Monday, June 30, 2008

No Luck

I had a blast at writer's on Thursday too, and when I went to B&N to get my very own copy of Bananagrams, they were sold out! Boohoo! So I had the nice lady behind the counter (Jenny) order one for me and some for gifts. Tomorrow is my target for submitting. Didn't manage to bestir myself last weekend. I'm such a slug these days, but maybe now that David & Abby are motoring west with their SUV full to the rafters toward fame and fortune in Montana I'll have the mental space to actually do some writing stuff.


Friday, June 27, 2008

A Good Time

Barbara, Jenny. Thank you for the outstanding group. I am inspired to fire off a manuscript or two. Moreso than I have been in a very long time. Also, I am inspired to work on my crossword skills. Thanks again.

Bob ;-)

Not Much Knitting Going On

I've been busy, okay? I'm not sure exactly what I've been doing, but I'm sure it was very important and needed to be done right away. Just in case you were wondering where I've been...

The big news this week is that David was hired by Big Sky Brewing in Missoula, Montana! Yippee! Hooray! Yay! Now that he's a married man, he needed a job to support his lovely bride and t
o stave off boredom. He and Abby are moving to Missoula, leaving Sunday, so he can start work on Wed. July 2. I know it's fast, but he's really bored and wants to get started. For anyone who has been out that way, he'll be making Moose Drool, which I'm told is a delicious, dark, chocolatey beer. We'll see. I can't wait to visit, but Don says "not in winter!" *sigh*

I have been doing some knitting. I made a promised pair of slippers for Abby's dad and started a Flamingo dishcloth that I've been wanting to make but didn't have the pink cotton to make, so I bought some. Pretty smart, huh? (The vertical lines 3 stitches apart are the legs.)

Planting! Planting and mulching is what I've been doing. Got the tomatoes in, and the herbs too. Well, that was a couple weeks ago, but I can't stop buying plants. I put in some Asian Lilies across the front because the rental side looked nicer than the owner's side. Don said, "It looks like poor people live here." So we spiffed it up, he bought the variegated dogwood and I planted it, now the ends of the house match. We bought the lilies and I planted them. I like getting dirty. There are buds on the Stargazer Lilies I got last year; can't wait until they open because they smell like heaven. Oh, I got offered a job at the plant place after I helped a lady pick the right kind of sweet pepper for her husband. The lady working there offered me a part-time job, just weekends or even every other one. I got the impression it's hard to find knowledgeable people. I'm thinking about it. Maybe. Oh by the way, I don't recommend weeding out nettles barehanded, stings like crazy for the rest of the day.

Have you ever planted Hens & Chicks or any of those rock garden
plants? I always plunk a couple in some of Dad's old work boots for my front porch; I love the way they look. This year I got some that are BLOOMING. I didn't know they did that! Look!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Ahhhhh, Done. *Edited*

Finis! Done! With Patti's help at knitting last night I found the perfect buttons for the Striped Baby Hoodie and finished it today. Now, if only the baby's mama likes it, I'll be completely satisfied.

*The baby's mama liked the sweater just fine and there was a small amount of oohing and ahhing in the crowd. Mine was the sole handmade gift at a shower attended by at least 30 women. What is this world coming to?*

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

200 Down, 108 To Go

Pages of Horizon, that is. I zoomed through nearly 100 pages last weekend and have about 6-8 pages in the "needs more thought" folder. I want to tackle those before I plunge into the remaining pages of rewrite. The places that need the most work are the later story parts that I wrote early in the process when I kept restating backstory as if I were writing a short story or when Gail's emotional changes hadn't caught up with my writing yet, so I need to change her from a whiner to someone who is standing up for herself. It's not hard, just time consuming.

I refuse to dig into writing more of Anneke's Legacy until Horizon's all rewritten and shined up. No distractions! But I'm glad you like it so far. I have to read some more modern romantic novels to learn the way the story unfolds in them. That's a good job for this summer sitting on the patio with a big lemonade while my "yard man" works. ;-)


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

So Far, So Good...

