Such a strange winter. A couple of days at 79 degrees, then back to the 40's in a matter of days. We've had a great deal of rain this winter after several pretty dry winters, so hopefully the water table is being reestablished for when summer arrives.
Filling in the spaces
It is fun to run my fingers over it and feel the texture.
Books/Reading I've been inordinately lazy in the last week or so. Reading one book after another, abandoning some that don't appeal to me, and reading others just to get to the end and understand what the mystery was, but there have been some good ones, too! My favorite January reads so far:The Boys Who Woke Up Early by A.D. Hopkins (a coming of age story set in the Virginia mountains in 1959), The Scrublands by Chris Hammer (set in Australia as a journalist tries to figure out why a young Anglican priest killed five men), The Night Window by Dean Koontz (#5 in the Jane Hawk series; the conclusion to this suspenseful series). I haven't reviewed The Boys Who Woke Up Early yet, still pondering it, but the other two are reviewed on my book blog. One of my very favorite books last year was The Paragon Hotel and Cathy at Kittling Books is offering a giveaway! Go here if you want in on the chance to win an autographed copy of The Paragon Hotel. Art/Artists My favorite art teacher has the most creative and talented students and projects each year. Her assembled bells project is one of my favorites, and I honestly can't decide which one I love most. Debra gave me permission to use a photograph; I chose the first one because I love them all and can't decide. Visit Artisun and see if you choose a favorite.
Each and every bell is a whimsical wonder. Favorite Things
This basket full of Erin's homemade vinegars and liqueurs and potholders!
The coffee and praline liqueurs are wonderful in coffee and on ice cream,
Like so many others, each January evokes a need to declutter and get rid of things that tend to accumulate during the year. Simple things--that could be done during the year, but for many reasons just don't--become a challenge, a mountain to conquer. I never get it done completely, but it is strangely satisfying to go on the annual declutter and organize campaign. On The Art of Doing Stuff, Karen talks about throwing away 50 things. I can do that in short order, I thought, and started on kitchen drawers. Spices past expiration date, packaging, items that I have multiples of (wooden spoons, spatulas, etc.), that belong somewhere else, or that I don't even use--I put in the Goodwill box or threw them away. It felt good and the drawers I did look much better. Actually, on the spices, I just threw away the contents (my trash smelled like a cafeteria with all of the spices mixed, and not in a good way) and washed the glass containers to use upstairs for beads, etc.
I have many drawers, cabinets, pantry, and my closet to go, and although I'm feeling quite pleased with myself so far, I know the desire to keep up with this will begin to fade and the habit of "stashing" rather than trashing will reassert itself. For this week at least, 50 things a day might be do-able. The long term goal is not to stash, but at least I am making an effort.
Continuing to write letters to all of those that I owe mail.
These will go out tomorrow.
More efforts on the white embroidery. Filling in more space, a little at a time.
When I get tired of the cleaning and decluttering
I saw something the other day reminding me of Sei Shonagon and her Pillow Book. So as I go about my day I've begun categorizing things. I've been familiar with the book for decades and have my favorites from her various categories: Hateful/annoying things:
A man who has nothing in particular to recommend him discusses all sorts of subjects at random as though he knew everything. One is telling a story about old times when someone breaks in with a little detail that he happens to know, implying that one's own version is inaccurate -- disgusting behavior! Adorable things: A baby of two or so is crawling, rapidly along the ground. With his sharp eyes he catches sight of a tiny object and, picking it up with his pretty little fingers, takes it to show to a grown-up person. She had dozens of categories. I am not sure where my book is so I took a couple of quotes from the internet. --- Anyway, I'm going about my day with my own categories: Satisfying things: My new socks. So comfortable, and I like the design. A clean drawer, so pleasing. Finishing a letter and getting it ready for the mail. Hateful things: Slugs on my lettuce. Slimy, disgusting, greedy creatures. Annoying things: Entering a room and forgetting why I went there. Forgetting that I put on a load of laundry yesterday without putting stuff in the dryer. Things that make me happy: Messages from Erin with pics of her sewing space. A new book to read. I used to add these to letters, and I think it is time to do it again. What are some categories you might have? (Frustrating, Anxiety Causing, Adorable, Uplifting?)
I'm not at all sure why I let things go so badly in the last 6 weeks or more of 2018, but for some reason, I fell badly behind in so many areas. I wasn't ill, depressed, or busier than usual, except for the normal Christmas stuff. I had Christmas drafts that I never posted, let my mail pile up without answering, became frustrated and less interested in the little mice I was making, sent only three Christmas postcards.... I've decided it had something to do with my thyroid meds; for the last year it has been difficult to find the right dosage. I have gotten a new higher mg dosage and am hoping for more interest and energy!
The 3 Christmas postcards went to the grands.
This went to B.E. (both a Christmas & birthday postcard).
The picture is of her christening twelve years ago.
