Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I just went over to TinnieGirl's and signed up. The challenge is to blog every day in October. I've been trying to blog more often so I'm looking at this as an opportunity to get into the habit. There's still time for you to jump on the bandwagon! C'mon!

Sunny Is Even Better

It's a haircut day, which means not only am I newly styled but tiny schnipples of hair are working their way under my shirt and sifting down to nestle under the straps of my bra so that they can dig into my tender flesh with enthusiasm. I don't think that my few dive shop customers would appreciate coming in to find me shirtless while I shake the hairs out the back door. Divers are tolerant but I think that's going a bit far. Maybe when I'm ready to be done with this job...

I took the red wool fingerless mitts out of my work backpack yesterday to wear when I was walking and neglected to put them back. Today I could use them; it's a bit chilly in here but I refuse to toots up the heat to warm up my digits. I'll just complain about it; that's warming, right?

September 30--Edouard Manet, The Garden Of Pere Lathuille. You see how he pleads his case? She is sitting there, erect (such good posture in a shopgirl), her spine so straight and her hands gracefully holding her peach, while he leans toward her, his arms wide as if to embrace her. The man is so young (nearly a boy) that his moustache looks thin and his face is unlined. He wears his work smock so easily and his cravat is carefully tied. He is pressing his suit, anyone can see it. If one could but hear his words. "I love you, je t'aime, cherie." His lips make a kiss when he speaks and his fingers grip his wineglass to keep from touching her in public. It is good that he has respect for her, doesn't shame her in public. In my day there would have been an auntie or a paid chaperon to guard the young woman's honor but in these modern times a girl must make do with a cafe waiter and a nosy old woman across the way with too much time on her hands, like me.

Did I mention that it's sunny and my fingers are cold? I'm sure I did. Enjoy your day.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Everything's Better After a Walk

Even though it's a dreary, chilly, windy day I feel a lot happier after my 2 mile walk this morning. Dusty spotted an egret in the shallows and I think I saw a hawk but it was too far away to be sure. Once Durwood gets home from the grocery, I'll help him can his V-3 juice from our garden tomatoes, and then we'll pick all the red and reddish tomatoes left out there since there are frost warnings for tonight. Can you believe that? Me neither. Two weeks ago I wore shorts every day at The Clearing, last week I wore capris and t-shirts, this week I'm in jeans and a sweater. Evidently this autumn is stuck in the express lane.

September 29--Camille Pissarro, Women Haymaking. The work would be harder if it wasn't for the view, thought Marta as she pushed her fist into her lower back as she straightened. She both loved and hated this time of year. She loved getting out of the house, out of the daily round from barn to milk house to kitchen to garden to laundry and back, around and around like the blind ponies in the grist mills. She loved riding up into the early morning mist in the back of George's wagon with the rest of the women in the neighborhood, with a basket of bread, cheese, fruit and a stone bottle of tea all tucked under a linen towel for lunch. She felt young, like a schoolgirl playing hooky, full of energy and laughter. But she hated the ache that grew too fast in her back and reached down her legs, hated the sunburn that scorched her fair skin, and she hated listening to the grumbling of her mother-in-law when she got back to the farmhouse in the gathering dusk. Pierre's maman always found something to complain about no matter how hard Marta worked. But for now she was happy up here where the sun shone, the larks swooped and sang, and she and her Pierre could sit together and flirt over lunch as they had when their love was new.

Well, that's marginally interesting, might be worth pursuing someday.

Monday, September 28, 2009

It Wasn't a Writing Weekend

so I'm not going to bother writing to catch up, I'm just going to start afresh and hope for better days. The intermittent rain and overcast today make me glad that my week at The Clearing was 2 weeks ago when it was still warm and sunny. I would be hard pressed to find a spot to sit outdoors and write in the blustery chill and damp. I feel overdressed in my long jeans, t-shirt and sweater today but I'm not too warm so it must be right for the room. It is fall so I suppose it's time for fall weather.

Oh, I just remembered, I need to call the county horticulturalist because I've got crocuses up, not blooming, just leafing. They need to understand that it's not time for them. I'm hoping he'll tell me how to convince them that this isn't their time of year, so I'd better get this posted and call him. Thanks for the reminder.

September 28--Francois Clouet, Francois II. Frankie has those eyes. You know the ones. A lot of little boys have them and by the time they are nine years old, like Frankie, they've figure out how best to use them. He'll twinkle them at me, not a straight-on look, but a kind of sidelong glance that uses his lashes to their best advantage. His eyelashes are so long that he couldn't wear glasses if he needed them because they'd sweep the lenses. Close up you can see that for most of their length they're the same dark brown as his hair but the tips are red gold that glints in the rays of sunshine that pour through the classroom window to his left. It's hard staying mad at Frankie and those eyes, but a teacher has to do what a teacher has to do.

