practicing head stands

winter solstice

I have spent much of the weekend mulling over exactly how I’m supposed to plan for anything. It only occurred to me just now that maybe… I shouldn’t. For me, this is a novel idea. I enjoy challenges, especially the ones that I create for myself. I like to make plans and schedules, flexible lists, and I just love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from completing tasks.

The first few days of Apartment Therapy’s January Cure went along nicely. Easy-schmeasy. Then, one of the jobs for the weekend, the most important one really, was to clean all of the floors and vacuum any carpeting. Honestly, I didn’t have the energy or strength (and even on a good day I don’t generally have the where-with-all to take on such a heavy duty). While I could hate that this remains undone, the truth is that there isn’t anything that I can do to remedy it right now. My husband has offered to do that part for me, or at least the brunt of it, sometime when he isn’t working. I shall certainly take him up on that this next weekend.

What I am left to think about is how to apply this to my life so that I don’t set myself up for disappointment. This applies to so many areas… taking care of myself, keeping house, creative work (writing, crafting, DIY stuff), time with family and friends, volunteering, and general planning for the future. I would like to add working (for money) to that list, but that is so beyond feasible at this point in time. For the past 15 years, there has been a growing pattern of making plans and then having to cancel them. With that, there is the potential for a lot of stress and disappointment. Additionally, I’m sure that it affects the other parties involved, especially when they don’t know of or understand my illness because, realistically, I can’t explain it to every Tom, Dick, and Harry. And so, I need to rethink how to handle these varied situations in ways that don’t distress me emotionally or physically.

I feel like I’m trying to stand on my head and just can’t quite get there. The balance. The steadiness. The belief that I can do it. I need them all to figuratively do a head stand and I need them to help me navigate life’s expectations and necessities. I need to let go of the fear that I’m going to fall over, because I’m going to fall over again and again. THAT IS OKAY.

All in all, I am finding my way with the circumstances that I have and giving myself permission to do so is the gift that I’m giving myself today.

happy new year

kin no neko

Right up until the evening of December 31st, I considered letting this space go quiet indefinitely. The struggle for energy is continual and it often leaves me distraught. My house and bits of my life are in a shambles, and that sometimes gives me the feeling that I have nothing worthwhile to document. I find it a struggle to write about the sad realities of my life, but as always I want to be exceedingly honest while remaining optimistic. That isn’t always so easy to put into words. And, well, with my house a wreck, I don’t so much want to put it into pictures either.

All that said, here I am and forward I shall go… taking on the challenge of health issues, new projects, old messes, and all things associated with the preciousness of life.

I don’t make resolutions, but I do really like the freshness of a new year. I think that it is a great time to reevaluate things and initiate change. I have a variety of short- and long-term projects planned and some general life goals. The common themes running through all of these are getting rid of what I don’t need (physically, digitally, mentally), organizing what I do have (again… physically, digitally, mentally) for optimal functionality and enjoyment, and continuing to explore new avenues.

  • I’m doing The January Cure at Apartment Therapy. This will be the four-week version of the eight-week Cure. While I know how to organize, streamline, and pretty things up, I thought that letting go of the control that I usually like to have and just doing what someone else suggests would be a good break as well as a nice way to start off the year. I will to continue to spruce up the house after that, particularly taking advantage of the weather… working on decluttering and organizing through the cold months, painting and gardening and spiffing up the home’s exterior come spring and summer.
  • I have some unfinished objects (the dreaded UFOs) that I would like to complete. FINALLY. This includes 1) crocheting together the circles of Mister Winter, 2) attaching ears to a wolf hat, 3) sewing buttons on a hood, 4) weaving a cat head basket that I just don’t *get*, and 5) embroidering Alicia Paulson’s Daisychain ABCs Crewelwork Sampler.
  • I plan to post more at my Facebook page. In the past, I’ve used it for occasional links and announcing new posts at my blog. I will continue that, but I am going to be more interactive, sharing interesting things that I find and answering any questions. I think that it’s a good way to stay in touch with people, be a bit more personable, because we all know that I’m terrible about responding to comments.
  • Um, respond to comments on a regular basis. *smile*
  • I have once again begun to put up photos at my namesake url and continuing to do so is a goal of mine. Speaking of which, there are a few projects that were sort of left in the lurch, most especially unmasked and the other side. I would like to add to both of these collections and maybe put the latter in book form to sell locally. Of note, the front page of is static, but if you add it to your feed reader, you’ll get regular updates. (Oh, gosh. This is set to forward one to this blog. I’ll try to fix it asap, but I forgot how!) You can also use the cloud tag on the right side of the page to navigate categories. But, *ahem*, this really needs updating as there’s not much to see presently.
  • Being sick is expensive. It isn’t just the medical bills or inability to procure an income. The expense also comes from exhaustion. For instance, whereas I once made everything by scratch and rarely relied on carry-out, over the past few years that has not been realistic… nor cheap. In light of that, one of my projects is feeding myself well despite limited energy and continuing to craft/design despite meager funds.
  • This space is one of my most important projects of the year. I have been blogging for over 10 years, but I have been most inactive during the last 12 months. I would like to update on a more regular basis, perhaps on weekdays as I once did.

