Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stupid Viruses!

My laptop had to spend a night with the Geek Squad to get its brains washed out and rebooted so I spent last night copying all my writing and picture files back onto the hard drive. This is a reminder to go to Walmart or Office Depot or someplace like that and get a nice, roomy jump drive and back up your computer files RIGHT NOW. *ahem* Sorry for the yelling but it's that important. My computer's brain ate itself once about 10 years ago and I lost all sorts of stories and other things I didn't have hard copies of, so now I'm a fool for backing up my files. I have backups of my backups. Memory is cheap, people, it's not worth losing your brilliance to laziness. On to the writing stuff.

You know how they say that it takes 21 days of doing something to make it a habit? I'm here to tell you that it doesn't take anywhere that long to break the habit, especially if it's something you think is good for you, like, say, writing a little every day. I didn't write when I was feeling bad and was under the influence of the pain-removing ants, so now I'm back to square one with the whole building-good-writing-habits thing. Sheesh. Here we go again. This time I'd like it if someone did it with me. Anybody game? Anybody?

From last night...

April 29--American School, Portrait of Two Children. Matthew dreaded his latest commission. He was grateful to have it, don't misunderstand. He was grateful to have a place to sleep under roof and to have meals served to him regularly through the day, but the work on the commission was becoming more onerous by the hour. On the surface it seemed to be the same as so many before it, a prosperous businessman paid to have a portrait of his children, but Jared and Justus were not ordinary children. They gave off waves of, well, of pure evil. His fingers burned when he touched their skin to pose them, the smell that rose from their bodies choked his lungs, and the piercing stare of those four eyes looking at him while he painted made his hand shake. Matthew did not care what Mister Jerusalem Yost thought of the painting of his sons, he just wanted to finish, get paid his twenty-five dollars, and escape.

and for today...

April 30--Pierre-August Renoir, Roses. "Like an armful of roses," he murmured as he plunged his face into her breasts. The pink of her flesh was like the palest rose that bloomed in the dooryard of his cottage. His kisses followed his eyes into the shadow between the perfumed mounds and he thought again of flowers as he gather her luscious flesh to him. The earthy aroma of spring and life rose to his senses as he moved down her soft white belly to her dark center. He inhaled the intoxicating bouquet as he plunged into her depths. "Roses," he said into her hair, "roses, you are made of roses." She sighed and wrapped her arms and legs around him as the trailing rose gathers the trellis to its heart.

A trifle trite but acceptable. See you tonight, Jenny and Jennifer. I'll be the one in the new (to me) red car.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Look What We Got!

We found out this afternoon that Durwood's trusty 1997 Dodge Caravan was leaking vital fluids from every possible orrifice and needed replacement. I got to know the used car dealer up on the corner across from Atlanta Bread when I sold him DS's pickup a couple summers ago, so we swung by on our way to pick up the leaker. Long story short, this little beauty was sitting there waiting for us. It's a 2004 Chevy Malibu, 4 cyl., 4-door, Burgundy (red!), with 90k miles. It's in excellent shape; it started its life as a rental and moved here from CA. I love it. It gets over 30 mpg. and it's red. Even better Joe gave us $500 for the leaker! Can you believe it? DIL, he said he's got a friend with a lot in Shawano who can sell it for twice that in a heartbeat, so Durwood's rusty, leaking van is headed there. Unusual folk out there on the banks of the Wolf River. Maybe someone will use it for a summer home? (Not your family, of course)

Back To Progress Reports

It occurred to me this morning that I've lost the habit of doing weekly progress reports on how I'm measuring up to the Finished 2009 challenge flung by Julie over at Samurai Knitter earlier this year. I got up to Week #11 before I faded away into casting on new projects and veered off into book rewriting, thoroughbred racing, and gallbladder removal. But now that I've been without narcotics for 2 whole days and intend to drive away all by myself as soon as I've posted this, I solemnly swear that I will get back to filing Progress Reports. Soon. This weekend. Cross my heart.

In the meantime, here's what I knit on while I was under the influence of several quality chemicals. I made Swifies, those dandy, clever, Swiffer covers from MDK's Knitting Outside the Lines. What I like most about it is that I can use any two cotton yarns--solids, stripes, variegates--and it looks fabulous. Today I go in search of buttons to finish them up.

I finished my first Hers Candy Cane sock. I decided on the spur of the moment to do the toe in the ribbing color. Now I wish I had done Durwood's like that. Am I going to pick out the toes of his socks and redo them? No.

I also knit a bit on the Peruvian Shawl. It is wearing on me right now and so is in danger of being frogged. Don't know why. I'll ignore it for a few days and see what happens.

Back In The Groove

At least that's where I hope I am. I spent yesterday staying awake and trying to act normal in hopes that I'll manage to stay alert-ish at work tomorrow. Today I plan to drive off to do errands all by myself. That'll be the first time I'll be alone in almost 2 weeks and I have to say I am ready. I love Durwood, don't get me wrong, but I am really missing my alone time. I still feel like if I let my guard down an errant nap will jump on my eyelids and take me down for an hour but I'm fighting it. One tried to sneak up on me just now when I was thinking of what to say next but I fought it off and remained (semi-)awake. I can do it!

April 28--Anna Nikolaeva Karinskaya, Interior of L. Panteleev's House in Murmanov. At first glance it is a proper house with traditional furnishings and elegant appointments. Then you look closer and you realize that it is a stage set, a pretense. The tiny can of white paint she brought as part of her dowry was only enough to paint the window and door frames; the rest of the wood is raw. The furniture you can see from the front door is all that came with her. She stood right there, right where you're standing, and she arranged and rearranged it so that she could stop there and pretend, just for a moment, that she was at home in an elegant house in the city rather than a rough-built cabin in the woods.

It's good to preserve our fantasies, makes life bearable.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Back From the Grave

Okay, so I wasn't that close to the edge; it only felt like it for a day or so. I highly discourage anyone from willingly experiencing the adventures of a gallbladder attack. I do highly recommend the chemical agents used to diminish said attack though. And I commend whoever put said chemical agents into convenient pill-size doses. The pain removing ants do a great job. See the comments made on my knitting blog to understand the reference. I realized today that it's been way over a week since I've written anything so I flipped pages and here's what came out.

