Weekending: Pure Michigan

Rusty & I skipped town just as soon as we were able on Friday, headed north to Michigan's Upper Peninsula for a quick weekend getaway.

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We stayed in a little cottage at Lakeshore Resort on South Manistique Lake that I'd found on Airbnb. After stopping for dinner and crossing from Central to Eastern time, we didn't arrive until about 11pm... unpacked and went to bed, set for a full day ahead!

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It stormed on both Friday & Saturday nights, and was rainy & wet on Saturday, but we managed to do the things & go the places we'd wanted (and then some), and the colors were beautiful! I brought along this pair of Merrell clogs that Ann had given me when  she moved to Spain. I'd never worn them and almost gave them back to her over the summer, but I'm so glad I didn't! They were perfect for some of the "squish" hiking we did, but comfy & cute, too; that's always where I'm at in regards to shoes, no matter the occasion! ;)

I'll be back with more -- details & photos (so many photos)! I hope you had a great weekend!


Weekending: Almost perfect

On Friday night, we bit the bullet and finally ordered a new fridge! I've only been yearning/threatening about this for years. Our current fridge is the last of the original appliances that Rusty & I bought in 1985. The fridge space in our kitchen is quite limited, though, and it hasn't been easy to find a style both that I like and that fits.

Early Saturday morning -- at 2:22am, to be specific -- I woke up and wondered how we were going to get the new fridge into the space! And, for that matter, how we'd get the old one out! I just glossed over all of the info I saw about that, I guess, because if I finally found a fridge that more or less* fit into the space, there was no question that it was going to happen. Period. I spent an hour tossing & turning, barely able to keep from getting up & grabbing a tape measure (the first thing I did when the sun came up), and we definitely have a pickle. It can come in the front door and it's a straight shot to the kitchen from there, but it'll be all hands on deck to lift it over the island (pretty sure the delivery guys will have no part of that)! Ditto the old.

*Um, yes. There's a cabinet above the fridge that's going to be reconfigured. I spent some time on Saturday cleaning out & organizing the pantry cupboard so that I could empty that cabinet for removal.

Hopefully, we'll take delivery on Thursday afternoon/evening. Stay tuned, though, because the heavy equipment is making its way ever closer and we already had a UPS driver unable to navigate to our house one day last week.

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In other news -- SURPRISE!! I spent some time with a couple of super-cute kids!

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The weather was great, so we spent a lot of time outside -- walking/scootering to the park, playing on the playground, eating hot dogs & burgers (there was a baseball tournament going on so lots of kids, and the concession stand was open). When we got back home, we gathered walnuts in the back yard and chucked them into the ravine, had some fun with chalk & water (it's been a favorite activity this summer), changed clothes & threw in a load of laundry, and had some fun indoors.

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I owe Junah a new pair of shoes! Ali just bought these the day before... he used them for scooter brakes.

The ball got rolling over the weekend in my workroom, too. I spent a few really good hours getting things cleaned up & organized, and making plans. I frogged one project, and wound yarn for another (that's been on my mind for months). There's plenty more to do but I'm feeling great about the progress!

I hope you had an almost perfect -- or maybe even perfect -- weekend, too!


Weekending: Some Like It Hot

But I'm not one of them! I can't wait for tomorrow's transition, when it will be only 82°F, on the way to a more seasonable mid-60s to 70 to close September.

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All kinds of new paint, flags, and stakes have appeared over the past week along my 2-block-long street, and soon things will be happening! This is at the other end, and something of a staging area with all kinds of heavy equipment, job trailer, pipe, new fire hydrants, etc. It's been quite a project and we've been dealing with water pressure issues from time to time. On Saturday, I thought I'd take advantage of a short window of opportunity and get some yarn dyed. I cleaned up my work area, got everything out, and... no water! Zero!! Apparently, there was a break in a water main. Blah. So much for that opportunity.

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I watched the kids for a few hours on Saturday afternoon. We took a couple of hot & sticky walks/rides outside. Junah was excited to show me the "pumpkin patch" in the neighborhood (some gourds spilling onto the sidewalk), and where the switches are on some nearby railroad tracks. There was a little water in the sandbox/table, and Gin didn't even mind when Jün poured a little on her back. I kept suggesting that a bath would sure feel good, but they weren't buying it.

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On Saturday evening, Rusty & I cleaned up a bit and headed out to the Gala Opening of The Forst Inn in Tisch Mills. It's actually a re-opening, after having closed in 2014 after nearly 150 years. Rusty was invited to check it out as a potential future exhibitor in the new art gallery. I knew a couple of people in/related to the band, too, so it was fun.

Photo is courtesy of Kate! She spent a bit of time at home over the weekend... doing laundry, running errands, and watching a football game on Sunday afternoon!

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Prior to game time, I took some time for a bit of stitching/embellishing. This is a small, crazy-fun piece that I'm working on somewhat stealthily at the moment... I've enjoyed taking these weird, sort of abstract close up photos of the project all along, and look forward to sharing them someday!

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During the game, I finished the first tail of Woman Must Make Her Own Arrows. There was just enough daylight left to dash out and take a photo! There are some amazing finished projects, and certainly among my favorites is the designer Larissa's! I hope I like wearing mine even half as much as I've enjoyed knitting it. It's really a fun project. Stitches are picked up for the other tail... I have no idea what will evolve.

I received an invitation to a baby shower that will be held next month... that's plenty of time for some baby knitting. Now to decide on a project!


Weekending: Fly

I watched the kiddos on Friday night while Ali & Rod went out for a bit. Usually they come to my house, but this time I went over there.

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They play pretty well "together" sometimes! I love listening to Junah chatter when he plays... narrating what's happening. Gin's wearing her new favorite dress!

Maddy's friend Taryn has her pilot's license and keeps her plane at a small privately owned airport in the area, where she won a raffle to host a picnic/party on Saturday. Maddy was invited and I got to tag along! There was go-carting (electric, clean, quiet) -- super fun and something I haven't done in decades; a small bowling alley (I did not bowl); airplane & helicopter rides, along with food & beverages.

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I went up with Jim in this two-seater Cessna 150. My dad had a 170, I think, when I was little; it was slightly larger -- with a back seat roomy enough for three little girls aged 4 & 3. Jim was ready to sign me up for flying lessons! I really do love to fly, but I'm not in the market for another expensive and time-consuming hobby! Haha. Sorry Jim.

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Maddy is ready for take off, complete with aviators!

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I think that was my first time in a helicopter -- the first that I remember, anyway. I sure love the shapes, colors, and textures from up there.

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While Rusty & I caught up on a little TV Saturday night, I scratched the Log Cabin Itch™ that's been plaguing me for a couple of weeks. This is the first basic recipe in the new Mason-Dixon Field Guide No. 4: Log Cabin, though I did my own thing with the colors. I think I'm going to make it just a wee bit bigger. And knit a few more... I have so much cotton!

I putzed a bit on Sunday, cleaning up a bit... and stitching.

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I'm working on a fish and giving it some bling... resembling scales, I hope. I've done a little work with sequins before, but nothing like this... learning new techniques from sites about "sewing for belly dancers"! Of course!!

And I did some laundry.

