10 Saturday Ponderings . . .

Aug 22, 2020

The sunflowers are in full bloom in the neighborhoods in Bend that are not towered by pine trees, and discovering them wherever they may present themselves prompts an immediate smile.

The beauty above surprised me towards the end of a walk this week, and I could not help but stop and take a pictures of what appeared to be a harbinger of the autumn colors so closely around the corner.

The week after TSLL’s French Week is always an abrupt shift. A bustling schedule full of exuberance and dreams of France as though it is at our fingertips just days before and then it is back to the regular week. It truly did feel much like vacation. Yes, a working vacation on my end, but sincerely a working vacation I enjoy every year, and this year was no different.

The past week was a week of settling back in, but thankfully, seeing great progress.

Yesterday, my contractor removed all of the cabinet doors that will be painted off-sight, presenting me with a glance at a small project I may want to tend to this weekend – folding more neatly my linens, arranging what hides behind the doors in a more orderly fashion. 🙂 Yikes! However, the painting is the final significant part in the customization, so I am celebrating the arrival at this part of the journey.

School is just around the corner and stepping through the doors this week, having the opportunity to chat with some of my colleagues, was a lovely gradual easing in to what will be a more full-time focus in just a couple of weeks. (we will be teaching remotely)

I am looking forward to stepping out into the garden today as the temperatures look to be about perfect for tootling about as flowers need to be spruced up and dead-headed, a few sunflowers need to be propped up and more lavender needs to be harvested (I have gotten behind on this final task, as the lavender’s blooming is complete).

However, first, to ponder . . .

Last month the ponderings were hurdled over, but I do enjoy sharing this post once a month, about mid-month, to share with you a few things that have been dancing through my mind, and maybe yours as well or maybe it would be intriguing to you upon seeing it included. Here we go!

1.What goes through Norman’s mind when he goes paddling.

In the picture below, on the right-side a swimmer is making their way down the length of the river. Shortly before that, a fish jumped fewer than three feet directly in front of our board and Norman was staring directly at it. And nearing our docking, a female duck quickly darted out of her sleeping cove on the edge of the water not more than a yard away from our board.

Through it all, Norman stands stoicly at the end of the board. Sometimes he will turn around to see how I am doing, but overall, he seems to enjoy his perch.

2. Mise en Place for places beyond the kitchen

Julia Child’s famous peg board with outlines for her kitchen tools made by her husband. The items once needs for a recipe all chopped and prepared to be added when ready. Mise en Place, as shared in episode #267 simply means “set in place”. However, what if we could apply this helpful concept to other areas of the home?

Recently my garage was organized, the tall gardening tools finally found a home in a small space along a wall, and I was delighted to see that they all fit comfortably so long as they were placed in a certain order and position. The more I looked at this space, I became aware, this was in a small way, mise en place at work my gardening work area. Coincidentially, I read this article afterwards, and as she shares, she is taking mise en place to her office space, and why not!

The Art of Mise en Place, episode #267

3. What will my fall preplist for work and school actually be this year?

During this coming week I will be sharing a post detailing just the answer to this question as it has been running around in my mind more than it would typically. I am finding I am not clothes shopping as I normally would for the fall season, but on the flip side, what needs more attention this year than it normally would – skincare, mental health, etc.? I would love to hear your thoughts about how you are, or if you are, shifting your approach to fall this year as you prepare to be rejuvenated and productive.

4. What would the suffragists of 1920 think about where we are now?

In an IG post this week (see below), August 18th, I recommended a section in The New York Times that had been the focus on the writers and journalist for nearly a year. Here is the link to the full document – Suffrage at 100: A Visual History.

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On this date 100 years ago the 19th Amendment of the United States was ratified. After 72 years of struggling through force feedings, imprisonments, civil protests and arrests, an amendment granting the right to women belatedly since the founding of our country to vote in their own country in order to have a voice in their own government was written verbatim into law that “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex”. As many of us know, not all women in our country were able to vote with the passage of this amendment in 1920. The last state to ratify this amendment did so in 1984. To say it was a sure-thing, to take this right for granted is foolhardy. The strive toward equality through providing equanimity and acknowledgement that while we may be striving for the same outcome, our individual paths there are different and for many, more difficult than others, is to strengthen the progress that is and will be achieved toward the desired goal. As more people learn the true history of our country, and I count myself one of them as I for example recently learned about the difference between universal feminism vs. intersectional feminism, we can become more compassionate, more understanding and I am confident, more united. Certainly today is a day to celebrate and pay homage to all of those who strove and sacrificed to bring this XIX amendment to fruition, but there is still work to do. Let us keep striving, keep learning, remain united and yes, we are and will continue to make progress. (I highly recommend this special section of @nytimes which was part of this last Sunday’s paper. The editors and writers have been working on it for nearly a year, and it is worth your way through all of the historical spotlights.)

