Middle of August

That's crazy, isn't it? By this time next month, I'll already have held a new grandbaby at least a few times!

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Since this photo was taken yesterday morning, the last house on the left is underway... walls are up, windows & door are in, just the roof and sky remain.

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And that'll be the wrap of Row #6! Two more random rows to go and then that last row of houses -- I'm really looking forward to that! Oh, and then the sewing up and the border. I'm planning to do something a little different -- crazy, colorful & fitting -- with the border. Stay tuned!

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I had all three kids overnight on Tuesday. This is Wednesday when their mom came to pick them up. Ginny's doing a show (do you want me do do one dance or three?) wearing one of the dance costumes for the spring recital-that-never-was, and is obviously not happy about sharing the dance floor with her sister -- and her brother's sprawled on the floor behind, too. That's a family of singers & dancers!

We had a great time! I picked them up and we swung through a drive-up window to pick up supper, played a bit, then watched a movie. I kept my Disney+ subscription because I knew they'd love it. They had to agree on the Tuesday night movie pick, and chose The Peanuts Movie. Oh my gosh, did they ever love that! On Tuesday, we had breakfast and they played a bunch, and then they could watch a morning movie -- Ginny's pick this time, and they didn't have to agree! She chose Frozen 2, which, of course, Junah declared to be his favorite even though he'd never have picked it nor would he have agreed to that pick. Then it was time for lunch, lots more play, picking zucchini & flowers, journaling (oh my goodness, their journals are so great!), and Junah chose the afternoon feature... The Peanuts Movie again! It was super hot outside, so we never did get out to ride bikes or anything that took more than a few minutes.

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CHEESE!! This one is an absolute peach right now. Every little thing she does is cuter than the last.

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And she's a little sweetheart... our little Duncan is really slowing down these days (gaining tolerance along the way) and she's very attentive.

(In fact, we fear he's fast approaching the Rainbow Bridge.)

I mentioned the other day that I'd spotted Junah & Ginny from the Garden Room when they were picking flowers for me. Ginny headed out the door with Malina to do the same... "But don't look, Nona, OK?"

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These had some stems, at least, so I could put them in water! Not shown: two orchid blossoms.

Lastly, I am anxiously awaiting delivery of my Ruth Asawa Stamps!

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I pre-ordered the moment I saw the announcement, and I hope they're in my mailbox today.

I'm counting the hours till the start of a 3-day weekend... I'm ready! Maybe I can find some time to get caught up in blogland. Oh, that reminds me... y'all know that I'm not exactly stellar in the replying to comments department, but when I don't even get notification of comments, well... that's what happened earlier this week. I think it was the "Hello" in the title (I need to remember that there are trigger words).

 


Hello, Monday

It's a darn good weekend when I feel like I accomplished stuff and took a good nap. I might have been fighting something last week (likely the same low-grade depression that our former First Lady is suffering, and that most anyone reading these words is probably feeling these days), as I took 1.5-hour naps on both Wednesday and Saturday! I've also not been sleeping quite as well as I normally do. By mid-morning, both days, I was looking forward to obligations being met so I could just go take a nap. I barely moved a muscle on Saturday, could easily have rolled over and slept for at least another hour. (But I didn't.)

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Meanwhile, Kate helped me turn some of this into four loaves of zucchini bread on Saturday morning. We worked on one and froze three. I made another four loaves on Sunday afternoon -- Kate took one camping, I gave Ali two, and there's one left for me -- and froze about 14 cups of shredded zucchini for future use. There's still zucchini coming in the garden... I had spotted that one in the middle from the bedroom window, two stories up, on Friday morning! The zucchini fairy might soon be making some calls.

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Ali & the kiddos came over yesterday for supper. I was sitting in the Garden Room and saw Junah & Ginny picking flowers down on the path. They ran up the stairs and into the house, each with a little fabric bag full of toys 'n things that all got dumped on the table. That photo just kind of sums up the randomness of everything right now, and that little owl is so darn cute!

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Jün got into the Knex and asked me to help him build an ATV. While I was trying to decipher some of the component builds and muttering about poor quality of the printed plans, he took a motor and started fooling around, making comments about his superior eyesight, eventually coming up with this:

Haha. The kiddos are all coming for a sleepover tomorrow night, and I know there will be plenty more of that! Plus dolls and coloring and stickers and who-knows-what-all!

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I made a little progress on the blanket over the weekend. Only three more blocks left on Row 6!

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Some of the color & pattern combos make me so happy.

Another thing that makes me happy is getting a photo like this in my in-box:

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I'm going to guess that it'll make you happy, too. Who couldn't use a little dose of Ginny's particular brand of sunshine today... or any day?!! She's one of a kind (also singing these days like there's no tomorrow)!

Happy Monday, folks. I hope y'all had a great weekend.

 


Right now... August

Anticipating... Kiddos sleeping over next week! All three for the first time! This is more or less a practice run for after the baby comes (due a month from yesterday), though I'll likely only have the two big kids then, with the current "baby" at other grandma's.

Celebrating... (with sadness but also excitement) Addison's 12th birthday on Saturday! He & his family are usually here at this time of the year -- August is usually Auntie Camp time. Boo.

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Cooking/Eating... We tend to frequently cook meals at home, but like many, we've been cooking a lot more the past few months! We've always revisited favorite recipes from Plated (our favorite but now defunct delivery service), and have been doing so even more. I have a couple of favorite places for take-away, though. And 313 Dodge is at the top of the list (and also so darn close); Janel put together a gorgeous charcuterie box for me last night, which I paired with a Lemon-Basil Gin Smash from the walk-up window.

