Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Am Knitting Too

I'll have you know that I voluntarily vacuumed today. I vacuumed the carpet in my sewing area in the basement--and then I made another skirt, and I used the machine Mom gave me a couple weeks ago to get used to it.

I have been knitting, though. I got a free pattern when I bought a couple skeins of yarn
from Spin last weekend on my way home from The Clearing. I cast on last Sunday and couldn't get past Row 2. Row 2!! I knit and ripped, knit and ripped until I flung it from me in frustration. I got smart on Monday and personal messaged the pattern's designer on Ravelry. She got right back to me that there was an error in the pattern and she'd send me an email copy. Hooray!

I tried to finish the Baby Socks for Tanya's baby-to-be before Friday Night Knitting because it was the last Friday she'd be there before the baby arrived. Didn't make it. I had to show
her the single completed sock and promise the second before the baby was born. Didn't make that either. I got the leg knitted sitting in the ER yesterday waiting to find out that Durwood was fine, but didn't get the heel, etc. done. I visited with Mom and sat with Durwood after supper not knitting. Baby Clara Beth lost patience and got herself borned yesterday evening during a storm. Babies, they're just not reliable.

Haircut? Check.

That's it for "have to do"s today. Now I'm on to "want to do"s. I got DS & DIL1s bathroom valance cut out, the short sides hemmed, and the box pleats pinned in. I decided to let it marinate overnight and tackle it today when I'm fresh and a few more of my brain cells are awake. Then I've got 3 more skirts cut out to sew up. I'm hoping to get at least one put together today. The first one I made last week is getting a lot of wear. Dang you, Lala, for setting me on this path; I could be knitting or making sawdust instead of sewing. It must be sewing season, though, my beautician's 12 year old daughter is trying to learn to sew on a machine neither of them knows how to use so I found a place they can take it for a tune-up and some lessons, and sent a link to where a lot of young people are designing their own clothes. If you're into sewing, check it out. I stumbled on it a few weeks ago linked through a blog and am excited about what I saw. Okay, I'm getting on with this so I can go into the basement and make sewing. You know I'm serious because I'm taking the vacuum down with me to suck up all the sawdust that's tracked on the carpet in the craft area.

July 30--India, Water Pipe Base. Neely squeezed between a dresser and a stack of tables to get to the back of the antique shop in Glendale. It was a stretch to call this mishmash of junk, collectibles, and just enough real antiques to warrant the name in a small rural town trying to lure tourists off the interstate five miles east. Neely and her best friend Rae had driven down from the small industrial city where they lived a couple hours north to check out a llama farm with a yarn shop in the farmyard and decided to visit Glendale too. They had browsed a bead shop in the old mercantile and a quilt shop in what had been a hardware store with never-ending extensions and little rooms that led off each other like a maze. By then they were ready for lunch and found a small cafe with mismatched tables and chair set under huge trees hung with candles in jars and metal sculptures that twirled in the breeze. Their waitress told them that everything had come from Uncle Louie's Antiques at the south end of First Street. They agreed to investigate what Uncle Louie had to offer right after lunch.

To be continued...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I Need a Manicure But Have to Work

Do you think I could get a house call? Or a shop call? Yeah, probably not. I'll just have to deal with longer, scruffy looking nails until I can zip into the salon one evening next week after work. Work, ugh, but paycheck, yay. I got a couple more skirts cut out yesterday using the nice big tables in the back room at work. Tomorrow I have to sew up a valance for DS & DIL1's upstairs bathroom. I hear DIL1's getting a little antsy for it, but I didn't have the exact measurements for the rod for a while and then haven't really had time. I'll cut it out today and maybe start sewing, get it done tomorrow, and take it over for them to hang either tomorrow night or Monday. Did I tell you that I got to pet Henny the other evening? I stopped over to see their new kitchen (it's gorgeous!) and we went out to see the grand-chickens. DS let them out of the coop and once they'd settled down a bit, caught Henny, upended her and I got to pet her. She so soft! DS says he's ready for them to start earning their keep, so far all they do is eat and poop. They're still too young to lay eggs, DIL's friend says September or October. I can't wait to eat a fresh egg.

July 29--John Singer Sargent, Spanish Fountain. Delia trailed her fingers in the warm, foamy water of the Spanish Fountain. The sun turned the droplets spraying from the cherub's open mouth to diamonds in the morning light. In her lap her fingers curled in to crumple Leo's letter. She had received it the day before and hadn't believed the words. After a restless night in her narrow hostel bunk she wasn't sure she had read the words right, even though she must have read them twenty times. He had fallen out of love with her, he wrote, and into love with some limp little senorita named Luisa. Delia could imagine her doe eyes and olive skin, her sleek black hair and her plump hands all touching Delia's Leo. Tears glittered in her eyes but she wiped them away with angry swipes. That bastard, he had led her on with sweet words and wine. He had lured her into his bed only to throw her away when he got to Spain for a summer semester. Well, two could play that game. Hadn't that Norwegian (what was his name--Sven? Olaf? something Nordic anyway) asked her out for a beer tonight? Maybe he'd be up for more than a beer.

