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June 2020
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August 2020

Another chapter: Spain > Peru

My sister & her family are moving from Valencia, Spain, to Lima, Peru, today! They had about a week's notice, though they've been preparing (purging) for a good long while, and all she knew when I last spoke with her (on Saturday) was that they were leaving from Madrid... she didn't even know what time or flight or airline, just that they'd be flying out of Madrid on Friday.

Yesterday, at work, I had to restart my computer and this was my start screen:

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I almost always love these shots -- recently, I had one at home that was sheep going through a hedgerow in New Zealand or Australia. Anyway, the blurb in the middle of this one says, "Lonely lighthouse on some remote sea-swept shore? Not at all -- we're visiting the edge of a capital city..."

LIMA, PERU!

I sent it in a message to Ann and told her that I can't wait to go find that lighthouse with her... someday, when I can safely travel again and be welcome in another country hopefully soon. I'm pretty sure that Peru will be my next big destination. I have no idea if they've arrived or en route or even if they got on a plane in Spain. They're troopers, though, and if nothing else they've learned to roll with the punches and pop right back up -- their first expat experience in Brazil was the best training ground for that!

 


Do you want to download your Ravelry files?

So, Ravelry is a problem right now and they're not doing anything to substantially address or fix it for users who are having problems with the redesign of the site. I'm a long-time Raveler (user #208!), so I'm very sad about that... I have a lot of information stored over there, and have made a lot of pattern purchases over the years.

There is enough concern over the future of the site that it's been suggested that people might want to download their files. That might be a knee-jerk reaction, but after the recent Bluprint/Craftsy scare...

I took the suggestion. And it was DAUNTING to face 25 pages of downloaded pattern files!

This morning, I learned about a Chrome extension called Download Them All that makes it much easier & faster to download a lot of files. Check out @kralalien on Instagram -- she has an IG highlight with some information, and this post was also informative:

There are some other downloading options mentioned in the comments of that post, if the Chrome extension is not for you.

Meanwhile, I downloaded all 25 pages of pattern files (even all the foreign language versions) in minutes.

One note of caution, however: Make sure you don't have Chrome configured to "ask every time" about where to save downloaded files. Because it.will.ask.you.every.single.time. I didn't see that at first... and shutting down my computer didn't even work to stop it, so I had to uninstall and reinstall the extension. I opened in tabs & downloaded 5 pages the first time (after learning my lesson), then 10 and 10. So fast.

Edited to add: An informative article by Silvia Maggi - How Rebranding Cost Ravelry the Trust of Their Community.

Edited again to add: A blog post today from Jess, one of Ravelry's cofounders: A Letter from Jessica.

Hoping for the best!!

 


Unraveled Wednesday: Pink Windows

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

KNITTING:

I'm on Row 4 of the Safe At Home Blanket.

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This was as of Tuesday morning.

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I love how color plays... the same pink was used for the windows of each house.

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I recently took delivery of a kit from Briar Rose Fibers for Andrea Mowry's The Shift cowl, which I will definitely be making, but I'm intending a more immediate use for this to finish the Safe At Home "audition" that I started back in April. I used the leftovers from my Nightshift shawl to start that, but needed just a bit more variety.

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I want to make that into a little cushion and I have a recipient in mind.

READING

I'm not, really.

 


Carol

My Aunt Carol died on Sunday.

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She was the youngest of four and also the mother of four, my mother's younger sister, my godmother. The photo above is a detail of the one below where Carol is maid of honor at my mother's wedding. There is something about this that I just love... her beautiful, calm, innocent expression. It was taken just about a week before her 19th birthday, and within a year she was married to my Uncle Frank.

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Carol was only 18 months younger than my mom compared with a 9-year difference with her older sister, so they were close but of course there was also some sibling rivalry!

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Mom always said that Carol got in trouble a lot at school for giggling... and you can just see that, can't you?? That's one of my favorite photos, I feel like Carol is just going to burst at any second.

