It's a ToT/BPF mash-up this week!
Best Picture Festival Wrap-up / Thoughts on This Year's Oscars
I saw the final five of nine Best Picture nominees on Saturday, and let me just say that a five-movie marathon is just about one too many for me! I was pretty restless during that last show; needed to stretch out and move!
1. I loved Philomena -- Dame Judy Dench played her beautifully. I thought the supporting cast was terrific. It was so sad that "Phil" wasn't able to meet her son again, but I'm glad she didn't give up her quest to learn more about him, and the ending was heartwarming... if not a bit surprising.
2. Her was the only movie in this batch that wasn't based on a true story (at least some of it!)... though perhaps it is foretelling? I was a little lost in time, missing whatever reference there was to that (learning later that it's 2025), and I sure hope that if anything about this movie comes true, it's not the return of HIGH-WAISTED PANTS! Haha. While not one of my favorite movies, I thought Joaquin Phoenix did an amazing job in the role.
3. 12 Years A Slave was amazing, and PERFECT casting! I had a little problem with time -- keeping track of passing time -- in this movie, also. (It's me.) Heart-wrenching. I think it was definitely deserving of the Best Picture award, and am also quite happy that Lupita Nyong'o won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her portrayal of Patsey.
4. One of the things I was looking forward to in American Hustle was the late '70s fashion review! Oh, I could relate!! It was a great story, I loved how it was told, and every single actor was perfectly cast; I can't imagine another actor in any of those roles. Christian Bale's ability and willingness to transform himself is amazing.
5. Dallas Buyers Club definitely grew on me. Having lived through the scary time that was 1985 and remembering the fear, uncertainty, desperation, prejudice... I don't remember who referred to it in their acceptance speech, that young people who have always known a world with HIV and AIDS don't realize what that was like... so true.
6. In doing a little pre-Oscar research, I was delighted to learn that June Squibb and I share a birthday... and with Sally Field (and some other people)!
7. A Scorpio trait? June and Sally appear to be women willing to "age gracefully," if not define the term. I don't mean to be snarky -- I'm not the plastic surgery police and it's certainly a personal freedom and preference -- I just know that when I'm 80, I'd like to look closer to 80 than an indeterminate age obviously passed a long, long time ago. I'd also like to be able to move my face. Sometimes it looks so painful!
8. I loved Bette Midler's performance of Wind Beneath My Wings. And Pink's Somewhere Over The Rainbow, though the entire Wizard of Oz thing threw me for a loop -- timing again (later to realize that it was the 75th anniversary). It's no secret that I'm a fan of Pharrell and Happy, and I'm disappointed that it didn't win Best Song.
9. I thought that all of the acceptance speeches were genuine, heartfelt, and concise. I don't recall hearing too many people "played off" the stage, even if their speeches seemed to run a bit longer than 45 seconds.
10. I enjoyed it all, and I'm happy that I saw all of the BP movies! It was fun to discuss them with my fellow movie-goers, and share our take on the awards, too. I'll most likely do that marathon again next year, if need be.
Thank goodness I have hobbies and interests and family, not to mention a sense of humor, to keep me engaged and occupied during months like the one we've just had!
This morning, our below-zero Fahrenheit temperature landed us tied in the record book for the most number of below-zero Fahrenheit days in a winter. People. That's not the kind of record we're interested in even meeting, never mind beating.
* * * * *
So, arguably, the thing about a Best Picture Festival is that there's hardly a dud in the bunch... one might find reason to complain more about a movie that's not on the list than one that is! Sometimes a movie doesn't find it's place for a while, but it is what it is: 9 movies nominated for Best Picture at The Oscars!
Here are my nutshell reviews of the movies we saw last weekend:
I loved Nebraska -- Bruce Dern is amazing -- it is relevant and relatable; it could be called Wisconsin or Rhode Island. Some of the characters are over the top (okay, the shrew... I mean wife), but I think everyone can relate to that, too.
I enjoyed Captain Phillips a lot more than I thought I would... again, the actors/characters, and there was a lot of action! One of my fellow movie-goers got a little seasick, though (just a heads up for y'all).
I wasn't really looking forward to a 3D movie -- the only other 3D movie I've seen was Beauty and The Beast with the girls (meh, why mess with stuff like this?) -- but if you're going to see a movie in 3D, Gravity would be the one. The story is so-so/predictable, but the scenery... WOW! And, okay, Clooney.
And The Wolf of Wall Street. Leo just knows how to play those fellas, doesn't he? That was a wild, debauched ride. I didn't count, myself, but trust that whoever's job it was to count the f-bombs was accurate at 506!
Except for Nebraska, none of these were really on my To-See list. Tomorrow's Best Picture Festival line-up is the one I really look forward to:
I'm so happy that I'll have seen them all by Sunday night -- The Oscars with Ellen!! :)
Ten on Tuesday: "I feel..."
