Previous month:
May 2008
Next month:
July 2008

Wonderful Wallaby Hoodie

I have today off and it's a glorious day -- w00t! The long weekend has been busy, but good. I'll be working the next three days, but I expect it to be pretty light with the holiday on Friday.

With the slow time, I might have an opportunity to work on the Mack Sweater! I finished off the hood last night, closed up the underarms, and wove in a few ends -- there are lots more ends, though!

Truck detail

All in all, I'm happy. I had the circs at the neck on Saturday when Mack tried it on and, well, let's just say that this little sweater has a very long life ahead. It came down nearly to his knees -- but the sleeves are also long, so that is good. There's nothing worse than a too-long body with short sleeves, or too-long sleeves with a short body. It's all very much in proportion, just a bit big. Room to grow.


Bow detail

Wedweb3  Wedweb2  Wedweb1

Fifty years ago today, the people who made me who I am today... um, the people who made me... got married.  Lordy.  They only stayed married for 12 years, which means that they've been not married for 38 years -- and that's an awfully long time -- wow -- but married once they were and this day I always remember -- though for most of those years, I thought "this day" was the 26th.

It's A Wonderful Life, you know?  Even if some of it was pretty crappy.  If my parents hadn't married, my life would have been quite different.  I do believe I would have had a life, but I might not have had the sisters and brother that I do; I might not have known the same grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins; I might refer to my parents as "birth mom" and "bio dad."

They weren't a very good married couple and they've been better or worse parents, just as I've been a better or worse daughter, but they're mine and I'm theirs and that will never change.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.

Johnny Cash

When Katie was little -- not as young as Mack, but still little -- she went through a Randy Travis phase. I think she finds that a little (maybe a lot) embarrassing now, but I think Randy did his part, along with Raffi, those three Hanson boys, and others to help hone her style and shape her love and appreciation for music.

Mack's got a thing for Johnny Cash. He doesn't watch much in the way of TV or movies, but one of his favorite videos is The Johnny Cash Show. It's terrific, really -- there were some wonderful guests on that show that weren't "country" -- Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Ray Charles. Mack has learned at least parts of many of the songs, often "accompanying" himself on a ukelele. "Jackson" is a favorite and he's said to his mom, and even me, "You be June." Ya gotta have a June to sing "Jackson."

Mack left a message on my mom's answering machine several months ago that's still there. "I keep a close watch on this heart of mine, I keep my eyes wide open all the time..." Can you imagine? The whole first verse sung in a 2-1/2 yo voice? It is priceless and woe to the one who ever deletes that message.

So, anyway, when I saw this Johnny Cash Action Figure, I had to BUY NOW!  (Check out Jimmy Page and Kurt Cobain.  Lord, there's Freddie Mercury and John Lennon, too.  Love.)  And they've been inseparable. My sister wrote, "The first night Mack fell asleep with him, white knuckles and all, and the first words out of his mouth when he woke up and stumbled into the bathroom: Where is Johnny's guitar?"

Road Trip


Random "road" and "trip" thoughts...

My girls talked about taking a road trip together later this summer. The price of gas, among other things -- but mostly, the price of gas -- has them thinking otherwise. It makes me very sad.

I remember many trips "up north," when I was a kid. We always went in June. Dad would haul the boat behind his Jeep Wagoneer, Mom stuffed all of our stuff in the back. Dad rented space in someone's garage for the boat, since we didn't have room in our own. I was always in awe of backing the boat into the garage... or down the landing into the water. Maneuvering with something trailing behind is something I've never done. I remember the boat strung upside down from the rafters in our garage for a paint job once. It was a wooden boat -- most of it painted white, but also some varnished parts. I remember the engine from my Uncle Jim's MG hanging from those rafters, too. OMG, that was the COOLEST car.

He was/is a pretty cool uncle, too. "Uncle Duck." That's how he signed the note authorizing me to buy cigarettes on his behalf when I was 11. I remember him flirting with a girl at Red Owl.