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I did something -- a few things -- really dumb the other day. First, while switching an empty bottle of olive oil for a full one, I accidentally threw away the cap for the new one -- really away, as in the big bin outside. I didn't realize that I'd thrown away the wrong cap until, second, I tried lifting the new bottle of oil by the cap... that came right off, of course, and the bottle tipped and there was a big spill on the stove. I didn't even realize until a little while later that it had also splashed on me -- a big splash! I was wearing the shirt shown above, a favorite and one of the first Alabama Chanin-style garments that I made (over three years ago!). It splashed on one side, all the way from the second row of circles to the fourth, about 2.5 inches at the widest point. Third, once discovered, I took off the shirt and set it aside... so dumb! The kids were over, the kitchen was full, I was cooking... so distracted... but I just set the shirt neatly aside in the laundry room and then the oil stain on the front of the shirt proceeded to SOAK THROUGH TO THE BACK!! Gah.

Why try to remove one oil stain when you could remove TWO??

Eventually, I got back to it and discovered what had happened... soaked it good with pre-treatment spray. Washed it. Naturally, it was still there.

A few years ago, when we'd gone to Todos Santos, I leaned over the sink there and got what I thought was water on my shirt (an Eileen Fisher shirt), but turns out it was actually oil that Rusty had spilled from a can of tuna! Um, I was not happy. He did everything he could to get that stain out, and eventually called a dry cleaner and pleaded with them to share the secret to oil stain removal. They said, as last resort, brake fluid... actually, almost any other "oily" substance would work!

Anyway, this was such a big spill, I just pulled out the big gun right away... and it ALMOST worked. I'd brilliantly posted the photo on Instagram and it was looking very promising at the time. But once dry, I could still see the stain. Among the suggestions made was Dawn dishwashing liquid of different types. I happened to have some Dawn Platinum Erasing Dish Foam at the kitchen sink, so I soaked front & back really good with that and let it sit for a while. Kate was stopping over (upon her return from Denver) to have dinner and throw in a load of wash... which I knew would be black.  :)

DONE!! It worked... 


Weekending: Labor(s of love) Day

It was pretty great as far as holiday weekends go!

Rusty & I walked down to the farmers market on Saturday morning. On Saturday evening, we went to a friend's art opening in Oshkosh. In between:

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I contemplated a Fade.

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And I contemplated how to "bling" a fish.

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And I washed & blocked some knitting!

Ali & I had talked about taking the kids to Kites Over Lake Michigan, but it was raining by the time she was finished at the market... and also pooped.

Instead, I decided to take the kids to Mulberry Lane Farm on Sunday -- gave her a break to do a few things (including take a nap). I think it was my first solo "outing" with both of them! It was a gorgeous day.

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So much to see & do! I think that calf (above) was sniffing out some spills/crumbs in the stroller! There were chickens & chicks, a sow & piglets, a hog, cows, goats, sheep, geese, bunnies, a great hayride, pony rides (Jun wasn't interested in doing, only in watching), and a nice play area.

Ali came over afterwards and we spent a nice evening together.

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I make Weeknight Roast Chicken (even though it was the weekend) and Salt Potatoes. I had recently posted a photo of potatoes in a pot on Instagram and someone asked if I was making Syracuse Salt Potatoes... I had never eaten or even heard of Syracuse Salt Potatoes, so of course I had to rectify that situation! Oh, so good, and so EASY!

I stayed up late on Saturday night, setting in the sleeves of Gin's Beatrice Top. On a roll, I continued the sewing up on Sunday morning while I had my coffee. I found a button, crocheted a loop, and voila! It's finished, and delivered to Ali this morning.

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I love that rolled neckline, and the gathers are so sweet! I crocheted a chain for the button loop instead of making I-cord. It was really a fun little knit and I'll definitely make another... maybe a solid color. It's my first time using that particular yarn and I love it -- so soft! Also, machine wash and dry.

Bewitched by the magic that is mattress stitch, I found myself wanting to do it some more, so I pulled out...

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Oblique! This sweater is from Knitty, Fall 2007. Yes, 2007. I started in December of that year! The last time it saw the light of day was February 2010 when it was on my list of contenders for the 2010 Knitting Olympics (my event was "finishing"); I'd made progress, but it didn't cross the finish line. And it's been sitting for over 7 years! It's not going to fit me anymore, at least not buttoned up, but it's getting finished and it'll surely fit someone!!


Weekending: Quick Get-away

Jun has turned a corner, and is all of a sudden very engaging with and attentive to his little sister.

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He makes sure her legs are straight, (nearly strangle-)holds her on the big slide. "Isn't that fun, Gin?"

Rusty had some errands to run on Saturday and I decided to ride along; we both packed a bag with the idea that we'd stay overnight if we found a place that beckoned.

Naturally, I packed an extra bag full of yarn.

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Yes, I brought all this yarn!

After our scheduled stops in Mishicot & Algoma, we wandered. We found lunch, stumbled across some history...

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It was a gorgeous day, so we found some beautiful vistas, too.

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We decided to stop for a root beer float at Frosty Tip in Dyckesville and talk about where we'd like to end up for the evening. As we turned off the by-pass, I spotted Sunset Shores, which looked pretty good -- and here we are; I gave a call and we nabbed the last available room.

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Provisions (we weren't very prepared).

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We found a place for a light supper, then settled in to enjoy sunset at the beach. We socialized with a fellow guest, and watched the sky for meteors -- alas, I did not see a single one! I've seen quite a few "shooting stars" over the years, though, and no doubt I will see more... it was a gorgeous evening for stargazing.

We were up and out the door early. Only :45 from home, we walked through the back door at 9 a.m. and put on a pot of coffee!

After breakfast, I gave my Forest Mystery shawl a soak while I biked to the store, and pinned it out when I got back. It's HUGE -- much bigger than my blocking mat! So cozy.

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Then I did a little tidying, a little laundry, a little cleaning & tossing out... and, other than cooking supper, I took the rest of the day off!

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Got zucchini? This is Crust-less Summer Zucchini Pie*.

I'd begun knitting Larissa Brown's Woman Must Make Her Own Arrows in the Saturday sunset (above), and spent much of yesterday knitting and figuring out "where this arrow wants to go."

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The shawl begins with a couple of knit triangles. This is Triangle #1 and, after some trial & error/knitting & ripping, I think this is the palette and the direction it's going. The Madelinetosh Unicorn Tails weren't in my original pile o' yarn for this project, but they are perfect in more ways than one -- notice all the "arrowheads" on the labels? This is a fun project for play and for using up a bunch of leftovers and little skeins. I'm already thinking about Triangle #2!

*Last time I made this, I used 4 eggs instead of 2; this time I used 6; next time, I'll try 6 again but eliminate (or greatly cut back) the flour.


Weekending

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That's supposed to be a gif -- is it moving?

Kids, corn, corny kids...

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Remember Prisma??

A little shopping, some good food & drink & tunes, water & sand, hanging out...

I even got a few things done at home!

Does it get any better?


Love + Dancing = Weekend Wedding

My nephew Sam, Brian's eldest, married the love of his life on Saturday. He fell in love with Anna within seconds of meeting, and just "knew." He began saving for the engagement ring after their second date!

The wedding was held in the rooftop garden at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, and it was lovely. Anna is gorgeous, and made a stunning bride.

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The photographer was just on the other side of that greenery while I creeped to get this lovely image of Sam & Anna dancing.

Oh my goodness, the DANCING!!

Much to their amusement, I told the boys during Auntie Camp about Sam's late-night surprise performance at my brother's wedding, 16 years ago, shocking everyone -- no one more than his father -- by dancing a joyful solo to Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." Sam had been as relentless in requesting the song as the DJ had been in resisting, but it was finally spun at the end of the night and I am not kidding when I say that jaws hit the floor.

The DJs on Saturday were also resistant, but Mack was collecting names and, well... Kate & I were 29 & 30 on the petition, I believe. Haha! Resistance is futile. Finally, they played the record and people crowded the dance floor -- including Sam and his brothers for a reprise.

