Dad

My dad died on Saturday night, just a couple weeks shy of his 86th birthday.

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There were some very good times, there were some very bad times, and lots in between. The photo above is from 2016 when Rusty & I drove up the Oregon coast... my first Oregon experience was with my dad in 1979 when we caravanned down the same coast. I don't think he really knew who I was on that visit... Alzheimer's... and he definitely didn't know who I was the last time -- a little over a year later -- though there was an inkling of recognition when he was writing down my name. "Vicki... oh, Vicki-toria!"

RIP, Dad.

 


What's for dinner? Zucchini, Carrot & Turkey Burgers!

I was a huge fan of Plated, the now defunct meal delivery service. I've tried quite a few services, and Plated was, by far, my favorite in terms of ingredients, flavors, and recipes. I still miss them!

We have a separate folder in our recipe file for meal service recipe cards, which we often revisit, because we have a lot of favorite & go-to recipes! I also have a folder in Google Drive where I keep all of the downloaded recipe cards -- I made sure I had them all before the website disappeared -- and this works great for when I'm wandering the grocery store aisles, aimless & uninspired, trying to find something for dinner.

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One of our absolute, all-time, most often made recipes is Zucchini, Carrot, and Turkey Burgers with Lemon-Basil Aioli. We riff on this sometimes, or change the side veg, and (except for the first time) we never serve it on buns. The only steadfast rules is that we NEVER EVER EVER make it without the aioli. This is also a great recipe for using frozen grated zucchini that you might have in the freezer! Just thaw, drain, and squeeze out all of the liquid. More recipe notes below.

Zucchini, Carrot, and Turkey Burgers with Lemon-Basil Aioli

8 oz. haricots verts
⅛ oz. basil
2 cloves garlic
9 oz. zucchini
2 tsp. butter at room temp
¼ c. shredded carrots
12 oz. ground turkey
½ oz. grated Parmesan cheese
1 lemon
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 brioche buns
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

The original recipe is for 2 very large burgers! You'll need a baking sheet and a 12" pan with a lid.

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Rinse all produce. Trim the beans, finely chop the basil leaves, and mince the garlic. Grate approx. 1/4 cup of zucchini using the large holes of a box grater. Cut the remaining zucchini crosswise into approx. 1/2" slices.

In a medium bowl, combine carrots, grated zucchini, half the garlic, ½ tsp. salt, and pepper. Rub a little olive oil on your hands, and add the turkey, mixing it in well with your hands, then forming into two patties, approx. 1" thick. Using your thumb, create a dimple on top of each burger (to prevent them from puffing up during cooking - it works). Place the burgers on a plate, and chill in the fridge for at least 5 minutes.

While the burgers chill, arrange the beans & sliced zucchini in a single layer on a baking sheet, dot with softened butter, and season with salt & pepper. Roast for 10 minutes, stirring after 5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with parmesan.

While vegetables roast, heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the burgers and sear until browned on bottom, 5–6 minutes. Flip them, cover the pan, and reduce heat to medium. Sear until cooked through and no longer pink (5–6 minutes more). Transfer the burgers to a plate and set aside to rest for at least 5 minutes.

If serving with buns, reserve the pan, off heat, for toasting them.

In a small bowl, stir together mayo, basil, a squeeze of lemon juice, remaining garlic, 1/8 tsp salt, and pepper. If you want to infuse even more flavor, use the zest of up to 1/2 a lemon. Set aside. Cut the remaining lemon into wedges for serving.

If using, arrange halved buns, cut-side down, in the pan and place over medium heat. Toast 2-3 minutes until light golden and warmed.

Meanwhile, divide roasted vegetables between serving plates, with lemon wedges for squeezing over. Layer buns with turkey burgers and lemon-basil aioli.

NOTES: This seems like a lot of juggling, but after I made it a couple of times, I found a flow. Turkey comes in 1-lb. packages, so I usually buy that and make at least four patties, increasing/eyeballing the other ingredients. Sometimes I forget and use the small holes of the grater, or I have more zucchini than carrot (or vice versa)... it really doesn't matter! I'm astounded every time at how much flavor is in this turkey burger by adding only some veg, salt & pepper!

Let me know if you try it!

PSA: With tomatoes ripening, don't forget about Vicki's* Roasted Tomato Sauce (with bonus recipe for Oven-Fried Eggplant)!

 


Right Now: Continuing To-Do (Update!)

I published a pretty ambitious To-Do list three months ago... how's it going??

Party

  • Ginny's 5th Birthday / Kate's Going Away / Mothers' Day Extravaganza!
 
 
 
 
 
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Crocheting

  • Finish Hexie Love Actually
    • I'm getting close! (See embedded IG post, above.)
  • Assess remaining yarn (Unicorn Tails)

Ducky

  • New tires (because one is flat-flat-flat)
  • Measure, order & replace at least one amber marker light assembly (LED?)
  • Measure, order & replace at least one tail light lens/assembly (LED?)
  • Figure out water/plumbing situation
  • New! Figure out electrical situation before September trip

Airbnb

  • CLEAN & ASSESS FOR SUMMER GUESTS
  • Re-do caulk in bathroom/tub
  • Put down new rug in bedroom (pad)
  • Desk/chairs/floor mats?
  • New tub mat
  • Storms/screens & air conditioner

NEW CATEGORY: Ann's Airbnb

  • Take deliveries
  • Unbox, assemble & arrange stuff
  • Spend someone else's money
  • Coordinate calendars
  • Start hosting!

Home

  • Continue cleaning/purging of laundry/computer room in order to...
  • Lay new floor in laundry/computer room
  • Reconfigure computer desk/area (especially modem/router locations)
  • Elevate washer & dryer/bins below
  • Get some estimates for refinishing the kitchen floor
  • Have the bedroom carpeting cleaned
  • Clean my workroom
  • Measure kitchen windows for rods/curtains
  • Kitchen curtains

Outside/Gardening

  • Compost, topsoil, mulch where needed
  • Repair pergola planter & ready for the Snowcicle Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • Ready garden areas for veg/herb plants (picking up 5/20)
  • Stump grinding scheduled (date TBD)
  • Kill the snow on the mountain (death by a thousand cuts) Move on...
  • Plant all the other plants/veg/herbs on order!
  • Paint garage & back door (Rusty)
  • Hide the trash/recycling receptacles
  • New: Plan landscape minus trees/stumps, plus stupid snow on the mountain

Taxes

  • Finish them!

