NaBloPoMo 2021.27


How it started:


What happened next:




How it's going:


That's a wrap for tree lights this year! And, yes, it does seem like I do battle with the damn lights every flippin' year... some of them, anyway. I don't know what's with the lights on the top section -- they're not new, but they're whiter & brighter! It all looks more balanced in real life.

This is in preparation for another sleepover with the kiddos next weekend, and they'll help with decorations. Tomorrow, we'll pull down the boxes and I'll sort the kid-/non-kid-friendly ornaments! And I just might leave it like that until Kate arrives and she/we can finish. (But maybe not.)

Last week, I'd read about a drop-in class at a local garden center to make a succulent pinecone arrangement, and was reminded this morning. I was 50/50 on it until I got all those dead lights off and decided I needed a break! The "drop-in" part was the best! There were only a few people there when I arrived at noon, and most of them I knew! My mom's neighbor, Julie, was there with two of her daughters, her son, and a few of (her six) grandchildren -- and it was her birthday! They were nearly finished with their pinecones, but she invited me to sit down, and we spent a few minutes catching up. I'm very happy with how my project turned out, but the kids' were amazing!!!


NaBloPoMo 2021.26

Today was Wreath & Swag Day!

I already hung the wreath at home that I made for myself. I'm thinking of moving it to the pergola, where last year's wreath was hung, so a) I can enjoy it more, and b) hang the twig wreath on the fence that I bought specifically for that spot... and forgot about! What a dope.

There was some running around, getting a door hanger for Ann's, but wow...

IMG_2906 worth it! I love how that turned out -- just the smallest hint of red, and the color of that bow is perfect!


I also picked up an inexpensive fresh swag at the grocery store for the back porch.

The pinecone wreath that my sister made for me, has been on my front door for YEARS, but it was in really bad shape, having lost pinecones here and there over the years. Some I've saved, tucking them in if I could, and I've been able to fudge it until now... it's taken a couple of bad hits over the past few weeks, and I was contemplating trashing it.

Well, on one of our hikes during our trip to the North Shore, I spotted the exact types of pinecones that I needed, and Rusty offered to gather.


I got out my glue gun and fixed it right up! The new ones look... fresher! I'm sure it won't be long before they blend right in (and maybe you can't even tell).


I had to take off the bow & the star garland that I had wrapped around it -- that garland was so old, there were hardly any stars left (and most of those fell off in the unwrapping). I think I'll leave it unadorned this year.

I really don't want to, but I think I'm going to get our tree up over the weekend and wrangle with the lights. The kiddos are going to sleep over next weekend and they'll help decorate (after I organize decorations into kid-suitable and not!).


NaBloPoMo 2021.25

Happy Thanksgiving and/or Thursday!


I am thrilled with all the new growth, blossoms & buds on this little "Thanksgiving" cactus! There's a larger one upstairs that's just starting to form buds and will definitely be putting on a show for Christmas... which is one month from today!!


Amaryllis Watch 2021 has officially begun! I ordered these from Modern Daily Knitting, and one will either go home with Ali today or I'll take it to Ann's. I have some bulbs of my own that are "resting" in the basement, and they'll be ready to re-pot in a week or so. The Garden Room is getting full.


NaBloPoMo 2021.24: Re-entry


I ran to the credit union, to the P.O., cleaned & prepped our Airbnb (with Rusty's help) ("football" guests arriving Friday), to Sam's & KC&T for a pick-up/delivery, to the grocery store for... y'know (except that we're having LASAGNA instead of turkey), and stopped off at Ann's on the way home.


PAINTING! It was 47F today, and apparently warm enough for painting. This may or may not be the last painting day this year, but the major stuff is done, and I'm so happy!

There are football guests arriving there on Saturday, but Rusty & I already cleaned/prepped before we left for the North Shore, so it will just be some last-minute details.

I'm looking forward to spending the day with Ali & her family tomorrow!!


NaBloPoMo 2021.23

Sunrise this morning in Minnesota:


We left mid-morning and stopped briefly in Duluth to visit my cousin — possibly for the last time there as they are preparing to move full-time to their place in Northern Wisconsin!

Sunset on the road this evening in Wisconsin:


We arrived home a couple hours later. Back to reality, rested & refreshed!


NaBloPoMo 2021.22

It was our last full day on the North Shore and we didn’t do much more than soak up the relaxation vibe, though we did take one short walk (and went out for dinner).


Rusty’s on that photo, right under the sun. It was a gorgeous day, but cold. The rocks were icy in spots, so extreme care (I remember the way to urgent care, but glad we didn’t have to make another trip). And I saw ISS over the lake one last time before we go.

