Thursday, October 8, 2015

Lots To Show You

I've got a lot of (what I think are) interesting things to show you today.  You may have other ideas but, since I'm the boss of this blog, you're stuck with it.

Do you ever look at the change you get back when you buy something?  Not just to count it to make sure the amount is correct but actually examine the coins?  I usually don't either but something about one of the pennies I got back in a store last week caught my eye.  Before dumping the handful of coins into my wallet I picked it up for a closer look.  It's an 1899 Indian Head penny.  I just about dropped it.  It isn't in great shape, probably not worth much more than face value, but it's 116 years old and I'm keeping it.  I might take it to the coin guy next to the Shell station for a look see and a little keeper for it (rather than the plastic bag I have it in right now) but even if it's only worth a penny, I'm keeping it.  Interesting old things need to be kept (she says as she ages semi-gracefully hoping someone will think she's interesting enough to keep when she's 116).

The sky was particularly pretty this morning when I opened the curtains.  I woke up at 5:30 for no good reason and couldn't go back to sleep (my mind turned on and the gremlin that lives in the back jumped up and said, "let's sing a song!" I couldn't shut him up--and the song was "Ten Little Indians" I guess the penny generated that one)  I noticed that the cardinals are at the birdbath at daybreak.  They're very skittish and seldom visit for a drink during the day so I was pleased to see Mr. Cardinal having his morning sip.  Didn't get a picture but I saw him.

I meant to have both of the teacups crocheted AND felted by tonight's knitting guild meeting but you see how far I got.  Monday I was busy at work, Tuesday I was busy here, and yesterday I felt like I was working in the International House of Neoprene.  A huge wetsuit order came, two giant boxes of them.  They're heavy and well-packed so there's lots of unpacking and unfolding (kind of like getting a deeply asleep toddler out of a snowsuit; they're limp and seem to have too many appendages), then there's the mountain of (non-recyclable) bags and Styrofoam sheets and tubes to compress into a manageable glob for the trash.  I will say that LC would have had a blast with all the short, narrow tubes and the long sheets of fabric-like Styrofoam which is kind of like unperforated paper towels.  I don't know what she'd have done with it but I know she'd have had fun.

The last of Dad's roses are nearly bloomed out but I thought the rose hips looked pretty, big and plump, as they change from green to red, and the only surviving mums are blooming up a storm.  Our maple tree has shed over half its leaves and the remaining ones are a gorgeous red-orange.  I just wish this early beauty didn't presage an impending demise.  I need to get the city arborist over to look at the tree.

October 8--Philip H. Coblentz, Santorini, Greece.  The doorway reminded Lily of a Cubist painting.  Sharp edges of color, light, and shadow popped off the creamy white stucco, even the horizon line merely separated two shades of blue.  The only softness, and it could barely be called that, was the worn rush seat of the chair next to the door.  She stood in the blazing sun and marveled at the perfect shade of dark blue on the shutters and the door, and the red-orange of the window frame and door overhang.  She head the whisper of the sea on the pebble beach and knew she had been right to come.  She picked up her bags, lifted the latch, and went through the blue door into a new phase of her life.

Not much action but it sure is pretty.  See, now that wasn't so bad.  Not too many pictures, not too many words.  You have a great day.  I'll have one too.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I Was Already On To It

Remember yesterday how excited I was to have discovered a new stitch to try?  Well, I took the book out into the autumn sunshine, like I said I would, to flip through and look at all the pretty projects and there, near the back, was a photo that looked familiar.  I just looked at my Ravelry queue (line-up of projects I want to do [which is too long and will never be completely accomplished if I retire today and devote the rest of my life to knitting constantly AND grow four extra pairs of hands]) and right there Project #6 is the Inside-Outside Scarf.  (it's a free one if you'd like to try it too)  She means you to use two of the same skeins of long-repeat variegated yarn but I see I have planned to use two different skeins of the same yarn.  I think I'll stick with my original idea of using dishcloth cotton--one plain, one variegated--to learn the stitch technique.  Just to be safe.

I'm excited about tomorrow's program at Bay Lakes Knitting Guild.  LQ is a real color maven and she's going to talk all about choosing colors and blending colors and... and... I don't know what but I'm really looking forward to it.  I need to gather up my 12 balls of solid or semi-solid yarns to take along; I'll do that tonight.

