Friday, November 17, 2017

A November Friday, Taking Stock

With only six weeks left in the year (Whoa!), especially since I'll be travelling most of the last month, this seems a good time for a bit of stock-taking, and I love the template Pip offers over at Meet Me at Mike's. It's a bit long, true (and I'm only going to do a third of it today, finish it over the weekend to post later), but the prompts are great -- playful, creative, and surprisingly effective at helping me get a perspective, take stock of where I'm at right now.

Pip offers her template of prompts as an easy cut-and-paste for digital stock-taking, but I've been spending so much time at the keypad of my MacBook Air that I decided to transcribe her verb participles into my sketchbook/journal. The Crayola SuperTips were still on the table where my granddaughter had left them last night, and I grabbed my fountain pen to fill in my responses.

I know my writing can be tricky to read, though, so I'll copy it out for you below.

Lately, I've been . . .
MAKING: Socks and mitts for Nola, and a toque for Paul. Stash-busters all!

COOKING: Batches of soup. Tomato-beef-vegetable was the latest and I made bread to go with. Turned some of the dough into cinnamon rolls.

READING: Just started my friend Cynthea Masson's The Flaw in the Stone. Also reading Sherman Alexie's You Don't Have To Say You Love Me and Jean-Paul Kauffmann's The Angel of the Left Bank. I know. . .

WANTING: Not much, to be honest, and that feels really good.

LOOKING: At lemon-coloured lilies in an orange-coloured pitcher on the windowsill . . .

PLAYING: My piano again, after finally arranging its first post-move tuning and conditioning. As always, I begin with Bach. . .

DECIDING: Whether to book the last segment of train tix -- from Tirano to Torino -- or just buy those at the station.

WISHING: My (youngest) daughter will decide to join the rest of us next summer, bringing the 5-year-old g'daughter along. . .

ENJOYING: The proximity we have here to two sets of grandkids, getting to know them in such easy circumstances.

WAITING: For the Daphne Odora blossoms to open -- I can see pink tips on the clusters of the still-closed buds

LIKING: The schedule Paul and I are developing of together and separate time.

WONDERING: How our Italian g'daughter Frankie is going to adjust to us being there, her mom being away. . .

LOVING: The feeling of being at home here -- it's taken a while, but I notice it more and more often lately.

And it's the weekend now -- ours is packed quite tightly with family, and I've got a friend coming from out of town, freshly back from hiking the Camino (from St. Jean Pied de Port through to Santiago). I'm very keen to catch up with her, looking forward to hearing about her adventures and misadventures on the trail.  What about you? Weekend plans? And perhaps you'd like to grab one or two or even three of those Prompt Verbs and tell us what you're Wondering or Making or Playing or . . . well, you get the idea. 


  1. I've got a 40 years on school reunion tomorrow and then on Sunday it's a quiet quilters' retreat around the kitchen table with two very current, cherished friends. Going to be quite a thought provoking weekend.

    Have a lovely reflective weekend yourself, Frances

    1. I haven't been to a single school reunion -- I wonder what you'll find -- and how lucky that you'll be able to talk about it on Sunday with your close friends.

  2. Hmmm. LOVING being home again. LOOKING at hardwood floor ideas on-line. WONDERING what to buy. ENJOYING shopping for same with Stu. WAITING today, while we were shopping, for my page-views on my blog to click over to one million! So excited about that. And then we went for a celebratory coffee. Oh, we're living the high life here in the 'Tick!
    (BTW... the 'Tick is what the long-time locals call Manotick:))
    Have a great weekend, Frances!

    1. Congrats on that million!!
      And thanks for playing along. Enjoy the rest of your 'Tick weekend ;-)

  3. I have been hovering on the edge of your delightful blog for months now, just as shy online as in person. But this just begs for a response as all I have to do is fill in the blanks, right? MAKING, nothing as I'm all thumbs when it comes to crafts; LOVING, house-sitting for our son and partner; LOOKING at their cat curled up by the fire; READIING, Fimgersmith by Sarah Waters, a massive read, full of surprising twists; WAITING, to explore the Eastside Culture Crawl; DECIDING where to go to celebrate our fortieth anniversary next year.
    Have a good weekend and thanks for facilitating my first foray into the world of blogs!

