Sunday, November 19, 2017

It Might Be Dark But It Isn't Midnight

So I'm doing better today, right?  It was sunny but darned cold today.  I don't think it got much above 32 degrees all day.  I spent my day inside making things, except for a quick trip to Kwik Trip for bananas, that is.  You know how much I like making things.

 
First thing this morning I made a batch of Balsamic Cranberry-Fig Compote.  The recipe was in last week's Parade magazine in the Sunday paper and I already had all of the ingredients and I like all the ingredients so I figured I'd like the compote.  And I do.  Even Durwood likes it.  It's very expensive, WW-points-wise, but the recipe makes about 3 cups so I put it into 2 pint jars, I'll take one jar along on Thanksgiving and have one to tempt me in the fridge.  It's do-able.  I just won't eat it all at one sitting and Durwood's bound to want his share.  We made WW Shrimp with Veggies and Creamy Herb Grits for supper again tonight because it is sooooo good.


Oh!  Look what came today.  Fighter planes.  Four of 'em.  All for me.  I graciously allowed all those fools sitting freezing their hoo-hoos off at Lambeau to see them and hear them too.  I'm nice like that.  But I know in my heart of hearts that the fly-overs are meant for me and me alone.  It's the only part of football games I like.






In the afternoon I went downstairs because someone neglected to throw his jeans down the
chute last week when I asked for dirties and "it's the only pair of jeans that doesn't scratch me with the rivets."  As if the pants have their own agenda.  I ask you.  (I'll take a look at the rivets on the offending jeans to see if I can't subdue them so they don't scratch him when he puts his hand in the pocket.)  Anyway, that gave me time to take in the waists of all of the new school pants that DIL1 bought for LC.  Seems she's tall enough to wear 4T clothes but she's a stringbean (Mama's word, not mine) like her mama so last week one day the teacher said that by the time she'd run to the playground her pants were around her ankles.  Not a good school look, plus it's cold.  So it's Meemaw's sewing machine to the rescue.  I just pinched the waistband in the back and sewed it, then sewed down the pinch.  It leaves a pleat in the back but also can be easily removed when she needs a little bit bigger waist in her pants.  Besides 4K isn't about fashion, it's about comfort and function--and your pants staying up when you run.  I love being asked to do little sewing jobs for DIL1.  She's not a seamstress (she has other gifts that I don't have) but I am (at least in a moderate way, not anything like the way Mom sewed) so this is a way I can help.  I remember how overwhelmed I felt at times when I had an almost-4-year-old and a year-and-a-half old to deal with and I didn't go off to work every day.  I only had a husband who was out of town about 75% of the time.

November 19--Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, Valencian Women at the Beach.  It was windy there on the sand.  Fine grains skimmed across the surface of the beach making Marla's ankles feel, well, sandblasted.  She walked as fast as the soft sand let her.  The argument had been about nothing.  Stuart had been less than complimentary about supper, she'd gotten her feelings hurt, and stormed out.  Now she was stomping up the beach toward the cluster of shacks that made up Malibu Jack's with twenty bucks in her pocket and a mad on.  Not a great combination.

Time to go down and drag the clothes out of the dryer before they wrinkle beyond salvation.  Maybe I'll spend a few minutes down there working on the last Dress No. 1--or maybe I'll just come back upstairs and sit staring at the TV for a while.  That sounds appealing.  Later, dudes and dudettes.
--Barbara

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Barely Worth Blogging

I've had a busy two days.  Busy wrangling assistants, filling birdfeeders yesterday in the drizzle, but I managed to get two words embroidered on Rebel Girl Hat #3 last night at Friday Night Knitting.  By the time I got SMART finished I'd probably made at least another letter with all of the goofs I made and had to pull out.  Frustrating but easily fixed.  Two more words on the other side and the three Rebel Girls will have hats to model.





Today we went to the Holiday Parade downtown.  It was chilly and a bit breezy but we found a spot near the start of the parade.  We saw police horses, dance schools, horses with painted hooves, fire trucks, Oneida princesses, Miss Wisconsin, and Miss Green Bay.  There were barely floating balloons (see above re: breeze) and at the very end were Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus in a 2-horse drawn carriage.  My companion was a champ at gathering the candy thrown by the people along the route.  A great time was had by all.


We made our favorite waffles for lunch--Cornbread Carrot Cheddar.  They're so easy to make a 3 1/2 year old can do everything except the cooking part.  Take 1 box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, add 1/2 cup milk and 1 egg, whisk until blended.  Using a spoon, stir in one peeled & grated biggish carrot, grate a couple ounces of cheddar cheese.  Pour onto heated griddle and cook to desired doneness.  (sorry if I've shared this before, it's just so darned easy and so delicious I think everyone should make them)  Oh, and one square with a little syrup and butter costs 11 WW points.

