Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year's Eve!

Back to Knitting News for the last day of 2010 now that all the Christmas-ing is finally over.

I made the mistake of showing Jason hat try #2 on Ravelry when he stopped into the dive shop with his dad the other day. He looked at the color and decided that the white next to the red in the variegated yarn looked "too pink" so that attempt went to the frog pond (rrrrrip!) and I started again with the first yarn and a different pattern. Try #3 felt right from the very beginning. I used a pattern out of Knit Simple, the Tasseled Earflap Hat (Ravelry link) that I'd made a few times before and it knitted up like a dream.

I've been working on the next worsted sock for wearing to work. I lovelovelove the
colors. I might have to make something that shows when I wear it one of these days.

The latest purse stitch scarf is chugging along. It's the perfect project to take along to family gatherings. I can just sit and purl along while listening, talking and laughing.
Per. Fect.

I forgot to put the picture of my Christmas outfit on the previous post. Red and green Converse All-Stars with wreaths on the ankle dots and plaid laces. A girl has t
o keep up appearances.

New Year's Eve

Almost done with 2010 and I won't be sorry to see it go. It has been an emotionally fraught year for me and I'm glad it's on its way out. I've got new meds and I'm working on a new attitude so 2011 will be off to a good start. I also have plans to rejuvenate my writer-self in the new year. She's languished for the last two years and I miss her. No more namby-pamby, Mrs. Nice Guy for me, I'm going to buckle down and dig her back up. Cross my heart.

DD & DIL2 helped me take down the Christmas tree and put it away for another year. It only took ten minutes, okay, maybe fifteen, with them helping. I'd have stalled and procrastinated and made the job last all day. Thanks, ladies. Now they're downstairs in the laboratory whipping up a few batches of lip balm to take back to KY with them. It's so nice to have adult children.

This afternoon I'm going to an open house with a bunch of my knitting pals. It'll be great to spend a few hours with them again. The holidays' being on Saturday meant that Harmony Cafe closed early on both Eves so no Friday Night Knitting. I'm having withdrawal!

Here's the second-to-last year end Island prompt writing for 2010--

December 30--Majorca.

An ancient pine
stand sentinel
over terraces cut
before memory began.
The jagged coast
unsoftened by time
sends out its points
to scoop up
arms full of sea.

White rock,
green pine
play leap frog
down to the bay.
Blue sky kisses
bluer water
out where the
sun is born.

The chill of the sea
laps heat
from the rock.
Sun's warmth
traded for
a rime of salt.

An ancient pine
stands sentinel.

Happy New Year's Eve to all of you! Have a fun evening but be safe.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Eve Eve

The countdown has begun. Only today and tomorrow left of 2010, and then we get to draw a line and start over fresh. I, for one, am glad of it. I want a fresh start in a bunch of areas of my life. I'm looking forward to having Art to write about instead of Islands. I want to get back to exercising more regularly and be a little stricter about what I eat. Stuff like that. I always have too high expectations of myself so I'd like to learn to moderate that a bit. That'd be good to learn in the calender year I turn 60, don't you think? It's never too late to improve!

December 29--Florencia Bay, Canada.

Glaciers carved the shore
like sculptors in clay.
The sea rushed in to
hide the scars.
Pines grew straight and tall,
close to one another
to anchor the rock.
Gulls cry their mourning
for the lost earth/flesh.
Salty tears bathe
limestone boulders.
Beachcombers pace the shore
pockets laden with agates
that wink from the shallows.

Interesting. I might just pull out a line from this one and "go deeper" as Ellen Kort recommends in her poetry workshops. See? That'd be a good thing to do in the new year, explore the depths of my writing again. Maybe that'd recharge my batteries, re-energize my pencils. Time will tell.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Today was finally the day all of our children, their partners, Mom, Durwood and I had a Christmas meal and exchanged gifts. All of the planets aligned and no one had to work (thanks, Mrs. Boss!) and we had a leisurely lunch of ham, roasted root veggies, homemade cranberry sauce, and Mom's cheesecake after we opened gifts.

Lots of the gifts were handmade, the best kind.
DD & DIL2 made lots of jams and jellies that they shared with us, DS & DIL1 made donations to Heifer Intl. in our names.

Mom made aprons for the girls and gave DS & DIL1 the lace tablecloth her grandmother had made for her hope chest, she gave DD & DIL2 a gorgeous rolling pin her dad had made from a banister taken out of an old bank building in Evansville, IN.

