Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Other End of the Day

Usually I show you the sunrise but today you get to see yesterday's sunset--over the Walmart parking lot.  The grocery store was out of the flavors of on-sale TV dinners that Durwood likes (that's what he eats when I'm away at suppertime) when we were there on Tuesday so I offered to zoom over to Wally World after work to get some (with price match so we still got the sale price) and a big bag of fresh broccoli, our veggie of choice most nights.  As I crossed the bridge over the river in the middle of the city the sun was peeking out of a slit in the clouds so I kept half an eye on it as I drove across the west half of town and by the time I got to Walmart it was glorious.  I restrained myself from trying to snap a picture as I navigated the three roundabouts over Highway 41.  (good girl, those things are crazy)  The picture with the best color is out of focus but if you don't embiggen it you can't really tell.  Much.

Durwood made Chicken Bengali for supper last night and it was deelish.  He makes a paste with melted butter, curry powder (not the hot kind, the sweet kind), dry mustard, flour, and some Worcestershire sauce.  Then you paint it on four skinless chicken thighs and bake them for about 40 minutes.  To. Die. For.  With a little rice and a lot of steamed broccoli it was a feast, and we have leftovers.  We are rich indeed.

October 30--Egon Shiele, Standing Girl, Back View.  Mac saw her at the corner ahead of him.  He was back in the crush of morning people waiting to cross, waiting to slot themselves into a skyscraper and take an elevator to the floor where they would spend their day toiling away, a nameless, faceless tool of a conglomerate that was so far removed from humanity that it could have been run by robots.  Not her, Mac was sure of it.  Her long, red hair danced even on windless days and he knew her eyes danced with appreciation of life, even though he'd never seen them.  He tried to get closer every day, to stand behind her when she stepped off the curb with that spring in her step.  He wanted to be close enough to absorb a bit of her energy and maybe some day he would be brave enough to say "good morning."

I hear the bluejays squawking outside so I'd better go give them their daily peanut ration.  I dole them out because if I filled the peanut wreath they'd have it empty by noon and still be squawking for more, and I can't afford more all the time, we need to conserve so there'll be peanuts when the snow flies, which is predicted to be tomorrow.  Eek!  Bundle up your goblins, princesses, and superheroes tomorrow.
--Barbara

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Good News

My trip to the cardiologist was basically a non-event.  I have a little plaque and my BP is fine (now that I'm taking a pill), all of my heart parts are working just fine (it was cool to see the heart cath and EKG films and know that was my heart pumping away so happily and efficiently), so I don't have to go back to see him if I don't want to.  And I don't, although if I need a cardiologist in the future he's who I'll call, we both liked him.  He was good at explaining.  One thing we both laughed at was him telling me I might think about being more active.  Durwood already scolds me for never sitting down, but I'll make an effort to spend a little time on the treadmill (or the dreadmill as MR said the other day) just as soon as I get all the empty boxes off it.  Really, I'll work on it.

I need to sew more.  Last night I went downstairs, dug out some space around my sewing machines, and whipped up a little something that I need for this weekend.  Except on my first try I sewed the seams so that the seam allowances were on the outside.  That's not right.  Not even close to right.  Good thing I had a seam ripper close at hand.  I despair when I make rookie mistakes like that.  I fixed it and finished it and I like it well enough.  It turned out just the way I imagined it would--but I can't believe I sewed it together backwards.  *sigh*

October 29--Alfred Stieglitz, The Steerage.  It was hot down there and loud, so loud that Anna couldn't sleep.  She lay with her back pressed against the side of the ship feeling the cold of the sea water seep into her bones.  It felt good.  Babies cried, people retched and moaned.  She wasn't seasick but the smell in the airless cabin threatened to push her to it.  How could it be so hot and so cold at the same time?  Ellen, who came from Harwell too, lay shivering in the bunk below hers.  "I don't think I'll ever be warm again," she said through chattering teeth.  Anna was glad for the cool metal hull at her back to cut some of the heat from so many bodies crushed into too little space.

