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September 2021
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November 2021


Here's Davy...


...who urges you to bang some blocks together because it's so damn funny!!

Ali & the kids have been coming over on Wednesday evenings after the girls' dance class for dinner & some play time, and I love having that standing date. Davy is standing up and taking one or two steps... he's soon gonna be off to the races!

He's wearing a Wee Wallaby (Rav link) sweater that I knit using Mission Falls 1824 Cotton 14 years ago for Mack*. It's been worn by Mack, Addy, Junah, Ginny, Malina, and now Davy (who will be wearing it for a couple of years, and it probably still fits Malina), and it looks amazing!

*Click that link for a blast from the 2007 knit blogger past... holy moly. Who remembers Dish Rag Tag? The Company


Uncle Herman

I drove to Marshfield on Tuesday to attend the funeral of my Uncle Herman. Herman and his wife, Arlene, my mother's elder sister, celebrated their 70th Wedding Anniversary on June 23rd! That's also the wedding date of their eldest son, Chuck, my cousin Rae, my sister Karen, and my brother Mike! I remember Arlene & Herman thanking Mike & Judy for throwing them their 50th Anniversary party!


My grandparents, Andrew & Marcella, are on the left; Herman's mom on the right; his father had already passed by this time.


Aunt Carol, less than two weeks from her 12th birthday, on the left, and my mom, 13-1/2, on the right, admiring the wedding rings! I've never seen such a photo before. I am in love with the styles here, especially my mom's gloves & purse (the shoes are pretty great, too)!

I always loved "going to Marshfield!" My mom's sisters both lived there and, eventually, they both had four children -- so lots of cousins, varying in age from 6 years older than me to 10 years younger (we had only two cousins on my dad's side until I was 16!). My maternal grandparents also lived in Marshfield; Grandpa died when I was 6, and Grandma when I was 8 -- they were both only 58 -- so I don't have a lot of memories. But I have a new "memory" that I just learned on Tuesday, thanks to my cousin Kris. She said that her mom, Carol (my godmother), loved to tell a story about me at Grandpa's funeral... having just learned to write and apparently left to occupy myself for a while, I wrote my name on ALL of the offering envelopes! From Vicki, From Vicki, From Vicki... a big contributor that day!

Grandma got sick with cancer not long after Grandpa died, and eventually moved in with Arlene & Herman, occupying the master bedroom -- I can still picture her there propped up in bed. My cousin Cindy was 11 or 12 and the best nursemaid... Grandma would ring a little bell and Cindy would go running to see what Grandma needed (often, another Coke).

One of the most tragic & memorable departures of my entire life was from Aunt Arlene's & Uncle Herman's house, though the tragedy had nothing to do with them, on a Sunday night just as The Beatles were to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show! I was very young, but caught up in Beatlemania! I never quite forgave my dad for that, and sulked for a good long while.

For as long as I can remember, Arlene & Herman also had a cottage on the Eau Pleine Flowage and that meant nothing but fun -- more of Herman's relatives, more kids, a playground with a merry-go-round (that's still there) -- swimming & waterskiing & fishing in the summer (so many yucky bullheads), snowmobiling in the winter! We'd also drive through Rozellville on the way from Marshfield to the cottage, where my great grandparents lived, and my mom would always tell about sleeping upstairs at Grandma's, listening to the cars whoosh by after the nearby ballroom closed on a Saturday night, and about getting in trouble when she & Aunt Carol were swinging on the cemetery gate at St. Andrew's, across the street, and Carol gashed her lip or head or something.

I spent the summer between 3rd & 4th grades at that cottage, "helping" my Aunt Arlene with their youngest son, Chad. I don't know how much help I was, in reality... I remember getting tsk'd for picking up Chad every time he cried, and I got super chubby that summer, my aunt being a very good cook and introducing me to my new-favorite, poppyseed cake, along with a German bread dumpling or three, and I also surreptitiously devoured as many True Crime & True Romance and any other "True" rag that Herman's mother had passed along to them. We spent many a New Year's Eve there, too -- the adults bar-hopping by snowmobile, my cousin Cindy & I left to watch our younger siblings... and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve (very strong memory of Three Dog Night appearing one year). There were also very memorable wedding receptions at the cottage for three of their four kids... so much fun (and a little trouble, too)!!

Eventually, both Carol & Arlene (and their spouses) gave up their "city" houses and moved full-time to the flowage, not far from each other. Arlene's cottage more than doubled in size over the years, with this addition and that.

