Ten on Tuesday: 2013 Favorites

Ten on Tuesday Wednesday:  10 Favorite Moments from 2013


1.  Rio in January!


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.


Ten on Tuesday: To Do!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things On My To-Do List Right Now!

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.

Ten on Tuesday: Hit the high spots

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Favorite Housekeeping Shortcuts

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!

* * * * *


* * * * *

Ten on Tuesday: To Be Thankful

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things For Which I Am Thankful

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!

One of my goals for today, getting the soon-to-be-installed French doors from the other side of the wall to this. They'll need some time in the basement before all is said and done, but this is good for now. #remodeling

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.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Ten on Tuesday: 5 + 5

Ten on Tuesday:

5 Favorite Sweater Patterns +
5 Favorite Yarns To Use 10 Things!


Here are the last 5 sweaters I pinned to I Don't Have Enough On My Plate:

1.  Firth o' Forth by Kate Davies

2.  Maude by Carrie Bostick Hoge

3.  Sweatrrr by Asa Tricosa

4.  Spaghetti by Valentina Cosciani

5.  Faro Pullover by Amy Christoffers


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?


Ten on Tuesday: Zzzzzzz

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Thoughts on Daylight Savings Time


1.  Remember to set the clock back!


2.  Did my phone automatically "fall back"?

3.  Reset the alarm clock, living room clock, kitchen clock, stove clock, water softener clock, set-back thermostat clock...

4.  Is that all of them?

5.  Reset the clock in the car -- at the next stop light -- with one hand.

6.  Compare and contrast every clock I see:  Has its owner set it back yet?

7.  This is such a pain...

8.  And I don't even have a watch(es)!


9.  Aaaarrrrrrrggggggghhhhhh! I'm so... discombobulated. And tired. And look at that, it's practically "night" at 4:00 already.

10.  I hate this.


Ten on Tuesday: Extra! Extra!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Love To Do on an Extra Day Off!

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.

2.  Shop.

How is it that still don't have smell-o-vision on this thing?? 1st batch #roastedtomatosauce 2013.

3.  Cook.

4.  Clean.


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!

Woohoo! First wool nappy cover for the bebe - a 24-hour project. Love it, great pattern. #knitting #KnittingforZim

10.  Knit!

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.

What's your favorite lanolin-rich wool wash?


Ten on Tuesday: That's delicious!

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.

Tonight's roasting: broccoli & cauliflower. Perfect with our goat & beef burgers and a big glass of Malbec. #lastoftheweddingwine #haventmetaroastedvegetablethatidontlove #alsowine

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!

#yum Grilled Cilantro Lime Shrimp Kebabs... worth the wait! #itswhatsfordinner #onthebarbie

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.

Bon appetit!

Ten on Tuesday: October Weekend

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Did Over The Weekend

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!

Can't ask for much more from an October weekend!

It's just the normal noises in here...

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Miss About My Home When I'm Away

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).

(She's doing great!)


Ten on Tuesday: 10 Words

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Words to Describe Myself in an Interview

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:

1.  Creative

2.  Efficient

3.  Confident

4.  Positive

5.  Responsible

6.  Dependable

7.  Independent

8.  Easy-going

9.  Quick-learner

10.  Hard-worker

11.  Loyal*

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.


Ten on Tuesday: The Heat is ON

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Ways To Beat The Heat

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!

What's your best beat-the-heat strategy?


Ten on Tuesday: All By Myself

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Favorite Things To Do When I'm Alone

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?


Ten on Tuesday: Sum-Sum-Summertime!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Want To Do This Summer

We already did the big thing!

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.

7.  An overnighter to the Lake Geneva area and a visit to Black Point Estate.

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!

  • TTL Mystery Shawl (Germinate) by Kirsten Kapur
  • Lichen by Larissa Brown
  • Tripartite by Stephen West
  • A million and one baby/kid things
  • A percolating blanket

How about you? What's on your list for summer? What should I add to mine?


