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This >< Close

I'll kitchener the toe before going to bed tonight!

DH and I were invited to a friend's for dinner tonight -- lamb stew was the main course. Unfortunately, it's just a bit down the road and we're in the middle of our first Winter Storm Warning tonight!

The sixes

Tagged by Terry, I've seen this meme around the past couple of days and considered nabbing it from Sandy, myself!  Thanks, T!

--Go to your sixth picture folder and pick the sixth picture
--Pray you remember the details


I may have already posted this one!  This was taken on May 12th, when I was watching the boys in Madison for a day.  Addison had a terrible cold and the original of this photo has a lot more snot and boogers.  However, I loved that the sparkly eyes and that wide open mouth were just so Addison, so I chose that photo when I needed one for a project to practice some Photoshop techniques -- snot and booger removal among them, but also black and white conversion, some dodging and burning, toning, and other enhancements.  Oh my, the things you can do!  Anyway, it's become one of my all-time favorites -- instant mood-improver -- it's even been printed and framed!!

Now, for the tagging part.  I don't tag much anymore, but this one is so easy for people to do and I'm curious, so...

  1. Celia.  She's had some wonderful travel adventures over the past few years... or we might get a fun pair of pajamas!!
  2. kmkat.  She's coming to town for some knitting, um (what happened to my strike-out thingy?), I mean for a conference in a couple of weeks.
  3. KarenJoSeattle.  Might be Washington, but could also be Oregon or California.
  4. Carole.  Mmmmm.  Maybe more pie.  ; )  Lovin' the leaves on that pumpkin pie!
  5. Cathy-Cate.  Whatcha got?!
  6. Ann.  You must have something to blog about, woman.  A pug??  ; )

I'm off for a quick shoot this morning so I can finish up the last of the Christmas cards, then another quick visit with Mack & Addison before they head back home today, then MAYBE I'll take some photos of these stupid slipper socks!  I started project pages on Ravelry, even, to nudge myself to get it done!

Happy Weekend.

Bird is the word

Recipe for Thanksgiving success a la some local kingergarteners:

  • I would get a turkey at W**-***t for 8 cents.  Then you put it in the stove and wait for it to dry inside because it is wet and droopy.  Then we put it in the oven until it gets hard like a rock.
  • I am thankful that my dad builds stuff, and that I clean up my toys before I take another thing out.
  • I am thankful for my teacher, my mom and dad, my friends, and my dog we used to have.
  • I would get a turkey in the woods and bring it home in a wheelbarrow.
  • My favorite part is the wishbone.

These were much funnier last night -- bust-a-gut funny.

Work was so s-l-o-o-o-o-o-w-w-w-w-w today.  I cleaned my desk and the other desk and the fax machine and the copy machine and the printer and my keyboard and all my in/out/hold bins (in a big sink full of water and with a toothbrush, even) and my phone and the calculator and inside the stapler and tape dispenser and my pen/paperclip/scissors/ruler/stuff holder.  It's amazing how dirty those things get.

The best part is the laughing

...and the playing with the kids.  And I've done plenty of both the past couple of days.

Last night I did a quick run-through of the local paper and found an story about a local kindergarten teacher and the questions she asked her students about Thanksgiving... where do they get the turkey, how is it cooked, what else do they eat, where do they go, what are they thankful for... I was trying to read it out loud to Katie and Maddy and I was laughing so hard that I had to stop.  Katie took over and she didn't fare any better.  Then I had a tummy ache (in a good way) and went to bed.

Tonight I have a tummy ache (in a good way) from turkey and some so-so chestnut stuffing and also so-so spicy-hot curry broccoli salad and corn pudding and pineapple-jello salad and seven-layer salad and mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes and the most awesome cranberry sauce (port wine as an ingredient) and pumpkin pie and apple pie.

I knit for a while (I've turned the heel on the second sock of the pair for me!) and knocked off a few more recorded episodes of Boston Legal, and then I went to bed.

The best laid plans and all that

Well, it would have worked if I lived in any other television market but Green Bay's.  You see, while Monday Night Football is an ESPN thing, not everyone around here has ESPN or knows someone who has ESPN or knows of a sports bar that broadcasts ESPN 24/7 (including Monday Night Football games), so the MNF football games featuring the Packers are also broadcast on a local network.

Go ahead, guess which one!

