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March 2012
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May 2012

Painter's progress

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Saturday, April 21st. A long overdue start on repainting the garage.

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Sunday, April 29th. A bunch of rotten boards had to be replaced... and, because of that, there will finally be a gutter and downspout installed. I'd like the water to fill a rain barrel, and have even offered to pick one out for Mother's Day! Some people are skeptical about the need for a rain barrel; I think if it was installed, he would tap it. Loose paint has been scraped, sanding has occurred, priming has been done... and it's going to be pretty rainy this week, so there is reprieve and he can do other things for a while.

There has been a fair bit of muttering on the job this week. I say, Quit yer complaining... this is your job right now, there's a light at the end of the tunnel, and it will eventually be finished; your grandfather taught you well, just do it.

Currently up for debate is whether to paint the windows maroon (please to note, "maroon" as in the clothesline post, not "fade-to-purple" as in the shingles), as they were originally painted (and as is the house, which the garage was designed and built to match), or off-white to match the trim. The argument for "all off-white" is that it "looks cleaner."

Cleaner schmeaner.

Y'all can guess what I think!

OK, now I'll quit complaining! How about some breakfast?

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I've been eating oatmeal most mornings -- especially at work. I mix it up myself, riffing on a recipe shared with me by Elizabeth. It has slivered almonds and walnut bits, and I put in LOTS of cinnamon -- almost 10 times more than originally suggested! I add just a drip of honey, to sweeten, along with hot water in the morning. So yum and good for me, too!

What's sticking to your ribs at breakfast these days?


Baked eggs

It's what's for dinner... yesterday... and lunch today! I've made them before, and here is the recipe I've been using.

At this point in the process, all of a sudden, I realized that the light wasn't too bad and I could take pictures! I'd already cooked the prosciutto and steeped it in half & half. I'd also realized that I didn't have any spinach, but found some left-over peas in the fridge. Hey, why not?

So there's a tiny bit of butter at the bottom of each dish, prosciutto, peas, a spoonful of half & half, an egg, another spoonful of half & half, a smidge of sea salt, and some pepper.

Last time, I'm sure I used a whole lotta butter and the heavy cream. Next time, I will probably cut the butter even further, perhaps just "greasing" the dish, or possibly using olive oil; I think I'll still use half & half, because I like the richness, but maybe only half... of the half & half.

I love a recipe I can play around with.

Last time, while not overcooked, they were cooked very well. This time, I baked them for just a little less time and they were perfect -- the whites thoroughly cooked, the yolk still soft.

I have to say that I love love love the Pampered Chef 1-cup Prep Bowl Set that I bought from my cousin's wife, Jane. I don't remember if my sister Karen was a one-time consultant, or just hosted now and then, but I've purchased a few PC items over the years. I have some favorites, and these bowls shot right up to the top -- not only are they are PERFECT for this recipe, they also have COVERS, so I've been using them for leftovers and for packing my lunch. Love.

Do I need to say that I'm not getting paid to say that? I'm not. Jane doesn't even know that I'm talking about/linking her!

Happy weekend, ever'body!

3 of 3

Last, both in order of birth and in order of birth day, is Madeleine!


Give me an M!

Twenty-one years ago at this very moment, we were sitting in the kitchen having dinner and I was in labor. My mom and Joe stopped in, having just returned from a few days away, and I told Mum that when we finished up with dinner, I'd be packing my bags. She couldn't believe that I was so calm and cool about it all. I was probably eating potato salad (with egg) from the Piggly Wiggly, one of the only things that appealed to me at all during this pregnancy. We won't even talk about the first trimester... well, okay, we will... I remember going to the grocery store at lunchtime and just wandering the aisles, hoping that something, ANYthing would look good enough to eat; I'd usually return with a bag of ginger snaps.


Give me an A!

This morning, when I posted about Maddy's birthday on Facebook, she wrote: Thanks for fightin' for me 21 years ago. ;)  More than her birth story, I believe Maddy likes to hear more about conception... that I really wanted to have a third child (I'd have gone up to six or so) but her dad (10 years my senior) wasn't as excited.


