Dear April,

I can't wait to see you on Saturday!! There's always so much happening with you, not the least of which are BIRTHDAYS, including those of all three of my girls!! This year, you have Easter, too, which is also Alison's birthday... so I found the magazine clipping with the Bunny Cake that I made for her in 1995, and will be making it again.

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Twister!!

No pressure or anything, but March was kind of a big let-down in the weather department, and I'm hoping you'll shine a bit more. I know that spring is a transition time and it's Wisconsin and blahblahblah -- it would have been nice to just have a couple of nice days in a row out of 31. I'll bet you can do better... I know you have it in you.

After trips to Florida in January, and New Orleans in February-into-March, I'm staying put in April (and May, too). I'm looking forward to spending some quality time at home -- sprucing up, fixing up, cleaning up (and out). Change is afoot!

And I'm really looking forward to spending some time outside, watching the yard & garden come alive, and getting out with the kids.

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Speaking of whom, I watched them for a couple of hours yesterday and -- WOW -- it's nonstop fun & energy. Also, lots of following Gin up the stairs.

Anyway, after I finish the dreaded and extremely distasteful task that is taxes -- which, obviously, I've been avoiding (...sort of; I've been doing a lot of tax-related stuff for others) -- I hope to continue finding time for reading and knitting and sewing, too!

I'd like to get at least one more Gingeranium Dress made, and continue sewing/cutting the Alabama Chanin Magdalena A-line Tunic that I started late last summer. And I just cast on Summer Camp with a couple of the hanks I dyed the other day.

Let's have a creative, fun, productive 30 days, shall we? With some nice weather, too??

Love, Vicki

P.S. This is my 3,000th blog post!! They're not all published posts, but still... Wow.

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FO: Squad II

It seems like a little FO parade happening over here! I realized that never blogged these finished Squad Mitts.

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I never noticed that I screwed up the thumbs until I gave them a bath and pinned them down! My knitwear model never noticed, either, until I pointed it out. They don't feel funny or weird... I can't even explain how it happened. Kate's absconded with them and I haven't heard any complaints about it, so I haven't fixed it, either! I've one more pair of these underway, at about the half-way mark (i.e., one mitt is nearly done).


FO: Mignon

I can't even remember when I started knitting this little sweater. It's been finished -- except for the button -- for a long, long time.

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  • Ravelry Project Page: Mignon
  • Pattern: Mignon by Loop London
  • Yarn:
    • Make.Do Dream DK Superwash (I think)
  • Needles:  US 5 (I think)
  • Start to Finish:  March 26, 2015 - March 26, 2017 (that's a guess)

Whatever the yarn, it's incredibly soft and squishy! And I know I was looking for a one-skein project.

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Close up, the button isn't a perfect match, but it works from normal viewing distance!! Of course, Gin is great motivation for finishing a project like this -- and a little shrug is nice for spring! There's potential for years of wear with a garment like this.

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I promise there will be better photos at a future date, but here are the first that Ali sent me of Gin wearing her Geranium Dress.

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It's a perfect fit! I can't wait to make another. Li'l Gingeranium!!


Weekending

I thought that I'd finish knitting Gin's In Threes on Friday night while I watched some basketball. Alas, the game demanded all of my attention, eventually ending in a one-point at-the-buzzer OT heartbreak for the Badgers, and by then my energy was completely sapped (plus, it was getting late).

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So I finished on Saturday night, instead, and gave it a bath yesterday. I haven't had a chance yet to root around for buttons.

I finally found made some time for dyeing on Saturday!

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I played around a bit, had a request for red, never intentionally dyed a basic black before, and love the blue-green-gold combo, so there's "Playful," "Red," "Basic Black," and "Aegean." I dropped off 2-4 hanks of each at the coffee shop on my way to work today.

I had a nice chat with Annie on Sunday morning. She said that the redbuds are blooming in Valencia; I said, "Send me a picture!"

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This is just one tree! There are rows of them lining the street in some places. We had such a dreary, gray & wet weekend, it was really nice to see some color!


Reading update

I finished listening to a book on my way to work today, and that put me back on track for hitting my Goodreads goal of reading 25 books this year!

Read - 3-24

Finished Audio:

Finished Pages:

Currently:

On Deck/On The Way:

I tend to choose fairly long audio books (10-12 hours), but Exit West is only about 4 hours and I should be listening to Lincoln in the Bardo before too long! I fell in love with Bahni Turpin's voice, listening to her read The Underground Railroad -- so much that I looked up what other books she's read -- and added a few to my Wish List. I'm so thankful to know so many book lovers -- I'm always adding books to the list!!

I hope you have a great weekend! I'm going to try to do some reading, knitting, and dyeing. What do you have planned?


Through the window

Six years ago today, we were on pins & needles over a band of snow & flight schedules. Eventually (and determined), we gave up on catching the local connector flight and drove ourselves out of that band of snow and down to Chicago to catch our outbound flight to Heathrow... and our England-Scotland-Wales adventure!

Oh, what an adventure it was!

I'd scheduled a dye workshop at Old Maiden Aunt in West Kilbride toward the end of our time in Scotland, and looked forward to it the whole time (my one real fibery thing on that trip).

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This was the view from inside Lilith's shop. Since then, Old Maiden Aunt has relocated to a different studio! So even if I visited again, the view would be different both from her new studio and from this one.

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It's been almost 6 years since I looked out this window, and it isn't likely that it'll ever happen again -- or, if it does, it won't look exactly like this.

Ah, Scotland! 

I am currently awaiting the arrival of Lilith's new book, Coming Home! It should be here any day now.

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FO: Hyacinthus Armwarmers (aka, Frenchy Mitts)

A Year of Techniques (#1): Helical stripes!

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These are my Frenchy mitts. I purchased the yarn in New Orleans' French Quarter at The Quarter Stitch, and did much of the knitting while watching Versailles on Netflix.

(I really enjoyed Versailles the TV show, by the way -- it's absolutely gorgeous -- and now I really want to visit Versailles the Palace! I've never had a burning desire to go visit France before.)

Helical stripes! It's the most magical, wonderful way to knit stripes in the round!

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I am very happy with these and love the neutral colorway. Now that we've crossed the threshold into Spring, though, I'd like to think there won't be reason to wear them for several months.


Weekending: Happy Spring!!

I walked up to the coffee shop yesterday morning and spotted this on a sidewalk block out front.

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Spring is in the air! And oh so very WELCOME!!

