Tuesday Things

My goal for this week is to cull the children’s bookcase. Elmer and Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse haven’t been in demand for years and despite priding myself on my non-attachment to things, I’ve been postponing this job for over a year. We need the space. I’m sharing it here to help hold me accountable.

Schools in our area started this week. Violet’s middle school held three days of in person classes (she’s enrolled in their virtual option) and by the end of Friday we’d already received a notice that there had been a case resulting in a 14 day quarantine of close contacts. Abram’s school is still planning on playing football this fall (he’s also enrolled in a virtual option). I still sometimes catch myself thinking “maybe it’ll all just go away and things will be back to normal by October.”

The garden is a tangled mess. I still have a few things ripening and waiting to be harvested but most everything is winding down. I ordered some seed catalogs for this winter and we have plans for putting it in additional beds. I find myself daydreaming about buying some land south of town and having some egg chickens and meat chickens and a root cellar and a giant garden. If you had told 18 year old me (heck, 28 year old me) that at 42 my biggest dream would be 40 acres with a creek running through it, I would never have believed you. I’m amazed at all the ways I’ve changed, and all the ways I’ve stayed the same, as I’ve grown older.

Knitting: I’m still working on this scarf. After which I will be working on this scarf. I also need to cast on some socks to mix it up.

Reading: I’ve been in this horrible loop with the Jennifer Weiner book where I didn’t want to read it because I didn’t like it, but I didn’t want to move on because I worried that it might get better, but I couldn’t make myself actually pick it up to find out if would get better. I decided that I would re-read Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge and when I’ve finished that I can pick up a different “puff” book.

Watching: The Big Bang Theory and cheesy 90-00’s rom coms.

Making: an effort to get me out of this angry, bitter funk I’m in. I set screen limits and had Jesse set the passcode so I couldn’t just override it, started writing weekly intention lists in my bullet journal again (and checking them off). And with temperatures moving decisively into fall this week, I’m making a big pot of chili and this soup (with the kale I preserved earlier this summer).

I hope you are all doing well and staying healthy (and wearing your masks)! Let me know what you are -ing this week and any other news you care to share.

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  • I am in an angry, bitter funk too. I am so glad I am in good company.
    I have been reading my Universe book. I let the pages turn me and end up with Universal notes of goodness.
    I am tired of people not taking the virus seriously and my college daughter is one of them. But she is 20. I just have to breathe.
    My husband and I watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower for the first time the other night and I feel so stupid for never reading it NOR ever seeing it until now.
    I CRIED. It was like a gift. I felt like John Hughes would have loved that movie. It came out the year after he died.

    I love these posts. I am reading it on a rainy Tuesday morning while listening to a favorite Spotify playlist and it feels like you are right here with me in my kitchen. I love that.

    • I’m sorry you’re in an angry, bitter funk but it does help to know I’m not the only one who is going through it.

      I haven’t watched the movie, but I did read the book a long time ago and I really liked it. I don’t remember anything about it really so maybe I should spend some time watching the movie.

      And I’m so glad you feel that way. That’s how I feel when I read your posts. It makes me happy to have penpals.

  • Hi Kate,
    The tree socks are so lovely! Are you making a patchwork sock yarn blanket from your leftovers? (Is that what I see in the basket?) The yarn you’re using for the striped scarf looks so cozy—I love its halo. (I also love the lining fabric on that project bag…) And I’m wondering if there’s a story behind the photo of the aloe vera plant and the stuffed animal.

    My garden is definitely past its prime. As soon as my son heads to school I’ll get the kale harvested and processed. We also want to expand our veggie garden and had hoped to do that this fall, but I’ve heard there’s a shortage of lumber because so many people have undertaken home/yard improvement projects this summer.

    I never did watch more than an episode or two of the Big Bang Theory. Is this an ok series to watch with kids? My son and I are cruising through Star Trek Enterprise, which we’re loving—some episodes have made us howl with laughter and some are incredibly thought provoking—and both of us are thinking it might be our favourite of all the Star Treks. (Related: I was so desperate for escape the other night that I watched the first two episodes of Friends.)