Not too bad, not great, but bearable.

Weekend Pursing

I'm still on my purse jag. I finished Foster Purse #2 last night, took its picture, and immediately hauled both #1 & #2 downstairs for some quick felting.

Fortunately I had read a bunch of Ravelry posts about this purse and one of the Ravelers had commented that hers felted quickly, so I stayed downs
tairs and checked them after about 6 minutes of the cycle. Perfect! So I turned the dial to Rinse and Spin, tugged and patted them into shape, and left them to dry overnight. I love them!

Foster Purse #2's color is correct in the above photo where the couch cushion looks bright yellow. I don't understand how come Purse #1 and the couch look the right color in the felted picture but it is sooo wrong when the purse color is right.

Durwood wanted the world to see what a perfect breakfast looks like, in his opinion. It's a slice of Rosen's Rye (unseeded) toasted with butter, mayo, and thick slabs of tomato, with more tomato on the side. Oh, and with coffee too. Not my idea of breakfast, but to each his own, and he can have my share of that one.

Friday, September 25, 2009

No Yarn Here. Move Along.

My lovely Durwood is having the time of his life harvesting his hand-me-up raspberries. Our DS got them from his friend's dad and planted them behind the duplex. Then DS and his beloved moved first to California and then to Montana, both waaaay too far away for convenient berry harvesting, so dear ol' Dad inherited them. So far this year he has made 9 jars of preserves, a raspberry pie, too many bowls of vanilla ice cream and fresh raspberries to count, and I just carried some downstairs and put them in the freezer. He's in seventh heaven.

The Road To Hell...

is paved with good intentions. And I had every intention of logging onto the blog last night after writer's and posting one of the writing exercises we did. But I got snagged watching the new episodes of Bones and CSI that I had taped and I didn't. So I'm probably on the express path to the place where everyone's in the fire and you're issued a pitchfork when you arrive. At least I won't be lonely...

Here's the art prompt from yesterday. I'll post today's later after I get some novel-ing done.
September 24--Carl Larsson, The Apple Harvest. Louisa and baby Mae were in the orchard with Minna and their cousins. It was fall and the apples were ready to be picked. The big cousins and Minna had ladders to climb to reach the fruit growing up in the tops of the trees but Louisa and Mae were too small for ladders, they said, so the two of them were in charge of picking up the windfalls, checking for rotten places, and putting the good ones into baskets. At first Minna said they should just put their apples into any handy basket but they wanted to be able to point out their work to Grandpa and Dad, so they had their own baskets. More than one, too, because they had been working hard. Already they had filled one and were more than halfway done filling the second. "We'll have applesauce way past Christmas," Louisa said to Mae. The littlest sister's apron pockets were lumpy with apples. "And apple butter for Easter," Mae said, emptying her pockets one apple at a time.

Mmm, applesauce. I might have to go gather me some windfalls myself, if the squirrels have left me any.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Foster Purse #1

I'm liking this pattern. I even like knitting it on circular needles. Amazing. I've cast on a purple one and have more yarn waiting in the wings. I'm using the leftover Lamb's Pride Bulky from last Christmas' Meathead Hat extravaganza. Now, if I can manage to felt it so I like it then too, this whole undertaking will be a success.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Wheels are a Spinning....

I'm counting the writing and planning I have done for the upcoming Nano in November. My mind is spinning with possible themes, characters, etc.

41 days until Nano starts.

Nice writing on the Madonna and Child and Grand Central Station Barbara. You captured the mood of a mother's love for her child and the day to day sameness that New Yorkers feel while the rest of the world is in wonder of such a magnificent city.

See you both at Writer's tomorrow. It's been a fast two weeks. Can't wait to hear about the clearing. I will be sure to have an activity for us to work on and Barbara's critique in hand.

Seeing Into the Future?

I wish that I were in the woods today sitting on the damp ground with my Alphasmart, but I'm at work, just me and the computer and one lone customer so far. Fall is one of the slowest times in the dive business; lucky I have my knitting along.

