Previous month:
June 2013
Next month:
August 2013

Life imitates

I saw a cartoon the other day about how a knitter prepares for travel. I can't find it right now, but I think I can easily summarize.

  • A few weeks before departure, knitter figures out which project to work on while traveling and commences to assemble required materials.
  • This, of course, is in addition to the WIP/contingency/mood projects already destined for packing.
  • Knitter then casts on the new project and gets a little start... to get a feel for materials and become familiar with the pattern, etc.
  • Two days before departure, knitter casts off the last stitch of the travel knitting project!

I daresay that baby knitting works just like that! I plan to knit a Chevron Baby Blanket inspired by the always lovely and inspiring Purl Bee... so many adorable projects! (There are some adorable PB sewing projects for baby that I'd like to make, too!) A blanket gets big and unwieldy to tote around, so, of course, there must be smaller, portable project(s) underway at all times. Pictured above is Little Heaume, the baby hat that I started on Saturday morning at the farmer market for just that purpose.

And (you may already know this), I finished the hat last night, except for the button, before I even cast on the first stitch of the blanket!!

Tired as I was, I stayed up to get started on that blanket, casting on and knitting two rows!

I don't have a portable project going at the moment, though.

It may take some practice to get my rhythm going!


Cat out of bag

Baby jumps in! Haha.

I know, it doesn't really work that way.       o.O

It was Mother's Day when Ali told me that she'd taken three pregnancy tests and they'd all said the same thing... and that she had a few more test sticks, just in case, but was pretty sure they'd all have the same -- positive  -- result! That was pretty awesome news to hear on Mother's Day... and I especially loved that it was mine-all-mine for a while. Delicious.

As you may recall, we had wedding planning quite heavy in the rotation at the time, so the baby news sort of took a back seat.

Until today. Ali asked me to join them at their intro visit to the midwifery practice that they'll be using, because I would like to not only be present but also useful at the birth, and...


The estimate is that Little Zim is around 16 weeks old, and the due date is early to mid January.

This is pretty much the frosting on my cake right now! I try not to hyperventilate when I think about a blanket? a bonnet? a sweater? a hat? a toy? Fourteen of each? Because that's not even the tip of the iceberg in terms of how many super amazingly beautiful patterns there are for each of those things.

Deep. Breaths.

I just smile when I ask Ali how she's feeling and she says, "I am HUGE," and... oh my, isn't she CUTE? Heheh.

I simply cannot wait.


Ten on Tuesday: Treats of summer

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Favorite Summertime Treats

Some of the best things about summer...

1. Pedicure(s)

2. Going barefoot... or wearing cute sandals

3. The occasional hot fudge sundae


Maddy was my market mate last Saturday

 4. Farmer market fare (not every week, never all.the.things, and always shared):

  • Orbits mini-donuts
  • Eggrolls
  • Springrolls
  • Kettle corn
  • New-this-year, still-to-try, wood-fired pizza!

5. Enjoying the fruits (vegetables) of our labor

Book club gathered at Waverly Beach on the north shore of Lake Winnebago

6. Dining/knitting/socializing al fresco

7. I love the sounds of summer: kids at the pool, the crack (or clink) of a bat meeting a ball, the roar of the crowd, the nice rumble of a motorcycle, the radio...

8. Cloud-watching and (new!) summer storm-chasing

9. Lazy hazy crazy days of summer -- enjoying every day

10. Day tripping... the Lake Michigan shore is an hour away!

When you live in a climate like mine, where winter is long, dark, and very cold, almost everything about summer can be considered a treat! There is such pleasure in simply opening a window and feeling a delicious breeze...


Aspire to inspire...

...before you expire.

That phrase was on a reader board at a church between my house and Mom's, so I read it at least once a day for about a month!

Sometimes those things stick.

I ran across this photo last week. It was taken last July just before Annie moved to Brazil.

I immediately thought of the photos I'd taken of Karen and me a couple of weeks ago...

