Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter, My Little Chickadees

I hope by now all the eggs are found or rescued, all the baskets are explored, all chocolate bunnies nibbled, and all the bonnets are ready for the Easter parade.  Do you have a bonnet?  I don't.  I used to have one every year when Dad bought Mom and me corsages and we went to Sunday Mass and wore little white gloves and shiny patent leather shoes.  I do think I might wear a skirt to Easter lunch at J&HZ's later.  It isn't really spring-y but I like it.  (Hey, it'll be festive enough for this casual age.)(I just got dressed and was less than thrilled to discover that the box of pantyhose I bought months ago isn't black; it's off-black.  Yes, OFF-black, I read it correctly.  It's gray, people, off-black is gray.  I suppose gray pantyhose are a hard sell, but I really wanted black.  I don't wear hose much so I guess they'll do.  I'm too cheap to toss them and too fashion unconscious to care.)

Durwood decided to make his mom's recipe for kolachkes yesterday so that we will have a nice hostess gift--and some for him to eat too.  I didn't realized that he hadn't ever made them before so there was a lot of "technical advisor" stuff for me to do.  I didn't really mind.  That also meant that he was unaware that there's a difference between almond "paste" and almond "filling."  Turns out Walmart doesn't have the filling so he made his best and only choice, paste, which we'll now have to make something with because of course he opened it and it wasn't until then I realized that it wasn't the right stuff, and it cost over $4.  I had to run out for powdered sugar for my bunny cake's frosting so I snagged the last can of almond filling at Copps--when every other person in northeastern WI was out shopping.  Walmart was a zoo.  A zoo!  I nearly got myself creamed in the parking lot.  I forgot where I parked so I was looking out over the lot and didn't look out for cars.  Don't do that.  Luckily the lady was looking so she didn't flatten me and she rolled down her window to tell me so.  In a nice way.  That's what comes from not "being in the moment."

On St. Paddy's Day HZ invited us to have Easter with them and asked if I'd make a bunny cake like I did last year.  JZ said I could make that bunny cake "as long as you make it out of that bread" meaning the soda bread I'd made for that day.  I thought it'd be fun to make soda bread in a bunny pan.  Not only did I not find a bunny pan, the "character" cake pans I did find started at $15 and went up.  Too pricey for a funny, so I bought a foam bunny ears visor at Michaels and made a half batch of soda bread this morning.  I plan to just stretch the ears around the bread and tell them that I didn't want to go against J's command... all the while having the real bunny cake in the car.  Tee hee.  I'm so clever.  (Just ask me)

March 31--La Maison Martine, Silk Textile.  Leah opened her eyes and blinked at the shapes.  Purple and orange disks loomed over her like alien eyes.  She was cold and stiff.  She tried to stretch her legs but they were stuck in something that scratched at her ankles.  Her hands were numb but she could move them.  At least she thought she was moving them.  It was dark and she couldn't really see if they moved.  It felt like it.  She held still and listened.  There wasn't much sound.  A muffled wailing seemed to come from far away.  She wasn't at all certain that she wasn't the one making the sound.

Well... okay then.  Have a Happy Easter, and I hope you find all your eggs.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

I Saw A Robin!

I did.  Look!  I took its picture and everything.  It was scurrying around looking for things to eat.  Are worms awake yet?  Probably not, the ground's still frozen, but there're lots of seeds on the ground, overspill from all the feeders, and yesterday a trio of starlings (spatzies, Grandpa Stephan called them) attacked the suet, flinging bits of it thither and yon so maybe it was eating up those bits.  Oh.  I just noticed that it has clouded over.  Damn.  I've been so happy and perky the last few days with all that sunshine flooding around outside and now it's dreary again.  Not back to cold but not as warm out there as in the bright sunshine, I'm sure.  Double damn.

Last night while I was at knitting Durwood mixed up his dough for the pastries he's making today.  We're going to have to negotiate kitchen time today because I need to make a cake for Easter lunch dessert too.  There isn't room for two people to cook in there anyway and we both need the oven so we'll be taking turns.  Of course he used all or almost all of the powdered sugar so I'll have to go get some but he might need another can of Solo filling too so someone'd have to go get some of that anyway.  And I have to move Beverly because he wants to go fill up his gas tank.

I took Beverly to get a real thorough car wash yesterday.  It was lovely having the inside cleaned, the outside too because of all the salt, but the inside was kind of smelly, "barny" Lala said last weekend, and I don't know why but a good clean can't hurt.  Plus I took my snowshoes out and put them away since there's probably not going to be a chance to use them one more time. (fingers crossed)  But you never know living here in the tundra.