April 25 & 26--Benjamin W. Crombie, Lord Cockburn and Adam Duff, from Modern Athenians. One look at these two and my prejudices kick in. I imagine that the old Lord Cockburn is a narrow thinker, cleaving to the hard old ways, resistant to new thought. What if that is totally wrong? What if the young smiling Mister Duff is the one bound by rigid and antiquated ideas that bog him down in the past? Am I any more up to date in my thinking if I let appearances sway me so? I need to step back and watch and listen, not be so quick to rush to judgement. I need to monitor my own self to guard against rigid thinking. My eyes have set a trap for my opinions.

Okay, kids, that's all you get. The longer I take the pain pills the thicker the ants get and the foggier my thinking is. I think it's getting worse instead of better. I feel like I'm disconnected from planet earth.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I Almost Forgot

I meant to show you all the gorgeous flowers my DD sent me. They arrived this morning with a lovely heartfelt card. When I called to thank her for them she said she's almost gotten over the feeling that Lexington made me sick and I'll never come back. I assured her that all the docs told me that this had been coming on for weeks and I just hadn't recognized the symptoms. I'll be back in Lexington as soon as I can get there. There's DD, and yarn shops, and betting on thoroughbreds, and bourbon distillery tours for Durwood. Who wouldn't want to be there?

See my pretty carnations? Thanks again, honey, I love them, and you. You're my best daughter.

A Change of Plans

I took a few photos at Keeneland but was really too busy having a great time. We got there after post time of the first race and plunged into the teeming masses. All the reserved seats (in the shade) were sold out so we skulked around for a while trying to find a place to lean. Finally DD went and weaseled her way to one ticket that we shared. Actually we sat in seats that were empty around it but agreed with the dragon lady usher that we'd leave if the people came. (How rude did she think we were? Just because we're Yankees doesn't mean we're philistines, although I will say that those people were, en masse, the most polite I have been among in years.) I discovered a gift for the ability to choose and bet on the horse guaranteed to come in dead last. I flung my hopes, and $2, to the wind in 9 out of the 10 races. In only one did I choose the winner and reaped a tidy profit of $7.20. We were able to get down to the rail for the final race to see the horses flash past. It was a ton of fun and not terribly expensive.

That was Friday. On Saturday I felt a bit under the weather so after having a traditional Hot Brown Sandwich (toast covered with sliced turkey, ham, white sauce [mornay?], shredded cheddar, crispy bacon, sliced tomatoes, and then broiled) for lunch (Durwood and I split one or we'd both be in the grave), I napped while Durwood and DD went to Woodford Reserve distillery for a tour. They brought back bourbon chocolates and bourbon caramels. I highly recommend each. We met DD's friend and her mom for a Japanese hibachi/sushi supper which was excellent. Around 10 PM I got a pain under my ribs that wouldn't go away. Fearing food poisoning I spent 4 hours in the bathroom with no relief. We finally concluded that it was time for a trip to the ER. Durwood studied the map and phone book, plotted a route and got us there by 2:30 AM. It's good to marry an Eagle Scout. The doc said I was having a gall bladder attack, hooked me to an IV, and gave me some lovely drug that felt like ants were crawling in my veins but I didn't mind because they took all the pain away with them. Ahhh. And when the ants thinned out and the pain came back, they brought more ants so the pain went away again. Wasn't that nice of them? I had a CT scan and they said I had gallstones. The only thing to do is take out my gall bladder. They wouldn't do it then, I had to go home and get it done, so they gave me lots of nice pills (I think some have the same ants that were in the shots) and sent me away. I knit on Swifty on Sunday while the ants played pinochle on my snout.

I called my nice doc once we were through Louisville on Monday morning and got an appointment for Tuesday morning. Knitting on Thuja got me home. She got me a Tuesday afternoon appointment with the surgeon, and yesterday morning at 9 AM I had my gall bladder taken out. As easy as that. I was the star patient because I had to pee right away, didn't have much pain, and campaigned from the beginning to get the hell out of there. I won't horrify you with the photos of my bandaided belly and my sealed up bellybutton but I will show you the sock I cast on in the prep room and knit on whenever I had a chance. I finished the last row of the 2nd ribbing just as they said I could leave.

Now I'm home for a week with my able chef and manservant making me yummy things to eat and fetching yarn. He'll drive me to Friday Night Knitting Club tomorrow at Harmony Cafe so I don't miss any more time with my peeps, and I've convinced him that I need to go back to work next Wednesday. I've got one dive guy who called today and volunteered to come carry heavy stuff for me so I can go back sooner. They love me, my little dive guys. I love them too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Is it Friday Yet?

For some reason, the weekend cannot come early enough...maybe it was the fact I enjoyed my weekend so much last weekend and I want a repeat, but it's only Wednesday and if feels like it's still Monday.

Suddenly Something Felt Different

Her hands moved over her smooth skin, touching, feeling, and relaxing. Her shoulders and arms, now toned after months of strength training, felt strong and expressed the confidence she now felt within herself. I like what I have become, she thought. I have literally reinvented my body both inside and out. Her hands dipped lower over her breasts, this time the touch causing a shiver to run through her body. The fingertips of her left hand massaged gently, pressing small circles into her smooth, yet firm flesh working over the entire surface of her right breast until she reached the nipple and a soft moan escaped her. She moved her right hand to her left breast and repeated the pleasure she was experiencing. Her fingers slowly and methodically touching, knowing the pleasure spots, prolonging the sensations. It was the discovery of the egg shaped lump within her breast that stopped her movements completely. She pressed a little deeper and felt the lump move under her fingers. The shiver she now felt was not one of pleasure, but one of ice cold fear.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Tsk Tsk....

I've been bad...I admit it, but I can only do so much....and what I did was create alot of greeting cards for my business! You'll have to check them out on Green Pepper Greetings....I'll post each design was definitely a nice break from the mind-numbing activities of work, divorce, etc.

Only 30 more days before I can schedule my hearing....I'm so looking forward to having this behind's taking a toll on my sanity (and it's still amicable).

