Saturday, August 30, 2008

Back to Knitting Posts

Sorry to interrupt the flow of yarn-ish blogging yesterday but some things just really needed to be posted. Do not adjust your set. We now return to our regularly scheduled knit-blogging.

After supper last night I cast on Bib #3; today the I-cord ties will appear, not exactly magically, but it seems like a bit of a magic trick to make them.

I'm working to translate the Meathead Hat pattern from knitted flat to knit in the round. (I do love my DPNs!) So naturally I made the supreme sacrifice and bought some of this yarn in 2 shades of Bulky red to make myself a hat. It's purely experimental. I'm sure you understand.

One of the brooches I bought for $.99 at Goodwill yesterday found a home immedi
ately. Remember the BIG Amazon Hat that I embellished with the giant floppy pompon? Well, I thought it still needed something. Turned out what it needed was a blue rhinestone brooch. Now it's done.

Durwood commented as he posed for me, "See? I am good for something when I'm home all the time." Yes, dear.

P.S. I forgot! I've done a bit more stealth knitting. See?

Doing the Happy Dance!

I'm doing the Happy Dance because I sat myself down late yesterday afternoon and zoomed right through the last four comments on Horizon and now the rewrite is done! Done, do you hear? Done! I printed out all 304 pages so I can take it to The Clearing next weekend as my reading material for the week, and once I'm sure that it is as perfect as I can make it, I'll write a synopsis and start working to find an agent. Eek! How's that for a scary prospect? Big rejections on the horizon, I'm guessing. *snork* I made a pun.

August 29--My mother once told me--Some things you never forget. Uncle Oscar told us when we asked why his left thumb was shorter than the right one that he'd had to snap it so much at the laborers to get them to get to work that he wore it right down. It made perfect sense. After all, what kid hadn't worn down a crayon from too much coloring? I always believed our second babysitter, Jonny Lou Bell, that she had been a ballerina. She was small and slender with dark brown skin and she wore white nurse dresses and she wrapped her head in colorful cloth turbans. She was exotic looking and reminded me of pictures of Egyptian queens. She'd tell me stories of when she was on the stage, lifting her arms and leg in an arabesque. I believed her. Mama snorted when I told her and she said Jonny Lou Bell was lying, that she hadn't ever been a ballerina on stage. I secretly thought Mama was wrong and I was sorry when Jonny Lou Bell left. I guess I've always been gullible, ready to believe a romantic story over dry facts. I'm not that different now.

Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Happy Birthday to Mom & Me!

Since our birthdays are only a day apart we take each other to lunch to celebrate. This year I got to pick the restaurant so we went to HuHot. Mom was nervous about the food being too spicy but calmed right down when I told her Durwood had happily eaten there. We each filled our bowls and loved it. As you can see by the picture, she put on her rose-colored glasses and made the best of it.

After the meal Mom decided she wanted an 80th birthday dessert so she chose a small order of the Cheesecake Rangoons. Trust me, this IS the small order.

The waitress said that for your birthday
you could get a free Molten Muffin so I said I'd have that since my birthday is on Monday. She looked a little doubtful but Mom assured her that was right and so my dessert was free.

After lunch we took a turn around the local Goodwill and scored some quality bargains. Happy Birthday to us!

Omnivore Meme

This is a list of 100 foods that every omnivore should eat sometime in their life. The idea is to bold the ones you've eaten.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding--I grew up eating blutwurst at my grandma's, that counts, right?
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp--I've played with them while diving in the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal but I've never eaten them as far as I know
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari--love it!
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese--ick
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O--eh
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat--on our honeymoon in Jamaica. YUM.
42. Whole insects--it wasn't intentional. I think that, even though that misses the point of the exercise, it should still count. (Yeah, what Ann said. We should get credit for swallowing a bug.)
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu--I'll pass on the poison, thanks
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel--disgusting
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut--overrated. It's a doughnut.
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle--I even have a spaetzle maker! Me too!
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie--lemon is the best!
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky--Men's Pocky is the best!
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake--Texas Rattlesnake Chili made in my own kitchen

Not bad, 58 out of 100!

Pretending Not to Be in a Slump

Okay. Everybody onto the Denial bandwagon! We are not in a slump! Paste smiles on those faces, pick up your favorite writing implement, and get scribbling!

You missed it last night, Bob, Jenny and I had a blast writing our first confessions. I had cards with character possibilities written on them, we picked one, and got writing. It's silly, and surprisingly hard to do, but once you get in the mindset I bet a person could just crank these out. And it is writing, no matter what people think. Both Jenny and I got rejections from the Narrative First-Person Contest last week so we needed a little uplifting and the Trues are providing the fodder.

Sally, if you're reading this, thanks a bunch. I've got an old story I think I can transform into a confession and my fingers are itching to get back to the one I started last night. I haven't felt this eager to write in nearly a year.

August 28--Write about a dangerous ride--Mattie clutched the seat belt that crossed her chest with both hands and watched the telephone poles alongside the highway flicker past in a dark brown blur. The rhythmic dip of the sagging wires that connected the poles and this backwards part of the country to the rest of civilization made her feel like she was on a ship at sea, made her feel seasick. "Rob, Bobby, please slow down," she said in the calmest voice she could muster. She had the feeling that her words were sucked out of her mouth by the wind and echoed like a train whistle in the distance. She was afraid to turn her head, afraid that if she did her angry boyfriend would have turned from flesh and blood to some sort of skeletal zombie grinning its deathbed smile and pressing its bony foot to the floorboards.

Okay, then, that's weird, but hey, it's writing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I Been Workin' On My Knitting...

...all the live long day... Okay, enough singing. I am consumed with stealth knitting ideas and can't keep my hands off of them. Here's some hints.

I finished Bib #1 and made Bib #2 too. Naturally, I'm determined to make Bibs #3 & 4 before Sept. 6th.

