Friday, April 30, 2010
April 29--Ko Tao, Thailand. It was so perfect there on Turtle Island, Ko Tao in the native Thai, that it almost seemed artificial, but Kenton knew that only the affluent of certain Middle Eastern sultanates built their own worlds so it had to be real. She had just gotten her Open Water Instructor certification and took the first job that came her way. As the newest OWSI on staff at Turtle Divers she got saddled with the newest and most nervous customers. The fact that she was a female also kept her off the list for leading groups with young women in them. She didn't mind. Kenton found that the divers she guided appreciated the care she took with them and tipped her accordingly. She was sure that "the Bambis," as she called the bikini-clad girls, hardly tipped at all, at least not in cash money.
Well, that kind of fizzled out but it was late and I was tired. I hope you made the most of this beautiful day.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
April 28--Hainan Island, China. At the edge of the water a line of small boats nestled into the white sand. They had been pulled up in a precise line, each one next to the other; except for the numbers painted near the stern, they were identical. Eleven open wooden boats painted red around the top like open mouths waiting to come alive. As the sun rose the dew evaporated and Chang the boatman hurried to wipe the seats so that tourist wives and husbands more used to taxi cabs and secretaries could play at fishing. He could not count the times that he gave a bumbling man a hand so as not to let him appear unskilled in front of his family. Too many men lived their lives in glass and steel boxes with food bought in plastic boxes. They no longer went out to grow or catch their food. Chang wondered how they found their manhood since they lived so disconnected from the real parts of nature. He felt sorry for them.
Well, that didn't go where I thought it would, but I like it. I like Chang, he's old but strong.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I found this lone skein of sock yarn at Hobby Lobby last week and couldn't resist the colors. It's enough to knit one sock and we all know how much I love mismatched socks.
Hearing from many knitters that Knit Picks needles are sharp, I had to try them especially since I'm working on a lace-weight scarf for the first time.
And since a person gets free shipping when you order $50 worth, I had to order a bit of sale sock yarn.
It was so nice yesterday afternoon that we decided to roast a chicken on the grill so after I lit the charcoal, I took the story I'm working on outside to edit. I love spring.
April 27--Easter Island. The gigantic head with its distorted features loomed over her. She didn't want to touch the rough black lava rock sculpture but the guide had lined up the members of the tour insisting that they each had to "feel the power of the moai." Elise didn't want to feel the power, didn't want to lay her bare hand on it. She had felt the push of the island vibes as soon as she stepped onto the launch tied up to the side of the cruise ship. The feeling was so forceful, it was like she had to press against a strong wind. Her eyes roamed the island coast as the small boat neared and the large dark stone heads really stood out against the blue sky and the green land. She had an immediate feeling that she shouldn't be there, shouldn't step foot on their ground but she was stuck. The next launch back to the ship wasn't scheduled for a couple hours so she went on the tour as planned.
No, Elise, don't touch it! Will her hand stick to the rock, will it fling her away, or will she be sucked into a vortex dragging the other tourists with her into a wormhole? Yeah, I don't know either but maybe someday I'll come back to find out.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
I got a rejection for one of the flash fiction stories I sent out earlier this month. No biggie, just have to find another place to send it and a different story to send those guys. I'm holding a new flash until elimae's reading period reopens next month as they sent me a very complimentary rejection and suggested that I submit something else. Oh, I think I can do that.
April 26--Moorea, French Polynesia. Rafe squinted at the water off the bow. He'd been at the tiller of the boat for house. He had studies the chart of the passage along the western edge of Moorea. There was a narrow deep channel that he had to stay in if he wanted his deep-keeled boat to make it through. Last night he had lain at anchor when he reached the last way point before the channel. He had fixed a meal of mac & cheese with the last tomato sliced in a bit of vinegar as a salad. In a couple days he'd make harbor on the other side of the long narrow lagoon and he planned to gorge himself on salads, green leafy salads with every raw vegetable he could lay his hands on in the marketplace. You'd think that vegetables would be easy to get in the tropics but they weren't. They were almost as scarce as a dish of good ice cream. He needed to keep to his course even if he went blind sailing into the sun. Where'd he put his hat and sunglasses?
What are you writing today?
Monday, April 26, 2010
I was pleased last night to see that the prompt writing for the night would fill up a notebook. It's always satisfying to fill one up, to have to grub around and find a fresh, clean one to begin in the next day. So, without further ado, here's the notebook-filling writing just for you...
