Thursday, March 31, 2011


We're getting the van loaded and will pick up Mom in about an hour and leave for Lexington for the weekend.

March 30--William Wood, An Interesting Story (Miss Ray). How still she sits, the picture of proper young womanhood. She is dressed in the purest ivory, the same color as her flawless skin. Her auburn curls perch atop her head looking tumbled and yet restrained. My fingers itch to loose them, to watch them fall like flaming silk on those shoulders that invite the touch of my lips. I would have her in my arms, eyes a-sparkle, laughing my name, her coral lips parted just the merest bit inviting mine. I feel her softness against me, warm and sweet. I would gorge myself upon that sweetness, devour her so that she is part of me forevermore.

I'm going to be glad for dry roads and sunny skies today.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Things Change

Remember last week when all the snow on Earth came to live in my yard? Well, the sun's been shining a lot this week. Yesterday I came home from work to see these hanging from the gutter over the driveway. They looked very pretty in the fading sunshine.

Today, 1 week after we got nearly 18" of snow, this is how the ba
ck yard looks.

Last Friday at Friday Night Knitting Circle Lyn was in the home stretch of her entrelac scarf she started knitting when we were up in Fish Creek last month. I had put mine aside to knit many preemie hats and some secret knitting, but pulled it out and have been working on it all week at work. I just love watching the colors show up. Today I finished the first skein and am one motif into the second one. It'll be good car knitting, I think, now that I've got the hang of it. I'm packing some acrylic to make more preemie hats to take to Knitting Guild next month.

I was admiring my progress on the scarf last night and look what I found. I must have picked up the yarn wrong on the very first row of rectangles. I am NOT going to unravel all of it to fix it. I'll just smile when I see it and remember the fun I had learning this not too complicated stitch.

I'm happy to report that my wrenched knee feels a bit better tonight. Whew.


I usually don't swear, well, maybe a random "$hit" or "dammit" every now and again, but mostly I don't. Yesterday after work I was taking the back-est seats out of Durwood's van and I turned but part of my knee didn't. Ouch. Ouchouchouchouchouch. I immediately pulled on an elastic support and rubbed in some Biofreeze which helped but wasn't a miracle cure. It woke me up around 6 this morning and I'm icing it, the compression support is back on and I had it elevated for a while but that sent shooting cramps up my thigh. Good thing it's quiet at work and there are ice packs in the freezer and I've got Aleve in my purse. Stupid knee. Stubborn Barbara. No cute shoes for me on Saturday, I guess.

March 29--China, Altarpiece Dedicated to Buddha Maitreya. The incense smoke was thick in the little temple tucked between a butcher shop and a tailor. Chinatown was Laurel's favorite place to roam whenever she was in San Francisco. She let her nose lead her around. The spices excited her and made her wish she could cook with each one. She loved the piles of oranges outside every market. Half of them ended up as offerings in one of the temples that provided a place for sending a prayer to heaven on every block. The bronze altarpiece in this particular temple was small but ornate. She stood off to the side her hands crossed in front of her and just absorbed the peace of the small room. It was a busy place, housewives and businessmen jostled as they came in, said a quick prayer, and left to continue on their way. The incense smoke wafted like ghost shreds through the shafts of sunlight filtering through the carved windows. She glanced behind the altar to see a pale hand lying on the dusty wooden floor.

Sorry to leave you hanging but my knee started hurting and I had to shift positions. Today's motto: Don't be Stubborn! Ask For Help!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


It's frigid today, cold and clear. It's supposed to be warming up but right now you could fool me. My first instinct is to pack woolies for our weekend in Kentucky but I know that's wrong. It's going to be warmish--high 50s--so a light jacket will do but when your windshield is frosty in the morning it still feels like midwinter. Although the sun is doing a bang-up job melting the snow from last week so the rays must be stronger and warmer, right? As usual I'd like magic fairies to come and pack for me and transport me there. Robert, the TomTom GPS says it should take about 8.5 hours to get there but I know that's a very optimistic timetable. There'll be traffic in Milwaukee, Chicago, Indy and Louisville, and slowdowns here and there but we'll make it. I always get like this before a trip. I want to go but I don't. Once we're on the road I'll be fine, it's just the ready-set-go! part that gives me pause.

March 28--Paul Gauguin, Two Tahitian Women. It's hot and the wind in the trees makes a sound like rain. the irregular thuds of falling coconuts make me think someone is sneaking around the cottage. The constant sound of insects never lets up. I hear it in my sleep and I know I'll hear it for the rest of my life. The rising buzz of palm cicadas reminds me of hot summer nights sitting in the old, yellow-painted, metal lawn chairs in Grandma's side yard. The only light came from the stove light inside and the lightning bugs would flash in the low hedge next to the pasture. I wonder how I could have imagined it was hot and humid there when where I am now saps all the energy from my very cells. It's even too hot to eat. We're fooled by Ava Gardner movies and Paul Gauguin's paintings into thinking Tahiti is a lush romantic place when it's actually an inferno of poisonous insects and mildew. Romance be damned, I want an air conditioner.