Excited about... getting my passport renewal. Not that I'll be using it anytime soon, but I'll be ready... the next big trip will be to Peru, I'm sure! I noticed today that the check's been cashed, so it's obviously been received at the Department of State and is at least partially processed. I had planned to send it in March, right after we got back from Mexico, but they ceased all but emergency operations and didn't even want people to mail them in. Maddy was in a little pickle in Australia, too, but thankfully operations have also resumed there (and she's all set).

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Knitting... I started Row #5 #6 of my Safe At Home Blanket last night after taking this photo. It's pretty wild... and I'm really loving it. Four more rows to go!

Looking forward to... a birthday get-away to Lake Superior's North Shore. That's three months away (from today!), of course, but I took advantage of a booking promotion and nabbed a sweet lakeside cottage. Plus, I just needed to plan something!!! Anything can happen in early November from dining al fresco to building snowmen, so we'll just have to see what Mother Nature serves this year. There's a possibility of physically distanced visiting with cousins, both mine & Rusty's; otherwise, it'll be just us for a few days. Knitting, reading, sky- and lake-watching, etc.

Planning... Nona (Granny) Camp in place of Auntie Camp this year. Junah & Ginny participated last year and really enjoyed it. I think we'll do some fabric painting on t-shirts (instead of dyeing), and weaving, for sure.

Reading: Pages/Audio... I'm still not.

Sewing... I really want to sew a couple of things for the girls, and also have an itch to make a quilt. My room's a mess, though I have been plucking away at it... in the end, it's just that most of my creative energy/time right now is going to knitting that blanket. (My neglected Alabama Chanin Car Jacket is still on the table.)

Watching... Well, now what?? I just finished watching Schitt's Creek and I don't know what's next. Suggestions? I was watching an episode or two sometimes three on Netflix most nights before bed, but WHAT?? They only have Seasons 1-5! So I sprung for Season 6 yesterday and binged the entire thing. I never do that, but it worked out (and a good bit of knitting was done, too). It's my party and I'll cry if I want to. (No lie, I went through a lot of tissues... I always cry at weddings, even when they're on TV!)

Wondering... What's up in your world?

 


Wandawega Weekending

Well, it was only a day trip, but it sure was cool. I tagged along on Kate's invitation from the owners to meet & tour Camp Wandawega in southern Wisconsin -- not far from Lake Geneva and a little over two hours' drive from home.

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Sorry... not sorry... there are going to be a lot of photos in this post!

Camp Wandawega has quite a history, from speakeasy and brothel to lakeside resort and church camp.

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I first learned of Camp Wandawega and owners Tereasa & David because they're fellow Airbnb Superhosts (though in a league far-removed from mine!) and featured "how-to" Airbnb hosts... and their property is just plain AMAZING.

Tereasa, David & their daughter live in Chicago, but spend most weekends at Camp (and even more in this pandemic year). For the past 15 years, Camp Wandawega has been -- and continues to be -- their labor of love as it evolves and grows.

It's rustic...

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It's cool...

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It's peaceful...

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It's adventure-y...

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It's creative & crafty...

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For real, that's the "Craft Cabin."

And don't think that I didn't think "Knitters' Summer Camp" about a million times while we toured the property!

It's an event venue (in normal times)...

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Usually, there are a lot of weddings and corporate events.

It's also just a really cool place to hang out... small clusters of cabins, tents, and unique spaces. History is everywhere.

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And they have their own line of Homer Laughlin diner china (among other things).

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Serious plotz from this lover/collector of vintage china, especially Homer Laughlin!

It's too bad scheduling didn't work out for Kate to accept the invitation to stay overnight, but who knows what'll happen next...

 


Update - Landed!

This is not a very exciting photo, but Ann sent it last night from Lima!

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They've arrived!! They were tested for COVID and all passed, then were quarantined at a hotel for the night and today will continue quarantine at their new house.

 


Another chapter: Spain > Peru

My sister & her family are moving from Valencia, Spain, to Lima, Peru, today! They had about a week's notice, though they've been preparing (purging) for a good long while, and all she knew when I last spoke with her (on Saturday) was that they were leaving from Madrid... she didn't even know what time or flight or airline, just that they'd be flying out of Madrid on Friday.

Yesterday, at work, I had to restart my computer and this was my start screen:

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I almost always love these shots -- recently, I had one at home that was sheep going through a hedgerow in New Zealand or Australia. Anyway, the blurb in the middle of this one says, "Lonely lighthouse on some remote sea-swept shore? Not at all -- we're visiting the edge of a capital city..."

LIMA, PERU!

I sent it in a message to Ann and told her that I can't wait to go find that lighthouse with her... someday, when I can safely travel again and be welcome in another country hopefully soon. I'm pretty sure that Peru will be my next big destination. I have no idea if they've arrived or en route or even if they got on a plane in Spain. They're troopers, though, and if nothing else they've learned to roll with the punches and pop right back up -- their first expat experience in Brazil was the best training ground for that!

 


Do you want to download your Ravelry files?

So, Ravelry is a problem right now and they're not doing anything to substantially address or fix it for users who are having problems with the redesign of the site. I'm a long-time Raveler (user #208!), so I'm very sad about that... I have a lot of information stored over there, and have made a lot of pattern purchases over the years.

There is enough concern over the future of the site that it's been suggested that people might want to download their files. That might be a knee-jerk reaction, but after the recent Bluprint/Craftsy scare...

I took the suggestion. And it was DAUNTING to face 25 pages of downloaded pattern files!

This morning, I learned about a Chrome extension called Download Them All that makes it much easier & faster to download a lot of files. Check out @kralalien on Instagram -- she has an IG highlight with some information, and this post was also informative:

There are some other downloading options mentioned in the comments of that post, if the Chrome extension is not for you.

Meanwhile, I downloaded all 25 pages of pattern files (even all the foreign language versions) in minutes.

