Friday, February 29, 2008

Sunset over Klein Bonaire

I know where the feather came from, Bob. I used to have down & feather pillows that shed like a long-haired cat and there are feathers everywhere in my house, stuck in the carpet, woven into blankets, floating out from behind things when the furnace turns on. They are everywhere! I try to vacuum them up and pluck them out of things but they're insidious. Thanks for the fun evening, Jenny. Bob's right, it has been too long since we just laughed at ourselves and the crazy stuff we wrote. Sure lightens the spirits. Thanks. I have high hopes for our "month of editing" too. Taking off the pressure to produce fresh writing let me write what's written below this morning. Funny how that works. Is it cheating if I pull Horizon out from under the bed and make a start tomorrow? I'm assuming it isn't so I"m doing it.

Every one of them watched the same sunset. Every one alone. Mona and Sharon stood on patios less than one hundred yards apart, each woman holding a drink and staring at the fiery ball sinking behind the small low island smeared on the horizon, each one listening intently for a car to stop on the gravel out front. Maria sat on the top step of her small front porch watching the sunset colors tint the windows of the houses across the street, the soft sound of Emilia singing in the living room behind her covering the noise from the main road down the block. Bunny sat with his back against a tree in the front yard of his ramshackle house behind the big supermarket slapping at the occasional mosquito brave or foolish enough to fly through the cloud of herb smoke, listening to Bob Marley wail, and nodding his head at Brother Bob's words. Diego held down the end bar stool at the beach bar of the windsurf place on Lac Cai. He had been there all day, getting quieter and quieter as the day passed. He jerked upright as the setting sun slid into the gap between the thatched roof over his head and the line of stunted trees and tall cactus across the parking lot. The slanting rays pinned him like a spotlight making him look at himself reflected in the door of the cooler behind the bar. He drained his beer, slid a hundred guilder note under the empty bottle, picked up his nearly empty cigarette pack and lighter, and swiveled off the stool to walk to his rental truck. Jack sat in the mouth of the cave he had spent the day in. He had been sure that morning that he was in the perfect spot to catch Manning pulling a fast one salting the submerged wreck just off shore, but he had been wrong. He stood, stretched, and watched the bottom of the sun's disc touch the horizon. As it did there was a rustling behind him and suddenly a huge stream of bats flew out of the cave, swirling like smoke around him. Santiago sat on the deck of the Santa Marta, a cigarette in one hand and a Polar beer in the other. The rest of the Venezuelans who came over with produce to sell were either on the dock or the stinkpot diesel trawler Abierto his boat was rafted to. They were all laughing and calling out to the women walking down the waterfront to the restaurants further into town. Santiago was quiet and watchful. Manning stood among the raucous tourists celebrating sunset in the bar cantilevered out over the ocean at Sand Dollar resort, his eyes darting like lasers. He made it a habit to cruise the resort bars once a week to keep a lookout for his next pigeon and he thought he had found a live one to replace Jack Swallow who was getting all too suspicious and would have to be cut loose. This one was fat, pink, and balding wearing a sickly yellow aloha shirt printed with mutant flowers and worn unbuttoned enough to display the gold doubloon necklace that told Manning that the wearer imagined himself a pirate. He downed the rest of his beer and got ready to move in.

I like it. More writing this afternoon, less structured, more free. This earns a quiet yippee. Nothing too loud to scare away the tiny spark of creativity that Jenny's game lit.


Happy Leap Day

Group last night was everything and more. Thank you for bringing the game, Jenny. For me, it was a whole lot of fun. It's been far too long since I've actually felt foolish about writing. Whoo hoo! And Barbara. You have inspired me to make a greater effort. Thank you, and may your writing today surprise you. (As I type this, I notice what appears to be a tiny, white feather caught in the keyboard. I pry it out and sure enough, that's what it is. Like from a pillow. Now, my question is this: how did it wind up there? Did it fall out of someone's hair? Did it drop from someone's clothes? Ah well. Another of life's inscrutable mysteries.)