I need to quit my job, put a chiropractor or massage therapist on retainer, and just play with yarn and words. Anybody out there who's rich and wants to adopt a middle-aged woman with too many hobbies? Please comment and I'll get back to you!

Hump Day (which I have always thought sounds a tad dirty)

It just means it's the middle of the week but "hump" has another connotation that's less about getting through something than about, um, getting something on. Oh, well, you know what I mean. Here's my nightly prompt writing--and it almost didn't make it because I wasn't going to write last night because it was almost midnight when I went to bed, but then I thought that I wouldn't have a leg to stand on when I am lecturing the 3 of us tomorrow night about quitting whining and just pasting a smile on our faces and writing, so I had to write, and look what appeared!

August 26--Write about what has yet to happen--Jarrett hated this part of his day; the part just before he started work. Some people jumped around, flapping their hands and grinning. Others stood still as statues, cold and focused, while still others shook and turned a sickly shade of green. Jarrett fell in with the last group. He knew he had to clean his work clothes twice as often as anyone else in the company because he perspired, oh let's face it, he sweated like an out of shape racehorse. He came by his sweating honestly though, his mom was a good sweater. She always said she had the cleanest pores on the circuit because she flushed them out every day. He did have to admit that his mother had beautiful skin. He stood shaking and sweating, listening to the manager count down, then the lights went out, and his music swelled. The announcer's voice came out of the darkness to echo throughout the theater. "Ladies and Gentlemen, prepare to be amazed by the prestidigitation of the Amazing Jarrett!" The spotlight blazed, the manager poked him, he grabbed his top hat, and went on stage hoping that the doves in the pocket under his arm hadn't drowned.

Not bad, huh? See you tomorrow night.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What a Diemma...

Being on the inside: The thing is that management made it all move sound so reasonable, glamorous even. I'd worked this job for a couple years, doing whatever management wanted me to do. It was grunt work, mostly, but I didn't mind. It was almost interesting in bland, tedious sort of way. And then they bumped me up to a salaried position. What a mistake that was, let me tell you. Being on the inside is the worst. When I was hourly, I could check the job at the door. But now I'm taking it home. And it's ticking off my family. Everybody hates the new me. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be back in the old job. But being on the outside is no better really. I'd just get bored and start wondering what was happening on the inside. Inside and outside are looking just about the same to me, you know. Sides of the same coin, so to speak.

Bob ;-)

I'm Praying for Rain

It's so dry, my lawn is brown and crispy except in the spots were there's overspray from garden and flower watering. I'm afraid to walk out there barefoot for fear of getting a grass blade splinter!

August 25--Write about the morning after--The sun barreled over the horizon and blasted its rays over the aftermath of the best party Oak Street had seen in a long time. It had been probably twenty years since the residents of the six hundred block of Oak had had a block party. A few houses has changed hands and the median age had dropped to include more young families and young professionals. It was actually a pair of fourteen-year-old girls who jumped on the Take Back the Night bandwagon last spring who started the ball rolling. They went door to door encouraging people to come out and get acquainted in the interests of neighborhood security. They popped a kiddie pool full of popcorn and made a lake of lemonade, and people came out and had a blast. One of the neighbors set up his Ipod speakers to play music and another one found a few others interested in storytelling. A book club started that night as did a knitting group, coed, with attendees ages six through eighty. So many talented people lived on the block that they set up a round robin craft class to share supplies and expertise. The block party was an end of the summer bash that entailed a month's planning and a permit to close the street.

I am determined to banish our slump. Come to writer's on Thursday with a smile on your face and a renewed attitude, ready to write, and be happy about it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cool Monday

You know, Bob, you're right, we have had this flash of Jenny's before. It's a tricky one.

August 24--Write about being on the inside--Wait a minute. If I scootch over I can see out of his left ear and, there, missed bumping into the door jamb. I hate it when he gets up in the middle of the night. All the gimbals shift and swing so suddenly, then he lurches around so I have to reprogram the toes to retract so he doesn't catch one of his pinkie toes on the corner of the hall wall. That little bit of light from the nightlight in the bathroom is pretty bright all of a sudden so I dial back his retina receptors and barely raise one of his eyelids just enough to he can see to lift to toilet seat and lid, and aim. Then there's the problem with getting his antiquated plumbing system to kick in.

Eh, that's all folks. See you Thursday.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Look! The Squirrels Planted Corn!

We've been feeding the squirrels field corn for about a year, trying to keep them out of the birdfeeders. This spring we noticed that they'd been doing a bit of gardening. The corn that sprouts in the lawn gets mowed but we kept the corn they planted in the garden. Look! We've got two ears on one stalk, tasselled out and everything! (Click to embiggen)

I'm standing right behind the
cornstalk with the ears on it. I also thought you might enjoy seeing the proud Durwood, or as I like to call him this time of year, Tomato Boy. His diet consists almost entirely of homegrown tomatoes, salt, and Sunny Hill Farms sweet corn these days. And butter for the corn, of course.

Not Diving--Rats!

I planned to go diving today with our friends Kevin & Deb but she's got the flu so I have to stay home. Maybe I'll go to Artstreet to eat fried food and look at the art. Here's what I've been doing this week. Pictures taken with the new digital camera.

I finished the turquoise Market Bag. It's turquois-er in real life.

Durwood helped me ball up the BIG Grand Canyon and I was compelled
to knit another pointy hat. As I worked on it I thought of my DIL's mom (no idea why) who takes "sparkle" lessons at Whistler so she looks prettier on the slopes. I've always loved that idea. If I skied I'd take sparkle lessons too, so this one's named for you, Holly. (I went to Goodwill to find the sparkly pin.) I give you...The Sparkle Hat!

I've been working on another stealth project. Here's a little piece of it.

