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The Great Silence

It's sometimes a little ridiculous, but I've long received Rob Brezsny's Astrology Newsletter email every Tuesday morning. And every once in a while, it really strikes and chord and/or makes me think. The last three weeks have been pretty darn good, each provoking on its own, but I also feel a thread, a slow build.

Two weeks ago, he wrote about Count von Count:

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): On the kids' TV show *Sesame Street*, there's a muppet character named Count von Count. He's a friendly vampire who loves to count things. He is 6,523,730 years old and his favorite number is 34,969—the square root of 187. The Count was "born" on November 13, 1972, when he made his first appearance on the show, which means he's a Scorpio. I propose we make him your patron saint for the next four weeks. It's an excellent time to transform any threatening qualities you might seem to have into harmless and cordial forms of expression. It's also a favorable phase for you to count your blessings and make plans that will contribute to your longevity.

Last week, he wrote about Paul Valéry:

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): In the course of his 73 years on the planet, Scorpio author Paul Valéry (1871–1945) wrote more than 20 books. But between the ages of 25 and 45, he passed through a phase he called the "great silence." During that time, he quit writing and published nothing. Afterwards, he returned to his life's work and was nominated 12 times for a Nobel Prize. Although your own version of a great silence is less extreme than his, I'm happy to announce that you will emerge from it sooner than you imagine.

And this week, about John Cleese:

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Scorpio comedian John Cleese does solo work, but many of his successful films, albums, stage shows, and TV programs have arisen from joining forces with other comedians. "When you collaborate with someone else on something creative," he testifies, "you get to places that you would never get to on your own." I propose you make this your temporary motto, Scorpio. Whatever line of work or play you're in, the coming weeks will offer opportunities to start getting involved in sterling synergies and symbioses. To overcome the potential limitations of social distancing, make creative use of Zoom and other online video conferencing. (Here's more from Cleese: "The way an idea builds as it careens back and forth is so unpredictable. Sometimes it depends on people misunderstanding each other, and that's why I don't think there's any such thing as a mistake in the creative process. You never know where it might lead.")

_ _ _ _ _

I am definitely feeling "the great silence" right now. In fact, this post -- with nothing but the title -- has been in my drafts since last Thursday. There are things going on, I'm posting here and there on IG and sometimes even FB, but I just don't feel like talking about any of it right now. I'm having a hard time concentrating at times, and it often feels like everything is going in slow motion -- one or two rows on a shawl every night, one chapter away from finishing a book (just read it already), plodding one foot in front of the other... I am desperately trying to not even let the word "depression" enter my thoughts, even though I am surely feeling that way. It's extraordinarily hard for someone who thrives on making plans for the future -- big trips, little trips, day trips -- to not be making any plans at all. It doesn't make me feel better that we're all in the same boat, more or less.

Here are a bunch of pics mostly of cute kiddos from over the weekend, guaranteed to bring smiles... and you just can't help but feel some hope!


Kate took some video & photos of Rusty and I setting The Marriage Window in place the other day... and the un-/re-remodel is coming along fantastically! It's been a super fun project for all of us.


3TT: I ain't got much

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday...

It was a gorgeous day yesterday and here are three photos!


I drove down to my CSA farm again to pick up plants and soil that I'd ordered a few weeks ago. Mostly herbs (mostly basil), but also a few tomatoes and a zucchini. I've never grown zucchini but we sure do eat a lot of it, so we'll see how it goes. I'd also placed an order to pick up at the farm store -- asparagus, spinach, and radishes again, but this time some local eggs, too.

What a gorgeous day for a drive! Today is much the same and the weekend will be warm, too, but with a chance of some rain. I have a day-off switcheroo next week, Tuesday instead of Wednesday, so a nice long weekend to enjoy it!


Putzing along

We put together a couple of puzzles a while back and I've been meaning to glue them together.


This one is the Yoro Park Puzzle from Slowdown Studio, and it is destined for the Airbnb. The box that it came in is super cute (and a lot smaller) and resides on a shelf in our living room, so we also get to enjoy the image. The puzzle was harder than it looks! I'd never heard of Yoro Park before... it looks very interesting! Anyway, my Mod Podging skills won't be winning any awards, but it's done... now I need to find a frame.

