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June 2008
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August 2008

If I had a nickel...

...for every time I've said, "Third time's the charm" as it relates to knitting and my getting it, well, maybe I'd be going to NYC in August and to Rhinebeck in October instead of only the former.

And I sure do hope that the third time is the charm!


See this?  You've seen it before -- on Monday, actually.  Imagine it at least 20-30 rows longer, with another lifeline inserted along the way, and then completely frogged.  Now, imagine it again, though resting atop a complete cut-and-paste chart -- no second guessing about what happens in the gaping void on the left -- and in a stockinette version, as written and intended, rather than the abomination in garter I was concocting on my needles.  I am certainly lacking in all areas when it comes to working lace, I'm just not sure where I'm lacking most -- comprehension, focus, patience, practice.

In other news:  I weighed in yesterday and, after posting little or no gain in the previous two or three, marked a 1.8-pound loss in a week.  I still have not posted a gain since first stepping on the scale on June 15th and it's becoming a bit of an unintended challenge and motivator to keep building the record.  I'm a little lackadaisical about it in some respects so I'm not sure what my total loss is, but it must be very close to the magical first 10.  Then 10 more, and 10 more, and maybe a few more after that, and I'll be good.

M is for...


Madeleine.  It's senior portrait time!  I'll be taking them this year and, while this is not "official," I think it has assured her that I might be capable.  This was hardly even trying -- I can't wait to play around on locations (we both have ideas).  I like both of these, but maybe the toned black and white conversion better since I made it bigger.  ; )

Img_1209webI had my camera out, of course, when I was babysitting the other day and Mack (so adorable), asked, "Vicki, are you a PHOTOGRAPHER?"  He may well have asked, "Are you a BRAIN SURGEON?" with the emphasis, wonder, awe and importance he conveyed.  Heh.

"Yes, honey, I am a photographer."  Gah!  I think I'm finally getting it -- the technical stuff -- it's true what they say, you know, "Shoot, shoot, shoot!"  I don't do it nearly enough.  Wish I could do it more.  (Damn job cuts into everything fun.)

Maddy.  My god.  My baby is not my baby anymore.  What an amazing... girl, teenager, young woman... PERSON.  When I started blogging four years ago, she was 13 -- and aren't those four jam-packed years in anyone's life!?!  She takes a lot on from her friends' lives.  Tumultuous lives.  Heartbreaking lives.  She's a rock.  Straightforward.  No nonsense.  Takin' no shit from no body.  Look into those eyes.  (That eye.)

Img_1209bwerncropSick of her yet?  While scrolling through this post, another crop presented itself.  That might be my favorite yet.

At this time next year, we'll be packing her up to go to college.


Empty nest, anyone?  With crazy schedules and whatnot around here, we've actually been getting in some practice.

Give your kids an extra-special hug today.

Flickr:  Here, here, and here.

Cuteness personified

Ya think? We had a fun weekend.

I had the day off on Friday and went, with my mom, sister and nephews, to Bay Beach -- a city-owned and -operated amusement park on the Bay of Green Bay. I haven't been there since my own kids were little, and not much has changed -- tickets cost a quarter now, instead of a dime. Bay Beach is one of NE Wisconsin's treasures, for sure.

On Saturday, the boys came over to my house for a while and we had a blast, playing in the back yard. I'd brought a sheet outside, intended for sitting on, but I ended up wafting it over the boys in a lovely breeze and they'd dissolve and giggles as they tried to get out from under.

Good times.

Yesterday, I finally cracked that can of pink paint that I bought before my "free time" was hijacked by dealing with the washing machine/laundry woes. The color is exactly the shade of my hanging geranium -- just lovely -- but I've got to say, painting chairs is a complete and total PITA. I thought this one would be easier because it was slats rather than spindles. Um. No.

There was very little weekend knitting -- the bulk of it was done late yesterday and last night. I cast on Juno Regina, knit a bunch, lost my place, ripped, cast on again and knit a bunch more -- with confidence (and a lifeline) (and a few stitch markers) and... so far so good. I'm happy to have found a project for the yarn and excited that I'll have a gorgeous new scarf for fall. Not that I'm ready yet for summer to end.

