Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Soft & Fuzzy

That describes the Cloud 9 blankie to a tee.  I am enjoying knitting the yarn and I already know I like the pattern.  I like the yarn so much that I emailed Cascade to ask them why they discontinued it and if they've got a substitute in the line.  I got a very nice email back saying that they're glad I like the yarn but they have no substitute, that they bring out new lines twice a year so I should keep checking.  Unsatisfying.  Maybe the angora rabbits rebelled, stopped making fur so that they couldn't make any more.  Yeah, probably not.

I've got the first two miters made and picked up stitches for the third last night.  On the first miter I didn't switch out one color until I had 10 stitches remaining on a side.  That seemed a little meager so on the second miter I switched one color out at 15 stitches.  I think I may switch out at 20 on the third miter and then 25 on the fourth, just for a bit of interest.  I want lots of color and action in the blankie so I'm thinking of ways to leapfrog the colors in the edging, but I have a bit of time before the time comes.

Once I started knitting and the angora halo rose it occurred to me that babies are inherently sticky so there'll be fuzzies on the baby, but it's so soft and squooshy I think it'll be worth it.  I'm kind of peeved that I can't buy more of that Cloud 9 to make something for myself.  Maybe there'll be some leftover when the blankie's finished.

I put a few rounds on the Porange sock over the last week but I'm pretty much sticking to the blankie.  This project monogamy feels kind of odd.

No Drooling

You'll short out your computer.  Here are the first tomatoes from the garden.  There've been a few cherry tomatoes but they haven't survived longer than it takes me to carry them into the house.  I haven't eaten one of them, Durwood's had them all, but that's okay.  He's the real tomato lover in the house, I'm more of a tomato liker, so I'm willing to wait for a fresh from the garden, warm from the sun tomato experience.  Also I can eat them standing next to the plant if I really want one.  He's been pretty house-bound this year, his breathing won't let him get out to the garden anymore which is a crying shame, but he can still eat fresh tomatoes with the best of them, and I'm happy to garden and harvest for him.

I'm off work today.  Mrs. Boss called yesterday and offered to work for me today since I'm working for her on Friday and I said sure.  I need to go to Fleet Farm for some birdseed and I should go to Home Depot for sinks and faucets and range hoods so Spanky can take out the avocado ones and put in not avocado ones on Saturday.  Yippee!  The last vestiges of the 1970s will be outta here (well, except for the burnt orange carpeting which just won't wear out).

My friend Lala did a poetry reading the other night and she said that I might like Billy Collins' poems since I'm a pretty literal, everyday kind of girl.  I told her that I did like Billy Collins, have some of his books, and like Ted Kooser too.  I especially thought she'd like a "moon" poem he wrote since she's a big fan of the moon, and I offered to send her a copy.  So yesterday I went down to the bookshelves and found all my Ted Kooser and Billy Collins books and brought them up.  I was sure I remembered which book that moon poem was in but didn't find it.  So I trolled through the ones I had, didn't find it.  Went online to read about Ted and the description of one of his volumes sounded like the right one.  I went back downstairs, went through the books again, still didn't find it.  Then I remembered that I lent a writer friend a couple volumes of poetry years ago.  Evidently they were never returned, so I found a used copy on Amazon and bought it.  Of course Amazon had the bad manners to remind me that I'd already bought it but I ignored them and placed the order.  One good thing is that I've got a trial membership to Amazon Prime so I don't have to pay shipping.  And I got an email last night that the book has shipped so I'll get it tomorrow.  Score!

July 31--Thomas Eakins, The Artist's Wife and His Setter Dog.  She's such a proper-looking lady, except for that one red sock peeking out from under her skirt.  She is small and pale, pleasing looking but not pretty, but there's a toughness about the bones of her face that belies her frail look.  See her hand?  It's small and tenderly drawn, the brush strokes a lover's caress.  You can see in her eyes that she had other things to do but loves her artist husband enough to sit for him. The setter too lies there like a puddle of russet fur but he would be on his feet at a word from him master who he is focused on.

I feel like I've frittered away a good part of the day since I slept until almost 8 o'clock and now it's after 10 o'clock and I'm still sitting here in my jammies and have only stripped the bed so far today.  Well, and gulped down a bowl of cheerios and blueberries.  I'd better fire up my day.  Or not.  Bye.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Welcome, New GrandChickens!

DIL1 and her mom went all the way to Friendship, WI (about a 3 hour drive) to pick up General Tso & Kiev, the new chickens.  (You can buy anything on Craigslist)  They're buff Ameraucana chickens and they lay pastel colored eggs.  I can't wait to see them.  I'm guessing it'll take a few days for them to get into a laying mood but so far it seems like they're getting along with Henny & Penny pretty well.  DIL1 brought them home in a cat carrier and then once it was dark put the carrier into the chicken coop with the door open.  She said that at about 5:30 this morning evidently the 2 new girls decided to check out the chicken house where the 2 older girls were sleeping.  Squawking commenced but I guess no feathers flew.  When I was there the 2 pairs were sticking close to each other.  I think they're a pretty color, don't you?  Now the flock is complete, since the city ordinance allows 4. 
Porter and I had a nice walk this morning along the Trail.  We met a group of 8 bicyclists, 5 still with training wheels and all with fancy helmets, in the park along the way.  After the moms asked if she was friendly all the little boys (2 sets of identical twins) were happy to pet Porter and the biggest girl just about had the dog in her lap.  The littlest girl, about 4 years old, told me she wouldn't be petting the dog because she was afraid of dogs.  I told her that I'd been afraid of dogs my whole life until I met Porter and fell in love with her.  She looked up at me with wide eyes and said, "Really?"  It was like she thought she was the only person on Earth afraid of dogs; I figure that was my good deed for the day.  We passed them on the way back to the car, she was in the lead and called out, "Hi, doggie!" with a big smile on her face.  After every walk Porter gets a drink when we get back to the car but she won't drink if I offer it when she's on the pavement.  She has to be in the backseat and prefers to drink as I pour the water from the bottle into the cup.  If she's still thirsty she doesn't really like drinking out of the cup, although she will deign to lap once just to show me what a good sport she is, so I pour the water back into the bottle so I can re-pour it.  DIL1 says she's a princess.  I think she's a diva.

