Saturday, July 31, 2010

I Had A Brainstorm

I've been wanting to knit a sweater out of that Cuzco yarn I bought at Loops' final sale. I have 10 skeins, 1300 yds., that should be enough, right?

First I thought I'd make a hoodie from a pattern I got from DD but the yarn isn't bulky enough. Dang. Into the frog pond it went.

Then I cruised Interweave Knits' website last week. They let you narrow your search, so I told it I only wanted to look at patterns that used bulky yarn. I found one. It's the Cross-Cultural Pullover by Norah Gaughan. No hood, but it'll be my first color work. I'm excited.

I figure I'll use the red for the sweater body but I was thinking I'd have to order some more Cuzco in this pretty charcoal color I saw on their site, but then after Friday Night Knitting last night I had that brainstorm I mentioned. I've got over 3 skeins of gray marled yarns I bought last fall at a fiber fest. And it's the right thickness. It's fate, it's meant to be.

I made a hat from it but it really should be part of a sweater. Hooray!

And finally, Durwood has been picking tomatoes. He's very thrilled, and usually has juice running down his chin and fingers. He's a happy Tomato Boy.

And It's Raining--Again

I feel pruney, like I've been in the lake too long. The patio's getting a thin film of algae green on it and it smells kind of musty out there. Did somebody overpay the water bill?

July 30--Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas, Florida.
"Construction on the fort began in 1846," the tour guide ranger said. "Looks like the decorator never made it," Kay said out of the corner of her mouth. "Shh," said Angie, "it's a fort, for crying out loud, not a condo." She shook her head and edged away from her sister. Her little sister. Her annoying little sister who had been a thorn in her side her whole life and who she was stuck sharing a cabin on the boat with again. Dad had been about to buy a newer and bigger boat so they didn't have to share but the economy tanked so he said they'd have to make do with the old one. Kay wanted to stay in Key West and strut up and down the beach in her bikini and flirt with boat bums every night in Mallory Square. Angie was glad to be out diving and snorkeling instead of broiling her brains on the beach. She didn't even much mind Dad's half-baked attempts to inject a bit of education into the days like today's trip to Fort Jefferson. Maybe she could shove Kay into a cell for an hour and get a bit of peace.

I'll say this for it, it came much easier than words have been coming lately. Stay dry.

Friday, July 30, 2010

It Doesn't Feel Like Friday

I am so not used to working on Friday. I'm sure you're tired of hearing me whine about all the working I've been doing but it's summer and I'm working more. I haven't been able to go walking with Dusty and Julie for weeks because I refuse to get all sweaty and smelly and then sit in damp pants all day offending everyone who comes in. Next week Mrs. Boss will be back, although I still have to work Saturday because they've got a family wedding but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's not a train.

July 29--Rishiri, Japan. It looked like two different worlds, Jai thought as she lay atop the hill overlooking Sarobetsu Plain. She wished she were in another world right then, not hunkered down behind a pile of rocks. Not tired and sweaty. Not listening with all her being for a step or a breath telling her that she was found. The view before her would have made a good postcard. The foreground was a rolling plain of waving dandelions like a yellow and green carpet and in the distance across the narrow Sarobetsu Strait Rishiri Volcano brooded in the blue light, wearing its ski runs like dreadlocks. She needed to get across somehow. In a little gray house on the side of that volcano lived her Great-uncle Hiro who had spent his long life navigating the choppy seas of diplomacy. Uncle Hiro had calm eyes and hard hands, he could look through you and see a lie, and Jai knew he would be able to fend off her pursuers and help her on her way home. Voices behind her made her draw in her breath. It was a group of tourists and their guide come to hear about the war years and the coast watchers who served on this stretch of the shoreline. Maybe they would walk near enough for her to join them and get down to the shore and the fishing boats that plied the fish-filled waters of the strait.

I was too sleepy to write last night, then I was too busy at work to write, so I plugged earbuds into my ears at the mechanic's shop and wrote while I was getting my oil changed. After my oil change I got my car washed. It looks like rain. Of course.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Purple And Green Look Good Together, Right?

I finished my purple Spring Fling Wrap tonight. I never did make up my mind whether I liked the green mohair better or the purple, so I did waht I said I'd do and knitted one ruffle green and the other one purple. They really curl which is to be expected of stockinette stitch. I might block them and smush them down but I think it might be futile so maybe I won't. I like the way the purple Nashua Daylily worked up. It's got a real glimmer to it. (I don't have a shawl pin so I just dug out a chopstick. Not very pretty but it did the job.)

