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December 2019

NaBloPoMo 2019.30

And that's a NaBloPoMo wrap! What a month!!

It started with a little vacation, returning on my birthday; there was knitting, sewing, football, food, some snow, fun & games with kiddos, Thanksgiving, and more.

I love that I get to announce the person who left the 30,000th comment on the last day of a successful NaBloPoMo -- and on my 3,446th post overall in nearly 16 years of blogging! The comment figure is legit, as I delete/unpublish spam comments; the number of posts is actually more like 3,379 because there are 67 posts unpublished posts saved as "draft." (I've tried to go in and clean those up, but I get emotional and just can't.)


drumroll, please............................................


I love that!! Thank you so much, Carole, for being you! I'll be sending along a token (or two) in appreciation to mark the occasion.

Thanks to EVERYONE who stops by to read this ol' blog! I couldn't/wouldn't do it without you. xo

NaBloPoMo 2019.29

After yesterday's hullabaloo, it felt great to take it a little easy today... but not TOO easy.

I don't know about you, but it only dawned on me in the last few days that there's only a week between Thanksgiving and the first weekend in December instead of the more usual two! That Thanksgiving-to-Christmas snowball usually happens pretty fast, but this year... it's gonna get going even faster!

Our local parade is on Tuesday (Ali & the kids & the coffee camper will be in it!), I pick up Maddy & Viv on Wednesday, Maddy's BFFs Katy & Andrés are coming on Friday, my first party of the season is on Friday, we're all planning on going to another parade on Saturday (so Viv can experience it and the kids can watch it), we're having a family photo shoot... and/while decorating the tree on Sunday.

One of the things I did today was start clearing out the area where the tree will go, and that felt great. I tossed & recycled some stuff, and also added to my donation pile. There's a storm coming and travel might be limited over the weekend, so we chucked it & more into the car and took a trip to the thrift store drop it off.

Then we parked and went inside... ha!


Kate scored big time! Among her findings was this vintage-y cotton velvet jacket... similar to a big coat of my sister Sharon's that she's recently been wearing.

And now Rusty's making turkey soup! My favorite day-after-Thanksgiving meal.

_ _ _ _ _

Tomorrow is the last day of NaBloPoMo 2019! It is almost certain that someone will be leaving the 30,000th comment on this post, or at least after I hit "publish" (that milestone could happen on any recent post), which I didn't think would happen until closer to the end of the year, so stay tuned to see who it is... MAYBE IT'S YOU!!


NaBloPoMo 2019.28

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I had a nice, fairly relaxed morning running a few errands, doing some chores around the house, prepping the turkey, and even doing some sewing. Ali & her family came over in the mid-afternoon to share a lovely meal.

Kate put together a lovely charcuterie/appetizer platter to begin... and even the kids loved it!!

I made Spatchcocked Roast Turkey & Gravy, Hasselback Butternut Squash, Smashed Red Potatoes, and Steamed Broccoli. Rusty made both pumpkin and apple pies. It was all really good... plentiful and filling, but not too much.

A spatchcocked turkey cooks quickly (relatively speaking) and evenly, and I had a nice-sized bird, just under 10 p0unds. I love making a turkey that way! The Hasselback Butternut Squash was delicious (even though I forgot the chopped pecans to finish) and is definitely a keeper; it got raves. Junah willingly tried pumpkin pie for the very first time... and LOVED IT! Ginny was content with ice cream topped with whipped cream for dessert. Ha.


There were Bananagrams! "What does this say, Nona??" I read every "word."

I hope you had a great day, too.


NaBloPoMo 2019.27

Things are just not happening in a timely manner lately... or least not how I've come to expect.

Anyway, better late than never, I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting and reading.



The knitting is slow going, too, but I'm THIS >< CLOSE to finishing the fingerless Maize Mitts for Junah. I had him try on the one that was finished the other day and, he was SO EXCITED!! That kid is knit-worthy in spades!! I picked up a couple pair of "magic" mittens and gloves to go along with, just in case he needs to double up sometime.


I continue listening to The Unwomanly Face of War: An Oral History of Women in World War II by Svetlana Alexievich (audio). It's so good, but it's long and there's a lot of "stuff," so I'm glad I'm giving it space.

I finished The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs on Monday night. It was the topic of book club last week (and was my book choice) and I hadn't even finished it myself (I was SOOOO close). It was a good book and made for some great discussion...

It's just that this one was un-put-down-able:

Blood: A Memoir was compelling. It's an incredible story of love... difficult to even know what to say about it. Allison & her sister Shelby are incredible humans.

