The Rare Stitch

I had an email the other day from my friend Margaux at 1010 Studio. I've known Margaux through blogging for... I don't even know how long (before she was a mama, for sure)! I met her in person, finally, at Rhinebeck 2016, and my project bag of choice since last fall has been the "Rhinebeck or Bust" bag that she designed for Rhinebeck 2017! With any luck, we'll meet up again at Rhinebeck 2018! She is a wonderful, creative, amazing, loving woman with a great idea to share! She says it best (and also has great photos), so...
 
As you may or may not know February 28th is Rare Disease Day. The day we get to shine a light on so many kids and adults living with a Rare Disease including my son James. 💕

I have been thinking of ways to increase awareness for Rare Disease in the community I love so much and realized that #knitting is a perfect metaphor of the odds of rare disease. Thinking about your knitting as a population, how many hundreds of thousands stitches do you knit? Now imagine if one of those stitches is “off.” A sea of stockinette but one isn’t quite the same...
 
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So what am I asking you to do? Something very simple.
 
👉🏼 Starting today, grab a knit you’re working on or one you already have and duplicate stitch One Stitch in a contrasting color ➰

One stitch of so many that is different. That stands out from the rest. That can’t be ignored.

A disease or disorder is defined as rare when it effects less than 200,000 people in the U.S. My son James is diagnosed with Alternating Hemipelgia of Childhood (AHC) which has only approx 400 cases in the US. A 1 in a million chance diagnosis.

I’d love to start seeing these “rare stitches” pop up around social media! Maybe James is the one you know, maybe you of know another? Tell their story! By the time Rare Disease Day happens on February 28th I can imagine seeing a flood of Rare Stitches all over the world.
 
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You can use hashtag #therarestitch and tag me at @1010_studio when you post. I’d love so see them and want to create a huge “collage” by the end of the month! Please encourage or tag others to keep it going.

Seeing the village around us supporting him (and me) as we keep making our way through this Rare Disease world is amazing. I know I wouldn’t be as chipper as I am without you all! I cannot thank you all enough for being a part of our journey and helping to shine a light on that One Stitch of many.
 

3TT: It's February!

Joining Carole and friends again this week for Three on Thursday...

Unlike some others, I felt like January flew by. We welcomed the New Year, Maddy was around & then made her departure for NZ, Katie moved, Junah had a birthday, we celebrated our anniversary with a weekend in Elkhart Lake, we attended an art opening, a film festival, and a play... not to mention dentist & hair appointments, book club, knit nights, and a couple of movies at the theater!

WOW!

January was probably my worst month on record in the "video everyday" department, but I managed to eek out (& edit) enough for an OK #1SE video.

I don't normally get too excited about February -- though it's the shortest month, it sure can drag -- but I do begin sense that we're making progress on our way toward longer, warmer days!

Here are three things happening this month:

1 -- A long-awaited visit to Nashville with Annie! I'll have some free time (Craft South, Jeni's 12 South, Frothy Monkey, I am looking at you) and am hoping for a meet-up at one or all of those places; I'll be attending Ann's graduation from her program (yahoo!); and we have tickets for Blues Traveler at the Ryman Auditorium. I'm open to suggestions for other things to do & see -- our Airbnb is right in the thick of it downtown.

2 -- The Olympics!! And knitting -- Team Rules Schmules is already loads of fun!! Though I'll be traveling a little bit, I still expect to knit everyday and finish my shawl. I've also been sucked into the Bang Out a Carbeth vortex and am pondering yarn choices... I liked that sweater the moment I saw it, and I think it could work.

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3 -- The Grand Re-opening & 9th Anniversary Celebration at Kaukauna Coffee & Tea (KC&T) on Feb. 16th -- nine years to the day that Ali opened the doors as proprietor! I am so sad that I'll be in Nashville on that day, but will certainly be following the celebration on social media.


Unraveled Wednesday: January 31

Joining Kat & friends again this week...

SEWING:

Free time has been limited this week, and I've been prioritizing #dailysewing -- trying to make it a habit. My most minimal sewing goal at this point is to use up one needle's worth of thread/floss each day, which I've met or exceeded every day since I began. There are three sewable "lengths" every time I cut floss, and I've sewn them all a couple of times. On the weekend when I'm home in the daylight, I'll take a photo... there is  LOONNNNNG way to go but I'm beginning to see progress and it's making me happy!

KNITTING:

That's not to say there hasn't been knitting! My PS (Parallelogram Scarf) is growing:

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Some more dramatic color changing ought to be happening soon!

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I expect to get a fair bit done at Knit Night tomorrow.

READING:

Continuing to read & enjoy Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder (pages). I also picked up Michael Perry's Montaigne in Barn Boots when we were at the performance of Population 485 on Friday, and have cracked it open. I don't usually read more than one book at a time...

I've shelved (returned) the audio/CD version of Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian because the format is just not working for me... I hope it'll be available again someday on Audible or something. I really want to listen to it.

Instead, I've downloaded Mustard Seed by Laila Ibrahim, which more or less picks up where Yellow Crocus left off. I enjoyed that story quite a lot, and Bahni Turpin is one of my favorite narrators.

What are you making and reading??

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A quick shout-out to my mom, who would have celebrated her 80th birthday today!

