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October 2011
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December 2011

November 2011

Riffing. Again.


  • It's just one of those weeks. . . when the best I can do is. . . riff.
  • Again.
  • I finished a great little knitting project over the long weekend. 
  • I was really excited to take pictures and share the details here on the blog and over at Ravelry.
  • But it was dark and gloomy all day yesterday.
  • Like. . . really dark.
  • And raining.
  • Until it started to crazy-snow later in the day.
  • You know, that really heavy, wet, slippery kind of snow that happens when the temperature hovers right there at the freezing point?
  • So it was too dark and yucky and wet to take any decent photos of my project.
  • Maybe today?
  • But I'm thinking not.
  • Anyway.  Great project.  And timely.  Given the weather.
  • I'm also not sleeping well.
  • I fall asleep just fine.
  • But then I wake up at about 4:00 am (which is Too Early). . . and can't seem to get back to sleep.
  • It's because of Busy Brain.
  • My brain just kicks in . . . running a constant stream of things I want to remember and things I need to do.
  • And, unfortunately, things I really have no business thinking about at 4:00 am.
  • Or 4:15 am.
  • Or 4:30 am.
  • Tick. Tock.
  • I wish I had a remote control for my brain. . . and could just shut it down sometimes.
  • It's a busy week.  Lots of appointments and meetings and deadlines.
  • And I'm still cleaning up and sorting through and recovering from . . . The Aftermath. . . of last week's festivities.
  • And planning ahead for the onslaught of holiday madness that is December.
  • Which begins tomorrow.
  • I think I'll sleep better once I get my Master Holiday To-Do List assembled. 
  • (That's in the hopper for today.)
  • Jenny had her annual vet check-up and shots yesterday.  She is doing well.  Our vet says she is at the perfect weight and fitness level.  I got gold stars!
  • I need to start brushing her teeth, though.
  • I purchased poultry-flavored dog toothpaste.
  • Our vet's name is Dr. Barkow.  How perfect is that for a vet?
  • While I was at the vet, I ran into my across-the-front-street (it's always a bit confusing when you live on a corner) neighbor, Amy.  She has two beautiful -- and active -- standard poodles.
  • Jenny loves to look out the front window and bark at the poodles.
  • She gets Very Excited when the dogs are out and we walk past their house.
  • To be fair, the poodles get Very Excited, too.
  • You can tell they all want to be friends.
  • So Amy and I have set up a "playdate" so the dogs can romp together in Amy's big, open yard.
  • I just set up a "playdate."
  • For my dog!
  • (Jenny is so excited.)

One Day More


It happened as soon as I opened Carole's Ten on Tuesday email yesterday morning.  The Songs!  The Dancing!  The Musical Soundtracks in my head!  Yes, this week we're talking musicals.  And me?  I love musicals!

My ten favorites?  Hmmm.  That may be tough. . . but here goes!  My Ten Favorite Musicals (limited to musicals I've actually seen on the stage):


1. Les Misérables.  I have seen Les Mis at least 7 times over the past 20 years (maybe 8, actually) . . . most recently, in London, with my sister.  (I included the clip above because it is the exact cast we saw in London.)  I adore Les Mis, but even after seeing the show that many times, I still have to bring Kleenex . . . because it always brings me to tears!


2. Wicked.  Well, I've seen Wicked as many times as I've seen Les Mis, actually.  (Saw this one in London, too.)  Just incredible.  I love Wicked!  So clever.  So fabulous!


3.  Urinetown: The Musical.  Yeah.  I know.  The title is . . . well . . . a bit of a problem.  But the show is great!  (As you can see in the clip, the show pokes fun of it's "bad title" frequently.)  Fun songs.  Lots of dancing.  Hilarious dialog.  Just a really fun show.  If you ever have the chance, go see it!  I probably never would have seen it myself, but Erin's high school did it when she was a junior (excellent drama program at her high school).  Here is a photo of Erin's cast performing Run, Freedom, Run.  (Erin is in the front row - far left.)




4.  Billy Elliot.  Another show my sister and I saw in London (and Chicago!).  This one is worth it for the dancing alone, in my opinion, but the show, altogether, is just incredibly powerful.  (Hard to remember, sometimes, that the "Billys" are only about 12.)  (Kleenex for this one, too.)


