Friday, May 31, 2013

It's Friday Again

Are you surprised?  I am.  This week whizzed by so fast, didn't it?  Oh.  Well, it did for me.  It was pretty quiet at work yesterday and I couldn't find some chore to keep me occupied so I knitted and pottered around.  Man, that makes for a long day.  And here it is Friday again with another weekend dribbling out before me.  I say dribbling because it looks like it's going to pucker up and rain off and on the whole 3 days.  That's what it's done the last 3 days.  Why should it quit now when it's got a rhythm going?  I called Skully last night and begged off walking today; I just didn't want to have to hear my alarm to wake up and now it looks like rain and since I don't want to be drenched again it looks like I made the right call.

Once Durwood gets up from his morning nap I plan to drag him to Stein's to pick out the plants for the garden (this year I'm holding him to 6 tomato plants, really, no extras, no hitchhikers, not this year) and some red tubular flowers for the hummingbirds.  I saw a planter with red geraniums and yellow marigolds that I liked the look of so I'll get a few of those too.  Maybe I'll nab some potting soil (oh wait, I have another bag of peat, I'm good) and make up some pots to put along the front.  I think I've got pots.  I want to get herbs too, fewer varieties (but only flat-leaf parsley, DIL1 says that's the best kind and she should know, she's a chef, a real one) but more of each so we'll have lots to cook with and lots to dry for winter.  (I need to put rosemary on my list)  I'm sure the garden soil's nice and damp and clumpy so I'll have Herman Munster feet by the time I'm done planting for sure.  Oh well, that's what garden hoses and showers are for.  I should probably make a rhubarb something today too, the rhubarb's gigantic and just begging to be picked.  Or I could have Durwood make it since I'll be elbow-deep in the garden... yeah, that's what I'll do.

Did I show you the mug I bought myself up in Door Co.?  (looking back, looking back)  No, I didn't.  Isn't it gorgeous?  I paid twice what I'd planned to spend for one but I was enchanted by the city scene and the shape of the mug.  A poet friend of mine "liked" this pottery on Facebook so I checked it out and "liked" it too.  The potter posted pix of the mugs she was making for a pottery walk/mug-o-rama weekend in early May (I should have gone) and I fell for them.  They look like woodcuts.  She has lots of cats and flowers and some birds but this cityscape really struck me... and then my wallet burst open and then I was walking out with it in a bag.  I really like it.

May 31--Mino da Fiesole, Diva Faustina.  She had that Roman nose.  You know, the one that's made for looking down at people.  She wore her hair wound in a braided coronet around her head with tendrils escaping at her hairline.  The curls sprang around her face like energy leaking from a dynamo.  Her eyes were a smoky gray with gold flecks and her eyelids where heavy giving her the languid look of a sleeping cat, not a domesticated one either, a wild cat that will never be tamed.  She had a throaty voice, low and a bit husky, that made you think of late night jazz clubs and unbridled passions.  The first time I met her she was dressed all in white and I averted my eyes, afraid that my gaze would soil her.

Ye gods, sometimes I want to be her but not really.  I'm too short and squatty and sarcastic, but I'm trying to like myself as I am.  It's about time, don't you think?  I'll be 62 in September.  Time for breakfast.  Toodles.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I Remembered How To Work After All

I'd been off for so long (12 days) that I wondered if I remembered how to do stuff or remembered the alarm code but I did, and I even had 3 paying customers.  Three!  And not in a clump either.  Mr. Boss came in to try to introduce the backroom laptop to the new printer but he didn't have any luck.  I remembered that I had to go through one of the wetsuit price lists to fix the costs and discounts so we actually make more than fifty cents when a staff member buys something and Mr. Boss showed me a way to streamline the process a little bit.  It was a small thing but it made a difference in the sheer annoyance factor of the task.

Durwood baked a totally yummy Cornish hen for supper.  He stuffed a lemon wedge sprinkled with dried thyme (didn't have sprigs) inside it and smeared a teaspoon of butter mixed with more thyme under the skin.  The only hitch was that he baked it in a dish instead of on a rack so the juices that oozed out sizzled on the hot glass and filled the house with smoke.  It was so smoky that I had to get a box fan out of the basement to blow it out so we could see our plates.  (no, it wasn't really that bad, you know how I exaggerate, but it was pretty smoky)  He baked a potato in the oven at the same time and steamed some fresh beets.  Yum.  Every night after supper we share an orange and last night's was particularly sweet and juicy, all in all an excellent meal.  (you so wish Durwood would come to your house and cook for you, he's awesome)

I wore a skirt to work yesterday.  My pal Lala wears skirts all the time (except in the dead of winter) and a couple years ago I decided to give it a try so I whipped up a few elastic waist ones out of prints and plaids to wear with my plethora of plain t-shirts.  I like 'em.  My legs are fish-belly white but I figure everyone's are after the goofy spring (or not-spring) we've had plus I don't really give a rat's ass (and I have a necklace that proves it).  Yesterday I wore a red tee with a brown gauze skirt with red, white, and green flowers on it; today I'm thinking I'll wear the blue and tan plaid patchwork one with a yellow shirt.  Naturally my socks don't match but I do select them so they blend.  It's an art.

May 30--Henry Ossawa Tanner, Flight Into Egypt.  Sand is deceptive, soft underfoot and stinging when blown into your face by the wind.  Marian settled deeper under the robe and tried to find a comfortable position between the seat and the car door.  She hadn't believed that it got this cold at night, not when it was so blazing hot during the day.  Eva's sobs had settled down to an almost inaudible mewling.  For a while after they set out long before first light Marian wished Eva had been the one arrested but she knew that if anyone could talk his way out of trouble it was Nigel.  She wouldn't be surprised to see him sitting on the veranda at Shepherd's puffing on a cigar with a glass of gin in his hand when they drove up.  Nigel always joked that Egypt was where he wanted to be buried.  She hoped he wouldn't get his wish too soon.

