Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Rest of the Art Prompt Writings

Here they are, just as I promised, the rest of the week's prompt writings. I had to Wii after supper and then cool down so it's a little late, but I made it.

May 29--Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Philosopher in Meditation. The painting was shocking when Emmaline saw it. It wasn't very big and it certainly wasn't colorful to catch her eye, but she couldn't walk past. She felt as if she were spying on the old man's privacy. He sat in his chair in a bubble of yellow light from the window. His servant crouched behind the twisted stairs tending the fire. She wanted to step into the painting, to sit at the philosopher's feet and listen to his slow words and learn.

May 30 & 31--Magdalenian School (Paleolithic era), Male and Female Deer. The rock was so smooth and white that he couldn't resist making that first mark on it. He wasn't bold enough to put it in the center or up where someone would see it. He crouched down and drew a little beetle near the floor with a piece of charcoal. The old man watched him with his cold black eyes, not saying a word but he didn't make him rub it off. Whenever he got the chance he drew on stones or pieces of wood. He even drew in the dirt with a sharp stick but that wasn't permanent enough. He watched how the animals acted, how they ran, raised their young, ate, and played. He worked hard to make them come alive when he painted them on the walls of the cave. He was especially happy with the deer. He thought the old man liked them too.

That's all for me today and that's all for May. Tomorrow is the first of June. Amazing. It's been too cool to be the end of May. Everything's a week late, at least. But there are tiny green blueberries on my bushes. Squee!

Oh, yeah, I forgot...

I was talking to my daughter this morning and realized that there were more things I wanted to put on the blog, so I made a list. I had to make a list of the 3 things I wanted to post. I couldn't even trust myself to remember 3 paltrey things. I need a keeper.

I was knitting in the Lodge and set down my sock to go get something. When I came back to my chair I didn't notice that it had fallen onto the seat. I sat down. Now there are only 4 needles where there used to be 5. Ouch. No, they're not Brittany Birch needles so I can't send in the pieces and get a new one. They're my favorites--Crystal Palace. So smooth, so pretty. Just right.

I was perusing the items in The Clearing's gift shop and bookstore when I spied a basket of hats knitted by a lady and donated for them to sell. Ellen makes lovely hats. I took one's picture because I want to find the pattern, or one like it, and learn how to knit with 2 colors like this. Pretty!

Let's see, what else? (check the list, Barbara) Oh, yeah. I stopped at Spin in Sturgeon Bay for some new size 3 DPNs and couldn't resist this ball of Zauberball Crazy 02 sock yarn. The colors, I love the colors, but they're down the queue. I swear.

And this afternoon I finished my first official Ballband warshrag. Idn't it purdy? I got the P&C variegated at ReBelle in Lexington. Colorful!

Now I want to Google my new/used car to see if I can download an owner's manual so I can figure out how to set the clock and preset radio buttons. I promise this is my last post of the day.

For My DD...

...who loves them, I present the 2009 Lilies of the Valley. I wish I could send her a big bouquet of them. I remember my grandma's were planted in a gap in a fir tree in her front yard. I would sit in there and read when I was a kid with all that glorious aroma around me. They smell heavenly when you step out the back door. Makes me want to lie on the grass and let the cool, sweet smell wash over me.

Most of the Week's Art Prompt Writing

I'm confessing right up front that I didn't do the Friday prompt and I haven't yet done the one for the weekend. Friday was busy getting all 11 poetry blogs for the class set up in the morning, class in the afternoon and the Friday night show-and-tell, plus packing. I will write them today while the laundry is flopping around. Cross my heart.

May 23 & 24--Master of the Louis XII Triptych, Triptych of Louis XII and Anne de Bretagne with Annunciation Scene. Emmaline walked through the galleries of the Victoria and Albert Museum, stopping in front of a sixteenth century triptych showing, she leaned to read the little sign, Louis XII and his wife with some saints. Emmaline liked the dark blue of the background and the gilded edges that framed the pieces, but she wondered who all the people were supposed to be. She thought the people with the gold disks behind their heads were saints and she picked out the king and queen. Who were the rest of them? Angels? But the painter made the wings green or brown. Everyone knows that angel wings are white even if the robes are colored. She bet the queen wasn't happy with the "creative" angels and put the triptych right into the rummage sale pile. That's how it got from France to England in the first place, at least that was Emmaline's opinion.

May 25--Jean Raoux, Modern Virgins. A clutch of women all in white, white flowers and ribbons in their hair, barefoot, at their ease. When does color enter their lives? When they are no longer chaste? They may be robing for a ceremony with their floral tiaras with veils and ribbons flowing down their backs. I like that they are called modern as if they are the ultimate in current fashion in their marble rooms and old-fashioned dress. We are too insular to think we are the epitome of modernity when each age has thought the same since time began.

May 26--French School, Beehive and Bees. The steady hum from the hives were like music that lured Ella into the field every day. She watched the breeze dance with the flowers in Grandmama's garden and push its way through the tall grasses like that bratty Melvin Faber did in the school halls. She liked the soft powdery feel of the dry dust of the path as she went on her way. The squeak of one wheel on the old wooden wagon she dragged behind reminded her that she was on a mission. Her wagon was loaded with fresh framed for the hives that Aunt Sarry and Aunt June were even now checking for full ones. She could smell the smoke and the honey the closer she got and thought happily of fresh biscuits and honey for lunch.

May 27--Hans Holbein the Younger, King Henry VIII. Oh, Hank, you rogue. You'd have had a better life if you'd have had some self-control. All those wives wedded, bedded, then divorced or beheaded. It shows a bit of a problem. And making yourself head of a new religion just so you could get a divorce, well, that's a bit much. I've seen your armor in the Tower of London. You weren't very tall, and that round codpiece so your syphilis-riddled pecker didn't hurt was a real fashion statement. That's sarcasm, Hank, it really looks stupid. If you'd kept that trouser worm in your trousers once or twice you might not have caught the disease and had more children survive. Kings!

