Tuesday, May 31, 2011


A week ago Dusty and I were walking along the trail when a woman coming toward us asked, "Will it ever warm up?" We shrugged and kept walking. I wore long jeans to work last week, with a shirt and cotton sweater, socks and shoes. I mowed in shorts on Saturday when it was cool-ish. Sunday and Monday it was warmer, maybe close to 70. Today it's supposed to top 80 by noon and it's so humid Durwood doesn't care that the a/c is on. We only walked 2 miles this morning because the air felt so heavy and my left calf was hurting. Hopefully my trip to the chiro this afternoon will help that. I'm getting damned tired of the constant ache. Sitting, standing, walking, lying down--none ease the ache in my leg. Getting old sucks! Avoid it if you can! Skip over it directly into senility!

May 30--Cycladic, Terracotta Kernos (vase for multiple offerings).

Put one bloom in each of the tiny vase-lets.
One perfect flower head,
twenty-five times, makes an offering.
Golden glowing candles will
fit, making a halo of light
in winter when flowers are scarce.
The simple stripes
give it dignity,
elevate it from utility
to art.

do they make the offering for?

Are they praying for a favor
or giving thanks?

I envision the careworn hand
that arranges the offering,
flower or flame,
murmuring to God.
I envy the feeling of connection,
of being heard.

Once again, not at all what I expected to come from that. Ah well, Durwood's waiting for me to ride along on his errands. Time to clean up a bit and be a good partner.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Garden Day

Today is planting day. I managed to rein in Durwood's enthusiasm so we "only" have 6 tomatoes to plant. We also have a yellow crookneck squash plant, two bell pepper plants, a Brussels sprout, and patty pan squash. Durwood had the idea to plant the patty pan and the Brussels sprout by the retaining wall. I'm afraid the rabbits will nibble on them but we're giving it a shot. What could it hurt? I planted the herbs and lettuces in pots for the patio yesterday after mowing. I think it'll be handy to have the herbs closer to the kitchen. I got two kinds of lettuce seeds, leaf lettuce and mini Romaine. I'm looking forward to it sprouting. It was a gorgeous, breezy day yesterday, today it's overcast and still outside. That'll be good for digging in the dirt. And I do like to get dirty.

May 28--Japan, Edo period, Buddhist Vestment with a pattern of maple leaves and fans. The silk felt cool as she put on the garment. Eddie had brought it home from his trip to Asia last spring and gave it to her. Adele thought he meant for her to hang it as art or have a dressmaker rework it but she preferred it in its original form. She thought about the small Japanese man who wore this. How the embroidery weighed down the fabric made it feel like clothing of significance. She shivered at the sensation of the silk on her skin and felt the aura of the Buddhist who wore the robe before her settle around her.

Maybe there'll be more tonight. That's what I'm hoping.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I stepped out the patio door this morning to plug in the fountain and nothing happened. I unplugged it and tried again. Still nothing. So I took one more step only to see that the bowl of it was empty! Only rocks. Evidently it has a hole. Dammit. It was level for once, too, and running well from the get-go. Seems a trip to Stein's is in our future for a new pot, this one without a hole. With the threat of intermittent rain this weekend the bike trip to the music fest in DePere is off. Rats. The newspaper blames La Nina for our intemperate weather. Seems she's keeping the jet stream low so that cold Arctic air can filter down and spark tornadoes and storms. Not exactly what we're wanting. The farmers are thinking they'll never get the crops in. Foolish baby girl.

May 27--Canada, Tsimshian, Raven Rattle.

Little redman rides
on the back of the Raven,
his tongue stuck out
jeering at the poor creatures
stuck on the ground. Raven

carries the dog-faced redman
for the Tsimshian shaman
over the coastal rainforest. Shamans

use the great black bird
to spread prayers
over the land. Strong

feathers push blessings
floating on smoke
from cedar fires.
Songs of healing

spiral in the rising
voices of the singers
that circle the fires.

Huh. I like that better as a poem than prose. Nice images, if I do say so myself. Happy holiday weekend.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Blooms & Fountains

Lots of things are blooming at our house. Lilacs...

apple trees...


the lilies of the valley
are just beginning to bloom and the ferns are up...

and the bleeding hearts are overhanging the fountain which I got up and running today. Durwood wants to know if we can raise it up so he can see it better from inside. M-m-m-m-maybe. We can look at it tomorrow after I mow. Right now I'm clean so I can go to Friday Night Knitting and not offend.

I rehung the Menopausal Goddess sculpture
since it basically twirled around in the wind enough last winter to unscrew itself from the eaves. I'm hoping she behaves for the summer but I'm not holding my breath.

I frogged a sock and switched to a different pattern which I know I like. The variegated yarn overshadowed the stitch of the previous one.

I'm zooming along on Bandwagon Block #4,

and I resurrected the Lava Shawl. I caught sight of it on my Ravelry project page and had to dig it out and start working on it again. I think it'll go better now that I'm more experienced with reading patterns, etc.


I went to the chiropractor after work yesterday and, I gotta tell you, my left leg hurts like a son of a gun today. I have to say that the ache is in a different place than it was when I went in and I must believe that more adjustments will make it better EVENTUALLY. I also ordered new orthotics because Dr. Paula thinks that the rigid ones I have now contribute to my knee and back pain because they don't flex when I walk. God, I hope she's right. I was planning to mow today but maybe I'll give my legs a rest. A good thing about today is that it's the first of 5 days off in a row for me. Yay! It's like a vacation. I offered to work on Monday, I really did, since I lost out on 2 days' pay when Durwood was in the hospital week before last, but Mrs. Boss doesn't want to pay me time and a half or double time for working on a holiday, even though I wouldn't insist on that. I don't mind having the next 5 days off even thought I don't get paid for them, no I don't. My friend Cookie was talking about biking to Celebrate DePere tomorrow or Sunday to sit, knit, and listen to music. I might be tempted to join her if the weather cooperates.

