Monday, June 30, 2014

Not Dead After All

I dragged out the hose yesterday morning to water the garden, looked to the lot line and there were lipstick lilies blooming.  I thought only the day lilies had survived but there they were, proving me wrong.  (I probably should have weeded over there, shouldn't I?  Then I'd have known they were alive. Oh well, it was a lovely surprise.)  And the not-so-hardy-seeming hardy shrub rose is blooming too.  Hooray!

We rediscovered how much we like our old standby teriyaki meat marinade this weekend.  On Saturday I thawed out a bit of sirloin intending to make it into shish kebobs but instead I tucked a couple halved-the-long-way zucchini in the marinade about 20 minutes before the coals were ready and just grilled them along with the slab of meat.  (so much easier than all that cubing and skewering)  That was a brilliant idea.  While the coals were heating and I was mowing Durwood chopped a few veggies for salads that we ate while the meat was grilling.  Then yesterday we marinated chicken thighs in the same teriyaki marinade recipe, and I added a partly-cooked, halved sweet red onion near cooking time, and grilled those while we ate our salads.  I have never liked bottled Teriyaki sauce, it's too salty and sharp, but I love this recipe I got from a high school chum's mom ages and ages ago.  (It's a snap to make:  For anything up to about 1-1/2 lb. of meat, stir together 2 Tblsp. each soy sauce, salad oil, and orange juice [or lemon or lime, whatever citrus you have on hand] and 1/2 tsp. each garlic powder and ground ginger.  Pour over meat in ziplock bag, marinate in fridge at least an hour or up to overnight.  I double the marinade when it hits 2#, and I leave out or halve the quantity of oil if we're cutting back fats.)

Durwood wanted to go to Woodman's for veggies (we were nearly out of fresh--gasp!) and Festival for a rack of BBQ ribs ($5 off) and then I had a 3 o'clock nail appointment, changed the sheets and towels, and went to Fleet Farm for birdseed, so it really wasn't much of a relaxing day.  Not much knitting got done either.  RJ called to talk about blueberry cultivation and how to overcome tomato blossom end rot and I talked to DS, but DD forgot to call.  Or maybe she was busy or exhausted.  I hope she calls tonight.  *hint, hint*

June 30--France, Chasse with the Crucifixion and Christ in Majesty.  Leo stumbled out of the suddenly dark crypt and stood in the moonlight bent over with his hands on his knees.  The squeak of bats swooping overhead sounded to him like the last cries of the souls buried around him.  Coming here was a stupid idea.  Coming here and not checking that the lantern's batteries were fresh was monumentally stupid.  No amount of mental toughness or telling himself that there is no such thing a ghosts kept his imagination from jumping to conclusions.  He found he was talking to himself as he catalogued the burials listed in the crypt's register.  It was barely nine o'clock, for god's sake, it was probably three hours before the spooks and zombies that lived in the cemetery got up and really got moving.  He straightened up, squared his shoulders, and turned to replace the batteries and get back to work when a hand tightened around his ankle.

Do you realize that today's the last day of June?  Already?  Time = flying.  One good thing, in 6 weeks Durwood and I will be motoring off for 2 weeks in the Wild West.  YellowstoneCody, WYDinosaur fossils!  I'm getting excited.  Happy Monday.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

I Am A Fruit-aholic

When I see fruit in the store I buy it.  I try to buy it when it's on sale and in season but most often I see it and I buy it.  I do eat it too so I'm not a fruit hoarder, and I share the peels and rinds and ends with the chickens across town so I utilize every part of the fruit.  Very green, that's me.  I bought 3# of Bing cherries when I stopped to pick up an Rx, Durwood loves them.  Aldi has strawberries (not local, but also not $5/quart) and blueberries (also not local but adequate) on sale this week and, well, I had to have a pineapple which was $2.29, a whole dollar less than at other places so I'm judging that sale-ish, at least that was my excuse for putting one in my bag, plus I had given a young woman a quarter to ransom a cart so I figure my good deed earned me a pineapple.  (Fuzzy logic, I know, but it works for me.  My lunches will be richer and fruitier for it.)

Another rose bud blossomed.  It's lurking behind a leaf but I saw it and snapped.  The red orange Asiatic lily buds opened.  Still none of the big, sweet smelling stargazers yet but I'm keeping an eye on them.  It was very smart to wait until around 6 PM to mow the lawn.  Most of the yard was in shade and there was a breeze so I didn't die from heat prostration.  Gatorade helped.  That stuff is amazing.  (It's better if you don't think of how it was developed because it's basically synthetic college football player sweat.  Yum.)

