Saturday, July 21, 2018

Late Summer Daybook

I've decided to borrow an idea I've seen around the Internet and occasionally write a "Daybook" post here on my blog, using prompts to get my ideas flowing and to capture a snapshot of my daily life at the moment. I hope you enjoy it! 

Outside my window...

it's a typical July, hot and humid, and we could use some rain. Early in the week, when we went out to walk the dogs just after sunset, we were treated to the sight of a gorgeous, golden crescent moon in the western sky with Venus shining like a jewel beside it. How I wished I had a camera capable of taking a good picture of it! Maybe someday...

I am thankful...

that I was able to find an appliance repair service that was able to send someone out immediately when our dryer died earlier this week. I was also grateful that it could be repaired and we were spared the expense of having to buy a new one on top of paying for the service call. The total cost was $300...not great, but much less than I feared. And we only had to do without a dryer for one day.

*Yes, I know that hanging out clothes is a no-cost, environmentally friendly solution to the problem, but clothes that are hung out to dry in our backyard end up smelling funny, possibly because our neighborhood is right in the middle of the city. 

From the kitchen...

It's the height of farmer's market season here, so fresh vegetables and fruit are cheap and delicious. I've been doing very minimal cooking on these hot days and keeping meals light and simple. For dinner last night I had peaches with vanilla yogurt. Delicious.

Image may contain: food
Farm stand goodies!

I am reading...

the newest book by Naomi Novak, Spinning Silver, or at least I will be as soon as I can swing by the library and/or the bookstore. Hopefully the library, because again, I'm trying to save money! But Marla and Martina and I are planning to read this book for our next book club meeting and I need to start it soon. We loved Novak's last book, Uprooted, and had a really fun discussion party with themed foods and drinks that we had created (click here to read about it), so we're looking forward to a new Novak book! I hope it's as good as the last one!

I am hoping...

to finally finish a knitting project that I started......4 years ago! It's a large cowl knit on size 8 (US) circular needles, with 220 cast on stitches. The pattern is relatively simple, but I keep messing up and either adding or dropping a stitch and having to recount, then correct the mistake if I find it, and altogether it's been a real pain to knit! I think that's why I put it away for so long, and the guilt of the unfinished project kept me from picking it back up or else starting anything else. The yarn is beautiful (and was expensive) and I really want to own the finished cowl, so last week I decided to pull it out and start again. I'm finally making some progress on it and if I push myself, I think I can finish it before I go back to work. It's going to be a relief to finally be done with the damn thing!

I am thinking...

about the upcoming school year (I go back to work in 3 weeks) and some things I'd like to accomplish now that I feel settled and my job is no longer "new". We also have a new principal; regular readers will remember that the old one got in some legal trouble last May and lost her job. The 8th grade assistant principal, Mr. O, got promoted to take her place, and everyone (including me!) is so pleased! He's friendly and fair and great with the kids, and has the respect of the whole school. I'm so glad he got the promotion! 

Around the house...

cleaning, organizing, and purging continues. We're asking around for recommendations for a realtor, and are hoping to buy a house and get moved in before the end of this year. Better to go through our stuff now than to have to do it all once we're in the process of moving.

I am working...

on cultivating patience on my weight loss journey. I've lost 22 pounds so far, but it's taken almost three months to do so and I have a lot left to go. I had hoped to lose a little faster than this, but I'm working with my doctor and following her good advice. She says I have a much better chance of maintaining the loss if I proceed slowly and focus on changing my habits. I know this is true and good advice, but I want big results....yesterday!

I do realize that 22 pounds is a great start, and it's also a significant percentage of the how much I hope to lose in total. I'm eating in a way that will be sustainable once I get to my goal weight. And even better than the pounds I've taken off so far, my blood pressure (top number) dropped over 20 points and went from the "pre hypertension" to the "ideal" range! So that's a win right there!

I am listening...

to the sound of George gently snoring at my feet as I type this.

Celebrating the season...

"I celebrate myself, and what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease... observing a spear of summer grass."
-  Walt Whitman

"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time."
-  John Lubbock

Summer is in full swing here, and although I haven't made it to the beach yet (I'm hoping that might be possible one afternoon before I go back to work) I have had the opportunity to go swimming two or three times at my friend Marian's house with a couple of other friends. Nothing feels better than a pool on a hot July afternoon! I love floating on my back, watching the clouds drifting across the sky and the occasional hawk soaring high, high up. Swimming at Marian's is a double treat because her husband, Bruce, will serve as our bartender and waiter, bringing pitchers of margaritas and platters of snacks out to us to enjoy poolside.

The end of July contains two birthdays to celebrate: my friend Martina's is today, July 21, and my dad's is July 30. Next Saturday night Martina and Marla are coming over to have cake and wine to celebrate Martina, and then the following Monday my mom is hosting a small family cook out for dad's big day. Gregg and I will be bringing the birthday cake, as there's no good bakery in the small town where my parents live. I might even attempt to bake dad's cake myself, but I haven't told anyone that just in case I lose my nerve (or it turns out badly). In any event, I'll have to be extra strict with my diet this week, to make room for birthday cake twice next weekend!

We're in the middle of the annual Perseid meteor shower! The Perseids are one of the brighter showers of the year and are visible between July 17th and August 24. This year the peak is supposed to be the night of August 12-13 when it will be possible to see up to 150 meteors per hour! I go back to work on August 13th, but I plan to try to stay up late to catch a little of the show if the weather is good. I can't resist the chance to have dozens of shooting starts to wish upon! I hope we have clear skies that weekend.

