A few days up north

We'd been looking forward to it for weeks! My uncle was going to be away for a few weeks and offered his cabin to us. It's been a while since we've been up north at the height of summer, and we jumped at the chance. Rusty was in CA helping a friend with a kitchen remodel, and Rod had some gigs and also continued work on the "coffee camper," so it was just us girls and Jün for five days & nights!

There was canoeing, kayaking, walking, and hiking.

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And also a little bit of running (moi!) after Jün accidentally disturbed some bees and got stung a couple of times!

Trains are the big thing occupying Junebean these days -- the old Brio track & train that was his mother's & aunts', with the addition of THOMAS and PERCY... and oh, my, does he love those engines! He also had some THOMAS DVDs, which we watched a few times, and his book bag with some of his favorite books... including THOMAS! I had a very enjoyable time one evening listening to his momma read him stories at bedtime.

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Gin & Jün are starting to interact a little bit... it's going to be so fun to watch them grow together!

There was some hammock time (who knew that was so comfortable?)!

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And plenty of playing-in-the-water time.

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There was lots of great cooking and eating, everyone pitching in and... I don't think I even lifted a finger in the kitchen 'til Day 3. We made "camp food" one night with Maddy's direction and assistance... tin foil packets of ground beef, carrots, onions, potatoes, and lots of butter... sort of like pasties without the crust. So good. I ate every crumb.

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And leaving plenty of room for s'mores! It's been ages since I've had one (so I had more than one!).

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I didn't try it myself, but in case you're wondering, the addition of the chocolate covered pretzel crisp was deemed "too crispy!"

There was even laundry. Ali uses cloth diapers most of the time, and Gin is a frequent spitter-upper, so there was need. We filled two clotheslines... plus the dog lead! Thankfully, all of those diapers have inserts and covers with snaps, so I snapped them on the line, or we'd have run out of pins for sure!

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And there was an awful lot of this... lake- and sky-watching.

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And some obvious favorite subjects & angles.

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Every day is different!

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Maddy camped out in her tent, driven in only once by thunderstorms and torrential rain! Luckily, our days were mostly dry... if a little warm (though not as warm as predicted, so YAY!).

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We came home to some surprising, gut-wrenching & scary news that isn't mine to share and that I find rather sad, desperate & embarrassing, but am afraid will be inescapable, and so I'm going to have to find a way to deal with it. Ugh. It makes for a rather worried & moody Vicki.

We also came home to the surprising, heart-wrenching & exciting news (even if it's taken a while for the shock to subside and excitement to sink in) that my sister and her family are moving to SPAIN... in 5 weeks!!

Bitter, bitter, bittersweet.

Watch this space for a future Mediterranean vacation!


Weekending

I lied.

I wore sandals to Milwaukee on Saturday, and I'm wearing them again today. The temp is supposed to be 55F!

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My cousin Rae is member of a group called Craft Cult and I received an invitation a few weeks ago to the Craft Cult Annual Art & Craft Sale on Nov. 8th at Art & Soul Gallery. I've been aware of this sale in previous years, but usually with not much notice. This year, realizing that it was also on my birthday weekend, I had plenty of time to make it an event!

It was a quick one -- just overnight on Saturday -- but so fun!

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SW corner of the building, 5th floor, lots of light!! Fantastic kitchen!

After my walk on Saturday morning, my sister Ann and I headed south! Our Airbnb loft was located in the Walker's Point area. We found it and then headed down the street to Zak's Cafe for lunch, contacting our hosts on the way and giving them a little notice.

On the way back  to the loft we stopped in at Indulgence Chocolatiers and picked up a few truffles for later. We stuck our noses in at Purple Door Ice Cream, too.

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My bedroom... and the view. Photos taken on Sunday morning, after we'd already "moved in"!

Karen wasn't expected until a little bit later, and a little shopping was on all of our lists, so we decided to meet up at the mall. Yeah... on a Saturday afternoon.

The good news is, we all found what we were looking for! I was happy to come across a new Hanna Andersson store and bought a few things for Junebug that I know he'll wear and wear and wear. I had a brief thought about saving them for Christmas, but why?? 'Tis the season (any minute now) for cozy long johns!

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We had a wonderful dinner out at Morel on Saturday night. I had quite a list of possibilities, but we settled on this one and I'm so glad we did. We didn't make reservations, but there was room at the bar and we didn't mind that... fun and casual. We shared a Charcuterie Board; we all had the Beet, Radish, Smoked Carrot, Chevre, Arugula, Pine Nut Salad (ordered at three separate times, but arriving all at once... that's great service & a great kitchen); Karen had Lamb Ragout, Annie had Ham Hock, and I had Rainbow Trout; and we shared a little Chocolate Mousse for dessert... because was also stopped off at the Purple Door on the way home!

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On Sunday morning, after breakfast at Zak's, we packed up and head out of town, stopping at Rae's event on the way. Her husband Michael was spinning records*, and other members of the cult -- wow, there was some great sewing, jewelry, paper goods! Rae's a fantastic knitter, and she made both the hat that Junah modeled yesterday and another little item that I picked up for him... that I am saving for Christmas (as hard as that is!). Yes, I'm a knitter; yes, I could make those things myself... but I know that I won't!

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I found some great earrings for myself.

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And we had fun visit with Rae!! I'll be heading back down to Milwaukee again to a) give the cult an introduction to Alabama Chanin, and b) to possibly host an Alabama Chanin party/start a sewing circle with my sisters, cousins, and friends.

*As I passed by at one point, I overheard Michael talking to a young girl (and by that, I mean at least mid-20s), saying, "...and the larger space between the grooves is a pause between songs."


Weekending: Knit In

I went to a Knit In and came home with yarn... and a beer glass! My friend had an extra, so also the matching wine glass! Welcome to Wisconsin!!

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I had a great time at and around the 2015 Madison Knitters' Guild Knit In over the weekend! Ann & I made a few stops along the way. Susan's Fiber Shop -- incredibly, for the very first time* but not the last. Bradbury's for coffee and crepes -- we split one savory, one sweet. The Sow's Ear, not exactly on the way but worth the stop; we shopped and knit and sipped away the remainder of the afternoon.

On Friday night, we had dinner at Red Sushi. My nephew Dylan is on the wait staff there and it was fun to have both his guidance and Ann's, especially since I'm basically a sushi newbi. I can definitely proclaim myself a sushi lover, though, and I'm already looking forward to next time. Great cocktails at Red Sushi, and also at Merchant, where we went after dinner; I'd like to eat there sometime!

Saturday was full of classes. Ann & I both took Annie Modesitt's "Mad About Plaid" and enjoyed it very much! It was fun and informative; Annie is a great teacher, not to mention entertaining, brilliant and creative.

I also had a class in the afternoon about working with hand-dyes -- identifying techniques and patterns to help them sing to you as much when knitted up as they do when they land in your shopping cart! I thought this would be beneficial, not only as a yarn collector and knitter, but also as a sometime dyer.

Ann had both the Wine & Yarn Pairing and the Beer & Fiber Tasting events on Saturday afternoon... I'd signed on to take part in only the Beer event on Sunday.

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Each event had its own custom pattern and a mini-skein kit designed by Jimmy Beans Wool and custom dyed at Koigu. And that glass! We tasted beers from Wisconsin Brewing Company: #008 - Old Reliable, #002 - American I.P.A., and #003 - Brown & Robust Porter. I've had the I.P.A. before (I love a hoppy beer right now and can't wait to find PSYCHOPATH!) and the Amber Lager -- good brews!

We visited the marketplace between classes and during our free times. I was delighted to finally lay eyes on (and even hug) some long-time virtual friends, including Kathleen Pascuzzi who is Annie's partner at ModeKnit Yarn, and Emily Parson from Sophie's Toes!

There were same changes to the event this year -- a new, larger venue that cost a ton of money, I'm sure. That cost was passed on to attendees and vendors alike. Unfortunately, it was not very walk-in friendly and people who wanted only to shop were not too keen on paying $15 admission on top of $7 parking just to get in the door. I think some of the vendors did okay, but I'm afraid that many may have done less than okay; booth fees, travel, lodging -- and some came a ways (Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, New York) -- I'm all too familiar with this scenario from Rusty's art fair days! I hope something can be done to make vendors more accessible to the public; they're not going to come back if they're not making (or, in the end, only breaking even or losing) money, and I think they're a big attraction.

On Saturday evening, we were joined by others, including Ann's long-time friend Lisa, caityrosey, and Java Jennie/Kitchen Counter Crafter (great bags and fun fabrics!). We went to Grampa's Pizzeria and OH MY... that's not my grandpa's pizza, but it is some of the best pizza I've had in a while! One of our pies had brussels sprouts and chunky bacon, another had pesto, and we all tasted/shared a ginger cake for dessert. Delicious. Afterwards, we made our way to Old Sugar Distillery Tasting Room for a taste and some shopping. I had a delicious and refreshing drink based on the Brazilian caipirinha but made with Old Sugar's Honey Liqueur.

I may have had two. *clink*

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My main knitting project over the weekend was Deep End II. I managed to work the sewn bind-off by lunch time on Sunday! I need to weave in some ends, give it a soak, and lay it out to dry.

On the way out of town, we stopped at Jamerica for a bite to eat before heading home. That was an unexpected but delightful stop!

I was asked a few times what my favorite part of the weekend was and I really couldn't single anything out -- it was ALL my favorite part:

Friends Old & New, Fiber & Yarn, Food & Drinks!

 It doesn't get much better than that.

