Sunday, February 28, 2010

It Has Been Snowing All Freaking Day

No accumulation, just a day-long veil of falling snow. Very dreary and depressing.

I decided to knit a pair of fingerless mitts for the young daughter of a friend who is the child in her family not causing all sorts of problems. She saw some that I was wearing yesterday and said, "Did you make those? Oh, I'd like some one day." in a quiet voice. How could I resist? I had some Lion Wool in
the stash the perfect color for a 10 year old girl. I dug up the simple pattern to knit them in the round and cast on after supper last night. I got the first one done before noon today and got the second onto the needles right away. I hope she likes them.

(Just so you know, I cut the number of rounds between decrease rounds in half so that the wrist warmers don't go all the way to the elbows; I knit them that short all the time.)

Here's the second Ugly Bunny pincushion, already handed over to its new mom.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Not Stopping Me

I was tired last night, too, but it didn't stop me from writing. "Is strong vooman." *fists in the air like a winning prizefighter* No little "tired" is going to kick my butt, I can write with one eye tied behind my back. I am getting a little tired of going to the dive shop every day, though, and the waking up at 6:30 every day part, I am so over. I am having fantasies of going diving with Jimmy Stewart and being on a beach or in a tropical villa, though. Yep, it's the middle of the winter. Cabin fever, anyone? (Think of your fat paycheck, Barbara, the paycheck.)

February 26--Hikkadwa, Sri Lanka. The breaks still drew the surfer boys, Daria saw. It had been thirty years... no... God, forty years since she had followed her own surfer boy around the globe to this tiny speck in the Indian Ocean. They had lived in a bamboo and thatch hut not far from where she sat, surviving on rice and a bag of yellow lentils that that boy from Sydney (Aaron, maybe?) had carried on his shoulder all the way from Colombo. That first season had been crazy, fun but crazy with all the sun-bleached blond boys and girls clustered around driftwood fires at night, drinking warm Golden Rooster beers, someone playing folk songs on a guitar, and passing around a joint. Every memory she had of those long-gone days she saw through a smoky haze. They were such fools, carefree fools, thinking that they could live out their lives in communal bliss. They were all so disdainful of their parents' staid lives and then, one by one, they either turned into their parents or faded deeper into the counterculture until they disappeared. She and Jack had built a lunch counter to sell bowls of rice, lentils (always lentils), onions and curry to their friends that grew into a chain of restaurants in small towns and malls all over the Indian subcontinent. Malls. God, it was lucky that Jack had died of a sudden heart attack before the first D&J's had opened in the mall in town; that big a step into conventional business would have killed him, but it made her a rich woman.

Oh, her I like. Enjoy your Saturday. I'm working. Bah.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Guilty Conscience

I couldn't stand it that I cheaped out last night and didn't write. "Ooh, I was tired." So I tucked my notebook and yesterday's calendar page into my backpack before work. This afternoon I found a few minutes, well, more than a few minutes, and got to work.

February 25--Kawailoa Bay, Kauai, Hawaii. Sam and Buster loved the beach. They ran in the sand, rolled in it, so they got it in their hair, brought drifts of it home in their pockets. Sometimes their mom thought they only went into the ocean to get wet so that more sand would stick to them. Sam thought he lived in the perfect place. It was warm almost all the time in Kauai and it was usually sunny too. Sam thought that everyone lived in a place like that until Buster came to live with them. Buster used to live on the mainland with his mom who was Sam's aunt, but Buster's mom got cancer and was real sick and she died. At first when he came to Kauai, Buster just wanted to sit in the house but Sam kept pestering him and pulling him to go to the beach. Buster only knew about swimming pools and sandboxes because he used to live in Wisconsin where it was only warm for a few months of the year. He had followed Sam down the path to the beach, grousing all the way about how he didn't see what was so great about a pile of sand, but when they got there his mouth dropped open. It really did, just like they say in books. Buster let out a wild whoop and started to run. He chased gulls and he chased Sam. He ran and ran. Sam's mom saw that there were tear tracks on his pink and sandy cheeks. "Sand gets in my eyes too," she said as she wiped his face with a cool cloth and smoothed on sunscreen.

That's better. Conscience assuaged.

A Confession

I have a confession to make. I didn't write last night. Oh, I wrote at writer's last night, we did 3 exercises out of Take Ten for Writers by Bonnie Neubauer, but I didn't write a prompt last night. When I got home (after 9) I was tired so I sat and watched the skaters with Durwood, finished a little crocheting project, and went to bed. I hardly even read before turning out the light. So, I'm going to give you the production of one of last night's exercises. It's just not about an island. Let's see, which one to choose...

February 25--The sun was just setting when I got lost at the carnival. Mama told me to stay close to Aunt Frannie. "Greta, you keep an eye on her all the time. I don't want you wandering off. Pay attention to what's around you for once." She bonked me on the bottom like a promise of what would happen if I didn't do what she said, and now I was lost. Oh man, I was gonna be in so much trouble. I craned my neck looking around for Aunt Frannie's carrot red and frizzy hair but it was getting too dark and the carnival lights made things look the wrong color. I called out, "Aunt Frannie, where'd you go?" but no one answered. I twirled around and around but all the people were too tall and there were a lot more men around than there had been in the afternoon. I had turned myself around enough that I was a little dizzy and I didn't remember which way I had been walking when Aunt Frannie got lost. My chest felt tight and I could feel tears choke me. I hated to cry but I had to. I sat down on the edge of the Ferris Wheel ramp and just wailed. A man who smelled of motor oil and cigarettes crouched down beside me. "What's the matter, honey? You lost?" I nodded my head but kept my eyes on my hands in my lap. Aunt Frannie was gonna kill me and then Mama would kill me again when we got home. "Come on. Let's see if we can't find your mama and daddy," the man said as he stood up. He put his hand on my arm and raised me up to my feet. He led me down past the Ferris Wheel and into the shadowy aisle between the tents of games. He kept his hand on my back to keep me alongside him. I thought I heard my name and turned to run but, opening my mouth to call out, but he pushed me along, his fingers digging into my shoulder. It was darker now and the sounds of music and people was far away. "I wanna go back," I said, but quietly. I was scared. Mrs. Hooper had talked to us in school about stranger danger and how we shouldn't go off with people we didn't know but she never said what to do if we were lost at a carnival.

Nothing good can come of this. Nothing. I don't want to finish it to find out the end.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

All Winter, All The Time

Durwood took more pictures yesterday and I have to share them with you. He captured the male cardinal sitting in the birdie tree, looking all red and cheerful.

I filled the birdbath yesterday morning and it was windy and it must h
ave blown water out. Look at the cool icicle it made!

I'm working steadily on my Khaki Cardi. There's no way I'm finishing it by the time the Olympic Torch is extinguished on Sunday but I'm very pleased at my progress. I know it looks short, but when I hold it up to me, it's just right.

