Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Finally Dusty's over her swine flu with an ear infection, Julie's seen the doc about her shin splints and got new arch supports for her crap shoes, and Mrs. Boss isn't on vacation so I don't have to work on Tuesdays so we can walk. Of course there's still 91% humidity so we had to walk in the mall (BOO!) but we walked. It's been 6 weeks since we were all able to make it. We agreed that we thought when we got to be "this age" that we'd have oodles of spare time to do everything and anything. Not true. All three of us are busier than ever, and Dusty and Julie only have part-part-part-time jobs. Life is crazy, isn't it?

August 30 (Happy 82nd Birthday, Mom!)--Greenwood, Maine. The morning mist rose from the still water of North Pond making the small island look as if it was floating. Like Brigadoon, the town supposed to emerge only once every hundred years, mystery lay easy on the small piece of land. Maura thought of centuries' old bonsai from Japan as she watched the light paint early-morning gold on the rising mist. The old cabin tucked under the trees was dark. Aunt Nora had always told her that a hermit lived out there. She remembered being afraid to paddle her canoe too close when she saw Frank Reynolds outside but once a sudden storm hit when she was out beyond the island and she was forced to go ashore there. He came out in the driving rain to help her drag her craft up out of the water and then heated some cider for her and told her stories to keep her calm while the wind wailed in the trees overhead. Turned out that Frank was an artist who painted the light under those trees and the wonders it illuminated. From then on every time she'd visited Aunt Nora she had spent a day or two a week sitting beside Frank on the island painting watercolors of wildflowers, pine cones, and toadstools.

Humph. Not bad.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Nice Big Bruise...

is blooming on my upper arm just below the shoulder. I thought I had the shotgun butted up on my chest. Evidently not. My upper back and shoulders are all a bit stiff and achy this morning. Guess I don't use those muscles that way that much. Ah well, it was still fun and I'll still do it again, next time I'll be better at it. Or a whole lot worse because I'll be thinking about it too much. Isn't that the way it usually is?

How's your writing? I'm taking my notebook and my little tapes to work today so I can listen to my artist interview and make notes. Didn't get to that this weekend so I'm a little behind. See? There's that procrastination I'm famous for. I'm confident I'll manage to get a press release cranked out by Wednesday night. Never fear. Oh, and I had a camera snafu and the pictures I took of him and his art are gone. Technology! It's the pits.

August 29--Sao Miguel, Portuguese Azores. Leah lay on a chaise longue under the thatched pergola outside the villa. The tang of salt on the breeze tickled her nose and made it feel like the air was healthier for her. She admitted that laying out in the midday sun was frowned upon these days. Even though she wore SPF 100 sunscreen, everything she read said that sunlight was bad for you skin, any exposure at all. She didn't want to look like an old leather wallet when she hit her fifties but, my God, lying there was just so sybaritic. She liked the languor of her sun-heated muscles and the subtle color difference in her skin when she showered. She squinted at the angle of the sun. It was about time for Antonio the handsome gardener to arrive. She loosened the ties of her bikini top and turned onto her stomach. She made sure that the sides of her breasts were exposed and that her bikini bottom had ridden up a bit when she rubbed it with sunscreen. Everyone always said she had an excellent ass.

Well, what a minx. Or maybe I should say cougar. It's the start of yet another week, have a good one!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A New Experience

Today I did something I never thought I would. One of the dive club members is a champion sporting clays shooter and she arranged for anyone interested to go with her to a club and shoot. I had never shot a gun but there were instructors there to show us and coach us. I used DS's 20 gauge shotgun and Durwood used his 12 gauge. The gauge tells you the diameter of the barrel (I think), the bigger the number the smaller the shell. Anyway, we each bought a box of 25 shells and they divided us up into people who shot well, those who had shot a bit, and Brian, Deb, and me who hadn't shot at all. Durwood stayed with us because shooting is surprisingly strenuous, he needed to rest after 2 shots, and it was blazing hot so that isn't good for his breathing either. It was fun. We had an excellent coach. I hit a few, not many, and I was ready to be done when I'd shot my 25. After everyone was done shooting there was a lunch for us (to buy) that was excellent. Homemade hot turkey or BBQ pork sandwiches on potato rolls, chips, pickles, a pudding torte, and cookies. Oh, plus a drink, water or soda and it was only 8 bucks a person. Deelicious. We got home and I took a shower to cool off and Durwood's having a nap. It was a fun day and now if a story's character needs to shoot at least I know a little bit about it. They're going to have another one in October, we're going!

August 28--Sao Miguel, Portuguese Azores. You get what you pay for. It was the first time Paula and Dan had ignored their natural tendency toward thrift and rented a villa up in the hills of Sao Miguel overlooking the Atlantic. The Azores were far enough from the mainland that everywhere you looked you saw only sky and ocean. Paula found the view supremely restful but Dan missed seeing someplace else to go. They drove around the island, up and down the lush hills, along the coast road and down into the town of Sao Miguel. They strolled the streets of the little town stopping in shops and eating in the cafe. Dan had gone out fishing with Juan, someone he met on the dock and came back to the villa with some silver and slimy fish he wanted her to admire. She did, and then Carmen the maid gave it to the cook who did wonder things to it with garlic and herbs.

That's when my pencil ran out of lead and by the time I'd gotten out of bed, put some in, and gotten back into bed my train of thought had derailed. Maybe I can catch it again tonight.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

I'm Weak

I had to go to Sturgeon Bay yesterday to interview an artist for an article I need to write for The Clearing's newsletter in the fall. I had a lovely and interesting talk with Ram Rojas and after I left him my car drove straight to Spin. I didn't do too badly, most of what I bought was in the 40% off basket but I did bring home one skein of lovely cotton yarn to use to make a scarf.

This is Dalegarn Ara wool from the bargain baskets. It's thick and thin and I thought it'd make an interesting shawl or bag. Each skein is just 55 yards so I'll have to find something needing around 275 yds., if you have an idea please leave a comment.

The colors of the Araucania Ulmo Multy are what attracted me. I'm usually a "red" girl but this green and purple grabbed me and wouldn't let go.

Knit on!