Give me a D!

And he is correct when he says that I didn't have to fight TOO hard. Naturally, had we known it was MADELEINE we'd get, all along, there'd have been no fight at all!  (XOXOX) Here she is with one of our "original" cats -- Daisy or Cutie (probably Daisy).


Give me a D!

While Katie made me a mom for the first time, it was with Madeleine that I finally became a stay-at-home mom -- something I'd always wanted. I "stayed home" for about five years and they were surely some of the best. Maddy was probably the most maternal of the girls and, obviously, liked her baby dolls. Katie didn't want a thing to do with them, ever; Ali played with "big" dolls -- a little with Barbie, a lot with American Girls; Maddy always had babies.


Give me a Y!

My animal lover. I believe there's been a total of a half-day in the last 27 or so years that we've been pet-free. If Maddy had her way, we'd have something resembling the contents of the ark.


What does it spell? MADDY!

Happy Birthday to my lovely "baby"!

I can't believe she's 21!!

* * * *

And that's a wrap!! Same time, next year.  ; )

Ten on Tuesday: Honey, I'm home!

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Good Things About Coming Home After Vacation

No one hits the home chord for me more than John Denver.

1. Knowing the landscape. It's great to explore -- I love planning trips, reading maps, listening to directions from Garmin -- but it's great to be home and just know how to get from Point A to Point B without thinking.

2. My car. The next time I rent a car in the UK, remind me that driving on the other side of the car is enough -- adding manual transmission to the mix just makes things more difficult and stressful than they need be.

3. My own bed.

4. My own pillow. If I'm not traveling far, and even if I'm checking into a nice hotel, I bring my own pillow. It's not my own bed, but it helps!

5. My closet. Efficient packing continues to elude me... perhaps if I traveled more frequently?

6. My washer & clothesline/dryer! I really don't mind doing laundry, and I really like being able to do it when needed.

7. My kitchen! Even if we're someplace with a kitchen and I can do my own cooking, it's just not the same... and a person can only eat out so many times.

8. Mail! I love going through my mail after being away -- it's very satisfying to sort (and toss) and then catch up on the news via our twice-weekly very local newspaper.

9. Kitties! While not quite as demonstrative as their canine counterparts, our cats definitely let us know that they're happy we're home!

10. Friends and family, the coffee shop, knit night, photography group, the library -- all the places I hang out and feel "at home."


2 of 3

The second of our April birthdays is today -- Earth Day! Twenty-seven years ago, Katie made me a mom for the first time. As established a few days ago, I will try to fit a completely random selection of photographs to a spur-of-the-moment idea for a post. (Because the well-planned blog this is mostly not.)


Give me a K!

I remember snapping a series of photos this day -- all of them goofy and engaging, it was the day she decided she liked the camera! This was out on the enclosed patio in our house at Cape Meares. After spending the first week of her life at a motel, this was her first home.


Give me an A!

We were only a couple of blocks from the beach -- closer than we would have been had a bunch of streets not been swallowed up by the ocean over the years. I used to work on Saturdays, so Kate and her dad spent a lot of Saturdays looking like this.


Give me a T!

Really, could she be any cuter?


Give me an I!

Well, yes, I guess she could!  ;)


Give me an E!

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What does it spell? KATIE!

Happy Birthday to my beautiful first-born!


We'll be celebrating all the birthdays tonight -- there will be cake!


In my drawers

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I may have mentioned that cleaning/clean-out has been on my mind. Time has been short, so I've been using the "What can I do in the next 10 minutes?" plan. By breaking big jobs into smaller tasks, there's a sense of accomplishment along the way -- which both inspires and motivates further action.

There's a big cupboard in the kitchen that we use as a sort of pantry. It has two large doors topped by two big drawers. I cleaned out one of the drawers -- the one we never used much -- earlier this week and found two TV antennas, a bunch of candles (including a random "1" and "8"), a rolled up remnant of old wallpaper, a tangle of plate hangers, a couple of broken p&s film cameras, and some other miscellaneous junk!

