Monday, August 31, 2009

Reef Sock Report

I've been neglecting making Progress Reports because I've fallen down working on time-consuming, ongoing projects. I've been seduced by quick-finishing projects like felted purses and Mom's tea cozy, but I did take Reef Sock #1 to the neighborhood corn roast weekend before last and I picked it up tonight to work on the foot a bit. I'm about 1 1/2" from the toe decreases. I should have it done by the weekend so I can cast on Reef Sock #2 for Writing Retreat knitting in 2 weeks. I need something small and fairly mindless to knit on in the Lodge in the evenings. Look at how pretty the colors are in the foot of this sock. I am eternally entertained seeing how the colors lay themselves down. Love the orange and purple and yellow, even the pink looks good with them. I do love this yarn.

Shh, Mrs. Boss is Here

I'm trying to type real quietly because the owner's here making phone calls. I don't think I'd go into my work on my day off unless I really had to, but then I'm not an owner of a business, so I don't really know. Anyway, with this post I'm caught up--again. I'm sure I'll fall behind--again, but for now here I am all caught up.

August 31--Pierre-August Renoir, Portrait of Claude Monet. You'd think another artist would hold still, that he'd quit talking long enough for me to get him sketched on there. But, no, he has to yammer away about how he's planning to make this series of huge paintings of water lilies. He even keeps going on about his vision, how everything looks blurry lately. I've tried to tell him that all the rest of what the critics call The Impressionists drink too much absinthe too and our eyes have gone to crap too. He insisted on wearing that dreadful dark blue smock when I told him I'm nearly out of indigo and can't afford to buy more. I hate that cheap drapery he's standing by and the bare branches of that shrub look like crap. I should have painted over them. Oh please, God, just shut Monet up for ten minutes and I promise I'll be polite to my mother-in-law at supper tonight.

Well, that's odd but kind of fun.

Crazy Busy

Man, did the weekend fly by! I worked on Saturday, mostly on Mom's birthday tea cozy but I had a few customers too, and yesterday after I took Mom to lunch for her birthday, I borrowed a friend with big muscles and a trailer to go to Shawano and pick up a king-sized bed for us, and then move the beds around and one into storage. I think the only time I sat down was on the ride to and from. But the bed sleeps well and we both finally have enough room to sleep. All those years of sleeping in the middle while Durwood was out of town made 2-to-a-bed a real adventure!

August 29 & 30--Paul Gauguin, Still Life with Oranges. I love the smell that floods the air when I peel an orange. That sharp, sweet smell that reminds me of summer and winter at the same time. Summer because of the freshness, the warm tanginess of the smell that clings to my fingers and makes me not want to wash my hands afterwards even though they're sticky. Oranges remind me of winter because there has always been an orange in the toe of my Christmas stocking as far back as I can remember. That mid-winter orange always represented the promise of summer to come and kept me warm when the snow fell and the wind blew.

Enjoy your week.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today's my mom's 81st birthday. I'm taking her to lunch at her favorite spot, HuHot, but it wasn't until Wednesday when I was about ready to leave for work that I realized that I didn't have a present for her. Now, I could have gone somewhere on any one of the intervening days and purchased something, but where's the frantic panic in that? So, in the 3 minutes before I had to leave to get to work on time, I sought out a free pattern, unearthed some yarn in her favorite shade of green (I can't believe I had it!), sussed out some needles (they were the aluminum "bottom of the barrel" and they used to be hers), shoved it all in a bag and left. I got the first half nearly done at work on Wed. and finished that evening. I cast on the second half Thursday after Writer's and finished it yesterday evening. I saw another pattern on Ravelry that had leaves at the top, I liked that so I knit some of other colors of the same yarn to place artfully on the side where I swooped an I-cord down from making the tab for the top. I got it all put together and photographed before bed last night. Ta-da! I really like it. I hope Mom does too.

Earlier in the week I felted Clutch v. 2. I was really thrilled with how it turned out. I still want it a bit narrower and twice as deep, but this is better than before. It wasn't until I looked inside that I realized more work was needed.

Um, can you imagine trying to find something in here?!? Me neither. Time for a shave, I think. Pretty colors though and I'll look for a swank button to sew over the closure this week.

Today I'm dragging a friend with a trailer and big muscles to a town 30 miles west to pick up a king-sized bed DIL's parents need to get rid of. After all the years of Durwood's traveling for work we both got used to sleeping in the middle, we're hoping a king-sized bed eliminates a few of the border disputes. Yesterday I was writing a thank you note to deliver when we pick it up and nearly wrote "we'll think of you every time we use it" but decided that was just too icky for words. I settled on "thanks for your generosity." A much more appropriate sentiment, don't you think?

Friday, August 28, 2009


Artists were fixated on nude ladies, weren't they? This is the third day in four that the art-of-the-day has them, and I'm telling you right now, I'm darned sick of them. I've run out of things to say about them since I'm not all that interested in them anyway. Besides, today's artist seems to need glasses--badly. Might as well get this over. Here goes...

August 28--Otto Muller, The Bathers. Jeb and Max could hardly contain themselves. They were crouched in the bushes near the riverbank where the women came to bathe. Jeb's older brothers had talked about coming here and what they saw. Jeb told Max and Max didn't believe him. "Girls don't do that, Jeb," he said, shaking his head like an old man. The boys bathed only when forced to and couldn't imagine taking off all their clothes to do it either. "They do too," Jeb said. "I heard Samuel and Ezra talking about it." Max squinted at his best friend. "I could stand to see me some naked girls, we should go and see for ourselves." So the two eight-year-old boys slipped out of the village and wriggled their way to where they had a good view of the place--and the girls. They didn't know what to do with the feelings they were feeling except try not to giggle out loud.

I suppose boys are the same all over the world and in every age. Little pervs.

It Ain't Art

My Milwaukee writing friend, Laurel, came up yesterday to spend the night and go to writing with me. Jenny brought an exercise that gave us a word and then a sheet with four pictures on it relating to that word. My word was beach and one picture was of an elephant driving a little blue car down a beach. Of course that's the one I wrote about.