In knitting news, I worked on my Oriole Wings Wrap at Friday Night Knitting and got another stripe done and another one started, and yesterday while I waited for it to cool off so I didn't kill myself mowing I added a few inches onto Packers (with a hint of Vikings) Bib II.  I'm terribly tempted to get a pair of needles out so I can cast on a dishcloth patten with that cotton/linen yarn I got last week but so far I've resisted.  I'd like to get the bib done before starting the next project.  I'll focus on that today and tomorrow at work, maybe I can finish the remaining 3-4 inches of bib.  If it rains like it looks like it's going to, I might get it done sooner.  Speaking of rain, I woke up to find raindrops on the west-facing window over my head.  Right after I washed it too.  My first instinct was to go grab a paper towel and dry it off but I resisted.  That would have been silly.

I didn't/couldn't write last night.  I tried, really I did, but no words came, so I closed my notebook, turned out the light and went to sleep.  Can't win 'em all.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Clean Windows Are Amazing

I actually bestirred myself to wash all the windows, inside and out, yesterday and they look amazing.  It was brilliant to remember that a cloudy day needs to be window washing day (or at least wash them when they're on the shady side of the house) because I only had to go back once, okay twice, but nothing like the double job if I do it in the sunshine.  I know it looks like I took a picture of the backyard but I really took a picture of how clear the glass is.

Durwood came into the room just as I snapped the photo and said, "Did you get it?"  "Get what?"  "The hummingbird that was on the feeder.  Wasn't that what you were taking a picture of?"  "Nope," I told him, "I was taking a picture of the clean patio doors."  But when I slotted the SD card into the laptop just now I made a copy of the clear glass picture, cropped it, cropped it, and there it is.  A hummingbird.  Not in sharp focus but there's that iridescent little green body sipping away at the birdie juice.

Nothing new is blooming yet, but the lilies out front are getting ready.  Pretty soon.

June 28--Egypt, Macedonian and Ptolemaic Period, Gazelle-Head Earring.  The red glint of carnelian made the gold look that much golder and the carving of the gazelle's head looked so sweet.  Peter chose it from all the other antiquities for Claire's birthday gift.  He tucked it into a little sandalwood box from the same dusty little shop in the bazaar.  It had been Claire's dream to see Egypt but she had broken her leg the day before they were to leave for Cairo.  She insisted that he still go.  "You be my eyes and ears," she had said with tears in her eyes after learning that they couldn't get a refund.  The night before he left she had given him a guidebook bristling with neon orange Post-Its.  "I know you won't be able to see it all but... well, do your best."  He was lonely without her but he'd make the best of it, and keep a daily journal for her to read.

The lawn needs mowing,  It's blazing sunshine, hot and humid.  I think I'll do my errands and make a sympathy call (never fun but necessary), and then mow when the sun's going down, sunk behind the neighbor's big maple tree so most of our yard's shaded.  I'm pretty crafty.  Enjoy your Saturday.  Maybe I'll get my nails done today too.  They need it.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Today Is The Actual Friday

So I'm not moving very fast yet.  I changed the "birdie juice" in both of the hummingbird feeders, put a handful of peanuts in the shell in the platform feeder for the bluejays, and refilled the cob corn for the squirrels.  Since it's cloudy again I should muster up my energies and wash all the windows.  They need it badly so today might be the day, unless the sun breaks out because everyone knows you don't wash windows on sunny days because the window cleaner dries too fast and leaves streaks when it's sunny.  So maybe it's window washing day.

When I got home from work yesterday I glanced at the things growing along the front of the house and thought I saw a little dark red shape so I pulled out my camera and look! a rosebud on Dad's rosebush.  Hi, Dad, welcome back.  The surviving lilies are budding too.  I can't wait for them to bloom.  I was so afraid that last winter's extreme cold and long duration had killed all the plants but these few managed to survive.  The lilies along the lot line didn't make it but these did and I'm so glad.

I got a call yesterday from a dad whose daughter is working her way through the eLearning lessons to become SCUBA certified and was stuck on dive tables, the bane of most dive class students.  He asked if they could come in for a lesson.  I stalled him for 45 minutes so I could brush up myself but there was one aspect that I just couldn't get.  Frustrating?  You betcha.  Fortunately Mrs. Boss stopped in before they came and told me about a Table Tutor computer program we have on the work box that helped immensely.  I still goofed up every time on the last "figure your pressure group working backwards" question every time but I think (I hope) the young lady got it, and I know they'll call again for help if they need it.  After they left I spent another half hour going over and over the process (and I'll do it again on Monday) to make sure I had it figured out.  Once people get a dive computer they stop using the tables to plan their dives (me too) but it's still something you need to learn to be safe.  I've been lax keeping my skills sharp but yesterday was a good wake-up call.  How embarrassing but motivating.