The next two went to Mila and Max.
And that was it for my Christmas mail! Which is a sad comment since I received so many Christmas cards and snail mail during December. The mice are still in a basket with multiple arms and legs and almost no progress. I simply lost interest in them. In the last several days, I've been answering letters, and I'm busy trying to get more answered.
It's raining again today, which is a good excuse to get upstairs and answer more mail. :) Happy New Year! My main goal is to get caught up with everything I've been neglecting. And of course, the some old goals of eating better, exercising more, etc., etc. How many resolutions and/or goals did you make for 2019?
from Connie (somehow I missed posting this last month,
but I love those cats)
postcard from Christine
I've been a little frazzled lately. Too many ideas and plans and projects started and not finished. I'm completely disorganized and paying for it. As I type, I'm having to sit on the edge of the chair because Edgrrr is crowding me. When he couldn't get in my lap, he decided to get behind me push me out. He's warm, but annoying.
He won possession of the chair, and after having his picture taken and making sure I wasn't planning to sit down again, he left, a master at the power play. I waited and came back when he was comfortably settled elsewhere...so the game continues. Need a Christmas gift? While reading about Postmark 1206's monthly subscriptions for Riddle Me Mail, I began thinking about people who are ill, or elderly, or isolated in any way and what a wonderful gift this would be. Kids in hospitals, someone in a senior care center, the person who has no immediate relatives, or someone who is confined to their home for whatever reason. Anyone might enjoy the monthly postcards and letters, but for someone who is isolated, it would be an enormously thoughtful gift. Do you wonder what to get for that great-aunt or uncle, the person who is simply impossible to buy for, the relative who lives too far away for frequent visits, the teenager who has everything but has never experienced the pleasure of a personal letter? Twice monthly mail would be something to look forward to. Yep, after writing all of this, I took the plunge and got myself a 3 month subscription even though I do get letters. It is a gift to myself, and I'm looking forward to my first postcard and letter in January. :) I also expect to get some great ideas for writing my own letters, which is important because sometimes sitting with pen in hand and a blank page is frustrating. It will be nice to have something special light up the first month in the year. A delayed gift that will come each month through February. Riddle Me Mail, check it out. Beautiful Letter Boxes in this article. And morehere. And a couple more gorgeous examples from Decopix, an art deco architecture site.
Books/Reading -- Just finished The Plotters by Un-Su Kim and Who Slays the Wicked, the latest Sebastian St. Cyr historical mystery, by C.S. Harris. :) OK, time to get upstairs and play for a while. Have to unseat Edgrr, who has found his way back into my lap. He will follow me upstairs and wait by the door on the top step. I don't let him in (if I can help it) because then he tries to take over my yoga mat or get into my crafting supplies.
How is your Christmas season going? Do you send Christmas cards? I'd love to place my letters in one of the above letter boxes.
It is that time of year again. The garden is pretty bare with summer stuff pulled up and perennials cut back, but pansies and ornamental cabbage will fill some of the blank spaces. I've been planting them when the weather is warm, then forgetting about them because they haven't really made much of an impression so far. They are just beginning to look a bit more colorful, but the blank areas after the lushness of summer
We have had days with highs of 72 and days with highs in the 50's. Back and forth from days feeling like oncoming winter and days feeling like spring. The garden seems confused and so am I, sitting outside and wondering what next.
I've been enjoying salads from my lettuce and kale.
Colorful salads make me happy, and the various lettuces,
purple kale, broccoli florets, walnuts, sliced eggs, and sliced petite carrots
make a colorful and crunchy salad.
Dressing-- my favorite is grape seed oil and lemon juice.
Add crunchy slices of French or Italian bread, and I'm happy.
The weeping maple still has gorgeous leaves,
but the others have all gone with the wind.
I saw a primitive ladder on Pinterest and put in a request: "Dear Husband, would you make me one?" And he did. :) I improvised a wreath from greenery in the Christmas trunk and am quite happy with it.
I sort of know what I'm doing with the little mouse, but the clothing will take a long time.
Slow embroidery for a dress--
that may not be finished this month.
I may change my mind and dress the mouse
in something less time consuming, but the
embroidery is a relaxing process for me.
Erin has requested a mouse, and I made a new pattern and have been working on it. That's three new mouse patterns so far this year.
----- The power of a letter and a girl who makes her wishes known. :) Go Riley! Congrats to Steph Curry for reading Riley's letter and responding. How Restaurants Got So Loud. Mary commented on this problem recently, and I agree that loud restaurants are a blight to dining out--at least if you have any hope of conversation. In recent years, the noise factor in restaurants has increased, and there aren't many places where diners can really visit during a meal. Do you find this as frustrating as I do? I'm dragging out Christmas decorations a little at a time. Have you started decorating yet? Did you start the day after Thanksgiving (or before), wait until Dec. 1, or keep putting it off?