Weekending

Perhaps I should rename my blog... Random & Weekending & Occasional Unraveling. heh.

It was a GLORIOUS weekend! The weather was just right -- 70s, sunny, breezy -- and we needed that so much, especially on a weekend. Today & tomorrow we're back in the mid-90s (with dew point close to 70 - ugh), and in the 80s otherwise as far as I can see. I took my cue from the weather and mowed lawns on Saturday morning.

Ali came over with the kids around mid-morning and they hung out while I took a shower, and then we all headed out to Target! I've never been shopping with four kids before... I can't even think of a time when I went with all three of mine at one time (at least not without protest -- Maddy hated shopping!). We survived! No meltdowns, no tears, not even very much whining... though Ginny is super stealthy, just casually adding things to the cart.

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I took a good number of photos over the weekend and it's hard to choose a favorite... but this might be it, even though not everyone is showing their best photogenic self! Actually, I didn't even take that photo... Ali did!

Junah had some cash burning a hole in his pocket, and LEGO was on his mind.

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He got busy building as soon as we got back, barely breaking to eat a hot dog for lunch.

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I bought some craft stuff and the girls were busy with that. Ginny was delighted to learn how to mix red & blue paint to make purple, not to mention yellow & blue to make green!

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(Malina had just eaten an ice cream sandwich!) There's a fun series of selfies with Davy on IG, and a few other photos/selfies of/with the kids.

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Sidewalk chalk & bubbles came out, we traipsed through the back yard & garden... it was a lovely day!! And I even had time for a nap.

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Sunday began with coffee in the Garden Room.

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Then I put together an IKEA shelf that I've had hanging around for too long, and did a very little bit of rearranging in the Garden Room to fit it in.

I puttered, did some cleaning -- and cleaning out -- and then met my current Airbnb guests at the pergola for a beverage and a nice chat. She was a brand new elementary teacher about the time we moved to Appleton, and it turns out she was one of Michael's! I told him that I hoped she was a nice teacher, and he said he'd remember if she wasn't!

Maddy & Viv start their journey today! It's very early Tuesday morning in Australia right now, and about 12 hours from the first leg. Unfortunately, the friends they were going to visit in Seattle for a few days have Covid, so there had to be some last-minute rearranging of plans. They'll end up staying a night at a hotel in Seattle before catching a flight to Chicago, then making their way to Milwaukee to visit with other friends for a couple of days. I'll be driving down there to pick them up on Saturday or Sunday -- whatever they decide. Bonus is a day or two extra here! I reminded her that the #1 requirement for travel right now is PATIENCE -- stay calm & cool & roll with it -- but I hope she doesn't have to tap that well. At least they don't have to worry about tests -- NZ just dropped their requirement yesterday. I also reminded her that we survived Aer Lingus/Detroit... thus, can handle anything! It's a packed itinerary: Orange > Sydney > Auckland > Los Angeles > Seattle > Chicago > Milwaukee > HOME! That's over 6-7 days, total, and not all of it by air, but still a lot. If you can send some GOOD TRAVEL JUJU their way, it would be appreciated! I shall be monitoring it all from here. haha.

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Finally, my catalpa tree exploded in blooms over the weekend!

I hope you had a great weekend, too!

 


Right Now...

June 2022.

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Admiring... peonies! This is one of Ann's.

Anticipating... a houseful of people in 2+ weeks!

Celebrating... my son-in-law Rod's birthday was yesterday, and can you believe that he & Ali will be celebrating their 9th wedding anniversary next week??

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And Mack is going to be SEVENTEEN tomorrow! Time, time, time... why you gotta go so fast??

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Drinking... the occasional ice-cold sparkling beverage (with or without spirits) using some recently made Rhubarb-Basil Shrub! It was especially refreshing last night after mowing TWO lawns, and nearly gone by the time I remembered to take a photo. I mixed the shrub with sparkling water and it was the palest pink... so pretty.

Enjoying... day-off naps. They've become a highlight! One recent day, I got out of bed in the morning and then crawled right back in... and got my nap in early that day!

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Knitting... the next row on this/my panel is #405! I'm approaching "the end of May 1959," the "nighttime" stitch count is 19 now -- almost exactly 1/3 of the daytime number -- and there's only one more decrease before the nights start getting longer again!

Looking forward to... getting the upstairs (Airbnb) bathroom floor painted while Maddy & Viv are "here" but off on an adventure for a few days.

Needing... to get Organizing... my workroom... always and forever!

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Planning... our trip to Scotland later this year. Kate & I will be putting our heads together in a few weeks to try and hash out what's reasonable. Our vacations -- especially to places like Scotland -- tend to be road trips and I'm using an app called Wanderlog to plot the course, which is extremely ambitious at this point and involves a few ferries. The ferry schedules alone are a trip, as both frequency and time can vary depending on the day of the week! One of my favorite things about the app is that it will "optimize the route," so it's easy to add whatever cairns, castles, standing stones and beaches we might be interested in without having to figure out the best way to get there myself. We'll see. So far, we have plane tickets, a rental car, and a hotel for one night in Inverness! So much more to do... Luckily, we'll be staying at Kate's for the few days in Edinburgh.

I've also purchased plane tickets for a trip to meet Kate in London around my birthday! It'll be a quick trip, the main impetus being an exhibition at the Fashion + Textile Museum -- Kaffe Fassett: The Power of Pattern. The only other thing I really want to do in London is visit Harrod's. I'm sure that ideas will emerge.

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Pondering... this bird nest situation at Ann's! Lordy, that is a high, narrow ledge on which to build a home & raise a family!

Reaching... Ullapool! I have just a little over 40% of the North Coast 500 virtual walk under my belt, and from "here" (heading north) it's all new to me!

Sewing (mending)... NOTHING! Maddy & Viv will be bringing home hole-y socks, plus I have one of Ali's, so maybe at least some darning will get done!

Watching... Shameless. Whoa. I'm sure this series isn't for everyone, but I'm enjoying it quite a bit. There are 11 seasons and I'm only a few episodes in with S2... so it'll be a while! William H. Macy has been nominated for 6 Emmys for his role as Frank Gallagher and it's not hard to see why. I'm also recording & watching (when time allows) MasterChef Back To Win, MasterChef Junior, and So You Think You Can Dance... I just can't help it.

