I’m home for the holidays… but nobody else is

Its been a very bizarre holiday season for me. and it’s getting stranger by the day.

In November for Thanksgiving I went to Missoula, MT to visit Becky. We had a grand time, even though the elevation and dryness challenged my asthma in ways I didn’t know were possible. That and the fact that the lives on the THIRD FLOOR… 🙂 But it was all good and, in the end I truly hated to leave her.


This is us at Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park. I’m a Park fan and I visit them whenever time and travel allow.

But, imagine my disappointment when, on a Face Time call with the family in Wisconsin I found that they were having their Christmas present opening on Thanksgiving Day. I have to say I was mighty bummed. I understand the reasons they decoded to do it, but I wish they would have told me. I could have sent my presents for the boys along with my brother and sister-in-law and I could have watched them open them over the phone. Not ideal, but that’s what you do when relatives are at long distance. You don’t just have the event and not tell them so that, when you see them opening their presents from Grandma and Grandpa you aren’t totally blind-sided.

Granted – I’m Great Auntie and, if I’m there or not the boys won’t remember, it’s just the consideration that I miss. It felt like slap in the face.

Okay – I said it and it’s off my chest…

But now Christmas Day is going to be weird, like I said. For some reason my brother decided he needed to go to Montana to spend the holiday with Becky. It’s her first Christmas out there and all. I get it. And that’s why they had the gift opening on Thanksgiving.

So that means that there’s no Christmas holiday this year. Oh, my sister-in-law is going up to see Nick and his family. She’s staying the whole four-day weekend, in fact. But she’d move in with them if given the chance. Honestly, I think she’d sleep in the basement if it meant she could see her grandsons every day. It’s like nobody else exists. And I secretly think that’s the reason my brother went to spend the holiday in Montana.

So, no dinner – I even offered to buy pizza but, no. No gift opening (I don’t buy them stuff – I give them money because, with two growing kids and a limited budget there are always things you need). No watching stupid holiday movies or TV Christmas specials. It’s just going to be Nick and I going to see the new Star Wars movie while Grandma plays with the boys.

Hence the gray toned photo. I don’t like this holiday season at the best of times, but at least I used to feel like I was part of something.

Not any more…


Crafting Small

2012 Misc-166

I finally have a little time for reflection after the craziness of my move and the push to get a working office and kitchen. Time to go through the rest of my boxes at leisure and sort, weed, organize and store a bit more thoughtfully. One thing that’s occurred to me was about my craft stash. Not yarn – that’s a completely different animal… But the other stuff.

Besides being a knittist and yarnie I also sew, bead, weave, paint and digitally scrapbook – and those are just the main ones! I also dabble in the occasional paper craft. All these activities has its own STUFF.

Sewing: sewing machine, serger, buttons, measuring implements, thread, needles (hand and machine), machine attachments, fabric, binding tapes, scissors…

Beading: beads (lots and LOTS of beads), beading wire, beading thread, tools (lots of different tools and all unique to beading), findings (if you’re making jewelry), bead looms

Painting: paints (yeah – lots of ’em), canvases, brushes, easel, paint knives, prep chemicals (don ‘t know what else to call them, gesso and that stuff)

Paper Crafting: I got rid of most of this (gave to my sister who does scrapbooks and cards) but I still have a few stamps and stamp pads, some paper

Digital Scrapbooking: scanner for the mountain of photos I have that are NOT digital, and said photos awaiting scanning.

So its time to pare down. Get rid. Donate.

I realized that I have 12 boxes of crafting stuff – not including yarn. That’s excessive – and compulsive. I like tools. I like gadgets. But nobody needs as much as I have.

I’m guilty of taking on STUFF from other people – like after my sister-in-law’s mother passed I somehow came into possession of a lot of her fabric, laces, buttons and basically stuff that nobody knew what to do with. This stuff needs to leave my place because I will never use it.

