Tuesday Things

I turned 44. We saw Moulin Rouge to celebrate. It felt so good to be at a live performance. Abram turned 13. V started driver’s ed (the classroom portion. They have to wait until they’re 15 to get the actual permit.) I went to Michigan not once but twice and will write more about that on a day that isn’t today. I’ve gardened and painted by number and done laundry and jumped in the lake for our Memorial Day tradition (it was cold). The bathroom remodel was pushed back yet again. I’ve been a horrible friend and a merely passable mother/wife. I have dishes on the counter, clothes piled high to be put away, and the coffee table is a mess of dirty socks, water glasses, nail polish, books, and knitting. But I’m sitting here and writing to you because I want to remember these days that wash away faster than my childhood drippy sandcastles. Let’s talk things.

Knitting: I’ve added a few more squares to my blanket. Finished a pair of socks. Started another. I have five dishcloths that need to have their ends woven in.

Watching: Hacks (HBO), The Janes (HBO) Somebody Feed Phil (Netflix), RHOBH (purchased a season pass), Yellowstone (purchased), Ozark (Netflix, with Jesse). The Janes is definitely worth a watch. Hacks is worth watching if you don’t have anything else. Somebody Feed Phil is one of those shows that I dole out like candy when I need something dear and sweet. RHOBH is cotton candy. Yellowstone was introduced to me by my father who only watches Westerns. (The only difference between Gunsmoke and Days of Our Lives is the target audience but don’t tell him that.) I watched the first season of Ozark (and the second, but I didn’t remember most of that one) but started watching again with Jesse. We’re just about to the third season. It’s rare when I find something he’ll sit and watch and I cherish it.

Listening to: Harry’s House (Harry Styles), Dance Fever (Florence + the Machine). On repeat. The Moulin Rouge Broadway soundtrack. The stage show was amazing.

Reading: Start Without Me by Gary Janetti, and The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley. The Kindest Lie by Nancy Johnson is what I’m currently reading.

Making: I managed to finish my Chicago cross stitch. I need to have all three framed and now I’m looking for a new project. I also have really been enjoying painting by number – finished a more simple kit and am working on my second Van-Gogh-esque one.

So that’s me. What are you -ing in your corner of the world?

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  • Kate! I LOVE that photo of you. You look so healthy and just…good. If that requires a messy house, so be it. I have found that energy I used to have for house renovation/projects/arranging has dissipated. There’s some definite funkiness in pretty much every room, but everything is functioning well enough and I feel good in all of them and I’d rather sit and have a long conversation with one of my people (because, as you note: fleeting) than do just about anything else.

    Thank you for letting me know there’s a new Lucy Foley out; I’ve listened to The Hunting Party (OKish) and The Guest List (better). I haven’t been reading much of anything, but I’ve been listening. Just started Olga Dies Dreaming (Xochitl Gonzalez) and really liking it. Just finished Sea of Tranquility (Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven) and I loved it. I don’t know why I’ve become such an audiobook consumer and can’t seem to get myself through much of anything in print, but I’ve stopped fighting that.

    Wish I could find something good to watch! My daughter, Cane, and I all enjoyed the first part of Stranger Things’s new season–a miracle to find something the three of us like. I was interested in Yellowstone, but not willing to pay for it as I’m so often disappointed by things that seemingly everyone (else) likes. Tried Irma Vep this week (pass, didn’t like the main character). Have been having better luck with movies. Watched King Richard this weekend, which was interesting. Weird to have the 90s starting to feel so long ago. Recently watched Road to Perdition (2002), which I’d never seen and was surprised to like. NYT puts out a weekly list of best movies on the main streaming channels, and I’ve been having some luck with finding things through those.

    Now that school is out, I’m looking forward to (even more) gardening, some visiting (family), and a bunch of organizing. Our shed and garage are both a disaster. We’re also planning projects that are mostly about maintaining and preserving–a fence repair, deck re-finishing, exterior painting. This all feels good, and I’m glad to have time to do it. But mostly, I am focused on enjoying this gift of time with both of my adult children living with us again. It was one I never expected, and I know it is going to wash away quickly.