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"Celebrated" isn't quite the word she'd be using here... HORRIFIED is more like it!! Haha. I love you Mom. I miss you every single day.


Team Rules Schmules

So, the other day my friend Terry asked whether anyone was participating in the Ravellenic Games this year. I replied that I'd had half a thought... but that I still and will always call them the Knitting Olympics! (That was so much fun, and I still have my 2006 medal!)

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Friday was the last day for official team sign-ups, and Terry was feeling bogged down by The Rules.

I said, RULES??? She ran with that... and voila!

We have a team!!

Perhaps you'd like to join us.

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A group of knitters who are so distracted by life, grandchildren, jobs, books, that last idea... what was that thought? Anyway. We will knit something, it can be a UFO, a new project, small, large and we will finish or we won't finish. ~Terry

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The XXIII Olympic Winter Games -- PyeongChang 2018 -- will be February 9-25. That means just over two weeks of "training" remain!

Since Friday, I've already purchased & nixed one pattern due to a yarn shortage, and moved on to another. As of right now, I am planning to knit Morvarch by Lucy Hague.

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Kate gave me this beautiful Belle Époch Laceweight, hand-dyed in Edinburgh, for my 2013 birthday and that's what I want to use for the Games this year. I've always thought that I should knit something from a Scottish designer and my first thought was Firth o' Forth by Kate Davies. I am significantly short of yarn for that project, though.

I haven't knit cables in a while, and certainly not of the sort that Lucy Hague designs*, and I've really been wanting to knit something with laceweight... not necessarily lace. I will have plenty of yarn, so will probably make Morvarch a bit longer, though I haven't had a good gander at the pattern yet. I should probably just wait and see how it goes before making any big decisions/modifications.

Anyway, I have yarn to wind, a pattern to read through, a bit of swatching to do... it's going to be fun!! I really do hope to finish this project during the Olympics.

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Come join our very laid-back team!

*I will consider this training for Iona or Lindisfarne (or Durrow or Kells) from her drool-worthy Illuminated Knits collection.


Socialing

...or recovery from. It was a busy last half of the week, with the Film Festival on Wednesday, an art opening on Thursday, and a play on Friday. I loved every minute of each of those things, but it's a lot of running around for a home body!

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The play was the long-awaited Population 485, and it did not disappoint -- very interestingly done.

(I had time for daily stitching before heading out the door!)

The car was parked in the garage on Friday night and I barely left the house all weekend.

On Saturday, I "went as far" as opening and front door and plucking the mail from the box (one foot & one arm required outside).

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The most amazingly bepigtailed kids came over on Sunday (if you haven't seen the video I posted on Instagram... GO NOW) and they wanted to go outside... it was cold, but OK.

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We bundled up for a walk and got as far as the house two doors down, then decided just to hang out in the back yard and the playhouse, instead -- both are protected from the wind! Parcheesi has often bundled a kid in a stroller, but yesterday it got caught up in a wheel and there's a hole to repair!

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I predict the playhouse will see lots of action this summer! Junah will be helping Rusty build one in their back yard, too.

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This is the last and slowest of my amaryllis bulbs. The bulb itself has been a lovely, healthy shade of green for quite a while, so I knew something was happening. It's been hard at work and looks like a bud stem emerging, and not just a leaf... and that's exciting! My other two are nothing but leaves (or leaf, as the case may be).

There will be a bit of socialing this week, too. It's also a long week at work, so I'll be looking forward even more to a 3-day weekend... and it won't be long before Nashville is on the horizon!


3TT:

Joining Carole and friends again this week for Three on Thursday...

Thing 1:

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My Parallelogram Scarf has grown a bit since yesterday (so much brighter!), due to...

Thing 2:

...evening attendance at our friend Pat's 2018 Film Festival! Looking for a way to get through the doldrums of winter and inspired by her sister-in-law's massive movie collection, this is Pat's 5th festival. Usually on Wednesdays, and with a total of around 40 altogether, four or five films are shown each festival day beginning at noon, with :15 breaks between. There is a theme each year -- 2014-John Cusack as lead actor, 2015-Edith Head as costume designer, 2016-Food, 2017-Classic Novels made into Movies -- and this year, it's Steamy, Hot, Summer - Heated Up! There's a healthy mix of genres and nationalities, and festival-goers come and go as they may. It's all about Pat, really; she's just generous enough to send out invitations to her friends.

Wednesday is normally my day off, so you'd think this would be easy, but no... I've hardly been able to attend at all (also, they lived about 20 miles away in 2014-15). And I worked yesterday... however, the last movie on the program, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, has long been on my list and wasn't due to start until 5:55pm! Rusty and I arrived just as the previous movie ended, with enough time for a bit of socializing over a bowl of soup before showtime. It was wonderful (the company, the soup, and the movie)!

Thing 3:

Here we go!

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I had a free :15 yesterday, so began my DAILY STITCHING, inspired by Margene (also as mentioned yesterday). It's a new thing (for me), and I'm not going to get too crazed about it, but I got myself situated and it felt so good to get started, finally, on my Alabama Chanin Car Jacket!

Finally.


Unraveled Wednesday: Parallelogram progress

Joining Kat & friends again this week...

