Friday, October 31, 2008

A Bright Sunny Day--Ahhhh!

And it's my day off! What could be better? I love me a sunny autumn day, cool and crisp and bright. Perfect. Maybe I'll actually get to take a walk today. Maybe I'll actually get up off my butt and take a walk. There's a perfectly good block to walk around right outside the door and a beautiful park one block away. You'd think I'd take advantage of them. Ah, well, better stop ranting and start blogging.

It was harder than I thought it would be to knuckle down and write last night. Hopefully I'm just saving my brilliance for tomorrow when NaNoWriMo kicks off.

October 30--What will happen can't be stopped--Time is like a roller coaster barreling along, dragging you with it. I want to step off the tracks, take a breather but I can't, no one can. There's no stopping it. People say that time stopped, usually when something horrible happened and everyone knows your perception of time slows when you're bored or anxiously waiting for something. But time marches on at its measured pace. No matter how much we push or pull we can't change that.

Eh, not bad, not great, but not bad. I always think, at least I wrote tonight. Thanks for the fun night last night.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Fast FO

I firmly believe that in the cold Wisconsin winter it's a good idea to have an emergency hat and gloves in your vehicle just in case. Just in case you have car trouble and have to sit there a while. Just in case it's bitter cold when you're out shopping and you forgot to put one on. Just in case it's freezing in your car after work and you need to warm up on the drive home. That sort of thing. I looked through the hat tote on the front closet shelf and found a cool hat and mittens for my car but there wasn't one for Durwood's car. He's got lots of gloves that'll do the trick, but there wasn't a good warm hat for him. So I made him one. It's called a Tasseled Earflap Hat and it's from Knit Simple Fall 2007. It's supposed to be out of super-bulky yarn but I used two skeins of Lamb's Pride Bulky, one in Wild Oak and one in Cafe au Lait. I cast it on Tuesday after supper and finished it at work yesterday afternoon. Very quick. Durwood didn't want a tassel so it's bare on top. Ah well, it's still a good warm hat.

Can You Believe That It's Oct. 30 Already?

Me neither.

I'm getting excited to leap into the writing abyss and see what NaNoWriMo produces this year. Or maybe I should say what I produce for NaNoWriMo. 1667 words a day for 30 days will be fun and challenging and a real pain all at the same time. It's crazy, but crazy can be a good thing. Wish us luck!

October 29--"I'm at a loss.."--Deo stood in the middle of the room, a room so small she could stretch out her arms and touch the walls. The pale sunlight glittered on the floor of old green and used-to-be white asbestos tiles in a crazy pattern or non-pattern. She thought, I'll need curtains, but then the enormity of what she had done rocked her so hard she staggered to the rocking chair set cockeyed by the cold fieldstone fireplace and she fell into it, not even considering that it might not hold her, but it did, and it rocked with a comforting creak as she looked wildly around at what would be her home for the next three months. Deo never expected to be selected for the writing fellowship on Aintree Island off the Wisconsin shore of Lake Michigan. Oh, she had entered, everyone in her writing group had entered. It seemed like a lark, a dare. She had put together a few stories and wrote a cover letter at the last minute, just dashed it off so she wouldn't have to be embarrassed at the next meeting having to say she had been too lazy to do it, and she won. She won. Today she had left her car in a parking lot in the woods and ridden the ferry across the six miles of Death's Door channel to the island where a ranger in a golf cart had welcomed her, driven her and her cases (one of clothes, one of books and writing things) to this tiny cabin on the north shore and left her here with two boxes of provisions, an old fat tire bicycle, and the feeling that rather than a prize, so far this felt like a punishment.

Hmm, this has possibilities too. What to choose? What to choose? See you tonight with a lesson and a fun exercise.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Frozen Birdbath

That's how cold it is today! Poor little birdies out there chipping away at that ice. I thawed it with hot water and installed the birdbath heater so they can get a drink.

Interesting idea, Jennifer. I'm leaning toward a murder mystery, but only time and writing will tell. I like your snippet, especially that her house is where her grandmother's cottage was, nice continuity.

October 28--It was a summer of blue-black nights--At that latitude night falls with a suddenness that can take your breath away. Dusk is short that far south and night pulls its blue-black veil over the sky with haste, almost as if it had something to hide. That summer the night wind was busy elsewhere. It left behind a few puffs to rattle the palm fronds a bit, but most of the time the air lay still like a damp blanket over the island. In the silence the sound of the small waves tickling the shore sounded like an intruder. Men were urged out of bed to investigate by women sure that someone was in the house. He would find no one and then stand on the porch in the clinging night, smoking a cigarette to keep away the mosquitoes, and watching shooting stars fall into the sea.

Now, doesn't that sound like an excellent beginning for a mystery? By George, I think I've got it! Yay! See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Busy Plotting....

Nice job on the darkness piece Barbara....I felt it enveloping me as well as the paralysis Fiona is feeling at the loss of her future.

