Thursday, June 30, 2011

Distractions

Because I am in need of some serious distractions (not really anything new to report, btw), I have become addicted to the website Pinterest in a very short amount of time. It's like having an online "design board" or "idea board." You can create categories & 'pin' different photos, ideas, books, projects, things you love, etc...It's so fun to look through the things that people have pinned (& you can "re-pin" them). I am so inspired to make several things RIGHT NOW which is not at all practical...but like I said a very good distraction.

If you're interested - check it out!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

48 Hours

So we've just passed the 48 hour mark after Carolyn's brain injury. Not much new to report. She is still in critical condition. They take her off the sedation every few hours or so to do some assessments & today 2 of the 3 tests have been very encouraging. She's able to follow commands (ie: wiggle your toes). These are very positive signs as it shows brain functionality, cognitive ability, etc.

I have to be some optimistic about this. I simply cannot imagine her NOT recovering. The logical side of me knows that that MAY happen, but right now I have to cling to hope.

(photo from Easter 2011)

I set up a CaringBridge site for her.

Please keep those prayers coming!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Carolyn

My Mother-in-Law Carolyn had a massive brain hemorrhage today. We don't know a lot yet, but it is "dire" in the words of the doctors. She had a lot of bleeding & a long surgery. She was still sedated & they want to keep her calm so that things can heal a bit. They're looking for "movement' right now - ie: pupils dialating, helping the ventilator with breaths, etc to determine what the extent of the damage is to her brain.

Obviously our family is heartbroken. She is a rock & pillar to many & this news is very devastating. All I can think about is Dahlia - she & Dahlia are very close & trying to explain all this to her breaks my heart even more.

Please keep her in your thoughts & prayers. I do believe that all of them & other assorted good vibes from the universe, warm fuzzies, positive energy - whatever - WORKS. I will update when I know more.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Midsummer Festival!


We had a wonderful weekend at the Mesaba Co-Op Park celebrating Juhannus or Midsummer. It's a place & a festival we'd never heard of before a few weeks ago when twice in the same day it was mentioned to us. Once to me by friends & once to Steve by our neighbor (who happens to be on the board & very involved). Turns out they all know each other quite well. Crazy.

I'll spare you the details about the park (you can read a bit more about it here) & just say that it's unique to say the least. A bit like summer camp for adults as GTR said (she was there with her family too - first time she'd be there!) There were activities for young & old; potlucks & meals served in the mess hall; great music for dancing; open stage, yoga, sustainability workshops, fairy house building & the most enormous bonfire I have ever seen. We brought food & we also ate at the mess hall (we weren't quite sure what to expect). How easy though to not REALLY have to prepare any food (or clean up at a campsite?). We pitched our tents near our friends & it was just really a lot of fun. The first night after setting up we sort of just hung out at the site & explored a bit. Steve took Dahlia swimming. We went to hear the music & August quite literally STOLE the show with his dancing moves. Everyone was so into him. He was, I will admit, ridiculously adorable. He really can dance! I got lots of extra steps that evening on my FitBit due to trying to keep up with him & Dahlia. After the band was done, one of the musicians came up to Steve & told him that watching him out there dancing was the pinnacle of his performing career & brought tears to his eyes! He remembers his own kids dancing like that & he was really overcome! Wow. The sleeping that night was abysmal. Terrible. Gah. The kids didn't go to bed all that well, & they certainly didn't sleep all that well. When I went in the tent around 10 or so (?) August had moved right to the door & was asleep on the floor. Dahlia was sideways on the air mattress. The sweet girl had brought his blanket to him & covered him up as he had crawled to the door. Very nice. But then I have to navigate those two. ugh. It was awful. I didn't sleep very well at all. And it was light by about 4am - the BIRDS were crazy loud. And we were relatively close to the Hibbing airport so all (early) morning there were planes & helicopters we could hear. What the heck? I almost considered driving home that day & picking Steve up the next day - but we hung in there (and it got much better).

The kids & I went off to make fairy houses. It was pretty fun. I could get into doing more of that. :) Dahlia also spent a lot of time with the other kids. There were 2 babysitters who watched the little ones. They had some activities planned & it gave the adults time to relax or do other things. In short - IT ROCKED. Dahlia loved it too. There were lots of little friends for her to play with.

I could not for the LIFE of me get August to take a nap. He was so crabby. We finally decided that since we needed ice anyway, we'd take a drive to see if he'd fall asleep. Well, they BOTH fell asleep - it was great. We drove up to Hibbing over to Chisholm & back to the park. Oh with a stop at McDonald's for some ice cream (Dahlia woke up).