KNITTING:

I snapped a couple of quick, not real great photos this morning:

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I think (hope) this is going to be interesting... there's the first of two "yellow periods" happening right now. There'll be a bit more purple ahead, more hints of green, and then gray.

Can't I knit all day?

Or sew? Margene's post today has me contemplating daily stitching on my Alabama Chanin Car Jacket. One stitch is better than none, right?

READING:

I've begun reading Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I did much more knitting than reading while we were away for the weekend, so it's off to a slow start... but it is so very interesting! I can't wait to re-read some of LIW's books (or the whole series).

I've yet to pop one of the library CDs into a player to listen to Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian because... really?? First-world problems, but this is so inconvenient... Why is this not available on Audible?? As much as I want to hear it, I'm afraid it might fizzle...


Weekend away

We had a great weekend away! We went to The Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake -- only an hour from home, but in a sort of no-man's-land area of the state for us!

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If we were into racing, that might be a different story. Stemming from a brief, popular period of open road racing in the '50s (that must have been something!), Elkhart Lake is now home to Road America, hosting NASCAR and many other types of racing (automobile & otherwise).

It's a tiny, quaint little town with a few other large, historic resorts and several fine establishments for food & drink... but no grocery store! We checked in on Friday evening, went out for a bite, and then drove to the next town to shop for a few things for the fridge. Once that was done, though, we parked the car and didn't even look at it again until it was time to pack up and head home on Sunday.

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After enjoying separate massages in the spa on Saturday, we joined up afterwards for a soak in the whirlpool and a few minutes in the sauna. I'll tell you... I have had "hot stone" massages before but this one! Tiny little hot stones between each of my toes!! Your mileage may vary, but for me... that was bliss.

The resort's Elk Room, which boasts a pretty spectacular fireplace and enormous floor-to-ceiling windows with a view toward the lake, was a great place to enjoy a late lunch. It was nice enough that lots of people were out walking -- on paths around the resort, on the pond, and on the lake.

We ended up eating dinner at the Lake Street Cafe both nights! (Not that we didn't try for another, but it was closed for a special event on Saturday.) Rusty even had the same salmon dish both nights! We were on the bar side, and didn't even realize they had a more formal dining room until Sunday morning when we stepped out for breakfast. Oh well, "casual and relaxed" was definitely our mode for the weekend.

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Neither of the TVs in our suite was ever turned on; instead we enjoyed the fireplace and read and knit.

I cast on my Parallelogram Scarf twice, and got a good bit done. And while I love that dark ball of yarn, it's just too... dark and there's not enough contrast. I think I would like the resulting striped scarf, but I don't think I would love it. That dark ball kept whispering to me that it would be happier doing something else, and I listened.

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So I've subbed that ball for the one above and made some progress last night -- and I like it better! The sequencing pattern is showing more, too. I hope to have a photo to share tomorrow.

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We have a new "selfie" for the collection, having spotted a photo booth at the restaurant!

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After a quick stop at the store on the way home, I got a pot of Chili All Day on the stove and everyone came over for dinner! We had fun with my glasses and fiberfill... don't ask me how things evolve this way!

I also had yesterday off... an oil change, a meeting with Ali, and helping Kate move some stuff into her new apartment! I also had time for some bookwork, and took a little of that time to begin straightening out my workroom, and to clean off & reorganize one of the kitchen counters. We've begun redecorating in there and it's feeling good!

It'll be two weeks before another day off (other than weekends), so I'm glad it was a good one!

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Here's to next year!


Happy Anniversary!

We'll be married 33 years tomorrow!

We met in 1983... he worked for a company that needed some occasional typesetting done and, lo & behold, that's what I did!

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1984 - Tillamook, OR - cleaning/fixing up the house we rented (photo by my dad)

 

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1985 (with newborn Kate) - Cape Meares, OR


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I'm guessing 1990 - Home


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Maybe 2005? First selfie of us, taken on my fabulous Razr flip phone!

 

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2014 - Edinburgh Botanical Garden, Scotland


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2014 - Timber Rattlers game, Appleton, WI

 

Mexico

2015 - Mexico (30-year anniversary)


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2016 - McKinleyville, CA - World's Largest Totem Pole


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2017 - Lake Worth, FL


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2017 - Home


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2017 - Tahquamenon Falls, Michigan

 

Three beautiful daughters later, two grandkids and another on the way, only a few houses/moves, a fair bit of remodeling, a little bit of travel (both solo & duo)... Life Is Good.

We're looking forward to a couple of nice days away to mark the occasion -- reading & knitting by the fireplace; relaxing with a massage, sauna & whirlpool at the spa; enjoying some good food & drink; and more reading & knitting by the fireplace.

I'm realizing that more than half of these photos are selfies and pickin's would sure be slim for this collection otherwise!


3TT: Color

Joining Carole and friends again this week for Three on Thursday...

Thing 1:

IMG_20180118_071032_970If you're on Instagram, have you seen/done this?

(There's always Some New Thing to see/do!)

Thing 2:

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The sky was on fire this morning!

Thing 3:

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Sometimes the old hydrangeas on the other side of those dirty windows are rather ghostly. I cannot wait to watch the garden come alive from this new vantage point, and love that even after 30+ years of living in this house, there are still things like a "new vantage point." Maybe the garden will even get some attention this year!


Unraveled Wednesday: Yarn cakes

Joining Kat & friends again this week...