August 27-- Hilda loved feeling the wind whip past her ears as she wheeled her blue convertible down the hard sand of Coney Island beach. It wasn't often she got the chance to just cut loose. Her life was so busy with two shows a day and then packing up to travel to the next venue. It was lucky that the show was doing two weeks in one place and the boss had give the company an entire day off in the middle of it. She was glad their day off was in midweek so the beach was nearly deserted this close to Labor Day. The freedom and space of it was a real treat after spending day after day in the tent seeing an endless stream of gawkers pass by. She loved the few minutes she had in the spotlight dressed in spangles doing her act but it was hand to keep that feeling going once the lights were out and the fans went home. A few of the other girls wanted her to go shopping with them but Hilda had enough of crowds. She wanted to spend her day off with the ocean fresh in her lungs, driving down the sand, chasing up seagulls to watch them soar on the sharp wind off the waves.

It was a good night at writer's; we did 4 exercises and got lots of good work done.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Nearly Stumped

I was not thrilled to turn to today's page and find a white marble statue of three naked women. Yesterday's gilt naked woman was more than enough to deal with, now I had three of them to explain away or spin a story to cover them. Happily Wikipedia had a little about them so I had a jumping off place, but it was one of those times when it looked pretty far down when I peeked over the edge. Feeling good about myself today, I leaped.

August 26--James Pradier, The Three Graces. It is an unlucky man who has three daughters, thought Zeus. When they were children their beauty, charity, and joy entertained all who met them but now that they are young women they are becoming a burden. Their beauty attracts suitors from every corner. Young and old, wealthy and poor, handsome and plain, they all stand flat-footed staring at their desire. His daughters' joy rang out through the land. None who heard it could remain unmoved by it. Some days he thought that a little solemnity, even a touch of sadness, would be a relief. Their charity was legendary too. News of their generosity drew every beggar and unfortunate from far and near to press their case with near total guarantee of success. He had been forced to set up a separate kitchen that did nothing beyond bake bread and make soup for the hordes. Beside the kitchen stood a shop with three seamstresses who made basic garments and a pair of cobblers to make sandals for the girls to give away. If they did not marry soon he would go broke. Maybe he'd take another stroll through the throng of suitors to see what was on offer today.

Well, that was a surprise.

No Excuse

I just wasn't in the mood last night to write so I didn't.

I cleaned out the fridge yesterday. Naturally I chose a humid day to do it so that all the things I took out of it so that I could wipe down the inner walls sweated like crazy, but I hurried as much as I could and nothing spoiled, and I didn't find too much stuff that was furry and unrecognizable either. Now it's all bright and white inside.

We drove to Shawano to test drive a king-sized bed we're getting from DIL's grandma's condo. Now all we have to do is get it home, which might be, as Grandpa Gerst used to say, a trick with a hole in it. A king-sized mattress won't fit into the van even if I take out the seats, and I don't think it'd fit in a capped pickup truck back. I might just have to rent a U-Haul and get it over with. As soon as I'm done posting I'll call my most muscular friend and see when he's free and if he's willing to help.

I had a hard time figuring out what to write about yesterday's art for the day. I even Googled the name to see if I could get some hints but it's not even on Wikipedia. I thought everything was on there. Ah well, here's what came eventually...

August 25--Standing Figure of Avaloki. She hated her name. What had possessed her parents to name her after that embarassing statue in Great-aunt Irene's library? When she was little, and didn't know any better, she had liked having the same name as the golden shiny "pretty lady" but now that she was thirteen and knew what was what, Ava hated the sly look on the statue's face and her nakedness. Ava could just tell by her smirk, the tilt of her hips, and her posed fingers that the woman in that statue was up to no good. Ava was convinced that the only reason she was named Avaloki was to suck up to a rich old lady who didn't have any children of her own. Great-aunt Irene was all right, and Ava could tell that she knew her parents were major suckups because the old lady wore a smile a lot like the statue's whenever Ava's mom hovered around her with shawls and tea. That old lady was no fool.

I think I like this. I can see Ava and Irene forging a bond between a pair of smart, savvy women, one young and one old. I'll star this one for later.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Late Summer Monday Malaise

That's the way I feel today--cranky and out of sorts for no good reason. I decided this morning that my expectations of myself are just too high, that I've got too many irons in the fire, but I don't want to give anything up, don't want to quit doing any of my pursuits so that one can get the lion's share of my focus. I want to do it all, and I want to do it all well. I think that I am a pain in my own keester. And the broccoli salad I made for the weekend is tasteless.

August 24--Edouard Manet, In a Park. Tally walked along the path through the hot green shade, her capture net over her shoulder. On her back was her collecting backpack with its many padded compartments holding jars for her specimens. She loved the hot, still summer days when cicadas sang their love songs like miniature chainsaws and even the birds were quiet in the afternoon heat. Her steps were silent in the powdery dust of the path as she headed through the park toward the reedy end of the pond. That's where the big dragonflies spent their afternoons flying in and out of the sunshine like animated jewels. As she got nearer she heard a faint clatter as the breeze rose and fell. At first she thought maybe there was a hornet's nest nearby but she turned the corner to discover that someone had hung strands of colored glass beads from the ruins of an old pergola there. The beaded strings swung in the air making a soft sound and throwing multi-colored reflections like butterflies on the still water.

Ah, this I like.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Corn Roast Dive!

It was the perfect day for a fun dive and then a corn roast. A little cool and windy to sit on shore, but nice and sunny, and fun to get in the water to find Easter Eggs (the EE Dive had to be cancelled due to bad weather) and chase bass. I only ate one ear of Sunny Hill Farms corn. I am a saint.

I finished and felted Holder v.6 for my writer friend...

and I cast on Felted Clutch v. 2.

I'm determined to figure out how to make both of these the way I want them. One of these days.

