We have a graduate!

This just in...

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Malina graduated 4K yesterday!

I remember when Kate finished preschool -- there might have been a cap made of construction paper -- and we mothers all hummed Pomp & Circumstance during the procession. This actual cap & gown? Crazy... but so darn cute! I asked Ali if they moved the tassels: "They moved them, half of them were not where they should be by that time which just made it cuter!"

The kids' last day of school is tomorrow, and it's basically an all-day picnic at a nearby county park. It's just been an amazing year for all of them -- the whole family!

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Maddy said, "It looks like everyone else is posing for their band's album cover and then there's the preschool graduate 馃槀馃グ馃グ !"

Happy Weekend!!

 


Workin' For The (Long) Weekend

I don't really have much to update in the knitting & reading departments. I've finished knitting the border on four corners of Mack's blanket, and now I'm filling in -- straight garter stitch with no miter-shaping increases, so it should go pretty quick... and then there are a lot of ends to weave in.

There are lots of other things vying for attention these days, though, especially NICE WEATHER!! It's been amazing this week -- a little cooler today & tomorrow (not unwelcome), and then warming up for what could be a stellar Memorial Day Weekend. I get an early start this week, with Friday off! Yay!!

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Kate & I drove down to my CSA farm on Saturday to pick up starter flower, veg & herb plants. We "looped the lake," driving down to Fond du Lac on the east side and returning on the west; stopping at a couple of thrift stores and for lunch, too.

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We also picked up some mulch, soil & seeds and have been busy in the yard ever since... well, mostly Kate. I love gardening but only have so much time in a day, so it's GREAT to have my personal gardener here and she is grateful to have a yard & garden at her disposal after living in a flat in the city for the past two years! I spread the mulch around the rescued hostas -- I've been calling it my hosta sanctuary. haha.

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Rusty's been busy, too. I caught him from the bedroom window just as he finished cleaning up the little brick patio and along the edge where the yard meets ravine.

Also very loosely on the docket is repainting the kitchen & living rooms. The kitchen will revert to deep red/maroon-ish with white trim -- the balance in that room is off with white walls & gray trim.

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Swatches (unedited) at different times of day. One of those colors is called "Rejuvenation." Before anything much happens here, we'll be tearing into the wall where those switches & controls are to reconnect currently idle wiring for a new ceiling light, removing the April Aire control that we no longer use, and patching it up. I'm looking forward to better light in that room.

Hope you all have a great weekend!!

 


Kid's a trooper

Just checking in real quick to say that Davy's surgery was successful, and he was AMAZING!! He couldn't eat anything solid for 12+ hours prior and only clear liquids for 10, so we avoided areas having to do with food... and he barely complained. I can't say enough about Ronald McDonald House -- one of the best things being that it's within easy walking distance to Children's Hospital -- and it was so great to get that little bit of fresh air. They had a nice private outdoor playground, too, and we spent a few minutes there in the morning. Surgery got underway a little bit ahead of schedule, which was great, because they found something else to fix, so it went a little longer. He was zonked out almost all the way home and, even when awake, super chill. Ali said that they both got a great night's sleep last night! His only real restriction is to avoid straddling for a few weeks, otherwise good to go!

Thanks for all your well wishes! Have a great weekend.

 


Unraveled Wednesday: Musselburgh

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday!

It's been pretty busy around here! Rusty & I moved a bunch of hostas on Saturday that would most certainly be toast when the road crew starts digging (whenever that is). Sunday was all about collecting Kate at O'Hare. We went out to Ali's on Monday night for supper & to surprise the kids! I'm heading to Madison with Ali & Davy after work today... Davy's having a little surgery tomorrow to repair a hernia that he's had since birth. Ali still doesn't know what time surgery is on Thursday (hoping for early), but we'll be there whenever. Kate & I have a date on Saturday to collect starter plants from my CSA farm and make some other yard-/garden-related stops. I've been spending an hour or so at Ann's whenever possible trying to get laundry done... and I'll have to make beds & clean Friday/Saturday for guests arriving on Sunday. I was there last night and then got waylaid by a neighbor on the way home... I'd messaged Kate that I was on my way and a half-hour later she messaged me, "Are you lost?" haha. It was nice to catch up with our neighbor and I got a handful of lovely leeks to take home -- she dug them up on the spot!

KNITTING:

I don't like leaving Ann's when the dryer is running and the blanket is too much to haul around, so I've been working on my One-Way Trip Musselburgh hat.

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The paper is 11x17 and I'm aiming for 19.25" to start decreases, so just a few inches to go yet! I imagine I'll have some knitting time tonight/tomorrow, and it'll help me keep calm... which will hopefully rub off on Al!

Send us all some good juju, especially for Davy & his mom!!

READING:

I'm listening to Trespasses. I've cracked open Why We Cook: Women on Food, Identity, and Connection, by Lindsay Gardner, which was a gift I received for last year's J贸lab贸kafl贸冒; I haven't made much progress yet but I think it's going to be great!