It was the Summer of '69. That's been in my head since T's last YouTube Saturday. That's one of my favorite songs for driving -- one of those where I can actually "be" in my convertible, windows and top down, the road stretching straight as an arrow in the middle of nowhere for as far as I can see, the blue sky dotted with puffy white clouds, the volume cranked (because I have an AWESOME sound system... in my dreams) and I'm just happy, behind the wheel, driving...

I can "put" myself in the back seat of the Jeep, right behind Dad. He always drove with the window down, his arm hanging out, so he'd have that driver's tan. His arm would get so dark sometimes; sometimes burn. He never cranked the radio. It would always drive me nuts that I could only just barely ever hear what song was playing. He'd be smoking a cigarette or a cigar, one summer he was even smoking a pipe, but it was usually cigarettes. I loved when we'd stop for gas, how the smell would waft in through the open window. Back in the day when someone came out and pumped it for ya, and washed the windshield.

My sisters and I took a road trip 29 years ago this month. Hard to believe it's been that long. I had a brand new Toyota Corolla, my first-ever new car -- which I bought right off the showroom floor, for around $5400, my only requirement that they swap the AM/FM radio for one with a cassette player -- but we swapped for my stepdad's brand new Ford something-or-other small wagon -- because we were four girls and we needed the room, and even with a station wagon we STILL had shit in garbage bags strapped to the top of the car -- and not strapped very well, either, because we got the signal about 45 miles down the road that we should stop and secure the goods.

We drove to Oregon and met Dad, actually. He had sold his house and was moving stuff into storage -- we helped them move. My sister Sharon played "The Snake Charmer," her one and only song, on the piano in the back of a pickup truck through the streets of Dallas. When the work was done, we took a week to drive down the coast of Oregon. I took pictures of my sisters on the beach at Cape Kiwanda. My husband, who I'd not yet met, of course, had just purchased a lot there to build a house. I might have seen him; definitely drove right by the site. Six years later, I was married in that house.

We drove down to Crescent City, CA, and saw redwoods. We visited Crater Lake and the Sea Lion Caves and played on gigantic sand dunes. We had adventures battling mosquitoes while pitching a tent at Yellowstone, visited Old Faithful in the dawn's early light, spent an unplanned afternoon in the mountains of Montana (and I wouldn't have it any other way), visited Wall Drug and Mount Rushmore, spent every last penny we had on gas and food to make it home.

We made it.

J is for...

Jalousie. I usually can't prounounce the name correctly -- jaloosy or Ja Lucy -- but I love them, anyway. There must have been jalousie windows in a home of my childhood. We moved a lot when I was a kid -- at least once a year until I was in third grade, and sometimes more -- my public school education was kicked off by three different kindergarten teachers.

There are certain things -- elements of design, decor, embellishment, architecture -- that stand out from my childhood. Coppertone, Avocado Green, and Harvest Gold; aluminum canisters and spice shakers; Tupperware; Danish modern furniture; jalousie windows.

It's crazy to have these windows in Wisconsin, but they are represented in many a sun porch, Florida room, or three-season room, and they always catch my eye.

I've posted photos from Flickr before, but never an entire post... Ta-DA!

Safe At Home

Just the sound of this man's voice makes me laugh -- never mind The Words.  Happily, I was able to roll in the aisles, gasping for breath, during a couple of live performances.

Speaking of The Words...  (Oh my, wasn't that the MOST scandalous thing back in the day!) In a weird coincidence of timing, Maddy had occasion last night to recall one of our own incidents involving Words.  What you need to know is that we have three indoor-outdoor cats, and every now and then we find little gifts and reminders by the back door of exactly how The Circle of Life works.  A couple of months ago, Maddy was watching a movie with some friends in the living room. A cat was meowing annoyingly at the back door and I let her in, realizing too late that he actually brought one of those gifts into the house!  All the kids heard from the other room was me, going "SHIT!  Aw, fuuuuuck... goddammit... dammitalltohell... oh SHIT!"  Glancing, questioningly at each other, Maddy's like, "Excuse me..."  I'm no George Carlin, and maybe that's one of those you had to be there things... but it made us laugh.

