Thursday, March 16, 2017

An interview with myself

Q&A:  blogger tamknots interviews . . . herself  😉

Today I'm pleased to welcome myself as a guest to the blog to have a conversation with me about my new pursuit of bidding on ebay. (Yes, it's taken me 20 years to catch on to the concept.)

Hello Tammy. Why now? What has sparked this sudden interest in e-commerce bidding?
I was searching for one particular item, vintage books by a specific author, to begin a sentimental collection.

Please tell me more about the collection you are starting.
Author Emilie Loring was a bestselling author in the first half of the 20th century, writing romance novels with strong independent female characters. Her detailed bio, along with the list of her published books are featured on The Emilie Loring Collection website, written by Patti Bender who is also writing a biography, Happy Landings: The Life Behind Emilie Loring's Stories.

How did your interest in this author begin?
In 7th grade I had started to outgrow the Nancy Drew books and similar series. I ran into a junior high classmate at our rural Wyoming hometown public library who showed me the fiction shelf (in the adult section!) and made the recommendation. I felt so cool reading grown-up books. The books are simple love stories, with independent interesting female characters.

Have you been satisfied with the books you've purchased so far?
Yes! I have purchased six books. All are in excellent condition. My second bid was for a set of five first editions with the original cover jackets. It's almost as if they were put on a shelf and never touched by the original owner.

The first book I purchased, Give Me One Summer, published in 1936, has an inscription on the inside cover. Someone who had a very special 'Uncle John' received it as a Christmas present that year. It makes me treasure owning this book even more!

What contributed to your love of reading and writing?
In 1966 when I walked home from my first day of 1st grade, my mother was waiting for me at the end of the sidewalk. She asked me if I had a good day, and I started to cry. I was so disappointed that I had not been taught to read on that very first day. I can vividly remember that scene and my feelings 50 years later.

author Laura Ingalls Wilder
What are the first books you remember reading?
The Little House on the Prairie series. I love those books. One of my favorite all-time quotes is from Laura Ingalls Wilder:

"Home is the nicest word there is."

I wholeheartedly agree with that!

I'm sure I read every Nancy Drew on the school library shelves.

Anything else you'd like to share?
To my family and friends in Wyo and NE who happen to read this: please be on the lookout for library-bound hardcover Emilie Loring books as you visit yard sales and estate sales in your area.

Thank you to my hubby for the beautiful roses in the photos.

xoxo Tammy

Monday, March 6, 2017

So, what's new with you?

Hi everyone,

A former colleague of mine dropped by the office last week. He left about two years ago to pursue an entrepreneurship opportunity. He's also newly remarried, has moved to a new town, and had all sorts of newsy stuff to share. We had a wonderful conversation, catching up on his life and talking about updates from around campus. Then he asked me,

So, what's new with you?

Ugh! This is such a hard question for me to answer casually.

I'm fine... hubby's fine... kiddos are great... work's fine...

I haven't seen this guy in a long time, but I couldn't think of one newsworthy thing that was "new with me."

Later, I decided to challenge myself to come up with ten things that were new with me within the past 18 months.

👱     I've started to enjoy sushi. Not anything too crazy, but I can now order it as an entree instead of just sampling it from another's plate.

👱     I no longer watch, read, or listen to the national or local news. It has become too painful and unbearable. It's good here in my bubble.

👱     I'm standing more! I have a new gizmo on my office desk called a Kangaroo Pro. It helps make the day go by faster and has taken very little time to get used to.

👱     In knitting news, I learned the cable cast-on for the CM block stitch baby blanket. It makes a beautiful edge. I also added fringe for the very first time, Montego Bay Scarf.

👱     I tucked away all of my knitting projects and bags except for one! I'm returning to just knitting one project at a time. Dedicated, single focused, tunnel vision knitting.

That's FIVE, let's see if I can come up with FIVE more! 

👱     I've given up lipstick, sort of. My kids might remember when they were little, the car minivan never backed out of the driveway until my bright lipstick was applied. It was required to go with my career "look" that included a dress, pantyhose, and heels. This was the 90's. Now I'm good with a tinted lip balm or simply Burt's Bees beeswax.

👱     I've unfollowed a bunch of people (including knitters) on twitter and instagram. Radically opinionated people are a turn-off, no matter what flavor they are touting. Thank you to those who post with a sense of humor and love.