Write About Meeting Someone for the First Time

Claire stepped off the plane and walked through the airport's concoure, her heart pounding in anticipation as well as from the rough landing moments before. She checked her watch and saw that the flight had landed early. Did she have time to duck into the ladies' room to freshen up? Her need to meet him almost consumed her as it had the previous night while she replayed scenarios in her head until they all ran together. Her mother's voice whispered behind her left ear, "You only get one chance to make a first impression. Better to let him wait a few minutes than to have him see you all disshelved and travel-weary." The voice of reason had won and she entered the ladies room.

Moments later she emerged feeling somewhat better that there had been nothing caught in her teeth and her bladder was now empty, but her heart still raced. I wonder where he is, she mused to herself as she moved toward the baggage entrance. She could see his picture ever so vivid in her mind, but what would he look like in person? As she approached the escalators leading down to baggage, her eyes scanned for his face, but all she saw were shoes of various styles and colors.

She cautiously stepped onto the escalator, her mind playing out her fear of tripping and tumbling down the electric staircase as he walked away in disgust at her clumsiness. Her hand gripped the side rail while her eyes continued to scan. The feet she initially saw eventually grew pairs of legs decked in various styles of jeans and dress pants. Waists began to appear along with suit coats, polo shirts and finally out of the crowd of people, there he was.

Her heart caught for a moment and then began to beat frantically. He was finally here, finally in front of her, and finally she was home.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Kentucky Jackpot

Ooh, Ann took me to two yarn shops yesterday. Look what I found. So soft, so pretty. Some of it was even on sale! Not the sock yarn, though. The yarn cakes are Malabrigo silk & wool. It is to die for. I am helpless against those jewel colors and when I picked it up, so soft, it stuck to my fingers. It would have been shoplifting if I hadn't paid for it. Ann wound it for me, just in case I need to cast on a glove or something. I even bought a pair of HiyaHiya metal DPNs in size 3. I'd never seen them and want to try them. Tomorrow we're going back for Stitch 'n Bitch where there'll be more knitting than buying. I think.

That's my program from Keeneland races yesterday. I left most of my money there.

A Big Catch Up

Okay, I confess, I haven't written since Tuesday sometime. My brain shut off when we were getting ready to come to Lexington with all the last-minute planning and packing, all that driving, the endless driving, and then being here with Ann, going to the track and yarn shops and all. It's been exhausting but fun. Today we're going to a distillery (they give samples at the end of the tour) and then out to dinner with Ann's friend Anne and her mom who's in town for the weekend too. I think the Ann/es are trying to dilute the "visiting parent" factor by getting us together, hoping that we'll talk to each other and give them a break for a minute. It might work. Anyway, here's three writings that I cranked out this morning while waiting to wake up.

April 15--Emile Frechon, Kabylie Tribeswoman. She sits there with those clear brown eyes staring right through me. She knows the effect they have on me. Her lips are barely pursed, just the slightest degree, like a promise of passion. Her hand holds her headcovering, the bakua, away from her face for a moment to make that luscious promise, but the tension of those fingers belies how quickly she can draw it across her face, sealing me out forever. How can one so young be so aware of the way a man reacts? She pulses with life and promise. I am lost.

April 16--Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, Monsieur Boileau. Monsieur Boileau sits at the table, neither black nor white, blending in. Blending into the melange of the cafe, of the quarter, of Paris. In this time, Paris is the real melting pot that America claims to be. Those hapless helpless souls who are too black or too creative or just too different from their staid families can flee to Paris where they fit in. Look at me, a grown man with the legs of a boy, in love with "the green fairy," I am accepted. I am part of the milieu, even a tiny bit famous. They love me here and they will love Monsieur Boileau too, once he loses that American accent and his need to be white.

April 17--Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, Angel from the tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. Bernini. I spit on him. He holds himself above the rest. Just because the Pope commissioned him to sculpt for the new chapel. I have seen him, Bernini, carousing with strong drink and loose women. I have seen with my own eyes the man who is supposed to be the big family man with his arm over the shoulder of a whore, his hand holding her nipple which thrusts eagerly into his hand. He has daughters older than her, I know this, but still he plays at night in this pool of sin while spending the day in the purified air of the Vatican. Look, look at that angel there on the left. That is the face of the tavern girl, I am sure of it. I would bet that beneath that angelic robe held so modestly to her chest is a thrusting nipple just begging for his touch. Hypocrite.

Well, I was on a roll this morning, wasn't I? Must have been inspired by not winning most of the races I bet on yesterday. In fact, I nearly perfected the art of choosing the horse that would come in dead last. It's a gift.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Yes, Barbara, safe travels to you. Have a wonderful time!


Jim pushed the eggs around his plate with his fork. They were dry. Kathryn always scrambled them without milk -- just cracked the eggs in the pan and fiddled them around until there was no moisture left. Jim hated them this way, but it had never felt right to tell Kathryn that she didn't know how to scramble an egg. This is how things change, thought Jim.

Kathryn spread the butter thick over her toast. "What's wrong, hon?" she asked. She stuck out her tongue and licked off the butter knife. The serrated edge pressed against the pink flesh of her tongue.

"Don't do that," Jim said.

Kathryn set the knife across the top rim of her plate. "I always do that," she said. "I have a habit of doing that."


See you tomorrow, Jennifer.

Working Hard...But Still Wrote...Just Didn't Blog!

Today is a two-fer as I kept to my committment of writing at night in my journal, but just didn't get around to posting....I'll take what I can get.

Barbara- loved the Picasso nailed that one as I'm sure ALOT of people wondered what the models were thinking. Great work!

Write About a Time You Changed Your Mind

Jyll was doubly cursed born a woman as well as a Gemini. She was fine with her lot in life as it allowed her to go where the wind took her, so perhaps the curse was really the reaction of those around her. Friends who shook their heads and muttered under their breaths that her indecisiveness could drive them to drink. "Why can't you just make a decision and stick with it?" Jyll never felt like something was wrong with her wiring, but she did notice everyone who saw her faults was so tightly wound and rigid in their thought process, they were ready to pop. To get to "C", one must pass through "A" and "B". How boring, Jyll thought. Who wants "C"? It's average, it's the answer you are supposed to pick on an exam because the Law of Averages says so. Let's bypass "A" and "B", touch "D" enough to massage it into life and then leaf over to "F" where the fun is. That's what Jyll wanted to do, but the frowns and sighs directed at her tamed a piece of her until she no longer recognized herself or the sound of her own logic as it screamed in defiance within her brain.

