Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What I Do When I Should Be Rewriting

I am currently frustrated by my inability to focus on rewriting my novel. I know what I need to do and can imagine it, but when I get to the page I lose it and spiral off into teeth gritting and muttering. When things get too bad I turn to my wooly pacifier(s). Here's what's been happening.

I crocheted another row of fish onto the afghan. Now only four rows are flapping in the breeze only half attached. It looks pretty much the same, I didn't picture it.

I realized yesterday morning that I had 3 days to knit and felt a felted holder for the writing friend I'm meeting in Sheboygan on Friday. I cast it on at work yesterday but then I got busy (pesky customers!). After supper I parked myself on the couch and knit like the wind, or as much like the wind as this slow knitter can. This afternoon when the words petered out, I went back to it and finished it around 9. A couple spins through the washer and, Ta-da! We have gift! I like it. I actually followed the directions this time and it turned out about the right size. Amazing what happens when you follow the directions. Who knew?




Thuja is coming along, and I just barely got the second Candy Cane sock cast on.







One of these days I'll get myself back on track for Finished 2009. Really.

Caught Up

The rewriting went a bit and then stopped. I know what I want to do, what I should do. Think I can manage when I get to the page? Not so much. I have high hopes for this weekend when I'm doing a writing run-away with a friend who promises to crack the whip for me if I do the same for her.

March 31--Kolo Moser, April. All you can see is their feet. A column of black topped by a rain-slick black umbrella like some rainforest mushroom. Even their hands are hidden so the only human part visible is their feet classily shod in shiny black patent leather shoes covered by creamy white spats. Whose job is it to clean the greasy street dirt off those scraps of wool flannel? Who stands over a steamy washtub rubbing them over the corrugations of a washboard, a golden cake of Fels Naptha soap at the ready? Do they think of the spats' owners click-clacking in the rain while they make the laundry music with board, soap, and tub?

Can you believe that today is the last day of March already? Me neither. Time sure flies when life turns to crap. I splurged twenty bucks today and bought myself a snazzy red wireless mouse for my new laptop. I am awash in high technology.
--Barbara

Catch Up

I, too, have been bad. I haven't written in the last 3 days either, at least not prompt writing. So this morning I'm playing catch up.

I'll give the full report on Thursday night at writer's but I will say that going to the conference was money well spent, even if I felt crummy and the weather was sucky on Saturday. It was good. And I think I might have seen the Jenny A. Memorial Noodles & Company. There wasn't a plaque or anything but I didn't go in; I felt like I was at hallowed ground.

March 28 & 29--Pieter Claesz, Still Life with Musical Instruments. It looked like my family had just dematerialized when I got home that day. Lunch lay half-eaten on the table, wine filled glasses, and their instruments sat abandoned in mid-use. Some comedian had put my tortoise, Elgar, on the table. He tottered there at the edge looking confused. "How'd he like it if I put his precious flute in the wineglass?" I said to Elgar as I picked him up and tucked him under my arm. I heard footsteps on the stairs from the front entrance and didn't want to meet my family just yet so I grabbed a few slices of bread and ran to my room to start my homework and let Elgar wedge himself into the corner where he had a nice rotting apple to snack on.

March 30--Walter Crane,Tile Design of Heron and Fish. Celia lay in the bath, her red-painted toenails peeking out of the mounds of fragrant white foam. She leaned her head back on a rolled towel and sipped her chilled wine., It had been a while since her last bath in this tub. Gran had always let her play until the water turned cold and gray with soap. Gran understood about fairy tales being real to little girls and she let Celia live in that world whenever she stayed here in the old house with her. Celia's parents were reporters who flew off to chase stories in what Celia and Gran had called the "no-star cities" on their map. Mama and Dad never went to the big-story places, they chased the common-man-making-a-difference stories that only took place in the small-dot cities in the atlas. And that's where they disappeared the year Celia turned thirteen. Now Gran was gone too. Celia was twenty-two but felt like an abandoned six year old. She moved her foot to turn on the hot tap to reheat her bath. She planned to stay there in the semblance of safety the old tiled room gave her as long as possible.

These aren't bad. I'll do today's later after I've started rewriting Horizon. Again. What are you writing? Are you writing? Is anybody writing but me?
--Barbara

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I have no excuse.....

I haven't been writing...I've been bad!

Barbara - I hope you are enjoying your time in Madison - I am so sorry to hear that the promising agent didn't show up. That had to be a huge let-down.

Hoping to get my a-- in gear and start writing again....just too many things taking priority lately.

Work-life balance? Hah---not likely!

Drive safely home tomorrow Barbara.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Not Snowing Yet

It's supposed to dump on us tomorrow night. Yippee. I'll probably get to drive home in it. Just what I want to do.

March 27--French School, The Properties of Beasts, The Mammals. Foolish animals lined up in boxes. Who made you? Someone who had never seen you in person, that's for sure. Do you see? The rabbit is bigger than the elephant there beside the sick dog. The squirrel is as big as the camel and the hedgehog dwarfs the cow. How many times have you seen a unicorn sitting on its haunches? I like that the artist included the dragon and the mermaid. We don't want to forget the mythological beasts in this bizarre little menagerie.

Once again, it's time for bed. The 7:30 shuttle comes early.
--Barbara

Socking Good Time

I'm having a blast knitting the Super Simple Sleeping Socks. They're worsted yarn on such big needles (US 8 & 9) that they're just flying off the needles. Of course, I could cast on the second one if I'd remembered to bring along the red yarn.






Add Image



But I have Thuja to amuse me, so I'm not having a knitting emergency.













I finished the Swiffer cover but haven't sewn the ends. It's a bit too big so maybe the next time I'll leave off the last two bars, but I'm excited to try it out next week when the bathroom is dirty again. I do know that next time I'll use two separate balls of yarn. Pulling from the inside and outside didn't work very well.










Spring came.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

In Mad-town

I survived the drive down but the stupid "service engine soon" light came on and I didn't notice until I got into the crazy Madison traffic. I missed the first turn on my Mapquest directions but managed to find the hotel despite my inadequacies. I got the van checked (some oxygen sensor crapped) and scheduled the free shuttle to take me to the Pyle Center at the crack of dawn for breakfast with Marshall Cook, the founder of the Writer's Institute, which is where I am at, and nerve up for my first pitch appointment at 9:28 AM. Oh, and I got an email (well, everyone got one) that the agent that I thought I had the best chance of convincing to represent my novel had to cancel. She gave some lame excuse that her baby is ill but we both know that she did it just to thwart me. Not really, she asked that everyone who had an appointment email their first chapter with a letter and synopsis so maybe it'll be better. Anyway, I'm about to hit the hay but I wanted to give a report and post my writing for today. Don't want to slough off and maybe jinx my chances.