I’m guilty of buying a new thing when I couldn’t find the original thing (totally due to poor organization). Or buying a new thing because the old thing was somehow lacking – it was bent (although still usable), it was stained (yeah, like that’s going to affect how a tape measure measures), it’s paint had worn off (although the etched surface markings were still visible)… you get the idea.

Well, now I have a very different space. It’s large, yes, but I don’t want to have it swimming in stuff I don’t need/will not use. I want to be able to find what I want quickly – without having to dig through a lot of bins and deep storage pieces (like Yule/holiday decoration deep).

I have a large work table under which will nicely fit 3 IKEA carts. These will contain the sum total of my craft supplies (maybe 2 after I weed it down) with the exception of fabric, which will still need a bin. The aim is to tame!

From this:


some of my craft stash

To something more akin to this (this is still a WIP, but it really is much better than it was. I also had a lot of duplicate spices!):

kitchen cart

spice and tool organization for a kitchen with wonky cabinets and drawers

Time to catch up again…

Wow – it seems I can’t get up to date and stay there! It’s been furious these past few months with lots of knitting and activity, and very little time spent just reflecting and writing. Because that’s what this is for me – it’s my time for reflection.

So, on to the updates!


My new Grand Nephew

This adorable little guy is my new grand (great?) nephew, Alexander William. Born on March 24th at around 9pm. His poor mommy had a tough time and he had to finally be taken by C Section, but everyone is doing just great now. He was just a couple days after what would have been Mom’s 97th birthday. She would have gone nuts over him! As it is his Gramma Cheryl is the conductor on the baby crush train.

There was a lot of this:

two color ribbing brioche

Learning new techniques – on the left is 2 color corrugated ribbing and on the left is brioche stitch. They are both for fun KAL’s (knit along) on Ravelry. Those can be really fun groups with a lot of people working the same pattern so there’s lots of support and encouragement.

By far my favorite group is Friends of Knitting Sarah. The absolute best, most supportive group of knitters short of my local yarn shop. They are funny, give great advice and share their experiments and success with gusto.

Undulation scarf

A tiny bit of designing. This is a scarf that I call Undulations. I had the pretty yarn and saw the pattern as I was flipping through a stitch dictionary. I figured out the repeats, cast on some stitches and whipped a little scarf to wear with my blue suit.

And of course socks…

becky socks

and socks…

dragonfly socks

and socks…

tracey socks

and still more socks!

VBM socks

And now I’m moving – yet again!! As my friend Ken says – fun times! So I may not have a chance to catch up again until next month – after the move has been accomplished. But I hope you enjoy the photos and – if you can think good thoughts for me as I pack up again.

Sometimes I think I should just put my furniture on wheels…..

Ode to an FO

Watermelon Sock

I like finishing things – I really do. Like that adorable little thing in the photo there. Its a sock. Just a little shorty sock – ribbed cuff, afterthought heel (more on that later), top-down stockinette – nothing fancy. But, ya know what? It gave me great pleasure to finish that sock. Not because I was bored with it or that I had fallen out of love with the yarn – ohhh no. But because I like to finish things.

I’m the opposite of the people who start a thing then move on to the next before the first is quite done. The ‘oh I brought it this far’ syndrome that leaves a project not quite ready for prime time. I work with someone like that. This individual keeps saying ‘give me more projects’ and ‘how are they ever going to trust me if you don’t let me work on things’. So I let them work on something – I outline the parameters of the project then let go. When I get it back its alllllmost done – but the reports are not final or approved. And there is no process flowchart. The files are not named in any logical or repeatable manner. All of the program design is haphazard. In short – left for me to finish and present to the client.

Now, I realize that I’m the supervisor. Its my job to make sure that what goes out is correct to both internal and external clients. But, when I assign a project to someone who’s been crabbing for months about getting the client to trust them, to be able to work on projects for them only to have it not completed I get a little testy. Which is probably why I’m blowing off steam here in my blog rather than talking about knitting.