And that's it.  I was so worn out I didn't write the prompt last night and I'm guessing I won't write much tonight either.  Look at the time!
--Barbara

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Breakfast Up High

This morning it was a bit sunny but mostly cloudy all day until about an hour before sunset, when the sun broke through.  While eating my breakfast I spied a little furry critter up on the birdfeeder at the back of the yard.  It was a little chipmunk that had shinnied up the crook to hop onto one of those feeders that is supposed to close when a squirrel jumps onto it.  I guess a chipmunk's just not heavy enough to work the mechanism.  Look at the look on its face.  It knows I'm looking at it.



I found out that my friend, AT, whom I had lunch with on Monday is a huge fan of fountain pens.  I'd never noticed that when she pulls out a pen to put our next lunch date in her calendar, a PAPER calendar no less, that the pen is a fountain pen.  A Waterman fountain pen.  Seeing that got me thinking that I had a couple more fountain pens laying around here someplace and wondered if Durwood had any too.  I checked where I thought his would be, with his permission, and found none but this afternoon I pulled out the cup from the bookcase shelf where I keep old pens etc. and there were two of them.  One, the red barrel one, is a Sheaffer and the other one is from an "as seen on TV" set of cheap Italian pens I must have sent away for lo these many years ago.  I had to soak the nib of the Italian pen to get the crusted ink out (good thing it's water-soluable) and it still doesn't write as evenly as it should.  I'll keep working on it.  That one even has a refillable barrel so when I run out of cartridges I can buy a bottle of ink and keep using it.  Now I can write with a fountain pen any old time and not worry about losing my precious Waterman.

This afternoon I spent a little time down at the sewing machine and finished up the second tank carrier I've had in the queue for months.  I need to find two of those barrel things to keep the drawstring tight around the tank neck so I can cut off the extra shoelaces so there's not so much dangly stuff ready to catch on things.  I don't think Durwood is as thrilled with this soft one as I am but I'll get it all fixed up, he'll try it, and it can be an emergency backup at the very least.


Once I post this I'll sit down and put the markers on Rebel Girl Hat #3 so I can start putting the letters on at the Guild meeting tonight.  I've enjoyed making these hats but I have to confess that I'm glad this is the last one.






November 16--William Hayes, Great Spotted Woodpecker.  Joseph woke up with a headache.  One whale of a headache.  He groaned as he peeled open an eye.  The dim light that seeped in around the edge of the shade felt like a spear jabbing his cornea.  Every movement made another part of him ache.  His head felt as if a giant woodpecker was perched on his shoulders trying to peck its way to his brain stem.  The room dipped and swayed as if it was a carnival ride.  Maybe there was an earthquake and the building was coming down around him.  With great effort he swung his feet out of the covers and onto the chilly floor.  He sat clutching the edge of the mattress hoping to be able to stand up eventually.  He promised on his mother's future grave never to drink tequila ever again.  Or at least not for a while.

Okay, this computer is acting weird.  I'm outta here.
--Barbara

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

More Words



 




I got Rebel Girl Hat #2's words done last night.  The red tweed yarn was the right choice.  Now I have one more hat to embroider.  There's a knitting guild meeting tomorrow night so I'll take the third pink hat and start embroidering letters.  Which means I need to spend some time tomorrow putting markers on so I know where to sew.  And then I can forge ahead on other projects, whatever they may be.  I'd like to cast on a shrug/sweater but won't let myself do that until the hats are done.  I have some Christmas sewing to do too so maybe that'll get cut out next to lay in wait for me down in the sewing area in the basement.







Speaking of sewing, while doing a little laundry tonight after supper I sewed a bit on the second oxygen tank carrier bag I've had cut out for a couple months.  This one won't be stiffened like the first one so those arches that will have a webbing handle and D rings for a shoulder strap will get stitched on about a third of the way down and I'll make a drawstring casing in the opening to keep the tank secure.  While I've been fixated on sewing all the Dresses No. 1 the bag kept getting pushed back and hidden under a sewing machine cover.  I finally realized that the best way for me to get things done is to not jump ahead.  I cut a bunch of things out, then sew them before I allow myself to cut and sew more.  Sometimes that even works.   Not with this bag, though.  I'll get this done, maybe tomorrow, and then sew up the paisley Dress No. 1 (the last one for a long time, cross my heart) before cutting out the puppets I'm making for LC and OJ for Christmas.

