Sunday, May 30, 2010

I Think I Might Be Done

I know. Too fast. But it's only about 1000 words. And a lot of them, most of them really, were told to me by other people who know much more than I do. I just wrote them down and rearranged them in what I hope is a pleasing manner. I'll get Jenny to read over them tonight when she gets home from work, give them one more good night's sleep, and then do the final rewrite tomorrow so I can send them off to the magazine guy on Tuesday. It was a challenge to downshift from fiction to fact, from story to article, from lies to truth, but I think I might have done an okay job. Oh man, I just realized, I need to send a photo and bio too. Well, that'll keep me occupied today. It's surprisingly difficult to write a bio and not sound like a complete and utter egotist. And a picture? Oy. Maybe I'll just go with my underwater self-portrait. Or the one of me writing on the Bonaire front porch. I'll consult with Durwood; he's a photographer and has a good eye for composition.

May 29--Moorea, Tahiti. You can see the white water of the waves breaking out on the barrier reef that protects the island. You can also see the bones of the wrecked sailboat that once belonged to Edouard and Kate and, when the waves are strongest,
across half the island you can hear the gong as Louie's trawler bashes itself on the coral boulders it ran aground on. There isn't a soul on this beautiful tropical island that hasn't been victimized by that treacherous pair of sea and reef. It looks so innocent, so beautiful in photos in slick magazines. Documentary and travel filmmakers cleverly cut their footage so that viewers dream of the tranquil shores. They don't show the violence of waves pounding on razor-sharp rocks. They don't tell of the way human skin sticks to the coral, rips away from bone so easily. No one explains how the wind conspires with currents to drive your dreams to death on the rocks in a typhoon and only the turbulence saves you from being shark food.

Oh, I liked the energy, the vehemence I felt from that narrator as I wrote it last night and I feel it again. Oooh, nice and angry. Happy Sunday!
--Barbara

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Here's A Little Yarn Hors d'Oeuvre

I confess, I haven't been knitting much this week. I spent all my energy being excited about being asked to write an article about The Clearing for Door County Living magazine, getting ready to go up there for a night to gather the info I needed to write it, and being up there gathering the info, etc. I got smart yesterday (for once) and didn't force myself to stay up there staring at my blank laptop screen. I acknowledged my "process" (pretentious enough for ya?) and came home to go to knitting and sleep on it. I finally came to accept that I need to mull the info over, that there seems to be some separate space in my brain where stories and such things go to arrange themselves for a while before I am able to put them down. I sat down at the laptop after lunch and grumbled my way through transcribing my notes, and by the time a couple hours had passed, I had the beginnings of an article. I typed and cut and pasted, printed it out to read through, got Durwood's feedback, and rewrote. I took a "weeding" break to deal with the invaders in the asparagus patch and that break helped too. Now that supper's over and the day's nearly done, I've gone over it another time, made a few more changes, and added my sources at the end. I'll let it cook overnight, revisit it, have my neighbor and writing friend, Jenny, give it the once over, but I think it might be done. I'll let it sit another day and do the final rewrite on Monday so that I can have it to the editor on time. ** I need to insert a disclaimer here: I can't often poop out a finished article so quickly. This one is short and about something I'm passionate on and know a lot about. Don't be too impressed, only a little.


This is the newly renovated Root Cellar at The Clearing. They turned it into a bathroom. It's what I wrote about.






Oh, the yarn. Like I said, I went to Friday Night Knitting last night and I worked on my Cartoons socks. I got to the heel and made some progress on it. I'm really liking how this is turning out. I just have to make sure to remember not to put the purl strips on the bottom of the foot. Ouch.

On Your Mark...

I've had a knit and a good sleep. I ate a nutritious, not fat-filled, breakfast. Next I'm going to get my nails done. What? They're too long and make mistakes when I type, so it's important to have them just right. Then I'll be back to this corner to continue working on my article. I must be getting to be a grownup because I didn't make myself crazy trying to write yesterday, instead I acknowledged my writing process and honored it. Now it better damn well pay me back for the consideration by being there when I ask it to perform in about an hour, that's all I've got to say.

May 28--Skye, Scotland. "Look, sweaters," Lyn said pointing out the window of the tour bus. Every head in every seat swiveled to look at the white scraps of sheep visible high up on the green hills of the Isle of Skye. This day was the one they had all been looking forward to, the day when they got to see the production of yarn from sheep shearing through carding, spinning, plying, and dyeing, to the actual knitting. Not that the seven women were unfamiliar with yarn and knitting. Far from it. All seven pairs of hands were even now busy with sticks and string, busy churning out another sock, hat, or glove. Despite the forty year spread in their ages, or maybe because of it, these women had laughed together, cried together, and held each other up through good times and bad. This trip to Scotland's Isle of Skye was their reward to themselves for all their years of friendship and the hobby that bound them so tightly together.

Last night at Friday Night Knitting Circle Em said that I should write a book, "a better book about knitting," than the one we've all read. She spent a half hour rolling out her reasons, making character-istic lists and urging me to get writing. I smiled and kept my mouth shut (I think that it'd be too copy-cat) but, lo and behold, there were sheep in last night's prompt picture, so I thought I'd take the plunge, at least for a paragraph or two. Here you go, Em.
--Barbara

Friday, May 28, 2010

Like A Gift

That's how I felt this morning at The Clearing. Mike, the director, invited me to have breakfast there before I began my rounds of meeting with an editor (magazine-variety) and interviewing sources for article info, so I was in the Lodge as this week's students arrived for breakfast. One of the classes this week was Poetry Camp which I have taken in the past, and there were 5 people there that I'd been in class with--plus the teacher Robin, of course. They were all so glad to see me, it was very gratifying. You know how you're never really certain how people perceive you? You think they like you, but in dark moments you wonder if they haven't just been being polite? Today, six separate times, I saw proof that I am liked. I wanted to step outside and go in again just to revel in the delight on their faces one more time. I'll never forget it. Remind me of this, will you, the next time I'm feeling down?

May 27--Kauai, Hawaii. The little white ball sailed far over the manicured green lawn, skipped across the jagged black lava rock shore, and plopped into a foamy wave. Hank stood and watched the spot where his golf ball had sunk as if expecting it to surface again. "That's a goner, my man," Bert said, clapping him on the back with a meaty hand. "Damn Nicklaus," Hank said. "Who designs a hole with a dogleg right by the ocean?" Not one of the other three answered. They'd all lost balls to Madame Pele's ravenous sister who ruled the seas around Hawaii. Hank was the most recent arrival on Kauai and didn't yet understand that you had to pay tribute to the sea goddess if you wanted to play with the big kids.