Also trying to catch up with my ABCs and get back on track!

Good times.

L is for...

Lace! Can you believe it? I'm knitting lace!

It's Mim's Juno Regina, to be exact -- a lovely Knitty Surprise from last fall. I am using a hank of Morehouse Farm's Merino Lace from Rhinebeck -- um, I think that's not from last year, but the year before. The colors are so beautiful, which is why I bought it in the first place, and I've had it wound up and sitting in plain view for quite some time.

I'm pretty much a lace newbie so it's only natural that I'd also be *gasp* modifying the pattern. My yardage is a bit less, so I'm making it narrower -- more a scarf than shawl. I printed a bunch of the charts and got out scissors and tape last night to try and get a grip on what needed to be done. This is nothing compared to the charts I made for Cromarty and St. Brigid -- every repeat charted, practically life size, and at least one of them is on a big tri-fold board. Heh.

Anyway, I've already ripped and restarted once. I've put in one lifeline so far on the second try, and I do believe it's time for another.

K is for Knit(t) Road

I've traveled on this road twice, on the way to fun knitting adventures and meet-ups with knitting friends both times. I always think about knitting, of course, and blogging. In a weird and goofy way, I become more grounded with every mile -- it makes me think, recharges and excites me. It's a fun little road! I resolve to travel this way more often.

Campanula & Old Shale

It's supposed to be a perfect day today, and I've gotta say that it's certainly starting out that way... although I was very wakeful in the early morning, so was up extra-extra early this morning (hope that doesn't bite me later). I took care of some online banking and bills, wrote a few paper checks, readied the laundry room for the morning delivery, expected between 8 and noon.

At 6:00 a.m. the phone rang -- unusual on a summer morning! During the school year (only one more to go!) that's a more common occurrence -- someone's car didn't start, can someone else get a ride, would you bring this or that, can you sub today. It was the delivery guy saying that they're ahead of schedule and "Is it okay if we're there in 30 minutes?"

Okay? OKAY???? Hell YEAH.

That's right about the time I'd be leaving for work and tonight I have a grrlfriend movie date right after work -- can I leave my new washer here all day and not get a load in 'til 9:00 p.m.?

No. I called work and someone was able to cover! w00t!! The maiden voyage (towels and good underwear) is nearly complete -- I'll throw in a second load (darks) and then run off to work.

Yay! I'm a happy camper, washer woman!!

Old Shale Baby Blanket

Here's progress on the Old Shale baby blanket.  It's going to be a wee bit narrow, perhaps more of a coverlet.  I think I've just tied on the fourth or fifth ball of yarn -- they're little and they go fast!

Row of Buckets on a Row of Pedestals

This is one of my favorite photos from Door County on Saturday. It's not what I was after, but I love it. I want to find a place to do something like this at home -- a row of stone pedestals, each topped with a metal pail used as a planter. Perhaps these were once posts to a proper fence -- there must be six or eight along on each side of the drive into this property -- but there is nothing between them now. Now they're part of an eye-catching, happy, rustic and overgrown summer jumble.

Ooops. "Did we say Monday?"

I'm wearing my last "good" pair of underwear today -- I know you know what I mean -- and yesterday I noticed that there was one clean bath towel left in the downstairs bathroom towel basket. The washer won't be delivered 'til tomorrow, after all, and who knows when.

The good news is that I've had to dig a little deeper in some other clothing piles and I'm wearing a pair of capri pants today that had earlier been sorted into the "a bit too tight" pile.

I have wound up all of the recycled "Goa" yarn and have begun Anna Bell's Old Shale Baby Blanket. Twice. I knit up a ball using 9s on Saturday night while watching Ladies In Lavender (in which Dame Judi Dench knits, among other things), but it was turning out tighter than I wanted, so started again on 10.5s and I like it much better. Possibly a progress pic tomorrow.