Well, that's dyspeptic, isn't it? I imagine the narrator is a woman who has followed her husband's dream with him and is less than thrilled. Paul Gauguin was a dirty old man, I'm convinced of it, and I just cringe when one of his paintings comes up as a prompt. He has an unhealthy fixation on young topless women and none of them look remotely happy to be his subject. Boys. Tsk.

Monday, March 28, 2011

It Feels Too Early

I've been up for, oh, half an hour, but I've been waking up since 6:15 and it still feels too early to be awake. I used to be a night owl, then I was a lark, now I'm neither, I like to go to bed early and get up late. I'm blaming my anti-depressant but I suspect it's just me. Today's payday, I should be eager to be up and at work but since I had a snow day last week it'll be a third smaller so that's kind of eh. It'll be good to be at work, maybe a bunch of people will come in to buy stuff and make me feel useful. That'd be good, right? I've had a low-grade case of the non-specific blahs lately, I'd like to get over those. I'm working on it. It's still so darned cold--low teens--but sunny. Sunny is good, warm and sunny is better. I'm counting on Lexington being warmer this weekend.

March 27--Iran, Armlet. Hank gave his dive gear a perfunctory dunk in the dive shop's rinse tank, packed it still dripping into his dive bag, and drove back to his villa apartment. Once inside he pulled out his BC and started to take his gatherings out of the pockets but then he looked at the windows. They ran all across the front along the walkway from the parking spots to the beach. Everyone walked by and they all glanced in calling greetings. He stood up and drew the blinds. Let them wonder why good ol' Hank was suddenly quiet. He'd say that he'd forgotten his hat and sunglasses for the boat and got a headache. Yeah, that's what he'd tell anyone nosy enough to ask. He went back to his task, pulling out a wad of plastic and cloth and fishing line all tangled around the gold bracelet. He threw out the trash which smelled like dead fish already and put the bracelet to soak in a bowl in the sink. He hung his wet dive gear on the pegs out on his back patio, mopped up the puddle it had made on the tile floor, and went back to staring at the bracelet. How was he going to get it off the island without getting caught? They x-ray everything these days. He pulled out a Polar beer from his fridge, took a big slug and was inspired. He'd go down to the market and buy a bunch of cheap bracelets, like for presents back home, and tuck the gold one in with them in his suitcase. Who would take the time to examine each and every one? He took his sweating beer out to his patio table and leaned back with a smile. Everything under control.

Don't you think Hank's a bit too confident? He's cruisin' for a bruisin'.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tulips, Four Lips...

I reknit the Big Lips dishcloth putting in the line between the lips. I guess I like it better. Actually I like them both. I think the one with the line will look better once it has had a trip through the wash. I'm calling them Big Smooch, which is better than Big Kiss or Big Lips.

I finished the It's a Disease scarf this afternoon while watching CSI reruns on TV. I think I'll lay off the purse stitch scarves for a while.

Time to check my Ravelry queue to see what's next. Obsession, anyone?

This Sucks

Somehow I pulled or strained a muscle in my left knee (my "good" knee) last month and it's acting up. I try and give it good exercise at least a couple times a week but it insists on hurting. Right now it's really hurting, think I'll go take an Aleve... Now I just wait a half an hour or so and it'll feel a bit better. Maybe I'll see how it likes riding the bike later. The ortho doc said that bike riding is better for knees than walking, so I should give it a shot, don't you think? I hate hurting.

I got my wedding haircut this morning. It's the same as my regular haircut, it just has a bit more depending on it this next week. And I started amassing car snacks at the grocery. I've got a bag of baby carrots and bought a big, family-sized box of low-fat Wheat Thins. Now I want to buy some grapes, wash and stem them and zipper bag them so we'll have some healthy snacks for our long car rides next weekend. I was tempted by a bag of clementines, maybe I'll get those too. Can't have too many healthy treats for a long, boring ride. I am excited that this will be our first long car trip with Robert, the TomTom GPS. Durwood hasn't traveled with him so it should be a revelation and, with Robert and the AAA TripTiks, maybe I won't get us off on the "scenic route." (malcolm-speak for lost) Hm, I should probably think about make-up for the weekend too. I don't really wear the stuff anymore. I just end up wiping it off or feeling like I'm wearing a mask. It's suffocating. Uck. But I also don't want to end up looking like a blank space in the pictures so I'd better slap some on. Probably have to buy new because mine's so old and skanky.

March 26--Iran, Armlet. Hank was by himself on the side of the reef when he saw the sun glint off something nestled where the coral rose out of the sand. He figured it was another beer can or some other metal scrap but he investigated anyway. If no critter had built its home in or on whatever it was he'd get it off the reef. He'd spent a good portion of his dives that week picking up litter from the bottom. The pockets of his BC would be stuffed with plastic bags, torn fabric, frayed pieces of ropes, and all kinds of junk. The boat crew and the dive staff had stopped paying attention to the trash he brought up. He reached down and fanned the sand away. The sound of his breathing grew louder as the gold bracelet was uncovered. He looked around to see if any of the others were nearby as he lifted the heavy ornament from its resting place in the sand and tucked it into his pocket.