Yeah.  ABC, former home of MNF and current home of Dancing With The Stars.  But you know what?  We're good.  I checked the line-up and I could see that the DVR got the message that DWTS would be broadcast at 12:35 a.m. or some such ridiculous time -- right after the football game, the local news, Nightline, and Jimmy Kimmel.

Apparently those signals are apt to be crossed, though, and I believe the game may have gone a bit late (-- but an hour?  I watched most of that game -- and perhaps this sad tale would be more palatable had the Packers won the game, since I have been known to cheer GO PACK GO on occasion --), but I didn't think it ran that long.

Whatever.  When I queued up DWTS this morning to enjoy over coffee, I got the tail end of Nightline, instead, followed by all of Jimmy and then a provoking little bit of non-HD DWTS.

Okay, so here's how pathetic I am.  I called the local ABC affiliate and complained.  I wouldn't have done it if it wasn't THE FINAL!!  For crying out loud.  The woman on the phone assured me that I could watch the entire episode online -- and not just the highlight reel (yes, I asked).  In fact, at that time of the day, I could not.  I tried, believe me, I tried all the various ways short of serving my computer up to the Cookie Monsters on a silver platter.

So I sent the local affiliate an email, too.

It did occur to me after a while that perhaps last night's recorded episode of Boston Legal was... and, indeed it was... another little bit of DWTS (also non-HD).

And then, at about 2:00 or so, I noticed that last night's episode was available for online viewing.

Whew!  So now I'm all caught up and ready for TONIGHT!!  I'm thinkin' Brooke, Lance, Warren -- 1, 2, 3.


I love this bear. He's about four years old and is very well loved. He wears it well.

I worked like a dog last night and this morning, and will be taking the night off tonight and knitting -- thanking both my lucky stars AND the electronics gods for the invention of the DVR. What in the world would I have done back in the olden days when the Green Bay Packers played on Monday Night Football at the SAME TIME as Finale Day One-of-Two of Dancing With The Stars?!?!?

Okay, if you must know... I love Warren Sapp for the same reasons everyone else does -- he lights up the floor and is a big ol', well loved teddy bear -- even though he's not a very good dancer. I love Brooke Burke because she IS a good dancer -- I love her natural talent and hate her (in a good way) for looking like that after giving birth to... how many kids? One, two, ten, it doesn't really matter. I hate her. ; ) And I love Lance Bass because he has worked so hard, pushed the boundaries, and has made the most improvement (IMHO) of all -- and I just never forgot his story about being relegated to the back row because he was the worst dancer back in the boy band days. I don't think he'll ever have to worry about that again. (I hope Lacey Schwimmer stays on DWTS, particularly in light of Julianne Hough's recently announced departure.)

Milkweed pods

I had a great time in Madison! It was very quick, very busy, very productive, very delicious -- with an unexpected focus on food.

Katie & I watched the boys while my sis & BIL went out for dinner at Lao Laan-Xang, and then Kate & I went out to Dobhan -- both are in the Willy Street area on Madison's east side, both are delicious by all accounts!

I was awakened at 7:00 a.m. on the dot this morning by Mack -- something tells me he was held off 'til the big hand hit the 12 -- holding a tangled mass of leftover Misti Alpaca Bulky yarn, asking me if I could knit something. Aren't kids adorable? After he played with the yarn for a while -- winding it 'round and 'round the kitchen island -- I took it upon myself to untangle it and wind it into a ball. Let's just say that that particular yarn seems to take some abuse and handle it well. I stuck that ball in my pocket and maybe it'll become something.

My sister made a wonderful brunch this morning with two different quiches and whole grain pancakes, and then I ran off to my photo shoot. I made a quick stop with Kate at Lakeside Fibers -- I didn't buy any yarn, but I did have a great Maple Cream Soda in the cafe! A small bowl of leftover fish chowder at my sister's had me set for the road and the drive home.

And now I've got to get to work!!!



GB-Vacant We were in Green Bay last night for the opening of the 64th Art Annual at the Neville Public Museum.  DH had two pieces accepted into the show -- a small graphite drawing, Giant Shorebreak No. 2, and Low Tide, a large acrylic painting.  Good friend and fellow co-op artist at Main Street Art Works in Hilber, Bonnie de Arteaga, won the top prize!  w00t!

