Friday, January 31, 2014

Fresh Snow


It was cloudy but warmish on my way to work and it started snowing around 11 AM, snowing to beat the band with accompanying wind, so windy that for a while there it was hard to see across the street.  By late afternoon, 4:00 or 5:00-ish, it was done and James, our renter, had just finished shoveling the 3 or 4 inches that accumulated on our driveway when I pulled up.  That was so nice!  I should probably bake them some cookies or something.

The snow kept the customers away.  It also kept me from having to vacuum up salt and outside crud before I closed up last night but it sure made the day long.  I didn't even have many phone calls, besides Durwood calling with his daily lame bird joke, that is.  Although yesterday's story was more of a "would you look at that!" instead of a joke.  He said that a few of the sparrows declined to take baths in the birdbath, instead they perched on the wide, flat arm of my Emma's (Adirondack) chair and took snow baths.  I wish I'd seen that.  I wish he'd have taken a picture or 10.

This morning I need to fire up the snowblower and clear the street in front of the duplex.  See, James gets home from work early but Katie doesn't get home until nearly 9 PM so he parks on the street, letting her park in the garage since he leaves before sunrise.  That means that if the plow comes while he's parked there it makes a wide swing out and around so it's not all clean and tidy like the rest of the street.  So I go out and clear it off, doesn't take long and that's why I have a snowblower, right?  Right.

But first I need to go to Aldi for a few groceries and some wings to bake for "the game" on Sunday.  I'm thinking that the wings will go fast.  I might not be a football fan but I definitely like the food.  I'm a big fan of appetizers.  Big fan.  We'll just have "football food" for supper on Sunday, I'm sure of it, so I'd better get some veggies so we have healthy food.  Healthy's good.  I'm sure I read that somewhere.

January 30--Herbert Levine, Sandal.  Gabe walked through the kitchen on his way out to the patio and stopped when he saw the red and yellow sandal in the middle of the floor.  Just one.  He sniffed but smelled no perfume.  He craned his neck to check if there was someone sacked out on the couch.  There wasn't.  He held his breath and listened, thinking that maybe the housekeeping service had come while he was shaving, but all he heard was the clatter of the wind in the palm trees and the low whoosh of the waves on the beach.  For some reason he was reluctant to pick the shoe up.  He stepped around it, poured a mug of coffee, and headed out to sit on the patio in the early morning cool.  Maybe Cinderella would stop by to claim her shoe.

Alrighty then, time to go Cheerio, then head out for wings and other tasty tidbits.  Then I'm meeting my friend AT for Mexican for lunch.  We've already agreed we're not sharing today, we want it all.  Yum.  Hasta la vista, muchachas.
--Barbara

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Birdbath is Thawed

It's in the 20s out there, the clouds are back, thick and gray, but it's not bitter cold, only regular cold, and it's supposed to snow 2"-4" on us sometime today.  Guess who'll be snowblowing after work.

I can't seem to wake up today.  I've been out of bed for about an hour and a half and I still feel like I could climb right back in and doze off.  Good thing I make the bed when I get out of it, huh?  I should probably wear red today just to keep myself awake.

I had a couple customers yesterday but I'd run out of "things to do" (except run the vacuum, ugh) so I surfed the web and goofed off.  Didn't even knit much.  Oh, I guess one of the people that came in wanted to do a refresher so I got that arranged, which meant I got to talk to DS for a minute or ten so that was good.  But I had to talk with another customer about the wonderfulness that is Bonaire and the places Durwood and I stayed and dived the last time we were there.  *sigh*  That's hard, we want to go again but it doesn't seem like something we should or even can do.  Bugger.  DON'T smoke--or stop RIGHT NOW if you do.  Please.  COPD isn't fun--for anyone.  But on the plus side, last night's sunset was sure pretty when I left work.

January 30--Paul Cezanne, Madame Cezanne in a Red Dress.  She sat still, only her eyes moved, tracking the movement of his hand, the way his eyes flicked to her and then back to the canvas.  He had put her in that old red dress with the high neck and long sleeves and had her slick down her hair.  She felt restrained, almost suffocated when he asked her not to smile.  She knew he had other models, all the artists did.  Most of the models were young women, easy women.  Her eyes were drawn to the chaise upholstered in dark green velvet shoved into a corner.  There was a pile of scarves and shawls, silky pieces of fabric with fringes that would drape sensuously over the young flesh of the model girls.  She had beautiful skin, pink and white and silky smooth.  Why did he only want her covered as if he were ashamed?  What was he trying to hide?

Okay, it's 8:15 and I need to shower and eat and flee to work again.  I'd better get stirring.  But I don' wanna.  Waaaa.  (just suck it up and go, Barbara, jeez)
--Barbara

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

~News Flash~ Aunt B Has Snow In North Carolina!

At least right now she does and it is North Carolina, after all, but it'll be gone by the end of today of that I'm certain.  There's no way our snow or cold will be gone anytime soon, although it's not supposed to be so bitter cold, just regular cold the rest of the week.  Regular cold I can  deal with.

My good friend, Lala, just emailed me some goals of hers, things she's been wanting to do, things she can do to make her life a bit more satisfying, and that made my mind trot out a few doable goals for me.  Nothing outrageous, nothing too crazy.  Maybe I should print them out and paste them up (maybe on the inside of my eyelids so I see them every time I blink) so I am reminded that I should do things that aren't housework or for someone else.  See?  I shouldn't be sitting down a lot, I should be out and about.  (all those "shoulds"! I need to stop with the "should"-ing, give my psyche a break)

Even with the not-above-zero-all-day temps yesterday I had a few customers at the dive shop.  I tried really hard to get the last guy, who is leaving for the Florida Keys tomorrow, to let me come along but no dice.  I think he was afraid his wife would misconstrue my participation in their vacation.  Piffle, any woman should understand that it was just a ploy to flee the deep freeze but, no, he had to wimp out on me.  He did buy something, though, so I can't be too peeved about the whole thing.  I had high hopes for the big box the UPS guy brought, hoped that there'd be a whole bunch of little things I'd have to sort and price and put away.  It was a big dive bag and a couple little doodads, 6 items total, in a box almost big enough for me to get in.  *sigh*  It took me about 20 minutes to deal with it all and put it away so it looked like it never came.  I did manage drag out her directive to start an accessories order, then I called a supplier's tech support department for battery changing info on a dive computer, then boxed up said computer and I'll ship it on my way to work today.  Those two tasks took maybe an hour and a half.  Days are long in the middle of winter in a SCUBA shop.  (this working EVERY day is a drag, how do people do it?)

