Wednesday, September 22, 2021

In The Middle of Nowhere

 That’s where I am. It’s 20 miles to the nearest town and phone service is iffy. But that’s all good if you’re Up North…in Wisconsin, that is. For the few of you who know Wisconsin, I’m between Lac de Flambeau and Park Falls. It took hours to find a cabin that was both in the woods and on a lake. This is what we found:

We’ve enjoyed our getaway: kayaking, walking, and, of course Keith has been biking. And I’ve been reading. On the first day alone, I zipped through Force of Nature, the second novel in an Australian series. She’s the rare mystery writer who writes as well as she plots. The characters are complex and believable. I could not put it down!

Then I switched gears entirely and turned to literary fiction.

I am on page 70 but I can’t explain this book. The back cover describes it as a blend of fact and fiction. It doesn’t seem to have a plot but it’s inexplicably mesmerizing. Akhtar is the American-born son of Pakistani immigrant parents and he provides an incisive picture of what that is like, of the generational conflicts, his mother’s longing for Pakistan, and his father’s transformation into an American. So far I’m liking it.

I read some popular fiction this summer, and some of it was actually good. The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz does indeed have some surprising plot turns. The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian is a tightly written thriller that kept me at the edge of my seat. In addition to being a good story, it describes the hectic life of these folks who give us juice and pretzels in the air. I loved Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny. Focusing on a man,his current wife, and his first wife, it smartly depicts the perils and satisfaction of fractured families.

Then there are the ones I didn’t much like. I finished Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan. It’s a decent beach read but a predictable tale of yet another dysfunctional family. I am perplexed by the rave reviews garnered by Who Is Maud Dixon. The plot is so promising—an editorial assistant pretends to be a famous author after that author dies—but the writing is clunky and unconvincing. I couldn’t finish this one.

Reading is one of the joys of retirement,



Saturday, September 18, 2021

There Is Still Knitting

 After all, this is a knitting blog. And I do knit every day.

(BTW, excuse my long absence... the High Holy Days always throw me off.)

I am trying to focus on a few projects instead of being so scattered. I have a friend who is a monogamous knitter and she finishes so many things.  Inspired by her, I've made decent progress on the linen-stitch scarf.

It is very pretty and it will be a cozy scarf. However, I am still quite sure this will be my last linen stitch project.  Too tedious. And it's very easy to make mistakes.

After four unsuccessful attempts, I put the Porto Sweater into time out. Instead I'm working on Design 10. Yes that's it's name. It's an easy cardigan so I should be able to finish this one. Normally I would not make a sweater with only three projects on Ravelry, but I saw a sample at the yarn store in Evanston and fell in love with it.

All the colors are off ... I waited too long in the day to take good photos.

Now for some exciting news: The Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Show actually took place in person.  I went with my friend Suzi, who I haven't seen in a while. She's a retired teacher, too, and it was so much fun to catch up. And, I wasn't too extravagant in my purchases!

A yarn store about 30 minutes from my house is about to start a mitten knit-along, so I purchased two skeins from their booth to make the
Songbird Mittens for Rachel.

I also picked up two luscious indie skeins of DK destined to be fingerless mitts:

And this bag just insisted that I take it home with me:

It was wonderful to attend High Holy Days services in person. Worship really is a community experience. My congregation is a combination of hippie and traditional Judaism that hits the right notes for me. I feel very lucky to have this unusual schul (Yiddish for synagogue) in my life. As always, I was very busy repenting!

Saturday, September 4, 2021

On Sketching

 Sketching is one of the things I want to focus on in my retirement. I even went out with a friend when the temperatures were skyrocking.

Here's a photo of the scene. As you can see, accuracy is not my strength -- or even my goal. I like things that are wonky.



Last week, Keith drove me to Baraboo, a cute little town, so I could sketch and he could bike on some different roads. It's the home of Circus World, birthplace of the Ringling Brothers Circus, so there are painted elephants all over town.

I was drawing some of the old buildings downtown there when this man, about my age, came up to me and said, "Someone has a hobby."
"Keeps me out of prison," I joked.
"I did nine years in the big house," he replied. And he did. Told me his entire life story. It's a very friendly town.

But the best part was when a middle-aged woman came up to me and told me she owns an art gallery. She looked at my unfinished sketch and asked if I'd sell sketches of Baraboo at her gallery. Of course I would!

So, here's the sketch. It has a major mistake, but I can trace it onto a new piece of watercolor paper using my lightbox and correct it. Then I'll add watercolor.

Neck update: I got the neck brace off yesterday. They warned me that my neck would hurt for a few days because the muscles are out of practice -- and it does hurt! More worrisome. I have some signs of kidney damage from the mistakes in the ER, so they ran tests. I'm sure I won't hear anything over the holiday weekend.