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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Tuesdays with Charlie | Two and a half.

Charlie and I are now into our third year of Tuesdays. Looking back over the archives is a sure reminder that 1) time flies; and 2) having photos and words to document the little steps along the way* is an easy way to lose spend an hour on a Tuesday evening.

Today we were back to our "typical" schedule. I picked him up at 7am and dropped him off just after 5pm. Here's a glimpse into ten hours of toddler time:
a "selfie" to send to his mom
at the library
after nap ... all smiles!

"soccer" ... yes the ground really does slope that much!
a scoop of "ice" and some fabulous people watching at Avalon. oh boy, I can't wait for more of this in the months to come!
and just like that it was time to head home. Another fun day added to the archives. (and whew, glad for a glass of wine and a book. even with a good nap, ten hours of toddler time is tiring!)

*Charlie two years ago (whoa, I'd forgotten about the snow!). and last year.

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Monday, February 27, 2017

More and Less | February 2017.

from Sunday's morning walk
Continuing with the more/less framework I began last month, here's a look at right now in my world.

more gratitude. enjoying Michelle GD's monthly notesblog and Instagram feed. her #tinytinymoments posts remind me that gratitude doesn't have to be hard.

more mindfulness. I'm 27 days into a new practice that I'm almost ready to share with y'all.

more exploring. following links one morning last week, I landed on a free 21-day pilates trial. part exploring, part curiosity and perhaps part yoga ... I'm looking forward to it!

more connecting. I did a pretty decent job of daily letters this month and have been especially delighted with the letters that have arrived in my own mailbox. Kat has me curious about exploring better tools for letter writing!

more curiosity. pilates and pens ... and I can't wait to see what Ali has in store for us in March.

more yoga. I haven't managed "daily" this month, but I am ready to say it's back to being a habit. I've noticed a real difference in the quality of my sleep when I do a 20-minute "evening" routine just before bed.

more prayer. this is going to be a focus of mine during Lent. Forty days (plus Sundays) seems like the perfect timeframe to explore a new approach.

more letting (it) go. on the "stuff" side, I'm almost ready to commit to a wardrobe pare down (have any of y'all tried something like this? I am not considering 33 things, but even 50 would be a big stretch for me ... and I'm pretty sure "just-finished" knitwear and shoes would not be counted ... like I said, I'll be taking baby steps!) at the very least, I need to spend some tough time with my dresser and closet. maybe I'll finally make time to read Marie Kondo's book.

less busy. I haven't given this much thought lately, but this week, all my regular activities resume; need to see how it goes...

less worry. I've whittled down my news to just a two morning newsletters; that's helping. I also added the Washington Post's Optimist for a weekly dose of good news.

And with that, I'm ready to turn the page on a new month. Longer days and more of them seems like just what I need right now. How about you?

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Cheers | 19 Crimes.

Have y'all heard about this wine? I discovered it at Costco last December. It's $8.49 a bottle and remarkably drinkable. Everyone I've shared it with loves it ... even more when I tell them how much it costs!

It wasn't until I was well into the second case, though, that I read the story. ...and a few bottles later that I discovered the corks.

My collection has been stalled for the last couple of weeks (in spite of buying a bottle at Sara's TJ's last weekend ... I was sure Wisconsin would offer up a different crime, but nope, it was another #4.)

...until last night!

Truly, the only thing better than a good daily drinker, is one that makes opening each new bottle a game!

Cheers to Friday! Happy Weekend!


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Hell Yeah Homeland.

Sara is a huge Homeland fan. I've known that for years; she's the real reason I watch the show and feel connected to the story. But what I didn't learn until last fall was that she created a whole website  and community around the show. It's called Hell Yeah Homeland

Part of my "preparation" for Sunday night's episode was reading through posts about the season and then listening to a few of the podcasts. I'm consistently impressed by the quality of the writing. Sara and six others host the site. The "six others" was a fairly recent addition and much needed - it is a ton of work! and the additional perspectives have created some interesting and fun dynamics in the conversation. 

Season 6 is almost to the halfway point and things are getting ... tense in Sara's world. While I was visiting, I was privileged to watch her interact with the site and her team members. 

And on Monday, we recorded a podcast. For reals, y'all, it's on iTunes

I listened to it for the first time yesterday and was impressed - not only with the quality of the production (that's all Sara) but also our conversation. You can even hear my needles clicking (finishing up the second of Sara's apartment socks). 

