‘Tis the Season

The last 10 days have been nonstop. We don’t have a single thing on the calendar this weekend – not a party, or program, or practice – and I can’t wait to kick off Christmas vacation. I just have to power through this week and then I’m going to tackle that stack of library books, bake cookies, and play with my kids. 

I’m making more of an effort to pick up my camera. Big and little. I fell out of the habit, but I’m trying to change that. I want to keep capturing the little snippets. They’re reminders of warm fuzzies and adventures and simple daily joys. 

I’ve been doing a bit of reading. The one book I unabashedly recommend is “The Death and Life of the Great Lakes”. As a girl who has grown up on either side of Lake Michigan, and one who goes “home” to play in the sand and swim in the waters every year, this was a sad and hopeful read. I highly recommend it. Not just for those, like me, who have a personal love and connection to the lakes, but for anyone who thinks freshwater is important. (So that should be everyone.)

I’m almost finished with the second pair of socks. I didn’t have any time to knit on them last week and I’ll need to dedicate at least a couple of hours this week. They’ll be done in time but I won’t have a chance to get to Jesse’s. It’s a happy accident; this month’s yarn club was just delivered yesterday and it’s the most beautiful brown. They’ll make a gorgeous pair of socks so I’ll wrap up the yarn with a promise that they’ll be the first pair finished in 2019. 

My Facebook and Instagram hiatus has been so good for my soul. I’m torn on returning to instagram (pretty pictures!!) but I’m pretty sure it will be awhile before I return to Facebook. It’s so much NOISE. I think humanity would be better off if we’d all just log off, spend a little more time chatting with our neighbors in REAL LIFE about the things that matter to us and why they matter to us. As my grandma says, maybe we’re not supposed to know about all the hurt going on in the whole wide world and instead fix what we can in our corner of it. It might be oversimplified wisdom for a knotty issue, but being someone that cries over people I don’t know and desires to fix things beyond my ability to fix, it’s wisdom I need.

On a less serious note, if you’re someone who likes Sudoku (or puzzles of any sort) or if you need a last minute Christmas present for someone who fits that description, the game above is called Colorku and I love it. It’s pretty enough that we have it left out on the coffee table though sometimes Violet likes to be sneaky when I leave it unattended and she moves the balls around so I can’t solve it!! 

Finally, that picture of Abram in front of the microphone? It might be one of my favorites from all year. (This is where I skip the humble and straight up brag.) If you know my shy boy, you know standing in front of a church full of grown ups and singing is…something. But oh did he ever want that solo! And when the time came, he got up there and his voice was clear and calm and so sweet. I cried. I mean, of course, I did. And those chicklet teeth. They just kill me. 

I think it’s probably unrealistic to expect I’ll be back before the new year, so I wish you all very happy holiday season. I hope you’ll drop me a line a let me know what you are up to these days – reading, thinking, watching, cooking. And whatever your -ing happens to be, I hope the long nights and dark days are filled with love, hope, mercy, and peace. 

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  • Love seeing all your photos and hearing your December news, Kate. Abram did a solo! That’s fantastic — what a great confidence-boosting thing for a shy boy to have under his belt.

    The Death and Life of the Great Lakes 🙂 . I bought that for my daughter’s BD in August and she loved it, and said I have to read it too. She’s lived on three great lakes (two for me) and feels so deeply about them she’s doing her Masters in that area (freshwater fish and the health of their eco-systems).

    Love the sock yarn, and good job on getting so much knitting done! I’m ready to cast off sleeve #1. I also just finished a small HP sweater ornament for my older son’s GF for Christmas. And I got a lot of knitting done on a sock a couple of weeks ago when I had to sit around for a long time. In public — I love all the questions kids ask when they see me knitting 🙂 .

    I laughed at Violet moving the Colorku pieces around so you can’t solve it! I like doing KenKen puzzles and my 13-yr-old will sometimes place numbers in the boxes…it’s a good thing his writing is different than mine and I can spot them and erase…

    I think your grandma is both right and wrong. We should take better care of each other — our neighbours and family — and that means really being there for them, in a way we can’t seem to do when we’re all glued to our screens. And I agree that we can’t let ourselves sink in despair over the state of things and people halfway around the world, because despair and overwhelm aren’t useful to anyone. But I do think we have to be aware of what’s going on in the world at large. When I was a kid, I believed there was a place called Away, where our garbage went. Up until last year, I believed recycling was a good thing to do. Focusing only on our corner of the world allows us to ignore what our actions do to other parts of the world. This was a luxury that the older generations got to have, and the more they cling to this the worse off our kids will be. Sorry — I’m probably coming off as tetchy. It’s the season. And the pressure. And the consumerism. I will leave it there, as I’ve probably already said too much…

    I wish you love, hope, mercy, and peace, too, Kate. And may 2019 be kind to us all.
    xo Marian

    • Hi, Marian! I think I fixed the tech issue!!