I made all the ladies narrow knitted fashion scarves and bike helmet earmuffs for DS to wear when he rides his bike in spring and fall.

DD knitted DS a beard hat for chilly morning bike rides too.

Mom struck a Theda Bara
pose when she put on her scarf. She's so dramatic.

The kids got Durwood an Apple Master for peeling, slicing and coring apples and potatoes. He loved it; he's a real gadget guy.

DD embroidered a pair of pillowcases for me. They're morning glories and hummingbirds. Just gorgeous.

And DS, the newest knitter in the family made everyone a mug cozy--some with buttonholes!

It was a great day to have all the kids and Mom around for most of the day. The ham was good, the veggies a bit overcooked, the cranberry sauce was soupy, and the cheesecake a bit tough but it was all delicious, we had a lot of laughs. Stories were told and connections strengthened. I loved it all.

Christmas 2010--For The Last Time

In just a few minutes DS, DIL & Mom will be here to celebrate our family Christmas with gift opening and ham eating. The ham is in the oven and all the veggies are cut up and waiting to be roasted and the fresh cranberry sauce is chilling. I am looking forward to this lunch and seeing everyone open their gifts, of course. Not many days of 2010 left. Good riddance, I say.

December 28--Bali.

Tiny catamarans skitter
over the royal blue bay
their sails like
colorful arrows
I'm here!
like toddlers
seeking Mom's

Enjoy your Wednesday. I'm liking mine so far.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Girls Are Here!

Yay! They arrived a little after 8 last night, tired but safe. We're glad to have them here for a few days, it's been a year since we've seen them and that's just too long. Oh, we talk every week but that's not the same as being together. We'll do better next year. Back to work today, so Durwood gets to entertain the ladies. He'll probably have them chopping veggies for tonight's chicken tacos. He's a cooking fool. Tomorrow we celebrate our Christmas with DS, DIL1, and Mom. Ooh, I can't wait to see how they all like their presents, and see what mine are too, of course.

December 27--Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands.

The old granite chief
stands guard
his sons at either side
their verdant camouflage
nearly perfect.
Vaipo waterfall plunges
into the blackness
carrying the fertile
dreams of the people
to the underworld.
Since beyond memory
they have stood
protecting the water
as it falls.

Hmmm, I just looked out to discover that the frost that was on my car windows when I moved it in last night has disappeared. What's up with that? I know it isn't warm out there.

Monday, December 27, 2010

I Did A Little Better

last night. I stayed awake for about 15 minutes once I got under the covers. It was no surprise to me, after all I drank a whole cup of DS's delicious porter and I am not a drinker, not beer, not wine, not liquor. I just got out of the habit, never really cared for beer or wine, and don't really need the empty calories but since it's Christmas and I kind of like the porter (it's chocolate-y and molasses-y tasting) so I had a little. I can't wait for Jan. 1 when I open the 2011 Art Gallery calender and stop having to think of something to write about an island. Lesson learned, never again buy a single-subject page-a-day calender to use as writing prompts. 365 days of anything is just too much.

December 26--Bora-Bora.

White sand slips
under pale blue water
gradually moving deeper
until it drops away
to lie down below
dark navy fathoms.

Cruciform shadow glides
over the sand,
a snorkeler ponders
the life-cycle of the reef.

Palm trees sway and clatter,
lean away from persistent
trade winds sending
emissary coconuts
out to sea.

Now that's better. A little imagery, a little mystery, a little movement, everything you'd want in a spur of the moment poem. Good job, me. Gotta go de-funk the bathroom and change the sheets, DD & DIL2 are on there way here today from Bowling Green, KY. Yay!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Wanna know how tired I was last night? Here's what I managed to write before I conked out.

December 25--Bora-Bora.

Trade winds blow
steady and constant
angling the palms
out over the shallows.


That's it. I was so tired I didn't wake up until 9 AM. I haven't slept that late for years.

We had a great time at my brother and sister-in-law's this afternoon. We had appetizers and then traded white elephant gifts. I got a gargoyle snow globe! It's cool. Then at halftime of the Packers game we had brats and hot dogs on the grill, baked beans, and pineapple fluff. Yum. For dessert Alice made her mom's pistachio cake. Double yum. It was a fun way to spend the day.