👱     Like everyone else, I've adapted to TV binging. It is the only way to watch a series as far as I'm concerned. Some of the recent ones that have obsessed me include Nurse Jackie, Gilmore Girls--both the original and the revival, and right now it's the legal drama Suits. I had never heard of this show until Prince Harry started dating cast member Meghan Markle, who plays paralegal Rachel Zane. I'm hooked!

👱     A young man near and dear to me completed boot camp this winter and earned the title of U.S. Marine. I had never before followed along, corresponded with, and prayed for someone entering this profession. I found it to be so interesting, and I am more thankful now than ever to the men and women who serve or have served in the military.

👱     Oh this is a big one! I opened an ebay account. For the first time. Years ago, Burton, a dearly departed coworker, talked incessantly about his bidding and purchases on ebay of golf clubs, fishing equipment, etc. He made it sound so mysterious and complicated, and it involved another thing I didn't understand, PayPal. I've discovered that it's not that intimidating, so I've taken the plunge for a new pursuit, which I'll share in a later post.

That's TEN!
And I wouldn't share any one of these if someone were to ask me in person.

What's new with you??

xoxo Tammy 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Reverse ___________.

Hi everyone,

New Year's resolutions, goals, and even to-do lists are of no interest to me. My motto for the most part is get up, get dressed, and go to work. Rinse and repeat. Be tough and do the best you can, knowing some days will be better than others. Gripe a little or a lot throughout the week, and then OH SO enjoy the weekend.

After his last game of the season, Panthers QB Cam Newton said he has a love-hate relationship with football. It's his job, and don't most American workers have that love-hate struggle with their workplace, regardless if they are earning millions?

Listed below are some thoughts about how we can look at things in a different way for this new year. Some are real "googled" topics, others I just dreamed up.


My bucket list doesn't exist. But there are so many wonderful experiences, accomplishments, and memories to fill my reverse bucket list -- that's the gratitude list of your life's most rewarding events. I encourage you to start yours. I learned about this concept from a Twitter post on @livequiet:
My reverse bucket list was a list of the absolute best, most soulful, most meaningful experiences I’ve had in my life thus far. Here’s the really interesting takeaway, one I think might pique your curiosity: Not only did this little exercise ground me and make me feel pretty darn grateful for the life I’ve had, the list revealed to me that most of my blissed-out, connection-rich life moments have involved travel.  --Jennifer Mattern 

Reverse Muggings
Secret Santas in Charlotte, NC anonymously handed out $100 bills during the 2016 holidays. They call their random acts of generosity reverse muggings.


Adopt a reverse mentor -- someone from at least a generation younger (baby boomer partnered with a millennial) to become more contemporary in all areas of your life.


Reverse travel:  That's called a STAY-CATION, the best possible way to get rested and refreshed.


My job doesn't allow me to work at home on a regular basis, something I would love to do because I'm such a homebody. So I've decided I can  reverse telecommute by making my office space feel more like my home. Leave out the bathrobe and knitting, but include favorite photos, a special coffee mug, and hospitality granted to anyone stopping by.


Reverse attitude:  If it's negative, reverse it!
Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.  --Wayne Dyer

Reverse aging:  It's not the number, it's the frame of mind. Cute book:  How Not to Act Old:  185 Ways to Pass for Phat, Sick, Dope, Awesome, or at Least Not Totally Lame.


Reverse celebrity:  Stop caring about how many followers you have on social media.

After winning the National Championship game, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney would exclaim, “I told ’em that the difference in this game was going to be love they had for each other. I told them to let the light they have inside of them be brighter than the light shining on them. If they focused on that they’d be OK.”


Reverse fitness


Reverse success
Entrepreneur programs are all the rage at colleges and universities these days. One campus has established a "failure fund" to inspire students to pursue creative ideas, encouraging them to fail.



Sometimes it's okay to work alone, to solve a problem alone, to spend time alone. To be self-reliant.

Wyoming Spirit: low-drama, tenacious and independent.

What can you put in reverse?

xoxo Tammy

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Hi there,
I am off from work this week--decided I needed a break and change of scenery from the daily grind. It is a glorious time of year, we are just starting to see tiny changes in the weather, lower temps, and an occasional colored leaf, although most everything is still pretty green.

It feels good to be a homemaker as my full-time and only job for a few days. I accomplished some much needed fall cleaning early in the week. As part of this, we are updating a few pieces of furniture in the family room, and we moved the piano out of that room to the living room. Some call it a formal living room, but there is nothing formal about me or my home. The room is not used as much as others, but it is a lovely quiet spot to take a phone call, read, and now practice playing the piano.

