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More on Samson

Can you believe it's the last day of April?  I'm almost afraid to flip the calendar to May... man oh man oh man, it's gonna be BUSY!!!  Much of it -- MOST of it -- will be FUN, but man oh man oh man... bzzzzzzzy.

Remember a couple of weeks ago when it was National Library Week and the Fox Cities Book Festival was happening and my book club went to hear Lesley Kagen speak about her book, Whistling In The Dark, and Samson?

Whistling was the 2010 Fox Cities Reads selection, so Lesley was very busy throughout the Valley, speaking frequently about her book -- this book, other books*, writing in general.  The Kimberly-Little Chute Library has posted several videos from the festival on YouTube, including this clip of Lesley talking about Samson.

Tomorrow-press *Lesley's newest release, Tomorrow River, was just released -- yesterday, I think!

Tomorrow starts the busy!!

Happy Weekend!

Sun and Shade

It was a beautiful day for a drive yesterday!  I rode in a westerly direction with Dawn, of Dawn Koehler Design, to the nursery at Allen's Allenville (not Allenton) Sweet Corn (on Cty Hwy G between US 41 & 45, just outside of Winneconne).  Dawn is helping me focus my gardening efforts this year.  I've been somewhat lackadaisical in that department the past couple of years as my "spare" time has been filled with so many other things!  I'm feeling the spark a bit more and visiting a nice nursery never hurts.

Allen's is especially nice, as is everyone working there.  It's big, roomy, wonderfully organized, and the plants were all amazing -- well-cared-for and so healthy.

One of the things that made me happiest was how well organized and labeled everything was!  Every single hanging basket had a label indicating whether it was best suited for sun or shade.  So helpful!!

I marked and left the baskets behind (one for sun and one for shade) to pick up at a later date -- in a couple of weeks, mid-May, when I won't have to haul them in and out of the house everyday because of frost warnings.

Have I mentioned that I'm ready for warm?  Sustained, 70F-plus, good 'n' warm?  Well, I am.


Anyway.  I can't wait to go back, and now I have a good reason!!  I'm already scheming planning... an outing with mom/daughter(s)/sibling(s), lunch at Zuppas -- I always love lunch at Zuppas!  There's a nearby trail and natural area, too.


My camera wants to go back, too.  It told me.  There are things here that need more exploring, refining.
I don't use many "actions" in my photo developing these days, but this photo screamed "PLAY!"  So I did... play... with action and texture!  Whee!  Happy Thursday!!


I often imagine how my great grandmother must have felt in May 1910, standing at the door of her home in West Bend, Wisconsin, holding a brand new baby -- born April 28, 1910, the first of nine babies, the start of her family -- when the census enumerator came 'round.  He, of course, needed to count only the people who made up the household as of April 1st.  Grampa didn't count!

My great grandparents, John & Philippina ("Bena") with their family; Grandpa is standing far right.


They met at a Saturday night dance in 1931.  He was an especially good waltzer!*
There are about a million photographs of my grandpa sitting in a boat, fishing in a boat, fishing from the shore, sitting on the shore.  The last one, with Grandpa and my uncle and the new Buick reminds me a lot of one of me and my dad and the Continental (minus the clubs).

With my twin sisters, above, and also with me -- wearing grandma's shoes, I think, and a sailor dress (big surprise!).



There aren't too many photos of gramps alone.

He's pouring slip into a mold, above, for one of grandma's ceramics classes.
  Cleaning fish at the cottage.

Happy Birthday in heaven, Grandpa!  I miss you.

*From "A Look Back," a memoir by my grandmother.

This is us

This is me!  Ali called from work on Saturday morning to ask if she could take my car to Milwaukee -- hers had a thing.

I said, "Sure!  Whatcha goin' to Milwaukee for?"

"To see Mark Knopfler."

"I WANT TO SEE MARK KNOPFLER!"  I involuntarily moaned into the phone.  It was so pitiful that she offered to buy me a trinket at the concert, which, of course, I declined.

It's been almost all Mark Knopfler almost all the time ever since, though -- a little Emmylou Harris, J.J. Cale, Van Morrison, and Dire Straits, of course, mixed in.  Have I mentioned how much I love Pandora?  I wrote a very nice post on Saturday about guitars that included lots of videos, but you can't actually see the embedded videos when composing a post and I started rearranging things and it got all messed up.  So.  One video today.