A bunch of knitters went to the GB Bullfrogs baseball game last Tuesday night. It was a heck of a deal. For $10 we got a seat on the third base line, a hat, a hot dog, and a soda. It was hot and sticky and buggy, but we had fun. I'd do it again.

I picked up 198 yds. of Mochi the other day and added a few rows. It's easier the second time around. Imagine that! This is not something I can take to work or a baseball game or even knit night. It needs concentration. It's pretty and very soft.

Isn't That The Coolest?

Congrats to Jenny for having her story made into a video to be shown at such a huge event! Tres cool.

I'm relieved that all (but Sean so far) have agreed to take a little writing group vacation next month. I need a breather and life's too busy. We'll be refreshed and perky, and very wordy, when we reconvene on Sept. 16th, I just know it.

July 28--Nokanhui, New Caledonia. Drake lay half in sunlight and half in shade. His lips were crusted and split, and his tongue felt like it was three times normal size. He rolled his head to one side and felt instantly better without the sun pounding on his unprotected flesh. The breeze off the ocean slid across his sweaty back cooling him a bit. He levered himself up on his elbows with a groan. What had hit him? He looked around to see the bundle of feathers that was a gull caught in his snare. The thrashing bird had knocked him unconsciousness, whanged him in the temple with the knuckle of its wing and he had dropped like a rock. There was no time to lose, he had to get the bird plucked and roasted before the meat spoiled. He was too near the edge, stuck that as he was on an island barely a foot about sea level to let such a valuable catch go to waste.

Okay, then, I like his name and I like his resourcefulness, the rest of it I'm pretty fuzzy on, but it's not bad, better than the last few anyway. I'm off to work--again. See you.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Little Computer That Could

I think I can! I think I can! My computer has been down for a couple weeks now. It's in one of its cooperative moods, so I have to take advantage of it when I can. It crashed and I had to reinstall from the recovery disks, which wiped everything I had. Luckily this is par for the course with this lemon of a computer, so everything but my newest story I had backed up on thumb drives, and the newest was only a rough draft. Still, I liked it, and it was enough to make me crabby. And now I've had to recover the stupid thing 4 times already. It keeps completely and totally freezing. Ugh. It might be time to break down and buy a new one.

Anyway, since we're taking a small writing break, I have to share my news! It's been a few weeks since I've seen everyone, and I was waiting to do it in a group setting. This weekend in Chicago is the annual Printer's Ball. I hadn't heard of it until a few weeks ago, when I was contacted by Bound Off. Bound Off is a wonderful little digital journal that publishes via podcast. A few years ago I had a story called "Down There" published through them. They're one of the magazines being featured at this Printer's Ball, and they were looking for contributors to turn their audio files into multimedia pieces. I have a friend who does photography, and he made my story into a video with some still photos in the background. I love it, and it's one of a handful of stories that will be playing on a loop throughout the ball through Bound Off. I believe they'll also be posting the video to You Tube, but don't quote me on that one. So I'm off to Chicago this weekend to see the video but also to attend the Printer's Ball. It should be a great opportunity to see some lit mags and meet some editors, including Kelly Shriver (the woman who published "Down There.") I figure it's a rare opportunity, and I'm going to lap it up!

Barbara, don't burn anything! And have you found something special to spend your writing check on yet?



That's how the weather feels, how my body feels, and how my brain feels these days. Right now I could very easily burn all my notebooks, break all my pencils, and park my carcass on the couch to knit, watch TV and veg. Bah.

July 27--Maldives. I don't know how it has stayed there for as long as It took to grow that tall. The palm tree grew horizontal for all but the last few feet of its more than thirty feet of length. You'd think you would say "height" when you're talking about a tree but since this one persisted in growing sideways "length" is the word. I want to burrow into the undergrowth to see how the roots are holding onto the edge of the island. I want to discover by what form of natural magic that swoop of a palm tree stays in place. That tree trunk looks like the perfect place to hang a swing but I fear that even the negligible weight of the ropes and plank would upset the delicate balance of roots and fronds to send the whole thing splashing into the drink.

Sucktastic, isn't it? But I have to keep reminding myself, putting pencil to paper any way is a step in the right direction. Stay stubborn.

We'll miss you tomorrow night, Aunt Nancy, have fun with the nieces.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

That's it. I'm done with looking for shapes in clouds. It strains my neck too much and my corneas are starting to burn. Rather, I've taken up looking for presidential heads and other interesting figures on my leg and belly stretch marks.

