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25 posts from July 2009

31 July 2009

July

That went pretty quick, didn't it?

Knitting first:

Transversing the hydrangeas

Transverse in the hydrangeas... making the rounds in the garden.

At the half-way point in this project, I've been thinking about what might be next -- and wasn't really coming up with anything.  Until yesterday.  Yesterday, I was poking around Ravelry a little bit and reading some blogs and I found Michelle's Tattoo-less Kimono Shrug and instantly knew what would be happening next!  Michelle mentioned that Danielle Wilson's pattern was available as a Ravelry Rav_link download and kindly provided linkage and the next thing you know, I was at Iris Fine Yarns on my way home last night, pattern in hand, mulling over yarn choices (and showing off Tranverse).  I left empty-handed because I'm still mulling... and I should at least take a peek at the stash!

We had a good, long, soaking rain yesterday.  When I was finished with the knitting in the garden, I took a walk around the yard.

On the steps

I loved this mop-top, spent clematis flower!

Fuzzy spent clematis

I think Mom's back from Italy, but she hasn't resurfaced yet... with all the travel and jet-lag, I figured I'd let her find her groove.  Mack & Addison are coming today for a short visit!  Apparently, Addison has been singing "Happy Birthday" to ME for the past week and was also quite loud and insistent yesterday about going "to Vick's TODAY"!  Yippee!

30 July 2009

Mural update!

Overview:

Mural progress to date

That's about 2/3 of the wall, there's nothing yet on the remainder.  Click here for super-huge (depending on your browser and/or monitor) or, at least, pretty darn big.

I love how curvy it is.  My new mission is to get some photos while people are actually working!

From the left

The adorable, begoggled swimmer with which I am so enamored:

My favorite part, of course

Farmer's Market (underway):

Melons at market

"Someone" making a latte:

Barista

Let's have another look at one of my favorite parts again, shall we?

Him again

I got so much done yesterday -- not everything, but most things, and at least a start on what I wasn't able to finish.  There comes a point when I've just got to call it a day.  I sat down to knit/rip/re-knit several rows of Transverse while having a little Craig-a-palooza.  Have I mentioned Craig Ferguson?  Totally lovin' Craig!  He's on WAY too late, but that's where the DVR comes in; then we sit down and watch a bunch -- only ever the monologue.  I've never watched an entire show, never watched a guest appearance; I see James Spader is coming up, though, so he'll likely be my first.

Happy Thursday!  Tomorrow is FRIDAY!!!

29 July 2009

Random Wednesday - the busy edition, with added angst

1.  I have a list a mile long today!  I have mostly good things on the list -- stuff I don't mind doing -- there's just lots of it.

2.  Exasperated with Internet Explorer and their stupid security messages every three seconds and knocked off for no apparent reason ONE TOO MANY TIMES this morning, I took time out of my busy schedule (see No. 1) to download Firefox again.  I always used to use Firefox, but it was having some major issues a few months ago and I kicked it to the curb.

3.  I'm back!  Finger's crossed that whatever was wrong with the 'Fox (I don't even remember) is now fixed.

4.  I've missed the FlickrFox add-on in the sidebar most of all.

5.  I did, indeed, reach the half-way point on the Transverse Scarf yesterday, but I did it knitting at home rather than out.  There were some exciting, late-breaking developments close to home and I felt that I needed to be there.  I made the right choice.

6.  Big, exciting stuff about which I'm going to be rather vague.  If you've been following along at all over the past six months or so, you've probably guessed right.

7.  I hate when people blog about big, exciting stuff and then be vague.

8.  Sorry.

9.  A big box containing these...

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...came in the mail yesterday.  I've never ordered anything a) so large, b) so expensive, c) so blindly, or d) in such a quantity given (a) and (b) and (c).  They are gallery-wrapped canvas, stretched around a frame and they turned out better than I imagined.  I leaned them up against the garage door (if you look closely, you can see the mark that Ali left when she was learning how to drive).  I dragged some people to  the front of the house yesterday to provide some scale...

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Awesome.

10.  Breakfast is ready!  Have a great day.

28 July 2009

Ten on Tuesday

Today's Ten on Tuesday is 10 Favorite Sounds

1.  A baby who wakes up happy, talking/playing/laughing in her crib.  It's been a while (17 years), but I remember.

2.  Happy kids playing outside on a summer day* (as long as they don't keep slamming the door).

3.  Sounds from the pool (except for the music sometimes), which we can hear from our house, especially when swimming lessons are in session.  "Motor boat, motor boat, go so slow.  Motor boat, motor boat, go so fast!  Motor boat, motor boat, step on the gas.  Motor boat, motor boat, SINK!"

