Friday, July 31, 2009

Queen of the Lilies

This year I hit the lily jackpot. Look at what's blooming across the front of the house. I wish this was smell-o-vision because they smell divine.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I actually hope it drizzles all day. It's about time Mother Nature holds up her end of the garden-watering deal. What an odd summer we're having. Maybe it's an extended spring and it'll be warm in October?

Thanks, Jennifer, I like the slipper piece too. Have you tried writing to the art calender? Maybe that would feel less restrictive. I'm bringing some postcards tonight for us to play with so you can give that a try. I did notice that we have another follower. That's exciting. See you later--with smiles on.

July 30--Nikolai Mikhailovich Bykovsky, Girl Peeling Berries. Lily felt like God was punishing her, her personally, by making cloud berries grow in their little paper jackets. She loved cloud berries on her cake, sweet and red, dripping down to pool on the plate, but she hated peeling them. She sat for house during berry season transferring the berries from one bowl, unpeeled, into another bowl, peeled, one at a time. Her feet didn't reach the floor so her legs got numb and her fingers cramped and got blisters long before the berries disappeared back into the kitchen to become sauce for her cake and jam for her toast.

Not much, but I like it.

Did you know we have a new follower?

That makes 3!

Barbara - I liked the slipper piece. I can see that being worked into one of your jewels someday. Tuck that one away because it is a keeper!

I can completely relate to your currently feelings of writing. Writing is a to-do list for me at this time and it often is the last item on my list of daily things to do and it doesn't get done. Frame size piece or not, just not getting done. I don't like the writing prompts, I don't like my initial thoughts to how to use the writing prompt, blah blah blah. (insert visual of a massive pout and stomping around the room at this time).

I'm trying to get ahold of a better balance between work and life, and unfortunately writing is one of those things that is suffering as a result. I need to find something that lights the fire in me again and makes me want to write....i'm thinking it's another NANOWRIMO since I got an email just this week from Chris at Nano....we will see.

See you tonight...I promise that my pouty face will be reversed by then.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mid-Week Crazies

You know, sometimes I feel like Lucy in the Peanuts comics when she sits in her little stall charging five cents for psychiatric help. As of 3:30 PM I have had four, count 'em four, people in here today for the express purpose of bending my ear. They come in for an airfill or something and spend an hour telling me about their lives. And no one's given me any nickels.

July 29--Mughal Dynasty, A Mythological Figure. "Rajneesh the god of power is portrayed as a red-haired woman carrying a dragon teapot. Her belt of glided leather is mounted with topaz stones of a startling robin's egg blue. The indigo blue of her gown and the flame orange of her stole represent the vastness of the firmament and the eternal power of the sun. Rajneesh carries her dragon teapot in her left hand, the side where her heart is located, to show that the seat of power dwells within." What a load of crap, Alix thought as she trailed behind her group on the museum tour. She was sure that whoever made the paining all those centuries ago wasn't thinking of symbolism when he made it. The artist probably painted it to match the furniture and draperies in the house. Alix knew all about decorators and their customers. Her mom was a decorator and complained about her customers' bad taste all the time.

Again, not what I expected.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day Off

I love Tuesdays because it's one of my days off. I can get up and do my Wii Fit, have breakfast on the patio, and then play in the garden or talk to Durwood or do nothing. Whatever I want. Ah, luxury.

July 28--Samuel van Hoogstraten, The Slippers. Everyone left their doors open on those hot summer afternoons. No matter how many windows were open or how you drew sheer fabric to block the sun's rays, it was still like an oven. All of the tenants learned that an open door did not mean "come on in." They still maintained their distance, at least on the surface. No one could keep their gaze from straying across thresholds to gather up what they could. Avid curiosity was hard to contain when confronted with those open portals. Samuel had heard sounds from the rooms across the hall but had never seen the resident. He didn't know if the person who owned those slippers always at the door was male or female, and the narrow view of the room gave no hints. A ring of keys left in the lock, a chair, a draped table holding a book and candlestick, those things could belong to either sex. His curiosity was interrupting his work. Soon he would find out, soon he would cross the hall and step over those slippers.

Not what I expected to write, but acceptable.

Monday, July 27, 2009


I went to Walmart yesterday morning for no good reason and look what I found. New shoes! Red and yellow plaid new shoes. Very comfy.


As much as I threaten to, I'm not giving up writing just yet. I've decided that either my biorhythms are out of whack or since the sun isn't giving off enough particles to make the northern lights this year I must need them to generate stories too. Or maybe something else science-y like that. I'm sure of it.

July 27--Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Portrait of Johannes Uyttenbogaert. Uncle John always looked like one of those black and white Capuchin monkeys to me. He had steady brown eyes, a round head, and that silly ruffled collar thing he wore for work looked like the ring of white hair the monkeys have too. He had long arms for his height and thin, nimble fingers that were good with the little tools and tiny parts of the watches he built at his bench. Even his loud but thin voice sounded to me like the calls of the Capuchins in the zoo. Once I slipped and called him Uncle Monkey to his face. He didn't like that. He gave all the rest of his nieces and nephews a silver coin that Easter. Somehow I got missed.

I like the feeling of this but don't see where it could go.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Hard Slog

That's what writing feels like to me these days, a hard slog, a chore, almost like punishment lines from some vindictive nun in my past. It makes me sad. I don't want to stop knitting but it seems that all my creativity is poured into that with none left for putting words on paper. I think about writing but when it comes right down to it and I'm sitting at my desk with hope making my fingers ache, all I get is static in my head and a desire to go manipulate the pointy sticks and string waiting for me in the living room. What is wrong with me that I can't manage to do both?

