Thursday, August 16, 2018

Can't Go Back To Sleep...

... so I might as well blog since I didn't last night.  

Yesterday was a busy day, thank goodness.  I had lots of phone calls to make, bills to pay (because it was the 15th, a bill-paying day, gotta get back into the mindset of remembering now that it's my job again), an obituary to write, a funeral home to visit, and a daughter to welcome back.  I was (and am) eternally grateful that we spent the time last winter getting all of our estate planning ducks in a row.  All DS and I had to decide at the funeral home was when (Friday, 5:00 visitation, 6:00 short memorial service) and what kind of flowers (tropical).  Since Durwood wasn't a music guy, since his favorite music was Big Band music, we decided that In the Mood and One O'clock Jump weren't funereal music and since organ music just reminds us to look behind curtains for Dracula (or Lon Chaney) we'd skip the music.

On Tuesday LC and I made our famous and delicious Cornbread, Carrot, Cheddar Waffles.  Pretty soon she won't need my help to make them.  Once she's able to cut the carrot and the cheese with a knife and use the hot waffle iron I'm out of a job.  Oh, these are soooooo good.  A little butter, a little syrup, yum.




While we were playing outside this teeny-tiny butterfly visited the zinnias.  Can you see it?  It's on the white flower and it's about as big as my pinkie nail.





Today DD and I are headed back to the assisted living to return the chairs, lamps, and dishes back to Goodwill, take down and bring home the pictures, and gather up all the blankets and the clothes that are worth washing before donating.  Tomorrow morning DS and DD will haul the dresser, desk chair, and the cherry gate leg table I've got now back to storage and bring our original table back.  As much as I love the cherry table, it's not really a viable kitchen-type table.  I think it's time for someone else to love it.  I have lots of things that Grandpa made so I'm opting for function over sentiment.  Just this once.

August 16--Henri Rousseau, The Walk in the Forest of St-Germain.  As Jan walked along, the path narrowed and the trees closed in.  The day was hot.  It was the middle of August but just a few steps into the woods and she felt a chill.  She shifted her day pack on her shoulders, glad that she'd put in a long-sleeved shirt, and kept walking.  Matt had drawn her a map of how to get from the pond parking lot to his grandparents' place.  "It's an easy half-hour walk through the woods," he said.  "You'll be there before you know it."  He had come up last week Thursday to help his grandfather and uncles with a building project and invited her to come on Sunday to stay a few days.

Dun-dun-DUN.  Cue the ominous music.  Maybe I'll put a star by this one and see where I can take it one of these days.

I'm so glad that DD is here for a few days, that she doesn't have to zoom into town for the funeral and then zoom back home.  I'm especially glad because I know that she feels helpless to help with things because she lives so far away, so getting pressed into hauling mode is a very good thing.  I think I'll  (magnanimously) allow her to help DS tomorrow with the heavy things, give them a little brother and sister alone time.  I'm nice like that.  Well, the sun's starting to come up so I guess I'll end this and go see if the paper's been delivered.  I could do the crossword and my yoga (which I skipped yesterday--bad girl).  Thanks for all of your condolences on FB.  I'll read every one over and over.  You make me feel loved.
--Barbara

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

I Am A Widow

This evening around 6:30 my beloved Durwood breathed his last and took off for that big coral reef in the sky.  He's been my friend, my lover, my dive buddy, and my biggest cheerleader for the last 41-1/2 years.  I know I wouldn't have done half the things I've done or been brave enough to do any of them at all without his encouragement and confidence in me.  He fooled me into learning to SCUBA dive and then took me around the world to dive in spectacular places.  We had a great marriage that showed our two wonderful children how marriage should be.  We're so proud of DS and DD for the people they grew into and so happy that they are building their own great marriages--and making us some darling grandbabies too. He took care of me all that time and I returned the favor, especially in the last few years when COPD got the best of him.  As recently as last Sunday he found the breath to tell me how much he appreciated my hard work making his studio at the assisted living facility homey and a place the LC and OJ liked to visit.  Man, I'm going to miss that guy.


