Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring's Trying to Pop Up

It is in the front of the house, anyway, where the southern exposure and brick facade make a narrow micro-climate for the bulbs to poke their noses out about a month before anyone else's.  This morning I glanced down and, lo and behold, there are two crocus buds getting ready to open, and a lot of other leaves poking out.  Yay!  In the back, not so much Spring is happening.  Oh, there's melting going on, yes, and all the seed dropped over the winter and drifts of rabbit poo from the second shift of diners is revealed, but I read on a bird website that the juncos leave when Spring arrives.  There are still a couple juncos here, I saw 'em the other day.  Dang it.

Durwood and I went to Sam's for a long list of things and to Walmart for a special two-pack of charcoal--which they were already out of on the first day of the sale, and since it was a "special purchase" won't get more of or give rainchecks.  We weren't the only people disappointed and grumbling at that moment so the department clerk gave us the sale price on a smaller two-pack, good but not the same, and 10# less charcoal to boot.  I was tired (still got my cold) so Durwood drove over to the other side of Walmart so I could zoom in for baby wipes which I am out of (LC needs a clean popo when she visits) so I had to buy more.

When we got home I took my knitting and went out to sit on the front stoop to knit in the sunshine and warm breeze.  It was lovely, just lovely.  The air smelled so fresh and the sun was warm and a robin was singing in the tree across the street--and I still have a mis-crossed cable in my mitt.  This time I'm going to see if I can't drop it down to the booboo and knit it back up.  The more times I work this the better I understand what I'm doing so maybe I can see where I made the (eleventy-billionth) mistake and then knit back the few rows to where I left off last night.  I've been wanting to get better at cables for a while and I am giving myself plenty of practice.  Whew.

Oh, I forgot to tell you--on Friday I went to get my nails done and went back to my original salon.  I called to make sure they had time to do my nails but did not give my name, drove over, chose a color and waited until a tech was ready, but the new owner beckoned the woman who had entered after me first.  I figured she had an appointment but he came up to me and said, "Barb, you're going to have to leave and not come back because you're too rude."  "Excuse me?" I said.  "Yes," he said, "last time you were here you said you didn't like the new paint color and that's rude and so I don't want you here, Brian doesn't want you here, you're just too rude."  So I have a lifetime ban from Pro Nails on Military Ave. in Green Bay, WI which is painted a particularly bilious shade of radiant orchid, walls and ceiling, unrelieved by any accents or posters or decor items, that kind of looks like throw-up in a 4 year old girl's room (which I did NOT say out loud there, I only said I didn't care for the color once 3 weeks ago).  Since there's a nail salon about every other block on Military Ave. I drove 2 blocks toward home (after I got over the shock) and got my nails done at another one.  I'm happy for Pro Nails that they have so much business that they can send away paying customers.  The economy must be so much better on the planet where they live.  Just thought I'd let you know in case you want to re-think being seen with a rude person like me.

March 31--American or European, Ensemble.  Louise stood at the window looking out at the light show.  The room behind her was dark, the only light came from the sparkling bursts of light over the river.  She had been tempted to go to the concert but then she thought of the size of the crowd and how she would never know if she was being followed.  It was safer here on the forty-seventh floor with the doorman and the desk staff between her and his eyes.

Not sunny today but still in the 50s, maybe with rain coming later and cooler temps the rest of the week.  It makes me feel that Spring is a possibility having these few warmer days.  Maybe I won't put toe warmers in my shoes today.  Off to shower, eat, and go to see who's going someplace warm to dive this week.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

What Did I Buy at the Quilt Show?

A skein of yarn, of course.  I met a friend, actually friend after friend, at the Evergreen Quilt Show.  We walked around looking at all the fabric and patterns and samples; it was mind boggling.  There was one booth, ONE, of yarn-y things and she had a bin of big skeins of wool she had dyed herself for $20.  It's not fine wool for wearing next to your skin but it'll be great for felting or slippers, and it's a lot, 400 yards I think she said.

The head cold I caught from LC kind of laid me low the rest of the day but I did manage to rip out my Design-A-Thon mitt and reknit it back about halfway.  

March 30--Cypriot, Limestone Sarcophagus, the Amathus Sarcophagus.  Susan sat cross-legged on the dusty floor of the tomb, her drawing pad on her knees.  She had been there for almost three hours and her back and arms were sore.  Dr. Lawson had taken a chance hiring her to be the expedition artist and she wanted to prove he made the right decision.  She stretched her arms overhead and splayed out her fingers, then she rolled her shoulders groaning as the tight muscles relaxed.  Leaning back on her hands she uncrossed her legs, hearing tiny creaks as she stretched them.  It felt so good to move but she turned back to her work.  Maybe if she finished before lunch she could work outside in the afternoon.  She adjusted the lightstand so that the chariots stood out in  greater relief and that's when she noticed the puddle under the sarcophagus.  The occupant had been dead since the fifth century B.C., there shouldn't have been anything left in there to drip.