    1. Welcome! So glad this post had prompts that let you dip your toes, and I hope you'll be back again. (and if you want, next time, you could comment as Anonymous, but add a name/pseudonym, as Wendy of York does below. If that doesn't feel comfortable, though, fine to do without).
      Fingersmith is SO good, although it's years since I've read it. As for that Eastside Culture Crawl, I'm quite disappointed that this weekend got too family-busy to get out to it. Next year, I guess. . .

  4. FILLING my head with French history thanks to a course I am taking in the 55+ program at the U of Winnipeg (the average age is far above 55, I am a baby at 58). Our prof has spent a couple of classes tying in literature of the time and you know what that means! Trips to the bookstore and library. I am set for the winter reading-wise and have met some lovely people who set a great example for life-long learning. (Gossip told me one lively gentleman is in his 90s.)

    MAKING cinnamon rolls as well. Turned some of the dough into buns. (See the flip of priorities there :) But I took half of the cinnamon rolls to my Mum.)

    1. What a good course that sounds like, and of course, having got a sense of you over these past years, I can imagine how you're taking on the reading. Fun!
      And I do like that reversal of rolls/buns (last weekend, I did the entire batch as rolls for a family brunch. They're addictive!)

  5. THINKING that this type of post is one of my favourites. SITTING beside the fire, so thankful that it's Friday. NOT MAKING plans yet, although I know what I want to accomplish this weekend - some relaxing, a little television, some time in the kitchen and at the sewing machine.
    The sentence that made me catch my breath ..."As always, I begin with Bach..."

    1. Thinking, Sitting, and Not Making Yet -- that sounds a good counterbalance to your recent weeks with such a busy schedule. Enjoy!

  6. Am I the only one clicking on "Meet Me at Mike's" and finding a cooking blog? :)
    Love this thoughtful post. Perfect timing as we approach the American Thanksgiving holiday. Reading Abraham Lincoln's original declaration of what this national holiday should mean...shames those currently in office. There...I've said it.
    Tomorrow's highlight will be catching up over lunch with the widow of my husband's mentor. Mr. Pollyea was totally instrumental in setting my husband on his successful community college career path. We, as a family, are indebted to him and his memory that we will recall tomorrow. Good times.
    Sunday is church where our younger son is the Lead Pastor. We will get to have lunch with the grandkids!
    Looking at your template of prompts...all of them, for me, focus on the holidays ahead. Making gifts, Cooking grand meals, Playing with the grandkids, Enjoying family, Reading my Bible, Loving the anticipation/excitement of spending Christmas week on the beach in Central California.
    Here's another prompt for the template...Celebrating with thankfulness.
    Thank you, Frances, for this opportunity "to take stock".

    1. Whoops! Thanks for alerting me, Charlene -- I've fixed that link. Will respond more fully later. . . .

    2. That is a good prompt, especially with your Thanksgiving coming up. I get the impression you try year 'round to "celebrate with thankfulness," Charlene, and it sounds as if you have plenty to be grateful for at the moment. Lovely.

  7. We’ve just got back from two weeks in Scotland so ...
    ENJOYING watching the dogs catch up with their doggy chums
    WISHING the rain will hold off & let my washing dry
    WONDERING what to cook for tea after eating out & quick holiday meals
    PLAYING with my new Scottish scarves
    PLANNING meet ups with various friends next week to see what’s been going on
    READING something gripping , now that I won’t be distracted from Scotland around me
    HOPING my hairdresser can fit me in to sort out my weird Scottish hairdo
    PINING for deep lochs , rushing waterfalls & snow dusted mountains
    Wendy in York

    1. Oh my goodness Wendy, I'm sorry you've had a weird Scottish hairdo! What did we do to you??

    2. No offense meant . It always happens to both hubbie & I . We think it is a combination of the different water supply & strong winds :)

    3. I love your list, Wendy, and it's reaffirming my commitment to planning a trip to Scotland -- also love this interchange between you and Linda. Made me grin. . .