 

*I have visited the large Susan's Fiber Shop booth at all three NY Sheep & Wool Festivals, as well as at WI Sheep & Wool, so not a complete stranger!


Where trouble melts like lemon drops

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In this life, our "over the rainbow" is on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage in the far northern reaches of Wisconsin.

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There's a big old log cabin up there, built by my great grandparents in the '30s, where we spent at least one week of every childhood summer, not to mention a few magical Christmases.

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It's the place where Sharon said that wanted to be forever; a place of great and happy (and funny) memories for all of us.

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A happy memory: Sibling Weekend - September 2009

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In the day, the property was quite large; located at the end of a short road, it extended to a point and also included a small island with boat house, connected to the mainland by a foot bridge. There was a lot of room for exploration! The property is still bigger than most -- and still includes the island -- even though the lot at the point was sold some years ago.

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View from the south-side loft. The folks sitting on the far side are in the old porch area -- a wall with some windows (part of it remains) used to separate the two areas. There used to be an old sofa bed (most comfortable ever and my favorite sleeping place outside of the north-side loft), a few easy chairs, a rocker, a gorgeous wood-burning stove in the main area, but it was completely dominated by a red gingham oilcloth-covered dining table in the center of the room -- the center of the universe.

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Bedrooms with walls, no ceiling!

The cabin had two big lofts at either end; a rustic kitchen and a bedroom under the south loft; a porch (and another bedroom) under the lake-side north loft; the lofts overlooked two more bedrooms on the middle-west side and a large dining/living area on the east.

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Electricity was the only modern convenience; water was hauled, two buckets at a time, from a pump located a little ways off the northwest corner of the cabin, and heated in a big kettle on the stove; a two-seater log outhouse was located at the side of the cabin. Later, a cold water tap was added in the kitchen at the... well, let's call it the "personal care" sink, where we'd wash our faces and brush our teeth.

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There used to be several poles off-shore with many martin houses -- full of purple martins. The martin population isn't anywhere what it used to be.

Deeper personal cleanliness could be accomplished in the lake or, as Grandma often preferred, by sponge bath in the "privacy" of her bedroom. Perhaps the original "open concept" design, there was only one room in the whole cabin that had both ceiling and walls, and none of them had a proper door; the center bedrooms had walls but no ceiling, the lofts had ceiling but no walls, the "bedroom" on the porch was actually created by hanging a curtain as partition, and all of the interior doorways were merely curtained.

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The "porch bedroom" is now just part of the porch -- the curtain has been removed (though hardware remains) (you never know).

The cabin was sold about 20 years ago and has seen substantial "improvement" since then, the most significant of which is "indoor plumbing." The bedroom off the kitchen -- the one with both ceiling and walls -- was converted to a spacious full bath + laundry! There's a new roof, sunlights, an updated kitchen, flooring, and a partial basement, now, which houses both furnace and water heater; a windowed wall was removed between the living area and porch to open it up even further.

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Other family members, both near and far along the family tree branches, still have (or had) nearby properties, and we've been well aware of all of these changes -- and have even done some window-peeking over the years -- but it was hard to tell, really, all the changes that had taken place.

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We were all quite happy -- my kids beside themselves (Maddy has no memory of being there) -- when it was offered to us for the weekend in October that we planned to visit. We were warned many times that "it isn't the cabin you remember."

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The center of attention from the minute he woke up!

Junah is the 7th generation to stay at the old family cabin!

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Our favorite card game -- and there was almost always one in progress -- SKIP BO!

Lo, we were all quite pleased to note the "improvements," but also that there was much more that had stayed the same than had changed. It's hard to change the basic footprint and feel of a cabin made of massive native logs too much!!

It was perfect. Always was, always will be.

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This photo is everything -- my great grandmother (on the left), old cars, the kitchen door, and outbuildings! Very little has changed. The building to the far left is known as "The Hoodlum" and was originally a bunkhouse on wheels, hauled around to lumber camps. It still stands, and I've slept a night or two there! Moved to my uncle's property several years ago, the old Wisconsin license plate is still visible!

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Great Grandpa Sutton and me near the boathouse at the cabin, autumn 1965, Turtle Flambeau Flowage. One of my most favorite photos.

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We boarded a borrowed pontoon on Saturday to motor a little ways out into the bay. I wore the fabulous autumn cover sweater from Vogue Knitting that Sharon knit years ago, we listened to Eva Cassidy sing "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," we disbursed the remainder of Sharon's ashes, along with some of Uncle Bob's, who'd passed in late May, to join those of a few others resting in the bay. Sharon & Bob had a special bond and it was good. Good company.

We returned to shore and feasted on steamed artichokes and smoked fish -- Sharon's favorite -- along with some BBQ ribs and potato-leek soup.

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I love this photo of Annie and Junah reading.

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Junah getting Bogey kisses!

It was a wonderful (if too short) weekend with lots of family time, fabulous weather, good food, fun and games, and more than a little irreverence -- in other words, SHARON PERFECT.

xo

 


To ride... better late than never

We were hopeful on Friday night. After securing bikes to the carrier (one in the back seat due to overcrowding) and loading our gear, we drove up to meet Annie at our airbnb lodging in Egg Harbor -- IN THE POURING RAIN -- to be ready for the morning start to our 25-mile route in the Peninsula Century.

We continued to listen during the night as the rain continued to hit the roof of our cute little A-frame.

Day dawned on Saturday and, though there were plenty of puddles, the rain had stopped and it looked pretty good. We dressed, found some coffee and breakfast, and made our way to Sister Bay.

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The sky was getting blue-er by the minute! It was a bit chilly just standing around, but we donned our layers and once on our way... well, it was pretty near perfect. Mostly sunny, mid-60s, very little wind. All day long. Here we are, at Waterfront Park, ready for departure.

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And here at our rest stop, about 18 miles in, at Wickman House in Ellison Bay. What a great spread for us! Beverages, fruit, granola and cookies, and there was a bike mechanic available to make adjustments (tighten my seat, lower Annie's). We had a random run-in with our high school art teacher! I had him for several classes back in the day, Sharon practically lived in the Art Dept. during her senior year, and even Katie had him for a class or two before he retired. It's been a long time, but he lives up there now, very active in the community, and is a huge pickleball advocate!

The last 7 miles of our route started with a few hills, right off the bat. Like mountains, to me, I mostly walked up the first two, but powered through the third before cruising to the finish. I love cyclists -- so many of them sharing words of encouragement as they passed me by -- I muttered once about how much I really wanted to get off and walk up the hill, but I didn't! I lagged far, far behind both Katie & Ann on that last leg, but they were able to show me right where to redeem my drink ticket!

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So much yummy food. Now this is a post-ride meal: bratwurst, Al Johnson's Swedish meatballs & gravy with mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce, cole slaw, beer cheese soup with cheese popcorn, chevre torte, Door County sour cherry crisp (with ice cream!), chocolate milk, and Door County Brewing Co.'s Little Sister Ale. 

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Live music!

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We've had so much rain of late that everything is quite green and lush! I was expecting to see some fall color, but there was barely any to be found. It looks more like July (except for the extra layers sported by almost everyone).

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Annie headed home to spend some time with her boys (she's been very busy at her new job), while Kate & I rested up for a bit.

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We drove across to the other side of the peninsula to catch a little of Charlie Parr's performance at Door County Brewing Co. What a cute place and the music was great! Kate had seen Charlie a couple of times at last year's Mile of Music.

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Sunday was quite a bit more breezy. I was happy not to be on a bike, but it was a great day to drive home. We meandered a bit down the lakeshore before heading west to avoid the traffic associated with the Packers' home opener yesterday.

So, though my first ride of any note this year came at the end of the season, I couldn't have asked for better. I'm a little sore, but I made it -- and I'm looking forward to more! Maybe I'll even get a few short rides in yet before putting my bike away for the winter. While some of y'all pore over seed catalogs this winter, I'll be scoping out next summer's cycling events and hoping to participate in a few more!

 


Go with all your heart

I'm celebrating my 10th Blogiversary on the First Day of Spring, with the St. Patrick's Day observance of 9 years Quit (Smoking) along the way! To mark the occasion, which totally blows my mind, I thought I'd share TEN for TEN.

SIX - TRAVEL*

I've been fortunate over the past 10 years to do some traveling.

There have been lots of jaunts around Wisconsin -- "up north" to the lake, to visit my sister Karen, to explore Lake Superior; Madison area to visit my sister Ann; Door County for day-trips, and for bike rides & beer festivals; Marshfield, Milwaukee, Lake Geneva.

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Into Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa, as well as some jaunts down to Chicago.

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To Las Vegas with Sharon.

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To San Francisco for my birthday.

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To the U.K.

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And to Rio de Janeiro.

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Some of those places -- especially the U.K. and Rio -- were barely in my dreams 10 years ago! You just never know where your kids are going to end up going to school or where your sister's going to move for her job! I can't wait for the next 10 years... now that I have a passport, I wouldn't mind using it some more!

* * * * *

Previously

There's plenty more to come... Four to go!

* * * * *

I'm hosting a Craftsy giveaway. Follow the link below and you could win a class of your choice, up to $59.99 in value. 

Enter to win a Craftsy class!

*Giveaway has ended*

You will need to either log in or create an account to enter the giveaway. Entries will be accepted through midnight CST on Thursday, March 20th -- the First Day of Spring and also my 10th Blogiversary! The winner will be chosen (using Random.org) and directly notified (via email with the free-class link) by Craftsy!