4.  The crack of a bat, the roar of the crowd, the whistles, the marching band, the announcer exclaiming "First and 10" -- all sounds from the athletic field, which can also be heard from our house.

5.  The rumble of hundreds of motorcycles -- Hogs, mostly -- as they make their way through town on a summer bike run.

6.  Big fat snowflakes falling on a blue-sky winter evening.

7.  Autumn leaves beneath my feet.

8.  Rain!  Lightning!!  Thunder!!!  We have been SO deprived this year.

9.  Rock 'n Roll -- loud -- combined with the sound of my wheels on the highway and the wind in my hair.

10.  The ocean.

*"Day" is key, as is "happy."  Weird sounds in the middle of the night from next door woke me abruptly a few times last night.  Got me out of bed.  Got my heart racing.  Tried to get back to sleep.  Tossing and turning, I finally turned on the light and read for a while, but was hyper aware of sound and easily awakened all night -- and Mickey seemed to be doing an inordinate amount of late-night scratching!

Since Monday is a big day for mural painting, I was going to snap off a few this morning, but the light was weird -- it's changing big-time in the a.m. -- making lots of reflections, and I was running to late to goof around trying to find the ideal location and position from which to shoot.

I stopped at the coffee shop, as per usual, and remembered that Deb ordered pictures yesterday and I was right THERE.

Smug as a bug I was, last week, about my camera phone.  Today I have two of the three world's worst camera phone photos!  I am not showing the third because I didn't even capture my subject -- somehow I ended up shooting the house next door!  Anyway, Deb, this is The House w/Abomination:

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Yeah.  I didn't even know I had a "black and white" option on my camera phone.

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Ditto the "cloudy" option.  I was trying to zoom.  You can see how that turned out.  ; )  I will give you that the addition does not look too bad straight-on from the front, but from the side (to me) it's way bad, way big, way much, way overbearing.

Knitting out tonight, I think!  I might make it to the half-way point on Transverse!

27 July 2009

Can you believe it?

At this time next week, it'll be August!  The summer sure does fly.

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For nearly 20 years, most summertime weekends mean art fairs to us.  Sometimes we're lucky and they're very close by!  Katie, especially, used to accompany her dad to out-of-town fairs, sometimes bringing a friend, sometimes setting up her own display of work.  I thought of that yesterday when I saw a basket in a jeweler's booth with a sign that read:  BRENDAN'S BEADED BRACELETS - $1.00.

I was able to attend a realtor's open house at one of the few houses in town that I'd have traded for my own.  I used to drive by every night after picking up Katie & Ali from day care -- it was almost right on the way home.  At the time, it was in a terrible state of disrepair, but oh, the possibilities!  Gorgeous lot, right on the river, big old Victorian with curved windows, a big porch... no paint on the siding, overgrown yard, doors flapping in the wind during stormy weather... it was hard to know if it was even occupied.  Pregnant with Maddy, I dragged DH onto the property to poke around, and I learned then that it was occupied.

I checked the tax rolls for property information, and was told that there were at least a dozen inquiries about the property every year.  Eventually, the owner died and an alert realtor informed an interested party and the deed was done before you could say "For Sale."  Turned out, it was the pastor of my then-neighbor's church and the congregation was very helpful in spiffing that place right up.  They did an amazing job of restoration throughout and I was quite happy with how it turned out (from what I could see), considering that it was not mine.

A few years ago they added a 3-story abomination to the rear of the house andyesterday I was able to see it for myself.  While it was pretty spectacularly done, inside and out, and incorporated many historical architectural elements, and the kitchen was certainly to die for, I still regard it as an abomination.  The house is absolutely enormous and crammed with stuff (drool-worthy antiques of every kind) -- and only two people lived there!  Curiosity satisfied, anyway; I'm glad I was able to look.  I'd never be able to afford the nearly $600,000 price tag -- especially since I'd have to tear that addition off!

Allium-spring

I came home and opened my Etsy shop.  I signed up ages ago, but I had lots to learn.  And now it's done!  You can find me at victoriapictoria.etsy.com (and also in the sidebar at right)!  Heart me, I'm lonely!!  I've currently listed only blank, printed notecards from my photographs -- singles and a couple of boxed sets.  I'm interested in knowing what you think, what else you might like to see!

25 July 2009

Saturday!

I was up a little last last night, probably due in part to a late espresso at an art opening held at Mud Creek Coffee, so I slept in this morning!  I haven't done that in a while!