September 23--Greek, Aphrodite, or Venus de Milo. She had been beautiful when she was young. Not beautiful in the Hollywood way, but fit and strong with regular features and a positive outlook. She sat now in the flood of sunshine pouring through the window at the end of the hall. She was old and creaky, trapped in a body that just started giving up on her about twenty years ago. Up until she turned sixty she felt good, or at least good for her age. She walked along the River Trail the county developed on an old railroad bed nearly every day. When the weather was bad she did yoga or took a fitness class of some sort to help pass the winter. When her husband died suddenly one winter day she kind of gave up. It didn't feel as good to sweat and make her muscles work. It wasn't worth it anymore to push through the achy knees to keep walking. There was no one to plan nutritious meals with, no one to tease about putting too much celery in the food, that she just quit taking care of herself. Now she sat with either knitting or a book held on her lap, looking out the window and not caring what she saw.

Oh, my. I'll have to pay attention.

Bedtime Writing

Last night I was too tired to sit at my desk so I took my notebook to bed with me and scribbled before lights out. Let's see what I got...

September 22--William Strong, The Japanese Fan. Susan wished he would hurry. She had agreed to model for her neighbor hoping that he wouldn't ask her to pose nude. She had only seen sketches and some landscapes that hung in his living room. They were innocuous so she wasn't too worried. She had met his wife and she could see why he hadn't asked her to pose. Mrs. Strong looked like she had suffered a great tragedy that had shrunk her, but not her clothes. they looked like they had been bought for someone six sizes larger. Susan was a bit relieved when Mr. Strong ushered her into his studio to see Mrs. Strong nestled in an overstuffed chair in the corner. The painter had pinned a band with a feather in it around her forehead and handed her a red paper fan to hold. He posed her just so, admonishing her to hold still. He painted and hummed while Mrs. Strong sat in her chair, her beady eyes glittering in their sunken sockets while she devoured an entire bag of potato chips. Not very artistic food, Susan thought, as she watched the skeletal woman wipe her greasy fingers on the arm of the chair.

Kind of scattered and jumbled but I like the old lady crouched like a spider in the corner.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I can't seem to stop making purses to felt. I'm on a purse jag, I guess.

Here's purse #3 felted and dry but not buttoned or clasped. It's lying on our new king-sized bedspread I got at TJ Maxx for only thirty bucks. King-sized for THIRTY BUCKS!

I cruised my pattern books and found the Two-Hour Handbag (Ravelry link)
in this book and couldn't wait to start it. I took needles, some leftover Lamb's Pride Bulky, and the pattern to work yesterday and got over half finished. As you have probably surmised it's taken me longer than 2 hours to make, but it would be easily done in that time if you're not a glacially slow knitter like me. This is still way faster than I've made other projects.

I wish I had a longer attention span. When I've got all socks and a sweater OTN, I just have to break out of the rut and knit some fast-finishable stuff.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Naughty, Naughty

I confess, I sat on the couch after supper and neglected to write last night. My bad. So I brought the art pages to work with me today and I've done the weekend one and today's too. I'm having a hard time readjusting to being back home and having all the technology to play with and other things to do. I swear that tomorrow I'll get back to working on my manuscript. Cross my heart.

September 19 & 20--Paul Cezanne,Viaduct at Estaque. Jamie loved living in the old yellow villa right by the viaduct. There was always the sound of water like music from her garden. Even in midwinter when the icy winds blew down from the north there was still a trickle like falling silver notes. Spring was the best, she thought. That was when the snow melt from the Alps came rushing down, when the viaduct's arches split the water into four foamy white shafts that rattled the road above. Charles never wanted to live there; he hated the noise of the trucks grinding their gears and the blue stink of their exhaust. Jamie agrees that the noise and smell of them wasn't perfect but she relished the view they had down the small valley to the lower town and she rather enjoyed the good-natured catcalls she got from the drivers when she worked in the garden.

Charles is a poop, I can see that already.

September 21--Arnau Bassa, Altarpiece of SS. Mark and Ania. All Josh wanted to do was buy a pair of shoes. He was tired of walking barefoot all the time, tired of his feet burning from the hot pavement, and stepping in god knows what all the time. He thought it was a miracle that he hadn't gotten an infection before now, with all the miles he had put on his feet. He spied a shoe seller, a cobbler's stall and hobbled over. As soon as he laid a hand on one of the shoes made of soft leather with a nice sturdy sole, the cobbler himself thrust his infected hand in Josh's face. "Look at this," he said. "Lay just one finger upon my flesh and heal me. Please, Master." Josh shook his head but the man was relentless. "This is the devil's tool that pierced my flesh," he said brandishing an awl. "This carried the sickness into my blood. You can heal me, Lord Joshua, please." Tired, his feet aching, Josh smiled and shook his head. "I am sorry, Master Cobbler, I can not heal you hand. You need to see a doctor. All I can do for you is buy shoes from you." The cobbler's face fell but he helped Josh try on shoes, none of which fit. On his way out of the stall Josh touched the cobbler's infected hand, the wound opened, and blood and pus poured out. The man cried out, "He had healed me! Hallelujah!" Josh shook his head and moved on down the crowded street.