Okay, then.  That is not where I thought I was going when I set out.  I kind of like it, don't know where it's going but I like it.  Also, have you ever noticed how difficult it is to write the word "egypt"?  Write it in cursive, I mean, there's all those tails and loops that make my pencil dizzy but I persevere because I like the images the name evokes in my feeble brain.  Time to go read the funnies, eat granola and yogurt (I'm a paragon of healthy breakfasting), put on my second-favorite skirt, and go to work so that on Monday my paycheck is bigger than a gnat's navel.  See ya.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What Day Is This?

That's the thing about those Monday holidays, nobody knows what day it is for the rest of the week until we get to the weekend, which is a sort of "reset" button for our internal clocks.  Last night before bed Durwood carried the trash can out of the bathroom and I had to remind him that our trash day is delayed a day because of the holiday.  In the morning yesterday I made an appointment with my mechanic to meet about writing his business history and he called within an hour saying he couldn't make it because it was Tuesday, not Monday, and he had an appointment, so we'll meet on Friday.  And I'm just glad I remembered that I have to work today and tomorrow.  Next week's paycheck will be smaller but that's okay, I got to transplant the blueberries on Monday and didn't get rained on, until yesterday.  It's supposed to be rainy all week but next weekend the garden needs to get planted, come Hell or high water.  I don't mind getting dirty but if it's really raining and I'm clomping around in the freshly tilled garden the mud builds up around my shoes (or feet) so that I end up with Herman Munster feet.

I was convinced when the weather guy on the TV news said it wasn't going to rain this far north so I just wore my hoodie and didn't carry an umbrella when Skully and I walked yesterday.  D'you want to know how wet we got?  Very.  My hoodie wasn't dry yet at bedtime.  Good thing it wasn't too cold or I was too hot from walking in the wrong shoes (Sketchers Toning shoes, they killed me) because I was drenched by the time I got to the car.  I love the rain.  When I'm indoors.

It was so still when we walked yesterday, no wind, no rain (until we were halfway back to the cars), and no other walkers.  We stopped to take a picture of a place that looked a million miles away from a city and realized that, apart from the distant hum from the highway, it was nearly silent.  My ears aren't accustomed to silence, they didn't know how to act, and then there's the constant buzz I have so okay, it was silent-ish.  Still pretty good as far as a mood elevator though.

May 29  (29!!! Already? Can you believe it?)--Roman, Cypriot, Pourer Flask.  Sunlight glinted at Stella from the bottom of the hole she'd dug in the garden.  All she wanted to do was plant some blueberry bushes and now there was that shiny thing in the hole.  Over the 35 years she'd lived there she'd found broken glass and pottery shards every time she had dug a hole and each spring she collected a double handful of glass when she tilled up her little garden plot.  This looked different, unbroken.  She very carefully scraped away the dirt and pulled out a small glass pitcher that fit neatly in the palm of her hand.

Meh.  It sure looks like it's going to rain any minute.  I wonder if I need to Goggle plans to build an ark.  Anybody p----d off the Almighty lately?  Nevermind, I'm going to eat Cheerios and go to work.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Got The Blueberries Moved

I zoomed off to Stein's for big plastic pots, peat, mini pine bark nuggets, and a little Perlite.  Then I came home to mix up a batch of soilless mix in the wheelbarrow (after spraying the 3 hornet's nests under construction in the shed--3!!), dig up the blueberry bushes one by one and repot them.  Then after the neighbor came over and tilled the garden (he only let me drive for a bit, refused when I offered him a six-pack [says they don't drink], and wouldn't take five bucks for gas--I'll figure something out) I dug big holes and sunk the berry bushes in their pots into the garden and then fenced them in to keep the bunnies from munching on them.  By then I was a little tired so I didn't rake out the tilled soil.  Maybe I'll do that later today, in between Durwood's doctor appointments.  According to the info I got in my how-to-grow-blueberries-in-containers class I was supposed to move them before the buds broke.  Well, I didn't make it since the spring's been so chilly and rainy, so I decided that I could sacrifice the few berries they'd make with little or no sun this year and move them into better dirt (or non-dirt) and a sunny spot so that they can grow like crazy, be happy, and make lots of berries next year.  One of them's already pretty big for the pot I bought but now I've got a year to find an even bigger pot for it for next spring.  I can do this.

May 28--Auguste Renoir, Eugene Murer.  He looks so sad, Louisa thought as she gazed up at him.  He sat with his cheek leaning on his hand looking at her lying on the cold floor.  He's sorry for what he did to me.  She could see it in his steady blue eyes.  He didn't mean to hurt me, didn't mean to punch me in the stomach and face until I staggered and spit blood.  She loved him.  He convinced her that she made him do those things to her, made him angry, made him make her behave.

Uck.  Uck.  Uck.  I had to stop.  I mean, that's what popped into my head but, no, I had to stop writing.  I'm going walking even though it looks like it's going to rain any minute.  I won't melt.  Hasta la vista, babies.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Thank A Vet

That's what I try to do whenever I meet someone who is or was in the service, I thank them for keeping me safe.  I even thank DS who served 5 years in the Army before 9/11/2001 and all the craziness over in Iran and Afghanistan even though he downplays his sacrifice.  But I'm his mom and I know that even though there wasn't active fighting when he was in and he wasn't anywhere near a shooting war, he's still a veteran so it's his day too, maybe not so much today but on November 11 for sure.  The funny thing is not only is that day Veterans' Day, it's also his birthday.  We watched the annual Memorial Day concert on PBS last night and we both cried through the whole thing.  The stories of sacrifice and loss just tear me up so I weep.  I'm kind of misty right now.  Moving on.  Anyway, thank a vet today and every day.