On Sunday I took a few things to a laundromat that Alison recommended as the best she's found (she alternates between doing laundry at home and at a laundromat).  Free wireless internet, XM satellite radio, lounge, comfortable seating, TVs placed/visible throughout, comfortable seating, an attendent on duty who is always actively engaged in a task.  It made me wonder if I shouldn't postpone the purchase of a new washer and patronize the laundromat for a while.

I did end up spending the rest of Sunday with finishing of the laundry -- drying, folding, putting away.  I had time for plenty of other things, but laundry definitely ruled the day.  Last night, I enjoyed the company of both Katie & Al at the 'mat as we all did our laundry together.  We had a great time -- Kate & I even snuck out for a quick trip to Goodwill during the wash cycle (I found a denim vest that I love for $1.99!) -- but it pretty much quelled any lingering thoughts I had about making the laundromat a habit.  We didn't get home until going-on-10:00.  There's no way I'm shooting a whole day/night to hell doing laundry -- even a clean and comfy hell, even with enjoyable company -- every week!

Spin cycle

Yeah, definitely lookin' forward to Monday.

Reclaimed Yarn 2

Kate's here for a 4-day weekend.  She's hangin' with Ali this morning while she gets some service done on her car.  I think we're going to Door County for the day tomorrow with Maddy.  Tomorrow may be my "row drive" with the camera -- we'll pass farms and farm fields a'plenty on the way, and Door County is studded with rows of trees in cherry and apple orchards, rows of sails and sailboats in harbors, rows of...

Road Trip

On Sunday, we're going to the Appleton Old Car Show and I can't wait.  It's been years since I've been to that show -- or any show!  I think the last car show I attended was one we stumbled upon in Albuquerque when we were there for my cousin's wedding -- and he's been gone for a few years already, so, yeah, it's been a while.  (Hm, rows of old cars... I may have to make a weekend of it.)

I also hope to get to the farmer's market tomorrow!  This is turning out to be my summer of the beet.  It started with the Balsamic Beet Salad that I made for both Mother's Day and the Fourth of July, and continues with Grilled Beets thanks to Gale (She Shoots Sheep Shots and also Grills a Mean Beet).  (Note to self:  Buy goat cheese at the market, too.)  An opportunity to grill 'em presented itself last night -- time was short, so I cooked them a bit in the microwave before tossing them on the grill.  They were good, but they definitely should not be rushed.

Happy Weekend!

Only for a moment...

Lg_washer No_washer

Ooops...then the moment's gone.

Isn't it pretty?  The defect was apparent right away, when the lights for "Normal" and "Cotton/Towels" on the dial (shown at right) did not illuminate and no cycle could be selected.

At least the old washer has been hauled off.

The delivery men were outstanding and it makes me feel "good" to know that they were surprised by this unfortunate turn.  "This never happens with LG," leading me to believe that it's a more common situation with other brands.  LG called within minutes of the delivery van's departure and the replacement will arrive on Monday, which is better than Wednesday (which was the delivery guy's best estimate).

Breathe in, breathe out, survey the laundry basket.  At least I found a stellar laundromat -- now I just have to figure out when I can get there and what is essential.  Rain is in the forecast every day for the next week, at least, so I may want to wash and dry rather than bring home a wet queue.

Stay tuned.

Update:  I keep forgetting to note my weight loss progress, which is slower than molasses in January but "progress" nonetheless.  I have either shown a small loss or remained the same at every weigh-in and the total as of yesterday is minus 4.4.  The first 10 seems real now, like it could actually happen, and I'm beginning to think "reward."

Rained_out_1 Rained_out_2

I was helping Mom pick out her first pair of spectacles yesterday (other than reading glasses, and other than the pair she had but didn't really need in grade school) when it started to rain!  Luckily, DH was around and he brought in my nearly dry hanks from the clothesline.  They weren't completely dry yet and (why don't I have a drying rack?) I had to get creative...


Reclaimed Yarn 1

This is Muench Yarns "Goa" used for a boatneck sweater for Alison about five years ago.  I think it's the main reason why I haven't knit a sweater-by-request for Madeleine.  Reason:  This may have been worn once.  The pattern is from Knitting Simple Sweaters from Luxurious Yarns, and it was luxurious (read: expensive) yarn -- sitting around doing nothing.  That dang Suede specified for the sweater that Maddy wants is expensive, too -- and for that particular sweater, it really has to be Suede.  Katie wears a couple of sweaters that I knit -- but I did not knit them specifically for her, nor did I knit them by request, she just liked them.  YAY!!

