Friday, September 30, 2011

Practice Post #4

When I was making those collage postcards the other day I realized that I was running out of old stamps and didn't know how many postcards I have on hand. So on my pre-prep errands yesterday I zoomed around to pick up holds at the Library, check out Goodwill's bookshelves to see if they had any I couldn't live without, stopped at the Book Stop where they did have what I was looking for (and more!) so I spent part of my credit there, and finally I went around the corner to the Green Bay Stamp Shop. I bought all my current stamps from him and he's got a lot of old, low postage ones from around the world. I kind of went nuts. But I only spent $18 and it'll last me for years and year, plus look how pretty.



The book in the upper left of the photo is Nick Bantock's Urgent 2nd Class with his suggestions on what to use and how to repurpose ephemera to make collages, etc. Fanned out across the bottom of the photo are my remaining postcards. I can get by with them for a while. Maybe I'll find some cool ones on our jaunt next week. I'm sure Durwood won't mind stopping in yarn shops and antique stores. He's a good sport.

There. That's Done.

And I am home in one piece with half a dozen color (color!) snapshots of my squeaky clean innards. I sort of wish I'd been given one of the amnesia drugs for drinking that vile, too sweet "prep" medicine also. Yesterday afternoon wasn't so bad, 5 AM this morning we will not speak of. Suffice to say I held my nose to get part of it down. I considered breaking down into tears and chickening out but then I realized that I was through the bad part and would only have to start at the beginning again if I did. I was able to order a snack for afterward--ice water, not-bad coffee, and 2 cello-wrapped, vending-machine-grade, chocolate chip cookies. People, there's not one person in hospital food service who could dedicate a couple hours to making actual homemade cookies? Please. Maybe when I'm retired I'll make that my mission: to have decent post-procedure cookies for patients. It isn't hard at all to make big batches of tasty cookies, what is the matter with them? Now I'm headed for a short nap, a bacon cheeseburger lunch, and an afternoon of packing for our escape tomorrow. Woohoo!

September 29--Joseph Mallord William Turner, Venice, from the Porch of Madonna della Salute. It's the light that makes it. You stand here and soon you forget all the curd that's in the canals, all the things people have thrown in them over the years. All you're aware of is the light. Even on cloudy days there's a luminous quality to the city. Every spark of light glitters on the waters, magnifies itself, teeters right on the edge of refracting into a rainbow. Judith was fully aware of the dangers of the light in Venice. She was immune to the dark-lashed eyes of Italian men but the light today threatened to melt her resolve like ice in spring sunshine.

I think it might be nap time. Durwood's throwing in a load of wash and then he'll get some burgers for lunch at Burger King (he's got a coupon).
--Barbara

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Practice Post #3

The subject of today's post is Random Creativity. Years and years ago I fell in love with Nick Bantock's Griffin and Sabine books. I loved essentially reading someone else's mail and I loved the surreal element of his art style. I'm not much of an artist in the painting and drawing area but I can cut out and glue with the best of them. I buy old unsent postcards (13/$10) from a local antique shop and old cancelled stamps ($.01 ea.) from the stamp shop in an old mall a few blocks away. I found some sticker books at the School House with spiders and lizards and other oddball stickers. I put them all together like this,

and mail them off to my kids and friends who I think might need a pick-me-up.

Yesterday I remembered that I have a packet of sticky
postcard backs meant to turn snapshots into postcards, so I dug them out along with all the old stamps, cut-apart stock photo books I bought at Goodwill year before last, and an envelope of art paper scraps, took them to work with me, and made some collage postcards. They aren't as rigid as standard postcards but I really like them and had fun making them. I have the best job in the world!

More Red Leaves, Less Dog Hair


And that's just fine with me. I'm happy to be off work today--so I can get my oil changed, mow the lawn, and clean out my colon for my first-ever colonoscopy tomorrow. Aren't you thrilled to know that? (Hey, I just blurp out whatever's rolling around in my brain on here every morning so you get what you get.) I managed to avoid getting one in my 50th year but at my check up last week Dr. Magnin gave me "that look" so I caved and let her nurse make an appointment. The good news is that on Saturday Durwood and I are packing up our old kit bags--and his oxygen paraphernalia and my knitting and writing stuff--and heading out to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to enjoy the fall colors and spend some time together away from home. We both need the break since we didn't get to go to Yellowstone in August due to his nasty, all-summer-long bout with pneumonia. I'm calling next week a consolation prize. I fully intend to be consoled spending long hours gazing at gorgeous scenery, walking along the Lake Superior shoreline, and listening to the corny jokes and puns of my beloved. I can't wait.

September 28--Turkey, Textile Fragment. Lila ran her finger down the gold lines in the cloth over and over. Nana Mary's curtains were her favorite. The vivid red and gold design of flowers, leaves, and vines flowed over the fabric in a rhythm like water flowing or music. When the windows were open and the breeze made the curtains dance it looked to her as if they were alive. She told Nana Mary that she wanted a dress made out of the same fabric and Nana Mary and Mama called her "Scarlett" for one whole summer. She couldn't figure out why, but they both chuckled when they said it.

Okay, that's it for you. I'm off to have my oil changed. And it better not be raining when I get back (even though it looks like it might be) because I need to mow before we go. Dudes.
--Barbara

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Practice Post #2

Yesterday I decided that I should probably practice for Blogtoberfest, to get into the groove of finding something to snap a photo of, something fascinating to blog about, so that when the fest kicks off on Saturday October 1st I'll be cocked and primed, up and at 'em, ready, willing, and mable. Something like that. So here's today's contibution.



I look out the window by my desk in the corner and there's a nice big maple tree there. I noticed last weekend that the leaves have started to change colors. The leaves at the tips of the branches are a rich deep red, almost maroon, but the green leaves have changed too. Not their color yet, but they're a more solid green, not as translucent as summer green leaves, like their natural under-color is beginning to assert itself. I'm not thrilled that all this change and beauty will lead us to the deep freeze of winter in no time flat, but I do love the crisp days and the flamboyant colors of the leaves as they kiss summer goodbye.



Despite my best intentions I've cast on another scarf. I think it was a Free Knitting Pattern a Day one from a couple months ago that interested me enough to print it off. Then I found some silk and bamboo yarn up at Spin in Sturgeon Bay--on sale, of course--that called out to become a scarf. I was cleaning out my knitting catch-all basket in the living room, dug down to the yarn, and I was sunk. I started it on the needle size called for but I think my yarn's a bit thicker than the pattern yarn (worsted rather than DK) so I ripped it out, got out fatter needles and took another run at it. I'm liking it--and it's not a usual color for me.



I also found a different free pattern that caught my interest, I dug up some stash wool, and cast it on last night. We will not be discussing this further, suffice to say that I am weak when it comes to new projects. But we knew that, didn't we?