That last owes more to Christopher Moore than the Franciscan nuns who tormented me through elementary school.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Back From Writing Camp

I had a very relaxing and productive writing week up at The Clearing in the wilds of Door County. Now I'm back with photographic proof that I actually knitted a bit and went to a yarn shop (twice) so you won't think I wasted my week writing.

I got a skein of Trekking 6 Fach, color #1805 for socks,

and Bearfoot Mountain Colors in Firestorm for a drop-stitch scarf.

Every morning we had what our teacher called Quiet Writing Time which means you don't talk and you don't make eye contact with anyone, you just write. I took my Alphasmart ou
t and found a little nest on the edge of the bluff overlooking the bay and just typed away. If I got really stuck for an idea, I tucked an index card and pencil in my pocket and walked the trails through the woods. Very good for generating scenes and outstanding for making my shoes stink. I have my Great-grandpa Charlie Gerst's feet and they're decomposing even as we speak. Next time I'm taking 2 pairs of walking shoes. Who could resist walking through these woods? Not me.

One night I worked on Reef Sock #2 while sitting in a rocker in the Lodge
talking to some of the other students.

The next night I knit on Felted Purse #3.

It was hard to come home, but I needed clean clothes. Plus this week's student
s were arriving so I'd have had to sleep in my car. It was worth coming home because I'm making Cornish Hens on the grill with roasted potato chunks and giant beet slices on the grill too. Mmm, you wish you were here, don't you?

Back From The Clearing

It's always a bit bittersweet to drive away from the peace and solitude, and selfishness, of The Clearing after the week ends. For seven days I have only had to be concerned with what I needed to do, like find a cozy place to write and be on time for meals. No decisions about what to cook, or what to have Durwood cook. No household chores, just a spot of bed-making in the morning, and miles of forest trails to hike if ideas are slow in coming. I made it my job to clear cobwebs from the half-mile long red trail at least twice a day with a notecard and pencil in my pocket. There were plenty of logs or stumps or rocks to sit on when the ideas struck, and they did strike at a satisfying pace.

There's no wi-fi or even dial-up at The Clearing so I wasn't able to post my daily prompt writings. I'll do that now. Here we go...

September 12 & 13--Franz Marc, Little Yellow Horses. Where they liked to stand at night under the grove of hemlocks the little yellow horses' body heat melted the snow. They made an oasis there where the tiny blades of grass poked up early and the steam from their three huddled bodies rose into the branches. In the coldest of the winter they stood with their heads bowed together nodding and snorting as the wind sliced through the pasture. Elam was glad that it was his job to carry out their feed. His hands would cramp and freeze on the handle of the pail and he'd bark his shins on the galvanized metal as he stumbled over the frozen clods of dirt. When he reached them, the horses let him burrow between their bodies and insert himself into their warmth. Pas said that wintering horses needed oats for warmth. Their shaggy coats gleamed with health and kept the four of them warm on those dark winter mornings.

September 14--Giampietrino, Madonna and Child. Maria was so young and so in love with him. She thought she would die when he left her eventually as all men do, but for now he was hers, all hers. She could stroke him to her heart's content, gaze at him as he lay sleeping in her arms, suckle him at her willing and heavy breasts, and no one, not even her harpy of a mother-in-law would criticize her. She was a jealous lover, reluctant to share him with anyone. His nurse tried to intrude but maria turned her away, even barred the door against her to preserve her precious time with him.

September 15--Japanese School, Spring Landscape with the Sun. Spring had finally spread its green mantle on the hills. Leaves cloaked the tree branches bringing patches of cool shade for Lin to shelter in one the afternoons when the sun surprised her with its intensity. She worked hard gathering up the dried fish from the family's fishing boat. Lin's brother, Ho, got to go out on the boat, got to learn to fling the net in a perfect circle, to watch it settle into the water and ensnare the flashing silver fish. All Lin got to do was gut the catch, rub it with salt, and lay it in the sun on bamboo racks to dry. She would rather go out in the tippy boat to catch the fish than stay on land with the other girls.