Farmer's Market

We just got back from visiting the Farmer's Market. It was very busy this morning, a parking spot was hard to find, but I managed. We had on our wide-brimmed hats and our official basket. Well, it's not "official" official, it's a market basket I carried back from Jamaica on my lap (that tells you how long ago) that lives in my car's trunk and is the perfect size for marketing. It has rounded ends, it rides perfectly on my crooked arm, and holds all the veggies we need for a week and then some. This week we got mixed green and wax beans, beets, kohlrabi, and okra. For our traditional breakfast I had 3 crab rangoons for 2 bucks and Durwood had a pork eggroll for a buck. We went hog wild and got a chicken wing stuffed with eggroll filling for $2.50 (yum!) and 3 battered and fried bananas for a buck, those we shared. It was too much fried stuff but...we are wild and crazy guys!

August 27 (can you believe it's already this late in the month???)--Fiji. The beach wasn't far away, maybe a dozen kicks would get her there. The water was warm and clear with corals in every shape, sponges galore, and fish darting in and out of the reefs nooks and crannies. Ginna could have stayed there all day. The kid in the watersports shack on the beach had sold her a fish ID book for $45 US and she was determined to get her money's worth. She was getting better at narrowing her search when she saw a new fish. She had learned to recognize the way a fish ate by the shape of its mouth and whether the fish was a carnivore, herbivore, or an omnivore. Who would ever use those words in dinner conversation? She did and no one's eyes glazed over, at least while she was there.

Sorry I petered out, I was tired. Eat fresh veggies today.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Look Like A Dork

I had to go renew my driver's license before it expired next week on my birthday. Why do I always look like a dork or a criminal on ID photos? I shower, fix my hair and wear a red shirt. I compose my features and make sure I'm not smiling too big so I'm squinting and look shifty... and I still end up looking like a dork or a woman just out of the slammer. I guess I should be grateful that I don't look deranged. Durwood always looks handsome, smiling like a movie star, his ice blue eyes shining. Men! What is it with them? They lose weight easily and they look great on their driver's license photo. We hates 'em.

August 26--Lord Howe Island. Julian sat on the top of the rock that formed the northern end of the island. There was a boulder behind him that blocked most of the chilly wind that funneled between Lord Howe and the neighboring island. His hands cramped with the strength of the grip he kept on his binoculars and his thigh muscles shook as he tried to stretch them without rising and giving away his position. He'd been in place too long, but he didn't think of leaving. What he was doing was too vital. The intelligence he sent down the line in coded bursts let the troops prepare for what was coming toward them. The captains of the ships that passed never knew that their lives were in his hands. A gray smudge on the horizon caught his attention and he slowly lifted his binoculars so that there was no flash from the sun that might give away his perch. A destroyer, no, two escorting a carrier. He began composing his dispatch, never noticing the faint white trail as the sixteen-inch shell sped his way. He was vaporized by the time the sound of the shot reached his hide.

I have no idea where Lord Howe Island is or if there's another island next to it or if a war was ever fought there. Probably because people being people they're always fighting for one stupid reason or another. It's a miracle this many of us have survived this long. Happy weekending!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Damned Skeeters

In the wee hours last night I got skeeter bit on my left middle finger. The itching drove me crazy for about an hour. Did I wake up enough to toddle into the bathroom and use the After Bite to stop the itch? No, I did not. I'd doze off and then wake myself up in a few minutes, scratching like crazy, and interrupting my dream. I wasn't dreaming anything important, just some jumble of being in the old Liberty St. neighborhood, but it was annoying all the same. Once I must have felt or heard it by my face because I woke up flapping my hands by my chin. So restful. I feel kind of groggy this morning so I'll be a dream at work. Good thing business has slacked off even more (if you can believe it) because of school starting soon. It amazes me that now that the water's nearly the warmest it gets people are staying away in droves.

August 25--Boracay, Philippines. Life is cruel, Enid thought, we can finally afford to go on a beach vacation to an exotic spot and we're too damned old to enjoy it. She and Barney had scrimped and saved their whole lives, buying cut rate this, sought out bargains for that, and hunted out things to do that were free. They made a game out of seeing how well they could live for as little as possible. It ruined them. They had one hell of a time prying open their wallets to get to this place they'd dreamed of for so many years. She thought Barney'd have a stroke when he looked over her shoulder at the price of their plane tickets even on one of those cut-rate websites. To balance out the sting she found a bungalow where they could fix their own meals to save on food costs and it was a bit back from the beach, just a couple of blocks, so it was a lot less than a beachfront resort. They sat in the shade on the beach and that's when she regretted being so careful with money. She was too old and out of shape to run down to the water and plunge in like the young women were doing. What had they been thinking when they spent their young and energetic days saving for the future? Had it never occurred to them that by the time they could afford their dream trip they'd be too blasted old and infirm to enjoy it? Hell, Barney couldn't even get a boner looking at all the girls in bikinis and he was actually drooling. What a damned waste.

Oh, I like Enid, don't you? I think I'm going to have to send them on more trips.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

See? I Have Been Knitting

I am so excited about the sweater I'm knitting. I love the colors and I love the yarn. I'm excited that I managed to do 2-color knitting even though there are places where the floats are too tight. I'm hoping that blocking will take care of some of it. Fingers crossed. It's a little hard to see in the picture but I'm up to the armhole decreases. Too cool!

I'm on the foot of Cartoons Sock #2. I do love this yarn, it's so colorful and bright.

I'm knitting around on that slipper sock thing I found online. Look at the gigantic holes where the heel and gusset are. They're like yarn-y sinkholes, almost makes me think they won't felt shut, but I'm keeping on keeping on.

Ta-da! Knitting!

This morning something hit the patio door and when I looked I saw this little hummingbird sitting on the doormat with its left wing extended. It sat there for about 10 minutes before it pulled in the wing, shaking its head. Finally in about 5 more minutes it flew up into the honeysuckle. Within about 15 more minutes it had flown up into the apple tree and seemed to be find. Durwood called the Wildlife Sanctuary just to be sure that he could take it there in case it was hurt too badly. He stood watching it until it flew into the tree to make sure that nothing hurt it while it was recovering. They're amazingly tiny. It was so tempting to go out and pick it up but we resisted.

You Can Stop Worrying

I spent all of yesterday, except when I was mowing the lawn, working to get the press release written. Once again transcribing my notes helped me start and then reading my first effort aloud to Durwood helped cut the deadwood and nudge me toward a good ending. So by bedtime I was pretty confident that I had it in the bag. I'll read it through once I'm reliably awake, and if it's acceptable, I'll email it off to The Clearing with the photos I took. If they don't have major objections or changes that need to be made I'm set. They'll be submitting it to the Pulse for me since they're always sending stuff over. Oh, I can't forget to send a copy to Wendy too. Thanks for the reminder.

