Sunday, September 30, 2012

Today Is A Day To Preserve

Today I'll put all the raspberries (about 25 cups, maybe 30, a whole lot anyway) we found in the freezer together with sugar and a little heat to trap their red sweetness (and tiny seeds) in glass jars for Durwood to slather all over various toasted things over the next year.  I'm not a raspberry fan, I've told you this before, but I'm willing to make preserves for him, mostly because I love the way things look when they're in clear glass jars and shining in rows on top of the dishwasher.  I also picked up a rotisserie chicken yesterday that I boned while it was still hot (much easier to bone a hot chicken than a cold one) that I intend to turn into a cauldron of veggie-filled and delicious soup so that I can eat it for my work lunches for the next couple weeks.  I rediscovered a bag of mango chunks in the freezer that I can have for my fruit-with-lunch too.  I need to zoom over to Walmart as soon as I get this posted to buy some Sure-Jell and sugar to get that jam made, get some green tea for Durwood (he drinks a bunch of it a day), and a bag of some kind of frozen veggies to put in my soup.  Maybe I'll get a can of some kind of beans for my soup too... hm, black beans are good, so are chickpeas... I'd better get one of each so I have a choice.  There's a home Packer game today; it's the afternoon game and it's overcast right now.  The sky better damned well clear up so that they have the flyover before the game if it knows what's good for it.  You know that's the only part of football I like and I hate to miss it just for a few clouds.  I suspect that Walmart will be clogged with people who're only now out buying snacks and tailgating supplies but I'm willing to take the chance.  I'm brave that way.  I'm more curious about how the 3 roundabouts between me and Walmart are going to be...  Today's Photo a Day theme is "you, then" so here's a picture of me at age four.  Quite a change, don't you think?

September 30--Lyon & Healy, Pedal Harp.  She sat in the corner like a wraith, her dress blending with the wall covering.  Even her hair was the color of old gold as was her harp.  Her graceful hands hovered over the instrument as if luring the notes from the strings by magic.  She played with her eyes half-closed and her head cocked as if listening to dictation.  The music she made insinuated itself below and around the sounds of forks and knives on fine porcelain and the sedate pop of wine corks.  The conversation around the long table was quiet, refined, almost scripted to fit the formality and grandeur of the setting.  Carl let his foot slide to touch Mona's foot beside him.  Her cheeks reddened and a shiver set her earrings swaying.

Durwood's getting geared up to spend the day watching three football games in a row (I'm sure there'll be other games that he'll flip to if the one he's watching is boring or takes a break) and I'm off to gather ingredients.  I'm dressed, have my teeth brushed, and my hair combed.  I even sprayed it a bit to keep it in place and off my forehead.  Tally-ho!
--Barbara Sue

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Still Seeing Hummingbirds

Can you believe it?  Those teeny, tiny birds are still hanging around here.  Not the males, they're long gone (the bird books say they leave a couple weeks earlier), but we see females, and even if we don't see them we see the level of the nectar sinking in both feeders.  I've also been keeping up with the grape jelly and orange sections in the oriole feeder.  Not because we see many orioles (I think it's too busy and open for them around here) but because we've seen the hummingbirds investigating the taste temptation that is Welch's Grape Jelly.  I quit asking Durwood to get "any old" grape jelly in favor of Welch's; Welch's is just better tasting and has more real juice (I bet) so Welch's it is.  We don't go through more than one big jar in a season so we're not breaking the budget.  Now the House Sparrows are a different story.  They seem to have a daily competition to see if they can't empty the birdbath and see how low they can get the water in the fountain before the pump burns out.  Those little rascals also sit on the "squirrel-proof" feeders (yeah, right) and scoop out seed as fast as they can so it all drains out onto the ground, then everyone--bunnies, squirrels, chipmunks, voles, mice, and the birds--can eat it at will.  (I suppose that also makes it much easier for our resident Cooper's and Sharp-Shinned Hawks to swoop down for a snack.)  I've seen so many sparrows on the feeder that their combined weight slides the squirrel baffles down and it closes them out.  Durwood's been trying to take a picture of them bathing since they cram at least 8 and sometimes 10 in at once.  No wonder we need to fill it up a few times a day.  We went to the Farmer's Market this morning just for Durwood's weekly tomato supply.  Now the lady at his favorite stall recognizes him and remembers the size and ripeness he likes, so she helps him pick out the perfect ones.  I opted for a 3# bag of Honey Crisp apples from Egg Harbor Orchard.  We got plums from them last week (and promptly forgot about them until yesterday) that are so delicious I can barely refrain from eating them all.  They were selling like hotcakes this morning.  Seems like everyone remembers that the Door County orchards got slammed by a warm spell in March that brought out the fruit tree buds and then later there were frosts that effectively killed about 2/3 of the crop before it ever got started.  Agriculture's a harsh life.  Today's Photo a Day theme is "errand" so I asked Durwood to take a picture of me holding my crab rangoons from the Farmer's Market when I parked in Festival Foods' parking lot.  Two errands, one photo.  I sat in the car and ate my breakfast (of champions!) before joining him in the store.  I can't walk and eat at the same time; as it was I bobbled the sauce cup on the last bite and slopped the sticky sauce on the car door, my car-knitting bag, and my pants.  Of course.  As I've said many times, I need a keeper.

September 29--Greek, Volute-Krater (urn).  "I don't like it."  Edgar folded his arms over his chest.  "You can take it right back."  Betty flapped her hands like she'd touched something hot.  "Oh but I can't take it back, honey.  I got it at the auction, you see.  They have a no-returns policy.  Besides it's a priceless Greek urn.  You have to like it."  Edgar turned to look at it, then at her.  She flinched away from the glint in his eye.  "I don't have to like anything."

I can see that ol' Edgar's quite the bully.  Good thing I fell asleep before he hauled off and either broke the urn or smacked Betty.  Enjoy your Saturday; I'm off to defrost the freezer while Durwood makes an inventory of what's in there.  Sayonara.
--Barbara Sue

Friday, September 28, 2012

I'm Feeling My Age Today *P.S. added*

I'm just as happy that Skully called to cancel walking this morning because I woke up with my sciatica screaming and my left shoulder achy.  Bah.  That sucks.  As soon as I get this posted, and I intend to make it a quick one since I don't feel the need to inflict my crapola mood on all of you, I'm going to go down into my basement studio, fire up the sewing machine(s), and finish the yoga mat bag.  Tonight is yoga, I want to take my new (red!) yoga mat with the 3 suns printed on it and I need a way to carry it and my strap.  I almost bought some yoga blocks that were on closeout at Walmart the other day; maybe I'll go back to get some when I go get my pattern refund at Hancock which is across the street from Wally World.  They're handy to have.  Of course they won't fit into the mat bag, but I bet I can find something to put them in that'll attach to it.  I'm resourceful that way.  (hmm, we've got a crapload of mesh bags for dive gear, etc. that might be just the ticket)  Today's Photo a Day theme is "a good thing."  I think a sunny & cool day is a good thing to see out the window next to your writing desk, even if you're in a crap mood.  I keep hearing pile drivers.  I pity the people who live near that.  It'd drive me nuts--ier.