April 24 & 25--Marovo Island, Solomons. How many shades of blue are there? How many greens? Ann was sure she'd go mad before she got the answers. All her life she had dreamed of escaping the rat race to live on a tropical island. Now she did, had been there less then two months and she was going crazy. She couldn't get away. Well, not very far anyway. Shopping for anything was a royal pain in the keester. No matter where you went, all that was on the shelves of that particular store was part of what had been on the last freighter delivery, and every store had essentially the same items. Ann was certain that whoever was in charge of stocking the supply freighter that called at Marovo was a one-eyed, color-blind misanthrope whose taste buds had been cauterized by decades of smoking non-filtered cigarettes. Last night she had dreamed of being at Walmart, not even a super Walmart, and it was like being in heaven. There were ten or twelve different flavors of jam, more than one size jeans on the shelf, large packages of snow white socks and underpants, six pairs to a package, and the packages were sealed. It was like heaven, even with the exposed rafters where trapped birds nested. That was nothing compared to the gigantic hissing cockroach that had been in the folds of the dish cloth she had looked at in The Eastern Store last week. The thought of it still made her fingers curl protectively. She needed to get off that rock, and fast. If one more coconut tried to bean her falling out of its palm tree, she swore she'd clear-cut the place and be done with it.
Our Ann is not very patient, is she? This is what happens sometimes when your dreams actually come true. Beware.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
All of the buds on Mom's orchid plant have opened. It's just beautiful, and she's justly proud of being able to keep it alive.
Last night at knitting Zoe asked about some small purple flowers she saw at the zoo last weekend and I thought she might mean Grape Hyacinths. Here are some growing in my front yard alongside some coral-y, pink-y tulips washed with pale lavender on the outside of the petals. Those tulips were a surprise; I bought an unmarked bag of tulip bulbs on sale a few autumn's ago and just planted them. At first I was sorry that they weren't red, or yellow, or red and yellow, but I find that these pink-ish, orange-ish, purple-ish tulips are the ones that please me the most. I had hoped they'd be blooming when DS and DIL come to visit in 10 days or so, but I'm afraid they'll be all finished by then. So, sweet DIL, these make me think of you.
The Sea Foam scarf is going well, too. I switched to metal needles which seem to be easier to work the very thin yarn with.
I also broke down and ordered some Knit Picks straight needles since they're reputed to be the sharpest after Addy Turbos. Can't afford those.
April 23--Guadeloupe. "This is a road?" Glee said. "It looks more like a path, a goat path." She leaned forward over the dashboard of the Jeep and squinted through the dusty, bug-speckled windshield as if squinting would help her see around the bend in the path. "Well," said Tom, "the GPS says to turn here." He reached up to tap the square screen of the unit mounted to the dash with a cracked and taped bracket. As he tapped the screen, the image on it skewed and scrambled and then blinked out. "Well, that's just great," said Glee, "you drive us out into the boonies on an island neither of us have ever been on, we don't speak the language, and now the GPS quits." She folded her arms over her chest and gave him a sidelong glare. "What do you plan to do now?" Tom, who thought that a trip wasn't a success if he didn't get lost at least once, tried hard to suppress his grin. He failed. His straight white teeth gleamed in his tan face. "This island is very small, how lost can we get? I plan to keep going and enjoy the day." He reached down and shifted the Jeep into first gear. As the wheels began to roll down the narrow dirt road he said, "Now's when the fun begins anyway. I was meant to travel off the beaten track. Buckle up and hold on." She looked grim but she did.
I don't see a happy future for Glee and Tom, do you? Enjoy your weekend! Stay dry.
Friday, April 23, 2010
We had another visitor at writer's last night and she's decided to take a chance and join us. Now we have Nancy and Peggy and Sean (who is a girl) in addition to Jenny and me. I'm excited to have new writers to play with and learn from. We did a couple of writing exercises last night and all got words down. It takes a while for the newbies to get into the groove of just falling into an exercise and not worrying about how or where the story's going. I have faith that they'll soon be going strong, bending words to their will with the best of 'em.
April 22--Norman Island. He hated his name, Norman. Norm wasn't much better. He went through school being called "Ab-Norman" by the sorts of boys who enjoyed taunting other boys. He didn't hate that, in some ways he kind of liked it that they noticed him enough to tease him. He was a good enough baseball player, he could hit and he could field, that he teetered on the fringes of the crowd of jocks. He was smart enough that he fitted in with the brains too. The only group he wasn't a nominal p0art of was the music kids. He'd heard his piano teacher grandma tell his Aunt June, "Norman likes music all right, but he's got a tin ear. Can't carry a tune in a bucket, the poor dear." He didn't let that bother him and he took pity on Mr. Hanop the chorus teacher and his classmates by just moving his mouth, lip-syncing in class, sparing them all from having to listen to his caterwauling. He didn't even sing in the shower. But he hated his name. One day he'd have to ask his mom what she was thinking of when she named him Norman Duwayne Island. Geez, what a moniker to hang on a defenseless little baby.
Well, that "island" story sure took an odd turn, but different can be good. It's a change from the surf, sand, and palm trees of late.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Let me just say I am pea-green with envy over the fact that two of my writing friends are leaving today for a weekend writing retreat at a convent in southwestern WI. And I don't think either of them are real convent material, but nuns are tough (ask me how I know) and will have them whipped into shape in no time. Have a blast, Laurel and Roi! Write lots!
