Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Button & A Fall Off The Yarn Diet

I got a button for the Green Shrug the other day at JoAnn.  I wanted a bamboo button but all they had was toggles and that wouldn't have worked.  I found this tortoiseshell looking one with holes big enough for the super bulky yarn to go through and I think it's just right.






I worked along on the Wildflowers Shawlette at work yesterday and realized that it's DK or fingering weight yarn *head, slap*  but I am not frogging it at this stage.  Besides I like the way this is looking and it'll look awesome with a winter white ruffle.





After my walk this morning I stopped into Monterey Yarns to see when their last day is.  End of May, she said, but judging by the emptiness of the shelves they probably won't make it that long.  I did my part and brought home a skein of Noro Silk Garden and one of Silly Stripes, it's 100% cotton.  See?  Variegated, colors--I can't resist.  It wasn't a big fall off the yarn diet, only a little one, and it was kind of pity yarn.  I couldn't go in there to see when they were closing and not buy anything, could I?  No.

Hot-cha-cha!


It's supposed to hit 80 degrees today... and barely 40 by Friday.  I do not understand how this yo-yo weather happens.  Do you?  Are you one of those easygoing people who just rolls with it, never rebelling against the vagaries of Mother Nature?  I know that the weather will change later today because my right knee and my right wrist and my back and my neck all ache.  I've said it before but I'll say it again, I'm tired of being a barometer.

I picked up Porter this morning and we met Skully at the Baird Creek Greenway (greenway's evidently a fancy-schmancy word for trail) for a walk.  It was cooler than she thought so we didn't go all the way to the end, plus she had spent yesterday clearing stuff out of her basement, climbing up and down the stairs, so her hips and legs got achy fast.  That was okay, it looked like it was planning to pucker up and rain, it didn't of course but it looked like it.  That meant that when we got back to her house Porter raced around the backyard like a crazy dog.  I love watching her run like that.

After cashing my paycheck I stopped at Monterey Yarns which is going out of business by the end of May.  That's too bad, not that I'm in danger of running out of yarn anytime soon, but I hate the idea that they're closing.  There's still Patti's Yarn Shop but she's not open much, isn't online, and doesn't follow trends.  Sounds like cause for regular road trips, don't you think?  Naturally I've got bales of yarn to be knitted up before I'll be panicking.

April 30--Iran, Applique in the Shape of a Lion's Head.

Golden cat
flying mane
bared fangs
rumbling
spine-tingling roars
king of beasts
~~~~~

Sorry that the poem for the last day of April is so anemic but I fell asleep.  I'll do better next time.  Cross my heart.  I can't decide what to do the rest of the day, oh wait, I have to carry frozen stuff down to the basement freezer and make sure that the inventory is a bit more accurate.  Maybe I'll whip up some lotion too although it's going to be pretty nice outside to spend the day down there.  And I want to go to Aldi for a pineapple, strawberries, and a bag or two of oranges before they go off sale.  Guess I have plenty to keep myself occupied.
--Barbara

Monday, April 29, 2013

It's Drizzling... But I'll Take It

Drizzling's way better than snowing (trust me) and I even put the birdbath heater away for the summer on Saturday.  (oh, I should uncover the air conditioners too; I'll do that tomorrow)  I'm not thrilled that I have to go to work and miss the lovely day but I'm off again tomorrow when it's supposed to be in the mid-70s.  I've already promised Porter that we're walking tomorrow, no backing out.  After tomorrow it's supposed to cool back down into the mid-40s.  UckUckUck.  Stick a fork in me, I'm done.  Tomorrow is the last day of April, people, get it together.

Yesterday I sat on the patio in the afternoon reading a magazine and listening to the birdies sing.  It was lovely.  Then I went to DS & DIL1's to pin up her pants and talk to Porter for a bit while they worked on the new coop.  That coop's a thing of beauty.  I'd have taken its picture but I didn't have my camera.  Oh well, I'll show you later when it's all done.

Oh... it's going to be kinda stinky at work when I get there, there were Open Water Certification dives over the weekend and that means a bale of damp neoprene in the back room.  Yippee.  I'll hang it all outside if the drizzle stops so it can dry out and stop smelling.  It's nearly impossible to rinse out all the bay water and body smells which sometimes makes my Mondays stinky.  Oh well, it's payday and that makes up for a lot of stench.

April 29--India, Pleasures of the Hunt.

Men, women, servants
guns, hawks, dogs
horses, horses, horses
running deer
look into his eyes
he loves her
look into her eyes
she thinks her mother was right
about him
but now she's stuck there
with a hawk on her arm
~~~~~

Sorry I fell asleep there and stuck my face to the page.  I'm off to read the funnies and do the crossword puzzle.  And then there's that work thing.  See ya.
--Barbara

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Morning Coffee On The Patio





For the first time in 2013, certainly not the last time.  It was so quiet and dewy out there, warm-ish (46 and climbing) and sunny, just right for sitting there with my hood up and a mug of steaming coffee in my hand.  I wandered around with the camera before sitting down to see what's up and what's blooming.  The rhubarb's up and unfurling.  The primroses are up and abloom.  There're poppies (poppies!) and tulips up in the garden (no asparagus yet).  The forsythia's beginning to bud, and the daffodils, squills (thanks for naming them for me, Robin!) and hyacinths are blooming across the front and the grape hyacinths and lilies are coming.  I planted those all-yellow daffodils the year we moved in here when I was pregnant with DS; that'll be 35 years ago come Fall.  Yikes.  I love this time of year when everything is new and fresh and every day something peeps out of the dead looking ground.