March 26--Andrea del Verrocchio, Woman Looking Down. She looks like an angel way up there looking down on the congregation during Mass. So pure and peaceful, but when you really study her you see that her pious demeanor is a sham. Look at her lips pursed inviting a kiss, and her eyes downcast as if in shyness but anyone can see the lascivious gleam there. Her hair appears to be styled but any fool can see that it is tangled and disarranged by wandering hands. See how the braids entwine like the splayed limbs of sated lovers? And she is undressed, there is no collar modestly hugging that silken throat. I can no longer bear it. I stand and protest. "Who is responsible for putting that harlot's picture in the church?" My wife tugs at my sleeve and hisses, "Sit down, George, you're making a scene." I see her cheeks are flushed and she grips my wrist hard. She's pretty. I wonder when they'll serve more wine. My tiny glass is empty.

Well, that was a surprise. Nighty night.
--Barbara

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

If I May Say...

Barbara, I really like the piece you wrote for the Racing Boats at Argentuil. Bittersweet and vulnerable and captivating. I think it was Woody Allen who said "the human body is an endless source of embarrassment." Something like that. Anyway, have a wonderful time at The Clearing.

Bob ;-)

Veering Off

This week I have totally veered off from projects that need finishing and have cast on 2 new ones that I am working exclusively on. I subscribe to a service from The Daily Knitter where I get a free knitting pattern every day. Last week, or was it the week before, anyway it was a pattern for simple sleeping socks with extra ribbing at the ankle and I thought Durwood might like some for his retired-guy-knocking-around-the-house socks. I dug up some leftover Wool-Ease in cranberry and natural heather and cast on. I'm liking them. So much that I think I'll make myself an opposite pair when I'm done with his.




And I was frustrated last week when I was cleaning the bathroom and realized that I was out of Swiffer dry mop pads. Then I remembered that DD had knitted one in the ballband pattern. I have a ball of the ends of skeins left from my failed attempt to conquer the crocheted dishcloth market in 2007 so all I needed were needles and I was off. This just might be the "green" part of everyone's 2009 Christmas. (Um, if I usually gift you, please forget the previous sentence.)




I am also casting on another pair of socks tonight as writing conference knitting. No pictures yet.

Making Piles, Thinking About Packing

Let's see, I have a pile of writing stuff with copies of my pitch, my workshop schedule, my agent appointments, and my notebook. There's my pile(s) of clothing, one definitely going, one maybe. (You and I both know I'll take way more than I need.) And my entertainment pile with my laptop, a couple DVDs, and 2 small knitting projects for those quiet moments. I'll pack tonight, get my nails done tomorrow morning, and drive away around noon. Should be a good weekend. If there's Wi-Fi at my hotel (it's the Doubletree, they have cookies) I'll try and report.

March 25--Sergei Arsenevich Vinogradov, Interior. Sasha loved mornings. That's when Mama sat at the end of the table going over the day's menus and the household accounts. Sasha would sit beside her and quietly read or color. Mama would be all dressed for luncheon at Aunt Sally's or some other lady's house and if Sasha was good Mama smiled at her like they were sharing a secret. But if Sasha was noisy or fidgeted or swung her leg with its bare foot squeaking on the polished wood floor, Mama would frown and send her back to the nursery with the babies.

It isn't very long, but I like it. Have a good day.
--Barbara

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blowing In the Wind

I have no clever segue or snappy patter to preface my writing tonight. I'm tired and just happy I did it.


March 24--English School, Princess Elizabeth, second daughter of Charles I, at the ages of 3, 5, and 6. Emma hated to clean in the main dining room of the country house where her mother was the housekeeper. There were five or six girls who walked up to the house from the village a mile down the valley. Mama said she didn't trust "those girls" not to break the crystal epergne that centered the table so the dining room was all Emma's. Over the fireplace behind Mr. Guthrie's chair was the creepiest painting she had ever seen. At first glance it was a big painting of three little sisters all dressed alike and holding hands. When you looked at it more closely, which Emma couldn't help when she dusted the ornate gilt frame, you realized that it was either a picture of a set of triplets with very different growth rates or it was a picture of the same little girl at three different ages. Who would do that? It was bad enough that it looked like the girl's dress grew with her but to have her holding her own hands was just creepy. Emma was tempted to drape a sheet over the frame each time she cleaned in there. She was convinced the three pairs of eyes followed her around the room looking for anything she missed. They looked like real tattletales too.

Good night.
--Barbara

Does Before Sunrise Count as Yesterday?

I was bad. I didn't write yesterday. I woke up before 6:30 this morning feeling guilty about it so here I am at my laptop in the early morning dim trying to string a few words together and salve my procrastinator's guilt.

March 23--Gustave Caillebotte, Sailing Boats at Argenteuil. The dock where Lacy lay began to shake and shudder as she dozed, sunning herself on that summer afternoon. She looked back toward the shore to see her two brothers, Al and Mark, and her cousins, Tony, Angie, and Celia, coming toward her. "Hey, Lacy," Mark said, "time to race." She shook her head as they stopped beside her, their suntanned legs looking like an unpainted fence. "I'm not racing anymore," she said. "Racing's for kids." There was a clunk as Angie dropped the oar she was carrying. "Not racing? Are you crazy?" Mark said. "Everybody on the lake races, even the grown-ups." Lady's lips tightened into a stubborn slash across her face. "Well, I'm not racing anymore." She stood up, gathered her blanket, book and water, and stalked back toward the cabin, her back straight so no one saw her tears. She couldn't risk anyone finding out she was having her, well, her, you know, her, well, her period. It would just be too embarrassing. So she'd just quit racing until it was over--for good.

Oh, Lacy, it's never over. There's always something lined up to embarrass you. Get used to it.
--Barbara

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Just Under The Wire

I wrote this yesterday. Cross my heart. But I got busy rewriting my synopsis so it never made it on the blog until now.

March 21 & 22--Peter Paul Rubens, A Peasant Dance. In spring everyone is happy to see the sun again, to feel its warming rays on an upturned face. Trees and bushes sport swollen buds and the grass pushes up pale yellow-green blades that feel like velvet underfoot. The music of courting songbirds carries the warmth softly on its notes making people smile. In the tree at the end of the country lane Piero sits astride a branch playing his flute. Young people from all over the neighborhood are drawn out to dance in the sun and weave themselves together with music and spring.

It's not very long, but it's pretty dreadful. Sleep well.
--Barbara

I Blame My Children

Here I was, happy with my two main hobbies of knitting or crocheting and writing, when things changed. DS had to buy a sewing machine and make himself this. He consulted over the phone with me and with Grandma who is a whiz at sewing. Then DD got on the bandwagon with this. She too has consulted with me and Grandma by phone. Neither of them live close enough so that I could have assuaged my sewing yen by going to their houses and helping. No. I have to buy my own fabric and go down in my cold basement and make my own sewing. Here's what I made this morning.











Not nearly as complex as DS's kilt or DD's dress, but I like them and they're practical. Also they're rectangular and much easier to make than garments. All of the discount fabric at Hancock was an additional 60% off so I went a little nuts. I think I have enough fabric to make 10 or 11 more without repeating a print. (BTW, DS & DIL, that green ribbon is from the welcome guest box at your wedding. The gift that keeps on giving.)