Hell hath no fury... Men are so clueless. Enjoy your day off, I have to work (slumps dejectedly) all day.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Oh, Poor Me

It's Friday--and I have to work. *sigh* I must think of my paycheck, which is in the money bag in the shop's safe and is bigger, a lot bigger, than my usual one. And I wish I'd gone to bed an hour earlier last night but I got hooked by the temptation to watch the next episode of Brothers & Sisters on Netflix and to knit another few rows on the shawl I cast on after supper. I need two extra bodies and pairs of hands. I want to sew. I want to knit. I want to whip the workshop in the basement into shape and make something with wood. And I think I'm getting a cold. Arrrgh.

July 28--Pierre-Louis Pierson, Scherzo di Follia. "Peek a boo, I see you," she says. Her words recall playing with a baby but there's nothing like that innocence in her eyes. She's peering through a frame with a bare smile in her visible eye and her lips are slightly curved. She has masses of hair tumbling over her shoulders, pearls around her neck, and a ring aimed at the camera. Even though you can't be certain, I know she's nude. I don't know how I know, but I'm sure about it. It's a feeling. I get the feeling too that as soon as he released the shutter they both dissolved into laughter, which quickly devolved into something completely different. The hussy.

Well, at least I wrote. I'm off to the salt mines.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Remember I said that my roomie Lala wore skirts in the scorching heat and looked cool last week? I showed you all the fabric I bought on Tuesday to make some for me. Well, despite Mrs. Boss being at the shop for about 5 hours yesterday I managed to lay out and cut out a couple (right under her very nose!) and I got one sewed up last night. So that you don't think I have suddenly become organized or sane, I'll confess to not going down to sew until after 9 PM so that it was nearly 11:30 when I came up with a completed skirt. It still needs a tweak or two at the waist and the pockets I added need to drop down an inch but it's a nice, old (1989) easy Simplicity pattern for skirts and pants. I looked through all the pattern books at JoAnn and didn't really find a simple, everyday skirt pattern. Where are all the "normal" clothes these days?

I've never really been a "blue" girl but this fabric grabbed me and wouldn't let go. I like the way the skirt turned out and it's very comfy. I'll be firing up the machine again tonight.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


We need rain, real rain, not this anemic drizzle, but it makes me glad I mowed the lawn yesterday. I got all my new fabric washed and dried so I can take a couple lengths to work with me today and maybe carve out a few minutes to lay it out on the back tables and cut. It's a lot easier to cutt on the tables than on the basement floor, but either way works. Truthfully, I'd rather be busy at work than have all that time to fill with Netflix and knitting. Really. I won't be quitting any time soon for a job with more work but I'd rather have customers or things to do than have to amuse myself for 7 hours a day. Go figure. Durwood's off to see the doc today to hopefully get to feeling better. We think he's got an infection again or maybe the earlier one was never cured but he's got to get better if we're going to Yellowstone in a couple weeks. We'll postpone it if he's not up to it right now.

July 26--Iran, Kashan, Tile. The tile floor felt so cool underfoot. Trina noticed the temperature change even though most of her senses strained to hear if any of Dr. Morganov's spies were tailing her. She had been so happy to get a place in his lab right out of grad school. His work with isotopes was groundbreaking and she looked on this as a chance to get a leg-up in the field. The first few months had been great but then Dr. Morganov'e assistant Igor saw her making notes and tucking them into her lab coat pocket. Within an hour he had accused her of stealing. Even showing him the pad with her grocery list did not placate him. He wanted to search her office, her lab, and even her person but she could not lot that happen. She had to get out.

And I'm off to work, fabric and scissors in hand (well no, they're in a bag actually, a bag from Rise 'n Roll Bakery outside of Goshen, IN but "in hand" is a nice shorthand way to say I'm taking them with me, not forgetting them in the kitchen), hoping to have a few customers to break up the boredom today. Stay dry.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Raw Materials & Blooming Lilies

I love to make things--yarn, fabric, wood, flour & sugar, words--I don't care what the raw materials are I can't help making something out of something else. It's a compulsion that I can't resist.

Lala, my roomie last week wore skirts and looked cool and comfortable. I want to be cool too so I thought I'd make myself some. I stopped at JoAnn's on my way home from walking this morning and found these 4 fabrics on the sale tables, one of them (the one in the upper right) is even a border print which makes me strangely excited. The plaid in the lower right is made of squares stitched and serged together that I can't wait to sew up. I'll be taking it and the pattern to work tomorrow. Maybe I'll find the time to pin and cut it out then.

After mowing t
his afternoon I showered and left early for my chiro appointment to get some birdseed. On the way to the clinic I swung into Hancock Fabrics and found some more. These I found on the $1 and $2/yd. table. I'm most excited about the brown cotton gauze with flowers on it or maybe the muted plaid second from the top of the pile.