But why can’t there be an intersection between work and knitting? A knitting pattern flows from one step to the next, in a logical, defined manner to its conclusion. Sure, you can knit the pieces out of order – so what if I want to knit both sleeves of my sweater on one huge circular needle? Nobody cares. It’s pretty much the same for process. Once the process is defined, tested and installed you can run the steps out of order (well, some of them) if you so desire. There’s more than one way to reach a correct outcome. But the process, like a knitting pattern, needs to be written and tested first. All the way – start to finish – taking into account things like repeatability, end user experience (or lack thereof) and desired result with Quality Controls. Don’t sell me a poorly written knitting pattern and DO NOT give me a half-assed attempt at a client project.

inspiration comes from everywhere

I was very happy with my sock pattern. I know it…well. In fact I pretty nearly have it memorized. Its a toe up pattern that I work on one circular needle, Magic Loop style. Which is my absolute favorite method for knitting socks. I can do 2 circs, but I hate the dangling ends. I can also do DPN’s (Double Pointed Needles for the uninitiated). I just prefer Magic Loop. With it I can….

But I digress…

As I was saying its a great pattern – written by Jennifer Donze, a Master Knitter and one of the instructors at Cream City Yarns. It’s also a personalized pattern and Jennifer includes all of the instructions for calculating a perfect, custom fit sock. You’ll find it on Ravelry: Custom Toe Up Sock by J Donze Knits. I’ve made several pairs of socks using this pattern. Normally I knit the foot and heel in stockinette then go wild on the leg. I use a lot of different patterns on the leg – usually from another book of mine: Socks A la Carte 2 – Toes Up. Its a very nice book that lets you pick and chose what toe, what heel and what leg you want. I knit one complete sock from this book and now really just use it for the cuffs and leg.

But I was reading my news feeds a while back and came across a review of a pattern from one of the books I own: The Knitter’s Book of Socks. She’s a blogger that I really like, so I figured I could do worse. If you want to read her review it’s here: Knitting Sarah – Turbo Toes.

Now, I’ve read The Knitter’s Book of Socks (how pathetic am I? I read knitting books…) but have never tried any of the patterns. I like my toe-up pattern. I know it and it has served me well but… but… Linen stitch toe and heel? What the heck is linen stitch? I have very rough toes and heels – anything I can do to make them stronger… And… AND – this is a toe up pattern! I’m not the only one who like her socks toes up! It was written for 2 circs, but that’s easy enough to adapt to Magic Loop. And I have that nice skein of Sheepish BFL in that nice orange…

I almost felt like I was betraying a friend – Sheepish is Jennifer’s hand dyed yarn. But I reasoned that, if I was going to make socks in this pretty color and have them really last I should do everything I can to make a good sock, right?

So I made a copy of the pattern – I do this because I don’t like writing and highlighting in my books – highlighted my size every place there was a difference in count and cast on.

Sarah was right – the pattern is addictive. I couldn’t stop. One Friday I even did an all nighter -falling into bed at 5am with numb hands.

Now there was a client visit and a flight to Cleveland and back in there too. I worried about security taking away my Addi Sock Rockets, so I switched to a cheap pair of Knitter’s Pride Karbonz (I DO NOT recommend these – they have terrible joins). I knit happily away at that first sock until I realized, upon arrival in Cleveland that I needed my smaller needle – which was at home. That was all well and good because something was bothering me about that sock. It just didn’t look right.

I continued with it when I got home for a bit then it hit me – my linen stitch parts just weren’t right. I know the stitch isn’t especially stretchy – I got that from my swatch – but mine was all pulled in and crummy looking. So I frogged. All. The. Way. Back. I cast on again and this time I cheated and used a row counter to make certain that I didn’t get off count. That turned the tide – from there on my needles were singing. Sock one done:
I’m much happier with this one. It looks like a real, live sock. Like something you would actually wear (and COULD wear) on your foot.

Now, I’d read this pattern when I read the book and it looked a bit over my head. I still consider myself a novice knitter, or maybe very early intermediate (like 4th grade…). I’d only really had 2 knitting classes – the first sock club and the Camp Hoodie. What business did I have knitting exotic patterns like this one?