And also to you... Whether you've been more or less reading since I began this blog on the First Day of Spring 13 years ago, or just landed here today... you are WELCOME and I THANK YOU!! I never imagined that blogging would bring so much to my life, but the friends I've made because of it are some of the best of my life. I've learned, grown, traveled, laughed, cried, quit smoking, and accomplished so much more because of it. I just can't imagine what my life would be like right now if I'd never begun typing...

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I took it pretty easy over the weekend, leaving the house only once for the afore-mentioned walk and late yesterday to the grocery store. I did a little bookkeeping, helped Kate finish her taxes...

My main project was a new dress for Gin!

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I just loved the little flower fabric to line the bodice, and decided to use it for contrasting patch pockets, too!

I went back and forth about snaps vs. buttons. It's been a while since I've done either, and was having a hard time remembering exactly how to do snaps... so decided on and chose some cute vintage buttons. Then I grabbed some fabric to make a few practice buttonholes and discovered that there's a problem -- some gears or cams are not quite right because it goes up on one side and down on the same side. I suppose I could have manually shifted the fabric, but that's just asking for trouble. I really wanted to finish this dress, though, so went back to the snaps and figured it out!

While there are a few sleeve variations included with the pattern, the cap sleeve is probably my favorite!

I've had the fabric for just over a year. I fell in love with it when I saw it in an Instagram post, tracked it down and located a source or two, and bought both woven and knit yardage -- this is the first thing I've made with it!

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The kids were over for a while on Sunday afternoon. Gin's hair is getting long!!  ;)

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Jun was a bundle of energy -- and imagination (with an assist from Aunt Kate)!!

How was your weekend??


Randomly on a Friday!!

ShamrockFirst of all, HAPPY ST. PADDY'S DAY!!

Secondly, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my brother MICHAEL!!

Thirdly, HAPPY 12TH QUIT-IVERSARY to ANN, CLAIRE, my sis KAREN, and ME!!

Now then...

Remember on Christmas Eve when I did a little sewing (like you do?)?

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I finally finished the last panel on Wednesday, possibly definitely while procrastinating about another task. Whatever. I'm so happy to have that project done, and I love how it turned out!

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The -10 lb milestone was indeed achieved this week! One of the things I've found helpful is the new Weight Watchers website and app and, in particular, the recipes I've found there. There hasn't been a dud among them! I'd run across a few "soup for one" and "soup in a jar" recipes that I'd wanted to try, and finally did that this week. This one is a mash-up of a couple because of what I had...

Chicken e Pasta e Fagiole Soup for One

2 tsp. reduced sodium chicken base
2 oz. cooked chicken breast
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/2 cup shredded carrots (uncooked)
1/4 cup cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
1/2 oz. fresh fettuccine, chopped

Layer ingredients in a pint-size mason jar. Close jar & refrigerate until ready to use.

Fill jar with boiling water (about 2 cups). Stir well, until soup base is dissolved. Close jar and let sit for 3-5 minutes.

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That's a quick, make-ahead, 4 SP lunch! Actually the one you're looking at is more like 7 SP because I accidentally quadrupled the amount of pasta!! Ooops. It was hearty!

Look at THIS:

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Spring is volatile in NE Wisconsin. According to Intellicast, the record high for the last half of the month is 81F on March 27th (2007), and the low is -5 on March 24th (1974). The average is about mid-40s and we've been well below that, but thankfully there's been some sunshine (not today... gigantic flakes of snow fell on me this morning).

Last but not least (definitely the cutest)...

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After I finished sewing the curtain and going out for lunch, then finally buckling down to do the task I'd been avoiding, I spent an hour or so watching these two on Wednesday evening. Instant mood lifter!! That arm around Gin... killing me!! The emotional growth and awareness that Jun's been displaying... also killing me!! I can tell that he's starting to think about things -- cause, effect, consequence -- and modifying his behavior (trying, at least!).

One of the sweetest moments was just before I got ready to leave. Ali was changing Gin on the bed, Jun was there too, and Ali was talking to me about Gin's little rash. Jun rolls over, puts his hand on Gin's chest, and sweetly asks, "Does that hurt you, Gin? Does that hurt?"

And now killing you, too! Haha! Have a great weekend!


Who are you?

I've been pretty busy and/or under the weather and/or grumpy and/or uninspired, so didn't really think too much about today's Think Write Thursday topic about heritage -- Irish or otherwise.

Then I read this sentence in Carole's post and laughed out loud:

As a researcher once told Dale when he was trying to prove that he is a Mayflower descendant – if you look too closely into this you might find out your family story is wrong.

My comment:

Haha! Yeah. Grandma always talked about a great uncle who’d done the research and traced back to Sir Francis Drake… but, um, I acquired a copy of his research and it was Sir Barnard Drake… CLOSE but no cigar (definitely a sailor, but kin?)! I still have a soft spot for Sir Francis, tho.

I've been involved in family history research for almost as long as I can remember, more -- particularly in the years immediately following the birth of a child -- or less. The aforementioned Grandma Blum was supportive and helpful (oh, I miss her!). I had a subscription to Ancestry.com back in the days of dial-up modems and was equally excited and frustrated when things like census images began to be available for online viewing. Excited because YAY, frustrated because DIAL-UP! OMG, I would finally get a page to load and then zoom in and/or move the page and it was pure AGONY to wait while it reloaded... you had time to go to the bathroom or throw in a load of laundry while you waited!

Now it's easy -- sometimes too easy, I fear. There's a lot of inaccurate information out there with no research or sources to back it up, and people willing to accept it. I know first-hand how important it is to DO THE RESEARCH... follow the trail, don't settle. As I recently remarked to a friend who was exasperated with the repetition of given names in her research:

I have a bunch of Peters. Peter and his son Peter and his son Peter and... there was even, in one family, a son Peter who died at a young age so another son was named Peter and, just in case (?) ANOTHER son was also named Peter! I found them referred to as Peter Jr. and Peter Jr. II on land documents!! Muddying the waters even further, brothers Jr. & Jr. II's wives were SISTERS!!

I'd originally thought that Peter Jr. married Eva, then, after Eva's death, her sister Mary... NOPE. Two brothers, both named Peter, married sisters Eva & Mary.

Later, Peter & Eva's sons -- John, Paul, Jake & Peter (of course) -- married sisters Bena, Tilly, Lillian & Rose. John & Bena were my great grandparents.

