Some failures, or um Challenges

*Hope your Fourth was a bit of fun despite COVID. Honestly , I felt lonely. I’m over it. There’s a time to feel lonely. I thought of how we always watched the city fireworks from my parents’ driveway. It was the best viewing spot, complete with air conditioning just inside the door and bathrooms with no lines, and cookies galore that my mom had on hand. I thought of my Nana and how, oh dear I asked her to babysit Zach once.

These memories came over me and washed me in their with light and laughter. I had no business asking 90 plus year old Nana to babysit Zach so we could take Al to the fireworks.

Nana had been gently removed from her jobs , where in our neighborhood, she was a babysitting icon. Everyone wanted “Molly” to sit their kids for the weekend if they went away . Everyone wanted MOLLY in her family as well.

She wore 2 inch heels always and it drove my mom nuts, with worry that she would fall. So my parents were in The NOrthwoods of WIsconsin one fourth and Zach was an infant. We had these oh so not to code, stairways in that 100 year old house.

Nana was THRILLED to sit Zach. I told her explicitly , do not go upstairs to him for any reason. Do not go upstairs.

In her darling brogue she said,

“Well, now, I’m not much of a baby sitter if I can’t tend to the baby. ” She called him Zakra. She had not known the name Zachary. MY kids adored her. All kids adored her. She was funny and teased them and always had a dollar for them.

Fortunately after I fed him and got him to bed he slept through it all. Or so Nana said.

So there was that memory of me being a complete waste of a mother. I mean what if there was a fire? WHat if Nana fell.?

HOw on Earth did I get here?


This photo is for Betsy. I was in a store very briefly with my mask on, the other day .

I ‘m thrilled Betsy gets to keep her antique kitchen stove.

In Big knit news here , Karen my pal from Illinois , and I are starting a KAL. Just the two of us. We both are knitting the Conversation Shawl In gradient yarns. We are not using the same yarn base, but hers is gorgeous and I’m liking mine.

Shhhhhhh, Silent Night now on this, as my other Irish friend would say to keep a secret. Don’t tell Karen that despite the fact that we literally talked person to person on real telephone lines, I think I”m doing it wrong. I don’t care . She’d have me rip it out. But the yarn, although sport weight is prone to tearing. Karen went over the instructions patiently.

THe reason I’m such a clod , is that the instructions were for a beaded shawl and we aren’t beading ours. So that was enough to confuse me. Seriously.

Did you see the Super Moon last night? I had a whole 2 minute podcast around it but am having trouble loading it. Suffice to say it was worth the trouble of FIreman and I driving the country roads to get a spectacualr view of it rising.

More later. I have a camper signed up to paddlebaord and he’s getting impatient .

I’m calling the Biden Campaign local office today to ask for signage.

American Things on 7/4/2020

These holly hock next to a very old farm building, remind me of long ago gardens.

I hope this odd Fourth of July for the United States of America in 2020 will stand in history as the dark time that it is. I’m going to take a lot of photos for our family story’s sake. Zach is safe in Mexico . Al is safe with WIll.

Yesterday, was a stressful day. First, let me say, that I was in a terrible mood, and Karen mentioned she bought new yarn for our two person KAL. I drove 40 minutes out to my old favorite store: Needles N pins, and it put me in the happiest place I’ve been to all week. Karen and I are knitting the Dangling Conversation Shawl together. This means she’s way ahead of me. This means, thanks Karen, because the very few instructions for this very simple shawl had me confused at the get go. Karen in a short , really short, true phone call, which we almost never have, got me going and I’m going to knit on this today. A lot.

Here she is . The first echinacea to seriously bloom ! Regina I cannot be more thankful to you. I’m so happy about them.

Regina Mary in the comments, I wanted to answer your question about the toes of my socks when I do a 3 needle bind off instead of a weave of Kitchener: I dont feel the line in my toes, but those with supersensitive toes may!!!

And , I am so sorry for all the ads showing up here lately, but I do not want to pay for the free blog use. So sorry. !!!

Settle in my friends, if you want a long story. I have one for you. Well two , actually.

(does this blogger ever write a short post? you say. I better get a cold glass of something and read this later. Who has time for this Kathy B , on a major Holiday? Well, I do. I think we are having the All American Dinner of Peanut Butter and Jelly for dinner. I . Kid. You. Not. with Diet Coke)

So, yesterday as planned since Winter, we had some very broken windows replaced to the staggering tune of I could have started my own yarn shop with that money. Oh, and we did get their SALE price! Gheesh windows are expensive.
So picture me, Kathy b, pulling myself off my bed at 7 a.m. to get the house ready.

I covered all the furniture with sheets. I moved any thing and everything to the part of the house where we close a door and will not have any contact with the window guys. I don’t know what you call these workmen. The company,said they would cover everything and mask and glove. I put a note on the bathroom and it said, Please use this bathroom only.




