Friday, February 28, 2014

I Got Nothing

Nothing worthwhile went on yesterday.  I had two customers, oh wait, one customer (a guy bought a snorkel) because I took a package to be mailed and repaid myself out of petty cash so I was the first customer.  It was bitter cold and windy (no surprise there) and I didn't make much progress on either project in my knitting basket.

Today isn't looking much better.  Except I might get to go see LC this afternoon if Mama's feeling okay and LC's not asleep.  And there's Friday Night Knitting.  But that's it.  Really it.  Cross my heart.

February 28--Gustav Klimt, Textile Sample.  Hair moves like weeds in water.  Delilah stood on the edge of the river and watched the right arm of the body wedged in the rocks float and wave in the current.  The hair floated away from the head and spread across the face.  She could see that the eyes were open.  They looked milky and cloudy.  They looked blind.  Dead.  It was a woman, she was sure of it, not because she knew who it was but the hand was small and pale, not a man's hand.  Delilah's feet felt rooted in place as if waiting for the dead person to rise from the icy water and walk away.  A hand touched her shoulder.  She jumped and shrieked.  "God, Jacob, you scared me to death.  Don't sneak up on me."  Her best friend shook her.  "I didn't sneak.  I called your name, you didn't hear me."  He took a step toward the river.  "Is that a body?  Cool."

Can you believe today's the end of February already?  Yeah, I know, I know, it's the shortest month and this year's not Leap Year, but still... Time = Zoom.  I think I'll go make some pies.  We've invited Daddy & Mama & LC over for Sunday supper (salad, chicken ratatouille, crusty bread) and we need pie.  A lot of pie.  Two kinds of pie.  Besides the all-ready pie crusts are at their death date.  Good excuse, um, reason, don't you think?  Works for me.  I'll be over here pie-ing.  Talk amongst yourselves.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

No LC For Me Yesterday After All

I got the dreaded phone call around noon.  The Nana was free so she was getting a turn to watch LC during band practice.  *sigh*  I have to say that my day got quite a bit grayer just then but I managed to pull myself out of the doldrums and soldier on, not happy, but on.  I'm planning to call Mama today and schedule a visit on my way home from work later or tomorrow or Saturday or Sunday--or maybe ALL of them.  I hesitate to call because I don't want to interrupt a hard-won nap but I need to get over it and just call.  It's only fair that Nana gets a turn, right?  The selfish part of me says "maybe" but I need to be a grownup even when I don't want to.  (don't want to! don't want to! don't want to! [if I wasn't so creaky today I might just fling myself onto the carpet and drum my heels.  not really... but sorta])  In three more Tuesdays I'll have LC all to myself every Tuesday when Mama goes back to work so the LC-drought will be over for good, or at least until she's potty trained and can go to the day care at St. Nubs or until I'm worn out, whichever comes first.  I realized a while back that in reality I want to see the whole little family, Daddy & Mama & LC, when I go.  I also realized that Durwood should cook something and we should invite them over for a meal, we got out of the "family supper" habit sometime last year and never really started up again.  I'll leave Durwood a note; maybe we can arrange something for next week or weekend.  Seems like time for a nice pot of chicken stew.

I did a little knitting at work yesterday but I think I need to redo the Ugly Bunny's face, the X eye and nose are too small, and I got a few rounds added to the March Men's Chemo Hat #1.  I had a couple customers and one of them had made a stop at a "watering hole" to load up on, um, antifreeze.  He didn't seem too impaired so maybe it was just a maintenance dose but, whew, he sure smelled boozy.

Oh, I hear a bluejay.  The peanuts are for the bluejays.  One of the squirrels has learned that it can leap from the ground onto the peanut feeder so Durwood's unlimbered his BB gun to remind the little urban scourge of its manners.  He doesn't hurt them, just pings them in the hinder to scootch them along their way.

February 27--Egypt, Sculptor's Model/Votive, Female Head.  Amy felt like she'd never be able to straighten up again.  She'd been hunched over her square meter of desert floor for hours.  Most of archaeology was drudgery--boring, repetitive work, like sifting and scraping away every square meter at the dig site.  She had found a few beads and pieces of broken pottery in her last patch but in this one all she had found was sand, sand, and more sand.  The day had been especially hot and airless under the sun shade and she was just about to call it a day when she noticed the stone face staring up at her from the bottom of the pit she had dug.