And, if I hadn’t been following Sarah’s blog and saw her post about it I never would have. She gave me the inspiration to try something new and more than a little out of my comfort zone. Just like with the cowl I knit for the Ravellenic Games a while back – it was the little push I needed to try something different.

So, while I still love my basic toe-up sock pattern I feel ready now to creep out onto another limb. Maybe I’ll try those socks by Cat Bordhi next….


digital scrapbook page

waterfall digital page


I like to scrapbook – been doing it for years. I love to take pictures and preserve them on cool-looking paper. Not a big one on embellishments – but I’ve always liked the process.

But things they are a changing….

The page above was done digitally, using Photoshop Elements. These days, since all my photography is digital (no – I’m not one of those throwbacks who pines for the days of analog, manual cameras. The only analog I still use is a Fuji Instax) and I pull everything into Lightroom to keep organized. I can grab any photos I want, pull in downloaded paper and embellishments and WHAMBAMTHANKYOUMAAM I have a scrapbook page. A page that I can choose to print or just serve digitally from my iPad to the Apple TV in the living room where it displays in brilliant color on my big tv. Apple fangirl? Maybe – but my tools serve me, whether it be the Mac, the iPad or the Apple TV. Plus it makes my scrapped pages so much more portable and share-able. Want to see my Maine vacation? Here – let m grab my iPad and we can look at it – maybe even to music! Rather than haul a big, heavy book along – and what if somebody wants to see Nick’s wedding, not Maine? I’ll have to drive home and get the other book….


Around Yale College

They can be simple like this one – which is just a photo on background paper with a drop shadow and a couple little swirls.

Milwaukee Skyline background paper

Milwaukee Skyline background paper

You can make your own backgrounds… this one doesn’t have any photos on it yet, but it was created from a photo that I took.

Around Moosehead Lake Maine

Around Moosehead Lake Maine

Or they can have several things going on – different photos, frames, tabs and a square of background on which to place a journaling square when this get printed (I like to journal in my own handwriting on at least one page in every book that I do. So much so that I’m considering creating a font from my handwriting.). And the best thing is, if you purchase a digital kit, embellishment, frame, ribbon – whatever – it’s yours forever. Unlike the physical ones they don’t get ‘used up’. If you have some favorites (and I do), you can use them over and over, maybe change the color next time, or make it smaller or larger – you don’t have to keep buying more. And you can size any photo or embellishment to fit. You aren’t locked into printing 4×6 and either cutting them down or using a big honking photo when you might want a row of 2×2 for a cool border treatment or grid.

So now I’m at a crossroads. I really prefer to scrapbook digitally these days because my real passion has moved on to knitting (like y’all couldn’t figure that out from this blog, right?). I’d rather finish a second sock, a second sleeve or sew the seams of a sweater and weave ends than drag out all the scrapbooking supplies and create pages.

And I don’t quite know why….

Is it because knitting, while it can be complex in regard to stitches and patterns and technique is really simpler than scrapbooking? I mean, to knit I need yarn and needles. Maybe a couple stitch markers and some waste yarn – but that’s pretty much it. It’s portable – until a sweater gets too big for one of my Vera Bradley knitting bags (now that I don’t go to an office to work I no longer have to carry my whole life in a bag anymore, so the Vera’s have been relegated to very pretty knitting bags!) – especially socks. And it’s social – grab that bag and go to a Stitch and Bitch at the drop of a hat. You can’t do that with scrapbooking. Oh, I know they have social crops and scrapbooking weekends – I’ve been on a couple, but I always forget something. There’s just so much gear! Paper trimmers, punches, background paper, brads, flowers, glitter, stamps and stamp pads, photos, beads, embellishments of every kind – no wonder most of the people who attend these things come in with 2 or sometimes 3 rolling luggage’s full of stuff – and that’s before anything even gets created! I know one woman who prepares for an entire week for a scrapbooking weekend! How is that any fun?