Shameless plug which I've hardly ever done in over four years of blogging, but it's tough out there, ya know?  I recently updated DH's website, Oceans and Dreams, and while I have some fine tuning to do (i.e., he has better images or can I tweak this or that), check it out.  The limited-edition prints -- Beaches & Paths and Porches & Interiors -- are 25% off and shipped at no cost through the end of the year.  Art makes a nice gift.  /plug

Anyway, the photo above shot from right outside the museum last night, looking over the river.  Can you tell that there's some ice floating on that there river?  Brrrrr.

After the museum closed, we went around the corner to Vacant Gallery of Art -- a temporary gallery at 114 S. Broadway which, four weeks ago, was a vacant building.  The place was hoppin' and they were showing some good and interesting work.  I don't know how long it will last...

I was up bright and early and was the first one in the stylist's chair for a haircut this morning.  I'm waiting for laundry to finish and then heading down to Madison overnight.  I've a photo shoot with a couple of families tomorrow morning, then back home to  work and enjoy Monday and Tuesday off.


With all three of my offspring working as coffee-slingers -- two of them in the place that matters in terms of this mug -- I could not believe my eyes when I saw it first in a post at Margene's and then at Lynne's and still I didn't have one of my own.

That was corrected right quick, as evidenced above.

My new favorite non-coffee drink, particularly as winter starts to settle in around here (man, it's COLD outside -- "feels like" 2F the radio weather guy said this morning!) and as I recover from an early-season cold, is steamed lemonade (I like mine diluted with water just a wee bit) in which are steeped two bags of Tazo tea. I'll be trying some different combos. I like it with mint, but last night it was Wild Sweet Orange and Zen. Shaz-Om.

I started Addison's Christmas stocking last night. Finally!!! I charted his name while hangin' with the sisters last weekend. It should go fairly fast, especially as I'm staring at a 4-day weekend beginning tomorrow! I'll work on Wednesday, have Thanksgiving off, and work again on Friday, then the weekend off. Holy crap. Then it'll be December!!

Stone steps

This is the second set of mysterious steps I've photographed this fall -- both of them leading upwards. I hope that means something good!!

This was right outside of Maple Wood Lodge -- visible from the house. There was a small, low area with a patio, picnic table and grill, surrounded by this little crescent-shaped incline that was full of wildflowers (some may say "weeds") -- yesterday's milkweeds were shot from the top of those steps. There is a very large clearing at the top of the steps, on the far side of which are a volleyball net, a tetherball pole and a swing.

The outside firepit is a little ways off to the left from here. We enjoyed all of our fires in the indoor fireplace, thankyouverymuch, with jammies on and knitting or something* in-hand. Annie bought some bulky alpaca on Saturday and whipped out a quick hat for Mack while we watched a movie that night!

*A magazine, a glass of port, a plate full of chocolate tart.


Ten on Tuesday is taking place on Random Wednesday this week, which actually started off feeling more like a Monday when I locked my keys (and everything else I had with me) in my car upon arriving at work this morning.  I don't usually work on Wednesday.  Yeah, that's it.

10 Things You Are Thankful For This Year

1.  I am thankful for my family, of course; that they are so diverse and yet still manage to get along and tolerate each other... usually... to share a holiday meal, at least... and an occasional weekend away.

2.  I am thankful that I have a job, a roof over my head, food in the 'fridge, clothes on my back and a car in the garage, and I hope it stays that way.  Over the past week or so, I watched the business across the street close up, paint over the sign, line up all the trucks, and practically board up the windows -- so this particular bell is jingled a few times a day.

3.  I am thankful that I can knit things to keep myself and those I love warm and cozy -- and that most of them appreciate it more than I could ever have hoped.

4.  I am thankful for the support of my family and friends as I venture out in new directions, explore new territory, find myself.  Oooh, that just came out... I never really put it like that before.  Find myself.  Huh.

5.  I am thankful that I can laugh -- easily, loud, ass on or off -- and sometimes make other people laugh.

6.  I am thankful that my cold is getting better.  I often get off of work early on Tuesday, and last night it was super early, which was great because I was able to take two broken purses to Ye Olde Cobbler Shoppe for repair before they closed.  (Honestly, it's like stepping into another time.)  I am also often the first knitter to show up for knitting out on Tuesday, and can end up being alone for a while -- which is fine, except that last night, I just knew I'd fall asleep if I had to sit there alone for any length of time.  That seemed like a signal that I should take care of myself and just go home.  Ya know?