But last night, y'all. I wasn't expecting to be so riveted by the first Jan. 6 House Committee hearing! I thought I'd wait & catch the highlights, but Ms. Cheney drew me right in and I could not turn away.

Wondering... What's up with you right now!? And wishing you a great weekend!

 


Weekending

I had an unexpected last-minute Airbnb booking late Thursday afternoon for the weekend, so had to abandon my Duolingo practice and spring into action to get ready for a Friday arrival! I might have finally learned that I need to be prepared for anything!

That done, I crossed a bunch of other stuff off my list over the weekend, and it feels so good! There are still a couple of stragglers, but I'll get to them soon... after I ready the Airbnb for the guests arriving on Wednesday! (There's no rest for the wicked, as my mother would say.)

One of the things I accomplished over the weekend was buying and planting plants in our decorative planters.

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You may have seen my post about that on IG over the weekend. I've had this wicker fern stand forever, and it's always been on the back porch, but it's never held a plant of any kind. The cats loved it and would jump up and nap inside... especially after Rusty made it cozy with old porch pillows and a rug. We'd even spot cats in there that weren't even ours!

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Not our cat!! We nicknamed this one Ferdinand!

It's been a while since it's been used as a cat bed, though, so I decided to buy some plants.

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You can hardly see it now in its spot under the Marriage Window...

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...but once these incredibly bright coleus grow a bit, it'll be easier to spot!

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I can enjoy that planter from a couple of other vantage points.

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This is from the other side of the Marriage Window... as things grow, I may have to move it a bit!

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And this is from one of the kitchen windows... it's visible from three of four!

I have the need to mention -- just in case you've missed it -- that Maddy & Viv will be showing their faces here THREE WEEKS FROM TODAY!! I cannot wait to hug m'girls!! And I'll be driving down to Chicago, FOUR WEEKS FROM TODAY (yes, on the 4th of July), to pick up Kate!!

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Oh, quick favor... I'm looking for recommendations for a YA read. It can be any genre, even part of a series, preferably not terribly long. Thank you in advance!

 


Unraveled Wednesday: Slow goin'

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday...

KNITTING:

I've made some progress on my Temperature Blanket since last we met, even though I've barely knit a stitch in a week.

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I had "turned a page" on my chart, though, just before this little break, and that means I'm about half-way through my panel... heading into "the summer of 1959," and the colors will be shifting.

Work is very slow on Musselburgh. Though I cast it on for traveling, it never saw the light of day in Denver. It's been my project for group knitting, and there hasn't been a whole lot of that, either. I'm thinking Christmas for this project, so there's time... and I'm excited about the first color change taking place!

READING:

YOUNG MUNGOI should be finished just in time for next week's discussion!

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One thing that's not slow going right now is anything in my backyard! My Blue Angel Hosta went from this...

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...to this...

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...in less that a month!

It's been quite the rollercoaster spring weather-wise with huge swings in temperature! 

I've been busy with Airbnbs, but guests are arriving at Ann's today for the entire month, so there's some relief... and then the next "guest" will be Annie & her family! And as of now, I have only one guest scheduled this month at my place (for over two weeks... added relief)... and that means that my next "guests" will be Maddy & Viv!!!!! And fewer than five weeks until I pick up Kate again at ORD.

It's getting real, and I cannot wait!!!

 


3TT: Structure

I'm joining Carole & friends today for Three Things on Thursday... (because I need some structure!)

  1. We're back from Denver

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I lost my (prescription) sunglasses Sunday/Monday somewhere between here & there! In my youth/younger days, I was perfectly happy to squint in the sun, but I've smartened up since then. I cannot/will not be without sunglasses! That pair was getting old -- there've been more than a couple prescription adjustments since I bought those -- and I'd made a mental note to myself to get them replaced by September at the latest. Unfortunately, I can't even get in for an exam until June 2nd, and it would be another week or two before a replacement pair was in-hand.

So, Amazon to the rescue with same-day delivery of a pair of Fit-Over Sunglasses... they're ENORMOUS and I'm feeling a little Jackie-O, but they're actually pretty great!

2. 8 Miles a Day = 20%

I rented neither scooter nor bicycle in Denver, but holy cow, did I put on the miles! I averaged over 19,000 steps/day over four days, which translated to just over 8 miles/day. That's about 3x my "normal" day. We walked everywhere except for transport from/to the airport, the return trip from the Denver Botanic Gardens (having walked there and then walked all around!), and Sunday when we rented a car to go to Garden of the Gods (where we walked all around!).

Anyway, all that hoofin' added up to having 20% of the North Coast 500 under my belt already! 

3. Spring!

Finally. It's feeling -- and looking -- a bit more like Spring!

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When Kate finished working (she's recently written a couple of articles featuring embroidery (!!!!)) yesterday, she went down to do a little clean up of the garden. This is a zoomed in shot from the bedroom window this morning -- and I'm thrilled to see hostas emerging!

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I have a 4-day weekend beginning tomorrow (or today at 4pm), and it'll be full! Shopping & lunch with Kate & Ali tomorrow, followed by an overnight with the girls. On Saturday, the girls have a salon date, after which... shopping & lunch! On Sunday, I'll be roasting my last organic chicken from the CSA farm for a family dinner. And on Monday, I'll be taking Kate to ORD for her return to EDI. Cleaning/readying the Airbnbs as needed, too.

Whew.

I hope to be posting with a bit more regularity soon! Have a great weekend!

 


Homecoming

Well, as you might imagine, it was a pretty great homecoming for Kate! There were a couple of close calls, but we even managed to keep it a surprise for the kiddos! There's some video in my IG story for a few hours yet, if you'd like to share the experience.

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This photo sums it up!

I made lasagna (using some of my own roasted tomato sauce) and then we had cake!

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Two cakes, actually! I thought I'd surprise them with a cake -- and Ali thought the same! Hers was homemade lemon poppyseed, using some of her sourdough discard, and mine was not homemade... but it was from the best bakery and they did a great job with the decoration. We re-lit those candles at least four times so everyone could have a turn blowing them out, and somehow it all got turned on Davy once!

As much as I'd like to have these two weeks off while Kate is home, I still gotta work and there are many ways to spend my vacation/off days coming up, mainly the Family Whoop-de-doo in July and our trip to Scotland in September, so I need to budget. The next two weekends are long ones, and that'll be nice. She's also working a bit while she's here, including in Denver, which was the impetus for this trip, plus there's a sister to hang with and friends to see! It's not like we'd be spending every minute together, anyway.

