1. My own pillow and my own bed. It's not uncommon to pack my pillow when I go away -- sometimes even a nice hotel pillow is just too much -- or not enough, or too soft, or too hard (Princess & The Pea, anyone?) -- and not every place I stay has a pillow menu! I always make sure that my pillow is wearing a loud or colorful pillowcase so it doesn't blend in and is less likely to be left behind.
2. My kitchen -- knowing what I have and where everything is!
3. My coffee pot -- it goes with the above, but is a worthy line-item!
4. My... um... chair... area. There's my chair, the side table, the chest a little beyond that, and all the project bags and books on the floor around it (winter's on the way... this is insulation) -- needles, scissors, tools, some yarn -- all at-hand. The whole area is actually due for a massive clean up! (Soon.)
5. The bathroom! A creature of habit, I don't spend a lot of time fussing & primping, but I like to have my stuff just.so.
6. My shower! (6 is to 5 as 3 is to 2) Heh.
7. Mail! Granted, the mail isn't what it used to be -- actual cards and letters are rare -- but I still look forward to the daily delivery of the mail at home!
8. Our pets. Scamp, Roxie, Duncan and, now, Porter! We are well on our way to being Crazy Cat People!
9. The porches and pergola and the outdoor privacy we have at home.
10. And just the usual, the overall things that are familiar... the normal noises and bumps in the night that are unique to my home and to which I am accustomed. Even if they annoy me sometimes, at least I know what they are!
I couldn't find a clip with the intro... some scuffling, a bump or two, and a girl calling out: It's just the normal noises in here! One of my all-time favorites! And I love this song, too. That whole album -- Damn The Torpedoes. I'm pretty sure I still have that LP. And a turntable to play it on, too.
What do you miss most when you're away from home?
* * * * *
Wondering about Kate and how she's doing in Edinburgh? You can follow along on her blog, Artsy Abroad, and/or on Facebook (and/or on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram... look for the icons that interest you on the blog's sidebar).
I picked what's probably the last of the sungold tomatoes.
We went out for coffee again today.
And tea and other stuff and last-minute visiting.
She finalized the final packing.
And I took her to the airport.
And she ought to be on-board as we speak, the plane due to lift off in about :20. She'll wing her way to Detroit, then to Amsterdam, and finally to Edinburgh tomorrow morning -- or, rather, afternoon on her clock. Either way, I look forward to hearing from her along the way. And all the time.
I pulled out this cute stitch marker last night to mark the beginning of my round when I picked up stitches for the first sleeve of the Garter Yoke Baby Cardi. It was a gift from Laura, organizer of the bus that delivered 50 knitters, including me, from NE Wisconsin to Stitches Midwest in Schaumburg, IL, a month ago. I can't believe that was a month ago! I had fun meeting, talking to and/or shopping Lisa Souza, Cephalopod Yarns, The Verdant Gryphon, Zen Yarn Garden, Miss Babs... you know, the place was just plump full of gorgeousness!
Lord, I just keep knitting and knitting and knitting... it's definitely PROCESS time right now. I'm barely registering a finish -- or bothering to finish -- before moving straight on to the next thing. Baby/kid stuff. This needs buttons, those need to be sewn, that one needs some ties. The "next thing" isn't even really decided upon until it's time to cast on... but I must keep knitting... reaching into the hazy fog to pull out a pattern and some yarn... okay, let's knit THAT.
I have no idea what's next, but I've little more than a sleeve and buttonband to figure it out.
I'd like to see some sheep and wool, and have entertained a vague notion of October in New York... feeling like I deserve something like that right now. Or maybe just a little off-topic trip to NY. Or someplace.
It was not a bad day to be at the market yesterday.
It was mostly cloudy, and a lot cooler and less humid than originally predicted for the weekend. Thankyouverymuch!
I did some knitting... actually got a little carried away because, by the end of the day, I discovered that I went a bit too far. Today, I'll be ripping back a little bit and finishing that bottom edge, then picking up to finish those cute, wee sleeves. I'm not sure yet exactly what size this is turning out to be.
In other news, Maddy came home yesterday afternoon, as planned, to pack the trailer for the move into her first apartment (yay, no more dorms!). This was a change from an earlier plan, which had this all happening a week later. It's been a tough transition through the end of summer to the start of school; poor kid, she had to be at work (for the school job) two weeks ago, but her new apartment was unavailable until... NOW. She's been couch-surfing a lot, and even spent a night (with a friend) in her car. So, anyway, BUSY BUSY BUSY. She worked until 1:30 yesterday, was home by 3:00, and packing up by 3:05.
Waiting on laundry to dry, we ordered pizza and had a nice visit over dinner with Kate -- who just returned from her LAST DAY AT WORK. At one point, with the late start, we thought we might not drive the trailer over until Sunday morning, but there was good energy (and weather), so we took off for points west right after supper.
The unloading goes SO much faster than the loading! Maddy's roommate and lifelong best friend was a big help on both ends and it made all the difference! They were all moved in and we were headed back home before the sun went down. Don't they look happy? It's a cute little apartment -- clean and it smelled good -- perfect for them!
I had an idea that it would be fun to write a 5 Tips from the Parent of a Student Moving Abroad post to accompany Katie's 5 Tips, but my feelings and thoughts are not that organized and I'm not up to the task of untangling them. How about 5 Words that I've been finding helpful... for life in general?
Beauty. Find it. If I don't see it anywhere else, I just look at my kids' faces.
Grace. Sometimes that means a little bit of acting.
Love. Unwavering. More than anything.
Understanding. Wear their shoes. Feel it.
Support. Always! Lean on me.
It's sure a lot easier now to see my kids move far away than it was in 2004, 2006, 2011... Maddy is the other one with a streak of wanderlust, and it won't be long before she's in South America, Africa, Europe... Kate's paving the way has definitely made it easier! I guess my sister's been the pioneer in our family in terms of international galavanting. So they can all thank her! Getting Maddy moved into her new apartment 100 miles away is proving to be the most challenging thing of all this year! Ali's much more of a home-body...
Kate's departure for Scotland is one week from today and, oh, I am sure going to miss her. I sometimes think that I'm only one crazy head-scarf away from being Edie--could be either one, actually, Big or Little! So, maybe it's a good thing.