7.  I am thankful for Tom Sturgis Pretzels and Skippy Super Chunk Peanut Butter.

8.  I am thankful that I've put myself out there a bit more and have made some nice friends through book club, knitting group, and blogging (of course!).

9.  I am thankful that the highway construction that closed a big chunk of the main road through town is finally over!

10.  I am thankful that I live in a place that is blessed with a hometown newspaper, published twice a week.  There was a story in one recent issue of the newspaper about Nick Collins -- he plays Safety position for a local team called the Green Bay Packers -- and his visit to a school in our city, talking to kids about focus and working hard.  After his presentation, the kids thanked Nick by performing a reenactment of his interception and 59-yard return for a touchdown during a recent game against the Vikings.  There are just SO many things to love and be thankful for in that!!

Frosted apple

Frosted apple First snow

There was an apple tree right behind Maple Wood Lodge that still had some big red apples on the branches.  I took some photos late on Friday when I was checking out the place before my sisters arrived, but the ones on Sunday -- with the addition of snow -- are better!

If I ever take pictures of my knitting again, you'll see a finished pair of Log Cabin Socks (you can see a bunch on the Flickr group for Handknit Holidays) for my BIL's Christmas present, and the start of another pair for ME!  My BIL's are knit of Cascade Pastazza in gold and I finished them on Friday night -- actually, not completely finished 'til I bought a little green Chibi at La Bella Vita Fibre Gallery on Saturday so I could kitchener the last toe and weave in the ends.  (That website hasn't been updated in a while -- there's new ownership or management, and they've moved up the street -- cute shop, as are all of the shops in Mineral Point.)  Mine are in the same yarn but in a dark, burnt, bittersweetish orange.  I just turned the heel on the first one.  It was 19F this morning -- I need slipper socks!  They do knit up fast.  I will be doing a third pair before Christmas for one of my older nephews.

My cold is definitely not gone.  Is it naptime yet?  Man, I am tired!!

Food. Glorious food.

IMG_5125-web   IMG_5128-web 

IMG_5129-web   IMG_5127-web 

One of the highlights of this Sister Weekend -- and the main reason why I chose the location that I did -- was because I wanted to go to The Dining Room at 209 Main in Monticello.  The Dining Room landed on my radar a couple of years ago because I learned of the featured textile displays -- which are usually, but not always, related to knitting -- and Knitters' Treat connection.  I try to check the website regularly to see what's on display -- and also to check the current menu.  It was not difficult to determine that the food alone would be a good enough reason to visit.  This weekend, with the addition of sisters for company, made a trifecta!

The drive from Maple Wood Lodge in Mineral Point took about an hour, and it was just beautiful.  That area of the state is hilly and picturesque, and dotted with farms.  We had no difficulty at all in finding our destination -- it certainly helps when the address is a part of the name.

I did not take photos of the knitting on display, but we all oohed and aahed, and I talked all about Elizabeth Zimmermann and Knitting Camp and Surprise sweaters and vision.  My sisters each have some knitting knowledge and measure of experience, but none of them are or have been in too deep, and the whole trip to eat and see knitting on display Monticello was definitely to appease me; thankfully they were both amused and well fed in return.

I did take photos of the food.  The lighting was not good, so I had to play around with them a bit.  I had grilled beef tenderloin filet with worcestershire glaze, blue cheese cream, fresh asparagus, and mashed potatoes (top right).  Annie had cornmeal and habanero crusted pork cutlets with poblano cream sauce, cheddar grits, and sweet pepper tortilla salad (bottom left).  Sharon and Karen both had pan-seared salmon filet with roasted garlic cream sauce, seared spinach, parmesan gnocchi, and saffron aioli (bottom right).  We were all delighted with our dinners, which were beautifully presented and simply delicious -- there were a lot of mmm's while we dined -- and portioned perfectly.

I'm definitely going to find a reason to go back.

Landscape of a Wisconsin Weekend


Friday afternoon -- up the drive a bit from Maple Wood Lodge.


Sunday morning -- upon reaching the prairie, hiking from the lodge.


Late Sunday afternoon -- along Highway 26 between Waupun and Rosendale; the most sun we saw all weekend.

Due to technical difficulties, I missed a NaBloPo2Mo day yesterday because, due to technical difficulties, there was no internet access of any kind at the lodge.

