Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I'm Addicted, I Admit It

Remember I told you about the pop-up books I've been ordering used from Amazon for LC?  I got the fifth one in the series yesterday and realized as I sat carefully repairing the bent and torn places, that these books aren't for LC and OJ, they're for me.  It also came to me that I'm glad I bought them used because I get a kind of deep satisfaction from fixing them.  The fixes aren't invisible, not by a long shot, but for some reason that makes them more special in my eyes.  The one that came yesterday is called White Noise and each page makes a scratchy sound as you open it.  This page was the most damaged; I'll be spending today coloring little pieces of cardstock red and taping them across the worst of the bends and folds, and on one other page there's a loose end that I can't for the life of me see where it should attach.  Maybe I can find a new one in a bookstore to look at to see what's missing.  I think I'll be moving these 5 books to a different place so that they're out of sight.



This "author" (seems like more of a paper artist/engineer to me) has another series of books that started with How Many Bugs in a Box? that is evidently his claim to fame in the kids' book world.  I ordered that too and it came yesterday.  It'll be perfect for Baba to read with LC the next time she visits.










I started crocheting a sun hat for the other new baby in our extended family. DIL1's brother welcomed a new daughter, ZM, to their family so she needs a hat too.  I say so and I am always right, so I found some pretty, cheerful cotton yarn and I'm making her a hat like the one I made for OJ.  I started a different pattern but I just wasn't feeling it so I ripped it out and began again.  This is better.  I thought I'd find a pattern to crochet a flower to sew onto her hat.

Today I get a haircut.  I cancelled one shortly after breaking my ankle.  Now that I can get around a little better it's time to go and get it done.  Afterward we'll stop to get Durwood's left hearing aid looked at.  It conked out right after I got hurt so he's been pretty consumed with keeping body and soul together since then but he's noticing the lack of that aid (of course, it's the ear he needs the help with the most) so after my haircut we're going to see Larry.

May 3--Lava Field.

Slow flowing
streams of fire
in their cold, black beds
drip new Earth
into the sea.
Madame Pele
gives birth.
~~~~~

Short and sweet.  Durwood and I have always dreamed of diving off Hawaii to witness lava emerging into the ocean.  It isn't allowed, the water's full of noxious chemicals and acid, but it sure looks cool on TV, doesn't it?  Gotta go, the beloved cleaning lady just pulled up.  She is $78 worth of pure joy in my heart every four weeks when she arrives.
--Barbara

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Great Fundraiser Idea

Our neighborhood association puts out a quarterly newsletter, usually filled with ads and a few articles of neighborly interest.  This quarter's issue has an article with the headline "Rent-a-Cub Scout."  I had to laugh, but then I read it and it's just what I need.  For a $10/hour donation you get a Cub Scout (ages 6-10) accompanied by an adult to do small chores around your home or yard.  The spring winds have blown all sorts of trash that's gotten stuck in the garden and around the yard and I can't get out there to pick it up.  I need a Cub Scout.  So I emailed this morning and am looking forward to having a boy in blue come to help me out.  Since Durwood and DS are both Eagle Scouts I'm excited to support the troop DS was in again.


I made brownies yesterday afternoon.  I found an easy recipe and whipped it up.  Well, not whipped it up exactly.  It's a lot more strenuous and messy to bake when you're sitting down, plus shoving myself around put a bit more strain on my broken, no, healing ankle so it ached some extra for the evening.  But we got a pan of frosted brownies.  Look!  My cutting job wasn't the greatest from a seated position but they taste great.  The frosting has a spoonful of instant coffee granules in it so it's extra good mocha flavor.  Yum.  Those little pieces will be the perfect end to a meal.




Here's my beloved Durwood coming to get the camera to take the brownies' picture.  He's the best, also the most tolerant and he's a pretty good cook too.  Trust me, you're jealous that he's mine.





I cast on and knitted almost halfway through the very last Sudoku square yesterday.  I plan to finish it today and then get block #9 crocheted together.  Woohoo!

May 2--Turnbull/Boudreau, Lighthouse.

The turning cyclops eye
of Crags' Head Light
points its finger of warning
out into the storm.
Spume rises to dance
in the beam,
blown crazy by the gale.
Boulders push waves skyward,
resisting the battering seas through the night
until dawn brings peace.
Calm comes with the pale light
of a new day.
~~~~~

