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.
|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
- 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