Sunday, May 30, 2010
May 29--Moorea, Tahiti. You can see the white water of the waves breaking out on the barrier reef that protects the island. You can also see the bones of the wrecked sailboat that once belonged to Edouard and Kate and, when the waves are strongest, across half the island you can hear the gong as Louie's trawler bashes itself on the coral boulders it ran aground on. There isn't a soul on this beautiful tropical island that hasn't been victimized by that treacherous pair of sea and reef. It looks so innocent, so beautiful in photos in slick magazines. Documentary and travel filmmakers cleverly cut their footage so that viewers dream of the tranquil shores. They don't show the violence of waves pounding on razor-sharp rocks. They don't tell of the way human skin sticks to the coral, rips away from bone so easily. No one explains how the wind conspires with currents to drive your dreams to death on the rocks in a typhoon and only the turbulence saves you from being shark food.
Oh, I liked the energy, the vehemence I felt from that narrator as I wrote it last night and I feel it again. Oooh, nice and angry. Happy Sunday!
Saturday, May 29, 2010
This is the newly renovated Root Cellar at The Clearing. They turned it into a bathroom. It's what I wrote about.
Oh, the yarn. Like I said, I went to Friday Night Knitting last night and I worked on my Cartoons socks. I got to the heel and made some progress on it. I'm really liking how this is turning out. I just have to make sure to remember not to put the purl strips on the bottom of the foot. Ouch.
May 28--Skye, Scotland. "Look, sweaters," Lyn said pointing out the window of the tour bus. Every head in every seat swiveled to look at the white scraps of sheep visible high up on the green hills of the Isle of Skye. This day was the one they had all been looking forward to, the day when they got to see the production of yarn from sheep shearing through carding, spinning, plying, and dyeing, to the actual knitting. Not that the seven women were unfamiliar with yarn and knitting. Far from it. All seven pairs of hands were even now busy with sticks and string, busy churning out another sock, hat, or glove. Despite the forty year spread in their ages, or maybe because of it, these women had laughed together, cried together, and held each other up through good times and bad. This trip to Scotland's Isle of Skye was their reward to themselves for all their years of friendship and the hobby that bound them so tightly together.
Last night at Friday Night Knitting Circle Em said that I should write a book, "a better book about knitting," than the one we've all read. She spent a half hour rolling out her reasons, making character-istic lists and urging me to get writing. I smiled and kept my mouth shut (I think that it'd be too copy-cat) but, lo and behold, there were sheep in last night's prompt picture, so I thought I'd take the plunge, at least for a paragraph or two. Here you go, Em.
Friday, May 28, 2010
May 27--Kauai, Hawaii. The little white ball sailed far over the manicured green lawn, skipped across the jagged black lava rock shore, and plopped into a foamy wave. Hank stood and watched the spot where his golf ball had sunk as if expecting it to surface again. "That's a goner, my man," Bert said, clapping him on the back with a meaty hand. "Damn Nicklaus," Hank said. "Who designs a hole with a dogleg right by the ocean?" Not one of the other three answered. They'd all lost balls to Madame Pele's ravenous sister who ruled the seas around Hawaii. Hank was the most recent arrival on Kauai and didn't yet understand that you had to pay tribute to the sea goddess if you wanted to play with the big kids.
Time for beddie-bye. G'night.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
May 26--Comoros. The launch from the ship putted into the bay and up alongside the stone pier jutting out from shore. This was always Clare's favorite stop on the cruise ships swing through this part of the world. Most of the ports tarted themselves up for the tourists, made themselves look more American, or at least made themselves conform to how they thought Americans looked or acted or shopped. She was tired of the smell of diesel and bad food, worse sanitation and hot asphalt that smacked her when she stepped ashore to lead a group on tour. She was tired of having to dodge pickpockets and time-share touts to shepherd her charges along. Comoros was different. Here the air was fresh, scented with flowers and salt, and it lifted her spirits. Here she could tell them about plants and animals that lived as they were meant, not as exhibits in a run-down, South Seas bazaar.
