Thursday, July 20, 2017

Lookee Here!

Every morning when I wake up I go out to check on the garden first thing.  I tuck my camera in my pocket so I can capture anything I want to share with you or Durwood.  Look what I saw this morning.  It's an Early Girl tomato getting red.  I am absolutely sure that it's reddening because LC gave it a hefty drink the last time she was here.  I showed Durwood the picture and I think he's already making toast for his first garden-grown tomato sandwich.

The daisies and bee balm are going great guns.  I just love that happy sea of white petals and yellow centers with the pops of red bee balm.  The purple coneflower (aka echinacea) is kind of lost on the side but I like it too.  (don't want it to give up the ghost because it feels unloved)  I need to dig up some daisies and plant them around the yard because they're
encroaching on the asparagus and we can't have that now,
can we?  No, we can't.

I caught the butternut squash vine making a break for it, heading toward the tomatoes but I caught it and threaded it back into the fence.  You've gotta watch 'em every minute.  They're sneaky and fast.

The first item on yesterday's to-do list was to get the new traverse rod unboxed and put up.  I had a moment of panic when I took it out of the box because it was a center-draw rod and I need a single draw one.  But before I went into total panic mode I read the instructions (don't be shocked, I'm an inveterate instructions reader) and there were the steps to turn a center-draw rod into one that draws from either end.  I was very pleased that the holes in the new, white brackets were spaced the same as the old brown ones and I was extra pleased to remember that I have a battery powered screwdriver.  (Durwood was less pleased as he was trying to listen to a TV show at the time but he got over it when he saw how hard I was working.)  It took a while but I got it up and working.  Hooray me!

Durwood's youngest brother's wife (sister-in-law in the spirit of brevity) called yesterday morning to say that none of the weekend dates I'd sent them worked for them but they'll be in Chicago for a funeral this Friday so they thought they'd just drive up for the weekend after that, okay?  Hm, well, considering I have three poetry readings to give this weekend in a new arts festival (Artour) I was a little hesitant to say okay but when I mentioned it she said they'd be in later on Friday night so we could meet them after my 6:15 reading, then we'll leave Durwood with BE at the motel on Saturday afternoon and she can come with me for my 12:45 and 2:45 readings.  That'll work.  Then DS and DIL1 are coming to the motel with LC and OJ for a short visit after naptime which will probably coincide with our return from poem-ing.  The the kids'll leave because they have lives too and we'll go some place yet to be determined for supper.  On Sunday they'll drive away.  *pant, pant*  Should be interesting.
I can't do a blog post without a sky picture.  This was last night's sunset.  I love it when I look out and the whole world has turned a golden peach color.  That's when I grab my little cheap digital camera and head out into the middle of our (un-busy) street to capture this.  Ahhh.

After supper I sat on the couch to cast on and knit the brim of Pink Rebel Girl Hat #3.  It's the smallest one so it went fast.  Next I have to chart or find a chart of letters so I can buckle down to duplicate stitching the words onto the hats before the snow flies.

July 20--Vincent van Gogh, Landscape at Dusk.  The couple walked through the orchard.  The sky ahead of them was a deepening blue while behind them the horizon blazed with the last orange light of sunset.  The daytime hum of bees in the fruit trees was replaced by the songs of frogs and the sawing of crickets.  As it got darker their pace increased and he began to wish he had a flashlight.  The village lights were behind them and the rising room was so slim it cast no light on their path.  The sound of a barking dog echoed down the valley, somehow making it seem even darker.

While doing yoga this morning my focus was distracted by this pair of cavorting chickadees and after they left a monarch butterfly sat on a Slinky coil opening and closing its wings.  The butterfly was a much better yoga focus than those zippy chickadees, I'll tell ya.  I will confess that I interrupted the flow of my practice to snap these photos but since I've been not doing yoga for about a week I thought doing it with an interruption or two was way better than not doing it at all.  Rationalize much, Barbara?  And I just found out in an email from our neighborhood assn. chairman that there's free water aerobics in the pool a block away on Monday nights.  There's Tai Chi in a park tonight too.  I might do that instead of going to knit... I need to get off my duff and get moving to slough off the last of my funk.  *nods confidently*

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


I meant to blog yesterday, I really did, but I kept getting waylaid by people and circumstances.  Then when I realized that I hadn't blogged it was after 11 p.m. so it didn't seem worthwhile.  I went to bed instead.

