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November 2009
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January 2010


I drove Mom to meet my BIL and take delivery of my nephew for his first-ever sleepover -- at Noni's!  He had his little suitcase all packed and carried an armload of books and activities.  He meant to bring Twister to play with Non, but forgot -- and decided that he'd rather do some coloring, anyway.  So cute!

Our first stop on the way back was at the liquor store.  Heh.  For cheese.  This is Wisconsin!

Our second stop was for bird food -- that's where me met the new puppy from yesterday's post.  Oh my gosh, that little puppy loved Mack so much!

We had our own private Christmas concert from the back seat, as he sang the songs he learned in school and performed in the program, while we drove to Ali's for lunch.  Mack was so polite and well behaved.  It's amazing how differently a child can behave when removed from the influences/triggers/expectations/etc. that are Mom, Dad, brothers big and (especially) little.

After lunch we walked across the street and finally picked out my new (old) vacuum cleaner.  Meet the Princess:

Hi, I have a new motor.

I've been limping along for a couple of months with my falling-apart old vacuum, shopping around a bit for a replacement.  I first laid eyes on the Princess on my birthday and I haven't been able to forget her.  She is far from brand new and, while she is gleaming nicely in this photo ("glistening" after her first run over the bedroom carpeting), she's not all bright and shiny -- there are scrapes and scratches, dents and dings -- but she's built to last, has a brand new motor, and she's local!


I am also more in love than is reasonable -- over-the-moon, in all truth -- with her "attachment crown."  It makes me smile... giggle, even.

* * * * *

I wish you all a wonderful new year.  We'll be doing a little celebrating tonight -- New Year stuff combined with some Christmas catch-up -- I'm looking forward to the long weekend.

*clink*  CHEERS!!  *clink*

Merry and bright

It was the best Christmas in recent memory.  The weather threw a wrench into the travel plans of some, others were just plain under the weather, the tug of families and miles between us was felt 'round the Christmas Eve table; we just made the best of things and enjoyed present company!  That kind of sums up my attitude toward all the holiday hoopla & happenings this year -- make the best of it, and enjoy it.

We gathered with the kids on Christmas (mid-)morning for a pancake breakfast and then exchanged gifts 'round my minimally decorated (but very bright!) tree.  It was very modest and so much fun -- the girls are so thoughtful in their gifts to each other and to us.

I don't think we've ever had a Christmas without books -- lots and lots of books -- and here are the ones I received this year.

Christmas Reading

Katie works at a Half-Price Books store and, naturally, that's where she purchased all the books she gave this Christmas.  To me, she gave "The Knitter's Book of Wool" -- which was only released a few months ago, so I was totally not expecting that it would show up at HPB.  It was on my wish list, anyway, and it was a thrilling score for us both!!

Maddy gave me two books -- the Emeril cookbook made me smile, remembering how every night at 10:00 we'd have to tune in "Emeril Live!" -- one of Maddy's favorite shows when she was a kid.  She also gave me "Mother," by Maya Angelou, and made me cry -- happy joyful merry maternal love laughter family tears -- because she annotated and highlighted it with her own thoughts, memories, and sentiments.

2010 Calendar

My hubby had a birthday on Saturday!  I made a big pot of Chili All Day and we celebrated over dinner with the kids and my mom and Joe.  I'm afraid that Abbey's link might someday disappear, so I'm pasting the recipe below -- it's so, so good (and in my lunch box today!).

Gifts for Rusty on his day-after-Christmas birthday are sometimes a challenge, not to mention that we almost never have cake because of all the pie, cookies, and chocolate consumed in the days preceding -- some years are easier than others.  This year, it wasn't so easy -- at least until the calendar idea clicked.  I made and printed a small calendar (printed on 5x7 photo paper, trimmed slightly smaller) using a template I found online (but can't remember where and the files are not credited) and photos I took over the past year or so.  There are various ways to "bind" the calendar -- and, it might actually be a template for a CD case calendar -- mine's bound at the top with a silver bulldog clip.  Something along this line might be my go-to birthday gift for the entire year!