      Thank you so much for your kind words. Not tetchy; I knew there would be a certain level of pushback to that comment and correctly so. We definitely need to consider the impacts of our behavior – not just locally, but globally. I don’t think it’s either/or. I *do* think if more people got off their technology (which let’s be honest is a perfect storm of consumption/labor/environmental issues) and spent the same amount of time with their sleeves rolled up doing something about the causes they care about and connecting with actual PEOPLE – the whole world would be a much better place. Again, it’s not a perfect solution and there is a great deal of irony to me to writing this while sitting at a keyboard typing to someone I’ve only ever met via screen. Knotty, right? I’ve just been thinking it might be time for the local movement to mean more than CSA and downtown shops. My generation (forgotten tired generation x) does NOT physically/literally connect with neighbors, friends, family as often as generations past and I think it’s part of the problem we see with entrenchment. And entrenchment is making it hard to come to compromise and solutions. As I said, I think her advice is oversimplified for a knotty issue, but I think there is value/wisdom in it. I appreciate talking it through with you.

    • I spent most of yesterday feeling like *my* response was tetchy. I’m sorry. I’m seeing a real need for connection and simple acts of kindness and this time of year just amplifies it because…the consumerism. I wouldn’t classify as a minimalist, because some times too much makes me happy (this time of year I can’t get enough of candles and twinkle lights) but STUFF for STUFF sake makes me want to rip out my hair and all these people running around grabbing and crabbing makes my energy tilt in a very bad way, so I truly am sorry if I came across as a world class bitch.

      • You didn’t for a second come off as a world class bitch, Kate. I’m also Gen X, and I see the same thing — my husband and I don’t really connect with other people the way my parents and his parents did. (They were ALWAYS socializing; we’ve “entertained” twice in 8 years.) (This could also be an introvert thing — he and I are both INFJs.) I completely agree with what you said about the need to get away from our computers and roll up our sleeves and get out there and make a difference in a concrete way, rather than just a writerly or distant-connection way, although I think those two things are important as well. Someone on the internet (haha) says you can have 2 of 3 things: work, family, or friends. Having all three is difficult because you’re stretched too far. I know I *need* to find a volunteer outlet to replace the library, one that gives me a sense of meaningful purpose as well as that small hit of in-person human connectivity I’m missing, but I know if I do that in a meaningful way, I’ll need to give up something elsewhere. We simply can’t do everything we want to do 🙁 .

        Merry Christmas, Kate!

        • Thank you for your kind words. Your comments on work, family, friends are apropos. Jesse and I were just talking about what we are hoping to accomplish and what we want life to look/feel like in 2019. You’re absolutely right – we have to pick our priorities.

          I hope you do have the chance to find something like the library and that it fills your bucket.

  • Gosh dang it! I wrote a for-real reply, and then I didn’t fill in all the fields on the comment form and now it’s gone. I hate it when that happens.

    The most important part was: This post (the part about Abram) brought tears to my eyes, which makes me also a person who cries over other people. And even though social media can be a soul-sucker and I agree that we need deeper connection with our in-real-life folks, I’m so grateful to have found another person who cries over people through the interwebs.

    I’m wishing you a wonderful holiday and sending my hopes that we all have a year with more peace than the last one gave us.

    • I’m having all kinds of issues with comments not showing up. I thought I had it fixed, but I’ll have to keep digging because that may have been part of the problem.

      And YES to being so glad I found interweb friends to talk with and cry with. I love our blogs – somehow that seems less like social media to me – and look forward to opening a letter from a friend every time I see a new one.

      Happy everything, Rita. XOXO.

      • I’m sorry I’ve been such an intermittent and poor correspondent the past few months. I know I still owe you some book recommendations, among other things. Happy everything right back to you.

        I don’t think the comment issue was yours. I just forgot to fill in the little boxes. It was all on me.

  • I am so far behind reading any blogs. Your photos are beautiful and I love the note on Wolfy. Difficult to believe that Christmas is behind us already and that we’re into January. Happy New Year, Kate!