And inspiration... the youngest of them were shy at first.

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Addie & Ann. It all starts with one move (oh, the orange socks)!!

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Addie & Dylan. A few hours later!!

There was no stopping them. Solos, trios, quartets, crowds; with their mother, aunt, brothers, cousins; they danced all night and it was delightful.

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I arrived home early Sunday afternoon and took a nap! After that, I relaxed. Perfect Sunday afternoon activities, if you ask me.

And then I made dinner. Roasted Tomatoes & Cipollini Onions with White Beans from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, which I nabbed last week from Ann's pile that was destined for Half-Price Books.

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It was delicious, pretty easy to put together, and so good. "I can't stop thinking about it" good!!

I hope you had a good weekend!


Weekending

I love lavender!

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Maddy's been doing a little yard work, and she left me this lovely bouquet after trimming back the lavender. And a note... I love notes!

I watched Jun for a little while on Saturday afternoon while his mum & Gin ran errands.

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We checked out and covered the potatoes (he calls them "tomatoes") and hung out in the back yard for a while, put together three puzzles, played ball (with two balls!), took the bears for a buggy ride down the sidewalk, and chatted with the neighbor.

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Then Ali & Gin hung out for a while, too!

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A little faucet repair was the first order of business on Sunday morning. I'd discovered a leak/drip late Saturday night and called Rusty; we decided to just shut it off under the sink (also emptying that cabinet because, of course, it was all wet, too). I took it apart and put it back together four times in the morning and it was just getting worse! I finally snapped these photos and sent them to Rusty. See that little "ring" in the first photo? That's actually two pieces that came off as one -- an inside brass piece that gets tightened with a wrench (and stops leaks!), and a decorative piece that's hand-tightened before the handle is screwed back down. Once that was determined, it was a pretty quick fix! Thank goodness for camera phones.

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I finished the stealth project I was working on! This is the inside... it's a stranded project, as you can see. That's not usually my thing, but this was fun to figure out, and I love how it turned out!! Details soon!

Meanwhile, I contemplated starting the TTL Mystery Shawl (yes, I've been peeking at Spoiler pics -- and love it), but nothing in my stash is turning me on. I decided that what I should really do is pick up my Brambling Shawl and get back on track! I've located my pattern, now I just need to figure out where I am.

Haha. Where am I???


In other news: Weekending

Let's take a break from the travelogue, shall we?

I started a new knitting project on Friday night: a wee hat on DPNs. Somehow, I lost a needle while casting on, and then a second went missing. I searched around and under my chair & ottoman, and then had a look "inside" my chair. Gah! Right off the bat, I spotted a couple of crayons and stitch markers, some food (a veggie straw, an M&M, some nuts), and a DPN -- a bigger one that I didn't even know was missing!!

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Hungry, Hungry Recliner

I decided that one of my Saturday projects would be pulling that chair apart to clean and reclaim some of that stuff!

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I turned it over on its side, and ended up propping it up on a box for ease of access. I pulled out a bunch of staples along the edge and, handily, found that a couple of super-size paperclips had also fallen in there, so I used them to hold back the fabric while I then wiggled & shook everything out!

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I almost dislocated a shoulder! It's a heavy chair.

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There's the "good stuff"! Haha. (I found the other missing DPN under a nearby chest.)

The kiddos were over for a while on Saturday, too.

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Gin is walking as if she's been doing it for weeks! She toddled in carrying my bike helmet.

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She was suffering a case of the summertime sniffles and/or teething... and took the rare (short) nap at Nona's house!

Maddy ran in & out again yesterday -- she's "home," but she's been very busy reconnecting & visiting with friends, so I haven't seen her much. A little downtime is forthcoming...

What else? It was a fairly low-key weekend at home -- kids & grandkids in & out, some knitting, some cleaning out & organizing, and a new sewing project cut out.

How about you? How was your weekend??


Sew, the weekend...

Actually, it's more like "Sew, the month..." as I haven't done anything but sew since I finished knitting my Colorwash Shawl!

First it was the Tom Petty Corset; all put together and awaiting binding (and the loss of a few pounds)!

I still wanted a Corset, though, and found some Batman t-shirts on clearance at Macy's. I love the fabric, but the design of these things is hiddy:

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I'd already chopped & sliced that one up, but yuck. I had an XL and an XXL, the backs gave me enough fabric for the body and there was more than enough on the fronts to cut binding.

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It's a little bit wonky. The fabric is 100% cotton, but much finer and lighter in weight than I'm used to -- medium weight is what I usually order from Alabama Chanin, often heavy weight in the thrifted t-shirts.

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I checked a couple of times to verify that it was 100% cotton and not some combo with bamboo or something. It was slippery, more difficult to control, and it took a while to get it all sewn up. I like it well enough, though!

Since then, I've been working on the Alabama Chanin Magdalena A-line that I'd begun a year ago, in the hopes that perhaps I'd finish in time to bring it along on vacation. But first...

I "fixed" some sleepwear that I also want to take.

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The heavy embroidered design was replaced with this:

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It's a little swatch from when I was contemplating ideas for Catamount. I'm so glad to have found a use for it! That one little sequin makes me inordinately happy.

And voila! I finished all the seaming of the A-line on Saturday night, so yesterday was all about binding.

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That dress form isn't anywhere near my size, but you get an idea.

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Cretin stitch... always a bit of a challenge for me, but I think I'm getting better!

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Originally, I'd stenciled pieces for the back, too, but I've left the back a single layer and plain for a number of reasons... besides time. One is that the technique used on the front is "lighter" than some. Another is that I'd placed the stencil on all four pieces in almost exactly the same manner, and have decided that I'd prefer some variation. I'm hoping to use those other pieces to make something for Gin!

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Anyway, here it is. I used a couple of different colors of thread for the sewing. The cutting (negative reverse applique) was CRAZY INTENSE with all those knots & tails on the outside, but I don't think I accidentally snipped short a single one of those tails!

It's crunch time now!! One more sleep at home, another sleep on the plane, and then our first stop: Dublin!


Weekending: Together With / Madison

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Brian Prugh . (title to be updated) . Nylon tulle . 2017

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Tobias FikeDraco (left) and Puppis . Solar-burned canvas. 2017

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Laura ShillRun So Far (from the Absent Lovers series) . Cyanotype . 2017

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Amber CobbHeld, Hugged, and Stroked . Silicone on bathmat. 2016

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Esau McGhee . (titles to be updated) . Collage. 2017

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Ian FisherAtmosphere No. 85 . Oil on canvas . 2017

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Ashley Williams and Sarah Williams (collaboration) . Necessary Language: Berlin/Doi Saket . Clay, wire, foam, and paint . 2017

Those are a few of my favorites pieces from TOGETHER WITHThe show will be up in Madison for a few weeks, then packed away & stored until September when it heads for Denver!

It was late, we were hungry, and Rusty was mightily suffering the allergies, so the only other Gallery Night venue we visited was right across the street at the Overture Center for the Arts, where The Fairytales of Grimm & Litherland was my favorite exhibit by far!

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Gerit Grimm

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Gina Litherland

Path of Needles . Oil on Masonite . 2009
Three Spinsters . Oil on panel . 2015

For anyone interested who lives in or around Madison, Gerit Grimm will be giving a demo @ UW-Madison Art Lofts on Thurs., June 8, 6:30-8:00 pm.