You need to see the cool stuff my roomie, CA, gave me at The Clearing.  It's a spatula (everyone knows I have a blue-million spatulas thanks to Durwood) with a decal of the Eifel Tower and "Paris" on the blade and a Monet-motif pen from Giverney where she was last spring.  Thanks, CA, I love them.

For my own self I bought a couple things in The Clearing's bookstore.  The oddball looking wood one is a hand presser for when you're sewing and don't want to hop up every minute to press open a seam.  DD bought one when she was up there in July and I coveted it, so I got my own.  And they've got cards of buttons made from clay so I picked out this card of six in a kind of silvery gray.  They should be good for closing a sweater someday.

The garden is pretty much done.  Now I just have to wait for the squash and gourd vines to completely die and the thick stems of the fruits to dry too.  It occurred to me that there's a reason (beyond laziness) that farmers leave those squash in the fields.  It's because the darned things aren't ripe until all the vines are dead and the stems aren't green anymore.  (ask me how I know...)  So now we wait, probably until the first frost, to pick them.

October 7--Philip H. Coblenz, Enjo National Park, CA.  The road toward the mountain was wide, gravel-paved, and lit gold by the sun through the aspen leaves.  Becky and Amelia walked along, backpacks cinched up tight, their steps quick and confident.  They had tied bear bells onto their packs, not that they really expected to meet a bear but to warn off any cougar that might be lurking nearby.  "Did you hear about that runner in Colorado that was stalked and killed by a cougar?" Amelia said.  "Oh, Amos, don't be such a scaredy cat," Becky said, and then giggled, "Cat."  She slid her hand under Amelia's arm.  "Look how bright and open this trail is.  No self-respecting cougar's going to bother us here."  Amelia shrugged a shoulder but didn't shake off her friend's hand.

That's when I feel fast asleep, dang it, because they were just about to come around a curve and see the trail narrow and get very dark a few yards ahead.  That's when things would really happen.  But, no, I had to be all tired and fall asleep barely after 10 o'clock.  Oh well, I'll get 'em next time.  I get to go get my bones rearranged before work today (I just love that!) and we got a "maybe you'll like this" cookbook in the mail that I'll drop off at the post office on the way.  Gotta run!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Nothing Interesting...

...happened yesterday.  I had a few customers, did a bit of yoga (yes, at work), caught up on my emails, and knit a few rows on Sudoku Berry #2 so I have nothing interesting to tell you.  I think I'll just make myself sad by sharing a few more photos from last week's visit to The Clearing.

As far as the yoga at work goes, I found a free Kindle app that has a 20 minute routine that's just right for my skill level and seems to work all my parts.  I did it every day when I was gone, walked on the treadmill on Sunday, and then did yoga at work yesterday.  I'm determined to do something every day for a month.  My muscles and joints need it and my head needs it more.  The routine isn't so strenuous that I get over-sweaty or extra-winded so it's perfect for sneaking into a quiet space at work, and not bad if someone calls or comes in.  Plus doing it every day makes me feel good--and virtuous.

There was a beginning knitting class last week at The Clearing too (along with Beginning Watercolor and Build a Stacked Stone Wall) and I drooled over the sweater the knitting teacher wore, a different one every day.  The first day she had on a vest that looked like some kind of special brioche stitch but it's knit1below, from the book of the same name.  I quick looked it up on Amazon on my phone, saw the price, and checked the local library.  They have a copy so I put it on hold and picked it up today.  I think I've found my stitch to learn for October.  (I just went on Amazon for the link and see that there are a bunch for sale for around five bucks, hmmm... this would make a good Christmas gift, DS & DD, a used one I mean)

Can you find the dragon?
October 6--Chris A. Crumley, #930507-26-26.  The warm salt water flowed over my skin like silk.  It took a lot of self-control to take my time, kicking leisurely over the reef.  My legs wanted to madly scissor around the reef, propel me from coral head to coral head to watch the damselfish tend their algae gardens and fish line up at the cleaning station to get spiffed up for the weekend.