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Family trait? Haha. This is another favorite: Mom, Uncle Eugene, Aunt Arlene, and Aunt Carol at a family reunion in 1987. My mom, Eugene & Carol all died from cancer and they each suffered the heartbreaking loss of a child from the same stupid disease. 

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Uncle Frank & Aunt Carol, my godparents, and me! This was at my christening and still a couple of months until they were married. Frankie and his sister-in-law were tragically killed in a car accident in 2010 -- the brothers and their wives had been travelling, taking care of family business out of state.

I will always remember them both with love. ­čĺö

 


Twenty-three

Wow. It's really the 23rd of July already, isn't it?! What a crazy summer/year.

We had a great few days in Door County!

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There was a whole lotta fun in the sun & surf. We stayed at a waterfront cottage near Bailey's Harbor and it was just about perfect.

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The front yard was basically a sandbox with the beach beyond, so the kids were in heaven! We had a small campfire on the beach every night except one (because it was too windy) and ate lots of roasted (or not) marshmallows & s'mores. The day that was too windy for a fire was apparently perfect for para-/kite-surfing and sailboarding and it was a blast watching them go back and forth -- some were cautious & just learning, others were much more experienced & the tricks were thrilling -- often they'd be 15 or 20 feet in the air and we wondered... What if they just didn't come down?? They always did, of course, sometimes with a great big splash and/or without their board. It was very entertaining.

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We were pretty hunkered down and only needed to venture out a few times -- to pick up a pizza, find some firewood, grab more marshmallows & chocolate bars, visit the local yarn shop... y'know, the important stuff! I spotted Whit's Knits on the first drive down the main drag and knew that I'd have to stop by at some point... which I did on Saturday, and I found another pink yarn that I liked! The shop owner, Whitney, was very friendly and though the yarn selection is small, it was all very good, and there were a number of other crafty items from needle-felting to portable looms and even some crafts for kids.

I had plenty of projects along, of course! I had the blanket, both crochet projects, and I was even prepared with yarn & needles for J├╝n & Gin, but I actually sat down only once after everyone had gone to bed to do a little knitting... a few quiet moments in my room.

I'm back at the blanket since we returned and after I knit a couple of skies and do a little sewing, Row 4 will be done!

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Getting close to the half-way mark!

I hope you've had a good week. I have a lot of catching up to do!!

 


Happy Tuesday

Here's a little sunshine for your day! I hope it helps you as much as it's been helping me. (This one has been dressing herself and she is all about the hand-knits!!):

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I had posted this image on IG the other day, but it was cropped and, REALLY, this is one that needs to see IN FULL, tip-to-toe!

You're so very welcome.

Also posted on IG over the weekend were a few photos of the "new" chair that I found for The Garden Room:

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It's an old medical lift chair... the Adjustable Walkaway. You can see a bit of the mechanics in the photo above.

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But this is a better photo of the workings. Hopefully, if you needed this chair for medical purposes, your right hand, elbow & shoulder were fully functioning! Haha. It's super comfy and I love the orange Naugahyde®!

Of course, I was supposed to be doing taxes instead of running around looking for chairs. And, of course, after I actually found a chair, I had to rearrange! And here it is in the room:

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I'm so happy. I had my weekly +/- video chat with Annie from there on Sunday morning. The sun was shining through the trees behind me, giving me quite the glow... she said I looked like the Virgin Mary!

Well, I did get taxes done -- including Maddy's (which meant that I also got to chat with her) -- and I'll be busy packing up & mailing them tomorrow, along with getting the house ready for sitters, and shopping & packing for our few days in Door County, so here's some Unraveling for your Tuesday:

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I was quickly running out of my favorite pinks, and even though I wasn't going to buy any new yarn for this project... I bought some new yarn for this project. Maybe I was looking for an excuse to stop in at/patronize my LYS after all these months. I'm not 100% on that new almost-neon color... but used sparingly and/or in combination? I'm warming up to it. One argument for not sewing this up as I go is the ability to rearrange the rows to balance the colors, if needed. Or maybe I should just not worry about it! I told Ali that I was thinking of outlining the windows on a couple of houses where the contrast is not that great and she said that I could if I really wanted to, but (...side eye...) didn't think it was necessary! Haha.

