Davy Arliss*
b. September 18, 2020, 7:05 am, at home
8 lb. 5 oz.

Does that look like a happy big sister, or what?? Junah is thrilled... I just can't even imagine how disappointed he'd be if Davy'd been a girl (at first, anyway). Malina is sticking close to Mom.


And here's the state of his blanket! I finished the knitting while camping on Wednesday. Last night, I sorted through all the yarn and the next step is sewing up!!

Safe At Home... indeed. Welcome baby boy!!

Edited to add the middle name! Ali says, "... from Old Yeller, he’s a stinker and this one peed on me already so it’s a perfect fit 😅 Like to name my boys from movies I guess!"


Weekending: Still No Baby!

Ali & the kiddos stopped over yesterday.


Here's a new thing: Skater Boy! (He's so adorable!!)


And another new thing: Ginny's drawing anatomically "correct" portraits. That's Rusty. Malina is giving him the "pandemic hair" treatment. (A haircut for Rusty is on my list!)

I had a long, relaxing, and productive weekend!


While I finished the last of the curtains...


Kate finished the floor in Ducky, and Rusty did the same in The Garden Room. It was SO NICE to read the Sunday paper in there yesterday morning.


I laughed out loud when I spotted the rug in this ad from a flyer in said paper. We are SO ON TREND! Heh.

We made a shopping trip and started to pack up Ducky for our little mid-week trip, and I sewed up the seat cushion for the couch. I still need to do the button tufting, but that'll be quick and easy! That seat cushion was the largest & most unwieldy, by far, so I'm really happy to have it done.

Someone asked about Ducky sleeping arrangements: the couch at the front slides out to make a bed, and the narrow table in the kitchen is removed and that seat also slides out to make a bed. There's also a little fold-down "loft" over the couch that would be big enough for a kid (it will be storage 99% of the time). It's all very cozy!!

We all had a nice chat with Maddy over the weekend. They are leaving tomorrow (I think... was it my Tuesday or hers??), taking their time and a leisurely scenic route from Northern Territory to New South Wales. Hopefully, they'll have secured housing by the time they get there!

Ann called yesterday and wondered if we were watching the football game. They weren't having any luck tuning in from Peru, so she wondered if I could prop up my phone in front of the TV... and we watched the last quarter together that way. (Go Pack Go!) Malina was nearby and sort of fascinated by Ann. Mack popped in, similarly fascinated by Malina (you know how he is with the babies!)... and I was gobsmacked by the change in his voice! That should be no surprise, given his age and, well, it's only natural, but c'mon... my first "practice grandchild" is getting so old!! He's as tall as Ann and, well, next thing you know... it'll be Addie, too. Haha.

It's not official yet, but likely that Annie & family will depart Peru in early December and quarantine with us/in the apartment for a few weeks, then back and forth to Madison over the holidays and into January. They'll still be working & going to school for some of that time, and the apartment would be perfect for them!

I have finished all the houses and roofs on the baby blanket, and have started the last of the skies. (Note: I have trimmed ZERO tails in this row... it's pretty shaggy right now!)


It was awfully dim when I took this photo on the back sidewalk this morning... it was dark enough that the solar motion step lights illuminated when I took a bag to the trash can just moments before.

I hope y'all had a good weekend!

Unraveled Wednesday: The Clock Is Ticking

NO BABY NEWS YET! Alison is running out of things to clean, organize and/or redecorate. In the past week: sewed baby bonnets, deep cleaned their van & the kids' car seats (along with installation of the infant seat), repainted the lower kitchen cabinets, finished the upstairs bathroom (Rusty & Rod had big roles in that job), Marie Kondo'd Rod's dresser drawers, and installed missing cabinet doors in their bedroom.


Meanwhile, the kids were over a couple of times over the weekend.

Experienced Big Brother & Big Sister in waiting (blowing bubbles)...


This one is about to become a Big Sister for the first time... and forever!

Here's a quick Ducky update!


I finished the first of the cushions, then put that project aside momentarily while I made curtains! We've decided to make a trial run close to home before we head way up north. A week from today, I'll be waking up in Ducky at a little lake-side county park campground less than 20 miles from home. Anyway, curtains jumped to the top of the To-Do List, and I was able to finish all but the kitchen & bathroom curtains... those windows are very small and can be easily covered.

While I did that, Kate wallpapered the bathroom!


This photo is actually taken through the bathroom window.

And we've added some artwork.


Kate found this tiny Bob Ross-esque original oil painting for 50¢ and it's just perfect.

But that's not all...


She also started putting down the new floor! It's the same tile that we're using in The Garden Room...


...speaking of which, Rusty started the prep for that!

And now, for the main part of this program!

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting & reading.




It won't be long before it's too dark to take photos before I go to work. Thank goodness, my phone camera does pretty well in low light! That's the 9th & final row in-progress, with the 8th row for (more) visual interest. I guess I have three houses to go, then roofs & skies... it seems reasonable that sewing up should begin sometime over the weekend!

I'm sure hoping we have a baby by then!


I haven't been reading anything except the New York Times on Sunday mornings. That's about to change, though. I used languishing Audible credits to acquire The Women of Brewster Place, the next "Read With Us" selection from CaroleBonny and Kym, and Hamnetwhich has been highly recommended by both Bonny & Carole in recent posts.

One of these days, I'll turn some pages, too. The stack on my bedside table is nearly obscuring my alarm clock.


Happy Friday Eye Candy!

From Maddy, Down Under:


A little Wallaby! That first image is a screen shot from a video, and that little guy/girl practically crawled right into her lap!

"Have you seen anything cuter?" she asks.

Well, here's a contender:


The hairdo! The amazing dress! The hand on the hip! The hipness of it all!!

Happy Weekend, Friends!


3TT: It's Not All Ducky All The Time

It is all Ducky a lot of the time (lately)!

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday...

I have three photos to share.