* * * * *

Chili All Day

1½ - 2 lbs. beef stew meat, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 large onion, diced large
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. dark chili powder
3 Tbsp. ground cumin (I use only about 1 Tbsp.)
2 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
¼ tsp.(or more) ground cayenne pepper (if you like it hot) (I sometimes don't use any)
½ bottle of beer

1 (28-oz.) can of crushed tomatoes
1 (28-oz.) can of diced tomatoes
1 (14-oz.) can of Bush's chili beans w/sauce
2 (14-oz.) cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (8-oz.) pkg. of sliced mushrooms

In a large pot, over high heat, sauté beef in olive oil until browned.
Add onions and continue to sauté until golden.
Reduce heat to medium and add all spices, stirring well and sauté until garlic is tender, but not browned.
Add beer and stir well. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes, beans, and sliced mushrooms.
Stir well and let simmer with cover on for 30 minutes or longer (longer is better....the meat will be more tender).

* If the chili is too thick for your taste, add the remaining ½ bottle of beer (if you didn't already drink it).
* If the chili is too thin, add a small can of tomato paste.

Thanks, Abbey!  This is one of my favorite winter recipes!

Let it be known!


I have ornamented the tree with things most dear to me.

I had cookies for brunch yesterday; peanut butter balls and homemade caramels today.  I did just have some minestrone soup... with cookies for dessert... and a peanut butter ball chaser.  Oy.  Soon it will be all gone.

Speaking of minestrone soup -- this is a great recipe and QUICK, just as the title would lead you to believe.  It's a delicious, warm, nourishing soup that provides a great meal even when you're pressed for time -- as we all are this week -- throw in some ham or turkey, if you've got it, or some other kinds of beans, it's easy to play around with, too.  I have no idea where it came from -- it's scratched on the back of one of the kids' old "Book It" forms (my note from 12/4/93 says, "GOOD!)).


16-oz. can cannellini beans
16 oz. can red kidney beans
16 oz. can seasoned-for-pasta tomatoes
4 c. chicken broth
1 box frozen chopped spinach
1/2 c. orzo
season to taste

Combine beans and tomatoes in a large pot.  Add chicken broth, spinach, and orzo.  Bring to a boil, stirring to break up spinach.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until orzo is tender.  Makes about 10 cups of soup.

See?  Couldn't be easier.  You've never tasted a more delicious "homemade" soup that came from so many cans.


Big Huge Coolness

Scout's Top 72

My participation in various online media waxes and wanes -- earlier this year, I was quite active in uploading photos to Flickr and many of my blog photos were directly linked from there (as is the rule).  Linking your Flickr account to Big Huge Labs affords some fun in various ways, including Scout (which has to do with popularity, sort of, and ranking and it's always changing) (I have had 8 images legitimately show up in Scout - I don't believe any are there now)!  The image above is the result of a special Christmas Scout, and shows my top 72 images of all time.  Pretty neat, eh?  I'm a big huge sucker for collages and montages and massages -- one of those things isn't like the other, but I'm a big huge fan.

As of right now, my Christmas shopping is finito -- and I'm feelin' pretty good!  It's the Eve of Christmas Eve and one of my favorite days of the year.


Maddy arrived home triumphant after an afternoon of Christmas shopping... with a new chair for herself... or maybe for Duncan.  It kinda looks like he loves it.  I love it, too.


Actually, the correct word would be "iced."  Very nearly "bedazzled."

Lookin' a little ditzy, as I knew they would.  We're learning lots 'n lots about cut-out cookies, icing, and mixing colors.  Katie told us about a friend who'd gone to culinary school and did NOT specialize in baking "because it's all chemistry!"  Yeah.  And there are so many variables!  A big "Thank You" to everyone for their tips and shares for cut-out cookies.  There's plenty more baking to do!

