Sunday, August 24, 2014

Whew!

I've been exclusively knitting on the Oriole Wings Wrap for the last week and finished the orange stripes this evening with a mere 7 yards of yarn left.  Now it's a 6-inch slog of the "fedora" brown to finish the shawl.


Here's tonight's sunset sky over the Absaroka Mountains.

Friday, August 15, 2014

On Our Marks, Get Set...

Today is a list-crossing off-day.  He has a list.  I have a list.  Hopefully at some point in the day our lists will converge and we'll be ready-ish to drive away tomorrow.  I don't think you're ever ALL ready and I take comfort in the fact that there are Walmarts all over the place so we can pop in and nab whatever it is we realize we've forgotten when we pass through a town.


Early this morning I picked all the ripe tomatoes and the ripening tomatoes and the tomatoes thinking about ripening.  We'll put them into a square Tupperware canister that fits perfectly in a spot in the back seat by the cooler so that we can have picnics of cheese, pretzels, almonds, and fresh tomatoes while on our trip.  Last time the tomatoes lasted until about the middle of South Dakota on the way home so I have high hopes for many picnics.  I'm a big fan of eating outside, Durwood not so much and usually he wins but on vacation when we want to be outside anyway, I win.  Yay!

The sun was far up in the sky when I was out there but I caught it peeking through the leaves of L&SJ's big maple tree and here's a shot of the other planter of coleus.  I love the colors, that lime green and magenta together especially.  Coleus isn't a plant you have to baby either, I've been lax watering this summer (shame) but they're lush and full and beautiful anyway.  

Durwood pointed out last night that the dinette light fixture spider has attached its web to one of the stars of my Icarus mobile.  It isn't in focus but you can see that the star on the left is pulled out at an angle and there's no breeze blowing it that way.  I remove that web nearly every day and every night the spider puts it back.





All of these pictures were taken with my new pawn shop camera.  I stopped at Camera Corner after work last night and got a card reader so that I can suck the photos off into the laptop since the laptop doesn't seem to want to recognize the camera when I use a USB cable and the Canon website thinks it has no drivers for me.  I'm guessing there was a CD with the driver in the original box.  I'll do a web search when we get back, but for now the reader works just fine.  The guy at CC told me that while it is an old camera, it's a good one, and it was $800 when it was new, so Yay, me.  Now I just need to learn how to use it.  Owner's manual in the suitcase?  Check.

August 15--Italy, Medallion.  The lovers gazed into each others' eyes unblinking.  Of course they were carved on a silver medal so naturally there was no blinking.  Sarah turned the medallion over in her hands.  It was about the size of a half-dollar and the chased rim was gilt.  She could tell it was old because the carvings were worn down where thumbs had smoothed it over the years.

And that's when I zonked off.  I'm on the fence about whether I'll do any prompt writing while we're gone or just concentrate on writing in the travel diary at night.  We shall see.  I'm going to try to post here every few days too.  That'll depend on finding wi-fi in the Wild West.  Time to get packing.  So, talk to you soon-ish.
--Barbara

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Two More Days...

... to live through and then we're off on Adventures Unknown.  Oh, okay, Adventures Semi-Planned because we've got motel reservations out and back and we've got maps and guidebooks up the yingyang with Post-its poking out in all directions and packing lists galore but once we get to the places we have no plans.  Exactly.  There are places we want to see and things we want to do, like spend more time at Little Bighorn, get away from the lights and see the stars in Yellowstone, go to the rodeo in Cody, WY, and visit the US Geological Service installation in Sioux Falls, SD, but other than that we're free as birds.  I just learned yesterday that I can download a AAA Yellowstone tourbook onto my Kindle (I just spent 20 minutes figuring out how to do that) so we can have the wilderness at our fingertips.  Pretty cool.


This morning the verbena and coleus were looking especially pretty and there was a big, bright, day moon over the house when I went out to fill the feeders.  I love nature.  Like my brother TW used to say when he was really little, Outside (big and breathy), he loved outside.  I do too.

