Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Going Down

Today the warmest temp is supposed to be past already, sliding down toward 32 degrees by bedtime. Brrr. Guess it's time to deal with the drift of leaves across the back of the house. If it stops raining long enough. Okay, drizzling. But then I tend to do yard work when the weather's bad anyway, like tilling the garden in the rain so my shoes accumulate twenty pounds of mud each. I love getting messy and dirty, don't you? I'm putting fresh, warm flannel sheets on the bed today so we can snuggle in nice and toasty tonight.

The second of my two customers yesterday brought their gear in to get checked out before their trip to Bonaire next month. Boo, I wanna go too. I keep trying to tell Durwood that we should go and damn the expense but he's frugal and determined that we not slide back into credit card debt. He's right, dang it, I hate when that happens.

November 29--Bora-Bora. Sally wanted to freeze the small plane in place so she could have a good, long look at the seaward side of the barrier island. The water was so clear in the bright sunlight that she could easily see the reef wall and she wished she could hold still to have time to watch the silhouettes of the fish as they moved around. She couldn't wait to strap on a tank and plunge into the warm blue water. The complex society of the coral reef fascinated her from the tiniest of shrimp living in an anemone to the schools of barracuda all the way up to the sharks at the top of the food chain. They wove together a web of life that kept her endlessly entertained.

I'm with Sally, I'd like to be there right now but what I have to do right now is go out and shift some leaves so the mice and voles find somewhere other than my back patio to spend the winter. Later, dudes & dudettes.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Perky Cups

That's the name of the new drive through coffee place I pass on my way to and from work. There's a 1940s era-looking pinup girl on the sign that reminds me of the women in my mom's old album, young women in shorts and halter tops with curly bangs and a pageboy hairdo. It makes me smile every time I see it.

Most of the day has looked pretty darned nice but now it's started to cloud over. It'll probably be all dreary, damp and chilly tomorrow when I'm off and want to walk with Dusty and finally get the leaves taken care of. (Oh, don't mind me, you know how I love to complain.) Mrs. Boss suggested that I might want to start decorating the store for Christmas but I decided that it's not really less than a month away so I'm not gonna. I made a counter display out of some new stock instead.

November 28--North Male, Maldives. Rhea kicked off the damp sheet that was tangled around her and reached over her head to turn on the light. Nothing. She slid her hand under her pillow for the little flashlight she always put there and switched it on. She turned it off just as quickly. Loud male voices raised in argument came from somewhere overhead. There was the sound of a scuffle, a grunt, something heavy hit the water, and then an outboard motoring away. When the only sound she heard was her breathing and the creaking of the boat as it drifted, she got out of her berth and peeked out of the porthole. There were no lights, nothing pierced the utter darkness. Keeping alert for any sound she went to her cabin door and eased it open. The passageway was totally dark, even the emergency exit light over the ladder to the deck was dark. Taking care not to make a sound she slowly moved toward the ladder to the deck. She kept one hand on the bulkhead just for the comforting sound of her fingers on the paneling. As she emerged into the fresh air of the open deck the boat lurched and she heard the crunch of the bow grinding into the shallows. She steadied herself and looked around but saw no one, heard no voices.

Sorry to leave you hanging but I'm not sure where this is going. If it's going.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


I love holiday feasts. Our belated Thanksgiving yesterday was just wonderful. The only thing that would have made it perfect would have been if our daughter were here too. The turkey was juicy, the dressing, green beans, carrots, and onion bread were all ready at the same time, and Mom's pie was delish as usual. (Oh, DD, Grandma would like a few cans of Milnot for Christmas. I was supposed to tell you this morning but I forgot.) I coerced DS & DIL into taking a walk around the block between the food and the pie. Just so you don't think we're laggards, it's a mile to walk around our block. It's big. A lot of football got watched and a lot of visiting was done. It was a lovely, lovely day.

We were hopeful that the woman who viewed the duplex today would be "the one," but she said she's looking for something more modern, so we thought that meant no. Too bad. We're a bit downcast.

November 27--North Male, Maldives. The land here is so low, Rhea thought as the live-aboard dive yacht sailed past one of the Maldives Islands. She turned to the captain at the wheel next to where she stood on the flying bridge. "Which island is that?" He smiled and said, "North Male." Mal-ay, he pronounced it. Mal means bad in French, she thought. In fact when she'd first heard of the Indian Ocean island group she wondered why any scuba diver would go to a place whose name she automatically translated as "bad dives," but here she was the diving was great. She had learned from the dive guide, Ali, to slow down and peer into every crevice and hole in the reef to find the tiny shrimp and juvenile fish. It was a bonus that she had learned much better control of herself underwater. "Are the storms ever bad enough that waves wash clear over the islands?" she asked the captain. He shrugged. "Maybe the smallest ones, but mostly no." She dreamed that night of a rolling wall of brown water moving toward her out of the night. She awoke in her cabin hot and twisted in the sheets to find the boat stopped and no sound except the gentle tapping of wavelets on the hull.

Dun-dun-dunnnnn. Where is everyone and why are they stopped? Tune in tomorrow to find out--maybe. There's some leftover turkey calling my name. Bye!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thursday On Saturday

Today's the "real" Thanksgiving, at least for us. Today's the day that Mom, DS, and DIL come to eat turkey and all the trimmings. Today I get to cut into the loaves of onion bread (finally) and have seconds of Mom's to-die-for green bean casserole. (The recipe is from Aunt Barbara and it's from 1962. It's a family heirloom.) It's not your run of the mill Campbell's Soup with beans and those fried onions; the sauce starts in a double boiler with flour and butter, there's milk and cream, Soy sauce and sharp cheddar, sauteed onions and mushrooms before you ever get to the french cut beans. You stir it all together, top it with sliced almonds and bake it until it's bubbly. I love it and I only get to have it once or twice a year (thank God, or I'd be a blimp). Today's the first time I'll eat it in 2010. I can't wait! So today's really Thursday, or it will be once I get the bathroom cleaned, Durwood finishes dusting, and we share the vacuuming. We're cleaning fiends!

November 26--Viti Levu. "Viti Levu," Kara read, "is the largest island of Figi." Leo leaned over to whisper, "Is that like being the best matador in Des Moines?" She swatted him away. "You goofball." She refolded the tourism association brochure and tucked it into her bag. "I like to know about the places we visit, you know that." She turned to look out the tiny airplane window. He leaned across her pressing her back in her seat. "Whattaya see out there?" She sighed. "Only the plane's lights flashing on the clouds. I wish were were landing in the daylight. How can the pilot find an island in the dark?" He heard the edge of panic in her voice and put his arm around her. "Hey, don't worry. I'll bet the natives know to light bonfires when the big silver birds come." She couldn't help herself, she giggled. He had teased her out of her silly near-panic. She felt better nestled into his shoulder and was nearly asleep when there was a loud clunk, the plane shook, and the oxygen masks dropped out of the overheads.