Here are five more words that will be helpful in the coming year:
...gave me a good start. I had to set the timer for another :15 to reach my goal of cleaning off and putting away the ironing board that's been set up and heaped upon since June 14th! It's done!
One small step.
I am paralyzed by the enormity of every thing at every turn right now. Hopefully, breaking it down into bite-size pieces will result in some success and maybe even momentum. I need to get some of these projects going.
There's just a lot going on around here. I'm having trouble stringing thoughts together, finding words...
We made pie! My crust was terrible to look at (there's a reason I'm not the designated pie-maker at our house) but it tasted good. The homemade tart cherry filling was AMAZING! We did everything but pick those cherries -- though I have picked cherries in Door County in my lifetime -- and it feels so great to have made something so wonderful from scratch.
Tonight, the Packer game with Mom, Joe & Katie.
Tomorrow, farmers' market in the a.m., a friend's family reunion photo shoot in the early p.m., and dinner out with my family in the late p.m.
Sunday will most definitely be a day of rest... with a few :15s thrown in!
I think about that post every year at this time, and I still get teary when I remember.
Plus, so much as happened since then! It all changes now when I realize, too, that Sharon will be three years gone, already, in December. That Alison graduated, went to school, bought a business, got married, is having a baby! That even Maddy has graduated high school since then, and is working on her degree.
Anyway, if you've been following along, you know that we're in the "teens" now as we count down to Katie's departure to Scotland where she'll spend the next year working on her masters degree at the University of Edinburgh.
It's an excellent read -- not only for someone moving abroad, but for anyone who is embarking on a new adventure (even if it's only across town, because sometimes that can seem even further away...) -- and I hope you'll share it with anyone you may know who's in a similar spot.
Baby blanket knitting continues and I'm so happy that I started early on this project. There is a limit to my chevron knitting before I have to take a break! Loving how it's turning out, though. There's a glimpse of one of my finds at Stitches Midwest, an Ablet -- the Knitting Abacus row-counter/bracelet -- not necessary for the blanket project, but I've been using it for others and love it! Someday I'd like another.
Take me out to the ball game! Last Thursday was a perfect night for baseball... and look how exciting it is when the bratzooka comes around! Crazies.
We had a little rummage sale at Ali's over the weekend and unloaded some stuff, especially Kate... she had some really good stuff! I made heaps o' progress on Le P'tit Mousseand, in fact, have only seaming and button procurement left to do! (The Ablet was very handy for this project!)
Ali's CSA box was full of juice-ables on Saturday, so she made us a WONDERFUL apple, lemon, cucumber, carrot, parsley, cilantro, beet, ginger, cabbage & kale juice. Rod's whole family -- brothers, parents -- have been into juicing for quite some time, and got my brother and his wife into it a while back, too. They all juice everyday, or almost everyday.
Kate & I bought a pail of tart cherries in Door County last week. Here we are having a pity pitting party over the weekend. (Rusty certainly looks pitiful, doesn't he?) Kate wants to make a farewell cherry pie to take to work, as one does. I want to make one, too! I've never made a cherry pie from scratch and I'm looking forward to it. That's a tomorrow project, after the midwife appointment with Ali & Rod.
The sweater -- Pull Gaspard -- that I was fixing in the last post looked like this on Tuesday:
And this on Wednesday:
I did some knitting in the car yesterday while Kate took a turn at the wheel and we day-tripped up to Door County. It was a beautiful day, but other than this:
Behind the Minnetonka moccasin shop; on the shore in Ephraim
And despite taking my big-girl camera along (I haven't tripped that shutter in ages), I only took mobile-phone photos of menus and food. ;)
That's the Turkey, Cream Cheese & Cherry Chutney sandwich at The Cookery, one of my favorite places, and definitely one of my favorite sandwiches of all time! I haven't eaten an actual "sandwich" in about a year, so this was really a treat... and, oh, so worth it. I even said to Katie, while eating it, that one of the things I love about it (and I love all the things about this sandwich) is that they use RAISIN bread. I also love and look forward to the accompanying dill potato salad and chunky applesauce. I enjoyed a glass of Island Orchard Apple Cherry Cider and helped Kate with her bottle of Crispin Artisanal Reserve Honey Crisp Cider, and we shared some eggplant fries as an appetizer -- so light and crispy, better than I'd even hoped. There are many amazing eateries to choose from in Door County, but The Cookery is consistently at the top of our list.
We made our way north to Ephraim and Wilson's -- an institution up there, but to which I'd never actually been -- and enjoyed a couple of root beer floats for dessert. Second dessert, actually, as we'd found ourselves in a chocolate shop and one certainly can't leave an establishment like that empty-handed.
If that wasn't enough for a day, we ever-so-briefly cooled our jets at home before picking up Ali and heading up to the Farmers' Market on Broadway (in Green Bay) for more food and fun! That's been on the list for a while and I would certainly like to return.
It's a combo farmer market/festival -- LOTS of fresh produce and meat, arts and crafts, food vendors, live music, beer. I didn't have any beer, but I'm happy to know that it's there.
A good time (and funnel cake) was had by all!
Tonight is a company picnic at the local baseball stadium, and sometime between now and 8 a.m. tomorrow we'll be setting up for a 2-day rummage sale in Ali's driveway! Jeepers, it's a busy month.
I'm trying to keep it all together and make the most of every minute -- packing it all in while counting down the days: (1) 'til Maddy heads back to school, (6) 'til Ali's next midwife appointment, and (22) 'til Kate flies over the ocean.
I've cast on another baby sweater by a French designer! Le P'tit Mousse has been on my radar (Pinterest board) for a long time! I'm so happy to have an actual reason/baby to knit some of these sweaters!
I'm pretty sure there's more, but that's all for now!
The lights flickered on and the fridge started to hum again when power was restored. The only thing left to do was run around and reset the clocks. Not spending hours trying to figure whether it's your printer that's fried, or the network, or WTF... who unplugged that cord?
