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September 2010
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November 2010

'Frisco Friday

My plane arrived in Oakland late Thursday night.  It wasn't long before I was marveling at the reality of standing in the house of Unraveling!  I've "known" Celia for almost as long as I've been blogging -- 6 years or so -- and we've read/commented/corresponded quite a bit in that time, but until a couple of weeks ago I'd never even heard her voice.  So, yeah, there was some mutual marveling -- "You're right here!"

And it was... marvelous.  It would be a lie to say that my nerves hadn't increased a bit as the time approached -- at the prospect of spending four full days + some change with someone that I'd never spent five minutes with on the phone.  Not so much because she was an "internet" friend, because I've done that before; and I thought I had an accurate reading -- as, obviously, thought Celia about me; and (I feel) I couldn't be more laid-back and go-with-the-flow but, you know, what if there were SOME REALLY WEIRD DIFFERENCES that we never noticed on the internet before??  I've been an "open book" blogger to varying degrees over the years, but I still choose what and how I'll write in my book!  What if we COULDN'T STAND EACH OTHER??

Heh.  Well, it's weird that she has lemon trees in her yard instead of apple, but otherwise, truthfully, the weirdest thing were the many similarities and how often I found myself smiling and nodding in agreement.

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On Friday morning, we picked up our rented lenses at the camera store.  We had three Canon EF lenses (which fit both of our cameras) to play with for the weekend -- a 15mm f/2.8 fisheye (same as I rented in May for Vegas, baby), a 24mm f/1.4 wide angle, and a 100mm f/2.8 macro.  I already knew that I loved the fisheye (above), but I have developed a deep and serious love for the versatile wide angle (below)!

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Oh yeah.  Not to mention my love for these Ruth Asawa knitted wire sculptures.  But ahead of myself I am getting...

The weather could have been better for sightseeing but it is what it is!  After picking up our equipment, we took off and drove over some bridges to see what we could see -- the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, and (later) San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

We visited the de Young Museum and took photos from the Tower Observation Floor.  It's the California Academy of Sciences (and the Living Roof!) across the way.  I recognized the roof immediately because I'd just sent Ali a "rooftop gardens" slideshow link and this was one; very cool to see it in person.

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We would have spent a LOT more time on the grounds and in the gardens at de Young if it hadn't started raining in earnest about the time we headed out.  Not to worry... going with the flow...

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...and mostly covered in James Turrell's "Three Gems" Skyspace.  ("Hi, Celia!")

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We were also somewhat protected in the bandshell, shared with some bums watching a movie on a laptop and soon joined by another on his bike/trailer mode of transportation (blue tarp above) and the wettest, dirtiest, mangiest dog in the world.

We had lunch -- and especially dessert -- at 'Wichcraft.

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I can scratch #9 - Peanut butter sandwich cookie at 'Wichcraft from Trick or Treat! The Big Sweet SF: 50 Treats to Eat Before You Die", but will have to go back for the other 49. Oh darn!

And from there we made our way to Art Fibers in their wonderful new space!

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After deliberations, I bought a lovely little cone of Alfabeto in color #15 -- soft and green.  It will be a scarf -- soft and green.

The seasonal lack of green in my world at the moment must have me craving it, as I just bought some bright lime green napkins today with the idea of brightening my winter kitchen.

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We walked (and drooled) our way through the new Fluevog store on our way to the most enormous DSW I've ever seen!  While I tried on a couple of pairs of Keens at DSW, I didn't buy any -- it wasn't really a shoe-buying trip, but, you know, a store full of Fluevogs, and Keens @ DSW (they're never at mine!).  This is right out the front door of DSW and I just had to take a photo like this.  It is so The Streets of San Francisco to me -- I expect Karl Malden and Michael Douglas to come flying down those hills, sirens blaring.

And if I just had to take a picture like that, then I most definitely just had to take a picture of this:

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...which, naturally, makes me think of Rice-A-Roni.

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I was slightly enamored of the escalator at Westfield San Francisco Centre, but did not go shopping.

We went home and then to the Berkeley Bowl -- and that's a whole 'nother post!



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A week ago today, DH & I went to Milwaukee.  He drove, I cast on my second inner Dimorphous Mitten.

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First stop:  Zeidler Municipal Building for an official, embossed, signed, sealed, and delivered certificate of my birth.  CHECK!  (And so quick!)

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Second stop:  Beans & Barley for lunch.  I had a Chicken Pine Nut sandwich and a cup of soup -- I don't remember what kind, but it was good.  Oh so good!  My sister used to frequent Beans & Barly when she lived in Milwaukee a million years ago -- I remember hearing it a lot, "Beans & Barley," "Beans & Barley," "Beans & Barley" -- but I don't think I've ever been before!  I had to call her while we waited for a table and say, "Guess where I am?  You'll never guess where I am!"  And she never would have guessed.

