Sunday, September 24, 2017

Hoo-Boy, What A Week!

Yesterday I loaded all my dirty clothes, my writing stuff that had been gone through and worked on, and a few new items (earrings and soap for me, presents for the little people of my heart), then drove straight home to see what Durwood was up to (sleeping, of course).  I was happy to be coming home--mostly because there's air conditioning in my car and the weather decided to turn up the humidity and temperature until it was stifling up there on the bluff and there's no a/c in the dining room or the cabins.  There wasn't even a breeze and there's always a breeze up on the bluff.  It was so hot and humid that cda and I even slept with the door open Friday night.  We had the screen door locked, of course--not that the bogeyman can't get through a screen door but that little click made us both feel safer.  (tsk, girls)


The coolest thing that happened was that I got to the point in my rewrite where I ran out of rewritten manuscript sent to my Kindle Fire which means that there's about a third of it (maybe only a quarter) that needs re-typing (not cutting and pasting which doesn't do anything to improve the writing) then that will get sent to the Kindle for rereading and rewriting and fleshing out.  See, if I read it on the computer or on a printout I don't have the objectivity that I have when I read it on the Kindle because on that little screen it reads like a "real" book.  Hey, whatever gets you through, right?

 
Another cool thing was that I took my yoga mat out onto the little porch outside our cabin and did my morning yoga out in the fresh air, listening to the birds and trees.  I enjoyed it so much that I did yoga out on the patio this morning.  Why didn't I think of doing that when it got warm in the spring?  I have no idea but you can bet that I'll be out there until it's too cold or too wet from now on.



I took my Alphasmart (which I don't think they make anymore) down to the council ring right on the edge of the bluff one afternoon to write a new scene and found my usual writing rock occupied--by a cute little (well, not that little) ribbon garter snake.  I respected his right to the spot and sat on the stone ring to write.  I still had that glorious view of the bay so it was all good.





I wore all my handmade tops and shirts and felt very proud of myself all week.  What was even better was that the tunic-length Dresses No. 1 are sleeveless so I could wear them without a shirt underneath and be reasonably comfortable.  Okay, not cool but not quite ready to die from the heat.  Thank god for the crushed ice machine in the Root Cellar to fill water bottles with quickly melting ice to drink.  (I don't think I've ever gotten up to pee so many times a night, not since my last pregnancy anyway, but keeping icy cold water at hand helped me stay a little cooler)  I wore the mesh overshirt over a sleeveless tee one day and was amazed at how much warmer it made me.  Who'd a thunk it?


 September 24--Camille Pissarro, Apple Harvest at Eragny-sur-Epte.  Jean looked at the branches of the apple tree than hung over her fence.  Her neighbor Randy never sprayed or pruned his tree so it grew wormy, misshapen apples that dropped into her yard, rotted, and drew hornets, wasps, and bees.  She didn't really mind the autumn influx of pollinators but she hated getting stung.  Before the fruit all fell and rotted she went out with a five-gallon  pail and a leaf rake that she used to pick apples from the higher branches.  Even though the apples weren't great for eating, they made excellent applesauce.  She never peeled the apples so her sauce was a lovely deep pink color.  She also made sure to share a few jars with Randy in payment for his apples, which would have gone to waste if she didn't use them.

This morning Durwood and I were sitting at the kitchen table when he said, "Hawk."  I turned to see the sharp-shinned hawk sitting on the birdbath looking around for a snack.  It only stayed long enough for me to take a few pictures and start the video function.  In only a few seconds it flew off but I've got it as takes off.  There's been a continuing discussion on our neighborhood NextDoor page about hawks.  Someone started it a few weeks ago saying she wanted to get rid of them because they were eating all "her" chipmunks and bunnies.  A veritable flood of people responded that hawks were necessary and she should get over herself.  Even I chimed in and I'm usually a lurker not a poster.  We love seeing the hawks even if they do make off with a bird now and again.  Everyone's gotta eat.  It's hotter than the hinges of Hades today but I've got some drumsticks I plan on grilling so I should probably go start the grill.  Stay cool.
--Barbara

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Slim Pickings

This head cold has really pushed any thoughts or productivity out of my week.  I did manage
to stir up a few bottles of fragrance-free lotion to take with me to The Clearing tomorrow because our instructor has a debilitating fragrance allergy.  I gotta confess that having to start using fragrance-free detergent and health & beauty aids for a couple weeks before going to TC has motivated me to stick with the non-smelly products as much as possible.  I don't understand the current mania for all things scented, especially those plug-in things and the ones that puff smelly stuff out every once in a while.  I like when a place smells like supper or brewing coffee or whatever is wafting through the windows, I don't feel compelled to mask any "body" odors (of course, I shower regularly and use unscented deodorant, I haven't gone round the bend) or other natural things with chemicals.  Most of them remind me of the nasty jasmine AirWick thing my country grandma had in her bathroom.  Okay, end of rant.

