It is beginning to seem that I need to write a Travel Blog instead of a Home Blog!
I am just returned from the most lovely weekend in Tyson’s Corner with our daughter. We wanted to treat her to a much-deserved weekend of relaxation, and when asked what she wanted to do, she suggested a stay in Tyson’s Corner and a spa day up there. And lucky for me, it was a Mother-Daughter weekend!
We both took the train/metros to Tyson’s Corner, which is such an easy way to travel. I would love to see more rail service here in the US!
Anyway, on my trip up, I was seated next to a lovely woman (I would say close to my age, maybe a bit older) who was making her way north to meet up with her family for a service following her mother’s death. Then, she was going to Cameroon, as that is where her mother died, to tie up loose ends.
She hasn’t been back to Cameroon for three years, following the ransacking of her family farm business by soldiers fighting in the now 6-year-old civil war. Three years ago, she traveled to the U.S. to visit her son and his family; it was while she was here that her farm was taken over by rebel forces, and she has not been able to track down any of the farm’s workers.
So, this woman, who I would guess is in her 60’s, lost EVERYTHING and found herself unexpectedly, and without any planning, in a new country with no means of making a living. She is taking classes at her local library and online, trying to learn a skill that will help her support herself, and was busy doing that on the train. She has a very strong faith and is confident that God will see her through this current challenge.
We hugged when she got off the train, with all her clothes in fabric grocery bags, and I wished her to be safe in Cameroon. Her response was, ‘God will take care of me.’
As I left her and continued on my way to my girl’s retreat in Tyson’s Corner while she made her way to a country in the midst of a war, I couldn’t help but contrast our situations.
When my children were younger, and they would complain about something ‘unfair’ happening to them, this was always my admonition:
Imagine a place where you could get rid of your ‘problem’ by just discarding it onto a ‘problem pile.’ The only catch is that you must pull a different ‘problem’ from the pile while blindfolded. Would you?
My new friend never felt sorry for herself; instead, she was determined to figure out the system and thrive in her new country.
If I’m completely honest, I was hoping not to have a seat companion on my trip. I had all sorts of plans for all the work I would get done. Well, I didn’t get any ‘work’ done, but I was better for being seated next to her for our 5-hour trip.
new on the blog
Well, I’m officially done with summer and ready for fall. I’m sure it has to do with the record heat we’ve all been suffering through. How about you?
If you are ready to channel all things 🍂 Fall 🍁, here are some Fall-inspired Container Gardens for you to peruse. If you aren’t quite ready to switch out your summer planters for fall ones, at least you can start planning. I’ll be publishing more ideas shortly.
- I’m going to let you in on a little secret…a while ago, Annie’s Craft Store approached me about selling my knit purse pattern on their site. I agreed, so folks can purchase this pattern for $6.49. But, as Nourish and Nestle subscribers, you get the pattern for free! Right!? Just pop over to the Subscriber Benefits Library and pop in your super secret password. If you’ve forgotten it, check the bottom of the Monday email you received from me.
- I am often asked how to resize my blanket patterns. I am happy to help, but if you’d like to figure it out on your own, I’ve written this post on resizing knit throws and blankets.
- And if you are knitting washcloths or blankets for gifting, make sure to nab these printable gift tags.
- If you have students moving into their first apartments, take a gander at this First Apartment Tips and Checklist post.
- Stay out of the heat and do some decluttering! Use the decluttering checklists to help you find ‘stuff’ that you can toss and most likely won’t even miss. They are grouped by room, so get the ones you need or sign up to have them delivered, one each week for six weeks.
on my nightstand
- I have just begun reading The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper. While I’m early on, it seems like a nice ‘charming’ easy read…just what I need right now.
- I just finished reading My Brilliant Friend, recommended by one of my brilliant friends! 😉This book introduced me to the term ‘bildungsroman’, a novel dealing with a person’s formative years. That’s exactly what this book was, and it was delightful. The book is set in Naples and begins in the 1950s. It is book one of four, so that’s always a good thing for my book queue!
