Previous month:
May 2018

Found 'em!

When I posted about Mother's Day last month, I referenced a photo of my sibs & I holding my mother in a manner that my girls were attempting with me. I couldn't find them then, but I just ran across them now...

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It was Mother's Day 2006.

Even better, I found a MOVIE!!

I love all the jokes and laughing! And the paparazzi!!

Four years. I miss you, Mom. xoxo


3TT: More Prep

Joining Carole and friends this week for Three on Thursday...

Thing 1 - RHUBARB BITTERS

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Yesterday, after agitating daily for 2 weeks (plus a day - ooops!), it was time for the next step in the process -- separating the agents from the alcohol and cooking them in water for a bit. I'll be agitating that concoction for about a week. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, remember back in the day when people/knitbloggers were making their own vanilla extract, mostly as gifts? I recall that there was a particular online shop for the procurement of bottles at a very reasonable price. Does anyone remember the site?

Thing 2 - IN THREES

Since taking this photo last evening, this little project is off the needles!

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I'll give it a little bath and find some buttons. The first of three baby knits is almost done! I think I'll make at least one more of these -- it's such a quick & fun one-skein project.

Thing 3 - MORE MKAL PREP

Kirsten herself thought that the variegation in the yarn I showed yesterday might mask the stitch pattern too much and, since she's the designer, I've decided to heed her warning. Another Raveler or two expressed concern that the pattern wasn't doing the yarn justice, and that had been a niggling thought. That yarn is GORGEOUS and I love the pairing that I have, so I'm going to save it for something else.

I did a little stash dive and the current yarn on deck for the TTL 2018 Mystery Shawl is this...

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This is some of my own hand-dyed yarn -- well, one of them is undyed/natural (haha!). The inspiration for the other was a photo of some succulents.

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Not this photo. But aren't they just endlessly fascinating? We have a bunch, in the ground or in pots -- Kate's plants are all residing with us at the moment, too -- and when I spotted this one the other day, I just couldn't resist taking a photo.

Kirsten's Mystery Knit-Along starts TOMORROW! C'mon, there's still time to jump in! I'm excited!!


Unraveled: Prepping for a Mystery

Joining Kat & the Unravelers...

KNITTING

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I am hoping that the stitch pattern is visible enough? I've posted it in the TTL MKAL forum and we'll see how Kirsten feels about it!  :)

READING

Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson has been my "listen," and I am enjoying it quite a bit. Marcus has a very interesting story -- Ethiopian-born & Swedish-raised, he thought he'd be a soccer star, not an accomplished chef. He reads the book himself and, though he speaks English very well, his accent is quite strong; I've heard him before on one of the cooking competition shows on TV, so I was familiar before I began the book. It's very engaging.

I haven't cracked open an actual book in probably almost a week. Summertime, man; we're busy (and then utterly exhausted)!!


Weekending: Sewing, Relaxing

Just before the kids left on Thursday night, I remembered to have Gin try on her new dress so I could measure for the hem. I took care of that little detail on Saturday morning!

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I guess I've got the sewing bug at the moment! I picked up a cute Disney fat-quarter bundle at Joann's a few weeks ago featuring Mickey Mouse -- I couldn't resist it then and it's been calling to me ever since! I had to listen...

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I had a blast putting that together -- it's a Made By Rae Geranium Top for Malina. I made the 3-6 month size because she is growing!! It's the first one I've made with the pleated skirt variation.

There was enough fabric leftover that I thought I'd try to cobble it together, along with something from my meager fabric stash, to make a coordinating top for Ginny. I've made the bodice, which looks much the same as Malina's, and here's the skirt front underway:

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I'm making the pleated skirt for this one, too, and it will also have POCKETS! The skirt back will be made entirely of the "extra" fabric. I originally wanted to use white for the "extra," but I didn't like the weight of it compared to the MM fabric, so... it's not perfect, but I think it'll be cute enough.

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Ali sent a few photos this morning. I think that Malina can't take her eyes off of her new top!!

She brought the kids over last night for ice cream cones...

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...to celebrate (Grand) Father's Day! I love how Malina's got her eyes on Ginny! Junah's all wet because he was dousing himself with a water bottle -- it was pretty hot & sticky yesterday.

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So relaxed, and too cute!!