Today the temperature is supposed to drop from a high (just before dawn) of 9 degrees.  We're at -2 already and the wind is blowing a gale.  I live in the North Pole.  Maybe I'll light a fire in the middle of the dive shop, rub two tanks together or something.  Maybe today I will turn on the heater under the desk.  Maybe I'll throw a lap robe in my knitting bag to block the breeze that filters through the uninsulated cement block wall.  You can be sure I won't forget to put in my toe warmer sticky packs; I wish I had hand and back and ear and boob warmer packets too.  Mercy, it's cold, and I used up the hot cocoa mix last night.  Better make more.  Right now.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Below Zero

The auxiliary head weather guy did a little stand-up this morning showing how this winter's got the second highest number of below zero days since they started recording, the fourth highest number of below -10 degrees days, and the sixth highest number of days with at least 10" of snow on the ground.  I knew this was a champion winter; it's been soooo cold and it's soooo cold again today, and it ain't ending anytime soon.  And it's supposed to snow tonight.  Feh.

I got all the laundry washed and dried yesterday.  Yay!  Not folded yet, but I'll haul it all up and Durwood will sort and fold.  Teamwork, that's us.  VJ, the prez of Bay Lakes Knitting Guild, emailed me the other day to ask who's in charge of updating the guild blog.  Well, I'm not sure what happened but as of Monday, I'm back on guild blog duty, so I got the pictures from MW, changed them from billboard size to something usable, and then blogged the last meeting.  You should go look.  (If you're a Guild member, please talk it up to your friends and fellow Guild members, so we can use it as another vehicle to get info to the membership, for instance I'll post the homework for the March meeting on there so people can come prepared next month.  Thanks.)

My friend and yogi, MH, and her sweetheart/lover (what do you call your boyfriend when you're in your 40s? boyfriend seems so high school), DG, (who is a sculptor) have made this art challenge, Beware the Idiots of March, to make a sculpture of a person 8" tall any way you'd like.  I'm in AND I had a brainstorm during yoga last night so I came home hoping I have all I need to make my guy.  I do!  So Durwood helped me get started after supper (four hands are better than two sometimes).  Here's a peek at my raw materials and a bit of wire.  (Lala, I'm thinking of that art exhibit we saw at the John Michael Kohler Art Center last spring.)  If I can pull it off, it should be interesting.  If I can't, it should be interesting for a whole different reason.  (I don't play with frustration very well.)

February 26--Claude Monet, The Four Trees.  The row of trees marched along the riverbank like soldiers on parade.  Someone very precise had planted them using surveyor's tools because the row was so straight if you stood at the end it looked like one tree.  Nan had carved her initials into the bark of the third one in line.  Just her initials, no "plus someone else's" initials, no boy that's for sure.  She didn't have time for boys.  She was too busy doing things to bother with them.  Right now she was making a sculpture of a person using wire and fabric her granny had given her. 

And if you think authors don't put the things they're doing or what's happening around them into their stories, there's your proof.  I've got to figure out something warm to wear to work today since it's supposed to top out just above zero.  Ugh.  But I get to spend my evening with LC again because the band's ramping up for its concert March 9.  You should come.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I Heard Birds!

When I poked my head out to get the paper this morning I heard birds twittering in the early sunshine and bitter cold air.  Maybe they didn't get the memo that it's still deep winter around here or maybe they just don't give a crap that it's so cold outside your neck retracts your head between your shoulders and your nose hairs freeze with every breath.  Whatever the reason, it immediately woke me up and made me think that maybe, just maybe, it'll be warm, green, and birdy around here one of these days.  It's been months since there was a natural sound besides the whistling wind out there.  Snowplows yes, birds no.

All of my customers yesterday clustered themselves at the end of the day.  I had no one except the mail lady and a few phone calls, then just after 5 p.m. T&BD came in, followed by an actual paying customer, then MW dropped off a jump drive with Knitting Guild pictures for me to use to update the guild blog, he didn't stay more than a minute but there was quite a traffic jam there for a beat or two.  The best part of the day was the first phone call just after 10 a.m. which was from a middle-aged guy just back from a trip to Turks & Caicos where he did a resort course to try SCUBA diving for the first time.  Well.  He was so excited about all that he'd seen and experienced he couldn't stop talking; I'll bet he babbled on for twenty or thirty minutes with me just saying things like, "oh wow!" and "how cool!"  (that has to be how Columbus sounded when he called home after bumping into San Salvador in 1492)  He was looking for info on getting certified so that next year he can go diving every day he's there--because they were at Club Med and at Club Med diving's included.  That is why I love my job, that right there, listening to people who have dunked their heads the very first time to discovered the fantastic world underwater and can't stop talking about it.

While I was basking in that guy's enthusiasm the rest of the day (maybe that's why I stayed warm all day) I got to the point where I need to embroider the face onto the Ugly Bunny, then I worked on the brim of March Men's Chemo Hat #1.  I need to add one more round of brim and then it's time to work on the crown.  This is going well.

I didn't write before bed last night.  I was too tired.  Today I need to drop off a tank for service, take my cup o'coins to the bank for counting and turning into folding money, cash my paycheck, do laundry, and go to the grocery (with or without Durwood) for veggies and other stuff.  Whew.  Time to sort and get the dirty clothes flopping around in the washer.  Seeyabye.