It was fun "goin' over to Kate's" last night with Ali to help decorate.  She sure has a nice, big kitchen -- the lighting could be improved some, but that's a fairly easy fix.  We flooded and piped 'til nearly 11, listening to two of our favorites for the holidays:  Hanson's Snowed In, and The Chieftains' The Bells of Dublin.  We also spun some Fleetwood Mac -- yep, vinyl -- a bunch of my most favorite LPs have found a new and loving home.  I knew if I hung on to them long enough...

Solstice almost here.

We celebrated with some friends.  There was plenty of great food and drink.  There was fire.  There was symbolic burning of stuff one wanted to be rid of.  There was drumming.   There was singing:  Christmas carols and show tunes.  I could not resist "Oklahoma!"

There were pretty lights.

The gifts for the coffee shop's adopted family were delivered to the distribution site this morning.  Then I threw some lights into the Christmas tree where there were some dark spots.  I didn't even take out the dead light strings -- mainly because at least one was half-working and, man, what a pain in the butt even figuring out which strand is "the one."  The good thing about having a bazillion lights on the tree is that I can just blind 'em with the light.  Decorating may now commence, if anyone feels like it.  Personally, it looks just fine the way it is -- with the one twisted metal icicle thingy that was forgotten the last time we put the tree away (at least three years ago).

So.  Ali packed up all my baking pans, cooling racks, and the KitchenAid this morning and hauled it all over to Katie's.  They took the sugar cookie recipe that we always used for cut-outs, made two batches, ran off to do other stuff while the dough chilled, and then rolled and cut and baked.  Ali reported that our old stand-by recipe, while very delicious, is not "sturdy" enough -- the edges don't hold their shape and the cookies are soft and "dainty."  Ali's going to check her technical book about baking that I gave her but can't remember the name of... and I'm going to put it to the blog.  Do you have a good, sturdy, cut-out cookie recipe?

I was lamenting the lack of cards received at work this year.  Exactly two, so far, and I almost think I'd rather not hang any than to have a lonely and measly two -- they look so lost and all alone.

We have fared a little better at home, especially considering that it's been a couple few quite a few (bordering on many) years since I sent out cards.

Today there were two cards in the mail at home.  One from my friend Julie, who I haven't laid eyes on in more than 20 years, but with whom I've reconnected via that wonder of the world wide web that is Facebook.  (Today I joined a group for alumni of the elementary school I went to in Highland Park, IL; I only went for one year -- and first grade at that -- but it was a very memorable year and I adored my teacher, Mrs. Kelly, and it sure would be fun to reconnect with my BF(not-quite)F Missy.)

The other card was addressed only to me and was from a family in Madison whose name I did not recognize.  It was kind of a chubby envelope.  So intriguing!!  Was this someone one of my sister's knew (why send a card to me?), someone my husband knew (why send a card to me?), someone...  OK, yeah, yeah, yeah, I opened it, of course.  There was a photograph of a family with a castle in the background and I immediately thought "Ireland," a typed newsy letter, and a handwritten letter from someone named Deb.

Dear Vicky,
I am a relative of yours.  I feel I already know you because of the work you have done on the family.

I had corresponded a little bit with Deb's mother, Betty, several years ago and had shared some of my family research, which Betty has since shared with Deb.  Deb, it turns out, is my second cousin once removed, and she is thrilled!  She has five kids, in the vague age range of mine, and among them three daughters; one of the girls shares my birthday; another has Victoria for her middle name and she went to school and lives in the U.K.  Isn't it the coolest thing?  I have a vague recollection that Deb may have tried contacting me before and the whole thing got swept up and away, but now... well, it's just the coolest thing.

In review: 2009

As I've done the last few years sometime in December, it's time for a review -- in words (the first sentence of the first post of each month) and in pictures (one favorite posted photo from each month), one not necessarily related to the other.

