Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Other End of the Day

Usually I show you the sunrise but today you get to see yesterday's sunset--over the Walmart parking lot.  The grocery store was out of the flavors of on-sale TV dinners that Durwood likes (that's what he eats when I'm away at suppertime) when we were there on Tuesday so I offered to zoom over to Wally World after work to get some (with price match so we still got the sale price) and a big bag of fresh broccoli, our veggie of choice most nights.  As I crossed the bridge over the river in the middle of the city the sun was peeking out of a slit in the clouds so I kept half an eye on it as I drove across the west half of town and by the time I got to Walmart it was glorious.  I restrained myself from trying to snap a picture as I navigated the three roundabouts over Highway 41.  (good girl, those things are crazy)  The picture with the best color is out of focus but if you don't embiggen it you can't really tell.  Much.

Durwood made Chicken Bengali for supper last night and it was deelish.  He makes a paste with melted butter, curry powder (not the hot kind, the sweet kind), dry mustard, flour, and some Worcestershire sauce.  Then you paint it on four skinless chicken thighs and bake them for about 40 minutes.  To. Die. For.  With a little rice and a lot of steamed broccoli it was a feast, and we have leftovers.  We are rich indeed.

October 30--Egon Shiele, Standing Girl, Back View.  Mac saw her at the corner ahead of him.  He was back in the crush of morning people waiting to cross, waiting to slot themselves into a skyscraper and take an elevator to the floor where they would spend their day toiling away, a nameless, faceless tool of a conglomerate that was so far removed from humanity that it could have been run by robots.  Not her, Mac was sure of it.  Her long, red hair danced even on windless days and he knew her eyes danced with appreciation of life, even though he'd never seen them.  He tried to get closer every day, to stand behind her when she stepped off the curb with that spring in her step.  He wanted to be close enough to absorb a bit of her energy and maybe some day he would be brave enough to say "good morning."

I hear the bluejays squawking outside so I'd better go give them their daily peanut ration.  I dole them out because if I filled the peanut wreath they'd have it empty by noon and still be squawking for more, and I can't afford more all the time, we need to conserve so there'll be peanuts when the snow flies, which is predicted to be tomorrow.  Eek!  Bundle up your goblins, princesses, and superheroes tomorrow.
--Barbara

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Good News

My trip to the cardiologist was basically a non-event.  I have a little plaque and my BP is fine (now that I'm taking a pill), all of my heart parts are working just fine (it was cool to see the heart cath and EKG films and know that was my heart pumping away so happily and efficiently), so I don't have to go back to see him if I don't want to.  And I don't, although if I need a cardiologist in the future he's who I'll call, we both liked him.  He was good at explaining.  One thing we both laughed at was him telling me I might think about being more active.  Durwood already scolds me for never sitting down, but I'll make an effort to spend a little time on the treadmill (or the dreadmill as MR said the other day) just as soon as I get all the empty boxes off it.  Really, I'll work on it.

I need to sew more.  Last night I went downstairs, dug out some space around my sewing machines, and whipped up a little something that I need for this weekend.  Except on my first try I sewed the seams so that the seam allowances were on the outside.  That's not right.  Not even close to right.  Good thing I had a seam ripper close at hand.  I despair when I make rookie mistakes like that.  I fixed it and finished it and I like it well enough.  It turned out just the way I imagined it would--but I can't believe I sewed it together backwards.  *sigh*

October 29--Alfred Stieglitz, The Steerage.  It was hot down there and loud, so loud that Anna couldn't sleep.  She lay with her back pressed against the side of the ship feeling the cold of the sea water seep into her bones.  It felt good.  Babies cried, people retched and moaned.  She wasn't seasick but the smell in the airless cabin threatened to push her to it.  How could it be so hot and so cold at the same time?  Ellen, who came from Harwell too, lay shivering in the bunk below hers.  "I don't think I'll ever be warm again," she said through chattering teeth.  Anna was glad for the cool metal hull at her back to cut some of the heat from so many bodies crushed into too little space.

I'm off to the chiro to get my skeleton rearranged, and here are the trash guys or guy now that we've got those big wheelie bins and they pick them up with a robotic arm to dump them.  It's efficient, I guess, but it seems like a whole sub-culture of garbologists is out of a job.  Okay, I'm off.  Hasta la vista, babies.
--Barbara

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Loose End

I was so proud of myself Sunday night when I got Durwood's computers and the printer and the switch thing all hooked up with all the wires and cables and "plug this into that" and it worked.  (thanks again for your labeling help, DS, I really appreciate it) Then I turned to the TV/cable box/DVD player/Wii reassembly.  I took my time and I had labeled it all as I took it apart so I felt pretty confident, smug even, as all get-out until I saw this:  a loose end.  It's a short piece of cable cable that I labeled "TV to Wii" except there isn't a place to plug a cable into the Wii console.  I scrutinized the backsides (teehee!) of the cable box and the DVD player and neither of those has a place for it either.  So it was with a bit of trepidation I turned on the TV to see if I could play a show that I'd DVR'd. Yep, it worked.  This morning I tried the Wii.  It worked too.  I haven't gotten any boxes with DVDs in them yet so I can't try that but it occurred to me that it might be for the now-defunct VCR, that I just unplugged the cable from the back of that and didn't unhook it from the back of the TV.  That has to be it, right?  I'm sure of it.  Pretty sure.  Well, maybe.  I should look for those DVDs...


