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Monday, June 30, 2014


...I'm typing this at my usual spot in the kitchen and Sara is beside me making calls (relocating involves no end of phone calls) and I can't help but think how different it will be a week from now. I'm thinking I'll likely be sitting here...but Sara will be at work. in Wisconsin. (yikes!)

We started Friday afternoon with a three-of-us lunch at our favorite Bistro VG. We've enjoyed so many three-of-us lunches here, going back to when Sara was in middle school and Katie was in her first year of college. Our conversations have covered so much - high school, prom, jobs, boyfriends, girlfriends, sororities, spring breaks, college, study abroad, Europe, graduations, holiday menus, a wedding and a baby...and now Sara moving away.

(and yes there was browned butter tart for dessert. peach. and yes, it was delicious.)

Saturday morning I ran by myself for the first time in months. The greenway was busy and I had The Sparrow playing on my phone (oh my. I am IN LOVE with this book!)...and it felt familiar and so good to be back.

Then we had "the aunts" party at my sister's house. Sara surprised Katie with a knitted baby gift (a beautiful blanket and a hat). Katie had no idea Sara even knew how to knit!

Then we had snacks and drinks, knitted, talked, watched soccer and baseball (?!) before we managed a very bad photo. (ok, it's a great photo of Sara!)
Me with Holly, Karen, Lydia, Sara, Katie
I found the photo from Katie's party (five years ago) and yeah, I think the June afternoon sun isn't so good. We'll have to try a different location/angle next time!

Anyway, it was fun and that really is all that matters! When we got home, Sara and Marc assembled the last of her furniture (four chairs and a hall console) while I knitted (of course).

After Sunday church, I had a completely free day. The first in a long time now that I'm not teaching on Sundays anymore. I'm looking forward to the free afternoons...for cooking, knitting, meeting up with friends. Maybe even a walk (once the weather cools off). Yesterday I read (finished Love the One You're With, which I wasn't crazy about but the last 100 pages were the best part and it was nice to read them in one long sitting) and then knitted. and listened to more of The Sparrow. I'm making good forward progress on the Mystery Shawl (10 more rows of clue 3, then clues 4 and 5 to finish), but the stockinette sweater has been anything but zen. Here's what it looked like at 11pm last night. I'd just ripped back the last two stripes that had a funky join at the color change. Sad to say that was the 2nd time I'd ripped last night and the third time I'd ripped since I started. Yep, it took me FOUR tries to get it perfect.
the wine and the M&Ms came out after the 2nd rip... cannot blame that for my bad knitting!
I'm hoping it's on track now. I knit a little this morning and I am finally knitting "new" yarn (again). There are more stripes for the sleeves but the rest of the body is plain stockinette in the round. That should be zen, right?!

It's fun to type this and see the photos all in one place. Family, fun, celebrating, food, knitting, good books and even a run. The stuff of the very best weekends!

Hope yours was fun, too!

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Flashback and a Quick FO.

...five summers ago, Katie and I were headed to NYC to move her into her first post-college apartment. So many things about Sara's move are very different...but some are much the same.


and Sara.

I am very grateful that it seems both girls have inherited Marc's handyman skills. Goodness knows I have none to share!

And now for the FO part. This is my Linen Poncho. I've already written about it for the shop, but these two photos are new (it's nice having someone home who's comfortable using my camera!)

I am delighted with it. There is surely a third poncho in my knitting future for this fall/winter (assuming my love for stockinette continues!)

One more thing, did y'all know that I also write the newsletter for the shop? We recently moved to a new website that supports on-line shopping (yay!) and that means a new newsletter platform to learn. Yesterday's letter was my fourth and I can feel the learning curve starting to ease. It helps to have great projects and yarn to feature. If you'd like to share, I'd love to know what project/yarn you'd suggest for a future newsletter.

Happy Friday!

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

More Stockinette, Please.

...I used to save the plain stockinette projects for the car (and way back when, for conference calls), but lately, I like them all the time. My last three finished projects - a laceweight scarf, a poncho (which I hope to share later this week) and a pair of socks (the knitting is done on this one, all that's left is toes to kitchener and ends to weave in) all featured stockinette. I do have a few thinking projects thrown in the mix - the Through the Loops Mystery shawl and a laceweight Panoramic, but most of my knitting time these days seems to go better with the plain knitting (and purling). I finished the poncho and the socks Monday and really wanted more stockinette. My next project was supposed to be Funky Grandpa, a striped stockinette cardigan. I have the pattern and the yarn (it's Geilsk Bomuld go uld, a cotton/wool blend that's hopefully a year-round yarn for Atlanta)

but since I bought them, Thea Colman released Shaken or Stirred, another striped cardigan, but in a sport weight. I really want to knit it. In Rowan Felted Tweed.