    Wishing you a summer full of your favorite things. Can’t wait to see more photos when you have time to share.

    • “I’d rather sit and have a long conversation with one of my people” is a trade I’d make for a little bit messy/wonky too. What I would give to have that wisdom sooner, I’m glad you’re getting a chance to enjoy it now.

      I’m adding Olga Dies Dreaming to my list and the Sea of Tranquility is already on it. I loved Station Eleven. I’m finding it hard to read too, but haven’t really connected with the audio format so I just read when I feel like it and will leave a book unfinished if I’m not feeling it (sometimes I never would have done 20 years ago).

      I did have the advantage of watching a few episodes of Yellowstone before purchasing it. I don’t think I would have otherwise. Now that I’ve watched from the beginning versus being dropped in the middle, I have very different feelings about some of the characters.

      Your retirement/school’s out plan sounds lovely. I look forward to hearing more about it as the weeks unfold.

  • It’s lovely to see a post from you, Kate. Well done on the cross stitch and on the paint-by-numbers—those lemons are so cheery! What Van Gogh are you doing? If I were to do a paint-by-numbers, I’d choose one of his works. Your gardens are coming along nicely! How are you enjoying having all that extra room to grow even more veggies?

    My -ings:
    I’ve picked up (once again) my quest to read all the books I didn’t read as a child: Around the World in 80 Days, A Wrinkle in Time, another in the Moomins series, and the first Nancy Drew, which was laugh-out-loud dated in places but also so freaking inspiring—Nancy can do *anything*, and she does it with a cool head and a positive attitude to boot.

    Knitting is happening, but at a snail’s pace. I finally finished a pair of socks that had been on the needles far too long, and am continuing with another pair (also on the needles too long). I just chose a pattern for a hooded baby sweater. Our niece is expecting again, and since I made something for baby #1, I have to make something for baby #2. (It’s a November due date, so I have plenty of time.)

    Watching: Season 2 of Bridgerton, BBC Ghosts (yet again), BBC’s Around the World in 80 Days, and Cuckoo.

    Gardening: I had to re-sow my seeds as I wasn’t watering them enough, but now things are looking better in the veggie garden. We’re also working on adding more native perennials and shrubs, and are getting rid of more and more grass to do so.

    Worrying: I can say that here, right? The state of the world is weighing so heavily right now. I’ve been trying to (once again) speak up (by writing letters), but it’s a hard thing to do with the level of craziness that’s out there. 🙁

    Anyway, it’s great to be able to see what you’ve been up to. Take care, Kate.

    • I just want to say, Marian, that I love A Wrinkle in Time. I’m not sure if you’ve read any of her adult books, but I also really enjoyed (a long time ago, but I think it would still hold) A Two-Part Invention, about her marriage. And I’m glad you’re discovering Nancy. I loved her when I was young.

      • It’s funny/odd, but I read a Wrinkle in Time to my older two children, many years ago, and I must have had my head wrapped up in other things, because I just didn’t get it. This time around, I loved it—it was like it was a completely different book, and I thought, “why was I confused the first go around?” (I’ll have to look up her other books; I tend to go for classics, or at least books that were written long ago.) My next-door neighbour, when I was growing up, had a bookcase filled with Nancy Drew. It actually saddens me that I read so few books when I was young. (Perhaps Nancy’s cool, calm, and collected attitude would have been a counterpoint to what I was experiencing IRL. Then again, perhaps I would have found it so foreign I would have tossed it aside as unrealistic.)

        Regarding your comment above about listening to books: Have you listened to the Invisible Life of Addie LaRue? The narrator does a fantastic job, and it’s a great story. (Or, at least it’s a great story to the halfway mark—that’s where I had gotten to when I ran out of time, and it got sent back to the library. It’s been a couple of busy weeks, and I haven’t had time for an audiobook, but I keep thinking of the story and I definitely need to take it out again.)