We had a bad storm blow through the area on Tuesday night -- they've now confirmed that it was actually 5 tornadoes. We lost a big tree in the ravine at home (above), and a few branches, but no structural damage or loss of power. There was no power at work, though, until mid-morning today and the main route I take to-and-fro has been closed for the last couple of days and will likely remain so for a few more... snapped off power poles and dislodged roofs take time to clean up and repair.
And wow. I am utterly exhausted from all of that. And so completely humbled by and in awe of the many thousands who have gone through the devastating tsunami, hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes of recent years. Incredible.
I'm also very grateful that I'll be hopping on a bus at 6 a.m. tomorrow for a ride down to Stitches Midwest. I've never been and am looking forward to a day of fiber and fun with friends. Fff. I'm not really too crazy about the 6 a.m. part, but do plan on taking a nap. I'll also continue working on Zim's Pull Gaspard. I dropped down a few stitches yesterday to fix a split stitch. I've just begun a sleeve. Very exciting!
Last but not least...
Addy is my new favorite 6-year-old! Can you believe it? Six today.
Will Zim zoom to 6 just like that, too? Crazy kids these days, they grow like weeds!
I'd just like to say that when I read the topic for today, I wanted to puke. That pretty much sums up how I feel about going on a job interview! I immediately closed the email and my first reaction was to just skip it altogether.
Then I accepted the challenge.
Maybe it's not a JOB interview; maybe it's another type of interview -- a newspaper story or magazine feature!
(Did you feel that? It's like the earth moved. Change in thinking = immediate relief.)
Well, then, in no particular order:
I'm not sure I'd use the majority of those words in anything other than a job interview, but they came SO much easier when I didn't think of it that way.
*Loyal was actually one of the first words that came to mind, but I'm pretty sure that's just me showing my age.
WATCHING . . . Orange is the New Black. I think Netflix is figuring it out! Not only are they offering programs they way their customers like to watch, but their original programs are KILLER. Ahem. On that note, I'm sure it will surprise no one to know that instead of OITNB, I watched The Business of Being Born last night.
Becoming a doula has been on my radar for years, and now... That Alison wants me attendant at the birth is a given. I would like to be knowledgeable as well as instinctively supportive! Who knows, maybe this is the push and start to actually pursuing certification.
KNITTING . . . Um, baby stuff?As established, I recently finished Little Heaume and am only in need of a button to finish. Imagine my delight at learning that the National Button Society will be holding their Diamond Jubilee Convention here in a couple of weeks! I just happen to have a few other items in need of buttons. I am also working on Purl Soho's Chevron Baby Blanket, using a superwash wool in 3 colors. I just made the first color change and... now I'm bored and ready for something else. It'll probably be Pull Gaspard, you know, for my "portable" knitting project; I just have to decide which size.
LISTENING TO . . . Happy! Clap along!! I was so happy when I learned that Pharrell Williams was doing the music for Despicable Me 2(Original Motion Picture Soundtrack). I first learned of Pharrell in Snoop Dogg's Beautiful(I love visiting Rio that way)! He also made an appearance last season as a guest coach for Usher's team on The Voice. And then, of course, there's this summer's controversial number with Robin Thicke and T.I., Blurred Lines... causing a bit of a stir. Sassy. I like to turn it up loud.
I don't know what it is, exactly, but I love Pharrell's voice and the way he sings. Plus he's so boyishly cute. So, fine, I'm having a little crush. Anyway, Happy is a fabulous early-morning, start-the-day, going-to-work song. The other DM2 songs I have starred in Spotify are Fun, Fun, Fun and Just A Cloud Away. Also, the movie was cute.
DREADING . . . Katie's departure for Scotland... five (5!) weeks from TODAY. My feelings about this are multi-faceted, of course; I am also Celebrating, Itching To, Inspired By, and Delighted By... among other things.
HUMMING . . . See "Listening to..." above.
CELEBRATING . . . Did you hear? There's going to be a baby!
PLANNING . . . To pack a lot of fun into this "last month of summer." Thanks to one of the women in knitting group, I'll be catching a 6 a.m. bus next Friday for Stitches Midwest! There's a trip to Door County on the calendar, as well as a quickie to Chicago, the button convention, a rummage sale, a month of farmer markets, a writing project, and a little photo gig for some old, old friends. Someone will have to help Maddy and her friend Katy move into their first apartment this month, too!
ITCHING TO . . . Like Kym, I am (have been) itching to do some sewing! I have some things ready to sew, some clothing to take in, a quilt cut and ready, another that I'd like to make... maybe for a baby. My machine's a Husqvarna, and it's getting time to go!
NEEDING TO . . . Shop around for health insurance. Yep, it's that time of year again. I'm not sure how many more years I'm going to be able to take a 20% annual increase in health insurance premiums. Next year I'll have surpassed another "milestone" birthday. This is not the area where I want to spend all my money! I don't understand and it all makes my head hurt; insurance and the medical machine make my blood boil... certainly none of this can be good for my health!
ORGANIZING . . . Yarn! Sort of. I'm working on it. It's part of the plan to clean out my workroom for the installation of French doors. Rusty's been helping Ali & Rod with a bathroom remodel project at their house, giving me some reprieve. Naturally, I've ignored my task altogether. Tsk.
INSPIRED BY . . . Relatively stable weight in July and apparently finding true balance in my diet. I have buckled down a bit, now, for August, in an effort to lose a few more pounds. I'm delighted to know that I can have my cake (ice cream, beer, the occasional potato chip, chocolate) and eat it, too, without guilt, really, or worry that I've "ruined my diet." I really "treated" myself well and with abandon in July, but am apparently doing okay on a day-to-day basis and held my own. This has to be the way I was meant to eat...
DELIGHTED BY . . . My girls. Always, my girls! Katie's preparations for attending the University of Edinburgh are so exciting. Alison, of course, is in the midst of one of the most exciting periods of her life. Maddy will soon be winding down the summer camp counselor job and amping up the school-year coffee shop manager job, in addition to continuing to work on her education degree.
My house is going to be completely empty soon, for the first time in a long time.
How about YOU? What's going on for YOU . . . right now?
I saw a cartoon the other day about how a knitter prepares for travel. I can't find it right now, but I think I can easily summarize.
A few weeks before departure, knitter figures out which project to work on while traveling and commences to assemble required materials.
This, of course, is in addition to the WIP/contingency/mood projects already destined for packing.