Okay.  I'm just having a little gripe.  I finished the frogging last night.  It got a little soak this morning and now it's hung out to dry.  It's hot and humid today, so hopefully it will dry.  I'm actually looking forward to knitting this up into "Old Shale."  This will be an exercise in lace knitting, in preparation for something more fine, serious, and substantial.

How about another pretty yarn photo?

Reclaimed Yarn 2

Yarn on a clothelines.  I'm loving the rows.  I need to take my camera for a drive in the country -- side-road country -- because I'm having a thing for rows of corn and rows of silos and rows of mown hay and rows of hay bales/balls and rows of outbuildings.


The hollyhocks never grow in rows -- on stalks, they do, but not in rows -- they're much too rambunctious!  They're not very tall this year, but I have quite a few.  They make me happy.

In other news, the new washer will be delivered today -- between 4:00-8:00 p.m.  WTF?  Never mind.  Whatever.  Never fear, there will be a full post forthcoming about the new washer.  ; )

The Log Cabin blanket is taking a vacation -- and it can, because no kid in Texas is in need of any sort of blanket right now!  I have determined that, at the very least, I will continue my funky border thing around the entire blanket -- whether I border it further is a possibility yet to be determined.  I think I need to continue what I was doing on the remaining two sides for balance, as Cathy-Cate suggested -- and to me it's more a balance of color than of design.

Log Cabin Blanket

I want to call this done and Sarah Peasley said that I could. A part of me says that I should continue all the way around, though, and a part of me even wants to -- the part that wants to see it, not the part that wants to do it. It goes pretty fast on enormous needles, I have plenty of yarn, and I'm not quite prepared for the next thing. What do you think? Is it done?

The next thing is a baby blanket -- Anna Bell's lovely Old Shale pattern -- using yarn that I'm reclaiming from a sweater I knit pre-blog for Alison. She may have worn it once. I have everything torn apart, ripped out and wound into hanks except for one sleeve.

The wind was knocked out of our sails a little bit last night upon learning that Maddy's best friend's mom died yesterday from complications during surgery.  I have so many feelings about that as a mother, daughter, friend, girl, woman...

Weekend Report

Hm, I've been down this road before...  It always seems to lead me to a good time.


PineknollMy day-long knitting adventure began with a visit to Pine Knoll Llamas in Clintonville on Saturday.  My brother and his wife gave me a gift certificate for Pine Knoll at Christmas and it was time to redeem.  I spotted that sign the first time I visited my brother's house and stopped to jot down the number; I'm so happy that I was finally able to stop for a visit.

Oh my.  Great people, beautiful llamas, a couple of alpaca, adorable kittens, a lovely farm with numerous outbuildings -- it was wonderful!  Kathy gave me a tour of her Wool Room and, eventually, being somewhat of a Nosy Nellie, I managed a little tour of their beautiful home, too.  An old farmhouse (1850s did she say? give or take 10 or so... it's old) that they've opened up in the most beautiful way -- retaining, paying homage to, almost celebrating the historic elements and materials in their home's construction.  Her husband is a cabinet maker and his skill, workmanship, and attention to detail is evident in every nook and cranny (at least all the ones I poked my nose into).  He also builds stuff for Kathy, such as a gorgeous triangle loom on a beautiful easel that I should have photographed.

I did photograph some llamas:

llama llama2

That shorn one is mine -- you can see her on the left in the previous photo and, in fact, she managed to include herself in nearly every one.  It was meant to be.  Kathy will combine her fleece with a little bit of additional red -- and spin me some yarn for a shawl.  Could it get any better than this?


Well, yes, I do believe it can.  From Pine Knoll Llamas, I took a left on Knitt Road and continued to the next part of my adventure.


