The end

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I can't believe it's the end of November -- and NaBloPoMo -- already.  Thank goodness, really, for the end of November part -- I don't care if the door does hit your backside -- sayonara, so long fare well, see ya.  There were some good days (Happy Birthday to Me!), but a few too many spectacularly craptastic days.

There were still a few picnic tables out down by the river on Sunday -- and a couple of boats on the water -- and it was nice enough (well, tolerable).  There were small chunks of ice near the shore, and there might be a light dusting of snow over everything by this evening.

I'm suffering a bit of the melancholy today... at sixes & sevens, spinning my wheels, stuck, uninspired.  Knitting, photography, cooking, my house... pfft, I got nothin'.  I may be experiencing some Parcheesi withdrawal... a little post-Parcheesi depression.  Does that happen to you after finishing a huge project -- knitting or otherwise?


I was out in the late day yesterday while a pot of chili simmered on the stove.  I made a big pot of Chili All Day so I could send some home with the college kids.

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It was a nice day for late November, and then the sky lit up!  My little town.

At 9:37 p.m., I drew the last stitch on ParcheesiJanine offers the pattern for the price of a donation in any amount to Heifer International -- best knitting bargain on the internet!  I got up to make note of the occasion, then spread Parcheesi out over me and began what promises to be a holiday season-long Bones marathon -- interspersed with certain holiday TV specials.  Before watching the pilot last night, I'd seen... well, I'm not sure I've ever seen a full episode of Bones before.  I've heard lots of good things, though, and Katie keeps talking about how good it is.

It was way too late for FO photos, and I have some stylin' ideas requiring daylight.  I'm aiming for a shoot on Wednesday.  I can hardly believe it's finished!


A Family Affair

We hung an all-family art exhibition yesterday (with some last-minute rearrangement this morning) (and room will be made for a piece that arrived late today).  This was sort of my brainchild, borne of some much deeper, more time-consuming, MUCH more costly dreaming about our creative works as a family -- and our working together creatively as a family -- and, well, it whittled down to this.  A Family Affair : art show.

The show is in my husband's studio-gallery which is above Ali's coffee shop.  When you hit the top of the stairs, this is pretty much the first wall you see and (Ali's idea) we filled it with self-portraits -- one each.  Sorry about the glare, that's the price for light, and I didn't take any time in setting up my photos of the show.  At top left is Lee's SP, a colored pencil drawing of his reflection in a window looking out on the ocean, done at our house in Cape Kiwanda in 1984; to the right is Maddy, a pencil drawing she did in 2007; below her is Katie, acrylic on masonite, 2003 (in college); to the left of her is me, a familiar image to readers, 2009; and Ali rounds out the family SP wall with a pencil image she began in 2004 and finished in 2010 (the day-before-yesterday, I think!).


Around the corner are a few pieces of Maddy's, one small ink and a couple of pencil drawings; and then some of Katie's work (the left-most pencil drawing and the acrylics).


The big wall holds a couple of my favorite pieces ever -- Ali's "Alice Cooper," a drawing she did for her BF's birthday two years ago, which he allows to hang in the coffee shop, and Katie's "Madeleine," a large acrylic on canvas (2004-2006) that I miss hanging in my living room.  "Lightbulb" is also Kate's, and the ceramic and acrylic "plate" is Ali's.

There is a small selection of Alison's drawings....


...and then Lee's work.  "Fish," to the left of Lee's head is an oil on canvas of his dad's from the 1960s.  The piece at far right is actually two drawings, an early colored pencil by Lee entitled "Grape Jelly" and, inspired, one by Ali from 1998 called "Afternoon Breakfast" (egg, toast, bacon).  The busts were done by the girls in high school -- Ali's (based on Nicole Kidman) is on the left, Maddy's (Kate Winslet) is in the middle, and Katie's (a classmate) is on the right.

My work is on the wall opposite Lee's.  "Lake Michigan," "Nevada Desert," "Fourth of July Fruit Salad," and a selection of portraits (all boys, I rarely find baby girls in my viewfinder!).  Tomorrow, a photo collage called "Afghani Hats" will squeeze in there somewhere.


The show will be up through January -- for any locals or sorta locals who'd like to see it in person.  (Call/email me!  We can do coffee/tea.)