Thursday, February 28, 2008


Red, white, and blue, the little fishing boat, really more of a skiff, reflected its patriotic colors onto the still water of Lac Cai. It seemed to Manning that trying to get through the waves that reared across the mouth of the bay and out into the open ocean beyond would take a bigger boat, and definitely a motor. He stood on the rocky sand near the moored boat glaring at a brown pelican that seemed to have settled down to make a home on the bow. He couldn't figure out how Bunny imagined they would make it out to meet Santiago. Oars? As far as he could tell there weren't any oarlocks, no place to attach them either. At the sound of tires on gravel behind him the pelican straightened up, glared back at him, and spread its wings, flying around the bay looking for breakfast. Bunny pulled up in his ancient Toyota pickup with an even older looking outboard in the back. Ah, now things became possible.

That's it for me today. I'll see you tonight.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Oh, Jenny, Oh

It's so good to hear from you again, and that your cold/flu is better. I read Mar-ya passage twice before I figured out that it wasn't Barbara's. I kept wondering, why doesn't this sound like Barbara. I like how sweetly sly it is, the way you have it set up. Sarcastic? I guess, but aren't baby-sitters supposed to be? At the same time, there's a beautiful transparency going on with her character. The character of Diego is, I think, becoming more sharply drawn, Barbara. The small actions that you give him (like turning his back to the wind while lighting up) combined with things like having him run away after the first cup of coffee make him a round character for me. See you tomorrow.



Jenny, you're back in the land of the living! Welcome. I like Mar-ya and the sarcastic narrator. Yup, baby steps. We're all baby-stepping these days with the mid-winter blahs baying at our heels.

Maria was out of patience. She had spent the last ten days, since Diego arrived at the villa with his American girlfriend, keeping to the shadows, out of his way. But enough was enough. He had managed to not show up downtown when they were supposed to meet. She had then been determined to confront him at the villa, on his own turf, but she had gotten to know Sharon, seen how the woman had tried so hard to be liked by Diego's mama and sisters. Maria had a hard time staying angry enough at Diego to make a scene and hurt Sharon. Today, though, she was determined to move forward. She brought Emilia to the villa with her, all dressed so cute and with instructions to be on her best behavior. Sharon had been enchanted with the pretty toddler. Diego had not said a word. After only one cup of coffee he had left the villa nearly at a run and hadn't been back since. Maria was at a loss for her next move. All she wanted was for Diego to acknowledge his daughter--and maybe send a little check once in a while.

What's next? Ya got me. See you Thursday.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

apricot jam

Hello again again. I'm finally rid of all traces of the typhoid today. Not even a headache, though I'm concerned one may come on at work tonight since I got up at 4 am and now no longer have time for the nap I was going to take. That was slightly foolish of me, but after 4 days of only moving from the bed to the bathroom to the couch and then 1 entirely too long work day to make up for it, I had to get out of the house today. I bought a new garbage can and other sundries, which probably seemed more exciting than it should of. And this popped into my head while I was changing lanes. Well, at least "ape-ricot" did. The rest worked itself out from there. I have no idea what the larger context (if any) is, but I'm not going to turn my nose up at spontaneous writing. Baby steps, right?

Maria pronounces apricot like this: ape-ricot. Maria also pronounces her name Mar-ya, though I can’t get her to say if her mother also pronounced it that way. She’s from Detroit, so really I doubt it. Maria is very fond of saying things like, “I am so very fickle of ape-ricot jam.” Maria has been entirely misled about what the word fickle means, though – for what it’s worth – she truly does like apricot jam.

Barbara, the Zippo brings me back to the shell in the pocket. It's a nice circular device. And Bob, has more come of your frightened narrator?


Sock Done!

Look! Two socks! One for each foot! Matching!

It's taking all my resolve not to immediately cast on another pair but I want to finish the practice 2 Circs Sox first so then I can do two at a time without using the wrong needle and ending up with three sock sides on the same needle like I did last night. Oops. I can tell you right now these are not going to be blue-ribbon socks because I'm not frogging back to the boo-boo in the
ribbing, when I get an extra stitch because the working yarn looped over a needle I just knit two together, and I tinked back the row off the wrong needles and knit it on the correct one. These will be "under jeans" socks but that's okay, I'm learning. Now that I've pretty much got how the needles go down pat, I can concentrate on keeping the yarn and balls from dangling in the wrong place and goofing me up or tangling quite so much.

I'm going to Patti's sometime today to get yarn for some gifts I'm going to need in a couple months and, oh this is exciting, I need to get a skein of Galway in black tweed because I've got a commission to knit another pair of Dashing for a friend's husband. I take that as a compliment.