This is for my dad who always reminded us to be sure and pick up any gold doubloons when we were going diving in the Caribbean. Okay, Dad, here you go!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sunny Daze

In one week we'll be in Lexington, KY helping our DD dedicate her life to DIL2. I am wearing my wedding shoes as I type to get my feet a little used to dress shoes since I spend my life in sneakers or snowboots. I hope it'll be warm there; it has to be warmer than here. Today it's supposed to rocket into the teens. *sigh* There's so little hope of spring here in March. At least it's bright and sunny today but there's no melting I can see. I'm sorry I talk about the weather so much, it's the major governor of my days. Walk outside or in? Wear shoes or fur-lined boots to work? Polar fleece or parka? Cotton sweater or wool? Three layers of shirts or only two? It's a lot to think about.

March 25--Edgar Degas, The Dance Class. Most of them won't make it, Gina thought and then she corrected herself, most of us won't. She stared at the row of young women in the long mirror on the studio wall. They were various heights and not uniformly thin. The desire to dance was indiscriminate, it struck in those who could perform the steps like a language they were born to and those who could not stay on tempo alike. She fit somewhere in between but her body was betraying her and she plunged headlong into puberty. She'd never be any taller but her bust was growing by the day and her hips expanded to keep pace. No one would ever call her a sylph. She still loved to dance, loved the silver feel of the music as she moved to it. She wasn't destined for the corps de ballet in some great company but she could enjoy the feeling of putting her muscles through their paces twice a week for the rest of her life.

Today's going to entail finding Durwood something to wear to the wedding that he feels good in. Tally-ho!

Friday, March 25, 2011

I Need to Pay Closer Attention

because 5 posts ago was number 1500. Now that's a number worth celebrating but I wasn't paying attention and I missed it so--YAY! five days ago.

The sun has come out again and it is blinding on the fresh snow, and mercy it is cold out there. Dusty and I hoped to be able to walk outside today but with nearly 18" of new snow and temps in the low teens we were back in the mall. We each fell in love with a purse we saw in Buckle so we hung around until the stores opened and each bought one. Then we investigated a pair of red canvas tennis shoes I liked--$70 is too expensive, and a pair of sparkly silver ones in another shop--also too expensive at $55. We're going back to the mall at 4 PM to get henna tattoos. Cool, huh? Not matching, though, we're not teenagers, but we'll probably be dressed alike tonight at knitting carrying our identical purses. Evidently nearly 60 and just barely over 60 is not mature--yet.

March 24--Edna M. Walker, Linen Press. She was glad that she had saved her money and bought another kerosene lamp for the work room at the colony. Edna could stay up late working on the carved panels for the doors of the linen press that she was making. She liked the challenge of carving out the wood under the leaves so that they looked like they floated above the panel. when she got too tired she'd put away her carving tools and pick up the sanding block that was always at hand. She would move the sandpaper covered block in long, smooth strokes first down and then back, not across, never across so that she didn't raise the grain. She liked the golden color of the oak boards and planned to finish the linen press with a good wax finish.

Enjoy your day.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

17.3" Of Snow

That's the final total we got from Snowstorm Francesca. Woo-dogies, that's a lot of snow! Yesterday the wind joined in and whipped the snow around making whiteouts all afternoon. The only reason I went outside yesterday was to clear the driveway, and get stuck thrice going around the block. Kind strangers helped me. Once I was in the driveway I went back up the street to help my stuck neighbor. We got her into another neighbor's driveway until the plows went through and her son could reclaim their car. It was insanely bad out there. Glad I didn't try to go to work.

March 23--German, The Visitation. Sally wondered what the two ladies in the window were talking about. She knew one of them had to be the Virgin Mary but she wasn't sure who the other one was. Neither of them looked very happy. She sat in the pew half listening to the priest so she'd know when to stand up or kneel down but she wasn't paying much attention. Even though she was only five going on six, she'd been to Mass enough that she pretty much had it memorized. Plus her cousin Maureen liked to play church when they all got together and Maureen was always the priest and Sally was either an altar boy or the choir. She liked being an altar boy because she got to ring one of Aunt Cele's bell collection bells and carry the cup of apple or grape juice they'd pilfer from Grandma's fridge. Sally wished she could be the priest once because Maureen always got to drink the juice and eat the saltines they pretended were the Host. Sometimes Maureen would break up one of the crackers and give communion to them. Sally had to admit that Maureen made a good priest but it seemed to her that only boys got to be priests. Didn't seem right since they wore dresses most of the time anyway.

Well, that brought up a nice memory of growing up. We were good, we played Mass in Latin, all my girl cousins and I.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Snowfall Total *correction*

According to the newspaper's website by 3 PM today we'd gotten 15.3" of snow. Egads.

The final total according to the National Weather Service today is 17.3". That's a record!

*Correction! It's 17.8".

Snow Day!

Snowstorm Francesca came with a vengance and is staying around blowing like mad. You know how March is supposed to come in like a lion? Well, it didn't but it sure is roaring today. We've had about 8" of wet heavy snow (I got stuck in the street 3 times just trying to get back into the driveway after snowblowing) and now the wind is blowing it around. Right now I can't see across the street. Really. So I'm taking a snow day. I figure if I went to work I probably wouldn't be able to get into the parking lot anyway through the snowplow drift across it, and there's ice under the snow so it's too dangerous to drive. I'm staying put. Here are a few photos of the craziness that is Green Bay's weather today:

Look at the Slinkys that keep the squirrels off the bird feeders! They're packed with snow.