Eesh

There was a dog hair in my shower, with me. That's when I knew I was spending too much time with Porter. A dog hair. Ick. Ick. Ick. One thing I like about Porter is she's not a very lick-y dog. I don't like dog lick on me. Not at all. It feels gross and there's all that... doggy-ness. Dis. Gusting. To be fair I don't like cats licking me either or their hair all on me. I don't like people licking me either, not that many ever do, but if you feel like you're going to, just don't. Maybe the dog hair came from Durwood, he goes over nearly every day to play with Porter and take her out for a potty break. He probably has a lot more dog hair on him, but then how would it get into the shower with me. No, I'm convinced I'm a dog hair carrier, even though it's been two whole days since I saw Porter and even then I didn't maul all over her. I'm not a dog-mauler. Now it was a totally different story with the 4-month old who came to the housewarming. (with her parents, she came with her parents) She'd barely gotten in the door when I asked to hold her and didn't give her back until she was too fussy to be soothed by a stranger. I wouldn't be at all surprised if a baby hair was in the shower with me, but I'd even taken a shower between today and Sunday (I did, I really did) so how'd it get in there with me? Maybe it got on me when I hugged Durwood when I got home from work yesterday, and glommed onto my... hair, yeah, that's it, and then stayed there all night and then fell out in the shower. Yeah, that's probably it, right? Right. Mystery solved.

September 27--Charles Scheeler, Criss-Crossed Conveyors, Rouge River Plant, Ford Motor Co. In the picture hung in the exhibition the place looked like a modern drawing with the conveyors and smokestacks, but to a kid who grew up in its shadow it was a monster. Like every other monster, the plant gobbled up people and flung filth around. Pat's dad worked there. When he got home he'd be black with metal filings and cakes with sweat. Flakes fell from him as he walked and he had and he had trouble breathing. Ma tried to get him clean but the dirt had sunk right into his pores.

Oh, horse pucky. I was ready to fly on that one and I fell dead asleep again. I need to quit knitting so late and get to bed earlier so I can write if inspiration hits. Next time.
--Barbara

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pokey

I got tired of having sewing pins slide up under my nails when I tried to grab one without looking. So I sewed up a pincushion with piping and stuffed with ground walnut shells. Walnut shells? Yeah. Skully said that they were the perfect thing for pincushions. I looked around on the internet and discovered that ground walnut shells are used for a lot of things.

Like for reptile bedding...







filtering water in the oil industry...












and as a blasting medium...












but I'm just using mine as pincushion stuffing. My blasting days are over.

Oh, Wait, The Sun Was Just Out--But Now It's Gone

I wouldn't say that yesterday was rainy but we got nearly 1.5" for the day, and that's on top of the .75" we got on Sunday. Soggy, much? I stepped out onto the patio this morning to right the chairs blown over in yesterday's winds and the mat went "squish" when I stepped on it. Ugh. Good thing I had my slippers on. The leaves on the very ends of the branches of the tree in the front yard are turning red and the rest of them have lost the vivid green of summer. They're still green but a darker, less-translucent green than even a week ago. Durwood complains and complains about the shortening of the days and the drop in temps but then he's thrilled that football season has started. I told him I thought that football season is what causes the light to shrink and the air to chill but he isn't buying it. Perhaps if they abolished football we'd have year-round summer? I'm getting darned tired of having my mind skittering around from thought to thought like a cow on ice. I can't seem to get it to light these days. I'd need a 72 hour day to come anywhere near doing what I'd like to do in a day. I try to multi-task but that just leads to disaster on all fronts. Is there a cure for mental-pause? And how come they discontinued the pens that I like best? Pentel used to make one called Rock 'n Write (lame, I know) in black, red, and blue and I loved the way they wrote. I bought a few, bought a few more, and then couldn't find them. I asked at Office Depot and was told they were discontinued. I thought perhaps that they'd reissue them with a different case and name, but no. They're kind of like a gel pen but with a ballpoint nib. No one else makes anything that feels the same in my hand and, believe me, I've tried. My pen jar is full of rejects. Stuff like that just pisses me off. I'm like the angel of death, whatever I like no one else does and it's discontinued. What's the deal? I'm cool, aren't I? (don't all answer at once)

September 26--Claude Monet, The Parc Monceau. Every day the clutch of nannies cluster in the park like a flock of drab hens with their colorful chicks. The sturdy country girls in their much-laundered uniforms are a stark contrast to their tiny charges dressed in the best. The low burble of their voices soothes the ear. They brag and compare as if the children are their own. "Marie-Terese can say her numbers." "Gaston climbs the stairs." There's a hierarchy among them that has little to do with the nannies themselves. It's the status of their employers that determines their place in the group. Le Turk sidles up to the one at the top, compliments her, and gains access to her master's life by flattery. He's in the market for his next acquisition and he thinks a rich man's child might be exactly what he's looking for.

Beware. Flattery can be dangerous. Keep your chicks close and your ears open. Especially in parcs in Paris a hundred years ago. Off to work.
--Barbara

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hot-Diggity!

I suspect I just found my NaNoWriMo subject. *pause for unrestrained happy dancing* I've been sort of unconsciously wracking my brain ever since I made the decision to do NaNo again this year and last night's prompt/picture was of a Panamanian gold pendant from the 1st century. I wrote about a woman finding it in a reef crevice and stealthily tucking it into her pocket. I love diving and I love reef diving. If you know me at all you know that about me. I might look like a mild-mannered, middle-aged, plump woman with knitting in her pocket but in reality I am AquaWoman, chaimpion of the deeps. I love diving in the oceans of the world, I love knowing the names of the fishes and reef critters, I study their habits when I'm diving and keep notes in my logbooks so I'll remember when I'm not. So it's pretty logical that I'd write a story about diving and treasure and throw in a bit of mayhem for spice. That's all I'll say but I promise that I'll post bits daily once the writing begins on Nov. 1. Cross my heart. It was drizzly yesterday so DS & DIL1's housewarming had to be indoors but that was okay. There was plenty of room for people to stand or sit and get acquainted and the food was luscious. They made Korean tacos with bulgogi beef, pickled cucumbers, cilantro, and scallions to put on soft flour tortillas; Japanese marinated chicken wings; toasted pinenut hummus, spinach dip, mixed tomato bruscetta on DS's homemade baguettes, and carameled soft corn puffs. Yum yum. When we got home I went downstairs, started the wash, and sewed up the last 20-minute tote bag I had cut out. Then I made a pincushion with some ground walnut shells inside. I have a big magnet for my pins but it's sometimes hard to pick them off so I thought I'd try making a pin cusion. Skully told me that ground walnut shells keep your pins and needles sharp so she gave me a bag of her leftovers to use as stuffing. Who knew? After supper I went down to Titletown Brewing for their last Suds & Cinema night. We watched the Goonies with a small but appreicative crowd. It was a good day.


September 25--Panama, Double Eagle Pendant. Celia glanced around to see if any of the rest of the divers saw the glitter down in the reef. No one seemed to be paying her any attention so she sank lower withing arm's reach of what had caught her eye. She checked her depth--just over 100 feet, can't stay long--and her remaining air--2100 psi, plenty--and looked closer. Looking down she thought she could work two fingers down between a sponge and the coral. Celia hoped that she wasn't doing all of this for a beer can but there had been a program last night about shipwrecks in the waters aroudn the island and she had treaure on the brain. The divemaster had turned to make sure everyone was together and had spotted Celia deeper than the rest. He signaled her asking if she was okay. In a flash of inspiration she mimed that she had dropped her knife. He nodded and waved her back, she gave him the okay sign, reached down the shiny object and swam to catch the group, stowing what she'd found in her pocket. She'd take a closer look once she was back in her bungalow.


Okay, imaginary scuba diving is just what I need on this chilly, rainy Monday. Stay dry.