Some of the Craftsy classes I've enjoyed include Natalie Chanin's Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading and Embroidery, Angela Tong's Rigid Heddle Weaving, and Amy Herzog's Knit To Flatter. There's much to choose from!

If you just can't wait, there's a sale! Save up to 50% off all classes through Monday, March 17th at midnight (MT) during Craftsy's Endless Creativity Sale.

Craftsy

 *Non-blog-related travel -- that deserves a post (or two) alone!


Packing it all in

The sweater -- Pull Gaspard -- that I was fixing in the last post looked like this on Tuesday:

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And this on Wednesday:

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I did some knitting in the car yesterday while Kate took a turn at the wheel and we day-tripped up to Door County. It was a beautiful day, but other than this:

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and these:

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Behind the Minnetonka moccasin shop; on the shore in Ephraim

And despite taking my big-girl camera along (I haven't tripped that shutter in ages), I only took mobile-phone photos of menus and food.  ;)

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That's the Turkey, Cream Cheese & Cherry Chutney sandwich at The Cookery, one of my favorite places, and definitely one of my favorite sandwiches of all time! I haven't eaten an actual "sandwich" in about a year, so this was really a treat... and, oh, so worth it. I even said to Katie, while eating it, that one of the things I love about it (and I love all the things about this sandwich) is that they use RAISIN bread. I also love and look forward to the accompanying dill potato salad and chunky applesauce. I enjoyed a glass of Island Orchard Apple Cherry Cider and helped Kate with her bottle of Crispin Artisanal Reserve Honey Crisp Cider, and we shared some eggplant fries as an appetizer -- so light and crispy, better than I'd even hoped. There are many amazing eateries to choose from in Door County, but The Cookery is consistently at the top of our list.

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We made our way north to Ephraim and Wilson's -- an institution up there, but to which I'd never actually been -- and enjoyed a couple of root beer floats for dessert. Second dessert, actually, as we'd found ourselves in a chocolate shop and one certainly can't leave an establishment like that empty-handed.

If that wasn't enough for a day, we ever-so-briefly cooled our jets at home before picking up Ali and heading up to the Farmers' Market on Broadway (in Green Bay) for more food and fun! That's been on the list for a while and I would certainly like to return.

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It's a combo farmer market/festival -- LOTS of fresh produce and meat, arts and crafts, food vendors, live music, beer. I didn't have any beer, but I'm happy to know that it's there.

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A good time (and funnel cake) was had by all!

Tonight is a company picnic at the local baseball stadium, and sometime between now and 8 a.m. tomorrow we'll be setting up for a 2-day rummage sale in Ali's driveway! Jeepers, it's a busy month.

I'm trying to keep it all together and make the most of every minute -- packing it all in while counting down the days: (1) 'til Maddy heads back to school, (6) 'til Ali's next midwife appointment, and (22) 'til Kate flies over the ocean.

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Meanwhile, Saltires are popping up.

I've cast on another baby sweater by a French designer! Le P'tit Mousse has been on my radar (Pinterest board) for a long time! I'm so happy to have an actual reason/baby to knit some of these sweaters!

I'm pretty sure there's more, but that's all for now!

 


May days progress

I've eaten at a few picnic tables in the past few years, but haven't planned an actual picnic in I don't know how long, so I'm skipping the official topic of today's Ten on Tuesday. I will share the first two things that popped into my head, though:

  1. Wine
  2. Corkscrew

Glasses never occurred to me until I read Kym's post, so my picnic will be the one where we pass the bottle. Heh.

How about a first-ever ToT follow-up, instead. The last Ten on Tuesday post in April was: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To In May. Let's see how that's going.

1.  Hair cut (more likely, trim) tomorrow! I will also be auditioning -- or at least discussing -- the hairstyle that I have in mind for the wedding.

A very important #1 that I was excited about and looking forward to, and I FORGOT! Happily, my girl Kate was able to squeeze me in after work a few days later. Sheesh. My hairstyle for the wedding was met with approval, and I've saved a couple similar/detailed photos to Evernote since then.

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2.  Dinner with Alison's future in-laws tomorrow night!

Dinner with the in-laws was FANTASTIC! We picked them up at their house (aka, wedding venue!) and I've been out there a couple more times... and will likely be a much more frequent visitor over the next few weeks! From the photo was taken, above, I'd be looking through the tent (reception); weather permitting, the ceremony will be held in a round-ish clearing just barely visible beyond and to the left of that darkest evergreen tree.

3.  On Saturday, Ali and I will be heading to Oshkosh and the Natural Product & Organic Food Expo -- Joel Salatin and Will Allen among the highlights.

I really enjoyed the food expo -- and ran into the in-laws there, too! There were a lot of vendors and I even found authentic and local pao de queijoThe speaker schedule wasn't very tight, which was sort of exasperating, but because of that we caught a portion of a panel discussion with all of the day's speakers, led by Kyle Cherek of Wisconsin Foodie. It was very interesting and I could have listened all day but, of course, we didn't have all day! We heard Will's presentation about Growing Power, and one of Joel's two talks that day.

It was announced a couple of days ago that none other than Michael Pollan will be featured at the Country Living & Natural Health Expo in January!

4.  Visitors from Oregon, their daughter (a sometime guest at our house) graduating from Lawrence University this year and they'll be here over the Mother's Day weekend for her recital.

Visitors have come and gone. Our time together was brief -- they brought over a delightful meal of Greek take-away to share -- but they had a nice time exploring the area with their daughter.

5.  Mother's Day!

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Been there! (at the Green Bay Botanical Garden)

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Done that!

6.  Maddy's last day of school on the 17th!

She's home! Sort of. She left yesterday for a week of camping with friends. Next week she'll be gone for a week of orientation for her camp counselor job. And then she'll be working all summer... at camp!

The girls are talking about finally taking a summer road trip together... also involving camping... as it may never be easier than NOW. And, sadly, we are all used to high gas prices -- which have been "coming down" a bit, but are still hella lot more than they used to be. But you know that. They're talking about going to Mount Rushmore, too, and recreating the awesome photo I took of my sisters there in 1979.

7.  The Master Gardeners' Annual Plant Sale on the 18th.

Ugh! I missed it... and the heirloom plant sale on the 11th, too. I have no plants!!

8.  Hopefully, an overnighter to Milwaukee for an art opening, premiere of an animated music video (by my cousin's husband) featuring music from the Tritonics new single "Smoky Places" and after-party. Just because... it sounds like fun!

I found a great deal at The Pfister, a wonderful old hotel in downtown Milwaukee! We were able to walk almost everywhere -- to dinner at Rodizio Grill, a Brazilian Steakhouse, and to the Milwaukee Art Museum.

The highlight was the Smoky Places art opening/video premier at Dominion Gallery, and the after party at The Uptowner. Exhibiting artists included my cousin Rae and her husband Michael. Michael premiered the animated music video, below, with music from the Tritonics.

And Rae's shoes are so great!

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We had so much fun. And even dancing! Home by midnight, we walked to the Milwaukee Art Museum after breakfast on Saturday.

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That is one amazing place. The architecture -- including those moveable wings -- of the Quadracci Pavilion is simply breathtaking.

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9.  Memorial Day!

This weekend! My sister will be coming on Saturday and we'll be doing a work day on Sunday, planting Mom's window boxes, etc., sort of a belated/continuation of her Mother's Day gift.

10.  My knitting goal for May will be to finish the two shawls that I'm working on for the wedding... and NOT start another baby sweater. Heh. I'm more than half-way on Mexican Wisconsin Wedding and made a good start on Frambuesa last night. Second try! There's errata, for one thing, and some wonkiness regarding stitch marker placement and repeats... I just move them around as needed and "read" my knitting -- as long as it reads correctly, I'm good. The markers are eventually removed. I already know that I'm going to LOVE this shawl!

I've finished the Wisconsin Wedding shawl! It awaits overdyeing and blocking... as soon as Frambuesa v.2 is finished. The casting on issue has been resolved, and knitting is happening -- the border is almost complete. It'll get done.

BONUS:  11.  I've ramped up the dyeing a tiny bit in the last month or so, the impetus being some fun custom orders and projects! Oh, I miss it!! As things continue to improve and progress in other areas of life, I intend to be doing much more of that beginning in May.

Custom orders/projects continue... Have you seen Cara's Celestarium? It was so much fun working with her to make the color just what she wanted for this project, and then to watch the knitting progress! The shawl is amazing -- her knitting is always so beautiful -- you must read her notes and, seriously, she says that it's not difficult at all! It's just killing me that I can't wrap it around my shoulders and feel it!

 


Objects in mirror are closer than they appear

In other words: It's a random bullet-y type of day!

  • We're heading to Door County tomorrow evening to participate in Saturday's Ride For Nature for the second year in a row.
  • We'll also participate in the inaugural Door County Beer Festival, and I'm really looking forward to it!
  • Having learned our lesson last year, we are staying overnight on Saturday instead of trying to drive home.
  • Annie's riding with us this year, and Mom & Joe are coming up on Saturday!
  • Last year, besides the New Belgium sticker for my bike (that I'm still extraordinarily giddy over) and some other goodies in our welcome packet, there was a coupon from Nor Door Sport & Cyclery.
  • I ended up with a rack and saddlebags for my bike! I didn't really use them much last year and was beginning to wonder if I'd made yet another dumb purchase.