Anyway, there's a lot of English and German -- I've always thought more German. I've made Grandma Koenig's Apple Kuchen recipe since I was able to slice apples, and her dumplings, as made by my Aunt Arlene... well, it's been years and I still remember how delicious they were (my mother never made them). Her mother had come from Germany as a young girl and never spoke English. I made sauerkraut and pickles with my dad, and I ate Grandma's sulze with Grandpa Blum (learning that at butchering time, nothing was left to waste!). Grandpa Blum's family arrived in New York from Germany in 1855; Grandma's family from England before the Revolution.

A couple of years ago, for Christmas, Rusty & I each spit in a tube and sent them off to Ancestry DNA.

Here's my snapshot:

Ethnicity

My ethnicity estimate shows:

  • Great Britain - 69%
  • Europe East - 13%
  • Europe West - 5%
  • Italy/Greece - 6%
  • Scandinavia - 2%
  • European Jewish - 2%
  • Finland/Northwest Russia - <1%
  • Caucasus - <1%
  • Middle East - <1%

Rusty's, on the other hand:

  • Ireland - 32%
  • Great Britain - 27%
  • Europe West - 20%
  • Scandinavia - 15%
  • Europe East - 5%
  • Finland/Northwest Russia - <1%

So, I guess, kiss HIM! He's a bit more Irish!! 

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Right now!

Anticipating... Two weeks One week (time flies!) 'til the First Day of Spring!! I'm doubtful that it'll actually feel like spring, but we march on.

Celebrating... Major progress on a big catch-up job! I "celebrated" yesterday by clearing the Christmas detritus, among other things, off my worktable. There's more to do in both of these areas. Moving forward.

Drinking... Tea -- gigantic mugs of Tazo ZEN, and a daily SPORTea from the coffee shop. Also Campari-Orange -- with splashes of gin and club soda.

Eating... We're still cooking at home. I can't remember the last time we went out! I've found some really good recipes on the Weight Watchers site (and am also right around -10 lbs right now).

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Enjoying... This lovely African violet that Rusty picked up on a whim the other day. It's on the kitchen table cheering everyone up!

Hoping... that the tax thing isn't too brutal this year. With the political shit storm happening right now, the task is even more distasteful than usual. What am I paying for...?

Knitting... Helical stripes! I'm on mitt #2. There's also a gnome on the needles, two polar bears with one eye between them (finally getting ready to embroider some eyes). Truth be told, there's an overwhelming jumble (okay, teetering pile) of knitting on my table that's needs attention -- at least two half-finished hats, the remains of several finished projects, and I just don't even know...

Looking forward to... Spain. I'm so happy that we'll be there to help celebrate Mack's 12th birthday!! Las Fallas is gearing up in Valencia now and Ann has been posting the most amazing pictures of light displays and things happening in the city! One of these years, it would be fun to visit during that time. It's so incredibly beautiful... and it all goes up in smoke!

Planning... Guest room renovation... and whole-house shaping up/clearing out! Watch for it this summer.

 

Reading... Roughneck Grace by Michael Perry (pages), The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (ears).

Sewing... Well, my first attempt at an Alabama Chanin-style dress for Gin was a bust, but I'm ready to try again! Kym was kind enough to share a couple of inspiring Pins with me and now I'm jazzed again. Gin's 1st birthday is coming up in May, and I think I'll shoot for that.

Watching... Marcella. Intense!

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Remembering... Just last week, when I arrived for work at 7 a.m. and it was light in the sky! Thankfully, it will soon come again. (Not a fan of DST.)

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


New tricks!

Rooting around for some travel knitting that would be suitable to take on the plane, I wasn't really coming up with anything that wasn't at a fussy stage (project-of-the-moment on long, straight, aluminum needles gets packed in the checked bag or left behind).

The first pattern for A Year of Techniques was set for release on March 1st, and though I hadn't yet signed up, all of a sudden I had a yearning for knowledge! I knew the March project required a Zauberball and a set of DPNs, both of which I already had... ready, set, go!

The pattern is Hyacinthus Armwarmers by Jen Arnall-Culliford and the technique is helical stripes -- knitting spiraling stripes in-the-round. No jog!

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That's neither the Zauberball that I had in mind nor the needles that I began with! My Zauberball was pink & green & white... great colors, but not what I want for armwarmers. Instead, I found a great neutral colorway called DOMINO while I was at The Quarter Stitch in New Orleans. Also, because I know that my knitting is tight on DPNs, I decided to go up a needle size... but my knitting is different with these stripes... so I ended up ripping it all out and beginning again with a size smaller. I like it much better.

Helical stripes! I want to knit them all day! That little bit of yarn is to hold the thumb stitches, and that's my next step. I'm just letting the yarn flow as it may, so sometimes it's more contrasty and other times there's some muddy water.

I think I'm going to use that original pink/green/white colorway to make a helical striped hat for Gin!

 


Dear March,

We're over a week in already! I spent the better part of the first week in New Orleans, having a blast with my sister. It's a good thing, too, because -- though there are some lovely things to celebrate this month -- it's mostly going to be about nose-to-the-grindstone work of one sort or another, almost all of it leading to TAXES.

I can tell you that I'm really looking forward to the coming weekend. When my day off is on a Monday instead of the usual Wednesday, it sure is a long ways 'til Saturday!

I am looking forward to Daylight Savings Time -- well, not really, but if we have to play around with the clocks, I like the "springing forward" a lot more than the "falling back."

Book Club is coming up in the middle of the month. We read (I listened to) When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Heartbreaking, sad, beautiful, uplifting.

My brother's birthday is on St. Patrick's Day, my 13th blogiversary on the First Day of Spring (YAY!!), and an overdue hair appointment a couple of days later (my hair is getting super long) (and also, I've noticed, a bit more "shimmery") (you might call it "gray"). Heh.

And, March, you're also all about The Quit. I smoked my last cigarette close to midnight on March 17, 2005, then tore up the rest and threw them in the trash. The End.

I can't believe it's been a dozen years! And with numbers like those... well, let's just say that I'm more than happy to be spending that money on DOING things and GOING places these days rather than turning it into ash & trash. (And remind myself of that whenever I might begin to feel a little guilty about so much doing and going on).

And, SPRING!! I know you, March, you are volatile. Here in NE Wisconsin, I've experienced everything from blizzards and ice storms, to 70s and bare-toe days over the years. It's looking pretty chilly in the current forecast, and it sure has been windy and dramatic these past few days, but also very beautiful.