I also tend to be an impulse buyer. Remember that post a ways back about all my sock yarn? None of it was bought with any particular project in view – just another pretty pair of socks. But that stash is down by 4 skeins in the interim because I’ve finished 4 pairs of socks. I know the yarn will get used. Not so scrapbooking stuff. I have bin upon rack upon container of ribbons, embellishments, sparkle, paper and every manner of stuff you can think of. I have punches – because, if you want a particular shape, you buy a punch – then it hangs around whether or not you ever use it again. I have a die-cutting machine because I thought that would be easier – it wasn’t. I have an electronic die cutting machine because I can hook it up to my Mac – I thought that would be less expensive because I could print anything from my computer – until I read the fine print and found that you can ONLY print a very specific format and graphics have to be converted to it – and that is a rather time-consuming project. At this point in my life I think I’d rather spring for the $25 skein of beautiful sock yarn that will make a lovely, warm pair of socks (and who doesn’t need those?) that I or the person I made them for will have to enjoy for a long time than a lot of crap that’s just taking up space in my little apartment.

So my sister-in-law is about to become very rich. I’m going to gift everything – except the projects that are currently in process – to her. She has a home business – she makes the most wonderful, humorous cards. She’s nearly worn out her die cutting machine and she’s in constant need of paper and embellishments. So all of this:

scrapbook stuff

scrapbook stuff

is soon going to be taking a ride across town. And do not think the furniture is immune. I talked this over with my niece last night and she wants to relieve me of the desk and shelf units.

I now proclaim myself a Digital Scrapbooker! (wondering if there’s a theme song or mascot….?)


or is that a knitter who digitally scrapbooks? or…..




Is there a 12-step program for yarn addicts?

Just some of my collection

Just some of my collection

That’s 11. 11! ELEVEN! And this is just the sock yarn, and I’m certain not all of it. I have more in other bags scattered about the house – at least 4 more skeins. This isn’t counting the 2 tubs of other yarn – worsted, wool, bamboo, alpaca…

I admit it – it’s an addiction. I know I can knit socks fairly quickly – usually about a pair a month if I remain dedicated. Socks are such a great project – perfect for taking along and really easy to do once you have a few techniques down. I knit mine toe-up on one big circ – magic-loop style. Mostly. I sometimes experiment with top-down as well but I’m really no good a the Kitchener stitch. But, I ask you – 16 skeins of sock yarn? When does it spill over into being dangerous?

There are lots of other yarns in my stash, too. Check me out on Ravelry sometime (juded55) – I’m OCD about keeping that up to date ever since I bought the same pattern 3 times from 3 different stores… I must have really liked that pattern. Plus it’s handy because I’m such an impulse buyer. If it isn’t sock yarn it’s just pure ‘I’m buying this because it’s pretty/soft/sparkly…’ or some such. (About the sparkly thing – I’m half German, half Polish – we love our sparkly/shiny/brightly colored things – I think we are descended from crows.)

These are from the sock pile but, case in point:

MadTosh Sock in ForestryLook at that color!! The photo hardly does it justice. It’s so vibrant in person that it just about glows.

And this:

Hand Maiden Casbah SockThis one has cashmere in it. CASHMERE! I can tell you – this ain’t going to be a sock, either. This one is going around my neck! It’s incredibly soft – almost like holding a cloud in your hand.

One more:

Lorna's Laces SoulmateI already have a skein of Lorna’s Laces Soulmate, but I had to buy this one because of the name. The NAME, you ask? YES!! The name: Zombie Barbeque – how great is that? And I know that naming convention is why I’m eventually going to buy at least a skein from Indigo Dragonfly. Their colorways are wonderful, but they also have such fun names. Names like: Bright Lights, Big City, Busy Highway, Slow Unicorn – yes, that’s the name. Go check it out for yourself: http://www.indigodragonfly.ca/product-category/weight/sportdk/

None of this has impacted my life, other than to add joy and a lot of really pretty socks. But, where is the edge? Where does that point that I’m teetering upon tip and I start sliding down the slippery slope with the next stop being the County Nuthouse?