My lilies are doing their best to impress this year. I took one of the white ones to work with me yesterday and enjoyed its fragrance all

The pink S
targazers are my favorites and their colors are extra vivid this summer.

I was amazed to see the purple mums blooming away behind the lilies.

And Dad's rose has started its second round of blooming.

Walking & Mowing, Which is Similar to Walking but More Productive and Less Scenic

I'd like horticulturists to develop lawn grass that grows 2-3 inches tall and then stops, please. They've hybridized everything else... oh, you don't think the lawnmower manufacturers have kidnapped the botanists and stolen the plant genes do you? I'm sure Detroit'd be able to make much more efficient cars if the oil sheiks didn't pay them off. It's a vicious cycle. A conspiracy even. We hired the neighbor to weed the garden this morning. With the heat lately and me feeling especially old (and lazy) it was worth twenty bucks to have Mario do it. Now I can mow with a clear conscience. Need to replant the green onions though. I stopped at the fabric store on my way home from walking to buy some fabric to make skirts. Lala wore skirts last week at The Clearing and she looked so nice and cool that I decided I want some too. I know I won't have the casual elan that she displays when she wears them but if I don't look at myself in a mirror I'll feel like I look good. I also was on an earring buying jag up there. I probably bought 8 pairs, all dangly, but I'm tired of wearing posts or short earrings. Now I understand Mom and Aunt B buying leather and feather earrings in the '60s when I was a teen; you never want to get old enough to wear "old lady" things even when you are.

July 25--Francesco Guardi, The Grand Canal above the Rialto. The midday sun bounced off the pale stucco walls and it's heat rose in waves from the roofs. The water of the canal was choked with gondolas and boats bearing merchandise, trinkets for sale to the tourists and produce from farms out in the countryside beyond the city. Bianca felt the weight of her purse as she crossed over the bridge from her home in the building next to the canal. As she made her way across she checked to see that her wash was secure on her lines. She could see her bright yellow blouse and Marco's blue shirts flapping and joining arms as the wind blew them together just as they were tangled together last night.

I'm off to mow de lawn, log another mile, while the new fabric I bought takes a spin in the wash for pre-shrinking.

Monday, July 25, 2011


I'm not here today hurrying to get from breakfast to class. I'm at home supposed to be getting ready to go back to work. I'll be happy to get a paycheck today, but I'd rather be on vacation again. Not that I want to be so hot for another week but I'd like to have all decisions made and few responsibilities. That's pretty addictive, you know. I met Cookie last night at Titletown Brewery to watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail outside on their patio. It drew the biggest crowd so far in their film series, close to 100 it seemed. Any way you slice it that's a success. DS & DIL1 should have their kitchen re-do finished this week. I'm excited to get to see it. Still no eggs from Henny & Penny but they're still young. DIL1 says they shouldn't start to lay until September or October. I want them to hurry up so I can see a dark brown shelled egg.

July 24--Kano Sansetsu, The Old Plum. A long gash that ran from corner to corner made Livia's heart nearly stop. Roaul's father had brought the panels home after "the war." "The war" he'd say, like there had never been a war of consequence before or since. The ancient paper and wood had weathered the past four-hundred-fifty or so years since it was made remarkably well. There was the smallest of tears in one corner but this, this had to be deliberate. She could feel the power of the stroke that rent the old paper, the hatred required to destroy something so beautiful, and it made her shiver. And what was that on the wall below the panel? She touched a fingertip to the spot and it came back slick and wet. Blood. There was another drop next to her shoe. No, two. Her eyes were drawn to follow the trail of drops that got closer together across the library until they became a solid line and then blossomed into great gouts of warm, coppery-smelling blood on the old wood floor. "Raoul," she screamed.

Well, that's a dramatic way to start the week, isn't it? D'you think I'll have many customers today? I suspect I'll tend to sit staring vacantly into space, jerking alert when the door chimes jangle. Stay cool.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I'm Melting, Melting...

Hot. Humid. Still as the grave. I had been confident that there'd be a cool breeze blowing up the bluff to cool us off, after all there's all that cool water right there at the base of the cliff. Wrong. Oh, so wrong. The only thing that saved me was the workshop is air-conditioned so at the end of a hot walk there was a cool room. It was hard not to prop the lock so we could sneak back after dark and sleep in there, but I resisted. Then I thought that since I know the door code for the Jensen Center where there's carpeting, I'd drive over with my sheet and pillow and sleep in the office. I didn't do that either. I thought about all those years growing up with only a fan to cool us and decided to just deal. I took a lot of cool showers, drank lots of water, and complained. (I'm sure it was the latter that kept me the coolest.) We did go down to The Clearing's beach for a swim a couple times but the climb back up the bluff steps and the hike back to the cabin really undid all the cooling, plus we were working nearly non-stop from 9-5:45 every day to get our chairs cut out, drilled, sanded, turned, and glued together. I had 5 classmates (all male) and 2 teachers (also male) and I changed the design of my chair (naturally. when have you ever known me to follow the crowd?). Herb, the 85-year-old teacher was patient and helped me all the while scolding me (in a friendly way) if I whined too much about how hard it was since he told me it'd be way harder than following his suggestion (hey, no one can resist a little "I told you so" every once in a while). I was certain that I had some natural woodworking talent since Grandpa Stephan was a carpenter, as was his brother, but turns out I don't, or at least it's not as much of an "instinct" as I had hoped. I wasn't the worst in class but you get out of practice as an adult learning totally new things. I needed to take along my kindergarten self and didn't always manage it but I toughed it out and triumphed in the end.