Write About Slumming

All the rich kids got to slum during their college summer breaks as Amy slaved away at the farm her parents owned. "What did you do during the summer?" Her friend Chelsea would ask with white teeth glowing against a suntan that had been crafted carefully and methodically at her parent's Country Club. Amy would shrug her shoulders, blush and make up something, hoping the nervous sweat coming out of her pores didn't smell like hay and pig farm. None of her college friends knew what her life was like outside of school and Amy intended to keep it that way.

Safe travels Barbara ----we will miss you Thursday night!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


There is absolutely no knitting content in this post at all. None. Not the teensiest bit. This afternoon when I got home from work I looked out at all the little hopeful spring things in the yard and took a few pictures. You get to see them here, just in case you don't have spring yet where you live or a yard to find it in.

The rhubarb is up, so are the chives,

the poppies, and the lilies.

There are teeny tiny pink buds on my blueberry bushes,

the daffodils and hyacinths are blooming.

But the biggest sign of spring is the nest of day-old baby bunnies I found last night under the kitchen window. The mama bunny moved the nest overnight and filled in the little depression she had dug.

Working Hard

It's been a busy day at the dive shop. I like when it's busy; time flies, but I don't get much writing done, or reading, or knitting, or video watching. I suppose I should work for my pay instead of just amusing myself with my own pursuits. Seems a better deal for the money, at least for Mr. & Mrs. Boss.

April 14--Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. The five of them stood looking at the painting. "It doesn't look like us at all," Louise said. "At least you look like a human," said Pauline. "My face looks like a donkey or an ape, and my breasts," she hefted the weighty orbs, "look like scars left by a trowel." She sniffed her disdain and turned to dress in her shabby cotton shift. "It's a good thing he pays well," said Jeanne. "He did all right when it came to my ass." She rubbed her hands down those rounded cheeks, her eyes closing at the sensation, then her eyes snapped open. "But he made my face look like a deformed baboon." The four raised their eyebrows at each other but kept quiet. "I don't look so bad," Trixie said. "He made my eyes crooked, but they are a bit anyway, and he left off my right tit, but I'm happy." The one they called La Goulue, the glutton because she was always hungry, was silent. Even though he had painted her face nearly black and her arms and legs were out of proportion, she just smiled. "We will be famous," she said and left the studio to get home before dark.

Not so bad. I often wonder what the models' reaction to Picasso was. Now I know.

Monday, April 13, 2009


That's how I'm feeling tonight. I finished the Super Simple Sleeping Socks, or the tube socks to use a simpler term, for Durwood. They'll keep his tootsies nice and warm.

I dug deep into my MIL's button bag and found a couple of 1" buttons to finish the Swifty. I see why Kay from Mason Dixon Knitting is so addicted to the ballband dishcloth/warshrags. The pattern is hypnotizing and you can put any 2 yarns together and it looks great, and it's easy to memorize.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I worked on DIL's Silk Road purse last weekend too. I'm getting closer to time to sew it together and knit the strap.


That's a real shocker, Jennifer. You've got quite a smack at the end. I love it.

It's time for me to leave but I want to get this down before I go so I'm just going to type.

April 13--Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh, Battle with the Dragon. Maren loved it when her class went on a field trip to the Museum. Mrs. Alberts always had a purpose for those trips. she didn't believe in just running off for an afternoon out of class. Today's trip she tied to their English class. She parked group of three or four students in front of a painting or sculpture with instructions for them to make up a story about it. Maren liked the bright colors and all of the activity in her painting. The kids with her were complaining about the assignment and two boys were having a pencil sword fight. She ignored them. She looked at the knight on horseback holding his sword and shield, and at the big red dragon with its seven heads and lashing tail, and was almost ready to begin when she noticed the princess in the box. It almost looked like she in a cage. Why was she in there instead of helping the knight slay the dragon? Maren decided she'd write about a princess who fought dragons with the prince, and so she began, "Once upon a time in a kingdom called Equality..."

Gotta run. Later, dudes and dudettes.

Would hate to be that Stuart boy!!!

Hope Easter was good for everyone...nice to spend time with family, but nice to be able to come home to my own little family of cats and guinea pigs.

Write About Your Father's Hands

Mamma always told me that my Daddy's hands calmed me. "Even before you entered this world Ashleigh, his hands were all you needed. You used to kick the livin' daylights out of me when you were inside my tummy, but the moment your Daddy's hands would span my massive belly, you'd settle down."

When I was born, I came out screaming and didn't stop until my Daddy held me in his hands, cradling me against his heart, bursting with Proud Pappa Pride. Even as a baby, I'd always fuss around Mamma, maybe because the two of us were so alike, and I think that frustrated her. But only when Daddy rubbed his hands against my back while I cried tears of frustration that I would realize that someone loved me.

I grew up with Daddy's hands guiding me through life, showing me the world and protecting me from harm. It was Daddy's hands that gave me away when I married my childhood sweetheart and it was his hands that held the grandson I gave him a year later.

It was also Daddy's hands behind the wheel that took Mamma's life. Sometimes I think I can still feel his touch as our hands pressed together through the two inches of wired glass when I visit him every Sunday. I would like to think the heat I feel is his love and pride radiating through the glass, but I know different, now.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

At The Eleventh Hour

I seem to be perfecting my procrastination skills this weekend. I finished my synopsis on Friday and haven't written since. Before climbing into bed tonight I thought I'd tackle my art prompt for the weekend. For once I didn't have to sit and squint at the picture, I just looked at it, picked up my pencil and wrote. I love it when that happens.