Not very inspired today. I'll do better soon. Really.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
When I was looking for places to submit some stories, I found that Mid-America Review has a contest for prose poems, short shorts (flash), and anything in between. The word limit is 500, but you can submit up to 3 on one entry fee (of $10). If anyone's interested, the deadline is fast approaching on June 1st. I don't know if I have anything of that length ready to go, but I'm going to take a look through my files! Guidelines are available at: http://www.bgsu.edu/studentlife/organizations/midamericanreview/fineline.html
See everyone but Barbara tomorrow!
I've been working on creative things the last couple days but more "playing outside in the dirt" creative than "sitting in the air-conditioned house writing and knitting" creative, because it's been uber-hot and humid so it'd be silly to stay indoors where it's comfortable, right? Tuesday's usually my day off so I spend it zooming around accomplishing things I don't do on work days.
Last week the Brute Squad enlarged our patio and I got around to prettying it up last weekend. It's just lovely and so much roomier.
May 25--Kujuku Islands, Japan. Nina bent over the map, a look of fierce concentration on her face. "Ninety-nine," she took a breath and her hand froze in mid-air, "one hundred." A grown pulled down her dark brows and she shook her head. Kujuku comes from the Japanese word for "99" and there are way more than ninety-nine islands in the group, way more. Someone a long time ago must have looked at the big group of small islands and made a guess. "Too lazy to count," she said to the empty workroom, "and no one ever argued that there had to be more. Amazing." She had a vivid picture of a child counting "another and another," once he got past ninety the concept of more than one hundred was just too many to contemplate. Ninety-nine was a plenty big number, no need to keep counting.
What? I was hot, tired, and fried-brained last night when I lay down to do this. It's more than I expected and I kind of like it. So there.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
May 24--Pinney's Beach, Nevis. "Ya, mon, de coconut is de fruit of da gods." The rich laugh that followed those words rolled over the golden sand of the most perfect beach I'd yet been on. It was a relief to be on solid ground after a week on a bucking windjammer. We had jumped ship on Nevis after a storm-tossed week and rented a two room bungalow in the sea grapes just off the sand of Pinney's Beach. The view of St. Kitts from our screened porch was postcard perfect. Milo who ran the beach bar just down the way had long dreadlocks that he wore piled into a Rasta had and a perpetual grin. His warm, deep voice drew the ladies like bees to honey and his infectious laugh never failed to lift my spirits when it rolled up the beach. We spent our mornings out on the reef diving to explore the mysteries of the sea and the afternoons making sure that our lounge chairs were firmly anchored in the sand. I whiled away the weekend wondering if Milo needed a barmaid.
I could spend the next month on Pinney's Beach. Been there, loved that.
Monday, May 24, 2010
May23--Dingle Peninsula, Ireland. Standing on the high ground overlooking Coumeenoole Beach, the rocks look like they make a code. Maybe a cipher is a better word, or even a hieroglyph, for the regular arrangement of the stone that juts above the surface of the beach. Galen squinted his left eye and screwed up his mouth in concentration. The wind from the sea, cold and salty, tried to ruffle the pages of his sketchbook but he was wise to its tricks and kept his thumb on the corner. His firm grip on the stick of charcoal he drew with threatened to snap it, but he consciously relaxed his grip and watched the drawing take shape on the paper that was swelling and rippling in the cold, damp air.
I was tired and sunburned. That's my excuse for the lame-itude of that up there. But, hey, it's writing. That's a good thing, right?
Saturday, May 22, 2010
I bought yarn. One skein. It's Trekking 6 Ply in the Sunset Multi colorway. More socks!
On the way home we stopped for ice cream, chocolate ice cream. It was a perfect day.
May 21--Palau. You ride along on the dive boat in the early morning cool. The water is turquoise and shallow. You watch stingrays dart away and see the shadows of the boat shift as the angle of the sun shifts when you dodge around the Rock Islands. It's so peaceful, serene and green, you can't imagine anything bad happening in this idyllic place. Then your boat rounds an island and there's the evidence that war touches every place on earth. A Japanese ship, a hole torn in its hull, lies on its side half out of the water. It has been there long enough that corals and sponges have colonized it. Sea anemones with their resident clownfish have replaced the tools of war, but fifty years have passed since the last battle of that particular war and the scars are still visible, even in this place where nature thrives so lushly, the violence of men is slow to be converted to peace.