People live here on purpose.

Last week one of the daily free knitting pattern was to make a pair of lips out of dishcloth cotton and it just tickled me, so I'm making one.

And I went back to one of the purse stitch scarves last weekend and
made a bit of progress while Lala and I talked one evening.

Thunder Snow

Yup, last night around 10 we had thunder and lightning and snow. It was pretty loud and bright just like a regular thunderstorm but instead of a downpour of rain we had a downpour of snowflakes. Weird. And today we've got about 7-8" on the ground, 2-3" more supposed to fall today, all the schools are closed, and I have to work. Tell me, how many customers do you think I'll get today? We're hip deep in heavy wet snow, it's still snowing, who's going to be thinking of going diving? I'll take extra knitting.

March 22--Egypt, South Middle Kingdom, Funerary Guardian Figure. Amelia felt his eyes on her. In the close confines of the tomb she couldn't avoid him. He stood there waiting for eternity to pass. He did his job and did it as well as he could, which meant not at all considering the tomb had been raided centuries ago and he was carved from wood. That didn't keep her from talking to him as she worked and his lifelike look meant she half-expected him to talk back.

Man, I could so go right back to bed and sleep, but I've got to fire up the snowblower and then shower and go to work. *sigh*

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This One's For You, Dusty

When we were mall-walking this morning Dusty talked about the one picture I blogged of the yarn shop I'd visited (without her) last week. She drooled over the colors and the sheer volume of yarn. I told her that we'd take a road trip one day but that I'd taken more pictures that I didn't post. She looked shocked that I had more pictures that I hadn't share, so here they are.

You can see in the one picture that there's another room with the needles and hooks, clearance baskets, weaving things, felting tools.

It's Freakin' Snowing Out There!

Gah! Last Thursday it was over 50 degrees. Since then the temps have gradually fallen, fallen, fallen, and now there are big snowflakes falling in a torrent out my window. It's probably a good thing that Dusty and I walked in the mall today because it was blowing and spitting rain or sleet earlier. We're supposed to get between 4 and 8 inches of the damned stuff by tomorrow night. We're hoping that Friday we'll be able to walk outside but I'm not holding my breath. We're both willing to bundle up in mittens and earmuffs but not walk in freezing rain. No siree. It can be chilly, in the 40s say, but I'm done with snow. Done.

March 21--Alfred Sisley, The Bridge at Villenueve-la-Garenne. Marie-Jolie loved the painting that hung in Aunt Celie's back hall. Even in the dark days of winter she looked at it and for just a moment felt the summer sun on her face. That was quite a trick of the imagination in Wisconsin in February. Not a lot of sunshine and very little warmth made the year's shortest month seem longer than the rest. That little painting, no bigger than a piece of notebook paper held a flicker of summer, kept it alive in a gilded wood frame. Sometimes she stood looking at it trying to put herself in the frame.

Did I mention that it's snowing? Aarrrrgh. Remember that old Calgon commercial where the lady's having a bad day and she said, "Calgon, take me away!" and she'd be transported to a garden and a bubble bath? I don't think Calgon could fix this.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Safe back at home, and safe that the clothes I want to wear to the wedding in less than 2 weeks fit and look nice. They just need to go on a visit to the dry cleaners since they've been hanging in the closet during my fatter years. Whew. Tomorrow we clothe Durwood, that should be fun since he really hates the whole "trying on" part of figuring out what to wear. Maybe if I disrobe in solidarity he'll be too distracted to complain...

I have new shoes. New walking shoes. They are very comfy and probably if I'd had them earlier yesterday I wouldn't have driven home in wet socks. I ordered another pair that should arrive in a week or so. I'll put those in the closet to be in the two-pairs rotation I try to keep going. You know you're supposed to give your shoes a rest for a day to preserve them and keep them from getting too skanky, right? New shoes, new shoes. I love new shoes.

March 20--Greek, Man and Centaur. At first Jessup thought it was an especially smooth stone poking out of the ground, but like every kid, he had to dig it out. He started with his fingers but soon he had to find a good stick with a nice sturdy end to gouge the dirt away. It took a whole but eventually he had a little statue of a man and a boy. He could tell they were males because they both had wangers and stones, which was gross. But what was even grosser was that the boy had half a horse, the back half attached to his back and that had a wanger too. The statue was about the size of his shoe, made of some kind of metal, and it looked like some of the sick statues the olden people made that were in the museum. It sure wasn't anything he'd ever want to keep for himself, not like a cool arrowhead or Indian thing like that.

I always like it when a kid appears as the POV character, especially when they're about 11 to 13. Those are choice ages.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Picked Writing

On Friday afternoon I said I'd choose to either knit or write, well, I chose writing. I opened up the last rewrite of the last NaNoWriMo novel to read through it, inserting contractions and hyphens used or left out to achieve the word count. I cranked up the laptop and the Walkman with its New Age-y rainforest and surf sounds that focus my mind. After about an hour I realized that I was back at the keys eager and excited. I tried to take my picture, with marginal success, and then I went right back at it.