    This past weekend we drove our older son back to Toronto (he had been home with us for a couple of weeks) and we also went to Waterloo to visit our daughter and her boyfriend. I spent yesterday re-painting my younger son’s room, and today he and I moved the furniture back in, but in a new arrangement. (He’s really pleased, and I am too.) September always makes me want to do a massive fall cleaning of the entire house, and it feels so good to have this project done.

    I hope your screen limits and your weekly intention lists make a dent in your angry, bitter funk. (Getting stuff done has always been my number one method of self-care.)

    I hope you have a good week, Kate.

    • I appreciate you asking for the stories behind my photos. That stuffed animal is Abram’s lovey and I hadn’t recently seen it “in the wild”. It caught me by surprise so I wanted to take a picture.

      That is the very (baby) beginnings of a sock yarn blanket that I started awhile ago. It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything with it and it’ll probably have to wait until after Christmas, but it feels like one of those projects I can work on year after year.

      BBT has a lot of sex references. I watch it with my kids but I don’t think my parents would have watched it with me. I’m later in the series and I don’t find myself liking it as much. I may have to see if I can find Enterprise. I definitely need something. (I’m kind of surprised to hear that you were streaming Friends! Did you like it?)

      A freshly painted room and a fall clean sounds lovely! I get the itch this time of year too because I usually have my kids back in school so I have the time to do it, but this year my time is mostly going to be making sure they stay on task with their school work. I’m kind of questioning my decision to let them do virtual.

      Checklists and decreased screen time are proven methods of increasing my happiness. I had a lot of really good for me habits that have fallen off this year and I need to get back into the swing of things.

      I hope you have a really good week too, Marian. It’s always nice to hear from you and what you have been up to.

      • From the sounds of it (kids in V’s school already needing to quarantine), you made the right decision to have your kids do virtual learning. I have the feeling that this was a decision that most parents agonized over (I know we did), and once the decision was made, most parents probably immediately began second guessing (I know I am). FWIW, I’m mentally preparing myself for my son to go to school for a few days and then to have it all shut down again 🙁 . (So on those first days of school I will be checking things off my cleaning list like mad. My son is 15 and I don’t have to do anything to keep him on task, but I often find it harder to get things done when I’m not alone in the house.)

        My husband and I actually watched Friends in real time, right from when it began in 1994. I’m pretty sure we caught most episodes from all ten seasons, and we loved it. (I’ve heard it’s not weathered well—I think that’s why I’ve been hesitant to re-watch it on Netflix.)

        September is the perfect time to get back in the swing of things, so I hope you manage to find some time to get some things ticked off your list despite having your kids at home.

        • I can verify that Friends did not weather well. I didn’t watch it much when it was on. (Didn’t watch much of anything from early 90’s-mid 10’s—teaching and kids.) Tried to watch the first episode a while back and too many jokes that just aren’t funny today because they’re offensive.

          • I’d be surprised if there were *any* sit-coms from that era that would be acceptable today. Part of what I loved about Friends (at the time) was the friendship that existed between the six main characters as well as the often-sarcastic kibitzing that they engaged in. (I remember being personally offended by some of the content even back then, but I still watched.) My husband and I didn’t watch much TV either (I did shift work before kids, so I wasn’t home a lot of evenings), but when we could catch Friends or Mad About You or Star Trek, it felt like a date night. These particular shows also had an otherworldliness about them, which I liked. Star Trek is obviously otherworldly, but to Canadians living how/where we did, the characters on Friends might as well have been living on another planet. (This is also why I watched Suits—it’s helpful/interesting to me to understand how people live.)

            I would love to be able to get back to the deliberateness of how we watched TV back then. Up until three summers ago, the TV would rarely get turned on during the week, but then something happened that caused a really painful over-thinking loop in my anxious/OCD brain, and TV became one of the few things that gave me an escape from that. (The pandemic and Trump’s constant sabre-rattling isn’t helping me break this habit.)