1. I feel cold. Wisconsin, winter, blah blah blah; we're in record-breaking territory for below-zero temps, or something ridiculous like that, so BLAH!
2. I feel pretty. Haha. Well, I don't actually feel pretty at this very moment, but that keeps popping into my head, and sometimes I do; this time:
3. I feel satisfied, surprised, accomplished, and amazed that I've finished sewing my Alabama Chanin style top! (I may wear it tonight to book club and, if so, will see about getting a photo; if not, it will happen soon.)
4. I feel so motivated to do more handsewing... I can hardly believe it. I've been gathering materials!
5. I feel pleased that I didn't completely frog my Follow Your Arrow shawl, and even found some knitting mojo, picking it up again to do some work during Closing Ceremonies. Obviously, I veered completely off course with that project in terms of completing it during the Olympics!
6. I feel so happy that I'm able to spend some regularly scheduled one-on-one Grandma time with Junah every week... sometimes I even let Grandpa hold him. Heh.
7. I feel a little overwhelmed by things... and I'm glad I'm feeling it "a little" and will take steps to make sure I don't feel it "a lot."
8. I feel as though I've let some balls* drop. Big time.
9. I feel bad that I didn't write a single letter in February. Not even to my daughter who lives far, far away. I'm a terrible mother. (I do enjoy our weekly Skype chats, though, and I'm SO looking forward to visiting her in May.)
10. I feel the sun!! Do you? Our bedroom faces south and on sunny days the solar gain is AMAZING. Usually, though, once the sun goes down the room cools right down, but lately it's stayed warm well past sundown. So even though I'm feeling cold (#1), I am well aware of (searching out) all of the signs of the coming warmth.
SPRING WILL COME.
We won't know until The Oscars are presented on Sunday, March 2nd, and I'll be better informed about the Best Picture nominees this year than ever!
I love awards shows, especially The Oscars, and I love movies! I've gone to a fair number of movies in the past year but, incredibly, not a single movie on the list of nominees for Best Picture!
This year, beginning tomorrow and continuing next Saturday, I'll be attending a Best Picture Film Festival at our local movie theater. I have never done anything like that before and I'm pretty excited.
I really have to get a simple knitting project on the needles because I don't know if my hands can be still for that long. I don't usually knit when I go to the movies, but don't usually see four (or five) at a time, either!
It sounds a little crazy.
Here's the line-up for tomorrow:
It is a little crazy.
I took one look at my Instagram profile and, well, that pretty much says it all.
My grandson and Alabama Chanin, which sometimes intersect, a little bit of knitting, the occasional observation about the weather, and musing on getting the empty toilet paper roll into the wastebasket... a shot that, even after 27 years of practice from that specific Point A to B, I still miss most of the time.
I am closing in on the quilting and reverse applique of the Alabama Chanin-style top I'm making. I'll have to do some careful cutting of my pieces prior to sewing up, due to rushing in at the beginning and the more careful reading of the directions not happening until later. The whole concept of "slow" is going to be a work-in-progress... a practice, if you will. That's what this piece is all about, anyway, and I can't wait to... slowly... finish and make another. I've made large format copies of all the pattern pages in the books and I'm ready!
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It was a great day off yesterday, beginning with my early morning Junah time. I took my mom to the lampshade shop later in the morning, and it was so nice to get out and actually go somewhere with her; a quick trip to Target with Ali after Junah's (approx.) 6-week check up; chiseling away at odd chores in between, making dinner, and then some sewing while catching up with the day's Olympic action... It's all pretty darn good.
11 lbs. 1 oz.!!
Ten on Tuesday: 10 Thoughts On The 2014 Winter Olympics
1. In regard to any Olympics on NBC, I hope they never change the theme. I never tire of hearing it.
Bugler's Dream by Leo Arnaud
2. We don't have cable, so the only televised coverage at our house is on plain old over-the-airwaves NBC. I record everything and then FF through a lot of it. Sometimes I'm sorry that I'm not forced to sit through and learn all the ins and outs of, oh, let's say BIATHLON or LUGE.
3. I've been known to delete entire "afternoons" of competition. The Tivo only holds so much! And I only have so much time to watch. And while I may have some interest in one cross-country ski race, subsequent contests are far less riveting (and that may not even be proper use of the word); if I'm paying attention during the FFing, though, I'll stop and watch any finish in any sport.
3. I love love love Mary Carillo! I love her energy, her humor, her wonderful people/place/travel stories. I always stop FFing for those.
4. I'm a big sap. I love the athlete profiles and stories, clips from childhood, awkward stages. I stop for as many of them as I can, too. Athlete profiles have always been one of my favorites parts, even when I was a young girl. They are all regular people, except that they are not... they are extraordinary in their focus, dedication, and determination. Gee, wouldn't that be cool? I think I always wished that I might feel so driven... about anything.