Talk about a dreary day.  It was raining when I got up.  See the raindrop circles on the birdbath?  This morning I drove the snowblower up the street to the neighbor who is good at fixing stuff like that.  We thought that he'd change the oil and do a few general maintenance things and be done.  Not so fast.  He called almost immediately to say that the "shoes" were so worn down they had to be replaced.  Okay.  Of course, he had to go across town (twice because the first time they gave him the wrong part) for the parts and ended up canceling an appointment he had to work on my machine.  I felt guilty, so we added a little to the bill he quoted us.  Don't want to abuse a good neighbor.  Just as we were leaving for Durwood's 1:30 haircut I realized that the automatic night light in the bathroom was on--that's how dark it was.  Which was the harbinger of the rain that pelted us leaving the barber shop and when Durwood went into the grocery store.  There's nothing like 45 degrees and rain to chill you to the bone so I whipped up some chicken spaghetti for supper.

November 15--Claude Monet, Luncheon on the Grass.  Everyone brought something to share.  Evelyn brought William and kept him all to herself.  Claire had arranged the picnic luncheon, sending notes around to the circle of friends, coordinating who brought what.  It was understood by most everyone that it was to be a meeting of friends unencumbered by outsiders, like the old days when none of them were attached.  Trust Evelyn to ignore the spirit of the day and bring along her latest conquest.  She seemed to go through young men the way Pavlova went through toe shoes.

Well this isn't so bad, is it?  I managed to get a blog post done today after all.  For a while there it was touch and go.
--Barbara

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Few Minutes of Sunshine

It was a tiny bit sunny at the start of the day.  See how the sun is shouldering its way through the clouds?  But soon enough the clouds got the upper (or lower) hand and it's been dreary and gray all day.  Full-spectrum lamps turned on in every inhabited room.


The neighbor's tree decided to drop its leaves.  Finally.  I called the lawn guy and he'll be over later in the week to sweep them up and put them at the curb for me.  I checked with the city and this week's the last regularly scheduled leaf pickup but the lady in the Public Works office said they plan to leave a couple leaf trucks without plows for now since so many trees are holding onto their leaves.  Whew.

 
Oh, when I was getting read for bed last night I remembered the one accomplishment I had yesterday.  I got the snowblower out of the shed and into the garage and put the patio chairs into the shed for the winter.  So the day wasn't a total errand-fest with no "house" work done.  This morning I called the neighbor who does snowblower and lawnmower tuneups in his garage.  Tomorrow I'll fire up Big Red and drive her up the street so he can change her oil and get her ready to throw snow all winter without a hitch.


I have got to get moving earlier.  I got up around 7:30 today but it was 10:30 when I had my Cheerios (post yoga) and almost 11:30 when I did my step aerobics.  Still in my house-wear (yoga pants, camisole, hoodie, Crocs) at noon.  What's up with that?  I got dressed before I made my lunch shortly after 1:00.  I think my problem is that I get the newspaper when I get up, make coffee, then read the paper and do the puzzles--jumble, Sudoku, and crossword--before yog-ing and having breakfast.  Maybe tomorrow I'll yoga when I get up and then read the paper, not that I'll be saving any time but somehow that seems like a more logical way of spending my time.  Not that a retired person like me has to account for her time...


Once lunch was done I got busy and fixed Hoot the Owl Hat's eye and added another length of yarn to hold both button eyes on.  And since DS says LC wears the hat a LOT, I just went online and ordered more of the yarn I made the hat with so that if it gets unrepairable I can make another one just like it.



 
After that I got out the red tweed and test-embroidered part of the R next to the yellow tweed B to see which one works best.  Red is the obvious winner since the yellow one is invisible from a few feet away.  So I pulled out the yellow B and replaced it with a red one.  I got the R finished before coming in here to blog and hope to finish the A, V, and E before bedtime tonight.  Piece o' cake.  (now I probably jinxed myself, didn't I?)


November 14--Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Marcella.  No matter how she dresses or how she holds herself she looks like she's made of angles bolted together--with the bolts showing.  Mariela has a soft name and soft eyes but the rest of her is angular and bony.  She wants to be rounded and lush but no matter how she eats nothing changes.  She thinks she looks like a collection of toothpicks and she isn't far off.  Serge loves her.  Loves the angularity of her, loves her gawky walk, and the contrast with her soft eyes.  He folds her into his arms where she feels like a furled umbrella but he whispers his love into her ear and she melts into his embrace.