I wore hand-knitted socks to work yesterday and couldn't resist casting on another one last night after supper.  I shouldn't cast on anything else until I get that darned Oriole Wings Wrap finished.  I've got about 4" of the solid brown done and about 2" more to go but it's so bo-o-o-o-o-o-ring.  I'll get there.


This morning I looked out the back and noticed that some trees are bare, some have colored leaves, and some are all green.  I can't figure out how that works.  I sure wish I was a lot taller so I could pick all the apples on that tree.  I need a pie or twelve and maybe applesauce or more pies.  Another day.

I liked the way the sky and clouds looked, though, when the sun was a little higher in the sky.

October 28--Cypriot, Silver Bowl.  Tibor crouched behind the walnut tree's thick trunk to watch the flying lions in their paddock.  Graves, the keeper, used an easy voice to work with the beasts.  He moved with confidence avoiding the claws and wings around him.  By the time Graves had filled the water pans every one of their heads turned toward the sound of the neat cart on the path.  Leo staggered pushing the weight of the haunches of raw meat up to the fence.

Well, that was an idea that wasn't going anywhere.  It sure is windy today but it's sunny too, at least part of the time.  I like it when it's sunny.
--Barbara

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tsk, It's Monday Again

Well, we survived the weekend, THAT weekend, the move-all-the-furniture weekend, the all-new-carpeting weekend.  I've already carried in today's boxes from Durwood's van but one of them doesn't need emptying only putting in place.  (it's the writing file box that lives under my desk and holds the printer paper on top, not that a single file box will hold all my writing, good thing there's jump drives and hard drives, huh?)  I'm determined to only do a box or maybe two a day instead of killing myself trying to get it all done in one day.  It didn't take a day to pack and move it all so it doesn't need to take a day to put it all away, and who says it all has to come back into the house anyway?

Don't you hate it when you wake up to go potty only half an hour before your alarm goes off?  How can you go back to sleep after that?  It's really dark at 5:30 in the morning, actually it's still pretty darned dark right now.  And it'll only get worse before it gets better.  *sigh*

Friday I went to the grocery for some chicken wings (I seem to be addicted lately) and look what I found.  Seckle pears!  When I was a little girl my country grandparents had a little orchard and one of the trees produced what Grandma called "sugar" pears.  I loved them and couldn't wait until they were ripe.  I have a very clear memory of climbing up to sit on a branch so I could eat every pear within reach.  I also have an even clearer memory of the ensuing stomach ache, but seckle pear season makes me think of my wonderful Grandma A even more often than I already do.  I just don't try to eat a tree's worth at one sitting anymore.  That's what I call maturity.

At Friday Night Knitting FW gave me a pair of slippers she made for me in thanks for some needles and yarn I brought to share with the group.  She used some of the yarn I gave away that night too.  They're so warm and they fit perfectly.  I love them.  Thanks, FW!  (I think they look especially good on the new carpeting.)

October 27--Vincent van Gogh, Roses.  The white rose petals drifted in through the open window bringing their fragrance to mix with the lingering smell of gunpowder.  Lance lay on the floor, his hand outstretched as if to reach to pluck one of the blooms that massed on the trellis outside.  A few of the petals landed in the spreading pool of blood turning them deep red.  Erica had come in through the French doors with her gardening basket over her arm but all the woven wicker held was a small black pistol.  Without a word she leveled the gun in her gardening-gloved hand and shot Lance in the chest.  She replaced the pistol in the basket, turned, and left the way she had come.  When the police arrived they found her kneeling in the flower bed behind the carriage house planting a lilac bush in a freshly dug hole.

I'm so glad that I managed to be here in the morning today instead of late in the day like the last few days, probably because I don't have a pile of boxes staring at me or two men tearing out aged carpet or flopping around new carpet.  I've even gotten started making the week's lunches.  I am impressed with myself.  I think breakfast might be next, then a shower, dressing, and then it's off to work.  Oh, and I need to stop to feed the chickens since I have a big bag of veggie and fruit peels for them.  As if you care, but making this list helps me remember stuff.  I tell people that my brain used to be Velcro and now it's Teflon.  It used to be a joke but not anymore.  Seeyabye!
--Barbara

Sunday, October 26, 2014

We Are Fully Carpeted



Not fully unpacked yet but the furniture's back in place and I've unpacked the garage so Durwood can park in there and so that we can function.  I'll take my time unpacking the boxes living in the (vast) back of Durwood's van for now and the ones barricading my sewing machines.  I'm in no hurry--until Christmas gift sewing time comes.

We love the living room carpeting.  It's the deepest richest cappucino color, dark brown with a hint of cinnamon reddishness when the sun shines on it, and it's oh-so-cushy to walk on.  The carpet installer was surprised when he rolled out the living room rug because they sent about 4 feet too much.  Oh, we won't have to pay for it but we've got a huge roll of leftover carpet, plus enough of the dinette/hall carpet to have a few entry rugs cut and bound, and a bit of the bedrooms' rug in case we need repairs.  Pretty soon it'll all stop smelling like chemical fumes and shedding like a dog in the spring and I won't be stopping dead in my tracks every few minutes to admire it--maybe.