May 28--Claude Monet, Tulip Fields with the Rijnsburg Windmill. I never think of tulips as a cash crop. Tulips are one of the harbingers of spring that emerge in front of my house and along the back fence. The Dutch have been very serious about tulips for a long time, centuries if the truth be told. They were the diamonds of their day. Fortunes were made and lost speculating in the bulb market. Thievery abounded. Botanists combed the globe for varieties and scientists watched for new crosses to grow. New colors, now shapes, frills and ruffles, variegates galore. Smugglers carried contraband bulbs across borders, across oceans. Royalty was obsesses, of course. Today for most of us tulips are merely flowers, but once they nearly ruled the world.

Now all I have to do is laundry and I'll have all my chores from coming home done. Well, except for weeding the garden and that will be done in little bits. I'll graciously accept any weeding help offered. I'll even read you stories while you weed.

Rain, Rain, Rain, Rain, RAIN

Two and a half days of it. You can imagine how wet sawdust feels in your shoes. Mmm, comfy. But when the sun shone the woods and the bay and the wildflowers were gorgeous. Lots of poetry got written, but I followed another path toward the week's goal to get poetry out into the world. I made an altered book. That means I bought a $1 book at The Attic, took my gluestick and X-acto knife, cut pages, printed out photos and poems, and stuck them onto the pages. I put in pieces of birch bark, cedar trees, even tiny pieces of limestone. It was very much fun and made something rather beautiful. I will recommend that you choose a book newer than 1934 because those old pages are very brittle. Before I post my art prompt writing for the week, I'll post a few photos to whet your appetite.

I'm Home!

You didn't even realize I was gone, did you? I spent a week at The Clearing, a folk school in Ellison Bay in Door County, Wisconsin. It's one of my two favorite places in the world. The class I took was Poetry Camp: Sending Your Poetry into the World, and we wrote 10 poems and brainstormed ways to get our poetry read, like setting up a poetry blog, putting poems on bookmarks or postcards, getting them published in magazines and journals, of course. But I took a different tack, also of course. I took my printer and a $1 book I got at The Attic and made an altered book. My gluestick and I had a blast with printed pictures of The Clearing and Bonaire diving, matching them up with poems, and gluing them into an old book.

I did knit too. I took two different socks, one requiring a bit of concentration for knitting in my room and one plain one for nighttime knitting in the Lodge with the dominoes players and jigsaw puzzle assemblers. See?

I cast on audreym's Evenstar Gloves last night because my resistance to the yarn was finally worn so thin that I had to cave.

Friday, May 29, 2009

We miss you too Barbara!

I have been so bad this writing, not even Wii-ing...just Working...bleh!

Hope you are having a great time at Poetry Camp ---I bet it is just gorgeous in Door County this week!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Anybody out there writing?

I've got 7 poems written. Not all winners, not even all good, but I'm writing. I'll catch up with posting my art-prompt writing maybe Friday, but this weekend for sure.

I miss you guys.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Sorry If I Distracted You Last Night

I realized when I got home that I spent a bunch of last night chattering away. Sorry if I kept you from working. I'll be interested to read your story about the voices you hear out your window.

May 22--Edgar Degas, Blue Dancers. The curtains draw open to reveal a blue rippling ocean. As the music swells parts of the waves rise as dancers lift their arms high and begin. It is like the waves are moving, swelling and breaking on a shore, threatening to wash into the orchestra and right out over the audience. The white underskirts look like foam as the ballerinas swirl and dip the blue of their tutus flaring with their movements. Here and there a male dancer all in silver darts among them like a great barracuda patrolling the reef. Now the blue dancers slow and sway as they are joined by a rank of kelp green dancers with one orange Garibaldi in their midst, mimicking the coastal ocean of California. The music goes on, ballerinas becoming each of the seven seas in turn until the lights turn blue-white like the moon and the dancers sink to the stage, quiet for the night.

Can you tell I've shifted my thoughts to the Bonaire poems I want to write next week? See you in 2 weeks.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Happy Trainer is a Good Thing!

So glad that Horst isn't angry with you! I'm finding it hard to wake up in the morning, but the cat insists I feed her at 5 am which then follows up with my Wii workout. I'm loving it and already met my first goal! I had to laugh when my trainer expressed concern that I was losing weight too fast....umm...HELLO! Does she not see how I look?????

Barbara - I absolutely loved both the Royal Head and the Young Orphan in the Cemetery. Royal Head gave such a great mix of claustrophobia and fear that made my hair stand up on end. The way you wrote Young Orphan made me think of my favorite type of Historical Fiction that I just can't get enough of ....any plans to do anything with either of these pieces?? Please say yes!

Ok...I'm anxious for Writing tonight...lots of ideas spinning in my head that I feel like I will get to put to paper without any excuses!

See you tonight!

Horst Isn't Angry

I did some yoga poses to warm up before step aerobics last night and Horst was just as polite as could be. Whew. I was afraid he'd have something to say about my desertion. I have come to the realization that you can't trust the scales on the thing, though. It told me I'd gained half a pound and I knew I hadn't but still it nagged at me all evening and I came this close to eating a bag of potato chips or a big dish of ice cream. No, potato chips, I wanted something crunchy. It nagged at me and nagged at me until I went to the kitchen, got out the baby carrots, chopped them into half-inch pieces, and ate them from a bowl while I watched TV and knit. Take that, Wii balance board, you can't tell me I've gained weight and make me eat bad things. So there.