I'm all set to meet up with my mom's old friend on Friday morning in Denver, and either that afternoon or Saturday I hope to be renting a bicycle and making my way to Fancy Tiger Crafts. Maybe the botanical garden and/or zoo, too, and clocking some virtual miles in the process!

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Just had to share this girl's style -- top to bottom! I said, "Strike a pose!" She's wearing the Cockleshell Cardigan that I made for Ginny...

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...having outgrown the matching one that I made for her! It occured to me that it won't be long before the kids have all outgrown the knits I've made... so might need to work on something other than a blanket one of these years. heh. It sure is grand to see them over and over. I made the sweater that Davy's wearing, too! Fourth kid to wear it and still going strong.

Woke up this morning and opened the blinds, as usual when in the months when it's light enough to see something. I don't often see anything, but sometimes...

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...I do! That's a terrible zoomed-in and taken-thru-two-panes-of-dirty-glass photo, but what a nice surprise! There was another further down the ravine, too.

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And, finally, I was relieved to see bloodroot in the garden last night. When the temp shot up over the weekend, the snowdrops all exploded, but I didn't see a single bloodroot -- not even a sign of one. My garden is usually flooded with them, so it was disconcerting not seeing any, and thankfully it was just a fluke of the weird weather.

 


Birthdays!!!

I can't wait until July when we'll be able to have a photo made that's like this one:

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But today I'm using it to mark my girls' birthdays all together, since I didn't do individual posts this year! (from left...)

  • Ali was born on April 16th (middle)
  • Maddy was born on April 25th (youngest)
  • Kate was born on the 22nd (eldest)

It's an even year, so their ages are odd numbers!

Kate's test was negative and she's about three hours from landing at O'Hare as we speak! Squee!!!!

 


Three More Days!

Can you stand another Random Friday post? It's been a busy week.

This was the view Monday morning out our bedroom window...

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Not what anyone wants to see in April, especially in the latter half!

Yesterday I took a stroll at a nature preserve close to work, and the scene had greatly improved.

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It's not going to be very warm or sunny today, but the forecast for tomorrow is 73F!!! It'll pretty much be a flash in the pan, but it will be nice... and I know that better weather is not far off.

I had to laugh the other day when I got this notification on DuoLingo:

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It cracked me up that I'm getting good at... SHOPPING! I sent a screenshot to Ann and said, "I am my mother's daughter!" (She was a shopper extraordinaire!)

I'm closing in on 10% of the North Coast 500!

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That's a screenshot from this morning of where I am and what's ahead. I love the snowy mountains! I've seen a lot of lush greenery, too, so it just depends on when the Google cam was passing through any given area. Anyway, it won't be long before I'm in more familiar territory, as we traveled a part of the NC 500 route during our visit in 2014.

I am counting all of my forward-moving activity (via Fitbit) for this challenge because a) 500 miles, b) I really hadn't paid attention/had no clue about the distance covered in my daily steps, and c) did I mention 500 miles?? I also gave myself the maximum allowed time to complete the challenge. Even with my extremely sedentary job & hobbies, I manage a few miles every day; if the kids are over and/or it's an Airbnb prep day, there can be many many more, and I'm well ahead! The weather has been most uncooperative for walking outside, but I'm doing it when I can, and I feel more motivated to ride my bike this summer, too.

It's only three more days until Kate is home! Three days after that we'll be heading to Denver. I made time between running errands to stop in at the Wednesday Afternoon Knitting Group to get my travel knitting started.

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I'm a bit further along now, enough to measure for gauge and figure out the rest of the pattern. I'm knitting Gauge Dye Works' Our Solar System on a One-way Trip to MUSSELBURGH on US3 DPNs! haha. (Am I the last to jump on that bandwagon?) I dithered between size 3 & 4 needle... I think the 3 will work out ok!

There hasn't been a ton of action on the Temperature Blanket this week, but enough to warrant a photo... I'm just starting March 1959.

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It gives me great pleasure to state that this photo was taken indoors and in natural light at around 6:30 this morning!

I hope you all have a great weekend! I'll be busy cleaning, planning, ordering birthday cake, and readying for m' girl's visit.

 


Random Friday

Our taxes are done. Ali's are done. I have a tiny bit of coffee shop bookkeeping to do for her for 2022 taxes -- she didn't sell until the end of January -- and we (the accountant) want(s) to get that out of the way ASAP. I'm so looking forward to boxing all that stuff up!

It's only TEN DAYS until Kate's home!

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I received a parcel from her the other day. One of the benefits of having a daughter living in the UK is that I get TWO Mothers Days! (Unfortunately for me, Australia observes the same date as the US!) She sent me a cool tea towel depicting Edinburgh, a cute card with a "SUPER MUM" pin, and a funny memo pad where I can check my mood(s) and also indicate whether it's "For now" or "Forever."

Ai & the kiddos were over on Wednesday after dance class. I made pigs-in-a-blanket with mini hot dogs and they were a hit! Except that Ginny didn't like the "blanket." Who doesn't like the blanket? Haha.

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Jün & Gin had a blast going through all the photos & photo books that I've had printed. One of my favorite things to do at my grandma's house was to look through her photo albums, so I was extra happy to see them so interested. Just wait until they discover the boxes of old photos...

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The kids will all be over tomorrow, too, while Ali celebrates her birthday (35!!) on a day-date with her hubby, and then the three big kids will stay overnight.

It would be so nice to spend some time outside with them, but the weather is decidedly NOT GREAT right now -- though a bit better than four years ago when we were buried in snow! It's been extremely windy most of the week and high temps only in the 40s. Not great walking weather, either!

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I'd had a pretty great DuoLingo streak going a while back -- 300+ days -- and then I didn't. It's taken quite a while but I'm back! Today will be #24.

Wishing you all a great weekend!

 


Unraveled Wednesday: Chilly Colors!

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday...

KNITTING:

I'm a little pinched for time but wanted to share my progress!

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I am currently about half-way through January 1959 and by the end of the month, I'll be using the "coldest" color on my chart. There are a lot of color changes! I carry them as much as I can, but don't like to do that for too far, or with very many colors.