I'm off to the chiro to get my skeleton rearranged, and here are the trash guys or guy now that we've got those big wheelie bins and they pick them up with a robotic arm to dump them.  It's efficient, I guess, but it seems like a whole sub-culture of garbologists is out of a job.  Okay, I'm off.  Hasta la vista, babies.
--Barbara

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Loose End

I was so proud of myself Sunday night when I got Durwood's computers and the printer and the switch thing all hooked up with all the wires and cables and "plug this into that" and it worked.  (thanks again for your labeling help, DS, I really appreciate it) Then I turned to the TV/cable box/DVD player/Wii reassembly.  I took my time and I had labeled it all as I took it apart so I felt pretty confident, smug even, as all get-out until I saw this:  a loose end.  It's a short piece of cable cable that I labeled "TV to Wii" except there isn't a place to plug a cable into the Wii console.  I scrutinized the backsides (teehee!) of the cable box and the DVD player and neither of those has a place for it either.  So it was with a bit of trepidation I turned on the TV to see if I could play a show that I'd DVR'd. Yep, it worked.  This morning I tried the Wii.  It worked too.  I haven't gotten any boxes with DVDs in them yet so I can't try that but it occurred to me that it might be for the now-defunct VCR, that I just unplugged the cable from the back of that and didn't unhook it from the back of the TV.  That has to be it, right?  I'm sure of it.  Pretty sure.  Well, maybe.  I should look for those DVDs...


I wore hand-knitted socks to work yesterday and couldn't resist casting on another one last night after supper.  I shouldn't cast on anything else until I get that darned Oriole Wings Wrap finished.  I've got about 4" of the solid brown done and about 2" more to go but it's so bo-o-o-o-o-o-ring.  I'll get there.


This morning I looked out the back and noticed that some trees are bare, some have colored leaves, and some are all green.  I can't figure out how that works.  I sure wish I was a lot taller so I could pick all the apples on that tree.  I need a pie or twelve and maybe applesauce or more pies.  Another day.

I liked the way the sky and clouds looked, though, when the sun was a little higher in the sky.

October 28--Cypriot, Silver Bowl.  Tibor crouched behind the walnut tree's thick trunk to watch the flying lions in their paddock.  Graves, the keeper, used an easy voice to work with the beasts.  He moved with confidence avoiding the claws and wings around him.  By the time Graves had filled the water pans every one of their heads turned toward the sound of the neat cart on the path.  Leo staggered pushing the weight of the haunches of raw meat up to the fence.

Well, that was an idea that wasn't going anywhere.  It sure is windy today but it's sunny too, at least part of the time.  I like it when it's sunny.
--Barbara

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tsk, It's Monday Again

Well, we survived the weekend, THAT weekend, the move-all-the-furniture weekend, the all-new-carpeting weekend.  I've already carried in today's boxes from Durwood's van but one of them doesn't need emptying only putting in place.  (it's the writing file box that lives under my desk and holds the printer paper on top, not that a single file box will hold all my writing, good thing there's jump drives and hard drives, huh?)  I'm determined to only do a box or maybe two a day instead of killing myself trying to get it all done in one day.  It didn't take a day to pack and move it all so it doesn't need to take a day to put it all away, and who says it all has to come back into the house anyway?

Don't you hate it when you wake up to go potty only half an hour before your alarm goes off?  How can you go back to sleep after that?  It's really dark at 5:30 in the morning, actually it's still pretty darned dark right now.  And it'll only get worse before it gets better.  *sigh*

Friday I went to the grocery for some chicken wings (I seem to be addicted lately) and look what I found.  Seckle pears!  When I was a little girl my country grandparents had a little orchard and one of the trees produced what Grandma called "sugar" pears.  I loved them and couldn't wait until they were ripe.  I have a very clear memory of climbing up to sit on a branch so I could eat every pear within reach.  I also have an even clearer memory of the ensuing stomach ache, but seckle pear season makes me think of my wonderful Grandma A even more often than I already do.  I just don't try to eat a tree's worth at one sitting anymore.  That's what I call maturity.

At Friday Night Knitting FW gave me a pair of slippers she made for me in thanks for some needles and yarn I brought to share with the group.  She used some of the yarn I gave away that night too.  They're so warm and they fit perfectly.  I love them.  Thanks, FW!  (I think they look especially good on the new carpeting.)

October 27--Vincent van Gogh, Roses.  The white rose petals drifted in through the open window bringing their fragrance to mix with the lingering smell of gunpowder.  Lance lay on the floor, his hand outstretched as if to reach to pluck one of the blooms that massed on the trellis outside.  A few of the petals landed in the spreading pool of blood turning them deep red.  Erica had come in through the French doors with her gardening basket over her arm but all the woven wicker held was a small black pistol.  Without a word she leveled the gun in her gardening-gloved hand and shot Lance in the chest.  She replaced the pistol in the basket, turned, and left the way she had come.  When the police arrived they found her kneeling in the flower bed behind the carriage house planting a lilac bush in a freshly dug hole.