March 30--Ethiopia, Double Diptych Icon Pendant.  Israel hunched over his work bench, his hands busy in the pool of light.  The scent of sawdust and varnish was strong in the shop.  His tools were small.  Ethan thought they looked like toys but Israel told him that no one could make miniatures with regular-sized tools.  "One pass of the saw and your project's ruined.  No, these tiny blades and brushes are just  right.  You'll get the hang of them."  He blew a careful breath to get the tiny bit of sawdust out of the cut he was making.  When he was happy with the icon, which was no bigger than a postage stamp, he picked up a paint brush with a single hair and passed it to his apprentice.  "Here, Ethan, paint that saint, Stephen, I think.  You know, the one that slayed the dragon and don't skimp on the color.  Tourists love colors."

Can you believe that March is almost over?  Tomorrow's the 31st, you know, that means Monday's April Fool's Day... holy crap, time sure flies.  I'm off to bake a bunny cake.  No, a cake shaped like a bunny not a cake out of a bunny.  Sheesh, literal much?  Seeyabye.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Evidently Sunshine = Startitis

I want to knit everything in my Onesie basket--today.  I especially want to knit the Wrap & Go Shawl.  I went to my Ravelry queue yesterday to discover that there're three projects queued ahead of it. The top project's a one-skein beanie which I won't wear this time of year either but can go into the charity basket so it goes into the knit bag for a Friday Night Knitting start.  The second one's a cowl and I've discovered that I only wear cowls in the dead of winter which is not now so I gave myself permission to ignore that one until autumn.

Next comes the 75% cotton/25% wool crocheted neck kerchief which I plan to start while sitting on the retaining wall in the sunshine just as soon as I get home from getting a car wash, and not one of those mid-winter, rinse the salt off drive through car washes either, I'm talking about an over $10, empty the crap out first, vacuum/inside clean/hand dried car wash.  (I think I can hear Beverly's pleased hum from here.)

 I've put the kneedles, yarn, and pattern for the Shawl/Wrap into my bag to cast on tonight.  EEEEEE.  It's only one skein, a 400+ yard skein true, but I read project notes before choosing it and one person used fewer stitches on much larger needles.  She might be my new best friend.  I'm going for it.

I decided to go with the flap heel after two disasterous runs at a short-row heel and got past it and the heel turn and by bedtime I was through the gusset and onto the foot.  Now it's no more thinking for the next 30 or so rows until it's time to decrease for the toe.  I really like the color and the yarn's got a faint fuzzy halo.  It's Plymouth Encore.

I saw a male goldfinch in the tree this morning.  They're turning yellow!   It's definitely spring.

Basking In The Spring Sun

Courting housefinches
That's my plan for today.  Last night I took a little walk before supper in the waning sunlight and it was grand, a few puddles to wade or dodge, but it was the best idea I've had in a long time.  I watch the snow melting away from the thin margins of the yard, shrinking shrinking, until the only snow left is the hard-packed stuff like glacier ice melting only grudgingly under the sun's assault.  This time of year I always wish I'd shoveled the snow off of the patio throughout the winter but I never do, so the trip to the birdbath still requires boots and careful steps.  That means I'll be careful when I cross it to get to the retaining wall at the end of the yard.  That's where I'll be doing my basking later on.  There's a privacy fence close behind there so it's a warm, protected spot for an early spring perch.

When I was out topping up the birdbath this morning I heard cardinals singing their springtime songs.  Yay, birdsong!  That means it really is spring.  Hot-diggity!  I took a couple pictures but they didn't really turn out the way I'd planned.  In this one you can barely see a female cardinal high up in the tree, in the other all you see is branches because the bird flew away just as I snapped the shutter.  BUT you can see that spring is having its effect because the dark purple-red buds are swelling.  Yahoo!

 March 29--Edouard Manet, Madame Manet at Bellevue.   It was such a relief to sit in the green reflection of leaves.  The spring breeze tickled the leaves and made them whisper and squirm.  Suzanne's fingers strayed to the buttons at her throat.  She was temped to unbutton one, two, three of them to invite the weak sunshine to touch her winter skin.  Propriety kept her hands in her lap.  She watched a pair of girls, bareheaded and with their blouses unbuttoned in wide Vs, walk arm-in-arm with their heads together in close conversation.  She sat alone, knees and ankles tight together, envious of their freedom, feeling her limbs twitch to relax.