I've got a loaf of orange & dried fruit quick bread baking and the house smells so lovely.  I found the recipe earlier last winter and made it as originally written with dates first and we loved it, but I have a few boxes of random dried fruits I bought at Walgreens once upon a time that really need something done with so I started with a box of Tropical Mix (apricots, papaya, pineapple, coconut) and I'm anxious to eat it... ALL if it tastes as good as it smells, although I'm not clear what's tropical about apricots.

Durwood found a recipe for Garden Potato Pancakes someplace online on Friday, we got the ingredients that we didn't already have yesterday on our appointed rounds, and he made them for supper last night while I grilled some chicken.  Those pancakes were very good, excellent even.  They have grated potatoes (of course), grated zucchini, grated carrots, corn kernels, minced onions, a little flour (called for whole wheat but we only had regular so we used that), and a couple eggs.  They get pan fried and we ate them with a dollop of plain fat free yogurt instead of the sour cream called for.  Yum.  We are happy to know that we have enough of both the chicken and the patties for supper again tonight, with a little tossed salad for the first course.  We eat well here at Chez Malcolm, I'll say that for us.  I'd almost go so far as to say we're a form of foodies.

April 28--India, Pleasures of the Hunt.

Fields of grass
green and rippling
in the hot wind.
Bleached denim sky
holds the blazing sun,
threatens to burst
into flames.
Wind like
breath from Hell
scorches the grass,
peels exposed flesh
from powdering bones.
Shade like salvation,
water like life's blood,
heaven in a peach,
a slice of melon
beyond imagining.
~~~~~

Time to gather my pinning tools to go attend to DIL1's pants, skirt, and tank top, then figure out what to do with the rest of my day.  Maybe I'll sit at the patio table to do the crossword puzzle... while I wait for the quick bread to be cool enough to eat.  Enjoy your day, kids.
--Barbara

Saturday, April 27, 2013

I Kept My Promise To Porter

DS called and shamed me into picking up his dog and taking her for a walk.  She and I tried out her new harness (a much nicer walk, no pulling my arm out of the socket or my back out of whack) and walked down to the Hwy. 172 overpass and back (about 2 miles).  I was hoping to see bald eagles like I did last Spring but all I saw was a flock of about a hundred pelicans across the river and 3 deer grazing in an open area behind a business.  Deer, right there in the city.  Pretty cool, eh?  I liked it and Porter was interested.  One of the deer was interested in us too but we moved slowly and quietly so they settled back to grazing.  Made my day. (Last year we saw a fox a couple times, very cool.)  Next Tuesday we're walking the Baird Creek trail to see what we can see.  I really love that there are trails and wildlife right in town just a block from a state highway or a busy neighborhood or factories.  And it's all free to use.  I think we live in a cool place.

Durwood and I got up at the crack of dawn today to go to breakfast with the dive guys.  We haven't done that in donkey's years but it's the first dive weekend of the season and Durwood hasn't seen them in a while.  He had a list of errands that we ran afterwards:  Festival Foods for bananas and brats, Cooks Corner where they're having a moving sale (he's not allowed to go there alone) and he got a cookbook (I bought some vacuum sealing zipper bags to try with the food sucker thingy), Office Max for a couple of those plastic desk chair carpet pad things (he had a 20% off coupon), and Copps for grapes and an Rx.  By the time we got home it was nearly lunchtime so he zoomed back out to get a "buy one, get one" cheeseburger at Gilly's (he had a coupon); they were pretty good for half-price burgers.  After that I got busy wrenching my back moving a solid walnut bookcase (I should have taken the books out) to get the old carpet pad up before Durwood came and made suggestions and helped me get the job done, then I raked the front yard, dragged the birdie trees out of the backyard because soon the birdies will have leaves to shelter in, brought in the wind chimes for Durwood to fix the gongers on, went to Home Depot for a new garage light bulb and then put it in, filled all the birdfeeders, took out the birdbath heater for the season, washed that and the birdbath (pee-yew) and the patio table.  By then it was time to light the grill so I did that.  Now I'm sitting here with an ice pack on my lower back so I'm not totally crippled tomorrow.  (you do understand that my middle name should be  "blockhead" right?  since I'm not smart enough to stop when I hurt myself... but who could resist working outside on the first nice day of the year?  not me.)


April 27--Edgar Degas, Dancer with Fan.

toes turned out
heels together
First Position

toes remain out
feet shoulder width
Second Position

keep those toes turned out
heels tessellate, right in front
Third Position

right foot forward, toes out
left foot behind, toes out
Fourth Position

bring feet together
keeping toes out
Fifth Position

Fifty years since my last lesson
my body still remembers
~~~~~

It's time to go check on the charcoal and sit outside in the waning sunlight.  I must go, I think it's a law.
--Barbara

Friday, April 26, 2013

And... It's Drizzling

Bah.  Just enough to interrupt walking.  But I'm not giving up, Porter, I'll be over when it stops and we'll at least play outside and maybe take a walk anyway.  (yeah, I say that and I hope I do that but I can be unreliable, especially when it comes to exerting myself.)  I need to clean the bathroom today, and maybe mop the kitchen floor (no maybe about it, it needs it), and I want to get the patio table and chairs out so that the moment it's nice enough I'll have a place to sit out there.  So I won't be sloughing off today like I did last weekend when I was getting sicker by the minute.  (ugh, won't be doing that again anytime soon)

uhhhhh... huh.  I can't think of anything else to say today.  Nothing exciting's coming up, nothing exciting happened, guess I'll slap on last night's prompt writing and sign off.