Even I don't need two striped cardigans! But maybe I could use a striped pullover instead? or maybe I should exchange two of the colors and go with something solid? like Relax maybe? (and then I remember that I originally bought the yarn in all gray to knit Relax and changed my mine for the Funky Grandpa...oh my!)

So yesterday afternoon I spent the time I needed to be doing other things looking through patterns on Ravelry. That search feature is really something. Pullover, Stripes, Fingering, Adult. and I found this.

That's my sort-of swatch ... I couldn't wait to cast on!


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Slow Down and Breathe.

(oops, I just realized this post that I wrote last night on my iPad never posted...)

...I wrote it down - twice! - on Friday and it's been resonating since. I didn't manage much of it on Saturday when I started with a run, then pilates, lunch out, dinner prep and then dinner at Katie & Rob's to celebrate Sara. There was a good bit of knitting the Through the Loops Mystery Clue 2 and a 30 minute nap, but really, none of that was "slowing down to breathe".
That's Marc, Sara and Katie (Rob was just off to the right and not at all worried he didn't fit into my square cropped photo - one of the many things I love about him!). and I'm gonna admit here that I got a lump in my throat imagining we might not all be together again until Christmas. when there will be a 6th person to join us!

Sunday was a little better. Katie and I walked two early-morning laps at the park. We kept a good pace and managed a bit of catch up conversation...and a good many of those comfortable silences that come with friends who see each other often enough. It left my heart a bit lighter even though I didn't stand still for a second. Then church (with a hymn sing! Amazing Grace, How Great Thou Art, and so many more!) and a nice knitting break before my Sunday afternoon class. I finished listening to The Importance of Being Earnest and really enjoyed it. Yay for book bingo that's making me step outside my normal reading zone! Then Sunday class - it was great to re-connect with everyone and hear fun stories about WWKIP day. I told them I wasn't going to be teaching on Sundays anymore (breathe deep!) and they all said they were hoping to continue classes with me on Mondays or Wednesdays. I couldn't ask for more. Then soccer (breathe deeper!), more knitting, more soccer and more knitting. 
I finally finished the 2nd clue on the Through the Loops Mystery Shawl. Hope to get all caught up this week because I really want to have the finished shawl soon - the linen is perfect for summer!

And then it was Monday with the photo prompt "in this moment". Perfect way to make me pay attention to the little things...but sadly to fail at photos for nearly all of them. Dark early coffee in the quiet. Finishing my linen poncho and LOVING it. Catching up on summer with my running group and a hard five plus-mile hill run. Helping Sara unpack the boxes to sort out "recycling", "donations" and "move to Madison". A phone interview with a top candidate for a new position at the church. Helping Sara choose furniture and accessories (oh my, online shopping is the best!)...all while I knitted! and then class. Drive home before dark to see the beginning of a beautiful sunset. and finally, a photo.

I'm reminded that I need not only to pause to breathe...but also to say "thank you".

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Currents | June 2014.

...I posted a version of my new blog header and the waterlogue'd photo below on instagram today with the caption "yay! for blue skies and puffy clouds and summer". never mind that it's hot. and sticky. it's summer...and time for another present participle list!
choosing relationships. fostering connections both in person and on-line. mail, blog comments, phone calls...and if I'm lucky, in person.

looking forward to two good-bye parties for Sara. one this weekend with our immediate family and one next weekend with "the aunts". I can't help but think back to the aunts' party we had for Katie five years ago. (and wondering if Sara might be back here in a few years!)

planning my knitting queue. for sure a few cowls (and hats? and mitts?) and warm cuddly socks for Sara. baby knits? something for me? that Rowan Mystery afghan (is it fair to even say it's queue'd when I've knit one of the blocks?!)

enjoying blogging (again. finally). thanks to our May trip to Paris and Florence I re-connected with simple words + photos posts, all of which I can do from my iPad (sadly, this post, with bold and italics - and the new header means I've got my laptop back in the kitchen...but it's short-lived, I'm sure).  This whole "blog thing" is almost back to being a regular part of my day and I'm grateful for that. I especially love the comment feed. I know I've lured a few of you out of lurkdom and those new connections have been awesome (it would be even better if I could respond personally... and I will if you'll let me know your email address...mine is msrogovin (at) gmail (dot) com.)

needing to remember to slow down and breathe. I journaled about this earlier today and then Veronica made our Friday morning yoga class all about it. Slow Yoga by the way is hard. but it got me to focus on my breath.

wanting a bicycle. I didn't make it happen last summer, but the want didn't fade away. Maybe in July?

reading Emily Giffin's Love the One You're With. I'm taking the whole summer reading bingo thing pretty seriously and this is the book that's "set where I live".  I'm about 25% through...and I'm not loving it (please, if anyone doesn't live here and wants to visit, ask me for recommendations - don't read this book!) but I'm not hating it. I have the large print edition from the library and I was a bit intimated by the 500+ pages, but it's not bad. I'm past page 150 after just a day.