At this writing, I have turned the heel on the Christmas stocking and am working towards the toe! I haven’t had nothing-but-knitting time in ages!



NaBloPoMo 2021.21

It’s been a stick around at home day, and I have done a lot of knitting!



There was a little snow this morning and drama in the sky, and it’s been pretty windy, but we got out for a short hike, watched some boats go by — big & little, and also an intrepid little duck — and went out to watch ISS fly over (for the 2nd time since we’ve been here). All in all, a pretty great day!


NaBloPoMo 2021:20

We arrived at our cabin on the North Shore of Lake Superior last night at around 5:30 or so. We're staying at a place called Breezy Point and, well, last night we could certainly understand that moniker!

We had a quiet evening in, after having a late lunch in Chippewa Falls on the way... just snacked and chatted and watched some big lit-up lake boats go by.

This morning it was much calmer... I slept in a little (HELLO, VACATION!) and woke up to sunlight reflected on the lake. Whoa, brightness! And solar gain throughout the day... it was 79 in the cabin at one point, with the thermostat set to 60F.

We hung out in the cabin for most of the day. Rusty was doing some drawing/writing and I was knitting! I've started the Christmas stocking for Sebas(tian)!

About mid-afternoon we drove to Two Harbors and found a map, scoped out a hiking trail, and hiked down to Agate Beach and looped back through an old neighborhood. Then we went to the hardware/general store -- I needed some colored pencils to do a little charting for the stocking -- and to the grocery store for provisions for tomorrow. It's supposed to be stormy & cold (maybe a little bit of snow), so we're staying in again for most of the day, watching the Packers vs. Vikings (in enemy territory!), and then we'll go for dinner to a very nearby restaurant.

Anyway, after the hardware/grocery stop, we went to McQuades Pub & Grill for an early-ish dinner (we had carry-out from there last year), and then came home to settle in. I had my alarm set so we could watch ISS go over, and then I took a photo of the amazing almost-still-full moon over the lake.


My phone picked up a few stars, too!


NaBloPoMo 2021.19: Mind blown

Kate shared an Instagram account with me yesterday that is BLOWING MY MIND!

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Papetal™ by Jennifer Tran (@_papetal_)

Obviously, I'm in good company since the author/maker blew her own mind! I don't know about you, but I look at that photo and see fabric -- a nice silk scarf, maybe, and then see a pasta-maker, and wonder what the angle is, having a scarf come through a pasta-maker... and THEN realize that it's actual freakin' PASTA!!

Even if you don't follow her, it's worth peeking at her Instagram.

Lordy, she wrote a book about making flowers... from paper!


You can "look inside" and, wow, similarly mind blowing.

Talk about your Eye Candy for a Friday.

We're on our way to the North Shore! I'll check in tomorrow, and the next day, and the next... since it's still November. Heh.


NaBloPoMo 2021.18: 3TT

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

I've been doing this NaBloPoMo thing for a few years now, and I thought it might be fun to look back at a few November 18ths of the past.


On November 18, 2009, the first year that I participated in this month-long exercise, I'd shared finished a scarf!


I ended up giving that scarf to my mom. I love that colorway, and the scarf turned out great, but I don't know what happened to it!



At long last, I'd begun the prep work (clearing space) for a little remodeling project and among the things I found in the process were a couple of knitting pattern pages torn from magazines.


I'd knit both of those patterns in the mid '80s when I lived in Oregon.

WW Holiday Dress 1980s

"'s this little dress that made me a knitter"

This photo of the actual dress was not included in the original post -- I must have found it later. Quite the "little" project for a relative newbie, eh? Look at all those elements!



In 2016, I was getting messy and creative...


Dyeing yarn! I'm going to have to work on making time for this again. I miss it so much and acquired some new-to-me equipment a few months ago that I'm dying to try, not to mention the stash of ready-to-colorize yarn!

One of the bases I'm excited to dye -- and then knit -- is KnitPicks' Felici Worsted. It's the same fiber content -- 75% Superwash Merino Wool + 25% Nylon -- as the sock yarn, but WORSTED! And when I do eventually get around to it, that's what I'll use to knit Viv's new socks! They ought to wear so much better.


It's always so interesting to dive into the archives... thanks for humoring me!


NaBloPoMo 2021.17

In the car on the way to my house on Saturday afternoon.

Ginny: "Lalala lalala la lala la lalala lalala la lala la..."

Me: That's a pretty song, Ginny! What's it from?


G: It's from nothing! I made it up! I make up songs, and forget them, and just make up another one... over and over and over!!