May 21--Eugene Delecroix, Young Orphan in the Cemetery. Giselle is lost. The only place she knows to go where things, where people are familiar is the cemetery next to the village church. Only there can she see the names that she recognizes, there lie the people she loves, that loved her. Giselle was away on an errand to the dairy farm down the road when the raiders came. She made her way home in the gathering dusk, her basket full of butter and fresh cheese, smelling smoke, wondering who was having pork for supper, when she came around the curve and saw the devastation. All that was left of her home was a pile of smoking timbers and the tumbled stones that used to be the fireplace. A hand, she saw her mother's hand reaching out where the door had been, beckoning help, beckoning her. The dairy boy found her the next morning as he and his sleepy horse clopped down the road toward the farm. Women from the village comforted her and made her meals that went untouched. Men buried what they found of her family and carved a stone. Now Giselle lived in the cemetery, the only place her heart beat, the only place she could draw an easy breath.

It's writer's tonight. Bring your latest project and get something accomplished.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Totally Understand

Infatuation is hard to ignore and I know how anxious you've been to get moving again. Wii is good.

I'm sad that I have to work today when it's supposed to be such fabulous warm weather. Finally. I've been wearing a sweater to work and keeping it on indoors for the last few weeks. It's like I work in a meat locker. Crazy. Maybe it'll warm up in there today, but I'm taking a hoodie just in case.

May 20--Egyptian 18th Dynasty, Royal head, possibly Tutankhamen. The darkness in the tomb was nearly impenetrable. The beams of the flashlights were swallowed quickly by the thick black air. Jean felt the sweat gather at her temples and trickle down her back as she followed Eric and their guide Abdullah farther into it. She had always dreamed of visiting the tombs and temples of ancient Egypt but for some reason it never occurred to her that in order to see them she would have to crouch and slither up and down (down was the worst) narrow passageways hacked thousands of years ago by men who were much smaller, and determined to keep people out. In front of her Abdullah disappeared, then Eric did, and Jean stepped out of the shaft and into a room filled with the heavy darkness. Abdullah's gnarled fingers plucked at her arm to show her where to shine her light. The blue-white beam fell on the floor and lit a carved head nestled in the corner. She gasped and leaned forward to see the blue face lying there, the eyes sightless sockets and the sensuous lips gently pursed.

Yep, tomorrow night's project night. See you then.

Nephew Hat #2 Done!

I'm helpless against big needles and bulky yarn. This hat was easy and fast and fun to knit. I hope the intended victim, uh, I mean, recipient likes it. It kind of looks like a sea creature but, trust me, it's a hat.
Dusty and I went to Neenah last Tuesday to check out Yarns By Design. It's a lovely store with lots of yummy yarn and very helpful staff. See what I bought for a secret project? Mmm, colorful. And it was on sale! Meant to be mine.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

OK Mom...... :(

Damn Barbara...that was really mom-ish! But completely understood.

I am just loving the Wii...have I mentioned that before?????

As far as writing, the prompts in the Book of Days are not thrilling me...too much of an opportunity to write about my life which I would like to get away from. But the ideas are spinning in my head about sounds, sights I see that stir me to's on paper just figuring how to get it to the blog without taking up too much bandwidth...

Can't wait for's project night, right? I promise not to bring my Wii, but can't don't be surprised if a few "Wii Wii Wii...all the way home comes out of my mouth!"

Barbara - I liked Young Shepherd...i see a children's story coming out of this....this has a nice dreamy feel to it that I love!

Just Remember...

that Work provides the $$ for the Wii. Sorry to sound Mom-ish but it's a role I can't shake. So you can do the yoga, huh? Maybe when I get my balance in order I'll be better at it but I'm not holding my breath. I envision myself as this sleek elegant figure doing poses, a thin sheen of sweat glistening on my dewy skin, when in reality I'm dumpy and red-faced, sweating like a field hand, but just grinning and clapping doing the step aerobics. I love it even when I step when I should kick. My hips ache but I love it. Wii is good, honor the Wii. My surgeon said he loves his Wii too. Hey, have you unlocked the bubble thing in the balance part yet? I'm determined to get through it once without popping my bubble and I discovered that the bee can pop it if you're not moving fast enough. Geez. Oh, yeah, writing...

May 19--Chinese School, Young Shepherd. Mai and Chin lay in the grass filled with flowers and grazing sheep. They were feeling grown up and important. This was the first spring that they were sent out to watch the sheep with their older brother Rai. They were tired of being the babies and only getting to spend their days in the yard picking up the lost grains from the winnowing and finding the secret places where their hens laid their eggs. Last night when she tucked them into their sleeping place Oma had said they would need to wake very early because the walk to the grazing field was far. Rai had teased them and called them his herding dogs as they ran to keep the sheep together. Now that they were stopped for the sheep to graze, Rai played his flute, colorful birds tumbled in the treetops, and Mai and Chin dozed together in the sunlight.

Oh, I like this picture and I like what I wrote. I don't see it going anywhere but I like it. What are you writing?

Monday, May 18, 2009

I've Ditched Horst... favor of step aerobics. I can't get enough of it. I haven't yoga-d since I found it. Poor Horst. Thirty minutes of the step programs and I'm drenched in sweat and my hips are aching and I love it.

Got my first agent rejection today from the one I was sure would jump at the chance to represent it. Shows how good my judgement is. Not losing hope yet.

May 18--Georges Croegaert, La Liseuse. It took Lisette months to get her room just right. She had the walls painted three times before she found just the right shade of yellow. Days of combing the resale shops and antique shops in Montmartre brought the Chinese masks, the silk hangings, and the lacquered chest and table. The day bed was easy; all she needed was a single bed and piles of pillows that she had a seamstress make from remnants Lisette found on one of her hunts through the shops. Her husband, Georges, contributed the leopard skin run for the floor. He teased her that she needed some masculine touch to remind her whose money paid for all this Chinese splendor. But the books, the books were all hers and Lisette thought she could be content in a garret as long as she had her books.

