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21 posts from August 2007

31 August 2007

We can't build our dreams on superstitious minds

The Packers played their last of four preseason football games last night.  I tuned in and watched each of those games -- at exactly the moment Aaron Rodgers took over for Brett Favre.  It wasn't by any grand plan or design, but I haven't seen Brett throw a single pass this season.  Heh, I hear he's a pretty good quarterback!  I don't know what this means to the superstition in my mind, but I'd better not say any more lest I jinx something in the regular season.  I've probably said too much already.

Are you ready for some football?  My Knitorious Knaves are part of the Crafter's Fantasy Football League, brainchild of Vera/The Killer Vees, blogging at Needles, Hooks and Yarn, hosted by Beth/Touchdown Hounds, again this year.  I have found a few minute to rearrange some lists and I think I'm nearly set for the weekend's draft.  I had a blast with this last year.

So.  I think this post is going to be a whatever's on my list linkfest!

Speaking of lists...  I read Kathy's Life Lists post this week, as well as the article she linked and also listened to A List of To-Dos Before You Die on NPR.  I was reminded of our recent book club selection, The Next Thing On My List -- which I posted about it before and kmkat wrote to tell me that author Jill Smolinski blogs at My Life List.  When our club met to discuss the book, each member of the club was to share five things from our own list.  Here are some of mine:

  • Attend and assist at the birth(s) of my grandchild(ren)
  • Spend a month (at least) in a house on the Mediterranean
  • Own and drive a fast sportscar
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a make-over/spa day
  • Take a hot-air balloon ride
  • Visit the Maritimes (and Labrador and Newfoundland)
  • Plan a meal that will be prepared especially for me -- to eat, drink & be merry, to share with the people I love. (Outside at long tables, maybe on a farm or in an orchard, maybe in the Mediterranean, or maybe on P.E.I.?)

It was especially fun to share our "short" lists and the reasons behind our choices -- it really helped us connect.  I recommend it as a fun, enlightening activity with a group of people you care about.

Another fun post/comments to read is this Contest! post at Mikknit.  You have 'til midnight tonight to share a memorable vacation story and a chance to win some beautiful Northwoods Dyeworks yarn.

Feeling perhaps a wee bit overwhelmed recently, I alluded to the fact that perhaps I might not be blogging as much.  Well, as you've probably surmised by now, that was pretty much a lie.  I can't stay away.  I think there are times when it gets to be a drag and a chore, but, truthfully, I enjoy it too much.  It makes me feel good.  It's part of my day.  Lynne said it well in a recent email, "...our blogs are our refuge, our connecting place, the place that transcends all of the craziness in our lives."

* * * * *

Another Contest Clue:  It's not Alice.  Don't go asking Alice.  Alice doesn't live here anymore.  Alice is in Wonderland.  (Contest entries in the comments to the afore-linked post only, please.)

* * * * *

But speaking of Alice...  Have you seen Jody's recent work on St. Brigid?  Absolutely astounding.  I can't wait for her next progress post!  She's doing a different sleeve treatment, more flattering for her, and she's adding a hood!  When I first read about the hood on Ravelry, I smiled and thought, "She's making The Rogue St. Brigid!"  I hope it works out, it could be so fantastic!  Jody is doing an outstanding job of adapting the pattern for a beautiful sweater that she would not wear into one that she would -- without compromising the essence of the sweater, the overall design intention (not just the cables) and details that make it "St. Brigid."  Personally, I think there's a line -- I can't say exactly where it is, but I think Jody's got a ways to go before she crosses it (the imaginary line in MY mind, which means absolutely squat; your mind and mileage may vary).  Elizabeth Zimmermann's name has been bandied about here quite a bit lately, along with that of Alice Starmore.  Both strong women with incredible creative vision, I imagine that their reactions to Jody's work would be at direct opposites.  Interesting to think about... I imagine fireworks.

Okay, that concludes... a very long post with lots of links and no pictures!  Sorry 'bout that.  Unless there's something incredibly blog-worthy over the next four days... the weather is supposed to be FANTASTIC and I have a hankering for housecleaning.  (I can't believe I just said that.)  It's true.  It might even approach the Clean Sweep variety.

30 August 2007

Picture Perfect Picnic Weather

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It's one of the most beautiful days of the year here today.  It would be perfect for a picnic (if I wasn't chained to a desk all day) and I just happened to receive my Special Swap "Picnic" package from Marisol yesterday!

There are treats to nibble and sip from, some things to help keep me organized, and then some things that are just plain pretty.  What do you think, hm?  That felted pansy bowl is to die for, isn't it?  I can't wait to find a special place for it.  And that yarn!  Let's take a closer look...