I like Anneke's Legacy, Barbara. And Burke is a perfect match for Lucia. (Or am I getting ahead of things?) I especially like the grin he flashes that never reaches his eyes. To me, this speaks volumes about his character. Can't wait to read what happens next. Your going to give them some emotional fireworks, I hope. Tell me, how is Horizon coming along? Any insights, breakthroughs or other complications? Later.

Bob ;-)

Knit! Knit Like the Wind!

Because I discovered yesterday quite by accident that the baby shower is this coming Saturday not the following Saturday. That means I have four days to knit the hood, add the button & buttonhole bands, sew it up, block it, and get it boxed and wrapped to give. Gah! Good thing I have today off and don't have any pressing chores or errands. I'll be sitting around knitting, probably getting cramps in my wrists from being tense about it, but I'll also be taking deep breaths to try and relax. I drive myself nuts.

Look how cute!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Romance Novel, part 2

Great meeting last night! Bob, you have to do something with that last piece you wrote. It was awesome. As Jenny said, shine it up and send it off, and don't do too much shining. Here's more of Anneke's Legacy:

Ten days later Lucia felt the soft Caribbean night air seep into the over air conditioned cabin of the airliner that had just landed her and a group of happy vacationers at Flamingo Airport on Bonaire. She had watched from her first class seat when she boarded the red eye flight in Houston as smiling face after smiling face got on and turned to find their seats in coach. She had her laptop close at hand and a glass of wine to sip as the jetliner took off into the dark Texas sky. She had spent the majority of the flight bent over her computer, working on a manuscript that was due to be published later that year if only she could convince the reluctant author to consider her recommended changes. Most of her fellow passengers slept away the four-hour flight time but Lucia only dozed.

Dawn was over an hour away when she stepped off the boarding steps onto the tarmac. Groggy passengers followed her toward the brightly lit pink-painted building that looked exactly like an island airport should. Lucia was first in line at the Immigration counter. She answered the agent’s question about the purpose of her visit with, “I have business.” And she glared at the friendly agent behind the counter when he commented that a woman as pretty as Lucia was shouldn’t forget to have a little fun too.

It seemed to take forever for the baggage to be brought from the plane to the terminal but the customs agents seemed to be more interested in the mound of boxes accompanying a local man than the tourist’s belongings. Most of the other passengers seemed to be divers and were either scooped up by resort vans or rental car agents groggily holding up clipboards with names scrawled in black magic marker on sheets of paper.

Lucia stood arms folded across her chest and one toe tapping. Pietr Smit had said he would be there to meet her but none of the people at the airport appeared to be looking for her. By the time the last passenger, the local man with the excess of boxes, pushed his overloaded cart out of the arrival area all of the taxis and resort vans had gone. She could see a few couples still leaning against their luggage in the area in front of the car rental kiosks. Well, what had happened to Mr. Smit, she wondered, and why hadn’t he sent word that she would need to get her own transport?

Just as she was about to turn to the Security office and ask the agent inside to call her a cab, a local man who she had noticed leaning against the door of a pickup truck across from the arrival area straightened up and started toward her. As he neared he said, “Ms. Vandersteeg?”

Lucia looked him up and down. He looked to be in his middle thirties, about six feet tall, and in very good shape. His khaki shorts and chambray shirt were clean and well worn.

“Yes. Mr. Smit?”

The man stopped, put a hand on his hip and scratched his ear. “Ah, no, I am not Mr. Smit. Ah, Piet had a water heater roll over his leg yesterday and his ankle’s broken. He can’t drive. He asked me to pick you up.” He flashed a grin at her that never reached his eyes. “This all your luggage?” He indicated her small suitcase and carry on. At her nod he bent to pick them up but she stopped him by stepping in front of the bags.

“I’m sorry. Who did you say you were?” She folded her arms over her chest.

“Now I’m sorry, ma’am. I forgot my manners.” He wiped his dark brown hand on his shorts and held it out to her. “My name is Burke. Winfred Burke, but everyone just calls me Burke.”

Lucia felt her hand disappear into his large warm rough one. “How do you do, Mr. Burke.”

“Just Burke will do.”

“Mr. Burke, I am not in the habit of riding off into the night with strange men. Do you have anything from Mr. Smit introducing you?”