June 27--China, Miao-Geyi Peoples, Ensemble.  Laurel couldn't help noticing the Asian woman in line at the market.  Not because she herself was noteworthy but Laurel was fascinated by her clothing.  It wasn't the stereotypical bright embroidered silk, it was linen and cotton in muted shades of purple and blue, probably dyed with indigo.  The woman wore the knife-pleated skirt and wrapped jacket unselfconsciously as if it were her daily garb.  Laurel tried to tear her eyes away, after all it was rude to stare, but something drew her.  "Can I help you?"  Laurel started and turned to find the Asian woman standing at her elbow pressing the barrel of a small black pistol into her ribs.

Well, I didn't see that coming.  Hey, if you're looking for an interesting summer read, see if you can get Miss Buncle's Book from the library.  It was first published in 1932 or so and recently reissued.  The author had a huge career in England and the US in the 30s and writes very well.  The book's pace is a lot slower than today's rock'em sock'em style with action (of one sort or another) on every page but I loved the characters and the slower pace of the story--and the happy ending.  Give it a looksee if you're looking for a book to read while you're sitting in the shade with a glass of iced tea.  Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson.  DD read it and recommended it and I concur; you should read it too.  Happy Friday!  And Durwood says it's drizzling.  Oh well, I can wash windows in the drizzle.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Today's My Friday

Woohoo!  And the sun is shining.  Double woohoo!!

I went to the City Band concert last night.  It was good but chilly.  I love sitting there in a pretty little park with kids playing on the playground in one corner, neighborhood boosters handing out free popcorn and selling a bit of candy in the shelter, little kids pedaling their bikes up and around the walks, and most of the rest of the park covered with people on benches or lawn chairs listening to an okay city band mostly play songs you recognize.  It's like sitting in a Norman Rockwell illustration.

I was busy-ish at work yesterday but finished Toasty Feets slipper #1 (I think I have enough to squeak out another one if I fudge it a little) and I cast on Packers (with a hint of Vikings) Bib II.  I got the neck done at the concert and started on the bib part.  It's good mindless knitting for concerts and TV, etc.

June 26--Lewis Hine, Addie Card, 12 years.  Grace found the old black and white photograph under the wardrobe in the back bedroom.  "Addie, age 12" was written on the back in ink that had faded to greenish brown.  Grace didn't know who the little girl was or why her picture was in Mama's room.

There might have been more to that story if I could have kept my eyes open but sitting for an hour in the cool evening air put me right to sleep.  Savor today.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Yup, It's A Nasturtium

Yesterday afternoon when I was out pounding in stakes and tying up the tomato plants I checked on that little green sprout and, yup, it's a nasturtium.  I can tell because of the distinctive leaf shape.  This one is the vanguard but Lala gave me the rest of her seeds and I planted them all so (fingers crossed) there'll be a whole row of them along the back edge of the garden pretty soon.  There's a row of tiny green blips all along there and some of them have to be nasturtiums, don't they?  I don't think the $#&^% chipmunks could have eaten them all.  Speaking of chipmunks, they've discovered that they can jump onto the back birdfeeder from the top of the retaining wall and they aren't heavy enough to close the squirrel guard of the feeder.  Durwood noticed that on Monday so I adjusted the springs and hooks to the most sensitive setting and still they can dine on the seed with impunity.  And I caught one of them scaling the inside of the 3' tall fence of chicken wire I have around my buttercrunch lettuces to nibble the leaves and dig in the dirt, the little bastards.  Now it's war.

I got a package yesterday.  From Knit Picks.  With the cotton/linen yarn I ordered from their yarn sale and the cable and tips I bought just because I absolutely love them.  If I was smart I'd just guts up and buy the whole set of them for sixty bucks and get it over with.  (hmm, maybe my beloved children and their spouses [spice?] will go together and get Mom a set of Knit Picks Caspian circulars for Christmas, or the rainbow ones, I don't care, I just love the pointy tips and flexible cables.)  As far as the yarn goes, I've never knitted with linen so I thought a few discounted skeins in neutral colors would be good for dishcloth making (I have a pattern in mind for the knitting guild Xmas exchange so I might as well get that made, right?) and there are a few (dozen) scarf/shawlette patterns I'd like to make so it won't go to waste.  I like the names of them--the palest gray is whisker, the medium gray is gosling, the medium brown is cashew, the white is swan, and the black is... well, black, I guess they can't be brilliant in the naming department all the time.