I've been reading "No Plot...No Problem" as my training for NanoWrimo...and think I have picked a plot for my story....I used the Writer's Book of Matches for help and decided (I think) to create a novel about a blind woman's guide dog that begins speaking to her when alone. We will see.....

October 28 - It was a summer of blue-black nights

As a child, I always marveled at the darkness of the sky at my grandparent's cottage. The city lights could not reach and invade the quiet country sky, allowing constellations and stars to illustrate the beauty of the dark night. The walk to the outhouse required a flash-light (as well as an adult) and the walk from the beach was done by memory; careful not to trip over the deep layers of shale that separated lush lawn from sky blue water.

As an adult, I still marveled at the darkness of the sky where my grandparent's cottage once stood and where my house now stands. The city lights still cannot reach the quiet country sky and the constellations and stars still reflect the beauty of the dark night. I no longer had an outhouse to navigate to by the beam of a flashlight or the security of a loving aunt; but the walk from the beach was still done alone.

Sorry For The Silence

I got busy yesterday morning and the time passed for entering my prompt writing and I had to go to work, then last night I just didn't think of it. I did write Sunday night and last night, really I did, even though it might look like I just dashed Sunday's words off last night before digging into the "real" prompt but that's not how it was. I wrote Sunday but wasn't inspired so it's short. Last night's was better.

Still don't know what I'll NaNoWriMo about but I've got an inkling of an idea floating somewhere in the very back of my mind that I'm trying to lure to the front so I can give it some accessories so it'll survive the month. I have faith that all will be clear next Saturday when the starting gun fires. Jennifer, we can use this blog to report our daily word counts and share snippets like the group did last time. Do you know what you're going to write about? Jenny and Bob, we'll both be relying on you for encouragement here too, so you'll have to actually post not just lurk. And without further ado I bring you crappy first-draft writing!

October 26--Write about what goes without saying--Ah, those little assumptions. They get you every time, don't they? There you are minding your own business and then you blunder into the quicksand of assuming you know what someone meant or wanted. Never assume. It's a slippery slope to destruction. It'll get you every time. This is one of my least favorite prompts and I can't stop my brain from skittering all over the place so I'm going to stop before I get so frustrated I break my pencil. Bye.

October 27--Write what the darkness proposes--The cool darkness seeps over the windowsill and slides across the room swallowing small details. By the time it has crossed the room only large shapes remain to define the space. Fiona sits in her grandmother's wing chair watching the dark consume the room and feels its cool touch as it crawls over her. She doesn't move. She hasn't moved since her lawyer Kyle Mason left carrying what was left of her future in his scuffed briefcase. Too soon a realtor's sign will appear in the yard and unfamiliar people will gawk through the rooms she has spent her whole life in. Already people stop talking when she enters a shop or the diner as if the fate of the remainder of the Camerons is all they have to amuse them.

One small bitch and one story--not bad.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Windy & Drizzly, And On My One Day Off

It couldn't be sunny today, could it? Wind I like. I like the colorful leaves swirling around and the yellow ones flapping on the tree out my window. But I don't like drizzle. Not when I plan to roast a chicken on the grill. I'd rather not have to roll the grill around to the garage and cook in there, not with the gas can for the lawn mower right there, but I will if I have to. I've got my pumpkin bread in the oven and I'm frowning at the sky trying to scare away the precipitation. I'll let you know how successful (or how stubborn) I am tomorrow.

October 25--Write about small scrapes and bruises--It was just a scratch. A thin red line that appeared on Regan's left forearm after her shower. She shrugged thinking that she'd scratched herself, but it didn't go away. In fact it got longer and then branched off in opposite directions, one side twining around her wrist and the other doubling back on the underside of her arm toward her elbow. She dabbed the line with antiseptic cream at first, when that had no effect she tried hydrocortisone, then she patted pink calamine lotion on the rapidly spreading lines. Boxes with letters in them had begun to appear near the places where lines crossed and within a week they had spread up her arm, all over her torso, and begun to creep down her right leg. It didn't itch, it didn't hurt. Regan felt only a slight tingling when the lines were on the move. She went to see a dermatologist at the end of the week, desperate to know what was happening. The doctor, a bald man with a foreign accent and gold rimmed spectacles examined her, frowning and humming as he traced her skin lines with his friendly gray eyes. He asked the usual questions about vaccinations and childhood diseases, then went back to his humming. Finally he asked, "Have you been to Paris lately?" Regan shook her head, fearing she had somehow contracted a French disease. "I've never been to Paris." "Interesting," said the doctor, "because the lines on your skin trace an exact map of the Paris Metro."

I like it. I don't know what to do with it, but I like it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


I have lured another victim into my web. *rubs hands together in a gleeful and scary manner* Welcome to the insanity, Jennifer. One week from today we step off the cliff of safe writing and plunge into unknown depths of swirling words and ideas. Geronimo!