 * * * 

Sadly... and I'm a little bit stunned... as I finished The Bright Hour, I learned that another young mother of two, Kate (35), was very recently diagnosed with breast cancer and that it has already spread to her liver, which severely limits the traditional medical options available to her. I met Kate & her husband, from Australia/New Zealand, at cooking class in Rio de Janeiro! I've followed her on IG since then, including her journey to motherhood (twice) after being told that she was infertile. She's overcome a few "impossible" things already. So, I've given to her campaign to raise money in order to seek other treatment options, and just thought I'd mention it in case you had a spare dime or two, too.


NaBloPoMo 2019.26

A quick & random catching up of a few things...

It's a little weird that I'm writing a "random catch-up" post in November during NaBloPoMo, when I'm blogging everyday, but what a November this is... in a good way, there's good stuff happening, but my free time is... mostly not really "free."


This is the tiniest portion of an epic spread for a buffet brunch/pop-up shopping event that my friend Peg & I attended last weekend at 313 Dodge. There were mini quiches, scones, almond-stuffed/bacon-wrapped dates... it was amazing. With a mimosa. (I never even had a share of that delectable looking brie!)


We were a bit more low-brow last night, with pizza delivery at home. Junah figured out/decided to raise a leaf on the drop-leaf table, and it turned into an impromptu kids' table! Malina wasn't originally in the mix, but she got her booster and started pushing it in that direction, so...


As established yesterday, Kate's taken up beading, and Ali was inspired to try making a little bead lizard like she used to make in high school. She remembered! This one's tail was cut too short, but there were two others... and a little hunt, with the help of three cell-phone-flashlights, when one went missing in the living room. Astonishingly, we found it!!


I'm not stitching nearly as consistently on this particular project during the current attempt at 100-days, but I am sewing... and also knitting... almost everyday.

I might even have some real stuff to talk about for Unraveled Wednesday tomorrow!


NaBloPoMo 2019.25

I've had a pretty good day off, getting a few things knocked off my list... some bookkeeping stuff, banking, some cleaning (including a car wash), a bit of organizing, and the Airbnb ready for holiday guests. The kiddos will be over soon to spend some time with Auntie Kate!

Speaking of whom, she's experimenting with something new...


...and these might go just fine with my new party pants!


NaBloPoMo 2019.24


Or, more accurately, Alabama Chanin / The School of Making Palazzo Pants.


I finished sewing them up and attaching the elastic last week, but today is the first opportunity to shoot them with both daylight & willing photographer (Katie's home!)!

They are made from a single layer of Alabama Chanin Organic Cotton Jersey in Navy Blue, painted using the Large Paradise Stencil (which I cut myself), in a custom pearlized paint mixture. It's impossible to capture, but the paint has a slight sparkle to it... LET'S PARTY!! I had some random silver fold-over elastic and used that to finish them off.

I declare, from here on out, all my party pants will be palazzo pants!! I'm SO happy with how they turned out, and they are SO comfy... they will easily transition to PAJAMA PANTS when their party days are over.


(I have no idea what I'm doing in this photo.)

For full-on party mode, I have a sparkly shirt to wear but need another layer... and shoes.


NaBloPoMo 2019.22

Well, I gotta say, I'm so glad that so many of y'all are also dreamers... and/or really good cheerleaders!


TGIF! I'm really happy that the weekend is upon us, and even more since I also, unexpectedly, have Monday off!

P.S. Update on my coworker: Nearly two weeks later, it's still a bit of a roller coaster, but I actually spoke with him yesterday! Though the breathing tube had been removed several days earlier, his throat was still extremely raw and it was difficult to understand all that he said.... but YAY!!

NaBloPoMo 2019.21

I was in an old bank vault!

 * * * 

First off, in case you didn't know, I'M A DREAMER...

...and isn't this just about the cutest little thing you've ever seen?


Ali & Rod have an accepted offer on a house and this little bank building is kitty-corner across the street. I'm not going to say any more (or at least not much) about their house until it's a completely done deal!

But the bank... can't you think of a million different things a person could do with this adorable little building?


Such promise! That clock is kind of hideous (in that it's too big and doesn't really "fit"), but that burglar alarm, the pillars, the tile!


There's even a "bullet hole" in that big arched window in front...


John Dillinger? Al Capone? Bonnie & Clyde? Did any of them pass through this little town once upon a time??


There's some work needed, for sure. It's fairly cosmetic in front, but things start to fall apart... literally... around back.