I would be totally pissed if I croaked on the way TO a vacation. I would be less so if I were coming home, not that I'm looking to snuff it or anything but I think my eternity (if there is one) would be happier if I'd just finished a nice long vacation. It's only logical. Enjoy your day, even if it's not Thanksgiving at your house.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Look What I Made Today

It's a bath fishie! Inside this innocuous dishcloth cotton shell is a ping pong ball that makes this a tub toy. Finishing the fish with the ping pong ball inside was, as Grandpa Gerst used to say, a trick with a hole in it. It took some creative maneuvering and I had to hold my mouth just right to manage it but I was successful. I plan to make a couple more to complete the baby gift "school." Next up is a goldfish drawstring bag with a granny square tail (kinda looks like a fantail goldfish) to put all the goodies in. It'll be the most fish-tastic baby gift ever!

Black Friday

But we didn't get up at 0'dark-thirty to battle the scrums of shoppers. Durwood was thwarted in his quest for cheap batteries, but I got the ping pong balls I wanted.

I got an email the other day from an acquaintance of Mrs. Boss who took me to lunch to get info about diving and writing because she's writing a suspense novel with scuba diving in it. It was fun to meet her and talk to her, and it was fun to be the more experienced writer at the table for once, and my chicken quesadilla was yummy. We celebrated our successful meeting with what Applebee's calls Dessert Shooters--hot fudge, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, with a cherry on top in a tiny shot-like glass. It was
delicious and just enough.

I confess, I didn't write last night because I forgot to make the onion bread for tomorrow's feast until 9 PM, so I didn't get to bed until about 12:30, but I was early to my lunch meeting so I scribbled in my notebook first.

November 25--Konigssee, Bavaria. Jane loved the peace of the lake. No loud boats where allowed on the lake, only human powered ones. She sat on the surface drinking her tea and wondering when the caretaker from the monastery up on top of the bluff would find time to clean up the first abbot's tomb on a little island at it's base. Spring grass nearly obscured the steps and a sapling threatened to grow through the blocks. Her gaze slid by a pile of trash that must have washed up on her shore in last night's storm. She shook her head. Young people today were so careless, letting things fly off their cars and throwing trash into the lake. The trash moved. It pulled itself up onto the bank. A young man lay panting for a moment and then pushed himself up and staggered under cover, all the while looking over his shoulder. As soon as he was out of sight a rowboat came around the point. The man in the bow cupped his hands around his mouth and called out, "Ma'am, have you seen our friend? He fell overboard." She didn't know what motivated her but she said, "No, sorry. Haven't seen a soul all morning but you." Once they were out of sight she stood, picked up a woven blanket from the loveseat, and walked down to the lake shore. When she reached the edge of the stone garden wall she dropped the blanket and said, "You'd better wrap this around yourself, then we'll walk into the house before they come back."

Now I've got to go make sure the turkey's thawed so we can make a feast tomorrow. Mmm, cornbread and sausage dressing, Mom's green been casserole (not that Campbell's stuff) and onion bread.

You Know, I Forgot Another One

I don't know what made me think of it, maybe grubbing around in the backpack I take to work, but I have another project OTN that's been there forever. For. Ever. It's the Sudoku Throw. The wife of one of the instructors up at The Clearing is a quilter and her quilt group was doing a Quilt A-Long making a lap quilt using colors instead of numbers in a sudoku grid. I thought that was a swell idea, so when I got home I clipped a solution out of the paper, assigned each number a color, and made a plan. I'm making it from Cotton Ease using the simplest bias dishcloth pattern for the blocks. I'll knit strips of charcoal (which looks like black to me) to separate the nine-patch blocks, and then edge it in the charcoal too. My original plan was for that to be my work project because the blocks are easy to put down mid-row if the phone rings or a customer comes in and then pick back up. That lasted about half a throw's worth and now the bag o'yarn & needles just rides back and forth and seldom gets to see the light unless I finish what I really want to work on or forget something I need for it. A-a-anyway, here's the plan and some of the blocks for you to see.

Anyone out there shopping this morning or are you all back home already? There's absolutely nothing I want badly enough to get up that early. Nothing.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Did you have a good day? We did. I stayed in my jammies all day and knitted. Durwood went to the grocery for a few things and then watched football on TV. It was a lovely day all around.

I finished the slipp
ers and then felted them,

and the second Fish Bib.

We had turkey tacos for supper. As you can see there were lots of veggies and all usual food groups.

Happy Turkey Day!

Oh, boy, turkey day. I feel like singing the Turkey song. You are so glad that I don't know how to make a video, so glad. Me and Durwood are having turkey tacos tonight. Mom, DS & DIL are coming on Saturday for our official feast. Today I'll be making the onion bread and making sure the bird is thawed. Tomorrow I'll make the cornbread for the dressing from scratch so it can dry out a bit, then all we'll have to do Saturday is assemble things and eat too much. I hope you're all in the bosoms of your families, playing in the yard, squeezing the babies, listening to the oldies' stories one more time, and eating food made with love. I love you all.

November 24--Lombok, Bali. Genevieve regretted buying the calendar with pictures of Bali on its pages. It seemed like such a good choice last winter at the January sales. It had been a cold and snowy and she had been muffled up to her eyebrows. The thought of stretching out her painfully pale limbs in the hot tropical sun, walking barefoot int he powdery sand or swimming in the jewel bright sea made her decision. For the rest of the winter the pictures sustained her. Through spring and summer she admired the beauty of Bali. Now that winter was rolling around again and she had no prospects of visiting the tropics, this coming cold made the pictures seem like an unbearable taunt.

Eat too much!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dead Butt

I guess I really don't pay attention when I get into my car. About 2 weeks ago I took my knitting bag to work with a project in it that I needed to crochet on. When I got it out I couldn't find the crochet hook. I looked and looked. I took everything out of the bag--twice. No crochet hook. I searched when I got home, no G hook. So I bought another one last weekend. Yesterday when I was getting into the car to go walking with Dusty I glanced down at the driver's seat and there was my crochet hook nestled in a seam of the seat. It had been there nearly 2 weeks while I got into and out of the car, in and out, in and out, and I never saw it or felt it. Evidently I have a dead butt. (In my defense I have been wearing my winter coat lately so that's an extra layer of padding, but seriously?)

November 23--Lake Toya, Hokkaido, Japan. Autumn comes early high in the mountains on Hokkaido. The leaves of the maples ringing Lake Toya flush bright red in the thin clear air. The lake is a caldera, the waters warmed by the intense heat of the magma below, never freeze. The old man had lived his while life near the edge of the lake. He used the water to nourish his crops. some years the plants flourished and some years, the years when the water smelled like an old duck egg, the plants died and left him hungry all winter. The fish that lived in the lake were not like any other fish. They had bright colors sometimes and then the next generation would be gray and colorless. The old man and his wife never had children. They hoped and prayed for one strong son but their prayers were never answered. He loved her as she cried and withered too soon. He held her as she coughed up her life's blood into rags until there was nothing left. He lit joss sticks every day, sending news up to the heavens to hear on the coils of smoke and the red leaves fell into the lake, turning brown as they floated away.