 


Forty-seven

Forty-seven years ago today...

Graduation

...I graduated high school. How have those years passed by so quickly?!

It's a little trippy.

 


Happy Mother's Day Weekend

I was looking for a photo the other day and ran across this one from Mother's Day a few years ago:

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It is one of my all-time favorite photos... EVER! We were trying to recreate a photo wherein my sisters & I held my mother parallel to the floor on a Mother's Day past. Why? I have no idea! Anyway, I only ever got one foot off the ground because we were all so weakened by laughter... which I think you can see!

We won't all be together this Mother's Day, but we'll have our MOTHES DAY soon enough! I'm actually driving to O'Hare on Sunday to pick up Kate! Tonight is her last night in the Edinburgh flat, she turns over the keys tomorrow and will stay at an airport hotel on Saturday night, making the schlepping of luggage a bit easier on Sunday morning (hello, helpful taxi driver!).

I hope you all have a very happy Mother's Day!

 


Unraveled Wednesday: Framing

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday!

KNITTING:

One of these things is not like the others... but it's all looking a little better (to me, anyway).

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The wide border (wider than any other I've knit) has tamed the wonkiness of that last square a bit.

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It's still a little wonky & weird, far from perfect, but it's everything... my 鉂わ笍 to Mack.

I still can't believe he's graduating high school in a couple of weeks.

READING:

I've begun Trespasses on audio. Not usually a fan of a narrator doing "voices," I'm enjoying the Irish voices/accents quite a bit! I haven't cracked any of the actual books on my nightstand (and elsewhere) since finishing WWWWT but I'm sure it won't be long before I do.

 


Thursday

This post showed up on our local FB community page the other day and I laughed out loud, then shared it with all my family. (Name removed to protect the offender.)

 

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This inattention & misspelling has the bane of my genealogical research for this family鈥 especially when doing just a general google search... also "mothes," of the insect variety. 馃ぃ馃ぃ

On the other hand, we may have ourselves a new family holiday!

 


Unraveled Wednesday

KNITTING:

I'm not 100% pleased and not sure that I can "fix" it... so there may very well be some unraveling happening here!

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The blanket made the trip to Mexico and I knit on that last square a lot... and ripped & reknit & rinse & repeat.

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It's really wonky and I'm not sure that it'll straighten out when I pick up & knit the border. I'll be doing that next, right around that corner, and I'll know soon enough.

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If I do end up ripping all that out and reknitting it (again) (and it's quite likely), I'll be doing it much differently.

READING:

Audible's customer service has not come through with a fix for Forty Acres Deep, and I sure hope they do; meanwhile, I downloaded Trespasses for the book club. I finished What We Wish Were True when we were on "vacation," and I'm planning a walk down to the library later today to pick up a book I'd put on hold.

It's finally a sort-of nice day!!

 


Seven

This little ray of sunshine is 7 years old today!!

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She's very excited about starting a hip-hop dance class today!

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She's even more excited about having practically her entire class over for an after-school birthday party on Friday! She's quite the social butterfly.

Happy Birthday, Ginny!!

 


Monday...

Last Monday:

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This Monday:

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So rude! It snowed most of the morning, then rained for a while. I'm tired of complaining (which makes no difference to management, anyway), so I'll just leave it at that. haha.

We returned from Mexico last Wednesday and I'm happy to report that it was a very successful trip!

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We arrived on Friday -- it takes almost the whole day to get there -- and settled in. On Saturday, we reassembled the wooden stretcher bar frame, positioned it on the wall, and affixed the mounting blocks -- 10 of them.

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On Sunday, we stretched the canvas. We were both extremely pleased with how easily it slid right onto the mounting blocks! That was great, because it was on/off the wall a few times to fix some "stretch" here and there. We were the only people at the house, other than a couple of employees, and they were all off on Sunday, so we felt very relaxed even with all the fussy stuff. The hardest part was navigating in & out of the room -- our "work space" was in a very large reception/living area, and there was a dining area between there and the solarium -- plus there's that large immovable marble table on the left and some big pots with climbing vines on both sides -- the one on the right was the more troublesome. Lots of crawling around on hands & knees, then navigating through rooms & lifting a 25'x4' canvas over a couple of obstacles.

Whew! So happy to have that project done.

 


Unraveled Wednesday: WITH LOVE

I had a super fun & very active Saturday afternoon with Davy. I think he enjoyed our one-on-one time!

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We were in & out of the house, up & down the stairs & paths & sidewalk, he was zooming around on trikes & scooters, and I even threw him in the tub.

Sunday was Ali's birthday and I went out there with a cake and a Happy Birthday balloon. I ended up babysitting while she & Rod went out for a drink.

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The weather was crappy, so we spent most of our time indoors. I listened to Ginny read and was inexplicably thrilled to sign off on her homework sheet! And we all had a lot of fun playing "the tickle game" -- a catch-me-if-you-can type of thing with lots of laughing and, well, that's one way to keep a grandma limber (-ish).