Can you believe Robin Williams took his own life?  I am stunned.  I suffer with mild depression, especially in February and March when there's so little sunlight, but I've never, ever been so depressed that I contemplated ending my life.  God, I feel so sorry for him and his family.  O, Captain, my Captain, rest easy.

And then Lauren Bacall died of a stroke the very next day.  Sheesh.

August 14--Charles K. Wilkinson, Queen Nefertari being led by Isis.  The women walked hand in hand down the long hallway.  Their bare feet were silent on the cool marble floor.  Neither spoke, their breaths whispered like a sigh of wind in the trees.  "Oh, that's just crap."  Gayle threw down her pen.  She read what she had written, the words squirming in her mouth like worms.  She reached out, tore off the page, crumpled it up, and tossed it toward the recycling bin.  It missed.  "Great, now I can't even throw things away right."  This was not going well.  The words that came didn't play well together and her deadline was looming.  She missed the days when her hand wasn't fast enough to keep up with her ideas.

I know how she feels.  Yeah, yeah, I know I write all the time but I miss being swept along on a wave of inspiration and not being able to write fast enough to get it all down.  Maybe that's a fleeting thing until you get the skills to make the words behave?  Maybe I keep missing the crest and get Maytag-ged in the surf.  Whatever, I'm not giving up anytime soon.  Time to shower and all that work-y stuff.  Have a... day.
--Barbara

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Gotcha!

After heating up my coffee I grabbed my camera to come in here and blog.  That's when I saw that a hummingbird had come for a morning sip or three.  I got it.  I managed to get my camera turned on, take one flash photo, disable the flash, and take 2 more before it zoomed off.  I gotcha!

The clouds this morning were especially interesting, I thought, all layered, gray, and peachy.  Yesterday's rain simmered down in the morning so we had a mostly cloudy day, cloudy and cool, I don't think it got much above 70 degrees.  I'm thinking I might just pack a pair of long jeans and a sweatshirt.  It might be that cool up in the mountains next week.

After a lot of thought, frogging, and reworking I finished the Linen Hankie Washcloth last night.  I used Knit Picks CotLin DK weight cotton and linen yarn, and spent an hour crocheting the edging and then when I was halfway through deciding I didn't like the way it looked so I frogged it and did it my way.  It's almost like the pattern, I just did all of the *2dc, ch2, 2dc* in the same stitch instead of in 2 stitches side by side, I like the way it looks better.  I even did a cloth side alternating the pattern way and my way just to see which one I liked.  That's not like me, or it's not the way I used to be before the BLKG Design-a-Thon earlier this year.  That little challenge gave me permission to KNIT THE WAY I WANTED TO and the pattern be damned.  That's powerful stuff.  Anyway, I really like the washcloth and I'm sorting through my cottons in my head to see how I can make the next one.  It'll be colorful, not so neutral, although the neutrals are soothing rather than jarring.  I like 'em both.

August 13--United States, Coat.  "That's what we're supposed to be wearing?" Andi gawped at the dark green linen tail coat hanging from the closet door.  "Number one, it's butt-ugly and second there's no room for my boobs."  Rita crossed her arms over her own ample set.  "What was she thinking?  I've heard of brides deliberately picking ugly bridesmaids dressed but this takes the cake.  I'm not wearing it."  "Well, do you love it?"  Andi and Rita turned to see a smiling Sue in the doorway.  "I just know the two of you are going to look incredible."  "Love it," they said, "can't wait for the wedding."  Rita leaned over to whisper in Andi's ear.  "If we don't go to Hell for lying first."