I loved Palau. I'd go back in a heartbeat if it wasn't so far away and there was no such thing as jet lag.
Friday, May 21, 2010
I focused on knitting the second sock at work this week and look what I had before bedtime last night. Finished socks! They please me, and they feel great on my feet. Love the color, like the pattern. I might be more partial to just plain socks knitted with colorful yarn so the yarn colors shine, but I won't be giving these away. These are MINE.
An old friend and a friend of his came over on Tuesday and made our patio bigger. There's a bit more work to be done today and then I can put it all back together so we can enjoy the new bigness of it. Thanks, JJ and Bruce, you make a lovely Brute Squad.
May 20--Wild Goose, Glacier Park, Montana. The air was so still that the water in St. Mary's Lake was like glass. The jagged mountains surrounding the lake were perfectly reflected, so perfect that it gave her vertigo to stare at it. Jean didn't want to move, didn't want to be the one that set in motion the chain reaction that ruffled the branches and made wind ripples in the pristine scene. Even the clouds looked like they had been brushed, had the snarls smoothed out of them so that they lay lightly in the sky. The sharp-edged landscape looked like something out of a Tolkien story, and the little island out in the center of the icy waters of the lake looked like the place a wizard would live.
Now it's time to go out with shovel and hoe to chase the weeds out of the garden so that we can plant our veggies and herbs for the summer. Have a good Friday!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
I'm very excited to be going up to The Clearing with my knitting friend Dusty on Saturday to walk the shady trails and take pictures of blooming wildflowers. Maybe I can snag my muse who I am certain is lolling around up there rather than in my writing corner WHERE SHE BELONGS. Oh, sorry, I'm a bit out of sorts with the whole not-much-inspiration thing these days.
May 19--Maldives. It was the worst pier I had ever seen. Barely above the water, cracked and crooked, and sporting patches of greenish black crud that was slippery and smelled of equal parts salt and dead fish and old sweat socks. That pier, made of coral boulders badly cemented together, was still the site of one of my best vacations ever. Early in the morning just as the sun began to tint the clouds pink with dawn, the fishermen would tie up their shallow boats and sell their catch to the local women who waved to me sipping coffee on my porch as they went chattering past with their purchases. Once the fishermen were gone, the inter-island ferry would belch its way over the horizon with the day's mail and the workers for the resorts that line the leeward coast, natives of this island who worked off island would be there in their tidy uniforms and morning faces ready to board. Down the beach past the pier would trudge schoolchildren on their way to the building that did duty as school and church, and once a month it was the courthouse. By the time the last of the children had pelted by the dive boat would be tying up. I would be waiting, having witnessed the start up of the day from the porch of my bungalow nearby. They had warned me at the resort that the end bungalow might be too noisy and that the beach past it was too busy for relaxation, but I loved it. Loved the feeling of being a small part in the vital life of this backwater part of the world.
Raise your hand anyone who wants to be there with my right now.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
May 18--South Island, New Zealand. The view of the sea from the road snaking along the top of Twelve-Mile Bluff was breathtaking but Charlotte didn't have time for sightseeing. She was too busy keeping to the correct side of the road, the left side, making sure not to drive off into thin air. She was driving fast, too fast for the unfamiliar car and road, not even considering the whole right-hand drive thing, but she had to get away from Hugo any way she could. At first she had been flattered at the fierce attention he paid her and every part of her life, but soon she began to feel as if he were a fungus that infiltrated everything around her. She felt as if her world were shrinking around her, squeezing her so that she could barely breathe. Last night had been the last straw. Hugo had ordered her to change her clothes before supper. He said she wasn't to wear pants, that it wasn't appropriate. She had called the restaurant to see if they had a dress code only to find Hugo's finger pressing down on the phone button, cutting her off. He had been livid that she would challenge him and had locked her in her room. She had cried first and then she had raged and then she had schemed. All night she lay away planning her escape. When he left for his golf game and left the door of her room unlocked she had abandoned all her things. She went down to the lobby, rented a car, and drove away. That was an hour ago and she still felt his breath on her neck. She caught a glimpse of the same gray SUV she had seen off and on since she left the resort. Surely it was just another tourist enjoying the wild coast and the endless blue sky.