June 25--Iran, Khurasan, Ewer.  There was a hollow metallic sound when Gabe drove the shovel into the dirt and he cursed a little.  He was digging a hole to plant a linden tree and couldn't believe the amount of stuff he had found.  Rocks, he had found a pail full of rocks.  Broken bricks and chunks of concrete made it hard to get a rhythm going and he had to keep stopping to pick out broken glass, he had just about filled a coffee can with broken glass.  He had called Diggers Hotline last week so he didn't need to worry about hitting a gas line or buried electric lines but where was all this junk coming from.  "Digging a hole?" said a voice behind him.  He half-turned, "No, Jim, I'm reopening the gold mine."  He shook his head at his neighbor's perpetual grasp of the obvious.  "Actually I'm planting a tree in this hole but I keep coming up with all this trash."  Jim tapped out his pipe on the railroad tie retaining wall.  "Well, that's because this whole block used to be a landfill.  When I was a kid we used to ride our bikes up here to dig up pop bottles to redeem for nickles."

Funny.  We do live on an old landfill and constantly find broken glass in the garden and slabs of broken cement a foot down when we want to drive in stakes or birdfeeder crooks.  It's hard to put things where I want them sometimes.  It's another overcast day but it's a bit cooler, no less humid though.  We seem to be caught in a weather rut and I'm hoping that our neighbors who're out in Wyoming and Yellowstone aren't getting rained on too much.  Off to the SCUBA mines for the day and then to the City Band concert in the park.  Should be fun.  Hasta la vista, babies.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Must Be Diving Season

Because I had a steady stream of customers yesterday, so steady that I barely got my Icelandic Unoriginal Hat done by closing time.  And I only had about 10 more rounds left.  I like how it turned out, though this picture's colors are wrong, too bright.  This may just be my go-to hat pattern or one of them anyway.

Can you see the tiny green sprout of what I think is a nasturtium under that leaf there to the right of center?  I'm keeping an eye on it, hope it's from a seed I planted.  I'm tired of weeds.

It's another gray, foggy, dreary day.  I may spend it lying under the full-spectrum lights in one room or another.  Let me just say that I am heartily sick of overcast skies.  That is all.

June 24--Edward Hopper, Barn and Silo, Vermont.  The barn had stood for fifty years.  It leaned away from the north wind, resting its corner on the stone silo that had been its lifelong companion.  No livestock had been stabled there for a decade.  Mice, pigeons, and the occasional drifter were the only creatures that bedded down in its dark corners.  Katy and Carl drove by on their way to pick blueberries each summer.  Every time they passed Katy insisted Carl pull over and let her out to take pictures of the barn.  Spring, summer, fall--Katy made excuses to drive that way, excuses to stop and walk up the overgrown driveway and poke her nose into the barn just to see what was left inside.

This isn't much but it's all I've got today.  I hope the sun is shining where you are.  Send it this way, will you?  Thanks.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Jalapeno Cheddar Toast

I was so excited to see a loaf of artisan Jalapeno Cheddar bread on the "used bread" rack at Woodman's yesterday and then my darling Durwood sliced it nice and thin for me (I suck at slicing bread, my slices are too wide and wonky, Durwood's are thin and straight) so I toasted up 3 sandwiches-worth this morning while I portioned out provolone cheese slices and Cajun turkey lunchmeat, counted out 18 baby carrots (6/day), and spooned out 3 individual cups of fresh strawberries & pineapple for this week's lunches.  (can you tell that my maiden name was Angermeier?  how much more German/regimented could I be?) I do much better all week if I take the time on the weekend or Monday morning to portion out and bag up my lunch for the 3 days I work.  I'm pretty spacey in the mornings (except, of course, for writing on the blog, here I'm sharp as a tack *snort* not) and there have been (recent) times when I've picked up my keys to leave only to realize that I didn't have a lunch either in my possession or in the work fridge.  I'd end up calling Jimmy Johns most of the time, so it's better for my wallet and my nutrition to make my own lunches.  I make a sandwich each day so the bread doesn't get soggy; I have a jar of honey mustard at work already.