September 28--Edgar Degas, Dancer Onstage.  My feet bled.  I could feel it pool in my slippers.  I paid no attention beyond awareness of the fact.  The music drove me, pulled me back and forth across the stage.  I became aware of the audience murmuring out in the darkness beyond the footlights.  As I danced I saw why they were restless, my white satin ballet slippers were red with blood.

And on that slightly creepy and disgusting note, I'm outta here.  Hasta la vista, babies!
--Barbara Sue 

P.S. In rereading this I realized that "crap" or some form of it is evidently the word of the day.  Care to play along?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

My Favorite Kind of Weather

That's today.  Bright sunshine and 50-ish.  I'd like to play hooky to spend the day out in the sunny and cool but I'm too dedicated--and too poor to just blow off the day's pay, plus since I'm the only employee no one'd be there to open the dive shop and someone would notice, I guarantee it.  I'd also like to be somewhere silent, well, not silent as in no sounds, no human made sounds.  I want to hear the wind rattle the autumn leaves and sigh in the pine and cedar boughs.  I want to hear the bay shush on the rocks... oh, can you tell I'd like to be at The Clearing today?  Those of you who've been there can come too (since we're only going in our imaginations), I'll drive.  We can get fresh cheese curds at Renard's in Sturgeon Bay on the way up, stop for ice cream cones (has to be cones, dishes make litter in the car) at every shop we see (there're two in Bailey's Harbor), pick up some Corsica bread at Door County Bakery in Sister Bay,  have soup for lunch at the Summer Kitchen in Ephriam, and burgers at Joe Rouer's in Duval on the way back home, with a Frosty Tip cone in Dykesville for dessert.  (hey, this is my fantasy, I can eat all the ice cream and cheese and burgers I want and never gain an ounce, you can too, remember it's a fantasy)  Those of you who've never been can come too, you just don't have the same accurate mind-pictures the rest of us have.  In my fantasy car there's room for all.  No shoving or poking in the back seat.  I'll stop the car.  (Did your Dad threaten to do that? Mine did.  Did you ever find out what'd happen if he did?  I didn't, maybe he wasn't sure either and now he's croaked [a long time ago, the sting has lessened so I can be flip about it, at times, when I'm not teary] so I can't ask him.  Next incarnation.  (gah, the guy across the street just started his pickup truck and it sounds like a semi. why does one under-tall guy need a truck so jacked up and growly?)  Speaking of Joe Rouer's I'm hoping to entice Durwood to drive up there with me if not this weekend, then the next, so we can have a burger with fried onions and fries.  Maybe we'll see if DS & DIL1 want to come too.  Those are the best burgers in the whole wide world.  When Joe was alive he'd raise his own beef cattle along with his dairy herd, have the whole cows ground up into hamburger, then Mrs. Joe fried them up in an old iron skillet in the back kitchen of the bar.  The original burned down years back but they saved the skillet and still make burgers that are NOT well-done (unless you demand it) and not dry from being too lean.  They use real cheese, not that plastic wrapped fake-cheese sliced stuff that Kraft calls cheese and is probably some emulsion of oil and water and powdered... something... that they call american cheese.  Uck.  (I'm not glorifying it with a capital letter, it doesn't deserve it)  Okay, well now I've just made myself hungry.  I'd better wrap this up and go find Cheerios, a pale substitute for food compared to a Joe Rouer's burger.  *sigh*

September 27--Switzerland, Automaton.  The night was alive with the sound of frogs and crickets.  Jean stood on the back porch feeling the day's heat pour out through the screen door.  One of these days Grandma Ellie would let her open the house up when the sun went down so it cooled off before bed.  She felt like she was about nine-years-old instead of thirty-eight when she was there at the home place.  How many Stephan women had stood out there in the cool dark listening to the lovesick frogs, hoping no cricket has found its way into her bedroom.  Too many times she'd been awakened by the crick-crick of a lonely insect.  She'd turn on the light and prowl the dark places under the dresser and bed, loafer in hand, intending to squash it flat.  More often than not she wouldn't be able to find the offender only to replace her shoe in the closet, turn off the light, climb back into bed, and the crick-crick of the cricket would start right up again almost before she had the covers pulled up.

I hate that, don't you?  Oh, I almost forgot, today's Photo a Day theme is "love/hate."  I love getting the magazines that Mom subscribed to and I hate that they come and she's not here to read them.  I thought I could just let the subscriptions run out but I can't.  Seeing her name on them reminds me monthly that she's not going to be reading them anymore and I just can't do it.  Can't.  I'm going to go... go... slice a fresh peach onto my cereal.  It better not be mealy.  Let's get back on that fantasy trip, shall we?  Brrm, brrm.  (starting the car, hey, I'm a girl, that's the best car noise I can make)
--Barbara Sue

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Didn't Sew After All

Time got away from me yesterday evening.  Well, not really, but I ended up sitting at the kitchen table watching season premieres of shows we like to watch instead of going into the basement (where there's no TV) to sew.  Won't do it tonight either for the same reason.  Maybe Thursday night--is there anything I like on?  Oh, no, Durwood will watch football... there's football, big boy football on Thursday nights, isn't there?  (I don't watch football, I only like when the big war planes zoom over on home game days, that's the only part of football I like.)  I nearly swerved off the road Monday morning (*correction--it was Tuesday & I was on my way to walk, not work) when I had to drive past Lambeau Field on my way to walk and there were sign-carrying protesters and honking passers-by agreeing with them.  See, I went to bed before the end of the game (I told you, I don't watch; I live in the wrong place, don't I?) and didn't get a chance to read the paper in the morning so I was clueless about the building sh*tstorm of protests about the game.  Or maybe it should be called "the Tragedy."  Honestly, people, it's a football game, a GAME, not a war or a religion or a crusade or sacrament.  It's not even an election, it's a game.  Children play games, and men who evidently have more muscles than anything else play them too, and then other people treat those men like heroes, better than heroes, like gods, and revere them and their play and base their personal happiness on the outcome of ninety minutes of those god-men running up and down a meadow with 22 of their best friends and sworn "enemies."  Not real enemies either because I've seen them patting each others' butts after games--on national TV.  What do their mother's think of that?  They "adjust their uniforms" too.  And some of them wear white pants after Labor Day.  Can you believe it?  White pants and there they are playing in the mud, well, some of them are.  Nowadays a lot of them play on carpet that only looks like grass.  So they don't even get dirty like kids who play actual games do, they're just pretending to "play" while still keeping clean, kind of like being actors on stage.  Foolish.  And they get paid way too much for it too.  They need real jobs like normal people, and a whole lot less adulation because what they do is just a silly game, not science, not business (I guess it is for them), not parenting, not fighting a war, it's playing a game.  Grow a little perspective, people... and don't forget to VOTE.  No, not for MVP either, for your alderman or senator or representative or president or even dog-catcher, just go vote because if you don't, if most if not all of us who are eligible don't vote it can be taken away from us in a heartbeat.  I don't really care WHO you vote for, only THAT you go vote.  Vote if for no other reason that in other parts of the world people are willing to die to get the chance to vote; don't let them die in vain.  Okay, end of soapbox for today.  Thanks for letting me rant.  Today's Photo a Day theme is "near."  Here's the fern and sedum growing near the patio doors.  I love the colors, and I love that I can step out that door in the early morning and, nine times out of ten, find something that fits the theme to take a picture of.  You should try it sometime.