Spring Fall (maybe?) Cleaning

  • Refrigerator (continue)
  • Recessed lights in kitchen
  • Upper cabinets in kitchen
  • Windows
  • Wash bathroom walls
  • Clean out dresser/cedar chest/closet/under the bed
  • Clean out upstairs linen closet/bedroom

Knitting

  • Start the remaining Safe At Home pillows
  • Make a sweater?
  • Teach Junah & Ginny to knit
  • Gnome MKAL
  • Advent

Dyeing

  • Dye some yarn!
  • Tie-dye / Indigo w/Boys & Kids (Auntie Camp)

Sewing

  • Make a Molina Tunic for me (no tie) (deeper V) (compare to A-line)
    • Cut pattern
    • Iron fabric
    • Cut fabric
    • Sew!
  • Sew up Alabama Chanin Cropped Pants (kit)
  • Sew up Alabama Chanin Keyhole Dress (kit)
  • Continue working on AC Car Jacket... maybe finish in this lifetime
  • Make a couple of dresses for the girls (florals!)
  • Make tote bags or pillowcases/teach Junah & Ginny to sew

Quilting

  • Mom's Log Cabin
  • Cheater Quilt for Junah
  • Wedding Ring (kit)
  • Figure out what to do with: Black & White w/a little Red

Misc.

  • Spit for 23andMe
  • Mani (1 DIY Olive & June, so far)
  • Pedi (2 at the salon, so far)

I'm not beating myself up over lack of progress in any area! There are even some new items. It's been a fun & fulfilling summer so far... more to come! Obviously, I like to be busy, but I also need to recharge. The Olympics are perfect right now for winding down (while crocheting) in the evening. Prior to that, especially while the boys/kids were/are here, we're into LEGO Masters (catching them up on S1 when there weren't new S2 episodes), LOKI, MasterChef, and Gardener's World.


Mail call!

I received two parcels from Edinburgh in the past week!

One was my long-awaited (and, I feared, lost forever) order from Ysolda's final merch sale.

The other was from Kate!

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In addition to soap (two bars, one of which was for Ali) and yarn, there were some cards, including an anniversary card for Ann & Brian. It arrived the day before Annie left, so perfect timing!

Here's my card:

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Here's the Glaswegian Dictionary if you need it. haha!

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And the back. Do you look at the backs of cards that you receive?

Anyway, here's the exciting bit!

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It is Pentland Skeins' Aran Jacob from Travelling Basket.

Where to begin. Kate has known the couple behind Travelling Basket (@travellingbasket) for quite a while. They are Nathalie Holbrook (@aspenflorals_) and photographer Jacek Hübner (@jacekhubner) and, let me tell you, you can get beautifully lost for a long, long time on those & associated accounts. The Travelling Basket has a lovely brick & mortar shop that is On.My.List of places to visit when we can finally get over there.

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Anyway, the yarn is from sheep raised in the Pentlands (on the outskirts of Edinburgh). The sheep are wards of Nathalie's sister (a shepherdess!), and the wool is spun at a mill in The Borders! Isn't it lovely?

I'm thinking Antler Mittens (Rav link) from Tin Can Knits.

And I'm sure happy to be staring down the end of this work week! I work four days just like any other week, but the ones with Monday off instead of the usual Wednesday (or Friday) always seem soooo loooonnnnggg. (Two more coming up next month.) I'm looking forward to sleeping in on the weekend. The days will be busy, as there will be deliveries at Ann's house (they've already begun!) and I have my own Airbnb to ready for EAA guests arriving on Monday.

I hope you have a great weekend!

 


3TT: First Farewell

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday... 

My sis departed for Lima on a 5:30 am flight today, and I was up at 3:30 am to give her one last hug!

Here are three photos from last night when we all went out to Dick's Drive-In for ice cream -- one of the things Ann wanted to do before she left.

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It was so great to have them here for such a good part of the summer! Regular Zoom chats shall resume in the very near future!

I didn't tell you that they ended up buying a house here, after all. Final walk-through was yesterday. Closing is tomorrow. The new (old) house is still in my neighborhood -- even closer than the previous one -- and it needs a lot less work. Like, ZERO work on the inside -- just furnishings and BOOM! All set for Airbnb & future visits. We're looking forward to a fun Christmas this year! The house does need painting on the outside and that will get taken care of in the next few months. I'll soon have another Airbnb to manage! We'll try it out for a while and see how it goes.

(I had a hot fudge sundae and it was real good.)

 


21 in 21: Part 2

Ann & Brian's party at The Brink Lounge wasn't until the afternoon, so we had some time to do something on Sunday morning. It was going to be hot & muggy, so if it was going to be something outside, we needed to do it early.

We decided on a visit to Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Ann & Brian used to live very close to Olbrich (so we had a nostalgic drive through their old neighborhood), and Rusty had done an art fair or two there back in the day, but it had been ages since we just visited.

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It's so beautiful -- even the duckweed pond! One of my favorite things in the whole garden was three big copper balls floating in a small pool. They were about the size of a bowling ball, with wonderful patina and even a few dents from knocking into each other or bordering rocks.

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I loved these mason bee houses! Rusty might even have been inspired to build one himself.

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And someday I'd like a huge planter like this... just like this! Maybe two. hehe.

One of the biggest attractions at Olbrich, though, is the Thai Pavilion & Garden.

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It is stunning! The site, the structure, the craftsmanship... I've never seen so much gold leaf in my life! And there's not a nail or screw holding it together... all done by joinery.

It was starting to really heat up around noon, so we went back to our hotel... and had a nap. Then it was party time! We took our nice short walk down the block, and it was so great to see people -- friends, family, in-laws -- that I haven't seen in ages. I spent a lot of time talking & catching up with people... not much taking pictures.

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This is the only party photo that I'm going to share... (l to r) my cousins Kris, Claire, me, Aunt Arlene (who turned 91 in April) & Ann, with cousin Russ behind her, cousins Rae & Cindy on either side of my sister Karen.