And finally, I've been wracking my
brain for something quick and easy I can knit to put in the traveling Mickey box for my writer friend who will be the proud grandmother of twin boys in mid-winter. Since there are only 2 weeks until we meet at The Clearing it needs to be really quick. Last night I had a brainstorm--mitered bibs. And I have the big ball of skein ends from my failed attempt to corner the crocheted dishcloth market last fall. Here's the first one (needing it's second tie). One I-cord coming up--right after lunch. I can probably have 4 finished in two weeks!

I'm Going Diving!

All my scuba gear is packed and I'm leaving in about an hour. Can't forget to pack a lunch.

August 23--You picked up a hitchhiker--I knew it was probably a bad idea but I couldn't leave him standing there out in the rain. It wasn't just rain either. This was a deluge of biblical proportions, a hundred years' rain. He stood staring at my taillights for a moment when I pulled onto the shoulder, probably deciding whether I was going to let him get close and then pull away, but I shifted into Park and took my foot off the brake, then he lifted his duffel bag and jogged to the driver's window. He seemed surprised to see a middle-aged woman rolling down the window. "Ma'am? Are you sure?" I was surprised that he looked to be past forty himself. "I can't let you drown standing up in the dark. I'll unlatch the back hatch; toss your bag in there and come in out of the rain." He gave me a searching look, nodded, and walked to the back of the minivan. He lifted the hatch, put his bag in, and climbed in after it. He had reached to close the hatch when I saw what he was doing. "Come sit up here where the heat's on," I said. "Not right now, ma'am," he said, "maybe when I'm dried off." So we drove through the Midwestern night, me in front and Stoney in back, snug in our dry little bubble, talking and singing along with the oldies on the radio.

Well, crap. I just got a call that my dive buddy has some sort of flu so the diving's off. No scuba for me today. Good thing I hadn't put all the tanks etc. in the van yet.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Oh, That's Right

Jenny's critique is Thursday. I'm having a little trouble with it. A little more than a little trouble. Jenny, have you submitted this story before or am I imagining things? It seems familiar somehow. Maybe I'm confusing it with an older story of yours.

Barbara, thanks for reminding me that I'll be submitting on Thursday. I have no idea what it might be, though. It won't be part 2 of Visitors, that's for sure. That thing is such a mess, I don't even want to think about it now. It might be the story with Kyle and Crystal (that's her new name). That one might be ready to go. We'll see.

Bob ;-)

Muggy Again

A karaoke band sounds just awful, Bob. The bar across from the dive shop used to have karaoke on Wed. mornings for the shift workers; it was great to listen to and was especially fun to see the faces of our customers who weren't expecting to hear drunken karaoke at 10 AM. Fun times.

August 22--Write about an overheard remark--"Just say it. They'll believe it coming from you." A young man's voice, low and intense, slid under the hum and clatter of the Saturday afternoon in the cafe and bookstore teetering on the edge of the wrong side of town. Rebecca and Sam had been there since just after noon. Sam had browsed the shelves of used books, then settled down to read and drink endless mugs of coffee. Rebecca had spread her nearly totally rewritten manuscript out across the table determined to work through the last few comments from the freelance editor that weekend. The young man's words caught her ear and she immediately began imagining a scene with him at the center. He leans across the small round table, his intense blue eyes riveted to the soft brown eyes of the girl in the other chair. They're both barely past high school age and are dressed in clean but shabby clothes. The scene in Rebecca's head starts to take shape, acquire depth, so she reached into her bag and drew out a notebook. Sam saw her, his chin lifted, and he shook his head at her. "Uh, uh, uh," he said with a smile, "no more tangents until you're done, remember? You asked me to keep you on task." Lifting the notebook as if it were moving on its own, she said, "But I'll just make a quick note." "Oh, no you won't. You'll slide off the deep end and get lost." He gently pried the notebook out of her hand and placed it in his lap. "I love you. Now, rewrite." He eyes dipped back into his novel. She sighed, shrugged, and got back to work thinking, it probably wouldn't have gone anywhere anyway. But she did scribble the line in the margin of her manuscript.

I propose we ignore our slumps and start writing like we're inspired. Today I'm going to write out the story of the wedding, changing no names, and being just as smart-ass-y as I want to be. I can "fix" it later, but dammit, I am a writer and I'm going to write. BTW, be thinking of something you have that is ready to submit--no excuses accepted. We will be having a challenge in Sept. I'm relying on you, Bob & Jenny, to be like Sam (see above) for me and I'll do the same for you. I'm sick of us whining around and not doing writing. We make me tired. Since it seems no one's going to do it for us, we have to kick our own butts. I love you; shut up and write!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Tired Friday

I am exhausted. There was great big party yesterday at Bishop's Court. Tons of food. A karyoke (sp?) band. Classically awful. Today, I am recovering. But Barbara, I've got to say that I really like the line: Wives sigh at their romantic imaginings, husbands feel a sort of gritty friction in their middle, too out of touch with heir feeling to recognize it as regret. Wow. It reads like poetry.

Bob ;-)

Muggy Friday

Well, I called the prospective member, Jennifer B., this morning and she's thrilled to be invited to check us out. She writes fictionalized memoir but hasn't written much for about 10 years. Very excited. She'll be out of town on the 28th so will come Sept. 4 for exercises night which she thought sounded like fun.

August 21--On the other side--On the surface it's a perfect relationship, settled and friendly, equal. That's the public side of it. Smiling faces and soft looks. Contemporaries are envious of them. Women chastise their dates on the way home after an evening spent with them. Wives sigh at their romantic imaginings, husbands feel a sort of grainy friction in their middle, too out of touch with their feelings to recognize it as regret. But for Mona and Jack things are far from perfect or even bearable anymore. The warmth, the respect, the love they once felt had withered long ago into a strident habit of mutual distaste. Long nights spent entangled, sharing days and dreams had faded into a sort of forced march of togetherness, the Bataan Death March of a relationship that no amount of expensive liquor or gymnastic sex could revive.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

No Writer's Tonight

It feels odd.