Even though work wasn't busy that was all I had wits for last night.  The sun's out today.  I think I'll take my knitting book outside and read about this new intriguing stitch.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Back To The Grind

In honor of my first day back to work the blue sky is hiding behind a thick layer of clouds and the sun's light is just barely managing to get through.  I could have done with a bright sunny day to catapult me back into the saddle.  It's kind of drizzly but not really raining like it is at Aunt B's house in North Carolina.  I'm about ready to send her an oar and a set of water wings.

Durwood picked up a ribeye for us to share when I got home so I grilled it last night and nearly ran into the gigantic spiderweb that's connecting the hummingbird feeder to the house.  When I first went out the acromantula-size spider was in residence but it evidently didn't like the patio light turning on so it fled to a darker spot.  The steak was good, done perfectly *polishes fingernails on her shirt* as were the sauteed fresh mushrooms and baked potato.  That man knows how to welcome a girl home.

While I was away what Durwood is calling "the Great Fence of China" was erected across the back of our lot.  Actually it's across the back of the lot behind us and further onto their property so I'll have a bit more dirt to play with come spring, except on further examination I see that there's a lot of gravel.  Maybe I'll just let the weeds have their way.  What am I saying?  No I won't, I'll at least cut and pull the weeds if none of the hostas and day lilies don't come back.  I don't think it's visible from space so Durwood might be exaggerating.

Here are the 2 1/2 Sudoku blocks I knitted last week.  Both of the finished ones are quite a bit looser than the previous ones but I'm sure they'll block into shape.  Saturday evening and last night I crocheted a teacup and handle to felt along with the teapot for LC.  I plan to make another cup so that we can have tea parties.  I hope she likes it.

These are the yarns I got from Spin in Sturgeon Bay's 40% off baskets on my way up to The Clearing.  The red is silk and wool, 325 yds, and will make a nice shawlette.  The black bulky is cotton and wool and I found a pattern for a shawl that I'm kind of itching to start but I know I have to keep making those Sudoku blocks.  Maybe once I get all 9-square blocks done I'll let myself cast on.  I got the cone of laceweight (acrylic, I burnt a piece and, man, did it stink) with the little ball for three bucks at Bargains in Sister Bay.  It doesn't say how much there is or was so I'll just have to pick a pattern, knit and see what happens.  Whatever I choose I'll probably be an inch from the end when I run out.  Ah well, life's an adventure.

October 5--Larry Ulrich, Soufriere, Dominica.  Rita walked along the beach with her sandals in her hand.  Her white cotton pants were rolled up and small waves washed over her bare feet.  The sun was hot as it crested the mountain and the breeze of the morning had stopped.  The locals' fishing skiffs were dragged as far up the beach as they would go and they smelled strongly of fish in the hot stillness.  She liked the names painting on the boats--Full of Fish was the hopeful name on the red and green skiff, Floating Janeen was carefully lettered on the orange one, and the blue boat suffered with the name Titanic.  She thought that would be an unlucky name for a boat even in a place where icebergs never appeared.

Time to eat, shower, dress, and go to work.  I'd rather not but there IS a paycheck waiting for me and my wallet IS pretty much empty so I guess I'll go.  Happy Monday.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Bet You Thought I Fell In A Hole

I didn't, I climbed a bluff.  Well, I didn't climb it exactly, I kind of drove up.  Better to say that on Saturday, Sept. 26th I followed the highway north up to almost the tip of Door County and the land rose under me until I stopped at The Clearing where I parked Beverly, my trusty red HHR (LC tells me that Meemaw's car is "rojo"), where she rested under a tree while I hauled my suitcase, laptop, printer, and a crate of writing supplies to room 12 which overlooks the path to the bluff.  My roomie, CA, and I spread out our papers and dictionaries and versions of manuscripts, trying to stay out of each others' way, and we pounded words into shape for a good four and a half days (we get Thursday afternoon off).  Mornings were spent in the Stovewood room of the Workshop building with the other nine writers and our crackerjack teacher/leader/mentor/butt-kicker, JB.  Monday she got us organized, pinned to a project for the week, and she led us in a free write which submerged us each into the week's work.  In the afternoons we had Quiet Writing Time.  The capital letters are needed because this wasn't just a suggestion that we might want to spend a little time at our desks, this is command performance time.  JB admonished the other students not to talk to us, not to even make eye contact with us during that time.  We were to plant our backsides in our chair or on a friendly rock or tree stump and WRITE.  No excuses.  We wrote.  Since I am in the middle of rewrite #5 of a novel, I kept going, rewriting the last two chapters before needing to rearrange the remaining chapters into an order that made more sense.  Honestly I'd have probably enjoyed writing or rewriting more because what I did required a whole lot of thinking.  Very tiring thing, thinking, but I think (there's that word again) I've got an order now that makes more sense.  The proof will be when I get my keester in gear and rewrite the next chapter, which I said I'd have done by next Sunday.