DYEING:

I haven't been knitting much over the past week. I had some half-hearted thoughts about another hat or finishing some slippers, but mostly I've been dyeing. Among other things, I've been preparing for the Parallelogram KAL with Mary!

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We begin on Saturday! These are the cakes from which I will be choosing -- I need two for the project.

I think I'm going with 2:00 and 8:00, thus:

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I've changed my mind 100 times already (in addition to every time I'd wind a new ball), but there are a couple of reasons for this choice... I really want to knit a bunch of combos!

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Or three at a time!

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I've really been enjoying my time in the studio, and am looking forward to more -- especially as our days gradually lengthen, and then even more when I can fling open the door and expand operations to the back yard.

KNITTING:

Last night I was tired of not knitting but still not enthused about anything else, and on a whim I gathered all of my Lamb's Pride Worsted into a pile (save for two colors that just "don't go") and cast on a Log Cabin thing that will probably be a blanket. Random, I know -- I'm even using a random number generator to help with decision making. There's no pressure or deadline, and only the vaguest of plans, but I've always wanted a larger knit blanket and, mostly, I'm just very happy to finally have a plan for all of that yarn!

READING:

I am all but finished reading Tender At The Bone, by Ruth Reichl. I am really enjoying this book and will definitely seek out more of Ruth Reichl... open to your recs, if you have any!

Also, quite randomly and while waiting for an audio book on CDs from the library (seems like the dark ages and I hope I can cope), I am listening to Badass Your Brand: The Impatient Entrepreneur's Guide to Turning Expertise into Profit by Pia Silva.


Mugged

I'm a sucker for these things, so on Sunday morning I downloaded the Google Arts & Culture app (Google Play) (iTunes) to answer the pressing question of the day:

"Is your portrait in a museum?"

Well, of course I'd want to see my artistic masterpiece doppelganger! Wouldn't I??

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Haha! Mornings might not be my best time... I even put on mascara!

I kept trying... There were a fair number of not-so-attractive men, but also some interesting children and women. Here is a curated collection.

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I tried again later in the day...

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It's crazy and uncanny and a little bit weird. I've done it at various times over the past couple of days and it's pretty consistent with the results -- the same images cycle through. I'm not sure of the parameters, exactly, other than than the relationship between facial features.

That last one really resonated with me... I see my much younger self in those eyes. "Vluchtelinge" means "refugee," as far as I can tell, and the painting was done in 1910. I am learning a little bit about Arts & Culture!

I took a photo of Rusty, too, and this was among the results:

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So crazy! It blows me away!! Interestingly, that is Gerhard Richter, a German artist... Rusty, an artist, is also of German heritage.

Have you tried it? What do you think?? Are you taking selfies all day?


So, um yes...

Yes, I did knit a Pussyhat for a baby doll!

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And Snapchatted/Facebooked it, too! This is Lena, one of Maddy's American Girl Bitty Babies from back in the day.

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I used worsted weight, a 3 US needle, 72 stitches, ribbing for a dozen rows, 4" overall from brim to crown. I knit mine flat and seamed the sides; or it can be knit in the round and closed/finished however you'd like at the top. It took an evening!

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I watched Gin for a while on Friday and we had so much fun! She's such a kid now... and growing! She's not going to fit under that counter overhang anymore... she's had enough close calls (perhaps an actual bonk or two) that she ducks, now, as she goes under. I used to have a display of Depression Glass & whatnot on that little shelf... it's a perfect tot spot, though! Sneak peek* at some of the new paint!

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Ali came over with Junah after the birthday outing (which included stops for a haircut and to watch his own custom candy bar being made). I'd picked up some Valentine crafty things the other day, so the kids fooled around with that stuff. We ended up punching holes in all of the felt hearts and redecorating a wire Christmas tree that I hadn't put away yet! Jün had put pine cones and quilted stars on it for the holidays... and now I think we've slipped on that slope and will have a small seasonally decorated tree up all year!

Later, Ali sent me these:

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Ginny's fringe ! It was another pretty great weekend -- three days helped.   I hope yours was pretty great, too!

*Rusty finished all the kitchen painting over the weekend! Closet doors are back on, hardware & new electrical plates are installed... there's still the matter of the cabinet over the fridge, but we're working it out!


Right now - January

Anticipating... a super-quick weekend getaway with Rusty to celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary on the 20th! I wanted someplace warm but it couldn't be far, so we are going to a nearby spa resort hotel type of place (there's a first time for everything)... with fireplaces! And we'll each get a good, long, relaxing massage. I can feel myself loosen up a bit just thinking about it...

Cooking/Eating... Kym posted this morning about The Cooking Light 3-Day Detox that she & Tom just completed.  My comment: While I am continuing with Weight Watchers (and it is amazing how frequently my "diet/healthy" recipes get RAVES), I fell HARD off the WW wagon over the past couple of months and have struggled to get back on. Travel, holidays, birthdays, people & their crazy schedules, and WW rolling out a few changes to their program... it's been tough to pull it together and FOCUS. So I'm going to focus on doing this!

Excited about... Spending a few hours with Gin tomorrow! That hasn't happened very often, but Ali & Rod want to take Jün out for his birthday... so YAY!