July 30--Peru, Moche, Decapitator Plaque.  The little green man with the axe and severed head rode a lightning bolt.  It had to be a dream.  Dinah knew that something was wrong.  Time had become elastic and colors sounded all wrong.  The clock chimes nearly sent her to her knees.  Had she eaten something that disagreed with her?  The green man jangled back toward her, his seashell eyes cracked and menacing.  Dinah tried to cry out but the sound stuck in her throat.  Icy fingers trailed down her back as she fell into the black silence that appeared at her feet.  She squirmed away from the edge but once again the green man flung himself at her and she cringed away from the heat of his lightning.

Okaaaay.  That's evidently what happens when you have Philly Cheese Steak pizza at 8 PM.  I just talked to Mrs. Boss and she's working for me tomorrow since I'm working for her on Friday. Yay, two days off in a row.  Woohoo!  Time to go find a cheese sandwich or something similar for lunch.  Toodles.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Breaking Records

And not in a good way.  On both Saturday and Sunday Green Bay had the lowest high temperatures for those dates EVER.  It only got up to 60 degrees yesterday because as soon as I typed that the sun was out it went away, and then once noon rolled around it started to drizzle and then rain, and it rained and rained and rained so that DIL1 and JZ, her dad, had to "grill" the chicken and corn on the cob in the kitchen.  They made the smoke alarm go off three times, even with the professional range hood fan turned up to 11.  The food was awesome.  They made some fabulous avocado/tomato/black bean/grilled corn salsa served with Fritos scoops for an appetizer.  The chicken had a mild chipotle barbecue sauce on it, the salad was watermelon with cucumbers, onions, and basil in a light vinaigrette, and the corn had a mix of butter, olive oil and garlic on it with a sprinkle of lime zest.  Very tasty.  Oh, and there was some kind of crusty cheesy bread too.  All yummy.  Our Key Lime Icebox Cake was a big hit, tart and cold and graham-y with a big dollop of real whipped cream and a tiny piece of lime peel on top.  I'm happy that there are 3 pieces left.  I realized how much I've missed Family Suppers since we skipped them since... Easter?  That can't be.  But maybe.  I also just realized that Family Supper is the only social life we have as a couple.  Now that's sad.  I'll have to think of how we can maybe change that.

I got all the laundry done yesterday.  Whoopee!  Clean undies!  It wasn't quite as much as I thought it was and one of my favorite socks got into the bleach load by mistake and is no longer blue stripes, it's purple stripes.  Blue is not my favorite color but I did like that sock.  *sigh*  But don't worry that it won't match its mate, it hasn't got one.  None of my socks do, they're mismatched.  I bought them a few years back from Little Miss Matched on the 'web (they're geometric designs and just plain ankle socks, not like the ones now) and I love them.  DIL1 bought me the first pair, er, trio and I ordered another just like it so that I could match them if I wanted but it tickled me to wear mismatched socks so I never did.  It makes it very easy folding wash, we just pile them up as they come out of the basket and poof! no orphans.  Quite frequently one goes missing but isn't found until I put on the shirt that it's stuck inside and I don't miss them because there are no forlorn socks waiting around for a match, I get a surprise when I'm getting dressed.  It's like a present.

DIL1 and her mom are driving across the state today to pick up two more chickens.  They're the kind that lay the Easter Egg colored eggs and I can't wait to meet them tomorrow when I go pickup Porter for our walk.  DS got naming rights since she named Henny & Penny.  Wanna know what he picked?  General Tso's & Kiev.  Get it?  DIL1 said he might be off the baby-naming committee.  I think it's funny naming chickens after recipes, but then I'm his mom.  I'll take their pictures so you get to see them.

July 29--North Switzerland, Madonna with Eight Saints.  You could find just about anything at the thrift store on the north end of Water Street.  They offered free pickup so not only did they regularly have the remains of estate and yard sales, they also received estates outright.  Mariette was amazed at how little people knew about art and antiques these days.  She was an avid fan of that appraisal show on PBS so she always had her measuring tape and magnifying glass in her purse when she went thrifting.  She was sorting through a pile of curtain panels when she saw the weaving.  It was very finely woven and very colorful.  She had no idea what it was worth but it would be perfect hanging in her bathroom.

Can you believe that tomorrow's the last day of July already?  Whoosh.  Summer.  It's Monday, a workday, and PAYDAY so I'll be moseying along since I want to swing by the library on my way across town.  The peaches I got at the corn stand last week are ripe and ready for eating.  I predict that one will go great on my cereal.  Oh, can't forget to make a lunch and I forgot to go get lunchmeat (dammit), so it's either a cheese sandwich or a PB&J for me today.  Ah well, it'll just be me and the schoolkids today.  See you.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

But Today The Sun's Shining

It isn't any warmer, it might even be chillier, but at least the sun's out.  No sun all day yesterday made me blue and dreary, I only managed to make the icebox cake custard and assemble the dessert, then I went back into my cave.  I took a good hard look at the lawn and decided that I didn't really need to mow, so I didn't.  I can't avoid laundry today, though, since I grabbed the second last pair of undies in the drawer this morning.  I refuse to wear the creeping-up-from-behind boy leg ones that never get off the bottom of the stack unless it's an absolute emergency.  I don't know how women wear thongs.  Uncomfortable things.

We fell prey to an info-email, the one that hijacked my email address last week and sent that Dr. Oz link to you all.  Durwood's brother, BE, emailed me back to say that he already takes the stuff and has lost weight, so we conferred and ordered a crapload.  It came yesterday and this morning I had it all on the table and we were filling our weekly pill holders and it occurred to me that we have an old people's table--one covered with pill bottles and pill holders.  Eesh.