 


21 in 21: Part 1

Rusty & I were in Madison for a couple of days. The main event was Ann & Brian's 20+1 wedding anniversary party on Sunday, which was originally a 20th celebration planned for last year.

Y'know, I usually stay at an Airbnb when we're out of town, but I found a great hotel only two blocks from the venue!

Turns out, it was a REALLY GREAT HOTEL! Hotel Indigo on E. Washington in Madison, much of it in the former Mautz Paint Factory... and they know how to run with a theme!

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The reception counter held a wonderful display of artifacts -- from office to advertising to mixing & painting.

Ann, Brian & their friend Emily met us for drinks & apps at Palette Bar & Grill in the hotel on Saturday night, which was also amazing in every way -- great food & drinks, terrific service, and very reasonably priced.

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Delightful, painterly decor at every turn.

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Rusty has wielded a paintbrush or two (he used to help his grandpa) and he said there were some pretty great old brushes in that display. I love how the lighting makes it look like there's paint dripping from some of them. The "dripping" mirror was in our room.

 


Just gotta jump!

After a bit of an absence, a post such as yesterday's 3TT is a great way to jump right back in, and today I'll continue with a little bit o' random.

Ann & her family vacated the Airbnb almost three weeks ago already, and I've had two other guests since then. They returned for an overnight last week so Mack could take his last behind-the-wheel driving lesson -- now he has to wait to take the final test when he's eligible/they return in December! So crazy. Anyway, it worked out great to utilize the couch and an additional air mattress, along with the upstairs bedroom... I wouldn't want to do that long-term, but it's fine for an overnight. I can't believe Ann will be back to work in Lima a week from today! The boys will be around (mostly Madison) for another couple of weeks, though, as they're still off of school. I'll see them all prior to departure for an overnight, as they have crack-of-dawn flights out of Appleton.

I don't think I ever showed the engineer's print I had made at Parabo Press.

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I'd been wanting to do something like this for a while, and their visit/residency spurred me on. They're all photos from our 2019 trip to Spain & England, pretty much in order, and I put it in the Airbnb for their stay.

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A cool poster of Valencia is hanging in the second bedroom up there, visible through the doorway. It was so fun to do, and while I don't intend to leave it up there forever... I am going to leave it for a little while. There's a lot of travel-related stuff up there and it just fits!

Parabo has a lot of great stuff, from prints of all sizes to photo books to calendars -- I've made so many personalized gift calendars, I can hardly count! If you've never used Parabo Press before, you can use referral code AHMKGG to receive $10 off your first order (and I get $10, too!). They have a lot of pretty great promotions throughout the year.

And speaking of prints, a few months ago I was remembering how much I loved going through photos & albums at Grandma's when I was a kid... there's nothing like holding them in your hands! So I decided to take Google Photo up on their monthly print service. I choose & receive 10 prints each month -- my photos are already automatically backed up there (so no uploading or downloading) and they send me a reminder email, so it's super simple, plus I can do simple edits if needed. There are other services that offer free photos each month, but I really like the quality of these and the limit actually makes it easier. Pick 10 photos. Every month. No prob.

 


3TT: Tie dye finale!

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday... 

While I photographed all of the kiddos' tie-dyed shirts, I get a case of blogger's block when I think of formatting & posting all of those photos like I did with Mack's & Addie's! I'll make it easy, though, and embed the Instagram posts here... and it just so happens that I have three posts to share!

No. 1 - Malina's (with a little help from her sibs & Nona):

No. 2 - Ginny's:

No. 3 - Junah's:

They did so great and had so much fun!!

Apparently, tie-dyeing 40+ shirts in a two-week timeframe with kids ranging from 3 to 16 kind of knocks me off my game! Lordy, it's been a busy month and a half -- even without all that!

 


July already?

June was really great, for the most part! I think my head is still spinning, though!

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Vicki Blum Mothes (@vicki.knitorious)

I made the mistake of deleting all the backed-up photos from my camera the other day, which meant that I had to re-download a bunch of photos & videos to include in my 1 Second Everyday video for the month. Ugh! I've done that at least once before and it's a pain... you'd think I'd have learned.

The month ended with some pretty shitty news/family drama regarding my dad. It's been a strained relationship for most of my life, with some OK parts, but eventually degradation led to estrangement, which doesn't even matter now because his Alzheimer's is so bad that he doesn't recognize anyone. Distance (in every definition of the word) complicates things, as do other strained relationships, but at least he's physically safe and being cared for now.

The month also ended with a wonderful family video chat -- Kate from her new digs in Edinburgh, Maddy from their place in Orange NSW, Rusty from the California coast (literally, he was showing us the waves), and Ali from our back yard, while I sat in the Garden Room.

 


Auntie Camp 2021, Part 2

The tie-dye parade continues with Mack's creations!

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The two above are for his dad. The top one was kind of scrunched/gathered on the diagonal and sectioned off for dye application. The bottom one was swirled, of course. The yellow seems especially vibrant this year!

I should mention that we used Dharma Trading Co.'s Fiber Reactive Dyes, as always. I purchased Dharma's Little Group Kit a few years ago and we're still working with that, plus some extras. In the past, I've ordered some of their dyeable clothing, too, and also indigo. I have been extremely pleased with it all! This year, I purchased & pre-washed a variety of t-shirts -- all were 100% cotton, but there were a few different brands and I think there are subtle differences in how they took the dye.

Our colors were: Fuchsia, Lemon Yellow, Turquoise, Deep Purple, and Cobalt Blue.

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This kind of "minimal swirl" is for his mom. I didn't turn it over, but I think it might be a bit more saturated with dye on the back!

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These two are Mack's size. The one on top is his attempt at "crystal wash," and the bottom one was a pleated from the bottom to about the armpits and then rolled.

He used a lot more dye for his "crystal wash" shirt than Addie did, and also used more of the dark colors. I just love all the variations & differences!

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The top shirt, above, with the patriotic feel is for Junah, and the lower one with the swirl was also intended for him... but more likely Ginny's size!

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This is Ginny's tie-dye tank a la Mack...

