Monday, December 22, 2014

Into The Light

There may only be a few seconds more light today but we are on the upswing.  Yesterday was the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year, so today it's officially winter (and we're supposed to get rain).  Now we get to become one with our boots and hats and scarves and mittens and heavy coats for three or four (or five in a bad year) months but it'll be getting lighter longer every day.  Ahh.  Right now, at 7:50 AM, it's barely light enough to cross the room but it'll get better.  Soon it'll be all bright this time of the day.


I spent most of the afternoon down in the cave sewing the Christmas sewing, I even cut out and sewed a bib for LC since the knitted ones, while cute, don't really do the job, not enough coverage and not snug up under the chin.  I got this cute fabric a couple weeks ago (it's what they make diaper covers out of) and I had some flannel that I'd cut up and hemmed part of for burp cloths so I cut them out and sewed them up.  Easy peasy.  Naturally I couldn't find any Velcro for a closure so I had to go to Hancock (with my coupons) to get some.  And didn't I find a couple pieces of fabric I needed?  Of course I did.  I always check the drapery/upholstery flat fold area because I love making bags, etc. out of it and darned if there weren't these two that had to come home with me.  I also found a nice, sturdy, wire & webbing storage bin for someone small's toys but I didn't take its picture.

I made a bit of Old MacDonald's Cow progress but it's only seven more rows bigger than this so I didn't take its picture.  The next rows are the decrease rows then I get to make her spots, then her legs, then sew her all together.  I've already made her ears and horns.  I hope she has a tail.

December 22--P.H. Holmes, Violin.  "I hate having that little girl looking at me," Katherine said.  Mr. Stravinska shook his head.  "She is not looking at you, Katerina, she's just listening to you make your music."  He picked up his baton and tapped the measure where she should begin.  "Now, go on."  Katherine drew in a deep breath and began to play.  She tried not to look at the girl's face carved where most violins had a scroll but then her fingering was off and her notes were sour.  She was convinced she saw the wooden upper lip curl as if the carved girl sneered at Katherine's distress.  There was no way Mama and Papa could ever afford to buy her a different fiddle.  Maybe she could tie a ribbon over that stoic, staring face.

At Friday Night Knitting LB brought each of us a little wire creation she calls a Wire Whimsy. She and her daughter used to make them to sell at craft fairs.  Mine is a card of buttons and a thimble.  Isn't it cute?  I'm taking it down and pinning it to the bulletin board over my sewing machine so I can see it all year instead of just on the Christmas tree.  Off to work I go, my sole day to work this week.
--Barbara

Sunday, December 21, 2014

We're Treed!


As I said I would in yesterday's post, after I hit "publish" I dug out the tree, unpacked the ornaments, and we got to decorating.  We even punched in the "sounds of the season" cable music channel so we could sing, or mumble along when we didn't remember the words.  (we should have had a maiden aunt tickling the yellowed ivories of a tinny sounding upright piano, but made do with Johnny Mathis, Rosemary Clooney, and Nat King Cole)  It didn't take very long and it was fun with the two of us working on it.  I don't know why I drag my feet over putting it up every year.  Nostalgia blindsided me when I picked up a little golden bell to hang.  It was the only ornament I could touch when I was a tiny girl (and the only one I kept) and it was always hung low so it'd be in reach.  I picked it up and burst into tears.  Poor Durwood, he had no idea what the deal was but I think he might have been a little jealous that he doesn't have an ornament from when he was a kid.  Hmm, I might just have a box of a few of his mom's ornaments downstairs, I should go look.

After a spot of recovery we got dressed, made a list, and went to the grocery.  A few weeks back I went to Festival around 5 o'clock on a Saturday and I almost had the store to myself.  Not this time.  This time we split up so that Durwood could get a couple secret things and I took the list.  I got waylaid in the entry to the liquor department and ended up with a bottle of red wine in my cart but in my defense it's the first red wine I really liked.  Someone will help me drink it, I'm sure.  I filled the list and we met in the soup aisle to look at some broth that was on sale (did you ever hear of aseptic broth?  we hadn't either, turns out it's low fat and no MSG.  I have no idea how that makes it aseptic, unless it's specially pasteurized or something, maybe it was a typo, we didn't buy it).