July 25 & 26--Adolphe Giraudon, View of the Central Dome and the Fountain Coutan, Universal Exhibition, Paris, 1889. The cool mist from the fountains was refreshing when you walked from the Central Dome. It was hot that summer, doubly hot in that abominable glass and iron dome of Giraudon's that they had built the Exhibition around. Rene didn't understand the hullabaloo about that dome. Any child could put together the simple shapes to make such a thing and only a child would forget about molded glass focusing the light streaming through it, making it burn the air like flames. Even on overcast days it was warmer in there, so Rene bet that everyone was relieved when the wind picked up to blow the spray from the row of fountains arrayed in a row outside on the grounds.

It's something anyway. Hope you've enjoyed your weekend.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Knitting Bag Meme (picture heavy)

Julie over at Samurai Knitter is packing up to move, so she put all her knitting tools in one bag, photographed it, and challenged others to do the same. I decided it was just too scary to put all my needles, etc. in one bag (aside from the fact that I don't think there's a bag big enough and I don't want to see how much money I've spent over the years) so I just slowly unloaded my main knitting bag which I just packed for Friday Night Knitting Club and took pictures. Here we go!

This is my flamingo bag from Bonaire, my favorite Caribbean island. It sometimes leaves sequins in my wake but I love it. It's pretty roomy for big projects and easy to carry around. Not a travel bag, by any means.

The first item to pop out of the bag is my finished Ripple Shawl. I love it. I love the shiny Sterling gray and Ebony black, and the silky feel of the Micro Spun yarn. It'll be great on cool summer nights and will warm my shoulders in winter.

Next we have the zip bag with the Reef Socks. I'm loving this pattern; it's fun and easy to memorize. One more repeat of the pattern and I'm onto the heel flap.

Here's the Khaki Cardi (#241) still not to the place to separate out the sleeve stitches because I was focused on finishing the shawl. But I counted the back stitches and I need 14 more until something new happens in the pattern. That's 14 more rows. I can do that.

The books I ordered from Interweave Press' overstock sale came this week so I packed them up to share with the ladies tonight. I have to make the bird hat on the cover of Folk Hats and there are a number of sock patterns that caught my eye. I've been wanting a Knitting Companion since I started back to knitting and couldn't resist the price. I'm sure all will be treaured additions to my library.

In a little clear-plastic-fronted case from my DD I keep all my "tools." No fancy snips or Leatherman, like Julie has, just a collection of things that have become handy to have around when I'm working with yarn. I can't bear get rid of my first training sock. DD sat patiently beside me and guided me through every stitch of the way. Note my new Sony Walkman mp3 player on the right. It's crammed with 5 books on cd from the library. It's my new favorite toy.

A few months ago Dusty came to FNKC with a tiny witch on a broomstick stitch marker for each of us. I was fascinated by the idea of figuring out what I'd choose as my signature marker so I went on a search. As you can see from the picture, I had a bit of trouble making up my mind. The red bead is from my DD and the long star & heart are part of my gift from audreym when I won her drawing, but the rest are of my own making. There are bees (for my initial), other bugs (I like bugs), fish (for my love of the ocean and diving), and hummingbirds (for my love of Durwood). I love each and every one of them.

That's what's in my bag. What's in yours?

Friday! It's Friday!

Woohoo! It's such a nice day I can't really complain about no rain. Jenny and Jennifer, thanks for the excellent writing night last night. We might not have kicked much writing butt (except for Jenny in the last freewrite--that was awesome! you'd better write more of that) but we wrote and shared and we'll do it again next week. We need to kick our own writing butts. Maybe we should start having homework? Or detentions? Something has to jump start our creative selves one of these days.

July 24--Edgar Degas, Woman Combing Her Hair. Juliet is lost in the movement of the brush through her hair. She can feel every muscle up her arm stretch and then the stretch moves down her back as she strokes the brush through her hair. Every night she performs the ritual, sitting on her bed, one hundred strokes to keep her hair strong and shiny. First one arm and then the other, from her forehead down to the ends and then flipping her head forward, she brushes up from the nape of her neck. The feel of her spine stretching as she leans forward relaxes away the cares of the day and the cool night air on her back makes her shiver. The sound of the bristles as they move through her tresses mimics the sound of the sea rushing onto a sandy shore.

That's it, kids. As much as I want to be creative and go off on a tangent, this is all I got. Oh well.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Anyone Know a Rain Dance?

I've said it before but I'll say it again, I don't mind if it's overcast as long as it rains eventually. But days of drear and no rain? No thanks. Durwood watches the Weather Channel and grumbles when the line of storms barreling down on us splits and goes around. I'm tired of mowing just weeds and watering the garden every day. Could we please have some rain?

Hey, Jennifer! I'm glad to hear that you're feeling better and are back to semi-normal. Are you able to drive yet or will you need a ride tomorrow night? I can pick you up if need be. I like your piece; it sounds so familiar from so many parts of life, classes, jobs, family. You really captured the feelings.

July 22--John Singer Sargent, The Spanish Dancer. Rosa fills the center of the room with her energy as she moves to the music. Her skirt snaps and rustles as her feet make the steps. Her back is arched and her left hand with the castanets flies up, her fingers making a sharp counterpoint to her clacking heels. Her right hand rides her hip, upturned and twisted over, as if to entice a partner. The fringe of her shawl swirls out like a black web to ensnare the unwary into her sensuous dance and the embroidered roses glow in the candlelight. She is no longer aware of the American sitting in the corner with his sketchbook, she is lost in her body's movement and the music.