This represents Milwaukee, and I'll be literally turning the page on my chart at the end of January and from there to the end it'll represent the weather in Escanaba -- which is actually Green Bay, WI.

READING:

YOUNG MUNGO!

 


Weekending

Now that taxes are done (more or less... I'm still answering random questions from Ali's accountant), I'm moving on to some things that have been neglected for way too long.

One of those things is the table in my workroom. Things started piling on before Christmas and just never stopped. One big reason for tackling that particular project now (besides the obvious) is that I couldn't find the keys for the storage unit that Kate & I rented last year. She's going to be home two weeks from today (YAAAYYYYY!) and one of the things she wants to do is grab some stuff.

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Ta-da! It was one of the things that got dumped from my purse when we went to Puerto Rico in February (as evidenced by all the other things I found in that particular pile) (obviously not missing most of it).

My table isn't entirely cleaned off yet, but I made progress and I'm feeling full-0n "clean up/clean out" mode coming on.

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You may have seen this photo on Instagram on Saturday. It's grown by quite a few rows since then, and I'll have a "live" update on Wednesday, but can I just tell you how happy those cool blues, pinks & purples make me?? They represent temperatures that weren't on Rusty's chart at all. One thing I've noticed in my panel vs his is how much more frequently colors jump the "divide" between daytime & nighttime. So interesting... still highly entertaining!

I do need to start something suitable for travel again, as Kate & I will be heading to Denver a few days after her arrival. I have some special yarn on order for a couple of Musselburgh hats and some socks, and hopefully it will arrive by then. Otherwise, well, I'm sure I can find a WIP that wouldn't mind some attention. heh.

Rusty & I went out to Ali's yesterday afternoon. They will be replacing the windows in their house soon, except for a special corner window in their living room, which was too exotic for the window company, so Rusty will be repairing it... and he got a little head start yesterday.

We also had lunch and hung out with the kids. Ginny got the knack of riding a two-wheeler without trainers! I don't have any photos because I was too busy assisting, reminding, and cheering her on. She's going short distances right now, but that won't be for long. ZOOM!!

I had departing guests at both Airbnbs over the weekend, so did my preliminary work... walking over to Ann's a few times, adding to my MILES. Only 479.9 miles to go!

I chatted with Ann yesterday. Cooked a great dinner both nights -- Avgolemono Soup on Saturday, Pan-Roasted Cod & Potatoes on Sunday (thanks Martha & Marley Spoon -- those recipes will definitely go into regular rotation).

I noticed my Crown of Thorns looking pretty good yesterday and never really paid attention before, but the flowers...

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...grow out of other flowers. Each tiny flower produces one or two more, sometimes three or four "tiers," and the color is so pretty.

 


500 Miles

On a bit of a whim the other day, I signed up with The Conqueror Events to walk 500 miles! I'll be walking (or cycling) (never jogging or running) in real life, but an app will be marking time/distance on a virtual map -- specifically, a map of Scotland's North Coast 500. I've given myself plenty of time to do it, my Fitbit is linked & my steps are added once a day, and I'm excited that I'll be putting down a bunch of steps on the actual North Coast 500 come September.

I'm not making any declarations, but I am trying to make some lifestyle changes/adjustments, and this seemed like fun... my usual "scenery" is definitely not very motivating. I figured I'd learn more about a place that I'll be visiting and maybe discover a must-see thing!

You might imagine that virtual walks were pretty popular during lockdown -- one of my FB friends walked the Camino de Santiago then and it was fun to see her updates. When I finish, I'll get a pretty swanky medal (could have opted for a shirt, too).

I'm barely out of Inverness but marching on! I'll let you know if I find anything interesting...

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I recently discovered some amaryllis bulbs that I'd put in the basement to "chill." They were pretty dried out and I wasn't expecting much (especially from the smallest, which is actually "offspring" of the medium one), but they've come back to life!

I'd ordered new bulbs last season. You might remember the one that was deformed (from a bug, I think), but it has an offshoot now, too; the other one was pretty slow to start and is now just a fountain of leaves -- there was never any sign of a flower stalk.

My timing isn't that great, but there's never a bad time for flowers, right? And if I work on timing, there could be a pretty good show next Christmas season.

 


Unraveled Wednesday: Panel One is DONE!!

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday...

KNITTING:

I am one-fifth finished with my Temperature Blanket project!

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It starts with December 26, 1947 at the bottom and ends with December 26, 1948 at the top -- with a couple border rows in black at each end. My bound-off edge will need to be re-done (as usual). I must have been rushing last night!

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This photo gives you a better idea of scale.

READING:

I had a very timely notification the other day that my Audible pre-order was ready, so YOUNG MUNGO it is!

Today I'm buckling down, though, and finishing the task that is taxes. Yuck. My reward will be casting on MY blanket panel this evening and knitting some of those new colors!

 


The return of Vas Gr

After a long stretch of Fr Mus, L Leaf & Avo, I'm thrilled for the return of Vas Gr & Fjord!

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There are fewer than "3 weeks" left to knit on Rusty's panel, and it's basically just those colors plus a stripe of Lime or Sulfur here & there to the end.

I am getting so excited to start my panel and right away, on the third row, I'll be knitting a brand new color -- Turq! And then soon more new ones -- Astor, Iris, Ssalter, Htrope, Umarine, Bberry, Peony. It's quite a range of temps for November, from a crazy 68F to -1F.

My chart is minimal & compact, so I don't have room to spell out all the color names!

  • Fr Mus = French Mustard
  • L Leaf = Lotus Leaf
  • Avo = Avocado
  • Vas Gr = Vaseline Green
  • Turq = Turquoise
  • Ssalter = Seasalter
  • Htrope = Heliotrope
  • Umarine = Ultramarine
  • Bberry = Billberry

Amazing colors!! I think of them by their "for short" names.

 


Weekending

Last time the kids were over, Junah, holding a small container of white chalk, asked me where a chalkboard was... "Why do you have chalk if you don't have a chalkboard?"

Huh. Why do I??*

So I fixed that and ordered one forthwith, along with some colorful chalk and an eraser.

Zero regrets...

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There was zero input from me about what to draw, and I plotzed when I saw Junah drawing my gnomes! He also drew a magnifying glass that Rusty had near his reading chair, and the giant "pea pod" at the top is actually the little red canoe on bottom left in the photo. I shared some of the photos with the fam yesterday and Kate said that it looks like Junah's gnomes are about to hop on a Viking ship!