A post shared by Shannon Ables (@thesimplyluxuriouslife) on

5. The power of running water

As we know, water is an essential component in our day-to-day lives is vital, as well, our bodies are largely made up of water. Whenever I walk along the river, stroll in the sand near the ocean’s waves or dip my feet into the water’s depth as I am paddle boarding, I am full present most immediately. And when it runs, it soothes. I could have stood at this spot (shared in the image below) much longer. The way the water ran like glass over the rocks, hugging them and seeming to polish their surface, the steadiness, yet simultaneous movement – a gift to the ears and most powerfully, the mind.

6. Reading delightful prose

A thank you to a TSLL reader for recommending this gardening series. I have just begun the first book (shown below) and have been loving each short essay as I read one or two each evening. Each book has a different author and has been republished as most of the original copyrights are from the early twentieth-century or late nineteenth.

7. The enjoyment and comfort of dresses

This summer, and this past spring as well, I have been gravitating toward dresses. Some loose and comfortable such as a shift or a maxi, but for going about errands and even being outside on the porch as the neighbors will see me, wearing a dress with a fitted waist. Vogue shared this article last month in response to how little we are dressing up as we are not going out, and while we don’t want to default to wearing sweat pants and leggings incessantly, how the day dress may be returning. Well, it already has in my house, and I am loving it. 🙂

~Peruse through these two posts for some beautiful summer and pre-fall dresses.

Ralph Lauren’s different styles and price points are where I have found two dresses I enjoy wearing during the summer and early fall months. (show this anchor-print dress here)

8. Soaking up each morning I am able to have breakfast on my garden porch

I had hoped to share with you the reveal of my garden porch during French Week as some of the brands were quintessential French, but many of the items I ordered months ago were delayed due to the pandemic. However, just this week, the bistro set I had my heart set on for a couple of years finally arrived, and I have begun to enjoy my breakfasts as well as my winding downs each evening on the porch seated at the table. I don’t know how many beautiful mornings and warm evenings I will have before fall weather kicks in here in Bend, so I am savoring each one.

Look for a reveal hopefully in October when the final piece is scheduled to arrive.

9. An article that I enjoyed reading this week

Profiling Jennifer Aniston in the LA Times, the actress who won this year’s most recent SAG award for her role in ‘The Morning Show’ shares how the filming of the show is akin to 20 years of therapy.

10. Some music for your weekend – one of the most popular Oboe Concertos.

I do love oboe, and while I don’t know much about music or this instrument in particular, every time I hear it, my ears perk up in pleasure.

Below, listen to Albinoni’s Concerto for 2 Oboes in C Major

Ah, Saturday. What a sweet day you are.

I do hope you have a wonderful weekend and that your ponderings are inspiring, helpful and delight your mind and being.

I am off to the kitchen to make breakfast and enjoy nibbling and sipping and playing the mini daily crossword on the garden porch (it’s free!), and then let the day unfold as it will. Bonne journée!

View past Saturday Ponderings below







9 thoughts on “10 Saturday Ponderings . . .

  1. My back-to-school clothes shopping this year consisted of another 5 pairs of yoga leggings (with pockets, of course!), since I’m teaching remotely, at least for the fall semester.

    1. Kristie, I am sorry to hear that and think it is completely understandable. With so many unknowns and certainties, it will certainly make us all appreciative of a more normal time when it does return. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you, Shannon, for your suggestions and musings. I am a teacher of students with special needs and am facing the challenges of teaching in a whole new manner. What with face-to-face instruction as well as blended and distance learning options for my students, it will be a very confusing time indeed! It was nice to read your post and be reminded that it is okay to maintain a sense of normalcy and to take the time to care for ourselves.

  3. Hi Shannon!
    I love the sound of oboes and flutes! It makes me feel happy! Thank you for sharing Albinoni’s Cocerto with oboes.
    Stay well.

  4. Your positivity is so refreshing. It’s easy to get bogged down in all the things we can’t control and when that happens, I can feel stuck in a negativity loop. I’m sure you have frustrations about remote learning (I sometimes do, even though I believe it’s the right thing to do), but instead you chose to mention the pleasure in catching up with colleagues. A great goal for this week – focus on the positives!

  5. Thank you for this article Shannon. I love to know your tips and recommendations for interesting things to consider or enjoy. Particularly – your thoughts about Norman’s thoughts! I have a fur baby of my own and often wonder what goes through his mind, particularly now we’ve moved to a new home and he has a vast open stretch of harden to enjoy.
    Also, thank you for the Jennifer Aniston article link – i always enjoy reading interviews with her. She seems like such a thoughtful, interesting woman!

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