The other puzzle is much bigger, so I'm glad I got my feet wet with this one.

After almost 10 weeks without an Airbnb guest, and my will-they/won't-they waffling with resulting scramble on Friday to get ready, we pulled it off. He sent the sweetest message on Friday night:

Saturday was gorgeous and they took a day-trip up to Door County. It's a little early for cherry blossoms, but it sure was a great day for a drive.

I got a little goofy and tried on some sunglasses that were delivered for Kate on Saturday.


Tom Ford and Fendi! That's around $900 of designer shade right there, that she scored on super super super sale. They look 900% better on her, but I had a laugh.

Well, I probably won't ever have a Hills Hoist of my own, but I do love hanging my laundry out, and was able to do that on Saturday.


Rusty's been moving right along with the project.


It was a wet dreary mess yesterday (and today, improving tomorrow), so he was in the basement painting some windows.

I think I have all the yarn wound up for the Safe At Home Baby Blanket!


I've moved the middle of "E" down to "I." They're both Kool-aid dyed yarns that I made specifically with this project in mind. I wouldn't mind one more darker/richer option for "G," and may toss the stash once more to see what I can come up with; otherwise, I'm happy with these colors. I'm determined not to buy anything new, and I don't really want to dye anything new, either.

I do want to finish Romi's Mystery Shawl before I begin this, though, and I finally started on the final clue last night while watching TV.

We're watching "The Great" on Hulu... have you heard of it?

Well, we didn't actually watch it last night because of a glitch, but it's good! We like it better than we thought we would.

As mentioned, RAIN yesterday...


So, we finally rearranged the living room.


A few pieces of furniture are (or will be) gone. It'll take a little while to "settle in" but I think I like it... there will be some rearranging on the walls, at some point, too.

I can't wait to see the kids' reaction!! (Our cat is a little confused...)



What a(nother) week! Let's catch up.


On Monday, I took delivery of a delightful package from the UK. I've been following the work of Suraya Hossain at Mahliqa for a while, and recently ordered the limited edition set of Thistle Stitch Markers that were produced for the 2019 Edinburgh Yarn Fest. I've never been to EYF, but I have been to Edinburgh and, in fact, it was just about 6 years ago (as my social media timelines are beginning to remind me)! I look forward to the day when I can possibly return, and I sure wouldn't be sad if it was to attend EYF.


Rusty's been working on the remodel/un-remodel/re-remodel of the back porch most afternoons. I took this photo on Tuesday afternoon and yesterday, he had the other wall framed and outside window sills in place! We'll get all those windows installed and then eyeball placement of the "marriage window" before he can frame that in... there's a lot going on there and we're just going to "have to see."

I'll tell you one thing, it's getting more exciting every day -- the prospect of doubling the "garden room" space and have it actually usable has us all feeling a little giddy!

During a recent Zoom-chat with Cara & Ann, Ann asked me to ask Maddy about the Hills Hoist, which I did, "...have you or Viv ever heard of it?"

Maddy replied by saying, "Hahaaa! Viv is very proud of this! They are everywhere. Pretty sure every one of Viv's family members' houses have one!"

And then on Tuesday, she sent me photos of theirs (at Viv's mom's, where they've been quarantined) in action!


Have you ever heard of Hills Hoists? (Also, can you buy hummus in a bucket... with a handle... one large enough that it can repurposed to hold clothes pegs?)

I had Wednesday off of work -- my usual day off every week. I won't say that my mojo returned, but I sewed up the pile of masks anyway.


Part of my slowness is due to the fact that, though not resistant to wearing a mask, I sometimes feel resentful about having to wear one, no matter how beautiful, cute, cheeky, or fun. I get mad (at no one in particular, and everyone!) that we're in this situation, I feel sad, and then I find something else to do...

Change the scenery/task a million times a day so as not to dwell on the clusterfuck happening all around me. Wisconsin is nutso right now.