Finally. It took two runs at it to get the little bit down and it's taken me three times to get it typed in here. I'm just too much in demand.

Ma'am....Slowly Step Away from the Wii!!!

I'm in love....can't help did I ever get by in life without the Wii???

I love it and I love the challenges I set for myself....(no bowling until I work out for at least 30 minutes).

I've picked a female trainer and am going with Helga the Hurter, but she's very nice to me...but I worry that if I ignore her, she may hurt me.

The yoga is great and who knew I would excel at it (based on her feedback)..the Tilt Table is a challenge as is the tight rope.

Good for you Barbara in getting your query, synopsis, and emails out with dinner intact! I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed that good luck comes your way.

I liked the Turkish Jeweler piece. It was such a brilliant painting but such soft edges, but you put a voice to it which I liked.

My Spirit of Archetypes arrived today! Yeah....there is not enough time in my day to Wii, Write, and Work...I should give something up....I'm going with Work!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

It Might Seem Like the Last Day of the Weekend...

but I've got one more to go. Mr. Boss asked if I could work Tuesday instead of Monday, I said I could, so I'll have a four-day weekend. It feels luxurious.

I did it today. I got my query letter, one-page synopsis, and the first 3 chapters of Horizon all put together with the "I"s dotted and the "T"s crossed, and emailed a query submission to each of the 3 agents I met in Madison. As soon as I sent the last one I thought I was going to puke but I survived with my dinner and dignity intact. Now once I get back from Poetry Camp I'll pull out the retired spies novel and see what I can do to make that into an actual readable story. This writing thing is never ending!

May 16 & 17--August Macke, The Turkish Jeweler. "Necklace, miss?" A dark brown hand holding a shell necklace appeared in front of Pam as she left her resort's property. She barely suppressed a cry at the suddenness of its appearance. She had been warned by friends and acquaintances about the pushy nature of the islanders, and there was even a mention of the persistence of the street hawkers on a sign in the resort lobby. She had spoken to a couple who had been on the island for over two weeks who were very proud of the fact that they had never left the property. Pam shook her head, thinking that she wanted a real island experience, not one made by some Disney imagineer, some artificial vacation world. She hadn't got a hundred feet down the road from the resort gate when she started to reconsider the wisdom of striking out alone. The crowd of hawkers grew with every step, men wanting to sell her shell jewelry, women wanting to braid her hair or give her an aloe massage. She slid her purse around in front and crossed her arms over it. She walked slower and slower in the growing crowd of brown bodies, the constant feel of hands touching her hair, her skin made her feel as if she had walked into a web. Her "no, thanks" and "not interested" got smaller and weaker until she was keening like a sick animal and finally she fell to her knees in the rough gravel and weeds of the roadside and folded herself into herself.


Saturday, May 16, 2009


I'm glad you like your new Wii and I'm sorry if Jenny and I were bad influences, but I love our Wii! I ditched Horst today and mowed the lawn instead. I'll tell him and he'll understand. Have you named your trainer yet?

I was sooooooo bad today!

I don't know what got into me today, but I was bad to the point I bought a Wii and a Wii now I'm taking a few moments to step away from the tv and confess my sin of badness before I go back to my new addiction.

My rationale is that it will get me moving more....but I must keep writing as well.

I'm just Wii-ly Wii-ly bad!

I'll Second That

I'm glad you liked the exercise, Jennifer, and that you found Roi's book online. On sale! I enjoyed it too and will bring those cards again for us to use as springboards.

I will confess that I am posting now to avoid going out and mowing. I know it's a contradiction since I complained all last week about my dive friend's high-handed command that I let him mow my lawn, that I can do it myself, but you know, I'm lazy and it sounds like a good idea now that it's time to mow again. No. I'm not going there. I'm going right out, as soon as I've posted last night's prompt writing, and mow that grass. I can rest and take it slow. I can do this. It'll be good for me. I'll tell Horst, my Wii Fit pretend trainer, and he'll be proud.

May 15--French School, How Alexander the Great Mounted Bucephalus. Okay, I'm about ready to revoke this artist's artistic license. I am certain Alexander didn't have such tiny feet and skinny legs. He was probably a burly muscular guy with a beard--and a better hat. This Alexander looks like a simpering courtier, not the guy who conquered everything and everyone in sight. I am also certain that his great horse Bucephalus had neither a unicorn horn nor a peacock tail. This was a war horse, people, a sturdy muscular horse that could gallop all day. Bucephalus wouldn't shy at a small snarling dog either. He'd stamp on it and move on. I don't blame whoever painted this for not signing his name. I'd be ashamed too.

There you have it, last night's late efforts at writing. It was very late, almost midnight. That's my excuse for the lack of creativity and brilliance.

Progress Report--Week # 20

Can you believe that it's the 20th week of 2009 already? Me neither. Time sure flies and I don't think I get as much done as I think I should. Yesterday I went to Stein's in search of red, tubular, hummingbird-attracting flowers (because Durwood thinks that any plant you can't eat is a "waste of ground" but if it attracts hummingbirds, which he loves, that's a good plant) and a bay leaf plant. I found a little one quite by accident a few years ago and we're almost out of the leaves from that so I wanted another one. I looked and looked, I even enlisted the aid of other herb shoppers to help find one, but had no luck. Until I asked an employee of Stein's, that is. She directed me to the next greenhouse where the gallon pots of herbs were kept. Ta-da! Isn't it beautiful? I've put it in the pot so I can bring it in next fall and keep it alive over the winter. If I'm successful, I'll have homegrown bay leaves for all my soups and stews for years to come. And I planted the first part of a row of beets, some regular and some golden; I'll plant more in a few weeks and keep up until I run out of seeds so I can harvest them and still have more.