5. Don't you love short-track speed skating!? Actually, almost all of the speed skating, and possibly because I'm from Wisconsin, having agonized and cheered every race with the likes of Dan Jansen, Eric Heiden, and Bonnie Blair.
6. I really enjoyed Tom Brokaw's "Space Race" piece. It re-awakened some feelings and memories that I'm still processing and about which I can feel quite emotional. When I watch the film of those old Apollo missions, I still feel the same excitement of LIFT-OFF that I felt as a 5th grader when our teacher would bring her portable TV to school for every launch so we could watch them live. (Never mind a TV in every classroom, there wasn't even a TV in the AV Room, land of mimeograph machines and filmstrip projectors!) I remember my parents waking us up to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. I remember that we won; we beat the Russians to the moon! I remember knowing astronauts' names -- at least some of them -- they were heroes! A present-day astronaut was shown in that story and I was sad, almost embarrassed, that I didn't have a clue what his or any current astronaut's name was.
7. Also, because of that piece, I think I've fallen a little bit in love with Tom Stafford and Alexei Leonov. I find their friendship/relationship (more like family) incredibly heart-warming and so very full of hope for us all.
8. Alexei. Olga. Irina. Sergei. Ludmila. Ekaterina. The Olympic games of my childhood were every-4-year glimpses into another world! Russia, East Germany, were... Communist. Enormous. So very Mysterious! Sometimes I miss the tension and drama. Katarina Witt!
9. Figure skating is one of my favorite Winter Olympics "sports." For only about the third time since cutting the cord, I am missing cable for the live commentary of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, which I hear is among the best, and especially because while Tom Hammond and Scott Hamilton are okay in my book, I cannot stand Sandra Bezic and don't feel any chemistry there at all.
10. I love a little pomp & circumstance, and the spirit of the Opening & Closing Ceremonies -- very different from one another! My mother was a student of Russian history in the mid-'60s, and she even had the opportunity to go to Russia in the mid-'70s; I'll never forget her taking me to see Doctor Zhivago and the history lessons she whispered in my ear throughout the whole movie! I'm grateful, not only for the fond memory but also for the knowledge; I am certain that I knew more about Russia -- some recent history, at least -- than any of my classmates (or teachers) or friends, and I was interested, too. I thought they handled their less than popular history during the Opening quite well. It certainly wasn't an easy thing... and, to critics, wouldn't it be interesting to see how the U.S. handled some of the unsavory bits of their own history in a similar exercise.
So, I'm off to do some more of the sewing to which the knitting has succumbed. Photo of baby modeling Demne (one of my favorites)... because I can, and because BABY!
Friday night began with the stenciling of the Alabama Chanin style boatneck top that I'm making. I could not be happier with how it turned out!
Thrilled with the stenciling but having to wait for it to dry, I took that good mood into the significant ripping of Follow Your Arrow. I didn't frog the whole thing, but went to about the mid-way point of Clue 1.
Maddy, my sister Karen, and nephew Daniel were all here for one reason or another so we invited Junah and his parents over, too, and had a little brunch on Saturday morning. My mom came over and we all played Pass The Baby!
Karen instigated a little after-brunch crafting hour and while they (Karen, Ali, Maddy) embossed some drinking glasses, I pulled out my boatneck and did some basting. Then I contemplated thread colors.
In a nutshell.
WATCHING: The Olympics...
READING: The Paris Wife. I'm actually going to finish it on time for book club! It's like a miracle or something.
KNITTING TINKING: Follow Your Arrow. I had a mishap with some extra stitches and the pattern's off in one part now. Blech.
LISTENING TO: Rosanne Cash, among other things, but this a lot lately.
THINKING ABOUT: Taxes... two returns down, two to go.
CELEBRATING: Two finished tax returns!
PLANNING: Scottish Highlands vacation.
ITCHING TO: Sew. Stencil and sew and cut and maybe even do some beaded embellishment.
DRINKING: Beer. Spotted Cow at the moment. Well, not at this very moment, unless you're reading at beer o'clock.
NEEDING TO: Dust my house.
ORGANIZING: A lot of the stuff I "downsized" out of the upstairs apartment.
INSPIRED BY: Spoilers. I have taken a peek at the Follow Your Arrow FO spoilers and may change the tinking to an all-out frogging for a re-start.
DELIGHTED BY: Room to grow!
Happy Valentine's Day!
Ten on Tuesday: 10 Favorite Things That Are Red
1. My daughter Kate's red hair.
2. My daughter Ali's red hair.
2.a. My daughter Maddy's decidedly not-red hair. (It's not her fault that she doesn't have red hair, and I just can't leave her off of this list when the other two are on it!)
3. My grandson Junah's red hair. He doesn't really have red hair, either, but EVERYONE insists that they see red, so I decided today that, by popular demand, Junah's hair is red. Okay? Is everybody happy now??