September 26--Suzuki Harunobu, Woman Admiring Plum Blossoms at Night.  In early spring, nights are soft and when the plum trees bloom the soft air carries their sweet scent on it.  The aroma that so tempts the honeybees in the daylight draws Yuki out into the night.  She pulls a thick kimono around herself and she lights a small white lantern that illuminates the blossoms, making them glow in the darkness beyond the path.

I think that should have been a poem rather than a "story."  I should go with my first instinct, shouldn't I?  Next time.  Enjoy your day, it's a gorgeous one here, sunny and cool right now and supposed to warm up into the 60s.  Too bad I have to work and I'm making Durwood do the wash today.  *whip crack*  Hyah.  (not really, I like to pretend I'm mean and bossy but I'm not; I'm only bossy... well, maybe not bossy... firm... yeah, that's it, firm)
--Barbara Sue

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sewing Plans & Bandwagon Block #10

After a lunch of baked beansleftover from Sunday I drove off to get some birdseed then to check out patterns at Hancock to see if I could find one like the shirt that cda, my roomie at The Clearing had with a handkerchief hem.  I found one that was 40% off, still over $11 (do they think millionaires sew?) but it'll be $1.99 starting Thursday, so I bought it because it was the only one remaining in my size and then just take my receipt back after Thursday and get the difference refunded.  Smart, eh?  I also had to (HAD to) buy enough of this just-right t-shirt knit in red/black/gray stripes.  I'm going to look awesome, also cool.  If it doesn't look like the dog's dinner on me once I get it made.  Maybe I'll get some less expensive, solid color, single knit and make a "muslin" so when I make up the striped shirt it'll fit just right.

I cast on the next Bandwagon Afghan Block #10 the other day.  I keep remembering that I only have to make 3 more (well, 2 1/2 now) before joining the blocks and then figuring out if I want to do the recommended I-cord binding or maybe I'll do a few rounds of single crochet to finish it off.

I got myself a new yoga mat today which made me dig out the yoga mat bag I started making nearly a year ago when I started doing yoga.  I'd hoped to get to working on it this afternoon, but that didn't happen, so I'll hope to find time over the weekend. 

After we defrost and inventory the freezer, of course.

Posting Late Today

Good grief, look at the time.  Here it is 4 o'clock and I'm first finding time to blog.  That's because I went walking with Skully along the river at 8:30.  Neither of us really wanted to go but we agreed that we'd feel better about ourselves if we did, so we did and I did, I assume she did too.  There's a new metal sculpture of 3 looks like egrets in an open park-ish area between the marina where we set off and the overpass where we turn around.  I like it, you have to get close to it to see the different colors of metal and the details of the feathers etc.  I like it.  (oh, I already said that, didn't I? well, I guess I like it twice as much)  Today's Photo a Day theme is "frame."  I took a couple shots of the house and the wind chimes framing the sunrise.  I like them well enough, but took the camera along on our walk and found the perfect shot.  It's the riverside and a few geese in the shallows framed by the bridge support.  I like this better.  When I got home from walking (and cashing my paycheck--yay for moolah) I encouraged Durwood (not nagged, I don't nag, he doesn't respond to nagging at all, I encouraged him--gently) to get dressed and take me to Walmart (he's not a fan of riding in my car, says it's too close to the ground) so we could pick out new cordless phones and other random things.  He made me go downstairs and get some fish out of the freezer for supper first, and then we tootled off to walk around what seemed like each and every aisle of the SuperWalmart.  We found clearance cans of tomatoes & okra (doesn't that sound good?), a couple of $5 CDs to leave in his car (Perry Como & Frank Sinatra--hey, we like to sing along), a new yoga mat (red!) for me, and a couple of $15 iTunes gift cards for Cousin Mike's daughters who were so patient spending time with us last month.  We took Packer stuff for Mike and thought that the girls deserved to have sweet somethings too, and since they were both permanently plugged into their iPods when we were driving around, I thought a gift card would be a good idea.  I'd planned $10 per girl but they don't have those, don't have ones you can just charge with any amount either, you have to buy the $15, $25, or $50 ones.  Meanies.  We picked a phone base with 2 satellite phones so that now all the phones will actually answer when you push the button and you can see the number you dialed when you dial it.  I'm going to put the cordless phone I took out of the kitchen downstairs so I can unplug the rotary wall phone that's there now.  (yes, it works fine but the bracket isn't well-attached to the wall and tends to pull away so it needs replacing)  I should sort the wash while I'm down there.  Maybe Durwood'll do the laundry tomorrow if I do.  Maybe buying a new yoga mat will inspire me to finish the one I started sewing when I started yoga A YEAR AGO.  Don't want to rush into anything, you know.

September 25--Georges Courbet, The Sea.  I sit under the last blue patch of sky as the layers of gray clouds gather and darken.  Waves that began the day gently folding themselves onto the shore have bulked up.  They fling themselves onto the rocks and sand like tantrum throwing toddlers, white foam sprays and spreads to the road.  Far out where the sea bends under the blackest clouds, lightning plays tag, chasing the thunder toward me.  My patch of blue shrinks by the minute, swallowed up by the encroaching gray.

Okay, that's it for me today.  Time to go down and make the dirty clothes behave and put the old phone in place of the oldest phone.  Maybe I'll even sew a bit on that yoga mat bag.  Maybe.
--Barbara Sue

Monday, September 24, 2012

And The Winner Is...

Pingle's from Shawano!  They were the most "homemade" looking and they looked Slim-Jim-ish before cooking, they were the smokiest (a little dry & coarse for my taste) and garnered three of the six votes.  Salmon's from Luxemburg, WI got two votes (one of them mine; these were the ones I brought to the table and they're still my faves after all the tasting) and Olsen's Piggly Wiggly from just up Hwy. 41 in Howard (too fatty for me) got one vote. Both Durwood and DS made baked beans; Durwood's were traditional barbecued beans with a lot of ham cooked overnight in the crockpot and DS's were white beans made with beer (of course), so there was an impromptu bean tasting too.  No winner was chosen in that competition (if it really was one, both were good).  We stuck a large sheet of graph paper to the patio door and listed the wienies, how they were ID'd (DIL1 notched them--brilliant), and people's choices.  As you see in the photo, we divied them up, followed the plating diagram DIL1 made (it's good to have a professional chef at these things), and we set about tasting.  Durwood made catsup, DS made mustard, DIL1 made bread & butter pickles with red pepper flakes, and I made red cabbage coleslaw with fennel bulb and a sweet mustard vinegar dressing.  No one went hungry and few buns or flatbread wraps were eaten.  I made a snack cake for dessert, something light and not too sweet, that was just right for such a casual meal.  There was cheese & crackers and ricotta & pesto or pepper jelly on baguette toasts for appetizers.  It was good.  JZ suggested that we have a Brat-off! next year and everyone agreed.  We had fun, at least, I did and I'm the only one who really matters. (ooh, snark so early on a Monday)  Today's Photo a Day theme is "3 things" so I snapped a photo of JZ, DS & DIL1 with their pre-wienie beers.  Three people I love, three beers, three smiling faces--see?  THREE!