The other night, I opened the other drawer. I pulled it out, in fact, and dumped a third of the contents on the floor before bringing it to rest on the counter -- no turning back. A few years ago, when I didn't carry a purse, that drawer was where I'd keep my wallet, keys, sunglasses, gloves, all the day-to-day stuff... and other stuff, stuff I didn't know what to do with, and more stuff... holy cow. I found things like a coupon for tampons (um, yeah) that expired in 2004; all of my receipts from Christmas... 2006; Weight Watchers stuff -- folders, calculators, booklets; my folder and time cards from when I worked for the temp service; a bunch of cards I bought but never sent.

I also found a favorite pair of earrings (that I thought I lost), all my vintage watches & watch pins (that I thought I lost), some rings (that I thought I lost) and, best of all, MY GRANDMOTHER'S ENGAGEMENT RING (WHICH, OF COURSE, I THOUGHT I LOST)!! I'm so happy and relieved.

Happy weekend, ever'body! We'll be celebrating birthdays and eating cake.

*From MY birthday! STILL going strong.

Wednesday... now Thursday

The test knitting is done, washed, dried, and awaiting seaming -- which will probably happen over the weekend. I wonder what the chances are that the mood'll stick for a bit and I could have a few more new sweaters yet this spring. Heh.

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Meanwhile, unable to settle on anything else, hexies are very satisfying right now! The blues-greens are from some uncategorized and, I think undocumented, extra-curricular Project Spectrum dyeing. I'm lovin' that darker shade! Also, the two-tone hexagons are some of my favorites right now.

I should get a group shot... and count. I'm not sure how many I have finished. Maybe tonight. My friend Kate is bringing her Color Affections (one finished, one in-progress) to Knit Night tonight so I can take some photos, so the camera will be out.

Yesterday was the last official day of events for the 5th Annual Fox Cities Book Festival. Last week, my book club went to hear Kris Radish talk mostly about her latest (her 10th) book, Tuesday Night Miracles. She lives in Florida now, but was born and raised in Wisconsin -- not too far from me -- and, wow, we've sure raised up some great writers and I'm so happy I've been able to hear people like Kris, Lesley Kagen and Michael Perry read from own work and talk about their books. I also went to hear Bill Strickland speak about his book, Make the Impossible Possible; soft-spoken and humble, he is full of great ideas!

Next year, my husband may be in the book festival line-up! That's all I can say about that right now, so just nudge the thought way back in your head and I'll let you know when it's time to get excited again.

Don't forget... Knit Night tonight!


RIP Dick & Davy

Davy Jones died at the end of February, of course, and today we lost Dick Clark.

Davy Jones. The Monkees.

Dick Clark. American Bandstand. New Year's Rockin' Eve.

Big chunk o' my teenage entertainment and enlightenment right there.

And let's not forget the $25,000 Pyramid! God, I loved that show  -- even more than Let's Make A Deal, The Dating Game, and The Newlyweds, though perhaps not quite as much as Password... maybe I'd call it a tie.



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On Saturday morning, my friend Kate picked me up and took me to Wausau to take photos of her, her sister, and their mother -- there's a bunch of brothers in the family, too, but this was a "Girls Only" affair. Actually, one brother was there when we arrived, helping "Mom" set up her new iPad, but he didn't hang around for long.

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I hope I'm embracing and learning the new technology when I'm 89! A heap of inspiration -- both mother and daughters! So much energy and activity.

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Recently having reason to glance back, I'm surprised to see that it's already been 4 years since I picked up a camera with some intent. I recall that, in addition to photographing babies and kids, there was a glimmer of desire to capture women -- mothers & daughters, sisters, friends -- which I never really pursued. I had instant recollection when Kate asked me to do this for them. It was a lot of fun -- I was probably more relaxed than almost any other session (which means only slightly less nervous), and I'm happy I agreed; hope to do it again.

