Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

We had a few trick-or-treaters today. The littlest ones are the cutest: tiny ladybug Ella from across the street, a pair of petite princesses who said "canny!" when I asked "what do you say?", and the very cutest, 6 week old Haley Jo all dressed up as a sleeping dalmatian. I'm making the supreme sacrifice to eat all the leftover orange Tootsie Roll Pops, not all at once, I'll be spreading them out over the next weeks, or few days.

October 31--Edward Docker, Making Lanterns. This time of year I always think of Granddad sitting in his chair by the kitchen door. He'd have tipped his coffee into his saucer so it would cool faster and he'd pick it up to slurp it from the saucer. We'd be kneeling on chairs with our sleeves rolled up, scooping the seeds and stringy slime out of the pumpkins we'd gone out to get with Uncle Walt. he'd get out the wheelbarrow with the iron wheel and push it out along the path where he'd park it facing back home and he would turn us loose ("on your mark, get set, go!") to run up the rows trying to get the perfect pumpkin. Once each of us had chosen one and put it in the wheelbarrow, he'd grunt and complain as if we had each put an anvil in, but he carried them up the steps into the kitchen for us after rinsing off the dirt with the hose. Grandma had a special knife with a broken tip that she used to cut the lids so that we could reach down in the cold and disgusting inside to scrap out the stringy innards with a spoon. We scoop and complain and giggle, slopping the seed and "punkin guts" onto the thick layer of newspapers Grandma had covered the table with. Once all the pumpkins were cleaned we each got a crayon to draw the faces that Granddad and Uncle Walt carved for us since Grandma said we were too little for sharp knives. She would be gathering up all the seeds for salting and roasting while each of us supervised the carving of our jack-o-lanterns with all the concentration of a Michelangelo, while Granddad told us how lucky we were, that he and his brothers had to carve turnips when they were small. Turnips! That's how poor they were, he said. We thought it was just a joke.

It was nice to go back and visit that warm kitchen even if most of this is pure fiction. The people were real, are real since Uncle Walt's still alive and kicking in Indy, and it's nice to see them again and hear their voices.
--Barbara


Justification



I missed Friday Night Knitting Club last night because Durwood and I went to a Barbershoppers concert, so I decided to go over to Loops and Links to knit for an hour this morning. I stopped going a while back because I have no resistance to the yarn on the Wall O'Savings. Today was no different. There it was lying in wait for me, seven skeins of Aurucania Toconao #502 worsted weight in a luscious tomato red darkening to a wine red (it's darker and oranger, not pinkish, in person). Nine hundred seventy-three yards of potential. If I wait until I've lost a bit more weight it'll be enough for a February Lady Sweater. I'll have to see what I can do with it once I have the Christmas knitting and the Khaki Cardi done. Done, not close to done, done, finished, finito, that kind of done.




At the concert last night they gave out door prizes, a lot of door prizes and I won one. It was such an interesting assortment of items, I took its picture so you could see it too. There's a bottle of pink Australian wine called Screwed; on the label are tons of excuses: I missed the bus, my alarm didn't go off, my computer froze, etc., a gallon jug of antifreeze windshield squirter stuff, 2 bottles of gas line de-icer, and 4 free lines of bowling at a local lanes. I didn't win the quilt or the savings bonds or any of the restaurant gift certificates, but I love the useful wackiness of the prize I won. Durwood and I will have fun going real bowling one winter day.

This concludes my portion of Blogtoberfest. I managed to post almost every day and I made up the ones I missed so the number of October posts equals the number of days in October. I've enjoyed doing this and I've still got nearly half of the other participants' blogs yet to visit, and I intend to keep reading them until I've read a least a bit of each and every one. I'll definitely be doing this again next October.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Post #1050

Can you believe it? That's a lot of posting, a lot of writing. I can't claim credit for it all, but most of the last year's posts are mine. As long as I'm posting a bit of prompt writing, I feel like I'm still a writer. It's been a long hard year; I've got my fingers crossed that 2010 is better, all the way around.

October 30--Edwaert Colyer, Vanitas Still Life. Every flat surface in the house collects stuff. It's like a disease; no one puts things away. Just look at the table in the library. There are books, of course, but on the bottom is Amos' lute. It should be in its case or at least on a stand but, no, it lays there face down with books lying on it adding their weight, crushing the bridge, stretching the strings. What's that under Antonia's silk scarf? A femur? Why doesn't Grant keep his bones in the study? I see he's left a jawbone and skull there too where any passing spaniel can just make off with them. Careless. I see Livia and Oren have been here too. The empty wine glass and the rosary beads must be theirs. Who else? Nora's flute is part of the installation and Uncle Leo's quill and ink pot are there too. It's a wonder the ink hasn't spilled all over. And little Meg has topped the whole sculpture off with flowers. It's an intriguing pile, but why am I always the one cleaning up?

We just got back from a Barbershoppers concert; it was fun and entertaining. I was afraid I wouldn't think of what to write before bedtime, but I managed. The wind has come up and it's roaring around sweeping tornadoes of leaves ahead of it. I love it when it's windy.
--Barbara

Drat!


This is what happens when I don't keep track of my rows; I had to frog the second part of the project because it's waaay bigger than the first and they'd look stupid together and wouldn't fit. Arrrgh. Not such a "quickie" project now, is it?

This would be a perfect day to loll on the couch with my knitting and a novel to listen to; it's drizzly and windy, perfectly dreadful out there, but I've got things to do like return library books and help Durwood set up his job search account online and get my nails done. My life is abuzz.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Only 2 Days Left

Blogtoberfest is winding down. I'm kind of going to miss it, going to miss having to dredge up a photo and something interesting to post every day. I'm replacing it with NaNoWriMo. Having to write 1667 words of a novel each day during November will keep me nicely occupied, thank you very much. I know I can do it; I've done it three times before. I know the hardest part is reminding myself that I can type any manner of tripe, doesn't have to make sense or be grammatical or spelled correctly, doesn't have to connect to what was written the day before, nothing. All it has to be is words. I've got my "inner Hitler" safely stowed in her jar and a vague idea of where the words might go come Sunday, so I'm all ready. Wish me luck.






I've been knitting at work today. Only one customer so far. I found The Dark Crystal on Netflix instant play list so I'm deep in the world of Jen and the Skeksies. Jim Henson was a genius.



My writing friend, Roi, published a book and set of cards of spiritual guidance called Spirit of Archetypes. They are supposed to be used to help you make your way through life's pitfalls but I can't seem to get past the gorgeous art on the cards. I shuffle through them and imagine all sorts of stories growing from them.

It's Thursday!

