Whenever the talented Alicia from Posy Gets Cozy puts out a kit or pattern, you can be sure that I buy it. Her kits include high-quality supplies and excellent, charming instructions. This summer I had a lot of fun sewing her Summerhouse Seat Cushion pattern, and I plan to make similar cushions for our hodge-podge dining room chairs.
In unrelated news, today was my first teaching day of the semester. Whew! Was it ever hot in my classrooms. I have some familiar faces in a few classes, which always makes for a nice start. Whatever complaints I may have when I'm overwhelmed by grading later in the semester, rest assured: I love my job. I feel so fortunate that I get to talk about writing and encourage young writers for a living.
Two weeks ago, I spent the day canning, drying, and freezing summer goodness. I made Norma's rose petal jam (only two jars left; I gave away the rest and got raves about it), dried Roma tomatoes ever so slowly then froze them (faux sun-dried tomatoes! Yum!), and spent hours chopping veggies by hand for this relish. The relish has all been given away or consumed, but I have been gathering produce to make more.
Last summer, I didn't have a kitchen and missed out on putting up food for winter. This summer I've been freezing a lot of goodies (blueberries, cherries, strawb jam, tomatoes), and I'm hoping to go crazy with canning tomatoes. Oh, yeah, I bought 5 lbs. of peaches so I could make this delicious sounding (and looking) recipe. I think next year we might buy a chest freezer, in part so Neal can buy locally raised meat in bulk, but in part so I can freeze even more veggies. I fantasize all the time about living like Barbara Kingsolver did. I'm a long way away from realizing that fantasy, but it sure is fun to strive. Anyway, is there anything better than summer tomatoes in February?
Are you doing any preserving? I'd love to hear about what you're stocking your shelves and freezers with!
Last Thursday I went to NYC with Nearly-Not-Blogless Sara and Spring. Our mission? Look at pretty things. The first notions store we hit on Fashion Ave was chock full of lovely button arrangements. Artful, almost, aren't they? I picked up a big leather button for the Nimbus on my needles, and at the glorious M&J Trimming, I bought three spectacular buttons for a pattern I'm creating.
Our day trip was a blast. The weather was great, which now that we're in the midst of another heatwave here in CT seems like good fortune. One last summer hurrah.
Now it's back to campus for me. I hear this from others who aren't in education, too, but doesn't September feel like a new year? Not THE New Year, of course, yet it is another opportunity to evaluate and set goals. I've got a pile for the fall, and as I attempt NaBloPoMo again, I'll share them with you.
How about you? Does the onset of the academic year make you long for a sharp pencil and a new notebook, too?
"Whenever humanity seems condemned to heaviness, I think I should fly like Perseus into a different space. I don’t mean escaping into dreams or into the irrational. I mean that I have to change my approach, look at the world from a different perspective, with a different logic and with fresh methods of cognition and verification. " --Italo Calvino
1. Play with the dogs. Of course, you may end up with rope burns from little Coco's leash/tie up contraption, but playing with animals (domestic, of course) is sure to bring at least a little smile.
2. Read a favorite book. I return to Jane Austen when I need cheering.
3. Plan a dinner party. The planning is a big part of the fun for me. Invite the best conversationalists you know, dress the table in your prettiest linens and dishes, and make a delightful meal.
4. Blow bubbles. If you have the dogs from item #1, they will probably chase the bubbles. It can get hilarious.
5. Go for a long bike ride or run or whatever your favorite exercise is.
6. Help someone else. Volunteering in an organized way, or simply helping someone carry a baby carriage down the steps can go a long way to lightening my mood.
7. Write. Sometimes I can write my way to lightness. Sometimes I write all the darkness out of my head and can then live in lightness.
8. Go to Vespers. No matter what your religious or spiritual beliefs may be, Vespers make for excellent meditation. If you attend in a beautiful church or chapel, you may have the added pleasure of soaring architecture, meant to lift the spirit closer to God or lightness, whatever a lifting of the spirit may mean to you.
9. Write a long letter in which you describe to the person you are missing just how the light looks and the air smells and the coffee tastes. Describe everything you love about that person. Describe your loneliness for them. Describe your joy in them. Make your descriptions over the moon. If the person is alive, mail the letter. If not, give it to another friend, sealed in an envelope addressed to you and ask her to mail it to you in a few months.
10. Watch the Marx Brothers. There have been many times in my life when my spirit has needed lifting. From the frightening days just after September 11, 2001, to days waiting for news about all sorts of worrisome things, we all have sad, heart heavy days. When my ex-father-in-law approached me after the funeral of a young woman who had died far too young and said, "C'mon, let's go home and laugh," I knew he was right. For me, the sad days cry for Harpo and Groucho. Even the mildly sad days are improved by their antics.