Me: 😍 ❤️❤️❤️ 😍


NaBloPoMo 2021.16

The holiday spirit is ramping up! Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and if we're not already speeding toward Christmas as November begins, we sure are by the time we gather to give thanks. I continue to receive letters addressed to "The North Pole," I made those wreaths last week, trees for the Airbnbs* have been delivered and will go up soon (with very simple decoration), and over the weekend it was confirmed that...

Kate will be home for Christmas!


I sure wish Maddy & Viv could come home, too, but I'm hopeful & looking forward to an extended visit next summer!

I'll be driving down to ORD in mid-December to pick up Kate and we're going to stay down there for a night before driving home; she'll fly back to Scotland on New Year's Eve (cheapest flights!). Can't wait!!

*The Packers play on Christmas Day, so we both have guests for actual Christmas... I just had to do something more than a tabletop tree!


NaBloPoMo 2021.15

So, first the snafu referenced the other day...

I recently shared a great karma Airbnb story about a couple moving to the area and staying with us. We have a lot in common, and they're great people! We met in passing a couple of times and had frequent, friendly communication while they were here. Originally booked Friday-Wednesday, they inquired about extending their stay by about three days, but I was only able to offer them one because of the impending arrival of football fans for the weekend. The new checkout date was Thursday; I saw that afternoon that they'd left a review, and Airbnb prodded me to reciprocate. I left work on Thursday, stopping at the grocery store for supplies for both properties, planning to head right upstairs and get started on laundry/cleaning... and my heart dropped as I rounded the corner to home and saw their car in the driveway! I sent them a text, and among other things asked if I could run up to talk with them... what's going on? Before I even went upstairs, I texted the important people at work to see if I could get most of Friday morning off. New to Airbnb and a bit frazzled by their house situation (purchased via a friend, sight unseen), overwhelmed by things that need to be done there, it was just a big mix-up/misunderstanding. Of course, they were mortified, but willing to leave right away if they had to! It worked out to have Friday morning off, so I didn't have to kick them out on the spot, and luckily they were planning to make their exit by 7:30 am because of an appointment. This is where I thank past-me for having extras of most of the important things... mattress pads, sheets, duvet covers, towels, etc. It all worked out, but WHEW!!

Originally, I was going to have the girls overnight on Friday, but by then I was frazzled, too, and still had to finish readying Ann's house, so we postponed the sleepover date until Saturday.

I drove out to get them in the afternoon and was about to leave the house when I received this note:


Ali wrote, "They come with demands!" So I stopped at the store on the way, and we ate all those things between Saturday night & Sunday afternoon, along with lots of playing and watching a couple of shows/movies.

Ginny was the first to wake (two whole hours before Malina) and immediately spotted snow on the garage roof. Ali & I completely forgot about the forecast for snow, so the girls weren't really prepared. In fact, lately Malina's been wearing whatever shoes are closest to her feet and they don't always match, so she had one slip-on and one very strappy sandal, but luckily she always has an extra pair or two at my house (often switching when she's over). Ginny couldn't wait and had to get out there, so I bundled her up as best I could -- it wasn't super cold outside!


And eventually Malina, too!


It wasn't long before the pristine snow in the backyard looked like this -- and many more tracks by the end of the day! It was so fun to watch them...


It snowed lightly on & off all day, which was also super fun for our football fans -- there's nothing like a little football in the snow at Lambeau Field! (And there's still snow on the ground this morning.)


It was sticky, heavy snow, so we even got our first snowman of the year!


NaBloPoMo 2021.13: Museum of Me

The second exhibit in my Museum of Me is A Collection... this will undoubtedly be a permanent, rotating exhibit because there are lots of Collections. Ahem.


This is a collection of mice, and it's one that I infrequently add to myself.

It's all because of my dad... he called me MOUSE from infancy; it stuck through childhood and well into adulthood. He's the only one who ever really called me by that nickname, but everyone knew it... and that's how this collection was born. Because if I'm called Mouse, then I must like mice... and collect them. Right? Whatever. I have a collection of mice and I love them all!


This one (above) is the smallest. He's one of three that I bought (often in threes), though I can only find two right now. They used to hang out on my computer keyboard but Malina-Little-Magpie-Hands found them, so who knows? (She's something else!)


This is the second-smallest, standing 1" tall, and not in the group photo because I forgot about him! (They're mostly HIMs.) And this one I also purchased myself -- just last year, in fact, at a gift shop on the North Shore -- with full approval, if not encouragement, from Rusty & Kate. There's a lot I like about this one... size, heft, shine, and that tail.


This one was a gift from my mother. She never called me Mouse, but she's one of the largest contributors to the collection! He is also made of some sort of metal and has a nice weight.