Our Airbnb -- with an app for the garage door and an app to unlock the door -- was really pretty great. We were literally in & out -- went to bed when we arrived, and got ready to leave when we got up! We had breakfast at a new-to-us diner in Madison called The Curve (a whole area of Madison over there that I seem to have never visited before!). 

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It was so lovely, we walked down by the water. I took a panorama photo and then Rusty decided to move and this is what was captured -- it's always weird when something moves!

We were home by early afternoon and I watched the kiddos for a while before getting ready to go to hear the Fox Valley Symphony. It was the finale of their 50th season, and as part of the anniversary celebration, they asked a few local artists to create works of art for the pieces they would perform -- Saturday's piece was A Sea Symphony, and Rusty was asked to create the artwork! Imagine that.


Weekending: From Bizarre to Bazaar

In the bizarre, I assisted with some unplanned car buying last week. Kate's 2005 Subaru Forester took a crap on her late last week (thankfully, waiting until after our return from Chicago!). There's already been a pile o' money sunk into that vehicle with, it seems, only the promise for more of the same. She decided to cut her losses, and once that decision was made, she began doing the legwork involved in finding a replacement. She ended up spending most of the week with us -- in a half-painted room with drop-cloth-covered furniture -- which made car-pooling and -sharing a little easier. By Friday (my day off), I schlepped her around to sign many of the things, and by noon on Saturday, after signing all the rest of the things, she drove a new-to-her (one previous owner, less than 90,000 miles) 2010 Subaru Forester off the lot! It's newer, nicer, and has a few more bells & whistles. Also, little things that make a girl happy... like an AUX jack!

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I watched the kids on Saturday afternoon while Ali readied the KC&T Coffee Camper for it's longest & busiest gig so far!

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It was pretty chilly on Saturday night -- which is just what you want, I guess, if you're offering mostly hot drinks at the first Bazaar After Dark of the year! They were busy -- working their butts off busy -- all night! I was even put to work for a few minutes.

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Two streets & and alley were closed to traffic for the event, with lots of really great craft, food & drink vendors (which I happily did my part to support), music & entertainment.

The bazaar served to kick off a Habitat for Humanity Rock the Block event happening this week, right in my 'hood. One of the main items on the agenda is the rehab of a small park down the street that's seen better days (like, once upon a time, when the fountain was still working). I am anxious to see the re-do!!


Weekending

It was a long weekend, as I took Thursday & Friday off last week, and I spent a couple of those days in Chicago!

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My only view of Marina City (my favorite) on this trip was from the car!

Kate was over a few weeks ago, doing some "planning out loud." She needed to make a trip to Milwaukee & Chicago to pick up work for Together With, a show she's curated, opening soon in Madison (and later in Denver). It could have been done in a day if all she did was drive & pick up work... but she wondered if maybe I'd like to go along and make it an overnight pre-birthday trip with a little time for some fun stuff, too!

Well, she didn't have to ask me twice... days off secured, our Airbnb was booked!! Our apartment was on the 38th floor at Presidential Towers -- a slightly different area of the city than we've stayed before. Cozy, and with a great view... but no corkscrew!! (And, yes, I mentioned it in my review.)

We had to book parking separately, which I did via a new-to-me app called ParkWhiz. I used another parking app on a previous trip, but ParkWhiz had a better rate this time around. We couldn't check in until 3 p.m., so used the app to find parking for lunch. Turns out, the lot was over-sold; there were already illegally parked cars -- which we briefly considered doing -- but we drove around the lot for a while longer until someone left. ParkWhiz was very anxious for my feedback, and when my rating for this particular incident wasn't very high, they gave me a $10 credit. Unfortunately, I didn't do that until we were home, so I guess we'll be saving it for the next trip (not a bad thing... it will happen)!

Though we considered trying a new spot for lunch, there's nothing like an old favorite! We ended up at The Purple Pig again -- I've been there on every trip to Chicago, save one, since we discovered it 5 or 6 years ago. We had Bobota "Greek Cornbread" with Feta, Mizithra Chese & Honey and Deviled Egg with Arugula & Capers (new), Smashed Potatoes with Sheep Feta & Oregano and Housemade Gyros & Pita Bread with Pickled Beets & Pickled Sweet Potatoes (new). So good!! I never knew until last week that capers were available any way other than tiny & pickled, but the ones that came with the deviled egg were large enough to slice!

We made a stop at Eataly before heading to our apartment. I've been to Eataly a couple of times now, but still find myself pretty overwhelmed! Other than a bottle of wine (which we were unable to open) and a 4-pack of local beer, all we bought was a jar of salt-cured capers and a tote bag.

Lucky for us, The Art Institute of Chicago is open late on Thursday evening, and there were some interesting exhibits! We took a walk...

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The Chicago Picasso at Daley Plaza.

...stopping often to photograph art & architecture.

And through Millenium Park, with an obligatory stop at Cloud Gate.

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And, of course, a selfie.

We were fortunate to see some of each of the solo performances by Eiko & Koma. Koma's "tango" was mesmerizing (I couldn't stop watching his feet).

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This is Eiko "descending" the stairs. I was struck by her feet, too! There is a page of videos on their website, if you're interested in seeing what they're all about (some interviews, too).

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We visited a few of the current exhibitions, including Whistler’s Mother: An American Icon Returns to Chicago, Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium, and Saints and Heroes: Art of Medieval and Renaissance Europe. I was drawn in by the lovely countenance above, and also sword.

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Of course, we visited The New Contemporary.

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I have my favorites.

There was plenty more that we'd liked to have seen, but there is only so much slow-walking a person can do! A few hours is all I can take in even my most comfy footwear.

Prior to arriving in Chicago, we'd scoped out some possible restaurants in our "new neighborhood." But it was a bit of a trek back and we were hungry NOW, so we checked out The Dearborn, which we'd passed and noted on the way to the AIC. When I saw HAMILTON: THE COCKTAIL on the drinks menu, I knew we were in the right place. It was delicious, as was our dinner! Service was fantastic. Kate had fish & chips, and I had gnocchi -- which included the first morel mushrooms I've ever eaten, hopefully not the last.

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This may be our pre-theatre stop when Maddy takes her friend Katy and me to see Hamilton! (By the way, there's a new post from our intrepid traveler!)

 While Kate ran out to make a pick up on Friday morning, I sipped coffee in the apartment and cast on the Colorwash Scarf. Though here the yarn is just admiring the view with me.

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I'll share more about this project in a day or two.

Thwarted by parking issues (so many signs, too many apps, valet?) in addition to being a little bit hangry, we drove out of the city center to find some lunch, and ended up at Staropolska Restaurant -- a hankering for Polish food -- also available on-street parking!

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Most of the menu was in both Polish and English, there were restaurant patrons conversing in Polish, our waitress was bilingual (at least), and even the posters at the video store across the street were in Polish!

Kate had one stop in Milwaukee at The Pitch Project, which happens to adjoin Brenner Brewing Co., and I was happy to sample a new local beer while she conducted her business.

Home by Friday evening... dinner & a movie... and everyone came over on Saturday to celebrate Kate's birthday!


Right Now: April Weekending

Avoiding... Income taxes. In doing so, I have been incredibly productive in other areas!

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Kate & Jun checking out the creek in Kate's new back yard!

Saturday's tactics included helping Katie move, doing Ali's payroll, and sewing a dress for Gin.

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Gin: In Threes - helping Kate move in!

On Sunday, I made runs to Target & the grocery store, had lunch with Kate, balanced a few bank accounts, and even took all of the printer toner cartridges (that have been piling up for years) to Office Max.

And I made dinner and we Skyped with Maddy.

And I sorted through a stack of tax-related papers.

