Saturday, December 31, 2011

And Here's What Day 1 of My New Year Will Look Like

Happy New Year!

It's almost 2012, or as close to New Year's as I'm likely to get, anyway.  Katie & Pia invited me to go to the casino to celebrate, but I'm coming down with a cold so had to take a pass.  If you win a huge jackpot, share it okay?

It's been a good year, nothing super exciting but I'm fine with that.  I'm ready to re-start on Weight Watchers along with every other fat person in the world.  So that's my New Year's resolution, along with working exercise into my daily routine.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Two More Awesome Gifts

I forgot to highlight these two Xmas gifts:

"Men of science will be pleased with this expose of one of nature's deepest secrets - whales are real blowholes and the fact remains that they're hurling insults around down there like you wouldn't believe."

And this perfect wall hanging from Pia:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Pia is watching "Top Chef All-Stars" being judged by Paula Deen.

I just heard her go gaga over one chef's creation:


God.  That is my perfect storm of horrifying food.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Year of Weldon's

My blog for my 2012 "Year of Weldon's Practical Needlework" is all set up and ready to go! 

I couldn't come up with a catchier name for the blog, but am still open for ideas if anyone has something better.  I'm hoping that my more talented children will assist me with both the blog design (it's pretty basic right now) and with photographing my projects -- I promise NO CELL PHONE PIX on this baby.  I'll start knitting/blogging January 1st, so I'm madly trying to finish all my current projects before then.

Come Jan. 1, I'm off to the 1800s to knit all kinds of practical AND insanely Victorian items!  Hope you will join me!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

So Cute!

I knit these sweaters several years ago for the boys, who have since outgrown them.  But Lorraine dressed Mikey and his Aussie cousins Ines and Juliette in the sweaters this morning.  Awww, so cute!


I'm having such a lovely Christmas morning!  Although the Virginians are not here, we did "facetime" chat with them and we are planning our 2012 Christmas vacation somewhere warm...

Here are some pix of gifts I got:
 Cara & Tony sent me a super cute purse (my favorite red!), a new wallet which I sorely needed, and these kind of creepy yoga toe socks.  Which may be the best gift ever as they have gripper soles --- broken arm prevention!
 Pia knit this darling hat for me!  AND gave me a Nook, which I'm very excited about!  Even though I swore I wouldn't ever succumb to the e-reader.  I take it back after several airplane rides lugging heavy books.
 Christmas Joan!  Lulu got an adorable stocking knit by her mama full of goodies
And here's the darling Christmas Stocking Katie knit for me, I love it!  I'm so excited that these girls are knitters, someone to share my favorite pastime.  Plus, she gave me a beautiful Vera Bradley knitting bag.

Hope you all are having a lovely holiday!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ho Ho Holder!

Our Santa Christmas Card Holder is done!  He's a cute fella.  Very nice project!

Happy Holidays from the Sundstrom Kids

The Kids (1954-55), Susie, Raymie, Judy, Baby Laurie and Joey Love.

My Baby Tony

This is my baby.  Must have been on Easter, I think I spot a little chocolate bunny drool...

Here are my favorite things about Baby Tony:

  1. Mr. Photosensitive ALWAYS.  There is no picture of my little man taken outdoors where he is not painfully squinting into the light.
  2. Round head, round eyes, round everything.  So cute.
  3. Smelled like HOT DIRT when you sniffed his head.  Megan, get ready for this delightful boy perfume.  It's the best.
  4. Did NOT like to have anything unbuttoned.  Ever. Always had the shirt buttoned up to the top button. If he could also have long sleeves, so much the better.
  5. Favorite activity: lining up his Little Cars down our long hallway.  In a VERY straight line.  And had a hissy fit if you messed up his line in any way.
  6. Second favorite activity: helping his dad at the shop.  Or following around our handyman Virgil, his idol.
  7. Enjoyed getting his hair cut at Sandy's Barber Shop.  Which still exists and has a chair waiting for him.
  8. Once had to get a hep shot (along with me and his dad) when we ate lunch at Burger King.  Which then announced that one of their employees had the hep.
  9. Probably lofted more "granny shots" at the Saint George's Gym than any other kid except Pat Thomas
  10. Totally beaned Marguerite with that pop can.
  11. Loved soccer from age 5 to his state championship winning penalty shot his senior year.
  12. Tolerated his mother's love of baseball, by gamely playing on a lame youth sports team every year.  Go Waffles Plus Warriors!
  13. Is the best son and brother ever.  Love you like sixty Baby Tony!