I stopped at a yarn shop on my way up and shopped the 40% off bins...

Lala and I went to the kite store on Sunday and I bought me a new kite...

We tried to fly it and my "old" Ironman kite on Thursday but the wind was too light and variable. She got Ironman to fly for about a minute so I grabbed a picture. I'll be flying my frog as soon as it's windy enough.

In the workshop, we cut out the chair pieces...

glued them together...

turned the legs...

sanded and sanded and sanded...

glued and clamped...

and ended up with chairs. Mine's the Shaker one. It still needs stain and varnish or some sort of finish, but for now I'm happy that it's 3-D instead of 2-D.

OMG, It Was So Hot!

You know, I understood that it's July and July is hot and the rooms are not air conditioned at The Clearing. I understood all that. I've been there 3 or 4 times in July for Ellen Kort's poetry class. It was warm, hot-tish even, so that we had to use the oscillating fan provided a night or two, but it has never been hot like it was hot last week. Humidity decided to come and stay too. The breeze went on vacation. So it was hot, humid and still. My sole salvation was that the workshop is air conditioned, the quarter-mile walk down there from the cabin isn't, but knowing that cool was at the end of the trail made it endurable. My roomie, Lala, brought her office fan and, since she was doing independent study (intense writing time), she managed to keep the room bearable--until Wednesday. On Wednesday all bets were off. It was suffocatingly hot and humid and still as the grave, and so was our room. TC was having an ice cream social after supper so we went over there to luxuriate in the air conditioning and eat a second dessert. Hey, it was free ice cream with homemade hot fudge, whipped cream, pecans, and a cherry. Even better (although what would have been better than a/c and a sundae, I'm not sure) all 3 men that I needed to interview for articles I promised to write for Siftings, the Friends newsletter, were there so I combined fun with a bit of work and hung around in the cool for over 2 hours. Yay, me! It was a fitful night but we survived, and by 5:30 on Friday afternoon I had a completed chair. It's not stained or "finished" but it's assembled and I'm very proud of it. See?

I didn't have time or the energy to write or read, I barely had the strength to be polite but I managed not to offend too many people (I think) over the week. I had hoped to channel my carpenter grandpa but that didn't work. I do not have an innate ability make wooden things. I liked learning how to use all the power tools safely and I loved learning to turn wood on the lathe. I may be tempted to take a beginning wood turning class someday but don't think I'll be taking furniture building again next year. I like my vacations a teensy bit more relaxing. Now I know why I take spring and fall classes, better weather. Excellent meals though, lots of salads, fresh fruit, and homemade bread. Mmm.

July 23--Kano Sansetsu, The Old Plum.

Winds lash it,
Storms shake it,
It bends in the rain,
Is seared by drought.
Fire licked the trunk,
Rot nibbled at a bough.
It gives it shade to sleeping babies,
resting children,
lovers young and old.
The old plum tree
still has the generosity to offer
sweet fruit to
one and all.

Stay cool. Drink lots of water and Gatorade.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

On Your Mark, Get Set, GO!

I'm all packed. As soon as my last audiobook is loaded I'll be putting it all in the car and driving away. Away! Away! Away! I am so excited to be going up there, seeing Lala for a week, and learning to play with power tools. It'll be fun and hot and cool all at the same time. Since I'm leaving my laptop at home and there's no Wi-Fi there anyway, you won't hear from me for the next week. You'll be all right, though. Just remember that I'm probably sweaty with sawdust down my bra while you're all cool in your air conditioned house. See you next Sunday for sure.

July 15--John Frederick Kensett, The Old Pine, Darien, Connecticut. Jace loved that old tree. He sat under it when he was a kid on hot summer days letting the breeze off Lake Wooten cool him off. He imagined it as the place pirates buried their treasure and where Indians gathered for war dances. He and his friend Will camped out under the tree a hundred times over the years, lying on the soft layers of needles under the old pine watching the moon sail across the sky through the branches. Here's where he kissed Amy for the first time that October when the woods were alight with color and skeins of geese honked their way south. Today he'd buried Amy, losing her too young and too quickly to a fast-growing tumor that sank its tentacles into her brain and refused to let go.

