Monday, August 31, 2015

Grand-Pets





As promised, here is a roll call of the Lexington contingent of grand-pets.  First is the venerable North Dog, part Border Collie so he's diligent about herding all his "sheep" into one room.  He's eight years old and has been SIL1's pal for all of them.  Next is George, DD's boon companion since she found her as a tiny kitten in the vestibule of her first apartment here (named for the Bugs Bunny movie cartoon character who was hugging the stuffing out of Bugs saying, "I will love him and squeeze him and call him George").  George laid claim to Durwood's lap, even curling up with him for his after-dinner snooze.  Then came Sully, a Chow Corgi mix who had a hard early life and is very very very much a fraid-y dog but is so sweet and so soft.  Durwood is determined to lure him out for a pat before we leave.  Next is Rummi who reached out of a cage and caught SIL1's shirt; I think her name comes from a favorite family card game.  Finally there's Orange (is the new Black cat), a timid black kitten they call "Adventure Cat" because she is into everything, so much so that DD put a bell on her collar so they can find her among the boxes.  Both dogs are boys, all the cats are girls.  It seems like a happy furry household--with tumbleweeds of pet hair and lots of vacuuming.

We celebrated my birthday yesterday because it's really tomorrow and DD & SIL1 have to work all day, so we sort of co-opted Mom's birthday since she wasn't using it.  We give them our Smokey Joe Weber grill, some charcoal, fire starters, and a lighter for a housewarming gift (yes, I scrubbed it clean first) so they inaugurated it making shish-kabobs for our dinner which were absolutely delicious and perfectly marinated.  There were fresh tomatoes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar drizzle for salad, boiled baby reds, and Sunny Hill Farms corn imported from home.  And chocolate cake!  With Fun-fetti sprinkles!  And candles to blow out!  Which I did in one breath but, to be frank, there weren't 64 candles or I'd never have made it.  We were having so much fun that I neglected to take pictures of the food but DD sent a couple pieces of cake home with us so you can at least see that. 
There were presents too--a belated hand-crocheted potholder for Durwood since he lit one of the previous ones DD made for him on fire (it was an accident and it still works, it's just a little singed) and a coffee mug for me with an outline of Wisconsin with a tiny heart where Green Bay is and then a squiggley dotted line around the mug to an outline of Kentucky with a tiny heart where Lexington is.  I don't need to tell you that I cried, right?


Do not despair, there IS knitting.  I finished Sudoku Maize #7 after supper and instead of casting on #8, I started the Fringe Association Hat-Along #1.  It's the Audrey hat and I'm using Elsebeth Lavold's  Silky Wool (wool & silk yarn with a little nylon for strength, it's yummy) in the Rusty Brown colorway.  I'm calling it Virgo Hat because I started it on what would have been Mom's 87th birthday.  But I will cast on the next Sudoku square soon, I promise.  I will not be letting it languish for another seven years, I want to have it done by the end of the year.  (a goal but not an unreasonable one)

August 31--R. Perron, Mexico Gulf of CA Tiburon Spits.  Gabe and Frannie rolled off the side of the dive boat and into the warm ocean.  As soon as the flurry of silver bubbles cleared Frannie looked for Gabe.  Her hands were busy checking her buckles, making sure her gauges were secure, and settling her mask on her face.  She ran her hand over and up across her forehead to make sure no hair was under her mask to make it leak.  Gabe was usually right beside her but this time he wasn't there.  She looked all around and down on the reef.  No Gabe.  Finally she thought to look up and saw his distinctive fins--one blue and one yellow--at the stern of the dive boat.  She figured he must have broken a strap and was getting help from the boat guy. She adjusted her buoyancy and had started down to join the group when a dark gray shadow fell over her, blotting out the strong Caribbean sun.

Do you realize that today's the last day of August?  Already?  But we're on vacation this week so there are absolutely no chores in my future, Durwood's down for his morning nap, and I'm going to go knit.  I might even shower today.  Relaxation, ah.
--Barbara

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Full Sturgeon Moon

Did you see the full moon last night?  It was a beauty, big and round and orange as it rose above the horizon.  I looked it up on the Old Farmer's Almanac website to find its name and it's the Full Sturgeon Moon, named by the Great Lakes fishing tribes because supposedly sturgeon are easier to catch in August.  I suspect that most fishermen would dispute that assumption.