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  • Guess what fits beautifully in one of those saddlebags?
  • Knitting!
  • For the second time in a few weeks, I rode my bike to Tuesday Knit Night!
  • It's 8.5 miles one way.
  • I took a slightly different jog at the end this week that took me past a wonderful little garden at a local high school.
  • I was surprised to see the purple coneflowers so prolific already!
  • It was an easier ride on Tuesday than any other I've done so far this year -- little wind, no cliffs to climb.
  • I'm still feeling it in my legs and butt.
  • It's not painful, just a reminder... I guess that's good.
  • Due to daylight, knitting out time is limited and... I hate to say it, but the days will be getting shorter again soon.
  • I guess I'll just keep doing it for as long as I can!
  • I love killing two birds with one stone -- something that I should do combined with something that I want to do.

 


Ten on Tuesday: Movin' on up

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Tips for Moving

We moved a lot when I was a kid -- like, at least once a year, and sometimes three. I was too young to be involved in the packing, but I do remember moving... actually being in the car, mostly at night. I loved to scan the landscape for airport beacons, watching them go around -- bright, dim, bright, dim, bright, dim -- sometimes we'd get close to the airports and sometimes we'd just skirt on by. I still get a special feeling when I see those beacons. Listening to the radio -- AM radio -- the stations fading out and twirling the knob in search of a new, clear signal. In my memory, moving time was pretty much the only time we'd eat out at a restaurant or cafe; my favorite thing was a grilled cheese sandwich and I loved ordering milk at a restaurant -- it was always Whole Milk, which we never had at home!

I'm sure that those frequent moves during my childhood is the biggest reason that Katie's lived in only three houses in almost 27 years (and, during her first week of life, one motel); Ali in two houses in almost 25; and Maddy, 21 next month, has always lived in the house we live in.

I have now lived almost half of my years in the house where we currently live.

It's not that I wouldn't move... I'm always looking at what's for sale in the area... I just haven't found anything that I like better. There are a million houses I love, but it's all about location. It really is: location, location, location!

Anyway, it's been a while since I've moved, though I've helped the girls in and out of college -- that's as close as it gets.

1. Pack books in paper grocery bags. They're a good size for carrying, and almost impossible to overload.

2. Clean out and sort while packing -- stuff to toss, stuff to donate.

3. Keep like things together -- don't mix kitchen stuff with living room stuff.

4. Start early, if you can. Pack seldom used and out-of-season items first.

5. Nest. Pack things inside of other things whenever possible.

6. Label, label, label.

7. It's especially important to identify and label the boxes that contain the last items packed, so they can be quickly located, as they're likely to be the items needed first. Personal toiletries and care items; basic cooking staples, tools, dishes, and utensils; seasonal clothes and footwear; seasonal linens and bedding.

8. Use things like kitchen towels to wrap and cushion fragile kitchen items, etc.

9. Keep tools handy -- hammer, screwdriver, wrenches, baggies or containers for parts (screws and whatnot) (don't forget to mark what they're for), markers, scissors, tape and string or twine.

10. Stay on task, but take frequent breaks -- especially if feeling overwhelmed or easily distracted. Set the timer -- 25 minutes to get in there and work, work, work; then take a 5-minute break.

Good luck!!

* * * * *

Ding-Ding-Ding! We have winners!!

As determined by Random.org, Carol, delurking from Kentucky, is the winner in the Eight! It's cause for celebration! drawing.

The 19,000th comment was left on that post by Julia in Ontario -- with whom I've corresponded via comments before!

Congratulations! Prize packages will be shipped out tomorrow.

Thank you all so much for celebrating with me!

* * * * *

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I stopped at the library on my way home last night to pick up a book they were holding, and thought it was funny that I'd notice this book on the new releases shelf at the very moment that Maddy was actually having somewhat literary tattoo made. And a turtle.

* * * * *

Finally, I drove up to Door County over the weekend with Katie, Mom, and my sister Ann. Annie had a job interview there... and the rest of us are always up for a trip to the Door. It's still pretty early in the season, so many of our favorite places were still closed. That's not always a bad thing, you know? We were forced to find a different place to eat and, boy, was it ever great!

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I loved the artwork, too. These were printed on canvas of various size. We had a delicious salad that had goat cheese, walnuts and, of course, dried cherries, followed by a "Fun Guy" pizza -- five different mushrooms plus cheese, including cream cheese -- so delicious! Also dessert. We highly recommend Wild Tomato, if you're ever in the area.

Red Sock Yarns is just up the road and... Why, YES!! I was thrilled to find a ball of Hundertwasser, though I don't recall the colorway just now, and another ball of possibly coordinating yarn. It's the little things... and it was a very fun day!

 


Ten - Oh!

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I grabbed Kate this morning and we ran over to Hidden Valley Farm & Woolen Mill for their Holiday Open House. It was my first time there and it was great to see what they -- and other local artisans -- had to offer.

Also, I found out that the big bag of fiber I've been lugging around in my trunk is alpaca. Kate has one, too, both given to her by a co-worker who moved a few years ago. We didn't have Kate's with us, so we don't know if it's alpaca, too, or something else. Oh, darn, we'll just have to drive out there again sometime. It would be nice to get that fiber processed!

Kate's always been much more interested in the spinning aspect of things. I threw out the idea of a beginner's spinning class for her as a Christmas gift. I may have offered to accompany her to class... you know, for moral support.

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We took the long way home, made a little lunch, and settled in to watch the Packer game. It was a little tense for a bit, but they won! The Packers haven't had a 10-0 record since the early 1960s!

 


Most Amazing

I loaded up my bike on Saturday and drove down to participate in "The Amazing Race" during Waterloo's Wiener & Kraut Festival.

I was having a little trouble with the front wheel of my bike. If it's just me, I usually try to wiggle the bike in the trunk of my car with the back seats down (I really miss having a wagon) -- it's tricky, but with patience it'll fit in one piece. My BIL was helping me after the triathlon last month and the next thing you know, I was taking off the front wheel -- which is easy-peasy, and it fits so much better, but I've just never done it. When I went to put it back on, it was loose. The "Clix" mechanism wasn't clicking. I stopped by the bike shop on Friday and they showed me what to do -- also easy-peasy but not working for me.

Luckily, Waterloo is TREK HQ! Also, in addition to all the wiener activities, it's also city-wide rummage sale day and there are people everywhere! I struggled for about 3 minutes and then someone who works at Trek stopped by and... voila! Back in business.

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Our team (called "N/A" this year because Annie forgot to fill in that line on the registration form): Ann in the middle and me on the right; Carrie, left, was on a competing team but used to watch Addison when he was little(r) so she's okay. Heheheh. This year, the racers brought up the rear of the "Wieners On Parade" procession before collecting maps and "passports" and taking off!

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Karen and her husband were the only team on a tandem bike! They came in 6th place, Annie and I in 8th. It was a fun race -- no swimming this year, thankfully, and more bar games than last year! Also new this year: riding my bike through a few cow barns (they gave us curious looks but didn't seem ruffled), shopping at the Piggly Wiggly, manning a fire hose (SO FUN!), and injury. I can't even tell you when or how it happened, but it looks like my pedal met my shin... hard!

On Sunday, I drove over to Jefferson and met my cousin Rae and her husband at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival. Thankfully, I arrived a little bit before them and took advantage by rolling down my windows and napping a bit while listening to a nearby small flock of sheep.

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I went in a different direction and saw different things than last year... like lambs. There were 6 or 8 very tiny newborns -- one pair only a day old. We looked at some of the judged articles and fleeces, a quilt and rug hooking display, sampled some delicious cheese, and then finally made it to the vendor barns. I made it all the way through the first barn, but only half-way through the second before the whistle blew. Thankfully, Yellow Dog's Dixie spotted me and called out just as everyone started packing up in earnest. I haven't seen her in so long. It was good to hug her and we had a nice chat.

And, because of Dixie's sample, I cast on the third striped shawl but it has Different Lines!

 

Look at that! I believe this is the first video I've ever uploaded!


Hello, I'm not feeling very clever today

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I dropped my car for an oil change this morning and walked over to the farmer's market while the deed was done. On the way, I passed this old building downtown -- 111 years old, in fact -- not as old as The Hardware Store, but just about as cool -- and noticed this metal hardware around most of the window and door openings on the back side. I can only imagine that they were used for shutters.

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It's interesting, to me, that the colors used to paint the trim on the storefront are almost exactly the same colors I chose to paint our house. See how dirty the window?

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It's been empty for quite some time. It makes me so sad that there are so many empty buildings downtown, especially on the south side (we have a north and a south, separated by the river). I'd love to open something in one of them... in this one, I could even live upstairs! It would be easy if I didn't have to worry about making an income. Heh. Meanwhile, I continue to dream and scheme...

* * * * *

On Thursday, I went to Door County with Kate, Al, and my mom for the antique show held annually in Fish Creek. I believe the four of us went last year, too! That doesn't happen every year, but it's a good excuse for a trip to the Door -- my third time already this year! We drove up to Sister Bay to have lunch at Mission Grille, then back down to Egg Harbor to visit Olde Orchard Antique Mall. Mom and I used to have a booth there many years ago, and then I managed her antique mall in Appleton for a while, so we still recognize many dealers there, and in other area malls, by their merchandise, dealer code, etc., even though we maybe haven't actually seen them in years. I'd wondered aloud about a particular dealer that had booths in both our mall and Olde Orchard, and it was fun to see him face-to-face almost immediately upon entering! We're all a little older and showing a few more wrinkles... except, I guess, for my mom.

Before heading home, we backtracked just a bit to Wood Orchard Market for fresh cherries (both sweet & tart), raspberries, blueberries... oh yum! That's what I had for supper on Thursday night, with dark chocolate-covered dried cherries for dessert!