So far Flash and Bobo, the first crop of baby bunnies, haven't eaten anything in the garden. I promise, though, the first sign of nibbling and they won't be so cute. There'll be a lot of chicken wire and bamboo stakes between them and the goodies, and BBs will be stinging their little butts. I won't let Durwood send them to bunny heaven but I will let him deter them.

There are lots of tiny cream colored blooms on my blueberry bushes. I can't wait to watch the berries as they mature. I found lime and orange scented geraniums in the herb plants too. I don't know what I'll do with the leaves but I couldn't resist them. So I spent all afternoon planting and helping Durwood put amended soil on his inherited raspberry plants up on the hill. It was an adventure keeping the wheelbarrow balanced on that narrow spot but I managed, stubborn woman than I am. (can I get an "amen"?)

I finished the Hers Candy Cane socks for myself this morning. I want to take them to The Clearing next weekend to keep my tootsies warm while I'm in my cabin writing away. They'll be good to wear today too since it's windy and chilly today and they're threatening us with frost tonight.

I only managed to knit 1 and 1/2 Sudoku squares at work this week. Maize is not my favorite color.

I worked on Nephew Hat #2 at Harmony last night. I'm liking the way it's looking and can't wait to see it finished.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I Got a Bit Distracted

It was a struggle staying "on task" this week. Oh he!!, let's be honest, I didn't. I got distracted by knitting Nephew Hat #1 and then immediately cast on Nephew Hat #2 because I found a skein of yarn in the stash that I think he'll like and a different pattern. I'm a sucker for big needles or bulky yarn or both, and I'm a big sucker for a 6'2" 135 lb. 15-year-old with blond curls and braces. Who wouldn't be?
Hat #1 is Thorpe knitted on US 9 circs with this yarn. Hat #2 is from Patons booklet, Chill Out, #500985 called the Stonewall Hat in 3 strands of Encore worsted held together on size US 15 straights. I love big yarn and big needles. I can't help myself.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What a Great Night!!!

GREAT Writerly Activity tonight Barbara and I found Roi's book on her website and it was on sale!!!!! Bonus!

Thanks for a great evening ladies!

Will blog this weekend...that's a promise!

Chilly Wind

A chilly wind is blowing today and I'm wondering if it will ever get warm more than one day in a row. The sun is in and out of the clouds and it looks very spring-y out there. I got Durwood's tomatoes planted the other night and this weekend I'll buy some beet seeds to plant a row next to my scallions. I'm beginning to feel rather cramped with people constantly around me and things needing to be done. Good thing I've only got 10 more days until I go off to The Clearing for a week of poetry writing. That's sure to clear my mind and put me back in touch with myself. I need to renew my goal of finishing the query letter so I can send my novel, Horizon, off to the 3 agents I met in Madison. This weekend I swear I'll do it. Cross my heart.

May 14--Chinese School, Fo porcelain dog. I rode it when I was small and Grandma wasn't looking. It was my pet. None of my cousins liked what they called "the dragon dog" but I loved it. I loved its dots and cheerful colors; I loved the smile on its face and the red tassels around its neck. I called him Melvin and played with him all the time. Melvin lived in Grandma's dining room next to the sideboard. I'd take my paper and crayons in to sit by Melvin and color or pretend that my doll, Pearl, was a lonely little girl with a wise and fierce dog named Melvin. They shared many adventures and I would write down the stories and illustrate them too. The cousins played out in the garden, running through the maze and playing tag in the orchard. I spent my days in the dimly lit dining room off on crusades with Pearl and Melvin.

Tonight's writing. Have you got your critique of Jenny's story done yet? I'm working hard on an exercise in creativity for us. See you then.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Not my favorite weather, but I suppose I have to expect this sort of day in Spring if I want my flowers and garden to grow. Shouldn't it be a bit warmer, though? I mean, I'm still wearing a sweater to work because I get cold in there. Cold. In May. What is wrong with me? Oh, it can't be me, must be some deficiency in the building or the climate or maybe the ozone layer, whateverthatis. I don't think it affects indoor weather, does it? Even my tootsies are a bit chilled today. Gah.

On a better note, I got up early this morning so I could spend a few quality minutes with my new Wii Fit. It makes me feel noble and virtuous. I still suck at the ski jump, but I'm kicking butt on the table tilt thing. I like the danciness of the step exercises and keep tipping over when I try the yoga poses but Horst (that's what I named my trainer) thinks I'm getting better all the time and he wants me to spend more time with him. Do you think he likes me?

May 13--Odilon Redon, Profile of a Girl with Flowers. There she sits again, showing herself off accidentally on purpose. She sits there nearly every night posed behind the shade trying to pretend she doesn't know anyone's out here looking in. Look, you can see the self-satisfied smirk on her lips. She knows. She holds herself still to sear her image onto my retina, so that I can't sleep, so that when I close my eyes all I see is her. I can't get near her in the day because they've taken to locking the school doors. And if I do get in there, if I do get in there where I can feel her, smell her, where I can find her and finally touch her, a visitor needs a badge and a good reason to be there. They don't believe my reason so they send for some burly gorilla to escort me out. I appease myself with crouching here outside her window imagining how soft her skin is, how fragrant her hair will be when she is close to me. I am content. For now.

That's what I'm talking about. Writing. Ahhh.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Hi, Jennifer, glad you're back from Indy and that you got good news at the doc.

May 12--Antoine Vollon, Still Life of a Gilt Ewer, Vase of Flowers, and a Facon de Venise Bowl. What to write, what to write? I'm looking at the picture for today but the only thing in my head is a buzzing sound. It's like someone flipped a switch up there and now nothing's playing on my personal movie screen. I thought for a minute I caught the edge of a scrap of a story about a man named Charles and his mistress Madeline but that fizzled before I got two sentences on paper. Now I'm sitting here listening to the eternal buzz in my head wondering if I should go and turn off the sprinkler in the garden. Tomorrow has to be better, right?