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I think I love it more every time I look at it!  It was mere seconds before I brushed those hanks across my lips, and then across my cheeks, and finally buried my nose deeply into -- delightful!  My head is swimming with ideas.  Thank you, Marisol.

I must admit that the inspiration was a little slow in coming for this swap than it was for the last, but I did eventually catch a big picnic wave.  The most troublesome part about these swaps, for me, turns out to be finding the right box in the end.  ; )  It also turns out that the best part of these swaps, for me, is the giving -- my box is off to Marisol today and I can't wait!  Yippee!

* * * * * *

A contest clue...  I started my new -- I'll admit it -- rather obscure sweater by doing a sleeve/swatch -- and it is the only place I could have started.  In order to qualify, please leave your contest entries in the comments on this post only (by midnight where you are on Sunday).  (Yes, if you change your mind or have another thought, you may enter more than once.)  I didn't realize how easily the mooshy-squooshy literary reference would be to track down, but oh well -- there will just be more names in that puddle pot.

29 August 2007

...oh so mooshy-squooshy*

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It was the recently acquired Lana Grossa Royal Tweed so close at hand on Saturday night and here's where I'm at so far on the sleeve swatch.  It weighs nothing.  This has to be loftiest yarn I've ever worked with.  It's also quite weird to work with.  There are two practically unspun plies of merino wool lightly wrapped around a very tightly spun wool "thread" -- the two unspun plies like to move along the "thread" as I knit and get all bunched up.  I'm not sure there's a way to avoid it and, at first, I was quite dismayed that I'd bought enough for two sweaters.  The lightly wrapped plies are also, predictably, very weak -- without that thread to wrap around, this stuff would disintegrate at a glance.  I'm getting used to it.  It's quite nice when it's knit up... it's squishy-squashy, mooshy-squooshy, and even oofy-poofy.*

So, then, it's a Let's Kick-off This Labor Day Weekend Party Started Early Contest wherein you guess what sweater I'm knitting based on... the kinds of sweaters I like to knit, what kinds of things I've been knitting recently, how this one has started, and possibly further clues as warranted by the very possible lack of correct entries.  You may enter as often as you wish, but only those with correct guesses will be amongst the randomly-drawn names for yet-to-be-determined prizes.

*Yes, I said, PRIZES.  If you can also or instead tell me the source for Squishy-squashy, Mooshy-squooshy and even Ooofy-poofy, there shall be another (also yet-to-be-determined) prize.

Leave your comments/entries on this post, please.  The deadline will be midnight (your local time) on Sunday with the winner(s) announced on Monday.  (Unfortunately, the people I knit out with last night will have to be disqualified from the sweater portion of the program.)

27 August 2007

Monday muttering

Hallelujah, the sun came out over the weekend after what seems like weeks of cloudy/rainy gray.  Besides living full-time in a "neighborhood" of weekend/vacation homes -- each with a different occupant every weekend/vacation, otherwise a weekday ghost town (who am I supposed to borrow a cup of sugar from or lend an egg to?) -- the gray was one of the things that chased me from the Oregon coast.  Oh, you've never seen a more beautiful place, and it can be very interesting during the first day or two of a storm (we sought high ground due to tsunami warnings once!), but day after winter day after day of clammy cold misty-not-quite-rain grayness, punctuated by real rainy days, wherein weeks go by -- not for me.  Must have more regular, reliable sun.

The plentiful recent rain was too late to benefit the ferns I have out front -- they've been parched and brown for a while now.  I took my opportunity to do some garden clean-up -- trimming spent hosta, astilbe, meadow rue, coral bells.  I'm ashamed to say that my espalier tree has been quite neglected all year... is still.  My sore muscles remind me that I was a more frequent, much better gardener when I was also a smoker -- not a good enough reason to take it up again.

I was able to hang laundry on the line for the first time in a long time.  A wasp buzzed my ear by the second pin, then another, giving me the heebies, and then the jeebies, and hovering a little too close for comfort (truthfully, anyplace that I can see them is too close for comfort -- I have a thing about buzzing, stinging bugs).  I watched as one, then another, flew into the bird house that tops the bird feeder that tops my clothesline pole!  OMG, that thing's been there for years (one of the girls made the "feeder" and one painted the "house") without incident!  I've gotta tell you, I'm all about the natural remedies and cleaners and being green, except in the case of stinging bugs (!) -- particularly after witnessing, just last week, the near doubling in size of a man's leg due to a sting -- and let's just say, for the sake of your heart, that you don't ever want to be driving with me when a bee is discovered in the car.  Anyway, I shot that birdhouse full of spray and stood safely behind the back porch screen door, watching as somewhat drunken and sluggish (certainly not "dead on contact") wasps emerged -- I should have counted, it was a surprising number for such a tiny house!

