I decided to begin #100happydays on June 1st because I knew that it would be a tough summer. I knew that my mother was failing and that this summer could be her last. I knew that it would be good for me to find some happy everyday. I could not have known that Mom would end up in the hospital on the 4th day. I couldn't have imagined -- sometimes still can't quite believe -- that she died on the 23rd.
The 4th of July was one of my mother's favorite holidays. She loved decorating. (Period.) And patriotic decorating was especially fun! We always had a BBQ, and we will this year, too. We'll do our best in the decorating & hospitality department, but no one does it better than Mom.
1. Fly the flag(s)!
2. Use all the patriotic tableware!
3. On the grill: burgers, brats, and hot dogs
4. On the side: salads (potato, fruit, three-bean, quinoa, etc.), baked beans, potato chips
5. For dessert: homemade from-scratch cherry & apple pie
6. With ice cream!
7. Also for dessert: Karen's famous chocolate caramel bars**
8. Lots of outside fun -- be it soccer, softball, or just lounging in the sun
Well, it was definitely not a typical weekend -- holiday or otherwise! We returned home on Tuesday (yesterday) from 12 days in Scotland, so the weekend was the end of a pretty great vacation.
1. On Saturday morning, I woke up at Croft 23 after the last of our 5-night stay. People, there is truth in advertising! If nothing else, just take a minute to watch the slideshow at the top of that page; minus the brilliant sunsets, the northern lights, and the sheep (they were apparently happy elsewhere last week), it was just that beautiful. Mark and Jan were our warm and welcoming hosts, and they were marvelous. Mark is an amazing landscape photographer and it's worth a "Like" on Croft 23's Facebook page just for the almost daily photo.
2. Later on Saturday morning, on our way to Glasgow, we stopped at a castle to use the facilities, and also to get coffee... and a selfie. Ha. Yeah, we really did! We'd already visited Eilean Donan Castle as admission-paying tourists several days before.
3. We drove through more of the never-tiring Scottish Highlands. Even after six days of driving through the Scottish Highlands, we still pulled over at almost every opportunity to take photos!
4. We had lunch at Crannog Seafood Restaurant -- a place I've been to before!! Fort William was as far north as we'd ventured three years ago and it was on our way to Glasgow this time, so we retraced some steps. It was kind of fun to feel a bit familiar with a place.
5. We arrived in Glasgow for the first of two nights at an adorable 2-bedroom 3rd-floor walk-up in the west end that I found on airbnb. It was my first airbnb experience and it was good; the place was just as advertised, easy to find, very clean, and well appointed. Cute enough to live in!
6. On Sunday, while Rusty walked about Glasgow*, visiting galleries and museums, Katie and I drove west and met up with Yvette! I've cyber-known Yvette for years -- 10 years, to be exact (through the magic that is searching the archives, I've determined that the first time she commented on my blog was May 31, 2004!) -- and had missed her move back to Scotland from France three years ago by mere weeks. It was so fun to meet!!
7. We drove a bit north, again on some familiar roads, to another familiar place. We'd visited Portencross Castle at West Kilbride a couple of times three years ago. I'd scattered some of Sharon's ashes there -- because she loved Scotland and had influenced our decision to go there (instead of Ireland) -- and it didn't feel right to be so close and not visit.
8. On Monday, we returned our rental car in Glasgow. We had one of the most uncomfortable encounters of the trip -- any trip any of us have ever been on -- when a guy from the rental company gave us a lift to the train station. He obviously didn't want anything to do with us -- because Americans? tourists? -- no greeting, no response, completely ignoring questions and attempts at conversation, or grunting a barely audible one-word response. Thankfully, it was a short drive! It was a quick train ride back to Edinburgh for our last night.
9. It may seem strange that our last meal in Scotland was at Wannaburger -- basically American fast-food burgers, fries & shakes -- but it is what it is, and it was really good! I'm more than a little envious of the food scene in the UK, and these weren't your typical American fast-food burgers! Wannaburger is a favorite of the American students in Edinburgh -- comfort food. Anyway, we ate very well in Scotland. If Wannaburger was the worst, then it was the best worst. Heh. I feel as though I've gained 20 pounds in the past two weeks (is that possible?). Anyway, while Rusty took one last walk-about in Edinburgh after dinner, Katie took me to a fun and gorgeous place called The Voodoo Rooms, right around the corner/behind our hotel for cocktails (mine, left, is Where The Wild Things Are, and Kate's is Mother Earth).
10. Finally, having learned a little bit about whisky on this trip, we enjoyed a lovely last view from the lounge at Motel One while the sun set on our visit, capping the night with a glass of single-malt... neat (eventually adding a wee bit of water to taste).
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Vacation was quite lovely. I fully intended to blog along the way, but our days were packed and connectivity limited. Don't worry, I'll fill you in!
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*The Glasgow School of Art was on the list but was devastated by fire just days before our arrival in Glasgow. One of Glasgow's -- indeed, Scotland's -- great treasures, firefighters took extraordinary measures to save as much of the structure as possible, well deserving of a lovely Thank You.
I don't know... this may be another less-than-10! Most of the time, if there's something I truly want to know more about, I dive in and learn. It's not usually exhaustive research and I don't become an expert, but I've always learned more and possibly enough.
There are other things that I sometimes idly wish I knew more about -- art, history, mythology, literature, politics. I've found that my desire for this type of knowledge is often greatest after a conversation with someone to whom the word "pretentious" might apply. And, really, I know enough to happily function on a day-to-day basis. I have an open mind... things fall in.