Saturday lunch was at a downtown deli. Our waiter was late taking his ritalin. Not the most relaxing interaction. By the end of the meal I was tempted to fling myself over the railing. Just sayin'.

On the way back to the hotel, and the manuscript, we took a detour down
to the sunny riverwalk to spend a little more time getting the cobwebs blown out.

Then it was butt in chair back to work.

Just at sundown we walked back down the river walk to the shore where the March full moon, the supermoon rose over the lake. After watching for a while we went to Lino, a pretty darned fancy Italian restaurant for appetizers and dessert.

It has been a great weekend of walking and talking and writing. I was amaze
d to realize yesterday that I had parked my car on Thursday afternoon and haven't driven it since. My shins and knees ache but I've had an excellent time.

Super Night

We survived the night of the super moon. Whew. It was cold and windy but we persevered, walking down to the lakeshore just after sunset to see the moon, big and orange on the horizon. My little camera didn't do such a good job of taking its picture but it tried and kept on trying. In the afternoon it was sunny so we detoured from our walk back to our desks (or beds) after lunch to walk along the river in the sunshine. I was ecstatic to make strides polishing up my last NaNoWriMo manuscript to make it ready for submission, finishing a pass through inserting contractions and hyphens that expanded the word count for the competition. Just like real writing.

March 19--Greek, Man and Centaur, Bronze. They hold each other like they're dancing, the man and the half-man. The horse part is like an afterthought, an affliction that has stunted its host. They are all male, all three wear their masculinity in plain sight. Are they adversaries? Do they struggle against each other or are they holding each other up? Are they a family? One the offspring of a youthful indiscretion on a spring night when the moon was full?

It isn't long but I think it brings up interesting questions. Discuss.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sugar Moon

Last night was the full moon and I actually managed an okay picture of it. There's no ground reference because it had risen too high in the sky for me to connect it to the ground for you. There are a lot of other Native American names for this month's full moon: Worm Moon, Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Sap Moon, Chaste Moon, and Death Moon. Although I really lean toward Worm Moon for the whole creep factor, I thought Sugar Moon would be the best blog entry title. I leave you the others to use as writing prompts or other inspirations if need be.

Okay, here's the deal. Turns out last night's moon was only full-ish. Tonight's full moon they're calling a Supermoon because it'll be 8% closer to the earth (+254,000 miles) than normal. I'm going to make sure my supermoon's out there to greet the planetary Supermoon tonight. How about you? (Mine will be chastely clothed, probably in layers. See "Chaste Moon" reference above.)

March 18--Osservanza Master, Saint Anthony the Abbot in the Wilderness. Tony had a terrible dream. He was wrapped in robes that bound his arms to his sides. He walked barefoot on a rocky path between skeletal black trees and barren hills. Vultures flew in the orange red purple sky and in the distance a man hung on a cross, his robes fluttering in the hot dry wind. Tony was exhausted when he woke up and was tangled in his covers like he'd been battling them all night. That was the last time he had fried oysters at 2 AM.

Oh, mercy, I was so tired last night. I really went from 0 to 60 walking-wise on Thursday and yesterday. Suffice to say that I will be taking one, maybe two walks today, not 4 or 5. My legs ache too and I'm down to 2 Aleve. Let the rationing begin. (oh, like there's no Walgreen's in Sheboygan)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Morning Walk

Sorry, no fiber content today but I thought you'd like to see a couple pictures from our morning walk. Here's where we're staying from across the river,

and here's the beach behind Blue Harbor Resort, also across the river,

here's a pile of zebra mussels shells on said beach,

and this is the view from the end of the pier out into Lake Mic

Time to write or maybe knit.

I've Missed Writing Exercises

since I disbanded the writing group, but Lala likes to do them and so we did two last night before bed.

We walked up the hill to Il Ritrovo for a supper of shared salad and pizza. There are not enough adjectives to tell you how yummy it all was. Next we stopped at a chocolatier to get a small sweet for dessert and then it was back downhill (downhill is better than up) to find Lala's first geocache--and a severed deer leg lying on the pavement. Ick. Then we came in and got to writing.

March 17--"On Eisenhower Interstate Highways one mile in every five is straight so it can be used as an air strip in times of war or other emergencies." Just find a straight road. My hands are sweaty on the yoke. Wind screaming in where there used to be a window makes my eyes tear but I can't lift a hand. I contort my head first one way and then the other to wipe my eyes on my sleeves. Damn you, Steven, damn you for being stupid enough to fly head-on into a pair of seagulls. Damn you for sitting there and letting a spear of glass pierce your eye. Anger is my only crutch. If I think about my situation the panic that I feel nibbling around the edges of my mind will start taking bigger bites of me and I'll be lost. If I let panic take over I might as well point the nose of this goddamned stupid airplane at the ground and go out in a blaze of airplane parts and pine trees. I'm grateful that Steven's plane is a prop, I guess. "They fly low and slow," he always says, "so it's hard to get into trouble." "Well, I've got news for you, mister," I tell his lifeless body beside me, "this low and this slow feels like plenty of trouble, thankyouverymuch."