Roger the RV Inspector came yesterday and spent most of the day with us... inspecting, testing, teaching, advising. In the past week, we've acquired a valid propane tank and a working battery, along with a few other little things he needed to check operations (and that we just needed). And, lo, THERE IS LIGHT! We have one burnt-out light bulb inside, but otherwise SQUEEEEE! The refrigerator works, the stove & oven work, there are no gas leaks, and the electrical is good. There are a couple of little water issues, and the water heater appears to be cracked, but the tanks had all been replaced at some point and the pump is good. We need to clean off & re-seal the roof and all the outside joints, but our little Ducky is in remarkable shape overall for a 33yo travel trailer! The To-Do List is long, but not one single thing on that list (except perhaps the sealing, if it looks like rain) is holding us back from hitching up and taking off right this very minute. He's encouraged us to do so... drive for an hour to some little park, stay overnight, come home.

More likely, we'll be hitching up and driving to an empty parking lot again to practice backing up and parking and stuff like that.


So far, Kate's been the only one behind the wheel. I give directions (we're figuring out how to communicate) and run around with the level, levelers, and wheel chocks. I found this absolutely genius leveling/chock system and I just can't get over how easy it is to use!


I forgot to take a photo, so did a little Photoshop doctoring to show how close I'm getting to the end of this project!! I've knit the last block with horizontal stripes (yay! those were not my favorite)... I have a roof & sky to knit, a block of vertical stripes, two more houses to finish Row 8, and then the final row of nine houses (which I am really looking forward to).

Hopefully, with the holiday weekend ahead, I can finish the two cushions for Ducky that I'm working on, and also find plenty of time for knitting! Correction: I will take plenty of time for knitting. I've also a three-day weekend coming up after this one... though I expect there will be a new baby by then, and some much of my time will be taken up with things related to that!


End of August Weekending

The new cushion foam arrived, tightly rolled & compacted into a box, which we then set free! It was recommended to unpack it within two weeks of receipt, and to let it fully re-expand over a few days. These are the cushions for the "sofa bed."


We have fabric for that part, so I set to work on Saturday... dismantling the old back cushion, first.


You can see how dirty that old foam is, and it was never wrapped in anything at all. I'm so glad we're doing this... even if I'm a bit out of my comfort zone.

I removed the zipper and decided that it really needed a wash, so I carefully secured the ends and threw it into the washing machine along with the other one I'd already removed.


I cleaned off both my work table and sewing table better than they've been in months! These cushions are 75" on the long end, so I need ROOM!


It was pretty genius to buy fabric with a built-in grid along which to measure, cut, and sew -- everything's so straight! I've reached a pretty futzy part and decided to stew on it for a little bit... watch a video or two before I dive back in.

It was a "payroll weekend" for the coffee shop, and I told Ali that I'd drive out and pick up the checkbook. It was a gorgeous day yesterday with nothing much planned, so Kate came along and we grabbed the kids to give Ali a little break. We took them to Lower Cato Falls, a park that we visited in early April when we needed to get out of the house. The water was a bit lazier than in spring. Junah & Ginny led us through the woods, following a trail (for the most part), though I'm pretty sure we forged at least part of the trail back!


It's not the easiest path, full of roots & rocks, steep in places, but the kids did great... and they were so encouraging! "You can do it!" "C'mon, Nona!" "C'mon, Kate!" Even little Malina, in her tiny voice... so cute! When she fell or tripped, she'd get up and say, "I'm OK!" Anyway, they played for a while on the ancient playground equipment and we had a little snack (I actually thought ahead) before returning them home.

It was a pretty great weekend... hoping it was the same for you!


3TT: Loose Interpretation

First Thing: SAFE AT HOME - 7 Rows


Last night, I took the photo that I'd hoped to take in the morning, and got started on Row 8!

Second Thing: AT HOME - Let There Be Light (and Space)


We finally strung some lights in The Garden Room. Rusty had put an outlet near the ceiling and it's controlled by a switch, so PERFECT. All three strings have different types of bulbs, but whatever... let there be light!

The ceiling in the new part is going to get painted at some point... thought we could live with it (the exterior trim color) but nope. I'm thinking the palest of sky blues. The floor (and a million other things) are more of a priority, though, so who knows when this might happen.


There will be some major sewing projects happening soon and I'm going to need some room! I managed to clear off that little bit of my worktable the other day. Heh.

Third Thing: DUCKY - It's All Ducky, All The Time!

One of the biggest changes we're making in Ducky is replacing all the "soft goods." Fabric for new window coverings is in the house (washed, dried, and ready for cutting & sewing).

We've purchased new fabric for the "couch," and samples are on the way for the "dining area," and new Dacron-wrapped foam to replace all of the cushions is arriving today!


B'bye 1980s brown plaid!

I'm planning to re-use the zippers from all of the cushions, along with the flannel-backed vinyl that's on one side of every cushion except one.


The zippers are 33 years old, but hardly ever (if ever) actually used, so they're in pretty great shape -- and they're metal. Thankfully, they were super easy to remove & save. The vinyl is also in great shape, with only a few minor dings & tears that will be easy to repair. The upholstery fabric itself has some yucky stuff on the inside that's just deteriorated into a dusty mess, so I'm happy to be getting rid of that. I took a bunch of detailed photos of the taking apart of my practice cushion to hopefully aid in getting it all back together!

Meanwhile, I found a mini bar!


It's a Trav-L-Bar! The whisky is our addition, and the "Tin Cup" could not fit in better.


It came with this hilarious "barguide" from 1976 -- the year I graduated high school! Maybe you'd like to try your hand at ranking the Top 15 Best-selling Drinks of 1976!

In the Let's Be Practical Department, I am nixing the inspection at the local RV place. We have instead hired a freelance RV inspector who will come and spend a day with Kate & I. He will not only do an inspection, but will also give us an intensive lesson on the care & feeding, as it were, of our vintage travel trailer! That day will be this Wednesday, and the process begins with a phone call this evening to make sure we'll have everything prepped and ready. This is a lot more expensive, of course, but more hands-on and educational and... well, practical. I think it will be a fun day, and I'm really looking forward to it!


Two rows to go

This is the seventh row:


I'd hoped to lay out all seven rows this morning for an overview, but I had to get ready for the cleaning ladies coming today and that took priority!


Only two rows to go, and I'm so excited to finish this thing. My friend Ann just became a Grammy again, and I've been brainstorming middle names with Ali, and it's all just becoming a bit more real... as much as anything can feel "real" this year.

I'm just gutted over what happened to Jacob Blake in Kenosha... what is happening. I watched one of the videos and it's horrifying!