Monday, February 24, 2014

I'm A Lump

Well, I was yesterday anyway.  I got dressed only so I could go over to get some lunch takeout at The Blind Ref, a new place over by Lambeau Field in the old Stadium Bakery.  The owner was interviewed in the paper last week and it intrigued us (well, me) so I zoomed over in the bitter cold wind for an Indian (Native American) taco which is nothing more than a regular taco on fry bread (yum!) instead of a shell and a pulled pork sandwich.  We split them, both were good, I liked the taco the best, Durwood liked the pulled pork best.  They've got deep fried hot dogs on their menu (some of them bacon-wrapped); that's what I'll have next time, I'm a big fan of hot dogs.  Big fan.  The rest of the day I sat on the couch under a blanket.  For some reason I just couldn't get warm after my jaunt outside, so I didn't go to feed the chickens or play with Porter or hold the baby.  Like I said, I'm a lump.

It's still bitter cold, clear and sunny (which I love) and cold (which I don't love), and it looks like it isn't changing anytime soon, but then it is February and I do live in NORTHeastern Wisconsin so I should be used to it by now.  The pharmacy tech and I have a pact that we'll remember how cold we've been this winter and not complain about how hot it is come summer.  We'll see how well that works.  I think complaining's in our DNA.

The only knitting I have to show you is my second run at crocheting an Ugly Bunny for Telaine's Girly.  I started it Friday night but got a couple inches in and realized that it was way bigger than I wanted it to be, so I checked my Ravelry project page of the others I made to discover that I made the "charm" size the first time.  Rip rip rip I went while talking to DD last night, then I rolled the yarn back into a ball, and started again making the smaller size.  Much better.

February 24--Maurice Brazil Prendergast, Two Women Sitting in a Park.  The wind blew the leaves across the grass making Jean think of runners in a footrace.  It was warm in the sun but there was the promise of winter on the wind.  It whipped her coat around her and flipped her hair across her face.  She looked for a place to sit but all of the benches were occupied.  She decided to take her chances and sit with the blue-haired lady clutching her carpet bag on her lap with both hands.  As Jean neared the bench she heard the old woman talking.  "You have to stay down there, Mr. Tibbles, you'll be safe if you do."

In two more Mondays DD will drive home to visit for a week.  Eeee, I'm so excited.  She's excited to meet LC and I'm excited to have my darling girl all to myself for a few days.  Well, Durwood will be here too so he'll get some DD time, especially when I'm at work on Wednesday but she's going to be here where I can hug her and squeeze her and call her... my best baby girl.  Because she is the best girl in my world.  Still and always.  Now I have to go get work-ready because it's Monday and it's payday and it's my day to work.  You stay warm, I'll be the one bundled up and frowning because she's cold.  It might be a red boots day, it's for sure a red sweater day.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Damn, It's Cold Again

The temp's about 8 degrees, at least it's above zero, but still.  Brrr, and it's not supposed to warm up again anytime soon.  *&^%$  It's so damned cold that the birdbath glacier is back, but at least the sun came up again and not behind clouds.

After Lala left yesterday afternoon (it was so great having her stop for an hour or so on her way up north) I made a mad dash around the neighborhood for some sale chicken, Cheerios (I had a coupon), and over 50# of birdseed, but I did NOT buy LC some red (or pink) cowgirl boots at Fleet Farm.  I looked at them and even fondled them a little but I did not buy them, didn't even think of buying them.  Hey, they were just under sixty bucks and she's seven weeks old, so she's not getting red cowgirl boots.  (at least not this year)

I started March Men's Chemo hat #1 Friday afternoon.  I started now because I'm knitting it and, as I've said before, I'm a much slower knitter than crocheter.  I'll probably go back to crocheting for the other 2 March hats but I wanted to make a Brangelina hat so I got a running start on the March production.  And last night while I watched the 4-man bobsled heats I finished making up the Red & Gold Xmas Stocking so I finished one (only ONE!!!) WIP during the Olympics.  Sheesh, I was sure I'd get more done in those 16 days but I guess I made too many Feb Men's Chemo hats but since they
counted toward my Ravellenic Games medal count I shouldn't complain.  I guess.  (why is what I accomplish never enough for me?  my parents weren't pushy and demanding, they liked me the way I was/am.  why can't I be the same?  bah.) 

February 23--Franz Peter Bunsen, Kettle Drums.  The sound woke her.  It was like a deep drumming heartbeat.  It vibrated through the walls of the house.  Sheila lay in the dark listening, trying to figure out where it came from.  She almost giggled at the thought that it was the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk coming up the stairs.