And last night I couldn't resist. It's another Ugly Bunny. I'm so bad.

Island Hopping

In our story (start) today we have left the tropics for the Pacific Northwest. I'm glad. I was getting a little short of tropical ideas. I know, I'm surprised too, but to conjure up a new storyline every day is a trick and to pull out one about the tropics every day is, as Great-grandpa Gerst used to say, "a trick with a hole in it."

The sun is out today. Of course, that means that it's freezing without the cloud cover to keep the "warmth" in (warmth being a relative term in late February in these latitudes), but I do appreciate the light and spiritual lift that it provides.

February 24--Galiano Island, Vancouver, British Columbia. Gavin and Matty spent every day they could out in their kayaks, paddling around the island. Once school was over and their chores were done they would meet at the little dock at Matty's grandpa's place, lift their kayaks off the rack that Grandad had built for them, and take off. Some days they were scouts looking for unfriendly natives, other days they were naturalists looking for fossils, but usually they were just two twelve year olds out on the water enjoying the freedom of paddling. The islands offered little bays for them to explore and rocky beaches where once they saw a bear amble down to scoop up fish. They saw eagles soaring and swooping down to fly away with a silver fish wriggling in its talons. Their favorite times were when the orcas, the killer whales, came in packs to hunt the humpback calves that migrated north with their mothers.

Eh, not the best but it's nice scenery anyway. Stay warm today. Go for a walk.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ugly Bunny!

I love him. He's a pincushion.

Durwood managed to take over 5 minutes of video of our neighborhood sharpshinned hawk grooming him/herself on the fence in back, and he took these pictures of it with the digital camera. If we could figure out how to suck the video out of the camera, find it on the computer and put it on here I'd do it, but so far we're lost in our middle-aged, not-too-techy world. Maybe we can rent a kid...

We got more snow. I don't really want more snow, but it'll be good when the Friday Night Knitters go snowshoeing the first Sunday in March. I'll post pictures. I promise. During the last warm spell the birdie tree fell over so I leaned it on the honeysuckle. I've been spreading peanut butter on the branches and just sprinkling it with birdseed and discovered that I can dispense with the pb and just use the seed. It gets caught in the needles and the juncos have a blast.

Snow Complaint

Okay. We were supposed to get maybe an inch. Someone needed to tell the storm. We've probably got 3 inches on the ground and more coming, snowflakes gleefully piling up to make a mess. On the one hand it's pissing me off because I'm dead tired of winter, but on the other hand I'm glad because I want to go snowshoeing with the Friday Night Knitters on March 7 and we need snow for that. I'm a constant trial, even to myself, not to mention my poor, long-suffering Durwood. But for the most part I say, bah snow.

February 23--Bora-Bora. Sylvie stood looking out across the empty lagoon. She hadn't been gone that long, maybe an hour and a half. Where would Andre have gone--and why? The breaking waves at the reef cut reminded her that they had waited for an incoming tide to sail into the lagoon. He shouldn't have been able to get back out so quickly. Had he dumped her here and waited just until she was out of sight to turn around and sail away? If he was so eager to be rid of her, he could have left her in Taveuni. She could have hooked up with another yacht or worked her way home on a tramp steamer. "Andre," she said, her voice brittle with disuse. She smiled a bit sadly at the memory of his face and the way they would sit on the deck of the Ariadne in the moonlight of the Caribbean night. But now she had the harsh Pacific sun to deal with, her water to transfer from the carry-cans yoked across her shoulders, and then she needed swim out to check her newest fish trap. She had to find a scrap of fabric to patch her tattered dress. It was her only protection from the sun and the sharp edges of the grasses she had to go through to get to the little spring in the center of the island. Maybe something that she could use had washed ashore overnight.

Does this make sense? Do I have to spell it out that there is no Andre, never was on this island?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What's the Opposite of Monogamy?

I am really struggling with Olympic Knitting project monogamy. Evidently I have severe KPADD (Knitting Project Attention Deficit Disorder) so that I've stopped, or really slacked off, knitting on my cardi because it's the only project I've got going. Well, not really, but it's the only one on top of the knitting project heap right now. The rest of the OTNs are big too. I don't have any small, colorful distraction projects going.

Or I didn't until day before yesteday. I linked to Shoveling Ferret's blog through Samurai Knitter's blog for commentary on the Egyptology news clogging the air these days, and while visiting Shoveling Ferret (killing time until my online Revision class started) I scanned her blogroll and found sukigirl who has challenged herself to complete one small craft project (not all yarn-related) every day in February. And on the very first day of the month she crocheted an Ugly Bunny pincushion. It's adorable. In a totally ugly and unlovable way, which is how you want something you plan to shove pins into, right? I was hooked. (Ha! Get it? Hooked? On a crochet project? Oh, nevermind...) So Sunday night I pulled out some variegated yarn and a small hook and started. I got about halfway down the body and realized that it was just too big and this is one project that doesn't benefit from variegated yarn. *gasp* Monday morning before work I frogged it and dug out some solid skein remnants and started the "purse charm" size. It's perfect. I keep running out of yarn colors but I'm just pushing forward with the next color and the next bunny-part. I can see that making these could be addictive.


The weather can't make up its mind. Warmish, coldish, sunny, snow--we get all of those in the space of three days. It's driving my sinuses mad. I want it to stop. Today we're having flurries. Tiny flakes barely visible and then bigger flakes falling with purpose. Bah. It's not supposed to amount to more than an inch over the next two days. Hardly worth the effort.

February 22--Kawelikoa Point, Kauai, Hawaii. "Right there," Jared said, pointing past her out the window of the small plane. "Right there is where I'll build your house." Livia smiled and nodded, looking down at the little piece of paradise he indicated. She thought it looked idyllic like a perfect beach on a deserted island in a movie, but then she noticed the narrow and twisty road that slithered down from the mountain pass. And that mountain--it might be covered with a layer of soft green foliage but its angles were sharp and its faces were severe. This was not some old toothless mountain that had been worn down by time and the elements, no. This was a young, muscular mountain with plenty of attitude ready to keep people away. She looked up and down the coast as the plane flew toward land; there were no other houses or settlements on this stretch of windward shore, no neighbors to visit and borrow sugar from, no one to wave to as she walked the beach, no lights to twinkle at her through the tree when Jared was gone and she was alone. She leaned to shout in Jared's ear. "Is that a volcano?" She pointed to the most threatening peak. "It used to be, but now it's just an old mountain." He put his arm around her. "Don't worry, baby, I'll keep you safe." She smiled and reached up to touch his hand as he squeezed her as if she were reassured, but she shivered at the thought of the gilded cage he planned to put her in. The plane's wing dipped and for a split second they were weightless. The spell was broken and they were both laughing. How silly she was. Of course her sweet Jared wouldn't keep her prisoner, he just wanted her to have the best.