September 24--Julien Vallou de Villenueve, Female Nude, Reclining, with Arm Raised.  The smell hit them before they got halfway down the hill.  The sickly sweet, putrid smell was worse than skunk and they knew it came from the body.  Neither of them had seen a naked lady up close and they couldn't take their eyes off her.  Jacob sat down so fast that Ray thought something was wrong.  "What's the matter, Jacob?" Ray said.  Jacob's voice sounded far away.  "It's... it's Ms. Pierce."  All the boys and most of the girls were in love with the pretty and energetic young teacher.  "We need to call the cops."  But neither of them could move, they just sat and stared at their favorite teacher's ruined corpse.

Well.  That's disgusting.  Sorry.  Enjoy your Monday, if you can.
--Barbara Sue

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Now That's What I Call a Haul

Yesterday Durwood and I braved the newly chilly early morning to go to the Farmer's Market with our little Jamaican basket and a list.  We took a list, can you believe it?  Since we're hosting Family Supper tonight and needed specific items I thought a list was in order, and it helped keep us on track.  Of course, other things caught our eye, like fresh parsnips (I don't think we've ever had them when they weren't waxed), green beans, Honey Crisp apples, sweet plums, a wedge of Gouda with wasabi, and we HAD to have our standard FM breakfast of crab rangoons for me and egg roll for him but that stall now has meatball skewers which Durwood has designs on for next time.  I love the way the basket looks when it's piled high with fresh and colorful produce.  Then we drove to Piggly Wiggly to get the kind of hot dogs Durwood likes and, of course, found things we couldn't leave behind like a pair of little strip steaks for less than $5 and a frozen, 1# slab of wild-caught salmon on sale for $5 too, in addition to the 10# of chicken leg quarters that we meant to buy.  I think we'll both be amazed to see the bounty in the freezer when we defrost it next weekend and make a list of its contents.  After the Pig we went to Woodman's for the fennel bulb I needed for my red cabbage slaw, a package of Salmon's wieners which are my faves, plus the rest of the things on the list when we realized that their prices compare with Walmart and it'd save us a trip.  We put so much in the cart that I had to go out and get another bag. (I detest using plastic bags anymore, they seem like such a bad idea since they nevernevernever decay; we use the few we get to wrap up disgusting things like fish and chicken skin)  And it was it was nearly noon when we got home so Durwood hurried to portion out and vacuum pack (or suck) the chicken parts so he didn't have to refreeze them while I emptied all the bags we'd gathered and topped the veggies so they'd fit in the fridge.  Today's Photo a Day theme is "before bed."  This is what my spot looks like just as I crawl in, there's my notebook, pencil, and the art of the day; I lean on my pillow and scribble my little writing then gather them up, slap them on the notebook (nicely so as not to disturb my beloved), snap off the light, and crash.  I'm a good sleeper, maybe even a champion sleeper.  (remember that, DS & DD?)

September 23--Julien Vallou de Villenueve, Female Nude, Reclining, with Arm Raised.  "Why's there a naked lady down there?" Jacob asked, pointing into the ravine at their feet.  "There isn't," Ray said, "where?"  Jacob flexed and straightened his arm, his finger stiff.  "There, right there by that fallen tree."  Ray leaned forward and squinted.  "Maybe it's just a, I don't know, one of those store statue things, you know, a... a man..."  "A mannequin," Jacob said. "I don't think so, she doesn't look fake enough."  "Let's go see."  They said it together and worked their way down the slope, holding onto saplings and bushes to keep from falling.

Okay, then, that's totally not what I expected, but that's writing for you.  I'm off to toast baguette slices for my ricotta and pesto appetizers.  Happy days!
--Barbara Sue

Saturday, September 22, 2012


It's damned cold out there this morning--barely 40 degrees at 7 AM.  True, it's going to rocket up to near 60, well, okay, 55 today and it IS the first day of Autumn (I still think that the names of season, cardinal directions, and Earth, also the Sun & Moon, should be capitalized) but we need to achieve a bit of gradual change instead of this abrupt stuff we've had this year.  There's no middle ground anymore, anywhere and in anything, no moderates in politics or religion (don't get me started), people either love things or hate them, wishy-washy has become passe, almost criminal and here I am a moderate, a middle-of-the-road-er, willing to listen to both sides (all sides?) and live & let live.  I'm out of fashion, as usual.  I got the living room decluttered and cleaned yesterday, vacuumed the hall, and the kitchen got dusted, mopped, and vacuumed.  Today we're off to the Farmer's Market, then we'll swing through a few grocery stores before coming home where I'll be baking a Banana Split Snack Cake, whipping up some Pesto, toasting slices of French bread (I love making stuff; don't you love making stuff?), and cleaning the bathroom to within an inch of its life.  I want to dig out bowls and platters and some fun napkins so that I don't have to do it tomorrow before our family comes over for supper.  Durwood got his beans soaking last night and thawed out the pound of smokey ham schnipples to put in with his crock pot baked beans.  We did an impromptu upstairs freezer reorganization when he got out a bunch of stuff for me to put into the basement freezer, and I had a brainstorm.  (of course I did)  He bought a new/old WW cookbook that we had to check through to see if it's one we already had; coupled with having sorted through the freezer stuff, I thought it'd make his life a lot easier if he planned a week's meals and used the upstairs freezer as a staging area for that week's food.  Next weekend I need to defrost the downstairs freezer and asked him to come and make a list of what we have so we/he can better utilize our supplies and not let things go bad down there.  We'll see.  It's an ambitious goal for a couple of laggards; maybe we can make it work--for a while.  Food's just too damned expensive to waste.  Last night's yoga was good, a fine session of slowly and gently making my muscles wake up and take notice.  I love that yin yoga, the slow settling into a pose, listening to my body and adjusting, easing, and sinking, feeling things ease as I hold a position, and the casual, less than serious atmosphere.  It's hard to be serious when each week there's a different entertainer out in the cafe so we never know what kind of "mood" music we'll have.  Makes you focus, that's for sure.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, that hour of yoga is the best $5 I spend every week.  Thanks, Mardi.  Today's Photo a Day theme is "up."  I took my camera out with me when I went out to top up the birdbath and fountain and looked up.  See the pretty clouds?  See the blue sky peeking through?  See the Menopausal Goddess sculpture that still makes me smile after all these years?  All raise my spirits up.  Go outside and look up, your spirit will rise too, I guarantee it.