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...and this is Malina's. Malina ended up with two very vibrant, saturated shirts... they were so tiny, it was difficult to go "light"!

Similar to how Addie's shirt for Malina reminded me of the northern lights, Mack's "crystal wash" shirt gives me a very "nebula" feeling.

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I feel like I could get lost in there!

There's another whole batch of shirts for Junah, Ginny & Malina to make for their mom & dad, Mack & Addie, and for themselves! I'm not sure I'd have been able to keep up if they'd all done it together. (My hair sort of stands on end just thinking about that!) I'm not sure it'll work out, but I think it would be super fun for the boys to be "camp counselors" at Nona Camp... if not this year, then definitely next!

I've already had a request for socks & other types of clothing/items for next year! You might have noticed that there wasn't anything for Davey in the boys' piles... lordy, can you imagine the number of tie-dye hand-me-downs that boy will already be subjected to??!!!

 


Auntie Camp 2021, Part 1

It's a little different this year -- they're all here earlier than usual and still working/in school, for the most part, plus passport renewals, vaccinations & haircuts, and Mack is doing his behind-the-wheel both with an instructor & with his dad -- but we're doing what we can, and squeezed in some tie-dyeing over the weekend!

We're happy as clams with whatever we get since we didn't even have a chance last summer!

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We tried a new technique using the measuring cups/bucket, but mostly swirls and pleats and sections... and a lot of shirts!

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I might have left them set longer if we hadn't had a lunch date yesterday along with rain in the afternoon forecast, but at least I remembered to correctly mix the dye and to soak everything in soda ash solution.

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One of our biggest challenges over the years is remembering who tied & dyed what, so this year, for better or worse, I devised a system... putting a staple in the hem of each of Mack's shirts. I'm sure there's a better way (and I'd love to hear about it), but at least we were able to keep track of which shirts were Addie's & which were Mack's.

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It was all official when Addie rubbed his ear...

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...since the first Auntie Camp (indigo), it isn't official until someone (usually Addie) turns BLUE! Haha. (For the record, I have a very pink thumbnail!)

I photographed every shirt they made this year, so let's get started with Addie on parade!

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Two shirts for his dad. The first is gray and was done using the "crystal wash" method in the bucket. Basically, it's soaked in soda ash, scrunched up and stuffed into a container, and squirted with dye. The other one looks like a combo swirl/scrunch.

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A shirt for his mom, above (I think I bought a size too small, but it'll "work") that was scrunched & sectioned.

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These are both his size. The first one was swirled from the bottom/side instead of the usual chest area, and it turned out pretty great (I'm sure that will be done again in the future!). The second was also done using the "crystal wash" method in a 4-cup measure... the dye is sparse but interesting.

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These two were done with Junah in mind, though I think the bottom one will be a bit small, so Ginny's!

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This one is definitely Ginny's.

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And, finally, Malina's. Parts of this remind me of the northern lights!

I love tie dye because there's always a little bit of surprise and it's really hard to make a dud!

Stay tuned for Mack's parade, coming up tomorrow.  ;)


3TT: June 17th

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday... 

Thing 1:

The lavender is beginning to bloom.

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It's one of my favorite flowers and is, absolutely, my favorite floral scent. I spent a good while in the garden yesterday morning, and it felt good -- trying to keep up to the standard of Kate's excellent work earlier this spring -- except that all my great work in the garden must have really aggravated an already sore hip. (I reintroduced myself to my chiropractor on Monday and will see her again next week.) It was incredibly painful last night and I had a hard time falling asleep... resulting in a pitiful 4 hr 10 min of sleep recorded by my Fitbit last night.

But there's lavender!!

Thing 2:

Our accidental catalpa tree is putting on a glorious show!

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Even at night, illuminated by only the pergola lights, it's pretty spectacular... so many flowers.

Thing 3:

I am really enjoying my current Airbnb guests. wink:wink

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The feeling is mutual... Ann shared this photo the other day, starting her day with coffee in bed (we have the most eclectic collection of mugs up there!).

My sis & her family might possibly be more frequent guests in the future, since the local house purchase turned into a clusterfuck and the deal is off. There was some miscommunication -- in the form of NO communication -- which came to light a week ago after a conversation with one of the new neighbors. He remarked that there were 40+ families "involved," which led to Annie asking a few questions of her agent, eventually learning that the sellers' lawyer had JUST sent out the certified letters to those 40+ interested parties, to which they each had 30 days to respond, followed by another month before the title company needed to do their thing. Not only was this the first mention of all of this "involvement" (from the neighbor), but the closing -- having already been postponed once "because of the title company" -- was supposed to be TOMORROW! Tradespeople were lined up -- not an easy thing these days (especially since they were all "postponed" once already, too) -- and Ann had planned to be somewhat involved in renovation, at least overseeing in the beginning stages, and had also planned on staying there next month (roughing it, no doubt) prior to returning to Peru. The revelation of this new, previously undisclosed timeline made it clear that they'd be lucky even to close before departure. It's so incredibly disappointing to so many people on so many levels... I just can't even.

So, anyway, because of the layout & configuration of our house & the apartment, I've basically opened it all up and it's more of a house-share situation! They have their space and I have mine, but there's a lot of common area and we've been cooking & having most evening meals together. Sometimes we even share a little coffee in the morning before things get going. It's really nice and will be weird when they're gone and things are back to "normal" after next week.

Who am I kidding? WTF is "normal"? There's always something... it just remains to be seen!

 


Weekend cuteness

I love a good trend along with the best of 'em!

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Cartoon yerself... I doubt I'll keep this app on my phone for long, but for now I'm in, and they're so darn cute -- not to mention spot-on! (FYI: An article on Wired.)


3TT: Good news edition & randomly related photos

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday... 

Thing 1:

Kate found a fabulous flat-share in Edinburgh -- lots of room (both private & shared) and a great location! Occupancy as of July 1st, but possibly sooner (her current Airbnb term is up on the 22nd).

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The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is about a 40-minute walk from the new flat. She was there today and had to share the rhododendrons with me. They're spectacular! One of my favorites, and I've never seen rhodies as big & lush as in Edinburgh.