Okay, now that's a little story-y. Enjoy your week. I intend to make the most of mine.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Walked And Packed

Dusty and I (and her dog Maggie) walked a couple miles along the river this morning, then I went to JoAnn's to spend a few coupons that were burning a hole in my purse (usually I can let them expire but not these for some reason), then I came home to pack. It's supposed to be blazing hot and humid next week (of course since I'm staying in a non-air conditioned place up in the woods) so I packed nearly twice as many clothes as I think I'll need so I'll have something dry and non-smelly to put on after class every day. I'm feeling more and more smart for packing my swimsuit too. I'm only taking one extra knitting project and I'm leaving my laptop at home. (Gasp!!!) No plastic crate of books and reference materials and manuscripts either. I've got a notebook and my Alphasmart and that'll just have to do it.

July 14--Vincennes Manufactory, Wine Cooler. It looks like a chamber pot. Well, it's not. It's a wine cooler, an antique one from the seventeen hundreds. Wine coolers are metal, silver even. Remember when the som... the sommel... the waiter brought one to our table that night in Aruba? It looked like a fancy bucket on three legs, not a blue crockery pot with a decal of flowers and a dab of gold paint. You are such a hick, Harold, look at the little label here by the display. It's not crockery, it's porcelain, hand-painted too, not some cheap decal. Look over here, it matches this big dinner service. Yeah, inneresting. Hey look, Miriam, the next room's full of bones and stuffed stuff. You go on and look, dear, I want to see more of these beautiful dishes. I still say it's a chamber pot. My Aunt Rae had one just like it.

Isn't married life grand? I'm going to go over my list(s) once more to make sure I'm not forgetting anything.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pre-Frenzy Packing

I'm trying to hold onto my sanity, make lists, and calmly plan what to take for next week's workshop at The Clearing. I went to Walmart last night after meeting Cookie and Skully at the City Band concert to get bug spray, sunscreen, a case of bottled water, and a 5-pack of the largest v-neck t-shirts in the Big Men's department to wear in the wood shop. The more I thought about it the more I realized that I didn't have 5 suitably ratty shirts so I figured a pack of men's undie shirts would work and be cheap. They're thinner cotton than regular tees so they'll probably be cooler and it was $13 for 5. A bargain. When I got home Durwood and I shared our nightly orange (he plans to eat a whole one every day while I'm gone, the hog) and then I got my swimming things together including a mask, snorkel and fins because while it'll be fun to look at the clouds like Lala wants to do but it'll also be fun to look at the fishies. Don't tell Lala but I packed a mask and snorkel for her too. Shhh.

July 13--Vincent van Gogh, Corridor at the Asylum. He's sitting down there again. Do you see him there next to the janitor's closet? He's been there every day since the restraints were removed. Doctor Franck says he is only to be allowed to have the oil crayons and chalk, no paints and no brushes. The doctor says the brushes could be weapons for him to hurt himself. You saw that he cut off his own ear since he was here last? I know that it breaks Theo's heart to have him here but it's for the best. Look at the colors he's chosen. There is not a speck of red in the corridor. The green, yes, and the yellow, even the gray on the lower walls is right but where is he getting red? You know, I think I will buy it from him for a few guilders. He can use the money and I need a picture for the hall. Oh, don't laugh. I know it's foolish to put a picture of a corridor in a hall, but I like it. Poor man, I fear he will never get better.

Ah, Vincent, you tortured genius, you were so talented and so flawed. Funny thing is I'm not sure that modern medicine with all its pills and potions is any more effective. It's gray and still here today, kind of somber and waiting. Maybe it'll rain. The garden and flowers need it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sew Much Fun

I had a brainstorm on Sunday, that I should make a bag for my writing friend, Lala, as a gift when we room together next week at The Clearing. Of course, it would have been smarter to make the bag weeks ago when I had the brainstorm the FIRST time but I'll never get the time back so I flipped through One Yard Wonders and found a super-simple bag pattern. It's called the Baroque Banana Bag but I think that's a terrible name for a cute bag. I had the fabric, only needed to buy a zipper and wide ribbon for the strap. Naturally I had to make one for me too. I picked out the fabric for the bags and linings, and cut them out at work on Monday. On my way home I stopped at JoAnn for zippers and ribbons, then after supper and 2 episodes of Antiques Roadshow, I sewed the first bag body together. It was quick and easy. The directions told you to pin the strap onto the bag and sew it all by hand. That's right, sew the strap onto the bag over the center seam and then sew the 2 layers of ribbon together BY HAND. Two Yards' Worth. And to sew the 16" zipper in by hand too.That was not happening. I suck at handstitching and avoid it at all costs. So I thought about it yesterday while driving Mom around and had a plan by the time I got home. I should have taken in-progress pictures but I didn't think of that until I was done with both of them. Anyway, TA-DA! Didn't they turn out cute? I love them. The ferny one is for Lala and the flowery one's mine. (To give you an idea of their size, that's a sofa cushion they're lying on, so they're about 17" wide and the strap makes them 1 1/2" wide.) My friend Skully commented today that sewing gives you instant gratification unlike knitting which makes you wait sometimes for weeks.

Open The Windows!