Knitter then casts on the new project and gets a little start... to get a feel for materials and become familiar with the pattern, etc.
Two days before departure, knitter casts off the last stitch of the travel knitting project!
I daresay that baby knitting works just like that! I plan to knit a Chevron Baby Blanket inspired by the always lovely and inspiring Purl Bee... so many adorable projects! (There are some adorable PB sewing projects for baby that I'd like to make, too!) A blanket gets big and unwieldy to tote around, so, of course, there must be smaller, portable project(s) underway at all times. Pictured above is Little Heaume, the baby hat that I started on Saturday morning at the farmer market for just that purpose.
And (you may already know this), I finished the hat last night, except for the button, before I even cast on the first stitch of the blanket!!
Tired as I was, I stayed up to get started on that blanket, casting on and knitting two rows!
I don't have a portable project going at the moment, though.
It was Mother's Day when Ali told me that she'd taken three pregnancy tests and they'd all said the same thing... and that she had a few more test sticks, just in case, but was pretty sure they'd all have the same -- positive -- result! That was pretty awesome news to hear on Mother's Day... and I especially loved that it was mine-all-mine for a while. Delicious.
As you may recall, we had wedding planning quite heavy in the rotation at the time, so the baby news sort of took a back seat.
Until today. Ali asked me to join them at their intro visit to the midwifery practice that they'll be using, because I would like to not only be present but also useful at the birth, and...
I HEARD MY GRANDBABY'S HEARTBEAT!!
The estimate is that Little Zim is around 16 weeks old, and the due date is early to mid January.
This is pretty much the frosting on my cake right now! I try not to hyperventilate when I think about all.the.things.to.knit... a blanket? a bonnet? a sweater? a hat? a toy? Fourteen of each? Because that's not even the tip of the iceberg in terms of how many super amazingly beautiful patterns there are for each of those things.
I just smile when I ask Ali how she's feeling and she says, "I am HUGE," and... oh my, isn't she CUTE? Heheh.
4. Farmer market fare (not every week, never all.the.things, and always shared):
New-this-year, still-to-try, wood-fired pizza!
5. Enjoying the fruits (vegetables) of our labor
Book club gathered at Waverly Beach on the north shore of Lake Winnebago
6. Dining/knitting/socializing al fresco
7. I love the sounds of summer: kids at the pool, the crack (or clink) of a bat meeting a ball, the roar of the crowd, the nice rumble of a motorcycle, the radio...
8. Cloud-watching and (new!) summer storm-chasing
9. Lazy hazy crazy days of summer -- enjoying every day
10. Day tripping... the Lake Michigan shore is an hour away!
When you live in a climate like mine, where winter is long, dark, and very cold, almost everything about summer can be considered a treat! There is such pleasure in simply opening a window and feeling a delicious breeze...
That phrase was on a reader board at a church between my house and Mom's, so I read it at least once a day for about a month!
Sometimes those things stick.
I ran across this photo last week. It was taken last July just before Annie moved to Brazil.
I immediately thought of the photos I'd taken of Karen and me a couple of weeks ago...
What a difference a year makes!! I think we've lost the equivalent of a 6th grader between us! Inspiring? I think so. It inspires me -- we inspire each other -- to keep going!
So, I've done pretty well, considering all of the hoopla so far this summer -- a big wedding, 4th of July, Annie & her family visiting from afar. I haven't weighed myself in weeks, but feel little difference in my clothes so am confident that overall I'm holding pretty steady. I did start to feel a little icky around the 4th of July, and noticed that my ankles and feet were swelling again -- it felt awful, and it was a big reminder of where I'd been and how far I've come, and I sure don't want to go back!!
I want to keep wearing my cute shoes!! :)
I really haven't strayed too far from the principles that helped me get here -- which says a lot, actually, about how this style of eating is definitely for me! But there is definitely room for improvement, so it's time to crack the books and get firmly back on track, back to basics. I'll be doing another Whole30 (as close as I get, anyway) in August. It's a great time to do it, with all of the fresh local produce* coming on strong, and perhaps I'll focus on exploring more sauces and things this time.
In addition to the excellent resources linked above, there's always something on sale (or even free) for your Kindle/app on Amazon.
*I plucked the first ripe cherry tomatoes from my own patio garden this morning!
Humid or dry, hot is hot. I have found, though, that 90F and humid here is a LOT different than 90F and humid in, say, Rio de Janeiro -- it's "hotter" here (my brother-in-law agrees)! It is humid there, of course; tropical and "moist" all the time. The sheets felt damp every night when I crawled into bed, and vertical file systems aren't used much because the papers simply wilt, but my skin never looked or felt better! In Rio, and probably most coastal areas, there's almost always some air movement, the air never gets quite as "thick" as here. Or as hot.
Let's find our cool...
1. Thanks to some big trees, I'm able to keep the house cool with a few window air conditioners and strategically placed fans. South- and west-facing windows are kept covered. Central air is always on the wish list (the window units can be noisy)!
2. Grilling out is a great way to keep the heat out of the kitchen.
3. So is eating out!
4. When I cook indoors/at home, I try to be efficient about it and make a quantity of something -- on Sunday it was Greek Meatballs. There was enough for dinner and a couple of lunches! (I made mine with goat instead of lamb because I have a convenient local source every Saturday at the farmer market -- delicious!)
5. Alongside the meatballs (both the Italian version, weekend before last, and the Greek last weekend), I made Bell Pepper Slaw. So easy! I used "broccoli slaw" for mine, and probably used fewer peppers but more tomatoes the first time -- and made it in the jar and a day ahead. We all agreed that the jar was not really necessary but sort of cool. The second time, I used even fewer peppers and no tomatoes -- because I didn't have any -- and served it immediately. It's that kind of recipe... and that time of year.
6. I'm not sweatin' the small stuff.
7. Staying hydrated is important! In addition to water, I've been drinking an Arnold Palmer or three everyday. I usually make mine with a lot of tea and just a bit of lemonade, but sometimes the other way around. Also, an ice cold beer -- oooh, I love it best in a frosty mug/glass -- is so refreshing on a hot summer day!