Today I need to go have a blood draw and want to show off new baby pictures at the pharmacy, and make a haircut appointment for later in the week.  I had to cancel one a couple weeks ago and am starting to look like the proverbial shaggy dog.  I see my breakfast approaching.  Coffee.  I'm outta here.
--Barbara

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Hooray, Hooray, the 1st of May...

Well, you know the rest of that little rhyme but this isn't that kind of day. It's chilly, only supposed to rocket up to 54 degrees, and they're saying it'll be sunny later.  I do see some blue sky off to the south but I've been fooled in the past by an errant strip of blue sky so I'm reserving judgment.

My sole yarn-y accomplishment yesterday was ripping back a few rounds and then finishing OJ's sunhat.  Making it as written was starting to look like it would fit someone with an abnormally elongated head.  OJ doesn't have that, he has excessive cuteness instead.  But I like the way it turned out and I like the little crocheted fish decoration.


Every time we drive away I want Durwood to stop the car so I can get out and run over to take pictures of the swath of grape hyacinths across the front of the house.  We all know I'm not doing any running these days but I did manage to wedge my walker in the doorway this morning and lean out enough to snap a few shots.  I stand at the patio door looking at the greening of the back yard, at the trash blown into and caught by the garden, and the lilies popping up at the edge of the yard and want to be out there.  I also want the plumbing contractor who dug up our yard last fall to fix the neighbor's sewer problem to come and smooth it out and plant some grass.  I called him last week and he said he'd come by the end of the week.  He didn't.  Guess I'll call him again tomorrow.  He might be sorry I have his cellphone number.

I had a large adventure yesterday trying to spend a partial rewards certificate from Office Depot.  It was expiring yesterday so I thought I'd get some printer ink.  I tried ordering it online but the site seemed to think that the certificate was already spent.  So I called the store to see if I could just buy it over the phone and have someone pick it up but they aren't allowed to do stuff like that.  Then I called the 800 number, thinking I could get the job done that way.  Nope.  She was having "program problems" and after a lot of holding and repetition of my customer number, etc. she said "unfortunately..."  That's when I hung up.  I had had it.  Frustration overload!!!  So after JJ Sr. and JJ Jr. had moved the snowblower from the garage into the shed and put out the patio furniture (also stomped an attacking mouse; no charge for the extermination, JJ Sr. said) and Duwood heated me up some calming chicken soup for lunch, he drove me over there, I walker-ed up the ramp (into the wind, of course) into the store, commandeered a display office chair to rest in, and got a minion to get my ink for me.  Naturally, they were out of the XL cartridges in the number I needed so he sold me 3 regular ones for the XL price (basically getting one for free) AND their cash register system accepted my certificate.  Whew.  Then all I had to do was walker back to the curb (downhill, yay!) where Durwood drove up so I could clamber in and we could go home.  One of these times we'll remember the "buy 1, get 1" Culver's sundae and concrete mixer coupons we have.  Frozen custard is a good frustration assuager.  Especially since yesterday was the BLKG Yarn Crawl and I didn't get to go because of my STUPID BROKEN ANKLE.  (Sorry, I just had to holler.)

May 1--Turnbull/Boudreau, Vermont Farm.