April 21--Corsica. Charlotte crouched in the corner of the ruined house, the ancient stones cold at her back. She could hear Reynaud's footfalls on the loose rock of the yard. She couldn't believe she had been so foolish as to get herself trapped there like that. He would find her soon. She didn't want to imagine how angry he was, how he would make her sorry that she had tried to get away. She strained her ears but all she heard was the wind whistling through the old orchard behind the stone house. "Cherie, you're going to get your pretty clothes all dirty down there." Reynaud's voice was soft like a caress but she could hear the steel beneath it. "Come." He reached down and lifted her to her feet, his fingers gentle on her arm. She jerked as if she had been slapped and pressed herself harder into the stones. "You're tearing your dress," he said guiding her away with his hand. The gentle solicitous sound of his words and the soft touch of his hand sent a chill to her very core. He slid his arm around her waist and walked her down the rough path to his waiting car. "You must be thirsty," he said when they were seated on the soft tan leather seat. He reached across to left the cut glass decanter from its mount. He poured her a drink and handed her the tumbler. The glass clattered on her teeth as she took a sip. She felt oblivion wash over her in a wave from that single sip. Retribution had begun.
Oh dear, that's not good. Dun-dun-dun.
The first one's done! Yay! This is the first sock I've knitted with a pattern on it--and I carried the pattern down the top of the foot too. Well, the pattern tells you to and how to do it, so it wasn't my personal brilliance that figured it out, but I'm pretty stoked about it anyway. I love these colors, so warm and rich. It's excellent yarn too, and one skein makes a pair. This is a nice simple sock pattern for those thinking of jumping in to try knitting socks.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Last night I didn't stay up too late but when I started writing the prompt, I promptly fell asleep after two sentences. I didn't think I was that sleepy, but evidently I was. I couldn't in all good conscience leave it at that so I sat down and scribbled a bit more after my shower. I am not expecting a Pulitzer for this one. No siree.
April 20--Juist, Germany. The white sand was thick with the brightly colored cabana chairs. There was no thyme or reason to their placement except that they were all far above the high tide and they covered an area about the size of a football field. The chairs faced ever which way, which Greta sort of liked. She didn't relish the long gauntlet of watching eyes that she would have to walk past as she strolled the beach. The way they were now no matter where she walked in the vicinity hidden eyes could be seeing her, marking her passage. All her life she had heard about how pure, how healthful the air was on Juist. Now that she was there she thought the air was the same as it was in town, clogged with noise from the electronic gadgets everyone seemed to have implanted in their hands and ears. The shrill voices of playing children and giggling teens rent the peace no matter where she went up and down the beach, and now she had come upon this odd little village of cabana chairs. She made up her mind to avoid this place for the rest of her stay. The blank faces in the shadows, faces with large glittering eyes, gave her the creeps and made her walk faster.
Sorry for sullying your day with this crap, I just had to get it out.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I am enamored of my new ability to watch Netflix instant videos on the TV using a disk they send me for the Wii. I already love my Wii; I exercise with it every day, but this is just the cleverest trick ever. And I didn't even need to trade up to the cable company's broadband service! Too cool.
April 19--Whitsunday Islands. Two were too close together and the third was too far away from either of the others. Ruby stood with the woven hammock in her hands frowning at the trees in front of her. What good was having a hammock if the damned palm trees were in the wrong places? She would suspect that they had been planted by chance but she knew that coconuts had no way of getting up on a hill on all their own. Being up on the hill was what made this place bearable. It was so hot and sticky all year round this close to the equator that getting up into the prevailing breeze was the only way to survive. "It won't work, you know." That was her sister, Emerald. Em was the pragmatist (tipping over toward the pessimist) of the family. Ruby lifted her hammock-laden hands and let them drop again. "I know that; thanks, Miss Obvious. If you don't have anything constructive to offer why don't you go make us some lemonade." Ruby knew as soon as her words had left her lips that she would regret them almost immediately. Em was likely to substitute generous lashings of salt for sugar in her drink to punish her for her frustrated outburst. And it wouldn't get her any further toward getting the stupid hammock strung up.
Interesting. On one hand I see these sisters as young, but then I see them as being at the end of a long and contentious life together. What do you think?
Monday, April 19, 2010
Once again I wasn't very motivated to write, but made myself put pencil to paper and I'm not unhappy with the results. This writing every day thing really works! I read in a writing how-to book when I was just getting started that you shouldn't expect to be able to sit down and write something wonderful the first time. Athletes train, artists sketch, and musicians practice; it makes sense that writers would have to write to improve.