August 20--Write about stealing time--Ruth was supposed to be buying school supplies for her nine-year-old twin daughters. They had given very specific instructions as to color, brand, and, most important in their eyes, the current 'tween heartthrob, male or female, depicted on the items. Folders and notebooks were to be solid colors, no cutesy puppies or kitties on them and no passe characters or leftover has-been boy bands either. They were specific about the style and color backpacks, excuse me, roller packs she was to buy. Ruth had been insistent that she shop unaccompanied, because she had swept through the Back-to-School department of the local Walmart in Olympic gold medal time and was presently at the beauty school across the street getting a manicure, a pedicure, a facial, and a massage. No one needed to know about her mini-vacation.

See you next week!

No Wonder My Arms & Hands Are Achy

I guess I've been busier than I thought with all this. Look at the FOs I have this week!

First, there's the embellishment of the Amazon Hat. I had another idea that didn't pan out, so a big lime pompon-ish thing with a bit of eyelash thrown in seemed just right.

Then Durwood and I balled up the lime BIG yarn. I had to make it into a hat and it just begged for a tassle made with the few yards of the Amazon I had left.

I wanted to felt Mom's Grocery Purse right away so that if it looked like something the dog yakked up I had time to make something else before her birthday on the 30th. It turned out okay and it doesn't even smell bad. Now I just have to decide if I want to line it or not.

And last Friday when I moved all my yarn into the basement I decided to cast on a pair of fingerless mitts to take to The Clearing to give to Laurel so those got done this week. BTW, they're made with Red Heart Soft Yarn instead of the Wool-Ease I'd originally blogged. I did that so they'd be machine washable & dryable for ease of care. So considerate (also that Red Heart was the first skein of black worsted weight I grabbed).

(Sorry about the quality of these photos. Our digital camera committed suicide last weekend and I'm reduced to using the 2mp one at the dive shop. I hope to do some camera shopping tomorrow.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Can I Be Any Less Inspired?

I totally hate this feeling of malaise and no inspiration or energy. I hate it, do you hear? I need to fix this and I don't know how. Grrr. Nice images in your piece, Bob, especially the ripe moon's open mouth. Excellent choice of adjectives, very vivid.

August 18--At the other end of the street--Down at the end of my street there's this house. You know what I mean, right? It doesn't quite match the rest of the houses. Oh, let's be honest, it doesn't measure up to the rest of the houses up and down our street. All the rest of the houses are painted one color, one tasteful color, with an appropriate accent color. That house is painted in five different colors. Five. I counted them, like there was a paint tornado that blew through town. Up and down the street everyone's front garden is so symmetrical and tidy. You can tell that the homeowners spent a lot of time making sure things were just right. The five-color house's garden is a riot of flowers and shrubs, roses and dahlias and hollyhocks and hydrangeas, all jumbled together and flowing like a river of spilled crayons over the not-mowed-often-enough lawn. If you can call it a lawn.

August 19--Write about the silent treatment--That's right. You just sit there not talking because you're mad, because you think I did something bad to hurt your feelings. You sit there hugging your righteous anger to your chest and feeling ill-used. Poor you. The only weapon you think you have to wield is the withholding of your conversation. Ooh, big deal. You're not talking to me. Am I bleeding? Nope. Any broken bones? Not even close. My feelings aren't even hurt. So there. Why can't you be like a normal person and just fight? Cry and scream and rant? Normal people yell back, they have arguments. It's not normal to sail around the house with a hurt look on your face and your lips clenched so tight that they're white. It's not hurting me. I can even smile and poke you to show how unaffected I am by your silence. Oh, see? You jumped away and frowned at me. I'll try it again. Maybe that'll make you talk. Nope, your silence isn't bothering me one bit.

Gotta get ready for work. See you a week from tomorrow with Jenny's critique.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Brilliant, as Usual

Jenny, you've touched on something so very deep and juicy with the morons. It's so completely and fearlessly un-PC. I love it, and I'm counting the days until I hold it in my hands and read it as a full-fledged story. And yes, Barbara, I can tell that you are thoroughly taken with your new wet suit.

Aftershocks of the full moon: You've gone down to the river - you and someone else, actually - to watch the sky glow orange as the mouth of an iron smelter. The two of you have sat on a park bench at the river's edge, a fat carp breaking the surface every so often, as the sky has cooled to a dull maroon, a flat gray. While neither of you were looking, a silent skyrocket has sliced the sky and shattered into a shower of emerald this time, a scattering of gleaming white the next. When it's dark enough, the two of you have turned back from the greasy river. And there just above the black trees is a moon, ripe and round, veiled in vapor, it's distant mouth frozen as if to say, "Oh..."

Bob ;-)

Revisiting an Old Addiction

No, no, not that! Fingerless mitts, that's what I'm talking about.

I moved all my yarn stuff downstairs on Friday when I realized that there was so much in the corner of the bedroom I couldn't open my dresser drawers. Oops. So while Durwood was off doing errands I hauled it down to the basement--and arranged it so it doesn't look like the mountain of yarn it really is. Clever me! But the downside of being all neat and organized is that I got a look at things that had, shall we say, fallen through the cracks. Desires were rekindled and queues reordered. Hmm, can you say startisis?
I cast on a pair of Forbidden Love mitts (scroll down) for my friend Laurel (I halved the number of rows between decrease rows [first 4 post-decrease sections] until I got to 33 stitches, then continued as written to make them easier to wear with long sleeves) and dug out some JoAnn's Marvel to crochet into a felted bag for Mom to carry in the grocery when she only wants to take her wallet--so she doesn't leave it in the boodle basket like she did last week and have to cancel all her credit cards and have a hissy fit with which I totally sympathize. I thought about using some other JoAnn's yarn (Fanatic, maybe? It's discontinued I'm sure because it's nowhere on the JoAnn's site) but the slubs, nobules, whatever kept getting caught and wouldn't go through the loop on the hook. I used an N hook and I was crocheting so tight it looked prefelted, so I ripped it out, twice, and finally crocheted it with a Q hook to get what I was looking for. For the mitts I used black Wool-Ease worsted and Lion Brand Fun Fur in Indigo which is a bit more periwinkle-like with sections of blue-violet and green-violet held together with the black for the 4 rib rows at the start. I think it looks very elegant with the black.

