Category Archives: Wisconsin Weather

I’m Still Standing

Mostly meant to reassure those of you that know where I live and know that a tornado hit my city yesterday, that all is well with us. The tornado hit just a mile away, where my husband’s business is (it has minimal damage, though the garage next door was demolished and the debris piled four feet high against the back door of his business, so that the door couldn’t be opened; still, just dents and missing shingles, seemingly). Our house creaked and thumped somewhat alarmingly from our basement perspective, but nothing except branches down. Despite many trees down and some relocated, and a lot of property damage, no serious injuries, thankfully. (My heart goes out to those in Joplin, MO.)

Right after the storm:

and an hour later.

(If you are interested in seeing storm photos, you can see the local newspaper’s photo gallery here.)

Although this post’s title is meant to say that we, and our house, and my husband’s business, and our little Japanese maple, are all still standing, it’s also very apropos in that earlier this month, I finally got to see Elton John perform, and indeed perform that very song. After his concert here had been cancelled by more freak weather, our late April snowstorm.

It was a great concert, and well worth the wait.

Still standing, indeed. Almost three hours of non-stop performing, in his mid-60s — wow. A performer, indeed.

Me? Besides still standing, I’m still knitting. More soon.

Snowflakes that stick…

to your nose and eyelashes, and your daffodils and your hair, and your car….


Yes, another weather post. My next post was going to be about Sock Camp and its prelude, but instead Mother Nature got a wild hair and dumped this on us yesterday.

April 19th. Give me a break. Please!

And….sadly, last night I and my two daughters had tickets to go see Elton John, right here in our home town. But the concert was cancelled due to the weather (as were many other events around town; in the afternoon, when his plane would have been landing and some would have been traveling, the snow was coming down thick and fast).

Boo! As some of my friends said, better a concert cancellation than that La Crosse become Elton John’s Clear Lake….

If there is a bright side to all this (besides the fact, which I am somewhat unwilling to admit, that it was pretty and will go away fairly quickly), it is that the snow allowed the RockStar to wear her new mittens again!

(Not actually taken yesterday but during a previous spring snow!)

Yes, I finally finished the Winter of Peace and Love mittens. Technically after the first day of spring. Though you can see how well THAT worked out.

The RockStar approves.


Of Hail, Snow, Flood, and Lethal Creatures

Doomy doom doom….

Or perhaps not as bad as it sounds.  Wisconsin weather, with a bit of knitting and travel thrown in!

I’ve been mentally working on Sock Camp posts, but at the same time physically fighting off a nasty respiratory virus, which has caused all my energy to go to trying to turn my lungs inside out.  Lots of medicine and time later, I am definitely on the mend, so take up laptop to try to begin to chronicle.  But first, since my last post, lots has happened here!

I had mentioned that storms were predicted soon in my last post, and indeed, the girls got to hear tornado sirens and head into the basement, for just about the first time that they remember doing so (the RockStar does have vague memories of her toddler tornado warning trip to the basement).  One advantage of a laptop and smartphone: one can keep track of the National Weather Service’s updates on what’s going on, as the winds whip up and the lightning crashes and the hail rattles down.

Ah, the hail.

The hailstone going in the freezer

Have a hailstone (or two, or five)

Our garage is a storage area, and my (new) car was thus parked outside, so I winced in the basement as I heard that hail crashing and bouncing and pictured my car in its sights. Amazingly, it’s almost impossible to see the couple areas where the body is ever so slightly rippled. Everything else except my daffodils was fine. I certainly know people who didn’t fare as well, with broken house windows and damaged siding. But no tornado activity was noted in the area (though one had been apparently spotted to our southeast). Thus the area lives up to its reputation and the legendary Native American saying, that no tornado will hit where three rivers meet….

The weather continued bad, but not that bad, through the rest of the week, and I certainly felt bad. Then yesterday, as I started to feel as though I was going to make it, I woke up to this Saturday Sky:

which had already dumped this:

The robins were not amused, let me tell you.

unhappy robin

After I got over my own disgruntlement and worked yesterday, I stopped down by the Mississippi River, which is cresting well into flood stage right about now. Though the snow melted later yesterday, the weather continued blustery, with a cold north wind hurrying the flood waters along.