My grand plan to have Durwood spend the weekend at the Super 8 didn't work out after all.  There was something about the room, maybe a lack of ventilation that not even opening the window and turning on the a/c helped so by Friday night at 9 PM he was back home.  Evidently new carpet fumes were easier on him than that motel room.  *shrug*  Yesterday he packed up his tanks and some reading material and parked himself in a shopping center lot in the sun for the day so he could avoid most of the dust flying and initial fumes.  We went out to supper and kept most of the windows in the house open all night.  All of the windows have been open all day again, even the patio door's been wide open and I think the fumes are dissipating.  Right now he's bundled up like Nanook of the North but there's football on TV so he's fine but if it's too hard for him to breathe tomorrow I told him to come hang out in the dive shop with me.  (If you're thinking of taking up smoking or if you already smoke, STOP RIGHT NOW.  Trust me, you don't want to have to deal with what Durwood's got to deal with [and, no, I don't mean me].  I know some people have smoked their whole lives and not had emphysema like this but don't take the chance, it's just not worth it.  If we knew then what we know now...)

I was talking to Lala on the phone earlier today and she was saying that her nasturtiums were going gangbusters so I moseyed on out to see how mine are doing (since she's the one who gave me the seeds) and they're happily flowering away.  See?  Aren't they pretty?  I foresee a lot more of them in my future.

October 26--India, Krishna and Balarama By a River.  I want to ride in a colorful wagon with a dome roof painted in red and blue stripes with gold smiles painted on them and flying pennants.  My wagon would be drawn by horses that match the dome's stripes and the horses would have pearls on their bridles.  I would wear my hair in a long braid with flowers woven in and poufy pants with tiny mirrors and little gold bells sewn all over.  My best friend, Lily, would be with me but she'd have only sequins and silver bells, not as nice as mine because I would be the Queen of All the Land and everyone would do as I say, especially my stupid brother William who I would send on a long mission into tiger-infested jungles with only a dull knife and a cup of water because he always says he's the boss of me just because he's three years older than me.  He is not the boss of me because I get better grades than he gets and I am the Queen of All the Land.

Okay, the sun's setting and there are two more boxes here in the bedroom that I could probably unpack and collapse before bedtime if I'd stop doing this and do that.  Of course, I'm sure that the dryer has buzzed so I could/should go downstairs to hang up the shirts and throw the last load in the dryer.  See?  I am the Queen of Multitasking, I can do it ALL (and then collapse into a heap about 10 PM, but I sleep well).  Maybe tomorrow I'll get here to do this in the morning.  Bye!
--Barbara

Friday, October 24, 2014

It's Carpeting Day #1!

Yesterday evening I got Durwood ensconced in the Super 8 so he doesn't spend the weekend breathing all the dust stirred up and the new carpet chemicals, then J&JJ came over to carry all the bookshelves, side tables, lamps, etc. into the garage for me, and shift the drawers from my dressers onto the guest room bed for the night.  Thanks, guys!  (and I only have to pay them homemade applesauce and cupcakes, what a deal)
 
This morning just after 8:30 the carpet guys arrived and got to work.  Almost before I knew it the "banana bread" kitchen carpet in the dinette and hall was gone and the master bedroom's wasn't far behind.  By 2:30 both rooms were re-carpeted, the closet doors rehung, the nightstand and bookshelves back in the master, and the bed reassembled.  After they left I got the drawers all back in, got this computer desk set back up, and remade the bed.  Then I carried all the drawers from Durwood's dressers into the master and piled them neatly on the bed.  I'll sleep in the guest room tonight so that when the carpet guy arrives tomorrow to finish the job I can help move the TV armoire and living room computer desk, then go off and have breakfast with Durwood -- or maybe even go to the Farmer's Market.  Tomorrow's the last one for the season and I have hardly been, I haven't been very organized this year.

After Friday Night Knitting I carefully disassembled Durwood's dinosaur of a desktop computer (thanks for labeling all the cords and cables, DS) and put them into the dinette with the living room TV, cable box thing, and the DVD player.  Tomorrow I'll stow the antique clock in the master bedroom and the carpet guy will help move the couch, the computer desk and TV armoire, Durwood's dressers and nightstand.  He'll move the bed all by himself and get to work carpeting the last two rooms and be done!

On Sunday I'll wash all the curtains and slowly empty the garage of bookshelves, etc. and Chez Malcolm will get back to (sub)normal.  It'll be a relief.  Of course there's always the danger that new carpeting will make all the furniture look like fried crap but I think over time a bit of smart shopping might solve that problem too, or I'll buy some throws and a slipcover.  

For now I"m bushed and I'm going to hit the hay.  After all, tomorrow IS another day.  (Goodnight, Scarlett.)
--Barbara

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I'm Freaking Out a Bit


Do I have everything boxed up so that it can be hauled out of the room so that tonight's musclemen can move things efficiently?  Will the carpet guy get the bedroom done so I have a place to sleep tomorrow night?  (thanks for that one, Durwood, I hadn't considered that)  Will Durwood be okay in his motel room with no real way to escape or drive away without me?  Will the carpet installer call today to tell me what time he'll be here or will he just show up while I'm still asleep?  Obsess, obsess, obsess--sometimes it's my best thing.  I know in my intellectual brain that all will work out but my six-year-old brain (maybe it's not even that old) is running around like a chicken with its head lopped off screaming, "oh my god! oh my god! there's so much to do, too much to think about! gah!"  I make myself tired.