Let's see, what else... We went to a couple of art/music things on Friday evening. We did a run for some gravel on Saturday, and also to try and find a rain barrel that I liked; didn't find one, so ordered one that I hope looks as nice in person (we shall see on Thursday!). I had my first-ever 90-minute massage on Saturday, too, during which I may have fallen asleep once or twice, but also resulting in my arm/shoulder feeling SO MUCH better! And I didn't even know that my left kneecap was in so much need of attention until she started working it... aahhhhhh. It was true bliss.

The weekend ended with this message from Al:

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A swishy & swirly one, I bet!!


TGIF: Random!

Rod's playing at a resort out of town this weekend and Ali & the kids are going along; they are leaving later today and returning on Sunday! It was all Malina for me last weekend with a shot of Gin & Jün, and I felt like I needed some time with the Big Kids before they go so took them for a few hours last night.

We decided to ride our bikes to the park. I don't know what made me think that riding my bike was a good idea... Ginny still needs a lot of assistance (she's a distracted driver!) My around-the-corner-and-down-the-block neighbors happened to be on their front porch, so we stopped to chat for a bit, and they suggested that I leave my bike there and pick it up on the return trip. BRILLIANT! (Thank you, thank you!)

We had a great time at the park!

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Ginny recently had her bangs trimmed by her mum. Guess who trimmed Junah's yesterday??? It's just a rite of passage, isn't it? Haha.

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I just love Jün's floral pants. Gin's wearing her In Threes cardigan! In other news, after the regression in potty training when Malina arrived on the scene, Gin seems to be interested once again! Yahoo! Ali cloth diapers her kids almost always, so this would bring some welcome relief in the laundry department.

Yesterday was my first CSA pick up of the season and I'm SO HAPPY to be doing this again. My farmers are Park Ridge Organics, and they use a system where I can customize my share. Right off the bat, I can go in and indicate that I generally hate arugula but love spinach and am okay with pac choi, so I'll never get arugula but lots of spinach and a little pac choi. Then they send a specific email every week telling me exactly what will be in my box -- and I can change it even then, this instead of that, or adding anything else that they might have available.

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This week, they indicated that they'd be sending me a basil plant. Well, I love basil and Rusty just finished repairs to a planter on the pergola, so I added three more plants (which Rusty planted this morning before it rained - YAY!). I also added some extra green onions and another head of butterhead lettuce this week.

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Another thing I love is an add-on of mixed mushrooms every other week. Yum. We had a great salad with dinner last night.

Our volunteer catalpa tree near the pergola is getting very big and has so many flowers this year!

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Catalpa trees remind me of Sharon. I never noticed them until one June, visiting Sharon (an arborist), I noticed an enormous flowering tree in the park across the street from her house and she told me what it was.

Speaking of Sharon...

Sharon

I miss her, of course, but especially on a day like today...

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It's the twins' 58th birthday!! Sharon on the left, Karen on the right, that amazing old playpen... no bells & whistles on those models (nor cushioning)!

And speaking of birthdays, a year ago this week we were eating paella in Spain...

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...to celebrate Mack's birthday. This year, he's 13 -- a TEENAGER!! So crazy.

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Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday to Mack!! I can't wait to see them all next month.

As if that's not enough, Ali & Rod are celebrating their 5th Anniversary today!!

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WUT?? Can you even believe that?


3TT: Yarn

Joining Carole and friends this week for Three on Thursday...

If you've been blogging for a while, you might remember the day -- way back in the day -- when people would blog about yarn. Specifically, it was a huge thing to excitedly blog about acquiring yarn -- stash enhancement -- whenever & wherever you acquired it, especially if it was "occasion" or "souvenir" yarn, or from a gift or a swap. I have fond memories of a few early swaps, and some of my all-time favorite knits were made from "swap yarn." I know there are still some swaps going on, but it's all changed quite a bit and I think that Ravelry and Instagram and hashtags are much more a part of it now than blogs and... I don't know, somehow it's not as personal and fun (to me, your mileage may vary).

Anyway, while recently in NY/NJ, I bought some yarn. I took three photos of that yarn when I got home, and I thought I'd share them with you. Just like the olden days!

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From the top:

1 -- Meadowcroft Dyeworks Yarn Rehab purchased at Knitty City & Molly Girl (it glows under black light!) purchased at Yarnia

2 -- Wol met Verve minis purchased at Knitty City

3 -- Life In the Longgrass Dye Studio purchased at Brooklyn General Store

Every one of these dyers is news to me... they hail from PA, the Netherlands, and Ireland... and I don't have a plan for any of them.