It's been a pretty amazing weekend!! Perhaps we should need to file our tax returns every month! Heh.

Celebrating... April Birthdays!!! Though Alison is second-born, her birthday comes first on the calendar and this year it is also Easter. We're going to join Rod's family at a local restaurant for Easter lunch and birthday celebration, and I'm okay with not cooking/hosting this year. I will be baking an awesome cake, and have enlisted Kate's help in decorating.

And next I'll have to figure out what to do for her birthday...

And then for Maddy's, which is a little tougher since she's so far away.

Drinking... Coffee, water, iced SporTea, hot Tazo ZEN tea, Gin+Campari+OJ+Club Soda.

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Salad in a jar for lunch! I've been meaning to do this for a long time...

Eating... Pretty well, for the most part. Planning is everything!!

Itching... for some nice weather. I'm not asking for much (being April), but four days in a row of 50s-into-60s and sunshine would do wonders. Alas, April, you're known more for showers and, from what I can see, that's what it's mostly going to be about this month.

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Sewing... As mentioned above, while avoiding working on taxes, I made another Geranium Dress for Gin.

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I wasn't really even thinking about making another dress for her, but was moving some stuff around and uncovered an old pillowcase from Mom's.

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It was a reflex, thinking, "Hm. Could I make a dress from this?" And then I did. The ruffled edge of the pillowcase made a PERFECT ruffled hem -- and saved quite a bit of time.

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I've sewn three dresses for Gin and they've all been from the same pattern! I am still all about that sleeve cap. My "stitching in the ditch" could be improved.

Knitting... I am currently working on Summer Camp by Laura Aylor, using some recently dyed yarn that makes me think it might have been rather dark & stormy at camp that week. But also fun!

Listening... to Exit West by Mohsin Hamid... and am enthralled every minute.

Reading... I am committed to Homeland and Other Stories, and enjoying it quite a bit; Dark Matter is on deck for book club, though I'm certain I will not have finished it by the time we meet.

Planning... Not much, except for some vague home improvement/cleaning projects. It's only April and I already have plans for every single one of my vacation days this year plus one! Florida & New Orleans have eaten a few; Spain for sure; Auntie Camp, and a trip to TN/AL add up! Not complaining, it's a stellar year for experiences.

Watching... Rusty and I just watched Finding Vivian Maier, which had been on my subliminal list for quite a long time and he brought home from the library last week.

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Wondering... How this little fashionista is 11 months old already!!

 


Weekending

I thought that I'd finish knitting Gin's In Threes on Friday night while I watched some basketball. Alas, the game demanded all of my attention, eventually ending in a one-point at-the-buzzer OT heartbreak for the Badgers, and by then my energy was completely sapped (plus, it was getting late).

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So I finished on Saturday night, instead, and gave it a bath yesterday. I haven't had a chance yet to root around for buttons.

I finally found made some time for dyeing on Saturday!

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I played around a bit, had a request for red, never intentionally dyed a basic black before, and love the blue-green-gold combo, so there's "Playful," "Red," "Basic Black," and "Aegean." I dropped off 2-4 hanks of each at the coffee shop on my way to work today.

I had a nice chat with Annie on Sunday morning. She said that the redbuds are blooming in Valencia; I said, "Send me a picture!"

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This is just one tree! There are rows of them lining the street in some places. We had such a dreary, gray & wet weekend, it was really nice to see some color!


Weekending: Happy Spring!!

I walked up to the coffee shop yesterday morning and spotted this on a sidewalk block out front.

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Spring is in the air! And oh so very WELCOME!!

And also to you... Whether you've been more or less reading since I began this blog on the First Day of Spring 13 years ago, or just landed here today... you are WELCOME and I THANK YOU!! I never imagined that blogging would bring so much to my life, but the friends I've made because of it are some of the best of my life. I've learned, grown, traveled, laughed, cried, quit smoking, and accomplished so much more because of it. I just can't imagine what my life would be like right now if I'd never begun typing...

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I took it pretty easy over the weekend, leaving the house only once for the afore-mentioned walk and late yesterday to the grocery store. I did a little bookkeeping, helped Kate finish her taxes...

My main project was a new dress for Gin!

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I just loved the little flower fabric to line the bodice, and decided to use it for contrasting patch pockets, too!

I went back and forth about snaps vs. buttons. It's been a while since I've done either, and was having a hard time remembering exactly how to do snaps... so decided on and chose some cute vintage buttons. Then I grabbed some fabric to make a few practice buttonholes and discovered that there's a problem -- some gears or cams are not quite right because it goes up on one side and down on the same side. I suppose I could have manually shifted the fabric, but that's just asking for trouble. I really wanted to finish this dress, though, so went back to the snaps and figured it out!

While there are a few sleeve variations included with the pattern, the cap sleeve is probably my favorite!

I've had the fabric for just over a year. I fell in love with it when I saw it in an Instagram post, tracked it down and located a source or two, and bought both woven and knit yardage -- this is the first thing I've made with it!

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The kids were over for a while on Sunday afternoon. Gin's hair is getting long!!  ;)

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Jun was a bundle of energy -- and imagination (with an assist from Aunt Kate)!!

How was your weekend??


Weekending

Well, it was sorta like this...

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And this...

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I picked up my new prescription sunglasses on Friday.

On Saturday, I spent the afternoon & evening at the movies; Best Picture Festival, Day 1.

Sunday was busy with chores, but I spent a little time with the kiddos -- bikes, trikes, wagon rides, and walking around the block.

It was a gorgeous weekend! Hard to believe, I'm sure, if I tell you that with a high of 53F today is the "dud" in the middle of this little stretch of thaw we have going on.

Wednesday looks to be the best of the bunch and it's my day off (YIPPEE!), and then we return to the harsh cold snowy reality of February-into-March.


Weekending: That's LIFE

knitorious.life!

Yep. After nearly 13 years of blogging, I finally have my own domain name. Flummoxed for years because knitorious.com had already been claimed by a yarn store (which I still hope to visit someday), the choices for domain names have greatly increased over the years and, well, .life seems to be more what it's about here, anyway.

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See it?? You don't have to change a thing, if you don't want to; it's still a Typepad blog, and knitorious.typepad.com will continue to work.

Weekending... consisted of book work on Saturday, babysitting the grandkids on Saturday night, and a day-trip to the northern 'burbs of Milwaukee with the girls yesterday -- including Gin -- for some shopping!

Meanwhile, I've finished Pussyhats for my cousin (in the mail) and my hair stylist (to be delivered this week), and have begun a kittycat version for Gin.

It's another long, busy week at work... but looking forward to Friday off. And New Orleans gets closer everyday.  ;)


Weekending: Meow

I managed to get through the holidays without getting sick, even though nearly everyone around me -- whether at work or at home -- was sniffling and/or complaining of scratchy throats.

It finally caught up with me.

I think I'm going to luck out and skate through with the "lite" version... and if I'm not better by mid-week, well, predicted sunshine and mid-80s during our FL getaway will likely do the trick! I am so looking forward to renting a chair and an umbrella and parking it at the beach for a day... and getting warmed up all the way through!

I drove Kate down to ORD on Thursday for her trip to Paris-London-Edinburgh, and made it back in time to celebrate Junah's birthday... can you believe he's THREE???

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At 1, he was not so amazed by the cake; at 2, he was licking the plate...

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This year, at 3, he was all about the frosting!! Mini M&Ms are pretty good, too.

He wanted to come over to Nona's house afterwards, but of course it was too late... so there were tears when we left, but also a promise for time together on Saturday. He was over all afternoon and we had so much fun... reading, coloring, snuggling, building with Lincoln Logs!