While we sat in DD's new kitchen visiting with her and SIL1, Durwood petted any animals that wandered by, especially North Dog who is part Border Collie and only happy when all his "sheep" are in the same room.  He was quite busy and distressed when DD took Durwood on his tour of the house; North kept trying to herd them back into the kitchen where the rest of us were.  Their other dog, Sully, is a very shy rescue dog who is part Chow and part Corgi (they're sure about the Chow part and assume the Corgi part due to his short legs and stocky body).  Sully didn't seek out petting but I did get to pet him a tiny bit and his fur is so soft and a gorgeous red color.  I'll see if I can get a picture of all of the grand-pets here.

I got almost halfway on Sudoku Maize #7 while we visited.  DD made me realize last night that I need to weave in all of the blocks' tails since I won't be using the block colors to join them.  Cotton and acrylic yarn doesn't hold onto its tails like wool does so the weaving in is very important.  You can't skimp on it.  Goodie.

August 30--Light Image Inc., Homage to Eliot Porter No. 2  The stones beneath Willa's feet were worn round and they liked to roll when stepped on like out-of-whack ball bearings.  The lake was low this year because last winter had been nearly without snow and it was the night of the full moon which pulled more water still.  Fallen maple leaves the color of flames stuck to the damp stone reminding her that autumn's days were fleeting this far north, winter would be upon them soon


Today would have been Mom's 87th birthday.  Happy birthday, Mom, I miss you.

Love, Barbara Sue



Saturday, August 29, 2015

Gone Adventuring

We drove off Thursday after work into the sunset, well, alongside the sunset, to Kenosha.  And then yesterday drove all-l-l-l-l-l the way to Lexington to visit DD and SIL1.


I drove us from Kenosha around Chicago and into Indiana where I turned the wheel over to Durwood and he got us the rest of the way.  (turns out I had a better deal, my part had way better traffic)  Round about Lafayette, IN there's a long swath of windmills.  I know people hate them but I like seeing them.  They look small from the highway but they're enormous. We stopped in Indy for lunch at a Steak 'n Shake (not bad burgers, didn't try the shakes).  Traffic sucked for a while south of Indy where they're playing with the road but it REALLY sucked in Louisville where they funneled four lanes into two when we were crossing the Ohio River and then had to immediately take an exit.  Yikes.

Today we got to see DD and SIL1's new house, still full of boxes from their very recent move, and Durwood got to pet as many cats and dogs as would hold still.  Here he's holding George, a very dog-like cat.  We love their house.  It's in a nice neighborhood and I've never seen a bathtub like the one in the master bath.  It's like a small swimming pool.

I like when Durwood drives because then I get to knit.  I finished Sudoku Lake #8 and #9 so it's on to Sudoku Maize #7, which I already started.  I'll knit three Maize, three Almond, four Stone--and then it's the slog of eight Berry, eight Snow, and eight Violet.  Good thing these are just 5" squares.  I planned something right all those years ago.  Then I'll crochet them into the correct arrangement with Charcoal, knit the Charcoal dividing strips, sew the whole thing together, and figure out an edging.  Maybe by then I'll be so tired of it I'll crochet a couple rounds and call it done.  I'm chugging away at it; it's (almost) all I brought to do this week.

No writing last night, I was too tired to shove the pencil over the paper.  Time for more visiting.
--Barbara

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Looks Like Autumn


This morning the air changed.  I swear it did.  Or maybe it was the light but something shifted overnight and now it's not really summer anymore.  The sun was barely up when I opened the curtains this morning with pale, creamy yellow on the horizon and the birds were doing acrobatics.  I wasn't fast enough to snap a picture of an oriole perched for a second on the hanging sculpture out the patio doors, the hummingbird made a flash visit to the feeder, and even the bluejays were extra raucous and extra fast, although one did display its peanut from the top of a crook and then swoop down for a drink so I got his picture.  (I think all bluejays are males because they're so brash.  Stereotyping, I know, but I call 'em as I see 'em.)  The only calm and deliberate bird was the downy woodpecker hanging on the suet feeder, holding nice and still so I could snap its picture.  Good birdie.

I finished the Dobby Hat(s) at work yesterday.  I even made the pompom, but I only tied it on with a bow because I am going to have to do a little felting of the hat because it turned out ginormous.  I should have followed my math at the beginning and not been swayed by how small the ribbing looked when I started.  Oh well, I love the way it looks and if I have to thread elastic cord through the ribbing to keep it in place I'll wear it because I love it.  It's like one of your kids; you love them even if they're a little goofy looking.  I've had a rash of too-big hats lately so I should probably cast on another hat in a simpler pattern to get my hat mojo (if I ever really had any) back.