It's a normal day today, normal for a WI summer day, that is. It's sunny and breezy and supposed to top out in the mid-70s. Ahhh. Naturally I have to work all day, well, I have to stay in the store all day so I won't be able to walk or bike or just eat my lunch outside. But I'm ordering seven more days just like this one starting Saturday so it'll be perfect when I'm at The Clearing next week playing with wood and power tools. That is so what's going to happen. Totally. Anyway, enough fantasy, I opened all the windows this morning so that the cool air can drift in and make it feel and smell great in here. My stargazer lilies are blooming by the front window so that wonderful aroma will drift in. Ahh. Here's a picture of Mom welcoming DIL2 into the family. Isn't this the greatest picture?

Today is
my DD's 30th birthday. I am amazed that it's been that long since she joined our family. I can't imagine life without her. I just wish they lived a bit closer so we could visit a bit more often. She is exactly what I've always wanted in a daughter. She's funny and creative and smart and she puts up with her mother's craziness. What's not to love? Happy birthday, DD! I love you.

July 12--Lahore, The Legend of Hari Krishna. The Krishna dude is, like, levitating, man, and he's holding a whole mountain in one hand. Oh my god, it's got rocks and trees and mountain goats on it but he's still holding it up all smiling, like, what, I can hold this, yeah, so what. If you look at his feet they're not touching the ground. There are people all around him, like, dude, you're holding up a whole ecosystem. And he's all cool. At his feet, well, below his feet are some of those humpty type cattle that those Indians think are holy. Come on. What's hole about a bunch of Big Macs wrapped up in new Nikes, huh?

And on that weird note I'm off to eat Cheerios and get ready for work.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mom's Tooth Day

I picked Mom up around 9 AM, drove her to Dr. Z's office in Shawano (35 mil.) so he could fix her tooth (no root canal, only a filling, yay!), wait for her, and come back to GB. We stopped at Hancock where I found the perfect ribbon for a bag handle (and a few other fabrics, of course, but they were only $1/yard!), then it was off to Subway for lunch and then to Mom's to eat, get some needles and bobbins for the sewing machine she gave me, find her lost keys, and take out her trash. I got home around 2 PM and had just booted up the laptop to post this when the doorbell rang. Our computer guru stopped to give Durwood's desktop a brain washing so I sat at the kitchen table playing with the new sewing machine. Now the guru's got it mostly cleaned up and is rattling Durwood's brain with a spate of computer-speak, but I've escaped to my corner and will slip downstairs to sew as soon as I'm done here. I am the mist.

July 11--Gianni Versace, Evening Dress. "Did you see the dress Lia's wearing?" Kandall gripped Teale's wrist. "She looks like an Andy Warhol billboard." Teale tugged her arm away and rubbed away the marks from her friend's nails. "With Princess Leia buns on her boobs, yeah, I saw her." She shook her head. "I told her she needed to stop dressing in the dark. She was not amused." They sipped their pink cosmos. that was the drink of the season and these two were nothing if not trendy. They pored over websites and fashion magazines. They lived in fear that they might wear the wrong color or shade of a color. They vacillated between envy and disdain regarding what Lia did, said, and wore. This week Lia was out, they decided with silent nods of agreement.

I'm off to the dungeon to sew. Live up the rest of your day.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Stay Indoors!

That's my advice for today if you live around here. It's supposed to be just as hot and humid today as it was yesterday. I'll be at work in the cool. I'm hoping Durwood does the same, after he gets the pork steaks for supper, that is. I've had a hankering for pork steaks lately and today I will satisfy it. We got take-out ribs for supper the other night but they weren't right. They were Texas ribs, not Evansville ribs. They were dry rubbed, not sauced. Spicy, not sweet and tangy. Good but not right. Tonight's pork won't be Wolf's or Marx's ribs, but they'll be closer to right with a smear of Sweet Baby Ray's Vidalia Onion Sauce on them. Mmm, now don't you wish you were coming here for supper?

July 10--Peru, Nasca-Wari, Tunic. Steven pulled a rumpled notebook from his pocket and began writing down everything about the robe. He drew the stylized animals. There was a pair of catfish head to head in the center. Their tails blended into snakeskin and then shifted into what looked like corn stalks or maize. He was sure that's what it was. Those three, they comprises the mainstays of rural Inca culture. The old man noticed the gringo professor staring at him and flashed a toothless smile. He had worn this robe since his papi had passed it on to him. All of the white professors, especially the young women, were very interested in it. In fact he had sold it nearly twenty times through the years. He was very good at playing the dumb Indio game.