January:  Maddy's not usually so willing a model, so I wouldn't hold my breath thinking you'll see her here tomorrow for the Happy Trifecta.

Can you see me now?

February:  I met up with some local Flickr peeps for a winter photo walk at a local park yesterday.

Ali's back

March:  I know that "spring" is a few weeks off yet, but it's MARCH and we're getting CLOSE and I took the Christmas wreath off the door and replaced it with THIS today!!

Circles in wool & cotton; the desert (with purple mountain's majesty) and the forest

April:  I finally got this hat in the mail to my sister yesterday.

Cat Bordhi

May:  Have I mentioned how much I love these boys?

(Toughest month to choose a photo so far -- it's SPRING!)

At the beach - tiltshift

June:  The Empire Builder didn't pull into Columbus until about 5:30 last night and I still had to get all my stuff together at my sister's and face the hour-and-a-half drive home.

July:  Maddy had one of her occasional episodes of spontaneous cleaning yesterday.

(This is hard!)

August:  It's one of those Mondays that can get you down, but I'm going to try hard to focus on the positive and maybe I'll find some strength to deal with the rest.

September:  I called my sister Sharon (pictured above on August 13, 1975, with Uncle Bob) (I hope they don't mind my posting it) on Saturday while on the way home from delivering Maddy to college.

 October:  I just joined Norma's Alert The Media Rav_link group.

November:  Today's the day. 

(Um, oh yeah, this started as a knitting blog!)


And there we have it, 2009 is nearly a done deal.  There were a lot of changes around here.  2010 is fast approaching -- one can only guess at what's in store.  Here we go... wheeeeeee!

Cuttin' it close

The book club cookie exchange is at 5:30 and I'll be pulling the last sheet of cookies from the oven in about 10 minutes -- at about 4:00.  I have to package them and label them -- nothing fancy -- and, ohmygod, the cookies are nothin' fancy, either.  Stuff kind of piled up over the past few days and I was more wishy-washy than I should have been, so I was going through my recipe box this morning trying to find something that didn't need a ton of exotic ingredients (or even one), didn't need to be wrapped, chilled, rolled, cut, sprinkled, or, really, man-handled in any way.  I ended up with a sugar drop cookie that I did sprinkle some -- but not all -- and they did look a little better when man-handled slightly before being pressed.  Yes, I pressed.  I don't have a problem with the pressing, especially since it gives me an excuse to use the set of 3 glass cookie presses that I've had for.ever and have used hardly ever.

So.  They're not the prettiest, and they're not going to knock anyone's socks off (though they do have a nice hint of lemon) (hm, maybe I'll sprinkle with lavender sugar next time), but I bet I'll get the award for freshest cookies at the cookie exchange.

I won the featured prize in a give-away sponsored by Kelbourne Woolens at The Purl Bee!  The Fiddlehead Pullover is actually a free pattern, but I didn't have to download and print mine, and it's printed on much nicer stock that I'd have used.  And in color.  I don't always print my patterns in color.

And the yarn... you'd like a close-up, I'm sure.

 Canopy Fingering in a color called "Cat's Claw."  Oh, my, the combination of baby alpaca, merino, and bamboo is so, so, so soft!!  Wonderful stuff to bury one's nose into.

OK, those cookies ought to be cool enough now.  Time to pack 'em up!


I don't think it will surprise anyone to learn that these mitten cookies are very nearly the sole reason why I signed up for a cookie decorating workshop.  The original session I signed up for didn't even include them -- the subject was "toys" -- but I just had to get close to these mittens!  It turned out that we had enough people interested to hold (and choose!) our own session.

My mittens are far, far, far from perfect, but aren't they fun!!?  The first one is probably the best overall.  I like to think of the middle one as a bulky thrummed mitten!

The workshop was presented by Dawn Koehler Design.  Dawn's home was beautifully decorated and so festive for the holidays!  She had a cute, table-top feather tree decorated with nothing but her own snowflake ornaments.

