Saturday, April 22, 2017

An Interesting Question

Last night I was struggling with Row 125 of the Hempathy Brambling Shawl at Friday Night Knitting, tinking back because I forgot to k2tog (knit 2 together) at the end of yarn A and then M1R (Make 1 stitch that leans Right) at the beginning of yarn B.  I was also grumbling because each and every row of this pattern is different so there's so memorizing anything, no carefree "rest" rows, and I'm not even halfway through the increases (meaning halfway) so not even a quarter finished.  AP asked if I wanted the shawl and before my brain kicked in my mouth said, "no, not really." Huh.  I love the "idea" of it but I'm not loving, not even really liking, the making of it.  This is not a relaxing knit.  I have notes and Xes in places, Post-its dangling here and there, and a locking row counter, plus what's a "do this increase" row on one time through a clump of rows isn't necessarily a "do this increase" row on the next time through.  I guess what I'm saying is there all this thinking necessary and I'm not at all convinced that the end result will be worth it.  Since the needles aren't something I'll need for awhile (and I have others that size in case I do) I think I'll put it in time-out for a while.


So then this morning I cast on a little cap-sleeve cardi (wisteria for the yoke and sleeves, purple for the body) for LC that I've had the pattern for a while and the yarn for even longer.  It has a sparkle ply.  I think she'll like it.



I wish the grape hyacinths showed to their best advantage.  No matter which camera I use they fade into the background and lose their beautiful color--but here they are anyway.


Oh!  Here's a near tragedy.  I pulled out a pair of anklets this morning, put them on, and went about my day.  A couple hours ago I decided to put on sneakers to go outside and look!  A couple stitches decided to come unraveled.  I guess I dropped a stitch when I was decreasing for the toe and it ran down, turning into three stitches.  Good thing I caught it before tossing it into the washer, huh?  I'll use a tiny crochet hook to work them back up and do a little darning.  Whew.



April 22--Henri Manuel, Claude Monet in his Studio.

The old man bends over
reaches for a wide brush
to swirl on his palette.
Loaded with paint
it becomes water lilies
floating on blue-green canvas water.
Flowers grown from a shaky hand
bloom forever in the world's eye.
~~~~~

Even though I was a good two months late in my search for a spring coat (which Aunt B says is an archaic thing) I was lucky at my first stop.  Since Burlington used to be Burlington Coat Factory I thought I'd start there.  I asked a lady who turned out to be the manager about a spring coat and she led me to a rack of garish pink/magenta jackets.  "No," I said, "I'd like a coat."  "Oh," she swiped at her ankle, "a long one," and shook her head.  "Not a long coat," I said, "I'm way too round and way too short for a long coat.  I want something that falls between my butt and my knees."  She said they didn't have anything but we went across the store anyway, there were more of those hideous pink jackets.  I thanked her and turned around to leave only to be confronted with a Clearance rack and there it was.  A taupe spring coat, water resistant and washable, with a detachable hood.  Even better, it's one size smaller than I'd have tried on if there'd been a bigger one there.  Woohoo!  She said she had a 15% off coupon I could use.  Score!  Plus I found a couple more things on the Clearance rack.   Since I really don't like to shop I was thrilled to find what I wanted in the first place I went.  I have a spring coat.  I am a grown-up.
--Barbara

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Whole Lotta Lunches

I know I'm feeling better because I have been accomplishing things since I got up.  A couple weeks ago Pick 'N Save offered a box of 30 Oscar Meyer weenies for $5 so I picked it up thinking it'd be good for Durwood to eat with his beloved baked beans as lunches.  (He tends to skip lunch so I'm always on the hunt for temptations to get him to eat.)  He called me yesterday extolling the virtues of Eggo waffles (which was last week's breakfast temptation) and wondering what to have for lunch.  I suggested a hot dog in beans and he said he wasn't such a big fan of hot dogs.  I reminded him that he'd laid waste to a box of 30 a month ago and he said he'd eaten them only to be polite.  Seldom outmaneuvered, I offered to grill some hot dogs so he'd have some in reserve, didn't he like grilled hot dogs?  He loves grilled hot dogs (see? carrot and stick) so this morning I fired up the Weber (while filling birdfeeders with the grill upwind of the birdseed storage cans so now I smell like I spent the morning around a campfire), then tossed about half of the hot dogs on the fire for a few minutes.  Voila!  Instant lunches.  And there are 15 more in the freezer ready for the same treatment when this supply runs low.

Also while the charcoals were getting ready I dragged the birdie tree to the curb and took some pictures of new leaves, sprouts, and buds around the yard.

See the forsythia?  It's going great guns this year...




here's some iris spearing into Spring...





these tiny pink buds will grow up to make leaves, blossoms, and blueberries...




and the honeysuckle's making its leaves so the hummingbirds come back eventually.  (Gotta get up the nectar feeders so we can clean them because next weekend's when they go out.  I'll check the migration map to make sure.)

I didn't get much knitting done yesterday but I did have a pair of the coolest young men stop in the afternoon.  One of them's working as a diver for a treasure salvor in the waters off Jacksonville, FL for a year before going to school to learn to drive cruise ships and the other one's in flight school almost to his Instructor certification with a goal of flying charters in the Bahamas.  Who says young people don't have goals and the drive to achieve them?  Plus they were nice kids, funny and friendly too.  I wish I could tell their parents that, well, I can because one set of parents are divers.  But my faith in the "younger generation" got a booster shot yesterday.

April 21--Paul Cezanne, Still Life: Flowers in a Vase.

She picked peonies, roses,
lilacs, that one lily
tucked in a sunny corner
blooming ahead of the rest.
Pulled out the old blue vase
left by the previous tenants.
On the yellow table
she made grace, symmetry,
art.
~~~~~