September 16--Henri Rousseau, Tropical Forest: Battling Tiger and Buffalo. The forest primeval. Leaves of every shade of green are tangled in a solid wall. You can't see into it more than a foot. The cries of birds and monkeys echo in the hot, wet air as they battle over turf rights in the canopy. On the jungle floor in the murky half-light the tiger moves, her stripes blending in so that she is a shadow, a feeling of menace stalking the trail. The buffalo grazes in the clearing, its sensitive ears tuned to catch the smallest sound of approaching danger. At the clearing's edge the tiger sinks to the ground, alert to any sign that her prey has noticed her. The big cat can smell the cow buffalo, can smell the milk that drips from her teat. The end of her long sinuous tail twitches with the thought of that tender young calf.

September 17--Jan Vermeer, A Young Lady Seated at a Virginal. Maja hated being on display whenever her parents entertained guests. Her little brothers would be carried in by Nurse to be admired, their blond curls and rosy cheeks were sure to bring coos from the women. Maja knew women were suckers for babies no matter how smelly they were. Her older brother Heinrich was called into the dining room as the men sat with their cigars and port to talk about his studies at the university. She was always stuck at the keys playing insipid after-dinner music, some light thing evoking meadows and gamboling lambs. She hated having to get all trussed up in her finery with her hair rigidly pinned up and made to sit for hours while the women gossiped and she was certain her mama was hoping one would have a son they could marry her off to.

September 18--American Photographer, Grand Central Station, New York City. Morning sunshine streams in through enormous iron-bound windows making stripes in the smokey great hall of the station. No one takes the time to notice the beautiful ceiling with its painting like the midsummer night sky or the milky marble floor below. The ticket sellers in their cage in the middle of the room barely lift their eyes as they sell tickets and take money. They don't give directions, few are foolish enough to ask. The sellers don't care if the person in line is a lawyer, a secretary, a captain of industry, or a bum. All they care about is money. If you have correct change, you may get a quick smile and a flash of eye contact, but if you are foolish enough to need change, you get a sigh and a shake of the head with your ticket and your money back.

I haven't written today's prompt yet. I'll get to it before bedtime tonight, I promise. Right now I'm trying to water all the plants. It's so dry the grass hurts my feet when I walk on it. It could rain, I wouldn't mind.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Writer's Tonight

Yippee! There's nothing like sitting with other writers talking about writing and feeding on each others' energy doing an exercise or two. Tonight we'll critique Jennifer's latest submission (which I really liked) and I'll submit the beginning of my riverboat story so they can be working on it while I'm at The Clearing next week. I wish I could bottle up the creative atmosphere up there to release ever so slowly at home. It's hard to recreate that "retreat" feeling at home with all the noise and bustle of life.

September 10--Elisabeth Louise Vigee-LeBrun, Portrait of Arabella Cope, Duchess of Dorset. Bella felt very grown up with her hair pinned up under her new red hat with the black marabou stork feather on the side. She wore the midnight blue velvet dress that Bertie said made her light-blue eyes bluer and the silk and lace underdress that made her skin glow. Bella hadn't been the Duchess of Dorset for long but Bertie insisted that she must sit for her portrait with the French woman painter he had met in Paris when he was on his Grand Tour. Bella suspected that her husband, who was at least twenty years older than she but such a lamb, had been more than just friends with Elisabeth when they met all those years ago but she was not foolish enough to bring it up. She was still a little unsure of herself as lady of the manor but she was not so young as to be unaware of the looks the older woman exchanged with her husband. She had to trust that Elisabeth would be professional in her wok but she did wish she had worn a sparkling evening gown with all her jewels but Bertie had insisted that this was what she should wear. She sighed and her shoulder slumped, tired of sitting so still for so long. She straightened when she heard the cluck of disgust from behind the easel.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy Unbirthday, Barbara!

I guess I'm too late for a birthday greeting, but an unbirthday greeting on 9-9-9 seems like a good a day as any to catch up. I can't keep the days of the week straight lately, either, but I keep thinking today is Tuesday.

Jennifer, how is Shelby. I'm thinking of you, and though there's no pressure of course, I hope you feel like you can come tomorrow -- if not for the writing, then for the personal support that it seems like you could use right now.

I heard a tiny piece of an interview on NPR yesterday that really intrigued me. Here's what it sparked, and I do hope to keep going:

When the call came from Prague, it caught Ursula quite off guard. “We can't keep them anymore,” they'd said. “Locked in a freezer, and not a single visit; not even a ring on the phone.”

“I clearly didn't understand the nature of the contract,” Ursula remembered thinking, but she'd agreed to the delivery nonetheless. She wasn't one for a fuss. She didn't know what she'd expected – a plastic dish in one of those styrofoam coolers, maybe – but certainly not this. She arrived home and there they were all lined up on her porch, one to twelve in a row, all the children blue about the fingertips and lips, the littlest two sucking idly on popsicles. “Oh, my,” Ursula said.