That's as far as I got before I zonked off, I know I did because Durwood squeezed my arm to tell me I was sleeping so I put my notebook and glasses aside, turned off the light, and made it official.  We've got a big bag of fruit and veggie peels and tops for Henny, Penny, Kiev, and General Tso in the fridge so I'm thinking I might just go over the DS & DIL1's house to give the chickens their treats, play in the backyard with Porter for a few minutes, and I might visit with LC while I'm there.  If she's awake.  Just maybe.  (maybe, right)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

When The Temps Drop & It's Windy...

... you get diagonal icicles.  I left to go to Friday Night Knitting and these were dangling from the gutters over the driveway.  It was above freezing on Thursday, then the wind kicked up in the evening, and the temperature dropped dramatically on Friday and the melting then refreezing snow turned into folded and slanty icicles.  Cool, huh?  Isn't nature amazing?

What else is amazing is how fast LC changes.  When I watched her on Wednesday she was fussy and still gazing blankly off into space but last night when she came to Knitting Night so Daddy & Mama could go have a beer, she watched me like a hawk and worked hard to smile and coo.  She wasn't very fussy either, she didn't snooze much unless she was in my arms (awww) but she was happy with her pacifier in the monkey sling most of the time.  She can came back, all the knitters said so.

Today the sun is shining but it's still pretty windy.  My friend Lala's driving up to White Lake to visit her Mom and said she'd stop here for a bit of a visit on the way.  I'm really looking forward to it even though it means we have to excavate the piles of table and chair crap so she has a place to sit and put her tea mug.  I'm thawing out the remaining half of broccoli cornbread I made last month (it's been hissing at me to eat it every time I open the freezer) and I carried up a jar of Durwood's homemade tomato soup just in case she hasn't had lunch or wants a little something to keep her from starving to death on her long drive.

February 22--Franz Peter Bunsen, Kettle Drums.  Felix stood at the back of the stage in his rusty old tuxedo, four mallets in his hands, counting measures by tapping his toe.  He had learned to tap silently because Bern the first percussionist didn't like toe tapping.  You might say Bern had an unreasonable prejudice against it.  Franz admired the old kettle drums that belonged to the orchestra.  They were silver, long tarnished nearly black but with such sweet tone, with royal crests emblazoned on the sides and sinuous feet like writhing serpents.  The notes marched toward him, he raised his hands and--pum, pum, pah dah pum--the mallets blurred down to strike the taut calfskin drum heads.  On a count of four he gentled away the sound with a soft touch of his hands and then he want back to tapping out the measures until his next flourish.

There isn't much action there but I like it.  Atmospheric, you might say.  I think I'll go shovel off the table and chair, then zoom to Festival to pick up some of the $1/lb. chicken thighs, a good price that ends today.  Durwood wants some of the Bella mushrooms on sale today too.  Time to flee.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Not Going To Appleton Today

It's too windy and it's supposed to snow a bit... but it's mostly the wind that's keeping us at home.  And all the snow melt that has now frozen into sheets of ice aren't helping, but it's the wind.  The trees are thrashing around, scraping the clouds with their flailing branches and the fringe on the valance of the west window here in the bedroom is fluttering because, of course, that's the window that doesn't close right and I didn't remember last fall so I could put plastic over it.  Huh.  I just went over to see if I could make it close better and discovered that it wasn't shut all the way.  Now, who would have tootsed it open just a smidge on a warmish day, do you suppose?  Yeah, I confess, that'd be me, I like me some "real" air... and the fringes are still.  *head, slap*  Much better now.

It was pretty quiet at work yesterday, I only had a few customers stopping in for tidbits to take on their impending vacations.  (it's kind of hard to be peppy and interested and smiley when they're going and I"m not)  So in between I listened to an audiobook (did I tell you how much I lovelovelove borrowing audiobooks from the library?  and now there're 2 "apps" I can download to the Kindle FOR FREE so I can get books, and not all old ones either), knitted on my Ravellenics "WIPs Dancing" xmas stocking, and got it done.  Well, not DONE done but I finished the stocking and the cuff (good thing I had a circular needle in my notions box because the way the pattern said to make it wouldn't have worked well on a 6" long DPN) so that I could soak it and block it last night.  Once the pieces are dry I can sew them together, et voila!, a Finished Object to go along with the 3 "Charity Curling" Men's Chemo Hats just in time for the closing ceremony on Sunday.  (that last statement has nothing to do with my mother-in-law, she was Viola, but I always say her name in my head when I type "voila")

I stayed up until midnight (for no real good reason except maybe excitement after the men's ski cross [I love the crazy fast way they go down the course and how they're all jumbled together, now that's a RACE] and the ladies' ice skating finals I was kind of hopped up) so my brain felt like it was turned off when I tried to write to the prompt.  Sorry.  Here's an LC picture instead.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

They Named the Coming Ice & Snow Storm After Durwood

He is not amused.  According to Pete on Fox11 we're supposed to get rain/freezing rain about mid-afternoon and then, when everyone gets off work, it's supposed to change to all rain (but the ground's frozen so that means ice) before shifting to snow overnight.  Guess we won't be going to Penzeys and World Market tomorrow to noodle around, buy some spices, and get the winter stink blowed off a bit.  Ah well, maybe we can go next week.  I'd just better be able to go to knitting tomorrow evening, that's all I have to say about that.  Plus Daddy and Mama are planning to drop LC off at knitting for a bit so they can go to a keg-tapping at Hinterland Brewing where their friend is the brewmaster.  I think LC might enjoy being at knitting.