Yippee! Knitting and writer's, all in one fun-filled night. And it's exercises night at writing; I love exercises nights. I had to start the day with a funeral call; an old neighbor passed earlier this week and this morning was the visitation before the service. I hadn't seen his kids in decades so I went to pay my respects. He had just turned 90 and he'd lived a good long life full of interesting and rewarding adventures, so it wasn't terribly sad. Bon voyage, Chuck, you were a good neighbor.

October 29--Vittore Carpaccio, Dream of St. Ursula. Usula folded back the covers admiring the cool, white smoothness as she climbed into the bed. She was so tired of traveling. The dirt and heat, and the jarring ride had make her bones ache. She didn't care that the motel had been built in the 1950s and not redecorated since. All she cared about was that there were no roaches in the shower when she turned on the light and the sheets were snowy white and clean. The water was good and hot when she turned the tap and it was only rusty for a minute as it rushed out of the old iron pipes. The soap smelled of lemon and lavender, soothing to the soul as well as her skin. After her shower she put on an old roomy white t-shirt that felt like flannel against her skin. She combed the tangles out of her hair and braided it. Her supper was two cranberry pecan granola bars, a can of Diet Coke, and an apple from the Gas 'n Grab where she'd filled up before pulling into the neighboring motel for the night. The morning would be enough time to think about whether she really wanted to go back to Evansville and claim Auntie Cele's farm and the legacy she'd left Ursula, or just keep on driving.

Hmm, this might lead somewhere.
--Barbara

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Back To The Drear

Happily I didn't have to work yesterday when it was sunny for the first time in what seemed like weeks. Today it's overcast again but it's not supposed to rain until tomorrow night. I see that it's a bit sunny right now but the sun is going down so even if it was clear it'd be dark soon. I did have a few customers today so that was good. I always feel better when I can put a little $$ in the till to help Mr. & Mrs. Boss stay afloat.



Today's knitting is a gift for someone, so all you get to see is the project bag waiting under the desk for knitting time. Nice fishy fabric, though, don't you think?

You Were Up Early

And I managed to get in my workout before the dryer fix-it man arrived. Whew. I didn't relish flapping around in the living room doing my Wii Fit with Mr. Fix-it coming through to get forgotten tools or replacement parts. No one should be forced to witness that, except for Durwood who seems to enjoy it. So now our 33 year old, avocado, electric dryer will live to dry another 30 years, or so he says.

Nice, Jennifer. I don't think I kept my receipt but I'm not willing to risk returning this one anyway. It's pretty old and shopworn, and I'm used to it. I doubt whether it can even be refurbished and sold as used. Lots of miles on this one, and not all easy highway miles either.

October 28--Lucas Cranach the Elder, Pyramus and Thisbe. Sometimes I get so tired of the drama of teenagers. It's somewhat a comfort that teens haven't changed in hundreds and hundreds, probably thousands, of years. They have that strong, bright passion, thinking that never before have people loved as they love. They pen dark poetry about how misunderstood they are, how few, or none, have plumbed the depths of feeling like they have. They rush headlong into things, not stopping to think their way through so that they might avoid a catastrophe or two along the way. Parents would be wise not to forbid them things. The forbidding gives the thing added attraction and can lead to unsuitable spouses and surprise grandchildren, or suicide.

Meh.
--Barbara

Mystery Solved!

Ha! Loved your post Barbara. I have always wondered why the woman looked so unhappy in that painting and I bet neither of the men commented on her dinner! I'm getting the sense she wouldn't dare utter those words to anyone out loud for fear of being a martyr, but at least she can think them in her head. Well done!

From the Archive - An Exercise in Dialogue
"I would like to make an exchange."
"What's wrong with it?"
"It's defective."
"How so?"
"It's hard to say. Some parts don't work consistently. Other parts don't work at all."
"What parts don't work at all?"
"The parts that show respect, loyalty, and freedom."
"Your receipt shows you bought this thirteen years ago."
"Yes, that's correct. Now I want to make an exchange."
"You can't return something after 13 years."
"Why not."
"Because it's been used. It's out of warranty."
"I wasn't told there was a warranty. I tried to fix it myself and it didn't respond."
"We could exchange it for an older model, but not for a newer one."
"That's fine. I know which one I want. He's perfect."

Just a little something I worked on one night before our Writer's Group Meeting was called to order ....:)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I Need a Keeper

I said it yesterday and it's so true. I was supposed to get a haircut this morning but my beautician was ill so since I was on the east side of town I zipped over to Hobby Lobby to get a skein of a particular yarn to make her a felted purse for Christmas. One skein, that's what I was after. Did I stop at one? No. (But then you knew that, didn't you?) I did get the purse yarn. I hope she likes these colors.


But I also found these on two of the ends.

I was sucked in by the colors of this
sock yarn and by reading on someone's blog yesterday about a woman she met at Rhinebeck or SOAR who only knits single socks, all kinds of patterns, all kinds of yarns, one sock. So this Red Heart Heart & Sole yarn, with Aloe, will be my first foray into knitting a sock on size US2s. Maybe. Unless I lose my nerve and bump it back up to 3s. Or maybe I'll find a pattern I like that calls for US1s and just go for it. That is, of course, after I finish the Reef Socks, 2 Stealth projects, a shawl and more of a sweater. Oh, and a quickie project for someone's birthday. So, yeah, someday I'll be knitting this yarn.




Then there's this I Love This Cotton yarn. I'm all about the variegated, you know that, but I also like the feel of this. It's a little finer and a lot softer than either Sugar 'n Cream or Peaches & Creme. It'll be good for a Ballband warshrag for car knitting.

I was tickled when I checked out and it came to exactly $20, but I didn't have to sp
end it. I could have saved it. Someone needs to save me from myself. Please!


I did knit on th
e Lava shawl last night and got through the first 2 rows of the column lace. See? It's a little holey.

Cool but Sunny and No Rain

Another sunny day! Woohoo! And I don't even have to work. I had a haircut appointment this morning but when I got there I saw a note on the door saying that she's in the hospital and may be out for weeks. Yikes. I hope she's okay and, selfishly, back cutting hair soon. My hair's so short that it's immediately obvious if I get a bad cut.

Nice, Jennifer. You are an artist or at the very least an artisan. People bought your cards at that craft show, didn't they? You got a job from it? See, a real artist.


October 27--James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1.
For over forty years he's been telling everyone that he is an artist. Why can't he get a normal job like other women's sons? He could be a lawyer or an architect, even a shopkeeper selling dry goods, anything would be better than an artist. He needs to earn his living. I'm getting old, too old to still be cooking meals and doing laundry for a grown man. I had the parson over for supper last week to see if he would have any luck talking sense into Jamie but the man was useless. The two of them ended up sitting far into the night talking about Art while I cleaned up after the meal and went to bed. Parson Samuels must have stayed well into the wee hours because the parlor candles had burned down into the holder. Now I sit here in the most uncomfortable chair in the house with my feet on the footrest, beside the window in Jamie's studio. He says he's not even going to put my name on it or identify me in any way. After all I've sacrificed for him too. That's gratitude.