Busy Weekend

Two corn roasts in two days is too much. I mean, I'm trying to lose weight here, and all these people are making me eat roasted corn with melted butter, and pasta salads, and brownies. I'm strong-willed but no one's that strong. I did dive before today's corn roast so I got a bit of exercise first. The viz was bad, only about 5', but the water was nice and warm (66 degrees which is quite warm when you're in a wetsuit) and I had fun.

So here's my writing for the weekend:

August 21--Alexander Rodchenko, Abstract Cutout. Everyone around Ali reminded her of paper cutouts of people. They all looked like they were stamped out of cardboard with their expressions preprogrammed on their faces. They dressed alike, men and women, all in dark business suits with white shirt and tie. Even their shoes made the same clatter on the marble lobby floor. Ali took one look around at what promised to be her future if she accepted the job at Andersen, Feinstein, and Rodchenko, and fled. She'd rather spend the rest of her life flipping burgers to pay the rent than turn into one of the emotionless drones moving past her.

Not bad.

August 22 & 23--Edgar Degas, The Tub. The trickle of cool water felt luxurious as it traced its way down Cecile's back. The plink-plink as the droplets landed in the old tin tub reminded her of sleeping in the loft at Grand-mere's when she was small. It was a hot summer afternoon and the power had gone out in the quartier again. No small fan whirred in the window enticing in a stray cool breeze. The only thing to do was to strip down and slowly sponge herself with cool water. Madame LaTour must never know about Cecile's little tub that came in handy for quick baths and the quick laundering of her scanties.

Maybe if I wasn't so tired I'd have made more of this last one. Bonne nuit.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Needle Knitter's Interpretation of a Loom Knitter's Design

I give credit to my loom-knitting friend, Telaine's idea for a felted clutch. (scroll down) Hers is deeper and narrower and that's what I was aiming for. Oh well, guess I have to make another one. *sigh* What a pity.

And there won't be a picture until January, but Stealth Project #1 is completed. Yippee! One down and mmmph to go.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Cool Summer NIght

We had writer's tonight and I learned that I'm out of practice writing without judging and doubting what comes first. It was a real struggle to freewrite for a couple hours. Lots of backspacing. Tsk, tsk, tsk. I'll get better. Need more practice.

Jennifer, I really like the feeling of your 9 Reasons... piece. I could really feel the self-doubt.

August 20--Elisabeth Louise Vigee-Lebrun, Portrait of Hubert Robert. Such strong hands he has. They are so relaxed as one holds his palette and brushes. They look like workman's hands, sturdy and competent. The man himself looks more like a farmer or laborer than an artist with his broad shoulders and barrel chest. He wears his jacket unbuttoned and his silk cravat tied casually at his throat, unconcerned about his appearance, only interested in art and his next commission. Eliza could sit and look at him until the light in her studio faded so that she could no longer see to put paint on canvas. She was energized by his presence in her space. She had seen him across the room in the bistro at the end of her neighborhood and been struck by his magnetic appeal. She was usually attracted to more patrician men but she could not get him off her mind. It took all her courage to convince him to let her paint him and he extracted her promise to pose for him afterward. The more she looked at him the more she thought she would do whatever he asked of her.

Whew. I didn't see that coming.

It's Writer's Night and Project Night to Boot!

I really liked the piece about the Lady Writing a Letter with her maid. Great work Barbara and definitely some intimacy there! I have a project yet....No! But that's ok, I will come up with something before 7 and perhaps it will be the start of my submission for next week!

List 9 Good Reasons to Break Off a Wedding

The list of names on her guest list felt oppressive to Amy. Her skin suddenly felt hot although it was the middle of January and the collar of her turtleneck felt unusually tight. She ran her eyes down the list of potential guests, many of them names she had never met, but were absolute must haves according to her future mother-in-law. "We have to invite the Richardsons," Betsy Williams instructed Amy, "they are been members of the Country Club we used to belong to." Amy knew better than to ask how long it was since the Williams and the Richardsons last talked, corresponded or even saw each other. It was better to let Rick's mother win these small battles, her fiancee had cautioned her, but Amy wondered whether she would ever win a battle at this rate since Betsy was undefeated.

The white linen paper on the next page of her wedding planner looked so crisp and inviting to Amy. She always loved the right side of a notebook and honored it for the fresh start it provided. Her pen navigated over to the virgin surface where another list began.

9 Reasons to Call off this Wedding
1. I am losing a piece of myself each day ---when will I get to be whole again?
2. I wanted to plan a wedding with my fiancee, but all he has planned is the Bachelor party.
3. Will becoming a Richardson make me respected by the Richardsons? Not likely
4. Honeymooning in Cancun is like shopping at Kmart..been there, done that, have the t-shirt
5. Do I love Rick or do I love the idea of not being alone?
6. Cleaning my sock drawer is more appealing than planning this wedding.
7. Marriage is an institution and I'm not ready to go to an institution - Jon Bon Jovi
8. I never should have ended it with Mark.
9. Sanscrit font is just not me

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Before the Pesky Customers Come...

I've done today's prompt writing. Today's painting is very different from the usual classically styled portraits that have come before it. Today's is a festival of color and movement very modern for its day. It makes me happy just looking at it. Perks me right up.

August 19--Paul Signac, Opus 17, Against the Enamel of Background Rhythmic with Beats and Angles, Tones and Tints, Portrait of M. Felix Feneon in 1890. Felix felt sure of himself, happy with the way his life was going as he strode down the boulevard with his hat, gloves, and cane in one hand and a flower in the other. His mood was echoed by the music that poured from every doorway like colors out of a kaleidoscope. His every step took him closer to the beautiful Maria, the source of the joy that filled his days and nights. Every walk down the streets with her was a parade. Her voice made songs in his ears and her eyes saw through to his very core. Maria was the center of his life and in his pocket he carried a small ring in a velvet box. If he were truly lucky, Maria would agree this very day to be his love forever.


Oh, Dad, Poor Dad...