On the other side of the fence
velvet green spreads a blanket
right up to the coops and silo.
Faded blue mountains hugged by clouds
fill the horizon this misty day.
Frustration crouches in weeds
tangled in the wire fence,
too intimidated to cross
the line.
~~~~~

I am decreeing May Continuing Poetry Month partly because I can and partly because this seems to be the right writing challenge for my painkiller-addled brain.  Don't worry, I'm cutting down, weaning away like the doc wants.  I'm planning to reach the ideal 1 pill/6 hours tomorrow, or at least give it a whirl.  Even though I am far, far from being an artist in any sense of the word, I am enjoying putting little colored pencil sketches in my Bullet Journal.  Here's Friday's "caper," my adventure into the basement.  Trust me, there's a lot more stuff on the floor but this is what I could do.  Happy May Day.  Are they skipping around a Maypole where you are?  They aren't here either.  Toodles.
--Barbara

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Friday Night Knitting Concert and Sing-Along

Up until about a year ago, Friday Night Knitting was in the Green Room in back of Harmony Cafe which adjoined Goodwill.  In the main cafe on Friday nights was Open Mic so we got to hear all sorts of great, good, and you-have-GOT-to-be-kidding music, singing, and poetry.  One of the musicians, an acoustic guitarist and singer named Gary (a 50-ish guy) became friends with one of the knitters so we got to know him a little better.  He played songs that most of us recognized so as he was playing in the cafe a couple of us, FW and me especially, sang along.  Well, Harmony closed, we followed Open Mic to a different venue but there were problems with the music part and the knitting place so we moved to the Community room in Goodwill and Open Mic kind of disappeared (I guess).  Gary's mom passed away a few weeks ago so LB brought a card to FNK for us all to sign to send to him and last night we got his version of a thank you note.  He showed up at Goodwill with his guitar and spent the evening serenading us.  FW and I, and others, sang and hummed along and we all loved listening.  I have to say that was the most unusual and enjoyable thank you note I've ever gotten.  We didn't stop knitting, laughing, or helping each other out with problems (both yarn and life related) but the soundtrack of the night was enriched by music that wasn't Muzak.  Thank you, Gary, that really made my week.


One of the things I brought up when I went prospecting downstairs yesterday was a skein of sock yarn to make one of the patterns in the new sock book I got.  It needed to be wound into a ball.  I carried up my ball winder but couldn't carry the swift too and really have no place to use it here in "the nest," so I employed the top of my walker until Durwood saw what I was doing on his way by to get the mail and volunteered his services as swift.  (he's way better at the job than the walker, plus he's fun to talk to; the walker's the strong silent type) Next I want to take the sock pattern book to Office Depot and have it coil-bound so it'll lay open flat and make it easier to knit from and copy patterns out of.  (It's legal to copy patterns from a book for your use, to mark them up and carry around--really)  I need to go to Office Depot today anyway as I have some gift certificate $$ that's expiring today.  It's twelve bucks, I'm not letting that go to waste.  That's a third of the cost of an ink cartridge.



Now that I had the hat yarn I wanted I cast on a hat for OJ and got to the brim rounds.  Hey, it's for a newborn, they're not very big so projects for them go fast.  Plus I'm a faster crocheter than knitter.




I always check the discount book table at Woodman's Foods for kids' books because LC is a reading fanatic.  I found an Old MacDonald one at Christmas with collage illustrations and a good sense of humor.  Look at the page about the goats.  The nanny goat is knitting sweaters for her kids and the sign over her head says "Knitting Demonstrations Every Hour on the Hour."  Too funny.


April 30--Turnbull/Boudreau, Flowers, Pond & Barn.

Lilies are blooming
down by the pond.
Bursts of orange,
yellow, white,
lipstick pink
thrust their trumpets
toward the sky,
release their intoxicating perfume
into the heavy summer air.
~~~~~

I love lilies.  I think they're my favorite flower.  I hope mine are coming up.  One of these days I'll be able to go out to check on them.  I want to plant a raft of milkweed and yank out all the weeds in the flower bed where they are.  Stupid broken ankle.  That is all.
--Barbara

Friday, April 29, 2016

A Friday Caper

We all know that I've been consigned to couch-land for the last 4 weeks.  Adventures have consisted of things like going down two steps into the garage to go to the doctor or the lab for a blood draw and hopping back up those same two steps coming home.  Durwood drove me to the Guild meeting last Thursday and I've gone to two Friday Night Knittings enthroned in our beloved transport wheelchair.  (thanks for the umpty-hundredth time, Mr. & Mrs. Boss, for the loan of that chair)  But today all that changed.