I crashed Knitting Camp (with permission, of course)!  Sarah Peasley, Handknitter, wrote to me a few weeks ago that she'd be going to camp and was there a way we could possibly meet up.  Given various constraints and limitations, it seemed that the best thing would be for me to drive there for some after-camp socializing!  Oh, I'm so happy that I did.  I arrived at about 4:00 and spotted Sarah almost immediately.  There was hugging and laughing and more hugging.  I was able to peruse the camp marketplace, but was overwhelmed (as usual) -- it must be the fumes -- and while I picked up and fondled numerous items, I didn't buy a thing.  And now I wish I'd taken a moment and purchased a pair of earrings I'd looked at, some pottery, even some yarn...

Oh my goodness, Amy Detjen, Cheryl Oberle, Joyce Williams... Meg had already left for the day... knitters were mingling, shopping, making evening plans.  I met Sarah's roommate Linda, the duo known as Nancy & her husband (who gave Sarah a ride to camp), and a Blogless Sharon (ha! now I have one, too!).

We knit and chatted for a while in the "living room."  The Log Cabin adaptation baby blanket was all but finished and is nearly ready to send to Texas.  Sarah helped me determine that I could, indeed, call it done.  It's a cute and very funky blanket, but... YAY!  I'm ready to move on!!

Sarah, Linda, Sharon and I had dinner at Royal Tokyo Teppanyaki & Steak House (here's a spot-on review) which is housed in the old railroad depot pictured above.  Oh my (again).  It was an excellent meal shared with the most wonderful company.  (Thank you!)  After dinner, we walked back to the camp hotel to talk while I continued watching the most amazing parade of knits -- shawls, vests, sweaters, scarves.  A lace rib warmer vest that was the most awesome confection I've ever seen.  Truly.  And then, too soon, it was time to leave -- but given some of the things that transpired last week, Sunday was jam-packed and I had to make Knitting Camp a day trip.

Yeah, well, so now, you know how this one turns out... one can hardly visit camp without wanting to be there roasting marshmallows, too!!

Hanging geranium

It's a two-fer today. I love the color of this geranium. My next chair will be painted in something like this. I have the paint, it's coming up with the time that's challenging.

I'm off on an awesome wool-knitting-blogging adventure tomorrow. You wouldn't believe it if I told you. Happy Weekend!


I planted two clematis in one of the pergola planters last year. Only one survived and it's presented its first flower -- just one. Perfect flower.

Some day I want another regular, everyday clematis -- the ones with the small purple flowers, like grandma had.


TowelsYeah.  My day took a tumble down an unexpected path yesterday... with heavy wet towels... and underwear... and stuff.

It's quite possible that on Tuesday I was foreshadowing the dark days that descend when one's washing machine dies.  Maybe I had a premonition or something.

By the time I discovered that there was a major problem yesterday, Maddy had already thrown one sopping wet load into the dryer and started another in the washer.  I had to let it go, then experienced a little deja vu as I tried and tried and tried to get the damned thing to spin.  Nothing doing.

I looked up the previous service bill (April '07), opened the phone book to appliance repair, then decided that I was just not going to go down that road again.  I sure as hell wasn't going to pay $500 for another circuit board; further, I was not going to pay someone to tell me it's time for a bullet.  I'll call that myself!

I am finished with the Maytag Neptune!

The Maytag Neptune is done!

WasherI'm hoping I'll feel the higher love for my new washer, but I won't know for a week!  It's not like I do laundry every single day anymore, but knowing that I can't... !  I feel like I should ration underwear.

I finally made it to the laundromat at about 3:00 and had to run entire cycles, of course.  The clothes were clean, so I didn't really need soap, but it's weird to throw in a load and not add detergent.  Plus, the place is disgusting.  It's been years since I've been there; the previous owner was on-site most of the time, but the new owner obviously doesn't care.  I didn't make myself comfortable and didn't look around too much.  This was an in-and-out mission and I'll have to do some recon before the next.  Anyway, I was going to buy one box of soap and split it between the two washers, but couldn't figure out how to get coins into the slots of the vending machine!  There was another lady there and I told her that I felt like a complete idiot, but she came over and couldn't figure it out, either.  So, WHEW!  (Or then there were two.)  The front-loader had a window (my new one will, too) and I could see soap bubbles -- so what we ended up with were clothes that were washed once and rinsed and spun a bunch of times.  I have to say, they smelled VERY fresh and clean.