The longer I wear these French nails the less I like them.  I will say that I've gotten compliments a couple times in the week since I got them but I just don't like the look.  Of course, I'm too cheap to go and have the gel coat taken off and polish put on so I'll spend the next 2 weeks complaining about them.  It's the white tips, they're too brash, too "look-at-me" that I don't like, not that red isn't an in-your-eye color, it is, it's just that I like red nails and I don't like clear and white ones.  Plus we left them too long.  I take part of the blame for that, she asks me if they're short enough and I wasn't paying attention, and she can't remember exactly everything about every customer.  And they're dirty underneath all the time.  I use a nailbrush and try to keep them not looking like dirty talons but it's a losing fight.  I don't notice the undersides as much when they're red.

July 28--North Switzerland, Madonna with Eight Saints.  "Oh, they're saints all right," Mary said to her sister on the phone, "they're certified and canonized.  Every one of them is more righteous than the next but I don't think they have a lot of compassion for the rest of us."  At times on this tour of the Midwest with the Vatican's Eight Saints Mary wished she had an easy job like librarian or lion tamer.  The eight of them had been saintly at one time, she was sure of it, but now that they'd achieved sainthood they each had an assistant traveling with them and at every stop they assembled little entourages from their local admirers because, Got knows, they needed their recommended daily dose of adoration, and they didn't get it from her.  Mary was the tour leader.  She needed a drink today.  Some days she needed several.

Well, that was a delightful tangent and fun to write.  Okay, I'm outta here.  Time to read the funnies and watch CBS Sunday Morning.  Enjoy your day, and if you don't, sit right down and tell me all about it.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Heh, you think I'm kidding, don't you?  Well, here's what Durwood's "weather station" said an hour ago--57 degrees with pretty high humidity.  Like I said, brrr.  Not that I'm complaining.  I always like it in the 50s and 60s better than in the 80s and 90s.  All. Ways.  I'll definitely be mowing the lawn today to take advantage of the cooler temps.  

I will also be assisting Durwood in making dessert for the Family Supper tomorrow since it's supposed to be in the mid-60s and will be cool at DS & DIL1's since they don't have a/c except a noisy old window one in their bedroom.  He found the recipe on the back page of the new Southern Living mag that came yesterday.  I was thinking we could make this drumstick torte that I found a recipe for last week but it has peanut butter in it and Durwood doesn't like peanut butter (I know!  how can that be?) so it's out.  Anyway, I bought the ingredients we don't have on my way home from knitting last night so we're all set.  We have to make it today because it has to freeze 8 hours so we'll be all ready and if the supper doesn't come off for any reason we'll just have to eat it ourselves.  Awwww, what a pity.

The lilies have bloomed!  All of 'em.  Oh, and do they smell great, so sweet and intoxicating.  I also like the orange pollen streaks on the white flowers.  Have you ever gotten lily pollen on your clothes?  Don't.  It rarely comes off even in the wash.  There's a reason that the lilies you get at the florist don't have those pollen thingies on them.  (pistils? stamens? anthers?  Actually it's the last one, anthers, they're on the ends of the stamens [the filaments] and hold the gold or yellow pollen that stains anything it touches)  If you cut lilies from your garden be sure to snip them off, just the anthers, before you bring them into the house.  Your tablecloth will thank you.

July 27--Germany, Snuffbox.  Deenie had always liked tiny things. She kept the smallest seashells when they were at the beach and the tiniest, shiniest pebbles from along the lake shore.  Her grandmother Mimi predicted that Deenie would be a microbiologist or some other profession that worked  with things too small to be easily seen, instead she was an archaeologist.  She was patient and willing to sift through baskets of dirt and sand to find the beads and bones and pottery sherds.  When she was a junior in college she studied in Germany for a semester and in a dim and narrow shop she fell in love with her first snuffbox.  A perfect jewel of an enameled box as blue as the summer sky, crusted with enameled flowers and glass rhinestones that sparkled almost like diamonds.  When the proprietor of the shop placed it on her upturned palm it's beauty took her breath away and her knees went weak.

Okey-dokey, that's all I've got for now.  You enjoy your Saturday and wish you were here in the paradise that is Green Bay--for today anyway.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Zoom Zoom

That's been my day today.  Zoom over to pick up Porter for a walk.  Stop at For The Birds to buy a laminated trees & wildflowers guide; I got a Birds of Prey one too.  Drop Porter off, drive to Cook's Corner for a 1/8 c. scoop, stop at AAA for maps & tour books for our October jaunt to the Carolinas, swing by the Ashwaubenon Library to pick up a book I had on hold (Breakfast with Buddha, it's a reread, I highly recommend it and anyone who knows me well knows I have very little patience for self-help books but this one I like).  When I got home I took a quick shower, dressed, then Durwood and I went to Rogan's where he didn't find comfy shoes, to Walmart where he did, we also got a few groceries and a couple other things like a person does in Walmart, to Copps for an Rx and a few more groceries (there were coupons), and finally we swung by the Sunny Hill Farms wagon for a few ears of sweet corn and a triple handful of sugar snap peas.  *pant, pant*  By the time we got home it was nearly 2 PM so we fired up the corn pot, reheated a bit of bbq pork, and steamed some fresh broccoli.  Since it's knitting night Durwood suggested that we have dinner in the afternoon and soup or something for supper.  Sounded like a plan so that's what we did.  