I've got one final Christmas gift to finish. Back to the sweat shop.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

or Happy Holidays! (Pick whichever one is more appropriate to your beliefs and go with it.) I'm looking forward to a delicious supper of tamales with mole sauce, Mexican rice (cheeses, sour cream, rice, and chilies--what's not to love?), and cheesecake at DS & DIL1s place. All homemade. All guaranteed to be yummy. What? You're not having Mexican food today? We'll be opening gifts and having a more traditional meal on Wednesday when DD & DIL2 are home too--ham with roasted cauliflower and roasted winter veggies (roasting does amazing things to cauliflower, I highly recommend going onto and making their Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, well, not 6# of cauliflower unless you're feeding an army, but it's totally to die for). So we're getting to have Christmas more than one day. I like that. To be honest I could do without the gifts and just see the family, all the family, for a few hours and be perfectly happy. Tomorrow we're all gathering at my brother and SIL's house for a tailgate party for the Packer game. We'll do a white elephant gift exchange and then eat tailgate type food, you know, grilled brats and burgers, baked beans, etc. while people who care watch the game and holler at the TV. I'll bring my knitting.

December 24--Virgin Gorda.

I love the roads that
snake over islands.
The path of least
resistance through the bush,
The goat path over
and around, picking
out the choicest morsel,
The wild donkey
with defiant eyes
refusing to yield,
The iguana who
does own the road.

One and a half
lanes wide because
there just aren't
that many cars. so
why waste asphalt?

There's nothing like an island tour
in a rattletrap rental van
with rusted-through floorboards
providing extra ventilation and
indoor rain.

I hope you and yours have a wonderful day with smiles and laughter. Here's a Christmas kiss for you. I suddenly remembered being at Turner's with my grandparents, great-aunts and -uncles, some of everybody's kids, and a few old family friends. When it was time to go, we all stood up and hugged everybody else. Just as everyone started toward the door, Charlie Gerst (I think, or maybe it was his brother, Bob) said, "Let's go around again!" So we did. I want to go around again, one more hug and kiss with them all, and all of you too. XXXXOOOO Merry Christmas!
--Barbara Sue

Friday, December 24, 2010

Okay, I'm Pleading Christmas

I realized that I forgot to post yesterday--again. Sorry about that. It's just that I'm thinking of too many things and trying to finish things or organize things--or figure out what day it is. All I'm planning to do today is make party mix, English toffee, spritz cookies, and toffee shortbread. I'll probably end up doing a bit of wrapping, cleaning, and knitting too, but I'm not making any promises, I just want to get the food parts done. I've been putting the food fixing off so that neither of us eats too much of it before the holiday arrives but it's time.

December 22--Cook Islands. "It's like a movie set," Laurel said. She stood in the bow of the sailboat getting ready to furl the sail. Behind her Sam snorted. "You say that every time we come into one of these little islands. You must have spent your childhood watching movies." "I did." She laughed. "Mama was a movie nut, we watched at least two movies a day. There was one at three-thirty and another one at ten-thirty after the news. We'd pile up in her bed and watch on the little black and white TV on her dresser."

December 23--Whitsunday Islands.

Mountain tops poke
out of the sea.
Shaggy pines cover
ridges that hide
ancient rock.
Speedboat carves
exuberant white "S"s,
writes tales of pent-up
energy on the waves.

Hope your day is happy and busy and filled with Christmas craziness. I know mine will be.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Winter Visitor

This Sharp-shinned Hawk visits here in summer but it's in winter that it stays the longest. Durwood said it sat on the fence for about 15 minutes, which is about 2 days in hawk time, but it didn't catch anything. In the summer it swoops through and never stays on the fence for more than a minute. It isn't the only hawk that hunts in our backyard, after all we do put out the birdseed buffet which attracts the birdie buffet that attracts the hawks. Durwood wants to dictate which birds the hawks can eat (not hummingbirds or cardinals) but I've told him he'll have about as much luck with that as he's had training the squirrels not to eat the birdseed and suet, which is to say, none, but he keeps trying. It occupies him. And that's the Wisconsin Hawk Report for today.

I've had a lot of knitting time the last few days so the Dreamsicle sock is chugging right along. I really like the color and the way the yarn patterns.

Tomorrow Jason's Hat #2 gets to go to work with me and grow. It looks like it's going to be a lot more his size than the gigantic one I made last week. Whew.