I did a little neatening up 'round the homestead on Saturday in preparation for the group birthday celebration on Sunday.  I finally tired of seeing (moving around) certain of my unfinished knitting projects and began to rip.  Notably, an unfinished Bayerische sock, and a more mindless sock that I started when Michael was in the hospital -- I know, that was AGES ago!!  I always hated that sock, never mind all the worry and not-good-stuff knit into it, so it was really great to see it go.  Next on the blog is a third completed Jaywalker -- I have two others exactly the same and I will never, ever knit the fourth.  What was I thinking?  Moving on.

Instead of seeing Mark Knopfler in concert on Saturday night, I continued the party, finally tearing apart and completely frogging my Coup d'Etat cardigan.  There now remain only two Olympic projects -- and I want to take one of them with me to Vegas.  Getting there!

Happy Birthday!


Nineteen years ago today, I called my mom as we sat down to dinner and told her that it was time -- I'd need her to come and get Katie & Ali!  We were just finishing up when they arrived and I remember that she was amazed at how calm I was and in no big rush.

I was walking the hall at the hospital when the doctor arrived.  He asked how I was doing and commented that I must be doing okay if I was still walking around.  He hung around at the nurses' station while I chatted with Barb, my labor nurse, in my room -- she was a classmate from junior high and the same nurse I'd had with Ali.  She let me get up to go to the bathroom and by the time I got back in bed, I really felt the urge to push.  Barb said, "No, don't push!"  Rusty called out the door and down the hall for the doctor.  I said, "I can't not push!" and Barb caught the baby, wrapping it quickly and handing it to me.  My third baby girl!  And then the doctor arrived!

Happy Birthday, Maddy!  19!!  I love you so much.

* * * * *

We had a nice birthday lunch with the family today.  I made Crispy Smashed Roasted (Purple) Potatoes and fresh asparagus, Rusty grilled turkey burgers outside (the rain stopped just in time), and mom brought ice cream cake.  It was a great time, with lots of laughing!

And I was able to get a few photos.

Thus ends birthday season at our house!

In the spirit

Back in 1996, for Katie's 11th birthday and Ali's 9th, we had a party -- a party with a theme!  My love for themed parties was most definitely cemented with this one.


The girls were each allowed to invite four friends, for a total of 10 partiers.  The theme, if you haven't already guessed, was cooking.  I'd cut up some old, stained, white tablecloths to make aprons for each girl -- zig-zagging in red around the edges and sewing on red ribbon ties, and writing their names with that liquid embroidery stuff.

Upon arrival, each girl accordion-folded big sheets of sturdy paper to make her own chef's hat.  I prepped beforehand, and supervised during, but they basically did all the cooking.  They made their own pita pizzas with whatever toppings they desired, skewered some fruit kabobs, and made and decorated individual "birthday cakes" in ice cream cone cups.

All the games were food-themed, as were all the party favors and prizes.  I remember having a BLAST getting all that stuff -- refrigerator magnets, spaghetti forks*, food-shaped candles, I don't remember what all else, except that each girl took her loot home in a brightly colored, re-usable, cotton string market bag.  We still have a couple of those bags floating around at our house.

It always made me feel good to know that regardless of how their friendships fared -- some better than others as they moved through middle and high schools -- this party tied them together.  Over the years, it would sometimes, randomly, come up in conversation betwixt them, and always be deemed THE BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY EVER!  I believe it was a sleep-over, too.  I'm exhausted just thinking about it!


I ran across these photos the other day -- all taken "before."  One of these days I'll find the "after" batch -- taken after they did all the cooking -- and they all look like little butchers because they'd wiped their pizza sauce hands on their aprons.  Anyway, from my standpoint, too, it definitely was one of the best ever!


I found the jewel, above, while doing some dusting last Saturday -- exactly 23 years after it was taken.

*Decidedly old-school, I guess.  I tried to find a link, but they're all electric, motorized, or automatic!  These spaghetti forks had a long handle that was twisted; one tine was slightly longer than the rest, allowing for good twirl action, and it worked by grasping the top of the fork handle between thumb and forefinger and sliding the fingers down.  The fork would twirl easily on the longer tine and pick up spaghetti as it rotated.  We still have a couple of those in a drawer, too.

Happy weekend!

Happy Birthday!