May 26--Miguel Adrover, "I Love New York" dress. It's another one of those shabby chic things. The dress (if you can call it that) is very short with rips along the hem and the fabric looks discolored with age. The screen printing's scuffed like it's been through the laundry too many times, and the sleeves... the sleeves look like toilet brushes that have seen better days. I'm sure the designer donated it himself, I'm just surprised that they put it on display. Since when are rags art?

Can you tell I didn't like this one? Plus I was zonked.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Windy and 50s

Tell me this means that it'll stay warm into October and November. Puhleeze. Windy I don't mind, chilly I'm so over. It's time to wear shorts and sit out on the patio to have my morning coffee and do the crosswords, not huddle in the kitchen in a hoodie and slippers. But I'm bundled up in a polo shirt and a sweatshirt, long jeans, socks and shoes to go to work again. I'll take a windbreaker too. I'm getting tired of my winter clothes.

May 25--Paul Cezanne, The House with the Cracked Walls. "There isn't enough spackle in the whole of France to fix that." Roger stood with his fists on his hips shaking his head. His wife jean stood beside him undeterred by his words. "Oh Roger, but isn't it just the perfect place?" He looked at the wreck of a house on its rocky sloping lot and shook his head. "It's a tear-down, hon, and I wouldn't give you ten euros for the land." Tears sprang into Jean's eyes. "What do you mean it's a tear-down? I want to fit it, not demolish it, and with property like this we'd never have to mow." She shook herself and climbed over the tumbled rocks that made up the yard. "You always look at the gad side of things." Roger stumbled after her knowing he was doomed to have to deal with construction on his vacations for years.

And now I have to make myself a lunch and get off to saving the world from scuba diving.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Finally, there are leaves on the trees. Real leaves, not those blossom-things that look like tassels nor the dark purple bud coverings, but honest to God leaves. They're small and bright green yet, not the medium to dark green of summer, but green is good. Progress is slow this year. I was looking through some pictures on Monday and realized that when I was at The Clearing a year ago Sunday, the Ladyslippers and the Dwarf Lake Iris were up and blooming. This year there was no sign of an orchid or an iris. Ah, well, maybe that means that it'll stay warm longer into the fall. In excellent news, Durwood's doc says he definitely didn't have a pre-stroke, the doc suspects that he's got some raging sinus infection that mimicked a stroke. Whew. Now he's got some uber-antibiotics to take and then see the doc again to see if he can't get my sweet Durwood well again. That's a good thing; I can't lose my chef, you know. Plus he has to be well for our adventures in the Wild West in August. Steam train ride! Tour of Little Big Horn! Bubbling mud! Spurting geysers! Long-lost cousins! Roaming buffalo! We can't wait.

May 24--Tiffany & Company, Cup. She slid her hand across the cup's surface, the silver beads embedded in the amboyna wood were cool on her heated skin. How did she get herself into this mess? She was usually so careful not to leave herself open to any of the fortune hunters that paraded to her door but David was different. She had been sure of it. How could she be suspicious of that warm honeyed voice? "Celia?" Here he came. Even though she knew that he only cared about her money, her name on his lips made her insides melt. "Celia, it's late. When are you coming up?" He was right behind her chair. His hand slid down to her cheek, she leaned into it without conscious thought. "I'm lonely up there all by myself." Oh, the little boy tone of voice loosened her resolve. She set down the rare wooden Tiffany cup. It clattered on the table, her hands shaking with her conflicting emotions. She stood up and her breath caught at the sight of his bare chest glowing in the firelight. His brown hair was tousled and the dark-rimmed glasses made his look like a sexy professor. Maybe she was mistaken. Maybe Mr. Payne, her lawyer, was being too protective. Surely a man as handsome and wonderful as David really loved her for herself and not her money. David's warm hand wrapped around the back of her head and he drew her lips to his, catching her breath with his. Celia felt her heart begin to race and her hands lifted to his chest where she felt his heart pound in time with hers. "Oh, Celia," he said into her lips, "you're so soft and warm." Her only answer was a sigh.

Well now, that's more like it. An actual story. About bloody time. I'm off to cut a bouquet of lilacs to take to work. See ya.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sucking It Up

After walking this morning I went to the birdseed store and then broke out the vacuum. I've been waiting to vacuum until Durwood ran an errand so the dust I kicked up wouldn't bother him. His allergies have been really driving him crazy this year so I'm trying to be nice and not irritate them. He went to the store to get some fresh salmon for supper so I asked him to shop slowly so I could run around the house sucking up all the dirt and dust. You know, I don't really like vacuuming but today I didn't mind it, in fact, the dust was starting to bother me so I guess it was time. It was overcast and chilly this morning. Now it's still chilly but it's sunny. We passed a lady on the trail this monring who asked, "is it ever going to get warm?" We both shrugged and kept walking. Who knows?

May 23--Door County, The Clearing.


Cathedral of trees
barely leafed
warming in spring sunshine

Narrow aisles

along the bluff
views of water,
sky unmarred by clouds

Congregation of four
the deeper they penetrate
the sanctuary

Now I need to find out what kind of tree we saw this morning. It has leaves and needles. Anyone got a clue?

Monday, May 23, 2011

No Do-overs, Please

Last Monday Durwood called me at work and then called 911. Happily all is well. I don't want a replay of that this week. I'll accept the paycheck that's half the size it would have been, I want him to maintain his level of okay-ness, that I can deal with. Plus he promised to take me to Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands this summer and he's not getting out of it that easily. So there.

May 22--France, Limoges, Tabernacle of Cherves. Her squeal of delight when the door of the compartment sprang open still rang in her memory. Grandfather's answering warm laugh did too. "You see, cherie," he said, "sometimes there are surprises hidden where you least expect them." That first time there had been a butterscotch candy in the shallow space. As she grew older there were small gifts or notes sending her hunting for treasures too big for the niche. After Grandfather died in his sleep Aunt Juliette locked up the study and wouldn't let anyone in even though it said right in his will that Lyon was to have the tabernacle. No amount of argument, no injunction from the court could force her to change her mind, but Aunt Juliette had gotten the flu last winter and died of pneumonia. That meant Lyon was the last Talbot left and the tabernacle and every other artifact from Grandfather's past was hers. Her finger slid along the corner, she felt the jab of the tiny catch and heard the faint click of the secret compartment opening.