This morning when I poked my head out there was the barest line of peachy pink hiding behind the trees and a few wispy clouds tinted the palest of pinks.  An hour later the sky was crisscrossed with vapor trails.  Every time I see one I wish I was on the airplane that made it no matter where it's going.

I knit about 50 stitches last night, maybe a couple hundred because I did one row on my Oriole Wings Wrap because it was glaring at me when I finally sat down on the couch to watch a little TV between clearing off Durwood's dresser tops and hauling up a microwave to take to his motel for him.  There's a coffee pot and fridge in the room but no micro and it's just too far for him to use the one in the breakfast area.  I use a small cheap one to cook my lotions and since it fits into the biggest suitcase for ease of transport he gets a microwave.

I think the work point of sale computer is finally coming around.  It's never good when the software provider "upgrades" your stuff.  What they see as an improvement usually means it's endlessly buggy and won't work the way they say it will.  At least we can still do business, handwriting invoices and figuring out tax on a calculator.  Today I'm going to be on the phone with the tech learning how to do a transaction, taking copious notes since there's no online tutorial or physical manual to help us.  Wouldn't you think you'd write down a few directions when you completely overhaul something?  Last week one day the tech kept trying to make it do things and it wouldn't.  Finally she said, "I think your machine's possessed" and hung up to go harass the programmers to figure out the problems.  But we're getting it and we haven't had to threaten it with a double-barreled shotgun in, oh, at least a day.

October 23--Roman, Wall Painting from Room H of the Villa of P. Fannuis Synistor at Boscoreale.  Maria crept up behind Lucia as she sat playing her small harp.  Maria loved the music.  She thought it sounded like birds wings and water flowing in the stream behind the garden.  She wasn't supposed to be in the house, wasn't supposed to bother Lucia when she was practicing for the competition but the music drew her every time.

Oh, man, time has gotten away from me.  I need to dress and eat and stop at the pharmacy and grocery store and still get to work by 10.  Better run.
--Barbara

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Frosty & Foggy *P.S.*

It was a gorgeous sunny day yesterday but I don't think today will be the same.  Right now the grass is covered with frost and it's getting foggier by the minute.  I don't mind, it has a certain, late October creepiness about it that I kind of like.

We got all our errands and appointments done yesterday, and the best thing you can say about it was as we waited in the doc's office to be called in some old pals, G&MK, came out from getting their flu shots so we got to catch up on what they're doing, what their kids are doing, what our kids are up to, and how we're getting on.  It was great to see them and now I've friended her on Facebook so we can keep in touch the modern way.  The second best thing was just being out in the sunny day with Durwood.

Our investment advisor and the others of the same company club together once a year to host a big dinner with a speaker to talk about investments.  Durwood likes to go and this time he needed a driver and wheelchair pusher so I went too.  We got there early enough to get seats at the end of a table so we could collapse his chair and be out of the way.  The food was, once again, Wisconsin buffet food, this time served family style and with the addition of beef tips.  The food was good (it was all I could do not to eat every broasted/fried chicken wing in sight, god, they're good), the speaker was, well, let's just say we decided that she was talking to the brokers, not the clients, so Durwood didn't feel like he got anything out of it and apologized for dragging me there, but I had my Kindle so I had a book to read on the sly and early in the evening I met an old high school acquaintance I hadn't seen in donkey's years.  We were never friends or did things together but it was a small school and we recognized each other.  In fact the reason she spoke to me at first was because I leaned across the table to tell Durwood that I'd forgotten my knitting and she stopped beside me and said, "me too, but since I'm working I'd probably get fired."  I looked up and said, "hey, you're Gretchen!" and she said, "you're Barbara!"  We visited for a very few minutes and then she dashed off but it was fun to see her.  Mercifully the speaker only talked for about 40 minutes and there weren't many questions which made it obvious that Durwood wasn't the only one scratching his head over what she'd said. But neither of us had to cook.

I discovered last night that I had neglected to copy my iTunes library from the old laptop to the new one and that hooking up the iPod to the new laptop doesn't make it suck what's on the iPod into the laptop.  Now I've got "Home Sharing" turned on on both laptops and am trying to make them share nice.  I suspect I'll be taking both computers to work, or maybe I'll wait until next week when my life isn't such a zoo.  Yeah, that's a good plan, especially since now I've got the new audiobook on the iPod so I won't run out of book.  I never want to run out of book.

October 22--Nigeria, Leopard Figure.  The little cat figure stood on all fours, its fangs in full view, and the spots of its carved fur glinted in the weak light.  Zinnia was allergic to cats, even being in a store with a shop cat made her itchy, but she was drawn to this little bronze leopard figurine.  She thought it looked more like a Disney leopard than a true jungle predator but she knew it had been a powerful totem for a warrior or more likely a shaman.  She pictured a nearly naked man dancing around a blazing fire wearing a leopard skin over his shoulders, the gape-jawed skull on top of his head.  She imagined the accelerating rhythm of a circle of drums driving his dance ever faster as the villagers hung back at the edge of the light.