But I did accomplish the 2 to-dos I assigned myself yesterday.  I did all the laundry, washed and dried it anyway, I'll carry it up later for Durwood to fold but it's all clean so I consider the job done.  There are no photos of that mundane chore.

One of the waylays was I sat on the couch to eat my lunch after the cleaner left, then picked up the birthday cloth to add the last three rows.  Once it was done I thought it looked incomplete so I added an edging of single crochet in the contrast color.  I finished that last night.  Now I just have to get it into a mailer and send it off.

DS asked if I could make him a bigger dresser/travel tray as the one he has is full up with his phone and wallet.  I said sure.  I spent a half-hour scouring the basement looking for my binder of sewing patterns.  Do you think I could find it?  No, I could not, so I trudged upstairs to the computer downloaded it from my Craftsy account, printed it off, and discovered that I already had saved it to the hard drive.  But of course coming upstairs put me in conversation proximity with the cleaner who I like talking to so that pushed my productivity level down a bit.  But I did get the tray done by suppertime.  See?  It doesn't look like much from the top because you put solid color fabric on the inside so small items don't get lost in a busy print (earrings maybe?); the outside is an awning stripe, nice and bright.  I used a Sharpie to draw my pattern onto a piece of that pattern fabric and grabbed the permanent marker by mistake when marking the fold lines so there are black lines inside but they don't affect the usefulness of the tray.

Then I finally sewed up the seersucker Pants No. 1 from 100 Acts of Sewing.  I didn't have enough fabric to cut the legs full-length but I did have some scraps long enough to put "cuffs" on the bottoms of the legs.  They aren't perfect, not by a long shot, but I like them, in fact I'm wearing them right now.

July 19--Ancient Egyptian, Third Intermediate Period, 22nd Dynasty, One of a Pair of Bracelets found on Sheshenq II's body with representation of the Wedjat Eye upon a Basket.  Lene looked down after the last sweet pf her brush to see a black and white eye staring up at her.  A tremor ran through her.  When Dr. Morton had given her this section of grid to excavate she was sure there was no chance she'd find anything.  After rebuffing his rather clumsy advances the night before, she wasn't surprised when he called out, "Lene, you've got J7 and G5 today."  Both sections were in the blazing sun more of the day but there was no way she'd give him the satisfaction of whining about it.  She took an extra bottle of water and snagged one of the white canvas shades to make her day bearable.  Now, within an hour of starting, she had uncovered a cuff bracelet.  Morton was going to be furious.

It's time to take Durwood to his chiro appointment and then come home to do battle with the traverse rod for over the patio door.  Toodles.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Clawing My Way Out

I've been kind of down in the dumps for the last month or so, probably because I planned to and then did retire.  Yeah, yeah, I wanted to retire, I couldn't wait to retire, and then when I did retire I got all mopey and depressed.  I know that change is hard for me, even changes that I desperately desire so I just rode with it, overate sweets, and kept giving myself talking-tos (talkings-to?).  Today it feels like I might be crawling out from under my cloud.  Thank. God.  I'm really getting tired of myself, I can't imagine how Durwood feels.

On Saturday I tried to cure the mopes by taking one of my retirement gift cards and a "25% off everything" coupon to Jo-Ann to get some linen fabric to make pants and a top with.  Look what I found.  McCalls patterns were $1.99 so I found some I liked and bought those too.  Even that only made a small dent in my mopey-tude.

I made it through the design of the birthday cloth and have about 8 more rows of plain crochet before it's done and I can ship it off (belatedly) to the recipient.  I am confident that she won't mind.  She's well-brought up and an all-around nice person.  Also I'm her mom and I'll give her a timeout if she doesn't cut me some slack on it.