        • Just hoped on quick to say that both Violet and I loved Addie La Rue, it’s definitely worth reading/listening to so I hope you’ll be able to finish it Marian!!

        • I have listened to Addie LaRue! Julia Whelan is one of my favorite narrators, although her male voices are not my favorite. Still, she does so much so well, that I will sometimes try a book just because she’s the one reading it. I hope you can finish it. I kind of hate that about library audiobooks; when it’s due, it’s gone!

          A daughter of one of my mother’s friends had an extensive Nancy Drew collection, and I got to borrow hers. Oh, how I wished I had a large collection of my own, so I could put a check mark next to the titles I’d finished on the list of all the books! I appreciate you remind me of her. She really was a great role model.

    • Oh, Marian, you absolutely can share that you’re worrying and what you’re worrying about here. I am always grateful when you share your thoughts here. It is weighing heavily and it does seem crazy, but I’m so glad you’re doing what you can within your control to speak up and live your values. It’s one of my favorite things about you.

      I absolutely loved Nancy Drew and am glad you have found her! Yes, some things are definitely dated but I appreciate her cool head too. A friend of a friend of mine collects first editions which I think is the coolest collection. You’ll have to let me know what you think regarding A Wrinkle in Time. I always wanted to like it because so many people I like do, but I never really did. I reread it a few years ago thinking maybe I was just at a weird phase, but I think I’m just weird.

      I did Vase with Irises Against a Yellow Background and now I’m doing another but I don’t know the name!

      I’m definitely liking the extra garden room, but the plot we inherited was a pretty large anthill covered in strawberries and weeds so we’ve decided this year is going to be a building year. I spent an hour today weeding, watering, and trying to mitigate pests. I saw a vine borer moth flying around when I was there and we have a lot of squashes so I’ve got my fingers crossed. Hate those stupid things. At the very least the pole beans look like they’re doing alright. What are you growing this year? I like the idea of less grass and more natives. I’ve been eyeing up blueberry bushes and trying to figure out how I can add them to my landscaping plan.

      It’s a hard time of year to knit at any kind of pace. It’s good of you to be knitting gifts for your niece. Lucky baby.

      It was so good to hear from you, Marian. You take care too. XOXO.

  • Happy Birthday. You sound and look happy and enjoying life. I like all your photos but the one of radishes is making me smile. I always liked Luna Lovegood and her earrings so there you go! I’m with you about Somebody Feed Phil. It’s delightful but has to be watched as a reward, not as a binge.

    As for me, the bathroom renovations continue… and continue… and continue. There’s progress, but ’tis slow. I’m reading The Last Train to Key West which is perfectly light summer reading.

    • Those radishes were delicious!! Very spicy!! I wish I had grown more and pickled some!

      Glad to know I’m not the only one who loves Phil. It really is a fun reward!

      I bet the bathroom reno will be so lovely when it’s all done. And progress is progress. We have a very empty second floor right now, and I have a meeting next week with the builder, but at this point I have no dust or banging so I have no complaints. I know I’ll get sick of camping out all together in the basement at some point, but for right now it’s a fun adventure!!

  • Enjoyed seeing the Chicago cross stitch finished, Kate! My favorite photo of this group is of the family on the boat!!

    -ing, walking the bay front sea wall with Yorkie.

    -ing, only one wall left for my interior painting project.

    Happy Summer Solstice!

  • I also love that picture of you. You look so good, Katie.

    RHOBH IS cotton candy. I’ve also been binge watching old seasons. I’m going to give Somebody Feed Phil a try because I could use another show that makes me feel good.

    I doubt you’ve been a “horrible” friend and a “passable” wife and mom. It sounds to me like you’re living in the moment. I believe that makes you a fine human being. We could all learn a thing or two from you, my friend.


    • You’re kind to say that, Kari, but I have been. I’m not usually that way, but I claim it when I am. Thankfully, my people are full of grace and kindness and are being patient with me while I regain my footing!

      Let me know what you think of Phil. I hope you find it as dear as I do!!