Saturday, November 30, 2013

Off to Catch Fire

Today I'm going to meet my friend, Lala, in Sheboygan for lunch and to see The Hunger Games Catching Fire.  We saw the first movie together down there so it's only fitting that we see the second one there too.  I voted for an overnight but she's too busy so we're settling for a meet, eat, and watch.  We're planning to eat a very healthy lunch so there can be movie snacks.  I'm leaning toward Milk Duds while I think Lala's in for fake-buttered popcorn but time will tell.

I got the laundry done yesterday while I sew a couple more of the gifties I cut out earlier in the week.  And I sorted through knitting patterns and yarns to replace the sock and sweater I finished, then cast on a hexagon dishcloth (for stock) and a sand dollar dish/washcloth for the Bay Lakes Knitting Guild's Christmas dishcloth exchange.  I like 'em both.  I was thinking of using some green sock yarn DD gave me for my birthday a few years back for my next sock but it's way thinner than the last stuff.  I'm going to be smart and do a gauge swatch (which seems like such a waste of knitting to me but then I think of my Smart car cozy of a sweater and reconsider, besides I can unknit it and still use the yarn) thinking maybe if I go down a needle size and up a pattern size I'll have something acceptable and foot-like.

I can't believe that my 10 days of being off is almost over, today and tomorrow and that's it, I'm back to work.  Time = whoosh.  Where did the time go?  That reminds me, I need to make up some chicken soup tomorrow for work lunches.

November 30--Marc Chagall, Snow, Winter in Vitebsk.  Mal felt the frayed rope dig into his fingers even though his hand was beyond cold.  His boots crunched in the refrozen slush on the road.  He knew that the hole in his left boot had gotten bigger because his sock was wetter than usual.  "Faster, faster," Maria and Peter called from their huddle of blankets in the sled behind him.  If he went faster they would get home sooner, at least part of him stayed warm while he was moving.  At home they would all freeze.

I love me some Chagall.  You have a great Saturday, do something fun.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Well, Did Your Diet Survive?

Mine sure didn't.  I'll be being an extra good girl today and make sure I climb the basement stairs a few extra times to make up for that full plate of yummy that I made disappear.  As we drove away into the sunset snowflakes began to fall but fortunately they only flurried and didn't pile up anywhere.  Whew.  Because I was on tap to drive home and I for sure didn't want my first winter 2013 snow drive to be on Hwy. 29 in the dark.

The newest member of the family, baby OWZ, was in attendance charming everyone in sight and being a colicky baby through the meal and almost until he and his family left.  It took a bit of convincing to assure his mama that no one minded the crying baby, we just all wanted a turn to try to soothe him, especially Grandpa Doc.  It was fun to see him so wrapped up in that little scrap of humanity.  OWZ's favorite soothe spot was under the exhaust fan in the kitchen so there was a rotation of adults leaning against the stove swaying from side to side.  DIL1 was the one who got him to sleep, but not for long.  Oh well, he'll grow out of that, they all eventually do, and he sure is a cutie patootie.  Can't wait to have our own baby of our blood, not just our hearts, to walk, rock and trot.  When DS & DD wouldn't be soothed by rocking in a chair, when only standing and rocking would do, Durwood and I called it "giving 110%."  We did a lot of that; these new parents will serve their time standing and rocking and shushing while mostly asleep too.  I think it's a rite of passage.

Oh, but the food was sublime.  The turkey, our first roasted instead of fried turkey in many a year, was succulent and done to a turn, the gravy was lump-free, there was cornbread-sausage and sage & apple dressings, green bean casserole with those crunchy onion things on top, AS's homemade mac & cheese, roasted root vegetables, corn pudding, cranberry sauce & relish, traditional green jello with pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top, each one more delicious than the next, and a lovely red wine on the side.  For dessert there was pecan pie with bourbon in it, traditional pumpkin pie, and my pumpkin bread pudding with rum sauce (I put in extra dark rum this year, it was extra cold outside) and decaf.  See what I mean about diets crashing and burning?  I took a tiny spoonful of everything and my plate was nearly overflowing--and those were some good-sized plates--but I managed to make it all go away, except I only had pecan pie for dessert, I just couldn't face "some of each."  (Dad used to say he'd have "Russian dessert" [someovich"] I couldn't go there, I was just too full)  The company was lively and entertaining.  We missed W&AZ but they stayed home since they're expecting in less than a month too, and GZ, OZ's daddy, had to work.

I just took a step further down the road toward being a real Grandma--I ordered a Pack & Play from  Half-price!  Yippee!  Pretty soon our baby will be here.  I'd better lay in some diapers.  I already have a rocking chair.

OMG, Durwood's watching Sale of the Century on the Game Show Network and one of the prizes was a fabulous cellphone that cost $3000 and lived in an aluminum spy-type briefcase; and one of the defeated champ's prizes was a typewriter.  A typewriter!  Turns out the show's a rerun from 1974.  Good lord.

November 28--Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Harvesters.  The last field was too steep for the reaper and tractor so Levi and Tom harvested it by hand.  They joked about stepping back in time as they pulled scythes out of the back of Levi's truck.  They walked to opposite corners of the one-acre plot, each man settled his wide-brimmed hat more securely on his head, then they got to work.  Each of them soon got into the rhythm of swinging the scythes, blades flashing in the late afternoon sunlight.  Tom found her.  He was in the middle of the plot when he saw something blue.  At first he thought it was the reflection of the sky, but on closer inspection it was a blue skirt that was half-on and half-off of the slender form.