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I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday!

KNITTING:

It's been a process to come up with a design for the last square of Mack's blanket! Kay suggested a log cabin design and I've always been a big fan of that...

I downloaded patterns, bought the book, made some charts... and more charts... and more charts. I started with some knitters' graph paper & a pencil, and did a lot of cutting & pasting.

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Eventually, I needed something MORE... and found an amazing downloadable Knitting Graph Paper and Design Worksheet on the website of a yarn dyer that doesn't seem to be producing anymore.

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The design is very abstract -- until you get to that big M (hard to miss) -- and I worried that it was too abstract, but Rusty was able to make out WITH 鉂 LOVE | AUNT VIC | MACK | 2023, so that was encouraging. I like that it's not in-your-face... we'll just have to see how it all actually turns out!

We leave for Mexico early Friday morning and I am 99% sure I'll be finding space for this project in my suitcase. heh.

READING:

I am having a glitch with my latest audiobook, Forty Acres Deep by Michael Perry, so I'm waiting for that to be resolved, but I'm making progress with What We Wish Were True by Tallu Schuyler Quinn... and will toss that in my suitcase, too. I didn't read much the last time we were there, but you never know and it's just wrong to travel without a book!

Hope you're having some good knitting & reading this week!

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Inching closer

I finished off the second-to-last square on the blanket last night and wove in a few more ends (plenty more to go).

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I am using every scrap from the original mini skeins as I can.

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There's some "creative" striping going on there, leaving a lot of ends to deal with, so thought I'd just get that over with right away.

I'm thinking of doing something a little different for the last square, having gone down the rabbit hole that Kay Gardiner led us to yesterday. I have some calculating to do! I am thrilled to be so close to finishing this thing!

Tomorrow afternoon I get Davy all to myself for a few hours! Ginny & Malina have a date with Rod for their first-ever Father-Daughter Dance, and Junah's going to a movie with Ali. Can't wait!

Have a great weekend!

 


I am no expert...

...but methinks that if this forecast comes true, it must break a record or two!

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My benchmark for "nice" April weather in Wisconsin has always been 1987, the year that Ali was born. We'd had a very mild winter and then, suddenly, it was spring -- 70F when I went to the hospital, pretty much remaining there during my stay. I watched the leaves pop out while I was in the hospital! On my release, which was Easter Sunday that year, we had Easter dinner at my mom's... outside!

Obviously, we had Easter dinner outside (more or less) again this year, but WOW, would you look at those temperatures? A full week earlier and 6-11 degrees warmer than my benchmark of 1987.

As I recall, it continued mild in '87 right up until Memorial Day Weekend when it suddenly got HOTTER THAN HELL! And it stayed HOT all summer long. 2yo Katie's hair was so curly that summer, and Ali & I just sat in front of whatever air conditioner or fan we could find so we wouldn't melt into a puddle.

ANYWAY, enough again about the weather!

I found the curried shrimp recipe that I mentioned the other day and remembered why I really wanted to share it -- it wasn't just rice, it was cauliflower fried rice. It was so good! The recipe is called Cauliflower Fried Rice with Curried Shrimp, it's from Food Network. I cut it in half when I made it because I had a half-pound of shrimp in the freezer. As mentioned earlier, I had WAY too much rice. Part of that was by design -- I didn't want to have any leftover riced cauliflower, so I upped the proportion of rice to match -- but my BIGGEST mistake was MAKING that much rice instead of USING that much rice. I put 2 cups of dry rice in my Instant Pot (my favorite way to cook rice these days), which of course yielded A LOT! I just wasn't thinking, and USED IT ALL. Rusty quizzed me a couple of times about the quantity of rice & how it was listed in the recipe, and my blunder still didn't register... for quite a while.

 


Weekending

Whew!! It was a great weekend, mostly because of the people but also because of the weather -- Sunday was gorgeous. We opened the house a little and it sure was nice to get a little airflow.

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The kids were in & out & in & out & in & out -- front door, back door, the neighbors'! They were so busy.

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Ginny brought over a basket of curated Fairy House materials, found a few other things out back, and this was the view out my bedroom window at one point -- kids scattered and, yes, there's at least one fork in the grass. Evidence of what a marvelous day it was and how happy we were to be able to be outside! There was nothing formal about our Easter brunch!

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I was able to deliver one of the girls' birthday presents -- a little late for Malina, early for Gin -- giant posters to color! The other one is a unicorn. Malina took a few coloring breaks during the afternoon, and Ali & I did some, too, so there's quite a bit more done but it was rolled up before I could get a picture.

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The injured amaryllis opened, which made me very happy.