April 11 & 12--William Biscombe Gardner, Appleblossom. "Damned stupid sheep," Liam grumbled as he and his dog Pal walked from the empty pen, around the barn, and into the orchard. Some prankster, probably that Stuart brat from down the lane, had opened the gate and left it. The sheep, not being smart enough to stay where the food was good and plentiful, had wandered their foolish way up into the orchard with their lambs. Liam could have sent Pal and his sister Sally to round them up and get them back in the pen but these were his ewes with lambs and there were enough first timers among them that he didn't want to risk some frightened mum forgetting all about her new babe. He and his Ginny had enough to do without fostering a handful of lambs. So he and Pal were going to quietly round them up and gently urge them home. If any one of them took harm that Stuart boy would have a lot to answer for.

There you go. Happy Easter everyone. Hope your day was relaxing and all your food was good.

True Progress

And, I confess, one new thing. Well, not really new. I did cast it on, knit 12 rows, frog it, recast on, and knit 6 rows before I went to bed Friday night. But it turns out there's a teensy little error in the pattern so I'm paying attention so it turns out right. It's the Swifty from MDK's second book. It tells you to start with a purl row, then a knit row, but that makes the purl bumps on the right side at the beginning and then twice again when you go back to the beginning for the second and third time. If you just knit first then purl, all is well. But I'm not going back and starting again. This one will be the practice one, the learning one. Besides it just for scrubbing floors, how perfect does it need to be? Sheesh.

I told you yesterday that I was working on the Candy Cane sock and Thuja, but I wanted to give actual photographic proof of that work. See? I didn't lie, not even a fib, it's the truth. Ta-da! Socking.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Can You Call It Progress...

when all the projects are new? I did knit on the Candy Cane Socks and Thuja last night at FNKC. I did. Really. Ask anybody. But I only have pictures of this stuff so that's what I'm putting on here.

First and foremost, I got to take the swift that Durwood is making for me for a test spin yesterday and caught the handsome and clever maker too. I can't wait until it's ready for regular use.

Felted Holder v. 5 turned out the way I envisioned them way back in the beginning when I came up with the idea. Or when I decided to take the idea off the 2009 Knitting Calendar and run with it in my own creative direction. I've liked all five versions, it's just that this one is most like my original idea. We all know I'll be making many more of these because I can't resist the crazy hairy top.

I paged through Mason-Dixon Knitting's second book the other day and they had another version of the Swiffer cover, this one with button tabs. I suspect that they'll stay in place better so I dug out all my already-used balls of dishcloth cotton and am giving it a whirl. This has already gotten to row 12 and been frogged. You'd think I could follow a simple ballband dishcloth pattern, wouldn't you?

Friday, April 10, 2009

What a Great Night!

Last night's meeting was good...kinda like Spring Cleaning for our little group in order to see what needs to be done to get us back in gear!

Thanks for the compliment Barbara! Guess my Project Management skills carry outside of my 9-5 (yeah, I wish I had those hours!) job into my personal life...just tell me if I get too bossy or bitchy. :)

Loved your Artly Writing for today...I felt the pressure building within me as you described the tension of the traffic and the buzz of the city...the startled face was a good way to create the hook!

I plan on Hitting the page with "Write About your Father's Hands", but I want to get tonight's meeting with the soon to be ex out of the way...not looking forward to this...but it's only a few hours.

A Good Meeting--With Cheese!

I really enjoyed our discussion last night. Jennifer, you have all the makings of a group leader, taking charge of the meeting like that. I heart you. As soon as I'm done here, I'm off to synopsize to get my April project(s) accomplished. Jenny, it's a great idea for each of us to find a project-of-the-month. I think you're correct to say that it'll keep us motivated and on task. Having a finite goal is much less intimidating than having all of the literary world at our feet. I'll work on putting a calendar on the blog so we know what's coming.

April 10--Camille Pissarro, Place du Theatre Francais. Ginny frowned out at the traffic that clogged the street ahead of her. What had the city planners been thinking? She snorted. If there had been such things as city planners when this mess had been new. Six main streets came together here. Six streams of traffic tried to merge and blend, then shoot cars off at angles, all the while dodging pedestrians and city buses and tour buses and, more and more, bicyclists. She ground her teeth and crept forward to be ready to pounce on the smallest gap. She kept one eye on the traffic streaming past, one eye on the foot traffic that ricocheted across like multi-colored pinballs, and one eye on the place she needed to turn off. why couldn't her meeting be in that nice cafe a block from her apartment? Why did it have to be on the other side of this mad vortex? She spied a space and her foot pressed the pedal just as a startled face filled her view.

Uh-oh. That is not good. Did our Ginny just cream some poor pedestrian? Was it the person she was to meet? I don't know. Maybe I'll come back to it sometime.
Enjoy your day. Write goodly!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's Writer-ing Day!

Hooray! I'm looking forward to hearing what Jenny and Jennifer have to say about my story, and to seeing if we can't figure out a way to pep us all up.

April 9--Pre-Columbian, Teotihuacan Pot. Luna and her assistant Christo spent the morning moving through the jungle of central Mexico on a barely visible trail. Luna kept her eyes on Christo's white shirt and tried to put her feet where his had been. She thought the wisps of mist that curled up from the jungle floor into the shafts of early morning sun looked like the souls of ancient Mayans reaching for heaven. This was her first time in the field and she wasn't sure she was cut out for it. Her Spanish was formal and seemed to offend the natives, she guessed Castilian might have been a poor choice of language classes. She thought that Christo liked her. He smiled when he spoke with her and seemed to understand her. She watched his white back bob into the sun and back out like a flickering strobe and felt suddenly dizzy. Looking around she spied a log and took two steps off the path to sit and rest. It never occurred to her that she would be invisible from the path or that she would doze off and not hear Christo when he backtracked to try and find her.

Ooh, what happens next? Is Luna taken captive by a band of guerillas? Is she lost in the jungle and spends the night, then when Christo finds her and they are VERY glad to see each other? Haven't got a clue.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Today Felt Like Spring

I love days like today, even if I'm trapped at work and not able to be out in it. I decree that it stay like this, or get warmer, until the beginning of June when summer can begin. I'm sure that Mother Nature will comply. Oh, we can have rain so the farmers can grow our food, but no more below freezing temps or snow. I'm done with that.