Swatches

I soaked and pinned out my swatches.  The first two grew quite a bit -- good to know, I guess -- especially the garter stitch.  I guess I should have seen that coming.  Questions are next.

I wound up some cashmere from hank-to-ball and thought about starting Kent's Beret, but was too lazy to hunt for needles -- I don't think it would have been all that strenuous, really, but even "all that" was too much on Saturday night after a full day of farmers' marketing, laundering, bug/birdhouse drama.  Instead, I grabbed some nearby tweedy yarn and a much more handy pair of needles and cast on for something that I've never mentioned on the blog.  Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever mentioned it to anyone, anywhere.  Two repeats done on the sleeve swatch.  I tried to take a picture this morning, but it's dark now in the morning!  The sunrise was pretty -- and red.  I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised by this morning's thunderstorm.

26 August 2007

Mmmmmm

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Red -- tomato from the farmers' market

White -- mozzarella from Nala's at the farmers' market

Black -- from Tula and Queen Nefertiti and my own garden

24 August 2007

Friday

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Dsc01116... is for football and flowers.

You can barely make out some dark objects, far in the distance, between the leaves.  I took this picture from my back porch.  It's our high school football team -- the season kicks off tonight!  I've had the door open and have already heard the warm-up, our National Anthem, the introduction of the team, and now the game is underway.  The wind is great (as in there really isn't any), so I can hear everything as clear as a bell -- cheers from the crowd, the excitement of the announcer -- it gives me chills, the kind that warm my heart.  In a few weeks, as the leaves begin to fall, I can use the binoculars and get a better view.  Yeah, I could just walk down there and watch the game up close and personal, but I get a kick out of doing it this way.

The rain has stopped, but you can see it wasn't very long ago.  "Sun" and "weekend" were used in the same sentence during the weather forecast today.  I'm ready.

23 August 2007

Randomly, "F" is for...

Fabulous Foliage and Fish -- more from Olbrich Gardens.

Foliage1 Foliage2

Foliage5 Foliage4

Fish1 Foliage3

Patient Friends and Family.  Wish I could be better at both right now.  I'm anxious to settle in, get more comfortable with everything that's new and has changed.  I need a routine.  All in good time.  It's a Funky time.  I fear I may be entering a period of Blog Fog.  I love my blog and that makes me sad.  It has been part of my routine for over three years.  But I hate just nattering on for the sake of posting.

Looking to the Future...

Today is my second day of school.  A few have wondered what I'm studying.  Well, on the first day of school, I had a class called Technical Writing for Global Communication and today it will be Technical Editing, Proofreading.  Sensing a pattern already?  The third class, Portfolio Development, doesn't begin until October.  They are all the tip of the Associate Degree iceberg in a Technical Communication ProgramIf ever there was a program made for me, I think this might be it.  I have worked, in various capacities, in many of the areas covered including proofreading of technical documents intended for a King's English audience.  What will I do with this iceberg?  I'm not exactly sure, but it's wide open as far as career and jobs -- every field has a need to communicate -- and that's one of the things I love...

A wide open field.

Thank you for reading and hanging in there and for all of your encouragement and support and love.

22 August 2007

Tweedle-dee

Rustytweed1 Greentweed1 Greentweed2

Mission...and not so tweedle-y.  My LYS had a sale last week -- still has a sale, so I had to put blinders on last night when we met for our Master's get-together -- and I found a few things.  Most notable is some Lana Grossa Royal Tweed in three colors, and some Mission Falls 1824 Cotton in two colors (besides the gray, shown, there's also a little black).

I have in mind a tweedy sweater or vest or something or two for me -- love these colors and it was a very good deal.

The cotton is destined to be another Wee Wallaby -- it might be a size larger, might have a hood this time, maybe some cables, will likely not be striped, but maybe gray with black sleeves and/or a black pouch, or maybe big stripes just on the sleeves.

I found a couple of skeins of green wool for Kent's Moss Stitch Beret -- I'm so excited to knit that project -- and then I found some 50% off cashmere at The Sow's Ear on Saturday that will be perfect to line the brim!  I now have -- and have made use of -- my own Sow's Ear customer loyalty card and will definitely -- definitely -- take the long way to Madison in order to make future stops in Verona.  Nice shop, good coffee, great yarn, wonderful service, and lots of comfy chairs/knitting spots.

Lisa, the new crocheter at Knit Night, mentioned Maisy Knits in Ripon, which reminded me that Loose Ends -- long on my list -- was on my list the day I visited Maisy's, but I didn't make it.  So, now, it is next on my list!  Mark my words: My next trip to Madison will be via Mayville.