Katie's Malabrigo Scarf 

Twenty-five years ago today (it was a Monday), I was living in a motel at Netarts, Oregon; we'd sold and moved out of our house at Cape Kiwanda but the house we bought at Cape Meares wasn't ready for us yet, so we spent the month between at Netarts.  Most of our belongings were in storage, but I'd thrown a few receiving blankets, undershirts, and sleepers into the basinette and brought it along, finding a little spot for it on the closet floor.  I don't even remember my exact due date -- early May, I think -- but just in case, you know?  We'd gone out for breakfast, as usual, the day before and, afterwards, stopped to buy the crib bumper pad -- the one thing that I still needed to get before I was ready -- once that was in hand, I WAS READY!

I awoke at about 3 a.m. that Monday morning with labor pains less than 5 minutes apart from the get-go.  For some reason, I sent DH off to work, anyway.  A few short (or long) hours later, it was determined that I'd skip the scheduled doctor appointment and check right in to the hospital, instead.  I drove the 15 miles into town -- synchronizing the shifting of gears with the labor pains -- to pick up DH at work, where he took over and drove the last mile to the hospital.  Heh.  Many hours later, at 10 p.m., we welcomed our first little red-headed baby girl!

Happy Birthday, Kate!  25!!  I love you to pieces.

* * * * *

One thing has become very clear this week and that is that since the kids are out and off doin' their own things, I am sadly lacking in recent photograph department -- of my own kids!  Fair warning to all: Get ready; there will be photos this weekend.

* * * * *

Um, yes, it is a similar refrain.  And hold that thought.

* * * * *

Speaking of refrains, I found myself in tears this morning on the way to work -- stopped short of sobbing by sheer will (and/or the inability to dig a kleenex out of my bag) -- listening to the John Mayer song, "Stop This Train."  This song has made me cry before -- Mr. Quarter-Life Crisis Guy knows how to strike a chord in me, for some reason.  Anyway, it was an especially deep chord this morning.

No, I'm not color blind
I know the world is black and white

Try to keep an open mind

But I just can't sleep on this tonight

Stop this train

I want to get off and go home again
I can't take the speed it's movin’ in

I know I can't
But honestly, won't someone stop this train?

Don't know how else to say it
Don't want to see my parents go
One generation's length away
From fighting life out on my own

Stop this train

I want to get off and go home again
I can't take the speed it's movin’ in

I know I can't
But honestly, won't someone stop this train?

So scared of getting older
I'm only good at being young
So I play the numbers game

To find a way to say that life has just begun

Had a talk with my old man

Said, “Help me understand”

He said, “Turn 68, you'll renegotiate
“Don't stop this train
“Don't for a minute change the place you're in
“And don't think I couldn't ever understand
“I tried my hand
“John, honestly, we'll never stop this train”

Once in a while, when it's good,
It'll feel like it should
And they're all still around
And you're still safe and sound
And you don't miss a thing
'til you cry when you're driving away in the dark

Singing, “Stop this train

“I want to get off and go home again
“I can't take the speed it's moving in
“I know I can't
“ ‘Cause now I see, I'll never stop this train”

I'm fine now.  Chuggin' along.  ; )


Happy Happy Joy Joy

This is a painting that Madeleine made last year in art class and it is, arguably, one of the most joy-filled paintings on the planet.  That might be a mother talking, but I am the mother of girls as well as of the artist (who was a "young girl" when the piece was made) and it makes all of the mothers-in-me happy.  Maddy never liked it much and is quick to point out errors, but I easily overlook them -- pushed right out of the way by all the JOY!  The piece was painted on the back (rough) side of a masonite panel, and it is even more astounding to learn that the assignment was to apply the paint with anything other than a brush.

The painting has been hangin' out at the coffee shop for the past year and I was sad to learn last week that it had been sold.  When I learned that it had been purchased by a teacher to hang in her Milwaukee classroom, the sadness was -- again -- pushed right out of the way (mostly) by all the JOY!  The mothers-in-me are happy.


I was going to write about my weekend, as I do most Monday mornings, but if I don't write about Beth Kephart first, I'm afraid I won't ever -- in the flurry of amped-up springtime activity and vacation planning, it'll soon be old news.  Let me tell you, Beth Kephart is anything but old news.  I attended one of two intensive memoir-writing workshops she conducted last week during her quick visit to the Fox Valley for the 3rd annual Fox Cities Book Festival.  "Intensive" being the key word, it was a packed house and Beth squeezed more out of us during that hour-and-a-half than I'd ever have dreamed possible.  There was not one idle second.  It was absolutely fantastic, and also so much to take in and process.  I listened, I wrote, I read, I listened more, I tingled; when it was over, I was left only wanting more... and ruminating.  As with the intensive, day-long photography workshop I attended at the end of February, I end up ruminating long and hard over these things. 