While hubs jawed and rubbed shoulders a bit, Ali and I took a little walk around town.  I'd grabbed my camera, so as we walked and talked I'd say, "Look at me," "Stand over there," "Sit on that step."

A little smug

Looking to the right

Ali

I don't have a willing model at my beck and call most times (not that they're ever all that willing), so I shoot 'em when I can!

Lake Winnebago

Stockbridge is on the east side of Lake Winnebago.  The east side is far less populated than the west and it is my favorite side.  I love my house and there aren't many other places I'd consider moving, but I'd definitely consider someplace over here.  Not that I'm looking.  Anyway, I was drawn down to water's edge on the way home where I captured a pretty good image for Saturday Sky!

Happy Weekend!!

24 July 2009

I don't have weddings-on-the-brain

Maybe a greenhouse, though.  And an innate affinity for old stuff, combined with reactionary restorationism and a dose of the maternal.  Thoughts collide.

Greenhouse

I'm seeing a venue.  Can't you see a wedding here?

Greenhouse

Clear out all those plant tables and unneeded overhead stuff.  Drape yummy fabrics all over the place.  String zillions of white lights and hang paper lanterns of all shapes and sizes -- and a HUGE crystal chandelier -- and wonderful lighting and seating and banquet tables and a BIG dance floor.

Greenhouse

You could turn off the lights and stargaze in the middle of the night.

Greenhouse (again)

There's heat -- I read about it.  Even so, I fear that during a Wisconsin winter one would be reminded of that glorious winter scene in Dr. Zhivago.

Haha!  I'm just dreaming.  Happy Friday!  Have a terrific weekend!!

23 July 2009

Silo Silhouette

Silo Silhouette

Took the first left (north) after leaving book club last night -- the long way home -- and I was instantly in farmland.  Oh, how I love the landscape.

I did a few things before heading to bed -- including knitting four rows and ripping back three (and now I'm back on track) -- read for a bit and turned out the light.  I was in that in-between sleepy place, thinking that the dog was sure making a lot of noise coming up the stairs -- and why is the light on? -- when Maddy popped in to give me a kiss and tell me she was home!  I wasn't expecting her until today!  She sounded excited and happy and said she has tales of adventure to tell.  Can't wait.

Apropos of nothing, here's my new favorite YouTube video:

Paired with Bookish Wendy's "So Happy Together" exit song... perfect wedding.  I've already informed the girls... though, also, that I'm in no rush for any weddings 'round here... just, you know, for the file.

Happy Thursday!

22 July 2009

Happy Bokeh Wednesday!

Experimenting with focus

Playing around with some different focus features on the camera. (Forgot this was even in the camera!)

Have spent all day getting print orders ready to send... I think I've got it!  Or maybe one last check...

Book Club tonight... though it's one of our purely social get togethers and we aren't even discussing a book... though I'm sure "a book" will come up... or two or twenty.  We chose tonight's location specifically for outdoor seating, but I'm afraid it's going to be too cool to enjoy it!  I read Home by Julie Andrews (Mother's Day gift from Ali) for next time.  I'm currently reading This Lovely Life by my friend Vicki Forman, also for next time.

21 July 2009

Blogus regularis

In 5+ years of fairly regular and consistent blogging, I can count on one hand the number of posts that were actually planned ahead.  I think that planning ahead could make the whole enterprise easier sometimes -- especially when one is striving for some blogging regularity.  I often think about planning ahead and even commence to plan ahead (usually by taking photographs of many different things).

I commenced planning ahead on Saturday.  I remember the thought running through my head as I walked through the tall grass and shot through the back door of the greenhouse.  "I'm on my way to Knitting Camp (a post), but this greenhouse might make a good future post -- photos, at least."  Yeah.  There are at least five separate things in yesterday's post -- the mural, the greenhouse, rural small towns and landscape, family history and cemeteries, knitting camp and old and new friends.

I guess I can't hold back.  When I begin to write a post, it's like the floodgate has opened and everything that's been in or on my mind comes rushing out -- it's very difficult (maybe even impossible) to stop it!  It's kind of organic, too, in that sometimes what I think will be the main thing gets overtaken by something else and the whole post is hijacked -- by my own hand!  In the interest of space, length and time, I might not write everything I initially thought I would, or post all of the photos, but I have to write about everything all at once!  Like I might forget?  I sometimes think I'll get back to a subject, expand it (or expound on it) further, but that's pretty rare.  I'm spontaneous... other stuff comes up.  I might also have some personal issues with schedules and programming, maybe also with accountability, more likely with authority.  Ten Things on Tuesday, Random Wednesday, Eye Candy Friday, Saturday Sky... they often happen (randomly) on any day other than the designated day.  If only for the sake of regularity, it would seem logical to embrace those things!