5. Chorus Line.  I think this is the first live musical I ever saw.  I wanted to be IN it.  So bad.


6.  Jesus Christ Superstar.  When I was in junior high, I listened to this one over and over and over.  I didn't have a chance to actually see it until I was an adult -- but I still loved it!


7.  Grease.  Just a lot of fun!


8.  Guys and Dolls.  One of my favorite "classic" musicals.


9.  Chicago.  So much better on stage. . . than the movie.


10.  White Christmas.  Natch!  Although, in this case, I actually like the movie version better than the show version.

Now I'm ready to go see a show!  How about you?  What's YOUR favorite musical?


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here!



Coming To

Today . . . I'm re-surfacing.  Coming to, so to speak, from a family-and-food induced four-day coma.  It's been fun.  It's been tasty.  It's even been fairly relaxing.  My full house** is empty again.  It's time to get back to my "normal" life.

Because I really can't deal with anything clever or creative today, I'll just share some scenes from our Thanksgiving weekend.











Hope you all had a lovely holiday!


** At one point during the weekend, when Tom had come home late after curling and I was explaining that there was another college student spending the night so he shouldn't be alarmed if he encountered her in the morning, he looked at me and laughed . . . and told me he felt like we were running a youth hostel!  It was a very full house.

True Colors

This month, Project Spectrum draws to a close (this round, anyway).  This will be my final Project Spectrum post, so let's send things out with some fanfare.  Hit it, Phil. . .


(Last time I posted about this project, I shared a video by Cyndi Lauper.  It is, after all, Cyndi's voice I hear when I think about True Colors.  But Phil has a nice version, too.  And so do those Glee kids.  See the end of this post, though, for the Ultimate True Colors video.)

When I first started out with Project Spectrum. . . way back in May. . . I wanted to explore the Project Spectrum colors in my landscape, through my camera lens, at my sewing machine, and . . . with an all-encompassing Project Spectrum Color Blast yarn-y project.  I was fairly successful in meeting those goals -- and I enjoyed thinking about color within the Project Spectrum context.














Yep.  All there.  True Colors!  (Ravelry details here.)

Project Spectrum, I bid you adieu!  But first, let's check this out:  The most beautiful version of True Colors I've ever seen!  Please click in. . . but you might want to grab a Kleenex first.


True Colors, indeed!

Thankful Thursday: The Heart of the Matter

It's Thanksgiving Day.  And today, I am thankful for . . . my heart!


I'm thinking about my heart today -- not only because I'm heading to a special Thanksgiving early-bird spin class at my gym (definitely good for my heart), or because I'll be eating my share of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie later (definitely not good for my heart).  But because my heart is a wonderful thing.

Not only does it function well . . . ticking, beating, pumping.

But it also serves as a symbol for my emotions . . . expanding, holding, loving.

I hope you all enjoy a heartfelt day today -- filled with things you love best. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

And I say that . . . from the bottom of my heart!

So Much


I am usually in awe of the bounty around me.  I have so much to be thankful for.  And while this is the case every day, I certainly think about it with more intention in November, the season of Thanksgiving.


This week, in celebration of Thanksgiving, here are Ten Things I'm Thankful For:

  1. A Firm Foundation -- My Mom and Dad raised my sister and I in a home filled with love, support, and encouragement.  This has served me well all my life, and I am so thankful.
  2. Finding the Love of My Life -- Tom and I have been married for thirty years.  Sharing the sentiment of Jerry Maguire, we "complete" each other.  I thank my lucky stars every day.
  3. Watching them Grow -- I loved my kids - fiercely - from the beginning, but I had no idea how wonderful it would be to watch them . . . unfold. . . into the adults they are becoming.  What a pleasure to see them become such warm, engaging, intelligent, and risk-taking (both of them!) adults. What gifts!
  4. Continuing the Story -- My sister and I were buddies as we grew up (well, most of the time; we did have our moments).  I love being able to stay close as we grow older - and from a distance, folding each other's husbands and children into our lives.  We have such fun, and I am so grateful for her continuing support and love.
  5. Wanna Play? -- I enjoy the company of my friends, and appreciate the extra dimension they add to my life.  I am grateful for my real-life friends and my virtual friends.  You are all wonderful.
  6. Tail-Wagging -- Oh, Jenny!  What would I do without her company?  I am so thankful for my trusty companion.  She makes every day a happy day.
  7. Living Well -- I am healthy.  I am fit.  I am cancer-free.  (I have hair.)  I will never take my health for granted, and I am grateful for every moment.
  8. Finding my Passions -- Through the years, I have nurtured activities that stimulate my creativity and fuel my soul.  Reading.  Knitting.  Gardening.  Travel.  Yoga.  Cooking.  These activities bring balance to my life and joy to my days, and I am so thankful.
  9. Four Seasons -- Although I do my share of complaining about the weather, I really am grateful to live in a place where the seasons parade past my window.  I enjoy elements of each season.  (I really do.)  And I'm happy to be planted right here. . . just where I am.
  10. Having Enough -- Basically, I'm thankful that I have enough. . . of what I need. . . to do the things I want to do.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here!