Time for beddie-bye. G'night.
--Barbara

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Detour

My life is taking a detour this week because I have been given an opportunity, a writing opportunity. For now I'm not going to be broadcasting the details (don't want to jinx it, you know) but suffice to say that I'm excited and nervous in turns and in about equal measure. I'm sorry to be missing the writing group meeting tonight, but I'll be there next week and I look forward to hearing what you all thought of my story that I submitted a couple weeks ago. Anyone who knows me knows that something really big has to happen for me to miss writer's. So, this is big. At least to me. More later.

May 26--Comoros. The launch from the ship putted into the bay and up alongside the stone pier jutting out from shore. This was always Clare's favorite stop on the cruise ships swing through this part of the world. Most of the ports tarted themselves up for the tourists, made themselves look more American, or at least made themselves conform to how they thought Americans looked or acted or shopped. She was tired of the smell of diesel and bad food, worse sanitation and hot asphalt that smacked her when she stepped ashore to lead a group on tour. She was tired of having to dodge pickpockets and time-share touts to shepherd her charges along. Comoros was different. Here the air was fresh, scented with flowers and salt, and it lifted her spirits. Here she could tell them about plants and animals that lived as they were meant, not as exhibits in a run-down, South Seas bazaar.

Not very inspired today. I'll do better soon. Really.
--Barbara

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Submit, Already!

Thanks to Barbara's catching enthusiasm, I've submitted 4 stories to 5 places this week, plus I finally got around to listening to "This Little Piggy" on the Liars' League site. Liars' League is a group in London that engages actors to do dramatic readings of stories once a month. I would have loved to be at the event, especially since for the February one (when my story was read), in honor of Valentine's Day they would have set you up with a date. But alas, London is just too far away. Anyway, the link for the story (Jennifer, are you still around? I know you asked for this a few times) is: http://liarsleague.typepad.com/liars_league/2010/02/this-little-piggy-by-jenny-arnold.html

When I was looking for places to submit some stories, I found that Mid-America Review has a contest for prose poems, short shorts (flash), and anything in between. The word limit is 500, but you can submit up to 3 on one entry fee (of $10). If anyone's interested, the deadline is fast approaching on June 1st. I don't know if I have anything of that length ready to go, but I'm going to take a look through my files! Guidelines are available at: http://www.bgsu.edu/studentlife/organizations/midamericanreview/fineline.html

See everyone but Barbara tomorrow!
Jenny

Creative But Not Yarn-y





I've been working on creative things the last couple days but more "playing outside in the dirt" creative than "sitting in the air-conditioned house writing and knitting" creative, because it's been uber-hot and humid so it'd be silly to stay indoors where it's comfortable, right? Tuesday's usually my day off so I spend it zooming around accomplishing things I don't do on work days.



Last week the Brute Squad enlarged our patio and I got around to prettying it up last weekend. It's just lovely and so much roomier.



Then yesterday Durwood and I went to Stein's to buy plants for our garden. He picked out 6 different tomato plants (6 is much more reasonable number of plants for my one Tomato Boy than the 7-9 he usually finagles me into buying), and I chose a third blueberry bush, 2 bell pepper plants, and 3 tiny celery plants. We collaborated on picking out "something viney" to grow on the fence in back of the garden. This year's winner is patty pan squash. We waited until nearly sundown to go out into the hot but finally shady backyard, get it all into the ground, and watered in. The only thing I want to add is a row of red and golden beets. Maybe on the weekend I'll get to it.



You can't imagine how glorious it smells when I'm sitting on the patio these days. The lilies of the valley are in bloom and the little wrens are busy making a nest in the birdhouse with the flamingo on it. I have a lovely, Durwood-made birdhouse hanging on the fence and a crab-faced one with a convenient hooked side for cleaning further down the fence, and where do the wrens nest? In the on-close-out, mainly decorative birdhouse I got from JoAnn's three years ago only because it had a pink (now greatly faded) bird on it, that's where. But we do enjoy listening to the babies cheep for worms and bugs and watching the mama and papa wrens zooming back and forth with food.

In!

We got the plants bought (nearly frying our brains in the afternoon sun) and (intelligently) waited until close to sundown to plant. Durwood showed admirable restraint and only bought 6 (six!) tomato plants. Good job, Dear! I bought a little 3-pack of celery plants. I've never grown it and want to see if I can. The cilantro almost expired (already!) but I saved it with a big drink of water. Hmm, maybe that's the problem, it's thirstier than the rest of the herbs. I'll keep an eye on it. Do you garden?

May 25--Kujuku Islands, Japan. Nina bent over the map, a look of fierce concentration on her face. "Ninety-nine," she took a breath and her hand froze in mid-air, "one hundred." A grown pulled down her dark brows and she shook her head. Kujuku comes from the Japanese word for "99" and there are way more than ninety-nine islands in the group, way more. Someone a long time ago must have looked at the big group of small islands and made a guess. "Too lazy to count," she said to the empty workroom, "and no one ever argued that there had to be more. Amazing." She had a vivid picture of a child counting "another and another," once he got past ninety the concept of more than one hundred was just too many to contemplate. Ninety-nine was a plenty big number, no need to keep counting.

What? I was hot, tired, and fried-brained last night when I lay down to do this. It's more than I expected and I kind of like it. So there.
--Barbara

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ow

My sunburn woke me up this morning. I don't like that, not one bit. I do have to be up anyway since I'm meeting Dusty and Julie to walk before it reaches ceramic firing temps again today. I'd like to order more moderate weather please, with a side of nighttime rain once I get my garden planted later today. Naturally I'll be frying while I do it, but this time I'm going to be smart enough to wear a shirt over my already burnt skin. See? I can learn. It just takes a few tries.

May 24--Pinney's Beach, Nevis. "Ya, mon, de coconut is de fruit of da gods." The rich laugh that followed those words rolled over the golden sand of the most perfect beach I'd yet been on. It was a relief to be on solid ground after a week on a bucking windjammer. We had jumped ship on Nevis after a storm-tossed week and rented a two room bungalow in the sea grapes just off the sand of Pinney's Beach. The view of St. Kitts from our screened porch was postcard perfect. Milo who ran the beach bar just down the way had long dreadlocks that he wore piled into a Rasta had and a perpetual grin. His warm, deep voice drew the ladies like bees to honey and his infectious laugh never failed to lift my spirits when it rolled up the beach. We spent our mornings out on the reef diving to explore the mysteries of the sea and the afternoons making sure that our lounge chairs were firmly anchored in the sand. I whiled away the weekend wondering if Milo needed a barmaid.

I could spend the next month on Pinney's Beach. Been there, loved that.
--Barbara

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cool!