Progress Report--Week #11

Spring fever is upon me. Startitis is here in spades. It is taking all my resolve not to cast on
EVERYTHING. *ahem*
I am going to allow myself to cast on a very small project (or two) to tuck into my writing bag for the conference I'm going to next weekend.



Even though there was too much work to do at work this week (poor, pitiful me) to crochet, I have seven of twelve rows of fish crocheted together. I have my adjustable plastic table parked between the couch and coffee table so the weight of it can lay on my lap and the table while I hook away. It's a talking book-type project because I have to look at what I'm doing every stitch. Right now I'm enjoying James Patterson's Women's Murder Club books.







Both of the shawls got some quality needle time this week. And I found some Lion Bolero to slot in for more variety. Can't resist those variegated yarns.











DILs Sari Silk Purse is in the home stretch. I turned the last corner of the fourth section. See the little corner at the lower left? Ten inches of knitting and assembly begins.










The biggest news this week was finishing the Multicolor Socks. I love them!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Pitch

Okay, you guys, here's the first draft of my new and improved pitch. I hope you have time to read it this weekend and give me some ideas. Remember I'm going to Madison next Thursday for the Writing Conference. I know, I know, way to plan ahead. (Sorry about the asterisks. Blogger wouldn't let me indent the paragraphs)

*****GAIL LOGAN (POV), widowed and just retired from her elementary school secretary job, begins the story sitting on her front porch watching the sunset as she has so many days before. Many sunsets find her there throughout the story. The once white porch railing is totally black, painted one strip at a time to mark both momentous and ordinary times. She smiles to remember the first mark and its accompanying note on the slat below, “Esther the chicken died.” That is a tame, almost silly note for the beginning of a life change. That was the day she read about the first watercolor class she took at the craft store, the first time in her whole long life she did something she really wanted to do. Gail can’t believe that one small step, picking up a paintbrush, freed her the way nothing else had, and that it has taken so many years to be brave enough to live her life for herself.
*****When Gail first starts painting, her neighbor and best friend, CLARA complains that Gail will find new friends and leave her behind, and for a while Gail does. They struggle, Gail pulling toward change and Clara pushing Gail to stay the same. They argue in the Ladies’ at Wal-Mart in one memorable scene but eventually their friendship stands the test and they end up better friends than before.
*****Gail’s oldest son, SAM is very unhappy with her life changes. He is ready to move back home to make sure Gail stays the mother he is used to. Her middle son, AARON, is a bit thrown by everything but his wife, SARA, also an artist, reassures him. Gail’s youngest son, MATT, is happy for his mother and teases her about turning into a hippie.
*****Early in her transformation Gail meets ABEL BAKER, a retiree who works at the garden center and writes a gardening column for the local weekly newspaper. Abel is immediately attracted to Gail but she decides he’s too bossy and overbearing, so she tries to avoid him. He shows up one day when Gail is replanting flowers and offers to help. She begrudgingly accepts but begins to change her opinion of him when he compliments the banana bread she serves him and exclaims over one of her paintings he sees in her kitchen. After months of refusing his invitations, Gail finally accepts. She finds him a charming and interesting man and begins to think she might like him after all. Abel widens Gail’s world by taking her to a foreign film, cross country skiing, and an art fair. Knowing how reluctant Gail is to commit herself the physical part of their relationship grows slowly and teasingly. Gail treats herself to an armload of sexy lingerie at a Victoria’s Secret sale, wears it on every date, but it’s almost a year after they meet that Abel gets to see it. Abel knows a gallery owner in Door County, a resort area, and takes Gail and her paintings to meet GIL. Gil agrees to take a few of Gail’s paintings, she and Abel go back to their motel room, and finally they have sex.
*****Gail’s art wins a prize in a contest, she enters a few summer art fairs, and things are going well. She decides to introduce Abel to her sons, who know they are dating but have no idea of the depth of the relationship. By accident the sons discover that their mother is sleeping with a man other than their deceased father and confront her. Gail stands up for herself and tells her sons to mind their own business. There are hurt feelings and angry words but eventually they all come to respect each others’ independence.
*****In the end, Gail convinces Abel that their dates are more fun and the sex is more exciting if they aren’t married. She relishes the independence she fought so hard for. Rather than being hurt or angered by this Abel calls them “the butterfly woman and the renaissance man” because Gail made such a change coming out of her cocoon and he feels like a new man too. Gail ends the book sitting on the porch watching the sunset awaiting the arrival of Abel for a glass of wine.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mom's Orchids

Two years ago my DIL's mom gave my mom an orchid plant for Mother's Day. Mom will tell anyone that she's got a black thumb. It's true, she's killed philodendrons, I've witnessed the carnage. She's been very diligent about following the care instructions on the little plastic tag that came with it. All are amazed that it's still alive much less blooming for the second time.




I was commanded to appear with digital camera in hand to record the beauty of the blooms for blogging. I did today.





Aren't they gorgeous?

Look, look!


See socks! See socks done! Pretty, pretty socks.

I finished them last night after I got home from writer's. I can wear them tonight to Harmony knit night. Maybe I'll dig out some cropped jeans so they show better. Hmm, freeze or show off, freeze or show off? I'll decide later and let you know.








Oh, and happy first day of spring. It might be frosty outside but things are coming back to life. I know because these are out there.

Cold Spring Day


It may be frosty out there but spring is coming. See? These are in front of Jenny's house. It's warmer there, evidently.

Even though neither of us were uber-inspired by our Bananagrams words, I still enjoyed writer's last night. I hope you did too. I believe every little exercise, even the not so successful ones, pushes me closer to being a better writer. Today the pitch synopsis gets it! I'll post it later this weekend for comments, so Jennifer and Jenny, be ready.

March 20--Amadeo Modigliani, Paul Guillaume, Novo Pilota. Paul Guillaume walks around the city in his black suit and fedora, his shirt is very white and held in place by a generously tied necktie of muted navy and red. Nothing splashy about him but still he catches the eye. Maybe it's the cut of his suit, "so narrow and Italian," Jean says to her friend Beth with a sigh, as if Italian suits bestow a certain extra sex appeal on the wearer. Maybe it's that hat cocked at the tiniest of rakish angles giving lie to the overall banker-ish look of the man. Or maybe it's his strong cheekbones and chiseled chin or the cigarette held too long in his surprisingly thick fingers. No one guesses that Paul Guillaume, mystery man, is really Paul Williams from White Lake, a little town up north, who graduated one-hundred thirty-seventh in his class of one-hundred forty-two, wearing his uncle's suit and hat, and in town to interview for a job at Happy Harmon's Ten Pin Tap & Airfield.

I think the painting looks like Johnny Depp. He's so little and naughty looking. *sigh* Stay warm and happy first day of Spring!
--Barbara

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Extreme Sheep




I don't know how to put a YouTube video on my blog but I do know how to link. I found this on Rose-Kim Knits this morning and it almost made me late for work. Hee-larious!