When will women learn not to get involved with controlling men? When?
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
I'm back. We went and bought the pavers, 18" squares in plain gray--45 of 'em, and I moved the birdfeeders, etc. off the patio, now I'm stuck at work while all the fun stuff's happening at home. Durwood's not a very good reporter and he likes to tease so phone calls aren't very satisfying. Guess I'll just have to wait until after 5 pm to see what's what. I did remember to ask him to take pictures of the process, not the dirty, sweaty men, just the digging, graveling, and paving. I'm excited to have more patio so we can sit out there and grill at the same time.
May 17--Jerba Island, Tunisia. It looked like a postcard or a movie set. Carole stood in the entrance to the resort grounds thinking it had been a huge mistake to come here. She was more the type to rent a bungalow or a studio, to shop in the local market, and ride her rented bicycle to explore the island than loll around a pool and eat in restaurants tree times a day. So far every staff member she had seen since she got out of the taxi out front could have come from Central Casting. She felt her shoulders tense at the thought of being trapped for five days in the artificially festive atmosphere here peopled by genetically engineered Tunisians so as not to offend Western sensibilities. She wanted a little dust, a little noise, and the sounds of bartering in the souk, not the three o'clock limbo contest and feeling she had to be sure she got a good spot at the swim-up bar for sundowners. She was going to strangle her sister Camille, who had arranged the trip. It was all too fake and Disney-esque for her tastes and she wouldn't hesitate to say it.
So, when you travel are you a Carole or a Camille? I'm a Carole; can you tell? I'd like to be a Camille sometimes but I get bored with the lolling and the dressing up for meals and the falsely peppy fun engineers or whatever those relentlessly cheery people at resorts are called. Ugh.
Monday, May 17, 2010
This is Felici Sport in the Chimney colorway. I think it's discontinued because I picked it from the "Last Chance" area and it's not there anymore. It is so soft, I can't wait to make socks with it. So soft.
This one is Stroll Hand painted in the Cartoons colorway. I intend to make the cuff, heel, and toe of the socks solid black to show off the gorgeous colors. Bright! Colorful!
I want to knit them all (the ones I got last month too) all at once. I need more hands.
Thanks, DD, for the gift card and, you're right, sock yarn is like chocolate, addictive.
I saw the first hummingbird of the season at the feeder on Sunday while I was getting ready to grill the chicken breasts for supper. Yay!
P.S. I grabbed this photo off the web; I'm not nearly fast enough to snap one all by myself. But this is the kind we have, the Ruby-throated. Isn't he cute?
Did you have a good weekend? The weather here was beautiful and spring-y, and I got the big weeds dug out of the garden. I bought some herbs at Stein's, and one big dark red dahlia I couldn't resist, so I'm hoping to dig or till this week and get them planted. I goofed and put the pile of newspapers from the last weeks out for the recycling on Tuesday and so I don't have enough to use as groundcover in the garden but I can get Mom's I'm sure. We won't be ready to plant until next weekend at the very earliest anyway so I can collect them in the meantime.
May 16--Kizhi Island, Russia. Stefan pressed himself into the shadow alongside the gatehouse set in the wall around the memorial. He glanced up and behind him at the putty-colored onion domes of the Church of the Victory over Sweden thinking what a stupid name it was for a beautiful building. Socialists are always such creative types, he thought. The domes looked like an Escher lithograph of cascading shapes, one emerging from the other. Way too modern looking for something built nearly three hundred years ago. He listened to the loud American tourists straggling back to their tour bus. Their pace was slow and erratic, not fast and focused like the bald guy who had been chasing him all across Asia since Stefan had been unlucky enough to see the thug plunge a knife into a man he had pinned in the corner of a gallery in Moscow. Stefan wanted to tell the bald man, who looked like Mafia, that he wasn't stupid enough to even tell the authorities what he had seen, but he was too afraid to let himself get too close for fear that the bald thug would kill first and talk later. Better to keep running and hope to slip away in a crowd and be safe. Maybe he could blend into the tourists...
