Tuesday, September 24, 2019

September Journal of Wonder

A house finch sits on the long arm of the bird feeder. A small birch branch swings in the breeze, repeatedly brushing the back of the bird's body. He doesn't show any visible reaction. It looks as if the branch is playing or teasing the bird. I wonder what the sensation conveys to the bird. 

Why does the contrast of light and dark draw in the human eye? 

I wonder if spiders really spin more webs this time of year or does the changing light make the webs more visible. I wonder if the ground spiders catch many insects in the small webs that appear in lawns.

What word will I choose for next year?  I am enjoying wonder and reminding myself to wonder.

I wonder how many small blank notebooks I need. A soft cover book with the face of a fawn caught my eye in a coffee shop. The fawn reminded me of a llama which reminded me of yarn so I bought it to tuck into my knitting bag. A wondering mind does wander.

I wonder if this sweater will fit. I hope the worsted weight/aran yarn doesn't make a sweater that is too heavy to be comfortable.

If animals and birds migrate over such diverse geographical areas with no regard for political boundaries, why is the movement of human beings often restricted?

Rhythm is essential to poetry. What kinds of rhythm support good prose?

What purpose do oak-mites serve?!

I see a few yellow leaves in the birch branches nearest the window in front of my desk. I wonder when they appeared.

I wonder why I don't set aside one entire afternoon for making. Surely I could skip chores and errands one day a week. Would two be possible? 

9-19-19. Is there any significance in this line-up of numerals?

I wonder if the local autumn will be colorful or if the leaves will turn brown and drop from exhaustion and heat.

I wonder what I will prepare for dinner?

I wonder how this pink-spotted hawkmoth came to be in my backyard. I wonder what other creatures might have stopped here in their travels.

I wonder how we arrived at the end of September and how this little guy is old enough for his first day of preschool.

 Joining Juliann and Chasing Stories for reflection on one word. What has you wondering today?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Last Summer Days

Summer is having one last word. The days are hot, sunny, and dry. A basil plant rebounded from the almost-dead. If I can keep it alive until the first frost, I may get one batch of pesto. I picked a few leaves yesterday to season the last garden tomatoes and pasta. Sandals and walking shorts are the most comfortable attire. As I yearn for crisp fall days, I try to remember that I will miss my sandals and the fresh produce.  

I made a batch of pumpkin scones the other day in order to have a little taste of fall. Yes, I did grate frozen butter on a sheet of wax paper so I could scrape it all into the flour mixture. The process was a little messy. The big pile of shredded butter made me gasp but the shredded butter and cream made the scones. I shaped them into a small size and tucked half into the freezer. How is that for rationalization?

This guy celebrated his ninth birthday with a LA Dodgers party. He and his brother, the Phillies fan, along with their Dad and good friend attended a Mets/Dodgers game. He requested cake pops for his birthday treat and my daughter created dairy-free cake pops. They were a hit - no pun intended. I can remember the hot September day when he was born. We waited for him all day. A big thunderstorm blew in just as we pulled into the hospital parking lot to meet him. He blew in with the storm and changed our world. He certainly has grown in the past year. 

In knitting notes, I set the sweater aside until the days cool off. I need to put it on waste yarn to check the length of the raglan increase lines. I finished one of Kate's socks and cast on the other. I also finished the Indikon Mitts. They will be as fun to wear as they were to knit. Because I can't seem to throw away any scraps, I weighed and divided the rest of the blue gray yarn. Last night I cast on another pair of scrappy mitts. Small projects make me happy on these last summer days. Knitting from scraps and leftovers challenge my creativity and there is the satisfaction of using up the yarns I enjoy.

I am reading The Shadow of the Wind, my book group selection for this month. This is a novel driven by plot and set in Barcelona in 1945. The story feels like a labyrinth with many characters and stories. It begins with the young boy choosing a book from The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Although I don't have the audio version, I think hearing the names and places would be enjoyable. I continue to read parts of Arctic Dreams and then drift off to sleep thinking about Lopez's ideas. 

As I link with Kat and the Unravelers, I hope these last days of summer are treating you well. Whether it is a taste of pumpkin, the last summer tomatoes, or a cake pop may you have whatever your heart desires. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


This morning a good friend and I had coffee in a local coffee shop. We had a lovely time chatting and making some plans for our upcoming book group gathering. She also gave me a birthday package that included some thoughtful gifts including this bookmark. The peace symbol is handmade from recycled copper wire by an artisan in a third world country. I love it. It was just what I needed today.