I visited with people today, feet up, sewing off Parcheesi Side 3 and picking up all the stitches for Side 4... the last side!  There was plenty of touchy-feely oohs and aaahs, and lots of good compliments on that today.  I can't believe I'm almost finished!!


Black (& White) Friday


Heheheh.  Today I will be catching up on a few of the things I've let slide over the past couple of weeks!  Later, I'll be helping to hang our first-ever all-family art show and helping DH write a statement.  Everything about this is old hat to him, and even to the kids, but oh so new to me!  And fun.

PARCHEESI UPDATE:  The binding off of Side 3 is about to commence!!


There's really nothing more to be thankful for than family.  I spent the day with a great deal of mine -- all of my siblings (three sisters and a brother), a couple of brothers-in-law, my mom and her husband, my daughters, my daughter's girlfriend, my future son-in-law, my niece, and my nephews.

There's not a stinker in the bunch.

We also had tons of food, including pie.  This one's cherry.  There's the corner of a from-scratch pumpkin visible at top left.  The half-in-the-bag turkey was delicious -- very moist and flavorful!  It was a terrific day.  I hope yours was, too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ten on Tuesday: Thanksgiving

Ten on Tuesday10 Things You Love About Thanksgiving

1.  Family

2.  Gathering

3.  Warmth

4.  Laughter

5.  Cranberries

6.  Potatoes

7.  Pumpkin pie

8.  Football

9.  Leftovers

10.  Turkey soup

We're having Thanksgiving at Annie's this year and there's going to be a house.FULL.of.people!  Mack & Addy will be at the wound-up best, I'm sure.  Rusty's making the pies (pumpkin and cherry), of course, and I'm in charge of sweet potatoes... thinkin' fries.  They're yummy and a little bit different.

I have Friday off, too, and I'm more than ready for a long weekend!  We'll be hanging work in DH's gallery above the coffee shop on Friday for Saturday's opening and reception for a collaborative show featuring the work of our whole family -- A Family Affair -- for the first time ever.  (Maybe not the last?  We'll see how it goes.)  I'll post about it over the weekend!


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I'll have to use a recycled photo because my camera hasn't seen the light of day in... many days.  But OMG, I am so excited!!  I'm about mid-way through knitting the border onto the first of the long sides.  I'm able to jam all of those stitches onto my long straight needles, too, which makes me happy (and the knitting go faster).

When I pulled it out to work on the border while watching the game with Mom yesterday, she said how much she loved it... "It makes me happy to look at it."  One of the best compliments ever!

Just my luck

...a post that went POOF!  Not the fault of Typepad, more my stupid home network. So, here we go:

  • Packers handily beat the Vikings today in Minnesota!
  • I bound off the first border edge of Parcheesi while watching!
  • Was watching at my mom's and had a little complaint about a pain and she sent me off to urgent care (actually, she insisted on "taking her baby" to the doctor).
  • I have been prescribed an antibiotic to treat an infection.
  • This explains the chills and sleepiness that made up half of my weekend.
  • I knit and nodded off for several hours last night, catching up on TiVo'd TV, and was in bed at 8... and slept 'til 9.
  • I felt pretty good all day today.  So, if that infection clears up, I'm good.
  • Parcheesi rocks!


I'm a super sleepyhead today.  It took a while, but I successfully fought off to-the-bone chills in the middle of the night.  I slept 'til after 1:00 this afternoon and then went for coffee (I had juice) with Mom -- just needed to get up and out!  Now I'm ready for a nap.  I hope your weekend is a bit more, um, active!

Alive and kicking...

...but OH.MY.GOD that was scary.

I realized, when I was finally able to read my messages last night, that some of y'all have not been hanging on my EVERY word over the past two years, a few haven't even "known" me that long.  This post pretty much sums up what's going on.  Even quicker: one of my twin sisters was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago.

I blogged about it a little bit in the beginning.  I was going to blog about it a lot -- bitch and kvetch, moan and groan, cry on my corner of the world wide shoulder.  Then I learned that she read my blog.  She not only read my blog, she looked forward to reading my blog -- as in one of the highlights of her day -- everyday, right up there with The View and General Hospital -- and called me on it more than once when I'd have a miss.

Well, I had to change that tune... to one a bit more upbeat.  Which is good, you know?  It is difficult to look at my blogging objectively, but I've always tried to use it for good; in fact, I've often used it to turn my own mood around -- and successfully.  It is like therapy.  Maybe that's why it can seem so hard sometimes.