P.S. I'm feeling worlds better today.  I can mostly hear and sorta taste so I figure I'm on the road to recovery.

Seriously, people, this is all there is.  I added a few rows to Sudoku Long Strip #2 but nothing appreciable.  I felt so rotten that I haven't done yoga or taken a walk or done Wii Fit step aerobics since Monday.  I've barely managed to rub together a couple of brain cells to tackle the newspaper crossword, Jumble, and Sudoku.  I have done the Healing Meditation I found on the Insight Timer app every day.  I really think it helped (even though I usually don't have much patience for that kind of "woo woo" stuff).  I took a look at the guy leading it and he looks very much like a hippie draft dodger I went to college with but it probably isn't the same guy.  I don't think so, anyway.  The guy I went to school with was named Robbie Matthews and this guy's named David Ji but he could be meditating under an assumed name, don't you think?  I refuse to stress out about it but I seem to remember that Robbie still owes me $5 from a poker game...  Probably not the recommended mindset for meditation...

September 15--Robert Derlaunay, Landscape with Cows.  "This guy had incurable hiccups," said Rae, bringing her right hand up to cup her chin. "But if you squint at it, you can make sense of what he's getting at."  Sofia poked Rae in the ribs with her elbow.  "Don't say that kind of thing.  It isn't polite."  Rae waved off the remark.  "Polite schmo-lite.  The guy either had the hiccups or he painted with a stutter."  She pointed at the painting in front of them.  "Look at it, he used a flat brush and didn't blend it.  It looks like a bunch of pieces of colored tape."  Around them people were snickering and Sofia heard someone say, "she has a point."

Okey-dokey.  I'm sitting here writing this in the middle of the night because I procrastinated packing until after supper and then Durwood was watching old movies and I got sucked into watching the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3--a couple hours apart.  Both good movies with gripping finales.  Oh well, I can sleep in on Sunday because I leave tomorrow for a week at The Clearing.  Yippee!!!  Hooray!!!  I'll have to set an alarm so I'm up in time to do yoga before breakfast but this is that one precious week in a year that I don't have to think about anyone but myself.  Ahh.  What luxury.  Also there's no internet there unless you drive off to some wi-fi place and I probably won't do that so you'll hear from me next Saturday or Sunday.  Be good and don't talk to strangers.  I'll try to do the same.
--Barbara

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Not Much to Report

When I have a cold, and now that I don't have to go to work and pretend to be nice to people, nothing happens.  In fact, I got up around 7 o'clock this morning, took some medicine, and went right back to bed to sleep until noon.  I don't sleep until noon.  I must have needed it.

Yesterday this fat little robin had a grand bath.  You can tell that it was born this summer because the parent robins look thin and worn out by this time of year, only the fledglings look so fat and happy and fluffy--because they're masters at getting any adult robin to feed them with a few flutters of their wings and pitiful peeps.  Kids sure know how to manipulate their parents, don't they?



I put on the neck band and hemmed the sleeves and bottom of the mesh overshirt.  I haven't had the energy to put on one of the outfits I'm thinking of wearing it with so I guess I'll just wait and see.  It's not like I've got a lot of time and money invested in it.  I already had the pattern and fabric and I'm still sewing up thread from Mom, so it's only really time that I spent on it.  If nothing else, I have an easy Halloween costume because if you look very closely at it, it isn't mesh, it's spiderwebs.


The only "no brain required" knitting project I have is Sudoku Long Strip #2 so when I've had enough oomph left in the evening that's what I've knitted on.  There's a crochet pattern nagging at the back of my mind but I'm for sure not going to jump into something like that when my brain's being consumed by snot.  It can wait.