 




 --Barbara

Monday, August 13, 2018

Flowers & 'Flies

This morning as I was turning to go back inside after taking this photo to show you how high the sun is when I finally make it into the kitchen in the morning (after 7 o'clock, can you imagine?)...


I spied this Tiger Swallowtail butterfly on the zinnias.  That early in the morning they're just hanging out letting the sunshine warm them up so they're fairly easy to take a picture of.  Naturally this one decided to flutter up, do a couple pirouettes, and then settle back down while I was getting him in my sights.  *sigh*  Life is so tough for an artist.  *presses back of hand to forehead*


 

See these little orange flowers?  These are butterfly weed.  They were some of the garden center's $1.49 coupon plants this spring so I plonked a few of them in by the blueberries and now I have more butterflies.




 

The purple coneflowers around the metal dragonfly sculpture are abloom too.  They also attract butterflies, as do the daisies and bee balm (which didn't show off as much as it did in previous years) so I'm happy to have them lure butterflies to my domain.









I'm not sure if these red begonias or red and yellow snapdragons attract butterflies or hummingbirds but I am compelled to take their pictures every time I walk past.  They must exude essence of Kodak or some other pheromone I am helpless to resist.








August 13--Joseph Karl Stieler, Katharina Botzaris.  Her hair fell in lustrous waves of dark brown touched with auburn as she bent over her work.  Ivory pale hands fluttered as she manipulated knitting needles and yarn.  Downstairs the house buzzed with preparations for the dinner party and an hour earlier she had been dressing with her maid's help.  The barest hint of makeup was applied, her hair was curled, and jewelry was chosen but now she waited.  To keep calm she knitted.  Everyone knitted for the soldiers.  There were knitting clubs and knitting drives, even children sat by their nursery fires making socks, hats, and scarves for the brave fighting men.

Tonight was the time to take entries to the County Fair so LB picked up HH and me so I could guide them through the mysteries of picking up the tags for our items and getting them ready for judging.  HH entered four things, I entered six, and LB entered a whopping fifteen.  Now we have to wait until Wednesday or maybe Thursday to find out if we've earned any ribbons.  Fingers crossed.  Once I got home I got busy with a pliers, level, and hammer and rehung some of the pictures in the living room to adjust for the furniture rearrangement.  It looks better.  It's hot and humid and I keep doing strenuous things outside, plus Durwood had a bad day (this weather does his breathing no favors even when he stays in air conditioning) so they called saying that he wanted me to come sit with him a while.  Poor man, I can't imagine not being able to catch my breath.  Send hugs.
--Barbara

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Hauled the Desk, Etc.

I awoke just before 7 o'clock with the thought that I'd move the old computer desk, printer
desk, and desk chair out to the curb, change the Next Door ad to say "come and get it," and get the walnut desk moved into the living room where I've wanted it for years.  So I did.  The cool thing was that late in the morning when I was taking out a car seat to make room for a knitter the neighbor said hi and I said, "want a desk?" and he said, "I was going to ask about that.  We need a computer desk and chair."  Hallelujah.  I rolled the chair, he hauled the desk and hutch shelves, and all that's left at the curb is the printer desk which another neighbor volunteered to put in his pickup at 10 AM tomorrow so we can take it to the household dump site.  Double hallelujah.


So then I shoved things around, vacuumed up more dust of the ages, analyzed the phone and cable connectors (because I had to disconnect the modem and move it to a different resting place), unscrew the 6-outlet plugs that all of the computers and printers were plugged into over the years and go downstairs to dig out standard outlet covers, then drag the walnut desk and chair into its new spot.  Oh, and I moved the little cabinet that was in the doorway into the corner where the printer desk had been.  I need to figure out a place for my two knitting storage bins to go so they're not cluttering up that newly emptied corner and I need to rehang the pictures on that wall and the one over the couch but the room looks so much bigger and more open.  Ahhh.  When OJ saw the rearranged living room the other day he turned to me and said, "move this!"  Evidently I wasn't supposed to change things but he got used to it and managed to pave the carpet with toys just the same as he always does.




A pair of bluejays came to bathe.  We never have bluejays getting drinks or having baths.  I was thrilled (but then I'm easily thrilled by that sort of thing).