Now you know why Whistler's mother looks so peeved in the painting.

--Barbara

Back for More

Thanks for the welcome back to blogging Barbara. It feels good to stretch out the fingers and the mind again other than once a week on Thursday nights.

Great sensual detail (literally) on your Tut prompt. I like reading pieces that are unlike what people typically and I see potential in that piece as part of a greater work. Wow - perhaps Ed and Vera visiting the museum and Vera's mind starts to stray? I'm teasing of course...Ed and Vera are too true to each other for that.

Creativity and Confidence

To some it is nothing more than rubber, ink, ribbon and paper, but to me it is courage. I first saw card making as a safe hobby. I didn't have to worry about coloring outside the lines, or messing up an expensive piece of canvas. A piece of paper giving me permission to make a mistake and do over on the other side gave me confidence. "I keep all of your cards", my mother tells me. I cringe, but someday I want to see them. I want to lay them out in order they were sent to see the story my hobby tells of my ability, my confidence, even where I was in my life. I call myself a designer, and if I'm feeling gutsy, an artist. I use the term artist boldly, challenging others to debate me as I look into their eyes with the confidence my creativity has sparked. Art in the eye of the beholder.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Weak, So Weak

I stopped at Michaels yesterday on my way to the grocery (it's so not on the way, it's the opposite way) so that I could pick up 2 more skeins of that alpaca yarn since there's nearly twice the yardage in the wool skeins. Don't want to end up halfway through a glove and run out of the correct dye lot yarn, now do I? I even had 2 more coupons, 2 receipt coupons from the day before to use. Guess what? Now the alpaca is on sale so the coupons didn't work on it. Did I just pay for the on-sale alpaca and leave? Of course I didn't. I stood there in the not-Basic yarn aisle and picked out two skeins of Pure Organic Cotton yarn in two lovely variegated colors that the coupons did work on. I need to have my Michaels visa revoked. I can't go in there unescorted lately; I need a keeper. Pretty colors, though, huh?

S.W.A.K.

Once again I find myself staring at an art world icon for today's prompt. It's Tut's golden death mask. What is there to write about that, I ask myself, that has not already been written a hundred times? I frowned and huffed and tsked, and then my eyes fell on the answer. Brace yourself.

October 26--Egyptian 18th Dynasty, Gold funerary mask from the tomb of Tutankhamun, New Kingdom. I see those lips and want to run my finger over them. I want to press my lips to them and feel them on my skin. I look at those lips and imagine them trailing kisses down my neck and shoulder to press themselves on my breast. I imagine their fullness teasing my nipple as it swells to meet them at their touch. Those vivid lips promise such sensual feeling as they descend toward me. The slight smile that curves them and the twinkle that lights the eyes above them make me catch my breath in anticipation.

See? Not your everyday tangent, but it sure did break up the monotony here at the empty dive shop.
--Barbara

Woohoo!

Welcome back, Jennifer, I'm glad to have the company. I like your little post; it's short but very strong, big pictures formed by those few words.

I wrote last night but didn't get it posted before Don went to bed. Oh, I just thought, I could have used the "big" desktop in the living room, but I'm so used to using my laptop at my writing desk in the bedroom corner... Oh well, here's Sunday's effort.

October 25--Franz Mark, In the Rain. The rain began at dusk. Helly was driving aimlessly across town, out into the country, and back. She had been criss-crossing the small town like that for hours, not able to settle in one place, not able to stop. She kept moving to keep the voices quiet, to keep from gouging them out of her head with her nails. She was glad to see the rain at first. Glad to see the life-giving drops spatter on the pitted glass of the windshield of her old Toyota sedan. Everyone she knew had an old Toyota in their past, she just hadn't gotten behind it like the others had. The drops merged into a sheet of water that bent the oncoming lights, and she drove on into them as if moving into another dimension.

Oh, this I really like. Two stars.
--Barbara

Back to Blogging

I'm back! I took time over the weekend to form a schedule that hopefully I can stick to that will allow me to get in my time needed for work, card making, fitness (as much as the knee will allow), writing and now knitting. We will see how it goes, but I'm up much earlier than normal to write this, so I see it as a good sign.

I loved the post of "In the Rain" Barbara. It made me think back to being a little girl and having thoughts similar to that. Funny how being young and stuck indoors in the rain was a form of punishment, but now as an adult, I see it as a blessing to just relax and enjoy a good book or a good hobby.

Watching Her Leave

I watched her sit by the open window last night taking in the night air. Her face uplifted, eyes partially closed, nose twitching gently. I couldn't help but ask myself if she had found joy again in one of her favorite pasttimes of her seventeen years or perhaps she was saying goodbye to parts of her world as she knew it. I don't want it to be the latter. This brief moment in the window gives me a flash of memory of the days we spent hours outside, her face uplifted, eyes partially closed, nose twitching gently. It is what gives me comfort.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Touch of Green

A while back I read on trek's blog that they use cloth napkins to reduce paper use. She doesn't wash them every day (except for the one in their daughter's lunch) so she's not using more water and power either. I was intrigued, but Durwood seemed unenthusiastic. The idea clung to the back of my mind so the next time I was cruising Goodwill I looked at the napkins, but they had mostly pink and blue, neither of which I'd let in my kitchen. Then I found a hook of smaller, striped cotton dishtowels for a buck each. I realized that I could cut them in half, serge and hem the cut edges, and use them as napkins. I love them, and seeing that I made 10 of them, Durwood is even using them. Much nicer than paper. Thanks for the idea, trek.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sun!

The sun is shining! It's still just over 40 degrees and windy but it's sunny, and that goes a long way toward making it a good day.

October 24--Franz Mark, In the Rain. Tally looked out of the window wondering if it would ever stop raining. For days the sky had been gray and raindrops had streaked the pane making everything outside look distorted. She thought that everything--plants, trees, fence, house, even the dog passing on the sidewalk looked like they had been sliced by a magical machete that cauterized the wound and let the slashed keep moving as if nothing had happened. She moved her chair closer to the the window and amused herself all afternoon with the fractured shapes and smeared colors in front of her. She spent the next day affixing a pair of kaleidoscopes to a pair of Grandpa's old glasses. If she sat still she could spin the kaleidoscope ends, making endless amazing patterns for herself alone.