January 29--Beauty Nxgongo, Lidded Basket.  It was Chia's job to put the seeds in the basket.  Mai had thrashed the grains from the stalks and then she and Chia winnowed out the chaff by tossing it in a flat basket.  Mai had to go back out to cut more and Chia was left behind to put their grain into the basket where it was stored to keep it dry and to keep bugs and rodents out of it.  She bent a leaf to use as a funnel and she scrounged up an old gourd for a scoop.  She didn't hurry, it was too hot to hurry.  She visited with old blind Bisa who sat in the shade at her daughter's place.  Bisa wanted her to read a letter from her son but Chia said that her eyes hurt from the chaff dust.  Bisa told her she was a lazy girl and to go away.  Chia dawdled back to the pile of grain to find birds flocked around it, most of the seeds were long gone, there was hardly any left to put into the basket.

I need to find out today when sign up for The Clearing summer classes is.  I've got my deposit saved up and I know which class I want to take, Women's Writing Retreat at the end of September with my friend Writer Connie, now all I need to know is when to limber up my dialing finger.  I'll do some research later today, for now I need to get cracking on posting this because I need to stop at the bank and post office on my way to work and I don't want to be (too) late.  Good thing I'm already dressed.
--Barbara

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Do I Really Have to Work Today?

Yes, even though it's something like -10 out there but not windy at the moment, I still have to go to work because Mrs. Boss is off on the ski bus.  Even though the school kids don't have to go (they'll probably be in school until almost July 4th making up snow/cold days if this continues; I think they're already at least 2 days in the red), I have to go to keep the world safe from SCUBA diving.  Even though it was a bajillion below zero and blowing like a banshee out there yesterday I had 5 paying customers.  Five.  A. Mazing.  When I drove into the driveway last night all of the snow I shoveled away on Sunday came back on the wind--and brought friends, a lot of 'em.  I didn't get out the shovel to move them again.  I'll wait until it isn't quite so frigid outside.  Damned winter.  Although when I went out (with pants on this time) to top up the birdbath this morning the crescent moon and the morning star were shining so bright I had to pause to take their picture.  Isn't it pretty?

Mrs. Boss left the 2014 Calendar of Events for me to check that the dates were right and they were for a while, from January through April, but from May 1 on she was one day off.  I wonder what reset her for 2013 at that point?  By December I was making a song out of the date numbers, there are a lot of dates in a year.  It was good to have work to do, though, I got to fix a mask lens for a guy and try to convince another guy to buy a mask (unfortunately unsuccessfully, so far).  I like having work to do at work, it makes the day go faster.  One still managed to arrive just as I sat down to eat my lunch.  The way I attract customers with the aroma of my food is a read skill.  It's almost infallible.  I can be sitting there for an hour or more with no phone call and no people, but let me heat up a bowl of soup and, bzzzzt, the buzzer buzzes.  

I did get the latest Sockupied eMag downloaded to the work computer and had to call Interweave for help getting it to install successfully which ended a full week of frustration.  Turns out about half of the time the file was downloading without the ".exe" on the end so all I had to do was add that to the fileamen and ZOOP! there it was.  Tsk.  Why couldn't the customer service person that emailed me last Thursday tell me that?  Huh?  At least it let me copy it to my jump drive and then transfer it to my laptop.  For some reason it won't download to the laptop, keeps getting kicked off or something, so I have to install it at work and then transfer it.  Now I have the new sock making info and pretty pictures.

January 28--Charles Cromwell Ingham, A Family Group.  They looked so normal, so happy in the painting, like everything was just fine, but it wasn't.  They knew it, their families knew it, and soon the whole town would know it.  Rita and Jeremiah sat in their sober black, their faces unlined and serene, but if you look closely at Baby Miranda you see the bleakness her parents were so good at hiding.  There was no money to pay the painter.  The Bible under Jeremiah's right hand was the ramrod he used to bend her to his will, she had no family nearby, and the others in the community had seen enough of Jeremiah that no one came to her aid.  Miranda was the sixth child born alive in the last eight years and the only one to live past six months.  He blamed her.

Well, that's cheerful on this bitter cold day.  I have to go get ready for work, get bundled up so that I look normal but don't freeze my tits off sitting at the desk.  There will be wool.

--Barbara

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Dutch Baby


I do not know why a popover/pancake thing is called that but it was good.  I followed the directions to the letter; 3 Tablespoons of butter, 3 eggs, 6 Tablespoons each of flour & milk, 1 Tablespoon each of sugar & vanilla, a pinch of nutmeg; heat the oven to 425 and put the butter into a cold iron skillet and put it into the oven to preheat.  Then whisk together the rest of the ingredients and slap the batter into the butter filled skillet and put it back into the oven for 15 minutes or until it's golden.  Fill with fruit and dust generously with powdered sugar.  The recipe says to squeeze lemon juice over the fruit but that's not our taste, and to top it with a dollop of whipped cream.  We had a bowl of cut up
pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries that I spooned on but you could use any fruit and it might be better warmed up or sauteed, and we didn't have whipped cream.  But it was tasty.  I think the iron skillet's the secret to success since Durwood's brother, RJ, tried to make a Dutch Baby for us when we were down there in a Teflon skillet and then a Pyrex baking dish, both just made flat pancakes not a poofy creation like this.  We'll make it again, next time with breakfast meat of some kind on the side.


We needed some groceries so I made a run around noon when the sun was out and the wind was light, had a sandwich, and then called DS to see if I could stop over to drop off some soup, the chicken peels, and see LC after bowling with KW later in the afternoon, but DIL1 told me that LC was wide awake right then and they'd hoped to take a family nap later in the afternoon so could I come now.  Yes, that was my answer, an unqualified yes.  She was awake when I got there, awake and not crying, and for the first time she actually looked at me.  I could see in her eyes that she was seeing me, considering me, so I introduced myself and asked her to call me
Grandma (or whatever she wanted to call me).  Soon enough she had a little cry, I shushed and swooped her, and she dropped off to sleep.  It was hard to put her down, to give her back so I wouldn't be late at bowling.  I was only a little late.



I got better!  I still bowled gutter balls but I did break a hundred both games.  I rolled a pair of 103s.  Woohoo, me!  This time we were at Willow Creek lanes on the east side because Ashwaubenon Lanes had a CP center party and the place would be mobbed.  I think next time we'll try a lanes out in Howard.  Pretty soon my fingers will stop hurting when I bowl, right?  It takes us about an hour to bowl 2 games and costs less than ten bucks.  Where else can you have indoor fun for that cheap and still get some exercise?