This roly-poly one feels like stone, and is signed on the bottom. His little ears & tail are made of leather.


I'm pretty sure this one was also from my mom... from mother to daughter, one mom to another. (I don't think Dad ever gave me a mouse.)


If any of my mice was a HER, it would be this one. And this one is also signed; seems made of glass. Those big eyes! and ears! and what looks like a single tooth! the roundness to the belly! He's really sweet.


This is a "gumdrop" ornament with "almond half" ears and a "licorice" tail. I bought this one year when everyone got a gumdrop ornament of some sort.


This one is also made of metal -- brass, I believe -- and is the lone survivor of what once were three -- they were all different sizes, and I think this is either the smallest or the middle one. These "note holders" were a gift (and rarely used as such).


But this one, also metal, is from a pair of bookends, and they are definitely used for the intended purpose! In fact, I only nabbed one of them because the other could not be called from duty. I love these hard-working guys.

And now we come to the last two mice in the exhibit... priceless treasures.


Made of porcelain by my Grandma Blum, and bearing the mark. Poured by Grandpa, finished/painted by Grandma. I love the painted claws and those poor gigantic chipped ears! My grandparents had an at-home ceramics business out of their home for years after retiring from their day jobs. Grandma was a pretty talented artist, and also a born teacher. I have quite a few pieces made by them, but this one is hands-down my favorite.


The last treasured piece in this MoM exhibit was made by first-grade "Maddie," aka MADDY! With it's enormous ears and nose, and that curling tail, she knew even then what I liked!

A few of these pieces reside on the bookshelf (not far from the piggy bank that was subject of my first MoM exhibit), a couple in my computer/workroom, but the majority are in the "Depression Glass Cupboard," which holds all manner of treasures, and gives you a big fat clue about the subject of at least one future exhibit.


Thanks to Kym for this wonderful idea, the Museum of Me! It's fun to look at, photograph, think and write about these things that are part of ME.


NaBloPoMo 2021.12

Due to a misunderstanding & scheduling snafu requiring the curator's attention this morning*, today's opening of the latest Museum of Me exhibit has been postponed. 


Here are some cute gnomes, instead. I made a special stop at Aldi while running errands on Wednesday and had quite a workout pulling this one from the middle of the pile. But worth it! Arguably, one could say that I have a (small) collection of gnomes (I've given away most of the knitted ones)... but I don't actively seek them out to "collect," and I am pretty particular about them.

Stay tuned!

*There's a story there that will be told before the end of the month! Snafu = NaBloPoMo blog fodder!


NaBloPoMo 2021.11: 3TT

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

In this case, three photos.


A little earlier than last year, and in person rather than virtual, I attended a wreath-making workshop last night. I loved last year's wreath, but decided to make a different style.


And I made two!! The first photo is the wreath that I made for myself; the second is the one I made for Ann's house.

It was really fun to make them, also wine & treats, and I didn't even mind listening to Christmas music!


My friend Ann also made two wreaths and that's the back of my car last night. You can almost smell it!

The weather is still crazy warm for November and these could really do with a little cold!! But I also really loved wearing sandals yesterday while I was running errands. Heh.


NaBloPoMo 2021.10: Unraveling

Joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveleding Wednesday... (I'm sensing an ongoing theme).



I worked around the entire blanket once, then across the "top," and... it didn't appear to be working. I'd suspected that I picked up too many stitches, and it turns out that I was right.



To a muggle, it might all be fine, but I could see that motifs were becoming misshapen. I was hearing my inner voice say, "it'll block out," but if I've learned one thing in all these years, it's that those three words are among the most dangerous words of all!

So today, I was literally UNRAVELING...


...and hearing that song in my head as I did so! Tomorrow's another day.


Listening to cool guy Dave Grohl read his memoir, The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music.

I've finally cracked a book from the stack on my nightstand: This Golden Fleece: A Journey Through Britain's Knitted History.

Enjoying both a lot!


NaBloPoMo 2021.9

Whew, the day got away from me!

I knew that Randy, Ann's housepainter, was at her house yesterday so I stopped by on my way home to take a look and I am thrilled!! He was packing up as I arrived but I'm glad I caught him so he could see/feel my happiness!


He brought a friend and some scaffolding so he could get to the shingled gables and paint them "Mulberry Silk." The sky was already getting dusky when I got there, but I had to take a couple of photos. There's plenty more to do... for a reminder, here's the PLAN. We're/HE'S getting there! It's going to be so amazing when the dark "Still Water" frames all of the windows. It'll tie it all together so nicely! Randy thinks he might still have a painting day or two yet this year?