August 24--San Paolo, Italy. The house looked like it had grown out of the chilly blue lake. It was painted a sunny yellow orange that complemented the terra cotta roof tiles and the arched windows fired Lucy's imagination. She pictured dark-eyed young women in dark dresses sulking, their full lips pursed redly with temperament. She heard rapid-fire Italian echoing through the halls as her imaginary Juliet was denied permission to go out with Romeo. She chided herself for letting her romantic heart overrun her thoughts. She could see tennis courts through the trees behind the house and decided that the place was probably owned by some businessman with spoiled and selfish daughters who cared for no one but themselves.

Sorry that's boring. Guess I'd used up all my interesting words and ideas by the time I got to this last night.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On Your Mark, Get Set...

Well, I've had a couple days to mull over the interview with Wendy the Weaver and I saved my prompt writing from last night to do this morning as a warm up, so as soon as I get this posted, I'm jumping off the cliff and writing this thing. I just realized that I don't know how many words they'll take so first I'll check their website and if that doesn't tell me, I'll stick with the limit I had before--1200 words. That's a nice round number and not too unattainable in this amount of time. I have an appointment with Ram Rojas the muralist on Friday and this whole thing starts again because I need that one to go to the Peninsula Pulse by the following Thursday. As I told Durwood yesterday, this feels like real grownup stuff and I'm not at all sure I like it. Oh well, I guess I've gotta grow up sometime, might as well be in celebration of my 59th birthday a week from tomorrow. Eek.

August 23--Fakarava Atoll, Tahiti. As she swam over the top of the reef and back toward the shore Nan thought of how the reef fish looked like bits of rainbows flitting over the coral patches. So many creatures use the small bits of coral scattered over the white sand as nurseries. The shallows are a great place to do your required three-minute safety stop and Nan liked to hover nearly motionless if she could manage it by just flicking her fins a tiny bit to stay in place. She loved the gentle rocking of the surge and the warmth of the sunlight streaming through the clear water. In one stand of Staghorn coral no bigger than a laundry basket she saw three baby eels--two Spotted Morays with dark spots on their light bodies and one Goldentail all cocoa brown dusted with tiny gold spots almost like freckles, each one of them a perfect miniature. There were juvenile Blue-spotted Damselfishes no bigger than postage stamps all dark navy, almost black, with one iridescent blue spot where the tail joins the body. On one dive earlier in the day she saw a tiny round black fish no bigger than a pea, covered in yellow dots with its near-transparent fins furiously flapping to keep it in place. It was a Smooth Trunkfish baby bobbing in the shelter of a bit of fire coral. Nan stayed there enchanted by the tiny thing, waving a hand to attract her dive buddy's attention but never taking her eyes off it for fear she'd never find it again. Just as her buddy swam up a Bar Jack, a hunter the size of her sandal, darted in front of her and ate the tiny thing in one gulp. Tears sprang to her eyes. She had always liked the smooth dull silver and dark blue stripe of the Bar Jacks in the past but seeing that one totally natural act she decided that they had a mean look about them and hoped they'd be on the menu at the resort that night, that one in particular.

...GO! But first I'm going to brush my teeth. Stupid banana.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Last Thursday I drove away from home for a two-night stay upstairs over the main office of The Clearing to be in place on time for an early morning meeting to plan the rejuvenation of their newsletter. I was flattered that Mike, the director, had thought of me but terrified that he'd ask me, expect me to be the boss of it all. I've been battling moderate depression all summer (got new pills and they're starting to work, thank God) and it felt good to drive away from home and Durwood for a couple days, not that there is anything wrong with either of them, but I needed a break. That night I had supper with friends and we went to a classical concert which was lovely. Friday morning was the newsletter meeting with the Director, Assistant Director, and the Program Director and I was right, he wanted me to be editor. I had my "sorry" smile all ready and told him, them that I'd love to write for them, stories, interviews, whatever but I just can't be the organizer, I procrastinate too much, it's just not me. For a moment there was silence and then he said, "well, I guess we can all kind of be the editor, you can be the writer." Whew. I was afraid he'd send me packing. Instead I got to interview Kevin the Landscape Architecture intern and Wendy the Weaver who has finished an art piece commissioned for this their 75th Anniversary year on Friday and I'm setting up an interview with Ram the Painter who is restoring a mural in the Schoolhouse. The articles about the weaving and the mural have to be written tout suite so that they can be sent to the Peninsula Pulse for publication before the grand unveiling. All of those things conspired to make me feel more like myself than I have in a long time. Ahhh. Welcome back, self.

I did manage to buy a bit of yarn while I was there. Wendy the Weaver had some Harrisville wool for 25% off. How could I resist?

After our interview, I went right down the road to Red Sock Yarns in Fish Creek where I got another skein of Kraemer Mauch Chunky that I plan to use with the other two partial skeins in lime and a light orange to make a felted bag,

and a skein of Ty-Dy Socks Dots to make a polka dotted sock. What's not to love?

Continuing with the dots theme I picked out a couple of cute buttons to pin on my knitting bag. They came in a little polka dotted drawstring bag.

I did knit this past week, really I did. I promise to go home and take pictures tonight of the finished 2-color sweater bottom (well, the two color part's done, not the whole sweater back) and the sock. Cross my heart.

A Sleeping Genius

By that I mean not only am I excellent at sleeping but I also woke up with the first line of the article I have to have finished by Thursday in my head. Even better, I got it on paper before it evaporated in a yawn. I dug out a pair of ear buds on Saturday afternoon and have been listening to my interview (conversation, whatever) with Wendy the weaver and making notes. I've also been trying not to panic, knowing that it takes a day or two for my subconscious to mull over the info and come up with something. I'll listen another time or two today and be ready to write the first draft tomorrow. Once that's done I'm home free. Whew. I feel better. I kept looking over my shoulder at Thursday and it's reallyreallyreally big and reallyreallyreallyREALLYREALLY close. Looming, even. I'll make it, no sweat (she says with her usual running-scared brand of bravado).

