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Happy Halloween!

Halloween6 Halloween4 

Halloween7 Halloween10 

Halloween9 Halloween8 

Tomorrow is the beginning of NaBloPoMo!  Halloween will be over and I'll have to take some other photos to post rather than relying on the cuties from the Halloween Party shoot.  I have a date next month with Cinderella and Miss Pink Kitty for Christmas portraits and cards, though, so you may see them again!

And there's always the boys.

And knitting!  I've finished the fronts and started the back of Maddy's sweater!

Perhaps I could find an "O" and think about catching up with my own ABC-Along.  Kudos to those who've carried on with regularity -- it must be up to "T" or "U" already!

I had to leave money for Maddy this morning and a note requesting that she go buy some Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters.  I can't believe I forgot to buy candy!!

It was so good to talk and laugh with friends last night, while enjoying a little wine and chocolate.  I tasted my first port wine -- and I liked it!  I liked it so much that I bought a bottle for Sister Weekend... it will go great with La Bete Noir (as always, thanks to Nova for that) or, if I don't get around to that, some good dark chocolate brownies.  We sampled seven wines altogether -- Pacific Rim Gewurtztraminer and Hope Estate Shiraz were other favorites.  Shazam!

Here's my big Halloween trick:  I gave all three of my kids quite a fright when I befriended them on Facebook!  Heh.  Maddy seemed especially freaked out, but she friended me back.  ; )

Level of function not good.  It's not that I don't have things to say.  I think it's that I have too much to say.  And to do.  In a good way.  Mostly.  It's probably best to take it slow.  So here's what I can say right now...

Today is my BFF's birthday.  We're going to a wine (and chocolate) tasting with two women we used to work with and haven't seen in AGES.  And by that, I mean years.  It's going to be so great to see them -- the excitement was palpable over the phone.  I have a feeling the wine tasting may be a prelude.

Tomorrow is Halloween!


Every pirate needs a little alligator pal.  ; )

A number of things on Tuesday

This week’s Ten on Tuesday theme is Favorite Horror Movies.  Well, I don’t think I’ve even seen 10 horror movies.  Let’s count…


1.  The Birds.  This was my first horror movie and it was a doozy, setting the tone for those that followed (very few) and for my reaction.  Scary, suspense, and thriller are all different than horror, but sometimes the line is thin – and sometimes it’s a matter of timing and circumstance.  I saw The Birds when I was 11 or 12.  It was a Saturday* night, I was babysitting – Mom & Dad’s bowling night (a different kind of horror show) – and I had strict instructions NOT to watch The Birds.  So, of course, I watched it, and let my charges watch it, too.  I don’t think any of them remember, but I was very tuned in and interested.  And scared!  I can tell you that the horror part, for me, was irrevocably driven home -- seared into my brain -- in a scene during which a man is shown for an instant, dead, sitting in a corner with his eyes pecked out.  There was a corner in our upstairs hallway that, for whatever reason, made me think of that scene  and creep me out, and so, for the longest time, I would leap, breathless, from the top step to my bedroom door -- where I’d be safe -- but only for a moment, because surely there was something/someone lurking under the bed – maybe with their eyes poked out -- and if not there, then certainly in the closet -- so then I'd have to leap again, from the doorway to my bed and curl up under the covers!  My hair is standing on end right now!!!


Whew.  Okay.  So then...


2.  Psycho.  I don’t remember when I first watched this movie.  I think the first few viewings were bits and pieces and it was a long time before I actually saw the entire movie in one sitting.  And then, because I'd already had it in small, manageable doses, it wasn't so scary and I could handle it.


3.  The Pit and The Pendulum.  It’s hard to resist a movie that’s a) “diabolical” and b) stars Vincent Price -- at least when I was a teenager.  I watched a lot of movies of this nature/genre when I was in high school on the Late Late Late Show.  (Aside:  My love for old musicals -- which some may consider horror -- was nurtured on the Late Late Show.)  We had a crappy black and white portable TV – stuff just wasn’t scary on that show – except maybe for The Galloping Gourmet.


