Monthly Archives: August 2019

sayonara, summer.


Summer has ended with toad magic. I caught two recently: both with golden eyes, dark velveteen bodies, and quickly beating hearts. I let one go in my grandfather’s garden, and the other released in a secluded part of the yard. Toads fascinate me- how they straddle the life between land and water; can’t live on one without being born in the other. Quietly hidden among the rocks and leaves, house foundations and gardens, and now I have been able to see two in the same week.

I took a short hike last Sunday- a little over two miles, walked slow & steady. The trail meanders by the lakeside, generally buffered by a few yards of brush but occasionally opening out to fishing shores. I hadn’t the time I expected to have over the summer to get out and hike. Now, as the seasons are changing, I’m waiting for the lake to be drained so I can hike out over the bare earth and look for fossils. However, if the lake is dry I can’t perch on the manhole cover and watch the papermouths dart between the overhanging shore and underwater rocks…

For once, I am not sad to see summer go. I feel as if I have aged a century in the last three months. So many people around me have commented about how summer blew by, but I only feel a sense of relief. The seasons are changing, bowing and leading the way into something new. I feel driven to clean up and clean out, make space physically & mentally for all that is coming. Fall means deeper music, sweaters, mugs of tea late at night, curled on the couch with the dog, and Poldark on the television. I am ready, oh so ready.

Until we meet again~

summer celebrations.


Fair season. Spent a whole magnificent weekend at the Fair, roving the grounds in search of bubble tea, good french fries, and goats to pet. I have always loved the Fair, especially the exhibit & animal barns. The commercial aspects of the Fair are okay- but I haven’t ever really played the games or rode the rides. The Fair, for me, is a celebration at the end of the summer to show off our hard work and relax. To lay around in the tent, a fan blowing over everyone, is the ultimate Fair experience and the perfect way to end the summer.

This morning was perfectly chilly enough for a soft jacket and hot tea. I’m becoming more and more ready for Fall by the minute. I promised myself that I wouldn’t bake, wear, burn, or decorate anything Fall-themed until September 1st. My reserve is beginning to wear thin. I want to savor a salted caramel bundt and burn all of my candles. The leaves are already yellowing and taking on a darker hue. I can’t wait to drive to Leonard Harrison State Park for the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon lookout, but I know the leaves aren’t ready yet- I can’t rush perfection or Mother Nature!

I finished reading a pile of books this week…
– The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
– The Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey
– Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer
– How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell
– An Unspoken Hunger by Terry Tempest Williams
– The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin

I’m far behind on my reading goal for the year (by about 4,000 pages) but I know I’m slowly catching up. I took a break from reading throughout June and July. Finishing a bunch of “little” books (less than 300 pages) is a good way to jump-start my Fall Reading. I don’t like to plan my reading, aside from working on a series or two. The University Library is difficult for me to browse, so I typically have them deliver books to my desk, while I browse the Local Library thoroughly on Saturdays. Library visits are a treat, regardless of the one I visit. The University Library has a cafe, but the Local Library is where my Mother works. Needless to say, I’m spoiled at both places.

This coming week involves one more visit to the Fair and plenty of things to do. I’m looking forward to the students returning to the University and picking up more reading time at home. The wheel of the year is turning, and Fall is fast approaching. By the time we meet next week, I can only hope I’ve managed to hold on to summer long enough to enjoy its final celebrations!

Until we meet again~

one after the other.


Almost there, almost to fall. I’m blasting Chopin in the Jeep every morning; my commute is not luxurious by any means, but the music makes it better. Chopin, interspersed with Cherish the Ladies, is a quintessential autumnal soundtrack. The video I shared above is one of my very favorite recordings of a Chopin piece. My favorite CDs have long since lost their cases, so I can’t even truly recommend them. I have no idea what most of the pieces are on the discs; I just listen to them straight through, beginning to end, one after the other.

I don’t have much to say today. I took some vacation time from work, and so I have been drifting. It’s nice to spend a day floating through- visiting bookshops and thrift stores, sipping on lattes and talking about everything with my mother. Take a long & deep breath- release. Suddenly the world isn’t piling up on my shoulders and I can actually take a look around me. The late summer light is perfect, slanting over trees and casting shadows in places that normally are illuminated. I can only see the light like this on a day turned off from the world.

Until we meet again~

finer things.


