The Beauty of December

December is the season of lights, which I admit, bring to me a sense of wonder and awe. I can stand before a display of lights my mouth agape, my eyes wide with joy,  oblivious to the world around as I am transfixed by beauty I behold. I love the light (as I'm sure you know by now). 

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We spent Thanksgiving with our friends Monica and Steve (a wonderful day) and as we were driving home that evening we caught sight of a well lit tree off in the distance. We drove up a side street that led to a small cemetery and found at its center a very large tree covered with white lights. It was ethereal, magical, and we exclaimed to each other, with delight and wonder, how beautiful it was. As rarely happens when you're an adult, we were filled with awe. It felt like a gift to be among the first to see it.  

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The sunrises and sunsets are quite wonderful this time of year and the cloud displays before, after, and during a storm can surround the mountain tops with garlands and crowns. You know I love my mountains and winter can really bring out their unique beauty. White, snow covered mountains and clear blue skies are are also commandingly exquisite. 

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This time of year the golden glow glorifies our view in a way that isn't seen during the other seasons. December's light is the beautiful of the year and I must fill my heart and soul with this beauty before January's dingy skies move in.

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December is filled with with wonderful people, friends and family, parties and gatherings, (which is when I keep my phone in my pocket). I'm hopeful there will be time for Smith and I to be together this month, as well. 

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December offers more time indoors (demands it, actually), and that means more time to knit (maybe blog). I hope to be able to show you the TTL Mystery shawl I finished, and the Julianna shawl that's nearly off the needles. December's cold and snowy days offer the gift of knitting and reading time.

Just as Bonny said in her December post, December marks the beginning of the return of light. Solstice is a day of celebration and joy. I so look forward to the shorter nights to come. 


In My Ear

When reading an audio book, all activities are best done alone, that is, unless the person you're with is enjoying the same book. Smith and I have different taste in books and, therefore, we each have our own iPods. Usually, we only listen to books when we're alone, but it is a known fact that Smith becomes very talkative if I have my earbuds on. It is a little rude (unless you have an agreement of silence) to wear earphones when someone else is in the room. 

The best thing about audio books (or podcasts) is alone time is quality time and/or time can be spent doing duel duty. Who doesn't like to multitask? I have had an Audible account since 2006, June of 2006, which means I've been listening to books for 10 years. I don't know what I'd do without my iPod.

Ten Things To Do While Listening to an Audio Book 

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 1.Take a walk and watch the sunset (or the moon rise).

2. Clean the house. (Vacuuming may be a challenge). 

3. Take the bed apart, do the laundry, put the bed back together. Fold (the rest of) the laundry. This is the time moving slowly can feels right. 

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4. Care for the garden. Plant. Water. Weed. (Sit back, relax and enjoy your accomplishment.) Weed again.

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5. Knit up a storm (but if you need to read the pattern, stop the recording until you can pay full attention). The picture shows most of the accouterments in my knitting bag. (Side note: I love Leone Violet Candies.) 

6.Mindlessly surf the web (but turn off the recording if you're going to read something). 

7. Exercise in the way you like best (although, swimming may be a problem).  Also, I listen while doing my PT exercises.

8. Prepare a meal (alone). Even doing the dishes isn't so bad if you've got a book in your ear.

9. Do nothing (which is OK!). Just listen (it's an awesome experience)!

10. Sit on the patio with a cup of tea, or better yet, a glass of cold white wine, or a cocktail. Listening to an audio book makes everything better. 

Ten Things To Do While Listening to an Audio Book is brought to you by Carole.


Poems Fit Perfectly in Pockets

I always have a poem in my pocket. In a small notebook I keep in my purse, the notebook that keeps my to do lists and grocery lists, I will copy a poem--one that is small enough to fit on one page and which speaks to me on that day. I have a couple of shelves of poetry, but the books I pick up most often are Mary Oliver's, as I know many of you do, too. 

The book I have been reading from most often this spring is A Thousand Mornings. Since I am a morning person, the poems speak to my heart. It was hard to chose only one from the book, but I bring you....

An Old Story

Sleep comes a little while. Then I wake
in the valley of midnight or three a.m. 
to the first fragrances of spring

which is coming, all by itself, no matter what. 
My heart says, what you thought you have you do not have.
My body says, will this pounding ever stop?

My heart says: there, there, be a good student.
My body says: let me up and out, I want to fondle
those soft white flowers, open in the night. 

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Thank you, Kym, for reminding me to participate today!

Poem in Your Pocket day, by the Academy of American Poets 


Make Me Happy Ten

Carole asks, 10 of Your Favorite Things Right Now 

Alabama Chanin T - I've almost stitched all the leaves on the front of my beautiful T-shirt.