What made me even happier is that I finished putting together my Provisional Press! I learned of this several months ago when someone posted about making theirs and my mind was blown! The brainchild of a printing professor, he invented this DIY "provisional" press during the pandemic so that students would be able to build a usable proof press and continue to produce work... but there are also hobbyists & enthusiasts all over who will never be able to afford a real press, so now they offer kits in addition to DIY plans. The fact that this professor also has kids and figured out a way to print with LEGO (certain pieces)... well, they got me! But, I also have a very small collection of old wood & metal type that I'd like to actually use.

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Junah & I had started to put it together a couple of months ago and we got as far as getting the basic frame built, but then we had to let glue dry...

So I pulled it back out on Saturday and got as far as I could before I needed... to let glue dry. haha.

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And I finished it yesterday morning before the gang was due to arrive. I'm tickled that I was able to do it myself (because, oh, how I love following a good set of instructions to put something together), and needed Rusty's help only once to help me hold/square up the roller assembly.

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Can you see the eagerness on that kid's face? He is raring to go! I told him that he not only needed to make the letters backwards in order to print correctly, but the whole word needed to be backwards, too, and he said, "Well, what if I do it this way..." and he's going vertical! I need to trim the LEGO base plates and do a couple of tests to make sure the calibration is good, but I'm sure that we'll be doing some printing very soon!

 


Happy Friday!

We'll be winging our way back to Mexico two weeks from today! It's going to feel a bit like Mexico here next week, with sunshine & a high of 77F on Wednesday -- but not before we get to see more snow! An inch predicted overnight tonight. I feel like I'm talking about the weather a lot, but I know I'm not the only one. heh.

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I was chatting with Kate a couple of days ago and Rusty leaned in/over my amaryllis to say HI... Kate said, "WATCH OUT FOR THE AMARYLLIS!" but it was too late, the stem was bent. Rusty leapt into action and we splinted it -- luckily the major damage was only on one side, and it seems to have responded well. You can barely make it out in the blurry background, but there's another pot with a flower bud poking up -- and there are actually two buds from that bulb, plus another that you can't see. I can't wait for flowers!

I've been cooking a lot this week, for some reason...

  • Leek Quiche -- I used an NYTimes Cooking recipe as my base, but did my own thing... I used a frozen deep-dish pie crust from the store, threw in some asparagus with the leeks (and will add more next time!), and used 4 whole eggs (instead of 2 egg yolks + 1 whole egg... can that even be called a quiche???) -- four is my minimum number of eggs for a quiche!
  • My favorite meatloaf recipe -- Yes, Virginia, There is a Great Meatloaf, with mashed baby reds & I don't remember what vegetable. My only mods are to use 1/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs instead of bread and to cut back the brown sugar in the sauce. It's a favorite.
  • Curried Shrimp & Rice that was unusual for us but really good, except I misread and made probably twice as much rice as needed. I don't remember where I found the recipe...
  • Last night, I made Sheet-Pan Gnocchi With Asparagus, Leeks and Peas, another NYT Cooking recipe, and oh my gosh, was that ever good! So good that I'm giving you all the recipe, just click on the link and you should have access (the link is only good for two weeks). Anyway, the only thing I did differently was to cut the recipe in half, mainly because I didn't read correctly and only picked up one package of gnocchi the other day. I don't think it would be as good warmed up (that crisp gnocchi would get pretty soggy), so I'm glad it worked out that way. The recipe says Time: 30 minutes, but that is actual cooking time... add another 30 minutes to prep! Also, the oven time is a little confusing and I'll just say that the veggies took as long in the oven as the gnocchi to look the way I wanted them to. I set the timer and stirred the veg every 5 minutes.

Ali & fam will be coming over for Easter brunch on Sunday -- I think I'm going to make that quiche again, along with waffles, some fruit, maybe some sausage. I'm still formulating.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

 


Sign, Sign... Everywhere A Sign

Spotted at Ann's yesterday...

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...and at the hardware store, where I was buying a couple of replacement GRILLING TOOLS!

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The signs are getting hard to miss. 馃尡

 


Unraveled Wednesday

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday!

KNITTING:

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The 7th row is underway! I love that it's all knit together and I won't have to sew 35 squares together to make a blanket. The downside is that I don't have the option to move things around, which I'd really like to do. It is what it is and sometimes there are flaws we just have to live with. The most important thing is that there's love in every stitch!

READING:

I finished A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders on my way home from work last night. That took way longer than it should have. I don't know what's next in my listening queue but I have plenty to choose from.

What We Wish Were True by Tallu Schuyler Quinn is still the book on my nightstand.

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Tulips are coming up outside the back door! Everything is wet... we had thunderous sleet/hail last evening and some heavy rain passed through overnight, along with thunder & lightning. There's a dusting of snow ahead in the near forecast, but I spy a couple of 70F days next week! It's a rollercoaster!

 


Mom, does this still fit me?

Ali sent me this photo yesterday with the title of this post as caption:

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What do you think?

I finished that little cardigan in September 2016 for a 4-month-old Ginny and, well, kudos to a 5-year-old Malina for even managing to get it on! haha.