Also on Saturday I gathered up my manners and got all 6 thank you notes written and mailed to the lovely people who gifted me at my retirement party.  I know I keep saying this, but I'm so glad that DIL1's mom got me back into the habit of writing these.  Thanks again, HJZ.

Saturday night brought a fast-moving thunderstorm with torrents of rain that fell straight down.  It came through after 7 o'clock and for a while there it looked like night had come early.  Then it got light again, then the sun began to set and turned the whole world golden.  I had to grab my camera and head out into the street to take pictures.  Once again the sky made me wish I live on top of a hill.

July 17--Edouard Vuillard, Le Petit Cafe.  A lawyer and a vicar walked into a bar...  Emma sat in her seat watching the start of the play and couldn't help but think of the first line of so many jokes.  The play was a farce so she fully expected part of it to take place in a bar or some other inappropriate place.  Better plays than this one promised to be had their roots sunk in the bedrock of stereotypes--lawyers were crooked, colonels were stuffy, vicars were randy.  It was as if there was a theatrical warehouse somewhere that playwrights could visit to gather enough cliched characters and situations to fill three acts--and maybe a prologue, if there was a sale.

Durwood and I came up with the perfect grocery shopping solution.  I like to zoom through and he likes to dawdle so one or the other of us is pouting by the time we get done if we shop together so I write out the shopping list (that I keep on the "Our Groceries" app on my phone), he puts the grocery money in his wallet, I drive him there, and wait in the van with my knitting and an audiobook.  Oh, I make sure he has a watch on because the first time we did that he was in there for an hour and forty-five minutes and came out with $17 worth of groceries.  The man loves the grocery store, it could be so much worse.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Model City

Yesterday morning the stove fixit guy came and replaced the broken circuit board with the new one so the burner we use most works again.  He gave me the broken board.  I think it looks like a futuristic city, don't you?  I might be keeping it, just because I like the way it looks.  (yet another thing for my heirs to dispose of after my demise...)

When I stepped out the patio door to fill the birdbath and plug in the fountain I found this jumbo beetle on the threshold.  I don't know what kind it is but I do know that it isn't a June bug.  When I leaned down to examine it, it raised its antennae and front legs in a threatening manner.  I kept my distance just in case it had a bigger brother hiding in the wings like the Three Billy Goats Gruff.

The garden looks good today.  These are the Early Girl tomatoes, the first bunch of them that appeared.  I check them every day to see if there's a hint of color changing but so far no luck.

These are the Celebrity tomatoes.  I like the subdued habit of the plant and will plant it again next year but probably in a different spot so it's not so overshadowed by the WI 55.  This year is an experiment so all info is valuable info.  One of these days I want to go back through the book on straw bale gardening to see if there's something I'm supposed to be doing and aren't or if there's tips for next year that I missed.

Here's Butternut Squash blossom #2.  #3 is on the back side of the fence and the vines are starting to really spread out.  They've got those grabby tendrils so they're pretty easy to divert to where I want them, as long as I catch them before they latch on somewhere.  We're looking forward to squash soup next fall.  Yum.

The daisies and bee balm are looking glorious and the purple coneflower is starting to bloom.  It's not as flashy as the other two but is just as popular with the bees.  We haven't had many birds visiting and have only seen one oriole and one hummingbird at the feeders in the last few weeks but I'm not worried.  So many things are blooming that I'm confident they'll be back as summer wanes and their food sources dwindle.  We're keeping the nectar feeders and the orange/grape jelly feeder supplied just in case some are visiting when we're not looking.

The geraniums looked especially bright and happy this morning so I thought I'd share them with you.