Sudoku Lake #8 is over halfway done so that means after one more blue square I get to shift to Maize (gold) to make 3, then Almond (pale yellow) for 3, then Stone (pale gray) for 3, before tackling Violet, Berry, and Snow to make 8 of each.  I can do this.  But I discovered just last night that Lion Brand discontinued Cotton Ease last month so I think I'll stop at Michael's on my way to work to see if they've got a skein of the Berry (pink).  That's the only one I'm iffy on having enough of.  Wouldn't it be a kick in the slats if I get almost to the end and am one pink square short?  Someone on Ravelry's bound to have even a partial skein they'll consent to sell me if I get desperate.

August 27--Walter Bibikow, Aspen Trees.  The thin trunks of the leafless aspens grew so close together that every step was more of a stumble and they lined up so Therese felt like she was walking through walls.  The knee-high grass was a bright yellow gold that made a sharp contrast with the dark green pine trees edging the clearing.  A pair of crows leapfrogged ahead of her in the treetops, cawing as if taunting the snow out of the thick and tumbling clouds overhead.  She shrugged her backpack more comfortably on her shoulders and kept moving.  She could see the smoke from Micah's cabin rising above the trees on the downslope ahead. A smile played on her lips and her breath was visible in the still air when she said, "Downhill, yeah."

Time to shower and do all that worky stuff.  Enjoy your day.
--Barbar

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I Had Things To Do

My attention was diverted by a myriad of chores and errands yesterday and by the time I got around to blogging it was nearly bedtime and I figured I wouldn't have anything to say this morning so I didn't.  Blog, that is.

I picked the ripening Boxcar Willie tomatoes so that Durwood can pounce on them as soon as they've reached the peak of tomato perfection.  In slug news, the bowls of beer are still pulling them in.  I've got three more cans of that high-quality brew I bought last week so there's plenty of ammo left if we get a big rain and have to reload.



While we were having supper a hummingbird came to the feeder I moved right near the patio doors and stayed long enough for me to get the camera up, ready, and snap a few frames.  It isn't the best lighting or backdrop but see those tiny buzzing wings?  I love it, we love it, and sometimes even a brave oriole will come for a sip.  Durwood's picture is a little blurry but you can see the "big" oriole on the tiny feeder.  You should see them contort themselves to dip their bill into the sipper hole.

















Last night I finally got time to sit on the couch with my feet up and knit a few more rounds on the Dobby Hat(s).  I'm glad I followed my whim and made the top striped.  I see more spiral striped hats in my knitting future.  I love the way it looks.

August 26--Tom & Pat Leeson, People in Forest.  The light in the forest was green.  All of the shades conspired to tint the very air with their insistent greenness.  Breathing it in made Sophie feel like her cells rejoiced, dancing with the heightened level of oxygen proximity to all the plants' respirations gave them.  She was conscious of the give and take--her exhaled carbon dioxide for the forest's emitted oxygen--a perfect symbiosis of woman and biota.  The bright sunlight of the clearing made her shrink back into the shadows but the chuckling of water over the rocks in the stream bed drew her out onto the fallen log that served to bridge the gully.  The benediction of the sun's rays fell on her head and shoulders as she balanced on the broad trunk.  She returned to the thick forest feeling welcomed back into its green embrace.

And now it's time to gobble some Cheerios and get dressed because I get to go to the chiropractor before work today. Yay, I love getting my bones rearranged.  It makes me feel taller for a few minutes.  Hasta la vista, babies.
--Barbara

Monday, August 24, 2015

Not What I Want To See

When I went out this morning and looked down I saw this in the grass.  In a month I wouldn't mind, in August it's not something I want to see.







The purple coneflowers are looking beautiful and there's even one last bee balm blossom peeking out of the yarrow.










I spent most of yesterday afternoon and evening working on Dobby Hat(s) #5.  I dug out a sock pattern that tells how to use three different strands/colors of yarn to make spiral stripes and it seemed to make the most sense (and require less counting) if I used DPNs (double point needles) so I did that.  I think I like the way it looks.  It does kind of detract from the white stripe with the red Fair Isle wave through it, but I don't think I'm going to change it.  I anticipate running out of the purple before the pointy tip so I'll just go on with the red and white and make a white pompom.  It'll be good.

This morning I was fast enough to catch a hummingbird in mid-flight.  They're so amazing to see, I wish they'd stay longer so we could just sit and watch them.