4.  The Exorcist.  I saw this movie with my friend Patsy when we were in high school.  We drove to Superior just to see this movie and then back home – 30+ miles in the dark, thank goodness we were together – scared out of our minds.  Then I slept over at Patsy’s house and I had to sleep on the floor – my feelings about things under the bed have already been documented in #1.  That was a terrible night.  Actually, I don’t think I slept for a week after that move, which seems ridiculous now – if not then.


5.  The Silence of The Lambs I have not watched this entire movie.  I found it on commercial TV a few of years ago – tuning in somewhere in the middle – and recall pulling my legs in and under and up and hugging them close, getting all curled up in to a tense ball as I watched until a commercial came on.  I’d relax and unfurl during the commercial and then slowly curl up again while watching… over and over to the end.


That's pretty much it!


*My usual Saturday night TV fare, after the kids went to bed, was MANNIX!  I felt so mature.


The 'Hood of the Traveling Sweater

Yeah. Still no picture of the sweater I have in progress but haven't knit on in days. I've been swamped (in a good way) with other stuff and, truth be told, I can't come up with an inspiring, artful, creative, beautiful (or even just good looking) photo angle for a pair of plain old boring off-white stockinette sleeves (wooHOO!) and the beginning of the corresponding cardigan fronts (x2!).

The good news is that I can't believe how fast plain old boring off-white stockinette knits up, so maybe it'll be an FO B4 long and I can just skip the in progress part. It might seem like magic.

So. The 'hood. I've been meaning to post about this for a couple of weeks. This is Mack's Harry Potter sweater, knit late in 2005 (hence the "M"). Mack wore it a few times and Addison wore it a few times, too, but is wee and so neither wore it much before it was outgrown.

A good friend of my sister Ann's just had a baby boy whose name begins with "M"! Annie called me a wondered if:

a) it was okay to let other babies wear the sweater I made (duh) and
b) if it was tacky to offer the sweater on loan for the new baby.

I suggested that to soften the blow, she might form a documented Brother-/Sisterhood of the Traveling Sweater and each wearer would contribute a story/photo or something. That is something that this knitter could approve!

A Ten-on-Tuesday that I can sink my teeth into

Finally!  I tend to over-think these Ten Things, or get hung up on interpretation.  For some reason, the weekly Ten Things brings out my blogger perfectionism and I've been so busy (and/or distracted) that it usually seems just that much out of reach.  From the preview, I already know that next week -- 10 Favorite Horror Movies -- will be a bust; The Birds pretty much did it for me in the '60s, The Exorcist in '70s.  I'm not good with horror (except the occasional Vincent Price or Lon Cheney flick), but I'm pretty good with FOOD!


1.  Grilled Cheese Sandwich at unknown (and various) roadside diners.  When I was little, and while dad climbed the ladder, my family moved a lot.  We moved at least once a year from the time I was born until I was in third grade -- and sometimes more.  Movers would usually come and do the heavy lifting, but the bodies of a growing family (five kids by the time of the last two moves) needed to be moved from Point A to Point B by another method.  My parents always drove -- there were also vehicles to move -- and those moves were sometimes 1,000 miles, so it was easiest to do the driving at night.  Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (my standard order at a restaurant 'til I was in my teens) accompanied by a cold glass of Whole Milk at the counter of a diner during those moves was pretty much the extent of "eating out" during my childhood years -- so memorable, so toasty, and so gooey.  I also loved listening to late-night AM radio (the only kind there was), going through big cities, and watching the night sky for airport beacons during those drives.

2.  Cheerios with honey and milk a la Grandpa.

3.  Cantonese at the Melody Supper Club for my 8th birthday with Mom & Dad.  This was the first time -- maybe the last time -- I ever went out for dinner with only my parents.  I had numerous Shirley Temples at the bar and was quite full by the time dinner was served.  I was impressed with the whole thing -- the covered dishes on stands, the amazing (and alarming) quantity food, the presentation, the lights and drinks and music -- Oh!  The glamour of it all to a second grader (who didn't get out much)!