I went out to weed and admire my row of basil and thyme plants and saw this little bunch of Sugary cherry tomatoes sheltering in the plant.  I need to get the tomato stakes in the ground so I can start to tie up the plants, they're starting to get a bit sprawl-ish.  I'll get them staked and tied so they stand tall like they're supposed to.  (see? Germanic rigidity; it's important)  I also got the kitchen and bathroom floors mopped and managed to nearly kill myself on the bathroom doorknob (I mopped behind the door, opened it wide and it bounced back just as I moved to pass it, thereby ramming the knob firmly into my hip/butt.  man, that hurt.  it still kind of hurts, but it's just a bruise.  bet it'll be pretty colors, don't worry, no pictures are forthcoming)

We spent 2 hours in Woodman's looking at all the goodies, buying a bunch, then we stopped at Little Caesar's for one of the $5 lunch combos (a quartered square of deep dish pepperoni & cheese pizza with a soda; I picked root beer) that we shared for lunch.  It was pretty good but waaaaay too much food for one person for lunch which is their implication.  In fact we skipped supper.  Granted we didn't eat lunch until after 2 PM but still that was a lot.  We're old.  Remember when we'd have that for a snack and then chow down on a full meal 3 hours later?  Those days are long gone.  Thank heavens.

I didn't quite get through the second 16-row repeat of the Icelandic hat but I got pretty far.  I'll work on it at work today.

June 23--Egypt, Sculptor's Model, Goddess or Queen.  Tiye stood behind the column.  Her mother was talking to her uncle Ptah about marrying her off to some Nubian from up the river to cement some trade agreement.  "She is nearing her woman days, we need to get this settled," Mother said.  Ptah rubbed a hand over his chin.  "Little Tiye can't be that old, it wasn't so long ago that she was playing in the courtyard with my Leila."  "And your Leila is a wife and mother this last year."  Mother had a tone of voice that kept people from arguing.  Tiye heard their voices fade as they walked away down the hall toward the reception rooms.  Tiye slid down the column to sit on the cool stone floor.  From behind the next column a voice said, "I won't let them send you off to live with some Nubian barbarian."  She dashed the tears from her cheeks and smiled at her cousin.  "What can you do, Ptol?  You're just a kid they boss around, like me."  Ptolemy was a tall, thin boy whose voice had just changed.  "Well," he said, sitting beside her, "I'm going to be Pharaoh so you can marry me and stay here. Pharaoh always has extra wives so you wouldn't be alone or have to live far away."

Yikes.  It's another dreary, drizzly day.  Maybe I'll wear a skirt to cheer myself up.  I'm outta here.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sedate Sunday

Today's another gray day here in tundra-land.  It might be going to get into the 70s but it sure doesn't look like it'll be sunny anytime soon.  The chickadees are still courting like mad in preparation for the second nest of the season.  He's been working all morning coming back with a bit of nest material in his beak.  The spiderwort's really blooming today.  See all the little purple flowers?  They don't look like spiders to me and the plant doesn't seem especially like a spider attractor so I don't know where the name comes from, I just like the flowers--and the name.

I did manage to push the vacuum around (yes, I still have burnt orange carpeting; the darned stuff won't wear out) and I fully intend to mop the kitchen and bathroom floors.  Then I'll reward myself with a cookie or two.  The guy up the street helped me to adjust the deck of the lawnmower (he pressure washed it too, now I'm not so sure I want to dirty it up mowing) so I baked up a batch of all-the-chips cookies so could share some as thanks.  See, I didn't have a full bag of any chips so I dumped in the butterscotch, white chocolate, and semi-sweet chips I had on hand.  They're not bad; the butterscotch kind of overpowers the rest but I won't be throwing them away.  I took a dozen to the guy up the street, put a dozen in the food container I need to return to DS & DIL1 (because it's nice to return a container with a treat in it), and Durwood and I will be making the rest of them disappear.  Wasting food is bad.

In between not doing much (baked cookies & filled birdfeeders) yesterday I worked on the Icelandic Unoriginal Hat.  I got through the first repeat of the pattern and am intending to get through the next repeat today (it's only 16 rounds).  Then all I'll have to do is the crown decreases and...  VOILA! Hat!  Like I said, I really like this Icelandic yarn even though I'm not much of a "blue" fan and the DK I'm carrying with the Super Bulky is baby alpaca.  There's nothing softer, okay maybe cashmere or qivuit (which is the undercoat of musk ox) is softer, but this is pretty darned soft so I'm not going to toss it just because it's blue.

June 22--German, Tournament Book.  The parade would begin in a few minutes.  Jacob fussed with the braided ribbons in Castor's mane.  The horse didn't toss his head like he usually did so the wings attached to his harness stayed in place.  Jacob fussed with his own costume too.  He had made...

