Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Reason For The Season


I was thinking about Thanksgiving last night and I came to a few realizations.  First, we have Thanksgiving so retailers have a "kick off" day for forcing people to go shopping for stuff they don't need and can't really afford, then B, it's a reason for your kids to come home to visit you and not have to buy some of the aforementioned gifts to do it, and 3, so that you can have things like an open-faced turkey and mayo sandwich (we called that a "Grandpa Gerst sandwich" when I was a kid) on homemade onion bread with a cranberry sauce chaser for supper.  (Really, that one's the most important.  You can have that more than once, with other sides too, and then you can make soup or stock with the carcass.  I'm making soup for lunches.)  Also IV,  turkey has tryptophan which makes you sleepy so you have an excuse for falling asleep in the afternoon and then again after supper, sitting at your computer waaaaay before bedtime.  I did manage to stay awake after supper long enough to finish the first Fast Hat.  I like it.  I like the pattern, I like the colors, and it stretches like crazy so it'll fit just about any size head.  It's a good hat.

Our company drove away today so our house is back to being quiet and dull which isn't all bad.  It was so great to have the KY branch of the clan home, and half of it will be back in less than a month.  Woohoo!

My friend, HH, called me this afternoon to tell me about a knitting book she found at Goodwill so, since she was still there, I hopped in my car and went right over.  What?  It's only about 4 blocks, okay, 5 blocks.  Anyway, it was this book called "Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out knit toys" and oh, does it have cute things to make in it.  Better yet it was four bucks.  The original price was eighteen dollars, for only $4 I couldn't leave it behind.  Then while we stood there talking I found an old book telling how to make soft toys, that one was only three bucks.  They're mostly fabric or felt projects and the one that really caught my eye was dominoes made with felt and lightly stuffed--counting and matching colors and numbers--educational and fun.  What could be better?  I gotta admit I need to clone myself, retire, and grow sixteen new hands, plus probably rob a bank or two to be able to do all the things I want to do RIGHT NOW,  but I don't see any of that happening anytime soon.  But I will be watching for a sale on felt squares in fun colors.

There's a home Packers game today.  Kickoff was about half an hour ago and there wasn't a flyover.  I wait to go out to fill the birdfeeders until about 10 minutes before kickoff so I'm out there for the only part of professional football that I like and today there wasn't one. The sky was a bright blue and the clouds were kind of shredded and thin, it would have been perfect to have a cluster of big, loud, fast airplanes come screaming by... but they didn't.  Rats.

November 30--China, Cosmological Mandala with Mount Meru.  The views of the mountain were drawn around the center in small boxes, each view in a different season, a different light, or from a different angle.  According to the description the original mandala was a silk tapestry from the 14th century.  Looking at it made Blake want to set up her loom and weave or learn to make a hanging that was representational rather than the abstracts she usually produced.

Meh.  I thought I had a good idea to go with last night's picture but as the words hit the page they kind of wimped out.  I blame the turkey.
--Barbara

Saturday, November 29, 2014

We Went To The Animal Fair...

Not really, we went to the Zoo but someone reminded me of that song (I'm looking at you, VJ) a while back and it's kind of stuck in the back of my mind, jumping out at me when I'm not expecting it.  It's not nearly as annoying as some "ear worms" so I'm not too fussed by it.


DD and SIL1 went to the NEW Zoo yesterday morning because SIL1 learned that there're giraffes there to be fed, so we toddled on out there yesterday morning in light snow flurries.  When I drove up I thought it was closed because there were only 2 cars in the lot but the sign said they were open and as I pulled in a woman walked across
the road and into the door so we parked and went in.  It was less than $20 for the 3 of us to get in (I'm cheaper because I'm over 60) and I splurged $5 on a large bag of petting zoo chow.  We went right over there to feed the deer, sheep (sheeps!  sweaters on the hoof!), alpacas, and goats.  Once we had everyone outside fed we went into the giraffe building where the only other person was the volunteer.   We bought giraffe cookies (which look a bit like Triscuits) and we fed
Hodari and Zuri until we were all out.  It was amazing.  DD and SIL1 hadn't fed the giraffes before and they loved it.  Then we walked around the rest of the zoo seeing a bison, a pair of elk and of pronghorn antelope (the only antelope native to North America).  We saw and heard a lion pacing and roaring.  We heard an eagle calling, saw lots of cool-looking ducks, the red panda (asleep), cotton-top tamarins with a "thanksgiving" table set up in their display, a lynx, a bobcat, whitetail deer, the wolf pack, emus, peacocks
(looking pretty bedraggled), and a lone Japanese macaque.  A flock of Canada geese were sitting on the frozen pond, all facing the same way, looking a little confused,  "wasn't there water here?"  They were feeding the otters when we walked by so we got to watch them eat, squeak, and slide on their bellies in the snow.  It was an excellent time. All the while we were there we only saw one dad and son so it was like we were in our own private zoo.  I tucked a volunteer pamphlet in my pocket on the way out.  I want to stand a shift feeding the giraffes or running the carousel or something--mostly I want to be with the giraffes.