I've attended but a few of the many Book Festival events each year; I am so pleased with how it's grown and developed in only 3 years and continues to improve each year!  I can't wait to see what next April brings!

* * * * *

So, the weekend...  On Saturday I think I just did homebody stuff -- laundry on the line, computer backups, and that sort of thing.  Oh, yeah!  I did some dusting and even had The Princess out for some vacuumming.  There must have been something in the air, as the little neighbor girls (wearing veils and crowns!) were very busy in the playhouse, also doing some spring cleaning.  At one point, while one wielded the broom, sweeping down the interior, the rest all ran screaming out the front door, "It's a BEE!"  Heh.  I love that they like playing down there so much, and that "the little blue house" still gets used as intended.

Katie stopped by upon her return from a week-long business trip to Chicago, and it was fun to catch up with her.  She was able to get into the city a couple of times -- for blues and tapas (at different venues), and for museum-going (with added interest in the way of stalled car in rush-hour traffic!) (quickly resolved, thank goodness).  She stayed an extra day in order to visit Mies van der Roh's spectacular Farnsworth House, which she's written about here.

I did a bunch of different things on Sunday!  I went to an open house at Dawn Koehler Design with Kate -- found some fun, new earrings!  We found an open nursery and I bought a half-flat of pansies.  I needed to do something outdoors after that, so cleaned and replaced all the little plates that border the patio.  Dawn is coming over for a bit on Wednesday to take a look at our property and give me some ideas for gardening and landscaping, so I'm reluctant to do too much until we put our heads together.

I had more laundry on the line (fresh sheets!).  I wound yarn.

Ooops!  (I successfully detangled while catching up on recorded episodes of The Mentalist).

It turned out that all the kids were 'round the table last night to share the big pot of cioppino I made.  Oh, so yum.  We'll try to make that happen again next weekend, but with a few more people, to sing "Happy Birthday" and share some cake!

I think that's it!  I hope you had a great weekend, too.

A few things (meme)

  1. Do you like bleu cheese?  Yes!  I love all kinds of cheese.  I've lived in a couple of places famous for cheese!
  2. Have you ever smoked? 1970 - 2005.  I just celebrated 5 years quit!
  3. Do you own a gun?  No.
  4. Favorite type of food?  Mediterranean.
  5. Favorite type of music?  All types -- it varies with the wind.
  6. What do you think of hot dogs?  Depends on the hot dog -- nearly anything is good cooked (slightly charred) over an open fire or very hot coals.
  7. Favorite Christmas movie?  Love Actually.
  8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?  I have three cups of coffee -- with cream and a little sugar -- every morning.
  9. Can you do push ups?  I've done push-ups; don't know if I can do push-ups; I may be able to do a push-up.
  10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry?  My engagement/wedding ring that DH had made for me.
  11. Favorite hobby?  Knitting, reading, gardening, writing.
  12. Do you have A.D.D.?  No.
  13. Do you wear glasses/contacts?  Glasses.  I haven't worn contacts in 20+ years.
  14. Middle name?  Lynn.
  15. Name three thoughts at this exact moment:  Should I throw the sheets in the wash and then take a shower, or take a shower and then throw the sheets in the wash?  It looks like it's going to be a much nicer day today than yesterday.  I need to confer with the girls and come up with a day that will work for all for birthday cake!
  16. Name three drinks you regularly drink:  Coffee, Diet Coke, water.
  17. Current worry?  I'm not much of a worrier, though I might answer differently wide awake in my bed at 3 a.m.
  18. Current hate right now?  Fraud, corruption, entitlement, lies.
  19. Favorite place to be?  With my family.
  20. How did you bring in the new year?  Around a little fire in the woods.
  21. Someplace you’d like to go?  The Mediterranean.
  22. Name three people who will complete this.
  23. Do you own slippers?  Sort of.  I have some heavy wool slipper socks, but I'd really like some slip-on slippers -- those French ones that are so cute.
  24. What color shirt are you wearing?  I'm not wearing a shirt.  Heh.  (I'm still in my nightgown.)
  25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?  No.
  26. Can you whistle?  Yes, and I do it all the time!
  27. Where are you now?  In my office/studio.
  28. Would you be a pirate?  I like the idea of being a pirate, but I probably wouldn't be a pirate.
  29. What songs do you sing in the shower?  I do not sing in the shower.  It's true.  I never have.
  30. Favorite girl’s name?  Zoe.  Still.
  31. Favorite boy’s name?  David Michael.  If any of my girls had been a boy, that would have been his name -- after DH's brother and mine.
  32. What is in your pocket right now?  This nightgown doesn't have pockets.
  33. Last thing that made you laugh?  OMG, who knows?  I laugh loud and often!
  34. What vehicle do you drive?  2000 Saturn SW.  I want an electric car!
  35. Worst injury you’ve ever had?  I'm knocking on wood right now because I really haven't suffered much more than bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes -- with the occasional twist, but nothing broken.  Knock, knock, knock, knock, knock!
  36. Do you love where you live?  I absolutely love where I live.  I think about moving, but can't imagine finding a house/location I love as much as this one.
  37. How many TVs do you have in your house?  Two.
  38. How many computers do you have in your house?  Two.
  39. If you changed your job, what would it be?  A photographer or a detective (which, combined, sounds an awful lot like a Private Eye), or a writer, historian, librarian, archivist, teacher, mentor... too many things!
  40. If you had three wishes what would they be?  I wish health, happiness, adventure, prosperity, and love for my three girls!  I wish for a long and healthy life for DH and me, so that we can travel, have a few more adventures together, and enjoy the grandchildren that I also wish for (but not yet, thankyouverymuch).  I wish for world peace... or, at least, world I-don't-agree-with-you-but-that's-no-reason-to-kill-you-getting-alongedness.  Is that more than three?
Thanks to Ms. Kat for this morning's meme!