Ten on Tuesday: I Scream!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Favorite Ice Cream Toppings

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.

8.  Pecans.

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!


Ten on Tuesday: Weekend doings

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I Did Over The Weekend

Pretty much in order, and with a couple of extra for good measure... it was that kind of weekend.


1.  Skyped with (sis) Annie in Brazil.

2.  Went dress shopping with my mom (2 shops, 2 cities, 2 dresses).

3.  Dyed some yarn.


4.  Went plant shopping with my mom and Karen (sis).

5.  Planted Mom's window box and driveway planter.

6.  Did some garden clean up at Mom's with Karen, Mike (bro), and Judy (SIL).

7.  Had a cook-out.

8.  Went to a movie: (slept thru a fair bit of) Star Trek.


9.  Went to the mall and then did some more (just a little bit more) plant shopping with Mom and Karen.

10.  Had lunch with Karen at the coffee shop.

11.  Dyed some yarn.

12.  Planted my own front porch planter.

13.  Bound off Frambuesa v.2. I wanted it to be a little stretchy, but may have done it a bit too loose... and I think I'm going to re-do the bind-off.

14.  Learned to play The Settlers of Catan.


Maddy said that they played this constantly when she was camping last week and she couldn't wait to teach us! It was fun, and...


...Sheep! What's not to love about a board game with sheep cards?!

It was a bit of belated Mother's Day mashed up with Memorial Weekend, getting some planting and garden clean-up done for Mom. It sure was a busy weekend!


May days progress

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:

  1. Wine
  2. Corkscrew

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.

3.  On Saturday, Ali and I will be heading to Oshkosh and the Natural Product & Organic Food Expo -- Joel Salatin and Will Allen among the highlights.

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 queijoThe 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.

It was announced a couple of days ago that none other than Michael Pollan will be featured at the Country Living & Natural Health Expo in January!

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)

Done that!

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!


Ten on Tuesday: Oh, Mother!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Favorite TV Moms

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.

3.  Edith Bunker:  All In The Family. Those Were The Days!

4.  Julia Baker:  Julia. Oh, she was so pretty and no one's ever more elegantly worn a nurse's uniform!

5.  Florida Evans:  Good Times. She was dyn-o-mite!

6.  Roseanne Conner:  Roseanne. Talk about keepin' it real.

7.  Clair Huxtable:  The Cosby Show. Smart.

8.  Kitty Forman:  That '70s Show. Giggles erupt the minute Kitty appears.

9.  Sophia Petrillo:  The Golden Girls. Sophia makes me laugh out loud!

10.  Marion Cunningham:  Happy Days. Who didn't love Mrs. Cunningham??

11.  Caroline Ingalls:  Little House On The Prairie. I always wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder, so it makes sense that Ma would be my ma!

12.  Maude Findlay:  Maude. Not exactly the maternal type, I loved Maude -- and her daughter, also a mom, Carol!

13.  Victoria Barkley:  The Big Valley. Pretty sure I just had a big crush on Barbara Stanwyck.

Who'd I miss? Mrs. Partridge, Mrs. Brady, Mrs. Addams, Mrs. Munster, Mrs. Cleaver, Mrs. Simpson, Mrs. Jetson, Mrs. Flintstone and Mrs. Rubble, Mrs. Ricardo...


Ten on Tuesday: Why, oh why?

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Reasons Why I Knit

Hands Now there's a blast from the knit-blogger past! Who knows these hands? When, where, who? Anyone?

1. Knitting keeps my hands busy. I cannot imagine idle hands. I put knitting aside in favor of counted cross-stitch samplers for a while in the late '80s and early '90s, finding that sort of project to be more portable and easier to segment, at the time, but I was always anxious to get back to knitting!