Chad lives right next door to Arlene and it was there that the funeral lunch was held... and where I chatted with my aunt & cousins, and perused Arlene & Herman's wedding album for the first time, discovering my mother in a few photos that I'd never seen before!


This is by far the best of them... I'm not sure who the bridesmaid is -- either Herman's sister, Betty, or Arlene's best friend, "Seedy." Mom is in the middle. At 12 & 13, Aunt Carol and my mom had to have been thrilled to death with the whole thing, and I think that shows on my mom's face. I also spy my Great Aunt Loretta (Grandma's youngest sister... who was only 6 and the flower girl at Grandma & Grandpa's wedding) just to the left of Arlene's hand, holding her bonneted eldest child, my mom's first cousin, Shirley. But, by far, it's the expressions of the girls on the far right -- especially the furthest right -- that are everything!! 


I love this adorable photo of Arlene & Carol with their little cousin. I think Carol was living with Aunt Loretta & Uncle Al at this time, giving a needed hand in the same way that I stayed with Arlene for a summer.


But my mom! Lordy, I'm so happy & amazed to have found new images of her. I love her smile and the buck teeth -- she had those fixed in the late '70s/early '80s -- when she was around 40. There are a few years of photos with her mouth ridiculously clamped shut to hide her braces! 

Anyway, this post turned out to be about so much more than Uncle Herman, but it's also just exactly reflects him... he was a large man with a personality & sense of humor to match, he was also very unassuming... gentle, generous, much loved, and never in the spotlight.

Oh, two things about the service. All was well until we were graveside and the priest suggested we sing the first verse of Amazing Grace... then the chins began quivering! My goodness. All the more poignant because Herman had glaucoma and was blind for the past 15 years... but now I see.

Also, just as the graveside service concluded, Cindy said, "All I have to say is one thing: 'Alexa, when are the Brewers playing today?'" To which everyone chuckled because... it was so him.

Rest well, Uncle Herman.



The light was pretty great on Friday afternoon and I had a sudden urge to take my hexie blanket outside for a photo -- seemed like it had been a while.


As you can see, it's getting "leafy" around here. (Also that my mosaic table is returning to dust right before our very eyes.) I love how that little pink geranium blossom so perfectly matches the hot pink in the blanket!


The occasion was to celebrate finishing the half-hexies along one side. As of this writing, I'm about half-way on the other side. I'm ready to go with this baby!

Before I forget, I was going to start an Autumn/Vacation/Winter/Holiday Knitting To-do List (so I won't forget):

    • Christmas Stocking for Janet/SEBAS
    • Messy Bun hat for Ali
    • Socks for Viv
    • Wild Fields hat for Gin
    • Marl something

We'll soon be going up to the North Shore for a long weekend and that first item is Vacation Knitting Project Priority #1! When one of Rusty's customers found out that I'm a knitter, she asked if I would knit a stocking for her grandson. Her mother knit stockings from a vintage pattern for all the previous grandchildren, but passed away before she could do Sebastian's... so he's been sharing with a sibling! I don't volunteer my knitting time for others very often, simply because it's so very limited, but this one tugged at my heart. I'd like to deliver it before Thanksgiving.

Ali messaged me early on Saturday asking me to turn off online ordering for the coffee shop at 11... they were short-staffed and she had to close at 11:30 instead of 2 that day. A few weeks ago, trying to delete an item from my Make.Do category in the POS app that Ali uses, I accidentally deleted THE ENTIRE CATEGORY! So I took advantage of her early closing to go up and rescan/re-enter every single item that I have up there! It took about three hours, but it's done and I can clean up some other things because of it.


When I returned home, I was in my workroom for a few minutes and was distracted by this glowing tree a couple of doors down. A photo taken through two (dirty) panes of wavy old glass doesn't do it justice... it was a brilliant & gorgeous distraction!

Ann's Airbnb guests checked out early Sunday morning, headed to Lambeau Field early! They were aiming to do some tailgating and snag a few brats prior to the game, then planned to head right to a hotel in Milwaukee after the game in order to catch early Monday morning flights home. Anyway, I took advantage of that and went over to get a start on laundry. I threw in one load, ran to the store, went back to toss the fist load into the dryer & throw in another, watched some pre-game TV until that was finished, then loaded it all up (except for towels, which I left in the dryer) to take home & hang on the clothesline! So nice to have that chore done.

My guests drove from Michigan and checked out this morning... so more laundry is on the horizon!

Speaking of football, it was a fun game to watch and we WON! Packers now stand at 6-1 and at the top of their division.