I finished all my Pussyhat Project knitting and was able to take some photos.

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Meow! The solids are Plymouth Select Worsted Merino Superwash (Light Pink is color #21, Dark Pink is #48), the other is Malabrigo Rios in "057 English Rose" -- all lovely washable yarns!! It was a pleasure to knit these hats for sisters/marchers!

I made the light pink one in the round on DPNs and did a 3-needle bind-off, the other two were knit on straights and seamed; there are slight differences in the length of ribbing/stockinette, but they're generally all about the same size. And headed for DC!! Ravelry project page is here.

I have finally turned my attention back to finishing the kids' Christmas presents... I know, I know... I still have an unfinished Peace Cowl, too, and a couple pairs of Squad Mitts (to mention only a couple of things).

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I saw Louise Walker's Knitted Polar Bear on Mollie Makes' Instagram feed when I was at the airport in Milwaukee in October -- on my way to Rhinebeck. I was instantly smitten and had to have it! I immediately purchased & downloaded the issue.

I had to special order the large eyes... and when I realized that the first ones I ordered on Etsy were on the literal slow boat from China, I dug some more and found a domestic source (so now I'm up to my eyeballs in large safety eyes!). Bear #1 is finished except for some extra embellishment that I want to add.

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I made the super-fluffy pom pom tail during the Packer game yesterday. It was the first time I used my Clover Pom Pom Maker -- so quick, easy, and FLUFFY! All of the pieces are knit for Bear #2 and sewing up is well underway. If I don't get too distracted, I may even finish before we leave.

And, of course, there's an amaryllis update:

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I'm hoping that I get to see the bloom before we leave on Wednesday!


Long Weekending

On Thursday after work, I stopped by my LYS for Pussy Hat yarn!

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I was delighted to learn that the owner of the shop, along with her husband & daughter, was heading to the march Washington, DC. She gave me a wee discount on the yarn, too, since it was "for the cause." ❤

As of last night I have two finished hats -- one each in the dark & light solid. I plan to cast on a third this evening, and get them all in the mail by the weekend. If I looked any good in hats at all, I'd keep one for myself... but YUCK. I have plenty of leftovers, though, and plan on making hats for Gin & Jun... it'll be AWESOME with his sparkle shoes!

While procrastinating on Friday morning about some office work that needs to be done, I started cleaning out, organizing, and rearranging some cupboards. I had decided that if they weren't needed or used during the holidays, I was going to get rid of a set of dishes and most of the stemware.

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Well, we didn't use them... so OUT! Formerly occupying that blank spot on the right of the second shelf, those dishes had been sitting there, largely undisturbed, for years. So silly. And the wine glasses... good grief. I'm not sure why or how I accumulated so many but they, too, have just been taking up space (and getting awfully dirty).

Ali hit the jackpot, walking in at the perfect time to carry off the dishes -- and was happy to do so, saying that she barely has two plates at home that match these days! She declined the wine glasses, however, so they're currently in a box... ultimately headed to the thrift store if there are no other takers.

I moved some cookbooks, redistributed some bowls and other glassware... there's ROOM... unfilled spaces, even! I can't stop admiring my work. Heheh.

On Saturday, I played the annual game of Christmas Tetris!

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Kate helped me with the undecorating, putting away all of their ornaments and quite a few of the rest. Even while decorating, I was making plans to purge some of that holiday stuff (there was a fair bit that we didn't put on the tree in the first place)... and I ended up with two fewer boxes to put away -- one of them is full of other smaller boxes for recycling, and the other is also destined for the thrift shop. There was also a bag for the trash!

We've left the tree up with only the lights on for a little Hygge glow. Naturally, there's half a string in the middle of the tree that just went out... I'm chill.

Finally, amaryllis watch:

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One of them is growing, the other is not.

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I don't think it's dying, either, so I just keep watching...


Holiday mid-weekending

We definitely had a White Christmas!

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Most of that has already melted, thanks to a little rain.

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I had a wonderful Jólabókaflóð gift from Judy year. Aren't those stitch markers adorable? This traditional, annual (two years in a row for us now!) book & chocolate gift exchange was once again organized by Susan!

I can't wait 'til next Christmas!!

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I cut the panels for Part 2 (the bottom half) of the bathroom curtains project, and sewed up the first panel on Christmas Eve Day... because that's what I wanted to do! There are a million other things I could/should have been doing (working on/finishing presents for Gin & Jun, for one), but here you are.

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This is a very different look... and much "cooler" in temperature. The light in there is pretty amazing now! I still have to piece & sew the panel for the other window -- maybe on New Year's Eve Day! There will be a bit of fabric leftover and I think I'm going to make a pretty dress for Gin -- she'll be just like the Von Trapp children, roaming about in drapes next summer. Heheheee.

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I finally buckled down and got some "wrapping" done... I went lazy gift-bag style this year! I've had this old Boynton gift bag in my stash for a long, long time and finally busted it out for Jun's presents this year. (And it's back in my stash once again!)

I sure wasn't thinking, because Junah was all about "unwrapping" presents this year, and the gift bags just weren't doin' it for him!

It was just Kate, Rusty, and me for Christmas Eve dinner, and we went all out. I'd receive a nice grocery gift card from my employer this year, and used to it buy a couple of good-sized lobster tails. Kate made some Saffron & Mushroom Barley Risotto (Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix), and we roasted some asparagus.

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Oh, my, but that was good... And there was a half-tail leftover... enough to make a Lobster Bisque!

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On Christmas morning, I checked the amaryllis.

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There's been some obvious growth...

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...but the award for Most Improved goes to this guy! It might not look like an award winner, but there's vast improvement in color and, well, let's say "tone."

I was just about to get the Christmas stockings hung and filled... (I know, and it still hasn't happened!)... and the kiddos arrived!

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And it was nonstop all day!! We Skyped with Maddy, had brunch, opened presents, played games, admired the tree, watched movies... er, watched one movie three times... ate a bunch more goodies, played more games...

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Another holiday, another mega crossword puzzle! The New York Times had an entire section devoted to puzzles this season.

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And we had a crawler for Christmas!! Away we go...

Rusty's birthday was the day after Christmas. We met some friends -- among them, another 12/26 birthday -- to celebrate with drinks (and cake!).

Annie was supposed to arrive from Spain later on the 26th and I was going to go pick her up in Green Bay, but due to plane problems/switch, they ended up spending the night in Detroit. So Rusty picked her up yesterday morning, instead (the boys flew into Madison), and whisked her to Appleton for a scheduled eye appointment. She met a friend for a leisurely lunch, did some shopping, had a massage, and I finally met up with her after work. We were enjoying a beer & a snack in the brewpub at the mall, thinking about ordering some food to go, when we suddenly noticed a steady stream of people exiting the mall, and were informed that the kitchen was closed... Um, it was more than a little freaky. We heard no announcement or anything, but were informed that the mall was being evacuated, and the gate to the mall had come down (thankfully, there's a separate entry/exit door to the pub). Turns out, the police had been alerted by concerned family members about a man who might have had a gun and might have been heading to the mall... which sounds sort of WTF? The entire mall was shut down for the evening, and "the man" was never found at the mall. But we're all safe... so weird.

After today, I have four wonderful days off! I had the option of a) taking Monday off or b) working Monday and floating the holiday, and I'm going for the float... there's some travel coming up this year and even one extra day will be welcome!