October 24--There is a place called____--There is a place called French Lick in southern Indiana. I've never been there but I heard the name a lot when I was a kid. Even then it sounded a little, well, a little naughty. Everyone knows the French have cornered the market on naughty. Think of French postcards and French kissing. Hah, that's like licking. Sort of. There's something intimate and exposed about a wide open mouth with the tongue out to lick. I knew that as a kid. Besides, our neighbor lady, Georgia, always seemed kind of wild to me and she was always going to French Lick. I'm going to Google that at work tomorrow if it's not busy. There has to be a good reason to call a place French Lick and I'm determined to discover it.

No time to Google at work today, very busy, 21 customers between 8 AM and 4 PM. Very busy. I'll Google tomorrow. For now I'm going to flop on the couch.

Am I insane?????...Wait!!! Don't Answer That!!!!

Great meeting on Thursday gang! Thanks for the notice about nanowritmo Barbara...what a great website! So count me in...I signed up for the challenge and am reading through No Plot...No Problem to get me ready for November 1st.

October 25- Write about small scrapes and bruises

Madge hummed the theme "Isn't It Romantic?" as she steered her grocery cart and selected the ingredients for tonight's Tator Tot Casserole, a dish she loved with a fresh pear. Her produce man, Bert, a man she secretly desired for his gentle handling of melons, surprised her this morning with the most perfect pear she had ever seen. She blushed as she took the piece of fruit from Bert, her fingers grazing his ever so gently. Holding the fruit in her hand, she was still able to feel his body heat and this made her shiver. Turning the fruit in her hand, she noticed the ripening of its skin, turning from that summer green to the rich autumn red hue that promised sweetness once tasted. The pear's skin was unblemished as she gently slide the fruit into a produce bag and nestled it against a bag of spinach.

Scanning the check-out lines, she found her favorite cashier, Gladys, in Aisle 3. The two women greeted each other with the same familiarity reserved for people who often visit with each other for ten minutes once a week. Madge accepted the offer from the bagger to carry her groceries to her car. It was a service that Wendell's Market still offered their customers even when most grocers had migrated to self-checkout kiosks.

After arriving home, Madge nudged the door open to her apartment with an arthritic hip while balancing the two bags of groceries in her arms. She began unpacking her groceries when she discovered her once perfect pear was now marred with scrapes and its taut flesh now bruised as the bagger had thoughtlessly placed the pear next to a can of stewed tomatoes she loved on Monday nights. She held the fruit, still in its protective bag, against her chest and sadly thought of Bert, knowing tonight's Tator Tot Casserole would never taste the same.

Oh well...I tried...just wanted to think of scrapes and bruises in a non-human way....

Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, October 24, 2008

More Scarf & Other Stuff

Yesterday I thought of a clever line to begin this blog entry. Think I can remember it? No. Well, I'll let my gorgeous knitting speak for itself. (Although if it comes to me later, I will come back and do a little edit. It really was clever, at least as far as I can remember.)

First, we have Special Scarf #4. It's crocheted rather than knitted but I still used a great big weapon to make it. I'm all about the US 50 needles or US S hook when it comes to making scarves. It goes fast and you can use a mitt full of cool yarns. I don't think I violated the parameters of the Scarf project, I just took their yarn & color requirements and ran with them. Deep down inside each scarf is the Red Heart Super Saver yarn they specified. Cross my heart. And each and every yarn is 100% acrylic or nylon so the scarves are totally washable. I play by the rules, I just have my own individual interpretation of them.

Next, I decided to knit convertible
mittens again, this time picking up stitches and knitting the flap (condom?) right on instead of sewing it on. My only complaint is that it's knit flat instead of in the round, but it's going well.

Last, you can tell that winter is approaching with it's chilly breezes, pots of soup, and falling snow. What with souvenir and sale yarn from Missoula and picking up the odd skein of Cascade 220 or Lamb's Pride for stealth knitting purposes, I've made a pile o'yarn next to the coffee table. I like it. It makes me feel happy. I want to pick it up and snuggle it or burrow into it. I heart yarn.

Now I'm going into the kitchen to toast a couple slices of cocodrillo which I will top with strawberry jam, all made by David & Abby. Mmm, bread and jam. Thanks, guys. Love you.


Well, that's just perfect. I'm not really enthusiastic about working today and the weather's crappy. Maybe I'll have to stop for a sweet roll on my way to work. Awesome meeting last night, guys. Excellent critiques and a fun exercise. I loved it. Look! I even wrote when I got home! Yay, me!