Now Durwood and I are off to Sam's and then I'll be spending the rest of this gorgeous day seeing if I can't finish the first one WITHOUT ANY BOOBOOS.  Not that I care really.  Maybe I'll drag myself and my knitting out to sit on the front stoop in the sunshine.  That'd be good for me and my head cold.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Melting, Melting

There's grass under there, and it's kinda greenish too, at least it has green potential... or is that green memory?  It's been warmish and the sun has shone.  The March sun is a warm sun and even when the temps are in the 20s melt water is running in the gutters and trickling down the retaining wall timbers out back.  *whew*  I was kind of afraid there for a time that we'd be snowed and iced in for a month yet.  I had to salt the patio last night because the compressed snow I've been walking on all winter has turned into ice.  (that's the way glaciers are made, you know)

See this morning's cloudy sky?  That's the way my head feels today and my ears feel like there's cotton stuffed into them.  That LC, she packs a powerful punch.  I'm pounding down zinc and drinking lots of water, plus a nasal spray to keep my sinuses from exploding out the front of my face.  (you understand that I've actually got a standard head cold but I love to exaggerate so of course my blog-cold is the "Martian Death Cold," it really isn't, but I like to pretend I'm a drama queen, just pretend)

I took a good look at my cabled mitt yesterday only to discover that I have 3 mis-twists and need to go back to the beginning--AGAIN.  But at least I'm getting faster at this and I think if I don't have any distractions and can knit for a longer stretch (darned pesky customers) I can do this.  I can do it!

I finished March Men's Chemo Hat #3 at Friday Night Knitting last night.  I really like it and like the way it fits.  I think I've found another go-to beanie pattern.  Yay.

March 29--Eugene Durieu--Seated Female Nude.  The sunlight streaming in the studio window carressed Katy's back like a warm hand.  This was the first time she had posed in the nude and she thought she was probably going to throw up from nervousness.  The photographer treated her like a collection of light and shadow so she felt less naked when he looked at her.  The way he had her sitting with her back to the camera felt all right too. He draped the chair with an old dropcloth and looped it over her lap so only her back was exposed to the camera.  She heard the downstairs door open and a tendril of cold worked its way up to twine around her feet.  Slow footfalls on the steps meant someone was coming and she wanted to pull the cloth up to cover herself.  "Don't move," the photographer said, "you're tense, it shows."  She tried to relax back but the studio door opened a crack, the black barrel of a gun filled the space, and two shots rent the dusty quiet in the room.

It's a bright sunny day with a little gusty wind and I think it's supposed to get into the 40s later. The 40s!  I can't believe it but I'm sure going to be out there to greet it.  Later, dudes and dudettes.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The End of Another Week

Don't you think that Friday should be the end of the week?  And Monday should be the start of the week?  And Saturday & Sunday should be days out of the week?  Days when you don't have to do anything?  Days that are free?  When I'm in charge, that will be the case.  I could deal with things being closed on Sunday so that people were forced to relax or visit Grandma and Aunt Cele and have fried chicken and biscuits with too many people crammed around the table in a kitchen, all ages all together with sixteen conversations going on all at once.

I miss that slower time.  Maybe the grownups felt frazzled the way I do now sometimes by the pace of life but I was a kid when the times I'm remembering happened so what did I know.  I got to either squeeze between Mama and Daddy with my back to the window or claim a corner of the Formica and aluminum table rubbing elbows with Uncle Len and some random cousin.  Sometimes I got to sit between Grandma and Aunt Cele but that was mostly when I was there for a sleepover because in a crowd the smallest kid got to sit there.  I think my favorite meals out at the farm were when Grandma didn't have enough for everyone to have the same thing so the table was jammed with little plates and bowls.  There'd be three pork chops, a few slices of beef of some sort, and half a chicken with some kind stew in a bowl and Mama claimed half of the fried okra, I'd pass on the creamed spinach (ugh, looked like rags in dirty dish water to me) but load up on succotash (lima beans and corn), plus mashed potatoes (if Grandma remembered to bring the pot to the table, she often forgot).  If you were still hungry after all that was gone you could fill up on jelly bread--that's homemade honey-whole wheat bread made with bacon grease instead of shortening slathered with a thick layer of some kind of homemade preserves.  I liked Grandma's rhubarb pineapple preserves or "seed" bread which was made with some kind of plums that she didn't pit because they were too stubborn to remove so you just had pits to spit out.  Grandpa had beehives so the honey was manufactured just off the path along the pasture behind the garden.  Because there was a black walnut tree right there the honey was a deep brown, almost black color and oh mercy was it good.

Then there was dessert, usually pie, two kinds, and you could often wheedle a taste of each onto your plate.  Grandpa always had an orange and three prunes after supper--before dessert and coffee.  In the summer when lots of uncles were around, the old hand-crank ice cream freezer would be in the basement set in a washtub filled with salted ice that was covered in two burlap sacks and the men would stand around smoking and cranking and talking about work.  None of us were patient enough to wait for it to firm up so you had to eat it fast before it melted.  Grandpa always got the dasher to clean off; that's the paddle thing in the middle like the beaters of the mixer.  (Aunt B, do you remember the peach ice cream that Dad made at our house late one night after you and Mama canned the almost-rotten peaches he brought home?  That was the best ice cream I've ever had.)

