Monday, July 28, 2014

Happy Birthday Mommy!

Yesterday, we celebrated Mommy’s birthday.  It’s been all the buzz around these parts, “Mommy’s sixty!”  “Mommy’s turning sixty?!”  “Can you believe Mommy’s sixty?!”  But it didn’t really hit me until we were sitting at her birthday dinner and I saw the front of the card Munchkinhead made her.  “Happy 60th Birthday Mother.”

The numbers looked big and scary.  60?  I feel like I remember when my grandparents turned 60.  Maybe I do, maybe I don’t really, but it’s a number I associate with a certain image that Mommy doesn’t fit at all.  The math may say 60, but the fun factor is still stuck at 32, or at least somewhere in the 30s.

Just the other day, Mommy and I were in the pool pretending our floaty rafts were bumper cars and crashing into each other.  Old people tell me all the time, “when I was younger, I used to wear shoes like you; when you’re older you’ll be stuck in ugly shoes like mine.”  But Mommy’s shoes are still as fun as mine, so she can’t be old.

We had a fun evening out on for her birthday.  First, we all went to Cafe Centraal for birthday dinner.  Minus the less-than-stellar surprise live music, it was quite fun.  Munchkinhead was the designated driver and drove Daddy’s car.  Daddy called dibs on the front seat even though it was Mommy’s birthday and Mommy let him take it.  She, RonnyLew and I squeezed into the back.  And I do mean squeezed.  Munchkinhead dropped everyone off near the door and I took over the wheel for parking just in case parallel parking was required.  After dinner, we took Daddy home and went to Leon’s for frozen custard.  Yum!

I’m guessing Mommy finished the evening in her sewing room. That may sound like an old-people thing to do, but she’s been spending evenings in her sewing room since I was a little girl, so it’s not.

Mommy on her birthday

Happy Birthday Mommy!  This one’s for you.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Adventures with Ivory and Munchkinhead: Harley Museum

Back near the start of summer (when it was still cold), Milwaukee had a gallery night in which downtown galleries and museums were open for free to the public, including the Harley Davidson museum.  Munchkinhead and I didn’t actually know it was gallery night, we just knew the Harley museum was free that evening.  We both love Harleys – I mean, we are from Milwaukee – so we headed down to check it out.

The museum was really neat!  Munchkinhead had been to the Harley museum before, so she was sort of my tour guide.  We started upstairs, looking at the history of the company.  I was spent a bunch of time reading the old incorporation documents and board meeting minutes and such.  Munchkinhead liked the old pictures and history of how the bikes had changed.

We learned some neat stuff looking at the wall of gas tanks.  Neither of us realized AMF – as in the bowling company – had bought Harley at one point, or the fight that was put up to buy it back.  I also learned that Harleys used to be the racing bikes.  That surprised me a lot.  Munchkinhead already knew this because she’d seen the exhibit before.

There was a photo gallery that featured some pretty crazy people riding all over the place.  And an ears-on exhibit where you could test your knowledge of the classic Harley sound.  Telling a weedwacker from a Harley was easy; telling a crotch rocket from a Harley wasn’t too hard, but trying to tell one Harley engine from another, I had no idea.

Of course, the best part of the museum was the seats-on part where we could sit on different Harleys.

Munchkinhead like the army bike, of course.


Katrina on army bike (2)

And then she made me get on the scooter because she thought it went well with my outfit.

me on scooter (1)

There was also a stick-your-head-here place where you could pretend to be Evel Knievel.  The giant face-less photo had a platform behind it that made it rather difficult for me to be Evel.

Aurelia attempting to be Evel (1)


I still tried though.Aurelia attempting to be Evel (3)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Adventures with Ivory: SBW AMC

SB whata what?  Last month,  I attended my first ever State Bar of Wisconsin Annual Meeting and Conference.  The hashtag for the event was #SBWamc.  I’ve been to a couple smaller WI Bar events, but this was my first big one.  It was fabulous!

I had no idea that there hasn’t been a State Bar of Wisconsin Annual Meeting for the past 7 or 8 years.  If people there hadn’t told me, I wouldn’t have guessed it either.  Everything went smoothly, the educational programs were great, the logistics appeared flawless (which means several somebodies behind the scenes were working their tail feathers off), and the extra stuff was fun and inclusive.

WP_20140625_002 The first night, the new president of the State Bar was sworn in.  The MC for the night – Mike McCarthy.  Alfred was jealous.  I was less enthusiastic than she would have been about trying to get a picture, but I did get this one almost decent one for her.  The swear in event was fun and by the time Coach got done introducing the new President, I felt like the State Bar was headed for greatness.

One of my favorite parts of WI Bar events is the passport game.  WP_20140630_001When you check-in, you get a little passport card that lists all the vendors at the event.  Your task is to visit each of the vendors and have them sign off on the passport.  When your passport’s full, you put it in a fishbowl at the Bar’s booth for a drawing.  I didn’t win a drawing prize this time, but I did win one at a previous program.  I love the passport event because it’s a good excuse to visit all the vendors and learn about lots of neat products and opportunities.  You can also pick up some pretty swanky swag, like a sewing and manicure kit!