“You've been a particularly bad mother,” the largest said, and the line looked at Ursula with reproach, “but they said in Prague that you'd make up for it now.”

“You'd better,” added a voice from somewhere in the middle.

“Oh, my,” Ursula said again before ushering the children inside.

See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, Which Feels Like Monday

Since this is the first time I'm going to work this week. I was convinced that those 5 days I was off would stretch in long, relaxed days of unscheduled time, drifts of hours on the couch with my knitting, reading on the patio in the afternoon. Instead they zoomed by without leaving much of an impression. I know I spent Sunday diving with Kevin and Deb, and yesterday I walked with Dusty for a while, but the rest of it is just gone. What is with time these days? Someone must be cranking the clocks double-time.

September 9--Leonardo da Vinci, Head of a Young Woman with Tousled Hair, or Leda. His hand was nearly a blur, moving quickly as he painted her hair. But time slowed, perception sharpened as he came to her face. He twirled his brush to point the tip so as to make the thinnest of lines. His hand moved in a caress as he shaped her cheek, his lips parted in a kiss as her lips appeared in small shadows on the vellum. The tremble in his aging hands disappeared as the brush softly, smoothly slid down the Roman arch of her nose. You can hear the soft tones of his voice as he spoke to her posing so still in the shaft of light in his cluttered studio. She was just a street girl, too old to beg, too young to earn her living on her back, but he painted her and made her a goddess.

I don't think I'll go anywhere with this but I do like it. I like it alot.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gearing Up

I'm getting ready to pack to go to The Clearing on Saturday to spend a week in the Women's Writing Retreat workshop. Five days of quiet writing in the mornings and round table discussion in the afternoon, with some of the best company, and food, around. Six days to walk in the woods and listen to the waves lap at the base of a limestone bluff. Going there twice a year takes all my stash money savings but it's so worth it.

Jennifer, I hope your Shelby is comfortable. I'm thinking of you and hoping you feel you can make it Thursday evening.

September 8--Turkish School, Tile with a representation of Mecca. Sweat rolled down Dinah's face and stung her eyes. She had spent the entire day washing the woodwork in the parlor of her new/old house with undiluted pine oil cleaner. Convinced that the filth of the ages had transferred itself onto her clothes and skin, she promised herself a long cool shower just as soon as she had washed the mantle around the fireplace. The wood looked like ebony even though she knew it was not and the tiles around the fire box were nearly as black as the wood. Knowing that the oil soap was the only thing that cut the film from the old furnace, she tipped some onto her sponge. Used to the color change as it went from gold to black with one swipe she was amazed to see that at least one of the tiles was painted green and red. The whole room brightened as she uncovered the white tiles under the grime and a rainbow of color glowed from the Turkish tiles she uncovered with every swipe.

I might take this someplace sometime.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm. Now if only the wind would pick up a bit and blow all the humidity away, it would be perfect. Both of us tried very hard not to labor today and we mostly succeeded. I went to TJ Maxx and found a bedspread, not a poufy duvet/comforter thing, and bed skirt for our new king-sized bed, not matching which is much more to my taste than those bags o' bedding they mostly sell these days. And they were reasonably priced. Yahoo! This was one of those days that just slipped away. It was nice.

September 7--Lawrence Atkinson, Figure Study--Design for Sculpture. It looks like the aftermath of an earthquake, Emmaline thought glaring at the small painting. She had been standing there staring for more than a half an hour. Just when she thought she had it figured out some part of it she hadn't considered before would push itself forward into her consciousness. At first she thought that part in back, or on the left depending how you looked at it, was meant to be a handful of keys. That made the orange part his left arm and the rust L his mouth. If it was a person. But then she thought that area in the center looked like battlements--or a skyline. Wait, maybe those triangle were trees, or maybe that shape on the right with the slot in it represented a mailbox or was it a voting box? Was the tallest part a raised fist or Lady Liberty's torch? Emmaline squinted at it, stepped back and cocked her head. She liked the colors the artist chose and the energy of the lines. Maybe that was enough.

Oh, I like this, both the art and the words.

What doesn't kill you....

Not that you have seen much of me lately on the blog, but I won't be on for a while. I had to take Shelby to the Animal ER this weekend and my time will be devoted to her at this point. Life is throwing alot at me right now and I'm just trying to keep my head above water but I can't seem to catch a break lately. She is my family and I don't expect anyone to understand, but it is where my heart is now.

I know that I should blog, but it is what it is.

Sorry for the downer post, but is what it is.