September 22 --Edgar Degas, The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer.  Sylive hoped Madame couldn't see her hands shaking.  She kept them clasped behind her unless she was at the barre.  Madame scared her.  Madame had cheekbones as sharp as knives and her lips were always pursed and disapproving.  Sylive wanted to dance for Madame, make no mistake, she would dance until her feet bled, but Madame had danced with Pavlova and Nijinsky.  She had forgotten more about dancing than Sylvie would ever know.  When Madame frowned her way with her brow furrowed and her eyes gleaming, Sylvie's hands shook and her feet suddenly felt too big.

Oh, that Edgar, he loved the ballerinas, didn't he?  Such a scamp, such a dirty old man.  And now it's time to get some clothes on, real outside clothes, I mean, so I can drag Durwood around the Farmer's Market in the chilly Autumn morning.  Toodle-oo.  Have a great Saturday.
--Barbara Sue

Friday, September 21, 2012

I'm So Over These Hats

I stayed up until midnight last night finishing Hat #3 and it's so cute I can barely stand it.  I hope the person who ordered them likes them.  I'm pretty confident the mother-to-be will because, really, you're so hormonal in late pregnancy your judgement is pretty skewed so that anything for your baby is awesome.  Sometimes I miss being pregnant, or maybe it's just missing being that young.  That's probably it.

Anyway here are the finished hats.  All made with free patterns from stash yarn, all machine wash and dry-able. Ahh.

Autumn Woke Me Up Today

or maybe it was the last day of summer that was honking south in a long skein.  I lay there listening to the call of the Canada geese and feeling the cool morning air from the open window over my head and wishing I could lie there all day.  Then I smelled the coffee Durwood was making and my reverie fled in face of my caffeine urges.  And I had to pee.  When you get to be my age your bladder takes precedence over nearly every poetic or slovenly leaning.  It's just a fact of life and also childbirths past.  (hey, those of you who didn't or haven't, do you have that problem too?  inquiring minds, etc.)  I want to go out and take their picture but by the time I grab the camera and get out there, they're gone.  When I don't have things to do (when will that be?) I'll go sit out there and wait.  I could take a blankie to wrap around me and a steaming mug of Durwood's excellent coffee and sit out there some early morning.  Yeah, I could.  I'll study on that.  I need to get a move on today.  I want to dust and vacuum at least the public rooms, clear off the kitchen table, and make an ingredients list.  It's our turn to have Family Supper this month and instead of making the main course and asking the others (the Others, oooh) to bring sides, we're making the sides and asking everyone to bring their favorite wienies.  I had a brainstorm; I'm buying those Flatout wraps and cutting them so that we can try lots of dogs without eating all that bread.  Good idea, huh?  I think so.  I'll, of course, get a few buns for traditionalists... I'm looking at you, Durwood.  I also what to toast some walnuts to make pesto to mix with ricotta to put on toasted French bread for appetizers.  Let's see, what else?  Oh yeah, Durwood's making roasted tomato catsup (yummy) and baked beans (I think DS's making a beans recipe he wants to try too).  DS said he made mustard that he'll share.  I'm also making a vinegar coleslaw with red cabbage and fennel bulb, and a banana split snack cake. (gotta get a couple aged bananas today)  Okay, that's way too much food for six people... so it's just right.  We'll eat like kings and queens.  You totally wish you were coming too.  Totally... dudes.  (sorry, I couldn't resist)  Today's Photo a Day is "sometimes."  I read it when I first got up and thought it said "someTHING" so that's what I looked for.  It was only after I'd taking a few snaps and was tidying them up on Microsoft Picture Whatever and picking the day's winner that I reread it.  Damn.  But I decided that I could just change the way I thought about the photo I chose and move on.  So here's my reasoning... sometimes you're the giver and sometimes you're the receiver.  Usually I'm the giver, I feel more comfortable being the giver.  When I got home from The Clearing last Saturday (almost a week already? really??) there were two packages for me from Lala.  She had found things that made her think of me so she bought them and sent them.  (I've already sent my thank you note, ever since we got DIL1 whose mother taught her to send them, I've gotten back into the habit, and now I can't NOT do it; thank you thank you, DIL1 & HZ, for reminding me of my manners and the pleasure of doing it and having done it; you should try it, it's quick and easy and so fulfilling you'll be amazed)

September 21 -- Henri-Edmond Cross, Landscape with Stars.  Fiona felt as if she'd ascended into the sky as she stepped out into the night.  The stars were huge, shining down with a friendly light.  The long smudge of the Milky Way lay along the eastern sky like a discarded scarf and the constellations waltzed around Polaris as they had since time began.  Fiona felt dizzy with the enormity of it.  She sat down on her blanket to keep from falling.

That's when I conked out.  I'd stayed up until midnight to finish the last baby hat and I'm too damned old to stay up that late especially since I tend to get up around 6:30.  That's also why I'm writing this so late; I slept until 8 AM.  Ah well, c'est la vie.  Adios, chickens.
--Barbara Sue

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I Think Autumn's Here

We had a lovely thunderstorm last night with lots of rolling crashes and flashing lightning and pouring rain.  Woohoo!  We need rain, buckets of it, to soak into the parched soil and, as much as I hate to say it, we need a snowy winter so that the farmers can survive and grow food for us.  I promise to grumble about snowblowing/shoveling only a little.  Cross my heart.  Speaking of autumn arriving, you know I've been knitting a scarf of our Maple Tree this year, a row a day, and I've been watching for the leaves to begin turning so I can shift away from the unrelenting GREEN that's been the main theme since, oh... April?, yeah, late April.  I looked at the tree when I went out for the paper this morning and it looked unchanged, then I looked closer.  See?  Just a couple of leaves, the vanguard, are bravely showing their true colors.  (kind of like I did at The Clearing last week)  Today's Photo a Day theme is "man-made" so first I took a picture of the three baby hats I've been knitting (and have to finish today because I need to deliver them tomorrow--eek).  It's... okay.  Then I took a picture of last night's prompt writing figuring that's something man (well, woman) made.  Meh.  Then inspiration hit.  Durwood spent all day yesterday processing his latest half-bushel of tomatoes (except for the remaining 6 he's making into juice today) and knew that should be the photo of the day.  Here's his 10 quarts of gorgeous, delicious tomato soup (see? MAN-made, I'm only a man in the general sense and that was tripping me up... literal, much, Barbara?), added to the 42 (42!!!) pints of tomato soup he made earlier this month, we shouldn't run out anytime soon.  He's also planning to use it as a basis for a winter's worth of tomato sauce for cooking.  I see chicken parm and other tomato-y goodies in my future.  A. Lot. Of. Them.  (pause for lip-smacking, also a bit of gandy-dancing because I get to eat it and you don't... oh, that wasn't nice *shrug* I'll deal with the personality flaw--over a bowl of soup *mwa-ha-ha-ha*... so not nice, Barbara Sue, shame on you)

September 20--Egypt, Female Head.  No one ever said Thuya was pretty.  Plain might have even been a compliment.  She went around with a little smile on her face, not just her lips, that made her look simple.  There were those that thought they could say anything in front of her.  Any gossip or rumor, any secret was safe to say in front of her because she wasn't smart enough to understand things let alone repeat them.  They were wrong.