It was very overcast and stormy looking all morning (all of my old and new injuries have been aching like crazy all day, including my shoulder--I do NOT want another body part turning into a barometer) and we managed to get all our running finished before the sky opened up and it rained like crazy--for about 15 minutes.  A cold front is supposed to be blowing in today and it's only supposed to get into the mid-60s for the next two days.  Can you imagine?  Last week it was hotter than the hinges of Hades, this week it's been gorgeous, this weekend it will feel like Autumn.  It's crazy around here.  Cray. Zee.  And training camp started today so this side of town is crawling with wide-eyed tourists in green and gold jerseys standing in the middle of traffic so they can take pictures of Lambeau Field.  AND Cabela's opened yesterday so there are cops at the intersections around there controlling the stoplights.  Guess where Copps is?  You are correct, right next to Cabela's.  Guess where the corn wagon is?  Across the street from Lambeau.  What'd I tell ya?  Crazy.

July 26--Marie-Denise Villers, Young Woman Drawing.  Don't interrupt me.  Can't you see I'm busy? she seems to say.  "Clara," Papa called from the study, "Clara, your friends are here."  She wondered why he hadn't sent Harris or one of the ever-lurking maids to give her the message.  No one called out, no one raised their voices here.  Mamma would take the offender aside to remind her that ladies don't raise their voices.  Clara could see her friends from her perch in the window seat but she wasn't ready to stop drawing.  Let them come back later.

Now it's nearly 4 PM and I sit and wonder where the day went.  All I need to do is reread that paragraph up there and pay attention to my sore feet and aching back and I remember.  Getting old sucks.  Yeah, yeah, the alternative is worse, but let me whine a bit, I'm so good at it.  The clouds are back; looks like more rain.Ta-ta.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What Is There To Say About Thursday?

Nothing really this week.  The weather's pretty gorgeous, mid-summery, 80-ish and sunny, so no complaints about that.  It's my last day to work this week, so no complaints about that either.  It was pretty quiet at work yesterday and will probably be quiet again today, can't complain.  Well, I could but it wouldn't do any good, now would it?  I say enjoy the Thursday.  Be one with the Thursday.  Inhale the Thursday, exhale the weekend.

Do you think dreams mean anything?  I don't, not really.  I woke up today dreaming about sitting on the couch in the living room at the old Liberty Street house with Mom, talking to DD on the phone, telling her that we had her wallet, only it was Mom's wallet (but in reality it's really my wallet).  Mom was sleeping then woke up to talk to DD on the phone, then I was walking down Military Avenue to the very end, through businesses that aren't there anymore, to get two tires fixed.  I was carrying the tires.  See?  That can't mean anything.  It's just silly.

Durwood called yesterday to ask me to stop for bananas on my way home from work so I backtracked a couple blocks to the Kwik Trip near the dive shop and, lo and behold, the Sunny Hill Farms truck was parked by the Japanese restaurant with CORN.  Sweet corn.  I bought some.  It was deee-licious.  I thought about taking a picture but was too busy trying to keep butter from dripping off my elbows.

The big lilies are blooming.  The white ones which are really the only ones that weathered last year's drought in any kind of shape.  One pink Stargazer is making a cameo appearance, the others seem to have given up, but the one plant of white ones is going gangbusters, and the aroma is exquisite.

The bird lady was just on the morning show saying that this is the time to make sure your hummingbird feeders are full and clean since they're bulking up for migration.  They're so tiny I don't know how they manage to fly all that way without dropping dead but they do and they come back to us every year.  We've got one pair plus their babies that visit our feeders.

July 25--Alexander McQueen, Oyster Dress.  It looked like a bundle of rags, a log wrapped in fishing nets.  Kate squinted into the rising sun trying to figure out what it was that was wallowing in the surf just off the beach.  She hoped it was just a net tangle, not a beaching dolphin.  She looked up and down the beach.  None of the regulars was in sight.  Usually by now Max and his Lab mix, Peanut, were walking.  Peanut tried every day to catch a seagull and every day he failed.  Kate wished she hadn't forgotten her cellphone.  She could have called her grandson Edmond.  Edmond was a deputy, he'd come and fish whatever it was out and up onto the sand.  She looked again and in the growing light saw a hand floating, waving like kelp in the dawn surf.  She heard a dog bark and looked up to see Max and Peanut coming her way.

Thank god I got an idea.  I lay there looking at that messy dress on the mannequin and couldn't figure out what to write, and then I noticed that the bodice of it looks like a fishing net.  Whew.  That brought on thoughts of a body wrapped in nets rolling in the surf.  An idea!  *wipes sweat from brow*  Time to make myself (semi)presentable for work.  Adios.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

At Least Once More

Dr. Paula said that my shoulder is better (I told her it was) but agrees that I should go again in a week.  It sure feels good when she shoves my bones around.  I wish my back would stop aching one of these days but it occurred to me that all of the things I do involve hunching over--knitting, writing, computering, sewing--and I've got pretty big kabongas as added weight in front.  *sigh* I think I'm doomed to have a sore upper back because I'm for sure not quitting doing those things.

Aaron, my computer fixit guy, said that probably my computer wasn't hacked by a virus, only my email password was "borrowed" so that the advertiser could disseminate their ad to you all, so all I had to do was change that password and all is well-ish.  I suspect the only really safe way to compute is... to not.  Or only use it for a glorified typewriter and never go on the 'net.  But I don't think I can stop going online.  It's where I keep track of my Weight Watchers stuff, all my yarn, projects, etc. is on Ravelry, and then there's this blog.  I think I'd sink (even further) into a funk without this blog and the assumption (hope) that you're out there reading this.

I have to tell you, the neighbor kids have been playing outside lately and I freaking love hearing kids outside playing, hollering and shouting and laughing and chasing around playing games.  It sounds right.  It's too quiet with no kids and dogs making noise out there.  Just sayin'.

See this morning's clouds?  I love the blue sky, white clouds, and the sun's rays today.  Beautiful.

July 24--United States, Quilt, Fan Pattern.  Every night for the whole winter Minerva sat in the pool of light next to the fireplace and cut narrow pieces of fabric for her quilt.  For the first time she had bought fabric, fresh unused fabric, to piece the top.  It was solid red for the fan design and white with black pin dots for the background.

