Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Don't Worry About It

Yes, that Writer's Toolbox exercise was a big mouthful, but we all managed to eke out something semi-intelligible. No harm done. It was fun; I enjoyed it. I'm sure Jenny did because of all her excited ideas about how to use the game parts afterwards, and Bob probably did too. I can ask him when he comes over later in his Yard-Bob persona.

Clever! To have the girl wearing the test material is genius! Just inspired. I wish I'd thought of it.

September 29--The night won't save anyone--Amy slid into it, like slipping into a cool embrace. She glanced over her shoulder just once to see the pale gold of the porch light dwindling behind her. She moved silently down the alley keeping to the overgrown hump between the graveled tracks so that she passed unnoticed except by the Tintern's dog, Rex, who snuffled and woofed a question as she passed. Drawing the night around her like a cloak Amy skirted the puddle of orange purple light from the new streetlamp and kept to the shadow of the maple trees that arched over the street. Mid-September was the perfect time for walking after dark. School had started so children were indoors and not many leaves had fallen so she was able to walk with barely a sound. She had always felt as if she could wear the night, felt the weight of it press on her shoulders, and carry her along in its embrace.

See you Thursday!

Playing with the Writer's Toolbox

Ok...Ok...I admit, I bit off more than we could chew for our first stab at the Writer's Toolbox, but it was pretty interesting seeing what we could come up with, wasn't it?

I'm taking another stab, but this time drawing only a FS (First Sentence) stick and a LS (Last Straw) stick.

The only way John could pass the exam was by cheating. Unfortunately he was a lousy cheater. Fortunately he had a clever girlfriend. John was dating Hillary, one of those aspiring fashion designers. Everyday Hillary would come to school sporting some new, funky outfit she had designed herself. Monday, the outfit would come from the local thrift store, Tuesday, it was the choice of material she used in creating the dress she was wearing. Seeing Hillary's outfit du jour was one of the reasons I enjoyed teaching at this boring, highly conservative school.

I found out about the cheating offense the day Sheila brought Hillary to my office. Sheila, aka Mrs. Swanson to her students, was John and Hillary's English Lit teacher. Hillary was wearing a simple dress made of laminated paper. It was another one of her creations in which she created her own "fabric". The dress was covered with photographs and scripting giving it an elegant, yet busy feel. I didn't understand why Hillary was brought to my office until Sheila explained that John sits behind Hillary in class. Shrugging my shoulders in confusion, Sheila asked Hillary to turn around to show me the back of the dress.

It was there that the evidence was clear. The entire dress back was covered in a scripted pattern. The script used were photocopied pages of the material the class was being tested on. I had no choice but to expell both of them, and update the dress code policy to state that only solid colored fabrics could be worn on exam days.

Bleh.....ok...I wrote something...this is harder than I thought... so back to working on my piece to give to the group in the next few weeks.

Great writings Barb...you inspire me!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Did We Offend The Sun?

Okay, I'm not very patient with certain things and sunshine is one of them. If it's not going to rain, and rain right now, the clouds can just go on about their business elsewhere. When they're ready to rain on me, then they can come back.

Sept. 28--Write about a time you did something out of superstition--Knock wood. Not that I really believe in any of those silly superstitions like "step on a crack, break your mother's back" or any of that salt or mirror foolishness. I'm a woman of the new millennium. I never hesitate to walk under ladders--once I make certain nothing is going to fall on me. I would never cross the street to avoid a black cat that looked like it might cross my path. Things like that are in the realm of the ignorant. Everyone knows that there's nothing lucky about rabbits' feet or wishing on the first star at night. Four-leaf clovers are merely genetic mutations, hardly worth spending a summer's afternoon searching for. Don't be silly, I'm not in the least bit superstitious. Either it's chilly in here or someone just walked over my grave. Got any holy water handy? Any garlic?

Pretty silly, but fun to write. Helloooo! Anybody home?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

1 WIP & 1/2 FO

Remember that Tuscon Lattice Shawl I cast on the other day? I already frogged it. The very thin and hairy yarn was hard to knit and I wasn't getting very far very fast and got impatient. It wasn't a very complex lace pattern, just k2tog then yo, so I found the Jennifer's Scarf pattern on Ravelry and decided to make it double-wide so I'd have a shawl instead of a scarf. Another motivation for changing it was the yarn is making very definite stripes and I thought it'd look silly in that lattice pattern, kind of like a rugby scarf made out of inappropriate yarn. We'll see how this turns out.

And I finished mitt #1 of the Twisted Harvest Wristwarmers. (colors not at all correct in this picture) Writing out the directions, row by row, helped me a lot. Now I just have to turn the paper over and make the left one. I'm counting this as half a Finished Object.

Ugh, Overcast Day

How dreary can it get? Pretty damn, if today's any indication. Bob, I'm glad I'm not at that dinner. Creepy friends, but thank God the turkey's not dried out. And what makes him suspect that his house is burning? Cryptic.