Friday night I cast on the cuff of my next sock in Knit Picks Stroll Kettle Dyed in the Soot (discontinued, but it's black, there's always black) colorway. Funny how much skinnier US3s feel than 4s and how much thinner this yarn is. 6 ply vs 4 ply maybe? Sport vs. fingering, that I know for sure. Anyway, I finished the 2" of cuff yesterday and moved into the leg of the sock using Knit Picks Stroll in the Cartoons colorway. I also decided to use the "purl when ready" technique that I read about in the Big Book of Socks. You use it with short-repeat variegated yarn, pick one color, and when it shows up on your needle (NOT in the working yarn) you purl it. Naturally, I chose the red. When I got to the red stitches on the needles I purled them; there were more than I anticipated so the purl segments are long, more than a needle's worth, at first I wasn't sure if I liked it but now that I'm into it I'm liking it. Alot. It looks cool. What do you think?

Hot

Oh, man, did I fry my upper back yesterday. A friend came over with his dad's tiller and I tilled up the garden. I felt the sun beating down on my neck and thought about going in to get some sunscreen, but I knew if I put the tiller down John would pick it up and do the job, and I didn't want that. As he came around the corner of the house with the tiller he looked at me and said, "we had to pick the hottest day." "Yep," I said. Then he looked down at himself and said, "and my shirt is black." I wanted to say, "I didn't dress you" but I didn't. I sometimes can keep my mouth shut. So the garden's tilled and I planted the little herbs--basil, parsley, thyme, and cilantro. I fully expect the cilantro to die no matter how well I take care of it; my cilantro always dies. DS says he always figures his dies because it's embarrassed to be owned by a white person in northern Wisconsin, that it's used to living where it's hot and dry and the people are brown, not pasty white. Maybe the influx of Hispanics in town will enhance the atmosphere enough that our cilantro will survive? I'm thrilled that we've got a big Hispanic market around the corner from the dive shop so I can stop in to get different things like christophine and "sabor latino" yogurt with flavors like guava and mango. Plus the people are speaking Spanish, I love the music that's playing, there's all sorts of different foods to try, and it feels like a tiny vacation going in there. I'm a big fan of diversity, can you tell?

May23--Dingle Peninsula, Ireland. Standing on the high ground overlooking Coumeenoole Beach, the rocks look like they make a code. Maybe a cipher is a better word, or even a hieroglyph, for the regular arrangement of the stone that juts above the surface of the beach. Galen squinted his left eye and screwed up his mouth in concentration. The wind from the sea, cold and salty, tried to ruffle the pages of his sketchbook but he was wise to its tricks and kept his thumb on the corner. His firm grip on the stick of charcoal he drew with threatened to snap it, but he consciously relaxed his grip and watched the drawing take shape on the paper that was swelling and rippling in the cold, damp air.

I was tired and sunburned. That's my excuse for the lame-itude of that up there. But, hey, it's writing. That's a good thing, right?
--Barbara

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Escape to Door Co.

I kidnapped a friend this morning and forced her to go with me to Door Co. to walk the trails of my favorite place. She'd never been to The Clearing so I had fun showing her things that I forget to notice.
























I bought yarn. One skein. It's Trekking 6 Ply in the Sunset Multi colorway. More socks!






On the way home we stopped for ice cream, chocolate ice cream. It was a perfect day.

Escape

I kidnapped a knitting friend this morning to go to The Clearing to walk the trails. It was lovely. And we stopped for ice cream, chocolate ice cream on the way home.

May 21--Palau. You ride along on the dive boat in the early morning cool. The water is turquoise and shallow. You watch stingrays dart away and see the shadows of the boat shift as the angle of the sun shifts when you dodge around the Rock Islands. It's so peaceful, serene and green, you can't imagine anything bad happening in this idyllic place. Then your boat rounds an island and there's the evidence that war touches every place on earth. A Japanese ship, a hole torn in its hull, lies on its side half out of the water. It has been there long enough that corals and sponges have colonized it. Sea anemones with their resident clownfish have replaced the tools of war, but fifty years have passed since the last battle of that particular war and the scars are still visible, even in this place where nature thrives so lushly, the violence of men is slow to be converted to peace.

I loved Palau. I'd go back in a heartbeat if it wasn't so far away and there was no such thing as jet lag.
--Barbara

Friday, May 21, 2010

Socks On Fire


I focused on knitting the second sock at work this week and look what I had before bedtime last night. Finished socks! They please me, and they feel great on my feet. Love the color, like the pattern. I might be more partial to just plain socks knitted with colorful yarn so the yarn colors shine, but I won't be giving these away. These are MINE.




An old friend and a friend of his came over on Tuesday and made our patio bigger. There's a bit more work to be done today and then I can put it all back together so we can enjoy the new bigness of it. Thanks, JJ and Bruce, you make a lovely Brute Squad.

A Little Writer-y

By 6:15 last night three of the five members of the writing group had said they couldn't make it. Luckily Jenny checked her email and caught the third message, so she called me and suggested that we take a pass on the night since she had just finished mowing and was hot and sweaty--and naked. A little disappointed but tired too, I agreed. By the time I drove all 5 miles across town to the duplex that we share, she was at my door saying maybe we should go anyway because she had a story she wanted to revise and needed the discipline. Not wanting to drive back downtown, I suggested that we set up our writing on my patio since it was a nice night. That worked great; Jenny could have a beer and I could set up my laptop and tackle Rewrite #2 of The Seaview. So that's what we did. We worked for about an hour, then we batted a few ideas back and forth, and looked at the rest of the year's lines at The First Line, before saying goodbye around 8. Not a bad evening after all. And I think I might have a story idea for the last first line of the year. Yay! An idea!


May 20--Wild Goose, Glacier Park, Montana. The air was so still that the water in St. Mary's Lake was like glass. The jagged mountains surrounding the lake were perfectly reflected, so perfect that it gave her vertigo to stare at it. Jean didn't want to move, didn't want to be the one that set in motion the chain reaction that ruffled the branches and made wind ripples in the pristine scene. Even the clouds looked like they had been brushed, had the snarls smoothed out of them so that they lay lightly in the sky. The sharp-edged landscape looked like something out of a Tolkien story, and the little island out in the center of the icy waters of the lake looked like the place a wizard would live.


Now it's time to go out with shovel and hoe to chase the weeds out of the garden so that we can plant our veggies and herbs for the summer. Have a good Friday!
--Barbara

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dust

Last night after supper I spread what the nursery calls "screenings" and the Brute Squad calls "crusher dust" over the new patio blocks and swept it into the cracks, and then watered it in. I see that it's not a perfect job so I'll have to redo and redo until it's right. Tomorrow JJ, the head Brute, will come over and he and I will deal with the medium Tetons of soil and sod. It's good to have strong friends. Durwood commented that when it's wet the new blocks aren't the same color as the old cement slab. When I asked if he wanted the blocks taken out, he said, "no, fix the old stuff." Very funny. There will be no jackhammering to remove a perfectly good, uncracked cement patio, mister. He cracks himself up. But I think I'll keep him; he's a good sport about most of my hairbrained schemes.