This happened at a time when I was thinking about giving up the blog altogether.  I'd knit and blogged a couple of epics (started and/or frogged a few others), quit smoking, blogged my brother's accident -- too much, not enough; paraded the family on occasion, and even the pets (one dog, three cats); babies, birthdays -- I turned 50 on the blog; house and garden projects; travel, school, photography; tango.  Over the course of all that -- while also becoming less anonymous and more known (in a small-time knit-blogger way) -- I became less open and more reserved -- and, in my opinion, the blogging suffered.  I didn't enjoy blogging as much.

But now my sister was sick with a terminal disease and she looked forward to reading my blog everyday.  There was nothing to do but continue to blog (almost) everyday... and to enjoy it and be happy about it.

Not so hard, really.  Really???  Stupidly simple.

So this is where I've been coming from for a while -- feeling sometimes not quite "real," because everything on the blog is put through the my-most-private-and-most-guarded-sister filter first.

Oh no I've said too much
I haven't said enough

"Losing My Religion," R.E.M.

I helped her move into a new apartment a month ago -- she has always had a knack for finding the cutest apartments, and this one -- in an old school -- is no different.  It was a tough move and, in combination with a number of other factors, it showed.  Big time.  Big, big time.  And one way I knew was that she wasn't reading... connecting.

Well, I'm not going to get much more into details -- I will do my best to respect my sister's desire for privacy about the thing that is happening to her that is also (increasingly) having a very deep affect on the daily lives of people who love her.  Mom and I had planned to visit for the day on Wednesday.  We knew that things were not right and set to the business of making them right -- in Mom's case, that means cleaning, scrubbing and shining things, and doing laundry (the building laundry room conveniently located right across the hall!) while I did... I dunno, I went shopping and made calls and met with people and made more calls.  And then, suddenly, things turned really scary bad.  Luckily, the right people were in the right place at the right time -- and we all worked at pulling her back up and, eventually, set on a new course.

It's still my sister's course -- that's the most important thing to her, and the most important thing that I (we) can give to her for as long as we can.  There are modifications, certainly, for health, care and safety, but she's still on her course -- and the fog is beginning to lift.

Mom & I ended up staying overnight and all day yesterday, helping to steady the ship... the bathroom and kitchen of which could not be much cleaner, and there's practically nothing made of cloth that hasn't been laundered.  "I need more quarters," was a mantra yesterday.

Well, I have no doubt that she'll be reading again and that she'll feel the love and power in all of your expressions of concern and well wishes.  We are not strangers to the power of the blog.  Thank you all so much.

We now return to your regularly scheduled -- and hopefully mundane -- programming.

TGIF.  For sure.


A little bit of a scare yesterday and an unplanned overnighter.  Will know more later... looking a bit better than last night.  Scary.  Haven't been able to read a single message, but I know you're out there and thank you for your love and support.  XO

Ten on Tuesday: Movies

Ten on Tuesday10 Movies You'd Like To See In The Theater

...on the Big Screen, baby!

1.  Doctor Zhivago.  This was the first "grown up" movie that I really remember seeing -- I feel like I was maybe 11, but if we saw it in the year it was released (1965), I was actually a bit younger.  I went with my mother.  She was fresh from a course on Russian history and full of knowledge -- which she whispered into my ear throughout the movie.  "Lara's Theme" definitely found a place in my piano repertoire.  I loved -- love -- everything about this move; certain scenes etched for eternity on my brain.  Rod Steiger as Komarovsky made a very big impression on me... very big... and definitive.

2.  The Sound of Music.  A sing-along would be fun!  Or spontaneous dancing in Antwerp!

3.  Show Boat.  I saw this movie -- dark and grainy -- on late-night TV when I was a teen and was riveted and mesmerized by the actors, the story, the music.  Show Boat solidified my love of musicals!

4.  Oklahoma!  Oh, what a beautiful mornin'... Where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain.  I adore this movie!

5.  Das Boot.  This is the first foreign, subtitled movie I saw -- with my sister in an old Milwaukee theater -- and I loved it!  I asked for it a few years ago at my local video store and, when the computers suddenly went haywire, I couldn't help but wonder if he'd typed in "DOS boot."