Sept. 27--Write about a time the lights went out--They were watching TV after a supper of ch
eap frozen lasagna she'd bought at Aldi when the power went out. Sue listened for the wind. It wasn't storming. She looked across the darkened room to where Bernie sat like a beached walrus in his beloved faux leather recliner he'd brought home from his mother's trailer. The smallest bit of light filtered through the red and yellow maple leaves still clinging to the tree out front let her see the glitter of his eyes staring back at her. She put down her knitting and walked to the window. She stood looking up and down the street at all the windows glowing with light. "What did you lose the bill money on this time?" Even she heard the lack of emotion in her voice.

Damn that Bernie. This weather's giving me a headache. I think I'll try a nap.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ah, An Idea That Made Me Smile

Rereading the previous post and getting tired all over again, I thought, it's like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers with Ginger doing everything Fred did, only backwards and in high heels. Guess knitting these mitts makes me both Fred and Ginger. I always wanted to be Ginger.


Thank you, Barbara, for a fine, shivery entry and a terrific prompt.

Night is falling. You are not at home. You have been away for three days, visiting friends in the Boston area. College friends have invited you for Thanksgiving. You have driven most of a day, stopping only for meals and to gas up your red Dodge. Now you are at your friend's house, drinking expensive beer and eating your meal. The turkey is moist and the cornbread stuffing delicious, but at the same time deeply disappointing. Your friends are not especially happy to see you. You wonder why this is. They engage you in small talk and innocuous gossip. You wonder why you drove 700 miles for this. You remember the stupid fight you and your girlfriend had two days ago. You remember the terrible meal you had at an Applebee's restaurant in Pittsburgh. You wonder what is happening at your house. Whether it is burning or not, or if burglars have chosen this evening to ransack your dwelling. The host snaps you out of this wool-gathering, asking if you would like another beer. You slosh the beer in the bottle a bit and decline the offer. The host eyes you with smirky suspicion. The host's wife insinuates that you used to be quite a beer drinker back at school. You drain the bottle and place it carefully on the linen tablecloth. Others at the tablecloth watch you do this. They have all had two or three bottles themselves. You say that you might have one later on. Orange leaves and yellow leaves, meanwhile, flutter down from the trees on either side of your sandy driveway.



I'm getting pretty good at following knitting patterns (*knock wood* don't want to irk the knitting gods, you know), but the pattern for this cabled fingerless mitt has me frustrated. There are 4 different cable rows, which isn't bad, and the full cable panel pattern is 12 rows, also not bad, but then there are 4 rows combining the rib and cable panel, followed by a line saying, "Beg with row 5 of cable panel, patt 22 more rows, ending with row 10 of cable panel." So I'm assuming that means repeat the 4 rows set above, melding them with the 12 cable panel rows from over on the side of the page. (However, counting from row 1, row 22 gets you to row 10 of the cable panel, knitting 22 more rows takes you to row 26 overall and row 2 of the cable panel. I stopped at row 22.) Since 12 is a multiple of 4 I managed to work my way through that. Then I got to the "Shape thumb gusset" part. Each and every row is marked "Next row", no number, no indication of which cable row should be a part of it. Now the first section ended with row 10 of the cable panel. Does that mean that I start with row 11? I assume so, since I want the cable panel to look right. So that's what I did, but I can't for the life of me keep it straight which cable row goes with which "next" row. So I'm sitting at the computer, transcribing the pattern row by row, writing every stitch out, knitting as I go. It's a very slow way to knit a mitt. And do you want to know what's even better? The other mitt is a mirror image since there's only one cable panel and it must go on the back of the hand, not the palm. I get to do this backwards. Yikes.

The Luxury of Solitude

I have been luxuriating in the silence of a day alone and finally forced myself to the page.

Sept. 26--Night is falling. You are not at home.--It funny how it happens, you're walking in the woods in the late fall afternoon and you don't really notice that it is gradually getting darker until suddenly it's dark, really dark. You feel like you're about to step into the void. Vertigo rocks you and you're not sure which way is which. Your hands shoot out to grasp a nearby tree and the foot that moments before was confidently headed for the path pauses in hesitation as if the earth ahead of it had disappeared. You stand still listening, your eyes strain to find a tiny glimmer of light to guide you home.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Terrible Case of Startitis

The other night after I finished the Mitered Hanging Towel and hung it in the kitchen I looked down at my feet to decide which of my WIPs to pick up next. I crocheted a row on the latest Market Bag but really felt like something new. So I cast on the next Sudoku square since I have 72 left to make before I start assembling the throw.

But it wasn't very satisfying. I had bought all that new yarn and 2 new pattern books, surely I could cast on something NEW instead of work on my boring old things. Right? Right!