One note of caution, however: Make sure you don't have Chrome configured to "ask every time" about where to save downloaded files. Because it.will.ask.you.every.single.time. I didn't see that at first... and shutting down my computer didn't even work to stop it, so I had to uninstall and reinstall the extension. I opened in tabs & downloaded 5 pages the first time (after learning my lesson), then 10 and 10. So fast.

Edited to add: An informative article by Silvia Maggi - How Rebranding Cost Ravelry the Trust of Their Community.

Edited again to add: A blog post today from Jess, one of Ravelry's cofounders: A Letter from Jessica.

Hoping for the best!!

 


Unraveled Wednesday: Pink Windows

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting & reading,.. 

KNITTING:

I'm on Row 4 of the Safe At Home Blanket.

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This was as of Tuesday morning.

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I love how color plays... the same pink was used for the windows of each house.

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I recently took delivery of a kit from Briar Rose Fibers for Andrea Mowry's The Shift cowl, which I will definitely be making, but I'm intending a more immediate use for this to finish the Safe At Home "audition" that I started back in April. I used the leftovers from my Nightshift shawl to start that, but needed just a bit more variety.

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I want to make that into a little cushion and I have a recipient in mind.

READING

I'm not, really.

 


Carol

My Aunt Carol died on Sunday.

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She was the youngest of four and also the mother of four, my mother's younger sister, my godmother. The photo above is a detail of the one below where Carol is maid of honor at my mother's wedding. There is something about this that I just love... her beautiful, calm, innocent expression. It was taken just about a week before her 19th birthday, and within a year she was married to my Uncle Frank.

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Carol was only 18 months younger than my mom compared with a 9-year difference with her older sister, so they were close but of course there was also some sibling rivalry!

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Mom always said that Carol got in trouble a lot at school for giggling... and you can just see that, can't you?? That's one of my favorite photos, I feel like Carol is just going to burst at any second.

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Family trait? Haha. This is another favorite: Mom, Uncle Eugene, Aunt Arlene, and Aunt Carol at a family reunion in 1987. My mom, Eugene & Carol all died from cancer and they each suffered the heartbreaking loss of a child from the same stupid disease. 

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Uncle Frank & Aunt Carol, my godparents, and me! This was at my christening and still a couple of months until they were married. Frankie and his sister-in-law were tragically killed in a car accident in 2010 -- the brothers and their wives had been travelling, taking care of family business out of state.

I will always remember them both with love. 💔

 


Twenty-three

Wow. It's really the 23rd of July already, isn't it?! What a crazy summer/year.

We had a great few days in Door County!

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There was a whole lotta fun in the sun & surf. We stayed at a waterfront cottage near Bailey's Harbor and it was just about perfect.

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The front yard was basically a sandbox with the beach beyond, so the kids were in heaven! We had a small campfire on the beach every night except one (because it was too windy) and ate lots of roasted (or not) marshmallows & s'mores. The day that was too windy for a fire was apparently perfect for para-/kite-surfing and sailboarding and it was a blast watching them go back and forth -- some were cautious & just learning, others were much more experienced & the tricks were thrilling -- often they'd be 15 or 20 feet in the air and we wondered... What if they just didn't come down?? They always did, of course, sometimes with a great big splash and/or without their board. It was very entertaining.

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We were pretty hunkered down and only needed to venture out a few times -- to pick up a pizza, find some firewood, grab more marshmallows & chocolate bars, visit the local yarn shop... y'know, the important stuff! I spotted Whit's Knits on the first drive down the main drag and knew that I'd have to stop by at some point... which I did on Saturday, and I found another pink yarn that I liked! The shop owner, Whitney, was very friendly and though the yarn selection is small, it was all very good, and there were a number of other crafty items from needle-felting to portable looms and even some crafts for kids.

I had plenty of projects along, of course! I had the blanket, both crochet projects, and I was even prepared with yarn & needles for Jün & Gin, but I actually sat down only once after everyone had gone to bed to do a little knitting... a few quiet moments in my room.

I'm back at the blanket since we returned and after I knit a couple of skies and do a little sewing, Row 4 will be done!

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Getting close to the half-way mark!

I hope you've had a good week. I have a lot of catching up to do!!

 


Happy Tuesday

Here's a little sunshine for your day! I hope it helps you as much as it's been helping me. (This one has been dressing herself and she is all about the hand-knits!!):

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I had posted this image on IG the other day, but it was cropped and, REALLY, this is one that needs to see IN FULL, tip-to-toe!

You're so very welcome.

Also posted on IG over the weekend were a few photos of the "new" chair that I found for The Garden Room:

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It's an old medical lift chair... the Adjustable Walkaway. You can see a bit of the mechanics in the photo above.

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But this is a better photo of the workings. Hopefully, if you needed this chair for medical purposes, your right hand, elbow & shoulder were fully functioning! Haha. It's super comfy and I love the orange Naugahyde®!

Of course, I was supposed to be doing taxes instead of running around looking for chairs. And, of course, after I actually found a chair, I had to rearrange! And here it is in the room:

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I'm so happy. I had my weekly +/- video chat with Annie from there on Sunday morning. The sun was shining through the trees behind me, giving me quite the glow... she said I looked like the Virgin Mary!

Well, I did get taxes done -- including Maddy's (which meant that I also got to chat with her) -- and I'll be busy packing up & mailing them tomorrow, along with getting the house ready for sitters, and shopping & packing for our few days in Door County, so here's some Unraveling for your Tuesday:

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I was quickly running out of my favorite pinks, and even though I wasn't going to buy any new yarn for this project... I bought some new yarn for this project. Maybe I was looking for an excuse to stop in at/patronize my LYS after all these months. I'm not 100% on that new almost-neon color... but used sparingly and/or in combination? I'm warming up to it. One argument for not sewing this up as I go is the ability to rearrange the rows to balance the colors, if needed. Or maybe I should just not worry about it! I told Ali that I was thinking of outlining the windows on a couple of houses where the contrast is not that great and she said that I could if I really wanted to, but (...side eye...) didn't think it was necessary! Haha.