The feedback from the community has been wonderful. 
two of my favorite comments
I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I can't imagine Sara being this passionate and dedicated to anything different.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Rainy Day Blues.

It's always hard to re-settle after a wonderful trip ... but I'm struggling a bit more than usual this time. I brought a cold home with me (and I sincerely hope I didn't leave any of it behind for Sara), missed yoga this morning because the groomer was running behind when I dropped Holly off ... and it's raining.

How about we look at a few happy yarn and knitting photos to cheer us all up!

First, Wisconsin on the homebound flight, accompanied by E.B. White and a glass of merlot.

The sweater features lace panels down the sides - I'm almost done with the first repeat. I think those little bits of lace will be just enough to keep the stockinette body from getting boring.
And then the sweater I've queue'd up next. It's another Amy Miller design (yep, that will be three in a row*) and I bought Luma, a wool/cotton/linen/silk blend, from my Madison LYS. There aren't any keep-it-interesting details in this one, but I need a piece like this in my spring wardrobe (and I figure it will be good for Alaska, too!)

*I've knit a lot of sweaters from a lot of different designers and Amy is certainly my latest crush. I love that she mixes up construction methods, adds shaping where it's needed and writes easy-to-follow patterns. I also like her style. Expect to see more of her designs cropping up in my queue!

and p.s. it's so nice to be posting from my laptop today. I really appreciate all the encouragement and kind words y'all shared for my iPad posting over the weekend. For sure I need a lot more practice (and for sure, I don't need it today!)

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Monday, February 20, 2017


Whoa, time flies and all that. but hey, I finished a pair of apartment socks for Sara!
even without kntting for most of yesterday. or even thinking about writing a blog post.

because Homeland. (more to come. soon. promise!)

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Wisconsin Day 3.

...making progress on the sweater

(it needs another inch)

and the Project. Yikes y'all should've told me yesterday's photos were too big! I won't be able to fix them until I'm home, but hopefully today's won't be too bad.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Fridaying Alone.

Thank y'all so much for your kind words and encouragement on yesterday's post (and yikes all the email on the iPad! I'm a qwerrty girl but I can't manage more than pointer fingers on the iPad "keyboard" ... first world problems 😉) - here's hoping it's a short learning curve!

So, day two of the Madison Project (as I've now named this crazy iPad thing). I knew I'd have the day to myself. Sara is working today but she's off on Monday. When we were at dinner last night I was telling her how excited I was about a "day off"; she didn't get it. Yes, I'm retired, but I have "obligations".  (It was hard to explain.) I was thinking about no alarm, knitting, a walk, lunch out by myself, cooking dinner, ... and no other plans ...

Here's a bit of what transpired. Dark early. Oh boy, I love the view from Sara's sofa (where I sleep). Her apartment faces south, looking over Lake Wingra.
I had, as Honoré would say, "an extended MSQT". I got up off that sofa at 9am, did a 20 minute yoga routine, dressed and got out the door just after 10 to visit the yarn shop across the street (my home away from LYS). I did buy yarn and I promise to share. soon.

Lunch out, by myself, was a real treat. I went back to the restaurant Sara took me to last night (and had the same waitress we had...if she recognized me she did a great job of not showing it). I ordered a glass of wine and artichoke toast. And started a new book (Study in Charlotte). I read almost 60 pages while I ate ... wonderful!
Back at Sara's I got down to the real business of the day: catching up on Homeland. Sara is a fan. She hosts a blog and a podcast about the show. and she told me in no uncertain terms when we talked about plans for this weekend that she would "not be stopping to explain stuff to me."  Ok. I watched one episode at home and the last two today.
And I'm glad I'm through the short rows on the sweater because I even boo-boo'd the increase round while I was watching. I need plain old stockinette for this show!

Which brings me to dinner. With a cocktail to start. That's a raspberry simple syrup going on in the back and roasted vegetables on the front. I've got a plan...we'll see how it turns out!

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Think Write Thursday | If You're Reading This.

...I have successfully completed the first step on a project I've been putting off for months: posting on my blog from my iPad. 

Three things happened early this week that finally made me move on it:

1. I got a new-to-me iPad (because Marc upgraded to the iPad Pro);

2. I realized this weekend's trip to Madison was the perfect trial run (my biggest reason for wanting to post from the iPad is Alaska ... I really want to blog while I'm on that trip and I really don't want to take my laptop); and

3. Today's Think Write Thursday topic is procrastination. (please forgive the lack of links...taking baby steps here!)

Longtime readers might recall blog posts from Sara's post-graduation trip to Paris and Florence (back in May 2014). Those were all done from my iPad. But since then, the app I was using turned into a pumpkin and I've been comfortable posting from my laptop. and frankly, too wrapped up in other things to bother with it. So I'm grateful for this push from the universe to figure it out.