6.  To Kill A Mockingbird.

7.  A Busby Berkeley song and dance extravaganza.

8.  The Jungle Book.  This is the first movie I remember seeing with my siblings -- my mother took us and it was at a theater some distance away.  We arrived late, after the movie had already begun.  Somehow she talked the usher into letting us stay -- or we just stayed put -- for the next showing to see what we'd missed, and we ended up staying for the whole thing!

9.  Gone With The Wind.  I was still in high school when GWTW was being shown in theaters again and I talked my then-boyfriend into taking me (WHAT was I thinking).  We arrived late (though, as it turns out, we literally missed about a minute).  He positively did NOT want to be there and was NOT going to open his mind, so we left early... way, way, WAY early!  I never did see it on the big screen.

10.  The Wizard of Oz.  The showing of The Wizard of Oz on TV every year when I was a kid was an EVENT -- even on our tiny black and white TV!  I never knew that the whole Oz part was in color 'til many years later -- and, actually, I think it was a little scarier in b&w.  There are many wonderful actors in this movie, of course, but Ray Bolger was always my favorite -- and I still cry at their good-bye, every time (*sniff*).

P.S.  I finished seaming Parcheesi last night!  SQUEE!!!  Now all I have to do is cast on 93 million stitches and knit the border.

Stripes on the brain?



Ya think?

Yesterday's Parcheesi photos were taken just inside the front door due to crappy cloudy November day light.  I had to move the new floral-patterned rug out of the way.  I walked through the kitchen a little later and saw the new back door rug in a whole new -- yet, very familiar -- way.

Haha!  Told ya!  All stripes, all the time.  I'm even wearing my new striped turtleneck today!  Is it just me?


On the flip

Well, it's all Parcheesi all the time around here these days.  Stripey squaresville and stripey strips.

I thought I'd flip it over and show the back side.  This is 2/3 of the blanket, almost all joined up.

I'd taken care of weaving in the ends on all the strips before sewing up, but hadn't bothered with doing all of the squares.  Now, as I'm joining the pieces, I'm taking care of all the remaining ends.

The "ends" seen here are actually stitches at the ends of stripey strips that are on holders.  I'd get so excited about finishing a strip that I'd break off the yarn before casting off, as if I were going to join another color, never leaving myself an end long enough to do the job.  I can't tell you how many times I did that -- break off the yarn and, simultaneously, hear the voice in my head, "DOH!"  So, I've been picking up stitches on the square to which the strip will be joined and doing a three-needle bind off thingy.  It's working out fine.

This sewing up, along with the suddenly and decidedly winter-like weather (observe) (that's only 280 miles to the north and west of me), is giving me a pain in the neck.  I feel the cold in my neck more than any other place and, if I'm not careful, it's going to turn into a full-blown back problem.  I wore my first turtleneck of the season yesterday, layered with (among other things) a small triangular shawl and topped off with my crazy-soft-warm-fuzzy shadow[]box.  If there's anything good about the onset of cold weather, it's that I have a reason to pull shadow[]box off the shelf.

Crazy Town

I went shopping with Kate & Al this afternoon.  Shopping!!  That's not a bandwagon that I usually jump on, but I actually asked to go along when I overheard them making plans the other day.

It was super crazy out there!!  It was a craptastic weather day today, though not as bad as what's a bit to the north and west, so folks were out!  I wasn't Christmas shopping -- I really won't be doing any of that this year (stay tuned) -- but the holidays are definitely in the air.

I needed stuff like Kleenex, a curtain rod, rugs for the back and front doors, and found some of the hand towels and washcloths I like on super clearance.  Fun stuff!  Heheh.

Now I'm home and have HUGE pot of Farmer Armando's local grass-fed beef cooking with some of his garlic and my homemade tomato sauce, and another pot of lasagna noodles, and I'm going to throw it all together in a sec -- two pans of lasagna so that the girls can all have some to take home and that I can save for lunch.

Al's in the basement working on some new signs.  We're busy, busy bees today!


There was some pretty, golden light -- though fast-fading (damn, shorter days!) -- the other day when Katie was over and she asked me to take some photos.  I've been playing around with a couple of them a bit.  I have decided that the golden light isn't necessarily my favorite for the fair-skinned, already pretty darn golden redheads!  Or maybe I just haven't quite figured out the best way to use it yet.