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Looking forward to... Dyeing... Knitting... I am ITCHING to get some work done downstairs!  I am off tomorrow and will be prepping some yarn this evening. I will be dyeing some yarn, using a new/different (to me) process, for the MDK Parallelogram Scarf KAL that I'm doing with Mary! We're starting on January 20th and would love some company, if you're so inclined. I've had my eye on this pattern since I first laid eyes on Field Guide No. 5 | Sequences!

Organizing... Also, over the 3-day weekend, I'll be getting Christmas put away!! I wish I had it in me to REALLY organize and purge...

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Reading... I'll soon finish Tender At The Bone and intended to begin Prairie Fires next, but I think a long overdue re-read of Little House In The Big Woods will happen first. Since all of the Christmas stuff is out of the way, I was able to reach all the books at the back of the closet and fish it out.

Watching... Have you seen The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel?? We started watching a few weeks ago. I found that it's a little slow to build, and I almost lost Rusty early on, but we both stuck with it and finally finished the other night. It's funny, the clothes are INCREDIBLE, casting... Tony Shaloub, and winner of a couple of Golden Globe awards!

  1. I love Tony Shaloub and he is from Wisconsin.
  2. I didn't know that Rachel Brosnahan was also from Wisconsin, born in the same city as me, in fact... AND we went to the same grade school in Highland Park, IL (she for many grades, me for only first grade)... I mean we're practically related. Haha.

Word... I don't usually "choose a word" for the year. I tried that once. I even created a blog category for all the posts I was going to write about it... and there is ONE POST ABOUT IT. But there is a word that keeps popping up lately, multiple times a day, and that word is SLOW. As in "slow down," "slow down and focus," "you could do that if you slowed down," "you'd have to slow down..." So if I were to be choosing a word, that would probably be it.

Wondering... What's up with you right now??


Safe Travels to Maddy (again!)

She begins her way back to New Zealand this afternoon!! You can click through, below, to read her thoughts about NZ Round 2 and other things. I'm going to miss her! It's been great having her around (not to mention she re-painted 90% of my kitchen), but she won't be gone quite as long this time. And then we'll see what new adventures are afoot... I'm pretty sure that a dog will be central (she even refers to her imaginary future dog by name), no matter what!

Junah's birthday is this Friday, but we had an early celebration on Monday night so that Maddy could be a part of it, too!! (photo cred to her)

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It was SO MUCH FUN!

Oh my goodness, 4 is going to be amazing.

(That Oshkosh B'Gosh "Sgt. Pepper" zip-up sweatshirt he's wearing? KILLING ME!)


Dresses and hats, and dresses as hats

I finished another dress and top for the kids' Sleepy Kittens over the weekend.

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I used two somewhat coordinating mini-skeins, and all but used them up! I have a couple others that would work nicely, and will keep them handy... these are nice little projects for in-between and/or mindless knitting.

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The "top," above, and the "dress," below. I only did only the first set of increases for the top, but did them in the manner of the second (more spaced out), so it wouldn't be so poofy. I also do quite a few more rows of ribbing than called for.

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It just so happened that the kids & their mother picked me up on Sunday morning for a quick trip to the store, so I was able to give them their new kitty clothes. Gin had her new Bitty Baby along and we discovered that the kitten's dress can double as a hat for the doll! It's a little strange at the top, sleeves & bodice & all, but it fit! And now, perhaps a matching Pussy Hat for Bitty Baby is in the cards...


Carrying on

I had a very productive weekend that proceeded at a lovely pace. I did some things that I needed to do, I did somethings that I wanted to do, and I did somethings that flew in out left field. That is my FAVORITE kind of weekend! I feel refreshed.

Also, I slept pretty well.

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I spent a bit of time on both days getting my downstairs dye studio in order -- cleaning, assembling a shelf unit, hauling stuff down there & organizing -- and even dyed a couple of hanks. I need to get a feel for the space, equipment, and flow...

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I dragged almost everyone down to look at it, and Kate snapped a different view, shared on her IG story.

I'm itching to get back down there, but that probably won't happen until Friday!


FO: Windschief + 2017 Knitting Review

Well, I just love this little hat!

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It's my first FO -- both started & finished -- of 2018!

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Super cute. Fun & quick to knit, with the twisted rib section adding just enough to keep it interesting. I finished at Knit Night last night, and the kids just happened to be there!

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It was knit for Jün and he tried it on, but he did not want photos nor did he want to give it back! (I nabbed it later when he wasn't looking, and then Gin "volunteered" to model.)

Meanwhile, here's a snapshot of knitting accomplished in 2017:

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No one is more surprised than me that I finished 24+ items last year!

  • Two kittens
  • Two polar bears
  • Seven+ hats (some never made Ravelry)
  • One beard
  • Freak flags (double set)
  • Three cowls
  • Four shawls
  • Two pairs of mitts
  • One dress & two little sweaters for Gin (one of them started ages ago)
  • One ornament
  • One adult cardigan -- that had been in the WIP pile for almost 10 years!

(By comparison, I finished a grand total of nine items in 2016. Not my best knitting year.)

I was a fairly monogamous knitter last year, starting & completing projects in reasonable time, with focus & purpose. I think I started only three projects last year that remain unfinished: another pair of Squad Mitts, a gnome, and my Brambling Shawl. I didn't make any big plans or goals, just went with my heart... and I think I'll just stick with that!!