Speaking of LC, Grandma got to babysit last night and it was quite a night.  Mostly LC fussed so mostly Grandma bounced and swooped and shushed.  It was like an exercise class (not that I mind, I can always use the movement).  She had a few intermittent moments of quiet, maybe 5 minutes at a time where she was happy in her vibrating monkey chair but mostly she fussed.  Mama says she's going through a growth spurt, wanting to eat every two hours or more, and I swear she grew an inch since I saw her last Saturday.  It has to hurt and be hard and hungry work to grow that fast, poor little mite.  She seemed happiest when I took her clothes off to change her diaper and change her into her nightgown; I should have left her nekkid or nearly so.  She's funny, she hates hates hates poopy pants, any level of poopy, and one of the times she was fussing I finally got a whiff of the problem.  As soon as I laid her in the bassinet she stopped crying and gave me a look that said, "took you long enough."  One of her quiet times we were looking at her high-contrast bullseye toy and she actually cooed.   She waved her arms and I could see that she was making sounds on purpose, she moved her little mouth and got out a sound or two.  Pretty exciting.  I'd forgotten how every day is a new adventure when they're that size.  Mama and Daddy are such good parents, you can see what a good job they're doing because she's growing so well and is really noticing her world.  In about 4 more weeks I'll get to spend Tuesdays with LC as Mama will be going back to work.  Wow, that time is flying by.  Another big thing I noticed is that Porter is no longer interested when LC cries, she barely raises her head and Mama says that Porter stays in bed for the middle of the night feedings.  I guess dogs can get used to anything.  I'm looking forward to nice weather so I can take Porter and LC for walks.
A fat squirrel leaped onto the suet this morning for a snack.  I don't begrudge them the suet but it drives Durwood crazy.  Keeps him up and down through the day trying to convince them all that suet isn't for them.  Kind of makes me grin just thinking about it.

February 20--Pavel Petrovich Svinin, A Country Residence, Possibly General Moreau's Country House.  Micah hid under the porch.  Rags lay panting in the dirt beside him.  It was cool there in the middle of the day and Sally left him alone because she was afraid of spiders.  Micah never wanted to play school and that's all his big sister ever wanted to play.  He wanted to explore wild places and stalk big game, like Grandad's cows in the pasture down by the stream.

Sorry, guys, that's as far as I got before the Sandman dragged me down into dreamland.  Now I have to go get ready for work.  Shower, brush teeth, dress in layers, blah, blah, blah... oh, but Durwood got blueberry muffins at Festival yesterday, they were on sale.  Suddenly the day looks a little less dull.  Au revoir, mes cheries.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Day or Two of Melting

Before the next storm blows in tomorrow.  The weather guy said maybe 2"-5", maybe 12"-18" depending on how the front slides our way.  Bet you can guess which one I'm hoping for.  It's supposed to get up into the mid-30s today, just like yesterday, and melt away some of the snow.  It was a bit puddly yesterday when I was out and about but I didn't mind.  I wore a fleece jacket and a thermal vest and tennis shoes, not a parka and hat and mittens and boots.  It was like spring.  I noticed that the birdbath is getting short.  The snow on the patio is so deep that the base of it is about 6 inches shorter than it was.  Makes me feel tall when I go out to fill it up.  The sun came screaming up over the horizon blasting its rays across the snow, making promises it won't keep for long but we're all sure glad to see it.  Ahhh, sunlight.

I barely stirred out of the house yesterday because my new (refurbished) Kindle Fire HD (previous generation) came so I had to spend most of the day resetting it to factory settings (I'd have thought that was part of the refurbishment but evidently not) and trying to figure out how to make this one sit up and do tricks.  I found the "how-to" videos and bookmarked them so I can watch them over and over to learn how to use this one.  I need a case to protect it; I should look at Walmart or maybe even Kmart because the ones on Amazon are $50 and that seems a little steep, don't you think?

I got the pillowcases DD made for us installed on the pillows and they sleep just fine.  You know, it's funny, it never occurred to me that you can make pillowcases or sheets for that matter.  *head, slap*  They weren't born in stores, Barbara.  Sheesh.

I signed up for my annual hideout week at The Clearing.  I'm taking a writing class (big surprise) and I'm rooming with the first writing pal I ever had.  Now I just have to wait until the end of September to go.  I can do this.