knitting all the things. seriously, I'm so far behind updating y'all and Ravelry. In just this past week, I've worked on the Through the Loops Mystery Shawl, Moving to Madison Socks, Linen Poncho and Panoramic Stole. I also have a BabyT cardigan and blanket to finish before the July 13 shower (saying it now, that blanket may wait til he's born!)

watching lots of HGTV. Especially love House Hunters, Property Brothers, Love it or List It and Flip or Flop.  Sara says she learning about recessed lighting and hardwood/laminate floors and I feel so much better she knows these things!

listening to books! I finished The Handmaids Tale today and I'm still processing. Sara read the book in high school and recommended it even before she listened to the Claire Danes audio version. Based on our discussion this afternoon, I think the audio version is the way to go. Like I said...processing still, but wow. (next up I have The Importance of Being Earnest on Librivox and The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and I am the Messenger on CD, both from the I said, I'm serious about the bingo!)

eating salads. enough said. (until July 14 when I'm back in Madison...and cheese!)

drinking Picpoul de Pinet. cold, dry white wine. and an occasional IPA. 

wearing shorts and sandals. or skirts and sandals. or dresses and sandals. really anything to keep cool.

thinking about switching to a fully digital project life. my 2014 album has NO entries since early January and Katie makes digital look easy!

I love reading about what you're up to...tell me, what are you looking forward to you right now?

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Words in the Wild.

...thanks to Kym for the idea!

Seen in the window of Square, a wine shop on Capitol Square.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Greetings from Madison | One Last Time. least until next month. Sara got a call while I was in the shower that her application was approved (in less than 24 hours and no co-signer required - yay!) So much for a leisurely morning in our room. We quickly dressed, packed and checked out and shortly after 11 we were here.
That's Sara - signing all on her own!

Fifteen minutes later we were on our way to Penzey's. It was wonderful; look forward to another visit soon...and to this shop (Vom Fass) that was right next door. Seriously. Not only do they have a great selection of oil and vinegar, they have spirits - infused vodka, brandies, scotches, grappa... oh yes!

Then we had a nice long lunch at Graze. We shared a small cheese plate, tofu club with root vegetable soup and beet salad. Really, we have had more than cheese and dessert on this trip!
That's the beet salad with carrot slaw.

Now we're settled in at the airport waiting for our flight and thinking about what comes next. Here's what we're planning right now - subject to Epic's approval on the relocation details:

July 5/6 - Sara drives to Madison (by herself; it's a 13 hour trip and she'll spread it across two days); she'll check into corporate housing when she arrives.
July 7 - Her first day of work.
July 10-ish - I supervise movers to pack her furniture and ship it to Madison.
July 14 - I fly to Madison.
July 15 - The apartment is ready at noon; hopefully her furniture is here that afternoon. Sara checks out of corporate housing.
July 15-18 - I unpack and setup while Sara works so we can enjoy...
July 19-20 - a fun weekend in Madison together! I'll fly back late Sunday.

She still has a lot of details to work through; these next three weeks are going to be busy!

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Greetings from Madison | Three.

...we fly home this afternoon, tired, but happy. The apartments we saw yesterday morning ("outdated inner city" and "concrete views") didn't come close to changing Sara's mind about the lakeview apartment we saw first. We went back there late yesterday morning for one more look. Turned out that a unit with a slightly better view and layout had just become available. She submitted the application and now it's fingers and toes crossed it's approved. The building is still very much under construction but if you use your imagination you can see the potential:
upper left is the view from the back of the living room (lake is just visible between all those leaves); upper right is the view from the window back into that room (washer dryer lives behind those doors); lower right is the bedroom (a full wall of closets); lower left is the kitchen (lots of cabinets, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances!)

Here's a quick look at a few of the other things we've seen and eaten since my last post.

Saturday night's dinner at Nostrano was really special. It's tiny, but very cool.

The food was all delicious, but dessert was the best photo.
That's goat cheese cake with pink lady apples, gingerbread crumbles and cider sorbet.

and us.

On the way back to the car we saw Madison's version of a light show. I'm completely smitten with the Capitol!

Sunday morning we took a quick drive to Verona for coffee and a tour around Epic's campus.
I was disappointed by the yarn selection at The Sow's Ear, but the cappuccino was perfect. 

And Epic. oh my. all the photos you see on-line are certainly true to life, but they can't begin to capture the sheer scale of the place. it's ... huge and impressive and so well-done. Here's a view from the road leading into campus.

the main entrance

the view from the wall of windows in the cafeteria building

details everywhere.
I'm planning a trip back next month to help Sara move in and I hope I get to see some of the inside views then.