April 26--Louis Comfort Tiffany, Vase.

What do you do
when the vase is
prettier than the flowers?
Do the flowers fade
in embarrassment?
Fling their petals
to the floor in
petulant tantrums
of pique?
Could you really put
a clutch of daisies
into such a vahz
with a clear conscience?
I think I'll stick
with a Mason jar.
~~~~~

Just a few more days left in April, the Poetry Month.  I've enjoyed it.  I hope you have too, or at least haven't hated it.  Hasta la vista, babies.
--Barbara

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Orbs of Fire & Ice

Very poetic, no?  Yesterday after work I came back into the bedroom to change into my play clothes and the sun was just sliding into the notch made by the neighbor's roof and tree so I scurried to grab the camera.  Then before I locked the patio doors and closed the curtain after dark I zipped out to top up the birdbath and saw the full moon (Wildcat Moon) so I grabbed the camera again.  It's harder to take a moon picture because I can't convince the darned camera to not gather all the light making it look much brighter outside than it is.  That's when I miss film, but most of the time I love digital, so immediate.

I think my cold's on the way out.  I slept through the night for the first time in a week and I slept without an extra pillow propping me up.  Now watch, now that I've said that I'll have a snot-filled, miserable day.  Naw, the fates wouldn't do that to an old girl like me, would they?  No, of course not.  Not a chance.  (knock wood)

I stopped at DS & DIL1's on my way home from work last night to drop off a coupon Durwood printed off for them to spend at Cook's Corner and learned how to put Porter's new walking harness on her.  DS put it on her, then I took it off and put it back on.  She, of course, thought that meant we were going walking so I promised her I'd pick her up tomorrow morning for a walk, so I have to be better, plus I didn't have the bag of trimmings and leaves for "the ladies."  They saw us in the sunroom and were doing the chicken pace up and down that side of their coop "here!  chickens over here!  bring treats!"  Yeah, they're shameless.  Also funny to watch as they stumble over each other in their eagerness, clucking and crooning (it's almost like a purr).

April 25 (only 8 mos. til Christmas, yikes!) -- Jean-Leon Gerome, Tiger and Cubs.

Here, kitty kitty,
you want to call.
They look so soft,
orange and black,
with too big feet,
round ears saucered toward the sound
of a broken branch,
footsteps on the path.
Mama's warning rumble growl
like an earthquake
sets the ground to tremble,
watchful green eyes
warn you away. 
~~~~~

Oh, look!  The sun's shining.  Shining like it means it.  There're puffy white clouds too but they look benign.  This is Thursday, right?  That means I have tomorrow off.  And the next day.  And the next day.  Yippee!  It'll be nice, I know it will be, just for me.  Ahh.
--Barbara

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Finished, Frogged, Started, Frogged, Resurrected, Started, & a Flashback

So, what did you do on your day off?  That up there, that's what I did.  I finished the Green Kerchief although I may unpick the tail, rip back about the last 1 1/2 inches and redo them because I had a bit of a brain fart on one edge and it's kind of wobbly.  I didn't think it'd bother me but it does.  It's not a big deal so I still count that as finished.

I frogged the Yogi Sock like I said I would.  It wasn't floating my boat and I just didn't think I'd wear it even if I do manage to go to yoga more often.


I started another boot sock.  I know, I know, boot weather is done for the season (it damn well better be anyway) but I have it in my mind to make one with the remains of the yarns I've used for the earlier socks and want to do it NOW.  Besides I'm wearing boot socks in my tennies right now because my feet still get cold but I don't want to use foot warmers anymore because it's Spring, or it's supposed to be.


About 18 months ago I cast aside the Summer Fever Shawl for reasons I no longer remember.  (something shiny must have passed by)  I thought I'd pick it up yesterday and just take up where I left off.  I couldn't.  Oh, I had notes and a row counter but they weren't helpful.  I tried.  I knitted one row the way I thought it should be, then counted, then squinted at the pattern, back at the knitting, back at the pattern, and I was lost.  So out came the needle and I rolled the yarn back into a ball.  I might begin again.  Maybe.  Or maybe I'll tag the yarn for another less complicated pattern.