October 23--These are the lies I told you--I'm not who you think I am. I was never married, never lived in Europe, never went to college. I grew up in a trailer park in southern Indiana and barely graduated from high school. The closest I've been to Europe is the Pizza Barn a mile from here. I lied because... well, because I wanted to impress you, to make you want to get to know me. Now you'll probably never call me again, delete me from your PDA. Everything important I told you has been the truth, only the things about my past have been lies. But I wanted no more lies between us because I love you. Hello? Are you there? *click*

Not a great prompt.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sunny Thursday

Barbara, I liked your jealousy sketch, but it was the "can I see you in the kitchen" story that hooked me. There's so much going on in it, and so much implied about the characters. Reminds me a little of a story by Grace Paley. Would you try writing an opening for it. A little something to set up what happens. Jennifer, your entry about coming from behind is dazzling. The combination of menace and the sensual really got me. Still working on Jenny's critique. See you later.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I come from.....

I come from behind working my way to the front. Eager to move forward silently, without notice. My method is calculating, my momentum builds up gradually. The sound of my breathing barely audible at first, then appearing along with the sensation of my hot, moist breath. You are afraid to turn around. Afraid of what may be behind you, afraid of how close I may be to you, afraid of losing your own momentum. I envision overtaking you, not by much, but just enough to cross the line resulting in a photo finish.

Day 3 of 6

I'm out of practice working full-time. These next 3 days are gonna feel like punishment--and we've got Open Water dives on Saturday so I have to be there at 7 AM. Seven o'clock in the morning! I usually am not awake at 7 AM. Keep thinking of your inflated paycheck next Monday, Barbara, think of the money.

October 21--Write about a bruise--It grew on her upper arm blue and black, then greenish, and finally yellow and purple. It was her best one yet. She'd had bumps and scrapes before but never such a spectacular bruise in such a prominent place. A place she could show off without being crude. The pleasure she got from the looks she got was almost worth the pain of getting head-butted and slammed into the track by that jammer Ursula on the Horn-ettes last weekend. Ursula had elbows like jackhammers and she had rammed one home in Volta's arm and kept her from scoring. Volta, whose real name was MaryAnne, had always had trouble convincing her co-workers at the diocesan office that she was on a roller derby team but her bright shiny bruise finally convinced them. She was proud to be a Stinger at last.

Don't know much about roller derby but, hey, that's why they call it fiction!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Scarf Mania!

I couldn't stop making Special Olympics scarves last Sunday. By breakfast yesterday I had three finished. I need more fuzzy or hairy or ribbon-y stuff to put with the yarn I have left (at least enough for one more). I thought I'd crochet the next/last one, with a big hook of course. That Red Heart Super Saver yarn is just too... too plastic to use all by itself. I know I shouldn't complain about it since that's all some people can afford but it just doesn't slide through my fingers as nicely as even the Red Heart Soft yarn does. Maybe I'll stop at Hobby Lobby tonight to see if they've got a Soft color that's close to the Delft Blue.

I also picked out a couple of the scarves I made last winter to donate to the Red Scarf Project for college kids who have aged out of the foster care system. If you're interested, go here for all the particulars, the deadline's December 15.

(As you can see, I appear to be genetically unable to make plain scarves. I cast one on last night, really I did, but I had to frog it after four rows, it was just... wrong with only one color and strand of yarn. Wrong, I tell you, just wrong. Looking at it made me feel all ooky.)

Oops, I Missed A Day

Not writing, I wrote, but I overslept yesterday and then forgot to type it in last night. Well, I didn't forget but I got busy making chicken veggie soup and neglected to do it. So today you get two for the price of one, you lucky ducks.

October 19--Write about jealousy--I hate it but I can't stop it, that green snake of jealousy that coils up from the pit of my stomach, strangles my throat, and binds my teeth in a grimace whenever I see my sister Larissa. Sweet pretty Larissa, always the favored child, always the chosen one. Every year from second grade on she was May Queen, she was Homecoming Queen, Prom Queen, and every other queen or princess that was available. She was Pulaski Pickle Princess not because she sold the most tickets (the usual way someone won) but because she looked so damned good perched on the back of the pickle-green convertible.

(I think this has possibilities. Maybe our narrator, the not-quite-pretty-enough sister [as yet unnamed], will find poor pretty Larissa dead, choked by an irate but only average-looking Pickle Princess wanna-be from her past.)

October 20--Someone says, "Can I see you in the kitchen?"--When Marty said, "Can I see you in the kitchen?" Mac knew he'd done something wrong. Everyone at the table knew. The conversation hum stopped abruptly and smiles froze on six faces. Mac nodded, wiped the corners of his mouth with his linen napkin the color of pumpkin pie, laid it alongside his plate, and stood to follow his wife into the kitchen. He thought everything was going well but Marty's ramrod spine ahead of him told him different. Conscious of the eager ears following them from the dining room like eager puppies, Marty pulled Mac into the shelter of the back hall. "Do you think you could be any more blatant?" she hissed. "Wha-what?" Mac looked like a beached mackerel, his mouth opening and closing in shock. "Oh for god's sake, Mac, why don't you just dive into Sylvia's cleavage? Adam's getting furious." Mac blanched ghostly white then reddened blotchily. "I can't help myself. She's sitting right there pushing them in my face." A burst of laughter from the dining room silenced them, made them jump. Mac swept Marty into his arms and kissed her hard, running his hand over her back and up into her hair, mussing it. He felt her heart race and her breath catch in her throat. "There," he said, "that should shut Adam up." Marty smiled and picked up the tray of desserts and led the way back to their guests who greeted their return with sly looks and knowing smiles.