I'll take whatever you've got, March. Let's do this!!

Love, Vicki


The Big Easy

Wow. Wow. Wow.

I left Green Bay on Tuesday - Fat Tuesday - bound for New Orleans, with a stop in Chicago. It was very foggy in Green Bay and there was a lot of turbulence on the first leg of my trip. (I learned that later flights from Green Bay that day had been cancelled.) I don't know if the pilots tried to get around it, or what, but we ended up arriving at O'Hare 15 minutes late and I had less than an hour to make my connection to begin with -- others had even less time. Anyway, I wasn't the only one sprinting through the airport -- luckily, the shuttle was perfectly timed -- and I made it! The waiting area was empty, the sign said "final boarding," and I was the last one to get on the plane. Whew!

I arrived in New Orleans at around 3 p.m. and took a cab from the airport to Ann's Airbnb in the Warehouse District. It was too late to see any parades, though I did see some floats on the freeway (with people still on board) from the taxi. I had a few minutes to kill before Annie could leave her conference, so found a nice place nearby and sat down for a beer. It was 80F outside, so a little sit down with cold refreshment was quite welcome.

Back at the Airbnb, we put our feet up for a few minutes and contemplated options for dinner. We ended up at Restaurant August, on the recommendation of one of Ann's friends. It was a lovely dinner in a beautiful space. We (and everyone who dined there that evening) were served a special dish to welcome us -- the most unusual and amazing brown butter custard, topped with cauliflower puree, with a crispy/roasted bit of cauliflower on top of that, all served in an eggshell and presented in an egg cup. It was just a spoonful or two or three, and so unusual not to mention delicious. Ann & I split a hot appetizer on the recommendation of our waiter (we'd been considering only cold options) - potato gnocchi with blue crab, black truffle & parmesan (turns out, I like truffles just not truffle oil) (same thing with almonds vs. almond extract); our entrees were "breaded" flounder with wild mushrooms, shrimp & crab fat, and roasted Mangrove snapper with tasso crab rice & pepper roasted oyster; for dessert we split grapefruit Pavolva with pistachio meringues, local honey (from an apiary on the "north shore" -- of what, I asked -- of Lake Pontchartrain), and rosemary ice cream. Oh, and cocktails! Mine was The Girl from Ipanema (cachaca, oolong tea, lemon, vanilla & sparkling wine) and Ann's was La Pasion Caliente (Cabeza tequila, lime, cilantro, jalapeno & passionfruit). That's a meal to remember!

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And then... BOURBON STREET!! I don't have a lot to say about that -- it was crazy, packed, and fun. Not my normal kind of scene but, you know, when in Rome... or New Orleans!

Ann still had a conference day on Wednesday, so I had the day to myself... and a plan.

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I took a walk down Magazine Street to Stein's Deli, recommended by Mary on an earlier post, grabbing a coffee at French Truck Coffee on the way.

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Seriously, the internet -- whether a blog or Facebook or Instagram -- is just the best thing these days when a person is traveling and looking for recommendations. I was not disappointed -- Stein's was amazing. I took a number of panoramic photos on the trip, and this was the first from my seat at Stein's, awaiting my delicious turkey sandwich. Atmosphere and people watching... where it's at!

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From Stein's, it was a just a little slide to the left on my way back for a stop at the Needlework Vault. That was a fun shop -- three very chatty ladies, one of whom was formerly a policewoman and a story or two about Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street. I found a little yarn and also a small New Orleans-themed cross-stitch chart.

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On the way home, I spotted the unmistakable triangular tip of a shawl draped over the back of a chair on the monument above and, of course, needed to investigate further! Turns out, I was in Margaret Square, admiring the lovely shawl (and amazing hairstyle) of Margaret Haughery, known as "The Bread Woman of New Orleans" and "Mother of Orphans," among other things.

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Did I mention the weather? Wednesday was also 80F with the dew point at 72! I took my second shower of the day before noon!! Then I walked up a flight of stairs to the roof where I took this 360 panorama of the view. You can see the Crescent City Connection right about in the middle. The "mushroom" building that appears on each side of the photo is called Plaza Tower, and has been vacant & unused since 2002. It's a bit of an eyesore -- okay, fine, it's downright ugly -- full of toxic mold and asbestos.

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We hoofed it everywhere, as neither of us rented a car and, as established, it was 80 degrees on Wednesday & I'd already taken two showers, so I decided to explore my transportation options before heading out again, and settled on mass transit. Bus and trolley stops were nearby, plus there was an app and a $3 day pass. I hopped a trolley and set out for the French Quarter -- destination The Quarter Stitch. That's a lovely shop and, of course, I found a few more things to buy -- including a souvenir fleur-de-lis needle gauge, some 8" US 2 DPNs, and a Crazy Zauberball.

Yes! I jumped! Thanks to Mason-Dixon Knitting and A Year of Techniques, I am knitting helical stripes. (More about that later... it's so cool!)

I hopped a trolley for the return trip, but my inexperience as a user of mass transit showed as I missed my stop and, la-di-da-di-da, ended up riding to the end of the line! I hopped off and got back on and was only 40+/- stops and an hour late meeting Ann. It was a nice main-drag tour of the Garden District, though!

We'd planned to go to a concert at Lafayette Square on Wednesday evening, but nothing was happening when we showed up -- it's possible that it was cancelled due to the threat of thunderstorms. It's not like you can't find music & food in New Orleans... so we did a quick little search and ended up at Killer Poboys at Erin Rose. Hello yum.

We also did some club-hopping and dancing! I may even have had a seat on the "LOVE TRAIN" that snaked through Fat Catz...

Thankfully, Thursday dawned much cooler and less humid. We'd wanted to go on a tour of some sort, and decided on bikes. Andrew was our most excellent (and truthful) guide on the Queen of the South tour at FreeWheelin' Bike Tours - a little bit of history, a little bit of architecture, a whole lotta fun.

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From the moment I knew I was going to New Orleans, I knew I wanted to eat at Emeril's -- it makes me think of Maddy because she was such a fan of his TV show -- and that's where we had reservations for dinner on Thursday evening. It was just a bit more casual than Restaurant August, which suited us, but the service was just as fine or better -- Herman & Tim stood out and were most helpful & attentive. Ann & I shared Emeril's New Orleans BBQ Shrimp appetizer (served with a delicious petite rosemary biscuit), Ann had drum and I had swordfish, and it was free banana cream pie day, so we split that for dessert. Oh, cocktails: I had the "Grasshopper" -- not the ice cream version -- it was made with Hendrick's gin, cucumber water, lime juice, wheatgrass, and jalapeno simple syrup (yes, it had some zip!), and Ann had a Moscow Mule (she'd never had one before).