There was a huge fennel bulb in our last CSA share (the last of the season), along with some potatoes (and apples and beets... that was a heavy bag!), so I searched for a fennel recipe and came up with one that used potatoes, too. Kym shared that the NY Times Cooking app is her favorite these days, and I second that motion! Right up there is anything Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa, and that's where I found the recipe for the Potato-Fennel Gratin pictured above. It was delicious!

All in all, it was a pretty great weekend. I hope you had a great weekend, too!



It's a mash up! Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday... in combo with a belated Unraveled Wednesday post with Kat & the Unravelers.



Thing One: Gnorwen


I finished her last Friday!


I can't remember the last time I kept up with a Mystery Knit-along. This was a fun project, even with all the fiddly bits (the flower on the hat, the nose, the mittens, the braids) and interminable I-cord -- a.k.a. the things that make her so special!


I took her out for ice cream on Tuesday after Knit Night. I really wanted to take her photo with our local iconic neon drive-in sign illuminated!


I also wanted a photo with an actual ice cream cone, so I took her inside. The employees were all quite charmed.

  • Ravelry Project Page: All Work, Gnome Play
  • Pattern: All Work, Gnome Play by Sarah Schira
  • Yarn: Various fingering/sock weight scraps
  • Needles:  US 1½ (2.5mm)
  • Start to Finish:  September 21 - October 15, 2021


Thing Two: Wild Fields


I finished this cute little hat on Sunday. It's intended for Malina and I'd planned to take a photo of her wearing it last night when they were over for dinner... not only did I not get a photograph, I didn't even give it to her! So there's still a chance for a photo op.

  • Ravelry Project Page: Wild Fields
  • Pattern: Wild Fields by Beth Ashford/Kaleidoscope Knits; free pattern at
  • Yarn: Malabrigo Rios from Flaxen Fleece in Sauk City, WI
    • Queguay (headband/brim)
    • English Rose (body of hat)
  • Needles:  US 6 (4.0 mm) DPNs
  • Start to Finish:  September 18 - October 17, 2021

I found myself flipping pages back & forth a lot while knitting this hat, and the abbreviations are all on a separate page... a little annoying, especially because I started this while camping and internet was not great. The flower stitch was fun to do, once I figured out how to pull the last "petal" through without losing the previous two, and it looks great!

These two FOs are not only the first FOs since the wave of knitted gnomes that got me through Covid in December/January, they're also the first actual knitted items since the gnome wave... and one of them isn't a GNOME!

And I've started another hat, reversing the colors, for Gin! I bought enough yarn for four hats, so...


Thing Three: Half-hexies


(It's so dark in the morning.) I did a lot of research to see how people finished and/or squared off the edges of crocheted hexagon blankets! I've decided on half-hexagons for the sides, and will likely use some longer stitches to fill the smaller divots on the ends.


Those are the three most recent hexagons and the best, so far. There are some wonky ones at the beginning, but that totally fits with the vibe of this blanket. I think there are only four more on this side, then up the other (and they go pretty quick), and then -- FINALLY -- the border. I've ordered two more skeins of the natural color. Hopefully, I'll only need one, but regardless, this is probably one of my most costly projects ever.



I've recently finished Laundry Love: Finding Joy in a Common Chore by Patric Richardson & Karin B. Miller. It was a quick, entertaining, and informative read! I'd previously (slowly) begun changing up a few things in my laundry practice, but I'm on the way to changing it quite a bit more.

I've put The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore on pause.

I've just begun listening to Stanley Tucci's memoir, Taste: My Life Through Food, and it's delightful... as is he, and his Instagram, with plenty of cooking & cocktails (with recipes). I'm adding one of his cookbooks (or two) to my Christmas Wish List*! And need to queue up his Emmy-nominated show, Searching for Italy, on Hulu.


*Speaking of Wish Lists... I'm sure one or two of you has recently received Amazon's "Ready, Set, Play" toy catalog in the mail. Ali did, too. She said that the kids grabbed it, circled all but five things, and put it back in the mailbox thinking that Santa would be by to pick up. I love the way those kids think!


Museum of Me: Welcome!

Last month, Kym introduced her Museum of Me and that kind of stuff is right up my alley, so I'm joining in (and doing a little catching up)!



The inaugural exhibit is:

The Oldest Thing From My Childhood Still In My Possession


I'm pretty sure that would be my Lefton piggy bank! Have you ever seen a sweeter face? She's never had a name because she wasn't really a "toy"... she's just "my Lefton piggy bank."

Like Kym, the backstory is fuzzy... I know she was a gift, and I think it was for my 6th birthday, but I don't remember from whom.