Borrowed from a friend:

Looting isn't part of protesting,
just like murder isn't part of arresting.

My heart is heavy at a time when it should be light. I think about my BIPOC counterparts who are awaiting the birth of a grandchild and how their hopes and dreams and concerns and worries for their grandchildren are so different from mine...


Introducing Ducky*!

It may seem impulsive to have all of a sudden become 33% owner of an RV with my daughter Kate, but it's been a weekly (if not daily) topic around our kitchen table for a long time... and especially since March.

For me, it actually goes back to May 2019 when I realized that the vehicle I bought came with a "towing package," and suddenly I had the desire to tow a camper into the woods. (This is NOT NORMAL!)

For Kate, it goes back a few more years, having witnessed her friend Shannon (with the help of their friend Claire & her family) completely gut and re-do an Airstream trailer, and take it on the road. Plus, Kate has The Wanderlust even worse than me!

So when everything 2020 started to fall apart six months ago, the idea of a camper came up again -- big -- as a project to keep occupied while stuck at home and, also, as a means for escape. We bought a trailer hitch and magnetic tail lights so we'd be ready to go when the right thing came along.

Well. A whole bunch of people had that same idea! We'd call the minute we saw something interesting to us and already be 14th on the waiting list. It was very discouraging and deflating, so we were sometimes more into the search than others, and the whole idea was even temporarily shelved once or twice.

Kate's been going tent camping for 3-4 days at a time over the past month or so, and loving it. The weather's been great, for the most part, but rain has been an issue a couple of times and, well, it's really no fun at all to be in a tent in the rain. Thus, a resurgence of interest and determination last week to look for a camper and, on Saturday night, Kate found a 1987 Mallard Sprinter travel trailer in Wisconsin Rapids that seemed pretty great. By miraculous stroke, she was the first to call! Our Sunday plans spun on a dime. But first! It was a cash only sale, so we counted what we had on hand, ran out to withdraw our daily ATM limits from whatever accounts we could to get as close as we could... and thankfully, those limits are "daily" and not "24 hours," because we needed to withdraw just a little bit more on Sunday morning. We were on the road at a little before 6 a.m. to make the 1.5-hour drive and be there at 7:30 as arranged.


I'll have to qualify the following statement by saying that we truly don't know what the hell we're talking about, but IT WAS EXACTLY WHAT WE WERE LOOKING FOR for in terms of size (15') and condition. The lady counted our cash, we hooked 'er up, and we were home by noon!


The interior is very, um, let's say vintage '80s! It all seems in shockingly good shape considering that it's 33 years old. Most of what's "wrong" is due to sun damage -- faded paneling in places (I'm sure the walls & cabinets were originally much closer to the same color), deteriorated (brown plaid) upholstery & curtains, some plastic elements that have become discolored and/or brittle.

A lot of that will stay the same. We have no interest in a complete overhaul, nor in making it into a (gag) "glamper." A lot will also change... is already changing.


Curtains are down, tools are emerging!


Always the simplest and least expensive "upgrade" with the biggest impact -- changing the hardware!


The exterior was dirty but cleaned up SO GREAT (well, the one side so far). I think there are a few missing covers, there are a few little dents, and some of the decorative decals/painted stripes are a little worse for wear, but no sign of major water problems -- so zero complaints -- all fixable and/or waiting to be made-better-able.


Things like this fiberglass window flap/shade... which will likely be the canvas for a seascape painting. With a mallard flying over. Haha.

Now the bad news. Not really bad, but definitely a wake-up call and illustration of how much we have to learn. As mentioned, my vehicle came with a towing package and we acquired a hitch & ball, and an emergency towing light kit. When we were getting things ready to tow, the guy said, "You need a 2" ball." So we ran off to get one -- along with something else we needed, I don't remember what -- but I noticed that we already had a 2" ball. We got everything hooked up and hit the road for home. There was a little play in the ball/hitch, noticeable when we'd start/stop, but otherwise the camper towed beautifully behind my car. Turns out, what we actually needed was a 2-5/16" ball, so we looked for one when we went to get the beautiful new hardware. We couldn't find one with the properly sized shaft for our hitch... because, it turns out, I have a Class II towing package, and a 2" ball is the maximum. Ay yi yi. So now, a Class III package is on order and will be installed sometime next week. Once that's done, we'll get a properly sized hitch & ball. **

And, when THAT'S done, we'll tow it over to a local RV Service Center to have it/systems checked out. We already know that the obsolete heater doesn't work and that replacement parts are unavailable. This will give us a Ducky* To-Do List and we can figure out our priorities.

Meanwhile, we are RESEARCHING & LEARNING, LEARNING, LEARNING... and not thinking about just wallcovering, flooring, and fabrics. As much.

It's going to be a work-in-progress for a while, but usable. Adventure awaits! And I aim to go camping at least once or twice yet this year.

Thanks for your interest & cheerleading & coming along on this crazy ride! Hints and tips and things you love about RV'ing are more than welcome!

*Our travel trailer/camper/RV is a 1987 Mallard Sprinter. The TV series NCIS has been our go-to for a while now (many seasons & episodes, not requiring much commitment/attention, entertaining) and one of the characters -- the medical examiner, played by David McCallum -- is Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard (pronounced mal-LARD). Who knows if it will stick, but for now, we have a Mal-LARD Sprinter that we (it's maybe only me) call DUCKY!

**Turns out... the 2" ball is the correct size. LEARNING STUFF EVERYDAY.


Unraveled Wednesday: 2nd-to-last House in the 7th Row

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting & reading.


On the right...


I knit these rows from right to left, so that house on the left is the second one I've completed but it'll be second-to-last in the end. THE END! It's (almost) in sight!


I haven't been reading a thing. Well, except for all kinds of information about vintage campers.


It would be really great if I could find an owner's manual, but so far nothing. There's not much out there about this little baby at all! Luckily, there are lots of similar Prowlers and Jaycos and, boy howdy, there are websites and forums and groups galore. I haven't even dared peek at Pinterest. Ha. It's a crazy week, but I'll fill you all in, and I'm starting a new category: 1987 Mallard Sprinter Travel Trailer


Big downer

I can't believe the photo I recently posted of Malina & Duncan was less than a week ago! I'd mentioned that we feared Duncan was fast approaching the Rainbow Bridge...