August 24--Carl Fischer, Fortune Teller.  The tent was faded green and orange, and smelled of straw.  Glenda regretted walking in and would have turned around if the woman hadn't spoken.  "You shouldn't go yet," she said in her rusty voice, "we have a few things to discuss."  Glenda said, "Excuse me?"  She walked over toward the fortune teller and stood behind the empty chair.  "You have questions, right? You didn't just wander in here on a dare."  The fortune teller flicked her hand at the seat across from her.  "Sit. Ask your questions. You probably won't believe the answers but I'll tell you anyway."

I took the time to walk the treadmill this morning so I was running late for work but I miss it and feel guilty when I skip walking.  It makes me feel good.  FW, one of the Friday Night knitters gave me a big bag of her homegrown tomatoes in exchange for a couple skeins of thrift shop yarn I found for her.  Durwood's jaw dropped when he saw them, he's been eating on them all weekend, I made us each a caprese salad with last night's supper, and there are still enough for me to have them with my lunches this week.  That was an excellent trade.  Thanks, FW, you're the best.
--Barbara

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Rainy Start

It was dark-ish when I got up around 7 o'clock and it rained, but not before I got out there to check on the slug par-tay (bigger slugs came last night but I'm not showing you more drowned slugs, I figure you've got the idea) and take garden pictures.



The gourd-let is getting bigger as are her little brothers dangling right below her.  The lone (so far but there are lots of flowers) spaghetti squash is about as big as my fist or maybe a little bigger and you can see in the background that the Boxcar Willie tomatoes are ripening.  (I feel the need for a lonesome rail-riding song all of a sudden)

There was plenty of bird activity this morning.  Lots of Sparrows which remind me of a gang of kids wreaking havoc in the mall with the way they ALL have to crowd onto the platform feeder at once and ALL have to take a bath at the same time.  The Chickadees dart in for a seed and then dash off.  The teenage Bluejays continue to be entertaining as all get-out.  Today one of them tried to come in for a landing on the hanging platform, ricocheted off the roof, and landed in the grass.  He came back for a second try, didn't have better luck, and flew off.  A male Red-Bellied Woodpecker tried for a peanut from the platform when the Sparrow crowd was there, flew up into the apple tree to wait, swooped down for a single peanut in the shell and hasn't been seen since.  The young Orioles flock to the new feeder, even batting away bees and hornets to reach the nectar.  This one's breast is getting really orange.  (And that's the Wisconsin Bird Report for today.)

Just about every morning this loudmouth chipmunk sits up on the patio step and proclaims its ownership of the domain, cheek pouches bulging with seed it scavenges under the feeders.  Durwood just called out that it's climbing the crooks that hold the feeders but doesn't know what to do once it gets up there and climbs back down.  I wonder if it climbs in the Slinkies or over them.  I'll have to ask.

In knitting news, I bore down on Dobby Hat(s) #5 yesterday and got it about half-knitted, up through the little strip of Fair Isle (which I still do not care for but this was such a little bit that I went with it, but I will admit that I did think of simply making a white stripe and then finishing the pointy top with the dark red and calling it a day).  I have entertained the idea of knitting one or two rounds of the purple and then adding in the dark red and white to spiral stripe the top.  Do you think that'd detract from the Fair Isle stripe?  The more I think about it, the more I like the idea.  Then I'd make the pompom with all three colors.  I can start it and if I hate it I can always rip it back and start that little part over, can't I.  I think that's what I'll do just as soon as I run to the grocery to pick up the case of Durwood's favorite tomato soup I ordered for him. (It's on sale for ninety-eight cents a can instead of over two dollars like it regularly is; I'm getting three cases.  I figure we can store it as easily as the grocery store can.)

August 23--Bruce Peterson, Nuclear Family/Global TV.  Eve, Adam, and baby Cain sat in their cube watching the required hours of state programming.  Even at thirteen months Cain knew not to play or babble while the man in the glowing square on the wall was talking.  Work, eat, TV, sleep--that was their lives.  Eve worked in the greenhouses and hydroponics lab.  Adam drove a conveyor around the plat, some days carrying people, other days he had cargo.  Cain went to offspring care, he had been going since the day after his 3-month natal day anniversary.  Eve was fortunate that her lab was only a few squares from offspring care so she could visit him on her meal break.  They were lucky to have gotten chosen to procreate.  There was a strict quota and only a few couples were allowed into the program every month and not all of them conceived, like a lottery within a lottery, the number of offspring was strictly regulated.

Interesting but I wouldn't know where to take it from there.  I've read too many dystopian novels to not have it be derivative and unoriginal to the max.  I finished all the laundry yesterday, except for folding and Durwood will do that once I bring the basket up later, so I can knuckle down and maybe finish the Dobby Hat(s) today.  Toodles!
--Barbara