On a brighter note, I had an inquiry on Wednesday for a weekend stay at the Airbnb -- Thu-Sun. I started pulling it together on Wednesday night, but didn't want to "go all the way" unless I knew for sure (so many queries have fallen through or were bogus to begin with), and still didn't have a firm booking confirmation, when I went to bed around 10... early (for me). I checked my phone when I got up at 4 a.m., and sure enough there'd been a reply to confirm at closer to 11 (my usual early bedtime). Then I tossed & turned for an hour before getting up at 5 to finish before heading to work. Kate did all the last-minute stocking and fluffing -- and, oh yeah, she & Rusty had to break into the lock box! Ha. Anyway, it feels good to have people up there. And, there's a couple from NYC arriving the following Sunday to quarantine for two weeks before going to visit her parents in Green Lake. The bookings don't make up for all the cancellations, but at least it's something, and we love having a nice place to offer.

It's an absolutely gorgeous day today, and tomorrow holds promise, too! I hope you have a good weekend.



I don't know why the exclamation point, I'm not all that excited about Monday(s).

I hope you had a good weekend! Mine was good. I had watched the kiddos on Friday evening so that Ali could do her baking to fulfill Mother's Day orders at the shop. (Rod needed some relief, having already had them all day! And most of the days that Ali is working!) So, because of that, she let me off from my "volunteer" stint at the shop on Saturday. I took that opportunity to drive down to my CSA to pick up a farm store order that I'd placed online. It's almost an hour away, but the drive is one of my favorites along nearly the entire east side of Lake Winnebago.

Lake-winnebago-mapIt was nice & sunny! I didn't see a soul at the farm when I plucked my order from the fridge. OMG. Baby Beets. ASPARAGUS!! Spinach. Radishes. I'm not sure I've had fresh-from-the-farm asparagus before... it was so good. They were big stalks, but so tender.

I also took a really great nap on Saturday!

Ali & family came over again on Sunday for Mother's Day brunch... pretty much all provided by Ali. She made the best quiche I've had in a while, as well as some coffee cakes, and her specialty and favorite, the French Opera Cake.

Junah & Ginny hopped on their bikes and I walked along -- it was so chilly, but felt good to be outside. We went to the local park, where the playground is closed, but they had fun riding around on the softball field. I'm sure that would be frowned upon in "normal" times, though, in "normal" times it would likely have been in use for its intended purpose. There are a couple of other ball diamonds within view/earshot of home and it's so weird to have them quiet... usually, the field lights would be on until 11 p.m. most nights and we can hear cheering, traffic, and sometimes even the crack of a bat.


Anyway, Ginny picked flowers for her mom and for me... these were for Ali. It was cold and I needed my hands free so I could put them in my pockets; she picked dandelions for me and stuffed them in her own. I looked at this photo for quite a while this morning... I'd posted it on IG yesterday, but the view on my desktop... WHOA. There are some new lines! Well, I guess I won't be accused of "having work done." Heh. By this age, my mother had already had a facelift. There was only 20 years difference in our age to begin with, and a youthful appearance was always very important to her, so we were frequently mistaken for sisters -- which she absolutely loved, as you might imagine. A few weeks ago, during a Saturday "volunteer" shift with Ali, a customer came into the shop and during conversation learned that Ali and I were mother/daughter. He was surprised and exclaimed that he was sure we were sisters. It's the first time that anyone has ever said that about me and any of my daughters. I almost cried... not because I was "happy" about it (grain of salt, there was also quite some distance between us), but because it made me think of my mom... and I would have loved to share that bit of news with her!!

Meanwhile, back at home...


...maybe I should have my photo taken through the playhouse window! I might have popped the contrast on these photos when I posted them to IG, but they're otherwise untouched and they sure have a lovely glow, don't they? The spiderwebs and dirt make a pretty good filter! Haha.

I unraveled and reclaimed some yarn for the Safe at Home baby blanket over the weekend, played around with some design ideas, and started organizing my yarn for the project. I even wound up a few hanks (my winding set up is not very ergonomic, but that will soon change).


I'll be holding the yarn double and am using multiples for almost every color (some are leftovers from other projects and quite limited).


Friday things & more house stuff


I almost let Macro May slide by this year, being out of sorts and all that, but decided to jump in again and I'm so glad I did. So, here's a little Eye Candy for your Friday.


Bleeding hearts. Fiddlehead ferns. Hens & chicks. All from my own back yard!



I've begun knitting the skies on my Safe At Home audition:


And there's a shot of the back. I meant to try a mitered sky between the 2nd & 3rd house, but forgot. Heh. It's a quick little seam to sew up, at least (and I can "use an end").