Time to do more walking, writing, and a little knitting. It's a tough job, but I'm up to it.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Llamas and Driftwood and Geocaches, Oh My!

What a grand day I had! This morning Dusty and I walked on the trail by her house. It was in the 40s, so nice to walk in. Then I went and got my nails done, went home, loaded up the car, and took off for my rendezvous with Lala in Sheboygan.

We met at a llama f
arm and yarn shop about 15 miles south of town. While I waited for her I looked at llamas and fended off a friendly farm dog.

Lala marveled at the variety of yarns, I fondled them, and bought a little. This shop had the most amazing supply of fiber related books. Knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving, llama and alpaca husbandry--anything you wanted to know about, she had a book on. Mindboggling.

We went to the h
otel, checked in and took a walk along the river out to the lake. There was a load of gorgeous driftwood on the narrow beach by the Coast Guard station and a huge triangle of ice floating down the center of the river on its way out to Lake Michigan and the larger world.

After unpacking we met to walk uphill to Il Ritrovo for salad and pizza for supper. To. Die. For.

On our way b
ack we stopped at a chocolatier for a bit of dessert and at the bottom of the hill across the road from the hotel, we found Lala's first geocache.

And a deer leg was lying on the driveway into the boat launch. Ugh.

I have made another geocaching convert. Mwa-ha-ha-ha. I showed her the list of cach
es within a mile of our location and she said, "we need to do more." Hmm, I thought she wanted to write all weekend, I know I want to write too and also knit. We shall see.

P.S. I love our TomTom GPS. I just tell him where I want to go and Robert (the name of the voice Durwood picked out to use) takes me right there. No matter how many wrong turns or mind changes I go through he always gets me there. He even took us to the geocache. Nice Robert, nice TomTom. We bought him to go along with us on our trip out to Yellowstone next summer, but he's so much more to me now than just a vacation accessory.

Just A Quickie

Which sounds naughty but isn't. Sorry. Because soon I have to jump back in the car and zoom off to meet Lala at a llama farm & fiber store in Cedar Grove. She wants to pet llamas and alpacas and I want to look at yarn. Then we'll come back here to our favorite little hideaway in Sheboygan, Harbor Winds Hotel, for 3 days and nights of walking, talking, writing, knitting (just me), and all around relaxing. I probably shouldn't say this out loud but the weather seems to be in our favor this year. As long as it's not blizzarding, we're good.

March 16--Mary Cassatt, Lilacs in a Window. It was such a relief to have the windows open, to have the warm spring air moving out the winter stuffiness. On days like this Dana wished she could roll up the house's outer walls to let every molecule of old stuffy air out and replace it with the cool vibrant spring air. The lilacs were blooming that week so their sweet aroma floated in on the breeze too. Lilac season meant the renewal of a discussion that she and her grandmother had been having for as long as she could remember. Gran was of the opinion that the white lilacs smelled better and looked prettier, that they even were a higher class flower, than the regular lilac lilacs. Dana stood firm that it was the pale purple flowers with their shaggy flower heads and heart-shaped leaves that were superior in every way.

And now it's time for me to go find some llamas to pet and some yarn to fondle. See you!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Orchid Report

I have bad news. After nearly 4 years of exemplary orchid husbandry, Mom's orchid bloomed itself to death. At least that's what we think. It sent out a flower stalk last February or so and bloomed continuously until just last month when its leaves started to shrivel and turn yellow and it died. Mom was heartsick and when she saw the Stein's ad last week she sent me to get one. They didn't have any exactly like the one that had just expired so I took a chance and picked out a pale green one--with 18 buds on it. She called me yesterday to say that one of them had opened. Yay! It's real pretty and delicate.

Today I finished the Ogre Baby hat. It's so cute, I wish I had a baby handy to try it on. I changed the pattern a bit by doing stockinette instead of garter since the purling was making my hands hurt. I might have made the ear buds a bit too tall but I really like it so--it's perfect.

One More Wake Up...

and I get to go to Sheboygan for the weekend with Lala! I need this break. I don't care if the weather turns to carp I'm happy to be going. We'll walk and write and talk and write, I'll knit and talk and write. Maybe I'll make poems, maybe I'll make a sweater, I don't care. It's going to be lovely to be out of my rut, footloose and fancy free. Yippee! (can you tell I'm excited?)

March 15--Iran, Parthian, Rhyton Terminating in the Forepart of a Wild Cat. It was gorgeous but it was also more than a little creepy. Jane had seen a lot of hunting horns in her days working with the collections in the World Cultures exhibit at the museum. Most of them were made of horn or bone, probably from the same animal the hunter wanted to kill, but this Iranian silver one was the strangest. Instead of some sort of whistle mouthpiece to blow into this one had a snarling cat for the user to blow into. She couldn't imagine placing her pursed lips over the feral cat's face to sound the horn. It seemed such an intimate thing. She blushed to imagine it. She stood with it in her cotton-gloved hands and felt her blood race at the thought of feeling the cool of the ancient silver between her lips. What had come over her, she thought as she lifted it to her mouth.