No viewing the river from THAT viewing platform today.

These rubberneckers were also checking the flood out.

(To give you an idea of the river’s rise, here they also are in happier times two years ago. The brick walkway goes perhaps four or five feet below the river watchers, and the river is some feet below the edge of the walkway.)

waving at sunset

In this picture, you can see the ramp down to the walkway….or part of it, anyway.

Another comparison:

a view downriver a month ago, when the river was already rather high.

and the same view yesterday, with the same trees.

(Fortunately, our cold spring has caused the water level to not be nearly as high as it could have been, thus flooding has been manageable. Also, because my city has preserved the flood plains (they are primarily parks) and some wetlands to soak up the floodwaters, it tends to do better during floods than other communities on the river. Thankfully.)

All of this snow and hail and flood made me remember my time in the Pacific Northwest with fondness….even if it was typical spring weather there (cloudy, cool, on and off rain), or perhaps even more rain than typical. At least there was no snow, or hail, or flooding….

There were lethal creatures, granted. But that was kind of my own fault.


You see, this year’s Sock Camp was called “Camp Jabberwonky”, with an Alice in Wonderland theme. There is always homework; and this year’s was to knit a Jabberwonky. Not a Jabberwocky, mind you, but a Jabberwonky. Details here.

After seeing an old photo of my half-stuffed mermaid (homework from two years ago): I had an idea. I would knit a headless Jabberwonky, after the victorious knitter has beheaded it! Complete with gore….

This required dyeing wool top for the gore (I had some that had proved not so good for spinning, due to still having suint — sheep sweat — in it). It seemed to turn out well!

Simultaneously, I cast on with some Socks that Rock and knit a somewhat fearsome creature (with a picot-edge neck). And was, of course, still working on it when I arrived in Seattle the day before Sock Camp started, to visit my friend Astrid and her husband Greg. In between Astrid’s taking me to see the Nick Cave exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum, and an excellent lunch and equally excellent dinner, I knit away. And talked. Astrid being a knitter (and dyer) totally understood and kept me company by knitting herself as we talked; her husband is rather used to it, and accepted Jabberwonk-knitting unflappably! Also, Astrid had some awesome ideas for finishing strategies, and invaluably, had SUPPLIES! (Florists’ wire works better than pipe cleaners. Just FYI.)

On our ferry trip over to Bainbridge island the next day, the last bit of stuffing was stuffed, and my Jabberwonky was complete.

I can’t really say that Jabberwonky enjoyed the sights as we crossed Puget Sound to Bainbridge, since he’s headless and presumably can’t see; but I have to think he enjoyed the fresh air! Or something.

The Blink of an Eye

Saturday Sky

Sunday Sky

(If you’ve spent any time in a Midwestern winter, you know that particular look to a winter sky means it’s brisk.  Not to say, frigid.)

And the annual Nutcracker Ballet is done, just like that, in the blink of an eye.

That Saturday Sky meant logistical problems for Saturday’s Nutcracker audience.  In my family, my aunt, my cousin and her family, and my father-in-law all had to (separately) cancel.  Darn!  Well, there’s always the DVD that will be made, I guess.

I could not take pictures during the performance, of course, but here are some dancer photos from Saturday, when we saw the ballet:

My teenage RockStar is on the right as a Reed Pipe (aka Flute Dance) dancer, here with one of her friends who danced in the Chinese variation.  She was also in Waltz of the Flowers, here posing for a picture with a fellow flower:

Flower & Reed Pipe 2

And, as you know from a prior post, she was a Snowflake. The Snowflakes and their queen were on the front page of the local paper!

The Gothlet took her bows as a Rat: here at rehearsal, with an askew ear (later fixed)

and below talking to her adoring public (i.e. old friends) after the show.

And as a girl in the party scene before the Battle, she needed ringlets.  Lots and lots of ringlets.

Beauty is pain

(actually, the foam rollers aren’t too bad, mostly a pain in the BUTT to put in and take out in a ringletty fashion)

but the results were grand, and very boingy!