Okay then, that's better. I figure there's a little key in there that opens a safe deposit box with bonds or a bank book to a Swiss account. No, a Cayman account so she can go there and meet a handsome stranger. Yeah, that's it. Ah, I love a happy ending, don't you? Let's all survive the day.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I finally finished the Toes Up Socks X2 at Friday Night Knitting so I could give Zoe her needle back. Dusty showed me a Miraculously Stretchy Bind-off that she found, I used it and it was easy and very stretchy. For a while there I felt like I was locked into the knitting equivalent of digging to China. I am happy to be finished.

The Bandwagon Block #4 is zooming along. I was thrilled with myself for picking up stitches in the car on the drive up to Door County today.

I did find some bamboo and silk yarn in Spin's 40% off baskets to make a lace scarf that was one of the Free Knitting Pattern-a-Days from week before last. I couldn't believe that I didn't have any silk yarn in my stash. Well, not any of the proper weight. Naturally I forgot the pattern so I didn't remember how much I needed... luckily I bought an extra skein and will have enough.

I really needed today's escape. Perfect weather, excellent friends, wine tasting, and chocolate ice cream before it started to rain. Plus Chicken Bengali, brown rice, and fresh asparagus for supper. Durwood, I'm keeping you.

Rain! Thunder! Lightning!

And the day started out so promising. It was quickly warming up when I arrived at the appointed address to meet 3 friends for a day trip to Door Co. It was by turns sunny then foggy then sunny again and finally threatening with lightning in the distance, but we made the most of the day. We drove to The Clearing for a walk along the bluff and down to the bay. Next we shopped a bit in the gift shop then went off to lunch at the Summer Kitchen. Mmm, homemade soup and bread. The weather was so nice that we sat out on the porch to eat our lunches. We zoomed down to Sturgeon Bay to make it to Spin before they closed at 3. We made it with 5 minutes to spare but the lady wouldn't give us even 5 extra minutes. I understand that she might have had someplace else to be but she could have been nicer to us. She snapped at us that she was only giving us five minutes so we left. Our next stop was Red Oak Winery in an old grocery store in Sturgeon Bay. They have 5 wine tasting flight for $5 that we took advantage of. There was lots to choose from and I even liked some of them! Amazing since I'm usually not a wine appreciator. Guess those tasting lessons from DS are working.

May 21--France, Limoges, Tabernacle of Cherves. Lyon slid her finger along the right side of the gilded metal box feeling for the catch that opened the secret compartment. She remembered the first time she had opened it. She had been sitting on her grandfather's lap and he had guided her tiny finger.

Sorry it's so short, I went to bed and almost immediately fell into a coma. I promise to write more of this story tonight.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mowed the Last Third

Now the grass is ALL mowed. Hooray! While I was finishing up Durwood cleaned and refilled the hummingbird feeders and we hung them back out. Next I'm off to get my nails done and do a little shopping before we all go to Shawano, Mom too, for DIL1's grandma's memorial. I bought a wildflower field guide yesterday that can double as a doorstop. It's for all of North America since I thought I might see a flower or two in August when we're out West but, man, is it heavy. I did find some of the flowers I took pictures of yesterday and I'll be looking more up but there are pages and pages of gorgeous pictures. I love field guides. When I'm grown up I want to have one of each just so I can sit in my dotage and page through remembering all the things I've seen. Durwood seems to be back to normal, no more scary phone calls. Next I need to get some annuals to plant and get the fountain up and running. Our renter babysits her granddaughter, Boo Boo, who's about 3 years old. She's going to love playing in it.

May 20--Indonesia, Women's Ceremonial Skirt. Nusa sat outside the women's hut in a shaft of morning sunlight sewing shells and beads onto the skirt she would wear to the upcoming ceremony. She had spent days sorting the shells to get enough that were perfect. Auntie Jella said that the spirits would not be pleased if the skirt wasn't perfect. Displeased gods could really mess up a person's life. Nusa's older sister, Nessa, had not worked on her sewing until the last minute and she ended up marrying that cross-eyed Lar who could barely fish and couldn't hit the ground with his spear. Oh, he was good at making babies on Nessa but he could barely feed them.

I don't know, it just came. It was late, after 11 even, and I was tired.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ah, Spring!

That's the reason I'm late posting today, spring came. It's 75! Can you believe it? Me neither. Skully and I walked 3 miles this morning and then I mowed 2/3 of the lawn. After lunch Durwood had another appointment at the hospital and then we did a little grocery shopping. Now I'm doing this and then I'm off to the bookstore to find a wildflower field guide. Tonight's knitting too so it's going to be a busy day. I don't really mind. Oh, I got most of my winter things put away and hauled most of the summer things up. Sorting out needs to happen.

May 19--Egypt, Lotiform Cup. Nur kicked the wheel into motion and dipped her hands into the water skin hanging at her side. She dripped the water over the lump of clay on the wheel and began to form a cup. Her thumbs pressed and pulled to make the bowl of the vessel, drawing the clay up, letting it slide through her hands. She was the only woman working in the street of potters and had earned her place at the end due to the artistry of her carvings and the colors of her glazes. Rames was her assistant. He ground the minerals for the glazes and prepared the clay for her to work. Some thought that he was her man. The wives of the other potters treated her as if she were looking to steal their husbands and the men treated her as if she would tumble into bed with anyone. She thought it might be easier to find a husband than to deal with all of the gossip floating around the neighborhood but she didn't want a husband and didn't have time for one.

It's a great day, go out and enjoy it!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Knitting makes time spent in boring or stressful situations go faster. I used it like that for a couple days this week.

First I finished the warshrag I keep in the po
cket of my car door because I didn't grab any other knitting when I raced to meet Durwood. Good idea putting that little bag in the door, isn't it?