On my tour of the backyard this morning I saw all kinds of things up and blooming.  There's the bleeding heart under the honeysuckle (ignore that yellow mower wheel behind it), the ferns and lilies of the valley in the bed under the kitchen window, the apple trees are nearly done blooming, the lilacs are going gangbusters, and the asparagus is poking out.  I saw that the neighbors have a tiller so I moseyed over to admire their huge garden and to ask if I could maybe borrow that tiller today.  They said yes so today the garden gets tilled up and I'll be moving the blueberries even if doing it this late derails blueberries for this year.  They deserve better soil and better sunshine so they can be happy.  I can dig three five-gallon holes, don't you think?  I want to buy me a garden weasel (one of those things you use to twist out weeds) too, I'm tired of bending over.

I got different birdseed at Fleet Farm yesterday (because Family Pet Center's not open on Sunday) and I was kind excited to find seed "made" in Algoma with real cherry juice in it, plus I only spent $20 for 50# instead of $30 for 40# like I do at the seed store.  Now if only the birdies like it.  Durwood just called out that "that blue bird" was at the jelly so I hurried out to see.  It had moved to the apple tree but I managed to snap a photo. (sorry it's blurry but I only had one chance before it flew off)  It's an indigo bunting, not an official bluebird, but I'll take it.  I'll have to read up to see what they like best to eat so maybe we can convince it to stick around.  One of these days I'm going to try my hand at making a birdhouse that will attract birds, the ones we have don't seem to fit the bill for our local birds.  But not today.

May 27--Italy, Majolica.  "Don't put the salad on the green horse plate," Mama said.  "The lettuce will blend in and it will look like a plate of toppings.  Not appetizing at all."  Mama had a large repertoire of things you shouldn't do for one obscure reason or another.  Take that green horse plate.  Please take it, really.  I hate it, always have.  I think it's the damn ugliest plate in captivity.  Mama says we have to keep it, that it belonged to Great-aunt Fronie who had impeccable taste.  I say that all of Great-aunt Fronie's taste had to be in her mouth if that hideous piece of earthenware is an example.  I've seen Corelle plates I've liked better and I seriously dislike Corelle.  Damned unbreakable stuff.

Time for some yogurt, granola and fruit, then I'm off to Stein's for pots, peat, and perlite.  Hey, alliteration!  There's digging in my future.  Maybe I'll put off my shower for a while...  Happy Memorial Day!  Eat a hot dog for me.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Back From The Clearing

With loot!  Not much knitting went on.  Not much of anything else went on either, but it was great to get away and just veg in a glorious setting and fabulous meals that I didn't have to plan, cook, or clean up after (not that I do any of that at home, Durwood does it, but you know what I mean).

KS and I went to the Door Co. Shepherd's Market on the 19th and here's what I bought.  The skein's 526 yds. of pure, undyed wool, light worsted weight, and the locks (oh, the locks) are kid merino.  (be still my heart)  I plan to turn them into a shawl and knit in a lock every now and again.  I'm not a fringe girl so they'll be incorporated into the garment.  I can't wait.  I'll be searching shawl patterns later today.  You can bet on it.

I also bought myself a shawl pin from another vendor.  Durwood thought it was a drill bit but I quickly disabused him of that notion.  Isn't it pretty?

A Facebook friend "liked" Off The Wheel pottery in Egg Harbor so I went there on our afternoon off on Thursday and spent twice what I'd intended on this coffee mug.  But isn't it the coolest?  She has lots of designs, mostly birds, cats, and insects, but this mug shape and the skyline sold me on this one.  It's good to drink out of too.

I knitted one preemie hat up there but haven't taken its picture yet.  I will.  Cross my heart.

I Came Back!

Look closely to see the deer
It was... an interesting week, mostly weather-wise but also people-wise, not so much writing-wise.  On my drive up to The Clearing I pulled out my handy dandy WI Rustic Roads pamphlet and moseyed down the 2 roads nearest Sturgeon Bay.  I stopped at beaches, boat launches, brooks, nature preserves, and any rocks with plaques along the way.  Also along the way I rediscovered my love for tooling down country roads and gawking at the scenery, getting peeks at Lake Michigan, and finding things I think not too many people find.  Now, that last is a severe, self-deluding fantasy because I KNOW that every inch of Door County will soon be crawling with vacationers and summer "people" and the serenity I found is an illusion of a late, wet spring.  When I realized the time I hot-footed it across the peninsula (about 10 miles max) to The Clearing to check in and to discover that I had a private room after all.  There was an odd number of women looking to share a room so someone had to be left out and it was me.  What a pity.  *snort*  So I unloaded my crap into Room 3, set up my laptop, and
put my clothes away in the cupboard, then I got back into the car and crossed the peninsula again to drive the last 2 Rustic Roads in rural Baileys Harbor.  More beauty, more beaches, more serenity, plus a deer crossed the road AFTER my camera battery told me it was exhausted but I took a chance and it turned on one more time and took one more picture.  Whew.  Back at my room I feasted on fresh cheese curds, sesame crackers, and an orange before tucking myself in for the night.