4. The red Aviatrix that I made... from yarn that I dyed... one of my favorite hat patterns!
5. The red Puerperium that I made... from yarn that I dyed... a favorite newborn sweater pattern!
6. A red enamel bowl that I hardly ever use but have had since the beginning of time (or so it seems).
7. A set of red cotton napkins that are in heavy rotation in my kitchen.
8. Red, red, red tomatoes for Vicki's Roasted Tomato Sauce.
9. My bike -- a Carmine Red TREK FX. I can't wait for spring!
10. The red Saartje's bootees that I made.
There was a big hole, a big pile of dirt (and snow), and a big digger outside my front door when I left this morning -- same as when I got home on Friday night (no action over the weekend) -- and I'm hopeful that all will be taken care of when I get home tonight.
On Saturday, after 20 years of occupancy, I officially declared the upstairs apartment CLEANED.OUT! We are ready to welcome actual tenants again, which we will do in just a few days. If "downsizing" in my own home is any indication of what it's going to be like to someday completely move out... I'd better get started!
That's my Ravellenic knitting as of noon-ish today. I'm mid-way through the first row of the 3rd clue (a 12-row repeat), at the moment, and so far I've chosen to do clues B-B-B. I missed an instruction about changing colors in the last clue, but since I'm using two lots of the same color, I don't think it's going to be noticeable at all. I'd probably be ripping a big chunk if I was using two truly different colors. We'll see what happens! The last of the 5 clues was in my mailbox this morning, so I'm set to sail to the end.
Just take a look at how our fella is growing!!
One Week Old
Four Weeks Old
He looks like he's getting a bit more comfortable with life. Our babysitting date went very well on Friday night. I went to a local baby expo with Ali & Junah yesterday, with a little stop to see Great Grandma on the way home.
One day last weekend, walking into the house through the back door, I detected a little whiff of gas in the air. Later, I noticed that the gas company was working on a "gas thing" down the hill at the end of our road.
As I left for work on Tuesday morning, I noticed yellow flags and all kinds of paint lines in the snow in front of our house... immediately calling home and Rusty confirmed that the lines had been drawn in front of our house, the neighbors', and at the house across the street. They were unable to find a leak they were looking for, so had to move up the hill... and in front of my house.
When I returned on Tuesday, a hole had been dug and there was a small machine parked out front.
On Wednesday, there was a larger hole and a boring machine was brought in.
Well, actually, I snapped the photo this morning, but the scene is the same.
Everyday I come home and there's a bigger hole, a bigger pile of dirt, and a bigger piece of equipment (or two) in my front yard... not to mention a bigger chunk of my garden torn up. Bye-bye lovely brick walkway and Blue Angel Hostas, I'm really going to miss you!
Most people just have grass in the little terrace area between the sidewalk and the street, but I had a garden -- lots of hostas, astilbe, coral bells, a bunch of stuff that I didn't want, and plenty of weeds. It'll be interesting to see how it's all redistributed and what grows where.
This in yesterday's mail was a bright spot! (As was Knit Night last night -- big group, new faces, lots of fun & gabbing.)
I took advantage of a recent Alabama Chanin promotion to purchase an all-over stencil (only one, and which one was an agonizing decision) (Angie's Fall), some thread, and color cards -- in preparation for next time, Charm Bundle(s). The stencil is still on the way and I can't wait! I have plans: a few more onesies, some tops for me (I have boatneck-on-the-brain), and eventually the Donna Karan coat from Natalie Chanin's Craftsy class, Hand-Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Appliqué, Beading and Embroidery (which I believe is on sale right now!).
In other news, Junah & I have our first official date tonight -- my first official babysitting gig while his daddy works and his mom enjoys a little girl time.
...and ready to go! The official start time here in CST Wisconsin is 10:00 a.m., though I may be able to cast on earlier!.
I haven't done any competitive team knitting in a while and, now that I've joined up, I'm really looking forward to it! I'm way way over on the laid-back side of it all, but I enjoy the energy and spirit of the games -- I hope it stays fun!
I had a great day off yesterday, beginning with a dentist appointment and ending with a relaxing massage, with a good dose of daughter & grandson in between.
The report at the dentist was that my gums (pockets) have either stayed the same or improved -- and that -- again, my friends -- is fabulous news. She asked if I'd made any changes to my dental routine and, well, the answer is still No. I admit that I'm sputtering a bit as I embark on my second Whole30, but whether I'm 100% true or not, the bottom line is that permanent changes to my diet were a result of the first, and those changes have made a significant difference in my overall health and well-being. Ya.hoo.
Ali & Junah finally made it to a breastfeeding support group and I met up with them afterwards. We went to lunch at Zuppas, one of my favorite places, and then made stops at the book store, the spice store, and a clothing store before heading home. Junah was a champ!
Massage was FABULOUS! Oh, my, I guess it had been a while... so much tension in my calves! It all felt great. (Thanks to Ali for the birthday gift certificate!)