February 19--Franco Moschino, Ensemble.  He thought he looked so good in his pencil-thin pants and flashy shirt.  People would notice him.  They would admire his style.  Boys would want to be him, women would just want him.  You could see it in his walk, he knew all eyes were on him, he felt them.  Right up to the moment that the pair of bullets traced paths through his brain and chest Nicky thought that this was the best day of his life.

Oh, I love the sunshine.  I want to go out and roll in it.  I want to wash in it and scoop it up, pour it over my head, and drink it from my cupped hands.  I want to hug it and squeeze it and call it George, that's how much I've missed it.  And this sunshine feels like spring sunshine, not that pallid blue sunshine of midwinter, this is the real thing, I just know it.  Tonight I have a date with Miss LC for supper and an evening of music and dancing (Mama and Daddy have band practice so we put on the music channel on cable and dance in the living room, it's like aerobics class with a beautiful baby girl in my arms and Porter to pet, what could be better?).  You're jealous, aren't you?  Well *sticks out tongue* tough, she's mine and you can't have her.  So there.  Enjoy your LC-less day.  I have to get ready for work.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Inches of snow yesterday, added to the nearly 5" we got on Saturday night, you might say we've got snow.  I was feeling kind of sorry for myself sitting at work watching the snow pile up but it turned out to be a good thing.  By the time I left work after 6 o'clock most everyone else who got off work at 5 o'clock was safe at home, off the roads and out of my way, so my drive wasn't too scary at all.  I wasn't looking forward to blowing the snow when I got home but our renter was just finishing clearing our driveway when I pulled up.  I HAVE to bake him some brownies or cookies or something.  I'm the landlady, I figure it's my job to deal with the snowplow drift at the end of the driveway but he's the tenant and only in charge of his half.  I think we made a good choice to rent to them.  The snowdrifts along the driveway are about up to my armpits, that's a lot of snow.

I finished Feb Men's Chemo Hat #3 at work yesterday.  Now I can focus my energy and concentration on finishing the Xmas stocking before Sunday's Olympics Closing Ceremony so I'll have one FO outta here.  I don't know what I think about my knitting speed but there was no way I could finish 5 WIPs in 16 days.  No way.  Oh!  I just had a brainstorm.  I think I'll frog that Southwestern Cowl I don't like and make a pair of fingerless mitts with the yarn.  I love fingerless mitts and wear then quite often and they're a good use of a single skein.

February 18--Roman, Tile Mosaic with Rabbit, Lizard, and Mushroom.  It was spring cleaning time and Layla spent all day on her hands and knees scrubbing the tile floor in the sun room.  She and Mark had lived in the old house for more than a year and this was the first time she had gotten this far.  The house had been vacant for a few years before they bought it so making it habitable was their first priority.  They redid the kitchen and bathrooms and painted every room, but the sun room was a catch-all, whatever they didn't have a good spot for ended up there, as did any wood scraps or house parts.  She had spent the last week sorting and tossing and donating, emptying it to the walls.  It was time to turn the space into something they could use.

Now the sun is out and sparkling on the new snow.  It's very beautiful and supposed to get up near 30 degrees today.  Maybe I'll go pick up Porter and go for a snowshoe.  Maybe I'll lie down and take a nap.  Only time will tell.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Calm Between The Storms

That's what yesterday was, calm and sunny and lovely.  I almost didn't mind having to go out to snowblow and shovel away the nearly 4" of snow that fell Saturday night, and then go out again to snowblow the street because my car was out when the plow went by (because Durwood went to Woodman's all by himself and left me home alone for two whole hours; he was ecstatic to be able to go and I was pretty thrilled about it myself).  I didn't mind going out to fill all the feeders one bit.  I got out my snowshoes and clamped them onto Durwood's big boots that I wear for snow removal, etc. which made climbing the hill much easier.  I noticed that the squirrels make good use of the trails I tromped in the snow too.  The hawk spent a little time on the fence too but my pictures were barely better than Durwood's were from Friday so you're spared them.

When he was at Woodman's Durwood got me a little bouquet of alstromeria.  I know he felt bad that he hadn't been able to go out shopping before Valentine's Day and I tried to tell him that a love note would have been perfect but he whined that he didn't have a nice notecard and I said I didn't care if he wrote something on the back of an envelope; it's the words not the paper.  Anyway, he was happy to be able to finally "Happy Valentine's Day!" me with flowers.  Aren't they pretty?

I worked on Feb Men's Chemo Hat #3 over the weekend.  I got to the very end of the green yarn about 8 stitches from the end of a round, I tried adding in a different yarn but it looked jarring so I just took the other end of the toast/gold colored stuff, finished the round and the rest will be all toast.  It'll be fine.  I really like this pattern made with two colors.