I don't know how I got off on this tangent but it's been fun strolling down memory lane.  Moving on.

March 28--Pavel Janak, Coffee Pot.  The sun glittered on the swath of broken crockery and spilled coffee.  Deb stood half bent, her hands like claws as if she could rewind the last minute.  Her lips were pressed into a tight line and all the color had drained from her face.  It had happened to fast, her fingers touched the side of the hot ceramic pot and in an instant her grip loosened just enough for the pot to plummet to the floor.  She couldn't believe she hadn't been scalded by the just-brewed coffee or cut by flying chips of earthenware.  It took her an hour to clean up the mess and she wept over breaking Babe's favorite pot.  The black and white Art Deco piece had stood on the shelf over the stove as far back as she could remember.

I need to get my nails done today and I think Durwood and I are going to Sam's later.  Maybe the sun will shine.  Maybe.  Fingers crossed.  Look!  Daffodils!


Thursday, March 27, 2014

I Lied

I thought I was master of the cables on Monday, yesterday I didn't have much time to knit at work but I managed to screw it up and have to tink (k-n-i-t backwards) a cable round--twice, and then either screwed it up or discovered a screw up after supper, so the yarn is back in the ball, the beads of the abacus bracelet row counter (which I love) are back in "start" position, and the needles are poised to start again.  Time is ticking away.  April 10 is the deadline.  I need to sit myself down with no distractions and make these things.  I need a goal:  my goal is to have one mitt done by the end of the weekend.  Focus, Barbara, quit dabbling and focus.

D'you know what happens when you smooch and snuggle a baby with the sniffles?  That's right (give that man a cigar), you get the sniffles too.  My head feels like it's filling up with snot (isn't that a lovely word? it's perfect for what it represents), my ears feel a little tetchy, and my throat feels like a little guy in cleats is tromping around behind my sinuses.  I got out the Zicam and honey lemon drops, and I'm complaining about it so I should be better in, oh, about a week.  Bah.

I don't remember if I showed you the little stack of hankies I bought at the thrift shop in Sister Bay last Friday.  One is all pretty and embroidered, one is linen with a tiny lace edging, and six are hemmed linen with a little cutwork design in one corner.  It isn't precision work, by any means, it looks like someone trying to learn how, but I like the size of them, I like that they're linen (I'm a big fan), and I like that they'll soften with use.  All six for fifty cents (they were marked $1 but green tagged items [all my items were green tagged] were half price last Friday--woohoo!)  Sometimes you hit the jackpot.

We woke up to a dusting of snow today.  "A dusting" is March-speak for "it snowed again, dammit."  They say it may rain today.  *flings hands up*  I... I... I'm not shoveling it, that's for sure; it's on its own.  Anyway, it's supposed to be sunny and warmer over the weekend.  It'll melt.

March 27--Christian Frederich Zincke, Portrait of a Young Man.  "Do you want this?" Jay held out a small framed painting.  His sister Kay pushed her glasses up on her nose, leaving a smudge of dirt there.  "What is it?  Better yet, who is it?  A relative?  Is it marked?"  He cocked his head, his eyes intent, with a small furrow between his brows.  "Maybe, maybe not.  Could be a relative, could be something one of the family magpies picked up.  You know how Mom and Grandmom were, they couldn't pass up something shiny.  This is shiny, even his lips are shiny."  He squinted at the tiny thing in the dim attic light.  "This is a guy, right?" he asked.

And then the sniffles slammed my eyes shut and rolled me into sleep.  The end.  Time to dress, eat, and go to work.  Yesterday I sold a bunch, maybe today will be even better.  Or I'll knit a mitt and not screw up.  Either way today will be a win.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cables are Easier the Second Time Around

That was my knitting lesson for Monday.  I faced up to the fact that my first run at my BLKG Design-A-Thon pattern was a swatch, frogged it (ribbit!), and started again.  I doubled the ribbed cuff rows (that's made a big difference) and I noticed that my cable knitting speed really picked up.  The pattern writing's making more sense too.  Who knew?  (people who've done it before, that's who, pay attention, Barbara)

On Sunday night I finished the brown section of March Men's Chemo Hat #3 and attached the black.  I keep trying it on so that I don't stop too soon; I think I'm okay now.  I'm going to save this to work on at Friday Night Knitting because it's mindless and I for sure don't want to screw up a cable cross when I'm flapping my gums and not paying close enough attention.

When I went out to get the newspaper this morning (the carrier had hit the steps, not the porch) I saw the crescent moon peeking out from the bare branches of the maple tree.  So pretty, so c-c-c-cold.