I don't know what.  Once again I plummeted into dreamland while my pencil was still touching my notebook.  I'm not good at automatic writing so all I get from sleep writing is a bit of squiggle.  Eh.  Time to go mop those floors so the Health Department stays away.  I think Durwood wants to go to Woodman's later too.  Stay dry today.  It's not supposed to rain today but it sure looks like it so I'm covering my bets.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

There I Was, Minding My Own Business...

...taking pictures of flowers outside when GIGANTIC raindrops started plummeting out of the sky.  No thunder, no wind, no warning, just RAIN.  Naturally I was on the far side of the house so I had to scurry to stay dry.  It sounded cool, though.

I love these little purple flowers, actually I love their name--Spiderwort.  Doesn't it sound like something you'd put in a potion?  Something a witch would cackle over growing in her garden?  I bought it the first time because the care instructions said "thrives in poor soil and neglect."  That's my kind of plant.  Now I plant them all over.  I love how the little flowers are kind of hard to see in all the greenery but if you look closely you can see the little yellow pollen sacs (stamens? anthers? Botany class was SO long ago.)  I like 'em.

The astilbes I planted are doing well.  Not growing much but then perennials don't do much more than survive their first year.  I read or heard somewhere that the first year perennials sleep (hardly grow at all), the second year they creep (grow a little), and the third year they leap (grow like crazy), I need to remember that.  Behind the white one's flowers you can see my lone peony blossom hiding its head behind a fern frond.  I think some judicious fencing might be in order there.

The poppies are done *sigh* but the yarrow's looking good (that's the white stuff that looks like Queen Anne's Lace).

We've had a nest of chickadees in the birdhouse behind the house.  I keep hoping to get a picture of the adult sitting on the crook with a grub in its beak but I'm not fast enough.  Durwood just saw one of the babies out fluttering its wings to be fed (that's it on the crook's crook), so maybe a new nest is in our future.  That birdhouse is the only one that ever has tenants.  I don't know if its the location or the house itself but it frustrates the bejeebers outta me to have the other 2 houses empty all the time.  Except if hornets move in.  Grr.

June 21--German, Nuremberg, Tournament Book.  John bent over the work in his hands.  The pile of shavings at his feet grew slowly over the hours after supper until bedtime.  He hoped to enter his carving in the annual competition.  He had practiced carving whistles and toys for his little brothers and sisters; this dragon chariot was on a much higher level.

It looks like it's going to be another gray, rainy day so if you need me I'll be on the couch knitting and listening to podcasts.  Adieu, cheries.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Tomatoes & Rain

The tomatoes are tomato-ing!  Yay!  See the pretty green orbs?  And the tiny green orbs are going to be blueberries when they grow up.  Can you see the raindrops on the berries?  That's the way the whole day went, gray and drizzly.  Durwood and I went to Sam's for all the stuff on the list (and more); it was dryish when we went in and when we came out it was like a cloud had sunk to Earth, getting its tiny dampness all over everything.  Annoying.

I knitted on the Toasty Feets slipper #1 at work the last 2 days and kind of got almost to the sole but then it occurred to me that what I really wanted was a project that would go fast and be done soon.  So-o-o-o I took the bag with the Icelandic Unoriginal Hat to Friday Night Knitting and cast on.  Startitis!  Woohoo!  I might spend the whole weekend casting things on... or maybe I'll spend it planning and cutting out sewing stuff.  Heh heh heh.

June 20--Francesco Tironi, View of the Island of San Giacomo in Paludo.  For some reason having the front steps of the house go right down to the water made it feel exposed.  Genia knew that it would be just as easy for someone intent on robbery or vandalism to drive up in a car or walk up the sidewalk to the door as it would be to come in a boat but she couldn't help herself.  She felt trapped by the water that hemmed in her in.  Even going to the market was a trek involving a boat and two buses.  The smell of the water permeated the house and she was sure that it was eating away at the foundations.

I stopped at a rummage sale in the neighborhood this afternoon.  It wasn't actively raining anymore and the little girl of the house was riding her two-wheeler for the first time with no training wheels wearing a red violet dress with fringe, flip flops with fake flowers on them, a jacket flapping behind her, and a helmet.  She looked awesome and so thrilled with herself.  Time for bed.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Honey On The Vine

The honeysuckle's blooming away and I couldn't be happier.  The hummingbirds are happy about it too, they just flit through too swiftly for me to get my camera up and running but I promise you, they're there.  Seeing that honeysuckle out there blooming reminds me of Grandma's house out at the farm.  She had a huge honeysuckle vine that grew over a frame that shielded the trash cans from view.  In fact, this vine is a part of that one so when a nurseryman said it was a weed and I should dig it out I carefully instructed him why that would never happen.  I love it, it reminds me of Grandma and being a kid in a carefree world.  We had a rainy morning yesterday when I took this picture.  I'd like to say that I focused so the raindrops show on purpose, but I can't.  It's just dumb luck.