2. Knitting keeps me company. I learned to knit as a child and did a little knitting during my high school years, but it was when I moved to Oregon in the early '80s that I became a knitter. It wouldn't really be much of an exaggeration to say that it saved me! I was pretty lonely out there, and knitting was my BFF for a while! Come to think of it, I was knitting in high school for the same reason, though wasn't challenging myself then nearly as much as in Oregon (and neither was I as lonely).

3. Knitting keeps my brain busy. Well, knitting keeps my brain as busy as it needs to be on any given day/hour/minute! I always have a few projects in process, usually of various types and degrees of difficulty.

Lap blanket

Parcheesi (Parcheesi Afghan by Janine Bajus)

4. Knitting satisfies my need to be creative. I love that I can exercise my creativity in so many ways with knitting -- from choosing and/or arranging colors to making pattern modifications, and even dabbling in rudimentary design!

5. Knitting helps my social life. Oh, how I could have used a Stitch 'n Bitch in Oregon! Thankfully, knitting groups are not hard to find -- or form -- these days, and I'm happy to have many local options, and to have made some good friends. I love a group for the variety of people and personalities, which translates to a variety of interests and projects! And then there's blogging -- which I began doing because of knitting -- and have made friends all over the world because of it! I am very fortunate that I've even been able to meet and spend time with some of them.

6. Knitting is challenging! One of the beautiful things about knitting -- and probably one of the reasons why it doesn't get old -- is that the range of projects is staggering. And they just keep coming...

7. I love the process of knitting. I've made no secret of that! I have numerous projects at various stages in the process because it is precisely that -- The Process -- that interests me most. I just love to DO it.

Diaper Cover

Diaper Cover (Wool Diaper Cover by Studio Tuumat Oy)

8. Knitting is satisfying! It wouldn't be very motivating if I never finished anything, so I have become more careful is selecting projects (some, at least) that I know will be finished. I've found baby & kid things to be quick and satisfying morsels, though they also need to be carefully selected because there can be an enormous amount of (fiddlly) finishing involved!

Nice and simple

Dolores (Dolores Park Cowl by Parikha Mehta)

9. I love the product of knitting. I knit mostly for myself, and I wear my knits! Shawls, scarves, cowls, and mitts are among the "satisfying" knits that I am likely to finish (usually because they require very little "finishing"), and I wear one or more of the above every single day in the winter months! At home, I'm likely to wrap up in a handknit blanket and wear me-made wool socks or slippers, as well! I live in a wool house!

10. Knitting relieves stress. A day without knitting is a very rare thing 'round here.


Ten on Tuesday: May days

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Things I'm Looking Forward To In May

The months fly by, don't they? Maybe by taking a minute to really think about what's happening in May, it won't seem like it went *poof* a month from now when June's barrelling down.

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.


Yummy custom-made salad with ham-wrapped pickles.

2.  Dinner with Alison's future in-laws tomorrow night!

3.  On Saturday, Ali and I will be heading to Oshkosh and the Natural Product & Organic Food Expo -- Joel Salatin and Will Allen among the highlights.

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.

Mum and me!

5.  Mother's Day!

6.  Maddy's last day of school on the 17th!

7.  The Master Gardeners' Annual Plant Sale on the 18th.

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!

The middle of the month is very busy!!

9.  Memorial Day!

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!

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.

Ten on Tuesday: Sweaters

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Favorite Sweater Patterns

I have more than a few sweaters knit up and presently awaiting finishing. I love to knit sweaters, and I even love to wear them, but finishing is something else.

I could be the poster girl for The World-Wide Association of Process Knitters!

Eventually, I'll find a groove or get a bug and then it's full-steam ahead to the end. You just never know when...

Possibly because I am a process knitter, my mental queue is always growing. Interesting (not necessarily complicated) shapes and techniques always draw me in. These 10 are among the most recent sweater (or vest) patterns I've added to my Ravelry Favorites list... a list that is always changing!