We're having our feast today so I've got to get the bird in the oven soon but
we've been getting parts of it ready over the last couple days so today won't be too crazy busy (she says with more than a soupcon of delusion).  The pies are baked, two kinds of cranberries are ready, I've got the stuffing bread made and ready to be mixed with all manner of goodies.  DD is making the mashed potatoes and Durwood will be peeling the carrots while I saute the bacon and onions.  It'll end up being crazy but it'll be great to have everyone together for a few hours.  Then they'll all go home and we'll go back to being quiet and sluggish for a month--until Christmas and it all starts up again.  Don't you love the holidays?

November 29--China,  Cosmological Mandala with Mount Meru.  Blake studied the astrological chart she'd found tucked into an old atlas in her Uncle Alby's library.

It was a long, fun day.  I fell asleep.  I woke up when Durwood tried to take my glasses off.  Time to go massage the bird.
--Barbara

Friday, November 28, 2014

And... It's Snowing

*sigh*  I hoped for another sunny day today but seems like I'm out of luck.  I'm thankful for yesterday's sunny because, LOOK!, another HHR arrived mid-afternoon and now there're too many adults in our 900 sq. ft., one bathroom, house but we're so glad.

While we visited and watched football last night I finished the first Two-needle Mitten.  I like it and I like the pattern.  Rest assured I'll be casting on mitten #2 sometime today.  I worked more on the Fast Hat but it looks the same as it did the last time, only a bit longer.

When I glanced out the bedroom window I saw the crescent moon through the bare branches of a tree.  This picture doesn't do it justice so you'll have to imagine the sharp points of the moon and it's cold light shining behind artfully tangled branches.  You know, like in a movie, a good one, a rom-com with, um, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

The plan is to go to the zoo this morning because someone not-from-here learned First: that we HAVE a zoo and B: you can feed the giraffes for a nominal fee.  Good thing I have enough snowboots for all the female feet in the house.

Right now I'm baking a skillet of corn bread so it can cool and dry out so I can make my famous (in my own mind) cornbread sausage stuffing tomorrow on the day that we're having Thanksgiving.  None of us minded one bit that we had to postpone the feast.  I say it'll be Thanksgiving whenever we can all get together around a table, and that'll be tomorrow afternoon.  Tonight the Kentucky kids are invited to the Wisconsin kids' house for a "kids' night" supper.  I think that is one whale of a good idea.  They get a break from the oldsters and we get to eat last night's leftovers and I get to go to Friday Night Knitting.  It's a win-win-win.

November 28--Syria, Gravestone with Bust of a Woman.  The eyes of the statue stared out from the shadows.  Carrie and Jake were holding hands as they walked down between the graves.  The cemetery had tours of what they call The Statuary Garden but they had arrive too late for the last tour of the day so the guard gave them a map and pointed them on their way.  At first they had enjoyed the variety of carvings and deciphering the birth and death dates on the oldest headstones but as the sun sank and the shadows lengthened they walked faster and stuck closer together, eventually holding hands.  Carrie never knew if she had grabbed Jake's hand or if his was the first to hold on.  They both wished they had brought a flashlight when the staring eyes of the bust of the woman loomed at them out of the dark.

That was fun to write.  I felt like I used to while I was writing it, the words just flowed.  Made me feel just like a real writer!  Oop, the timer buzzed, the corn bread's done.  Time to start my day.  Lay around if you can today and digest yesterday's excesses.  Better still, take a walk.  I'm off (and not only that I'm leaving, hee hee), have a good day.
--Barbara

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Turkey Sat On The Backyard Fence...