I picked up a bottle of Orange Glo at Walmart today then spritzed the cherry table and spread it around.  Not only does my dinette smell like oranges, the table, well, the table glows.  Later in the week I'll spend the time to treat the rest of the table to the orange oil treatment.  The wood just soaked it up, it was so dry from having spent all those years in storage.


This afternoon I visited Durwood and knitted on the Pink & Gray Anklet while we chatted.  I joked that I was knitting so slowly on it I'd probably have it finished in time to put it away for the winter but I think if I keep at it soon it'll be time to toe.  I should probably measure it next time I pull it out of its bag.

August 12--Claude Monet, Cap d'Antibes.  Years of prevailing winds had bent the trees to point to the east.  Used to the round tops of the maples and the tall cone shapes of the conifers at home in the States Georgia had a bit of trouble getting used to seeing most of the trees along the roads pointing off to one side.  She stacked her folding chair and her bag at the foot of one of them, slipped off her cover-up, and walked down the pebble and sand beach into the cool blue-green water.

Tomorrow evening is the time we get to take our County Fair entries to the fairgrounds so I'll spend tomorrow getting everything looking its best.  Fingers crossed that there are blue ribbons in my future.  Wish me luck.
--Barbara

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Not a Productive Day

You know, I can't really tell you what happened to today.  I talked to a couple people on the phone in the morning, I remember that.  Then I got dressed to go to a wedding reception at 2:30 but ran a couple errands first.



At the reception, which had a circus theme, I got a henna tattoo on my hand.  I took a picture of the wedding cake which looked like three circus tents stacked atop one another but it was blurry so I deleted it.  The groom is a divemaster at the Aqua Center so I got to visit with a couple of the dive guys.  I miss those guys and their smartass remarks.  Sitting there in the breeze off the bay talking and laughing I almost teared up.  I guess I didn't realize how much I miss them.


Once I got home I sat with my feet up watching TV and knitting on the Montparnasse Eco Cardi back.  I hit the halfway row last night at Friday Night Knitting so I did some math to figure out how many stitches I still need to decrease and switched to decreasing every Right Side row.  I'll hit my target number before I get to 25" but I can knit even until I get there.  It'll all be sewn together so a straight part won't be that noticeable.


I was tired last night, it was late, I didn't write.  I'll write tonight, cross my heart.
--Barbara

Friday, August 10, 2018

Backyard Tour

This summer has been abnormally hot and muggy or maybe just extra muggy or maybe I'm getting old and cranky if it isn't 74 degrees with about 40% humidity.  It's probably that last part.  Anyway, I woke up half an hour before my alarm today (god, I hate that) and managed to capture a bit of pink in the sky.  Not much but more than the glaring, white-hot ball of sun that's usually out by the time I'm up.




A pair of Bluejays came cawing their arrival, checked out the oriole feeder and pecked at the corn fallen below the cobs and moved on but not before I managed to snap this photo.


 



At lunchtime this male Downy Woodpecker came for a snack and for once chose the side of the feeder toward the house rather than hiding on the other side with only his tail feathers visible.  Good job, bird.







 

The butternut squash is making a real effort to make up for dropping its first squash.  Here's another flower and the two squash are appreciably bigger today than two days ago.










The Early Girl tomatoes are ripening--and the chipmunks haven't found them yet.  (I probably shouldn't have typed that...)



The strawberry tomatoes are doing their part too.






 

And last but not least another of the Shopko closeout lilies is still blooming.  I know they look white in the picture but they're white with what looks like a watercolor wash of pale lilac.  Pretty.  Too bad they don't smell as pretty as they look.


August 10--Hermes, Birkin Bag.  "My purse," the woman three rows ahead of me on the plane yelled.  "My purse is gone."  She stood there crouched so her head didn't hit the overhead compartment and her hands gripped her seat back and the one in the row in front of her.  Her face was contorted in a mix of anger and hurt.  "How stupid are you, whoever took it, to think you can get away with it?  We're all closed in here a mile above the earth.  Who do you think you are, D.B. Cooper?"  Flight attendants converged on the distraught woman and the captain turned on the "fasten seatbelts" sign.  No one noticed the wisp of smoke that seeped under the locked restroom door in First Class.