Well, that's kind of depressing. Not exactly what I expected to write about a blue sky, a smooth lake with mountains ringing it, and a maple tree with fiery red leaves, but you take what comes. It's kind of poetic in a dark way. Stay awake today!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One Done, A Bazillion To Go

I gave it my all yesterday at work and this afternoon (when I wasn't napping on the couch with it in my hands) and finished Izzy's Hat. I think it's cute, and it's just in time because it's dreadful cold and windy today.

We saw some green alien
gonads at the end of our walk today. Dusty did a little online research and discovered that they're really wild cucumbers. I'm kinda disappointed that they're something so tame.

Cold Like Two Ducks

I have absolutely no idea what that means but Grandpa Gerst used to say it, so I'm saying it because it's co-o-o-old and windy today. Dusty and I walked the Baird's Creek trail this morning and it was fine going away with the wind at our backs but coming back the wind was in our faces, and my cheeks are still rosy an hour later. We bundled up and kept moving, it was a lovely 3.5 miles. The woods are much more open with all the leaves fallen and a lot of branches and even trees have fallen in the wind storms we've had lately. The creek was down a bit but still flowing over the rocks and the little rapids making a nice burbling, chuckling accompaniment to our constant talking and laughing. Now I feel all energized for the day, and I got two errands done on the way home so now I can lay around like a slug for the rest of the day. It's a good thing.

A young married couple came and looked at the duplex yesterday afternoon. I want to verify his employment first, but I think they'll be our new neighbors. And they want to move in by Dec. 1. Hooray! I'll miss parking in that garage but I can park outside in exchange for the rent check. No problem.

November 22--Pantelleria, Italy. Gene spent the first hours that they were at Club Levante exploring their villa, the private plunge pool outside their door, and exclaiming about the architecture and how hard it must have been to maintain the boulders during the building. Nell unpacked them both and put on the tiny white bikini she had bought especially for this trip, put on sunscreen, and draped herself in one of the chaise longue on the pool deck. He stepped over the boulder perched at the infinity edge of the pool. "Look at this, Nell," he said motioning her to join him leaning over the large tan rock, "you can see right down into the next villa's pool." She was horrified. "Get back here," she hissed. "If anyone sees you we'll be kicked out in a heartbeat." He turned to look at her, frowning. "You don't think they want me admiring the place?" She tugged his hand and he sat on the chaise next to her. "Of course they want you to admire it, just not quite so intensely." She put his hand on her bare skin. "Want me to rub sunscreen on you?" she purred. "Sure," he said, but then he stood and turned toward the villa. "Did you remember to pack my Scientific American?"

Poor Nell. I don't think she's going to have the romantic vacation at a secluded Italian resort that she had hoped. Ah well, maybe she'll find a handsome pool boy to flirt with. The sun is shining! I'm so happy.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Does Anybody Read This or Am I Talking To Myself?

If somebody's there, please leave a comment.

It looks like dusk out there and it's just past 10 o'clock in the morning. I watched The Weather Channel and there's a big blob of clouds over us and I hear that really cold air's on the way. Oh goodie. I'm hoping that it'll be dry and a bit sunny tomorrow so I can deleaf the lawn one more time before the snow falls.

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? We're postponing it until Saturday when DS, DIL, and Mom are available. Durwood's going to buy the turkey today so it can thaw in regal splendor in the fridge this week. One year Mom defrosted the turkey out in the garage and a little mousie nibbled on one thigh. She cut off the nibbled part (and a little more), rubbed the area with Kitchen Bouquet, and roasted it, figuring the time in the oven would kill any mouse germs. That's my mom! She's making the pie and the green bean casserole. We're doing the turkey, cornbread sausage stuffing and onion bread, and I'm going to ask DS & DIL to make bacon glazed carrots and the homemade cranberry sauce, either cooked or relish or canned, their choice. Mom used to make a cheesecake too because one of my brothers doesn't like pumpkin pie. Durwood and I should discuss that. It is Tradition, after all. Besides, cheesecake is good and it's a holiday.

November 21--Iceland. Carole signed them up for a guided tour of the geysers and other volcanic sights. Mac thought that was a grand idea. He had become fascinated with Iceland's geology and had taken to carting around a book about it written in Icelandic, which he couldn't read, but he got the waiter in the hotel cafe to translate "igneous" and "common" and "rare." He bought a canvas rucksack, a small pick-like hammer, and a box of small plastic bags to put his finds in. Carole didn't mind Mac's new obsession, in fact she encouraged it when she discovered a yarn shop next to the lapidary the waiter directed them to. Mac spent hours in there, making new friends and learning the Icelandic words for quartz, granite, lava, and basalt while she made new knitting friends. They both resolved to get a new computer and ask Eddie to teach them about email and other computer mysteries that would let them keep in touch with their new friends and the wider world. Carole just wished Mac would quit picking up every pebble he saw, it made their walks too short and too slow.

Okay, that's it for Carole and Mac in Iceland and I never got them to the geysers which is what was on the picture. I'm looking forward to having art, or should I say Art, to write about next year. 365 islands has stretched my imagination to the breaking point. Cross your fingers that the sun comes out for a minute today.

I Forgot One

I got to thinking when I couldn't fall asleep last night that I'd forgotten a UFO yesterday. Deep in the basement time-out area (which isn't too large) is a scarf/shawl that's probably over half done but that I fell out of love with. I don't remember what I called it. Let's see if the picture will tell me... Ah, yes, it's the Seafoam Scarf and it fell out of favor in May. Pretty, isn't it? I should finish it one of these days.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Need To Catch Finish-itis

Start-itis I can get anyplace anytime, but finish-itis is a much rarer disease. The need to finish things has begun to scratch at my consciousness lately so I decided to take pictures of everything I have OTN (on the needles) at present. I'm stunned. I suspect you will be too.

In basement time out is the Khaki cardi which needs only 1 1/2 sleeves and finishing.

The Lava Shawl hasn't seen any action in months since I had to frog all the lace rows and start at the end of th
e stockinette section and forgot it in a corner.

I worked feverishly on the back of the Red Marl Sweater and have done only a few rows of the front. Not really sure why.

I'm in the middle of slipper #2 of a pattern I found intriguing awhile back.

The 198 yds. of Mochi shawlette is on smaller needles with skinnier yarn than the last one and it's taking longer. I got distracted.

I have bee
n working fairly steadily on the Wrap.

I restarted Izzy's Hat last week and worked on it exclusively at work. I'm about an inch from starting the purple brim and earflaps.

The other night I was thinking about starting another narrow Purse Stitch scarf--so I did. But I promise to knit on the Wrap or Izzy's hat first when I need a yarn fix. Cross my heart.

And last night I picked up a crochet hook and whipped up a
nother Fish Bib for the Frisque baby-to-be. It needs fins, edging, applied I-cord, and an eye. That'll be a quick finish.