1. Sara - by Marita Rolin, amirisu - Spring 2013. Cap sleeves, pockets... in contrasting color. Summer uniform?

2. Abalone - by Beata Jezek, Hedgehog Fibers. Simple & seamless. I like that.

3. Miss Jane - by Georgie Hallam. Three-quarter length sleeves and simple, simple, simple!

4. Double-Take Tee - by Espace Tricot. I'm pretty sure I could wear this out in a summer - perfect for throwing over... just about anything!

5. Funky Grandpa - a cardi riff on her own Summer Jumper Recipe by La Maison Rililie. Hello, v-neck and stripes, two of my favorite things.

6. Buttonbox - by Elizabeth McCarten, in Knitty - Spring+Summer 2013. Love the details, love that little collar!

7. Oconee - by Jamie Thomas. Interesting construction with very little "finishing" required, and it looks like it would knit up super fast.

8. Rhadamanthys - by Jennifer Dassau. Perfect for a process knitter, this is knit in one piece with no seaming or finishing required. It's knit entirely in garter stitch, which I also love. Why am I not knitting this right now?

9. Circlet Cardigan - by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence, Knitpicks. Texture!

10. Wayside Lace Cardigan - by Schoppel-Wolle Design Team, Skacel Fiber Studio.  This just looks like a big comfy hug!

What about you?


Ten on Tuesday: Dream BIG!

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Things I'd Do If I Won the Big Powerball Jackpot

1. Assemble my team: lawyer, accountant, cabana boy.

2. Pay off my mortgage and all debt.

3. Pay off my kids' student loans; set up trusts for them.

4. Buy a couple of houses on my street, strip 'em out, and knock 'em down.

5. Quit my job.

6. Buy the hardware store.

7. Buy a lovely penthouse in Chicago or New York or San Francisco. Or all of the above.

8. Buy a place on the west coast... of Scotland.

9. TRAVEL! The Maritimes, Italy, Spain, and Greece come to mind, as do New England, Texas, and Hawaii.

10. Buy a lovely vintage Porsche.

I could go on...

I just read an article, 22 Things Happy People Do Differently, and "Dream Big" was #5 on the list... got that one covered.  ;)


Ten on Tuesday: I am so ready for winter to be over

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Reasons Why I Am Ready for Winter To Be OVER

1.  Brazil. It wet my whistle!

2.  Sandals. I'm really looking forward to wearing sandals again -- they're so easy to slip on.

Hello! Yes! I did the dorky tourist thing, holding Cristo Redentor in the palm of my hand!

3.  Shorts & Skorts & Skirts! I've gone entire summers without baring my legs to the world... this isn't going to be one of them.

4.  Bathing suit! Now that I have one that I even sort of like, I may as well wear it!

5.  Canga! Even more, I can't wait to wear the dress I bought at the Hippie Fair that's made from a canga.

5.  Farmers market. I'm starting to prepare!

6.  Open windows & doors. It'll be so nice to put the screens on and air out the house.

7.  Flora! I'm ready for some greening up and blooming garden flowers.

Laundry on the line

8.  Laundry on the line!

9.  The rebirth and renewal that is...

10.  SPRING!


My 10 on Tuesday is more about why I'm looking forward to spring/summer than why I'm ready for winter to be over... but that's exactly why!

* * * * *

Thanks for all the finger-crossing and well-wishing and prayers today! I'll be back soon.


Another "rainy day" in Rio

This morning's photo:

Two sleeps to Rio -- one in my own bed, one on an aeroplane -- and then I'll be sleeping pool-side, behind the two doors on the right!

The airline just called to tell me that it's time to check in online!

Of course I've known that English isn't spoken much in Brazil, but I realized yesterday that I've actually never been to a non-English speaking country before -- not even Mexico. That prompted me to make doubly sure that I have contact info and back-up contact info, and a Plan C!

I have LOTS to do! I continue to update my lists and reminders, striving to streamline everything, but even so I may start bouncing off the walls soon!

* * * * *

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Tips for Sticking With Your Fitness Routine

1. I don't have 10 tips for this.

2. I don't even have one.

3. Fitness routine?

4. It's the missing component.

5. I've been very satisfied with the results that have occurred in my body over the past 4-5 months by just changing how and what I eat.