Nice moves, crafty Mac. He manages to ogle Sylvia's cleavage and grope his wife. See you Thursday with Jenny's critique.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Windy Day to Match My Mood

I liked the wind today, the leaves tossing and the trees swaying. It was invigorating, wasn't it? I made six pints of applesauce from apples Don and I picked from the tree in the doctor's office parking lot behind the house. Hey, we mostly only picked the apples on our side of the fence. It's delicious.

October 18--Write about a hideout--It was the perfect place, leafy and cool on hot afternoons, a great place to lay and read a book. It was just far enough out of the way to be private but close enough to keep an eye on things in the neighborhood. I was always surprised that no one else had laid claim to it but I never saw a sign of it if they did. I don't know why they didn't, my hideout was in plain sight, not hard to get to but things were always just the way I left them. Grandpa knew, I'm sure. But then he's the one who made and planted the bean tepee every year.

Not earth-shaking but it's writing.

Are You Special?

I think you are. I think we all are and that's why I'm blogging this special opportunity for you. I was reading knitsimple magazine, the Holiday 2008 issue (the pink one), last night and saw their article asking for scarves for the 2009 Winter Special Olympics in Boise. They had a practice run early this year and solicited blue & white scarves for all participants. It worked out so well they want to do it for the actual games. Next year the Special Olympics Winter Games will be held in Boise and they want scarves for all those people too. Wouldn't it be cool to knit or crochet a scarf to be worn by a real Olympian? You must use Red Heart Yarn in Delft Blue and Soft White but after that the sky's the limit. The scarf you make can be simple or complex, plain or fancy. I combined the worsted yarns with variegated blue ribbon and white eyelash knitted on size 50 needles (kinda like a pointed closet rod) and made this one in 3 Bones episodes on DVD, or about 2 1/4 hours. Get all the info you need to play along here. Let's make sure each and every one of the athletes and helpers has a scarf! You can do it! I know because yarn crafters are special too.

P.S. The deadline for submission of scarves is January 15, 2009 so get stitching.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More About Missoula, But No Knitting

I don't know if you go over to David & Abby's Napa/Missoula blog (there's a link in the left column) but they've got a recurring feature they call "Happy Eating" about the delicious meals they make. Well, last weekend Durwood and I got to take part in the production and destruction of a couple episodes, and let me tell you, it's totally worth the trip to their kitchen to be on the show. I only took photos of the chicken episode. Sorry I forgot to snap the pork chop episode but I was too busy salivating.

On the menu was roast chicken stuffed with lemon and onion chunks with butter, rosemary and thyme rubbed under the skin and morel sauce, fingerling Yukon gold potatoes rubbed with bacon grease, sprinkled with salt and rosemary, and roasted alongside the chicken, fresh broccoli steamed with butter, slices of the bread Abby made at work the night before, with a nice pinot on the side. Fresh seckle pears and black plums rounded out the meal.

Here's the Chef,

the Chef's Assistant,

and one of the Happy

I highly recommend catching an episode of the show, in person if you can manage it.

What A Glorious Day It Is

We should go for a walk. Sunny and cool, my favorite kind of day. I went to the Farmer's Market this morning (only two more until it closes for the winter) and got eggplants, golden beets, carrots, tiny potatoes, broccoli, parsnips, mushrooms, a bag of Bartlett pears, 3 crab rangoons (my breakfast), a chunk of Irish Cheddar cheese, and a smoked turkey leg--all for less than $25. We'll eat like royalty this week. Just think of having a slice of smoked turkey with all those gorgeous veggies steamed or roasted and arranged around it like jewelry, with a sliced pear and a bit of sharp cheese to share for dessert. Mmm. Don't you wish you could eat at my house? Actually it sounds a bit like an episode of "Happy Eating" at David & Abby's.

October 17--When I opened my mouth to sing--Honestly. I can't think of a single thing to write from that prompt up there. Thinking's probably my problem but there you are. I can't stop. I've got a picture of a woman opening her mouth in choir and either a frog croak, a hiccough, or a bubble comes out. But then what? Nothing. It's a big black nothing beyond that. A yawning, cavernous, gravity-sucking nothing, like the nothing in that kids movie with Bastian and Etreu and Artax and the big rock guy. Oh yeah, The Neverending Story, but I am not doing a riff on that, I'm not anywhere near that good and for sure not at 11:11 PM. This looks like enough. Goodnight.

So there you have it. Enjoy this gorgeous day.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Love Writing Group Meetings!

Oh, it was great last night, talking and laughing and writing. You guys inspire me to depths of weirdness and I thank you for it.