On Sunday my pal, KS, and I went to the Door Co. Shepherd's Market at a gallery outside Egg Harbor where we fondled yarns, bought just a little, watched a spinner, heard a llama hum, and had a dandy cherry chicken salad wrap for lunch.  We then drove back to The Clearing (TC) by a different route and stopped into the Bargain store just to see what there was to see.  I got a copy of Elie Weisel's Night for a buck and a wooden darning egg for fifty cents.  I know, I'm a big spender.

Sunday supper is the first gathering of the teachers and students for the week so I met my 6 classmates and our teacher, Judy, helped us choose our paths for the week.  The weather was not in our favor; it was chilly (like barely 50 degrees chilly) and drizzly, we even had a thunder storm in the wee hours of Monday.  Things did not improve, weather-wise.  It kept up with the chilly and rainy through Tuesday and added dense fog on Wednesday, which threw a wrench in the birdwatchers' fun.  Thursday dawned sunny, still chilly, but WINDY.  The nearly naked trees were dancing and tossing their so far leaf-free (I was unaccustomed to the amount of light in the woods) branches and there were white caps on the bay.  The birdwatchers saw wind surfers in Ephriam's Eagle Harbor when they were out trying to find a place where the birds weren't battened down out of the wind.  I was very glad that I'd packed an extra suitcase with long jeans, heavier socks, a wool sweater, and my rain jacket.  I was chilled to the bone and dressed in layers, including wool fingerless mitts.  I'm sure I looked like a homeless person (so much nicer to say than "bum") but I stayed warm-ish.  Of course the weather warmed right up (to nearer 60 degrees) and the sun came out, big-time, on Friday, our last full day at "camp."

Did I write?  Barely.  I worked on the first of what I hope will be a series of short articles about WI Rustic Roads, which was enough writing to make me feel like I haven't lost my mojo completely but not the frantic scribblings of years past.  Oh well, at least I haven't given up.  Judy says (and I agree) that I'm in flux, at least my writing is.  (but I also think I'm generally at a crossroads in my life)  Things are changing and pretty soon I'll turn the corner and be back at it gangbusters.  Fingers are crossed.

All in all, it was a much-needed break from the day to day.  I wish it had been warmer and drier but it wasn't and I wish my pencil would have caught fire but it didn't.  I relaxed and slept well (although I kept waking up at 5:30 when my alarm was set for 6:30), ate great food, spent time with old friends and met lots of interesting new people.  That's a successful week any way you look at it.

May 26--Italy, Majolica, Earthenware.  The horse was green.  Really.  It was the color of the moss that grows over stones at the edge of the forest.  Rachel rubbed her eyes and wondered if she'd fallen asleep.  Or maybe she was in a movie.  But wouldn't she know if she was in a movie?  You'd think she would.

And that was it for last night.  I was tired from coming home, unpacking, and DS & DIL1 came over for supper so there was that spot of cleaning that needed to get done.  Today the lawn gets it.  Sayonara, and I'm glad to be home.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

It's "Going Away" Day!

apple blossom buds
To those who get this by email or in a blogroll, sorry about the blank posting.  My finger slipped.

Last night I had all the suitcases and clean clothes piled on the bed when it was time to tuck in for the night so I stayed up a half-hour longer to count out shirts, fold them, and tuck them into the cases.  I'm really a natural procrastinator; I get all the parts assembled over the day but only scurry around finishing the project at the very end.  I try to change and I have, a little, this is really an improvement over doing it ALL at the very end.  And I'm interrupting this blogging to pull out my star maps, bag of office supplies (ooh, gotta remember my shark-shaped stapler and a pencil cup), dictionary/thesaurus, the Alphasmart, index cards, and various sized notebooks so I'm never without a place to write something down.  Maybe this time my inner spark will reignite...  (fingers crossed)

I'm kinda nervous about having a stranger for a roommate.  I usually either pony up for a single ($400 extra this time, can't swing it) or go with a writing friend (cda or Lala) but this time I'm taking potluck.  Hm, maybe I'm somebody's potluck.  I have my fingers crossed that my roomie isn't going up tonight too so I'll have one night all by myself in solitary splendor.  (oh, can't forget to pack Breathe Right strips and my knitting... a list might have been a good idea)

Durwood made a double batch of birdie juice since it's too hard for him to climb the hill out back to get the feeder, fill it, and take it back so they're all filled up to the tippy-top and ready for the hummingbirds to come.  He called me at work the other day to say that there had been hummingbird dogfights at the feeders that day.  I do believe he was giggling with glee.  I also brought in the bag of peanuts in the shell so he can carry out a handful to the platform feeder to keep the bluejay's coming.  I despair of ever getting bluebirds to show up since the starlings evidently have spies that tell them when I put mealworms on the platform.  Damned spatzies.  (okay I finally looked up [and spelled right] "spatzies" and they're House Sparrows, not starlings.  Grandpa Stephan used to hate the spatzies and the site I just found says that their German name is "Haus Spatz" so that's where that came from.  I agree with Grandpa, damned spatzies that come in gangs and eat all the seed, bathe in such numbers and so enthusiastically that they splash out the birdbath water, and chase other birds away, but damned starlings too.)

May 18--Tibet, Jnanatapa Surrounded by Lamas and Mahasiddhas.

some dance
some burn
all smile
touch the center
of the earth
of your self
of mankind

kindness breeds
kindness to
all are welcome
to dance
to burn
breathing in peace.