He fell over? I hope he tripped and didn't just tip over all on his own. You're a good daughter to take care of the old guy while Mom's out whooping it up on her bike. Excellent art story, Jennifer. I love it. Take that, you bad Marilyn, see what being a selfish bitch gets you?

Sorry I didn't post yesterday. I got busy during the day and just pooped out at bedtime. Here's what I wrote:

August 18--Jan Vermeer, Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid. Write faster. Oh, write faster, ma'am, Marja thought as she looked out of the window. Her mistress was writing a letter and she had asked Marja to wait and take it immediately when she had finished it. So the maid stood patiently behind her in the corner idly looking out the window. But now she could see that Jan, the driver across the canal, was out polishing the carriage and if Madame hurried Marja could walk by him, could smile at him, and maybe pass a word or two between then. Jan was handsome, had a good position, and he always smiled at her. She admired the way his shirt stretched across his muscles as he leaned to polish the brass carriage lamps. Hurry, ma'am, write faster, please.

I like the immediacy I was able to convey. Hey, I might get a handle on this writing thing one of these days. Maybe.

P.S. Jennifer, that post title is part of the title of a play in the late 1960s, Oh, Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feeling So Bad. The title's better than the play, IMHO.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Veering Off Again

I got to thinking about needing to make Felted Holder v. 6 to take as a gift in about a month, and I want to make a felted purse like Telaine gave to Dusty last Friday, so I dug out my thick wool and big needles and got busy.

This is for v.6, it'll get a furry collar and fit around a green bean can once it's finished to hold pens on a writing desk.

Here's the beginnning of the fabric to felt into a small purse or something to keep little goodies in. I'll put another stripe of the multicolor and white novelty yarn soon.

Free Form...Within the Frame

Slowly I see the horizon
In myself I know its there
My voice grows stronger
The person I want to be

Monday, August 17, 2009

My First Attempt at the Art

I like Tally too Barbara. How dare a customer interrupt your creative process...the nerve of it all!

So here goes my first attempt at Writing Toward the Art, looking for new ways to inspire me to making time to write....and I'm probably going to take you up on that extra week to submit. Things are getting crazy as my pappa fell over the weekend and broke his hand, and since Mother dear is on a bike trip with her siblings, I'm in charge of the old man. With this upcoming Indy trip, the plane ride is just what I need to start a little something.

Revelation Mask

Marilyn grabbed the mask off the shelf before it caught Pamela's eye. "Oh, it's perfect," Marilyn said, her smile challenging Pamela to say anything in response, but Pamela knew better. The mask would have been perfect in Pamela's study amongst her collection of Native Indian masks, and Marilyn knew this which made possessing it that much sweeter. "I know just where I'll put it," Marilyn said, "this will look great in my office." Marilyn's smile of victory never reached her eyes.

"The mask has a different expression under the top layer," the shopkeeper said while Marilyn paid out the three hundred dollars that both Marilyn and Pamela knew she could not afford. "It is said that the mask will present its owner with a different expression intended to announce good luck. If the mask's expression remains the same, bad luck is to follow its owner for it is said the heart of the owner is not true and just."

"Look at the treasure I snagged today," Marilyn boasted to their friends as they met up later for cocktails. Her hands quickly opened the box and pulled the tissue paper away carelessly. She proudly held up the mask, her attention focused directly on Pamela again challenging her for a response. "It has layers too!". Marilyn set the mask on the pub table without regard to the pools of condensation left from uncoastered highballs. Pulling away the top layer of the mask, Marilyn stared in anticipation as the expression of the mask's second layer was identical to the mask's top layer.

"There must be some mistake," Marilyn said, replacing the top mask in hopes of a second chance. Seeing the same expression again, Marilyn tossed the mask into the box and stormed out of the bar. Pamela leaned over and glimpsed into the box. Unable to stop herself, she peaked behind the top layer of the mask only to discover a gentle smile gazing up at her.


Jennifer, I like the insight in your piece. It makes me as a reader feel intuitive. Keep going! I'm rooting for you. I didn't mean to imply lack of confidence in your abilities when I suggested that you not hand in a submission this coming Thursday but wait a week. I was offering you an extra week since you are working so hard to carve out writing time for yourself. Sorry that I was a bit prickly last week. I'm frustrated with myself.

The weather liars said it's going to be less humid tomorrow and for the rest of the week. We'll see.

August 17--Canadian Kwakiutl People, Revelation Mask. Tally stared into the dark under the table in Nana's attic and was unsurprised to see eyes staring back. Nana had asked Mom to come and help her empty out the attic, so Tally had to come too. Roger and Eleanor got to stay home; they had sports team practices and Roger had his paper route. Mom said Tally was too young to be left alone when they were at practice. Tally argued that no one babysat her when she was out with her bottles and her net collecting specimens at the pond or the shore. She might only be eleven years old but she had work to do too. But Mom was adamant, so here she was sitting in the dusty heat of Nana's attic having a staring contest with some ancient Native American mask.

I like Tally, and if I hadn't gotten interrupted by one of those pesky customers my thought train might not have derailed.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


If you're not familiar with those sounds, that's the way it sounds when you go diving. SCUBA diving. I finally went for the first time this summer. I know, I know, summer's almost over but the doc wouldn't let me carry my gear or even wear it until the end of June and my dive buddy has had weekend gigs most of the summer. How inconsiderate, he'd rather earn money than go diving with his wife and me. Tsk. Honestly. It was great even though the visibility was only 10', we saw lots of gobies of all sizes, some nice bass, and one lonely crayfish. We were in the water for an hour then we had a picnic sitting on big rocks in the sunshine by the shore. Lovely.

I have to tell you about the book I read the last few days. It's called Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. I highly recommend it and her second book, The Sugar Queen. Jenny recommended the second one when I was looking for a third book to buy at Barnes & Noble last week. Or maybe it was the week before. Anyway, I read The Sugar Queen and really liked the author's style and voice so I got Garden Spells. It was wonderful. I kept having to stop reading because something about it made me tear up and want to come right back here and right a whole 'nother book, and as soon as I finished it I went right back to the first page and started again. Read these books! (I will confess that this story influenced my prompt writing tonight.)