Surprisingly, I did manage to get a few other BIG things done yesterday, just not quite as many as I'd planned.  And absolutely no knitting.  I'd brought it to the laundromat, but I didn't want to sit down.


Unbelievable cuteness in da hood

Img_0043web Img_0059web

"Cakes are done, people are finished."  That's my mother's voice going through my head, quoting some doctor that she used to work with, each and every time I think about thinking, saying or writing about something that's been... completed.

"The sweater is done."

"I am finished with the sweater."

The most Wonderful Wallaby, minus the pouch and with a hood this time.  The gray and black are Mission Falls Cotton.  The colors for the truck area are a Cascade cotton that I'll have to look up.  The birthday sweater, just shy of a month overdue.  Not bad.

The sweater was inaugurated and tested during 4th of July during fireworks!

* * * * *

Sheesh.  I didn't mean to be so dramatic yesterday.  I'd been thinking all day about what to post.  A couple of things have put me in a melancholy mood lately, and then some other things -- the whole general state of things... the world, our country, the economy -- started to drag me down a bit, and then pretty soon it was like every time I opened my mouth or had a thought it just kept getting darker and darker.  One thing that started it was Maddy asking me for money for gas the other night.  I knew I didn't have much cash in my wallet, and I was right.  I had a $5.00 bill.  It's just depressing.  There have been plenty of good things happening -- stratospherically awesome goodness (when I allow myself to feel it and believe it and just let it be and NOT let it be overshadowed) -- but the evil thoughts were winning the battle yesterday.  I couldn't stop myself.

I felt compelled to post, for some reason, and decided to just do it right then before it got any worse -- I don't know what made me think of Steve Winwood and Higher Love... it's just that there must be -- we must aspire to -- a higher love in everything we do, all that we touch, you know... rise above, light the night, be strong?

You know?

One of those days

Mostly dark with glimmers of happiness, maybe a little hope on the horizon.  Maybe singing and dancing will help.  I love Steve Winwood.  I used to borrow the Mr. Fantasy album from the public library back in the day.  Over and over and over.  Heh.  Who could keep from falling in love with a small midwestern library like that?!  Arc of a Diver would be one I'd want on a desert island; it speaks to me.  And oh, how I love this song.  Have you ever read the lyrics?


Think about it, there must be higher love
Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above
Without it, life is a wasted time
Look inside your heart, I'll look inside mine
Things look so bad everywhere
In this whole world, what is fair?
We walk blind and we try to see
Falling behind in what could be

Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Where's that higher love I keep thinking of?

Worlds are turning and we're just hanging on
Facing our fear and standing out there alone
A yearning, and it's real to me
There must be someone who's feeling for me
Things look so bad everywhere
In this whole world, what is fair?
We walk blind and we try to see
Falling behind in what could be

Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Where's that higher love I keep thinking of?

Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Bring be a higher love
I could rise above on a higher love

I will wait for it
I'm not too late for it
Until then, I'll sing my song
To cheer the night along
Bring it... Oh bring it...

I could light the night up with my soul on fire
I could make the sun shine from pure desire
Let me feel that love come over me
Let me feel how strong it could be

Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love
Where's that higher love I keep thinking of?

I love being an aunt!

My sister grabbed my camera and snapped a few of the kids and me yesterday.  The little guy was after my glasses somethin' fierce, so I had to take them off.  The last picture taken of me without glasses had to be about 23 years ago, when I wore extended-wear contacts 'til Katie was a year old, but not since! Hm.

We had the most fabulous Fourth of July weekend -- or any kind of weekend -- EVER!! The weather was practically perfect in every way, the food was great and in just the right quantities and shared with all the right people -- well, not all the right people, but many of the right people. I got to cuddle and play and get jumped on and tackled and even a little bit wet since someone was alternating between the jumping/tackling (not so much the cuddling) and running through the sprinkler.