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Earlier, Ginny showed me a book of drawings that she made out of napkins... lots of hearts and rainbows, and windows! The sun is in the sky, and also the moon -- in a few different phases.

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I love absolutely everything about this!

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That's Ginny, Davy, and Malina in the first drawing. When I asked where Junah was, she ran off and then came back... "That's Junah... (giggling) with a beard!"

*Because it came with a set of autumn themed chalkboards that I used for decor in the Airbnbs. I do have a small slate, but it has a 4th of July drawing that my mother did... so that's not ever getting erased.

 


3TT: Some numbers

Three Things on Thursday... 

Thing 1:

I have about 150 rows to go before Rusty's temperature panel is complete!

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This was taken early yesterday evening... there was a fair bit of knitting afterwards to a couple of episodes of Yellowstone! I am so excited to start another panel!

I am especially happy with how much Rusty likes it!

Thing 2:

Stats!

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Are you still playing Wordle everyday? I think of it as a good way to engage my brain every morning. I've played more games than this, but for the past 54 days, I've been playing exclusively on my phone; therefore, accurate stats. Most days, I also play Quordle... usually after my brain's been good & engaged for a while! haha. I like that there's a practice mode.

Thing 3:

My #1 daughter has her #1 official Colossal by-line.

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Check it! 

 


Random newsy bits

My weather app and the weather are on two different planes this morning, and I couldn't be happier. It's been gloomy/damp all week and I expected the same today; instead, the sun is shining (though some clouds) and it's wonderful! It may still rain later, but I've thoroughly enjoyed the surprise sun break.

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Kate picked up the keys to her new flat yesterday -- hers & only hers! She gave us all a video tour and it's adorable! Lots of storage, a small guest room, a big bathroom (by Euro standards), and an amazing kitchen. I'll share more photos as she settles in. The flowers are from her new landlady!

Meanwhile, she will be here a month from today! That visit will include another #whirlwindarttripwithkate! Man, it's been a while. This time we're going to Denver, which also ticks another box on my list of revisiting places where I lived as a child. I'll also be meeting up with an old friend of my mom who still lives there -- Char lived in the same apartment complex and had a son, Davy, who was my age. It was in Denver, when I was 18 months old, that my twin sisters were born, and we lived there for about a year.

I am giving the CSA a year off. I will visit their farm store from time to time, and I've ordered plants! I won't pick them up until mid-May, but I'm looking forward to growing basil, celery, zucchini, tomatoes, watermelon, and bush beans. 

I'm so excited that Maddy, Viv & Kate have all secured their tickets for visiting in July, as have Ann & her family. It's going to be a fun summer!

And Rusty, Kate & I are knee-deep in planning a late September trip to Scotland! It's going to be epic if it all pans out: more Highlands, Orkney, Harris & Lewis, Skye, and Edinburgh. Y'know I love planning a vacation, and usually I'm pretty loose about it -- one or two things set in stone, and the rest is "come what may." But when time is short and there are multiple ferries operating on schedules that can vary depending on what day of the week it is, then planning ahead is crucial. And I'm on it! So much fun.

Regarding all of that... fingers are crossed, I'm knocking on wood, and wishing on falling stars!

It occurred to me that I never shared a finished photo of the laundry room here.

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We're so happy to have that job done, and we cleaned out so much junk & streamlined/optimized a few things in the process. As of today, the tops of the washer & dryer are still visible!

Last, but definitely not least, it's Malina's birthday today!

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Can you believe that this little sprite (sporting evidence of a yummy Girl Scout cookie) is FOUR today?!!

 


3TT: Gozalandia

I've been having a hard time putting together a post (or two or three) about Puerto Rico. There's a lot going on right now -- in the world, in my life. I wake up one day, such as yesterday (my day off), thinking that I'm going to tackle taxes & bookkeeping, only to end up running out to buy a laptop for a certain adorable nephew in Peru (his logic board fried), shipping it to arrive across the state by Friday to Annie's boss (who happens to be visiting for a few days), who will then schlep it back to Lima/said nephew. By the time that was done, it was noon. I grabbed a quick bite for lunch, and then had a scheduled video chat with Kate to get her taxes filed & paid (she was running into a roadblock), along with some other chit-chat (for an hour), and then I needed a nap. Ali & the kids were due after dance class! I guess I did get some tax-related stuff done, as originally planned, but it wasn't mine!

So let's try small bites, shall we?

I'm joining Carole & friends today for Three Things on Thursday... 

The only concrete engagement on our vacation "itinerary" was a guided trip to Gozalandia Falls on Saturday, from which I have three photos to share.

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I had a couple of vouchers from Airbnb -- perks for maintaining Superhost status -- and we'd enjoyed our first Airbnb Experience in Mexico (just before the world shut down in 2020), so I searched for something similar in Puerto Rico. Our host/guide was Reynaldo, and he was intimately familiar with the whole property, having helped build some of the infrastructure (paths, stairs, etc.).

Rusty's taking a dip in the pool at the first falls. There is also a rope swing for sailing out over the water -- hopefully beyond the big boulder just under the surface -- and splashing into the pool. Rusty didn't do that, but it sure was fun watching other people do it!

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It wasn't easy getting photos without people in them! Certainly most visitors found their way all by themselves, and we could easily have visited and enjoyed these falls without a guide.

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But without Reynaldo, I would never have walked up behind one of the falls. Nor would I have hiked through the river from one waterfall to the other. I have few photos because all my stuff was in Reynaldo's dry-bag backpack, and good thing. I didn't fall, but I definitely needed my hands to steady myself a few times, jumping from rock to rock, sliding down bigger boulders, and needed all my wits about me instead of worrying about my phone getting wet (or dropping it). It was a fun -- wet & dirty -- challenge!

I didn't know just how dirty until we got home -- after stopping at the supermarket -- and noticing that my butt was not only wet, but super muddy, too! Rusty never told me! I bought a small bottle of laundry detergent on our next trip to the store and did some laundry in the sink. (Because my packing skills were MIA when prepping for this trip and I actually had only a few appropriate/practical/things-I-wanted-to-wear clothing items.)