Rest In Peace, George Carlin.

This could get a little like Groundhog Day

Ringside at the rollercoaster

I took well over 250 pictures yesterday and have uploaded 32.  I could only post FIVE to the group pool and let me tell ya, that's not easy.  How shall my day be represented?  Was it a representative day?

Roll with the punches, that's my day -- everyday!  Here's the set so far -- I may add more, as time allows.  I've already been at this all morning and it's time to GO OUT AND PLAY WORK PLAY a little and also WORK a little.

Oh, my "J" is in there, too.  I know.  I'm pathetic.

A Day In The Life Of... Me

Near Waterloo

Saturday, June 21, 2008.  Near Waterloo, WI... near perfection.
I am exhausted.  Will upload the rest and try to string some words together tomorrow.

Mack's truck

Mack's Truck

Sorry for the blurry pic -- I was standing on a plastic/resin lawn chair, one of our originals that's been exposed to all sorts of weather, and I was just a little nervous about it being brittle and the seat giving way or a leg breaking off.  I'm a few rows into the raglan decreases and the beginning of the placket.  I decided not to do the pouch because of the big truck design, which ensures that I'll have enough yarn for the also-by-request hood.

I took a break from the truck sweater last night, though, to start working out a new little project -- which I'm not ready to share yet, but it ought to go pretty quickly once I get some particulars worked out so it won't be long.  I'm using Lion Brand Organic Cotton from last year's Garden Swap package from Lynne and it is DREAMY!!  And that's good because it'll be used for babies and, hopefully, I'll have enough for a hat, too.  I'm using it doubled and on larger (13US) needles.  I've already ripped once, but that only made the yarn softer.  Yum.  It's wonderful stuff!

The big local farmer's market finally opens tomorrow!!!  Carole invited me to shoot a day in the life of... (June 21) so there will likely be plenty of produce and flowers... and Saturday Sky for Sandy.  That's all I'm sayin'.  We'll just have to see what happens during A Day In The Life of... Me.

Happy Weekend!

1.2, eyes of blue

motivation : the act or process of motivating

motivating : to provide with a motive

motive : something (a need or desire) that causes a person to act

I can't really say what my motive is, but mine is not to question; the bottom line is that motivation has occurred and I'm rolling with it.

On Sunday morning, I walked the dog over to my mother's house, tied her to one of the front porch pillars, went upstairs, and stepped on the scale.  (I don't have a scale at my house.)  Mom wrote down the number, just in case I wanted to use that as a benchmark -- because at that point, I was still not all in -- then she gave a bottle of water and a few other little things (one rarely leaves Mom's empty-handed), and I walked the dog back home.

Yesterday morning, I did the same thing.  Down 1.2.  Many more to go... it's a good start.  An obscure milestone was yesterday -- marking 3 years and 3 months since I quit smoking right here on this blog.  I've been blogging longer as an ex-smoker than as a smoker and that's really weird because I was a smoker for the majority of my life thus far.  I'll live to well over 100 and then that won't be the case.

Anyway, not sure when I'll do it again... or get my own scale.  I've been eating better -- and drinking better.  Water, water, water -- we all know it, but rarely do I do it.  The fluffy parts are less fluffy when I consume more water than Coke.  Oh boy, I love, love, love my Caffeine-Free Diet Coke -- the fully caffeinated stuff before that, the saccharine-sweet TAB before that, the original Real Thing before that.  I've always been a Coke girl -- Things Go Better With Coke, Coke Is It, Have A Coke and A Smile, I'd Like To Buy The World A Coke (and then we can sing!) -- I'll never give it up completely and won't even try, but I do hope to drink it with more intention, and hopefully enjoy it more.

Meanwhile, the truck part is complete on Mack's sweater and I've managed to attach the sleeves and get a few rows into the placket.  The Tuesday night knitting girls loved it.  I'll try to get a photo tonight.