Oct. 16--You're driving in your car--My car. My car is a rattletrap beater held together by hope and New Age bumper stickers. I keep meaning to scrape them off but seeing "Imagine Whirled Peas" and the rainbow happy face helps me find it in a mall parking lot. I used to be embarrassed about ol' Bessie but one day when she was parked in a line of fancy SUVs and shiny hybrids I was walking behind a pair of teen boys. One of the boys stopped in his tracks behind her and said, "Now there's a real car! Not like these grocery-getters." Scorn dripped from his voice as he flipped a dismissive hand at the SUVs. He was looking back when I walked to the driver's door. "Hey, lady," he shouted, "I love your car." I threw him a kiss and he and his buddy burst out laughing. After that, knowing someone coveted her made me appreciate her more.

Not bad for a quickie. Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Home From Montana *Warning! Picture Heavy Post*

Hi! We got home Tuesday night and our flight was 10 minutes early arriving. Ten minutes! Thanks, Northwest Airlines.

Our lovely DIL found me a yarn shop in Missoula and, you know what?, it was right next door to a bookstore. Oh, happy day! The yarn shop, Joseph's Coat, was satisfyingly full of yarn and crazy yarn women of various ages, which made Abby very glad not to be a knitter, I'm sure. I picked up 3 single skeins of Cascade 220 on sale in beige, heather gray, and tomato red, then I broke my budget and bought 2 skeins of Rowan Colourscape chunky in colors that blew me away. See?

David and I went to all 3
farmer's markets on Saturday morning. How cool is it that Missoula has three of them on one day? The Clark Fork Market has fruits, veggies, and meat, along with pastries and coffee, jam, and wool. Yay, wool. One booth sells wool for spinning and also pillows and comforters filled with wool.

Then around the corner from that booth I saw this. And this. And this.

They call the gray and red hats Grizz hats after the U of Montana Grizzlies sports teams. I love the pattern and think they look like the old fashioned leather football helmets.

I'm Baaaak!

Missoula was great and so was visiting the kids, but we didn't get to go to Yellowstone because of a snow and ice storm. A blizzard! In October! And early October at that. Honestly. I think my cousin Mike fell down on the job of keeping the weather nice so I could see buffalo and bugling elk, bubbling mud and Old Faithful. Snow. In October. I tell you. I didn't write one word while we were there and it was too bumpy on the planes home, but I did get back to writing last night.

October 15--Write about promises made--"You promised," Selena said with all the disappointment she could muster. Nine years old is not an easy age. A girl especially is ramping up toward the teen years and all the emotional ups and downs are just starting. Logic isn't a major player at that time so pointing out that pouring rain doesn't make an optimal beach day is pretty much a waste of breath. Not wanting to begin the day with a battle, I smiled and got up from the table. I retrieved the old picnic hamper from its shelf in the back hall and began to make sandwiches. Selena ate her Cheerios automatically, her eyes never leaving my hands. "When you're finished eating," I said, "rinse your bowl, then go get ready. We'll want to leave before ten to beat the crowds." I could feel her disbelief with my back turned but kept preparing as if it were any other summer day. She silently came to stand beside me, tipped out the last spoonful of milk into the sink, and rinsed her bowl. "But it's raining," she said. "I know it is." I smiled at her. "But as you so rightly pointed out, I did promise. Better grab a raincoat." She didn't say another word. We drew more than a few incredulous looks that day but the grown up Selena reminds me every summer when she drops her son and daughter off at my cottage for their two week visit that the very best picnics are rain picnics.

I like it, it's a little Hallmark-y, but I like it. See you tonight!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Day Off

So I'm taking it easy, enjoying the scenery, getting ready to clean an apartment building or two. So this isn't exactly a day off, just a day with a different job to it.

You're in a cafe: Not just any cafe, mind you, but the cafe. And you're drinking from a cup of coffee brimming with hints of nutmeg and cardamom, of date and persimmon. You breath in these dizzying aromas and blow upon it a cooling breath. The coffee stays just hot enough to burn your lips with a delicious burn that only adds to the drinking. It was on the advice of an acquaintance you had walked to this place through the cool, clear morning, the clouds stretching across the sky in wide, irregular bands of gray and white. You made your way through the downtown, through shaded parks and side streets, to the cafe, a well-kept secret. The ceilings here are high and the floor is dark wood. Customers sit by the windows, talking, or just enjoying the morning which promises somehow to go on forever. This is the cafe you've been dreaming about, the cafe at the end of desire. Because it exceeds desire. It defuses and leaps over the sweet harangue of desire. If Rumi had a cafe, this would be his.

Bob ;-)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ben Marcus

Benny, Benny, he's our man. If he can't do it, nobody can! Yeah! (Please check the Ben Marcus website: Do not walk. Do not pass GO or collect $200.)

Bob ;-)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Not in the Best of Moods

As you will see by what I wrote last night, I wasn't really in the mood to be creative. But, and this is the important but, I still wrote. I am nothing if not stubborn, just ask Durwood.