See, yesterday afternoon HH came over to water the plants and I sent her downstairs for my crochet hooks and some skeins of cotton yarn so I can make sun hats for various small people in our lives.  Well, she found the hooks okay but where I thought the yarn was, it wasn't, so she brought up some alternate yarn that I tried out but it wasn't right.  Not at all.  I brooded over where I moved the yarn I wanted to and why hadn't I listed its new location on my Ravelry Stash pages all evening.  I told Durwood that I was tempted to just go downstairs myself and get it.  "You'd fall and really hurt your ankle," he said.  I told him I didn't plan to do it on foot, I planned to do it on my bum.  He just shook his head.

Well, when I got up this morning and got dressed I was feeling pretty fine and energetic--and he was asleep.  So I stared down the steps for a few minutes and then decided, "oh, what the hell," grabbed a folding cane and my shoulder bag, eased down onto the floor and got to skootching.  I kept my right hand on the banister and my left leg extended and went down a step at a time.  At the bottom I extended the cane and cane-hopped to the sewing chair (an old office chair) so I could roll around and not fall.  I found the yarn I wanted and a few other things, loaded up my shoulder bag and a flat bottomed tote, and started back up.  I'd put the tote a few steps up behind me and then, one at a time, push myself up a step, rest, do another step, until I got to the tote, then move it up, and keep going.  When I got to the top I rolled to my knees and levered myself up to my foot just like I do when I come in the back door.  (hopping up even two steps turned out to be just too scary for me, I'm too old and too heavy to have a lot of "hop" left and I was terrified I'd hurt my ankle)  And I did it all before he woke up.  I had to confess, mostly because of the increase in stuff stacked around my nest on the couch, but also because I was darned proud of having made it down and back safely.

I knitted another stripe of the May Seamen's Cowl.  My stripes aren't exactly an inch wide (I kind of suck at measuring) but I love the way it looks.








See my lunch?  Doesn't it look good?  That's the chicken soup I made the other day and a bowl of fresh pineapple with frozen strawberries and blueberries, and a few Ritz crackers, of course.  You can't eat soup with out Ritz crackers--or some crackers.  I have to say that this is one of my best batches of soup to date.  It's just plain old Fast Chicken Soup Base with a bag of frozen green bean medley, an orphan baby red potato and some steamed cauliflower from the fridge that wasn't enough for a meal.  Mm-mm-mM.

April 29--Robert Fried, DS5-018 Worry Beads, Greece.

Behind his back
calloused fingers
tell the beads,
olive wood cylinders
worth smooth and shiny
by the pace of his life.
Dilemmas, decisions,
troubles, triumphs
rolled and rubbed
to resolution
one step,
one bead
at a time.
~~~~~ 

Well, the A/C technician just left from tuning up the air conditioners so we're ready if it ever gets warm enough to turn them on.  Signing off.
--Barbara

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Only Some Knitting & One Bird

I don't really have much to show you or talk about today.  I kind of laid low yesterday, keeping my ankle elevated, and icing it more than before.


I finished Sudoku Snow #9 so all I have left is to knit the final Violet one, then I can crochet the last block together and get going on the joining strips.  And it's only taken me 6 years to get to this point.  Admittedly, there was probably at least one full year during which I didn't knit a single square but I'll be happy to eventually have this Sword of Damocles of a project not hanging over my head. (awkward sentence much?)

In the evening I watched some stuff I'd DVR-ed and knitted on the May Seamen's Cowl.  At this rate I'll have it done before May even arrives, but LC and OJ got a new cousin the other day so I need to find and make a hat for another new babe in the family.  I saw a cute pattern for a bucket hat with a goldfish on the hatband, maybe I'll see about making one of those.  Should go fast, it's for a baby after all.



April 28--Rob Gilley, Southern California.

Sun-bleached blond,
tattooed, surfer dude
rides his air-brushed,
glitter-dusted
board
out of the curl
of blue-green water,
right hand outstretched
caressing the wave.
~~~~~ 