I worked on the Socks X2 and I'm up to the cuff ribbing. I didn't take their picture because I suspect I'll be finishing them either today or tomorrow and then they'll have their photo shoot. Rest assured that my fingers were busy knitting all the time for those two days of waiting and wondering.

And of course, I had to start the next one so I'm always ready. Constant vigilance! What if a boat sails through and the bridge goes up when I'm going to work? I need something to keep me from wasting time.

As predicted, as soon as I finished Bandwagon Block #3, I cast o
n Bandwagon Block #4. This one has royal purple, just a tiny bit, and then many shades of green. I think I'm really going to like this one in the mix.

Now it's time for me to go read the paper, have breakfast, and get ready for work. You have a good day, now, you hear?


OMG, I can't believe that it's overcast and drizzly again today. Have we angered some weather god? Do we need to dance around a bonfire under the full moon? Oh, drat, that was Monday night, now we'll have to wait a whole month. I meant to look it up on Monday night but I was a little distracted... anyway, the May full moon is called the Milk Moon or the Dragon Moon, Planting Moon or Panther Moon. Take your pick from Colonial American, Chinese, Cherokee, or Choctaw. To Celtics it's Bright Moon, for the English it's Hare Moon, and Neo Pagan's call it Grass Moon. There. Now you're armed for whichever bent you are drawn to. I know there's an app for phases of the moon, I need to download it so I'm on this in better time next month. I do love me a full moon. And my iPod Touch. Thanks, Dusty!

May 18--Andreas Achenbach, Sunset after a Storm on the Coast of Sicily. The men in the skiff were relieved when the sun broke though the clouds. The storm blew out to sea leaving the water sloshing against the rocky shore. It had come on hard and fast, a strong offshore wind pushed the water high on the waves and rain fell like bullets, stinging their faces as they rowed toward the narrow inlet between the jagged boulders in the shallows. Morgan's beard streamed with rain and every time he called out an order the rain threatened to drown him where he stood in the stern and the wind snatched the words from his lips.

Well, I'm glad I'm not out there in that storm. Mist I can handle. Survive your day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My Nails Are Too Long

Must be time to go to the Vietnamese nail salon and get them filled and filed. How come when I have things to type they're always long? And how come nail salons are nearly exclusively the purview of the Vietnamese? Is there some sort of cultural imperative toward acrylic nails? My brain feels scrambled today so I make no promises as to the coherence of what follows.

May 17 (Happy 3rd Anniversary, DS & DIL1!)--France, Watch, Young Louis XIV on Horseback. Time was old at my grandmother's house. She lived with tings from the past, nothing modern made its way into her life without a battle. When Mama got worried over her being out there all alone and insisted on having a telephone put in "for emergencies, Mama, just for emergencies," Grandmama gave in with poor grace. She had the telephone company man install the hated black intrusion, as she called it, in the smallest, stuffiest closet in the hall and no matter how loud or long it rang you couldn't hear it from four steps away. There was no gas stove or electric lights. In the pantry there was an ice box, a wooden cabinet with thick sides that needed a big b lock of ice in one compartment to keep food cold. Getting the ice was Uncle Leo's job. He lived on his wife's family farm down the road and come over on Saturday mornings with the block wrapped in two burlap sacks int he back of his midnight blue Ford pickup. He'd drop the tailgate with a clang and rattle of chains saying, "Ma, I don't know why you don't get power out here." She'd stand with her arms folded saying, "So you have a reason to visit your mother every week. I bet if I didn't need ice I'd never see you." She'd turn to go into the house to take the tiny bit of the previous week's ice out of the box and call over her shoulder. "Don't forget to pour some lime down the outhouse before you leave too." Why couldn't she get indoor plumbing like everyone else, I wondered. I hated the outhouse.

That's all, folks! Time to go home from work. I was here from 10-5 and had 2 customers. Two!

Sorry For The Radio Silence

We had a little excitement at our house but now all is well and back in place as it should be. I'm beginning to despair that we'll ever have spring. It looks like spring most of the time but it sure doesn't feel like spring most of the time. Yesterday was gorgeous, of course I was stuck sitting in a hospital room with Durwood, but it was sunny and warmish when we made our escape around 6:30 PM. Today it's overcast and I'd be surprised if it was much over 50. It's supposed to be in the high 60s this time of year. Good thing I haven't planted the garden yet because we had a frost warning the last 2 nights. We are not amused. Hey, if you haven't read The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, I highly recommend it. It's supposed to be for Young Adults but I really enjoyed it. Next up is one of the bazillion James Patterson thrillers co-written with someone I've never heard of. Man, that guy is prolific. I saw an interview with him on CBS Sunday Morning a while back and he said he's got so many story ideas that he can't begin to write them all so that's why he takes on co-writers. Hey, James, pick me! Actually I like to read those exciting stories but suck at writing them. I don't like conflict in my life and what I think is conflict in my stories is nothing but a bump in the road. I need to get in touch with my inner aggressor, I guess. Any clues how?

May 16--Balthus, The Mountain.

Up on the mountain
they all have canes,
like a convention of
carnival barkers.
Young people in twos
or groups hike up
to meadows for picnics.
Lunch in a canvas backpack,
wine or beer
cooled in a stream,
a nap in the shade
before hiking back to town.
Home before dark.

All is well, or nearly well, at Casa de Us. You can stop worrying for now.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday, Payday

That's how they get me to show up, you know, they pay me on Monday. In the olden days before Mr. & Mrs. Boss bought the store I got paid cash. It was very tidy with no check cashing bother but now I make more money and never work weekends, or seldom anyway, so I guess it's better. The wind has died down a bit and it's sunny but it sure isn't warm--the wind chill's 35! It's the middle of May, people, MAY. Why is it still so cold, huh? I'm confused. D'you think I'll still be in long jeans and a hoodie in July when I go to The Clearing? I was thinking I'd get to take my swimsuit and some shorts but the way it's going maybe not.