So now I've got my red Licorice, "Keep From Smoking" Swing Jacket on the needles, the 2 Circs Sox legs growing, I'll cast on Dashing tomorrow at work, I want to start the 2 gifts (1 knit, 1 crochet) today, and I'll probably weaken and cast on another pair of socks before bedtime. I'm with you, Ann, I want to knit it all--and right now.


Only a dusting of the white flaky stuff. Whew, we dodged that one. I'm glad you're feeling better, Bob. There's nothing like a dose of the mid-winter cabin fever crazies to make life nearly unbearable. Thank heavens for sunny days; I feel the difference most acutely too. And did you mean that you found an apartment? One with more than one room? That'd be great! Now we just have to get back into the writing mode. Maybe another week of exercises will help.

Diego walked out of the sea and sat on the beach staring at the calm bay crisscrossed by the primary colored windsurfers. The stiff tradewinds that filled their transparent sails dried the salt water on his dark skin and blew grains of sand that stuck to him and pelted his eyes. He shook his fingers dry and carefully extracted a cigarette from the pack folded in his t-shirt, then turned his back to the wind to light it. The clink and snick followed by the stink of the lighter fluid that rose from the Zippo in his hand took him back to his days as a young boy lying in bed with his three brothers listening to his daddy and uncles talk and laugh and smoke deep into the night. Sharon wanted him to quit smoking "for his health." How could he make her understand that some days the cool metal lighter in his picket was all that connected him to himself?

Well, that's not so bad. I feel like the separate parts of the story are gathering closer to each other and might actually be getting to some sort of climax. I don't know, only time will tell. See you Thursday.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Having It

This morning I heard that today's snow would be falling in the southern part of the state. So we are safe. Whew. Every day feels better to me than the previous one. I don't even mind the overcast days so much. Maybe it's the blue-sky days that are carrying me through. Maybe the thought of moving at the end of March has me energized. Whatever it is, I like it. I also like what you're doing with your characters. Each of them wants something, and is willing to go through all manner of suffering in order to achieve it. Poor Jack. He really is a glutton for punishment. They all want so much. So what if today's writing is not especially focussed. That comes in the rewrite when a dozen brilliant ideas will leap up, each clamoring for your undivided attention.



I did knit to the toe decreases on the Wool Ease sock yesterday, just like I promised.

But I also knit on the Matinee Swing Jacket (it's twice as long as it was. I couldn't resist it; it's variegated)--and I did a row or two on the 2
Circs Sox when I changed the "Slinky" needle for a better behaved one.

Don't hate me because I'm weak. *sniff* I promise I'll only take the sock to work today (cross my heart) and I'll forgo excess web surfing to finish the toe so I can concentrate on the other projects--with warm feet. And not
have too many things going at once. I promise.


Not so inspired last night. Until I type it here, I suspect it's not even coherent. Let's see...

Jack sat in the shade of the ruin of the plantation house up on the hill overlooking the dive site called Karpata. Since early morning he had sat there watching the trickle of diving tourists gear up and enter the water in pairs. He had thought when driving up from the villa in the pale dawn light that he would conceal his pickup somehow but nearly every dive site he passed had at least one pickup parked there, windows open and no one in sight. On an island this full of tourists, he realized, it was hard to tell why someone was parked where they were. And the number of divers on the island and their habit of independence meant no dive site was empty for long. Sooner or later someone was bound to drive up and park, ready to dive. Jack figured that very randomness was his ace in the hole for staying alive.

Okay, it's not totally incoherent, but even as short as it is, I think it sounds unfocused. Anybody out there?


Sunday, February 24, 2008

No Resistance

I decided (only in my head, I didn't say it out loud) yesterday morning that I wasn't going to cast on another project until I had the second Wool Ease sock finished. I'm only 30 rows from starting the toe decrease so I'm in good shape to finish it soon, see?

Even though I went to Jo-Ann's and bought some Lion Wool in the Autumn Sunset colorway for the next pair and got 7 skeins of Sensations Licorice in the red variegated colorway to do something I don't know what but something with because I fell instantly in love with it's wooly beauty. I managed to resist the lure (even after I had decided I'd make a Matinee Swing Jacket with the red Licorice, even after I dug out another pattern using similarly bulky yarn so I could figure out needle size and gauge AND had to order 10 more skeins online because I bought out the store)--until about 10:30 when I was all alone with Harry Potter on cd playing in my ear.

