Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sorta Back In Sorts?

I guess that's what you say when you've been out of sorts and are creeping back in.  I feel like I'm getting a cold or maybe it's just the weather fronts and storms slamming through like a freight train, whatever it is, my head feels like of fuzzy, like I'm a half-step behind the pace of life.  Grrr.

Tomatoes are ripening and Durwood's falling behind in rate of consumption so I encouraged him to ramp it up.  I'll help, I'll take some to slice onto my lunch sandwich.  I'm such a considerate wife.  And in our Considerate Husband Department I found this little spatula under my notebook on the bed yesterday afternoon.  It says "just because" on the handle.  I've kind of slipped funk-ward again the last couple days and this is one way Durwood's trying to help me back out.  (it's a long story)  He's a good egg.

Aunt B asked if I listen to audiobooks when I'm treadmilling.  Since the gigantic thing (can you say gorilla in a bird cage?) is in our (pretty small) living room facing a TV both of us have been falling back on the box for treadmilling entertainment, but lately the auidobooks have been piling up so I'm going to have to downshift to book listening while I tread.  This I can do, no problem, I'm sort of more of a book girl than a TV girl anyway.

Got the Chapter 4 rewrite taken care of yesterday before and after supper (edited before, rekeyed after).  I am happy to have Lala's critique notes and some other notes I made last time I read through the manuscript.  I think I might be sneaking up on "book" rather than manuscript.  It's harder than I thought shifting my brain from not writing to writing but I'm willing to forgo some of my mindless TV watching for time at the desk.  It's easier now that it's summer rerun time--well, except for The Chase and Rizzoli & Isles, those, being summer series', are new episodes, can't miss those, but they're both Tuesday night shows so I can work around that 2 hour block of mindless TV.  Well, sort of mindless since I play along with The Chase.  I do love quiz-type shows.



More Black-eyed Susans are blooming with more to come, the coneflowers are looking prime, and the peach lilies that match the siding are still blooming although they're hard to see if you're not looking for them.  This weekend I desperately need to do some weeding in the garden and the streetlight garden.

And we got some rain yesterday.  Real, honest to god rain.  It hit just as I walked into the fabric store looking for sheer silver fabric for my supermoon art/tote project.  I found 2 likely candidates and totally spaced on the webbing for the handles.  *head, slap*  I'll swing by on my way home from work and get it so I can knuckle down and make some progress on the project.  Now that I have the silver stuff I'm anxious to get started to see if my idea works or is a bust.  (fingers crossed)

July 30--John Trumbull, Giuseppe Ceracchi.  The paint on the wood panel must have been oil paint because it burned so merrily.  Caleb stood squinting in the hot smoke ready with the hose in case sparks spread the fire.  He had been meaning to clear out the pile of rotting lumber next to the shed and today it was cooler with hardly any wind.  It was the right day for the chore.  Whole civilizations of chipmunks and mice had set up homes in the pile.  He had visions of a Watership Down kind of world as he worked.  He smiled to think that the leader of the chipmunks stood off a ways watching him.  Then he stopped with a couple rotten logs in his hands and looked around for beady eyes.  He was creeping himself out and needed to just get on with it.

Alrighty then, time to head out.  Got my knitting basket, my manuscript, my iPod and my Kindle Fire all packed up and ready for the work day.  Wonder if I have tanks ready to be picked up... I'd better call Trav.  Adieu, cheries.  Oh, goodie, here come the garbologists, I'll be able to move one of the bins back into the garage before I leave.

--Barbara

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Back In The Groove

I felt really bad that I spaced on rewriting a chapter on Sunday but I managed to eke out time at work yesterday to read through Chapter 3, change a few things, and then rekey it.  Chapter 4 is up today.  It's a short one.

Durwood and I both took a turn on the new treadmill yesterday.  It's quite a fancy thing.  I've read through the manual and I'm still not sure I know what's what, but we both know how to turn it on and make it go so we can take a walk.  Maybe next weekend I'll spend an hour and poke all the buttons.

I'm off today so I'm going to take another crack at doing not much for the day.  We'll see how long I can last before I fall off the wagon and do a chore or twelve.

July 29--Jean Durand, Vase.  The flash was like a red lightning bold piercing the deep black night.  Kate jumped and then ducked when the crack rattled the windows.  "Is it supposed to storm?" she asked.  The air sizzled with the aftershock and she was afraid to get out of bed.  She lay there listening for thunder or raindrops, she heard neither.  Before long she smelled smoke and saw the flicker of flames out her window.