After supper tonight Durwood and I finally got the Christmas tree up
. That's another whew. Next comes making a few treats for when the kids are here. That'll get done tomorrow night and Friday. Can you believe that it's already December and nearly the end of it, to boot? I can't. It seems like 2010 just flew by. I know, that makes me sound old but I want to go out with a tack hammer and nail down a few corners to make time pass a bit more slowly so I can at least notice the days passing instead of having the whole thing just be a blur. I can't decide if I like the flash picture or the no-flash picture best, so you're getting both. You be the judge.

Sunshine on Fresh Snow

For a minute there, it looked like a Christmas card outside, but then I had to fire up the snowblower to clear the driveway and threw gray slush out over the lawn. Oh well, nothing stays pristine for long. Durwood and I spent all day yesterday going from one doctor appointment to another but now he's done for 6 months and got gold stars all around. What a good boy! He saw a tiny market in a strip mall that we investigated and I'm proud to say that Green Bay has a Somali market! We bought a small container of whole nutmegs (oh, they smell so good) and another of curry powder. We're looking for more flavor without more heat in our curry so we'll test it out. We're planning to make curried goat next week when DD & DIL2 are visiting. Yum, curried goat, with rice and chocho and carrots. Mmm. That's good eating.

December 21--Isla de los Pescadores, Bolivia.

Sea of salt
blinding white
eye-burning alkali
sucking life-giving moisture
until all that's left is
a skeleton
bleached bones
sinews shrivelled
to the color and consistence
of jerky.

The white is so painful
in the equatorial sun
that the mere sight
of the cactus island
makes your eyes

And that's it for today. Keep plugging away, 2010's almost over. We can make it!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Forgot To Post

Sorry. I got caught up in a project yesterday morning and forgot. Too much stuff's going on and I get distracted, plus my writer-ing self seems to be hibernating or something. My brain's run out of words to string together for your entertainment but I'm not giving up. I'll keep plugging away because I'm nothing if not stubborn.

December 19--Seychelles. Like a watercolor in shades of white, gray, and pale blue the view spread before her. Expecting powdery sand and swaying palms, Shea began her vacation disappointed by the granite boulders tumbled in the bay like a giant's discarded toys. But by the end of the first day she had relaxed into the feeling of enclosure and protection she got from the rocks.

December 20--Zlatni Rat Beach.

Hot sun pounding
like sledge hammers
on winter-pale skin
Scouring grains of sand
blown on salt-laden
winds that bring Africa
to over-civilized shores.


A-a-a-and that's it for the last two days. I have high hopes that my enthusiasm will grow when I'm done with the Islands Page-a-day calender and into the Art Gallery. I never thought I'd get tired of islands but, oh man, I am sick of them. Sick, I tell you, sick.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Last Friday at knitting Dusty was wearing a pretty necklace that was nothing more than a looooong chain she'd crocheted from ladder novelty yarn. She said she can't find more of it so she asked us all to check our stashes and let her know if we've got some. So when I got home I made a cup of tea and went downstairs to check the bottom tote of the stash which holds the first yarn I bought once I started crocheting again so I'd have something to do with my hands instead of smoking. You know that burst of enthusiasm for anything yarn that you get and how you're sometimes attracted to sparkly things? Well, DD and I went to Hobby Lobby and JoAnn, they were both having sales and we bought, no, we BOUGHT yarn. I won't show you all of it but I have a lot of Yarn Bee in a spongy, chunky, glittery style. It's called Aurora.

There is a fair amount of ribbon yarn in various colors, some of it waiting to be frogged,

but the most horrifying is the heap of multicolored fuzzy, hairy, and furry novelty yarn meant to be combined with something as an edging or an accent. I call it the "I Can't Believe I Bought This" collection. Unfortunately, there's no ladder yarn here for Dusty. Sorry.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

So Much Fun

You know, when your kids grow up and move away you think you're done teaching them stuff. Not so. Yesterday I got to show DS how to knit in the round with Double Point Needles (DPNs). Teaching someone how to do something makes you stop and think about how you make the motions and how you figure out the muddle of needles and yarn that you've just assembled with your cast-on. Naturally the pattern he chose to start with is a top-down hat so he's beginning with 8 stitches on 4 needles and that's a challenge. Luckily I had a book that I bought when I was learning to knit in the round that I could lend him. I did have him practice on yarn other than the stuff he hopes to make the hat from because I was certain he'd have to rip and restart at least once.

While he was learning I cast on a worsted sock since now's the time I
wear thick socks and boots to work. I think it looks like a Dreamsicle, don't you?