Huh.  The misty fog is gone as quickly as it came, and the first pass of the garbage truck just went by.  It sure is pretty out there with the cold light, colored leaves, some bare trees, and others still green.  Too soon it'll all be covered in a thick blanket of white.  Hmm, better get the snowblower picked up and serviced, or maybe LJ can do it, he did offer... I'll check his rates.  It's a work day and then tonight Durwood and I have to tackle the last few items on our "get ready for carpeting" list because tomorrow after work the muscle men are coming and Durwood's going to the Super 8 since breathing all the dust of the ages that'll be kicked up over the next few days wouldn't be good for his lungs at all.  Plus we'll both get a little vacation from each other, although I was kind of envious of G&MK being both retired but I'm afraid I'd go batshit crazy without a part time job (Durwood agrees), plus I do love me a paycheck.  I'll think about it, I'm young yet, only 63.  (hey, wait, MK's younger than me... oh well)  Toodle-oo.
--Barbara

P.S. Three years ago today Mom died.  Some days it seems like yesterday and some days it seems like a century ago.  I miss her, and in a lot of ways I'm turning into her which is kinda scary.  Miss you and love you, Mom.  Hope there's lots of bridge games where you are.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Followed By Tuesday...

...which I always have such high hopes for being a quiet, easy day and always ends up being a run around, appointments and errands day.  I keep thinking, "boy, when I retire I'm going to have endless days to just sit around and relax" but I hear from many retired friends that that just ain't so, that they're busier than ever.  I'm doomed to never have a quiet day on the couch.


I went out to fill the birdfeeders early this morning and noticed that the fence across the top of the retaining wall that keeps the eye doctor's office employees cars from parking in our yard is leaning quite a bit.  I don't think it's the crushing weight of the birdfeeders I have hanging from it.  Maybe someone got a bit enthusiastic parking up there.  I hope that the snow plow driver doesn't pile the snow in such a way that it shoves the fence over -- again.

On Sunday I installed the birdbath heater which is a good thing because the weather guesser said it's supposed to get down to 30 degrees tonight.  Brrr.

I've been craving apple pie and I noticed that there is at least a pie's worth of apples within arms reach on the tree that hangs over the fence.  Hmm, there might be a pie in our future, maybe one of those rustic flat ones that you fold around the apples.


October 21--Kadmat Island, India. It looked like everyone's vision of Paradise, a small thatched cottage nestled in a grove of palms at the edge of a white sand beach a stone's throw from the blue Indian Ocean. Picture perfect, right? Far from it. When Elaine got the letter from the lawyers that she had inherited an island home from her long-estranged father she thought it was a joke or a scam, but she had done her research and finally, after a visit from the junior Mr. Adams of Woodes, Adams & Blanchard, she had believed that it was true. According to Mr. Adams, Dad had lived on a small stipend left to him by a pair of maiden aunts, building a home on a tiny island off the coast on India, and when he died late last winter all of his estate had passed to her. Elaine's first instinct was to have the lawyer sell the property and be done with it but when she saw the photos she knew she'd have to go. It was the perfect time for a trip. She had accumulated nearly eight weeks' vacation and the company was pressing her to take it. The economy was down and business was slow so the timing was right. Jeremy, her boyfriend of the past fourteen years had left her for his yoga instructor who was almost ten years younger than Elaine, and her dog had died. She had come home two Fridays ago to find him stretched out in his little dog bed cold and stiff. That was the last straw. She had gone online and booked a flight to Goa, India, the coastal city closest to Kadmat, called Mr. Adams for copies of her ownership documents, stopped at the clinic for a tetanus shot and some anti-malaria and anti-diarrhea pills. Her wardrobe was more suited to a boardroom than a beach house so she bought some khaki cotton pants and shorts, a handful of cotton tees in neutrals, and some sturdy sandals all of which she packed into a carry-on with wheels and backpack straps that she bought at a dive shop.

I am totally ready to stow-away in Elaine's luggage and flee.  I know it's just because I'm feeling the pressure of being ready for the carpet guys on Friday but a tropical runaway sounds pretty darned good after the latest string of gray and dreary days--and it's not even winter yet.  I think I'm in deep doodoo.  Off to make errands go away.
--Barbara

Monday, October 20, 2014

It's Monday Again


I know I've said it before but, man, these Mondays whirl around fast, don't they?  The good thing about Monday is I have a shiny new paycheck to cash.  And I only have to work 3 days this week--before Friday and Saturday turn into the crazy days with new carpet installed in the ENTIRE house.  It'll be great when it's done but right now the run-up's keeping me awake.  (I keep trying to convince the furniture to levitate about 2 feet off the floor but it's just not cooperating.)  I'm taking the prep in small doses so I don't overdo or wear out my helpers so I pack a box every once in a while or carry something downstairs (something not too heavy).  I'm nearing the "what gets done gets done" frame of mind. I know that having JJ & JJ haul the smaller things to the garage on Thursday evening will be the frosting on the preparation cake.

How 'bout them Packers?  I'm not a fan but it would have been hard to miss hearing the TV here at home, Durwood's sedate cheering, and the radio announcers' manic enthusiasm in the stores I was in.  I think they might have won.  The flyover was a giant, slow, bright orange helicopter.  I don't know who it belonged to but it was pretty cool looking.  Of course, I was trying to take a picture of a woodpecker when it flew over so I didn't get a shot of it.  *shrugs* Oh well.