Plain Ol' Gray - She's coming alone nicely (albeit slowly).

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Love notes - Smith leaves me a love (sticky) note nearly every day. Yes, I know how fortunate I am.

Fountain pens and the fun colors of ink I collect. Bonus, hot Pink!, Hydrangea blue, and Black Roses.

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Sumo citrus - This is the strangest citrus I've seen in awhile.

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Neko Atsume - I've never played a  game on my phone, but this one only requires one to feed the cats and occasionally spend some "fish" for new toys. Bonus, the cats leave you "fish" when they visit. Double bonus, they bring you cute little mementos.

Weather - Not too cold, not too hot, light snow, full sun, cloud play...it's all been happening over the last few days and it's likely to continue.

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Tiny crocus leaves coming up in my garden. The last minute bulbs we planted last November survived! I can't wait to see which color reveals itself first. I wonder if I'll see any snowdrops this year.

Mark Bittman cookbook-Sunday night I followed one of the simple recipes and made a beet/carrot dish with Moroccan spices. It was delicious. Bonus, the carrots were freshly picked from the garden, as they're a vegetable that winters over well.

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Other knitters at the hair salon! She was knitting strips of color. We had little chance to speak, but she was more than happy to allow a picture. 

 Do you have a favorite thing of the moment? 


Here They Come to Save the Day!

Jessica

My Ten on Tuesday is brought to you by Girl Power! There are a few TV shows in rotation around here, but not on regular schedule. We often record episodes we never get around to watching. We're slowly making our way through Netflix episodes of Jessica Jones, which I find very dark, but fascinating. Marvel Comic characters have not been on my radar, but I see why people are drawn to the whole idea of heroes who can save the world from the bad guys.

I also decided to only go with women, as I think TV could do a better job of showing women in stronger roles and not only as dim-witted, one-liner characters who need a man to save them.
"You've been kidnapped! List the 10 TV show characters you would want to help you."

Jessica Jones - She has super-human strength and withering, angry looks on her side. (We'll not talk about her drinking problem.)

Lady Mary Crawley from Downton Abbey - Lady Mary has come into her own and she's learning how to get things done.

Amy Farah Fowler from Big Bang Theory - She's funny, extremely intelligent and slightly odd. I think she would give the kidnapper a run for his money. She is a neurobiologist, after all. (In the meantime, I hope she'll save me.) 

Olivia Pope from Scandal - She's got a team  behind her, just as long as she can hold off the President.

The women from The Bletchley Circle  - Four women who saved the world during WWII could certainly get me away from a kidnapper.

Agent Carter - She knows how to get things done behind the scenes and can take down any man with a well placed punch.

Hetty from NCIS - She lived through the cold war as a special agent and knows more than any spy on earth. She'd have no trouble finding me and killing my kidnapper.

Trouble from Grimm- She's another woman with super-human strength and she sees trouble coming. I know she could find me and take my kidnapper down.

So, tell me who would save you!

 


A Silent Poetry Reading

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Cloud Fishing 

To fish from a cloud in the sky
You must find a comfortable spot,
Spend a day looking down
Patiently, clear-sighted.
 
Peer at your ceiling:
Where a light dangles, hook & line
Could be slipping through.
 
Under the hull of a boat
A fish will see things this way,
 
Looking up while swimming by — 
 
A wavering pole’s refraction
Catching its eye.

What will you catch?
With what sort of bait?
Take care or you’ll catch yourself,

A fish might say,
As inescapable skeins of shadow
Scatter a net
Over the face of the deep.
 
by Phillis Levin -  Poetry (2016)

Right Now-ish

This may end up being a week of posts all in one, but since I took nearly a week off, I think I owe you an all in one.  I'll try and pull together a few thoughts to catch you up, although not much of anything is happening.

Right Now-ish 

Knitting -- There has been precious little put into knitting of late, but on my needles is Plain Ol' Gray, which was given this moniker because it is embellishment free, knit with very old stash yarn, in a very gray tweed (which is quite beautiful). I have the back and the right front pieces finished and I'm about to start the second front (or maybe a sleeve, just to mix it up). I'm going to block the pieces and try it on before moving on. Because I'm in the throes of this sweater, I will not be Banging out anything more. I am slow as it gets, in any case. 

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Itching to -- start a shawl with this amazing yarn/color, but have yet to settled on a pattern. 

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Reading -- I joined the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. Mary made me do it (sort of). When she blogged about I thought the list sounded doable and I gave myself the challenge of not only reading more broadly, but also, reading people of color, as much as possible. I'm still searching for a few titles, but the list is almost complete. At the moment, I'm reading Twelve Years a Slave and Black Water Rising.