--Barbara

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Drizzle

Not very promising for an outdoor housewarming party but it'll be okay. We could use a beautiful day to perk us all up, this string of drear is not conducive to keeping a good thought. I sewed up a few easy totes yesterday afternoon. It was nice to sit in the basement on a cloudy day with my iPod telling me a story, and play with bright fabrics. See? Each side is different and I used up about half of the upholstery fabric scraps I junk picked from some fabric someone gave to Mom before donating it to Goodwill for her. I'm trying to knit and sew from stash these days. I'm having better luck with knitting because I have way more yarn than fabric but if I only have to buy notions for a while, like more webbing for handles or interfacing, I'll be happy. Hmm, I could make handles out of fabric, couldn't I. And I'm thinking I need to make a bunch of those car trash bags this fall too. They're very easy to make and I like the way they look. I could spend all day down there playing with fabric, yarn, and all the patterns but I won't. We get to go to the kids' house, play with Porter the dog, talk to Henny & Penny trying to make friends, and eat yummy party foods. I'll gladly give up crafting for that. Oh, I just remembered, I want to make "invitations" for my first monthly Family Sunday Supper today too. When we had Mom's and my birthday supper and DS & DIL1's earlier this month I really enjoyed it and I realized that it had been a while since we'd seen DIL1's parents. So I thought maybe we should meet once a month for Sunday supper, the hosts making the main course, and the others bringing sides. Not fancy, not formal, just a couple hours of conversation and connecting. Everyone agreed, so I've picked a date and will get the ball rolling with a mailing this week.

September 24--Isabel Canovas, Shoe. Fashion takes itself too seriously, Isabel thought when she was fourteen. She watched the news to see what had come down the runway in Milan, Tokyo, New York, and of course Paris. She understood now that the runway fashions only peripherally related to everyday wear but the silk banana peel shoes she had made in her Construction Class were different. They were stylish, amusing, and functional. Hopefully the teacher would agree.

I stayed up too late. I meant to write more. I was tired. Forgive me.
--Barbara

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Where Did This Week Go?

As my mama used to say, "I swan to John, time sure is flying." Nah, she really didn't. I just made that up, but I gotta say that time is flying and I can't begin to pin it down to my satisfaction. I meant to post a couple times this week, I really did, but the days got away from me. I promise I'll do better. Promise. Maybe I'll sign up for Blogtoberfest and post every day next month. We'll be up in Michigan's UP the first week of the month so that might be a good way to start. I'll give it some thought. I wonder if they have the internets up there. I'm hoping to see lots of pretty leaves and Lake Superior and maybe find an agate on the beach or at least walk along looking for one. Mostly I want to go away with Durwood and veg.

The other night things were going remarkably well on the Lava Shawl and I th
ought maybe I could finish it to take along next weekend, so I took it to work with me on Thursday and I knitted 4 rows at work--wrong. It wasn't until I got home and was adding another row that I realized that about seven rows back I'd gotten my count off or my stitches off. It was totally noticeable and had to be frogged back and fixed. I started tinking back (backing up stitch by stich, unknitting, hence t-i-n-k, k-n-i-t backwards) before bedtime and got a couple rows. I was bitching about it at Friday Night Knitting and Z-Dawg, the yarn whisperer, held out her hand and spent the next two hours putting in a lifeline, ripping back all those bad rows, getting it back on the needles, and back on pattern. I tried to pay her but she'd only take enough cash for a piece of pie. One of these days I'll figure out a way to make her take money for that. Maybe I'll buy her a skein of some super yarn...


Last week I finished Bandwagon Block #7, haven't got the tails woven in yet, but it's done-ish. I will not be casting on another block until I get the Lava Shawl and the Sea Foam Scarf done. *firm head nod*






Speaking of the Sea Foam Scarf, it got to go to work with my on Monday and Wednesday. I got lots added, and I worked on it while Z-Dawg rescued the Lava Shawl last night. Thanks again!






Last week on Purl Bee they brought back a nice quick tote bag pattern that I thought might be the perfect project for those couch fabric sample pieces I got out of the load of not-for-doll-clothes fabrics someone gave Mom. Turns out I was right. I even had enough webbing to make handles. The ones I liked the best were the ones that look like mid-80s sunroom furniture, you know, kind of watercolor-y and bright with fruit, flowers, and pitchers on it. Loud and brash, just the way I like it. I cut out 4 bags and sewed up three of them this afternoon. I'll probably pop down and finish the last one before bed tonight. They're called the Twenty Minute Tote, very easy, very quick. They'd make great, reusable gift bags, if you're so inclined.

In My Mind It Was Supposed To Be Sunny Today

But it's not, it's dreary. At least it's not raining. We have a funeral to go to this morning, then I plan to either knit or sew the rest of the day away. Just because. Because I don't have anything pressing that needs to be done and because I want to. I want to have endless days stretching before me without any responsibilities so that I can somehow rediscover the writing spark that, basically, left when I quit smoking. That really frosts my cookies because doing something good for myself shouldn't take something good away when the bad habit stops. I'm going to do NaNoWriMo (if you don't want to hit the link, it's a challenge to write a complete 50,000 word manuscript in 30 days, no editing, no rewriting, just crank it out, no prizes, no awards, just satisfaction that you did it) again this November to see if 30 days of concentrated writing effort reignites my pilot light. It darned well better or I'll be angry--even more frustrated and angry than I already am. On a happy note my careful eating and working out this week paid off this morning when the scale didn't go up quite as high as it had last week. I'm trying not to be hung up on the weight numbers, concentrating more on eating right and being active, but it's hard not to use that as a benchmark. Fit and healthy, that's my motto.

September 23--Egyptian, Portrait of a Young Woman. She has curly hair. I always wanted curly hair. I hate her. Gina stood at the foot of the stairs glaring at the painting hung there. Her fingers itched to reach up and sink her nails into the thick paint. She imagined how satisfying it would feel to draw the curls of paint down, to watch four furrows trace their way from forehead to chin on that smug face. Grant was so proud of her, as if he'd painted her or even, she shuddered at the thought, given birth to her himself. He'd never looked at Gina with that intensity, not even when they were in the first flush of love and lust. He had been restrained and controlled, ardent enough when they were alone to convince her that he loved her. He had begged her to marry him after all, but he had never once looked at her with the same dewy-eyed passion that he lavished on that ancient Egyptian hussy hanging there where Gina had to see her every day.

Make the most of your Saturday, people. Do something out of the ordinary. Pick raspberries.
--Barbara

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I'm Excited For So Many Reasons...

Most of all that it's Thursday which is my last day to work this week. I love having 3-day weekends. Tomorrow I walk with Dusty & Maggie, Julie & Aragon, Porter in the morning, our friend Cookie's having a knee replaced (so she'll be able to geocache and go on walks with us when she's healed up--and have a whole lot less pain) and then it's Friday Night Knitting Circle in the evening. Saturday I was supposed to go to Mom's with Dusty to empty out, reorganize, and restock Mom's doll room but a friend of ours passed away yesterday and the funeral's on Saturday. I am not excited for that, of course, but I am glad that Tom's family doesn't have to watch him fail any longer. Sunday is going to be a fun and busy day--I get a haircut in the morning (always a good thing), DS & DIL1 are having a housewarming open house in the afternoon (and I finally get to gift them with the egg-collecting apron I made), and in the evening is the last Suds & Cinema at Titletown Brewing. The movie is The Goonies. The Goonies! Who doesn't love that movie?? I can't wait. It's been so much fun this summer going down to Titletown Brewing to sit out under the canopy on Sunday nights to watch 1980s movies. I take my knitting, order a root beer and some sweet potato fries and watch. It's lovely.