We hung out a little closer to home that night, having a beverage and then catching a free comedy show at The Howlin' Wolf.

We started slowly on Friday. Ann had to deal with a little stomach bug in the wee hours of the morning, and thankfully that's all it was. Eventually, we headed out for beignets!!

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And a really good sandwich, too, but BEIGNETS... at Cafe Beignet! We went to the Royal Street location because if it's good enough for Alton Brown... oh, so yummy.

Ann had an order from Addy in Spain for Cheez-Its, so we were in need of a grocery store... we contemplated taking Lyft to a big box store, but prices were still pretty jacked and those would be some pretty expensive crackers! We stopped and asked a pedicab driver if there were any full-size grocers nearby and we ended up getting a ride to Rouse's. She stocked up on things like peanut butter, cereal, and snacks (I'd already fulfilled an order for a couple bottles of maple syrup), and then we carried it all back to our flat -- stopping for refreshment on the way!

Our final restaurant destination was Peche on Friday evening. This was the most casual of our "fine dining" establishments. We'd been shown directly to our tables at Restaurant August and at Emeril's, and made it a point to arrive early at Peche in order to enjoy the scene and a drink at the bar. I had a delicious cocktail called Morris Day (Nolet's dry gin, thyme, grapefruit, lemon & tonic) and Ann had the Gintilly Shakedown (Hendrick's gin, ginger, cucumber, lemon & cava). Actually, I had two.

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And oysters!! I'd never had raw oysters before... so that was interesting, and good! Meanwhile, Ann had struck up a conversation with the woman sitting next to her and we got on so well that we invited her to join us for dinner. Turns out she's originally from Michigan, is a knitter and omni-crafter, and her husband was our bartender! We chatted & laughed & ate the most amazing food -- a collection of shared small plates including steak tartar, caviar, snapper collar, fish sticks, and tuna spread. And also wine.

Ann and I talked about going out for a bit more music & dancing, but we were pooped by the time we got back...

And I had to be curb-side, waiting for my cab, at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday morning! Ann's departure was a bit later, but she had a lot of packing to do.

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When I checked in at the airport in New Orleans, there was a message at check-in that the flight from Chicago to Green Bay was overbooked and I had the option of possibly taking a later flight in return for a voucher. And that's exactly what I did. I had knitting, an audio book, and all day. I was more than happy to take a travel voucher (and a few meal vouchers) in exchange for my seat!

Too early to return? There's SO MUCH left to do!! We didn't go to a single museum and didn't hear nearly enough music!

Meanwhile, Ann informed me that next year's conference is in Nashville! And as I spent the day at O'Hare, Kate was busy booking our flights to SPAIN!!

What's that they say??   A rolling stone gathers no moss...


FO: Project Peace Cowl

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Knitting in the round on a circular needle is my least favorite way to knit. I loved the whole idea behind this project, but didn't have any "peaceful feelings" about making it until it was suggested that the pattern be modified. Of course!

I did a few calculations and ended up provisionally casting on 45 stitches, working a 3-stitch I-cord in contrasting color on each side of the 39-row pattern. I knit and knit and knit -- 210 pattern repeats, and finished with a 3-needle bind off.

It turned out quite nice. I might have made it a little wider and/or a little shorter, but it makes a nice couple of nice loops 'round my neck right now, and I love the colors.

_ _ _ _ _

Hey, it's FRIDAY!! I woke up this morning to snow mingled with "wintry mix" and a couple flashes of light followed by rumbling... THUNDERSNOW!

Tomorrow is the final day of the Best Picture Festival and I'm looking forward to that, and then the OSCARS on Sunday night! Tomorrow's line up is Fences, Lion, Arrival, Manchester By The Sea, and Moonlight (which I've already seen, so will likely skip... five movies in one day is a lot!).

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There's going to be some serious stash-busting/leftover-using pom pom making around here. So fun!

Happy Weekend!!


An afternoon out

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I picked up Jun at around noon yesterday for an afternoon outing to the park.

As, predicted, it was a crazy gorgeous day for February! 65F and sunny... and just a little bit weird because it's February! Well, I'm not in charge of the weather, so the only thing we could do was take advantage and enjoy!

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The ground is soft and wet. A truck had apparently driven to that light pole to change the lamp, leaving an enticing little furrow leading right to the playground. The playground itself is made of soft, porous rubber material enclosed by a circular concrete walkway -- CLEAN & DRY!! It's pretty ingenious stuff, and I'm guessing that it's probably recycled.

So much to explore.

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So much climbing to do!

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So much fun to be had!! (Isn't he adorable in his "basemall" cap?)

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After the playground, we went over to Culver's for some frozen custard.

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It was SO GOOD! He had two scoops, and I had an offered spoonful.  ;)

Then we went to the grocery store. He's such a great helper! He picked out some veggie chips and an orange for himself, and a Hot Wheels car!

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Change is comin'. Winter Weather Advisory from midnight tonight until noon tomorrow... wintry mix and then snow. We could get 6" - 14". I don't have to like it, but it is a bit more February-like.

Can't help but wonder when it'll be nice enough for another afternoon at the park!


Weekending

Well, it was sorta like this...

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And this...

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I picked up my new prescription sunglasses on Friday.

On Saturday, I spent the afternoon & evening at the movies; Best Picture Festival, Day 1.

Sunday was busy with chores, but I spent a little time with the kiddos -- bikes, trikes, wagon rides, and walking around the block.

It was a gorgeous weekend! Hard to believe, I'm sure, if I tell you that with a high of 53F today is the "dud" in the middle of this little stretch of thaw we have going on.

Wednesday looks to be the best of the bunch and it's my day off (YIPPEE!), and then we return to the harsh cold snowy reality of February-into-March.


Procrastination

I fully admit to being a procrastinator of the highest degree!

I get the important stuff done on time -- rarely early, mind you. Heh. I work best under pressure and definitely with a deadline. Always have.

Right now, I'm knee-deep in a couple of book work-type things that I'd put off -- or maybe worked at a bit, but needed time to develop a process that worked and find my rhythm.