Cannot be at class this Thurs. Have 3 young nieces in town for "Camp Nancy" until Friday. Miss you guys and see you next week!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Yarn Stuff

I am having yarn dreams. I see patterns that I want to make and finally I can see that I might actually be able to make them. Holy carp.

I've been knitting on the purple Spring Fling Wrap, still not able to decide whether to make both of the ruffles in the dark green mohair. I do wish that I could find an actual photograph of a wrap because I'm not at all sure where the ruffles go. It says on the pattern to pick up 45 stitches which would make a ruffle barely a third of the width of the shawl. I took it upon myself to pick up stitches all the way across the narrow end and I think it looks pretty okay.

It's been kind of busy at the dive shop (amazing!) so the sock is growing slowly. When I chose yellow as the color to purl when ready I didn't realize how many yellows there were: school bus yellow, yellow green, lemon yellow, yellow orange. It can be confusing but I'm purling every once in a while.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


It was pouring rain when I got up at 6 this morning. Again. Do we have to pay someone to get the rain to stop? John said he talked to a meteorologist friend who said the weather won't change until we get some drier air, that we should pray for a cold front to drop down from Canada. Okay, I'm praying. I'm tired of being the buffet when I step out into the backyard.

July 23--North Island, New Zealand. Once again the picture I have in front of me to write about looks like a movie set or some computer generated scene. Lush green forest in the foreground, with palm trees even, surrounding a perfect little lake, a generous plain in the middle distance dotted with wooded areas and a few houses and hamlets, backed by the snow-capped majesty of a volcano. There are even some puffy clouds drifting out of the frame on the right. It looks like a postcard or a calender. I'm beginning to think that choosing the Islands Page-a-day was a mistake. I feel like what I'm writing has become repetitive and predictable. I need to start looking at these pretty pictures from a new angle. Any suggestions?

Well, that's boring and whiny, isn't it? But that's all I've got today. Sorry for the slim pickings.

Friday, July 23, 2010

So Sleepy

The last two nights I have been so sleepy that I've barely been able to stay awake to write. Below you'll find both nights' output, slim though it is.

Maybe it's the weather, the rain and the fog, that's putting me into such a daze, but we need a lot less rain. A. Lot. Today there's no breeze so when I went into the soggy garden to check on my patty pan squash I was instantly Meals on Wheels for a battalion of mosquitoes. I managed to check on the squash and the tomatoes, even pick a couple cherry ones to sneak into my lunch without Durwood seeing, and get back into the sealed-up house with a minimum (2 or 3) of bites. It said in today's paper that with yesterday's rain we've surpassed the previous July record for the most rain--and there are 8 more days of July left. We're doomed. And I'm afraid the Roma tomatoes are doomed too, the three that I looked at have blossom-end rot. Now, there was an article about the effects of rain on gardens just the other day, maybe there's some rot-preventer we can spray or shake on. We need our Roma's for cooking and salsa. Need. Any ideas?

July 21--Fraueninsel. There were only two ways on and off the island. Two thin gray strips of concrete strung on pilings that held the roadways barely above the waters of Lake Chiemsee. Larissa crouched in the bushes that clung to the curve of the road along the coast.

July 22--Mahi, Seychelles. Idyllic, that's what it was. The long sweep of white sand kissed by the blue sea and the lush vegetation making everything green and fresh-looking. It was like a movie or a fantasy--except for the lifeless body floating face down in the shallows. No words emerged from my lips just a strangled

And that's it. Pathetic, no? I'll try to write better, or at least write more tonight. Stay dry today and stay away from hungry skeeters. They make you itchy.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Check Up

It's time for the ol' Kumquat here to go in for its million-keystroke checkup. My ISP offers computer service for not too much money so I try and take it in once a year or so to get its corners and cobwebs cleared out. I know I'm going to miss it. Isn't that silly to miss an inanimate object that isolates you from the rest of the world? Well, the living breathing world anyway, you're plugged into the interwebs and "in touch" with non-corporeal entities but it's isolating and cuts you off from real humans. Still, I'll miss it and I'm addicted to it. I'll get my laptop back on Friday so it won't be too bad. I anticipate it'll be like when the car's in the shop; I'll think of eleventy-bazillion things I need to look up, or at, RIGHT NOW. Foolishness.

July 20--Santa Cruz, California. The island looked like a rumpled bed. Sofia could imagine the soft earth being shoved aside so that it formed ridges and valleys, and then solidified over the ages. She could see how erosion had played its part too. It had been years since she took a geology class in college but rocks don't change all that quickly. Her granddaughter told her that now students took classes in Earth Science but Sofia thought that was just plain old Geology dressed up in Sunday clothes. She sat on the rocky beach examining the pebbles as they were turned by the gentle surf. She had promised Ed that she wouldn't bring home too many rocks but she knew that he definition of too many was far apart from hers. She had even brought a little extra cash just in case her suitcase got a little too heavy for the new airline rules. Oh, that was a pretty one.