On the way home I drove us past that house at Dousman & Platten Streets to get more pictures.  This time I parked the van and walked to get a few pictures.  There were a good number of people there, a lot with kids.  The one that touched me the most was an adult sister with her older, developmentally challenged sister.  They were having so much fun seeing all the displays and finding the funny ones, the pig on skis and the hippo on skates were two that made them dissolve into giggles.  A few flakes were falling too, kinda made it seem like a whole different world for a minute.

I got the window over our bed plastic-ed since it won't close right so I can lock it and keep out the breeze.  I can't find the folder from when we had them installed, I suppose I could go to Home Depot to inquire but plastic is cheaper and less annoying right now.  It's a quick and easy fix, plus I got to stand on the bed, a big no-no when I was a kid.

December 21--Cypriot, Water Spout.  His elfin ears stuck out of his hair and looked they would wiggle when he laughed.  Faye couldn't take her eyes off their pointed pinkness even though she knew it as rude to stare.  His white hair blew wispy in the wind but the hair never covered his ears.  The old man stood on the boardwalk near a geyser waving his arms and going on about how the volcano was thirty-thousand years overdue to erupt.  "There goes Doomsayer, off on one of his rants," a park ranger said, as he passed leading a tour group. "If only his argument wasn't so logical I'd feel better about shutting him up."  Faye walked faster.

The rest of today's going to be all about sewing, and maybe gift wrapping since I got the laundry done.  Mrs. Boss called yesterday to say that I only have to work Monday this week and Monday the following week.  I love the time off but won't it be silly to get two one-day paychecks in a row?  Maybe she'll combine them to conserve paper.  Pardon me while I descend into the sewing cave.  I decided "studio" is just too fancy a word for a Masonite-walled room in the basement.
--Barbara

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Day Away


Yesterday morning I drove out of the Green Bay sunshine into the gray skies of Sheboygan to meet my friend Lala to see the newest Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay, Part 1 (we loved it) and to spend the day together.  We had a great time.  We sat in our favorite Weather Center Cafe for a cup of coffee then we went for a walk.  It wasn't too cold and it wasn't windy at all so our walk along the riverwalk, while slick in spots, didn't freeze us to the core.  It's been warm enough that the ice isn't solid yet although it is thick enough to support geese.  We went to the Charcoal Inn South for a cheeseburger and a brat for a late lunch and then we parted ways.

I swung through Sheboygan Falls on my way home but Magpie's Cottage closes at 3 o'clock on Friday.  What's up with that????  Anyway, that probably saved me at least fifty bucks so I just swung into Shopko to see if they still had the kind of wool and Thinsulate gloves I want (nope, they don't), I got a suede and Thinsulate pair instead.  Let's see how they do filling birdfeeders.  It never occurred to me that last night was the Friday before Christmas and that everyone on EARTH would be out shopping.  I barely made it out of there alive.  I need to pay closer attention to the world around me.  Also the calendar.

I hauled up the box of decorations and ornaments this morning, and I put the palm frond Rudolph that Dad made ages ago and the jingle wreath up at the door into the garage and I put the Bah Humbug plaque Mom made up in the living room.  Last week I got up one of the Santa prints that Mom's cousin did and hung it up so gradually Christmas is coming to 1510.  I figure by the time I get it all up it'll be time to take it all down.  *shrugs*  Oh well.

Lala gave me a bag of random yarn she found when she was clearing out a closet and Durwood and I got it all rolled into nice tidy yarn cakes this morning.  It's going to make excellent hats or mittens to take to the local elementary school kids.  You remember how kids lose hats and mittens, right?  Well, I'm working to fix it so that there's some in reserve at the school our kids went to.  It's not a lot but it's something.  If one kid stays warm and feels special in a new hat, then all the work's worth it.

December 20--Cypriot, Water Spout.  Water poured out of an opening in the rock wall like a fully open hose.  Centuries ago someone had carved a face into the rock.  It was the face of a man-lion, mane and all.  You could see where the fangs had broken off and where thousands of hands had smoothed his brow.  It was a powerful face and Brett wondered about the man who had carved it.  Brett was a sculptor himself but he doubted he could have stood in the gout of icy water to carve such an intricate design in the living rock.