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I remember that being a super-fun knit -- Elwood, by Jenny Wiebe (Rav) -- using a Sweet Georgia "Party of Five" mini-skeins set, along with some of my own hand-dyed yarn. And the ladybug buttons! So cute.

Also, I love that Malina's still wearing those adorable unicorn sunglasses (and it was sunny yesterday!).

And Davy's legs are getting so looooong and skinny!

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I have an exciting update to one of the items from my last post...

Excited about... all the girls being home again this summer! Kate will be arriving in just a month-and-a-half and will be here until the middle of July not be returning to Scotland!

A move back to Wisconsin has been bubbling for a while and recently solidified a bit more as "the plan." A recent change in her employment landscape contributed to her doing it in spring rather than fall -- not to mention that she is now working for US-based companies (also still smarting from the income tax situation). Her friend Claire will be visiting in a couple of weeks and will be bringing an additional large suitcase to schlep some stuff back here. She'll be staying in the guest room for a bit while she gets on her feet (and a car). I don't know how many alerts she has set on the various real estate websites -- enough that I get a potential house or three shared with me every week -- so that's the eventual plan. As you might imagine, now I'm SUPER EXCITED!!

 


Right now!

When in doubt... let's look at what's happening Right Now! It's been a while.

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Enjoying... actually, that's Rusty's Old Fashioned, but I enjoyed smelling it... all that citrus and those boozy cherries! We went down to my favorite local spot last night -- 313 Dodge -- the main reason was to purchase a gift card but why not enjoy dinner & drinks while we're there?? It was so good. They were so busy! Rusty commented on all the "hen parties," and he wasn't wrong... I spotted only two other men in the main room. I wondered whether/how the weekend mix might differ -- more couples/date night, perhaps. I might have to do the research!

Excited about... all the girls being home again this summer! Kate will be arriving in just a month-and-a-half and will be here until the middle of July. Maddy will be here from the end of June through July. There will be some overlap!

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Not excited about... road construction this summer... as in on the street where I live! Oy. I'm excited to have a nice new street with a sidewalk on both sides and real curbs, even, but what a pain. We just learned this week that the timeline is way earlier than we thought, so I had to inform all of our summertime guests of the possibility that they may not be able to actually drive up to the house. So far, all have taken it in stride. Even though Ann's house is only a few blocks away and just around the corner, she won't be affected by this event... until next year! They've already begun removing some trees in the greater neighborhood -- I'm happy to see that it's not all that we feared would be axed -- and installing new power poles.

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Knitting... I wouldn't say that I've become a monogamous knitter, really, but I feel a bit more focused in the past few years, especially where big projects are concerned, though the occasional gnome or hat might show up, too! I found this random accidental shot in my camera roll this morning. I should be starting on the 7th and final row over the weekend. Woohoo! Then a boatload of ends to weave in and a border to knit. Hoping to spend some quality time with my Temperature Blanket after that, though Nell's new Resolve (Rav) hat pattern looks so fun and I have a bunch of MDK Atlas to use up! Oh, and now this... Poule de printemps (Rav) that I just spotted as I was linking to Nell's hat... a free pattern for cute knitted chickens? OK!!

Listening to... Spotify's AI DJ, and I'm not disappointed in what it's serving up. I don't have to think, there's a lot of variety, it's both familiar & new, and it never ends.

Looking forward to (#1)... Today's arrival of long-term guests in my Airbnb -- they'll be here through the end of June! It's been extremely quiet -- do I hear crickets? -- for both Airbnbs so far this year. I was quite happy for the extended break from all the laundry, cleaning & bed-making... now I will enjoy a prolonged "break" with pay! haha. Ann has someone coming this weekend, too, but the house has been clean, ready & unoccupied for so long that I have to DUST!

Looking forward to (#2)... A return to Mexico in just a few weeks! The stretcher frame has arrived!

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Making me laugh... that ridiculous meme made me laugh out loud! It doesn't hurt that the woman resembles a few people I know...

Organizing... Normally, at this time of the year, I'd say that I'm (still) organizing our taxes but guess what? They're DONE!! I'm still waiting on the last few questions (for the very last time ever) from Ali's tax preparer... I am so looking forward to the end of that chapter & book!

Planning... a quick weekend road trip to Minneapolis with Kate in early June -- another #whirlwindarttripwithkate which will also include a dinner reservation at OWAMNI. Kate was introduced to "The Sioux Chef," Sean Sherman, several years ago when he operated a food truck and was serving at an art event that she attended.

A few years later, he published a cookbook, The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen -- which I was absolutely delighted to see on a shelf of "Cooking Books & Magazines of Historical Significance" at the Peabody Museum, alongside The Joy of Cooking, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Stalking the Wild Asparagus, The Moosewood Cookbook, and How to Cook Everything, among others. There are more bookmarked recipes in that book that in any other that I own, though we've only made a couple so far (Wild Rice-Crusted Walleye is one of my standy-by favorite recipes). And now he's opened a brick & mortar restaurant in Minneapolis, which has been on our radar/list since forever. Can't wait!