I didn't mean that fast. While we waited to take him to our appointment with the vet yesterday, he passed away quietly at home. We could never remember his age, but 17 is a good guess. Ali referred to him as the "Peter Pan" of cats in one of our recent family chats, and it was so true... it was only a year ago that one of our Airbnb guests told me that he'd met Duncan and thought he was only about a year old!

Rest in peace, little squitten. We're going to miss you.


Middle of August

That's crazy, isn't it? By this time next month, I'll already have held a new grandbaby at least a few times!


Since this photo was taken yesterday morning, the last house on the left is underway... walls are up, windows & door are in, just the roof and sky remain.


And that'll be the wrap of Row #6! Two more random rows to go and then that last row of houses -- I'm really looking forward to that! Oh, and then the sewing up and the border. I'm planning to do something a little different -- crazy, colorful & fitting -- with the border. Stay tuned!


I had all three kids overnight on Tuesday. This is Wednesday when their mom came to pick them up. Ginny's doing a show (do you want me do do one dance or three?) wearing one of the dance costumes for the spring recital-that-never-was, and is obviously not happy about sharing the dance floor with her sister -- and her brother's sprawled on the floor behind, too. That's a family of singers & dancers!

We had a great time! I picked them up and we swung through a drive-up window to pick up supper, played a bit, then watched a movie. I kept my Disney+ subscription because I knew they'd love it. They had to agree on the Tuesday night movie pick, and chose The Peanuts Movie. Oh my gosh, did they ever love that! On Tuesday, we had breakfast and they played a bunch, and then they could watch a morning movie -- Ginny's pick this time, and they didn't have to agree! She chose Frozen 2, which, of course, Junah declared to be his favorite even though he'd never have picked it nor would he have agreed to that pick. Then it was time for lunch, lots more play, picking zucchini & flowers, journaling (oh my goodness, their journals are so great!), and Junah chose the afternoon feature... The Peanuts Movie again! It was super hot outside, so we never did get out to ride bikes or anything that took more than a few minutes.


CHEESE!! This one is an absolute peach right now. Every little thing she does is cuter than the last.


And she's a little sweetheart... our little Duncan is really slowing down these days (gaining tolerance along the way) and she's very attentive.

(In fact, we fear he's fast approaching the Rainbow Bridge.)

I mentioned the other day that I'd spotted Junah & Ginny from the Garden Room when they were picking flowers for me. Ginny headed out the door with Malina to do the same... "But don't look, Nona, OK?"


These had some stems, at least, so I could put them in water! Not shown: two orchid blossoms.

Lastly, I am anxiously awaiting delivery of my Ruth Asawa Stamps!


I pre-ordered the moment I saw the announcement, and I hope they're in my mailbox today.

I'm counting the hours till the start of a 3-day weekend... I'm ready! Maybe I can find some time to get caught up in blogland. Oh, that reminds me... y'all know that I'm not exactly stellar in the replying to comments department, but when I don't even get notification of comments, well... that's what happened earlier this week. I think it was the "Hello" in the title (I need to remember that there are trigger words).


Hello, Monday

It's a darn good weekend when I feel like I accomplished stuff and took a good nap. I might have been fighting something last week (likely the same low-grade depression that our former First Lady is suffering, and that most anyone reading these words is probably feeling these days), as I took 1.5-hour naps on both Wednesday and Saturday! I've also not been sleeping quite as well as I normally do. By mid-morning, both days, I was looking forward to obligations being met so I could just go take a nap. I barely moved a muscle on Saturday, could easily have rolled over and slept for at least another hour. (But I didn't.)


Meanwhile, Kate helped me turn some of this into four loaves of zucchini bread on Saturday morning. We worked on one and froze three. I made another four loaves on Sunday afternoon -- Kate took one camping, I gave Ali two, and there's one left for me -- and froze about 14 cups of shredded zucchini for future use. There's still zucchini coming in the garden... I had spotted that one in the middle from the bedroom window, two stories up, on Friday morning! The zucchini fairy might soon be making some calls.


Ali & the kiddos came over yesterday for supper. I was sitting in the Garden Room and saw Junah & Ginny picking flowers down on the path. They ran up the stairs and into the house, each with a little fabric bag full of toys 'n things that all got dumped on the table. That photo just kind of sums up the randomness of everything right now, and that little owl is so darn cute!


Jün got into the Knex and asked me to help him build an ATV. While I was trying to decipher some of the component builds and muttering about poor quality of the printed plans, he took a motor and started fooling around, making comments about his superior eyesight, eventually coming up with this:

Haha. The kiddos are all coming for a sleepover tomorrow night, and I know there will be plenty more of that! Plus dolls and coloring and stickers and who-knows-what-all!


I made a little progress on the blanket over the weekend. Only three more blocks left on Row 6!


Some of the color & pattern combos make me so happy.

Another thing that makes me happy is getting a photo like this in my in-box:


I'm going to guess that it'll make you happy, too. Who couldn't use a little dose of Ginny's particular brand of sunshine today... or any day?!! She's one of a kind (also singing these days like there's no tomorrow)!

Happy Monday, folks. I hope y'all had a great weekend.


Right now... August

Anticipating... Kiddos sleeping over next week! All three for the first time! This is more or less a practice run for after the baby comes (due a month from yesterday), though I'll likely only have the two big kids then, with the current "baby" at other grandma's.

Celebrating... (with sadness but also excitement) Addison's 12th birthday on Saturday! He & his family are usually here at this time of the year -- August is usually Auntie Camp time. Boo.


Cooking/Eating... We tend to frequently cook meals at home, but like many, we've been cooking a lot more the past few months! We've always revisited favorite recipes from Plated (our favorite but now defunct delivery service), and have been doing so even more. I have a couple of favorite places for take-away, though. And 313 Dodge is at the top of the list (and also so darn close); Janel put together a gorgeous charcuterie box for me last night, which I paired with a Lemon-Basil Gin Smash from the walk-up window.