So, I'm just thinking out loud...  Of course I know that it's my blog and I can do as I wish, when I wish, about which whatever I wish, however I wish to do it.  Heh.  One thing I've been striving for lately, however, is to have photos in every post -- a few have slipped by without, but I'm going to do better.  The problem is that photos can be a pain in the butt and when I use up all my recent and new subject matter (with photos) in a post on Monday, it leaves nothing for Tuesday.

This morning I remembered that I have a camera phone at my disposal nearly every minute of every day!

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Mondays are particularly active on the community mural and yesterday was no exception.  This has been a favorite part from the very beginning and I'm delighted to see it coming to life!

20 July 2009

Mural progress

There's been progress on the mural.

Mural progress

There's a great mix of large and small motifs.  This will be viewed most often from passing cars, but a sidewalk runs the entire length of the mural so there will be plenty of opportunity for close examination -- like "You missed this blade of grass over here!" scrutiny of minute detail.

Mural progress

This isn't even half.  I should shoot next for a good overview, eh?

Center aisle

I went on a little road trip this weekend to visit friends at Knitting Camp in Marshfield.  I didn't need to be there 'til 3:00 on Saturday afternoon, so meandered my way over with camera.  This greenhouse is abandoned, in disrepair, and also for sale.  I don't know when it saw its last customer.  I suspect it suffered a painful and slow decline due to reconfiguring of roadways -- the location and visibility can't be beat, but getting there is another story (not to mention parking).  But, oh, how this kind of stuff sings to me... low and mournful sprinkled with high notes of hope.  What could be done here?

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(What are those round things suspended from the ceiling?)

Central Wisconsin hay field

I went to a little town where my great grandparents farmed and where I know they're buried.  I can't believe I couldn't find the cemetery in a town of 330.  I found all kinds of other stuff, including churches, but no cemetery!  I would have stopped to ask, but the only people I saw were two guys sitting outside a tavern watching my car go by -- I can't even guess at how many times -- and I was beginning to feel idiotic.  I'll do some preliminary research next time.

I stopped by a different cemetery in a different small town on the way home.  It's a rural crossroads that's so small I can't even find population data.  The cemetery is right on the main drag, plus I've been there before.  My great grandmother's house is right across the street.  I never met her because she died before I was born, but I've had all the landmarks pointed out to me countless times, including the cemetery gate upon which Mom and Aunt Carol would play/swing when they'd stay at their grandmother's.  I walked the entire thing, looking at every grave, finding people I expected to find (great grandma!), but also some others.

Small wooden cross

This tiny little wooden cross was right next to a larger, very crude iron cross in an older part of the cemetery -- very strange.  There were a few small old stones piled up at the base of a couple of trees -- they've either toppled from age or it's the work of vandals.

So, yeah.  I had a great visit with Katy, Ann and Ricki, and also (finally, after a near-miss or two) met Jessica, and also Kim and a few others from the Dairy State and beyond.  No photos of knitting or of people!  I wasn't there for very long.  I did buy a pattern and some yarn for mittens at the market (will show & tell soon), we knit and visited together, went out for dinner, knit and visited together some more, went up to the room for more knitting, slept, had breakfast while discussing and working out new cast-on techniques, and then it was time for them to go learn some more and for me to head home!!

17 July 2009

It's about time

365.113

It shouldn't have taken so long to make a decision about which of these to order, and I'm probably ordering the one you think I am (in the middle) -- the one that spoke to me the minute I read the name, "Sister-Sister" and learned that it's a combo of three fleeces, from three sisters.

llama

It's been a whole year since I first visited the llamas and talked about fleeces and yarn.

Have a great weekend!!

16 July 2009

Stuff that's old is new again

Typepad, for instance.  I'm blogging to you direct from the new platform for the second day in a row.  There are some interesting features, such as the ability to edit the permalink -- it's a little thing, but I like it!

Transverse

This is the second incarnation of my Transverse Scarf -- it, too, is new again!  Upon close examination of the first, I discovered that I was having some pretty bad counting problems and, apparently, wasn't reading my knitting as well as I thought.  They weren't glaring mistakes, but they bugged me just enough and I feared that they would become more apparent when blocked.  This time, I have employed a low-tech row counter -- that pink yarn is knotted so that there are eight loops, each corresponding to a right-side row.  So far, so much better!

I like how the little Blue Willow china triangles on my mosaic table are like little arrowheads pointing to the knitting!

My sis is having a PET scan today... prayers and good wishes are welcome!

15 July 2009

Let there be (off-camera) light!