Okay then, that's not too bad for midnight on Thanksgiving.  I'm off to collect eggs and get my nails done, oh, and pick up bananas at Kwik Trip, a person can't pass up their 38 cents a pound price for them.  Are you out shopping today?  Good luck finding what you want, I'll be over here where it's quiet.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Turkey Sat On The Backyard Fence...

and he sang this sad, sad tune--
Thanksgiving Day is coming
gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble,
and I know I'll be eaten soon,
gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble,
I would like to run away,
gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble,
I don't like Thanksgiving Day!

Okay, now that the spirits of Mom and Grandma Stephan have put their stamps on the day we can move on, although I will be calling my children later to sing that little ditty to or with them.  I'll probably call AJ and TW to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving too, I might even sing to them if I'm in good voice today.  (be afwaid, be vewy afwaid... and glad I don't call you)  Since we don't have to be at the Zs until 4:30 I'll be taking my time assembling the cornbread/sausage dressing and the pumpkin bread pudding and making the rum sauce, so there'll be time to slog through the 5# (no, really) of newspaper ads that whumped onto the porch this morning and to fling around the laundry while I sew a little more.  Durwood will be watching the Packer game and probably hollering at the TV.  He doesn't holler as much as Mom used to but he can be pretty vocal about their shortcomings.

Yesterday wasn't as productive a day as I'd hoped it'd be.  I got the cornbread for the dressing baked and cut into cubes so it could dry out overnight, and I cubed up the boule of French bread for the bread pudding so it could dry too.  I took a shower (the world thanked me), took Mom's earrings to the jeweler (I lost one of the screw backs on Tuesday but not the earring, thank god) only to find that it's going to cost me $150 to get them new, more secure posts and backs (yikes!) (oh well, they have to be fixed so I can wear them all the time like I like to), and picked up a few items from the grocery.  Then I fell into a hole trying a new way of knitting--arm knitting.  Yep, that's right, knitting using your arms instead of needles.  When I was telling Mardi at yoga on Tuesday about my giant cardi, three other women in the room spoke as if they knew knitting and knew it well, and the youngest of them/us said she'd arm-knitted a cowl.  I was intrigued so Tuesday night before bed I searched YouTube, found a slew of how-to videos and watched one.  Never one to learn about something new (and relatively oddball) and leave it alone, especially when I've got all the supplies on hand to give it a whirl, I dug up some superthick yarn, put the laptop on the kitchen table, and began.  The first attempt was a disaster, but the second one wasn't bad, and the third one made a cowl.  I had about 6" of yarn left after I wove in the tails a lot since the yarn's pure acrylic and that doesn't hang onto itself like wool does.  But isn't this fun looking?

We met our friends, B&TD, at the Hilltop Cafe for supper. It's not quite as cool as it sounds, it's in a BP gas station but they have good, cheap burgers and we got to sit and visit for a couple hours.  A burger, a cheeseburger deluxe, an order of fries, and a bottle of water set me back all of $6.12; I probably spent more than that in gas getting us there but it was good to see them and talk about traveling.  No tater tots this time though, I tried to get half fries and half tots but they said no, not on cheap burger night and Durwood doesn't like tots.  How can anyone not like tots?

Look what happened overnight.  Snow, the real stuff.  There're a zillion birdie tracks in the snow on the patio, of course they don't really show well, but trust me they're there, and it took me a while to realize that the dark brown lumps on the neighbor's yard are squirrels digging for maple seeds.  There are a half-dozen or so of them doing the same in our backyard too.  Maybe I'll go out later (when I'm dressed better) and put out some corn for them, although they manage pretty well on the birdseed that's on the ground under the feeder.  As annoying as they are getting into the birdfeeders I do like them, they're funny-looking and brash; one stood on the back step with its paws on the patio door peering it as if checking us out yesterday afternoon.

November 28--John LaFarge, Wild Roses and Irises.  The heat of midday bore down on Leslie's head as she stepped off the back porch.  It was quiet in the lull after lunch but before the afternoon chores and games revved up.  At this time of the year most people took advantage of the long daylight hours to put off lawn mowing and other strenuous tasks until later in the day.  Leslie liked to take her library book out into the shady arbor near the pond after lunch to sit and read in the sweet, rose-scented air while being lulled by the steady buzz of the honey bees.

The 2014 versions of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Gallery calendar and the Mensa 10-Minute Crossword calendar that I ordered the other day came so we're all ready for the new year when it comes--in just over a month.  Can you believe that?!?  Although that also means that our grandbaby will be here in about the same amount of time.  Eeee.  *happy dance*  I remember those days of counting down, I'm confident that DIL1 is more than ready to see her progeny and be able to walk away from it a few times a day.  Anyway, have a happy Thanksgiving and eat lots of pie.  Hey, it's the feasting holiday, go nuts.  (see? I told you these posts would get longer)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It's Sunny Out There...

Cold but sunny, and a little breezy, but I'll take it because it isn't snowing.  It shouldn't snow tomorrow afternoon when we need to drive to Shawano to eat turkey either.  Shouldn't, you understand, not won't because it turns out I don't control the weather after all.  (who knew?)