Excited about... getting my passport renewal. Not that I'll be using it anytime soon, but I'll be ready... the next big trip will be to Peru, I'm sure! I noticed today that the check's been cashed, so it's obviously been received at the Department of State and is at least partially processed. I had planned to send it in March, right after we got back from Mexico, but they ceased all but emergency operations and didn't even want people to mail them in. Maddy was in a little pickle in Australia, too, but thankfully operations have also resumed there (and she's all set).


Knitting... I started Row #5 #6 of my Safe At Home Blanket last night after taking this photo. It's pretty wild... and I'm really loving it. Four more rows to go!

Looking forward to... a birthday get-away to Lake Superior's North Shore. That's three months away (from today!), of course, but I took advantage of a booking promotion and nabbed a sweet lakeside cottage. Plus, I just needed to plan something!!! Anything can happen in early November from dining al fresco to building snowmen, so we'll just have to see what Mother Nature serves this year. There's a possibility of physically distanced visiting with cousins, both mine & Rusty's; otherwise, it'll be just us for a few days. Knitting, reading, sky- and lake-watching, etc.

Planning... Nona (Granny) Camp in place of Auntie Camp this year. Junah & Ginny participated last year and really enjoyed it. I think we'll do some fabric painting on t-shirts (instead of dyeing), and weaving, for sure.

Reading: Pages/Audio... I'm still not.

Sewing... I really want to sew a couple of things for the girls, and also have an itch to make a quilt. My room's a mess, though I have been plucking away at it... in the end, it's just that most of my creative energy/time right now is going to knitting that blanket. (My neglected Alabama Chanin Car Jacket is still on the table.)

Watching... Well, now what?? I just finished watching Schitt's Creek and I don't know what's next. Suggestions? I was watching an episode or two sometimes three on Netflix most nights before bed, but WHAT?? They only have Seasons 1-5! So I sprung for Season 6 yesterday and binged the entire thing. I never do that, but it worked out (and a good bit of knitting was done, too). It's my party and I'll cry if I want to. (No lie, I went through a lot of tissues... I always cry at weddings, even when they're on TV!)

Wondering... What's up in your world?


Wandawega Weekending

Well, it was only a day trip, but it sure was cool. I tagged along on Kate's invitation from the owners to meet & tour Camp Wandawega in southern Wisconsin -- not far from Lake Geneva and a little over two hours' drive from home.


Sorry... not sorry... there are going to be a lot of photos in this post!

Camp Wandawega has quite a history, from speakeasy and brothel to lakeside resort and church camp.


I first learned of Camp Wandawega and owners Tereasa & David because they're fellow Airbnb Superhosts (though in a league far-removed from mine!) and featured "how-to" Airbnb hosts... and their property is just plain AMAZING.

Tereasa, David & their daughter live in Chicago, but spend most weekends at Camp (and even more in this pandemic year). For the past 15 years, Camp Wandawega has been -- and continues to be -- their labor of love as it evolves and grows.

It's rustic...


It's cool...


It's peaceful...


It's adventure-y...


It's creative & crafty...


For real, that's the "Craft Cabin."

And don't think that I didn't think "Knitters' Summer Camp" about a million times while we toured the property!

It's an event venue (in normal times)...


Usually, there are a lot of weddings and corporate events.

It's also just a really cool place to hang out... small clusters of cabins, tents, and unique spaces. History is everywhere.


And they have their own line of Homer Laughlin diner china (among other things).


Serious plotz from this lover/collector of vintage china, especially Homer Laughlin!

It's too bad scheduling didn't work out for Kate to accept the invitation to stay overnight, but who knows what'll happen next...


Update - Landed!

This is not a very exciting photo, but Ann sent it last night from Lima!


They've arrived!! They were tested for COVID and all passed, then were quarantined at a hotel for the night and today will continue quarantine at their new house.


Another chapter: Spain > Peru

My sister & her family are moving from Valencia, Spain, to Lima, Peru, today! They had about a week's notice, though they've been preparing (purging) for a good long while, and all she knew when I last spoke with her (on Saturday) was that they were leaving from Madrid... she didn't even know what time or flight or airline, just that they'd be flying out of Madrid on Friday.

Yesterday, at work, I had to restart my computer and this was my start screen:


I almost always love these shots -- recently, I had one at home that was sheep going through a hedgerow in New Zealand or Australia. Anyway, the blurb in the middle of this one says, "Lonely lighthouse on some remote sea-swept shore? Not at all -- we're visiting the edge of a capital city..."


I sent it in a message to Ann and told her that I can't wait to go find that lighthouse with her... someday, when I can safely travel again and be welcome in another country hopefully soon. I'm pretty sure that Peru will be my next big destination. I have no idea if they've arrived or en route or even if they got on a plane in Spain. They're troopers, though, and if nothing else they've learned to roll with the punches and pop right back up -- their first expat experience in Brazil was the best training ground for that!


Do you want to download your Ravelry files?

So, Ravelry is a problem right now and they're not doing anything to substantially address or fix it for users who are having problems with the redesign of the site. I'm a long-time Raveler (user #208!), so I'm very sad about that... I have a lot of information stored over there, and have made a lot of pattern purchases over the years.

There is enough concern over the future of the site that it's been suggested that people might want to download their files. That might be a knee-jerk reaction, but after the recent Bluprint/Craftsy scare...

I took the suggestion. And it was DAUNTING to face 25 pages of downloaded pattern files!

This morning, I learned about a Chrome extension called Download Them All that makes it much easier & faster to download a lot of files. Check out @kralalien on Instagram -- she has an IG highlight with some information, and this post was also informative:

There are some other downloading options mentioned in the comments of that post, if the Chrome extension is not for you.

Meanwhile, I downloaded all 25 pages of pattern files (even all the foreign language versions) in minutes.

One note of caution, however: Make sure you don't have Chrome configured to "ask every time" about where to save downloaded files. Because I didn't see that at first... and shutting down my computer didn't even work to stop it, so I had to uninstall and reinstall the extension. I opened in tabs & downloaded 5 pages the first time (after learning my lesson), then 10 and 10. So fast.

Edited to add: An informative article by Silvia Maggi - How Rebranding Cost Ravelry the Trust of Their Community.

Edited again to add: A blog post today from Jess, one of Ravelry's cofounders: A Letter from Jessica.

Hoping for the best!!


Unraveled Wednesday: Pink Windows

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting & reading,.. 