"The sun is a huntress young,
The sun is a red, red joy,
The sun is an Indian girl,
Of the tribe of the Illinois.
The sun is a smouldering fire,
That creeps through the high gray plain,
And leaves not a bush of cloud
To blossom with flowers of rain.
The sun is a wounded deer,
That treads pale grass in the skies,
Shaking his golden horns,
Flashing his baleful eyes.
The sun is an eagle old,
There in the windless west.
Atop of the spirit-cliffs
He builds him a crimson nest."
-  Vachel Lindsay, An Indian Summer Day on the Prairie

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. ~Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting


  1. I like your daybook idea, I may borrow it. Congratulations on losing 22 pounds and you are wise to purge possessions now, before your potential move. You are going to house hunt, how exciting. Now I will find a spear of grass to observe, per Walt Whitman.

    1. Please do borrow it! I borrowed it from other people, myself! :)

      As of this morning, I'm down 25 pounds....when I stepped on the scale I was just thrilled! And of course, now that we're house hunting, nothing good seems to be popping up on the realtors' websites. I've been advised that spring is the best time for houses to be put on the market, but the fall is the second-best time. I'm hoping something that calls to my soul will show up very soon!

      And I just love Walt Whitman.

  2. What a beautiful post! I feel as if I entered your world for a little bit.
    It is raining so hard here that it's like a sky-slamming. I was out in the garden and suddenly it got almost dark as night and the wind started tearing though the trees and I heard a branch crack and the chickens, who were also in the garden, suddenly tore off to run under shelter and more casually made my way to the house.
    A storm!
    Maybe you'll get one soon too.
    Good for you on the knitting. And I hope that you find a house soon. Won't that be lovely?

    1. Thank you! This format works well for me. I rarely have a single topic I want to write about, I'm all over the place! ;) So the prompts help me pull all the odds and ends in my brain together.

      We keep getting rain in our forecasts, but very little shows up. The thought of the chickens scrambling for shelter made me smile. I would love to have a few hens someday--I always love hearing about yours!

  3. Good news about any weight loss.
    Purge now when it is hot and you do not want to go outside.
    I love that you are listing to George snore. Winston make the best noises, deep sighs, grunts and moos it is just amazing.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. George makes all kinds of sounds like that when he sleeps, too. Ginger sleeps quietly...but then, she does everything more quietly than Hurricane George.

  4. We have a roof window (Velux) in the bedroom, and as I lie awake at night, listening to the radio, I often see shooting stars. Quite a lot at the moment. We have a big telescope up at the barn, I must get it out and have a look around; I love looking at the stars.

    1. A roof window for stargazing in bed sounds lovely, Cro. I wonder how hard and/or expensive it would be to have one installed when we buy a house? I would really love to have one!

  5. Wow, this was a long read! I didn't know what a Day Book is - translated literally, it would be "Tagebuch" in German, which is what we call a diary (not a calendar one, but something like a notebook which one fills with what one has done and felt each day).
    Congratulations - 22 pounds is a LOT! I don't know how much that would be in kilogramm, but it is impressive. And of course you know your doctor is right about the "slower is better" approach; you're an intelligent, sensible woman, Jennifer :-)
    I hope the birthday celebrations go well; I remember you have mentioned before that there is a certain tension between you and your parents sometimes.
    Good look for the house selling and finding plans, too! Such an important step... and one that is always at the back of my mind regarding my own and O.K.'s situation.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. I'm now down 25 pounds, or 11.33 kg. I was thrilled when I weighed this morning and discovered three more pounds were gone! I've been working very hard at it.

      The birthday celebration with my parents will be fine. A cousin of mine is invited, as well as her daughter and son in law and grandkids, because my parents are very close to them. Dad will be happy, that's the main thing.

  6. I don't know what to comment on first! The prompt provides a splendid framework for your post. The Natalie Babbitt quote on August is just lovely. How wonderful to have the prospect of meteor showers and last, but not least, well done with the weight loss program. It requires discipline and patience but you'll get there.

    1. It's interesting to me to see what different people comment on! Thank you for the kind words. I, too, think the Babbitt quote is lovely! :)

  7. I enjoyed this varied post - peeping through the curtains into your life.
    You have attempted to excuse your reliance upon an electric dryer to deal with your clothes but having visited America several times I observed that most homes appear to avoid drying their clothes on washing lines. Here in England, almost everybody with an outdoor space or garden will put their laundry on washing lines - only using dryers in wet or wintry weather. The difference between our domestic cultures is interesting.

    1. You're right, I don't think many people hang out laundry to dry anymore. My grandmother always did, and I remember others of her generation doing it, too.

      I would love to hang out our clothes to dry in the summer, it would help reduce our power bill. But they really do smell funny when dried outdoors, so we just do it with things like the dogs' bath towels or small throw rugs, not things we wear!

  8. Congrats on the weight loss! That is a substantial amount, and the fact that you have been working on it steadily, for three months, is impressive. Long enough for it to become a habit.

  9. I hope you're very happy with the weight loss. As you said, it's a significant amount and it will make a difference!

    It's weird that your clothesline clothes wind up smelling funny. I wonder why that is? We dry ours outdoors in London (in summer, anyway) and haven't had that problem. When I was a kid in Florida we didn't even own a dryer and we never missed it! (But granted, we lived in the country then.)