January 27--American, Dress.  Julia was stuck for a costume idea.  She had no intention of going into a shop to buy a ready-made one so she would look like a superhero or somebody's wet dream.  She wanted her costume to be clever, creative and, most of all, unique.  While carrying the Sunday paper out to the recycling bin she stumbled and dropped it and had an idea.  She went to the fabric store for some fusible webbing and she bought a white cotton dress from a thrift store.  She used the webbing to decoupage torn pages of the Sunday newspaper to the dress, placing the headlines on the bodice and the classifieds at the hem.  She even had the crossword puzzle on the skirt with a pencil tied to a loop on her belt.

Oh man, it's back to being sunny and windy and c-c-c-c-cold.  I'll be wearing wooly layers to work today and I predict there'll be a cup of hot chocolate in my hands when I get home this evening.  Stay warm.  Bundle up.
--Barbara

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Soup Was Saved

Whew.  The overnight timeout in the back of Durwood's van gave the Five Spice Powder time to incorporate itself into the Chinese Chicken & Vegetable soup so it was an accent not the whole symphony; that and the addition of a tablespoon of lemon juice saved it.  It's not the best soup I ever made but it's good enough for work lunches and sharing with DS & DIL1 later.  The toasted wonton wrapper strips on top really made it great.  (that's my favorite part, I'm a big fan of crunchy and salty)

I didn't go outside yesterday after all.  Well, I only slipped on the boots and topped up the birdbath, I did not mail packages or go get my nails done, it was just too cold and windy.  Windy!  Oh my goodness, in the bright and slanted afternoon sunshine the backyard looked like one of those topographical models with the wind-carved snow standing in for land elevations, very pretty but very much a reason to stay indoors.  The birds and squirrels were supremely happy to stop over for a snack.  Durwood says he's noticed that all the squirrel trails in the neighborhood lead right into our backyard.  Hey, wouldn't you trek to where the food was easy to get?  Yes, you would; have you watched people at all-you-can-eat buffets?  Today I get to go outside and shovel away the inch or so of snow that's fallen in the last couple days.  It isn't a lot but it's too much to just leave in place, especially at this stage in the winter.  In two months I won't bother with this level of snow but there's just too much potential for the darned stuff left to let it pile up now.  And I'm kind of over goofing off, which I did all day yesterday, so it's time to get out and about.  I'll call for a nails appointment, see when I can deliver peels to the chickens and soup to the kids (and have a little LC snuggle), and call KW about going bowling again this afternoon.  My lower back is sore but an hour's bowling won't change that much, it might even help.  Sitting around only seems to make my aches and pains worse, moving is the cure.  Turns out joints don't have or make the lubrication (synovial fluid) they need on their own, you have to move around to produce it.  Illogical, I know, but I've proved it to myself more than once.  It's a hard sell when you're hurting.

January 26--India, Bookbinding.  When Lina stood on the bluff that overlooked the lake all the lines and squiggles on the old map made sense.  She stood as if suspended above the ground seeing the roads and rocks and the trails among the trees.  Now that she knew what the faded brown lines on the brittle paper meant she could follow it and find out why someone drew it.  Did it lead to a treasure or reveal family secrets?  Maybe Uncle Ben could help her.  Mom called him "the family historian" but Dad said he was just too nosy for his own good.

Now it's snowing a little harder, the flakes slowly falling almost straight down so there's not much wind.  That's good, I don't like it when the wind cuts through all my warm layers and blows snow down my neck.  I promised to make us a Dutch Baby oven pancake for breakfast/brunch and Durwood just got up, maybe for good for the day, so I'd better go get cooking.  (isn't that kind of an unfortunate name for something that looks yummy?  did people think the Dutch ate their babies?  couldn't have.)  Shovel on!
--Barbara

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Soup Doctor, Stat!

As you can probably tell by the post title up there, yesterday's soup wasn't the triumph I had hoped.  It was blandblandbland as written so I tried to perk it up with salt and some sauteed onions.  Still pretty meh, so I stirred in some Five Spice Powder.  Well, that took over all the tastes so I let it simmer for a while and then banished it to the back of Durwood's van in the garage (it's like a freezer out there so I didn't have to figure out how to cram it into the fridge) for the night.  I'll bring it in later and reheat it to see if the spice has been tamed or if I need to burn the recipe and toss the soup.  Of which I made a double batch.  Bah.

The sun was shining through the trees this morning when I went out for the paper which means we have clear skies (yay!) but also low temps (boo!).  At this very moment it's 8 degrees above zero (supposed to be the high for the day) but with the wind it feels like -11.  Brrrr.  Maybe I'll just stay in here and look at the pretty sunshine.  Maybe.  Although I have a couple packages I'd like to get into the mail today... so I'll probably bundle up and brave the deep freeze.

I read on some knitting blog (I don't know which one, I just clicked my way there from another blog, you know how that goes) the other day that in order to make progress on a sock she had OTN she decided to commit to knitting on it for 3 minutes a day.  Since I had zipped the Fiddlehead sock into the official red sock-project bag and kicked it under the coffee table because the yarn and the needles are sooo skinny, I thought that might be a way for me to keep
plugging away on it instead of leaving it in timeout until I felt ready to face the weeniness of it all.  So I plonked the project bag back into my knitting basket and trotted it to work with me on Wednesday.  I knitted a couple rounds while talking to MW who'd stopped to visit and did a few more rounds at the end of the day on Thursday when I was frustrated from tinking back all those cable swatch rows, and I added a few last night at Friday Night Knitting.  It's working!  Look!  I have at least another inch, inch and a half of sock.  Brilliant.  (Thanks, knit blogger, whoever you are.  I should find you and let you know you helped me over a hurdle.)  I read something on the Yarn Harlot's blog the other day that resonated with me.  She said that knitters love to knit but their current project often makes them hate it (it's taking too long, the yarn's splitty or too skinny, etc.), it's the next project that they love.  She is so right.  I also made a few more rounds on my swatch and just before time to leave last night I bound off the High Sierra Warshrag.  Idn't it purdy?  The way the colors pooled make me smile.  I can't figure out why they do what they do but it's so random, I like it.   

I snagged a fingernail on my car door handle getting in after knitting, it didn't break but you know how that hurts.  I should probably make a nail appointment for later today.  It's time.  (See?  I won't stay inside today, you know I won't.)

