Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saturday Sleeping Late

I slept all the way til 7:30, ahhhh.  It was almost light outside.  So luxurious.  I think the highest luxury was not having the alarms blare and catapult me out from between the warm and cozy sheets.

I did get a little knitting done yesterday.  I cast on BLKG Design Idea #1.  I didn't get any stitches knitted (because the stitch directions are for knitting flat and I want to knit in the round) but I'll be working on that little (and I do mean little) challenge today.  I grabbed the bag of cotton yarn, needles, and pattern to cast on a frog puppet for LC's toy box.  It's really a potholder pattern but she found the one that looks like a potholder so I put it on my hand and made it talk to her, she loves it so I thought I'd make one that looks less like a potholder and more like something that might talk to her.  I didn't have any green yarns that screamed "frog" to me so I'm using the light green (I wish it was more yellow green) and a green and brown variegated that DD gave me a while back held together so it'll be a spotty frog.  Next I have to figure out how to make a tongue in the mouth.  I might make a separate one so it flaps, that might be fun.  I foresee a bunch of frogging (ripping back) in my future.

Today Durwood and I are planning a little road trip up to Kugel's Cheese Mart in Lena.  We ran out  of Parmesan *gasp* and need more.  We think theirs is the best.  A person can't be out of Parm.  In the olden days when Durwood was coming home from Iron Mountain he'd call and say "I'm coming through Lena, what do we need from Kugel's?"  Plus we can use the drive.

January 31--Doug Fornuff, Sax Man.  The sound of the saxophone played by the guy in 4-B wormed its way down through the walls and stairways.  It spiraled through the pipes to gurgle out of the taps like a seductive voice.  Victoria lay in the half-dark of the living room/bedroom of her cramped apartment and let the music wash over her.  She felt the weight of the notes like pennies dropped from a roof.  Did the musician up there in his tiny room under the eaves even realize how his nightly serenade stitched up the frayed edges of her days?

It's the last day of January.  Can you believe it?  You realize that means we're that much closer to spring, right?  We're getting more light every day and it'll be getting warm sooner rather than later.  Woohoo!  I'm off to seek cheese.  Better get dressed first.

Friday, January 30, 2015


For once I have nothing to say.  I've been wracking my brain but I didn't knit one stitch yesterday, I didn't frog any either or have something go bad on me.  I DID get through the last of the POS set-up (I think) and finished the How-Tos right at 5 PM, then printed them out for Mr. & Mrs. Boss.  I hope this takes care of that and I can get back to the normal work of working and my brain can snap back into its usual shape instead of being all overfilled with "do this, then that, oh, grrr, backspace backspace backspace, start again."  I've done a lot of that over the last 4 weeks.

The sun is shining today.  That's a very good thing.  I was up for the sunrise but just enjoyed it instead of taking its picture so I think I'll dig back into the archives for a sunrise picture to enjoy today.  I'm hoping for a quiet day once I get through my 15 minutes on the dreadmill.  I know 15 minutes isn't much but I've been pretty sedentary and I'm trying to build a habit so don't want to go overboard at the start.  I can do 15 minutes with minimal muscle aches the rest of the day so I'm motivated to go back the next day for another round.  (see?  I'm thinking all the time.)

January 30--Auippy Photographs, Farmhouse Silhouette.  Claire loved a house with a porch, and not a three-foot-square slab of concrete either.  She wanted a place for a couple of rocking chairs at least, with a nice deep overhang for shade and keeping out the rain.  She wouldn't say no to a wood slat swing hung from chains on one end either.  It was important to know which direction the evening breeze came from too.  Having a house turn its back to the breeze would be bad.  Claire knew her realtor was losing patience with her but they hadn't looked at every house for sale in the county, not quite yet.