I'm weak, I can't resist variegated yarn, I caved. I'm on row 9 of the first sleeve, er, swatch. (I'm following the Yarn Harlot's example.)

But I have finished the cuffs of the 2-socks-at-once, and I promise *holds up hand without fingers crossed* to finish the Wool Ease sock before I knit another 7 rows on the Jacket or start on the leg of the 2 circs socks. If I focus I should have the Wool Ease sock done tomorrow so I can wear it on Wed. to keep my feet warm at work and continue working on the 2 circs socks and Matinee Swing Jacket with a clear conscience.

Oh, I finished DH's Batty Dishcloth the other day too. So I am a Woman of Accomplishment--in addition to wallowing in a bad case of Startitis.
The queue grows longer...

Red Slave Hut

Another sunny day! Yippee! Even partly sunny is so much better than the endless gray days we had last week. I guess we're supposed to get slammed with more snow tomorrow night. Great. Just what we need now that I've almost got the driveway totally cleared. And the snow banks along the edges are getting so high it would be impossible to hand shovel just because a person couldn't throw the snow high enough. Bah. I'd rather think of Manning and Santiago, Jack and Mona, Sharon and Diego doing their waltz of intrigue in Bonaire.

Santiago moved with speed and grace from his boat, the Santa Marta, moored as close to shore as was safe. He slid over the gunwale into the water, his feet in their gray canvas shoes barely making a splash. He eased away from the boat sliding his feet along so he wouldn't churn up the water and leave a telltale line of white behind him. He carried an old burlap sack that had begun its life full of coffee beans destined for the lucrative American market had been reduced to carrying ganja for a while along the Jamaican coast. Now it held a few ballast stones and a clump of what might be Spanish silver pieces of eight welded together by a couple centuries immersion in the sea. He tucked the bag into a corner of the fourth slave hut from the south end of the row. It would look enough like run-of-the-mill trash that the casual observer wouldn't notice it and it should be safe until Manning retrieved it to prove to Mr. Moneybags, Jack Swallow, that he, Santiago, really had found something valuable. The sun was just tinting the eastern horizon with the thinnest pale gold line as Santiago re-boarded the Santa Marta and resumed his journey to the Town Pier with his official cargo of pineapples and potted palm plants for the weekly market.

Keep your fingers crossed that Ann gets the acquisitions editor job at Northern Illinois. She had an in-person interview Friday and said it went well. I'd love it if she lived closer.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Turk's Cap

I spent most of yesterday trying to beat back the glacier threatening to take over the driveway, and eyeing up the icicles that are starting to look like portcullis spikes, thinking I should knock them down before they impale someone. Now only a third of the driveway is covered by ice. I'm winning that battle, at least until the next round of snow. Winter--bah.

Manning cursed as he looked at his hurting foot. A thorn from one of the cacti nestled in the rock had pierced the side of his shoe and worked its way into the soft flesh of his arch. He carefully scrutinized the next boulder he came to before sitting down. It took a moment for him to work up the nerve to begin gingerly working the devilishly sharp clump of thorn out. His breath hissed between his teeth and his blood flowed fresh and red to splash on the rocks where it immediately was absorbed. Manning tore a strip from his khaki shirt to stanch the blood and act as a temporary bandage. Blistering the hot, still air with curses, he retied his shoe and, limping only a little, resumed his climb.

I do like the single-mindedness of Manning's pursuit of Jack and Jack's money. Maybe that slight pleasure will lure me back to my desk. I can only hope. Yay for 3 sunny days in a row!


Friday, February 22, 2008


Thank you for the encouragement, Barbara. The guy in my story is, indeed, grumpy and irritable, but that's because he's scared. And he doesn't even know how scared he is. Mona, on the other hand, is not. Scared, that is. I love her no-nonsense resolve, though it seems to me that she has a tendency to undervalue herself. She needs someone to value her, but no one ever does.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Four-toothed Nerite

Bob, your story has an excellent level of loopiness. I swear we're all just a snowflake away from needing to go away with the men in the huggy coats. Me too, and I was gone for a month! The mid-winter crazies are more contagious than the flu. I like your little piece, especially how grumpy and irritable the narrator is.