Well, I didn't have a plan for any of them... that LITLG Fine Sock from Ireland is now going to be my TTL Mystery Shawl. I have some thoughts about the Molly Girl Bass Line becoming something for a couple of little girls I know, too.


Unraveled Wednesday: Trapezette

KNITTING

You know that KNITTING is my primary therapist, but SEWING is a steadfast back-up! I bought this cute pin at Brooklyn Craft Co. last weekend for Ali -- they all decorate their barista aprons with pins at the coffee shop, and this is so true for her.

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Truth is, I haven't been knitting much. There's a hat & a shawl in current rotation, but I do most of my knitting in the evening and, well, this week we've either been busy or I'm just too pooped. I think about it all the time, though. And lately, I've also become a bit preoccupied with what to knit/make for three little baby girls due to arrive in the next couple of months. I really have to use some yarn that I already have and it has to be baby/mom friendly (i.e., washable), so that's limiting (not necessarily a bad thing... parameters)... I think I'm closing in on a plan.

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I've also been considering Kirsten's TTL Mystery Shawl... it's been a favorite each time that I've participated! The only thing holding me up is my sore arm, but a few short breaks from knitting, visits to the chiropractor, and the discovery of a major knot in my shoulder (I really need to schedule a proper massage) have all been helping. And I can certainly go at whatever pace is comfortable for me. UPDATE: Pattern purchased! 

SEWING

Even though my main occupation last weekend was cuddling & caring for Malina while her parents were busy at the Electric City Music Festival (big kids were with other grandma), I still managed to prepare, cut out, and sew The Trapezette Dress for her older sister -- my first Merchant & Mills pattern, recently purchased at Brooklyn General Store.

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I have a bit of finishing to do (hemming & a button) but this is a big win and there are certainly more to be made (this is a size 3yrs, the pattern goes up to size 8yrs)! Swishy & swingy just as advertised.

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I made my first rouleau in memory! I didn't have a bodkin handy (though I know there's one somewhere), so I improvised with a pin & bobby pin to turn that little loop.

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I'm pretty proud of the more-or-less matching of zigzag stripes on the center back seam -- and I wasn't even trying terribly hard!

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It's super, super cute and I can't wait for Gin to come over and try it on so I can check the length & finish. This fabric has been in stash for a long time; I have no idea what the original intention was. I was a little hesitant to use it for this project because I thought it might be too crazy, but it was the perfect amount (of both fabric and crazy) and I love how it turned out! I used nicely matching leftovers from the backing of Malina's quilt for the facings.

READING

I finished listening to West Cork last week, and have just decided that Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson will be my next audiobook (it's downloading as we speak). The Thoughtful Dresser was just renewed for the second (and hopefully) last time (I'm enjoying the book but the reading, lately, is going much the same as the knitting), leaving Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder stuck at the bottom of the nightstand pile under Rick Bragg's The Best Cook In The World - Tales from My Momma's Table, because that is definitely up next!


Travel planning

No, not for me... I have nothing even close to firm on the calendar until October, and then another possible trip way off in March (though, obvs, I am always up for a spontaneous trip to almost anywhere).

I am travel planning for/with Kate... while she's in the Scottish Highlands and I'm planted in Wisconsin!

She sent me a message yesterday to tell me that she'd arrived at her Highlands destination, and about some great gin that she found (the message also serving as a reminder for her future self about said gin).

We chatted about the weather, how long she'd be there, and what she'd be doing; one thing on the list was finding a distillery tour, specifically gin. She'd told me that it was Misty Isle Gin that she'd been sipping and, following a quick search, I informed her that it was from Isle of Skye Distillers... right where she just happened to be for a few days.

Another quick search led me to discover the Skye Food and Drink Festival, happening this Wednesday & Thursday, and...

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What are the odds?? Minutes later, she was signed up for the GIN COCKTAIL MASTERCLASS! The entire list of exhibitors & events at that festival looks so fun!

I also found a not-too-far-away Gin, Rum, and Cocktail Festival on the weekend (and plenty more, actually), but I'm not exactly sure where she's headed after this.

Anyway, I told her that I NEED TO BE A TRAVEL CONSULTANT... ON-THE-FLY, EVEN! REAL-TIME UPDATES!! haha.

Seriously. I love this stuff.

It's the beauty of making "a plan," but not a hard & fast schedule... flexibility & openness... POSSIBILITIES!! That's not how some people like to travel, I know, and there are many reasons for that, but there are a million "tours" that cater to "tourists."