Well, that was unsatisfying to the extreme.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Week #19--Progress Report

For a while this week, I lost the thread of my knitting. Every time I looked at it, I felt--nothing. That was so not like me. I kept a flicker alive by knitting Sudoku blocks at work, but I actually spent one night sitting on the couch watching television and (cover your eyes if you're easily frightened) not knitting. Even yesterday morning, I was watching an Elizabeth Zimmerman DVD and not knitting a stitch. Sacrilege, I know, but there it is. By afternoon I was over whatever virus had me in its grip, happily knitting on a gauge swatch in the Malabrigo Silky Merino that I got at ReBelle in Lexington with DD.

I searched the internet and Ravelry trying to find a plain glove pattern. I wanted no cables in the cuffs or up the backs, no tricky yarn overs or decorative stitches or, god forbid, bobbles because I want the gorgeous jewel tones of the yarn to shine. Finally I saw a reference to Ann Budd's book of generic patterns and there was the one I'd been looking for. Being the budget-conscious shopper that I am, I took advantage of Amazon's "2-fer" offer and got her sweater book too. The cable book in the picture I got because I had to spend a 40% off coupon before it expired. I think cables are the ultimate in knitting magic, even more magical than sock heel turning, so of course this was the book for me.

Now, about my weekly progress. Those of you paying really close attention will have realized that the projects I am reporting progress on have changed over the weeks, and not just because I have finished them. Some I have finished, some I'm on sock #2, others (the Spring Green shawl & the Peruvian shawl to name the most obvious) have gently faded into the background and are slowly working their way into the basement where they will spend some time, months perhaps, marinating while I chase more appealing projects toward the finish line. I'll either get back to those shawls or I'll frog them and use the yarn for something else, I promise. Just not right now.

Okay, here's actual photographic proof of progress. Socks first. I cast on Thuja #2 Thursday night at Patti's and chugged away at it at Harmony Cafe on Friday night. (DD, everytime I lay them down, someone picks up my bumblebee needle holders, giggles, and asks where I got there. They're a huge hit everywhere and everyone thinks you're brilliant. Thanks.)

I knit on Hers Candy Cane sock #2 at home.

At work this week, I made Almond Sudoku square #5 and have two-tenths of an ounce less yarn than is needed to make #6. I'm sorely tempted to cast it on and see if I can't squeeze one out, but then I think that square would be tighter and therefore smaller and I need four more so I have to buy another skein anyway. Lion Brand Cotton-Ease is not expensive; 2 skeins of each of the 9 colors for the squares isn't going to break the bank. So I made Maize square #2 and began #3.

My Ponshawl got a big longer this week. Sometimes I like it, other times not so much, but it'll be nice to keep my shoulders warm when I'm at Poetry Camp later this month. If I get it done. I hooked away at it yesterday morning before I dozed off while EZ was extolling the glories of some sort of shoulder construction.

Because the "project pocket" in the driver's door of my new car was empty, I cast on a ballband dishcloth to tuck into it.

And because you can never have too many projects OTN, I offered to make and cast on an earflap hat for my 15 year old nephew who has the most beautiful blond curls that he detests. He constantly wears a ski hat to smash them down and cover them up. My SIL commented that it's difficult to get the current hat away from him for washing and drying so I offered to make another so he can switch off.

Now for the best part of the week. Durwood finished my swift. I took it to Friday Night Knitting and showed it off. There was much oohing and ahhing, and one potential order. Thanks, Dear. I'm glad I ran slow enough for you to catch me.

Happy Mother's Day!!!

I'm has been a crazy week traveling to Indianapolis and then flying back Wednesday night in the middle of the rainstorms that shut down O'Hare for a few hours. Thursday was my follow-up endoscopy with revealed that the ulcers have healed...yeah!

So I've been working on getting settled back into my routine which includes writing. I did start a short story on the flights home and am aiming to have it ready for Group this coming Thursday.

Will blog more later...this weekend has been busy with family in town for Mother's Day.

Make it a great day!

Friday, May 8, 2009


I played in the dirt this afternoon; I planted my herbs. It was so nice kneeling in the sun with my hands plunged into the soil. I coaxed the little plants out of their purple pots and nestled them in nice holes with some fertilizer worked in. I also put a nice thick layer of peat moss around my two tiny blueberry bushes. They have white flowers on them. I'm assuming that means blueberries will follow. And I planted a row of scallion seeds with some tiny leek plants mixed in. I hope Jack Frost stays away so my little herbs don't get frostbite. It's a little early to plant but I couldn't resist.

8 May--Paul Gauguin, Matamoe, or Landscape with Peacocks. The raucous cries of the peacocks woke him before dawn. "If they weren't so damned expensive, I'd shoot every single one," said Paul as he flung back the sheet and stood in the bluish light of the bedroom. He heard the drip drip of the night's rain draining from the roof into the bamboo rain pipe and then the gurgle as it drained into the cistern. Without giving it a thought, he listened to the hollow sound of the water in the stone cistern, trying to guess the level by the sound. There had to be enough water in there. It had been raining so much in the three weeks since he had arrived on the island that his leather shoes were moldy. Every day his houseboy scrubbed them with a brush and set them in the sun to dry. Every night the rain came and the leather grew fuzzy. By the time he sailed back home he probably would only have the thick soles left to tie on his feet. Shaking off the thought of cold and frozen winter of Paris, Paul wrapped a length of cloth around his hips and padded into the kitchen to make coffee.

Good night.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

It Might Seem Like Thursday to You...

but it's Friday to me. Because I don't have to work tomorrow, that's why. We're going to the garden center and buy plants for the garden tomorrow, so I'll get to play in the dirt. Yippee. I'm going to try and convinced Durwood that 9 is too many tomato plants and 6 might even be too many too. We could plant other veggies if Tomato Boy didn't hog all the space.