It was her eyes, her blank eyes, that sent me down that path.  I hate those mild, smiley faced people; they scare me.  Happy solstice, y'all!
--Barbara Sue

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Inspiration Appeared

Yesterday I looked ahead at what the Photo a Day theme is for today, "underneath," and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what I was going to picture for it.  Then I got up, with my alarm (*huh* huff on my nails, polish them on my pseudo-lapel) this morning, and when I opened the patio curtains I knew.  The sun was still underneath the horizon making purple and orange clouds.  I snapped.  (no, not went off the deep end, I pressed the shutter, tsk)  I had to try a few exposure settings (really quickly so I didn't lose the color & light) so I have 4 photos I like.  Thank you, Fat Mum Slim, for setting me on this path.  In the past I probably would have noticed it, probably, but I wouldn't have managed to keep images of it.  While I was away Durwood had a visit from "our" hawk and snapped a few pictures, and on Monday last we both saw a bird we'd never seen before.  He got some so-so pix of him but they were just good enough (we were searching soon enough so we remembered it too) so we tidied them up on here, then paged through the bird ID books until we found it.  It's a Brown Thrasher, about robin sized, a ground-feeder, and a pretty rusty brown with a long tail.  Not flashy, but it's new to us.  I met my writing & knitting & all-around pal, Cookie, at Harmony Cafe last night after supper for a little writing.  We have some bad habits (talking more than writing) to overcome but I think we can manage it a couple times a month.  We've agreed to accompany my yoga teacher, MH, on another NaNoWriMo adventure in November so it's good to limber up our writing muscles.  Besides I have a novel manuscript to retype and fluff up.  I need to get myself in gear.  Now I'm thinking I need two extra days per week.  I want to do too many things and with the things I need to do and what I should do, I'm over-scheduled... or maybe that should be over-committed.  Maybe I should just BE committed.  We'll see; that's not a decision I can make from this side of the bars.

September 19--Royal Porcelain Manufactory, Wall Light.  "What kind of fertilizer are you using?" Jed asked, squinting at the wild tangle of vines, branches, and flowers.  "Uh, fertilizer?" Sam said. "Nobody told me I need fertilizer."  He reached out to stroke one of the vivid red flowers that looked like an open maw thrust hungrily out of the green leaves before them.  "I'm not even sure what it is."

Can't you see tendrils slithering out, curling around their ankles and yanking those two farmers into the green beyond?  I can.  Have a day.  It's cooled right down and feels like Wisconsin in September.  The summer was too danged hot and this feels great, but I'm not sure I'm liking the long pants thing yet.  A cotton cardi feels good but long pants... not so much.  It feels like a red shoes day, too.  BTW, remember I told you that I made up my mind to get back to working out, even a little, every day?  On Monday morning I did 32 minutes of Wii Yoga in my living room and my muscles are letting me know that they'd rather lay there flabby.  The backs of my arms (you know, that "wing" part) and my abs, my quads and the sides of my back are all in a chorus of revolt.  They were not impressed when I made them go through the Wii Yoga movements again today and they're all going to sigh with relief when I put them into the shower later, but soon we'll all be on the same page.  My legs are kinda bitching about the 2 miles I made them walk yesterday too... tough.  Carrying two 40# bags of birdseed and squirrel corn didn't impress my back and arms yesterday either.  Just deal with it, whining achy muscles.  I intend to use this body until it gives out.  So there.
--Barbara Sue

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Got The Stink Blowed Off

I met Skully down at Fox Point Marina and we walked a couple miles in the newly cool morning.  It's like someone flipped the "season" switch from "summer" to "autumn" yesterday when the light rain came and now it's bright and sunny and COOL.  I love this time of year.  The leaves are just beginning to turn (none on my maple tree yet) and there's a bit of a nip in the morning air.  Love.  It.  There was a pretty vigorous breeze blowing off the river too that made us retract our hands into our sleeves and put a bit of pep in our steps.  I don't understand why I make excuses not to walk or work out when it makes me feel so good.  Am I simple, or what?  DS & DIL1 made supper for us last night as a uber-belated-birthday celebration for me.  I don't mind.  They're busy, we're busy, it can be my birthday just as easily on September 17th as on September 1st.  When you're 61 who cares?  Besides then my birthday goes on and on.  What's not to like?  DIL1 made tilapia fillets en papillotte with homegrown tomatoes, herbs, and peppers on them, and whole wheat penne with homemade pesto and pecans.  She served a little salad of mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette, a few homegrown cucumber slices and some homemade croutons on top.  For dessert DS made homemade (do you sense a theme here?) ice cream with hand-picked strawberries in it.  It was a lovely evening.  This is the first time DIL1 has planted a garden.  She had failures (lots of squash blight & borers and what were supposed to be yellow plum tomatoes are round & red [dratted unsupervised kids in greenhouses swapping plant sticks]) but many more successes.  Her basil is growing like the proverbial weeds and she was thrilled to go out and cut 3 cucumbers for me to have for my lunches as she's running out of things to do with them.  She's been roasting and milling tomatoes, peppers & onions, and freezing the resulting sauce for winter deliciousness.  She marveled than you can put tiny specks of seeds in dirt and, poof, food grows.  It's kind of a miracle, don't you think?  I'm glad that gardening seems to be making a resurgance.  We had cucumbers sliced and in salads last week that the director of The Clearing grew in his garden.  They were tastier, not only for being so fresh, but the care that they were grown with enhanced their flavor too, I think.  It's good for people to realize that they can actually feed themselves without going to the grocery and coming home with cans and bags of frozen stuff.  Not that we don't eat a lot of that ourselves (well, not so much canned anymore) but knowing that you can if you have to is empowering.  Also getting dirty and sweaty out in the garden's good for you too.  Makes you smelly and strong, and don't we all want to be that?  Today's Photo a Day theme is "price" and since I'm kind of surrounded by people preserving food I thought I'd show you the tools Durwood uses to can his soup.  This is the price of having fresh tastes all winter long.

(I didn't write to a prompt last night before bed.  Didn't want to.  So here's the first morning's writing from my workshop last week.  The teacher, JB, walked around with a basket and asked each of us to select something to write about; here's mine.)