Burke shook his head. “Lady, you are now on an island that is sixteen miles by six miles. That’s not a lot of geography for getting lost in or for hiding in. We can drive by my mother’s house if you want a character reference, she should be awake, but I doubt if Pietr’s awake. I know they gave him some strong painkillers.” He waved a hand at his truck. “Now, I know this is not the kind of vehicle you’re probably used to riding in, but it’ll get you to your auntie’s house in good shape. I promise I’m not a kidnapper. Could we just go? Please? It’s getting late and I need to go to work.”

Realizing she didn’t have any options on this strange island she gave in and nodded.

“Finally,” Burke muttered as he leaned past her, picked up her bags and turned to carry them to his truck. He swung them over the side and into the bed, shoving aside a tangle of fishing poles that stuck up like a cluster of aerials behind the cab. He turned and saw her still standing on the airport side of the lane. “This is not a moat, princess, no crocodiles.” He took two steps and opened the front door of the truck for her. “Your chariot.”

Lucia stalked over and slid onto the seat. “Thank you, Mr. Burke.”

He slammed the door and she heard him as he walked around to his door. “Mr. Burke, Mr. Burke. I tell her to call me Burke but no she has to be all formal. Catch me doing anyone a favor again anytime soon.” He pulled open the driver’s door and flashed her a patently fake smile that looked a lot more like a grimace.

See you later! I'm going to rewrite more Horizon today. Cross my heart.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Beginning of Romance Novel

As I promised... last week?... last week, here's the beginning of Lucia's story. The working title is Anneke's Legacy. I started it in January, got about 15 pages, then lost steam. Talking to Frans at The Clearing reignited my interest in the story so I'll put the beginning on here, a bit at a time, to try and keep working on it.

Lucia Vandersteeg answered the buzzing phone on her desk with a terse “Vandersteeg” and her life was changed forever. Her eyes strayed to the wind-tossed snowflakes dancing over her skyline view as she listened to the accented voice on the other end.

“Ms. Lucia Vandersteeg?”

“Yes, this is she.”

“The great-niece of Miss Anneke Boon?”

Her full attention caught by the question, she listened for a moment to the long-distance crackling on the line before she answered. “Grand-niece, yes.”

“Ma’am, I am Pietr Smit. I have been taking care of your relative’s affairs for the past few years and I am sorry to be the one who has to tell you, but Miss Boon has passed away last evening.” The male voice went on to tell Lucia that he was a notary on Bonaire, the small Dutch colony island in the southern Caribbean where her great-aunt had lived her whole long life, that Lucia was the sole surviving relative and that she needed to come to the island soon to deal with Aunt Anneke’s estate.

“Didn’t she have an executor?” Looking over the piles of papers, files, and computer disks on her desk, Lucia didn’t see herself finding time for a trip to the island anytime soon.

“You are the executor, Ms. Vandersteeg. Nothing can be done without you saying so.”

Impatience tightened Lucia’s grip on the receiver. “Can’t someone take care of things? I can sign over authority, to you perhaps. You can email me reports.” Feeling that she had solved that problem she picked up a file from her desk and started flipping through the pages inside.

A far-off throat was cleared in her ear. “I can not, Ms. Vandersteeg, I am sorry to tell you. Netherlands Antilles law is very firm on the subject of estates. The duly appointed executor must be on the island to sign the forms and disperse the holdings.”

Her grip tightened again on the phone. “Mister, uh, Smit, is it?”


“Mr. Smit, I am an editor at a publishing firm. I have manuscripts to edit and authors to nursemaid. I don’t have time to fly off to the Caribbean to deal with a few broken down chairs and chipped dishes. Have a damned rummage sale and take yourself to dinner with the proceeds.” She tucked the phone between her shoulder and her ear, and applied her full attention to the papers in the file.

“I am very sorry, Ms. Vandersteeg, but it is more than a matter of a few sticks of furniture and dishes. There is the plantation house with all its environs, the contents of said house, a vehicle, and Miss Boon’s investments both on the island and elsewhere. Have you visited Bonaire?”