I like it. It's not exactly what I had imagined but I like the idea. Are you writing?
--Barbara

Curse You, 40% Off Coupons!




I had two of them. They would expire today. I had to spend them. I went to Michaels to buy a frame for the Sock monoprint that David made for me at The Clearing last month. (frames were already on sale so the coupons wouldn't work on them) I wish I could afford to have it matted right now, but I love the way the print looks in the black frame until I can.





I found this yarn on an end and fell for the dark gray color called Mercury. I picked
up two skeins, one for each coupon. When I got to the checkout, after the checker finished admiring the print (she's a print artist too), she told me that the yarn was on sale so I couldn't use the coupons on them, but by then I loved the color so much I had to keep it.

But the coupons would still expire at the end of today! I had to spend them!

Back in the yarn aisles, I didn't even look at the "Basics," I didn't want to waste the co
upons on yarn I could afford every day, so I stuck with the "High End" aisle. I fondled the organic cottons and bamboos, but my hand kind of stuck to the Bernat Alpaca. Now, I understand that it's mostly acrylic but that 1/3 alpaca really redeems it, and there near the floor was a color called Stone, just a tiny bit darker (in person) than the Mercury. It was meant to be. And not on sale.

By the time I got home with it I had decided to hold a strand of each together to make this hat and these gloves. I know! A matching set. Imagine that.



P.S. And now with this post I am caught up for Blogtoberfest. It was annoying me that my number of October posts didn't match the number of the date. Anal, much?

FNKC

I planned to take photos of the room full of women knitting at Friday Night Knitting Club, but there were only 3 of us. We didn't fill the room and 3 of the regulars were away, 2 sick and one out of town. So Lyn and Tanya and I just chatted away the hours, listening to the people at open mic night in Harmony Cafe up front, closing the door when the music sucked all the air out of the room where we sit. We love listening but a few of the players and singers evidently equate volume with quality. That makes me sound old, doesn't it? Sorry, my head-banging days are long past.

I did get some knitting knitted and here it is.



A few rows were added to the Lava shawl. I'm not going as fast as I might on this because I keep stopping, laying it out on my lap, and admiring the colors in the yarn. Fewer than 10 rows until the lace begins. Maybe later today.



I worked on the Quickie project that got cast on yesterday afternoon. It's coming right along. Love the colors.

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Very Knitty Day

I managed to park myself on the couch today, some of it even asleep, and play with yarn all day. I just needed a day without chores, errands, or shoulds. Tomorrow I'll work more on writing.

October 23--Jean Baptiste Greuze, Morning Prayer. "Now I lay me..." No, that wasn't right. As far as she could remember there wasn't a prayer formula for praying in the morning, only at night. It had been so long since Grade had prayed at all, much less gotten down on her knees and focused on praying, that she was certain she was doing it wrong. There probably wasn't a right or a wrong way to pray but if anyone could get it all wrong it was Grace. She wasn't even sure who to aim her prayers at. She knew that the Catholics had a long list of the patron saint of this and that, but she figured that those saints who were assigned an official area would be snowed under with requests. She decided that if she just sent her prayer up there, kind of a "Dear To-whom-it-may-concern" thing that the intercepting saint might be so glad to be asked that she could be nearly certain to have her prayer answered. Grace hitched her shawl back over her shoulders, shifted her knees on the picky wool rug, and interlaced her fingers. Two tiny creases appeared between her brows as she marshaled all her charm and piety to give her prayer all the help she could. She wasn't sure how to begin but she was confident that "Amen" was how it should end.

My train of thought just derailed. Gah! Guess I'm done for tonight.
--Barbara

Oh, All Right


Don't show me your "puppy eyes." You know I can't stand that. I give up. I won't show you the completed Stealth Project 2 but I will show you the yarns for Stealth Project 3. Pretty, huh?

Back in the World of Yarn

In order to blog every day I have been straying from the main topic of this blog, but today we're back in the world of fiber-y goodness.

I finished Stealth Project 2 this morning after working on it pretty much non-stop this week, but you won't get to see it until later in the year. Sorry. Stealth Project 3 will be cast on before the end of today, more secret knitting with no pictures to show for my efforts. *sigh* Suspense is good.


I did cast on a quick project with these three yarns this morning. I like them together.





And when I wasn't knitting on Stealth 2, here's what I was busy with--the Lava Shawl. It's like crack, I can't hardly put it down or stop petting it. I'm trying to keep my perspective with this thing but I'm weak, I cave. Only 10 more rows and then I get to start the lace part. Woot!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Yet Another Dreary Day

But there's a bright spot on my horizon--I don't have to work again until Monday, I have 3 glorious days off with no real obligations. Ahhh. My walking partner, Dusty, has the swine flu (ugh) so instead of walking along the river or in the mall, I think I'll just work out in the living room with my Wii Fit tomorrow morning so I don't have to get dressed. Then I can stay in my soft clothes and loll on the couch watching movies and knitting. I might have to relocate my knitting to a laundromat since our dryer's down until next week when its new motor arrives. I can knit while the clothes dry, I'm pretty sure of it. Or maybe I'll take my Alphasmart and see what the spies are up to. I'll be happy to get them off the deserted island where their boat broke down and back on the bigger island where trouble can find them.

October 22--Aztec Calendar. Tally's feet stopped running at the very edge of the rug in Nana Maureen's living room. She had always been afraid of the rug, the faces with their gaping mouths seeming ready to gobble up children's toes. Now that she was nine years old, Tally felt like only babies were silly enough to be afraid of rugs. Nana kept the blinds drawn so that sunlight wouldn't fade the colors in the rug. She said it came from South America. Uncle Hank said that the people who made the rug ate their neighbors' hearts while they were still beating. Tally was glad they didn't live next door to her. "It's a calendar." Nana's voice came out of the depths of the dark green wing chair beside the cold fireplace. "A calendar?" Tally said. "Where are the dates in boxes?" Nana chuckled. "That's a good question, but this calendar talks about the weather and crops and animals." She slid her feet off the footstool and leaned toward her granddaughter. "Turn on the lamps, Tally, and see if you can figure out some of it." That afternoon Tally and Nana puzzled over the images on the rug. By the time Mom called them for supper there were volumes of the encyclopedia and thick history and anthropology books strewn across the room, and Nana was teaching Tally how to take notes and make sketches of her subjects. Tally lay in her bed under the eaves that night grateful to be a part of a family of curious and scientific women.

Ah, Tally. I do like her.
--Barbara

Irresistible



I turned the corner into our street on my way home from work last night and suddenly my windshield was filled with autumn. I had to go into the house, grab the camera, and walk back up the hill to take pictures. It seemed like overnight the leaves had turned.