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She also found a part-time gig at an art space with a fantastic view!

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(This is not the view.) I assembled this collage with stills nabbed from a video that Kate took as she walked through an enormous hedge at the Royal Botanic Garden. It's like an X-ray in the middle. So cool.

Thing 3:

Maddy is also starting a new part-time job next week -- at a brewery! It's very close to the winery where Viv works -- a half-hour drive from where they currently live -- and perhaps they'll relocate if all goes well.

The current scene in Maddy's backyard:

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Maddy said while snow isn't unusual, they're not used to it sticking/sticking around so much!

Meanwhile, we're in a heatwave that doesn't appear to be letting up anytime soon! I am looking at 80F predicted for Tuesday and thinking of it as a relief! We are/have been hovering more around 90F and there's ZERO precipitation... and it looks like it will continue for as far as I can see.

Time for a Dilly bar.

 


Unraveled Wednesday

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers...

CROCHET:

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It's growing... but these are busy days! There have been a few evenings of late when I didn't even lift my hook. I've just started joining the two rows worth of circles that I have ready, and added a couple of hexagons last night while the boys & I watched S2E2 of LEGO MASTERS... wherein stuff was blown up with glitter, dust, water or slime. Yeah. It was great!

READING:

No one was more surprised than me that I finished Shuggie Bain in time for last night's group discussion! I found it to be a very compelling read, and it was especially enjoyable to alternate listening & reading. (I loved the narrator's voice, and kept thinking that he sounded like a mash-up of Alan Cumming and Sean Connery!) Now I'm back to An American Quilt: Unfolding A Story of Family & Slavery, thinking/hoping that we'll be returning to the quilt in the last 30+/- pages. I've also begun listening to Sinéad O'Connor read her memoir, Rememberings

 


Summertime!

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It's so HOT!!! We've been flirting with 90F for days and that will continue all week. Water balloon fights FTW!

The boys are both taller than me! Junah has stars in his eyes! (It's so cute.)

 


June

It's a whirlwind! Kids, work, business & banking, planting stuff, building LEGO monster trucks, laundry, cleaning, crocheting... y'know, the usual, but with temps ramping up & stuff.

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Tomorrow afternoon, I welcome what will no doubt be my favorite Airbnb guests EVER! I'm even picking them up at the airport and providing a car for the duration of their Stateside visit... their first since Christmas 2019. I'm so excited to see & hug my sister Ann & her family!! I know that Mack & Addie will have grown, teens that they are, but I think it's going to be SHOCKING nonetheless. Voice changes, too. First order of business will be getting vaccinations going, and also high on the list is Mack taking the test for his Temps! As in driver's license. GAH!!!

 


218 Hexagons...

...make a SQUARE(-ish sort of blanket)! It's basically 15 rows x 15 rows.

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Tonight, I'll start the circles for Rows 16 & 17 (I make two rows at a time) and then, maybe by next week, turn them into hexagons when I join them to the blanket. With the holiday and an extra day off, I'm only working two days next week, so maybe a little extra time for the fun stuff!

I thought you might be interested in where I take these blanket photos (until it doesn't fit, anyway).

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This is the walkway right off the back porch. I can get some elevation, if needed, by standing on the steps.

(I'm in the market -- taking recommendations -- for a portable pressure washer to clean the porch floor/siding, and deck. The porch is so dusty!) (I pick up herb & veg plants at my CSA farm tomorrow -- planters will soon be filled!)

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Then, this morning, Facebook Memories reminded that The Marriage Window was installed one year ago on this day! That sure was a fun little project, and we sure do use that room a lot.

 

 


Weekending

Whew! Saturday was busy, starting with a trip out to Ali's to watch the kiddos for a few hours.

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Guess who's crawling?? He's already trying to pull himself up and get on his feet, so maybe we have an early walker on our hands! He's fittingly wearing the KEEP CALM AND CALL GRANDMA shirt.

Before Rod left, he hooked up Ducky for me to haul home.

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I have an appointment on Wednesday for new tires. There was very little sign of mouse activity during storage, which was pretty awesome since I discovered that Kate never opened the pouches that contained the mouse-repelling sachets... she must have thought that the pouches were the thing!

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Our across-the-street neighbors offered to let us park it in an empty spot next to their garage, so here's my new view backing out of the driveway. The only camping trip actually on the books is way off in September, but hopefully I can fit a few quick trips in... available campsites are tough to find, though! My best bet is probably to think "mid-week getaway."

On Saturday afternoon we all got together for a video chat!

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I'm stealing Kate's image from her IG story, but how great is that?? It was super chaotic (it's clear that Davy needs his own phone!) but so fun! All the folks in the US/Wisconsin are on the left, on the right are Kate in Scotland, Annie in Peru, and Maddy it Australia. Ann's time & ours is the same right now, but Maddy joined us upon waking (on Sunday morning, for her) and Kate was heading straight to bed!

I was up late on Saturday, watching TV and crocheting... late enough to pop out just before midnight to see the ISS (always a thrill). I also noticed a long string of lights crossing the sky and wasn't sure what it was, but learned yesterday that they are Starlink satellites, part of the SpaceX program. You can track them yourself!

So I took it pretty easy yesterday, outside of a little laundry and giving Rusty a haircut, and also took a nap! Quite shy of "pampering," I even soaked my feet and read my book for a while. I wouldn't have guessed that I'd be so into Shuggie Bain, but I'm really enjoying the alternating reading/listening and I'm zipping right along.

 


Random update

I shared some photos a couple of weeks ago from when Mary was over... here's the real deal!

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It was totally worth a bit of my garden getting smushed! I think that top photo was taken at the exact same time as I snapped mine. Poor Davy was not in the mood, having just awakened from a car nap, but such is life, eh? Mary gets it. I'm sure I'll share a few more images from this session in the near future.

I found a "present" this week as I was turning over the Airbnb for a guest arriving tomorrow.

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My first-ever container of night crawlers in the fridge! At first, I was wondering who I could give them to... and then I realized that I could return them to their natural habitat in my own back yard for our mutual benefit!

A moment for hosta appreciation...

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The color and texture just slay me... these were big fat purple-y/green shoots barely poking out of the ground a month ago.

