Tuesday Things

Thunder is rumbling. Trees are budding out. Over the weekend we started to get our garden beds ready and talked about when and how we are going to plant. We added two grow bags instead of the three additional beds we had talked of adding. This summer is already shaping up to be busier. Violet is taking her first two high school classes, and Abram has some sport camps.

Abram has started soccer and track. I think you have to be a special kind of person to enjoy watching a track meet. Especially if your kid is one or two event kid. I love a track meet. My mom keeps telling me to take pictures but every time he comes around the track (he runs the mile mostly), I forget my phone/camera and can only cheer him on and marvel at how he just keeps his pace. I hope to remember before the end of the season.

This month, I did my first full grocery run (we’ve been using pick up or delivery with the occasional quick run in for a thing or two) in over a year. And my second. Ran into an acquaintance at Target. I’m out of small talk practice and it feels strange. I’m ready for hugs and long conversations over brunch, but not ready to give up the smaller circle and quiet. I doubt I’ll ever get back into the habit of wearing makeup or underwire bras again. Everything feels a little surreal. Talked with some friends and agreed that languishing is a good word. We’ve lived through that. Are still living through it. Rita talked about the all of it all much more eloquently so I’m going to point you in that direction and mostly just share my things.

Watching: I started watching The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. I read the book ages ago and knew it might not be the best choice for my mental health, but I wanted something dark and harsh. Lately, I find light hearted, cotton candy escapism grating. I don’t know how else to say it. I know I’ll crave it again (for example, I am beyond excited by the second season of Ted Lasso), but for now, I’m 100% invested in this horrible twisted show. Every episode has made me uncomfortable, a few have made me cry, and for all the terror and discomfort, the thread that makes it a dystopian fantasy is so thin. I can’t seem to turn away. (It makes me think about a conversation about the age appropriateness of The Hunger Games. One of my friends said that what made many adults feel like the appropriate age limit was higher was us thinking “This could actually happen” where as younger kids read it as complete fiction.). On the positive side, I can only grab episodes occasionally as my kids’ bedtimes move later and mine move earlier and it is very much a mature audience show. In family television viewing, Violet and I have been watching episodes of the most recent America’s Next Top Model will hopefully watch the last episode yet this week. Abram and Violet have also introduced me to Gravity Falls which, in my opinion, is golden.

Reading: I finished Boys and Sex by Peggy Orenstein (hard but important), The Gambler (the third in the Wedding Pact series I’ve mentioned). A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum (so good that I cried in multiple places and wish I had a book club to discuss it), The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins (unserious good). I’m currently reading The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow and am still listening to The Promised Land by Obama. (It was definitely a bang for your buck buy at almost 30 hours). Creating the family reading time has been so good for me getting back into the reading swing of things. (Though since track and soccer have started it’s not every night as much as it used to be!)

Knitting: I finished a pair of socks for Abram. And died a little inside when I realized I was using the same sock blockers for his as I do for mine. Now I’m knitting on a pair for me (the yarn is Safety Dance from one of my favorite dyers) and then I promised a friend of Jesse’s a pair. I keep telling myself I’m going to do some knitting that isn’t socks this year but I haven’t exactly figured out when as soon I’ll be heading into Christmas sock time.

Making: I’ve finally started Chicago. It about a year each to finish NYC and Washington D.C. Maybe I can speed that up a little bit this time around. (I keep thinking of Marian saying “A thread a night” and I’m trying to do at least a thread every couple.) Our new favorite dinner. I also tried adding chicken feet to my usual chicken stock routine and you guys, I hate that’s it’s true, but it’s absolutely true. If you make homemade stock, you need to find a place where you can get them. (I get mine from a local farmer pre-peeled because I don’t want to deal with dirty chicken feet. I have a line.)

So that’s me as we head into May. (Kinda hard to believe that April is over this week!) What’s new with you? What are your -ings?

Tuesday Things

In giving up social media, I accidentally stepped away from here. I love this little online journal, and the friends I’ve met here, but I’ve also been happier and healthier this month. I don’t know what that means, but I’ve gotten in the habit of not holding anything too tightly (opinions, people, plans…and now, blog writing).

I started monthly injections for out of control swelling episodes and haven’t had one since the end of February (and yes, I just knocked on wood). I celebrated my first full year of being a non-smoker (that, and getting to watch my niece play her senior year basketball season live from the opposite side of the state are my two favorite COVID-19 takeaways). I got vaccinated (my second dose was last week) and braces (also for a second time last week – which I use to remind Violet about retainer wearing endlessly). We joined the Peloton bandwagon as a Christmas present to each other (it was late) and I’m addicted. I also started meditating and am addicted to that too. (It still feels very woo that sitting and breathing for 10-20 minutes a day can change so much, but it’s woo that works.)

My dining room is beginning to resemble the pre-2020 days and will give up remaining school room responsibilities in June. I have missed the early pandemic dining room puzzle, so those may come back. Violet’s taking gym and health requirements over the summer (in person) at which time, I become the mother of a high schooler. It doesn’t seem terribly long ago that I was in high school (but it was) and I’m flummoxed at how rapidly my independent spit-fire toddler turned into such an amazing, independent spit-fire teenager. I’m both incredibly happy and a bit of a mess about it. Abram starts track in a couple of weeks and we’ve had such a glorious spring, I can’t wait to go to some meets. I’ve said this at almost every stage, and every time it’s absolutely true, but this is my very favorite stage. I am trying to soak up every single minute.