BONUS:

We learned that the movie A Perfect Getaway was filmed at Gozalandia Falls!

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The movie is actually set in Hawaii, but it was cheaper to film the waterfall scene in Puerto Rico, even having to truck in thousands of flowers... and equipment, crew, etc.! I was surprised to see Timothy Oliphant as one of the leads, along with one of the Hemsworth brothers, and we enjoyed it more than expected.

 


Unraveled Wednesday: Ooops!

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday...

KNITTING:

Y'know, Rusty's panel for the Temperature Blanket.

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It's coming along... I'm at about 200 "days."

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My stitch count was off last night and I found a dropped stitch. I didn't have a crochet hook handy, so it's on hold for now.

READING:

I finished listening to AGATHA OF LITTLE NEON the day after our book club discussion. I had less than an hour of listening when we met, so I was able to fit together some random pieces from the conversation!

I am currently listening to MIRACLE AND WONDER: CONVERSATIONS WITH PAUL SIMON by Malcolm Gladwell, Bruce Hedlam & Paul Simon, with contributions from others such as Sting, Rosanne Cash, Art Garfunkel. It is fascinating!!

 


18

It's the First Day of Spring and it feels like it!

It's also the 18th anniversary of my sitting down to create this blog! How about that? It kinda blows my mind! It's overwhelming to think of all that has happened in these 18 years (much of it recorded within). The biggest perk is having met so many wonderful people -- some virtually, some in real life. I can't imagine my life without any of it.

My first blog post didn't even have a photo, but I did talk about knitting (of course... it's almost all we talked about on blogs for a very long time) and being inspired by knitters! Though the platforms have changed, and we can be connected in many other ways, I continue to be inspired by knitters... and so much more!

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Rusty's panel of the Temperature Blanket with shadow from the pergola. I'm just about half-way! I'm not super excited about the sections striped with Cumin & Ginger (especially that big one just finished on the top left), but it is what it is. There are so many exciting colors that aren't even tapped for this panel... I can't wait to move on!

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I don't know how I managed to purl half a row in a 100% garter stitch project... but I did! And I'm leaving that, too.

Thanks for being here!

 


17

It's the "golden birthday" of THE QUIT!

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Seventeen years! Or 6,210 days!! And probably upwards of 124,000 cigarettes & $35K that hasn't gone up in smoke.

I'm chuffed!

 


What a difference a day makes

Wednesday:

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Thursday:

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Next, we'll have to do some rearranging so we can move the washer, dryer & a large 4-drawer lateral file cabinet in order to lay the rest of the new floor.

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So close! I have a dance recital to attend tomorrow, and Rusty has a tutoring gig, but hopefully we'll make some progress around those commitments.

Have a wonderful weekend! It's going to be cold here (3°F overnight & 21°F is tomorrow's high), but I spy 60°F and a little sunshine on Wednesday!

 


Unraveled Wednesday: My 2nd FO of '22

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday...

KNITTING:

As mentioned the other day, I finished Close To You over the weekend -- bound off on Friday, blocked on Saturday, modeled on Sunday, and worn on Monday!

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Ginny was my "it" girl... STRIKE A POSE!

  • My Ravelry Project Page: Close to Puerto Rico
  • Pattern: Close To You by Justyna Lorkowska
  • Yarn: Make.Do Be (Hellebore colorway)
  • Needles:  US 6
  • Start to Finish: March 5-14, 2022

Cast on & set up just before leaving on vacation (because traveling with long straight aluminum knitting needles in a carry-on), it was the only project I worked on while in Puerto Rico.

I wasn't so sure... I love that colorway, but it was looking a little muddy at first. The little pops of green some nice sections of the stronger colors, along with the texture & overall design -- it looked better as I progressed, and I'm glad I stuck with it. It looks great with black, which is the color I wear most often.

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It looks great with polka dots, too!

MORE KNITTING:

Well, last night there was some ripping... 10 rows yanked because I spotted this:

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My stitch count was off the other night and I "fixed" it, thinking I knew where the problem was. The real problem was here, at the beginning of the row and I never noticed until I picked up my knitting last night and, of course, it was glaringly obvious! I pondered possible solutions for about one second, and then started to rip... it was the only way!

So, 10 rows backward and a bunch more forward, and now I'm here:

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The colors are a tad more vivid in this photo than in real life, but it's close. The day/high temp side will "grow" and the nights/low temp side will "shrink" by about 10 more stitches before they start going back the other way. This panel will be quite symmetrical since Rusty was born just a few days past Winter Solstice.

READING:

I continue listening to AGATHA OF LITTLE NEON.

 


Weekending

I started the bind-off of Close to You on Friday night while awaiting the arrival of Airbnb guests...

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...and, to my surprise, I finished it!

That meant that on Saturday, I gave the shawl and soak and spread it out on the blocking mat to dry.

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There are quite a few little picots along the bound-off edge, but only ONE of them is GREEN! I love it. Details on Wednesday!

On Saturday & Sunday, I was back to Temperature knitting!

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It's grown by quite a few rows even since this photo was taken. Update on Wednesday!

We've hit the laundry room floor project in earnest since we returned from vacation. I've been finding all sorts of relics and old papers -- receipts & warranties for things we don't have anymore, business bookkeeping that could have been tossed several years ago already.

Back in the day, when we had only one computer, the "laundry room" was the nerve center! I kept books, paid bills, did ancestry research; the kids played (educational) video games and/or wrote fan fiction; Rusty could barely turn on a computer at that point in time. Times sure change.

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That's the first digital camera I bought... a whopping 4.1 megapixels! (The camera on my current phone is 12!) We have two of these cameras, because Sharon's came into our possession after she died. I was thinking of donating them, but they might be put to better use by the kiddos -- they can document their gardening this summer (among other things).

At Christmas, I gave them a year-long, weekly "Gardening for Kids" course offered by a local naturalist. I print out each week's lesson & give it to Ali to add to the main binder; they each have a smaller binder with all sorts of paper -- graph paper for plotting, plain paper for drawing, lined paper for writing -- a cute notebook, markers, etc. They're beginning prep to start seeds soon!

Ali & the kids came over yesterday -- it's the first time I've seen the kids since returning from vacation, as they were passing a little bug around amongst themselves last week! I recruited a new model... you can get a little preview of the finished Close To You shawl in my Instagram Story.