For months now I've been buying skeins of thin and mohair-y yarn thinking I'd try my hand at making a spiderwebby shawl to drape elegantly over my shoulders, so I cast on this. It's the Tuscon Lattice Shawl from this book.

But there was that variegated wool I bought too. And a pattern for cabled fingerless mitts in the new accessories book. I'd better cast that on too. What the hell.

That's what I did on Tuesday. Imagine what I can get started with the whole weekend at my disposal, I have lots of needles and hooks.

Equal Day & Night

Even though fall started officially on Monday, today's the day that there are 12 hours each of day and night. After today it's all downhill for the next 3 months.

Nice vignette, Jennifer. Vivid setting and characters. It's nice to know there are helpful people in NYC.

Sept. 24--Write about a door key--She found it in the corner of the dresser she had paid fifty-three dollars for at the estate sale last weekend. Ceily loved to cruise the rural sale ads in the Saturday paper and drive out into the country to an auction. She loved to stand in the shade of a big oak tree in the dooryard of a farmhouse listening to the auctioneer's patter echoing off the wall of the barn and catching snatches of gossip from the people around her. "May always loved that dining room set. Belonged to Charlie's ma, you know." Hearing things like that made Ceily feel that she was buying more than an impersonal table or dresser. It made her feel like she actually had family around her. She didn't, of course, not since Ryan had run off with his chippie of a secretary and left her alone and broke at age forty-two. She had gotten the dresser as a place to store her sewing things in and found the key on a narrow black ribbon wedged in the corner of the bottom drawer. It was one of those old keys they call skeleton keys and she wondered what lock it opened and if there was even a lock left to fit it. Maybe someone who had been at the sale with her or maybe one of May and Charlie's children, if they had any, had whatever it was that the key opened. Tomorrow she'd ask around.

That's it for me today. I suspect I'll be spending time with Ceily and her key tomorrow. Ideas abound. See you tonight.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sept. 23 - Write About a Time Someone Surprised You

Wow! Nicely done Bob and Barbara...talk about making a difficult topic work, and work well! I could almost see my breath with the depth of detail you both provided.

New Yorkers have a reputation of displaying rudeness to anyone that gets in their way. This character flaw is portrayed almost daily in books and magazines, television and movies. Some New Yorkers go out of their way wearing this stereotype like a badge of honor.

Earlier this year I took a trip to New York which gave me my first opportunity to navigate the subway system ALONE. I have taken several trips through this fascinating system but always with family or friends. This time it would be an adventure and would also include several transfers from both New Jersey's PATH system as well as New York's subway system.

Falling back on my Girl Scout skills from years gone by, I planned my trip with train schedule in hand. I climbed aboard the commuter train in Newark and sat back as the scenery of the Garden State passed before my eyes. Before I knew it I was in Hoboken about to transfer from the commuter train system to the PATH train that would take me into Manhatten.

Getting into Manhatten was easy and within minutes I was leaving the underground subway platform to emerge onto the crowded, noisy and energy filled streets of my favorite city in the world. This is a piece of cake I told myself, my confidence building to the point where I felt I could take on the world. This was a feeling I would savor ....until it was time to head back to New Jersey.

The subway ride back seemed more confusing than it did on my way into the city. I missed a stop which brought me away from the connection from the PATH system. A sense of panic was beginning to overcome me, but I kept my cool and tried very hard not to look like a tourist.

As the subway car continued to move farther and farther away from my intended stop, I casually asked a man standing next to me what stop I should take to get myself back in position for the PATH platform. He looked up from his newspaper with no expression on his face. Dressed in blue jeans, an open flannel shirt over a dirty t-shirt with stained construction boots, it was apparent this was one of New York's working class. In a thick New York accent, he told me to take the next stop, go to the upper platform and cross over to the next lower level platform. I thanked him for his help as he returned to reading his newspaper not giving me a second thought. Mentally reciting the directions he gave me, I exited from the car at the next stop.

Above the noise from passengers, P.A. systems, and alarms, I heard a loud voice yell, "Miss, you are going the wrong way!". I turned to look and my Good Samaritan was gesturing to me to go in the opposite direction. I quickly righted myself and quickly found my way to the PATH platform.

As I found an open seat on the train that would take me back to Hoboken, I smiled to myself as I thought about this man who could easily fit the description of a typical blue collared New Yorker and how he broke the stereotype known around the world. He could have continued reading his newspaper, but instead he looked up to make sure that this non-New Yorker was no longer lost.


Something has gone haywire. I haven't felt like writing for several days now. Don't know what's wrong with me. So I'll try today.

In the blue night frost haze
gray-headed loons
let loose their shivery cry,
lay down their song
across the smooth black water.
Moon sailing over whispering trees
catches a curve of light
sweet and still as the Buddha's gaze.

Bob ;-)

Towel Ta-Da!