If I can't make it Thursday, I will be sure to call both of you.

Here's The Deal

I don't even remember what I did on Saturday instead of writing. I might have concentrated on finishing a knitting cap to give to some foster kids a friend is collecting for. I know I talked to DS for a while when he was driving from the Farmer's Market in Missoula to the brewery to check on the brewing beer. That's right, my son makes Moose Drool and a bunch of other delicious beers for all you aficionados to slurp up.

Yesterday I went diving with friends. We left about 10:30, dived for an hour at Moonlight Bay outside of Baileys Harbor, and then we drove a few miles south and dove for an hour off the Jacksonport Town Park on a pair of wrecks, the Perry Hannah and the Cecilia. The water was in the high 60s and we had visibility of between 30 and 50 feet. An awesome day to dive in Door County, WI.

Today I'm writing catch up. First up we have the tiny bit I managed to squeeze out from the art for Sat. & Sun. It's not great, it might not even be good, but it is done. And here it is...

September 5 & 6--Ottoman School, Reception at the Court of Sultan Selim III at the Topkapi Palace. These royal receptions are a pain, thought Akmed, as he stood in an endless line under the blazing sun. Being of middling importance he was lost somewhere in the middle of a host of men who wrapped their turbans just as he did. Not as influential as those in the tall white hats of minor nobility but infinitely more powerful that the poor fools in the pointed red caps relegated to a rank behind the sultan. At least his rank formed before the gaze of Selim III, Akmed just wished his mother had been a bit more assertive at his naming ceremony. There were twenty-six other Akmeds in his rank alone.

Eh. More later. And it's bound to be better.

We Visit The Land of Giant Veggies

I convinced Durwood that we needed eggplant so off we went to the Farmer's Market at Festival. Our favorite corn people, Sunny Hill Farms, had a big booth and we were powerless to resist. We got a basket of tiny Damson plums like Grandma Angermeier grew ($2), 2 ears of the best sweet corn in the planet, normal sized eggplants ($1 ea), petanque ball sized beets ($1 a bunch), and a kohlrabi that defies description (50 cents). I foresee Layered Veggie Bake in our near future. Yum. I love this time of year.

In knitting news, I made one of the knitted hats I promised to my web-friend Rochard for a bunch of foster kids she makes sure get gifts. More to come!

And I shaved and sheared the fuzzies on Felted Purse #2, along with adding th
e clasp and a big purple button. Now it looks like a real purse instead of some alien pelt.

I also did a bit of extemporaneous yarn buying. It was on sale. Pretty colors, people.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Just Under the Wire

It was just too nice a day to spend more than this morning working on my writing. I spent the morning transcribing and editing the poetry I wrote last night at Writer's, I am impressed that I managed to get ten of them written. Ten! Not that all, or even any, of them are very good but I've got 10 ideas down on paper, 10 poems in the bank for posting to Poems & Pix.

September 4--Rudolph Friedrick Wasmann, Neopolitan Bagpipe Player in Wintry Rome. Lucia heard him coming before she had him. The music he made was like no other she had ever heard. It was like the wind moaning through the cypress trees in winter or the voice of a herd of cattle lowing at night. A melancholy sound. She was melancholy enough living with her mother-in-law while Paolo worked in Naples. and her with a new baby that bound her to the house in the damp chill of the late winter. The music got closer, close enough to disturb her sleeping son into a fretful mewl. She opened her dress to suckle the babe while the piper and his apprentice serenaded the house from the street hoping for a few coins.

Not bad for someone half asleep. *yawn* Tomorrow I'll try and do better. No diving tomorrow, either Sunday or Monday.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

An Absolutely Gorgeous Day

And, once again, I have to work. After today I have the next 5 days off. You watch, the weather will deteriorate as the 5 days progress, but I am determined to go diving at least one of those days. Maybe we'll even do 2 dives.

Writing feels good today and tonight is Writer's. We're doing Project Night where we each work on our own project for the 2 hours. I'm going to write poetry. I've got lots more Bonaire pictures than I have Bonaire poems, ditto for The Clearing, and I need both for my poetry blog. Time to put some work in the bank for future posts.