4.  Popcorn and Kool-aid (usually Lime) summertime dinner under the wee maple trees (shade!) in the boulevard at Schaefer Street with Mom and the kids.

5.a.  My first date with DH at the Lake Lytle Restaurant -- the 25th anniversary of which was last week -- during which we split an entree that I don't even remember (probably chicken), and after which, with a full moon overhead, we took a moonlit walk on the beach during low tide.  I was wearing cowboy boots -- I'm not sure why I had cowboy boots -- which didn't work real well in soft sand.

5.b.  Also, every dinner we had at The Riverhouse in Pacific City, Oregon; also while we were dating.  We went there often -- it was pretty close to home and we had lots of friends there.  The Riverhouse served me my last bowl of French Onion Soup, which I could not eat because of nausea due to pregnancy; in fact, I couldn't smell it and didn't even want to look at it -- and haven't since.  Too bad.  I always loved it!

5.c.  And, also, every Sunday morning breakfast at the Coastway Restaurant in Tillamook.  We went there every Sunday morning when I was pregnant.  We'd sit there and eat, read, talk -- hopeful and dreamy about the future and our family.  After Katie was born, we took her a few times, too.

6.  Ling cod, broccoli, and brown rice.  The dinner that DH prepared every single time he invited me over for dinner while we were dating.

7.a.  Family dinners at my grandparents'.  Now, when I was young, I was sometimes referred to as "Elephant Ears," so...  On those rare occasions when Grandma wasn't in a rush to clear the table, when family dinners lingered through dessert and coffee, when my siblings and cousins had long left the table, when the adults got to talking about all manner of things past, present and future... ah, that was heaven!

7.b.  Celebratory family meals, in general.  I was never one to dread a family get-together.  Let there be merriment!  Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries... they're all good.

8.  Dinner with DH at a WONDERFUL restaurant near Sea View, Washington, the name of which escapes me now -- which is terrible because we ate there twice -- but it may have had something to do with oysters.  It was fine, fine, fine, which is not really DH's thing, but it is mine and he indulges me now and then by accompanying me and refraining from licking the butter off of his knife.  I can't tell you what I ate, only that it was fine, fine, fine -- and there were fresh, warm rolls with dill, and my glass was always full.

9.  Wonderful meals prepared and shared with my sisters.  I think we're all closet foodies to some degree -- even if the individual focus is narrow.  I'm not sure where that comes from.  Looking forward to a little of that kind of sharing again next month.

10.  Every meal I've ever shared with friends.  Just a couple of weeks ago, I skipped knitting out to have dinner with a friend and former neighbor.  It had been a while, so we sat down and blah-blah-blahed -- the waitress came over three times before we even cracked the menu, and then there was more blah-blah-blah.  I think I had a salad, though I don't really remember because most of my memorable meals are such because of the people or circumstances.

Two princesses, one crown

Cinderella wants to know when Ariel is going to give it back...

While all my rowdy friends were cavorting around Rhinebeck on Saturday, I was shooting a kids' Halloween party. It was a lot more fun than I was even expecting -- I was fairly organized and the weather cooperated and the kids were cute as hell. Jack Sparrow (Mack), a skeleton that morphed into an alligator (Addison), Batman, Spidey, a couple of Tiger Princesses, Ariel, Cinderella, Anne of Green Gables and Madeline were in attendance, along with a giant Raggedy Ann (my sis, Ann) and a Wicked Witch (Mom) that didn't scare a single kid. The Witch/Mom was to read a story -- the kids all cuddled up and/or pulled up a chair and she ended up reading three! One of the kids told her that she was a good witch, and another said, "Aw, you're just a grandma!"