Hmph (play around a little more).  Hello, black & white.  Maybe.

What's up for your weekend?  I'll be sewing on my blanket, of course.  And I'll be working on photos -- for both clients and myself.  We're opening a "Family Affair" show at the coffee shop in TWO SHORT WEEKS, in which each member of our family will be showing work.  Yikes!  I've never SHOWN my work anywhere -- I'm completely flummoxed and have no idea WHAT to show!  I'm afraid the whole thing is going to be a little madcap and hodge podge, but that's sort of how we are...


There's a tab labeled Prompts over at the NaBloPoMo website, in case one needs a little inspiration -- or focus, as the case may be.

Today's prompt is:  What do you *really* wish you were doing right now, and how soon do you think you can make it happen?

I'm not sure that's helpful to me.

Though one thing I *really* wish I was doing right now is sewing up my Parcheesi Blanket!  I'll be making that happen as soon as I'm finished here and eat a quick lunch!  And then I'll make it happen again some more this evening.

I've been sewing the strips to the six large squares -- did one more while watching/FF'ing the CMAs last night -- making six large pieces which will then need to be joined together.  I have one more square/strip combo to sew into a "large piece."  Then, after sewing the six large pieces into one (a blanket!), I'll be knitting a border around the whole thing and then... THEN... then it'll be FINISHED!

(If this blog was equipped with blog-o-vision, you would see that I am SMILING right now!)

I tidied up my knitting space the other day -- the immediate area around the chair where I usually sit and knit.  It looks pretty good and it feels great, but it has left me yearning for more... organization, separation, clarity in my work spaces.  Everything's jumbled and it's all making me feel jumbled.

You know, now that I actually have a few minutes here and there to contemplate how I feel.  Originally, I was just going to switch my day off this week so that I could go to my uncle's funeral and then be all business as usual through Friday -- holding off all the regular day-off stuff to pile up behind the regular weekend stuff, which is bumping up against all the other previously put-off stuff.  But my boss asked if I still wanted Wednesday off, too, and I thought, "Yeah, you know, I'm beginning to see a glimmer at the end of the tunnel and I don't want to lose it!  I should take the extra day!"  So I did.  And I really am starting to see time free time that might actually be, you know, FREE!

I also found three sweaters in various states of "almost finished," and I *really* need to FINISH THEM!


(This photo has nothing to do with anything.)  (It's not my favorite photo of Kate, and the light was sort of weird -- hello trees with no leaves in the late-day sun! -- but there's something very compelling about it... and her expression, or lack thereof... and I think I like it.)

Parcheesi progress

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It looks as though this would be tedious to knit.  It wasn't.

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It look as though this would be tedious to seam.  It isn't.

All I needed to do was start.  And I have.  And now I can't stop.  I'm doin' it in the evening, doin' it on my break at work, doin' it in the car when I have the opportunity to be a passenger.

Ten on Tuesday: Vacation!

Ten on Tuesday:  10 Dream Vacations

1.  A Mediterranean cruise.

2.  An Alaska/Inland Passage cruise.

2.a.  Those are the only cruises I've ever dreamed of, though a sail through the warm Caribbean in the middle of a long cold winter seems more inviting with every passing year.

3.  A year in Greece.

4.  Part of it on an island.

5.  A year in Italy.

6.  A leisurely trip up to and through The Maritimes.

7.  Let's tango!  Argentina!!

8.  Wiesemscheid, Germany, (and vicinity) for some in-depth family research.

9.  An extended staycation with unlimited funds and skilled work crew.

10.  A Knitter's Magic Bus World Tour to visit the many friends I've made over the years, all the wonderful shops, mills and farms, and... here's the real dreamy part... there'd be room for everyone!!  Party on the knitters' bus!!

The cheesy post!

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Parcheesi -- Janine's inspiring original (finished, foreground) and my interpretation (the unfinished, sort of pinned together, jumbled mess in the background).

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The highlight of my California trip last month was... well, there were no lowlights.  We did something new (to me), fun, and interesting each and every day.  I even met The Parents -- so charming!

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One of the many highlights came on Sunday evening.  Sunday was sort of a lay-low day during which we talked about and shared the photos we'd taken the previous days.  We stepped out on Sunday afternoon to go shopping (hello, fresh pasta/ravioli department!) for a wonderful dinner we made to share and enjoy with Janine, Rachael and Lala, Pamela, and The Girlie.  Check out Celia's photos!