I think I'll go knit.  Toodles.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Frustration, Thy Name Is Knitting

I tried to work on my Idea #2 "fer reals" swatch at work yesterday because the software tech person was busy with someone even newer to the program than me, but none of my ideas for gradually decreasing the stitch worked.  So this attempt and the next attempt (that I didn't even grant photo room to) are frogged.  I cast on one motif to see if I couldn't figure out a way to work it into my idea... and that didn't work either.  So, after flinging those needles and yarn back into my basket, I cast on the amount of stitches I thought I'd need for Idea #1.  Not enough.  So I'll be visiting the frog pond again and rejiggering my count to make it the way I want it to be. This sure is fun.

Durwood watches the birds and squirrels most days but by yesterday all of the seed and peanuts and corn I'd put out a few days ago were gone so there was little entertainment out there for him.  So he spent a bit of the afternoon photographing the "snow cone" out there.  See, I left an orange half in the oriole feeder (that's frozen into the ground so it gets to spend the winter outside instead of in the garage) just in case any wintering bird might be interested (they're not) and the little bit of snow we got the other day made it look like a snow cone, he said.  That little bit of snow's mostly melted today.  But at least the freezing rain they said we might get today has decided to stay away.  Whew.

This morning after I went out and spent a few minutes filling feeders the wildlife came back.  While I was filling a chickadee was chattering and flitting back and forth from the birdie tree to the main apple tree, so I guess he/she was the herald that let everyone know that the food was back today.  Mr. Cardinal waited patiently in the secondary apple tree while Mrs. Cardinal visited the feeder.  The Bluejay wasn't so patient, it just swooped in and grabbed a peanut then raced away.

January 29--Brinkerhoff, UFO.  Gail thought it was a trick of the light at first, a reflection of the setting sun off the wing, but it stayed where it was even when the sun went down.  She wasn't one of the crystal gazers, didn't consult tarot cards, or follow the newspaper horoscopes.  She glanced at the businessman seated next to her to see if he had noticed anything odd out the window but he was buried in his computer and he was wearing earbuds.  She tried to do the same, pulling out her Kindle and trying to engage herself in a book.  She even tried to distract herself playing Angry Birds in all its myriad forms, but her eyes kept being drawn back to that little metallic disc keeping pace with the wing.

I would like some sunshine today, please.  It's dreary and gray out there and I feel much better when it's sunny.  So I'd really like some if you could arrange it.  Thank you very much.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Swatching Fer Reals

Last night after supper Durwood and I got the yarn I think I'll need for my BLKG Design-a-Thon idea #2 all moved from hank to yarn cake/ball and I cast on the "fer reals" swatch.  This is my first time to marry stitch with edge and I've only had to rip it out and start over once so far.  (counting's hard)  I still need to get idea #1 cast on and moving.  It'll be pretty much of a coast once I get it up and running (she foolishly says aloud), but it's the getting it up and running part that seems to be a problem. I'll dedicate part of Saturday to that pursuit.  Cross my heart.

This here fan of pages is why I'm not getting any knitting done at work.  I know it doesn't look like 4 weeks worth of work but if you only knew how many times I have to repeat a process, step by step, over and over, to get it boiled down to its essence so that each process is distilled to "do this, then that" so that we can make it work without looking like maroons.  I really think I'm closing in on having learned enough and set up enough that I can go back to my work-knitting time--and stop tearing my hair out in frustration at my continued inability to learn things as fast as I think I should.

It's getting lighter earlier each day and I'm not catching that prime sunup moment.  This is from just outside the patio doors at about 7:30 and while I love the light, it's not that ultimate daybreak instant.  Good enough, though, since I am loath to go out in my undies, hoodie and slippers when it's this chilly and I'd be out front in the driveway.  (I can't be bothered with pants until after my stint on the treadmill, pants make me too hot.) The neighbors do not need to see that early in the morning.

January 28--Stephen Wolf, Many Monuments/Statues Available.  The weather hadn't been kind to him.  Years of exhaust fumes, pigeon droppings, and the freeze and thaw of life in the latitudes above 45 degrees North showed.  His surface was pitted and discolored.  One of his ears and his left arm were gone.  Still Gillian loved him at first sight.  She measured him and asked his weight.  Too heavy for her to move alone but the dealer offered free delivery so he was hers.  By the time he was delivered by a pair of men with more muscles than conversation she had cleared a spot for him in her garden.  She gently twined morning glories around his calves and hung a bird feeder on a branch over his shoulder.  Within a few days she was pouring her heart out to him as she weeded and deadheaded around him, and by the time a week had passed it was as if he had always been there.