Hot & Sticky

I might even be glad to be going to work. It is, after all, payday, but I did say might. I'll know for sure later.

August 17--Nothing has changed--That's a lie, Debra thought, a lot has changed. I feel very different tonight than I felt this morning. She smiled, a very self-satisfied smile, as if she had pulled off a trick or gotten her way by subterfuge, when in actuality she'd only given in to something she'd been battling against for years. See, eighteen years ago she let her husband talk her into learning to scuba dive. It was hard for her and took all her courage. She had always shied away from physical things and she wasn't a very good swimmer. Debra's husband promised to help her and so she dredged up what felt like the last shred of bravery in her arsenal and she learned to dive. They dived in the Great Lakes, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Pacific Ocean. It was great, exciting and adventurous. Debra felt proud for learning to dive and for facing down so many fears. Many of her dive buddies said she'd be more comfortable in a drysuit. She loved her wetsuit; it was so comfy and it felt like it disappeared when she dived in it. Not so for the drysuit. It was expensive, costing as much as four wetsuits, and it choked her and squeezed her and never really kept her warm, only dry. But she'd paid so much for it and everyone else loved theirs, she thought she must be doing something wrong. Over five years, she gradually stopped diving in the cold fresh water near her home, she missed it and camaraderie of other divers. Finally this year she bought a new wetsuit and today she dived in it. It was fabulous, comfy and warm. Everything had changed and nothing had changed--all in one forty-two minute dive. Debra fell asleep easily that night with a smile on her face.

Can you tell I love my new wetsuit?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

And to think you were questioning yourself before poetry camp

I like it, Barbara. And I don't know what the other option is, but left justified works well, too. To me it reminds me visually of the moon peeking in and out of passing clouds.

I'm just home quickly for "lunch" to change my pants -- a server went down at work, and I spent an hour on the phone with the technician rolling around in killer-sized dustballs. I'll have to come back later to post some writing of my own.

Love the Morons!

I think everyone lives & works with them. I can just see their chubby little faces, so eager, so helpful. Nice, Jenny.

Last night's prompt made a poem. Look!

August 15--Aftershocks of the full moon--

The moon trails her fingers
over the midnight blue
of the bay
lighting a path

for lovers' dreams
of eternal bliss
are washed in
the light

of the cold moon
hanging from the
frayed string of hope
braided by generations

of Romeos and Juliets
gliding down
moonlit paths.

Well, hell. I had it all nicely formatted just like I wanted it and Blogger left-justified it. Drat. Oh well, enjoy your weekend!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Me and the Morons

The morons made lunch today. Macaroni and cheese. They forgot to boil the macaroni noodles, but I took two crunchy mouthfuls just to make them feel good. If you don't make a fuss, they'll stop trying. They are cute, the morons, what with the one with peach fuzz hair and the other with those chubby cheeks. I just can't resist those chubby cheeks. I find tubs of ice cream melted in the pantry, tubes of Colgate in the sock drawer, but still those moron cheeks get me every time.

No, I had a great day at work, why do you ask? I do kind of like the premise for a me and the morons story -- I'll have to let that one roll around for a while. For now I need a nap!


I Made an Executive Decision...

...when I couldn't find my notebook on my bedside table. I decided that what I wrote at writer's last night counted, so that's what I'm putting on here today.

August 14--Nick and Jiffy were sunk into the faux vinyl upholstery of the teal blue '78 Camaro as it rolled down Route 47 just outside of Hilbert. Jiffy swigged from a quart bottle of Blatz and rolled out a burp that rattled the windows. "Dammit, Jiff, don't be burping beer over Ma's prize upholstery." Jiffy lolled his head to rest on his shoulder and squinted at Nick, playing drunker than he was. "Sh-ure thing, Nick my man, I'll be real careful." He reached out and slap-patted the dashboard. Nick pretended to be angry and slammed the accelerator to the floor. The car leaped forward like a boar being chased by a pack of dogs. The Camaro swayed on it's axle feeling like mush as Nick steered into a turn sharper than he expected. The tires drifted to the edge of the asphalt and just as Nick thought he had things under control the rear wheel dropped into the gravel tearing the wheel right off. The hub dropped into the gravel wrenching the steering wheel out of Nick's hands. Nick flung his hands forward, grabbed the wheel and furiously began to steer when the front tire clipped the edge of the guardrail and the car twisted and started to roll. Through it all Jiffy had sat clutching his bottle of Blatz careful not to spill a drop on Nick's mama's upholstery. When they hit the guardrail he flung the beer over his head and tried to grab his seatbelt. "Shit, Nicky," he shouted, "we're fucked." Before the words were out of his mouth the car was upside down and he was rolling like a marble in a lunchbox. Nick sat rigid in the driver's seat, hands clenching the wheel, staring at the tree trunks that cartwheeled past as the headlights and taillights tried to trade places. A thin keening whimper came from somewhere in the bottom of Nick's throat as Jiffy ricocheted into the backseat in a shower of bluish tempered glass as a sapling sprung through the back window. The last thing Jiffy remembered thinking was, if nobody dies it'll be a miracle. Then everything went black.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Crazy Hat and Pretty Color

You know, I don't think I'm part of the mainstream of knitting. Sometimes I think I haven't even dipped my toe in the mainstream. I bought more of that BIG yarn on eBay last week and I can't stop making hats of it. I lurve it! Next, a lime hat.

I've begun stealth knitting for you know that, um, well, t
hat holiday in about 4 months. (I don't really want to say the Christmas word yet when the Halloween decorations are barely starting to crowd out the Back-to-School displays in Wal-mart. It's just too early.) So I'm only putting the color of the item on here. I will tell you that it's Lamb's Pride but that's it. No more hints, but isn't it bee-you-tea-full?