Finally. I was running late and didn't have time to type this earlier. Sorry you had to wait. (despite what it says down below this post, it's 12:35 PM) For those who care, I'm feeling much happier today. It's a nice change.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Garden Pix

It's the middle of July and stuff is finally ready to pick and eat.

Durwood picked his first Early Girl tomato yesterday and ate it immediately. No time for a photo. These three are almost ready.

I spied a few Sweet 100s nearly ready to pick. I like a few of them in a bowl with a little Vidalia Onion Salad dressing on them.

I haven't been checking under the big beautiful leaves of the patty pan squash plant. Might have been a mistake. (see pint jar ring for scale)

The Stargazer Lilies I got last fall when the grocery store parking lot greenhouse was clearing out are blooming. They smell like a mixture of baby powder and honey. Intoxicating.

We have a lot of Monarch butterflies in our yard. Why? Because I learned which of the "weeds" along the lot line are milkweeds and let them grow so the butterflies come to visit.

A few years ago I planted a daisy plant. One. Now look at what I have. Good thing I like daisies.

Sunny Hill Farms corn is ready! I don't know if it's the soil they grow it in, the seed variety they buy, or the fact that they live a good, clean life, but SHF corn is the best.


There's not a breath of air stirring today. It's overcast, humid, and still. Not hot--yet--but it has potential. And of course I put off mowing until today when I can't realistically delay another day. I should be in a cage having my head examined.

July 19--Hong Kong. From his vantage point in Tai Tam park Lon thought the apartment blocks looked like toys. He trained his binoculars on one building, one balcony just as he had every day for the last week. Clamped to his wrist was a note pad with a pencil connected to it by a rubber leash. He kept meticulous notes of her movements. He wrote down what time she arose, when she went out, who came to call. Behind him in the shade of a lychee tree he had parked a scooter that looked like every other one that buzzed through Hong Kong's streets. Twice he had ridden alongside her hired car and no one was the wiser. Soon the call would come and then Lon would go beyond watching and reporting to doing. It would feel good to test his courage. He would finally put his hands on her skin that filled his dreams like cool ivory.


A-a-a-a-and, Presto!

We have a hat. Not that anyone's in a hurry to wear this hat today since it's supposed to hit about 85 degrees F., and it's dead calm, and humid. But now I've got a nice soft, toasty warm hat for when it's 25 degrees F., windy, and so dry the hairs in my nose crackle when I breathe. Maybe I'll crank out some gloves to match. Or mittens so I don't have to knit all those fingers, but I like gloves better even though they don't keep your hands as warm... I'll have to see how I feel when this idea comes back up to the top of the pile.

Today's model is the lovely Durwood who was minding his own business playing a computer card game and eating a banana when I pressed him into service this morning. He's a good sport.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Flitting and Cringing

I spent yesterday, the whole of my weekend, flitting from project to project, and making an unpleasant late-night discovery downstairs. More on the cringing in a moment, but first here's what I worked on.

I finished the first ball (of 3) of the Daylily for the Spring Fling Wrap, so I'm 1/3 done. I also went downstairs into the stash and resurrected the green and purple mohair to start thinking about which one I want to use (maybe both).

After getting some help from Zoe, the Yarn Whisperer, at Friday Night Knitting Circle on using Magic Loop to knit in the round, I finished the crown of the Sun Visor Cap. One wag at knitting suggested it looks like a McDonalds hat but I stuck my tongue out at her and didn't respond. Next I need to pick up 99 stitches around the edge and knit the band and visor. Should be interesting.

At the bottom of the knitting basket I came across the Rolled Brim hat I had frogged and restarted because it was turning out too big even for me. I realized that I could finish it fairly quickly so I knit on it a bit. I do love the yarn. I bought it at a fiber show in Valders and got to see the sheep it came from. Very cool.

I've been working a bit on the next 198 yds. of Mochi shawl. The yarn is DK weight so it's thinner than what the pattern calls for. That means that I'll definitely be adding repeats to make it bigger than a hankie. But I love the yarn (so soft) and the colors make me

The mailman brought a package during the week. Interweave was having their annual "hurt" book sale and I couldn't resist, so two slightly damaged sock books came to live with me. I don't know if I'll ever knit any of the socks but I sure love looking at them.