* * * * *

Stripe Study is off the needles and blocking as we speak!! I'm about to wind the "blue" yarn for my July Project Spectrum project -- which should go pretty quickly. I have another scarf in mind to start. And I'm also awaiting the start of Westknits Mystery Shawl KAL (that's Knit-Along) 2011 beginning August 1st; I may be lagging behind the pack on that one, even though I can't wait to start!


Lovely weekend

The weather was fan-freakin-tabulous this weekend -- finally!! Sunny, warm, and dry -- just how I like it -- and perfect for our Sister Weekend. All I knew going in was that Annie and Karen were coming to my house, that I wanted to go to Caffe Mario for dinner, and that we'd probably head east (but not to Door County).

I prepped on Friday by gathering supplies (buying liquor, cutting rhubarb) to make a simple syrup for Rhubarb Margaritas! They were delicious. Karen didn't make it for Happy Hour, but I saved some and she was just in time for a nightcap.

Karen has become interested in wine-making (I am waiting for a bottle of her Strawberry-Rhubarb variety to come of age) and, as part of a class (so, for educational purposes), had recently visited Clover Meadow Winery. She'd found it all quite fascinating, and I'd actually had a couple of wineries fly into my radar as I was researching and contemplating what we might do together, so winery tour it was!

We checked out the map and decided that Peninsula 44 and von Stiehl wineries fit best into our time-and-place-frame!

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We had an enjoyable and educational tour of the vineyard and winery at Peninsula 44. It was a bit breezy for macro photography, but BABY GRAPES!

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We were fortunate to have Steve, the owner of Peninsula 44, as our tour guide. His wife, Maria, assisted us later with our tasting, and making our purchases. It's quite lovely to have some bottled reminders of our fun day.

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From here, we made our way to Algoma. The first stop was at The Flying Pig Gallery & Greenspace. I knew my sisters would love it there, and I was not wrong.

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It was a beautiful day to enjoy the greenspace -- the last time I was there, it was raining buckets! Annie photographed this enormous dragonfly sculpture across a pond filled with lily pads -- it was pretty cool!

Using a photo and location reference (but not specific address) in the memoir our grandmother penned a few years ago, we found the house our grandparents lived in for a couple of years in Algoma. That house was the destination of my first road trip, from Milwaukee to Algoma, for Thanksgiving in 1958! We found it looking much the same as the photo in our book (ca. 1960), except for what looked to be a fairly recent garage wing addition/remodel and some minor changes in landscaping.

From there, we made our way downtown to von Stiehl Winery -- the oldest winery in Wisconsin. We didn't tour the winery, and their vineyards are in Door County, but thoroughly enjoyed the history of the place and our tasting there.

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The merriment continued at Caffe Mario... with fortification. That was the artichoke bruschetta appetizer that we shared -- so delicious! Ann had a beautiful salad with grilled chicken, and Karen and I both enjoyed Mario's featured lasagna. There was Virginia's homemade tiramisu for dessert, of course.

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We missed Sharon, of course, but she was with us in many ways throughout the day. We've been doing Sister Weekends for about 25 years -- the majority of them hosted by Sharon in Milwaukee, at her cabin, in Ohio or in Kansas -- there's no way she'd not be a part of it. This is us! We are family.

 


Long on photos, short on words

On Saturday, I grabbed Kate and headed up to the Door County Shepherds' Market at Whitefish Bay (so much more than a) Farm. My only purchase was some raffle tickets (and, apparently, not winners) and a niddy-noddy from a local craftsman. It's a nice little market in a beautiful setting; enough variety to keep me happy, it is very much a spinner's market and I still have my blinders on in that department.

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Sheepies! We walked to the less populated side of the pen to snap some photos, taking care not to startle the sheep. Right about the time we thought we'd captured the best we could, they started munching moving in our direction and came quite close. That little white lamb was just adorable.

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We'd noted some rural abandonment on the way, so stopped for some more photo fun on the way to lunch at The Cookery. I branched out and tried a new-to-me sandwich, but still with cherry chutney as an ingredient. Yum!

The trilliums are blooming -- the ground was covered with them in many wooded areas. The peak time for cherry blossoms is a ways off yet, though, and will surely be past their prime when I go back up again with Katie & Ali in mid-June to do the 25-mile Ride for Nature. Maybe I'll find a reason to go before then -- I love that such a beautiful place is an easy day-trip.

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We stopped at Wood Orchard Market for cherry pie filling, and also found asparagus -- it's probably the freshest asparagus I've ever had!

It started to rain as we made our way down to Algoma and The Flying Pig -- Kate has been wanting to check it out, so we took a little diversion on the way home.

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My lilacs are blooming! Not a fan of bugs, usually, my first reaction last night was to get that little bugger in focus!

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They sure smell wonderful, too.

* * * * *

Tomorrow, I have appointments at both the dentist and the eye doctor! They're both great, and I've already picked out my glasses (sunglasses for cycling!), but I do hope to fit in something a little more FUN than that on my day off.

* * * * *

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Remembering a fun few days on vacation with Sharon in Las Vegas a year ago!

 


Ten on Tuesday: Baby, You Can Drive My Car

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Ten on Tuesday10 Ways to Have Fun on Long Car Rides

1.  Rockin' it out!  It's a sunny 75F, the windows are rolled down, my hair's blowin' in the wind, and it's nothing short of another miracle if I get where I'm going without a speeding ticket (knocking on wood).  Beep Beep!!  Yeah.

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2.  Look at a map (or something) and take a new route, perhaps a road less traveled.

3.  Read.  I like to page through and catch up on periodicals.

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4.  Watch the sky.

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5.  Pay attention to seasonal changes in the landscape.

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6.  Play the "ABC" game.  When we go up north, we often go through Minocqua -- a resort and tourist area with a DQ and plenty of pizza joints -- and I've been known to run through the ABCs twice before we're driving through nothing but forest again!

7.  Snooze.

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8.  Find someplace fun and new to eat.

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9.  Stop and see some sites along the way.

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10.  Knit.  I have a photo somewhere of my knitting on the dashboard of Ali's car, but I can't find it right now!  Picture it in your mind's eye... I'm pretty sure it was a Mason-Dixon dishcloth.  FOUND IT -- June 2006!

 


Sheep & Wool!

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The little puppy was only six weeks old -- still incredibly soft and so very fluffy -- and he had absolutely NO IDEA what to make of the sheep, so he tried his best just to ignore them!

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As for the sheep, they were easily distracted, anyway!

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But gorgeous, no?

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After the amazing win in Saturday "Amazing Race," Annie and I quickly showered, installed the boys' car seats in my car, strapped them in, and headed to Jefferson to meet Sharon at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival!

I'll tell ya, I jam-packed my Saturday.

This was my first-ever visit to WS&W and I was not disappointed.  It was FAR smaller than Rhinebeck (I'm a three-timer there) and, as expected, the food was not as great -- though I did have a delicious, homemade piece of zucchini cake.  Two very do-able barns full of a great many small LOCAL vendors, as well as some from afar, and even famliar faces -- Briar Rose Fibers, Susan's Fiber Shop (which I've only ever visited in NY before), Mielke's Fiber Arts, Blackberry Ridge Woolen Mill, Yarns by Design (one of my LYSs), and more.

Ann bought a Blackberry Ridge vest kit, which is interesting to me because she used to work in Mount Horeb.

Sharon -- currently not knitting (in fact, she gave me all her needles, yarn and books) but knitter of some extraordinary sweaters (most of which Mom has permanently "borrowed") -- showed a great deal of interest in the weaving.  I just happen to have a small BRIO loom that used to be Katie's and I wonder if that would work as a "starter."

I bought a little bit of yarn -- I don't really need ANY, but, you know...

 


Amazing!

It was a very busy & very fun weekend!

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Saturday was jam-packed, beginning with Wiener & Kraut Day festivities.  And how could you possibly have such a celebration (in Wisconsin) (do they have these types of celebrations elsewhere?) without some Klement's Racing Sausages??  Pictured above are Italian Sausage, Chorizo, Hot Dog, and Polish Sausage (not pictured, Bratwurst; perhaps he was at another event).

Before I was hanging with the DAWGS, though, I was competing with my sister Annie in The W&K Day Amazing Race!

We rode our bikes downtown to don our t-shirts, collect our "passport" and map, and formulate our plan of attack.  One of nine 2-person teams, we competed by earning points for completing a list of tasks -- stipulations being that team members must stick together and that all travel must be accomplished by bike or on foot.

Most teams hit the in-town stops first, but Annie and I decided to head out of town to the furthest location and work our way back, which meant nearly five miles out to Crave Brothers Farm (some of that route was familiar to me from last month's triathlon relay!).  We earned points just for getting there (an achievement on its own) (and, in fact, we were the first to arrive, even before the attendant who drove her car!); we also earned bonus points at that stop by finding a specific phrase written on something in the room (a piece of paper placed inside a promotional folder).

In addition to W&K Day festivities, there were a million rummage sales in town and one of our tasks was to find a buy a small red Christmas ornament at a rummage sale!  There were no ornaments on display at the sale where we stopped, but Annie asked and the guy in charge went inside to find some.  I was a little nervous at that point because we were IN A RACE and didn't have time to wait for some guy to go crawling around in the attic or someplace to find a box of ornaments -- SHEESH!  Would he even know where the Christmas ornaments are??  (My husband would be VERY hard-pressed...)  (And, boy howdy, it seems that my long-dormant competitive streak has been AWAKENED this year!)  Luckily, he quickly returned (I was nearly ready to bolt) with a box of ornaments and was, thankfully, amused by our goofiness and that we wanted only a small red one from the bunch.