Uh-oh. No good will come of this, I can tell. Have a day.

Monday, February 22, 2010


We had snow last night, about an inch, but it's the fluffy kind that looks like Ivory Soap flakes on the ground, all sparkly and light. Naturally I got my car washed on Saturday after work (it had about 5# of salt on it) and I drove to work today next to a pizza truck that spent the whole time spraying my nice clean car with dirty, salty, road grime. Thanks a lot, pizza guy! I am so over winter. Time for spring.

February 21--Tenerife, Spain. It sat there on the horizon brooding, emitting a plume of steam every few days like a snoring giant. "Oh, I wish it would just blow," Dani said as she stood in the doorway of the rented cottage. Cottage, ha. It was more like a shack despite her work to make it more habitable. Brad didn't care; he was happy as long as he could see his beloved volcano every waking moment. Sometimes Dani wished that Brad was as consumed by her as he was by the mountain but then she knew that she would soon grow to hate that intense scrutiny and the probing into every change in her looks or her disposition. "You don't really," Brad said from his desk at the wide window beside the door. He had sensors and meters, computers and printers spread over the wide trestle table he used as a desk, and he spent all the time he wasn't tramping over the volcano's slopes fiddling with them. "Why?" she said, looking over her shoulder at his intent face staring at the computer screen. "Because there's a better than fifty/fifty chance we're in the blast zone here. We'd either be vaporized or buried in ash." "Oh," she said, "swell." She slid down the door jamb landing with a bump on the flagstone step. "That's reassuring," she said. He smiled over at her. "Hey, that's volcanology field work for you, a tantalizing mix of boredom and terror. What's not to love?" She thought that she could have married Nelson and spent her honeymoon in Norway while he studied ancient runes in a chilly drizzle. Brad was much better looking and an ardent lover, besides it was warm and sunny here in Tenerife. She hated being cold.

Nice. That's what I like, a shallow woman. Marry a man because of where he pursues his research, that's my advice.
Stay warm!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Color Change!

I finallyfinallyfinally got 18" knit from the shoulder so I could change to the white for the next 2 inches. See the thin white line at the bottom? Yay!

Two inches of the white and then I change to black and knit two more inches to finish the body, then it's on to the sleeves. A little edging around the neck and, ta-da, I've got a sweater. A wool and cashmere sweater that I made myself. Nice.

A Fast Day

Today was my only day off and, man, did it fly by! I whipped up what I think might be my best batch of red pepper hummus today; it's real garlicky and just the right texture. It's going to make lovely lunch sandwiches spread on toasted whole wheat pita halves with sliced cukes and Roma tomatoes on top. I need to make delicious food so I can stay with my plan to get fit and lose some weight. Durwood is the king of making suppers that make me want to come home from work. We're eating lots of fresh veggies and chicken, and fresh fruits. We are getting so healthy it's not even funny.

February 20--Tenerife, Spain. The steam coming from the vent slit near the top of Mt. Teide on Tenerife made all the scientists on the island very happy. That wisp of steam in the blue sky meant that molten rock, magma, was moving in the mountain. Of course it didn't take a scientist to figure that out. For weeks the ground had shook and heaved. Diego had brushed fine ash off his crops and even his meals had an unappetizing grittiness.

--and then I fell asleep, pencil on the page, ready for inspiration to wake me up. Instead Durwood climbed in bed, took away my writing toys and my glasses, shut out the light, and that was all she wrote. I'm hoping to do better tonight.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Still Sunny

This is good.

February 19--Bora-Bora. Sylvie looked over the side of the sailboat at the water. It was so shallow that it was clear with only a hint of greenish-blue and the tiny, even wind-ripples were the only evidence that there was water there at all. Andre had sailed them into this bay on the morning tide threading through the cut in the barrier reef with an escort of blacktip sharks that swam in for their morning hunt. Sylvie had watched as the squadron of five large gray shapes swam in formation until they had entered the calm waters of Leeward Bay and then the outer fish had peeled off to patrol the top of the inner reef alert to any unwary fish they could devour. Andre had heard that the shallows of this remote bay had good fishing and insisted that they stop so he could see for himself. She put two liters of water and a bag of watermelon chunks into her bag and pulled on a t-shirt dress over her bikini bottoms. She grabbed a hat and her beach shoes, then slid over the side into the knee-deep water to wade to shore. After a walk around the perimeter of the two-acre island, she planned to read and doze in the sun while Andre fished. An hour later at the end of an easy stroll around the island beach she was staggered to come back to her bag only to find an empty bay before her. No sailboat was in sight, no sails on the horizon, no laughing Andre casting his line into the water. She was alone.

Okay. This will definitely be tackled as soon as I need a break from organizing my novel. Happy Saturday. I have to work. *think of your paycheck, your nice fat paycheck*

Friday, February 19, 2010


I got to work this morning and the safe wouldn't open. It's temperamental at times so I gave it a timeout and tried again--no luck. I waited a half hour and tried--nope. I had a customer who fortunately paid with a check, then I tried the safe again--nada. I called Mr. Boss hoping he had a secret way to open the $*%#& thing, but he didn't. What he had was a different code, but that didn't work either. I tried enough to get that number locked out too so I waited another 15 minutes and tried again--no, not even a friendly little click to let me know it was thinking about opening next time. I changed the battery in the keypad--non. In desperation I called the guy he bought the safe from. Turns out that only one brand of battery (Duracell) has enough juice to satisfy the little glutton; when I gave it one of those, it opened right up. Prima donna.

So, how's your day going?

Last night at writer's was a bust. Neither of us got inspired by any of the lovely and interesting exercises we had at hand. That doesn't happen often but I hate when it does. I get a chill in my stomach that maybe I've spent all my words and I'm done writing for life. Silly me. I was so darned frustrated by it I didn't even write my bedtime prompt, but I brought it and my notebook to work and once the safe had opened and my work-world was back in order, poof, out came a bit of writing.

February 18--Ang Thong, Thailand. Mason had the best spot. Without moving from his seat in the cover of the brush he could see far down the passage between islands. Every boat and ship that sailed from Taegu in the north down to Ko Samui behind him two islands to the south had to pass right by his perch. If he turned his head and looked out to sea he could see why. the ocean offshore of Ang Thong was a maze of reefs and sandbars guaranteed to catch and scuttle even the shallowest drafted vessel. Even the native fishermen whose boats were nothing more than a shell with bare inches of freeboard avoided the area. So if Ji Gong was going to move his fleet of rusty cargo freighters, Mason would see. He had been in this spot for two days and nights now. The bugs had fed on him and the lizards had courted and consummated their union on his left thigh but he had not slept. One time he had stepped away from is post to relieve himself downwind, but for shorter breaks he could stand and step behind the fig tree he sat under. His clothes blended into the bush and he was careful not to let his binocular lenses flash and give away his position.

Maybe I've read too many thrillers.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

There's a Flaming Ball in the Sky!