I like to learn, but I am not an academic. I do things. I learn and make and do. Make.Do.
Most recently, over the past couple of years, I've actively pursued (in varying degrees) learning about and doing these things:
1. Being a childbirth assistant/doula.
2. Hand sewing.
3. What is/how to make a moulage & sloper for pattern-making.
4. Food and nutrition.
I've continued to learn a little more about:
7. Dyeing yarn.
I haven't really finished learning about any of those things but, you know, the need for certain areas of knowledge waxes and wanes like most everything else in life.
I would like to learn:
8. Web design, HTML, and CSS. I have a leg up on the HTML because of my experience years ago as a typesetter. I can make a pretty good site (just updated Oceans and Dreams last night), but I'm certain I could make both O&D and this blog better.
9. How to predict and/or control the future and/or weather.
10. That way, I'd be better informed in order to pack for my vacation!!
Haha. And with that, I believe I've just entered the giddy stage of vacation prep!!
Ten on Tuesday: 10 Things I Can Do Myself But Get My Husband/Someone Else To Do Instead
Well, I'm pretty much of the mind that I can do anything, it's a question of whether I want to do a particular thing. And maybe I've been there, done that (installed a dishwasher) and see no need to do it again if there's someone else who can! Heh. I'm always sometimes happy to assist!
1. Anything plumbing related.
2. Ditto electrical.
3. If I can, I'll pass on any painting projects, too.
4. I have dug a trench for footings, helped with framing, sheathing, shingling, roofing -- I've a pretty good grasp of construction from start-to-finish -- but I have no pressing desire to do anything more now than occasionally assist in the short-term. That goes for any project needing a saw, hammer, or shovel.
5. Cat care. Food, water, pills, puke, poop. I will feed and water if there's no one else to do it. I'd prefer not to clean up the puke, but sometimes I have to... because I sure hate when I step in it!
6. Shovel snow. I do it when I have to (when Rusty's gone), but otherwise... No, thank you.
7. Ditto raking leaves.
8. And mowing the lawn. I am more likely to mow my mother's (much bigger) lawn!
9. Cleaning gutters.
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TEN MORE THINGS...
Hey, guess what!??? I'll be celebrating my 10th Blogiversary on the First Day of Spring, which is why I hardly ever forget! The St. Patrick's Day observance of 9 years Quit (Smoking) will be along the way! To mark the occasion, which totally blows my mind, I thought I'd share TEN for TEN.
ONE - KNITTING
Let's start with that, since knitting is the reason I started writing this blog 10 years ago. Oh, the knitting! As of right now, there are 209 entries on my Ravelry project page. Here are 10 of my faves, in no particular order:
I also dyed the yarn for the Garter Yoke Baby Cardi, Aviatrix, and Demne. Junah has worn both of those cardis quite a bit. The process for knitting Demne all in one piece makes it one of the most interesting things I've ever made.
Parcheesi is another accomplishment in the area of Leftovers & Oddballs. Folded diagonally, I wear Parcheesi as a shawl when it's chilly (almost every evening), and also spread it out on my bed most nights. If my house was on fire and I could only save one of my projects, it would be Parcheesi. Lots of love and memories knit into those stitches.
Ha, well, thanks for hanging in there -- this turned out to be a VERY long post! Tune in tomorrow to see what I come up with for #2 as the Ten-for-Ten Blogiversary party continues!!
Best Picture Festival Wrap-up / Thoughts on This Year's Oscars
I saw the final five of nine Best Picture nominees on Saturday, and let me just say that a five-movie marathon is just about one too many for me! I was pretty restless during that last show; needed to stretch out and move!
1. I loved Philomena -- Dame Judy Dench played her beautifully. I thought the supporting cast was terrific. It was so sad that "Phil" wasn't able to meet her son again, but I'm glad she didn't give up her quest to learn more about him, and the ending was heartwarming... if not a bit surprising.
2. Her was the only movie in this batch that wasn't based on a true story (at least some of it!)... though perhaps it is foretelling? I was a little lost in time, missing whatever reference there was to that (learning later that it's 2025), and I sure hope that if anything about this movie comes true, it's not the return of HIGH-WAISTED PANTS! Haha. While not one of my favorite movies, I thought Joaquin Phoenix did an amazing job in the role.
3. 12 Years A Slave was amazing, and PERFECT casting! I had a little problem with time -- keeping track of passing time -- in this movie, also. (It's me.) Heart-wrenching. I think it was definitely deserving of the Best Picture award, and am also quite happy that Lupita Nyong'o won Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her portrayal of Patsey.
4. One of the things I was looking forward to in American Hustle was the late '70s fashion review! Oh, I could relate!! It was a great story, I loved how it was told, and every single actor was perfectly cast; I can't imagine another actor in any of those roles. Christian Bale's ability and willingness to transform himself is amazing.
5. Dallas Buyers Club definitely grew on me. Having lived through the scary time that was 1985 and remembering the fear, uncertainty, desperation, prejudice... I don't remember who referred to it in their acceptance speech, that young people who have always known a world with HIV and AIDS don't realize what that was like... so true.
6. In doing a little pre-Oscar research, I was delighted to learn that June Squibb and I share a birthday... and with Sally Field (and some other people)!
7. A Scorpio trait? June and Sally appear to be women willing to "age gracefully," if not define the term. I don't mean to be snarky -- I'm not the plastic surgery police and it's certainly a personal freedom and preference -- I just know that when I'm 80, I'd like to look closer to 80 than an indeterminate age obviously passed a long, long time ago. I'd also like to be able to move my face. Sometimes it looks so painful!