Gosh, these sound more like resolutions than I intended. Whatever you call them, I’m up for the challenge of these projects and more.

new grooves, soon

tights on night stand

I can hardly believe that 2012 is drawing to a close. There is this one hearty month left to embrace the last of the year.

Things changed a lot for me and although the circumstances bringing about new ways aren’t always positive, such as death or ill health, the place where I am is good. So good. I see my grandma every single day; I feel so lucky to have her. She is 89. Since March, I have been volunteering as a researcher and archivist at the local museum. The work that I do there is consuming in the best of ways. I am a mix of Sherlock Holmes and Inspector Clouseau. Living with disease is always present and while I deal with it very well, I struggle with the awkward explanation, when necessary, to other people. “I have autoimmune polyglandular failure, with primary Sjögren’s, type I diabetes, and hypothyroidism.” It is difficult to explain what that means, so I am okay with not elaborating. I am very much okay.

However, I am ready to come up with some new projects for myself. December is the month that I declare to do so. I surely don’t know what as of yet, but I think that I will focus on the house, making things, and finding some new grooves.

early november projects

mister winter circles

In two years, I feel like I have become a fairly accomplished crocheter. Complicated projects don’t scare me. I can read my stitches inside-out and upside-down. Learning to knit, for me, is completely different.

For a long time, I was too scared to try, especially intimidated by holding tools in both hands. Plus yarn. The idea still frightens the heck out of me until I actually start moving the yarn around with the tips. I’m not even remotely good at it yet. I can cast on, knit, purl, and awkwardly bind off. If I make even one mistake, I’m totally done and have to frog the whole thing and so I’ve only made swatches thus far. My next goal is to learn to read the knit, pick up a lost stitch, and unravel to a set point.

I am totally a continental knitter, sometimes called left-handed knitting or picking (as opposed to throwing). I think that it’s because I hold the fiber in my left hand when crocheting. If I had switched my yarn-holding hand when attempting to knit, it would have been just one more thing to think about while learning. And, learning I am… now and for quite some time in my future.

I have nearly enough motifs to begin crocheting together Mister Winter, which is Solveig Grimstad’s popular pattern, Flowers in the Snow. I made a mini version of this for my, ahem, cat last year. I really loved the design and decided to make a larger version for my sofa, in colors that remind me of winter in Sweden. I’m pretty firmly set on going with 192 squares. One of my favorite things about this design is that you don’t sew it together. The motifs are crocheted to one another. That said, I’m entirely ready to finish this puppy and get started on something new.

Like, maybe, knitting more than a swatch.


mazomanie sand + oak barrens fire

mazomanie sand barrens

Earlier this month, there was a fire at the Mazomanie Oak Barrens, likely due to an extended drought that began in the spring. The damage was relatively minor, burning an area less than seven acres in size. While it’s a stark view, the DNR already performs prescribed burns in this area to preserve the health of the prairie. When we visited yesterday, the grass was beginning to grow back.