*sigh*  It's almost dark outside and it isn't even 5 o'clock yet.  As much as I don't like wishing time away, I want it to be the Winter Solstice (in 37 days on Dec. 21) so the days start to get longer.  I hopped firmly back onto the WW bandwagon yesterday because I've been fooling myself that I wasn't cheating "that much" for the last year but somehow nearly all of the 20# I lost a year ago has come back.  Almost back to square one.  I am such a trial to myself.  I spent part of yesterday counting out M&Ms into tiny 2-point packets so they got put into the canister in the cupboard with the 2-point bags of pretzel twists, animal crackers, and caramel mini rice cakes.  I thought about cutting out chocolate altogether but know that way lies madness and almost certain failure so I've put them out in the kitchen instead of the canister on my desk (which got relegated to the basement).  Back to eating healthy food almost exclusively.  
--Barbara

Monday, November 13, 2017

Monday Grabbed Me & Didn't Let Go

So I didn't take any sunrise pictures, didn't manage to sit down to knit or embroider or sew.  I did manage to take a shower, dress myself, have lunch and a lovely long chat with a friend, go to three food-type stores (down from four on the original itinerary), and pinch-hit grandson pickup from the babysitter.  I hope they call me to do more of that because then I get to harvest more hugs.  I can always use a few zillion extra hugs, can't you?


I squeaked out the B in BRAVE on Rebel Girl Hat #2 but I'm concerned that it doesn't really show much.  The problem is that the only other color of tweed yarn I have is red.  I suppose I could drag it upstairs and see how really clashy it would be...


Tomorrow I need to do some emergency repairs to LC's owl hat.  DS said that she wears it a lot and one of the eyes is coming apart.  Can't have that.  (I was pleased when they thought that the hat was one DIL1's aunt had sent from a swank kids' store in the Twin Cities instead of remembering that little old Meemaw had made it.)





November 13--Utagawa Hiroshige, Kogami in Mushashi Province.  Along the stream trees burst into flower.  In the lightest breeze peals drifted like snow.  Here and there trunks of trees burned in a long ago fire jutted up, blackened and decaying, like death shouldering its way into life.  Jin sat on the stream bank, his feet in the cold water, tired from walking all day.  The sun slid behind the distand mountain like a shy young girl hiding from the eyes of a stranger.  Jin hoped that he would find an inn or even a barn where he could spend the night.  He had slept under the stars many times but the nights were still cold and he smelled frost on the breeze.

That really is all there is.  I'll try to be more interesting tomorrow.
--Barbara

Sunday, November 12, 2017

I Sunday-ed the Daylights Outta Today

Meaning I didn't get dressed.  I did, however, brush my teeth and comb my hair.  It was kind of fun but kind of depressing, I don't know why.

Instead I read the Sunday paper then sat on the couch and embroidered letters on DIL1's Rebel Girl hat.  Made the D to finish KIND, then changed yarn color to embroider SMART.  I wish I could figure out another way to make that M.  It takes up 5 columns of stitches, the rest of the letters only take 3, but I tried a few different ways to chart it but it ended up looking like an N so I just went with the 5-column version.  It's not like these hats will be entered in a contest or anything.


Then I turned the hat over and started on STRONG but goofed up the R so I had to pick out the stitches and take another run at it.  I'm hoping to get all the words done on this hat before hitting the hay tonight.  This takes longer than I thought it would or maybe I'm not a fast stitcher.  Probably both.





I was happy to see last night when I was closing the patio door drape that the new birdbath heater had thawed the glacier.  Worth every nickel.



This morning's representative of the woodpecker family was this male Downy concentrating on getting himself some yummy suet and seeds for breakfast.








November 12--Yellow Vase: J. Lotz Witwe Glassworks; Blue Vase: Michael Powolny.  Sheila had always loved Gran's glass vases.  On every visit she waited for just the right moment to ask Gran to take them down, one by one, to tell the story of where the vase came from and who gave it to her.  "This one came from Aunt Mamie," she said cradling the yellow one in her hands, "she got it in Paris when she went to art school."  Her fingers with their pale fragile skin would stroke the vase as if it were the cheek of a loved one.  "The blue dotted one your Gramps brought me when he went to New Orleans on business."  As she got older Sheila began to hear air quotes in Gran's voice when she said the word "business," but she never dared to ask what they meant.

Ooh, I'm thinking Gramps was being a naughty boy in the Big Easy.  It warmed up a bit today and was sunny until the middle of the afternoon so most of the snow is gone.  I should probably have gotten dressed and moved the snowblower into the garage.  I can do that tomorrow when it's supposed to be even warmer.  Maybe then the hose won't be frozen onto the spigot in the garage and I can remove it first.  Think warm thoughts.  Off to embroider letters on a hat.
--Barbara