Last night at knitting I got Old MacDonald's cow started.  I made the head and put on the eyes, tied tight inside with good firm knots, not grannies either, so they're not coming out.  Later after I get the tree up and decorated (next on the agenda) I'll get to work on her body.  Right now it looks a bit like a caplet with eyes, doesn't it?  Happy Saturday!
--Barbara

Friday, December 19, 2014

Stick a Fork in Old MacDonald's Pig...

she's done.  I finished her last night while the party mix was baking.  Attaching those four pig legs was just as putzy as crocheting them but I did it, and I made sure to use a long tail woven in and around, back and forth so someone who is nearly 1 year old can play with her and not pull anything off.  Grandpa was most concerned about that, he was kinda cute (and kinda annoying) about it.

Speaking of party mix, mmmmmmm.  It makes the kitchen, the whole house, smell heavenly of Worcestershire sauce and toasting cereal and it's so tempting to dip a Dixie cup in for a taste before it's even cool.  (now who would do that?  guilty.)  Durwood was very casual about mentioning that he'd finished his bag of Cheetos yesterday so I kind of HAD to make the party mix last night or be a Scrooge, right?  I'm enough of a Scrooge lately so it was an easy fix, besides I had to sit at the table sewing on pig legs and the curly tail so I might as well pop up every 20 minutes for 2 hours to stir the party mix.  Multitasking at its best.

I only had a couple customers at work yesterday but Mrs. Boss came in to take up the slack with Christmas decorating and data entry tasks and fact-finding phone calling, I even stayed late to finish the data entry so all is ready for when the NEW new POS system is installed.  We can't keep the old one, it's just too buggy.

The sky was breathtaking this morning when I nipped out to fill up the birdbath, or it could have been the bitter cold that took my breath away.  Whatever the cause, look how pretty the dawn was, and in only four more days the dark will start shrinking and the light will begin expanding.  We made it!  The solstice will come and life, and light, will be on the upswing.  Woohoo!

December 19--Joyce Growing Thunder Fogarty, Tobacco Bag.  The beaded deerskin bag hung next to Uncle Len's cabin door as long as I remember.  When I was real small he let me put my doll in the bag to carry her around the one-room house.  I liked to play house up in the loft where he kept his trunk from his Navy days and a few other things from what he called "the olden times" before he came to live in the cabin by Clark's Lake.  The only time Uncle Len got really mad at me was when I braided the fringe that hung from the bottom of the deerskin bag.  It took him hours to untangle it and he scolded me the whole time.

Okay, then.  Now it's time for me to gobble a bowl of Cheerios and then I'm off to meet Lala and go to the movies.  It's a sunny day and I'm excited.  Cheerio!
--Barbara

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Almost There

I almost got Old MacDonald's pig (oink!) parts all done yesterday but, tsk, I had to work at work.  Can you believe it?  People actually came into the store and bought things.  Didn't they realize that I have yarn work to do?  Evidently not.  So after supper I sat myself down on the couch to watch The Chase that we DVR'd on Tuesday night (we love quiz-type shows, they make us feel smart--sometimes) and got to work.  I got the tail made but crocheting those little pig legs is one putzy job so I only got three done before I fell asleep at the hook and took myself off to bed.  I'll get the last one made sometime today and get her assembled so I can move on to the duck (quack!)--or cow (moo!).  I might have found a slightly simpler cow pattern.

I just realized that one week from today is Christmas Day.  I don't have the tree up.  I don't have party mix made, although I have the ingredients.  I don't even have the ingredients for English toffee bought yet.  And I have things pinned but not sewn.  (Never mind what they are, nosy.)  This coming weekend's going to be one whirlwind of a weekend.  Good thing I'm meeting Lala in Sheboygan tomorrow to go see Mockingjay, Part 1 (eeeee!) and eat a greasy brat or burger at the Charcoal Hut while we cram 6 months of face-to-face visiting into an afternoon.  That will power me up for a full Xmas push on Saturday and Sunday.  I'd better warn Durwood.