October 7--You're in a cafe--In a cafe? How predictable. How common. I suppose I'm supposed to write about some romantic rendezvous or a pair of spies exchanging secrets or even a no-longer-young woman drinking coffee and mourning lost opportunities. Well, I'm not in the mood. I don't really feel like writing at all but I might have gotten inspiration from a prompt that's less trite but, no, the author had to plunk down "you're in a cafe" today. What a cop-out.

I know it sucks but it's still writing. Cheers.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Working Tuesday

If I want to go to Montana in 2 days (and I do, I really, really do) then I have to work today. *sigh* I'm not used to working 3 days in a row. I'm so ill-used, mis-treated... (maybe spoiled would be a better word?)

October 6--Write about small mistakes--It's the little things that matter, that upset the balance of life and send it wobbling off into an unfamiliar orbit. Make a small mistake, forget one little stitch, and your knitted purse turns into a funnel. One out of alignment tile and your kitchen floor looks like the floor in a funhouse making you stagger across the optical illusion like a drunk. One wrong word, even one too few letter can turn your dessert into a desert. It's not the big things, it's the little things that derail your train and send it plunging into the dark canyons of life.

Well, that's cheerful. Enjoy your day!

Monday, October 6, 2008


Write more about the boy with the pool hustler dad. Think about it, anyway. There's this wary, self-censoring love going on that has my attention. Maybe it's the first person pov that does it for me. I like it a lot, Barbara. You and Don have a great time in Montana.


Been There

I was 38 when I realized that I could stop doing and being what my mom wanted me to be. I assume you're way younger than that and have gotten smart a lot sooner. I have been a lot happier since then. Take a deep breath and grab your own life by the reins. Things will work out.

October 5--Write about a fragment--The seventh shovelful was the first one that wasn't all dirt and thready roots. Brian had come out to the old Decker place last fall with his university geology class. They had hiked through the overgrown fields to the limestone bluff that formed the western side of the property. The famous Niagara Escarpment, the same ancient limestone that thrust up out in New York to make Niagara Falls then burrowed under the surface on its way west had reemerged hundreds of miles away bringing with it traces of ancient seas and the creatures that lived in them. Brian wasn't really all that interested in fossils. The part of geology he hungered to learn were traces of caves and sinkholes that might hold artifacts of early man. He had seen something interesting caught in the roots of a fallen oak rotting next to the path and it had taken nearly a year to get back. Brian got the permission of Decker's one remaining heir to study the geology of the farm so here he was at last. Standing shin deep in a hole of his own making, holding a fragment of a pot made before Columbus made his first voyage, Brian was sure of it.

Monday is payday! Yippee!

Monday - October 6

Sorry I was away from the Blog for a few days Barbara...I've been spending time working on a new piece as the memoir just wasn't cutting it for me. As always, excellent writing! Loved the things that your father told you, especially the pool cue!

Write About Small Mistakes

What a poignant topic to write about today. Yesterday I told my favorite Aunt that I have been separated since April. It was something I had been meaning to tell her, but our family was preparing to celebrate my cousin's wedding and I did not wish to be a dark cloud over this happy event. It's funny how she and another aunt knew that something was wrong. You could say she wasn't surprised.

Looking back on my separation, I have made alot of small mistakes, however the timing of them and their frequency have fused together to become a large mistake. That mistake being living my life for the acceptance of others. If I had this time to live over, I would have taken control of who would know and when they would know. This time I allowed my mother to dictate if family members should know. I realize she was being the hopeful optimist wanting her daughter to reconcile her marriage, but this giving up of power in my own life has cost me. Now I must slowly recover and recovery is often painful.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cooler Weather = Warm Mitts

I am coming to the conclusion that I'm not really a "garment" knitter or crocheter. I'm more of a knitter of quick projects using interesting yarn or construction. I like to make hats and gloves and mittens; things that are fun and fast and that I can personalize with my own quirky tastes. I'm going to try my hand at a vest or two to see if that's something I can get behind. Plus my darling Durwood gets cold really easy so I want to keep him warm without my having to swelter at the same time.

Now that I've outlined my latest manifesto, we can move on to FOs and WIPs.

In the FO department, we have the Twisted Harvest Wristwarmers the pattern of which was such a trial (see last Sunday's post). I persevered and finished them. Pretty, aren't they?

Durwood has been checking the Weather Channel.
com to see the predicted temps for our trip to Missoula, MT next weekend to visit David & Abby. He's called me to the monitor more than once, pointing at the screen and saying, "46 degrees! 46!" So, knowing how cold he gets I decided to knit him some convertible fingerless gloves/mittens for the trip. Thursday night I bought 4 skeins of Cascade 220, intending to make each little fingerlet a different color. He nixed that idea, the stick in the mud, and chose the beautiful heathered dark brown. Friday after supper I cast on and knit while watching TV, getting to the place where you start knitting the fingers. Too big. Dang it. Frogged to the top of the cuff and tried again with smaller needles. Better but not perfect. By then it was midnight and bedtime. In the morning, he convinced me that it was okay and to keep going (I think his hands were already cold and he liked the warmth having to try it on over and over.) I zipped through the fingers, 1, 2, 3, 4, no problem, then came the thumb. It's supposed to have a 3-stitch hole in the pad side so the wearer can poke his thumb out when the top flap's open, to grip things. The first 2 times the hole was on the knuckle side--rrrip and reknit, rrrip and reknit--the third time was the charm, so the thumb is done, now for the flap (condom?).

