Books,  Just Life,  Knitting


I sit here at 3:30 on a Friday afternoon and marvel that another weekend is upon us. I wonder if I’ll ever adjust to quaranTIME? I did manage to work my way through most of my to-do list this week (for the first time in a while … and my list even included some ugh things like getting my car’s emissions tested so I could renew the registration). and still, Georgia is in the news … thankfully not for a spike in COVID cases (which I’m honestly not sure I really believe … my life doesn’t look any different), but rather L-O-N-G voting lines. Two of my friends voted in person in less than an hour this week. My plan is still to vote next week … and I’ll have a sock-in-progress to keep me company.

Today marked Day 216 in my quarantine journal. seven months. I’m finding it harder and harder to remember what it was like Before. I’m grateful to have this blog and my journal for capturing the stories – big and little – that help me remember. I hope that there’s a future me who will find it hard to remember what it was like seven months into this quarantine. This post is for her.

I saw my mom In Real Life without a mask for the first time in months (her new house has a lovely wide sidewalk that’s perfect for a chair, and a visit) … also, I visited Starbucks for the first time since February 26.

I listened to another amazing podcast from Brené Brown. and added another book to my to-read list (Juliann let me know that the book is currently a Kindle deal and it’s now waiting in my library).

I finished THREE books. I was immersed in the best way possible in all three of these stories. *ahem* even to the detriment of things I should’ve been doing?! #selfcare #amIright?

Washington BlackWashington Black by Esi Edugyan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“There are several kinds of happiness, Washington. Sometimes it is not for us to choose, or even understand, the one granted us.”

Sara (@fictionmatters) recommended this book to me when I joined her Patreon community. I shared favorite books with her and she declared us “book twins”. When her first set of recommendations came back and included many books books I’d read and loved, I knew she was right. This book, however, was one that hadn’t been on my radar at all (perhaps because a few of my trusted book friends hadn’t been all that enthused about it?).

In any event, I loved the character of Washington Black, and his story was a grand one. Even grander, perhaps, because he was born in a time and place when Black men didn’t have those kinds of stories. Also, the writing is exceptional. not only the descriptions – oh my goodness, how about this one of the Arctic climate: “I dreamed about that cold for years after. It had a colour, a taste—it wrapped itself around one like an unwelcome skin and began, ever so delicately, to squeeze.” – but also emotions and motivations.

Wash and his story are going to be with me for a while. Thank you, Sara!

(note I originally borrowed the hardback from my library and finished with the kindle version. I really enjoyed reading this on paper, but the kindle makes it so much easier to capture the highlights!)

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the DeadDrive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The fact that we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future is a terrible mistake in the programming of the world. It should be fixed at the first opportunity.”

Oh my, this was a delightful surprise. Margene recommended it months ago and I was finally able to listen.

This book is funny (there’s a bit in the beginning where Janina talks about “testerone autism” that had me laughing out loud … on a walk in my neighborhood – I did get a few weird looks … and that happened more than once), thoughtful, surprising, and ultimately heartbreaking. The translation is especially good and the narration is inspired.

I can’t stop talking about this book, but wow, it’s hard to describe. I trusted Margene. maybe you’ll trust me. Grab a copy and listen!

View all my reviews

In the Bleak Midwinter (The Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #1)In the Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A brand-new-to-me mystery series featuring an Episcopal priest (who used to be a helicopter pilot in the Army) and a police chief (also former military) in a small town in upstate New York. So totally in my wheel house …and yet, I first heard about it this summer thanks to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide.

I devoured this in two evenings and an afternoon (gosh it’s nice to be able to set other things aside and just read a book!). I have the second one waiting on my Kindle, but I’ve promised myself I will get a few things on my to-do list done before I dive in.


I played three hours of tennis – a lesson on Tuesday, a clinic on Wednesday, and “just hitting balls” with my sister on Thursday. It was fun! I’m not as sore as last week. and I joined a team for the winter season!! I also met a few new people, and sweated a lot.

I walked 3-ish miles with Marc each morning. We rarely did this Before. for me, it took too much time. for him, I walked too fast. I can’t even remember most of what we talked about this week … but I do remember the Braves (maybe headed to the World Series?!?), golf, tennis, getting our house painted, empty school buses, taking out the vinca in the front bed, retiring the porch pots, and the camellias.

We did not talk about my knittingwhich has been so slow – see three books finished above! I am now well into sleeve #1 and sure hope to have a finished sweater next week.

Or the most-excellent mail week I had

top – Maron; bottom – Dissent (and making)

The making issue is gorgeous. but I have no capacity for making anything Intricate right now (if you look closely at the sleeve photo above, you might notice that there’s a mistake – there were actually two offsetting mistakes in that section which is why I didn’t catch it – and I’ve decided to let it go … a reminder of what my making brain was up to in this, month SEVEN of the quarantine) Next up, I think I’m going to start the Dissent pullover. Yes there’s a colorwork pattern, but I think it’s one I can handle. and the community aspect of the KAL with The Craftivist sounds lovely. (assuming of course, I do finish Stonecrop soon-ish!)

Also, I’m wearing jeans and a sweater … and (store-bought) socks. It’s nearly 5pm and the shadows are getting long. Time to take Holly out.

This weekend, I certainly hope to catch up with y’all and the comments you’ve left on my recent posts.

and I wish y’all the best weekend available to you.


  • Carole

    Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your week. I’ll admit to being a little jealous of your walks with Marc. Dale is doing really well but he can’t walk fast enough to keep up with me yet!