I solemnly swear that I won't cast on another project until I finish one of the big ones in the list (above Izzy's Hat) first. I really mean it. *dodges lightning bolt*

DS's First FO

DS stopped in yesterday afternoon for a second knitting lesson to learn how to bind off his first Finished Object, a dishcloth. He was disparaging of its lack of symetry and the irregularity of his stitches. I pooh poohed because everyone's first FO is wonky and more than a bit embarrassing. For proof I give you his first dishcloth and mine, knitted a three years ago. (Has it really been three years already?? That means it's been 3 years since I've smoked too. Yay, me.)

See, DS? Yours is squarer than mine.

Dank & Dreary

I think "dank" is a very evocative word, don't you? I mean, even if you don't know exactly what it means the mere sound of it tells you. Dank. It means damp and cold, disagreeably damp and cold, according to my Oxford American Desk Dictionary And Thesaurus (2nd ed.). That is definitely how it is outside right now. Today I was hoping to make one more pass over the lawns with the bagger on the mower to mulch up the grass and leaves and then spread it over the garden to decay a bit over the winter and then be tilled in come spring to enrich the soil. Make homes for rats and moles, says Durwood, but I say we only have mice and voles, they're littler. Maybe the mice and voles will keep the two cats who frequent our backyard happy and well-fed? Durwood suggested buying cat food but I said no, besides he just wants to keep them here so that they eat the rodents anyway. I think that's why they're here in the first place. The orange one came to the birdbath last night and turned on the light. He/she looks nice and well-kept, even comes to the patio door to demand entry but we don't cave. The other cat is dark colored and has an attitude, it stalks and struts rather than trots like the orange one. Hmm, come to think of it I haven't seen any mice out there lately. Either they've moved indoors (god, I hope not) or have become cat food. Hopefully it's the second. Good cats, nice predators.

November 20--Iceland. The molten core of the planet is closest to the surface in Iceland. either that or the surface is thinnest or badly cracked because the volcanic and hydrothermal activity there is constant and widespread. Carole and Mac had won a trip to Iceland in a raffle at church. They'd bought one $5 ticket, certain that they had literally one chance in a thousand, and darned if they didn't pull out their number. Neither of them knew a thing about the island country so Mac got some books from the branch library in their neighborhood and their son Eddie did some online research. They had enjoyed the flight, their first, and their hotel was homey and not too modern. They found a couple restaurants within walking distance that had food that was tasty without being too fancy and where the staff spoke passable English. Since neither Carole nor Mac was very sophisticated they were happy with their working-class finds.

And I plan to see what else they're up to in tonight's writing. Sorry to leave you hanging with nothing happening. I need to get dressed and go to Sam's to get a couple things for Mom. She wants "a big jug of Tums or Rolaids and a box of those bitty frozen cream puff balls." She having "the girls" over for bridge today, after the Packer game of course, so the balls need to thaw a bit. Gotta run, I'm on the clock here. Have a... day.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Working Saturday

Can you believe it? I have to work today. Oh, the humanity, the torture, the...boredom. Yesterday I sat at the dive shop all day. Here's what I did. First I watched the new Bones episode that my VCR didn't record for some reason, then I emailed Laurel a few times, updated things on my Ravelry account, knitted on Izzy's hat, talked to Mom and Durwood on the phone, read the new posts on the blogs I follow, and listened to my Walkman while knitting. Finallyfinallyfinally, at about 4:30 a couple came in to browse and spend his gift certificate. He finally chose a wetsuit so I had an actual sale. Then after 6 PM, JJ came in with his kids and a niece to meet his eLearning student and go to the pool. It was quiet again for the last half hour of my day. It's cold and dreary again today so I'm guessing I'll be just as busy, but without Laurel to "talk" to periodically throughout the day. *sigh* Don't worry about me, I'll be okay.

November 19--Pamalifan Island, Philippines. The path was too inviting to ignore. Paved with white sand rumpled by feet and bordered by green ground cover, it carried the murmur of the waves up to Leah's villa. She pushed her jet lag aside, put on a swimsuit and cover-up, dug out her sunscreen and a hat from the bottom of her suitcase, and followed the path. The air was clear and warm, fresh with the clean scent of salt and green plants. It was a welcome change from the used up air in airplanes. Just a quick swim, she thought, and then I'll find some shade to sleep in.

I suppose she might have met someone at the beach who caught her attention but all I saw was her sleeping and I knew you didn't want to read about that, I know I don't. I'm off to get dressed and see if anyone wants to go or talk about diving today.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Working Friday

I think this might be a very long day. I have to work from 10 to 7. I know, it's only 2 hours longer than yesterday, but still, I'm not used to this anymore. I used to work from 10 to 9 on Fridays and think nothing of it, but I'm older now and out of practice. *whine, whine, whine* The new Harry Potter movie is out today. One of the knitters' daughter went to the midnight show and she, being a good mom, said she'd pick them up at 2:30 AM. I'm not that nice. I think I'd throw the kid the car keys and hit the sack, but that's probably illegal.

Speaking of illegal another of the knitters sat in her car in the cafe parking lot making a few phone calls before going in. She was there for about half an hour when she realized that a little girl, about 3 years old, alone in the next car was crying and sobbing. Rose looked around for a parent but realized that the little girl had been there all the time she had, and had on no coat, so Rose called the cops. Turns out the pregnant mama with another baby in a stroller was in Goodwill playing on the computer. When I pulled in they had the mama in handcuffs and were taking her away. It was freezing last night and dark and all the doors of that car were unlocked, any roving perv could have snatched the little one in a New York minute. People oughta be screened before they're allowed to reproduce.

November 18--Naknek Lake, Alaska. It would be fatal to fall in Nic knew. She paddled her kayak in the middle of the group from the cruise ship. She wore a lot of GoreTex and fleece and she was warm, even her hands were warm although she could feel how icy the water was. She concentrated on keeping her weight centered and focused on keeping herself far enough away from the rest of the group. She had no intention of running up on anyone else's boat and tipping over. She could see that ice was trying to form and she heard the wind chime sound of it when she lifted her paddle. A couple of the single men from the ship--Louis and Tom and Frank--were hooting and hollering, racing each other and generally acting like frat boys even though they were old enough to know better. She wished they would knock it off. She was sure they were chasing away all the wildlife in earshot.

That does it. Time to shower and find something warm to wear to work. It's windy and cold today. Brrrr.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Canned, Polished, and Replete

All the sauce is in the jars, all 22 pints of it. It took 5 hours for the last one to plink but they all sealed too. Then I had time to go have the flipped off nail replaced and the whole shebang filled and polished before showering, dressing, and going to Titletown Brewing Co. where my DS and DIL were hosting a Beer and Food Pairing class. I'm not a big beer drinker but I was interested in how food it was meant to be eaten with would change how it'd taste. I must confess that mostly it just smelled and tasted like beer but I did like the Porter that my son invented and brewed. It tasted like coffee and chocolate, two of my all-time faves. I thought we'd have little mouthfuls of food, like tapas, but we had full portions of curried squash soup (yum), salmon stuffed with spinach and wild mushrooms served over rice pilaf (double yum), bacon wrapped pork loin in cherry glaze with roast brussels sprouts and white & sweet potato galette with Gorgonzola (triple yum), and dark beer gingerbread with cinnamon whipped cream for dessert (to. Die. for.). I mostly just sipped the beer, asking for what my DIL calls a "no, thank you" portion, which is what she learned about at Girl Scout camp, it's just a taste to try something new, but I enjoyed it, even the beer. It was a fun evening.