...and he sang this sad, sad tu-u-une,
Thanksgiving Day is coming,
gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble,
and I know I'll be eaten so-o-o-on.
Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble,
I would like to run awa-a-a-ay.
Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble,
I don't like Thanksgiving Day!

Now it's officially Thanksgiving Day.  I miss having Mom call when she got out of bed to sing and I forgot to sing to DD or DS when they called but you can bet the Turkey Song will be sung more than once today and for the next few days.  SomeBaby liked it when I sang it to her the other day. She needs to learn it, tout suite.  Just as soon as she can talk.


I just glanced out the window and I think our neighborhood looks like a calendar page with the fresh snow and bright sunshine.  What do you think?

November 27--Edouard Manet, The Brioche.  Louisa's bread sat like a crown in the center of the table.  Its fragrance perfumed the whole house and drew everyone to the dining room.  She gently folded a linen napkin around it to keep it warm while the rest of the dishes were brought in from the kitchen.  The roast was sliced and carried on a heaping platter, only the loaf of bread made the journey from oven to table whole so that it could be sliced with some ceremony before all of the guests, each one hoping to be allowed to eat the heel in all its crunchy magnificence.

That reminds me of the times when Dad baked bread and we'd all gather around to jockey for a heel.  One of my brothers' friends would show up no matter what time the bread was done, once at 11 o'clock at night, for a slice of just-baked bread.  Our company's a couple hours away and I hear Durwood heating up a bowl of chili for lunch.  I think I'll join him.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!  Eat lots of pie.
--Barbara

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sunshine!

At least for now.  The sky isn't clear and blue or anything like that but the clouds are thin enough that the sun is shining through so I believe it's still out there.  For a few days I wasn't sure, it was so gray and overcast.  I had to snowblow yesterday morning.  *sigh*  I didn't want to but I had to since the plow came by and made a drift, albeit a small one, at the end of the driveway.  I like seeing the postman's and the feral cat's footprints in the snow.

I got a little busy yesterday so I didn't get the first two-needle mitten done.  Actually I fell asleep on the couch around 9:15 PM with the needles in my hands and woke up after an hour's "practice nap," took out the trash, and toddled off to bed.  I'll finish mitten #1 today, I'm sure of it.

I woke up at 5:30 this morning remembering that I said I'd make a pot of chili for when DD arrives tomorrow.  It's going to be cold, maybe snowy, and they're not used to living in the tundra so I figured chili would be a welcome lunch.  Good thing we have a well-stocked larder and freezer.  I pulled this together with 5 cans of stuff, a pound of ground turkey, a few spices, and I added a package of frozen corn.  Everyone knows that soup and chili are better the second day.  The house is starting to smell really good.  Do you put noodles in your chili?  I was told not to by half of one kid couple but the other half likes noodles in hers.  Maybe we'll cook some up to serve on the side for those who are noodle-inclined.

November 26--Angela Verdon, Bowl.  The red roses spilled out of the white porcelain bowl Julia was using as a vase.  The room had been ransacked and she stood in the doorway, her hands limp at her sides.  Light glistened on the water spilled on the walnut table and dribbled down onto the floor but she was too shocked to even think of mopping in up.

I think that's not bad for someone who was more than half asleep when it was written.  I get to go to work today so only Durwood will be here to smell the chili cooking, the lucky guy.  If you're driving today, be careful, and have a Happy Thanksgiving.  Eat lots of pie, also cranberry sauce, but not on your pie... although... no, not on your pie.  But you can be sure I'll be trying it.  Just a bite.  Happy Turkey Day!
--Barbara

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

Thanksgiving???  Yesterday morning's rain turned into snow by sundown which made slushy ice under a covering of snow.  Yippee.  My drive home after work was slow and careful.  This morning I got to get up early and snowblow.  Thank god I got it started and running a couple weeks ago.  I couldn't have shoveled this stuff, it's way too wet and heavy.  It's what I think of as "heart attack" snow.  Thank god for snowblowers and rock salt.

Today I want to cook up a batch of cranberry sauce.  I think I'm going to zest an orange and squeeze a couple of them to add to the cranberries.  Durwood read a survey online that said cranberry sauce is the least favorite side on Thanksgivng but I like it and I polled the family and they like it too, not the jellied canned as much as the cooked.  We all agreed that's the best.