Writer's Tonight!

What I would like is silence and privacy to write in, an entire houseful. I never realized how much I craved it until it was gone. Don needs another job. Soon.

August 13--And when autumn finally arrived--Summer bullied its way into the year in the middle of April. Everyone was taken by surprise but no one was more disappointed than Rachel. Rachel liked to take things slowly. She was perfectly happy to spend an entire afternoon watching a spider spin its web in a corner of the screened-in porch. In fact, she kept a lookout for the first one to emerge after the long frigid days of winter. She relished the slow greening of the silver maples that lined her street, how the pale pale green shoots crept a millimeter at a time making the naked branches look fuzzy until one day leaves finally emerged. It was so hot so fast that the crocuses, then the tulips, and the daffodils popped out of the ground almost audibly, flung their blossoms open, and faded within a week. The flowerbed across the front of Rachel's house was littered with petals making it look like the aftermath of a battle.

...and that's as far as I got before the clock chimed midnight and I turned back into a pumpkin. See you tonight.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

They Call This Drizzle Rain?

We need rain. Yard-Bob can attest that my lawn is getting crispy in places but I refuse to pay to water the lawn. I'll pay for garden water so Tomato Boy has his tomatoes but not for green grass.

August 12--Something's burning--Smoke tendrils drifted just above ground level, slithering through the blades of unmown grass, borne on the late afternoon breeze already dying as sunset approached. Blue and yellow flames lick the bottom of the old siding of the house that stood foursquare and pugnacious on its double lot. The front door stood open in a silent scream and the jutting roof pieces over the dormers cocked in surprise and disapproval at what was happening. The setting sun sunk low enough to send yellow and orange rays to shimmer on the old glass windows before they burst from the heat as furnishings inside joined together, each adding fuel to the fire. On the end of the gravel drive nearest the street a man stood sweating in a black funeral suit, his white shirt still crisp, his tie still carefully knotted. His hands were at his sides, an engraved Zippo lighter held loosely in the right one, and tears flowed unchecked down his cheeks. He watched the house burn, heard the almost human sounds as, one by one, the pieces of his past were consumed. He felt rather than saw his neighbors gather beside him to watch along with him. Every one of them knew why the house burned and no one called the fire department until the walls collapsed in upon themselves and the floors fell into the cellar. Mr. Hopkins touched the man's arm and said, "Come on, Jack, let's have a drink. I'm buying." Jack turned away and never looked back.

I like this. Don't know where it's going or if it's going but I like it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Took the Weekend Off

Two weeks into a backache and with a growing toothache I just couldn't face writing last weekend. But I got a root canal last night and the tooth pain meds helped the backache so I wrote. Here it is:

August 11--I've never seen his face--His is the voice that sees me through the day and lulls me to sleep at night. It's such a peaceful voice, a warm voice. I know I can trust him. Everyone who hears him knows without a doubt that every word he says is true. I fantasize about his looks. I wonder if he has blue eyes or brown eyes. Maybe they're soft green or hazel like the first leaves on an olive tree in spring, you know, that soft gray green that looks a little blue from some angles. Yes, that must be right. And his lips are smiling all the time, not a grin, but a soft curve that sends light to his eyes as if you are exactly the person he was hoping to see. I wonder how old he is. I think he's just at the perfect age between adult and middle age when a person has a bit of maturity but retains a zest for life to balance it. I keep trying to find out how to meet him because he fascinates me. His words worm under my skin and make me jumpy. I Googled him but got not a single hit. He has to be real, he just has to be. He can't just be some computer voice broadcasting over my metal fillings.

So, the weirdness continues.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Instead of Felting...

I decided that since I have never had anything but bad luck with felting projects, I'd turn the Enormous Brown Hat into...

The Bat Hat (ta-da!) with the addition of a crochete
d bat. It'll be Durwood's Christmas hat. Shhh, don't tell, it's a secret.

Garden Pictures with Knitting on the Side

I have to share my lilies with you. Smell-O-Vision would help because I can't describe how wonderful they smell. Like gardenias only better.

Then there's the watermelons. They started out like this:

Now one looks like this:

Pretty cool, huh? We hope it tastes good.

In knitting news I finished the Lake (lt. blue) Sudoku square and cast on the Snow (white) one. I bought some brown Bartlett Fisherman's Bulky to make another Meathead hat. It's enormous! Even big on the big-headed Durwood, and that's big. Psyche suggested felting it a bit. Maybe that'll be my afternoon project.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

12 Comments Left!

I spent the afternoon with Horizon and I have only the folder with the 12 comments that require more thought and more writing to integrate them, if I decide to follow her advice. That means that my goal of having Horizon rewritten by September so I can start looking for an agent is within reach. I'm facing the very odd possibility that I will achieve both of my New Year's resolutions this year.

August 8--Write about something that was stolen--Funny how you seldom think of it as something that can be stolen. It seems like something you either have or you don't. Mona always felt that she had it, that she'd always have it and never lose it. But then Jack died, was murdered actually, and her whole world was turned upside down. In the dark hours before dawn after the policeman Rooibos came to tell her that Jack was dead, she stood on the patio staring at the ocean realizing that it was gone. That she had slowly handed it over, let Jack steal it away bit by bit until she stood there completely without it. By the time the sun was up and the day's heat began to rise Mona was determined not to leave the island until she'd regained at least a good measure of her self-respect.

Not bad. See you Tuesday, Bob.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Jenny & Bob, thanks for all your hard work and comments on my manuscript. I appreciate it. Sorry I had to leave early; my back was killing me. I wasn't very inspired last night, but here goes.