Okay.  It's time for me to rev up and zoom off... within an hour.  I can do it.  All I have to do is... a lot.  I'm outta here.  I'll try to find time to drag the laptop to a wi-fi spot to blog but don't hold your breath.  The more I blog, I suspect, the less success I'll be having so we all hope that the blog is silent until next Saturday.  I love you, I'll miss you, but I'll be back.  *swak*

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Weather 180 (imagine a degree symbol there)

Yesterday (when I had to work) it was sunny and warm, so sunny and warm that I ate my breakfast and read the paper on the patio.  Today (when I'm off) it's raining.  Raining enough that Porter didn't want to walk far today.  We tried (because I need to not skip walking so that I can walk all I want without lagging next week and also whenever) but it was just too drizzly and my shoes and jeans were getting damp.  Uck.  There's nothing more comfy than damp jeans.  Not.  Today only reinforces my intention to pack clothes for all seasons for my week up in the woods.  It's supposed to be warm-ish and sunny-ish but I will take clothes for hot and cold in a separate small suitcase (does anyone use the term "grip" for a suitcase anymore?  it just popped into my head) that will stay in the car for emergencies.  Which reminds me I want to take the bag o'chair out of the car... and my yoga mat... and the dog paraphernalia including the sheet that protects the upholstery from a wet or dirty dog.  (hmm, wet dog, maybe that's why my car smells a bit barn-y these days)

After I dropped Porter off at her house and let out her sleepover pal, Timber, for a potty (I can not walk 2 dogs at once, I'm lucky if I can walk one without stumbling over her or tangling myself in the leash) I went over to the Chevy dealer to see about an after-market fix for my frustrating car remotes.  See the "unlock" button would only work the fourteenth time I pushed it and sometimes not then.  The fix is a wafer of plastic with contact dots on it that goes behind the buttons and on top of the contact board.  Works like a charm.  It works so well that I splurged and bought one for the remote I don't use (because its buttons barely worked) so it'll be good if I ever sell Beverly for another car.  I don't think I will because I love her and I have less than 60k miles on her and she's bright red and I can haul stuff like my dive gear and snowshoes and the seats fold down (all but the driver's one) so I can junk pick used Christmas trees for birdie trees.  Plus she's red.

Durwood took some more oriole photos this morning and I got one of a ruby-throated hummingbird at the feeder.  We love watching the birds that come to eat at our feeders.

I went to community yoga out at the UWGB Ecumenical Center after work yesterday (naturally it was the last one there of the semester or season or whatever).  It was great but it really kicked my butt.  I was really dragging by the time I got home.  I love to do yoga, I'm not great at it, I puff and sweat my way through, but I sure like the way it makes me feel, all flexible and loose.  I should do it more.

May 17--Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait with Straw Hat.  The sun glared off the underside of the brim of his hat and made him squint.  He had a hard enough time concentrating without having that laser light in his eyes.  He held his brush in his fist and jabbed at the canvas as if he were defending himself against an attack.  "Vin, hey, Vincent," a voice called from the deep shade of the trees, "Vin, come out of the sun.  It's too hot.  You're going to fry your brains."  He shook his head.  He had to stand there in the blazing sun with the hot wind across the cut field blowing chaff that stuck in his paints.  He had to.  Had to.  It was his life.

Did you notice that I didn't know what day it was yesterday?  True.  I thought it was Wednesday.  Lala had to email me and tell me that it was Thursday and I had only 2 days to live through before I went to The Clearing.  *head, slap*  I couldn't believe it.  I always know what day it is.  I'm shaking my head.  Well, it's time for me to go downstairs for a couple suitcases and a plastic crate and my water heating pot and start packing.  Ah, packing, I love packing almost as much as I love going away.  That's a lot.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Three More Days!

Until I get to drive away for a week's respite from reality.  Not that my reality is particularly onerous but a change is always fun.  I realized yesterday that the weekend I return is Memorial Day weekend so I won't have to go back to work until the following Wednesday.  I know!  That's 12 full days off in a row.  Now you understand that I don't get vacation pay or anything like that so there'll be only 2 days worth of pay on my check the following week (but I always have Mrs. Boss hold this last week's paycheck until I get back so I'll have money waiting for me once I've overspent on my vacation.  oh, don't pretend you don't come home with only moths in your wallet) but all that time off will be worth it.  Hmm, maybe K&D will be going diving sometime that weekend and I can go too.  I should invite myself along.  I always say that I can be packed in an hour and I usually can, if nothing shiny comes by to distract me.

I got a call from the guy who owns the mechanics garage where we have our cars serviced.  He was looking for someone to interview his family and write up a history of the business for display and also someone to spellcheck and edit their website for grammar.  He thought maybe DD knew someone but I told him that I can do it and would be happy to meet with him after my vacation next week.  I also mentioned there would be a fee.  I'm not working for nothing.  I'm excited. I feel like skipping but instead I'll wear my favorite socks and new shoes today.  And I'm going to yoga after work out at the university where my Mardi teaches a 6 o'clock class.  Better make sure I have a $5 in my wallet and take some yoga clothes to change into.

The wrens are really courting this morning.  Yesterday Durwood enjoyed watching her build her nest in the birdhouse outside the kitchen window (she got a little overeager, there was a stick poking out the hole when I got home) and she's working hard this morning to lure some male wren to be her baby daddy.  There is no way I can take a picture of them, they're too zippy and skittish, so you get to see the fern frond buds, the volunteer violets, and the lilies of the valley not yet unfurled.  I bet they'll be all open and maybe blooming when I get back weekend after next.  Eeeee, green stuff.

