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March 2021
Next month:
May 2021

Thank you!!

I have to say THANK YOU for all the birthday wishes for Maddy and comments on my last post. It was one of those fluky posts where I didn't get notified of comments (the hyphen? the word "something"?), so I wonder where y'all are for a while and then I see that you've dropped by but it's a PITA to reply without the notification email (and I've been struggling with replies lately, anyway).

  • It IS a milestone to have all my kids in their 30s!
  • Count me IMPRESSED with your ability to not only spot but even to recognize/name the knits!
    • I started Oblique for me, finished it almost 10 years later for Maddy.
    • Cowl by Kate! She knit cowls for both Maddy & Viv (sent "for Christmas").
  • Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

_ _ _ _ _


That was quite the To-Do List the other day, huh? It's the LONG VERSION, for sure, and so comprehensive, that I'm making it my Master List! So far, we've made some good progress in one category:


  • Compost, topsoil, mulch where needed
  • Repair pergola planter & ready for the Snowcicle Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • Ready garden areas for veg/herb plants (picking up 5/20)
  • Stump grinding scheduled (Monday 5/3)
    • Kill the snow on the mountain (death by a thousand cuts) - started
  • Plant all the other plants on order!
  • Paint garage & back door


Rusty makes the first pass, basically defoliating the snow-on-the-mountain.
Fingers crossed... I haven't had anyone share a success story.

The hydrangea was delivered & planted right away. That's some lovely moss up there that I hope will fill in that entire area between the walkway and the garage. We've also planted a few very small yews & things that we hope will quickly grow to provide some privacy (more accurately, to block out the view to the neighbors'). And all the other hardy perennials have also been planted. I'll be taking delivery of a few more plants over the next few weeks.

I got a call on Tuesday about the stump grinding that they were hoping to do Wednesday or Thursday morning (depending on weather). I woke up early Wednesday morning and had the sudden realization that I never saw the flags or markings from Diggers Hotline (gas & water are very near the stump on the west side)... so texted my guy (early on Wednesday morning) and let him know! He must have been on the horn right away because flags & paint were beginning to appear even before noon yesterday. Grinding is scheduled for Monday!

And, lo, a potential new category has already been added to the list!


I'll have an update next week on whether it becomes an actual category.


And then they were all 30-something

I'm late with this post, but the important thing is that I was also on time!

Happy 30th Birthday, Maddy!!!


There's quite a time difference between here and Australia, not to mention the logistical challenge, but I couldn't let my baby's 30th birthday go without doing something!

I knew that she & Viv were going on a quick getaway to mark the occasion and I even got Maddy to share the Airbnb listing with me... unbeknownst to her, it was mainly so I could try to arrange something with the host (who turned out to be kinda-but-not-really-all-that-willing). At first I thought about having a birthday cake delivered, but nixed that for a couple of reasons... and also thought it would have been fun to surprise Viv, but had to enlist her help in the end.

With Covid and other various limitations, I had to find establishments that I could communicate with via email, and from whom I could order online, and I wanted to make sure I wasn't hijacking the girls' plans! I was able to send a gift voucher for a great restaurant that foodie friends recommended to Viv -- Maddy knew they were going there, but didn't know that it was a gift from us until they were there -- and had a planter of succulents delivered with a card to the Airbnb. As you can see, Maddy was surprised!!

I guess next year I'll be making similar arrangements in both Australia and Scotland!! (If tests & everything go as planned, Kate will be on her way a week from today!)


Right Now: To Do

Oh my goodness, it's the time of year when I start to go a little bonkers with all of the To-Do Lists & things floating around in my brain! Seems like a good time to write it out (in no particular order, though some things are time sensitive), and this doesn't all fall solely on ME!



  • Ginny's 5th Birthday / Kate's Going Away / Mothers' Day Extravaganza!