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I did a little on-location shooting with Seeking Focus Photography Association, a local photography group, to get a little hands-on learning about off-camera lighting.  Dave Jackson, generously shared his time, knowledge, and a bunch of equipment with us -- various lights, softboxes, umbrellas, and Pocket Wizards.  Others in the group, including Dave's studio manager, Trevor -- and I'm terrible because I either didn't get or don't remember the other names, except for Brett -- did the same, as we broke into three or four different groups.  We also had some really great models (why, yes, I guess I did have a favorite!).

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This is Nora.  She owns a coffee shop with her sisters.  That must be what drew me in.

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It was a blast!

I met up with a few people afterwards to soak up a beer and enjoy some shop talk -- I was a sponge.  I wasn't sure about going -- I parked, then drove around the block, then drove around the block again, and then again.  There was road construction, too (holy crap, when did that happen!?), so some of those "blocks" were pretty big!  Finally, I thought what the hell, you know?  Put myself out there, rub shoulders, make connections.  I'm glad I did.  Photographers don't bite.

14 July 2009

People are going places

Maddy left last night and will soon be in Canada, on her way to a 9-day voyageur wilderness adventure in Ontario.  She'll be hiking, camping, canoeing, portaging, and leaving no trace that she ever was there.  Moving forward.  She'll no doubt bring back some great photos to go with the memories, and I'm hoping she sees a moose or something exciting.  Katie made this trip a few years ago and counts it among the best things she's ever done.

On Saturday, my mom and her husband are leaving for Milan.  Yep, Italy.  I know!!  It's "for business," and came up just within the past couple of weeks.  There will be work to do, of course, but they're taking a few extra days for sightseeing.  I think they're hoping to visit Rome and, for sure, they'll be meeting up, at least briefly, with my niece who is in Florence for a month-long program studying photography.

Not to be left out, I'll be travelling this weekend, too.  I'm going to Knitting Mecca (a.k.a. Marshfield)!  Once again, I'll be going not as a camper but as a Knitting Camp visitor.  It'll be wildly exciting to see Kathleen, Ricki, and Ann (for the second time in four months!).

Foxfire 

The weather should be fab, so I might be able to get in a return visit to Foxfire Botanical Gardens; though the weather should be fab and -- even if the weather wasn't fab -- it's a summer Saturday so there's probably a wedding (gorgeous venue).  I can't believe it's been three years since my last visit, which was actually my first.  Maybe some shopping, then, or meeting up with the aunts; I always find something fun to do in Marshfield!

13 July 2009

Pick a number

"Twenty-two," hubby said.  That means that Melanie @ FrenchKnits is the winner of the bedtime rituals contest with a wonderful adventure story about her grandfather!!  I can't help but think "Big Fish"... um, "Big Tiger"... um, tantalizing tall tale!  Congratulations Melanie!

This may have been my favorite contest to date.  I truly loved reading everyone's entries -- some so heartbreakingly sweet, others so sublimely silly -- and I thank everyone for sharing their little thing.

New chair

Scored this funky chair at Goodwill yesterday.  I love the color and the shape; because it's a prop and I'll be dragging it around with me, the fact that it's lightweight is a big bonus!  I've been borrowing chairs from the coffee shop, when needed, and now... well, I won't have to borrow as many!

Katie testing the new chair in the front garden

I dragged the chair out front for some photos and then Katie came along and I made her sit.  The sun was just disappearing behind a house across the street.

Katie's cute 'do

Then Scamp came along.

Katie and Scamp

Have I mentioned that Katie's been biking?  A few months ago, she bought a Trek, a helmet, bike shorts and a couple of jerseys, and started pedalling.  Sometimes she gets up early in the morning -- earlier, even than me -- to get her ride in, and really misses it when she has to skip.  A few weeks ago she clocked her first 20-mile ride.  Yesterday, she marked her first 30-miler!

New chair in the garden

She deserved a little sit!!  Congratulations, Kate!!

10 July 2009

Tickle Me...

I wrote this, ca. 1995, for my grandmother.  She was always bugging me to write, just as I always bugged her... and thank goodness, because she gave us an amazing memoir before Alzheimer's stole her away.  This is an ever-so-slightly altered-for-the-web version.

Tickle Me...

tickle (tik'l) 1. to please, gratify, delight, etc.: often used in the passive voice with slang intensives, as tickled pink (or silly, to death, etc.) 2. to stir to amusement or laughter; amuse 3. to excite the surface nerves of, as by touching or stroking lightly with the finger, a feather, etc., so as to cause involuntary twitching, a pleasant tingling, laughter, etc.