Porter and I braved the chilly NW wind blowing across the river yesterday and enjoyed our walk, we froze, but it was a good walk.  No deer or fox, but there was a pair of hawks circling as we came by and a trio of geese standing awkwardly, quietly honking and eyeing the dog as we crunched through the leaves toward them.  I'm so glad I decided to veer off the trail and let Porter run and romp instead of making her heel all the way.  She gets to play and I think it's a bit more of a workout for my hips and back and legs to walk on that uneven ground.  True I walk faster on the trail but it's more fun seeing her snuffle along the ground and run to the end of her leash.  She's much better at not flinging herself into a flip when she runs to the end of the leash and jerks to a stop.  Sometimes she runs "crazy dog" and trusses herself up like a roped calf but not so much anymore.  She found a nice eviscerated squirrel carcass but trotted on when I told her "no!"  She's a good dog.

I got into the sewing studio yesterday and got all the cutting out for the secret sewing done and 2 of the 10 items sewed up.  Instead of choosing different fabrics for each one, I chose a khaki cotton twill and feed sack print for everyone.  I like the print because it's got words and it's big so only part of the design will be on each item.  I need to split myself somehow because I love to sew and yet I'd like to be knitting.  (you only get to see the stack of cutouts, no FOs (finished objects) until after that day next month)

Oh, speaking of knitting, see how well this sweater fits?  Not.  But I love it and it's very warm.  I think I'm going to take it to Friday Night Knitting this week (along with a box of pins) to show it off as well as have someone help pin it in, especially in the armpits, and then I'll just zip it up on the sewing machine and cut out the excess.  I was thinking I could lay a cardi I like down on it but all my other cardis are pretty form-fitting.  Oh wait, I have a windbreaker jacket that I like the fit of, maybe I'll lay out the sweater and put the jacket over it and see what I have.  (the garbologists just came by, no way would I want to ride the back of a garbage truck on a cold, windy day like today--at least it's not snowing)  I'm chugging down toward the toe of my Chimney sock, and already thinking I'll wind up the next yarn later today.  I do love me some variegated yarn, or self-striping as in this case.  It's waaaaay more interesting than a solid color.  Way.

November 27--Peru, Feathered Crown.  The shaman came to her in a dream.  He wore a crown made of feathers.  At first she only thought of all the birds that died so that the crown could be made.  She imagined the colorful creatures flying in the jungle looking like animated flowers and then falling to the ground pierced by an arrow just for the feathers and it made her sad.  In the dream she heard the squawks and calls of the birds and the terrible silence when they died.  Finally she heard the shaman's words.  "You are a seeker."  "Colors speak to you."  "Your spirit flies up where the wind is cold and free."  She awoke huddled in her quilt with a yellow feather crushed in her hand.

I need to check on Blogger to see if I can merge my two blogs or if there's a way to redirect people from I'm Knitting, not Smoking here automatically, but I've decided that I'm definitely doing it.  Time to make sewing now that my iPod's charged up so I can finish listening to Zoo, it's pretty terrible but now I'm far enough in that I want to know how it ends.  Hasta la vista, babies.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


A thought popped into my head yesterday and now I can't shake it.  I realized that I talked about knitting in my writing blog entry yesterday, even put a sweater picture on, and I thought maybe I should just have one blog to write about all the things I do in my life, not segregate the crafty things into their own blog.  Would that make entries in this blog even longer?  (sometimes I think they're too long now)  Would it bore the pants off people who don't care about knitting or sewing?  Do I care?  That other blog was my first blog and it's attached to my Ravelry account, plus I don't talk about crafty things every day, but that's not the worst thing in the world, is it?  I'm open to suggestions.

I'm waiting for it to get full light out there before I take Porter on our walk.  It's overcast again and windy but I'll wear a hat and mitts, and a coat of course, so it'll be fine.  I kind of like walking on windy days the best, blows out all the cobwebs.  (speaking of cobwebs, why are they called that?  Cobs are horses or the middle of corn ears, not spiders, and spiders make webs.  I don't get it.)

I didn't get to the sewing machine yesterday, I ended up on the couch working on my sock knitting.  It's going so well, so quickly (I'm halfway down the foot already) that I'm mentally planning what yarn to use to cast on the next one.  Maybe a nice green.  Or purple.  How about yellow?  No, green.  Or purple.  (see?  here I am talking about sewing and knitting in what started as my writing blog but seems to be morphing into my everything blog, what to do, what to do?  is this my innerHitler talking?  are there really rules I need to follow or can I make up my own rules?  Rachael Herron talks about writing and knitting and sewing and the rest of her life in her blog, true she doesn't post every day but still...  there's a way to redirect people who visit the craft blog to this one, isn't there?  seems like I might have made a decision, I'll ponder it on my walk, see what Porter thinks, she's very intuitive about such things)

November 25--Auguste Renoir, By the Seashore. Chloe sat in the last rattan chair on the long porch.  Her hands lay still in her lap as she stared out to sea.  A scrap of embroidery was crumpled in her fingers, the needle catching the light, quivering with her every breath.  Today he would come, she knew it.  His ship would round the point trialing smoke from the tall stacks and the sailors would be lined up along the rails in their dress whites.  Gabe would be the handsome one, the only one of the hundreds of men she would truly see.  His last letter was in her sewing basket.  She had read it so many times she had it memorized.  "I'll be coming home to you," it read but didn't say when.  Soon, she prayed, let him come soon.  Reports of ships lost at sea chilled her, news of men washed away in storms made her cry.