 


Supporting Ukrainian knit/crochet designers

I get a little irritated with Ravelry sometimes when 3-4 months go by and there's nothing new on the Home page.

There's a new post as of yesterday, though, that is on point. "Search designers by country..." specifically Ukraine. (There's much more info on Rav about how to customize the search as desired.)

Ravelry is waiving invoices for February sales of Ukraine-based designers and will continue to do so while the conflict/war persists.

I've made purchases this morning from a couple of designers and thought that you might like to consider doing the same. I'll likely go back and buy a few more because, WOW, there are some beauties!

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Sunrise from the newly dubbed Sunrise-Viewing Room (aka, Garden Room) (thanks, Cathy!).

I hope that peace & freedom are soon restored, and that you have a wonderful weekend.

 


Unraveled Wednesday: Vacation Knitting

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday...

KNITTING:

I brought a bunch of mini-skeins of yarn for some small crochet things that I thought I might do -- even put it in my carry-on -- but I never even looked at it.

I had some balls of yarn, DPNs, and a couple of gnome patterns... but I didn't look at that, either.

I was recently reminded how much I loved knitting & wearing my Close To You shawl and I've always wanted to knit another, so at the last minute I wound up a ball of yarn that's been hanging around, gathered needles & pattern, cast on and knit the first couple of rows, and tucked it all in my suitcase.

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It was perfect for vacation, as it starts small and grows. I'd knit while we caught up on Olympics or watched a movie before bed, and it was great for knitting on the beach, too.

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I love the subtle pops of green...

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...and I think that those pops will get a little bigger & brighter as I progress through the skein.

READING:

Maybe those bits of "neon green" spoke to my subconscious... I've finally begun reading again! I started AGATHA OF LITTLE NEON on Monday and should be finished in time for the discussion.

BACK TO KNITTING/CROCHETING:

As established a while ago, it wasn't practical to bring my Temperature Blanket along on vacation, but I could bring the data/charts that still needed work! Everything is stored in a Google Drive folder, and Rusty brought his laptop. I took a planned break for an hour on Sunday afternoon and attended my first Vogue Knitting Live event -- a virtual talk by Cara about temperature/data projects! I was happily surprised that she gave my project a little shout-out in the presentation -- along with Kay Gardiner's projects (plural!), Suraya Hossain's Heirloom Temperature Blanket, and Tara Seifrit's NH Year 1 Temperature Blanket (one of my biggest inspirations when planning my design) (which I hope works). Inspired (again), I did a little work on my chart and nearly have it finished!

Anyway, I can't wait to get back to that project -- and my Hexie crocheted project -- but I'm really into knitting this shawl right now. First, the colorway is HELLEBORE (which I dyed a few years ago in a couple of yarn weights), and it'll be perfect for SPRING (which is happening this month), and it sure seems like a long time since I've had a finished object that wasn't a gnome or a hat. So, it's going fast and I'm just going to go 'til it's done, and then back to all those other things!

 


Puerto Rico in a... shell (or two)

Rusty & I had a great vacation in Puerto Rico and both got what we needed most...

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Him: Lots of beach time.

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Me: Lots of sleep.

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I slept in every single day, and napped when I could, too.

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We did much more, and I'll tell the tales...

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...but mostly it was this.

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And a little of that! I'll have more to say about that tomorrow for Unraveled Wednesday... but right now, I'll say that I'm still amazed at how much that colorway (Hellebore) matches the coral that Rusty found, and that'll make it the perfect reminder of the trip (since we left the coral behind).

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Rusty's "note" became a lovely record of our week in Puerto Rico.

_ _ _ _ _

Meanwhile, my heart is in Ukraine. I am so uplifted by some of the stories I've read about Ukrainians...

Ukrainian Librarians

...along those lines.

And their president is incredible.

I am also lifted by the amazing work of people like Chef José Andrés and World Central Kitchen, who are not only helping to feed hungry people in Ukraine, but all over the world. If there is a disaster and a need for food, WCK is there, slinging hash and taking care of people. I've donated what we might otherwise spend going out for dinner, and perhaps you'd consider a donation, too.

 


Sights on Tomorrow

Vacation begins tomorrow at 2 p.m. and I AM SO READY.

I had the weekend from hell with an unfortunate situation at Ann's Airbnb + textbook scammy/scummy guests.

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The "linty" stuff in this photo is water dripping from the bathroom above.

Long story short: I got a message with a bunch of photos of dripping water in the basement at 9:59pm on Friday, also that they hadn't had hot water all day, and, oh by the way, "we found a condom in our bed."

I'm almost as FURIOUS now as I was at 10:00 on Friday, and I think my face is just as red.

Rusty & I were there within minutes to assess, turn off the gas to the water heater, etc. There were supposed to be two guests, but it was evident that there were more, and it was all just so stupid... "we didn't want to cause problems" by telling me that there wasn't any hot water.

I got the plumber there as soon as I could on Saturday, and found that the guests had vacated without a word and basically incommunicado, which only added to my fury (the incommunicado part). (There was an exchange with Ann later that evening, along with a demand for a full refund, of course.) They didn't trash the place, thank god. Turns out, the threaded connection for the shower head gave out, likely hastened in part by some aggressive handling of the shower control (which will need to be replaced), so the water was just spewing out the pipe between the walls, and then through the floor, and on the water heater which caused it to kick out (and thankfully, not get toasted altogether). The alleged condom (complete with incredibly vague & generic photo) was allegedly found in the bedroom most recently occupied by Ann & Brian! She is more than a few years past menopause; the bed had been unmade/remade at least twice since the previous booking; and the description of where it was actually found was different from each of the allegedly offended parties. Dumbasses.

The plumber will be returning today to finish repairs... because there are new guests arriving on Friday! Rusty & I have to get the place shipshape tonight. I had a good head start over the weekend, so it shouldn't take too long.

I can't say I wasn't shaken quite a bit by the whole thing. I had my own gracious and respectful guests this weekend, so at least I got a little dose of GOOD.

Island breezes, crashing waves, tropical temperatures, sand between my toes... I hope it's enough!!

In other news, and as a palate cleanser...

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Rusty & I had the kids on Thursday night for a few hours, as Ali attended the funeral of a friend from high school. All four kids are in that photo with Rusty -- can you pick them all out? Davy found the Cold Turkey Chicken Viking Hat that my co-quitter friend Ann made for me when we quit smoking -- almost 17 years ago! Isn't he adorable? I could spam you with a few more photos but I'll refrain.