I had a GREAT time with my sisters, though three out of four of us suffered greatly with the sniffly noses, scratchy throats, and froggy voices.  We didn't let that stop us much, sharing cold and sinus meds and cough drops amongst us, but we were perhaps a little less lively.

Now that I'm home, I am officially exhausted -- and will be back with more tomorrow.

Shades of grey and muted colors

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Balanced, Secure, and Realistic.

10 Impressionist, -3 Islamic, 3 Ukiyo-e, -13 Cubist, -9 Abstract and -8 Renaissance!

Impressionism is a movement in French painting, sometimes called optical realism because of its almost scientific interest in the actual visual experience and effect of light and movement on appearance of objects. Impressionist paintings are balanced, use colored shadows, use pure color, broken brushstrokes, thick paint, and scenes from everyday life or nature.

People who like Impressionist paintings may not always be what is deemed socially acceptable. They tend to move on their own path without worrying that it may be offensive to others. They value friendships but, because they also value honesty, tend to have few really good friends. They do not like people who are rude and do not appreciate the ideas of others. They are secure enough in themselves that they can listen to the ideas of other people without it affecting their own final decisions. The world for them is not black and white but more in shades of grey and muted colors. They like things to be aestically pleasing, not stark and sharp. There are many ways to view things, and the Impressionist personality views the world from many different aspects. They enjoy life and try to keep a realistic viewpoint of things, but are not very open to new experiences. If they are content in their lives they will more than likely be pleased to keep things just the way they are.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy

Interesting... found at Angie's.  Did you wish her a happy birthday yet?

* * * * *

To conclude the official celebration of my birthday, I'm off this afternoon to reconnect with all three of my sisters at once -- just us -- on a long-overdue "Sister Weekend."  We've got a little "lodge" on 26 acres all to ourselves for the weekend.  The weather promises to be crappy, but I'm determined to get out there and hike a bit -- with my camera.  A visit to Shake Rag Alley is on our list; yarn shopping, for sure, as Annie wants to start a crocheted hexagon afghan a la the latest Garnet Hill catalog; dinner tomorrow night at The Dining Room at 209 Main and viewing of the Current Textile Display, about which I'm almost more excited than anything.  Still suffering a little, so if we do nothing else but sit around and knit/crochet/quilt, that would be fine by me.  We'll see.

I'll be checking in, though it may be dial-upped (and, therefore, short), because a NaBloPo2Mo day without a blog post is like... not going to cut it.  Have a great weekend, everyone!

It was like my whole blog flashed before my eyes!

A big chunk of it did!  Weirdness.  I subscribe to all of my own blog feeds, mainly to keep an eye on if and when they're updated.  This afternoon I logged on to see that one of my feeds in Bloglines had 200 unread posts!  There were many (but not all) from my first year of blogging -- and I have to say, it was kind of cool seeing it that way..

* * * * * *

The lame-o first post.

The results of a quiz for my second post (that didn't take long!).

My first knit-along -- Audrey!  In Rowan Calmer!!  Oh, the angst.  I recall being empowered by Bonne Marie to finally rip that darn thing, as it was COMPLETELY the wrong shape and type of sweater for my body... but, oh, that cute neckline, the Vespa dreams.  Ciao, Audrey.

The Calmer as it transformed into the still unfinished Alice Starmore-designed Cromarty.

St. Brigid!  Meatheads!  Secret Pals!  Thrummed Mittens!

My first contest when I celebrated my first birthday on the blog.  That was a fun one!

The girls and their various attempts at knitting (some successful, some not).

Some sewing!

My baby sister's first pregnancy.

100 Things!

My first colorwork -- North Star Mittens!  Katie still wears those -- took them with her to England, even -- and gets lots of compliments, and loves telling people that her mummy made them!  Yay!

A 14" red-haired ponytail donated to Locks of Love.

Plumbing repairs!  Remodeling!  Gardening!

The lovely Miss Dashwood... and a Mister... and Opptuna.

Saying good bye to Salem Slim Light 100s.

The Cold Turkey Chicken Viking Hat!

My first Midwest Masters Seminar -- classes with Lizbeth Upitis, Joyce Williams, and Lily Chin.

* * * * * *

I've often thought about publishing the blog in book form at some point -- maybe not every post, but many... most, some, more than a few.  I printed and bound all the entries I wrote when Michael was in the hospital after his accident, which he loved -- that was a lot of work, but there are easier ways now.