Not bad, not great, but not bad. Enjoy your day even though it's Monday.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
For the "What a Heel!" portion of this post, I give you Socks on Fire sock #2. I knitted the heel flap and turned the heel at work yesterday--because I had all of one customer in 6 hours. One! Good thing I can watch Netflix on the computer (if the sound card decides to cooperate, that is).
In the "Not So Much..." portion, we have the frogged remains of Fish Net Scarf #2. I realized that it just wasn't turning out like I wanted it to so I took out the needle and tugged. There's something strangely satisfying about pulling that piece of string and having all your carefully wrought stitches disappear. I pulled out my US13 needles and am giving the pattern, and yarn, one more chance. If it isn't right this time I'm going to give Zoe's lace shawl pattern a whirl, see how that one likes the yarn.
And finally in the "Ahh, That's Better" segment, I decided to crochet around three sides of the warshrag with dark brown to kind of finish it off. I understand that it's just a warshrag but I do want it to look pleasing. What if we have guests and I want that to be their warshrag, huh? It needs to look... finished.
So there you have it, what could have been 3 separate posts all in one. I'm just not in the mood to stretch them out.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
May 12--Darwin Island, Galapagos. Kai struggled to keep his chin above the churning water. With depressing irregularity the waves crashed over his head, driving him below the surface, filling his nose, ears, and eyes with burning salt water. He was so cold. He had foolishly thought that the waters of the Galapagos were warm; they weren't. The current traveled clockwise up the coast of Asia to the Arctic, then it plunged down the west coast of North and most of South America shedding heat as it went and the nutrient-rich water that made the islands so biologically rich came welling up the sides of the islands from the cold depths. His thin wetsuit, barely suitable for snorkeling off the cruise ship, was no match for prolonged immersion. He didn't know how long he had been in the ocean. The current was pushing him into the storm's maelstrom and he was powerless to swim out of it. Soon he would pass through the rocky arch he could just see through the spray, and he knew that he was a diminishing speck in the vastness of the roiled water. No one would find him unless he suddenly caught on fire.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
May 11--Ifugao, Philippines. "For the past two thousand years, rice has been planted in the paddies that terrace up the mountains." The droning voice of the tour guide was devoid of inflection. "She could be replaced by a robot, easy," said Clyde to Mabel, not bothering to keep his voice down. We were on the fourth day of a fourteen-day boat and motorcoach tour of the Philippines and if I had to spend one more day listening to Clyde complain about things I was going to snap and end up ripping his tongue off its roller and tossing it out the window. Clyde was one of those people who knew everything there is to know about nearly everything, and a had an opinion about everyone. All knowledge that he doesn't hesitate to share with everyone within earshot. Miss Choi, our guide, already had developed a glazed look whenever she was unfortunate enough to be dealing with him. Mabel seemed to have developed a sort of selective hearing where her husband's trumpeted opinions were concerned. I needed to switch seats with someone so I was farther away from ground zero.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
This was the view out the patio doors on Saturday morning. Saturday, May 8th for those keeping track. That's the remnants of 1 1/2" of snow we got overnight. It didn't stay long but, still, snow in May? Thanks, but no thanks. On a happier garden note, the lilies of the valley are beginning to bloom.
It's been a slow week for knitting; our DS and DIL came to visit on Wed. night so they could apartment hunt. Naturally I spent time visiting and cooking and visiting and laughing and visiting and staying up too late, and I neglected my yarn duties.
I worked a bit on Socks On Fire sock #2...
and added a few repeats to the Sea Foam Scarf...
this morning after walking in the mall (it was rainy and cold--boo) I visited with Dusty and finished Car Knitting Warshrag #3. Now I have to get more cotton up from the dungeon and cast on another one. I can't tell you how many times I have grabbed that little project bag out of the door pocket of the car to go into a repair shop or medical office. It's a lifesaver when I'm coming home from writer's or work and the bridge goes up, and I get funky colored washcloths out of it. I think I'll crochet a brown border around this one to finish it off.