Happy Birthday!


Twenty-three years ago, on a day much like today -- actually, a little more like yesterday -- I felt a few tinges in the morning as I got ready for my preggo exercise class.  I knew it was probably the start of something, so worked it pretty hard and by the time I finished class, I knew I was in undeniable labor.  I went home, made some calls -- Rusty to take me to the hospital, and Mom to take care of Katie -- and waited.  Almost 2-year-old Katie was doing what almost 2-year-olds do -- spinning, twirling, playing, talking, laughing, and bouncing a ball all around me -- bounce, bounce, bounce.  I popped more Tums (my main food group throughout the entire pregnancy) and tried tried to act as though sitting on the dining room floor, with occasional heavy breathing and NOT writhing, was normal, and waited for people to arrive.

I went to the hospital, went on a carnival ride took my seat in a birthing chair, and gave birth to my second red-headed baby girl.  I stayed a whole extra day in the hospital due to an ear infection, watched the leaves pop out on the trees -- almost like stop-motion photography, because the weather change was much more drastic that year, as though someone flipped a switch from winter to summer and if you blinked, well, you missed spring -- and went home on Easter Sunday to enjoy dinner with my family on the lawn at my mother's.

Happy Birthday, Ali Lou!  23!!  I love you to pieces.

It's only words


We had such an enjoyable evening last night.  A light dinner and discussion amongst ourselves of Whistling In The Dark at the coffee shop was followed by a quick walk to the library and some time with author Lesley Kagen.  She read a passage from the book -- she's an excellent reader and speaker and just all-around very entertaining.  I could relate to her -- the experiences and the feelings she shared -- on many levels.


Have you ever heard of a gorilla called Samson?  If you're a Wisconsinite of a certain age -- even if you never laid eyes on him -- no doubt you have.  Samson plays a small but prominent role in Whistling, as well as in Lesley's life, and this photo was produced by the library director when Lesley began to talk about him.  An award-winning photo, it was taken many years ago by the son of the attendees.

I can't wait for Beth Kephart's writing workshop tonight.

Gorgeous weather yesterday!!  I should have had laundry out on the line.  I had a bunch of errands to run and people to meet but nothing meshed together very well, so I was running around a lot.  We had our furnace replaced yesterday, too, and while it didn't involve me in the least, the peripheral activity was distracting and kind of threw me off.  I think I'm going to like the new furnace, though.

The word clouds have been popping up all over... I first saw the word cloud at Kat's.  Fun!  You can make yours here automatically from your blog or website, or you can copy and paste some text of your own.  It's customizable and so cool!