  • Finish Hexie Love Actually
  • Assess remaining yarn (Unicorn Tails)


  • New tires (because one is flat-flat-flat)
  • Replace at least one amber marker light assembly
  • Replace at least one tail light lens/assembly
  • Figure out water/plumbing situation


  • Re-do caulk in bathroom/tub


  • Continue cleaning/purging of laundry/computer room in order to...
  • Lay new floor in laundry/computer room
  • Reconfigure computer desk/area
  • Get some estimates for refinishing the kitchen floor
  • Have the bedroom carpeting cleaned
  • Clean my workroom


  • Compost, topsoil, mulch where needed
  • Repair pergola planter & ready for the Snowcicle Oakleaf Hydrangea
  • Ready garden areas for veg/herb plants (picking up 5/20)
  • Stump grinding scheduled (date TBD)
    • Kill the snow on the mountain (death by a thousand cuts)
  • Plant all the other plants on order!
  • Paint garage & back door


  • Finish them!

Spring Cleaning

  • Refrigerator (continue)
  • Recessed lights in kitchen
  • Upper cabinets in kitchen
  • Windows
  • Wipe down bathroom walls
  • Clean out dresser/cedar chest/closet/under the bed
  • Clean out upstairs linen closet/bedroom


  • Start the remaining Safe At Home pillows
  • Make a sweater?
  • Teach Junah & Ginny to knit


  • Dye some yarn!
  • Tie-dye / Indigo w/Boys & Kids (Auntie Camp)



  • Mom's Log Cabin
  • Cheater Quilt for Junah
  • Wedding Ring (kit)
  • Figure out what to do with: Black & White w/a little Red


  • Spit for 23andMe


*The first campground reservation has been made! We'll definitely go out prior to this, but Rusty will be teaching a weekend workshop in September and he suggested that we camp! I've already scoped out a brewery and we'll be very near Wollersheim Winery & Distillery. I am hoping to arrange/rent summer storage for Ducky in a recently vacated spot right across the street (instead of in our driveway).

**Current guests have been here since just after Christmas (!!), and will be departing by May 2nd. It's the longest anyone has been up there since I switched it from long-term to short-term rental, and I'm dying to get back up there. I have a few guests booked for various weeks through the summer and into September, but the most exciting thing of all is that Annie & her family will be up there for three weeks in June!!

***The Molina pattern was assembled & cut out last night! I'm planning on using a gigantic scale sort of abstract floral print that I ordered from Spoonflower quite a while ago... hopefully all the pieces will fit (fingers crossed).


The Earth Day Birthday Girl

Another throwback photo, found yesterday when I was cleaning/sorting/tossing stuff (instead of working on taxes).


Kate is 36 today! She says she's about 16 in this photo, and she's probably right. Sheesh. She bought the car (her first) when she was in high school, and took it to college, too.

Late yesterday afternoon, we took off for Madison... destination L'Etoile.

Two weeks ago, we were sitting out on the pergola, fresh from Pfizer Jab #2, when I read that the announcement that L'Etoile was open again and accepting reservations. I booked then & there... for two weeks from the date (fully vaccinated!), which was the day before Kate's birthday (let's call it a combo birthday/farewell), and checking off one of my bucket list items.

It was definitely one of the finest dining experiences I've ever enjoyed, beginning with tiny savory macarons! We also enjoyed a delicious "take" on French Onion Soup.

First Course:

Kate - Scarpinocc (lamb, chevré, green garlic, watercress, pecorino)
Rusty & Vicki - Kinilaw (red snapper, ceviche, coconut, lime, chocolate, cilantro)

Second Course:

Kate - Roasted Chicken (maitake, corn polenta, ramps, chanterelle conserva, honey mustard jus)
Rusty - Masa Fried Halibut (sea scallop, carrots, ancho chili, citrus pico de gallo)
Vicki - Rainbow Trout (watercress, summer truffle, smoked trout chawanmushi, lemon vinaigrette)

Third Course:

Kate - Beehive (brown sugar cake with lemon curd and strawberry buttercream, honeycomb crunch, honey ice cream, strawberry sauce)
Rusty & Vicki - Chocolate Pavlova (the description is no longer there, but with cherries & cherry sorbet, and delicious!)

Chef Tory Miller is an Iron Chef with whom I have one degree of separation, and L'Etoile has been on my radar for years. It was so worth the 4-hour round trip!