This beauty was given to my mom from her parents as her high school graduation gift in Lyman, Nebraska in 1944. That makes it 72 years old. It's been moved a lot, first throughout my parents 40+ years of marriage, then we had it moved from a storage shed in Wyoming to Knoxville, Tennessee in the early 90's, then to North Carolina. I hope it will always stay in our family, regardless of whether anyone knows how to play it. I took 12 years of piano lessons from first grade to senior year, and I cannot read music and can only play with one finger. What a prodigy, ha! How do you get to Carnegie Hall? practicepracticepractice 

My mom, on the other hand, could play the heck out of that piano, every kind of music except classical. She played hymns, contemporary church music, Christmas carols, honky-tonk, polkas, and any pop song from the radio. 

I have all of her sheet music, the piano bench is full, and I have another huge box of it in the attic. Lots of 70's fun. She could listen to a song on the radio and then sit down and play it. She had such a God-given gift, which she used frequently in our hometown Presbyterian Church to accompany soloists and perform with the choir for holidays. I cherish these memories.

My goal is to learn the Charlie Brown song, to be able to play it gleefully well. 

#goals practicepracticepractice

Above the piano are old photos from my parents' wedding in 1947. Dorothy and Fred (affectionately known as Dot & Fritz) were engaged before my dad shipped off to the Philippines in WWII and were married as soon as he returned from his two years of service in the Army. They had a huge two-day Dutch Hop wedding, the kind that was popular in German farming communities like Goshen County, especially in the 40's and 50's. The Dutch Hop is a type of dance and style of music particular to the Germans who immigrated to the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from Russia's Volga River region. It's similar to a polka, but has more of a hop to it. A polka band with a dulcimer played at the wedding. If you wanted to have a dance with the bride, you had to pin money on her wedding dress. The German farm wives prepared all of the food, noodle soup and butterballs, light rye bread, garlic sausage, and vegetable beef soup, salads and dessert, and kegs of beer and bottles of whiskey. The cooks brought favorite glasses, plates, or bowls and smashed them on the floor as they danced around the couple.

I really hit the jackpot when it came to parents. 

xoxo Tammy

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Feel the love

Hi there,
I knit very few baby items. My knitting time and energy are limited so I'm either making cowls and scarves for myself or my daughter or dishcloths for my own household. I never knit by special order.

My son's very special friends, Meredith and Bradley, have been going through a difficult first pregnancy with twins, resulting in an early hospitalization for required bed rest. The baby boys were born very early and will be in the neonatal unit until around Thanksgiving.

As a small gesture of support and love, I knit up two Simple Preemie Caps in Manos del Uruguay Serena Tide and Glacier.

Babies Luke and Owen, we are pulling for you.

xoxo Tammy

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Wrapping up summer

Hi there,
We were honored this weekend to gather with our family friends, David & Susan, and their extended family to celebrate the wedding of their youngest daughter Liv (whose sister Alexa was the bride in 2015).  

Years ago during our soccer travels when our daughter played, I remember passing a beautiful old abandoned dairy barn as we drove around a sharp curve to the complex. I remember saying how I wish someone would turn it into a restaurant or event place. When we got to the wedding destination just outside of Winston-Salem, NC, I was shocked to discover that Liv's beautiful wedding was going to be held inside that renovated barn.  

It is now called the WinMock at Kinderton. Check out its story, what an incredible venue. 

Steph & me in our wedding attire

Congratulations to Johnny & Liv, enjoy the high seas, and we look forward to seeing you at the Fantasy Football Live Draft later next week!

I have a finished object to share, it's the Montego Bay Scarf, and I'm happy with how it turned out. It was fun adding the fringe to the ends.

For my birthday earlier this month, Susan gave me a generous gift card to my LYS. I couldn't wait to pick out some yarn. Normally when I buy yarn, I have the pattern picked out. This time, I went into the store expecting to come out with something with linen content. I didn't care for the colors that were on the shelf, and the helpful store clerk steered me toward some 100% bulky cotton in Carolina Panthers colors.

I knew I wanted to find a cowl pattern that would show off the colors and not pool. I used 62 grams of a fourth skein to (gasp!) swatch the following:

garter -- too boring

seed stitch -- too much work

ribbed -- unattractive

I finally chose the pattern called Knotted Openwork Cowl that is simple and shows off the variegated colors of the yarn. It's really turning out well, and I would like to make the pattern again with a handpainted wool.

I'm a bit sad to see the Olympics come to an end, but our household is definitely ready for some football!

xoxo Tammy