Knit Wit Living

Reflections, Beading, Knitting, Life

The Whole 30 Again…or maybe The Three-Quarters 30

It’s that time of year again – jump back on the Whole 30 wagon. I do not feel I went wrong in the past year, but I have noticed it’s time to restart my wholesomeness.

My trip to Milan and Tuscany reacquainted my taste buds with fine wine and great coffee.

(Note: Coffee is allowed on the Whole30, but I like it with half and half, and dairy is not permitted.)

I came back home eschewing American coffee, and looking for a perfect, rich brew.

Before my trip I was very happy with my coffee maker.
Whole 30

When I came home, I bought an old-fashioned espresso maker.
Whole 30

And good coffee.
Whole 30

Then I graduated to the Ninja coffee maker.
Whole 30
My unsolicited feedback is that this makes great coffee. My only complaint is that the full carafe only makes about 4 (American) cups. But the quality of the coffee is superb.

But I digress. Good coffee, fine wine.

I started the Whole 30 on Monday. I re-read my last post about what I liked and didn’t like about the Whole30 before, and it all rings true:

  • I really don’t like not being inspired to eat. Life becomes eating to live instead of living to eat. I enjoy eating, and savoring good food.
  • I do like being focused, sleeping well, and having a lot of energy.
  • The interesting thing so far is that I am tired at night. I find myself nodding off at 10:30 and sleeping the whole night through. I guess that’s my body playing catch up from all the late nights from having too much caffeine or too much rich food.

My progress thus far:

  • Thursday evening was a friend’s birthday celebration. I had a nice glass of wine and some bread and butter with my meal. It was delicious!
  • I forgave myself and got back on the Whole 30 wagon.
  • Friday morning – back to the Whole 30.
  • Friday evening – sushi…and green tea ice cream!
  • I forgave myself and got back on the Whole 30 wagon.
  • Saturday morning – bagels, cream cheese and butter. Coffee with frothed cream.
    Heavenly.
  • I forgave myself and got back on the Whole 30 wagon.
  • Saturday lunch is coming. Planning on a Big A$$ salad and chicken thighs cooked in coconut oil.

Yep. It’s not the Whole 30 this time. Definitely the Three-Quarters 30.
I forgive myself and get back on the Whole 30 wagon.

I’m good with that.

2016 Blizzard

2016 Blizzard….or how I spent my time during the storm.

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Cause and Effect – Does Fate Exist?

I was listening to a radio show, possibly Radio Lab, the other day while running errands. There was a conversation about fate with a quantum physicist who used the example of whether choosing chocolate or vanilla ice cream determines your path in life.  Of course, he denied the plausibility of this concept.

What about fate?

I made some facetious remark on my FB feed about how the discussion only made me crave ice cream.

Geez, that is so not true!

Days, even weeks, later and I am still thinking about it.

Let’s say you chose chocolate, and ended up spilling some on your shirt.  This causes you to take it to the dry cleaner the next day.

Going to the dry cleaner changes the course of your life because you end up running into someone or having a conversation that makes you inspired to look into <x>, and you end up <changing your career, meeting the next person with whom you have a relationship, or trying something new/old/xx> that changes your current direction.

Or Not.

Then again, you could have chosen vanilla, not had any mishaps and continued with your plans.  Does this change the course of your life, or are you following a pre-established script?

I don’t have the answers. Nor do I really have any beliefs around it.

I had a conversation with a co-worker who told me that she feels that “things happen for a reason.” I replied that I don’t believe that, but I do believe that “things turn out, one way or another,” which to me is realistic and non-committal.  However,  my co-worker felt we were saying the same thing.  I disagree because I think her point of view implies some kind of faith, and mine reflects reality.  I guess if faith is your reality then they could possibly be conceived as the same perspective.  But faith, especially blind faith, is not my reality.

I’ve had a week or so to ponder this, and I also realized that Fate and Fatal are similar sounding words.