8. I loved Bette Midler's performance of Wind Beneath My Wings. And Pink's Somewhere Over The Rainbow, though the entire Wizard of Oz thing threw me for a loop -- timing again (later to realize that it was the 75th anniversary). It's no secret that I'm a fan of Pharrell and Happy, and I'm disappointed that it didn't win Best Song.
9. I thought that all of the acceptance speeches were genuine, heartfelt, and concise. I don't recall hearing too many people "played off" the stage, even if their speeches seemed to run a bit longer than 45 seconds.
10. I enjoyed it all, and I'm happy that I saw all of the BP movies! It was fun to discuss them with my fellow movie-goers, and share our take on the awards, too. I'll most likely do that marathon again next year, if need be.
1. I feel cold. Wisconsin, winter, blah blah blah; we're in record-breaking territory for below-zero temps, or something ridiculous like that, so BLAH!
2. I feel pretty. Haha. Well, I don't actually feel pretty at this very moment, but that keeps popping into my head, and sometimes I do; this time:
3. I feel satisfied, surprised, accomplished, and amazed that I've finished sewing my Alabama Chanin style top! (I may wear it tonight to book club and, if so, will see about getting a photo; if not, it will happen soon.)
4. I feel so motivated to do more handsewing... I can hardly believe it. I've been gathering materials!
5. I feel pleased that I didn't completely frog my Follow Your Arrow shawl, and even found some knitting mojo, picking it up again to do some work during Closing Ceremonies. Obviously, I veered completely off course with that project in terms of completing it during the Olympics!
6. I feel so happy that I'm able to spend some regularly scheduled one-on-one Grandma time with Junah every week... sometimes I even let Grandpa hold him. Heh.
7. I feel a little overwhelmed by things... and I'm glad I'm feeling it "a little" and will take steps to make sure I don't feel it "a lot."
8. I feel as though I've let some balls* drop. Big time.
9. I feel bad that I didn't write a single letter in February. Not even to my daughter who lives far, far away. I'm a terrible mother. (I do enjoy our weekly Skype chats, though, and I'm SO looking forward to visiting her in May.)
10. I feel the sun!! Do you? Our bedroom faces south and on sunny days the solar gain is AMAZING. Usually, though, once the sun goes down the room cools right down, but lately it's stayed warm well past sundown. So even though I'm feeling cold (#1), I am well aware of (searching out) all of the signs of the coming warmth.
1. In regard to any Olympics on NBC, I hope they never change the theme. I never tire of hearing it.
Bugler's Dream by Leo Arnaud
2. We don't have cable, so the only televised coverage at our house is on plain old over-the-airwaves NBC. I record everything and then FF through a lot of it. Sometimes I'm sorry that I'm not forced to sit through and learn all the ins and outs of, oh, let's say BIATHLON or LUGE.
3. I've been known to delete entire "afternoons" of competition. The Tivo only holds so much! And I only have so much time to watch. And while I may have some interest in one cross-country ski race, subsequent contests are far less riveting (and that may not even be proper use of the word); if I'm paying attention during the FFing, though, I'll stop and watch any finish in any sport.
3. I love love love Mary Carillo! I love her energy, her humor, her wonderful people/place/travel stories. I always stop FFing for those.
4. I'm a big sap. I love the athlete profiles and stories, clips from childhood, awkward stages. I stop for as many of them as I can, too. Athlete profiles have always been one of my favorites parts, even when I was a young girl. They are all regular people, except that they are not... they are extraordinary in their focus, dedication, and determination. Gee, wouldn't that be cool? I think I always wished that I might feel so driven... about anything.
5. Don't you love short-track speed skating!? Actually, almost all of the speed skating, and possibly because I'm from Wisconsin, having agonized and cheered every race with the likes of Dan Jansen, Eric Heiden, and Bonnie Blair.
6. I really enjoyed Tom Brokaw's "Space Race" piece. It re-awakened some feelings and memories that I'm still processing and about which I can feel quite emotional. When I watch the film of those old Apollo missions, I still feel the same excitement of LIFT-OFF that I felt as a 5th grader when our teacher would bring her portable TV to school for every launch so we could watch them live. (Never mind a TV in every classroom, there wasn't even a TV in the AV Room, land of mimeograph machines and filmstrip projectors!) I remember my parents waking us up to watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. I remember that we won; we beat the Russians to the moon! I remember knowing astronauts' names -- at least some of them -- they were heroes! A present-day astronaut was shown in that story and I was sad, almost embarrassed, that I didn't have a clue what his or any current astronaut's name was.
7. Also, because of that piece, I think I've fallen a little bit in love with Tom Stafford and Alexei Leonov. I find their friendship/relationship (more like family) incredibly heart-warming and so very full of hope for us all.
8. Alexei. Olga. Irina. Sergei. Ludmila. Ekaterina. The Olympic games of my childhood were every-4-year glimpses into another world! Russia, East Germany, were... Communist. Enormous. So very Mysterious! Sometimes I miss the tension and drama. Katarina Witt!
9. Figure skating is one of my favorite Winter Olympics "sports." For only about the third time since cutting the cord, I am missing cable for the live commentary of Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, which I hear is among the best, and especially because while Tom Hammond and Scott Hamilton are okay in my book, I cannot stand Sandra Bezic and don't feel any chemistry there at all.