Happy Birthday Baby Tony!

 Not unlike Baby Jesus, Tony made his entry into this world on a chilly December morning.  28 (right?) years ago.  ETA: He is 29, god! Cannot believe my baby boy is so grown up.

I will post some baby pix later on today, right now I'm too lazy to go look for them.

I will also regale you with some of the endearing qualities and stories about our boy Pooh Bear.

Meantime, happy birthday, Tonsy!  Wish you were not so darn far away :-(

Santa's Delivery Service Update

The missing boxes of presents have made their way to Maryland.  So there may be presents under the Virginians' tree from me.  And I don't have to go raise hell at the Manito post office after all.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hoo Boy

So this little scenario at left is what we (my dear sisters and I) sort of dreamed would await our mom in the lovely assisted living home we were determined to find for her.  The perfect place, that she would just love and would happily spend her days with delightful people, doing fun senior citizen-y type things.

And truly, we want Mom to be happy in a safe and pleasant environment.  However, Mom is determined to not cooperate in making our  little dream come true :-)

We knew that she would resist moving to assisted living with every ounce of her 80 pound body.  She doesn't like old people, she doesn't like people who use walkers or wheelchairs, she doesn't like noise or clutter or change.  She also doesn't like small children or the British, but we were pretty sure we could find a place that didn't have either of those two types.  The other stuff, that was going to be a challenge.

Several of us checked out some places, in her preferred location and we liked what we saw.  One was brand new, with immaculate grounds and a lovely uncluttered living space for her.  The other was perhaps a little more "chaotic" but a block from her old home in Bothell, run by old family friends, homey and with lots of activity and life.  Great!  Two options!  Which would Mom prefer?

Jamie did a super sales pitch, suggesting that Mom would be happier living closer to her kids, in a lovely place and not alone.  Mom agreed!  She was super enthusiastic.  Until she actually went to see the potential homes.  THEN the fur bristled.  Mom is convinced she is perfectly fine in her home and living independently with no problems.  Which she is NOT.  Poor Jamie got the business and finally had to put her foot down.  Mom wasn't actually going to get a choice in the matter, she IS moving.  Which went over like a ton of bricks, as you can imagine. 

It's so sad to see the effects of dementia on someone who has lived a busy, creative life.  And who is no longer able to do any of the things she used to enjoy.  It's also difficult to make a life choice for your mom when she does not understand the need for that life choice.  And is definitely going to be darn feisty about making that life change.

On the plus side, Mom will not be harassed any more by the Shoreline Theft Ring who has been stealing her toothpaste and toothbrush at least 3 times a day for the last month.  So we can be grateful for that :-)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

And THIS is Why the Post Office is In Trubs

I sent two Christmas boxes to the Virginians on DECEMBER 9TH.  And they still aren't there.  In fact, one is still showing as not even logged into the Spokane PO and the second is only as far as Federal Way.

I am NOT happy.  Do the employees keep the boxes until their annual gift exchange and send along the ones they think are crap?  I wonder.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Go Eags!

Mom and I headed over to Issaquah to watch Sam and Aimee (our tall Nordic cousins) play some high school basketball.  Mom stayed interested for all of Sam's game, and I managed to keep her there for the first quarter of Aimee's game.