Well, it sure doesn't look like it's going to get much lighter anytime soon so I guess I'll bundle up and go get the dog for a walk.  Can't forget the bag of peels and veg ends for the chickens.  Adios.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Took a Break From Injuring Myself

I had a much more sedate day yesterday, spending most of it working on a writing project that needs finishing this week.  It made a nice change from whamming my face into a dishwasher on Saturday.  Thanks again for all your help, DS.

I got my FINISHED Khaki Cardi washed and blocked downstairs so I can actually wear it as a garment instead of an oddly-shaped lap robe with needles sticking out of a sleeve.  I had to stand on the basement stairs to take its picture and then flipped the picture, which explains why it looks out of perspective, at least it does to me.  (oh, I could have turned the table around, it's on wheels, that would have fixed that *head slap*)  I can see that either I misread the pattern or some adjustments need to be made in the underarm area if I ever make that particular pattern again.  Those armholes will be hanging way down my side and there's too much fabric under there, but I am NOT frogging it and starting over, no sirree Bob.  (I just remembered DS saying it as "I'm sorry Bob" when he was little, too cute.)  Also I might have overestimated my acreage, that sweater's kind of big.  Can you say "positive ease"?  I might be knitting a gauge swatch next time I cast on a sweater.  (what a concept!)

I filled all the feeders yesterday afternoon and enjoyed the bluejays raucous arrival this morning for the peanuts.  They let everyone know when they're in the area in no uncertain terms.  I was quick and managed to get a photo of one taking a drink.  They're loud and fast.

November 24--Flemish, The Triumph of Fame.  The warm grass was brightened by the nodding flowers grown in clusters over the softly rolling hill.  there wasn't a path so Beth lifted her skirt to her knees and walked to the top of the rise.  She felt the cool kiss of the morning dew on her bare feet and legs, surprised that it hadn't burned off by then.  She heard the bells on the cows in the field below the hill and the birds in the trees.

Once again all set up and no action.  One of these days...  I'll get it, besides that's what editing's for.  I'm thinking I'll shower, dress, and run a couple errands so I can head downstairs and play with fabric on this cold, windy day.  Toodle-oo.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Well, That Was Heavy

Yesterday afternoon DS came over to help me hoist an old portable dishwasher into the house
to see if it still worked.  I hoped it did because then I'd take it to the ReStore.  But it didn't so we put it into the back of Durwood's van and hauled it to the dump, uh excuse me, the transfer station.  (I think that means that you dump your stuff there and then they transfer it to someplace else.)  Anyway, we arrived at 1:55 PM (they close at 2 PM).  The guy was not impressed but he graciously told me where we could toss it at no charge.  We were to put it into the scrap metal
dumpster, the edge of which was about chin-height on me.  Hmm. DS and I got it out of the van and rolled it over.  We picked a spot where we thought we could get it up and over without it catching on a lip of the dumpster.  He grabbed the back, I grabbed the front and we lifted with our legs like good children.  Unfortunately the piece I was holding turned out to be a removable piece so it came off and the dishwasher slid down me, bonking my cheekbone, knocking off (but not breaking) my glasses, giving me a scrape on my chin, and drawing blood as it slid down my thumb.  OUCH.  I didn't cry.  He dug out the first aid kit and bandaged my thumb to contain the bleeding and then we got serious about getting the d***ed thing in there.  No grubby dumpster or broken dishwasher was going to beat us.  We got it.  Good thing he's strong and smart.  I think he did most of the lifting and thinking, I steadied and pushed.  Thanks,
DS, you saved me from really hurting myself.  You're a gem.  Also good at first aid.

I am looking at the next week as an endless vista of opportunity for relaxation and enjoyable crafting.  Hopefully I won't goof off too much and leave myself disappointed in myself next Sunday.  While Durwood sleeps or watches the Packers today I plan to do some writing so that I'll be free of commitment for the week, well, except for needing to make stuff for Thanksgiving and go eat in Shawano on Thursday.  Oh, and we're meeting friends for a burger on Wednesday night, but that'll be relaxing and enjoyable too.  I stayed up til midnight last night finishing that cardigan I've been knitting off and on (mostly off) since June 2009.  Now all that's left is to weave in 3 yarn tails, soak it in a cool bath, and pat it out to dry; those things I can do this afternoon easy, and then my decks will be cleared.

I made turkey chili yesterday afternoon and put it into the crockpot on Low.  Three hours later I realized that I could lift the lid with my bare hand and even after stirring it I could leave my finger in it without getting burned (and I'm not a stoic about hot stuff), but the countertop under it was too hot to leave my hand on.  There was something wrong, don't you think?  So I scooped it out
into a Dutch oven to heat it up on the stove (the turkey was pre-cooked so there was no danger of food poisoning) so we could eat supper before 8 o'clock.  We just made it.  It was pretty good chili, tasty but not too spicy, in fact we both shook more chili powder into it, served with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt (I love the stuff) and some shredded cheddar.  Guess Durwood needs to check the ads in today's paper to see who has crockpots on sale.  I put the old one into the trash already.