May 15--Don Simone Camaldolese, Initial C with Saint Lawrence. "Larry, stop trying to be a comedian," the shift foreman said. There were eight men crammed into the elevator cage as it sank into the mine shaft. The cage went down fast enough that they had to equalize the pressure in their ears on the way. By the time they were halfway through the fifteen minute ride the only visible light came from the single bulb on the cage's ceiling. Larry stood directly beneath it and once again he launched into his routine. He had a string of bad jokes and one-liners that everyone knew were his way of covering being scared by the long, dark ride underground but every one of his crew mates were ready to do almost anything to shut him up. The foreman's teeth were clenched and his fists bunched. He began to turn toward Larry when the light went out and the cage jerked to a stop. Oh shit, he thought, and dropped his lunch pail.

I'm glad I'm not working in a mine today--or any day for that matter. Stay hydrated!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Windy Day Doings

It was a crazy windy day today. Durwood and I spent a couple happy hours poring over maps and guidebooks figuring out our route to Yellowstone in the summer and finding things to see. We want to see museums and battlefields, take tours and a steam train ride. We're also already happily squabbling over what to take along and I've started loading music onto the iPod Touch so we can sing along while we drive.

While watching paper and cardboard boxes blow past the window and the hummingbirds cavort around the feeders, I finished the third Bandwagon Block. It's the odd one, the rest will be crosses. I have no illusions ab
out casting on the next one tomorrow. I will.

I was trolling on the web last week for patterns to sew simple bags and found a list of 45 bags, one of which is a cotton replica of the "t-shirt" bags you get at the grocery and everywhere else. It has a pocket on the outside so you can turn the whole folded thing inside out and store it in the pocket. I was intrigued so I dug out some cool seashell fabric and made one. It's a bit thicker than I had anticipated but I like it. It was fun and simple to make.

Sunshine and Gales of Wind

It's so windy (how windy is it?) it's so windy that our wind chime blew apart, the patio chairs tumbled away (I corralled them), and the rug by the door was in the middle of the lawn this morning. Needless to say, we're not going bike riding along the river today. I thought we might go kite flying but it's probably too windy for the cheap little kites we have. Guess I'll stay home and sew a little.

May 14--Don Simone Camaldolese, Initial C with St. Lawrence.

He holds a window
this puzzled-looking saint.
He holds it one-handed
as if to say, look here!
I will show you things.
He is richly robed,
the white silk
gleams in the light
streaming through,
glinting from the gold
braid and embroidered griffins.
Lawrence, you saint
of comedians, librarians, students,
miners, tanners, chefs, roasters,
take me through
your window.

Happy day!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I'm Glad I Mowed Yesterday...

because it's rainy. Again. It better not be rainy tomorrow because some of my friends and I want to take our first 2011 bike ride. I planned to slug around today anyway so I don't really mind the rain, it would have been nice to sit outside but that's not vital to the successful accomplishment of my day's plans. Hmm, maybe I'll go down and sew a shopping bag I found the pattern for since I can't play outside. I'm having fun playing with my new/used iPod Touch. I found an app (a free one) called Ant Smasher and showed the knitters last night. Soon there were 3 more touch screen devices emitting those squishy sounds. Too funny. My favorite use for it is to load in books on CD so I can listen while I knit or drive and I plan to load a lot of big band music and 50s rock for our drive out west in August. I have a feeling that radio out there will be country and not much else.

May 13--England, Opus Anglicanum (chasuble).

Red silk velvet
with gold and pearls
to the glory of God--
or the man?
Priestly devotion
begun in serge
and linen
comes to a pinnacle
of ostentation
that takes the place
of faith.

And with that I complete all my "should"s for the day. I'm off to goof off.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Now Here's Today's Post

I'm such a goober but I didn't want to put two days' writing in one post this time. I want each day's writing separate so my Germanic core can be pleased with the nice orderly row of postings. Pitiful. It's still not reliably warm here. It was nice for a few days, warmer and sunny, but that's evidently too much nice for the likes of us. It's overcast, rainy, and barely 54 and supposed to barely break 50 the rest of the weekend. Isn't it supposed to be nicer in May? Didn't we open our pool on April 15 one year about 20 years ago? Now we don't even have a pool but I can tell you it'd still be closed if we did. Durwood's making chicken bengali tonight with brown rice and some fresh veggie and I can't wait. We bought the best, most flavorful curry powder at Penzey's so it's "to die for" good. Yum. And I picked up the last book of The Hunger Games trilogy on CD from the library and I'm loading it into my iPod even as we speak. Ooh, I can't wait to find out what happens.

May 12--Filippo Negroli, Burgonet (helmet). The contrast of steel and the fluidity, the delicacy of the design was what caught his eye. Jay loved spending hours in junk shops and antique stores. he pockets weren't deep enough for shopping in the fancy shops. He preferred the ones with stock piled in corners and drawers shoved under tables instead of boxes. The unusual always caught his eye and the helmet surely qualified. It had to be 16th century Italian; the mix of utility and art was one of the hallmarks of its age.

Okay, peoples, I'm off to dress (no, I'm not sitting here in my birthday suit, I just slipped on a sundress after my shower), eat supper and go to Friday Night Knitting.


I'm so sorry I didn't post yesterday but I forgot my notebook when I went to work and then when I got home (after 9 PM) Blogger was in the shop so I couldn't sign in. I tried and tried and tried, until 11:30 I tried but had no luck. I was up early (6:30 AM) trying again but still no luck. Now that I've spent most of the day helping Mom go through her clothes and taking 6 big bags to Goodwill, and coming home to mow the lawn, take the clippings to the yard waste, get gas for the lawnmower, and shower, I can finally get on and post. My neighbor and renter, Mario, a young man from Guatemala was mowing his side of the lawn and offered to help me when he finished. Of course I said yes, then we took all the clippings and he borrowed the weed eater and trimmed. Wasn't that nice of him?

May 11--Vincent van Gogh, Oleanders.

Like a held breath
the book lies next to the
vase of oleanders
waiting for your return.
Dust motes rotate
in the shaft of sunlight
set in motion
by your departure.
Your fragrance lingers
around the broken-spined book,
the soiled tablecloth.
Too many hours
spent apart.
Too much longing
for one lifetime.