8. One of my favorite places to beat the heat is at the movies.
9. Dresses! I've been wearing dresses more often this summer -- easy, breezy.
10. Though I now own my first suit in nearly two decades, I'm not much of a swimmer, but the water is a great place to beat the heat! Lounging on a beach chair, under an umbrella, near enough to go wading, sipping on fresh in-the-coconut coconut water... Or something similar. :)
According to the forecast, tomorrow's going to be the hottest day this week, followed by stormy weather on Thursday & Friday, leaving a much nicer weekend in the wake. Yeah. I'll take it!
I've been taking a "Market Watch" photo every week of our set up at the farmer market. It looks pretty much the same week-to-week, but there are subtle changes. Who I'm working with, the weather... "where's Waldo," "spot the difference" puzzle type stuff. It amuses me. Anyway, last week I finally washed and blocked some banner triangles I'd made last winter from random leftovers. I strung them on some clothesline (I bought way more for the wedding than I needed) (also clothes- and safety pins) (and paper straws). Anyway... it was a bit breezy at the market on Saturday morning so they're difficult to see in the overall photo. Cute? I think so.
After last week's visit to Homeland Security for biometrics and the subsequent mailing of the student visa app, Katie is in full-on packing/moving mode! She found a good home for the chinchilla she adopted a few years ago, freeing up a corner of the upstairs apartment for organization of rummage sale stuff. I was up for some reason or other over the weekend and spotted this artifact on the floor! Do you know what it is? We never seemed to have very many, or they were difficult to find when needed, so I'm still inclined to pocket and save them when I see them.
We went to The Kangaroost for breakfast yesterday morning and it's the best breakfast out I've had in a long time... and the only breakfast I've had out in a long time. My photo isn't the greatest, but it was all quite delicious and those American fries were pure perfection, which is really great because I like to think of them as a treat.
I've been concerned about my refrigerator for a while... it seems to run constantly! It's summer and it's hot and humid, so there's that... After breakfast and before the current wave of heat & humidity came on too strong, we pulled it out and cleaned the coils, underneath, etc., and I found a woolly mammoth on one of the ledges/pans in the back. It is an old fridge, but not that old!! I'm not sure how that ever ended up there... and at first, I thought it was a dessicated mouse! Anyway, it's a 28-year-old fridge and, well, I know it's not going to last forever... though my microwave of same vintage is still going strong!
I went to not one, but TWO blockbuster action-packed movies over the weekend: Man of Steel and Pacific Rim. Having grown up with the Christopher Reeve version of Superman -- which was pretty perfect -- Henry Cavill is absolutely the new perfect Superman and I can't imagine how he'll be topped, but I sure that someday he will. We saw the preview for Pacific Rim before Superman and it was intriguing. The effects were amazing -- and I probably saw more destruction in these two movies than I've seen in every other movie I've ever seen, combined -- and I almost think I enjoyed it more.
I've been pretty stationary through all of that... feeling not unlike a May pole, though perhaps a bit dizzier.
In addition to ice cream, there was bike-riding (Addy mastered two wheels!), a joint birthday celebration for Mack & Addy), the 4th of July, returning travelers... busy, busy, busy!
It's hard to believe that Mack turned 8 a month ago, and Addy's almost 6!
Mack - Then & Now!
Addy - Then & Now!
Departure for Brazil was set for Tuesday afternoon and my girls hadn't even seen them yet, so everyone came over and we had a little farewell dinner on Monday night at my house. I made Aunt Cece's meatballs, my new go-to that I love so much (serving pasta & sauce for those who wished it), and this Bell Pepper Slaw found on Pinterest (made a day ahead, making day-of so much easier). Annie made one of the two Pao de Queijo mixes she brought us (they turned out GREAT) (and Hm)! Ali brought a bowl of her lovely chocolate avocado pudding, also a new fave.
And here we are on Tuesday evening at Red Robin before heading over to see Despicable Me 2... Um, flight delays are a bummer, but at least they found out early enough they wouldn't make their connections that they could delay their departure by a day! Yay? YAY!
I had long planned to drive down to Milwaukee on Wednesday (yesterday) with Katie for her fingerprinting appointment at the Dept. of Homeland Security -- one more step towards Scotland! Things are falling into place... once the student visa is in-hand, the flight will be booked... the days are counting down fast. Anyway, I snuck over to Mom's early yesterday for final kisses & hugs. It was Mack -- NOT the pesky aunt always wanting smoochies -- who requested "one more" kiss & hug, honing his heart-breaker skills in the process! While not enthusiastic, Addison was not stingy with the kisses, but he withheld my hug, saying that he'll give it to me when I'm in Rio!
Just the other day, Katie asked, "Did you get enough time alone, Mom?"
See, Rusty was recently in Japan and, overlapping by a few days, the girls were off on their first-ever road trip together -- and I stayed home alone!
O, Happy Day(s).
I love my family and I love to spend time with them, but I have absolutely, positively, no problem whatsoever in the whole entire world spending time alone. My family has always known this. When the kids were little, and especially during the time I didn't work outside the home, Rusty knew that the nicest thing he could do for me was to take the kids for an afternoon, a day, a couple of days, a long weekend... and leave me home. Alone.
So, what do I like to do?
1. Not cook. I never (hardly ever) cook when I'm home alone. My favorite "alone" food? Cold cereal -- for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks -- especially late-night snacks (because, when I'm home alone, the nights tend to go late). Though I've all but eliminated grains from my diet, there will always be room for cold cereal! Cheerios was always my favorite, but lately I've been eating (and loving) Rice Chex more... with chopped pecans and raisins or banana or fresh berries. Yum.
2. Clean out and organize stuff. Yarn, books, closets, cupboards. I like big chunks of uninterrupted time to spread out, make, and clean up the big mess that is always a part of this process.
3. Take the frequent breaks that are also part of the above-mentioned process.
4. Turn up the volume!
5. Shop. I shop well with others, but I sometimes like to do it alone.
6. Drive! (Usually with the volume UP!)
7. Watch old movies. Just as with music, my taste in movies is wide and varied... and not always to the liking of others.
8. Putz. What? It's a thing. There's just no other word for it. One of my very favorite things to do is "putz & putter." I have been known to do it all day long, often while wearing my PJs.