7 May--Anthony van Dyck, King Charles I of England Out Hunting. Oh, Charlie, you're such a fool. Everyone can see you don't really like hunting, you just go because all the other kings do it. Who but you wears white silk and red velvet out to hunt? You're going to get hot and sweaty (and bloody too if you do it right) and those clothes will never come clean. Do you even have a gun or a bow with you? I see your page (in his lace boot tops, no one hunts in lace, no one) holding your horse. (Hugging your horse, actually. Are he and the horse more than friends?) But the only weapon I see is your formal sword that matches your outfit. Charlie, you dandy, you look splendid with your trim little beard and rakishly cocked hat, and your matching calfskin boots and gloves, but, honey, wearing spurs and a sword does not make you a hunter. So put your cape back on, your pink cape, and let's go back for breakfast. I'm sure the painter has enough to go on, we're all impressed with your manliness by now, and I'm hungry.

See you tonight, writer people. Don't forget an exercise.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Isn't It Frustrating...

when you tug on your yarn and the rest of the skein comes up in a huge snarl that takes you an hour to untangle and then keeps tangling as you use it to finish the square? And what's left is two-tenths of an ounce less than you need to make another square? Gah!


I don't really have much to say today. I do want to show you the convenient project pocket in the driver's door of my new car. Handy.

I whipped up a few more project bags yesterday afternoon. They're very simple to make and they keep things untangled in my big knitting bag.

I finally hammered a nail into the fence out back to hang up the birdhouse I bought in Sheboygan last month. I like it. I don't think any birds have been brave enough to move in yet.

Durwood worked on finishing my swift. He put the first sealer coat on. I'm anxious for it to be done.

And I resurrected my crocheted ponshawl. It doesn't need that many more rows before I can sew the corners together to make a wrap to wear in the evening. I know it just looks like a pile of yarn but, trust me, it'll be swell when I'm done. Or not, but it'll keep my shoulders warm.


Well, it's no thunderstorm but I suppose it'll do--until something better blows in. Ugh, a dreary day. What do you bet that I have no customers at the dive shop today.

6 May--French School, The Lady and the Unicorn. She reached out an inch at a time, her hand trembled as it stretched across the space between them. Was it real? Would her hand pass through it? Her fingertips touched solid horn. It was real. The creature stood still while she let her fingers roam over the incredible horn gleaming silvery white in the light. The unicorn was goat-sized rather than equine, its sturdy legs pawed the soft floor of the forest clearing and it tossed its head with the unbelievable horn to throw off her hand. She saw the gilded and jeweled collar on its neck and realized that she had seen similar collars on all the fantastic creatures she had seen on her walk. Sunlight glinted on her ring. Her engagement ring, it was make of the same gold and jewels as the animals' collars. Did her fiancee think of her in the same way he thought of these dumb animals, as his property?

Interesting idea, eh?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Spring Days

For me, days like today can go on for weeks or even months. I like the sun going in and out of the clouds, and the cool breeze that makes sleeping so luxurious. What would make the day complete would be a nice, noisy thunderstorm rolling in just after I turn out the light. That would be excellent. There's nothing like a little rain with some thunder and lightning to make me snuggle in and sleep like a log.

5 May--Eugene Delacroix, Tiger and Snake. It made the smallest of noises as it moved inside the bush. The merest crackle of a dry branch vibrated in the moist heat of the afternoon and silence fell. The cicadas ceased their monotonous buzz that cut the humid air like a sharpened chainsaw cuts wood. Even the breeze that had been rustling through the fronds stalled. The tiger's fur raised so that the cat seemed to inflate or even levitate. It turned its soft green eyes toward the snap and those eyes measured the opportunity. The snake's own green eyes weighed the cat's threat and it spread its jaws to hiss at the tiger, making more noise than the space that it occupied. Not willing to risk disappointment, the tiger moved on while the snake retreated, giving the impression that it left reluctantly. One can not allow one's foes to gain the upper hand.

A good day's words.

For My DIL...

...who loves tulips. I think of you every time I see them and especially when I leave the house in the morning and see new blooms standing so proud on their graceful green stems. I love you.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Too Much

I was foolish yesterday and I helped Don scrub the oil off the garage floor. That made my surgery site hurt like the devil and made it a bit hard to draw a deep breath so I spent the rest of the day lolling on the couch trying not to worry I'd done something terrible to myself. The good thing about laproscopic surgery is that you feel better sooner and get to go home and back to work quickly. The bad thing about it is you apparently feel better sooner and think you get to go home and back to work quickly because you are better, but it's a lie, your innards are tender and bruised and pi$$ed off, turning on you in a heartbeat if you presume to do anything more strenuous than stroll up the block to the neighbor's driveway and back. Bah. I see the doc tomorrow so I'll take my lecture and resolve to take it more slowly.

As for writing, on Sat. I researched writing a query letter online and found a blog entry by an actual literary agent that included links to some successful query letters. Yesterday I got to work writing the Hook and Mini-Synopsis. I'm pretty happy with what I've got so far and should be ready to ship packets off to all 3 agents foolish, or brave, enough to want to see 3 chapters of Horizon next week. Happily, I don't have many publishing credentials so I can use up that space for the synopsis part and for flattery of the agent. I'll save groveling for later.