Okay, I confess that I didn't write that last night, I just dashed it off this morning.  I didn't think I was ready to go to bed when Durwood did so I promptly took a 1 1/2 hour couch nap and then went to bed at midnight, too late to write.  Crazy.  Enjoy your day.  I recommend that you play hooky if you have to be at work, at least for part of the day, it'll be too nice to miss.  I'm outta here.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


When I got out of bed around 6:30 this morning I glanced out the window to see the full moon shining through the (still bare) tree branches in a Matisse-blue sky.  Naturally the blue got out of hand in my picture of it but you get the idea.  The whole world wasn't blue no matter what the camera thought, really it wasn't.  I have a list of Full Moon Names and they're an interesting mix for March.  Since it's a winter month and the end of winter at that, the March full moon names can be a bit of a downer.  The Choctaw call it the Big Famine Moon, the Dakotah Sioux name it Moon when Eyes are Sore from Bright Snow, and the Neo Pagans (whoever they are) call it the Death Moon (is it related to the Death Star?).  The Chinese are a bit better with Sleepy Moon, the Celts and Cherokees call it Windy Moon, Colonial Americans called it the Fish Moon, and last the Medieval English called it Chaste Moon.  Seems like nobody was inspired or creative in March.  I know just how they felt.  BUT it was sunny and 45 yesterday and supposed to be the same again today.  Both days that I work, of course.  I think the nice is supposed to hang on until Friday at least so I may just plant myself in a sunny spot and bask.

Speaking of sunny and warm, all that salting I did on the driveway glacier so I could walk across it without killing myself paid off.  When I got home from work yesterday our half of the glacier was gone.  It's amazing.  You can see how far the salt scattered.  I guess I'm a mediocre landlady; I salted my half of the driveway and not the renter's.  Hey, I snowblow hers when I do mine if she hasn't shoveled and I always take care of the snowplow drifts, but I'm not the mom of her.  I'm only the mom of DS & DD, I try not to mom DIL1 & DIL2 since they have perfectly good moms of their own.  Don't get me wrong, I am not a paragon; I said I try, I don't always succeed.

March 28--Nigeria, Bracelets.  They twined like gold ribbons on her slender wrists.  The metal was carved like scales with stylized alligator heads at the ends.  Detective Moore stood in the pool of light cast by the desk lamp trying to decide why no blood stained them.  She had been beautiful, tall and slender with pale coffee-colored hair and skin like the richest cream.  Her long dark brown hair fanned out around her like a corona.  She wore only the gold bracelets, the rest of her was covered in blood, her own blood, dark and congealed.  The maid had found her.  Detective Moore could hear the woman's hiccuping sobs from the kitchen.  He needed to talk to her.

Ugh, grisly.  Sorry for that start to your day.  Time to get a move on.  Durwood's got the tax stuff all ready so I can drop it off at the tax guy's office on my way to work.  Tally-ho!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

I've Had The Blahs

The never-ending cold and drear has infiltrated the very core of my being so my crafting output has been spotty.  I spent all last weekend, well most of it anyway except for Sunday, in Sheboygan with my pal.  We went to the Kohler Design Center (fancy sinks and toidies) and the John Michael Kohler Art Center (which I highly recommend) and took a few walks but I only knitted one evening.  Didn't write.  Didn't read.  I was at a low ebb.

BUT the sun is out today and the temp is in the 40s (or nearly so) and I feel much better.  The sunshine's like a battery charge that I can't go too long without.  Ahh, better.

My favorite exhibit at the Art Center was a "Healing Machine" made by a bachelor Nebraska farmer to attract and concentrate the healing electricity in the Earth.  His media encompassed wire (baling and reclaimed), masking tape, cardboard, tin cans and lids, wood, beads, and minerals he obtained from a pharmacist friend.  Very eccentric and fascinating.  Some looked like God's Eyes, one like a tornado, some were like Tiffany lamps, and my favorite piece looked like a Pharonic barge to the underworld.  Or maybe one that looked like a cross between a wind spinner and a spider web was my favorite.  Or... oh, I liked it all.

I did finish that starfish washcloth last week

and made another baby hat, a goldfish colored one, for that rapidly approaching baby,

and Z-Dawg and I made what are supposed to be egg-shaped yarn cages with chocolate eggs inside.  Few are egg-shaped and it was a tedious and messy craft.  I'm not a fan.


That's it in the FO department.  I think I left decreasing too late on the Fino Bias Scarf so I might run out before the end... and I'm really thinking I made it too wide and should probably frog it and start over.  Gah!  I might.