Mona walked slowly between the craft market booths set up on the town square across the street from the Town Pier. Whenever a cruise ship was docked, the little band of artists and entrepreneurs set up their tables and laid out their wares. Mona wasn't a cruise ship passenger, never had been able to face the prospect of being trapped in what amounted to a floating hotel with a couple thousand strangers for a week, steaming from island to island striking each a glancing blow. Spending just enough time on each one for a hot cab ride to see the highlights and take a quick tour through the upscale shops that line the ports. The whole cruise idea seemed so artificial to her. She had endured dinner conversations with avid cruisers who insisted they were familiar with nearly every Caribbean island. Judging by the majority of the people around her and the things she overheard, the packaged view of an island they was just that--packaged. The real life of the island went on around the Disney-esque sanitized experience that was trotted out before the ship docked and carefully folded away until the next ship was due. Even worse, Mona bet that ninety percent of what was for sale around her was made in Taiwan. Pathetic. And where was Jack? He was supposed to meet her at City Cafe for lunch.

See you tonight. Got your exercise ready? I got mine.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Enough, Already

I know all this snow is good for the farmers and the rivers and the lakes and all the rest, but I'm sure getting sick and tired of it. Everybody at work is getting loopy. I'm getting loopy. Cabin fever, no doubt. I've been trying to get some of it into my writing.

For a minute or more, Karen had been standing, looking out the window with a view of the parking lot. I know this because I'd been watching her, and wondering what she found so fascinating."Come here once," was all she said. "Take a look at this."

I hate that phrase, 'come her once'. To me, it always sounds shabby and ridiculous. "What is it?" I ask.

Karen pointed, turning her hand in the air as she said, "Can you believe that?"

On the far end of the parking lot was a truck with a flatbed on the back. The truck's operator was winching a silver Acura up onto the tilted bed. He stood with his hands on levers that control the progress of the winch. A man in a black suit walked at a brisk pace toward the truck.

"That's Bertinet, isn't it?" Karen says.

"I'd say. That's his car they're taking."

"I sure wouldn't want to be him right now."

I looked at her, savoring the moment. "Karen, you wouldn't ever want to be him."

She blinked her owl-eyes and gave me a quick, hysterical giggle. Then she went back to her desk .

Is it loopy enough? It sure feels that way to me.


Red Slave Obelisk

This is what I wrote last night. I'm determined to get back in the habit. Once my fingers thaw out, that is.

Like a finger pointing the way, the red obelisk stands sentinel over a deserted stretch of shoreline. No longer is it used by mariners as an aid to navigating in to pick up cargo. Now it stands as an oddity, a curiosity poked and examined by sunburnt tourists who lean against it, or embrace it with a lascivious look on their foolish faces, or pose beside it looking stiff and uncomfortable to have their picture taken. How many albums hold photos of the red obelisk? How many people remember the story of the hardships it represents?

Rather pathetic, I think, but slightly better than no writing at all. Yesterday was sign up day for the 2008 Clearing classes. That and these sunny days are real spirit lifters.



Well, the mid-winter blahs have lasted longer than I thought they would. Imagine my surprise when I opened my notebook last night to find a bit of prompt writing I neglected to post last week. Here it is, such as it is.

Silent flyers swoop out of the night to glide through the swarms of delectable bugs that congregate around the security light. Times have changed on the island. Where once you could have left the door unlocked and trusted that a light-sleeping dog would keep your house safe, now every door has a couple locks, more and more windows sport bars screwed right into the frame, and lights turn on at dusk drawing moths and other tasty treats for the island's bats. The security lights turn off at dawn just as the furry flyers are gliding back to their crowded comfy roost in the caves on the wild windward coast.

I have hopes that our evening of doing writing exercises on Thursday will spark a little motivation. Fingers crossed.


Two at Once!

I knew I'd never have the patience to finish all my projects before I plunged into learning how to knit two socks at once on two circular needles. I mean, I did buy that on-sale JoAnn's yarn the other day and I got an extra size 6 circ. I even boiled some water and straightened out a bit of the curl in the new needle so it's not so much like knitting with a Slinky! It's not so difficult once you think about it; it's very logical. Look--two rounds! I only frogged it once. Now I just have to learn to make the stitches a little tighter so there's not such a big gap, then I'll be all set.