I still don't have 6" of brown on the Oriole Wings Wrap, I only have 4.5", but I'm not giving up.  I'll be adding a couple rows later today, cross my heart.  After supper I picked up the first Two-needle Mitten and got up to the thumb gusset before bedtime.  I'm hoping to get further, if not done with it, today.

November 25--Alfred Sisley, Rue Eurgene Moussoir at Moret: Winter.  At first there were pink spots on the snow, just a few and far apart.  Then a thin red line drew Nick and Finn on.  Within a block the red stained the snow in gouts like arterial spurting.  All conversation ceased as they realized the implication of what they saw.  Nick's longer legs carried him further and faster along the blood trail until he pulled up short at the sight of a bare foot so pale it looked blue against the fresh white snow.  Finn pulled out his phone to take pictures of the footprints and the blood before the sunlight melted them into oblivion.

I'm hoping to carry up a few of the last re-crappifying boxes from our pre-carpet de-crappification.  Not all of it, you understand, but enough so that I don't have to keep going downstairs to grub through boxes, and so that I can access my sewing area easily.  I want to sew a few gifts this year.  Off to haul.
--Barbara

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Watchword Today is Gray

It has been gray the last few days.  Saturday I drove across a different bridge to get home, across a wider part of the river, and it was like driving in cotton batting.  I couldn't see beyond the sides of the span, could barely see the opposite lanes--now that's foggy.  Yesterday it was just overcast but segued into rainy by sundown.  Today it's not fooling around.  The sky is solid gray, not a hint of sun shining through, there are tiny droplets on the bare tree branches, and they're promising snow by night.  Goodie.

Yesterday afternoon I sort of followed through on my "do nothing" plans.  I photographed and posted my new yarns on Ravelry, then dug out some needles, and cast on a couple charity projects.  I found a Fast Hat pattern that I got rolling on and barely got a mitten started.  I lit the charcoal (in drizzle) and grilled out drumsticks and thighs for supper.  Mmm, there's nothing like grilled chicken, is there?  There're leftovers so all we'll have to do for the next few nights is make some veggies and dig in.  I'm a fan.  Durwood cut out a coupon for a new Minute Rice product, a blend of white, red, wild rice, and quinoa that cooks a bit more quickly than regular rice but is really tasty.  It was an excellent side with our broccoli and chicken.  It's a little pricey so hopefully there'll be more coupons.

DS and DD called so we hashed out who's making what for our Thanksgiving feast next Saturday.  We pared back the sides to make it more manageable but we kept the important things -- onion bread, cornbread sausage stuffing, Mom's pumpkin pie recipe, carrots with bacon and onions, and homemade cranberry sauce.  Oh, and the bird's thawing in Durwood's backseat in a dishpan (don't want it to smell like a crime scene in there if it leaks) since it's almost exactly fridge temperature out there right now.  We'll keep an eye on it and not let it refreeze.  I think we're set.  We're all so glad that the Lexington contingent will be here.  It's been a long time between visits.

November 24--Max Ernst, Gala Eluard.  I had to turn the picture to the wall.  I couldn't bear to have those unblinking brown eyes watching me.  The painting was a gift from my mother-in-law so I couldn't stuff it in the back of a closet but I didn't have to sit in the room with it staring at me.  I usually like surrealism, I'm a big fan of Marc Chagall, but those eyes just bored into my soul.

It was late.  I was tired, and I think my brain's in a creative slump.  These things happen, I'll just ride it out.  I should get a move on, I have to go to work, instead of take a nap which is what I feel like doing.  Ah well, such is life.  Adios.
--Barbara

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thawed

All of last week's snow and cold is gone--for now.  I believe we're supposed to get back to below freezing and snow tomorrow, but 2 days of above freezing, foggy drizzle is kind of an upswing from the arctic deep freeze of the last 10 days.  It was so warm this morning I could finally get the umbrella pole out of the stand so I put the table top in the shed and the pole in the garage.  There's still an iceberg in the stand so I propped it on a 2x4 in the corner so it can continue to drain.

I put seed and peanuts in the platform feeder early and didn't even make it into the house before the first bluejay came to sit in the apple tree, call out to all his relatives within earshot, and zoom down for first pick of the peanuts.  He was too fast for me to get his picture on the feeder (all I got was a blue tail blur) but I zoomed in and caught him in the tree whamming the shell on a branch so he could eat the nut.