Ladies of the club


I love old photos.  Photos of women, kids, and wedding parties call to me most, but I bring home the occasional mister or two.  Group photos are especially fun.  A couple of favorites that have been hanging in the living room for a while show the same small group of young women with a couple of years between -- it's amazing to see them side-by-side.


Anyway, I love looking at the clothing and hairstyles in old photos such as this, but I probably would have let this one be if it hadn't been only $3.00.  When I took a good look and spotted Susie flashing her sassy smirk at someone camera right, it was all over.

I'm willing to bet this one was the ruler.

Here's one of my favorite group photos of all time.  I've been trying to find my baby book (it's around here somewhere!) so I could scan the photo of my first grade class and add it to the Facebook page for the school -- which I think is hilarious, but also cool.  I saw this image fly by on the desktop screen saver the other day, so I knew I'd captured it in some manner already!  I only went to this school for one year -- first grade.  Our teacher was Mrs. Kelly and I loved her with all my heart.  She was young, pretty, so very kind, and gave me big gold stars on my spelling tests.  Kindergarten was rather tumultuous because we moved three times and I attended three different schools, so settling down here and having Mrs. Kelly at the front of the room really made a difference and sort of set my course, I think; especially important because I was so young.  I'm in the middle of the back row.  My BF Missy is second-from-the-right in the middle row; the girl with the gigantic band-aid on her head at the other end of that row is Nancy and I'm not sure why I remember that after all these years.  Drew is second from the left in the front and he was a troublemaker!  Those are the stand-outs in my mind, along with My First Romeo, Steve T., who is holding the sign... sweeps you off your feet, no?

* * * * *

Our furnace is being replaced today.

* * * * *

Book club tonight!  We're discussing Whistling In The Dark by Wisconsin author Lesley Kagen, then going to see Lesley who is a participant in this year's Fox Cities Book Festival!  I can't wait.  I'll also be attending a memoir-writing workshop by Beth Kephart tomorrow, also part of the Book Festival.  I can't wait for that, either!

* * * * *

Fun times!  Wish you were here.

Little things (and big)

Felt + pins = Love

I stepped out of the shower on Saturday morning and immediately heard my mom in the house, frantically calling my name.

Felt and pin flower

"Oh shit."  I forgot that we had a date for the antique show.  She'd already been waiting a while and I was dripping wet.  I quickly got ready while she ran to get coffee and we arrived within the first hour.  Early birds and worms and all that... we're usually standing in line waiting for the doors to open.

Pin cushion

This adorable pin cushion caught my eye right off the bat.  The first booth on the right, just inside the main floor entrance, has been occupied by the same vendor for many years and is one of my favorites.  I haven't purchased much, but my "Queen Victoria" sampler was from them a while back.  That flower made of felt, all those white pins against the red, the primitive sewing -- I just had to have that sweet little thing to start my day!

Green buckle

I bought a few large buckles, too.  I ended up with a couple of small ones, too, only because some of these were acquired in a lot.

Red buckle

I like to thread the ends of my lighter scarves and shawls through the larger buckles to hold them closed, rather than knotting.  Sometimes knots are just too big!

Green and ivory buckle

I am head-over-heels for the green and ivory buckle.  I hope I can remove the metal part without doing any damage.

* * * * *

I'm shouting good news from the rooftops today.  My sister had an oncology appointment this morning and continues her chemo vacation!!  Not much has changed since last time and what has changed isn't cause for too much concern.  That's three in a row, folks!  Good news, indeed.  Thank you for the continued good thoughts and wishes... keep 'em coming.  Thank you!!

And so it begins...


She tried on five dresses today.  We may -- or may not -- have found one.  Definitely not this one.  It's cute, but not The One.

Who knew what the whole wedding dress shopping thing was all about?!  (Not me.)  Wow.

Happy Sunny Friday!

The sun has been shining all day, which means the snow is almost all gone, and there are flowers blooming in the greenhouse window!  Gorgeousness.  And so pink.  With a fair bit o' bokeh goin' on.

Happy weekend!


The view from my bed this morning:

It was darker then, but no less dramatic.


The back yard from my bedroom window.  Our bedroom is on the main floor of the house, but at the rear and there's a walk-out basement, hence the elevated view.
We'll be flirting with 70F again next week.  Seriously.  Welcome to spring in Wisconsin!