Late last night I shortened a couple of broomstick skirts so they don't drag around my ankles anymore,

and that's when I saw the dead mouse in the basement. Ugh.

I lay in bed wondering how many more were down there, alive, and if any of them are aspiring to move upstairs to live with the humans.

Durwood will be buying mousetraps today. Ick, ick, ick.

Back To The Grind

It's Monday, people, time to be up and at 'em. Yeah, I don't feel much like it either, but I'm trying to paste a smile on my face and pretend like I do because pretending you're happy makes you feel better, even if you know you're only pretending. I did more knitting over the weekend (yesterday) than writing but that's okay at least I was doing something, not sitting on the couch, frowning and pouting, right? Right.

July 18--San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice. "That island's all church," Sam said, reclining on the hard wooden bench of the tour boat, his arms folded across his barrel chest. The boat rounded the north side of tiny San Giorgio Maggiore and he saw the rest of it. "I take that back," he said, "it's church and marina. I suppose that's Venice's answer to a parking lot." He flung back his head and roared with laughter at his own cleverness. The rest of the passengers around him smiled a bit. They had spent more time than they cared to playing straight man to Sam's heavy handed, American-centric opinions of what they saw. "If he's so in love with the States, why'd he come?" more than one of them had asked Pat, their long-suffering escort.

Ah, the ugly American, a well-loved literary device. Talk among yourselves.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday--And I Have To Work

*sigh* I feel so ill-used. There will be no discussion of my spoilage here.

This morning I went out and filled the feeders, fed the skeeters, and dribbled a little bleach in the fountain. I ate my cheerios out on the patio too. It's so peaceful to chomp away at the little oaty Os while listening to the birds sing and the bees hum. Now I'm sitting here scratching and wondering if I can wear shoes to work because I royally stubbed my second toe yesterday and it still hurts like a bastard. How can I not know how long my toes are after all these years of them being exactly the same size? My big toe is much longer than the second one and yet that one, the second one with the deformed toenail that hurts most of the time anyway, that's the one I jam into the couch leg making me blister the air with clenched-teethed profanity. It's not purple--yet.

July 16--Bora-Bora. Just like a first scene in a Hollywood movie about a lost civilization, Mt. Otemanu juts up out of the sea. Ringed by palms and carpeted with lush vegetation you can almost hear the voice-over by David Attenborough telling you in his hushed upper crust British tones about spiders big enough to catch and eat birds and coconut crabs with claws strong enough to sever a finger. It's nature "red in tooth and claw" dressed up for a party in a fancy green dress.

Not very long, but I was tired, it was late. I have to go to work.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Look What I Made

I knitted on my 198 yds. of Crazy shawlette on Wednesday night until I was falling asleep. Thursday morning I did the knitted bind-off,

and then I soaked it and blocked it, so it was dry and ready for modeling and showing off today. Ta-da!

It's not perfect, not by a long shot.

And I'm not sure I like how it feels all stretched out and blocked to within an inch of its life.

But it's pretty and warm and I'll love it come chilly fall and winter nights.

I think with a little math (and a consultation with the Yarn Whisperer) I could make a bigger one.

It's Friday! Yippee!

This is the last Friday this month that I'll be off. Tomorrow Mrs. Boss leaves for 2 weeks in Ireland and that means I work all the days except Tuesdays and Sundays. I know, you all make fun of me for feeling sorry for myself having to work 5 days a week, but I don't usually do that so it seems like torture. I have to make a vat of soup and whirr up some fruit sorbet so I'll have lunches. *back of hand to forehead, I might need to lie down* I should mow today too. Oh my lord, I will need to lie down! I have such a hard life. Not.

July 15--Southport Island, Maine. That's a lot of sky, Mariette thought as she looked out of the ferryboat's windows. Maybe too much sky. For a girl from the northwoods where every vista was ringed by the comforting deep-green pine trees, the edge of the continent was a scary place. Now she had gone over the edge. She was on a boat on her way to see her friend, Georgia, who lived in the refurbished Cuckolds Lighthouse on a tiny island off the coast of Maine. "Come see me, Mari," she had said one day. "I'm going mad out here with the neverending sea pounding on my doorstep." So Mari went. She packed up a bag of books and a supply of their favorite snacks (Cheetos and root beer), and a copy of Rear Window, their all-time favorite movie. No visit was complete without a movie night. But Mari couldn't take her eyes off the expanse of sky. It made her dizzy the way it loomed over her.