I'm on Row 4 of the Safe At Home Blanket.


This was as of Tuesday morning.


I love how color plays... the same pink was used for the windows of each house.


I recently took delivery of a kit from Briar Rose Fibers for Andrea Mowry's The Shift cowl, which I will definitely be making, but I'm intending a more immediate use for this to finish the Safe At Home "audition" that I started back in April. I used the leftovers from my Nightshift shawl to start that, but needed just a bit more variety.

SAH audition

I want to make that into a little cushion and I have a recipient in mind.


I'm not, really.



My Aunt Carol died on Sunday.


She was the youngest of four and also the mother of four, my mother's younger sister, my godmother. The photo above is a detail of the one below where Carol is maid of honor at my mother's wedding. There is something about this that I just love... her beautiful, calm, innocent expression. It was taken just about a week before her 19th birthday, and within a year she was married to my Uncle Frank.


Carol was only 18 months younger than my mom compared with a 9-year difference with her older sister, so they were close but of course there was also some sibling rivalry!


Mom always said that Carol got in trouble a lot at school for giggling... and you can just see that, can't you?? That's one of my favorite photos, I feel like Carol is just going to burst at any second.

Koenig Siblings

Family trait? Haha. This is another favorite: Mom, Uncle Eugene, Aunt Arlene, and Aunt Carol at a family reunion in 1987. My mom, Eugene & Carol all died from cancer and they each suffered the heartbreaking loss of a child from the same stupid disease. 


Uncle Frank & Aunt Carol, my godparents, and me! This was at my christening and still a couple of months until they were married. Frankie and his sister-in-law were tragically killed in a car accident in 2010 -- the brothers and their wives had been travelling, taking care of family business out of state.

I will always remember them both with love. 💔



Wow. It's really the 23rd of July already, isn't it?! What a crazy summer/year.

We had a great few days in Door County!


There was a whole lotta fun in the sun & surf. We stayed at a waterfront cottage near Bailey's Harbor and it was just about perfect.


The front yard was basically a sandbox with the beach beyond, so the kids were in heaven! We had a small campfire on the beach every night except one (because it was too windy) and ate lots of roasted (or not) marshmallows & s'mores. The day that was too windy for a fire was apparently perfect for para-/kite-surfing and sailboarding and it was a blast watching them go back and forth -- some were cautious & just learning, others were much more experienced & the tricks were thrilling -- often they'd be 15 or 20 feet in the air and we wondered... What if they just didn't come down?? They always did, of course, sometimes with a great big splash and/or without their board. It was very entertaining.


We were pretty hunkered down and only needed to venture out a few times -- to pick up a pizza, find some firewood, grab more marshmallows & chocolate bars, visit the local yarn shop... y'know, the important stuff! I spotted Whit's Knits on the first drive down the main drag and knew that I'd have to stop by at some point... which I did on Saturday, and I found another pink yarn that I liked! The shop owner, Whitney, was very friendly and though the yarn selection is small, it was all very good, and there were a number of other crafty items from needle-felting to portable looms and even some crafts for kids.

I had plenty of projects along, of course! I had the blanket, both crochet projects, and I was even prepared with yarn & needles for Jün & Gin, but I actually sat down only once after everyone had gone to bed to do a little knitting... a few quiet moments in my room.

I'm back at the blanket since we returned and after I knit a couple of skies and do a little sewing, Row 4 will be done!


Getting close to the half-way mark!

I hope you've had a good week. I have a lot of catching up to do!!


Happy Tuesday

Here's a little sunshine for your day! I hope it helps you as much as it's been helping me. (This one has been dressing herself and she is all about the hand-knits!!):


I had posted this image on IG the other day, but it was cropped and, REALLY, this is one that needs to see IN FULL, tip-to-toe!

You're so very welcome.

Also posted on IG over the weekend were a few photos of the "new" chair that I found for The Garden Room:


It's an old medical lift chair... the Adjustable Walkaway. You can see a bit of the mechanics in the photo above.


But this is a better photo of the workings. Hopefully, if you needed this chair for medical purposes, your right hand, elbow & shoulder were fully functioning! Haha. It's super comfy and I love the orange Naugahyde®!

Of course, I was supposed to be doing taxes instead of running around looking for chairs. And, of course, after I actually found a chair, I had to rearrange! And here it is in the room:


I'm so happy. I had my weekly +/- video chat with Annie from there on Sunday morning. The sun was shining through the trees behind me, giving me quite the glow... she said I looked like the Virgin Mary!

Well, I did get taxes done -- including Maddy's (which meant that I also got to chat with her) -- and I'll be busy packing up & mailing them tomorrow, along with getting the house ready for sitters, and shopping & packing for our few days in Door County, so here's some Unraveling for your Tuesday:


I was quickly running out of my favorite pinks, and even though I wasn't going to buy any new yarn for this project... I bought some new yarn for this project. Maybe I was looking for an excuse to stop in at/patronize my LYS after all these months. I'm not 100% on that new almost-neon color... but used sparingly and/or in combination? I'm warming up to it. One argument for not sewing this up as I go is the ability to rearrange the rows to balance the colors, if needed. Or maybe I should just not worry about it! I told Ali that I was thinking of outlining the windows on a couple of houses where the contrast is not that great and she said that I could if I really wanted to, but (...side eye...) didn't think it was necessary! Haha.



The house-sitters might get to enjoy the first ripe tomatoes!!



I'm sure I've said it before, but Friday seems to take forever to get here when my day off is on Monday rather than the usual Wednesday. And I just realized that next Friday, I'll already be on Day 3 of a little vacation -- part of it at home and part of it in Door County! Yahoo! I'm especially happy that we'll have a house-/cat-sitter again while we're gone.



The 16th house is done, and the 17th will be a "border" house and that spells the end of Row 3! Yahoo (again)! I'll get started on that this evening.

Tomorrow is designated "crochet day," but I have to get our taxes out of the way first (yeah, I know).

Happy Weekend!


3TT: Down under

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday...

1 -- Apparently, there's something intermittently beeping in the basement (down under)... but I haven't heard it, until last night! Apparently, it beeps every :15 or so... until last night! Gah. I was down there for a good long time... long enough to yell profanities upstairs about how of course it's not beeping NOW!