I tried to convince myself for a sec that this:


...was originally a little more like this:


...but, no. That is definitely a gigantic bulge due to water damage/poor water management from the roof. It was a really nice day yesterday, so snow was melting, and we could actually see it happening for ourselves. It's been happening, apparently unchecked, for years. And years and years and years.

And inside (on the other side of that wall)...


Apparently that back window was open for a while (years and years?), too. Rusty found and shut another open window in the basement when we were there.

That's after we'd already seen this upon entering:


I don't really think that part is from water -- or if it is, not only from water -- because the floor is not in awful shape and there aren't watermarks on those tiles. This might have been just plain old vandalism (which makes me feel a little more hopeful about the overall roof situation).

Junah was quite amazed by it all.

I was a little bit heartbroken.

There's a big front room, two smaller rooms in back (one is the vault/future bathroom), and a full basement (where the bathroom is currently located). And lots of spiders.


The little welcome chicken and the Vault Ventilator sure are cool, though, aren't they?

I could probably get this for a song, but I'm afraid it might take a symphony to get it in usable/habitable shape. I'm still thinking about it... it came immediately to mind every time I woke up last night... I'm still dreaming about it!!


NaBloPoMo 2019.19

Wailing Complaining as I have for the past couple-few months about the street work in front of Ali's coffee shop, it's only fair that I shout out...


It's Done!!


The sidewalks are a bit wider, the pedestrian crosswalk areas are roomy & visible, there's parallel parking on Ali's side of the street and angle parking on the other... it's really, really nice. There's a bit of a spatial shift that makes me feel like I'm driving down the middle of the street, but I'm sure I'll get over it.

Since some of this was finished when temps were at freezing or below (10 degrees or so below), I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the contractor(s) know what they're doing and it doesn't all fall apart next summer. Is that cement actually set or just frozen in place??


A group of kids at a nearby charter school recently decorated a bunch of coffee sleeves "with all the happy things"! On the other side of this one is THE SUN!! I love the little smiley face on the C"O"FFEE! My cup is full of the new Gingersnap Latte, using house-made syrup (and with my special request for "not too sweet"), and it was perfect! Kristin said that it's been a hit and she already had to make another batch of syrup.


NaBloPoMo 2019.17

I had a nice video chat with my sister this morning.


This was my view during part of it, as Ann was getting a chicken ready for the oven. And as soon as I hit post, I'm on my way to the store to pick up a chicken of my own!

The quintessential Sunday chicken dinner, whether in the US or Spain! Though Ann was also making roasted peppers and having a beer, and I was not (yet).


NaBloPoMo 2019.16

Officially on my list, but never actually written down until late yesterday, was "Photos for Ali." I'm embarrassed to say how long I've had her external hard drive with her request/my promise to add all the "real" photos that I've taken of the kids. It sounds easy enough, but there's sorting, choosing, editing, processing, transferring... all a big huge UGH!!

Well, I did it this morning! That means that you get to traipse down memory lane with me!











The only photo not taken with my big camera is the one of Ali holding the newborn Gin. And the only photo that I didn't take, but that was taken with my big camera, is the one that I'm in -- and Jün was the photographer!! Some of these don't represent the technical "best," but were chosen for other reasons -- GOSH DARN CUTE KIDS!!


NaBloPoMo 2019.15

Eye Candy Friday!


I was upstairs last night, readying the apartment for weekend Airbnb guests, and was delighted to find A FEW TINY BUDS when I checked the "holiday cactus." It's a fairly large plant, so there's potential for a show! These will not be blooming for a while, so I deem this one of the Christmas variety.


Another cactus in the Garden Room downstairs has had buds for a while now, and they're getting BIGGER! It's a much smaller plant, but there's promise for a BIG SHOW! And this one should be in full glory for Thanksgiving!

HOLIDAYS! Kate returns in little over a week, and Maddy & Viv will be home in less than three weeks! I think I'm going to start prepping this weekend... organizing space(s) and making room for the tree and whatnot. 

Maybe I'll even clean out the fridge!


NaBloPoMo 2019.14

So, y'know one of the main excuses reasons for our quick trip to Arizona was because Rusty's brother found more old photos, documents, and scrapbooks.


Rusty's mother was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, raised in Providence, Rhode Island, and lived most of her life in California. For a few years in the '30s, in her late teens and early twenties, she apparently went back and forth between the east & west coasts at least a few times, including Florida (as the boys recall, though no photographic evidence), working at resorts. From the looks of it, she had a lot of friends and a lot of fun, too!


The Wianno Club is in Osterville, MA, on Nantucket Sound. We have a couple of small serving bowls from the Wianno Club, ca. 1937, I guess, with their logo on them.