August 15 & 16--Claude Monet, Woman in a Garden. Amanda itched to get her hands into the soil. She had a strong feeling that she would find the answer to her confusion on her knees in a flower bed. It had been a long year. Her father had died before the end of winter, leaving her alone in the big family house. That had been bad but she had been able to lean on her fiance, Tim, for support. Then just a week ago Tim had called and asked to come over. Right there on her porch, in the very swing where he had proposed a year ago, he had said he no longer wanted to marry her. He had accepted a position at a firm in Cleveland, Ohio and would be leaving the next day. Amanda had sat frozen beside him, too stunned to even ask why he had changed his mind. She had wordlessly tugged off the diamond ring he had given her and watched him drive out of her life. Now all she had was time and her flowers. The weeds invaded too quickly for her to let down her guard, besides she had always done some of her best thinking with a trowel in her hand.

Not bad. I think it had possibilities once I get Garden Spells out of my head.

Let's Try this.....Again

Slowly I'm putting things into perspective, but it's going to take some time, so be patient with me my friends!

The World As She Saw It

As she stood in Melissa's house on the day of Melissa's wedding, Abbie felt inadequate. The ceremony was over, Melissa's goal of becoming a Mrs. was complete, and Abbie did have to admit she did make a beautiful bride. The other guests milled comfortably around the house as photographs were taken and drinks were served, yet Abbie stood rooted to one spot and took it all in. The house was situated on a beautiful piece of land overlooking a wooded ravine and was decorated flawlessly. Bue it was the photographs of Melissa and Tom in love scattered around the house that got Abbie's attention moreso than the stainless appliances and the modern electronics. Abbie could not take her eyes away from the images she saw in the pictures. Smiling at each other, always touching, Abbie realized Melissa had found a man who was devoted to her and could finally relax. Someday I will be there too Abbie promised herself.

It was only when they all arrived at the reception hall that Abbie saw it differently. The speeches and bridal obligations were orchestrated by Melissa with Tom nowhere to be found or acting the part of a fraternity boy he refused to give up, even in his mid-30s. Abbie prayed that Melissa would be happy and would never feel heartache with her new husband, but she knew her prayers would go unanswered. The pictures told a story to the world that the grooms actions toward his bride did not. No matter how beautiful the house, how gorgeous the view, Melissa had settled for anything to call her own. I will never let that happen to me Abbie promised herself.

Friday, August 14, 2009


For listening to me rant out my frustrations last night, ladies. I hope you get your ducks in a row, Jennifer, so you can get back to writing more. I was inspired by our exercises. And, Jenny, I continue to be blown away by the brilliance of your words. Thanks.

August 14--Roman (1st Century AD), Portrait of a Young Girl. I've always wanted to have curly hair, soft ringlets that spring from my head and nestle around my face. My fingers imagine gliding though my curls feeling the spring. I like the gold mesh net the girl in the painting is wearing too. It tames her curls and looks elegant without being stuffy. The artist caught her writing. I wonder if she was working on a story of if she was writing a letter. It gives me a good feeling to look at a painting almost two thousand years old and see a familiar look in her eyes. It's reassuring to know that people haven't changed all that much.

Oh my, can you say uninspired? Gah.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Blog!

I told you the other day that I was thinking of suggesting to Don that we make a blog together with photos and recipes of the soups we make. He thought it was a good idea. We're both soup-lovers and always try to have some on hand. I went first making Turkey Meatball and Cauliflower soup, although he helped make the tiny meatballs. We called it We Made Soup! Not very original, but self-explanatory. Click on over and have a look.

A Nice Italian Girl

So much better to find this young girl's portrait this morning. I don't know her, haven't seen her before, so I can let my imagination run wild, I'm not bound by preconceived ideas.

Picked the last 5 blueberries this morning. They're still plentiful in the grocery so my Cheerios will have their company for a good long time.

I'm restless today. I want to go someplace, not work, someplace interesting, someplace different, but I don't know where. I mentioned it to Durwood and he started talking about frequent flier miles and mileage partners. I'd love that in the winter but I think I'd like to go someplace for a weekend, someplace easy to get to. I'll probably settle for waiting to go to The Clearing in a month for a writing retreat and let it go at that since we need a new roof and should spend our money on that.

August 13--Domenico Ghirlandaio, Portrait of a Girl. If she kept her face still no one would see her thoughts. Lucia felt stuffed into her red dress and tethered by her hairstyle. Clava, her maid, had used a new iron to crimp the sides of her hair and had touched her temple by accident. The sizzle it made was shocking and the smell combined with the smell of burning hair was nearly enough to send her to the slop bucket. The pins that Clava used to hold her heavy hair in place poked her scalp, made her want to dig all ten fingers into it and scratch until her hair was hanging free down her back. Whatever her portrait looked like, it would never show the real Lucia. It would just be Mama's fantasy Lucia, the girl Mama loved more than her true daughter.

Not bad. Not great, but not bad.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Challenge

My shoulders slumped when I saw the art for today-- Gustav Klimt's The Kiss. It's almost worse than having The Thinker to write about. With not so well know art, it isn't difficult to spin a tale about someone in the picture or the feeling I get when I look at it. But too many people have seen these, they're almost icons, trite in their way just because of the familiarity. Lordy, I hope I don't turn the page one of these day to find The Scream. Can you say Home Alone? Here goes.

August 12--Gustav Klimt, The Kiss. Emily felt as if she had fallen into a dream. The soft pressure of Gus' lips on hers robbed her of breath. She felt on fire, exposed, and at the same time sheltered in his embrace. The heat of their bodies seemed to melt the fabric separating their eager flesh. The scent of flowers rose from between them. She was dizzy as Gus raised his head and smiled into her soft gray eyes. "I missed you," he said, the warm honey tones of his voice washing away any impulse to pull back. "I missed you too," she breathed. Her lips brushed his as she spoke and a shiver rocked her. His arms tightened and held her steady as his hand slid into her hair to draw her near again.