4 May--Raphael, Portrait of a Young Girl. "Put your hand here," he told her, pressing her right hand over her left breast, "just so." She blushed but let him move her into the pose. His rough fingers grasped her chin and turned it toward his easel. He stepped away from her and she relaxed her shoulders, let her eyes wander without turning her head. He rapped on the easel with his brush handle, a sharp rat-a-tat-tat that made her eyes widen and snap to him. "Now," he said, "don't move." She froze in place, in that ridiculous pose, in some other girl's dress that he had pulled from a heap in the corner. When she had arrived an hour ago to the old painter's studio he had made her strip naked, stand in a shaft of sunlight, and turn so that he saw every bit of her. Then he gathered up her hair and coiled it at the back of her head with pins, then he wound a tasselled scarf over it and fixed the scarf with a gold and pearl earring. That was when he gave her the dress; he laced her into it himself and posed her in front of a piece of moldy green carpet. She was warm in the sunlight. She felt drops of sweat trickle down her sides but she did not move. He would make her eternal, Geneve said, even if she did have to get naked first. He paid six ducats for it; that was rent.

I like this painting today.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Package Came!

On Friday there was a little package in the mailbox and it was from Audrey in England. I found her blog somehow this spring and started reading it regularly. She makes lovely things. She decided to have a contest to commemorate making a pattern for some lovely gloves by giving away enough of the yarn she used to make them if you posted on her blog. I did, and a shameless plea to be picked it was. Happily the random generator picked me! I emailed Audrey my address and, hocus pocus, the goodies arrived. With the yarn came some pretty stitch markers with hearts and stars and 2 candy bars that I can guarantee are not long for this world, not the way Durwood keeps looking at them. Thanks, Audrey, I can't wait to knit up that Cashmerino into your beautiful Evenstar Gloves. Such a lovely icy blue.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Winds of Spring

I'm hoping that the blustery winds today blow away the last of the cobwebs from the last couple weeks and let me get back in touch with the feeling I had when I spent the weekend away with Laurel. We wrote like madwomen and fed each others' need to fall into the page and emerge tattered but triumphant. This weekend my goal is to sharpen up my synopsis and make at least a first draft of a query letter so I can get things emailed off to the agents and work on newer things.

2 May--Henri J.F. Rousseau, View of the Bridge at Sevres and the Hills at Clamert, St. Cloud, and Bellevue. The critics and the art crowd hated Rousseau no matter what he put on his canvas. They thought his colors were too bold, his subjects too brash, and sever questioned his vision because of the lack of perspective. But no one could beat old Henri when it came to allegory. Every one of his paintings held biting social commentary deep in its precise trees and buildings and machines. The machines of the modern day hover above ancient hills and overshadow the homes of men too tradition-bound to embrace them. The rigid lines of technology press uncomfortably against the sinuous natural curves that hold them. Henri was making his judgement of those who embrace the new and the others who cling to the old, but in color and form and composition. In some ways, a more palatable truth.

This is a complete fabrication. Sounds good, though, doesn't it?
Weekend! Yay!

Week #18--Progress Report

I have progress. I do! Here, let me show you...

The biggest progress is that the weather has gotten beautiful and the spring bulbs are up and blooming. Oh, there's nothing like daffodils, tulips and hyacinths to make me smile. No other flowers are as hopeful as the ones that poke their noses out into the still-cold spring nights to flood the world with color. (Urk, I almost make myself ralph. Sorry for the sap-fest.)

Anyhoo, here's the stuff I knit on this week posed among the spring blooms...

There's the first Thuja sock with the red tulips.

Then we have the beginning of the Hers Candy Cane sock #2 nestled among the grape hyacinths.

And finally I dug out the Sudoku Afghan yarn to knit blocks at work. The pattern is so simple that I can lay it down when the phone rings or a customer comes in and not lose my place. (Not so with a sock. Ask me how I know...) I also discovered Thursday night that it's perfect for car knitting when you're stuck on the Mason St. bridge with a slow-moving coal freighter coming into port.

There was also some extemporaneous yarn buying. I pounced on 10 skeins of Orchid Yarns wool and cashmere (on sale) to make a cardigan sweater and I had a Walmart gift card that needed to be spent so I picked up some solid colors of dishcloth cotton for the stash.

All in all, a good week.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Outdoor... Oh, Nevermind.

Jennifer, I was very tempted to finish that little rhyme but discretion got the better of me. My old dad taught me that inadvertently one year when I was barely out of school. He was gleefully horrified. I loved your bananagram story, especially the two recipes for the potion. So deliciously evil and then unable to carry it out. I like Miranda. That was her name, right?

I loved last night's meeting. Thank you both for all your lovely comments about Emmaline. I do love her and hope to keep her occupied for many more pages.

Jenny, I agree with Jennifer. You need to do something with that story. Absolutely amazing.

May 1--Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, The Clowness Cha-U-Kao in a Tutu. Too old. No longer thin. What would she do? Where would she go? Her whole life had been there at the Moulin Rouge. She had been six or seven when Maman had brought her to crouch there under the makeup shelf out of the way. She had done her school work there--in the years she had gone to school. Soon enough it had been her turn to paint her face and flash her supple thighs for the entertainment of the patrons. She was popular. She was. Champagne and flowers were sent to her in the dressing room. Carriages came every night to take her to parties. Jewels were given, promises were made, but the jewels were mostly paste and few of the promises were kept. Time passed and she was reduced to this, a caricature of herself, making a joke of the state of her life.

I hope you spend at least part of May outside, celebrating. *ahem*

Hurray Hurray, the First of May....!!! Oops's May!!!

I enjoyed our meeting last night and it's good to see Barbara up and about and with her sporty new red car!

Jenny - your bananagrams story was so so completely jealous.

Barbara - I am in awe of your vivid descriptions in your work. Thanks also for the admin to the blog...I'll work on getting the calendar uploaded somehow so we can see what's on deck for a given week.

I'm up for the 21 Day Challenge, but am toggling with either doing it tomorrow or waiting until the next week is behind me...I just need to get stuff ready to go for Sunday and then I can relax...and yes, my notebook is coming along for the ride!