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Then there are things like this. Christmas presents for the kids. I didn't finish them until after Christmas, and I am okay with that because it's such a crazy time for everyone. When they were finally finished? Jun was mindlessly cuddling and fiddling with his bear rug and worked out one of the "safety eyes" in a matter of minutes. Since then? Gin managed to dislodge the other eye. Ugh. I think I've figured out how to secure them better... but it means taking apart both finished bears, making the fix, and finishing them again.

I especially hate doing things again! Those are the things that I am particularly good at procrastinating about... like dusting and vacuuming, too.

Read other Think-Write-Thursday contributions here. To sign up for the weekly prompts, click here.


#yarnlovechallenge

Are you aware of the month-long #yarnlovechallenge on Instagram? You can read more about it and the people involved at @yarnlovechallenge, and there's also a Ravelry group.

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It has provided a very welcome relief from daily things, and one small yarny=happy photography-related thing to focus on/think about each day. You can find my #yarnlovechallenge photos -- and more -- on Instagram here.

Today's prompt is FAMILY and the photos are wonderful!

Girls

This is one of the photos I posted today. My mom (in the middle) taught me to knit when I was in 1st grade. My sisters all have knit at some point. Sharon was definitely the most adventurous right out of the gate. Karen knit a sweater for herself when she was in college, but it was a huge disappointment -- likely a result of poor yarn substitution, more than anything, and the resulting trickle-down of that decision. Annie has knit on and off over the years; she & Sharon knit a sweater for me one Christmas.

I had a couple of starts & stops -- in high school and as a young adult -- I learned something, though, and became a little more accomplished each time. When I picked it up again, as a young-ish mother, it was for fun. And then blogging came along and knitting became incredibly interesting and... empowering, even... all the shared creativity and knowledge and discussion... about knitting! It's been an amazing, fulfilling journey and now it's a rare day when I don't knit, at least a little, and connect in some way with friends I've made because of knitting. It all helps keep me grounded and sane.

Thank you. 

Anyway, I thought you might enjoy the distraction, too, whether or not you choose to participate.


Love Is...

Love is always bestowed as a gift -- freely, willingly, and without expectation. We don't love to be loved; we love to love.

--Leo Buscaglia

Leo.  ❤

Once, many years ago (I was still in high school), Dr. Love visited our area and my mom took us to hear him speak. I bought one of his books (LOVE) and he signed it... I am pretty sure that I still have it! It was a pretty big deal, and is a terrific memory... about which I was reminded when I read Kym's post today. Thanks!!

Happy February 14th!


Weekending: That's LIFE

knitorious.life!

Yep. After nearly 13 years of blogging, I finally have my own domain name. Flummoxed for years because knitorious.com had already been claimed by a yarn store (which I still hope to visit someday), the choices for domain names have greatly increased over the years and, well, .life seems to be more what it's about here, anyway.

Knitorious

See it?? You don't have to change a thing, if you don't want to; it's still a Typepad blog, and knitorious.typepad.com will continue to work.

Weekending... consisted of book work on Saturday, babysitting the grandkids on Saturday night, and a day-trip to the northern 'burbs of Milwaukee with the girls yesterday -- including Gin -- for some shopping!

Meanwhile, I've finished Pussyhats for my cousin (in the mail) and my hair stylist (to be delivered this week), and have begun a kittycat version for Gin.

It's another long, busy week at work... but looking forward to Friday off. And New Orleans gets closer everyday.  ;)


FO: Rainbow Warrior Cowl

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I dyed the "colorful" yarn back in November. I kept one hank for myself, and must have taken the other to the shop. For the striped cowl, I combined it with some indigo yarn that I'd dyed at some earlier date and I love how it turned out! In the knitting up, the other colors played very well with and toned down even the brightest bright yellow, and the solid indigo helped to subdue it all even further. Not that I don't like brights, but YIKES!

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Also, new specs.

Have a great weekend!


Florida

We left for Florida on a Wednesday. Our flight departed mid-afternoon from Milwaukee, which meant that I didn't have to reschedule a morning dental appointment! (Also, clean teeth for vacation!) Our flight landed in Fort Lauderdale around 7; Rusty claimed luggage while I picked up the rental car. Our Airbnb was in Lake Worth, about an hour's drive north.

We had no big plan for our trip, but a nice List of Possibilities -- art events, galleries, museums, restaurants, beaches, parks, sites. We woke up every morning and decided what we felt like doing!

On Thursday, just to get a feel for it -- and because "road trip" is very much a part of our Vacation MO -- we drove about half-way to Key West. We stopped in downtown Lake Worth for a quick breakfast, and this is the first thing we saw upon entering our chosen establishment:

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A couple of Rusty's prints! These were among a few licensed to an Italian fine art publisher some years ago. It's fun to run across his art in the wild!

We drove a bit past Islamorada, stopped a couple of times (there really isn't much "beach" in the Keys), had some lunch, and then made our way back -- with a short visit to Everglades National Park. We hiked a couple of short boardwalk trails... and it was gorgeous! I wouldn't be opposed to returning and exploring more of that park.

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Friday was our anniversary and I really wanted to do nothing more than relax at the beach. And so we did.

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We rented a couple of chairs and an umbrella and soaked up the sunshine! I think we arrived around 11 and left around 3. We really lucked out weather-wise, so the beach was busy and people-watching was fun!

One of the things on our List of Possibilites was a visit to the Lake Worth Arts Center to see some surfboards. The last day of the exhibition was Saturday, and we had it penciled in on that day, but discovered by chance that the center was having an open house on Friday evening.

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It was called 15 Surfboards by 15 Shapers. I don't surf, and Rusty's definitely more into body surfing, but his brother was super into surfing back in the day and even had a surfboard repair shop -- where Rusty worked for a while!

It was Palm Beach Art Week -- a big expo and a bunch of other events happening. The expo was also on our List of Possibilities, but on Saturday, we opted to go back to the beach instead! (We really lucked out with gorgeous weather!)

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I did a little knitting and followed along as friends and family posted about their experiences at various Women's Marches. Rusty went swimming...

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...with his phone. And the car key. Luckily, the key was fine... the phone, not so much. (Replacing that was first order of business upon our return home.)

We drove up to West Palm Beach on Saturday night for an alternative/benefit art fair. We ordered dinner from a yummy vegan food truck parked outside; there was food, drink, music, and lots of art! It was a beautiful evening and the event was very well attended... okay, a little crowded at times.