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I browsed the market and bought some snacks before we headed for Sheridan Park on the lakeshore.

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We took a walk, looked out over the bluff, watched some planes and geese, said "Hello" to some dogs, and found a place to walk down to the shore.

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Boy oh boy, it sure was a gorgeous day!

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DH dropped me off at the airport where I awaited my flight to the Left Coast.  I've been to WA/OR/CA a couple of times since we moved from Oregon to Wisconsin in 1986 -- we all flew for a visit in '88 when Ali was about a year old, and took the Amtrak in '91 when Maddy was only about 8 weeks, and did Big Sur/Monterey/Disneyland in '96, and my sister and I drove Katie in '03 to begin her college education at Humbolt State University.  DH has been to CA many, many times over the years -- often one of the kids would accompany him -- to do art shows, visit galleries, and get a vital saltwater fix!  This is the first time I've headed to the west coast by myself since 1983 when I loaded up my red '82 Firebird and pointed west... and, actually, that's not true because I think my sister drove with me that time, too!

To be continued...

Little bro

The ghoul's little brother was an adorable dragon!

My sister Karen made that costume for her youngest son several years ago.  It's getting plenty of use now, and it looks like there's room to grow!

They don't bob for apples at this party, mostly because some of the kids are so young.  What they do instead is eat a donut that's suspended on a string from the clothesline -- without the use of hands!  Here you see the dragon's makeup (and costume) augmented by powdered sugar!!

The weather was amazing again!!

It was a fun party, but leaves me feeling like Halloween is slready over instead of still 11 days away!


What a difference a year makes

From this:

The sweetest, most angelic little crime fighter ever in the history of crime.

To this:

A rather scary, dark and sinister, sword-wielding, blood-dripping GHOUL!


In the dark

Not crazy about driving to work in it.

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These are from last night on my way back from points south.  I took the long way around my favorite side of the lake.  I tried to beat the sun going down on the other side, but didn't quite.  It wasn't a spectacular sunset in the way one might think "spectacular," but it was beautiful nonetheless.

The bulk of the move has been accomplished.  There is still much settling to be done... all in good time, I guess.  Gracie took to her new home like butter to bread.  Honestly, I think that anywhere my sister goes is home to Gracie.  Art Deco didn't arrive at his new home until after my departure and I still haven't heard how that went.  Such a cute apartment!

There was a Halloween party yesterday at the boys' house -- just wait 'til you see!!

I started feeling a scratchy throat late Saturday afternoon, it was still there yesterday and after waking me numerous times during the night, I decided that I'd better get it checked out and make sure it's not strep or something -- uncommon in adults, they say, but I've been that sort of uncommon before.  Yeah.  So, no, it's not strep.  Allergy stuff, probably, so I'm doing the Zyrtec-type stuff.  I'm worn out after a busy weekend of hard work and partying, though!  Good thing there's some time off on the horizon!

New day

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I'm helping to move my sis into a new apartment today!  Send good thoughts and prayers for smooth transport and transition.  Not sure that Arthur Deco (her cat -- Art Deco, for short, and just Deco if you're on really good terms) and Gracie (her dog) are going to be as excited as everyone else.



My girl, looking nerdy from head...

Spelling toe!


She participated in the Fox Valley Literacy Coalition's Spelling Bee for the second year in a row.  Unfortunately, she was up to the microphone only once this year before her team was out of the running.  Boo.  I've done more exciting things on a Thursday evening, but sure do enjoy the annual spelling bee!  This year, a local news anchor was the emcee -- he's a ham, but it was entertaining and the whole show seemed to flow much better.

Plus, there was knitting -- the most perfect thing to do while at a spelling bee!  I managed to cast on, join (in the round) (without twisting) (on DPNs) (in a crowded & noisy room), and knit about half a cuff on a Dimorphous Mitten!

Happy Weekend!

What I did on my day off

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I managed to get to the laundry early enough that I could hang it on the line to dry -- something I haven't done as often as I'd have liked this year.  Plenty of people do it year 'round, even in this parts (hello, brother-in-law), but not me.

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Then I got down low and took some photos.

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I got down really, really low.

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Then the sun came out and I... uh, saw things in a different light!  Haha.  Yeah.  The leaves are really crunchy right now.  And sticky.  All over the front of my shirt when I got up off the walkway.


I did a little cleaning (dusting!), went out to lunch with my mum, visited my friend Nancy at the antique mall, made dinner, and went to book club!

Oh, and I washed and pinned out pieces of a sweater to block!  I've been working on the Montana Tunic from Shear Spirit: Ten Fiber Farms, Twenty Patterns, and Miles of Yarn, using the "Grandma's Blessing" sportweight yarn from Briar Rose Fibers.  That's not what I was intending to make when I bought the yarn at this years Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival, of course, but it's been on the radar for a long time and it all just worked out.  There's a crapload of ribbing yet to be done next... not my favorite thing to do, but I do like the garment and can envision wearing it a lot, so I'll persevere.