I also cast on, knit the cuff, and started on the leg of the second Wool Ease sock. It's brown, cocoa brown, and dark green--dull, boring colors to knit in winter. But it's cold and snowy and I ne
ed warm feet, especially at work. And the sun came out yesterday, for the first time in over a week. I can knit any color; it's sunny!

And for my dearest Valentine of a husband, I'm knitting a dark brown dishcloth with a bat on it. He feeds the cactus-fruit-eating fruit bats in Bonaire and wanted some sort of bat souvenir but there weren't any. So I'm making him one. Shhh. It's a secret.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside--and Snowy Too

Now that it has stopped snowing (for a day or two) I can take a break from shoveling and post my knitting from last week. I have to say I'm crazy about knitting in the round, on circulars or on DPNs; I love it. So I found a hat pattern in last fall's Knit Simple magazine for an earflap hat with a sassy tassle on top. Loved it. I looked and looked at Patti's Yarn Shop for big fat yarn to make it out of. I liked the look and feel of Lamb's Pride Bulky which was still too thin but Patti suggested I use two strands together. Duh. Bought a skein of red (of course) and one of charcoal. Sat down after supper that night, fired up the size 15 circs and knocked it out. It was so toasty warm it called out for matching mittens. Naturally I had bought the last skein of charcoal so I thought I'd make charcoal cuffs and a red hand. Great idea, right? Except I tried a new pattern from the same magazine and it was too small, which I only realized after I had closed the top and cut the yarn. Drat. Frogged that. Then I thought I'd just use the Quick & Easy Holiday Mitten pattern I got at Links & Loops holding two strands, charcoal and red for the cuff and all red for the hand. It kind of worked out but I had more charcoal than cuff on mitten one, so I had to make mitten two match. Close up it looks a little odd; far away it looks pretty good. I'm happy and my fingers are warm; that's the point, right?

Just so you'll have an idea of how much snow we got Sunday and Monday, here's a picture looking down the street. Notice the row of icicles on the gutter? The second picture is to show you how deep the drift just at the steps is. Thank heavens for snowblowers; without my big red Yard Machine we'd be hip-deep in the white stuff.

Monday, February 18, 2008

More Snow

To begin with, it looked kind of pretty, coming down though the late afternoon twilight. And then walking across the Walnut Street bridge, I was more than a little happy that I wasn't driving. But now? Now, it's going on four fresh inches. I'll be so happy when all this is over with. Here is the beginning of another story I came up with today:

On the way to work and on the way back, I pass one of those old-folks homes. Oh, I know it's bad form to call them that. They are assisted living facilities. That's the proper name. It sits at the intersection of a busy street, a white, L-shaped building with columns on the front. The grounds are immaculate as a Marine's haircut. A sign in front identifies it as Sheltering Pines. It sounds very peaceful there. Every few weeks or so there's a truck there, moving someone in or moving them out. Like today, there's a white truck backed up to a side entrance with its back doors open, a shiny metal ramp slanting to the ground. No movers in sight.

The guy in the car behind me sounds a get-moving beep. The car in the inner lane is already moving, having pulled ahead by half a length. I step on the gas and squeal the tires a bit, just for show. Everybody's in a hurry.

So there you have it. The beginning of yet another story. What I need, now, are some endings. Drive carefully, Barbara.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Oh My!

You mean to say you went head-to-head with a Jehovah's Witness? Good for you, Barbara. Certainty like their's just makes a person mean and stupid. Good for you. Another good thing is the chogogo passage. I really felt how tired and loaded Sharon was. My suggestion is to let the glass fall to the floor - but not without first playing out the suspense factor.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Finished With Forbidden Love--For Now

It was fairly quiet at work yesterday and after supper, and I finished the last (for the moment) pair of Forbidden Love Wrist Warmers. Yay! They will go into a take-out box and into a ricocheting Mickey Mouse box to be sent to a writing friend who just fixed up her first dedicated writing room. A girl needs her own space. I do love that pattern and the yarn is a dream to work with, not splitty or sticky, just right.