Did I miss the flyer for the 12-step yarn addiction program? Can somebody send it to me, please?

Or is it too late…….?

Catching up


My brother holding his baby sister

Gosh it’s been so long since I’ve written anything. I feel like a slug.

I finished that pretty sweater for Becky and guess what? IT WAS TOO BIG!!! She lost weight in between start and finish and now it just hangs on her. So, we make another :). This time I let her pick the yarn and, boring girl, don’t she just pick navy blue! The Camp Hoodie I made for her was navy blue. She used to work at QuadGraphics and wore navy blue every… single… day! Nope – that’s what she wanted, so that’s what Auntie’s making. One thing you definitely gotta say for the girl, she appreciates everything.


I also made a couple of scarves in there…



And a beaded shawl for myself….


(my coordinator says that photo makes me look like a Jawa…)

So, I’ve kept busy, I haven’t just been slogging it the last few months, but lately it’s been a burden to do anything. I can’t seem to function or concentrate on anything but knitting. It seems to be the only thing holding me together. You see, that boy at the top of the page is my big (biggest) brother, Terry. He died in October, 2 weeks after his 66th birthday and 4 days after my 58th. I can’t exactly say that we were close. He lived in Seattle and I didn’t get to see him often. Email, the odd phone call now and then. But not like living in town with him.

But, you see, he was still my brother. We did all those crazy, stupid things that kids do together like go sledding down the suicide hill behind Nathan Hale. And go trick or treat at night – by ourselves (we grew up in a more innocent age). Or slogging through the wilds of Root River parkway, the boys shooting at each other with their six-shooters (cap guns) and me riding on the back of our faithful dog Amber. My brothers were my heroes – still are – there was never a doubt in my mind that nothing could happen to me when my brothers were around. When he went away to college, even though it was Marquette and only downtown, he moved out and that’s when we began growing apart. I was only 9 or 10 when he moved out – he was 8 years older and started college early. We just didn’t have a lot to say to each other until we were adults. He was busy being married, a father and a navy man sailing all over the world. I was busy with puberty, acne and trying to survive Lane Junior High School.


Plus it’s that feeling – you who are a little older will understand. All my parent’s generation are gone. Even some of my cousins. My brother Greg and I are now the seniors in our family and it’s… weird. We have 2 cousins from Terry’s cohort left, Carol Jean and Charlene – I don’t know about any of the others. But then they get into Greg’s cohort, then mine (which is the smallest). I used to have 17 cousins. I now have somewhere around 10.

So all that combined to drop this pall of inactivity over me. I’m over the crying – well, mostly. Sometimes, like now, talking about him and the old times and looking at the photos, I still mist up.

He was a ham radio operator and member of the Pacific Northwest SARS team. He was an Author whose book is still available on Amazon.com. He was a computer scientist who programmed call centers for huge European banks. He was a nuclear physicist and astrophysicist. He was a loving, gentle husband and father whose own son was taken much too soon (TJ died in 2001). He was a genius, a perfect combination of Sheldon and Leonard from the Big Bang Theory – a nerd and a hacker (before hacker became a bad word) but, unlike both of them he had a wicked sense of humor. He was so much to so many people.

Most of all he was my brother.


Frogging, root beer and the mysteries of bluetooth…

See that sweet little ball of yarn there? Yup – that one, sitting on top of my old afghan – the bright yellow one? Folks, that used to be a sock. More specifically a pom pom ped. That didn’t work. and that, my friends was why it got frogged. It was done, all toe decreased and Kitchenered and everything – and I ripped it all out. Because that’s what you do when your knitting just isn’t right.

What was so wrong with it you may ask that I completely tore down a completed sock? Well as I worked on sock #2 it became evident that I had completely miscounted the heel flap -having a stitch counter helped me realize that. And I had also somehow done my toe decreases unevenly. And my Kitchener stitch was horrendous.

So that was one day this week. Then came yesterday.