NaBloPoMo 2021.8

It was a great birthday weekend, with just the right mix of busy & not busy, some accomplishments, and time spent "with" the people most important to me!

But first, another Airbnb story for you because I believe it helped to set the tone (not that the tone of a birthday weekend isn't already great)...

I had a guy booked for a stay in September with his girlfriend, and then he tested positive for Covid and couldn't fly. Rather than canceling and losing most of his $$ (because of options that he chose when he booked), I suggested that he reschedule (which he didn't know was an option). Done! Rescheduled for a stay in November... arriving on Friday the 5th. I sent my usual "here's what's going on" message on Wednesday, per usual... and radio silence. Hm. We'd previously communicated via the app with no issues, and I'm not one to badger, so... I waited... and wondered... did he & his girlfriend break up? He couldn't have tested positive again?? Alas, I finally hear from him early Friday afternoon -- I'm generous in saying that it was hours before they were to check in -- and due an emergency, he couldn't leave and could they reschedule again, or maybe his gf & her mom or a friend could come for a night and at least get something out of it.

My reply was polite, but firm in my disappointment at such late notice because there was no chance I'd have another booking for the weekend, while also understanding that emergencies arise. As an Airbnb user, myself, I'd hate feeling that I'd lost, so I allowed them to reschedule one more time! (Third time's the charm? We'll see in mid-January!!) They were very appreciative and blah blah blah.

I reconciled myself to having the weekend "off," though, truthfully, one of the great things about this Airbnb gig is that there's rarely anything I need to on the weekend except perhaps answer a question. I messaged Rusty to let him know...

And I swear to the goddess, an hour later I had a last-minute booking! Arriving that very day, in fact, and staying a day longer than the original guy. Turns out they're from Southern California, artists/map-makers, around our age, moving to the area, and needing a place to stay while they wait for the moving van and get their new house ready.

You can't make this stuff up!

So, KARMA, BABY!! It comes around... and sometimes you barely have to wait for it!

On Saturday, I had nice chats with Annie (including a sighting of the elusive Mack!) & with Kate; saw Ali for a minute; had chatted a few days earlier with Maddy (time zones y'know). I even had a text from my stepdad... a rare occurrence. My dad didn't always call, but this is the first year that it wasn't even a possibility, so it was really nice to hear from Joe.

We walked down and spent some of my $63.58 (age/birth year) birthday gift from Maddy on Saturday night. The weather continued to be amazing, and we were very comfy sitting outside with outdoor fireplaces and heaters (set on low).

Rusty's been super busy getting things together for the show that's opening in less than two weeks, so he went to do some of that on Sunday morning, and I picked him up on the way out to Ali's. Time to tuck Ducky in good & tight for the winter!


First, I had some things to put in (including mouse deterrent) & things to take out. Last year, we just put a big blue tarp over it and it was OK, but not great -- it's super windy out there and it wasn't in the greatest location, either. This year, I sprung for an actual cover that came with straps and everything! Ducky's tucked between the pole barn & the chicken coop, and it should fare much better.


Flo & the other girls will keep an eye on things! (It is not easy taking photos of chickens!)


It was... LEAFY! There already was a pile when we got there, then Junah drove a little lawn tractor around the yard and collected more as Rusty raked them into a bigger pile. The kids had a blast jumping in... and disappearing! I think Ginny's in there somewhere...

We had broasted chicken & a few potatoes/fries -- those not left in the parking lot where they were spilled. LOL. You already know about that amazing cake!

And look at this:


He's taking numerous unaided steps in a row! Even more with a lawnmower. Here we go!

I hope all y'all had a great weekend, too!


NaBloPoMo 2021.6

This is 63!!


I've been putzing all day and it's been nice!


I've enjoyed arranging, rearranging, and watching this double bouquet from Kate that arrived yesterday. It's from The Bouqs Co. and it's gorgeous!

I've also been watching this 4-year-old video over and over and over... it just makes me laugh!! (Sound on.)

View this post on Instagram

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

It's an incredibly nice day (I have sheets on the line!), and we might head down to my favorite local spot, 313 Dodge, and use some of my birthday gift certificate from Maddy.

And tomorrow we'll head out to Ali's to celebrate, see the kids, and get Ducky all good & tucked in for winter.

Pretty good birthday weekend, eh?


NaBloPoMo 2021.5



On this day last year, we were on the North Shore of Lake Superior, and the weather was so unexpectedly mild that Kate & Ducky made the journey, too. She camped in a state park a few miles up the road, but we'd get together for hikes & meals & visits.