I also took some close-ups of the cotton vacation socks so you can see how interesting the striping is. I love that the old c
olor comes back in little spurts for a while and the new color foreshadows itself. It needs a little more nylon or elastic or something because it's pretty saggy, but I wore the socks on the way home from Bonaire last Friday and they were comfy for all that walking, which is a very good thing and must be the acid test for handmade socks. Good job, me.

Chogogo Redux

I made writing last night. Woohoo! It's the first time in, like, two weeks. I'm so proud of my little scribble.

They don't look natural, like real birds, when they fly. They look like cartoons, their elongated necks in the lead and their spindly legs trailing behind. Even the sparse lump of the body spreads out making barely a hump, only the wings slowly flapping changes the vision of them from alien being to something quite possibly earthly and natural. The vivid pink of their feathers is lost in the deepening orange of the sunset, their silhouettes slice across the sky and their raucous honks sound too much like Canada geese to be believed. Mona lay on the chaise longue on the patio facing the sunset, her empty glass barely held by her fingertips above the tiles as she watched the skein of flamingos trail across the sky on the way to their roost in Venezuela, sixty miles across the sea.

See? I can still write. Amazing. See you Thursday.


Monday, February 11, 2008

A Brand New Airplane

The highlight of the whole long day of flying (not the 3 hour Ft. Lauderdale to Detroit sitting-next-to-a-Jehovah's-Witness leg, not that the whole Bible-as-God's-word conversation wasn't my fault, it was, I just love to get them all up in a fuss) was the Detroit to Green Bay 56 minute flight in a 1 week old airplane. Usually when you board a plane it looks a little scruffy inside, a little worn and used, like thousands of hands, feet, and hinders have been there before you. No amount of cleaning and effort can erase the years of friction and spilled juice boxes, greasy hands and drool from dozing flyers. They usually smell clean-ish, but the fabrics and carpets bear testimony to their age. This little 65 seater was showroom fresh. The gray leather/vinyl seats were plump and comfy, not with years of ass prints worns into them; the seatbelts were supple and unfrayed, and the seats were a bit further apart and even felt a bit roomier. Suddenly flying regained a bit of the mystique of the old days when you felt special to be there, not like just another plodding cipher crammed in a flying Greyhound. It was almost a pleasure.


Sunday at the Frog Pond

I was feeling very accomplished and smug and speedy yesterday. (That's always a bad thing.) I had pulled out the second mitt of the Forbidden Love Fingerless Mitt, v. 5, and started knitting (on row 6) while watching CBS Sunday Morning. There were two pages with the pattern on them in the bag (it's a one-pager); they looked the same; I chose one and started knitting. I continued knitting while talking with DD on the phone (for as long as we wanted) and throughout the day. 'Long about 5 PM I looked at the row counter (48) and looked at Mitt #1. Hmm, they looked about the same length and I was just getting to the "bind off 4 sts for the thumbhole" part on Mitt #2. That's when I tried on Mitt #1 and held up Mitt #2 next to it. Same length. Drat. Rechecked the pattern. Turns out the one I didn't choose has many fewer rows between decreases and before the thumbhole part. Dang it. I stuck a needle in the fabric where I needed to frog back to and started ripping out, cursing my carelessness. I got down to the place to pick up stitches and realized that I couldn't do it because of the extreme fuzziness of the yarn. That meant I had to frog the whole of Mitt #2 and begin again. Of course, I had woven in the beginning tail because it kept getting tangled in the working yarn. I couldn't find it to unpick it; I had to cut it off. That meant that Mitt #2 isn't starting at the same color point as Mitt #1. Not that it matters, but I was feeling pretty smug that they were going to pretty much match (see above).

This is what happens when you get cocky--you end up sinking one day's knitting (42 rounds!) in the frog pond. Beware!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Welcome, welcome, welcome

And welcome, Barbara. Your landing sounds like it was wonderful. Thursday group cannot arrive soon enough. I am absolutely bouncing off the walls with anticipation. See you then.


Wasn't That Nice?

We're home! And just when we stepped out of the airport last night around 8 PM to hail a cab for a ride home, it started to snow. Wasn't that a nice welcome back? It didn't keep us from zipping right back out to Fazoli's for a little supper since neither of us wanted to cook. Today will bring a mountain of laundry, a big trip to the grocery, and a drive to New Franken to pick up Don's van which we stored in a friend's barn. Enough with this 24/7 togetherness already!