Last night after a lovely bowl of chicken dumpling stoup (a sort of stew/soup) with crusty bread to dip in it (and I only dripped one drop on my shirt), I finished the Mason-Dixon Hanging Mitered Towel. Ta-da!

First Full Day of Autumn

But it doesn't feel any different.

I agree with you, Jennifer, the prompt for yesterday was...odd, but I got stubborn and took a stab at it.

Sept. 22--In the blue night frost haze...--It was so quiet that each blade of grass underfoot snapped like a dry twig. The cold had come fast and hard at sunset. All day the feeble sun had tried to muscle its way through the thin overcast, tried to lay its warming rays on the autumn earth letting one more day bask in its heat. Finally just before it sank below the horizon it broke free of the clouds and spread it's golden light, but the angle was too great for much warming. Nightfall had brought freezing cold, frost that pierced the lungs and lay white in the blue moonlight.

Hack out a few words and I'd have a poem, I think. Anyway, it's writing.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Write about a premonition

I'm back-dating myself from the Writer's Book of Days since I'm not real jazzed about today's suggestion....so I'm taking liberty just to keep writing...

I once had a dream as Thursday dawned into Friday where I was in my parent's kitchen and noticed on the counter instructions for how to put our family dog, Daisy, a dalmation, to sleep. I awoke suddenly from the dream in a cold sweat unable to shake the disturbing images.

A few days later I arrived early at my parent's house for a family get together. Daisy greeted me in her usual way, barreling forward into my legs, tail wagging, happy to see me. I casually told my parents about the dream and how it had unnerved me, however they offered little comment in response. As more and more family members arrived, Daisy was relegated to the basement where she would not cause trouble.

As the evening progressed, an unexpected event took place involving my grandfather. My mother and I jumped in my car and sped to my grandfather's house to check on him. Once we were convinced he was fine, we headed back to my parent's house. I left shortly afterwards without saying goodbye to Daisy as I would usually do.

The next day was Monday and I went to work unable to shake this feeling of sadness that had overcome me. As I drove home, the radio station played a country and western song entitled, "Holes in the Floor of Heaven", a sentimental tune comparing rain to tears shed from heaven when our departed loved ones think about us. It dawned on me that I was still affected by what had happened to my grandfather and I shrugged it off as I knew he was fine.

I had no sooner arrived home when my mother knocked on my front door. From the look on her face, I knew that something was terribly wrong. She told me that she and my father had put Daisy to sleep that morning. The two of them had made the decision the previous Friday, the same morning of my dream.

(This isn't coming out like I wanted....I think I'm tired....I know I need to practice writing more).

Some Yarn, Some Jam

I got Mason-Dixon's new book, Knitting Outside the Lines, on Friday and had to plunge right in. I'd been saving this ball of Sugar 'n Cream in Oriental Ocher for something special and the Mitered Hanging towel turned out to be it. I did have to use some of my birthday gift card to get a 14" pair of US 7s so I wasn't cramming the early rows on the needle. But now I'm in the home stretch finishing up the handle (despite what the picture shows).

Durwood's been harvesting raspberries from the plants he inherited from our son (who abandoned them to move to Montana with his bride to brew beer) and he's got a lot of them. Saturday he made a pie and yesterday I talked him through making his first batch of jam. He'll be picking little seeds out of his teeth for weeks and weeks.

But there's still plenty of tomatoes for Tomato Boy, too.

Now I've got the jam-making bug. I want to make cherry, maybe plum, mango, and a recipe I found in the Settlement cookbook for Pineapple/Orange/Strawberry Jam. Doesn't that sound yummy? I need more jars.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Preserving Sunday

I got to be the wise one and talk Don through his first time making raspberry preserves. He's been harvesting them like crazy lately, had enough for a pie last night and 9 jars of preserves today, and they're not all gone. Good thing Jenny doesn't come out back much or I'm sure there'd be some shrinkage. I don't care for them so he's got them all to himself. It works out because he doesn't like my blueberries.

Sept. 20--Accept loss forever (after Jack Kerouac)--I never think it's really gone. Days go by and I expect to get it or hear it, wake up to it like I did when I was a kid. It used to drag by on leaden feet, creeping in slo-mo, taking forever to pass. But now it goes so fast whole days, even weeks, disappear without my noticing. It must be a sign of again this acceleration of time. I feel like I've crested a hill and can't get a grip on the slick descent.

This is semi-pathetic. It's one of those times that I'm just happy that I managed to flop a few words on paper. Hope your weekend has been fun.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I Had The Most-est Fun!

I spent a few hours today spending my birthday gift cards and other gift cards to lighten my wallet. What a blast!

I spent my $5 Stein's card on a red and yellow daisy-like perennial plant that'll last for years, and my 2-$5 Target cards on two nice collared shirts for work (I had to add s
ome cash to that, okay, I added ten bucks, but it was half free!)