  • Honore´

    And I’ve added one book to my TBR -actually purchased Burnout – Kindle version and am flirting with the idea of both A & K of In the Bleak Midwinter; wanting a good mystery yarn that’s fast…
    Busy! You are! – do send some of that energy north; thank you! Glad you got to see Mom IRL and had a PSL – I”ve had about 4 since June…
    Congrats on the tennis and the knitting. Enjoy the weekend.

  • eileen

    All that tennis, I am so impressed! I tired to play tennis when I was in highschool but never could see the ball coming at me. Found out i was extremely far sighted—I stopped tennis and played flag football. Your sweater looks great and I can’t see the mistake.
    Have a Julia Spencer-Fleming book to pick up at the library this weekend, looking forward to the read.
    I love a good mail day and and it looks like you have an exceptional mail day.

  • Bonny

    When John and I walk together someone is usually lagging behind, and very often it’s me just because his stride is longer. It’s not a lot of fun for either of us! I’m looking forward to your thoughts on Burnout. I’ve had a headache literally all week, and I think it’s because my neck muscles are so tense from concern and worry. I may be sitting with the heating pad next week because Tylenol isn’t working and it’s getting hard to knit!

  • Debbie

    I read and enjoyed Washington Black a couple of years ago, I thought it was a great story. The other two books are on my very long and constantly growing TBR list.
    Getting out for a walk everyday is one of the things saving me during these times.
    My sister and I went to nearby Champaign for some shopping and a take out lunch from one of our favorite restaurants. We ate our food at a picnic table in a park not far from the restaurant and we saw some people gathered about, some sitting and some laying on the ground. We came to realize that the park was home to several homeless men! Oh well, they didn’t bother us and we didn’t seem to bother them. We enjoyed our lunch anyway. Hope you have a good weekend!

  • Sarah

    Thanks to you (and Juliann), I clicked over and purchased Burnout. It’ll be a while until I get to it — would you believe I have FOUR library books checked out right now?! — but I think it’ll be a good, useful read.

    Your Stonecrop is looking gorgeous, and I’m excited to see the new sweaters take shape. I hope you’ll share more about the yarn you ordered!

  • Margene

    I am so happy you were as delighted by Janina as I was. I also read Washington Black and found it one fantastical ride! In the Bleak Midminter has been added to my TBR, but I found I already have the audio version (I don’t remember buying it). Your life sounds almost normal. I am venturing out but being very careful. Out here, most of our cases are coming from contact with family and friends and not following guidelines like masking and distancing. That knowledge should help us all stay safe. I love your joy of day 216 (and beyond) and how full your life is even when distancing and (mostly) staying home.

  • Alexa

    Your sweater is looking wonderfully cosy, even without the sleeves – it will be perfect with jeans :). I’m a few podcasts behind so I must do the ironing and catch up, and thank-you for the reminder. You autumn exercise sounds perfect: plenty of weight-bearing exercise and fresh air. I feel lucky that despite Himself being a good bit taller than me, our pace is evenly matched when we walk. It must have been wonderful for you and your Mum to get together and I hope that continues … Things are shutting down again here, alas.

  • Katie @ The Cozy Burrow

    What a week! I love all of those piles of yarn, the book recommendations (!), and the pumpkin spice latte 🙂

    Georgia hasn’t made it easy for people to vote, have they?! But people are showing up and taking it seriously. I love that. And it’s happening EVERYWHERE. I’m trying to stay positive!!

  • kym

    What a lovely post, Mary! 🙂
    Tom and I take a very short walk every day . . . Jenny (our old dog) can’t walk very far anymore, but she still LOVES to get out and sniff around and have her “daily constitutional.” So Tom and I leash up both dogs and do a half-mile loop through our neighborhood together every day. Then I continue on to walk JoJo (younger dog) for several more miles while he takes Jenny in for a treat (and a nap!). And that’s a big Win-Win around here!

  • karen

    nice mail haul! I need to start shopping for my knitting friends but I know I have a few weeks before committing to any purchases. I’ve been busy getting a small wedding shower together for our son and his wife to be over here, and trying to squeeze in walks while autumn is bursting with colors.

  • Carolyn

    Hi, Mary! I know I often bring up the rear as a commenter…seems I’m always waiting for that window for reading responding. Which I probably don’t need to explain but I’m going to anyway 🙂 So much goodness here! I had to smile b/c on the rare occasions I visit Starbucks, I ALWAYS request Extra Hot! And I’m so glad you shared your recent read, _Bleak_! That’s one of my favorite Christmastime hymns, starters. My heart is very much still in the Episcoal Church, where I spent a significant amount of my life and time and invested in relationships. And I’m from Upstate (Western) New York. So while I somehow missed this in the MMD guide (probably because I couldn’t even LOOK at such a title in summertime. I feel so strongly about that, who knows why…). So I’m glad you shared it here! Have a lovely week. And good luck at the polls!

  • Carolyn

    P.S. My brother has been in the midst of a truly traumatizing divorice for too-long now, and I think that book might be a must for him. He’s coming for Thanksgiving…perhaps I’ll leave by his bedside, Thank you.

  • Vera

    I have always walked faster than Fletch (and taken fewer breaks for water, etc.). But…still…it is so nice to be out together isn’t it? Glad you got to see your Mom (and so thankful she is ok). I tried reading Drive your Plow, but I could not get into it. Maybe another time….You sound good Mary!!

  • Jane

    How wonderful you were able to visit with your Mom. Such a haul in the mail. Very pretty yarn – of course I like it, it is blue and blue/gray. Thanks for sharing your week. I’ve added a few more books to the library list. oy.

  • lydia

    The Spencer-Fleming book sounds very interesting-may need to add that to my reading queue which is still really just a queue. That all over color work-love seeing this sweater more close up. Beautiful