I ran around the house covering most things and moving at least a couple hundred doo dads, to the library room already mentioned . Fireman shook his head and said, ‘They are going to cover everything, it said so in the email”

Well Covid be damned they arrived 3 hours late and covered exactly nothing. “We dont cover things” the boss of the two said. Enter Kathy b, face mask on, finishing covering every damn thing they could touch or cough on. Now, windows were open because it was 90 plus degrees out and because they took out windows. So, aside, lots of flies got killed last night in the house.

“Would you please wear a mask when you are in our house?” we asked.
“I dont’ have a mask, ” foreman says flatly and with a dare of a look in his eye.

“Oh I have extra, I say. Here you go, we’d appreciate it” So they complied in the house.

At the end of their very very long hot workday on 7/3, the foreman had his mask on but not covering his nose as he brought the final bill in to be signed. I said, “You have to cover your nose, too, or it wont’ help”
He says, “oh”

Consider that during the long day , I supplied them outside, with gatorade, ice water, good club crackers, and told them to use the hose if they were getting over heated. The young non foreman was so grateful. THe Foreman just worked and smoked cigarettes.

So I say , masked, to the foreman who may as well have rolled his eyes at me like a teenage, ‘Sorry but I’m an old ICU nurse”.

Suddenly, his attitude changed. He said, “Oh……………..with a hint of respect, and “How bad are things?”

I never said I was still working. He assumed it. So I said, “Things are bad. They are very bad. They are going to get worse. “

“well Where? where is it bad in Wisconsin? ” he asked, (tHe lightbulb above his head is now on)

“Well, here in Walworth county numbers are bad. And they will be worse in ten days. and In Waupaca . We went through this once, and then people thought they were not in jeopardy, so now we, Nurses, doctors ,therapists, we all have to go through this again.”

His eyebrows raise above his mask,
“Can I keep this mask?” he asks.


yeah. One.

“SUre, ” I said, “If you really will use it , im happy to give you one. Wash it out nightly and it will dry quickly.”

“OK. Thanks. IM going to keep it in my truck”

(Well lets just hope not! Lets hope he is going to wear it outside his truck, which is what I think and hope he meant. )

They both got a nice tip for working in very very hot conditions.

So I’ll save the second story about the window day, tomorrow. SUffice to say we slept like rocks last night and the new windows are open and the breeze is amazing.

Happy Fourth Of July Covid -19 2020. Let’s never forget this one. And if you pets are traumatized by fireworks, you know, I’m sorry. Mine are not, thank God!

July 3rd, 2020 First Echinacea

First off , if you are sick to death of people showing off their plantings, you might want to click past here today. But, itis finally getting exciting in my 7 little gardens.

Top photo is the deer, who Fireman says is a boy deer. I asked the deer and his preferred pronoun is he/his. I’m learning all about the gender spectrum and the appropriate ways to respect one’s preferred pronoun. I personally know, at least 4 friends that are non binary.

What a difference a year makes. Zach and Bo are a team. She fetches toys to him. She adores him. He’s pretty much in love with her.

Also, I no longer have my lap top, so forgive a few errors as I transition to the Kindle Fire.

Hotter than the Fourth OF July

On a lawn, with a mansion lives the crocheted hammock. I wish someone would fix that broken part . This is art to me; I’ve never seen one like it .

Blast from the past. Fireman trying to water ski, at least 20 years ago. I believe it was one of the few times we went to Lake Geneva. Our Uncle had a boat and his son whipped us around the lake. I remember a facefull of sunamie like waves because I Forgot to drop the rope when I fell. Speed has never been a thrill for me! Thank you paddle board.

Just look at the piano part that I set outside! THe mason bees are building their baby nests in it . It is part of my healthy garden, woods, pollinators plan. I’ve never had this much success. Hooray Recycles

Just so you know, I’m moving everything to my kindle. My Mac broke. I am reading you! I am trying to leave you comments . I’m a bit behind. ALso I use their microphone feature so some comments will seem choppy for a bit , but I’m not buying another laptop.

The election for our Next President is just 4 months away. I’m getting Involved with Joe Biden’s campaign , in small ways. Also,

My absentee ballot for our August election is here ! Have you asked for your ballot or will you go in to vote? I know I dont’ have to tell this wonderful patriotic group, to vote , vote , vote. We all feel pretty passionately about the state of the States right now.

Socks Socks Socks

Dear Summer Sock of 2020,

Thank you for helping me to quiet my heart and let my mind make a sock. I haven’t knitted a sock in a year or more. I did a little pattern at the beginning of the leg for variety. Thank you sock. I will show my blog pals the little patttern when I block both socks. Why of course, I am casting on your partner today.