Flash forward... Rusty & I are headed back up in a couple of weeks and, boy, are we looking forward to a little get-away! We'd really love to see some big waves on that lake... that would mean nasty weather, but that's what a lakeside cottage, a fireplace, and some knitting is for, right? Sounds perfect to me.


NaBloPoMo 2021.4 - 3TT: Yesterday

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

...and today I'm sharing three photos that I took yesterday:


Photo 1:


I have a new Airbnb helper and he is doing GREAT! He's also pretty handy with things like yard work, hanging art, and general "fixing." I told him that one of these days we'll have to pretend that our house is an Airbnb (since I don't have cleaning ladies coming to my house right now). The really great thing about cleaning the Airbnbs is that there are no "piles" to deal with. No bills, no old newspapers, no crafts... oy, the crafts. (My workroom is an unmitigated disaster, and must be dealt with soon!)


Photo 2:


Being a "typical" Wednesday, it was my day off of work, and sometimes that means appointments. Last week it was the dentist, yesterday it was the doctor... for the "annual" physical that I tend to get about every three years. I had three things scheduled -- physical, blood draw, mammogram -- and that meant three different waiting rooms. This was the "Wildflower" room and, well, isn't it just so pretty?

I was astounded that I was out of there in an hour! I think the pandemic has led to some very welcome streamlining... yeah, I'm going with that. (And most of the results are in already; so far, no surprises.)


Photo 3:


Being a Wednesday, Ali & the kids came over after dance class for supper. That little rocking horse was a gift I gave to my godson-now-boss about 40 years ago! Crazy!!


NaBloPoMo 2021.3: Unraveled

Joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday...


I am working out the edging for Hexie Love (Rav link) using a couple of charts from similar (free) patterns that I found -- with enhancements by Malina!


I want to "fill in" the little dips between hexagons at the top & bottom edges of the blanket so that it ends up straight on all sides.


I've already worked a single crochet up one side of the blanket... and ripped it out. So, "unraveled" is spot-on today! Now I'm working half-double crochet up the side (but started only a couple of motifs from a corner because it's the corner and the top/bottom edge that I really need to work out. I'm not crazy with how that half-hexie looks, but I'm hoping I'll refine/improve that as I go.


I think it'll work... there's a long ways to go. This is the first of at least four rounds!


I finished Stanley Tucci's memoir, Taste: My Life Through Food, on Friday night and LOVED IT! Memoir is my genre of choice, and this did not disappoint in any way. Except that I listened to it on Audible and really wish there was a download with all the recipes.

I shared the book with Kate, and we started talking about audiobooks, memoirs, memoirs read by the author... and she told me that her friend Blair was listening to Dave Grohl's new book and loving it, even though she's not a big fan of his music.

I feel the same about the music... I wouldn't recognize a single Nirvana or Foo Fighters song... but I am aware of Dave Grohl and what a cool guy he is! When his memoir, The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music, was announced, I purchased it straight away, so that's what I'm listening to now... and LOVING IT!


NaBloPoMo 2021.2

How it started... How it's going... My backyard through the (quite dirty) bedroom window.

April 11th:


April 25th:


May 2nd:


May 14th:


May 24th:


June 12th:


June 19th:


October 8th:


October 30th:


I snapped the first photo on a Sunday morning in April and thought that I'd take a photo from the same spot every week. Well, it hasn't happened weekly, but it's been happening consistently enough to see what I wanted to see... the changes in a year. This represents only half a year, though, so watch for an update in April!!


NaBloPoMo 2021.1

Lucky 13! Thirteen is also a Fibonacci number, a prime number, a star number, and a happy number (among other things, and thank you very much Wikipedia). That's all good enough for me as I embark on the 13th year of NaBloPoMo!

It was a pretty great weekend! We went to an art opening, put together a futon couch/bed at Ann's Queen Anne, cleaned up and pulled in plants from outside, and got a start on both Airbnbs as there are guests arriving later this week at both.


The kiddos stopped over yesterday after Trick or Treat Round 1, enjoyed sorting and eating (or trading/giving away) some of their treats, and then I took Jün & Gin out for Round 2 in my neighborhood. There weren't a lot of houses with lights on (I didn't have a single kid at my door, other than my own grandkids), but they came back with plenty of goodies. To their delight, most people said, "Take as many as you want!"


This house, a couple of blocks from mine, is probably the most decorated in the area. At night they had big swirling bats projected on the house and it was really cool.


Ginny was originally a witch but it was so windy yesterday that her big-brimmed hat kept blowing off, so she traded it for a tiara!



Here's Davy...


...who urges you to bang some blocks together because it's so damn funny!!

Ali & the kids have been coming over on Wednesday evenings after the girls' dance class for dinner & some play time, and I love having that standing date. Davy is standing up and taking one or two steps... he's soon gonna be off to the races!