What's not to like about a workshop that includes wine and champagne!?

We each decorated a dozen cookies -- three each of four designs.  The keys were to not expect anything near perfection and to just have fun with it!


'Twas the week before Christmas

I did an awful lot of office work over the weekend.  I had a very enjoyable Friday night, though, so it was tolerable.  I also took a fun break with Katie on Saturday afternoon to go thrifting (her idea) -- and I found a few things -- and to Target (my idea) as my list was getting long.  You know it's Target time when you can't find a Kleenex at my house!

I wandered in a few times to "watch" the game yesterday -- I had paper and calculator in my lap and a pencil in my hand, so "watch" is kind of a stretch and I didn't even listen very well.  I do know that we won, though; five in a row!  Go Pack Go!!  Earlier, when DH and I were discussing the day, I said that I'd make dinner -- a roast came to mind -- which I almost immediately regretted.  He gave me an out, saying that we could "do something quick," but I WANTED to cook and I wanted the leftovers!  I just didn't feel like I had the time.  So I was a little wishy-washy about going to the store and I went late and my roast didn't get into the oven 'til nearly 5, which meant that we didn't eat 'til about 7:30.  But it was good and we have leftovers!!

This week it's all about cookies.  Tonight, I'm going to a cookie decorating workshop with Kate & Ali and five other women.  We're not talking Betty Crocker frosting out of the can, red & green sugar crystals, chocolate sprinkles, and red hots.  We're talking Royal Icing, a special spatula, and TECHNIQUE!  I am wildly excited about it and can't wait.  I will have photos tomorrow.

I'll be baking on Wednesday for the book club holiday get-together and cookie exchange that evening.  I think I've decided on a recipe.  That's always a fun time.

Maddy will be home late on Wednesday after finals.  I had such a fun FB chat with her on Saturday night -- she and her friends had just returned from a hockey game on campus and were preparing for movie night.  She thinks I'd like the fast pace of hockey; I told her the closest I've ever come to a hockey game was watching Oliver play in "Love Story."  I'm sure that meant absolutely nothing to her.  Anyway.

There's a little party at the bowling alley for Ali's BF's birthday on Friday night.  And on Saturday night, a SOLSTICE PARTY -- a little ahead of schedule, but you celebrate when you can!!

Northstar Mittens

Photos of these mittens are really quite rare and I'm going to have to try and make amends. They've been finished now for nearly 5 years. Turning out too small for me, they fit Katie nicely and she's been wearing them ever since, even taking them to the UK & Europe a few years ago. There's a picture from that trip that I'd like to post, but I can't find it. She's pointing at something with bemittened hands and your attention is drawn as much to the pointers as to the pointed.

Kate was over last weekend gathering a few things and she squealed when she found these mittens in the closet. Squealed, I tell you! With delight!! Makes mama and proud and happy knitter. I have to say, after five years they hardly show any wear at all. I made them with Lamb's Pride (Worsted, I believe) and I knit 'em tight (hence the small size), so they're like flexible armor, and they are warmer than anything.

I remembered this after reading Celia's post today.

Back to the salt mine

After all that time off, it wasn't all that bad going back to work.  But!  I'm glad tomorrow is Friday -- that's in half an hour!

I must find a better vantage point to photograph this row of lit-up trees -- one of these days when it's a tad warmer than 5F.  They are in an area between two bridges, a parking lot and a canal, right in the middle of town.  Really quite beautiful, but there's an awful lot going on right there.

I haven't much more to report.  I'm busy, swamped... 'tis the season... making progress, slow but sure on all fronts.  How 'bout we end with a smiling face.  I do love it when my girls are happy. 

