Warmth of Wood

Since today is a Ten on Tuesday day, and I have a few cherished objects made of wood, I thought it might be time to make an appearance and share the most special pieces with you. 

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1. As a child, I played with the jewelry my mother kept inside this box. Most of her jewelry was costume quality, which meant she didn't mind if we played with them, but only if we asked permission.

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2. The Japanese table in my living room is the only piece of furniture I care for and would save in the case of a fire. The minute I saw this table I knew I wanted to have it in my life. I've never felt that way again about any other household furnishing.

3. The Japanese box atop the Japanese table, holds a special place in my heart, because Smith and I bought on a trip we took to Seattle (many, many years ago).

4. My rocking chair belies the comment I made in #2. I care very much about my chair, although it can no longer be used as a place to sit.

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5. This box, handcrafted by a dear friend, is one of the most beautiful pieces of woodwork I've ever owned. The photograph does not show its true beauty or charm.

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6. I have several Shaker boxes which I bought with the intent of stitching the lining and etui to adorn the inside. This is the only box I completed before my interests turned to other pursuits.

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7. This African spice bowl was given to us by a dearly departed friend. I keep a few little treasures inside, but mostly, I'm sad to say, it only gathers dust.

8.  I have a multitude of elaborate, handcrafted spindles I no longer use. Each one is unique and simply elegant, a piece of art even though it sits on a shelf.

9. Plus, I own a Schacht 40th Anniversary spinning wheel, which also never use. I keep it dusted and think about using it from time to time, but the act of spinning never calls. 

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10. Long ago a friend asked me to stitch a newborn baby's name on a christening gown. He repaid me with this gift of a Navajo weaving fork, which is more dear to me because of who it is from than it is for its price.

Each item on this list hold a very special place in my life, many marking special occasions or events. I feel very fortunate to have each and every one of them, as well as the memories they invoke. 

 


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? 


Reading Harder

One of the books on the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge is a Non-Super Hero comic book. Since comic books are not my forte, I consulted a friend who knows the genre well. She lead me in the direction of Kaoru Mori, and in particular, A Bride's Story.

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I picked up a copy from my local library last night (yay, libraries!) and had read it, start to finished, within the hour. The story is told with illustrations, often a dozen per page, and each drawing is beautifully detailed,  the story well told. Since it is Manga, the book is read back to front and each page is read "backwards".  The story has been serialized and there are 8 books, I'm told. I have the next one on order at the library, as I am now a comic book/manga fan.

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That's Plain Ol' Gray in the background of the picture above. She's coming along without there being any banging. I'm slow, but steady, and POG will see the light of day as a full blown sweater some day soon. I'm very pleased with the way she looks and plan to keep up a pace, maybe, see her finished by months end. 


Some of This and a Little of That

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Stella's second blossom is in the background, fully in bloom, but Sadie ended up stealing the show. They both brought a lot of color into my life and I have missed their show.

I have a long story about our needing a new bed and Smith walking into the electronics section of the furniture store to find iPads on sale. Instead of telling that long and boring story (we did find a bed), I'll cut to the chase and show you the first app I put on my new mini. Yes! I now have the Waterlogue app. Sadie looks pretty grand in her watercolor portrait. 

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My work life has been all consuming and coming home from work to get back on a computer has been about the last thing I desire. Add to that is the major inversion working to cover the sun and fill the air with lavender and yellow tinged layers of pollution. 

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Within the next couple of days I expect this mountain, as well as the sun, to completely disappear. There is no relief in sight, as the only way to scour the air is a wind that will bring in a storm. It could be a couple more weeks...at least. The inversion is the sole reason I dislike winter so much.

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BUT, my birds have come to visit frequently and they offer much joy and entertainment. I leave my desk infrequently, but when I can, the first thing I do is look out the window to see if they're nearby. As soon as I drop peanuts on the ledge, they pop out of the brush and jump to the task. I don't know what I'd do without their companionship and silliness. We've been together for years, about 5 or 6, I think and I hope the relationship lasts for a long time to come. 


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! 


I Love Weekends

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The weekend was low key, quiet and pretty much normal. The weather was gray (it's winter) with a few inches of snow on Sunday (it's winter). Stella was at the top of her game and added a much needed bit of color to the grayness.

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The grocery shopping was accomplished, I enjoyed a night out with a girlfriend, and spent an afternoon at SnB (with girlfriends). And then, the best part of the weekend--a celebratory dinner out, as Smith and I marked our 36th Anniversary (today!)!


Growing

Bonny named her beauties, Scarlet and Minerva and I've named mine Sadie and Stella. The two of them have been sitting on my dining room table since early December. For two weeks that sat, unchanged, which left me to wonder if they were alive. When I brought the two of them home, they were boxed up and dried up, but still, I thought why not give them a chance. The only thing they needed was to be watered.

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It was nearly January when Stella decided to push through a bud, and then a few days later, another! At first, Sadie put forth only leaves, but, eventually, a bud became apparent (can you see it?). Warmth, light, and water have paid dividends, as once they decided to grow, they've been going gang busters. 

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January 14th

Their color was a mystery from the beginning, although Stella has revealed her gloriousness. I remain curious as to the color of Sadie dress, but I'm going to bet she will be following her big sister's lead. 

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January 17th 

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January 20th

 The amaryllis blossoms may have been slow in coming, but one thing is certain, I'll have color for a few more weeks to come. 


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.