YA-HOO!!! I'm saved. It's sunny. I feel lifted up. I feel awake for the first time this week. Pardon me while I dance around naked celebrating the emergence of the sun. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (doesn't that look like dancing?)

Okay, I'm back (and decently clothed). Now I can type in last night's writing, then get ready to keep the world safe from SCUBA diving for another day.

February 17--Pancake Rocks, New Zealand. Leah dusted her hands off on the seat of her pants. She had been hiking up into the forested hills of the island and she had arrived at her goal. The Pancake Rocks loomed before her looking like something built out of layers of gray cardboard. She had seen eroded rocks before, but these, they were different. Cracked in layers, piled like dry-stacked walls, they went on forever. Carved by eons of wind and rain, the Pancakes made her geologist's heart beat faster. She stepped forward with her arms outstretched as if to embrace the sheer rock-ness of the vista before her. Washed free of any trace of soil, the Pancakes were a desert of lizards and insects with not one tree to relieve the vast expanse of gray.

I had higher hopes for this but it blah-ed out right under my fingers. Maybe I'll take another run at it one day. Enjoy the sunshine, dudes and dudettes.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The longer it stays gray, overcast, and dreary the lower my mood slides. I feel like, as Bill would say, if I look up whale sh*t looks like stardust. It'll pass, I know it will, but right now I could be perfectly happy eating ice cream, chocolate, and doughnuts, chocolate doughnuts with nuts on top, thank you very much. Oh, and pizza with everything except anchovies and black olives. And I'd drink Coke too, real caffeinated, sugary Coke. I'd never sleep but I'd drink it anyway, and I'd pack on the weight it has taken me 8 months to lose, which would just royally pi$ me off. So I won't. I'll eat my Curried Chicken soup for lunch, my Special K for breakfast, and whatever low-fat, high veggie yumminess Durwood makes for supper. Ooh, maybe we'll have the rest of the Sesame Chicken he made on Monday, that was totally delicious, all soy sauce-y with toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on it. Yum. Just talking about all that food has made me feel a bit better. But now I'm thinking about all the days in a row I have to work for the rest of the month and I'm back in the pits. Even the promise of 2 nice fat paychecks in a row aren't making me feel better, I think I'm past the stage of life where more money takes the place of more time. Don't worry about me, even I think I'm a pain when I whine like this.

February 16--Fyn Island, Denmark. Every time she came this way, her first sight of Egeskov Castle reminded Paula of a Faberge egg. The bicycle path was hemmed in by linden trees overgrown with bittersweet vines so that it was like riding down a green tunnel. Every half-mile or so a port would have been opened up in the wall of greenery so that the leaves framed the view. At one point the distant mountains came into sight, the snows on the peaks bright white in the midsummer sun. She liked the orderly orchard and vineyard showcased along the way but she eagerly anticipated seeing the castle. She pedaled faster the nearer she came, and the sight of it always brought a smile and a sigh for times past.

I was sleepy last night so that's all there was. It does have possibilities, but it isn't very exciting. Oh well, off to work.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Slow and Painful

I am working on my Olympic Knitting project every day, but I don't know if it's the needles, the yarn, or the way I purl, but too much working on it makes my hands ache. I'm getting a few rows done a day, 3 or 4 maybe, and that's a whole lot more than I've been doing so I'm happy with my progress. Not as happy, you understand, as I would be if I were, say, down to the place I want to add stripes at the bottom, but I'm getting there. Nobody's blowing out any Torch just yet.

Sunday night my hands were aching and so I thought I'd put the cardi aside for an evening and work on the Lava Shawl. I was on the fourth row of the lace section and I knew it wasn't right. I didn't have the correct number of stitches and the lace squares weren't lining up
correctly. Nothing to do but pull it off the needles and frog back to the end of the stockinette section and start again. It was only four rows, after all. I got it ripped back and put on long straight needles, thinking that I could do the first few rows on them without the annoyance of a circular needle adding to the mix. I knit to the first marker just fine, but when I was coming up on the second marker I realized that I didn't have the right number of stitches, and I had counted that I had the correct number after the frogging--twice, so I ripped those few stitches back and put the whole thing back into time-out. I love the yarn and I like the way the pattern looks. I will triumph, just not today.

Dialing and Redialing

Today is Sign Up Day for Lifetime Friends of The Clearing, so I have been dialing and redialing since 8 AM and finally got through (but I think I'm getting a blister on my button-pushing finger). Of course, some... some... someone got first dibs on the sole single room allocated to the class I signed up for (Women's Writing Retreat), so I had to agree to a double, but I have every hope that my wishes will prevail and I'll get a single room. I told Tammy I'll even take #2 which is the smallest and darkest room; I'm not proud. Last night I thought about getting up at the crack of dawn and driving up there to be on the porch and register in person at the stroke of 8, but decided against it. Next time I'm going to listen to my gut.

I need to renew my commitment to writing, to making time for it, and pushing myself to do the hard work of it. I've got a severe case of the mid-winter blahs and doing anything is an uphill battle these days. This time of year I'm all about the path of least resistance. Today is about veering off that path and stomping my footprints in the untouched snow in a different direction. I think I'll go to the office store and get a presentation board and use Post-Its to plot out the scenes of my novel and find a place to add some tension, a little frustration, conflict even. All part of my "no more Mrs. Nice Guy" resolution of a few weeks ago.

February 15--Loiza, Puerto Rico. Raul and Perez ran down through the palms,dodging rocks and vines that threatened to trip them up. Their breath came in chest-heaving gasps and sweat rolled down their faces. The day looked deceptively peaceful, the sky was a clear blue dotted with puffy, white clouds and the blue green sea lapped softly against the yellow sand, but under the trees and in the hills behind them there was no peace. Raul had been a farmer content to till his small plot in the valley over the first rank of hills less than a month ago. he had worked hard to grow a little sugar cane to sell at the mill, with a pig to slaughter at the end of the year, and a few chickens for eggs and Sunday supper clucking in the yard of his small house. Then Perez showed up in the cantina in the village with a pocket full of seeds and stories of men who would pay big money for the buds of the hemp he could grow. Greed and liquor clouded Raul's mind and he agreed to help Perez make his plan into reality. At first things went well, life stayed quiet in Raul's little valley, then as harvest time approached, hard-eyed men with fists to match showed up. The government agents weren't far behind and now Raul and Perez were on the run. As they stumbled out onto the sand of the narrow beach they realized that they had nearly run out of island too.

Well, this is fun. Is there a boat out there in the shallows to take them away? Will they be caught, men with guns in front and the sea at their backs? Beats me. Another one that needs coming back to.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow Again

But only flurries, not piles and drifts of the stuff. I realize that it is February and the depths of winter so snow is expected, but it's getting a bit old.