Not bad for a gray and cloudy day.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In The Home Stretch

I've got about 6 more rows of the Ebony to go and then the Ripple Shawl will be finished. I love this Lion Brand Micro Spun; it's soft and warm. Nice to crochet with and the shawl will be great to have next winter.

If I were a Tree ......

You would think with all of "the leaves I turn over" in trying to get back on the bandwagon with writing, getting healthy, etc., I would be a mighty oak. But here I am again, determined to start again. Twenty-one days to form a habit so here goes.

The knee feels good compared to how it used to feel. Just a little ache in the incision sites and some stiffness after sitting at my computer all day, but definitely much better than before.

So I return to work today after a week off to the tune of 300+ emails. Good God, don't these people have anything better to do? But after deleting the crap, the meeting invites while i was out and other stuff, I have just a small pile to deal with tomorrow. And tomorrow is another day, or so I read somewhere before....

I liked your Horse and Camel piece Barbara especially the reference to a Triangle Day. I like that and could see it quite vividly.

What Made it so Bad?
Liz shut the door to her office behind her and rested against it for a moment. Her eyes closed in an attempt to block out the past fifteen minutes she had spent with Charlene in the breakroom. Her afternoon break was designed to recharge her for the last few hours in the work day, but Liz felt more exhausted now than she did before the break began. Fifteen minutes of Charlene talking non-stop about everything and yet nothing. Nothing that Liz cared about really. It wasn't that Liz didn't like Charlene, in fact she did, but it was the constant drama that Charlene forced upon the ladies of the fifth floor breakroom that Liz didn't like. The constant focus of the ups and downs of Charlene's life that made Liz wish for a set of headphones, a roll of duct tape or at least a different assigned break time.

Still Wii-ing Along

Just so you don't think I'm goofing off or anything, I want to let you know that I've got over 3 weeks of Wii Fit-ting every day logged. Even the little animated balance board/cafeteria tray thingy is impressed. I'm going to look for more Wii Fit "games" to see what else I can do so I don't get bored, but so far I'm in love with step aerobics and yoga. Not bored at all.

July 21--August Macke, Landscape with Cows and a Camel. Nora stood at the window, her arms crossed on her midriff, holding herself together. She thought, if I stand still I'll be all right. All right? That's a good one, Nora. She hadn't been all right since I've been here and that's stretching into the decades. She had new medication, stronger medication, and it was wreaking havoc as it worked to untangle the snarls of the past. Colors were brighter, sounds were louder, and the edges of objects had a disconcerting tendency to align themselves into patterns. Today was a triangle day, a pyramid day actually since everything was equilateral, kind of Egyptian looking. The birdbath and the boxwood hedge seemed to have been replaced by a pair of cows, and the forsythia had turned into a camel. Nora was fairly certain that Rick hadn't suddenly become addicted to lawn art of the tacky persuasion but she did not intend to ask about it. No, she did not. She could tolerate a stay in Doctor Davis' sanatorium in winter when it was gray and depressing for everyone, but not now. Not in the summer when the soft breezes and sweet smells made her happy almost every day. No, she wouldn't mention what she saw. Maybe when the new pill kicked in the edges would go back to normal and the livestock would leave.

I like this. I like today's painting and I like my story bit.

Monday, July 20, 2009

No Viruses

Only crammed full of spyware. Whew! That's a relief, and it was way cheaper to have fixed. Happier now.

I was in a mood, still am actually, so I didn't write last weekend. I did enter a couple of flash stories in an NPR 3-Minute Story Contest. So that's somethng. Thanks, Laurel.

July20--Chinese School, Kitten with Butterfly. Layne sat, hands limp in her lap, staring off into the corner of the room. the constant low buzz in her ears filtered out most of the sounds in the rest of the house. She was conscious of the sound of the children playing outside in the garden and the far-off growl of the vacuum weilded by Mrs. Brandt the housekeeper. She had made an attemnpt to eat her breakfast but only managed a few bites before she spilled the milk onto the tray. She watched the river of milk flow to the edge and drip off, quickly at first with a burr-r-r sound, then slow to a plop-plop as it hit the Persian rug. Socks, Marcie's kitten came in, curled around Layne's ankles, and then found the puddle. The kitten lapped at it, a soft raspy sound that was somehow soothing to Layne's dark mood. A butterfly blundered in from the garden and landed a few feet from Socks in a patch of sunlight. Layne saw the kitten notice the butterfly and crouch, its eyes riveted on the slowly pumping wings. The insect moved a few feet, its fluttering wings flashing like jewels, guaranteed to keep the kitten's attention. Layne picture a stalking lion in the soft brown fur of the kitten so intent on its prey. She smiled and the buzzing in her ears got softer. She felt the veil of darkness lift a bit and she scooped Socks up just as the kitten moved to pounce. "Let's go play outside," she said, and she stepped out into the sunlight. The children said, "Mama, you found Socks," and they ran to hug her.

Sappy, but it's writing. Can't argue with that.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

More Circle Sock

Last night at FNKC (Friday Night Knitting Club) I dilligently worked on my Ripple Shawl first, getting almost through the last skein of Sterling, but then I couldn't resist working on my Circle Sock. I'm through the first pattern repeat and into the second. I'm liking this pattern.
P.S. DD, I left the picture big so you can see what the yarn's doing. I love it!

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm So Excited...

to start these socks!

Remember this that I got from my DD last Christmas?