November 24--Flemish, The Triumph of Fame.  They were all looking at him as if he had wings.  Their cow-like adoration made me uncomfortable.  He was charming, there was no denying that, but I saw a certain calculation lurking in his eyes and kept my distance.  It wasn't easy because his voice echoing through the small church threatened to pull me in.  I kept a tight hold on my hymnal and kept both feet firmly in place.  I was not going to spring up with a religious shout and glide up to the altar rail like the women around me.  It seemed like men were less susceptible to his charm because only a few of them stood in the crowd at the front of the pulpit where he stood swaying in his own sort of trance.

Allrighty then, I'm off to fill all the birdfeeders and then get to writing.  Stay warm!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Waiting = Knitting

Durwood had a long test and then an appointment with a doctor (good news all around, whew) so I took my sock project along to keep my fingers and mind busy.   I got halfway through the heel flap.  Yay!  I can't say enough how much I'm loving knitting this Chimney sock using the Campfire Socks pattern.  It's easy to memorize and using self-striping yarn makes me keep knitting to see what color comes next.  I should probably go look at my sock yarn to see what else I want to see "what comes next" to line up the next sock project.  You do understand that I only knit one sock, right?  DIL1 got me started wearing mismatched socks 6 or 7 years ago and it's a habit I can't seem to break, in fact, the first pair of socks I knitted with this pattern was indeed a pair and a friend told me I'd made a mistake because the socks matched.  I assured her that I wouldn't be wearing them together so it was okay.

I just reread Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's book Knitting Rules! and it meant a lot more to me this time.  She kind of gives a person permission to knit things the way that makes sense to you, not to stick to the letter of the pattern all the time but to make it work for you.   Somehow that made me feel like I was the boss of my knitting even more than I already did.  Whatever the reason I feel like my knitting attitude just took a leap forward.

The neck edge of the Khaki Cardi's a case in point.  First, I finished the second sleeve at knitting last night.  (Can I get a woohoo?)  I thought I'd slavishly follow the directions but then I thought since I've made a white and black stripe at the hem and cuffs I ought to carry that up to the neck.  So this morning I started picking up neck stitches with the white, not as many as the pattern said (I caught myself counting stitches even though what I was doing looked right) but enough, I knit back, now I'll follow the directions for the tie and neck edge using the black.  It's going to look awesome, I just know it.

Sunny, Breezy, Cold Saturday

It's gorgeous out there but, man, that wind is cold.  I'd hate to be out in the woods looking to shoot a deer today.  I thought about going to the holiday parade downtown this morning but decided I'd rather stay warm.  Durwood and I went to get his van, then I did a couple errands, and after this I'm going to whip up a crockpot of chili for lunches this week I'm off.  All of the people in the county were in Festival Foods this morning careening around in my way and giving me dirty looks when I reached for what I wanted.  People--I'm getting tired of them.  It's probably good I'm off this next week.

The news was all good from yesterday's doctor tests and visit.  Whew.  I'd have hated to have eaten a sub-standard hospital cafeteria lunch and still spent the whole day and gotten bad news on top of it.  Even worse was coming home to a message from an old friend's dad to learn that she succumbed to breast cancer yesterday in Madison.  She's the first of my high school friends to go.  This sucks.  Godspeed, Kathy.

The sun's streaming in the window next to me and I see that I should have washed the windows before it got this cold.  It might warm up a bit or maybe I'll wait for the next cloudy day and just get it over with.  You do know that you're not supposed to wash windows on a sunny day because then they dry too fast and get streaky, right?  One good thing is that the sash windows are the kind that flip down from the top so you can wash inside and outside from the inside.  I don't even know if they make the other kind anymore.  The last time I washed the windows and got out a ladder to do the living room ones a neighbor guy came over to "thank" me because seeing me out there made his wife tell him to do theirs.  He wasn't really angry but it sure was a surprise to open the door to that.

November 23--Georges Seurat, Study for "A Sunday on Le Grande Jatte."  The sun is high in the sky making small circles of shade behind each tree.  The leaves hang still and the water is flat.  Black smoke rises from the factory stack across the river in a narrow column that flattens out when it reaches the upper atmosphere.  George sits in a shade circle trying to focus on his sketch but sweat, one bead at a time, rolls down into his eyes or drops onto his paper.

Now I'm off to make chili, should make the house smell awesome.

Friday, November 22, 2013


Look at what was outside when I opened the curtains this morning.  S.N.O.W.  It's mostly gone now but there it lay, bold as brass.  It didn't stick well on the streets but the grass and leaves sure were white and snow-covered.  I know it's time but I coulda waited.

Durwood's van is still at the mechanic's, not that it's taking too long to fix (dead battery under warranty), but I had to work until after they closed yesterday and today we spent going from one doctor's appointment to another so my car gets to spend a third night in the garage.  I liked not having to brush snow or scrape ice off Beverly and I didn't forget to open the garage door before backing out but it sure feels odd to have her in the garage.  We'll go get his battleship, uh, van tomorrow.