Lastly...

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The house-sitters might get to enjoy the first ripe tomatoes!!

 


TGIF!

I'm sure I've said it before, but Friday seems to take forever to get here when my day off is on Monday rather than the usual Wednesday. And I just realized that next Friday, I'll already be on Day 3 of a little vacation -- part of it at home and part of it in Door County! Yahoo! I'm especially happy that we'll have a house-/cat-sitter again while we're gone.

Anyway...

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The 16th house is done, and the 17th will be a "border" house and that spells the end of Row 3! Yahoo (again)! I'll get started on that this evening.

Tomorrow is designated "crochet day," but I have to get our taxes out of the way first (yeah, I know).

Happy Weekend!

 


3TT: Down under

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

1 -- Apparently, there's something intermittently beeping in the basement (down under)... but I haven't heard it, until last night! Apparently, it beeps every :15 or so... until last night! Gah. I was down there for a good long time... long enough to yell profanities upstairs about how of course it's not beeping NOW!

Trying to distract myself from the ick-factor of the basement while I waited, I took some photos.

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I don't even know where that chair came from or if it'll ever get fixed; whether any of that is "up to code" (or even what all that is); I do know that Rusty needs to get after a whole lotta cobwebs. Ew. 

2 -- I had a lovely little sit-down in The Garden Room last night. I was sitting in an old wicker rocking chair that Rusty dug up from another part of the basement. I don't know where that one came from, either. He cleaned it up nicely, but it needs a little repair... and some new cushions.

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It's not a brand new view, as this was an open porch for years, but it wasn't one I normally took in while seated, relaxed, with a beer. It's going to be a lot of fun to see how it changes with the seasons. The floor tile delivery has been delayed again... I can't wait to get that & the baseboards installed (I saw them in the basement, painted and ready to go!).

3 -- A cat picture. I don't post many of those! 

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I love how Duncan stretches out his front legs.

That's all pretty random, but it's all I've got! Happy Thursday.

 


Unraveled Wednesday: The 16th House

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

KNITTING:

I'm closing in on Row 3 of the Safe At Home Blanket, and started the 16th house last night.

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I think it's my favorite so far!

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That's Row 3, and this...

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...is overall progress. The knitting is almost 1/3 done! I'm telling ya, it is definitely tedious at times, but it's also getting a bit easier... and I just couldn't be happier with the whole thing.

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Colorful houses will dominate this corner of the blogosphere for a while yet.  :)

READING:

I'm closing in on Wild Game, and looking forward to the discussion. I haven't listened to a book in more than two weeks, but today I finally started So You Want to Talk About Race.

P.S. Who broke Bloglovin'? It's been my blog reader for a while, but it's lately been having some glitches and today... well, BIG glitch, as in NOTHING HAPPENING. What do y'all use these days?

 


Getting back into the groove

Well, that was a nice break... a long, hot & lazy weekend. Though, y'know, "lazy" doesn't mean I didn't get anything done!

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I gave Rusty his second haircut! I borrowed Ali's electric clippers and even did the back this time. It was my first time using a clippers -- it was only a little scary, and mostly because I was thinking about all the people I know who have ended up with mohawks or total buzz jobs because of a slip. Whew! I should have trimmed his brows, though.

I've designated Saturday as Crochet Day...

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...but I also did a little on Sunday. I wanted to finish the first square of the Rainbow Blanket, and figure out the join-as-you-go method for the hexies. So far, so good! I definitely use different hand/arm muscles when I crochet, so my appendages are thankful for a break.

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And now I'm back to houses & stripes. This is Row #3 (of 9). Still figuring out a few things...

I hope y'all had a good weekend and start to the week! I'll be catching up...