That afternoon Steve took August on a little hike, Dahlia played with the kids & did the treasure hunt, & I had about 30 minutes to sit in the hammock. yay! Next up was the MayPole - which ROCKED. It was so cool. I'd never participated in one before & it was very very cool.

Supper was a traditional Finnish meal (which, eh...was not my favorite - however the lamb stew was great). More music & dancing followed that. We hung out at the campsite after that & put the kids to bed (SO MUCH BETTER than the night before). We skipped out on the 2nd part of the dance but did go down to see them pull a bonfire on a raft out to the lake (cool) & then the GIGANTIC bonfire. You could feel the heat from that a long ways away.

I went to bed after that. Sleep was about a hundred times better that night. Thank goodness.

Sunday we did more playing & packing up. It's always a bit sad when a weekend like that comes to an end but I was ready to go home too. Camping with 2 little ones is very difficult!


We managed to sneak in a quick paddle before hitting the road. The kids (& I) slept all the way home! Last night was early baths, early dinner & early bed night!

It was a weekend full of great weather, new friends & LOTS of bug bites. Ah well, summer in Minnesota.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Unplugged

Well, internet, it has finally arrived.

Our first camping foray as a family of four. I'm excited (but man I hate packing).

I will be out of the wired-world for a few days to return with many happy stories, lasting memories, new friends & oodles of photos.

Maybe a little sunshine on my cheeks & a few mosquito bites too.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

WIP's (Works in Progress)

Project: Sling Bag
Start Date: Fall 2009 (?)
Status: Incomplete

Using the awesome "Shrek" inspired yarn which I've had since I did a knitting swap back in the fall of 2006 (!), I decided to make this bag for myself. Something I've yet to do! And of course I have yet to finish! I need to finish knitting the strap (not pictured), felt bag & strap, line & make decorative flowers. Ha. At this rate I should be done by 2016.

Project: Boyfriend (Husband) Scarf
Start Date: November 2010
Intended Completion Date: Christmas 2010
Status: ALMOST completed
Whatever made me think I could start such a thick scarf on such small needles in November & be done in December. I guess I AM an optimist. I gave this to Steve for Christmas anyway - on needles - & have worked on it pretty much exclusively at Stitch & Bitch for the past 5 months. I finished a few weeks ago! Whohoo! But I still need to weave in the ends...by NEXT Christmas it will be done for sure....

Project: Vintage Baby Blanket
Start Date: January 2010
Intended Completion Date: Before August turned 1 (fail)
Status: 75% completed
Remember this one? I had such high hopes. This was really fun to knit. All the bright colors, the multiple block patterns which kept things interesting. It was an easy project to take along places because you could just work one color. This pattern taught me how to "read" a visual pattern. I wish it was done. All I have left to do is finish stitching the blocks together & crochet around the edge...except I don't know how to crochet so...there's that. Ah well. My goal now is by August Age 2. Wish me luck!

Anyone else dealing with a stack of WIP's?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Solstice 2011


Things sometimes don't turn out how you want them to. And sometimes that's okay. It's not the usual, just different. Our Solstice Celebration at least happened this year, so I think we came out on the 'win' side of things.

Carolyn came over to watch the kids - fed them, played, got them ready for bed, which in and of itself is cause for celebration. Grandpa Roger even came over for a little bit upon Dahlia's request.

Steve & I headed out for happy hour. We ended up going to the bar at the Radisson (Bowery Brothers, I think its called) because I simply HAD to have the Cauliflower Fritters. The last time we went there, they were OUT (!) and that was a huge disappointment. They did not let me down. Yum.
Then off to the theater where we 'checked in' using our FourSquare apps on our phones to each score a free popcorn. That coupled with the wine we sneaked in made for a cheap night of refreshments. (Shhhh, don't tell).
We saw MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, which I absolutely loved. I adore Owen Wilson & he did not disappoint. Such a fun film - makes me want to go to Europe, makes me want to catch up on my literature, reinforces my favorite time period of (theater) history which was 1920's Paris (the film deals more with writers, but it all ties together...they all hung out together). The Cole Porter music took me back to the summer of '93 when I did Stock in Ohio, the dialogue was funny, clever & the scenery was lovely. *sigh* I need to go to more movies. They make me so happy.

Afterward we strolled briefly on the Lakewalk. We were determined to make it to the lakeshore (sort of). It was cold, rainy & windy but we did it anyway, damnit! The waves were big, there were no people out, & we definitely didn't get to enjoy sunshine til 9pm. Oh well. Maybe next year.
I did thoroughly enjoy my date night with my husband. We were home by about 9:30 & devoured a frozen pizza we picked up on the way (because as much as I love them, the Cauliflower Fritters don't make too filling of a meal).