I've been working away at the ever-lengthening rows of the Oriole Wings Wrap but I can never be monogamous with a project.  Having only one project in my knitting basket makes me itchy.  What if I didn't want to knit on that today, huh?  What if I want something with bigger yarn or a smaller commitment?  So I dug out one of the "Onesies," got Durwood to play swift while I cranked the ball winder, and cast on the first of a new pair of woolen house socks for me for winter.  Which will eventually roll around no matter how hard we try to wish it away.  I picked up this yarn in a Tuesday Morning a few years back unsure of what I'd do with it, and now it gets to be slippers.  I like the colors but they sure are odd together, aren't they?  I'm calling them Toasty Feets, I don't remember the pattern name offhand.

I think I've got arthritis in my right thumb.  The knuckle's swollen on one side, kinda knobby, and it constantly feels like I whanged it with a hammer or against a door frame.  That's what arthritis is, isn't it?  It's not cancer of the thumb or anything, right?  (omg, I'm turning into Mom, the super-hypochondriac.  no, no, no! *bashing head on desk*)

June 19--Flora Mace, Double Doll on Blue.  "Mayah took my doll," Charille said, tears making streaks in her dusty cheeks.  Selba's dull gray eyes turned from the tub of washing to stare at the child in the doorway.  Mayah pushed Charille out of the way.  "You don't have no doll, butthead."  She turned to her mother who stared at the girls.  "She don't have a doll, really Mama, it was just a cob with some silk and leaves."  Mayah shivered.  "I gived it to the hogs."  Charille wailed but stayed in the doorway.   She said, "Pap made it for me."  Mayah danced around the pine table.  "Don't care," she said to her little sister, "Pap's gone and so's your dumb doll."  Selba's hands floated in the cooling water looking plump and young but she knew they would be red and scaly, old and dried up once the washing was done.  Someday she'd have something better than hog fat to put on them to keep them from bleeding in winter.

Well, that's cheerful.  It's a work day again.  Yesterday was a work day too and I had customers, real, cash paying customers.  More please.  Time to shower, etc.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Cottonwood Snowdrifts

I tried to sit outside in the shade to read yesterday afternoon and the cottonwood was so thick I had to go in.  I kept inhaling the #$%^& stuff, and look how it's collected in the gutter.  It looked like falling snow on the light breeze.

And now it's raining.  Whoop.  Guess I won't be lawn mowing today.  Ooh, a little thunder.  I do like me a crash bang storm every once in a while.

I ran to Walmart after supper last night to get a few things--baby wipes, cornmeal, minced garlic, ice cream--you know, the usual, and I splurged on 3-$5 t-shirts.  It's amazing how much of a mood-booster something as simple as a cheap t-shirt can be, isn't it?

June 18--India, Mughal Period, Portrait of the Elephant Alam Guman.  The great brown-gray-black beast rocked on its tree-trunk legs, waving its ears, and twitching its tail.  The mahout had draped it with a red brocade blanket with a golden net overlay with gold beaded tassels every few inches.  The animal wore a gold headpiece and gold filigree bands on its shortened tusks.  The artist set up his easel as far away as he dared to keep out of the way of the swinging trunk.  He had seen elephants spray water and fling straw, he hoped to stay out of range.  He also hoped that Shah Jahan approved of his work, an artist with only one hand is not much of an artist.

I get to go to work today.  Oh goodie.  It'll be quiet-ish there and there will be no vacuuming there either.  I need to vacuum here but I've been avoiding it.  I'm not a fan, all that moving furniture and the noise hurts my ears.  Maybe I should get a Roomba.  (no, don't get me one, I was only kidding.)  Off to the salt mines.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Cottonwood Snow

This is Durwood's least-favorite time of Spring, the cottonwood season.  Cottonwood seeds are embedded in little balls of puff that blow with the slightest breeze and gather in the gutters and along the edges of driveways.  They also make a mat over window screens and the grid of the air conditioner.  I'll be the one outside with the hose spraying the stuff off the a/c later because, of course, it's hot and humid so the house is shut and the a/c's on.