I'm very excited to be going up to The Clearing with my knitting friend Dusty on Saturday to walk the shady trails and take pictures of blooming wildflowers. Maybe I can snag my muse who I am certain is lolling around up there rather than in my writing corner WHERE SHE BELONGS. Oh, sorry, I'm a bit out of sorts with the whole not-much-inspiration thing these days.

May 19--Maldives. It was the worst pier I had ever seen. Barely above the water, cracked and crooked, and sporting patches of greenish black crud that was slippery and smelled of equal parts salt and dead fish and old sweat socks. That pier, made of coral boulders badly cemented together, was still the site of one of my best vacations ever. Early in the morning just as the sun began to tint the clouds pink with dawn, the fishermen would tie up their shallow boats and sell their catch to the local women who waved to me sipping coffee on my porch as they went chattering past with their purchases. Once the fishermen were gone, the inter-island ferry would belch its way over the horizon with the day's mail and the workers for the resorts that line the leeward coast, natives of this island who worked off island would be there in their tidy uniforms and morning faces ready to board. Down the beach past the pier would trudge schoolchildren on their way to the building that did duty as school and church, and once a month it was the courthouse. By the time the last of the children had pelted by the dive boat would be tying up. I would be waiting, having witnessed the start up of the day from the porch of my bungalow nearby. They had warned me at the resort that the end bungalow might be too noisy and that the beach past it was too busy for relaxation, but I loved it. Loved the feeling of being a small part in the vital life of this backwater part of the world.

Raise your hand anyone who wants to be there with my right now.
--Barbara

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Dirt

The patio is in and (mostly) finished, I just need one more pail of crusher dust to sweep into the cracks between the pavers and I need to separate the sod from the soil on the tarps, where there are two medium-not-grand Tetons of what they dug out to make room for the pavers. If I had been home yesterday I could have been working on that right along with the patio expansion and then I'd have had a bunch of soil to backfill around the edges and some sod pieces to put on top to finish it off. Now I get to come home from work today and get to grubbing in the dirt. Because, of course, last night two shows we like to watch had near-the-thrilling-conclusion type episodes on so I was busy from 7 to 9 watching TV. It irritated the crap out of me that I was sitting there watching, and I know I could have taped them (yes, I said that right, we still tape things on videotape; I agree, we're Luddites), and I kept looking out the patio doors and frowning at the medium Tetons of dirt and grass, but for some reason I sat instead of dug. Sometimes I just don't understand myself.

May 18--South Island, New Zealand. The view of the sea from the road snaking along the top of Twelve-Mile Bluff was breathtaking but Charlotte didn't have time for sightseeing. She was too busy keeping to the correct side of the road, the left side, making sure not to drive off into thin air. She was driving fast, too fast for the unfamiliar car and road, not even considering the whole right-hand drive thing, but she had to get away from Hugo any way she could. At first she had been flattered at the fierce attention he paid her and every part of her life, but soon she began to feel as if he were a fungus that infiltrated everything around her. She felt as if her world were shrinking around her, squeezing her so that she could barely breathe. Last night had been the last straw. Hugo had ordered her to change her clothes before supper. He said she wasn't to wear pants, that it wasn't appropriate. She had called the restaurant to see if they had a dress code only to find Hugo's finger pressing down on the phone button, cutting her off. He had been livid that she would challenge him and had locked her in her room. She had cried first and then she had raged and then she had schemed. All night she lay away planning her escape. When he left for his golf game and left the door of her room unlocked she had abandoned all her things. She went down to the lobby, rented a car, and drove away. That was an hour ago and she still felt his breath on her neck. She caught a glimpse of the same gray SUV she had seen off and on since she left the resort. Surely it was just another tourist enjoying the wild coast and the endless blue sky.

When will women learn not to get involved with controlling men? When?
--Barbara

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Brute Squad

Two strong and not very silent friends are on their way over to do the grunt work of expanding our patio. I was hoping to be able to help but Mrs. Boss is out of town on Eastern Star business (Mr. Boss calls it "cross burning," I don't think they actually do that for real, but it sounds funny) so I have to work. Boo. I'd much rather get dirty and haul patio blocks or shovel gravel than sit in the dive shop waiting for someone to come in and buy something. I should have been a laborer instead of a girl. In my day (wow, that makes me sound old) girls weren't laborers, they were... well, they were ladies and you'd better bet that the twain never met. Now you can be both. Oh, here are the Brutes, gotta go.

I'm back. We went and bought the pavers, 18" squares in plain gray--45 of 'em, and I moved the birdfeeders, etc. off the patio, now I'm stuck at work while all the fun stuff's happening at home. Durwood's not a very good reporter and he likes to tease so phone calls aren't very satisfying. Guess I'll just have to wait until after 5 pm to see what's what. I did remember to ask him to take pictures of the process, not the dirty, sweaty men, just the digging, graveling, and paving. I'm excited to have more patio so we can sit out there and grill at the same time.

May 17--Jerba Island, Tunisia. It looked like a postcard or a movie set. Carole stood in the entrance to the resort grounds thinking it had been a huge mistake to come here. She was more the type to rent a bungalow or a studio, to shop in the local market, and ride her rented bicycle to explore the island than loll around a pool and eat in restaurants tree times a day. So far every staff member she had seen since she got out of the taxi out front could have come from Central Casting. She felt her shoulders tense at the thought of being trapped for five days in the artificially festive atmosphere here peopled by genetically engineered Tunisians so as not to offend Western sensibilities. She wanted a little dust, a little noise, and the sounds of bartering in the souk, not the three o'clock limbo contest and feeling she had to be sure she got a good spot at the swim-up bar for sundowners. She was going to strangle her sister Camille, who had arranged the trip. It was all too fake and Disney-esque for her tastes and she wouldn't hesitate to say it.

So, when you travel are you a Carole or a Camille? I'm a Carole; can you tell? I'd like to be a Camille sometimes but I get bored with the lolling and the dressing up for meals and the falsely peppy fun engineers or whatever those relentlessly cheery people at resorts are called. Ugh.
--Barbara

Monday, May 17, 2010

Happy Mother's Day Package! *edited to add*

*squee* It came! I didn't take a picture of the needles, we all know what they look like, they're Knit Picks Harmony straights in US 10 3/4 or 7.0mm--lovely, colorful, and pointy. But the yarn, look at the cool yarn I picked out.


This is Felici Sport in the Chimney colorway. I
think it's discontinued because I picked it from the "Last Chance" area and it's not there anymore. It is so soft, I can't wait to make socks with it. So soft.






This one is Stroll Hand painted in the Cartoons colorway. I intend to make the cuff, heel, and toe of the socks solid black to show off the gorgeous colors. Bright! Colorful!