Midwick View Riding Academy sounded "east coast" to us, so we were happy to find the photo above clearly identifying it as a place in California... possibly part of Midwick View Estates.

There are a few curious things about all this...

One being that this was all during The Great Depression. Yacht races, riding academies, and multiple cross-country trips... these are not things that normally come to mind when one thinks of The Depression.

Another is that I'm fairly certain the travel would have taken place on land rather than by air, but there's not a single photo of anything between the coasts.

I believe Rusty's mother's parents were very well off... but there was a scandal involving his grandfather, which disgraced the whole family, and ultimately resulted in their divorce by 1941 (and bad enough that his son & namesake legally changed his name!). And maybe, at least for some of this time, Rusty's mother was just away at these places... sent to camp, or whatever, to protect her from the scandal, and not actually working? I mean, they sure seemed to have fun (and a lot of free time) at work... There are SO MANY casual/fun photos at these places, with one or two friends, or in big groups... at the beach, on the dock, poolside, in cars, with dogs, snow skiing, horseback riding, hugging, smiling, laughing, sightseeing...

It's all so curious!!


NaBloPoMo 2019.13

I'm determined not to complain about the weather this winter... even though it's only mid-November, winter is already here (we leaped right over fall), and there's PLENTY to complain about!

While I'm not sure I can go as far as embracing my inner Norwegian (my DNA says I'm only 3% Swedish, after all), I will try to grin and (silently) bear it... or at least bear it.


This Waterlogue'd photo was taken only three weeks ago (during a gathering to consider options for that darn walnut tree)! And yay!! I've been getting used to my new iPhone, playing with apps and things, and (while slowly catching up with y'all) a recent Watercolor Wednesday post at Carole's reminded me about this app that I've iEnvied for years!

 * * * * * 

Thanks for all your good thoughts & wishes for my co-worker and friend. I haven't had any news today, but things seem to be moving in the right direction overall. There's a long way to go, with at least a week in ICU and another month in the hospital (hopefully, one closer to home?)...


NaBloPoMo 2019.12


I haven't had an update yet this morning, but my co-worker was more stable yesterday! About half of his ribs broken, and he has a broken right foot -- but it looks like he won't need heart surgery (yay!), and neurological function was good. His wife felt that things were looking up... so that's what I'm going with! I'm hopeful that things will continue that way!

It's really quite something, since they weren't sure he was going to make it at all.

* * * * *

I had a dream on Sunday night -- the first I can remember in a long time -- about losing half of my right foot. It's a long, weird story (because DREAMING), but I'm not surprised after looking up possible meanings for such a dream... To lose body parts in a dream can often signify that you have a fear of losing something important in life.

* * * * *

Thanks for all the good mojo!


NaBloPoMo 2019.11

Hug your people.

One of my coworkers was involved in a head-on collision late Saturday night as he made his way home from his long-time moonlighting theatre gig. He's in critical condition in a Madison hospital, where he was taken by ambulance because weather conditions had grounded all the helicopters.

I just had an update that he is more stable this morning and is doing well neurologically... "so things are looking up!"

Prayers, mojo, karma, good wishes, whatever your jam... any & all are needed for him, his wife, and their son.

He's one of the good ones.


Hug your people.


NaBloPoMo 2019.10

Game day!


Junah is spending the afternoon with me. We made a 4x4 with K'nex, then spent some time perusing the internet for other K'nex sets, which led to watching associated videos... which led to watching videos about Legos and remote control cars and transformers, and writing a few things down on a Christmas wish list!

That tired us out, so we took a :15 "nap." Junah rested his legs, I rested my eyes. He watched the timer on my clock count down because, y'know, "I like to watch stuff."

He lasted :03 watching the 🏈 game with me! Now watching Green Eggs & Ham on my computer...

NaBloPoMo 2019.9

Isn't it grand...


I was able to borrow a wide-angle zoom lens (Canon EF 17-35mm 1:2.8 L), so I brought the big camera!

The Grand Canyon was amazing! We were warned that it's usually at least 30 degrees cooler at the canyon, but it was not a usual day... we kept shedding layers and, at most, it was maybe 10-15 degrees cooler. And even 15 degrees "cooler than 85" is... well, just not that bad! Haha! Not bad at all.

The vapor trail is from a jet formation that flew over! They were so incredibly close together, it looks like one but there were at least 5 or 6 in formation, plus one off to the side (slightly) and another a little further back, bringing up the rear.


NaBloPoMo 2019.8

Alison posted the cutest series of photos of each of the kiddos on my birthday. Here's a peek, one of each:


They're all coming over this evening for celebrations! I can't wait... seems like ages since I've seen/hugged/kissed them!


