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5 posts from July 2014

15 July 2014

Ten on Tuesday

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things About My Bookcase

1.  I moved from NW Wisconsin back to NE Wisconsin in 1978 to start a new job, and I lived at home for a short time while I saved money for a car and whatnot. I didn't have any furniture of my own, to speak of, but I did have books and I decided that I needed to buy some shelves.

2.  I didn't have a lot of money, and I didn't need a very big shelf unit, but I wanted something nice so I thought a resale shop would be my best bet. You know, maybe I could find something suitable for around $20.

3.  I went to literally every resale shop in the area and came up with absolutely nothing.  The last place on my list was more antique shop than resale, but I was desperate.

4.  I recall that the shop owner showed me a few pieces, but there was only one that caught my eye.

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5.  It was tall -- much larger than I actually needed -- and fancy. It was good wood (mahogany) and had lift-up glass doors on most of the shelves, and nice hardware.

6.  And it was sectional! The sections stacked one upon the other and, except for the base and top, they could all be rearranged! One section was about twice as big as the others and had sliding doors. The base section had a drawer.

7.  It cost $450! According to one online inflation calculator, that equates to over $1600 today!

8.  The shop owner was an older man and, I don't know, I guess he could tell how much I loved that bookcase, even though it was way -- way, way, way -- out of my price range. Maybe I was young and innocent and fell hook, line & sinker, but I believed him when he told me that he thought it was important for young people to have quality furniture, too. He reduced the price and offered to let me make monthly payments. He even let me take it home right that very day.

9.  I have hauled that thing up stairs and down, across the country and back again, from one room to another. One of the things I like best is that I can easily move it myself! Once, lazily, I tried to move it without emptying it and taking it apart, and can still hear that distinctive "crack" of breaking wood -- stopped me in my tracks. A few small inappropriate nails toward the bottom on one side attests to both my carelessness and my lack of repair skills at the time.

10.  But, oh, how I love and cherish that thing to this day! It was made by the Globe-Wernicke Company (most sections still have a label affixed) and I'll never ever part with it.

 

11 July 2014

I get by with a little help from my friends

Caught up in the excitement and camaraderie of a knit-along with, among others, some of my oldest (in blog years) friends, I was easily tempted into signing up for the TTL Mystery Shawl 2014. The prospect of dyeing my own gradient yarn for the project made it even better -- it's been a long time since I spent time in the dye kitchen. The pattern would be released in five clues, one each Sunday in June, and I was amped up to blog about it (I even created a special category) and looked forward to photographing it a couple of times for #100happydays.

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I wound and dyed the yarn on the last day of May and managed to cast on and knit a few rows on Sunday, June 1st -- right on time.

A few days later, on Wednesday, I helped my stepdad take my mom to the ER. She was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia... partly the result of complications from side effects of a new chemo. By Saturday afternoon, after two episodes of arterial fibrillation, Mom was transferred to ICU where she remained until she died 16 days later.

The last time I actually spoke with my mother was Friday, the day before going to ICU. I'd brought my knitting to work on while we visited, and she asked about it. I told her about how a mystery pattern works, and how fun it was to dye yarn again. I had no idea that it would be our last real conversation, and that it would be about my knitting and this shawl. It's not surprising, though, she was always interested in what I was doing, and I can't tell you how many times over the years she'd say, half-exasperated/half-prideful, "You're always busy doing something!"

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I was happy for the distraction that the knitting provided while Mom's condition fluctuated, eventually declining, over those 19 days. I was grateful, even, to tink back and re-knit many rows (14, I think) of Clue 2, stitch by stitch, to right an error. My knitting was something that I could fix.

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Probably the most complicated lace pattern I've ever knit, arguably moreso because I'm one of those rare super freaks that works from written directions alone, it gave me something to concentrate on and think about that wasn't my mother, though of course I thought about my mother constantly.

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I looked forward to knitting every night -- after work, after visiting the hospital, no matter how late it was... I had to take time. I enjoyed following along, contributing, reading about others' progress with the pattern, how they felt about their colors, how they were working out the transitions*, concerns over yardage and whether one had enough stitch markers in their possession, what types of needles people were using. I spent time carefully highlighting my pattern clues, color coding the different sections so that it would be easier to keep my place; I employed sticky notes to further zero in; breaking it down, keeping control.

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A margarita-induced setback late in the game resulted in the tinking of a few more rows, and the discovery that while I can drink and knit at the same time, a good hoppy craft beer yields the best result!

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By the end of the month, I was on track and nearing the finish. Therapy knitting at its finest, I was really pretty astounded at my progress and, without being too sappy about it, gave a thankful nod to Mom & Sharon, my guardian knitting angels. I was in first grade when my mother taught me to knit for the first time. Though her prowess in knitting never matched that of her sewing, she was knowledgeable and appreciative. My sister Sharon was neither steady nor prolific as a knitter over the years, but she chose the most amazing projects and the quality of her work was incredible.

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Thanks to my model, my youngest sister Ann. She models all (2) of my TTL Mystery Shawls! The first was finished just before they left for Brazil, this one as they returned.

*1-4-2-3-2-2 as suggested by Terry, and probably because it gave me one more slightly complicated aspect to control.