July 15--Henri Rousseau, The Luxembourg Gardens, Monument to Chopin.  "Fer a Polish feller he sure could play the pie-anner."  Julia's breath caught in her throat at the comment.  Her sides were quivering with silent laughter and her breath puffed out of her nostrils in silent snorts.  She had been admiring the Chopin memorial when the tour straggled up behind her.  "Yeah, I liked that music they played on the bus ride over," said a different female voice.  A man said, "'Bout put me to sleep.  Think there's any beer in this garden?"  Quite often Julia wanted to apologize for her fellow American's but despite feeling that she'd wandered onto the set of "Hee Haw goes to Paris" she thought she might find out where else this tour was going and tag along.  These unsophisticated people made her homesick all of  a sudden.

Today is the last day to enter things into the County Fair.  The items don't have to be taken in for judging until August 15 so I could feasibly knit another washcloth to go with this one and then I'd have 10 entries.  You have to have a set of two to enter washcloths or hot pads.  Hmm, tempting...

Sorry for all the pictures today.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thirty-Six Years Ago Today...


... our beautiful, talented, incredible DD was born.  Happy happy HAPPY birthday, DD.  We are eternally grateful that you came to live with us.  (and I'm almost done with your present, I'll get it into the mail next week, I promise)

I heard noises outside this morning and went out to find this--men working.  Well, actually, men making the hole around the manhole in our front yard bigger so they could do something to the big pipe it's connected to before filling and tamping the dirt and rocks back.  I know they'll be back because not only did they not fill it all up with soil and throw grass seed on it, they didn't fix the 4' of curb they broke when this whole mess began.  We're afraid it's going to be a long summer of loud noises, big trucks, and bad roads.  Yippee.  (the question needs to be asked:  why is there a manhole in our YARD when the one down the block is in the middle of the STREET?  do other people have manholes in their yards?  I don't think so.)

While taking a photo of one of Dad's roses I saw something move in there.  I peeled back the petals to find two Japanese beetles munching away down there.  Oh goodie.  The beetles are pretty, all shiny green and copper, but they turn my roses into shredded lace.  *sigh*

The only way to console yourself when beetles are eating your roses is with chocolate so I baked a batch of Chocolate Covered Cherry cupcakes.  It's a very simple recipe, a Pillsbury Bake-Off contest winner from the '70s that the Cake Mix Doctor added a boiled chocolate glaze to.  Of course the recipe says to make the cake in a 9 x 13 pan but I wanted cupcakes (better portion control, you know, plus I can freeze the majority of them) which meant instead of just pouring the hot glaze over the warm cake and letting it spread out, I spooned it onto the cupcakes thereby drooling glaze between the cupcakes and the tin.  Durwood sat with a plastic knife and scraped most of it off into a custard cup.  I don't know what we'll do with the scrapings but it would have been a crime to let it go to waste.

July 13--Elizabeth Twining, Cruciaceae, Cruciform Tribe: Nasturtium, Iberis, Lunaria, Erysium, Cheiranthus.  Leah turned the pages of the old book she'd taken off the shelf in Pappaw's office.  The book was big enough that it covered the desk blotter and it was so old that the leather of the spine was powdery.  She had been surprised to see the book on a high shelf.  It was nothing like the ledgers and record books she knew him to use.  Between the pages of this book were pressed flowers and leaves with their Latin names written in coppery ink in a spidery hand, not at all like Pappaw's handwriting.

This afternoon we had eye doctor appointments.  Durwood's eyes are unchanged.  Mine changed a whole lot so I got to choose new glasses.  I can see better, that's for sure, but I forgot to tell them to put the bifocals up as high as possible so I don't have to tip my head back to read the computer screen.  Guess where I'm going tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Do Raisinets Count as Fruit?

I bought a $1 box of dark chocolate Raisinets the other day and I was just wondering--but I'm guessing the answer is no. Or even "don't be ridiculous."  But since raisins are dried grapes I think it's a valid question.