It was clear enough for us to walk out to the homestead meadow in the center of The Clearing to watch the lunar eclipse last Sunday night.  Did you see it?  It was amazing.  Not being near the east side of the peninsula we didn't see the supermoon rise (besides we were at supper at moonrise; you don't want to miss meals at The Clearing, the food's too good) but we had a clear view of the moon being eaten up by the earth shadow.  I took Durwood's DSLR camera and a tripod and practiced on the full moon on Saturday night.  I figured out how to make the flash stop firing and how to turn it to manual focus but I never did figure out how to change the shutter speed so the shutter stayed open too long, gathering light, making the moon look like a fuzzy round ball of light instead of the disk of moon being gradually covered by shadow.  I got some cool pictures of the starry sky, though, and I'm going to look around for a class on using a DSLR this winter.  Even though the next supermoon lunar eclipse isn't for 18 more years (and who knows if I'll still be alive and kicking then) I was frustrated enough that I couldn't figure it out, even with the manual. I want to learn how now.  Maybe there's a YouTube video or chat forum that'll help...  (There's no internet service on campus [thank God] so I couldn't look it up there, but that also kept me from wasting time surfing the web or playing games instead of doing my writing work.  It's hard at first but by the second day I didn't miss it so much.  The quiet and focus is relaxing.)

Since I didn't think it was fair to read Chapter 16 of a novel at the show & tell on Friday night I dashed off a quick personal essay about going to Woodman's grocery with Durwood.  It was pretty funny and everyone laughed.  I was a little nervous about reading it to him when I got home but he loved it.  I wish I'd taken a picture of his grin when I put the last page down when I read it.  He loved it.  I was glad--and relieved.

There wasn't as much knitting time as I imagined there'd be.  I knitted two of the three Sudoku squares I need to put the next block together.  I'll show you those tomorrow.

October 4--Turnbull/Boudreau, Pasture Fence & Building.  Ty tried not to look along the fence as he worked.  He figured seeing how far it was to the gate would slow him down even more.  He had tried to get his friend Major to help paint the fence or at least keep him company but Major's mom had him scraping the flaking paint off their chicken coop before repainting that.  Ty had a strong suspicion that his mom and Major's mom had planned these chores as a way to keep them busy and apart.

I confess that I didn't do one nightly prompt while I was gone.  By the time bedtime rolled around I was tired of putting words on paper and just called up an eBook on my Kindle and read for a few minutes before conking off.  I will say that I was glad to be back in our big bed last night and leave what felt like a cot-size bed (actually a twin) that we slept in all week.  All of the beds are the same but CA and I had the best bathroom. Instead of a telephone booth-sized shower stall ours was the full width of the bathroom.  It's big enough for someone in a wheelchair to use with an attendant.  Thank you, Americans with Disabilities Act, and thank God that we don't really need it, but it sure is luxurious.  Toodle-oo.  It's laundry time.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Durwood Was Right

The longer I looked at the teapot the more I saw what he saw--a spout that stuck out funny.  So last night at knitting I used a short length of yarn and tacked it up at a better angle with a couple stitches and a good, strong square knot.  I'm definitely going to felt it at least a little.  It's awful floppy and won't be easy for tiny, inept hands to manipulate.  We don't want to frustrate anyone, now do we?

Instead of finishing Sudoku Stone #9 last night I crocheted the first 9-square block together, and I think it looks absolutely great.  This makes me want to knit the remaining 24 squares so I can put all of the blocks together and get busy making the joining strips so I can see how it all looks.  Now I want the physical proof of my long-ago mental picture.

Dad's rose is blooming again.  I love that about this rose, whatever variety it is.  It blooms in the spring and then again in late summer and early fall.  If I turn to the left I see one bud bathed in sunlight with silver spiderwebs twinkling in the light breeze.  One flower always manages to grow tall enough so that I can see it from here.  Thanks, Dad.