From there, it was a short ride to a local tavern where they had a bean-bag toss -- we each needed to land four bags in the hole, or at least on the box.  Ooooh, those things are SLIPPERY!  And HEAVY!  One must toss them "just so"!

We realized that we never had the rummage sale guy sign our passport, so quickly rode back there to take care of paperwork.

I'm a little fuzzy on how the rest all went down, but I think our next stop was at the fire department.  We had to go upstairs to the equipment room and get dressed -- pants, jacket, boots, hat, and OMG that stuff is HEAVY!!  And HOT!  We had to go back downstairs, drag a full-size dummy for 10 feet or so (I was bobble-head top-heavy and took a header during that part) (the hot and heavy clothing was a bit like "padding") (I sort of felt like I was wearing a Sumo wrestler suit); then Ann had to roll up a 50-foot firehose and I had to unroll it (I lost my hat altogether at the end of that task).  This task might be one reason why my shins are so sore -- still today!

I was also on the cusp of bitchy at this point and pulling on all that heavy clothing when I was hot and sweaty and tired was not helping.  Then I thought about what it was like for a REAL firefighter -- I work with a guy who's a volunteer firefighter -- putting on those HOT and HEAVY insulated clothes and then going to fight a HOT FIRE and get all wet, besides!  I shut my trap and stopped complaining.  Also, they were all pretty fun at the firehouse.  And Annie really impressed them with her hose-rolling abilities.

We stopped at Jim's Cheese because it was marked on the map, but it wasn't actually a stop.  DRATTED WASTE OF TIME!

Next stop: Fireman's Park.  We ran up and down the concrete bleachers twice, then traversed some playground equipment -- a couple of guys right on our tails.  Run, run, run!  This stop probably sealed the deal with my sore shins.

From the park, we made our way to K&B Auto where we were charged with changing a tire on a trailer.  Neither Ann nor I had ever changed a tire on anything before!  We arrived at that stop at the same time as another team, and I ran ahead and muscled in so that they could only watch and wait 'til we were done.  (Hello, COMPETITIVENESS!)

I knew all along that there was a stop at the pool, but I just could not believe that we'd actually have to swim -- I was sure that there'd be some other goofy task related to water where we'd have the chance to stay relatively dry.  I was wrong.  I drove an hour-and-a-half in the rain to get there, ant it was still chilly and misty-damp at race time, I was wearing jeans with some layers on top... and, um, none of the layers was swimwear.  I don't even own swimwear!  I bought some in May but returned it (unworn) in June.  I was definitely NOT going to swim in my jeans and I'd come too far to forfeit, so, with apologies to all in attendance, I did it in my underwear and a shirt.  Damn.

Bowling was next.  We had 15 minutes and 2 lanes to get 3 strikes between us -- and we did it!  (There was a very fun crowd there, too!)

The last major stop was a tavern right across the street.  They thought they'd seen us all already and had just finished cleaning up when we arrived.  We would have had to dig through a small vat of kraut to find a little trinket-y thing.  Yeah.  I'd certainly have done it, but I'm glad I didn't have to!

Our last task was to sell raffle tickets -- one each at $20 a pop, and not to a relative or anyone we knew; bonus points if we sold more.  My sister Ann has been known to sell a leaf off of a tree -- for real -- so I was not too worried... and we sold four.

We didn't earn any points for speed (or, one may argue, style), but piled up enough altogether to finish in the money!

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Fifty bucks for 3rd place... that's a whole lot of Wieners & Kraut!

It was crazy!!  While I saw a good number of cute wiener dogs after-the-fact, unfortunately I missed the WEENIES ON PARADE!

I did make it to Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival later in the day, though!  More on that later.


Disjointed* - with knitting and stuff

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I don't think I ever mentioned my second trip to Door County this summer, which came pretty fast on the heels of the first.  Katie's been baking up a storm this summer and needed cherries -- and everyone knows that "Door County" is actually secret code for "cherries"!  It's apparently not a great year for cherries, though, so we ended up with frozen (which we could have procured about 2 miles from home), but...

I finally visited SPIN (Rav link - no website that I can find) in Sturgeon Bay!  We came into town a weird way and I didn't have directions with me and I couldn't remember the exact name, so we stopped at a very busy downtown visitors' center and I asked for directions to a yarn shop, maybe it's called PURL.  Hahaha.  (Wrong town.)

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I found a couple of hanks of gray-black yarn that will become the border of my Parcheesi game board blanket -- oooooh, I'm so excited about that!  I also found a hank of Araucania Azapa -- a bulky wool, alpaca, silk and tencil yarn that was an orphan in the sale bin and I just couldn't leave it behind.  Oh my goodness, so wonderfully soft.  I've actually cast OFF the piece shown above, seamed it, and woven in all the ends.  It will debut here... in due time!

image from www.flickr.com

I loved Spin!  It's in a great old bank building located on a corner with convenient on-street parking.  There was a small group of people knitting and visiting, as well as some other shoppers.  The staff was friendly and made it know that they were available and quite willing to help, but not overbearing in any way.  Very nice.  I'll go back!

We also drove up to Sister Bay to have lunch -- not at Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant.  Katie had a hard time resisting the call of the lingonberry, but she did, and we ended up instead (and very happily) at Mission Grille.  It was a beautiful day, so we were able to sit on the patio.  Mmm, very yummy.  I'd love to dine inside sometime, too; it looked very intriguing!

*I felt a bit disjointed as I sat down to write this post and was expecting that to be reflected more; sometimes, somehow, things fall into place.  Go figure.


Mid-summer

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On Saturday afternoon, after Katie & Maddy finished work, we loaded our stuff into the car and attached three bikes on the back and hit the road to spend a few days up north.  DH had a class to teach at Peninsula School of Art in Door County, so couldn't join us, but Ali & Kevin were able to come up on Sunday night.

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There were more than a few mosquitoes.  We arrived after dark and had to unload the bikes before unloading the trunk, which meant lots of in-and-out of the cabin, which led to letting in lots of mosquitoes, which led to lots of swatting all night long!  The first night was the worst; it got a lot better after that.

There was a little rain -- in fact, on Sunday morning, we didn't quite outrun an approaching storm and I was baptized on the bike, riding the last half-mile of a 15-mile ride in the rain!

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There was plenty of good weather, too; excellent for biking, canoeing, swimming, sleeping.  I had a most delightful nap on Sunday afternoon in front of the wide-open patio doors.  It's what we do when we're up north!

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That... and this!  The kids asked, "Are you taking a picture because your letters spell 'YARN'?"  I was NOT, but I totally COULD HAVE!  I'm embarrassed to admit, on my own knitting blog, that it was there and I didn't even see it!  (What is wrong with me?)  Then, of course, I COULDN'T rearrange my letters to spell 'YARN' and take a photo because I'd give away four of the seven letters on my rack!

It's the Scrabble board from the big cabin -- the one that was always kept in the third drawer of the dresser in Grandma's room.  We all commented on the old, worn-soft paper bag that holds the letters -- with one big strip of masking tape where the seam had come apart... how many years... how many hands...

And cards -- the kids played various games of Solitaire, War, Crazy 8s, even Old Maid!  I didn't play cards.  I can knit and play a slow-paced game of Scrabble, but it's hard to knit while holding a hand of cards.

We explored.

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Always a big fan of ruin -- sentimental for what was, hopeful and optimistic for what could be again.  I aspire to, and am inspired by, some amazing local photographers who have this genre down pat: Dave Jackson's Simple + Dirty, El TiDY, Big City Al.  *sigh*

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I love that it's necessary to use a broken pitchfork to secure the door of a shed with a caved-in roof.  I suppose the door was initially secured before the roof fell... but, with no prompting from me, even the kids were compelled to lock it up tight behind us.

image from www.flickr.com
I hopped in the car on Monday as the light of the day faded to capture a favorite barn.  The sunset was nothing spectacular and the light was just sort of *meh* -- but it's still a favorite barn and there can hardly be a bad photo.

image from www.flickr.com
Speaking of bad photos... sometimes I take 'em... and sometimes the technical stuff just doesn't matter one bit!  It's the expression, emotion, feeling that speaks the loudest -- and such is the case with this photo of Maddy.  I just love it, but it's possible that that's only because I'm her mother!

Kate and I hauled the bikes to Butternut on Tuesday morning and rode 9.9 miles in that vicinity -- it was a little less hilly than Sunday's ride!  We packed everything back up on Tuesday afternoon and headed back home.  And it was back to work on Wednesday -- which totally messes up one's concept of a week.  This is the second of three-in-a-row 3-day work weeks for me; next week I'll have off the latter part and that might feel more "normal."  Heh.

We had RAIN!  There were flooded streets on the way home from work after late-day rain on Wednesday, something that I rarely see.  Alice Cooper's show in Oshkosh (which Ali & Kevin planned to see) was finally cancelled on Wednesday night and it's a good thing because boomers rolled through again around midnight.  Wow!  I much prefer day-time storms, thankyouverymuch!  I heard tell of a lot of flooded basements.  I saw water gushing from hard-working sump pumps on last night's bike ride.