I wish you could see the picture I had to write from. It's got a teensy thin strip of island at the bottom with a tiny little lighthouse in the lower right corner and the rest of the calender page is sky--big, scary, all-encompassing sky, an agoraphobic's nightmare. Inspiring.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


"Hump day" some people call it, like it's something you need to get over, others just call it Wednesday. I have to work today. I'm kind of lukewarm about working today. I'll enjoy being away from home with a zippy new Mac to play with and my knitting, Walkman, and Netflix to keep me occupied, but there's always the chance that a pesky customer will come in and interrupt my day. Tsk. Can you imagine? The nerve...

July 13 (Happy 29th brithday, Ann!)--Culebrita, Puerto Rico. Sprawled there on the edge of the Caribbean Sea the little, one-mile long island rose out of the waves. It was sure of itself, this little island, with confident cliffs on its southern edge and a rakish curve across its middle. Raul knew every pebble and blade of grass on it. He had roamed its shores and tramped its spine as a boy and now he was a man, with a man's interest in land. Culebrita was enticing, flirting with him, flashing her rich curves and lush harbor like a siren. He couldn't resist her. She was where he would make his home, he would bring his bride to her, and his sons would come to love her as he did. Raul would always be faithful to his first love and he hoped that she would never betray him.

Well, I kind of like that. There isn't much happening but I like it. Have a happy hump day! (I was going to tell you to hump the day away, but that doesn't sound right, does it?)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Shawl Daze

Hi, my name is Barbara and I'm addicted to knitting shawls. I shift from one to the other to the other like some demented machine.

Last night I knitted the first 3 rows of the border of 198 yds. of Crazy. It's going well. 13 more to go!

I've found out on 198 yds. of Mochi that it's addictive knitting to find out what color comes next and how it'll look with the
ones that came before. I also discovered that it's easier the second time.

And the Spring Fling Wrap is much more pleasing to me now that I've frogged it and reknit it on US17s. I fear that it won't be very long since I only have 261 yds., it'll be more like a necklet than a wrap, but I'm anxious to get done so I can knit the fuzzy ruffles onto the short ends. Ooh, I just had an idea; I could knit one of the ruffles in the green and the other in the purple Filatura di Crosa. Tres cool.

Now it's time to write an article about sinking a ship in Lake Michigan. Later, dudes and dudettes!

Plugging Away

I'm keeping on keeping on even though I'd rather be lying on a chaise listening to The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and eating Pieces. Have you read Steig Larsson's books? They're crackerjack thrillers, there are 3 of them, and he died of a heart attack before the first one was even published. This is a tragedy not only because he's a good writer and the books are riveting, but because he was planning a series of like, 10 of them, and they're connected so now we'll never know what happens in the end. Gah! There are rumors that most of the 4th is on a laptop his longtime mistress has and synopses of more, but she's embroiled in a fight with his dad and brother and who knows when that'll get settled so we can have more of the story. And I have to quit buying and eating Pieces. I'm addicted to them and eating them is not the way to lose weight and I want to lose more weight. I keep working out and walking and eating lots of veggies and counting what I eat (except for the bad things, of course, bad being relative to staying on the straight and narrow of WW old Quick Start plan) so if I quit being my own worst enemy I'll lose more weight and be happier with myself. Right? Right. Enough whining, here's what I wrote last night.

July 12--Bird Island, Slovenia. All she could smell was old varnish and mildew with a bit of oil on tip. How long had she been in this place? It was pitch dark and cramped. She knew she was on a boat because she could hear water slap on the hull. The first time she had heard voices, men nearby had been conversing in a language she didn't understand she had called out. "Help! I need help, get me out." Over and over she had called, her voice getting more shrill with every repetition. She heard the men laugh and then the hatch opened letting in a flood of light and one of the men said something in that guttural Slavic tongue and dumped a bucket of cold water on her to silence her. She sputtered and gasped as the hatch slammed shut, "no, wait," and she was left in the darkness again.

Well, at least something's happening. Go for a walk today, or a bike ride.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Taking Another Run At It

Well, I've decided to keep going for another week. My current instinct is to plop on the couch with mindless TV and bales of yarn and knit, just knit and watch whatever I want to on the tube, but that's not real practical. For one thing, my boss probably won't hand deliver my paycheck and probably won't pay me if I stop showing up. Oh, that's two things, isn't it? I don't want to eat anything that's healthy or requires preparation beyond shoving a pizza in the oven, and I'd really rather not sweat. Bah, I hate it when I feel like this. Don't mind me, I'll just be here in my cave.