Winter's Last Gasp

Tomorrow is the first day of spring! Officially, anyway. I'm sure Mother Nature has a few more tricks up her sleeve for us but that little turn of the calendar makes a lot of difference in how we view that weather. At least it does for me.

F.Y.I.--it's a real challenge to condense the essential bones of a 305-page novel into one single-spaced page. A challenge, yeah, that's the word, a challenge. No strong adjectives needed. If you say it with your teeth gritted tightly enough no adjectives are needed.

March 19--Umberto Boccioni, The Street Enters the House. Progress was coming but no one loved it. No one except the young men with big city dreams of shiny chrome and the empty-eyed women who came with it. Noise had replaced the soothing clop of cart horses. Men, shouting men with shovels and picks, had turned the street to rubble, tearing it up for an automobile garage. They hauled off the smooth stone pavers and flung them into a pit behind the foreman's country house and sank red clay pipes to carry away the rain. Men with sledge hammers broke up the trough that caught rain and provided water for balcony geraniums all over the neighborhood. Do they think of no one but themselves?

This makes me happy. I like what I've extracted from the cubist chaos of today's painting. See you tonight, Jennifer. We'll be thinking of you, Jenny. Hope all goes well tomorrow.
--Barbara

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Yay For New Computers!

I love mine too. Now Don and I can each be on at the same time. So much easier to write in my room rather than in the living room. I don't have an iPod, not sure what they're all about, plus I'm not crazy about having something piped into my head all the time.

If you've got something you'd like us to do, that'd be fine. I've always got the bananagrams or we could just talk writing too. We'll play it by ear. That okay?

You have captured exactly that go away/come back feeling when someone you love dies. You hate all the hubbub and people but miss them when they're gone. Outstanding.

I've been lazy about writing and so was a day behind again. How is that happening? Anyway, I was actually busy at work today so couldn't catch up. But instead of filling my head with mindless television dreck, I sat down and wrote. *pat, pat* Good girl.

March 17--Sir William Orpen, Sunlight. The only good thing about Bridget's tiny apartment was the window. It faced southeast so even in the darkest depth of winter she had light. Her studio was a walled-off part of an older, bigger apartment in a Victorian house made into flats in the 1920s and then subdivided even more in the 1950s when no one had a dime after the war. Bridget still didn't have any money to spare but she did her best to liven up her cramped place. She bought a painting of a garden at a flea market for its bright colors and gilded frame and she found one long gold drapery panel with a silk cord tie to hang next to her window. She upholstered her bed frame in old floral curtains she got in a junk shop in the neighborhood. None of it was much on its own but together it was cheerful and made her feel as if she finally had a real home.

March 18--August Macke, The Lute Player. Daniel followed the music. Every morning as he shaved in the tiny bathroom of his hotel he heard it. He was curious about it. He knew it wasn't a radio because it was just one instrument, one pair of hands. Yesterday and the day before, by the time he had finished dressing and had eaten breakfast in the cramped dining room of the Atlantic Hotel and got outside, the music had ended. He had walked around the neighborhood but never saw the music maker or the instrument. He had gotten up early today and skipped the paltry cornflakes and instant coffee to head out and find the source of the music. He stood on the sidewalk outside the hotel listening for the direction to turn. Left and then left again took him into a sunny square with a small cafe, and there she was. Sitting at a table with her hair covered by a veil, a young woman with intense black eyes and rosy cheeks played the lute. Not taking his eyes off her, Daniel fumbled into a chair and ordered coffee. He was willing to sit and listen as long as she would play. He smiled at her; she smiled back. It was a start.

I'm wishing I were on a trip. Both of these take place in London--in my imagination anyway. Hmm, where's my passport?
--Barbara

Loving my New Computer

I am loving my new computer!! This week's obsession is I-tunes which I had when before I moved out onto my own, but now have discovered podcasts...Amazing! The range of topics is mind-blowing. There is nothing better than to download a podcast onto my ipod, put on the headphones and hit the fresh spring air to clear my mind, relieve my stress and try to get into shape!

Barbara - I loved yesterday's piece as looking at pictures of my mother and grandmother from their younger years was something I loved to do as a child. You really hit home with this piece and made it personal for yourself which I loved.

***Barbara - since it will be just you and I tomorrow night, what would you like to do for our activities....another project night, bananagrams, ?????, let me know and I will either provide what we need or we can just be surprised and spontaneous!

Write About the Evening Before the Funeral

Julie looked around her living room at the swarm of people who had gathered throughout the day. Many had arrived upon hearing the news that Mark had died suddenly the night before. Earlier in the day, she welcomed the sight of each person as they offered their condolences, brought over casseroles and took care of the smallest details for the funeral that Julie found overwhelming. But it was now evening and the house was filled to overflowing with too much laughter, and too many rememberances of the parties that she and Mark would host for their friends and family. Julie tried to find something positive in what was going on around her, but the sight of so many intoxicated people, drinking what was left of Mark's beer and liquor, sickened her. I want all of you out of here, she internally screamed. Let me be alone with my grief and my memories. The thought of retiring to the bedroom and sleeping on Mark's side of the bed still fragrant with his scent of manliness and hard work consumed her mind. She clenched her fists, her manicured nails digging into her palms, as she waited for what seemed an eternity for each guest to leave. As the last car left their driveway, Julie stood in the now silent house and suddenly wished for each guest's return.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It Smells Like Socks

All the birdseed that got flung onto the ground under the feeders and on the patio smells like socks, but I don't mind because that means the sun is out and the snow and ice is melting. Hooray!

Jennifer, I like your little piece. It's very vivid and says a lot with a few well-chosen words.

March 16--French School, The Traffic Problem in Paris. Sylvie sighed and lowered her great-grandmother's high school yearbook. Everything was so much cooler when Grandma Babe was her age. She loved the sleek waved hair and the long lines of the drop waist dresses. Even the shoes they wore to school made Sylvie wish she had been born a hundred years sooner. If she had been she would have been a young woman in the Roaring Twenties, like Babe. She'd have been a flapper too, binding her breasts with strips torn from old sheets to achieve the flat-chested look that was the style. She would have bobbed her hair, worn short skirts that barely covered her knees, and rolled her clock-embroidered stockings down over those rouged knees. Sylvie was she that she'd have had a boyfriend in a raccoon coat and porkpie hat who would serenade her while he strummed his ukulele, just like the stories her Grandma Babe had told from her bed in the nursing home. Sylvie had brought that same ukulele to the nursing home where Grandma Babe had taught her to strum and play "Speak to Me, Darling." They were a great hit at Talent Night last year. Sylvie missed her a lot.

This one took writing half a page of garbage to get to, but it makes me smile. I miss my
Grandma Babe, too, but Mom's got her uke.

--Barbara

Monday, March 16, 2009

Sniff...Sniff...Is that Spring in the Air that I Smell?

What a gorgeous day it was yesterday! I managed to strap on my knee brace and walked down to the Attic to meet my aunts and cousin for our weekly Sunday afternoon get together. It felt great to be outside, but even better to be walking. The only thing missing was a barbeque to come home to! Lucky you Barbara!