I'm getting to the point where I have to get out a longer measuring device to see how much more Sudoku long strip #1 I have to knit before binding off... and beginning #2 for another 15 stitch X 64" slog of narrow knitting.  I know, I know, I'm this close to being able to join all three panels of squares, then work a quick edging to finally be done with this endless project.  I freely admit that it's only endless because I hardly ever work on it and, in fact, it got shoved into the back of the back of the back of beyond for a few years when nothing happened so it's time to suck it up and just power through.  Of course there's other crafty type things I'd rather be doing.  There are days when I'd even rather vacuum than sit with this thing in my hands (and we all know how much I love to vacuum) but it's time to finish this so that come autumn I'll have a lovely patchwork afghan to snuggle under on chilly evenings.  Or at least have spread on my lap while I work on the edging.

Since the birthday this is intended for is tomorrow there is a snowball's chance in Hell that it'll be done and delivered ON THE DAY but a card went in the mail with a gift-like item inside and this photo on the blog is an IOU.  People who get hand-crafted gifts are accustomed to getting things with needles (sewing or knitting) still suck in them so I'm not feeling badly at all.  I promise that I'll work on it tonight and maybe get to within 10 rows of completion.  Cross my heart.  (hey, this isn't a pattern I can work on in public; there's a chart, yarn carrying, and counting involved and I'm just too old and befuddled half the time to be that clever)

This morning I was awakened shortly after 6 o'clock by thunder rolling across the sky and
lightning winking around the edges of the shade.  I could also hear the "peck peck" of raindrops on the window over my head.  I didn't want to wake up that early but I did.  It rained for a while, maybe an hour, then the clouds moved off.  Now it's hazy-sunny and probably hot and humid out there.  I think I'll spend the hot part of the day downstairs taking another run at sewing up practice pants no. 1, version 2, ones that fit over my fatass this time.  Oh, the last pair went over it but I had sincere doubts about the seams surviving more than one sit down.

My intention was to go out and water the coleus pots this morning but the rain took care of it for me.  Thanks, Mother Nature.  Aren't these pretty?  You can just barely see, in the lower left, that tucked under the rampant green and white leaves is a version with chartreuse leaves edged in purple.  I should probably go out and trim the bushy one back to give the other one a bit of growing room.  But it's so muggy out there.  I'll think about it.  Maybe tomorrow, it's supposed to be a LOT cooler tomorrow.

July 12--Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Woman at the Window.  Rita sat looking out at the street,  She was at the window most of the day, every day.  When she first sat there neighbors waved and called out greetings.  She never waved back, never acknowledged their greetings.  At first Barney asked her what she was looking for but she didn't answer.  She just patted her fingers on the windowsill as if she were typing or sending Morse Code.

I am still sunk in post-retirement inertia.  I keep hoping that I'll wake up one morning back to my old energetic self but I suspect that I just have to start pushing myself off my duff and start tackling things, one project at a time.  In the meantime, if you need me, I'll be hiding in the basement.  But there's fun stuff to do down there so I might actually accomplish something.  No promises.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Everything Is Green Around Here

Well, everything I have to show you today.

I went out after the shade reached the garden yesterday afternoon to stake up the tomatoes that are shooting out the top of the cages and then use long twist tie things to corral the branches.  That let me cut out a lot of suckers so the plants stop making stems and leaves and concentrate on making us some tomatoes to eat.

I like the way the Sweet 100s grow along a stem looking rather grape-like.  They ripen in series too.

The bell pepper plant continues to be happy making a pepper or two for us to enjoy

When I weeded all along the top of the retaining wall a couple weeks back I was flagging toward the west end and found these plants.  I don't know if they're a weed or a flower but I decided that they're a flower or flower enough to be allowed to grow.  When I found them the flowers were purplish, now they're no longer purple but they've expanded.  So if anyone knows what this is let me know, will you?  Thanks.  I know it's not poisonous because I didn't get a rash weeding around it.

And finally the daily bee balm & daisies picture.  I'm going to keep posting them while they're a-bloom--because I can.

July 11--Brygos Painter, Assembly of the Heroes in Camp before Troy.  Clad in pleated linen they stand or sit beneath favorable stars talking of anything but the morning.  Their shields, swords, and spears hand on the wall within easy reach but no one moves to take them down.  There will be time enough for that when the sun comes up again.  Tonight they are comrades in arms sharing a table and toasting their past victories with Spiros' good wine.  Even the dogs like underfoot, putting aside their usual squabbles for table scraps as if they too are saving their energy for tomorrow's fight.