I reached in, not looking, and this fuzzy, snakey thing leaped into my palm.  Leaped, I tell you.  I pulled it out and it turned out to be the leg of a sweet-looking plush bunny with a pink nose and a pink bow.  Innocuous, innocent looking, but I know it's not, SHE's not.  What shrinking violet of a bunny would be so eager to get out of that basket, be so eager to get away from the other prompt objects that she'd shove her nearest body part into the first random hand that came questing along?  (ooh, isn't questing a good word?)  This pensive-looking bunny has cleaved to my hand, well, her left leg has anyway, and I can't seem to let her go.  I am her escape pod.  I am her ticket to the wider world, to the light of day, to freedom.  I'm naming her Elaine.

I am sorely tempted to knit a tan, fuzzy bunny, I even went downstairs and sought out a bunny pattern that I knew I had.  But then it'd be so much faster and easier to just go buy one...  I'm thinking about it.  Maybe I can find a little bunny that needs a home at Goodwill on Friday.  I'm off to buy birdseed.
--Barbara Sue

Monday, September 17, 2012


Anyone who knows me well knows I don't like raspberries.  It isn't the little seeds, it's the taste or tang or something about them that I don't really like.  Oh, I can be polite and eat a little bowl of them when they're our breakfast fruit at The Clearing but they're not close to my fave.  Durwood loves raspberries.  Loves. Them.  DS planted some along the privacy fence years back, he had to leave them when he moved out and reserves the right to come and pick a few  (he should probably reclaim some when they get their backyard redone next spring).  We, well, I keep them well-watered through the summer (Durwood reminds me) and they make berries like they're going out of style.  No one was able to pick while I was gone so yesterday in the late afternoon I grabbed a good size bowl and went out to do the deed.  There were a lot, with more to come soon.  Today's Photo a Day theme is "in my fridge" so here's a snap of the berries.  Aren't they pretty?  I wish I liked them better; I'm sure Durwood is just as happy to "have" to eat them all.  (especially since I've suddenly come to like his homemade tomato soup so now he has to share, poor thing.  he's ordered another half-bushel of tomatoes to pick up today since he's "only" put up 42 pints so far since we've been home from Yellowstone, I carried up quart jars for these next batches.)  The newest feature up at The Clearing is a labyrinth made by this summer's intern, Nate.  It's tucked into a grove of cedars in the SW corner of the homestead meadow over where the original house stood.  It's made of beach stones that are pale pink and rounded and so pretty there, with angular dark gray rocks as the compass points.  In the center is a Scandinavian (Nordic? Celtic? I forget) bench set off center.  Thumbtacked to a tree near a chair is a description of the idea of the labyrinth.  cda and I walked it one afternoon and it's lovely.  I should have gone every day to shed layers of tension and stress but I feel even that one visit as a small quiet place in my heart.  I looked at the photo I took of the labyrinth and it reminded me of the dinosaur skeletons we saw in the Dickinson Dinosaur Museum.  Kind of creepy but very cool, both of them.  Durwood and I had so much fun going through museums and exhibits on our vacation that I proposed we keep it up around here.  I heard a commercial that the Paine Art Center in Oshkosh has an exhibit of Ansel Adams' photos through October and although Durwood's not an art guy he's agreed to go since he is a photographer.  He found an ad in AAA magazine that the History Museum at the Castle in Appleton will be having the only Midwestern showing of models of Leonardo da Vinci's machines starting next weekend and into the winter.  We're going.  This is a good idea.  We've never seen the submarine at the Manitowoc Maritime Museum or the airplanes at the EAA Museum in Oshkosh.  Then there's always the Neville here in town and DD suggested the Peshtigo Fire Museum.  We're going to be so smart!  There have to be more small local museums we can explore this winter.  I'm liking this idea, even if it was mine, I'm liking it a lot.  I'll give reports, never fear.  Pictures too.  I have to say that I was thrilled (thrilled, do you hear?) to finally talk to DD after missing out last weekend because I was gone.  I miss my girl and wish we lived closer or were richer so we could bomb on down there to see them.  One of these days.  Hey, maybe we should Skype.  Do any of you do that?

September 17--Jan van de Cappelle, A State Yacht and Other Craft in Calm Water.  The dip and drip of oars woke Dale.  He had fallen asleep sprawled over the table in the cabin and his neck was cricked.  He massaged the muscles and still had to shove his head upright with his hand.  He stifled a groan when the sound came again, closer this time.  The boat shuddered as something scraped along the starboard side near the waterline.  He slid his hand along the shelf at the end of the galley and came up with a nice, heavy wrench in his hand.  He didn't carry a gun on board, hadn't ever needed one, but now he wasn't so sure.  Were there pirates in the Great Lakes?  He tensed as he heard the bump of a boat on his and then the shift as someone climbed over the gunwale.

Well, that was unexpected.  Time to get showered and dressed for work.  Evidently no one's going to make me breakfast and then ring the bell so I guess I'm on my own for that too.  *sigh* This reentry into the real world is a pain in the keester, I'm telling you.  It's cloudy and cool today too, so I guess it's time to trot out the long jeans.  Long pants *groan* I'm not ready for long pants.  I lead such a hard life, let me tell you.
--Barbara Sue

Sunday, September 16, 2012

I Shouldn't Go Into Yarn Shops Either

I think it's the % off signs that are my downfall.  That must be it.  I can walk through a fabric store or a yarn shop and admire all of the full price wares but if I have an expiring coupon or if there's a "__% off" sign on something, I'm a goner.  I was peeved that Red Sock Yarns in Fish Creek is closed.  That was what I wanted to do on my afternoon off from The Clearing, I wanted to steep myself in wool fumes for an hour or two.  I even had a project along so that I could sit and knit, but the weak economy got them and they moved then closed.  Dagnabbit.  So I HAD to stop at Spin in Sturgeon Bay on my way home.  I had to.  And they did not disappoint.  Look at all the goodies I found in their 40% off baskets!  See that red/orange/yellow Dale wool?  There were many more skeins of the lime green/orange/yellow colorway that I didn't buy.  Good girl, Barbara, way to resist.  I have more skeins of other colors of the wheat cotton & silk Svale so I figure a neutral is always a good addition.  Right?  Right.  That Noro Chirimen was also irresistable.  It's cotton, silk & wool, and look at those colors.  You'd have bought it too, I know you would have.  You all know that I am not a blue girl, not at all, but who could resist those skeins of Berroco Blackstone Tweed?  So many patterns are made with alternating colors in two row stripes that I had to buy the teal and indigo to make a scarf or shawlette, besides it's really soft and TWEED.  I love tweed.  That one little skein of brown and variegated roving-type yarn will make another of those addictive purse-stitch scarves I made so many of a couple years ago.  She threw in a free vest pattern.  It's one of those two-row stripe things plus it's got those drapey fronts that are so in style right now.  I am fully aware that by the time I get around to making it that style will be passe but the pattern was free.  *shrugs*

While most of what I did last week was write, I did knit on a few things.  I added my daily Maple Tree Scarf rows and I'm watching for the first leaves to turn so I can start adding in color.  They say it'll come early this year because of the drought.

