I might sound like Rainman, but there are definite signs of Spring out in the yard away from the micro-climates. At the northwest corner of the house, where the North wind hits first, the forsythia bush is budding. Along the west side the iris and poppies are making their appearance. Along the lot line last year's milkweed pods are still frosty in the early morning. The quality of the sunlight has changed; it has that golden, warming up quality that makes the frost in the morning bearable. It's going to warm up a bit later today, I just know it. My walk yesterday consisted of circling the house to see what's popping up and what's waiting, and walking up the hill to the neighbors to ask about their first winter escape trip and visit for the first time in a long time without having to be bundled up or go inside. Not very exercise-y but very satisfying. I got the cuff of the second Play Day Mitten knitted and made a start on the hand last night. I'm still going to take it to work just in case I can steal time to knit a round or two. I only have to make 3 1/2 inches so I'll get that finished sometime today. Guaranteed. Then all I'll need to do is crochet a chain to connect them and they'll be done. AND before the winter things get put away. I might even have enough yarn left to make a matching hat... but I had a brainstorm to pair it with some solid red to stretch it if I don't, I've even got a simple pattern all picked out and printed off. I'm smart that way. April 11--Doug Wechsler, Saltmarsh Sunrise. Elaine peeked through her lashes at the faint tint of color on the eastern horizon. She had slept on the daybed on the porch so the sunrise would wake her. It seemed like a great idea last night but right now in the chill before the sun came up she wondered if watching the sun come up would be worth losing sleep. She dashed to the bathroom, flipping on the coffee pot as she passed, and came back to pull on some of Dave's old sweats and some thick socks. Perfect timing, she thought as the coffee pot gave its last gurgling wheeze. She poured the fresh brew into a thick diner mug with Abner Feed & Seed printed on it and settled back on the daybed as the first golden orange rays pierced the night-dark sky. I thought about making the post headline say something like "my last blog" but I thought that'd be a mean April Fools joke since I know how much my daily blabbering means to so many people so I'll tell you that this is the second to the last. I'm getting tired of dredging up something semi-interesting to pair with an adequate picture or two every bloody day so I'm quitting... no, I'm not, not really. April Fools! I kind of love doing this and I imagine that your lives would be diminished if I quit. (hey, I can pretend, can't I?) Enjoy your day. I'm off to have my cereal, Honey Bunches of Oats leftover from the weekend. Ooh, fancy. (DS & DD, remember getting to pick a box of sugary cereal to take on camping trips?) Toodle-oo! --Barbara
Both the brick facade on the front of the house and the retaining wall at the back of the lot face South so they reflect the sun's heat back onto the ground in front of them and make things grow early. Most years that little hint of early green goes a long way toward saving my sanity. This year is no exception. Durwood called me yesterday to say that the grass in back is greening up. See? In front there are a couple of crocuses ready to bloom, a hyacinth bud peeking out, and the daffodils have popped their leaves up and will be sending buds up soon. Not in time for Easter, no, but soon. I'm watching another sign of Spring right now. There's a chipmunk trolling the peanut shells the squirrels drop for any leftovers, his cheek pouches already bulging with goodies. The presence of the chippie means either the feral black cat has moved on or someone adopted it.