August 22--Reunion Island. Kate made sure to look before she grabbed a vine to steady herself. She had heard too many horror stories of people dying when they grabbed what they thought was a vine that turned out to be a snake. The lush green mountains of Reunion in the Indian Ocean looked like Hawaii but they were much more remote and much more dangerous. The sides of the mountains were nearly vertical and the constant humidity made every rock and trail as slick as if it had been oiled. Kate was an experienced hiker but she was afraid. Raffi was an energetic and friendly guide, a bit to friendly for her taste and comfort, and he delighted in showing off how daring he could be. He had an annoying habit of not using his safety harness or a walking stick. She had a vision of him plummeting into a gorge, flying past her and the others in a screaming welter of flailing arms and legs. She hoped she was wrong because none of them knew how to get back to the trail head.

Not bad for being half asleep. Enjoy your week. I'll be in a mild panic.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back To The Real World

Where did this weekend go??? I was sure that I'd have allll of Saturday to mow de lawn and organize my notes from Friday's interviews. Well, I didn't get home until after noon on Saturday, visited with Durwood, unpacked, ate supper, packed my scuba gear, and poof! the day was over. Today I loaded gear and got our "dish to pass" organized, then we drove up to Ellison Bay, met our dive-y friends and got wet. After the dive we all packed up and went back up the road to a little park where we ate too much fire roasted corn on the cob (sooo good) dipped in melted butter, grilled Italian sausage, and all kinds of salads, veggies, and fruit. Amazingly nobody brought dessert! Can you believe it? Not one tray of brownies with their frosting melting in the sun, no chocolate chip cookies picked up at the grocery on the way out of town, nothing. Watch, next year there'll be three or four trays of gooey treats and one lonely carrot stick. 'S okay with me.

One thing that took up a bunch of time was dealing with the MOUSE NEST I found in the dive bags piled on the floor. Oook. It wasn't a live mouse house, the inhabitant had expired a while ago because the tiny furry corpse was totally dessicated, the bitty skull and spine fell onto the cement when I picked up one of the mesh bags. They/it had used dryer lint for bedding and chewed into one of the bags. It was totally disgusting. I packed my gear and washed a bunch of stuff, but my gear bags still smelled mousey so I washed more tonight. And I am going to go through the milk crates of old gloves, boots, and hoods on Tuesday and ditch any that don't fit anyone or have a whiff of mouse about them. Creeps me right out, but I was glad last night that I'm not too squeamishly girly. I didn't spaz out--much, I just came up, got a trash bag and the dustpan and brush, and cleaned it up.

Sorry I slacked off posting. I slacked off writing too while I was up at The Clearing. Don't know why, but I got right back at it last night, so here goes.

August 21--Jost van Dyke, BVI. Yachties is sort of a rude term, kind of like Trekkies, implying a level of fandom on the extreme side. Yachties are thought of as young people without ambition who crew for rich boat owners too lady to learn how to handle their own crafts. Yachties are known to drink too much and indulge in profligate and casual sex. Great Harbor on Jost van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands is a kind of Mecca for yachties. It's a gorgeous, big harbor that attracts all sorts of yachts from all over the world. The bars and restaurants overflow the bartenders and waitstaff eager to down tools and run off to sea at the slightest hint on an offer. Gemma and Lance were a package deal, she could cook like a dream and was a serviceable steward, he could navigate like Sir Walter Raleigh and fix anything that broke. They came to Jost on the Innisfree out of Charleston and had thought they wanted to stay on land for a while but after six weeks as a beach bar chef for Gemma and a marina mechanic for Lance they were itching to get back out of sight of land.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Running Away From Home

Today I'm going up to spend the night at The Clearing outside of Ellison Bay in Door Co. to be there for an early morning meeting to talk about resurrecting their newsletter. I'm very flattered to be asked and shaking in my boots that I'll disappoint. I am a world-class procrastinator so there's a real probability that I'll put important things off until the last minute. That would not be good, but I'm also pretty good at saying what I can and can't do, or will and won't do, and I'm excellent at admitting when I screw up, so I think everything will be okay in the long run. I hope. Fingers crossed.

August 18--Miami Harbor. Tico drove the boat like there were devils on his tail. He reveled in the sheer freedom of being out on the water with the wide blue sky arching overhead and the sun making the water look like hammered steel. He slewed the white fiberglass craft around and between the sailboats moored in a row off Singer Island and saw the little islets like green blurs off the port side. It wasn't often he had the boat all to himself. His uncles left for a visit to their dying mama up toward Ocala so no one was around to say he couldn't take the boat. No one said "be careful" or "not too fast." He left a note that he was on the bay just in case they came home early. He might be young but he wasn't stupid. As he rounded little San Marco island the angle of the sun blinded him, the glare like a laser even with his sunglasses. It wasn't until he was too late to turn that he realized how close he was to the causeway pilings.

Boom. This week do something that scares you, even just a little.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Keeping The World Safe...

...from SCUBA diving. At least that's how it feels some days at the dive shop. I'm there, showered and appropriately dressed (usually in something red), and hardly anyone comes. We have fun stuff. Why don't people come to see me? Oh, I know, people are cautious in bad financial times and WI people seem especially cautious, but come on, people. I get lonely, Mrs. & Mr. Boss need to eat and pay for her vacations thither and yon, we need some customers. Come in and buy a new mask and snorkel or learn to SCUBA dive, you know you want to.

August 17--Sylt Island, Germany. As much as they were able to the town leaders of Sylt bent the island to their will. They allowed the road to twist and turn, taking the easiest path down the middle of the twenty-four mile long island but they were temperamentally unable to be as free with the wide swath of sandy beach. The sea marched in orderly ranks of waves spaced about twenty feet apart in groups of three, but the constant sculpting and re-sculpting of the beach was unsettling to the order-loving Germans. All along the rocky face of the bluff where land met beach they built a big mesh of timbers like a cofferdam that was meant to keep the sand in place. In theory it was the perfect solution but no one told the winter ice that pushed onto the beach in the spring and the gales that pounded the shore in the winter. Even the Germans with their rigid control of their lives couldn't control the sea.

I can write this way because all of my ancestors are of German heritage. I know quite a lot about things needing to be in control and in nice straight lines. ;-)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Windows Open

Finally finally finally the weather has turned and it's cool and dry enough to have the windows open and real actual fresh air coming in the house. Not hearing the air conditioner turn on every few minutes is a relief. I never think it's bugging me until it stops and I realize that I had been dreading the next time it kicked on and started to hum, then the fan would begin to blow adding another layer of repetitive sound to my already tenuous hold on sanity. Cooler and quieter is better.