I finished up the newborn-size rolled brim hat for KL.  It's a lot longer with a lot more brim than I thought there'd be but that'll be good so that it'll fit the new little guy no matter how big or small his head is when he's new.

Last night I cast on the beginning of the thrid hat I want to make for that baby-to-be.  It'll be an earflap hat and I'm making it 3-6 month size so he'll have a new, handmade hat to wear for his first year of life.  I'm knitting them all out of stash and using free patterns I found on Ravelry so I don't have any qualms that I'm overachieving on this request.  I'm having fun.  Leave me alone.


That's the Photo a Day theme today, and also the meaning of my name.  Barbara means foreign or strange; I've always kind of liked that. (I also think it explains a lot about the way I'm careening through life so far.)  So here's a picture of my name.  It's above an essay that I wrote up at The Clearing years ago about a night I spent in the Cliff House which is a basic shelter built on a ledge at the far end of the property.  There's no electricity and no plumbing so you can infer what I was doing when I was mooning Escanaba which is the Upper Michigan city 5 or 6 miles across the bay of Green Bay.  I entered the essay when The Clearing sent out a call for arts and crafts and the written word done there or about the folk school.  There was judging and paintings, poems, ceramics, weavings, carvings, and one funny essay were chosen.  My irreverent essay about, well, I think you can guess what it's about, was chosen.  It's kind of the red-headed stepchild in the little volume of The Clearing Speaks where they've published the winners of the 2010 75th anniversary competition that recently came out, it doesn't quite fit but I don't care.  I don't care that all the other writings in the book are serious and meditative with strong images that evoke the wonderful atmosphere of The Clearing, my essay points to part of the atmosphere too.  It has strong images and in between the laughs are things that can touch your soul.  Laughter is also an emotion (or the manifestation of one) and I think it's just as valid as tears or those things that make you put a hand on your chest and sigh.  So anyway, here's my name.  My name is Barbara and I can be strange.  I was sad to drive away yesterday but I'm glad to be home.  I missed Durwood and I missed talking to my kids.  I even missed all of you, well, I missed sitting here every day blabbering on my blog assuming that there's a raft of you out there reading this.  Even if there isn't, I missed it, let's just leave it at that.  The bad thing about being away is that I want to come home and completely revamp my life and surroundings to replicate the serenity that I experienced up there in the woods on the bluff.  Yeah, that's not gonna happen.  It'd be expensive and I know that Durwood would never get onboard with me scraping all of our accumulated stuff out of the house and into the front yard, then only letting back in things that I really really really like.  I've even assured him that I'd definitely put him in the back yard with my writing things, my knitting & sewing things, my scuba stuff, the furniture pieces and other things we've inherited that I love.  You'll notice that it's all about what I want to keep.  I don't think he has a firm vision of what he'd want to keep (I suspect that most guys don't really think about redecorating), it's more that he'd notice its lack.  Durwood's more of a utilitarian kind of guy, for instance, he wouldn't let me have the carpet replaced with laminate flooring under our kitchen table because his feet get cold.  That made sense to me and I was willing to concede that as long as we got rid of the uncleanable kitchen carpeting.  See?  It's called cooperation, also fighting the battles that matter.  I'm not house-proud.  How can I be?  There's burnt orange carpeting in our living room, and I picked it out once upon a time.  But it's not worn it's just ugly.  Ugly I can deal with because there are so many other things that are way more important than replacing ugly carpeting.  We wouldn't have been able to afford a 2-week drive out to Yellowstone and back if we'd spent that money on new flooring.  Sure, the vacation was fleeting but the memories are irreplaceable and we got to spend 2 full weeks with each other seeing history and science on the hoof.  Totally worth living with burnt orange carpeting for a few more years.  Totally.

September 16--Jan van de Cappelle, A State Yacht and Other Craft in Calm Water.  The boat just sat there on the glassy water.  There was no wind to fill the belly of the sail or rumple the water's surface.  And it was hot.  The hard, yellow sunlight pounded Dale and made his head throb.  The deck felt griddle-hot even through the soles of his deck shoes.  He had been becalmed since just after sunrise.  It seemed like the last of the night wind had pushed him just so far and then left him there to fry for a day or so.  He let out some fishing line and secured the rod in the holder.  He might as well catch a few fish while he waited for the wind to come back.

Okay, kiddos, that's it for me.  I have to go down and fling the laundry around, then figure out what I'm having for lunch this coming week so I can make it.  I'm leaning toward making a batch of hummus.  If there's a can of chickpeas downstairs, that is, although I'm perfectly capable of going to the store to get some.  Hmm, there's a thought.
--Barbara Sue

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I'm Home!

I made it back just after noon today.  I've unloaded my car and some of my crap is put away.  First I babbled to Durwood about how I actually wrote 5 scenes to stuff into my novel while he told me about how he tangled his foot in his O2 hose yesterday and fell.  He showed me his bruises and I asked two hundred times if he was sure he's okay.  He is.  I showed off that my birthday carnations have survived the trip to The Clearing and back just fine--and that on September 10th I finally found the spatula he'd tucked into them on September 1st.  (I've told you before, I need a keeper)  I managed to get out of The Clearing today without running off the exit road like I did on Tuesday morning when I hit a rock and gave myself a flat tire because I wasn't paying attention and was driving too fast.  God, I hate that I'm such a moron (see above parenthetical comment re: a keeper).  On a related note, evidently someone in Fish Creek driving a white car/van/SUV turned a bit too closely past my car because there's a smudge of white paint on the right rear fender and there might be a companion dent.  I need to take a closer look.  Gah!  It was a great week up at The Clearing with a great coach/teacher and eleven good writers for classmates.  We had roundtables where we took turns reading and getting comments in the mornings and Quiet Writing Time for no-talking concentration on our writing projects in the afternoons.  My roomie, cda, and I kept the momentum up in the evenings, reading to each other, making suggestions and helping each other with word choices, etc.  Lots of words were typed and scribbled, much red ink was expended, lots of big "X"s appeared on my pages as I crossed things out when I got wordy.  Our teacher had private consults scheduled during the afternoons so we each got half an hour to talk about our individual projects and goals.  Judy is excellent at helping me see what I need to do to reach my goals and how to take another look at what I have.  Even if I don't use any of her suggestions just talking to her helps me to see how to implement what's in my mind.  The rest of the students and instructors were fun and friendly too, the food was outstanding as usual (who doesn't like homemade bread at every meal?), and the staff couldn't have been better.  Oh, and the weather cooperated too, except for a bit of rain late on Wednesday night (it was so soothing to fall asleep to the sound of light rain on the leaves) and a bit of drizzle on Thursday morning, the days were bright, sunny, and warmish.  Absolutely perfect.  Now I'm home.  There'll be laundry soon.  But first here are a few photos from last week.  I hope you enjoy them.  (Sorry, I didn't save you any hot fudge and strawberries and I didn't take their picture either; I was too busy eating.)