I got a gift card for Michaels for my birthday from my lovely daughter. Thanks, Ann! I picked out 2 skeins of Patons Classic Wool in Harvest, 1 skein of Classic Wool Merino in Palais (I'm thinking maybe Fetchings or some convertible mittens/fingerless mitts), 3 balls of Sugar 'n Cream (2 variegated & 1 solid), and a pair of 14" bamboo US 7 needles to make the button kitchen towel in Mason-Dixon Knitting's new book. Dang it, I forgot to get a button!

From Durwood came a gift card from JoAnn's. That brought 2 skeins of Lion Brand Landscapes in Deep Sea colorway (I'm a slave to that yarn!), 3 balls of Sugar 'n Cream (2 variegated & 1 solid--are you seeing a pattern here?), and a Knitted Accessories book (cute stuff in there).

Each of the above benefitted from a 40 or 50% off on one item coupon, so it was like an extra bonus gift. Squee!

I had a Walmart card I was convinced had less than $1 on but since I was out to clear out my wallet, I went there too and picked out 3 balls of Peaches and Creme dishcloth cotton (all variegated. I can not for the life of me buy solid color dishcloth cotton, it's just too dull.) Happily, I only used up half of what was on the card but by then I was too pooped to go back and spend the other $3.

In a completely un-gift-carded stop at Loops and Links, I blew my mad money bankroll on 2
skeins of Lamb's Pride Bulky in Prairie Goldenrod and 3 skeins of Zitron Prisma in the festively named color 410. Evidently I'm destined to try my hand at shawl knitting because I can't resist buying the thin and fuzzy stuff lately.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I Love Days Off

Good meeting last night, guys. Jenny, you should teach writing. I learned so much from your comments after the critique. Thanks.

September 18--It's raining now--Big fat drops fell making craters in the dust. Alby lay on his stomach, glasses perched on his nose, and watched. He saw the little explosion of dust when each drop hit and the corona of droplets flung in a perfect circle. Alby was a fan of National Geographic magazine, and not just the naked natives issues either, but he especially liked the stop-motion pictures of a man or a horse running, an arrow exploding out of a Red Delicious apple, or a bullet slicing a playing card in two. He was saving his money for a camera and a tripod he could use to take his own stop-motion photos with so he would finally win the Sunnyside Elementary School Science Fair once and for all.

I hope to see postings from the rest of you. Jenny, how about a flash?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Writing Day!

Yay, it's writing day! See you all tonight with Bob's critique and my submission. Is anybody writing? Nobody's blogging except me. Come on, people, communicate! It's lonely out here.

September 17--Write about a purchase--Robin's foot slipped and she tried to tighten her grip on the rope but her hands were cramping and felt like they were bleeding in her gloves. How long had she been climbing? It felt like days instead of hours. Maybe a century ago she and Will had driven the few miles outside of town to where the Niagara Escarpment thrust out of the ground and reared up over fifty feet above the rocky shore. She had nearly lost her nerve when she peered over the edge past the gnarled and ancient hemlocks to the tumbled rocks at the base of the bluff. Will was already tying one of the lines around a sturdy tree trunk when she turned back to him. She saw that even his weight swayed the tree and her mind started racing. "Will?" she said. "Hmm?" He looked up at her with such excitement and love sparkling in his eyes that she couldn't back out. That's how she ended up tiptoe on a ledge no wider than her thumb unable to get enough purchase to push herself an inch higher, wondering how much it would hurt to just let go and slide all the way down. She knew the cool water of the lake would feel good on her sore muscles and blistered hands.

Okay, youse guys, see you later!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

One Down, Eight To Go

I finished the last square for the first Sudoku afghan block tonight then I amused myself by laying them out in all nine arrangements. It's going to look cool once I get it done--someday.


When I got back from writing camp last weekend there was a package waiting for me from my new blog-friend Rochard. I sent her some yarn and she sent me 2 books! I've already marked a couple of sweaters to look more closely at and I know I won't be able to resist making some crocheted bath buddies. Hilarious! Coming to a stocking near you!!

I Can't Think of a Snappy Title Today

September 17--______ is the color I remember
Green. It’s like the only color crayon or paint God had left when he got to this part of the country. There are so many different shades, so many nuances leading your eye on over the hills and the water. Oh, the sky is blue, of course, with puffy white clouds sailing by on the sharp cooling wind, but all the rest I see is green. Green punctuated by a spear of yellow-gold aspen leaves in places and a blast of sumac red around the edges. Green is cool and soothing to the eye like the maple leaves but it can also blast you with the vivid chartreuse of sweet potato vine or show its somber side in a stand of black green cedars. Watch a wooded hillside for a hour and see how the light changes the color and feeling. Sit on a bayside boulder and watch the slimy green algae shift like hair in the lapping wavelets. Green is all around even in the dark of winter.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday is *Not* Zoo Day (see the P.S. below)

This morning Don and I are going out to the NEW Zoo to see the new lion cubs and feed the giraffes. I love the giraffes! I'd spend my fortune on giraffe crackers if they'd let me and I had one.