Thursdays at noon

Several years ago, for a period of about five years, I worked in a retail environment.  During that time, I came to know not only some regular clients and customers, but also their routines.  Yes, indeed, there were a handful with routines so regular that you could set your watch by them!  One couple hit our store every Friday night as part of their regular "date night" circuit that included two or three other stops.  I don't think most folks were conscious of their routines -- some were near-daily, some a couple days a week, others came in weekly or monthly -- and of course most people popped in purely at random.

When you stand in the same place for an extended period of time, watching the world revolve around you, patterns can't help but emerge.

Druscilla was a regular client, a retired English teacher who was tall, thin, very deliberate and economical in her movement, very elegant in demeanor; always put together, she was unflappable, exuding a refined calm.  Except on Thursday afternoons when she would uncharacteristically breeze in the back door -- and "breeze" is the only word to describe it -- just after lunch.  She'd come in on the breeze, no matter the weather, and pause dreamily for just a moment inside the door; she'd look fresh, with her cheeks flushed, hair a bit tousled and windswept; she'd smile and greet me, and then sort of swoosh by and carry on with her business.

I decided that she must be having an affair -- a wild, mad, passionate, every-Thursday-at-noon love affair!  It's the last thing anyone would ever have thought about Druscilla.  It's the first thing that came to my mind as I'd watch this Thursday afternoon routine.  I'd have a little smile to myself every week, play around with a storyline in my head.

Or she might have had a standing appointment for a massage.  Driving home after mine last night, I felt just like Druscilla looked on those Thursdays.  Calm, happy, breezy, refreshed, relaxed... so very wonderful.

I saw my first thunder and lightning of the season last night!  Hopefully, I'll see more!  The complete lack of thunderstorms, or volatile weather of any kind, was sort of eerie last year.  This year, March both came in and went out like a lamb, with barely a half-inch of precipitation, but M. Nature has been on a catch-up mission.

Happy Wednesday!

Making progress


You're wondering how long I'll be able to keep knitting this on straight needles?  Well, I'll probably knit it on straights 'til it's finished, and I'll be able to go quite a ways before then.
This book has been sitting on a stool near my desk at home and I've been humored by the kids' first reactions when the see it.  I love the quizzical looks that come over their faces as they wonder whether "your parents" in A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents are their parents or ours -- and then the look when they wonder if there's something they've missed.  Priceless.  Cursing Mama sent the book over a while back when my name was the one drawn out of her hat!

I'm looking forward to reading it -- as soon as I finish Whistling In The Dark, Clapton, Just Kids, and How To Knit A Love Song!  "Whistling" is for book club meeting next week when we'll be attending a reading by author Lesley Kagen, one of the featured authors at this year's Fox Cities Book Festival!  Eric Clapton's autobiography is borrowed from my mom, so no pressure to finish -- except that I've enjoyed it far more than anticipated and want to finish.  Patti Smith's memoir about her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe when they both were "just kids" was on short loan from the library and had to go back; I renewed right away, but was the eighth of eight holds, so... Rachael's book is next (just as soon as Katie finishes and returns it)!

I sure don't need to go looking for a book to read anytime soon!

Have I mentioned how much I love this blanket?  I almost can't wait to start another.  Thanks to the generosity of knitters like Baby Cocktails Thea, who sent an envelope full of lovely sock yarn remainders, and Perchance2Knit Susie, who couldn't have stuffed another skein in the box, I definitely will start another.  Perfect!  Thank you so much.

Also?  Massage tonight!  I am SO looking forward to it.  I loved reading all the comments to last week's spa post.  They even made me laugh -- and you know what good medicine that is -- OMG (and I quote) "Yoga.  Yogayogayogayogayogayoga."  Hee!  I know.  I've done yoga, I like yoga, and if I could find some way to get along with the downward dog, I'd no doubt love yoga.  I might soon be ready to try and tame the dog again.  I'll definitely keep osteopathy and accupuncture in mind -- recently noticed that an accupuncturist has moved to town!  Thank you (again)!

And?  Brett Favre's a grandpa!  That just totally makes my day.  Go Gramps Go!


According to my notes in Ravelry, it's been exactly 3 years since I finished Lisa Shobhana Mason's Baby A, published in her book Yarnplay.

Baby A

Mack wasn't even 2!  And now even Addy has outgrown it.  I've loved knitting for those boys and this was definitely one of my favorite projects -- in fact, I always meant to knit it again.