Sunday proved too windy to enjoy lounging at the shore, so we ticked another item on our List of Possibilities by visiting the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. We were interested in seeing both the gardens and an exhibition called Above the Fold: New Expressions in Origami. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed of the sometimes mind-blowing origami (click on the link for a few exhibition photos).

The gardens were lovely.

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The bonsai were fascinating.

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I'm wearing a pair of the more artsy & unique Green Bay Packer earrings in my jewelry box, because after the artsy stuff, it was off to find a "Packer bar" for the sportsy stuff. (It was official, with a framed proclamation and everything!)

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I also changed into a more appropriate shirt on the way! We were definitely among friends... unfortunately, things did not go our way that day and the Falcons won. Oh well.

I've updated my Travel Map!

US-Visited - 1-27-17

I ticked off Kentucky, as well as Florida, realizing that Kate and I did more than drive through KY when we went to Asheville; we stopped at a little museum there, too.

So, Florida! I'm still almost certain that I wouldn't enjoy being there in the humid summer months, but it was a pretty great place to visit in January.

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Outtake:

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Where do I look?

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!!


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. (Thank you for the sunshine this morning!)

On the bright side, one of the best things you have going is the continuation of this trend:

December 21, 2016:

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January 24, 2017:

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February 2, 2017 (this morning):

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We've gained :22 of daylight in just over a week, and over an hour since winter solstice, a pace that will only be picking up as we move toward spring and summer. Thank god.

Edited to add: My weather app is Weather Underground (available on Google Play here). (I also like the desktop version.)

Another thing to look forward to is this year's Best Picture Festival -- four Best Picture-nominated movies will be shown on the 18th and five on the 25th -- just in time for the Oscars on the 26th. I am growing with a nice group of friends, some new since the last time I attended BPF. I took advantage this week of $5 Tuesday and a willing companion to see Moonlight in advance; it's the last movie in the BPF line-up and I already know that five movies in one day is at least one too many for me, so I'm happy to knock one off the list!

And at the end of the month, I'll be heading to NOLA for the first time ever, to spend a few days there with my sister Ann. She'll be here from Spain, attending a conference, so I'll have some time to relax and explore. I've had some excellent suggestions, so, in addition to a couple of yarn shops, I also have museums and restaurants on my list. And a cemetery.

I seem to be all about bright spots, sunlight, daylight, and a little bit of moonlight! Maybe it won't be so bad after all, February. It sure helps to have some things to look forward to.

Love, Vicki

Read other Think-Write-Thursday contributions here. To sign up for the weekly prompts, click here.


"One more excellent Pussyhat story!"

I never gave a thought to what would happen to Pussyhats beyond the march(es) on January 21st, but clearly they go on...

Anais, recipient of one of my hats at the DC march, is a social worker at an alternative high school. Last week was Spirit Week at her school and, as part of that, Thursday was Hat Day; she wrote:

Your hat is out and proud!

Sharing with permission, on Friday, she wrote again:

One more excellent Pussyhat story!

On Thursday, when I was wearing your hat for Hat Day, I walked by one of my coworkers talking to one of the students. This particular student has some serious mental issues, and has been trapped in many broken systems.

When I walked by, the student, seeing my hat, gave me a huge hug and said, "Thank you for standing up against Trump!"

I think it underscores how important symbols will be in this movement -- hats, flags, safety pins -- to communicate safety, solidarity, and support.

I like to think that I have a warm, accepting energy, but your hat was the reason this student felt safety in that moment. Thank you for that. I am so proud to wear it.

Is that amazing, or what!?? I'm so grateful to Anais for sharing her stories and for her willingness to allow me to share, and I'm so excited to hear more!

_ _ _ _ _

Y'all are so sweet to defend my cat(s). Haha, but no.

 


Reset

I was so excited, upon our return from FL, to discover two amaryllis blossoms with a bud-in-waiting. It was dark, but I took a photo anyway:

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Since I went right back to work -- long on hours, short on daylight -- I wasn't able to see them in daylight all week, and was looking forward to that this weekend.

This morning, in the very early hours, I heard a thud.

I didn't think much of it... something inside, outside, upstairs. One thud. Done. Back to sleep...

And, boy, did I sleep! When I emerged from the bedroom, Rusty was pouring coffee, and he mentioned some clean up that needed to be done in the Garden Room... mumblemumble... amaryllis.

Arrgh! Destroyed. The thud, apparently, was my amaryllis pot landing on the rug... most certainly at the hands/paws of a cat.

Rusty had left the broken flower stalk, but I just had to cut it off... it made me so sad to look at it. Thankfully, the leaves are intact.

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And look at my scrappy little straggler! Growing and shooting out a bunch of leaves. There's no sign of a flower stalk yet, and it was so stressed that it might not happen for a while. It sure makes me happy, though.

So, amaryllis watch has been reset and is on indefinite hold for a while, I guess.

I wish I could reset.


Dispatches from D.C. & Edinburgh

I knit three hats for the Pussyhat Project and mailed them to PPHQ in time for the Women's March on Washington DC last weekend.

There were forms included with the pattern to let recipients know who you are, what causes are important to you, and a space for optional contact info. I almost didn't include forms with my hats, but... oh, why not? I ended up jotting a little note, sharing my email address... and, of course, on the back I wrote what type of yarn was used and simple care instructions. (Ha! What?) (I stopped short of including the color/lot info and/or the ball bands.)

Lo and behold, on Saturday evening I got an email -- and a photo too!

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Vicky!
I am wearing your hat in Washington today.
Thank you, thank you!

In love and solidarity,
Anais

Well, I was just thrilled to hear from her! Later, upon asking permission to share, she added:

I hadn't known what to expect of the energy of the March, but from the moment we were greeted at the Metro stop by a welcome committee, snacks, bottles of water, and handknitted pink pussy hats from all over the country, I felt that I was in warm community. Positive, energized spirits continued through the day, and haven't left me since.

Then, on Sunday, I received another -- also with a photo attached!

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Dear Vicki,

Thank you so much for knitting the Pussyhat! I received it directly in the beginning at the subway station and I was so happy that the woman handed out hats to everyone. I love the idea that you made the hat and put the little sign on it so that I can get in touch with you.
 
I wore it all day and it will remind me of this historical day all my life! We are from Germany and have been living in NYC for a year and I’m so grateful that we were able to participate in the Women’s March in Washington.
 
