Wrapped Ribs

September 3, 2014

My tribute to ribs continues.

I am now working on a wrapped rib scarf.  It is a simple 2×2 rib with the K2 stitches wrapped every sixth row. It has an orderly look to it and I like the rhythm of slipping the stitches back and forth as I wrap.



There is a reason for my tribute to ribs. I am in the middle of my recovery from dislocated ribs. I did not fall. It was something that happened to me. My ribs were wrapped to hold them still until the crunching sound and the movement stops. I decided the best way to cope was to just go with the rib theme until I feel better.

My ribs are knitting while I knit ribs.

Broken Ribs

August 30, 2014

No . . . my ribs are not broken.

I am knitting a scarf in the broken rib stitch. It is an easy two-row pattern and I wanted to see what it looked like in two colors.

Here’s the right side.


Here’s the wrong side.


I like both sides!

“. . . a piously cherished link . . . “

August 28, 2014

I have been busy – am still busy – with sorting data and photos from a recently found stash of family records and family heirlooms.

Among the items were obituaries of long-gone ancestors from both sides of my family.  I have been enjoying taking the quiet time to sort through things, transcribe handwriting, translate German letters from my great-grandfather to my grandmother, identifying family members from several generations ago and scanning it all to share with my siblings and long-lost cousins (no longer long-lost).

If you have been through the process and loved it you already know how endearing such items can be – maybe not for the items themselves, but for the family history they represent.

If you haven’t been through the process, Nobel Laureate Thomas Mann said it perfectly in his book “The Magic Mountain.”  A young Hans Castorp was listening to his grandfather name all the predecessors who had used the family christening basin. At the naming of the  great-great-great-great relatives, at first he thought

” . . . what a hollow sound it had, how it spoke of the falling away of time, yet how it seemed the expression of a piously cherished link between the present, his own life, and the depth of the past.”

That’s where I am positioned for the moment – at that piously cherished link. I remember some stories my grandmother told me and now I can put faces to most of the names.

Turns out, I have more very old dishes to wash, some more long-gone relatives to identify in photos, and a set of twins no one in the last three generations knew about to add to a particular branch to the family tree. Right now I am enjoying the look back.

It’s fun! When I share details of what has been revealed in records, I become a storyteller. The stories are important to share. When I speak of individual family members to Goodnight, she will interrupt by adding how they are related to her, where they lived or whose grandparents they were. Thus, she has embraced the ‘piously cherished link” as well.

Hinge Binge

August 21, 2014

I didn’t plan it the way it worked out. It sort of planned itself. I replaced a lot of hinges in the last week.

It really started with the bi-fold closet doors. The doors in question get used often every day, so that is a lot of wear and tear. I must admit with three hinges per door, if the middle hinge goes, it is not a high priority to fix immediately because the top and bottom ones still allow the door to function.

But . . . the timing was perfect to get at that kind of task while I am still in that closing window of time off before fall term classes begin. I went to the home improvement store and bought a few packs of the bi-fold door hinges and got them installed.



Then, a thought occurred to me. The patio gate hinges needed fixing, too. I noticed the problem last winter when I was tossing snow from the patio over the fence. I seldom go out that gate and the hinges are on the outside, so not seen unless I peek over the fence, or . . .  unless the meter reader leaves the gate open after checking the meter. I went back to the home improvement store for what I needed to fix the gate.



This one was fun for me because it involved at least the discussion of a new tool. In the end, I didn’t need it.

While I was working on the patio gate on the work bench in my garage, I noticed that a few garage door hinges needed some attention. Back to the store, different department, different hinges.


Then, after Goodnight’s paint job on the cafe doors, it was time to get new hinges for the bottoms of each door so they could be hung. I didn’t have to go back to the store for the hinges. I picked those up when I bought the paint.



It’s a little town home, but there are certainly enough hinges if one wants to count them all. I didn’t get all the work done in one day. My hinge binge took me four days.

Late Bloomers

August 19, 2014

I just got some flowers that I will be able to enjoy all winter. What can I say? It was the featured item of the week. I know flowers like this have been out for a while, but I had not seen these particular blossoms.


The dancing flowers are not everyone’s cup of tea. The clickety-clack as they dance would bother some folks, but right now, it sounds like I am in a clock shop. I like it. It adds movement and sound to the house. I am sure I will welcome the dancing even more when the snow flies around here.

They move differently. The white one moves at the head and shirt. The orange one moves at the head and arms and the yellow one moves at the shirt and pants. It makes me smile and I like how they are meant to be connected.

Because I Can . . .