I'd forgotten how good mowing makes me feel. And it smells great too.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I don't know how many other Virgos are reading this but today's hit me square between the eyes. Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept.22). You definitely have your own mind. Many will try to predict your next move; none will succeed. I totally burst out laughing when I read that. It fits me to a T. I'm pressed for time today so we'll segue right into the writing. It's a work day, you know.

May 10--Southern Netherlands, The Unicorn in Captivity. Lilith loved to play in Aunt Cele's library. The floor was covered by a thick red rug with a diamond of white and gold flowers in the center and the walls were covered with shelves of books, except for the wall between the tall windows. That wall held the unicorn tapestry. When she was little Lilith cried that someone had put the unicorn in a pen but now that she was eleven she understood that it showed a fantasy. She had decided to call him Ulysses and she talked to him when she was in there going through the books. She loved the big old atlases that Aunt Cele owned. She especially liked the drawings of sea monsters eating ships that decorated the edges of the oldest maps. She had started copying the flowers that surrounded Ulysses on the tapestry and seeing if she could identify them. By the middle of the summer she was on her second notebook and she had quite a few specimens drying between sheets of newspaper pressed between the pages of a few of the heavier tomes. That afternoon she pulled out an old dusty volume with beautiful hand-colored pictures of wildflowers, each plate protected by tissue paper, and tucked inside was a folded square of waxed paper with five small brown seeds in it. They felt oddly heavy for their size. She looked up at the unicorn and said, "I think we should plant these, Ulysses, and see what grows."

Lovely child. Nothing good will grow from those seeds. You can bet on it. Gotta run.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


I had a brainstorm last Friday night when I was knitting on the Bandwagon Block #3 so I followed my instincts and made the fourth mitered square part of the cross with flipped colors. I considered doing one of each color that way but think I'm only doing one of the twelve--and it's this one. I'll be doing the background in the creamy wool as dictated in the pattern. I like it.

I've been plugging away at the latest ballband warshrag that lives in the pocket of my car door while waiting for my chiro appointments. I like the randomness of it.

We've got 2 pairs of orioles visiting our feeders! They chase the house finches away from the jelly and jump around in the apple tree, the males chasing the females, of course. It is spring, after all. They're so bright and orange, we love watching them.

Durwood saw the first hummingbird at the nectar yesterday and I saw one today at lunch.

While making my lunch I glanced out to see if any orioles were here and saw a blue bird at the feeder in back. I hurried to look it up and discovered that it's an Indigo Bunting. I hope it comes back.

I'd like to spend the rest of the month sitting knitting and watching for birds. It would be very relaxing. I'd probably be bored to tears after a day or two but I'd like to try. Maybe.

Here's a picture of the feast David made me for Mother's Day. Mmm, it was delicious! In the iron skillet is a frittata like dish of eggs, cheese, bacon, and hash browns we call Texas Breakfast, then toasted Italian sesame bread, and a fruit cup of strawberries and mango. He can come over and fix me breakfast any day!

Durwood went to Woodman's while I was at the chiro to get small, cheaper oranges for the orioles and happened to be there when they were putting out some "reduced for quick sale" fruit.
He bought a few apricots in a bag for 79 cents. Just a few. They're still pretty hard so we've got them in a big bowl to ripen a few days. Mm, once they're ripe they'll be pretty darned tasty on the pound cake he made the other day.

Chasing My Own Tail

That's the way I'm feeling lately. Today's my day off and I haven't sat down to relax once. I've walked, learned to download apps to my new iPod Touch, shopped with Durwood, fixed the bike rack straps and lifted the bike down from its hooks, shopped for a DIL2 birthday gift, gone to the chiropractor, and now I've finally found time to blog. *pant, pant* I am not mowing today. Not. Two pairs of orioles have started eating our orange halves, grape jelly, and oriole nectar. Two! Yesterday Durwood saw a hummingbird at the feeder for the first time this spring. And when I was making my lunch I saw an indigo bunting on the feeder. It's very blue. I hope it comes back. I have to recommend the book, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It's the first book of a trilogy and is classified as a young adult book but I listened to the first one last week, now I have the second one and I can't stop listening. I'm riveted. I've got the third and final book reserved at the library and I'm first in line so it should arrive anytime. Yay.

May 9--Claude Monet, Regatta at Sainte-Adresse.

Sailboats on the bay
mimic clouds above,
white on blue,
white over blue.
Invisible winds steer
both like pairs of skaters
waltzing to Strauss.
Spectators on the sand
cheer their favorites
under parasols and straw hats.

I'm going to look for more birds.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Not Having Much Luck

staying awake once I hit the bed these last two nights. Saturday night I didn't even get my notebook opened before I was zonked off and last night I vaguely remember Durwood telling me to take off my glasses, he already had my notebook and pencil out of my hand. Maybe it's all the fresh air I breathed those two NICE days. This weekend was the first springy type weather we've had all year so far and I made the most of it, spending as much of them both outside as much as possible. I think that one male oriole has adopted our feeders as his. He kept chasing house finches away from "his" bowl of grape jelly or orange half and had a few sips from the hummingbird feeders. It's about time. We've been trying to entice orioles to the yard for 4 years now with limited success. I'm glad I talked to an old guy with a table full of birdfeeders at a craft show and he said it had taken 3 or 4 years for them to attract them so I was willing to be patient. And now it's raining. I thought the mechanic next door was working on a motorcycle. Turned out to be thunder.

Mary 8--Annibale Carracci, A Domestic Scene. "Mama, he's been in my room again." Lisa stood with her arms crossed over her skinny chest, anger in every tense muscle. She frowned at Paulo who stood in front of Mama trying to hide in her apron. Mama straightened using her balled fists to ease her back. She put gentle hands on her son's shoulders and turned him to face her. "You need to give Lisa a it more privacy, caro. Go play with Marco." She sent him on his way with a light swat on his bottom.