When I went down into the (endless) stash for the Summer Fever Shawl I saw the bag with the parts of the Red Marl Sweater in it that also got cast aside nearly 3 years ago.  Okay, maybe closer to 2 1/2, but a long time ago nevertheless.  When picking up the shawl was a bust I thought that even though it's pseudo-Spring I could maybe apply myself to that sweater and have it ready for the next time Winter rears its head, so I brought it upstairs and checked its status and I think I can.  (I think I can, I think I can... remember the Little Engine That Could?)  I'm about 2/3 of the way up the front and had left off where the armhole decreases start, so I did those last night watching TV and will give it some attention to see how far I can get before it's too hot to knit a bulky wool sweater.  I also have the sleeves cast on and the cuffs knitted; that's good mindless knitting for TV watching too.


And because I can't leave well enough alone I dug out the yarns and needles to knit another After the Rain shawlette.  It's such a great pattern and I've been wearing the Psychedelic one at least once a week so I need another one, one with less flashy colors to go with more stuff.  (good rationalizing, don't you think?)



I want to knit ALL the yarn.  Right now.  It's Spring, flowers poking up, birdies singing, startitis raging.  Ahhh.


Oh, I almost forgot to tell you about the coolest thing I did yesterday.  It's the flashback in the post title up there.  Durwood has a pair of ancient denim shirts that he got eons ago when he worked for Gillette selling Right Guard etc.  He loves those shirts and has worn them to shreds.  Well, at least one of the collars is in shreds so he asked if I couldn't take off the worn part and put on a piece of ribbing or something so he can still wear it.  (understand that he does not wear this out of the house)  I didn't think that ribbing was the answer even though all he was looking for was preservation not fashion so I let the problem stew up in my gray matter for a week and had a brilliant flashback.  I remembered my Great-grandma Barbara and Grandma Freida "turning" collars on men's when they got worn.  Turning means to pick out the stitches attaching the collar band to the body of the shirt (leaving the collar untouched), turning it around so that what was the
neck side becomes the underneath side and vice versa, a few pins, a little sewing, and voila! the shirt is saved.  I'd never done it but I have picked out enough stitches to go to the Moon and back, and this is not a dress shirt, not even a wear outside shirt, so what did I have to lose.  By golly, it worked.  You can see by the pale blue and the "ring around the collar" stains that even bleach won't budge how old and beloved this shirt is.  I'm glad I could save it for a few more wearings for my long-suffering and patient beloved.

Cough, Cough, Cough

That was me last night.  I thought I was better when I was awake.  I didn't have to blow my nose every thirty seconds and I could see out of both eyes, focused even.  I didn't need or take any medicine all day, then I went to bed and woke up within an hour cough, cough, coughing with streaming eyes and a runny nose.  Evidently I half-woke another time because I could taste honey-lemon cough drop when I woke up.  And I woke up with a pounding headache and sore shoulders.  So I won't be going to yoga after work so that I don't cough my way through it or infect any more people than absolutely necessary, and I was looking forward to it too since it's the last Wednesday Mardi's teaching for a month.  (Sorry, sweetie, but I don't want to cough all over you and my mat.)  So far I seem to have hand-washed and slept alone and kept to myself enough so that Durwood hasn't caught it.  Fingers crossed.  It's in my head but it'd be in his lungs and that'd be bad.

I got my errands done yesterday and cut up my strawberries and pineapple, even found a box of the granola I like at Aldi for a bit cheaper than Walmart has it, and got a bag of oranges... that are on sale today.  Oh well, I paid less than a dollar more for them.  I'm not fussed.  I didn't find a sweater button.  I don't know why.  I thought about it, but it never went from thought to action.  I'll get there.

I called The Clearing to see how much more it'd be to have a private room but there isn't one available and I'd need to save almost $400 more... so that's off the list.  I've never had a stranger for a roomie before and I'm kinda worried that I'll be a bad roomie or unbearable or that she will be, but four hundred bucks is a lot of money to pay just to be alone.  It'd be nice though... but... (no! it's too pricey, don't even think about it, Barbara)  The weekend I go up is the weekend of Door Co. Shepherd's Market so my friend KS, who works at The Clearing and is a new-ish knitter, and I are going on Sunday.  We'll have to make a pact to keep each others spending in check, at least not let the other make a catastrophic purchase.  I'm really into my yarn diet this year finding it easy (too easy, really) to pull projects from stash and not go and buy stuff.  It won't last, I'm sure, but I'm enjoying it now.

April 24--Cote d'Ivoire, Untitled.