September 13--Gustav Klimt, Amalie Zucherkandl.  The woman lay unmoving and pale beneath the orange sheet.  Her black hair fell over her forehead and spread out like raven's wings.  Clint stood in the train passageway looking through the window into what he thought was supposed to be his compartment.  He looked at his ticket, it said 27A, that's what the brass plaque on the door said.  He looked up and down the passage hoping to spot a conductor.  He didn't want to just barge in and startle her.

I gotta tell you, I was a bit surprised that what came out of my pencil last night was even coherent.  I hate head colds, they make me feel so stupid and sleepy all the time.  My eyelids are drooping, it must be time for more nasal spray.
--Barbara

Monday, September 11, 2017

Oh, That's Why

I couldn't figure out why I was so blah and lacked energy on Saturday.  At 3:00 AM on Sunday I awoke with my throat on fire and my sinuses full to the brim.  That explained a lot.  Now I am on a regimen of Zycam, Hall's honey-lemon drops, Afrin, and a healing meditation I found on Insight Timer on my phone.  After I post this I'll take a shower (trust me, I need a shower) and then go to the store for a vat of orange juice and some Sprite to start slamming Vitamin C and fluids because I have to have my stuff all packed and organized because I leave for The Clearing this coming Saturday.  I'd like to go without a stuffy head.  I've got the last of the chicken and spinach soup thawing too.  Soup and orange juice, that'll fix me right up.  Yesterday afternoon I managed to cut and partially sew up a mesh overshirt I've had in mind for a few months.  All that's left to do is add the neck binding and then hem the sleeves and bottom but I quit when I started to cry because I was having trouble threading my serger.  When you cry over thread, it's time to quit.

 
There was a home football game yesterday which means we had a flyover.  I missed it.  It was really loud but I don't know what kind of planes they were because Durwood didn't look up until too late. But the sky was pretty, wasn't it?



 
This is the sight that greeted me when I went out for the paper this morning.  My poor sick and dying maple tree's sparse leaves are almost all turned color and they're dropping like flies.  What am I going to do when the tree dies?  I wonder if the city will come and plant another tree for me.  They'll probably make me pay for it. 


September 11--Bernhard Fiedler, Ruins of the Temple of the Sun in Egypt.  The first rays of sunlight turned the ochre sandstone wall of the Sun Temple pink.  Leah sat with her back to a fallen block, her hands wrapped around a mug of strong coffee as she watched the ruins come alive with the light of a new day.  The night's chill fled as soon as the edge of the sun disc made it above the horizon.  She hadn't believed the people why told her that Egyptian nights were chilly but they were.  She was glad she had stuffed a thin hoodie into the corner of her bag.

I'm happy to report that Aunt B in Ft. Myers weathered the storm at home.  They have an inner room with no windows that they set up with water and TP and other goodies.  She said the only damage they had were some of the screens on the lanai.  Whew.  That is good news.
--Barbara

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Not A Very Productive Saturday

I didn't do much yesterday, in fact, I did hardly anything at all.  I did meditate and do my yoga but then I sat at the table catching up on three days' worth of Sudoku, Jumble, and crossword puzzles in the newspapers I had let pile up.  Doing puzzles, in pencil yet, isn't very photogenic although I'm relying on them to keep the neural pathways in my feebling brain well-paved and open for business.  

Since scanning in photos is one of my retirement goals, I have to share one that DD asked me to scan and send her (which I haven't done yet, but I'll do it today, cross my heart).  The seated young ladies are my great-aunt Irene (Girly) Gerst Brandau, Dorothy "whose last name I don't know but who was Uncle Oscar's third wife", and my grandmother Anna Louise (Babe) Gerst Stephan, who was Mom's mom.  Grandma said that they attracted the largest crowds to their games because they were the only team that played in shorts instead of bloomers.  Scandalous!  According to the newspaper clipping taped to the back, the Eckler Girls were crowned the city champs by beating the First Baptist sextet 19-16 on the YWCA floor.  Aunt Irene and Grandma Babe starred for the winners.  Evidently I come from a long line of Rebel Girls.  I'll have to tell DIL1 and LC.



While I sat here zoned out in front of the computer yesterday it never occurred to me to improve the time by also scanning in this stack of photos from our 1992 dive vacation on the island of Anguilla.  (I'm doing it now.  *stand up, change picture, press OK, sit down*, repeat between ** a couple hundred times--it's like aerobics)  Anguilla is one of the Caribbean islands that got scoured by Hurricane Irma a couple days ago.  I am glad to look at these shots again and supremely confident that nothing in them remains standing.  *sigh*  Makes me glad I live in the land of cold and snow and ice storms.  None of which invade my house with water too deep to stand in or blow the roof off our house or fling trees and billboards at me.  