I think I've finally worked out the seaming of Parcheesi -- my head was playin' games with me on that one.  Not a portable project, though, so believe I'll be starting a more portable pair of Dimorphous Mittens tonight -- another pattern that's been on the radar for a while -- while watching my daughter and the Half-Price Books team compete in this year's Spelling Bee!


Ten on Tuesday: Baby, You Can Drive My Car

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Ten on Tuesday10 Ways to Have Fun on Long Car Rides

1.  Rockin' it out!  It's a sunny 75F, the windows are rolled down, my hair's blowin' in the wind, and it's nothing short of another miracle if I get where I'm going without a speeding ticket (knocking on wood).  Beep Beep!!  Yeah.

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2.  Look at a map (or something) and take a new route, perhaps a road less traveled.

3.  Read.  I like to page through and catch up on periodicals.

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4.  Watch the sky.

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5.  Pay attention to seasonal changes in the landscape.

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6.  Play the "ABC" game.  When we go up north, we often go through Minocqua -- a resort and tourist area with a DQ and plenty of pizza joints -- and I've been known to run through the ABCs twice before we're driving through nothing but forest again!

7.  Snooze.

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8.  Find someplace fun and new to eat.

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9.  Stop and see some sites along the way.

10.  Knit.  I have a photo somewhere of my knitting on the dashboard of Ali's car, but I can't find it right now!  Picture it in your mind's eye... I'm pretty sure it was a Mason-Dixon dishcloth.  FOUND IT -- June 2006!


Still a bit short on time, and there's a soapbox in my way

...apparently, I'm meant to take a minute and stand on top.

If you've tuned into any news-ish platorm at all over the past week or so -- you've likely read, seen, or are at least somewhat aware of recent suicides of young people, Ellen DeGeneres' plea, and/or the It Gets Better project.

So.  Pretty early last Thursday morning, dipping in and out of email accounts and Facebook, trying to catch up on what had been happenin' since my out-of-the-loop Wednesday, I came across yet another posting of Ellen's video on a friend's wall.  Comments that followed stopped me in my tracks.

In a nutshell, and among other things, it was argued that there's no bullying if there are no direct taunts or intended intimidation.

WHAT????  Those words rang louder than the tinnitus in my head all day: DIRECT TAUNTS, INTENDED INTIMIDATION.

INDIRECT TAUNTS and UNINTENDED INTIMIDATION is... better???  What is that?  How do you DO THAT?  That's pure crap.  Taunting and intimidation is unacceptable.  Period.  Plain and simple.

I have to admit that I am not an expert on any of the cases -- don't ask me for facts or particulars because I know nothing; neither am I always the shining example of a good human being -- I try, but, you know, I'm human.  Honestly, I don't think any of that really matters here -- except that, perhaps, as a less than stellar human being I have learned that it is the INDIRECT and the UNINTENDED in almost any situation that can cause the most damage.

Suicides of young people in MY part of the world immediately come to mind -- these losses are a DIRECT result of the same INDIRECT and UNINTENDED behavior.  It is absolutely terrifying to imagine that number multiplied... and the possible multipliers are staggering, sobering... terrifying.  I think of all my friends all over the country (the world!), each in their own "part of the world," and wonder how many of their communities have suffered similar losses?  My head just won't go there... I can do the "math," but it does.not.compute.  Oh these children... sons and daughters... sisters and brothers.  They are loved and yet so tortured by the... direct? indirect? (does it matter?)... taunts and intimidation.


INDIRECT comments made about someone and UNINTENDED for their ears are made ONLY to be hurtful.  They're for whispering, rumoring and innuendo-ing, for misunderstanding, for singling out and sideways glancing, laughing, pointing, making fun of... for taunting and intimidating.  Someone always ends up hurt or crying -- they SHOULDN'T END UP DEAD.  They shouldn't end up feeling that there is no escape from such idiotic behavior other than taking their own lives.  Oh, they are so vulnerable and fragile -- if only these kids KNEW how much stronger they are compared to their truly weak and pathetic tormenters.

I wonder what would happen if everyone practiced being direct and intentional for a day.  You know?  Maybe some conversation would happen... maybe some kindness and understanding would occur.

What do you think?  National Be Direct, Let's Talk About It, Be Kind, and Live With Intention Day!

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I like it.

I have no time, but Hi!

A long day yesterday finished up with a little shooting in the park with Katie.  I shot her, she shot me.  Heh.

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Fun with flare, and her shooting me shooting her.  Isn't she adorable?  On the way home, we picked up some Chinese take-out to enhance the half-bag of frozen shrimp that DH said he dug out of the freezer for dinner.