And that's when I conked off.  I've been staying up too late the last couple nights to finish a book and so by the time I hit the sack, I really hit it.  I was intrigued on Monday when I zipped into the downtown Library to pick up a book I had on Hold (forgot to change the "where to pick up" location) to see a sign advertising an Adult Summer Reading program, so I asked about it and signed up.  For every 5 books you read, listen to, or read to a kid you get an entry into a drawing for prizes, 2 Kindles & 2 $50 gift cards.  I signed up since I'm a reading fool.  Might as well get my name into the drawings.  Wonder if I can get retro-credit for all the ones I've read since it started in June.  Wonder if I remember them.  Anyway, I'm off, and not only that I'm leaving.  SeeYaBye.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Along the Trail...

(Before I begin blogging I want to apologize for the hack/spam email you all got from me today.  I don't know how it happens, I have good, new virus protection, maybe that doesn't prevent a person's emailbox from getting hijacked, and it seems like that email opened a conduit between all of you since I've gotten responses to my "don't open" email with other people's emails tacked on the bottom.  Anyway, I'm sorry.  I'm running all my scans and think I might take the whole caboodle into the fixit guy.  Maybe I'll call him right now...)

It is so nice today I think I'll take my lunch out onto the patio and I might just spend the rest of the day out there reading.  Well, except for my 3 o'clock chiro appointment.

It was cool and windy when Porter and I walked along the river.  We loved it.  She jerked the leash out of my hand when I was trying to keep the poop bag from blowing away while I opened it to pick up her deposit but she only went a few feet and I was smart enough not to run after her.  I sauntered and just stomped on the leash, then I picked it up.  Whew.  I do not want to have to call DS & DIL1 to say that their dog got away from me, I might never get to be alone with their future child if I lose their dog.  Other than that she was pretty good at heeling, but she still needs work on the whole "sitting at my side when we stop" thing.  I thought I'd take pictures of things I see on the trail, like the old power pole with a few glass insulators left on it, the wildflowers, and my left foot and canine companion.  

DIL1 was home making muffins when I took the dog back so I got to visit with her a while.  She's going to get 2 new chickens soon, ones that lay those pastel eggs.  Oh, I forgot to ask what she was going to name them.

July 23--Gustav Klimt, Mada Primavesi.  Nine years old is an excellent age for girls.  They aren't babies anymore but they aren't teenagers either.  Nine years old is a pause, a breath-holding, charmed days of freedom and play heedless of the march of time.  Mada was all gangly arms and knobby knees.  She had dark brown straight hair and fathomless gray eyes.  For one last summer she played without guile, climbing trees and swimming with the other children.  She lay in the shade and read great stacks of books about all kinds of things.  She read mysteries and adventures.  She studied stars and butterflies.  Her best friend, Will, lived two houses down on Elm Street and he taught her how to fish in the river where it slowed and spread out in the shade.  She taught him the constellations.  It took a lot of convincing to get her into that white dress with the embroidered flowers on it so that the old Austrian artist could paint her picture.  You can see how little patience she had for it.

Okay, that's it for me.  I'm off to... to... do something, even if it's wrong.  Sayonara.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday, Monday...

... is going to be another scorcher.  But it's only supposed to sizzle today and then cool off again tomorrow after some storms come through tonight.  We need rain.  Our lawn is so dry that the sparklers the neighbor kids dropped last night started the grass on fire.  Yikes.  Good thing good ol' Mrs. Malcolm thought to get a bucket and put some water in it.  Before I went out they were just having the kids drop the spent sticks on the patio.  Nope, I married an Eagle Scout, safety first.  Be prepared, too.  I got the bucket.  One of the kids was quick-thinking enough to use it to douse the flames.  Her mother was trying to stamp it out.  Good job, EM.

It was a lovely cool day yesterday, not sunny, but not hot either.  Very nice.  I didn't do a damned thing except grill some drumsticks for supper and I enjoyed it.  Don't feel guilty one bit.  Maybe I'm maturing after all.  Nah, probably not.  I just took the day off.  The lawn hasn't grown much since it hasn't rained and I'm not watering the lawn.  Not only do I think that's a criminal waste of water but I read in the paper that Japanese beetles lay their eggs in the lawn and watering the lawn helps them.  I don't want to help them.  Some hatched last week and all my roses are chewed into lace and destroyed.  I found a couple of them on the blueberries the other day too.  When I water them I can't help watering part of the lawn around the garden so I expect them.  Guess I go looking for a natural repellent for the blueberries.  Chemical insecticide would make the berries poisonous.  Grrr.

July 22-India, Punjab Hills, Bahu, Rama and Lakshmana on Mount Pavarasana.  So these two Indian guys went camping, and they took along bows and arrows to hunt... what?... tigers.  Yeah, they're hunting tigers.  They put on their best hunting clothes and jewelry, but nothing that jingles, and they climb up to the top of the tallest hills.  From the clearing up there they can see the land all around.  There is only one tree tall enough to obscure their view.  The tree is heavy with fruit and as the sun goes down a troop of monkeys arrives in the tree to eat the fruit and chatter and squabble as monkeys do.  The Indian men frown at the noisy monkeys.  They shoot arrows into the tree at them but the monkeys dodge the arrows and run away laughing that they made the men shoot all their arrows.  As night falls the jungle grows quiet.  In the deepening darkness they hear the breathing of the great cat as it stalks up their hill, gliding through the undergrowth like a shadow.

Sounds like a parable, doesn't it?  They can't climb the tree, tigers can climb trees.  They can't run, tigers run faster.  Maybe they can outsmart the tiger...  Don't look at me, I haven't a clue.  Time to fix lunches for the week, take a shower, and go to work.  To quote the baby DS, "unfortunely I have to go work," which is what his Daddy would say when it was time for him to leave.  Sat siri akal.  (that's "goodbye" in Punjabi--don't you love the Internet?)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Whose Hands Are These?