An image of long dim halls and billowing white gauze drapes filled Lucia’s mind and she sat back in her chair, the file’s contents forgotten. “When I was a small girl I went there with my parents. They were killed in an accident when I was nine years old and I lived with my mother’s sister and her family from then on. Aunt Anneke was my father’s great-aunt; we lost contact. So it’s been over twenty years since I was there. Why?”

Okay, there's part one, whacked formatting and all. More to come! See you tonight, and we can discuss the lawn situation then.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Getting There

In between planting the tomatoes, herbs, and flowers in pots I've been working on the Baby Hoodie. Nearly have the body done and then will cast on the sleeves & hood. There's 2 weeks until the baby shower so I feel I'm in good shape for finishing on time.

I couldn't resist sharing a couple of pictures of the poppies blooming in the garden. Aren't they beautiful? (Say it with me, all you Wizard of Oz fans, "Poppies!")

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Maxine Kumin's Birthday?

I was clued into that particular date by listening to The Writer's Almanac. Don't leave home without it. I know what you mean about writing. Mine is patchy at best, though last night and this morning I got around to working on Rialto. The over-written ending has been streamlined, and the nature of the relationship between Kyle and Crystal is coming into focus. It needs a lot of new narrative, which I am putting off because I don't know where it fits in the story.

How does the grass look by you, Barbara?

Bob ;-)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A Teensy Explanation

So that you'll get an idea of where things are in the "romance" department--Lucia is an American woman of Dutch descent who is the last surviving heir of Anneke and Susanna is the servant--I think I'll put what I have written of the story on the blog (starting tomorrow since I'm at the dive shop without it) so you can catch up. And it'll give me a chance to rev-up my writering again. I've fallen down on the job--again. Maybe typing it on here will help.

I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on my poems. How'd you know it was Maxine Kumin's birthday, Bob?


Cuteness Progress Report

Things are moving swiftly on the baby sweater, but then this is the first time I'm making something this tiny. In fact, yesterday I knitted an extra stripe of the Lime (4 whole rows) for the right front that I ended up tinking. *grrr* I forget how little babies are. Guess I'll have to hang out with them more (if I can find some without getting arrested). The left picture is the body with the right front all spread out and the right picture is with the fronts closed like they will be when it's done. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to finish the sweater by the June 28th shower, but I'm thinking it won't be a problem.

And I knit a few rows on my Red Licorice sweater back last night while watching Season 2 of Bones but the sweater back looks the same as it did in Monday's picture, only a bit longer. You don't really need to see that, do you? If you do, it'll have to be another day since I'm at work (I can't believe I'm here on a Saturday--and I have to work tomorrow too. Is there such a thing as employee abuse?) and I don't have the sweater back with me.


So far so good with the romance, Barbara. Who is Lucia? We know she is Anneka's niece, but whose daughter is she? (I'm guessing that Susanna is the servant.) At first I saw her with dark hair, but since it's a Dutch colony, her hair would be blond. Right? Or strawberry blond, perhaps. She has clear blue eyes and a wide mouth. She was teased (perhaps) as a child because it was too wide for her face. She has since grown into it. Her smile defines her. It is a beautiful smile.

I've read your poems through a couple times, though I haven't been able to form any clear impressions of them. Maybe the next time through.

Bob ;-)

ps: yesterday was Maxine Kumin's birthday.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Prickly Pear

Okay, here's the deal. I met a man from Bonaire and his Wisconsinite wife at The Clearing (what are the odds?) and talked with him one afternoon picking his brain for setting information for the romance novel I started in Bonaire last January. Now I'm sort of fired up to start working on it, but I promise not to dive in wholeheartedly until I have the Horizon rewrite done. Cross my heart. Just so you know I'm really working on the rewrite, I crossed the 100 page rewritten mark yesterday. (wait while I pat myself on the back *twist, grunt* okay, moving on) So my idea is to use the 2008 Bonaire calendar pictures to write little bits of the romance before bed each night. Here's the first one:

Lucia walked out the back door of Aunt Anneka's house after Susanna left. The hot blue sky arced overhead, not one whate cloud marred it from horizon to horizon. She climbed the slope behind the house, walking carefully to avoid the prickly pear cactus that was everywhere. "Looks like it's the only thing that grows here," she said. "Too bad it's not worth anything." When she reached the top she could see both coasts. She watched the waved pound the windward shore and explode into the air in foamy white spray until her shadow lengthening in front of her told her that sunset was coming fast. She turned to face west, shading her eyes with her hand, and watched a fast white boat turn toward her and race toward the shore. It kept coming until she was sure it would crash into the rocks but it slowed, rocking as the wake caught it, and motored slowly toward the boathouse she saw far below her. Must be Burke, she thought as she carefully made her way back down the hill, hurrying now to get back before darkness fell.