I have been scouring the city looking for Eucalan for washing wool.  I'm nearly done with the Khaki Cardi so I'll want to soak it in wool wash before patting it out on the blocking tiles to dry and there is none to be found in the whole joint.  JoAnn doesn't have it, Michaels doesn't have it, Hancock doesn't have it, Patti's Yarn Shop doesn't have it.  I suppose I could drive to Appleton to get some but that seems like a waste of gas.  I was thinking of ordering some online but for the big bottle the shipping was equal to the cost of the product; I just can't justify that.  I should have looked for it in all those yarn shops I was in on vacation.  Guess I'll go buy some Woolite.

November 22--Canada, British Columbia, Rattle.  Meryl kept her eye on the crow.  It was perched on the deck rail across from where she sat reading.  When it landed a few minutes earlier its feathers made a sound like pages flipping.  She had looked up expecting to see Taylor or Rita step into the deck waving a paperback from the thrift store, instead the beady black eyes of the big bird stared at her.  It was a beautiful creature with its iridescent feathers that flashed blue, then green, then black as it groomed itself.  The crow eyed her as if trying to make up its mind to tell her a secret.  "Shoo," she said flapping her book at it, tired of its stoic scrutiny.  She said it again.  "Shoo."  The bird spread its wings and stretched to its maximum size throwing a shadow over her, making her shiver.

And now it's time to rustle up some leftovers for supper because it's Friday afternoon and almost time for Friday Night Knitting.  I'll finish sleeve #2 tonight, I will.  I just realized that I usually sign off saying I need to go eat.  I need to figure out another excuse, um, reason.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Back to the Drear

It's overcast today, so overcast that the sunrise was nothing more than a paler and paler graying of the light.  Bah.  If I have to get up before the crack of dawn I want dawn to CRACK, I want some drama, a blast of color, not just a pallid ooze into being.

I had customers yesterday.  Paying ones.  Big paying ones.  A guy came in to buy a new mask ($70) and ended up buying two .5mm suits, a snorkel, two pairs of booties, and two pairs of fins along with his mask for a grand total of just over $600--and that was with a volume discount, plus I threw in 2 bottles of defog.  See? I do remember what to do with a customer--upsell.  Actually he pretty much sold himself, I just came up with an answer to comments like, "I was thinking of fins..." and "what about a thinner suit?"  The other guy came in for books & tables to start learning a specialty, and the third came in for an airfill.  Hey, customers all count whether they spend six bucks or six hundred.  One thing I'll miss not working next week is INVENTORY.  Mrs. Boss says they'll do one while they're both there; I say hallelujah, leave me out of it, that way if there's a discrepancy (and there will be, there always is) nobody can blame moi.

I think I might be able to get to the cuff of my second sweater sleeve later today, tomorrow for sure (I'm almost at the end of the khaki now), then all I'll have to do is do the neckline, wash it, block it (pat it into shape while it dries), and I'll have a new cardi.  That's only taken me 4 1/2 years to knit.  I'm great at starting; I need to up my finishing game but I'm working on it.

This is the last day I have to work and then I'll have 10 days off.  No, really, I counted them.  Ten days.  In a row.  (without pay but... *shrugs*)  A lot of relaxation and goofing off can happen in 10 days.  *nods confidently*  Maybe even some sleeping in.  Although I kind of don't like waking up much past 7 o'clock because then it seems like I'm burning daylight.  Speaking of daylight, it's barely making it today, these are some thick clouds.  I'm okay with it as long as there's no *looks around furtively and whispers* snow.  I know the deer hunters want it for tracking (gun season opens Saturday) but I'll pass.

November 21--Man Ray, Jacqueline Goddard.  When the lightning flashed Gwen looked like a photo negative.  Even with the curtains drawn, the flash was so bright it hurt her eyes.  The storm had to be right overhead because the lightning and thunder overlapped.  The sound rattled the silverware in the drawer and made her clap her hands over her ears.  She sat on the second last step of the stairs in the hall with her jeans-clad knees drawn up nearly to her chin.  She had almost rolled into a ball to protect herself from the assault of noise and light.  The rain came, pounding on the roof like fists, and flinging chips of hail at the windows like it was trying to break into the house.

The clock just chimed 8 o'clock, time for breakfast and work going.  Oh, Durwood's van had to be towed in yesterday because it wouldn't start and evidently wasn't the battery so I got to park in the garage when I came home from work.  That was odd, I never get to park in the garage anymore.  Fingers crossed I remember to open the garage door before I back out of the driveway.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Progress On All Fronts

Taking this picture of the Khaki Cardi's sleeve #2 gave me renewed inspiration to keep plugging away at it.  The project's also the only one I have with me here at work.  Progress will commence as soon as I hit "Publish."

I took the Taos Cowl along to knit on in the doctor's office yesterday, got a few rows added.  Still like the colors, still not sure it'll be soft enough to wear comfortably.

While watching TV last night I added a bit onto the Chimney sock.  I really like it.  This may become my go-to sock recipe.

I've got next week off, which comes as a surprise, so I expect more progress in knitting and also a bunch of sewing to get a jump on stealth sewing for that upcoming holiday.  I feel like rubbing my hands while giving a delighted chuckle and mentally going over my fabric stash.  Could be a fun week.

P.S.  Here's the finished linen & flannel lap throw.  See the little red thread tacks?  I like the teeny tiny pops of colorl

What Do You See, Girl?