I liked the piece you wrote about Hans...it was difficult looking at him as he resembles my friend's soon to be ex-husband and you pretty much nailed him down in your post. I particularly liked the last line about the women going back to their unexciting mates.

Write About Small Injuries

It was the small injuries they inflicted upon each other that eventually became mortal wounds. The verbal razor poised over taut skin like a teenage Cutter, preparing for the first small nick of flesh and continuing until the surface resembled a road map leading to nowhere, with no relief in sight. The injuries weren't intentional, nor were they planned. They were just casualties from years of hurt, anger and abandonment that always missed their mark.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I Impress Even Myself




I am kicking this sock's butt. Yes, I am. I am a sock knitting whiz, a fool for wool. I will admit that I'm knitting on size US 6 needles with Cascade 220 Tweed worsted but, still, this is some fast socking. And it's gorgeous.






It was such a glorious day today we fired up the Weber (after I chipped the ice off the patio) and charred a little piece of cow for supper. Superb!

What A Glorious Day!

I awoke dreaming of a lush fruit salad and now it's chilling in my fridge. My hands smell faintly of fresh pineapple and the coals are heating up out on the patio so we can grill our first steak of the year. I'm glad I'm me today.

You know, Jennifer, you might be right about Vera's frustration. We'll have to see if any more art leads us to peek into their lives. Poor Jessica and poor Dad. It's very hard to punish a kid for defending herself and I love the cookie-dunking stall and how hard Dad works to parent right, all the while remembering his late wife. *sniff* It's a bit of a tearjerker.

March 14 & 15--Egon Schiele, Portrait of Hans Massmann. The man sat in one of the gold lobby chairs that were scattered over the antique Aubusson carpet of the Hotel Buckman in London. He wasn't old or young, instead he was at that wonderful in-between age when you feel like your life will go on forever. Likewise, his formal attire looked neither new nor old, and it fitted him like each sheep had grown the fleece for his wool suit only for him. That his dress shirt was of the finest Egyptian cotton was obvious even to the most casual observer. He was well barbered and shaved, and his hands were graceful and manicured. Every woman who passed, young or old, sighed, wishing for a moment that he waited for her. Unless they managed to catch his eye. The light in his eyes was cold and hard, not generous, not admiring. The women who met his eyes felt a chill and spent the rest of the day being grateful for their unexciting mates.

Eh. It's not great, but now I'm caught up and that's what's important.
--Barbara



Ahhhh! Sunday mornings

I love this...it's Sunday morning...it's me, my cat, my pigs, a cup of coffee, the New York Times, and a full day ahead of me to do whatever I want. And it's supposed to get to 50 today!

Barbara...something tells me Vera's frustration is not so much the routine, it's being cooped up on that houseboat with Ed. If that's the case, she will need ALOT of cleansing breaths to get her by!

Glad to hear that Jenny is FINALLY going to have something done....this has gone on way too long in my mind....doctors...grrrrrr

If I Had My Way....

"Boys are dumb," Jessica said as she watched her father pull a pan of chocolate chip cookies from the oven. "If I had my way, there wouldn't be any boys. Only girls and puppies." Jessica's father smiled, supressing the urge to chuckle at his daughter's comment. "You want to tell me what happened at school today?" Although the school principal had relayed the events that had transpired in Mrs. Miller's third grade classroom, he needed to hear Jessica's side of the story. He placed a small plate with two cookies and a glass of cold milk in front of his daughter. Giving her a look that mirrored what his mother used to give him when he was in trouble and which he swore he would never use on his children, he waited patiently for the confession to begin. Jessica stalled for time, dunking her first cookie into the glass of milk and then quickly bringing it to her mouth before the cookie fell apart into the glass. Of course if that happened, it would distract her father for a few more seconds, so she gave it an extra dunk for good measure, but the cookie held its form, as did her father with arms crossed over his chest, left eyebrow raised, patiently waiting for the events to unfold in Jessica's own words.

"It's Tommy Flanders' fault," Jessica said, small bits of cookie escaping from her mouth. Silently, her father handed her a napkin with a stern look of reproach at speaking with food in her mouth. She took a sip of milk and swallowed the remaining contents before continuing. "Tommy told me that I was a stinky girl. Everyone in the class heard it. He kept saying it over and over, 'Jessica is a stinky girl, Jessica is a stinky girl.' He wouldn't shut up so I punched him in the mouth." Jessica's father nodded silently, acknowledging both his daughter's frustration as well as the fact that her story matched up with the principal's. "You know that punching Tommy was wrong, don't you Jessica?" Jessica nodded her head, knowing that her punishment was just around the corner. Jessica's father sat in the empty dining room chair, the one that Jessica's mother used to occupy when she was alive and gathered his daughter in his arms. He kissed her gently on the forehead rocking her gently. If I had my way, he thought to himself, this chair would still be occupied by your mother. I think you've been punished enough.

"

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Welcome to the Dark Side

I'm glad you're okay, Jennifer, but sorry about no Aleve. I love the stuff too although it makes my ears buzz and probably raises my blood pressure. Jenny won't be joining us next Thursday because she'll be prepping for a colonoscopy (Spellcheck doesn't like the word colonoscopy; it suggests either "cloudscape" or "kaleidoscope" Interesting.) on Friday. I won't go into detail. I won't be at Writer's on the 26th (I'll be in Madison being nervous about meeting agents) so you can hold onto my manuscript critique until the following week.

I like how you captured that ingrained Catholic guilt and the rebellion us lapsed Catholics can muster up. Nice job.

Thanks for the compliment about Vera and Ed. I'm loving them. In fact, here's more!

March 13--Tibetan School, Scenes from the Life of Buddha. Vera stood barefoot and wearing a loose top and pants on the aft deck of the houseboat in a patch of shade. She was frowning with the effort to remember the Tai Chi routine from the tape she had picked up at a dock sale upriver a week or so ago. She was angry at her joints and muscles for being so stiff and creaky lately. She liked to take walks but there usually wasn't a path along the river for her to walk on and there wasn't one square foot of space on the boat to put a treadmill. Not even one of those fold up ones. So she had been glad to find the Tai Chi tape... well, not tape, one of those disk things, a DVD, that's what it was... at the yard and dock sale a little community of houseboaters upriver a few miles had been holding when she and Ed had tied up for a couple nights. Even the manual was there so she felt it was well worth the two dollars it cost. She nearly had the routine memorized but she kept getting stuck with her right foot up in the air and her hands changing positions. She'd forget which way to turn, lose her balance, tip over and swear. She was pretty sure swearing wasn't good for her chi but she was determined to get it right. Vera sipped her water and leaned in to press the "start" button on the player. One more time, she thought, and took a deep cleansing breath to release her frustration.

As we can all see, I'm a day behind. I plan to catch up tomorrow. She says with confidence.
--Barbara

Gotta love that Twilight Drug!

The endoscopy is behind me (no, not literally!) and the diagnosis is ulcers with reflux disorder. So I'm on Prevacid with strict orders to stop the Aleve. This means no more spitting up blood and reduced acid reflux, but my knees are on fire. Getting old sucks!