Despite being still convalescent, the Gothlet pulled through and performed very well.  She was exhausted afterwards, though.

It was a quiet day yesterday, post-Nutcracker.

Well, other than shoveling out from the blizzard (no hyperbole, it really was an official blizzard by Saturday evening)…

Not that I didn’t do my share — I shoveled those steps twice the day before, and a good part of them the last time also — but may I say that child labor does rock big time.

First Snow

Yes, we had those flurries before….but yesterday, Saturday morning, I awoke to the first real snow of the season.

The Saturday sky started out cloudy, as it continued to snow in the morning, and then gradually cleared up as we dug out.

I had snow on my lap inside the house, too.

No, no roof emergency, nor open windows.

This snow.

My older daughter, The RockStar, is in the corps de ballet in the Snow scene in the Nutcracker ballet this year.  (Yes, ’tis Nutcracker time again.  The performance is next weekend.) She volunteered me  — when I was not there — to sew her Snow tutu.  I needed to hem the bodice and sew it to the skirt, then fit the bodice to her and sew alternating hooks and eyes.  I haven’t really sewn since middle school, and my teenager doesn’t sew at all, more than sewing ribbons and elastics on her ballet shoes.

Mom?  I’m  sorry about that Madrigal singers dress with the train that I volunteered you to hem in high school.

Really sorry.

Emerging O’ The Green

Finally this weekend, on the crest of a tropical above-freezing-all-the-time heat wave, I saw my first bulb emerging.


A week or two late; so very welcome.

Now, only three days later, just like the robins, suddenly my early bulbs are all emerging at once.  I may have forgotten to put on green this morning for St. Patrick’s Day (shame on me! and I’m even Irish!), but my garden was trying its best.


(These are daffodils at the other end of the garden this afternoon.)

Spring IS coming!  It will not be winter forever!  The weather has been amazing for a few days: April weather, so we can’t get too used to it, but once again: very welcome.

I took advantage of the nice weather and a knitting-related invitation from my friend Deb to drive up to the Twin Cities last weekend.  (Which is why I’ve been offline: I worked Saturday, was in the Cities Sunday, and then work’s been busy the last two days.)  Deb told me that the Minnesota Knitters’ Guild (how DID they get that web address?! someone was an early adopter of the internet!) was sponsoring a Knit-In at the American Swedish Institute in continued celebration of their Bohus Knitting exhibit, Radiant Knits.   I missed the opening due to a work conflict, so wanted to see the exhibit before it closed, and this was about my only chance.  Plus, I got to sit and knit as the prime activity.  Always a bonus.

So I drove up late Saturday (incredible Saturday Skies, BTW, but time is short — I’ll show you those another time), stayed with my brother and his wife in South Minneapolis (where I saw these somewhat confusing signs:


all the goofy signs I see in Minneapolis seem to be around their house!)  Sorry for the blurry picture.  I was at a red light, and just as I pulled my camera out, it turned green.  I didn’t think Minneapolis drivers would appreciate waiting while I took a good photo….

Then I had brunch with my good friends, whom I see too seldom, at the Bad Waitress Cafe in Minneapolis, not far from the Swedish Institute.  Yum.

Off to the American Swedish Institute, then,


to see the exhibit, which was amazing. Photographs weren’t allowed in the museum, but through the front door, you can see a couple Bohus sweaters in the case just inside.


The exhibit signs said something like, “Please resist the urge to touch”, but I practically had to put my hands in my pockets; when you see a gorgeous angora blend vintage sweater, the hand starts to reach out….I was extremely good, though.  And I visited the museum shop (candy for the girls, and a couple small Bohus kits may have followed me home too), and then Deb joined me and we knit for the rest of the afternoon in the cupola you saw above.


Here ’tis from the inside, filled with knitters.

cupola-2 cupola-1

It was great fun to knit, catch up with Deb, and meet wonderful knitters.  I finished Gothlet Gauntlet number 1


(here on the delighted recipient herself: see, it does fit her too, not just me!)

and knit on two other projects, mostly on one, which I realize I haven’t shown you yet.   (Then drove home.)