I finished my second #2 swatch last night and there is definite improvement over the first.  I think it is good enough, and so have cast on for #14.  Then I think I'll do the writing for those (#1-3 & 14).  I need to make some time to photograph and document these swatches -- heh, I think I have most of my ribbing rejects yet, and even they'd make a fun photo.

21 August 2007

Time out

Oberich2 Orchid2

Katie and I slipped over to the Bolz Conservatory at Olberich Botanical Gardens for a little time-out on Sunday.

Opansy1 Opansy2

Orchid1 Pitcher

Olberich1 Tropbleedingheart

The textures and colors, flowers and foliage... orchids, orchid pansies, tropical bleeding hearts, pitcher plants... I'm so glad I brought my camera.  Today is, I think, Day Four of rain -- and the prediction is for at least three more.  How many ways can we say, "Dark and dreary"?  If you've got a botanical garden or conservatory or arboretum -- even a nice nursery -- nearby, I recommend it highly to chase a little bit of the blues on a gray day.

News:  My sister Karen called me yesterday and YAHOO'd in my ear so loud, I grumpily complained about a broken eardrum.  I forgave her when she told me that the reason for her (more & louder than usual) exuberance was that she was FINALLY offered a full-time teaching position!  Woohoo, Karen.  You go, girl.

I had my first class last night and... I think I'm going to like it -- a lot.  ; )  There's going to be a lot of work, but it's interesting -- everyone involved in the class is also interesting.  The material is well prepared and very thorough and organized and that's a huge relief.  It feels sane and even grounding, and I need that.

More later.  There's still a lot going on -- or, more likely, I'm adjusting to all that's been going on.  I feel a little on edge, like I could laugh hysterically or sob uncontrollably at any second (and maybe simultaneously) -- or not; like forgetting or losing something is almost inevitable, it's just a matter of what, when and where; like one of the tomatoes I'm juggling is going to suddenly go *SPLAT* at my feet.

Well, then I just make tomato sauce, right?  I know, I know... I'm breathin'!!

20 August 2007

Tag!

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On the left, dishrag and treats from Nishanna -- IN; on the right, dishrag and treats to Gaylen -- OUT!  The Happy Yarn Hags' Dish Rag Tag box arrived at my house on Saturday afternoon... while I was in Madison for the third time in a week!  I'd hoped for delivery on Friday -- I could have had it back out on Saturday morning -- but as it was, this worked out okay all around.  My mail comes very late in the day, so there's no way I'd have been able to do a same-day turn-around on Saturday, and even if I'd taken it to the postal counter at the grocery store yesterday, it still wouldn't have started west 'til today.

So, I came home last night and, fortified with Nishanna's treats, knit a nice, Lacy Round Cloth while watching last week's episode of The Company, finishing just after midnight.

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My first BSJ grew a little with the Eucalan soak -- it might even fit Mack -- Addy will definitely be wearin' it next fall.  I finally got Mack to model the Wee Wallaby -- he even wore it on a little outing with his mum (I got to babysit!) -- and it fits perfectly!  I bought some gray and black Mission Falls cotton on sale last week and think I shall do another -- gray with black sleeves/contrast rather than stripes -- and I should have enough yarn for a hooded version.

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Katie's first apartment.  It didn't really dawn on me 'til Wednesday night -- even after weeks of prep and planning, even after unloading all her stuff from the van and hauling it up and wiggling it through the door -- that when I kissed her and sent her home, she was actually going to her first real home (in-the-making)!  OMG, it's not a dorm and she's not going on an overnight, it's an actual apartment -- where she LIVES.

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Dsc01107We've spent a lot of time together since Wednesday, for a person who lives in Madison and her mother who lives two hours away.  She asked me yesterday about what causes post-partum depression and I realized a little later that she's probably experiencing a little post-move depression.  Her roommate started to move in, but is actually off on a family thing 'til Tuesday or Wednesday -- even Katie said that her roomie's parents seem to be having a hard time letting go -- work hasn't started yet, school hasn't started yet, there's no social network to speak of yet, no TV yet, not much extra money for stuff...  The big build-up and all that work and then a period of adjustment...  It will all start to come together.  ; )  That's my old, red-trimmed, enamel-topped work table -- I've had a couple of those over the years -- and three old red kitchen chairs that I yanked off the curb a year ago or so right there in Madison!

Anyway, it's really a pretty great apartment -- nice big windows, as you can see, let in lots of light.  It already looks comfy and welcoming.