9. Visit the yarn/craft store. I love to see what's new and be inspired!
10. Knit, of course!
How about you? Do you like to be alone or do you dread it?
Yarn: Make.Do Invoke Sport (for one), using US 3 needle
Needle: US 0, 1
Start to Finish: May 28 - June 28, 2013
I knit the first one in the round and, while efficient, I found it tedious. I don't know that I was thinking. I've knit hundreds of small hexagons the same way and haven't complained. Feeling under the gun and knowing I knit faster on straight needles, I knit all the rest flat -- except for my sister's, but that one's much larger.
Um, yeah, so sewing up seven tiny sachets isn't tedious? Gah.
So, the tiniest one -- the first one -- I gave to Jillian because she's the youngest and it was so very sweet. I made a mistake on one, working the eyelet row YO, K1 instead of YO, K2tog, resulting in a double-ruffle -- and I left it that way and gave it to the bride.
Thursday, June 27, 2013. The first photo was taken in the late morning, I think; the second as I left work at 5:00; the third half-way home.
Later, Kate & I went to Appleton for a bite to eat and noticed the drama in the sky as we left the restaurant. We drove north instead of home, seeking higher ground and expansive view -- straight into it, getting our storm-chaser on!
It was pretty amazing, very exciting, and also a little scary as lightning lit the sky and the clouds shifted and changed. Katie was concerned when it looked as though little funnels might be forming; I was concerned when the clouds turned a sickly yellow-green.
We snapped some pictures on our mobile devices, then it started to rain and we drove home in a downpour.
The boys from Brazil arrived late Wednesday. My job was to stop at the store after work to pick up a few things to go with supper, ice cream being one of them... and I forgot it! Luckily, just as we headed out for an after-dinner game of ball tag, we heard the ice cream truck coming down the street!
I can't remember the last time I stood at an ice cream truck window! (Way before 4 treats cost $15.00!!) We sat right down on the grass to slurp, then burned it all off playing tag.
* * * * *
Today marks the first day of... I don't know what you call it: a 5-day weekend or a mini-vacation? Whatever it is, I'll take it!! A couple-few of those days will be free for nothing but me! Meaning, of course, that I'll be cleaning up, organizing, and throwing stuff out of my workroom...
* * * * *
CATALPA TREES & SHARON!
The first time I noticed and learned about a catalpa tree must have been on a Sister Weekend in Milwaukee and from Sharon, because Karen, Annie and I all have a similar response to the catalpa.* Sharon then worked as an arborist for the city and lived across from a park where an enormous catalpa tree grew. There are a few reasons to notice catalpa trees over the course of a year, but they're especially eye-catching when a mature tree is in full bloom -- that one was, and we all noticed!
This one is down a little ways from the coffee shop. I pulled over yesterday morning to snap a pic from the car. There's another across the street and a bit further down. Oh, the sweet scent of those flowers. There used to be a catalpa two doors down from us, but it was sacrificed some years ago for a driveway. I treasure a wooden bowl that was made from the wood of that tree!
Not to be forgotten, there are a couple of volunteer catalpas in the neighbor's yard and in ours that we've spotted over the last several years. The one in our yard is sort of in a silly place, and may cause some retaining wall problems in 100 years. Or maybe not! Maybe that tree will save the retaining wall... lord knows it's not going to make it another 100 years without some help. Anyway, I love that I can see that little tree from the kitchen and the other day I noticed flowers!
It's only a few, but I think it's the first time!
The way the (social) world works these days, when a young knitting friend gives birth at a local birthing center, another friend might just end up clicking around on similar sites and pages. It was on one such page where I found posted a photo of a chalkboard on which the names and dates of recent births at the center were written, among them Alton - 4/29, Esther - 5/2, Harrison - 5/23, Richard - 5/23, and...
SHARON - 6/15**
*I posted that photo on FB and Annie wrote, "Well I think we can take that as a big HELLO! from Sharon!"
**Sharon's birthday! If that isn't a big ol' howdy-do from my late sister, I don't know what is! ~
* * * * *
WRAP IT UP!
Time to get moving! I've a trunk full o' junk to drop off for donation, and sleeping bags ready for the laundromat. I've finished sewing up the sachets and filled them with lavender flowers, and just this morning found the ribbon I've been looking for to finish them off! I am now free to move about the cabin on to other knitting projects!!
I love that smile. I love that I haven't been seeing anything but that smile on her face. So happy.
Honestly, I haven't thought about much beyond June 15th but, well, now I guess I can!
10 More Things:
1. Have a great little visit with the visitors from Brazil (arriving tomorrow)!
2. Clean and clean out my workroom -- a serious paring down and purging -- in preparation for...
3. A remodeling project! Actually, it's more of a restoration project. We'll be installing three french doors in a wall where we knew there once were similar doors (probably three french doors). Originally from a house on our block, we purchased them a few months ago at the local antique mall -- the owner of which also lives on our block. That's keeping it local, folks! Heh. I can't wait.
The back porch has already been painted! Thanks Maddy!
4. As a result of the cleaning, purging and remodeling/restoration, I will likely be rearranging a good deal of our living area. Unless it has a specific and undeniable use -- kitchen, bathroom -- the rooms in our house are always in flux and subject to change. We don't just rearrange the furniture, we rearrange the rooms! We're in serious need right now, too, as some of of them seem more like glorified storage areas with comfortable seating.
5. A rummage sale in August!
Hm, most of this is sounding a lot like work...
6. Day-trips to... Milwaukee and Door County, at least.
8. Enjoy lots of fresh produce from the local markets; I'm especially looking forward to strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, and celery (I hope).
9. Dye! I've some special-order dyeing to do, and some playing around with techniques and ideas that I'd like to do!
10. Relax. And knit. Preferably on the deck, and with a cool beverage at-hand. I finally sewed up some sachets last night -- one-and-a-half to go -- and then I plan to finish Romi's mystery shawl while figuring out what to do next... SO MANY CHOICES right now!
Fiber Rain. The "flowers" decorating the flowerbeds have to be my favorite. It was all taken down over the weekend and I'm sad about that... I think some/much of it should have stayed for the summer -- a month, at least.