Why, that sneaky old coot. I bet he had a dozen of those "ancient" textiles marinating in a stack at the back of his stable. Keep cool today, it's a scorcher.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Freakishly Hot & Humid

Want to know what I learned this afternoon? If you mow on a 80% humidity day and it begins to rain, the humidity goes to 100% and stays there until your head starts pounding. Fortunately Durwood got me some ice water and reminded me to put my wrists under the cool stream. After a shower I went to DS's (DIL1 was working) to survey the kitchen remodel progress and see the grand-chickens. The kitchen cabinets look great and the floor is a wonder. I can't wait to see the finished product. Unfortunately Henny & Penny didn't want to come out of their coop into the blazing sun to have their pictures taken. (I don't blame them) This is all I got. That's Penny on the left with more copper and Henny on the right. One of these days I'll be there when they're out and it isn't so hot and then you'll get a better view of them. They look a lot more chicken-y now, but they still peep like chicks instead of cluck like chickens.

July 9--Peru, Nasca-Wari, Pre-Columbian, Tunic, Catfish.
Steven's eyes locked onto the robe worn by the old Inca. It was red, gold, and brown, and the design was exquisite. Steven had studied textiles in undergrad and symbology had been part of his thesis. He wanted to run up to the old man and spin him out of his cocoon in the blanket.

I couldn't believe how quickly I fell asleep since I went to bed extra early so I'd have the wits to write. Maybe I should talk to my doc and cut my "happy" pill in half. Stay cool.

Some Knitting & Some Flowers

I'm trying to be more balanced. I'll probably be trying to be more balanced for the rest of my natural life, but I'm taking another stab at it today. I'm trying to go a little easier on myself when I fall short (which is usually) and enjoy the attempt(s). I've finally come to grips with the notion than I'm probably never going to be perfect (for long) so I need to appreciate my natural wackiness and just run with it.

At Friday Night Knitting I consulted with the others and came to the conclusion that I need to knit about 1 1/2 more inches of foot before I make my short-row heel. I hoped to have this sock done before I go off to The Clearing next Saturday for my week in the woods playing with wood but I might not. Oh well. (See the mature lack of self-recrimination? Growth!) The foot is the long part of these socks and I lose track of how long I have to knit on it so that it fits right. I should write it down.

I got the Lava Shawl out of hibernation again on Friday and added a few rows. It's starting to look shawl-ish and I adore the colors. I understand that it's not going to be wool shawl weather for about 5 months but I'm liking making it anyway. I even end up with the correct number of stitches on most rows and, when I don't, I can see where I went wrong and fix it. (See? Learning!)

I've slowed down on Bandwagon Block #6. Don't know why. I've slowed down on all my p
rojects lately. Must be because it's officially the dog days of summer. I finally learned why it's called that. This is when Sirius, the dog star, is above the horizon and long ago people thought that the bright star added its heat to the summer to explain why it's hotter in July and August. Pretty clever, isn't it? Wrong, but clever. Everyone knows it's because of all the cookouts and campfires. Sheesh.

Here are some pictures of all the things blooming today--red Cock's Comb, Daisies, and Lantana looking fantastic with its pink and yellow florets.

Durwood picked his first tomato yesterday and ate it before I could take its picture, but he said that this one's mine. I might be a nice person and let him have this one too. Might.

See how the lettuces are rebounding? We'll get a couple more suppers' worth of salads before I replant.

See the baby Patty Pan squashes? They look like tiny, pale green turbans at the base of the blossoms. We can't wait until they're ready to eat. I made the mistake of giving Mom a couple last year, now she wants more. Luckily one plant will make enough for both houses. This is one of those sneaky plants that hides its fruit until it's gotten big and then you find it, or it uproots itself with the weight of it. I promise to keep a closer eye on it this year.

I love lilies. I like Asiatic lilies

and day lilies

and Stargazer lilies.

I just wish they bloomed longer--or more than once a season.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Day Off

I've decided to take the day off today on my day off. You know, loll around like a lady of leisure pursuing hobbies and accomplishing the bare minimum of chores. I've got 2 loads of laundry left to do, I can do those while downstairs sewing. It makes me feel smug to kill two birds with one stone. Darling Durwood went off to do errands a couple hours ago so I'm wallowing in the solitude. I can't really explain it but being here alone is a lot more relaxing than when we're both here, which is sort of foolish because he's quiet and undemanding but I guess all those years when he was out of town are hard to overcome. It made me feel better when I learned that he misses being out there and in his little motel rooms alone, able to do and be by himself too. Guess you could say that we're both hermits at heart. I didn't get far writing last night, I conked off fast once I climbed into bed. As proof there're faint little sleep-writing scribbles in two or three places in my notebook.

July 8--Alexandre Pere & Fils, Accordion. Leona was drawn to the gleam of the silver corner mounts and the bright paint on the old accordion. People made fun of them, she knew that, but she liked the cheerful music they produced.

See? Sleepy. Survive your day, I intend to.

Friday, July 8, 2011

All Walked Out

Dusty and I walked along the river this morning. There was still no breeze but it was a lot less buggy than the trail along the creek the other day and we did manage to walk a bit more than 2 miles so that's good. We both realized that we're not being as dedicated to walking as we were last year, we were both dragging by the end and it wasn't 80 degrees, we just felt like we're 80 years old. It's time to quit laying around like slugs and keep moving in between walks. I have to get rid of (eat) these M&Ms first though.