I mentioned in reply to a few people yesterday that I ran across a knitter who was using this house motif AS A BORDER on more of a patchwork-knit blanket, which I think is brilliant! I wasn't enamored with either the patchwork pattern or the colors she was using, but I could easily jazz that up and make it my own -- my brain is thinking along the lines of a Safe-at-Home+Albers-y+Parcheesi-ish mash-up -- stripey, colorful, fun, and mostly square! I was sharing this idea during a chat with Cara & Ann and Cara suggested/we riffed on random houses, "their" house, "my" house, "meaningful" houses, paths to connect them. Oh boy oh boy oh boy... some of that might be a path too far, but who knows?! I might actually plan this thing... and I think I'll be winding & organizing yarn this weekend.

P.S. This is SUCH a great use for my Briar Rose Fibers leftovers from Nightshift! Still planning on making a pillow with this.


MORE HOUSE STUFF (which turned into a bit of a story!)

Rusty & I have been dreaming/doing "house stuff" since we met.

He was in the process of finishing the house at Cape Kiwanda when we met, and sometimes I'd help; other times, I'd sit and knit and watch. Eventually we added on (I dug the trench for footings!), and we even got married in that house.

We'd rented a house "in town" (Tillamook) together for a while before we officially "moved in together," and did a lot of work there (it was pretty awful).

Not long after we were married (and our family was growing), we bought a house up the coast at Cape Meares, and did a lot of work in that house, too, including rebuilding a huge deck, adding a sun room and patio, and a re-do of the kitchen -- which I never fully enjoyed because, by then, we were moving to Wisconsin.

We rented a house in Appleton and left our mark there, when Rusty rebuilt the back steps.

Finally, in 1987, we bought our current house, where, as you might imagine, we've done a.lot.

Back in the '80s, when Rusty built the house at Cape Kiwanda, he frequented a place called "The Other Lumber Company." It sold used lumber and stuff -- before it got classy and started to be called "architectural salvage"! The windows, doors, greenhouse panels, etc., he used in that house had all been previously owned. This was something I totally got into, having always had a thing for "fixer-uppers" and antiques.

So, backing up to somewhere between our meeting/renting/finishing/getting married, we would occasionally take a trip to Portland and end up at places like Hippo Hardware and antique shops. We bought a few things that we needed & intended to use right away, but we also bought things that we just plain fell in love with and had to have, thinking... we'll find a place for it! We bought a pair of stained & leaded glass doors from Denmark in that manner, which we never did find a use for and sold 15-20 years later at my mother's antique shop. Her shop had an entire floor rented to a fledgling architectural salvage outfit -- Urban Evolutions -- which is still in business today, having grown and changed quite a bit since then -- and, incidentally, where we bought the huge "science room" cabinet for our kitchen that had been salvaged from a local high school.

Anyway, the very first thing we ever bought together in the "we will use it someday" vein -- before we were even married, so a commitment, if you will -- was a leaded/pressed glass window. We never did find a use for it, but we could never bring ourselves to get rid of it, either... it was meaningful! So it's been stored in the basement for all these years... recipient of loving, reminiscent glances from time to time.

Kate calls it "the marriage window."

Though we've not bitten off any big new projects in recent years, we still do plenty of dreaming. A few years ago, there were some sketches done with the idea of adding a second bathroom in the laundry room, but that never really went anywhere. Last year, Kate had an idea to add a "funky addition" to the porch... which was super cool in theory and on paper, but maybe next to impossible to actually execute. Recently, she & Rusty brainstormed an idea to make that funky addition an actual addition to the garden room -- pushing it out to and reclaiming a mostly-unused corner of the back porch. They approached me with the idea as if they had something to sell, but I was on board right away, and the brainstorming continued... re-work (again) the old porch windows, use the extra windows (salvaged, of course) from the garage project, should we add a door out to the porch...??

I won't bore you with the entire jagged thought process, but eventually *** LIGHTBULB MOMENT *** the "marriage window" finally found its place!


It's dirty and heavy (I've helped Rusty flip it a few times already) and needs some TLC, but it's so damn cool and I'm so freakin' excited that it has found a place -- that it will finally be part of our home...