I'm sorry I missed you ladies at Writer's Group Thursday, but I love the Boob Tree piece Barbara. I think what caught my eye was the artistic description during the first three quarters of the piece followed by Vera's realistic comment, "You are painting a boob tree?". Perfect!

Write About a Justifiable Sin

Aside from the faint murmer of voices, the church was silent leaving Agnes alone with her thoughts. It had been thirteen years since her last confession, yet her acts of this week brought her to the last pew of St. Francis of Assisi Parish where she waited patiently for her turn to confess her sins. The Parish hasn't changed much, Agness noticed. The walls still adorned with the same stained glass windows that she would gaze upon as a young girl while mentally reciting the Bible story told in the colorful panels. Anything to pass the time from Father Samuel's boring sermons during Sunday Mass. Although she no longer considered herself Catholic, the years of embedded guilt from her upbringing made her walk the two miles to the Parish on this frigid February morning to confess to the priest on duty that she had stolen formula from the local Walgreens in order to feed her baby. Thinking of little Lily snug in her crib while her neighbor watched over her, Agnes knew this was the right thing to do. May as well start making a regular appearance at this old Church again she thought. I have a feeling I will be back at confession alot. The creak of the confessional door snapped Agnes out of her thoughts. She watched as a parishoner walked quickly out of church and continued on with their day. Mustering up her courage, Agnes slowly walked toward the confessional and entered the small confines. "Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been thirteen years since my last confession." Agnes could hear the disapproval in the priest's voice through the confessional screen and immediately realized it was Father Samuel. Some things don't change, she told herself. "What are your sins my child?", Father Samuel pressed impatiently. Agnes took a deep breath, swallowed her guilt and replied, "I am guilty of allowing this religion to do what is right for my baby." Agnes stood up and exited the confessional. I realize what I did was wrong, she thought to herself, but my penance will be the long, cold walk home.

Progress Report--Week #10

Finished 2009 is going fairly well, I am surprised to say. While I am not strictly adhering to the "one project per venue" dictum of the early days, I am putting in good effort toward completion on at least 3 of my OTNs every week. That's in addition to my little tangents of quick and dirty knitting that I veer off into.



This week the tangential knitting taught a valuable lesson: If you use bigger needles and more yarn, your felted object will be larger than you want. Hmmm, now that's a real revelation, isn't it? No? Well, somehow I convinced myself that using US15s and nearly a full skein of Bernat Felting Wool would make a felted cylinder to cover a green bean can. Here we see it covers a 1-pint plastic bowl. That yarn really shrunk! Not what I had in mind. Perhaps next time I'll use the worsted yarn and the size needles the pattern recommends. Maybe, but we all know I'm not always good at following directions.














For my workplace project, I spent happy days with knitted fish spread all over my desk at the dive shop crocheting them together into one piece one way. Next week I'll crochet them together the other way, then embark on the seemingly endless task of crocheting a few rows of edge before the glorious day when I'll be able to stretch out my legs and cover them with a warm fish afghan. It's going to happen soon. I can feel it!






At home I alternate between the tangent knitting and shawl(s) knitting. This week both the Peruvian Shawl and the Spring Green Shawl got some attention. Peruvian came along to Harmony Cafe on Saturday evening so Durwood and I could listen to Rebecca sing and play, and we could meet and visit with a few other Harmony knitters and their husbands. It was so much fun we're planning a repeat one of these days. Spring Green was my fallback knitting last night too.












At Patti's on Thursday and at Harmony last night, Multicolor Sock #2 was the star. I'm excited to see the ribbed leg of the second sock growing so quickly. Being me, I have decided to switch the colors around a bit more than the pattern suggests, but they're going to be awesome socks, I can just tell.










And a weather report: It was so windy the other night--Tuesday?--that the soft snow on the hill in back had wind ripples in it, just like the sand at the bottom of the ocean. Amazing.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Busy Day

That's my excuse for not getting yesterday's prompt written until this morning and not on the blog until this afternoon. Just barely afternoon but there it is. I worked to figure out how to make Ed make this Klimt painting or at least an approximation of it. I think Ed did okay.

Jenny, thanks for spending last night's meeting helping me organize my thoughts and move toward being ready to make my pitch to an agent in 2 weeks. I sure wish I knew that following the rules would guarantee an acceptance, but then that's been my argument with this whole submitting/rejection/acceptance system all along. Too subjective.

March 12--Gustav Klimt, Tree of Life, detail from Stocklet Frieze. Ed stood on the foredeck of the houseboat staring past the blank canvas on his easel into the thick darkness of the woods. His right hand holding his brush hung limp at his side as he watched the white blooms emerge on some medium-sized shrug in the darkest spot. Where earlier there had been just green leaves hanging limply, now in the growing dark pairs of white blossoms opened like spectral eyes. Ed changed the blank canvas for one with a rich gold background. He painted gilt swirls all over to represent the myriad vines and the swirl of the humidity pervading this low riverside forest. Then over the swirls he made a stylized tree with an odd narrow trunk curving up holding its thin branches out horizontally, triangular leaves in every shade of green in his palette, plus a few he made up. Finally, when everything else was dried, he placed pairs of perfectly round, starkly white blooms with soft pink centers that made them look more like breasts than eyes on the branches. He had just finished painting in a few butterflies when Vera brought out a tray with cheese, crackers, and a pair of rum drinks. "Interesting," she said, "you're painting a boob tree?" Ed frowned at his work, then rinsed his brushes and began cleaning up for the night. "No," he shook his head, "it's a tree of life." Vera smiled. "That's basically the same thing." Ed smiled back at her. "I suppose."

Leave it to a guy to paint a tree blooming with breasts. But then I did write about it so I'm partially to blame.
--Barbara

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Windy

It was hard to fall asleep last night. Listening to the wind moan and force its way through the trees and poke at the edges of the house trying to get in kept me awake. It was like an entity out there swirling around looking for a chink in our defenses. It was so windy last night that there were wind ripples in the snow on the bank in the backyard, like the ripples in the sand on the bottom of the ocean. Freaky.

March 11--New Zealand Photographer, Mina Mikata, Half Caste Maorie. Elise sat at her campfire trying to keep it alive in the never ending drizzle. She had managed to gather wood and kindling before today's rain began and had tucked it under the rain fly of her tent. She knew that there were other people in the area, natives she assumed, because when she came back from her birdwatching hikes she usually found things moved around. Nothing was stolen, just moved. This morning had promised rain so she spent the time before gathering wood, storing items that would not tolerate a drenching very well, and putting together a pot of soup. She had rigged a tripod over the fire and hung her biggest kettle by its handle. She had started with water and bouillon cubes, added the remains of the last two nights' meals--meats, vegetables, rice, and all--and a pinch of herbs. The aroma itself had started to make her feel warmer as she chopped a few onion tops and a couple carrots to add to the pot. A slight movement to one side caught her attention. She was experienced enough an observer to not show interest but kept cutting vegetables. There it was again. And again. Elise kept to her task and was surprised to see a small dark-eyed child emerge from the dense undergrowth. The child sheltered under a woven raffia cape sewn all over with thin beads that made a swishing sound like the wind blowing through a wheat field. Elise kept her eyes on her knife and moved very slowly when she slid the vegetables into the soup. She put the knife and board down, then wiped her hands before clasping them in front of herself. She turned and smiled a close-lipped smile at the child. "I'm Elise," she said. "Who are you?" There was a long silence when the only sound was the patter of rain on leaves. Just when Elise was about to speak again came the soft answer. "Mina."