Proof that we live in a small world:  a knitting friend called to chat earlier and mentioned that one of her mom's caregivers needs to be replaced. She asked if I know anyone who does that kind of work.  I was just about to say no when I remembered that one of my dive friends' wife does it so I mentioned her name.  HH said, "Mom's cousin married someone with that name."  "There are lots of people by that name around here," I said.  "They're not the beekeepers, are they?  That's who Mom's cousin married."  Yep, they're the beekeepers all right.  What a round about way to make a connection!

November 23--Attributed to Adam Eck, Casket (with Allegories of the Four Elements.)  Geneva kept her important papers in a carves wooden box with a key.  She bought it in an antique shop in the city when she and Evan were first married.  He spent his days in meetings with accounts while she prowled the antique shops tucked into narrow buildings on side streets near the old part of town.  At first she was put off when the antique dealer called the large wooden box a casket but when he explained that it had never held remains she bought it.  Evan teased her about her box, calling her Queen Isabella, telling her that important papers belonged either in a safety deposit box or in a lawyer's vault, but she liked to keep her things nearby.  Besides she had never really trusted that Logan Williamson at the bank kept his hands out of the safe deposit boxes.  He was the nosiest man she'd ever met.


On my errands this morning I stopped at JoAnn Fabrics because they had bags of mill ends yarn for $3.99 in their ad and I was curious.  Three bags came home with me, three bags of yarn that I intend to turn into hats and mittens for school kids.  See?  This is selfless yarn, not for me at all, yarn to give away.  














That's my reason for breaking my yarn diet. Really.  I'm going to go dig out some needles and cast on right now.  Ta-ta!

--Barbara

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fixed and Finished

First thing this morning I got the new aluminum can lined up and filled with peanuts-in-the-shell and found a chunk of broken concrete for the lid so that those demon, tree rat-ty squirrels can't gnaw their way in.  Ha!  Foiled you, you nasty furry opportunists.  A line-up of three 20-gallon aluminum garbage cans isn't exactly the patio d├ęcor I was looking for but I kind of like them better than the big, green, plastic Rubbermaid one that the newest can replaces.

I finished the Peapod Gnome Knot hat yesterday afternoon.  I even wove in the tails so it's all ready for that baby that enchants me.  This is a nice, quick, easy pattern that might just have catapulted itself to the top of my baby-hat list.  It's got a lot of stretch so it'll fit her for longer than a month.

Yesterday afternoon I finished listening to a good book, The Boys In The Boat, about the 1936 Olympic gold medal rowing crew from Washington state.  I read a review of it in the paper a month or so ago and something about it piqued my interest so I borrowed the audiobook from the library and listened while I knit.  It follows one of the boys, Joe Rance, from childhood through the Olympics, detailing all the troubles and heartaches of growing up poor in the Depression and Dust Bowl.  I was riveted and want to find out when the local crews row so I can go watch.  Edward Hermann is the narrator and he's perfect for the story and the times.  I'm sure it's just as engrossing on paper or ebook, so if you like that kind of non-fiction give it a read.

One of the dive guys asked if I could insert a buckle into the strap on his new, fancy dive light.  I found the exactly right size parachute buckle at the fabric store and some, almost the right size black elastic there too.  Today I joined them together and delivered it to him.  Works like a charm.  *pats self on back*  I always do better if I have a few days to think a project like that through and it would have gone quicker if I hadn't had to rip and redo because I put one side of the click on upside down.  Oops and drat.  So it took me 25 minutes instead of 15, no biggie, and he's very happy with the outcome.  I love doing stuff like that.  Thanks for asking, ES.

November 22--Dutch, Jacket (Caraco).  The only coat that Jenny would wear when she was small was green with red and blue flowers on it.  Rain or shine, winter, spring or fall, that green coat did its job keeping her warm.  Jenny's mom was embarrassed to be seen with her after a few months had passed.  She was sure people in the store and in church talked behind her back about "the little girl in that green coat."  They had found the coat at the Goodwill for two dollars and seventy-five cents and it had been too big for Jenny but she had loved it so they bought it, now she was sorry they had.  Now that the color had faded, the hem was ragged, and Jenny's wrists stuck out of the fraying cuffs she wished she'd never seen the thing.  What would happen when it fell into rags?