September 21--Joachim Tielke, Cittern. Black and white. So few things in life are black and white. Harly wished it was that easy. She had tripped over the gray in-betweens her whole life. In grade school the nuns had the lock on black and white. Ha, that was funny, wasn't it? Black and white. The priest was nearly all black except for that little Chicklet of white on his collar. They were all perfect and she spent a lot of her days writing lines and praying penance for all the times she broke the rules. She asked Sister Mary Jane if it was all gray in Purgatory since she figured Heaven was white and Hell was black. She never got an answer, she just got punished for saying Hell.

I could have gone on but sleep was overtaking me rather quickly. Send good knee replacement vibes to my friend Cookie. I guess I should go at least pretend to work.
--Barbara

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Not How I Planned To Start My Day

I had to, HAD to get up on time this morning so I can not take my pills or eat my breakfast then go to the clinic to have blood drawn. I asked when I made my appointment if I should fast before and she said, "oh they'll tell you when you're here." I should have fasted even though my appt. was for 1:30 PM because now I have to leap up and go over there before work today. Pi$$es me right off. No more complaining, I need to get this posted and get on the stick.

September 20--Bartolo di Fredi, The Adoration of the Shepherds. It was hot in there. Hot and airless. She felt like screaming with the closeness and the proximity of the innkeeper's cow and donkey. It was bad enough that they had to travel all that way when she was so near her time but then to get to Bethlehem and have nowhere to stay. It took all her self-control not to scream at Joe when they'd gone right through the town without finding a room. Thank god at the last place they stopped the wife of the innkeeper made him let them stay in the barn. She had children of her own and she could see how tired and travel-worn the pregnant girl was. "They marry these children to old men these days. It's a shame," the wife said as she wrapped up some bread and honey to take out there. By then the babe was born, a fine big boy. The mother wrapped him in clean swaddling and laid him in an empty manger. Just then the barn door opened and two men, shepherds by the look of them, slipped in. "There's no room," said Joe, "and my wife's just given birth." The younger one slid off his hood and said, "Can we see the babe?" Both mens' eyes shifted to the manger and Mary's tired form. The older one spoke. "Angels came to us." "Have you been drinking?" Joe asked. "No, sir," they chorused, "no. Angels appeared and they were singing. They sent us here to see the Son of God. Is the babe the Son of God?" Joe started to shake his head and try to get rid of them but Mary raised her head, her eyes burning with a zealot's light. "Yes," she said, uncovering the baby, "my Joshua is the Son of God." Joe stood dumbfounded as if he'd never seen her before.

Okay. Time to go bleed. See ya.
--Barbara

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

At A Trot...

That's been my day in a nutshell. This morning I walked with my friends and Porter (she really gives me a workout), then I visited with DIL1, stopped at AAA for a map and tour book so Durwood and I can plan our week in the Upper Peninsula of MI looking at the fall colors and just getting out of Dodge for a time in early October. Showered, lunched (mmm, yummy grilled veggies on a whole wheat tortilla with Swiss cheese and a few cherry tomatoes on the side), had a physical and got a flu shot, then combed the west side for a hula hoop (found 2 at Big Lots and bought them) so Durwood can teach Porter how to jump through it. I'm all sweaty just typing it. Durwood's out in the kitchen canning his last 2 batches of tomato soup. He's having a blast putting up tomato juice and soup--and it keeps him out of mischief. (Actually, it keeps him from being bored which I suspect is his biggest day-to-day problem.) I want to get this posted so I can go knit on my shawl so I'm going (Durwood just needed me to help him jar up the last 11 pints of soup) to post last night's writing and get to knitting.

September 19--Edouard Manet, Boating. "So I said to her, I said, I wouldn't be caught dead in white before Memorial Day, would you? And she said that in Japan white's a symbol of mourning. I wonder what they think of brides over here. I mean, brides wear white as a symbol of purity, even if it's a lie, so what do Japanese people do when they get married over here? Do you think they wear white anyway since it's traditional? Not like it's a law or anything but, seriously, you should play along with the way things are where a person lives. It's nice out here on the water. Don't you think it's nice? I'm glad we came. Did you remember the picnic? I don't remember carrying it down to the boat, but I do remember putting it in the car. Have you seen Mavis' new car? It's a navy blue Renault four-door. A four-door's much better than a two-door, don't you think? So much easier to get into and out of." Sophie leaned back on her elbows in the bow of the boat. Francois steered, a glazed look masking any emotion the barrage of mindless chatter might cause.

You should see the look on the man's face in this painting. You can see that the woman's mouth is open and she's reclined. He's sitting stiffly with his arm on the tiller and he looks like he's ready to hold her under. What a lovely boating day. I'm off to knit.
--Barbara

Monday, September 19, 2011

D'uh

I've been silently bitching (a departure for me, the silently part, I mean) about not being able to wear my old shoes with my new orthotics so I was sitting on the edge of the bed glaring at my white tennis shoes wanting to wear different shoes, brown shoes today, when I caught sight of the little pile of removed insoles from the shoes I have been wearing. *head slap* I removed the insoles from the new butt-shaper shoes and replaced them with the orthotics so what's stopping me from removing the insoles from ALL my shoes? Not a damned thing. What a maroon I can be sometimes. Yesterday I bailed our granddog Porter out of the kennel and took her on a walk along the Fox River Trail with my friend Skully and her dog Maggie. Porter wanted to run but we're not running women so for the beginning of the walk (half a mile of the 2 mile total) she just about pulled my arm out of its socket, then I got smart and shortened the leash and started to teach her to heel. (we need a choke collar to make the lessons a bit more effective) She did okay learning a new concept but I suspect our walks will be "challenging" for a while. She's young and energetic and needs a lot of walking. DS & DIL1 work a lot and aren't able to walk her as much as she'd like so, even though I'm not a pet person, I volunteered to take her along when I walk twice a week. Durwood goes over to their house in the afternoons and takes her out for a potty break in their backyard so she gets a bit of exercise then. Too bad Durwood can't take her on long walks; he used to train dogs and would have her walking at heel in no time.

September 18--Provincial Rome, Wing Brooch. Sara's tongue poked out between her lips as she worked the pin into her lapel and back out. The silver catch was tricky. She had to look in the mirror to get it closed. The brooch looked subdued and elegant, and the liked the irregularity of the stones set in gold. They were carnelians; one dark oxblood red and the other three a clearer red. Pete had given her the brooch after his last trip to Rome, he said it was a copy of some ancient one. She marveled at the skill of the artisan who made it look like it had just come from an archaeological dig and been hastily polished.

You don't think Pete stole that, do you? You can't tell I've been reading murder mysteries involving a reformed art forger, right? I'm off into the drizzle to keep the world save from scuba diving in my brown shoes and mismatched socks.
--Barbara

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sometimes You Get Your Inheritance Early



A couple weeks ago my brother Andy called to say that he had custody of the "family canning supplies" they were clearing out things and did I want it. I said yes and he dropped off a few boxes. We walked around them stacked in the living room for a while and then unpacked them to see what I had last week.