Tomorrow, the boys will be coming up from Madison -- and I cannot wait for Junah, Mack & Addy to get together again. The boys are going to be blown away by Jun and how much he's changed/grown/matured!!

On Friday, both Michael & Karen will be here, too, and we'll have a little family celebration on the Eve of New Year's Eve! It's been a long time since we've all been together, and I can't wait. (Pray that I remember to get some photos!)

It's been a year of tough losses, in more ways than one. I will be relieved to flip the calendar to 2017, and hope for -- strive for, work for -- better.

I hope all is well with you!


3-Day Weekending

I had a very welcome day off last Friday! I spent some of it with Ali & the kids, doing a little shopping before the predicted big snowstorm, and lunching.

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Afterwards, Jun wanted to "Stay at Nona's!" so he & I spent a few hours together on Friday afternoon. I really enjoy our one-on-one time. His language and communication/conversation skills are exploding.

We played...

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...well, he played. We'd recently watched Toy Story, and I found an old Woody hanging around my house -- he was thrilled to discover it! And also, quite by accident, to discover  that he stills says, "You're my favorite deputy!"

He helped me find the treetop angel...

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And helped with some more decorating...

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Haha!

I read about an estate sale on Saturday morning and got the bug to go! The weather wasn't too bad and it wasn't very far. I certainly don't need anything, but I was drawn to to this sale. I used to go to estate sales with my mom, and Sharon used to come up for regular antique auctions... it was Saturday... And sure enough, I found some UK/England travel stuff that would have caught my Mom's eye (some of the same brochures), and a couple of booklets about Kokopelli that would have intrigued Sharon, and there was also some bedraggled pansy stuff (of which I have a collection). It was Day 2, so had already been picked over, but everything under $50 was half-price and I managed to find a couple of brown transfer plates and a kitchen tool, all for a whopping $3.50.

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The amaryllis are... well, one is doing great -- the shoot is plumped up and firm; the other is struggling a bit. I am keeping a close watch.

We had a nice chat with Maddy on Saturday night. She was pretty worn down after her recent hike and got slammed with a cold, but is on the mend and currently working on a farm near Abel Tasman. She has plans for Christmas... and I hope we'll be able to chat again once or twice during the thick of the holidays.

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I finally cleaned up my workroom a bit and started some sewing! First up: Bathroom window covering re-do. I've been unhappy with those since the day they went up, and they're finally in the trash. I still need to re-do the bottom half of both windows, but the tops are done! I don't know how long that flimsy fabric will last -- the sun is brutal in this location -- but I am loving the bright white!

I've been knitting my Project Peace Cowl nearly every night. I measured yesterday afternoon and it was exactly 3 feet long.

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I've about a foot-and-a-half to go, but am concentrating more on finishing another couple of projects this week:

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Christmas presents for Jun & Gin! Some pieces crucial to finishing will be arriving this week!


Weekending: O, Christmas tree

We finally brought the tree up on Saturday morning and I promptly took off all of the dead and half-dead strings of lights.

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Well, not all. There is still one string near the bottom with the non-working half wadded up and stuffed near the trunk. I just couldn't bear to detangle one more string...

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Then I went shopping and, among other things, came home with these:

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There shall be an "amaryllis watch" at Chez Knitorious this year! It's been a few years and I'm really looking forward to it. They're your hardware store variety bulbs, so nothing special... except that they're amaryllis and that's special enough!

I took a nap, and then went over to babysit the grands.

There was some snoozing.

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This was a pretty common photo op when Jun was a babe, but very rare with Gin. Everything's always go-go-go, we rarely have time to snuggle together. 

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After everyone woke up, I had some fun with Snapchat filters. Reindeer games!

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We had our first official snow storm:

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It started Saturday evening and snowed steadily through about mid-afternoon on Sunday, accumulating to 5 or 6 inches.

On Sunday morning afternoon, I finally got back to lighting the tree. First the top:

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I'd been unable to find a string of 50 with a green wire, so there are 100 on just the top. We don't take the whole tree apart every year, but we do remove the top, so it needs a dedicated string of lights.

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And, finally, 500 more new lights later. There's some unevenness, but it'll all work out in the ornamentation.

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There was a mismatched string of LED lights on the tree, probably a last-minute addition last year, so I took them off and strung them up in the Garden Room! They always seemed jiggly and weird, but I didn't realize that they really were jiggly and weird until I went to take a photo. There's a video on my Instagram feed if you want to see for yourself.

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Finally, we made paella for dinner last night. We used the guidelines in Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix cookbook (birthday present last month), which I've only just begun to explore. We loved the paella -- and I believe we did achieve soccarat -- but I can't wait to visit Valencia (home of paella) to see how close we really are to the mark.

I hope you had a great weekend!


Weekending

It snowed (lightly) all day long yesterday, and there was a nice warm glow under the pergola last night when the lights came on.

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Inside, I finally dug out and copied some old floor plans. We've been talking about doing some reconfiguring to add another bath -- or (after pricing shower units - yowza!) at least a half-bath.

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Fixtures/appliances may not be to scale... heheh.

I spent a fair bit of time knitting on my Project Peace Cowl. I had a party on Friday night, so had a little catching up to do! I'm right on target, though, and the piece is actually 4x longer now than shown below.

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And I am loooooving it!

We had a Plated delivery over the weekend. One of the meals was trout (delicious) and the other was bibimbap!

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I've never ordered bibmbap for myself at a restaurant before, having only tasted Kate's. It was good -- obviously, good enough that I ordered when it came through as a menu option (and I knew that Katie would like it)!

You cannot see the crispy sushi rice underneath it all. Arguably my favorite part, I loved a little bit of crispy rice on my fork with every bite. Atop the rice is some beef, wilted spinach, a pickled carrot-cucumber salad, a fried egg, and a dipping sauce for the beef to finish it off. I'd certainly never have attempted, out of the blue, to make this myself from scratch... but send me a box with all of the ingredients and step-by-step/photographic directions? I'm on it. And now that I've done it, I will certainly do it again -- it was SO good. Kate said that she even liked it better than the restaurant version! I have a few trial invitations for Plated (worth up to $72); if you're interested in trying it out, let me know.


Weekending

There was a frost on Friday night, but it wasn't a hard/killing frost. I'm glad we brought the succulents inside -- and they will stay inside -- but it's starting to feel a little freaky. Green grass. Flowers...

This was my sunny view of the Garden Room from the kitchen table on Saturday morning, and I can't think of a nicer way to set the tone.

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I don't know what's gotten into me, but here we have Christmas horning in on the front porch before Halloween has even been cleaned up and while the grass is still green! And Christmas music! I finally had a chance to listen to all the tracks on Leslie Odom's Simply Christmas album and it is spectacular -- mostly familiar songs, but with a smooth, jazzy spin. If I had to describe it, Johnny Mathis meets Vince Guaraldi comes fairly close.

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Yesterday morning, the first thing I saw on Facebook was that my daughter had marked herself safe after (during) the earthquake(s) in New Zealand! There were a lot of aftershocks, big ones. Check out this article on The Guardian -- scroll down a bit and you'll see a graphic showing the activity over a 12-hour period; Maddy is currently with "Kiwi family" in Blenheim, and had just been in Kaikoura last weekend. You can read her account of the quake here.

After running around a bit on Saturday -- shopping, lunch, etc. -- I spent a quiet Sunday at home knitting and puttering while also keeping an eye on the news from NZ and an unfortunate football game.

Oh, and I made a really yummy meatloaf! Next time, I'll make two!!


Weekending

I slept. A lot.

I cooked. A lot.

I did some shopping, some laundry, some knitting.

I chatted with my sis.