I do know that she was maimed almost immediately! Like, within minutes. It could have been me that dropped her, but the depths of my memory tell me that it was one of my three (at the time) siblings and the fireplace hearth also plays in that memory.


So, y'know, she's never been very good at holding money. I did keep the rubber stopper in there for YEARS, even though any money deposited could (and often would) fall right through her missing leg.


She's always been sure-footed, though, even with only three legs. And from some angles, you can't even tell that she's damaged.


I gave her a bath for these photos, as I've done from time to time, and I'm always very careful to preserve the Lefton sticker. There are little felt disks on the bottom of each foot, too.


Some of her floral decorations have been damaged, but none is missing altogether.


The curl of the tail, the iridescent glaze...


...those amazing flowers.


A quick search on eBay and Etsy resulted in a few very similar -- sometimes much more decorated (either originally or after-market), but I will always like mine the best!


And here she is in situ on the top of a bookshelf next to some of my dad's turned wood vessels, a sideways Big Ben/Parliament cookie tin that was Rusty's mom's "sewing basket," a ceramic pumpkin that my Grandma Blum made, and on the shelf right above a photo of Viv & Maddy, and one that I took 10 years ago in Scotland. (There is much museum fodder on those shelves!)


That face, though (even in a blurry photo).


Camping 2021.2

I am pretty chuffed, having managed this entire camping trip by myself. I've never backed up the camper without a spotter before... it helped that I was familiar with the site, had a little practice with a spotter under my belt, and there was only one big tree to worry about (haha, it wasn't even very close). Also, being Sunday afternoon, there were very few "witnesses." There were only 4-5 occupied campsites in view. I'd have been much more self-conscious & nervous if we'd had close neighbors! I spent quite a bit of time streamlining & organizing my camping set-up/tear-down checklist before last month's trip, and it makes all the difference.


I look pretty pleased with myself, don't I? haha. I'd just finished leveling, supporting, chocking, turning on the propane, and hooking up the electrical... I had backed in just far enough to reach the box!*

Oh! Look at this! More teeth have been lost...


Turns out, the "backyard" playground wasn't as big a perk as I imagined.


That's the extent of Junah's playground action. I was informed that it was for little kids and he didn't like that type of swing. Oh well.

It was a little breezy, but we got a fire going with little trouble. Roasted hot dogs & s'mores were on the menu!


There was a lovely sunset.


Junah was inside, working on a LEGO 3-in-1 dinosaur set that I'd picked up for the occasion, and I couldn't help taking a couple of stealth photos through the window. He was working on the T-rex! Before we decamped, T-rex gave way to Triceratops. Oh yeah, he also brought a few cars & trucks!! He's obsessed with Monster Trucks at the moment!


It was a little walk to facilities. There were a couple of "stinky" pit toilets nearby, which Junah used exactly once! Flush toilets, sinks & showers a little bit more of a walk. I exceeded my "steps" goal three days in a row, and walking to the bathroom was a big part of that, I'm sure!

After dark, we did inside stuff... activity & workbooks, crafty stuff, toys. We both slept pretty well that first night; I had five days off of work and five days of meeting my sleep goal, too! The second night it was lightly raining and that woke me a few times.


More truck play in the morning, and then we set out to try and find some nearby geocaches. We tried to locate three that were right along the shoreline... and we didn't find a single one! It was fun to look for them, though, including a lot of climbing on & peering around & under rocks.

We regrouped and had ham sandwiches lunch, then set out on a hike to try again. There were three more that I'd identified on my app as "kid friendly," had good hints, and all three had been located by others within the last couple of months. It was a little trek up the escarpment -- there used to be a ski hill there and we hiked up where the old lift used to be, the remnants are still visible (big poles with pulleys attached).

For our first geocache, the hint told us that it was an "ammo can" and "there shouldn't be too many fallen timbers that can accommodate an ammo can." The app doesn't take to you the pinpoint location -- it's within 15-20 feet or so -- so we were looking at a lot of "fallen timbers," not really having a sense of the size of an "ammo can." We're looking and looking, feeling as though we were running out of options, when Junah said, "Hey look! I found a box!"



It was a pretty great find! We didn't have anything to trade for goodies within, but we did sign the log and maybe someday we'll return with some loot.


I wish I'd taken a better photo of Find #2. The hint for that one was to follow the rock line, and "in the 'mouth' of the alligator rock." It truly looked like a gator!


We were getting a little frustrated trying to find the third. The hint was "base of tree," and, well, we were in the woods... but they'd also described the canister, and when I finally spotted a deliberately placed chunk of wood at the base of a tree and saw a hint of brown duct tape, I realized that we'd scored again!