No post these days is complete without grandson photos:
First wearing of the Garter Yoke Baby Cardi! One of my faves...
Topped with an Aviatrix, he's all ready to go... helping daddy & mommy figure out why her van wouldn't start yesterday!
This is the yarn I'll be using for my Knitting During The Olympics 2014 project -- Ysolda's current mystery KAL, Follow Your Arrow. I'm intrigued by all the different variations possible, all completely dependent on the choices made... which arrow is followed.
It's Malabrigo Color 850-Archangel. Ysolda suggested fairly solid colorways -- and one of those hanks is definitely "fairly solid." The other is not too terribly crazy & out there with the color variations, and I think it'll be cool to knit them as two colors and just see how it turns out.
I'm also not knitting this completely blind. All but the last clue has been released and I admit to have taken a peek (or seven) at pics in the Ravelry spoiler thread all along. I haven't studied all the choices, so I don't know what it all means, but I do have some definite ideas about shape.
Casting on tomorrow at Knit Night!
My first selfie with grandson. #lovegrows
Ten on Tuesday: I Am...
1. I am conflicted on which way to go with this post, so it's probably going to be all over the place!
2. In case you haven't heard, I am a grandmother! It's hard to believe he's 3 weeks old already!
3. I am looking forward to my first babysitting gig.
5. I don't know if it's a thing anymore, but I am considering knitting it, start-to-finish, during the games that start later this week.
6. If that doesn't get my knitting mojo going, I am not sure what will.
7. I am still quite interested in handsewing & embellishing, and exploring more of the techniques of Alabama Chanin.
8. In fact, I am anxiously awaiting delivery of some new materials for a couple of small projects I have in mind that will also make use of some old materials -- re-use and recycle, if you will. This could definitely mess up the knitting plans.
9. I am at the beginning of another Whole30. There was a birthday celebration over the weekend and a big football game, which means cake & pizza around here, but I didn't over-indulge and was already prepping.
10. That means that I am cooking! Over the weekend I made a pot of Chocolate Chili (rave reviews from everyone) (from Well Fed, one of my favorite cookbooks), an Italian Pork Roast (in the oven instead of slow-cooked) (to DIE for) and Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup (both from Well Fed 2) (yep, I'm a fan). I also roasted a spaghetti squash and a few whole sweet potatoes. And, finally, MAYO! I made homemade mayo only once before; I was in high school and had run across the recipe... and was so intrigued by the idea of a recipe for mayonnaise. Who knew you could make it yourself? I sure didn't. So, anyway, that's given us plenty of food to start the week. I had the last of the chili with a dollop of spaghetti squash, above, for lunch today. Yummm.
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.
I'd been going a little bit crazy for a while at home, looking for a pile of baby sweaters & knits. With the remodeling and other changes at home, they were moved... someone moved my cheese! (I'm sure it was me!) I even ran across them not too very long ago and thought to myself, Aha! Remember this location!!
Also among them were the baby knits that I'd made/began before I even knew there was a baby on the way (the ones not given at the baby shower): Fiddlehead, Puerperium, Boy-O-Boy, Hug Me, Demne, Vintage Baby Cardigan, along with some hats, a bib.
Not an insignificant number of handknits!!
I finally spotted the bin last weekend and pulled out a few items for Junah -- Aviatrix and Puerperium, for sure, because they're perfect for a newborn!
Big bonus for this knitting grandma is the opportunity to update Ravelry project pages! So far, Parcheesi, Soakers, Aviatrix, and Puerperium! Some of these knits -- years old -- have never been worn by a baby!!
Oh, how things change: There were two photos of Junah & me to choose from, he looked good in one and I looked good in the other... heh. LOVE!
As I sit here in the middle of the 2nd Polar Vortex of the year, which, in simpler terms, means that it's fucking freezing here right now (again), Carole tests with her ToT topic.
Screen shot this morning.
Ten on Tuesday: 10 Things I Like About Winter
1. Gigantic snowflakes.
2. Deep fluffy snow.
3. Snow days!
5. Wearing my handknits... and more knitting!
6. It's the best time of year to make & eat soup.
7. It's also a great time of year to snuggle in and catch up with TV shows & movies. A friend is taking it one step further and holding an informal (but themed and quite organized) Film Festival at her house on Wednesdays in February & March.
8. A frosty landscape.
9. Sometimes the light... I love the "blue period" at dusk, when the sky and the snow -- everything glows BLUE! Also, sunny days. Sunny days are usually crisp and cold but, hello, LIGHT! It reflects everywhere and, at this time of the year, the sun is slowly rising and feeling warmer. Slowly, slowly, the days are getting longer.
10. Vacation -- either going on one (to someplace warm, which I've only ever done once) (definitely not the last) or planning one (Scotland in May)!
I had an email from my husband last week with "LAUNDRY" as the subject line.