I did want to show my friends, that I don’t kitchener the toes, but use a turned inside out sock 3 needle bind off. So they can see how nicely it turns out. In case, they, like me, just aren’t willing to learn Kitchener despite rhymes and the infinate patience of so many friends who have tried.

Stats: 64 stitches on 5 needles for cuff and body. Yarn: Araucania, Huasco.

Extra fine handpainted Peruvian wool. I used size one needles.

Todays camper activities are : cycling. On a shady trail on a very hot day.

Lots of Ground to Cover and Lots of Ground Cover

Number 1: My green as can be sock is nearing the toe finish! I find the toes go very fast, as I’m sure you do too, because you do double decreases every other row. I don’t believe in Kitchener. So I leave more stitches to put together because my feet are small but wide. I turn my socks inside out and do a 3 needle secure bind off.

Number 2: I’m making clover salad tonight. Thanks to all of you who are telling me it is safe to eat and sweet. Given that our Romaine and lettuce choices at the grocery seem to be contaminted perhaps I shall sell my clover ? I could try. That would be so fun. See how isolation can change your definition of fun?

Number 3: The other day in my experimental podcast vloggy thing, I was going to show you my finished purse. So Fireman helped me. I bought snaps on line He pounded them in and I have a top snap you can see as silver, and a bottom snap coverecd with a cute wooden button.

I made up the pattern. I hoped the Peruvian yarn would felt and it did. I LOVE THIS PURSE. I may try to write a pattern for it.

Number 4: I have a group on Ravelry started March 13th to help; us get through COVID. Now folks are saying Ravelry violated some standard with their new look and they may go under. Please please NO!!! I love Ravelry. It has been the mecca for so many of us.

Have you heard this?

5. We finally got storms yesterday. We got an inch and a half of rain per our rain guage. I think some willl pop today. It is soupy as stink, but I love this in summer. The cycle of humid hot, then storms, cool off and great sleep. Get up. Repeat. It is my reward for long ugly March and November. And April sometimes….

6. Camp activity is offering Spanish for beginners Instruction. So far Fireman is doing awesome but cannot understand why he doesn’t know how to speak after 3 lessons….Thanks to Zach for the distant teaching . I love just listening to you both talk. I’m proud of both of them.

7. I mentioned that sometimes I make something and it ends up something else, so I felt it. Here is that envelope pillow I ended up loving and had no idea it would become a pillow. This is not completely random, dear blog readers. I was talking felting with the purse photos earlier. I’m just a little scattered.

8. The turkey couple visited a few days ago. The scratch backwards and then eat. I hope they keep coming back. Fireman alerted me to ugly shiny green beetles on my clematis. I hurried out with my soapy water concoction and tried to smother the destructive insects. I read that birds will eat them. So I am scaling back just a tad on the birdseed offerings. Maybe they need some hunger to get them to eat those ugly insects. If I am offereing them high quality seed, well, then they aren’t going to take to task and rid the beetles for me right?

9. It seems this has been a year for my stars to align where I am pouring energy into getting my money back on purchases and insurance issues. I won’t bore you with much, but let us just say that my handwritten letter to the Board of Directors of UPS has gotten NO response in 2 weeks. UPS agents on the phone are trained , I know believe, to say let me put you on a brief hold, ten times, and then you give up . THey come back and say we cannot help you. SOrry.

I had to fight for 5 months to get my ER deductible back from the Barn’s insurance after a certain horse plowed me down in February. I got it.

I dont’ really want to mention Kohl’s either because they were a real sh_t show about taking an item back. I cant even explain why we ordered something from them, and it came to our address in a Target box, with a reciept inside saying it was purchased by someone in Alabama.

Marshall Fields …….I dream of you. GIve the lady what she wants. Oh and speaking of dreams!!! Deb and I had a visit in her dream the other night! WHat! Im overjoyed. I m going to try to dream my way into her house tonight.

Oh wait, Petco did something really right. And Walgreens did too. So some companies get an A plus from me.

10. If you hung in this long, you are an amazing blog pal. I ‘ll edit this later. I got up and vacuumed and washed the wood floors and some screens before a friend of Fireman’s was due to arrive. You know my rule: Never ever clean unless someone sees you working that hard. So, I’m sorry my post is an lunch time one today. Stay well.

The Rest of the Story

Thanks everyone for going along on my learning curve. For those of you who didn’t see it, I posted a podcast video on Sunday. (see below) . It took a long time to get it to upload . When it did upload, it only revealed the first 3 minutes of the content. I had about a 10 minute post , all told. So here’ the part that didnt get shown:
(Caution: I really enjoy the first 3 minutes with you on video, so there will be more to come, but the frustration on my part remains a bit high. So today I’m giving you text)

Also , I will post photos to this lil blog post today, But not this minute. Long story. No need to bore you.