November 17--Capri. Luca stood on the headland, his eyes on the horizon. He knew that shops could come from any direction but if he were in charge he would come around to the west and sail in when the setting sun blinded watchers on shore. His fingers flexed, clenching and unclenching on the ram's horn he wore on a leather thong. He was anxious to be the one to blow the first note, the one to raise the alarm. He had spent time finding wood and kindling so that he had a fire laid just in case the ships tried to slip into the harbor in the night. He might be too young to fight but he was determined to do his part to defend Capri.

I need some sunshine, people, so if anyone can figure out how to shove these thick gray clouds over, let me know. Thanks.

Done With the Sauce

I only wanted to accomplish two things yesterday and I managed. I got all the applesauce canned and got my nails done. It doesn't seem like much but for a while I wasn't even sure I'd get one of them done. I got the dishes washed, then I carried a bunch of pint jars up from the basement and washed them. I realized that I didn't have enough lids so I zipped to the grocery for them--and picked up a few other things while I was there, of course. Back home I showed Durwood a voucher Mr. Boss gave me for lunch at a pizza buffet place and we decided to go. It was okay, not great, but hey, it was essentially free. By the time we got home it was after 1 PM, so I started right away to reheat the sauce and get water boiling in the canner. There was a lot more applesauce than I thought there was. I knew I'd picked a lot of apples, and I'd added 5# of pears to one batch just for variety, so I had to do 4 batches in the canner. (The back 2 rows are the apple/pear sauce and the front 2 are applesauce. I made 11 pints of each!) It took about 2 hours so by 3 PM I was off to the nail salon.

I always get red nail polish because red's my favorite and an old friend told me
once that getting your nails done and keeping them looking nice is the only beauty regimen you can enjoy yourself. Other people can see your hairdo, jewelry, and outfit, but you can spread out your hand, look at your nails and say, "man, I look goooood." It only costs me twenty bucks (including tip) every three weeks, well worth it.

I finished the first bib the other day and learned
how to make applied I-cord in the bargain. The bib is darling (I'll definitely make more) and applying I-cord is a bit tedious but very easy and it goes fast.

I'm still chugging away on my wrap. When I get near the end of the color after this one it'll be time to rejoin my stitc
hes and knit the other sleeve. I can't wait to finish it and snuggle up in its soft wooliness.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hitting the Sauce

Today the applesauce gets canned. I carried up a crate of pint jars and washed the dirty dishes so I'll have a clear area to work in. As soon as the dishes air dry (I hate to dry dishes) I'll wash all the jars and get lids and rings ready while the first batch heats up so I can add a bit of sugar, ladle it into jars, and then send it through the hot water bath. I expect to be entertained by the bell-like sounds of sealing lids protecting my yummy sauce this afternoon. I hear Durwood in the kitchen playing with his Super Sucker, or whatever that food preservation doodad is called, sucking the air out of packages of... bacon maybe. Soon it'll be my turn to work in our tiny kitchen and the tantalizing aroma of homemade applesauce will permeate the house.

November 16--Majorca. In the early morning mist the trunks of the olive trees in the grove looked like the tortured souls of the long-dead. Natalie walked along the rutted track, her footsteps muffled by the dust as fine as talc. The braying of a lovesick donkey under her window had awakened her an hour ago. Unable to go back to sleep she had dressed and slipped quietly out of the guesthouse to walk across the centuries old olive grove to meet the rising sun. The sky atop the hill had lightened to a pale yellow when the silent shape of an owl swooped past. There was the surprised squeak of a mouse caught unawares and then the great bird flew with its breakfast to one of the oldest trees. She saw the owl land on a branch and then melt into the shadows as the sliver of sun rose above the horizon sending golden shafts of light out like rockets to awaken the world.

Man, I'd love to see a shaft of sunlight right now. The gray days are starting to pile up.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's Cold Outside

Winter-coat-cold. When did we vote on that??? I didn't get the memo. I'd like it to go back to the way it was last week, you know, mid-60-ish in the day and 40s at night. No more of this frost in the morning and cold all day crap, thanks anyway. At least the sun's trying to shine today. I just fold when it's all gray and dreary. I think I'd like a time-out, some quiet corner where I can sit and regroup, where I don't have to work or do stuff around the house, don't have a list of "shoulds" as long as my arm, don't have someone wanting me to help him on the computer or make decisions at all. I'm tired and teetering on the edge of weepy. And I took the bike rack off my car the other day which means I have acknowledged that I won't be bike riding until spring, it's just too chilly out there. I know, I know, I'm a wimp but I don't want the rack collecting snow. Ugh, snow. I'm really glad I don't live in Minnesota, aren't you? At least I don't have to shovel the cold...yet. Enough bitching, on to better things.

November 15--Maldives. Gina and Dave led a completely changed life when they moved to the Maldives. The temperature was constant, rain or shine, it never got hotter than 87 degrees or cooler than 75 degrees. Wind was what determined whether they ate in the front garden by the road or the back garden by the sea. Gina thought that was backwards, that the front of the house and the front garden should face the sea. "But we can't just jack the house up and twirl it around," Dave said flinging his hands up after she'd groused about it for the umpteenth time. She thought it would be dramatic for guests to arrive at the back of the house in a sparse and subdued garden. They could traverse the center hall toward the front of the house with its lush garden and view of the endless sea and sky. She knew it would be the talk of the island if only Dave, Chase their houseman, and the gardeners Hakeem and Peko would see her vision.

Rearranging the furniture is so passe, let's just rearrange the whole ecosystem! You go, Gina! (She is so not gonna win.) Happy Tuesday.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hitting The Sauce

I finally got around to making applesauce yesterday afternoon. I had a LOT of apples, probably a bushel, that made two big kettles worth. It was late by the time they were all cooked to mush so I squooshed them through the ricer on the Kitchen Aid (which attachment they don't make anymore and is so handy) and set the bowls in Durwood's van for the night to stay cold. I always leave the peels on because 1) I'm lazy and B) it makes the sauce pink. The second batch that has the pears is very good, you can taste both flavors. On my day off this week I'll reheat it, sweeten it a bit, and can it in quarts and pints. There just might be Christmas applesauce gifts this year.

P.S. I'm totally sick of the avocado green sink. Totally. Maybe Santa will bring me a stainless steel one. I'd even be happy with plain old white. Anything but green!