Whew. Got outta that with barely a scratch.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I was transfixed by the wonder that is our new LCD-HD television. I slid in a scuba diving dvd once I got all the doodads hooked into the right places, and it was almost like being there. The only thing missing was the salty taste in my mouth. I can see that this machine is the work of demons bent on keeping me from getting anything accomplished.

After supper I finally made the soup I meant to make earlier today, and while it's cooling, I did my prompt writing for today. As if I don't have enough to do, I've decided to make a new blog where I can put our soup recipes. We make soup every week for lunches, why not share our soup brilliance with the land of blog? I can get it all set up tomorrow at work in between customers and I'll put in a link when it's ready for you to look at. Of course there will have to be pictures. Mmm, soup, the perfect lunch.

August 11--August Macke, Girl with a Fish Bowl. There is a whole other world in the bowl, Gerda thinks. She sits alongside it breathing in the slightly musty fragrance of water that has lost most of its oxygen, tempted to lean over until her nose touches the surface. Until she is drawn into the underwater world trapped in the big bowl. The fancy goldfish swish through the seaweed forest, their bulging eyes searching for one more scrap of food they may have missed, the orange of their scales in sharp contrast to the pale chartreuse of the gravel. She would like to have tea in the garden of the ruined castle the fish swim through.

T-t--that's all folks! Good night.

Heel Turned

I always feel as if I've performed a secret magic trick when I turn a sock heel. And knitting with my Christmas present from DD yarn makes it doubly good. I am loving the colors of this yarn and the pattern. Thanks, Honey, for the yarn and the recommendation!

I've been trolling the sale tables at the fabric store lately looking for snazzy fabrics to make project bags with. I found this awning stripe and the cotton flip flop fabric a couple weeks ago and thought they'd make an awesome reversible bag. Sunday I took the time and made the bag. I love it--and I found some blue & green striped awning fabric and some coordinating cotton last week to make another one. I even have the nylon webbing for the handles in my stash downstairs. I'm not as precise a seamstress as my friend, Dusty, but I sure am having fun sewing up bags.

One Day Behind

Sorry about the delay. The TV died last night and I had to knit and listen to a book-on-cd so I didn't freak out. You know what that means, don't you? No Wii Fit this morning! I know, panics-ville. We're headed to Walmart soon to buy a new one so that the planets will be aligned again and global thermonuclear war will be averted. I don't think it'll do anything for global warming, though. Thank God for Walmart.

I spent an hour or so yesterday afternoon when it was slow at work going through all of 2009's art prompt posts, copying them, and putting them into a file. I found the pieces of what I remembered as a story start but turned out to be 4 posts. Whew. I had been certain I'd written the story and paged through notebooks trying to find it and sorted through computer files but never did. I'm glad I turned it up; now I can work on it. And there were other pieces of the Emmaline in London story to put with the beginning, that's good too. It makes me feel like I've actually accomplished something this year, writing-wise.

August 10--Diego Rivera, The Flower Seller. Jacinta carried her burden of lilies to the market in the wee hours of the morning, traveling down the dirt path from her village where her family grew the lilies. She was headed to the market that was held every Tuesday in the big town of Chico. Jacinta's lilies were famous for their perfection, the waxy white petals pierced by the golden stamen, an ancient symbol of the union of men and women. Brides carried her lilies in their trembling hands as they stood next to their groom in front of the padre. She wondered if she would ever be a bride or if it would be her curse to simply carry the promise of marital happiness for other girls.

More later. After the TV buying excursion that will save the world.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Man, it's hot and humid today. Thank God for air conditioning. I was supposed to go diving with friends today but none of us were in the mood to get into a 7 mm. wetsuit. We figured we'd melt before we got into the water. We'll try again next weekend.

Our son and daughter-in-law left to drive back to Missoula yesterday so life's back to what passes for normal here. Tonight Durwood and I are going to Tony Roma's to spend his free birthday meal coupon. Mmm, bbq ribs and cornbread, can't wait. Maybe I'll even order some sort of veggie. Then it'll be back on the straight and narrow tomorrow. Lost 2# this week. Yay!

August 8 & 9--Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson), Portrait of Xie Kitchin. Mama insisted that everyone take a rest after lunch. She and Papa went to their room, pulled the shades, and closed the door. Nurse took the babies upstairs where they napped away the heat of the afternoon dressed only in undershirt and diaper. Sissy was too big to be up in the nursery, she had her own room and she was too old to nap. Sada, the maid, would settle her onto the chaise longue in the parlor, open the window to catch the breeze, and give her a book. She was not allowed up until either Sada came in or Mama came downstairs. Papa came down first, after only a few minutes, smiling to himself and humming. He went back to his office after giving Sissy a wave.

I ran out of steam.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


I hit the jackpot this afternoon at Barnes & Noble. I went in to spend a coupon on a first novel by an author I just discovered (Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen, thanks, Jenny) and browsed the super-duper-everything's-$2 table and look what I found! Knitting books!!! I will freely admit that I probably won't knit something out of every one of these but there are some crackerjack ideas in all of them and some very interesting charts in the afghan one. With my preferred customer (or whatever they call it at B&N) card, they were each only $1.80. I couldn't leave them there for that little money. Besides, they all have very pretty pictures in them.

After my triumphant return from shopping I finished Errol. He's bigger than I thought he'd be and I think I stuffed his body too much, but I like him. He's squishy and soft. A very lovely owl.

Friday, August 7, 2009


This has not been a week for making progress on knitting projects or any other kiind of projects. Our DS and his bride were in from Montana, she staying 45 miles away with her folks and he staying with us. We did get to spend part of one day with both of them, and she came for Durwood's 70th birthday supper. And we'll have breakfast with them tomorrow morning before they drive off back to their Missoula home. It's been great having them here.