April 17 & 18--Island of St. George, Montenegro. The bells that rang the Angelus from the old monastery out on the island carried around in the bowl of the surrounding hills. The buzz of the outboard on the water taxi seemed to be a part of the sound, like the drone of a bagpipes. Claire sipped a glass of wine and the age-old words of the prayer that she had learned as a child at her grandmother's kitchen table came to mind. "The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary, and she conceived of the Holy Ghost..." She hadn't thought of that in years. The toll of the little bell in the country parish a mile away from Grandma's farm was pale in comparison to the glorious sounds from the steeple across the water but somehow the sound transported her back to that farmhouse kitchen. How many thousands of miles separated her balcony from that room, and how many years? The thought that somehow Grandma was looking down from Heaven made her uncomfortable. She might be a grown woman and too sophisticated and worldly to go to church or to believe in Heaven for herself but she knew that her grandma had believed and was no doubt right up there with God. "Edward," she said to the man at the laptop inside the villa's study, "we need to reconsider our plans. Maybe this museum isn't the job for us." She knew she'd go straight to Hell if she was any more involved in Edward's plan to steal the one tiny Faberge egg in the tiny, unsecured, town museum. The bells pealed again and the remembered voices of her family spoke in her head, "Hail Mary, full of grace..."
Okay, I'm not sure about what she and Edward were up to, but it was late and you get the sense that they're up to no good. I can fix it later.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Have you been writing? I haven't today, but I'm going to. Cross my heart. Now that I've got chicken soup made so I don't starve at work all next week, I can settle down to play with words a bit. I've got a flash I want to polish up and get submitted before the weekend's over. I just realized something; if I send out one submission every week, just one, that's 52 in a year and that's a respectable number. I like how what I wrote last night turned out. I almost quit before I started because when I looked at the picture nothing jumped out at me, but I reminded myself that any writing is good writing so I just plunged it, and look what came! I think it has possibilities.
April 16--Tachibana, Japan. Ellen stared at the islands offshore. They looked like great creatures rising from the sea with their graceful forms and rounded shapes. She thought of her son, Luke when he was small. How his imagination had built fantastic worlds and beasts out of the common things he saw. He had entertained her for hours with his tales of magic and dwarfs and beasts that spoke and flew. Luke had never needed toys to play for him, he made his own worlds with a box of Legos and a handful of stones and twigs he collected in the yard. Ellen had learned quickly to always check his pockets before she put his jeans or shorts into the washer. One memorable time she had reached in and pulled out a very indignant looking frog. She had shrieked and dropped it. Luke had come in, caught the frog, and then he had scolded her for scaring it. She had been sorry when he damped down that raging imagination to better fit in with the other children. He never lost the twinkle in his eye but he'd grown into a nearly predictable man. Ellen sighed. Yes, she missed her imaginative boy. She leaned over to her seatmate on the tour bus. "I think those islands out there look like a swimming dragon, don't you?" Her neighbor, a retired minister's wife from somewhere in the middle of Ohio and a woman who had evidently had her imagination surgically removed years before, just glared at her. Oh dear, Ellen thought, now I've done it again, she'll tell everyone what I said and they'll spend the rest of the trip avoiding sitting by me. I should be used to being the odd one by now, but I'm not.
Trust me, those islands totally looked like a swimming dragon.
Friday, April 16, 2010
April 15--San Joseph Bay, British Columbia. The cold fresh air lifted Marcia's spirits a bit. She wouldn't be able to do this, she just knew it. She must have been drunk or at least way overtired when she'd agreed to sign up for a kayak tour around the provincial park. She was not athletic, far from it. When she was a child the neighborhood kids had called her "the house plant" because she so rarely played outside. Things weren't any better on the playground at school; she was invariably picked last for teams and she was an ever-ender at jump rope. It was easier to be good at turning and singing the cadence than taking her split-second turn at jumping. She always missed right away because she never got into the rhythm. What made her imagine that she'd be able to keep up with the others and not capsize and drown herself in the icy bay? "Ready, Marcia?" Sally asked as she strapped on her bright orange life vest. "As ready as I'll ever be," Marcia muttered as she walked down the path to the shore dragging her own life vest behind her like a stubborn pet.
Ah, childhood memories. Now that's enough to keep a person awake nights.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I just finished reading a paperback thriller and it occurred to me that it wasn't literary and was very predictable, there'd be a break and poof! the setting would change or a new character would leap onto the page. I think I'm going to spend some time this weekend going through it and making an outline of the main points of the story, maybe I can plug one of my ideas into a similar framework and get some publishing traction going here. I'm not too proud to write fluff; I think it's what I mostly write anyway.
April 14--Great Barrier Reef. Gale was glad to be wearing the headphones as the seaplane flew over the pale yellow shoreline and out to sea. The color of the water changed fast from pale turquoise to teal to dark navy to the deepest blue black of the abyss. She had been diving for years and had never lost her enthusiasm for jumping into the nearest water with a tank on her back. The thought of all the life that teemed under the surface of any body of water make her itch to put her face in to see. This was the first time that she had been in a seaplane and she thought that it was the perfect combination of two things that she loved--flying and diving. In other, younger days if she'd had the money she would have learned to fly. A one-time discovery flight was the best she could manage, but learning to scuba dive and doing her best to swim in every ocean was something she could do. She was so wrapped up in her passion for diving that she wondered what people who didn't dive did on their vacations.