Remember last week I found that pattern tutorial for a bento bag?  Well, I finally went downstairs and made one yesterday.  I love it.  It was easy to make and I think it looks terrific, it's really roomy, and it will be very handy to carry things in.  It's kind of like fabric origami, you cut a rectangle of fabric 3 times wider than it is tall, then narrow hem all four edges, fold it into thirds from side to side (the wide way), carefully seam top and bottom (keeping part free per the directions) and, voila!, a bag appears.  You could quit there but she offers a few finishing touches like topstitching the slanted side seam facings to strengthen the seam and making corners of the points, which I did.  Awesome bag!  I made the medium size and put in 2 yarn cakes and an almost finished sweater front and, look, there's room for more.  This one's made from a scrap of linen, I think I'll make the next one from ticking.  There will be a next one.

While I was down at the machine I sewed all the jelly roll strips (1600 inches total) together so that when DD comes home for a visit next month she and I can spend an afternoon making quilt tops from them.  She said she's got hers all sewed together and now mine are so we're ready to sew.  I love these colors and can't wait to see how they sew up.

February 17--Albert Sands Southworth and Josiah Johnson Hawes, John Quincy Adams.  The old man sat in the walnut chair in front of the fireplace.  The rug under the chair had small burns where sparks from the fire had burned it over the years.  On the table next to him was a stack of books that changed as he read through them and a pad of paper and pen so that he could write down his thoughts.  The old man had lived in the house since he was a boy.  He knew every nook and cranny and each hiding place.  He didn't hear the settling creaks of the house at night, he could barely hear the creak of his own old bones.

Speaking of old bones, I need to get mine up and stirring so I can get off to work marginally on time and with semi-dry hair.  Later, dudes and dudettes.  Oh, and here's a little Monday bonus photo, LC snoozing in the ogre hat I made her.  Way too cute, she brightens up this dreary day, don't you think?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Be Nice

That's my plan.  When I was talking to AJ yesterday I commented that I try to be polite, say "please" and "thank you" and "excuse me" to people.  Quite often it confuses them (I smile and make eye contact too) or makes them stop to remember their manners and respond in kind.  That's the effect I'm looking for.  Maybe if people remember to smile and say please they'll be nicer to each other.  Try it, see what happens, it's kind of amusing.  I'm calling it Guerrilla Civility and I'm hoping it catches on.

Durwood called me the other day to say that the hawk was preening and posing on the fence.  He took a few shots, most of them blurry, but this one's nice and clear.  Evidently the hawk chased a bird into the patio door hoping to stun it for an easy meal.  Didn't work, although I did notice a little gray feather stuck to the glass this morning.  We love seeing the hawk swoop down and scatter the birds.  It doesn't catch one very often.

Saturday morning I went over to DS & DIL2's so he could show me how to install the car seat base in the back seat of my car and teach me how to install and remove the car seat from the base so me and LC can bomb around doing fun stuff when the weather's nicer and she's bigger.  I am so glad to see that they use the colorful Cloud 9 blanket I knitted for them.  DS says it gets fuzzies all over everything (I knew that) but it's so soft and so warm, they love it.  Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy too.  In the last week LC has been gnawing on her fist and today while I was holding her she found her thumb and really started to go to town sucking it.  Of course, soon enough she flailed her arm, popped the thumb out, and had to start all over again finding it.  I want to warn them away from letting her suck her thumb because it's so much easier to take away a pacifier but it's way easier than having to search for a pacifier in the middle of the night with a screaming toddler in a crib.  You pick your battles, and who could deny that face a soothing thumb?  I ask you.

We went to the Club Chalet for our Valentine's supper last night.  Durwood was a willing participant so I didn't have to drag him up the ledge by his beard after all.  (Too bad, I was kind of looking forward to being a bully for once in my life.)  I was bereft to learn that they'd only had the heart-shaped ribeye for two on Wed., Thurs., and Fri. nights.  Dagnabbit.  So Durwood had prime rib and I had a ribeye--for one.  We, of course, had the traditional supper club appetizers of relish tray, trio of spreads (white cheese & chive, cheddar cheese, and liver pate), with a well-filled cracker basket alongside (hidden behind the #11 table sign).  Next came salads (iceberg lettuce on a plate with a shred or two of carrot and red cabbage with 2 slices of cucumber) and a cup of soup.  Durwood had French onion, I declined. (I just can't eat all that and want to save room for my main course)  With my ribeye I had baby reds (so luscious and creamy in their red jackets with a sprinkle of herbs), Durwood had baked.  We declined dessert, and I thought about having an Old Fashioned just to round out the full supper club experience but I'm way out of practice drinking, plus I drove, so maybe next time.  Not a bad evening for forty bucks.