We went back to Merchant (where we had dinner Friday night) for brunch and then met up with Sam and Connor for coffee. Sam is a rising junior at UW and the daughter of one of my students; Connor is her boyfriend and he's interning at Epic this summer - great connections! and now Sara knows two people in Madison and one person at Epic! We walked and walked and got back to the hotel late afternoon ready for ... nothing! early to bed for both of us!

Monday morning we had our energy back. We spent the morning on the apartment search. After a quick lunch, we headed to the Capitol for a tour. The inside is just as impressive as the outside.

After the tour, we climbed a few short flights to get to the outside observation deck. Pretty views of the city in all directions and fun to see the granite statues up close.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at Starbucks, searching for furniture and bedding from my iPad. Then an early dinner at Osteria Papavero. We both agreed it was our best meal yet. We shared a cheese plate, vegetable sampler, caprese salad and artichoke pasta. Somehow we even had room for dessert.
Panna cotta with rhubarb syrup, strawberries and shortbread. Yes it was as delicious as you'd imagine. that's it. We're getting a slow start this morning; hotel checkout isn't til noon and our flight is at 4:40. I want to show Sara Penzeys (I'm a huge fan, but I've only done mail order; can't wait to see an actual store) and we'll have one more meal downtown before we head to the airport. 

Tired, happy and - if we're being honest - a bit overwhelmed by all that needs to happen in the next few weeks!

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Greetings from Madison | Two.

...Madison is showing us a great time! the weather has been delightful (it was a bit chilly yesterday morning and I worried briefly that we hadn't packed warm enough clothes, but the day turned fine; today was pleasantly warm with a nice breeze), the people warm and friendly, the sights colorful...and the food...delicious. Even the driving and the parking has been ok. We're starting to navigate a bit on our own and love that things that seem far apart on the map are only a 15 or 20 minute drive away.

As I type this, we're watching House Hunters (Sara is a recent convert to HGTV and it's been fun to talk about this apartment search like an episode of the show). Yesterday started with "New construction on the lake" and ended with "in-town convenience". We see another in-town place early Monday; not sure how that will play out. But it's going to take a lot to make Sara choose anything other than the lake. This is what would be in her backyard.

She'd be on the third floor.

I was charmed by the neighborhood. Peonies are in full bloom in nearly every yard!

We walked to a local pizza place for lunch. Fresh arugula on the white pizza and caponata on the red. delicous.
And a yarn store across the street. I bought two skiens of Hikoo Rylie to make a(nother!) Diagonal Lace Scarf. The store has been there for 45 years and they're expanding to a new location down the block in August. (of course that has no bearing on how much I loved the apartment).

The in-town apartment was just ok. New construction again, but the finishes were more like a dorm (no room for a dining table, no washer/dryer and really ugly bedroom carpet). Sara submitted an application on-line but by the time we finished dinner and a lot of pro-con talk, she'd pretty much decided against it.

But the location is still a draw. Walking distance from all kinds of restaurants and an easy bus-ride to work when the weather gets nasty. I have to admit that walking distance from fabulous cocktails is a real plus!
(mine and hers at Merchant)

In all, it was a very good day!

Leasing offices are closed on the weekend here so we have time to explore. We got an early start this morning at the Dane County Farmers Market. Quite simply it's amazing.
Then we visited the lakefront park to see what it was like on the weekend and came back to the hotel for a nap (me) and a break (Sara). Headed out shortly for dinner so I need to wrap this up. It's been great reading your comments and good wishes - all very much appreciated. Thank you!

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Greetings from Madison | One.

...after a r-e-a-l-l-y bumpy flight (clouds are pretty to look at but whoa, hard to fly through) we landed on-time. First impression from the air - lots of water and so green.

We are staying in Middleton, on the west side of Madison; it seems very suburban here, just like home! except that we saw silos and windmills on our drive from the airport. 

Sara is hoping to live in town, so all the apartments we have appointments to see and the restaurants and other activities we have planned mean driving. Not my favorite but so far the only negative.

We settled into the hotel and then headed into town for dinner. The map directed us right through campus and we caught a few glimpses of the Capitol. We had dinner at Sardine, near Lake Monona. Had a few minutes before our reservation to walk down to the lake.

And then dinner. Sara is great at choosing restaurants and this one set a high bar. It was crazy busy for 7 o'clock on a Thursday and I was glad we had reservations. The tables were all decorated with small vases of wildflowers. 

We both started with their Caesar salad. Delicious.

Then we shared mussels and frites and orecchiette with sage and truffle oil. And somehow even had room to share the lemon tart for dessert!

An uneventful drive back and to bed. Today we have two apartments to see and a lot more exploring to do. But first, more coffee...

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