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After we licked clean cleared away the dessert plates -- Lemon Cakes with Basil Lemon Syrup made by The Girlie, using lemons plucked from the trees in the yard and basil from the garden, and so amazingly delicious -- we brought out, chatted up, and photographed some knitting.

I finally started the sewing-up of my Parcheesi blanket last night -- and now that's all I want to do!  I'm hoping to have it finished by Thanksgiving.

* * * * *

I had a great birthday weekend!  There was the singing and the cake and plenty of help blowing out the candles.  Maddy's mandatory meeting was over by noon on Saturday, so she and her girlfriend Andi ended up coming home after all -- and it's always fun to have them around!  I did a little shopping and running around with Ali & Kate yesterday, and then I made dinner -- Chef Michael Symon's Wisconsin Parmesan (& Ricotta) Gnocchi with Brown Butter & Sage -- to enjoy with all the girls before they scattered again!

And then, in true Cheesehead fashion, I watched the Packers trounce the Cowboys!



I sit on a step, face-to-face with this kid, and snap off a series of photos... and all I can think is, "Wow. Boys sure can be different than girls."

And a one, an' a two...

Happy Birthday To You!  (Meaning me!)

The phone rang this morning and I could hear whispering after I picked it up.  "Do it now... it's HER!"

Then I heard Mack, a very confident and authoritative conductor, "And a one, an' a two..." and Addison chiming in on queue as they sang Happy Birthday to me!

Big bonus is that I'll see them later for a birthday party, though the on-again, off-again "surprise" is off again.  Which is fine by me; there's cake either way.


I'm not altogether certain that this was taken on my birthday, but it's me and I appear to be pleased with a few new things.

(Please to note the amazing, pom-pommed handknit slippers.)

(I would kill to have that Hi-Fi right now.)

So I'm 52!  That's just crazy, man.


Game day!

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Eucalyptus seed taken with the rented 100mm f/2.8L macro lens.  Oh, how I love that lens.

I photographed a wedged seed from nearly the same spot (give or take an inch), leaning against a tree trunk, with both the 100mm and the 24mm f/1.4L (for which I am also feeling the great big love) just to show how differently the world is viewed through the lens:

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Of course, the other lens we rented was the 15mm f/2.8 fisheye -- for which I had the love-at-first-sight way back in May -- honestly, to choose just one would be as impossible as picking a favorite child!

We went up behind the Claremont Hotel on Saturday to see what we could see.  It was game day!  The California Golden Bears were challenged by Arizona State -- a contest that Cal decidedly won, 50-17!  The Claremont was flying the Cal colors...

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...which is really sort of hard to see here, but I love this shot (and you can trust me!).

And I shot a bug!

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Bugs are HARD!  This little fly was quite cooperative.

We drove further up into the hills, on our way to the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley, and had a terrific (even if not so clear) view from above.

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The filled stadium is in the lower left corner, part of the Bay Bridge at middle left, and the barely visible Golden Gate Bridge at middle right.  So cool.

There are a million photos from the garden on my camera -- each one with a different look at texture, pattern, color, perspective -- so beautiful, and completely overwhelming!  Even so, here are my faves:

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First, I am so mad that I didn't get contact information for these women.  I don't know the whole story, but they are apparently old friends who haven't seen each other in a while and arranged to meet at the garden that day.  They were taking photos of each other and asked if we'd grab their camera and snap off a few of them together.  Celia did the honors and then I took a few photos as they viewed the results -- I really, really love this, and hope they enjoyed the rest of their day!

They then offered to do the same:

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Imaginary Friends no longer.  ; )

Earth Fairy

I haven't finished with the Berkeley trip yet -- there's still Saturday, Sunday & Monday!  There's been an awful lot going on, though.

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Like Halloween!  Ali made her "Earth Fairy" costume and did her own bedazzling makeup and hair.  There are a few more photos in the set.  These were some pretty hurry-up photos and the lighting was, um, harsh!

Kate went to an '80s theme party a la "Sixteen Candles," "The Breakfast Club," "Pretty In Pink" Molly Ringwald -- channelling a little bit of "Desperately Seeking Susan" Madonna and Boy George, even.  She didn't stop over for photos, but it's not too hard to imagine how cute -- the hat, perched just so!