16 August 2007

School days

Maddy was officially registered as a high school junior this week.  She has had her picture taken and has received a student I.D., a student planner, and a parking permit.  She offered to pay for the parking permit, as I'm not sure I'd have sprung for it -- seems to me, if they build a school in a location where most people have to drive, there should be a) adequate parking space for all and it b) shouldn't cost $50/year -- on top of the $50 in fees I already paid (only the beginning), plus supplies (including Kleenex), not to mention the portion of our property taxes earmarked for education...  {Insert diatribe -- you name your favorite method of transportation, or something, think of all the possible (pun intended) roadblocks, and bitch appropriately.}

I, too, became an officially registered, tested and paid-for student this week.  I nearly chucked it when I went to take the placement test on Tuesday.  I was already upset over another matter and that I let it affect people around me -- how come when I internalize stuff like this, it becomes this AURA?  Anyway, I was in an already fragile state when I experienced additional frustration/anxiety over poor directions/miscommunication (hm, maybe someone with a Technical Communications degree could fix that) -- naturally, the (in)significance of every little thing was magnified and blown completely out of proportion!  I truly did wonder whether I should even BE taking tests in such a state.  I wondered how hard it would be to cancel all my classes and just forget about it.  I wondered how long it would take before my money was refunded.  I wondered if the door at the end of the hall was anywhere near my car.  Tears welled up.  But I lifted my chin and walked past that door, choked back those tears and hummed a few lines from my new theme song...

It's personal, myself and I
We've got some straightenin' out to do
{And I'm gonna miss you like a child misses their blanket}
But I've got to get a move on with my life
It's time to be a big girl now
And big girls don't cry

Yeah, who knew that Fergie'd be singin' my song?

The good news is, I must still work best under pressure.  I felt better after receiving my test scores and, actually, kind of a little freaked that my best score was for the Arithmetic portion of the program.  Goes to show what I know -- I was sure I'd tank on the math!  The moral of this story being that a good, educated guess can be a pretty good guess!  So then I bought my books.  Come Monday, I'm ready.  Still fragile -- there's so much STUFF going on -- but ready.

15 August 2007

Drive-by -- and park

Dsc00979Changes are afoot... a foot... feet... underway.

On Monday, Maddy drove the van down to help Ali pack up and bring most of her stuff home.  Ali will be taking over the room that Katie is vacating -- which I secretly preferred for "Vicki's Room," but this will work/it's not forever.  Ali's work transfer up here is effective on Monday, and I think that will also be the date of official relocation... back to her original location at home (for a while).

Katie opened the door to the van to help with unloading and exclaimed that it looked like a country cottage had exploded inside!  Heh, yeah, Ali's a little bit Shabby Chic and Katie's a little bit Retro Ranch (the Donny & Marie of interior decorating, if you will).

As they unloaded all of Ali's stuff, they decided that there was no sense just moving it part-way (like into the living room where some of Ali's early arrivals have been hangin'), they may as well move it all the way, which meant moving Katie's stuff out.  And as long as they were moving Katie's stuff out, they may as well load it right into the van!

Madeleine helped as much as she could and then, the bug having bitten (apparently, quite hard), she went upstairs and started to clean and rearrange up there -- the playroom, the kitchen, her bedroom!

May I say right here?  My three daughters, ages 16-22, incredible, cooperative, unprecedented, unsupervised, working together -- working hard -- all day, no fighting, no tears, and only one broken lampshade!  By the time I got home, they were all exhausted and hungry and very tired, but so proud of all they'd accomplished!

Holy crap, me too!  I was fully prepared for a morning of loading up Katie's stuff and an afternoon of unloading today (after a 2-hour drive), followed by a quick (exhausted and hopefully not-too-stinky/sweaty) cuddle with the nephews and visit with my sister, followed by two more hours driving home with Mom...  Instead, all of Katie's stuff is packed and in the van and I didn't lift a single finger!  (That'll be today.)

Knitting:  I knit out last night and knit my third (which is actually the second) Master's swatch, and I'd just like to say that K1, P1 ribbing is ugly -- a thought unanimously echoed by all other knitters in attendance.  I've done my best, it's much better than previous attempts (I switched from metal to bamboo needles and that helped), and I'll just have to wait for the verdict... time to move on to another.

13 August 2007

First look

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MaddnaddBootees

There's no place like home.
There's no place like home.
There's no place like home
.

I don't have much time today (the whole week is going to be crazy), but this is what you're here for today, I'm sure of it.

Addison Henry.  Four days old and so, so tiny.  And so handsome!  I think he looks an awful lot like his big brother.

Can you believe it?  Saartje's Bootees are too big!

I like this picture of Maddy 'n Addy.  As always, click for big (if you can stand the cuteness!).