PSA for IPA-lovers. I was delighted to find Bell's Light Hearted Ale in my grocery store a while back -- if I'm going to trust anyone with an IPA that's lower in calories & carbs, it would be Bell's -- and it tastes pretty great!

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Occasionally, I peruse the aisles/coolers to see what's new... and sometimes I actually find something! And another brewery I'd trust with such a thing is Dogfish Head! This is also a pretty great tasting brew.

There has been some crochet progress... it seems a little slower going these days, but it's going.

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I just started on Row 14, and Row 15 is ready to join, too.

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I knocked over my box of colors a while back and it took a while, going off of some photos I'd taken, to get them back in order. I had done a little switching that was never recorded, so it's all very random, and these couple of rows even moreso!

Finally, I am doing my first-ever successful read/listen, thanks to Kym mentioning that she'd done the same, with Shuggie Bain. She'd told me (and I know it to be true) that the chapters in the book don't always align with the chapters in the audio book, but they do in Shuggie Bain! I may not finish in time for the book club meet-up, but I am really enjoying reading this way, so who knows? I've also pre-ordered the audio book of Sinéad O'Connor's Rememberings. The To-Read list never gets any smaller, does it?

 


Making do

One good thing about having the Airbnb is...

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...that when I order a rug for the Garden Room and it's WAY TOO BIG, I can find a place for it upstairs! (It's all very eclectic, just like the rest of the house.)

I was up there yesterday doing things like putting down new rugs and making beds... oh, that's a funny story. I did all the laundry last week and brought it all upstairs, and the flat sheets for both beds were missing. I spent a few days pondering, looking, trying to remember if they were even in the loads I did. Where could they be??? I randomly found them in a cupboard yesterday, and I'm 99.9% sure that I didn't put them there... so extra load of laundry! Y'know, some people don't bother with a flat sheet when there's a duvet cover and I think that might be what happened. Anyway, I had spares, so it's not like I'd short-sheet anyone, but sheesh, that kind of stuff is crazy-making.

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I stopped at the record store the other day and got the replacement needle for the turntable, successfully keeping my bristles down when the salesman's response to my query made it clear that he didn't think I had a clue. I showed him... not only did I have the make & model, but I also had pictures! I also bought a simple cleaning system, so I cleaned & listened to three albums yesterday -- Farewell to the First Golden Era by The Mamas & The Papas, The Age of Aquarius by The 5th Dimension (the first album I ever called my own), and Innervisions by Stevie Wonder. Turns out it's Stevie's 71st birthday today! Oh, I remember his run of Grammy-winning albums in the '70s, and I owned most if not all of them. The sleeve from the record I played yesterday has my ca. 1973 signature on it.

In other news, the stumps have finally been ground out and...

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I'm not sure what to do there now... not certain that my vague plan is a good one. Tops on Rusty's To-Do List is making an enclosure to hide the ugly trash & recycling receptacles that were formerly mostly hidden by a big tree trunk. Anyway, it sure looks different.

 


Art break

Junah's been drawing a lot lately, especially Petey from Dog Man. Petey was even on the Mother's Day card that Junah made for me!

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And, he's even had a few drawing sessions with Gin. Junah's on the left, Ginny's on right.

Oh, my. ❤️

 


Weekending

I celebrated Mother's Day by cleaning the Airbnb apartment... all weekend! Well, I did have a couple of breaks. I talked to Ann a couple of times, and also to Kate!

Kate's on Day 5 of her 10-day mandatory isolation. She can leave only to drop her Covid tests in a mailbox.

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She discovered this on the other side of the building where her Airbnb is... it is not her view, so she had no idea! It'll be so great to discover what's along that trail in just a few more days. She's going a little stir crazy, but brought her beading supplies with her (she's been making earrings for months, selling them at the coffee shop but likely soon finding a UK venue), and she's in a cute apartment -- I can't imagine enduring 10 days in a crappy hotel room (doesn't matter how many stars... that's way too long to be cooped up in one room with shitty seating & lighting).

As mentioned, the bulk of my weekend -- and Rusty's -- was spent cleaning the Airbnb. It was a reminder for me of why I like doing short-term rather than long-term rentals. They were terrific guests in that we barely knew they were there and they left me with a couple of new small appliances and kitchen gadgets, but they didn't do a lot of cleaning and did a lot of cooking with oil... things were grimy. So much, after only four months!

Annie said, "Oh, that must be like spring cleaning. I love spring cleaning!" And I laughed, because I'm not that excited about cleaning in the spring or any other time, but I channeled her enthusiasm, along with my mother... striving for "Marj Perfect!" I thought of her a lot yesterday because Mother's Day, but also because she would have loved this endeavor -- I actually think of her very often when I'm up there.

Anyway, I'm so thankful for Rusty -- he did some repairs & maintenance in the bathroom, including painting the ceiling, and did almost all of the floors! I have some finishing up to do on Wednesday for weekend guests arriving on Friday, but not bad.

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We found a spot above the sink for this cool painting that one of Kate's art friends did of the kitchen.

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I will be going on a quest to replace the phonograph needle (I think that's what needs done). I have this one in my Amazon cart, but first I'm stopping at a local record/stereo shop on my way home tonight.

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The info I needed was on the bottom, of course, and I couldn't lift the arm high enough to see it -- or even get my phone under it, so I employed a mirror!

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There's a neat back room in the apartment that is off limits to guests mainly because it provides access to the attic and to the rooftop (I've watched mile-away fireworks from up there) and it would just be too irresistible! It has a ton of storage -- cool drawers built in under the steep attic steps, along with another cupboard -- and a window! It's three stories up from the back garden and, unfortunately, the only place where the garden is visible from up there. So I guess it's my Secret Garden Window.

In other news, the stump grinders could finally do the job this morning!

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I asked him to send me pictures! (That's Not Lazy's truck in the first photo... they moved out a week ago but he's still switching out/parking vehicles on the street. I'm not going to tolerate that for much longer.) (I'm becoming my mother in many ways!! I love you, Mom!)

 


Happy Mother's Day

I was pleasantly surprised last Friday evening to discover a change/addition to my back yard view.

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First, I zoomed in.