Zoom Zoom

Porch Begonia Porch Chair

Saturday was a little nuts, but it was fun.  Though I'd purchased a couple of new tops last week and my best friend brought me some options from her closet, on Saturday morning I still didn't know What To Wear.  So I did what anyone else would do and made a mad dash to Target -- for paper towels and toilet paper -- and brought home a couple pairs of leggings, a couple of dresses/tops, a bright pink polka-dot cardigan.  I also stopped at a nice resale shop in the area and found another top, a black-and-white scoop-neck dress that looked great but was very much out of the box for me, and a pair of sandals that didn't match any of the stuff that I'd potentially wear to the wedding, but I loved them.  (I'm wearing them today.)  I came home, ripped tags off of everything except the cardigan (what was I thinking?) and threw it in the washer.  I ended up wearing the resale dress (still a little damp when it was time to go) with a pair of the leggings and it felt GREAT to be... out of the box.

I really did pretty much do a drive-by at the baby shower on the way to picking up Ali for the wedding.  The shower was for Ann, the organizer of our Tuesday night knitting group, and the knitters were a) well represented and b) doing a find job Knitting In Public on WWKIP Day!  Hopefully, I'll get the full low-down on the festivities when we knit out on Tuesday.

The wedding was for the eldest child and only daughter of our best ever former neighbors.  Jenny is the same age as Ali and they were best buds through elementary and middle school.  It was wonderful to see Jenny and her brothers -- all three were groomsmen -- and her parents; she was a beautiful bride and I'm happy that we went.

We managed to stop at the graduation party, too, between the wedding and reception -- and for long enough that I could actually sit down!  And drink a beer.  Or two.

The entire weekend was rain-free, dry and breezy, which meant that yesterday we had to hunker down and do some yard work.  I have neglected absolutely everything out of doors this year.  We'd missed earlier opportunities for cutting the grass and then with all the rain it just got longer and longer 'til the push mower just wasn't going to do it and we had to borrow something with power.  I did some weeding and pulling and picking up, trimmed the espalier tree, and planted/rearranged -- or at least placed -- some of the (very few) plants I've managed to acquire.  I haven't really been paying attention, but I've picked up that we're in for a little bit of a dry spell, so maybe I can get the rest of it finished on Wednesday.

I dragged my weary self to the front porch last night with my camera to try out my new zoom lens -- a 55-250mm that'll be great for shooting kids... or begonias.

Don't fall off your chair

Dsc02573 Dsc02574

I know.  It's knitting -- something no one has seen on this knitting blog in quite some time.  This is Mack's birthday sweater, which was actually due on Wednesday, but anyone can see that there's a ways to go.  It doesn't help with the timing that I'm just sort of making it up and winging it as I go along.  I forgot about the color knitting-in-the-round thing, so I'm knitting back and forth through this part.  I'll join it up again immediately after the truck part and attach the sleeves.  There'll be a little seam to sew right under the arm.  It should work.  I hope.  The black band goes around the entire body for a little continuity.  I think that's what I'm after...

Everyone I know with has an event planned for this summer has it planned for this day.  There's a baby shower, a birthday party, a graduation party, and a wedding.  Someone suggested yesterday that I could just drive by and throw presents and cards out the window -- it would save my having to find something to wear.  I'll tell ya, though, timing is very tight and there are no guarantees -- except the wedding.  That one's been on the calendar for quite a while -- our old neighbor and Ali's best playmate all through grade school.  Oh, just to make it a little more interesting, Maddy is taking her ACT today, too.  After this weekend, my dance card is pretty open.  Wanna dance?

Yes or No

Via that Bronx Girl and her trashy friend...


RULES ARE AS FOLLOWS:  You can only say Yes or No.  You are NOT ALLOWED to explain ANYTHING unless someone asks!