Actually, a rhyton is a drinking cup but I liked the idea that you blew into it rather than drink out of it. It was way creepier my way than the real way, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Changing Light

The last couple days it seems like the light has changed, become spring-y. It's probably a result of daylight saving time being here, but I've noticed the change. It's definitely lighter later in the day but it's also darker later in the morning. Last week, when I'd open the shade over my head, dawn would be breaking with its pale yellow light, now it's pretty blue-gray out there yet. And there's frost on the roofs and ice in the birdbath. I did see my first robin this morning out there, though, sipping a drink from the birdbath. It was very dainty perched there on the rim, carefully leaning over to dip its beak in and then tip its head back to drink. Spring is coming, people. It must be, the guy across the street finally hauled his Christmas tree out to the curb. He probably kept it hidden so I didn't steal it like I did last year when I used it to feed more birds propped up in the back yard. I thought maybe he'd gotten a fake tree to foil me but he evidently just kept the carcass in his backyard so it'd be safe until now. And I was all ready to buy a jug of cheap peanut butter to spread on the branches and sprinkle birdseed on it in January, but no, he had to be selfish. That's okay, buddy, you be that way, my birdies were just fine without your tree corpse.

March 14--El Greco, Portrait of a Cardinal. Gail nudged her friend Jean. "He looks like he's ready to jump out of that chair and run away." Jean nodded. "You're right. Look how his right had is relaxed but the left one is gripping the arm of the chair." "Look at his eyes," Gail said, "he's looking off to the side like he's looking for a way to escape." The friends spend more time really analyzing the painting, the fine satin and lace of his cardinal's vestments, the odd oval pools of darkness on the stone floor, and the fact that the cardinal's glasses looked like graffiti, like they'd been added on by another hand. "What do you think is on that paper at his feet?" Jean asked. "Oh," said Gail, "that's probably a letter from his mistress." They both snickered. They spent the rest of the afternoon in the museum spinning tales about the artist and subjects, each more outrageous than the last. It was nearly dusk when they emerged laughing and holding onto each other. "I don't know when I've had more fun in a museum," Gail said. "Me neither. I think we offended that docent in the Egyptian wing." "Let her be offended. Life's too short to take things so seriously."

Okay. Time to get dressed for work. Adios.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Limbering Up My Paintbrush

The consensus after seeing the kids' "new" house is--paint. Lots of paint. They need new kitchen appliances and the first order of business is new windows, but to make it livable it needs a paint job and a bit of cleaning, and airing out, of course, since it's been empty for a year, but DIL1's mom and I are willing painters. They're so excited to get the keys for good and be able to start making it their own. It's exciting.

March 13--Isabel Canovas, Shoe. Lyn woke up with a start and stifled scream. She'd had the dream again. There was only one thing to do to get past it and that was to get out of bed and take a shower. She never knew what brought the dream but it was always the same. She would be walking down a country road on a breezy day. She liked to be outside in the wind, the dream started with her smiling. the breeze picked up and began to tug at her clothing. As the wind got stronger it blew her garments away, one by one, until she was naked and barefoot under the sun. Tiny specks flew on the wind landing on her pale skin that was turning pink under the blazing sun. At first she thought the specks were sand carried on the wind but the grains moved and she looked down to see that she was covered with ants. They were everywhere, in her hair, her eyes and ears, on her breasts, arms, torso, even in her pubis. The dream-Lyn began to brush them off, to wriggle and dance to try to dislodge them, and when that didn't work she awakened in a panic and ran into the shower, her heart racing and her skin alive with the feeling of thousands of insect feet.

Ooh, I'm shuddering just thinking about it. Gotta run or I'll be late for work. See ya bye.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

House Tour Today

We get to tour DS & DIL1's new house this afternoon. I'm excited, more to bask in their excitement than to see the house. That I've already seen a bunch about 10 years ago when it belonged to some diving friends. They had the inspection yesterday so we're anxious to hear what he/she uncovered. After the tour we're all going (her folks too) back to their apartment for supper. Crab cakes. Yum.

I was unhappy to discover that AAA isn't open on Saturday. What's up with that? I was looking for TripTiks for our drive to Lexington in a few weeks and route advice for our trip out West this summer. I should probably contact cousin Mike first to find out when the best time to come it, but I want to get an idea so I can start dreaming about it. Guess I'll have to leave for work early one day this week and go in then.

March 12--Isabel Canovas, Shoe. Amy didn't quite blend in with the other debutantes being introduced at the formal dance. At first glance her escort looked like all the other tuxedo clad young men on the girls' arms. A second glance revealed that he was a she, her blond blunt-cut hair slicked back and her tux obviously custom made. Amy's gown looked white the it was the palest pink which brought a bloom to her pale skin but it was her shoes that had the matrons talking. They were the hottest of hot pinks dotted with black beads, which on closer inspection turned out to be exquisitely embroidered and beaded ants. Few of the matrons even noticed the spider tattoo visible in her decolletage.