The daughter of a diving friend is expecting and they had a baby shower for her this past weekend in Madison. I couldn't go but I've been working on making a boodle of fish-y gifts for when the little guy makes his entrance. I found a pattern for a crocheted fish potholder and decided to see if I could make a single fish and attach I-cord ties to turn it into a bib. I had some scraps of dishcloth cotton upstairs so I sat while the apples simmered and got to work. It went fast. All that's left to do is crochet around the outside with the cream and figure out how to apply I-cord to the tail end. I'm certrain that there's a tutorial on YouTube that'll show me. YouTube is great for that sort of thing. You can play things over and over until you've got it figured out.

A few years back DIL's parents gave Mom an orchid for Mother's Day. She's kept it alive (which is a miracle in itself) and every year it has bloomed in the spring. This year was no different, except that in the summer when the first flower spike began to die back, a second one started to grow and buds emerged and began to open. Now it's mid-November and she's still got orchids blooming. Amazing!

Monday, Not Payday

because I picked my check up last week. Mrs. & Mr. Boss are off to Vegas for a dive equipment convention so I'm working all week--again. My 10 days off flew by nearly unremarked. We didn't get the duplex rented although we did show it 10 times. We still have hopes but we're not willing to lower the rent or compromise on our standards. Go, us! And I broke a nail this morning. Call the paramedics! I hate when I break a nail; it looks raggedy and ugly since I have fake ones that always look perfect-ish, but it's nearly time for a fill so I'll bear with it until Wednesday when I'll have time to go get it fixed.

November 14--St. John, USVI. Joshua was totally engrossed in what was before him. He hadn't wanted to waste his school break going on a family vacation. God, no one wanted to go off with the 'rents when they could hang with their homies at the mall, but he'd been forced onto a plane and made to sit with his stupid sister, the Lizard, and listen to his mom gush about all the fun they'd have. The bag's eyes had sparkled like she was high and she kept waving around printed sheets describing places to see like some demented tour guide. He was not going to go, not going to play his part in his mom's "Brady Bunch on Vacation" fantasy. They might be able to make him go but they couldn't make him have fun. He'd stuck to that until the Lizard suggested they try snorkeling. After the first hour Joshua had prowled through every boutique and shop at the resort until he found some books about reef fish and creatures in the watersports center. He'd charged them to the room along with a notebook and pen, and he's spent every waking moment since then identifying what he saw and learning their behaviors. His parents were amazed but his sister Elizabeth was smug. He was a lot less of a jerk since he'd fallen in love with fish.

Happy day to you. Time to shower and go keep the world safe from scuba diving.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A New Kntter & A Trip to the Frog Pond

My "little" son asked for knitting lessons for his birthday. I was thrilled and went out to buy his first yarn and needles. All the bags I found were either very girly or too expensive, so I bought a quilted bag at Nueske's the other day because I figured that a smokehouse bag was pretty manly. He loved it! We started with a basic garter stitch dishcloth knit on the diagonal so he'd learn to knit, increase, and decrease. He did pretty well, got through the first half with only a few boo-boos.

While he was working on his knitting I worked on Izzy's hat, getting the brim done and making the first earflap. I cut the yarn and took a look at it and realized that it was waaaaay too big for her. Dang it.

So I pulled out the ball winder and frogged it. It was nearly complete and now it's back to being 2 balls of yarn. I hate when that happens. I'm going to give it a little time-out, just a day or so, and then plunge back in. I have to work a lot this week so I'll make that my work project. I should be able to knock it off by the weekend. (she says, probably jinxing an already frogged hat)


Yesterday afternoon our son came over to hang out, learn to knit, and eat his birthday supper with Mom and Dad. It was a crummy day so it was perfect for that purpose. We talked and talked, I baked a cake, I taught him to knit, and we had supper. We had steaks on the grill with onions and mushrooms and breaded parsnips with chocolate cake for dessert. Not a very balanced meal but it was delicious and way too much, but isn't that what celebrations are supposed to be about?

Today I have to make applesauce but first I have to go visit Mom and take out her trash and help her find some bunny slippers for a doll.

November 13--Bora-Bora. "I can't figure out how those palm trees stay in the ground," Leo said. he used his hand to describe the angle of the trunk in the air, making a swooping sound as he did. Nancy ducked before she got smacked and wondered how come males could always make good sound effects. Little boys seemed to be born able to make vroom-ing car sounds from the first day they could clutch a Matchbox car in their pudgy fingers. She had tried as a kid but only ended up with spit on her chin and shirt.

Aaand I kept falling asleep because it was nearly midnight and I was stuffed. Sorry it's so short lately. Enough excuses for you? Yeah, me too. Stay warm!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Where'd The Week Go?

It's Saturday and I have very little idea where all those empty hours I anticipated having went. A bunch were spent finishing the last rental chore, and more went walking with Dusty, lunching with Abby, two nights' knitting, a dive club meeting, oh, and a funeral, but there were more hours than that, surely. I didn't get the yards mowed one last time. I haven't made apple and apple/pear sauce--yet, but I've got one more day. I cleaned the bathroom, changed the sheets, did some laundry, knitted some, planted all the bulbs. I didn't get any of the articles I need to get done soon, one's due in 3 days, maybe that one'll get done while the apples cook tomorrow. Writing it all out like this makes me feel better about getting stuff accomplished, maybe I have an unrealistic idea of how much I can do in a mere 7 days?

November 12--Kaui, Hawaii. The cliffs on the Na Pali coast are young, so young that they look like green saw teeth jutting into the sky. The green is a fuzz of pioneer plants like mosses that make the most of the tiny flakes of wind-blown soil that collects in the rough places. There are no trees yet, not any bushes either, just the low carpet of green that soaks up the rain like a sponge and clutches every grain of soil for dear life. Ali had taken one look at the jagged rocks and unforgiving angles and opted out of the summit hide in favor of a snorkeling tour with that cute guy from the watersports center.

I'm with her. I'd much rather be in the water than sweating on a rock, wouldn't you? I'm staying indoors on this chilly, windy day teaching my son to knit and baking him a birthday chocolate cake. I'd share a piece but I don't think I could slice it thinly enough to slip into that slot over on the side of the laptop. Sorry.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Bacon Run

What do you do when the best bacon on the planet is made at Nueske's in Wittenberg, an hour's drive west? You saddle up and make a bacon run. Durwood drove, I knitted, we chatted, and we came home with bacon, some to eat and some to freeze. We each had a smoked brat with kraut and free root beer for lunch there too. It was lovely on this chilly, rainy day. Now he's taking a nap and I'm ripping a book from CDs to the laptop to slap onto my Walkman and posting on the blog. Later I'm going to knit with friends in the Harmony Cafe next to Goodwill. It'll be fun.