August 19, 2014

Update: Oh good heavens! Where do my actual words go sometimes? The first two sentences of my original post below have words missing. It should have read: “This is not a boast post. This is a reminder . . . “


This boast post. This reminder to myself to keep my heart open for ways to make a difference, no matter how small.  

I took myself out for coffee very early this morning . . . because I can. I am in that precious short time between summer and fall terms at work and I don’t sleep in.

Now taking myself out for coffee sounds more formal that it was. I went to a grocery store that wakes up as early as I do and the coffee is ready when I get there. Besides that, I can walk back to the bakery area and ask for one of my favorite baked items.

On my way to the bakery area, I wanted to pick up a few items for a concoction I have decided to make as a healthy snack to take to work or for Goodnight to take to school. The items I needed were several kinds of seeds.

Upon arriving at the bakery, I had what I needed in the cart and the baker who waited on me noticed a bag in my cart and asked me what kind of seeds I had. I told her, then showed her the bag. It was obvious that what was in that bag was not what she had hoped to see.

She wanted chia seeds. She told me she had just seen something on television about them helping to reduce inflammation. She has terrible arthritis pain. The chia seeds are high in Omega-3. I asked her if the store sold chia seeds.  she didn’t know. She had only seen the tv information yesterday and hadn’t had time to looked in the store yet.

I took care of that for her. I left the bakery, went to ask someone if there were bulk chia seeds in the store and there were. I bought some, went to the cashier and paid for the items in my cart.

Then . . . I went back to the bakery and asked the woman who had waited on me to grab a plastic bag so I could share the chia seeds with her. There were plenty in the bag I purchased and so right then and there, I opened the package and dumped half the seeds into her bag.

Gram: I shop here often enough that I will be back to check and see how these work for your arthritis pain and swelling. The chia seeds were in aisle five.

Baker: Are you sure, hon?

Gram: I am. Look how much was in the bag! And they were kind of expensive, so let’s share.

Baker: What’s your name?

That was my sign that I had done something good for her! I hope it works for what ails her.

Stepping out, reaching out does not have to be grand. That kind of sharing is harder to come by with any frequency. Smaller gestures can make a difference and we can make them more often.

So this is my reminder to just keep my heart open to those moments and then do what I can. There’s a lot of that out there in the world and sometimes I liked to just be the spectator of such giving and receiving without getting in the way.

It makes life so interesting . . . at 6:15 a.m.

To Cave or Not to Cave

August 18, 2014

It was never on my Bucket List. Oh heck, I don’t even have an official written list, but if I had prepared one, spelunking, or caving would not have been on it . . . at all. Bats would have been the biggest reason, but then the darkness and the notion of going underground sooner than necessary did not appeal to me either.

But then came the following exclamation that happened when we passed a sign while on our recent road trip:

GN: Gram! The cave! You know how many times I heard my friends talk about it when I was in elementary school? They said it was so cool they went more than once.

Even though I have had Goodnight living with me since before she started Kindergarten, she never told me about the “cool cave” she had heard about.

The timing was right, I suppose. Summer break is winding down for her and she’ll be back to school before long, So we headed off to Crystal Cave in Spring Valley, Wisconsin.


Before we left the house, I asked GN to be the photojournalist for the day and she obliged, so the photos in this post are courtesy of my granddaughter. Thanks honey!

Crystal Cave is a limestone cave and it was discovered in 1881. It is Wisconsin’s longest cave. The tour takes visitors down seven stories below ground level with stops on two levels before reaching 70 feet below the surface. A series of wooden steps and ramps make the descent comfortable. There is an underground lighting system and an intercom system for safety. The lights are turned on and off as a tour group passes through an area.



There are crystals in Crystal Cave, but until they are lit, one would not know where to spot them.


There are stalactites and stalagmites to be seen. For the most part, they are the Soda Straw type. They are very thin and generally very small. The growth rate is about one inch per one hundred years. Rainfall on the surface of the earth takes three weeks to percolate through to the lowest level of the cave.


The cave hosts bats, of course, but this time of year, there don’t tend to be too many in there. They sleep outside. We did spot a few, though, and they did fly around.

There are fluorescent minerals and phosphorescent minerals in the cave. There was an area set up to demonstrate the difference between the two. The photo below shows the rocks used in the demonstration.



Following the tour, we stopped in the gift shop to see what was there. I think Goodnight may have found the most expensive item on display. It did not come home with us, but she did hold it in her hand for the photo shoot.