10 August 2007

You're right, I can't stand it!

Even though I'll see the baby -- Addison is his name -- for a bit next Wednesday, and am planning to spend the whole following weekend (3 days, even) down there, I don't know if I can wait!  It occurred to me yesterday that I don't have to!  I can ride down on Sunday for a sneak peek when Mom gets dropped off for her few days' stay!

HollyhockI tried to talk with my sister for a while yesterday morning, but it was hard to understand her through the sobs and sniffles.  Our connection wasn't good and it was hard to understand her with all the crying -- in fact, she initially asked for a call back in 10 minutes, but even after 10 she was STILL crying.  All I could gather is that she had a bad experience with a nurse.  Doesn't really matter what the circumstances are, in my opinion; I can't think of ANY circumstance where leaving the mother of a newborn so upset and distraught, barely 12 hours after delivery, is acceptable.  No excuse.  I'm pretty sure her perfect little baby boy was the best antidote!

Yesterday, I drove up to Door County with Mom and Katie -- something that's been on our list all summer!  We drove up on the lake side -- Institute, Jacksonport and Bailey's Harbor (where, years ago, I bought a favorite sun dress).  We continued up and over to Sister Bay where we didn't mind the wait for lunch at Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant because it gave us time to browse in the "Butik."  I ogled plenty of Dale of Norway (and other) sweaters!  Mom & Katie had variations on Swedish Pancakes, we all had lingonberries, and I had a fish sandwich.  We had a great table in the front corner with a great view of... the grass roof... and, eventually, three of the goats.  One of the goats had a beard -- they were adorable.

TarteletteHaving charted our general course beforehand using the trusty (alway a work-in-progress) Google Map I made -- Knitting, Yarn & Fiber In Wisconsin -- we found the Country Walk Shops and, in particular, Easy Stitchin' Needle Art!  The first thing I noticed was a For Sale sign in the window.  We browsed -- there's a mix of cross stitch, needlepoint, a little quilting, and yarn -- and shopped.  The sample of a small shawl caught both my eye and mom's -- turns out that Knit One Crochet Too's "Ribbon Triangles" Shoulder Wrap pattern is written for the smaller size that I like and a larger size that Mom would prefer... to have me knit.  Usually, I'm pretty good at deflecting such notions, but this is intriguing, plus she bought the yarn -- it looks a LOT better in-the-yarn.  Mom's will be brown and mine will be green.  I'm not a big fan of ribbon, in general, but this is gorgeous -- the colors!  I've already knit up nearly one of the four balls needed for the larger wrap.

So, after 16 years (!), Easy Stitchin' is stitchin' its last.  I talked briefly with one of the owners who said that her 80-something-year-old partner is neither able nor interested in continuing, and she wasn't interested in taking on a new partner.  There is an interested party supposedly working on financing, but she sounded doubtful, and unless a buyer comes through, they will be open through the season and then close their doors for good.

It has been a few years since I've been to Door County, but I have to say... there were a LOT of closed doors.  I was amazed.  Were we there on an off day, getting a little late in the season?  Yes.  But it's not the first time and I've never seen so few people, so many open parking spaces, so many closed shops, neglected orchards, and so many buildings (commercial and otherwise) for sale.  Times they are a'changing, I suppose.  It's still as beautiful as ever -- though so very dry this year!  We're well behind average rainfall totals in the whole area, but at 3" less than normal, Door County is probably the worst right now and it shows.

We made little stops all the way down the bay side -- Ephraim, Fish Creek, and Egg Harbor -- for coffee, chocolate, and antiques to round out the day.  Then I had to do laundry at home and get DH packed up to send him off this morning!  This post is already too long -- in the making, as well as the reading -- so I'll save the tale of his adventure for another day.

08 August 2007

MORE snips and snails...

MORE puppy dog tails!

Eight pounds, eight ounces, born on the eighth day of the eighth month... A.H.K.

I'll meet my brand new nephew in a week.

It's going to be a loooonnnnng week.

Seeing red

Redphone Redbootees Redstash Redstripes

Left to right:  my red phone, baby's new red slippers, red stash, red stripes.

Redbuttons_2 Moreredbuttons Redmittens Redscarf

And again:  red buttons, more red buttons, red on mittens, red scarf.

Redscarf3RED SCARF?  RED SCARF?

Did someone say, "Red Scarf"?  Well, my friend Norma did, of course!  And wouldn't you know, I just happen to be right in the thick of a very red mood.

I added both the Red Scarf Project 2008 blog button and the PayPal Donate button for the new Red Scarf Fund for Foster Youth on the sidebar yesterday.  In fact, they're right there on top -- can't miss 'em -- and there they will remain for a while.