I did not rush to open it.
He doesn't usually complain about laundry... doesn't usually give much thought to it, actually, except to occasionally thank me for doing it, as I thank him for doing dishes.
I wasn't expecting a complaint... I didn't know quite what to expect.
All I knew was that an email about LAUNDRY from my husband wasn't setting my heart aflutter... or anything even remotely like that.
When I finally did open it, here's what I read:
I was dreading getting dressed because of the cold, but then the undershirt and heavy socks I wanted were on the bed and still a little warm from the dryer...Thanks!Love you,R.
Ten on Tuesday: 10 Favorite Breakfast Foods
1. Eggs. I have an egg for breakfast almost everyday.
2. Corned Beef Hash (with an egg). I haven't had this in ages, and hardly ever actually had it at breakfast... and I think this is what I want for supper TONIGHT. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since it popped into my heard earlier today.
3. Bacon. Self-explanatory. Goes with everything.
4. Leftovers. Fish, some steak, half a bratwurst, a meatball, veggies of all sorts... yummy for breakfast (along with an egg).
5. Cereal with fruit & nuts. Cheerios with bananas & pecans. Rice Chex with raisins & walnuts. The barest minimum of milk. Liberal sprinkles of cinnamon.
6. Oatmeal. Good chewy stuff, with raisin and pecans, lots of cinnamon.
7. Greek yogurt. Plain, with honey, pineapple, and peach were my faves.
8. Toast. Regular or french. Good bread, good eggs, good syrup. :)
9. Pancakes with maple syrup & sausage links.
10. Waffles (ditto).
I mostly only eat #1, 3 & 4 for breakfast, lunch or dinner these days; the occasional #5 for a supper on my own or a late-night bite.
I get to smell toast regularly and, like fresh baked bread, it still smells good.
One of my favorite things about making pancakes & waffles were the stray little drips and bits that would get super done & crispy -- little pancake or waffle chips.
I like things crispy.
Speaking of breakfast (food), it's been a while and I could use a system reset, so I'm thinking about and gearing up for a Whole30 in February, I think. I ran across Melissa Joulwan's "food plan" and that's a good jumping off point. As has been previously documented here, I love her recipes!
Twenty-nine years ago today, in our little house near the beach at Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, OR, we got married!
A year ago today, I was standing atop Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, with a stop at the Hippie Fair later in the day!
There's another polar vortex bearing down on us, they say, and 84F in Rio sure sounds nice right now.
The little man marked a week on this earth yesterday, modeling with the little bear that Ali made for him and also rocking the handknits! There's plenty of room to grow into even the smallest of the Wool Soakers that I made!
About 12 hours before Junah Michael Lee was born, I had a teary little pow-wow with Kate before she began her long journey back to Edinburgh. I'd had a few days off when she first arrived and we all spent a lot of time together. It was a great visit.
My first message was to Katie and, with only about 5 minutes to spare, I was able to relay the message, "It's a boy!" before boarding began in Chicago. I wasn't able to respond to any of her messages before departure, but at least she knew that the baby arrived and could relax a bit on the ride over the pond!
I was originally going to take the week off of work to help Ali, but I went back on Thursday at noon.
I'll get some cuddle time tonight, and will probably take some "good" photos sometime over the weekend.
5 Days old already!
Ali had felt the first pangs of labor on Friday morning. I started sewing the Alabama Chanin baby blanket on Friday night and worked on it quite a bit over the weekend. I also knit my first stitches (not very many) (on Pepita) of 2014 while Ali labored! But I sewed instead of knit at Knit Night last night (the first one I've been to in AGES) and I'm almost half-way with the applique part. I sort of dove right into this project, so now I'm starting to think about the edges and how to finish them.
Oh, there's a Craftsy Flash Sale This Weekend - 1/18-1/19 with up to 50% off -- perhaps you'd like to hear Natalie Chanin talk about the physics of sewing, and why and how you should love your thread... I could listen to her all day long! And I could, if I wanted, because I bought that class and it's mine forever, to listen & watch on a loop 24/7 or just when I want a refresher on a specific technique. I'm not sure whether Natalie Chanin's Hand Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Applique, Beading, and Embroidery will actually be on sale, but it will be eventually. It's a great learning platform.
I'm so tired I can't even see straight.
I know now that I will never want to work professionally as a doula, but I will gladly and wholeheartedly help to guide any of my daughters through the process again... and again and again and again.
So, yes! Ali gave birth at home to a 7 lb. 14 oz. baby boy on Sunday, June January 12th at 8:31 p.m.
I am so proud of her!
Maddy was there to help and witness the birth -- amazing!! Katie helped along the way with labor but, unfortunately, missed the birth by about 10 hours. I was able to get the word to her, though, before she left the country and I'm very happy about that.
More details to follow, and probably a photo or two or maybe I really will blow up Instagram with photos of my grandson.
Grandson. Grand. Son. GRAND!