What a difference a year makes!! I think we've lost the equivalent of a 6th grader between us! Inspiring? I think so. It inspires me -- we inspire each other -- to keep going!

So, I've done pretty well, considering all of the hoopla so far this summer -- a big wedding, 4th of July, Annie & her family visiting from afar. I haven't weighed myself in weeks, but feel little difference in my clothes so am confident that overall I'm holding pretty steady. I did start to feel a little icky around the 4th of July, and noticed that my ankles and feet were swelling again -- it felt awful, and it was a big reminder of where I'd been and how far I've come, and I sure don't want to go back!!

I want to keep wearing my cute shoes!!  :)

I really haven't strayed too far from the principles that helped me get here -- which says a lot, actually, about how this style of eating is definitely for me! But there is definitely room for improvement, so it's time to crack the books and get firmly back on track, back to basics. I'll be doing another Whole30 (as close as I get, anyway) in August. It's a great time to do it, with all of the fresh local produce* coming on strong, and perhaps I'll focus on exploring more sauces and things this time.

In addition to the excellent resources linked above, there's always something on sale (or even free) for your Kindle/app on Amazon.

*I plucked the first ripe cherry tomatoes from my own patio garden this morning!


Ten on Tuesday: The Heat is ON

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Ways To Beat The Heat

Humid or dry, hot is hot. I have found, though, that 90F and humid here is a LOT different than 90F and humid in, say, Rio de Janeiro -- it's "hotter" here (my brother-in-law agrees)! It is humid there, of course; tropical and "moist" all the time. The sheets felt damp every night when I crawled into bed, and vertical file systems aren't used much because the papers simply wilt, but my skin never looked or felt better! In Rio, and probably most coastal areas, there's almost always some air movement, the air never gets quite as "thick" as here. Or as hot.

Let's find our cool...

1. Thanks to some big trees, I'm able to keep the house cool with a few window air conditioners and strategically placed fans. South- and west-facing windows are kept covered. Central air is always on the wish list (the window units can be noisy)!

2. Grilling out is a great way to keep the heat out of the kitchen.

3. So is eating out!

4. When I cook indoors/at home, I try to be efficient about it and make a quantity of something -- on Sunday it was Greek Meatballs. There was enough for dinner and a couple of lunches! (I made mine with goat instead of lamb because I have a convenient local source every Saturday at the farmer market -- delicious!)

5. Alongside the meatballs (both the Italian version, weekend before last, and the Greek last weekend), I made Bell Pepper Slaw. So easy! I used "broccoli slaw" for mine, and probably used fewer peppers but more tomatoes the first time -- and made it in the jar and a day ahead. We all agreed that the jar was not really necessary but sort of cool. The second time, I used even fewer peppers and no tomatoes -- because I didn't have any -- and served it immediately. It's that kind of recipe... and that time of year.

6. I'm not sweatin' the small stuff.

7. Staying hydrated is important! In addition to water, I've been drinking an Arnold Palmer or three everyday. I usually make mine with a lot of tea and just a bit of lemonade, but sometimes the other way around. Also, an ice cold beer -- oooh, I love it best in a frosty mug/glass -- is so refreshing on a hot summer day!

8. One of my favorite places to beat the heat is at the movies.

9. Dresses! I've been wearing dresses more often this summer -- easy, breezy.

10. Though I now own my first suit in nearly two decades, I'm not much of a swimmer, but the water is a great place to beat the heat! Lounging on a beach chair, under an umbrella, near enough to go wading, sipping on fresh in-the-coconut coconut water... Or something similar.  :)

According to the forecast, tomorrow's going to be the hottest day this week, followed by stormy weather on Thursday & Friday, leaving a much nicer weekend in the wake. Yeah. I'll take it!

What's your best beat-the-heat strategy?