May 16--Iran, Rhyton Terminating in the Forepart of a Ram.  The silver cup was cold in Grace's hand, so cold that she was afraid her lips would stick to it when she drank.  There was no way she could avoid drinking.  Peter had his cup raised and he was in the middle of a rambling toast that had swung from welcoming friends through global warming, red and blue states, and had touched on the new Pope.  Her wine would be evaporated by the time he got to the point.

A rhyton is an ancient Greek drinking cup usually terminating in the form of a woman or an animal.  I just looked it up.  Why they don't just call it a cup I do not know.  Okay, kiddies, it's time for breakfast and then I have to pick out my favorite socks.  It's a big job, there are lots of them and only one of each so I have a lot of choosing to do.  See ya bye.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

This Is More Like It

  It's warm outside, comfy, not windy, spring-like even, quiet too.  When I went out to snap a few pix of the tulips (because I deleted the ones I took yesterday before saving them, I don't know why) the Jenny Wren was singing away and the squirrels were chattering.  Uh, I haven't gone deaf, have I?  No I haven't, there's a bird chirp and Durwood just snorted at something he read in the paper.  After seeing a squirrel stretch itself from the fence to hanging on the oriole feeder to slurp up the grape jelly and having an oriole perch precariously on the hummingbird feeder on a pole close to the house to get a little nectar I moved the oriole feeder into the middle of the yard with other feeders.  Maybe that'll keep the furry little rascals out.  Since I saw a hummingbird yesterday I asked Durwood to make more "birdie juice" so I could refill both feeders with fresh this morning.  The squirrels lean out and drink the back hummingbird feeder dry so he's on the hunt for a looooonger bracket trying to keep that one for the birds too.  Damned squirrels.  L&SJ have a trap in their front yard and have trapped 16 so far this year, she said yesterday.  They take them out to the yard waste dump out by the bay and release them.  She said another neighbor is up over 200 trapped and released for the last 3 years.  Crikey!  (I wonder how much those traps cost?)

Did I tell you that we've got baby bunnies again?  The other night I kept seeing this streak of brown go past the patio doors so I paid attention and it was Flash.  I went out and there was Bobo sitting by the shed.  They are so cute--until I notice that they're eating my plants, then I don't like them anymore.

And Durwood just spotted a female oriole at the birdbath and on the just-moved feeder.  Look!  The next time she came back she landed on the orange then stretched down to dip her beak into the jelly.  Naturally I didn't get a picture.

May 15--Robert Peckham, The Raymond Children.  Boys in dresses are confusing.  No one dresses little boys in dresses anymore.  Peck and Lewis envied the poor village boys who wore pants and worked and played hard.  Their days were filled with Latin lessons and deportment.  Only on Tuesday did Uncle Raymond take them down to the stables for riding lessons.  They rode in pants and begged to keep them on but Momma insisted that they wear the dresses.  Uncle Raymond confessed that he had been made to wear dresses when he was a boy and hated it as much as they did.  He promised to teach them to shoot in the fall. 

Time to find some breakfast--granola, yogurt and fruit today, I think--then get ready for work.  One of these days, someday in the far, dreamy future I won't have to go to work, but then no one will give me a paycheck every Monday, will they?  But then I won't have to stop playing with my computer and my yarn and my fabric and my books and... and... and watching the birds to go to work either.  I do like my job it's just the going that gets old.  Anyway, ta-ta for now.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nearly Halfway

Yesterday it was so quiet at work the kimono I'm knitting for KZ's bean went from this...

to this, and I'm not that fast a knitter.  True, it's only 48 stitches across the back (I'm casting on stitches for the sleeves; this is a very clever pattern) but this is light worsted, almost DK weight yarn, and still I'm zooming along.  Although knitting without much of a break for 7 hours sure makes my vision screwy.  Maybe it's time to go get my eyes checked...

I wish someone would make a sewing website (Stitcherie, maybe?) like Ravelry for knitters.  I bought 2 yds. of this gorgeous linen the other day and I'd like to have a place where I could list all the fabrics I have and the sewing books and stuff like batting and interfacing and elastic.  There'd be a lot less duplication.  Somebody get on that, please.

I Am Accomplished

At least for today.  I picked up Porter (after dropping off a tank for service) and she and I walked along the Fox River Trail with Skully and Maggie, then I went to the bank to cash my paycheck (yay, cash money--I like that better than credit cards because when I've no more bills in my wallet there's no more spending, simple and easy to live with), then dropped off the dog, stopped at the Dollar store for a poop bag dispenser for my leash, then came home to toss in a load of clothes and mow the lawn for the first time this season--finally.  It's been so chilly even the grass was staying low to the ground, but today it's glorious, sunny and 60-ish.  AND while I sat in the shade on the patio when I was done I saw a hummingbird at the feeder for the first time this year.  Hooray!  It's so nice today I don't really mind that my right thumbnail popped off when I was mowing.  (I have acrylic nails and it was loose anyway)

I've got 2 more pairs of Avia fitness shoes winging their way to me this week.  After the Rogan's guy told me that nobody's making them anymore, and I was reduced to buying Skechers, I bing-ed them and found a pair on Amazon Marketplace and one on eBay so I bought them both.  Hey, I might as well store them and even with shipping costs they're less than half the full retail.  The longer I can put off wearing "flat" shoes the happier I'll be.  I wear regular tennis shoes to mow (the rocking sole doesn't work so well on the slope in the backyard) but that's the only time I do a lot of walking in the flat ones.  Oh, I wear other shoes to work some days or to dress-up occasions but mostly I'm in tennis shoes.  I have a casual life.