I survived the drive home from Roi's, traffic was light and I made a visit to a few stores in the outlet mall in Oshkosh. There were a few things in Land's End, Eddie Bauer, and Lane Bryant that just had to come home with me. It wasn't the same as going with my DD like we did years ago, but I managed to leave some mad money there.

February 13--Socotra Island, Yemen. Unmarred by a single footprint, Geneva thought the beach at Socotra looked like it had when the Earth was made. It seemed to be a waste to have such a beautiful beach in such a rigid and extremist country. The rocks down the shore looked right, though, like they belonged. They were devoid of greenery, not one plant, not a spindly tree, nothing grew on them as if the cultural wasteland that is the norm among the Yemenis had been translated to the geography.

Well, I didn't think I had that strong a bias about any country. Guess I need to do a little research.

I was too tired from shopping and driving to write last night. I'll do better tonight, I promise.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Made It!

I drove down to Roi's in beautiful sunshine. We visited and wrote and ate and talked and laughed. So far, so fun. I even (accidentally) trapped one of her cats in the bedroom with me, so for the first time in my life I slept with a cat. I'm going to try not to do that again, not that she was a bad bed partner, she hid under it, the whole idea of it just royally creeps me out. No offense meant, Roi and Mocha/Maya.

February 12--Prasline, Seychelles. Jake lay on his bed in the small light that shone from the little bulb in his closet. He tried squinting and that was better. Squeezing his eyelids shrank the world down to something more manageable, or maybe squinting made him smaller so that he'd fit into his imagination. Today he projected himself onto the little island his turtle, Macro's bowl. He knew it was just molded resin with some plastic palms stuck on here and there, and the turtle water tended to be algae green rather than the rich blue of the Indian Ocean, but after the debacle that had been his day he needed to get out of his real life into an imaginary one--stat. (His gran watched doctor shows and someone was always yelling "stat," it meant fast.) Failing his Social Studies test and having to bring home a note was bad enough but coming home to find Mom and Dad sloshed and fighting put the cap on a perfectly terrible day. He didn't mind eating a bowl of fake Froot Loops for supper but he hated the boozy words and slurred anger that bounced off his parents and ricocheted through the house.

Highly colored by the Sherman Alexie novel I started reading last night, but there you are, I am what I read, or what I'm reading at the time. You can call me Sponge.

Friday, February 12, 2010


I'm all packed, got my notebooks and pencils (and laptop), a couple albums of underwater pictures to show (as requested), something to read, something to knit, clean undies and my jammies. Oh, and toothbrush. I'm all set to go to Roi's for a weekend playdate.

Last night we had a great writer's group. We critiqued Jennifer's excellent children's story and then Jenny had some terrific exercises for us to do, one of which was the box exercise. In the box exercise you choose Small, Medium or Large and she gives you a box the size that you chose and you have to write about the box or its contents. I don't know if Jenny made it up, but I love the box exercise, even if I don't get a big idea sometimes, there's something delicious about opening a box and exploring the contents. And to top off the evening we played Bananagrams. Altogether an awesome night for writing. Thanks!

February 11--Thira, Santorini. The chairs are set out just so. There are only two of them casting their long shadows on the rough pavement. The sun's rays are filtered and flattened by the mist that rises from the sea in the still air. The ocean is barely rippled like a length of taffeta ready to be cut and sewn into an evening dress. The dark blue of the water gleams golden white with the harsh power of the sun. In an earthenware jug beg enough to hid a child a tortured palm struggles to survive. Blasted by heat and light, tortured by salty and air and too little water, it clings to life with tenacity and hope.

That's it. I must have spent my daily word allotment at writer's and had very little left for the prompt. Once again I am happy just to have written.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I spazzed out last night and joined the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics, even though I said I wasn't going to. The planets aligned for my participation; I finished both the Carnival Sock and the Ribwarmer I was making for Durwood yesterday. If that's not a sign, I don't know what is.

I'm bending the rules a bit (okay, a lot) since I already have the sweater cast on and knitted to the armpits, but I've been pushing this project off for m
onths, I knit a few rounds and then something quicker or more colorful catches my attention and I'm off. I'm hoping that signing up will keep me on task. And earn me a finished cardigan in 17 days! Wouldn't that be fantabulous?

On Your Mark, Get Set...

And tomorrow I go! I'm going to go visit one of The Incredibles, the kick-ass writing women I spend a week with in the fall at The Clearing, for the weekend. I am so ready for this mid-winter escape. Even though we desperately needed a new roof (and it was done at my insistence, I have to admit), turning our vacation money into shingles seems like less and less of a good idea as the cold and snow and dreary skies stretch out. We're going to write and talk and talk and write, and maybe knit a tiny bit, and talk and write.

February 10--Contadora Island, Panama. It looks like a stopper that has fallen out. The island lies just offshore from the end of the Canal, that slit in the pinch point of the continent that has always been such a powder keg. Like so many other small islands in the region, Contadora looks like a movie set designer or a Disney Imagineer had it made, all white sand, green jungle, and blue water, but in reality it was hot, humid, and buggy. There was a reason that it took so long to build the Canal, and it was the bugs. Bugs that loved to feast on humans foolish enough to be there in the swampy heat where fevers were everyday and malaria was a holiday. Severson sat in the shade with a tub filled with ice and bottles of the thin and sour El Caribe beer that was all he could get on the island. Around his neck he wore a pair of army surplus binoculars that he lifted to his eyes every few minutes. One of these times the steamship Argonne would be there, its black funnels tearing through the calm Central American air and he would make the call. The call, like the next domino in a global game of hide and seek, would set in motion consequences that would make the thousand dollars he was being paid to drink beer on a quiet beach as insignificant as one of the sand grains beneath his faded green flip flops.

There now, don't you wish you knew what comes next? Yeah, me too. Haven't got a clue. But it's bound to be exciting, if I ever get back here and figure it out. Maybe someday when my mind and spirit are calmer.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Done! **edited**

It was a day to finish things. Funny how stuff comes to completion all at the same time sometimes. This morning before work I finished sewing the two halves of the Ribwarmer together and then I gave it to Durwood because he likes earthtones and he's always cold. Next time I'll make it a little bigger and figure out a way for him to close it in the front. But look how pretty it is!

It was so quiet today at the dive shop that I finished the Carnival Sock. And I learned something--my toes are not pointy. The pattern says to decrease down to 4 stitches and then Kitchener the toe. Well, look. See how pointy the sock toe is? My toe is not in there. I should have quit two rows sooner and had a wider toe, but this will work. Oh yeah, this sock will work. And now I have 6 worsted socks so I can wear them and not have one hanging around waiting for the others to be washed. **As I suspected, the leg of this sock is about 1 1/2" shorter without the heelflap, wearable but anyone considering switching to the short row heel (I'm looking at you, Dusty) better add more length to the leg.**


We got 4.6" of snow before it quit sometime last night and today the new snow is blowing around trying to find the perfect place to land. A bunch of the flakes have banded together to peek over the edge of the roof, to hang like valances which I suspect will fall onto the driveway in the bright sun today. It's bright and sunny and white outside today. The sunshine makes my heart feel lighter.