They pose in their finery
looking exotic, African,
still and dignified.
He's made sure his shoes show,
European leather,
a man of the world.
She's slightly in front,
just enough to show
who's boss.
The son stands behind them
teetering on the divide
between boy and man.
~~~~~

Enjoy your day.  I'm hoping my ears open up soon so I can hear.  I'll bet the birds are chirping because the sun's trying to shine.  Toodle-oo.
--Barbara

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Slowly, Slowly

Things are happening in the "Spring" department.  It was 48 degrees when I opened the front door to nab the newspaper and noticed that the bulbs had gotten the memo.  Of course the temperature's supposed to fall today to an afternoon low/high of 42 and then slide down to 29 overnight.  BUT by Friday it's supposed to be 65 and 67 on Saturday and 70 on Sunday and 71 on Monday (when I'll be back at work) so I guess I can put up with today's falling temps, intermittent rain, and impending blustery wind to get to that warming weekend.  I'll be baking my head in the sunshine to bake away the virus, you'd better betcha.

I think I'm getting better.  I think I am.  I didn't cough myself awake last night, well, just once and I slept better.  I still felt like I was drowning in mucous in the afternoon but didn't take any cold pills or snort any spray before bed and I'm not feeling too bad today.  Yet.  It's puckered up out there and looks like it'll rain any minute so there're weather fronts swooping and sliding and that never makes my head feel good; when I have a cold it's just that much more, um, interesting sinus-wise.

Today I have to cut up strawberries and a pineapple (I'm addicted to fresh fruit), go to the bank, pick up a couple things for Durwood (it's a "bad breathe-y" day he says), and that might be it for today.  Oh, no, I want to find a button for my finished sweater so I'll go to a fabric store.  (I wish I could go to the fabric store that DD works in.  I miss her.  A lot.)  I took Beverly to the little auto mechanic shop next to the dive shop yesterday to have her left taillight fixed, it cost eight bucks.  $8, people, bulb and labor.  I think Jon's my new best friend, plus he's right next door to the dive shop.  Convenient.

April 23--Romare Bearden, The Block.

The block is your world
when you're a kid.
You live there,
play there.
You go to church,
school, market.
You know everyone,
they know you,
some dream of escape
but can't break the bonds
of expectation.
~~~~~

I am sorry that kids today don't grow up in neighborhoods like that, that people are so isolated by their busyness that they've lost the feeling community that felt kind of like a safety net when I was a kid.  Maybe it wasn't like that and I'm mis-remembering.  Old people do that.  I know, I know, I'm not OLD old, but this cold's making me feel ancient, let me wallow a bit.
--Barbara

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ta-Da!

I finished the Green Shrug this morning.  I spent most of the weekend piled up on the couch tending my cold and knitting, and had only one more row of bottom ribbing and the bind off when I got to work today and I finished it.  I like it.  I added 2" to the body so that it didn't look like a green wool sports bra so when I got near the length the pattern specified I quick picked up the sleeve stitches, knit those, and then picked up the neck band stitches and knit that so that there would be plenty of yarn to add a couple inches plus the bottom ribbing.  And I've got about 4 oz. of yarn left.  I thought about keeping going but I'm glad I didn't.  I slipped it on and I like it.  Tomorrow I'll paw through my button boxes to see if I've got an appropriate button for it.  This is an excellent pattern, well-written and easy to follow.  The only thing is I'd recommend that those on the XL end of the size range use a longer circular needle as that's a lot of stitches and they wanted to jump off, the scamps.


I made the decision that I'm going to frog the Yogi Socks.  There's no yoga at Friday Night Knitting anymore and I don't go to the yoga center every Wednesday (only when Mardi's teaching) so why would I make something I won't wear.  No reason.  Into the frog pond.  I'll make an anklet with the yarn.  Cross my heart.

Rain Is Better Than Snow

And look, no frost this morning.  Thank god.  Now if the weather'd quit changing every 15 minutes maybe this stupid head cold would go away and leave me alone.  I need to keep the thought that it's better for me to have a cold now than in 4 weeks when I'll be at The Clearing for a week at a writing workshop.  (there'll be no blogging that week because there isn't wi-fi on campus, it's a retreat, no TV, radio, phone [well, except for your turned off cellphone], or newspaper either, I love it)  I can not wait to be up there in the woods to spend a week walking on the trails or sitting on a rock looking out at the bay.  It's so peaceful there and I don't have to think of anyone but myself for those 7 days.  Heaven.

I spent most of yesterday on the couch knitting or sitting here mindlessly playing computer games and I listened to a whole audiobook.  I did manage to fold the wash, well, mine anyway so I have underpants and socks to wear this week but that was about it.  Don made some chicken and mushroom hash for supper that I know tasted good (because it has in the past) but my favorite part was eating an orange, cool and sweet, that I could almost taste and it felt good to eat it.

April 22--Balkan, Flintlock Pistol.