I'm so glad that I managed to be here in the morning today instead of late in the day like the last few days, probably because I don't have a pile of boxes staring at me or two men tearing out aged carpet or flopping around new carpet.  I've even gotten started making the week's lunches.  I am impressed with myself.  I think breakfast might be next, then a shower, dressing, and then it's off to work.  Oh, and I need to stop to feed the chickens since I have a big bag of veggie and fruit peels for them.  As if you care, but making this list helps me remember stuff.  I tell people that my brain used to be Velcro and now it's Teflon.  It used to be a joke but not anymore.  Seeyabye!
--Barbara

Sunday, October 26, 2014

We Are Fully Carpeted



Not fully unpacked yet but the furniture's back in place and I've unpacked the garage so Durwood can park in there and so that we can function.  I'll take my time unpacking the boxes living in the (vast) back of Durwood's van for now and the ones barricading my sewing machines.  I'm in no hurry--until Christmas gift sewing time comes.

We love the living room carpeting.  It's the deepest richest cappucino color, dark brown with a hint of cinnamon reddishness when the sun shines on it, and it's oh-so-cushy to walk on.  The carpet installer was surprised when he rolled out the living room rug because they sent about 4 feet too much.  Oh, we won't have to pay for it but we've got a huge roll of leftover carpet, plus enough of the dinette/hall carpet to have a few entry rugs cut and bound, and a bit of the bedrooms' rug in case we need repairs.  Pretty soon it'll all stop smelling like chemical fumes and shedding like a dog in the spring and I won't be stopping dead in my tracks every few minutes to admire it--maybe.

My grand plan to have Durwood spend the weekend at the Super 8 didn't work out after all.  There was something about the room, maybe a lack of ventilation that not even opening the window and turning on the a/c helped so by Friday night at 9 PM he was back home.  Evidently new carpet fumes were easier on him than that motel room.  *shrug*  Yesterday he packed up his tanks and some reading material and parked himself in a shopping center lot in the sun for the day so he could avoid most of the dust flying and initial fumes.  We went out to supper and kept most of the windows in the house open all night.  All of the windows have been open all day again, even the patio door's been wide open and I think the fumes are dissipating.  Right now he's bundled up like Nanook of the North but there's football on TV so he's fine but if it's too hard for him to breathe tomorrow I told him to come hang out in the dive shop with me.  (If you're thinking of taking up smoking or if you already smoke, STOP RIGHT NOW.  Trust me, you don't want to have to deal with what Durwood's got to deal with [and, no, I don't mean me].  I know some people have smoked their whole lives and not had emphysema like this but don't take the chance, it's just not worth it.  If we knew then what we know now...)

I was talking to Lala on the phone earlier today and she was saying that her nasturtiums were going gangbusters so I moseyed on out to see how mine are doing (since she's the one who gave me the seeds) and they're happily flowering away.  See?  Aren't they pretty?  I foresee a lot more of them in my future.

October 26--India, Krishna and Balarama By a River.  I want to ride in a colorful wagon with a dome roof painted in red and blue stripes with gold smiles painted on them and flying pennants.  My wagon would be drawn by horses that match the dome's stripes and the horses would have pearls on their bridles.  I would wear my hair in a long braid with flowers woven in and poufy pants with tiny mirrors and little gold bells sewn all over.  My best friend, Lily, would be with me but she'd have only sequins and silver bells, not as nice as mine because I would be the Queen of All the Land and everyone would do as I say, especially my stupid brother William who I would send on a long mission into tiger-infested jungles with only a dull knife and a cup of water because he always says he's the boss of me just because he's three years older than me.  He is not the boss of me because I get better grades than he gets and I am the Queen of All the Land.

Okay, the sun's setting and there are two more boxes here in the bedroom that I could probably unpack and collapse before bedtime if I'd stop doing this and do that.  Of course, I'm sure that the dryer has buzzed so I could/should go downstairs to hang up the shirts and throw the last load in the dryer.  See?  I am the Queen of Multitasking, I can do it ALL (and then collapse into a heap about 10 PM, but I sleep well).  Maybe tomorrow I'll get here to do this in the morning.  Bye!
--Barbara

Friday, October 24, 2014

It's Carpeting Day #1!