November 11--Lindingo, Sweden. "It's too small to farm," said Magnus, lying in the tall grass propped on his elbows with the binoculars held tight to his eyes. Katrina lay beside him sketching in a notebook. "Do you think pirates are on the island?" she said. Magnus snorted. "Pirates? Don't be silly, Rina, old Peterson lived out there. He was a hero in the war and I want to go out there to see his medals." Katrina watched a ladybug pace across her page and climb up her pencil. "Well, why don't you? You have a boat and can row that far, I'm sure." Magnus lowered the binoculars and turned to look at her. "And what if he's got the island ringed with booby traps?"

My eyelids kept slamming shut and so I quit there. Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sorry I Missed Posting Yesterday

and I'm so late today. I'm not working this week, you know. I'd like to know what became of this week. Here it is Thursday already and I've been racing around doing chores like a crazed weasel. Where were the days that I spent in leisurely contemplation of the autumn sunshine while sedately knitting on the couch? What happened to sleeping in until the decadent hour of 7:30 AM? Actually I've done pretty much what I wanted when I wanted all week so I really shouldn't complain, but I like complaining (actually I pretty much love it, I could win an Olympic gold medal in it if it was a sport) so I'm going to keep on complaining until I totally get what I want and then I'll complain about that. I'm fairly certain of it.

November 9--Corsica. Every other male on this island is named Napoleon. It must be confusing when they're all in school or on the same soccer team. We learned in history class that Napoleon Bonaparte, the short egomaniac who declared himself emperor, not just king but emperor of France was born on Corsica. I've always thought that the practice of naming a baby after an actor or a singer was a sign of ignorance, but with a native son as famous as Corsica's it's understandable. Geneva thought the island was pretty enough. She was happy she had come for her vacation but the sheer volume of Napoleons was beginning to get to her a bit. There was Napoleon the cafe owner and Napoleon the greengrocer, Napoleon the owner of her hotel and young Napoleon who drove the town taxi, even the horse that pulled the cart that took tourists around the area was named Napoleon. As she sat in the morning sun in the cafe enjoying coffee and a sweet pastry, known as a Napoleon of course, her ears longed to hear of a George or Mark or Charlie, anything but Napoleon.

Happy days!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Alien Gonads

Now there's a headline to catch your attention, don't you think? Dusty and I walked out along the bay in the glorious sun and warm autumn air this morning and came upon these pods. I saw something similar at the Farmer's Market last month, fresh and green, and they were on a stalk. People were walking around with them looking like they'd won a prize. Let me tell you, I don't think I'd let them in my house. The ones we saw today grow on vines, but they are golden colored, oval, slightly fuzzy, and the right size. They grow singly which is what leads me to think they're alien (because mammals' gonads come in pairs, you know). We saw a few on the ground, walked a bit, saw a few more draped over some low weeds, and then shazam! there was a tree full of them. We kept our eyes peeled for extraterrestrials but all we saw was a turkey running down the path in the distance. It looked plenty odd but not otherworldly. One of the testicles, uh, gonads, um, pods I looked closely at had a seed in it. I brought the seed home and plan to plant it next spring. So if you come by next summer and the house is covered with vines and lime green "pods", drive right on by. For your own safety, flee!

I remembered last week that I promised the daughter of a friend that I'd knit her an earflap hat for winter. Naturally I can't find any more yarn to match the fingerless mitts I made her last spring, but I found some chunky, fuzzy yarn in pink and purple that'll do just fine. I cast on
yesterday morning and got through the crown increases before I decided that it was too little somehow. I started to slide the circular needle out and it sproinged out to the size I was hoping it'd be, so I whipped out a skinny DPN, caught the loose stitches and coaxed them back onto the needle. Whew. I'm using the old faithful Thorpe pattern and plan to use the dark purple solid I bought for the garter section and then edge it with the variegated. And I'll probably have enough yarn left to whip her up some matching mitts. A smart person would make her brother a hat too, and I will to preserve sanity in the family. Their family, not mine. It's too late to hope for sanity here. Way too late.

Durwood had the brilliant idea to grill some goat chops last night. I did and
they were deelicious! Next time we'll marinate them so they're a bit tenderer but they were very tasty. Aren't they cute?

Not Working Today

I know it's my regular day off but I'm still luxuriating in the days stretching before me. Whoever controls the weather has gifted me with lovely warm sunshine and breezes for a few days. Thanks. Dusty and I walked out by the bay this morning and saw a pair of mallards, a running (probably) turkey in the distance, a white and orange cat curled up on a limb of a downed tree, and something that looked a lot like alien gonads. No, I'm not kidding, they're the right size and shape but only come in singles (that's why I think they're from aliens 'cuz mammals' come in pairs). Here's a picture.

Thanks for sending so many people to look at the duplex this week. We had 3 (!) yesterday and one so far today, and another one wants a callback. Now if one of them passes the background check and wants to rent from us, we'll be in business.

DIL and I finally got our schedules coordinated and went to lunch for Mother's Day today. She apologized for being so busy but I'm kind of glad that it took so long, it kind of made today Mother's Day lite. We ate at a little Italian caffe (Italian spelling) down by the river; it was great to see the sun sparkling on the water and watch the confused geese fly north. It was nice to have an unhurried sandwich and time to catch up. She's a real treasure.

November 8--Angra dos Reis, Brazil. We were the sixth boat into the little anchorage off Angra dos Reis island. I could see the little family groups setting up on the narrow beach. Chairs clustered in the shade of bright awnings and grills were already lit. Diego leaned over to put the cooler into the dinghy as I admired the view of his ass. I was so glad he refused to wear those horrid baggy shorts the American men swam in. They looked like they were wearing their color-blind grandfather's pajama bottoms. Just awful. I carried the picnic hamper to the stern and gave it to Diego. His eyes dipped down to my breasts and his eyelids dropped seductively. "I hope we can find a private spot," he purred as he licked his lips. I smiled and turned back to get the bag with our towels making sure to twitch my hips as I went.

Dag-gone it, I fell asleep just as it started getting good. Oh well, you can fill in the blanks yourself.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I'm Not Working All Week

I can't say that enough. I think this is the first time I've ever had a week off without going someplace. This week I'm staying home, well, staying in town. I have plans most evenings except tonight and Thursday but that's okay, except for walking a couple of mornings and lunch with my DIL tomorrow, my days are all mine. I do have a chore list but it's pretty short. I know that the week will fly by but I'm relishing it all the same. It'd be perfect if I could convince Durwood to go off but since we can't afford to go away together for a few days we can't afford for him to go alone either. I plan to get in plenty of knitting because all my OTNs are nagging at me even though I plunged into another narrow scarf on Saturday and I remembered on Friday that I promised to knit a hat for a friend's daughter so I've got that on deck.

I did finish the little fish toy for an upcoming baby, with more fish-type
doodads to come before the baby is born. The toy is cute and was pretty easy to make. It's not as soft as I'd like so I might be making another one before the happy day. But it is cute. See?

I'm Not Working

All week I'm not working. I don't know if I've ever done this, had a week off without going someplace. Durwood has been trying to figure out somewhere for us to go but I think that's a bad idea since we have no renter and money is tight so I've been discouraging his whimsy. It's going to be a "homemade" Christmas too. No one has a big list and all agree that being together is the best gift anyway so I'm going to be making... oh, no you don't, I'm not going to be giving out hints or telling outright. You'll just have to wait. Homemade Christmases are the best.