I braved the backyard drifts for the first time since the blizzard to fill the feeders. It was an adventure.

Better Now

It wasn't pretty but I spent yesterday battling the crowds and doing a bit more online shopping--and I think I'm done. Well, I'm pretty much quitting. Next comes tree-putting-up and treat making. I can do those and I won't have to go out with all those crabby, pushy people. People look at you funny when you're smiling and polite this time of year. I made a man at Barnes & Noble fall in love with me yesterday when I told him I wasn't in a hurry for the book he ordered for me. He wanted me to stay in the store and say it over and over, really loudly, all day. He even poked a co-worker and asked me to repeat it for her so that she'd smile too. It was funny--and rather sad. After lunch DS came over for a knit in the round lesson, while he was making his second attempt at it, I went out and filled the feeders for the first time since Blizzard Aiden. It was an adventure.

December 18--Honshu.

Jagged white rocks
jut from the sea
like shark's teeth
snapping up any morsel
foolish enough to stray
into its path.
Dark green trees above
darker water
emphasize their pallor.
Legends abound,
tell of pure maidens
sacrificed for honor,
samurai giving their
lives in loyal service,
when its simple
geology that holds
the key.

I hope you're closing in on being Christmas-ready, or at least can see it in the distance. Merry times!

Friday, December 17, 2010

I Made Sasquatch A Hat

I don't know what's wrong with me this winter but I keep making hats way too big.

Way. Too. Big.


I finished up Jason's Hat just now. I tried it on. I immediately noticed that it wasn't the size I
was hoping it would be. It's 14 inches wide and it's reallyreallyreally warm. Really. Warm. It'd be good for a creature who spends his winters in the damp and chilly Pacific Northwest.

What do
you think?

Keeping My Promise

I promised the daughter of a friend I'd make her a hat. I did. But then her brother asked for a hat too. I've been looking and looking for the yarn colors he requested and they are nowhere to be found, so I dug down into the cellar of the stash and came up with a couple skeins of Jiffy Thick 'n Quick to make my old standby, Crazy Aunt Purl's Brangelina Hat. It's a classic style beanie or watch cap that makes up fast and is nice to wear. I like that it has a long ribbed part so that it snugs down over your ears in a double layer. I cast it on at work on Wednesday. Finishing it is this afternoon's project.

Panic Is Setting In

I just went two rounds with frantically shopping for my near and dear and I have to tell you my fingers are exhausted. I can't seem to wrap my head around the idea that it's a week from Christmas Eve today. A week! If it wasn't for the fact that Ann & Anne are coming home on the 27th I think I'd let Christmas slide on by with just a ham dinner to mark its passing, but I guess I have to put up the tree and make a little merry. I will definitely be making a big batch of Chex mix, one of English Toffee, spritz cookies (gotta have the pooping dogs with Red Hot eyes and mini-chocolate chip turds, you know, although I'm thinking I'll skip those for a few years once the grandkids arrive and just make them plain), and a batch (or twelve) of toffee shortbread cookies from Samurai Knitter's recipe. They are soooo good. What are the "have to make" Christmas treats at your house?

December 16--Sri Lanka.

I hate being hot,
salt water makes
my skin sticky, and
sand goes everywhere.

Poets rhapsodize about
spindrift and sea breezes
but it smells dead fishy and
I think something
bit me.

Did you know this purple-
flowered vine has thorns?
Don't touch.
I think that dog has fleas
and the mange.

Tropical paradise,
my ass.
It's hot and smelly,
far from home,
everything's overpriced.

It looked so good
in the brochure.
Whose idea was

So happy, so merry, so grinch-y. Enjoy your day.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Does It Feel Like It's Almost Christmas To You?

Man, it sure doesn't to me. I'm just not in the spirit, I guess. I look at the calender and I'm surprised to see the number. I'm thinking about gifts for my beloved family and working on them too, but haven't put up any decorations except a front door wreath that I probably will change tomorrow since it's grapevine and white tulle that basically disappears into the white painted door.

I had some actual customers yesterday. It was a novel experience. I told Mom that I had to check the handbook to see how to cope with them but I managed. I think I talked too much in my excitement over having live humans to interact with, but they did buy things, and not cheap things either. Maybe they'll tell their friends and more will come today. I'd keep my fingers crossed but that interferes with knitting.