* * * * *

Oh my gosh, can I talk about the bike for a sec?  It has occurred to me that this biking thing might seem to have come out of nowhere and... well, it pretty much has!  No one is more surprised than me that I've actually gone out, bought a bike, and am riding it.  A good bike is a substantial investment on it's own, but then the accoutrements take it to a whole 'nother level and I'm not even talking bells and whistles (just a figure of speech, a bell actually came standard) -- and all on a bit of a whim!  Inspired by my daughter's near-elation (I want some of that!) after some rides early this summer (after falling a bit out of love with it all, for various reasons, late LAST summer) and by my own falling in love a little with Wisconsin's Rustic Roads, it seemed like it might be a good marriage, if a bit polygamous, of travel + adventure + exploration + photography + fitness.  Lord knows, I've been unhappy and struggling with the fitness part of the equation for quite some time.

Less than half-way through my first "substantial" ride (nearly 15 miles) last week -- huffing and puffing, red-faced, sweating like a pig, barely able to a) keep up with Kate and b) catch my breath no matter how many times we stopped (I can't imagine if I still smoked!) -- I thought:

  • WHAT THE HELL HAVE I DONE?
  • I bought this expensive bike... I can't NOT ride it... Rusty would KILL ME.
  • But do I even like this?
  • OMG!  Do I hate this?
  • I think it sounded better than it actually is.
  • Is it too late to return all this shit?
  • I wonder how much I could get for this bike.
  • Why in the world did I sign up for that damn relay?
  • Can I get out of it?

Well, the second half of the trip went MUCH better than the first!  I had to walk the bike up the last little hill to our house, but I hopped on and rode the last block home and felt such a sense of accomplishment -- 14.7 miles!

I've ridden about 80 miles in the past two weeks.  It's been... if not easier, then maybe less painful to spin those tires.  The second half of the ride is still way more fun than the first!  Katie wasn't up to riding last night, so I had my first 14-mile solo flight, which included some hills (about which I'd have said NO FRICKIN' WAY two weeks ago) and, other than stopping for a photo at my destination before turning back, the only stops were related to traffic.  It is absolutely fantastic and I'm so glad I jumped in feet-first -- and fast so I didn't have time to talk myself out of buying that bike (and accoutrements... most especially the padded shorts).

Whew!  Thanks for reading.  Happy Weekend!


Random (big, huge, catch-up day)

My plate runneth over.  How does that go... about a rolling stone gathering no moss?  My head is spinning a little, so this post is going to be part holiday weekend wrap-up (with knitting!), part looking ahead, part punch list, and part appointment calendar -- a skimmer's paradise!

It's been crazy-(mostly-fun)-busy here and things have been happening fast!  Well, some things -- one really big thing -- may appear to have happened fast -- and even felt like it happened fast -- but it's actually been bubbling and brewing for quite a long time.  And as much as I'd like to have avoided it F.O.R.E.V.E.R, there was no escaping that it just had to be done.

Bear with me... HERE'S WHAT'S BEEN HAPPENIN'

ON SATURDAY, I...

  • Woke up early and walked down to the farmers' market to buy meat (beef, goat) and produce (blueberries, currants), have a cuppa somethin' (lemonade) and visit with the girls.  It was pretty busy!  I also brought home two small rosemary plants.
  • Walked back and hopped into Maddy's car (she had my more reliable car in Milwaukee for the long weekend) to make my 10 a.m. photo session with an adorable 2-year-old.
  • Ran to the store to get a few things that Ali needed before...
  • Heading back by noon to help tear down the farmers' market booth and move the whole show across the road to the Firecracker Run Registration/Expo for the afternoon.
  • Whew!  Have I mentioned that it started to get hot on Saturday?  And humid?
  • Helped Ali at the expo until 3 pm; tore it all down again and put it away... 'til next weekend!
  • Walked downtown AGAIN -- this time, killing two birds by taking the dog -- to retrieve Maddy's car, which had been left behind when we moved the market stuff across the street.
  • Took a shower.
  • Made fruit salad (pictured a post or two ago) for family get-together and cookout at Mom's; Annie, Bri, and the smaller half of their family visiting for the holiday.
  • Agreed to and signed up for the BIKE LEG of a TRIATHLON RELAY in August; Annie will run; a friend will swim.
  • WHAT????
  • Declined the invitation to go watch fireworks; fell into bed.  Zzzzzzzzz.

ON SUNDAY, I...

  • Practically missed the Firecracker Run!  At this time LAST year, watching runners and walkers crossing the finish line, my sister Karen and I talked about participating THIS year... um, that didn't happen.
  • Walked downtown again to watch the UW Marching Band's "5th Quarter" performance -- and just missed it!!  I heard only the last few notes and was bummed.  Remind me next year how quickly a 5K is all run and done!
  • Had another photo shoot -- this time with my sister who has a big hunk o' wall to fill in the hall/stairway.
  • Did some other stuff, made another fruit salad, rode my bike over for another family get-together and cookout.
  • Went to see "Robin Hood" at the movies w/Kate -- one of my favorite ways to escape the heat.
  • Saw some fireworks over the treetops as we left the movie; went home and fell into bed again.

ON MONDAY, I...

  • Took full advantage of the work holiday!
  • Finally watched "It Might Get Loud" (which I've had from Netflix for... a long time) at home!
  • Did some knitting.
  • Looked at and developed some of the weekend's photos.
  • Took it pretty darn easy.

ON TUESDAY, I...

  • Went with Kate to buy a bike rack for the car and a few other supplies (pump, saddlebag, lock).
  • Bought a new-to-me used car on the way home.
  • WHAT????

ON WEDNESDAY, I...

  • Turned the keys for "my" 2000 Saturn over to Maddy; her 1992 Olds took its farewell spin to the salvage yard.
  • The end of that.

The Olds had good provenance and was, for the most part, a pretty good young person car.  It has been plagued for a while now by nuisance, intermittent, and potentially dangerous electrical problems -- the sort that are nearly impossible/expensive to trace/repair -- that have been making driving hazardous -- not just blinking dashboard lights, but complete loss of power and a tricky re-starting maneuver -- it was an accident and/or engine fire waiting to happen.

ENOUGH!!  I've been taking Sunday drives through car lots, hither and yon, for months.  On Tuesday, the stars aligned and I decided it was time to test drive the 2007 Nissan Altima that I've had my eye on.  It had good ZOOM-ZOOM!

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Note:  Madeleine has requested that when I clean out the Saturn, I also remove the "I'd Rather Be Knitting" license plate holder because... get this... IT'S EMBARRASSING!!  Really??  Harumph.

INTERMISSION (enjoy the knitting & bonus new shoes!)

image from www.flickr.com

image from www.flickr.com image from www.flickr.com
The strip knitting is going a lot faster than I thought it would -- it's so much fun!!  I'm needing to think about layout and how it's all going to come together now.  Still haven't woven in a single end; have been carrying Chibis full of needles with me, though, so I'll be ready when I feel the sudden urge.  Heh.

Props to Scheels on the shoes.  I have been needing new sandals for a long time.  I don't have a closet full of shoes -- never did and never will -- I have a pair of tennies, a pair of Birkies, a pair of thongs, a pair of Keen Mary Janes, some wool-lined Merrells for winter, an ancient pair of Eccos (also Mary Janes).  On average, I buy a new pair of shoes about once every 2-3 years.  So a few weeks ago, I stopped at the locally owned downtown shoe store that gets most of my business to find some sandals -- I had Keens on my mind, but I'd take anything that was reasonable (i.e., prolly not Finns) and comfortable.  It was the end of the day and my feet were a little swollen -- which they are/can be at pretty much any time these days (especially in summer), so it's sort of important to keep that in mind.  Most of what I tried was too tight and the salesman suggested that I come back when my feet were not swollen.

Hello????  A little or a lot, it's practically a permanent condition right now.

The saleswoman at Scheels didn't skip a beat, recommending a couple styles of Keens and a pair of Eccos.  The Eccos were cute -- and a neat convertible style -- but they made my ankles look like Great Aunt Verna's.  Not the look I'm after.  Yay KEENS, Venice style in Amaranth & Simply Taupe which goes surprisingly well with my carmine red bike.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

Tomorrow, early, I'm heading south for two morning photo sessions -- also to drive the triathlon route (in the car) (later on the bike), then north again -- WAY north.  It works out that most of us will be able to break away for a few days at my uncle's cabin.  The new bike rack -- and the bike -- will get a good workout!  I can't wait!!  My rides have all been pretty residential and I'm anxious to hit the open road -- in the quiet and pine-y northwoods will be perfect.

On Sunday the 18th, I'm going on a field trip with Dawn Koehler and others to Conrad Art Glass & Gardens.  That is going to be utterly amazing.

On Thursday the 22nd, it'll be my first trip (hopefully, not the only trip) to the peninsula this year for the Door County Antique Show with Mom & Kate.

On Sunday the 25th, Katie and I will be riding in the 24th Annual Gourmet Bike Tour to benefit the Best Friends of Neenah-Menasha.  We'll be doing at least the 25-mile route, maybe longer.

Thankfully, other than a a couple of birthdays (Addison-3, Dad-75), August doesn't look too bad.  I'll continue to ride and train for the Waterloo Fit City Triathlon which takes place on Sunday, August 15th!  I'll be part of a relay TEAM with two other people, so need only worry about biking.

I continue to slowly and steadily pick up photography jobs -- which is great, because I still have a full-time job -- so I'll probably have a few more gigs between now and the Labor Day wedding that's on the books!  This is a hastily thrown together example featuring some of my favorite photos from my Las Vegas vacation, but an example of something new that I'll be offering to photography clients -- I'll be able to incorporate video, text, original music... it's so exciting!!

Enjoy!

And thank you so much for reading.  The comment count is slowly climbing to the 16,000 mark... it's ALMOST there!  Prizes await!!