January 25--India, Bookbinding.  It all started when Lina found the book.  The gold spine drew her and the beautiful embossed leather of the cover took her breath away.  The colors were bright and the flowers were so real looking she was surprised to smell only leather and paper when she held it to her nose.  Tucked inside was a map.  The paper crackled as she unfolded it but it held together.  She didn't recognize what was on the map until the August day they drove up to the old place where Mom grew up.

Beats the heck out of me where that's going.  If it's going anywhere.  Guess I'll see tonight.  I did a little yoga first and now it's time to find some breakfast.  Might be an oatmeal day.  Stay warm, kiddos.
--Barbara

Friday, January 24, 2014

Cold, Wind, Cold, Wind

Again and again.  Rinse, repeat.  However you want to say it this "cold snap" is going on way too long for my taste.  It seems like January is just one "polar vortex" after another, doesn't it?  Winter (with a capital W) is putting its stamp on the land this year.  Durwood was thinking of riding along on errands today just to get out of the house but changed his mind when he heard about the wind and cold and maybe sideways snow later.  Bah.  There's a Sarah Moulton recipe for Chinese chicken soup in today's paper; I've written down the ingredients we don't have and will be obtaining them when I'm out filling the list(s).  I am intrigued that it says to put scallions, garlic, and matchstick-cut ginger into the broth to simmer (steep like tea maybe?) and then scoop it all out before adding all the soup goodies, then topping it with toasted strips of wonton wrapper to serve.  See?  Now you want some too.  The recipe says it serves four; I'll be making a double batch.

I had a few customers at work yesterday and tried to invite myself on a couple of warm-destination vacations but had no luck. (dang it)  I didn't have much luck settling down to focus on my knitting either until after lunch.  Since I finished glove #2 the other day I picked up the "how to do the thumb hole" swatch of my BLKG  (Bay Lakes Knitting Guild) design contest entry.  I followed the "sparked the idea" pattern exactly, binding off 6 stitches on one round and then casting them on again on the next, but about 6 rounds past that action it occurred to me that I want live stitches to use to knit a bit of thumb from, not a finished edge opening where I have to pick up stitches.  (this design thing takes thinking, who knew?)  So that meant that I tinked back (un-knit a stitch at a time) 6 full rounds, with cables on some, so that I could knit those 6 stitches onto waste yarn so when I'm ready to thumb I can pick that (cotton, unsticky) waste yarn out and have 12 live stitches to catch with my needles and knit on.  And I just looked at a different pattern and learned that I didn't have to cut the yarn before the waste yarn, I should have slid those stitches back on the left needle and knit them again with the working yarn.  (Live and learn, but not fast enough.  Good thing I'm swatching or I'd really be peeved.)  I want to get to the next cable twist on that swatch, then I'll bind it off and press on to find the perfect cable to fit my idea.

Now it's snowing.  Last night the Weather Channel graphic showed today's snowflakes "falling" from side to side.  I told Durwood that I really dislike sideways snow; that's what it's doing right now.  I think I'll hurry this along and get my running done before it gets serious about the sideways snow thing.

January 24--German, Griffin.  Someone had removed the wings but the brackets were still there.  "You could have replacements made," the dealer said.  Dee shrugged and tried to keep the smile off her face.  She was pretty sure the thing was bronze and it looked like it had been made around 1400, so it was probably worth more than the sixty-seven dollar price tag.  "Too bad the wings are missing," she said, "the price seems steep for a broken griffin."  She turned the piece over in her hands.  "What was it made to hold?  That looks like a spigot jutting from its chest."  She could envision pouring red wine for guests from a bronze griffin vessel and almost grinned.  "Would you take fifty?"

Then I fell asleep.  Hey, it's hard work staying warm these days even with all the layers of clothes and toe warmers I wear to work.  Plus I'm old and feeble.  (pitiful)  Not really, but all these fronts sailing through make me ache.  Doesn't really slow me down but I do like to complain, it's kind of a hobby of mine.  Now it's snowing UP.  I'd say it's definitely windy out there, but I'm still going out.  A few flakes can't keep this girl down, even if they are going the wrong way.
--Barbara

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quilt, Porter & LC

I'm not even going to mention how bone-breaking cold it is outside, how it's supposed to "warm" up to normal (24 degrees) tomorrow, and then plummet back into the low single digits for the rest of the week.  Nope, not going to mention that at all.

At work yesterday afternoon, after I spent the morning unpacking, pricing, and putting away a couple of deliveries, I used the expanse of empty floor in the back room to assemble my Controlled Chaos quilt "sandwich" (that's what the big girl quilters call the back-batting-top assembly).  It never occurred to me that this would be the toughest part of the whole shebang.  It might have been that I was wearing so many layers of clothes that it was hard to get down and around.  It might have been that I was achy from yoga on Tuesday night.  It might have been that I am 62 years old and not thin.  Whatever the reason I felt awkward and ancient trying to get it organized and pinned together.  Thank god I bought a can of basting spray to put it together because I didn't believe the quilting book when it said to use masking tape to stick the smoothed out back to the floor before putting on the batting.  I should have followed the directions because when I got it all assembled and checked the back before pinning... well, let's just say there was about a half an hour when I repositioned the back before putting in the first pin.  The basting spray let me put the whole shebang up on a table so that I could sit in a chair to pin all those pins and didn't have to crawl around on the floor.  How do people who make king size quilts do it?  Is there a frame, or a gymnasium, you can use?  Next comes the quilting part--and renting time on a long-arm machine is looking better and better, but I will give quilting on my home machine a try first.  Should be interesting.


After work I went to LC's house for supper and to keep her company while her Mama went to band practice.  We had a fine time.  When I arrived both LC and Porter were zonked out.  That changed as soon as supper was served.  Porter had her bowl of food and LC wanted hers too, so Mama got to eat one-handed (oh, I remember that) while keeping the baby quiet.  After she left LC and I had a bit of soothing bouncing, a little spit up, a couple of poopy diapers (she HATES those and lets you know the situation IMMEDIATELY in no uncertain terms) and then a nice, wide-eyed visit before she drifted off all snuggled in a swaddle, wearing a Grandma-knit hat, and with her friend, Nuk, firmly in her mouth.  (Mama says she only gets to have Nuk for two months so she's getting the good stuff while she can.)  I can't wait to do it again.  Soon.  LC had her 3 week checkup yesterday and is doing very well; she's gained back to her birth weight and another pound, is longer, and her head's in the 99th percentile which Mama told her is because she's got such good brains, not because she has her daddy's freakishly large head.  (they get that from Durwood)  I think she's starting to get some personality in her face, she's starting to look like somebody.  I'd forgotten how quickly they change.