February 9--Corsica. Giselle stood on the weedy roadside staring up at the rock above her. She was sure it was the lava plug from an old volcano that had eroded away centuries ago. The rock was the dull black of coal; it reminded her of the pile of the black rocks that used to live in the basement and that Dad shoveled into the furnace when she was little. she couldn't have picked a more isolated place for her car to break down. Cell service was spotty in the mountains and there must have been a vein of iron in the area because all she got on her phone when it did work was static. She was resigned to waiting for someone to drive by, someone who would send a tow truck back for her. She was not about to get into just any car with any random person. Despite the bright sunshine the wind up there was sharp and cold. She tugged a pullover out of her bag and put it on, crossing her arms over her midriff to warm up. She heard the sound of an old truck groaning over the top of the hill, its ancient gears protesting as the driver jammed them into place. Oh she hoped the driver would stop and help her.

Kinda lost it there at the end, didn't it? I'll do better next time. Cross my heart.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


It's snowing and blowing today, making the streets slick but everyone seems to be taking it easy. I hope we get less accumulation than the weather-guessers say, but I'll probably have to shovel or snowblow when I get home no matter what. I guess I should be happy that I can do that when I need to.

How's your writing doing? No one ever comments so I don't know if people stop here on purpose or land here accidentally on their way to someplace else or what. Thank God for the little ClustrMap over on the edge; when I see the red dots on the map I know I'm not just hollering into the void.

February 8--Hansando Island, South Korea. The island in the distance looked like a perfect cone. Green and fuzzy with pine trees, it looked like something a child had drawn. Sophia carefully drew it into her notebook making sure to preserve its precise geometry. She would paint Hansando, she thought, use her art to solidify the memory forever. In the margins around the page she made notes of the colors to use and how she planned to communicate the feeling of the air and the fragrance of the camellias that bloomed in profusion on every slope like stars in a dark green sky.

Sorry it's so short. I ran out of steam. Enjoy your day. Shovels at the ready!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Monday Morning

Well, here it is Monday again. The weeks sure zip by fast, don't they? I'm happy that I got my story episode written for the Incredibles last night, and I sent it right off to cab so she can quit hounding me. But in a nice way, of course. This week I need to buckle down and get the beginning of my novel rewritten so I can hand it in to Jenny and Jennifer on Thursday, and of course I also have to critique Jennifer's submission. Can't forget that. The mills of writing grind on.

February 7--Pangkor Laus, Malaysia. There is a world there on that little piece of reef below me. I sink below the surface through the shafts of sunlight that painters call God light and enter an alternate universe. Once the residents get used to me being there, and it really doesn't take long, life goes on as usual. The Damselfish tend their little algae gardens, running themselves ragged fending off Tangs and Grunts that drop by for a snack. The male Sergeant Majors dip down and flutter their fins over the patches of deep purple eggs on the side of a coral head that they're tending. A Mantis Shrimp excavates sand and tiny piles of rubble from the hole it shares with its Goby partner. They work together symbiotically for protection and food. And over it all I float, swaying in the slight surge, watching an entire society go about its business in the alien salty world thirty feet underwater.

There. A nice little reef dive to start off your day. Have a good one.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

New Heel

Well, new to me anyway. I decided to forego the heel flap on this sock and put in a short row heel. I'm not convinced that I didn't shorten the leg of the sock by doing that, but it went fairly easily and I seem to have only one hole where I was picking up stitches. Pretty good for the first try, I think.

I'm on the foot now so I'll just keep knitting until my usual length and that should be good, don't you think? Seven and a half inches is the same whether you're measuring a short row heel or one with a flap and a short row turn. At least that's my theory, and I'm all about theories. At first I wasn't sure I liked the way this yarn is pooling but the more I knit on this sock the better I like the way it looks. Kind of reminds me of the way oil makes rainbows in puddles on the road.

I've rounded the second turn and am in the home stretch on the second half of the Ribwarmer. I am loving this yarn. Gorgeous rich colors.

Now I have to quit goofing off on the computer and write my piece of a collaborative story for The Incredibles, the group of women I spend a week with at The Clearing every fall. I am so not a team player. Durwood bought me a shirt that says "A Team Effort is a Bunch of People Doing What I Say," and I confess that it's totally true. Here I go.

Happy Birthday, Lala!

Happy birthday, tooooooo youuuuuuuu! And many moooooore!

While I'm waiting for my Revision class to start I thought I'd post last night's prompt writing. I apologize for its shortness, I fell asleep while writing it. Next time, Barbara, start earlier!

February 6--Pankor Laut, Malaysia. It was the perfect spot for a massage, dim and open to the breezes even in the heat of the afternoon. Out there on stilts over the mangroves there was always air moving. She had a standing date with the masseuse. Every afternoon at three, Mai would walk down the white rock path, remove her sandals, and smooth the sheet covering the platform mattress. By the time she had lit a few incense sticks to enhance the relaxing mood and drive away any evil spirits, the lady had arrived. She seldom spoke. She would nod at Mai, remove the white seersucker robe she wore wrapped tightly around her thin body, and lie down. Mai would take care to warm the fragrant oil before she drizzled it on the lady's pale and fragile skin. The salt and iodine smell that rose from the shallow sea water below the stilt pavilion made her think that it was how it must have smelled at the beginning of time.

That's it, kiddies. I have just enough time to spellchek and get to class.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I can't believe that it's the sixth day I've worked in row. It's not something I want to do every week, but I'm surviving this one and I'll eke through when I have to work every day from the 17th until the 27th with only 1 day off sort of in the middle. All I have to say is March better go back to me working 3 days a week or there'll be some strong words floating around here, I'll tell you.

February 5--Kadmat, India. It looked like everyone's vision of Paradise, a small thatched cottage nestled in a grove of palms at the edge of a shite sand beach a stone's throw from the blue Indian Ocean. Picture perfect, right? Far from it. When Elaine got the letter from the lawyers that she had inherited an island home from her long-estranged father she thought it was a joke or a scam. But she had done her research and finally after a visit from the junior Mr. Adams of Woodes, Adams & Blanchard, she had believed that it was true. According to Mr. Adams, Dad had lived on a small stipend left to him by a pair of maiden aunts, building a home on a tiny island off the coast on India, and when he died late last winter all of his estate had passed to her. Elaine's first instinct was to have the lawyer sell the property and be done with it but when she saw the photos she knew she'd have to go. It was the perfect time for a trip. She had accumulated nearly eight weeks' vacation and the company was pressing her to take it. the economy was down and business was slow so the timing was right. Jeremy, her boyfriend of the past fourteen years, ever since junior year in college, had left her for his yoga instructor who was almost ten years younger than Elaine. And her dog had died. She had come home two Fridays ago to find him stretched out in his little dog bed cold and stiff. That was the last straw. She had gone online and booked a flight to Goa, India, the coastal city closest to Kadmat, called Mr. Adams for copes of her ownership documents, stopped at the clinic for a tetanus shot and some anti-malaria and anti-diarrhea pills. Her wardrobe was more suited to a boardroom than a beach house so she bought some khaki cotton pants and shorts, a handful of cotton tees in neutrals, and some sturdy sandals all of which she packed into a carry-on with wheels and backpack straps that she bought at a dive shop.