Knitting: I've been doing some -- took a break from editing photos to watch the Packer game yesterday. The sleeves of Maddy's sweater are finished and I've cast on for both fronts at the same time; I think there's one more decrease then a little bit to the waist, and then I start to increase a bit. I'll try to get a photo soon -- even though it's a few years old, no one has knit it that I know if (nothing in Ravelry).



With an arterial bridge under construction, my normal route from "downtown," when I have occasion to be there, has changed.  I take an old, very familiar street -- one with some history (LaPierre lived on that street) -- one I like a lot.  DH and I almost bought a house there 20+ years ago -- after we looked, the Realtor gave us info on a few similar properties and one of them was Our House (which I'd actually driven past a few months earlier but wrote off as surely being out of our price range) (obviously, I was wrong).

There's a small Labyrinth Garden near a church on that street.  I pass it, notice it, make note of it every time I go by.  I'm usually in a hurry, so -- every time -- I think to myself that I need to stop there someday.  It was 6:00 and the light was fading fast when I drove by last night and I felt a little guilty stopping only to photograph the beautiful color and texture in the surrounding gardens -- it kind of felt anti- what a labyrinth is all about -- but whatever.  We're having SUCH a beautiful autumn.  There were no labyrinth police there and, really, there's no right and wrong.


Now that we've been introduced and I'm a bit more familiar, I will definitely stop again to walk.

And take pictures.

Happy Weekend!  My body will be up VERY early to go to Madison tomorrow.  It will be a blast -- the cutest little kids in the whole wide world, wearing Halloween costumes, having a PARTY, going on PARADE!  Let's not forget all the various TREATS!

Oh, my spirit will most definitely be in Rhinebeck cavorting with my friends.  Let me know if you feel it.

I've made my bed...


...and it isn't anywhere near this one (nor is it as well appointed).  Originally posted here, this is our bed at The Benjamin in NYC after I availed myself of the pillow menu for a couple of nights.  It was my second-ever trip to NYC in June 2005, the first that was nearly all for fun -- wait, I think it was ALL FUN!!

I went to NY again in October that year to go to Rhinebeck, as I did the following year, and again the year after that.  I'm not going this year.  That's a major mistake, I think; a big miscalculation several months ago when I decided that I'd be okay with that.  I'm not.  But I made my bed, and so...

I'll be very busy at a kids' Halloween party on Saturday to keep my mind off of things.  Chocolate and candy corn will help.  It won't be the same as Artichokes French or a Chicken Pot Pie... wearing my nonexistent Rhinebeck sweater (but I woulda), sitting under red maples, watching the people and llamas and spinning wheels go by...

Hugs to all.

A woman with reservations

So, I'll be celebrating my 50th birthday in less than a month.  I've actually been "celebrating" in many ways for the better part of this, my 50th year -- as well as grasping, realizing, comprehending, honoring, encouraging, announcing, appreciating, affirming (among other things) -- and I expect to carry on into my 51st and well beyond.

You may have noticed.  I've come a long way, baby, but there are many more places to go...

It's been quite a year -- exhilarating and terrifying, public and private, well thought out and spontaneous, articulated and kept secret -- or not even...  often I'm just plain speechless. Over these past few months, I've felt stronger, more powerful, and more in control than I ever have.  I've allowed myself to dream and gone with my gut more than I ever have before.  And sometimes it gives me a tummy ache...  because I've also never felt more scared or alone, less confident or assured -- not that confidence and assuredness were ever strong points to begin with.

Anyway.  In a sort of "It's Good To Be Queen" way, I've summoned my sisters for a mid-November Sister Weekend to celebrate my birthday.  It's been ages since we spent a weekend together -- something we used to do with some regularity.  They could hardly deny me -- in fact, I didn't give them a choice other than which weekend -- and the anticipation x4 is testament to how overdue we are.