That's a terrible photo, and I'd certainly have taken a better one had I realized that this post was going to take a turn! There will be plenty of opportunity in the weeks ahead... Rusty is making the first intentional trip to the lumber yard today for 2x4s. Stay tuned!


3TT: Grasping

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday...

Grasping at straws, I am...



As you may know, Kate has worked on & off (currently off) at a used/buy-sell book store for quite a while. Occasionally, a really awesome book would come in but it was bound for the dumpster because it was damaged in some way (and therefore not sale-able)... and, occasionally, such a book would be rescued!


Such was the case with Wooden Houses, which had a broken spine. She's had it for a while and, upon picking it up recently, had a little thought bubble about hanging some of those photos on the wall. We ordered some record album mounting things, Rusty mounted them all for us on foam-core, and we did the deed yesterday in the still-vacant Airbnb*. She did most of the eyeballing, figuring, marking, and pounding; I juggled pencil, level, hammer, and nails.

The photos are so cool! There's so much to look at and examine in each one. And today I saw The Wooden Architecture of Russia, which made me think of my mother (these few days before Mother's Day), so naturally it's on the way to my mailbox. My mom visited Russia on a "school trip" in 1974, while a nursing student & single mother of 5 teens/pre-teens. She would have loved this book!

*The Packers schedule is released this evening and we had more than a few bookings within minutes of the announcement last year... it will be interesting to see what happens tonight. So many events have already been canceled or postponed...


Unraveled Wednesday: Building Houses

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting and reading... 


I keep plugging away at Romi's Mystery Shawl 2020, but last night I decided to make some roofs instead.


I haven't picked that project up in a few days... my mojo is not where I need it right now! But I think I've come up with the yarns for the baby blanket version of this, and we'll just see how it goes.


I have the same lack of mojo in the sewing department, but, once it's located, there are at least 7 face masks ready to sew up.


I have finished The Story of More: How We Got to Climate Change and Where to Go from Here. I didn't enjoy it as much as her memoir (because memoir), and I even speeded up the playback toward the end. I will re-listen to the last part about all the things we can actually do.

I'm occasionally listening to Stephen Fry read Harry Potter, and enjoying it very much. Yesterday I downloaded Seamus Heaney's translation/reading of BEOWULF, which I read in high school (in Old English, because that's how our English teacher rolled for senior year), and it's great to hear... but I want to listen and read along at the same time, so will need to resolve that soon.

On top of the stack on my nightstand most recently is Sarah Read's The Bone Weaver's Orchard, recent winner of The Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. Now, horror is NOT usually my genre, but Sarah... Sarah is a knitter, a librarian, and a neighbor! Well, she lives across town, but I KNOW HER! She used to live in CO with her husband and two sons, and worked at Interweave and at The Loopy Ewe, and she still does a lot of freelance writing/editing... and even some knitting. I bought the book ages ago for Rusty (who attends the writing workshops at our library led by Sarah) (now online), and am finally getting around to it myself. IT'S GOOD... and not too scary (yet).


Ginny turned 4 on Saturday!


We had a "distanced" celebration yesterday at their house. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day (though very windy) and there was lots of room for everyone outside.

Among Ginny's gifts was the DVD for Tangled -- aka, Disney does Rapunzel.

When she opened it, she exclaimed, "It's Rapunzel... with another man!!"

Apparently, she's been watching a Barbie version and the heroine's must look similar, but the heroes do not.

😉 🤣


Come What May

Well, April flew right on by, didn't it? March was such a slog. I have no idea what this month will be like... COME WHAT MAY.

I do know that there will be flowers.


I love these pale yellow tulips in the back yard.


The bleeding hearts are almost there! My garden is full of them (and I'm not sad).


Rusty brought Pan out to the garden yesterday. (Not really Pan, but that's what we've always called him... actually more like Daphnis or Dionysus -- especially with the grapes.) He's around 30 years old now! Maddy was pretty little when she and our neighbor Luke tossed the original "flutes" (made of plastic tubing) down the hill. Rusty replaced them with these copper pipes that are ever-so-much-better than the original.


The Kool-aid yarn got the vinegar spa treatment the other day, so I'm ready to proceed with loosely sorting my colors. I want to make sure I have a pretty good range and balance of light/dark, warm/cool. I think I'm there...

I hope you have a great weekend!