10. I love a little pomp & circumstance, and the spirit of the Opening & Closing Ceremonies -- very different from one another! My mother was a student of Russian history in the mid-'60s, and she even had the opportunity to go to Russia in the mid-'70s; I'll never forget her taking me to see Doctor Zhivago and the history lessons she whispered in my ear throughout the whole movie! I'm grateful, not only for the fond memory but also for the knowledge; I am certain that I knew more about Russia -- some recent history, at least -- than any of my classmates (or teachers) or friends, and I was interested, too. I thought they handled their less than popular history during the Opening quite well. It certainly wasn't an easy thing... and, to critics, wouldn't it be interesting to see how the U.S. handled some of the unsavory bits of their own history in a similar exercise.
So, I'm off to do some more of the sewing to which the knitting has succumbed. Photo of baby modeling Demne (one of my favorites)... because I can, and because BABY!
2.a. My daughter Maddy's decidedly not-red hair. (It's not her fault that she doesn't have red hair, and I just can't leave her off of this list when the other two are on it!)
3. My grandson Junah's red hair. He doesn't really have red hair, either, but EVERYONE insists that they see red, so I decided today that, by popular demand, Junah's hair is red. Okay? Is everybody happy now??
4. The redAviatrix that I made... from yarn that I dyed... one of my favorite hat patterns!
5. The red Puerperium that I made... from yarn that I dyed... a favorite newborn sweater pattern!
6. A red enamel bowl that I hardly ever use but have had since the beginning of time (or so it seems).
7. A set of red cotton napkins that are in heavy rotation in my kitchen.
5. I don't know if it's a thing anymore, but I amconsidering knitting it, start-to-finish, during the games that start later this week.
6. If that doesn't get my knitting mojo going, I amnot sure what will.
7. I amstill quite interested in handsewing & embellishing, and exploring more of the techniques of Alabama Chanin.
8. In fact, I amanxiously awaiting delivery of some new materials for a couple of small projects I have in mind that will also make use of some old materials -- re-use and recycle, if you will. This could definitely mess up the knitting plans.
9. I amat the beginning of another Whole30. There was a birthday celebration over the weekend and a big football game, which means cake & pizza around here, but I didn't over-indulge and was already prepping.
10. That means that I amcooking! Over the weekend I made a pot of Chocolate Chili (rave reviews from everyone) (from Well Fed, one of my favorite cookbooks), an Italian Pork Roast (in the oven instead of slow-cooked) (to DIE for) and Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup (both from Well Fed 2) (yep, I'm a fan). I also roasted a spaghetti squash and a few whole sweet potatoes. And, finally, MAYO! I made homemade mayo only once before; I was in high school and had run across the recipe... and was so intrigued by the idea of a recipe for mayonnaise. Who knew you could make it yourself? I sure didn't. So, anyway, that's given us plenty of food to start the week. I had the last of the chili with a dollop of spaghetti squash, above, for lunch today. Yummm.
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.
7. It's also a great time of year to snuggle in and catch up with TV shows & movies. A friend is taking it one step further and holding an informal (but themed and quite organized) Film Festival at her house on Wednesdays in February & March.
8. A frosty landscape.
9. Sometimes the light... I love the "blue period" at dusk, when the sky and the snow -- everything glows BLUE! Also, sunny days. Sunny days are usually crisp and cold but, hello, LIGHT! It reflects everywhere and, at this time of the year, the sun is slowly rising and feeling warmer. Slowly, slowly, the days are getting longer.
10. Vacation -- either going on one (to someplace warm, which I've only ever done once) (definitely not the last) or planning one (Scotland in May)!
1. Eggs. I have an egg for breakfast almost everyday.
2. Corned Beef Hash (with an egg). I haven't had this in ages, and hardly ever actually had it at breakfast... and I think this is what I want for supper TONIGHT. I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since it popped into my heard earlier today.
3. Bacon. Self-explanatory. Goes with everything.
4. Leftovers. Fish, some steak, half a bratwurst, a meatball, veggies of all sorts... yummy for breakfast (along with an egg).
5. Cereal with fruit & nuts. Cheerios with bananas & pecans. Rice Chex with raisins & walnuts. The barest minimum of milk. Liberal sprinkles of cinnamon.
6. Oatmeal. Good chewy stuff, with raisin and pecans, lots of cinnamon.
7. Greek yogurt. Plain, with honey, pineapple, and peach were my faves.
8. Toast. Regular or french. Good bread, good eggs, good syrup. :)
9. Pancakes with maple syrup & sausage links.
10. Waffles (ditto).
I mostly only eat #1, 3 & 4 for breakfast, lunch or dinner these days; the occasional #5 for a supper on my own or a late-night bite.
I get to smell toast regularly and, like fresh baked bread, it still smells good.
One of my favorite things about making pancakes & waffles were the stray little drips and bits that would get super done & crispy -- little pancake or waffle chips.
I like things crispy.
Speaking of breakfast (food), it's been a while and I could use a system reset, so I'm thinking about and gearing up for a Whole30 in February, I think. I ran across Melissa Joulwan's "food plan" and that's a good jumping off point. As has been previously documented here, I love her recipes!
2. Chicago in March... and August... and November!
3. Mother's Day with my girls.
4. And Mother's Day when Ali confided to me (and me alone!) that I was going to be a grandmother! Such a great present... and I loved holding that little secret for a while.