July 7--George Bellows, Tennis at Newport. "Do you see her sitting down there at the baseline?" Reenie hissed to Julia. "I mean, really, I know that whites are no longer de rigueur for tennis but red? Crimson red? It's too much." The two women, one young matron and her older cousin, sat with their hat brims crossed their parasols touching as they surveyed the lawn party guests. "She's Leonard's cousin's daughter from Kansas City. She and her mama are staying with us and, Reenie, you would not believe her. She wears all bright colors even in the morning and she's loud and brash. No manners at all." Julia shook her head. "Of course my Alice Anne thinks she's fabulous, tries to emulate her. I cannot wait until she leaves." They looked at the knot of laughing young people with the scarlet-clad brunette in the center and frowned.

Ah, convention is so hard to buck. What are your weekend plans? Dusty and I are thinking of doing a bit of geocaching.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

And Here's the Weekend!

Okay, this is weird. Yesterday was my Monday, today's my Friday. Quick week, huh? It'll seem even quicker when I get that anemic paycheck with only 14 hours on it next Monday. That's okay, though, I really reveled in those 5 days off in a row. I need to figure out how to slow down a bit. I roar around doing things, getting all sweaty, I feel like I'm on a treadmill, and it's one I've made myself. No one pushes me to do-do-do and go-go-go, only me. Evidently I'm a stern taskmaster and I'm only getting worse. Now if I could apply that same drive to controlling my craving for sweets I'd be onto something. After working so hard to lose 40 lbs. last year I've porked back on at least 10 of them--and there's no end in sight. *sigh* I'm such a disappointment to myself. Anybody got a magic wand?

July (July!!!! Can you believe it? Me neither.) 6--Nadar (Gaspar-Felix Tournachon), Eugene Pelletan. His hand is hidden in his coat. What's he reaching for? Look at his eyes, see how they glower under his brows. There isn't a hint of a smile in his eyes or on his lips. We aren't going to like what he pulls out of his picket. He will enjoy our surprise and fear. I can tell. He's hoping for it, counting on one of us to recoil with a little gasp. Then he'll smile. Then a gleam will appear in those cold eyes and one corner of his mouth will life in a pretense of a smile. His teeth will glitter for a moment in that forest of a beard as his hand reaches out to press his will upon us.

Wow, what a picture. That Eugene guy looked like a cross between John Wilkes Booth, Simon Legree, and Satan. Eeesh. I'm going to go read the paper and think happy thoughts.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Back To Work

I was kind of looking forward to going back, to the quiet of the poor-economy dive shop, but Mrs. Boss came in around lunch--and never left. Gah! It's hard to get into the groove of knitting or Netflix watching with her around. And she's coming in tomorrow too. She has a project for us to do together. *sigh* I'm paying for my five days off, aren't I? I went to the Farmer's Market for Mom after work and got her some asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes, and cauliflower with her "Grandma Bucks." The senior center gave out vouchers for $25 of fresh veggies at the markets so since Mom can't really walk around for herself she volunteered me to go for her. I don't mind, I get to buy goodies for us while I'm there and have 3/$2 crab rangoons as a going home treat. Of course, tonight I had to stop quickly and dumped them and the duck sauce on the floor mat in the car. Good thing I was at a red light so the 5-second rule held. And I got to clean the car mats when I got home. Woohoo!

July 5--Giovanni Pisano, Lectern for the Reading of the Gospels with the Eagle of Saint John the Baptist. John leaned over his workbench, the large carving clamped in the vise. he had spent months working on the commission. A church in the north woods had ordered it for their centennial. There were a lot of eagles up there and the committee decided that's what they wanted on the new lectern for the church. It wasn't some oddball fringe religion either, these were regular Roman Catholics. It had taken a couple weeks to glue up the block using a special glue that took stain the same way the wood did. He had used a dremel to rough out the shape and thin down the wing area. While he worked on that he wanted for a decision on which of the several drawings had had sent. He hoped they chose the least militant one. That morning he started with his hand tools. His vision for the shape emerging from the block sharpened and he began to narrow his focus. He felt the muscles under the carved feathers, the great strength of the broad wings, and the sharp focus of the steady eyes.

Okay, now it's time to clean the bathroom and take out the trash and recycling. Nighty-night.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

No Knitting Here

It hasn't been a very knitter-y weekend. I played in the dirt, played with watercolors, talked with Durwood, visited Mom, and grubbed through a few bins of fabric scraps. So I don't have any knitting to show you, but I do have pictures of the flowers I planted (the yellow snapdragons made me think of DD & DIL2)...

I hauled up my
watercolors and goofed around a bit on the back patio,

but I got an early birthday gift from Mom. It's a fancy computerized one, the first one she bought and no longer uses, so she passed it along to me. I anticipate spending a bit of t
his afternoon with the manual and a few fabric scraps.

Last night I went to the fireworks with DS but first I got a peek at Henny and Penny who had already roosted up for the night. The fireworks were excellent, loud and bright.