Lastly...

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The house-sitters might get to enjoy the first ripe tomatoes!!

 


TGIF!

I'm sure I've said it before, but Friday seems to take forever to get here when my day off is on Monday rather than the usual Wednesday. And I just realized that next Friday, I'll already be on Day 3 of a little vacation -- part of it at home and part of it in Door County! Yahoo! I'm especially happy that we'll have a house-/cat-sitter again while we're gone.

Anyway...

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The 16th house is done, and the 17th will be a "border" house and that spells the end of Row 3! Yahoo (again)! I'll get started on that this evening.

Tomorrow is designated "crochet day," but I have to get our taxes out of the way first (yeah, I know).

Happy Weekend!

 


3TT: Down under

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

1 -- Apparently, there's something intermittently beeping in the basement (down under)... but I haven't heard it, until last night! Apparently, it beeps every :15 or so... until last night! Gah. I was down there for a good long time... long enough to yell profanities upstairs about how of course it's not beeping NOW!

Trying to distract myself from the ick-factor of the basement while I waited, I took some photos.

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I don't even know where that chair came from or if it'll ever get fixed; whether any of that is "up to code" (or even what all that is); I do know that Rusty needs to get after a whole lotta cobwebs. Ew. 

2 -- I had a lovely little sit-down in The Garden Room last night. I was sitting in an old wicker rocking chair that Rusty dug up from another part of the basement. I don't know where that one came from, either. He cleaned it up nicely, but it needs a little repair... and some new cushions.

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It's not a brand new view, as this was an open porch for years, but it wasn't one I normally took in while seated, relaxed, with a beer. It's going to be a lot of fun to see how it changes with the seasons. The floor tile delivery has been delayed again... I can't wait to get that & the baseboards installed (I saw them in the basement, painted and ready to go!).

3 -- A cat picture. I don't post many of those! 

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I love how Duncan stretches out his front legs.

That's all pretty random, but it's all I've got! Happy Thursday.

 


Unraveled Wednesday: The 16th House

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting & reading,.. 

KNITTING:

I'm closing in on Row 3 of the Safe At Home Blanket, and started the 16th house last night.

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I think it's my favorite so far!

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That's Row 3, and this...

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...is overall progress. The knitting is almost 1/3 done! I'm telling ya, it is definitely tedious at times, but it's also getting a bit easier... and I just couldn't be happier with the whole thing.

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Colorful houses will dominate this corner of the blogosphere for a while yet.  :)

READING:

I'm closing in on Wild Game, and looking forward to the discussion. I haven't listened to a book in more than two weeks, but today I finally started So You Want to Talk About Race.

P.S. Who broke Bloglovin'? It's been my blog reader for a while, but it's lately been having some glitches and today... well, BIG glitch, as in NOTHING HAPPENING. What do y'all use these days?

 


Getting back into the groove

Well, that was a nice break... a long, hot & lazy weekend. Though, y'know, "lazy" doesn't mean I didn't get anything done!

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I gave Rusty his second haircut! I borrowed Ali's electric clippers and even did the back this time. It was my first time using a clippers -- it was only a little scary, and mostly because I was thinking about all the people I know who have ended up with mohawks or total buzz jobs because of a slip. Whew! I should have trimmed his brows, though.

I've designated Saturday as Crochet Day...

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...but I also did a little on Sunday. I wanted to finish the first square of the Rainbow Blanket, and figure out the join-as-you-go method for the hexies. So far, so good! I definitely use different hand/arm muscles when I crochet, so my appendages are thankful for a break.

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And now I'm back to houses & stripes. This is Row #3 (of 9). Still figuring out a few things...

I hope y'all had a good weekend and start to the week! I'll be catching up...

 


3TT: Dovetail, Garden, Crochet

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

1 -- I stopped at The Office after work the other day to drop something off? pick something up? I don't remember! I did take a seat for a few minutes...

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Kate was inserting goodies into the magazine, readying shipment of the premier issue of dovetailI gotta say, it was nice just to sit for a while and watch someone else work!

2 -- How does my garden grow?

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The tomatoes are all coming along. The basil is AMAZING!! (That photo-bombing succulent is also doing quite well.)

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Something is nibbling at my zucchini!

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And this is the usual raucous jumble of things.

BONUS:

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The platform rocker is out of the garage and in The Garden Room! There's a pretty good view of the lower yard/garden from there.

3 -- I'm getting the hang of crochet again! My rainbow box of yarn is only a hint... this is the bigger picture:

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As Wisconsin began its Safer At Home order in March and I awaited my stimulus check, Madelinetosh threw up a post about a Prism Pack of Unicorn Tails and, well, I've always loved those unicorn tails and... I didn't even think twice before ordering. (Ugh, pandemic times!) If I was going to be "safer at home," I was going to be surrounded by things I loved... and colorful, too. Heh.

Well, I really can't be spontaneous and throw down money like that without some sort of plan, and they were making me feel so guilty just sitting there, so I sort of had to MAKE A PLAN! The Safe At Home baby blanket was & is perfect for the baby and already in the works by then, and I knew it would never be a "portable" project... not that I was going anywhere with my knitting, but y'know... And so many people were crocheting... so, yeah, CROCHET! That could work! And even though those are little skeins of yarn, they're going to go a ways, so maybe TWO projects, somewhat simultaneously, even...

Uh, yeah, why not THREE epic blanket projects at once?! (Ugh, pandemic times!)