I want to knit them all (the ones I got last month too)
all at once. I need more hands.

Thanks, DD, for the gift card and, you're right, sock yarn is like chocolate, addictive.


I saw the first hummingbird of the season at the feeder on Sunday while I was getting ready to grill the chicken breasts for supper. Yay!

P.S. I grabbed this photo off the web; I'm not nearly fast enough to snap one all by myself. But this is the kind we have, the Ruby-throated. Isn't he cute?



I Bet You Thought I Was Lost...

but I wasn't, I took a few days off to be in a bad mood, but I'm mostly over it now, so it's back to business as usual doing daily writing and posting.

Did you have a good weekend? The weather here was beautiful and spring-y, and I got the big weeds dug out of the garden. I bought some herbs at Stein's, and one big dark red dahlia I couldn't resist, so I'm hoping to dig or till this week and get them planted. I goofed and put the pile of newspapers from the last weeks out for the recycling on Tuesday and so I don't have enough to use as groundcover in the garden but I can get Mom's I'm sure. We won't be ready to plant until next weekend at the very earliest anyway so I can collect them in the meantime.

May 16--Kizhi Island, Russia. Stefan pressed himself into the shadow alongside the gatehouse set in the wall around the memorial. He glanced up and behind him at the putty-colored onion domes of the Church of the Victory over Sweden thinking what a stupid name it was for a beautiful building. Socialists are always such creative types, he thought. The domes looked like an Escher lithograph of cascading shapes, one emerging from the other. Way too modern looking for something built nearly three hundred years ago. He listened to the loud American tourists straggling back to their tour bus. Their pace was slow and erratic, not fast and focused like the bald guy who had been chasing him all across Asia since Stefan had been unlucky enough to see the thug plunge a knife into a man he had pinned in the corner of a gallery in Moscow. Stefan wanted to tell the bald man, who looked like Mafia, that he wasn't stupid enough to even tell the authorities what he had seen, but he was too afraid to let himself get too close for fear that the bald thug would kill first and talk later. Better to keep running and hope to slip away in a crowd and be safe. Maybe he could blend into the tourists...

Not bad, not great, but not bad. Enjoy your day even though it's Monday.
--Barbara

Sunday, May 16, 2010

An Excess of Inspiration

Last time I posted I couldn't think of a title, this time I can think of three. I'd like my inspiration to be a bit more regular and even, thanks.

For the "What a Heel!" portion of this post, I give
you Socks on Fire sock #2. I knitted the heel flap and turned the heel at work yesterday--because I had all of one customer in 6 hours. One! Good thing I can watch Netflix on the computer (if the sound card decides to cooperate, that is).









In the "Not So Much..." portion, we have the frogged remains of Fish Net Scarf #2. I realized that it just wasn't turning out like I wanted it to so I took out the needle and tugged. There's something strangely satisfying about pulling that piece of string and having
all your carefully wrought stitches disappear. I pulled out my US13 needles and am giving the pattern, and yarn, one more chance. If it isn't right this time I'm going to give Zoe's lace shawl pattern a whirl, see how that one likes the yarn.






And finally in the "Ahh, That's Better" segment, I decided to crochet around three sides of the warshrag with dark brown to kind of finish it off. I understand that it's just a warshrag but I do want it to look pleasing. What if we have guests and I want that to be their warshrag, huh? It needs to look... finished.


So there you have it, what could have been 3 separate posts all in one. I'm just not in the mood to stretch them out.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Got My Submission Ready...

It's my turn to hand out a manuscript to the group so I spent last night trying to make a story I've been working on for 3 years into an acceptable shape to give them. It's been rejected twice so I think it's time to revisit it and see what else I can do with it. I don't want to abandon it, it's one of my favorites, but I've either got too much of it or not enough. I look forward to hearing what the Crazy Writing People think of it in this incarnation. And I want to dig around the 'Net to find an exercise since we're easing into a new rotation with new members so we're not into in full swing just yet. I think as the instigator I should be responsible for bringing something, but I'm saying right here and now, in two weeks when we're fully into the new rotation leadership will pass from member to member and I won't be "the mom" every week. Cross my heart. It's hard for me to let go and it's hard for the others to take the reins, but I have faith that we can all do it. I need to make sure to say that tonight.

May 12--Darwin Island, Galapagos. Kai struggled to keep his chin above the churning water. With depressing irregularity the waves crashed over his head, driving him below the surface, filling his nose, ears, and eyes with burning salt water. He was so cold. He had foolishly thought that the waters of the Galapagos were warm; they weren't. The current traveled clockwise up the coast of Asia to the Arctic, then it plunged down the west coast of North and most of South America shedding heat as it went and the nutrient-rich water that made the islands so biologically rich came welling up the sides of the islands from the cold depths. His thin wetsuit, barely suitable for snorkeling off the cruise ship, was no match for prolonged immersion. He didn't know how long he had been in the ocean. The current was pushing him into the storm's maelstrom and he was powerless to swim out of it. Soon he would pass through the rocky arch he could just see through the spray, and he knew that he was a diminishing speck in the vastness of the roiled water. No one would find him unless he suddenly caught on fire.

Huh.
--Barbara

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Well, Hell

I spent a lot more time walking, then knitting, then with Durwood on an errand and baking cupcakes than I did on writing stuff yesterday but that's okay. I've got my flashdrive in my pocket and can work on my story at the dive shop today. I'm guessing that the lower temps and general dreariness will afford me plenty of time to edit and rewrite at work. *sigh* I sure do wish we had more customers. More customers makes the day go much faster. But then again, wasn't I just complaining that the days go too fast? Make up your mind, Barbara!

May 11--Ifugao, Philippines. "For the past two thousand years, rice has been planted in the paddies that terrace up the mountains." The droning voice of the tour guide was devoid of inflection. "She could be replaced by a robot, easy," said Clyde to Mabel, not bothering to keep his voice down. We were on the fourth day of a fourteen-day boat and motorcoach tour of the Philippines and if I had to spend one more day listening to Clyde complain about things I was going to snap and end up ripping his tongue off its roller and tossing it out the window. Clyde was one of those people who knew everything there is to know about nearly everything, and a had an opinion about everyone. All knowledge that he doesn't hesitate to share with everyone within earshot. Miss Choi, our guide, already had developed a glazed look whenever she was unfortunate enough to be dealing with him. Mabel seemed to have developed a sort of selective hearing where her husband's trumpeted opinions were concerned. I needed to switch seats with someone so I was farther away from ground zero.

Eh.
--Barbara

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Stuff (I couldn't think of a snappy title for this post)


This was the view out the patio doors on Saturday morning. Saturday, May 8th for those keeping track. That's the remnants of 1 1/2" of snow we got overnight. It didn't stay long but, still, snow in May? Thanks, but no thanks. On a happier garden note, the lilies of the valley are beginning to bloom.