What are friends for?  I just downloaded the new Cormoran Strike novel by Robert Galbraith who is really J.K. Rowling in disguise.  (I still think of that agent or lawyer who blabbed when the first Cormoran Strike book wasn't doing so well.  I know he lost his job but wonder if he was a scapegoat to get the book new life.)  I'm anxious to get in the car so I can start listening.  Time to yog, dress, and get off to work.  Gotta keep the world safe from SCUBA diving, you know.
--Barbara

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

We Got Rain!!!!


Last night around 9 o'clock I heard rain and not just any wimpy sprinkles either, rain like it really meant it, and when I went to bed I heard raindrops pecking at the window over my head.  This morning when I opened the curtains here's what I saw--a wet patio and raindrops in the birdbath.  Woohoo!  (mercifully no one saw me, not even Durwood, but I did a little dance)

Yesterday afternoon it was quiet-ish at work after a pretty darned busy morning so I got almost through the first part of the Linen Hankie Washcloth, then I got part of the first edging done last night.  I'll be picking up the hook (because now it's shifted from knitting to crochet) as soon as I hit "publish" so I can maybe finish today.  I think it's easy and I like the way it looks.  Can't wait to see it done.

I got the rest of the camera doodads yesterday so I charged up the batteries and can start learning how the camera works.  Of course, the cable I ordered isn't the one I really wanted (my mistake) but I have extra batteries and a charger so one can charge while I use another.  Now I just need to figure out how to get the pictures from the camera to the laptop.  

August 12--Iran, Plaque with Horned Lion-Griffins.  Wings and fangs and horns--the creatures looked like some fantasy geek's ideal.  The gold was too gold, too yellow gold, cheap looking.  Abe pulled the object out of the crate shoved in the corner of the junk shop.  He used his shirt to rub off some of the dust.  He turned it over and tilted it in the weak light that penetrated the murk.  There were marks, they looked like Arabic and the gold was soft, soft like it was nearly pure.  He glanced around and then dug his thumbnail into the back of the plaque.  He gouged out a little crescent and was amazed.  He looked for a sticker, hesitant to ask the price, afraid he'd betray his eagerness and interest.

Okey-dokey, that's it for me.  I'm going to go crochet and watch the rain.  Ahhh.
--Barbara

Monday, August 11, 2014

Can't Buy Rain

Even though it looks like it might rain I'll bet you we won't see a drop.  It hasn't rained, not really rained, not even rained enough to wet the whole street, for weeks.  I think it's been 2 and maybe 3 weeks since I mowed.  That's not right, not in July, in August maybe but not in July and yet I'll be mowing one night this week because there are scattered weeds growing up nice and tall.  They're so thin that I can only see them when I sit in the car looking across the lawn.

This morning I was taking a picture of the red petunias when a pair of woodpeckers fluttered onto the chair.  I got one of them but they were gone too quickly for a second shot.

I finally gave in to startitis temptation and cast on a linen hankie washcloth last night.  I'm excited to see how it turns out but it's a pain getting things like this started, the first couple rounds it seems like the needles are in charge the way they tangle and twist.

I was a bad person and did the laundry yesterday.  One of the intake pipes that brings lake water into the city for us to drink, etc. broke last week so there's only one bringing in water so they said we needed to conserve water.  It isn't rationed they just asked us not to water gardens and such but I figure that no one wants us to be out of clean undies.  Right?  It's kind of a public service.  Plus we only have 3 loads so it wasn't too bad.

Durwood and I spent an hour in the afternoon counting and weighing out a whole bock of 100-calorie snack packs for our cross-country jaunt.  I did this a couple years back when we went to Yellowstone and it saved us from buying munchies in gas stations.  We'll pick up a case of bottled water and some Gatorade to take along too.  Hey, we've got tons of room in Durwood's big van so why not use it.