January 23--England, Suit.  You have to be on your best behavior when you're wearing a tan suit.  Every dribble and splash shows, every brush against a railing or a person leaves its mark.  Jacob felt the epitome of style in his new wool suit.  His burgundy bow tie struck the right color note against his starched white shirt.  It was too bad that the perfect spray of arterial blood from slitting Max's throat would never come out.

Yikes, I never saw that coming.  The sun is shining in the bright blue sky and making the new snow sparkle; it's going to be bitter cold out there, I just know it.  Better go gird my loins for the day.  Hasta la vista, babies.  Bundle up!  Oh, and to those of you whose daffodils are up (I"m looking at you, Aunt B), pffffft.
--Barbara

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

But Not Too Cold To Snow

Just a little.  Just enough to be annoying.  I'll deal with it when I get home tonight because it's still drifting down and I'm going to try to shovel only once.  Besides my right hip already pains me (thank you, sciatic nerve) and after work I get to watch LC so her Mama can go to band practice (Daddy has to work... boo!) so I'll scrape away the snow when I come home later.  Maybe by then my hip will feel better.  Durwood's got one of his favorite TV dinners and Mama (aka DIL1) is making a little supper for me.  And I'll get to spend a couple hours cuddling Miss LC and talking to Porter.  Life is good.

It's really pretty out there, though.  I stuck my camera out the patio door, the motion light turned on, and look how pretty--and cold--it looks out there.

I didn't really do much blog-worthy yesterday, only errands, crossword puzzles, and quilt back construction--and I kind of bollixed that up.  I measured my quilt top and added the recommended inches to make the back, I even wrote it all down on my trusty notepad.  Then when I was measuring to cut off the yardage I transposed the numbers and have sewed way too much fabric together.  WAY too much.  So today I'll be trimming acres of fabric off, two yards' worth that would still be on the bolt if I had more than two brain cells to rub together.  I sewed together enough of the leftover chaos strips to make a column going down the back (I'll take a picture to show you when I lay it out at work today) and hope to get it all assembled, trimmed, and pinned together today.  Then I can watch the "Free Motion Quilting" free mini-class I signed up for on Craftsy and figure out how to sew the thing together.  I'm thinking maybe I can just fold excess from the back over the quilt sandwich and make self-binding that I can machine sew on this first quilt attempt.

I finished the thumb of Strawberry & Onyx Glove #2 last night so they got their picture taken before I turned in for the night.  They're warm and fuzzy and they MATCH.  How that happened I do not know.  Actually I do know, I had only one skein of onyx and three of the strawberry (I used about a quarter of the second skein) so they match.  Don't judge, I can't make everything mismatched, it'd be boring and too predictable.

January 22--Egypt, Mosaic Glass Inlay.  Galen hurled the vase against the stone wall and watched the shards rain down on the tile floor.  He had never been angrier.  No one dared disturb him when he started throwing things, it was better to let the rage run its course.  Today he learned that Myrna had left.  People, especially women, didn't leave him, he either sent them away or fired them, that she would leave on her own never occurred to him.  He wondered if one of his servants had helped her go, he would ask those tough questions when someone came in to clean up the broken glass.

Aren't you glad you're not married to Galen?  I sure am.  I am determined to get ready earlier today so I'm not zooming around like a crazed weasel from nine o'clock on to get ready for work and leaving with wet hair.  Later, dudes and dudettes.
--Barbara

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jeez Louise, It's Cold Out There

I popped out to top up the birdbath an hour ago and almost froze my tinkie off (I should really put on pants to do that).  I love that the clouds have fled, the sky is a pale blue, and the sun's shining like it really means it, but holy bejeebers it's cold out there.  I will still go out, of course.  I have a few tanks to take for service, I need to cash my paycheck (oh, I love my paycheck, I've gotten a dollar more every week so far this year, woohoo!), Durwood has an Rx that needs picking up, and I see he's made me a grocery list to fill at the same time.  (what would he do without me?  I'm the intrepid one around here, no cold keeps me housebound, it has to be my stubborn Germanic genes.)  When I flipped the shade up this morning it looked like a winter calendar page out the window so I snapped a shot.  How come everything's so much farther away and smaller in the camera?  Why doesn't it ever look like it does to my eyes?  Can anyone 'splain me that?

After I go out and freeze my hoohoos off I want to go downstairs and put the Chaos quilt-back together so I can take it, the top, the batting, and my box of bent safety pins to work with me so I can use the big open floor area in back to lay it out, spray baste it, and pin baste it this week.  (I should have some of those floor installers' knee pads or wrestlers' pads or something to keep my knees from paining me, hmm, wonder if Play It Again Sports has those for cheap)  I'm determined to finish that quilt because I haven't finished the 2012 Block of the Month one, haven't even finished the top.  I need to have a Finished Object in my quilt column and soon, since I plan to undertake a quilt top project when DD's home for a visit next month (or maybe the month after) and having three UnFinished sewing Objects would be just wrong.  Not that I don't have at least that many yarn-y UFOs lurking down there but I think three big fabric UFOs would set a dangerous precedent.  I'm "making" myself finish glove #2 (I've got about an inch of thumb left to knit plus close the holes between the fingers and weave in the tails) before I cast on another project so I am working to develop better finish-itis in the new year.  *nods firmly*

This is not to say that my plan to stop (or greatly curtail) eating snacks and other fatty (cheesy, sugary, yummy) things hasn't run off the rails in the three weeks of 2014 because those plans have already crashed and burned, but I need to wrestle control of some part of my life.  Don't I?  (say yes)  There's fewer repercussions from having more fabric UFOs than optimum than stuffing my face until I need to buy all new clothes and can't go snowshoeing or walking or playing with LC (when she's a little more active and less like a jelly bean) so I'm going to be putting in effort both ways and hope for the best.  Also (a tiny bit) smaller hips (or maybe just maintain what I'm currently hauling around) AND a finished quilt would be an awesome way to end January.  (Pay no attention to the woman behind the screen, "self-delusion" seems to be her middle name and "own worst enemy" is her confirmation name.)  Gah.  Moving on.

January 21--Alfred Stieglitz, Waldo Frank.  You could smell the desperation on him from across the room.  He sat on the painted wooden chair in his brown herringbone wool suit, white shirt, and tie tapping the toe of his right shoe and smoothing a folded newspaper on his lap.  There was just the one job open and he didn't have much of a chance.  Desperation never got anyone a job.