In the quiet times at work on Saturday and last night after I got too tired to haul or pack more I got the first side of the Sari Purse Fill-In almost done.  It blends better in person than in the picture, at least I think so, and since I don't have matching yarn (if there is such a thing with this random a yarn) it'll have to do.  I love the colors.

October 20--Claude Monet, The Stroller.  Suzanne walked along the path, the tip of her umbrella making a wavering trail in the sawdust.  Her steps were aimless and staggering.  Her hat sat crooked on her mussed hair and there was a rip in the sleeve of her dress.  She had been carrying a purse but it had dropped from her nerveless fingers far behind...

That's when I fell asleep.  I know there was more to that story, what it is I haven't a clue.  I woke up at 5 o'clock this morning.  I am not pleased.  It promises to be very Monday today.  Auf wiedersehen.
--Barbara

Sunday, October 19, 2014

We Had A Sunrise!



A visible one today, not just a gradual lightening of the gray gray gray dreary gray.  I hoped to sleep longer but was up just before 7 o'clock (a whole hour more) and when I opened the patio door curtains there it was, all pink and yellow and sunrise-y.  There was even a tiny crescent of moon high up in the blue dawn sky.  Even though it was so cold that the birdbath was frozen solid I still went out and took sunrise pictures.  Later on I took a few minutes to scrub out the birdbath (I finally let my old scrub brush go and bought a new one this afternoon since I'd scrubbed the bristles nearly down to the wood--and you know how old it had to be to have a real wood top; a new one was plastic and three bucks, I splurged) and hook up the birdbath heater so our feathered friends wouldn't have to break their beaks on the ice.

When I was going out to clean the birdbath Durwood noticed that there was a Downy Woodpecker on the squirrel corn.  It was really going to town.  Neither of us knew that woodpeckers liked corn and not just suet, but it was working hard and me going outside didn't bother it one bit.

Over the last couple weeks I've been sorting through my purses (haven't found more than a dime so far, dammit) and when I loaded my wallet and a few other things into a sari silk bag that was my first knitting project I remembered why I'd stopped using it--it's too shallow so all my things were right there for the pickpocketing.  I'd sewn in a Velcro closure to keep it shut but then hardly anything fit, so I dug out another skein of the sari silk, a crochet hook, and some long needles so I could pick up stitches along the top edges and knit a purse dickey, fill in the V, so to speak.  It's working quite well, I think.  I'll end up lining the new parts with muslin like I did the original bag but then I'll be able to use it.  I should use it, I really like it.

DS came over for an hour this afternoon to mark all of the cords and cables that hook Durwood's desktop computer together so that when it gets taken apart to be moved so new carpet can be installed it can be reassembled--and work.  That last part's the important part.  It was great to have DS's help, he has such a logical mind and thought his way through, I lose patience with stuff like that and wig out.  Now we just have to box up the arsenal (Durwood's BB gun he uses to plink squirrels off the birdfeeders) and Ft. Knox (his box of pennies) before Friday when the carpet miracle will occur.  I got a few more shelves boxed up, got the muscle men lined up for Thursday night, and think it's going to be fine.

October 19--Turkey,  Belt with Powder Measure and Primer.  Mack stretched his left leg out as far as the chain would allow.  His big toe just touched the iron nail lying on the stone floor of his cell.  The season was changing and, for less than five minutes that day, a ray of light had shone thorough a crack in the painted-over window.  Once his eyes had adjusted to the light he had seen the glint of metal in the far corner.  His right ankle was chained to a ring in the wall opposite the door but if he stretched he could barely tease the flat nail out from under the straw mouse nest and ease it within reach.  Careful not to drop it and give away that he had such a treasure he threaded it into the chain links where it blended it.  Every day in the few minutes of light, he used the nail to probe the lock of his leg iron and within a week he was able to unlock it and relock it with ease.  He used the time without the manacle to run in place and work his muscles to build up his strength because the thought of escaping was the only thing keeping him from going mad.

I've got chicken thighs and drumsticks, a white potato and a sweet potato all on the grill and I think it won't be long before the timer buzzes.  Durwood cleaned and cut up some fresh broccoli so we're eating like rich folks tonight.  I think there's even chocolate pudding for dessert.  (who am I kidding, I made the darned stuff, I know there's chocolate pudding)  Happy Sunday, I hope your day was as good as mine was.  Mwa!
--Barbara

Saturday, October 18, 2014

A Winning Evening



Last night Mr. Boss came in to relieve me at 4:30 so I could zoom home to pick up Durwood and go to the Baylanders Barbershop cabaret.  They have a chicken dinner buffet (great broasted [quick-fried in a pressure cooker] chicken) with green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, a few salads (coleslaw, my fave), cranberry sauce (much better than what I tried to serve the other night), rolls & butter, and bars for dessert.