Some of my yarn and knitting on display along with the work of Judy Treichel, another local fiber artist for the Art Walk portion of the program.
Up before dawn to deliver Rusty to the airport.
It's actually quite amazing how many farmer market vendors set up in the rain!
Fortunately, the rain passed before long and it turned out to be an okay morning.
Did a lot of shopping with Ali in the afternoon. I tried on more than I have in... maybe ever... but only loved one shirt.
Was happy to find BIG bottles of my favorite coconut water at Target. Also, who knew that I liked sparkling water so much?
Hallelujah! I slept in!!! I can't remember the last morning that I didn't have to be up early and going somewhere.
An enjoyable PJ Morning.
More shopping! This time with Kate! Another shopping trip, another shirt. :)
I haven't knit a stitch in over a week... that's unheard of 'round here! I did weave in some ends last night, though.
A lavender sachet for my sister's birthday! This one is the largest I've knit, using luscious sport-weight alpaca-silk-cashmere leftovers from Romi's Mystery Shawl KAL (I'm on the home stretch with that project). I came close but never had the time to finish the girls' sachets for the wedding, and feel compelled to finish them all before I do anything else! (Gah. Why didn't I knit them all in-the-round, again?)
So that's what I'll be doing to fill any down-time at tomorrow's farmer market! It's the third market of the season, but our first. The weather isn't very promising (thank goodness we don't have a wedding!), so fingers crossed!
It's all kinds crazy around here right now...
I'll be participating in Art On The Town tonight in Downtown Appleton as part of Fiber Rain. I'll be at In Times Past with knits and yarn (some of my knits have been on display there all week).
Rusty has to be at the airport at the butt-crack of dawn tomorrow (guess who gets to take him?) for a trip to Japan with a group of artists.
Annie & her family arrive from Brazil (surprise!) on Wednesday.
My girls leave next Saturday for a sisterly road trip to Glacier National Park -- reminiscent of one I took with mine in '79 to the Oregon coast and back, with stops at Yellowstone & Mount Rushmore. I'm so excited for them!
And Kate is counting down the days, well into double-digits now, until her departure for Edinburgh! We have a day-trip to Milwaukee coming up for Visa application!
I think I've done pretty well at switching gears from work to wedding and back to work without much breathing time in between, but I gotta tell ya, I am so looking forward to Sunday morning!! I have a few other days off coming up and am trying not to fill them up with too terribly much... other than some yarn orders to work on and some prep for a home improvement project, I'd like to just do some sitting and knitting! And maybe some bicycling if it's nice out! And wouldn't it be nice to actually cook something?
We've been pinning to a Pinterest board (I love that. June 15th, 2013), making trips to Sheboygan for dress fittings, folding doilies, drawing maps, making invitations -- all of that & then some -- for months.
Hey, planning (pinning) a wedding is so much fun!
I took photos of Ali+Rod in their back yard in mid-May, when their cherry tree was in full bloom, using the photos and a Shutterfly template to create a guest book for the wedding. There's a book preview here, if you'd like to take a look.
And, for me, that's when the quickening began. Then Ali called and said that she'd been having terrible nightmares about the wedding. She said that everyone had been telling her for so long that it would just happen and it would all work out, but she was dreaming that it was wedding day and nothing was done, there wasn't a plan! We had to get together and plan something!!
The fun & games were truly replaced by work & dread when the calendar flipped from May to June. And by dread, I really mean it... I had to force myself to smile and be excited about this thing that I'd never done before! By June 1st, I just wanted it all to be over!! Cupcake tasting a week before the wedding helped, ever so slightly, to take the edge off; and the wine. :)
* * * * *
On Thursday morning, two days before the wedding, I made the last trip to Sheboygan to pick up the finished dress. The tent was scheduled for delivery and set-up that morning at Rod's parents' farm -- site of the wedding -- and I had some questions about the tent and what we could do, so decided to stop by there on the way.
The sight of that tent as I came up the road, and then down the drive, made me feel... well, as I shared on some other platforms, "Shit's gettin' frickin' real!" I could not believe how beautiful it all looked! And excitement was in the air!!
After a day of driving/pondering, with cars & trailers loaded -- bolts of tulle, strings of lights, tablecloths, a million little things -- and a vague plan in mind for it all, we made our way out later in the day to begin setting up.
It took a village, for sure, but one of the village people stood out from all others. Friend of the groom's family, Pete was the eye of the storm -- the doer, the enabler, the troubleshooter, the rock -- and I don't know what we'd have done without him! He was everywhere, doing anything and everything that was asked of him! Always cheerful, always calm, there wasn't a single moment in four days that I was there and he wasn't. I don't know how many times I hugged and thanked him... I do know it wasn't nearly enough. Every mother-of-the-bride needs a Pete!
My first order of business was tulle and lights. Working from the top-down, Pete climbed the ladder and stapled one end of a bolt of tulle to a post, while I swagged and draped along the perimeter.
I had a plan for the lights, but when we opened the boxes and discovered that what I thought I ordered (pluggable end-to-end) and what I actually ordered (curtain lights... plug at one end only) were two very different things, well, there was a bit of an engineering pow-wow to come up with a new plan! Pete told me what was possible electrically, and we worked it out. I think it turned out even better than the original plan. It helped that those curtain lights were 32' long!
Among other things, Rusty strung clothesline between trees for quilt-hanging. We had about 10 beautiful quilts hung in a couple of locations. After testing, we realized how heavy the quilts were, so old-fashioned props were made from 2x4s to provide extra support! Rusty planned out the photo wall, too, and built/wallpapered a fabulous prop photo wall with empty frames for posing.
A giant puff-ball pom-pom and lantern assembly line appeared on the lawn!
There was only so far we could go on Thursday night, so the rest went back into the trailer.
* * * * *
Hm. I spent a good part of Friday at my computer & printer with programs and whatnot, taking time out for some relaxing fun -- manis and pedis with my girls.
By late afternoon, we were back out at the farm for more decorating!
A little something to eat.
Then it was time for rehearsal!
And more decorating!
Having never decorated even a pup tent before, nor even been in a decorated tent, I don't think we did too bad. The whole far end was filled up by a trailer that served as stage for the band and was Rod's domain, as setting up lights and sound for bands is his business, and that helped to provide some oomph & drama in the lighting department.