Sure Feels Like Fall Out There

Is it me or has it gotten cool rather quickly? Didn't we skip right from the seventy degree days to the fifty degree days? Who's in charge here?

Oct. 4--Three things my father told me--I always envied boys with a regular dad. They'd come to school on Mondays and talk about ballgames, fishing, building things, stuff like that. I'd stay off to the side and listen, not too close so no one would ask me what I'd done with my dad. I don't think they'd have believed me anyway. How could I tell a bunch of nine-year-olds about spending Friday night in the bar watching the old man hustle pool. "Never play a man with his own cue," he told me. If I made too much noise on Saturday morning, eating my cereal too loud or dropping a shoe, he'd holler at me to "shut the fuck up for Christ's sake" and take a swing at me. I was fast enough to duck--usually. On Sunday afternoon he'd take me along to the liquor store where he'd knock down a pack of smokes and kick it over to me to stuff in my pocket. "Who'd ever suspect a kid with freckles and red hair?" he'd say with a laugh as he peeled the cellophane off with the maximum crackle. How could I tell Jason and Michael and Andy about things like that? They wouldn't understand, their dads played catch.

Man, it's big in here when you're all alone. If anybody reads this, please comment--or post. I'm getting self-conscious talking to myself all the time. Well, enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday, It's Friday!

Thanks for all your comments on the Jellico story last night, Jennifer & Bob. We missed you, Jenny. I'll be in Montana next Thursday but I'll be back the following week. Yippee, Montana! Seeing David & Abby!! Yay! Going to Yellowstone!!! Fantabulous! Oops, I'd better quit, I'm almost out of exclamation points!

October 2--Write about never and always--Never and always are the slamming of doors painted black and white in their severe oppsiteness. Never and always build a narrow pathway lined with brambles and paved with broken glass to slash and cut travelers and keep wafflers from straying. Never is a granite wall across your path keeping you from foolishly trying new things. Always is a greased slide that snares the unwary delivering them to the edge of an abyss. Purge never and always from your mind and your tongue. Save yourself the embarrassment and open up your world to the seduction of maybe.

Weekend ho! (no, not that kind of ho. tsk, you people.)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A. Mazing.

Durwood called me at work to say he'd taken pictures of the hawk that hunts in our backyard. I was jealous. Then I saw the pictures. Now I'm impressed. They are amazing.

Banned Books Week

I know it's the middle of the week already but Sept. 27-Oct. 4 is Banned Books Week. Celebrate by reading something that pisses someone else off. Here's a big list to help you choose a title. Read on!

Hump Day

You have my permission to do whatever necessary to get over the hump today.

Sept. 30--Write about a rendezvous--"There's nothing clandestine about this, Phoebe, so stop saying we're headed for a rendezvous." Gladys stared straight out the windshield frowning at her friend's remark. "Oh, Glady, you're suck a stickler for using just the right word. Don't you think rendezvous sounds better than meeting?" "I'm not a stickler," Gladys said, the bunch of fake cherries on her hat quivering with emotion, "I am precise." Phoebe waved a small hand, which was encased in a white lace glove with a starched ruffle at the wrist, as if shooing away a fly. "I'll bet Mr. Harlow and Mr. Turner are thinking that there's more going to happen today than a mere meeting. I could tell from their note and phone message." She reached up and patted her white curls, wishing she had thought to wear her hat with the violets on it. She thought that rich purple made her eyes look lavender like Elizabeth Taylor's had in Cleopatra. "Why didn't you say you were wearing a hat, Glady? I feel a bit underdressed now. You're making a play for the richer of the two, aren't you?" Gladys glanced at her. "Did you stop taking your pills again? What do I want with an old codger who's only looking for a nurse? I'm just the driver, Miss No-License." Tears sprang to Phoebe's eyes. "What a thing to say. As if I stopped driving on purpose." Gladys steered the sedan into the Denny's parking lot at 4:30 on the dot. Two gray-haired men waited near the door, one standing holding a cane, the other in a wheelchair. Shaking the quarter in her hand, Phoebe turned to Gladys as she parked the car. "Heads or tails? Whoever wins the flip gets to choose." Gladys shook her head. "No, honey, you go ahead. I know how you like a man with expensive wheels." The old friends laughed, got out of the car, and walked up to meet their blind dates.

So ends September. Let's hope October brings inspiration and motivation.