August 11-James-Jacques-Joseph Tissot, Spring Morning.  The sun shown so brightly in the garden that morning it made Jeanne glad she had gotten the umbrella out of the garage over the weekend.  She had her mug of coffee and the newspaper, everything needed to ease into the day.  She had barely read past the headlines when the phone started ringing.  Tempted to stay where she was and let the machine pick up, she was on her feet before the thought faded.  What if one of the kids needed her?  The phone was on the narrow shelf just inside the door so she reached in for it before the third ring.  "Hello?"  That was all she said before the voice in her ear drove her to sit on the step.  It was her mother-in-law fifteen miles from the doorstep and expecting to stay with her "a while."  Jeanne didn't know how long "a while" was but it was already too long.

I hope DIL1 and DIL2 don't feel that way about me.  They probably do, a little bit anyway, mothers can be so mother-y in a take-charge kind of way.  I try to know my place.  Anyway, look, it's Monday again.  Told you they roll around faster than any other day of the week, didn't I?  Oh, and I see the sun.  No rain for us.  Dammit.  Auf wiedersehen, kids.

--Barbara

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I Love A Clean House

Even if making it so sucks up a whole day and makes me feel like an old woman.  Durwood and I busied around all day yesterday.  He made masterful inroads in his piles o'paper that live on his side of the table (thank you, Dear, from the bottom of my heart) and I dusted, scoured, mopped, and vacuumed.  I even got out the long dusting wand and evicted the cobwebs from the light fixtures and over the curtain rods.   (I'm sure I missed some but it's better than it was.)

After a 4-days-belated birthday supper of steaks on the grill, twice-baked potatoes, sugar snap peas, and banana creme pie (it was catered by other people who love Durwood and it was all sooooo good) I zipped to Goodwill in search of a cushion for Durwood's new chair.  It's vinyl and his tushie gets uncomfortably sweaty when he sits there a lot, and it's his favorite chair so he sits there a lot.  I found one, and for only $4.99.  It's comfy and fits the chair perfectly.  I also found a 2.5 yard length of woven plaid fabric that isn't wool (boo) but I still like it and it was also $4.99.

When I was calling motels on Friday I talked to the owner of the Lariat Motel in Hardin, Montana.  She had the room we wanted at a price we liked so I booked it.  She asked for my name and address and zip code.  I told her, she asked where that is and I said "Green Bay, Wisconsin."  She exclaimed, "Oh!  Where my Packers are!"  (You notice that they're her Packers.)  I said, "I didn't know you owned them" and she admitted that yes, they're hers, that she's loved the Packers for years.  Durwood and I planned to scout the fan store in Walmart for some doodads to take along, bandanas and keychains and stuff for my cousin and his girls, we thought we'd get something for Charlette, owner of the Lariat Motel, too.  So when I was in Goodwill on Friday night and again last night, I looked for a Packers something to take to her.  (It's a good place to look for things at good prices, especially things that come to me on a whim.)  Found nothing on Friday but look what I found last night--a new pair of Packers gloves for only $5.99.  I had to buy them, they're tasteful yet Packer-y.  I hope she likes them.

August 10--India, Cuirass.  There was a lion gnawing on her leg and Leah just lay there watching.  She heard bones breaking and could smell the musky cat aroma of the great feline.  It was her left leg so she'd still be able to drive a car.  That was an odd thought, she supposed, but there didn't seem to be a reason to get all upset about the situation.  The lion finished eating, yawned a huge jaw-cracking yawn, rolled on its side and went to sleep.  Leah sat up, brushed herself off, and resumed her walk across the savanna.  As she took the first step, she awoke.  Immediately her hand reached to make sure her foot and leg were attached.  They were.

Odd, isn't it?  But then dreams usually are.  I was tired and probably befuddled with cleaning fumes and all the dust I kicked up through the day.  Today I plan to start the wash, go to Aldi for fruit (pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, mango on sale) and pretzels, and Fleet for nuts so Durwood can start counting out servings making 100-calorie snack packs for our vacation.  Maybe I'll  pick some tomatoes but won't do too much work since I kind of overdid it yesterday... but I'm like that.  Ask Durwood.  Enjoy your Sunday!
--Barbara