Sept. 16--Write about something you'd do differently--Sheila thought she'd think twice if she ever decided to changer her name again. She was barely eighteen the last time she did it. Her name went from Cheryl (too little-girly) to Sheila right after she'd seen the Crocodile Dundee movie for the second time and she was flat out in love with all things Australian. She also thought naming herself Sheila was a bit of a feminist move because Aussies call women Sheilas, but not, Sheila has come to admit, in a deeply respectful way. It seemed to her on her trip Down Under that it was on a par with an American guy calling her a gal and she hates that. Next time she'll be a little more careful about choosing a new name. She'll pick something exotic and foreign-sounding, like Shallot or Chagrin. Yeah, she likes the "sh" sound of Chagrin, such a happy name ending with a "grin" as it does.

Seems Sheila's not the brightest bulb in the marquee. As Bob would say, who knew?

P.S. Got on the highway on the way to the zoo and the van started vibrating and scared the spit outta me. I put on the flashers and got off at the next off ramp. Turns out the emergency brake was stuck. It'll cost nearly $300 to have it fixed. I love vehicles.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Welcome back, Barbara

I can hardly wait to read your brand new writing from The Clearing. Sounds to me like your Muse smacked you upside the head. And I look forward to hearing your critique of Rialto.

Bob ;-)

Yup, I Was Right!

I'm submitting Thursday. And I'm not even freaking out because I actually wrote something NEW that I can't wait to let you read. Let you read? Hell, I'm going to MAKE you read it. Mwa-ha-ha-ha!

Ahem. Okay, I need to get back into my normal sedate at-home persona, serious and businesslike. I'll be fine.


Back From the Edge of the Earth

It was too the edge of the earth. Just down the path about 50 yards was a bluff overlooking the bay. Seemed like an edge to me. Words were written, meals were savored, writing group was missed. All in all, a good week.

September 15—Write about a fragrance
Soft and warm the scent of just-baked bread perfumes the kitchen of the old farmhouse at the end of Goebel’s Lane. Six dark brown loaves line the counter emitting the fragrance of honey, wheat, and the secret ingredient, bacon grease. Competition is fierce for the privilege of eating the first heel, that perfect vessel of butter-soaked bread, crackling crust, and soft interior like a cloud. The sharp tang of the black walnut honey is very strong and the solid taste of bacon cannot be forgotten. One whiff of that yeasty goodness transports me back to the kitchen with the white metal cabinets and worn green linoleum where small children jostle for the honor of that first slice.

See you Thursday with Bob's critique in hand. I have an inkling it's my turn to submit, better check the schedule. See you then!

I'm Back!

I admit, I got home Saturday afternoon, but I've been busy getting sucked back into normal life. Arrgh. I didn't do a lot of knitting/crocheting at The Clearing; I took walks and I wrote and I ate--a lot. Now I'm back to where there's no bell that rings and no nice ladies bring yummy food 3 times a day, there's only Durwood and me and whatever food's around. Ah well, I can adjust.

I worked on some stealth knitting:

And I started another crocheted market bag. Love the lime color.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sept. 10 - Write About a Time Someone Went Too Far

You assumed at my weakest you would be your strongest. You were wrong.

You pushed me to grow stronger, hoping we would grow equal.....Did I think Wrong?

Sometimes I think I have grown stronger ...but am I really stronger...or am I just wrong?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sept 8 - _________ is the color I remember

Black and white are the colors I remember as I held you for the last time crooning in your ear about what a good boy you are. My fingers stroking that thick coat of black and white fur, memorizing the way you felt so that I could live this moment forever. I knew it was time to say good-bye to you, the idea breaking my heart, yet your purr reassuring me that it was time to say goodbye. That steady rumble that was unique to you, a sound I could identify as only you, even in the dark of night as you would nuzzle my ear letting me know you were protecting me.

Black was what I felt as the minutes ticked away, my heart aching as I knew you were suffering, but selfishly aching for the impending loss of you.

White was what I felt once you had passed, knowing that my faithful friend was free and no longer in pain.

To my boy Teapot - You were a good boy all of the time (09/06/08)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I'm Off To Camp!

Writer camp, not knitter camp, but it's still camp and I'm excited. I'll be back next Saturday with a smile on my face and lots of stories to tell.

In the meantime I want to show you what $.69 (that's sixty-nine cents) will buy you at Goodwill if you're lucky. Isn't she the cutest little thing?

And this wooly worm has been hanging around our mailbox for the last few days. Doesn't he/she look like a great idea for a knitted purse?

My Last Post...

...before I leave for a week. I've got all my stuff piled by the door and I'll be loading up and driving away just before noon. I'll miss you guys but I promise to bring back insights and info and a renewed inspiration. Jennifer, I'm glad you liked the writing and us; I look forward to reading your stories.