So my plan is to make Bear's Rainbow Blanket and also Hexie Love Actually! << FYI: Those are Ravelry links, just so you know in case the new design is problematic for you, as it is for many. (I am not in love and wish it wasn't quite so stark. I like it on my phone, but find it a bit easier to take if I enlarge my desktop display, and I've tweaked settings to remove drop shadows, etc.)

So, anyway, back to crochet. As I said the other day, it is not like riding a bicycle for me! I'm getting my feet wet and re-learning with Hexie Love Actually!

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That red & blue blob was my first effort. I thought I was doing OK, but it was supposed to have six corners/sides, and instead turned out with only four. So, basically, a SQUARE (and not even a good one)! Turns out, I did a few things wrong, and my second effort (red & orange) turned out much better. With the orange & blue hexie, I'm trying the "join as you go" method and I'm not sure that's right but will figure it out. It's really fun, but once I get the hang of it I'm going to limit my crochet time until I get the blanket done. (Did I mention that I've started Row 3? I meant to take an update photo... maybe tomorrow.)

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(It was a stellar morning for photographing yarn on the walkway outside the back door!)

Even for me, this feels a little crazy, but... pandemic times! I'm just going with it.

 


Doing my best

For months, I've had this refrain/response popping into my head on the regular: I'm not doing it right.

Whatever it is... I'm surely not doing it right.

I'm not staying home right, not going to work right, not reading the right books, not following the right people, not engaging enough, not posting the right things, not saying it right or loud enough or to the right people, not shopping right, not making enough masks... or I did the right thing but now it's not the right thing. Ugh... yes, I feel paralyzed at times!

I am constantly reminding myself -- way more than usual -- to not worry about what anyone else thinks or what anyone else is doing.

I'm doing my best. I keep reminding myself of that, too. ((sigh)) It's so obvious that not everyone is doing their best, though, y'know? Starting at the top. Too many people are being selfish, rude, and aggressively angry.

It's crushing. It's hard to feel good about Things. Anything.

One thing that helps is continuing regular, automatic monetary support to organizations that I believe in, including ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Joe Biden. And donations elsewhere when I can.

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I feel like I'm doing that right! It gives me a glimmer of hope, even as we seem to be watching it all burn down around us.

OK. Well, I needed to get that out.

See you tomorrow.

 


Hello, July

My calendars are already flipped to July, so... HELLO. And, also, you're looking OK in some respects. I just realized that, with regular days off + holidays + vacation, I won't be working a "normal" week until the last week of the month (and, as always but especially in summer, that's subject to change).

I rented a "beach" house on the lake-side of Door County in the middle of the month and am heading up with Kate & Al & the kids. Rusty & I took the kiddos on Sunday and gave them a preview.

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I'm not gonna lie... it was Sunday, it was gorgeous out, and it was crowded -- sometimes, uncomfortably so -- but Ali lent us a secret weapon: a large pop-up screened gazebo! It was/we were terribly obnoxious about it, especially since the water level is high and the beach is not as big as it used to be, but hey! We muscled in, and it worked! The added benefit is that we had a place for sun breaks and didn't get sunburned!

When we dropped the kids off on the way home, I took a peek at my grandchickens!

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They're getting so big, but still sounding like chicks.

Yesterday, I took a drive across the state with Kate. Her new art magazine, dovetail, debuts tomorrow and I rode shotgun to Chanhassen (a 'burb of Minneapolis) to pick it up. It was a full day of driving and, y'know, things being as they are we had lunch in the car in the parking lot at Culver's instead of a nice cafe lunch before heading back, but it was a nice day and even with gas & food, it was a solid $200+ saved. What else would we be doing?? (Well, I might be finishing my taxes, but p'shaw... I have a couple of weeks yet!)

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There was weather! It was hot and my air conditioning was a little sketchy for a while, and there was rain, but mostly it was a lot of fun watching the sky all the way there and back.

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I had prepared a nice little R A I N B O W box of yarn to take to the beach... an idea has been percolating for a while and I just had to scratch that itch! I didn't get started on it, nor did I really do anything while in the car yesterday, as planned... it turns out that doing crochet is not like riding a bicycle (at least not for me). I got the tiniest start last night, though, and we'll see. The baby blanket is still my #1 focus (I've finished Row 2, started Row 3), but I'm going to designate one day a week for at least a little crochet action.

 


Is it really the last Friday of June?

I'm thankful that the weekend is upon us... and I have Monday off next week, so three days to hopefully unplug a bit and realign. I'll have the kids one of those days and would love to grab some toys and head to a secluded beach... we'll see. Whatever we end up doing, they never fail to recharge me!

It was lovely and reassuring to read all the comments about our Airbnb here, on IG, and on FB. I pour a lot more than just sweat into that space, and find myself channeling my mother quite often, too. We met our current guests yesterday (with appropriate physical distance), and they love the place (wondering if we have as many trees in our back yard as there are in all of Chicago...). Then I had a reservation come in last night for a long weekend next month -- our second HONEYMOONERS and I just couldn't be happier about that. I'm already thinking of all the ways to make their stay EXTRA SPECIAL!

Some random photos/thoughts:

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We recently added a few more lights to the pergola array and extended it to both the garage & the house. I also added some fabric to the top of the pergola to filter the sun, mostly; the jury is still out on that.

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Those lights really help to illuminate The Marriage Window area! Rusty made a cool hinged screen for the half of the window that opens, so we won't have to worry about bugs (hm, I still need to wash the outside of that window...)

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We spotted a really cool moth the other day. I did a very technical Google search for "black and white triangular moth," or something like that (heh, most moths are "triangular," aren't they?)... anyway, it’s haploa lecontei, or Leconte’s haploa, first described in 1832! Its range is basically east of the Mississippi, from Nova Scotia to Georgia. The markings can vary quite a bit... all gorgeous! I don't remember ever seeing one before.