Since it’s not a Tuesday post without things, here they are:

Reading: Obama’s The Promised Land on Audible. I have the hard copy too but there is something really wonderful about being read to by Barack Obama and at over 28 hours long, it’s an economy use for a credit. I’ve missed his voice. I’ve missed him. The man is cool. In actual reading, I’m about halfway through Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. I’ve also read Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown, The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah, and The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner (I liked this one in theory more than execution). I couldn’t finish my BOTM pick, The Removed by Brandon Hobson, which has more to do with what my brain is capable of reading right now and less to do the book itself.

Listening to: I look forward to the newest episode of this podcast every Monday. It’s fascinating history. Kids Trap on Spotify (kind of as a joke). My kids especially love when I break out I Love My Mom and You Have a Brain. I also have been using the Stardew Valley playlist as background music when I need to get stuff done because Stardew Valley is sweet and I want to live there. (It’s a video game because yes, I’m almost 43.)

Watching: I’ve been rewatching Sex in the City and it’s really interesting how much my relationship opinions have changed since I first started watching. Friday Family Movie nights have involved Marvel super hero movies. Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1 and 2 (I loved these so much).

Knitting: I finished Abram’s socks but need to get them blocked and have started another pair. I still have a list of projects I want to tackle.

Making: I ordered and made a few pillowcase kits. With the possibility of travel, I thought it might be nice to have some traveling pillows which means fun pillowcases. I’m not a terrific sewer, so the trim doesn’t always line up perfectly, but I do like them. I need to get started on my Chicago cross stitch. It’ll take me all of 20 minutes to get my Aida cloth measured and cut and get started, but that first bit is always so fiddly that I keep putting it off.

That’s me. Hope this finds you happy and well. What -ings would you like to share?

Tuesday Things

February has been a month of growth. This is what I say when I don’t want to talk about how astronomically difficult this month has been personally – when I decide that Texas and coronavirus and crazy people (even if you just pick one of those) is enough. To my therapist, who I see through a screen, I say “can I just sit here and cry for awhile? It’s all just too much.” To myself I say, “I can’t get through this. I can’t. And yet, there is nothing left but to do it.” I’ve gone so far as to write “nothing left but to do it” on my mirror. The list of what sits atop (and is buckling) my plate isn’t necessary. We all have our plates. I will get through until eventually (hopefully when I’m a spry 93) I don’t.

Lest you think it’s all doom and gloom over here, it isn’t. We have reading snuggle piles (though they’re cozier with full sized and almost full sized human children) and laughs. We play games like Proof where I am trounced and Boggle where I trounce (though Abram is starting to give me a run for my money) and Connect Four which can be anybody’s game. I am exhausted and broken and comfortable and content. It’s the way of things. Speaking of things, here are mine:

Reading: I have READ the last few weeks. I’m not saying what I’ve read is award winning or brain turning. I finished All American Boys. This Close to Okay (BOTM pick – kinda had a squeamy that’s not quite right feel to me). Oona Out of Order (Rita, I think I heard about this from you?) which I thought it was a cute read. One to Watch, which I very much loved. The Substitute (part of a .99 pack on Amazon for people like me who don’t have kindle unlimited) was the best davenport read I’ve read in years. (Davenport reads are the not-too-racy-but definitely-romance type reads I would read on my grandma’s “davenport” while eating ice cream sandwiches when I was young. As a response to all of this 2020-2021 crap bag, I’ve been craving those books and that time.) Before We Were Yours (good, sad, sadder knowing it’s based in actual history) and The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis. Now I’m reading The Player which is the second book in the .99 pack.

Watching: Old movies like Big and The Sister Act with the family on Friday nights. Brooklyn Nine-Nine with Violet. Star Trek – TNG with Abram. One night when everyone went to bed early, I watched I Care A Lot. on Netflix which was dark, funny, twisted, suspenseful. Everyone was horrid and yet I found myself rooting for all of them. I need some recommendations.

Knitting: Working on a pair of socks for Abram. Sent out some hearts for Valentine’s Day. Reading limits the amount of time I have to be knitting.

So that’s me. What you -ing? Hope this finds you all safe and healthy.

Tuesday Things

Our January had some really good stuff. And a whole lot of not good stuff. Now it’s February. Praise be.

Also, Sticker charts are good if you’re three, 13, or 43.

On to things:

Knitting: Hearts. They are the fiddliest things I’ve ever knit and drive me bonkers, but they’re also addictive. I also have a pair of socks on the needles for Abram.

Reading: In the process of trying to entice a child into more reading, I’ve been setting an (almost) every night tradition where we set a timer and all curl up together to read our own books for 30 minutes. Those forced 30 minutes have been a gateway to me picking up books again. I’ve managed to finish The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls, and The Heir Affair. I’m currently reading All American Boys.

Watching: Somebody Feed Phil on Netflix. I’m doling episodes one per day and finding them absolutely charming. I signed up for Showtime to catch up on Billions after the kids go to bed. It is not charming. I used to like the characters (even if they were horrid) but now I like exactly one and am not feeling the show either. (I’ve already scheduled the cancellation.) Violet and I have also been watching episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine which makes us laugh.

So that’s me. What are you watching, reading, working on, looking forward to?

Also: I have so many links to share. I’m putting this here to hold me accountable for a Friday Finds post this week.