5. That moment on June 15th when I became a mother-in-law.
6. Visits with the Boys from Brazil -- in January (here and there), in July, and in November!
7. A couple of get-aways with Rusty -- to Milwaukee in May and to Lake Geneva in September.
8. Ali's baby shower and furthering the fun with a big family get-together afterwards.
9. Knitting production! Totally amped up and motivated by the notion of a January baby, I didn't stop until I heard the words, "There might be enough sweaters." (It may be true.)
10. The installation of French doors in the living room by Christmas, just as I'd wished for! There's a little finish work to be done on the non-living room side... no biggie.
11. Savoring everything about becoming a grandmother for the first time and helping my daughter in her journey to motherhood. From listening to the baby's heartbeat for the first time (and each time), to attending childbirth classes, to reading everything I could about being a doula/good support person for Ali. I feel both blesssed and honored that they want me so involved in the event that's undoubtedly going to be #1 on this list for 2014!!
* * * * *
Katie's still here 'til Sunday... which is Ali's due date. Maddy was home over the weekend, Ali's not scheduled at work, and we've been having lots of fun -- visiting, shopping/thrifting, taking in some shows (art, museum, movies), and checking in at all of our favorite restaurants!
Did I say it was cold outside? Holy crap.
I have yet to knit a stitch this year. There are a couple of projects underway and I'm sure I'll get to them but the sewing bug has definitely bit. I've done two bibs so far, giving me the confidence to tackle the onesie -- and that may be finished tonight.
1. Yoga! Tomorrow morning right before hair appointment? Maybe. Thursday evening & Sunday morning with Ali, for sure! I really need to get back in the groove.
2. Mail call! There are two or three packages to ready for mail pick up.
3. Book club! Party tomorrow night.
4. I need a book for the gift exchange at aforementioned party.
5. Knitting group! Party next Tuesday night.
6. I need a gift to exchange at that party, too; it probably won't be a handknit!
7. Shopping! Maybe? I think there are a few things I need to buy... It's another nontraditional holiday season around here, and it's sort of hard to wrap my head around it and get a grip on everyone's timeline. There might be one day after the New Year when all three kids are here, so I guess I need to figure that out and plan around it.
8. Finish our little remodeling project! Framing is done, drywall is up, plastering is underway. Unfortunately, circumstances (ductwork) dictate that there will be only two doors, not three as I'd hoped and dreamed. If there's one thing I've learned in all these years of old house remodeling, it's how to roll with the punches and understand limitations and pick my battles. That's more than one thing. It could probably be done... ductwork can be moved... but in this particular instance it's not worth it. You can't always get what you want. Don't worry, be happy.
9. Baby stuff! The childbirth classes are over, the baby shower is over, and now all that's left is the waiting... knitting, waiting, knitting, waiting... it's a HUGE DISTRACTION! I wouldn't trade it for the world... already the world is revolving around this baby!
10. There will be life after Zim and, as much as I hate the thought of being away from him/her, there's a vacation to the Scottish Highlands to plan! Spring or summer? I'm leaning toward spring... later than our last visit to the UK, but not yet full-on summer tourist season. Oh, I do love to plan a good trip.
This may seem like a silly topic to some, but it occurred to me late last week when I was in the throes of cleaning my house, coming down to the wire with a million things to do, and feeling desperate... so I suggested it to Carole.
You see, not only did I throw a baby shower on Saturday, I had the BRILLIANT idea to invite all of the families up to our house afterwards -- most of them for the first time!
Though I grumbled and wondered how I could do such a stupid thing, I realized that it actually was quite brilliant because now my house is clean and spiffy and ready for the holidays! We'll dirty it up a little tomorrow when we bash through a wall, but the dust will soon settle (and, plus, that's so exciting!!).
My house is actually cleaner and more put together now than it's been in years. We've had an extended period where the kids -- and their stuff -- have been fluid and unsettled, shifting between living situations, and a whole lotta stuff landed in temporary storage at our house. With only so many places to go, a fair bit ended up invading our living space and, well, it didn't look that great.
Nor did it inspire.
My mother keeps an immaculate house -- with help; at one time "the help" was my siblings and me -- so I've been very well trained. That training has served me very well over the years, but I use it as seldom as possible. I love a clean house, and sometimes get in the groove, but I generally hate housecleaning.
Even with a house that to most of us would seem ready for a House Beautiful photo shoot at any given moment, there were (and are) times that my mom's house was less than perfect, so every once in a while, when company was on the way and time was limited, she'd give us each a room and say...
1. Hit the high spots! We'd do a quick pick up & dusting of the things most visible -- only the tops of the tables, not the bases or legs.
2. Clean off & wipe countertops. I've been using Meyer's or Watkins spray cleaner -- wonderful scents!
3. Load the dishwasher.
4. Sweep/vac the floor and shake the rugs. We have mostly hardwood and four cats. Regular furball battles are a given.
5. Gather up everything in a room that doesn't belong. Part of my battle was/is finding a place for everything. We've removed some storage in readiness for wall-bashing and, while I'm a firm believer in "a place for everything and everything in its place," getting there can be torture.
6. Related to the above, if I pick something up and have to think too hard about it, I get rid of it!! My constant companion has been a bag/box/basket designated for giving away, and we've made a ridiculous number of trips to various donation sites. I also took a load of books to Half-Price Books and walked away with some cash!
7. Multi-task. After a morning flush, I squirt in the toilet cleaner. I wash up & brush my teeth, apply powder/blush/mascara. Before leaving the room, I swish the toilet bowl and flush again -- hardly any extra effort.