That's it.  I got nothing.  Enjoy your Tuesday.  I might just doze through mine.
--Barbara


Monday, July 28, 2014

Evidently I Can't

Goof off for a day, I mean.  Things got away from me yesterday and I totally lost control.  First I swabbed out the bathroom and mopped the bathroom and kitchen floors (after reading the paper and watching CBS Sunday Morning, of course).  Next I ran the vacuum around the dinette and living room.  Then I carried the potted, floor plants out to the patio so LC won't have dirt to play in (and eat) when she's rolling around on the floor.  After that we hauled in the treadmill (thanks, DS & DIL1!), then I did that load of wash, only it turned into three, one of them being all the batiks I have so that I could stand and trim off all the raveling ends and iron them and fold them so I could choose a bunch for my supermoon tote idea.  By then it was past time to fire up the charcoal to grill the brats and drumsticks.  See?  I can't.  And I never did get around to rewriting Chapter 3, so I'll take that to work and see if I can't carve out an hour to work on it there.  *sigh*

But DS called to say that Sunnyhill Farm had corn yesterday, the first of the season, but they were gone by the time I got there so I'll be sending Durwood off to nab a couple ears for our supper tonight.  Holy corn!

I'm excited about my supermoon idea.  Lala and I saw one when we were in Sheboygan one year; the wind blew and the waves were crashing and splashing, it was just fabulous to sit on a rock on shore and watch that giant yellow-orange disc rise out of Lake Michigan and make a silver path across the water.  I'm hoping to capture the essence of that mental image in fabric.


I harvested a few more tomatoes yesterday-- 2 Early Girls & 2 WI 55s & a couple Sugary cherry tomatoes for quick snacking.  I might have to take a couple of those for work nibbling.

The white Stargazers are going gangbusters.  You get to see them again because now almost all of the buds have opened and it's a festival of white flowers and nearly overpowering scent.  Incredible!

I don't think this mourning dove understands how this feeder works.  It sits up there nearly every afternoon.  You silly bird, the food is on the floor not the roof.

July 28--Yves Saint Laurent, Evening Dress.  Jules thought she looked like a summer night at the seashore.  Loretta floated down the stairs in her dark blue and green silk dress.  The dress fabric molded itself to her like water and the sheer cape billowed like breaking waves.  She smiled down at him, her eyes locked on his.  He watched her hand slide lightly on the polished dark walnut banister and shivered imagining her hand sliding down his skin.  As she neared him the voices of the guests faded away and he no longer heard the band.  She stopped on the last step so that their eyes were on a level.  "You look lovely, my dear," he said.  She smiled and her cheeks flushed a faint pink.  "I think you look lovely too," she said. "Make them all go away, Jules, my feet hurt already."  He chuckled.  "We can't make them go away, what would we do with all the food?"  She smiled, shrugged, and took the last step with her hand on his, ready to be the perfect hostess at a party she no longer wanted to throw.

Well, I did 10 minutes on the treadmill and now it's time for breakfast and showering and all that other morning-type stuff.  And it's Monday again, isn't it?  What did I say?  It seems to me that Mondays come around twice as fast as the rest of the days.  Good thing I took a few minutes to assemble this week's lunches last night after supper (yet another time I didn't goof off yesterday).  Hasta la vista, babies.
--Barbara

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sundays Are For Relaxing?

Well, I'm going to try.  I know I have a load of laundry to do, just one, and DS is stopping by to help manhandle our new used treadmill out of Durwood's van and into the house, but I think that's it.  I want to spend some time figuring out how to make a tote pattern represent a supermoon since that's the "art challenge" I set Lala and me, and it's due August 15, the day before we leave for Yellowstone.  I have some ideas so now's the time to work on it, and I want to see if the machine Mom gave me will embroider on neoprene so I can mark the sizes on the rental wetsuits so it's legible.  The paint pen didn't really work very well so I'm thinking maybe I can just embroider it on, if the needles will sew through the rubbery neoprene.

This morning a few of the Black-Eyed Susan blooms have opened.  I was hoping that the coneflowers would still be blooming but the one bloom looks a bit bug-eaten so I'm thinking that's not going to happen, not for long anyway.  This fall I want to thin out the daisies and transplant clumps of them around so that more of the yard benefits from their bright sunniness.

