A Quick Note

I know it’s not Tuesday, but I have a few minutes, so I thought I’d sit down and say hello. It’s already the end of October and I’m facing down Thanksgiving and then Christmas shopping and wondering where 2018 went. It’s been a hard year. I’ve cried a lot. I’ve been angry a lot. I think if you pay attention and are a thoughtful, compassionate person, you’ve probably had hard times this year too. I’m here with you. It’s hard not to become bitter. I’m refusing to become bitter (I don’t blame you if you are bitter. I just can’t be that right now.) so I’m working hard on being someone that 9 and 93 year old Kate is/will be proud of. It’s been work. Good. Hard. Work.

On a lighter note:

My sister and I went to Michigan to visit our grandma and our dad. Our uncle brought out his guitar. There was beer drinking and story telling. Eyes may have welled up a bit. Voices may have been raised once or twice. My very citified car went two-tracking because it was the best way to get from here to there (though after getting “not real lost”, it turned out it maybe wasn’t). I mentioned a desire for some taxidermy and arrived the next morning to find a mounted fox waiting for me at one end of our grandma’s driveway and a good story at the other end. Everyone got a kick out of it. It was a lovely visit and I’m glad for it. We took the ferry to Ludington to get there and to get back we decided to drive around through the UP. The grates on the bridge always give me the heebs but being close to the edge is worse. There was snow on the way home. Winter isn’t here yet, but it’s given us warning.

I deactivated social media for a bit this month while working on a project that needed my full attention. Within minutes of signing back on, I noticed this feeling creep over me that I hadn’t even known was gone until it returned. And it felt…icky. I feel like such a drama queen but the more I take these breaks, the more I realize I’m the happiest when I’m not following along on instagram or facebook. I’m not quite ready to deactivate again, but I’ve been thinking about it.

I’m working on a sock. I think I might be able to knit this one (and hopefully it’s mate) without giving up. While knitting, I’ve been watching Younger or Parks and Recreation. I’m not watching much, but I’m finding I like it lighthearted and not too real. Days where I’m happiest, thought, I avoid it completely.

I’ve read two books. One, by Kate Morton, titled “The Clockmaker’s Daughter” is the perfect not-scary ghost story for October. The other, “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi, is sad and beautiful and full.

And that’s me. It’s late October. I can feel myself cozying up. Pajamas get put on early because the sky is dark early. Soups and chilis and hearty comfort foods make up the meal plans.

How are you? What are you thinking about? Working on? Reading, watching, cooking? I hope you are well.

Well, hello.

The mornings are early and only one of the four of us enjoys them. We shower, get dressed, eat breakfast. Make sure backpacks are loaded with homework, gym clothes, snacks. Violet leaves earliest of all of us. Her first class starts at 7:30, but she’s out the door most days by 7:00 (don’t get me started) because she likes to be there early.  Jesse and I drink coffee while Abram plays. We run down the day’s schedule events – practices, religious education, random checklists of household things and what’s for dinner. When he heads out for the day, Abram and I settle in to read a chapter or two. We’re almost finished reading “Hoot”. I know I’ve mentioned before I hate reading chapter books aloud. It’s slow and clunky and usually that makes me restless and irritable, but my nine year old doesn’t like reading chapter books at all (for the same reasons I don’t like reading them aloud) but he does like having someone read to him, so…here we are. We have two chapters remaining. I don’t know what we’ll read next. I drop him off at school. Run errands. Do a little “work”.

I recently finished “A Place for Us”. It was recommended by Sarah Jessica Parker on instagram. Her recommendation was backed up by the recommendation of a friend who I trust with those kind of recommendations. It may have been the best book I’ve read all year and I’ve read some good ones this year. It was a slow start. I fell asleep while reading the first few chapters but I kept at it and it was very worth it. I also finished “One of Us is Lying” which is a YA book that Violet picked up at the library and then decided was too grown up for her after the first chapter (it was). It was a good book. Predictable, but I stayed up until 1:30AM to prove that it was predictable and didn’t regret it.

I haven’t been knitting or watching much. Occasionally, I sit down to an episode or two of Parks and Recreation. Sometimes, The West Wing. I never watched either of them when they were on, but I enjoy them.  I’ve knit two socks almost to completion only to rip them out and now I’m just not feeling the knitting. I hope I’ll come back to it. I’m worried I’ve burnt out on it. I’ve worked a little on the Washington D.C. embroidery, but only here and there. Early mornings have lead to early bedtimes and early bedtimes haven’t been conducive to getting much crafting done. I always imagine I’ll do things during the day while the kids are school and I do…I do dishes, laundry, visit with friends, but I don’t seem to making time for the fun stuff.

I know I haven’t written since August. It’s been a pleasant blur of after school activities, friends, and family. I’m…happy. I’m angry and indignant and sad and scared too. My heart and head are big enough to hold all those things at once and learning that has lead to peace. And I’ve needed peace. I think we all could use peace.

It’s definitely October where we are and I don’t know if it’s the gray, rainy, cold, but I find myself doing a lot of metaphorical pruning and planting. I’ve done some of the literal variety as well. The trees are changing and the days feel so short. I pulled up my lamp out from the basement and bought myself a bottle of vitamin D. I’m ready for fires and blankets and sweaters and snuggles but getting out of bed is getting harder and while I believe in allowing yourself seasons, I also know that I want to send my kiddo off with a hug and smile even if she does leave the house at an ungodly hour (seriously, it’s not even fully daylight!!)