Mrs. Boss did have the rest of the inventory finished when I got to work yesterday. Hooray! All that's left is a milk crate of odds and ends that we put aside rather than stop counting to do research or part things out. After stocking some masks and snorkels that arrived, I dove in and got maybe a third of it done yesterday. I'll keep at it. I like the challenge of finding things, figuring out what price, then marking it and putting it on the shelf. What with new stock and old inventory I didn't knit a stitch at work yesterday, but I managed to finish Play Day Mitten #1 last night before bed. I thought it looked awfully big but compared to one she wears now it looks okay. Now if I can only get the other one done before it's shorts and tank top weather. *snort* March 31--Ron Kimball, FRG-01615. There was a frog in the room. There was a frog in her dream and when Amy woke up she could still hear it. She lay in the dark listening hard, trying to pick out where it was. It had better be on the floor, she thought. If it's on the wall or the ceiling it could land on her. An image of little sticky frog feet on her face got her hand moving to tug the sheet over her head. She'd rather suffocate than have a frog on her. Yeah, me too. It's a nice sunny day, I think I'll stir together some bread dough to bake this weekend. Maybe I'll go out and take a walk too. Of course it's at least 10 degrees cooler than it was yesterday but maybe it'll change its mind and warm up? I'm hopeful, but it's still better than below freezing. Anything is. --Barbara
I am a failure as a Knitting Grandma. I realized that there are 10 tiny fingers that don't have any knitted mittens. I'm changing that. I dug out some acrylic yarn (acrylic weathers frequent washing well) in a variegated color I like, found a pattern, and got to knitting. The yarn color is Red Rocks and I bought it in Rapid City, SD a few years ago. I'll get the mittens done today (provided the inventory is done at work) and hope there'll be enough yarn left to eke out a matching hat, but these are to go with a play coat (that's really too thick and too bulky to safely be worn in a car seat [man, you have to think of so much stuff with kids these days, no more rolling around in the back of a station wagon like when I was a kid]) so if the hat doesn't match, who's going to notice? Squirrels? Last Thursday I ordered a car seat from Walmart so that DS & DIL1 don't have to keep remembering to swap theirs out and into my car. I thought that it would be delivered today or maybe tomorrow. Instead it came on Saturday afternoon--when we were out of town for the weekend. Since when does FedEx deliver on Saturday? Our renter noticed it, called me, and took it in out of the rain yesterday. (Thank you, J & K, you're good people.) Now I just have to figure out how to secure it in my backseat. I've asked DS to help. He's big and strong and very smart. (Thanks, I made him myself--with a little help from Durwood.) On our way home yesterday we veered off the highway onto County X just outside of Dykesville to have lunch at Joe Rouer's in Duval. Mmm, a cheeseburger with fried onions and onion petals on the side. Durwood opted for a hamburger and cup of chili. Oh my goodness, it was delicious, not quite as good as in my college days when Joe and Helen were still alive and running it, but worth the 2 mile detour. We skipped supper. March 30--John Warden, Orangutan. It looked back through the bars and Lena felt a jolt at how human the ape's gaze was. The luxuriant red hair and soulful black eyes of the orangutan made her want to unlatch the cage and take it home. Not to her, Lena's human home, no. Her apartment was almost too cramped for just herself. Lena wanted to take the orangutan to its original home. Lena dreamed of flying to Sumatra or Borneo dressed in khaki bush clothes, a little stained and rumpled but impeccably fitted, an enigmatic smile playing her her lips while the orange-haired ape rode in a crate in the cargo hold. Maybe they'd write an article about her in National Geographic. She'd have to learn to like animals first and probably insects and humidity. Didn't orangutans live in the jungle? I'm glad I'm not the only one with a rich fantasy life. Time for showering, breakfasting and going off to work. (Payday!) I've already made the week's lunches and gotten my knitting together. Important things first. Later. --Barbara
That was me yesterday. All I did was sit on the couch in my jammies across from the burning fireplace and knit. Oh, I did talk to Durwood now and then, but mostly I either knitted or read my Kindle book. This was the entire purpose of the weekend, me relaxing and spending quiet time with Durwood. See, at home there's all that cleaning and laundry and "stuff" to do but here there is only what I brought with me to do, and that was reading, crossword puzzles, and knitting. The only thing I brought that I didn't get to is writing out my Design-a-Thon pattern but I'll get to that later today at home, cross my heart. It's been a good weekend. Like I said, I knitted on the second Sari Silk Purse dickey and finished it. Now all I need to do is sew in muslin lining pieces and it's a finished item, and much more usable. Woohoo! March 29--Lynn M. Stone, Sea Otter Mother and Pup. It didn't seem right for salt water to be cold or cold water to be salty. Either way it was just wrong. They were used to diving in the cold, fresh waters of the Great Lakes or the warm, salt water of the Caribbean Sea. It was a shock to do a backroll off the dive boat into cold, green water like at home but have the taste of salt. The kelp forest was beautiful with its slanted shafts of sunlight piercing the dimness with gold. Streams of silver fish wove around the kelp, and purple and blue many-armed starfish carpeted the sea floor. And that's all I've got for today. Not much but I was quiet yesterday. Fingers crossed that Mrs. Boss got the inventory done this weekend and life at the dive shop can go back to its sleepy normal rhythm. Not that I minded the work, really, but it was a shock to keep being tired from working for all those days. Usually work is relaxing and for the past couple weeks it's been all... work-y, and I'm not used to that. I just noticed that the sun is rising a few feet to the north over the roof of the building to the east, that must mean that spring is really inching its way north. Yay! --Barbara