Sunday was Mother's Day and I got the best gifts. DS and DIL gave me a card good for an all-expenses paid lunch and giraffe feeding expedition when they've moved home. Squee! (This little beanie giraffe was a gift from KnittyZoe, the yarn whisperer, after our knitters' visit to the zoo where I introduced them all to the joys of giraffe feeding. Thanks again, KnittyZoe.)
DD sent me a Knit Picks gift card so I can get more of their colorful and pointy Harmony needles. Double squee!!
Durwood gave me a lovely card (sniff) and a funky spatula for scooping out the last of the catsup in the bottle.
It was a lovely day that actually extended over 3 days. Thanks, family, you're the best!
May 10--Cephalonia, Greece. "There must be a storm out to sea," Robert said. He stood on the headland overlooking the harbor. Maddy looked at the blue water lapping at the sandy beach so far below. "Why?" He pointed. "Look at the way the sand swirls in the bay." He moved his hand like he was stirring a great cauldron. "See how it draws it up from the bottom? It looks like cream poured into coffee. I think a storm must be what makes it move like that." They wanted to get down to the beach but the only paths looked too steep. "An island made for goats," Robert said with a curl of his lip. He had a negative comment about every place they had visited but Maddy knew that his opinion would be totally different once they were home and he was bragging to everyone about their "cruise through history."
I had such a different idea when I started writing and it just fell apart. That was one of those nights when I tell myself as I snuggle down to sleep, well, at least I wrote.
Monday, May 10, 2010
May 9--Santa Rosa Island. It looked like a watercolor, Jean thought, one, by one of the Wyeths maybe, of dunes and sea oats and blue sky. The shreds of clouds out on the horizon highlighted the difference between the light blue sky and the deep blue ocean. She smelled the salt, its crisp iodine smell prickled in her nostrils. The wind-blown sand made her squint which also softened lines to watercolor's imprecision. She appreciated this corridor of calm between the baking hot parking lot and the beach crowded with families and blaring radios. Winter was the best time to be there, when the wind carried a hint of a chill that drove all but the most determined beachgoer away. Jean came every day no matter the weather just for the five minutes of peace the walk over the dunes provided. She relished the sight and sound of the waves, their rhythm reset her inner metronome to a tempo that soothed her, kept her devils at bay, but it was that short walk between the fragile fences that kept her from straying off the path where she felt connected to the universe.
Another Monday, another week flying by. I know it's an old person's lament, but I want time to slow down. The days pass so quickly I barely notice them. And when did the hours get so short that the morning's over before I can get any traction and the afternoon is a mere moment? The speed of it all makes me dizzy. I long for slow hours of repose and contemplation, but can't seem to attract them. And I want to bake cupcakes.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
May 8--Santa Rose Island, Florida. Two lengths of fencing stand parallel making a path across the sand dunes from the parking lot with its acres of cracked asphalt and ranks of cars glinting in the sun to the beach where the occupants of the cars bask and bake. Noise and heat rule either end of the path but in between those fragile pickets it's different, quiet. One hundred transitional yard where the breeze cools overheated skin and the sound of the waving grasses soothes away cares.
Sorry it's another short writing but again I was very tired and could barely stay awake to write. Now that the kids have left I promise I'll go to bed earlier with more time and energy to write. I promise.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
We have a white cedar Adirondack chair on the patio and the local wasps and hornets come and munch off little strips off the gray surface of it to make their nests. It's very disconcerting to be the one sitting in it when they're coming around because you think that they're trying to attack you, but they're not. We were wondering if there's something to put on the wood to discourage them. Anybody got a clue?
May 7--Martinique. The mist was all wrong. Laurel expected to smell pines and to feel the cool of early morning in the north woods of her Midwestern home town. Instead there was the salt tang in the air and the warm promise of daytime heat rising to near ninety. She set her alarm to wake her in the early morning. She had come to crave being up and out on the beach to witness the sunrise. Her creativity seemed to grow with the light and she would pause in her walk along the beach to scribble ideas on index cards that she folded around a golf pencil and tucked into her pocket.