I found a little place west of Madison that we'll have all to ourselves and I'm looking forward to someone baking me a cake.  We will likely visit Shake Rag Alley; maybe House On The Rock; Taliesen would be fun... don't know if we'll have time.  I need to spend some time relaxing, too.  We will definitely spend some time enjoying the current textile display by Knitter's Treat and dinner at The Dining Room at 209 Main.  There are some shops in the area that are on my list and I'm beginning to take a close look at my route and what I could bump into on the way.

* * * *

Yesterday's post was not only short, it was a little disjointed.  Here are a few photos of the young junior arborist-in-training:

Arborist-in-Training There's work to do... New duds

Amazing, no?!  I have no idea where Bill found a harness small enough for a 3yo -- there's lots of room to grow!

* * * *

I had to rip back the Maddy's Sweater sleeve swatch -- not all the way, but with only 5-6 inches remaining.  I was working directly from the pattern in the magazine, which I didn't want to mark up, so hadn't circled all of the numbers specific to the size I'm making and, sure enough, I missed one.  I'd made only 4 increases at each side when I should have made 7 -- a difference of a half-dozen.  Huh.  Funny how that works.

Partial evidence

Mack is only partial evidence of the great weekend. I don't recall whether I mentioned that I accompanied him on his first ferris wheel ride a couple of weeks ago. He was very brave and I was quite happy to have him as a distraction and buffer to my own height-related panic. He was very excited: "Look how far we can see!"

Bill, a family friend who is also an arborist, came to town over the weekend, also, to trim a tree for Mom. He brought along a tiny little saddle which, once it settled 'round Mack's hips and legs, did not come off. Well, hold on tight!! Mack was winched right up and was swinging around in the treetop, as well as just swinging on a nice, long rope.

Saturday night's swatch quickly became Sunday night's sleeve. It has been so long since I've knit plain ol' stockinette, I forgot how quickly it goes! I'm going to have to re-examine the sleeve cap tonight, however, since I had about a half-dozen fewer stitches than I was supposed to in the end, but hey... I'm fine with that.

Leafy walk up

Another favorite from yesterday's photo walk. We are having one last hurrah this weekend in terms of the weather! I was shedding extra layers and wool socks before we even hit the trails yesterday morning, and today it'll be even better/warmer.

Knitting: I garter stitched a ball of bulky Encore into a square baby hat with little tassels at the corners the other night. I've had some false starts with a cowl, a shawl and another shawl thing, along with those nagging thoughts of a couple of Christmas things, but last night I started swatching the KIM for Maddy's long-awaited sweater.

Wednesday -- the weather edition

Pink Sky

It was another sunrise worthy of stopping on the way to work yesterday.  There has to be some benefit to getting up at the butt-crack of dawn, and I guess this is it.  That's a small canal and a papermill in the foreground -- a very old paper mill.  My house was built by a muckity-muck from a different paper mill -- there used to be a bunch.  There's a big hotel in the area named "Paper Valley," and a high school sports team called the "Papermakers."  Sadly, the only remaining mill in the Papermakers' town closed about a month ago.


That "red sky at morn" foretold the yucky weather that came later in the day.  I think the blah backdrop of the sky and the rain made the colors in the trees pop a little more.

It's yucky today, too.

We have a guest arriving this evening from Oregon -- the daughter of a college friend of DH's who is visiting a local university campus and will be staying with us until Saturday.  I'll be doing some cleaning today!

I have finished both the Red Scarf and My Red Shawl -- both need ends woven in and blocking, but that hasn't stopped me from wearing My Red Shawl on some of these chilly evenings.  I'll get to that soon.  Maybe today.

My knitting thoughts, if not my needles, have turned to Christmas.  In fact, I wiped out my Ravelry queue the other day and started adding holiday knitting -- I've even been somewhat realistic about it.  My knitting production, in general, has definitely taken a hit lately, though.  So who knows?


It's freezing!  It was a very frosty drive to work this morning.  I was expecting to see some, surprised at how much!  (TG) It's Friday!!!