Porter and I had a shortened walk yesterday because Durwood had a 10:30 doctor's appointment (everything's fine) so I parked by the big "lawn" behind an office building that borders the trail and we walked up and down.  Well, I walked, she raced around sniffing every blade of grass, until we were circling back and she stopped looking down at the little woods all alert.  What was down there?  A single deer grazing.  We were far enough away that while it saw us and paid attention, it didn't just bolt so I was about to use the telephoto lens and snap its picture.  Cool, eh?

I had a bag of veggie peels and apples for the chickens and they loved it.  I'm fascinated by these birds.  I just wish they'd let me pet them, I know their feathers are soft.  I know they are.  But they just won't, no matter how sweetly I talk to them.  

I was this close *holds fingers a molecule apart* to blowing off yoga yesterday because it was dark and chilly but I didn't and I'm glad I didn't.  It's so relaxing and energizing to spend that hour focused on positioning my body and focusing on releasing tension, just working to be a puddle on my mat.  That short time sets me up to have a good week every time, I just let go of all the small annoyances and smooth away tight muscles I didn't even realize were tight.  It's a yin yoga class so we focus on settling into a pose and holding it, not flapping and sweating like a regular exercise class.  You think that you're not doing anything and then the next day your muscles remind you that you did indeed spend an hour and fifteen minutes bending, stretching and flexing.  It's worth every penny and every minute.  Thanks, Mardi, you're the best.

November 20--Louis Comfort Tiffany, Stained Glass Window.  Winnie lay in between the rows of grapevines watching the leaves flutter in the sun.  The grapes were mostly ripe, a deep, rich purple, and their aroma was like wine.  Bees buzzed around, nearly lulling her to sleep.  She had come out into the grapes to get away from Mama and Uncle Leo.  They wanted to her play with her awful cousin, Perry, who lived in town but got sent to the farm for a month.  Winnie thought if Perry was her kid she'd send him away too.  He didn't like to fish or climb trees, didn't like to get dirty at all.  All he did was read books.  He wasn't any fun.

When I went out to top up the birdbath heater I saw the most beautiful sunrise.  I absolutely hate it when my alarm rings and I have to get up in the mostly dark but then I look out at the gorgeous pink and purple sky and I'm glad I'm up.  Mrs. Boss called me yesterday to say that she's giving me all next week off, and Christmas week too.  Without pay, of course, but I'm at the stage in my life where I value time over money (I never thought I'd say anything like that), so I'm good with it.  I think I'll focus on doing some stealth sewing for Christmas.  And here are the garbologists, must be time to get ready for my day.  Toodles.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cold and Moony

That's how it was when I left work yesterday and how it was when I woke up this morning.  I took this picture just after I got into my car in the dive shop parking lot.  I learned that in order to get a decent moon picture I need to brace my arms on something solid, a half-breath-and-hold-it doesn't work.  At least the wind has died down, now I can walk Porter and not get blown off my feet, although I did like the windy walk last week... I liked it a lot, didn't I?  ("alot"-- that's one of my peeves; it's not a word, it's two words, did you know that?  the guy that writes the crossword puzzle in the local paper evidently doesn't because he puts it in at least once a week.  the clue that makes me groan is "extra-wide shoe width", the answer is "EEEE" for when he's got four words ending in E side by side; it's a valid clue and answer but... *shakes head*)

I had customers and phone callers yesterday at work, just like a real store.  I didn't sell anything, like merchandise, I sold classes and gear service, but I had 4 customers and actually took in money, well, charges but I had sales and humans who weren't UPS and the US mail actually in the store.  I still had lots of knitting time but it was something, way better than last week's nothing day after day.  Hopefully it'll keep going.

What's going to happen to the Post Office?  Hardly anyone sends mail anymore, nobody sends letters and most everyone pays their bills online, how will they stay in business?  Magazines?  Junk mail?  There just can't be that many birthday cards on any given day flying around and then if no one sends cards what will happen to Hallmark?  It's a vicious cycle--mail something today!

November 19--Katharina Denzinger, Shoe.  Every time Leah tried to put on those shoes she had to stop to shake them out.  Because the shoes looked like sports cars--headlights, wheels and all--Kevin tucked a G.I. Joe or a Star Wars guy into one and zoomed it away.  Often only one of them was in the closet, the other one having been driven off by its vacu-formed plastic driver to vanquish Nazis or defeat the Empire.  She couldn't get mad about it, in fact she rather liked the idea that her shoe went off on adventures all by itself.

I like that, it's not all tense and adventure-y, but I like the image of a little boy vroom-ing his mom's shoe around the house.  Okay, kiddos, I'm off to dress, eat, feed the chickens, and walk the dog on this chilly, sunny morning.  Seeyabye.

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's Soooo Windy (How Windy Is It?)