Kingco doesn't allow 9th graders to play varsity, so Sammy is killing it on the JV.  Very entertaining game, the Eagles stormed back from a 12 point deficit to win by 2!  Both teams were pretty spazzy, Sam's definitely the talent on his team :-)

Not only is Aims a Nordic princess/goddess, she's a very talented athlete.  A junior this year, she is being wooed by quite a few Div 1 schools.  Our pal Jennifer Mountain at Santa Clara has the inside track so far, we are hoping Aimee will go there.  Who doesn't want to go to college at the beach?

Lois doing the hippy hippy shake to the drum line.  LOL, she's always ready for a little bump and grind.  Claire smiles for the camera.

Two very talented athletes who will make their marks on the league!  Watch for them in the paper!


I gotta find some of this Crosby's Molasses.  It seems to have aphrodisiac powers...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Piecework Magazine Update!

Just a quick note that I heard from Piecework magazine, and they want to publish 4 articles on my "year of Weldon's" project!  It doesn't pay a lot, but I'm excited anyway!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ideas Needed!

So my big year-long knitting project is starting January 1st!  And I'm putting together a new blog to document my "Julie & Julia"-ish year of knitting my way through "Weldon's Practical Needlework".  I haven't quite decided if I am going to stick with my original idea of knitting EVERY project in one volume or skipping around among the 12 volumes that Piecework has published and selecting a weekly project.  If I do that, I can avoid having to knit things like "Gentleman's Undershirt" and "Stocking Tops for Golfer" and go straight to the Barrister's Wig and other more fun projects.

My other dilemma is to  come up with a catchy name for my blog. All I have so far is "A Year of Weldon's Practical Needlework".  Not very fabulous.  But will do if I can't come up with something better.

Any ideas?

Back in Seattle Again

Spending a week "mom-sitting" while Lisa enjoys a well-earned vacation in sunny  Florida.

I'm making her go to the Rosalie Wychel Doll Museum, finally someone to accompany me (whether she wants to or not).  Other activities tbd.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

All Is Right With Our World

Katie is home AT LAST.  She has been back east for 10 days or some hideous amount of time.  Lulu has been an absolute wreck, missing her mama like sixty.  I am sure I saw a huge sigh of relief when Katie walked in the door last night.

PS I know you hate this pic, Katie.  Sorry it's the only one I had on my computer :-)

PSS.  She was an amazing knitter on her trip, even visiting yarn stores!  I'm so proud

Monday, December 12, 2011


Thank god for sisters.  I've just spent a large part of the day emailing and talking to my sisters (the good ones, you know who you are) about managing our mom's daily care.

Our brothers?  Useless as tits on a boar.  I'm giving Jon a bit of a pass this time, as he does live out of town.  But then again, so do I.  And I'm heading over to Seattle to take care of mom for a week.  Then will go again in January for an undetermined length of time, till we get mom situated.

SO glad I have sisters!

And hey! did you notice that the Haynes Sisters are wearing the same shade of turquoise as my new sock pattern?  No wonder I loved that yarn!

One More From the Vaults

Seattle Times, January 31, 1936:

"At Our Lady of the Lake Church yesterday noon Miss Lois Irene Giusti, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond L. Giusti, became the bride of Walter Everett Sundstrom, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Herbert Sundstrom.

The bride's gown was of white satin with lace trim and her fingertip veil fell from a halo of lace.  She carried white orchids...the bridesmaids wore gowns of white net over taffeta and carried pink camellias.

Following the ceremony, a wedding breakfast for members of the family was given at the Washington Athletic Club.  Last evening a reception for friends as well as family was given at the WAC."

Love these two lovebirds!  I wonder if Mom's dress is still around?  I remember seeing it in the 70s (it was TINY, I never could have fit into it).  I seem to recall that the dress was one of the few available in postwar Seattle, and had to be altered to fit little Miss Lois.  Am I making that up?

I'll post Toddie & Baba's wedding pic later.  It's adorable.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's Christmas on Tekoa St!

Our tree is up and there are presents under it.  Let the festivities commence.