March 26--Egypt, Relief Plaque with Ram's Head from a God's Figure.  Laine woke up to a crunching, tearing sound next to her.  She was cold and wet, and there was that sound.  She had to consciously force one of her eyes open.  It felt glued shut but she raised her eyebrow and it finally opened a slit.  There was a great big ram grazing right next to her head.  She cried out and the animal snorted at her and then turned its back on her.  There were sheep all around her.  She rolled on her side.  The movement made her head pound and little lights flash behind her eyes.  She pushed herself up to a sitting position and saw that her hands and arms were all scraped and bloody.  She looked around for a clue as to how she had gotten there and how she had hurt herself but all she saw were sheep.

It's another cold clear day here in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin.  Time to gird my loins then go out and keep the world safe from SCUBA diving.  Adios, muchachas.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I Woke Up to an Inch of Fresh Snow

GAH!  I know it's just barely the end of March but, you guys, we're about 26 inches ahead of average snowfall and I really don't want to see any more.  It's supposed to get into the single digits tonight too.  I just (re)learned that it's too cold to take the trash out without a coat on.  I'm evidently a slow learner or something.

March 25--Jackson Pollock, Pasiphae.  "I feel like if I could stand on my head I could understand this painting," Hank said.  He tipped his head to the left and then to the right, a frown creasing his brow.  "Maybe it's hung upside down," said Walter.  "I'll find an art guy, what do you call it, a curator to see if he'll flip it for you."  He wandered off into the gloom of the vast gallery.  Hank watched him go and wondered if he'd ever see his friend again.  This place was too damned big for a couple of old guys to wander around in.

Sorry this is so short and so late but today started early and didn't spit me out until after 7 o'clock.  I'm off.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Back Home, Back in the Groove, Back to the Grind

I squeezed every minute of "away" that I could out of yesterday, not leaving the motel until 1 PM, and then taking the long way home down the bay side of the Door peninsula.  I even stopped in Ephraim and Fish Creek to take some frozen bay pictures and in Fish Creek I noticed that Beach People was open so I stopped in to do a little browsing and a littler bit of shopping.  I got home around 3 o'clock and there was Durwood's smiling face waiting to listen patiently to my prattle.  When I unpacked I realized that I left my surge protector with all my chargers plugged into it in the room.  Grrr.  I called TCK (she works there a few evenings a week) and she'll bring it along when she comes to GB a week from tomorrow.  But grrrr, really.  I can't believe I missed seeing that snarl of wires when I did my last sweep to check for anything left behind.

It's cold.  It was 12 degrees when I went out to top up the birdbath.  Durwood said that it's supposed to snow an inch or two this afternoon too.  Good lord, what have we done to pi$$ off the weather gods?  Anybody planning a ceremony to retire Winter and usher in Spring?  Call me, I can bring a dish to pass and a few folding chairs.  There's hope though, when I crossed the Leo Frigo Bridge over the mouth of the Fox River and the bay of Green Bay yesterday I saw open water.  Open water!  Really, and not just a crack either... Open, Unfrozen, Water.  Whew.

Filippo Pelagio Palagi, Gabrielle Capello and Carlo Chivasse, Sofa.  Arlene thought it was too quiet so she went looking for the kids.  They weren't in the playroom, that would be too logical.  Not in the conservatory playing hide and seek among the potted plants or swimming naked in the fountain.  They weren't in the kitchen bothering Cook or in the library making forts with Grandfather's books.  She was sure they weren't upstairs in the schoolroom doing their homework.  If they had been, she would be certain they were all sick.  She had that cold feeling of dread in the pit of her stomach; not being able to find them meant they were getting into something they shouldn't.  She checked in the barn to see if there was a litter of kittens keeping them occupied but Jack the stableboy said he hadn't seen them.  Her heart froze when she glanced into the parlor and there they were, coloring in the white spaces on the Italian silk brocade sofa with markers.

I'm debating about wearing longies to work today.  Maybe just wool socks and foot warmers with a couple shirts/sweaters and a shawl.  It is getting up into the 20s, after all.  No need to go full-on winter.  Fingers crossed.  It's Monday!  It's payday!  Yay!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Machine Quilter

That's a new thing I can do, machine quilting.  I met TCK and her husband at the resale shop
yesterday morning where a few goodies were found (some cut-work linen hankies for fifty cents, a silk plaid skirt to use as bag linings, and something for the When Art Attacks art challenge, eee!), she and I found some lunch (yum, bacon cheeseburger), then we hauled our sewing machines up to the conference room here and set up.  TCK teaches quilting at TC so I knew she could teach me how to quilt the Blocks of Chaos quilt on my machine.  Yay!  She helped me smooth it out and repin it a block at a time so there are no wrinkles or puckers on the back.  Over the next few hours I managed to stitch-in-the-ditch around all six of the blocks.  I took advantage of TCK's expertise as to how to quilt inside the blocks and in the sashing and border (I'm considering using variegated thread on the black) so I'm feeling pretty darned good about the quilting part.  Next I have to think about binding the thing.