All in all, a different, but not bad, way to have a Solstice.


Okay, Mother Nature, now please TURN UP THE HEAT!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice!


Today is the Solstice...I believe at 5:16pm or something. Exactly.

But it's not very summery.

With highs only in the 40's & 50's (WHAT?) & rain & wind, it's pretty hard to be in the spirit of the season. On our longest day of the year when it *should* be light until 11pm (well, light-ish), we won't be able to enjoy it because it'll be cloudy & dark. Hmph.

AND we had a babysitter lined up for tonight - had her in place for probably over a month...but I sort of dropped the ball & didn't talk to her until last night & now she's not available. Argh.

Well, we're going to make the best of it. Steve & I are going out anyway! Carolyn's going to come down to watch the kids, we're going to have happy hour & then possibly go to a movie. I'd love to be hiking out West on the SHT, but it's just not going to happen this year. Ah well, next year?

Luckily we took a little family hike to the creek after supper last night.

Monday, June 20, 2011

On a roll...

Wisconsin themed postcards going out today.

Real posts...coming soon.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Project Postcard: #60


I'm still sending postcards and today have hit #60! Whohooo!

The latest batch includes beauties from Cutty's campground in Des Moines, IA; some lovely lady divers from Korea; Cypress Gardens from my visit there in 1979 (!) and a totally random Model A (I think?) that I believe lived for a short time on the set of Riley. We took it down because, what the heck?

Fear not...I am far from running out so if you haven't gotten one lately, it's likely that you will get one soon. IF I have your address, of course....

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

After SEVEN years...I've changed the look of my blog.

1. How can it be that I've been keeping up with a project for 7 YEARS? Yay for me! I'm kind of proud of myself.

2. How could it have taken me SEVEN YEARS!?

3. I've enlisted some help (you know who you are) but haven't gotten around to actually figuring anything out- hopefully soon (July 9?)...I'm just playing with templates right now that ACTUALLY work for the first time in months.

4. This is actually how I spend a Friday night. I'm still standing at the computer in the kitchen. I am officially lame.

5. I'm actually not sure more than 1 or 2 of you still actually READ the blog so if you do - leave me some comment love for crying out loud!

6. Good night (see item #4. Officially lame.)

Daily Dose of Dahlia & All About August

A few updates...finally...over here....


*email me if you want access & you don't have it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Homemade: Laundry Soap


My friend Lindsay posted this recipe for laundry soap a while back. It coincided perfectly with a scary presentation we had at ECFE about chemicals in all of our products & how toxic the environment is. So, I thought now is the time to break my addiction to TIDE (oh how I love thee!!). Plus its ridiculously cheap to make. And that fits into my budget right now.

Here's the recipe:

1 bar Fels-Naptha soap (found in the laundry soap section)
1 c. Arm & Hammer WASHING Soda (Not baking soda!! Also found in the cleaner/laundry section)
1/2 c. Borax (same section)
5 gallon bucket
Clean, empty laundry detergent container
Essential Oils (optional)

1.Grate the bar of soap and throw it in a saucepan with 4 c. water over med-high heat. Stir until all the soap is melted.
2. Fill the 5 gallon bucket half full with hot water.
3. Add the melted soap/water, washing soda and borax to the 5 gallon bucket.
4. Fill the bucket the rest of the way up with water. Give it a whirl, cover and let it sit overnight to thicken.

The next morning fill your empty laundry detergent container half full with the soap mixture. Fill it the rest of the way up with water. Add 10-15 drops of essential oil if you so desire.

And there you have it, homemade laundry detergent! 10 gallons worth once it's all said and done. Make sure to shake it before each use as it kind of gels up. In our HE machine we use ~ 1/4 c per load [which is to about line #2 in an old Tide cap).

I haven't put any essential oils in ours as I'm a pretty big fan of scent free EVERYTHING. But Steve likes a little scent on his laundry so I may make a bottle of scented to use when we want/desire.

This makes a TON of laundry soap. I mean, a lot. And we do a lot of laundry so this should keep us going for quite some time. My friend Sarah & I half-way figured out how many loads - 500-ish? Probably more. We got sick of doing math at some point & gave up.

Next up - homemade shower cleaner & dishwasher detergent!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Riley!


So I had a screening of my film last night - and it was fun! We had a couple of "sold out" shows - and by 'sold out' I mean that our RSVP list for each was full a couple of days before the event. We were taking donations so it wasn't like people were purchasing tickets, but it was good to get an idea of how many people would show. We have been VERY disappointed in the past.