No rush, though, as the original has come home to roost.  It's held up beautifully -- I don't know how many times it's actually been worn (I'll try to find out) -- so I gave it a good bath and will put it away for another baby.

Except for a stupid computer virus thingy that appeared on the home desktop late yesterday -- and that was on my mind and had me up for a few hours in the middle of the night (is it naptime yet? snooooooooze) -- we had a good weekend.  I believe I've eradicated the culprit with the virus software, but it's left a definite mark... hopefully System Restore will work (just this one time, PLEASE???).  Or something.  Bleh.  Is it Friday yet?  Wednesday?

Happy Easter!

I have this thing about plastic Easter grass.  I absolutely, positively, with the power of a thousand suns, hate the stuff.  I've celebrated Easter 22 times in this house, filled many an Easter basket, and this is the first time that plastic Easter grass has ever made it past my door.  And guess what?  I walked it over the threshold myself.  Annie gave me the basket on Friday when I dropped Mack off after the movie.  I didn't think about it, or even realize what I'd done, 'til the next day!  My mind must have been on the Lindt Chili Chocolate bar or the sweet treats hidden in all those eggs.  Yum.

As neat and tidy and contained as I can be with it, it's making a mess!

Which one's Pink?

So, yesterday was a pretty jam-packed day.  Mack loved How To Train Your Dragon, especially the parts when Gobber (Craig Ferguson) mentioned his undies.  It was a fun movie -- lots of action!

Then we had an awesome double-date night with Ali & Kevin last night.  It began with a fabulous dinner at Caffe Mario.  Rusty had chicken, Ali had pork, Kevin and I had one of the specials -- homemade pasta and butterflied shrimp with pasta pesto.  Oh yeah.  And dessert... tiramisu.  Yum.

After dinner, we made our way to the beautifully restored and historic Meyer Theater in Green Bay for Project Pink -- a Pink Floyd tribute performance.  Spot-on.

I took a few photos during the second half of the performance from my seat in the party section.  Heh.

A good time was had by all.

Today, it's an early dinner with most of the fam!

Who's foolin' who?

The weather was this nice yesterday -- this is after work, while the rice that we were having for dinner cooked on the stove.  Absolutely fantastic, record-breaking weather for April 1st -- and there's more of the same on tap for today.  Simply wonderful.

But I am not fooled.  Even while daffodils are blooming and willows are tinged green, I know that there's a very good chance we'll see April snow.

I'll take it, though.  I'm not complaining.  And, hey, come on over!  I look a little lonely.  There's room for a LOT more knitters!

* * * * *

I heard a Justin Bieber song on the radio for the first time this morning.  Apparently, he's got a #1 song on the radio.  I've seen him and heard OF him for months, but never actually HEARD him 'til now.  Took me right back to remembering my own little pre-teen crushes.  There was talk (on the radio) of Justin's appearance on some Chelsea show that I never heard of before, and I found THIS -- and now I must admit that I'm a little bit in like with them both!

* * * * *

My routine was interrupted this morning -- I don't even remember why -- but I took one look in the mirror at work this morning and realized that I never made it past mascara and into the blush.  Gah!

* * * * *

Things will be shutting down a bit early at work today and I'm going to take Mack to a movie!!  We're going to see How To Train Your Dragon.  (No G-rated movies at the theater during spring break???)

Hippety hoppety

Dawn, my cookie lady, made an appearance on local morning TV this week.  I was getting a lovely massage at the time, and forgot to set the DVR, but thanks to the wondrous internet...

...there's video to embed!

Many of those ideas work on yarn as well as eggshells.  Dyeing with wine could be really fun!  Oh, I wish I had a month to just dig in and do some stuff.  Ah well.

I dragged stuff outside a few days ago for an early evening photo shoot on the deck.

Hundertwasser Baktus

This is another Baktus incarnation using the Opal Hundertwasser yarn -- the last of my Hundertwasser stash.  It was knit in a mix of garter and stockinette (reverse stockinette, depending on which side is visible) -- I took my cue for changing up the stitch pattern from the color/pattern changes, more or less.

another close up

I was this >< close to picking up another skein of Hundertwasser at Yarns By Design the other day, but resisted the urge.  For now.

I am loving knitting this blanket and it's growing! 


Handy stapler provides sense of scale.

There's a ways to go... and some lovely yarn arrived in the mail yesterday (thank you!) (thank you!) that'll help keep us going!