August 7--Someone is calling your name--In the grocery a kid calls "Mom" and a dozen women turn to look. No matter how old she gets, if she has a child she always a mom, always on duty. That role never changes no matter how old your kids are, how old you are, and even if they are still alive. Watch a group of women standing, one of them holding a fussy baby. Soon they will all be swaying, rocking to soothe a baby they're not even holding. How do you stop being a mom? How do you shed that skin that sends out psychic feelers making sure your babies are safe even if they're over thirty and live half a world away with children of their own?

See? Not very inspiring. I'll try to do better tonight.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Remember I bought that Lion Brand BIG (sadly discontinued) yarn last week? Well, I found a hat pattern I thought would be perfect to use it for, so last night I dug out my US 17 needles, the long ones, and made a Meathead Hat from this book. I had to reduce the number of stitches and the rows to accommodate the super-duper bulkiness of the yarn and I'm still figuring out what to use to sew up the back seam (I don't thing there's a needle with an eye big enough), but I like it. The thing that drew me, aside from the big yarn/big needles aspect, is that the author suggests using something special, like a fancy button or a peacock feather, to accent the hat. I like that idea a lot.

I'm also about halfway through the next Hula bag and the Lake Sudoku square. Yay me!

Clawing Back

Thanks, Bob. Your comments make it a bit easier to pick up my pencil when I'd rather just fall into bed.

August 6--"I was listening to something I heard before"--The sound of the wind sighing through the pines and the creak of their trunks kept Jan awake. She lay in the narrow bed of the rustic cabin, eyes wide in the pitch black as if bearing witness to the storm would keep her safe. As the wind rose to a keening pitch her knees drew toward her chest and her shoulders hunched toward her ears until she was curled up like a frightened turtle in her cotton and wool shell. The waves boomed at the base of the bluff barely fifty feet from the cabin door sounding like giant's footsteps climbing up. The wind died and the silence was more frightening than the gale. It was as if the planet was holding its breath, gathering itself for another assault. Jan's muscles relaxed enough to send her feet sliding back into the barely warm spot at the foot of the bed where they'd been when the storm began and she drifted to sleep as the first raindrops patted the leaves and splashed onto the flagstone porch.

See you tonight.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Just Beautiful...

Barbara, I love the heat lightning in the west and the fireflies in the honeysuckle. You've got something so rich and simple going on here. For me, it goes wonderfully deep. You hint at a recognition of something so basic that it evades easy explanation. The tone of it reminds of the island murder-mystery you were writing. It has that same feel. Please keep writing these. Please.

Bob ;-)

Losing What Little Steam I Had

I need a motivation transfusion.

August 5--Write about a summer night--It was hot. Hot and steamy. Susanna kicked off the sheets that kept tangling themselves around her legs. She sat up in the darkness hating the way her t-shirt clung to her. She reached up and gathered her damp air off her neck and sighed at the cool feeling. She padded into the bathroom appreciating the cool tiles that felt like igloo blocks in the dead of winter. After finding a pony tail elastic in the drawer, she let the water run in the sink and held her wrists under the cold flow to let the water chill her blood as it moved through the veins so close to the surface of her skin. She couldn't face the thought of crawling back into her clammy bed so she sat for a while on the back porch watching the heat lightning in the west and the fireflies in the honeysuckle.

See you Thursday.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Another Manic Monday

Barbara, I can't tell you how much I like your writing for August 2nd, the first half especially. The description of the bedroom is perfectly amazing as well, and wonderfully, almost surreally detailed. Please, please, please write more of these.
Bob ;-)

The Weekend's Product

I want to say right up front that I'm heartily sorry that I weeded, mulched, and planted last Tuesday. I am no better so went to the chiropractor on my way to work, will again on Wednesday, and probably will on Friday. This sucks big hairy monkey balls.

August 2--Write about a time you were misunderstood--No one understands me here. If I order bread they bring me cheese. If I call a taxi they send a moving van. I understand them perfectly. I can read signs and menus, ride the buses and subway just fine. Shopping goes fine if I smile and point. It's when I try to communicate verbally that problems occur. When the frustration gets too great I write out a list and hand it to the clerk letting them think I can not speak. I can see the pitying "poor thing" in their eyes. I don't mind; I get what I want with minimal hassle.

August 3--Write about a bedroom--Gloria stood in the doorway of the room she called her guest bedroom. There was a bed in there--somewhere. She was sure of it. She had a vague memory of a nicely made up double bed, a nightstand with a cut crystal carafe and glass standing in front of an antique alabaster lamp with a pink silk shade with dangling bead fringe. But those furnishings were only visible in her memory, or maybe even her imagination. What was visible from her place just over the threshold were bags and bags of stuff. The truest definition of stuff too. Bags of paperback novels, boxes of outgrown and out of style clothing mixed with boxes of Christmas ornaments, some nearly one hundred years old, some never out of the box. There were plastic totes and ziptop bags of yarn, thin sock yarn, regular worsted weight for everyday knitting, and yarn so thick she couldn't imagine what she'd make with it. Sorting through all of it would be a huge job, even the thought of it was making her slightly nauseous but it had to be done.

There you have it. Such as it is. I like the world you created, Bob, in your piece about a tool. Nice.

One Bag Down

I just want to say that I really did a number on my lower back last week and spent the weekend either in pain or in a Tylenol w/codeine fog. I don't recommend either. But I went to the chiro this morning, will go again on Wednesday, and probably will again on Friday, so things should look up soon. I'm not a good patient.

We had dinner guests Saturday so my weekend knitting time was consumed with cleaning and cooking. All went well, the turkey on the spit was delicious (yes it was, Durwood) and the tomato/fresh mozz/basil salads were lively and the first sweet corn of the season was to die for. Holly brought her frozen key lime pie for dessert. All I can say is, YUMMMMM. I almost forgot, we made planter's punch cocktails with watermelon, banana, maraschino cherries, OJ, ice and dark rum in the blender. Very popular and refreshing.