Over 18? Yes
Danced in front of your mirror naked? No
Ever told a lie?  Yes
Been arrested? No
Kissed a picture?  Yes
Fallen asleep at work/school?  Yes
Held an actual snake?  Yes
Have YOU Ever run a red light?  Yes
Ever drink and drive?  Yes
Been suspended from school? No
Ever been fired from a job?  No
Totaled a car/motorbike in an accident?  Yes
Sang karaoke?  Yes
Done something you told yourself you wouldn't?  Yes
Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? Yes
Ever laughed until you wet yourself?  Yes
Caught a snowflake on your tongue?  Yes
Kissed in the rain?  Yes
Sang in the shower?  No
Sat on a rooftop?  Yes
Thought about your past with regret? Yes
Been pushed in the pool with your clothes on?  No
Shaved your head? No
Blacked out from drinking? Yes
Had a gym membership?  Yes
Been in a band?  No
Shot a gun? Yes
Liked someone with nobody else knowing about it?  Yes
Played strip poker? No
Been to a strip joint?  Yes
Donated Blood? No
Liked someone you shouldn't?  Yes
Have a tattoo?  No
Have or had any piercings besides ears?  No
Made out with a complete stranger? No
Caught someone cheating on you?  Yes
Skinny dipped?  Yes
Regret any of your ex's?  Yes
Been to a rodeo?  No
Been to a NASCAR race?  No
Been in Love?  Yes

It's wet here.  It gets worse the further south you go.  People had difficulty getting home to their kids last night, or getting to work this morning.  Three-day weekends are nice, but hard for many when one of them is unplanned and unpaid.  There are chances for rain yet through the weekend, then I'm hopeful that the sunshine they're showing in next week's forecast is for real.

Both Maddy and my mom attended Barack Obama's Town Hall Meeting yesterday.  The sister of Maddy's friend had the opportunity to ask a question (and so then they were all, apparently, on the news footage, but not the station I saw).  Maddy won't be old enough to vote in this election, but I'm thrilled that she -- and so many her age -- are paying attention and are interested.

There's hope.  Happy weekend!

Since last we met... complete randomness

We scrambled to get the air conditioners installed (we use two window units and a couple of fans, as needed, to cool our big old house) on Saturday when, all of a sudden, it was summer and it was hot.  Mostly, it was humid.  Ick.

Yesterday, a cool breeze blew through all day long -- a very cool breeze... all day long -- and I actually entertained thoughts of turning the heat back on!

Today, more rain.

We postponed Saturday's trip to Madison to celebrate Mack's 3rd birthday on account of severe weather, which was tracking along the very route we'd take.  Both my sister and my daughter called to warn us when they heard sirens.  We still encountered "weather" on Sunday -- trapped in the car at our destination for 15 minutes when the sky opened up -- but not as threatening.  The sky was very dramatic, though, on the way home -- it kept me quite entertained during the drive.

Mack did, indeed, turn 3.  I'm still working on his sweater, so brought it along to do some measuring up.  I showed it to Mack, along with all the colors I'm using for the truck design, and asked him to tell me his favorites.  He loved those colorful little hanks and was clearly excited about the whole thing.  "Can I help you Vicki?"

I am knitting, I'm just knitting very slowly.  Mojo continues to be MIA -- NoMoJo.  Maybe I'll find some in the new Knitty.

Maddy, my youngest, is now a high school senior.  At this time next year, high school will be "so last year," and so will be college for Katie, my eldest.

Alison is talking about enrolling in some classes for fall.  I'll be taking at least one next semester.

I found myself at the mall on Tuesday night.  Total fluke, though I do have a wedding to attend on Saturday -- and nothing to wear.  After trying on more clothes in a couple of hours than I have in the last couple of years, I ended up with three shirts.  I could have brought home more -- Eileen Fisher was striking some home runs, but even with some pretty good sale prices, it was adding up to a lot more than I was willing to part with.