NaBloPoMo 2019.7 / 3TT

Joining Carole & friends for Three (Throwback) Things on Thursday...

Pardon me for another fly-by... re-entry is a bitch on so many levels, not the least of which is adjusting to a 60-degree temperature difference. And snow.

As you may recall, one of the things that spurred this trip was Rusty's brother's discovery of more family photos...


1 -- Dave (aka, Wavey Davey) & Rusty (aka, Big Eyes) perusing an old scrapbook and sharing stories & remembrances. That's a large acrylic painting on the wall in front of them that Rusty painted for Dave -- a SoCal surfer back in the day -- several years ago. When Dave wasn't able to surf anymore, he took photos, and it's one of those that inspired this painting.


2 -- "Mother - Jean - '32." That's Rusty's & Dave's grandmother, Florence, and their Aunt Jean -- one of my favorites among the photo discoveries! Happy times!! Life was rocked by social scandal and things got rough a few years later, and Flo was divorced from their grandfather by 1941. She must have recovered, though, and lived until she was 101!


3 -- I don't remember ever seeing this photo before! It's summer 1988 and we're visiting our friends, TJ & January and their son Elliott, on Vashon Island, WA. This photo was taken as we were saying/singing our good-byes, captured both in photos & videos -- it was the video of me walking toward the camera to turn it off that sent me signing up for WW immediately upon our return home! Heh.


NaBloPoMo 2019.6

I'm "cheating" a little here. We're leaving Laughlin at 7 a.m. and driving up to Vegas to catch our mid-morning flight home, via Phoenix, which doesn't land in Milwaukee until after 6 and we won't likely get home until about 9 tomorrow night. So, I'm posting early.


Happy Birthday to me!!


NaBloPoMo 2019.5

Free hotel wifi is the worst hotel wifi. I'm cheap and didn't spring for "enhanced" wifi, even for a day, because we weren't here for more than a few hours in the morning or evening, or were fast asleep.

I had a great vacation... and I felt as though I truly vacated... but I am anxious to get home and back into the regular swing of things. If, for no other reason, a real computer (using the tablet sucks as much as hotel wifi). We're winging our way tomorrow!

Today, we visited again with Rusty's brother & sister-in-law, and we drove with them out to Oatman, AZ, which is... a place I won't ever have to visit again. It was a great visit with the relatives, though, and Rusty & Dave put their heads together to nail down some family history details. Rusty brought his laptop along so he could make a record.

I'm also looking forward to my own bed and pillow.  ;)

NaBloPoMo 2019.3

Yesterday was quite the day. We drove over to visit with Rusty's brother, Dave, and sister-in-law, stopping for a brunchy breakfast on the way.

I don't even know how many photos of photos I took... lots! And mostly of Rusty & Dave's mom, from scrapbooks, envelopes, folders, and stacks.


On the beach, the slopes, at the pool, the tennis court, on horseback, with cats and dogs... so many photos with dogs! I'm surprised that Rusty's not more of a dog lover.

Today we're headed to Lake Havasu -- to the closest Packers bar we could find (also London Bridge)! Tomorrow, we're up EARLY to head to the Grand Canyon, so I won't likely be posting until evening.


NaBloPoMo 2019.2

We flew out of Milwaukee yesterday and landed in Las Vegas, where we rented a car and drove south to to Laughlin, NV.


Today, we'll get together with Rusty's brother, Dave, and take a look at the old photos and documents he found since Rusty visited last summer.


This is Dave, ca. 1960, with their cat, Speedy.

--- Posting from my tablet, not ideal but it's all I have right now! I hope it isn't wonky. And YAY to the other NaBloPoMoers! I won't have much time while we're away, but I will catch up with you all when we return!!



NaBloPoMo 2019.1

Hi. I lied! I will be posting while I'm away because NaBloPoMo, the idea of which has been drifting in & out of my consciousness for the past couple of weeks... and not with dread, so here I am! I may be the only person on the planet still doing it the way it's always been done, but whatever. I'm OK with marching to my own drummer.


Random seasonal photo (imagine snow).

I have a question or a few for y'all. As you know, I recently got a new phone... my first iPhone! (It's my only iThing!) I'm getting things figured out and set up, but I'm curious to hear any tips & tricks you might have to share.

Here goes:

  1. When you upgrade or get a new phone, what are the first things you do... which settings do you tweak?
  2. What are your favorite PHOTO apps?
  3. What photo collage app do you use?
  4. What are your favorite other apps?