Watching... We're enjoying the new/last season of Sanditon. I've actually tuned into broadcast news a few times over the past couple of weeks. The Voice -- my guilty pleasure; I love the new guys, Chance the Rapper and Niall Horan.

Wishing... a happy weekend to all!!

Wondering... What's up with you right now!?

 


Five!!

We had a great Sunday afternoon celebrating Malina's 5th birthday!!

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She's such a delight!!

Her actual birthday was Saturday and we were supposed to go then, but...

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...Mother Nature threw a few more snowflakes than expected our way! Rusty estimated 14" at one point and it was still falling... I'm guessing about 16" total, plus wind so there were some crazy drifts in a few places! There are still a few snowflakes showing up here & there in the extended forecast... I am so done.

 


This Just In

I walked over to Ann's yesterday to check the mail and discovered this:

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Signs of life! A sight for sore eyes. There's 6" of snow in the Friday-Saturday forecast. That's spring in Wisco!

 


Unraveled Wednesday:

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday!

But first, THANK YOU for your comments on my last post. I didn't receive notification of any of them and remembered that, for some reason, when I use the word "HEY" in the title for a post... I don't. mumblegrumblegrrrrtypepadyourdaysarenumbered

KNITTING:

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My blanket for a certain someone is coming along. I've enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would, which is why it's getting done so quickly, I guess.

I'll be finishing up the last square in the fifth row today and, at this point, it's basically square. I imagined six rows altogether -- seven would be better -- and I think I'll be able to do it with the reinforcements.

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There will only be three squares where the "dark" color is supplemental yarn, and I'm OK with that! I still think I'll be making a border, and will use some of it there, too.

READING:

I finally finished The Miracle of the Bells. I'd like to watch the movie someday... after I learned about the leading male actors (Frank Sinatra & Fred MacMurray), that's who I envisioned as I read. It was an OK book... in the book club group last night there was talk of a book "standing the test of time," and this would be a VERY different book if written today. Things in the world have changed a lot since 1947!

I've picked up a book that's been on my nightstand for a while -- I started reading it a while ago, though it never made it on my Goodreads list. It's What We Wish Were True by Tallu Schuyler Quinn. I learned about this book and Tallu from Judy at Judy's Chickens -- probably via her Instagram @judyschickens. Tallu was the founder of the Nashville Food Project, an organization where Judy is also an active member. Anyway, Tallu died from cancer about a year ago, at the age of 42, and this is a book of essays that she wrote, knowing that her diagnosis was terminal, and knowing that she'd leave behind so much. It's both heartbreaking and uplifting.

And yes, I'm still listening to A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders.

 


Hey Nineteen

It's a bit of a trip...

I'd never have imagined on March 20, 2004, when I hit "Publish" that I'd continue to do that for 19 years.

Connections & friendships are everything and the #1 reason for never stopping. Thank you to everyone who's ever stopped by these digs. You're everything.

So, hey, let the 20th begin!

 


That's life

First of all, Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Secondly, Happy 18th Quit-iversary to Me!!

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(I wish you could see that Ginny is wearing the 5 Point Bomber!) I had a great day last Friday at the kids' school for "Special People Day," including a visit to each of their classrooms, an art fair throughout the halls, lunch, and a performance of the all-school musical. Having missed the Christmas concert because everyone was sick, and overnight snow on Thursday threatening cancelation of last week's events, I was incredibly happy to be there... after a 2-hour snow delay! The show must go on!

They were all so happy to show me everything and, boy, they sure do love being there! They've had Spring Break this week but they're ready to go back... Ali sent a photo this morning of Ginny & Malina playing school at home.

Anyway, I took the big kids home with me on Friday for an overnight.

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It was chilly, but not windy, and the sun was strong enough to melt/dry the pavement, so the girls spent some quality time chalking up the driveway!

On Sunday, I buckled down and got a grip on the bookkeeping/taxes. Still buckled in and ready to get that all over with.

Monday morning, I started my car and immediately the tire sensor thing came up... clockwise, from the front driver's side, I read (something like) 37, 36, 36, 1.

"ONE?" I said to myself. "That must mean it's flat!"

Sure enough. As flat as could be. I called work, called the tire place but they don't open until 7:30/8, while Rusty used my handy air compressor to get a little air into the tire. Usually, I'd have just taken Rusty's car, as his habit is to walk to the studio, but he had to go to Sturgeon Bay for an event. Finally, my brain cells started working and I remembered that Ann & Brian have a vehicle a few blocks away and are very happy for us to take it for a spin now and then. That meant that I could put off our repair until Wednesday, my day off -- much more convenient (and way less frantic) for everyone.