6. Last Saturday I was back down to pre-Christmas weight and then some, marking my lowest weight so far on this journey.

7. There's been a lot happening in my life and the lives of people around me, so I'm quite happy right now to limit my focus to the food aspect.

8. I have a gym membership and I know how to use it.

9. I just haven't used it in quite some time.

10. I'm looking forward to spring and hopping back on my bike -- the 30+ pounds I've lost will make that even more fun, I think!


Ten on Tuesday: Goal!

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Goals for 2013

1. Taking a cue from my sister Sharon, my #1 goal for 2013 is simply TO KEEP IT TOGETHER. I already know that it is going to be an epic, challenging year, full of ups and downs.

2. I will continue TO EXPLORE DIET & NUTRITION. I am gobsmacked at the results I've seen from the changes I made late last year -- from weight loss to the reduction/elimination of pesky physical ailments and problems. Also, the quick bounce-back following my holiday indulgence has been a pleasant surprise. Continuing on this path is a no-brainer for me.

3. I will expand my knowledge TO HELP OTHERS, particularly in terms of their needs, which may or may not be in complete alignment with my own. Everyone is different.

4. One thing that I need to work on for the improvement of my overall health is exercise/fitness, so I vow to RIDE MY BIKE MORE. Due to wedding bells, I will miss the Ride For Nature in Door County this year, but there are more and more bike events, if that's what I want -- I really just want to ride more -- it was fun riding my bike to Knit Night last summer. I found myself, out of the blue, wishing for spring the other day specifically so I could ride my bike!

5. I will also use my fitness center membership more, particularly in the areas of STRENGTH/POWER & YOGA. I believe they'll be opening/moving the yoga studio in a new-to-them historic, wonderful, and more convenient location, and I'll be all over that.

6. I WILL CLEAN OUT & SIMPLIFY. Again. Some more. Ongoing...

7. I will GO TO RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL! I wasn't expecting to see my sister and her family here during the holidays, and certainly wasn't expecting to leave to visit them in Brazil less than a week after their departure, but there you are and here I go. Come what may (and when).

8. With any luck, I will set foot on three continents in 2013, and CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS IN SCOTLAND. Truth be told, I'll be more than happy to celebrate New Year's or any other holiday -- or no holiday -- any time at all -- in Scotland. I just want to go again! Since Kate will be there in school next fall, it makes sense to shoot for then.

9. I will KNIT FINGERLESS GLOVES FOR BRIDESMAIDS & THE BRIDE, AND A WEDDING SHAWL FOR THE BRIDE. And I will not wait until the last minute. In fact, I think I'll go home and wind yarn today!!

10. I will SEE THE FIRST OF MY DAUGHTERS GET MARRIED! Ali's friend Kristin gave her the most adorable wedding-planner binder for Christmas, on the cover it said: Keep Calm and Marry Rod! Crazy, fun, exciting!

* * * * *

Ali and I returned to Al Immig's in Sheboygan last Wednesday to see how my mother's wedding dress turned out after cleaning. It turned out white as snow -- I don't think anyone was expecting that result! The little paint splotch came away without a trace, and there are only a few minor rips and tears to be repaired; the dress has stays in the bodice, which took on a life of their own and will definitely be replaced; the dress will be shortened just a bit. The tailor undid some of my mother's earlier sewing, resulting in "finding" extra fabric here and there, so the fit is much better and it's really not going to be altered all that much. We'll be going back at the end of March!

June's going to come up really fast, isn't it?


Ten on Tuesday: Humming along

Ten on Tuesday10 Favorite Holiday Albums

I'm pressed and distracted this week, but I love this topic -- I'm looking to fluff up my holiday music selection and look forward to getting around to all the participating blogs.