I'm sorry I don't have any pictures to post yet of my Log Cabin Socks; I think the first may be the FO pic!  I'm working on fighting off a cold, instead, so I'm not sufferin' through the entire Sister Weekend -- leaving ASAP (noon-ish) tomorrow!


These three...

...make me "smile in my liver."

That's one of my favorite lines from "Eat, Pray, Love." I even wrote it down on a piece of paper (rare).

Also on that piece of paper, and from that book, and fitting right here and now:

"...little girls who make their mothers live grow up to be such powerful women."

I am feelin' the power. OMG. How I love these girls. How they give me strength.

I am also LOVING this picture -- taken by my sister Sharon over the weekend as the girls were having their picture taken from another direction!

Ten on Tuesday

Ten on Tuesday:  Ten Predictions for the Next Four Years

I believe we will have a president who, for the first time in a long time, will 1) command respect and 2) will inspire us to 3) be encouraged by the hope for and 4) to effect the change that we desire.  It won't be swift and it won't be easy, but we can do it.  Yes we can.

I believe some of the ways those changes will be felt in the way we generally regard 5) race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation (finally!), 6) politics (not as usual), 7) economics (it's going to hurt for a while), and 8) in the status quo.

I believe our president will 9) lead by example, displaying thoughtful intelligence that will make others 10) aspire to be thoughtful and intelligent themselves.

* * * * * *

Still celebrating my birthday:  Dinner out with my BFF tonight.  Sister Weekend looming.

Knitting:  Nearly to the half-way mark on the second of a pair of Log Cabin Socks (for Christmas)!

A declaration

Paper shredders hate me.

If it's not the hidden fake credit card in the junk mail (that's what did in my first), it's the folding-in-upon-itself-multiple-times-wrinkle causing the 8 sheets the thing claims to be able to handle to become more like 32, coupled with my knee-jerk reaction when the telltale SCREAM begins to REVERSE, STOP, FORWARD, REVERSE, STOP, PU-U-U-U-L-L-L-L-L that jams all those little shreds of paper in there real good.

That's what did in my second, and is currently threatening my third -- a barely three-week-old, bright, shiny, self-contained, diamond-cutter with which I was hoping for a long and happy association.

Harumph.  I haven't even had a chance to try out the dedicated slots for credit cards and CDs.

It happened on Friday and I thought maybe, with the weekend, things would loosen up a little.  Ugh. I am digging in there (carefully) (and stealthily) with a letter opener (don't worry, the shredder is off and unplugged) as best I can to coax and pry the little bits out and HOPEFULLY salvage this damn thing.  I refuse to requisition another shredder!!  Not to mention that the boss probably won't be the one paying for it, if you know what I mean.

What's testing your patience today?

Let us eat cake(s)!


I should have known.  It was a surprise party at Mom's!  Annie & my BIL brought Mack & Addison; my sister Sharon and brother Mike were there; the girls and DH, of course.  I have to say, I was a little suspicious, but still very surprised!  We had two kinds of lasagna and two carrot cakes (one with nuts, one without), and there were lots of gag gifts -- and some good ones, too!


Mostly, it was just a heck of a lotta fun!!

How do the kids feel?

From Maddy's card -- handmade, very expensive (according to the price printed above the bar code), and sporting a logo for MZAM Printing Co.

Mom! You're fifty! When the fuck did that happen?!?! (Just kidding.)

From Katie's card -- a child's card, one for a kid turning five, doctored into 50 (it works).

I feel as though you may be younger at heart now, more than I ever remember... View this as a milestone - you've just begun some really amazing adventures!

I think they've summed things up quite well, don't you?

Thank you all so much for the wonderful birthday wishes!!  Have a great weekend.  Or, tune in tomorrow, you know, because I'm NaBlo2Mo-ing and I'll be here.


There must be 50 ways... turn 50!  Fifty?  50!  Five... Oh!!  A celebratory, random, numbered list.


1.  I took Mom to lunch for my birthday yesterday.  We went to The Freckled Frogg in King, WI.  This is the most beautifully presented salad I've ever had the pleasure of eating.  Best of all, it tasted even better than it looks!  I know you want to see it again (zoom out!):

And beautiful

2.  It was called "Pear & Walnut Salad," but it consisted of turkey, grapes, pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, peas, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, pears, candied walnuts, zucchini, bleu cheese, celery, ranch dressing, blackberry drizzle, some other drizzly stuff with wine.