I loved the patchwork of the leaves stuck together by the afternoon rain.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Now It's Really Raining

Chilly too. My fingertips are icy and I wonder where my wool mitts are. Hopefully in my backpack. I think it's a good thing I spent part of yesterday putting my summer clothes away and carrying up my winter clothes, warm socks, and longjohns. Ah, better. Typing that made me realize that not only my fingers were cold my whole me was cold, so now I'm wearing my Big Sky Brewing sweater and my wool fingerless mitts. You wouldn't think fingerless mitts would help to warm up your hands but they do. I hope some people are thinking about scuba diving today so I get a customer or two to break up the monotony.

October 21--Jan Theodore Toorop, The Desire and The Satisfaction. Pale blue eyes gaze mournfully over the waves, blue eyeshadow weighing down the lids. Cilla folds her hand together like limp gloves drained of the life spark of human being. The plea in those eyes drains me, makes me want to shout and wave my fists at her. "Stand up for yourself," I say, "be your own woman." But she just sags even further, her chin quivers and her shoulders slump. He is there beside her like a wraith, holding her in place with the force of his will. Even when he is physically elsewhere she is not strong enough to throw him off. I tug at her, entreat her to lift up her feet, move into a new place, but she sighs and shakes her head. She pulls her cool and flaccid fingers from my grasp and retreats back into her fog. My shoulders fall in defeat and I turn away.

Oh, I like this. The perfect thing for such a dreary day.
--Barbara

The Queen of Socks



Not necessarily making socks, but wearing socks. See the socks on the line yesterday? They don't match. My socks only match in the dead of winter when I have to wear boring but warm ones to keep my feet warm at work.





In September when I was at my writing retreat week, the leader/coach taught an afternoon class that she entitled "Knock Their Socks Off!". She told everyone to wear their craziest socks that afternoon and she asked me to donate one of my mismatched socks as a prize--and I won. Her husband who was taking the Monoprint class thought it was unfair that I won my own sock so he used one of his socks (he had to drive home uni-socked) to make me an award. This weekend it gets a frame. I love it! Thanks, Dave!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rain Anyone?

You might know that today when it looked like rain all day, that would be the day the clothes dryer decided to make a noise like an airplane taking off, so I ended up hanging one load in the basement and the other one on the outside clothesline in the fresh breeze. Now it has really cooled off and I think it'll rain soon, so I just got finished taking in the outside laundry and squeezing it onto the basement lines. The repair guy comes on Thursday. I guess we can't complain; we bought the dryer in January 1977 right after we were married. The only repair I can remember is replacing the heating element about 15 years ago. It's hideous, it's avocado, but it's not dead yet.

I bought a book at a conference in Madison last winter, The Daily Writer by Fred White; it's a collection of "366 meditations to cultivate a productive and meaningful writing life." It's been sitting on my nightstand since last March and I open it every once in a while, but for some reason I packed it along to Lexington weekend before last (already?) and have started reading each day's entry. Today's really got me; it's about inspiration, about not waiting for it to arrive, but actively pursuing it so that when the Muse strikes your writing muscles are all limber and ready to rock and roll. Combined with the beautiful Arapaho Indian ceremonial dress that is the art for the day, I leaped into the page with both feet. I'm happy with what I wrote today and plan to work on this one again soon.

October 20--Arapaho Indian, "Ghost Dance" Dress with painted design of birds, turtle, and stars. Serena reached out one finger to touch the dress. She was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. The red skirt sprinkled with stars glittered at her. She thought of how the fringe down the sides and at the hem would feel as the dancer moved, like wings lifting her as the music of the drums and the high singing drove the bodies on around the ceremonial fire. Serena had studied Native American culture in college anthro classes but it had always been so dry, so far removed from the reality of this dress. She tugged on her white cotton conservator's gloves and bent over the Arapaho dress spread on the table before her. She hefted the long green fringe that hung from the short sleeves that grew from the star-strewn blue yoke. The fringe was the same green as the crescent moon that hung like a cat's grin below the neck. She smoothed out the fabric to admire the four ravens soaring up the dress into the starry sky, leaving the single turtle to trail behind them. She was most intrigued by the red-robed figure of a man posed below the moon. Dressed like a Jesuit in his long dress, one hand holding a branch and the other a scythe, a pair of crosses floated alongside him marking his connection to the Christian God. She carefully turned the dress inside out and was struck by the sweat stains under the arms and on the bodice. Suddenly the scholar in her awakened to the real live people who had worn this dress at ceremonies over the years. Serena saw the careworn hands of a grandmother handing the dress to a granddaughter who had just arrived at the border of womanhood. All of the theories and speculation about Native cultures that she had studied fell away in the face of the reality that she hadn't been studying a culture, these had been real flesh and blood people with loves and hates, families and loved ones, that were trying to fit into their society just as she was in hers.

Finally my anthropology minor is going to pay off.
--Barbara

Lack of Self-Control

I couldn't stand it; I had to cast on the Colonnade Shawl last night. My intention was to complete Stealth Knitting #2 before starting any other project, not even Foster Hat #3 which should only take a day or two, but I was weak and I caved. I thought I could ease my craving by winding 3 of the skeins of yarn into cakes, but nooooo, as soon as the yarn was caked up, I got out my 2 sets of circular needles, linked 2 of the 16" cables and twisted on the US10 ends to make a 40" circ. It was only a baby step from there to rationalizing casting on 42 stitches to begin. It's only 42 stitches, what can it hurt? Soon it was nearly 11 PM and I had 10 rows done. *sigh* I'm doomed.






This morning I went and got a flu shot. Not an H1N1 shot, I don't fit the profile, just a regular flu shot. It stang, and I didn't even get a cool bandage. *sigh*

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunny and Warmer

I wish I was outside taking a walk or even sitting on a rock instead of sitting here in this desolate dive shop. The way the weather's been this last month I don't know if it'll be nice enough to be out there anymore or not. I could use a walk--or a nap.

October 19--Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, Apollo and Daphne. The chase was on. Daphne had tried to join the boys' game. When told no girls were allowed she grabbed the ball and took off running. At first all of the boys were hot on her heels yelling their anger at her for interrupting them. She heard the pounding of the feet on the playground and then the sidewalk as she ran. She knew they'd never catch her, she was just barely running. Daphne loved to run, loved to feel her muscles work as she stretched her legs and straightened her shoulders. One by one the boys fell back, not able to keep up with her easy stride until only one pair of feet pounded along behind her. She was amazed to her them gaining on her so she kicked into gear and pulled away. She headed into the park, running down the path in the dappled light looking like a shadow as she flickered into and out of view. As soon as she had left the pavement her footfalls had made no sound on the soft paths. She lost the sound of her pursuer. As she rounded a corner she glanced back and was amazed to see him close behind her grinning at her as he ran, not even breathing hard.