August 16--Felidhu, Maldives. It looked so idyllic in the brochure and every comment on the Maldives website gave it four or five stars. No one said that the woodwork all over the resort would be gray where the varnish had flaked off and it would be spongy from the damp and the salt it had absorbed. Not one commenter said a word about the tacky tiki decorations that festooned the buffet area being covered by dust and cobwebs so that every mouthful of food wore a fine coating of it. There was no mention of the fact that the breeze died every afternoon around 3:30 and the no-seeums, mosquitoes, and biting flies rose in buzzing clouds that drove even the hardiest, DEET soaked tourist indoors. Someone should warn people that those gorgeous white sand beaches are infested with sand fleas that burrow under your skin making red welts that itch like crazy. Amy and Rick loved the diving but decided if they ever came back to the Maldives they'd avoid the land.

Okay, then. Evidently I'm not as good at hiding my rotten mood as I thought I was. Talk among yourselves.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I Wanna Sail Away To Be A Pirate

On my way to work this morning I drove downtown to see the last of the Tall Ships in port. (Thanks, David!)

One of them was leaving.

An Excellent Way To Start My Workday

There was a Tall Ships Festival here last weekend and I didn't go because it was hot and crowded and I'm not in a good mood to do anything, but DS asked last night if I'd seen them and I said no so he called our house when he got to work today (which is right next to where the ships were docked) to say that some of them were still here and if I left for work a little early I could see them. So I did. I got there in time to watch one sail off. *sigh*

August 15--Prickly Pear, BVI. Vera realized that she had been following a single trail of footprints in the otherwise smooth sand. The only sound was the high, raucous laughter of the gulls diving into the waves and she hadn't seen anyone since she left the beach party. It had been a fun but overwhelming week on the four-masted schooner Polynesia. Most of the passengers were thirty-something couples, and singles looking to couple if only for a night or two. Vera wasn't anywhere near her thirties anymore. Her forties were a memory and in a little more than a year her fifties would be behind her too. She had a lot of life left to experience. It had been a year since Vance had left her and she was sure she wouldn't be taking applications for a replacement anytime soon. Her kids thought she'd need more company but she sort of liked the silence. Around the point she was on the windward side of the little island and there was the maker of the footprints she had been unconsciously following. He wasn't tall but not short either, had gray hair, and was comfortably built. She slowed since she had left the party behind for a bit of solitude, but decided to keep walking and keep quiet. He stood in the edge of the sea gazing off to the horizon and as she passed behind him he spoke, "It's better with the wind in your face." She stopped and looked at him. "What is?" she asked despite herself. He smiled at her out of the corner of his eye. "Life."

Well, that's got possibilities. Are you writing?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekends Should Be Longer

Five, maybe six days, don't you think? We could all get our work work done in a couple of days if we concentrated, right? Then we'd have a nice long weekend to do what we want like sleep late, take a walk in the sunshine, take a bike ride, knit, nap, write a story or poem--that kind of real productive stuff. Think how much happier and satisfied we'd all be. I'll work on it.

Right now I'm trying to get Durwood to agree to be President. He just finished filling out an online application for the TSA and he said they asked all sorts of personal questions and that it took a long time. I had a brilliant idea that he should be President so then I can be First Lady and do fun stuff like First Ladies do, like jet around the globe with 50 of my closest friends and meet all sorts of cool people. I'd start a knitting initiative, encouraging people to knit to reduce stress and cultivate patience. I'd take lots of vacations to cool places like Yellowstone where I'd get to visit all the bubbling mud pots and geysers (not geezers, I've already got one of those, besides he'd have to stay in Washington and boss people around) and go diving in Hawaii and Monterey Bay and the Keys. I'd use The Clearing as my escape from the pressures of political life instead of Camp David. I'll figure out how to ditch the Secret Service for that. I could hire my DIL to be White House chef because she's a fabulous and creative chef and I'd love to be around her more. Oh, this is an excellent idea! I'll be spending my day organizing Durwood's campaign and setting up a P.O. box for contributions, cash or checks only, or Paypal. Gotta go with the times, ya know. Anyone got a used bridesmaid dress I can use for the inaugural ball? The froofier the better.

August 14--Prickly Pear Island, BVI. It didn't take the crew long to transport the big grill, charcoal and lighter, and a half-dozen coolers from the ship to the beach. Someone cranked up a boombox with reggae and calypso music and it was a party. What had been an uneasy assortment of passengers aged from twenty to eight was transformed into a sort of family once they all hit the beach of the uninhabited island. One of the passengers was a botany professor and a birdwatcher. She offered to lead a hike. Don let it be known that he taught diving and ended up with a string of snorkelers. There were volleyball teams organized and a Frisbee golf course mapped out. Newlyweds strolled off hand in hand to explore for a quieter stretch of sand. For an hour or so it was a sandy Utopia but we knew it was too good to be true. One of the snorkelers stepped on something sharp in the shallows and cut his foot. A volleyballer twisted an ankle and the cook burned himself. It seemed unfair that the fates wouldn't even let us have that one perfect afternoon.

Meh. Maybe I'll do better tonight.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summer Malaise

It's the time of the year when I could very easily veg on the couch, napping and reading. My urge to do things is at its lowest ebb. I'm not even terribly interested in eating, although I, of course, manage to force myself to maintain my current level of eating just enough calories to keep from losing much weight. God forbid I should have less of me to drag around when it's hot and muggy. I hope before I kick the bucket (buy the farm, check out, croak, insert your favorite euphemism for DIE here, and if you have any interesting ones send them my way, please) I manage to figure myself out. I don't want to figure out other people's motives and motivations, only my own which remain, after 59 years on this planet, a mystery. So here's my yarn-ish output for the week.

I'm chugging along on the Red Marl sweater. I'm over halfway through the chart and I love the way it looks and feels. I wish I had touch-o-vision so you could feel how soft, springy, and scrumptious this is. I can't imagine it'll be anywhere near complete when I go to The Clearing in October which was my original intention but that's okay. It'll be worth the wait, I can tell.