It's hot and humid outside so my car was like an oven when I went to the grocery.  Maybe I'll have ice cream for supper...

Monday, July 10, 2017

Harvesting Blues


BlueBERRIES, that is.  I went out to see the garden this morning and went right back inside for a bowl because there were way too many ripe blueberries to hold in my cupped hand.  See?  A cup-hand's worth went on this morning's yogurt and Durwood nabbed one when I showed them to him and the rest are in the fridge for tomorrow's breakfast.  I might have to stir up some pancake batter and make blueberry pancakes.  Doesn't that sound good?  Maybe we'll have blueberry pancakes for supper and chicken stir fry for breakfast... no, probably not but it's tempting

I saw that yesterday's big yellow squash blossom had drooped but look what's behind it--a teeny tiny butternut squash.  So far this is the only one but I'll bet there'll be more soon.  As soon as I post this I will be going out to stake and tie up the tomato plants that are outgrowing their cages.  I was going to do it yesterday but couldn't seem to bestir myself.  Today the escaping tomatoes get it.  My knitting friend Mitch told me that on Friday's show the WI Public Radio garden guy talked about planting tomatoes in straw bales and then planting the same varieties in the ground nearby so he can contrast and compare.  I'm looking forward to hearing his results.  Guess I'll have to start tuning in WPR or at least listening to it on the Kindle while I knit.

In other gardening news, I decided to pull a carrot to see what's happening in there.  Not a lot, evidently, or maybe it's been so long since I've had any success growing carrots this is where the carrots are supposed to be at this stage.  I'm just glad I fenced the marauding bunnies out of there.

I've been learning how to carry a second color yarn while crocheting working on a zodiac cloth for someone who has a birthday coming up.  With such high-contrast colors as navy and khaki the carried yarn isn't disappearing like the YouTube tutorial said it would but it's not hard and I'm guessing a round of wash-and-dry will go far toward tightening up the stitches.  Since I'm determined to knit and crochet from stash I'm using worsted weight yarn instead of the DK (two sizes smaller) called for so my cloth is way bigger than your standard washcloth.  Not that I care, you understand, and I'm confident that the (eventual) recipient won't care either, I just thought I'd warn anyone thinking to make one of these cloths.  If you don't want a dresser cloth or hand towel, use the specified size yarn.  You have been warned.  (I just checked my stash on Ravelry only to find a different yarn that's still bigger than called for but smaller than what I'm using... next time... I'm not stopping now.)

On Saturday I stopped by a rummage sale held by a knitting friend and found a few goodies.  The thing I'm most excited about is the galvanized tin shopping bag-shaped "vase."  I'm quite certain I'll never put a bouquet in it but I just love it.  It'd probably snag yarn so that's out.  Maybe it can hold projects that are in cloth bags...  I also found a yoga DVD and manual (it was $1, even if I don't like it, it was a buck), some Amelia Bedelia I-Can-Read books for LC who loves books and will be reading before we know it, some blank postcards from Eastern Europe, and an ancient copy of "The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew" dated 1909 (also $1) that I can't decide if I want to read or give it to a friend who loved the book as a child.  Maybe I'll do both, read it and then gift it.

July 10--Berthe Morisot, Eugene Manet and his daughter Julie in the Garden at Bougival.  Papa's lap made a good place for Julie to set up her town on.  He held nice and still and his lap was just the right height for her.  She stood beside him and put the houses, trees, and businesses right where they belonged on the board.  It wasn't every day that Papa had time for a walk to the garden.  Usually Nanny Maureen walked with her but today Nanny Maureen was sick.  She had been sick a lot lately, red-eyed and crying too.  She said her tummy hurt.  Julie thought that Nanny Maureen should see Doctor Baker because her tummy was starting to swell up and Julie thought that had to be had.