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Kate is an artist and a knitter. We'd both noticed that there was a "yarn bombing" event happening in Stevens Point on Saturday and, while we weren't able to participate, we stopped by on the way home to see it.

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A gorgeous setting.

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This community project at the Riverfront Arts Center was done to create awareness of an exhibit opening this Friday - Common Threads - Stories and Visions in Fiber. I won't make the opening, but would really like to see the show before it closes.

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Quite lovely.

The bleedin' 'arts (I am compelled to say it that way this year) are from my back garden -- I ran down on Saturday evening to take a few photos while there was still some light. They're just everywhere! And one of my favorite flowers.

Four days until the next birthday... which is great, because I've a little more to talk about.


1 of 3

It's the first of our April birthdays today! Twenty-five years ago, Alison made the scene. Here I will try to fit a completely random selection of photographs to a spur-of-the-moment idea for a post. (Because the well-planned blog this is mostly not.)


Give me an A!

There was a very prominent "balance beam" in our yard for a couple of summers! It was like she couldn't keep her feet on the ground. These days, she's more active -- and athletic -- than ever! Walking, biking, and even running!!


Give me an L!

There was a time when you could say that there was no love lost between these two. I always wonder what difference a 2-year rather than a 4-year gap would've made! We all survived, and I'm so happy that my daughters are all such good friends.


Give me an I!

There are benefits to having a tall, narrow container vs. a low, wide container when playing Drop The Clothespin In The Bucket... but it doesn't look like she was interested in strategy and the finer points of the game, does it? I'm not sure what Katie's container looked like -- she's obviously getting plenty of "help" from her other cousin.


Give me an S!

A smile that lights up the room.


Give me an O!


The creativity is in their genes, plus they grew up surrounded by objets d'art, in addition to so many objects for making art. I can't tell what's in her hand here, but the cigar box is full of colored pencils. One of our best finds ever was a huge roll-end of paper, and I think there are still dozens of life-size tracings of the kids stuck between the basement joists.


Give me an N!

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What does it spell? ALISON!

Happy Birthday wishes to the Nth degree to my beautiful second-born!!


Something old, something new

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The test knitting is almost complete! I'm shaping the cap on the last sleeve, will have to re-do the cap of the first sleeve, then wash/block, and sew it all together! It's my first time knitting with hemp -- allhemp6 (color 104-charcoal) -- and I like it! It's a lot like linen, but there's just a little bit of "give" to the fiber.

When we last saw Saartje's Bootees, they were Saartje's Sleeping Bag!

My sister and her family are starting a big clean-up/clean-out in preparation for a move to Rio de Janeiro. Brazil. South America. The opposite of North America. Far, far away. In July. For two years, at least.


But... it's not about me, is it? I'm very excited for them, I hope I win the lottery so I can afford to visit. I'm going to miss those boys so much. Two years at 6 & 4 is... a long time. They'll love it, though. Soon-to-be little Portugese-speaking kiddos. With a daughter angling for grad school in Glasgow... which isn't any direction of America at all... (she's been doing big-time cleaning out, too)... and friends scattered to the four corners and beyond... oh, why oh why oh why does travel have to be such a pain and so damn expensive?

Thank god for Skype, and Annie might also start a blog -- which we'd all just love -- and Katie promised to resurrect hers when she heads over the pond.

Okay, shaking it off... She came across these slippers (the first of a few things I'll likely see) and returned them to me. I can't get over how incredibly TINY they are!! Not only that, but they were TOO BIG for Addison (just right for a Berenstain Bear, though).

* * * * *

There's a city-wide rummage sale coming up in about a month and I am VERY inspired by the cleaning up & out going on around me... I'm even this >< close to packing up some Depression glass for consigment at the antique mall.

I read an old interview of the author of The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul yesterday, and it's probably not even the best book on the subject, but I am loving the whole concept.

This is -- I might be -- serious.

As soon as taxes are finished.


Yesterday = Yummy

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Such a tasty, beautiful, colorful plate that I had to shoot it twice.