September 5--The time between dusk and dawn--Cleo was a creature of the night. As the sun sank below the horizon each night she felt herself awake, bloom like a Night-blooming Cereus, the petals of her true personality unfolding in the luscious dark. Her skin was as pale as alabaster which contrasted with her dark brown, almost black, hair and the creamy whiteness made her blue eyes look like ice chips in the moonlight. She had left her home in the icy woods of northern Wisconsin and settled on this desert island in the Caribbean where the hot sun and ocean breezes made her feel rooted in the very earth beneath her feet.

I think we'll spend more time with Miss Cleo at a later date. See you on the 18th with Bob's critique in hand.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I Couldn't Sleep At All Last Night!

Was it the red-eye I drank last night during our meeting? Was it that my mind was not able to turn itself off after engaging in such fun writing exercises after years of the gears slowly rusting? Was it from the excitement of meeting three amazing people?

The answer? YES! YES!! YES!!!

Last night was definitely what I was missing in my life. The mixture of emotions (nervousness, fear, excitement, curiousity) combined with meeting Barbara, Jenny and Bob and the GREAT writing exercises made it a very enjoyable evening.

Now I'm just counting down the days until next Thursday!

Fresh Meat

Welcome, Jennifer! It was great meeting you last night and I loved your exercise writing. I think you're going to make a great addition to the madness.

Jenny, thanks for the 55 word submission info. I think I'll ship off, oh, what did I call it?, but I've got one done that I like better than the rat one. Although I will find 2 more words and send that one in too once submissions open again.

September 4--What do you hear?--The sound was like torture, never-ending, just variable enough that he couldn't predict it, not regular enough to set up a rhythm. At first he had thought it came from outside. The rain had been falling all day when he noticed it, like a drip from a hole in the gutter outside his window. He shrugged and tried to ignore it but it got louder and faster, intruding into his thoughts so that he had to put down his book and go to the window to see it. But when he looked out he saw nothing. There was no drip, it had even stopped raining and the sun was out making dry patches on the sidewalks and streets. He searched his whole room looking for the source of that intermittent drip but found nothing. He emptied his closet and ran his hand over every pipe he could find. Nothing.

And that's where I ran out of steam and fell asleep. Musta been all that dripping in my imagination.
See you in 2 weeks. Be good while I'm gone.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Just in case you want it for those 55 worders...

Pen Pricks is an online zine that publishes all 55 word stories. They have to be 55 exactly, so Barbara, you'll have to add 2. Barbara and Bob, do you remember "Rabbit Hole?" You might not, because it's been so very, very long since I wrote that (again on an exercise night in group). Anyway, I found this little zine and sent them that last November, and they published it. I'm sure there are other places that publish 55s as well. The address for Pen Pricks is http://www.grimgraffiti.com/penpricksmicrofiction/index.html. They open for submissions again on November 1.

Look what happens when we write!

So it turns out "Innocence, Briefly" (that's the Faith and Jessup story, and it's got those evil twins Azrael and Sariel in there, too) is going to be published in the September 15th issue of Smokelong Quarterly. I'm so excited, because I love that ezine! It's an online flash fiction journal, and a really swell one at that. Barbara, I'm getting out of my slump, I promise!

Barbara, I hope you aren't done with Lindy. I can't stand that you left us off there, just with the bumper at the hip. I love that snippet. And Bob, you surely have the beginning of a story with Taggart and Denise and Fred. The tension is already built -- keep going! Here is the beginning of what I'm working on today. (You guys will recognize the names, but these aren't the same Miriam and Henry. It's just that I've been thinking about the novel while trying to write shorts this month. I'm sure they won't mind that I borrowed them.)

Miriam sees Henry by the rosebushes, and she wants him like you want a lollipop. She opens wide and swallows, one quick gulp. Henry has a satisfying feel there just above her groin, but still with his insistent heft in her stomach, she feels the need to clarify. "I am not your mother," she says.


Oh, man, do we need the rain. It's only drizzling now but it's supposed to be a nice steady rain later. And I like it cooler too. Much better than the hot and steamy.

September 3--Write about a neighborhood at 5 PM--I'm so tired of not fitting in. When everyone up and down the block is leaving for work I'm just getting home. During the day I run an errand sometimes, but most of the time I sleep in the cave of my room. I made it in the basement. It's cooler down there, quieter and darker too. I get up around 5 PM just when most of them are coming home. They eat casseroles or grilled meat while I'm having eggs or oatmeal. And when they're leaving for a movie or their kids' soccer practice I'm going off to work. We wave at each other and smile but we're not friends or even acquaintances. They work days and I work nights, opposite sides of the same coin.

See you tonight. I'm going to get my exercise in order now.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Yes, Done...