Thanks so much for contributing to the march, the hat is made from such a nice wool and it very nicely knitted. I very much enjoyed wearing it, it kept me really warm too!
 
Lots of love from New York,
Eva

Positively thrilling! She also granted permission and wrote:

It really was an inspiring experience and people were so positive that day, it gives us hope for the future.
 
Thanks again for contributing to the women’s march and the effort you put in knitting that hat!
It was amazing on Saturday to follow along -- the news, the Facebook updates from friends at marches all over! I had friends & relatives in DC, NY, MI, WI, FL, CA, OR, and more.
 
"Fraulein Power!"
 
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Including Kate at the march in Edinburgh! She reported "many, many" pussyhats!
 
Historic, moving... INSPIRING!!
 
For one thing, I was moved to finally set up my Planned Parenthood and ACLU contributions to be regular and ongoing. It isn't much, but it's a few dollars more every month than they previously had!
 

I'm back... fly-by

We went to Florida!

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We visited the Keys and the Everglades.

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We visited the beach.

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We visited a Japanese garden and museum.

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And we flew home again.

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There were some other things, but I'll have to fill you in later. The weather was perfect (outside of a midnight tornado warning on our last night) and we had a great time!

I kept up on the news as best I could, especially in regard to the March(es) on Saturday. I was thrilled to receive emails and photos from TWO of the three recipients of my Pussyhat Project hats. So cool. I'm hoping to share that, too.

Meanwhile, re-entry is a bitch. On top of which, I drive down to O'Hare after work today to pick up Kate from her London-Paris-Edinburgh adventure! At least we'll have lots to talk about on the drive home.  :)


Weekending: Meow

I managed to get through the holidays without getting sick, even though nearly everyone around me -- whether at work or at home -- was sniffling and/or complaining of scratchy throats.

It finally caught up with me.

I think I'm going to luck out and skate through with the "lite" version... and if I'm not better by mid-week, well, predicted sunshine and mid-80s during our FL getaway will likely do the trick! I am so looking forward to renting a chair and an umbrella and parking it at the beach for a day... and getting warmed up all the way through!

I drove Kate down to ORD on Thursday for her trip to Paris-London-Edinburgh, and made it back in time to celebrate Junah's birthday... can you believe he's THREE???

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At 1, he was not so amazed by the cake; at 2, he was licking the plate...

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This year, at 3, he was all about the frosting!! Mini M&Ms are pretty good, too.

He wanted to come over to Nona's house afterwards, but of course it was too late... so there were tears when we left, but also a promise for time together on Saturday. He was over all afternoon and we had so much fun... reading, coloring, snuggling, building with Lincoln Logs!

I finished all my Pussyhat Project knitting and was able to take some photos.

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Meow! The solids are Plymouth Select Worsted Merino Superwash (Light Pink is color #21, Dark Pink is #48), the other is Malabrigo Rios in "057 English Rose" -- all lovely washable yarns!! It was a pleasure to knit these hats for sisters/marchers!

I made the light pink one in the round on DPNs and did a 3-needle bind-off, the other two were knit on straights and seamed; there are slight differences in the length of ribbing/stockinette, but they're generally all about the same size. And headed for DC!! Ravelry project page is here.

I have finally turned my attention back to finishing the kids' Christmas presents... I know, I know... I still have an unfinished Peace Cowl, too, and a couple pairs of Squad Mitts (to mention only a couple of things).

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I saw Louise Walker's Knitted Polar Bear on Mollie Makes' Instagram feed when I was at the airport in Milwaukee in October -- on my way to Rhinebeck. I was instantly smitten and had to have it! I immediately purchased & downloaded the issue.

I had to special order the large eyes... and when I realized that the first ones I ordered on Etsy were on the literal slow boat from China, I dug some more and found a domestic source (so now I'm up to my eyeballs in large safety eyes!). Bear #1 is finished except for some extra embellishment that I want to add.

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I made the super-fluffy pom pom tail during the Packer game yesterday. It was the first time I used my Clover Pom Pom Maker -- so quick, easy, and FLUFFY! All of the pieces are knit for Bear #2 and sewing up is well underway. If I don't get too distracted, I may even finish before we leave.

And, of course, there's an amaryllis update:

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I'm hoping that I get to see the bloom before we leave on Wednesday!


Long Weekending

On Thursday after work, I stopped by my LYS for Pussy Hat yarn!

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I was delighted to learn that the owner of the shop, along with her husband & daughter, was heading to the march Washington, DC. She gave me a wee discount on the yarn, too, since it was "for the cause." ❤

As of last night I have two finished hats -- one each in the dark & light solid. I plan to cast on a third this evening, and get them all in the mail by the weekend. If I looked any good in hats at all, I'd keep one for myself... but YUCK. I have plenty of leftovers, though, and plan on making hats for Gin & Jun... it'll be AWESOME with his sparkle shoes!

While procrastinating on Friday morning about some office work that needs to be done, I started cleaning out, organizing, and rearranging some cupboards. I had decided that if they weren't needed or used during the holidays, I was going to get rid of a set of dishes and most of the stemware.

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Well, we didn't use them... so OUT! Formerly occupying that blank spot on the right of the second shelf, those dishes had been sitting there, largely undisturbed, for years. So silly. And the wine glasses... good grief. I'm not sure why or how I accumulated so many but they, too, have just been taking up space (and getting awfully dirty).

Ali hit the jackpot, walking in at the perfect time to carry off the dishes -- and was happy to do so, saying that she barely has two plates at home that match these days! She declined the wine glasses, however, so they're currently in a box... ultimately headed to the thrift store if there are no other takers.

I moved some cookbooks, redistributed some bowls and other glassware... there's ROOM... unfilled spaces, even! I can't stop admiring my work. Heheh.

On Saturday, I played the annual game of Christmas Tetris!

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Kate helped me with the undecorating, putting away all of their ornaments and quite a few of the rest. Even while decorating, I was making plans to purge some of that holiday stuff (there was a fair bit that we didn't put on the tree in the first place)... and I ended up with two fewer boxes to put away -- one of them is full of other smaller boxes for recycling, and the other is also destined for the thrift shop. There was also a bag for the trash!

We've left the tree up with only the lights on for a little Hygge glow. Naturally, there's half a string in the middle of the tree that just went out... I'm chill.

Finally, amaryllis watch:

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One of them is growing, the other is not.

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I don't think it's dying, either, so I just keep watching...