I'm off to find myself a spring coat this morning and then meet a friend for lunch. (thank god, I feel better)  But first I need to wash off the smell of campfire.  
--Barbara

Thursday, April 20, 2017

BRAT & Time Does the Trick

I'm feeling (almost) normal this morning.  One of my very first knitting friends recommended the BRAT diet with plain yogurt, so I looked it up and I was halfway there already.  (thanks a million, KD) It's Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast, a diet pediatricians recommend when patients have been throwing up or having the trots.  There was an explanation on the site but essentially all those foods are easy on touchy tummies and digestions and also have "firming" properties.  I added the yogurt to reintroduce healthy bacteria and found a reduced price loaf of honey oatmeal bread on the bakery cart so I'm not reduced to eating soft white bread,  Yuk.  (that's only acceptable in a pimento cheese sandwich--hmmm--no, Barbara, no! not until you're a whole lot better)  Here's a photo of my biggest clump of daffodils to clear your head from all the sick talk lately.



I got knitting on the Hempathy Brambling Shawl again yesterday.  I'd read a hint on The Lounge on Mason-Dixon Knitting about rolling up the dangling part of it so it doesn't snag the yarns quite so enthusiastically.  I had a couple coil-less pin markers in my bag and put them to use which made a world of difference in the annoyance and tangling departments.  This is the wrong side of the piece, look how tidy the line where the colors join is.  I suspect that my shawl will be more of a shawlette because this yarn isn't fluffy like the pattern yarn but I really love the way it's looking.  It'll be a long knit but it holds my interest.


It's extra-gray and drizzly today so the only picture I have for you is the sedum that's in the bed outside the patio doors.  It's one of the first perennials to sprout on the north side of the house.  I really like the gray green of the foliage.


April 20--Sandro Botticelli, La Primavera.