Then there's 4-part singing by the chorus and a few quartets.  In between sets they bring up the lights and draw for door prizes and, since the night's a fundraiser for music programs in the schools, they sell raffle tickets throughout the evening.   The door prizes are kind of odd, a mix of slightly off-beat donations and stuff you want.  They called Durwood's name and here's what he won: a gallon of windshield washer solvent, 2 rolls of shop towels, and a $10 gift card from Sammy's Pizza.  Now the washer solvent and the towels are useful but the gift card's a real prize.  Sammy's makes great pizza and we hardly ever go.  We were thrilled. 
Some of the prizes were shop towels and a bottle of booze, not bad, but not Sammy's. The last prize intermission is for the 5 big raffle prizes.  We bought our 6-for-$5 tickets early and resisted buying more despite the blandishments and cajoling of random chorus members, but I didn't hold out much hope since we'd already won something and had never won any of the big stuff.  They handed out a couple of the prizes (I don't remember what they were) and then they announced the next one was a $50 Fleet Farm gift card.  I wanted that one so I crossed my fingers and stared hard at our ticket numbers.  The emcee called out, "3-6-3-dramatic pause-2-6-5."  We won!  There it was, right in the middle of the strip, 363265!  Both fists popped into the air and I woohoo-ed, which is what they told us to do if we won but most
people were too shy to do it.  Not me, I hooted and smiled and profusely thanked the guy who delivered the gift card.  (coincidentally he'd been one of the ones trying to sell us more tickets but I told him I already had the winning one, and I did!)  It was a fun evening, we had good, Wisconsin buffet-type food, good entertainment (some of it we got to sing along with), and excellent prizes to take home and chuckle over.  The birdies are going to eat well this winter because Fleet Farm's where I buy my birdseed these days.

I saw a peek of blue sky this morning, not a lot, but a little proof that the sky's still up there.  The nasturtiums are still blooming away and the sedum is blooming too so life hasn't totally fled.  Yesterday Durwood noticed the first junco at the feeders.  Juncos live way up in the arctic in summer and come down to Wisconsin where it's warm (not!) for the winter, so when we see the first one we know winter's on the way and when the last one leaves we know summer can't be far behind.  Plus the hawk likes juncos, evidently they're a bit easier to catch.  Hey, raptors have to eat too.

October 18--Turkey, Belt with Powder Measure and Primer.  The cord lay coiled in a yellowed sheet of newsprint tucked at the bottom of the box.  Sadie smoothed the paper out and tilted it toward the attic window.  It was dated March 27, 1935.  There were ads for liver pills and stories about who was visiting Victorville from other towns.  One column was devoted to a rapturous description of a bridal gown and the couple's honeymoon destination.  Sadie untangled the silver gilt powder horn and what she assumed were ceremonial shooting accessories and tried to figure out a way she could fashion the coral beads and silver fittings into jewelry.

Okey-dokey.  Now that I've gotten the feeders filled, some sweaters and warmer socks brought up from the basement, and crowed to you about winning those cool prizes I need to go get dressed because I get to work today.  I hardly ever have to work on Saturday but I do today.  Just think of the big paycheck I'll be getting.  Can I get a woohoo?  Talk to you tomorrow.
--Barbara

Friday, October 17, 2014

Now It's Foggy



Man, we can not get out from under The Drear this week.  Not only is it overcast and gloomy today, it's also foggy.  Not foggy to the max so a person can't see across the street but foggy enough so that the trees are a bit misty looking and the distance is obscured.  I am officially sick of this, it can change to sunshine any time now.  As in NOW.  Ahem, sorry to yell, but I'm that over this depressing weather.  There are still plenty of colored leaves to brighten things up, on the trees, clustered in the corners and against the porch (it was extra windy on Tuesday so things piled up), and the mums are doing their best.  You'd think that the Sun was big and strong enough to muscle its way through a few clouds but, no, it wimps out and lets the clouds take over.  I thought you were tougher than that, Mr. Sun.

When I got home from work yesterday all of the peanuts were gone again and even the platform feeder was pretty much empty.  I decided to only fill that this morning, to give the peanut wreath the day off, since the squirrels have figured out any number of ways of assaulting it and making off with all the nuts.  I had barely gotten inside and was emptying the dish drainer when I saw the parade of bluejays start to carry away the peanuts from the platform.  I have to say again that I am fascinated by their ability to know when I've filled the feeders.  Who tells?  Can they smell them?  Do they know what I look like in my red hoodie and underpants?  (now there's a scary thought. hey, at least I'm not out there with my who-ha hanging out, that should count for something, and no one really overlooks our backyard)

German, Settee. The space between them yawned like the Grand Canyon.  Even though they were less than a foot apart in inches, they were miles apart where it counted.  Hot words had flown between them, no less angry because they were whispered.  Tom had told Cate that he had lost his job once again.  "But it wasn't my fault, Catey, really.  The boss had it in for me."  His left hand reached across the silk velvet of their seat but she shook off his touch.  "Oh really?  Again?"  Her face was creased with disgust.  "Just like all your other bosses and the teachers all through school, even your Scoutmaster?"  She folded her arms and leaned away from him.  "If all those people have it in for you, did it ever occur to you that you might be the problem?"  She stood and stormed off leaving Tom sitting alone, shoulders slumped, his hands dangling between his knees.