I want EXPERIENCES... or to help people (my daughter) find them. And when she comes home, she can mix up a killer "masterclass" gin cocktail to thank me!


Weekending: It's electric

I drove to Chicago & back on Friday to deliver Kate to ORD. She had a quick visit with some friends in Edinburgh (who she'll meet up with again for a side trip to Wales) and is currently relaxing & enjoying the beautiful scenery in the Scottish Highlands. (Follow along here on IG, if you'd like.) Lucky girl!

I spent much of the weekend cuddling & caring for Malina while her parents were busy at a local music festival. The Electric City Experience is in its third year, evolving a bit with each one.

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Ali had the coffee camper there, and Rod had a few gigs -- including sitting in last-minute for a bass player who was busy becoming a dad!

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I was just a short walk from festivities and, since Malina isn't a fan of bottle feeding, I could easily walk her down for a meal/snack (and her mama could take a little break, too).

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That Lemon Rhubarb Italian Soda was delicious, with Ali's homemade rhubarb syrup -- tart with a little sweet & sparkle, just the way I like my beverages!

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Maddy came home late Saturday afternoon for an overnight visit and it was perfect timing, as many friends were around, too. We all had fun socializing with folks we haven't seen in a while. And fireworks!

On Sunday, we met up with the "big kids" for a little festival brunch/lunch.

It doesn't get more groovy than that!

I'm pooped, but back to work (a looooong week) and making sure to carve out some "me" time.


3TT: My Backyard

Joining Carole and friends this week for Three on Thursday...

1 -- PEONIES

I have more peony buds than ever before!

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They're not getting battered by wind & rain, for once! Ants sure do love them (see it?).

2 -- CHIVES

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I spotted these yesterday behind the pergola bench -- a bit past prime but still pretty.

3 -- SUCCULENTS

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This little wooden planter full of succulents was one of the table centerpieces at Maddy's BFFs' pretty farm wedding last year. It fit perfectly on the windowsill of my basement dye studio (sigh) and wintered there. There had been some ivy, too, but it didn't survive. I see that Rusty's left his mark...


Unraveled Wednesday: Water

KNITTING

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I started WATER on Saturday night, beginning with a tubular cast on -- it makes such a neat edge. I finished the first repeat last night. I am using Plymouth's Worsted Merino Superwash for this one; it's a little splitty, but it's sproingy and has good stitch definition. I previously used this yarn to knit a couple of Pussyhats.

READING

I did ZERO reading/listening on my trip. Instead, I watched The Greatest Showman -- most on the flight to NYC, the rest on the return trip. And I loved it!

I am almost finished listening to West Cork, and I'm ready for the end.

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I spotted The Best Cook In The World - Tales from My Momma's Table at the airport on Sunday and had it in my hand... but realized that I really wasn't going to start reading it right then and it wasn't the last copy known to man, so it didn't need to be purchased right then & there. Be it known, however, that this is next up -- ready & waiting! I love Rick Bragg.

I may need to renew The Thoughtful Dresser one more time, but I'm getting there.

Check out more from Kat & the Unravelers...


I've lived your worst (travel) nightmare...

...so you don't have to!! I trust that Bonny heeded my warning and had a smoother beginning to her travels today!

Thursday morning, Rusty sits straight up in bed next to me and declares, "SHIT! IT'S 5:15!!"

Here's the scenario:

  • My flight departed Green Bay at 5:55
  • My alarm was set for 3:30
  • It's a 30-minute drive
  • I needed to shower
  • And finish (most of) my packing
  • Obviously, I made the rookiest of rookie mistakes and didn't verify that the alarm was set for AM instead of PM!

"WE CAN MAKE IT!!" he says.

Um. Suurrrrrre... even if I skipped brushing my teeth and jumped in the car wearing my PJs, we'd maybe see the plane fly over our heads at best!

A bit less starry-eyed, I grabbed my phone, sat down at my computer, and called United. It was slightly maddening to listen to the very calm voice while navigating the menu, and I was relieved when it didn't take too long to speak with a real person. And they were SO helpful, rebooking me on later flights -- at no charge (just this one time...) -- essentially, I was on about a 3-hour delay. Instead of arriving NYC at noon, I arrived around 3:30. Kate had commitments at that time and wasn't able to pick me up, we weren't able to have lunch, and I wasn't able to a couple of things on my list (visit the botanical garden and/or Museum of Food and Drink)... but OMG, it could have been so much worse!