We were sent home with a lovely reminder... for today's breakfast.


Unraveled Wednesday: Hexies All The Time

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


The last time I shared an "official" Unraveled Wednesday blanket update, I was seven rows in, and now I'm three hexies away from finishing Row #11!


I am still gobsmacked that it's working so well. I love it more and more! There are some very weird color combos in a few of those hexagons... there are also many that are perfection, and often I'm surprised. Details & more pics on my Ravelry project page if you're curious.


I will likely finish listening to Futureproof: 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation by Kevin Roose today. It's not my usual type of book, but it's interesting and enlightening, even for someone at little risk of losing her job to a computer. AI (Artificial Intelligence) touches our lives every single day in a myriad of ways and, while "controlling" may be too harsh, it (algorithms, data, analysis) definitely influences us in ways we might not even realize.

Perhaps then I will get back to & finish The Midnight Library, I know I'm not the only one who found it a bit of a slog through the middle.

Though I should probably start reading Shuggie Bain!  

And An American Quilt: Unfolding A Story of Family & Slavery is still on my nightstand. I used to read a little every night, but lately I've been prioritizing sleep (sort of, because I'm still a night owl and stay up too late) over reading.


My Back Yard

This photo was taken on Sunday, April 11th at about 10:00 am:


And this one today, Tuesday, April 20th, at about 6:15 am:


Sunshine! Rusty put the patio plants out early (top photo), and I warned him that it was TOO early (as I do every year), and with a few frosty mornings lately, they've been tucked back inside. I'm going to try to take a semi-regular series of these photos.

Monty Don and Gardeners' World have been a balm over the past year, and an inspiration... to Kate more than anyone, especially as her interest in gardening has been growing over the past few years.


She was trimming the barberry  on Saturday when Flat Stanley arrived from Peru (via Florida)! Well traveled, he'd been to England and Spain, too, and will soon head home to California... but not before lending a hand around here!

I took a walk down the hill to look for may apples, and I found some!


There's a nice patch down there, and they remind me of my mom. The snowdrops are nearly finished, and the dogtooth violets, aka trout lilies, have appeared -- the leaves, anyway. No flowers yet.


There are other types of flowers blooming now, though, and the girls are happy to pick (and adorn) bouquets!


And, finally, the first of many sidewalk masterpieces. The parallel lines are marking the shadow line of the roof as it creeped eastward (pretty quickly, actually)!


Weekending: Birthday Chaos!

We had a fun & raucous birthday chat on Saturday! Here are four screen shots and you can see everyone involved, including Viv and her new nephew Arthur! Maddy & Viv were visiting Viv's family in Wagga Wagga, and the rest of us were in various locations at our house!


Yep, that's a diaper change happening right before your eyes (he looks so happy about it)!

Hope you had a fun, weekend, too.


Birthday Bonanza Begins

And today, we have a two-fer!


Alison is 34 today! She's standing in a patch of hollyhocks that used to grow on one side of Balza's DX service station, which was demolished not long after this photo was taken.


It's also my Aunt Arlene's 91st birthday! Arlene is the eldest in my mom's family. She's holding my sister Karen in this photo, probably late 1960/early 1961, at my grandparents' house in Marshfield, WI. If this photo had been taken today, you might, at first glance, think that my grandparents are looking at their phones... but, no. Grandma is looking at a Polaroid picture, and Grandpa is staring into his coffee cup. My cousin Cindy is at left and that's just the cutest smile ever! So much to love about this photo.

Happy Birthday to Ali & Arlene!



Your heartstrings are not shoelaces -- they were never meant to be knotted.
Angela Panayotopulos, The Wake Up

_ _ _ _ _

I originally found a much longer quote, but this sentence pretty much cuts right to it*. As the reality of Kate's departure to Scotland becomes more... well, real (three weeks from today!)... I had a rather teary call from Maddy in Australia last night. Having heard some dreary prediction about travel as we were accustomed not returning until 2024, it was the last straw. She & Viv have both been working their tails off, so they're tired, there are other obligations, few friends, no time for hanging out or doing "anything fun," anyway... yadda yadda... and maybe it will and maybe it won't!