8. I've also been wiping the bathroom sink & mirror with more regularity. It seems to help.
9. Oh, I'm exhausted!
10. I think my next shortcut is going to be hiring some regular help!! I've had it in the past, but it's been ages. Now is the time!
1. I am thankful that I have a husband who can -- and likes to -- do things... and who indulges (most of) my little whims, even when it means bashing a big hole through a wall. We have been do-ers together from Day 1!
There will soon be a hole in the wall where those doors are leaning -- for those doors to be installed!
2. I am thankful that Katie is able to follow her dreams (and earn her Master's at the same time) in Scotland. And that she'll soon be home for a visit. And that the possibility of visiting her there next summer is still very real.
3. I am thankful that Alison is a happy married lady and soon-to-be mum. To see and feel her happiness is... always amazing.
4. I am thankful that Maddy has found her path. It's a little longer than she'd like and there have been some bumps, but she is getting it done. Her excitement about teaching is infectious.
5. I am thrilled -- and thankful, of course -- that I will not only become a grandma as the new year begins, but that I will have (hopefully) helped & supported Ali and Rod through the process, and that I will be part of Zim's welcoming committee.
6. I am thankful for ALL of my family -- parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Due to the natural ebb and flow of relationships, there are various measures of connectedness at any given time, but we are connected to the core and I wouldn't be the same without every last one.
7. I am especially thankful for the makers among them, and for their inspiration. I am grateful that from an early age I had a full arsenal of tools at my disposal for making all sorts of things -- and people willing to teach me how. Sewing, embroidery, knitting, cooking, painting, quilting, basket-making, furniture building... the list goes on.
8. I am thankful that my mother taught me how to knit. Where in the world would I be without knitting? I bought an Elizabeth Zimmermann "Quote Tote" from Schoolhouse Press a few years ago: Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises. It is so true! My tote is a little different from the current version, and I think quite a bit bigger, so I only use it for big projects -- but those are exactly the types of projects I choose when there's a crises to knit through!
9. I am thankful for blogging, which stems directly from knitting, and all that it's brought to my life. I am thankful for you, dear reader. Thank you for following along... reading, writing, and often encouraging me with whatever my whim-of-the-day, including spatchcocked turkeys!
10. I am thankful for my hearth and home. I have been wrangling quite a bit lately with stuff and trying to reconfigure things -- not easy -- but I am grateful that I have a home that I love, near to so many of the people that I love.
I'm not really trying to match yarn to project, but I'm dreaming and it just so happens that...
6. My Kate sent me about 1750 yards of Belle Epoque lace-weight yarn for my birthday! On a clear day, she can see the actual Firth of Forth from her kitchen window, and it's just natural to my mind that this yarn and that pattern would make a wonderful pairing. I'm about 350 yards short but there are options: a) I could make the sweater a wee bit shorter, b) I could make the sleeves shorter or possibly even eliminate them, c) see if Kate can pop over to K1 Yarns to see if there's one more hank in this color/lot.
7. I like the idea of unpretentious Cascade 220 for Maude. After my weekend of moving stuff around, I am quite familiar with some aspects of my stash -- worsted-weight being one of those aspects -- and don't think I have quite enough of any one color. I love the everyday comfy vibe of this sweater!
8. Low Tide is ready to rip. I ran into it over the weekend, tried it on, and it hasn't magically shrunk... it's still too big! That background color could be interesting for Sweatrrr... and there is no shortage of scrap fingering-weight yarn 'round here. I'd play around with making it a cardigan, though.
9. For Spaghetti, I like the idea of saturated color... Tosh Merino or something similar.
10. And for Faro, I have a cone of aran-weight yarn that could be anything at all!
Wow, perusing my Pinterest board beyond those five... there are SO MANY great sweater patterns out there! How does one even decide anymore?
Not necessarily all of these things on any given day off. Many of these things look like regular things I'd normally do on a day off -- or any day, for that matter -- but there's just a different flavor to everything when it's an "extra" day off and I am more able to choose to do something like cook or clean or do laundry.
I like to feel that I've been productive in some way, everyday -- and sometimes (rarely) that means having a pajama day, eating cereal for breakfast, lunch & dinner, watching movies, and knitting all day long! (Best on rainy/snow days.)
1. Go out for lunch.
5. Hang laundry on the line.
6. Organize stuff... there's always that!
7. Watch a movie or catch up with Tivo.
8. Take a day trip.
9. If it's on either side of a weekend, plan/extend a 3-day weekend away!
That's my first official soaker for Zim! It's the smallest size, and took all of 24 hours from start to finish. The only thing left undone is the i-cord tie and I pretty much want to poke a needle in my eye when I think about all the i-cord needed for all these pants and covers and whatnot, so something else will need to be done to keep these on the baby's bum. The second cover, in the next-up size, is underway! I'm on track to finish tonight, too, except that it's a 5th Tuesday and on those, knit night is held at a location other than the usual coffee shop -- tonight's is at a wine bar. Haha.
The pattern is Wool Soaker, Diaper/Nappy Cover by Val Turner, available through Craftsy, and I love it! Using a combination of circular and straight knitting, the pattern gives options in a couple of places for different skill levels -- do this if you're a beginner, that if you're a more advanced knitter. There are a couple of ends to weave in at the end, and two tiny little seams to sew up (or not? I'm not sure it's even necessary). I'm using Lion Brand Fishermen's Wool for these.