The 198 yds. of Mochi shawl-ette is growing too. I discovered that using thinner yarn and smaller needles makes progress slower. Well, duh, Barbara. The color stripes are getting narrower too but I'm still just as fascinated to see how they look as they lay down atop one another.

I got to the heel flap and turn of Cartoons sock #2 at work this week. I do like the way the rich black looks against the vibrant colors of the main yarn and it'll eventually get cool enough to wear wool socks again.

And in frog pond news, the Sun Visor Cap went back to being 2 skeins of cott
on yarn. I started the visor part and it was loose and floppy and I just knew that I'd never be able to stiffen it enough so that it acted like a real hat bill, so I frogged it. I can use the yarn for a bag that I'll love or a kitchen towel or a hot pad, it will not go to waste, but I just couldn't see it turning out so, as the Red Queen said, Off with it's head!

I was feeling particularly down in the dumps the other day and this is what I saw when I glanced out the window next to my desk. It's a rose blooming on the bush my dad planted year
s ago. It's an old-fashioned one with deep red color and a strong rose aroma. Thanks for sending me a rosebud when I really needed it, Dad.

Well, It Didn't

Rain hard, I mean, it rained a bit waiting until I was out doing errands, of course, but we never got the torrential rain they were predicting. We did get a couple hours of gusty winds which played havoc with the Tall Ships in town for the weekend. Now the sun is shining and there are puffy white clouds in the sky.

August 13-- Majorca. It was hot, tedious work. Hours spent bent over a little patch of ground, one meter on a side, scraping away the soil with a trowel, one millimeter at a time. "Isn't there something in the Geneva Convention about making us work in the blazing sun?" Hal asked no one in particular. Jeanine snorted. "We're not prisoners, genius, we're lab rats. We don't count." She dug her fist into the small of her back and arched against the pressure, groaning as she stretched. "Besides," she went on, "we volunteered." She laid down her trowel, poured a little water on her bandana and laid it on the back of her neck. "Sweet Jesus, that feels good." Hal grunted as his trowel hit a corner of rock, a square corner. He moved the pint of the tool along the edge, scribing a line in the pale earth. "Tool marks," he said, "these are tool marks." His eyes gleamed and he looked around. "Professor Jansen," he called, "I think I've found something."

How come the whiners and the suck-ups always come out smelling like roses?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Darker And Darker

There's a big, swirling, multi-colored mass of weather coming this way. It's gonna rain on us, rain with vigor, and of course I have a list of errands to do today. I have to get Durwood some more Rosen's seedless rye bread for his traditional tomato-and-mayo-on-toast breakfasts, I need to stop at the library to pick up Carl Hiaasen's new book to read (I reserved it. Don't you love the library? Free books!), I told Mom I'd stop with some squash and tomatoes from the garden for her, take out her trash, return a recipe she lent my DIL, I need to take my overflowing cup of coins to the bank and exchange them for "real" money, and take my expiring coupons to JoAnn's to pick up a row counter or two. Let's see, what else? Oh yeah, I have to go get my nails done. I'd better get a move on.

August 12--Ischia, Italy. Surmounted by a medieval fortress and ringed by stone block walls, the little wedge-shaped island filled Erin's view of the Gulf of Naples. She had been staying in the pale green villa on the shore just up from the little bakery where she bought golden-crusted bread, olives, and young cheese for lunch. No one with a working nose could resist the aroma of fresh baked bread that floated up to her small terrace as she sipped her morning coffee. She had asked the Signora about the fortress over on Ischia and was told it was a ruin only lived in by goats, but her imagination was fired by the thought of the lives that had been lived in its confines. Two nights ago when the sky was cloud covered and the moon was new, she was sure she saw lights moving from the shore up to the fortress. She had mentioned it to Signora Martinelli who had laughed and shook her head but Erin had been sure that a moment of fear had darkened the landlady's twinkling eyes.

Dun-dun-dunnnnn. And it's Friday the 13th too. Ooooh, spooky.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

One Red Rosebud

Years and years and years ago Dad planted a rosebush in front of the duplex. He and Mom lived here at the time and his mother had always had a rose garden. She grew all the altar flowers for the parish church a mile from the farm and getting up early to help cut the flowers and take them to the church in galvanized buckets was one of my favorite things to do with her when I was a kid. Dad's rose is deep red and it smells like a rose, not faintly but with gusto like roses used to before they got hybridized into blandness, and it blooms off and on all season. It doesn't need much special care, I give it a little fertilizer if I think of it and I cut down the canes in the spring when it starts to send out shoots, but I don't mulch it and it survives. It's hardy, old-fashioned, and it makes me smile deep inside. Thanks for blooming today right outside my window, Dad's rose, I needed it.

August 11--Vestvagoy Island, Norway. Gala rolled to her side trying to ease the strain on her shoulders. Having her wrists tied behind her was torture. She almost wished that her captor would tie her to the cot she lay on but she still hoped that she would be able to slide her hands down below her bottom and pull them under her legs. She knew if she got her wrists to the front she would be able to gnaw off the tape. She knew she was near the sea; she could hear the water lapping and the seagulls' cries. The steps of the man who brought her food made the crunching sound of sand on floors that was so familiar to one who had spent summers at the seaside. Her shoulders aches and her hands had been numb for hours but she bent her spine and forced the knot of her hands down her back, struggling to slide through the loop of her linked arms. Pray to god she didn't get stuck.

Oh, the sun just came out. Maybe the fog will go away after all.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

But We Got More Rain Instead

It was logical that the great volume of humidity had to precipitate out eventually but it was still a surprise to wake up to rain tapping on the window over my head. They, the weather guys, say that we'll keep the humidity through the weekend but have cooler and drier days next week. We'll see. I'll give them credit, they haven't been promising cooler and drier when all we've had is hot and moist, so they might actually be getting better at this prediction gig.

August 10--Capri. Goats, Gina thought as she picked her way down the path, only goats should be walking here. Capri was beautiful, rugged and rocky with splashes of green, and the sides of the island were eroded into jagged cliffs by the wind and water. Most of the places she had vacationed boasted sandy beaches ringed by palms but this was a very different place. This little island in the blue Mediterranean was no sandy cookie cutter vacation spot. It had personality from its rugged slopes to its gray green olive groves with trees that looked just as tortured by the winds of time as the outcroppings just off shore.