          • Marian – I never watched television like that. I could never get into it. The only time in my life was in college a group of girlfriends would meet up at this one house and watch 90210 and Party if Five together. We’d take turns on app, main course, dessert. I mostly went because I loved the ritual. So I can see how you’d like it as “date night”. But I hate how easy it is to just stream. I wasn’t ever a TV watcher until I broke my foot. ?

        • I agree that there was a lot of agony and indecision and self doubt in the decision making process. I know we made the right decision for us, but even with that, we could all could use a break from one another. (As I was typing this sentence, I asked one of my children to practice their inner monologue, so…)

          As for getting things ticked off my list, I haven’t yet gotten a shower and missed my virtual yoga class because I spent the morning tech trouble shooting for my children.

          I hope your son can enjoy a full year of in person school. I’m quite certain we won’t have that here because rugged American individualism is stupid.

          Sorry if I’m a little grumbly. 😉

        • I loved Mad About You. Also didn’t get to watch it very regularly, but it was one I tried to catch. I’ve also watched a fair bit of Suits with my daughter. TV is definitely a coping mechanism when my brain is stuck in loops. I wish I could find more now that I like watching.

  • Elmer! Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse! I love those guys. My daughter and I were talking just this past weekend about what happened to all the picture books we once had. I had a wonderful, gorgeous collection. I loved the books as much as they did. I also hung onto them too long (because what I wanted to hang onto were the years in which we read stories together before bed). For awhile I told myself I was saving them for grandchildren, but then I realized they were going to be yellowed and dated by the time I had any (and no guarantees on that) and that it would be better for them to be read and loved by other kids while they were still lovable. I kept only our very favorite favorites (a small box worth) and let the rest go. I haven’t missed them.

    I would love to know what your seed catalogs are and how you got them. I tasted (literally ) enough success from growing this year that I am feeling more motivated than I ever have to grow more. I’m also thinking that the spring tasks might be more manageable this year. (Hope I didn’t just jinx the world into some new catastrophe with that sentence.)

    I’d also love to know which 90-00 shows you’re watching. I need some new TV bad. Oh, I think BBT is pretty grownup. In a juvenile way, if that makes sense.

    I’m sorry you are in a bitter, angry funk. So understandable. I don’t know why mine has lifted. It was here all summer and fairly ruined it. Nothing has changed; world is still going to hell in all the same ways it was. I think I reached some critical tipping point and went over it. I also cut way back on social media, so I endorse your screen limits.

    Take care. I, too, love these posts.

    • OOOOOOH, Rita, I’m so excited for that!! Thank you for sharing.

      I’m really glad your funk has lifted. I went through a bit where I was doing really well, but that last month, the last two weeks especially, have been really hard. And it’s kind of become a loop. Once we get school moving and underway and I have some space to breath, I think I’ll do better. (Violet’s schedule still isn’t finalized and there’s been a whole lot of frustration with that.)

      As for seeds for next year I ordered catalogs from Burpee, Seed Saver Exchange, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, and I bookmarked Renee’s Garden Seeds (their catalog is all online). I’m sure that is way more choice than I need, but I’m excited to look.

      Finally, on the giving away of children’s books, that has been my issue too. I have so many happy memories of books and my kids at that age. One of my favorite pictures is of them, in their beanbags at our old house, each with a stack of books “reading”.

      Hope you’re having a good week, Rita!!

      • Thanks for pointing me to seeds. I will pursue those leads, for sure. And I really understand the funk. Probably in a new way, after watching my daughter try to support two families with young children this past week. It is really hard, what all of them are going through. I’m sure the nature of the challenges are different for kids at different ages (she’s supporting kinders), but I think the degree of challenge is huge no matter the age. If it’s any comfort, I think that no matter what model schools are using, there are tremendous costs. I don’t think there was a good choice to make. (Remembering Little Fires Everywhere right now, and that line about choices.)

        I am pulling for all of you from afar. It hasn’t been the greatest of weeks, but it could certainly have been far worse. Hope yours had some high points.