silver, coral
wood, death
sleek 
sumptuous
well-crafted
dangerously beautiful
heavy
streamlined
ornate
deadly
~~~~~

Okay, evidently my brain is dissolved.  I'm going to quit while I can still string words together in some semblance of coherence.  Tomorrow will be better, it'll be Cold--Day 6.  Gotta be better.  Right?
--Barbara

Sunday, April 21, 2013

One Of These Days...

I'll wake up, open the shade, and there WON'T be frost on the roofs.  Tsk.  It's April 21st, people, when is it going to warm up?  Hmmm?  I'm waiting, and I'm not the only one.  I looked around in the backyard yesterday evening when I went out to fill up the birdbath so it didn't FREEZE overnight and found a few brave poppy leaves have sprouted and there's a fist or two of rhubarb poking out of the dead leaves (I prefer to think of them as mulch) that blew over them in the winter but that's about it.  Evidently the squirrels aren't convinced that it's Spring either because there are a jillion little "planting" holes all over the garden and yard.  They've shifted back into "save for winter" mode.  Sheesh.  If peanuts and corn sprout our yard's going to be a forest.  Sometimes the corn does sprout, I just mow it.

I am so over this cold.  Unfortunately it isn't over me.  I'm never sure how well a cold pill will work for me but I found out, in spades, last night after supper when my Tylenol quit and my head filled up.  I felt like I was drowning where I stood.  Not good.  I even waited a bit so that I thought the next one would carry overnight and let me sleep until, oh say, 7 o'clock today.  No such luck.  At 5:47 AM my eyes, no, my right eye opened (because the left one was too swollen-feeling) and I was awake because I couldn't breathe--and I had to pee of course but that's normal.  What isn't normal is that I couldn't go back to sleep because of all the mucous crowding my brain.  Evidently it smothered my sleep center and it wouldn't turn back on.  Dammit.  I feel like I could go back to sleep now but CBS Sunday Morning's going to be on in about 45 minutes and I can't miss that.  Perhaps I can snooze on the couch when it's over or even, gasp, lie down on the bed and snooze later.  I never do that, lay down in bed and nap, never.  Durwood's the napper in this family.  (I wonder if either of the kids take after him. DS?  DD?)  I suspect that the energy I had yesterday that let me meet a friend, do errands with Durwood, and get the laundry done has abandoned me.  All I have to do today is carry said laundry upstairs, make some honey mustard salad dressing, and (maybe) finish the Green Shrug.  Maybe I can do all three.  If not, I blame the snot.

April 21--Balkan, Flintlock Pistol.

Such beautiful work--
silver inlay,
coral enamel,
delicate scroll work,
rich oil-rubbed wood.
Was it an accessory
like a Coach purse?
Or was it a weapon
for shooting people?
~~~~~

Sorry, not very creative.  I blame the snot.  Enjoy your day.  It looks like it might be a nice one.  If only my head hadn't been taken over by aliens...
--Barbara

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Good Afternoon

It's sunny today, not too chilly, and not windy.  Whew.  I was afraid that winter had called a do-over and come around for another whack at us.  It seemed like it yesterday anyway when the wind was blowing a gale all day and every half hour it'd be snowing or hailing to beat the band.  It melted on contact but it sure was demoralizing to see.  I hung around in my jammies most of the day until time to go to knitting and babied my cold a bit.  Not too much, you don't want those viruses to get the idea that they've landed in a cushy spot, you know.  You have to beat them back with symptom-relieving pills and lovely honey lemon throat drops.  My particular brand of virus came with a little head congestion and an aggressive tickle in my throat that comes with a lovely wracking dry cough.  Ol' Durwood's sleeping in the other room (smart man) while I snort and hack my way through the nights.  I had a lot to drink yesterday, tea and water, and chicken soup for lunch today to try and float it away.  (in fact I think I'll go make some tea right now, back in a minute.... I cut up an orange too, vitamin C, you know)  I was glad to see the bright blue sky and puffy white clouds this morning, not so glad to see that half of the birdbath was reverting to glacier overnight. *sigh*  One day it'll be warm here.

One of the spinners tried to lure me into learning and "getting into" spinning but I kept a smile on my face and said no, thanks.  (you do realize that if you have an honest smile pasted on your face that you can say no to anyone and anything and usually they take it and don't get mad, right?)  Don't get me wrong, I love watching them take globs of fluffy wool, stretch it out, and turn it into yarn but I don't have any desire to do it myself.  Another one of them evidently has sheep and goats because she was talking about her "babies" and someone wanted a call to come for the shearing.  That'd be interesting to watch too but I like to buy my wool pre-dyed, pre-spun, and hanked up for my use.  I'm not a process knitter, I'm a product knitter.  I'm not fascinated by the making I want to get to the product.  A couple of the knitters I know well are process knitters and are unfazed by having to frog a project (turn it back into a skein of yarn) and start over.  That just kills me to have to do that.  I nearly wept when I decided that the bias scarf I had finished HAD to be unraveled and remade.  Killed me but it had to be done.  One of those process knitters has the attitude that reknitting yarn halves its cost.  That's not a bad way to be.  Maybe I'll get that way once I've whittled down my stash to more manageable quantities.  (perhaps not in my lifetime)

April 20--Edouard Manet, Boating.

hot summer sun
reflects from
water surface
spotlight, mirror
she feels pinned in the light
he smells her
moves closer
balance shifts
~~~~~

Well, that was odd.  I blame the virus and previously mentioned head snot.  Time to go flop the laundry around or I will be underpants-less next week.  We don't want that.
--Barbara

Friday, April 19, 2013

Oh. It Was Sunny There For A Minute.


But it isn't now, it's getting cloudier and cloudier in preparation to, you guessed it, snow.  Arrrgh.  And I have a cold.  It's definitely not allergies (I don't think it is anyway) because I felt kind of shivery when I got into bed (alone, I am not germ-ing on Durwood) last night, woke up with my ears on fire (kind of an adjunct sore throat), and a head full of snot.  This is a cold.  I told Durwood I'd go with him to pump his gas today.  I'm not looking forward to standing out in the wind but a promise is a promise.  I'll wear a hat.  I felt so crummy  when I got up that I took a Tylenol Sinus, just one, to see if I could beat back some of these symptoms.  Don't worry about me, I'll be fine, and if things hold true I'll get some lovely side-effects from the Tylenol.  Nothing too severe, just an interesting mild disconnect from reality at times, kind of like I've taken one step back, only in my mind.  I already have a cough (that arrived yesterday even before the head full of snot) so I'm sucking on honey lemon eucalyptus drops which makes everything taste odd but there's chicken soup in the fridge for lunch so I'm taking good care of me, and Durwood's making chicken gizzard stew in the crockpot for supper so everything's under control.  I don't think the crazy weather fronts that have been zooming in and out lately are helping my head either although they sure are making my joints ache.  (wow, that's old sounding, isn't it?)

This weekend there's laundry to do and I want to carry up the birdfeeders for Durwood to clean for the season and bird houses (and maybe make more) to clean out and put out.  The backyard birds are courting like mad and I've found some "nest cams" to watch.  This week the herons laid their surprisingly small blue eggs and the red-tail hawks are already sitting on theirs.  There's an osprey cam in Missoula, MT and one in Lolo, MT too.  I'm going to see if I can't find the nest cam at the mouth of the Fox River here and maybe a hummingbird one from somewhere too.  It's great to have them running in other windows while I sit here and type so that my clicking keys are accompanied by bird song.

April 19--Alfred Stieglitz, Dorothy True.

Her feet are tired
at the end of the day,
swollen, 
forced into shoes
that fit well at 8 AM
pinch at Noon
mangle by 5:30 PM.
Pains like knives
shoot up her legs
when she eases them off,
only to put them back on
a few hours later
to go dancing.
~~~~~