I took advantage of the Jacuzzi tub in the evening.  It was lovely.  Blessedly there are no photos.  I didn't write the prompt last night, I was tired and not in the mood.  I called and got a late checkout so I can take my time loading up and driving back home to rejoin the real world.  Later.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Out of Town

Here I am ensconced in my little suite (suite! they gave me a 2 bdrm suite!) gazing out the patio doors to the piney, snowy woods.  I didn't realize that High Point Inn in Ephraim is like the Landmark Resort in Egg Harbor, little condo-y suite-like accommodations with a kitchenette, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths (the king room has a Jacuzzi tub), a little eating area, a living room area, and a fireplace.  I have a fireplace, people.  It's gas and on a timer but flickering flames appear when I turn the dial; it's a fireplace.  High Point doesn't have a bar and restaurant like the Landmark does but it doesn't really matter.  I sat here last night with my knitting and a throw over my legs, the fireplace on, a little glass of wine--oh man, it was lovely.  Quiet.  Peaceful.  Ahhh.

On my way through Sturgeon Bay I had to stop at Spin to see what was in their "reduced for quick sale" baskets and look what I found.  Three skeins of wool and acrylic Gedifra Riana Big yarn.  Don't you love the colors?  I'd have bought 2 of the kiwi color if they'd had it, but the only other colors were an oatmeal which I almost got one of until I noticed a faint pink tinge to part of it (I'm not a pink fan) and an orange-y gold which I might have bought one of if it hadn't looked so Packer-y.  I'm not much of a Packer fan so I didn't want my knitwear to give the wrong impression.  (I just discovered that the yarn's discontinued.  OF course it is.  Watch, I'll fall in love with it and be unable to get more. Again. Tsk.)

Today TCK and I are meeting at the resale shop around 10:30 (I'm looking for supplies for the next art challenge, When Art Attacks, which is due on April 15, tax day [MH likes puns] I have an idea), then we'll grab some lunch, and spend the afternoon sewing.  It's going to be grand.  I've got some cheese and fruit (clementines, teehee) and bread so I won't even need to go out for supper, I can just put on my sweats, turn on the fireplace, and relax.  Although I might have to do a few laps in that Jacuzzi tub after a long afternoon of bending over a sewing machine...

March 22--Francois Boucher, The Toilet of Venus.  Vera was having a crazy dream.  There were three toddlers tugging on her--one fiddling with her hair, the second one pulling feathers out of a dove she held, and the third one tangling necklaces in the jewelry box at her feet.  In her dream she struggled to settle them down and get rid of the bird, she really didn't like birds.  She couldn't figure out where she was.  It wasn't anywhere she recognized and it wasn't one of her usual dream locations either.

Uninspired but serviceable.  I give it a seven, it has an okay beat but I can dance to it.  (What's that from?)  Time to relax more.  Teehee.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Peeks of Spring

After whining on yesterday's blog post about how it isn't Spring here I feel compelled to show you what I saw in front of the house when I went out to go to work yesterday.  Sprouts.  Daffodil and crocus sprouts poking their tiny noses above the barely thawed ground to help me drag myself through the end of the winter.  Thank. God.  I feel so much better now.  Some of those daffodils are the same ones I planted when we built this house in 1978 right before DS was born.  Daffodils are forever, evidently.

I got my sewing machine packed up and all of the sewing doodads I think I might need put in a bag with the quilt sandwich, then I carried it all up to pile by the door.  As soon as I hit "publish" on this I'll be doing a bit of packing, take a shower, and then drive off to meet an old high school chum for lunch prior to zooming away up the Door peninsula for a couple nights of R&R.  Just me.  There's plenty of food here for Durwood and he's perfectly able to go fetch more if he needs it (it isn't supposed to be too cold) so I'm outta here.  I think I'm going to sneak into a food store and buy a bag of clementines to take along.  It's clementine season but the price hasn't dropped much and Mr. Careful-With-Money frowns when I lay hands on a bag of them in the store.  I want some so I'm going to get me some.  I've got my allowance and I can spend it however I want to and if I want expensive citrus fruits I'm getting them.  So there.  And I'm not getting them at Aldi either, I'm going to a real store for 'em.

There was a nice, fat, fluffy squirrel having suet for breakfast this morning.  Can you imagine hanging onto a wire grid and eating fat and cracked corn in the freezing cold?  Yeah, me neither but it sure looks like it's enjoying it, plus look at the melting going out out there.  Woohoo!

March 21--India, Coat of Mail and Plate.  Jeremiah Morgan wore that sweater like it was armor instead of gray wool and leather.  His gram had made it for him to wear in his freshman year and it still fit him three years later.  Jeremiah was small and awkward which made him the butt of most of the pranks.  School hallways were torture.  Some days he felt like a pinball ricocheting off the metal lockers.  Good thing he was fast, he could dodge and weave, avoiding a lot of the shoves and feet thrust out to trip him.  He was in his chain mail sweater with his books tucked under his arm when Travis Kapla slowed down as he passed to say, "Nice moves, Morgan." After that everyone who heard it treated him with a bit more respect.