If you don't know what it's all about, the Orphan Foundation of America has a nice Red Scarf Intro along with guidelines and some great pattern links -- and remember, your scarf doesn't even have to be red this year!

And if you make a donation to the Red Scarf Fund -- in addition to or instead of knitting a scarf -- let Norma know.  You could win one of the many fabulous prizes rolling in -- there's some awesome stuff.

07 August 2007

Willoughby Wallaby FOo

Willoughby Wallaby Wee
An elephant sat on me

Willoughby Wallaby Woo
An elephant sat on you

Wallaby

The Wonderful Wallaby

by Cottage Creations

v. Willie Wallaby, size 4 -- for my nephew Mack (soon to be a new big brother)

Willoughby Wallaby Wack
An elephant sat on Mack*

Mission Falls Cotton (from leftovers -- the green is from Shirley Shrugs -- and stash); 2 full + 1 partial ball of each color (300-Green & 204-Gold)

Sizes 6-US and 8-US bamboo DPNs and Circs

Isn't it adorable?  Magical, too.  This is my first in-the-round raglan and I was positively giddy at the joining of sleeves to body.  I'll definitely make more of these -- not with stripes, or at least not as many, or better handling of the ends!  The striping was inspired by a Fibonacci sequence, with interpretive artistic license and laziness applied.

*Heh, what can I say?  My kids were raised on Raffi -- and Rugrats!  Good times.

BsjHere's the newest Baby Surprise Jacket.  I'm using the handspun I purchased last month at Wool Farm Crafts in Grantsburg, along with some red Lamb's Pride Worsted.  Obviously, the Lamb's Pride was a middle-of-the-road addition, and I intend to crochet a red edge around each cuff to pull it all together.  I let it simmer last night and here's the stew:  I think I'm going to rip and re-do the last bit -- the button holes are off, for one thing, and I thought I'd like the effect from reversing the join for the stripes, but I really don't.

I'm knitting out tonight -- both the Master's Group at Iris and the coffee shop Knitting Circle.  I have a new and improved Master's Swatch #1 for Deb to give the eagle-eye.  ; )  That one joins #3; next up is #2.

06 August 2007

Focus

The moon and the stars (or the sun and the clouds) did not align in such a way yesterday to provide any decent light at all for photographing neither a finished Wee Willie Wallaby nor an almost finished Baby Surprise Jacket!  I wove in the last of the 14,000 Wallaby ends in the car yesterday, and when that was finished, I knit nearly to the end of the BSJ, and I bound off last night -- there are, indeed, some surprises with that one and it was fun to do!  There's just one more shoulder to sew up and buttons to choose, and then both of the BSJs are going to get a good soak/washing to remove excess dye (needles turning color is a clue) and just so soften them up a bit.  That's on the weekend docket -- I don't think I'll get to it before then.  I plan to deliver all three (two BSJs for the baby and the Wallaby for Mack) in person in a couple of weeks -- no one's going to much need a sweater 'round here for a while yet.

(That statement just begs Mother Nature to do something, doesn't it?)

ButtonsMy mother called me, breathless, at 9:00 yesterday morning to say that she'd just tried to call Annie and there wasn't an answer and maybe they're at the hospital having a baby!  Um, yeah... and maybe they're doing one of about a million other possible last-Sunday-morning-before-the-baby's-born things, too.  ; )  Excited much?!  I did mention that the booties were in Saturday's mail, though, so everything's set and he/she can come out anytime now.

Did I mention the buttons?  They're from The Vintage Collection -- mostly Grandma's and Great Grandma's (a drawer of her old sewing machine was full of 'em), and a few of mine.  I think these are metal-rimmed plastic.  They were dirty, so I had to wash them -- and I'm sure I noticed the dent as I washed and dried and sewed the button on, but didn't really "see" it 'til it turned up as an unintended focal point in this photo.

That picture will be my visual as I head into this crazy month and try to keep things in focus.  There's the focus on the big picture with many small parts, there's intended focus on one specific part of the bigger thing, and then maybe some even smaller thing that initially goes undetected -- unintended yet inescapable focus that makes all the difference.  It also makes me smile.  Were those on Grandpa's shirts?  Did he dent it while fixing one of the saws at the factory?  Great Grandpa's?  Dented while he went about doing the million daily chores of a farmer?