Our tree has a good collection of new and old ornaments:

Old: "Baby's First Christmas", the sequined Mickey Mouse I made for Pia when she was a baby (it's fugly but traditional), the Santa Claus made in Occupied Japan from Rosaia Bros, two blown egg ornaments Lois made in her crafty years (60s-70s).

New: Lois & Walt's Pawprints, the FUCK ornament (Megan knows what Katie likes!), lots of cute snowmen.

As I was unwrapping ornaments, I discovered the ones Pia gave me a few years ago in THE CIRCUS GENRE.  And we know how I feel about that genre.  They're around the back of the tree

I may finish my Advent Tree ornaments (started 2 years ago, ran out of steam when I got to the not as cute ones), IF I can find the pattern book.  Which I've seen weekly for 2 years but of course cannot find now.

Another Good Movie

I just watched "Buck", and loved it!

Now, I don't ride horses (or even go near them) so I wasn't sure if I was going to like this movie.  But it's amazing.  Buck Brannaman worked with Robert Redford on "The Horse Whisperer" and he runs clinics around the country on handling horses.

One of the people in the film comments that the folks who are best at working with damaged horses are in a way damaged themselves.  And Buck endured horrific abuse by his father as a child.  He overcame that abuse, and his story is really inspiring.  To listen to this man's gentle voice and watch him work with horses (and people) is just fascinating.

Two thumbs up for this one!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Our Dad The Hero

Dad never talked about his service in World War II, which he entered in 1942, as a very young 18 year old Marine right out of high school.  But I've been able to find out a little info about his military service:

Dad had enrolled in the premed program at UW (the ONLY time I will ever mention the Huskies without adding an insult)  but enlisted with the Seattle Platoon of Marines in November 1942.  His unit was the 1060th Platoon, and served with the Fourth Marine Division in the South Pacific.  Here's a link to a history of the 4th Marine Division's role in World War II; they were quite a unit, participating in 4 major amphibious assaults and winning 2 presidential citations in just one year.  He served for 3 years in the Marine Corps.

Dad was awarded the Presidential Citation and the Purple Heart for wounds received in the Battle of Saipan: "For the Americans, the victory was the most costly to date in the Pacific War. 2,949 Americans were killed and 10,364 wounded, out of 71,000 who landed."   Dad also saw action earlier in the war, in the Marshall Islands.

Dad attended UC Berkeley as a "V-12 student" (a program designed to grant bachelor's degrees to future officers in the Navy and Marine Corps).

And further proof that our Dad was a solid citizen:
His Boy Scouts certification as a "Star Scout" (2 ranks below Eagle)

Yay, Our Dad!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Giving It Another Try

Y'all remember I signed up for a "Yoga in the Park" class last summer -- then couldn't find the class IN the park.

Well, I'm giving yoga another chance.  I REALLY need to do more regular exercise, and I figure a class will get me started.  So I signed up for a class at the yoga studio that's a few blocks away (so not only will I get exercise IN the class, I'll get more exercise walking to and from the studio!)

The class I signed up for is called "FOGIS", as in ... old fogies.  It's for old farts.  Which is just my speed.  As Katie will attest (we went to a yoga class together recently), I am completely without grace or any sense of balance.  While I'm hoping the class is perhaps a bit more than "Sit and Be Fit" on a yoga mat, I'm probably not ready for much more than that.

It's a start.  First class next Tuesday!  Make me go!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I Might Have to Buy These...

"Fair Isle" Keds!  Too Cute.

More from the Family Album

Here are some more pictures from the family albums.  These ones are from the Giusti family album (Baba's family)  Sadly, none of the photos in this album have names to tell us who is in the pictures.  And even more sadly, Mom was unable to identify most of the folks in the photos.  This is a good reminder to label your pictures people!  Before you know it, there isn't anyone left who remembers who is who...

Susan and I were able to figure out a few of them.  

I love this one, it's either Baba or his brother Charlie:
That goat is kind of scary though.