Clawing My Way Toward The Weekend

duck prints in the snow!
It's funny how the week goes.  When the alarms (yes, alarms, I'd rather stay in bed) wake me on Monday it seems like the weekend is miles away and a mere two mornings later it seems like the weekend's just around the corner.  It's only five days from weekend to weekend, and for me it's really four days since I always have Friday off, so it isn't much time in all.  Maybe my perceptions stretch and snap back.  I don't know.  It was just something non-crabby, non-blah to talk about today.

The thermometer in my car said that it was 45 degrees yesterday.  I couldn't believe it.  I even wore a fleece jacket with a vest over it when I erranded.  I went to the bank (yay for cashing paychecks and depositing the first payment for my week of writing workshop in May!) and then to Aldi because yesterday was the last day they had pineapple for $1.99 and strawberries for 99 cents.  (can someone tell me why they took the cents sign off the keyboard?)  Durwood bought a grab-bag of produce at Woodman's for 99 cents that had 3 bananas, 2 green peppers, 3 plums, 1 Brussels sprout, a lime, and probably 2 lbs. of okra.  All for 99 cents!  One plum and part of one green pepper were a bit too old for consumption but he added the single sprout to our dinner broccoli, diced up and froze the peppers, then he cut up the okra and sauteed it with a few Roma tomatoes.  It smelled great and will be an excellent veggie with tonight's roast chicken leftovers.  I'm going to let the bananas age so I can make a banana cake for Easter dessert.  I saw our neighbors at Aldi, she's making Easter dinner, and talked about making a banana pie.  I thought, hmm, banana cake.  See, DIL1's not a fan of thick, extra sweet frosting so I figure I can make a bit of cream cheese frosting to hold some flake coconut onto it and, BAM!, cake.  I also plan to make a half batch of soda bread for JZ who told me that "you can make a bunny cake as long as it's made with THAT bread."  He had soda bread crumbs in his chin at the time.  Message received.  I don't want my plate to be on the driveway on Sunday.

March 27--Domenichino, Landscape with Moses and the Burning Bush.  Okay.  How gullible do you have to be to believe that a burning bush is talking to you AND that it's God's voice?  Think of Mrs. Moses.  He comes in from a hard day's shepherding and tells her that God spoke to him from a burning bush and told him... what?  Something about saving his people is what Moses probably said to the missus.  If her mother was there and heard that you'd better bet she told her daughter that she never should have married him.  Mrs. Moses probably worried that he'd been spending too much time alone with his sheep or maybe that he fell and hit his head on a rock.  You know that the Moses' neighbors whispered about him going on about talking to God who appeared in a burning bush and that he seemed to be developing a savior complex and they had no intention of following him anywhere especially not out of Egypt where they had made their lives.  In this painting it looks like Moses is in Italy.  I'm pretty sure he was never there.  It was too far to walk to, especially with his sheep, besides he has no shoes.

Sorry.  My brain went off on a tangent about how gullible you'd have to be to believe the whole God in a bush thing.  Hey, the sun's out.  I feel miles cheerier.  Enjoy your day.  I'm going to work.  Maybe customers will come.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hope Might Spring Eternal, But Spring's Not Springing

I heard the weather guy saying we might get up into the 40s over the weekend and my daffodils are trying, but look at how yellow their leaves are.  That can't be good.  There's one little brave crocus up and quite a few other hints of tops out there along the (south facing and brick wall backed) front of the house, but I gotta tell you spring ain't springing.  No way, no how.  They can run all the garden centered stories they want on the morning news but that won't change the fact that it barely gets above freezing during the day and hits the teens at night.  The glacier at the end of the driveway, while slightly smaller due to sun depredation, is still firmly stuck to the pavement and holding its own.  Bah.

I had three actual customers yesterday, paying ones.  It's so much nicer to start the day in the black rather than having to pay out pool fees and begin in the red.

I clipped a couple of the balloons this morning and enjoyed the crackle as the rubber (or plastic or whatever they're made of) pulled away from the dried stiff string/yarn.  I'm not thrilled that the red balloon tinted parts of the white string pink but they're... okay.  Maybe I'm not creative or clever enough to wind the gluey stuff in pretty designs but this is not something I'll do again.  Ever.  Nope, sorry, not doing it.  It's too messy for a disappointing outcome.

Last night wasn't a writing night.  Again.  I'm kind of nervous about not writing, not feeling able to write.  I've signed up for a week-long writing workshop in May at The Clearing (mostly, I confess, to spend a spring week in the woods) and that means I'll have to write something every day for five days.  Eek.  Perhaps I'll double down in April, find a National Poetry Writing Month-type list of prompts, and lever up some writing to flop on the page.  To let it lie there like a dead thing, I'm afraid, but everyone has down times, right?  Right???