Off to work.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

We Need Wind

Strong wind to blow away all the humidity that's weighing us down. I hate to keep harping on it but this is so unlike regular Upper Midwest summers that it's constantly noteworthy. I mean, we don't live in the Deep South where life is slow and the air has substance, we live in Wisconsin where it cools off at night and "high humidity" is anything over 40%. It was so foggy this morning that the window panes were wet with tiny beads of moisture, and a veritable swarm of mosquitoes came out from under the bleeding heart when I went out to fill the fountain. Ugh. That's all there is to say--ugh. One more time. UGH.

August 9--Tobago. Alix couldn't wait to settle into her cottage on Pigeon Point beach in Tobago. She had spent the last year planning her month-long getaway to what looked in ever brochure and website like a long stretch of deserted sand with endless views of the Caribbean. She packed sun dressed and shorts, swimsuits and cover-ups, books to read and notebooks for her writing. She bought a new laptop so she'd have a place to save her work. She imagined tranquil days with only the sound of the wind and waves for company. It was the end of a long travel day, and full dark, by the time she arrived at Pigeon Point. The cab driver carried her bags up onto the covered porch, pointed her toward the office, and drove back toward the airport. Jenny the owner greeted her like an old friend and helped her settle in. Alix was glad she'd opted for the "welcome groceries package" as she fixed a simple cheese omelet for a late supper before turning in. The shouts and laughter and chatter of children passing on their way to school work her early the next morning.

I had an idea when I looked at the picture and I almost got there...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday Morning Muggies

Hoo, dogies, it's muggy out there. 92% the weather-guessers say. Makes me happy I have to go to work and stay in the nice cool dive shop. Of course it's air conditioned here at home so Durwood stays cool too. It hasn't been a good summer for walking along the Fox River Trail, tho. We tried going early but it's just too still and buggy, so we're mall walking like we do in the winter. I'd rather be outside but it's been so hot and humid that it makes you feel like you can't breathe, not a good way to feel when you're trying to get a little exercise. It seems easier to walk farther outside, going around and around in the mall is boring and makes me want to stop sooner rather than later, but we're determined to walk, so walk we do. When I don't have to work on Tuesdays and Fridays that is. The other days I workout with my Wii Fit, just so you don't think I'm laying around here in my jammies eating bonbons and drinking.

August 8--St. Lucia. Getting around the island was a colossal pain. The roads weren't in bad shape, not for a Caribbean island, but they were like a roller coaster, up and over the mountains, switching back and forth down the steep sides, and snaking through the narrow towns that clung to the shoreline. Juliet thought that the car rental companies should have included a six-pack of Dramamine with each rental. She thought the only way that she could avoid getting car sick would be to exclusively take water taxis or rent a helicopter. She considered staying on the resort for her whole visit but there was just too much to see, too much to do.

Man, oh man, has inspiration fled or what? That is the epitome of sucktastic writing. My only excuse is that I kept falling asleep so I just scribbled and quit. Yikes.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Not Much Progress

This past week was not a very knitty week, not at all. I didn't knit at work (pesky customers!) and I barely knitted at home. I even skipped Friday Night Knitting and you know that's not a good sign. But I'm determined to do better this week. I've got a slew of good, trashy novels loaded onto my Walkman (I love the library) so I'm ready to listen to someone read me a story while I knit. I've fallen under the spell of another wizard named Harry--Harry Dresden of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files fantasy novels. I'm listening to the third book, of 12 so far, and it's the last one that my library has on CD for a while, so soon I'll have to read them on paper. *sigh* It's hard to read a book and knit if you have to hold the book. My feet aren't as dextrous as they'd need to be to turn the pages, and I'm not a good enough knitter to divide my attention anyway. I'd be trying to purl the next paragraph and dog ear my knitting to keep my place. It would never work.

I got a few more rows of the sweater done. Look! Two colors! Genius!

It's time to begin knitting the brim on my Sun Visor Cap. (more learning new stuff)

I'm nearly through the first repeat of 198 yds. of Mochi. It's going slower than the last one but I'm still learning about lace knitting and still entertained by it

The sock didn't get a lot of attention but it's creeping along. It spent most of the week under the desk at work squeezed between the shredder and the recycling bin.

And I'm playing with a pattern I found on the 'web. It has a short row, wrap & turn heel. Semi strange.

Squash Explosion

I went out into the garden this morning to see what's growing and the patty pan squash plant was all leaned over on the Roma tomato plant. Why? See that bigbigbig one? It weighs 1 1/2 lbs., is big around as a saucer, and it was pulling the whole plant over. Patty pan squash is sneaky. It grows it's fruit under broad leaves and you can't see what's happening unless you are right there parting the leaves, so you miss things and they grow big. It tastes kind of like zucchini. I like it, except that every mosquito on the west side lives under its leaves and buzzes out to bite me when I'm standing there, but it's yummy. You should have some.

August 7--Bora Bora. Seventeen shades of blue in one glance from the blue black of the mountains of the island across the lagoon to the pale blue white of the water nearest the shore. The dry rattle of the palm fronds blended with the soft hiss of the wavelets on the sand to lull us to sleep. There was a young woman whose job it was to make sure you didn't doze off in the sun and get burned. She would send over a pair of beach boys to put up a sunshade while you slept. For a day or two you felt pampered but them it began to seem creepy as if by renting a room in the resort you had also agreed to forfeit your good sense and independence. I kept expecting someone to offer to scrub my back in the shower and another to hove at my elbow to cut my food.

Eh. At least it's writing. For a while there I was thinking I might stop.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Odd Timing

I was frustrated at the end of last year when I couldn't find an Art Page-a-day calendar anywhere. Not in stores, not online, not from the publisher, no place. I ended up making do with the Islands calendar, but it's getting monotonous (which is a fairly monotonous word if you look at it) to write about for an entire year, not much variety. So I resolved to make certain I get one for 2011. I went on Amazon.com and pre-ordered one. They emailed me a few weeks ago to say that "the item I had ordered was still not available and did I want to keep it on order." Yes. I got another email from Amazon last week that my order had shipped; I thought I had preordered a Carl Haaisen book or something, but turns out it was my 2011 Art calendar. In August. No wonder I couldn't find it in December or January. The freaks print it 5 months early, the vultures and hoarders buy up all the copies, and normal people (like me) can't find it when normal people (like me) shop for calendars when the year's about to turn. Tsk.