  8. This week I have been doing quite a lot of THINKING about your last post. You do have a way of coming up with profound questions, nonchalantly wrapped up in some remarks about fashion. I fact, it took me so much time to think about my answer that I missed the opportunity to comment while your post was still fresh. But the thoughts are still moving around in my head and flavouring my STOCK TAKING. I am FEELING that I do not really have a choice whether to get involved or not in what is going on in the world, because I already am (involved). It is my government which permits the exportation of arms to kill people in civil wars in different parts of the planet. My consumption (of energy, meat, plastic etc.) contributes to climate change or pollution which in the end takes other people’s land and homes away (though floods, droughts…). All my everyday acts and decisions are linked to other people’s lives, whether I like it or not. There is no use in feeling guilty about this. My feelings won’t change anything. But my actions might. So I am TRYING to diminish my footprint (not so easy right now as everybody around me is already madly buying presents). The next step would be to engage – in politics or in some charity – more actively than I am doing now. I cannot quite make up my mind as to what extent and in what way I want to commit myself. So I am NOT DECIDING that at the moment.

    1. Thanks so much for this Eleonore. This is very much how I feel, that I am already very much implicated in the lives of people far away, and that I need to figure out how to take responsibility, how to find and exercise some agency. Guilt does nothing, but awareness, witnessing, help me commit and stay committed to the small actions that I hope might make a small difference.

  9. A lovely idea indeed. So let me think:
    ENJOYING being curled up by the fire with knitting on my lap
    WISHING I’d broken the under 30 minutes with my 5k run today. Still managed a pb of 31:13 so still work to do!
    WONDERING what my son and partner will be cooking me for lunch tomorrow:)
    PLAYING rather than cooking dinner so I’d better go now!
    Have a great weekend. B x

    1. And here's me
      CONGRATULATING you on your 5k personal best. The under-30 will happen, but it's so important to pat yourself on the back at the milestones along the way. ..

  10. ENJOYING my weekly walks with my currently unemployed brother who coincidentally finished the Camino in October. Did your friend stay in the albergues or municipal hostels?
    READING most recently The Cranky Ballerina to Grade 2. It's about a girl who dreads ballet class but finds her place in a karate class.
    COOKING beet salad for 20 people for a staff lunch
    ENJOYING my little dog snuggled on my lap. Who says "lapdog" is pejorative?
    Weekend:laundry, Maman, church, walk

    1. That children's book sounds delightful! (more delightful than cooking beet salad for 20, to be honest, although I'd like eating the beet salady ;-)
      My friend blogged her Camino adventure if you're interested: :

  11. There doesn't seem to be a 'being astounded' category in your list, so I'll start with 'how on earth do you fit everything in/find the energy??' As for my headings from this lovely idea:

    ENJOYING sitting in front of an open fire, listing to the gentle crackle of the logs.
    WONDERING if we should exchange the open fire for a wood burner when we do our house renovation.
    WISHING that my hamstring hadn't played up and led me to abandon the Parkrun halfway through today.
    WAITING to see my children again - I've found it hard to be the northern outpost of the family these few months, while every one else is in the south of Scotland.
    WANTING to be settled in one place, instead of between two homes at the moment.
    LOVING the prospect of our weekend in our favourite bolthole on Deeside, complete with four poster bed and open fire.
    READING three new to me Ursula Le Guin science fiction novels. Trying to overcome my aversion to taking on Weltschmerz by reading Mark Mazower's 'Dark Continent'.
    COOKING anything with apples. We have so many apples from our trees. Caramelised apple cake with streusel topping alongside plenty of strong tea this afternoon while watching Scotland nearly - so nearly! - beat the All Blacks; baked apples for pudding this evening.