I'll try to stay awake tonight.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sorry I'm Late

I was just about ready to get the Kumquat (my laptop) fired up around 8:00 this morning when I saw an oriole land on the crook of the hummingbird feeder. A scout come to check out our offerings! He sat on one perch and bent around to sip nectar from the next port. I hurried downstairs to get the oriole feeder and the parts of copper one. Then I made 2 cups of sugar water tinted orange and, while it cooled, rescued the half-rotten orange from the trash so I could put the good part out with the grape jelly. Of course the first few places I chose to pound in the pole for the copper feeder had a big rock or piece of cement 6" under the surface so I had to find a different place, then the nectar feeder needed to be on a different hook so I had to cut wire ties and shift things around. Needless to say I had barely enough time to shower, dress, and bolt my breakfast before driving off to the dive shop. I've had just enough phone calls and customers to interfere with the timely posting of this writing but now it's quiet so in the last forty minutes of my workday, here I am.

May 6--Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kuba Peoples, Bushoong Group Ceremonial Skirt (Ntchak). Ren tugged on the edge of the skirt. He felt exposed even though he had spent most of his short life naked. Where he lived in the jungle along the big river it was too hot and wet for clothes. His mama had a dress once that she kept for special ceremonies but when she wanted to wear it to the Kuba meeting it was so full of holes from bugs chewing on it and rot from being damp she threw it away and Pap used it to wrap up a sore on the cow's leg. Ren was turning thirteen and it was time for him to start on the path to manhood in the tribe. He had spent afternoons sitting in the yard of Old Boi learning the songs and the hunting stories and then Boi's son, Jue had taught him and his age-mates the dance of the hunt. Tonight was their turn to dance.

There. A little story for you. I wanted more but sleep came instead of words. Soon I'll get to go outside in the sunshine. Maybe I'll even ride my bike. I'll for sure ride the stationary one.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sore Knees

How come you have to feel worse to feel better? I started seeing a new chiro a couple weeks ago and she tells me she's helping but my knees are a whole lot achier than they were and they both hurt now instead of only one. Hrumpf. I am not amused. Dusty and I walked about 2 1/2 miles on the Fox River Trail today and my knees protested the whole way with my hips chiming in toward the end. It was good to be walking along the river again, tho. We saw goslings, white pelicans, some pretty little white flowers, and an oriole singing away high in a tree. I loved being out in the sun and breeze again. Later I'm off to Mom's to put out her oriole feeder. She called me all excited yesterday after seeing one on her balcony railing. Her 95-yr.-old neighbor Angie told her that's the scout, he's coming to check things out before all of them come. Whatever. I'm going over in a bit to do my daughterly duty. For Mother's Day I paid for a gas fill-up and I told her I'd come over a couple days this month and help her clear out the clothes she doesn't wear anymore and take them to Goodwill for her. She doesn't need "stuff," she's got too much like the rest of us, I need to spend more time with her, that's a better gift for both of us.

May 5--Charles Caryl Coleman, Apple Blossoms.

The careless handful
of branches struggle
to stand upright
in a too-wide vase.
Their very presence,
their haphazard arrangement
speaks of the length
of winter,
telegraphs how eager
she is to welcome
the change,
to let the sun and
soft breezes chisel away
the crusts of a hard
long winter.

I hope you're not minding that I'm writing poetry these days. It feels right. Maybe my brain's shrinking? For a long time all I could write were novels, now all I'm writing is verse. Something's shrinking. Happy Friday.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Now It's Feeling Like Spring

There has finally been a shift in the air so that it feels like spring might finally be on the way. I've been trying to remember if we've had leaves before now in years past but can't. Hell, I can't really remember what I had for supper two days ago unless I try and step back one meal at a time (cod fillet baked on a bed of homemade salsa with lime juice, rice, and fresh broccoli or green beans, I forget which but it was green). I hadn't been having too much trouble sticking to healthy eating with no sweets until last night when I went to Walmart late. I kept thinking I should get a candy bar or some sweetie to eat in the car on the way home, but I didn't. That feeling, that habit isn't going to go away without a fight so I have to be strong. I'm kind of achy from working out so I'm taking this morning off but will do a few miles on the stationary bike tonight after work. Maybe this weekend I'll get out my real bike and go to the trail, that'd be fun if the weather cooperates. That means I have to wrestle the bike rack back on my car tomorrow. Hmm, maybe I can do it today at work.

May 4--Thomas Sully, Child Asleep (The Rosebud)

Long ago days
of innocent sleep
tousled hair
pinked cheeks
skin like silk
rosy pout of a mouth
I watched them
as they slept
awed at the perfection
that grew from
imperfect me
by the enormity
of parenting infants
into people

Happy Cinco de Mayo! I'm jealous of Dusty who lives in a very Hispanic part of town. I wish my neighbors were having a party and I imagine all the delicious smells as they cook their festive foods. One of these days I'm going to live in a more diverse neighborhood.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Good Day Sunshine!

It's sunny, sunny, sunny today! Too bad I have to work all day but it'll still be sunny and I can look at it and walk around in it after work. Maybe it'll even warm up to 60. Oooh, wouldn't that be lovely? I'm happily back on the straight and narrow eating-wise and I'm working out regularly too. I'll admit that it was hard not to turn into the ice cream cone stores I passed on my errands yesterday, and I was amazed that my regular routes pass them quite often, but I was tough and resisted temptation. Yay, me. I feel better, except for that knee I hyper-extended last month which still hurts and actually hurts more (along with other assorted body parts) because I'm going to the chiropractor twice a week to make it better. Soon I'll be alllll better, I'm sure of it, or something else will hurt or ache more and I'll get used to the knee thing. Oh! I got asked to do some more interviews for The Clearing's member newsletter and I said yes so, those who were concerned, I'm not totally abandoning writing after all. Mom told me yesterday that my grandma would be proud because she could write well, that made me feel good.

May 3--Egypt, New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, Journey to Abydos, Tomb of Pairy.