There's a big pressure canner and a small one (that might have been GramMary's); both of them have their instruction manuals, thank God. Dad's red bottle capper was inthere with a box of bottle caps, some of which have cork liners. There's a box of old Coke bottles, individually wrapped in old newspapers, in both the 6.5 and 12 oz. sizes. The cone ricer used to belong to my grandma Babe, it was in her full set of Mirro aluminum cookware, Mom says I don't know where the big old scale and wooden slicer are from, maybe the farm, they look familiar. The most surprising item is the box with four 2-quart Ball jars. I don't think I've ever seen jars that size. Gallon jars, yes, quarts, pints, even half-pints, sure, but half-gallon ones, never. I hope that they fit in the hot water bath kettle. They'd be great to can Durwood's homemade tomato juice in. Cross your fingers.


This entire treasure trove may be destined to belong to the Canning Women one day.

Today, I Mind

I have to work today too and, today, I mind. There's just something about having to work on Saturday that feels extra. It's gray and cool today so I'm sure I won't be busy which will make the hours drag, and it's Saturday, I want to not have to work. (Think of your paycheck, your paycheck) Mr. Boss did come and relieve me at 5 last night so I could go and be at knitting all evening. Miss Clara came, well, her mom brought her so we all got to hold her seven-week-old self. She was lovely, just like a snuggly warm corsage. I confess I tried to hog her but I make no excuses, I dearly love to hold babies, any babies. Sleepy babies, stranger's babies, crying babies, smelly babies, just give me a baby and I'm happy. I'd have had a lot more babies if Durwood hadn't been the voice of reason. Do you know of any spare babies that need holding, even fussy ones? I'm good at it. I'll be stopping at Mom's after work to take out her trash and probably fill her feeders for her. She stopped at the dive shop yesterday to get some papers copied. They sure make her jump through hoops to get a little assistance. It's confusing. She's getting all excited to go to her 65th class reunion next month in Evansville, IN. DS has volunteered to drive her so she's trying to coordinate all the friends that she's in touch with to get their kids or grandkids to get them down there too. I hope they all come. I suspect DS will eat Marx's or Wolf's barbecue every day while he's there. They'd just better bring home some for the rest of us.

September 16--Otto Prutscher, Plant Stand. Lila stood staring at the plant stand in the back of The Junque Shoppe in downtown, Carmi, Illinois. She and Atcheson has been driving through when she saw the sign and insisted that they stop. Atch was used to Lila's sudden shouts to "stop the car, stop!" so his heart rate and blood pressure didn't spike with panic anymore. He didn't look wildly around to see if he'd run over someone, or if a volcano had erupted beside them, or if a satellite was about to fall from the sky and squash them flat. Now he just pulled over as soon as he safely could and resigned himself to wade through whatever roadside amazement had caught his Lila's eye. Today it was the sign for The Junque Shoppe. "It's too too camp and middle America, Atch. I need to see it." Her fingers clutched the dashboard as she leaned forward in her seat. Now, a half hour later, she stood in front of a hideous mid-century modern plant stand. "You know, Atch, if we put little foam pads in the planter boxes it'd be perfect for Mister Wiggins and the Calico Harem." He rolled his eyes. Those cats were worse than kids. At least children went to school and then grew up and went away. That damned Mister Wiggins and his flea-bitten harem of consorts were forever.

Time for Cheerios, prunes, and the crossword puzzle. Don't you wish you were me?
--Barbara

Friday, September 16, 2011

I Can't Believe It's Friday and I Have to Work

I don't really mind, it's just that it's rare that I work on a Friday so my old-ish brain's a bit kerfluffled. I have a new red gauze top to wear with my khakis and khaki linen cardi today, and I'm wearing my skull and crossbones bracelet (along with a couple others because one bracelet's never enough) so I am not only cute but cool. (I'm such a dork.) I was putting my knitting in a different bag since I want to take some extra stuff along to knitting tonight to get some help from Z-Dawg, the yarn whisperer, and I found a fiver in my flamingo bag. Yahoo! There's nothing like a spot of cash to brighten up a morning. We get to rescue our grand-dog Porter from the kennel on Sunday because DS & DIL1 are off to MN and won't be home before it closes that afternoon. I'll finally get to take her on a walk. What's on your slate for the weekend? And I really want an answer.

September 15--Anthony van Dyck, Saint Rosalie Interceding for the Plague-Stricken of Palermo. "Religion and allegory, that's all they painted," Rosie said. She shook her head at the long gallery filled with dark and dreary paintings. "Don't forget the portraits of ugly sourpusses," said her sister Ruthie, "there's plenty of them. There must have been a shortage of combs. These guys have seriously bad hair." Their brother Roger snorted. "They probably had lice, you know, and cooties and industrial strength b.o." "Ew," the girls said together. "How can you know such stuff?" Ruthie asked. "Well," Roger said, "they only had a few clothes and either brushed off the dirt or aired things out, and people rarely took baths. They thought it was sinful and bad for their skin." It was a very unusual discussion about the art, the docent thought, but insightful too.

Art, don't you love it? I'm off in search of some cat treats to entice Porter to walk with me. See ya.
--Barbara

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Slacker

I decided the other day that I need to corrall all my WIPs (works in progress), rank them by finish-ability, and plunge in. I've started too many big projects that I lose interest in and then tuck away so I chose the Lava Shawl because that's made with big-hole lace on big needles with bulky yarn so it should go quickly (I'm all about the speed of gratification.) for my at-home project.


(Don't you love the orange carpeting in my basement lair? Lairs don't get redecorated very often.)





For now Bandwagon Block #7 is the work project. It's nearing completion. Once it's done, the Seafoam Scarf will come back into the at-work project spotlight.












There's only a sleeve and 3/4 to knit on the Khaki Cardi. I'm not sure why it got pushed aside, maybe because it looks like it might be way too big, but it needs to be finally finished.











I did a little sewing yesterday and assembled the Egg-Collecting Apron I'll give to DS & DIL1 once Henny & Penny start laying eggs. I am in love with the fabric!

Wha...?

While we were sleeping night before last autumn blew in with the smoke from the Boundary Waters fire. The weekend was lovely and warm, perfect September weather, Monday was like that too. Then came Tuesday with temps in the high 60s. Still not bad but it was cold enough Tuesday night that I took the cotton blanket off the bed and put the thick electric (for Durwood) one back on. Yesterday was nice and sunny with temps in the mid-60s. Last night I was happy to have the window only open a slit and the warm blanket on. I feel like Dorothy, "things come and go so quickly here." I'm sad to say that I'm wearing jeans capris, a long sleeved tee, and a cardi to work today. Good grief. I did perform a bit of retail therapy yesterday. After my back cracker appointment I went to Walmart where I purchased 3 pairs of denim jeans capris, 2 long sleeved tees, and a red gauze clearance top. I spent about $50 and feel worlds better. I'm wearing all new clothes today (except socks and undies) and feel like a new woman. Very cheap therapy. Plus I look goood.