I'm being particular this year, loving a well done classic but so very tired of so very many of them -- the same old song or the same old rendition by the same old artist. I think I just need something new! That said, there's old and new mixed in here, and quite a few that are on my wish/contemplation list!

1. Snowed In - Hanson. I love it more and more each year, I think.

2. PTXmas - Pentatonix. I linked to a video the other day and downloaded all the songs shortly thereafter!

3. Home for Christmas - Hall & Oates. I chose this CD as my "free gift" with a recent supply catalog order and I have to say that I was happily surprised!

4. Merry Christmas - Johnny Mathis. This voice has always been a part of my life -- possibly this album, too! I actually have this vinyl.

5. The Bells of Dublin - The Chieftains. I'm not even sure how this CD came to be at my house, but it's been a favorite -- and I think my kids will feel about The Chieftains and this CD the way I do about Johnny Mathis and Merry Christmas.

6. Christmas - Michael Buble. Soon to be mine.

7. Merry Christmas, Baby - Rod Stewart. Also soon to be mine.

8. A Charlie Brown Christmas - Vince Guaraldi Trio. Never, ever, ever tire of this.

9. My Christmas - Katherine Jenkins. On my wish list.

10. Under The Mistletoe - Justin Bieber. We shall end as we begin!


Ten on Tuesday: Warm hands

Ten on Tuesday: (Only) 10 (of The Many, and In No Particular Order) Favorite Mitts/Mittens Patterns That I May or May Not Ever Knit, or Possibly Have Knit (even Twice or Thrice), or Dream of Someday Knitting

There are 60+ such patterns in my Ravelry Favorites, and I never really scope them out. I haven't even looked at my Pinterest boards.


1. Dimorphous Mittens (pictured above) by Miriam Felton. I gave this pair away as a gift. I must knit another someday!

2. Squirrel Sampler Mittens by Adrian Bizilia at Hello Yarn.

3. The elusive (to me) Latvian Mitten(s).

4. Hollywood! I fell head-over-heels in love with Miriam's Vivien Leigh, Lauren Bacall, and Joan Crawford gloves.

5. Emma's Mittens. Seriously scrumptious texture.

6. Eve. More enchanting texture -- and beads! There are some other gorgeous patterns there, too.

7. The playful Kittens Mittens.

8. There are some incredible cat mittens available, I am also somewhat partial to these Cat Mittens. I love the inclusion of so many appropriate motifs!

9. Fibonacci-Stripe Mittens, of course!

Ragtop 1+2

10. R-A-G-G-T-O-P-P... Ragtop!


Ten on Tuesday: Thankfulness

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Things For Which I Am Thankful

1. My three amazing daughters.

2. My great husband.

3. My parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins -- even if it's not always pretty.

4. Their generous and adventurous spirits.

5. Nurturing and inspiring friends.

6. Food -- good and real -- on my plate.

7. The resources and ability to make it into something.

8. Electricity!

9. The ability to travel -- mostly near but also sometimes far.

10. That I may have found a swimming suit that I actually like... or at least don't loathe.

* * * * *

Web-2012-11-18 13.22.20
I was on a quick Sunday-Tuesday jaunt to Chicago with my eldest. We hit up the Art Institute on Sunday afternoon, did a little shopping on Monday, and met up with friends on Tuesday.

Web-2012-11-20 10.47.05
My favorite Chicago landmark since I was a kid, Marina City -- one of many iconic city buildings constructed with LEGOS on display outside the store at Water Tower Place!

We stayed at the beautiful Sofitel Chicago Water Tower (thanks to hotwire.com) and treated ourselves to cocktails at Le Bar last night before dinner. My drink yesterday -- Brazil's national cocktail -- was Caipirinha! We had tried to find cachaça last summer so we could make it ourselves at the going-away party for Annie & her family before they moved to Rio, but were unsuccessful here in NE Wisconsin! I imagine we could substitute another rum and probably be happy. Or search some more. Anyway, it was light and lime-y and delicious! Katie had a Monkey Gland. Yeah.