The relentless Ra
beats breath out,
lungs string to draw
in the hot wet air.
The funerary barge glides
across the Nile,
east to west with the orb,
following the natural
arc of life.
A relative of the Queen
begins his journey
in the underworld.
She follows, her kohl-lined
eyes fixed on the oarsmen's
rippling backs in the sun.
She thinks of life,
its fascination in the face
of eternity.

Life and death. I'm always eager to celebrate life after a funeral, aren't you? I figure that's what wakes are all about. Life.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

For Who?

Forsythia! It's blooming and it's so pretty. When I glance out the bedroom window I can see just a bit of its branches against the brilliant green of the neighbor's backyard and it looks like it's plugged it. So bright and cheerful. Maybe I'll cut a few branches for the table just to remind me that it really is spring.

I finished the second Bandwagon Block last night--and immediately cast on the next one. I'm not even pretending that I'm putting it aside
anymore. *sigh* I'm such a yarn slut.

And Again

I swear, one of these days I'm going to find out where the sun lives and go there. I want the sun to shine on me more than once a month. I'm sure people who live in constantly sunny places get tired of it but... I'd like to try it. It wouldn't even have to be warm all the time, I don't mind chilly or even cold, just sunny most of the time. I want to walk to the bank and around the block (a mile) this morning, and I will, but it'd be a lot more pleasant if it were sunny. See? I'm not greedy, I don't want the sun so I can go to the beach or get a tan, I just want to cast a shadow when I walk. A mourning dove committed suicide by flying into our patio door yesterday, that's how depressingly gray it is around here. It's supposed to be in the low 40s again today--it's MAY, people, I know we joke about living in the tundra but that's supposed to be a joke, not reality. Wah!

May 2--Edgar Degas, Woman with a Towel.

Not a Ballerina

She rises from her bath
aglow in the sunny room
red hair glinting
She rubs her skin pink
with a worn gray-white towel
lifts her breasts like
weighing fruit
This view over roof tops
brings her to my eyes
she is mine to possess
with only glances
never hands or mouth
or heart

I was certain that old Degas had never painted anyone other than a ballerina or six and here's proof. He also painted a naked lady! Way to go, Ed. I'm off to the bank.

Monday, May 2, 2011

In Which I'm Crafty

Remember that I bought those "tubes" of fabric the other day? I know you do. Well, I found this tutorial, ironed my tubes, cut some strips, and got to work. The making was not without flaw, I quilted the lining with the front and batting so I had to cut and install another lining piece (good thing it's an old sheet cut up) and then "someone" decided to put in a pocket and it ended up opening the wrong way. I solved that problem by turning up the other end and sliding the manual into the upside down pocket to act as a flap. Durwood says it still needs a piece of Velcro which it will get tomorrow or tonight, but I'm pleased.

I went to Mom's to help her fill out one of those endless forms for rent assistance. Honestly, they want to know everything and none of the questions are in plain English. The two of us together finally decided that we'd done an okay job and will copy everything we can lay our hands on that looks official and let them sort it out.

Once I got home I went out into the garden with the pitchfork (mwa-ha-ha-ha, I love using the pitchfork) and dug out the I-don't-know-what that had roots to China. It looked like skinny rhubarb but flat and the root was as thick as a broomstick. It broke off about a foot underground so I'm afraid it'll come back but at least it's gone for now. But I got a happy surprise when I looked around. It's the first asparagus spear of the year! (It's the purplish thumb-sized spear on the left, the others are last year's ends.) Thanks, Dad, for digging up roadside asparagus and planting it in the garden. It's still going strong.

I worked on the 2nd Bandwagon Blanket block and nearly finished it last night but didn't take its picture. I'll show you next time. I did finish the latest preemie hat, and this time I used actual baby-ish colors. It's rather cute, isn't it? I do love this pattern. Maybe one day I'll have a handy baby to wear one.


Ah, honestly, I'm so over this chilly, windy and drab weather. It blew like crazy yesterday and today it's supposed to creep into the low 40s. Can you believe it? It's May, for cryin' out loud. Come on, warm up. I'm tired of my winter coat. I need to give it a rest so I can like it again in the late fall, LATE fall. I haven't even put the snowblower away yet, although I probably will tomorrow, if it isn't pouring rain, that is. The forsythia bloomed so that little part of the yard looks like spring and the grass is green, the bulbs are blooming, but the sky and the temperature is just not cooperating. *sigh* I'd better quit complaining and post last night's meager production so I can go to work and keep the world safe from scuba diving.

May 1--Retable with Christ, Saint John the Baptist, and Saint Margaret. Josh walked down the dusty path and through the woods to pick up his cousin John and John's little sister Margaret. Josh's mom and their mom were sisters and best friends. The children got along but Josh got tired of having Mags around all the time. Not that she wasn't fun to hang with but she was a girl and sometimes he just wanted to hand with guys. Today they were going fishing and that seemed like a guy thing to Josh.

Paltry, I know, but that's all there was last night. Enjoy your day.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hooray, Hooray, the First of May...

...outdoor $#%&ing starts today! Well, according to my dad it does. You could have knocked me over with a feather when he said that to me and I was a married woman by then, but Dad didn't indulge in spirits and I'd never heard him tell a risque joke in my whole life. It made the little couplet all the funnier because he said it and with such glee that I still giggle just thinking about it. I went out in the windy but sunny backyard this morning to pick up a few blown in trashes and spied the first asparagus spear poking out a bit. Yay! A pair of chickadees have moved into the flamingo birdhouse outside the kitchen window so there's a lot of busy-ness going on out there. Lots of back and forth, lots of cheeping and scolding when I'm out there in the way. I think Durwood will have no trouble at all enticing one of them to eat from his hand this summer.

April 30--Andrea da Giona, Retable with Christ, Saint John the Baptist, and Saint Margaret.

Smoke from centuries of candles
stain the once-white marble
golden where it gathered in the lofty
stillness of the sacristy.
The penitent and the pious both
lit candles to speed
their prayers to God's ears.

I think I just figured out why I've been frustrated with my writing these last couple of months, I'm stuck being too literal. I'm writing about the picture rather than from the picture. Feels like I've got a few internal knots that need untying.