September 14--Switzerland, Fragment of a Tapestry. Julia sat in the library bent over her embroidery. Chloe and Meg were giggling about feet, something that seven-year-olds found funny. Julia was ten and she no longer found smelly body parts amusing. She wished that they would either hush up or that Aunt Minerva would come in and hush them with her look. Julia had tried a look. She thought it went rather well but Chloe and Meg only laughed harder. She gripped her needle tight and concentrated on making small, even stitches. Her hands were getting sweaty and she bent so low over the linen in her embroidery hoop that her nose nearly touched it. She was stitching a beautiful griffin in a field of flowers with a red cardinal in a nearby tree. She had worked hard on her sampler to get to embroider this special design. What if Aunt Minerva thought that she should have kept the littler girls on task? What if she make Julia go back to cross-stitching samplers? Tears filled her eyes and she blinked them away as the door to the hall creaked open.

Dun-dun-dun. I wish I was sitting in a sunny library embroidering instead of going to sit in the dive shop today. Oh well. Gotta run. Cheers!
--Barbara

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bonus!

Mrs. Boss called yesterday saying that she could work today so I could have an extra day off this week. Yay! I made a chiro appointment for this morning, practiced a bit of retail therapy at Walmart, then came home and rejoined Weight Watchers Online so I can access their tracker and recipe finder features. WW has a promo right now that you get a free month if you pay for 3, so I thought that was a pretty good deal. Once I have lunch I plan to carry all the canning inheritance boxes downstairs and then stay down there to play with yarn and fabric. It's like a free day!

September 13--Louis-Remy Robert, Alfred Thompson Gobert. He sat there squinting into the light as the world changed around him. Alf was so focused on his inner voices, the Greek chorus that acted like a steering mechanism as he moved through his days. Once long ago he was an outgoing man, open to the world and all its enticements. Then the voices got louder and his senses turned in, pulled his focus so that he careened into people and stepped off curbs into the paths of buses. Lately he had taken to muttering as he walked along and his fingers were never still. They plucked at his garments and smoothed his hair, dusting off imaginary creatures and calming his hair demons.

I think I saw him in Walmart this morning. Eek. Time for a grilled veggie wrap for lunch.
--Barbara

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Autumn Arrived On A Smoky Breeze


I went out to plug in the fountain and it smelled like the neighbors were having a campfire. Turns out there's a big-ass fire in Minnesota and the smoke and ash are wafting our way on the wind. It smells nice and so far anyway doesn't seem to be bothering Durwood's breathing. He's deeply into tomato production these days. Last week he made 3 gallons of tomato juice. I was supposed to show him how to can it this week. There's no need, he's down to less than 1 gallon. But he's making more tomorrow so the lesson's back on. He also found a recipe for tomato soup in this cookbook I got him a few summers ago so some of them are going into soup. He is truly Tomato Boy, but very happy. He's also really enjoying his new role as grandpa to Porter. We went over last night for a visit and they spent time lying on the carpet communing with each other, and he just left to go play with her and let her out since DS & DIL1 are both working. I'm so glad he's got a doggie to play with and also that someone besides me needs him. It's got to be boring.

September 12--French, Glove. Enid smoothed the white leather gloves over her hands. They quickly warmed to match her body's temperature and made them feel a part of her. She danced the night away flirting with boys who suddenly seemed like men. She drank fizzy punch and the bubbles went to her head. This changed Enid was livlier, flirtier, and more beautiful than she'd ever been before. Her steps were light and her quips were sharp. She had a full dance card and left all of her partners dazzled in her wake. The ball ended with a crescendo of fireworks at midnight. She rode home with Aunt Louisa and Uncle Drake, the tires of the Pierce Arrow humming on the street. Her maid Mary was dozing in her room when Enid entered but she jumped up with a smile, eager to hear how the evening had gone and to help her mistress undress. Enid began telling the girl, only a year younger, about the night's gaiety and held out her right arm to have her glove removed. That's when the screaming began.

I confess that I fell asleep last night after having written only 2 sentences. I napped for about half an hour, then turned off the light and conked out. Before running off to do a couple errands with Mom I wrote the rest, but I did have the idea last night, I just had a little execution problem. I'm off to mow.
--Barbara

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Monday Again, Isn't It?

Where does the time go? I know I complain about this too often but really, days just whiz by and I feel kind of dizzied by it all. I look forward to something, like going to the Quilt Expo with Skully and Cookie and the day comes, we have a long (2 1/2 hr.) drive each way, spend the whole day at the Expo, in yarn shops, bead stores, and outlet stores, and still it seems like it barely happened. It's only because my wallet is thinner and I have a bag of fabric pieces and a few new clothes that I am sure that it did happen. I need to find where the speed control is on my carburetor or something and dial it back to a more manageable speed. Durwood and I are both looking forward to having the cable guy come tomorrow to hook up our TVs to digital cable and give us (well, rent us) boxes so we can DVR shows that we don't want to miss. Just like real grown-ups! Even Mom has that and she's old. Really old, not just semi-old like Durwood, or old-ish like me but certifiably old. Not that she's taking old lying down, you understand, she still plays bridge eleventy-seven times a week and sews American Girl doll clothes to sell, she gets a couple cooking mags and makes herself all sorts of delish food that she freezes so she's not forced to eat the same crap day after day. You'd never know by looking at her that she's 83, even with that oxygen she has to drag around all the time. I have a cool mom, everyone says so.

September 11--Byzantine, Silver Plate.
David slew the giant Goliath they taught in Sunday School but David Reed wondered why all the grownups thought that was a good thing when he got into so much trouble for fighting. He wasn't very big, he was shorter than most of the girls in fourth grade and most of the girls were smaller than most of the fourth grade boys. Being small had never stopped him from defending himself. He might be small but he was fierce and he was fast. More than one budding bully had tried to push David around but he stood his ground and he gave as good as he got, sometimes he gave even better. His mom wasn't pleased when he came home dirty and scuffed up with a torn short or pants but he heard his dad brag about how tough his son was. David bet that the Bible David's dad bragged on him down at his shop too.

Kids, ya gotta love 'em. Unfortunately, I have to go to work. See ya.
--Barbara

Sunday, September 11, 2011

So What Did I Do Last Week?



I worked on this, trying to make a knitted flower and a crocheted bee to send to the Goobie for her mama to sew on her new winter hat. I suck at it, sucked at it all week. I might look for another pattern I can make, a one piece pattern of a flower to crochet, to hell with the bee.










On the way down to the Quilt Show I knitted on the log cabin parts of Bandwagon Block #7, got one side done, picked up stitches and knitted the next side, and picked up the third side.







The last few nights I've been trying to remember to knit a row or two on the Summer Fever Shawl. I feel good about it even though it's going slowly.




I really should unearth a wool shawl I've got OTN since summer's almost over and hold this one until late next winter for next spring. It'd be smart to finish some of the myriad projects I've got around here, wouldn't it?




Here's my loot from the quilt expo. I bought a pack of charm (4") squares ($5.99!!) to make a bag that Bells made last month. It's very cute and I want one, now I have the raw materials.










I couldn't resist the fat quarters for $1.49 and the batik yards for $7 at the Nancy's Notions booth. I love batiks and they're always so expensive.










A few (hundred) booths later we spied tables of fat quarters in very interesting prints. Here's the ones I bought: Dots & Teapots (don't you love the colors?)