So that’s me. How about you? What have you been reading, watching, doing, thinking about lately?

Tuesday Things

 

Violet is at cross country. Abram has soccer this evening. I have dinner cooking in a slow cooker (and it smells so good). Yesterday, I confiscated their game system and tablets. It had to happen. My parents were here last night and a little this morning but after they left, V and A wandered around for awhile uncertain how to fill their time without the electric stimulation. They kept circling, but I kept myself busy with housework and stayed out of their way until they finally settled on some game with Lego and other bits and bobs and they played quite nicely. It’s been quite a lovely day.

In exactly one week, Violet will have her first day of middle school. Her classes start at the ungodly hour of 7:30 (I don’t understand WHY when kids natural clocks are shifting to later bed and wake times we move the start times of their school UP, but say that too loud and you’ll get a bunch of bitter crankpant parents saying “In our day…” so I’m not saying that. But I do think it’s ridiculous that we make life harder for EVERYONE.) Anyway off my soapbox, Abram will start the following day so I’m trying to get us all settled into a school schedule. It’s going smashing…I was up just in time for Violet’s first class. I’ll get there.

Jesse and I celebrated 16 years of marriage on Friday. Small tokens and an overnight escape to the cabin with just the two of us and then the long leisurely road back home again. I have always loved car time when it’s just us – we chat and laugh and take turns turning up the radio for favorite songs. Conversations jump all over and he knows what I mean when I say  “Did you remember the thing for the thing?” and answers, “Yes, I got the phone charger.” (Where do the words go? Why are they going? Will I ever get them back?) It’s not a landmark anniversary, but a good chance to slow down and appreciate what we have survived and built together.

It’s been so rainy and stormy the last few days. I’ve loved curling up and snuggling in. I’m ready for fall. I picked up a cookbook from the library yesterday and noticed that all the recipes I tagged were for cool weather comfort food. One in particular was a recipe for a potato chowder I can’t wait to have bubbling on the stove. Speaking of library, I gave up trying to read the John Green book. I couldn’t get past the second chapter.

I have worked a little embroidery and a (very) little knitting. The embroidery is at the stage where it feels as if I’m never ever going to finish. So many x’s. As for knitting, I’m hoping to have a pair of socks for each of my children and Jesse under the tree (though Violet’s feet are growing so fast it doesn’t even seem worth it) and I think that will be it for the homemade gifts this year.

I haven’t watched in the way of television, but did rent The Greatest Showman the other night. I’m going to blame interruptions (I watched it in three bursts with hours in between each burst) not connecting because everyone I know loves it – or at least loves the music.

And that’s me. How are things in your corner of the world? Reading, watching, or making anything you’d like to share?

Tuesday Things

Jesse had to go to Banff, Alberta for a few days last week. I’ve wanted to go for awhile so we decided to make a whirlwind family trip visit out of it. We flew in Wednesday, on Thursday the whole family had the opportunity to go to Lake Moraine and Lake Louise, and on Friday while Jesse was in all day meetings, the kids and I walked the Bow Falls trail into town, grabbed a shuttle, and headed out to Johnston Canyon for a short hike. On Saturday we were back on the plane headed home. Our lessons:

  1. People in Canada really are THAT nice. It was kind of unnerving but in a good way. Even my kiddos commented on it.
  2. It’s beautiful. Even with the smoke and haze from the wildfires, I couldn’t get over the beauty.
  3. We can’t wait to go again to see more and do more.

Books I’ve read:

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware – good, quick vacation read

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall – My mom told me to read this because she wanted to talk it over with someone. Two chapters in and I said I didn’t know if we should talk it over. Once I finished it, I called her to talk it over with her. I’m still on the fence.

Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture by Andy Cohen – I started following Andy Cohen’s instagram account awhile back and have since decided I just kind of love him. The best word for the things he shares is…mirth. Not always, but he just seems to have this enthusiasm and joy. So I picked this up from the library. I’ve been told I *NEED* to read the next one he’s written and I have it on order.

I’ve just started reading John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down. I’m having a hard time getting into it because the first chapter has me wanting to punch the narrator in the throat. John Green, why do your main characters always have to be so smug?

Stitching

I need to weave in the ends of some dishcloth amd am 42 stitches away from completion on a sock for Violet and just…eh. I started cross-stitching another city and I have the pattern for a third. I have a love/hate relationship with the tiny x’s.

Watching

I’ve watched the whole of Freaks and Geeks. I started it awhile back but it never really clicked. It was recommended to me again this summer and this time I really enjoyed it. Jesse and I tried Twin Peaks (the old one) because I guess it was all the rage when we were kids but we never watched it. We’re three episodes in. It’s weird.

Random thoughts:

I deactivated my Facebook (again) and Instagram accounts and I ordered the book “How to Break Up with Your Phone”. Our whole family has been having screen issues lately and it’s making us crankier and lazier and I’m over it.

I’m trying to listen to music while I stitch or putter around the house because I notice it helps with mood.

Someone made a comment the other day about fringe people – the bitter, cranky, fault finding people that don’t have friends so much as people who tolerate them simply because people are nice. Tips and tricks for not being a curmudgeon? Considering how bitter, cranky, and dark cloudy I’ve been feeling lately, I think I need to adopt some sort of happiness project immediately!!

So that’s all the news from my little corner of the internet! Time to go tackle organizing my office because it’s become the official drop it and shut the door spot this summer and that must be rectified!! Reading, watching, making, thinking about anything you want to share?

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