Random Wednesday: Snow edition

I live in Wisconsin and it snows.  Quite often, at this time of year, as local forecasters catch the glimmer of a possible first, significant storm -- say, six days prior... out in Wyoming -- the media build-up can be frenzied!!  And many times (it seems like more often than not, but that might just be me), we might get a little bit of snow, but "storm" is definitely not in the vocabulary and whatever it was that was glimmering in Wyoming veered off to the north or the south, or petered out altogether.  We've had a couple of dustings so far this year, but our first full-fledged, named snowstorm arrived yesterday.

Meet "Allison."  She's a blizzard.  She might possibly be raging 'til midnight tonight -- that's the official warning, anyway!  We haven't had an actual blizzard in quite a few years.

The snow is quite light right now and it is very windy, but some of what fell overnight is very heavy and sticky -- back-breaking to shovel and not good for sledding, it can make some pretty dangerous snowballs.  The tall evergreens at the front of the house are deeply bowing to Mother Nature this morning.  "Give!"  Closures, cancellations, and late starts are the norm today.

Christmas Past I


I made the girls wear some of the vintage dresses I'd collected.  (Oh!  The ironing!!)  Maddy's maybe 2-1/2?  Let's put this at about 1993?  Christmas has ensnared me (though my tree isn't up yet)!!


Had a great time at the photography workshop on Saturday -- the subject of which was posing in a very traditional sense.  I am not and may never be a traditional photographer, and I don't really aspire to it, but I don't think learning about it will hurt me.

Afterwards there was shooting; no direction from me in terms of posing.  I was going for the model! the light! the color! the sky!

I expected to see snow when I drove south yesterday -- a lot of snow!  In fact, saw next to nothin' in the way of white stuff.  Look how green the grass!!

It was a great day.  I had a photo shoot, which I did right away, and then hung out in the warming shed with Mack and my sister for a bit while they took a turn selling Christmas trees for the fund-raiser that benefits Mack's school.  There aren't many trees left to choose from, and she sold the last wreath.  Count that one as a success!

One of my older nephews is leaving on Wednesday for a 5-week trip to New Zealand, so there was more hanging out and then a little send-off dinner.

I don't know exactly what all is going on here, but this photo makes me laugh out loud!!

Today I'm doing some book work, developing photos, cleaning, and trying to make a space for the tree -- pretty much all at once.

There are quite a few things languishing at the bottom of the stairs, including some CD cases that I think are Kate's.  I had to tuck a CD back into one... it was by The New Pornographers which, in my current state of mind, I read as The New Photographers.  Heheheh.

I have taken the same route to work every day for the past... I don't know, two years? three?  Ever since I was nearly smushed between two vehicles on the highway.  Yesterday morning was the first time I ever had to wait for a train.  Ever.  Weird.

Attended the company party last night, which means...

Web-IMG_4266 op in the bathroom -- continuing a tradition begun last year.  All new bathrooms this year!!  I'm pretty sure this was taken after meeting Sam Adams and before all the Russians -- some black, some white, some blonde.  I liked the blondes quite a lot.

And I survived.  In fact, I felt a way lot better today than I really should have.  I thank water, because I probably drank more of that than anything else last night, despite my smart talk.

And we're off...

There is something going on almost every day this month, even if it's just a departure from my normal schedule and routine.  The parade on Tuesday, company Christmas party tonight.  I made the time for Zumba on Wednesday -- the goal is at least once a week during this busy season; two would be better, but once is okay.  I'm good.

Today is my last day at work until next Thursday!  It's the first of two 5-days-off stretches this month and it feels so good knowing that I have some extra time -- I'm sure that's a big factor in my overall I Feel Good feeling.

I'm attending a photography workshop tomorrow afternoon and I'm looking forward to seeing some familiar photog faces that I haven't seen in a while.  There's possibly an opening to attend on Saturday evening (need to double-check that one!), and another trip south on Sunday.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday will be getting caught up at home and with work-at-home, and putting up some sort of tree.  Hauling the tree up from the basement sounds easy, but it's big; I think it might actually be easier to get a small (keyword: SMALL) real tree.