...and I feel a bit queasy about it, what with all the begging and rejection connected to it in my future. Yay! Jenny's writing! Oh, goodie, more Faith and Jessup. I have been writing too. I've been working on confession-ing and expanding The Gladstone Bag (it's way too short, also shallow). Bob, I absolutely love the image of Fred eating the road with his eyes. Perfect. I'm going to steal that first chance I get, I'm warning you.

September 2--It was Sunday morning--The church bells began to chime as Lindy picked up her purse and hurried down the stairs and out onto the sidewalk. Good thing she lived so close to St. Cecilia's or she'd be late for Mass. Sam had groaned and rolled over when she'd asked him if he wanted to go to church with her, he'd tried to tug her back into bed for a little slap-and-tickle but she was already half dressed so she gave him a little promissory peck and pulled away. She had hoped to get there early enough to go to confession before Mass, especially now that she had impure thoughts racing through her mind, but she was late. God would just have to be content with a few Hail Marys muttered under her breath as she hurried across the street. She was so intent on the door of the church she didn't hear the black sedan careening around the corner being chased by three wailing squad cars. Lindy was halfway through her second Hail Mary when the shiny chrome bumper met her hip.

See you tomorrow night. Remember the prospective Jennifer will be there so bring an exercise.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Happy birthday, Barbara!

And congratulations, indeed. Done, did you say?

As for me, I've actually been *gasp* writing! I've got a rough draft of the Faith and Jessup story. Key word is rough, but a semi-coherent draft. Here's another piece:

In this dream, Faith and Jessup are called on as namers. They wear special sashes and brightly colored hats. To warm up, they begin with rubber baby dolls -- Mimsy and Agnes and Dot. Sometimes they get the names wrong, and legs or arms or the little blinking eyelids fall off of the lifeless bodies. Jessup uses the tape, and Faith chews gumballs one after the other, sticking limbs back on with her sugary adhesive. The gathering crowd grows increasingly impatient with their mistakes. Jessup laces up his sneakers and prepares to run.

Bibbed Out

I finished the 4 bibs for my writing friend's incipient twin grandsons. Whew. The babies aren't due until the end of the year but I'm spending the week with her at a writing workshop next week. Giving them to her then will allow me to see her reaction when she opens the package. Smart, et?

Happy Birthday, Barbara

And congratulations on finishing the Horizon rewrite. Yes, I did work yesterday. Four hours, though it seemed longer. In the morning I played my fiddle for the residents. After lunch I tried a poetry reading. Although it was well attended, it fell flat as an undercooked souffle. Oh well. At least the residents enjoyed the ice cream that followed. The thing is Brian had to work eight hours, which made my shift a walk in the park.

Write about a dangerous ride: They were coming back from Taggart's place. Denise was between Taggart and Fred, stoned out her mind, going on in this breathy baby voice about anything that came to her. Fred hunched over the steering wheel, watching the road, eating the road with his eyes, and the street lamps that sailed overhead. All he could think about was getting his wife back where they lived. Denise was a registered nurse, working for the county hospital. She misappropriated morphine from the drug department there. Rather than call it theft. It was for Denise's habit. She'd had an operation for scoliosis some time ago, and this was the aftermath. She watched the dark, shiny world drift by in a singular blur. Taggart shored her up, kept her from leaning against Fred. They went over some bad road and Taggart held her from swaying. "Oh, honey," she said. Oh, honey. Fred leaned farther over the steering wheel, the muscles of his jaw rippling under the skin.


Monday, September 1, 2008

I Love This Hat!

After making four BIG Pointy Hats in wild colors I decided to try my hand at making a Meathead Hat in regular sized yarn. I love it! Of course, it's red, and two shades of red at that. And I pinned a lovely amber and silver spider pin on it just to make it absolutely perfect. *sigh* Red yarn knit on DPNs, amber and a spider; what could be better?

Happy Birthday To Me!

Yes, kiddies, today I'm the ripe old age of 57. Yikes! Seems old, older than me, but the math doesn't lie and since Mom's 80, you subtract 23 to get my age, which works out to 57. Shockingly large number some days.

August 31--It's my belief we're all crazy--That's the only explanation, Bob thought, as he stood in the sun feeling its rays penetrate his scalp all the way down to his waist. The line he was in snaked nearly a quarter of a mile behind him but there were only fifteen people in front of him. Sometimes there were fourteen. He never knew girls needed to go to the bathroom so often. Six of the people in front of him were girls, um, well, women. He had learned over the last day and a half that females over the age of about eighteen weren't fond of being called girls. Women, that's what they wanted to be called. He thought "girls" had a friendly, kind of pals-y note and "women" sounded a bit aloof and standoff-ish. But he supposed if he ever wanted to get laid, in a two-day ticket line or not, he'd better start calling those soft and curvy beings women.

I think Jenny's working today. I hope you aren't, Bob. I'm not. Yippee!