It's been a slow week for knitting; our DS and DIL came to visit on Wed. night so they could apartment hunt. Naturally I spent time visiting and cooking and visiting and laughing and visiting and staying up too late, and I neglected my yarn duties.



I worked a bit on Socks On Fire sock #2...







and added a few repeats to the Sea Foam Scarf...








this morning
after walking in the mall (it was rainy and cold--boo) I visited with Dusty and finished Car Knitting Warshrag #3. Now I have to get more cotton up from the dungeon and cast on another one. I can't tell you how many times I have grabbed that little project bag out of the door pocket of the car to go into a repair shop or medical office. It's a lifesaver when I'm coming home from writer's or work and the bridge goes up, and I get funky colored washcloths out of it. I think I'll crochet a brown border around this one to finish it off.




Sunday was Mother's Day and I got the best gifts. DS and DIL gave me a card good for an all-expenses paid lunch and giraffe feeding expedition when they've moved home. Squee! (This little beanie giraffe was a gift from KnittyZoe, the yarn whisperer, after our knitters' visit to the zoo where I introduced them all to the joys of giraffe feeding. Thanks again, KnittyZoe.)

DD sent me a Knit Picks gift card so I can get more of their colorful and pointy Harmony needles. Double squee!!

Durwood gave me a lovely card (sniff) and a funky spatula for scooping out t
he last of the catsup in the bottle.

It was a lovely day that actually extended over 3 days. Thanks, family, you're the best!

Wet Socks

Mmm, there's nothing like having on wet socks, is there? I didn't think I stepped in any puddles this morning but I must have, and we can use the rain, even though I had planned to weed the garden and rent a Mantis tiller to get ready to plant later this month, but I can take a day of staying dry and clean and working on a story. The knitters want me to bring a story or a chapter to read to them on Friday nights and I think I will. It's rather flattering that they're so eager to listen.

May 10--Cephalonia, Greece. "There must be a storm out to sea," Robert said. He stood on the headland overlooking the harbor. Maddy looked at the blue water lapping at the sandy beach so far below. "Why?" He pointed. "Look at the way the sand swirls in the bay." He moved his hand like he was stirring a great cauldron. "See how it draws it up from the bottom? It looks like cream poured into coffee. I think a storm must be what makes it move like that." They wanted to get down to the beach but the only paths looked too steep. "An island made for goats," Robert said with a curl of his lip. He had a negative comment about every place they had visited but Maddy knew that his opinion would be totally different once they were home and he was bragging to everyone about their "cruise through history."

I had such a different idea when I started writing and it just fell apart. That was one of those nights when I tell myself as I snuggle down to sleep, well, at least I wrote.
--Barbara

Monday, May 10, 2010

Submit One

I did. Submit a story, I mean. I'm trying to submit one story a week, trying to find places to send these things that I work on, words that I struggle to arrange in a pleasing order, an order that pleases someone other than me. I've got one about 6500 words long that I'm working over (yeah, that's what I mean to say, working over, like a methodical beating in a police procedural) and I just am not happy with it. I have more info I could put in it but I don't know how logical it is; I took it out and now I think I should shove it back in. Gah. *pulls hair* Why didn't I take up something simple like nuclear physics?

May 9--Santa Rosa Island. It looked like a watercolor, Jean thought, one, by one of the Wyeths maybe, of dunes and sea oats and blue sky. The shreds of clouds out on the horizon highlighted the difference between the light blue sky and the deep blue ocean. She smelled the salt, its crisp iodine smell prickled in her nostrils. The wind-blown sand made her squint which also softened lines to watercolor's imprecision. She appreciated this corridor of calm between the baking hot parking lot and the beach crowded with families and blaring radios. Winter was the best time to be there, when the wind carried a hint of a chill that drove all but the most determined beachgoer away. Jean came every day no matter the weather just for the five minutes of peace the walk over the dunes provided. She relished the sight and sound of the waves, their rhythm reset her inner metronome to a tempo that soothed her, kept her devils at bay, but it was that short walk between the fragile fences that kept her from straying off the path where she felt connected to the universe.

Another Monday, another week flying by. I know it's an old person's lament, but I want time to slow down. The days pass so quickly I barely notice them. And when did the hours get so short that the morning's over before I can get any traction and the afternoon is a mere moment? The speed of it all makes me dizzy. I long for slow hours of repose and contemplation, but can't seem to attract them. And I want to bake cupcakes.
--Barbara


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

To my mom, to me, and all the moms out there in blog-land. Most of the time being a mom is the coolest thing I could ever imagine being. Our kids have gone to visit her mom before driving back to MKE where they'll catch their flight back to Spokane, then drive tomorrow morning back to Missoula, to pack up their stuff into a big U-Haul (which her parents have begged to be allowed to fly out and drive back) and move home in 3 weeks to save up so they can buy a house. DS is very excited about the job change too. Right now he's brewing big batches of beer for Big Sky Brewing where he isn't involved in every step, but his first love is making the beer from beginning (even writing some of his own recipes) to end and the job at Titletown will let him do that. Plus he'll be working normal hours and be able to have an actual life. And they'll live within striking distance of both parents' houses for free laundry and meals. What's not to love? I think my favorite part of the visit was that we got the lion's share of time with the kids. Usually it's the wife's family that they spend more time with, and most of the time I'm good with that. I mean I'm the mom of the husband and I totally understand that traditionally we get the shorter end of the stick, but this time, this one time we got to see them more because of their short visit and the need to see as many places as possible in that limited time. We're all looking forward to being able to spend more time with them when they live here. It's all good.

May 8--Santa Rose Island, Florida. Two lengths of fencing stand parallel making a path across the sand dunes from the parking lot with its acres of cracked asphalt and ranks of cars glinting in the sun to the beach where the occupants of the cars bask and bake. Noise and heat rule either end of the path but in between those fragile pickets it's different, quiet. One hundred transitional yard where the breeze cools overheated skin and the sound of the waving grasses soothes away cares.

Sorry it's another short writing but again I was very tired and could barely stay awake to write. Now that the kids have left I promise I'll go to bed earlier with more time and energy to write. I promise.
--Barbara

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Saturday Slugs

We've sat most of the day visiting with each other and doing nothing. It's been sort of refreshing not to have to zoom around accomplishing things. Tonight we're taking Mom out for supper at Tony Roma's. Mmm, barbecued ribs and that cornmeal pudding stuff. Mmm. Bye-bye diet--for tonight anyway. I've been taking the week off eating a lot of the wrong things, but I'll get back on track pretty soon. Monday probably.