I've never been to the southern oceans--yet, but I'm determined to get there someday. Oh, and happy Tax Day! You've filed, right? Tonight's writer's and we've got guests coming. Ooh, I'm excited; I hope they like us and want to join.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Well, Jennifer decided to leave the writing group because her job has gotten very demanding and stressful. Totally understandable. We'll miss you, Jen.
I don't think we'll continue if the guests who are supposed to visit tomorrow night aren't suitable or decide we're not for them. With only 2 of us Jenny and I couldn't keep going unless we changed the group a lot, which we could definitely do. There's going to have to be a lot of discussion after tomorrow night's meeting to plan the future of the Crazy Writing People. I hate change and here it comes again. I think that's why I'm so bossy, so I can keep things the way they are, so I can be comfortable. Bah. Enough of that, here's some writing...
April 13--Mokulua islands, Hawaii. It lay there on the horizon taunting her with its unattainable nearness. Diana paced the beach, the sand clutching at her feet and the wind whipping her hair. She was sorry she had quit smoking three years before. Smoking would have given her something to do with her hands. It would have taken time to cup her hand around the lighter flame, to stand just right so she could make that little oasis of calm at the tip of the cigarette for the second it would take for it to light. The tiny orange glow of the burning tip would have kept her company in the dark as she paced back and forth, back and forth in the soft sand. The beach was too steep and the waves too high for her to walk on the firm wet sand near the water and she didn't want to be in the foamy spray from the waves. Mokulua stood out there fifteen miles across the ocean almost a perfect cone outlined by the pink and gold light of the setting sun. Mike had gone over there that day with Luke and Carlo from the village "just to look around" he said, but that had been more than twelve hours ago. His cellphone must have been off, he hadn't answered all day. Where was he? And she hadn't heard a boat in hours.
I'd like a cigarette. Right now. But I won't. It's been a long time since I've wanted one like this.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Mostly I worked on Sock on Fire #1. I finished the leg, made the heel flap, did the gusset decreases, and now I'm on the foot. This is the first patterned sock I've knitted so it's taking some focus to keep it going on the top of the foot. I love this yarn. The colors are fabulous.
Yesterday at work I knitted on the Silk & Mohair Scarf. Even though I'm using US 8 needles it's going very slowly because the yarns are so skinny. It's pretty though, and I'll like having it to wear once it's done. It'll go with everything.
And last weekend I restarted the Rolled Brim hat. I do love the feel of this yarn. It's like the softest thing you can imagine. I'll be sorry when it's all knitted up.
This was a good day.
April 12--French Polynesia. The Tia Moana was the waterborne version of a motorcoach. Jean and Sheila had gone to see the Grand Canyon on a coach tour and they had visited eight European countries in sixteen days, so they were not novices in the world of the guided vacation. Neither of them wanted the hassle of making flight plans and hotel reservations. there was too much left to chance when you weren't familiar with the local restaurants. You could get into a rut and end up eating the same things day after day in a string of national chains. Taking this cruise through French Polynesia on a small cruise boat, one with only thirty cabins, had been Sheila's idea. She had always admired Gauguin's paintings and jumped at the chance to see the places he saw with her own eyes. It was sheer luck that there were two nice retired professors, one of botany and the other history, to keep them informed and entertained. It didn't hurt that both of the men were good-looking and charming either. Jean suspected they might be gay, but she hadn't said anything to Sheila just yet.
Hm, hm, hm. D'ya think the men are gay? Or are they senior citizen con men? Which would be more fun? Time will tell.
Monday, April 12, 2010
April 10 & 11--Tenerife. Juliana thought that Pico del Teide, the dormant volcano that she saw from her porch, looked like it was floating in the sky. It was far away enough and so much taller than the other mountains that the clouds moving by cut it off from the rest. The colors of the plants in her yard, all greens, silvers, and purple, were reflected in the forests and the layers of rock on the mountains in the middle distance, but Pico del Teide brought its own colors to the landscape. The white of the snow that stayed on the summit in even the hottest days of summer and the black of the ancient lava made it look dead and separate from the land that lived so vibrantly around her.
Okay, that's it. Gotta run.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
By Friday it was all gone. April snow is fickle snow, it comes and goes very quickly. We're just as glad. I had a bad weekend, writing motivation-wise, it wasn't until this afternoon that I took my notebook and a blanket out into the warm spring sunshine and lolled upon the grass and wrote.