3.  Some of these things were immediately apparent; others, while in plain view, did not register right away and were deliciously discovered as the salad was slowly devoured.

4.  Every last speck.

5.  Yum.

6.  What a great place!  I will definitely go back.

7.  The owner/chef didn't have dessert yesterday because she ran out of time -- so, yeah, I really NEED to go back.

8.  Mack sang "Happy Birthday" to DH on the phone this morning -- because it was DH who answered; I got to the phone in time for a little bit of an encore followed by a precious "I Love You!"  What a fab way to start the day!  I'll just have to remember to answer the phone on DH's birthday to get my full due!

9.  I had a card and a box of the best chocolates around from DH this morning.

10.  He told me that I'm to keep a slot open on Saturday afternoon, too.  Don't know what that's about.

11.  Text message from Ali this morning.

12.  Katie wrote on my Facebook wall.

13.  Haven't heard from Maddy yet.

14.  Cards, phone calls, voicemails, emails, more writing on the wall... it's GREAT!

15.  I've had quite a year as I mark the 50th.

16.  The beginnings of which I can trace back even more than a year...  I don't know exactly when it started.

17.  Maybe as far back as when I quit smoking...

18.  Or Michael's accident...

19.  Both of those things triggered some self-examination.

20.  One of them presented a startling realization of your place in the world...

21.  Arguably, it started at 11:26 a.m. on November 6th, 1958.

22.  My girls -- as they become independent, beautiful, young women -- definitely have something to do with it...

23.  I cannot be a "do as I say, not as I do" mother.  I think I was for a while.  I think I succeeded in pulling the wool over everyone's eyes for a while.

24.  In order to be a "do as I do" mother, I had to look in the mirror.

25.  And I had to do something.  I had to stop letting things happen.

26.  I made some decisions about who I am and where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do and how I was going to get there.

27.  I decided to be a Big Girl.

28.  The weirdest thing, that song.  The lyrics have been like my mantra this past year.  A Fergie song!  Who knew?  The kids think I'm a little nuts.  There are some parts that don't apply... exactly... but the spirit -- the straightening out, the personal, the peace, serenity, clarity, the getting a move on...

29.  I needed to be a big girl and TAKE CONTROL of my life.

30.  The train left the station.

31.  Admittedly, it isn't always moving fast and it's jumped track a couple of times, but I've never jumped the train and it's always moving forward.

32.  I enrolled in a "Tech Comm" program and stuck it out in school for a year.  Loved the Comm part, not so much the Tech; loved the school part, not so much the studying.

33.  Learned so much about myself at school.

34.  It's funny how one thing leads to another competely unrelated thing...  I doubt I ever would have danced Argentine Tango if it hadn't been for a class assignment.

35.  Oh, how I loved that.  I have to admit that I haven't been back -- I have such a great memory tucked away.  But I must.  I have the calendar and the group has begun meeting at an actual dance studio...

36.  I think the judges on Dancing With The Stars were afraid of Erica Kane.  I'm not sure what they were seeing when Susan Lucci danced, but last night's results were exactly right (in my opinion).  I believe she could have been a contender -- a real fireball -- if she would have put down the script and just let go.

37.  How much fun was Dancing On The Ceiling?  That's one of a handful of songs that ALWAYS gets me moving.

38.  Speaking of moving, I've ordered an elliptical machine.  It's part early Christmas thanks to Maddy, part walking the dog just isn't doing it for me.  It was cheap but had great reviews, plus I had a gift certificate; it should be here by Monday.

39.  Let's talk about knitting for a few.  This is not my best knitting year.

40.  I'm looking forward to finishing up all my loose-end and committed projects -- and making more of a plan for what's next.  I think the problem this year is that I've been a little willy-nilly in the knitting department.

41.  One big reason for that is this:


42.  It's where all that birthday, big girl, getting a move on stuff has taken me -- in round-about fashion.  And it's what's taken a lot of the time, concentration, and energy that I used to devote to knitting.