Okay, I'm definitely keeping going on this one. I didn't even get to the part of the story that zipped through my head first when I saw the picture. Yup, this one's a keeper. Maybe I'll work on it next weekend when I go visit my friend, Roi, down in Madison. I. Can. Not. Wait. This has been a long hard winter so far, for me anyway, and we're supposed to get 4-6 inches of snow starting Monday night. For a minute there I was glad I don't live on the East Coast since they're getting slammed with a blizzard right now, but it seems we're getting our own mini-blizzard in a couple of days to compensate for getting missed this weekend. Yay.

Friday, February 5, 2010


You know, I was perfectly happy with the 2" of snow we got the other day. It covered the icy, dirty gray snow leftover from previous storms so everything looked fresh. But now it's snowing again, and we just don't need it. It's not even the pretty, big flake snow that makes it look like we live in a calendar, no, it's the little tiny stuff that's nearly invisible and makes the whole world look dreary. Sigh. Be careful what you wish for... It's so true.

To top it all off, I left my sock knitting bag at The Attic cafe and used books where we have our writing group meetings so I have to go there on my way to work. Oh yeah, I have to work again today. That makes 5 days in a row. Now that might not sound like much to the rest of you who work all the time, but I don't work all the time, haven't in years and years, so this stretch of working with only 1 day off a week is just too much. Three days a week, maybe four, and that's plenty, gives me a little paycheck boost. But six days a week? Ptooi. (Yeah, I know, I'm spoiled, but I get to whine just a bit.)

I enjoyed writer's last night. Jenny and Jennifer, I hope you did too. We talked about torturing our characters and then we did it. Twice. Jennifer said that it sounds like I'm writing an hour long TV episode screenplay when I skip over how things happen and go right to the end, like I have to solve the problem in 40 minutes. I think that's very perceptive of you, Jennifer, I'm going to see if I can't write down every pitiful moment of things so I'll have some dross to cut. Thanks again for the insights and discussion. I do like Exercises Nights.

February 4--Rangiroa, Tahiti. Flat, hot, and low on the horizon. The islands of French Polynesia were all three. Brenda sat in the shade on the aft deck of the yacht and started out at the white afternoon light that seared every living thing in sight. She thought about the typhoons that raged across the region, how the waves must pound the low islands, how the tallest waves had to pass right over them, the water scouring the land with sand as it passed. The palm trees stood so still in the midday calm, their fronds made to weather being tossed by the winds and how the coconuts had to fall like bombs. Her iced tea was gone, the cubes melting before her eyes. The heat and humidity robbed her of energy and even breath, making it too much of an effort to even ring for more.

Well, it's time for me to leave and make my way to the dive shop. Gotta keep the world safe from scuba diving! Enjoy your day.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

In A Moment Of Weakness...

See yesterday Dusty came by the dive shop and we were talking about different sock heels and toe-up socks, and looking at YouTube videos of short row heels, and, well, I just got to thinking that I really need one more worsted sock since I have 5 and if 4 are in the wash like they are now, well, I can't wear the newest one because it has no partner. So that's why I had to cast on the Carnival Sock this afternoon. Had. To.
Also I wanted to try out a set of Boye metal DPNs I got last weekend. DD uses metal needles all the time and she likes them so I decided to try them. They're cheap too, only $3.99 for a set of 4.

Clean Sheets

This morning I changed the sheets because it's laundry day. I can't wait for bedtime tonight because there's nothing like climbing into a bed with clean sheets on it. Mmmm. You know, I'm going to be a little sorry when the Census Bureau calls Durwood to offer him a job. He's going to take it because he's bored out of his socks, but then I'm going to lose my cook, dishwasher and laundry man. I don't feel guilty that he's doing all those chores, I did them all the years he traveled for work and it's kind of luxurious not to have to do them. I know for a fact that I wouldn't have lost 43# in the last (let's see, counting...) eight months if he hadn't been planning the meals, going to the grocery, and cooking. I'd have given up long ago, but he's still enthusiastic and keeping me on the straight-ish and narrow-ish. (I say it like that because I cheat a little but I decided when I started that I'd be happy with slower weight loss so I'd be able to eat a few little goodies now and then. A 70-calorie tablespoon of mini chocolate chips stirred into my sugar-free nighttime pudding is a good example. Makes all the difference in the world. Naturally I'd like to wake up tomorrow skinny and fit but that ain't gonna happen so I'm happy with what I got.) Anyway, we've got clean sheets and towels today. That's really all I wanted to say. On to the writing!

February 3--Somosomo Bay, Figi. The shallow water was almost hot as she waded off the white sand beach. She was drenched in sweat in her thin black wetsuit and the weight of her tank made the shoulders of her buoyancy vest cut into her. Marco had offered to carry her gear into the water but Abby heard her dad's voice in her head, "you want to be a diver, you carry your own gear," and so she always had. Marco teased her about being stubborn but she had seen too many women, girly girls really, in dive shops and on dive boats who simpered and preened and let some dive boat Lothario set up her gear for her. Abby knew that she wouldn't trust that someone else had done it right so she always refused help. Stubborn, yes, but she had never had a gear problem. It was a long wade out to waist-deep water where they paused to slip into their fins and get their masks settled on their faces before sweeping their right hands down and back to catch their regulators, purge out the water, and take the first breath of the dive. Abby slid her fin-clad feet behind her and fell slowly forward and under the water. She was so overheated that the water, while nearly bath warm, gave her a chill as it engulfed her. She and Marco adjusted their gear and fine-tuned their buoyancy before setting off toward the drop off where the water turned dark blue and large gray shapes patrolled.

Yay, sharks! I love seeing sharks but it took a while; when we first started diving in the ocean I was dead scared to see one, even a little ol' toothless nurse shark. I learned fairly quickly that they really aren't interested in a non-injured human. They roll their flat black eye to look at you and swim on by to find other, better tasting creatures to chomp on. They are graceful and beautiful to see. The thing that amazed me the most is that the little reef fish (what sharks normally eat) don't scurry to hide when sharks swim by. They go about their business looking for their own food and the one time we did see a gray reef shark attack and eat something small, all the little fish darted right over there to see if they could pick up scraps. That amazed me. I wanted to follow that eating shark to see what else he'd eat but our divemaster dragged us in the opposite direction. Spoilsport. Okay, enough with the natural history lesson, I have to get an activity ready for writer's tonight, it's my turn to be leader. Have a good day.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


(It's what's for breakfast with my Special K; I couldn't think of a snappy title. Sorry.) Yesterday we got the decorative snow (2" and powdery, thanks) that I ordered so now the world looks nice and shiny in the sunshine. Sunshine! That's what's different today, the sun is shining. No wonder I feel so chipper.