Yesterday as I cripped into the kitchen I saw a fully yellow and black Goldfinch on the feeder and luckily I had my cellphone stuck in my cleavage so I could take its picture.  Must be spring.
--Barbara

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bling

I got a picture, well, a copy of my x-ray from 2 weeks ago showing the hardware the doc put in to hold my ankle, etc. in place. There's a plate, 7 screws, and something called a tightrope.  That tiny little thing on the left, across from the space in the line of screws, is like an eye (from a hook and eye fastener) and some sort of string threads through a hole in the plate, through the eye, and back to the plate to hold the bottom of my tibia and fibula (the one I broke) in position so it all heals right and I can walk on it.  Eventually.  At some unspecified time in the future.  Because I sure can't walk on it now.


The didn't take a new x-ray so I guess we're all assuming that things are healing correctly until 2 weeks from now when I'll get to see the doc instead of the PA, and I'm guessing it'll get x-rayed again.  They did take off my cast, took out the 11 stitches, and gave me a boot, which outweighs the cast by a couple pounds at least.  There's also a lot more of it below my foot so hopping along is a new challenge.  My bedtime leg lifts were a challenge too with the extra weight.  My hamstrings, hip muscles, and lower abs all said, "what????" when I picked my leg up for the first one (of 10).  Can I just say that I'm glad I've been dedicated to doing 10/leg every night so I'm not starting from scratch?  She wrapped my lower leg in an Ace bandage that I can remove so I can shower, get my leg wet (but not soak my incision), and put lotion on my scaly, crusty-skinned leg.  Ahh.  I am also commanded to unboot and flex and stretch my ankle to a count of 10 a few times a day.  Nothing too strenuous and not forcing anything, just stretching and flexing a bit to start things moving again.  No driving until I'm off painkillers.  No working for at least 2 more weeks (gotta keep that foot elevated and iced to bring down the swelling) and no weight-bearing.  I'm most bummed by the no driving part but they said even though I broke my left ankle, not my driving ankle, you still use your left leg to brace so no, no driving yet.  Plus painkillers = narcotics, not optimum driving enhancement, not by any stretch of the imagination.  *sigh*

I did manage to make a cauldron of chicken soup yesterday morning.  I got smart, I used a kitchen chair as my left leg by kneeling on the seat and sliding it around.  Worked great, as did the portable dishwasher that we've used as a rolling island forever.  Now I can have something other than cheese for lunch.  Something healthier.  It's a good thing I made the soup while I still had the cast because the boot doesn't lend itself quite as readily to being knelt on but I'll figure it out, don't you worry about that.


I won a book!  A knitting book!  I ran across Ann Budd's blog a couple weeks ago and linked it to this here blog since I use her basic sock pattern to make the ones I wear in the winter inside my boots, the ones I knit with bright, variegated yarns and never make 2 the same.  (I'm wearing one today in honor of my win.)  Anyway, she's compiled a new book of sock patterns using "new directions" meaning not your traditional toe-up or cuff-down construction.  She had a drawing for a copy.  All you had to do was leave a comment about what yarn you'd choose to knit the pattern she's working on.  I thought "what the hell", left a comment, and I won.  The book came yesterday which was a welcome distraction after all of the festivities surrounding my broken ankle.  I sat on the couch paging through, reading about each sock pattern, and I've only put a post-it marker on 7 of the 18 patterns.  I think that's reasonable, don't you?  There are projects I want to finish first and I'll have to shanghai a friend to go down to find some yarn and needles so for now I'll just fantasize about which ones I'll make first.  I might even make a pair, probably fraternal twins, but they might turn out match-ish.

I didn't write a prompt last night.  I was tired and just wanted to go to bed and lie down in the dark.  I'll do better today.  Oh, hey, I think I'm getting the hang of Bullet Journal-ing.  I got out my markers and started adding a little color to the pages.  Sweet.
--Barbara