We have a white cedar Adirondack chair on the patio and the local wasps and hornets come and munch off little strips off the gray surface of it to make their nests. It's very disconcerting to be the one sitting in it when they're coming around because you think that they're trying to attack you, but they're not. We were wondering if there's something to put on the wood to discourage them. Anybody got a clue?


May 7--Martinique. The mist was all wrong. Laurel expected to smell pines and to feel the cool of early morning in the north woods of her Midwestern home town. Instead there was the salt tang in the air and the warm promise of daytime heat rising to near ninety. She set her alarm to wake her in the early morning. She had come to crave being up and out on the beach to witness the sunrise. Her creativity seemed to grow with the light and she would pause in her walk along the beach to scribble ideas on index cards that she folded around a golf pencil and tucked into her pocket.

Sorry it's so short, I was very tired last night and could barely keep my eyes open to write.
--Barbara

Friday, May 7, 2010

Drizzle?

Who ordered this? Not me. I'm fine with cool, windy, and sunny; cold, windy, and drizzly with a chance of nighttime snow? That earns an unequivocal "NO." The kids think they've found the perfect apartment but are seeing the last 2 today (just in case one's better), so their visit was successful and that leaves them a couple days to visit and relax, because God knows the rest of their month isn't going to be relaxing what with packing and moving home from Montana in it. I'm not settling down to any writing work to speak of with them here, so I plan to submit one flash today or tomorrow and call it a week. Maybe I'll get DS to read the story I plan to submit next week or maybe I can read it to them tomorrow, hearing it will help me rework it. That counts as writing work too, right? Right.

May 6--Mageroya, Norway. The light turned from yellow to pink and the dark came crowding in from the left. The dark gray rocks were bare and broken in the cold light of the dying autumn. Even the sea lay quietly between the headlands that sliced the North Sea into manageable chunks along this coast. Rolf liked this time of year. He felt the hubbub of the summer, hurrying to make use of the warmth and the light, pass out of everyone, and the calm of the long winter descend. Winter was when he had time with his carving tools, time to tease out from the summer's driftwood the little creatures, the seals and birds, that he sold in the shops and at the market near the quay in summer.

I liked the stark beauty of this northern landscape. Stay warm today.
--Barbara

Thursday, May 6, 2010

We Have Kids!

Our son and daughter-in-law arrived late last night so we have sleepover guests for the next few nights. They're in town from Montana apartment hunting in preparation for moving "back home" at the end of the month so our son can brew beer at a brew pub in town, which is all part of moving toward their ultimate goal of opening a brew pub of their own. I'm hoping they'll let me be hostess or fold napkins or something in my old age. I'm also going to Home Depot to take advantage of their 5/$10 perennial sale. More lilies and iris! Yay! But because of our company I won't be at writer's tonight. Boo. I'll miss it but I'll be back next week with my critique of Jenny's story and my own to submit.

May 5--Grand Canary Island, Spain. Carved and shaped by the wind, the Maspalomas dunes reminded Rema of a kind of sculpture. Like a Calder mobile any puff of wind changed the look of them. She stood with the sun at her back watching her shadow lengthen, seeing the ripples in stark white and black. Fascination took hold and she couldn't tear herself away. Every day of her holiday she walked away from the shore and into the dunes. She walked up and down the shifting slopes, her leg muscles burning, seeing the dunes from every angle. A rain storm blew over pelting the sand with large drops that pocked the thirsty grains turning them a darker color. She was most intrigued by the constant movement of the grains into her footprints, how they began to disappear as soon as they were made. The fleeting evidence of her presence on the island made her feel lighter, as if she were a wraith, a phantom, the mere suggestion of a person.

Oh, that's a feeling I want to explore more. Enjoy your day; I'll be out digging holes in the dirt.
--Barbara

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Zoom...Screech...

I confess, I didn't write last night. I stayed up late watching a movie instead. Then I nearly forgot that I had a haircut appointment this morning before work so I raced into some clothes and zoomed across town to the salon. Once I got here and opened the store, it's been very quiet; my day came to a screeching halt, except for the pair of dive buddies who just brought me six tanks to fill. Thanks, Ray and Dennis! Durwood just called asking me to stop at the Hispanic market not far from here to get some chocho for supper. Mmm, yum, I love chocho and carrots. Chocho's a kind of squash usually called chayote in Hispanic markets but we learned to love it in Anguilla where it's called chocho or christophine. It's pale green, shaped like an avocado, and the flesh looks like zucchini but it's firmer, like carrots. You peel it with a carrot peeler, cut out the big seed/pit, slice it, and steam it in the micro with an equal amount of carrots. That's the main way we eat it but you can put it in all kinds of other things too. We're always happy to find another vegetable. I shoved my notebook in my backpack to bring along to work but neglected to put in the island calender page so I trolled my brain and decided to follow the Pens Fatales lead from last week and write about a garden. I didn't get very far but at least I got words on a page.

May 4--Old Garden. Maren moved into the old Clemmons house on a chilly day in early spring. She had bought the place on a whim when it went up for sale after the last spinster Clemmons daughter passed away over the winter. Maren had loved the old Victorian house with its wrought iron fence and tall trees for years. She had been amazed at the reasonable price and the fact that no one else bid on it. Now it was hers. She spent a few weeks unpacking cartons of books, dishes, and linens and trying to make her meager belongings fill the spaces. Each day the awakening of the gardens around the house lured her to abandon her cleaning and arranging in the stuffy house to be outside watching the pink noses of peonies nudge aside last autumn's leaves and the curls of ostrich ferns unfurl.

Now I've got a guy in the changing room wrestling his way into and out of some wetsuits (trying on wetsuits is a bit like aerobics class without music) so I should really wrap this up.
--Barbara

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Here, BirdieBirdieBirdie!





Durwood called the bird lady yesterday and she told him that the hummingbirds and orioles are on their way back, so he made up some birdie juice and I got the feeders out this morning.





The lilacs are in bloom. You wish you were here to smell them.








Look what I picked! And it was yummy too. I don't share those, no, I don't.










And in knitting news, I'm waaay happier with the way the Fish Net scarf is turning out with the Silk Bamboo yarn. Very smooth and soft.

It Feels Odd

...to be at work today, but I'm managing. I did meet Dusty and Julie this morning for our walk and was just about on time to open the store (only 2 minutes late, shhh, don't tell Mrs. Boss), so that was good. I was full of energy when I woke up this morning, don't know why. I dusted the living room, took the bay leaf bush, the primroses, and the boot planters outside, hung up the hummingbird and oriole feeders (here, birdiebirdiebirdie!), and still had time to eat before driving to the trail to walk. Today there were five goslings and a whole host of pelicans waaaay up high. Tres cool.