I love root beer. A&W Diet root beer – my fave. Until half the bottle winds up in my knitting bag… on my work in progress… for class tomorrow… with my homework not yet done… I love Napoleon, my little black cat. He’s one of the sweetest little kitties. But he’s the clumsiest cats I’ve ever known. Fuz could walk across the coffee table and not touch a single thing. Napoleon on the other had could knock over a glass if it were the only thing on the table – or a root beer bottle. So good luck getting my homework done.

And thanks to the Apple community forums I now have a keyboard again to type this on my iPad. For the last week I not been able to pair the keyboard with my iPad. The SAME keyboard that I have written every post with since I began this blog. After scouring the site for days (and a trip to the Apple store this evening and getting soaking wet – don’t ask) I finally found my answer. I was reading about this guy who was having the same problem and he found that his keyboard was paired with his iMac and he didn’t ‘forget’ the device when he started using a different keyboard. Well, my iMac has been off all week, and the guy at the store had no problems pairing it when I remembered that I had paired this keyboard with my Apple TV (yes – I am a gadget junkie). Once I ‘forgot’ the device on my ATV PRESTO! I am back to writing this rambling blog.

And just for listening to that whole ramble I’m going to reward you with another photo of my little Poli. Say Hi, Poli….



Lakefront 6-7-26

Ah, the Milwaukee Lakefront. I’ve had a love affair with it for as long as I can remember. Coming ‘down to the lakefront’ was always a treat – even before it was as pretty as it is now. It was actually designed by Frederick Law Olmsted along with 3 other Milwaukee Parks, something I didn’t know until I moved away.

But I remember hanging out here as a teenager (in my wasted youth :)). I’d come down here with my buddies and we’d walk or nap on the hill (gone now – there used to be a big hill and grassy area where that beautiful white winged building is located). Then I went to Arizona for college. No lakefront there… But I made due in the desert for a while – like 4 years.

I moved back to Milwaukee in the mid 70’s and my lakefront had changed a lot. To preserve the shoreline they dumped a whole lotta fill to create more land, creating most of Veteran’s Park and extending Lake Park to the east. Most of it was still mud at the time, but it grew slowly into the area that you see now. As I spent the next 20 or so years in Milwaukee, hanging out at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Summerfest grounds and Lake Park I was always restored by the water and the waves.

But in 2000 I moved again, this time to Upstate New York – to Saratoga Springs to work at the Quad/Graphics plant – and I loved it there. Instead of my lake I now had mountains to explore. The Adirondacks, the Greens, the Berkshires – I was surrounded by mountains. Every weekend I was off – to Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire. Need a lift from New Haven to Boston? No problem! Stuck at Logan and need to get to Manchester, New Hampshire? Be there in a couple hours. If my friends and family were anywhere in the northeast I was always ready and willing to drive off to adventure.

But I got to missing those friends and family. After moving away from Saratoga Springs to Rome, NY I lost touch with a lot of my friends there. When I moved back to Troy it was too far from Saratoga to do more than hang out on a weekend and, by now most of them were too busy. Life had caught up. I still toddled off to Vermont at every opportunity (my apartment was 28 miles from Bennington), but now went alone. I still met Steve in Boston every year and we’d hang out for a couple wonderful days, but then it would be back to Troy and alone. It started to wear on me. Fact is, I’m not getting any younger.

So I came back to Milwaukee again. This time after 12 years away – and you can’t even imagine the changes this time. I felt (and still feel) like I’m in some sort of strange time warp. The streets still have the same names, but they don’t look like they did. Whole neighborhoods that I remembered one way are now completely changed. And again I refer to that white winged building above – the Calatrava or, it’s official name The Quadracci Pavilion. Wow! I was blown away. And next to it the Discovery museum, the surrounding park with fountains and the bridge to Downtown Milwaukee. Who would have thought that all this beauty would be built here? In Milwaukee?? Now, before you look at me askance – Milwaukee has always had a world class art scene: one of the better modern art collections, world class orchestra, chorus and opera company. Lots of galleries. But now to have all this as well? Wow… just… wow.

Definitely time to get reacquainted.