Bugs & Butterflies (couldn't resist the little bugs making tracks in the sandy backg
round) and










Fish & Flamingos (no explanation needed for these).


The vendor was from Nicholasville, KY just down the pike from where DD & DIL2 live. Small world. At another booth I resisted buying a flamingo umbrella for $23. I am amazed at my continued maturity.





Cookie and I spent quite a bit of the drive home talking about food, in particular grilled veggies. I had to make some and I took a picture for you to see. This is the second batch
. You see I was taking the last of the first batch off the grill, rested the pan on the grill rim, and grabbed the hot handle with my bare hand. I dropped it, and all the yummy grilled veggies spilled onto the dirty patio right near where I had sprinkled ant killing granules early today. I had to throw them all out and start over. I cried, both over burning my finger and having to waste all that food. Not my finest hour.

In A Mood

Not "In the Mood" like the old Glenn Miller song, I've been in a mood for the last week or so and it came to a head this afternoon when I burned the daylights out of my right pointer finger. I had fired up the charcoal and then sliced up and marinated a bunch of veggies to make yummy grilled veggie sandwiches for lunch. We've got a nice screen that sits on the grill that keeps the smaller stuff from slipping through so I spritzed it with Pam and got grilling. I took a big cookie sheet out to hold the done pieces while the next batch was on the coals. While taking the last batch off I rested the edge of the cookie sheet on the grill edge because it was getting heavy. Like a thoughtless moron I grabbed the edge with my un-potholdered right hand, burned my finger, and dropped the whole shebang right on the dirty patio and perilously close to the ant killing granules I had sprinkled earlier. Damndamndamndamndamn. I cried and sucked my finger because I did a really good job burning it. I scooped it all up and dumped it right into the trash and started over. Luckily I had another of every veggie and I've got a nice shiny white place on the pad of my finger that hurts like the dickens. Yes, I put ice on it, any number of times, and I will again but it's difficult to type with all your fingers when you're holding a little ice pack on your finger. I watched the Kurt Russell movie "Dreamer" last night before returning it to Netflix tomorrow (I cancelled the disc part and kept the streaming when they raised their prices and they've sent me an email demanding it back, pretty politely but I got the message) and it was filmed in Lexington. It's a pretty good family movie and it was fun to see Keeneland racetrack and other things like a fancy stone fence that looked familiar. I miss my girls, wish they lived closer so I could go and visit more easily.

September10--Byzantine, Plate with the Battle of David and Goliath. Sela's hands ached and her fingertips were black from polishing silver all morning. She tried to convince her sister Rita that they shouldn't polish the daylights out of everything. "But they say on Antiques Roadshow not to remove the patina, really they do," Sela had said when she sat down to see all the family silver and the bronze statuary from the library lined up in ranks on the table. There were four different kinds of polish on the table too. "Don't be ridiculous," Rita said, "no one wants dirty, tarnished metal. They'll think it's junk." Sela shook her head but knew it was fruitless to argue with Rita. Rita always knew best and she had the starch in her backbone to back it up. Sela was the family noodle. "Or doormat," she said under her breath while she polished away hundreds of years of patina and dollars.

Now it's time to go make a pot of chicken soup so I have lunches next week.
--Barbara

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Footsore

My feets took a beating yesterday. Hips too. The Madison quilt expo was a mob scene, a MOB scene, with every aisle clotted with women (and a few men) ricocheting from booth to booth, vendor to vendor, looking for the latest in technique, pattern, fabric, machine, or any quilting doodad you can imagine--and then some. I did not take my camera but believe me it was an adventure. I spent most of my money right away at the Nancy's Notions booth where they had fat quarters and half-yards of batiks on sale. About a row and a half later of battling our way through I was done but Cookie and I soldiered on. Very smartly, Skully abandoned us newbies to make her own way around. She did a "make and take" and rocketed past things that were ho-hum to her and a revelation to us. Cookie is just getting into quilting so patterns and kits attracted her; I was just interested in the pretty fabric. I found the most interesting print fabrics at a booth from Nicholasville, KY just down the pike from Lexington where DD & DIL2 live. The woman ahead of me in that line was from Sturgeon Bay, and the women who shared the table with us at lunch were from Green Bay too. Small world! After a quick lunch we zoomed through the contest entry quilts (another brain-overloading experience) and left. We found a couple of yarn shops where Cookie bought a book on Tunisian crochet and Skully a skein of mink yarn. MINK!!! They had a cowl on display that felt so soft it was unbelievable. She's going to knit one too. Nothing really called to me so I just enjoyed looking. We stopped at a custard stand to revitalize and then sought out a bead store as Skully and Cookie both like to bead. Then we took off toward home with a stop in Oshkosh at Land's End, Corning, and Eddie Bauer outlets. (DD, it wasn't nearly as good pickings as when we used to go together. Not nearly--and the Candle Cutlet is no more. Sad.) We stopped for supper at Rocky Rococo and then came on home. I will admit that I was totally pooped out when I got here.

September 9--Germany, The Adoration of the Magi. I'd have called in a psychologist if I had been Mary. The idea of a trio of foreign kings showing up to worship my newborn son would freak me out. The whole thing had to have fostered an uneasiness between her and her husband Joseph. Can you imagine how he felt being told that he wasn't the father of her baby? That had to change how he treated the boy. And what did they do with the gifts of the Magi? Did they sell the frankincense and myrrh for food or living expenses? I would have.

And that's when I decided I was just to sleepy to keep going, and I wasn't really going anywhere anyway. Adios.
--Barbara

Friday, September 9, 2011

Crack O'Dawn

At least it feels like it. I'm meeting my pals Cookie and Skully in about an hour to drive to Madison for a Quilt Expo. They're quilters, I'm not, but I do sew and they promised that we'd go to a yarn shop too so I'm in. Mostly I just want a day away. Last night I didn't manage to stay outside for the flyover after all. The kickoff was after 7:30 and A) the mosquitoes were eating me alive, even up my skirt, and 2) I didn't think they'd fly over in the dark. I was wrong. I guess four big fighters, afterburners blazing, came over. And I missed it. $%#^&! Ah well, better to not be scratching in my personal places at the quilt show. Durwood says it was an exciting game, though, all I know is that the Packers won. Yay!

September 8--Egyptian, Cosmetic Vessel in the Shape of a Cat. It was a lovely gift. Lila kept her eyes on the marble statue of the cat in her hands when she thanked Rance. She knew if her eyes met his everyone in the room would know how they felt about each other. "Why, Rance," her mother-in-law said, "you must have searched every second-hand store in the whole county to find a broken-eared cat statue like that. Did the Goodwill over by the tracks have a sale?" Drew put his hand on Lila's shoulder and squeezed. "Oh, hush, Mama," he said, "Rance knows Lila takes in strays." His words were slurred and it was barely noon. "She keeps me, doesn't she?" Lila reached up and took his hand, drawing him to sit beside her on the loveseat. She put the little cat statue down on the floor near her feet. "I'm a sucker for a sad face, it's true, Drew honey, but I'm keeping you and that's that." She and Rance had agreed that whatever it was they were getting up to in those stolen moments out behind the gazebo wouldn't lead to anything permanent. Nothing would change. No matter what.