I was busy at work yesterday.  People came in to have tanks filled, to drop tanks off for service, and to buy stuff.  I hardly had time for knitting and audiobook listening.  I did manage to squeak in the last few rows of 'Nother Bib so that's done.  I kind of like that I ran out of the variegated yarn and that the other one striped.  I like the way it looks.  It's a bib and will therefore be wiping mouths, noses, and probably tables and floors in order to fulfill its destiny.

June 17--Final Neolithic Period, Cycladic Culture, Statue of a Woman.  The little marble figure was cupped in his hand.  Dr. Baker's body lay flat on its back in the aisle in the Collections Department of the museum.  Miriam Wellman, his intern for the summer, had come down from the lab on the third floor to gather the list of artifacts on the day's clipboard.  Dr. Baker was in the process of rethinking a study he had published a decade earlier on migration patterns in sub-Saharan Africa in the Late Neolithic Period.  Miri was tasked with gathering all of the pieces he had cited in his original research to be reexamined in light of more recent findings.  When Miri turned on the overhead lights to get started she nearly stumbled over Dr. Baker's loafer-clad feet.  The little figure in his hand was the one piece that disrupted his tidy theory of the way people moved around a few thousand years ago.  Evidently someone wasn't in favor of his rewriting history

Okay then, time to get this show on the road.  Sayonara.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Quick Post

I'm getting kind of a slow start today, didn't fall asleep so easily last night so the alarm(s) were way too early and I'm just not waking up.  I was happy to see a blast of yellow when I went out for the paper this morning.  A few lilies survived the winter, thank heavens.

I got everything watered yesterday--garden, flower pots (front and back), and the neglected plants on the side of the house.  And I wound the hose back into its holder.  Big accomplishment for the day.

My only other activities were playing computer games (while dozing sitting here after breakfast) and doing a bit of knitting.  I was running out of yarn for the bib I'm knitting, went to Michaels only to discover the darned stuff's discontinued and not replaced with anything else.  So I'm making do with adequately coordinating cotton from the stash.  The best part about the trip to the store was seeing a young family shopping for crafty stuff and the littlest boy (about 3 yrs. old) looking at me through his novelty glasses and saying, "I a monster!"  I told him he was very scary and he capered off trailing his big sister looking very pleased.

I didn't write last night, it was late and I was distracted.  I hate those nights when your brain goes on a tear that you can't divert or shut up.  Survive your day, I'm going to do my best.  On a brighter note, it's payday!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day & Poppies

Since all the people Durwood is the father of are not here today I thought I'd make him something special for Father's Day.  Yesterday's recipe of the day on (I get a daily email from them) was for Mancakes, that's cornmeal pancakes with crisped bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, and wilted green onions stirred into the batter.  The recipe calls for a tiny pinch of cayenne or chipotle powder in the batter and another tiny pinch in the syrup but I skipped those because he's not a fan.  They were very good, VERRY good.  Easy too.  That recipe's a keeper.

Evey time I look out at the garden and see the blooming poppies I hear the Wicked Witch of the West's voice when Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, and the Cowardly Lion run through the field of them and fall asleep.  "Poppies, poppies," she says with a cackle in her voice.  They might be my most favorite spring bloom but they are sure short-lived.  That first flower is already faded and crumbling at the edges.  *sigh*  Beauty, like youth, is fleeting.

I weeded out the violets and other "wildflower" volunteer-type plants from around the shrub rose in the garden, you know, the one I was sure hadn't survived the harsh winter.  I thought it'd be nice to give it a little leg-up, a little circle of ground without competition, and I plan to give it a dose of rose fertilizer later today too.  It got a nice big drink yesterday evening too.  Maybe it'll make a flower or two this year.

Man, it's windy today.

June 15--Vincent van Gogh, First Steps, After Millet.  Yellow and blue makes green and those are the colors Vincent used, with a touch of black in the shadows.  I can see him in his studio staring at the canvas, then squeezing yellow, a bit of blue, and a comma of white onto his palette.  I imagine his confident fingers sorting just the right brush out of the clutch of them gathered in an old squat vase on a paint-scarred table.  He would have sketched the figures and a few basic lines on his canvas before dragging a big of the blue and a smear of white to blend for the key.  He'd paint in the sky first, everyone understands the need for a good sky.  Crowded in the back of his mind would be the paintings he saw at the last exhibition.  They sold well and critics liked them.  He needed a bit of success to pay back his brother Theo so I imagine him mixing yellow and blue to make the perfect French spring grass.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there in blog-land.  Hope it's a great day for everyone, dad or not.