I've been taking a "Market Watch" photo every week of our set up at the farmer market. It looks pretty much the same week-to-week, but there are subtle changes. Who I'm working with, the weather... "where's Waldo," "spot the difference" puzzle type stuff. It amuses me. Anyway, last week I finally washed and blocked some banner triangles I'd made last winter from random leftovers. I strung them on some clothesline (I bought way more for the wedding than I needed) (also clothes- and safety pins) (and paper straws). Anyway... it was a bit breezy at the market on Saturday morning so they're difficult to see in the overall photo. Cute? I think so.

After last week's visit to Homeland Security for biometrics and the subsequent mailing of the student visa app, Katie is in full-on packing/moving mode! She found a good home for the chinchilla she adopted a few years ago, freeing up a corner of the upstairs apartment for organization of rummage sale stuff. I was up for some reason or other over the weekend and spotted this artifact on the floor! Do you know what it is? We never seemed to have very many, or they were difficult to find when needed, so I'm still inclined to pocket and save them when I see them.

We went to The Kangaroost for breakfast yesterday morning and it's the best breakfast out I've had in a long time... and the only breakfast I've had out in a long time. My photo isn't the greatest, but it was all quite delicious and those American fries were pure perfection, which is really great because I like to think of them as a treat.

I've been concerned about my refrigerator for a while... it seems to run constantly! It's summer and it's hot and humid, so there's that... After breakfast and before the current wave of heat & humidity came on too strong, we pulled it out and cleaned the coils, underneath, etc., and I found a woolly mammoth on one of the ledges/pans in the back. It is an old fridge, but not that old!! I'm not sure how that ever ended up there... and at first, I thought it was a dessicated mouse! Anyway, it's a 28-year-old fridge and, well, I know it's not going to last forever... though my microwave of same vintage is still going strong!

I went to not one, but TWO blockbuster action-packed movies over the weekend: Man of Steel and Pacific Rim. Having grown up with the Christopher Reeve version of Superman -- which was pretty perfect -- Henry Cavill is absolutely the new perfect Superman and I can't imagine how he'll be topped, but I sure that someday he will. We saw the preview for Pacific Rim before Superman and it was intriguing. The effects were amazing -- and I probably saw more destruction in these two movies than I've seen in every other movie I've ever seen, combined -- and I almost think I enjoyed it more.

That's Weekending.

How was yours?

Summer will end soon enough...

Man, it's been jam-packed so far!

Since the wedding:

  • Ali & Rod had a little honeymoon get-away
  • We started Saturday farmer markets again
  • Rusty traveled to Japan and back
  • My sister Ann arrived from Brazil for a couple of weeks, making a couple of trips to Madison, too
  • My sister Karen came from Northern WI for a quickie 24-hour visit
  • The girls left & returned on their road trip to Glacier National Park (click on over for Kate's run-down on their adventure, and picture-postcard photos!)

I've been pretty stationary through all of that... feeling not unlike a May pole, though perhaps a bit dizzier.


In addition to ice cream, there was bike-riding (Addy mastered two wheels!), a joint birthday celebration for Mack & Addy), the 4th of July, returning travelers... busy, busy, busy!

It's hard to believe that Mack turned 8 a month ago, and Addy's almost 6!


Mack - Then & Now!


Addy - Then & Now!

Departure for Brazil was set for Tuesday afternoon and my girls hadn't even seen them yet, so everyone came over and we had a little farewell dinner on Monday night at my house. I made Aunt Cece's meatballs, my new go-to that I love so much (serving pasta & sauce for those who wished it), and this Bell Pepper Slaw found on Pinterest (made a day ahead, making day-of so much easier). Annie made one of the two Pao de Queijo mixes she brought us (they turned out GREAT) (and Hm)! Ali brought a bowl of her lovely chocolate avocado pudding, also a new fave.

And here we are on Tuesday evening at Red Robin before heading over to see Despicable Me 2... Um, flight delays are a bummer, but at least they found out early enough they wouldn't make their connections that they could delay their departure by a day! Yay? YAY!