I did knit/crochet a bit. I finished the first Hula Market Bag and got more than halfway through another Sudoku square. I gave my SIL the first market bag I made (last year) on Saturday when I saw her at the Farmer's Market and she emailed me later Sat. morning to say someone asked her where she could buy one! That's a nice compliment.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Sleepy Saturday

Stayed up late last night, so I'm feeling a bit logy today. The good news is that the only thing on my schedule is sweeping and mopping out the Attic building. Whoo-hoo!

Write about a tool: After supper my dad usually worked on cars. He had been a mechanic at Rosenberg's gas station, but quit there and started up a business of his own. There were always two or three cars in the back yard, parked under the willow. Of course, the folks at Rosenberg's didn't like the fact that he was undercutting their business. My dad, on the other hand, didn't like the idea of making somebody else rich. Besides, he was flexible in the way people made their payments. A lot of the time, he took eggs and boxes of fresh vegetables and even home-made sausage in place of cash. He said it just made things a lot simpler. Mrs. Fitzgerald, who cooked for us at the time, liked that everything was fresh, or maybe a day old at the most. Suppers were generous affairs, and Mrs. Fitzgerald always took something home once things were cleaned up, which was, I think, a big part of the reason she cooked so well for us. When she was ready to leave, my dad always thanked her for the meal. I don't think I ever saw her leave without being thanked. She would lower her eyelids and say that it was pleasure.

Then after supper, he went out to the garage, to the cars. When I had finished my homework, I'd go out too and hand him tools and listen to him explain what he was doing. He would ask for an Allen wrench, for instance, or a ring clamp, and then he'd talk me through the procedure.

"You see what I'm doing here?" he would ask, leaning over a car engine, a light bulb hanging on the raised up hood, and turning a screw on the carburetor or the intake manifold or some such component.

Sometimes I got it right, but most of the time I didn't have a clue. I'd make my best guess, usually couched in terms of two plausible possibilities, and hope for the best. Then he'd smile and say that I was close, and explain what he was working on. I'd listen and wait for him to ask me to hand him one of his tools, black with grime in where it had been stamped deep, and gleaming dully in the light of the bulb overhead.

Bob ;-)


That's how I feel. I hurt the most in the morning and as the day wears on I get better only to backslide overnight. I should have gone to the chiropractor yesterday but didn't think of it until this morning so I'll try to get in before I open the store on Monday. Middle age sucks. I'm glad you liked my silly Bananagram story. It's good for a giggle. I'll show it to Jenny on Thursday--and I reminded her that she submits then too. I was too sore and sleepy to write Thursday night but I managed last night.

August 1--Write about a tool--"I can't find it," Ruth said. All Jeremy could see was her bottom upended in front of the sofa, her elbows pumping like pistons as she tore the afghan and pillows off and flung them aside. Her hands were blurs as they plunged down alongside the arms and deep down the back. After going over the entire sofa three times she fell back onto her heels and turned to face him. She swept her tangled dark brown curls out of her face, her slender and graceful hands clenched into claws. "I've got twelve more rows to go, twelve, and I'll have finished your mom's Christmas sweater." She picked up a heap of knitting in a beautiful pale aqua wool and shook it at him. "Twelve rows, Jeremy, only twelve. It's Sunday night and nothing is open. I need my needle." In the interest of saving his marriage he helped look, although all her knitting needles looked alike to him. He was too smart to say so. He did venture to ask if she might not have another pair in the same size. She looked at him as if he'd asked where she kept her spare husband. "Of course I have more size tens. These are my favorite." Just as he could feel her building up to another outburst their son, Liam, came into the room carrying one drumstick and one bamboo knitting needle. "Hey, Mom," he said, "hope you don't mind but I borrowed one of your knitting sticks." He stopped in the doorway and surveyed the mess. "Did you lose something?" The jury is still out whether Liam will live until his twelfth birthday.

This just came zooming out onto the page. It was fun. Now I need to rest. I'm having a dinner party, you know.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Late Friday Afternoon

Barbara, are you feeling better today? Thanks for the Bananagrams. I like your story a lot. It had this slightly loopy innocence that is very appealing. Reminds me of your hippo story, only with an admixture of Wind in the Willows. My suggestion is that you show it to Jenny. Thanks again.

Bob ;-)

Yarn Slut

Retail America had a 90% off coupon in today's paper. We went. Now my "mad money" pocket is nearly empty.

Last year when I learned (relearned) to knit I knew one of the things I wanted to knit was a hoodie for me. I found a free Lion Brand pattern for a Thick & Quick sweater with a collar and one for a hoodie with no sleeves. (Why would you knit a thick and warm sweater with a
hood but no sleeves? Can someone tell me that?) I needed 13-15 skeins of yarn to knit my size and just couldn't justify the cost. But Retail America had a whole big shelf full of Lion Brand Thick & Quick in red and black variegated. I bought 15 skeins of that and 6 skeins of brown/rust/cranberry to make a sweater for Durwood (He deserves it; he's a very patient man.).

We roamed up and down the aisles just in case we had missed a treasure. Well, if we did we rectified the oversight. There was a pile of Great Grape BIG yarn and one skein each of Amazon and Grand Canyon BIG print. I figure that it'll make awesome wacky hats for next winter.

I have no self-control when it comes to yarn, even all-acrylic yarn. I'm so ashamed.


Durwood found an ad on the back page of the paper for Retail America and they had yarn for 70% off. 70%!! (Didn't I tell you he's a treasure?) We went and most of what they have is Lion Brand and a lot of "eyelash" but I did find this shelf full of Red Heart Hula which is a sport weight 100% acrylic yarn that's smooth and shiny and a lot like nylon twine. They had 7 different colors (you know I love colors) so I bought some thinking it'd make great crocheted market bags. Well, I must admit that at first I thought it'd make great knitted market bags but the yarn was a real pain to knit, so I dug out the Sugar'n Cream crochet pattern I'd used before and got to work. The first one's looking good. Not going to save the whole planet crocheting market bags but I can tidy up my little corner a bit.