I didn’t think I would enjoy the tour, but I really did. It was interesting, the guide was very good, the bats were not an issue, and my concern about managing the descent and ascent were alleviated with the ramps and lighting. We stopped along the way for the guide to describe where we were and what we were looking at.

Such an interesting place and so close to home! Goodnight liked it, too.

Are They Headed Toward Home?

August 17, 2014

Goodnight and I still like to keep track of the license plates we see any time we get out of town. Goodnight keeps the list while I drive.

When she was younger, I used it as a geography lesson. The question I asked her was always if a particular car was headed in the direction of home, based on the license plate. I could tell how GN was doing with her geography based on her answer.

The list below represents the different plates we saw in just four hours on the road. We don’t keep track of how many of each state we see. We just list the states and provinces we see represented.  

Lots of folks on the road and not all were headed toward home.

New Mexico
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
South Carolina
South Dakota



A Sweet Little Grotto

August 11, 2014

My car got fixed and I had to make the long road trip to go back and pick it up. That meant returning the rental in one town and then finding a way to get to another town where my car had been towed.

I decided to find something to enjoy along the way to make the long, turn around trip pleasant. I like to use Roadside America.com and I found just the right thing: a sweet little grotto.

The Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto is more commonly referred to by locals as The Glass Church, but I’ll get to that in a moment. It is located in the gently rolling hills of the Monroe County, Wisconsin countryside. It has the designation of a county park. The entrance to this sweet little oasis is the stone arch with the word “HOME” in black crushed glass.  


At the center of the grotto space is a prayer garden. It is surrounded by two fences. At the center of the prayer garden is a little tree. The tree is surrounded by the first fence. In the space between the first and second fence are sculptures of items that add to the garden feel. There are concrete animals, glass encrusted birdhouses and bird baths. While there is no ‘rule’ about not entering the fence to stand near the tree, the prayer garden is meant to be enjoyed outside the fence that surrounds the tree.  You can see what I mean when you look at the photo of the prayer garden below.  


I was fascinated with the colors in the larger fence that separates the prayer garden from the rest of the grotto. 


The Wegners were German immigrants and in the grotto, there is a beautiful replica of the Steamship Bremen. I enjoyed seeing the replica, as my ancestors were German. Though they immigrated before steamships, I was familiar with the Bremen.



Along with the sculptures, the park is decorated with flowers and greenery.




Now about that Glass Church . . . what a beautiful piece of art! The roof of the church had just been redone. Heat compromised the adhesive used to affix the colored glass, so a new, weather-resistant adhesive was used. The original color pattern was followed.



On the outside, there are twelve panels that each depict a different faith denomination. In the photo above, the dark church on the panel looks like it has a reddish cross topping it off. It is not a cross; it is a peace pipe made from catlinite or claystone, more commonly referred to as pipestone and is from Pipestone, Minnesota.


The interior of the church is very small, but several people could stand inside. The photo below was taken from inside the church, looking out the window next to the panel with the dark church and peace pipe.


On the altar inside the church, there is a German Bible dated from the 1850’s.  When I took the photo, it was opened to 1 Chronicles, Chapters 5 and 6.


There are more pieces in the grotto, each one so lovely to look at from a distance and so interesting to see up close. I tried to spot recognizable china patterns and I hunted for sea shells and cup handles that were embedded in concrete.

There is no admission fee to enjoy the Paul and Matilda Wegner Grotto and I was glad for that, especially since I had to pay for two new catalytic converters to replace the old ones that caused our troubles last week. 

The Garrison Flag was at Half Staff

August 7, 2014

One of the things that Goodnight and I did last weekend was to visit Fort McCoy, near Tomah, Wisconsin. One can drive to the main gate, receive a visitor’s pass and a map of a driving tour of the fort.

Because one of GN’s high school electives has been JROTC, I try to teach/show her things that she cannot get in the classroom. Touring Fort McCoy will give her something to share with her class when she gets back to school, but will hopefully make a long-lasting impression on her.

How ironic and tragic that the day we toured the fort, the garrison flag was at half-staff. GN noticed it, too and we talked about that part of service to one’s country.

I don’t live in Wisconsin, so had not heard the reason for the sign of respect, but I called the Fort today and was told what happened.

Governor Scott Walker ordered the flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of Private First Class Donnell A. Hamilton, Jr., from Kenosha, Wisconsin, who died from an illness sustained while serving in Afghanistan. The flags were lowered for the day of his memorial service. 

Fort McCoy is named for Major General Robert Bruce McCoy (1867-1926) . . . also from Kenosha.

Garrison Flag at Half Staff


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 57 other followers