3TT: Changes

Joining Carole and friends again this week for Three on Thursday...

1 - At this time next week, Maddy will be winging her way to NZ for another stint at the winery! She's been staying with us since Christmas, and will head back to Milwaukee early next week so her friend can take her to O'Hare on Wednesday.

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2 - Meanwhile, she's been painting my kitchen! At one time, we were loftily thinking that she'd be able to whack out new paint jobs in both the kitchen and our living area, but hahahahahaha. Did we ever underestimate that, especially given holidays -- and some unexpected dental work. Excruciating tooth pain does not a happy painter (or daughter) make, and when said pains thwarts even NYE celebrations with friends, you know it's bad. We've never in our lives been so happy about a near-emergency root canal!

Anyway, the kitchen is almost a complete reversal -- once-maroon walls are now nearly white, and white trim/woodwork is becoming a warm dark gray. I loved my maroon kitchen, but it was time for a refresh. It's looking rather stark right now, but decor will make a big difference. (Right?)

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3 - And we're getting in all the blurry hugs & cuddles that we can!


Unraveling: From out of nowhere

Well, actually, it came from somewhere...

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Ali sent me an Instagram photo of a Windschief hat that she ran across, with a note about how great it would look on Junah, so...

I declined a movie invitation last night in favor of the opportunity to be home alone for more than :25 for the first time in ages! I knit on said hat and watched a bit of TV (catching up on the last of S1 Victoria before S2 begins)!

I have all but finished a subtly striped little kitten dress, and plan to make a shirt for the other kitten with the same yarn (and that might be the end of that... yarn).

Announced in October with seemingly all the time in the world to plot and plan, I was not able to think much about the Fringe Association Log Cabin Make-along, but I haven't given up on joining in, either! I'm thinking fingering weight scrappy cowl or infinity scarf or maybe substantial wrap. Anyway, I'm thinking...

I am about half-way through Tender At The Bone, by Ruth Reichl, and am enjoying it quite a lot! I am listening to an AARP book called Downsizing The Family Home: What To Save, What To Let Go, by Marni Jameson.

Ahem.

Oh look!

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Rusty was recently given an amaryllis and it's starting to grow! It's a bit askew & bent, but will probably straighten up a bit.


Vicki Reads

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Obviously, I did not reach my 2017 goal of 25 books. Truth be told, at 20, I didn't even match 2016!

Man, did I ever read some great books, though.

Eleven of the 20 books I read in 2017 were audio books and did I ever pick 'em -- there wasn't a dud in the bunch. I love listening to a person tell/read their own story: Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie. A cast of characters was right up my alley, too: Lincoln in The Bardo read by an amazing cast of characters! Bahni Turpin became a favorite voice early in the year, reading The Underground Railroad, and I sought her out again with Yellow Crocus (with the sequel, also read by Bahni Turpin, in the queue).

Sherman Alexie is another voice that I will seek, though I'm not quite sure where I will start. I enjoyed (not the correct word) his memoir immensely.

I read two books by Wisconsin author Michael Perry last year, including a recent re-read of Population 485 in preparation for seeing the stage production on January 26th. And I read stories about Alabama, written by Kathryn Tucker Windham (Mary's first cousin twice-removed, if I've calculated correctly), after reading about her on Mary's blog and prior to visiting that state for the first time.

The last book I read in 2017, F*ck That, was the most recently acquired, a belated birthday gift from Annie. Busy in the kitchen on Wednesday night, I enjoyed peeks at Ann & Ali as they perused & giggled... and when I heard Ali say that it reminded her of Sharon, I knew that I'd crack it open that night. Sharon could have written that book!

I've already set my 2018 goal at 25 books again, and... we'll see what happens! Happy Reading!!


Happy New Year!

That was December. It's hard to believe that all of that happened in one month!

The few days before/after Christmas were truly a blur.

The coffee shop was closed today, so I took the opportunity to spiff up my Make.Do spot:

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While the remodel was happening, Rusty re-worked that triangular wire display so that it ROTATES! I was able, then, to eliminate a couple of other display pieces and consolidate a bit. It's simpler and I like it better. Now, to get some yarn dyed & on those shelves!!

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I took a few other photos of the shop, too, which I will share (as promised), but for now, some of the collected coffee tins & pots that are used for decor. PLEE-ZING!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday!


Unraveled: In the nick of time

Joining Kat & friends again this week...

KNITTING:

On Christmas morning, I sat the kitchen table with my coffee and put the finishing touches on two Sleepy Kittens.

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Whiskers & a bright pink nose for Gin's:

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And the entire face situation for Jün's:

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Alabama Chanin's Button Craft Thread is perfect for whiskers on kittens... who knew?!

I'd finished knitting the "shirt" for Junah's kitten on Christmas Eve.

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It's a little more "ruffly" than I'd intended, but who cares? He certainly doesn't! I also ran out of a green and the lighter color of yarn, so one sleeve and a few rows at the bottom of the top are lighter green!