July 11--Cook Islands. The water felt like warm silk as Raine waded in to go snorkeling. She put on her fins once she was hip deep in the light surge of the lagoon, spit in and rinsed her mask to keep it from fogging, and settled it over her eyes and nose. The dangling snorkel mouthpiece was comfortable in her mouth as she took an experimental breath before leaning forward and lying on the water's surface. Small flicks of her fins propelled her out into the deeper water over the reef where fish like the shifting rainbows thrown by crystals in the sunlight went about the business of eating and mating and staying out of bigger fishes' gullets. The water was so clear that Raine felt a momentary vertigo as she glided over a drop off. She realized that it must be what it felt like to fly. The thought sent a little thrill through her middle and down her legs. She had always wished to be a bird and now she could pretend to be one.

Not much going on there, just some pretty pictures. Boring.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


You know you've ripped and restarted a pattern too many times when you don't need to get out the pattern until the 4th row the next time you make it. I have been eyeing the bag of 3 skeins of Mini Mochi I got from Dusty all the while I worked on the 198 yds. of Crazy shawl and now that I've finished the body and am starting on the border, I thought I'd cast on another one with the pretty, rainbow-y yarn. It's DK instead of worsted so I went down a needle size, but it's going to be gorgeous, I can already tell. And I can also tell that I'll make fewer booboos that I have to either frog or fix. I also want to hurry to knit to the next color change. Teehee, it'll go fast.

See my 198 yds. of Crazy? 56 rows done. Yay! I'm anxious to knit the border (only 16 rows!) and then soak it and block it so I can see the wonderfulness that is my first lace project.

First Harvest

The other evening Durwood was out on the patio and when I walked into the kitchen he motioned for me to look at the sky. Oooh, ahhh. The sunset was reflecting on the clouds breaking up after the storms. Very pretty.

On my way back from the parking lot taking the above pictures I saw these, the first few ripe raspberries.

Seems like time to dribble a bit of bleach in the fountain to eradicate the algae. Most of the sparrows have adopted the fountain saucers for bathing rather than the birdbath. The chickadees like it too. I keep hoping to catch sight of a hummingbird flying through the drips.

Ennervating Heat

I could easily lie on the couch knitting and watching mindless TV for the rest of the day and far into the week, but I told the dive club guy that I'd get these articles written and to him by the 18th so I'd better only lay around part of the day. Dusty and I tried to walk on the trail at UWGB but it's too hot and windless and the skeeters were hungry. I hate that buzzing in my ears. We'll tackle it again when it isn't so hot, humid, and still. Did you ever have one of those days when you hate all the purses you own? I'm having one. I pulled all the ones that I own out of the closet and put my stuff first in one and then another, and I think I'm going to change yet again. Maybe I should just crawl under the bed and wait until tomorrow comes. It's bound to be a better day, right? (I'm in one whale of a crap mood can you tell?)

July 10--One Foot Island, Cook Islands. Aitutaki Lagoon is a vision of a tropical paradise. The sandy beach that rims it is whiter than white and the water is so clear that you're surprised that it's so salty. You know what it really looks like? A rich person's swimming pool. The whole island looks like a jet set playground, but it isn't. It's hot, humid, and buggy. Most of the plants have thorns or spines or sharp edges, and few, if any, of them are edible. There's no fresh water on the island either, so if you're shipwrecked or marooned there you're done for. I kind of admire the island for being a beautiful death trap. It's the South Seas version of "don't judge a book by its cover."

Well, that's most definitely sucktastic. Sorry to inflict it on you on the weekend. And happy 50th anniversary, To Kill a Mockingbird. Go read something.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

One Article Written, One To Go

The secretary of the local dive club found out a couple weeks ago that I'm a writer. He asked me if I'd be interested in writing some articles for the club newsletter. What do you think I said? Yes, of course. He emailed me a couple of story ideas last week so I've been working on them. I got the first one roughed out over the last couple days, I'll go through it another time with my trusty red pen, then I'll email it to him for his edit. I'm guessing we'll be working back and forth like that until we've learned each other's style and needs. The other idea is too big for the speed he's looking for, we talked it over and agreed to table it until later, but I woke up this morning with an idea on how we can put it in July's issue and still do the thorough job it needs--a series. It's brilliant! I'm brilliant! Now to get him to agree. I'll spend today doing online research and roughing out the first installment and my ideas for the rest. I'll email a source or two for more info, and then present the package to John next week. What's not to love?