Today was a banner day for Durwood. He went from mild-mannered husband to Tomato Boy in one bite. Here he is enjoying the first bite of the first ripe tomato of 2009. Many more will follow but I predict none will be as delicious as that first one.

In the few quiet moments this week, I worked on Errol. I'm on wing #1 and hope to get wing #2 finished tonight at FNKC so I can stuff and assemble him. Can't wait to see him finished.


I'm just not hitting my stride on this whole writing thing this week. I like a routine, my inner-Hitler likes order and regimentation, and this week of guests, extra days off, celebratory meals and other non-everyday stuff has just kicked my ordered life into a cocked hat. Not that I'm really complaining, you understand, because I adore having my son and daughter-in-law around and I'll miss them when they're gone again, I'm just venting a bit.

Sonny boy and I went to see the new Harry Potter movie yesterday afternoon after a completely off-diet lunch of cheeseburger and fried cheese curds at Kroll's. Durwood and Sonny boy had chocolate malts too but I couldn't go that far, because I was planning on Milk Duds at the movie. I shared a few with my date, but only a few. The movie was pretty good, not as good as the book of course, but I do understand that there's no way in hell they could put all the subtle nuances and subplots in a movie, although I miss a lot of the little things that makes the stories so rich and fun to read.

Now for writing.
August 6--The Limbourg Brothers, April: Courtly Figures in the Castle Grounds. Emmaline gazed at the row of arched paintings that reminded her of the Stations of the Cross paintings in Meemaw's church, only these were much more colorful and cheerful than those. She liked the way the artists played fast and loose with perspective so that the viewer had a view down into the walled garden behind the foreground tower and yet showed you the castle in the distance too. It gave the experience of looking at them a kind of fun house-y, off-balance feeling that Emmaline thought was a nice change from all the serious art hung around there. She also liked the Zodiac figures arching across the top; it made it feel less like religious art which usually gave her a cramp over its hypocrisy.

I'm always happy when I find more parts of Emmaline's story. One of these days I'll collect them all and do something crazy with them, like add them to the rest of it.

August 7--Austrian School, A Viennese Cafe--The Chess Player. They were there every day without fail, at the same table, even in the same clothes. He supposed, by their intensity, that they thought of them as their lucky clothes. He hoped that they had multiple pairs of those same socks, solid red for the man he thought of as "the professor" in his gray three-piece suit, and red with yellow spots for the one he called "the jester" in his frock coat, striped pants, and amazing yellow shoes. Outside the window looking in was "the fan club," three be-hatted men with obviously nothing better to do that watch the gyrations of the chess players through plate glass. The one fan in the rear even went so far as to record the moves. Perhaps he wrote a chess column for some obscure Viennese newspaper. When his current assignment was completed, the watcher thought he might miss the small silent drama of this game. Right now it was time for him to move, his quarry had just passed the fan club on his way to work.

Ooh, spies. I miss the Cold War, but only for the spy stories.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Try as I might, I can't get caught up this week. Pesky son and daughter-in-law in town to visit taking up my valuable writing time. No matter that they'll drive away on Saturday and I'll have months of free time to scribble to my heart's content. During which I will, of course, pine for their company. I have come to realize that I am never satisfied.

A quick Wii Fit/Weight Watchers update: I successfully completed my July resolution to Wii every day and decided to stretch it into August, and I've lost nearly 30 pounds in the last 3 months, mostly due to my darling Durwood cooking fantastic meals for me, and being all proud and encouraging. I don't think the weight loss is very noticeable yet, but I sure do feel better than I have in years. I'm hoping to go diving (finally) this weekend and I'll bet that's when I'll notice a big benefit too.

Okay, writing. I brought my notebook to work today so I could get totally caught up, and I did between tank filling and customers. Here we go:

August 4--Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Path in a Wood. Like walking from day into night, the path into the woods enveloped Amanda. The first change she noticed was how cool it got, then how the thick trees filtered out the hot strident song of the cicadas. She shivered as the dim light swallowed her up, her white shirt glowing in the greenish light. It was so quiet there. Her footfalls made not sound on the spongy path. Only a few birds called far in the distance as if she had entered another dimension. She half expected to see Little Red Riding Hood skipping by on her way to Grandma's and she was convinced that she'd find the Big Bad Wolf hiding behind a tree just around the bend.

Short but interesting.

August 5--Amadeo Modigliani, Portrait of Jeanne Hebuterne in a Large Hat. No one looked at her face. No one could see her face. She was wearing such a huge hat, so round and with such a floppy brim, that she looked like a walking hat rack. Tall and thin, dressed all in black, Jeanne moved down the sidewalk gliding like she was on wheels. Her sallow skin matched perfectly the Panama straw of her hat which was banded with a strip of the black silk shantung of her dress. The only jolt of color was the deep auburn of her waves of hair, the only vibrancy about her.

I sorta like this, but I'm not satisfied.

Anybody else writing anything? Remember I won't be at writer's tomorrow night. See you next week with Jenny's critique.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Still Lagging Behind

I got busy yesterday afternoon with real, paying customers so I didn't do yesterday's prompt. Then, of course, DS is home so I spent my evening talking to him so I didn't do it last night either. I am determined to get caught up today and stay caught up even with company here. I did manage to arise at 6:30 to do my Wii step aerobics. I'm all nice and sweaty, and I feel great.

August 3--Jean-Francois Millet, Two Reapers Seen from the Back.
George's back was broken. It had been broken since mid-morning. What had made him think he could hide here among these rude rural people? He thought when he left the city that coming to the country after losing his job and all the publicity surrounding it would be the right thing, but his money was too short for him to live on as he would like, so he was forced to take this menial job. Only farm labor jobs were available out here in the sticks. He could have worked in the barn for the farmer down the road with the pregnant wife but he refused to reach under the cow to manipulate her for the milk. Her...her parts were covered with shit and looked strangely alien. No, he was not cut out to shovel manure and fondle cattle, so he took this reaping job. It took him a morning to learn the rhythmic motion of the scythe but he never realized how the chaff would stick to his sweaty skin and filter down under his clothes. And the bending over, it was making his back feel as if it would never be straight again.