Yesterday evening I got Durwood ensconced in the Super 8 so he doesn't spend the weekend breathing all the dust stirred up and the new carpet chemicals, then J&JJ came over to carry all the bookshelves, side tables, lamps, etc. into the garage for me, and shift the drawers from my dressers onto the guest room bed for the night.  Thanks, guys!  (and I only have to pay them homemade applesauce and cupcakes, what a deal)
 
This morning just after 8:30 the carpet guys arrived and got to work.  Almost before I knew it the "banana bread" kitchen carpet in the dinette and hall was gone and the master bedroom's wasn't far behind.  By 2:30 both rooms were re-carpeted, the closet doors rehung, the nightstand and bookshelves back in the master, and the bed reassembled.  After they left I got the drawers all back in, got this computer desk set back up, and remade the bed.  Then I carried all the drawers from Durwood's dressers into the master and piled them neatly on the bed.  I'll sleep in the guest room tonight so that when the carpet guy arrives tomorrow to finish the job I can help move the TV armoire and living room computer desk, then go off and have breakfast with Durwood -- or maybe even go to the Farmer's Market.  Tomorrow's the last one for the season and I have hardly been, I haven't been very organized this year.

After Friday Night Knitting I carefully disassembled Durwood's dinosaur of a desktop computer (thanks for labeling all the cords and cables, DS) and put them into the dinette with the living room TV, cable box thing, and the DVD player.  Tomorrow I'll stow the antique clock in the master bedroom and the carpet guy will help move the couch, the computer desk and TV armoire, Durwood's dressers and nightstand.  He'll move the bed all by himself and get to work carpeting the last two rooms and be done!

On Sunday I'll wash all the curtains and slowly empty the garage of bookshelves, etc. and Chez Malcolm will get back to (sub)normal.  It'll be a relief.  Of course there's always the danger that new carpeting will make all the furniture look like fried crap but I think over time a bit of smart shopping might solve that problem too, or I'll buy some throws and a slipcover.  

For now I"m bushed and I'm going to hit the hay.  After all, tomorrow IS another day.  (Goodnight, Scarlett.)
--Barbara

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I'm Freaking Out a Bit


Do I have everything boxed up so that it can be hauled out of the room so that tonight's musclemen can move things efficiently?  Will the carpet guy get the bedroom done so I have a place to sleep tomorrow night?  (thanks for that one, Durwood, I hadn't considered that)  Will Durwood be okay in his motel room with no real way to escape or drive away without me?  Will the carpet installer call today to tell me what time he'll be here or will he just show up while I'm still asleep?  Obsess, obsess, obsess--sometimes it's my best thing.  I know in my intellectual brain that all will work out but my six-year-old brain (maybe it's not even that old) is running around like a chicken with its head lopped off screaming, "oh my god! oh my god! there's so much to do, too much to think about! gah!"  I make myself tired.

This morning when I poked my head out there was the barest line of peachy pink hiding behind the trees and a few wispy clouds tinted the palest of pinks.  An hour later the sky was crisscrossed with vapor trails.  Every time I see one I wish I was on the airplane that made it no matter where it's going.

I knit about 50 stitches last night, maybe a couple hundred because I did one row on my Oriole Wings Wrap because it was glaring at me when I finally sat down on the couch to watch a little TV between clearing off Durwood's dresser tops and hauling up a microwave to take to his motel for him.  There's a coffee pot and fridge in the room but no micro and it's just too far for him to use the one in the breakfast area.  I use a small cheap one to cook my lotions and since it fits into the biggest suitcase for ease of transport he gets a microwave.

I think the work point of sale computer is finally coming around.  It's never good when the software provider "upgrades" your stuff.  What they see as an improvement usually means it's endlessly buggy and won't work the way they say it will.  At least we can still do business, handwriting invoices and figuring out tax on a calculator.  Today I'm going to be on the phone with the tech learning how to do a transaction, taking copious notes since there's no online tutorial or physical manual to help us.  Wouldn't you think you'd write down a few directions when you completely overhaul something?  Last week one day the tech kept trying to make it do things and it wouldn't.  Finally she said, "I think your machine's possessed" and hung up to go harass the programmers to figure out the problems.  But we're getting it and we haven't had to threaten it with a double-barreled shotgun in, oh, at least a day.

October 23--Roman, Wall Painting from Room H of the Villa of P. Fannuis Synistor at Boscoreale.  Maria crept up behind Lucia as she sat playing her small harp.  Maria loved the music.  She thought it sounded like birds wings and water flowing in the stream behind the garden.  She wasn't supposed to be in the house, wasn't supposed to bother Lucia when she was practicing for the competition but the music drew her every time.

Oh, man, time has gotten away from me.  I need to dress and eat and stop at the pharmacy and grocery store and still get to work by 10.  Better run.
--Barbara