While Durwood got his weekly Lawrence Welk fix I went downstairs and whipped up a travel tray for my TC roomie.  I try to take a little handmade "something" for my roommate(s), either something sewn or something lotion-y, seldom something yarn-ish as knitting things takes the longest and I usually leave this nicety til the last minute.





After supper I took a walk around the block and then sat on the couch adding an inch or so to Sudoku Long Strip #2.  I am determined to get the Sudoku Afghan done in 2017 so that the project doesn't carry over into its 10th year.  This may be the last afghan I make until I hit my dotage, which the way my brain has been slacking off lately should be showing up any day now.


September 10--James Abbott McNeill Whistler, At the Piano.  Janine ran her hand over the upright piano in the back of the Salvation Army store and thought about Mom at the piano when she, Janine, had been a little girl.  Mom would play in the afternoons when Janine and Christian laid down to rest.  They were too grown up to nap, they told her, but she said they needed a rest after lunch.  She would see that their curtains were drawn, that they had a book to read, and they knew they were not allowed to go downstairs until 2 o'clock, which motivated them both to learn to tell time.  Janine was glad that her room was closest to the stairs because Mom's music floated up to her, quiet at first like tiptoeing kittens, but soon the notes raced up the stairs like stampeding horses.  She knew that Mom had gone to music college and dreamed of playing her piano on the stage but Grandfather said that no daughter of his would appear on the stage like some floozie.  Mom got married to Daddy instead and had Janine and Christian but Janine could tell that sometimes Mom thought about what might have been.  That's when the notes spiraled upstairs, notes so slow and sad that Janine could feel Mom's tears wetting her own cheeks.

There's a home Packer game today.  I have high hopes that some loud fancy airplanes will fly over.  It's really the only part of football I like.  Stay dry, Aunt B.
--Barbara

Saturday, September 9, 2017

I Don't Think We'll Get a Harvest Out of It

We've been watching a single corn plant growing under the dried corn we put out for the squirrels. I'm thinking one of the furry little demons or maybe a chipmunk buried one of the kernels, then the summer's rain and sunshine helped it grow.  I noticed the other day that it had tasseled out and had two small ears with lots of pretty pink silk poufing out the top.  I have no confidence that the ears will mature but really like watching it grow.




The other day I picked up the O2 carrier from the shoe repair guy and managed to squeeze it over the free arm of my sewing machine to attach the handle pieces so the new carrier is all ready.  It has D rings on it if Durwood decides to attach a shoulder strap.  I've got a softer model cut out that will get sewn up when I'm not scrambling to sew the rest of the things I want to take to The Clearing next weekend.  (More on that later.)




On Thursday I took an old ice cream pail out to the garden and picked and picked and picked tomatoes.  (I have to agree with Durwood, tomato slices on toast make an excellent breakfast.)  We're getting more tomatoes this year than we've had in years, certainly many many more than last year's dismal output from the patio pots.  I foresee more straw bale gardening in my future, not an increased crop but I'll do four bales again next year and next year each tomato plant will have its own bale.  They're too crowded this year, plus the peppers, carrots, and lettuce haven't produced up to snuff.  I think I'm doomed never to have bell pepper growing success, and I had such high hopes this spring.  We've picked one measly pepper.


Only one of the sunflower seeds I planted in April managed not to get eaten by rabbits or chipmunks and grow tall enough to make a flower bud.  I'm hoping it blooms before the first frost or some marauding rodent gnaws it off.  There's a house around the corner with a cluster of gorgeous yellow sunflowers all abloom right now.  I wonder if they planted seeds or plants.  If there's ever anyone out when I walk by I'll ask.  I think I'll try sunflowers again next year.  One of these days I'm bound to get lucky. 





I can tell that summer is drawing to a close because the sedum up on the retaining wall is blooming.  I forget how pretty the flowers are and how much the bees like them, although I wish they were any color other than pink.

 


Most of the time the Downy Woodpeckers swoop in for a snack on the suet that's closest to the house but this little one discovered the orange flavored suet pellets in the feeder by the back fence.  He had a high old time pecking and nibbling. 