Well, I turned it into this the other night,

and now I'm doing this with it.
Ooh, it's going to make the coolest

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I was in mourning yesterday because I had to take my laptop into the fix-it guys at my ISP to see if they could de-virus it, so I didn't write and didn't post. But I forced myself back to my desk this morning and wrote. Just to warn you, this is not my best writing, not even close, but it is writing and that's good.

July 15--Lucas Cranach the Elder, Adam and Eve. Oh, the temptation of that soft hand filled with the red orb, forbidden but so alluring. In her ear the hissing words, "soft and sweet" and "why not have it all," that swelled in her mind making so much sense. Both of them have the first inklings of shame with a leaf or a hand over their genitals. She's drawing into herself, curling in remorse at her sin. You see that they argue about it, about no one knowing if they just nibble at the fruit. He wants to, she wants to, the serpent smiles at his success. In the next frame, if it were there, the black wind comes to blow them out of Paradise, to debase them, cast them out to struggle alone. Can't you feel it coming?

There are possibilities here, but it seems mostly an exercise in observation and projection.

July 16--Dominico Ghirlandaio, The Visitation. How did he do it? How did the artist make it look like fabric you can see through? All of the fabric in this painting looks real, as if you could reach out and touch it, but the sheer fabric of the mantles and the shimmering gold of the halos over the women's heads is amazing. The colors are so vibrant it's like it was just painted yesterday instead of nearly 600 years ago. Do you think the women on each side are supposed to be angels? If so, the one on the left has some explaining to do, she's pregnant. I heard that artists put their families or the families of their patrons in the scene. Maybe the pregnant angel is is wife or his mistress. that would be a great little secret, wouldn't it? Titillating.


Later, dudes.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


My Mardi Gras Ankle Sox are done. Woohoo! I finished the second sock last night and, if I do say so myself, did a bang-up job with the Kitchenering. It gets easier every time. I used Cascade Fixation yarn, a mix of cotton and elastic, and I'm looking forward to wearing them to work tomorrow. (I hope no one notices that my socks sort of match.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Bastille Day!

If only I'd remembered earlier, I could have had some French bread, French toast, and French fries to celebrate. Or I could have stopped at the local prison and freed seven prisoners as a gesture of remembrance. Or I could have joined the French Foreign Legion for the day. The French might be persistent giver-uppers but they make great bread and cheese. Vive la France!

July 14--Egyptian 18th Dynasty, Unguent Box in the form of a Double Royal Cartouche, from the tomb of Tutankhamun. Emmaline bent down and squinted at the decorations on the tiny gold box in the display case deep in the Egyptian exhibit at the British Museum. Nearly every day Emmaline found herself climbing the broad shallow steps up to the entrance, unable to resist immersing herself in one exhibit or another. Today her eyes were riveted to the glittering golden grave goods of the boy-king Tut, in particular the unguent box in front of her. She wished she could hold it in her hand, could dip her nose to smell the rich spiciness of the oily cream that had been stored in the tiny container. It was small enough that she could have hidden it in the palm of her hand but it was carved with pictures and inset with tiny pieces of glass and precious stones. Emmaline loved how the cobras on each face wore an ankh like a pendant as they coiled out of the sun-disk of the god Ra. The mirror images of the boy king crouched below wearing a wig and pleated linen robes, holding the royal crook and flail, looked to her as if he were hiding from some onerous royal duty. She smiled at him and resolved to figure out a way to visit Tut at his home in Cairo one day.

I'd love to go to Cairo too one day but it'll have to be a whole lot more politically calm in that part of the world.

Monday, July 13, 2009

28 Years Ago Today...

... my "baby" Ann made her appearance in a great big hurry. Happy birthday, Ann!

It is the season of bugs. There was a nice big earwig hiding under the bathmat today and I am entertaining a family of gnats and a small moth here at my desk. I don't know what they could be gnatting about since there's no food except Tic Tacs. Ah well, good thing I like natural history.

Jennifer, I hope your surgery goes well tomorrow. We miss you at writers and I'm sure Helga misses you on the Wii. Horst and I are going steady now, but I still love the step aerobics best.

July 13--Claude Monet, The Waterlily Pond: Green Harmony. Emmaline was always glad to look at art. She had an affinity for it, she thought. When she saw art, any art, classical or modern, photo-realistic or impressionist, she felt a tug in her middle that made her stop to look at it. She felt that she basked in the art, like paintings and sculpture emitted waves or rays or vibes that washed over her and into her to sink deep into her soul. She turned the corner into another gallery and stopped dead, feeling like she was poised on the edge of a pond. Spread across the entire wall in front of her was one of Monet's Waterlily paintings. The cool, soft greens and blues, dotted here and there with pink and lilac, washed into her like a glass of wine, loosening her muscles and making her feel as if she were floating in air, swimming in the trees.

Monet's always good for a journey out of this world, don't you think?

Jealous Jealous Jealous!!!!!

So so jealous of you Barbara, but in that good supportive way. Congrats on your weight loss..that is so awesome! I hope the Wii Balance Board is praising you as well!

Loved the Garden of Earthly Delights piece. I was hoping for something dreamy and romantic and you delivered without fail!

I'm up early as a speeding car awoke me as it crashed into something down the road. Sirens and flashing lights reassured me that help was on the way, but the noise gave me a jolt that will not let me go back to sleep.

So I will use this time to catch up on the blog and get to other things that life is getting in the way of. I'm anxious to get this surgery over with on Tuesday, although it does mean I'll have to miss another week of Writer's....ugh. I think this makes 21 days...a habit I did not wish to start.