August 4--Jamaica. Peering through the lattice that screened the side of the walk down to our room at the Richmond Hill Inn in Montego Bay was like peeking into another world. In the world of the Richmond Hill life was ordered and clean, meals were served with colonial pomp, and voices were only raised in genteel laughter. On the other side of that flimsy screen the land plunged downhill and in the valley hovels leaned against each other like drunks and life was lived at a raucous fever pitch. We clung to our gentility on that hilltop all too aware of how easy it would be to slide into the valley.

Ah, warm honeymoon memories. Happy birthday, Durwood!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

All My Energy Has Seeped Away

I feel like a wrung out rag, droopy and saggy and a little sour. I need an infusion of... what? I don't know, but I need something to change. I guess I need to change something. I'm curious, where does that zippy motivated feeling go when it leaves? Where does it come from in the first place? I haven't got a clue, but if you find mine send it home, will you? Please!

August 3--Socotra, Yemen. They looked like ranks of brown and green umbrellas covering the Hamil Plateau. Joshua didn't really give a damn what kind of trees they were, he just wanted to sit in their shade. He had been walking on the rocky track for hours, ever since his Zil rental car had cracked an axle forcing him to abandon it and continue to his meeting on foot. Damn the shoddy Russian cars that were all there was to rent in this backwater part of the hind end of the world. Half the people in Yemen had never seen a television or a phone, most of them couldn't read or sign their name, and he was supposed to secure one acre sites to build cell towers on. Who were they kidding? He had to be nuts to have agreed. God, it was hot.

Okay then. So, I'm working again today, are you working? Anybody out there?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ribbit and Repeat

You know that old saying about "the best laid plans?" Well, I fell victim to it on Sunday. I was so excited to use that marled gray merino and alpaca yarn and I was sure it was bulky. Well, it's not. Not bulky, not exactly worsted either, bulky in spots and worsted in spots, thinner than worsted in some spots. Guess that's the risk you take with handspun. I started out using two strands of the merino together, but after only a few rows I thought maybe it was too thick. Didn't measure gauge then, of course. So I frogged it and restarted using only one strand.

Got 11 rows of the pattern knitted before I pulled out my handy dandy gauge measuring thingy and, lo and behold, I had way too many stitches per inch for my size. If I kept going my end product would be too small for me and I'm not doing all this work in this gorgeous yarn and then end up not being able to wear it. No, sirree, back to the frog pond I went.

You understand that this is my first attempt to knit with two colors so
as disappointed as I was to have to rip out all that knitting, I was at least that happy that I'd been able to use my newly-acquired chart reading skills to do it and redo it. I even ended up with the right number of stitches in all the rows. Score!

Both times I frogged it I was able to stop and pick up the last row of the ribbing, and make sure the stitches were sitting on the needle with their correct side forward; I'm feeling slightly smug about that. And I'm being careful not to pull the yarn too tight across the back of the fabri
c so it doesn't pucker. I hope I'm doing it right because I don't think I want to frog it again. Nope, don't want to do that.

I've restarted again carrying 2 strands of the gray marl and I have about 1/2 a st
itch over gauge. I'm happy with that; I'd rather have it be a little big than too small, and I've got plenty of yarn. (fingers crossed, knock wood--I'm not saying that too loudly just in case the knitting fates rain fury down upon me to humble me)

In one swell foop I've learned both knitting things I wanted to learn this year: how to knit from a chart and how to knit with more than one color. Go me!

Hot. Hothothot.

We're spoiled. I know it. We usually have a bit of hot and humid weather, but not this endless rain and humidity in the 90%s. I keep waiting to walk out the patio door in the early morning to feel a bit of a nip, just a bit before it warms up nicely for the day. I should mow the lawn. I am not going to until just before sunset so that it'll cool off as much as possible before I got out there and force my way between the water molecules that make up the air these days. Durwood's barely able to breathe lately. Not good. Thank god for air conditioning.

August 2--Norfolk Island, Australia. "Oh look," said Jennifer, "they've planted a bunch of those dentist office pine trees all over this island." It took all of Ben's self-control not to roll his eyes. "No, sweetie, they put potted these in dentist's offices. It's the other way around. The dentist office trees come from here." She giggled and swatted his arm with her little hand. "Don't be a silly. These trees are too big to put inside and besides, how would they fit in airplane seats?" She raised both hands, palms up, and cocked her head which made her look like a puzzled cocker spaniel. Ben's shoulders sagged in defeat. "Of course, how silly of me to thing they'd either send them in cargo ships or," he drew in his breath, "grow them in America." She just shook her head at his words. The rest of the tourists on the tram stifled their chuckles as Ben slumped so low in his seat that only the very top of his head was visible.

I love to eavesdrop, don't you?

Monday, August 2, 2010

Humidity So Thick You Can Swim In It...

and the squirrel stole the ear of corn out of the feeder, the little minx. I went out the patio doors to plug in the fountain and caught the rodent red handed sitting on top of the fence with the cob of corn in its hands, er, paws looking at me as if to say, "what you gonna do about it?" so I threw the gallon jug of water at it. It dropped the corn and ran away. I put the corn back into the holder, retrieved my water jug, and filled the fountain. As soon as I was back in the house working out on the Wii, Durwood called that it had gotten the corn out again and taken off with it. Oh well, persistence wins, I guess, plus I have a big bag of corn ready for its turn on the firing line. No great loss.

July 31 & August 1--Dugi Otok, Croatia. Gail felt the bicycle wobble in the slipstream from the truck passing her on the narrow road. She frowned in concentration as her tires neared the edge of the pavement. She knew if she left the roadway she'd either fall and skin herself all up or end up with a flat or two. She heard another truck grind its gears behind her and prayed that the driver would leave her the twelve inches of road she needed. It had seemed like a good idea last winter when Abel suggested it. A bicycle tour of the Adriatic coast of Croatia sounded like the perfect way to spend a week. There would be a guide and quaint towns, vineyards and sweeping vistas. There was all of that, sure enough, but there were also saddle sores, everyone pedaled faster than she did, maniac truck drivers tried to squeeze her off the road, and farm dogs that wanted her ankles for chew toys. She was too busy staying alive to even enjoy the scenery. It was about time to admit defeat, she thought, and flag down the sag wagon trailing her and ride the rest of the way to that day's inn.

Not the worst thing I've ever written. Enjoy your day.