I don't know what I was doing in that department, but as long as I was there -- and they were close enough to "my size" -- I tried on a pair of Jean Paul Gaultier pants.  When they cost $980 (give or take a few dollars), on sale for $565 or so, are they still called "pants"?  They were actually like nothing I'd ever seen or tried on before and, of course, I loved them -- and they didn't fit half-bad, except they were about a foot too long.  Heh.  The fabric was wonderful, the cut had a wide leg and skinny elastic waist and there was this HUGE swath of fabric attached at the back of the waist that wrapped and hugged the behind area and tied in a gigantic bow in the front -- tied with huge, droopy loops, the tails still nearly reached the floor.  It sounds like it would make your butt look big, but it actually looked better than it has in quite some time.  It might have been my frame of mind.  I called Katie from the dressing room -- I knew she'd know who JPG was and would fully appreciate the situation.

Barack Obama was to have visited our area in February, but was thwarted by a snowstorm.  The weather is crappy again, but at least you don't have to shovel it, and he's back!  I'll be watching the webcast.



20080606sunset2I was on my way out with the dog last night and from the front porch, even through the trees, power lines and houses across the street, I could see the glow.  I had to dash back into the house for my camera and really hustle in order to make it to the bridge in time to take some photos.  I could feel the burn.

Saturday Sky courtesy of Friday night.

Yesterday we said "Hello!" to summer.  One evening last week I had a fleece-lined denim shirt on for my evening walk with the dog and had been contemplating gloves.  Yesterday, it was hot and humid and they say it was just a prelude to the weekend.  It's nice right now, so I've got the house wide open.

On your mark...


These two have vowed to not cut their hair (excluding occasional trims of not more than one inch) for the next year.  They've even put money on it.  Alison hasn't had long hair since grade school, and Maddy's never really was what you'd call "long."  She wants it long for her graduation.  As of yesterday -- the last day of school -- she's officially a senior.

Girls1bwI've been learning a little bit about color correction (above) and black-and-white conversions (one of my faves at right).  I wish I had the original handy.  Wait!  I do!!  Oh, but I'm not going to show you or Katie'd kill me; she's in the original and there's a reason she's not in the final.  I'm going to be seeing her this weekend and I'd rather she wasn't mad at me.  Just imagine drab and dull and Katie not quite at her best, and then be AMAZED!!

If you want to be... AMAZED!!

Anyway.  This is just to mark the spot.  Same Time, Next Year?

Happy Weekend!!



As seen at My Perky World and at Sandy's Knitting.

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name.

A First: Ten On Tuesday

10 Ways The World Has Changed Since You've Been In School

Note:  Well, I've been trying all day to work it out in my head, how I wanted to focus this Ten On Tuesday that I wanted to try for the very first time.  I was all about what's changed at school since I've been in school -- how the A/V Room has become extinct, along with the much beloved mimeograph machine and the not so loved film strip projector.  How it was such a big deal when rockets blasted off into space and we'd all gather around a portable TV that a teacher or the principal brought to school for the occasion.  How it wasn't 'til I was in 6th grade that I could wear pants to school instead of a skirt or dress.  How I never gave a thought to whether one of my classmates had a weapon that might be used against me -- or anyone else at school.  Then I'd lose my focus or want to change my focus -- couldn't quite decide -- or other thoughts came crashing in and it just wasn't working.

So, for my debut Ten On Tuesday, I shall whittle it down to Two Words About How Some Things Never Change No Matter Who's In School:


I know.  This too shall pass.  Thanks for reading.  That is all.

June 1st and all is well

20080601_vanz_0001edited_2 20080601_vanz_0002edited_2

VIOLA, cornuta, Black Devil.  I can't believe I made my first trip to the nursery on June 1st.  I went for herbs -- some basil and parsley for one of the pergola planters.  I didn't mean to buy these, but... HELLO.  They're PANSIES and they're BLACK!

Mom:  Don't you want something brighter?

Me:  No.

We've had a marvelous weekend -- today was almost practically perfect in every way.  There's been a little change-up and I will have tomorrow off, too.  I haven't seen a forecast, so I can only hope.  And I am.  Hoping.