It's so windy that the peanuts I put in the birdfeeder yesterday were on the lawn when I got up this morning.  (I put them back and tamped them into the seeds; hopefully they'll stay or at least the bluejays will find them before the squirrels do.)  Man, the wind is just roaring.  I think I'll be bundling up for work.  (d'you think I'll have any customers?  yeah, me neither)

The inaugural concert of the So So Orchestra was a triumph.  The director/organizer/HJZ's cousin's husband (sure is a small world, eh?) lured a few of the musicians from the Youth Symphony to "fill in their sound" but they did okay.  It was so much fun to be a proud parent in the audience again and DS & DIL1 got just as much of a kick out of having their Moms and Dads at their concert again, so much so that they treated us when we stopped for supper afterwards.  Thanks, kids!  (we raised them right)

HJZ invited us to their house for Thanksgiving (in 10 days!!!  did you know it's coming that fast?) and I volunteered us to bring dressing and pumpkin bread pudding with either rum or caramel sauce (or both).  It'll be our first chance to see K&GZ's new little guy.  (ooh, baby)

In the afternoon I went down to the sewing machine and finished the lap throw I started last Sunday.  It's black and white flannel with black linen on the back so I used red thread to tack it together every 6" or so; the red isn't glaring but kind of a little treat of color when you look closely at it.  I like it.  I need to get my fabric and cutting implements out and get all of the "family" gifts cut out this week so I can sew them together and make a move toward that holiday in December that I'm not going to name right now so it doesn't lurch closer when it hears its name, but you know what I mean.  Eesh.  Don't you think it comes around faster and faster every year?

November 18--Etienne Delaune , Armor for Henry II.  Steven had been his friend since the first day of second grade when Hank sat down on Steven's lunch on the bus.  They fought.  Of course they fought about the squashed lunch but they also fought about who could spit farthest and who could slide their math book closest to the front of the bus under the seats.

That was it, actually I finished the last sentence just now.  I was pooped last night but had a good day despite the rain and wind.  I made apple pancakes, finished sewing a blanket, went to a concert, and out to supper--what's not to love?  It's Monday.  It's payday.  Time to eat, shower, and go collect my money.  And try not to get blown to kingdom come in the process--but I bet the wind shaves a couple minutes off my time getting to work, it's a strong tailwind if you're driving east.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

P.S. Oh Darn

I put on my house socks when I got out of bed this morning and thought one felt funny.  I looked at the bottom of my right foot and look at what I saw.  Oh darn.  Now, do I learn how to darn a sock (using the darning egg that Grandpa made and Aunt B gave me last month)?  Or do I knit another sock?  Thinking.

Evidently Project Monogamy's Not My Style

A couple weeks ago I resolved to knit no other project until I'd finished the Khaki Cardi and I managed for nearly 2 weeks, but I fell off the project monogamy wagon last night.  The first chink in my armor came last weekend when I decided that I needed to sew another linen and flannel lap blanket--with fabric I've had for a couple years so I wasn't running out to buy more.  Since it's raining today I plan to go back down into the sewing studio to finish it later.

But then I've been reading Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Knitting Rules and I came to the chapter about knitting socks, but I didn't have a sock OTN.  I spent a few minutes surfing the patterns on Ravelry and my sock yarn stash last week at work (on one of those long days with no cusotmers) and came up with Campfire Socks and a skein of Knit Picks Felici Sport sock yarn in the Chimney colorway.  Last night I dug out the pattern, copied it so I can scribble on it and still have a clean copy for next time, and cast on.  I even made the mature decision to go down a needle size since the yarn's so soft and I'm a pretty loose knitter at times.  I highly recommend the pattern.  I knit it about 3 years ago for the first time and it's a great one, the socks stay up, and they make the most of a variegated yarn, helping the colors not pool.  The Felici's a self-striper and the pattern won't change that but I like the way it looks.
When I was downstairs digging out sock pattern, yarn, and needles I came upon a half-finished helix stripe hat and brought that up too.  Might as well pile on the projects, right?

I pulled out a couple dishcloth patterns too.  Next month's the Bay Lakes Knitting Guild's holiday celebration and we exchange dishcloths.  I always try to make an interesting one and I think I've got one picked out; it looks like a sand dollar, but I won't cast it on until the Khaki Cardi's sleeve is done.  Promise.  (And if any Ravellers are reading this, no idea stealing, not that you would but I feel better now.)

I Beat the Rain...

but just barely yesterday, getting the leaves down to the curb before the giant raindrops started to pound down.  Whew.  Turns out our leaf blower is busted so I had to put the bag on the lawnmower and empty it every other minute but I got a tiny bit smart and laid out a tarp to empty the bag onto so I didn't have to haul it down to the curb and back a bazillion times.  That was the good part.  The bad part was swapping the lawnmower for the snowblower in the front of the garage.  *sigh*  I know it's the middle of November and I live in Green Bay, Wisconsin (they don't call it the "frozen tundra" for nothin') and yet I'm just not ready to give warm weather back so soon.  It rained all last evening and it's raining again right now.  *double sigh*  Good thing I got the leaves, well most of them anyway, down to the curb.

This afternoon DS & DIL1 are playing their first concert with the So-So Symphony this afternoon as the opening act for the Green Bay Youth Symphony.  They're in a group of ex-high school musicians gathered up by a Symphony conductor (I think) fashioned after The Really Terrible Orchestra in Scotland (you need to watch this video).  I can't wait to go to one of my kid's concert again.

November 17--Etienne Delaune, Armor for Henry II, King of France.  Hank looked stiff, like his suit was made of steel instead of wool.  Judith thought he held himself like he was afraid he'd cut himself on his shirt collar if he unbent a bit.  God forbid he should smile.  "They don't bite, you know," she said.  They sat side by side on the vinyl-covered bench outside the banker's office conference room.  His briefcase bulged with proof that they should get the load they needed to open a bookstore.

I've got a hankering for apple pancakes for breakfast, too bad we don't have any sausage.  Time to grate fruit and stir batter.  Au revoir.