Interestingly, the full definition of fate is about the end or final outcome:

Full Definition of fate

  1. 1 :  the will or principle or determining cause by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do :  destiny

  2. 2 a :  an inevitable and often adverse outcome, condition, or end b :  disaster; especially :  death

  3. 3 a :  final outcome b :  the expected result of normal development <prospective fate of embryonic cells> c :  the circumstances that befall someone or something <did not know the fate of her former classmates>

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this post.  I’m still mulling it over.  I will admit that I believe that certain things will happen, like being in a relationship again, and I do believe in the power of intention.  I also think that once you start thinking about things, you start to notice events or occurrences that relate to your thoughts.  They would still be there otherwise, it’s just that you happen to notice them since they’re on your mind.  Then some people might call it a crazy coincidence, but it’s really just a matter of observation.

Who knows?  I just had to get these thoughts out of my mind and onto (virtual) paper.

Your thoughts?

This weekend…VKL NYC!

Vogue Knitting Live NYC 2016 is this weekend!

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since VKL NYC 2015! The Knitting with Beads course with Laura Nelkin has changed my life. I have been spending the year teaching myself beading, and transferring much of my spending to beading supplies.

And guess what?

I am not going to VKL NYC this year! Instead I am saving my pennies to go to a beading fair next weekend.

My goal remains the same – to combine knitting and beading in unusual ways.  I’ve been spending this year learning basic beading techniques to understand how it works…so that I can rework it.

IMG_20160113_081024 - Copy

Did I mention that beading is fun? And more immediate gratification than knitting!  But there are so many choices, and really, a lot of thinking and processing.  And stringing is not as easy as it looks. Sure, putting beads on a string is easy, but the design, and making sure the beads fall correctly takes longer than I expected.  It’s all very enjoyable.

Beading

And pretty!

December 2015 Reading Report – Books Read

December is a good month for reading.  For those of us not preoccupied with holiday activities, there is plenty of time to read (bead, knit, etc.) and bookstore sales to help feed the hunger.

The second half of December is very quiet in my office.  A lot of people take this time off, which provides those of us still at work the opportunity to catch up on the little tasks that just never get done.  However, enough is enough, and I only worked two days this week.  I would love that to be my new norm. 2 work days each week, but full time pay.  That would be nice!!

I think a lot of people were reading this month because I received 5 books from my library holds list.  The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman didn’t even make it to this month’s Reading list. I just knew I wouldn’t get through the other books, so I re-entered its Hold line.

Slade House by David Mitchell had been on my To Read list, and LD gave it to me as a holiday gift.  Its reviews referred to it as a haunted house story, so I did not want to read it before bed!  I spent two hours one afternoon to read it.  Among the many reviews –

“An eerie haunted house tale that takes as much from quantum mechanics as from traditional supernatural lore.”

Dean Koontz, #1 New York Times bestselling author

I read it in one sitting because I knew if I put it down, it would be unlikely that I would pick it up again.  The characters were not really developed, except perhaps the Slade House inhabitants; I would not recommend it, but I’m glad I read it so I can take it off my list!

Books Read December 2015

TitleAuthorRating
Stringing, Winter 2016
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MagazineGood
Betsy BeadsBetsy HershbergThumbs Up
How to be BothAli SmithSo far so good
Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes--But Some DoMatthew SyedOnly a little way in
Slade HouseDavid Mitchell2 stars
1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die: A Food Lover's Life ListMimi SheratonDownloaded a Sample - on the fence about next step
Season of Salt and HoneyHannah TunnicliffeNot for me (see below)
Four Funerals and a WeddingJill SmoloweWhat was I thinking?
The Rosie ProjectGraeme SimsionUgh
100 Days of HappinessFausto BrizziNot for me (see below)
The Improbability of LoveHannah Rothschild3 stars

The Improbability of Love was my primary read this month. I give it 3 stars because I skipped a lot of pages that just seemed to be extraneous story telling, but there were 2 primary concepts that kept me engaged. The main character, Annie,  is recovering from divorce and restarting her life. She buys a painting in a thrift shop on a lark, and part of the story that was interesting is about discovering its origins and artist. The other portion of the story that really fascinated me was about her work as a cook for large dinner parties that were based on certain paintings. She would research the food, decor, etiquette and customs of the time of the painting, as well as the painter’s and the painting subject’s lives, and then create a meal and decorations around it. The author should have done more writing in this vein, rather than some of the other avenues she chose.