For the first time in I can't remember how many years I don't have red fingernails.  I went to the nail salon yesterday, it was time for a new set, and Kim suggested that she apply white tips and then just put a gel coat on for a different look.  I said okay, but now I'm not so sure.  I spent all of the rest of the day looking at my hands whenever I moved them around because they just look wrong.  It's not that I have anything against a French manicure exactly (except I've always thought it looked half-done) but I've had red polished nails forever--and now I don't.  It's only 3 weeks until time for fill-ins and then I can go back to red nails but until then I feel like I'm wearing somebody else's hands.  Freaky.  (thanks again to DS & DIL1 for the nail salon gift certificate they gave me for Mother's Day; I used the last of it yesterday) 

My decision not to go diving was reinforced when I had to haul all my stuff away and made my shoulder ache again.  Maybe I can go next month.  Stupid Home Depot sign. 

I got to go water the sod for DS & DIL1 yesterday and visited with the grand-chickens, Henny & Penny, but I forgot the bag of peels.  I'll take it on Tuesday.  They are in their new permanent enclosure with the fancy, roomier coop that the kids built.  It's very nice with 2 nest boxes and it's insulated so the ladies will be warmer in the winter.  DS & DIL1 are talking about getting 2 more hens.  I wonder what they'll name them?

July 21--Claude Monet, Camille Monet on a Garden Bench.  His gaze weighed on her, always sliding over her, measuring her.  She wished she could wash it off like you wash off a stain.  The large green and white ball bounced once at her feet and a small boy clattered up to her.  "Pardon, madame," he said, darting between the legs of the easel as he went shouting back to his mates.  The artist tore his gaze away from her for a moment to watch the boy back to his game and the relief of it nearly toppled her off the bench.

That's what comes from writing in a stupor.  As soon as I lay down I fell asleep and woke about 30 minutes later to scribble those few words and turn out the light.  It's still and overcast today and not hot.  So not hot that I took a picture of Durwood's Father's Day gift--a digital weather station--showing that it was cooler outside than in this morning.  Woohoo!  You East Coasters, the cooler is coming.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

First Grandbaby Stuff

Every since the cat's been out of the bag about the coming grandbaby my mind has been churning about things to knit for her/him.  DS & DIL1 have said they don't want to know the sex of yon babe so there's no unseemly "boy color/girl color" debate, there's just color, and bright color which DIL1 likes better over pastels.  (That's my girl, well, my girl-by-marriage!)  

I couldn't resist starting with a soft creamy white something yarn I got from Goodwill.  It's worsted weight and a little shiny so I figure it's either Bernat Softee or Red Heart Soft Yarn, probably Soft Yarn since I just discovered that Softee doesn't come in worsted weight.  I also found a pattern for a hat and booties made on bigger needles.  I hate skinny needles, they don't feel right in my hands.  I realize that it's shocking that I didn't add a bright color to the center as the pattern shows but I just wanted to start with a sweet white set.  Colors will come, never fear.

And here they are!  Ever since I bought that bale of yarn at Goodwill about 10 days ago the multi-colors of Cascade Cloud 9 have been calling my name.  It's wool and angora, which is from rabbits not goats like I thought it was, and so soft, perfect for a baby's tender skin.  Yesterday afternoon when I saw that I'd be able to finish the baby hat last night at knitting I got out the US11 needles and cast on the Happy Baby Blanket from Lion Brand.  My plan is to carry two colors of yarn for 3/4 of the square and then change out one of them for the corner.  With five different colors I'll be able to mix them up in lots of ways and then I thought I'd make solid color stripes for the border--if I have enough of each color left.  I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

(MW & LC called me last Wednesday to say that there was cashmere at Goodwill; I told them NO!  I spent all my yarn money the week before and I'm perfectly happy with it... but I wish I'd have seen the yarn.  NO, no more yarn buying, Barbara Sue, N. O.)

Still haven't sewn that skirt...  some other time.

Damn. Damn. Damn.

Yesterday afternoon KC called to invite me to go diving with him and DM.  I said yes.  Durwood said he thought it was a good idea.  After knitting last night I packed my gear and carried it upstairs.  That's when I realized that my right shoulder isn't as "better" as I thought it was so going diving, carrying heavy things, twisting my shoulder around to put on my gear, etc. wasn't a very good idea.  Damn.  Durwood reminded me that I can go again when my shoulder's better, that if I really injure it I might not get to go ever again, but damn.  I cried a little last night when the realization hit.  Self-pity isn't pretty.

It isn't hot!  I went outside, not quite as early as I do on weekday mornings, and it wasn't hot.  It was warm, but then it's July, but it wasn't stifling, wasn't humid, wasn't unbearable.  Ahhhh.  I took some flower pix, picked the lone asparagus spear (we haven't gotten much this year) and the blueberries.  Look there are more and they're ripe.  Yum.  

When it hit me that I really shouldn't go today I stayed up reading until midnight so I didn't write, I just went to sleep, so this is all there is today--a little self-pity and some garden pix.  Sorry.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Made It To Friday Without Melting

But it was a near thing at work yesterday.  Mrs. Boss called to ask me to fill the air bank, a reasonable request, but that meant turning on the compressor which really heats up the place and the a/c was already struggling to keep up, but being a good employee I did.  It ran for about 3 hours and the a/c ran the whole time keeping it about 80 in there.  Not cool.  And it remained merely bearable until I left at 5.  I think it might be a combination of the oven-like temps outside, the uninsulated block building, and a too small a/c unit.  Good thing it's supposed to cool down this weekend.  Mrs. Boss is off to Idaho today to spend a week with her mom and Mr. Boss' brother Darrell (not his other brother Darrell, remember on the old Newhart show? [watch the clip to the end, it's worth your 5 minutes and 26 seconds]) is working her days so I don't have to work every single day she's gone.  Woohoo!  At this stage in the game I'd rather have the time off than the money.  I don't want to quit (most of the time) but I don't want to work any more than I already do.