Is it time for a blanket update? Haha.

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One more section of horizontal stripes and another house to go before Row 2 is finished! I'd better pick up the pace, though. It would be nice to have this done pretty close to when the baby's due. I just "confirmed" the date with Ali; she says she's pretty confident with Sept. 5th... but Mother Nature threw a curve ball so it could also be two weeks either way. 🤣

Have a good weekend, y'all.

 


Hit the ground running

There was plenty I could have done on Tuesday evening, but instead:

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We walked down the hill with intention... our local joint has resumed Taco Tuesday, complete with Mason jar margaritas through the walk-up window, but this time with a guest food truck doing the food. We were a little late, though, and most of the food was gone by the time we got there! So we took our margs home and made the first BLTs of the season, instead. Yummmm. I recently found a convenient local source for Thin-sliced Dave's Killer Bread, and is that ever good! We used CSA lettuce, Nueske's amazing bacon, a little avocado, and the only thing that would make it better is home-grown tomatoes... we're working on that!

There was knitting, of course.

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My first little pink house -- the first house block I did that has vertical stripes on both sides, so had to figure out how that would work. I love it so much!! I was tired as a dog last night, so only added one vertical stripe to this photo before I heeded the call of my pillow. Yes, there are a lot of ends, most are dealt with using Stephen West's Weavin' Stephen technique, some will be used in seaming the rows together. It might look like twice as many on my project, too, because I'm holding the yarn double! It's a fiddly project, for sure, and certainly not for everyone, but I'm really enjoying it! There's a whack of knitters figuring out different ways of doing various elements, it's worth a scroll through some of the projects and/or forum; and the designer has also released a v.crochet -- Tunisian crochet? (I don't know how that differs from "regular" crochet...)

Anyway, Wednesday (my usual day off of work each week) is usually a little busy, but yesterday was non-stop. We had an appraiser coming and I had an Airbnb to prepare! I'll tell you, my Fitbit steps are off the chart on those Airbnb prep days! I'm really happy with our work over the past few months and how it's turned out, plus our last guest just wrote the 40th review of our place... and that makes 40 5-star reviews!

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I'll be crushed if that rating ever changes! Haha.

 


Haywire

How was your weekend? Mine was OK. Good. I got a few things done, got out of the house a couple of times, including to Goodwill (continuing quest for office stuff) where I saw this:

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A big ol' rainbow right in the middle of the store... perfect for PRIDE Month!

Now that the carpet's been cleaned, I took a few more things down to The Office.

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Kate's is "the pink room." Heh. The window-less room is mostly storage/my stuff now... and even though the whole ceiling is basically a light grid, I don't think I can work in there, especially with so much light in the other two spaces, so I have a little desk in the entry/common area. It's entirely a work in progress, all subject to change.

Meanwhile, another Saturday stop was at Home Depot to get paint for The Garden Room. The first stop was for swatches and for some floor leveling stuff that Rusty needed. The second stop was for paint (which might be applied today!!!), for the 2nd bag of floor leveling stuff because I didn't see that he wrote "2," and for a couple of pairs of sawhorses for The Office that were "in stock" according to the website.

Naturally, there weren't any sawhorses where they were supposed to be, so I stood in that spot while the paint was mixed and ordered them online for curbside pickup. I didn't really need them right that minute, but just as we were about to leave the parking lot, I had notification that my order was ready... so we swung around and picked them up.

Speaking of The Garden Room...

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I do believe there will be times when sunglasses will be required. The paint we purchased is for the walls -- it'll still be yellow, but quite a bit paler than the old color.

The kids came over yesterday with their mama. We had a fun afternoon & evening, including a walk/ride to the little park at the end of our street.

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It's a very small park -- no playground or anything -- more commemorative of the old cheese factory that used to be there (with a granite crock of cheese), and soon also to remember the first school teacher in our area (with a statue). The whole park was undergoing a complete re-do last fall and right in the middle of it all, a big storm wrecked the few remaining trees in the park and then winter arrived early and never left... so it was a bit of an eyesore all winter and spring, but finally new topsoil & seed mats have been spread and trees & decorative plants planted. We had fun reading all the inscriptions on benches and circle of bricks.

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We came back and had a cookout, and then the kids had a bath. My supply of diapers was gone and Ali didn't have any with her, so I made an emergency run to Walgreens. The big kids asked if they could come along and I said yes without even thinking...

First, it took us a while to get going because I had to rearrange stuff in my car. Then, kids' booster seats installed and them buckled in, an ENORMOUS SPIDER was discovered in a little slot in Ginny's seat, followed by a little scream-crying panic (Ginny on the outside, me on the inside) while I disengaged her, and the seat, and dumped the spider out. I'm pretty sure it was a wolf spider and not a brown recluse, but to be honest I didn't examine very closely... shuddddderrrrrrr.

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Finally, we arrived at our destination and it dawned on me what I'd done! Oh my god! A total brain fart, bringing them along with me, but thank goodness I had some extra masks in my car... Ginny's could have fit a little better. Thankfully, it was late and I think there was only one other customer in the store. We got the two things we went there for, plus three bubble blowers that weren't on the list, and headed back home. Sheesh.

 


Play-by-Play

Haha. For some reason, I feel the need to share all the details of this project.

I ripped out the block of 6-row horizontal stripes and re-worked it as a 5-row block:

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And I like it MUCH better! The blanket will have (and keep) a much nicer shape and the overall texture of the fabric will be more even.