Web-2012-11-20 10.47.05

We picked up Maro, a family friend, in the Lincoln Park area on our way home, stopping in Schaumburg for lunch on the way. There, I finally connected with my old friend Julie, whom I haven't seen in close to 20 years! I'm certain that we'll connect again much sooner than that!! It was so great to see her. We dropped Maro off at her mother's, just a few blocks from home, so she could spend Thanksgiving with her family!

For me, it's back to work tomorrow, then running over to pick up Maddy; spending the holiday, which will be very low-key, here at home; back to work on Friday; and then the weekend. Husband should be home sometime in there, and I'm planning our big Thanksgiving celebration for early Sunday afternoon... before Maddy heads back to school!

Also catching up and catching my breath!

I'm thankful that I'm pretty good with logistics, don't mind driving, and that everyone is flexible!!


Ten on Tuesday: Feed me!

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Items Your Local Food Pantry Can Use

Well, Carole has both insight and ideas, as does everyone else who participated in this week's Ten on Tuesday topic (scroll down to see links to other participants' posts); they are excellent posts and I don't have much more to add.

But, of course, I do have something to add!

I stopped at my credit union on the way home from work today and was greeted by a cart full of groceries in the lobby. They are having a "Stock The Shelves" food and fundraising drive to help support local food pantries. The really great thing about giving money for this drive is that the credit union not only matches it, but multiplies it by 3! $1 = $3; $100 = $300!

I also stopped at the grocery store. They have pre-made dummy grocery bags at the checkout lanes that can be easily grabbed and added to the total; the checker scans it and asks the donation amount. Every $50 buys a turkey dinner for a family of 4-6, and the store will add another dinner for every four that are donated. The meals are delivered to and distributed by local food pantries at both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I'm sure there are a million similar activities going on right now -- Scouts, churches, civic groups, radio stations, stores -- for food and toys and, of course, MONEY! Thing is, they aren't hard to find (I wasn't even looking) and they do everything they can to make it easy!


Ten on Tuesday: On my mind

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Things On My Mind Right Now

1. It's my birthday!

a. It's also Election Day and, thank you universe, that's *almost* the best present ever! There were 17 messages on my answering machine at last glance. (I am voting this afternoon.)

2. California Dreaming! I had such a great weekend away.


3. Big waves! They were amazing, the weather phenomenal.

4. Time! Time! Time!

5. Snow. (It's in the forecast.)

6. The upcoming quiet weekend at home. It's so much rougher when my day off is on a Monday... the weekend seems *so* far away!

7. Thanksgiving.

8. Christmas is even starting to creep.

9. The holidays are going to be weird this year -- making the best of it, planning new things.

10. Practicing... mentally packing and re-packing my suitcase (with an emphasis on packing light) for a first-ever mid-winter vacation to someplace warm.


Ten on Tuesday: Sweet tooth

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Favorite Candies in My Trick-or-Treat Bag

The world might shift a bit next Wednesday if I make it through my first candy-free Halloween. I am highly motivated, having lost another 3 pounds last week, and even though a good candy bar is tempting... emphasis is on "good" and, well, Halloween just isn't special enough!

I was very surprised at the loss last week! Not that I did anything different, it's just that I'm waiting for a bump or to land on a plateau -- that's the way it's always been! This steady downward trajectory is kind of blowing my mind. I'm waiting for my body to say, "Whoa, it's been a fun ride, but we're just going to hold here for a bit a regroup!" We'll see.

So, ever since I was a kid, these have been my favorite things to find in my (or my siblings' or kids') Trick-or-Treat bags (though many of them were so much better back in the day... sort of disappointing in comparison).

1. Mounds

2. Almond Joy

3. Three Musketeers

4. Peanut Butter Cup

5. Milky Way

7. Snickers

8. Kit Kat

9. Smartees

10. Kisses

Did you used to spread out all the loot on the living room floor and trade with your sibs? Or beg your kids to share?