November 7--Mljet, Croatia. From the air the islands look like a fuzzy green foot kicking a fuzzy green ball. You can see the narrow tracks that thread of cabin to cottage through the dense forest with only one clearing at the west end that's just as empty as the rest. The old ones talk about the wreckers and smugglers that used to live out there before the wars and the socialists, but now no one lives there. A few cottages are still used by people eager to get in touch with the environment, to live clean without gas or electricity but soon they become tired of chopping wood and no computers or electric lights. They come back to the city with dirt under their nails to stand under the shower until it ran cold.

I don't know anything about Croatia, don't even know where it is on the map, so it was difficult to capture its atmosphere, but I like what I got. Have a Monday!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fallen Back Sunday

Did you remember to set your clocks back? I was so sleepy last night that I went to bed at 10 PM, which Durwood teased was really 9 PM but I couldn't imagine why I'd stay up just to say I'd gone to bed at a "normal" time. I was a bit disappointed that I awoke around 6:30 but then I counted up the hours I'd slept and was very satisfied with myself for sleeping 9 hours straight. I know it's due to the Paxil I'm taking; I'm still trying to figure out when it's best to take my daily pill. Right now I'm feeling like it should later in the day but I'm enjoying the time. It's much better than getting used to the time change in Spring. Oh, and I have to go and buy a couple 9V batteries for the smoke alarms today. Can't forget.

November 6--Mentawai Archipelago. One more step, maybe two, and she could melt into the shadows in the jungle. Sue Ann was uncomfortable out on the stark white beach in the sunlight. She was sure there were eyes on her all the time but she had to go out on the reef to catch fish. She laid snares for lizards and birds but fish were a much more reliable source of food. It had been three weeks since the coast guard had dropped her off with a few cases of rations and not much else.

It took me nearly half an hour to write those few sentences because I kept falling asleep. I can't remember when I've been so sleepy day after day. I'm off to put sheets into the dryer and then knit a bit before going out to plant bulbs. Ta-ta.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Apple Stealing Day

I finally had time today to go out into the backyard, pick up all the fallen and squirrel-bit apples, and pick the un-chewed-on ones on the overhanging branches that I could reach to make applesauce. I confess I did use a cultivator with a long handle so that I could reach more apples, but most years the squirrels are the only ones who pick those apples. It's a sin to let good food go to waste and we'll eat the applesauce all winter. I went out and bought about 5# of Bartlett pears that I'm going to cook with some of them to make pear & apple sauce. That should be a new and delicious taste temptation. (Gah, too many fast food commercials!)

Dusty and I walked about 3 miles around in the mall today. It was very winter-y looking, windy and cold this morning so until we both get some longies to keep our leg muscles warm we elected to walk indoors. It's much more fun walking outside in the wind and leaves so we're planning to be ready by Tuesday to brave the elements. This week we've both noticed how much farther and easier we can walk than we could last year when we started. I think we've both also strained our arms patting ourselves on the back, but we're determined to keep our joints oiled and not get too old and creaky too fast.

If anyone knows anyone who needs a place to live in Green Bay, Wisconsin please send them our way. We've still got a half a duplex empty next door and times are tightening.

November 4--Marquesas. The view sure is different, Jake thought. He stood on the peak of Nuku Hiva just above Taiohae town. the sea was a rich navy blue and calm with a ruffle of white foam where it met the shore. White sailboats bobbed at anchor replacing the flat gray warships in his memory, and there was no pall of smoke from burning jungle or exploding shells. He heard bird calls and the clatter of the wind in the palm fronds that reminded him of the static-y crackle of the radio in the shack. Every once in a while there was the crack and thump of a ripe coconut hitting the ground that was nothing like the whistle of incoming rounds but it made him jump every time. He was glad to be back on the island in peace time but now he was too damned old to really enjoy it. When they were young, he and the boys, they could fight all day, clean up a bit, and party all night. Now he needed a nap after playing golf and he took a cart. Two drinks and he was out, and nobody smoked anymore. He'd always liked smoking but Katy had made him quit saying she didn't want to be a young widow. He was thinking of taking it up again now that his parts weren't working so good anymore. Every time he went to the doctor, the doc told Jake to quit doing something or eating something he loved and gave him a new pill or two. Some days he thought the guys who had bought it in these hills were the lucky ones. They'd gone out all at once, they hadn't died by inches the way he was.

I like old warriors and their memories. I like seeing the young brave men hidden inside.

Now It's Officially Autumn

I went out into the backyard after lunch and gathered up the fallen apples that were all squirrel-bit and then I used a long-handled rake to help get the ones too high up from the overhanging branches from the parking lot behind the house. I kept hearing footsteps on the parking lot behind the fence and waited for someone to come and ask me what I thought I was doing. You know "stolen" apples taste sweeter. It was fun to reach up high to try and get more. Durwood even came out and took my picture so I got him to help get a few more from up high. We got a lot more than I thought we would, there's going to be a lot of homemade applesauce around. Then I got a bright idea--I'd go get some pears to cook with the apples and make some of it apple-pear sauce. The Apple Store didn't have any (go figure!), neither did Aldi, so I went to Woodman's and got a bag of pale green rocks. Now I have to be patient and let them ripen. Looks like I'll be making the sauce on Sunday or Monday rather than tomorrow as I'd originally planned. Sometimes I'm not very patient.

I found some pieces of a hornet's nest in the yard that I though looked pretty and delicate. I don't know what I'll do with them but I'm keeping them.

And here's a side-on shot of Frida the Fish. See? Don't you think it looks lik
e a blue boob? I need to get the eyes and fins on and stuff it, stat, so it looks like a fish. Get your mind out of the gutter, Barbara, this is for a baby. Sheesh, post-menopausal women are not to be trusted.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm Weak

I caved. The other day I trolled through the free patterns on Ravelry looking for some toy to knit for Bill & Diane's daughter's baby-to-be, and since we met them through scuba diving I thought something fish-y would be good. So I found a stuffed fish toy, a crocheted fish-shaped dishcloth I think I can make into a bib, another toy I'm thinking of adjusting so it'll hold a bar of soap, and a drawstring bag shaped like a fish to hold it all. I dug out some self-patterning acrylic to use for the toy but I held off casting on, intending to work on what I have rather than cast on something new. I managed not to cast on--for one whole day. I rationalized that it's a small item and won't take me long so it's okay. It's going to be very cute, not very soft, but very cute (even though right now it looks kind of like a blue and patterned boobie with a nipple). I may have to knit another one with some cotton chenille I have that would be very soft but this is good practice and it's amusing me.

I'm on the 5th skein of Ara on my Campsie Wrap and it's looking lovely and it's so
warm on my lap. I know I'm going to like it even if I look like a trussed up pig in it. I already love it.