I am looking forward to less pain and more movement when everything is said, done and healed. The Wii better look out, I'm determined to make a drastic change moving forward.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hey, Poetry Dudes

Did you see the poster at the Attic that there will be a reading at the ARTgarage this Thursday? Kate may have mentioed it, but I thought I might as well say something too. Rod Zinkle, from Aurora Health, and I will be moderating a reading of poetry written by folks with Alzheimer's. There will be an open mic beforehand, so bring your verse and be ready to read. Hope to see you there.

Bob ;-)

Don't Spend an Entire Day Knitting or Crocheting

It makes your hands hurt the next day. That's me today. I was not in the mood to do anything yesterday so I sat and watched the second LOTR movie and then listened to my latest book on cd from the library. I have rediscovered the joys of free books at the library. It's foolish to spend my money on books I don't absolutely adore and can't live without, isn't it? I even found some books for Durwood. He's really ripping through them. One of these days he's going to have to get his own library card and go get his own books.

Next Sunday I'm going to a baby shower fo
r DD's high school friend. I got the sweater, hat & booties all done. They're so cute. One of these days I might have a grandbaby to drape in handmade stuff. But I'm in no hurry, kids and kids-in-law, no hurry at all. Way too young to be a granny.

The reason for the dedication to yarn-crafting is I have 3 projects and I wanted to se
e some major progress on them. Plus I was feeling sluggish.

Here's the Khaki cardi about 10 rows from slipping the sleeve stitches onto waste yarn and then continuing on down the body of the sweater. I still like it and I still don't like purling, but I think I'm getting a bit quicker at it. Or maybe I'm just blocking it out.

The Mardi Gras Ankle Sox #2 is zooming right along. In about another inch it'll be time to decrease for the toe and then I'll have my first pair of Fixation anklets in no time. I'm really looking foward to the next sock project. Wait 'til you see!

I'm finding work on the Ripple Shawl goes so easy that I don't even realize I'm doing it. Hurts both hands though. I've got one more skein of Sterling and then the other Ebony skein to go and I'll be done. Not long now!

It was so busy at the dive shop this past week that I only was able to knit a half a Sudoku square so I didn't even take its picture. You can imagine half a terra cotta square. Sheesh. It's good that I was busier at work though. Very good.

Gotta run. Chef Durwood just announced supper's ready. He's a great cook and an all-around swell guy.


That's all I have to say about this weekend's weather. I'd like to order a boxcar full of days like this for the rest of the summer--and into the fall too. Sunny, warm and breezy, that's just the way I like 'em.

Have you been writing? I took Friday and yesterday off, just because, but today I'm back at my notebook. I like that this Art calender has both weekend days on one page so I can take one day off and still keep my resolution to write every day. I confess I felt guilty about not writing Friday so I wrote that one first today and then the weekend one.

I'm still Wii-ing every day, letting that silly little talking tray shame me into doing it. I don't want to have it chide me, even though I know it's just a computer program written to make a certain response at a certain time. What a pleaser I am. Pathetic.

So, let's move past the self-recrimination onto more cheerful stuff. Writing!

July 10--Hieronymous Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights: Allegory of Luxury. Jacob and Marla's life had degraded into a race for more things, better things, more and better, more, more, more. They ended each day panting from the exertion of finding and acquiring whatever was the latest and greatest. They sought the finest of foods, the most savory, most delicious, the sweetest, the sharpest, the trendiest. Marla combed the world for shiny things, jewels of legend, furniture sat on by kings, art so sublime it brought tears to the eyes. Jacob managed their investments, choosing only those offering the greatest risk and biggest return. He piled up wealth as if there could never be enough. Together they sought sensations, the feel of silk on skin, the silky feel of the ocean, the pulse of wind, the sensuous allure of skin to skin. They "encountered" and "spa-ed" on every continent. They visited romote mountain temples and hushed cathedrals in the middle of bustling cities. They acquired and stockpiled, hoarded and bought. They lusted for more and better but were never satisfied. They both contemplated divorce until the economy failed, they lost it all, and could no longer afford a divorce. They looked at each other across their empty house and saw the emptiness of their lives. They changed.

I saw where this was going, into a sappy spiral of finding happiness in simplicity, and quit before I succumbed. You can imagine it for yourself. Onward.

July 11 & 12--Sven Richard Bergh, Nordic Summer Evening. See them? See how far apart they stand? How they hold themselves from each other? It looks Nordic, cold, in so many ways. The woman and the man aren't even looking at each other, and yet I feel that they are a couple, married even. She had her hands behind her back, arching toward him, offering herself to him. He has his leg up on the railing as if to display his manhood and yet his arms are crossed as if to refuse her. They have such a beautiful view. I hope they make up soon.

Predicable and trite. I'm quitting while I can still stand myself.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Exactly How Big are a Newborn's Feet?

There must be some debate about that pressing question because I followed the directions for making booties to match the Quickie Baby Sweater and, well, it would have to be Bigfoot's baby for them to fit. I only made one, so if anyone knows a one-footed baby with an enormous foot, let me know. The matching hat pattern that I found on Ravelry looks more like a hat than a baby bonnet and it uses size US 7 needles instead of the US 101/2 called for in the sweater pattern, but still uses worsted weight yarn, so I figured what's good for the hat is good for the booties. And I was right. I knit them, crocheted a chain tie, and got them finished last night. Aren't they cute?

Now I just have to crochet a chain to tie the sweater with. I'm still not sure about buttons or not. Maybe after the tie is on it I'll get a brainstorm.

Twenty-Five Pounds!