He's wearing a Wee Wallaby (Rav link) sweater that I knit using Mission Falls 1824 Cotton 14 years ago for Mack*. It's been worn by Mack, Addy, Junah, Ginny, Malina, and now Davy (who will be wearing it for a couple of years, and it probably still fits Malina), and it looks amazing!

*Click that link for a blast from the 2007 knit blogger past... holy moly. Who remembers Dish Rag Tag? The Company


Uncle Herman

I drove to Marshfield on Tuesday to attend the funeral of my Uncle Herman. Herman and his wife, Arlene, my mother's elder sister, celebrated their 70th Wedding Anniversary on June 23rd! That's also the wedding date of their eldest son, Chuck, my cousin Rae, my sister Karen, and my brother Mike! I remember Arlene & Herman thanking Mike & Judy for throwing them their 50th Anniversary party!


My grandparents, Andrew & Marcella, are on the left; Herman's mom on the right; his father had already passed by this time.


Aunt Carol, less than two weeks from her 12th birthday, on the left, and my mom, 13-1/2, on the right, admiring the wedding rings! I've never seen such a photo before. I am in love with the styles here, especially my mom's gloves & purse (the shoes are pretty great, too)!

I always loved "going to Marshfield!" My mom's sisters both lived there and, eventually, they both had four children -- so lots of cousins, varying in age from 6 years older than me to 10 years younger (we had only two cousins on my dad's side until I was 16!). My maternal grandparents also lived in Marshfield; Grandpa died when I was 6, and Grandma when I was 8 -- they were both only 58 -- so I don't have a lot of memories. But I have a new "memory" that I just learned on Tuesday, thanks to my cousin Kris. She said that her mom, Carol (my godmother), loved to tell a story about me at Grandpa's funeral... having just learned to write and apparently left to occupy myself for a while, I wrote my name on ALL of the offering envelopes! From Vicki, From Vicki, From Vicki... a big contributor that day!

Grandma got sick with cancer not long after Grandpa died, and eventually moved in with Arlene & Herman, occupying the master bedroom -- I can still picture her there propped up in bed. My cousin Cindy was 11 or 12 and the best nursemaid... Grandma would ring a little bell and Cindy would go running to see what Grandma needed (often, another Coke).

One of the most tragic & memorable departures of my entire life was from Aunt Arlene's & Uncle Herman's house, though the tragedy had nothing to do with them, on a Sunday night just as The Beatles were to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show! I was very young, but caught up in Beatlemania! I never quite forgave my dad for that, and sulked for a good long while.

For as long as I can remember, Arlene & Herman also had a cottage on the Eau Pleine Flowage and that meant nothing but fun -- more of Herman's relatives, more kids, a playground with a merry-go-round (that's still there) -- swimming & waterskiing & fishing in the summer (so many yucky bullheads), snowmobiling in the winter! We'd also drive through Rozellville on the way from Marshfield to the cottage, where my great grandparents lived, and my mom would always tell about sleeping upstairs at Grandma's, listening to the cars whoosh by after the nearby ballroom closed on a Saturday night, and about getting in trouble when she & Aunt Carol were swinging on the cemetery gate at St. Andrew's, across the street, and Carol gashed her lip or head or something.

I spent the summer between 3rd & 4th grades at that cottage, "helping" my Aunt Arlene with their youngest son, Chad. I don't know how much help I was, in reality... I remember getting tsk'd for picking up Chad every time he cried, and I got super chubby that summer, my aunt being a very good cook and introducing me to my new-favorite, poppyseed cake, along with a German bread dumpling or three, and I also surreptitiously devoured as many True Crime & True Romance and any other "True" rag that Herman's mother had passed along to them. We spent many a New Year's Eve there, too -- the adults bar-hopping by snowmobile, my cousin Cindy & I left to watch our younger siblings... and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve (very strong memory of Three Dog Night appearing one year). There were also very memorable wedding receptions at the cottage for three of their four kids... so much fun (and a little trouble, too)!!

Eventually, both Carol & Arlene (and their spouses) gave up their "city" houses and moved full-time to the flowage, not far from each other. Arlene's cottage more than doubled in size over the years, with this addition and that.

Chad lives right next door to Arlene and it was there that the funeral lunch was held... and where I chatted with my aunt & cousins, and perused Arlene & Herman's wedding album for the first time, discovering my mother in a few photos that I'd never seen before!