Today's a work day for me -- again.  How do people work day after day?  I am too spoiled, I guess.  I'm hoping for customers, customers make the day go faster.  Come on down.
--Barbara

Friday, November 21, 2014

Hat Progress

I picked up the needles and yarn yesterday afternoon and made great progress on the new Gnome Knot hat for SomeBaby.  You start knitting the ties and earflaps (one side at a time) then you knit across one earflap, cast on stitches, knit across the other earflap, cast on more stitches, and then join them for knitting in the round.  I got a lot done at work and then powered on after supper while I watched brainless crap on TV.  See?  I did turn it inside out and knit in the hole (instead of on the outside of the hole) so the yarn carried across the back isn't too tight.  I think it even worked.

I was just out filling the birdbath and feeders and I noticed that one of the handles of the can where the peanuts in the shell live is being gnawed by squirrels, those demon tree rats.  I'll be stopping on my way to work for another metal garbage can because I will not let them eat their way in there.  Which means I'd better type faster.

November 21--Roman, Marble Relief with Hermes.  "That is one fine Roman ass," Jeremy said as he scraped clay off the marble relief he was excavating.  "God, Jeremy, you're the ass."  Sheila shook her head, wishing Dr. Moon would have assigned anyone else as her partner. Of course Jeremy was the one to find something in their square of the grid.  If she had dug a big faster she would be the one who got the credit for the discovery, but she hadn't.  She had to sit back and record the find, take the measurements, and do the sketches.  Jeremy got to put his name in the excavation log and reap the credit.  He'd probably parlay the find into an assistant curator job at the Field.  Seeing that his "fine Roman ass" belonged to a male god didn't deflate Jeremy's ego one little bit.  She needed to go get a drink or find some shade before she said something she would regret.

Yesterday's sunset looked good as I carried out the dive shop's trash.  I'm amazed at how far to the south the Sun has moved since Fall started.  Oh, I know that the Earth moves but I'm standing on the Earth and I'm confident that I'm standing still so the Sun is moving.  I say so.  I also say that planets' names should be capitalized, seasons too.  I'm over 60, I'm making my own rules now.  Stay warm.  Try.
--Barbara

Thursday, November 20, 2014

At Least We're Not In Buffalo

That's been my mantra all week seeing the incredible lake-effect snow that Buffalo's gotten over the last few days.  I saw a Weather Channel reporter standing outside in the midst of it and she looked like she was being sandblasted.  Then there's the pictures of people trying to dig out.  Yes, it's cold here.  Yes, we've broken temperature records.  At least we're not in Buffalo.  Or Gile, Wisconsin which has gotten 6' of snow so far this year.  Yes, you read that right 6 FEET of snow SO FAR this year, actually I think it's so far this WEEK.  They interviewed a lady in Gile which is near the UP border by Ironwood, MI and she said, "I wanted the lake and I wanted snow.  The lake's a block away and look at this snow.  I'm happy."  She can have my share, although I'd like a lake.

Mr. & Mrs. Boss are away at a trade show this week so I thought I'd show you my view from here.  Not as scenic as my usual shots but this is what I'm looking at for the next few days.





I frogged the Peapod hat last night and turned it back into a yarn cake.  I found a pattern for the same amount and weight of yarn called Gnome Knot Hat so I got the needles and another color of yarn out because this one's a two-color hat.  I'm going to give it a try.  I haven't done much two-color knitting but it should be pretty simple on a toddler hat, right?  I read a tip about two-color knitting in the round that says to knit it inside out so that the "floats" which are the strands of yarn carried behind the color you're working aren't too tight.  I might give that a try.  Anyway, I have 2 shades of pink and I think I'm going with the one on the left, Blush, instead of the Carnation above.  I like that it's heathered so the color's a bit less solid.  Casting on will commence shortly.

The other night we had Chinese take-out for supper, sharing an order of Egg Fu Yung which was way more grease than my little tummy is used to but it tasted oh so good.  Naturally it came with fortune cookies.  Here's mine:  "The rubber bands are heading in the right direction."  I'm flummoxed.  I keep looking at it and I can't decide if I should be afraid or glad.  Right now I'm just confused.  Does it mean my car isn't going to break down anytime soon?  Maybe all my internal organs are in fine form.  I don't have braces with bands so it can't be that.  Any guesses?