What can you do?  A girl has to dance.  I'm off to find some breakfast and read the funnies.  I need the funnies today with all the crazy news from the world out there.  Peace.
--Barbara

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Now There's Rain

I saw a national weather map while I was waiting for my coffee to heat up in the microwave.  The whole middle of the country's supposed to get storms.  Happily we're on the fringe so the bad, dangerous storms should skip us but today my world is a world of gray and damp.  Whoop.  Since I'm either getting a cold or allergies and I strained the muscles behind my left knee in yoga last night (I don't know how I did that either but I sure wish I hadn't), I feel just dandy.  (can you hear the sarcasm?)  I guess rain is better than snow.  At least we don't have to shovel rain.  It makes everyone miserable when they have to go outside but it isn't snow.  I hear they're saving that for tomorrow.  I.Can't.Wait.  (April showers bring May flowers.  What do Mayflowers bring?  Pilgrims.  That was one of DD's favorite riddles when she was a kid.)

Let's see, what do I have to tell you that's cheerful?  Ummm, the Wii said that I lost a little weight between yesterday and today.  Now I know that daily weighing's not a realistic measurement but it sure is a bright spot on this dreary day.

I changed all my crap into a red purse yesterday and realized that I really don't like that purse.  It's not a cheap purse either but the leather never got more supple than say, plate steel.  Even the straps are stiff and sharp-edged, and I've used it, not for a day here and there either.  I love the color but hate the purse.  Putting my hand in it is like shoving it into a metal pocket.  So I dug out a soft brown leather bucket of a purse when I got home after yoga and moved all my crap again.  All of the stuff is kind of jumbled in it but I know I'll like it better.  The red one's going to Goodwill tomorrow.  To.Morrow.  Even though it's red, I am so over that purse.

April 18--Edward Hopper, Tables for Ladies.

white linen tablecloths
cheeses round as breasts
delicate lettuces in icy bowls
crooked fingers of pale pink shrimp
beckon Ladies to lunch
where the Perrier flows like champagne
with hot gossip for dessert
~~~~~

I do believe that's the first Hopper I've seen that isn't Nighthawks, still in a restaurant though.  He must have eaten out a lot or never left the city.  I'll have to Bing him later during the down times.  Sorry I couldn't be more cheerful today.  How about I end with my favorite riddle.  Ready?  

How do you mail a chicken?  In a hen-velope.  

Now, go find a kid and share a giggle. 
--Barbara

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Spring Is Inching In

It didn't snow yesterday.  I know!  Amazing, isn't it?  Skully and I walked, and Baird Creek's running high and fast because of all the snow we got over the last week... and all of the winter's snow that's melting, too of course, but it sure wasn't warm.  I was glad that I keep a beanie in the car and Skully was glad that I had earmuffs too.  This morning the sun was pretty far up by the time I got up (6:15) but I thought that the pale yellow light was worth a photo.  When I went out to get the paper the brave little hyacinth is almost open in its warm corner by the front door.  Go, baby!  Last night the Weather Channel predicted freezing temps overnights, rain & snow & wind, and daytime temps barely into the 40s for the rest of the week.  Maybe they're wrong?  I'll keep my fingers crossed.  (hmm, maybe crossed fingers explains all my typos today...)

Either I'm getting a cold or I have allergies.  I don't have allergies, I never have, but I just read an article that a person can get them when they're an adult.  (I guess at 61-1/2 I qualify as an adult.)  My kids have springtime allergies, Durwood does too, but I never have, not so far anyway, so I'm hoping that this is a cold and will run it's course.  Just took a Zycam in hopes that this is a cold.  I recommend Zycam; it staves off colds or makes them shorter, at least it has for me in the past.

April 17--Italy, Jacket.

Rich brown silk
heavy, brocaded,
weighted by gold braid,
buoyed by gossamer lace,
convent-made for
a rich man's mistress.
Sumptuous,
blatantly costly.
Did she feel the
holy women's stitches
pricking her conscience?
~~~~~