Ten on Tuesday: 10 Foods I Regularly Eat That Were Exotic (or Unheard Of) When I Was a Kid
Hm. The foods of my childhood were mostly limited, but there were flashes of the exotic. Artichokes, for one thing; thanks to my Aunt Cece, we were introduced to artichokes quite early and we all *loved* them! They were truly exotic, as in hard to find in good shape in NE Wisconsin at any time of year -- the grocery clerk always needing to ask what it was in order to properly ring it up.
With a bunch of German farmers and wanna-be-farmers in my not-too-distant ancestry, I would occasionally hear stories about farming... and the raising & butchering of livestock. The fact that every bit of a hog, for instance, was used in some way -- that nothing went to waste -- made a big impression on me. True to her upbringing, Grandma Blum would serve her precious sulze with other cold cuts for lunch; my dad always had a jar of pickled pigs' feet in the fridge.
Dad liked smoked fish, anchovies, and sardines, too; I remember many sardine sandwich picnic lunches with my dad -- sardines, yellow mustard, white bread.
While Grandma preferred cheddar and colby, Grandpa (and also his son, my dad) had a fondness for the stinky Limburger and sharp Brick cheese.
Grandma Koenig died when I was only 8, but I remember gigantic boiled dumplings with gravy at her table -- my mother never made them, but I've had them since from the hand of my Aunt Arlene. My mother had some influence, too; there were the memorable Camembert cheese and smoked oyster phases of my youth!
Now, I didn't *love* all of these foods, but I tried them all (and did actually like most) and they were definitely a part of my childhood -- I'm sure that each one helped me be a bit more adventurous as an adult.
1. Fresh vegetables. I'm serious. I think I grew up in the golden age of commercially canned vegetables. Thinking about it (esp. creamed corn) makes me want to hurl.
Fresh roasted broccoli & cauliflower.
2. Avocado. This was a very rare and special addition to a salad in my youth. For one thing, they were very high in calories & fat and that was a no-no. Not so now! I eat and enjoy avocadoes on a regular -- almost daily -- basis.
3. Salmon. My dad was a fisherman, so we had plenty of wild lake fish at the table but never salmon; he didn't care for it, my mother didn't like its lingering aroma after cooking. I don't care for the aroma, either, but I love to eat salmon!
4. Turkey burgers. Are you kidding? We had turkey at Thanksgiving -- whole, stuffed, roasted. Sandwiches & soup for a week after. Period.
Feeling nostalgic, or maybe it's that Thanksgiving is approaching, but all of a sudden, I've a hankering for a cold turkey breast sandwich on white bread, slathered with mayo and with a piece of iceberg lettuce!
5. Any lettuce or "salad" green that isn't iceberg lettuce.
6. Liver. Of course. I should clarify... BEEF liver was awful as prepared by my mom (everyone's mom); my dad would sometimes fry up chicken livers and they were great!
7. Quiche. The eggs of my childhood were made only to be boiled, deviled, scrambled, or fried!
8. Brown rice -- or any rice that wasn't preceded by "Minute" on the package!
Shrimp on the barbie -- also unheard of in my youth (though I do recall steamed lobster)
9. Sushi. I don't regularly consume sushi, but it was completely unheard of in my youth!
10. Paprika... for anything other than to pretty up deviled eggs. My spice cupboard is bulging these days, thanks in part to at least three or four different types of paprika -- Hungarian, California, sweet, sharp, etc.
1. APPLES! (Hubby made a pie.) It was the second-to-last farmers market of the season on Saturday, so that's where I spent my morning. It was damp and chilly, with a sudden and unpredictable wind blowing through at times. Someone lifted my most precious hedgie, about which I am being very Zen and also Karma, baby.
2. I threw some ribs in the slow cooker.
3. And took a nap.
4. Maddy was home since Thursday, and Ali & Rod came over for a family dinner on Saturday. I roasted butternut squash (with rosemary) and Rusty steamed some market-fresh broccoli to go with the BBQ ribs! And pie.
5. My friend Ann came over on Sunday morning, setting up her spinning wheel at the south end of my porch to spin some silk while I took some photos for her.
She left me with a lovely little gift of handspun. It sure is pretty! A hat? Some little mitts?
6. I watched the football game.
7. Spent some time (a little bit) sorting/cleaning/tossing upstairs... even went up into the attic!
8. Dropped a load at the Goodwill drive-thru.
9. Gathered up & took photos of Zim-related knitting (see yesterday's post). I've since remembered a bulky knit hoodie to add to the "finishing" pile!
10. Caught up on some TV -- Blue Bloods, The Good Wife, Sons of Anarchy (finished S1), and knit!
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'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.
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!
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?
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!
I got this! While ice cream is a very infrequent indulgence these days, I have indulged and I definitely have favorites. I love different flavors of ice cream -- Moose Tracks, Coffee -- but if it's a "sundae" or ice cream with toppings (which, in my book, is a "sundae"), it's always the same. Easy peasy!
Good vanilla ice cream with...
1. Hot fudge.
2. Hot fudge.
3. Hot fudge.
4. Hot fudge.
5. Hot fudge.
6. Hot fudge.
7. Hot fudge.
9. Fresh whipped cream.
10. A cherry on top!
You may say I'm stuck in a rut. Maybe so... but I think it's a delicious rut!
I've eaten at a few picnic tables in the past few years, but haven't planned an actual picnic in I don't know how long, so I'm skipping the official topic of today's Ten on Tuesday. I will share the first two things that popped into my head, though:
Glasses never occurred to me until I read Kym's post, so my picnic will be the one where we pass the bottle. Heh.