Trying to distract myself from the ick-factor of the basement while I waited, I took some photos.


I don't even know where that chair came from or if it'll ever get fixed; whether any of that is "up to code" (or even what all that is); I do know that Rusty needs to get after a whole lotta cobwebs. Ew. 

2 -- I had a lovely little sit-down in The Garden Room last night. I was sitting in an old wicker rocking chair that Rusty dug up from another part of the basement. I don't know where that one came from, either. He cleaned it up nicely, but it needs a little repair... and some new cushions.


It's not a brand new view, as this was an open porch for years, but it wasn't one I normally took in while seated, relaxed, with a beer. It's going to be a lot of fun to see how it changes with the seasons. The floor tile delivery has been delayed again... I can't wait to get that & the baseboards installed (I saw them in the basement, painted and ready to go!).

3 -- A cat picture. I don't post many of those! 


I love how Duncan stretches out his front legs.

That's all pretty random, but it's all I've got! Happy Thursday.


Unraveled Wednesday: The 16th House

I'm joining Kat & the Unravelers today to share what I'm knitting & reading,.. 


I'm closing in on Row 3 of the Safe At Home Blanket, and started the 16th house last night.


I think it's my favorite so far!


That's Row 3, and this...

IMG_5543 overall progress. The knitting is almost 1/3 done! I'm telling ya, it is definitely tedious at times, but it's also getting a bit easier... and I just couldn't be happier with the whole thing.


Colorful houses will dominate this corner of the blogosphere for a while yet.  :)


I'm closing in on Wild Game, and looking forward to the discussion. I haven't listened to a book in more than two weeks, but today I finally started So You Want to Talk About Race.

P.S. Who broke Bloglovin'? It's been my blog reader for a while, but it's lately been having some glitches and today... well, BIG glitch, as in NOTHING HAPPENING. What do y'all use these days?


Getting back into the groove

Well, that was a nice break... a long, hot & lazy weekend. Though, y'know, "lazy" doesn't mean I didn't get anything done!


I gave Rusty his second haircut! I borrowed Ali's electric clippers and even did the back this time. It was my first time using a clippers -- it was only a little scary, and mostly because I was thinking about all the people I know who have ended up with mohawks or total buzz jobs because of a slip. Whew! I should have trimmed his brows, though.

I've designated Saturday as Crochet Day...


...but I also did a little on Sunday. I wanted to finish the first square of the Rainbow Blanket, and figure out the join-as-you-go method for the hexies. So far, so good! I definitely use different hand/arm muscles when I crochet, so my appendages are thankful for a break.


And now I'm back to houses & stripes. This is Row #3 (of 9). Still figuring out a few things...

I hope y'all had a good weekend and start to the week! I'll be catching up...


3TT: Dovetail, Garden, Crochet

Joining Carole & friends for Three Things on Thursday...

1 -- I stopped at The Office after work the other day to drop something off? pick something up? I don't remember! I did take a seat for a few minutes...


Kate was inserting goodies into the magazine, readying shipment of the premier issue of dovetailI gotta say, it was nice just to sit for a while and watch someone else work!

2 -- How does my garden grow?


The tomatoes are all coming along. The basil is AMAZING!! (That photo-bombing succulent is also doing quite well.)


Something is nibbling at my zucchini!


And this is the usual raucous jumble of things.



The platform rocker is out of the garage and in The Garden Room! There's a pretty good view of the lower yard/garden from there.

3 -- I'm getting the hang of crochet again! My rainbow box of yarn is only a hint... this is the bigger picture:


As Wisconsin began its Safer At Home order in March and I awaited my stimulus check, Madelinetosh threw up a post about a Prism Pack of Unicorn Tails and, well, I've always loved those unicorn tails and... I didn't even think twice before ordering. (Ugh, pandemic times!) If I was going to be "safer at home," I was going to be surrounded by things I loved... and colorful, too. Heh.

Well, I really can't be spontaneous and throw down money like that without some sort of plan, and they were making me feel so guilty just sitting there, so I sort of had to MAKE A PLAN! The Safe At Home baby blanket was & is perfect for the baby and already in the works by then, and I knew it would never be a "portable" project... not that I was going anywhere with my knitting, but y'know... And so many people were crocheting... so, yeah, CROCHET! That could work! And even though those are little skeins of yarn, they're going to go a ways, so maybe TWO projects, somewhat simultaneously, even...

Uh, yeah, why not THREE epic blanket projects at once?! (Ugh, pandemic times!)

So my plan is to make Bear's Rainbow Blanket and also Hexie Love Actually! << FYI: Those are Ravelry links, just so you know in case the new design is problematic for you, as it is for many. (I am not in love and wish it wasn't quite so stark. I like it on my phone, but find it a bit easier to take if I enlarge my desktop display, and I've tweaked settings to remove drop shadows, etc.)

So, anyway, back to crochet. As I said the other day, it is not like riding a bicycle for me! I'm getting my feet wet and re-learning with Hexie Love Actually!


That red & blue blob was my first effort. I thought I was doing OK, but it was supposed to have six corners/sides, and instead turned out with only four. So, basically, a SQUARE (and not even a good one)! Turns out, I did a few things wrong, and my second effort (red & orange) turned out much better. With the orange & blue hexie, I'm trying the "join as you go" method and I'm not sure that's right but will figure it out. It's really fun, but once I get the hang of it I'm going to limit my crochet time until I get the blanket done. (Did I mention that I've started Row 3? I meant to take an update photo... maybe tomorrow.)


(It was a stellar morning for photographing yarn on the walkway outside the back door!)

Even for me, this feels a little crazy, but... pandemic times! I'm just going with it.


Doing my best

For months, I've had this refrain/response popping into my head on the regular: I'm not doing it right.

Whatever it is... I'm surely not doing it right.

I'm not staying home right, not going to work right, not reading the right books, not following the right people, not engaging enough, not posting the right things, not saying it right or loud enough or to the right people, not shopping right, not making enough masks... or I did the right thing but now it's not the right thing. Ugh... yes, I feel paralyzed at times!

I am constantly reminding myself -- way more than usual -- to not worry about what anyone else thinks or what anyone else is doing.