It was another screw. I swear, my tires are magnets... I've never had a vehicle in for so many tire repairs, and it's always for something like that.

I have finally been felled after months of warding off every illness that the people around me have had! I felt it come over me on Wednesday afternoon. Sore throat, stuffy head, runny nose... negative Covid test, anyway! I'm fine but I'm looking forward to the weekend... hopefully to wrap up taxes, but mostly to sleep in!

I hope y'all have had a great week, and wishing you a great weekend!

 


Unraveled Wednesday: It's just the normal noises in here

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday! After last week's off-the-chart excitement, things are back to normal around here, and I'm...

KNITTING:

A blanket.

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More like a throw.

My Temperature Blanket is on hold while I whip this up! I've been posting about it on IG/FB -- I even took it to Mexico -- but I've been cagey about saying exactly what it is... because the recipient, a certain young man who graduates high school this year, follows me over there and has "liked" most of those posts. Just wait until he finds out it's his!

When I learned that his favorite color is blue, I knew that I finally had a use for the bagful of mini skeins I'd purchased... in 2019. They were test skeins for someone working out dye formulas, so each skein is a slightly different color, but they all "go." I decided to split them into lights & darks, and I'm riffing a bit on Kay Gardiner's A Light in the Window (Rav) pattern. I wind a skein into a ball, knit until it runs out (usually), knit between one & five garter ridges of natural/undyed yarn (there's sort of a pattern), wind another skein into a ball (alternating light & dark), knit until it's time to make a "window," then carry on... using the remainder of the previous light or dark ball to start the next square.

It reminds me, in a very abstract way, of indigo tie-dye, and if that isn't one of the most perfect unintended happenstances for a project ever, I don't know what is!

So, I'm halfway through the fourth row -- each row has five squares -- and I'm hoping for six rows altogether! Seven would be great, but I'd be OK with six. I have a few more skeins of light than dark, so visited a new-to-me yarn store when we were in Fond du Lac on Saturday in search of supplemental yarn. (Be Prepared!) Knitty Gritty Shop is a very nice store, dangerously located right off the interstate, but not at an exit which makes it just a little bit less perilous. heh. Eventually, I'll knit a border around the whole thing (supplemental yarn may come into play there, if not in the squares).

READING:

I'm still reading The Miracle of the Bells, by Russell Janney (only a couple chapters to go!), and still listening to A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders. Thankfully, I just finished "The Nose" section of the Saunders book and hope there aren't any more stories like that! Just over three hours of listening to go.

What can I say? Life is busy.

Pretty sure I'll be watching The Shipping News again rather than reading it for the upcoming discussion...

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I looked up after taking the blanket photo in the Garden Room this morning and just had to take another! It'll be dark again next week at leaving-for-work time but, as I recall, it won't be for too long. Don't forget to "Spring Forward" this weekend!

 


Artsy Weekending

Rusty was in Sturgeon Bay Friday night -- doings for a current exhibit at the Miller Art Museum. (Looks like he'll be going back on Monday... I better remind him!)

When he got back on Saturday, we jumped in the car and headed down to Fond du Lac's Thelma Sadoff Center for the Arts for the Wisconsin Visual Artist's member show (which he forgot to enter!).

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There were a lot of great pieces but this one struck me in particular... maybe because I'm starved for flora & fauna at the moment! It's a mixed media piece called Summer Bearer, by Kristin Gjerdset.

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Unfortunately, I did not get the details on this piece, but I can show you a detail of what it's made of...

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...stuff that others might put in the burn pile! The textures are incredible. I have no idea how that was transported! 

By Sunday afternoon, Rusty had the pieces marked and the stretcher frame all put together at the studio. I went up to do a "test hang" and am delighted to report that we're right on the money.

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It's going to be great! Next step is packing up all the pieces & hardware and get it shipped. It's still over a month until we return to Mexico, but it can take a few weeks for parcels to arrive, so the sooner the better.

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I had forgotten that Sharon made him a crock for his paintbrushes. It's been in use for a while!

 


Mission accomplished

Well. Yesterday! Wow... there's my "hard reset"!

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Shared on IG by both Modern Daily Knitting & Holli Yeoh, along with friends and other folks (and me!). It was so satisfying to read the comments here and on the MDK post... THANK YOU!! I may have basked a little. haha. I did! I basked in the limelight!! (Because why not? It fades fast!)

I was smiling all day... for real, I think, and big, not even realizing it, because everyone I saw yesterday immediately smiled back at me. (I'm still smiling.)

Are you curious? I am...

  • There were FIVE TIMES the normal number of page hits here
  • My 5 Point Bomber on Ravelry went from one like to 51!
  • Holli's 5 Point Bomber pattern is (at this writing) at #5 on Ravelry's "Hot Right Now" page (and I saw it as high as #3 last night - when I thought to check) (falling fast because... fading limelight)
  • Holli updated the pattern to include the COLORING PAGES
  • I sit on the MDK Contributors page between Jillian Moreno & Mary Jane Mucklestone on a page full of actual knitting rock stars (I am actually fan-girling!)
  • Some IRL people/friends found out that I've had a blog for almost 20 years

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High praise from my little sis on FB! Haha. This is so funny. (She binged on Yellowstone when they were here.) She even left a comment on the MDK post.