I had a hair appointment.

I hung out with the fam.

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A trio of Color Break Hats... fini! So adorable.

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Squad Mitts... like knitters' candy! So many flavor combinations... perfect for leftovers and mini-skeins (things of which I have plenty!).


Reunion

B-bye Wisconsin!

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Hello New Jersey/New York!

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(Statue of Liberty is a shadowy dot just to right of center.)

I had a wonderful return trip to the New York Sheep & Wool Festival, aka Rhinebeck, again staying with my besties, Cara and Ann! One big highlight of the trip was meeting Cara's kiddos! The last time I visited, her eldest was 9m old -- now she's 8, and has a 6yo sister! They're gorgeous, sweet, and lovely. And, of course, it was lovely to see Poe again at Ann's, and to meet the girls -- Violet & Hyacinth -- at The Pugshack! They are adorable, funny, and playful!

And the merriment begins!

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We headed north late Friday morning, checking into our Airbnb in Kerhonkson before going over to the Indie Untangled trunk show in Kingston. I met & hugged Lee Wittenstein there after many years of online friendship! I laughed when she said that she recognized me because of my shoes. Who knew? Those "foot selfies" could be just as important as those with your face!

Saturday dawned frosty...

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...and so beautiful! This are views from the deck at our house.

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It just kept getting prettier! There were deer out there both mornings (a couple of visible in the lower right-hand corner) -- I counted at least 8 on Sunday!

I didn't have a "Rhinebeck Sweater," per se, but I did have a quickly sewn top-length Alabama Chanin Sweater that I cut out and made by machine on Sunday afternoon!

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I wore it on Saturday with my skirt, tights & ankle boots, and my "Rhinebeck Shawl." (No photos of that shawl yet!)

I was delighted to run into Beverly, organizer of the sew-along that prompted the making of that skirt, who was also wearing hers! I was really a bit surprised at how many people recognized my skirt for what it was -- some because they'd "watched" me make it via Facebook, Instagram and/or blog posts, but I think others just recognized it as "Alabama Chanin."

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Documentation was not my thing, apparently; my one and only photo from the festival is above. It was crowded on Saturday but not overwhelming. I heard people talking about how it seemed a bit lighter compared to some of the previous years. There were certainly crowds and very long lines at some vendors' booths on both days, but I had zero interest in that kind of frenzy -- in terms of yarn, anyway. I did stand in line for food -- both days -- specifically, falafel -- both days. Yes, it was that good!! Had there been chicken pot pies, I'd have been there at least once; inexplicably, I skipped the artichokes french altogether. I did treat myself to a chocolate milkshake (or two).

Of interest to me, instead, were the people -- my people -- family! I was so happy to meet up with so many old friends & new: Bookish Wendy, Amy Herzog, Margaux Hufnagel (check out her new Etsy shop!), Thea Colman, Teresa, Brunilda, Caro Sheridan, Jennie The Potter (check out her new Kickstarter campaign!), Kay Gardiner, Ann Shayne, Kirsten Kapur, Gale Zucker, Angela Tong, Yarny Old Kim, Lisa SouzaJessaLu, Kathleen, Ruth, Leigh SpencerMy Sandy... even Rachel from Wisconsin, who I used to regularly knit with a few years ago before she moved... I am sure I've forgotten some!

Rhinebeck felt just like a family reunion! Everyone gathered in one place, run-ins and quick chats with bunches of lovely people, but always left feeling like you didn't get enough time together...

On Sunday morning, we stopped by Kelder's Farm to see Gnome Chomsky -- once THE largest garden gnome in the world (now, apparently, third-largest)!

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That's a new Baggu tote bag from Mason-Dixon Knitting resting at the toe of that undeniably LARGE gnome...

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Cara carried it all weekend, while also wearing some pretty spectacular sweaters -- but this bag garnered a ton of attention, comments and questions!!

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Before we knew it, we were headed south again. Yes, I wore my Catamount Tunic (over an A-line Dress) on Sunday! Ann & Cara convinced me to wear it -- there are precious few times I can wear that around an appreciative audience! That's another Color Break Hat, this time for Junah.

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I regrouped on Monday, sorted through stuff and packed my suitcase. Ann took Peggy and I to Swell Taco for crispy chicken tacos... and margaritas! Yum.

On Tuesday morning, I bid a fond farewell to the pugs and began my journey home.

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LIRR > NJ Transit > Air Train > EWR-MKE > Shuttle to Parking > Find my Car > 2-hr Drive Home!

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I'd finished Junah's hat on Monday night and started one for Kate. I had plenty of time at EWR, so had some lunch and even little knitting/phone-charging time.

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Michigan's western shoreline.

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Wisconsin's eastern shoreline.

It was a wonderful trip! I'm so happy I went. Not sure when, but I hope to return again...


Weekending

Yes! I downloaded & started listening to The Time Traveler's Wife over the weekend. I'm glad I did... so far, so good.

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It was a beautiful early autumn weekend. The leaves are starting to fall and gather... it's just the beginning!

I did some sewing (a new top), some knitting (a new hat for Gin, my current shawl), some cleaning out and getting rid of stuff (big stuff, even, like a desk and an upholstered chair), some cooking (roast beef, split pea soup), and some hanging out with the fam.

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I had Ali drop the kiddos off for a while yesterday afternoon... I should have left the football hat on Gin when I took the photo! It doesn't get more "game day" than this!!

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I started a Color Break Hat for Gin. The pattern uses slip stitches for interesting texture and to help prevent pooling in highly variegated yarns. My yarn is more along the lines of "very" rather than "highly" variegated and I am loving it so far. This hat and/or one or two more will be my airplane knitting later this week.


Weekending

I let out a cheer on Friday afternoon when I got home and saw this:

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No more gaping hole covered with sheets of plywood. No more orange safety fence, cones, and flashing lights. There's still a bit of that on the next block and around the 'hood, but they are finishing up. Rusty already finessed the wonky bricks and the dirt/seed!

I had a smiley-faced visitor early on Saturday morning:

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She stayed with me 'til mid-morning. Such a delight. I don't often have just her in my care.

It was city-wide rummage sale day and, though I don't *need* anything, I couldn't resist stopping at a few that looked interesting.

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I spent a dollar and brought home three things, one of which was this sink... and the sink was FREE! It has some goofiness around the drain and may drip a bit, but I intend to use it outside and that doesn't really matter that much. I put it to work right away, re-over-dyeing an Eileen Fisher wrap in indigo that I'd just dyed the weekend before. It was originally a terrible-for-me pale peach color, but I bought it because a) I liked the shape, b) it was fabric I could "work" with, and c) it was on super-duper sale... that was quite a while ago, and I finally gave it a dunk (or three).

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I baptized myself!

On Sunday morning, I ran out with Kate to a fun little vintage market where her friend Claire had a booth. I found a sweet little bracelet made by Claire -- me, who usually wears nothing more than earrings. I'm wearing it today, along with a bracelet of similar style that was given to me a few years ago! What'll happen next?

On Sunday afternoon, Rusty & I attended the wedding of one of my coworkers at a park in Green Bay.

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It was a glorious afternoon for such a thing!

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The evening wasn't bad, either.

I hope your weekend was good! I am getting used to the idea of my daughter being on the other side of the world. Thankfully, it didn't take long for her to start blogging... and she's already had a tale or two to tell! Here's Post #1 and Post #2, and feel free to subscribe or follow along if you'd like. She will be leaving Auckland today headed for... I don't know exactly where! Hopefully, wherever it is, she'll find some wifi.  :)


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!