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And then I walked down to take a closer look.

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Isn't it perfect???!!!

Kate had found a similar item in a catalog, but the family put their heads/talents together and made one -- with far less money and a lot more heart!

Once installed and after some discussion, it was decided that something was missing, so it was back to the workshop...

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And now it's absolute perfection!!!

We also had a fairly last-minute photo session on Sunday as part of our Birthday/Going-away/Mother's Day Extravaganza! These are a few of my quick shots.

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Party

  • Ginny's 5th Birthday / Kate's Going Away / Mothers' Day Extravaganza!

Happy Mother's Day!!

 


Y'all, it's been a week

I forgot to mention that, on top of everything else going on, our most recent Airbnb guests departed on Sunday. They originally booked for a month beginning the end of December, but extended to the end of January, then February, then March, and finally April + a couple of days! They were amazing, but it was really weird to have people in our "short-term rental" for that long. I have new guests arriving a week from tomorrow, so I have a lot of cleaning & prep to do, but I'm not really worrying about any of that right now!

I'm taking it easy. Cracking a beer or making a drink when I get home from work. Relaxing on the pergola or porch. Crocheting...

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I finished another row last night, and the next one is ready to go! I haven't run into any weird ones in a while, so I guess I've figured it all out and learned how to properly count.

I love it so much.

 


Unraveled Wednesday: It's a wonder I'm not

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share...

CROCHETI'm still devoted to my crocheted blanket, even if it's a little slower going these days.

READING: I finally finished The Midnight Library... having sped up the audio to 1.5! Ugh. It wasn't awful, but it did seem to go on and on and on with this life and that life and another life, not to mention the root life. I have about 50 pages to go in An American Quilt: Unfolding A Story of Family & Slavery... I do occasionally speed read my actual books, too, do you?

IN OTHER NEWS: LIFE!!

OMG, you would not believe what's all been going on around here. In approximate order...

There's been a lot of weird activity next door over the past few weeks or so. The current owner has been there for 12 years, having moved in with her three kids when the youngest was just about in kindergarten... and is now in college. The eldest skedaddled ASAP after high school and I haven't personally seen him since. The middle child, who we call "NOT LAZY" for reasons of his own making (and, uh, as you might expect, is truly the laziest SOB you'll ever meet) was recently engaged and it's obvious that he's been (slowly... one might even think lazily) moving out. The recent random occasional appearance of vans from a remodeling/renovating company, also a BIG van from a moving company, increased action over the weekend, Rusty's social media "friendship" with Not Lazy, and his chance run-in with the youngest on Sunday night... all led to learning that she sold the house and THEY'RE ALL MOVING OUT!!

(I think she called one of those "We Buy Houses 123-456-7890" numbers.)

Anyway, that's a whole lot to process... right next door!

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Meanwhile, it's an actual category: Ann's New House!

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Just over a week ago, Annie sent me a listing for a house in my neighborhood, and a week ago last Sunday Rusty & I walked over to check it out... walk around, look at the foundation, etc. Rusty happened to try the back door, which was held shut with a bungee cord... "Hello! Anyone home?" Well, of course there wasn't. So we gave ourselves a quick little unencumbered tour. (So quick that he forgot to re-bungee the door and had to go back later.) It's old, has had some systems updates, but hasn't really been touched much in many years... and even with all that, was a million times better than the first property she asked me to check out. After our tour, I did some research. Turns out, the house belonged to a 92yo woman who died a couple of years ago; she was born in that house, lived there for her entire life, and died there per her wishes. I remember that there was an amazing flower garden in the back yard quite a few years ago, the footprint is still visible.

Anyway, official showings didn't begin until Friday and bids were going to be opened on Monday. I went over on Friday afternoon with an electrician, and met her remodeler guy, to look things over. Ann put in her offer... and wrote a nice letter. And on Monday night she texted that they got the house! She didn't have the highest offer, but the letter clinched it for her. There's a ton of work to be done, and I'm thankful that she'll be here in June/July to oversee things (if it's even closed by then).

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They sent Ann this photo of the house from many years ago... the fancy stuff, including the porch, is long gone/changed, but...

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...it's the same with mine. The similarities are striking! I believe my house is just a few years older than hers.

My sister is going to be my occasional few-blocks-away neighbor (closer even than my mom was)!

And I think, holy cow, she could have been my literal NEIGHBOR!

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I had an extremely overdue re-re-rescheduled hair appointment early yesterday morning. Canceled 14 months ago, I put it off for quite a while even when they reopened, but eventually made a date. Then had to cancel because of a work schedule conflict. So I rescheduled and had to cancel that because of the opportunity to get the Pfizer jab. The new date turned out to be the morning of Kate's departure, but I just couldn't cancel again (for fear of being banned for life).

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This is the before pic, but the after isn't much different -- trimmed an inch, smoother, and it smells so nice -- I just couldn't handle anything drastic yesterday!! Haha.

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Kate's rapid test for Covid was negative on Monday, which set the ball rolling for final departure prep! It's been very relaxed and measured... paring down, moving things around, making plans, and yesterday was no different. She drove Rusty & I down to the airport in Milwaukee yesterday, with one last stop at Culver's for lunch, to drop herself off... NEW ADVENTURES AWAIT IN EDINBURGH (AND THE GREATER UK). She arrived in London early this morning (our time), caught a cab to the train station, and is currently on the train to Edinburgh where she'll self-isolate at an Airbnb for the next 10 days, and then... stay tuned.

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<INSERT ALL THE EMOTIONS RIGHT HERE!!> 

 


Five!

We celebrated Ginny's 5th birthday yesterday! We had a party, and even a photo session... I nabbed a few, myself, and this is one of my favorites!

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Our Ginny girl... how can she already be FIVE??

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She's a joy.

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And she sure loves her little brother!

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Happy Birthday, Ginny Girl!! You are one of a kind, and so special!!

 


Thank you!!

I have to say THANK YOU for all the birthday wishes for Maddy and comments on my last post. It was one of those fluky posts where I didn't get notified of comments (the hyphen? the word "something"?), so I wonder where y'all are for a while and then I see that you've dropped by but it's a PITA to reply without the notification email (and I've been struggling with replies lately, anyway).