September 9--Jean Fouquet, St. Michael Slaying the Dragon.  "The dragon has seven heads," Marina said in a low voice.  "I see that," said Dana. "Do you think that's one for each Deadly Sin?"  Marina turned to her friend.  "What a lovely thought." She smiled. "Look at the damned souls down in Hell.  Not a great spot to spend eternity."  "I imagine old Saint Michael looking over his shoulder at the row of angels behind him.  I can hear him say, 'a little help here' and all he gets is a flutter of wings and some giggling."  Both of them laughed, then shushed each other.  The illuminated manuscript pages they were looking at were in an ancient manor house only open to tourists every other Thursday and it had all the charm and warmth of a cloistered convent.  Not rooms accustomed to laughter, they thought.

Okey-dokey.  Now that I have frittered away most of today I think I'll go downstairs and whip up some fragrance-free lotion to take to The Clearing and maybe cut out another Dress No. 1 and an experimental knit shirt I've been mulling over.  Later, dudes and dudettes.
--Barbara

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Still Every Other Day-ing

I thought about blogging yesterday, I really did, but it was supposed to rain so I went out and planted the Black-eyed Susans, then I dug up the daisies that were encroaching on the asparagus and got those scattered around.  Of course I didn't manage to get it all done and watered in before the skies opened up and the rains came down.  So I got wet.  I didn't melt.  I took a lunch break and then went out into the returned sunshine to finish the job and give everyone a nice big drink--before it started raining again.  While the second rain was raining they called from the garage to say that my car was done and did I want to chance it and walk over or should he come get me.  By the end of his question the sun had come back out so I said I'd chance it.  Durwood suggested that I take an umbrella.  Smart guy, that Durwood.  I didn't need it but it would have been a very long half-mile if the rain had come back.  As it was I had a jaunty stick to brandish at advancing squirrels and to shake, old lady style, at any whippersnappers in my way.  (side note:  I asked the mechanic to see if he could figure out why my cruise control wasn't working, he fixed it and said it wasn't working because the third brake light up in the back window was burned out and the wire was a little loose.  ????  so the cruise control's connected to the brake lights???  I miss simple cars.)


My afternoon and evening project was to design, cut out, and sew together an easier-to-change carrier for Durwood's O2 bottles.  The stiffened neoprene one that came with them is so snug that he can't get the tank out and I can only do it if I'm standing up holding it between my knees so I can use my full strength to slowly drag it out.  I have a lot of small pieces of upholstery fabric that I use to make bags, etc. so I dug out some in colors he likes, used the neoprene one as a pattern and got to work.  I picked up some ultra-firm iron on Pellon (stiffener) last weekend and it works great--except I can't sew the seam or attach the bottom because it's so stiff it won't fit through the throat of the machine.  So off I went to the shoe repair guy over by the stadium.  He threatened me with an $80 charge, even saying that the 5 minutes we were talking went on my bill, but once I was thoroughly demoralized and took off the handle pieces, he relented and said sewing the side and attaching the bottom would be about $20.  A-hole.  It'll be ready tomorrow and then I'll sew on the handle myself.  AND I'll be finding another shoe guy, tout suite.  P.S. I have another carrier cut out that won't be stiffened.  That one I can sew myself.


This morning's sky was gorgeous and the zinnias have come into their own. 





One of the butternut squash vines sneaked across the top of
the daisy stalks when I wasn't looking and is growing a tiny-so-far squash there to go with the two giant ones growing on the backside of the fence.  I also saw that one of the packet of sunflower seeds I planted has managed to grow to semi-maturity.  There's a flower bud on the top of the stalk that has thus far escaped the notice of any marauding rodents.  Fingers crossed.

September 6--Maximillian Luce, The Quai Saint-Michel and Notre-Dame, Paris.  This place was like a town within the city.  Vendors lined the sidewalks along the river, forcing people to step out into the street but the cars and taxis watched out for them on market days.  Only the tourists or people from other neighborhood honked their horns and shouted at them to "get out of the street, idiot."  Once she learned how the area worked Gail felt herself becoming a part of the daily life.  The old waiter in the corner cafe brought her coffee and toast without her needing to order.  The grocer saved fresh figs for her and sent his boy to leave a message with her landlady so she would stop.  At least once a week she went to a museum or gallery out in the larger city and felt like she had stepped into another world.