I hope to hum along with this project over the weekend... we'll see. There is lots to do, including turnover of the Airbnb -- our lovely guests formerly of NYC and soon NJ are leaving today, and we have a couple from Chicago arriving on Wednesday for almost two weeks. After that it's a couple of the more typical weekenders until August. I'm not really minding the longer stays, especially since the cleaning protocol is amped up (among other things, Airbnb has provided me with a 38-page cleaning guide/checklist) (they don't know that I learned from The Queen of Clean, aka MOM). Heh.

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It's not the greatest photo, but our little Catalpa tree is LOADED with flower buds this year!

Happy Friday! Have a great weekend!


Unraveled Wed/Thu: Safe At Home

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting (reading is the same)... 

KNITTING:

Now, in addition to changing up the colors/yarn a bit, is when I begin to really put my mark on this project.

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Instead of a grid made up entirely of houses, I will be sprinkling them throughout the interior of the blanket. Not counting the border, which will be all houses, there will be two houses in each row.

The other blocks will be alternating blocks of horizontal & vertical stripes. Because I love stripes!!

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There are five colors specified for each house block, so those are the colors I'm using for the stripes... plus one more stripe, for which I'm using the color of the house two blocks before. Something like that.

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When I saw this on the sidewalk this morning, I immediately noticed the pale yellow horizontal stripe butting up to the pale yellow sky below it... and it bothered me for exactly .00001 second. That horizontal block (my first) does bother me, though, and I think I've figured it out:

  1. My bind-off is a little loose. I need to remember that I don't have to loosely work a loose bind off!
  2. I think I only need five horizontal stripes -- six is too many and I think, multiplied, they'll cause fairly significant, undesired distortion. I'm knitting the horizontal stripes onto live vertical stitches, though, so will need to figure out the best way to deal with that extra live stitch in each stripe! (Suggestions welcome.)

Safe At Home Blanket... finding my groove, figuring it out. The process is definitely my jam.  ;)

 


Mid-June Weekending

Well, it was a pretty great weekend, but man... even a 3-day weekend flies by in no time!

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On Thursday night, I assembled the FINNVARD trestle that I'd ordered a while back, and put together my (non-electric) Fiber Artist Supply Winding Station (sans meter)! Happy stimulus to me!! I'd had the ball winder and swift for quite a while, so needed only the trestle table and attachment pieces from Fiber Artist Supply, and is it ever nice to have a "station." It looks nice, too.

On Friday morning, Kate & I picked up keys to The Office, and then drove down to Kenosha to pick up some mailing supplies; we made a quick stop at IKEA on the way back, and then returned to The Office to drop it all off.

We've signed a lease on a small office space just down the hill from home -- located in a cool mid-century building that was originally the Farmers & Merchants Bank (where I had my first savings account!). It's two rooms + a large entry area + a private bath. Kate will definitely be utilizing the space for an office; I'll be using it for additional work space -- for specific projects, for things that I just don't have room to randomly set up/tear down at home (namely, knitting machines), and for some storage/organization. Subject to change.

On Saturday, we went up to De Pere for another 8+ mile bike ride on the trail. Kate is pretty motivated these days, and I'm glad... it rubs off.

We headed back to the office and assembled her new SKARSTA adjustable sit/stand desk and, wow, is that ever slick (and, BTW, at a much better in-store price).

Sunday was a busy day, beginning with washing the windows in the expanded Garden Room/Porch project -- especially outside, while the scaffolding was still there. Originally, I was going to do it all, but then I stepped upon the decidedly-not OS*A-approved scaffold... and it was a little springy, and then I looked down, and then I needed to turn a corner, and...

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...there's Rusty doing the outside!

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AFTER! I did the inside. We're inching closer!

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Rusty finished up a little painting and then took the scaffold down. All that's left do do on the outside are the cedar shingles on the porch-side wall, which I expect he'll finish up today. He can move on to finishing the interior, then, and it should all be in good shape by the time the flooring arrives.

Around lunch time, I ran out to Ali's and grabbed the kids for a picnic at the park!

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Junah picked the spot -- a sunny area at the top of a little hill -- and we had chicken tenders, carrots w/dill dip, lots of fruit snacks, and chocolate graham crackers. They had a blast playing on the playground and crossing bridges. Ginny & Malina fell asleep on the way back to our house and had a nice (needed) snooze, and then we headed over to my neighborhood park! And after supper, we went on a little bike ride! I think I broke my Fitbit record for "steps" yesterday!

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Junah lost his second tooth! And this time he didn't swallow it. :)

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Gin & me... just because. <3

In the evenings, I continue knitting houses, and have begun the second row:

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I was pleasantly surprised to find some nice sidewalk art this morning to help show it off.

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I hope you had a good weekend, too!

 


"Congratulations on being Liberal!"

So, our fabulous long-term Airbnb guests, Tara & Chris, are here for another week.

It's a long story (and not mine), but last weekend, quarantine complete, the couple traded places with her parents and headed to the remote (no internet) rural family farm to hang with their kids, while her parents had a weekend respite here.

Tara & Chris are a very friendly couple and we've chatted quite a bit so I knew that her mom had just retired after 35 years of teaching. There was a little overlap on Friday night when both couples were here, giving us the opportunity to meet the parents. The first thing I did was congratulate Tara's mom on her retirement, to which her dad responded by saying, "Congratulations on being Liberal!" and it just cracked me up.

Still cracks me up!

They live in one of the most conservative counties in the state (voting for the Republican presidential candidate in 19 of the last 20 elections), so he was unabashedly delighted to be among friends -- even if was just at the end of our street, because our county is also quite red (voting Republican in 17 of the aforementioned elections).

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And I was going to share this Waterlogued photo of my first tomato blossoms for Eye Candy Friday... but it's only Thursday. It's Friday to me, though, so there you go.

Happy (early) weekend!