April 8--Georgian Bay Islands, Ontario. Will and Alby knew that they were luckier than the rest of their friends. They lived the closest to the park so they treated the shores like their own personal backyard, and now that they were twelve and had earned their Red Cross lifesaving cards, they could take their canoe down to Georgian Bay by themselves. Alby's mom wasn't so sure she liked the idea so she bought them one of those cheap prepaid cellphones from Walmart, put it in not one but two Ziplock bags, and insisted that they wear it and their life vests "at all times." Knowing that to argue would only mean she'd refuse to let him go at all, Alby agreed and he had told Will that he needed to agree too. And they had to do what they said. Alby knew that his mother was perfectly capable of driving down the shore and sitting there with her binoculars waiting to check up on them. "Next she'll make us wear helmets," Will said from his perch in the stern of the canoe. Alby looked over his shoulder and said, "For Pete's sake, Will, don't give her more ideas." Alby had seen a flash from a hilltop a mile or so back and he'd been sure that had been his mom checking up on them. Will snorted and went back to paddling. "Your mom worries too much." But he sometimes wished that his mom would worry just a bit; she didn't seem to care when, or even if, he came home.
April 9--Sant'Antonino, Corsica. Guido sat in the shade of his small courtyard dozing after lunch. Siesta was a tradition that he could get behind. It was civilized, this two-hour break in midday to let a meal digest and to recharge the inner man after working all morning. He had spent a few months with his cousin Luigi's boy, Paulo, in America last year and this was one of the things he missed. In America no one paid attention to the noon meal, it was just a bother to stop the frantic moving and working to bolt down a plastic meal delivered by a robot through a hole in the side of a building as you whizzed by in your car. Then you gulp down the food and rinse it with some fizzy soda or designer water before hurrying right back to the job. No hoe-cooked bread with a bit of cheese made by a neighbor, someone you know and trust. No olives grown for centuries on trees that have watched over you your whole life. No glass (or two) of a strong red wine that would fortify you to work the rest of the day and was made right in your own village from grapes you grew yourself. No, this was the best way to live. In America, life was barbaric.
So that's it for the weekend. I hoped to get more submitted but only managed to send in a story to NPR for their 3-Minute Story contest. Wouldn't it be cool if I won?
I decided to try to knit something with very skinny yarn. I'd seen a pattern for a spring bandana on Purl Bee and didn't find two colors of silk mohair that I liked so I got a skein of creamy baby alpaca & silk, and one of kid mohair and merino in rainbow colors and found a pattern for a narrow scarf (which I think is more my style than a square anyway) the very next day on Purl Bee. I cast it on Friday night and got a few rows knitted, but then I took a pain pill to shut my achy knee and sciatica up for the night last night and, whoo!, that was way too much drugs. I got dizzy and hot and kept falling asleep. My knee didn't hurt though, and I got a great night's sleep. So I didn't knit. Friends don't let friends knit stoned. I think I need to take it easy a bit longer.
Here's the first dandelion of the year...DD remember when Dad asked you to pick the heads off all the dandelions in the yard? You were only about 4 but you stood up to him, hands on hips, and said, "Dad, dandelions are flowers too." He just shook his head, handed you a plastic grocery bag, and told you to get to work. You were mad at him all the rest of the day, but you did your chore.
DIL, here's the first tulip of the year; it opened up overnight. More to come.
Thursday's snow brought lots of branches and twigs down from the maple tree so I spent part of yesterday on "stick patrol." The weight of the snow had lain the daffodils and hyacinths down but hadn't broken them, so I got my clippers out and cut a bunch to bring into the house. They smell so good, so much like spring, and the colors can't be beat. They remind me why I've always liked yellow.
I went to Mom's yesterday to help figure out a pesky knitting pattern and took a picture of her orchid blooming like crazy and of the bouquet that she got from DS & DIL last week "just because" she hasn't been feeling well.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
A lot. Inches of it. Branches weighted down, forsythia lying on the ground. It's supposed to warm up into the 40s by the end of the day, and be back in the 60s by the middle of the week. Gah.
April 7--Chumbe Island, Zanzibar. Tom and Sue loved the native look of the bungalows at their resort. The little buildings, just one room each with a bathroom, nestled in the trees, their swooping roof peaks open on either end to catch the breeze. "And with authentic photovoltaic cells to run the hair dryer," Tom said, with a snort. Tom was the camper of the couple. He told long tales of trips taken into the wilderness as a boy with only his jackknife and a waterproof match. Sue liked her comforts and thought the Holiday Inn was about the right level of roughing it. She tolerated Tom's ribber her about needing her comforts and she didn't say a word when he complained that his beer wasn't cold enough. Not a word. She just smiled.
Now I've got to unbury my little car so I can get to work so I can go to writer's tonight. I'm excited to go to writer's since we haven't had a meeting for 3 week. Three weeks! That's way too long to not go to writer's.
That's the forsythia I took pictures of the other day, only this time I'm standing in the house, and the honeysuckle on the fence is (or was, they're probably a bit frozen) getting leaves.