Sorry it's so short, I was very tired last night and could barely keep my eyes open to write.
Friday, May 7, 2010
May 6--Mageroya, Norway. The light turned from yellow to pink and the dark came crowding in from the left. The dark gray rocks were bare and broken in the cold light of the dying autumn. Even the sea lay quietly between the headlands that sliced the North Sea into manageable chunks along this coast. Rolf liked this time of year. He felt the hubbub of the summer, hurrying to make use of the warmth and the light, pass out of everyone, and the calm of the long winter descend. Winter was when he had time with his carving tools, time to tease out from the summer's driftwood the little creatures, the seals and birds, that he sold in the shops and at the market near the quay in summer.
I liked the stark beauty of this northern landscape. Stay warm today.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
May 5--Grand Canary Island, Spain. Carved and shaped by the wind, the Maspalomas dunes reminded Rema of a kind of sculpture. Like a Calder mobile any puff of wind changed the look of them. She stood with the sun at her back watching her shadow lengthen, seeing the ripples in stark white and black. Fascination took hold and she couldn't tear herself away. Every day of her holiday she walked away from the shore and into the dunes. She walked up and down the shifting slopes, her leg muscles burning, seeing the dunes from every angle. A rain storm blew over pelting the sand with large drops that pocked the thirsty grains turning them a darker color. She was most intrigued by the constant movement of the grains into her footprints, how they began to disappear as soon as they were made. The fleeting evidence of her presence on the island made her feel lighter, as if she were a wraith, a phantom, the mere suggestion of a person.
Oh, that's a feeling I want to explore more. Enjoy your day; I'll be out digging holes in the dirt.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
May 4--Old Garden. Maren moved into the old Clemmons house on a chilly day in early spring. She had bought the place on a whim when it went up for sale after the last spinster Clemmons daughter passed away over the winter. Maren had loved the old Victorian house with its wrought iron fence and tall trees for years. She had been amazed at the reasonable price and the fact that no one else bid on it. Now it was hers. She spent a few weeks unpacking cartons of books, dishes, and linens and trying to make her meager belongings fill the spaces. Each day the awakening of the gardens around the house lured her to abandon her cleaning and arranging in the stuffy house to be outside watching the pink noses of peonies nudge aside last autumn's leaves and the curls of ostrich ferns unfurl.
Now I've got a guy in the changing room wrestling his way into and out of some wetsuits (trying on wetsuits is a bit like aerobics class without music) so I should really wrap this up.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Durwood called the bird lady yesterday and she told him that the hummingbirds and orioles are on their way back, so he made up some birdie juice and I got the feeders out this morning.
The lilacs are in bloom. You wish you were here to smell them.
Look what I picked! And it was yummy too. I don't share those, no, I don't.
And in knitting news, I'm waaay happier with the way the Fish Net scarf is turning out with the Silk Bamboo yarn. Very smooth and soft.
May 3--Oahu, Hawaii. The wind was always blowing. There was the constant clatter of palm fronds tossing and the low hiss of shifting sand. With the sounds of the sea in the background Leah thought she might go mad. At night as she lay in bed, the day's heat creaked as it left the wooden house and the night insects and frogs set up a buzzing, cheeping chorus that was an entirely new level of crazy-making. If she kept moving it was better, running the little vacuum over the tiled floors was the best defense, even if there wasn't any dirt to suck up. She had worn out two iPods and another off-brand mp3 player playing books night and day. Not music. The regular rhythms of music made it worse. The loud wind in the trees and the sea sounds would coordinate themselves with whatever music she chose until the notes clogged her veins, paralyzing her. No, words were what she needed, nice solid words, hired voices piped directly into her jangled brain via candy-colored earbuds that she bought by the cartload at the local electronics superstore.
And you thought the sound of the wind in the trees was soothing, didn't you?