* * * * *

Yesterday, DH and I finally went to Algoma, an old fishing town on Lake Michigan.  We've had this on the radar for months, and could have picked a nicer weather day -- but finally!  My grandparents lived there once -- in fact, Algoma was the destination of my first-ever road trip, at about 2 or 3 weeks of age, for Thanksgiving 1958.  We had lunch at Caffe Tlazo -- half of a wrap sandwich with tomatoes, artichoke hearts and spinach (it was huge); hubby had soup with his club wrap -- a to-die-for cream of mushroom with brie.  We walked along the water a bit, saw some really great old fishing boats, and also through some of the old town.  I thought of Ann when we stopped at The Flying Pig -- mostly in the bathroom (I sure wish I'd had my camera) -- there were flying pigs everywhere!  Big and small, they were on the walls, on the shelves and, mostly, hanging from the very high ceiling!

04 August 2007

I like new shoes, I like red shoes

Dsc00925

I like these shoes.  Saartje's Bootees, by Saartje de Bruijn.

Perfect first shoes for a new niece/nephew.  You can come now, baby!

03 August 2007

Bloom where you are planted

Dsc00916That's a favorite saying of one of my favorite aunts and it has a funny significance involving semantics and spelling for our family.  Late bloomer, early bloomer, fading blooms... bloomin' all over, bloomin' all the same.

I just have to say, YOU GUYS ROCK!  If I ever need an after-school pick-me-up, a virtual pat on the back, a little encouragement to keep on going, I certainly know where to find it.  Thank you for all the encouragement!

Not only is there a treasure trove of encouragement and support, the comments to that last post are also packed with inspiration.  Did I mention?  YOU GUYS ROCK!  I also found some on Yahoo yesterday -- it popped up, kind of like "a sign" -- this story about Phyllis Turner earning her Master's at 94.  NINETY-frickin'-FOUR!  I need only think of my own mother, too.  She ended up in school following a divorce in her mid-30s with the eldest of five kids (that would be me) poised on the cusp of adolesence -- somehow we all got through it with minimal damage.  Mom earned her nursing degree ad was "capped" a year before I graduated high school.

I was sitting on the front porch the other day and was reminded of a(nother) cute meme -- the Front-and-Back Meme -- I was actually quite taken with the view, here's another, particularly out the back, and so have had this bookmarked in the Bloglines list.

Dsc00914 Dsc00913 Dsc00915

Dsc00917Ali's car was parked out front while she was gone on a long-weekend road trip with friends to Shepherdstown, WV.  They've a friend working on a summer theater crew there, so took in some shows, went tubing on the Potomac, drove up to D.C. for a whirlwind day on the way home.  She left her car for Maddy to use and, for the privilege, also a list of requirements to be satisfied, including an oil change.  Maddy also washed it and organized its contents, noting in her note to Ali, "Don't worry, I didn't pry."  Makes me wonder what was pry-worthy and how juicy.  If you have to say you didn't do it, it must mean that you were tempted to do it.  Anyway, Maddy was cute as a bug in that Beetle.  ; )

I will finally finish Saartje's Bootees tonight and they'll be in tomorrow's mail.  I'm so excited.  All four buttons are sewn on and two of the four loops made -- don't ask.  I managed to work my way through the decreases on the new Baby Surprise and am poised to begin increases.  I predict a weekend finish.

Happy Weekend!

01 August 2007

Late bloomer

Balloon1 Balloon2

I met with the director of a program I'm interested in (she's a late-bloomer, too) -- very interested in, as in, I think I might know what I want to be when I grow up -- at my local technical college today, and I have applied for school.

OH.MY.GOD... I.HAVE.APPLIED.FOR.SCHOOL.

I still have to register for classes -- WHICH START IN LESS THAN THREE WEEKS (my busy August just got busier) -- I'm thinking three (a 3CR, a 2CR, and a 1CR that is somewhat online) to start, and I hope it's not too much for a latter-40s who's only taken ONE OR TWO community ed classes (chair caning, computer spreadsheets, conversational German... anyone?) PER DECADE since graduating high school.  I'll still be working at my FULL-TIME JOB, of course, so it will take me longer than two years to get the TWO-YEAR DEGREE, but it's a start.

All through my 30s and most of my 40s, I've thought of things I might like to pursue, but would get stymied by the 2 or 3 or 4 years of required schooling.  There's working, cooking, cleaning, and stuff like walking the dog and grocery shopping on top of going to school and studying -- and when will I ever find time?  Then, 2 or 3 or 4 years would pass and I'd think, "Well, shit, I could have had that degree by now."

This time, I'm excited about the program.  It encompasses and combines many of my interests -- writing, research, web and print design -- and I've actually worked in a number of areas covered, which means that I could test out of a course or two.  It almost seems tailor-made; I will definitely learn new things, but honing and fine-tuning others.  It seems to fit like... a pretty well-fitting glove.  I'm excited.

Thanks for the inspiration, V.

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