 

10 July 2014

Randomly, oh baby!

Drool

 Um, yeah, there will soon be teeth! This is from a quick 6-month photo shoot with the J-man yesterday afternoon. Six months!!

I'm working on a post about my TTL Mystery Shawl. It's finished and it's beautiful! There's a lot more than knitting wrapped up in that project, though. I'm still processing, I guess.

A week from today I'll be in L.A. for the first time... if you don't count a drive-by on the way to Disneyland, ca. 1995. My sister invited me to accompany her to a Brazilian-themed wedding and I jumped. We tacked on an extra day or so for fun. One of the things we'll be doing for sure is attending a taping of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson! I'm so excited. Also open for suggestions: You have a free day in L.A., what do you do?? What's not to miss?

I decided that I didn't have anything to wear to a beach wedding, nor to the next day's BBQ, so after work on Tuesday I took everything I learned from the master of retail therapy (Mom) and applied it to myself! I had indulged a little, had fun, and I have something to wear! Thank you to the Mses Jill and Fisher.  ;)

 

 

07 July 2014

The 4th of July

I squeezed about 20 lemons by hand (4 full cups) and grated a half-dozen small beets (1 cup) to make Beet Lemonade!

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Rusty, Maddy and I each had a little taste, and it declared it DELICIOUS!

About mid-morning, I loaded it and a bunch of other stuff into my car and ran off to do the next thing.

And everything was great until the jug fell over and dumped the lemonade all over the back seat. I heard it, realized what was happening, and watched it slosh, but there was nothing I could do about it. Ugh. It was a quadruple batch, so that would be about two gallons. There was maybe a quart that didn't spill. The rest was on the floor, soaked into the seat, dripping out of the pocket on the door.

Not good. A big mess. I was hurrying = not thinking. I also had to change my clothes about 3 times in the span of :30. There was about an hour where I was coming off the rails!

DEEP BREATHS... and ReaLemon to the rescue. I just didn't have it in me to start over with the lemonade. I floated a sliced lemon and some strawberries on top to make it look pretty. meh.

Meanwhile...

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It was a beautiful day. No doubt Mom would have made a few tweaks, but I think she'd have approved of our 4th of July decor. I am especially happy about the two small buntings on the window box -- she'd have loved that!

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There was plenty of food! We had grass-fed beef patties and Johnsonville Brats (the best), and I made some pulled pork with some of my favorite Howling Wolf BBQ Sauce, along with baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw, chips, lots of fruit, some cheese, cookies, and...

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PIE!! Apple, Blueberry, and Cherry! Rusty made them on Friday morning; the cherries freshly plucked from Ali & Rod's back yard tree on Thursday.

 

01 July 2014

Thirty of One Hundred plus Ten

First30of100happydays

The First 30 of 100 Happy Days*

I decided to begin #100happydays on June 1st because I knew that it would be a tough summer. I knew that my mother was failing and that this summer could be her last. I knew that it would be good for me to find some happy everyday. I could not have known that Mom would end up in the hospital on the 4th day. I couldn't have imagined -- sometimes still can't quite believe -- that she died on the 23rd.

Fourth

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Ideas for July 4th

The 4th of July was one of my mother's favorite holidays. She loved decorating. (Period.) And patriotic decorating was especially fun! We always had a BBQ, and we will this year, too. We'll do our best in the decorating & hospitality department, but no one does it better than Mom.

1.  Fly the flag(s)!

2.  Use all the patriotic tableware!

3.  On the grill:  burgers, brats, and hot dogs

4.  On the side:  salads (potato, fruit, three-bean, quinoa, etc.), baked beans, potato chips

5.  For dessert:  homemade from-scratch cherry & apple pie

6.  With ice cream!

7.  Also for dessert:  Karen's famous chocolate caramel bars**

8.  Lots of outside fun -- be it soccer, softball, or just lounging in the sun

9.  Fireworks!

10.  Or, for those of us who don't care to do battle with mosquitoes and/or traffic, A Capitol Fourth and The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular!

* On Flickr:  1. Ta-da! This is the best of 6, 2. Mom's house, 3. Oh, gorgeous 3rd of June, 4. My garden... , 5. Home, 6. Sunshine makes me happy, 7. Half Way North, 8. Let there be grass, 9. A busy Vicki is... good, 10. So be it, 11. These three, 12. I love making job site deliveries on beautiful summer days, 13. Knitting break, 14. #thiswouldnthappenwithmargarine, 15. Happy 1st Anniversary to Ali & Rod!, 16. Japanese fern, 17. June 17, 2014, 18. Quick lunch & iced tea break, 19. Tough day, 20. Cousins (first, once removed) meet for the first time. WELCOME HOME to my sister & her family!, 21. Helped this gorgeous happy couple & their families by capturing memories of theitlr amazing wedding day, 22. Gonna have to latergram today, 23. June 23, 2014, 24. My sister & her family closed on their new house today, 25. So happy to have these boys back close to home again, 26. 4th of July shopping, 27. I drove straight home from work today, 28. My first week at the Farmers Market, 29. Prepping for the Fourth, 30. Mom.

**She has threatened promised a "healthier" version... and I sure hope it measures up. (IMHO, some things just shouldn't be messed with.)

 

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