It must be in our genes, this love of a soft stroke on skin.  Hand cupped just so, fingertips gliding steadily -- a feather-light touch.  It soothes.  It tickles.  It tingles.  It torments.  It's a family thing.

Visiting grandma and grandpa at the start of a new year, Madeleine is sprawled on the couch between grandma and me; she's four, it's two-thirty in the afternoon, and she's a little cranky.  She stretches her legs over my lap.  "Mom, tickle me."

Grandma laughed, recalling a recent visit during which my Uncle Jim wordlessly stretched his arm across his wife Debbie's lap.  Deb asked, "Where'd he get this?"

Grandma smiled at me, glancing at grandpa sitting in his chair.  "It all began with grandpa," she said.  Not with my grandpa, but with his dad -- my great grandfather, John.  She told me that great grandpa used to soothe his kids by tickling them.  Maybe this tickle gene goes back generations.

I am certain that my sisters, brother, and cousins all share similar memories of childhood visits to grandma's and grandpa's.  We would get together for the holidays, big gatherings with lots of activity.  Grandpa was invariably seated in his favorite rocker/recliner, watching a Bowl game on television.  He'd roll up a sleeve, stretch out an arm, and one of us would pull up a chair to tickle that delightful stretch of inner arm from wrist to elbow.  He usually paid the willing party a quarter for their trouble, and it seemed that he sometimes had a crew working in shifts.

I can picture myself as a 10-year-old, sitting on my parents' bed.  Typically, we had just finished taking baths and mom wielded clippers -- five sets of fingernails and toenails to be trimmed.  Dad would sit on the edge of the bed, pull off his t-shirt, and beckon one of us to tickle his back.  He liked to be tickled with fingernails -- not fingertips, and definitely not fingerpads.  It was tough -- we'd just had our nails clipped!  My arms would get sore with the repetitive up-and-down-and-circle-around.  Every now and then, he'd have to issue a reminder.  "Fingernails!"  Then scratch.  Hard.  Aaaaaaah!

As a teenager, I shared a bedroom with my youngest sister, Annie.  We would sometimes crawl into bed together and take turns tickling each other -- that same spot on the arm that grandpa favored.  It was crucial that timing was equal and that neither of us had a single second more of bliss than the other, so we'd either watch the clock or count the strokes in order to achieve fairness.

In 1985, as I prepared to become a mother, I read volumes of material about pregnancy, delivery, and caring for a newborn.  Every book had a chapter on sleeping, soothing, and comforting a child who would wake during the night. 'Stroke the back lightly.'  It was a long time before Katie bought it.

I first remember tickling her when she was a year old.  We'd taken a family trip Expo 86, the World's Fair, at Vancouver, British Columbia.  Katie was not happy with her hotel surroundings and an unfamiliar playpen for a bed.  I leaned over 'til my back ached, softly stroking her face until she was lulled into sleep.  Every night.  I guess she became accustomed to it, because 10 years later, she still wants to be tickled.  Every night.

It is quite a process these days, our bedtime routine; sometimes an ordeal, as each child has her own sub-routine.  Even DH has had to learn how to tickle.  It seems that as they get older, the number of "spots" decreases.  Katie is down to wanting only her back done -- tickle, scratch, rub -- and sometimes that celebrated stretch of inner arm.  Alison likes her legs tickled, as well as her back and arms.

Madeleine... is still young.  Sometimes I can see her wheels turning as she tries to think of a spot I haven't done yet, and tries to prolong bedtime.  I sit on the edge of her bed and she rests her heels on my shoulder while I tickle at her direction, "thighs," "back of thighs," "legs," "knees," "back of knees," "feet," "back of feet" (the tops), "right here" (pointing to her inner foot).  She removes her feet from my shoulders and we continue, "tummy" "chest," "side" (up to arm pits), "other side," "armpits," "back," "arms," "hands" (palms), "back of hands," "neck," "back of neck," "face," "shoulders."  When each area is completed, she says, "Gotta-itch," and I scratch before moving on to the next thing.  It sounds worse than it is.  Sometimes it's just a stroke or two for the "tickle," followed by a quick scratch, and she's done.  If she's anxious to look at a book before she turns off the light, she'll dismiss me quite soon -- though I'm sometimes called back to complete the job if she realizes that she's been too hasty.

Will this family thing, this love of the tickle, endure?  I'll let you know when I'm a grandma!

* * * * *

And we'll just continue to wait-and-see, as I won't be a grandma anytime soon.

* * * * *

HEY, THERE'S A CONTEST GOING ON!  And I'll tell you, I am LOVING the entries!!   Tell me your favorite bedtime ritual -- funny or not -- something you do with your kids, something you remember from your own childhood, something you do now!!