Every thing comes to life,
buds burst into bloom,
love comes to birds, beasts.
Every one shines with new light.
Winter does his best to stay,
his blue hands grasp the warming days
but they slip into Spring
without a backwards glance
~~~~~

I had a quick doc's appointment this morning before work, what they call a med check to make sure I'm taking all my meds correctly, that my BP is good (it's better than good, it's perfect), and to renew any Rxs that need it.  It takes all of 20 minutes and I think the peace of mind is worth leaving home a bit early.  Now I'm at work wondering if anyone will be thinking of diving on such a damp, chilly day.  Time will tell.
--Barbara

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Feeling Slightly Better But Still Complaining

I discovered the secret to feeling better in the morning--don't eat supper, then there's nothing to get cramps about when you wake up.  I keep trying cheese for lunch, this morning I had plain Greek yogurt with a little honey, something has got to reestablish normalcy.  I'm tired of having Pepto as a meal chaser and an afternoon snack.  Tomorrow morning I have a doc's appointment (for another reason) so I'll consult on my continuing complaint.


This morning I noticed that the bleeding heart sprouted over the weekend.  Don't you love that bright green?  I also saw leaves on the honeysuckle when I walked next door to deliver some diaper coupons to the new mom so I guess it's time to grab some leather gloves and drag the birdie tree to the curb.






The rhubarb's going great guns.  I will not be eating any of that in the near future as one of my grandmothers called it "the spring tonic" by which she meant it cleans out your pipes when eaten in any quantity.  I'll pass.  *groan*  Sorry for that.



I'm a big fan of this orange centered daffodil.  Its trumpet is very short and ruffly and the petals are a pale creamy color.  I need to study up on other bulbs or plants that I can put across the front of the house so that once these flowers wither and die, which they do fairly quickly, others will come to take their place.


April 19--Paul Signac, The Harbor of St. Tropez

Hundreds, thousands
of brush tip-size dashes
in forty-seven shades of
blue, red, yellow, white
(no, I didn't count)
build the dynamic
action of a working harbor.
Impression of the scene
or the output
of a near-sighted and trembling
artist.
~~~~~

I'd like to spend an afternoon looking at that painting in person, but I'd have to go to some museum in Germany or maybe Poland and I'm kinda busy.  I finished the Helical Sock Sock last night.  It's a bit short in the foot but I AM NOT picking out the toe and reattaching three yarns.  It'll be fine.  Gotta run to the chiro to get my bones rearranged before work.  Toodles.
--Barbara

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Not Sick Enough to Stay in Bed but Not Really Well

It's really hard to figure out an upbeat blog post when you're on Day 5 of some sort of flu.  Happily I don't have the nausea part, unfortunately I have the other part.  Pepto is my friend.

Focusing on complicated or even varying knitting instructions is beyond me so I've not knitted a stitch on the Hempathy Brambling shawl.  I got the Helical Sock Sock out a couple times over the weekend only to end up sleeping with it in my hands.  Feeling a bit better yesterday I worked on the sock only to discover that I'd dropped a stitch off the end of a needle about 5 rounds back.  Arrrgh.  But I nabbed the errant stitch with a little crochet hook, knitted my way to the spot where it belonged, then unknitted a stitch and hooked both of them back up and into their rightful places.  I wouldn't have noticed it for rounds and rounds but I'd decided that being halfway to the toe I should rearrange the stitches so that I wasn't in danger of putting the toe on sideways or something.  There were 16 stitches on two needles and 15 on one.  Uh-oh.  But glancing down there was a tiny tell-tale loop of yarn about a half-inch down so I sprang into action, and I didn't even swear--out loud.  Rearranging the stitches meant that the yarns were hanging off the middle of the needles instead of at the ends.  Not good.  So I set about knitting one extra stitch at each yarn switch (so that there was only a tiny, one stitch carry behind it) until I got the yarns to where I want them.  I felt pretty clever, still do.




We had birds visiting this morning.  When I first looked up there was a pair of goldfinches on this feeder but the less bright one flew away before I got a shot of the pair.



Then this male Downy Woodpecker came for a snack.  Isn't he handsome?