I wasn't able to replicate last week's feat of completing the Advanced Obstacle Course on Wii Fit Plus today, but it wasn't for lack of trying. How can what is essentially an interactive video game be so engrossing? Especially for a woman who has never really liked to sweat?
I don't know, but I can't stop. It's a good thing.

I've been working on my new version of the Brangelina Glove and learned a lesson yesterday, two actually. One is that you have to
knit more rows if you use a smaller needle, and Two is that a paper clip makes a terrible yarn needle when you need to thread yarn through your stitches to finish a finger at work and you've left yours at home. Live and learn, live and learn.

I'm just starting to turn the second corner on the Ribwarmer. I just love this yarn and the way it's knitting up. The colors are warm and rich and I really can't wait to finish this piece so I can sew it together and it can start warming someone special. And, Zoe, this time I turned the first corner the right w
ay so we won't have to unknit and reknit that little collar tab at the top. Whew. I think EZ might really be a genius. (For you non-knitters out there, that's Elizabeth Zimmerman who really made knitting popular in the mid-60s and beyond, and who developed a lot of simple but wonderful patterns that people still knit constantly. I'm especially intrigued by the ones that are a bit like origami; you knit a shape that doesn't really look like anything, then you sew it together in places and, voila!, you have a sweater. And she lived in Wisconsin!! Genius.)

That's Better

We got about 2" of snow yesterday so now the world looks cleaner, not so gray and dirty, and I went to bed at 10 o'clock, wrote in my notebook, read a bit, and still turned out the light before 11. Much better.

February 2--Djurgarden, Stockholm, Sweden. Summer in Sweden was borrowed time. Everyone knew how short, how precious the warm months are, how quickly the light would fade to blue early in the afternoon and the wind shift to blow out of the north. People made summer count in these latitudes. Ilsa was no different. She rode her bicycle to work in the Budget Department of the Mayor's office. She ate her sack lunch in one of the parks within a few blocks of work and she spent as much time as she could down by the harbor watching the flotilla of sailboats skim over the water like water bugs. She had always loved sailing and so she had struck up a conversation with the handsome, middle-aged man scrubbing the deck of the restored 45-footer tied up to the pier nearest her office. They had talked and laughed, his name was Piet just like her brother's; she thought it was funny and nice. Yesterday he had invited her for a sail this morning. They had taken a route that took them away from the rest of the boats. Now she found herself in the cabin below deck, her hands tied to a ring in the ceiling, a gag in her mouth, and a very determined Piet cutting off her clothes with a bandage scissors.

Okay. So far I can put my character in trouble, I just have to write down the action of getting in trouble. I'm getting there. Remember, no more Mrs. Nice Guy.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bad! Bad, Night Owl.

I stayed up until almost midnight watching Anne of Green Gables. I had never read the book nor seen the movie, and I thought I should. Netflix sent it and I put it in around 8:30 not realizing that it's over 3 hours long. It's pretty good, a little dated, but I liked it, gorgeous scenery. I was so sleepy when I got into bed that I didn't read and I didn't write a prompt. Tsk, tsk. So I brought yesterday's island picture and my notebook to work with me today (in the dusting of snow that I ordered to cover up the old dirty stuff left from Christmas) and now I have something to post.

February 1--Mustique. Michelle opened her eyes and squinted against the brightness. She groaned. Was it morning already? She tried to roll over to go back to sleep but what she was laying on crackled. Not sheets. She wasn't in her bed at the villa? Her head pounded and her body felt like she had been run over by a truck. Carefully she opened her eyes again, just a slit. She was outside. She saw the pale blue sky far above with those little puffy clouds she had loved as a kid. Why was she sleeping outside? All around her were tall tree trunks, dark gray and smooth, reaching way up to tufts of fronds. Palm trees. The trees were so tall and so close together they made her dizzy. She turned her head to one side, oh more dizzy, then slowly turned it to the other side; no one was nearby. A sudden rustle made her startle and she levered herself up on her elbows. She winced at how sharp whatever she was laying on was. Dead fronds, she saw when she had lifted her head. She looked down toward her feet and realized that she was naked. Oh man, bugs could be crawling on her right now. She jumped up, ignoring the aches from the bruises that covered her and the stabs of pain in her head. How in the hell had she ended up sleeping naked in a palm tree plantation? And how was she supposed to get back to the villa? Damn Juliet and damn tequila.

I have realized over the last 2 weeks listening to my online Revision teacher that I need to torture my characters--and I don't. I think I do but when I reread what I write I haven't. I give them these molehills and roadside ditches of obstacles when I should be throwing mountains and canyons in their path. All that's about to change, baby. No more Mrs. Nice Guy; I'm ready to throw the full arsenal at these poor people. If I can keep from skittering away from the edge myself, that is.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Gray and Dreary Monday Morning

Can you tell how excited I am to go to work today? I could very easily spend the day on the couch with my Walkman plugged into my ears and my fingers flitting from one knitting project to the next. I'd take breaks for little snoozes, watch a little TV, and eat delicious and non-fattening foods. Wha... oh, sorry, I must have drifted off.

I think it's time for a little snow. What we have on the ground is dirty and iced over; we need an inch or so just for decorative purposes. And so that the knitters have a chance to go snowshoeing before spring comes. Just a bit of snow, let's not go overboard, 'k?

January 31--Mandraki Harbor, Rhodes, Greece. As the sun neared the horizon it seemed to suck all the air out of the day. The light breeze that had played around her shoulders all day died and Emily felt the heat rise from the ancient stones beneath her feet. Her meetings were starting the next morning; it was her third day on the island and she was finally over her jet lag. She loved the dusty red smell of the air as she walked along the coast where the city opened to the west. The tang of the sea blended with the dry and brittle aroma of the desert that did its best to swallow the city from the east. Small thin fingers of sand could be found in the streets in the dawn light as if the desert sent tentacles to begin the assault. Shopkeepers and housewives alike plied their brooms beating back the insidious grains. Emily stopped in the still air to watch the sun sink below the horizon. She stood at the edge of the ancient stone quay high above the rocks where the waves lapped. As the sun sank and the light faded she felt a hand on her back. Before she could turn to rebuff the contact, the force of the touch sent her off her feet and over the edge into the dark and silent nothing below.

Oh, this I like. I found a new writer's program, Writer's Cafe, that I downloaded a demo of. I think I'll transfer this to the Pinboard page and see what I can make of it. Enjoy your day.