That's how much weight I've lost since my surgery the end of April. I celebrated my accomplishment by buying four $6 t-shirts at Walmart and feel very good about myself. I don't look much thinner but I sure feel a whole lot better. Yay, me!

Oh, Jennifer, I meant to say that I too think first of someone sitting on "the throne" when I see The Thinker, but yesterday I tried to rise above that. Tried anyway. I hope to see you tonight if your knee will let you come to writer's.

July 9--Jan Miense Molenaer, Family Making Music. Jan hated playing in the family band. Hated being the middle kid in the Merry Music Makers with Dad on drums, Mom on keyboard, Jerry on trumpet, Jonah on sax, and Uncle Henry on bass--standup bass, not electric. Jan played acoustic guitar and they all sang. She was the only girl, besides Mom of course, so they dressed her like she was eight years old in a frou-frou pink dress with lavender ribbon rosettes all around her waist, seven or eight layers of scratchy net and lace petticoats, white lace ruffled anklets and black patent Mary Janes. the dress smooshed her growing boobs, the net scratched her thighs (too much of which showed as she grew taller), and the plastic shoes made her feet sweat like crazy and smell like they were rotting right off. She didn't think anyone saw that she had grown so much over the last year. It was county fair season and the Merry Music Makers were on the circuit through Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois playing week-long gigs at big fairs and one- or two-nighters at the small ones. She was sick of Mom telling her to sing more like Patsy Cline or Dolly Parton. "Put a little twang in there for the hayseeds," she'd say so often that one of these times Jan would have to stomp the pink dress with all its skirts and shout, "If you want Dolly Parton, get me fringe, rhinestones, and a push-up bra!" A thirteen year old can only cope with so much, and she thought she had just started her period. On stage.

Hmm, interesting. Time for work. See you later.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Help Out Neatnik's School

One of the blogs I read daily is trek casts on. She knits excellent socks. She has put out a call for Box Tops for Education for her daughter, Neatnik's school. I thought maybe one of you might like to collect too. There'll be prizes. Might even be yarn!

One Week Down

I have been Wii-ing every day for a whole week. Yay me! It's getting a little easier when the alarm rings at 6:30 to get up and dressed and stagger out into the living room to greet the little talking cafeteria tray and exercise or Yoga, like today. I did the Cobra for the first time today. How does Horst know I'm doing it right if I'm not using the board/tray thingy? He told me I did a good job so maybe he can see me. Nah, I make him turn around and look the other way when we exercise together. I don't want him to see me sweat.

Jennifer, I like the picture of your guy busting out tunes in his steamy bathroom. He's a dork, isn't he? Got a haircut appt. this morning so I'll zoom right into the writing portion of our visit.

July 8--Mary Stevenson Cassatt, Young Woman Sewing in the Garden. Lily sat among the begonias frowning at the scrap of linen in her hands. She was supposed to be making a sampler but what she was making was a mess. Miss Greene (with an "E, as she always said with a sniff), her governess, Greenie demanded that Lily sew for one hour a day and every Saturday they had what Lily secretly called "the unstitching" when Greenie picked out each incorrectly made stitch, which was every one most weeks. Lily couldn't keep her linen from getting rumpled, couldn't keep the silk thread clean or even dry. She couldn't understand why Greenie didn't face facts and move on to something else, some other ladylike pursuit she thought proper for a young lady to learn. Lily would have liked to learn to ride a bicycle but she was certain that Greenie would faint at the very idea.

I like Lily; she might go places, but I'm fond of Greenie too, hanging on to what's familiar. Gotta run.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day 3....chug chug chugging along

Ahhh the Thinker....I always think of someone going to the bathroom. Not a pretty thought, but it's what is stuck in my noggin.

It was His Idea of a Good Time

Standing in front of the bathroom mirror, hairbrush in his hand, damp bath towel tied around his hips, he posed and flexed and began to imagine he was someone other than who he really was.

The hairbrush became his microphone, his damp hair slicked back. All of the ladies loved him, all of the men envied him. In his head he was the coolest dude to ever sell out a concert hall.

It was his idea of a good time on a Friday night.

ok...just not into writing tonight...maybe tomorrow (but it's at least the amount of the size of the frame).

I Think I Can...

How many times did I read that book to my kids? And how many times will I push the wrong button and erase half of what I just wrote? Will I never learn to use this laptop?

This is a perfect day weather-wise. I'd like to order 3 more months of today, please.

Ah, Bernie Madoff, I blame him for the state of the economy for the whole country, the greedy bastard. He fooled them all, didn't he? Rich and poor, savvy and not so, he just sucked up their money and savings, and now their self respect, and just ground it up in his personal little gimme factory. And his wife wanted to keep "her money. There's one woman who left the bleach on her hair a bit too long.

July 7--Auguste Rodin, The Thinker. It's hard to think of what to write sometimes. Images flash through so fast I can't grab one and stick it to the page. Even if my body is still, my mind keeps racing. Even if I focus and try to slow down the racing in my head, they're still moving faster than I can catch them. Sometimes silence brings ideas but not always. Sometimes it's a word or a phrase or an aroma that pushes a picture to the front of my mind. I want to command it. I want it to arrive at my behest, show up when I need it to, mold itself to my every whim. I think it would be cold sitting bare ass on a rock, holding still while an artist draws your picture. Maybe Rodin had a nice soft cushion for his model to perch on and just imagined the rock. Yeah, that must be it. It also could explain why the guy in the sculpture is frowning. He's thinking about how cold he is sitting naked in a drafty studio while some artist draws him, a famous artist, but still. Maybe he's thinking about what he'll have for supper. That's probably it. Most of us think small thoughts most of the time, not big, important, deep thought like we imagine we should.