I would so wear hot pink pumps with black embroidered and beaded ants. Love. Them.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I went to Arti Gras this afternoon. It's a mid-winter art fair, indoors of course, where potters and painters, photographers and all sorts of artists sell their art. Musicians and dancers perform, potters spin clay and spinners turn fleece into yarn. I went to find a button to complete my Neck Cozy and I found one, a lime green one that looks great on the dark peacock blue of the scarf/cozy. Naturally I found other things, not too many and they weren't real expensive, but I had fun. I treated myself (and Durwood once I got home) to the smallest cone of candied cashews and resisted all other fair food.

My favorite potter was there from down around Milwaukee. She makes the most durable, usable bowls etc. The bigger ones are berry bowl size and the smaller ones are great for dip or mise en place when you're making a recipe. Unfortunately she does not have a website.

The potter who made my bread stone was there and I told her that it had cracked in half. She was horrified especially when I told her that it had not happened in the oven and offered to replace it. I thought that was very nice of her and will be contacting her in a couple weeks.

The three little rounds with glass in them are "Lucky Stones." The potter who made them said that he based them on the concept of worry stones but didn't like the negative connotations
so he renamed them "lucky." The colored glass is smooth and concave, the little pottery piece fits perfectly in your hand and your thumb is comfortable rubbing the glass.

I finished the Neck Cozy tonight. Now all I have to do is find a shank button to attach to the back of the big ceramic one so I can use it like a shawl pin and push the smaller shank button between stitches to hold the scarf in place.

I unpinned the Mermaid's Tale bookmark. I'm still not sure I like it but I do like the colors, especially now that it's not on that garish blue foam blocking tile thingy.

Snow Flurries Today

See what I mean? Weather whiplash. Not that I let weather stop me from doing what I want to do, no way, Jose. I've got the duds for everything Mother Nature can throw my way and I'm not afraid to use them. This morning I'm off to AAA to get started planning our drive Out West this summer. Me and Durwood want to strike out for Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands, and Yellowstone in the Uplander for a couple weeks. I've never been out there, never driven anyway. I mean, we flew to Missoula and Seattle but never drove, at least I haven't. The last time Durwood was out there he was small enough to nap on the back window ledge of Pappy and Vi's car (that was waaaay before car seats or seat belts) so he wants to go back too. That's why I ordered the TomTom GPS. Really. It wasn't so I can geocache. Cross my heart (ignore the crossed fingers). I need time to learn how to use it to its maximum efficiency. Really. I have a cousin, Mike who works as a Landscape Architect in Yellowstone so I need to contact him to find out the best time to come. Last time we tried it was October and there was a blizzard that closed highways and the park. Grrr.

March 11--Nigeria, Edo, Court of Benin, Pendant Mask. The face appeared out of the gloom, white and staring. Leah gasped, her hands flying out to ward it off but they were stopped by the display case glass. She hated coming down to the storage vaults in the museum basement. Masks and wigs and animal heads hung everywhere. The light was dim. It was a wonder that no one had ever gotten lost in the maze of crates. She regularly startled at some grotesque image, sure that being down there took years off her life. And now it had started to smell down there. Doctor Pearson would most likely tell her to sniff around to find the incompletely tanned hide or the seashell inhabitant decayed to nauseating goo. Why was the floor sticky? She needed more light and fumbled in her smock pocket for the penlight she kept there and tripped over the trouser-clad leg blocking the aisle.

Dun-dun-dunnnn. I might have to see where this one goes next weekend. At least it's a starting place if the muse decides to come along. Sorry for all the links. I think my Link-er-ator got stuck.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Set A Timer

Last night at the Bay Lakes Knitting Guild meeting we had a Physical Therapist speak to us about keeping ahead of muscle aches and strains when we're knitting. He talked about sitting up straight and putting a pillow on our laps so that our arms are supported and our neck isn't so strained from looking down. He showed us, and had us stand up and do, some stretches, very basic but they felt great. He also said to get up for 10 minutes every hour to change our position, get a drink, and generally give our hands, arms and shoulders a break, and to set a timer if we forget, it's that important. It was an excellent program and a lot of people came. Thanks, BLKG and Sean French, P.T.!

Longtime readers know how I love knitting with big needles and bulky yarn to get a finished item faster. Well, I'm zooming along on the Neck Cozy. I've got about a quarter of the bulky yarn to do and then I'll need to find a big flashy button to put on it. Hey, maybe I'll find one at Arti Gras this weekend. See? An excuse to go. Excellent.

I ordered some more 29" Susan Bates Velocity circular needles from last week and they came on Wednesday so I frogged back the garter stitch of the Ogre Baby hat to the ribbing and am taking another run at it in stockinette. Doing the purl rows was hurting my hands so I decided that a baby hat wasn't worth injuring myself. Pretty mature think
ing, eh? As an added bonus I like the way it looks better now anyway.

I can't say enough good things about the Velocity needles. They're sharp and slick and the cable
is thin and flexible--and they're very reasonably priced at, even with paying the shipping they're less expensive than at JoAnn's.

Lookie! Lookie! Lookie! I noticed these when I came home from work the other day when Snowstorm Ethan's dump began to melt away. The green nubbins in the snow a
re daffodils that I planted more than 30 years ago. The others are hyacinths and daffodils that nestle in the corner where the porch meets the house and get the first warmth of the year. It's very heartening in this long month at the end of winter.