 
Oh!  I keep meaning to show you.  I got stopped by the first freighter of the season about a week ago.  That must mean that all of the Great Lakes ports are open.  I do love seeing the big boats even if they do sail right down across the road I want to drive on.

April 18--Anonymous, Officer of the Life Guards Cavalry Regiment.

He looks so aristocratic
in his bicorne hat
with its feathered cockade
beaded and beribboned.
The Double Eagle plaque
on his breastplate
signifies his fealty.
His slight smile,
shining eyes,
firm jaw convey
not hauteur
but pride.
~~~~~

Too bad nobody knows who he is or who painted him.  He's very handsome and heartbreakingly young.  Well, it was sunny and now it's all cloudy and gray.  It's kinda chilly too.  I'll be doing laundry for the rest of the day and sitting knitting.  Bah.  I hate feeling sick and I especially hate feeling sick for more than a day or two.
--Barbara

Monday, April 17, 2017

Well, That Was Interesting...




Almost as soon as DS, DIL1, LC & OJ arrived for an Easter visit yesterday after naptime, we smelled smoke.  Since we're a block from Burger King and I figured some neighbors were grilling out on such a nice day, I ignored it.  It was very windy so who knew where the smoke smell came from.  DIL1 got up to look out the window and said, "hey, the tree next door's on fire because the power pole fell over."  We all leaped up to look out.  LC and I went out onto the porch just as the transformer blew with a big pop so we hotfooted it back inside.  Soon we heard sirens and two fire trucks arrived to cordon off the street and warned us all to stay indoors.  In not too much more time the public service guys arrived to shut off the power lines and get to work.  At one point there were five public service trucks, two fire engines, and two water department trucks on our tiny street.  Once the power was out the kids left to go to the grocery and give their hopped-up-on-too-much-sugar kids some room to run, not that OJ's walking yet but he was really enjoying going around and around our round coffee table just as fast as he could.  He's going to turn from a quadruped into a biped very soon.

Happily Durwood had plenty of oxygen tanks because with the power off his O2 machine doesn't work.  No power also meant no supper cooking, no heat, and, eventually, no lights.  We were very lucky that it was in the high 60s yesterday, not the 20s so we didn't freeze.  The power came back on around 8:30 so we didn't have to go to bed at sundown like the pioneers or sit staring into the dark.

Still bugged by whatever virus is visiting me I wasn't all that hungry for supper last night so I just went to Burger King for a couple burgers and some fries to split.  I know, I know, not the best food to put in a dodgy tummy but it was Easter and none of the "hot food" bars in groceries were open so I couldn't get baked chicken.  I survived.  I still can't get too far from the bathroom but I survived.  I had yogurt for breakfast to introduce some healthy bacteria back into my system.  Hope it helps.

 


Okay, now you deserve a better mental picture of my life.  See the daffodils?  Pretty.







April 17--Childe Hassam, French Tea Garden.

Bee investigating
the jam jar
hums to itself.
Cup of tea cools
in the shade.
Silver needle flashes
in and out
embroidering a tea towel.
~~~~~

It's not as warm today as it was yesterday but it isn't as windy either.  Maybe all the power poles will remain upright today.  Fingers crossed.
--Barbara

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!

Look, the Easter Bunny stopped by leaving baskets for LC and OJ.  Not a lot of candy (they're too little) but books and puppets and bubbles.  Just what you need for spring.  Plus a few treats so that the baskets aren't the Easter equivalent of getting underwear for Christmas.




 









The forsythia bloomed.  I love the yellow flowers against the blue blue sky, don't you?


April 16--Mikhail Evlampievich Perchin, The Apple Blossom Egg.

Ovoid jewel box 
green enamel
entwined by apple blossoms
holds the promise
of life's tiny treasures.
~~~~

And that's it.  I am suffering from some intestinal bug so I feel like the bottom of the birdcage.  I can't decide if I've caught something or ate something bad.  Whatever it is, I am not enjoying it.  Good thing we weren't planning to host the family Easter feast.  Happy Easter!
--Barbara