Monday, July 6, 2009

You Nailed It!

This is exactly why he went to Tahiti...the snake! Shame on him for molesting in eyes the prim English girls! What has the world come to?

So it has come to this...

The rules of the world have ceased to exist. Every man, woman and now child is on his own. The Rich are not safe, the poor are no safer, and the middle class are still in the middle.

Faith will not save them. Name will not redeem them.

Bernie Madoff has violated this country in a way that even he, in his most powerful dreams, could never imagine.

.....Just read the Madoff articles in Vanity Faire...unbelievable....

New Leaf, Day #6

Ah, a new week begins and I'm still on track. Did Wii Yoga this morning for 18 minutes before reading the paper, doing the crossword, and having breakfast. Now I'm dressed and need to make my lunch after posting. How are you doing? Have you made any mid-year resolutions? Do you ever?

July 6--Paul Gauguin, Nafea Faaipoipo (When Are You Getting Married?) I see these young women that he painted over a hundred years ago and can't help but think that he made them uncomfortable. See how the one still in native dress curls in on herself? She looks like she's ready to roll onto her knees, leap up and run. The other girl is buttoned up in her proper English dress, tightly keeping her self to herself. The solemn stillness of her face and her slitted eyes say "stay away." See the tiny figures in the background keeping an eye on things? Chaperons, I'd bet on it. the more I see Gauguin's work, the more I love his colors, and the more I think he had an inappropriate fascination with young women, very young women. Is that why he went to Tahiti? To escape social condemnation? I should look that up.

Well, we're feeling rather self-satisfied and above reproach today, aren't we? We'll get over that.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

New Leaf, Days 4 & 5

I didn't forget, didn't slough off, I just haven't posted. Yesterday I got up early (on a holiday, no less) to Wii before breakfast. Then spent the rest of the day reading in the shade and dozing on the couch. We live on the edge here, can't you tell? Today I did the Wii Body Test, then instead of exercising I cleaned the house, which I then logged on my Wii chart so I get credit for the day. Same sweat, different activity.

Durwood and I played with sprinklers in the backyard and got ourselves nicely wet. An excellent activity for a warm summer Sunday.

Jennifer, I'm glad you're a bit better. You must have a bit of ESP; Jenny twirled the Story Spinner on Thursday and stopped on the Alphabet one where we had to begin each line with a word starting with the next letter. Mine hung together for a while but decayed into the ridiculous when the last third of the alphabet came around. I liked your poem post so much I decided to copy you and do this weekend's art prompt writing as a poem, so here we go...

July 4 & 5--Jasper Johns, Three Flags.

Independence Day

Layers of patriotism
sacrifice for country
young men pledge
die under the stars

Mothers cry
holding a triangle
of flag
in their somber arms

Old men march
in VFW ranks
parade their youthful courage
under summer's sun

We parade and picnic,
march, sing, pledge,
salute the night with
rockets red glare,
thankful for freedom
under the Stars and Stripes.

Happy 4th, everybody. We're a nation of drifters, dreamers, and malcontents. Long may we wave.

Progress Report--week #27

Hope everyone had a fun 4th. Durwood and I hung out at home, doing as little as possi
ble. It was an excellent holiday! Our lilies are blooming and so is Dad's rosebush. So pretty, and the pink lily smells like heaven. I harvested my first 6 blueberries of 2009 today; they didn't even make it into the house before I scarfed them down. Dee-licious.

My projects have been doing well. I can tell it's getting busier at work because I only managed to finish the 5th blue square and knit 1 terra cotta square, and I even had to finish that one at home.

I've been cooking on the baby items for the shower coming up in a couple weeks. I finished the first bootie but it's ginormous, like for a Bigfoot baby, so I'm not making a mate for it. Maybe I'll make booties with smaller needles. I shifted focus to the hat which I finished this morning. It's very cute and will look darling on Kelly's baby, won't it?

I knitted on my Khaki Cardi at Knit Night Friday night. Don't know how many
rows I added since I'm not counting rows, I'm increasing until there are 106 stitches between the markers for the back. I wish I could take it off the needles and stretch it out but I'm afraid I'd screw it up so I'm leaving it on there. I'll be glad when it's time to split off the sleeve stitches and then the body will stay the same. All this increasing is a bit of a pain, not that increasing is hard but each row is longer than the last one. It's a bit disheartening.

I'm chugging along on the crocheted Ripple Shawl. Finished the first skein of Sterling and I'm 6 rows into the second. I'm getting about 15 rows per skein so I think things are going well.

Hmm, have I knitted on anything else? Oh
yeah, the Mardi Gras Ankle Sox. I've turned the heel, picked up the gusset stitches, and started decreasing down toward the foot. I realized when I took its picture this morning that it looks like I'm knitting a small jockstrap, but I assure you I'm not.

Rising up from the Fog

Thanks for the well wishes Barbara. I'm slowly feeling some improvements, but still have some pain in my knee. But I woke today with the resolve to start writing.

The Poem of A-Z

Away from it all
But still not alone
Carelessly wishing for
Demands of my own.

Ever so optimistic
Fresh from the shower
Grateful for a new day
Hour by endless hour.

Irritated with myself
Jumping at my throat
Kicking down walls I've made
Loathing my protective moat.

Marching to my own drum
Nobody but me gets in my way
Only I'm my worst enemy
Perhaps I'll be kind to myself one day.

Quietly I contemplate my life
Reverse is not an option
Someday I'll have the life I want
Tomorrow is the time for action

Until I learn to love myself
Victory will never belong to me
Whatever path I choose to take
Xantippe, a woman I'll never be.