I'm off to... something.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Back Home, Back To The Grind

Weekends are too short.  I'm just putting that out there, in case you didn't know.

My friend Z-Dawg came over in the afternoon yesterday to tackle a craft.  A couple weeks ago she posted on Facebook directions on how to make yarn egg cages with chocolates in them.  I thought it was intriguing too so we gathered foil wrapped chocolate eggs, balloons, glue, yarn (well, duh), covered the work table with waxed paper (thank god!), and made an unholy mess.  We started out using crochet cotton then I dug out some sock yarn since the cotton was so thin it was hard to cover the space; yarn was easier.  Now they have to dry, then we'll pop the balloons, tug out the scraps of rubber, and maybe have these interesting little yarn/string cages with foil wrapped eggs inside.  Or we'll have misshapen yarn blobs around candy.  I was surprised that it was such a pain, not something to do with kids.  I will be amazed if they turn out at all.

March 25--Syria, The Attarouthi Treasure, Silver Dove.  Sheila stood in the kitchen doorway.  The floor was covered with broken dishes and glassware.  Every breakable item in her kitchen was in at least two pieces.  Even her copper-bottomed pots had their handles broken off.  Who hated her enough?  Who cared about her enough to be that angry?

It's so cold and dreary that I just can't get up the energy.  I hope you survive your day.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

It's... Snowing

Good god, again.  Still.  Whatever.  I'm done with snow.  And snowing.  And etc.

I did a lot of walking yesterday, both alone and together with Lala.  We went down to the beach but weren't wearing our boots and it was pretty wet and sloppy so we didn't go to the water's edge.  We went back to the Art Center because they've got a "glass gallery" (we civilians call that a greenhouse) with three giant monkey shapes made of moss hanging from vines and you can check out an art kit from the desk and then go in there and draw.  It's obviously aimed toward children but I really wanted to do it and Lala went along.  We had a blast.  I did a lot better than I thought I would with the sketching pencil, colored pencils and eraser.  Lala's picture is good too.  Like I said, we enjoyed it.  I asked at the desk in the hotel where we could get a good burger and the guy reminded me that just a few blocks south of here is the Charcoal Inn which is one of those places where your food comes wrapped in waxed paper, not on a plate, and it's all buttery and bad for you and delicious.  We walked down there for supper, and were planning to walk back to the lake to watch the moon rise but it clouded up so no moonrise.  So we sat in here and talked.  It was good.  And not windy and cold.

Did you ever eat a frozen orange?  I put four oranges into the in-room fridge when I arrived.  I ate 2 yesterday, they were damned cold.  This morning's orange was frozen solid as a billiard ball.  I sawed it in half, then quarters, then eighths--and it still wasn't thawed when I ate it twenty minutes later.  Now that's FROZEN.

I didn't write last night, I was tired, so this is all you get today.  I'll be packing up in a minute because I want to leave around 10 AM so I'm not racing around like a crazed weasel to get ready for the week.  Talk to you tomorrow.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Here I Am!

Over here in Room 112 at the Harbor Winds Hotel in Sheboygan.  Hotel conjures up the image of a sort of swank place, at least in my mind, but the Harbor Winds isn't swank, it's regular.  Nice, but regular.  The room has 2 double beds, a desk, easy chair, TV on an armoire, a fridge, microwave, and coffee pot.  Of course, a sink, tub, and toilet.  I don't remember how we found this place, I'm sure it was Lala searching the 'net, but this is the only place we've stayed on our little end of winter run-aways and I love it.  It's not too expensive, it's right on the riverwalk, has free internet and breakfast.  It's also within walking distance of lots of places so we can park our cars when we arrive and walk wherever we want to go although yesterday we drove out to Kohler to see the Design Center and then we stopped at the JMKohler Art Center a few blocks from here.  There were amazing things to see at both places; toilets galore as well as sinks and showers and bathtubs with a bit of history thrown in at the Design Center, and in the Art Center there was an exhibit of naive paintings, kinda Grandma Moses-ish by Ernest Hupeden whose art has only recently come to light and the piece-de-resistance as far as Lala and I are concerned was the Healing Machine of Emery Blagdon.

The Healing Machine was a revelation.  Mr. Blagdon believed that the electricity in the Earth had healing properties so he gathered baling and copper wire, metal cans and lids, paint, cardboard, aluminum foil and minerals and created "pretties" that he gathered in a shed he called the Healing Machine.  It's amazing and so intricate... there aren't words.  In the description it said that his father tatted so that's the way he used the wires in lots of cases.  It's amazing, you should see it.  It'll be there until January 2014 so you have plenty of time.