We didn't do anything yesterday. I didn't even get dressed until about 2 PM when I went out to get lottery tickets. While I was out I stopped at Bargains Unlimited, the private-run thrift shop in Sister Bay that earns funds to support a senior living complex nearby. A few years back my friend KS, who lives up here, took me there and we had a blast. Now I try to stop in whenever I'm up this way. As with all thrift stores, some days it's a gold mine and other days it's a wasteland. Yesterday it was a gold mine. I didn't really have anything in mind although I always check for ladies' hankie and yarn. Found a skein of acrylic yarn I can make something for LC from but no hankies. I found a single vintage dish towel and a batik panel that will look excellent as the center of a quilt or on a tote of some sort. For some unknown reason I sorted through the flatware, finding a single silver fork for a buck. I flipped through the purses hung on the wall but nothing caught my eye, then I looked at a pole with the big-ticket purses and EUREKA! There it was. One of those Miche purses with the "shells" that stick on the basic purse with magnets. There was one shell on the purse and three more sticking out of the top. The sticker was $65 and I almost put it back but decided to carry it around while I kept looking. I could always put it back. I didn't put it back. I looked at the shells and they're all animal prints, some completely and others partially. Animal prints are big this year, plus one is red patent and giraffe print. I love red and I love giraffes. Sold! The rest of my items added up to $5 so I only spent $70. When I got back to the room I searched for the purse on the web. (They evidently have parties like Tupperware. Who knew?) Because all of the shells are from 2008-2010 (all but one have a name and issue date printed on the lining) the exact ones weren't there but the least expensive ones were $25 and the purse, still available, is $25. That means I got at least $125 worth of purse for $65. The only drawback is that it doesn't have a shoulder strap but I can live with the handles, that's not a deal breaker. I think that was a good day's shopping. AND the inside of the bag looks like it has never been used. No pen marks, no dirt, the elastic pockets aren't stretched out, it's pristine. Like I said it was a lucky day. This morning I unloaded my current red purse and loaded up the Miche bag, all my stuff fits perfectly, and I slapped on the giraffe shell. I'm good. And kind of in style, an odd occurrance for me. I worked on Sari Purse Dickey #2 yesterday. I got about halfway before I realized that I had gone overboard the other way and this fill-in was too narrow, so I frogged it until it spread back out and I'll take another run at it today. The sooner I get done knitting with this silk yarn, the better my fingers will feel. Reclaimed sari silk has absolutely no give so it makes my hands hurt, the same with all-cotton yarn. But I'm sure liking the way this is looking. Hmm, I must be in a purse mood these days. I feel sewing coming on too, garment and tepee sewing. March 28--Jim Barber, Sextant, Compass and Chart. Chloe needed to find out where she was. The dark was absolute except for the pulse of heat lightning far in the distance. She was afraid to move, afraid she would fall into one of the little canyons carved by the spring snowmelt from the mountains. Falling was a sure way to break something and be unable to find her way back home. Searchers wouldn't find her in one of those dusty draws filled with sagebrush, tumbleweeds, and broken fence. There were searchers looking for her, she had to believe that. She had left her car at the trailhead and you had to say where you were going when you picked up a hiking permit. What day was it, Thursday? Probably. She had planned to be back by late Tuesday, they had to be searching. When would this night end? In daylight she would at least know what direction to travel. Okay, I have big plans for more doing nothing today, nothing except knitting, that is, so I'd better get right on it. Breakfast first, Honey Bunches of Oats instead of Cheerios because I'm on vacation. Toodles. --Barbara
I worked my little fingers to the bone counting yesterday but didn't get finished. I almost got finished but it's a much bigger job than either Mrs. Boss or I thought it was. I got submerged in counting adapters and burst discs and other tiny things that 18 of them will fit into a little compartment in a plastic drawer the size of 2 postage stamps. And the scanner wouldn't scan when I was counting the things in the safe (lead lining, anyone?) so that had to be emptied shelf by shelf and then returned. I wasn't a huge fan of counting while standing on the ladder, either. Naturally at least a third of the items in each cabinet had to be carried to a table to be sorted by size or color and then scanned. Happily Mrs. Boss came in after lunch so I graciously gave her the job of finding names for and tagging the orphans I found but we've still got a crate of items that will need to be researched and tagged but they can wait until next week when the "big" counting is done and the rented scanner is returned. One day this seemingly endless task will be done. Or not. After I got home from work yesterday Durwood and I set out for a little change of scene. We drove away toward the north, stopped for gas at Red Rocket, and I turned right out of the gas station to follow the frontage road to get back on the highway. We were discussing where to have supper when we passed a tiny tavern and I thought I recognized a friend's truck. "Want to eat there? I think that's JJ/s truck." "Sure," says Durwood. So I dropped it into reverse, backed up a bit and, sure enough, there was JJ's truck at Knuckleheads Bar. I parked in the lot and called him. Just as he answered the phone he walked out the other door. "How's the food in this place?" I asked, looking at his back. "Where... what place?" "Turn around," I told him. By then Durwood had rolled his window down and was waving. So even though they were leaving, they stayed to keep us company while we ate. It was kind of like old times with the dive guys. Their 17-year-old son (SEVENTEEN??? Yes) was there too so it really was a bit like the old days when there were kids and adults and all like a family. Good bar food too. This morning we're up here where there are no chores and phone service is iffy. (text if you need us) But don't think we've left our home unprotected, our mixed breed pet Pitbull/Rotweiler/Komodo Dragon, Tiny, and her handler, Hildegarde are patrolling the estate until we get back. Also the alarm is set and the crocs in the moat haven't been fed in a month. I finished the Yellow & Black Beanie last night. Black is such a lovely color to knit with after dark--not. I love the pair of hats even though the Black & Yellow one is kind of too big and the Yellow & Black one is kind of too small. I'll have to look at the pattern to see if I can make a few adjustments to make a hat somewhere in the middle. Maybe a change of hook size will do it.