Tonight at Friday Night Knitting someone asked if I'd completely emptied the storage.  Nope.  Here's what's left.  I plan to go out there one of these days with a bucket, some Murphy's Oil Soap, and maybe some Orange Glo, tidy the stuff up, take pictures and measurements, and DIL1 will help me sell it on her employers' version of Craigslist.  Hopefully by the fall I'll be able to let the storage go and start saving the $66 monthly rent.  Time for beddie-bye.  Toodle-oo.
--Barbara

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Well, That Didn't Work Out

My whole idea about chaining myself to the sewing machine didn't really work.  I hadn't even had breakfast before I was in the living room shoving furniture around and vacuuming up the dust of ages that had collected under things that hadn't moved in a while.  I can't figure out what, if anything, to do with my big, round, walnut coffee table.  I love it, Grandpa Stephan made it for me when I was about 12 years old, and it's darned handy but it also really fills the middle of the room and makes it hard to walk from the front door into the kitchen in a straight line.  Not that straight paths are all that interesting (ask Jens Jensen) and that isn't the way I come into the house most of the time but for some reason it's bothering me.  I'll live with it for a week or so and see how I feel about it then.  (I posted the computer desk, printer desk, and office chair in the back on Craigslist a couple weeks ago and on Next Door today so hopefully someone will come and take them off my hands and out of my living room soon.)

Then I hauled the six suitcases I want to donate to the foster kids agency out onto the patio so I could spray them with 409 and then wash off most of the dirt but first I opened them all up, took out any small things left in them, and let the sun bake out some of the musty smell before I Febreezed the daylights out of them.  And no chipmunk tried to move into one of the suitcases.  I only found one sunflower seed in a case when I went out with the Febreeze and 409.  DD & SIL1 said that when most foster kids get removed from their homes they don't have anything to carry their belongings in so they are given a garbage bag to pack in.  No one, especially not a kid being taken from home, deserves to have to put their clothes in a black plastic bag, it has to make them feel like they're considered garbage too.



 



I also fiddled around with the placement of my new (old) kitchen table.  I finally put the table straight and the chairs kind of off center because the chair seats are too wide to fit between the legs at the ends and in the center of the drop-leaf sides there's the gate leg so it's hard to sit there too.  I'm so glad I decided to keep this table.  Grandpa Stephan made it for Aunt B long ago.  I'm not sure how it got from Miami to Green Bay but here it is.  As you can see I lost no time covering the top of the table with a raft of crap.  I'll be trying to overcome that impulse but not right now.  I've got too much else to deal with at present.





I did sew.  I just didn't get to it until this afternoon.  I made a pair of bowl cozies for a
wedding gift I need on Saturday.  One of the dive guys had a destination wedding a few months ago and they're having their local celebration this coming weekend at the amusement park.  Bumper cars, anyone?  Anyway, I've printed off a whole bunch of my favorite soup recipes (and we all know what a soup fan I am) and have them in a folder with some notes and comments.  Sometimes I feel like I should spend more money on wedding gifts but my instinct is to make something that they can use and share something of me with them, along with my wishes for a long and happy marriage.



And I knitted too.  After supper I sat down and finished the double-strand Bodhi Leaf Washcloth.  I like it and it's definitely bigger than the single-strand one.  Definitely bigger.






August 9--Il Bronzino, Portrait of Bia de'Medici.  The little girl was dressed like an adult.  She wore the same style dress that an adult woman would wear.  She was decked out in pearls with a gold chatelaine chain loose around her waist.  There were no tools or fobs on it yet but it appeared as if the adults in her life were getting her accustomed to the burdens her station in life demanded at a very early age.

T-t-t-that's all folks.  I was bushed last night and I'm pretty darned tired tonight.  I keep thinking that I'll bounce back faster now that Durwood is in a safe place where I don't have to listen for his every move and breath but DS told me yesterday that it's going to take months and I suspect that he's right.  I'm very lucky to have my kids holding me up, helping me, and lending me an ear and a shoulder when I need it.  Good job, me and Durwood, we raised some excellent adults.  And now to bed.
--Barbara