I left my notebook at home so I can't put on last night's prompt writing but I don't remember it being particularly worth sharing.  Imagine something profound and moving here.

Time to pretend to work.  Uh, I mean, time to count something or straighten something.  Maybe I'll dust.  Stay warm. Toodle-oo.
--Barbara

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's Still Autumn

Yeah, believe it or not Winter, official Winter won't arrive for another month.  I shoveled yesterday and it looks like the salt I scattered after that is the only reason I might not have to shovel again today.  *sigh*  Ack!  I think I hear a snowplow on the parking lot behind us.  I've already been out in boots and hoodie to fill all the birdfeeders.  At least it wasn't so windy.  Woe is me, it's really winter.  Good thing I dug out my longies and I see fuzzy-lined boots and toe warmers in my immediate future.

One of the bad features of blogging so late one day is I have very little to blabber about early the next day.  Hmm, let's see... I told you about the dead rodent in my car's engine... I talked about the birds and the feral cat... I told you about having to rip out the Peapod hat and try again...  ach, I'm out.  Maybe I'll just go search for another hat pattern on Ravelry (the knitting website), drink my coffee, and leave you in peace for the day.

November 19--Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, The Shepherd's Song.  Luc spent his days in the hills above the olive groves.  His dog, Harald, kept the sheep together and scared away predators so Luc had time for his music.  He had an old guitar that he wore slung across his back and he carried a notebook and pencil in the bag with his bread and cheese.  In the early morning Luc and Harald moved the flock to a fresh meadow for the day and then Luc settled in the shade and began to play.  He knew his song was done when Harald threw back his head and howled.

I'm off.  Talk to you tomorrow.
--Barbara

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Busy Day

When you only have one day off in a week you try to cram in all the chores and errands.  It really fills up the day and when the day is as cold and windy as today was, well, it's really hard to make yourself do stuff.  So you make a list trying to compress your errands into as few stops as possible to cut down on the number of times you have to get out of the warm-ish car and you dig out extra wool gloves and a hat so that when you get home all of your extremities are still unfrozen.  When you get home with Chinese take-out for supper because you've been running around like a crazed weasel all day, it's cold, and neither of you really wants to cook.  Mmm, Egg Foo Yong.

The birds are still figuring out the new feeder.  I've seen a few chickadees pick out a seed and a cardinal gave it the once over this morning but so far it's managed to foil the seed-flinging sparrows.  Good.

I know it's really winter when the juncos are here. They spend summer way up in the Arctic and come down here to Wisconsin where it's warmer.  Warmer, ha.  They're cute little black and gray birds that eat the fallen seed.  I hope the feral cat doesn't eat too many juncos over the winter.

I took my car in for an oil change yesterday and when I picked it up after work the mechanic told me that I had a chipmunk, vole, or mouse in my air filter.  Ew.  He said it's pretty common but... ew.

The Peapod Alfalfa hat is too small.  It's headed for the frog pond and the yarn will become a different hat for that SomeBaby.  Soon.

November 18--Walker Evans, Cinema.  The posters were printed in color with movie titles in big letters, the stars' names even bigger.  "But they're in Spanish," Pen said.  Jean leaned over her shoulder.  "They're old movies too.  I wonder if they were silents."  She turned one of the posters over as if that would give an answer. "I suppose it'd be easier to just have the subtitles in whatever language you needed instead of having to dub them."  Pen looked up from the stack of posters she was sifting through.  "I'll bet the posters were the only things in color.  I'll bet these were black and white movies and B movies at that."  Jean frowned down at her.  "What do you mean, B movies?"  Pen flapped her hand.  "Oh, you know, low budget, second-rate actors and has-beens, quickie scripts and remakes, not blockbusters, the Saturday afternoon pot boilers."

Good lord, it's almost 9 o'clock.  Where does the day go?  Time to take the trash & recycling bins to the curb.  Time to bundle up one more time today.  G'night.
--Barbara

Monday, November 17, 2014

An Excess of Predators

Yesterday we had lots of predators visit... well, two animal ones anyway and I don't know if the flyover airplanes were predators (which I think is a kind of fighter plane) but I'm counting them so that makes three.

First, the hawk spent a few minutes surveying the bird buffet while I was making the breakfast burritos.  I don't think it swooped down and caught anything but it was looking.  We love seeing it.