 


3TT: Dovetail, Garden, Crochet

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

1 -- I stopped at The Office after work the other day to drop something off? pick something up? I don't remember! I did take a seat for a few minutes...

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Kate was inserting goodies into the magazine, readying shipment of the premier issue of dovetailI gotta say, it was nice just to sit for a while and watch someone else work!

2 -- How does my garden grow?

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The tomatoes are all coming along. The basil is AMAZING!! (That photo-bombing succulent is also doing quite well.)

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Something is nibbling at my zucchini!

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And this is the usual raucous jumble of things.

BONUS:

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The platform rocker is out of the garage and in The Garden Room! There's a pretty good view of the lower yard/garden from there.

3 -- I'm getting the hang of crochet again! My rainbow box of yarn is only a hint... this is the bigger picture:

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As Wisconsin began its Safer At Home order in March and I awaited my stimulus check, Madelinetosh threw up a post about a Prism Pack of Unicorn Tails and, well, I've always loved those unicorn tails and... I didn't even think twice before ordering. (Ugh, pandemic times!) If I was going to be "safer at home," I was going to be surrounded by things I loved... and colorful, too. Heh.

Well, I really can't be spontaneous and throw down money like that without some sort of plan, and they were making me feel so guilty just sitting there, so I sort of had to MAKE A PLAN! The Safe At Home baby blanket was & is perfect for the baby and already in the works by then, and I knew it would never be a "portable" project... not that I was going anywhere with my knitting, but y'know... And so many people were crocheting... so, yeah, CROCHET! That could work! And even though those are little skeins of yarn, they're going to go a ways, so maybe TWO projects, somewhat simultaneously, even...

Uh, yeah, why not THREE epic blanket projects at once?! (Ugh, pandemic times!)

So my plan is to make Bear's Rainbow Blanket and also Hexie Love Actually! << FYI: Those are Ravelry links, just so you know in case the new design is problematic for you, as it is for many. (I am not in love and wish it wasn't quite so stark. I like it on my phone, but find it a bit easier to take if I enlarge my desktop display, and I've tweaked settings to remove drop shadows, etc.)

So, anyway, back to crochet. As I said the other day, it is not like riding a bicycle for me! I'm getting my feet wet and re-learning with Hexie Love Actually!

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That red & blue blob was my first effort. I thought I was doing OK, but it was supposed to have six corners/sides, and instead turned out with only four. So, basically, a SQUARE (and not even a good one)! Turns out, I did a few things wrong, and my second effort (red & orange) turned out much better. With the orange & blue hexie, I'm trying the "join as you go" method and I'm not sure that's right but will figure it out. It's really fun, but once I get the hang of it I'm going to limit my crochet time until I get the blanket done. (Did I mention that I've started Row 3? I meant to take an update photo... maybe tomorrow.)

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(It was a stellar morning for photographing yarn on the walkway outside the back door!)

Even for me, this feels a little crazy, but... pandemic times! I'm just going with it.

 


Doing my best

For months, I've had this refrain/response popping into my head on the regular: I'm not doing it right.

Whatever it is... I'm surely not doing it right.

I'm not staying home right, not going to work right, not reading the right books, not following the right people, not engaging enough, not posting the right things, not saying it right or loud enough or to the right people, not shopping right, not making enough masks... or I did the right thing but now it's not the right thing. Ugh... yes, I feel paralyzed at times!

I am constantly reminding myself -- way more than usual -- to not worry about what anyone else thinks or what anyone else is doing.

I'm doing my best. I keep reminding myself of that, too. ((sigh)) It's so obvious that not everyone is doing their best, though, y'know? Starting at the top. Too many people are being selfish, rude, and aggressively angry.

It's crushing. It's hard to feel good about Things. Anything.

One thing that helps is continuing regular, automatic monetary support to organizations that I believe in, including ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Joe Biden. And donations elsewhere when I can.

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I feel like I'm doing that right! It gives me a glimmer of hope, even as we seem to be watching it all burn down around us.

OK. Well, I needed to get that out.

See you tomorrow.