Run, Daphne, run! Don't let him catch you.
--Barbara

Lots of Sock


I had an opportunity to knit a lot of rounds on Reef Sock #2 while waiting for Durwood to be sent home from the ER today. (Not to worry, no pneumonia, bronchitis, or H1N1, just exacerbated COPD sypmtoms. He's home with some new steroids to take for a few days.)
***** (stupid Blogger won't let me put a return here)
See? Only 10 more rounds to go. These are going to be nice and warm this winter. Thanks for the yarn, DD! I love the colors.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

It Darn Well Better Be the Last Mowing of 2009

I'm tired of mowing the lawn, pushing the mower up the hills and running after it down the hills, not letting it toss me into the garden or run over my foot when I'm mowing tight to the back of the fence. In my next life I'm going back to having a flat lawn. Flat. Maybe I'll have a gardener to make flower beds and manicure my lawn. Or better yet, I won't have any grass, not a blade. I'll have trees, perennials and long decorative grasses that wave in the breezes, pretty flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds and no grass to mow. Yeah, that's what I'm having.

I just realized that I've kept myself on the move doing chores and fixing things around here, probably to avoid sitting down and writing. Tsk, tsk. That's not going to cut it next month when I'm signed up to do NaNoWriMo. What's that, you ask? It's a challenge to write a complete 50,000 word novel manuscript first draft in November. That's 1667 words a day for 30 days. I've done it 3 times and I'm signed up to do #4. Just think of all that raw material I've got lurking in my hard drive. You're jealous, right? So what's stopping you from signing up and putting your own words on paper?

October 18--Camille Pissarro, The Church and Farm of Eragny. Cam leaned close to the canvas and squinted to get it just right. He shivered in the chill of the winter in his poorly heated rooms. He didn't mind the way his hand shook, the tiny movements spread the paint, softened the edges which pleased him. Painting scenes of hot summer days reminded him that winter would pass and the golden heat of summer would return. He and his best friend, Claude would once again pack up their paints and take the train even farther south to the tiny village where they rented an old farmhouse with a barn they could use for a studio. If they were lucky one of them would sell a canvas or two, then they could paint on through the winter and be able to afford both rent and heat.

It's hard to write to the same picture two days in a row, usually I turn it over and go back to the one from 6 months before, but I kind of like this one.
--Barbara

See What Happens When I Have to Work on Saturday?

I forget to blog! And I even started and finished an entire project yesterday. Tsk. I'm such a trial to myself.


When I walked along the riverside trail the other day my ears froze even though I was wearing a wool earflap hat. I searched around on the web and found a pattern for an Ear Sweater. I had a skein of super bulky roving yarn in the stash so I was ready to go. At first I cast on 36 stitches on a 16" circular needle but it was too short for me to join and knit; then I cast on 56 stitches, which was barely enough. I got halfway
around before I realized that I wasn't enjoying it at all, so I ripped it out and decided to crochet it instead. I got started around 10 AM and since I only had one customer who really came in to have a map copied (?) and just shopped a bit so I'd think he might buy something, I had plenty of crocheting time at work. When I tugged the last yard of yarn out of the skein, I put the two ends together and joined them with slip stitches. Ta-da! An Ear Sweater!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Chilly Autumn Saturday...

and I'm at work. Ugh. All I want to do today is lounge on the couch in soft clothes with my yarn and a mindless movie. Instead I'm nicely dressed, my hair is combed, I'm wearing earrings (!), and here I sit all alone in a dive shop in mid-October in Green Bay, Wisconsin. My best diving friend John stopped in this morning to make beaucoup copies for his mortgage banker so he kept me entertained for a while, but I suspect that my bowl of soup and my little bag of yarn that I want to turn into an "ear sweater" (to quote the pattern designer) are all the entertainment I can hope for the rest of the day.

I am enjoying the challenge to visit each and every blog that signed up to do Blogtoberfest over at TinnieGirl's blog, a few of them I'll be adding to my Links list over on my knitting blog before the month is out. Check 'em out!

October 17--Camille Pissarro, The Church and Farm of Eragny. "Cam, come on," Claude yelled. "The light is changing color. Let's go!" The voice came in the window like a rock thrown by a vandal. Cam bolted out of bed hitting his shin on the chair beside his desk, hopping and swearing as he picked up his pants. Without cleaning his teeth or combing his hair he snatched up his paint box and left. When they got to the hill overlooking the old river valley where the village sat, the sun was climbing toward its zenith and the rich aroma of cattle floated up to them on the morning wind. Turning his face into the sun, Cam watched the shadows of the trees retract into their trunks as the light changed and the heat built.

I like this. It'll get starred for further exploration at a later date.
--Barbara

Friday, October 16, 2009

Scrumptious



I came across this shawl pattern on Knitty and really want to make it. I'm not really a lacy shawl person so I've looked at a lot of patterns. I've even made a few, but none of them were exactly right. This one looks right, but none of the yarn shops I frequent carry the yarn it calls for so I got on Ravelry to see if I could find some. I thought about using a different yarn but then I found this--the perfect yarn. Colors so warm, so exactly right for me and for my shawl-to-be that it required nearly no thought to contact the owner of the yarn and beg her to send it to me in exchange for some money, not as much money as I'd have to pay a retailer either.


It's called Lava. I can't stand it, it's so beautiful. I want to roll
in it, wear it as a necklace, paint my skin those colors and lie down with it.





P.S. If anyone wants a hint about a little something that Santa could bring, I like these patterns at Kris Knits.

It's Mammo Day!

Time to get my breasts pressed to make sure they're healthy. Woohoo! At least they still bounce back and don't stay like deflated balloons. I have an early appointment so I'll still have the rest of the day to take a nice long walk and then sit down and see if I can crank out a few words about retired spies. I've got them marooned with their snorkeling club on a deserted island for the night and need to get them sorted out so they can get some sleep. It feels kind of bogged down right now but I'll wriggle them into something more interesting soon, I'm sure.

October 16--Jan van Eyck, The Arnolfini Marriage. He looks pale and almost demonic with his narrow face so still and his mouth so stern. His right hand is raised as if to swear an oath and his left cups hers, not in a lover's clasp but offering it as she offers it, palm up and submissive. They pose by their red-draped bed as if to proclaim her virginity at the wedding night but she holds up her skirt to hide a pregnant belly. She's no longer a virgin. Giovanni and Giovanna have been busy. She trusts him. You can see it in her face as she looks at him. Perhaps in the privacy of their rooms his face softens and she leans down to whisper in her ear and makes her laugh.