  • It IS a milestone to have all my kids in their 30s!
  • Count me IMPRESSED with your ability to not only spot but even to recognize/name the knits!
    • I started Oblique for me, finished it almost 10 years later for Maddy.
    • Cowl by Kate! She knit cowls for both Maddy & Viv (sent "for Christmas").
  • Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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That was quite the To-Do List the other day, huh? It's the LONG VERSION, for sure, and so comprehensive, that I'm making it my Master List! So far, we've made some good progress in one category:

Outside/Gardening

  • Compost, topsoil, mulch where needed
  • Repair pergola planter & ready for the Snowcicle Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • Ready garden areas for veg/herb plants (picking up 5/20)
  • Stump grinding scheduled (Monday 5/3)
    • Kill the snow on the mountain (death by a thousand cuts) - started
  • Plant all the other plants on order!
  • Paint garage & back door

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Rusty makes the first pass, basically defoliating the snow-on-the-mountain.
Fingers crossed... I haven't had anyone share a success story.

The hydrangea was delivered & planted right away. That's some lovely moss up there that I hope will fill in that entire area between the walkway and the garage. We've also planted a few very small yews & things that we hope will quickly grow to provide some privacy (more accurately, to block out the view to the neighbors'). And all the other hardy perennials have also been planted. I'll be taking delivery of a few more plants over the next few weeks.

I got a call on Tuesday about the stump grinding that they were hoping to do Wednesday or Thursday morning (depending on weather). I woke up early Wednesday morning and had the sudden realization that I never saw the flags or markings from Diggers Hotline (gas & water are very near the stump on the west side)... so texted my guy (early on Wednesday morning) and let him know! He must have been on the horn right away because flags & paint were beginning to appear even before noon yesterday. Grinding is scheduled for Monday!

And, lo, a potential new category has already been added to the list!

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I'll have an update next week on whether it becomes an actual category.

 


And then they were all 30-something

I'm late with this post, but the important thing is that I was also on time!

Happy 30th Birthday, Maddy!!!

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There's quite a time difference between here and Australia, not to mention the logistical challenge, but I couldn't let my baby's 30th birthday go without doing something!

I knew that she & Viv were going on a quick getaway to mark the occasion and I even got Maddy to share the Airbnb listing with me... unbeknownst to her, it was mainly so I could try to arrange something with the host (who turned out to be kinda-but-not-really-all-that-willing). At first I thought about having a birthday cake delivered, but nixed that for a couple of reasons... and also thought it would have been fun to surprise Viv, but had to enlist her help in the end.

With Covid and other various limitations, I had to find establishments that I could communicate with via email, and from whom I could order online, and I wanted to make sure I wasn't hijacking the girls' plans! I was able to send a gift voucher for a great restaurant that foodie friends recommended to Viv -- Maddy knew they were going there, but didn't know that it was a gift from us until they were there -- and had a planter of succulents delivered with a card to the Airbnb. As you can see, Maddy was surprised!!

I guess next year I'll be making similar arrangements in both Australia and Scotland!! (If tests & everything go as planned, Kate will be on her way a week from today!)

 


Right Now: To Do

Oh my goodness, it's the time of year when I start to go a little bonkers with all of the To-Do Lists & things floating around in my brain! Seems like a good time to write it out (in no particular order, though some things are time sensitive), and this doesn't all fall solely on ME!

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Party

  • Ginny's 5th Birthday / Kate's Going Away / Mothers' Day Extravaganza!

Crocheting

  • Finish Hexie Love Actually
  • Assess remaining yarn (Unicorn Tails)

Ducky*

  • New tires (because one is flat-flat-flat)
  • Replace at least one amber marker light assembly
  • Replace at least one tail light lens/assembly
  • Figure out water/plumbing situation

Airbnb**

  • CLEAN & ASSESS FOR SUMMER GUESTS
  • Re-do caulk in bathroom/tub

Home

  • Continue cleaning/purging of laundry/computer room in order to...
  • Lay new floor in laundry/computer room
  • Reconfigure computer desk/area
  • Get some estimates for refinishing the kitchen floor
  • Have the bedroom carpeting cleaned
  • Clean my workroom

Outside/Gardening

  • Compost, topsoil, mulch where needed
  • Repair pergola planter & ready for the Snowcicle Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • Ready garden areas for veg/herb plants (picking up 5/20)
  • Stump grinding scheduled (date TBD)
    • Kill the snow on the mountain (death by a thousand cuts)
  • Plant all the other plants on order!
  • Paint garage & back door

Taxes

  • Finish them!

Spring Cleaning

  • Refrigerator (continue)
  • Recessed lights in kitchen
  • Upper cabinets in kitchen
  • Windows
  • Wipe down bathroom walls
  • Clean out dresser/cedar chest/closet/under the bed
  • Clean out upstairs linen closet/bedroom

Knitting

  • Start the remaining Safe At Home pillows
  • Make a sweater?
  • Teach Junah & Ginny to knit

Dyeing

  • Dye some yarn!
  • Tie-dye / Indigo w/Boys & Kids (Auntie Camp)

Sewing***

Quilting

  • Mom's Log Cabin
  • Cheater Quilt for Junah
  • Wedding Ring (kit)
  • Figure out what to do with: Black & White w/a little Red

Misc.

  • Spit for 23andMe

 

*The first campground reservation has been made! We'll definitely go out prior to this, but Rusty will be teaching a weekend workshop in September and he suggested that we camp! I've already scoped out a brewery and we'll be very near Wollersheim Winery & Distillery. I am hoping to arrange/rent summer storage for Ducky in a recently vacated spot right across the street (instead of in our driveway).

**Current guests have been here since just after Christmas (!!), and will be departing by May 2nd. It's the longest anyone has been up there since I switched it from long-term to short-term rental, and I'm dying to get back up there. I have a few guests booked for various weeks through the summer and into September, but the most exciting thing of all is that Annie & her family will be up there for three weeks in June!!

***The Molina pattern was assembled & cut out last night! I'm planning on using a gigantic scale sort of abstract floral print that I ordered from Spoonflower quite a while ago... hopefully all the pieces will fit (fingers crossed).