 


Little Pink Houses for You & Me

Well, I haven't actually knit a pink one yet (but I will)...

...and they're neither for you nor for me, but they are LITTLE HOUSES and they're so freakin' cute.

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting and reading... 

KNITTING:

Safe At Home Blanket... I'll be knitting this for a while, but I'm finding my groove and loving it. I wish it was portable, and I need to find a way to manage/wrangle the 12 colors (many of which have multiples), but otherwise good.

So excited was I to share today that I took an up-to-the-minute photo this morning!

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I don't mind knitting these skies at all!

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READING:

Pretty much the same as last week! On audio: Between The World and Me, which should be finished soon. Pages: Wild Game, which is definitely a bit of a page-turner.

 


Oh, Monday...

A do-over of this morning would be not unwelcome. Thankfully, I had a pretty good weekend upon which to reflect.

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I've started riding my bike again! Kate's doing much more (her schedule is a bit more flexible and conducive), but I've been going along when I can. I went for my first real ride in ages a week ago, riding just over 6 miles on a level paved nearby trail. It was nice, but there were a fair number of streets to cross, so a bit of starting & stopping. On Saturday, we took to the road, parking at Lost Dauphin Park* which is located a little east of home. It was a nice ride along the river in an area with lots of very nice homes (so a little bit of lollygagging). That ride was a little over 7.5 miles on mixed pavement with some tiny little hills. Rusty planned to join us on Sunday to check out the Fox River State Trail, and I almost didn't go because that "mixed pavement" on Saturday did a number on my shoulder... and I was really tempted by a couple of hours "home alone," but I went. And I'm glad I did. It's a wonderful trail and just what I needed after Saturday -- back in the saddle, but nice 'n easy, and my shoulder felt better afterwards! Those are my stats above. We stuck together for about the first half of the ride, then Rusty fell off behind and Kate zoomed off ahead. We'll definitely be doing that again, and checking out other parts of the trail, too.

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Rusty works on the Garden Room expansion for at least a few hours everyday. He's re-used some of the already re-used bead board under the windows -- you can see the turquoise-y green paint that had covered the ENTIRE WRAP-AROUND PORCH, back in the day, and everything in it! I'm super excited that he's also re-re-using the last remaining part of the original windowsill. It was shaped from one big board, and we just love the wabi sabi quality gained in over 100 years.

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I neglected to share that Kate & I drove up to Door County last Wednesday. We missed peak cherry blossoms by a few days, but it was a gorgeous day! We spent a little time in Peninsula State Park, and found a handy "selfie station" at one of the overlooks -- the ledge was a little crooked, but it turned out cute, even if the sun wasn't doing us any favors. Ha!

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The water is super-high! This is an old fish house, more recently art gallery, but it's sand-bagged all around!

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It's a very popular place to leave your mark, as you can see. And on EVERYTHING nearby, too. I love how colorful it is!

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Speaking of color, here's how my first (bottom) row of Safe At Home is going. These were taken on Saturday, I guess, because I was mid-way through the last roof when I put it down last night. I've been using Stephen West's Weavin' Stephen technique to manage my ends, though I forget once in a while when I'm concentrating on something else.

I hope you had a good weekend, too!

*The Curious Case of Wisconsin's Lost Dauphin Park


3TT: House & Home Edition

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

1 -- Our re-remodel/reclamation project is one of the things giving me life these days.

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Subfloor! I'm going to have to go shopping for floor tiles soon.

2 -- The old porch railings were salvaged and re-purposed/installed as a safety railing in the kids' playhouse.

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For some reason, that side had nothing. Junah actually jumped from there one day! (So far, Ali's avoided any trips to ER!!) (Knock on wood.)

3 -- Pastoral scenes from a Sunday afternoon at Ali's.

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That's not their horse (there are actually two), but the field butts right up to their rear lot line.

BONUS: They may not have horses, but they've recently acquired...

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Two kittens... the one pictured above is called Slippers, and the other was originally Claire, but Ginny changed it to Bounceball, which Ali says suits the kitty better -- and it may be a boy instead of a girl, anyway.

The chicks are all named Max. If they're boys, Maxwell or Maximilian; if girls, Maxine... and their cute little coop.

All subject to change.

And bonus-bonus... a couple other photos in my camera roll from that day.

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Unraveled Wednesday

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting and reading... 

READING:

On audio:

Between The World and Me is a pretty short listen. This one is in the queue:

So You Want to Talk About Race is by Ijeoma Oluo, her IG account linked in yesterday's post. This book is narrated by Bahni Turpin, so the audio was a no-brainer (I didn't even have to sample it).

On my nightstand:

I've picked up Centering again, having finished Sarah Read's The Bone Weaver's Orchard (you may recall that Sarah is a knitter-neighbor-librarian friend), which I enjoyed quite a lot... it was "horror," but I could sleep at night. Heh.

Wild Game is on the way... it's the Bonny, Carole & Kym's READ WITH US summertime read. It sounds like a page-turner and ought to be interesting. I expect to see some (maybe a lot) of my mother in the story, and likely a little of myself, too.

KNITTING:

I finished Romi's Mystery Shawl last week.

More details on my Ravelry project page.

And then I plunged into my "baby blanket" version of the Safe At Home blanket.

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A row of roof-less houses right now. I made a mistake with the windows of the first two houses (on the right), making them a stitch too short, but I'm leaving that. So far, the hardest thing is remembering to wind off some extra for under the windows before I begin knitting a new house. I'm excited to finish this row (including roofs & skies) because Row 2 is where I really begin to make it my own, and I can't wait to see whether it works.

 


Forward

I have purchased books and donated money. Tomorrow I will do more. And the next day, and the day after that, and... I will do better.

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Forward. Black Lives Matter.