My plan is to share posts every day while I'm here to get the hang of it. Hopefully by Tuesday y'all won't be able to tell the difference between the iPad and the laptop. That gives me a few days to figure out the kinks, right?

From my trial runs, I think photos are going to be the biggest challenge. I like to post them centered, and sometimes with a caption. I haven't figured that out yet. 

But I do have two photos to share. This first is my standard in-flight entertainment shot. I cast on for a new sweater at the gate in Atlanta. The pattern is Amy Miller's Michigan (I'm going to name my project Wisconsin). Short rows and a new-to-me centered double increase meant no book...just knitting (I even waited on the wine until I was sure I had the pattern down).
And the almost landed view to the west. On previous flights, we've flown right over (Sara's) Lake Wingra...not today. If I had my bearings right, it's the shimmer off to the far right. Much of the flight up was cloudy (and bumpy), so seeing the ground - even with snow! - was welcome.
If you've read this far, thank you! I really appreciate your patience. and if you have any app suggestions for Blogger posts, please share (I settled on BlogTouch Pro, but maybe there's something better out there?)

Hope to be back tomorrow with a better (looking) post!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cheers | Seven Dials.

Waterlogue's Illustration
My sister found the recipe and shared it with me last week. I only had to buy grenadine and apple juice to mix it up today.

It's kind of a crazy mix of flavors, but it works! ...and it was the perfect accompaniment to our typical Wednesday evening conversation (family. books. knitting.) and tonight, the weather. She's driving to Florida tomorrow and I'm flying to Madison.

I think I'm going to have the easier time packing ... Madison looks like Atlanta right now!

Hope your week is going well. Cheers to Wednesday!

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Tuesdays with Charlie | Valentine's Day.

First Halloween and now Valentine's Day - two holidays made much better* with time (and grandchildren). A few weeks back I noticed that Valentine's Day would fall on a Tuesday and started making plans for heart-shaped pancakes, cookies and (yes) even cucumbers. My plans fell - a little bit - by the wayside when we realized Charlie spending all day with me would mean missing exchanging Valentines at school. Slight change in plans - Charlie went to school in the morning and was there for all the Valentines and Marc and I got to enjoy our favorite morning walk by the lake.

I picked Charlie up from school and we made quick work of baking cookies.

After nap, we decorated. I spread the frosting and Charlie did the sprinkles.

And then we got to eat them. Charlie savored his... and even gave a (chocolate) smile for the camera (I ate mine fast and have to say, Annie's sugar cookies are worth the price).

My next (and last - we ran out of time) holiday activity was a matching game. Construction paper, scissors and glue - Charlie chose the colors and I did the scissors and glue. He had fun with the colors and the "game" and I'm already thinking about more matching games to teach the memory skills. Probably good for both of us!

...and just like that, it was time to go. I felt a little guilty about the cookie so we spent a few minutes at the park in Katie's neighborhood. a little walk. a little swing. a little walk. and I'm pretty sure he was as tired as he ever is on a Tuesday.

I got home and found a Valentine in the mail from Honoré ... and now Marc is cooking something that smells delicious... maybe holidays are simply wasted on the young.

xo, M.

*in all fairness to Marc, he's been a wonderful Valentine for (yikes!) going on 40 years ... it was the younger kid days, and the kid parties and all.that.candy. ...and then all that pressure about the cards, and the roses, and the {everything else} .... that made me a Valentine's Day grinch.

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Monday, February 13, 2017


Well that was fun! and I even have a few photos to share some of that fun with y'all. The "weekend" started Thursday evening with bookclub (great napkins, great wine!) and an enjoyable discussion about A Man Called Ove. Friday morning was my last small group meeting about Daring Greatly (we have one more chapter to go, but I'll miss this week's meeting). The book has not only sparked some excellent discussion, but has opened our eyes to new ways of thinking about vulnerability, joy and being uncomfortable.

The highlight of Friday afternoon was seeing Charlie at his Valentine's Day party at school. The main activity was making hats (and lots of noise)!

Saturday morning started with a walk, then my usual FaceTime call with Diane (the next time we "see" each other will be in person!), Starbucks to knit with two friends and finally a walk with my favorite happy baby and his mama. A full day and so many wonderful connections (plus steps!)