Time for oatmeal.  I should find a red sweater or a red something, maybe red shoes (oh, no, they're all packed for the carpet install a week from today), this day needs some serious perking up.  Wait!  It's brightening up a bit out there. Maybe the sun will shine.  Fingers crossed.  Off to work.  Nope, false sun alarm.  Drat.
--Barbara

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hard To Find

It was hard to find things to take pictures of this morning.  It's the fourth? fifth? hundredth? gray and dreary day in a row so there's no sparkle of the rising sun on dewy leaves or the glitter of a tree changed from green to red-orange.  Just bare branches with silent crows, and the last brave honeysuckle blossom on the nearly naked vines.  *sigh*

I took a picture of the empty peanut wreath before I filled it again because Durwood called me on Tuesday to say that a squirrel had figured out how to get up there for peanuts.  He said it got up on the arm of my Emma's (Adirondack) chair, took a running leap from the chair arm across to the birdbath, bounded off the far edge of the birdbath to the top of the suet feeder, scrambled up to the top of that crook, leaped to the crook holding the peanut wreath, then hung upside down to jiggle out a nut, dropped to the ground, ate the nut, and started all over again.  He said he wished he had a video camera handy but I suspect he'd have been laughing too hard to hold it still.  I'll buy a bigger bag of peanuts next time so the bluejays, red-bellied woodpecker, and the squirrels can all share.  I don't mind.

Last night's chicken pot pie was everything we'd hoped it'd be, rich and flaky and delicious.  The cranberry sauce tasted a lot like the can it came in; we trashed it after one bite.  The good news is now we've got 3 more pot pie suppers for when no one wants to cook.  Score!  And since there's cranberries galore in the groceries around here, I'll be whipping up some homemade, whole berry cranberry sauce to freeze which won't taste like the can.  Maybe I'll zest and squeeze a few oranges to add to the sauce; that'd be good, don't you think?

Henri Regnault, Salome.  Come here, big boy, she seemed to say to him from across the room.  Edwin felt his shirt collar get a little tight as he gazed at her smoky, dark eyes.  He stumbled a little on his way toward her.  He couldn't take his eyes off her soft pink lips.  They looked shiny and wet like she had just licked them.  He wanted to touch her lips.  He wanted to tangle his fingers in her dark curly hair.  No one else in the room seemed to even notice her but he couldn't look away.  The closer he got the more the sweat rose on his face and his trousers seemed to shrink.  Soon he stood before her, drinking in her lush sensuality, wanting to lay his hands on her silk-covered thighs and sink into her fragrant bosom.   "I'm sorry, sir," the museum guard said, "you have to stay behind the velvet rope."  Those words were the germ of Edwin's plan to have her all to himself.

Ooh, baby, come to Papa.  I like Edwin and his sweaty crush on an oil painting.  Can you tell I just read a novel about an art forger?  I am nothing if not derivative and suggestible.  Hey, I have to work today.  I see oatmeal in my future, dressing in "outside" clothes, and a drive across town.  You, um, survive your day.
--Barbara

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Not The Day I'd Hoped For

Today's my day off, my only day off until Sunday, and I hoped for a little daytime couch sitting, DVR watching, knitting, and perhaps a little extemporaneous snoozing, but I had a 9 o'clock nail appointment, then Durwood had an 11 o'clock haircut.  I drove him because we went right from there to Walgreen's for our flu shots (we go there instead of the clinic because Walgreen's gives a shot to a person in a developing country for every shot they give in the States and we like that idea), then we stopped for lunch at the Home Town Cafe (I had a patty melt, Durwood had chili), went to the hearing aid store so he could get his aids adjusted, and stopped at the car fixit place because Durwood's van thought it had a low tire, but we kept checking the one it said was low and it was just right.  Turns out we were checking the wrong tire, the other front tire was low.  Sheesh, wouldn't you think that the left front tire would mean the left one when you're sitting in the driver's seat?  Nope, it was the passenger side front tire.  Mechanic Chad said he would see if he could reset the sensor thingy next time it was in for service.  Then we went to Walmart with a pretty long list of random things (that took a while) stopped at Kwik Trip for bananas (theirs are the least expensive and Durwood thinks they taste best) but no blueberry donuts (too bad, dear) and then we finally made it home.  Whew.  Makes me tired just typing it all.

As soon as I'm done here we're going to whip up a chicken pot pie for supper, and not some store-bought excuse for a pot pie either, one that starts with pie crust, chicken, thyme from the garden, and a roux.  Mmm, I'm thinking of serving a tiny spoonful of cranberry sauce alongside.  Doesn't that sound good?

The leaves were especially gorgeous out front this morning.  It's a good thing that the leaves are bright colors lately because the sky sure is gray and dreary.  I like that the trees along our block are big enough that the branches arch across and make a tunnel.

French, Ivory Mirror Case with a Falconing Party.  The old ivory felt warm in Nina's hand.  Mimi had carried it on her wedding day as had all the women in the family back to Great-grandmother Amelia.  She looked down the aisle of the church at the altar nearly obscured by white flowers.  Her hand trembled and tears threatened to overflow.  "It'll be all right," Galen said, touching her arm, "I'm right here."  A muscle at the corner of her mouth twitched in what might have been the start of a smile.  "I can't believe she's gone.  Only one day, one day between the diagnosis and the end.  How can that be?" she said, "It's not fair."  In her head she heard those words echo, getting fainter and fainter.  Not fair.  Not fair.  She felt like a child left out of a playground game but she couldn't help it.  She hadn't had time to say goodbye.

I hope your day has been a little more relaxed and relaxing than mine has.  Toodle-oo!
--Barbara