To qualify, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT telling me your FAVORITE BEDTIME RITUAL -- ON YESTERDAY'S POST ONLY -- by MIDNIGHT (CST) on SUNDAY, JULY 12th; winner will be chosen at random and announced on Monday.

09 July 2009

TGIT!

Thank Gawd It's Thursday!!  Hello, 3-Day Weekend!!  I have big plans to finish some photo work, post proofs and place orders, to clean out my closet and dresser drawers (at least), to get some knitting done, and to watch a Netflix movie that I've had for way too long!

Katie & Maddy watched a rented movie last night and then, for some reason, put a tape marked "KIDS 3" into the VCR and their laughter lured me into the room.  I had some major pangs when I realized that some of the original "Kids 3" had been taped over with "newer" stuff, ca. Christmas 1991 -- Maddy's first Christmas!  *Sigh*  It's all priceless.  Katie was 6, Ali 4.  It was the year that the girls' doll house disappeared around Thanksgiving and was spiffed up, redecorated and returned under the tree by Santa's Elves.  It was also the year that Ali received the much-longed-for "Baby Alive" doll, eliciting a "YOU BETTER SHARE THAT, ALI!" response from Katie.  So funny.  That doll was never given any other name, she was always just called "Baby Alive."

We had a series of board books by Helen Oxenbury of which one, I Can, became part of a long-standing bedtime ritual at our house (which eventually grew to include story time and tickle time -- it's a wonder those kids ever went to sleep!).  One of these was also on the tape, filmed by me, narrated by DH -- in which he remarks that we've only done it about 300 times already, but okay if you really want to do it again... the girls' excitement is palpable!  They spread their blankies on the floor, making a sort of home base, and then they'd "do" each of the "I Can" things, returning "home" after each one... I can sit, I can jump, I can crawl, I can fall, etc.  Eventually, the girls demanded more "I Can" things than were in the book and we had to append a few of our own making.  One favorite was growing from seed to a fruit-bearing tree in about 20 seconds.  The signature move, however, compliments of DH, was the dieing cockroach -- the girls would lie down on their backs and wave their arms and legs around.

I haven't laughed that hard in a while.

Tell me your favorite bedtime ritual -- funny or not -- something you do with your kids, something you remember from your own childhood, something you do now!!  And let's MAKE IT A CONTEST, because I've been wanting to -- I haven't had one of those in many, many moons.  I'm not sure what the prize will be... it'll be something good.  To enter, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT ON THIS POST, telling me your FAVORITE BEDTIME RITUAL, by MIDNIGHT (CST) on SUNDAY, JULY 12th; winner will be chosen at random and announced on Monday.

Wild bellflower Wild bellflower Wild bellflower

I had noticed that my favorite weed wildflower, a lovely bellflower, was beginning to bloom outside my studio window -- last night, the irresistible light drew me outside.  Gorgeous!

New hydrangea

One of my small hydrangeas in front is absolutely LOADED with flowers, and they are also beginning to bloom!

08 July 2009

Realization

This kid's got SPUNK!

Toesies!

Hey, Little Sister

I like taking pictures of people, but I love taking pictures of the interactions between people.

I'm still working on processing photos from a big family shoot at the end of June -- should have them posted to the client proofing gallery over the weekend.

07 July 2009

Hosta la Bokeh, Baby!

Hosta la Bokeh, Baby

...with knitting.

Transversing the hostas

I used up the first of four balls of yarn on the Transverse Scarf last night.  I couldn't help but throw it into the Blue Angel hosta for photos when I got home from the rare knitting out on a Monday.  I didn't notice the neighbor lady and her daughter on their front porch 'til I was already committed to shooting.  Crazy lady.

Front garden flowers

I'm in love with the red coral bells and purple wild geranium with the greens -- that little hint of variegated hosta on the right.  I have been a terrible gardener this year, but this might give me the needed charge.

The mural begins 

My husband and kids are among the volunteers helping to paint an ambitious new mural in town -- they've only just started with the drawing yesterday.  It replaces a much smaller one on part of the wall; this one will cover the entire wall, end-to-end, top-to-bottom.  I'm excited to follow the progresss.  It can easily be on my route to work every morning.  It'll be an awesome background for some future photo shoots!

Goggled

This is my favorite part, so far.

06 July 2009

Fun Fourth

We had our choice of fireworks displays on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  We were all pretty pooped on Friday and went to bed early, so drove over to Menasha on Saturday night to watch -- and also saw a few from Neenah's display over the treetops as a bonus.