Do you remember my weird amaryllis situation a while back? Kym had suggested that I cut it & plunk in water to see if it would at least bloom.

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And it did! It's so pretty, and there might be another blossom or two yet to come. It was so nice to notice that yesterday!

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I spent a little time with my spreadsheet for the Temperature Blanket, too. I finished the one for Rusty's panel, and got the data organized for all the other panels. There are a lot of color changes, but it's looking pretty great -- and I'm so curious to see how the other charts compare. Photos as soon as I get some good light!

I helped Mamie, the new owner of the coffee shop, with her first payroll yesterday, working out a couple of things she wants to do differently, and I'll continue helping with other bookkeeping for a few months... at least until her head stops spinning! She's got so much on her plate right now. I'm looking forward to closing the door for good on all that, but I'm not a jerk.

Yarn was wound and a few items gathered for possible vacation knitting/crocheting... I'm finding it hard to concentrate on that task. I have to figure it all out by tonight, though, because we're packing up tonight (after the Airbnb is set) and we're leaving right from work tomorrow afternoon.

Did I mention... I'M READY FOR VACATION TIME???

 


Weekending

The three big kids slept over on Saturday night.

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I'll spare you the photo of the floor covered with LEGO, K'nex, Playful Patterns, wooden blocks, dolls, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, etc. Haha. We watched a couple of movies, some of the Olympics (they were very impressed with snowboarders & figure skaters), played with all of the aforementioned toys (and more), and the kids had baths.

Those are Malina's tracings of her own hands. Pretty impressive for an almost-4yo!

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Bonus of Davy -- from last week, not the weekend -- blurry but so cute!

I'm delighted that our travel plans have been worked out. It took a 5-hour texting session with various agents at the airline, but I'd rather do that than be on hold listening to "music" for hours. Anyway, we'll fly to Chicago the afternoon before originally planned, stay overnight at the airport hotel, then catch the early morning direct flight to San Juan, arriving mid-afternoon. Puerto Rico currently has 1.5 hours more daylight than we do, and all at the end of the day, so it'll be perfect for driving across the island.

 


Unraveled Wednesday

Joining Kat & the Unravelers today for Unraveled Wednesday... but no reading. I am on hiatus, I guess. It's happened once or twice before.

Fiberuary-2---Looking-Forward-2

This is the start of my Temperature Blanket! That knitting represents about the first two weeks of Rusty's life -- December 1947-January 1948 -- in Southern California. The daytime high temps are on the left and the nighttime lows are on the right... in a few more rows, the days will start becoming noticeably longer! It's a little fiddly, but I'm finding a groove, and it is SO SATISFYING! Look at that!

What I really need to do is streamline my information -- the number of day/night stitches is on one page, the temperatures are on another, and the colors are on a third (color chart)... it's a balancing act and I am constantly counting. (There might be a color/temp mistake in there, but I won't tell if you won't!) All I know is that I'm really glad I didn't follow through to the end with all five charts just yet.

I'm still wondering how I can pack a project with 20+ balls of yarn for vacation, but more "realistically" pondering packing Hexie Love...

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...one ball of yarn, but one big project... made of wool. It'll be 80+ degrees. The sane option would be to cast on a pair of socks or something.

I've been online and on the phone for much of the day trying to figure out how we can arrive in Puerto Rico... not in the dark. The original booking back in September had us with only one connection (at O'Hare) and arriving mid-afternoon. The airline made a couple of changes, adding another connection (Houston... not good memories of Houston), with less than an hour for each connection, and arriving at almost 9 p.m., which means we'd be lucky to be on the road by 10 and it's a 2-hour drive to our destination, across an island that we've never visited before!

NOT WORKING!

I am currently texting with an agent (this is new, and I like it!) and we're this >< close to re-booking departure on the last flight out of here the day before. I've already booked our overnight stay, and we'll catch an early flight to San Juan the next morning, arriving in... daylight.

Stay tuned...

 


Random January Weekending

So... buttons on your underwear!?

That's not how I intended to begin this post, but once I wrote, "So," it just came out. Have you ever heard that expression before? My brother-in-law finished someone's "So..." in this way over the weekend and could not believe that none of us had ever heard it before. It must not be very commonly used by him, either, because I've known him for going-on 20 years and never heard him say it before... surely, in all that time, there must have been opportunity!

Anyway...

So, as of this Wednesday, we won’t have to test to enter Puerto Rico! The (non-returnable) tests I ordered will be here today were just delivered, and I had notification that the government tests will also be delivered today, so we'll be prepared!

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I packed up all my yarn-y stuff at the coffee shop yesterday! We have begun packing up the laundry (and-so-much-more) room in order to lay the new floor and I couldn't think of a single place to put it all, so took it right down to the storage unit (where mostly Kate has stuff).

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I'll be bringing the wall-mounted grid wall home and will use it in my hopefully-somewhat-soon-to-be revamped dye studio; I also have legs for it, so options!

Meanwhile, if anyone needs/wants an MDK Field Guide or a tote bag from the defunct Fringe Supply, I'm your girl.

The boys walked over Saturday prior to their departure to Madison for the week. Their 99yo Nana is moving into a rehab facility today, having fallen & broken a hip earlier this month, and they head back to Lima on Friday. While they wrestled with each other in the living room (boys!), I made my color card for the Temperature Blanket.

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Then, having found myself with a little time yesterday afternoon -- after my nap and before a coffee shop "transition" get-together -- I cast on!

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I worked about the first week of Rusty's first year of life! And I am already in love with this project... and wondering how I can pack a project with 20+ balls of yarn for vacation!!

Meanwhile, tomorrow is the start of Fiberuary!

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I had so much fun doing the Fiberuary Challenge on Instagram last year, I'm going to try it again!

This month FLEW BY!! I'm sure it had to do with my sister & her family being "here" for most of the month, with everything surrounding Ali's sale of the coffee shop, and with BIRTHDAYS! Junah's, Annie's... and today would have been my mom's 84th! (That's baby Junah in the photo with her!)

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I'm looking forward to February, which is usually my least favorite month, but at least it's short -- I've already flipped that calendar and there's a vacation in plain view!