We've got chiro appointments this afternoon and then we're going to treat ourselves to supper at Olive Garden.  It's not swank but the food's pretty good and I'm in the mood for mussels.  So I'm wearing my new red tunic.  I hope I don't drip on myself but probably will.  Good thing there's Fels Naptha soap and Totally Toddler spray downstairs for those little oopses.  See ya.
--Barbara

Monday, September 4, 2017

A Slipshod Blogger

That's what I've become.  When my time was short (had to get ready for work) I'd knuckle down and get the day's blog entry done tout suite in the morning.  Not so much lately.  Yesterday I got up before 7:30, watched CBS Sunday Morning, talked to Lala on the phone, had a little breakfast, and read the paper.  When I was done reading the paper I was appalled to realize that it was 11:55 AM.  Holy chit!  Did I leap up and blog? No, I did not--because I had absolutely nothing to blog about.  I hadn't made anything, gotten any farther on any yarn project, or done any yard work worth talking about.  So I did what any other self-respecting retiree does (uh, that's the first time I've ever called myself that and I'm not sure I like it, sounds old), I plopped down on the couch and read a book.  Yes, a book.  Not a real, paper book, no, but not an audiobook either, an ebook so it kind of counts.  I didn't have paper pages to turn but I did have to swipe across the screen.  That's something like real reading, right?



A baby robin came to the birdbath yesterday while I was sitting at the kitchen table and as soon as I got the camera up and ready it fluttered over and hid behind the suet feeder.  Darned kids. 




About mid-afternoon I decided to go downstairs and sew that other Tunic No. 1 I had cut out.  Since I had barely eked out the front and back in that red linen (and had a notch in the seam allowance where the front shoulder overlapped the back side) I decided to insert a gusset of the black cactus cotton in the sides. Knowing that the first one I sewed together had been just a bit snug in the chest area, I carried the gusset up through the armpit.  That worked very well and I figured out how to adjust the pattern the next time so it won't need a gusset.  (and there will be a next time, probably more than one next time)  That left me with the very wide neckline and shorter than desired length.  After perusing the Instragram postings of Tunic No. 1 I saw that everyone's neck opening is as wide as mine so I decided to let it go and see if I couldn't come up with a solution for next time. (see parenthetical above)  I tried it on and looked into the mirror--yep, it was quite a bit shorter than I'd like--so I got out the pattern pieces and the remaining black cactus print cotton and cut a band to add to the bottom.  The sewing goddesses (or maybe it was Mom) were watching over me because my guesstimate of how much to add to compensate for the gusset was right on.  I seamed up the band, sewed it on, and hemmed the sleeves and bottom.  The only annoyance was the bobbin of the Pfaff I have been sewing on for the last month decided to start eating thread.  (are you listening, Mom? that's your machine that's misbehaving) Thank god I have my trusty old original Necchi machine right there so I could finish the job with a minimum of cussing and thread wasting.  I like it.  I like all the things I have made with these three 100 Acts of Sewing patterns and love wearing them.  I can't wait for Pants No. 2 to come out; it looks like it'll be leggings.  Woohoo!  Can't wait.  My next project is to mock up an easier to use carrier for Durwood's new shorter, squatter O2 tanks.  The one that came with them is impossible.

The new Mason-Dixon Knitting Field Guide No. 4 came in the mail on Saturday.  It's on Log Cabin Knitting, which is one technique I've considered for finishing the @$#%& Sudoku afghan.  (I confess it took me more than a day to figure out that the background on the cover is a close-up of a log cabin, duh *face, palm*)  Each field guide has three original patterns in it and some description of the technique.  Getting the paper book with a code to download a digital copy is a bit pricey at $20 but I like them and want to keep them in business.  That's a good enough reason to buy one, don't you think?

September 4--Jean Benner-Fries, Exotic Flowers from Tropical Countries.  The bird of paradise plant's flowers looked like a flock of birds peering at me from the corner of the villa.  The slight breeze made them bob like those novelty birds that dip their beaks in a glass of water.  One of the flowers blooming in the garden smelled so sweet that I would swear that the fragrance crept across the sandy lawn and slithered through the screen to pool around my feet.  I was convinced that the vines spent their days inching up the house's walls probing for anyplace to get in.  Neeldess to say I was not having the restful vacation I had planned.  Phillip laughed when I told him about the bird plants and the vines.  I think he's part of the conspiracy between the jungle plants to absorb this house and me in it.