We were pretty into dessert, apparently: I made poppy seed cake, Kate came over and made lemon bars, Kevin made carrot cake, and Mom had a small cheesecake from the store.

Easter Bunny brought a small bag of jelly beans, some Andes mints, and "bunny ear" Kit-Kats.

I believe I consumed more sugar yesterday than I have in the past month. I'm amazed that I didn't wake up with terrible heartburn at 3 a.m. Must've been good quality sugar, or the little bit of cheese and the (only slightly exaggerated) half-gallon of milk I consumed in the evening hours helped to neutralize and/or dilute it.

Busy week. How 'bout you?


It's the little things

Like a photo of some slippers in a magazine.

MY photo of slippers I MADE in a MAGAZINE! They asked permission, credited the photo with my name and blogsite, sent me a copy, and EVERYTHING!

The magazine is Mollie Makes, a UK-based magazine for makers, thrifters, collectors, crafters. It was waiting in my stack of mail upon returning from Chicago. So fun!

The slippers are Hopsalots, of course, by tiny owl knits.

I'm quite pleased. I sell both the pattern and the yarn I used, Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller Full O' Sheep, at my *tiny* and slowly growing shop, Make.Do. I hope soon to have some items listed online -- especially some Make.Do Hand-Dyes.

If there's a holiday you observe this weekend -- and even if there's not -- I hope you're having a great one!


That toddlin' town


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I drove down on Sunday with Kate and Al. They kindly indulged my swerve through Highland Park to search for the house I lived in when I was in first grade! I finally learned the name of the street... lo and behold, I was likely within a block or two the last time I drove through there! I recognized the house right away, mainly because all that's visible from the street is the garage -- everything else disappears behind a hedge -- just as it was back then.

We traced the steps I took everyday to my friend Missy's house -- which I also recognized on sight -- on my way to school. Sometimes we'd dawdle... doing rain dances on the way... and be very late (I recall once being a half-hour late!) even though the school was only a few blocks further. Of course, I found my school on Sunday, too, and it hasn't changed at all except that it's "smaller" now!!

Missy is one of those long-lost people I'd love to find someday -- and I might have a chance if only I knew how to spell her last name! We only lived in Highland Park for a year, but it was a very memorable year. I had the best first grade teacher in the whole wide world, Mrs. Kelly; and I had my first inkling of romance; and I had a fun and adventurous friend; I watched the Osmond Brothers on the Andy Williams Show, and got my first record player, and somehow Can't Get Used To Losing You is always the soundtrack for that place & time; and my little baby sister was born!

It was a great few days away -- a nice little Spring break. There were many others on Spring Break, as well, and I've never seen so many American Girl dolls in my life! We were pretty close to Michigan Ave. and American Girl Place. My favorites were the ones that weren't so new -- there were a few -- with mussed up hair and well-worn clothes.

There were plenty of other things to see... a sampling.

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This is the only yarn I saw the whole time... I didn't do any knitting, except for a few rows in the car on the way down, and never made it to any shops. I thought about it, but it just never happened.

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Spring was busting out all over!

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We had a fun little spa break -- a quick hand soak, neck & hand massage -- for AVEDA Earth Month.

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No Chicago visit is complete these days, it seems, without a trip to Cloudgate.

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Otherwise known as "The Bean."

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I'm not sick of it yet.

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We found lots of great food, of course! The Ram Restaurant & Brewery was a well-deserved stop after a few hours at IKEA! My sister was in town at around lunch time on Tuesday, so we spent a wonderful couple of hours at The Purple Pig. It was delicious! Katie met a friend for Happy Hour on Tuesday and, on said friend's recommendation, we sought out The Doughnut Vault on Wednesday morning. They sold out of chocolate just two people ahead of us, so we will just have to go back!

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I want this amazing building!

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Redhead(s) In Trouble! (Not really.) (I used to have that album... don't know if I still do.)

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After being on the schedule for three days, we finally made it to The Field Museum late Wednesday morning. Wonderful time with the mummies, dinosaurs, kids & families on Spring Break, and field-tripping school kids not on Spring Break!!