Monday, May 3, 2010
May 2--Sidemen, Bali. This was where the three rivers came together. This was where the water from three different mountains mixed. Protected by the looming black green peaks the valley was a place of peace. Loa lived with her granny by the north river just above where it forced its way through the tumbled boulders from a long ago earthquake. Their small patch of fertile soil let them grow a little taro and vegetables, but their focus was on the rice paddy just above their stilt house in the open sunlight. Each day before dawn Granny stoked the fire, letting the smoke chase away the night bugs and send the little geckos skittering noisily deep into the thatch. She would prod Loa with her foot as she left to visit the privy so that by the time she climbed the ladder the tea was on the boil and there was enough bread and cold rice with a bit of fish to keep hunger at bay while they worked the morning away.
Not much story but nice setting up, I think. I'll come back to this.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Last night after supper I sat myself down on the couch, turned on HGTV (I'm a sucker for House Hunters International), and cast on the second Socks On Fire sock. I can't say enough positive things about the pattern and the yarn, and the colors make me very happy. It's a win-win-win situation.
My knitting friend, Dusty, and I went walking on a newly discovered (by us) trail out by the bay. It's a Nature Area so the trail isn't paved and the only "amenity" is a green painted wooden bench about 100 yds. down the first part of the trail, oh yeah, and a parking lot. Walking out we saw lots of Redwing blackbirds and robins, and a flight of 8 white pelicans. We even got to climb over a gigantic tree that had fallen across the trail in the last week's wind (we assume). On the way back we saw a pair of bald eagles soaring way way way up high but I saw their white heads and tails so I'm sure that's what they were. It was harder than walking on the paved Fox River trail but it was a wonderful walk out away from civilization. An excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon. We were both so glad I found it.
May 1--Sidemen, Bali. The sun reflected off the surface of the water in the rice paddies. Rae knew that frogs and snakes lived in that water, she had seen them, not too close up, but the water was so still that it didn't look real. Tucked into the river valley like they were, the capricious tropical storms blew past for the most part. Rae was convinced that the suffocatingly thick humidity made the valley air so dense that the wind couldn't move it. Sure, storms blew in lashing at the trees and ruffling the water in the paddies but most of the time it was so still she almost felt like she was growing mold on her skin.
Now that's humid. Make the most of the rest of your day!
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Last night at Friday Night Knitting Circle I frogged my first stab at the Fish Net scarf and started again using bigger needles (10.75 US) and smaller yarn (Patons Silk Bamboo in Bark colorway), also I cast on 10 fewer stitches because the first attempt seemed too wide. Now that I think on it the thinner yarn's making it look about the same width as a necktie so I may find myself frogging the, what, six rows I have OTN and start once again with the requisite 35 sts. I'll take a long hard look at it before I go any further.
I finished Durwood's replacement hat the other night. The man has the biggest head, one of those deceptive heads that's big without looking big, but could have enough of its own gravity to keep a satellite happily orbiting. Just kidding, honey, I'm happy to make you a new hat anytime you'd like. Gotta keep my personal chef warm and happy.
The apple trees in the parking lot behind our house are blooming this week. They look so pretty and they give us lovely applesauce apples every fall. The tulips are blooming this week too, at least the ones that the $%#&* squirrels haven't bitten the tops off of are.
April 30--Brac Island, Croatia. There was barely a square yard of sand on Zlatni Rat that wasn't covered by a body, a beach towel, or a lounge chair. Gloria picked her way over and around more middle-aged, Middle-European flesh exposed to the watery sunshine than she had ever dreamed of seeing. She had never imagined that she would live someplace other than the United States, much less that she would meet and marry a Croatian soccer player at her small college on the other side of the state from her childhood home, or that her new husband would get a job back in his home country of Croatia. Doesn't everyone want to live in the US? No one had ever heard of the country except for other Croatians and a handful of geography nerds. Things had happened to fast, there was the wedding, the honeymoon, and boom, here they were living in a country she still had trouble finding on the map. As she waited in their tiny apartment waiting for her husband to come home and take her to the market she wondered how she had ended up here and, on her darkest days, how much she really loved Tico anyway.
Well, that's a mess, isn't it? See? Writing's not all sunshine and flowers, sometimes it's tangled words and lame ideas.