Five years ago this afternoon, I wrote my first tentative "tap, tap" blog post. Now, 773 posts later, I can't imagine life without PoMoGolightly, originally known as Wearing Black in New Mexico. Since that first post, I've changed my knitting style, learned to spin and weave, improved my photography, earned my MFA, gained employment, gotten married, adopted another dog, and so many other wonderful things. There have been moments of tribulation, too, and I'm grateful for the kind words that my dear readers (you!) have shared with me during those times. I've got some exciting things simmering here at Chez Golightly, and I look forward to sharing them with you soon!
Want to see that first day's posting?
You'll be tickled to know that as I type this, I'm STILL wearing black!
The most rewarding part of blogging, though, is the friendships I have formed with so many of my readers. I enjoy the exchange of comments, emails, blog posts, and I am always thrilled when I meet a blogging friend in real life.
So, yeah. Here I am in the back yard of the little yellow ranch with an orange door, a little chilly as fall tests the waters, and feeling grateful that you've chosen to share a few moments of your day with me.
Today's Ten on Tuesday is an easy one for me: 10 Things You Would Tell a College Freshman.
1. Visit your professors during their office hours. It makes a difference. Office hours are a great time for you to review assignments, ask for extra help, or learn more about a career. Last fall I had two young men who came once a week, every week, for the entire semester to visit with me for half an hour. I sure missed their visits in the spring! Professors want to get to know our students. Also, I keep tea, instant coffee, and snacks in my office, so in moments of hunger, I can help you out!
2. Ask questions. You might feel stupid in class when you ask a question, but chances are someone else has the same question. Your professors will appreciate your being engaged in class, too.
3. Set up "house" rules right away. Be open with your roommate about how you want to keep your space, what you are willing to share, and ask her to share her ideas about your room, too.
4. Join. You don't have to join every club, but find at least one or two, along with an intramural if you're not already on an athletic team. You'll make friends, you'll learn, you'll stay in shape.
5. Mind what you eat. Don't get suckered in by the food. Be healthy. Buy fruit and granola bars if you must.
6. Go to bed at a reasonable hour. This might be hard when there is so much to talk about, so much to do, so many papers to write, but if you're not well rested, you run the risk of getting exhausted, beating down your immune system, and frying your brain.
7. Don't go to class drunk, buzzed, stoned, or in any other way high.
8. Be a good consumer. Whether you, your parents, or a scholarship pays for your college education, there is a cost for every class hour. It might stink to have an 8:15 class. It might be so hard to go to class on that really warm October day when your new boyfriend wants to go make out in the park with you. It might be tempting to leave campus early on a Friday afternoon to party at your high school best friend's college. Resist and go to class. Get your money's worth.
9. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed. There are points in every semester when the work load seems to be too much to bear. Think about your professors. Are there any who have indicated that they are willing to offer extensions? What about the professor you've been visiting every few weeks during her office hours? Ask for an extension before a deadline, and offer a date when you will be able to turn in the work. But know that the professor has the right to deny your request. You're better off asking, though, then skipping class and turning something in late without prior agreement.
10. Don't text in class. Professors can see you do it. It is rude.
11. (Because 10 isn't enough) Have fun. Explore. Ignore everything any adult tells you if you have a chance to do something wonderful. Go overseas for a semester. Learn to network. Be serious. Hold back your girlfriend's hair when she's puking. Don't judge. Introduce yourself to people you don't know. Get as many internships as you can. Watch at least one sunrise a semester. Laugh.
Most of all: be present. College can be amazing if you make it.
Thanks for your help in dispersing the Mean Reds yesterday. Today I'm stewing a bit, but I'm no longer angry.
My sewing problems have been resolved! Every now and again, I meet up with a few ladies I met at a knitting class. One of them is a Home Ec teacher at a nearby middle school. I saw her today, and she was kind enough to clarify the pattern instructions that had me befuddled. I think I'll be all set now!
Isn't it nice when just the right help comes your way when you need it? Has that happened for you recently?
I thought I had the blues all day, but after a while I realized I have the mean reds. I'm angsty and angry at a few people in my life for not taking better care of themselves. Also, I can't figure out my sewing pattern, and I'm usually pretty clever when it comes to sewing patterns.
I'm not going to make it to Tiffany's any time soon, so won't you leave a link to something really lovely to chase these mean reds away?