September 3--Chinese School, Portrait of Empress Dowager Cixi. They called her the Pearl Empress because of her great love of the mysterious white orbs. Some said it was because of her flawless skin that shone like a pearl in the lamplight. Others said it was because the Emperor had called her "my pearl" during a bout of lovemaking. Whatever the reason, Cixi was always covered with pearls. There were pearls in her ears, of course, and pearl ornaments in her lustrous black hair. She were pearl rings on every finger, and bracelets and anklets of them. Even her everyday robes were embroidered with them and her ceremonial robes were weighted with the largest, most perfect pearls in the kingdom. Whenever anyone asked Cixi why she wore so many pearls she told them that they reminded her of the moon and she loved the moon. She never told anyone the true reason. She was a pearl diver's daughter. Each day her mother had dived naked into the frigid sea, her wooden collecting tub tied to her waist and floating above her. When Cixi was small she rode in the tub while Oma went down for minutes at a time to collect the oysters that held the pearls. Down and up, down and up she went, cold and gasping, until one day she went down and didn't come up. Cixi's father sold her to a woman who took her to the capital where she was sold into service in the palace of the emperor's women. There she caught the eye of the young prince who would be emperor and from there became his wife and the dowager when he died defending his borders and her son ascended to the throne. Cixi knew that her oma gave her life for the glowing white beads so she wore them, as many as she could, to honor the sacrifice of the young woman who had given her life.

Interesting. Time to leave for work.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Holy cats, that's a lot of posting! What a gorgeous day. I wish I could close the dive shop and go sit by the bay and just soak up the sun. Maybe I'd grab up Durwood to go walk along the Fox River Trail. But I have to stay here and work. Mrs. Boss just came in to mow the lawn so now I'm trapped working. Oh, like I'd ever get away with cutting out early. One time I went to lunch with a friend, for a mere forty-five minutes when there had been absolutely no customers and no phone calls all morning, but there were three cars, three!, in the parking lot when I got back. Man, did I feel embarrassed. No more playing hooky for me, not even for free pizza.

September 2--Amrita Sher-Gill, The Swing. Even though there were seventeen of us and only that one swing in Grandma's big tree, we never fought over it. Most of the boys were too busy playing war in the pasture or pestering the ant lion spiders lurking at the bottom of their pits in the sandbox. My brothers and boy cousins caught ants to toss into the pits so they could watch the spiders scurry out to capture their prey. The four Carroll girl cousins spent most of their time making clover chains for hair wreaths for playing Mary, Queen of the May. They always were pious little freaks. Uncle Walt's four girls set up their dolls and buggies and cradles on the wide front porch to play house. They're the best mothers of us all. Cindy and Janet were playpen-age babies. That left the swing for me. I'd pump hard to sail high up hoping to touch one of the big catalpa leaves with my feet, loving the wind generated by my flight.

Well. That was an unexpected trip down memory lane or at least a glancing blow of it.

The Zoo & A Sock (picture heavy post)

Not at the same time, unfortunately. I'm not clever enough to be able to knit and walk around. I need to watch what I'm doing most of the time here at klutz central.

Since it was my birthday yesterday I decreed that we needed to go to the zoo so I could feed the giraffes--and so we did.

The lioness was tired.

The otter posed.

Durwood talked to the eagle and the macaws. (They didn't talk back.)

The raccoons made off with a rake.

And I fed Hodari. I could have spent all afternoon feeding him giraffe crackers (which look like Triscuits) and having his big, long, dark blue giraffe tongue all over my hand. I hate dog spit on me, I don't mind giraffe spit. Go figure.

After a lovely supper at Tony Roma's (mmm, bbq ribs and onion loaf; onions are a veggie, right?) I finished Reef Sock #1. When the weather turns chilly, it (and its future mate) will keep my tootsies toasty. I love the colors.

P.S. I finally noticed when I was photoshopping the pix we took at the zoo that there is definitely 30# less of me. I could feel it but not see it; I can in this picture. Feels good.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Post #999!

Woohoo! I rock. I'd say, we rock but nobody else is posting these days. Oh well. Today's my birthday, #58, and I don't have to work so Durwood and I are going to the zoo so I can feed the giraffes and pet the zebu. Bet you wish it was your birthday too.

September 1--Grant Wood, Stone City, Iowa. Ann leaned her forehead on the cold, thick, Plexiglas window of the plane and looked at the ground far below. She thought it looked like a model train setup or a really good topographical map. From his high up nothing down there looked really real. It all looked clean, quiet, and well-organized. Nothing in her life right now was any of those things. She yearned for a couple days, just two and they didn't even have to be a weekend, where she could catch up. She would do the laundry, cook some casseroles or maybe a meatloaf so she'd have real food to eat, and she would sleep. She'd turn off her phones, all of them, pull down the shades and sleep, really sleep. Maybe she should quit her job and move down there to the "great in-between" where the landscape looked friendly and the people moved slowly.

I'm off to make a ham sandwich and then go feed crackers to the giraffes.