I think those new knitting projects are a story for another day, as are the Saturday Skies.  Because it’s past my bedtime.  No Irish beer for me today.  But Happy St. Patrick’s Day anyway!

And Up With Green!

A Letter to the Month Of March

Dear March:

I understand the rain changing to ice changing to snow last weekend,


and I completely accept the unforecast snow that happened the night before last.

It’s March in Wisconsin.  That’s normal.


But – 22 degree F wind chill yesterday?

That is just so not right.

No wonder my crocuses are still underground.  Wise flowers.

Silly Robins

Silly Robins.  I could have told you that it’s not spring yet.


I hope your feet aren’t too cold; all your perches are solid ice right now.


It’s a good thing that there aren’t too many buds out yet, because the rain that froze that preceded the snow is a lot worse for budding plants than snow itself is.


Although I had to go places today (and get up outrageously early to do so, let alone it being a Sunday), it’s a very good day to stay home and knit.  (Though I chose to go one place — a book club a friend is starting — and, of course, I knit there.)

Here are my current knitting bag choices:

A pair of fingerless gloves for a coworker with a significant birthday (she has horses and big dogs, so I think she’ll find fingerless mitts practical; they are, of course, superwash wool).


More Twisted yarn in the Valkyrie colorway, Playful yarn base (high twist, heavy fingering weight or light sport weight superwash merino wool yarn).  I’m trying (again) the two socks (okay, mitts) at a time thing.  I’ve done it before, and drove myself crazy with yarn tangling.  I started out this pair of mitts with Magic Looping, but just don’t care for that technique as much.  So I went to two socks on two circs mid-project.  Has its own pros and cons, but it’s a bit faster for me.  Since this picture was taken this morning, I’ve knit almost to the ribbing of the hand after increasing then dividing off the thumb gusset stitches (on waste yarn right now, waiting to be picked up).

The Gothlet Gauntlets from Rainy Days, Wooly Dogs.


These are being made for my younger daughter, the Gothlet, and tomorrow I’ll tell you more about how I’m designing them (I’m a little proud about it, but you can’t see what I’m proud about in the picture).  Isn’t the yarn great?

Third, I’ve started a pair of Cookie A socks, Thelonious.  This is for a Ravelry Knitalong (KAL).  The preliminary progress picture is awful, so I think I’ll wait to show and tell you more until I’m a little further along.

I hope you all had some knitting time today (and that your weather was more spring-like!).


Spring Tease Saturday

The robins all suddenly appeared today.



Saturday Sky with Robin on Roof.


They all decided at once that it was time to join their foolish, if hardy, robin buddies who spent the winter up North (and what a winter to decide to do that, hmm?).

There was another sign of spring, if I looked closely:


Buds on the neighbor’s lilac bushes!

No crocuses yet, and no other buds that I can really see.

A sullenly cold and cloudy day, that started out below freezing


ended with a lovely sunset.



I’m just putting my fingers in my ears and pretending I didn’t hear the forecast for 2-4 inches of snow tomorrow.  Lalalalala!

Playing Catch-Up

As usual.

Busy weekend…work, and then the Gothlet had her First Communion.

veronica-lake-has-first-com goths-dont-smile

And Beya the kitten-cat seems to be a little older than we thought, just small for her age.  Why do I say this?   Well, we were going to take her in soon to be spayed.  Now, it will be sooner.  She went into heat this weekend.

i-demand-that-you-do-someth hey-big-boy

Mrraawwwwrrrr.  Mrraaaawwwwwwwrrrr.  Again and again and again.  (Citrus doesn’t care in any meaningful way.)  Sigh.  She now has a preop appt in 2 days, and a date with destiny next Monday.

Maybe her frustrations are why I found this the other day:


Those are imported handmade porcelain Fu Dogs that I bought from an art gallery.  The kitten is SO lucky the female Fu Dog fell in such a way as to get lodged and not break.  I see now she’s also messed up the speaker wire and is in danger of pulling the lamp down.  Sigh.


Well, a couple other things to tell you about (other than Madrona!).

One is, this wonderful swap package that I got from Carrie early last week:


(Beya of course had to check it out too.  She apparently knew there was something for her in there also!  See the blue tin just below?  “Fish Out Of Water” fishy treats!)