Better get a move on and have breakfast. Enjoy your day.
--Barbara

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hmm, Let's See, Let's See...

...what to post, what to post? How about some FOs?



Last night I wove in ends and finished up the two projects I concentrated on finishing last weekend. First, we have the Car Knitting Ballband Warshrag #2. I'm usually not a fan of blue, but I like this subdued and tasteful amount, besides it's a warshrag, not a wall-hanging.






Second, I finished Foster Hat v.2. I love this hat! It's the Brangelina Hat from Crazy Aunt Purl. (I need to read her book one of these days.) I chose the pattern because it uses Wool-Ease Thick & Quick yarn and big needles, but I love this hat. I have to go get more "boy" colored yarn (i.e. dark) as Durwood informed me that the fisherman one (Foster Hat v.1) is not a boy color. I thought only pink was a girl color but evidently there are layers of acceptable colors for boys. Who knew? Good thing I have Durwood to keep me on the right track.

Inspiration Strikes

When I saw the art for today, I was immediately struck by an idea, a story started playing in my head, and I hurried to get it onto paper. I love it when that happens. I couldn't write fast enough.

October 15--Gustav Klimt, Roses Under the Trees. Ed was washing his brushes and getting ready to pack away his easel for the day when he glanced into the woods crowding the riverbank. Night was quickly falling and the pale light on the river couldn't penetrate the gloom. He was stunned when first one tree then another lit with an unearthly green flash and then flicked off. As soon as he saw it he knew what was causing it. "Vera," he said, "honey, come up here. Hurry." He heard her drop something metal. "What do you want?" she said. "I'm cooking." Afraid to move or raise his voice he repeated, "Hurry." She lid the skillet to a cold burner, set down her wooden spatula, and went out onto the foredeck, wiping her hands on her apron. "What?" she said, looking at him with her hands on her hips. "What's so damned important that I had to quit fixing supper?" Ed put his hands on her shoulder and turned her to face the woods. "Look." She peered into the darkness. "What am I supposed...?" Her breath caught as one entire tree lit up, flashed off, and was answered by another one across a clearing. "Oh, Ed," she said, "it's like fairies are having a party." They stood in silence for many long minutes, reveling in the wonder of the fireflies mating dance until long after the light of the sun had left the river and the stars had winked on, one by one, in the indigo sky.

There. It may not be perfect but it fills me with excitement to take this little bit of morning writing and turn it into a full scene in the growing story of Ed and Vera spending summer on the river.
--Barbara

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Once Again I Plead For Forgiveness

Yesterday's drive home was long, not nearly as long as the drive down, but still after being in the van for 11 hours, unloading, finding something for supper, and then throwing all the dirties down the laundry chute, I was just too pooped to write, much less post. I promise, cross my heart, that I'll post every day for the rest of the month. I brought my notebook and the prompts to work today and have written in between customers. Here's what we've got for today...

October 13--Boris Mikhailovich Kustodiev, At Home. Katya sat in the shade of the birch tree holding the new puppy in her lap while Lara made a daisy chain. The twelve year old was all long legs and coltish speed these days. Katya remembered when she was twelve and her body suddenly felt all wrong. She would be sorry when her girl turned into a young lady. She was teaching Lara to knit and relished the quiet hours they spent sitting side by side with their fingers busy and just talked about school and books and music and everything that popped into Lara's head. Too soon her girlfriends would be more important and her Lara would be looking at, giggling at boys. Katya stroked the puppy's silky ears and thought, at least I'll have Bruno here to keep me company.

I can tell I spent the weekend with my DD and I miss the days when she was still so young. It's hard to be the grown-up some days.

October 14--Wedgewood &Sons, Stoneware copy of the 1st century Portland Vase. Marnie stood at the kitchen counter stripping leaves from the peonies she had cut from her garden. She loved the sweet fragrance of the lush dark red flowers but hated the army of ants that crawled all over them. She had bought a brown Wedgewood vase at an estate sale the weekend before and couldn't wait to see it filled with the sensual blooms. She had always thought that peonies with their overlapping and jagged-edged petals looked like floozies all tousled and tumbled after a roll in the hat. They would contrast just right with the formal classic lines of the vase. Maybe her straight laced mother-in-law would take a hint when she came to dinner that night and unbend enough to smile at her, just this once.

I never knew I thought of peonies like that. Interesting. Stay warm.
--Barbara

Look What I Got!




This was waiting in the mail for me when we got home last night. It's a summons for jury duty. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to serve, it's just that I'm the only employee and my boss has another job. If I have to do jury on days she works, we'll have to close the store and that's a bad idea in this economic climate. I'm going to see if I can do it on the days she's off, but I'm not holding out much hope. Although the last time I got called I never had to go and was frankly a bit disappointed.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

All The Pretty Horsies

Instead of showing you knitting today, here are some pix from our trip to The Red Mile, the harness racing track in Lexington. It was a very different experience from Keeneland's thoroughbred racing we went to in April. A very much more democratic and varied crowd, and they warm up the horses between races so you can watch and see which one you like or if it has a cute jockey you want to wager your $2 on (not that I would ever do that).




We shared a funnel cake and had a blast cheering home our
favorites. Durwood was the big winner of the day; he put $2 on #6 in the 11th race to win and darned if the horse didn't win. He came back from the betting window with $29.60, the lucky duck. We made him buy the funnel cake. That's him with our DD plotting which horse to bet on next.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day

And it's the real Columbus Day too, not a convenient three-day-weekend government mandated holiday. So thanks, Chris, for bumping into America and giving us someplace new to live with all the other rebels and malcontents.

October 12--Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Velvet Dress. She was only sixteen when she painted it, Emmaline thought as she stared at the painting. The skin of the subject looked like porcelain and Emmaline could see the determination, the passion in Frida Kahlo's steady gaze. The dark storm and the waves rolling behind her symbolize the despair, the dark vision of many a sixteen year old girl as she relinquishes the safety of girlhood for the fierce joys of being a woman. A talent like that would have been both a pleasure and a curse to a young woman in Mexican aristocracy. How had the young Frida broken out of the staid and proper society to work to fulfill her destiny? He the older Rivera been her ticket to freedom? Was their marriage a shelter that provided her the luxury of freedom? Emmaline hoped it had. She admired the strength of Frida Kahlo's vision and envied her great artistic gift. But she also would have plucked or waxed that uni-brow in a New York minute. That just drove Emmaline nuts.

Happy Monday!
--Barbara

The Play's the Thing



DD's best friend works for Lexington Children's Theater so she got us tickets to see their production of John Henry, a 3-person play they send around to schools. It was wonderful, with spare sets and lots of singing. I'm not too proud to admit, I cried at the end when John Henry died just like the little kids did.