There are widespread frost* warnings for tonight.  I've been wearing wool socks all week, with scarves and shawls wrapped 'round my neck and shoulders.  Actually thinking of knitting more socks... even though I've been pretty much resigned to the fact that I don't really knit socks and that what little sock yarn I have will have to settle for warming necks rather than feet.

My toes are saying otherwise...

We'll be buttoning up the house this weekend -- mostly tomorrow.  My favorite backyard ash tree is completely naked.  It's time.  We'll exchange screens for storms, replace some weatherstripping, take the air conditioners out.  DH hates it, but I think I'm going to put window film on some of the windows again.  I haven't done it in years, but it makes such a difference -- especially on the ENORMOUS picture windows.  Those huge panes of glass just radiate cold.

Happy weekend!  Stay warm!  I'm ready for Indian Summer now!

*Heh.  I originally wrote "Frosting warnings."  Let's eat CAKE!


My maternal grandfather died when I was six. Let's see, when I was six we were living in Highland Park, Illinois -- we'd already lived in Milescabenverontolouis Falls (Milwaukee + Escanaba + Denver + Toronto + St. Louis + Park Falls) and Tolumbusland Park (Toledo + Columbus + Cleveland + Highland Park). Most of them were far away from central Wisconsin, so I did not spend a lot of time at their house.

It's Grandpa's birthday today -- I'm pretty sure it's #102 (haven't had the genealogy files out in a while). Grandma died when I was only eight; she'd have been 100 last month. They were both only 58. Even being so young, I still have vivid memories blips about them and, especially, being at their house.

--The big dining room set -- table, chairs, buffet -- as well as grandma's treadle sewing machine that positively filled the very small dining room. That cherished set was a wedding gift from his parents. My mom has it now, though she cut the legs off the buffet in the late '60s. I dusted that set every third or fourth Saturday of my youth (when "dusting" came 'round by my name on the weekly cleaning rotation).

--Grandma's sewing machine has been my very sturdy night table for the past 21 years.

--Toast flying out of the toaster. Jumping, leaping, rocketing...

--Honey on Cheerios. The scent of honey always zings me right back to their kitchen, sitting at the table having breakfast with grandpa. The scent of honey combined with crisp, oat-y Os is near rapture; this is how I know about him and how much I must have loved him.

--Standing between the couch and wall, "doing" Grandma's hair (it was strawberry blonde and very fine), the old bubble bath container, a covered glass duck dish, held the bobby pins, of course.

--The telephone niche next to the kitchen doorway.

--Grandpa's overalls, grandma's dresses and aprons. They were both raised on farms and Grandpa wanted to be a farmer, but it didn't work out. I wore one of Grandma's old housedresses as a nightgown when I was in high school -- soft, old cotton in a wonderful, nostalgic style. I wore it out.

Memories are something, aren't they? They don't ever seem to grow old.

Sunset - October 1st

It was a good day, especially since I was a little down in the dumps yesterday. Ali has an opportunity about which I'm going to be rather vague, but it's really huge for her. She and I have both been working so hard on things these past few months -- her thing, my thing, things together, things apart, things for, with and to others -- and today was a big day for her thing. The economy going all to hell right now is definitely not a good thing and left me rather deflated about what might transpire at an important meeting today, but it went well -- really, really well -- and I am hopeful. Ali gained support today from someone very influential and, by golly, things just might work out. There's still a lot of work to do and more influential people to win over, but if there's one thing that girl has going for her, it's determination... and a whole bunch of other things.

I drove to Beaver Dam this afternoon to pick up DH who I'd left in Madison on Sunday. He did a little carpentry at my sister's, then spent three days as artist-in-residence at her middle school. Our weather was "unsettled" this afternoon and the sky was incredible. I left in a hurry, of course, so didn't have my camera -- and no knitting! It's the knitting that helps keep me sane when DH drives. I had to talk a lot and watch for rainbows instead.