AND... my washer was fixed yesterday for only $200. I've never been so happy to spend $200 in my life. Kudos to the experienced repairman who asks pertinent questions and anticipates the possible problem, who brings the part with him so, if confirmed, it can be installed right away! I'm a fan.

 


I need a hard reset

I got in the car this morning and wondered, "Is this even real? Yesterday??"

...

I was going to be working on tax-related tasks and thought I'd throw in a load of laundry, too... nothing extraordinary. A little while later, I went in to transfer said laundry from the washer to the dryer but I could see that the washer was still full of water and then noticed an error code, which ended up having to do with draining.

So, we checked the drain... all clear. I reset and thought I'd try a quick "rinse & spin" cycle. A-ok until we got to the part where it should drain and spin... no error code, but an unusual grinding noise and no draining or spinning.

I'll spare you the play-by-play, but suffice it to say that I drained the washer twice (what a fantastically tedious task that is) and flooded the laundry room once, using up every towel at my disposal.

A repairman is coming tomorrow.

Did I mention sleet & freezing rain? Weird gusty winds from the NE? The drip that appeared in the kitchen right around the time the laundry room flooded? The few minutes that I misplaced the plug for the stupid washer drain hose and my vessel was filling fast?

There were swear words.

I loaded up the wet laundry from the washer and another basketful of all the wet towels and headed over to Ann's. I wore Yaktrax!

I lost myself in an afternoon of space adventure with Picard, accompanied by knitting, while getting all that laundry done. I'm halfway through the third row of that new blanket! I've been contemplating whether I'd pack it to take to Mexico... but it might actually be finished by then. Wouldn't that be great?

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After the slushy mess of the day, it snowed a little last night. Sometimes there's a lot of traffic in our backyard and sometimes not. Last night there was a lot!!

Wish me luck with the washer repair! (Trust me, I've already done a little online investigating in case it's not easy/too expensive to fix.) (And then say a preventive prayer for my dryer, which must be going on 20. The Neptune washer was a POS but the dryer is a champ!)

 


It's been a minute!

You may or may not know about our excruciatingly embarrassing situation with the mural installation in Mexico. In a nutshell: it fell off the wall.

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Other than that, we had a great time.

Seriously, though, it was mortifying and since we were actually staying in a casita/apartment attached to the home/villa of the collector/buyer, we couldn't even hole up in retreat. Which is fine, really. The mural wasn't damaged, we weren't thrown out, were graciously given the opportunity to rework the plan... and that is where we are.

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The painting is rolled up and stored in a closet, we each left a drawer filled with a few summery things in the bedroom, along with some toiletries in the bathroom... and I booked our return flight/car yesterday. In the meantime, the design for the new stretcher frame/hanging structure is done, Rusty has purchased the needed lumber, and construction will begin this weekend. He'll build & assemble it in sections, number all the pieces, disassemble & ship it to Mexico, and we'll put it back together, stretch the painting, and hang it on the wall (instead of gluing). In the end, given the situation, it's for the best, and I am incredibly grateful that it happened right away instead of a week or month or six months down the road.

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I'd rather not be returning to Mexico so soon, but thankfully it'll be a shorter visit and I'll only burn two vacation days!

Meanwhile, I started a new knitting project a few days before we left and even though it's a project involving a lot of mini-skeins, I deemed it travel worthy.

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It sort of slid into the queue unannounced -- a perfect storm of wanting/needing to make a special gift, the recipient's favorite color matching up with a collection of mini-skeins I purchased on a whim a few years ago, and the perfect pattern. Even better, it's started to remind me of tie-dyeing with indigo, which is just another bull's-eye. I'm having a ton of fun with it and think I'll probably cruise on it until it's finished!

In other family news:

  • Ali's kids are still passing germs around like there's no tomorrow, but I'm hoping they're well enough for a weekend visit.
  • Maddy dropped a knife on her foot and ended up having surgery to repair a nicked tendon. She's in a cast for a few weeks and then will wear a boot for a while... is hoping that she can return to work in some capacity at that point.
  • Kate published an article about Bisa Butler in Colossal the other day...

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...which Bisa Butler herself shared in her IG stories. You may recall that it was a Bisa Butler exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute that was our first real outing after lockdown and it was extraordinary. Kate said that she was amazed at how generous, thoughtful, and thorough Ms Butler was with the interview questions (she is a former teacher, so I'm not surprised!).

Anyway, I hope that all your artwork is staying on the wall, that your knitting is making you happy, and that you've got some good news sprinkled in with the not-devastating-but-not-terrific news.

Happy Weekend!