    1. I empathise thoroughly with your feelings about this time of transition between two places and of that time of being away from your adult children. As for the open fire vs. woodstove, we've lived with both and there's so much to be said for the eco-efficiency of the latter -- and so many gorgeous models which still let you enjoy the flames through tempered glass door. . .
      November's pretty dark already without diving into the evidence Mazower pulls together for his argument. . . I'd stick with the apples (I can smell them for here -- mmmm) and the Le Guin for now ;-)

  12. What a lovely template. Think I'll try that, too.

    I am looking forward to hearing your friend's Camino thoughts, too. I'm not a religious person, but as a long-time hiker and trekker I admire the pilgrimmage/odyssey concept. I hope you will share a bit of her experiences and perspective about the 500-mile journey.

    Ann in Missouri

    1. I put the URL for my friend's Camino blog above in my response to Madame La-Bas. . . .

  13. Question to Linda (above):I love Ursula Le Guin! What are you reading?

  14. How interesting!
    Liking: the Crayola Super Tips! Funny!
    Admiring: Your friend's finishing Camino
    Just finished: reading Sonia Choquette's Walking Home about Walking the Camino
    Reading :Camilla Läckberg's Mermaid (I think it might be The Drowning or something similar, for your market)
    Drinking : Chamomile tisane
    Contemplating: how to plan better rest and going out for the next weekend (this weekend
    a concert-Aljosa Jurinic,piano,-Mozart ,and Rachmaninoff
    a new musical-Lord Byron (in Venice)
    Dinner with friends
    Beautiful,but exhausting
    Wishing:to have the snowless and iceless winter in town (I wish this every year!)
    Going to : buy little star-like battery operated Christmas lights

    1. So are you going to Venice? Or does the musical feature Lord B's time there? What a wonderfully busy weekend, but if I were you, I'd be collapsing by now ;-)
      I SO agree with you about the snowless and iceless winter in town, at least, but that's not what they're telling us about.
      Ah, the Christmas lights -- they really lift our spirits in the dark season, don't they?

    2. No,only Lord Byron did :-)(in his life and musical,as well!
      Lucky you,there will be no snow in Italy.....
      Yes,it was beautiful and exhausting :-)

  15. I love the template idea! Thanks. It's been busy around here (husband had heart surgery 2.5 weeks ago) so I haven't had much time to read and less to comment. So glad I stopped in!

    1. It's fun, isn't it? It's actually much longer, and I hope to post the rest later. I've been following your husband's surgery and progress since on your FB. Glad it's gone well. Hope you can take some time to breathe. . .

  16. Making silver and diamond ring. Tricky.
    Cooking soup
    Reading The Pickwick Papers
    Wanting not an awful lot
    Looking at candles and wintery skies
    Playing my cards close to my chest...
    Deciding not to make too many plans
    Wishing for calm
    Enjoying friendships
    Waiting for others to make up their minds and change some things
    Liking my own company
    Wondering how the next few weeks will pan out
    Loving twinkly candles against a copper plate

    None of this is earth-shattering but that is fine by me.

    1. Hmmm, I've just been thinking that I missed reading any Dickens this summer (usually try to fit in a novel) and maybe last summer as well. I don't think I've read the Pickwick Papers since early teen years. . . Perhaps I should put that title on the list. And speaking of lists I like the tone of yours, very mellow. And impressive -- you're working with diamonds now?!

    2. It is taking weeks...they keep falling out of the settings so now I am being coached in another method of setting them. Fiddly in the extreme but it should work. I broke up a solitary earring that my mother gave to me, hoping I could do something with it. 8 good diamonds and a nice emerald have emerged. Next piece will involve the emerald, if I ever get the damned diamonds to stay in place.

  17. Thank you for you lovely comment on my positivity post. So hoping your run goes well. Let me know x

    1. You're welcome and thank you and yes, I will ;-)


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