Not bad, it might have possibilities.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Instead of sitting here knitting a Sudoku afghan square and watching a movie on Netflix, I'm waiting on customers and doing my weekend's writing. Remember, there's only one art page for both Saturday and Sunday so with this one I'm officially caught up.

August 1 & 2--Katushika Hokusai, The Great Wave of Kanagawa, from the series 36 Views of Mount Fuji. Bob lay rigid in the bottom of the boat, his hands gripping the gunwales and his legs hooked around the engine mounts. Looming over him was a wave that looked taller than a skyscraper with a foamy white crest like the claws of an albino tiger. Bob felt cold from being wet in the night wind and hot with fear at being adrift in the ocean vastness. He was sure that this was the end of him. The roaring of the water and wind filled his ears and made him feel as though he were in a giant washer. The moon emerged from the clouds and spread its silver light over the foamy ocean. The blue-green phosphorescence glowed like alien eyes all around his little craft. A squadron of flying fish emerged from the face of the wave as it loomed over him. Bob hoped that just one of them would fall into the boat. Maybe he could grab one, maybe he could lift the one remaining oar and bat one out of the air, the air that was nearly half water. The spindrift flew at him from all directions, stinging his face as he lay in the false calm of the boat. He prayed for a lifeline from the moon, a silver lariat to draw him up into the sky to safety.

Oh, I like this. Next comes today's prompt. Later. Customers approaching.


I have to confess that I didn't spend one minute writing this weekend. I spent it cleaning. I deluded myself that I was staying on top of keeping the house clean, or rather clean-ish. I was wrong, so wrong. Our son and daughter-in-law were coming yesterday for a visit and would be spending a night or two at our place. I don't want them to think we're slobs, so I enlisted Durwood in the cleaning army (of 2) and started whip cracking.

Friday was consumed with tidying, putting things from their dropped-where-I-was-standing spots to their real homes, and getting the living room in order, dusting & vacuuming.

Saturday I got it into my head to organize my writing area, which took the morning, then I removed the huge brown vinyl recliner from the living room and shoved it into the corner of my bedroom, replacing it with the rocker I store the clothes I'm too lazy to hang up on. After lunch I cleaned the bathroom, a battle of mildew eradication that ended with a couple of previously white towels getting turned pink by being washed in hot water with a red one. Oops. Oh well, Durwood said to say they're now Breast Cancer Awareness towels. Quick thinker, that Durwood. I also cleaned the top of the fridge on Saturday. Ugh, that was a festival of disgusting greasy dirt that dribbled down the sides and front so I had to clean the whole thing from top to bottom. (Note to self: do that more often or get someone else to do it.)

I was sure there'd be time to write on Sunday but I helped Durwood clean his room and find places to put the recipes and other papers he collects on one of the extra dining chairs. We stripped and remade his bed and hung some blankets out to air in the breeze. I vacuumed everything, all the baseboards, and even used the wand tool to get in all the crevices around door jambs and the patio doors. I can say with confidence that I vacuumed every single spot in my house, which is now officially clean.

It looks so nice. Too bad it'll never stay that way. But, anyway, that's why I didn't write last weekend. I've brought the three art prompt pictures to work so I can catch up. Here's Friday's:

July 31--Qing Dynasty, Bowl decorated with cherry blossoms on a marbled background. Celie sat cross-legged on the floor surrounded by boxes and drifts of brown paper. She had nearly finished packing up everything they were keeping from Gran's dining room. She could hear her sisters: Nora in the kitchen, laughing with her husband Ted as they emptied nearly a century of life out of the cupboards, and Elaine upstairs calling out to her teenage daughter Lynn as they sorted and boxed up the contents of the four big bedrooms. Celie was in charge of the living room, which she had finished, the library, which she hadn't started, and the dining room where she sat. She was pulling out the dishes crammed into the bottom of the sideboard, a mish-mash of serving pieces and decorative items when out came the blue and white bowl. She first saw it cupped in Gran's hands like a baby bird catching the tears that dripped from Gran's long dark eyelashes. When Celie asked why her beloved Gran was crying, Gran dashed away her tears and held Celie's chin in her soft papery hand. "Oh, I'm just an old woman crying over long-lost love." Celie put the bowl aside. Maybe somewhere in this huge house there was an explanation.

Hmm, this has definite possibilities. I'll be back later with more writing. Gotta catch up! At least I didn't slough off doing my Wii Fit. I'm loving it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Urge to Make Something Useless

Sometimes it just comes over me and I have to veer off into the land of "what are you going to do with that?!?"

Friday afternoon while taking a break from cleaning the house and tidying my writing space, I was gripped by the need to knit/crochet something that had no real purpose except to be. While I was cutting vegetables and chicken for our supper stir fry, my mind raced as I cast about for what I could make. It was while eating the delicious outcome of my knife work that inspiration struck. I could make an Errol, the Weasley's owl. I knew I had a skein of dark gray mohair and a skein of silver worsted that'd be perfect together, I even found some yellow for the beak and orange for the feet. Scurrying around assembling the pattern, needles, and yarns made me a bit late for Friday Night Knitting but I came home with a nice owl bottom. I did decide to knit it in the round instead of flat and I added a bit of black yarn to start so the lower end of the body will be darker, which means I've got a big hole to sew closed. Next time (when I make a Pigwidgeon) I'll start with fewer stitches.

I've gotten to the heel flap of the Reef socks. I'm really liking this pattern and the yarn is a constant entertainment seeing how the colors appear.

Another Sudoku square and three-quarters got made at work.

Most of my knitting time was taken up with the beginning of 2009's stealth knitting. You only get to see the yarn, not the results. I promise to be better at taking pictures of the finished projects this time.