Now's the time for braving the cold and getting back here to play with fabric in the basement.  Adios, muchachos.
--Barbara

Monday, January 20, 2014

At Least I Bowled My Age





Actually I did a teensy bit better than that.  I met two of my knitting pals at the Lanes yesterday afternoon, we rented shoes, chose sort of fitting balls, and rolled a couple lines.  We were impressed to find out that we didn't have to keep score, there's a computer that does it for you, but that didn't help my bowling.  I am so out of practice (turns out Wii bowling isn't an adequate substitute--the Wii controller doesn't weigh 13#) and I started both games with a gutter ball.  Those weren't the only gutter balls I rolled either.  I got a 77 in the first game and a 99 in the second. (so close to breaking 100!)  But I didn't really mind sucking at it, it was an inexpensive ($5.28/person) and fun way to spend an hour or so.  I hope we do it again.

After bowling I toodled over to Daddy & Mama's house to drop off a couple packaged homemade suppers, some fruit peels and veggie ends for the chickens and to spend an hour holding the sleeping LC and visiting with the grownups.  Then it was time for her to eat so they unwrapped her from her swaddle and took her hat off and she woke up.  Daddy took a few snaps as she was stretching and flapping; I think this might be her best photo so far.  Such personality!  And it turns out Mama wants to go back to band practice on Wednesday evening so guess who gets to LC-sit.  Me, that's who.  (oh, goodiegoodiegoodie)  This time I'm going to stop after work and just stay there; it'd be silly to drive ALL the way across town (about 4.5 miles) and then ALL the way back in less than an hour, plus DIL1 is a chef so you know the supper she gives me will be prime chow.  I'm so glad that they aren't afraid to bundle her up and take her out; she's already been on an errand run, had her first dinner party, and day at church.  This girl is going places.  I remember Mom saying that I told DS that he'd better have come with wheels because we weren't staying home.  Yes, it's cold but life goes on and they bundle her up and zoom, off they go.

I worked on knitting glove fingers this week at work but couldn't seem to muster up a lot of enthusiasm for it so I've got 2 1/2 of them made.  Halfway!  Woohoo!  And my doublethick cloth is growing longer too.  I'm determined to at least finish the glove so: 1) I can wear them, it's cold outside, and 2) I can start another LC hat.  I've got the yarn and pattern all lined up.

When I poked my nose out this morning for the paper a few snowflakes were drifting through the pool of orange light from the street lamp; I thought they were pretty, and just now a bluejay stopped over for breakfast so I'm not the only one who's up and at 'em today.

January 20--Greek, Marble Head of Athena.  The tumbled statues lay on the ground like white bones.  For thousands of years they had stood in the temple on the hill in the middle of the olive grove through wars, storms, and earthquakes but the last quake was one too many.  The people in the town were thrown from their beds in the early dawn and lay clutching the ground while a sound like an enormous mill stone grinding echoed across the valley.  When the sun was up the only visible damages were a few cracks in walls until someone climbed the hill to the temple and saw that all the ancient statues had fallen to break apart on the parched earth.  Generations of archaeologists had marveled at the fine detail and precise engineering that kept them upright and in place, but no more.

Allrighty then, time for me to clean myself up and take a run at today.  Maybe live humans will come to the dive shop.  Wouldn't that be amazing?  (Does it make any sense that my left shoulder is sore from yesterday's bowling?  Well, it is and that's what I'm blaming that ache on.  Time for Aleve.)  I just remembered that I have that giant vat of fresh fruit; I think I'll eat some right now.  Bye.
--Barbara

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I'm On A Cooking Jag

I don't know what came over me yesterday but I started making stuff, food stuff, and didn't stop until about an hour ago.  Yesterday afternoon I made a double batch of French Onion Salisbury Steak, one for us and one for Daddy & Mama.  I was so into making it I forgot to take a picture until it was all packaged up and labeled, but you get the idea.  You spread the garlic & paprika butter on slices of (crusty, wheat) bread, sprinkle on a little Swiss & Parm, and then bake them til they're crisp and bubbly.  Then you put the cheese toast on a plate, set a steak patty (looks like a burger) on top, and then spoon this gorgeous onion, beef, red wine gravy over the top.  (we're having some for supper tonight and I have to say I can't wait)
 
This morning (after CBS Sunday Morning) I cut up my pineapple, strawberries, and rinsed the blueberries for another vat of fruit salad.  I'm addicted to the stuff; I have it with my lunch at work, I put it on my cereal or yogurt, and have little bowls of it through the day.  Yum.  I even try to get Durwood to eat some too, it's so good for you.

Then I made a pan of Broccoli-Cheddar Cornbread out of a magazine Durwood got last week.  I'm a big fan of cornbread and when you add veggies and cheese?  Well, it's like a meal all in one.  Needs a little salt but I think I can choke it down.  Oh. My. God.  It's so good.  You'd never know there's a half pound of extra sharp cheddar, 6 Tbsp. of butter, and a cup of cottage cheese in there.  Oh, wait, you would because the pre-baking weight of it had to be 3-4#, and it's so good it makes you eat it just by its aroma.  

One of our squirrels has discovered the yumminess that is the suet feeder.  I think it's funny; Durwood is not amused.  He has a few tricks he uses to chase him/her away but I plead for lenience because I have a bunch of suet cakes and no birds are really eating them right now anyway.  Something might as well.  Right?

I'd better stop cooking or I'll run us out of grocery money and need new jeans.  I've got some bean ends and fruit peels for the chickens so I'm hoping to go over later to deliver them and the Salisbury steaks, and I might even get a little LC squeeze in.  But first I'm meeting a knitting pal at Ashwaubenon Lanes at 3 PM for a little bowling.  I'm sure we'll suck at it (at least I will) but it'll be a fun, mid-winter amusement.  I need to get away from the fridge and the stove.

January 19--Lawrence Kilburn, Portrait of a Lady.  "Miss Grace," Detective Mitchell said, "where were you when Miss Lily Worthington died?"  "Well, I don't know," she said, "I've been in and around all day but if you can't tell me when it happened I can't say where I was."  She paused as if waiting for him to say more, when he didn't she went on.  "I wasn't in the dining room poking holes in Lily, that's for sure."  Mitchel nodded while making notes in a tattered notebook.  "Yes, ma'am," he said in a tone of voice that made her think he wasn't listening to her.