I had lunch at La Brioche in Madison for the second time yesterday and realized that I had EXACTLY the same meal as I had the first time... Spinach & Chevre Omelet, with Tres Leche Cake for dessert.  I all but licked my plate.  Now, after having also recently watched Alton Brown make Tres Leche Cake, there is renewed interest in trying it myself!  Yum.

Make it a happy day today... do it with intention.  XO!

Ten on Tuesday: Fall

Ten on Tuesday10 Things To Love About Fall

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1.  The colors.

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2.  And the loveliness.

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3.  And the serenity.

4.  And the adorableness.

5.  Not to mention the goofiness.

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6.  The knitting.

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7.  More adorableness.

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8.  More knitting.

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9.  The drama.

10.  And apples.


What a wonderful world

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I brought my knitting with me on the Saturday afternoon jaunt with Ali, but we had hubby's van and, um, it is old and the ride is not smooth.  At all.  I tried but was never able to work a stitch, realizing very quickly that I'd only get frustrated and likely end up with a disaster on my hands.

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Instead, I enjoyed the scenery.  These photos were all taken late, as we were driving home, at the same time and from the same spot.  The sky was amazing and I could have shot the entire day.  There was almost always a very isolated place in the sky where rain was happening -- whether or not it was reaching the ground.  We drove on wet pavement, but never had a drop on the windshield.

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One of our stops was in St. Lawrence -- a typical tiny crossroads with a gigantic old church and cemetery (Catholic in this instance) and a whole bunch of taverns.  I'd been through there before, years ago when I was immersed in doing family history research -- great great great grandparents on both my mother's and father's sides settled in that vicinity for a time (dad's side for a much longer time) after leaving Germany.  Interestingly, both families eventually moved to the same general area in north-central Wisconsin.

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And, interestingly, it would have been my maternal grandfather's 104th birthday on Saturday.  My honey-on-his-Cheerios grandpa, he died at age 58 when I was 6.  I made an apple kuchen yesterday from grandma's recipe and wondered how many times she might have made it for him on his birthday.  An autumn staple when we were growing up, I hadn't made it in a long time, myself, and the recipe is of the very vague variety -- a list of ingredients with an indication of quantity (most), with the most minimal direction, an oven temperature but no clue as to timing.  I liked it, but now I'm on a quest for traditional kuchen -- and wonder how (or if) my aunts make it.

I had too many apples for the kuchen, so DH also made a pie.  Busy in (and warming) the kitchen, I made my last batch of roasted tomato sauce.  I'd cut up and frozen some tomatoes a while back when I knew I wouldn't get to them in time.  I mostly thawed them, poured off some (but not all) of the liquid, roasted as usual, and then pureed a portion of it to stir in and thicken the rest... which was a wee bit thicker than usual, anyway, due to the pouring-off.

There was football with pizza yesterday, as is tradition, then all the girls at the table for dinner before they all scattered for the week.  It really is a wonderful world.

Have a great week!

And also there was knitting

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The production of knitted goods 'round here ain't what it used to be, but the act of knitting, to some degree, is done nearly every single day.  It is still my preferred method of winding down the day, usually accompanied by "watching" something on the TV (usually now TiVo'd) -- followed by reading in bed (also "to some degree").  Speaking of which, on my nightstand right now are The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, a Mother's Day gift from Katie that I recently, momentarily, put aside for Driftless (from the library).

I often drag my knitting along with me to work -- moreso than a book, for some reason -- and get a fix during my lunch break.  Today, I'll be accompanying Ali on a southerly loop to look at and pick up some equipment, and I think she'll do most of the driving.  I'll knit.  It's a gorgeous autumn day, even if somewhat cool and breezy, so maybe I'll bring the camera, too, and maybe be inspired to photograph something.

The knitting.  The Diaper Cover is a free PDF pattern available here.  Knit in wool roving, it is a functional diaper cover when used with cloth diapers.  Mine is less functional and more ornamental, made using an orphaned hank of Araucania Azapa -- a less absorbent blend of a bulky wool, alpaca, silk and tencil.  But oh my goodness, it is so soft and beautiful!  I made two covers in two sizes from the one hank of yarn.

The Teddy Slippers are from Booties, Blankets & Bears: 20 Irresistible Hand Knits for Your Baby by Debbie Bliss, and were knit with Baby Cashmerino.  It's an interesting little design that knit up quickly... after only a few false starts... and very forgiving of my not-so-stellar abilities in colorwork.

Having knit nothing but squares and rectangular strips for months, which required nothing more than counting, the reading of patterns is presenting a challenge!  I suppose it doesn't help that I've been burning the candle at both ends and have been e.x.h.a.u.s.t.e.d.

I was talking all smart about taking October off a while back... I'll admit that there are a few things on my calendar -- but not many, and I've already modified a few.  October is going to be all about catching up and catching my breath, and then... oh boy... having some FUN!!