Thanks for the compliment, Jennifer. I loved your piece. It made me tear up a bit at the end. Haven't heard a word from Jenny, although I did hear her come home last night late so I know she's still alive. See you tomorrow night.

April 8--Harald Oscar Sohlberg, Summer Night. This far north it never really gets dark. Marja stood on the deck watching the pastels of dawn paint their way across the sky even though it was nearer midnight. Since she had been small she had pictured the sun just below the horizon bouncing like dropped ball. The light faded then surged, faded then surged, teasing the clouds with colors and sending confused birds wheeling to their nests and then back into the sky to gorge on insects that never sleep. She looked at her flower boxes ringing the deck to see the white trumpet flowers glowing as if illuminated by the solar light, like radiant moons lined up for her pleasure. Behind her she heard Rol murmur in his sleep and the rustle of the sheets as he shifted position. "Marja? Are you all right?" he said in his sleep-roughened voice. "Ja, I am out here," she said, but his only answer is a grunting snore. The long view of the sky was hers again, only hers.

I am intrigued by the long summer days in the far north when the sun never really sets but hides just below the horizon. It would probably drive me just as crazy as the neverending nights of winter.

Happy birthday today to my baby brothers, Tom & Andy, the twinnies. They're 53 today.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Brilliant...Simply Brilliant!!

Drunk with the wine of new thought......I LOVE IT!

Barbara - no worries about the length of your blogs, it's about quality, isn't it...and that you have!

Any word from Jenny lately?????

Write About What You'll Miss When You Die

Esther closed her eyes savoring the feel of his hand in hers. His strong pulse throbbed under her middle finger as she caressed the veins that ran along the inside of his wrist. She knew he probably couldn't feel her pulse even with his finger pressed on the same spot on her wrist. Her heart pumped slow and shallow as the disease continued to eat away at her strength as well as her body. His "strong, strapping girl", a name he affectionately called her now became, "my little, delicate sparrow". Every time he called her this new endearment, his eyes would well up with unshed tears, but he continued to smile at his beautiful bride of the past fifty years.

I am going to miss him so much, Esther thought to herself. She had opened her eyes and began memorizing every crease and wrinkle of his aging, yet still handsome face. Those blue eyes that gazed lovingly into her deep brown ones, the smile that still caused her heart to flutter even after so many years.

"What are you thinking about my sweet Esther?" His look was of total concern as he stroked her hand reassuringly.

She gazes into his eyes and just shook her head, smiling gently. I'm thinking how easy this will be for me, she told herself. I am missing you right now because I can, but when I'm gone, I won't even know it. It will be you that will grieve and suffer and live with the memories of me and of us. I hate that I can't make this easier for you.

Esther reached up with her hand and caressed Robert's face. He pressed his left cheek into her palm and sighed. With his eyes closed, he savored the moment until he felt her touch subside and at that moment, he realized she was gone.

Wind & Sunshine

Looking out the window you think it should be warm with all that sunshine everywhere, but then you notice the wind and you wonder. One step out the door and you wish you had thought to wear your heavy jacket. The wind is made of knives that cut through your clothing and your skin to slide their cold blades along your bones and chill you right to your core. Don't you love spring?

I like your little story, Jennifer, especially the man who teaches his daughters to have empathy. Your piece is very vivid.

April 7--Jan Vermeer, The Astronomer. One hand outstretched to touch the heavens, he breathes the rarefied air of discovery. No longer held captive by the teachings of grizzled man in Roman collars, he sees the truth of the lights in the sky. His charts of his observations crackle with the energy of new ideas as he leaps to the stars and banishes the ancient tales of hunters and prey chasing across the night. Drunk with the wine of new thought, the astronomer levels his gaze across the miles, seeing the past and the future all at the same time.

Sorry I've been so short the last few days, but since April is national poetry month, maybe we should consider them little poems in narrative form.


I just finished crocheting the last round of edging on the Fish Afghan and wove in all the tails and it's done. Finished. Complete. Woohoo! I never imagined in the summer of 2007 that the little fish blocks I used to learn to knit would end up making such a yummy afghan, but there it is. I luvs it.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Yarny Stuff Going On

I was so excited last night. I bore down and got the rest of the fish afghan blocks crocheted together. I'm going to finish the first round of edging before bed tonight. Ooh, it's going to look great! And it's warm on my lap.

I knitted a few rows on Durwood's Candy Cane Sox at work today and a few rows on Thuja over the weekend, but I spent most of my time rewriting my novel so I can fix up the synopsis, write a query letter, and email it off to the three (3!) agents who want to see it. Three! Wouldn't it be cool if one of them agreed to represent it?

Oh, yeah, and I'm knitting away on the Peruvian Shawl. Soon it'll be time to add on the next color. I love changing colors. I think all yarn should be variegated so I always have exciting color changes to entertain me. Well, maybe not all yarn, but most of it should be variegated. I sez.

EGad...that's a bad bedroom!

You definitely hit the nail on the head...a hospital room looks much better even with a sliced off ear than VanGogh's bedroom!

Write About Eating a Meal

As a child, I never had to worry about where my next meal came from. Food was hot, it was plentiful and always on time. God, I miss those days. Today's meals either don't exist, are the thrown out scraps found in trashcans, dumpsters, or worse, on the ground. But when you are lucky, you get a free meal provided by volunteers. Those are the best.

You gotta sign up for those meals fast, otherwise you miss out. If you're lucky, you can get two meals a month, the rest you are on your own. There is one place in particular that I make sure I get on the list for the night they sponsor a meal. It's a temple just outside of the city and it requires a bus ride to get to the place. It's those rides that get me off my aching feet and for just a moment allow me to pretend that I'm no different than anyone else. Except deep down, I know that I am.

I love the meals at this temple because they always go beyond what the other places do as far as providing a meal. Don't get me wrong, I fully understand that beggars can't be choosers, but you can't help but feel special when you pass through their door. I know that some of my friends complain because the meals are kosher, but hey, just because you can't have butter on your bread when meat is served, doesn't mean it's a bad meal. I'd like to know the last time they got buttered bread when they went dumpster diving.

