Monday Musings

Hello, peeps!  I’m having sort of a lazy Monday morning to finish off a pretty lazy weekend.  I had an acquaintance (notice how I didn’t say friend?)  ask me what I’d “been up to” lately.  I don’t cross paths with this person often so that’s probably a fair question.  A few answers came to mind.

  1.  Well, I’ve spent the last year recovering from a traumatic accident and surgery.
  2. I’ve been solving all the world’s problems like famine, disease, and terrorism.
  3. Spiritually? Physically? Socioeconomically?
  4. I’m alright, slight bruises here and there, nothing i can’t handle (this is probably close to the truth).
  5. Today I’m a rutabaga, but tomorrow I’m thinking I’ll be a coconut.

But what I actually said was, “Nothing much.  Same old stuff.”  This must not have been the answer she was looking for because after few more minutes she repeated the question.  And then followed up with the zinger:

Haven’t you gotten bored yet since you aren’t working?

WHAT?  Bored?  Me?  She must not know me well at all.  Now, you must keep in mind that I have never in 22 years known this woman to “work”.  She stayed home with her children (which is ALL KINDS OF WORK) but did not have a job outside the home.  Then after the divorce, she lived off support from her ex-husband and talked about trying to decide what to do with herself. She did that for years.  And all of that is fine. Fine for her, but apparently not for me because she was all sorts of judgmental about me not working  for the last 6 years.  Never mind that I put in 25 years teaching science to high school students!  In the end, I just shrugged her off and said, “I knit.  I read. I have hobbies. I keep busy.”

But last night at meditation class, a retired friend said, “We are’human beings’ not ‘human doings’.  The meaning of life is to live it fully in each moment.  Our worth doesn’t come from a job.” She makes an excellent point!!  And she also pointed out that they aren’t hobbies at all; they are passions.  And she’s right again!

So here’s what I’ve “been up to” in the last few weeks.

  1.  Hubby and I put in a no-dig fence for  the dogs.  It’s not a tall fence, but it looks nice and works for our two dogs.  The golden is too old and not a jumper or otherwise we would have needed a taller option.

Shawzy looking out.  She’s adorable, is she not?

2.  I finished up a few knitting projects.  One,  a pair of socks for the hubby (to be discussed at another time) . The other is a baby sweater for a friend.  I think the sweater turned out quite cute.  Entirely made from leftover sock yarn.  One solid gray and the other a self-striping.  Thrifty and cute both.

3.  Exploring local coffee shops.  I take my dog to Pittsfield, IL to be groomed.  While I wait, I support the local economy.  There’s a gift shop, a diner, and a coffee shop that I love there.  Not to mention a few antique shops.   Free Press Coffee and Tea is a favorite.  Great atmosphere (and it’s attached to a historic hotel), good coffee, and even some gluten-free choices (with more to come).  It was pouring down rain last week when I was there so it was a cozy place to kill some time reading and enjoying a breve.  (We did have snow on Saturday though!)


Free Press Coffee last winter.

While I was there I bought a cup to add to my hand-thrown coffee cup collection.  I love it.  It makes me happy having my tea in it.  Small pleasures.  Isn’t it a beauty?


Cup by local artists at Crooked Clay Creations.  

4.  Yoga.  I’ve started a gentle yoga class to help improve my core strength in the hope it will alleviate some back pain.  It saddened me a little to feel like the youngest member in the class, but it’s okay.  I like it.  I love the instructor who’s very helpful at guiding me away from moves that might cause me trouble.  She’s one of the those people that you meet and know instantly that you could be great friends. AND, I’ve flexed my stiff spine in ways that it hasn’t been in over a year.  That’s a good thing.  I pay for it a bit afterwards, but that’s getting better too!   I’m only going once a week since it’s a 40 minute drive, but I bought a DVD to try to add a couple of days on my own at home. I’ve committed to 10 weeks and from there we shall see.  Maybe I’ll switch classes or add another class to the schedule.


A class at my yoga studio.  Not MY class (notice the “youngsters”).  My class would look much more “mature”.

5.  Reading.  Always a given.  But this time I am reading a book that I have looked at many times but always put it back.  I don’t care for the circus.  Never have.  I’m not sure why either.  I just don’t like them. I’m not sure what kept drawing me to this book but I can’t tell you how many times I read the blurb on the back.   We have a locally owned bookstore that I try to support,  so last week I didn’t put the book back on the shelf.  Instead, Andy wrapped it up for me in brown paper.  (I love that old-fashioned nod to times past.)


Isn’t it lovely?  Sort of like a living room filled with friends.