December 15--Santorini. "Scholars may think that this was Atlantis," Jenna said, "but now it's just a nest of millionaires. She stood on the terrace of the villa she and Rob and six of their friends had rented for the summer. The land dropped away on the other side of the stone and stucco wall and plunged into the bay. Moored all up the west side of the bay were yachts bigger than some skyscrapers. They had envisioned an island lost in time with goats on the roads and sleepy villages ringed by olive groves. Turns out the nouveau riche and the jet set had discovered the place so Gucci rubbed elbows with Fendi and the roads were clogged with Rolls' and Ferraris.

I just finished 4 miles on the exer-cycle and now it's time for my Cheerios. Hasta la vista, babies!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


That's the actual current temperature. Minus eleven degrees. Eleven degrees below zero. I can't believe people live here. I can't believe I live here. It's just too cold to bear. Will my car start now that it has to park outside? I don't know. I filled it with gas and gave it a bottle of gas-line antifreeze yesterday so--maybe. At least it's too cold to snow, we have that to be thankful for.

I finished the fish bag for the baby gift yesterday and I made a bunch of lotion to give to friends for Christmas. I tried to pulverize a bunch of Bonairean sea salt into smaller bits to make some bath salts too with but it didn't pulverize much. I had to put it in a ziplock bag and whack it with a hammer. It got a little smaller but mostly it just tore holes in the bag. That's tough salt.

December 14--St. Ouen's Bay, Jersey. Claire loved to swim. It was a rare treat to have a sandy beach to swim from. Most of Great Britain's beaches were stony, hard on the feet, but the beaches here on Jersey were sand, soft sand that felt like powder beneath her feet. She had come to the island alone. She worked with a lot of other women and while she liked Nan and Julia, she didn't even mind having to listen to Sophie talk about Reg's troubles with his mum, but she needed a break. The guesthouse was nice and she enjoyed meals with the other guest but she declined their invitations to join them in touring around. She had put on her swimsuit and packed her towel and a novel, and walked down to the beach. It was late in the season so it wasn't crowded. She went right in and swam out until her red towel was just a speck. She struck off to swim u the beach as far as the headland. She enjoyed feeling her muscles stretch out and settled into the rhythm of her stroke. When she turned back she began to tire and felt like she wasn't making much headway. She stopped to rest for a moment and realized that she was still moving and even speeding up. She knew better than to fight but current but she regretted not telling Mrs. Miller where she was heading. She focused on the tiny red towel on the beach, took a deep breath, and ducked her head back into the chilly sea.

I see a fisherman picking her up, a handsome fisherman who scolds her for swimming where the currents are treacherous. I also wish I could go back to bed and not wake up until it's warm.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gone Fishin'

Since it's bonechilling cold today and I ditched walking this morning, I sat myself down on the couch and applied my skills to crocheting the second eye, the dorsal fin, and the drawstring for the fish bag for the fish-tastic baby gift. It turned out much bigger and cuter than I had anticipated.

I love the bulging eyes,

and the granny square tail, complete with picots.

The whole group of Fish-tastic baby things makes me giggle. I hope the mama
and baby like it.

This is all the yarn left of a 4 oz. skein of wo
rsted. The bag took more than I thought it would. It was a lot of single crocheting around and around but worth it in the end. Now all I have to do is wait until the baby makes his entrance into this world and I'll box it up and send it off to Madison.

More Poem, Less Satisfaction

Holy moses, it's frickin' cold today. So cold that I wimped out on walking today. In the mall. It was 7:30 and it seemed too cold to go outside to get into the car much less drive across town and work up a sweat walking circles around an unopened mall. It's so cold that Durwood's going to be using canned mushrooms in the lobster saute for supper rather than going to WalMart for fresh ones. And I got an email from the Ashwaubenon library saying that an inter-library loan I ordered is in, which means my intention to stay indoors until I have to go to the dive club Christmas party is probably doomed. I will go down to my basement lab to finish making a few lotion-y things for the knitters' Christmas prezzies this afternoon as soon as I get this posted, though, because this next Friday is the last one before Christmas Eve. Eek. That's a sobering thought, innit?

Last night's island calender picture was singularly uninspiring. I tried my hand at committing poetry again less successfully than the previous night. Maybe I'll do a bit of judicious editing as I type it in and it'll be better. Can't hurt.

December 13--Sicily.

Ancient caldera
cradle of fire
cooled over centuries

Erosion softened edges
greenery mantle
hides the bones
diffuses steam

Sicily's fire comes
from deep within

Stay warm today.