It's not much, but it's a start. Whew, am I glad I went to The Clearing and got my writing mojo back! Be warned, Jenny & Bob--a pack of poems is coming your way tomorrow night.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ooh, This is Going to be So Cute!

When I got home from The Clearing a baby shower invitation for Kendall & Pete was waiting. I could go to wherever they're registered and buy something but that's too easy and impersonal. I searched online for a cute baby sweater pattern using this yarn and found this one. I checked it out on Ravelry and lots of people have made it and each one was cuter than the next. So I went to Michaels and got one skein of Violet, one Berry, and one Lime. (The pattern called for Stone with the Berry and Lime, too boring in my humble opinion. Stone's okay for grown-ups but not babies.) Pete said he made a girl baby so I was okay with the Berry. I couldn't wait to cast on. Love the colors, love the yarn.

Back Writing

Finally. Finally I feel like writing. Finally I awake eager to get to my desk. Yesterday and this morning I rewrote on Horizon and I'm up to 102 pages rewritten, which means I'm about a third done. After the dentist this afternoon I plan to muster up my guts and tackle new writing. Here's the first "official" poem I wrote last week.

The Green Shoot of One Word

Hopeful yet delicate,
quivering in a sweaty hand,
tendrils curled round knuckles,
roots twining past a wrist,
leaves unfurling like butterfly wings,
damp and crumpled.

Pale yellow-green translucence
of hope and bravery,
stubbornly refusing to wilt
back into the silence,
eagerly quivering toward the light.

A single word with the power to
keep alive the name,


Monday, June 2, 2008

Re-Fountain! *fun fact added*

Look! Look! I thought about it and thought about it, and I decided to resurrect the fountain that DH and I made last summer that scared the birds. I left the birdbath on the edge of the patio for the scaredy birds and nestled the fountain under the honeysuckle. And I also finally figured out how to put copper pipe together to cover the plastic tube the water pumps up in so it looks a bit less dorky. One little chickadee doesn't think it's dorky, he/she took a nice long bath in the top saucer almost as soon as I got it plugged in. *sigh* I love my fountain.

This morning DH was outside and saw a female hummingbird take a bath in the middle saucer! How cool is that? Wish I'd seen it.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig-Jig *edited*

Okay, I confess, I got home just after noon on Saturday and I've been doing stuff, not yarn-ish stuff, since then that kept me from the blog. My week at The Clearing was awesome in the poem writing sense, even though it was chilly (one night it got down to 29 degrees F!) and rainy. I wrote the 10 poems that were on the syllabus (sometimes I wrote 2 in the allotted 20 mins., not that I'm bragging or anything, but some poems just came pouring out) plus one freewrite poem each day, so I came home with at least 25 poems, some for shredding, some to be rewritten. It's my turn to submit at writer's so they're getting a wad of poems. Those mainly prose writers will be so thrilled. They're good sports though.

Knitting content! I finished another pair of Landscapes slippers

and I worked on my Red Licorice sweater back.

I wasn't the only knitter there. In the evening after supper, I'd take my knitting up to the Lodge where Judith would be working on her cotton sweater and Carol would be crocheting a chemo cap. Carol is mainly a quilter; she put together a Sudoku quilt top last week. She had 9 different colors of the same nearly-solid fabric, gave each one a number, and arranged her little squares according to the solution, then banded it and edged it with black strips. Very pretty and cool looking. I'm thinking that would make a nice summer afghan made in Cotton Ease. Hmmm, does that come in black? *Nope, but it does come in charcoal. That'll do. *sigh* another project in the queue