It's November!

November: the month of my birth.  Celebrations have commenced.  Maddy has to attend a mandatory meeting on Saturday, so she gave me my presents early.

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A beautiful bouquet.  The vintage vase is mine -- and SO PERFECT for these flowers, which were augmented and, I daresay, enhanced by the inclusion of some, well, weeds... dead ones... like this:

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I love my girls!

She also gave me a brooch and instructions not to actually wear it 'til I'm old... which must mean that I'm not there yet.

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It is really awesome, and I almost can't wait to get old!  Heh.  Snagged at RiverEdge Galleries in Mishicot on a trip out to the lake, she also found this fabulous old photo:

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I love it in so many ways!

My birthday will be celebrated intermittently and possibly even sporadically this year due to unforeseen circumstances from which the dust hasn't even settled yet.  I was informed this morning that there had been plans for a surprise party (again!) (now scrapped), mainly because Addison would have loved it -- and I love that!  I suggested that it would really be a surprise to have a surprise party for no good reason, when no one expected any sort of party at all!  Maybe we'll have one in January for his mom.

Anyway, I was going to celebrate for a week, but, falling on a weekend, I couldn't decide whether I should call it the week before or the week after, and pretty much decided BOTH!  And now, I'll just celebrate for as long as I feel like celebrating... could be right through Thanksgiving or even the whole month.

Haha!  There will be cake.

Berkeley Bowl, NaBloPoMo, and Ten on Tuesday!

I have never had more fun at the grocery store -- particularly in the produce department.  Once permission to photograph was granted, we slapped on lenses (15mm fisheye and 100mm macro) and tried not to get in anyone's way (too much) (one tends to get lost in the world that appears through the viewfinder).

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I've lost count of how many photos I took on this trip!  Here are a few faves from Berkeley Bowl.

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Artichokes -- one of my favorite veggies.  I can get them in Wisconsin, but I'm usually lucky if I can find enough decent specimens for our whole family from the paltry number available at any given time.

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I should have pulled back for a shot of these adorable little bundles of multi-colored carrots.

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Three varieties of sweet potatoes and two of yams.  Really!  Every single sign indicated the item's country of origin, many went even further.

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I noticed that many of the mushrooms -- the selection included many varieties that I've never seen before -- came from Oregon and Washington (big surprise!).

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The Berkeley Bowl set on Flickr.

Nablo_typer_160px And I guess I'm in:  NaBloPoMo 2010!  I've done this a few times over the blogging years -- successfully, for the most part.  I think.

Arguably, signing up for NaBloPoMo might NOT seem to be one of the 10 Ways to Simplify Your Life -- this week's Ten on Tuesday topic -- but (and I'm totally riffing here) I might be able to spin it my way.

10 Ways to Simplify Your Life

  1. Make lists
  2. Prioritize
  3. Delegate
  4. Organize
  5. Clean out
  6. Pare down
  7. Toss/Donate
  8. Establish a filing system
  9. Use online resources for banking & shopping (when it makes sense to do so)
  10. Cook & bake extra and pack yourself a lunch or two when putting away leftovers

Time out for knitting!

There's always the photography and always the knitting, but they don't seem to mash up as often as they should these days!

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Brilliant Miriam Felton's Dimorphous Mittens, which have been on my list for a long, long time.  I cast on the first inner mitten on a Thursday, while at the spelling bee.  I cast on the second inner mitten the following Thursday, in the car on the way to Milwaukee, in order to have something to knit on the plane while winging westward.  They were both finished (ends woven in and everything!) by last Thursday, when I cast on the first outer mitt.  The outer mitt knits up quickly without a cuff.  The keyhole is fabulous, and that three-stitch I-cord bind off is, well, absolutely brilliant.

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I rode along on a quick trip to Egg Harbor in Door County with DH on Saturday and knit much of the way, making great progress.  We drove back along the bay and stopped several times to marvel at the big waves -- and even swells -- on the water that day, not to mention the very dramatic sky.

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I have the thumb and bind-off to finish on the second mitt, a few stitches to graft on both, and then I can go button hunting!!  I am hoping to find something perfect in grandma's button box.  There may be a few more details on my Ravelry project page.