Happy weekend!


Fun day

Art - You Are Here

At the beach - tiltshift

R at the tip of the Door

Cherry Blossom Bokeh, Baby

Cherry orchard tiltshift 

Backlit Cherry Blossom Bokeh

We went all the way to the tip of the Door County Peninsula -- something I haven't done in many years.


View Larger Map

We stopped at Door Peninsula Winery for some tasting and brought home some cranberry wine; had lunch -- breakfast, actually (Swedish pancakes and eggs, some with Swedish meatballs, another with sausage) -- at Al Johnson's in Sister Bay; drove all the way up to Gills Rock and over to Northport, down and around to Rowleys Bay, then meandered our way back to Fish Creek where DH will be stationed for the next few days.  We helped move materials into his classroom, then went to the market for a few things to stock the fridge in his (so adorably cute) cabin, and finished off relaxing by the creek and enjoying a root beer float before dropping him off and heading home.

Maybe I've been going up too late in the season and it's the crowds that make me cranky, because this was a MOST enjoyable trip.  Things seemed more fresh and new or were being spruced up; there were no lines, no waiting, no traffic problems -- the calm before the (Memorial Day) storm -- it was a magnificent (if a wee bit windy) day, too, which didn't hurt.  Fun day.


Sturgeon Bay

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Sturgeon Bay is a weird place. Being in Door County -- the gateway, really -- it's funky and artsy and fun, but not quite as funky and artsy as Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Ephraim, Gills Rock; perhaps, also, not quite as hokey touristy, either.  It's definitely more year-round working town combined with seasonal tourist town than any other destination to its north.  It's fun to get off the main drag -- some super-duper old houses, barns... barn-houses.  A lot of old houses, especially along the shore, have met with the wrecking ball to make way for new.  In fact, right next door to this funky barn was a brand new house, definitely of a different era than its barn.

Between photo ops, I got a lot of knitting done on the Trekking sock!  I'm only a round away from beginning the toe shaping and it's really all downhill from there.  We arrived in time to visit both fiber shops on my list.  The first (and the one I was worried about missing) was Apple Hollow Fiber Arts (linked in sidebar) -- a good, basic selection of yarn and books, looms, wheels and roving.  We also visited Temptations, just a few doors down (no website), which I've visited before.  Temptations actually has two buildings -- the second one is devoted to cross stitch and needlepoint.  My souvenir yarn of the day is Artyarns Ultramerino 4 in color 123.  I think this may be the very same stuff I sent to Anne last year (maybe even the same color, too?) as part of a Secret Pal exchange -- I've never tried the stuff, myself, and now I can!  Someday.

I guess there wasn't anything that tripped Kate's trigger -- except for some Malabrigo yarn in the Autumn Forest colorway (perfect for her!) which she resisted (for the moment and only because she didn't have a specific something in mind for it and it's still a bit warm to be thinking of working much with wool) -- until she saw a braided hank (is that the correct term) of roving at Temptations.

"What's this?" she asked.  "How do you knit with this?"

I told her that it was roving and it's for spinning.  "You mean making your own yarn?"

Oh, yes, she was very intrigued by that -- interestingly, not at the shop with all the spindles and wheels and bags of the stuff -- I told her that we could make a drop spindle with a CD, and that her Nana has two spinning wheels (functionality yet to be determined), and that I have a feeling that I'll be hard-pressed to resist the whir of the wheel come October in Rhinebeck, and may even be forced (goaded, at the very least) to experience the spin.  My wall of resistance may finally be caving -- and I resist only because I can't imagine fitting it in.  I did just tell Cara, though, that the more there is to do, the more I get done.

If you ever find yourself in Sturgeon Bay, I recommend the Pudgy Seagull as a place to try for breakfast, possibly a quick lunch, not really dinner.  Really cool sign, though.

Dsc08078"P" could be for propeller -- and if I was a mariner in any way, shape or form, it would be -- but my own, more personal "P" is yet to come.  Intriguing chunk of an old boat, though.  I really did think about the ABC-Along as I shot that picture above.  ; )

I took so many sky pictures, it isn't even funny.


Musing on weekends in June

It was a last-minute decision to head north last weekend -- Wednesday or Thursday night when I shot off an email to check with Dad (our host) and make sure he didn't have other plans.  There are relatively few things clogging up my calendar this summer -- not like some years when it's practically all booked by March (I hate that kind of summer) -- and I'm employing a "take it as it comes" approach.

We left on Friday night and Kate & Al drove the whole way except for the half-mile between gas station and discount store in Wausau where we stopped for a few supplies.  As long as there was light, I knit on my sock in the car.  The girls had control of the audio system and we listened to their CDs until the very last part of the trip.  When we finally switched on the radio, about 15 minutes from our destination, it was 11:00 p.m. and I heard the unmistakable beginning to a national network news update...

297I have been going up to the cottage at least once a summer for my whole life.  My grandparents were one of three families -- siblings -- who owned a big log cabin -- four bedrooms plus a big loft at each end, large kitchen/dining/living area, enclosed porch with a huge swing, also a boathouse on the island across the bridge, outhouse, tool shed, and "the hoodlum" -- that my great grandpa had built in the '30s; each of the three had a whole month of summer to spend there themselves or divvy up amongst or share with their kids.  My grandparents' month was June and, in my memory, they always spent the whole whole month, 1st through the 30th, at the cottage.  One time Great Uncle Gordy showed up on June 30th to get a head start on his month of July and that didn't go over real well with my grandpa -- early fireworks that year.  Great Gramps had actually left the cabin to all six of his kids, but three of them, arguably the ones with the most sense, immediately sold out to the other three.  The remaining owners never put any more into the place than was absolutely necessary, so the plumbing was never upgraded beyond the original outhouse and outdoor pump, except for a cold-water line to the sink in the last couple of years.  It had always been the job of whatever kids were around to keep the two water pails filled -- pumps are never located right outside the door and this one was no exception, located a little downhill, even, and it couldn't have been farther from the kitchen.  In fact, the three owners could rarely agree on exactly what constituted "absolutely necessary" maintenance, so the place was in need of a major repairs and renovation when they finally sold it after some 40 years -- so much work needed to be done that no one in the following generations would touch it with a 10-foot pole.  An uncle bought a different (and smaller) cabin a couple of doors down -- there were about a half-dozen places that were built and owned by various ragtag relations and this was one of those -- and my dad bought some nearby land and eventually built a small place of his own.

287When I was a little kid, Dad had a small plane and we sometimes flew into a nearby "airport" -- which, depending on where we were flying into and the time of day, might actually not have been an airport but was instead the local lumber yard doing double-duty.  Most of the time, though, we drove.  I could usually pull rank, as the eldest, and sit in the front seat between my parents rather than one of four squished into the back seat.  Sometimes I lost the front, but then I'd wrangle for (and usually win) at least a window seat in back.  I remember stopping for gas, sitting by the open window in the back seat, waiting for the attendant to come and pump the gas, wash the windshield, check the oil -- and inhaling deeply -- I loved the smell of gasoline.  I remember my dad's left arm always being much more tanned (or burnt) and freckled than the right because he liked to drive with his arm hanging out the window.  I remember wistfully passing drive-in after drive-in with fluorescent ice cream cone signs -- but I don't remember ever stopping.  We never had anything to drink -- no bottles of Coke or water or Starbucks Double-Shot -- or eat -- no king-size Milky Way or bag of Ruffles -- and I don't remember even stopping to use a bathroom.  My dad's a drive 'til you get there kinda guy now, and I think he always was.

278The minute I heard the jingle leading into the news last Friday night, I was transported.  It was 1968 and I was between mom and dad on the front seat of his white Jeep Wagoneer with the boat being towed behind.  It was a wooden boat, a Thompson, and one year it was suspended in the garage, sanded and repainted.  It was a pretty boat and sometimes I was allowed to drive it.  "The lake" was actually a flowage, though, and boaters needed to be constantly watchful of stumps just below the surface.  I was never allowed to let 'er rip on open water, and I never would have wanted to!  On that day in June, 1968, the news was relentless, constant on the radio -- at every turn of the dial -- with word of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.  I was only 9, but I remember how solemn the mood during that trip.  I don't know if I put it together myself, the relationship between Bobby and his brother, John -- whose assassination just after my fifth birthday I also remember to a degree -- but I'm sure it was put together for me.  I was only a year younger than Caroline Kennedy and that was close enough that I felt sad for her and her little brother that their dad was killed.  I would often look through the book "The Torch Is Passed" that my mom had, and I would look at Rose Kennedy's face and think about how awful it must have been for her -- I think John was the third child she lost? -- and now this?  Bobby?  I was not a newshound by any means, but even I knew that 1968 wasn't going very well, not with Martin Luther King, Jr. have been assassinated a few months earlier.

There was another June, several years later, listening to the chase of O.J. Simpson.  I learned of the death of Princess Di coming home from a trip to the cottage, too, though that was in August (oh! that wasn't our month!).

The pictures are all from the 40s or early 50s, I think.  Picture #1 taken from the island where the boathouse was, to the left (out of the picture) was a group of big marten houses, way over on the right is "the hoodlum" which is now at my uncle's place -- it had wheels and two, built-in, full-size bunks, and was originally hauled around to lumber camps.  Picture #2 is the others side of the cabin -- the shorter lady is my great grandma -- the hoodlum is at far left, the building next to it on the right is the two-seater outhouse.  Picture #3 -- I don't know where they came from, but the Adirondack chairs at the cottage were the most comfortable ever!