It was deader than a doornail at work yesterday.  I didn't have one paying customer besides myself.  (I put fresh batteries in my car remotes, and I have a credit so it cost me nothing.)  A couple regulars stopped in but nobody bought anything and the only business call was a rental reservation for the weekend.  Don't ask me how they stay in business, I ask myself that too and have no answer.

Writing was not to be last night.  I glared at the Georgia O'Keefe painting of a cow skull and nothing came so I slammed the notebook shut and snuggled Durwood.  Worked for me.  Now I'm off to shower away my walking/mowing sweat and make sure all the clothes I want to pack for next weekend are clean.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Oh, For The Love Of...

I opened the curtain over the patio doors and thought "you have GOT to be kidding."  The birdbath's frozen solid and the hummingbird feeder's a hanging ice cube.  Honestly, no one anticipates frost on the grass and the windshield on May 12.  MAY, people, May.  It's supposed to be warming up in May, isn't it?  It is, I know it is, but evidently someone didn't get the memo.  I ran around doing a little shopping yesterday afternoon (found the last 2 pairs of Sketchers "shape-up" shoes at Rogans, they were my size.  score!) in long jeans, a long-sleeved tee, and the latest shrug I knitted.  I got a little warm so I unbuttoned the sweater but not hot enough to take it off.  A wool sweater.  In May.  In MID-May.  Crazy.  I still fired up the grill to cook our supper steaks (what? they were the oldest meat in the freezer and need to be eaten, don't want them to go bad, do we?) and I still need to mow de lawn before the weekend but... seriously?  To be fair, it's supposed to get into the mid-70s the rest of the week, until the mid-60s and rainy weekend when I'm going up to Ellison Bay for a week's writing workshop.  *sigh*

Evidently the "shape-up" shoe makers got tripped up by their own advertising hyperbole.  Turns out they don't help you lose weight or tone up your tush because there are huge stickers on the box tops saying "fitness claims not proved" and "don't pay any attention to other fitness claims on this box" with lots of asterisks sending you reading all around the sticker.  And the guy at Rogan's says nobody's making them anymore because of the hoopla.  Really?  I like them, they make my legs feel good (the Avia ones are best), when I wear regular, flat shoes my legs ache.  Tsk.  What'll I do when my stockpile (2 pair, so far) is depleted?  Go back to wearing flat shoes?  I guess.

May 13--Claude Monet, Water Lilies.  In the green cave of the garden dragonflies flitted over the lily pond and sunlight fell like gold doubloons.  Tally carried her collecting pack into the center of the garden where the house was out of sight.  She had enough of her brother and sister fighting over who got to be on the porch on the north side, the cool side of the house.  She had told Mam that she'd be back for supper before she left because the last time she'd gone collecting for the afternoon the sheriff had been called and there were tears and shouting to endure before she was sent to bed.  Mam was a fine one to get all upset when Tally went exploring because Mam drove away without a word to anyone.  She'd be gone for hours and never say where she went.  Tally used a long-handled scoop to dip out water from the pond to put into her collecting jar.  She had a magnifying glass to look at the tiny creatures living in a pond and a notebook for recording what she found.  Tally was going to be a scientist with a real microscope when she went to college.


It's Monday and that means another week is starting; a week of fresh chicken soup with cabbage and green beans (and a can of Pace tomatoes with green chilies again, yum) this time, a bowl of pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries for work lunches and PAYDAY.  Good thing too.  I kinda emptied my wallet this time.  Hey, I needed some retail therapy yesterday.  Needed it.  Hasta la vista, babies.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


I can't believe how quickly I made the Reclaimed Shrug but it's done.  My fingers must have been flying.  It was finished last night and I'm wearing it right now.  I might not take it off because it's so soft and warm and it's barely over 40 degrees today which is crazypants for May 12.  This shrug (it seems more like a sweater-ette to me) is smaller than the Green one.  I might like it better but I'll be wearing both of them.  For the longest time I couldn't figure out why you'd make or wear a sleeveless sweater but then I thought "vest" and I got it.  I'm sometimes slow but I eventually catch up.  Anyway, here it is!  

Now I'm off to cast on a baby sweater for K&GZ's bean.

Happy Mother's Day & Orioles!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers, pseudo-mothers, aunties, stepmothers (evil and not), grandmas--in short, to all the permutations and varieties of Mother out there.  Hope your day's a good one filled with hugs and kisses and pampering.

DS stopped over to shop through our dive locker for some weights and hangers yesterday when he was finished with his student, and while we stood in the kitchen talking I glanced at the apple tree and there was an oriole.  I carefully grabbed Durwood's camera (it lives on the table) and took a couple snaps.  Then later on I saw another one or the same one again, only this time on the oriole feeder.  (That reminds me, I need to go to Toys R Us today for a metal slinky to attach to the pole of that feeder to deter marauding squirrels.)  I suspect that we won't see a hummingbird until the honeysuckle blooms and that'll be at least a week because the honeysuckle just barely has leaves right now.  (btw, it's Sunday, May 12 and the temp is barely 40 degrees.  can someone please toots up the thermostat a few degrees?)