February 15--France, Two Scenes from "Der Busant" (The Buzzard).  Kate sat shivering on top of one of the trunks she had dragged out of the storage unit while a team of policemen and women combed through her things.  Aunt Emilia's things they really were but Kate was the only one left to have them.  The detective, a woman named Merrill, asked Kate questions she couldn't answer.  She didn't know when the tapestry or any of the rest of it had been put there.  "Granny died in October 1991," she told Merrill, "that's when Mama and Aunt Emilia cleaned out and sold the house."  Kate watched a young officer tag all the bags she had sorted through and load them into his van.  "About then's when Papa went out west."  She turned to look at the sky.  "He never came back or called or wrote.  Not once."

Hmm, are you thinking what I'm thinking?  That dessicated hand just might be the missing Papa.  It's probably a good thing that Mama and Aunt Emilia are both pushing up daisies.  (There you go, CB, the end of the story or at least an arrow pointing that way.)

When LC was at work the other day I thought maybe it was time to introduce her to snorkeling but she didn't seem very interested.  Too soon?

Time to go out to clear the 4" of snow that fell last night after we came home from supper before tomorrow's 4-6" arrives.  I have to say I am more than over winter.

Yours in endless snow shoveling,

Saturday, February 15, 2014

One Raisin For TW

While talking to my brother AJ this morning he said he was going to hang up and eat some of the oatmeal his lovely wife K had made and said he thought he'd put in one raisin for TW.  See, TW hates raisins, has always hated raisins, and when Dad made us oatmeal for breakfast when we were kids he'd always put in raisins for AJ and me (we liked 'em, still do) but not TW except sometimes...  TW would holler, "hey, there's a raisin in my oatmeal" and Dad would turn to him and say, "oh, you only found one?"  He'd put one raisin in TW's bowl every once in a while just to mess with him.  It never got old.  So I had oatmeal today too and put in a raisin for TW.

Remember I said that LC was coming to stay with Grandma (that's me) at work yesterday?  Well, she did and we had a fine time.  She pretty much slept in her monkey, bouncy sling, rocky thing the whole time and I pretty much looked at her.  She slept through me filling a dozen tanks and the UPS guy's delivery.  The mail carrier and a couple customers missed her so she'll have to come again so I get to show her off to more people.  (to his credit, the UPS guy did "awww" satisfyingly)  She stayed for about 3 hours and did very well, needed one diaper change, and a couple trips around the store with her nuk plugged in her kisser and nestled in Grandma's arms.  She can come again, I won't mind.  And the power went out for a few seconds, just long enough to reset the burglar alarm to factory settings which I didn't realize until Mama came to get LC and set the thing off.  LC did not cry, just woke up and frowned.  Do you think I could remember how to shut the thing up?  No, of course not but i called Mrs. Boss at the service seminar and punched buttons until it shut up, then I got out the manual and fixed the $#%&^ thing.  Good thing it isn't connected to the police department, eh?

I did finish crocheting Feb Men's Chemo Hat #2 while she slept and added a few rounds on the Red & Gold Xmas Stocking both in the afternoon and at Friday Night Knitting but I didn't take it's picture.  I cast on Hat #3 for the month (I decided earlier this month that I can make 3 chemo hats/month in 2014 for MW to take to the VA) when I got home from knitting but ended up ripping it out and starting over when it turned out that I can't count.

When I left work just after 7 o'clock it was full dark and the moon was playing peek-a-boo with some clouds.  I couldn't not take a picture.

February 15--France, Two Scenes from "Der Busant"  The tapestry lay rolled up at the back of the storage locker.  Kate had spent the whole day clearing out years and years of Aunt Emilia's things.  There had been trunks of old clothes and boxes of letters and clippings.  Kate had heard of too many people throwing away money and other valuables so she spent hours going through every piece.  She emptied a wooden box and put what she called the "keepers" in it.  There were some old coins and a few paper bills, a few stock certificates, a bit of jewelry, and a medal or two but most of what she found was just junk.  She kept some of the wood furniture but consigned the rest to a resale shop.  She was excited to find Granny's treadle sewing machine and Uncle Elmer's ukulele.  All that was left was a locked armoire and the rolled up tapestry.  She dragged the roll toward the doorway of the storage unit and it began to unroll.  A dried up hand, brown and curled like a winter leaf, flopped out the end and grazed her calf.  Kate screamed and screamed until the gate attendant came running to see what the problem was.  He was the one who called the police.

Since it was Valentine's Day I gave LC the hats I'd made for her.  Good thing, they both just fit.  But look, adorable.  Okay, it's about time to think about putting on my nice jeans and maybe some earrings so we can go out to supper in about an hour.  We might be old and we might be camped in the supper club's parking lot when they open the doors at 5 o'clock but we're going, by god, to share a heart-shaped ribeye tonight.  Yes, we are.  I can't wait and neither can Durwood.  Should be fun.  I'll report.