The burritos were a big success.  Durwood and I had one each for breakfast just to make sure that they were edible and these six got frozen, wrapped up in cling wrap with a packet of mild sauce, and tossed in a zipper bag in the freezer for later consumption.  I warned Durwood that he didn't have to gobble them all up on the next six mornings because I knew that was what he was thinking.  He even had a good "reason."  He said since they weren't able to be "sucked" (sealed with the vacuum sealer) they didn't have a long freezer life and he didn't want them to spoil but I told him that I thought they'd make it at least a month without damage.  These husbands are pretty sneaky, you have to watch them every minute.

(OMG, Durwood just turned on the TV and the weather guy said it's 9 degrees and the WIND CHILL is 4 degrees below zero!!!!!  Arrgh.  The high temp today is supposed to rocket up to 18 degrees.  We're doomed.  The woman ahead of me in the checkout at Fleet Farm yesterday said they'd just moved here from Albuquerque, she already looked frozen and kind of shell-shocked and it's only mid-November.  She's really doomed.)

After lunch the feral black cat that roams the neighborhood was crouched behind a corner of the garden also surveying the bird buffet.  I bought a new feeder hoping that it will keep the sparrows from flinging all the safflower seeds out as soon as I fill it up.  You should see the ground below the feeder, there's a hillock of seed that's impossible to rake out.  It's thick, and wasteful so I'm trying to stanch the flow without punishing the other birds by not filling the feeder as often.  Maybe Durwood can train the feral cat to eat only sparrows... yeah, probably not.

Then just before the kickoff of the Packer game a pair of fighter jets roared by.  Yay!  Airplanes!  I noticed as I was filling feeders in the morning that a lot of small, corporate-type jets were landing.  I figured that was the fat cats coming to the game.  Cool looking little airplanes, though.

November 17--India, Mughal Period, State Entry of Darak Shiku.  The soles of her feet and the palms of her hands were blood red, dyed for a religious celebration.  She wore gold rings, bracelets and earrings with ropes of pearls draped to her waist. Ellen watched the young woman. She thought they were about the same age but the Indian girl seemed to have a poise that Ellen seldom felt.

Windy, cold, snow flurries--those are the things the weather guy's talking about.  Pardon me while I go dive deep under the covers to hide from the cold.  I wonder if I brought up any longjohns...  I'd better go check.
--Barbara

Sunday, November 16, 2014

This Is NOT My Fault


Just because I swapped the lawnmower and snowblower it is NOT my fault that we have snow on the ground.  It's way too cold for it to melt so it's just lying there like... like... winter outside.  Not my fault.  Really not my fault.



 
I forgot to take the pole out of the patio table and now it's frozen in the stand.  Maybe it'll warm up enough for me to get it out--before spring.  And now I need to get out some boots so I can fill the birdfeeders without getting snow in my shoes.  Yup, winter's here.  Ugh.




It was such an oddball summer I was afraid the milkweeds wouldn't send out seeds since they barely grew and hardly blossomed, but yesterday when I was dragging the dead plants back to the corner of the yard to dump them I saw that the milkweeds had indeed burst open and sent out seed.  Yay!

 
I got the laundry done and I made a flat apple pie for dessert.  I uprooted the dead garden plants, trimmed the dead things across the front of the house, and pulled up the tomato stakes.  So I might not have done exactly "nothing" but I didn't do errands (except going to the bank [a block away] to cash a check and see about dropping my car off this afternoon [2 blocks away] for an oil change tomorrow when I'm off at work) because lately "errands" has felt like a too big part of my life.  It felt like a successful day.  I have bigger hopes for doing nothing today.

November 16--Pierre-Francois-Leonard Fontaine, Page from a Sketchbook of a Journey to Chateau d'Eu.  Tendrils of smoke slipped between the trees, the only thing moving in the still afternoon.  The breeze had died and the air hung heavy with the summer heat.  It hadn't rained in weeks and the brush was tinder-dry, ready to feed any flame that came its way.  Chloe smelled the smoke and wondered at first who was having a cookout but she soon realized that no one would be foolish to build a fire in conditions like these.  She walked faster.

Okay, now I'm going to go figure out how to make breakfast burritos for the freezer.  Hasta la vista, babies.
--Barbara