Neutral. . . With a POP

I don't have a "favorite color."  I don't think I really ever have.  True, I went through a "purple phase" when I was a pre-adolescent (doesn't everyone?).  And I used to think I liked red more than any other color (but only certain shades).  But really, I tend to favor . . . neutrals. . . with a POP of almost any other color.

This really becomes evident when you spend some time with me.  My house?


Neutral.  With a POP of color.


My closet?


Overwhelminingly neutral.  With a few POPS here and there.

My decorating?


Neutral.  POPS.

My workout clothes?


You guessed it!

Even my dog. . .


Neutral with a POP.

Maybe that's why I tend to knit in the POP colors?


Maybe I like a neutral background so much. . . because then I can play with ALL the other colors.  And never have to choose a favorite!


And in Project Spectrum Sewing Project News for the month of December, I show you this:


The humble - yet neutral - polar fleece fringed blanket!

Over the years, I have made many, many (many) polar fleece fringed blankets.  I have made them in the team colors of every hockey team Brian has played on.  I have made them as gifts for friends and family.  I have made them to comfort friends who were sick or injured.  I have made them for babies.  I have even made one for Jenny. 

This one is for Erin's boyfriend.  He is a neutral-loving kind of guy, and this will be a perfect Christmas gift for him.  (He doesn't read my blog, so I'm safe in showing it here.)  Although Erin has several of my polar fleece fringed blankets, they were all made for a much younger version of Erin.  A version that liked, for example, blankets with bright yellow rubber duckies.  Or puppies-on-a-day-glo-pink background.  Erin says she giggles whenever she sees her boyfriend wrapped up in the ducks.  It's high time he had one of his own --  in a pattern and color that suits his style!

Hope he likes it!



Thankful Thursday: A Piece of My Mind

"A mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions."  ---Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

This week, with Tom away, I've been camped out every evening in the "library" -- my favorite room in our house -- passing the time the way I like best when I'm On My Own:  reading, knitting, sipping wine (or coffee or a cup of tea) . . . and contemplating.


It is a great place to sit and reflect on how thankful I am . . . for my mind!


I'm no genius, that's for certain.  But I am a thinker.  A daydreamer.  A work-it-out-in-your-head kind of gal.  And I thank my mind - my brain - for that!

I'm thankful for being able to read and analyze and put two-and-two together.  I'm thankful for a good education.


I'm thankful for a mind that stretches and imagines and plans.  My mind wanders . . . usually forward. . . and I love planning and scheming and figuring out What Next.


It's pretty amazing when you stop and think about what your brain is really capable of.  Complex analysis of myriad problems and issues.  Deciding what's for dinner.  Remembering phone numbers.  Keeping things straight.  Imagining a new design.  Sorting new ideas.  Calculating measurements.  Deciphering knitting patterns.


I'm grateful for ways to stretch my mind and keep it nimble.  Challenging books.  New dance steps.  Puzzles.  Exposing myself to new ideas and concepts.  Trying new things.


I'm thankful for continuous education.  I'm a strong believer in lifelong learning; reaching out for new opportunities and new challenges.


And I'm thankful for my memory.  I try not to get bogged down in the the past -- but it is certainly wonderful to be able to recall past events and moments and feelings. 


I'm so thankful for my mind --- my own little private space --- where I can plan and imagine and learn and remember!