There are music events at the coffee shop on both Thursday and Friday nights next week!  Alternative acoustic rock by the Kyle Megna Band on the 10th, and traditional Irish/Celtic folk of The Dortchen Wild on the 11th.  I've missed previous shows by both, and I've pledged not to miss these!  Woohoo, my toes are tappin' already!!

I guess I'm doing the month-long play-by-play here.  It's all written out on a calendar and on a list, but I have this strange need to type it all out and describe it a little more than the calendar square or my scrap of paper allow.

Maddy won't be home this weekend but will be home next, and then for the holiday break after finals -- around the middle of the month.

In a strange turn of events, I'll be attending a cookie decorating workshop with Katie, Ali, and five friends on Monday the 14th.  All you need do is click on the link (right there, upper left) to see one of the things that drew me in.  I've never really ever been caught up much in the holiday baking frenzy, and I'm not particularly interested in baking or frosting cookies, but decorating cookies -- big cookies -- that's a whole 'nother thing.  I am so excited about this that it's almost a little scary.

My book club cookie exchange is on the 16th.  (I won't be exchanging decorated cookies.)  I'm still collecting my thoughts -- and recipes -- I have a little time.

At this point, with a couple of days off heading in, it looks like the stretch before Christmas is clear.  I know that things can change quickly -- and I'm open.  I'm good.  I'm feeling strangely calm and excited all at the same time.

New Year's?  Not sure yet.  That seems way far off -- and nothing I ever want to make a big deal of, anyway.  If we feel like doing something, it'll come together; if we don't, it won't.  I'm good.

It looks like the same photo as yesterday, but it isn't.  It's not what I wanted to post today -- short story, but boring -- so, the little bit o' bokeh near the middle is from some LED lights on a small tree.  Hohoho.  I'm good.

Be careful what you wish for...


The view from the driver's seat this evening.  I actually needed to scrape some of it off (too impatient to wait for the defroster to heat up -- it wouldn't have taken but a second).  There was snow falling nearly all day long -- there were even some pretty big flakes for a while -- but the only accumulation was a tiny bit on the lid of the paper recycling dumpster.

So I have a few client Christmas cards and things to finalize and then, hm, maybe I'll do one for my own family.  I did one last year... just never got it mailed... or even printed.  Heh.  I didn't take a photo at Thanksgiving, either.  You never know, I might pull it together.  I got the spirit this year, don't ya know.

I haven't knit in days and days and days.  (sad face)

Let it snow!

It's been a busy day off, workin' on a bunch of other stuff, including Christmas stuff.  I didn't step outside 'til well after lunch and, wow, it was COLD outside!  If it's going to be that cold, it may as well snow.  I am ready for the white stuff.  I love Christmas lights and snow!  What I'd really love is a thick blanket of the white stuff to cover the stupid decorations down the street that were put out willy-nilly on Thanksgiving... the ones that fell over the day after... the ones that are STILL just layin' there in the dead grass.  I don't even want to talk about the other people down the street and their stupid ladder.  I swear I'm going to go push it over...  I'm so glad there's nothin' but the woods and trees for neighbors on the other side.

Ho ho ho.  Let it snow!

(The photos are from last year's sister weekend at Maple Wood Lodge near Mineral Point.)

Everybody loves a parade!


HAPPY HOLIDAYS!  That's our mayor walking into my image.

It was VERY pleasant outside... but still warmer inside.

I was somewhat enamored with all the pretty, colorful, out-of-focus lights.  (Actually, this is exactly what I'd see without my glasses on.) 

I think our parade is where the fire trucks come from all the towns, villages, and bergs that don't have their own parade.

The German heritage in the area is rivaled by the Dutch -- and in Little Chute, it's very much the flip.  Next summer, the construction of an authentic, working windmill will commence (it's actually building built in Holland, will be disassembled, shipped over, and reassembled on site -- pretty cool). 

Oooooh, pretty lights! 

And Santa Claus!  Ho ho ho!!