A-a-a-a-and now I'm going to go pack.  Seeyabye.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

It's the First Day of Spring--Somewhere

Surely not here.  Oh, the calendar says "First Day of Spring" right there at the bottom of the day box, bold as brass, but outside it sure doesn't look spring-y.  It didn't really snow again, although it tried (tiny flakes were blowing on the wind just before dark), the streets are bare again, but the overcast is nearly total and I don't hold out a lot of hope for a sunny day.  Although one of the weather guessers did say last night that today should be sunny.  I don't know, it doesn't look promising, and we're going to a funeral of one of the dive guys today.  *sigh*

He's been ill for a long time but you always like to hope that a miracle will happen and our old pal DC will come bopping into the store ready to teach another person how to scuba dive and to spread around a little of his boundless enthusiasm for infecting one more diver with the passion he savored.  He loved to teach diving, loved seeing the light dawn when his student got it, and be just as eager to get wet as he always was.  He was also a Marine who served two or three tours in Vietnam, and had the scars and medals to prove it.  My heart hurts today and the world lost one of its heroes.  Semper fi, Dave, you were one of the great ones.

On a cheerier note, I've got a reservation for a two-night stay at a motel in Door County this weekend.  I'll be packing my sewing machine and that Blocks of Chaos quilt sandwich I made not too long ago so that my pal, TCK, can help me fix it and then start sewing it together.  I have come to realize that quilting is a bit more challenging to fudge than sewing a tote is.  I need help, and I need a little time away.  It's been a loooong dreary winter and I need a little change of scenery for my mental health.  TKC is a quilter and even teaches quilting so if I can absorb a bit of her expertise for the price of lunch on Saturday I'm all for it.  She's a knitter too, and she showed me an excellent thrift store up there.  Teehee, sewing, knitting, AND shopping for bargains... it's going to be a great weekend.  Or I'll flop backwards onto the bed when I get there tomorrow and just zone out for a couple days.  Nah, I won't do that, I'm no good at holding still, not DOING something, I can't just loll around for two straight days.  Ask Durwood.

I've been working not very steadily on my design for the knitting guild's design competition and now it's time to bear down.  I have lots of notes.  I think I'm going to like it though.

March 20--Henri-Edmond Cross, Pines Along the Shore.  The cool fresh breeze came up from the lake bringing the soft scent of pine.  Celia slowed her steps to enjoy the springy pine needle path and the sighing of the trees as they moved with the wind.  There wasn't enough wind to make big waves so she couldn't hear the water moving against the shore.  Her steps were so quiet that the birds didn't stop singing as she passed.  Mark was waiting for her.  He had gone down to fish off the shore before sunup this mor...

And that's where my pencil wandered off because I fell so fast asleep I didn't have time to put it away.  I jerked awake a few minutes later and fumbled the notebook, etc. onto the nightstand and turned out the light.  I have to pick something less jeans-like to wear today.  *sigh*  Funerals suck.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

It Snowed

Hey, I'm as surprised as you are.  I thought it was supposed to rain but, NO, it had to snow.  Of course it did.  It's been in "snow mode" since I can't remember when so why stop now.  Why shift all that celestial machinery over to squirting water at us when it can route it through a freezer and send down something that doesn't just drain away but lays there like a toddler having a tantrum until we shovel it out of our way?  Yeah, keep on annoying the puny humans.  Where're they gonna go?  Yesterday when I got the paper the full moon was peeking at me thorough the bare maple tree.  See?  The street is bare, not so in today's photo.  Tsk.

In the spirit of self-congratulation, I have to show you the letter I got the other day.  The Clearing Folk School sent out a call for arts and crafts and writings about their Council Rings, which are a special feature developed by the founder, Jens Jensen, so I unearthed a couple poems I'd written about the Dance Ring, polished them up, and sent them along.  They both got accepted.  You could have knocked me over with a feather.  So, if you're up in Door County go up to Ellison Bay, turn left on Garrett Bay Road and turn in at the Jensen Center entrance (it's the second one).  In the big room to the right of the entry will be a year-long display of the accepted art, etc. and my little poems will be there too.  Last time they did a "The Clearing Speaks" exhibit you could buy a ticket to try to win your favorite piece, not the writings, although they compiled them into a book that is for sale in their bookstore, but the art and carvings and weavings and all that other cool stuff.  Go look.

March 19--Union Porcelain Works, Liberty Cup and Saucer.  Gaye was uncomfortable.  The teacup and saucer Mrs. Welton handed her was paper thin, rimmed with gold, and the handle, well, the handle was like a ship's figurehead.  There was no room to slip a finger in it so that she had a good grip on the thing.  She could only pinch it between her thumb and fingers and with the way her hands shook she was afraid she'd drop the delicate things and break them.  When she and Charlie had moved to Baylor she planned to get a job in an insurance office or something like that but the newspaper editor had offered her a job when she stopped in for a copy of the Gazette to look at the want ads.  "But I've never written more than an essay in school," she told him, "I'm a typist."  He waved away her protest. "All I need is someone to go to a few club meetings and events around town and take notes.  Someone here will take them and turn them into articles."  She had agreed to try.  He had lied, there was no one to write up her notes, she had to just plunge in and do it.

Time for breakfast and showering and going to work-ing.  I'm on it.  Later, dudes and dudettes.