I went to the Farmer's Market in its new location yesterday.  It's big, really big, and it was crowded.  I got Durwood's tomatoes, some beets, kohlrabi, blueberries, and raspberries, also crab rangoons for me and a pork eggroll for Durwood.  Maybe if I went earlier it wouldn't be so crowded and I could enjoy it more or maybe once I'm used to the new, spread out location it'll be less confusing.  Of course if I'd turned left instead of right when I got to Washington St. I'd have found what I was after sooner but then I'd have missed getting another free reusable bag, so I guess I shouldn't complain.  (but complaining is my life!)

Chapter 2 of The Seaview got rewritten yesterday.  Gearing up for the much longer Chapter 3 later today.

I cast on (well, re-cast on actually) a baby blanket for the church where the knitting guild meets.  I'm using a 29-inch US 13 circular needle and holding 2 strands of worsted yarn together.  I'm thinking I'll drop one of the green, add in one of the oranges (light or dark, I can't decide) for a while, drop the second green, add in a matching orange, then drop one, add the other, etc. so that the colors blend and separate across the blankie.  Or not.  We'll see what happens when it happens.

July 27--Possibly Syria, Ivory Pyx with the Triumph of Dionysos in India.  The ledge was narrow.  Aaron could feel the edge digging into his foot.  He was flattened against the rock face with his arms outstretched and his toes pointed to the sides.  The wind was gusty that high up and at times he thought it was trying to suck him off and fling him to the floor of the valley.  The path had been wide when he started his climb.  He saw hoof prints in the dust at the beginning but hadn't seen any horses or prints all day.  He knew he should have turned back when the  path became so narrow that he could only move sideways but he had been sure it would widen soon.  It had only gotten narrower.  Now he couldn't go ahead or back and it was starting to rain.

I hate days when the weather fronts change and my joints ache.  Today's one of those days.  I'll be the one over here complaining (at least to myself) and hiding in the basement most of the day.  Toodle-oo.
--Barbara

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Chapter 1 Rewrite -- Check

I did it.  I rounded up my iPod with good earbuds, found the New Age-y rainforest & music album on the pod, and dug out a fresh, clean jump drive to put the rewrite on.  Then I nabbed the timer, told Durwood I was closed for an hour, shut the door, turned on the desk lamp, peeled off Chapter 1, and attacked it with a red pen.  It wasn't too bloody when I finished reading it but it had been taught who is boss.  Then I retyped it, what my writing mentor Judy Bridges calls rekeying, because it's another way of rewriting the story, letting your mind work through your fingers to make the story better faster.  Once I had my way with the pages I dug around in the bookshelf and found Lala's thorough critique and a bunch of scenes I had already written for the places the story thins out.  AND I pulled out of hiding behind a pile of boxes of pens the list of three questions Rachel Herron put on her knitting blog talking about how she writes her very successful and popular Cypress Hollow novels.  Turns out she and I have the same problem -- we're too nice to our characters.  She has overcome that to become a published author, I haven't.  I'll be working to change that.  And I have all this material to help me.  (I don't mean this to brag but I'm hoping that telling you all about my progress [or the not-progress I'm sure is lurking in my future] will keep me at the page and restart the "fiction writer" part of my brain)

Birdies came yesterday, lots of 'em, and I got pictures of some.  The one I wanted a picture of but never managed it was an Oriole, either Baltimore or Orchard, first year we think, that came to the birdbath and oriole feeder a few times but was very skittish.  Any other bird nearby chased it away.  I saw hummingbirds a few times too but they're just too fast.  I did have lots of time to snap pictures of this Downy Woodpecker enjoying hanging on the suet feeder, and the Chickadee had a lovely time sorting and flinging seed in the platform feeder.  Cardinals and Goldfinches stopped by too.  It's was a birdy day.

That white Stargazer lily is going gangbusters.  This morning there are eleven flowers open.  Eleven.  You can't even imagine how that smells.  I brought one bloom in yesterday and when I opened the bedroom door this morning I could smell it, it's perfuming the whole house.  Those flowers advertise like it's Super Bowl Sunday and they're Budweiser.

I finished Car Knitting Warshrag #7 yesterday afternoon and the Garter Shield Bib after Friday Night Knitting.  I'd have finished it at knitting but I didn't have an H crochet hook to make the ties and bind it off.  I think next time I'll do a little decreasing in the top third of the rows just to pull in the neck a bit.  I also cast on Car Knitting Warshrag #8 using the same colors of yarn only reversed so that's back in the car door and ready to go.  (Oh, I have to print off another copy of the pattern since I gave mine to MW, good thing I remembered.)