But first I need to post my nightly prompt writing and then go out before the sun hits that side of the house and plant the irises and the "hardy perennial garden" (a daylily, some coneflowers, an iris, and daisies), all of which I got off the clearance pile in Goshen. Who can resist 75% off flower bulbs? Not this dirty-fingered girl. And I want to go to Walmart later (once the sun gets to the side of the house and it's too hot to be out planting) and look at the bike racks for my car. I want to take my bike and ride the trail with D&A but right now I have no way to hauling my bike except in the trunk and that's a pain. I think I can get a rack for under $50, that'd be good. Okay, here we go!

July 9 (Happy birthday, Aunt B!)--Zanzibar. In the flat light, the water off the beach looked white, not blue. It couldn't be that shallow, Leah thought, there was a little fishing boat anchored not far offshore, so what made it so white? She stood listening to the soft lap as the water slid up the shallow slope of the beach and then back on itself. There was rain out on the horizon, she could see it slant out of the clouds, but not a breath of air stirred on shore. Leah wondered where Jake was. He hadn't been in the bungalow when she got up, hadn't been in the dining room when she went in for coffee, and he wasn't anywhere on the beach. Was this the day he said he was going fishing early? She rubbed her hand over her brow. Two glasses of the deep red, local wine with dinner was one glass too many. Her head was throbbing and she'd found a big bruise on her side when she showered. Now that she thought about it, her waiter, Teme, had looked at her a bit strangely when he'd poured her coffee. Had she made a fool of herself last night? She needed to find Jake and ask him. She swayed with momentary dizziness. Maybe she'd go and lie down for a few minutes first.

Well, that has possibilities, doesn't it? Yeah, like I ever go back and work more on these. Ah, well, at least I give them temporary life. Off to play in the dirt.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ahh, Less Humidity

So much better. Today it doesn't seem like a person could cut out a cube of the air and squeeze out a drink of water. Dusty, Julie, and I walked 3.5 miles on the trail this morning. We took our time because it's still hot but it was good to get back out there and sweat, not pant and gasp, just sweat. I want to get out and mow so I only have to shower once today, so here goes...

July8--Fihalhohi, Maldives. Nan lay awake listening to the soft sound of the ocean lapping against the pilings of their bungalow over the water and the clatter of palm fronds overhead. It had taken more than a full day to get from O'Hare to this tiny 20-acre island and she had no idea what time it was. Well, she could see the clock on the bedside table said 2:47 AM but her body had no idea whether it should be awake or asleep. It seemed like it was always 11 AM in every airport she was in over the last two days. O'Hare to London to Rome to Istanbul to Delhi, to the Maldives, it was always around 11 AM like time had been following her like a faithful but confused dog. She had lunch but felt it should be breakfast, lunch that ought to have been supper. They brought a meal when she arrived. She ate it but only wanted to sleep. She turned over and punched her pillow into a more comfortable shape. Could an person die of jet lag?

Poor Nan, jet lagged and grumpy on a tropical island. We should all have such problems, eh? I'm off to mow and sweat some more.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I think I'm so smart sometimes--and then knitting rears up and slaps me in the face. I found a hoodie pattern in a book DD has and borrowed it. Then I found this yarn on sale. It's alpaca and wool, it's red, I love it. I cast on the required number of stitches and I got gauge. But it looks too small to cover me, way too small. I closely examined the yardage per skein of the suggested yarn vs. the yardage of the skeins I have. Grrr, my beloved yarn has twice the yards per skein as the suggested one. Which means I have to rip out what I have (fortunately only an inch or so of ribbing) and figure out a way to make that red hoodie that I'm dying for. It was just too good to be true. *sigh*

I am making big headway on my first lace project. The 198 yds. of Crazy shawlette is
knit through 2 repeats of the rounds, I'm going to do another full repeat instead of the half in the pattern because it's pretty small and I've got a whole 'nother skein of the wool so I won't run out two inches from the end of the border. Dusty, whose idea this whole thing was, decided that it wasn't the pattern for her and is moving on to other projects. I don't mind, I'm enjoying the challenge

decided to keep going on my Sun Visor cap even though it's looking pretty big. You knit an i-cord onto the back that you use to adjust it so I'm figuring that I've got a pretty big bean anyway so I'll just knit away and see what happens. I think the yarn's a bit more worsted than the suggested one so that explains that.

And I cast on yet-another project the other day. It's a Spring Fling Wrap using the pattern I got in Goshen and some of the yarn I bought at Loops on its last day. Once again the yarn's thicker than the suggested one but I like it so I'm keeping on. It'll be pretty with the mohair ruffle on the ends. I've got some forest green with a hint of purple that I think will be just the thing. See? I have purple too. Maybe I'll use that.

I'll decide when it's time to add the ruffle.