I wonder what these two have to offer each other. Anybody out there? Anybody else writing? Guess not.
--Barbara

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Drizzle

That's how I felt most of the day--gray and drizzly. Not many words out and about when the weather's so rotten, are there?

March 10--French School, Fan given by Maximillian of Habsbourg-Lorraine, Emperor of Mexico, to his wife, Charlotte of Belgium. Max always knew when what he was saying irritated Charlotte. He didn't even have to look in her direction. They would be at a gathering sitting around talking and he would hear the snick-snap of her opening that damned fan. He had given her the fan as a wedding gift. A wedding night gift, actually, because he hoped that the eagerness Charlotte showed him before their vows would grow into flames of passion. They had, for a while, until that fat, oily Jesuit from Santa Fe had insinuated that carnal pleasures, even in marriage, were sinful. One of these days Friar Tomas would find himself on a one-way trip back to his mission with a cask of Max's best wine in the back of the donkey cart. Then Max would enjoy himself breaking every one of those delicate ivory fan ribs before making love to his Charlotte until she pleaded for mercy while encouraging him as she used to. His dark eyes glittered at his wife over the rim of his wine glass. He smiled to see her shiver.

It took all day for a few words to squeeze out but these are okay ones, I think. Hope your day went well.
--Barbara

Loaves & Fishes



No, no, it's not what you think; I am so over thinking I'm the Messiah.
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I baked more crocodile bread (we love this bread! one and a half loaves are already gone) and started putting the fish afghan blocks together.
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I've decided that I absolutely hate Daylight Savings Time. It took me until after 1 AM to fall asleep Sunday night and I had to get up before 7 AM Monday morning to clear 7" of snow off the driveway with my big red snowblower so I could go to the chiro to get my neck and back reorganized into a semblance of order. Went to bed last night about 10:30 and woke up this morning at 9:15. Now I feel like I'm 2 hours behind today--and it's raining. Not freezing yet, but just wait, it's supposed to.
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I decided to start putting the fish together on the straight lines that run from bottom to top. I learned that I have to have a table to rest the afghan on because otherwise they tangle together and look like a stringer of fish and I'm afraid I'll put them together wrong. It goes fast, though, and I'm excited with how it's going to look. I can't wait to sit on the couch in the evening covered with colorful fish.
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And Blogger is being stupid and won't let me make space between paragraphs in this blog entry. So I'm going to go eat a handful of Dove Dark Chocolates and bang my head on the desk. (Don't worry, the desk is box o'furniture so it's particleboard with wood-like contact paper on it. Not as sturdy as real wood.)

Monday, March 9, 2009

I Wanna Be Vera!

Or Ed. I'll even settle for Ed. It's warm and summer-y where they live, and I think they're either retired or independently wealthy. Either one would be fine. I think I may have a bit of cabin fever. Wanna know why? This morning there was a 3' snowdrift on the hood of my van and it's supposed to freezing rain tomorrow. Gotta love Wisconsin in March!

Jennifer, I think you should know that I'm considering enacting legislation mandating that only one writer can have some sort of abdominal distress at any one time. Perhaps you could postpone your procedure until Jenny's bowel is back in place? No? Well, I hope it all goes well for you. We'll miss you Thursday but I'm certain we'll have another project night soon.

March 9--Francisco Jose de Goya y Lucientes, Dance on the Banks of the River Manzanares. Ed had packed away his paints and easel as the sun started to slip into the west. The light was too gold and soon the dew would start to set. Bugs were starting to rise too, so he pushed back the canvas drapes and fastened them to the canopy frame. He smelled the garlic and herbs that Vera had in the skillet. She had promised to make mushroom risotto for supper and he was looking forward to it. Fireflies had begun courting in the underbrush along the riverbank and he could hear music drifting on the soft dusk breeze. When he stepped into the cabin he expected to see Vera moving to the music as she cooked but he could barely hear it indoors. "Can you hear that music, hon?" he said as he pulled out plates and silverware from the rack over the sink. Vera smiled at him over her shoulder. "I heard it earlier but now the food is making its own music." Stirring the hot broth into the risotto made her face glisten in the heat. "Pour me some iced tea, will you?" she said. "This is almost ready." She turned off the burner and slid the skillet to one side. She kissed Ed as she walked out to the rear deck. "Be right back." Ed watched her slip out of her shorts and tank top, then step into the shower stall and cool herself off under the water. In less than two minutes she was back with her hair wet and tousled, wearing a sun dress. She shared out the risotto onto their plates while Ed put extra ice in their tea. "Let's eat out back," he said. "I think someone upstream is having a party."

I tried to talk Don into being Ed the other day but he doesn't think he wants to paint. Then I said he could be Vera and I'd be Ed, but he said he doesn't know how to make risotto. I think he missed the point, but I'm still keeping him.
--Barbara

I'll do anything for writing ideas...even surgery!

I was so impressed with Jenny's story of her CAT scan last week (and the explosive aftermath) that I've gone ahead and upped the ante by scheduling an endoscopy this Thursday!

Just kidding...well I am having an endoscopy this Thursday, but just trying to make light of it. So I officially will not be at Writer's Group on Thursday and I am bummed because I was really looking forward to Project Night.

More later...I promise to get a prompt on the blog sometime this week...this snowstorm has really put me into a funk...where is Spring????

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Snow's A-Coming

The bad news is that it just started snowing. The good news is I don't have to go anyplace until tomorrow morning. I hope the weather guessers are wrong about how much is coming.

I got first drafts of my logline and pitch down on paper, well, on hard drive. Today I want to search the web for examples of them because I have no clue if I'm on the right track or not. I could use some help. Anybody?

March 7 & 8--Edouard Manet, Monet in His Floating Studio. Each year, Vera and Ed couldn't wait until the nighttime temperature stayed above fifty degrees in the spring. As soon as it reliably did that they would be off to live on their little houseboat down on the river. It wasn't much; maybe half the size of the barges that plied the wide, slow-moving river but it was all they needed. The main room did duty as their living room and dining room with the kitchen tucked into a corner. Vera was a creative cook whipping up delicious meals with just a handful of things she tossed into the pot. The bedroom had just enough room for their queen-sized bed with a shared dresser at the foot and hooks on the walls for their clothes. Forward of the cabin Ed had mounted a frame of metal poles that Vera had covered with a canvas roof and she attached full length canvas curtains that could be drawn closed or tied back. It was under this canopy that Ed set up his easel. After breakfast each day while Vera cleared up the dishes and made a salad to marinate for their lunch, Ed would untie the houseboat from their overnight mooring and move them to a new spot. he watched for birds and blooming things to lead them to a place where he would wring at least one painting out of the atmosphere or the view.