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  • Ravelry Project Page: Sleepy Kittens -- Gin's & Jün's
  • Pattern: Sleepy Kitten Set by Susan B. Anderson from Making No. 4 / LINES
  • Yarn: 
    • Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted for bodies
    • Leftovers of Sweet Georgia Superwash Worsted & Plymouth Galway Worsted for clothing
    • A couple of yards of pink from a Crazy Zauberball for noses
    • AC Button Craft Thread for whiskers
  • Needles:  5 US DPNs for bodies, 3 US DPNs for clothing
  • Start to Finish:  November 19-December 25, 2017
  • Mods:
    • I knit the first (Gin's) exactly as written -- except that I first made the nightie/dress too short and then just riffed the lengthening by extending the ribbing (which I actually like a lot as it helps prevent flipping up at the bottom).
    • For Jün's, I simplified the knitting-in of parts a bit by eliminating a needle (on the "held" pieces, pulling the back stitch through the front) so I could knit two stitches together from two needles instead of three stitches together from three needles.
    • Also, inspired by the too-short dress for Gin's, I striped only the legs and to the "waist" of Jün's kitten (not at all on the arms) and knit a separate top.

I am currently working on making additional kitten clothing!

READING:

I received some books from my Amazon Wish List for Christmas!

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In addition to Handcrafted Bitters from Ali, there was Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder from Rusty, and Slow Stitch: Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art from Kate.

I am looking forward to all of those books, but I am still enjoying Tender At The Bone, by Ruth Reichl. Hopefully, there will be a bit more time for reading now that holiday madness is winding down!

I will finish listening to You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, by Sherman Alexie, today! This was an amazing book, and I'm sorry that I was unaware of Sherman Alexie last spring when he was one of the featured authors at Green Bay's inaugural UntitledTown Book & Author Festival.

How are things going with you? Are you reclaiming some knitting/reading time??


Happy Birthday!

It's a little hard to believe... no, it is 100% COMPLETELY INCREDIBLY MIND-BOGGLINGLY HARD TO BELIEVE... this this guy is 70 years old today!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I'm dreaming about recreating this photo sometime!
(I like to call it "Rusty Relaxed"!) (I was also relaxed. Haha.)

Happy Birthday, Rusty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


On Christmas Eve 1912

...in Mason City, Iowa, this first child, Virginia, was delivered to Mary & Clifford.

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Grandma and her brothers - Charles, Harold & Robert -- at the farm in Wood County

My dad was born in Iowa in 1883. After graduating from high school he left the farm to work on the railroad. When he met my mother he was a train conductor on a route serving Northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota.

My mother was born in Minnesota in 1884. She graduated from Teacher's College and taught grade school in Southern Minnesota.

Traveling by train to visit relatives in Iowa, she was attracted to the handsome, helpful conductor. She had a cheerful personality (perhaps even a bit flirtatious) to break the studious, reserved nature of my dad. Her trips to visit relatives became more frequent as they began dating at both ends of the line.

So, on January 1, 1912, they were married.

My earliest memories began with the train rides I loved (and still do)! My mother had a pass and we took frequent short trips on my dad's line. The birth of brothers, Charles in 1914 and Harold in 1915, meant the end of those trips. The growing family also stirred a restlessness and desire to raise their family in the country, as they had both experienced in their childhood.

Thus, the move to the Wisconsin woods in the autumn of 1916. I don't know how they ever found this patch of woods on a little hill in Wood County!

How exhausted Mother and Dad must have been at the end of that day-long drive in the old Studebaker! The last turn up the hill was rough, muddy ruts and I've been told that this 3-year-old was screaming! I am sorry now to remember that in my early years I was probably a difficult child -- e.g. when I tagged along to the barn, observed where milk came from, and thereafter refused to drink it. Likewise, my witness to the source of eggs! And you know I still don't drink milk or eat eggs, except as camouflaged in other foods.

excerpted from my grandmother's 2001 memoir, "A Look Back"

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I'd sure love to share some eggs & milk -- camouflaged as a birthday cake -- with you today, Grandma!! I sure do miss you. Happy 105th Birthday!


Smitten with the kittens

A blurry screen shot from yesterday's 1SE video taken at Knit Night, having just attached at the head of Kitten #2.

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I didn't have the right colors with me, so I started his shirt when I got home. These guys are so flippin' cute! I can't wait to finish their faces.

In other news:

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Yesterday -- December 21st


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Today - December 22nd

The difference is almost imperceptible -- but a difference there is!! It's been overcast here and we've even had a little bit of snow -- not the 12" hinted at earlier in the week (thank god)! I'd love a good snow storm (and possible snow day) but not right before Christmas with all the travel headaches that would cause. The contingent from Spain will be winging their way west tomorrow morning, spending Christmas in Madison and coming up here mid-week or so.

It's been a crazy couple of months but it's coming together -- even if that means taking over a table at the coffee shop this morning and filling last-minute gift bags for co-workers on the spot! I'm working for most of the day today, then off for three... I'm really looking forward to next week, when I'll be off Thursday to Monday!

How's it going for you??


3TT: The Randomness of Crazy Days!

It's a two-fer on 3TT because... CRAZY DAYS! Joining Carole and friends again this week for Three on Thursday...

ONE:

We attended the official ceremony to open our city's new fire station yesterday. It.did.not.disappoint!!