There's a guy at the temple that I always look forward to seeing. He does alot of the cooking for our meals but he's always adding little touches that we never expect. Like, they sponsored a genuine cook-out for us and he added grilled onions. He'll make a gourmet sauce to go over the vegetables that is so good, if you close your eyes, the clink of the silverware against the plates and the hum of conversation will transport you to a four-star restaurant in the city.

He brings his daughters to the dinners and they spend time talking with us. It's nice. It's good to see some parents raising their kids to find ways to help out others and not to pity those who are less fortunate. His daughters play games with us and talk to us like we are regular people. It's nice.

Since I've been coming to this temple, I've tried hard to improve my situation. I've quit drinking and I go to three AA meetings a week. I realize it was my drinking that cost me my job, my wife and kids and put me out on the streets. Like they say at AA, it's one day at a time, one step at a time. Someday I hope to never have to get on that bus, go to that temple, and eat another volunteer sponsored meal. It will be hard not seeing that guy and his daughters, but it's only because I intend to help others like he once helped me.

A Quick Post

It's Monday and, once again, I have been away for the weekend and feel the need of a couple days relaxation before I plunge back into my workaday world. Will I get it? No, I will not. I will have to forge ahead, flinging off the chains of my word-filled weekend, and bravely tackle the challenges of the week. Of course it's payday and I'll probably be able to knit at work in between infrequent customers but it's the principle of the thing. On to writing.

April 4 & 5--Vincent van Gogh, Van Gogh's Bedroom at Arles. The woodwork and walls of the tiny bedroom were so purple that they made the floor look purple too. They weren't dark, exactly, but they seemed to shed their purpleness over every other thing in the room. Even the air seemed to carry a faint purple tint. Looking at it, even for a minute, gave me a mild headache and the need to turn away. I can't imagine how he slept there. I'd have cut off my ear, too, just to have a chance to sleep somewhere else.

April 6--Georges Pierre Seurat, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. Like a motor driven automaton, the characters in the scene move in jerky starts and stops. You expect to hear the faint grinding of gears and see the jump of a figure as the metal spring unwinds. there isn't a soft curve among the lot, except for the rounded back of the pet monkey at the bottom. All of the people are straight and stiff, holding themselves ready for the next turn of the key that winds them into action.

And that's that. Enjoy your day. I'll be back tomorrow with more drivel or maybe some little gem. I never know what's coming.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I'll Be Happy To Share My Horizon

with you, Jennifer. Just remember it's over 300 pages of manuscript, but I'll send you the file when you're ready for it.

I'll do my art prompt writing later when I get home but I want to share another exercise with you.

Write about a mirror--He stole up on the mirror that had hung on the landing as long as he remembered. When he was a boy he was too small to see himself climbing the stairs so he only saw himself from the feet up on his way down, almost as if he were growing out of the stairs. He remembered being happy when he noticed the top of his head bobbing along the bottom of the mirror the summer before he turned eleven. That was the year that he grew over a foot from Christmas until the last day of school. Aunt Clairee said that it was a good thing he saved his growing for spring so she could lop off his pants at the knees for the summer.

I like this. I've already started freewriting more of the story, but this is how it started. Scribble on!

Back in the Groove

Barbara - you sound like you are having a wonderful time in Sheboygan and are getting your spark back! Good for you! I loved the depth of your writing yesterday. I cannot wait to read your re-vision for Horizon...please please share at some point!

It was a rainy day

The distant rumble of thunder gently stirred Erin from her sleep. She sat up and stretched leisurely, feeling the pull of muscles that had tightened overnight. As she gazed out her bedroom window, Erin saw that the early morning displayed dark, overcase skies that threatened rain. Smiling, Erin snuggled back into her bed, the blanket and sheets still warm and fragrant from her sleep. She breathed deeply and sighed with content. Today's weather was just what the doctor ordered. While others would view the day as dark and dreary, Erin loved days like this.

She reached over to her bedside table and took the novel she had purchased from the neighborhood used bookstore just the day before. Today she would treat herself to a day in bed, her world transported to the days where Kings and Queens ruled all of Europe. There she would experience the elegance and romance she hoped to experience someday outside the pages of a novel.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Kicking Writing's Butt

Nice, Jennifer. Keep it up!

It's amazing what a little change of scenery will do, that, and an enthusiastic writing partner. Laurel has completely uncorked my writer self. We've done morning, afternoon and evening exercises and then split up to our respective rooms, her to write and me to rewrite. People, I have completed, completed mind you, the fix-up rewrite of Horizon, written and integrated an inciting incident just like Les Edgerton told me I should, then read through and fixed up the rest of the manuscript. I am done. Done like an overcooked meatloaf. "Stick a fork in me, I'm done" done. Yee! Haw!

In honor of my doneness, here's what I wrote this morning while we sat in the sun and sharp wind on the riverwalk.

The spring sun shown its tepid heat through the thin veil of clouds. The wind from the west still carried the cold of late winter on its broad shoulders. The women walked along the riverside, hands in their coat pockets, one with a cigarette trailing the aroma of orgasms long past. Even though they spoke to each other, they really spoke to themselves, each rolling out pain and frustration like laundry bleaching in the spring sunshine. The lash of cold brought by the gusty wind carved them to the bone, excising truth to be flung to the sky and carried away like last autumn's leaves.

All I can say is, "ahhhhhhh. Man, this feels good." Looking forward to Thursday.

This is starting to feel good!

Have fun in Sheboygan Barbara! It's great that you have writer friends to touch base with and bounce ideas off of each other. Loved your piece about the Musician. You captured the mother's fears about what success could do to her daughter as I've read that Court was not a good place for young girls!

Write About Your Mother's Cooking

"What should I bring for Easter brunch?"

Carol's eyes pinched shut at the sound of the insincere offer. Every year it was the same question and every year it was the same answer. "Just bring yourself mom, oh, and bring dad too." Carol knew her attempt at humor was a passive way to evade the question that her mother pressed on her.

Who was she kidding, Carol thought to herself. I know she doesn't cook and she knows she doesn't cook. Carol sighed heavily. It was obvious that the question came from the pages of the Bible of Emily Post in that all good guests should make an offer to bring something to a dinner, no matter how empty the offer sounded.