December 18--Thomas Eakins, Mrs. Mary Arthur.  Mary sat slumped in her chair, red yarn trailing from her knitting needles to the basket at her feet.  She needed to finish one more pair of slippers before Christmas which was barely a week away.  The light was fading, the short, late autumn day quickly turning to night as she dozed.  She fell right into the middle of a dream populated by giant spiders and floating wraiths.  Her hands fought the tangle of the dream spiderwebs and she woke with a start, her needles on the floor and her slipper unraveled in a tangle in her lap.

I was surprised and pleased to see the old woman dressed all in black in the portrait had her hands busy knitting something with red yarn, an excellent choice so close to Christmas.  Well, I have to go work again today, there'll probably be those Christmas shoppers interrupting my knitting again, but I'll go.  Plus I hate having people holler at me or be disappointed in me.  *sigh*  Stay warm.  It looks chilly out there.

--Barbara

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Re-Snow

Mother Nature couldn't sustain the gray and rainy for long.  By noon it had colded off enough to make freezing drizzle which quickly became little flakes.  We lucked out and the roads didn't get too slick and by the time I rolled the trash bin to the curb we had a decent coating of snow, nothing that needs shoveling, but a bit of white to brighten things up.  I heard a rumor that we might have sunshine by Friday but today I'm settling for a pink and orange sunrise, which means that the clouds are thin enough to let a little light through and that makes me hopeful.

I worked on Old MacDonald's pig yesterday and by 8:30 PM she had a face (to remove her resemblance to a boob) and by bedtime, 10:30 or so, she was stuffed and ready for ears, stubby legs, and a tail.  I'll get there today.  I can't decide which animal to do next, maybe the duck because it looks a bit less complicated than the cow.  Or maybe I can find a simpler cow pattern.

December 17--Paul Gauguin, Still Life with Teapot and Fruit.  The last mango kept rolling away out of the arrangement.  Time after time Paul would catch it and gently nudge it next to the other five mangoes but before he had picked up his pencil to begin a sketch it would be on the move again.  The sixth or seventh time he put it back he slammed it to the table, it split in a fountain of sticky juice and pulp but that time it stayed where he put it.

I was so glad to see a Gauguin without bare-breasted Tahitian girls sullenly glaring out of the picture.  I was in despair that he'd spent all his time there ogling the young women, the perv.  I'm off to work and it's cold again so on go the layers--longies, undershirt, wool socks, jeans, long-sleeved tee, sweater, fuzzy-lined boots, and a shawl or scarf or cowl, and that's aside from my winter coat and 2 layers of gloves.  Man, I'm cold this year, and it's not even officially winter yet.  Later, dudes and dudettes.
--Barbara

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I Am Not Looking Forward To Today's Weather

Right now it's 42 degrees and raining.  By noon the temp is supposed to drop into the low to mid-30s and the rain will turn to snow--AND the wind is supposed to pick up.  This is not my favorite weather for mid-December.  I'm not a big fan of shoveling snow or windblown snow but I have to say I like it better than rain and then icy roads.  Also the melting snow has exposed all the leaves I didn't rake a few months back, I don't really want to look at them.  One of the local weather guessers said last night that we might get snow on the 23rd into the 24th, which is just great for having Christmas snow but not so great because DD is driving up from KY on Christmas Eve.  Fingers crossed that the roads cooperate because there's nothing worse than highway driving in bad weather.

I started on the second Old MacDonald animal at work yesterday.  Yeah, yeah, I know what it looks like right now but, trust me, it's going to be a pig.  Oink, oink.

Today might be tree-putting-up day if I can muster up the enthusiasm on this dreary wet day, although it could very well brighten it up.  Time will tell.

December 16--Walker Evans, Brooklyn Bridge, New York.  The cables looked like a giant spiderweb from where Sadie lay.  She could hear water washing on rocks below and far away car horns.  She didn't try to move, she just lay there watching birds fly by or land on the black wires.  Her arms and legs felt heavy and it was too much effort to try to move.  Footsteps came near, paused, and then moved away.  She didn't call out or turn her head to look at the walkers.  Vibrations surged through the metal she lay on.

I feel like a nap may be coming on.  I seldom nap but today is so gray and dreary I might make an exception.  Are you ready for Christmas?  I'm sure not and I refuse to count up the days.
--Barbara