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Bob Sighting--In The Wild

I can't believe that I forgot to tell you on Saturday, but Friday night I saw Bob, Writer Bob not Yard Bob, at Friday Night Knitting. For those not "in the know" Bob and I went to high school together and then reconnected through writing. He was in my writing group for a few years and one glorious summer he cut my lawn for me (hence the differentiation of his Bob-ness), but then he got a new job that required him to work in the evenings and he acquired a new sweetheart (with whom he has developed a very successful program for Alzheimer's patients) so he left the writing group. *sigh* There has been a lot less Bob in my life since then, but last Friday Bob's brother Brian was the host of Open Mic night at Harmony Cafe (where I knit with friends on Friday nights) and when we went out to listen to Em's friend sing, there he was. He had his little notebook with his tiny writing in it and he was planning to read a couple poems but time ran out, so I asked him to read them to me. They were lovely. I especially liked the one about the last day of the Farmer's Market. He had really captured the sky and the rain and the movement of the people on that final day of summer produce. I like Bob and I was very glad to see him again.

It's damned cold today, cold and sunny. After the blizzard of the last couple days the mercury has fallen into the basement, the sub-basement at night. Temps are supposed to rocket into the mid-teens today, so I'll be wearing my thickest longies, socks, and sweaters, with chemical heater pads in my boots. I might even wear gloves indoors, or at least my wool fingerless mitts. Watch, it'll be busy at the dive shop. When the weather was tolerable, nobody came. Now that it's unbearably cold with hip-deep snow people will be out, you mark my words. Crazy.

December 12--Angra do Reis, Brazil.

Arrowheads of boats
white on the turquoise sea
point into the surge
like so many
compass needles.

Green Brillo pads
of palms and sea grape
carpet the island
promising respite,
delivering humidity
and mosquitoes.

White gash of sand
between sea and jungle
where tourists sizzle
like meat on a spit.


I was inspired by Bob's poetry to commit a bit of verse last night. Bundle up! And don't forget a hat.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Blizzard Aftermath

I know you're out there worrying about if we're buried or if we've survived the latest "storm of the century." We survived. I'm guessing we got about a foot of snow and it blew around like crazy. Having the house face south is mostly a good thing except when there's a blizzard. Then the snow piles up in front of the house and it's work to get it cleared away. But that doesn't happen too often.

The wind sculpts drifts that look like ocean dunes.

The only parts of me exposed to the wind and blowing snow were my eyes--and I squinted them to slits when the snow blew right into my face. I looked like a yeti when I came in.

Seemed like one of the neighbors got an early Christmas present. He was having a
blast snowblowing the street in front of his house.

I think I waited too long to put Fifi and the tree out in the yard. There's 3 ft. of snow there. Oh, well, next year. (this is a picture from last year)

Snow Day

We're having a blizzard, the first of the season. The police asked people to stay off the highways today so everyone's hunkered down making cookies or soup (I'm guessing) and staying safe. We figure we'll get today's paper this afternoon, or maybe tomorrow. I took some pictures so you can see the winter wonderland.

December 11--Angra dos Reis. Brazil. It's not hard to imagine what the explorer Gaspar de Lemos saw when he anchored off this beach four hundred years ago. The water had to be the same bright turquoise and the sand the same blinding white. Where there brown-skinned natives on the beach to greet him or was it as empty as it is today? I need to gather my thoughts, to try to reconnect to the present. Gregory is getting more and more exasperated with my detachment. He wants me to be interested in his talk of finance and policy but the Brazilian sun has baked me into a languor difficult to overcome and the incense of the jungle lures my thoughts to dimensions other than my own.

FYI--the Harry Potter movie was excellent, we thought it was the best so far. I'm going to get the soup started and then go downstairs and make some lotion stuff. I haven't done that in a while.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Oh Mercy

You would not believe the snow flying around outside. Here's the view out the front door. We were supposed to go to a Christmas party tonight but we decided to stay home and we're both glad we did.

I finished the hat I started the other day, only to discover I had added too many stitches and too many rows. The first hat was too small, the second too big. Way. Too. Big. R-r-r-rip.

In frustration I dug out the Meathead Hat pattern I used for Xmas hats a couple years ago, added another strand of the variegated yarn, and started again. Hats go fast when you
knit them on size 15s. By last night I finished it up at Friday Night Knitting. Now I need to find a big button or a shiny pin to put on it.