Last night, I stood in the street out front of my house and saw sparks from the display in Kimberly:

Fireworks

It's just over a year 'til the Pyrotechnics Guild is back in the area for their convention -- fireworks every night for a week!  I can't wait.

There was a lot of socializing and lots of good food.  Hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, steaks, lots of salads.  Katie made some yummy Maple Cheesecake Bars for dessert on Friday, and I made Strawberry Shortcake w/Blueberries for Saturday -- with taster's choice of angel food cake or biscuits!  (I'm partial to biscuits.)

Grillin'

Grill decor

My stepdad's new grill was well initiated... and decorated.

I was a bit reluctant, but found myself at Barnes & Noble and then at the mall on Saturday afternoon... and it was good.  I used up a Williams-Sonoma gift card, and found a couple of tops on sale at Banana Republic and J.Jill.  Some people also went to a movie between dinner and fireworks... I skipped that part.

* * * * *

In other news, my niece is celebrating her 22nd birthday today -- in Italy!  She's studying photography in Florence for the next five weeks.  In a very happy and welcome surprise, my mom and her hubs will also be in Italy in about two weeks!  There's a machine being built in Milan for my stepdad's company and they need someone to check it out before it's shipped.  Yeah.  It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it!!

04 July 2009

Blackhawk down...

July4-1 

...nice 'n easy... in my little town.  Unheard of.  Their fly-over marked the start of a 5K race this morning, part of the Badger State Games.  Two flew overhead; only one landed.  All who desired could get up-close and personal.  Pretty awesome.

Happy Independence Day!!

03 July 2009

Hello, It's Me!

Web-IMG_0534-faithful 

Web-IMG_0537-neutral 

Web-IMG_0538-monochrome 

I bought a used but new-to-me camera recently and am trying to work out some color issues and settings, so took some SPs yesterday.  Heh.  I fell off the Flickr 365 SP thing in early April (3 months ago already!) at around Day 115.  I kind of miss it -- life is CRAZY but that was a constant -- and kind of not.  After 115 days and a bazillion takes, I can now look at a photograph of myself and not cringe.  Too much.  Sometimes.  Heh.

Company's coming today!  I've got a lot of work to do!!

02 July 2009

Heads up!

Random.  No photos.

Lordy, it's only 10:30 and I've already been struggling for a couple of hours to keep my head up.  I had my fifth (?) wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night night's sleep last night.  Maybe it's only the fourth.  I don't remember.  Worry, stress, hotness all conspire against me at about 2:00-3:00 a.m.

Not that kind of hotness.

The weather is improving just in time for the holiday and fireworks!  I haven't decided whether I'll go to see them or watch them on TV.  Two sisters and four nephews will be here... so I may not be able to resist.

I grabbed two little Hershey bars from the candy bowl at work yesterday.  I've been very good about NOT grabbing ANYTHING from the candy bowl recently, but I think my resolve has weakened with fatigue.  I ate one -- and put the other back!  Maybe my taste for chocolate has taken a definite turn to the dark side because it tasted YUCKY.

I went to Zumba last Tuesday and there's not another session until next Tuesday.  We're doing a routine to THRILLER, which I'm lovin'.

I still sometimes find myself in a state of shock and disbelief that Michael Jackson is dead.  And then I'm just sad... his poor kids and family.

At my brother's wedding reception, my nephew Sam, then still in high school, kept requesting Michael Jackson.  The DJ resisted, Sam persisted, all night long.  FINALLY, at the end of the night, the DJ spun one -- I honestly can't remember whether it was Beat It or Billie Jean, or maybe even something else.  We were all so surprised and taken aback at Sam's unabashed, joyful and skilled DANCING!!  He jumped up, hit the floor, put the moves on, and nailed it!  No one was more surprised than his dad!!  I had already put my camera away (p&s film days!) and fumbled it open in time to catch one shot... absolutely priceless.  One of my favorite MJ moments.

I'm about half-way through the fifth repeat of Transverse ... worth a photo soon!

My sister had mostly really great news at the doc yesterday.  Keep thinkin' those good thoughts and sending good wishes.  And THANK YOU!!

01 July 2009

Cleaning up

IMG_0530-web 

Maddy had one of her occasional episodes of spontaneous cleaning yesterday.  She started in the computer/laundry room, made her way through the kitchen, and ended in the garden room.  I'll have to deal with a bunch of stuff out on the back porch that was "cluttering up" the garden room -- mostly my collection of broken china for the mosaic projects in my dreams.  This is just the beginning.  The house is going to go through a major shift in the next month or so -- cleaning, rearranging, repurposing.  Stay tuned.

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