I overbooked the theater so luckily we had a few cancellations yesterday - whew! I think everyone who wanted to get in to the 7:15 show did. No one was turned away. We were full for the early show & about 80% for the 2nd show - I'll take it!

It was FUN to watch the film with an audience. FRESH EYES. Eyes that are not related to me by blood or marriage. Eyes that were not simply pre-biased because of our friendships (although lots of those too!). One of my biggest fears going into last night was that people would be disappointed. We worked hard to make this a beautiful, lovely, film and when you put yourself out there, there's always a chance that you will be hurt. Luckily to this point those who did not like have kept their mouths shut. At least to me. And the general FaceBook world.

We've always called RILEY a "romantic comedy" but about 6 months ago Jason & I felt that the film was no longer funny. We'd stripped away so much in the edit that basically it was more romance + drama...with a little comedy. Well, I think we were wrong. I think we had just seen the film WAY TOO MANY TIMES to even remember because the audiences LAUGHED! And they laughed in the right places, and this put a big smile on my face.

The whole process of making RILEY was one of the toughest things I've ever done in my life. It was not all that pleasant. I felt bad...a lot. I felt frustrated, angry and helpless a lot. I felt useless. Spineless. I have learned...a lot. About myself. And so last night when I had an epiphany during the first screening - it was pretty darn cool. I'm NOT a bad director, I'm simply an inexperienced one. I'm not LAZY, I'm overbooked. My ideas are not ridiculous, in fact, they are often spot on. I need to be more confident. I need to stick to my guns. I COULD do this again. I WOULD have a different crew (not entirely...but definitely specifically).

Bubbling with excitement about this new thought (before this I pretty much considered my film career over), I had a really nice conversation with our insanely talented director of photography. I really like working with him. He knows all the technical stuff that I do not, he is mellow, he is nice, he takes really beautiful pictures, and he owns his own camera package. And I really like working with him. He likes working with me too...

You never know....

Friday, June 10, 2011

Survival



My Aunt Charlotte (my Dad's oldest sister) was in a pretty bad rollover car accident yesterday morning. She was driving back to California after a visit to MN for her Granddaughter's & nephew's (my first-cousin-once-removed & my cousin) graduation & to spend time wiht family. On the way home, near Sioux Falls, SD she fell asleep at the wheel, over-corrected & then rolled.

Very very lucky she survived.

She has numerous injuries, including- broken ankles, leg(s?), broken ribs, broken collar bone, dislocated shoulder, numerous lacerations, skin on one hand nearly gone....more, but I just don't know quite what.

It could be worse, there have been no signs of brain injury, but holy cow, this will take a while to recover from.

Please send your prayers her way. Thanks

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Sold Out!




Our 7:15pm screening is SOLD OUT - whohoo! And by "sold out" I mean the RSVP list is filled. That's not to say that many people who RSVP never turn up, but hopefully enough other people will come & fill those slots. It's a small theater, but who cares! People will see the film! Yeah!

Still spots available at 9:15...so if you want to come & take a sneak peek - let me know!

Monday, June 06, 2011

Weekend by Numbers

1 - Box of Cheerios dumped all over the floor

3 - Number of nieces/nephews turning 4 this weekend

300+ - miles driven to attend the fabulous Triplets' Birthday Party (& back)

1 - radio interview given

32 - Impatiens planted

2 - margaritas consumed

7 - skinned knees, toes, bumped heads

20,385 - steps taken (post about my awesome new pedometer coming soon!)

1 - very fun weekend

Saturday, June 04, 2011

...of Frogs & Princesses


My incredibly talented & creative sister pulled off a lovely "Princess & Frog" themed birthday party for the triplets today. They will be FOUR on Tuesday. What? How can this be...anyway, I digress...
Not only were there lavender frosted red velvet Princess cupcakes & bug eyed frog cupcakes, there was a platter filled with fantastic green fruits & another with green-only veggies (what a great idea!). There were cake pops (need to make these!) and "Frog's Eye" salad.

Green & Lavender balloons & decorations everywhere. The goodie bags were similarly fantastically themed (little frogs, crowns, wands, princess fruit snacks, etc). It was great!

Dahlia & August had a great time celebrating the birthday with their cousins! Now hopefully we can all get a good night's sleep!!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Curly Slide = Pure Joy

Cousins




Family




Bonfire Discussions (& more family)



First S'mores


Mr. Beautiful Blue Eyes


*Other words used to describe the weekend: playground, rocks, ticks, graduation, photographs, mosquitoes, rain & did I mention family?