It looks like the maple tree in the front yard is leaning over to ask if it can come in. A junco is on the feeder side that isn't clotted with snow. A bird's gotta eat.
And the Menopausal Goddess probably wishes she had, well, a hat. Or maybe a nice shawl instead of the solid layer of snow. (I wish I could figure out how to put a colored frame around these pictures so you could get the full effect. Oh well.)
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I added a lot of rows to the Rolled Brim Hat. Loving the yarn, loving the way it feels and the way it looks, almost wishing that it was cold enough to wear it. But then it got big enough to try on and, darn, it's too big, even for my generous bean.
Stupid gauge. It was knitting up at 3 sts per inch, not the 3.5 sts per inch of Crazy Aunt Purl. Stupid gauge.
This is how it looks now.
But it'll get better fast. I'll cast on 6 fewer stitches, 66 instead of 72, and give it another shot. This yarn is way too luscious to abandon.
On a better note, see how far I've gotten on the Socks on Fire sock? It's zipping along nicely and I lovelovelove the yarn, the color and the feel of the yarn.
At work on Monday, I dug out the Sudoku squares that have been riding back and forth in my backpack and did a bit of the second stone square. One of these days I'll have an interesting throw to tuck my feet under and I'll have to find some other mindless blocky knitting to do between customers.
And can you believe it? It's supposed to snow tonight. Gah.
My knee is feeling quite a bit better today. Yay! It'll probably be all back to normal by the time I see the doc on Friday to hear the results of my MRI, which, by the way, is the most boring and everlasting medical test ever invented.
April 6--Thadufushi, Ari Atoll, Maldives. Churned by countless footprints, the beach looked like it was never empty. Lapped by the Indian Ocean which wrapped its dark blue waters around the point in a salty warm embrace, the beach was the perfect staging area for a shore dive. Gina and Mitch had flown halfway around the globe and had spent the last two days sleeping off jet lag, but they were finally ready to put on their gear and get underwater. The Maldives were legendary in scuba circles and none of their friends had made the long trip with them. An unexpected windfall had allowed them to play and carry out this once-in-a-lifetime trip. Whenever she thought of that phrase, Gina felt a chill deep inside. Too many things could go wrong so far from home and too many times fate intervened just when things were going well. And for her and Mitch, things were going very well. She insisted that they run through their usual before-dive checks another time before wading into the ocean and sinking under the surface to see what they could find.
I'd love to go diving there. As soon as I win the lottery.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Are you working on your NPR entry? That's on my agenda for today. I've got a story that I think is a real corker, I just have to work those 4 required words in. Plant. Fly. Trick. Button. How hard can it be to use those in a story? Piece. O. Cake.
April 5--Antigua. The forest of masts looked right at home at Nelson's Dockyard. It was the suburnt men in shorts, loud shirts, and boat shoes who looked out of place. Ranks of uniformed sailors, all shipshape and polished, belonged on the close-cropped lawn standing inspection or maintaining their ships' rigging. The gray stones of the year had held up well over the last two hundred years and the sky and water were the same. Of course, the winds carried the same risk as they always had and they held sway over the hearts of the adventurous as they had since man first sought to see what lay over the horizon. Silas was very sorry that he had agreed last night to crew for his friend, Jake when he sailed to the boatyard in St. Lucia to get some work done at a better price than Antigua. "Come along, Silas," he had said as he carried over a sixth (or was it a tenth?) Red Stripe. "We'll prowl the bars in Castries and give the ladies of St. Lucia a try." He winked and nearly slipped out of his chair. "I hear they are very friendly down there." Silas had thought it was a very good plan last night. This morning his head pounded and he knew he'd be hanging over the lee rail before they'd cleared the harbor, but he kept his promises.
I'm off to the ortho to get my knee checked out. It's a lot better today so I'm hoping for some advice about strengthening and helping it to work better in the future. Wish me luck!
Monday, April 5, 2010
April 4--Bira Beach, Sulawesi. The wide stretch of pure white sand was smooth and unmarred by footprints. The thick stand of sea grape on the right provided the only shade and the tall palms held their green coconuts high out of reach. "If there's a freshwater spring nearby," said Theresa, "I might be tempted to stay right here." She turned to look down the beach the way they had come from the village. It was rare enough for Americans to come here that they had acquired a train of giggling children that followed them shouting 'Coca-Cola" and "Michael Jackson." You know what? This is terrible and I refuse to waste any more paper, pencil lead, and time on it. Good night.
As you can plainly see, I didn't have a lot of luck writing last night. Let's hope I have better luck with the submissions. Fingers crossed.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Forsythia! I know, I'm sorry. But that was a call and response between me and Mom when I was a very little girl. I've planted a forsythia outside every house I've ever lived in. I love the bright yellow blooms on the bare branches in the spring.
I love that my daffodils and hyacinths are merrily blooming this early in the year.