Anyway, the book that followed me home is The Night Circus.  It’s very well written.  Reads like a dream. . .both literally and figuratively.  It’s not what I expected.  It’s much, much better.  It’s not a dash to the end, it’s more of a slow contemplating read with stops to imagine the magical circus the author has created.  And I think it may be one of those books that I will be sad to see it end.


6.  Watching Blackhawks hockey with the family!

7.  Getting my pictures in order so that I can begin the scrapbook of last year’s vacation.  I think I’m about ready to start it.  It’s an overwhelming number of pictures to sort through.  Plus the idea of telling the story which turned out so different than we had planned. I know I’ll cry often while I do it.   It’s daunting.  But soon I will get to it.

8.  Laundry.  Cooking.  Cleaning.  Grocery shopping.  And all the other mundane things we do to keep a house running.

9.  Tangling.  Doodling.  And drawing.

10. Cleaning up the yard and raking leaves.  I love my big trees – but oh my- the number of leaves to rake!

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The front yard leaves.  Doesn’t include the back yard at all.  That’s a ditch under there.

11.  Sometimes I just sit in my chair with the dog on my lap.  Small pleasures. (Again.)

So!  That’s what I’ve been up to.  It’s been pretty damn awesome too.  Part of me wonders if that acquaintance can say the same.


47 Questions

This popped up in my Facebook sidebar this morning.  My answers were from 5 years ago so I decided to give it an update.  More has changed than one might imagine.

1. What time did you get up this morning? The time I got up and the time I was awake are two very different things.  Probably about 9:30…but it’s Saturday AND my birthday so I am entitled to that.

2. How do you like your steak? Medium rare

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? 50 Shades of Gray

4. What is your favorite TV show?  Outlander

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?  Colorado, Ireland, Austria.  I think there are many places I could call home.  

6. What did you have for breakfast?  tea and a banana.

7. What is your favorite cuisine? Italian

 8. What foods do you dislike?  Beets and baby corn

9. Favorite Place to Eat?  any place with character and good food

10. Favorite dressing? Ranch or Bleu Cheese

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive?   2008 Mercedes C300 

12. What are your favorite clothes? sweaters, jeans, and boots.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?  Ireland and Scotland

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?Definitely Full

15. Where would you want to retire?  I used to say Colorado.  Now I’m not so sure.

16. Favorite time of day?  Typically, I’d say morning.

17. Where were you born?  East St. Louis, IL

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?  Cross country

19. Bird watcher? I have a book in the kitchen window that I use to ID the ones I see.  So yes.

20.  Do you consider yourself attractive? I suppose in some ways.  Tough question.

21. Pets? Yes.  A 12 year old Golden, a 7 year old mini Doxie, and two 14 year old cats.  

22. Any new and exciting news that you’d like to share? I started yoga this week.  It’s been a year since my accident so I’m all released to do whatever I want/can.

23. What did you want to be when you were little?  I wanted to be a National Park Ranger.  Ended up being a teacher.  

24. What is your best childhood memory?  Summers at my grandmother’s farm:   Cool nights.  The black angus cattle in the front pasture.  Walking to the end of the lane for the mail.  Fresh peas.  Butterscotch candies.  Watching Gunsmoke on tv. The smell of sweat peas blooming.  

25. Are you a cat or dog person? I would say a cat person, but I love my mini Doxie like crazy.  So both I guess. 

26. Are you married? Yes, 25 years this one.

27. Always wear your seat belt? Yes!!!!!

28. Been in a car accident? Yes.  Very minor.  

29. Any pet peeves?  Several

30. Favorite pizza topping?  sausage, bacon,  mushroom

31. Favorite Flower?  Lily of the Valley 

32. Favorite ice cream? vanilla

33. Favorite fast food? I don’t eat fast food unless it’s a salad from Arby’s.  Or something at Chipotle.  

34. How many times did you fail your driver’s test? None

35. From whom did you get your last email? knitting friend

36. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? This is tough.  Talbots.  Scheels (sporting goods).  

37. Do anything spontaneous lately? Not since I went down a playground slide in Germany last October and broke my back.  I tend to think things through now.

38. Like your job?  I enjoy my life at home

39. What was your favorite vacation? The one that was ruined by breaking my back…Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands.  But I spent many glorious summers in Colorado too!

40. Who’s your favorite actor/actress?  Sean Connery and Cary Grant, 

41. Last person you went out to dinner with? My husband.

42. What are you listening to right now? A football game on the kitchen television.   The hubby left it on or I would be listening to the furnace run.  I hate football.

43. What is your favorite color? green

44. How many tattoos do you have? NONE

45. Coffee drinker? Sometimes.  I like tea too.  I do both several times a week.

46. How many children do you have? 1 son.  He’s awesome.  

47. What was the last book you read? The Devil Wears Kilts.  Definitely not scholarly reading but it was fun.  I read a few books a week typically.