Now there's a recipe for disaster, don't you think? Gotta run and gulp down some Cheerios so I"m not tempted to get a biscuit on my way to meet the girls. Later, dudes.
--Barbara

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Football Mania

Green Bay is crazy today. Seriously crazy. They closed part of the street next to the stadium last week and built a gia... (no, that's wrong) a GIANT stage for a free concert this afternoon with Kid Rock, Maroon 5, and Lady Antebellum before the football game. (I know they're all singers but I havent' got a clue what they sing.) The Today show broadcast from the stadium this morning, even taste-testing beer that our very own DS invented!!!! It's called Expect the Wurst and he made it with all the spices that are used to make bratwurst and none of the meat or mustard. I have to work until 5 PM and fully expect most of the northern hemisphere to be in their cars and in my way between work and home. (I do have alternate routes I can take and am used to being creative getting home. We used to live 3 blocks from Packer Stadium and were virtual prisoners before and after games.) According to someone I talked to the other day the organizers are expecting an additional 40-60,000 people to attend. That's 1/4 to 1/2 of the population of the city cramming into basically 3 square blocks. Green Bay is a small place, people! I can drive all the way around the edges of the city proper in less than an hour, way less if I speed (which I usually do). Where do they think they'll park??? The city is instituting a "game bus" that has 4 different routes past hotels and bars to pick up game goers and then return them after the game. It's a great idea and should cut back on traffic a bit. It has royally peeved the cab companies who usually get the "I don't wanna drive" crowd and the "I'm already too drunk to drive" crowd, but it's a good move by the city fathers, I think. You can be certain that I will be perched in the backyard (this time with the digital video camera) to record the pre-kickoff flyover. It's really the only part of football I like. Then I just have to learn how to yoink it off the camera, edit out the bad-dish parts, and upload it so you can play it here. As a sign of my age and non-techie status I must confess that I printed off the instruction manual ON PAPER for the program we got with the camera so I can have it open at all times when I'm at my laptop cursing and gritting my teeth in frustration. Learning new things is so much fun.


September 7--Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat. It hurts him to look into his own eyes. He thinks that the looking-glass might break with the intensity of the blue eyes he sees in it. Every molecule in his body vibrates with color and energy. It radiates in the air, setting the whole room pulsing. His hand shakes as he dons the straw hat that Theo bought for him to wear in the sun. Perhaps the hat will bring some of Theo's peace to him. It does--for a moment--and then he feels it growing into his skin, the straw melding with his hair. His shaking hand forces him to use small strokes, to lunge at the canvas with color to try and capture the frantic movement he carries with him always.


Okay, now it's time for the thumb-twiddling to begin. I'm sure I won't have many customers today. It's game day. Eesh.

--Barbara

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Feels Like Tuesday, Is Actually Wednesday

It could be a good thing, since I'm eagerly waiting for Friday to go to a quilt show in Madison with my two partners in adventure, Skully & Cookie, even though I don't (and won't) quilt. It could be a bad thing... but I don't know how. Anyway I have to work today and if it's anything like yesterday at work I won't be much disturbed by any pesky customers. I got one article polished, one written, and one started. Today I'll ship off the polished one after one more read-through, polish the second one, and finish the third one. That way I'll get them all off to Erik only 3 weeks late. Good for me! I admire him for not sending me harassing emails. He is a man in a million. I'm loving the weather this week. It's sunny but cool. In the 70s during the day and dipping into the 50s at night. Ahh. This is why I love living in Wisconsin. Now if I were only off so I could wallow in the days, crank open all the windows and let the gorgeous fresh air into every corner of the house, but I'm not so I can't. I know I'd hate being off work and home all the time. I'd miss my little paycheck... oh, I'd better wrap this up so I can walk over to the bank and cash my check before I leave.

September 6--Solomon Islands, Shield. Koa sat bent over the flat stone pounding the fibrous stems until they split. He combed them apart and laid them with the others. His hands were sticky with the sap of them and he worked quickly so that it held the layers together. He laid some of the giant pandanus leaves over his crisscrossed fibers and then rolled stones on the whole thing to compress the sticky fibers together. In the afternoon he turned to the shield that he was making for the shaman. His apprentice had chipped nautilus shells into the tile shapes that Koa laid on the surface outlining a maze and spirit faces. As he worked he sang the story of the mountain and lightning gods so that their power would enter the shield and protect the owner. He missed the days when he wasn't the only shield maker in the village. When Dyak and his cousin Mula sat with him around the clearing. All of them would sing and smoke, hours would pass and the work got done. Koa was too old now but he stayed alive to keep traditions alive even though his apprentice was lazy and disrespectful.

Look at that! Almost like a real story. No action though, that's my failing. One of these days I'll figure it out.
--Barbara

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Miss & A Hit

As you probably noticed I missed posting yesterday. That's because I didn't write on Sunday night. We went to DS & DIL1's for a birthday supper and stayed later so Durwood could play with Porter, our new grand-dog, then I stayed up nearly til midnight reading a paperback and eating Ritz crackers for no apparent reason. Eating crackers late at night is not good for you. The crackers and salt run right to your fattest part and glom on. Then you berate yourself the next morning for being so stupid as to stay up too late because you have a devil of a time getting out of bed and dressed to go walking. Gah. I am often a trial to myself.

September 5--William Lamb Picknell, Banks of the Loing. The loudest sound was the crunch of gravel under Daylight's hooves. Garrett nearly dozed in the saddle. The only thing that kept him awake was the heat. Loggers had left a row of scraggly saplings next to the towpath on the riverbank. The rest of the forest on this bank had been logged off
twenty years earlier to feed the building boom down below Erie. The trees were inching back on the heels of the junipers but there wasn't any cool shade and the rasp of the cicadas took the place of birdsong on this hot day. Garrett had stopped a ways back to wet his neckerchief in the dark brown water. It felt good around his neck but the river water wasn't fit to drink. He heard the slosh of the water in his canteen and wished he could ignore the light teasing slap of it on the tin. The gurgle and chuckle of it made him all the thirstier.

I was thinking when I put my pencil down last night that what I had written was a hit, and I still think so this morning. Have a good Tuesday that really feels like a Monday. I just know I'm going to be all screwed up all week because of this.
--Barbara

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Not Long At All

Almost immediatly after making the statement in the previous post that I need to finish things instead of start them, I ran across the Special Olympics 2012 Scarf Project info that I'd bookmarked a while back. Naturally I printed off the details and a few patterns, stopped at JoAnn on my way to Cookie's yesterday and bought the Red Heart Soft yarn they call for. I cast on and knitted a few inches. I like it alright but I really like carrying some eyelash yarn along, making it more boa-like for those young (and young-at-heart) athletes who yearn for something flashier. I should check the stash, I'll bet I've got some red eyelash down there.







In harvesting news, I went o
ut and clung to the side of the hill to pick raspberries for Durwood. What I do for love...



















while I did that he went off and picked up the half-bushel of tomato
es he ordered from Sunnyhill Farms and got right to making his own tomato juice. See how excited he is!



















I turned my back for two day, TWO DAYS, and look at the patty pan squash. The biggest one is about the same diameter as a salad plate. If you don't keep an eye on the little devils they just explode. They sure are tasty.

















We got tired of looking at the dead lettuce in the pot by the patio doors so I cleaned it out at Durwood's suggestion and planted spinach in its place now that it's cooler. It's sprouting nicely.