How about a first-ever ToT follow-up, instead. The last Ten on Tuesday post in April was: 10 Things I'm Looking Forward To In May. Let's see how that's going.
1. Hair cut (more likely, trim) tomorrow! I will also be auditioning -- or at least discussing -- the hairstyle that I have in mind for the wedding.
A very important #1 that I was excited about and looking forward to, and I FORGOT! Happily, my girl Kate was able to squeeze me in after work a few days later. Sheesh. My hairstyle for the wedding was met with approval, and I've saved a couple similar/detailed photos to Evernote since then.
2. Dinner with Alison's future in-laws tomorrow night!
Dinner with the in-laws was FANTASTIC! We picked them up at their house (aka, wedding venue!) and I've been out there a couple more times... and will likely be a much more frequent visitor over the next few weeks! From the photo was taken, above, I'd be looking through the tent (reception); weather permitting, the ceremony will be held in a round-ish clearing just barely visible beyond and to the left of that darkest evergreen tree.
I really enjoyed the food expo -- and ran into the in-laws there, too! There were a lot of vendors and I even found authentic and local pao de queijo! The speaker schedule wasn't very tight, which was sort of exasperating, but because of that we caught a portion of a panel discussion with all of the day's speakers, led by Kyle Cherek of Wisconsin Foodie. It was very interesting and I could have listened all day but, of course, we didn't have all day! We heard Will's presentation about Growing Power, and one of Joel's two talks that day.
4. Visitors from Oregon, their daughter (a sometime guest at our house) graduating from Lawrence University this year and they'll be here over the Mother's Day weekend for her recital.
Visitors have come and gone. Our time together was brief -- they brought over a delightful meal of Greek take-away to share -- but they had a nice time exploring the area with their daughter.
5. Mother's Day!
Been there! (at the Green Bay Botanical Garden)
6. Maddy's last day of school on the 17th!
She's home! Sort of. She left yesterday for a week of camping with friends. Next week she'll be gone for a week of orientation for her camp counselor job. And then she'll be working all summer... at camp!
The girls are talking about finally taking a summer road trip together... also involving camping... as it may never be easier than NOW. And, sadly, we are all used to high gas prices -- which have been "coming down" a bit, but are still hella lot more than they used to be. But you know that. They're talking about going to Mount Rushmore, too, and recreating the awesome photo I took of my sisters there in 1979.
7. The Master Gardeners' Annual Plant Sale on the 18th.
Ugh! I missed it... and the heirloom plant sale on the 11th, too. I have no plants!!
8. Hopefully, an overnighter to Milwaukee for an art opening, premiere of an animated music video (by my cousin's husband) featuring music from the Tritonics new single "Smoky Places" and after-party. Just because... it sounds like fun!
I found a great deal at The Pfister, a wonderful old hotel in downtown Milwaukee! We were able to walk almost everywhere -- to dinner at Rodizio Grill, a Brazilian Steakhouse, and to the Milwaukee Art Museum.
The highlight was the Smoky Places art opening/video premier at Dominion Gallery, and the after party at The Uptowner. Exhibiting artists included my cousin Rae and her husband Michael. Michael premiered the animated music video, below, with music from the Tritonics.
And Rae's shoes are so great!
We had so much fun. And even dancing! Home by midnight, we walked to the Milwaukee Art Museum after breakfast on Saturday.
That is one amazing place. The architecture -- including those moveable wings -- of the Quadracci Pavilion is simply breathtaking.
9. Memorial Day!
This weekend! My sister will be coming on Saturday and we'll be doing a work day on Sunday, planting Mom's window boxes, etc., sort of a belated/continuation of her Mother's Day gift.
10. My knitting goal for May will be to finish the two shawls that I'm working on for the wedding... and NOT start another baby sweater. Heh. I'm more than half-way on Mexican Wisconsin Wedding and made a good start on Frambuesa last night. Second try! There's errata, for one thing, and some wonkiness regarding stitch marker placement and repeats... I just move them around as needed and "read" my knitting -- as long as it reads correctly, I'm good. The markers are eventually removed. I already know that I'm going to LOVE this shawl!
I've finished the Wisconsin Wedding shawl! It awaits overdyeing and blocking... as soon as Frambuesa v.2 is finished. The casting on issue has been resolved, and knitting is happening -- the border is almost complete. It'll get done.
BONUS: 11. I've ramped up the dyeing a tiny bit in the last month or so, the impetus being some fun custom orders and projects! Oh, I miss it!! As things continue to improve and progress in other areas of life, I intend to be doing much more of that beginning in May.
Custom orders/projects continue... Have you seen Cara's Celestarium? It was so much fun working with her to make the color just what she wanted for this project, and then to watch the knitting progress! The shawl is amazing -- her knitting is always so beautiful -- you must read her notes and, seriously, she says that it's not difficult at all! It's just killing me that I can't wrap it around my shoulders and feel it!
In no particular order, and with a couple of extra for good measure. Can you have too many TV mothers? They're all favorites for different reasons!
1. Olivia Walton: The Waltons. Well, for one thing, I always loved Miss Michael Learned's name, and I also loved her voice. She was the epitome of "calm," perfectly conveyed through the tone and timbre of her voice. I wanted to be a Walton.
2. Ann Romano: One Day at a Time. I could relate!! My mother was also a divorced, single mom (of five!), and Barbara & Julie were about my age.