The order in which we found the geocaches was their order in size, from largest to smallest, and in quality... not that any were bad, but that first one was WOW! So glad it was Junah's first-ever find.

The weather could have been a bit better... but it could have been a LOT worse! It was prime for mushrooms...


We saw quite a few varieties, but these were my favorite.


He made quite a few of the crafts that came with the library's fall fundraiser promotion, and we also filled out a nature scavenger hunt page. I will admit that Junah spent a little bit of time each day playing with some "driving" apps on my phone... flying firetrucks and whatnot. It allowed me to take a quick nap one day, and to get to a few tasks... like dishes.

On Saturday night we had a taco/Frito bowl with shredded cheese & sour cream... it was pretty tasty! We built another fire without much difficulty, especially considering that it was drizzly on & off all day, so more s'mores!


Breakfasts were cereal, though this was a second breakfast... he'd made himself a ham sandwich when he got up!


I even took my knitting out of the bag a couple of times and managed maybe a half-dozen rows in all. Ha. Better than nothing.

All in all, it was a fantastic excursion, and I can't wait to do it some more next summer.

Junah's favorite thing about going camping was the HIKING.
His least favorite thing was HIKING BACK!!

*Other notes:

  1. We didn't have water hook-up, but I brought a couple of 2.5-gallon spigot jugs... making a mental note by the end of the trip (and now a real one) that 1-gallon jugs are a lot more practical for use in Ducky. The bigger ones are harder to move/stash and also take up half the available counter space!
  2. I heated water on the stove, which was OK, but an electric kettle would have been more efficient in a couple of ways.
  3. On a quest for a small dishpan or something that can be used as such. The tiny camper-size draining rack is fab.
  4. It's official: Ducky's maximum capacity is exactly TWO people, no matter their age/size. I'd once considered taking both Jün & Gin on this excursion, but there's no way that would have worked!



How are we almost a week in already??


Pictures of this tree/these colors are never as spectacular as when you see it in person... but I keep trying, year after year. Leaves are starting to drop!


And it's definitely darker in the morning. There was no one behind me yesterday morning as I left the coffee shop, so I stopped in the middle of the street for a photo. An old sign blew off in a storm on the upper left, leaving just a small remnant. Pretty soon, the whole upper level south & west sides will be sided, and I think the front will get cleaned up a little, too.


I've been keeping up with the All Work, Gnome Play - Gnome MKAL 7  pretty well! She sat in front of me last night while I started on more fiddly bits... knitted braids! And also a nose (we think it's a nose) from way back in Clue #1 that I'd apparently overlooked (thanks to Deb @ Knit Night for cluing me in).

I've been super busy with home & kids & Airbnbs...


...painting at Ann's progressed a bit last week. I'm afraid there's a bunch that's going to have to wait until Spring, but at least the front & back screen doors have been painted the new/darker color. And I'm loving it!

Rusty's just about finished putting a fresh coat on our garage, having just done the back door last night (there was a "wet paint" sign when I got home).

I had the boys for a few hours last Saturday, and then the three big kids stayed overnight. We had a blast, making some decorations for Halloween and eating Oreos with breakfast, among other things!


At long last, we had football fans!! They've been among my favorite guests since the beginning because they're always SO excited & SO happy to be here... as you can see! This couple was split -- she's a massive Packers fan and he roots for the Steelers -- so he went home disappointed in the game's outcome, but STILL SO HAPPY!! haha.

This weekend, there's a couple at Ann's from the Baraboo area to do some weekend hiking, and I have a woman & her two daughters coming from the NW part of the state to explore coffee shops & restaurants in our area -- they didn't even realize that they'd be catching the tail end of Restaurant Week!

I have an extra-long weekend coming up and it's going to be fairly nice, so I'm going camping with Junah! Camping with the grands is something I've dreamed of since the beginning of this travel trailer adventure, so here we go! I've reserved a campsite for two nights at Calumet, where Kate & I did our maiden voyage last year, in a spot very close to where we were then -- a playground will be in our "backyard"! I've also downloaded a geocaching app again, having discovered that there are quite a few in the park. And yesterday, our public library posted a "Fall Colors 5K Fundraiser" with a craft & activity kit (craft supplies, scavenger hunt, maps, etc.) and the timing couldn't have been better!! In addition to those activities, I'd already planned to do a "nature weaving" project with him, and we won't be far from LaClare Family Creamery so might go visit the goats if we need an excursion. Wish us luck (and good weather)!!

What's up with you this early October?