Our maple tree is dying.  It's dropping its leaves which have been changing color for weeks, lots of its branches are bare, and it just doesn't look right.  The rest of the trees all up and down the street are as green as can be, like this one in the renters' front yard right next door.  Only our maple is sickly and expiring.  Dammit.

I've just about got everything packed for my week away.  I need to find out what time the moon will rise tomorrow night because it's a Supermoon (closest to Earth or perigee) and there'll be an eclipse.  Can you imagine?  I can't wait.  I packed my "laying in a field to watch the sky" blanket and Durwood's letting me borrow his better camera.  I think I'll practice taking some moon shots tonight.  Maybe I'd better take the camera manual too, yeah, that's a real good idea.  Wonder if I can find a tripod...

September 26--Fox Hollow, Fishing Boat in Fog, Lubec, ME.  Elmer's boat used to be white but it had been faded by the sun and beaten up by years of salt water so it blended into the fog.  The only evidence he left on his way out to sea were the ripples of his wake and the stink of diesel.

I'm so sorry there isn't more.  I meant there to be more but I had to struggle to stay awake for those two sentences.  See, Durwood ran me around to every store in the free world, okay, on the west side of Green Bay, so he'd have all he needs to keep body and soul together while I'm gone and so we didn't miss the "buy one, get one free" cut up chickens deal at Festival which ends today.  Now I'm going to review my packing list (which I can't print out because I already packed the printer), finish my coffee, start the dishwasher, get dressed, go over my list one more time, pack the car, and GO!  I might drag the laptop to a public wi-fi spot during the week but I might just maintain radio silence and have a real run-away.  I'll be thinking about you.  Some.  Off and on.  Okay, probably not much but it's my vacation.

Friday, September 25, 2015

That Was Fast

I finished the teapot at work yesterday, even made the lid with knob.  It was amazingly easy.  I'm not totally thrilled with the angle of the spout, Durwood suggested tacking it up at a better angle.  I might try that.  I'm also thinking of felting it a bit to firm it up so it keeps its shape a bit better.  But isn't it cute?  I'm thinking I should make a couple tea cups to go with it, maybe not saucers or spoons or the sugar bowl and creamer but the cups are a temptation.  I worked on Sudoku Stone #9 too but you don't really want to see yet another partially knitted gray square, do you?  I didn't think so.

Durwood called me about midday to say that there were men in the lot behind the house tearing down the sagging fence.  By the time I got home from work the fence was gone and a few new posts were up.  It looked very odd without that fence blocking our view of the office building behind us, so odd that I closed the curtains way before I usually do since we both felt like we were eating supper in a fish bowl.  This morning the two guys are back drilling post holes and setting the posts, although I suspect they won't get done today.  They might, but I don't think so, it's Friday after all.

Today I'm packing.  Packing my writing things, packing my "camp" clothes, packing enough (more than enough) knitting to keep my fingers busy for a week.  I reread what I have done of the latest manuscript rewrite and think I'm on the right track.  I made a few notes and can't wait to dive back in.  Maybe I'll even jump the gun and do a little writing on Sunday before class even starts.

September 25--Peter French, Slick Rock, AZ.  The hot wind roared down the canyon, barreling through carving its initials in the sandstone.  Grains of sand borne on the wind scoured my knees making me wish I had worn my khakis even though it was hot.  I tied a bandanna over my mouth and nose and pulled the brim of my hat down to shade my eyes.  A few paces on the path went from dry to wet, from yellow-orange to rust-red.  I looked ahead to see if there was a spring but saw the trickle of water building toward me.  Then I knew that the wind was air pushed by moving water higher up in the mountains and I was in real trouble.  Climb! Jake's voice roared in my head.  Climb, dammit, Sheila, climb now!  Without thinking I reached for a gap in the rock and hoisted myself up the wind- and water-carved stone.  Before I was five feet above the canyon floor the grinding sound of the onrushing water reached my ears and the whole canyon began to vibrate.

We've got a few errands to run today and I have to pack, do a little laundry, pack more, and go to Friday Night Knitting.  I'm a busy woman, I don't have time to dilly-dally around, so quit distracting me.