other! In actuality, the garden is doing well with the weather extremes, but I think they'll be happy when a cool down comes in the end of the week. Smith and I went to a small local nursery last week and bought flowers for the patio and a few more peppers and tomatoes for the garden.  I'm excited about the garden, more so this year than in the past, because...drum roll, folks....

My retirement date is July 14th!!! Seriously, I had doubts this day would ever come, but a few stars aligned and helped it happened.  The plan is to make my new life into something that doesn't involve a job, or at least, a full time job. Summer looks like a blank pallet ready for me to mix the paint.

I'm working on my Book Bingo card, but because last week was just so busy, I'm feeling a bit behind in my reading. That is something I think will change (in July!!!). The list of books I want to read grows and grows and I may be doing some finagling to get a few titles  work--like putting a round pegs into a square holes.  I am the boss of my Book Bingo, right? Sing it! However, I do not see a Bingo in the near future. 

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I knit, therefore I am. Yes! Knitting feeds my soul. It is my social life, my creative life, and the "thing" that grounds me. I'm quite in love with the two projects on my needles and I am anticipating the TTL Mystery Shawl, which is set to drop on the 15th! Kim from The Woolen Rabbit has my order for two beautiful colors of yarn (Think Pink!) and I'm ready and willing to get started. On the Spice Market may be set aside for the month, but here's a little 411 about it. The yarn is Marianated Yarns Dragon Scales Set, with Steady Rain as the main color. If I had to guess, I'm about a third of the way through.

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Clever Octopus collects craft supplies that are no longer wanted by other crafters. They have yarn, fabric, paper, tiles, beads, paints, etc., etc., etc. (on and on). Instead of buying brand new supplies you can pick up perfectly useful, and almost like new, supplies for your projects. If needed they offer guidance to help with your effort, plus they have organized classes. A few weeks ago I took a mosaic class at the Clever Octopus (Susan was there, too.) I signed up for the class, as it's an art I've long wanted to explore. My rather primitive blue bird makes me smile and I learned a few techniques in one short evening. The mosaic brick now greets visitors at my front door. Did I mention I'm retiring?! Exploring new crafts, ideas, and techniques is one thing I plan to do with my "free" time.

I joined the neighborhood community center and have been going to water exercise classes. The ladies are fun, talkative, and welcoming.  Some have been going for years and have a lot of tips on what to do with your time once retired. They told me about the senior center next door, but I don't feel like a senior citizen! The workout has been good for my hip, but I'm headed for X-rays because the pain is fairly constant. Hopefully, strengthening the muscles will only do it good!