It is now 1 a.m. on Monday, June January 13th and I've had approx. 5 hours of sleep since Friday and it might be showing, so I think I'll go to bed now.
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What can I say about writing June instead of January... I WAS TIRED! While Alison certainly did more physical work than I in delivering her baby, I can report that assisting through almost an entire (long) labor and delivery is mentally exhausting if not as physically demanding (but, damn, my legs ache today).
Also adding to my befuddlement is the bairn's name...
Ten on Tuesday Wednesday: 10 Favorite Moments from 2013
1. Rio in January!
2. Chicago in March... and August... and November!
3. Mother's Day with my girls.
4. And Mother's Day when Ali confided to me (and me alone!) that I was going to be a grandmother! Such a great present... and I loved holding that little secret for a while.
5. That moment on June 15th when I became a mother-in-law.
6. Visits with the Boys from Brazil -- in January (here and there), in July, and in November!
7. A couple of get-aways with Rusty -- to Milwaukee in May and to Lake Geneva in September.
8. Ali's baby shower and furthering the fun with a big family get-together afterwards.
9. Knitting production! Totally amped up and motivated by the notion of a January baby, I didn't stop until I heard the words, "There might be enough sweaters." (It may be true.)
10. The installation of French doors in the living room by Christmas, just as I'd wished for! There's a little finish work to be done on the non-living room side... no biggie.
11. Savoring everything about becoming a grandmother for the first time and helping my daughter in her journey to motherhood. From listening to the baby's heartbeat for the first time (and each time), to attending childbirth classes, to reading everything I could about being a doula/good support person for Ali. I feel both blesssed and honored that they want me so involved in the event that's undoubtedly going to be #1 on this list for 2014!!
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Katie's still here 'til Sunday... which is Ali's due date. Maddy was home over the weekend, Ali's not scheduled at work, and we've been having lots of fun -- visiting, shopping/thrifting, taking in some shows (art, museum, movies), and checking in at all of our favorite restaurants!
Did I say it was cold outside? Holy crap.
I have yet to knit a stitch this year. There are a couple of projects underway and I'm sure I'll get to them but the sewing bug has definitely bit. I've done two bibs so far, giving me the confidence to tackle the onesie -- and that may be finished tonight.
Katie had stops in Paris and Minneapolis before reaching home yesterday, and it was fun to track her flight over the ocean. From what I could see, that flight usually takes a predictable "straight across" path over the Atlantic; yesterday's storm in the east caused a much more northerly route -- nearly to Greenland, over Newfoundland, Labrador, Quebec and Ontario, and finally to Minneapolis, skirting around Wisconsin entirely. She flew across the entire state on her last leg.
We had a little back-and-forth communication when she was in Minneapolis. She was excited about her 2-hour layover, reduced from 4-, and that's when I learned that her flight had been changed and she'd be arriving in Green Bay two hours earlier than planned! It's a good thing that yesterday was an "early release" day for me. I called Rusty a few times and stopped home on the way, but wasn't able to reach him (he was teaching yesterday afternoon), so I stashed my stuff and left for the airport. I could get up to the airport and back before we'd even have originally planned to go!
Rusty's reaction when I walked in the door and hollered my "Hello!" -- with Katie's echo -- was pretty great. :)
She's arrived in time for some of the coldest weather of the year! The high temp on Monday is predicted to be around -12F/-24C. We'll slowly warm up to 30F/-1C by the time she's on her way back over the pond.
...as I mean to go on.
I don't think I did a single thing that I *had* to do yesterday. I took the "holiday" part of New Year's Day to heart and did only things that I *wanted* to do. That is something that I will strive for more this year: occasionally, a day off can be just that!
I had done some sewing just before Christmas, finally sewing up some burp cloths for the baby -- the materials for which I bought in JULY! They're made from a variety of fat quarters, cut and pieced, cotton terrycloth backing, stitched and turned, with some simple "stitch in the ditch" to join the pieces together.
I wasn't too terribly particular because, um, BURPING! It was fun to use my mother's old Singer Slant-O-Matic -- the ROCKETEER... it pretty much sews at the speed of light.
Yesterday's sewing was quite different, and has also been in the wings for quite some time -- ever since I purchased and watched Natalie Chanin's Hand Embellishing Knit Fabric: Stenciling, Applique, Beading, and Embroidery last MARCH on Craftsy.
Since then, I bought the fabric & supplies to make the coat featured in the class, and recently fell hard for the Onesie & Baby Blanket because... well, for a lot of reasons, but the main one being ZIM!
Officially, 10 days. Unofficially, IT COULD BE TODAY! Probably not, but... waiting for Ali's labor to begin may be worse than waiting for my own! Haha. Not really. (That was a long time ago... I can hardly remember that part.)