I bought paint for one of the new chairs, but never had the chance to crack the can. Maybe on Wednesday. I'll also be painting storm windows over the next few weeks, as DH has commenced with this year's house painting agenda.  I think I may have actually (inadvertently?) volunteered to do the windows!

(For the record: 4 lbs in 4 weeks.)

The beet goes on

Beetsw1 Beetsw2


2 lbs. fresh beets, with greens
1 red onion, slivered
4 oz. Gorgonzola cheese, cubed
2 oz. fresh basil, chiffonade(d)
1 cup Balsamic vinegar (use the real stuff, not "flavored")
salt & white pepper (or black) as needed
1 lb. baby lettuce

Don't wear white.  Leave a little bit of the tops on the beets and boil them in in their skins until cooked -- about 20 minutes (as you would boil potatoes).  Drain and rinse in cold water until cool enough to handle; rub skins and peel (as you would sweet potatoes).  Slice or dice for salad -- bite size.  Add onion, cheese, basil, vinegar, and season to taste.  Serve with a bit of baby lettuce.  Can be served immediately, or made ahead and chilled.

* * * * *

It was thrilling to use basil from my own kitchen garden!  Heh.  If three basil plants and one Italian parsley counts as a "garden."



Fourth2 Fourth3

Next to the kitchen, the porches the say "home" to me more than anything else.  I'm lucky enough to have two.  Look!  I found some company for the bright blue chair today -- two different styles of folding chairs that make me unreasonably giddy.  The hardware store was closed today, or you can bet there'd be other colors in my hair besides blue right now.

Mack and his family are coming up for a couple of days -- and his sweater is COMPLETELY finished.  I sewed up the seam last night and threw it in the wash this morning.  It's wrapped in tissue inside a "Happy Birthday" bag and everything!

I made Balsamic Beet Salad and Magic Brownies (the "magic" is black beans... not green leaves), and we'll have a good ol' American cookout tonight -- burgers, brats, baked beans.  I am looking forward to one of my favorite Fourth of July things tonight... The Boston Pops on TV.  Happy Independence Day!

My blue chair

Yesterday's inspiration -- today's obsession.

I only dragged my blue chair to my nearest neighbor's house -- onto the street in front, actually, and across the street from the first new construction on our block in about 100 years, about which I am not really a happy camper. I think I'm the only person in the 'hood who hasn't met the new homeowner -- who is over there every freakin' day and often at night (like dark night, not just evening), doing Lord only knows what, even when there was nothing but a hole in the ground.

Anyway, because of something to do with the gas line, I think, there are construction warning barriers surrounded by a plastic orange fence around a hole in front of my new neighbor's house and I could not resist. The sun was in a such wonderful spot, I dragged the chair back to my own yard and set it amongst the flowers in the front garden. I used to be a good gardener... I think one of those is called "Scottish bells" and the other is a sort of geranium that's spreading all through the garden and there are also plentiful weeds. I'd love to leave the chair out there, but I fear it would not long be mine.

I have a LOT of this paint left over and, while I do love the color, I want more colors... other colors... different colors.

Ringside at the rollercoaster


I bought some electric blue paint and slapped a new coat on a formerly dusty pink kitchen chair that's been holding towels in the upstairs bathroom. Man. It's a spindly kitchen chair from the '30s or '40s and what a pain in the ass to paint! Looks cool, though. I have to apply one more coat.

The color goes with absolutely nothing inside, outside, or around my house -- though the exterior window trim is in the area of those red pickets. It's vibrant -- a word that's never been associated with me; I have always been more... muted. It says, "LOOK AT ME!" without being yellow. (Yellow has it's place -- I love yellow -- but it's so often just wrong.)

Vibrant. Who'd a thunk it?

I wove in ALL the ends on Mack's sweater while knitting out last night. I forgot to bring yarn, though, so still have only to sew up the "small black" seam under the arm on one side.

I'm excited about starting something new. I'm thinking lace, probably a substantial scarf/stole. First, though, while I consider my stash and the possibilities, I must finish the kid blanket to send to Texas and will probably stash dive for suitable yarn for some squares for the "OFA girl" blanket(s).