I was feeling all artsy when I was heating up my coffee, thinking about how much I enjoyed Fat Mum Slim's Photo A Day challenge so I took some artsy photos of my coffee and the dishes in the drainer (I was too tired to do them last night, I know, I'm a bit of a slacker sometimes).  Then I went outside to snap the lilies and look what I found.  Ripe tomatoes!  I picked the little plum tomato because the other 2 in the cluster were nibbled by the resident garden bunnies so I brought that one in to save it to ripen unnibbled.  Durwood was very excited to see them when he got up from his nap.

July 19--Japan; Momoyama Period, Cranes and Flowers of the Four Seasons.  The roots of the trees look like thick dark fingers clutching the earth.  Jane stumbled on hearing scratching and scrambling in the underbrush.  She thought she was still on the path but hadn't seen a trail marker in quite a while.  How lost could she get?  All of the trails made big loops so she had to come back to where she began.  Didn't she?

Oh, I had big plans for that one but my day overtook me and slammed me down into sleep.  I was lucky to be able to put my notebook and glasses away before I was lost for the night.  As it was there are huge scribbles over most of the page.  I raised the garage door yesterday to take out the trash and saw a mud dauber nest on the bottom of the door.  After I took its picture I scraped it off.  Don't want to host wasps in the garage.  Nope, don't wanna.  I'm going to try to stay in the cool house as much as possible today.  You stay cool too.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

More Sizzle

Not cooling off yet.  It will, but not yet.  Maybe Saturday.  It looks so lovely out the window, sunny and breezy, but the air is heavy and weighs you down.  It's like having a kid clinging to each leg when I walk.  Remember those days?  You'd be walking around the kitchen making supper and a kid or two would grab you around the ankle... fun times.  (I need to paint this bedroom, it's uber-dingy, but that'd mean cleaning up all the crap I've got crammed in here... maybe next year... I'll just stop looking at the walls, especially where they join the ceiling)
I went out when I got up to fill the birdbath and see how the garden's growing.  I don't think the peppers in my upside-down planter are bell peppers.  See the little yellow green pepper in the lower left?  Not a rounded bell pepper.  Nope.  Some other kind of pepper.  That's what I get for buying unidentified pepper plants from a Hispanic man at the Farmer's Market.  Hey, all the greenhouses I went to were out; I was desperate and this is where desperation leads, to some random unknown pepper.  Tsk.  The daisies are happy looking, don't you think?  They've been one of my favorite flowers since I was a little girl.  They're so unpretentious and innocent looking.  I still like 'em.  The blueberries are ripening, a few every couple days.  I confess I don't think I'm patient enough, some of them aren't truly ripe when I pick them.  I need to leave them another day but I'm afraid that the catbird will come and peck them.  They're pretty good, a little puckery, but edible.

July 18--Roman; Early Imperial, Julio-Claudian Period, Bronze Portrait Bust of a Boy.  Rex hated having his hair combed.  His mama fussed and fiddled making sure each and every hair was placed just so.  She put in some sort of wax so that the comb marks stayed just like the vacuum marks had to stay in the living room rug.  She spent long minutes styling a band of his hair, twisting and twirling it so it resembled a laurel wreath.  Rex got tired and fidgety.  All he wanted to do was go out and play but Mama was having a tea and she expected him to greet her guests and escort them to their chairs.  He should be out playing, not primping like a courtier.

Poor kid.  He's got kind of a "deer in the headlights" look on his face.  Well, I had plenty of time to make a few phone calls for the knitting guild at work yesterday.  It was a bit to steamy for divers to be out hauling on thick black wetsuits.  Just the thought of that makes me feel sweaty.  I did have a cop in for half an hour.  He came for an octo holder, spent $1.90, and stayed to cool down.  We talked about dive sites and paged through an out of print dive site guide I keep in the car.  I even sent him off with a bottle of cold water.  He might have had on shorts, but he also had on 3 shirts and a Kevlar, he needed a cold drink.  It was my civic duty, plus he's a nice guy, kid, whatever.  From this end of the age range they all look like kids playing dress-up.  Time to write out how to fire up the Wii for Durwood.  It's been so long since he played he's forgotten how.  Toodles.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

It's Hump Day, Hump Day, Humpy Humpy Hump Day

Can you tell I'm glad that it's Wednesday?  I don't even know why, I don't have anything fun on the weekend's horizon to anticipate, I guess I'm just glad.  I do look forward to those 3 days off in a row that I have every week.  Well, not every week.  See, Mrs. Boss asked me to work the first 2 Fridays in August and I wasn't fast enough to make up a reason why I couldn't so I'm going to work.  I used to work M, W, F, and every other Saturday, so my current schedule's an improvement and one I don't want to mess with.  Three days a week is the perfect amount to work, plus it doesn't interfere with my weekends.  *snort*

Man, it's oppressive outside.  The heat's bad enough but when you couple it with the humidity we've got... well, it's hard going out there.  My car's thermometer said 102 when I got in yesterday afternoon.  It cooled down to 97 as I drove.  Eesh.  And it takes so long to cool off once I get too hot.  I've been trying to drink a lot of water and I need to do better, I have a bit of a low-grade headache that I just can't shake.  I suspect it's a touch of dehydration, also it just might be the pressure making my sinuses sit up and take notice.  It's supposed to be like this through Friday and then get back to normal at least for the weekend.  Whew, that'll be a relief.

I happened to glance out back as the sun was setting to see the clouds all pink in the blue sky so I trudged (that's the only word for how it feels to walk in the heat and humidity) out with my camera to snap a few shots.  Pretty, no?