Friday, February 8, 2008


We did have a sunny day yesterday, and that was a welcome relief. It was a taste of things to come, but I think we need another couple of days like that before it really takes hold. Jenny tells me that the weather is supposed to go bad for another few days in the near future. I hope not. But if it does, may it be of a relatively mild sort. None of this below-zero freakishness that you missed. Welcome back to the northern latitudes.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Oh Boy, Slush

We did our final dive this morning so our gear has a couple of days to dry out. There's nothing like opening a suitcase full of damp scuba gear to clear your sinuses. After showering we went to Watta Burger downtown for lunch and hit a couple of groceries for something to cook the last few nights we're here. And once I post this I'll make the last big bowl of fruit salad, well, tropical fruit salad, for the year. I've got a pineapple, part of a papaya, a mango, a guava half, watermelon, a couple tangerines. I'll cut it all up, sprinkle on a few spoonfuls of raw sugar, and then add a spoonful or two of golden rum. Yum.

I'd give you a few days off this week if it was up to me; six in a row is just too much.

See you on the 14th.


Monday, February 4, 2008

February on my Back

Temperatures have been hovering around thirty-two degrees these past few days. One minute it is snowing, and the next it is raining (or sleeting), which has made for some very interesting driving conditions. The slush-o-meter is reading right around 100%. Wish I could report better weather...

If you ask me, Barbara, knitting counts. It absolutely counts. Knitting underwater, especially. The novelty factor. Sometimes the words are there, and sometimes they have moved very far away and left no forwarding address. But I envy you in a way. At least you have the time to not write. As of tomorrow, I will be working six days straight. There are so many stories spinning in my head right now, and no time to write them (unless I get up at 5:00 am). My next full free day will be Friday. Oh, and a sunny day would be so nice.


Finished Sock!

I discovered the other day that sock gussets are boring, even more boring than long cuffs or the foot. And I definitely need Kitchener stitch practice. But I managed to finish the first of the Wool-Ease socks, modeled by DH's shapely foot. Thanks, Dear.

I'm not sure what the Feb. Dishcloth KAL is making but I'm loving the colors.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Bloggers Poetry Reading

I saw this on the Yarn Harlot's blog and I thought I'd play along.

WHAT: A Bloggers (Silent) Poetry Reading
WHEN: Anytime February 2, 2008
WHERE: Your blog
WHY: To celebrate the Feast of Brigid, aka Groundhog Day
HOW: Select a poem you like - by a favorite poet or one of your own - to post February 2nd.
RSVP: If you plan to publish, feel free to leave a comment and link on this post. So, link to whoever you hear about this from and a mighty web of poetry will be spun.

Feel free to pass this invitation on to any and all bloggers.


on the night of the
new moon in april,
i ready myself for
spring cleaning.

while the earth
renews herself,
i search the winter-clogged
corners and open myself
to the zephyrs
of the season.

Pettiness is swept away first,
followed by
jagged-toothed Gossip.
flinging them to the wind
lightens my heart.

old Grudges and
Disappointments are escorted
to the edge of the property
kicked out.

kindling a fire with
Arrogance and Pride,
i dance around it with
Envy and Jealousy until
they reel dizzily
into the flames.

Selfishness nips at my heels
until i bundle it into an
old sheet and
put it out
with the trash.

Sympathy and Charity
are gently bathed and
nestled in soft flannel.

and Healing are rubbed
with scented oils to keep them
supple and lithe.

my soul dances lightly through its
clean house ready to
face a new year,
smiling and singing softly.

Barbara Malcolm

Friday, February 1, 2008

Now, If Only I Could Figure Out How to Write Underwater

Haven't written a word in days. Been knitting, though. I knit underwater today. See? At least I'm doing something creative, right? Right???

Jenny, Bob told me that your screen went on the blink right after you got it back. How frustrating! And of course the warranty had expired. That's how that stuff works.

You staying warm, Bob? Wear a hat when you're wandering around downtown.


Scuba Knitting

With some careful pre-planning I managed to combine two things I love to do: scuba diving and knitting. It's a little hard to see but I have my five-inch Bryspun DPNs and the remains of a ball of dishcloth cotton. I'm not saying I'll make a habit of it but it was fun to do for a minute.