The path, which didn’t burn, can be seen in a photo that I took of my daughter a few years ago.


september 27




fallen tree

national ice age trail

september 24


september 24, 2012


It might as well be stated that I sense a shift coming on in the way that I write in my journal. Over the last decade, it has happened approximately five clear times. I shifted focus from home and cooking to poetry and photos to personal journaling and photos to home and photos and now to… wherever life takes me. I’m up for the journey. And, as always, I am guided by the following quote.

The deepest thing I know is that I am living and dying at once,
and my conviction is to report that dialogue.

– Stanley Kunitz


recent linkage

not cotton candy


hillside school

Sometimes when I go for a hike, I forget my camera. Despite the initial disappointment, it’s okay. The experience will be just as sweet if I don’t document it, perhaps even sweeter as I’ll only have my memories. I feel as if these months where I haven’t been keeping much of an online journal are like those hikes without photos. I still have a good time and live a full life; I just don’t have a tangible way to share it with others.

A lot in my life has changed, but the transitions have been smooth. My uncle passed away in early July. He lived with my grandma and, therefore, tended to her well-being on a regular basis. She is 89 and now lives on her own for the first time in her life. (She was one of 11 children.) I provide her primary care, visiting morning and evening for a total of three or four hours daily. In June, I never would have thought that I could carve 25 hours out of my week, much less do it while increasing productivity in other areas as well. It is quite unfathomable, yet I’m doing it. I think that it just goes to show that we are capable of so much more than we realize, so it’s good to keep challenging one’s self frequently.

I think that I’ll make a little list of what has been going on in my world this summer:

  • Earlier this year, at the age of 20, my daughter finally received her Asperger’s/Autism diagnosis. We’ve long known that this was the case but, like with my own health issues, it was difficult to get someone to listen. This is quite validating and she can now receive services that were unavailable to her before this.
  • I pretty much abandoned my garden around the end of June. Like much of the US, Wisconsin was stricken with a severe drought and extreme temperatures this summer. The month of July was absolutely unbearable. I am partial to cold weather as it is, so the heat really bore away at my whole being. In August, the heat broke and we received a fair amount of rain. The strange weather of March through July has affected many harvests in Wisconsin, not the least of which include corn, apples, and grapes. Soon I will pull that which I let go wild. I may plant some fall crops and I might yet hoop a few beds. I’m looking at you, leeks.
  • Work has again slowed on the Mister Winter afghan. I crochet circles here and there, but to get my project-completed satisfaction on a regular basis, I have been squeezing in smaller projects. I made three plant hangers, a gazillion coasters, and various bits not quite worthy of an individual mention.
  • While I did whip up one medium-sized basket because I was itching to do some weaving, I otherwise haven’t done much in that area. I’m planning to do a few Sauk Indian-inspired baskets for the local historical society, which is pretty exciting and interesting to me. I believe that I’m going to make a birch bark bucket and a sweetgrass basket. We’ll see…
  • So many people have cut back on taking photos with their camera and are instead doing phone photos. I am guilty of this as well, yet I’m trying to change that a bit. In the meantime, I can be found on Instagram @sonotcool. One of my favorites there is @heiastrid. Her life is so interesting.
  • I have been hiking quite a bit again. It hasn’t been lengthy or strenuous, but easy and beautiful. We hit a lot of Wisconsin’s State Natural Areas. Baxter’s Hollow is a current favorite. We’re out there at least once a week. The photos from the Stones Pocket Road post were taken on the way into that site. That reminds me… I need to purchase Baxter’s Hollow Bird Food this week. Their site is gorgeous and has bird song from its location playing in the background.
  • I go to the local historical society about twice a week to archive glass-plate negatives. Although we started in March, we’re only halfway through the collection at this time. Each scan is like opening a birthday present. Hundreds and hundreds of birthday presents. One of them included the school above, Hillside School on Prairie Road near Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin.

ten years

ice age trail

Ten years ago today, I officially began to blog.

I had putzed around with Geocities-type sites before that, keeping a journal and sharing photos online, but that first blog really forged a new direction in my life. I can’t even begin to describe the scope of this exercise in sharing. I tried. I opted to keep it simple.

I love this gig, both here and guest blogging. I appreciate all of the folks who have been part of this grand ride.