Monday, March 17, 2014

There Are No Pictures...

of anything yesterday.  No one wants to see pictures of me doing five loads of laundry, do they?  No, they do not.  I couldn't take a picture of me winding a skein of yarn into a ball and Durwood couldn't take one either because his hands were busy holding the skein while mine were busy cranking the ball winder.  Pictures of him snoozing in his new chair and me zoned out in front of a computer game are not extant either. 

Oh, wait, I have knitting pictures so this post won't be blank.  *whew*

Someone at BLKG told me about a different sock heel pattern to try, one that's easier than a flap-and-gusset heel, easier even than a short-row heel (which is nothing more than a toe in a different spot), so, since I was at the heel of the Fiddlehead sock OTN, I printed out the directions for the Strong Heel (not strength-strong, it's the name of the designer) and got started.  I have to say it's very easy.  I'm assuming you could do your favorite increase where it says to "make 1" as long as you end up with the correct number by the end.  I'll report.

I worked on March Men's Chemo Hat #3 at Friday Night Knitting.  I really like the browns together, I plan to make the dark brown stripe half the diameter of the whole toast brown section, then I'll just crochet with black until it's as long as I want it to be.  I like it, but it's slower going than the other crochet pattern.  Maybe I'll get faster by the fall. 

Look at the cool baby puzzles I found at Goodwill the other day.  They're made out of real wood with nice bright pieces and they were three bucks each.  Three dollars, plus the zookeeper on one is a girl.  (girls can do anything! say it with me)  I feel good about finding things at Goodwill, things that I can wash or launder or are new like these but I'm not in favor of things like stuffed animals from there, those things can't be tossed in hot water and washed.  I saw the condition of my babies' stuffies when they were done with them (think snot and tears and drool plus leaky diaper, EW), they were only good for the trash even if they looked like they still had a few snuggles left in them.

March 17--Gustav Courbet, Jo, La Belle Irlandaise.  Mara stood looking down at the body sprawled on the marble floor of the apartment building lobby.  The super had stumbled over her when he went out to bring in the newspapers.  At first he thought she was a bum who had gotten in to sleep out of the rain but when she didn't wake up... well, he knew it would be a long morning.  Mara was still half comatose and sipping her first cup of coffee when the call came in.  She had hoped people thought she was detecting something standing there looking down at the dead girl when in reality she was working to keep her eyes open.  The deceased had her hand tangled in her long curly hair, a white slash in a sea of red, like it had gotten caught as she fought off her attacker.

Hey, Happy St. Patrick's Day!  Are you Irish?  Aren't we all today?  I have a celery green sweater I'll wear to work today but I'm too German for anyone to mistake me for a leprecaun.  Go eat a bit of corned beef and cabbage, and maybe some Irish soda bread.  DS made some for our supper on Saturday but was out of currants or raisins so he put in dried cherries.  It was delicious, I highly recommend being out of raisins and plan to be out of them myself the next time I make soda bread.  Yum.  Enjoy your day!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Now She's Driven Away

This morning after a baked sausage casserole (good but no Texas Breakfast) DD packed up her belongings and drove away.  *sigh*  Durwood and I will miss having her around.  She did the dishes.  Now it's back to being our job.  (funny how you can get used to something so fast)  She got to spend plenty of time snuggling LC, was offered the post of "Fun Aunt", and accepted without hesitation.  It was lovely to have DD here, to have her to drag to places where I can show her off to the people I brag about her to, to show off my knitting and see what she's making, and have her sitting at the table with me and Durwood after supper working on her embroidery while I knit and he does a crossword puzzle.  It kind of sounds boring when I write it out like that but it wasn't boring at all.

She and I made chocolate pudding yesterday.  We tucked a little graham cracker crust on the bottom of the dish and sprinkled a bit on top, with a few pomegranate morsels too.  Yum.  An excellent collaboration.

I am determined to sit on my can today, not to zoom around town or the house like a crazed weasel, maybe even take a snooze.  Okay, I might toss some laundry around because both of my favorite pairs of jeans are dirty, but that's it.  Oh, while I'm down there doing laundry I'll wind up the hank of yarn I want to use for my BLKG Design-A-Thon design so I can swatch today.  See?  Couch knitting, that's relaxing, right?  No to-do list.  No list of errands.  I want to finish listening to an audiobook I'm this close to the end of and sit staring at the computer screen playing a game.

March 16--Charles Sheeler, Water.  Shel saw them in the distance, the white rectangular boxes crouched on the horizon growing slowly as he walked.  The sky was a solid sheet of clouds so there was no glimmer from a pane of glass, just the dull grayish white of the boxes.  He thought they might be storage buildings because there were no windows he could see but it took far longer than he thought it would to get close enough to see all of them down to the ground.  No one seemed to be around although there was a parking lot filled with rows of identical cars the same grayish white as the buildings.  Shel stumbled a bit as the ground rose in a berm that ringed the complex.  On the other side of the berm a twelve-foot fence kept him from getting closer.  He heard the hum of electricity inches before touching the wire.  Glancing to the left he saw the still body of a rabbit that had touched the fence.