Tsk, tsk, tsk, methinks Nanny Maureen has been naughty.  Ah well, such is youth.  I vaguely remember youth.  I slept until after 8:30 this morning which shortens the day considerably.  It's past time for lunch and I still need to go out and fix those tomato plants.  Guess I'd better get a move on, besides Durwood needs the chair I'm sitting in so he can fold laundry, and I am happy to give up my seat to someone who wants to fold laundry.  Toodles.  Oh, and daisies.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

They Like Me!


Last night was my retirement party and what a great evening it was.  In typical Wisconsin fashion, it wasn't at a fancy restaurant (but then I'm not a "fancy" kind of girl), it was at a pub that serves excellent family-style food, the most excellent being the broasted (lightly breaded and pressure-fried) pork chops.  (oh mama, those are good eats.)  We also had mashed potatoes, corn, that weird pasty sage-y stuffing I refuse to eat but Durwood loves, gravy, coleslaw which I love as much as he loves that stuffing, broasted chicken, roasted chicken, and plates of bars and cheesecake squares.  Also dinner rolls.  Suffice to say that no one left hungry.  Since I worked at the dive shop for nearly 25 years they gifted me with a gorgeous silver and red dive watch (I'm wearing it right now) and a lovely card with a little $$ in it.  Everyone else brought cards and every one had either a gift card for fabric or yarn or a little $$ tucked into it and one of the cards was attached to a Moleskine notebook.  (score! I love those)  If I'd have known how much fun and profit there was in retiring I'd have retired years ago--or more than once.  Nah, not really.  It was a fun evening telling dive tales and laughing with friends.  I really appreciated it and it felt great knowing that they appreciated me.

As we drove out of the parking lot the sky to the west was ablaze with the sunset and when we turned east toward the highway on-ramp there was the Full Thunder Moon rising in all its glory.  I grabbed my cellphone out of my purse and juggled it onto the top of the steering wheel so that when we crossed the tallest bridge in town I had a good shot of the western sky.  Then once we were home I waited until the moon rose into a gap in the trees along the street to capture it.  

This morning I saw that there's the first butternut squash blossom out there a-blooming away.  Hooray!  We love squash.  Now I just have to keep my eye on the vines so they stay on the fence and don't go trying to take over the tomato plants.

Last night I finished the Easter Egg anklet.  Somehow it ended up smaller and tighter than the previous one.  I think it might fit and work in a shoe better.  I'm hoping a good wash and dry will help the Calypso anklet not be so loose.  I do like the way they look though, don't you?

July 9--Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, The Great Odalisque.  She almost got her clothes on before the door burst open.  Cyril brought energy into the quiet room with him.  "I know you're not dressed yet," he said, "but I can't wait."  He flung an evening cape of apricot velvet lined with white satin on the chaise.  "Here, sit right here like this."  He perched on his left hip with his elbow on the back of the reclining chair.  "But the dress..." Dianne said, her hands caught in the froth of lace.  "Leave it," he said, guiding her to sit where he wanted her.  He wrapped a fringed scarf around her head arranging it so that the scarf's fringe lay over her shoulder.  "Now look here and don't move.  I don't want to lose the light."  She was cramped and cold, and embarrassed to be nude but he wasn't really looking at her as a person, only as lines and shadows.  As the hours passed that thought grew less comforting and more annoying.  Why wasn't he looking at her?  Was there something wrong with him?  Was there something wrong with her?

P.S.  I looked up "odalisque," it's a Turkish word for concubine.  

My big plan for the afternoon is to poke some bamboo stakes into the bales to tie up the tomatoes that are trying to grow out of their cages.  Good thing there's a hill behind them so that my short self will be able to reach up there.  Now I know why one of the books I read about straw bale gardening recommended getting determinate tomatoes--they don't grow all over the landscape like the indeterminate ones do.  I just bought what we like and I'll deal with the consequences.  I see by my new watch that it's past lunchtime.  Gotta go. (Happy Happy, Aunt B!)