This photo is labeled (one of the few) "1912, store Pike Place Market Seattle" with "Ma" and "Pa" identified as the two people standing at the left and right.  We know that the Giustis did have a little grocery store in the market at the turn of the century, so I'm assuming these are our great-grandparents:

I love the buggy in the right foreground, and it's fun to know that our ancestors were among the original Market merchants

Okay, these two are awesome!  I'm giving them to Jon, our Great White Hunter.  The back of one says "1910: Dad with Deer shot at Duvall"

I'm guessing the gent on the left hand side of the pole is Baba's dad, as he looks like the guy in the Pike Street Market picture.  I'm in love with Mr. Handlebar Mustache though... and their hats are too cool.

And you can bet that in 1910 it was a great adventure to trek to Duvall to go hunting.  No roads (no cars probably!), that would have been out in the woods for sure.

Exciting News!

I just heard back from Piecework Magazine, and they are interested in my "Year of Weldon's Practical Needlework" project!  I will be writing an article (or more) and sharing "modern" instructions for some projects and/or guest blogging with them.

So January 1st, I'm off to the 19th century in search of knitting treasures!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Another Letter to Tata!

And here's what was on Lavs' mind on July 12, 1962:

"Dear Tata and Baba,

How are you?  I'm fine.  Have you gone to the Fair yet? (ed. note, that would be the Seattle World's Fair)  We go swimming at Kenmore Lanes now.  I'm having a fine time this summer, my birthday is in August.  We had a real nice time up at the cabin except the wether wasn't very good.  What are you doing these days.  I miss you.  Well, I have to go now.  With love and kisses, Laurie"

Subtle reminder on the upcoming birthday!

Letters to Tata

Us kids loved writing the well-timed (right before our birthdays)  letter to our grandparents, affectionately known as Tata and Baba.  Susna over there on the left wrote this gem on March 7, 1960:

"Dear Tata and Baba,

How are you?  I am fine, so is everybody else.  Lisa is getting fatter by the second, and Beezie is always crying about something.  A boy broke Joey's black lunch-pail by falling on it, but the boy is going to pay for it so there is nothing to worry about.  Beezie ate all the candy she could get a hold of.  My eye still hurts.  Tuesday I'm going horseback riding with Eva Mae Gardner (ed. note, this was crossed out so I guess the date with Eva Mae fell through)  How is Grandma and Irene?  Pretty soon my birthday will come and I'll get a lot of presents (I hope)  Well I have to go now.

Love, Susie"

LOVE.  Especially the lunch pail tragedy.  Damn that kid for breaking Joey-Love's lunch box!  And damn that Beezie for being such a crybaby AND eating all the candy.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


Pia and I saw the movie "Hugo" this afternoon.  It's based on a wonderful children's book called "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" (Susna, I'll bet Tate would love this book), and we both loved it.

I love silent movies and part of the plot revolves around a pioneer of film, the French film maker Georges Melies.  You can see his most famous film, "A Trip to the Moon" here:

Even if you're not a silent film buff, the movie is a lot of fun.  The sets are amazing, the actors are great and the story is interesting!

The Airport Book Store

Yay for Hudson News!  I knew they would have the latest Ann Rule true crime book, and they did not disappoint.  I happily read gory crime stories all the way home from Seattle to Spokane.

Susna gave me a suitcase full of old photos and whatnot, so I will be sharing some great family pix with y'all.  I had a good stay with Mom, she knew who I was for the most part.  That lady has the most AMAZING ability to gather herself when she's speaking to an old friend.  She got a phone call from some old guy, and happily chatted with him without a single moment of forgetfulness.  Of course, she had no idea who he was, but you sure wouldn't know it to hear her talk :-)

It's good to be home after 10 days away.  I have lots to do, and Lulu is pining for her mama, who is gone for a week, so  I have to fill in with the dog duties.  We may hit the dog park later today, exciting!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My New Pattern!

My Lasa Socks pattern is now available from Three Irish Girls!