The rest of the podcast, was me showing you my shawl unblocked. I think I am going to add some boho type fringe to it . But, I’m not sure. Chicken Coop Yarns sent me some Eucalan no rinse wash, with my order. So I’ll be blocking it using their lavendar scented wash. Thank you Carol.

I also showed you my sock progress. Wheeee. I’m practically at sock number one’s toes decrease starting point. Socks are hypnotically soothing to me.

The most interesting knit part of the live podcast cut short, sort of, was how I was showing you the snaps that fireman put on my felted purse. I ordered a snap kit for less than ten bucks on Amazon and he used a hammer and this tool and VOILA! I now have two very secure snaps on my purse and it is oh so wonderful.

Between that felted purse, and my felted pillow of last winter, I just get lucky . That felted pillow was the result of a failed attempt at something else and I just envelope folded it up and stuffed it. The felted purse was a pattern I made up. I could try later to copy my notes and make it into a Ravelry pattern. It is just so cute!!

Okay, I’m off to read your blogs. I love your blogs. The weekend was very busy with taking Fireman paddleboarding at 8 am yesterday. We needed to get on the water before the boats got too numerous. We paddled 2 hours. Evenings have been amazing on the porch. FIreman did not watch any TV the past two nights!

I listened to Dolly Parton’s AMerica podcast and it is as good as you said it would be. I have quite a few episodes to finish it.

Again with the clover. ………I was shocked that you all ate it . Why didn’t someone tell me?

Lots of Chit Chat

I was sharing my thoughts on Honore’s blog, Morning Glory Studio, about clouds.

I see faces in clouds because I look for them. Here I see a little schnauzer dog face. You can see his body too. Missy was our miniature schnauzer and I just saw a toy schnauzer on a lake front walk the other day. I asked Fireman, to just stop a second So I could take a shot of this darling dog, but he was not stopping. She was super white in color and I’d guess 8 pounds. See? The Blog gods wanted to show you that cute pup, so they sent me this one for you.

The Cubs flag is officially up. I could feel my mood improve exponentially as I heard the news that we would have baseball after all, this year. I am seriously addicted to my Cubs and Baseball. The little rocked area is my new flower greet garden . It is all from Regina, of course. Echinacea, columbine, and a hosta the rode along with one of her tall grass gifts. It gets very dry very fast there, so I carry water in the truck bed out to the driveway there and water it. We have had so very little rain. I have been watering and watering and watering. Maybe todays storms will bring some good soaking rains.

I went outside first thing and prepped my gift garden for the supposed 70 mile per hour wind gusts and storms predicted today. I huddled them all together. Then, I spent another half an hour covering up and protecting my cosmos, my echinacea, and anything else that might get damaged.

The echinacea is just about to bloom. It is so tall. It has blossoms all over. I have babied and coddled the clover, the echinacea and the cosmos for weeks. I cannot let a good storm, trash them and break them down. Now, a day or so away from flowers and color, we are expecting damaging winds and storms. I love a good storm, but I had to protect my plantings too.

Yesterday I learned a lot about tomato plant gardening. Go ahead and skip, if you don’t want to hear this garden section. Teresa had posted her lush and glorious gardens. Whenever I need a boost, I go to her blog and just stare at her flowers . It is like she’s running the most charming bed and breakfast, but no one can go there. Anyhow, she was discussing her tomato plants being tall and sturdy and full of lush growth, but no blossoms.

This led to check what I thought I knew about pinching back tomato plant suckers. I didn’t want to misinform Teresa. I found a plethora of information about them. I think Teresa ‘s going to post about it today. I do cut the suckers off my tomato plants and I found out they are indeterminate

plantings which means they will not bear all their fruit at once. I should have planned better. I wanted to bring the food pantry big amounts of tomatoes at once. OH well lets not count our chickens, er tomatoes, before the form.

So, this is the part where I say I was wrong and Fireman was right. I really think when you have cats and especially a multi cat household, vertical space is very critical to them. I had him build a special shelf on the screened porch for them. He all but rolled his pretty brown eyes at me. It was up for a month, and not one cat took any interest in it at all.

But, Fezzik likes the perch above my desks cabinets. He settled there for a long long afternoon nap yesterday. He also jumps high on our library room shelves and stretches out to sleep. The shelf I made Fireman make, is down. And Miss Bo ‘s face is getting darker. I love the contrast. Her sheep mark is still there. She is a talker! She also loves to fetch.

The orioles are still coming to the jelly. I think we may keep them all summer this year. They have never stayed this long.

QuietWaterCraft left me a question yesterday about my green sock yarn.. It is so nice to work with it. It is Araucatania Huasco, a merino wool from Peru. I’m well into the gusset decreases.

I’m fighting with customer service at a certain department store. I’ve edited this post because Kohls Finally came through. It took many (over 7 phone calls) over a week , but I was not going to give in. And while I wrote this post early today, at 2 pm I can say, I have my money back. YES.

Have you won any battles lately?