I get to go to yoga tonight after work, so I can't forget my yoga pants.  I'm not so bendy that I could yog in my jeans.  Tsk, what a concept.  I keep my yoga mat in the car just in case there's some extemporaneous yoga in my path so I don't have to fetch that, it's always ready.  I'd better remind Durwood that I'll be late.  Stay warm today.  Play in the sunshine if you can.
--Barbara

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It's Starting To Look Like A Sweater

Just a quick post so I can show you that I got to the point of putting the Green Shrug's sleeve stitches on waste yarn, casting on armpit stitches and beginning to knit my way down the body last night.  Woohoo!  And I'm just about through the second skein of four so I'm sure I'll have plenty of yarn to finish it, neck and all.  Woohoo again!

Stunned Disbelief Boggled

I am speechless at the news of the bombs in Boston yesterday.  I can not conceive of what makes people do things like that.  I pray for those injured and all those touched by the insanity.


Yesterday was the first really springlike day we've had and of course I was at work from 10 to 6.  I did prop the store's back door open for half an hour to let real actual air permeate the stale corners.  It was lovely to breathe the cool fresh air.  It was still warm and sunny when I left work and I was tickled to see that the Mason St. bridge was up as I approached.  I was lucky enough to be on the bridge proper so that I could see the huge freighter inch its way through the narrow drawbridge space.  That means Spring is really here, you know.

Most of last week's snow is melted.  The only patches are in the shadiest spots and where the drifts were the deepest along the curb where the plow piled it up.  Whew.  For a while there on Friday I thought maybe Winter had called a do-over and won.  Oh, there's patches of blue sky out my window, it's mostly cloudy and not supposed to be very sunny today but there is definitely blue sky.  I see it.  Skully and I are walking today, no doubt about it.  I'm even going to wear capris.  I know!  My socks will probably match but at least I'll have Spring pants on.

April 16--Switzerland, Music Box.

Turn the key
once, twice,
lift the painted lid,
music plays.
As the notes resonate
in the tin box
I'll be loving you,
always
I smell Great-grandma's powder,
feel her soft fingers
on my cheek
as we listen
together.
~~~~~

It's Cheerio time.  See you.  Play outside today.  Even just for 5 minutes.
--Barbara

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Few More FOs

(that's Finished Objects for those not familiar with knitters' jargon) 

I buckled down Saturday evening and finished the Pumpkin Great-Grandbaby hat to send to Aunt B for her impending first great-grandchild.  That seems wrong on so many levels.  First of all, my Aunt B is nowhere near old enough to be a great-grandma and second, LD's not old enough to be a grandpa.  Hell, he's younger than I am... although I will confess that both of my children are in their 30s and haven't made me a grandma yet (no pressure, guys, really) so perhaps my perspective's a little skewed.  But the hat is darling.  I highly recommend it if you need a quick baby gift.  If you devote yourself to it monogamously you can finish it in one long day or two evenings of chat & knit.



All day Thursday at work (and it was a looooong day with only a single customer, paying or non) I made a lot of Green Shrug progress.  I'm within 5 rows of putting the sleeve stitches on waste yarn and joining the body stitches at the underarm and keeping on down the body.  Remember this is a shrug so it's not longer than the bottom of my ribs anyway and I'm knitting it with hawser-gauge yarn (3 rows = 1") so it shouldn't take me long to get to 15" from the top of the shoulder.  A casual measuring just now shows that I've got approximately 9" done already.  I may be tempted to add a bit of length to the body and sleeves; I'll see how the yarn holds out because there is no buying more (I got this yarn in Goshen, IN in 2011; hard to match dye lots) and I need to save yarn for the neck band which is added last.  I want to have it finished so that I can take it with me to The Clearing in mid-May.  I'll so make it by then.



Yesterday afternoon when it began to snow AGAIN I took my iPod and went down into the basement to sew something.  Skully shared a pattern for a soup bowl potholder that I've been meaning to make and seeing Durwood carrying his hot bowl across the kitchen yesterday at lunch gave me the impetus I needed to get the job done.  I decided as long as I was making one I'd make two, one for him and one for me.  I dug through the stash and found a fish print for him and a chicken print for me, and some yellow near-solid for the insides.  This is a very straightforward, simple pattern that turns out a very handy item.  The only caveat is that you must use cotton fabric and cotton batting so nothing melts in the microzapper.  And they're washable for those worried about soup slopping over on the walk from micro to table. 


And do not put them away because they're "too nice" either.  Handmade things don't reach their full destiny if they're not used and loved and sometimes loved to rags.  As a knitter/crocheter, lotion crafter, and sewist I expect the things I make and give away to be used and abused.  Don't save lotion or lip balm, the stuff I make has no preservatives in it and is only good for about a year.  If you wear out, felt from use, tear, lose on the bus, spit up or whizz on (mostly I'm speaking to the babies in my audience here), or sit too close to the fire in anything I have made you, don't be embarrassed, just tell me and I'll either fix it or make a new one.  Cross my heart.  Makers like to make things so if we get to make more, that's all to the good.  Sorry for the rant, it just bugs me when I make things for people and they don't use whatever it is.  (can you tell?)