July 26--Possibly Syria, Ivory Pyx with the Triumph of Dionysos in India.  It was a little ivory box, the lid long gone, with a chain of men fighting and fallen carved around the side.  Eula used to tiptoe to look at it sitting on Grandpapa's dresser.  She liked to look at the carved figures seeking reassurance that the fight men be made to stop and the fallen men be made better with a Band-Aid and a kiss.  If she had been especially good Grandpapa would boost her up to sit on the shaving marble of his dresser so she could play with his cuff links in the little ivory box.

See?  Too nice.  I need to get past that.  For now, Durwood just got up and we planned to go to the Farmer's Market today.  I hope he still wants to, I could use some crab rangoons for breakfast.  Saturday the hell out of today, won't you?
--Barbara

Friday, July 25, 2014

More Than Twenty Actually


Remember yesterday I said that there were at least ten more lily buds?  Well, this morning I counted and there are 22 more lily buds--on just one plant.  For some reason the white Stargazer lily plant didn't suffer one bit from last winter's cold and snow and endlessness.  The pink plants are half the size, maybe a third the size that they were last year, still alive and blooming but not going gangbusters like the white one is.  I picked a white blossom, knocked off the pollen heads and brought it inside so that the house will smell like lilies.

More tomatoes are turning red.  I can tell how mild the temperature has been this summer because none of the tomato plants are much over waist high.  They're growing happily and making tomatoes but none of the plants are shooting up like they do when it's hot and sunny and rainy.  Rain, that's what we need.  The grass is turning brown except around the garden where the sprinkler water hits it.  I have come to the conclusion that hose water, while it keeps things alive, is not nearly as good for plants as rain is.  Rain is magic, hose water is just water.

I frogged the mitered bib I was knitting for LC.  The pattern I was using called for casting on 80 stitches and, folks, 80 is just way too many in worsted yarn and on US8 needles.  Waaaay too many, the bib would have covered her little self and wrapped all the way around her back.  Too big.  So I dug around in Ravelry's pattern vault and came up with a similar pattern made with worsted cotton on US8s (since that's all I had at work) that only called for 35 stitches.  I upped it to 45 stitches after reading the comments of people who've made it and got started.  Got halfway through too, as the afternoon was pretty quiet except for the phone.  A simple pattern's good for work knitting because it can get put down and picked back up with minimum confusion.  "Now, where was I?"  Not much of that.  When (if?) you post your projects to your Ravelry page be sure to add any notes about things you changed or comments about the pattern.  I always scan other knitters' notes when I'm considering knitting something and find valuable tips and tricks or alternate ways of doing things.  One of the women who made this bib figured out how to crochet the ties without cutting the yarn so that you have fewer ends to darn in.  I copied her notes into the comments box of my project so that when I get there I'll have her directions.  Thanks, mychildrensmother!

I took my ream of paper to work and made a copy of the latest rewrite of The Seaview so I'll have a paper version to work on.  Remember, Barbara, 1 hour per day.  Build that writing habit back up.  Don't slack off.

There's a small gang (flock) of little chickadees that hang around the feeders, especially the suet feeder, and I suspect they're this summer's babies.  They're a bit smaller than usual and kind of cling together.  I like when they pip and dart when I'm filling feeders.  They're fearless.

July 25--George Bellows, Up the Hudson.  Celia sat in the splintering cane chair on the end of the dock.  Hugo needs to fix this chair, she thought, and the dock could use a bit of work too.  Then she remembered that Hugo was buried in the family plot up behind St. Martin de Porres Church.  Dammit, she felt that cold clutch of panic in her stomach and her throat felt like it was closing.  She took a deep breath and closed her eyes while she forced her shoulders away from her ears.  She had come out to sit in the cool spring sunshine looking for the peace that sitting by the water always brought her.  It had worked for a while, the cool, fresh scent of the water and the soft slap of the wavelets on the pilings had taken her out of her head where her thoughts careened like out of control bumper cars.  Today was the first day that she had been alone since Hugo's funeral and it was kind of a relief to be alone.  That is until "alone" was the only word in her mind, echoing until it filled every cell.