All is well that ends well. Last Thursday my husband underwent sinus surgery and then yesterday had a procedure done in a dermatology office. He is recovering well and I have a new appreciation for anyone who is a full time care-giver. I also think about those who live alone with no help to keep meds and care on track during the first groggy hours after surgery. We are so fortunate to have each other and good medical care. Both procedures had a good outcome. All is well but after some restless nights, we are both a little tired.

Hospital waiting time means knitting time so I knit on the first sock of this pair. I am really enjoying the Indikon Mitts. I may keep them for myself instead of putting them in the gift stash. The fabric is so cozy and the blue gray color is one of my favorites. The yarn is leftover from a sweater that I wear. I plan to follow my usual process for knitting mittens, finishing the hands and then knitting the thumbs in one sitting. This increases (but doesn't guarantee) the likelihood that both thumbs have the same number of rows.

I continue reading Arctic Dreams and am enjoying it. This is a slow read but the information fascinates me. Last night I read about polar bears. Scientists who spend their careers researching minute details of a species amaze me. This book is armchair traveling for sure. Good thing as the fragile ecosystem of the remote areas would be forever changed by heavy tourist traffic

A few tomatoes ripen on fading plants. The cucumber vines are in the compost bin. Sunset comes earlier. Saturday felt like autumn all day long. Even the warm days feel slightly different. The linden has streaks of yellow and a few maples in the neighborhood sport leaves outlined in red. If I want to visit the Sunken Gardens before the blooms freeze, I best get moving. I also need to buy tulip bulbs for two spots in our front yard.

Linking with Kat and the Unravelers in these last days of summer. What are you up to in the days before the official start of Fall?

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

September Flowers

Now it is September. While sunflowers in the neighborhood droop, wild roadside varieties stand tall in late summer sun. I make the last summer bouquets of sweet peas, blanket flower, black-eyed-susans, and lavender from my yard. The bright colors remind me that everything doesn't have to match. Of course a birthday bouquet of orange and white blooms is a different kind of joy. Emmett chose the orange bouquet because he thought it was so beautiful. He is right. A gorgeous bouquet in an orange vase was delivered mid-afternoon on my birthday, Labor Day. Please excuse the messy table, I focused on the flowers and our company.

Our son was home for the long weekend and we enjoyed visiting with him. He was here to draft a Fantasy Football team with friends but I told him I knew he really came for my birthday. To humor me, he smiled. He brought a birthday gift of homemade peach jam and peach butter. The peach butter was delicious on a warm hard roll with a bowl of chili. The Connecticut kids sang to me via Face Time and my husband brought me red roses. I cast on two new projects over the long weekend. All in all, a lovely way to celebrate my sixty-eighth birthday. What will another year bring? Change I am sure - because life is full of changes.

I have a good friend who often buys yarn and casts on a project to celebrate her birthday. What a marvelous idea. Since it's never too late for a new knitting tradition, I cast on a sweater. I have had a winter raspberry sweater in mind for awhile. This yarn from one of my local yarn shops was the right shade and weight. Knitting a swatch to the correct gauge (rarely happens on my needles) is a good omen. I also bought an extra skein. This year I have had two sweater projects land in the frog pond so I hope this third time is a charm. Worsted weight yarn on size seven needles knits up quickly.

Yesterday my son drove home from Lincoln to Fort Worth. He is quite capable but I needed to knit him safely home. After tidying up and starting the laundry, I dug out some leftover yarn and worked on this mitt by Bonnie Sennot of Blue Peninsula. She designs with interesting textures. As always, this pattern is well written. The squishy fabric is soft and warm. Aaron arrived home safely about the time I finished the hand of the first mitt.

As a summer finale, I am reading Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez. History, culture, doomed explorers, biology, and geography are included in this work of nonfiction. Lopez begins by comparing the light and seasons in the Arctic to the same phenomena in the temperate and tropic zones. Did you know that astronomers in the Arctic distinguish among three degrees of twilight - civilian, nautical, and astronomical? The older publication date, 1986, and then the reissue in 2001 makes the work seem all the more haunting. I have only just begun. I am reading slowly in order to understand the rich details.

For more making and reading, click over to Kat and the Unravelers. What will September bring?