I get to wait a week before I go back to the chiro.  See?  I told you that I'm getting better.  Dr. Paula adjusts animals too and said she was going to work on some horses yesterday evening.  I'll bet the barn isn't air-conditioned.  Ugh.  Turns out she adjusts my brother TW's dogs.  Um, doesn't it seem odd to take your dog to the chiropractor?  It's a dog, not a person.  Dogs don't really have a sense of self, they're just dogs.  But then again I'm not really a dog person, not a pet person.  Oh, I like Porter more than any other dog I've ever met and I'm really glad that falling in like with her helped me stop being so afraid of other dogs, but she's a dog.  I'll admit that I like to credit her with human feelings and reactions, pretend that her antics on our walks are intelligently motivated but it's just putting spin on doggie behavior.  I'm the intelligent mammal in that equation.  This is heresy, I know it is.  Sorry, animal people, I'll shut up now.

July 17--Vincent van Gogh, Irises.  Grandma Frieda called them flags, those flamboyant early summer irises that live with their roots barely under the surface of the soil.  She was partial to the purple ones.  She'd gather them on early Saturdays when the dew was thick and mist clung to the orchard trees.  Four galvanized buckets half-filled with water rode along in wagons so that the cut flower stems spent as little time as possible in the drying air.  Grandma made the altar flowers every week.  It was an important job and a treat for this granddaughter who slept there on some Friday nights.  Grandma needed lots of flowers cut.  She made four bouquets; one for each side altar and two for the main altar.  She'd arrange each bouquet and tie it with twine, then it went back into the bucket for the mile ride to church.  She loved the irises for their beauty and their short lives but she loved the roses the best.  Aunt Cele and I scoured the nurseries one year for a lavender rose.  We found one and it was beautiful but it had no fragrance, not like the deep red Mr. Lincoln.  That one was her favorite of all.

I loved those cool summer Saturday early mornings in the garden with Grandma.  I didn't get to cut many flowers because I didn't cut the stems long enough or in the right place but I got to pull the wagon and sniff every bloom.  Then we went to the church, the silent empty church to put the flowers on the altars.  I can still recall the feeling of walking into the sacristy with Grandma.  It smelled like candles and incense.  A good memory, a warm one.  Okay then, I'm off to jump start my day with breakfast and the comics.  Oh, can't forget to pick up the tanks from Van's.  Yeah, I definitely need to think about asking for gas money.  See ya.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Look What Came Today, You Guys!

Last week I got an email from Interweave telling me that they're having their annual "Hurt Book & DVD" sale.  I think some are returned books, some slightly damaged (although none of the ones I've ever bought have been).  The offer that caught my eye was all 5 Harmony Guides for $25.  Twenty-five dollars, people!  Bought on their own they'd be over $110 (not a lot, but still...) so $25 seemed like a steal for that kind of knitting reference works.  I barely hesitated ordering them.  Even with the shipping (and those suckers are heavy) it was less than $35.

Happy Birthday to me! (but not until September 1)

Happy Anniversary!

Merry Christmas!


I love books, don't you?

Holy Moly, It's Hot & Humid Out There

I left at 7 o'clock, dropped off a tank at Van's (I should start charging Mrs. Boss mileage), went to get my walking partner, Porter, and it was still so hot and still on the trail that even she got tired and thirsty.  Usually she'll only drink water that I pour into the plastic cup I keep in the backseat cup holder for her but today she deigned to drink out of my palm as I poured water into it (ewww, dog lips) at our turnaround spot, which was about 3/4 of the way to the overpass.  It was just too hot so we turned around, she hog-tied herself in her leash running like a crazy dog in the park on the way back to the car as usual, and she didn't demur when I opened the car door for her.  She knows that means time for a drink.  She's doing a great job of staying at heel and an okay job of sitting when I stop, she still needs that command and upward tug on the leash and a helping hand to make sure she's alongside me instead of perpendicular, but we're getting there.  DS & DIL1 visited her brother and SIL in Minneapolis last weekend and they had a spare window a/c that they sent home with the kids so they slept in the cool-ish last night and put Porter's crate up there and left the a/c on low for the day.  It's just too hot for her to be confined in the crate in the sun room all day with no water.  I'm glad; I was thinking of bringing her home with me after our walk just so she didn't get overheated and stroke out.

Weight Watchers sends a weekly email with pep talks and tips and recipes, and yesterday's batch had a couple winners--Lobster Rolls and Ice Cream Sandwiches.  We can't afford lobster but we have scallops in the freezer so we're having Scallop Rolls for supper.  Yay!  After my chiro visit later I'll be stopping at Wally World for the fat-free ice cream and chocolate chip cookies to make the sandwiches, along with a few other less important things like veggies and fruit.  Although I do feel a craving for more fruit.  I stopped at Aldi which is usually my reliable source for fruit on sale but they had nothing.  NOTHING.  I'm hoping Walmart's got pineapple and blueberries.  Ooh, blueberries.  Look how many ripe ones I picked today.  Moving the bushes was totally the right thing to do.

I'm hoping that today's chiro visit is the last for a while.  Even though Home Depot will reimburse us for our out-of-pocket expenses, it's expensive and it's out of my way and it's expensive.  I realized this morning that I didn't wake up with a sore shoulder and it didn't hurt when I turned over to shut off the alarm.  This is progress.  And I've been trying to lift tanks only with my left arm, I'm not always succeeding but at least I'm trying.

July 16--Georges de la Tour, The Fortune Teller.  For a few coins she'll look at your palm, trace the lines, and tell you your past.  For a few dollars she lays out the cards, tells you about your relationships, who you love, who loves you, your future.  You see how suspicious he is.  Her very age and garb draw him and repel him at the same time.  He's given her a coin.  She holds it as if it is an insult while her eyes, sunk in the wrinkles earned in a hard life, pin him in her gaze.  Distracted, he doesn't feel her daughter's fingers tease a jewel from his pocket.  Misdirection, confusion.  Superior breeding is no defense against being a victim.  She'll tell his fortune and he'll be fortunate to escape with his pants.

I volunteered to print out ballot postcards and envelope inserts for the knitting guild so that's something I can do that'll keep me in the cool all day.  Good plan,eh?  Time to get typing and printing.  Toodles.