I'm so excited!  3IG always makes my patterns look so good, I feel like a REAL designer :-)

Seattle Report

I'm here visiting with Mom this week.  Not much exciting to report.  She's chipper!  We did 3 crossword puzzles at one sitting yesterday, including the Sunday New York Times!  My brain was fried by the last clue.  We bought her a new toothbrush because "someone keeps taking" her old one :-)  She had a hissy fit when the line was too slow at the store.  So pretty much life as usual for Lo-bug.

I don't have any big plans for the week, the weather is kind of chilly to take her on any outdoor outings.  But she does love to go places (though she usually wants to leave as soon as we get there), so maybe we will go to the mall or I'll try a museum.  Suggestions welcomed.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Love That Zaide!

My sister B-Z is amazing. This lady comes up with the best activities for her grandchildren and great-nieces,  while graciously entertaining a house full of people for the Thanksgiving weekend.  She helped the girls make these wonderful gingerbread houses.  So cute!

Hats off to you, B!  May your glue gun never run out of glue sticks!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An English Christmas

The British Christmas, so veddy different.  Here are some things I gleaned from Anglotopia's "info graphic" on how the Brits celebrate the season:

Food We (Americans) do Not Eat at Christmas:

  1. Smoked Salmon with Buttered Brown Bread
  2. Chipolatas (evidently some sort of sausage?)
  3. Roasted Parsnips
We do, however, share a love of the roasted turkey and the roasted potatoes.

The Queen's Christmas Day Speech: I'd gladly add this one to my holiday list.  But no BBC here in the States alas.

Symbols of Christmas Good Will and Cheer:
  1. Mince Pies and Mulled Wine.  Not Ever.  Cara & I tried Mince Pies when we were in London.  And immediately spit them out into our napkins.  Ick.  Ditto on the mulled wine.
  2. Pantomime (or "Panto"): Okay, I might love this.  Classic stories and fairy tales performed for a family audience.  I would definitely go if I could see "Nowadays, a pantomime occasionally pulls off a coup by engaging a guest star with an unquestionable thespian reputation, as was the case with the Christmas 2004 production of Aladdin that featured Sir Ian McKellen as Widow Twankey".  Or Dame Edna as anyone.
And I'd definitely be up for celebrating Boxing Day (December 26).  More presents!

So Cute!

Here's Hadley's Mama and Baby Doll Sweater Set all done!  And my feet at the bottom of the picture (damn this Mac and my inability to crop pictures on it...)  Anyways, the sweaters turned out super cute I think.  And I hope Hadley's will fit her for a day or two...

"A Year of Weldon's" is a GO

My Year of Knitting Weldon's Practical Needlework Projects is a go!  I think (this will rely on my getting organized to start this project & blog by January 1).  Piecework Magazine has asked me to submit a proposal for an article, which I've done.  Waiting to hear back from them, and then I will get going on the project.

I'm excited, and a little nervous.  Because committing to a whole year of projects is a little intimidating.  Especially when said projects are done mostly on tiny needles.  But it should be interesting, and give me something to blog about on a regular basis.  Whether you, Dear Reader, find said blog posts interesting is another question.

Monday, November 21, 2011


I'm knitting a pair of Felt Clogs.  I have one done, and it's huge.  So silly looking :-)  It will shrink in hot water, then hopefully fit a human foot, not Hagrid's.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's Almost Thanksgiving

Wow, fall has flown by.  And Katie  is nagging me to blog something new.

P, Katie & I will be heading to The Cabin to share Thanksgiving with relatives, yay!  Oh. Lulu is coming too, probably much to Logan's horror (5 year old Logan is terrified of all animals.  That's my girl)

This group is tons of fun, always loud, always ready for a game or a drink.  Just don't think that Zaide will be kind to the small children when they play games.  She's cutthroat.

We are waiting for our Turkey Day food assignments (hurry B!)  and also plan to cook a breakfast, so that we can use some of the yummy recipes from the "Good Montana Morning" we bought at our Knitting Retreat in Whitefish.

I'll then be heading over to Seattle to spend the week with Mom.  And maybe get a little Xmas shopping done.