Watching -- Jessica Jones, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Big Bang Theory, (DVDs from the library) and Downton Abbey. It may sound like a lot of TV, but we're hit and miss with Smith's schedule and my busy social life (ha, ha), we only watch a couple of nights a week. 

Drinking -- Tea (milk oolong)

Needing to -- Place our order for seeds, as garden season will be here before we know it. Thursday evenings the garden crew meets at the local burger place where they plot (ha, ha) and plan things that need to happen before, and during, the growing season.

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Planning -- my Month of Letters (#lettermo) calendar and gathering notecards and stationary together. I have recently started using fountain pens, in part, because Smith ran across two beautiful pens that belonged to his mother and, also, because local Laurie was using them and I found the prospect enticing. The black Sheaffer, a black dolphin nose, is my favorite, although I have purchased a couple of new fountain pens, too. 

Listening to -- Gary Clark Jr, Dwight Yoakum, John Coltrane and about a dozen different podcasts. What goes in my ear depends solely on my mood of the moment. 

Organizing -- Our bedroom as a new bed is coming. Smith finished the side tables awhile ago and may get the bedroom painted before garden season, but that remains to be seen, as his work schedule is all over the place. 

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Delighted by -- this sign I saw last week (which now says 6 WEEKS) while stopped at a light. Hurray! It's February 1st and we're  that much closer to spring! 


When You Care

Every year on MLK Day, my office gives service to a non-profit organization. This year we worked with the Neighborhood House by sorting clothes, washing and sorting toys, coloring and cutting shapes used to teach pre-school children, washing windows and cleaning floors. We had a great time working together and giving service to an organization which needed, and appreciated, our efforts. 

 Today's Ten on Tuesday  is in honor of Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service - 10 Things You Can Do To Serve Others. 

1.The absolute easiest thing you can do to serve others is smile (and say "thank you"). 

2.Volunteer your time to the local food bank by sorting canned food. You can also (or instead) give them a nice check, as a food bank can turn one dollar into over $7 worth of good and services.

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3. Clean unneeded and unwanted items from your home (in the Kondo way) and donate the good stuff  to an organization who helps people in need. (You know you've got a lot of things you can give!)

4. Homeless organizations need and appreciate an extra set of hands. Call and tell them when you can be there. Even one hour will make a difference.

5. Pay it forward. You know how it works. Buy the next person in line a cuppa or a lunch. 

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6. Knit for someone, a premie ward, a cancer support service, or a homeless shelter for families. Kids need hats more than anyone. 

7. Knit for a friend. You know what your friends like.  

8. Choose to be humble and promote someone else's idea. 

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9. Always be kind. Keep that road rage at bay. 

10. Give until it hurts. 

Any one of the items on this list would make a great resolution for the year. May you heart to open to giving and sharing all you can. 

 


Currently

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Listening to....We went to a concert Saturday night (Jeff Hamilton Trio) and we have been listening to the CD we bought while there. FANTASTIC!

Thinking about... The fun weekend we had with not one, but TWO date nights. We saw Spectre, the newest Bond, which was too long, but kind of fun. 

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Dreading... The inversion, commonly known as the "dreaded inversion". It's here. I'm just dreading it will stick around.

Planning... To turn blue again.

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Celebrating... Chanukahmas (all month long) We love to celebrate the light!

Drinking...Water, wine, whiskey and tea

Itching to...Finish my AC bag (maybe soon!)

Needing to... Shop for Christmas

Organizing... I should be organizing my time, but it seems to be slipping through my fingers. 

 How are things in your world? 

 


Words in the Wild

Words in the Wild was started by Kym (my memory isn't all that great, but I think that's what happened) and she has a knack for finding words here and there. Honestly, I'm not sure whether WitW is a Wednesday or Thursday thing, but I'm doing it today, in any case. 

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Last weekend, I had to stop by one of the big box department stores to pick up new "foundations" and, as I walked from one department to the next, I saw this sign. It not only tickled me, I knew it would make Kym smile, too.

My life has been so busy, with mostly good things (and work), but with a little trouble here and there. Monday night someone rear-ended my car and while I am okay (a little sore) and the car is still drivable, everything just feels even more complicated (it IS more complicated). 

One of the really good things happening this weekend is the Alta Knitter's Retreat. The weather will be superb (70-80s) and I decided to add a day to my stay to take advantage of the fantastic weather. The aspen leaves should be at their full glory, too. 

Enjoy your weekend, my friends!