May 3--Oahu, Hawaii. The wind was always blowing. There was the constant clatter of palm fronds tossing and the low hiss of shifting sand. With the sounds of the sea in the background Leah thought she might go mad. At night as she lay in bed, the day's heat creaked as it left the wooden house and the night insects and frogs set up a buzzing, cheeping chorus that was an entirely new level of crazy-making. If she kept moving it was better, running the little vacuum over the tiled floors was the best defense, even if there wasn't any dirt to suck up. She had worn out two iPods and another off-brand mp3 player playing books night and day. Not music. The regular rhythms of music made it worse. The loud wind in the trees and the sea sounds would coordinate themselves with whatever music she chose until the notes clogged her veins, paralyzing her. No, words were what she needed, nice solid words, hired voices piped directly into her jangled brain via candy-colored earbuds that she bought by the cartload at the local electronics superstore.

And you thought the sound of the wind in the trees was soothing, didn't you?
--Barbara

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sore Feet

That's what I have from my walk on the unpaved trail, but I don't mind because it tells me that I've been up and about not parked on my duff all weekend. I do think I'll change out of my cute shoes into some tennis shoes though, just to give my calves and feet a break today. I want to wear the cute shoes though, I really do, but walking down the hall helped me change my mind. And I have to quit whining and get this writing posted so I can go off to work; it's payday today, you know.

May 2--Sidemen, Bali. This was where the three rivers came together. This was where the water from three different mountains mixed. Protected by the looming black green peaks the valley was a place of peace. Loa lived with her granny by the north river just above where it forced its way through the tumbled boulders from a long ago earthquake. Their small patch of fertile soil let them grow a little taro and vegetables, but their focus was on the rice paddy just above their stilt house in the open sunlight. Each day before dawn Granny stoked the fire, letting the smoke chase away the night bugs and send the little geckos skittering noisily deep into the thatch. She would prod Loa with her foot as she left to visit the privy so that by the time she climbed the ladder the tea was on the boil and there was enough bread and cold rice with a bit of fish to keep hunger at bay while they worked the morning away.

Not much story but nice setting up, I think. I'll come back to this.
--Barbara

Sunday, May 2, 2010

And I Didn't Even Have To Stay Up Too Late


Last night after supper I sat myself down on the couch, turned on HGTV (I'm a sucker for House Hunters International), and cast on the second Socks On Fire sock. I can't say enough positive things about the pattern and the yarn, and the colors make me very happy. It's a win-win-win situation.

Where Eagles Soar


My knitting friend, Dusty, and I went walking on a newly discovered (by us) trail out by the bay. It's a Nature Area so the trail isn't paved and the only "amenity" is a green painted wooden bench about 100 yds. down the first part of the trail, oh yeah, and a parking lot. Walking out we saw lots of Redwing blackbirds and robins, and a flight of 8 white pelicans. We even got to climb over a gigantic tree that had fallen across the trail in the last week's wind (we assume). On the way back we saw a pair of bald eagles soaring way way way up high but I saw their white heads and tails so I'm sure that's what they were. It was harder than walking on the paved Fox River trail but it was a wonderful walk out away from civilization. An excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon. We were both so glad I found it.

May 1--Sidemen, Bali. The sun reflected off the surface of the water in the rice paddies. Rae knew that frogs and snakes lived in that water, she had seen them, not too close up, but the water was so still that it didn't look real. Tucked into the river valley like they were, the capricious tropical storms blew past for the most part. Rae was convinced that the suffocatingly thick humidity made the valley air so dense that the wind couldn't move it. Sure, storms blew in lashing at the trees and ruffling the water in the paddies but most of the time it was so still she almost felt like she was growing mold on her skin.

Now that's humid. Make the most of the rest of your day!
--Barbara

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Can You Believe That It's May 1 Already?

Who is in charge here? Someone is twirling the days by so fast that my calendar looks like a flip book. It's not me, that's for sure, I'd like to go back to having 24 hours in my days, thanks. In honor of the warmer weather I've put the Khaki Cardi in timeout for the time being and I swear (cross my heart) that I will cast on the second Socks on Fire sock TODAY even if I have to stay up until midnight to do it.


Last night at Friday Night Knitting Circle I frogged my first stab at the Fish Net scarf and started again using bigger needles (10.75 US) and smaller yarn (Patons Silk Bamboo in Bark colorway), also I cast on 10 fewer stitches because the first attempt seemed too wide. Now that I think on it the thinner yarn's making it look about the same width as a necktie so I may find myself frogging the, what, six rows I have OTN and start once again with the requisite 35 sts. I'll take a long hard look at it before I go any further.




I finished Durwood's replacement hat the other night. The man has the biggest head, one of those deceptive heads that's big without looking big, but could have enough of its own gravity to keep a satellite happily orbiting. Just kidding, honey, I'm happy to make you a new hat anytime you'd like. Gotta keep my personal chef warm and happy.




The apple trees in the parking lot behind our house are blooming this week. They look
so pretty and they give us lovely applesauce apples every fall. The tulips are blooming this week too, at least the ones that the $%#&* squirrels haven't bitten the tops off of are.

Glorious Sunshine

Okay, so it's not crummy outside to keep me inside, but I'm determined to get some submitting done today before I go outside to play with the weeds in the garden. Writing work first, dirt-y work second. I want to totally annihilate the weeds before I rent a Mantis tiller to work in the bags of Miracle Gro Garden Soil we got to try and revitalize our worn out garden soil. Anybody know how to make veggies grow and kill weeds at the same time? Yeah, me neither, but I'm going to give it a shot again this year. Maybe I'll see how landscape fabric works... I've got some in the garage. I just hate the idea of covering up the soil so it can't breathe. Maybe I'll just stick with laying down newspaper in layers and piling on lawn clippings for mulch, but that might be the genesis of some of the garden weeds. Why am I not rich enough to hire a gardener and able to reap the rewards without all the work? I so deserve that. Oh, yeah, writing. Here you go...

April 30--Brac Island, Croatia. There was barely a square yard of sand on Zlatni Rat that wasn't covered by a body, a beach towel, or a lounge chair. Gloria picked her way over and around more middle-aged, Middle-European flesh exposed to the watery sunshine than she had ever dreamed of seeing. She had never imagined that she would live someplace other than the United States, much less that she would meet and marry a Croatian soccer player at her small college on the other side of the state from her childhood home, or that her new husband would get a job back in his home country of Croatia. Doesn't everyone want to live in the US? No one had ever heard of the country except for other Croatians and a handful of geography nerds. Things had happened to fast, there was the wedding, the honeymoon, and boom, here they were living in a country she still had trouble finding on the map. As she waited in their tiny apartment waiting for her husband to come home and take her to the market she wondered how she had ended up here and, on her darkest days, how much she really loved Tico anyway.

Well, that's a mess, isn't it? See? Writing's not all sunshine and flowers, sometimes it's tangled words and lame ideas.
--Barbara