Time to get busy relaxing.  Have a Sunday.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

I Wonder What the Poor People Are Eating Tonight?

(Mom used to say that when we were having something especially delicious for supper.)  Last night Durwood and I took DD to have supper at Kroll's, a venerable Green Bay burger joint directly across the street from the Packer stadium which is a local institution.  Every high school kid for decades has eaten a Kroll's burger with fries or fried cheese curds or onion rings with a malt or shake after a football or basketball game or it might have been the site of their first date.  I think there might be a city ordinance about needing to eat a Kroll's hamburger, especially if you've moved away.  Anyway, we went and gorged ourselves.  For the uninitiated, a Kroll's hamburger is a 1/4# patty of Kingsford charcoal grilled, whole ground beef, served on a hard roll with pickles, onion (fried if you'd like), catsup, and a PAT OF BUTTER ON TOP before they put on the lid.  They're served wrapped chastely in waxed paper with their provenance scrawled on the paper in grease pencil.  I like mine with cheese (to ramp up the fat and cholesterol content, you know, so I can hear my arteries hardening and my heart slowing).  Durwood got a double (needless to say, his gout had something to say about that in the wee hours and is still grumbling) and we agreed to order onion rings AND cheese curds (mixed yellow & white) and share (DD got her own curds so there wasn't an unseemly battle over fried cheese).  We all three stuck with water to drink, didn't want to go overboard.  You're very sorry you weren't there.  Very.

DD got to feed the chickens for the first time yesterday.  Porter showed me that she was still a pretty pup.  We didn't stay long, things to do, DD's girlfriends to meet, so Durwood and I struck out for errand-land on our own.  Went to Office Max to get him a new chair (his old one was trash) and off to Woodman's to buy ALL the groceries.  We're a dangerous duo in the grocery store, we usually choose healthy things but we always choose more than is on the list, sometimes more than we have designated grocery money for, but we always manage to eat what we buy.  We made big inroads in the produce department, big, lots of yummy green things came home with us.  Cabbage and onions and potatoes and carrots and broccoli and Brussels sprouts and celery and oranges and bananas.  We love veggies.  Tonight we're celebrating St. Paddy's Day a little early because DD drives off home tomorrow, so Durwood's got the brisket in the crockpot and we'll roast potatoes and steam the cabbage later.  DD and I are making homemade chocolate pudding for dessert.  (not the Jell-o stuff, the real stuff with cocoa and sugar and cornstarch and stirring on the stove)  You TOTALLY wish you were here for that.

When I pulled the van out waiting for Durwood before our errands yesterday I noticed something--green grass.  Just a peek of it at the melting edge of the giant drift in front of the house.  Look!  That there's green grass!  It's still under there after all!  You understand that it can snow here into the middle of May but this gives me hope that one day green and warmth will prevail.

I didn't prompt write last night, I was exhausted.  I was so tired I left Friday Night Knitting half an hour early.  *gasp!*  I fell into bed before 10, turned out the light, and that's all I remember until about 7:30 this morning.  I feel a bit better now.  Enjoy your day.

Friday, March 14, 2014

There Was All That Shopping

DD and I did a bit of shopping yesterday.  Yeah, a bit.  We hit a couple Goodwills and found things we had to have for not too much money.  I bought mostly new things (big puzzles for little hands and a shepherd's crook) but also found a 2-pack of those ceramic travel mugs with silicone grips and tops.  I've been looking at them but they're all so pricey.  These ones were five bucks--and that's for two of them.  Woohoo.  Fabric was the goal at Joann's and Hancock; both places had lots of things on sale and I had coupons so purchases were made.  I didn't blow the bank or even empty my mad money pocket but I got some good ones.  I especially like the red one, it's called London Sights and shows some of the places DD and I visited when she was studying in England in college.

At last night's Bay Lakes Knitting Guild meeting I helped people learn how to knit using the Magic Loop technique and I think it went okay.  It's something that takes some time to get your mind wrapped around so hopefully they'll take the sheet I wrote up and with their experience last night be able to practice at home.  I was sorry to miss the other two techniques that were taught: a crocheted cast on and seaming but I'll get them to give me a quick lesson one night.  I think the Guild members are getting to know one another better so the meetings are a little chattier and noisier with knitters helping other knitters.  I like that.

March 14--Canada, Haida Rattle.  Polychrome paint made the rabble carved in a wolf's head shape look cheerful until you noticed the bared teeth and fangs.  The wide eyes bored into you while the red mouth made you shudder.  This did not look like a fun rattle used to make happy sounds, it was a tool that the shaman used to call down the spirits.  You can imagine how it would look in the flickering firelight brandished by the hand of a medicine man.  Evil spirits would flee before its power.

Now it's time to make myself presentable for the day.  Durwood and I have some errands to do and we're going to Kroll's for supper.  Yay, fried cheese!

Oh, and it's Pi Day!  Time to eat a wedge of pie.  Mmm, what flavor?  Chocolate?  Lemon?  Pecan?  It's your choice but I think you have to eat pie.  It'd be unmathematical if you don't.