I had long planned to drive down to Milwaukee on Wednesday (yesterday) with Katie for her fingerprinting appointment at the Dept. of Homeland Security -- one more step towards Scotland! Things are falling into place... once the student visa is in-hand, the flight will be booked... the days are counting down fast. Anyway, I snuck over to Mom's early yesterday for final kisses & hugs. It was Mack -- NOT the pesky aunt always wanting smoochies -- who requested "one more" kiss & hug, honing his heart-breaker skills in the process! While not enthusiastic, Addison was not stingy with the kisses, but he withheld my hug, saying that he'll give it to me when I'm in Rio!

I guess I'll have go to Rio again, too!  :)

Ten on Tuesday: All By Myself

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Favorite Things To Do When I'm Alone

Just the other day, Katie asked, "Did you get enough time alone, Mom?"

See, Rusty was recently in Japan and, overlapping by a few days, the girls were off on their first-ever road trip together -- and I stayed home alone!

O, Happy Day(s).

I love my family and I love to spend time with them, but I have absolutely, positively, no problem whatsoever in the whole entire world spending time alone. My family has always known this. When the kids were little, and especially during the time I didn't work outside the home, Rusty knew that the nicest thing he could do for me was to take the kids for an afternoon, a day, a couple of days, a long weekend... and leave me home. Alone.

So, what do I like to do?

1.  Not cook. I never (hardly ever) cook when I'm home alone. My favorite "alone" food? Cold cereal -- for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks -- especially late-night snacks (because, when I'm home alone, the nights tend to go late). Though I've all but eliminated grains from my diet, there will always be room for cold cereal! Cheerios was always my favorite, but lately I've been eating (and loving) Rice Chex more... with chopped pecans and raisins or banana or fresh berries. Yum.

2.  Clean out and organize stuff. Yarn, books, closets, cupboards. I like big chunks of uninterrupted time to spread out, make, and clean up the big mess that is always a part of this process.

3.  Take the frequent breaks that are also part of the above-mentioned process.

4.  Turn up the volume!

5.  Shop. I shop well with others, but I sometimes like to do it alone.

6.  Drive! (Usually with the volume UP!)

7.  Watch old movies. Just as with music, my taste in movies is wide and varied... and not always to the liking of others.

8.  Putz. What? It's a thing. There's just no other word for it. One of my very favorite things to do is "putz & putter." I have been known to do it all day long, often while wearing my PJs.

9.  Visit the yarn/craft store. I love to see what's new and be inspired!

10.  Knit, of course!

How about you? Do you like to be alone or do you dread it?


Lavender & Lace

Ravelry-2013-06-28 00.25.51
I didn't finish them in time for the wedding. I'm sure it was because the lavender in my garden wasn't blooming then, and now it is (also, blurry little creeping thyme flowers in the foreground).

Ravelry-2013-06-28 00.30.24
Each one tied with a ribbon corresponding to the color of their dress for the wedding.

  • Project:  Lavender & Lace by Derya Davenport
  • Ravelry details here
  • Yarn:  JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18 from Sarah's Yarns
  • Yarn:  Make.Do Invoke Sport (for one), using US 3 needle
  • Needle:  US 0, 1
  • Start to Finish:  May 28 - June 28, 2013

I knit the first one in the round and, while efficient, I found it tedious. I don't know that I was thinking. I've knit hundreds of small hexagons the same way and haven't complained. Feeling under the gun and knowing I knit faster on straight needles, I knit all the rest flat -- except for my sister's, but that one's much larger.

Um, yeah, so sewing up seven tiny sachets isn't tedious? Gah.

So, the tiniest one -- the first one -- I gave to Jillian because she's the youngest and it was so very sweet. I made a mistake on one, working the eyelet row YO, K1 instead of YO, K2tog, resulting in a double-ruffle -- and I left it that way and gave it to the bride.

Ravelry-2013-06-28 00.27.34
They smell divine!