And that's as far as I got before the Sandman bonked me on the head.  Actually I only got to the word "voice" before my pencil went its own way and squiggled down the page.  When I woke up enough to take off my glasses, etc. I filled in the last few words.  Not bad for a som...  isn't there a word for a sleep writer?  I'm off to Festival to get Durwood some tomatoes.  He's addicted to 'em.  Toodle-oo.
--Barbara

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Not Moving Very Fast This Morning

I even slept until 8:30, I think that might be a record.  I was tired after snowshoeing with Porter and then shoveling the driveway three times yesterday.  Three!  Yes, three times I got out a shovel and moved snow, not a lot each time, but enough that my back and shoulders are a bit achy today.  Snowshoeing was a blast.  The new snow was fluffy, not that wet heavy stuff, so Porter and I had a great time although I did learn that a dip filled with leaves doesn't compact like snow does so my snowshoe drops right into it.  Good thing I take a ski pole.  Porter found something "interesting" (smelly, I think) under the snow and dug and dug, then she tried to roll in it and succeeded in trussing herself up like a Christmas goose, she could barely stand up because her legs were tied together.  It took a few minutes to get her untangled but we managed to keep going.  She's so much fun to watch because she gets such joy out of bounding through the snow and snuffling where the bunnies sleep in the thick shrubbery.

I met my knitting pal, AT, at the Grapevine Cafe and we had a lovely lunch.  We shared a chicken quesadilla (I'm a sucker for quesadilla) and spent a couple three hours talking about art and gardening and husbands (only a little) and all sorts of things.  I really enjoyed it, then I got to go to Walmart to do some grocery shopping, come home, scarf down supper, and go to Friday Night Knitting.  A perfect day, except for all that snow shoveling over and over again.  Right now the clouds are thin enough that the sun, yes, the actual day star, is shining down upon me.  Ahhh, I might survive the season after all.  (I have the full-spectrum lamp on too, just in case the clouds thicken--like they just did, tsk.)

I forgot to take along the bag of chicken veggies so I'll probably have to go back today.  What a pity, because I'll probably get to see LC again too.  I only saw her for a minute yesterday.  When I picked Porter up she was still sleeping and when I dropped Porter off she was getting ready to go see Nana and Grandpa Doc in Shawano but I did snap a quick one of her in her polar bear suit.

January 18--Lawrence Kilburn, Portrait of a Lady.  Lily lay under that ugly oil painting of an eighteenth century woman.  Grace had never liked the painting.  She had tried to put it in the attic more than once but Drake said it was "important" in that snobby way of his so she turned her chair away to look out of the garden window instead.  No one had to tell her that Lily lying there in a pool of blood was bad, she got that.  She could hear sirens in the distance so Drake must have called the police.  She wondered where he was. Usually he had his coffee and toast here in the dining room, the coffee was on the sideboard but he wasn't in his chair.  Grace leaned to the side to see if he was under the table.  He wasn't.  She didn't want to step further into the room in case she disturbed a clue.

I don't know about this.  D'you think Drake did it?  Is he dead too?  Who are these people?  Stay tuned, maybe tonight's writing will give us a clue.  I'm as befuddled by this stuff as you most likely are.  Well, now that I've munched away on cheese toast and a banana, I might consider taking a shower and putting on real clothes.  I might even go outside today.
--Barbara

Friday, January 17, 2014

Not One Grandbaby Picture Today

I thought I'd warn any rabid LC fans so they can skip today's post if they want to.  I won't see her until I go pick up Porter for a walk in a while so I don't have any new shots.  Sorry.

Well, I got the laundry done yesterday and sorted through the cookbooks, putting the third-string books on a basement shelf (don't worry, Durwood, I'm not throwing or giving them away) but no dusting or bathroom cleaning.  A chunk of the middle of the day was taken up with accompanying Durwood to an appointment to get hearing aids.  Now he gets to learn to deal with sounds (like rattling plastic) that had dimmed or disappeared for him and I get to learn to stop "yelling" at him.  I didn't think my voice had gotten that much louder but it evidently had because he asked me to quiet down.  Twice.  I noticed immediately that the kitchen TV was much quieter.  It'll take some adjusting for him but I think overall he'll like them.

I'm going to lunch with a knitting friend today and when we were agreeing where to meet yesterday I realized that I don't have any idea where the "ladies who lunch" around here do it.  There have to be more lady-like places with nice tables and girly food (not beer and burgers or fast food) but I only know a couple.  We agreed on Grapevine Cafe over on the east side but there have to be more of them.  Someone should make a list for us out-of-the-loop-ers.
 
And it's snowing again.  We got about an inch overnight and when I went out to top up the birdbath it was lightly snowing.  I know, it IS Wisconsin in January but I need the cloud cover to thin out a bit, this thick-steel-lid of clouds is wearing on me.  Even my "fake daylight" lamps only help so much.  I need sunlight!

January 17--Liberale da Verona, Scene from a Novella.  Everyone in the play had big hair.  It was like there was a sale on home perms with their skinny plastic curlers and toxic chemicals that burned your hair, eyes, and skin.  Every one of the actors, no matter their hair color, had a huge Afro, curly hair like rampant pubes that engulfed their heads.  I couldn't tell you what the play was about or even if it was any good.  I was too fixated on watching the giant hairs bob across the stage and flutter with every gesture.

Well, that was odd, wasn't it?  But it's what came so here it is.  I should get a move on if I want to pick up Porter in an hour so I'm not all dog-walk smelly and hat-hairy to meet for lunch.  23 skidoo!
--Barbara

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Yep, She's Still Cute

That LC, she's a girl of many moods.  Yesterday when I got there she was squicking a little and gave me the best frown I've seen in a long time.  For a minute there she actually focused on me.  Just for a minute, but it was kind of a jolt to see her looking at me instead of just staring aimlessly and unfocused.  And tomorrow she'll be 2 weeks old already.  Where does the time go?

I stopped for a spool of white ribbon on my way home from work last night so I could finish the bow hat I made for her last weekend.  I suspect she'll need to grow a little for it to fit her but there's lots of winter left so I'm not worried.

Yesterday morning I noticed that when the squirrels dropped out of the apple tree into the snow a couple avalanche snowballs rolled down and I thought it looked pretty cool.  Well, it looks cold but I like the little rolling trails they made.  Kinda reminds me of those rocks that move all by themselves in Death Valley.