December 2015 Reading

I’ve really just started How to Be Both, but it seems to be somewhat similar in taking an older painting and seeing how it re-introduces itself in modern life: “How to be both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real – and all life’s givens get given a second chance.”

December 2015 Reading

I believe I was undergoing some unconscious need for grief counseling or moving on or something this month, when I selected Season of Salt and Honey, Four Funerals and a Wedding, and 100 Days of Happiness. Okay, yes for this theory with Four Funerals and a Wedding which is blatantly described as “With humor and quiet wisdom, and with a lens firmly trained on what helped her tolerate and rebound from so much sorrow, she offers answers to questions we all confront in the face of loss, and reminds us that grief is not only about endings it’s about new beginnings.” I only got this as a sample, because I hate trite sentimentality like “not only about endings it’s about new beginnings.” I think I knew I wouldn’t like it, but somehow couldn’t resist. Then, Season of Salt and Honey was from my library’s Holds list. By the time the book’s in my queue, I’ve forgotten what it’s about or why I wanted to read it. Given my recent trip to Italy, I can see why I might have been attracted to this novel: “A NOVEL OF LOVE, GRIEF AND ANTIPASTI.” However, it starts out at the Italian equivalent of a shiva for the main character’s fiance. That was enough for me. Done. Book over. Finally, I don’t know what I was thinking when I put 100 Days of Happiness on my account as a Hold. “What would you do if you knew you only had 100 days left to live? For Lucio Battistini, it’s a chance to spend the rest of his life the way he always should have—by making every moment count” drew me in for some reason. When DDSO was undergoing chemotherapy, he sent emails to his friends about his experiences. This book reminded me of that. I definitively closed the book and said if I wanted to read this, I would look for those emails. Enough said. No thanks.

December 2015 Reading

I downloaded a sample of Mimi Sheraton’s 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die: A Food Lover’s Life List. (I like using the word “sample” with this book because it always makes me smile thinking about getting a sample of each food!) I perused the first chapter, which is centered on English and Scottish food. As one of my friends said, English food is not even supposed to be good – why is that included?! Maybe the author was starting off with the simpler foods in life – like cheddar cheese and clotted cream. Anyway, I think it might be fun to have this book and check off foods as I have them. I haven’t quite decided if this is what I want to do. Maybe a library book version next?

 

 
Save 30% at Interweave with Offer Code NEWYEAR2016

Reading December 2015 – Books bought

WOW, what a month!  The desire to read has resurfaced in abundant measure!  Plus, it is gift giving time, books as gifts – for others and for me!

I feel like I was so impressionable and hungry for good reading this month.  My standard MO is to read a (primarily the Sunday NY Times) book review, look for the book’s review on Goodreads, and then notate it as Want To Read, or my own shelf – Get from library.  This month it was more: read the book review, look it up on Goodreads, see if it’s in the library Overdrive listing. What? No?  Buy it.

I have also started to lean back toward buying the physical book.  An e-reader just cannot replace holding the book, physically seeing the pages turn and having the pages move from “more to read” to “already read” to “so little to go” (which is sometimes a relief and other times sad because I don’t want to say goodbye to the characters.)  I’ve also learned that is very important to me to be able to re-read the back cover to recall what compelled me to read this book in the first place.

I’ve decided to break up this month’s Reading Report into two separate posts.  First, I have purchased more books than usual and have more to report in both the Purchased and Read categories.  Second, it’s December 30th.  I’m hoping that publishing this post today will end this month’s spending.  (I have two magazine subscriptions in the Interweave Store cart, and in the list below – a solid recognition that this coveting will soon end with a purchase.)