Yesterday afternoon, Lauren and I met at the Y to help kick off their annual fundraiser. We made cards and decorated cookies ... and got to pose for a fun photo (upper left).

The weather was a most pleasant back drop to all of that activity. The cherry trees and daffodils are in full bloom. It was even warm enough yesterday afternoon for flipflops. Yep, February 12. I think that might be a record. It's 20 degrees colder today ... but still - Madison is going to be a big change come Thursday!

I hope you had some smiles and bright spots in your weekend, too! (and Happy Monday!)

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Thursdays with Sam | A Love Poem.

Today's Think Write Thursday prompt is to write a love letter. I'm not so great with words, so I borrowed some. I'm thinking Sam didn't mind*.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you 
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart 
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
~e.e. cummings
*A little while back, Katie & Charlie gifted me a beautiful interpretation of this poem - yes it's a book!
 ...and it's perfect everyone. Highly recommend!

If you want to sign up for the Think Write Thursday prompts, click here. And thank you Carole and Kat for another inspiring week!

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Watercolor Wednesday | Spring Colors.

We didn't see any blue skies on today's morning walk, but the colors near the ground more than made up for it.

I know many of y'all are seeing wet white and gray today ... figured you might like to see a bit of spring - even if it's just a picture (or three)!

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Tuesdays with Charlie | Choosing a Book by Its Cover.

I am happy to report that the library has become a regular part of our Tuesday morning routine. Thankfully there was a break in the rain and we got to walk a little (and count a lot of stairs*) after we parked the car. I had a book on hold, so we had to visit the grown-up floor first. The hold books come with two rubber bands and a slip of paper with ROG; I love that Charlie knows to take off the rubber bands and hand them to a librarian to recycle (next week we'll work on handing over that slip of paper too ;-) 

The book on hold was A Hat for Mrs. Goldman; I reserved it as soon as I saw Juliann's recommendation (we loved it).

But all the other books we read today, Charlie chose ... and, I've got to think, he chose them based on their covers. the color. the size. the illustrations on the cover. (or yikes, maybe just that he liked where they were positioned on the shelves?!?)

Our routine is that I let him wander the stacks and choose two books (today he got to do that three times). Then we read them, he returns them to the "Changed my Mind Cart" and we repeat. I was delighted when he returned one time with two Ezra Jack Keats' books I'd never heard of (The Snowy Day is a regular in our pre-nap story time rotation) but most of the other titles, well ... we came home with three of them.

He chose well. We have real photographs (and trucks!). delightful illustrations. good stories. even rhymes (which are so much fun to read). 

...and all of that made me think about the last book I chose based on its cover. I think I used to do it all the time. back when I used to wander the aisles at Barnes & Noble and bring home a pile of books.  but lately...not so much. I did choose (and love) Nobody's Fool last year because it had flowers on the cover (summer bingo!); but I really can't remember the last time I picked up a book to read just because of its cover. 

How about you? what was the last book you read because of its cover?

*as I typed that, I wonder how OCD it is that I always make a game of counting stairs with Charlie ... the stairs in my house are 6-9-3 and the ones at the library are "more than 20". 

p.s. yes, Charlie wore his hoodie for nap. and yes, he kept his hands in the pockets.

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Karen's Fiftieth.

We celebrated my sister (I guess we can still call her the baby of the family even now that she's 50?!) Saturday evening with a fun group of family and friends.

Karen and Lydia
And of course cocktails and party food. The highlight of the bar was champagne punch (I followed the recipe exactly, except I made an ice ring instead of cubes - highly recommend - easy and delicious!)

For the food, I went with a throwback theme - potato chips and onion dip, pigs in blankets, cocktail meatballs. you get the idea.

My mom couldn't attend the party, so she sent gifts. Karen had a great time opening them (a mix of funny, thoughtful and beautiful); it was perfect party entertainment!

Of course the cake was the main event. Completely inspired by Karen's 14th birthday cake (my mom baked that one) and a vintage copy of Bon Appetit (that's also where I found the meatball recipe - chili sauce and grape jelly ftw!)

Of the 50 or so photos that were on my phone from the party, easily half were of me, Karen and Steve, trying for a decent sibling photo. Hands down, these two were my favorite.

Clearly we don't know how to have fun together!

p.s. Congratulations to the Patriots and all their fans - it was a good game ... we just enjoyed the first half more than the second 😉

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