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It was a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing, and I've been looking forward to it for weeks!! Honor Guard, bagpipes, ceremonial hose uncoupling and fire engine push-back. It did not disappoint. Our new firehouse is gorgeous, and very visible in the community. Jün had to use the restroom at one point, so we got a little sneak peek all our own before the official open house craziness began. There are a couple of display cases in the reception area full of fire-related antiques and memorabilia. So cool!!

TWO:

Also, yesterday, the "new" sink for my dye studio was delivered!

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Not much has been happening down there yet, as Rusty's been busy doing some work for my stepdad at Mom's house to get ready for Christmas visitors. Soon, we will begin work on this (and on rebuilding the cupboard above the fridge)!

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Meanwhile, plants are happy!

THREE:

Junah came down to admire the sink with me and all of a sudden I heard him talking very excitedly about a tiny 'barrow! Ooops!! I forgot about that! We went back upstairs but he was not going to forget that he'd seen that little wheelbarrow! He started putting on shoes and gloves, talking about filling it up with dirt -- and WALNUTS - but snow, so we'd have to shovel that off first... and let's go get it...

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Luckily, he was OK with just shoveling some crusty snow off of the pergola deck and dumping it elsewhere! And now the 'barrow resides in the shed, leaned up right by Grandpa's! Realizing that I'm not Santa, so this is not as terrible as it might have been, I told him that it was supposed to be a Christmas present from us! Haha. I'll still clean it up and put a bow on it for Christmas... and luckily, he didn't see any of the other presents hidden down in the basement!


Unraveling: Kitten knittin'

I'm a day late, but still joining Kat & friends again this week...

KNITTING:

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There's still some work to do!

I started Jün's "Sleepy Kitten" on Sunday. As far as knitted toys go, this is one of the best patterns I've tried. I've made a couple of simple mods to make the knitting up even easier, but the biggest modification is that instead of entirely striping legs, body & arms (to mimic PJs), I've striped only the legs and the lower body, and will knit a separate shirt! That idea came to me when I mistakenly knit the dress for Gin's kitten too small at first. And because I knew Junah would have fun with a removable piece of clothing!

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Gin's sleepy little kitten -- still in need of a nose!

READING:

You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, by Sherman Alexie, is going down as one of my favorite books of the year! I'll finish this book/listen in the next day or two, for sure.

I finished reading Population 485 on Sunday morning, waiting for Jün to wake up. It was as bittersweet & heartbreaking as I remembered.

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Participating with some friends again for the 3rd Annual Icelandic Christmas Book & Chocolate Swap (aka, Jólabókaflóð), my parcel arrived on Monday and the timing couldn't have been better! The rule at our house has always been that presents the arrive in the mail can be opened immediately... and so I did! New on my nightstand (but a long-time entry on my Goodreads list) is Tender At The Bone, by Ruth Reichl, compliments of Nancy. I will save the chocolate, though, for Christmas Eve, and savor every bite -- it actually came from Iceland! Nancy recently visited relatives there.


Year In Review: 2017

Wow. It's that time again!

As I have done sometime in December for quite a few years (since 2006?!): Year In Review.

I do it in words (the first sentence of the first post of each month) and in pictures (a favorite posted photo from each month) -- the two are not necessarily related.

January 2017:

Another reader in the making. Books, books, books!

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February 2017:

(Dear February,) I don't usually look to you for comfort, inspiration, warmth... or sunshine... but, boy, I sure could use all of that and more right now.

02-February

March 2017:

(Wow. Wow. Wow.) I left Green Bay on Tuesday - Fat Tuesday - bound for New Orleans, with a stop in Chicago. 

03-March

April 2017:

Obviously, sewing buttons on a handknit baby sweater is way more fun than working on taxes.

04-April

May 2017:

In the bizarre, I assisted with some unplanned car buying last week.

05-May

June 2017:

(Dear June,) Yeah, well, I'm glad you're here.

06-June

July 2017:

We bid fare-thee-wells on Tuesday morning, sending Ann & family off to work/school.

07-July

August 2017:

(Unraveled Wednesday) Literally, on Tuesday afternoon.

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September 2017:

We arrived in St. Louis late Saturday morning, and our first stop was for food!

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October 2017:

On Friday night, we bit the bullet and finally ordered a new fridge!

10-October

November 2017:

(KNITTING.) I mentioned the Stillness Collection a little over a month ago; I'd ordered it, and have since received it

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December 2017:

Anticipating... a fun, long(er)(than last time) weekend in St. Louis with Kate! 

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I'm sure I must say it every year: I can't quite believe the year is almost over!


Weekending...

Ali dropped Jün off on Saturday evening, and I returned him almost 24 hours later.

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Left to his own devices... 10.5 hours of snooze time!

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His new favorite place is perched on the arm of my recliner, right next to my table of treasures -- scissors, cases, measuring tapes, stitch markers, knitting needles, tools, bits of yarn, patterns -- it is endless and fascinating to an almost 4yo.

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We had a great time doing all sorts of things, including watching holiday shows (Thomas the Tank Engine and Mickey Mouse), doing laundry (he's great at matching socks!), and putting some finishing touches on the Christmas tree.


Seven

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In order: Vicki, Sharon & Karen (The Twins), [Michael, not pictured], Ann

Missing you, my seestor Sharon. Seven years... that's just crazy. Love you, miss you, thinking of you... today and everyday and always.