This was a part of the Knitters’ Coffee Swap Four.  Oh, the nummy things.

Raspberry and Orange Creme Sticks (mmm, perfect with dark roast coffee); Nikki’s English Toffee Chocolate Confection (English Toffee is one of my all-time favorite flavors); cute little Reese’s Whipps (Reese’s being the other all-time favorite flavor!! How did Carrie know?!); a Daelman’s jumbo caramel wafer, yum; and Lady Walton’s Creamy Dark Chocolate-Filled Wafer Cookies. And the coffee to drink it with: Italian Roast, WorldMarket House Blend (I don’t have a World Market close, but my sister-in-law loves the one near her), and oh, boy, Vanilla Macadamia Nut Kona!!

Then the non-edible treats: a Creative Knitting I don’t have, a little cookbook with ideas for dried fruits, fun stickers, cool reproductions of vintage cigar box labels (the top one says, simply, Hand Made!), and these gorgeous stitch markers:


The perfect accent for THIS lovely, elegant, soft yarn:

Noro Maiko, 35% wool, 30% kid mohair, 35% silk; nicely soft, looks like fingering to sport weight; should make a lovely lacy scarf, I think!  Not only do I not have any of this yarn, I had not yet even heard of it, so I am lovin’ it!


Wow!  Thanks again, Carrie!


Here’s Saturday a-week-ago’s Snowy Saturday Sky — entirely forgettable.


This last Saturday’s Sky was rather prettier.


Though it would be so much prettier if it didn’t have the grrrrrr power line that cuts right across the back yard.  And there are similar lines going across our view in the front.   Grrrrrr!

I played around briefly and Photoshopped out the most obtrusive part of the power line.  Ah, that’s better.


In between, however, we had some obnoxious weather, which I realize much of the south and east have just experienced their own version of (so I’m not looking for any sympathy, just sharing pictures).  We were right on the edge of the temperature shift, so it started out as a couple hours of rain; then turned into slush falling from the sky, then little balls of ice.


Then to heavy snow, a white-out for about an hour.   But then it stopped.


At which point, all the rain had frozen hard under the snow, of course.  But it was mostly slushy, so not glare ice (hard on the walking, though).

Still cold, but they’re promising a warm-up soon.  The wind chills have been subzero F every morning, so I’ll believe it when I feel it.

Onto more cheerful matters.


I have been knitting!  I finished a stealth project.  If you are in my family and your birthday is this spring, don’t follow this Ravelry link.

Having finished that, I cast on for Cookie A’s Thelonious Socks (it’s a KAL for The Loopy Ewe Spring Flingers) with this wonderful yarn.


The yarn is on the busy side for the pattern, true, but I decided in my head the little flecks of color would be like jazz notes punctuating the sock.  (I chose the yarn because the dyer is also going to be at the Fling, and the yarn was in my stash.)  I cast on yesterday; looks like not much so far, despite the fact that I’ve knit a fair amount.  But you can’t really see the pattern yet.


A little easier mentally is the other project I just started, Gauntlets for the Gothlet out of Gothsocks yarn.

(That’s a lot of Gs.)

Loving this yarn in a big way.


I’ll tell you about how I’m designing this in a later post.  But wanted to show the dyer’s work.  Gorgeous.

Though one of these projects is a somewhat complicated chart project, and the other simple knitting, I realized last night that they’re both on size 0s (2 mm needles).  My hands are complaining after knitting through two movies; my girls wanted to watch “Hercules” for nostalgia’s sake, and then my husband wanted to watch “Local Hero”, I think ditto.  I usually don’t get that much sitting and knitting time; it was great, except my thumb and fingers are requesting a project on needles at least double the thickness….

Hmm, a BSJ (Baby Surprise Jacket) may be happening soon.  That would be a pleasant break in DK-weight yarn.  Or my sportweight yarn from Madrona may arrive that I’m planning to make a red shawl from!  But I think my fingers may secede from the union if I don’t placate them by switching up a bit.  (Or maybe the oh-so-warm tropical 40 degree F weather they’re promising later this week will help!  One can always hope!)