Small project knitting is super for passing time waiting for things to happen when you're out of town. I forgot my #10 DPNs so this is as far as I can go on Foster Hat #2 until we get home.



Car Knitting Ballband cloth #2 also got a lot of attention on our longlonglong drive down here.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day at the Races


We had a blast at the harness races yesterday. I think I liked it better than thoroughbred racing. It was a lot less snooty and way less crowded. I'm no better picking winners though. But we shared a funnel cake (Durwood's first!) and had fun cheering on our choices in the chilly fall overcast.

Today we'll see a play and then go out for gyros for supper. There might be some yarn shop visiting; it's too soon to tell.

October 11--Gustave Caillebotte, Sailing Boats at Argenteuil. The hot sun simmered behind the scrim of clouds. A grudging breeze filled the sails, pushing the sailboat away from the oven that was the land that year. That summer had been a fierce one all along the coast. Crops had baked in the unrelenting sun, starving for rain until they curled crisply on their stalks and died. No rain also meant that every puff of wind sliding down from the mountains picked up dust that came in through the tiniest openings making every surface gray and gritty. It also filtered down under collars and into creases making the people irritable. The only respite was to sail away from the baking land out onto the salty sea for a momentary peace in the spray.

Not bad. I like the desperate atmosphere this description gives me. Interesting things could happen in that kind of weather.
--Barbara

Belated Birthday Shopping

My clever and crafty DD gave me a yarn shop gift certificate for my birthday--to her LYS in Lexington, Kentucky 600 miles from home. That meant that Durwood and I had to come and visit her. Very sneaky, that daughter, hmmm?


We ditched the historic cemetary walk (see previous post's discussion of day-long rain) in favor of a visit to said Local Yarn Shop. Yarn was fondled. Yarn was procured. I fell madly in love with Cascade Eco + first for the color (a deep red) and then for the size of the skein (478 yds.). So I bought 2. I envision a lovely shawl or shrug made with over 900 yds. of lovely Aran weight wool.





I also picked up one skein of Peaches & Creme ombre in apple green, brown, and light blue for dishcloth making. I love me some variegated yarn. Can't pass it up.


Only 2 more rows on my Khaki Cardi until I split off the sleeve stitches. Squee!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I've Gotta Type Fast

We're in Lexington, KY and I'm having a devil of a time staying connected so I'm hurrying. It took us 14 hours in the rain and the traffic to drive down here yesterday and that's why I missed a day posting. I've written today and yesterday's prompt and I'll put them on here. I'd make two entries but I have no confidence in this motel's wireless.

October 9--Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa, detail. She doesn't have any eyebrows, you know. I never really noticed it before but she doesn't. Usually you're not allowed to get very close to her. She's been stolen before, you know, so they keep people pretty far away. People have wondered for years about her. Legend says that Leonardo never delivered the portrait to the person who commissioned it, but kept it with him until his death. Either that means he loved her or he thought it was his best work and couldn't part with it. Or maybe he thought it was crap and spent the rest of his life trying to fix it. No one will ever know the truth of it, but that doesn't stop the expert and the not-so-expert from propounding theory after theory.

Eh.

October 10--Egon Schiele, Landscape at Krumau. The streets were so narrow that Lisa felt like the old buildings were leaning in, looming over her like giants. The uneven cobbles were like traps that caught at her feet making her stumble. She had left her tour group at the foot of the main street. They were heading toward yet another gray stone church with tiny windows up high in the walls that kept out more light than they let in. She had heard there was a little linen shop in the town that sold handmade lace tablecloths. Her sister was getting remarried in a few months and she decided that a lace tablecloth would be just the thing for a second wedding gift. But she was lost in the gray stone maze of the town and it was time to get back on the bus.

Duh-duh-dun.

We had a blast at the harness races today. I didn't win much but we sure had fun.
--Barbara

I Have an Excuse...

Sorry I missed posting yesterday but we were on an endless drive. We left GB at 8:00 a.m. for a 9 hour drive to Lexington, KY to visit our daughter. It started to rain in Milwaukee and never quit the whole time. It was my turn to drive when we crossed the state line into Indiana. Traffic was at a standstill most of the time so I managed to advance us 70 miles in 2 hours. Gah! We didn't get to our hotel until 11 p.m. EDT, which means we were on the road 14 hours, taking two hours out for meals, we were in the car, and in the rain, for 12 hours.

I packed my knitting and my tea,



Durwood is never without coffee,



and autumn has arrived in Kentucky. (I think it came with the day-long rain.)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Writing, Not Napping

Two o'clock in the afternoon is a very dangerous time for me. It's when I can barely keep my eyes open. On my days off, I like to sit on the couch to knit after lunch and, oops, have a little snooze. Mrs. Boss frowns on that. Oh, she doesn't mind if I knit here but she objects to her employee taking a nap. She seems to think it gives the customers the wrong impression. I have no idea where she got that idea.

October 8--Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin, The Young Draughtsman. Simon squirmed in his pose. His tight coat and the shirt collar that choked him make him feel like he could barely draw breath. Papa had insisted that he sit for this stupid portrait, wasted afternoons when he could be drawing himself. How did Papa think he was going to pass his classes if he had no time to do his work? Simon knew that Papa owed a debt to the painter, the Monsieur Chardin who was so particular about every little thing. Three times Herve had to retie the ribbon in his hair, then a stray bead of sweat ran down and straightened one of the curls that Monsieur had fixed just so on his left cheek. Maman had retired in tears on the first day when she was kicked out of the parlor where she sat thinking she would watch the process. Simon knew that she only wanted to prattle on about nothing and pick up gossip to pass on to her friends at tea. He thought the painter would have learned by now to shut out that kind of distraction. A fly buzzed past and landed on Simon's sleeve. He dropped his gaze to watch it investigate the folds of cloth and he nearly fell asleep. Monsieur Chardin snapped his brush down onto the table in disgust and said they might as well take a break since Simon was too much of a baby to even sit still for an hour.

Artists! Tsk.
--Barbara

A Fun New Toy!



I was reading the ShopKo ad last night after supper and happened to see that there is now a Wii Fit Plus program that lets you program a routine and has more fun exercises and activities. I got on the Nintendo site to see about it, then I got on Walmart's site to see if they had it, and they did. So I threw a hoodie on over my sweatpants and no-bra t-shirt, slid my feet into my Crocs, and went and got me one.

That was the end of knitting for the evening.


Naturally I had to try it out and "took a bike ride" and got my heartrate up so I had the devil of a time falling asleep. But it was fun!



I made a program of the yoga poses I wanted to do this morning and it let me do them one after the other and it only took 22 minutes instead of 45 to work out. Yay!