The State Bar of Wisconsin has an excellent Twitter account.  Wisconsin isn’t exactly known for being tech savvy as a state, but man did the Bar do a great job of using Twitter at the event.  The attorneys are a little behind in terms of this tech stuff, so the Bar offered encouragement and promoted the use of social media throughout the program.  Attendees were given the hashtag ahead of time and anyone who tweeted with the hashtag 3 or more times during the conference was entered into a drawing.  There was a large monitor in the main hallway, near the snacky-snacks, that showed the hashtag feed.  There was also a Selfie-Twitter game with Jellybean, the Bar’s cow mascot at one of the parties.

Jellybean is by far my favorite thing about the State Bar here.  I just love the way Wisconsinites embrace our stereotypes – like the whole Cheeshead thing.  The cow is on the State Bar website, the cow is on programs, the cow is on a stick for selfies, and the cow is available to take home!

My favorite swag from the event:

wisbar cows

Those little foam guys are my absolute favorite.  Mommy named mine Schlai.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fireworks Blanket

16 skeins. 16 skeins of yarn.  Does it sound like a lot?  It certainly feels like a lot.  That’s how much yarn went into my new fireworks blanket.  16 skeins of Red Heart Vivid in Neon Mix. It’s a super bulky yarn that comes in only 39yd skeins (compared with your standard 100-200 for less bulky yarns).  No wonder it took so many skeins.

I picked up a few skeins of this yarn back when I was living in Cali.  I thought it was really fun and wanted to make a tube-top out of it.  I tried that, on size 8 needles – ouch my fingers.  It didn’t really work.  I tried some other things with it, used some to make a card hanger for our Christmas cards, and finally decided it would be best put to use as a large, thick blanket for laying on the grass to watch the fireworks.

fireworks blanket (1) Because this variegated yarn changes colors quickly, garter stitch looked messy.  I decided to go with a nice stockinet stitch,  giving my blanket a front and a back. 

fireworks blanket (3)However, I didn’t want the sides to curl, so I did four stitches of garter stitch on each side.  It gave the blanket a nice-side border.  The top and bottom roll didn’t bother me that much.

I also found out partway through that I was purling wrong!  I was wrapping the yarn around in such away that I was actually purling twisted stitches. You can see that in the picture above.  Once Mommy pointed that out to me, I switched to doing it correctly.  Neat to know for anytime I want to purposely purl twisted stitches.

The nice thing about super bulky yarn is that it knits super fast.  My fireworks blanket took about a month to knit and came out fabulous. Munchkinhead and I enjoyed sitting on to watch the fireworks this Fourth of July.  It sort of glows in the dusk.



Monday, July 14, 2014

Adventures with Ivory: Back in the Ville

The Annual Returned Peace Corps Volunteer meeting was going to be held at Vanderbilt.  How could I not go?!

So I called up my friend MattE who had been asking me to come visit him in Nashville.  (He’s currently working on his 3rd Vanderbilt degree, a PhD in Political Science to go with his Masters of Divinity and his law degree.)  It was the perfect trio – MattE, Peace Corps, Vandy.

So I got in Betty and we headed down, and down, and down, until we arrived late Wednesday night, hot, sticky and smiling at Cafe Cocoa where MattE and his friends were gathered.

During the day, I went to the Peace Corps events and got to meet up with some people at the law school that I like to say hi to when I’m in town.  MattE and I were able to hang out in the afternoons and evenings.  He showed me all the changes that have happened in East Nashville – it’s going from ghetto to Hipster-ville a block or so at a time.  We went to a number of restaurants, ones I’d been to when I lived there and ones that were knew to me.  And he introduced me to the girl he liked, who was his girlfriend by the time I left. ;)

MattE just bought a house a few weeks before I came down.  It’s super cute, and he has it really well setup.  It doesn’t look like a bachelor’s pad at all.  It even has a library with patio doors that go out onto a deck, and a very nice guest room with an antique bed he and friend assembled.

The Peace Corps events were fun, too.  I found a friend from Cali, the president of the NorCal RPCV group, and we were able to hang out a bit.  He introduced me to some other RPCVs he knows, one runs a chocolate company based in Madagascar.  Neat.  I met lots of other RPCVs over the weekend, including some that served in Nigeria.  It was interesting to talk with them because they served in the 60s.  The city I lived in in Nigeria wasn’t even built until the 90s.

I also met some recently returned volunteers from Zambia!  I know Zambia’s changed a lot in the past ten years; that much I can tell from Twitter.  It sounds like the program I was part of in the Peace Corps has also changed a lot.

Overall, Nashville was a great trip.  I had a lot of fun, enjoyed beautiful weather, saw old friends from different areas of life and picked up a present for Mzzzz Jones’ expected little one.  I also found out about some opportunities to go back to Africa in an IP context…