43.  My housekeeping still suffers the same (if not worse).

44.  Oooooh, it's so exciting and scary and hella work and challenging and fun!

45.  I have so much more to learn, but I'm taking it slow and steady -- keeping on track, as it were.

46.  The little engine that could, even.

47.  Now, as I help and advise Ali as she plans her future as the owner of a coffee shop rather than as the employee of one...

48.  Now, as I help and advise Katie as she puts school behind her (for the most part) and makes her own plans and decisions about what's next...

49.  Now, as I help and advise Maddy (as much as she allows because, you know, she rarely asks me... this is a relationship in transition -- as they all are, it's just some more than others -- and we've yet to find a firm foothold on common ground) as she begins to stretch her wings for reals...

50.  Now, I think I can!  Here's to another 50, give or take a few!!

Hopeful Change

V-1960My mother always told me that this photo was taken on my 2nd birthday, during Denver's first snowfall of the season, and also Election Day 1960 -- the day that John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States of America.

Well, it was either on my 2nd birthday (November 6th) or Election Day (November 8th), but not both.  All that's left is a badly preserved cut-out portion of a color snapshot (which I've scanned and quickly adjusted for color here).

It's always been a favorite, as much for what it has symbolized all these years as anything.  It's not hard to see why, is it?  Some of the words that come to mind:  Fresh, Forward, New, Pure, Hopeful, Joyous, Youthful, Excited and Exuberant -- and holy crap, look at those RED PANTS!

I feel all those things today -- minus the exuberant red pants, though if I owned red pants, I feel moved enough to wear them!  Because they're red and red's a fun color in the snow (even though it's like crazy in the 60s here today) and happy.

Man, how much has happened in 48 years.  It is simply, mind-bogglingly, amazing.

Yeah.  Mind-bogglingly!

I know what my mother was thinking when she snapped this photo and later rolled all of those events into it.  I feel that way today -- for my kids, for all kids...

Hopeful.  Happy.  Thankful.


I voted.  If you live in the U.S., I hope you will/did, too.

Time to kick back and listen/watch the results while I knit.  I finished all the pieces to Maddy's sweater last night; need to wash/block/seam, then knit the collar and two or four (probably two) pocket flaps, crochet a little edge, some button loopy things, and voila!

Tonight, I'm either going to start Addison's Christmas stocking or the Log Cabin Socks for my BIL.  I'll have to chart Addison's name right quick, so probably the socks... but maybe both.

Tomorrow, a short road trip for birthday lunch with Mom.  There will be pictures.  You will be amazed.

Cows and Fog


It was a very foggy drive to work this morning.  Slow going.  This is the view from my parked car upon arrival.


I had the zoom lens on.

One of my favorite things about where I work is that there's a small working farm right across the road.  The cows often come near the fence.  The farmer was driving his old red tractor around all last week, cutting the corn.


I love it when the cows come close to the road.  They don't seem bothered by the traffic at all.

Rockin' autumn


Espalier I should really be cutting back the worn out hostas and those gorgeous hydrangeas -- wow, this was the year for them! -- but the hits of color outside are most welcome right now.  Most of the leaves have fallen and the street is starting to look wintry.

The leaves on my espalier crab apple tree will soon fall, too; love that color play on the house while it lasts!  I think I'll string lights on that "framework" for the holidays again this year.  There's a 10-foot length of fresh garland on order for the front porch, too.  Skimping on that this year (though I don't do it every year, anyway -- fundraiser from the son of a coworker this year and I don't need a wreath); we'll see how it works out.

In the "ISN'T THAT WEIRD?" department:  I forgot to drink coffee yesterday.  Ali was over just after noon and I was yawning like crazy while we were chatting.  I apologized and said that I didn't know why I was yawning so much and DH offered that maybe it's because I didn't have any coffee.  OMG, I said, I DIDN'T???  I DIDN'T!!!

I got a whole bunch done on Maddy's sweater today during the football game -- finished the decreases on the back and made it about half-way through the increases!  Not ready to make any guarantees yet, but I might make it by Thanksgiving!  Contemplating a little break, though, because I really HAVE to get Addison's Christmas stocking done!

On Flickr here and here.

How was your Halloween?



DH said that he thought it was his, at first (he's been getting them for YEARS).  Ahem.

Mom said that she's been getting them for over 20 years and hasn't opened a single one.

Looks better -- a little more exciting -- after a little Photoshop treatment.  Heh.

Happy November.  HAPPY NaBloPo2Mo!!!  NaBloPoMo 08