March 23--Paul Gauguin, Two Women.  Mother and daughter sit there still, expressionless.  You can see that the mother shields her daughter.  She's implacable, unmoved by the blandishments of the man.  She holds her ground.  The daughter is afraid.  You see it in her eyes and the way she slides behind her mother.  He lost this battle, I know he did.

I have a hard time writing from Paul Gauguin's works because I disapprove so strongly of him.  No, I don't know he was naughty but if you look at the eyes of the women in his paintings you can see that they weren't at all enthusiastic about posing for him.  Tsk, bad Paul G.  Okay, I'm going to get dressed and take a walk before breakfast.  Toodles.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mostly Packed

I folded the basket of clean wash last night after supper so I'd have underpants to wear today and take along, then I bagged up 3 different flavors of tea and my hot water pot so I won't have to leave my room for tea, and I made sure that I had all my toiletries (plus some "I might need" items) in my dopp kit and packed it, then I put in some socks and shirts and a sweater in the bag.  All that's left to pack (I think) are the sweats that I'm sitting in the middle of.  I have my winter tennies/boots out so I won't forget them and I piled all my WIPs into a big bag so I'll have plenty of knitting.  What else?  Oh yeah, this laptop.  Can't forget the laptop.  I've got a notebook in case I feel like writing but I'm not going to be hard on myself if I don't.  (I took some nice sunset pix yesterday from the Michaels parking lot and the $#%&* laptop won't see the SD card when I slot it in.  Grrr)  I'm planning to get my nails done on my way out of town.  Naturally I broke one yesterday, plus they're getting a bit long and scraggly looking so I might as well, plus there's less chance I'll smudge one if I'm just driving for an hour afterwards.  I want to grab some oranges to take along too.  Ha, I act as though I'm going on safari.  There are stores, all kinds of stores, in Sheboygan.  There have to be, my brother and his family live there.  (Ah, I rebooted the computer and now it sees the SD card.  Whew.)  They buy groceries, etc. I know they do.  But I'll take oranges from home anyway, those I've already paid for and we've got extras.  Remember when an orange in winter was a luxury?  I do.  We'd get one at Christmas sometimes and for years I put one in the kids' stockings.  Maybe that's why I love them so much.  Plus they taste good, like a little squirt of sunshine.  Can't forget to pack my surge protector cord with all the chargers on it--camera, phone, iPod, and Kindle Fire.  See?  It's a good thing that I'm telling you all this.  I'm remembering things.

I'm addicted to audiobooks.  Is that bad?  I rarely buy them, only from Audible and then only books I know I want to listen to again and again.  I can't conscience paying fifteen bucks for a book I don't know if I'll like, that's what the library's for.  They let you borrow books for free.  Even talking ones, some on CDs and many online so you can just, zoop, download them onto your device (device sounds vaguely nasty, doesn't it?), and listen.  I'd have a book stuck in my ears all the time if Durwood didn't expect me to talk to him every once in a while or at least respond when he talks to me.  Marriage, it's really an every day thing, isn't it?  *sigh*  See, our marriage wasn't an every day thing for years and years, until about 6 years ago, really, when Durwood stopped going out of town.  Oh, he'd call every night from the road and we'd talk about all sorts of things and then he'd be home on weekends and for about a week and a half per month, not all in a row.  It worked for us, for both of us.  I dread the day when I don't work anymore.  What'll we do????  Probably stop talking altogether, we've both turned into such loners.

March 22--Baldassare Manara, Pyramis and Thisbe.  They were creatures of habit.  They sat in the same places, ate off the same plates, and wore the same clothes in the same order.  "We need a change," Terese said, "we're boring."  "We're not boring," said Peter, "we're settled."  She shook her head.  "We're settled all right.  We're so deeply settled, we're in a rut.  No, not a rut, a chasm, an abyss."  She threw her hands up.  "I'm tired of meatloaf on Monday and salmon on Tuesday."  Peter looked at her as if she'd lost her mind.  "I bought plates that don't match at Goodwill."  He wondered if he could eat off of different plates.  She kept going.  "I want to rearrange the furniture and sit in a different place at the table.  I'm sick of the status quo."  Peter sat stunned watching a bluejay throw peanuts off the feeder.

I had to look up the myth of Pyramis and Thisbe this morning.  It's Romeo and Juliet in even olden-er days.  Why didn't I remember that?  I used to remember all sorts of things.  Damned brain drain.  (a few years ago when I muttered that I was having a senior moment over the radishes in the grocery an old lady beside me told me that I didn't get to have senior moments because I was too young and when I asked her what I got she put one fist on her hip and said, "bah-rain dah-rain" then she turned and pushed her cart away.  guess she told me.  sounded like my mother-in-law, God rest her soul)  Okay, time to eat, shower, and flee.  Adios!


Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Sun Is Trying, But It's Still %#$&! Cold

How cold is it?  Cold enough that I exchanged my overnighter suitcase for a bigger suitcase because the clothes that I need to take with me tomorrow for my weekend run-away are thicker and fluffier and take up a lot more room than spring-type clothes.  We want to walk along the lakeshore so that means fleece pants (they're mostly windproof, more windproof than jeans, anyway) and layers of sweaters and shirts and shawls and scarves and extra hats and mittens and... well, you see what I mean.  Can't forget the super thick socks.  And boots, which don't get into the suitcase but need to go along too.  I was thinking last night that it might be a good thing that I haven't taken my snowshoes out of the back of Beverly yet.  Nooooo, Mother Nature wouldn't do that to us, would she?  Now that I'm post-menopausal and edging even more fully into crone-hood, I'm thinking the old bat's probably just vindictive enough to do it... and laugh while she's at it.  I suddenly had a mental image of myself all huddled in shawls and lap robe sitting in a rocking chair knitting.  Eeesh.  I'm not quite that old--yet.  Although with all the crazy weather that's been screaming through my joints are aching like mad.  I don't like it, not one bit.

Friend and yogi MH recommended that we find Johnston's Bakery in Sheboygan.  She says they have the best hard rolls.  We'll see.  I might just have to buy some nice cheese at Field to Fork and get me some of those rolls so I can determine how really "best" they are.  Naturally there will be a stop at the Victorian Chocolate Shoppe between the motel and Il Ritrovo/Field to Fork.  It's only right.  All that walking, along the river and the lakeshore and up the hill to the restaurant(s), a person needs chocolate to revive herself.  And to stimulate the local economy.  Yeah, that's right.  I'm civic-minded like that.  (Is it any wonder I have trouble losing weight?  All I seem to think about is food.  Tsk.  Any clue how to change that?  And if I figure it out I'll let you know.)

March 21--Leonardo da Vinci, The head of the Virgin in Three-Quarter View Facing Right.  She looks so real, Marco thought, like I could reach up and put my fingers in her soft hair.  The smile that teased her lips made his lips match hers, and he thought that no one had ever looked at him with that much love.  He had never really liked Leonardo.  He thought Leonardo was kind of overblown and given too much credit but then he saw an exhibit of models made from the artist's drawings.  Leonardo's genius, made three-dimensional in wood, exploded through the room.  There were flying machines and war machines.  There were machines to move water and machines to measure things.  Leonardo must have seldom been still, scribbling in a notebook to record the flood of ideas in his mind, and yet he drew the love on a mother's face with such care and delicacy.  Still Marco didn't see why everyone made such a big deal of the Mona Lisa's smirk.

Thereby completes another notebook.  One of these days I should count how many I've filled over the years.  Maybe not, it'd probably make me cry or faint.  Hey, I'm off to work soon so I'd better get out of these sweats.  See youse tamarrah.  You in particular, Lala.  ONE DAY!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Little Bit of Knitting

I've been doing more cooking than knitting lately... and my hips aren't the better for it.  I made a ginger cake, then Irish Soda bread for our St. Paddy's day feast at DS & DIL1's on Sunday, and yesterday I made ginger syrup which will be used to make my very own ginger ale and I might tip a little bit into my tea this weekend.  It's still so cold that maybe a bit of ginger will warm me up.

Oh, I have been doing a bit of knitting.  On Monday I cast on another Starfish cloth using up small bits of leftover yarn.  I like it.

I'm nearing the heel decision (short-row or flap) on the Gray Spiral sock...

and there's a bare ounce of the combined skeins of the Fino Bias scarf.  I'll get to the end soon.  I have to say that I can't help thinking that I should have cast on fewer stitches to make a longer, yet skinnier scarf but I'm too far along now to frog the whole thing and start over.  No sirree, not going back.

You Call This Spring???

It's -6 degrees wind chill out there and blowing like a banshee, and it's been spring for a whole hour.  Naturally they have to talk about how last year on March 20 it was 80 degrees--but nobody wants that, least of all the cherry growers up in Door County who lost nearly their whole crop last year because the March heat brought out the buds and then we had a frost which killed most of them.  No one, not even the most shivery-est, wants that.  We need cherries.  Think of all the pies that didn't get made.  And now they tout cherries and cherry juice as a whiz-bang arthritis preventer or at least it's supposed to make it hurt less so we need 'em.  I hate wind like this.  It weasels its way in through cracks you didn't know were there and seems to radiate the cold right through the walls and it makes all the joints that I've abused (and continue to abuse) ache like crazy.  Brrr.  I'm tired of being a human barometer too.