        • I’m sure it’s hard no matter the age, but you couldn’t pay me to do virtual learning with kinder or first. I’m sure your daughter is such a blessing to those children’s grown ups!

  • Hi Kate! I too adore the green socks. You knit beautifully!! And I also was curious about the critter curled up to the plant. Those special surprises we get in moments that just tickles our hearts. I probably would have taken a phone photo too. Your story reminds me of when I was setting up 3 places for Yorkie in the new old house so she would find comfort to adapt. I placed most of her stuffed buddies and fetch balls in the large room that was originally the back patio which had been converted into an additional large room creating a circular path from on room to another. I don’t know what the convention intent was, but I added washer/dryer hook ups and storage drawer space with a sitting bench and side tables and use that 20” as a runway for Yorkie to play fetch inside.
    And I put her favorite rubber duck in another room so she could snuggle it while I was watching TV. Much to my surprise, Yorkie drug rubber duck all the way into the large room with all her other stuffed critters! We probably had some of those same sweet feelings.

    As for as culling of your children’s books, I do understand those attachments feelings of the children are growing out of these and yet not wants to let go of their precious innocence of life shared moments of reading books together out loud as we are children learning to read and all! Although I do not have children myself, I was once a child and hold those memories. Perhaps your children will too!

    When I was searching for a property to buy for my last year’s of life home, I came across three of those very cute “Little Free Libraries” mentioned in your previous post link on cull your books. All three were put up and maintained by some sort of foundation that I cannot recall. It said “Take a book & Leave a book”. Most books were children’s books. Last month I noticed on the street next over parallel to my home, those owner’s built something similar that was attached to a cute sitting bench at the curb side. I have been thinking of where I want to set up something fun as a book share, not only for children, but for all ages. Perhaps a goal for next spring as we do have lots of all ages of people who like to routinely walk out quaint street. Fun project for the future.

    I’m not one who enjoys reading the same book twice, so my culling method has been to give a book that I’ve read to an acquaintance who also loves to read asking for nothing in return. Seeing their happiness that someone thought of them was a gift for me. It’s my pleasure to give the right book to the matchup person as I have never been one to store books.

    As for as my in-person meetings, the one on Thursday and Friday, and then the next one on Saturday had my anxieties going wild. I had hoped that Sunday rest would recharge me. The Monday and Tuesday mornings in-person meetings both went well and no anxiety flare. But the Tuesday afternoon over the phone meeting with the follow up of the Thursday and Friday person which was not going well, as anxiety attack started, and I had to eventually say that I had to get off the phone. By the end of Tuesday I was a wreck!! I decided that if at this point that I was so ill with anxiety from this business that I was trying to accomplish that I must be on the wrong path for my own health. So I sent a text stating to cancel all of the business that I was trying to set up with that company. This morning I felt relief that I canceled. Sometimes our anxiety can help us with our body alarm to keep us out of making a major mistake or away from danger.

    I just had a follow up phone call from the Tuesday business meeting and my anxiety is still fine with them.

    Your school room setup is very nicely done. If I had children, I would have chosen the home virtual. We too here are having huge issues with the school situation like you are experiencing. 150 teachers walked off the job last Monday when they were told that they had to go back to work at the schools. Which has left our children with not enough teachers. Isn’t it a mess! I feel you all too, pen pals!!

    And it’s only Wednesday!!!

    • Hi TD,

      It’s good to hear from you, too! Thank you for the compliment on the school room. It’s been a crazy roller coaster this week, but today has gone well so far so I’m grateful for that.

      Good for you listening to your body. I agree that there are lot of times it knows what to do when we don’t!

      • “…we could all could use a break from one another. (As I was typing this sentence, I asked one of my children to practice their inner monologue, so…)”? I just read your reply to Marian which had me laughing! Do your children know what is their inner dialogue? I am going to steal that from you when Yorkie gets too slappy happy yappy!!
        It’s Thankful Thursday here according to our local news station.