I am happy to report that the rain held off on Saturday evening so that I could grill our two little NY Strip steaks.  They were pretty good, cut a bit thin so the timing was tricky but we made one of them go away.  We were going to dispatch the other one last night but can't resist an ear of corn and a tomato salad first, then neither of us is hungry enough for meat.  We'll manage to eat it soon enough.  I'm off to the JoAnn Fabrics for some white flannel.  LC asked if I could make her baby doll a new diaper.  Her wish is my command. After a lunch of toasted French batard slices with some olive tapenade  I got at the new Fresh Thyme Market last week, that is.  With a few baby carrots and a Clementine it makes an excellent lunch.  Later.
--Barbara

Saturday, September 2, 2017

I Did Not Order Rain

But it started raining around noon and has been drizzling around all afternoon.  I know this is happening because I have steaks to grill for supper tonight.  I won't let a little precipitation derail my plans.  We will have charred cow for supper to go along with tomato salads and fresh sweet corn.  This pair of cardinals came for breakfast, before it started raining.  It's pretty rare for a pair to come.







See all the cards I got for my birthday? (I understand that at least one has been delayed by copious rainfall in coastal Florida, so the excitement in my mailbox isn't done yet.)  A few are handmade, two of them by people older than 3 too, although I confess I'm partial to the one made by the 3-year-old.  The ones made by grownups are very nice with lovely sentiments inside but there's just something about a big, red, posterboard heart scribbled on by someone that you're crazy about.  And that salt clay butterfly is a
gift beyond compare.





 
I thought you'd like to see both Hoots.  I made the original Hoot in 2009 and just finished Hoot 2 last week.  They're both popular with the small set and are welcome car seat companions when Meemaw drags little people on errands with her.  Erranding isn't a very popular activity but a cup of snacks and an armful of Hoot helps lift spirits and make the people in the back seat a bit less crabby. 

 




I knitted on the Crazy Z Reds Campfire sock last night and added an inch or two.  It's very hard to make great strides in your knitting when there are so many interesting people to talk to but I'm just happy when I don't make too many boo boos while talking my head off.  (I only had to reknit one needle's worth last night when I did round 2 instead of round 1; that's not bad)  We met friends for brunch this morning so I took Sudoku Long Strip #2 along.  It occurred to me that I've been avoiding it like the plague and avoiding it isn't going to get that afghan done anytime soon--and it has to be done by the end of 2017.  I can not let it linger into 2018 when it will be 10 years old and still unfinished.  Just can't do it.  This is no-thinking-required knitting, 15 stitch rows for 62 inches.  Knit, knit, knit, keep on knitting.







September 2--Bigordi Ridolfo Gherlandaio, Portrait of a Lady.  Claire hated her hair.  It was dull red-brown and it just lay there on her head.  No matter how much she wished and prayed, it didn't curl.  It was as straight as a horse's tail, an ugly horse's ugly tail, and more lifeless than the cheapest wig hanging in Goodwill before Halloween.  She rolled it up in curlers, burned her scalp with chemicals and her hair with hot irons, but as soon as she combed it the curls fell out like they'd never been there.  Claire thought she had an okay face.  It wasn't eaten up by acne.  She had a decent figure too, not fat, not skinny, with nice curves in all the right places but all that curvy beauty was topped by her hair which today looked like she was wearing a dead animal on her head.  She really hated her hair.

As I've been sitting here it's been getting darker outside and I'm afraid that means it's about to pucker up and rain again.  I'm going to give Mother Nature the benefit of the doubt and light the grill as soon as I post this.  Wish me luck.
--Barbara

Friday, September 1, 2017

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today I am 66 years old.  In fact, it was exactly my birthday about 5 minutes ago.  I'm totally gobsmacked that my age is a number that big.  I entertained a small dynamo today so there was no sewing, no knitting to speak of, but a lot of singing and laughing and not quite enough snuggling.  (is there ever enough?)


I got some singing phone calls from various states and some precious toddler-made gifts.  I have to say that I'm glad to be old enough to get salt clay sculptures and big red hearts with colorful scribbles on them again.

That is all.  Still have Mom's rose-colored birthday glasses.  OJ thought they were a marvel.
--Barbara