Books Bought December 2015

TitleAuthor
Stringing, Winter 2016
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Magazine
Betsy BeadsBetsy Hershberg
Chevron AfghansCaron Yarn Company
50 Hats & Caps to KnitKnit Simple Magazine
Superforecasting: The Art and Science of PredictionDr. Philip Tetlock, Dan Gardner
The Best American Science and Nature WritingRebecca Skloot (Editor), Tim Folger (Editor)
Tricky Twenty-TwoJanet Evanovich
The Girl in the Spider’s WebDavid Lagercrantz
The SportswriterRichard Ford
The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.
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Nichole Bernier
When I Married My Mother: A Daughter's Search for What Really Matters...Jo Maeder
Stringing, SubscriptionMagazine
Beadwork, SubscriptionMagazine
Say You're One of ThemUwem Akpan
Thrilling CitiesIan Fleming
How to be BothAli Smith
Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes--But Some DoMatthew Syed
Why Not Me?Mindy Kaling

First the gifts.

For Lovely Daughter – a Finance and Marketing major: Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction, which is a chattily-written book that I thought she would enjoy because she is very smart in school but also street smart, common sense smart.  I thought this would meld with her brain perfectly. She had a different opinion, and allowed her brother to take it!  She received Why Not Me? as a replacement, at her request.

For Elusive Son, who made an appearance home for the Christmas week!: his sister’s gift – Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction because he thought it would be interesting; The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz, the new fourth installment of the Dragon Tattoo series.  It was a complete surprise to him that there was a fourth book, especially given that the author had died.  I also gave him The Best American Science and Nature Writing, which I thought would be right up his alley, specifically the Science part.  This is a young man who was upset that he couldn’t minor in Physics in college (due to course scheduling challenges). (Very different from his math-phobic, creatively-asymmetrically-centered mother.)

My spending strategy can be categorized as:

  1. Beading/Knitting/CreativityStringing, Winter 2016, Betsy Beads, Chevron Afghans, 50 Hats & Caps to Knit, Stringing Magazine Subscription, Beadwork Magazine Subscription.  The most delightful surprise of this collection is the Betsy Beads book – a woman who combines knitting with beading.  I am happy to have found this book, not really as inspiration for her ideas but as inspiration for doing my own thing.  The most disappointing surprise was receiving the Chevron Afghans book and realizing that it’s all crochet patterns.
  2. Book club related – our January book is Tricky Twenty-Two, selected as a light read for the busy holiday season; I had recommended The Sportswriter, and it was not selected.  So I bought it to read on my own instead.  Jennie from book club recommended Say You’re One of Them, but I have not read it yet. December 2015 Reading
  3. Kindle bargainsThe Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. and When I Married My Mother: A Daughter’s Search for What Really Matters…. I have not started either one yet.
  4. Escape to a different reality genreThrilling Cities and Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes–But Some Do.  This is an odd category but both books really fit it.  Thrilling Cities is by Ian Fleming (yes, of James Bond fame) and was written in the sixties.  It’s his take on different cities. I thought it would be well-written and interesting – (1) to see his perspective and (2) to see how much the cities have changed since it was written.  I’m only a few pages in so can’t report on it yet.  Matthew Syed’s book fit this category in a different way – to see what mistakes I’ve made and how not to repeat them – give myself a different reality.  I’ve only read the introduction so far, and some of that may be that I’m not quite ready for it.
  5. NY Times Book Review Gotta Have It – Ali Smith’s How to be Both.  I’ve been drawn in to other reviews of this author, and have many of her books on my Goodreads Want to Read list.  I just jumped in and bought this one.  (I just looked for the article on the NY Times site, and I think it must’ve been mentioned in an interview – where someone is asked what he/she is currently reading.  Although there is an article from June 2014 with the title, “An Onion of a Novel, Demanding to be Peeled.”)  Oh, now I’m reminded that The Sportswriter is also in this category.  Someone did mention this book in an interview in the Book Review section.

All this purchasing creates a “burden” to read. Luckily, there’s time off for the holidays…The Reading Report will soon follow!

 

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