I like this. I'll come back to this one. Actually, I'd like to be either Vera or Ed right now, floating lazily down a shady river, rather than watching the falling snowflakes get closer together and fall faster. Snow. Ptooi.
--Barbara

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Progress Report--Week #9

I feel better about my progress this week. Maybe because I started to go to the chiropractor and he's shifted my bones around so my neck and upper back don't hurt quite as much as they did. I'm working to sit up straight and keep my shoulders at least close to where they should be. An added bonus is that my bifocals are working better. Who knew?


I'm most excited about finishing the first of the Multicolor Socks last night at Friday Night Knitting. I'll be casting on its fraternal twin later today or tomorrow.









I made good progress on the Peruvian Shawl at Lyn's Tuesday night. Soon I change to black and white, then blue and white, then multi, then the reverse. It'll be very warm and soft.








I was busy at work this week but I did get the final 2 fish knitted. Zoomed over to Michael's to get a 1# skein of black acrylic to start crocheting all my little fishies together. I'm excited to see how it looks.




And finally I fell into a pile of new sock yarn at Patti's on Thursday night and look what stuck to me. It's one gorgeous skein of Cascade Heritage Hand Paint that reminds me of the ocean. I can't decide if I want to knit it into socks or just wear it around my neck like the Hope diamond. If it had a job I'd marry it. (It's greener than it looks here.)

Friday, March 6, 2009

It Might Be Nap Day

What a dreary day. Already I'm feeling like I'll need a nap soon. I hate overcast days. But it's supposed to be warm-ish so maybe the ice floe at the end of the driveway will diminish. Maybe if I go out with some salt it'll disappear altogether. That'd be good.

March 6--John Singer Sargent, La Carmencita. Emily stood at her mirror in her golden yellow dress. She admired her narrow waist and how the skirt flared out from it like an overturned flower. The bodice, what there was of it, fitted her closely, the built-in corset holding her like a lover's hands. The neckline barely reached her shoulders and almost covered her nipples. She had a beaded and fringed wrap to cover herself with, to provide a bit of modesty on the ride to the party and to appease her dragon of a grandmother. She fully intended to leave the wrap on her chair once the dancing began. Emily was grateful for her pale gold skin and dark auburn hair. They made it possible for her to wear this vivid yellow dress instead of the insipid pastels favored by most young women. She gazed at her reflection. She wore no jewelry, nothing to interfere with the expanse of flesh she intended to show off tonight.

Enjoy your day. I hope someone else writes and posts something too. I want to read your stuff too. Please? Just a little scribble?
--Barbara

Now that's good writing!!!!

Oh my goodness Barbara...I love yesterday's blog! In my opinion, this IS the best work yet! Take this one and run with it lady....this is the stuff that readers clamor for!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's Writer-ing Day!

Yippee! And no snowstorm better get in the way again.

March 5--Peter Paul Rubens, Posthumous Portrait of Isabella d'Este, Marchioness of Mantua. Too soon, he thought as he sat gazing at her portrait, she died too soon. As he stared, the painted flesh grew rounded and the bosoms rose and fell with each breath. His hands ached to glide over her rosy cheeks and linger at her lips, now closed forever, but open and laughing in life. He yearned to be the string of pearls that hung from her plump shoulders and draped ever so lightly over her lush breasts, breasts that had winked at him and welcomed him into their embrace. The rich red velvet of the gown that slid so fetchingly off her shoulders reminded him that his reason to keep his estates profitable had been to provide her with only the best. Her right hand lay casually in a nest of fur made from a pelt he had shot for her. All for her. His whole long life had been for her. He could not believe she was gone after their full life together. No one had argued when he had asked the Dutch painter to make his Isabella look as she had the day he met her. They all knew that his love for her had never changed her in his eyes. The next morning his valet found him slumped in the chair across from her portrait, his hand outstretched as if to take hers as his spirit rose to rejoin her.

Aw, isn't that romantic? I like it. See you later.
--Barbara

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hazy Sunshine

I like it; it seems spring-y to me.

Have you got your critique ready for tomorrow night? I've got mine done and my submission. I mentioned it to Jennifer week before last, but didn't get a chance to say it to Jenny, I'd like to have Personal Project night next week if that's okay with you. I'd like to sit and write in the company of other writers to draw on the energy we generate as a group.

March 4--Eugenio Lucas y Padilla, The Bullfight. Blood on the sand. Blood of horses. Blood of the bull. Blood of men. This is a sport? It looks like barbarity confinced to an arena to me. When did carnage become a spectator sport? I know all about "nature red in tooth and claw" and I understand it, but this is not nature. This is hideous and barbaric--and entertainment evidently. I abhor it.

Not much, but it's writing and it's done. Keep smiling and keep scribbling.
--Barbara

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bounty!


I stopped at Hobby Lobby this morning. They were closing out a bunch of wool at only $1.99 a skein. I bought a lot. But it won't go to waste. Once again my resolution to only buy yarn I need went right out the window.

Nobody Tells Me Nothing

I didn't know Bob was moving either, except that he posted it yesterday. He never said anything at our meetings. He keeps things close to the vest, our Bob.

And, Bob, I hesitate to guess where your cell phone was. In your pocket? In your car? Up your nose? I'm just glad you found it. Maybe I'll make you a nice knitted holder you can hook to your belt loop so you don't lose it. Kind of a mitten-string of the new millennium. In manly colors, of course.

I emailed in the first 10 pages of Horizon today so there'll be a critique for me when I get to the conference in Madison. Ooh, I should have saved this for writerly activities. Oh well. Now I have to write my pitch and log line, whatever that is. I'm sure I saw a FAQ about it. I'll look it up.

March 3--Jacques Louis David, Napoleon Crossing the Alps on 20 May 1800. The Little General sat on his battle horse, his favorite, Bucephalus, the white charger with the black strip in his mane. The wind blew up the pass making his red wool cape sail around him like a banner leading the men onward, giving them courage. An unimpressive man at first glance, Napoleon, when on horseback, was the equal of any monarch in grandeur and dignity. He pulled the collar of his navy blue coat up to protect his neck and stretched his right hand up and out to show the way, but also to grasp the chance as he made his way uphill to greatness. the Little General felt the power of his horse radiate up his back to vibrate through his very core. His sensuous mouth curved in satisfaction to see the admiration and loyalty in the men's eyes. His victory was so near he could almost taste it. "Mr. Burton," the nurse called, "it's time to come in for lunch." Nathan stopped striding up and down on the gray cement walk and turned toward the door. Today was tapioca day and he didn't want to miss it. His black and white cane made him feel more secure on his feet as he made his way inside.

Oh, I like this. It turned out just the way I imagined it. See you on Thursday. Bob's coming too so we can give him our critiques.
--Barbara