* * * * *
The girls all met at my house on Saturday morning and together we headed for the salon for hair & breakfast -- the girls made egg casserole, muffins and brought along champagne!
That's Kate, our favorite stylist among favorites, at Shear Chaos applying Ali's make up. Originally, Ali was going to do her own, but was so happy that she let Kate convince her otherwise -- not only for timing, but also because she didn't have to worry a single second about it all day. She looked as fresh and beautiful at 11 p.m. as she did at 11 a.m., though I imagine a good deal of that was the happy natural glow of love. (Too sappy?) (It's absolutely true, though; she glowed so hard it makes me teary to think of it.)
I had my hair done in the first round so I could dash back home to get ready and then out to the farm to oversee preparations. First, though, I dashed across the street, through the first Downtown Appleton Farm Market of the season, taking note of some lovely yarn bombing along the way, to In Times Past gift shop where a good number of my favorite handknits are on display as part of the Fiber Rain project.
With wedding prep and all, I've had to keep my blinders on about that project, but it was fun to participate in some small way! (Truth be told, while I love to see yarn bombs, I'm not too keen on spending my very limited knitting time making them.)
* * * * *
And then we had a wedding!
Ali could not custom order nicer in-laws! I think Jillian is getting used to us, too, and is a bit more comfortable when we gather-babble.
I took very few pictures, as you might imagine, almost all of them with my phone and likely the lamest of them all. But I had fun!
Cupcakes and cake pops were made by Ali's friend, the adorable Amanda Cupcake, along with a lovely little cake for cutting (possibly with a plastic knife)!
One of the (many) highlights of the evening was when my brother, Michael, joined brothers Rod (groom) and Paul on stage -- bandmates years ago, it was a delightful reunion of their band, the original Bad Haji! Karen's the groupie right by the stage taking photos.
And, hey, speaking of Karen, we threw a helluva birthday party for her on Saturday! The band played Happy Birthday and the crowd sang along. It was sweet.
Have you read Katie's Artsy Abroadpost about the wedding yet? You must -- even just to look at the pictures. She took some fun photos.
* * * * *
HIGHLIGHTS and LOWLIGHTS, depending upon your point of view (heh), and (some borrowed) photos all out of order:
It was a blast helping Katie put together a playlist for the wedding. Originally, we thought it would only be played during breaks in the band, but it turned out gettings LOTS of play and it was so much fun!
Everyone looked so beautiful and/or handsome! There were 7 bridal attendants - Jillian, Katie, Maddy, friends/baristas Abbey, Janel, Kristin, and Noel; and 4 groomsmen - Rod's brothers Paul and Mark, my brother Mike, and friend Jon. Jillian wore a pretty white floral dress; Maddy, Katie and Abbey wore red dresses; Janel, Kristin and Noel wore light blue; they all carried simple white hydrangea bouquets. The boys all wore white shirts, turned up at the cuff, with simple gray vests and daisy boutonnieres.
I want to cry -- tears of happiness and joy -- whenever I think of Alison. She was simply beautiful and radiantly happy, beginning to end. My mom's dress was spectacular on her! We'd been trying to figure out a way to incorporate a "something blue" beaded necklace of Sharon's, a remembrance of her, and it was perfect to finish off the bow on the back of the dress!
It took a little planning to orchestrate Ali's arrival via Model T, which was the mother-of-the-groom's idea and a surprise to almost everyone -- especially to Rodney!
How fast do Model Ts go? We finally realized "not very fast," and had no clue how long it would take to get from our house to the farm! We decided that she'd text me when they were at the end of the road. That's when I'd queue the father-of-the bride, the groom & the bridal party to take position, and then be seated myself.
When the last of the attendants began to make their way up the aisle, I texted her, "NOW!"
Then, I watched. Everyone waited. And wondered. More watching, waiting, wondering... I heard Mom & Joe behind me, Mom asking where Ali'd be coming from, Joe telling her, "Vicki knows. Look how she's looking... watch where Vicki's watching..."
When I saw the Model T, I gave Katie the nod and she started the music.
Alison was breathtaking as Rusty helped her from the car! Beaming smile, gorgeous hair, beautiful dress, red bouquet and shoes. It was a fairly long walk from the drive, through a thicket of trees, and down the aisle to her beloved, and the last note of the song played just as they arrived!!
'Twas a very quick ceremony! It might have been the quickest in the history of ceremonies, except that when Jillian was asked for the rings... which I was given the night before to hold... but never thought about after that...
OMG, I FORGOT TO GIVE PAUL THE RINGS TO GIVE TO JILLIAN!!
Horrified! "They're still in my purse... SHOULD I GO GET THEM?"
What kind of idiotic question was that? I still laugh. I dashed -- honestly a 50-yard dash -- back to the tent to get the rings (in my purse, under a table) -- and while I was there heard a low plane fly overhead and my first thought was, "Oh no, they're not crop-dusting today, are they??" It was a neighbor doing a fly-over tribute in his cute red & white plane (so they say, because I didn't see it)!
So I made it back and, even with the delay, it wasn't long before they were all headed back down the aisle to "Happy Together"!
Ever since Wendy The Bookish Girl told me that "Happy Together" played at their recessional, I've told my girls that they had to, too! I believe it was officially okayed at the last minute, but it was! It did! They listened!!
It was fun to visit with aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. My mom did wonderfully!!
It was a pot-luck wedding (just like Rusty & I had), with a couple of roast pigs and coffee shop sandwiches for the main course. Guests filled out the menu with contributions of favorite hors d'oeuvres and side dishes. Everyone was encouraged to bring a dish and the recipe, an adorable vintage recipe box ready to receive.
* * * * *
So there it is in a very big nutshell! Now that that's out of the way, I'll share Jena's gorgeous photos when they arrive, with permission and with minimal commentary.
I am still recovering. Ali & Rod are off on a little honeymoon in Door County.
There's still a bit of the afterglow...
*Sneak peak of Ali's Mexican Wedding Shawl above! My niece, Jena, was the official wedding photographer and she took some photos of us with our shawls! I am not used to being on this side of the camera... we are all beside ourselves with anticipation for those photos!!