I have to start thinking about packing for my week up at The Clearing at the tip of Door County and it's looking like I need to pack things for warm and not-warm, dry and wet, Winter, Spring and Summer because Mother Nature can not make up her mind what season it is.  There were frost warnings last night and again tonight.  It is May, people, the middle of May and I'm still wearing long jeans, long sleeved shirts, and sweaters, with a coat or jacket over it all.  I wore a knitted beanie and gloves with a windbreaker to walk along the river on Friday.  It's MAY.  I guess that the back seat of my car will hold an extra wardrobe once again.  I'll wear long jeans but take short ones.  I'll take long-sleeved shirts and layers to put on and take off, plus I'll pack a few short-sleeves tees.  I'll take my plastic raincoat, of course, and extra shoes so I'll have dry ones if it's wet.  That means I should pack a few extra pairs of warm, not stylish, socks.  A beanie, gloves, fingerless mitts all need to go.  Probably a fleece jacket plus the fleece pullover I like to wear to the nightly fires (it's long enough to sit upon).  Good thing I just knitted myself 2 gorgeous wool shrugs (the newest of which I have on because it's chilly in here) so that I'll look good and stay warm at the same time.  Anybody got a climatologist I can harangue?  I'm getting tired of this.  TI. ERD.

May 12--Claude Monet, Water Lilies.  Where are my damned glasses?  Freddie patted herself top to bottom, felt each pocket and the V of her shirt, anywhere she might have stashed or hung them.  She didn't find them.  The world was a colorful blur.  She couldn't read, couldn't sew, couldn't knit, couldn't even watch TV.  Thank god for audiobooks.  At least she could plug an earbud into her ear and listen to someone tell a story.  She sure couldn't drive without her glasses so she was stuck.  Maybe when Max got home he'd find her glasses.  No, Max was dead.  Max wasn't coming home.  Who would find her glasses?

Today I'll be whipping up a batch of chicken soup for work lunches next week and the week after The Clearing so I don't have to come home and think about cooking, then I'll be casting on a baby cardi for G&KZ's bean.  Knitting tiny things is so fun--and fast, and I'm all about the fun and the fast.  Have a great day all you Moms (and non-Moms) out there.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Again With The Rain

It looked promising when I got up a couple hours ago but now it's puckered up and raining.  Gah.  I wanted to drag Durwood around today but he's napping and we have a concert tonight so maybe I'll just go alone so he's fresh for tonight.  I keep forgetting that neither of us is young and spry anymore, he likes to nap and I feel like all my muscles are in revolt.  My right shoulder has been giving me fits and I think it's unearned pain.  Not fair.

Porter and I had a good walk along the river yesterday and we didn't even get rained on.  I had my umbrella, just in case, and Penny & Henny really appreciated the beet greens Durwood sent over for them.

I whipped up some lotion yesterday and it looks like I've had my first lotion batch failure.  Ever.  I poured it into small 1 oz. bottles and it separated and won't be shaken into suspension like it always has before.  Dammit.

We had a lovely Mother's Day supper over at DS & DIL1's yesterday. JZ made spinach and feta triangles in filo with homemade tzatziki sauce for appetizers.  They were delicious.  They made pastitsio which was to die for and a big salad with lots of olives and feta and heirloom tomatoes, and chocolate pudding cake with ice cream for dessert.  JZ got bottom jaw braces yesterday so eating was a whole new adventure for him.  The shoe's on the other foot for the dentist who has put braces on hundreds of kids and adults, now it's his turn.

May 10--Giovanni Boldini, Consuelo Vanderbilt, Duchess of Marlborough, and Her Son, Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill.  He had his mother's mouth and her long, graceful hands.  He had a hard time sitting still all dressed up in a suit and tie.  He wasn't much over four years old and everyone knows that boys his age are full of wriggles.  He tried his best, he did, but he ended up leaning on her and peering up at the artist from behind her left breast.

It's raining and dreary and it's Saturday.  Not fair.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Looks Like More Rain

Well crap, it looks like it's going to rain on my walk but I'm going to go get Porter and set out anyway.  That's what they make umbrellas for, right?  It rained out the outdoor portion of the Knitting Guild annual picnic last night.  VJ's lovely husband grilled burgers in the rain for the second of only three times there's been a guild picnic.  He's a good sport, that AJ.  It's definitely too wet to dig up the blueberries to transplant so I guess today's the day I'll make some fragrance-free lotion to take along to The Clearing with me NEXT WEEKEND when I go up for a week's writing workshop.  I'm so excited to go up there for a week with no job and no husband (although I have one of the best husbands ever) and no one to think of but myself for seven whole days.  I should start packing, or at least make a list or three.

Mrs. Boss came to the dive shop yesterday to mow the lawn and then have me measure her for a custom drysuit.  I told her that now we're going steady since I had my hands all over her.  It's a challenge to measure people because you have to measure ALL of them and still preserve their modesty and privacy, and mine too.  That "crotch to floor" measurement's the most challenging but we have the measure-ee help by holding the dumb end of the tape measure in their, uh, their downthere while we take the smart end to the floor to get the measurement.

I just heard on the morning TV blabber that WI will be having a $500 million surplus next year and the lawmakers are debating what to do with it.  They should call me, I have a list.  School aid and tax relief are at the top of my list, but there's a lot that can be done with that kind of money.  Just so they don't all give themselves raises...

May 10--Eva Zeisel, Inkwell.  The rain kept falling.  The wind rose and fell and rose again but the rain didn't stop.  It slowed a bit just before sundown but it never stopped.  Not that day.  Not the next day.  Sylvia stood at the window, her left arm crossed over her midriff, her right hand clutching a cigarette near her chin where she only had to shift her arm a bare inch to get the cancer stick to her lips.  She had quit smoking eight years earlier but the week of rain constantly drumming on the roof, splashing on the pavement, and roaring through the downspouts made her so crazy she had slogged to the Stop & Rob convenience store on the corner and bought a pack.  Gilroy would kill her if he knew she was smoking again but Gilroy was dead and the constant rain had eroded any self-control she had managed to cling to.

Okay, time to get dressed and go get Porter to walk between the raindrops.