March 27--Chris A. Crumley, Coral Reef with Moorish Idols. This was the moment she craved, when her buoyancy was just right in a slight surge so that she felt rocked by the sea. With almost no effort on her part the water movement pushed her a few feet, paused, and then pulled her back a little. Up and back, up and back. She was so relaxed she might doze off, but she wouldn't, there was too much to see. By becoming a part of the ocean like that even the rhythmic gurgle of her exhalations didn't spook the fish. The tiny fish, shrimp, and other critters that called the reef home went about their daily business as if she wasn't there. Bi-color Damselfish tended their algae gardens and fended off the wrasse that came to eat their crop. Sergeant Majors hovered before patches of dark navy eggs. Arrow crabs stood on tiptoe, frown in place and purple boxing glove pincers at the ready. Pederson's Cleaner Shrimp advertised their services, waving their thin white antennae from the tops of the anemones where they lived. She wished she had another pair of eyes to take it all in. Every day that she wasn't rocked in the warm, salty cradle of the sea she missed it.
I do miss warm water diving but maybe not quite that much. I usually shy away from that level of maudlin. Enjoy your Friday. I'm going to love mine. --Barbara
Seeing all that slushy snow yesterday morning was a real downer but by the time I got to work (on the wet, but not slippery roads) the sun was blazing and melting had commenced. The clouds rolled in late in the afternoon and the temps dropped below 32 degrees so we've got a little snow left. I ended up only having the "brushed off the car" piles of snow to shovel off the driveway when I got home. Not too bad. Today it's gray and supposed to maybe get to 30 degrees but the sun is getting warmer so things have to be looking up. Right? Right. When I step out the front door and look down, this is what I see--GREEN! Bulbs are symbols of hope in my mind. All winter long it's been brown and dead out there and as soon as the sun warms up a little bit those hopeful little green shoots start popping. I'm hoping to always live in a south-facing house with a little brick or stone on it so my bulbs show themselves early. I need that green. I was so excited to have only one customer and only a tiny box of stock to price and put away yesterday because that let me finish the inventory in the front of the store. Today I tackle the back room and I may be able to do it all if it stays quiet in there. It would make my weekend to not have inventory hanging over my head for Monday. Fingers crossed. After supper last night I crocheted a few rounds on the Yellow & Black Beanie, getting to the place where I drop the yellow and continue the last few rounds with black. It's a good thing I made a smaller hat because there isn't enough yellow left for another round. Whew. I'll get that hat done tout suite and then tackle the second purse dickey. Maybe I can bear down on that and finish it over the weekend. Then I'll need something else to knit. Oh, I have to work on writing my Design-a-Thon pattern so someone else could knit it. That'll have me growling and frowning and erasing for a few hours, of that I'm certain. March 26--Chris A. Crumley, Egret. The white bird with the long legs and crooked neck peered into the shallow water, cocking its head this way and that. It hunted this stretch of the shore every morning but this was the first time it had seen this. Little silver fish, its usual breakfast, darted around and through the long dark hair that flowed with the mild current. One of the tiny creatures hovered in the cup of an upturned hand as if it found safety there. Leopold staggered down the path calling her name, "Rowan!" scaring the egret into slow startled flight. Alrighty then. Time to get ready to tackle the inventory one more time and maybe for the last time. That'd be good. But first, Cheerios. --Barbara