I'm doing my best. I keep reminding myself of that, too. ((sigh)) It's so obvious that not everyone is doing their best, though, y'know? Starting at the top. Too many people are being selfish, rude, and aggressively angry.

It's crushing. It's hard to feel good about Things. Anything.

One thing that helps is continuing regular, automatic monetary support to organizations that I believe in, including ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Joe Biden. And donations elsewhere when I can.

Social Banner_HQ_United by Pride_Facebook_820x312_Digital_060520

I feel like I'm doing that right! It gives me a glimmer of hope, even as we seem to be watching it all burn down around us.

OK. Well, I needed to get that out.

See you tomorrow.


Hello, July

My calendars are already flipped to July, so... HELLO. And, also, you're looking OK in some respects. I just realized that, with regular days off + holidays + vacation, I won't be working a "normal" week until the last week of the month (and, as always but especially in summer, that's subject to change).

I rented a "beach" house on the lake-side of Door County in the middle of the month and am heading up with Kate & Al & the kids. Rusty & I took the kiddos on Sunday and gave them a preview.


I'm not gonna lie... it was Sunday, it was gorgeous out, and it was crowded -- sometimes, uncomfortably so -- but Ali lent us a secret weapon: a large pop-up screened gazebo! It was/we were terribly obnoxious about it, especially since the water level is high and the beach is not as big as it used to be, but hey! We muscled in, and it worked! The added benefit is that we had a place for sun breaks and didn't get sunburned!

When we dropped the kids off on the way home, I took a peek at my grandchickens!


They're getting so big, but still sounding like chicks.

Yesterday, I took a drive across the state with Kate. Her new art magazine, dovetail, debuts tomorrow and I rode shotgun to Chanhassen (a 'burb of Minneapolis) to pick it up. It was a full day of driving and, y'know, things being as they are we had lunch in the car in the parking lot at Culver's instead of a nice cafe lunch before heading back, but it was a nice day and even with gas & food, it was a solid $200+ saved. What else would we be doing?? (Well, I might be finishing my taxes, but p'shaw... I have a couple of weeks yet!)


There was weather! It was hot and my air conditioning was a little sketchy for a while, and there was rain, but mostly it was a lot of fun watching the sky all the way there and back.


I had prepared a nice little R A I N B O W box of yarn to take to the beach... an idea has been percolating for a while and I just had to scratch that itch! I didn't get started on it, nor did I really do anything while in the car yesterday, as planned... it turns out that doing crochet is not like riding a bicycle (at least not for me). I got the tiniest start last night, though, and we'll see. The baby blanket is still my #1 focus (I've finished Row 2, started Row 3), but I'm going to designate one day a week for at least a little crochet action.


Is it really the last Friday of June?

I'm thankful that the weekend is upon us... and I have Monday off next week, so three days to hopefully unplug a bit and realign. I'll have the kids one of those days and would love to grab some toys and head to a secluded beach... we'll see. Whatever we end up doing, they never fail to recharge me!

It was lovely and reassuring to read all the comments about our Airbnb here, on IG, and on FB. I pour a lot more than just sweat into that space, and find myself channeling my mother quite often, too. We met our current guests yesterday (with appropriate physical distance), and they love the place (wondering if we have as many trees in our back yard as there are in all of Chicago...). Then I had a reservation come in last night for a long weekend next month -- our second HONEYMOONERS and I just couldn't be happier about that. I'm already thinking of all the ways to make their stay EXTRA SPECIAL!

Some random photos/thoughts:


We recently added a few more lights to the pergola array and extended it to both the garage & the house. I also added some fabric to the top of the pergola to filter the sun, mostly; the jury is still out on that.


Those lights really help to illuminate The Marriage Window area! Rusty made a cool hinged screen for the half of the window that opens, so we won't have to worry about bugs (hm, I still need to wash the outside of that window...)


We spotted a really cool moth the other day. I did a very technical Google search for "black and white triangular moth," or something like that (heh, most moths are "triangular," aren't they?)... anyway, it’s haploa lecontei, or Leconte’s haploa, first described in 1832! Its range is basically east of the Mississippi, from Nova Scotia to Georgia. The markings can vary quite a bit... all gorgeous! I don't remember ever seeing one before.

Is it time for a blanket update? Haha.


One more section of horizontal stripes and another house to go before Row 2 is finished! I'd better pick up the pace, though. It would be nice to have this done pretty close to when the baby's due. I just "confirmed" the date with Ali; she says she's pretty confident with Sept. 5th... but Mother Nature threw a curve ball so it could also be two weeks either way. 🤣

Have a good weekend, y'all.


Hit the ground running

There was plenty I could have done on Tuesday evening, but instead:


We walked down the hill with intention... our local joint has resumed Taco Tuesday, complete with Mason jar margaritas through the walk-up window, but this time with a guest food truck doing the food. We were a little late, though, and most of the food was gone by the time we got there! So we took our margs home and made the first BLTs of the season, instead. Yummmm. I recently found a convenient local source for Thin-sliced Dave's Killer Bread, and is that ever good! We used CSA lettuce, Nueske's amazing bacon, a little avocado, and the only thing that would make it better is home-grown tomatoes... we're working on that!

There was knitting, of course.


My first little pink house -- the first house block I did that has vertical stripes on both sides, so had to figure out how that would work. I love it so much!! I was tired as a dog last night, so only added one vertical stripe to this photo before I heeded the call of my pillow. Yes, there are a lot of ends, most are dealt with using Stephen West's Weavin' Stephen technique, some will be used in seaming the rows together. It might look like twice as many on my project, too, because I'm holding the yarn double! It's a fiddly project, for sure, and certainly not for everyone, but I'm really enjoying it! There's a whack of knitters figuring out different ways of doing various elements, it's worth a scroll through some of the projects and/or forum; and the designer has also released a v.crochet -- Tunisian crochet? (I don't know how that differs from "regular" crochet...)

Anyway, Wednesday (my usual day off of work each week) is usually a little busy, but yesterday was non-stop. We had an appraiser coming and I had an Airbnb to prepare! I'll tell you, my Fitbit steps are off the chart on those Airbnb prep days! I'm really happy with our work over the past few months and how it's turned out, plus our last guest just wrote the 40th review of our place... and that makes 40 5-star reviews!


I'll be crushed if that rating ever changes! Haha.