So, I am three books ahead of schedule in my Goodreads Challenge! Woot! I set a goal to read thirty books this year. Here’s what I’ve read thus far and whether I’m thumbs up 👍🏻, thumbs down 👎🏻 or neutral 👉🏻on it.
Some of these are affiliate links, and I will earn a small commission off the sale of these products, but the price you are charged is not affected. You can see my full disclosure policy here.
- Magpie Murders, Anthony Horowitz 👎🏻 really dragged on; I quit reading with about 100 pages left.
- The Plot, Jean Korelitz👉🏻 good story, but predictable ending
- Black-Eyed Susan, Susan Heaberlin👉🏻 hard to follow
- Juliet, Naked, Nick Hornby👍🏻 a charming, light-hearted tale
- Hour of the Witch, Chris Bohjalian👍🏻 👍🏻quick moving
- Murder as a Fine Art, David Morrell👍🏻👍🏻 loved the weave of history and a good mystery
- Inspector of the Dead, David Morrell 👍🏻👍🏻 a good follow-up to the previous book, but I needed a break before I tackled the third. I will get to it soon.
- Brotherhood of the Rose, David Morrell 👍🏻 Same author as above, but completely different premise. Much more of a contemporary spy/counterintelligence novel.
- Pompeii, Robert Harris 👍🏻👍🏻 I read this historical fiction right before we toured Pompeii, and it was a great primer.
- The Black House, Peter May👍🏻👍🏻These next three books are set on several islands in the Hebrides, of the coast of Scotland. I read them right before I spent several days with my dear friend. They are murder mysteries, but more than that, they really gave me a sense of the place.
- The Lewis Man, Peter May👍🏻👍🏻
- The Chess Men, Peter May👍🏻👍🏻
- The Lincoln Highway, Amor Towles👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 It has been a LONG time since I enjoyed a book as much as I enjoyed this one. It has a Huckleberry Finn/Tom Sawyer feel to it, in that the main characters are young men coming of age in the 1950s. It is just a lovely story with dynamic and complicated characters. This was my first Amor Towles book, and I was a bit sad when I finished it. His writing style is just beautiful. So, I immediately jumped into…
- A Gentleman in Moscow, Amore Towles👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻If you like Dickens-type novels, sweeping stories with interesting characters, you’ll love this one. This story focuses on Count Rostov, who has been confined to a hotel in Moscow, and the associated staff and residents of the hotel. Once again, Towles writing style and his character development really speak to me.
- Rules of Civility, Amor Towles👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 I really did like it, but not quite as much as the other two. Set in 1938 New York, the main character is a young woman who is trying to navigate the time and characters of her orbit.
- Cloud Cuckoo Land👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻 This is a challenging book to review. I am typically averse to ‘science fiction’ and almost discarded it because the jacket referred to a character living in the future on a spaceship. If you are similarly averse to futuristic novels, do not let that deter you! Trust me on this! This book wraps up several different characters in different settings and time periods so neatly and with a common thread that really comes together at the end. Several nice ‘aha’ moments and a clear message at the end.
- The Elegance of the Hedgehog 👍🏻👍🏻I very much enjoyed it. Not gonna lie; some of the philosophical ramblings lost me a bit. But I still found it a charming, sometimes humorous book with an uplifting message. Lovely and sympathetic main characters.
- My Brilliant Friend 👍🏻👍🏻
bits and bobs
- I love dog people! There are so many of you are making these 3-Ingredient Dog Treats for your special fur babies!
- And this Spiced Golden Plum Jam recipe is going great guns! And for good reason!
Well, I’m off to unpack and do laundry. I left my planner on the train 😒, so I need to try to remember everything I have planned for the rest of the year…no problem! 🤣
I THINK my bathroom will be finished today, 🤞🏻, so that’s exciting! Hopefully, next week I’ll be able to show you the finished space.
Wishing you a week of lovely things!