Last week I was looking for a particular size needle and couldn't find what I wanted.  I'm kind of prejudiced against the metal ones because they're pretty slick and can fall out of my work (I'm a loose knitter) so I ordered a few pairs from Knit Picks and they came.  They're the new Caspian color and I also splurged and got a "try-it" pack of circular needles with one set of US6 Caspian tips and one of US7 Nickel Plated tips, 2 lengths of cable, and some end caps  for $15.  Now that's a bargain.  I can try them, try the cable join, and see which tip I like.  I suspect that, as with straights and DPNs, I'll like the sharpest, pointiest ones which also happen to be the pretty colored ones.  See the pretty colors?  Green and blue like the ocean.

January 16--Italian, Medici, Ewer.  A thin stream of water poured out of the pitcher's spout.  Tino had turned the old ceramic jug into a fountain that made a soft splashing sound in the stone basin below it.  Mari's fingers trailed in the little pool tickling the heart-shaped leaves of the floating water weeds.  She liked the way the small goldfish nibbled at her fingers and worried that winter would be too cold for them.  She'd get Tino to scoop them out into a bowl when the chilly weather came.  Oh, no, she had pushed Tino over when they were hiking up the ridge last weekend and he was in the hospital, she'd have to get Mario to do it.

Alrighty then, time to go fling laundry around and clean the bathroom.  Maybe I'll even dust.  Or not.  Don't want to go crazy here.  Did I tell you that it's snowing?  It is, pretty flakes falling slowly and then skittering along when the wind picks up.  Goodie.
--Barbara

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Man, Did It Snow & Blow

All day it snowed and blowed, um blew, like a banshee.  The only people that came into the shop were the mail carrier and the FedEx guy; the phone didn't even ring except when Durwood called.  It was a quiet day at the dive shop.  No surprise there.  Yoga was cancelled because it wasn't very safe driving around so I had to take my exercise blowing the snow and shoveling a little.  Not as satisfying and not as much fun but it wasn't bad.  I managed to move all 7.5" of snow without blowing a bunch of it into my own face.  I call that a win.  This morning I had to go out and clear the end of the driveway and reposition the trash bags the plow had shoved up into the drive away from the curb.  No biggie.  Durwood took a nice photo of the birdie trees in the middle of the storm and I snapped one once I had it cleared.

January 15--Jacob Lawrence, The Shoemaker.  Clea liked the way it smelled of leather and glue in Will's repair shop.  She liked how the shoes and purses hung from the wall pegs, their tags fluttering in the draft from the furnace vent.  It was like an art installation, one that changed shape and color as items were picked up and dropped off.  The sewing machine sat in front of the dusty window overlooking the side street.  It was an old machine, mechanical not computerized, and Will coaxed and cajoled it into doing what he wanted it to do.  He would put a cone of thread on the spindle, then put the thread end through eyelets and arms down to the needle.  There was another smaller cone that held the bobbin thread and when Will pressed what he called the gas pedal, wheels turned, arms went up and down, the machine hummed and clicked, and the needle flashed in the sunlight streaming through the glass.

So that's it.  Not a lot went on yesterday, only snow and wind, so this is all there is.  Sorry.  I think I might stop to see if LC is still as cute as she was on Sunday on my way to work.  I'll call her Mama to see if she's accepting visitors.  Gesundheit.  Oh, no, wait... *opens another window, checks spelling* ...auf Wiedersehn.
--Barbara

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

And Now It's Snowing

Last week we had the deepest of deep freezes, so deep that they cancelled school for three days in a row and I don't remember that EVER happening before.  No, really, two days for a huge blizzard but three?  Never.  So we survived that and then it warmed up to rain, then freeze into a not-so-thin film of ice to slick up all the roads and driveways.  Sunday it warmed up enough to thaw and melt (helped with lots of ice-melt salt) and yesterday the plow came down our street and shoved all the heavy, wet slush into a long pile at the end of the driveway.  I shoved it aside as best I could when I got home from work last night, not perfect but not a frozen mound to drive over.  This morning it's just starting to snow and there's no wind.  That's supposed to change tout suite.  They're threatening us with 3-5 inches of snow and 20-30 mph
winds today.  (Pete Petoniak just said 7-9 inches of snow today--oh brother, we're doomed) And I get to work today while Mrs. Boss goes on the ski bus.  Woohoo.  It'll probably be not too bad that I'm working because I want to go to yoga at 5:30 so it'll sorta be on my way home.  That's better than driving across town in rush hour traffic, leaving my warm, safe home to go twist myself around.  (have to remember to pack my yoga pants in my backpack)  Living in the Upper Midwest is such a treat some days.  And the oncoming weather front is making my knees ache like a toothache.  Goodie.

I had every intention of making great strides on Strawberry & Black Glove #2 at work yesterday but I just couldn't focus on it.  I got past the thumb gusset and have about an inch more to knit before I start the fingers.  (maybe.  I'd better use glove #1 to make sure they're identical, or at least distantly related.)  Last night after supper I cast on a "technique" swatch for my Bay Lakes Knitting Guild design contest entry.  (because I can't just have one project OTN at a time)  I saw something that I've never seen before, a cable technique, so I'm working the first 30 rows or so of that pattern to see how it's done.  It's very odd doing all this groundwork for a little knitting thing; I usually just pick up needles and yarn and DIVE IN.  What has come over me?  Plus the design and sample isn't due until April, so I'm planning and working more than 24 hours ahead of the deadline.  Who am I?

When I left work last night after 6 PM it was full dark and I looked up as I got into the car and saw the Winter Moon shining through the bare branches of the neighbor's tree.  And I kind of got a decent picture (that smoke at the bottom is my breath).  Pretty, don't you think?

January 14--Turkish, Ottoman Period, Helmet.  It was so heavy that Lily was sure her neck wouldn't hold her head up.  The crown looked like gold but felt as heavy as lead pressing into her scalp.  In a moment of insanity she was certain it was making dents in her skull, but it wasn't.  She wasn't the first person to wear the thing and wouldn't be the last.  Her dress wasn't much lighter.  It was made of miles of deep blue velvet with a train lined in satin so it slid easily but it trailed behind her for at least ten feet.  She felt the weight of the gown and the train and the cloak attached at the shoulders like an ox yoked to a plow.  She imagined herself dragging the expectations of the country, maybe the continent, or even the universe behind her.  Some clothes made her feel free, these clothes felt like chains.

Okay, it's snowing harder now and it's even a bit lighter out there.  Better get a move on.  Oh, here's an LC picture.  I love when she's looking at me all wide-eyed, then her eyes roll back in her head, and her eyes close in sleep, like I'm way too boring to even bear.  She's endlessly fascinating, kind of like when our kids were little but with more sleep and less poop.
--Barbara