Thanks to my fairly recent birthday and also Christmas, my collection of Alabama Chanin books is now complete (new books are in the works, but for now I'm up to date). I am well read on the subject and recently reviewed pertinent parts of the Craftsy class (one of the greatest things about it), but I still didn't want the coat -- or even the onesie or baby blanket -- to be my very first hand-sewing project. There's a whole page of free downloadable resources at Alabama Chanin, including a pattern for a baby bib (general assembly instructions here). I finally cut up some clothing items that I'd set aside for just this type of thing.
The printed fabric is from a pair of yoga-lounge pants -- the print is the "right side" of the fabric but was hidden on the inside of the pants! The black fabric is from a knit cardigan that's too big. I didn't realize 'til I was cutting that the cardigan was actually a ribbed knit fabric, but again... BURPING, ETC.! I also have a gigantic dress from J. Jill (oh, it's the background in the photo above) in the "cut pile," but I didn't like the gray with the brown of the pants.
I think it turned out great! I couldn't be happier. And I did the whole thing, start-to-finish, while watching the Wisconsin Badgers lose their bowl game -- cutting up the pants/cardigan, marking & cutting the pattern pieces and pulls, loving my thread, needling my thread, and sewing up!
I knew I wasn't going to cut this piece in the signature Alabama Chanin style, but that print was screaming to be embroidered, so pulled out my floss (it's been ages!) and did a bit of embellishing in the evening.
So flippin' fun. I have another already cut and ready to sew... and it will be cut! Practice makes perfect. I love that I can make tiny useful things from clothing I'd otherwise discard while practicing my stitches and other techniques. From now on, cleaning out the closet will be done with a completely different eye!
Rusty and I visited the local pub for a mug and a burger early last evening, planning to spend the rest of the evening in... quiet and cozy... because, baby, it's cold outside! Maybe we'd watch the ball drop, or maybe I'd finish watching the episodes of Luther currently available on Netflix, or maybe we'd hit the hay early.
Then I had an invitation from Ali to go see Saving Mr. Banks at 9:45 -- it was $5 Tuesday at the movies! A date with one of my girlies, plus free popcorn and $2.50 sodas? Perfect!!
I loved the movie. I cried and laughed and cried some more! Tom Hanks & Emma Thompson were terrific -- they nailed it -- all the cast, really. And I enjoyed the back story -- though I couldn't help but think of some parts of the story that were left out, mainly about P.L. Travers' bizarre adoption of one twin but not his brother. But it is, after all, only a moooovie, and an enjoyable one -- as is Mary Poppins, one of my favorites -- flaws and all.
Today, I am doing laundry and making up the bed for KATE! She arrives tomorrow evening, fresh from Hogmanay in Edinburgh! She'll be here for about 10 days and, with any luck, will help to welcome Zim before she departs again. It'll be close.
Some knitting and maybe some sewing, a little New Year's Day football (Go Badgers!), a visit with Mom... it'll be the usual around here today and, really, that's just fine!
2013. It was the best of times, it was the worst.
2014. Will undoubtedly be the same. Hopefully not worser; most certainly BETTER!
In case you've forgotten, January 12th is the official due date... which pretty much means any day in January! Zim could be born on the 1st, share my nephew Daniel's birthday on the 16th, our wedding anniversary on the 20th, sister Annie's birthday on the 23rd, or even my mom's on the 31st!
I was delighted to take some for-the-record photos for Ali & Rod over the weekend. She bought that (perfect) striped dress very early in her pregnancy and we talked about taking monthly photos, as people do; other than a phone pic here & there, that never happened. This is good.
We took all of the photos in Zim's nursery. The bookshelf is already well-stocked with reading material, thanks to the "bring a book instead of a card" idea for the baby shower. (Click for big!)
Teddy says, "We're ready!!"
Happy New Year!!
I am completely unprepared in some areas of Christmas, and amazingly overprepared in others... some of it is due to the general weirdness of this holiday season, and some is due to the weather.
Yes, I'm blaming the weather.
Anyway, I got up early to get a 7-lb pork roast into the slow cooker for company that is now not coming until after the holidays.
Thankfully, I know just what to do with a bunch of extra/leftover pulled pork. Along with the Lactation Cookies that I made the other day, they'll help to stock the freezer to help with a few meals after Zim's birth.
I've finished knitting another Cloche Divine! Humorously pictured above, almost finished. I am thrilled with v.2 and will soon be casting on v.3.
I used (and will use) some stashed Rowan Calmer and it is perfect! I made the medium size this time, made the brim 6 rows deeper, and knit it in the round. I'll do all that again for the next one, but in the large size (and black).
I wish I had more Calmer.
Remodeling progress!! Door hardware is being reinstalled today. The only thing left to do is the baseboard trim on the other side... more old monkey business & matching to deal with there. But this side -- the living room side -- the side into which I wished more light to flow... nearly FINITO! It's awesome.
I do believe there's yet one more store stop on my way home today. How about you, ready?