Yearning for a life my own is just within my reach
Zealous I will have to be

Oh thank God there were only 26 letters in the alphabet....I should have stopped at D. :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

New Leaf, Day 3

Still at it, still glad about it, but then it's only Day 3. Just wait until another week has gone by. I'll be sitting here, or more likely, lying in bed fumbling for the 6:30 alarm thinking, whose stupid idea was this anyway? Today, because it's a day off, I did both Basic and Advanced Step and Rhythmic Boxing on Wii Fit. I like them all and doing them really makes me sweat. I'm very good at sweating. You might even say I'm a champion sweat-er.

I interrupted my prompt writing to go to the grocery with Durwood where we got goodies for our 4th of July supper. He got turkey brats the other day, so we got some cabbage slaw because I lovelovelove coleslaw and some zucchini for grilling with Vidalia onion slices. I'm thawing some mixed fruit for a fruity treat. It's a blend of peaches, mangoes, pineapple, and strawberries. I've been thinking I'd whirr some in the food processor to make a whole fruit sorbet/slush sort of thing. Sounds good, huh? After lunch I finished my writing so here it is!

July 3--Paul Cezanne, Still Life with a Chest of Drawers. Amy was glad it was summer. So many fresh fruits and vegetables were ripe in the garden and orchard that sloped down to the lazy river at the bottom of the yard that she barely bought any of their food. Willem at the old mill upstream was happy to trade bags of his flour for a supply of loaves of fresh bread. Amy loved baking bread. She'd get up in the cool dawn to proof the yeast, stirring honey from the hives in the orchard in for sweetness and chopping up a tiny onion to give the bread a bit of a surprise. Other times she would knead in a bit of oatmeal for a chewy texture that held its own when spread with her homemade peach jam. Speaking of peaches, where was Paul? He had gone out an hour ago to pick her some peaches to make a pie. She looked out the back door toward the orchard and saw a flicker of movement in Paul's studio. She started toward him, thinking he had better gotten her peaches before getting distracted.

Jennifer, I hope you're feeling better soon. We missed you last night. Jenny and I didn't have much better luck with Bananagrams words, but we kept at it and finally got a bit of writing accomplished.

I'm off to the library for more books on tape.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Even babies need accessories these days. I finished the sweater in no time, then cast on a bootie. I got as far as the instep and it just didn't make sense. Either there was something wrong with the pattern or something wrong with the way I was knitting it. Never willing to cast initial blame on the pattern, I looked at my work from every which way and, well, just got too frustrated. This is how the bootie looks right now. I was very frustrated.

I'll be taking it to Patti's Yarn Shop with me after work to see if two or four heads are really better than one--and to debate buttons vs. a yarn or ribbon tie on the sweater.

Then I decided to move onto knitting the hat. Things are going much more smoothly in the hat department, even if it's on smaller needles. I do think I didn't quite understand the pattern stitch when I made the yoke of the sweater because it looks so much different on the hat, but I'm sure not frogging the whole thing to make holes where there are none. Who, besides me, is going to notice the difference? Certainly not the baby.

New Leaf, Day 2

I did 15 mins. of Wii Balance games this morning. I suck at all but the putting the marbles in the holes game, but I did make it across the tightrope for only the second time. Oh, man, it's 9:30, I gotta type fast and leave for work.

July 2--Michelangelo Buonarroti, Sistine Chapel Ceiling: The Creation of Adam. That fateful electrifying touch that woke the world. We've all felt it when a concept sparked an idea or a smile ignited an emotion. Consider that tiny gap between God's finger rigid with power and anticipation and Adam's limp, nearly lifeless one. Adam is leaning back with one leg pulled up, languid, unenthusiastic, as if he isn't certain what is coming. God, however, is leaning forward, arm rigid and outstretched to bestow the gift of life, eager to start this experiment on earth. God is surrounded by a host of angels not at all sure what is to come. We need to lean into life, to reach out to make it happen. Energy is the key to life, energy for new things, for experiences, for what is to come.

Kinda preachy, but at least I wrote something.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hell Hath No a Woman on Vicodin

It should be a bitter pill I'm swallowing as my luck just continues to spiral.

I'm scheduled for a knee scope on Tuesday the 14th....groan. But the bright side is that it will hopefully clear up the mechanics in my knee and just leave me with arthritic pain...nice huh?

Doesn't look like I will be driving for a while...not that I drove much lately.

Sorry for the bad attitude...I need to find my happy place and I need to find it now!

New Leaf, Day 1

I feel all virtuous today. I got up (almost) when my alarm rang and I did 14 minutes of Wii Yoga. Then I showered, read the paper, filled the birdfeeders, ate breakfast, and dressed. Now I'm here having written my art prompt for today, ready to post it before going off to work. (Don't be too impressed. This sort of behavior usually doesn't last with me.) It's dreary again, too. What an odd summer we're having.

July 1--Leonid Osipovic Pasternak, To the Relatives. What a picture in contrasts! The widow and the wet nurse, bright and dark, introspective and anticipating. Their bodies tell the story. The wet nurse is in her best red dress, with all her necklaces and her headdress. She sits up tall, leaning toward the window, toward her future as the life's milk of the tiny bundle in her arms. The widow is just the opposite, leaning back in her black widow's weeks, her face and arms slack with grief and despair. What will become of her and her babe? Why did he leave her so soon? She will be an object of pity for a while, but then they will be a burden. It is too much for such fragile shoulders to bear.

Pretty interesting, I think.