This is by far the best of them... I'm not sure who the bridesmaid is -- either Herman's sister, Betty, or Arlene's best friend, "Seedy." Mom is in the middle. At 12 & 13, Aunt Carol and my mom had to have been thrilled to death with the whole thing, and I think that shows on my mom's face. I also spy my Great Aunt Loretta (Grandma's youngest sister... who was only 6 and the flower girl at Grandma & Grandpa's wedding) just to the left of Arlene's hand, holding her bonneted eldest child, my mom's first cousin, Shirley. But, by far, it's the expressions of the girls on the far right -- especially the furthest right -- that are everything!! 


I love this adorable photo of Arlene & Carol with their little cousin. I think Carol was living with Aunt Loretta & Uncle Al at this time, giving a needed hand in the same way that I stayed with Arlene for a summer.


But my mom! Lordy, I'm so happy & amazed to have found new images of her. I love her smile and the buck teeth -- she had those fixed in the late '70s/early '80s -- when she was around 40. There are a few years of photos with her mouth ridiculously clamped shut to hide her braces! 

Anyway, this post turned out to be about so much more than Uncle Herman, but it's also just exactly reflects him... he was a large man with a personality & sense of humor to match, he was also very unassuming... gentle, generous, much loved, and never in the spotlight.

Oh, two things about the service. All was well until we were graveside and the priest suggested we sing the first verse of Amazing Grace... then the chins began quivering! My goodness. All the more poignant because Herman had glaucoma and was blind for the past 15 years... but now I see.

Also, just as the graveside service concluded, Cindy said, "All I have to say is one thing: 'Alexa, when are the Brewers playing today?'" To which everyone chuckled because... it was so him.

Rest well, Uncle Herman.



The light was pretty great on Friday afternoon and I had a sudden urge to take my hexie blanket outside for a photo -- seemed like it had been a while.


As you can see, it's getting "leafy" around here. (Also that my mosaic table is returning to dust right before our very eyes.) I love how that little pink geranium blossom so perfectly matches the hot pink in the blanket!


The occasion was to celebrate finishing the half-hexies along one side. As of this writing, I'm about half-way on the other side. I'm ready to go with this baby!

Before I forget, I was going to start an Autumn/Vacation/Winter/Holiday Knitting To-do List (so I won't forget):

    • Christmas Stocking for Janet/SEBAS
    • Messy Bun hat for Ali
    • Socks for Viv
    • Wild Fields hat for Gin
    • Marl something

We'll soon be going up to the North Shore for a long weekend and that first item is Vacation Knitting Project Priority #1! When one of Rusty's customers found out that I'm a knitter, she asked if I would knit a stocking for her grandson. Her mother knit stockings from a vintage pattern for all the previous grandchildren, but passed away before she could do Sebastian's... so he's been sharing with a sibling! I don't volunteer my knitting time for others very often, simply because it's so very limited, but this one tugged at my heart. I'd like to deliver it before Thanksgiving.

Ali messaged me early on Saturday asking me to turn off online ordering for the coffee shop at 11... they were short-staffed and she had to close at 11:30 instead of 2 that day. A few weeks ago, trying to delete an item from my Make.Do category in the POS app that Ali uses, I accidentally deleted THE ENTIRE CATEGORY! So I took advantage of her early closing to go up and rescan/re-enter every single item that I have up there! It took about three hours, but it's done and I can clean up some other things because of it.


When I returned home, I was in my workroom for a few minutes and was distracted by this glowing tree a couple of doors down. A photo taken through two (dirty) panes of wavy old glass doesn't do it justice... it was a brilliant & gorgeous distraction!

Ann's Airbnb guests checked out early Sunday morning, headed to Lambeau Field early! They were aiming to do some tailgating and snag a few brats prior to the game, then planned to head right to a hotel in Milwaukee after the game in order to catch early Monday morning flights home. Anyway, I took advantage of that and went over to get a start on laundry. I threw in one load, ran to the store, went back to toss the fist load into the dryer & throw in another, watched some pre-game TV until that was finished, then loaded it all up (except for towels, which I left in the dryer) to take home & hang on the clothesline! So nice to have that chore done.

My guests drove from Michigan and checked out this morning... so more laundry is on the horizon!

Speaking of football, it was a fun game to watch and we WON! Packers now stand at 6-1 and at the top of their division.


There was a huge fennel bulb in our last CSA share (the last of the season), along with some potatoes (and apples and beets... that was a heavy bag!), so I searched for a fennel recipe and came up with one that used potatoes, too. Kym shared that the NY Times Cooking app is her favorite these days, and I second that motion! Right up there is anything Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa, and that's where I found the recipe for the Potato-Fennel Gratin pictured above. It was delicious!

All in all, it was a pretty great weekend. I hope you had a great weekend, too!