April 3--Bira Beach, Sulawesi. How can the scrawny trunks of the palm trees hold up the weight of the fronds, Leda wondered. She sat on the top of the last hill before the road began its downhill run to the beach. It had been a long, bumpy ride from the tourist area where all the hotels were clustered to this famous beach on the east end of the island. No one else had been willing to leave the comforts and familiarity of the resort so she had gotten directions from the young man at the desk, had rented a Jeep for the day, and got a lunch from the kitchen. Good thing she had grown up driving a standard transmission farm truck because the Jeep was a stick and it didn't have power steering. She found that out when she had turned out of the resort's entrance and nearly clipped off the side mirror when she didn't crank the wheel hard enough.
And that's all she wrote because she was falling asleep. Happy Easter, one more time.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
April 2--Awaji Island, Japan. Dancing on their slender stems like ballerinas, cosmos flowers in every shade of pink and white filled the view. "It's like an Impressionist canvas," Marie said, holding her camera up and taking image after image. "Oh, for God's sake, Marie," Will said, "you'd think you haven't seen a field of flowers before." Marie's hands dropped into her lap and the smile slipped off her face. For one moment she thought she might tell Will to shut up, or even to fuck off, but she kept her mouth shut and suppressed the manic giggle that threatened to erupt at the mere thought of saying the F-word out loud. When Will had come home and told her that he had won the trip to Japan in Amalgamated Industries' sales contest she had been torn. She loved to travel and had always dreamed of seeing Japan, but she knew that going with Will meant meekly sitting beside him while he held up his self-satisfaction at his achievements as a mark few of their fellow travelers, and certainly none of the foreigners they met, measured up to. Enduring Will's put-downs was getting harder and barely endurable as the years went by.
I think she should flash the camera in his face to blind him and then shove him off a cliff. Accidentally, of course.
Friday, April 2, 2010
April 1--Grand Anse, Grenada. The kids thought of the bay off the beach at Grand Anse as their private pond. They learned to swim in its calm waters on the lee side of the island. Their moms brought them down for lunch when they were smaller and the babies napped away the shady afternoons when the soft clatter of the breeze in the palm fronds overhead was all the lullaby they needed. By the time they were all in school they were allowed to be there alone. The moms had spent years camped there watching and came to realize that they really did watch out for each other, so gradually they stopped coming every day. Wars were fought on those sugar white sands, pitched battles plucked from the pages of old adventure stories and their history lessons. The tales told by the eldest people in town, tales of pirates and slaves and cannibals all were fodder for their games. More than one of the mothers wished that their children tackled chores around the house with half the enthusiasm they had for their beach games. After the last of the winter storms that had backed into Grand Anse bay roiling the water and sending waves washing further up the beach than anyone could remember, Julie and Leo were scouting the beach for anything worthwhile when they found a gray canvas bag half-buried in the sand above the usual high-tide line. They dug it out and with difficulty they opened the straps holding it shut. Neither of them was prepared to find the bag full of plastic bags filled with American money banded in thick bricks. "It's gotta be drug money," Leo said. "Yeah," said Julie, "but if we turn it in they probably won't give it back to us, and if we don't the police might think we're drug dealers." "Or that our parents are."
Sitting hurts. I think I'm headed for the couch and a date with an ice pack and a Motrin.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
I finished the toe of Neon Sock #2 at work this afternoon, even Kitchener-ing it there. Now that's focus. I like the wackiness of the colors of these socks even though they'll spend their life tucked into my boots and under my jeans, I'll know that my socks are wild colors and don't exactly match. Just another warming little feature I've built into the design. No one on earth will have socks like mine!
I can't remember the last time that the daffodils were blooming at Easter. Even though they're predicting showers for the weekend, I don't mind. I intend to spend most of tomorrow camped in the nice weather on the patio. I can haul my writing stuff out there and work just fine. Maybe the houseboy (houseman?) will bring me my lunch out there.
March 31--Palawan Islands, Philippines. Celeste loved the way her cottage on the beach looked nestled in a grove of palms at the base of the cliff. She relished the severe angle of the roof that shaded the front and the narrow porch where she greeted each day. Between the cottage and the cliff base was her tiny garden, and space for her to hang her laundry and park her bike. It didn't matter that she had to walk nearly a mile before she was able to climb aboard and ride. She came to like the gradual transition from walking to moving fast enough to generate her own cooling breeze. The turquoise sea lapped at the white sand nearly at her doorstep and she had grown accustomed to hosting the afternoon meeting of the local geckos. She didn't know if she had the most variety of bugs on and in her house but she was grateful for the little lizards who ate their weight in insects every day.
I wanna go there! Now! Oh, no, maybe tomorrow because I have writing tonight. Oop, how about on Saturday so I don't miss knitting tomorrow night? Yeah, that'd be good. You can come too, as long as you behave and don't talk to strangers.