"Well what are you having?"

"Lamb, a lemon risotto and asparagus," Carol said. "I'm making an Angel Food Trifle for dessert."

"Well then, how about if I bring a White Zinfadel," her mother said as if this would solve all of the world's problems surrounding Carol's brunch menu. It was her mother's typical answer and it meant that this year's Easter would be alot like past Easter's. Mom would drink too much and start in about how difficult it was to raise Carol and her brother Stephen.

"That's fine mother," Carol said. Carol's heart sunk to her stomach. She made a mental note to add White Zinfadel to her shopping list as she knew the bottle her mother would bring would only serve herself.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Sheboygan Words

I'm over here. Here, that's me jumping up and down waving by the river. See me? I've met a writing friend here, we've walked up and down the riverwalk, watching the ducks and gulls, letting the sharp spring wind blow us awake. We've done exercises and talked for hours. Both of us need the words to flow, to come back, to make friends with us again. We're here to court them back into favor. So far... things are okay. No earthshaking epiphanies, but no heartbreaking silences either. I'm hoping for sunshine tomorrow, sunshine is easier to write in than overcast.

April 3--Italian School (14th Century)--A Musician, from DeMusica by Boethius. Look at her standing up there, so serious. Her body curves with the effort to hold the lute correctly and position the bow just right. She looks so grown up and her focus is deeply carved in her sweet face. All the months of practice and lessons, all the days that she has spent learning were for today. The planning and preparation, the new dress that had to be just right. All for today. Today when the town looks new bright and scrubbed in the sunlight. Today when the Baron makes his annual rounds, she hopes he will notice her and take her to court. And I, her mother and biggest supporter, hope that he doesn't.

Good for you, Jennifer, for getting back to the page. I like your piece; nice surprise that the speaker is a young man getting the bad news that his best friend can't sleep over any more. I liked last night's meeting too.

Good night.

Swift Kick in the Pants to Restart My Writing

Barbara - thank you for a great Writer's Night. I loved hearing about your Writer's Workshop weekend. I hope the critique you received from Les Edgerton as well as your chance encounter with the Post-menopausal agent after the workshop ended shows you that success for you is in your future. Thank you also for being so candid in your thoughts about where our group is going. As I told you, I feel like I am drifting and need to re-commit myself to my writing, my contributions to the blog and to the here goes!

"And it was at that age..." (After Pablo Neruda)

"Because it's not right and I'm your father," my dad said loud enough to make the other patrons in the diner look over at us. I slid down on the vinyl booth seat in embarassment, but I still did not understand. Taking a french fry off my plate, I dipped it three times into the pool of ketchup that threatened to touch the rest of my hamburger I was still eating. The fries were cold, but I didn't care. I thoughtfully chewed and waited for the attention in the diner to turn away from us.

"But Dad, Emily is my best friend. We have known each other since we were babies. Her dad is your best friend. Why can't she sleep over anymore?

My dad lowered his fork, laced his fingers together and placed his hands in front of his plate. He leaned towards me and in a quiet, yet determined voice, he said, "Frank, you are a young man now and Emily is a young lady. The two of you are no longer children. Boys and girls your age don't have sleep-overs together. If we allowed it, it would cause problems for Emily and her reputation."

I sat back and swirled another french fry through the ketchup. It was at that age I learned that boys and girls could no longer be just friends. It was at that age I learned that relationships suddenly became more complicated and would continue to remain that way for the rest of my life.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I'd Rather Be Diving

Today's one of those days that I could shuck my life and run away to someplace warm. I could peel off my everyday like a bad sunburn and start over all new. But I won't. I'm too attached to my people and, I hate to say it, my stuff. I think it's time to have a handful of M&Ms and then go to bed. But, first, some writing.

April 2--Jean Baptiste Greuze, Girl with a Blue Ribbon. Of all the Clivot girls, Giselle was the most beautiful. Not so much in the traditional sense of the word, that would have been boring, but there was a certain light that shone around her, an allure that drew people to her. Maybe it was the way her curly red wisps of hair sprang free from the blue ribbon she always tied it back with. Those little corkscrews of hair reminded me of the sparks that shot from the fire when you tossed a pine branch on the flames. Perhaps what drew people were her steady gray eyes like a millpond at dawn, cold and inviting. Giselle Clivot drew young men like sugar draws bees. She would lower her sweep of lashes but any fool could see the blush flood her cheeks, and the succulent peach of her lips, that always looked ready for a kiss, would deepen. Yes, everyone loved Giselle Clivot but Giselle Clivot loved only me for the all the days of her life. And now I am ready to rejoin her. Au revoir, la vie, I go to my Giselle.

Nice. A love letter. Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

I Got A Package

I asked my DD if she had any of the yarn I'm using to knit the Peruvian Shawl, and she did. She sent it to me this week and today it arrived.

There was a surprise. It's gorgeous sock yarn with aloe. Very luxurious feeling. I can't wait to knit with it.

Thanks, DD! You're the best.

April Fools!

I have no pranks to play, I just wanted to say it. We're having an unlovely, dreary day but at least it's not actively raining like it was yesterday. That's some small consolation. What's it like where you are?

April 1--John Singer Sargent, A Boating Party. Carl and Elroy raced down to the dock after lunch. They had spent the morning planning their expedition and couldn't wait to be off. They had lain at the top of the stairs in the cottage with one eye on the clock. As soon as the minute hand touched the edge of the Roman X of one P.M. they were up, clattering down, and out the door, calling that they'd be back for supper. Before Mom or Aunt Ninny or anyone could call them back with questions they were already on the dock. Carl pulled the little canoe up tight and flung his leg over the side of the big skiff, the one all the kids called "the battle wagon," while Elroy unloaded the supplies they had stashed under the tarp. A few feet away, their big cousin Toby walked down to take Miss Parsons for a boat ride. As Carl and Elroy paddled off to dig for pirate treasure behind Old Man Simons' place on Chigger Island, they agreed they'd never waste a perfectly good afternoon taking a girl for a ride.

Time to get ready for work and keep the world safe from scuba diving.