It's just so... ARGGGHHHHH!

And Maddy has a milestone birthday coming up! Thankfully, they'll be able to get away for a very short birthday celebration! And this weekend, in celebration of all the April birthdays (in case you've forgotten or are unaware, Ali on the 16th, Kate on the 22nd, and Maddy on the 25th), we're going to have a group video chat/toast. Looking forward to that!

In other news, Annie flew to Florida to get vaccinated and was able to get the one-and-done J&J jab yesterday. Then, of course, the J&J vaccinations were suspended today because of the extremely rare possibility of blood clots, but go ahead... tell a hypochondriac about how rare it is! Heh.


Boss Baby is ready to tell you whatever you need to know!

_ _ _ _ _

*The Wake Up will be perfect for Book Bingo (sounds like it's a GO!) if I get "supernatural fiction" or something similar!


Springing continues

Tulips will soon be blooming, the rhubarb, irises and bleeding heart are starting to come up, and the bloodroot is literally EXPLODING out of the ground.


One of my favorite phases of the bloodroot emergence is the "cloaked" period, where the leaf slowly unfurls to reveal the flower bud -- it looks like it's wearing a cloak. This year, within a very short time, it was cool, then a little wet, and then HOT, and those flowers are just not waiting for the leaf/cloak to open, they're just pushing right through the top! Crazy.

You might spot a few snowdrops in that photo. There must be a million of them in bloom in the ravine!!

Kate & I had our second Pfizer jabs on Wednesday morning, and ran a few errands on the way home. Then I helped her move some things into a storage unit, but not before closing the car door on my hand.


OWIE!! That's also hard to capture in a photograph. The bruising is evident today into my index &  middle fingers. Thankfully, I had full use/movement right away, though certainly tweaked a nerve or tendon in there -- thankfully, that was only temporary and I haven't had any more "tweaked" feelings. I grabbed an ice pack right away and iced it in between moving two loads into storage.

And then I took a nap.

Because I had a reaction to the first dose of the vaccine -- somehow getting through the day-after at work -- this time, I took a precautionary day off and I really needed it! I slept most of the morning yesterday, with pretty low energy otherwise. (Good for crochet, and watching Monty Don!) It's so crazy how Kate & Rusty had no real reactions at all... nor did they suffer all that much when we actually had Covid (not that I'd want them to suffer!), and wonder if there's a correlation. I sort of doubt it, as there are no doubt countless random contributing factors.

I shall leave you with one of the best pick-me-ups I've had all week. I nabbed this screenshot from a Snapchat video that Ali sent the other day. Ginny & Malina were giving Davy a push in a swing at the park. He was loving it! And I sure wish you could hear it!


Have a great weekend!


Spring is springing

I awoke to thunder this morning, with scattered thunderstorms predicted until at least noon.


The high temp is in the mid-70s (F) early this week, but, y'know, it's Spring In Wisconsin, so we'll see highs in the 50s again next week. Heh.

That's my budding lilac bush!



Kate will land in the UK a month from today! It's going to be a crazy-fast month and there's a lot going on, so I'm making a promise to be easy on myself...

I haven't been stitching much. Now that the weather is getting nicer and there's still so much more daylight left when I get home from work... it's just not happening.


I still watch TV in the evenings, though, so I'm making some progress on my crocheted blanket. I even took a few moments yesterday before the hullaballoo began to finish a row and take a photo.


I hope you had a nice weekend! Here are the highlights of mine:


Jün's top teeth are slowly emerging (aren't they big??)... and there are two more loose on the bottom!


Ali's always saying how much Ginny looks like me when I was little... it looks like she might have the same chin(s) when she's older, too! Haha.


Even without a smile, Malina makes a pretty cute bunny! (She was!)


Look at the greening up behind Davy!! He's also working on some teeth! And wearing a cute, easy-to-knit sweater (Ravelry link) that I finished when Junah was a babe (it's quick, too, even though it took me a long time!)! So springy!


Here's to a good week! Who else is having egg salad for lunch today!!