I got all the grocery shopping done yesterday and only had to call Durwood for clarification and consultation twice (once from each store).  I got 3/4 lb. of fresh ginger (not on the official list) that I peeled and chopped and food processor-ed, then steeped in hot water and sugar and a little lime juice, then strained, so I can make my own ginger ale by mixing it 1 part ginger syrup to 2 parts club soda.  DS made some with the recipe from the DIY cookbook we gave him for Christmas last year that he used to make Dark & Stormys (ginger ale, rum & lime juice) for the last Family Supper, and he shared the recipe with me.  I suppose you could use it for tea too, or even cough syrup.  Mom used to scour the liquor stores for ginger brandy which she used as a home cough remedy.  She swore by it.  I suppose now I can make my own, even if I don't have a cough.  Hmmm.

I notice that neither of us has adjusted to the dreaded DST yet.  The last couple nights supper has been very late (7:30-8 o'clock--it stays light too long all of a sudden) and I was making my ginger syrup at 9:30.  Just leave the time alone.  Please.  (I know, I know, deaf ears, etc. plus somebody must like it or they wouldn't keep doing it.)

March 20--Auguste Renoir, Madame Georges Charpentier and Her Children.  "Don't sit on the dog, Georgie.  Mama said don't sit on the dog."  Paulette was bossy.  She spent most of her days telling George what not to do even though they had a perfectly good nanny.  Nanny Maureen was the best nanny they'd ever had and she never let them forget it.  Paulette was happy to remind George if he ever forgot.  Sometimes George felt like he lived at the bottom of a pile of girls.  Mama told him what to do.  Nanny Maureen told him what to do.  Paulette told him what to do.  He was certain if Scamp the dog could talk she would tell him what to do too.  He wished Papa was home more so that they could do man things like take walks and shoot.  Maybe he'd even get to wear pants.

I'm wearing a wool shawl over my hoodie right now and I'm telling you that I might take it off when I shower but I'm putting it right back on to wear to work, and I'm wearing longies too.  It's too damned cold and windy to be wearing just plain clothes.  Brrr.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Damned Blowing Snow

It's fierce out there today--again.  We got at least 5" of wet heavy snow yesterday (I had to keep shoveling out the dive shop's front door) and then once it got dark (after 7 o'clock! the sole benefit of DST) the wind kicked in and has been howling ever since.  I can guarantee that Durwood's not going out to the Pig to get whatever it is that he wants.  Since I have a SCUBA tank that I need to drop off for service I'll volunteer to go.  I'll get the laundry started and he can work on it while I'm gone.  Teamwork!  Hm, maybe I'll stop to get my nails done on the way home...

Three more days to live through (ahem, to survive is more like it) and then I get to drive off to Sheboygan to meet my friend Lala for a weekend escape.  We've done this every winter for the last, oh, four or five and now I'm not sure either of us could make it without it.  We'll take walks along the river and lakeshore, and this year we're going to see the history of the toilet at the Kohler Museum.  Flush!  Usually we park our cars and walk everywhere we want to go but since winter's keeping its grip on us so tight we're planning to drive the miles to Kohler where there's art and toilets to look at--for free.  That's right, no entrance fee.  That's my kind of attraction.  I love me some free.

March 19--Johann Christian Schleip, Lyraflugel.  The notes fell from the piano like crystal drops falling into a silver pool.  Jean was a mediocre player at best but when she played on the instrument in the back of Schleip Music things were different.  She felt the transformation as she walked back through the racks of dusty and yellowed sheet music, past the dull brass trumpets and trombones to the small needlepoint bench posed before the ancient instrument as if inviting her to play.

It's time to go sort the laundry and start the wash.  I know it's time to do that when the chute's full and there was no way yesterday's socks were going anywhere when I pushed them through the chute flap.  Nope, they stayed right there, stinking away, glowering at me.  Time to wash clothes.  And time for winter to relax its grip--we're 20 degrees below normal and I'm not even counting last year's 80 degree St. Paddy's Day and the 70 degree days around it.  We were redoing the rental side and it was warm enough that we could have the air conditioner checked, and it has to be at least 70 to do that.  I... I... I don't know what else to say so I'll go off and drag myself downstairs to play with the dirty clothes.  Doesn't that sound fun?  Not.  See ya.