Alrighty then.  I've got 3 more tanks to drop off for service (will it never stop?).  I had 4 to drop off yesterday and didn't realize that it was GB Packers Shareholders meeting day and the stadium was mobbed.  Now, if you're not familiar with GB, the Packer stadium is right in town, not in the center but on the west side right between my house and the tank service place.  I probably drive by the huge thing at least half a dozen times a week.  It's by the lot where we buy corn and berries and tomatoes when Durwood makes his soup to can.  I have to pass by to go to the library or the fabric store.  I can see it from one of the grocery stores.  It's RIGHT THERE and all the people in their cars were trying to get there when I needed to get past.  If I'd known I'd have gone around but I didn't so I got to dodge wide-eyed people wearing their best green and gold heading toward their version of Mecca and not paying one iota of attention to a little red HHR driven by a little middle-aged woman on her way to work.  Fun times.  I hear training camp's starting tomorrow so I'll be sure to avoid that area if I can.  Vast crowds of fans come to watch the open practices and it's a zoo.  Anyway, I have more tanks today.  I'll go another way.

Make Friday count.
--Barbara

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Times

I met my high school friend, BCV, at Hagemeister Park last night for supper and we had a lovely long visit.  Since Durwood wasn't coming she palmed her husband off on her brother and we had a "just girls" night.  We caught up on all our doings and our kids' doings, talked a bit of old times but not too much, and basically reconnected.  I was amazed and pleased to hear that her mom is still going strong at age 90 and still has her marbles, I always liked her mom.  We both ordered the Cobb salad and I highly recommend it.  It had grilled chicken on it instead of ham and lots of bacon, real bacon not the fake, pink, "what is this made of?" stuff.  We weren't able to get a table close to the riverwalk so we could watch the sunset but other than that it was a grand evening.  The downtown is unrecognizable from our youth, it was hard to tell her where the place was since all the landmarks are gone, but we managed to connect.


The white lilies are blooming!  I went out this morning and there are two of them open and spreading their intoxicating fragrance.  I didn't count but there has to be at least ten more buds ready to pop.  The red daylilies are still blooming too.  I need to get a few more plants of that color to sprinkle around the edges of the lot.  (make a note)  There are still a few roses blooming too.  The fragrances of them both mixed is kind of overpowering--but it's better than snow.  Way better.

I need to figure out how to get my head back in writing mode.  BCV and I talked about books, authors she likes, and I showed her the first page of a manuscript.  It's the kind of book she likes to read--and she liked it.  I wish there were a visible shifter for my brain so I could clunk the gears back into "writing" beyond this little daily blabber.  I'll work on that.  Maybe if I make a schedule to go along with my to-do list...  Maybe if I hide my knitting and audiobooks, put on blinders so I can't see outside, and put industrial strength earplugs in my ears...  I have the next 3 days off, I'll carve out an hour a day to focus on a page or three and see what happens.  I'll take paper to work today, plonk down a tenner for toner ink and print me a copy, I'll probably work better from paper that I can scribble on, at least to start.  If I do three pages a day for a month... Stop it, Barbara.  Just focus on one day, one page, get through that and then you can make a damned chart or schedule.  Geez.

July 24--Nigeria, Yoruba Peoples, Panel Ornaments for Ceremonial Sword and Sheath.  The jangle of bells heralded his arrival.  Milton was the most dramatic of the nerds in the Anthropology Department.  He saw every faculty meeting as a chance to trot out the most outlandish of the artifacts he had collected from all the corners of the globe and challenge people guess what or where he represented.  Over the years he had gleefully shot down everyone, including the department chair.  This afternoon he had draped himself in a length of kente cloth and wore a ceremonial sword in its beaded and belled sheath around his waist.  Either the get-up or the ridicule was too much for someone because his TA found him sprawled on his office floor with the sword embedded in his chest an hour after the meeting adjourned.

Alrighty then, we've all known a Milton, haven't we?  I hope none of us has been a Milton.  Nah.  Couldn't be, we're all swell and dandy folk with only nice things to say about everyone around us.  Right?  Right.  Mmm, I just brewed a pot of coffee and the house smells grand.  I add a pound of hazelnut to three pounds of coffee so it smells like hazelnut but barely tastes of it.  I like it that way, just the aroma.  Hey, it's decaf, I have to have something to make up for the lack of an accelerator.  Time for showering, breakfasting, etc. so that I can go out in to the cool and sunny day and keep the world safe from SCUBA diving.  Ta-ta!
--Barbara