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I took a taxi over to Brooklyn to the warehouse where Kate would be installing her show. The actual space (on the 2nd floor) wasn't available yet, so everything was being stored in a studio space on the 4th floor.

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It was hot. Somewhat drippy. Sticky. No AC. No elevator. Ugh.

Prior to my arrival, Kate had been staying in Brooklyn, but we'd booked a hotel in Manhattan for the rest of the time -- until my departure on Sunday, and hers on Monday. She kept her car in Brooklyn, though (free, on-street parking wherever it could be found) and we mostly took the subway back and forth.

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Luckily, the weather improved -- at least in terms of drippiness.

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On Friday, Kate was able to get into the venue space in Brooklyn to set up and hang the show. I hopped in the car and drove over to Jersey to visit with Cara! We had a wonderful afternoon, talking about knitting (that AMAZING brioche shawl that she's designing/making), family & friends. We had lunch, made a stop at Yarnia, and picked up C from school (M had after-school activities). The school year is drawing to a close, so things are starting to trickle home... I had a delightful private viewing of all of C's 2nd-grade artwork!

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I drove back to Brooklyn, arriving just in time to watch Kate hang the last pieces. The room had this great floor-to-ceiling window that looked out on some backyards. If you look, you can see a couple on the right hanging out and trying to catch a breeze... I didn't realize until later, when I saw the guy go back into the house, that he'd been standing there in his underwear! Haha. Whatever it takes... Lucky for Kate, the venue had AC!!

On Saturday, I had a lovely (if sweltering) morning walk through Central Park (which, despite a few visits to NYC, I'd never set foot in before!) on my way to meet MDK Kay for a breakfast date! She brought some of her Alabama Chanin Flag Quilt to show off -- utterly amazing -- and it was so cool to see my Wisconsin Blingfish nestled and sewn into its stripe. The quilt's been shining on Kay's IG feed lately, though Shakerag (the top)/Shakerag (the workshop) will soon be taking over, no doubt. After breakfast and show & tell, Kay walked me over to her LYS, Knitty City.

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I walked through the park on the way back, too, and found Balto (along with some kids & their parents)!

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I cooled off at the hotel for a while before heading over to Brooklyn again, where I sat with Kate at the show (always cooling off). Then I walked over to Brooklyn Craft Company, and from there I grabbed a Lyft to Brooklyn General Store -- two shops on my list. They were pretty different -- BCC is newer and smaller, BGS a bit larger and with much more inventory, and also happened to be celebrating their 16-year anniversary on that very day. I found out later that I narrowly missed a run-in with Kirsten Kapur there! (New TTL Mystery Shawl set to drop in a couple of weeks... I'm desperate for my arm to feel better!!)

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With all these shop stops, I came home with much more yarn than I needed (pfffft), but also some fabric to share with Ali and this adorable Merchant & Mills girl's dress pattern (BGS had a sample and I couldn't resist!)!

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Kate was in Brooklyn 'til late on Saturday, celebrating art & artists & CONVEYOR's huge success, so I had a lovely dinner on my own at our hotel. I spent the evening in, finally casting on my first WATER hat (current donation total = $6000 + counting)!

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We had some great meals in NYC, including dinners at Fig & Olive and Empellon (photo above, view to the upper level from our table) -- both excellent and close to our hotel!

I went out for coffee on Sunday morning and found the street closed in front of our hotel, along with a couple of others, and police everywhere. The Celebrate Israel Parade was happening that morning on Fifth Avenue, and security was high -- including bomb-sniffing dogs and sharpshooters. There hadn't been any specific threats... I can't imagine if there had been! I left a little earlier than usual to get to the airport.

I had enough time in Chicago (especially since the flight arrived :30 ahead of schedule) to finally use one of my (unexpired) passes to United Club Lounge. Oh, hell yeah. 

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It never gets old!


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We had pretty great flyover on the approach into GRB... couldn't help thinking that Randall Cobb 🏈 on board had an influence on the pilot! 😉 RC was actually on the other side of the plane so wouldn't have even seen this amazing view. That's Mecca of the NFL... er, Lambeau Field on the left and the new Titletown development extending to the right (there is much more to come).

Despite the heat, it was such a fun trip!! It was so great to visit new places (Brooklyn, Central Park) and long-time friends.