There’s not many things in life more pleasurable than reading in a garden on a fine summer afternoon. Near my office is an arboretum, one of my most favorite places on the planet. I spent some time there Tuesday after work, lounging on a wooden bench and reading On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah under fluttering poplar trees. Accented with the song of cicadas, my hour-and-a-half there was some of my most well-spent time this week.

I haven’t been crafting much since I last wrote- in between some healing (I cut a part of my thumb off two weeks ago) and my second job, I haven’t been able to carve out any time for a podcast or two and crocheting. However, I am still monogamously working on the French Market Bag… I’m utterly thrilled with how it is coming along. I love the indigo color of the yarn and I think it will look très chic when finally finished. I hope to drag it around with me when I go to the beach in October.


Have you ever heard the folk saying: for every fog in August, there will be a snowfall? So far this month I’ve counted 8 foggy mornings. I dare say I love a good foggy morning, and this week was rife with them. Walking out the door and into the fog with my thermos in hand on a foggy morning evokes such a particular feeling… and reminds me of foggy mornings at my Nana’s house, sitting on the front porch and watching the wild turkeys emerge from the mist, looking for the corn she spread for them. Fog also makes me think of my childhood mornings at the Grange Fair, laying awake in my bunk of the camper watching the mist retreat over the mountain through the window.

Some verbs from this week:
Reading: On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah
Listening: an older Mumford and Sons album, Babel
Visiting: The Arboretum at Penn State
Drinking: Yorkshire Gold, my favorite tea

I’m trying to drink in the summer sunshine while I still can. This weekend is going to be lovely- visiting friends and lounging outdoors while reading. As long as the weather holds out, I’ll still be visiting the Arboretum on my free afternoons post-work. Watching the garden transform from spring delicacy to summer vibrancy to fall resilience astounds me every year. Witnessing nature, most definitely, is the finest part of life.

Until we meet again~

a return home.


My break from this space has been far too long. I haven’t been living life as slow as I want to- so much of my days are spent moving from one thing to another that hours become blurred and I’m falling into bed every night exhausted & empty. There’s something intensely grounding about writing out a blog post, maybe it’s the act of communicating my thoughts long-form, or maybe that it’s an act of passion to put myself out into the Internet Universe.

In theme of what I said in my last post, I know blogs are not in vogue any more. There’s Instagram and Twitter that provides constant gratification & “connection.” Yet they don’t feel like the right space for me. Instagram is good for being inspired, but it’s not my place to be seen. I don’t feel like I am challenged by the environment, and the communication/connection I do find there is shallow… a letter (blog) versus a telegram (Instagram). I am looking for letter-level communication, a breadth and depth that speaks to spirit. Email newsletters are a good stop-gap, but they don’t solicit the kind of connectivity within itself the way a blog post does.

Offline life, especially now that I’m more than a year post-college, has changed dramatically. The constantly evolving landscape of social media is becoming less desirable to me. While I still wear my Apple Watch and scroll through the ‘Gram, I am much happier to be writing here.

Let’s catch up- this is what’s going on in my neck of the woods:
ReadingDragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Crocheting: French Market Bag by Alexandra Tavel
Watching: The Crimson Stitchery
Eating: Easiest Fridge Dill Pickles by Smitten Kitchen
Listening: the newest Hozier album, Wasteland, Baby!


My motivation to craft comes and goes. Over winter, I developed tendinitis in my left wrist thanks to hours of crane folding and holding books. I took a long break from fiber crafts for this reason- I could barely hold my work aloft in order to knit or crochet. Now that my wrist is in better shape, I want to spend every minute of every day catching up… although I would like to stay monogamous with my projects for now. Once I’m finished with the French Market Bag, I feel like I’ll take on a small origami project- I’m thinking of making a butterfly mobile to complement my cranes (potentially using artisan paper like Awagami Factory Washi Paper).

In times of stress and overwhelm, turning to handcraft is always a return to the self. Sometimes I wonder if I should have studied handcraft in college- I’ve been a knitter for half my life & I’ve always been enamored by how handcraft influences human life. My newfound love for origami has also pulled me into the philosophy of handcraft & “slow living.” Studying ideology behind slow living often feels inane and extremely privileged, but I wonder if this stems from long-held Puritanical productivity beliefs rather than lived experience. In truth, when I am crafting, the desire to be productive falls away and I’m left with the bliss of the journey.

Being here, in this online space, is like being in my own studio. Instead of pine counters and softly colored walls, I have this online nook full of books and creativity. I appreciate all of you that stop by, and please, introduce yourself in the comments. Have a mug of tea and catch up with me!

Until we meet again~