Here it is, after 8 o'clock again and I need to go find breakfast and get dressed so I can go battle learning new things yet again.  *sigh* My brain's starting to feel like mush.  Did I say that yesterday?  I might have.  Well, it's still true so I'm not deleting it.  Later, dudes and dudettes.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Done Ducking

As I suspected I didn't have a minute to play with my duck parts at work yesterday but after supper I snagged the bag of parts, a needle, and scissors and got to work.  It only took about an hour to sew on the tail feathers (which I love), then put the beak and eyes on the head before sewing the body closed and the head to the body.  I love it!  It looks just the way I imagined it would.  Now we can sing "with a quack quack here, and a quack quack there..." and have audio-visual aids.  Next comes a potholder/frog puppet but not until after I get my Design-a-Thon entry #1 on the needles (OTN).  

Look what happened last night.  It snowed.  Not a lot but enough that I really should get out there before I drive off and shovel a bit.  *sigh*  I don't really want to but I will.  Because I am a good person.

I'd better be done learning this work software pretty soon.  I'm finding that I'm not learning much in a day and I'm getting more and more frustrated at it.  Is it because I'm 63 and my brain's already pretty full?  Or is it because I need a break from the intensity of the task?  Probably a little of both.  Good thing I'm stubborn and more of a complainer than a quitter.

January 27--Rob Goldman, Carpenter's Rule.  He wore it in a narrow pocket on the left leg of his overalls.  Barbara's hands caressed the worn wooden ruler with its dull brass fittings.  If she closed her eyes she was right back in her grandpa's workshop rich with the fragrance of sawdust, wood smoke from the Franklin stove that chased the winter chill, and Grandpa's ever-present Charles Denby cigars.  She had loved the way the ruler folded up into a compact bundle and the little narrow brass extension that slid out of one end in case a person needed to measure just six more inches.  Of course this ruler wasn't really Grandpa's, that one was long gone, but this one had leaped into her hand out of a jumble in an old bushel basket at the flea market on the fairgrounds.  There weren't a lot of customers on this drizzly day.  She was sure she could negotiate a good price for it.

It's 8 o'clock (I just love "o'clock."  I like the way it looks and I like the way it sounds.) and if I'm going to be a good girl and shovel before I leave for work and still have enough time to stop at the bank, I'd better get a move on.  You have a good day and I hope you're not in the sights of that snowstorm that's blasting the Northeast.  If you are, today would be a good day to stay in your jammies with a book and mug of cocoa.  That sounds like an excellent way to spend a day, doesn't it?


Monday, January 26, 2015

Duck Parts

Saturday afternoon and evening, and all of yesterday our internet and landline phone was out.  No amount of cursing and rebooting of modems did a darned thing.  I called the cable guys on Saturday evening and the customer service tech guy agreed that something was amiss but the earliest time he could get a guy over to check the lines, etc. was this morning.  Turned out to be a defective modem so the guy replaced the new one we had with a new new one and we're up and running.  Good thing the cable wasn't affected because the Pro Bowl was on last night and Durwood's a football fan.  No need for both of us to be frustrated and cranky.

Have you ever bought a knitting pattern book or a decorating book or a cooking book for just one thing that you wanted to make?  I have tried not to, tried to use the library's collection if I could, but sometimes you just have to spend the money.  Last Friday MW brought a box of knitting and craft books for us to sort through and take if we wanted them.  Free books!  I found the 2 in the picture plus another one I had already taken to Office Depot to have it coil bound (it's only $3.50 and makes it so much easier to knit out of) but each book has only one pattern I want to make.  I suppose I could just tear them out but I can't tear up books.  Magazines, yes.  Books, no.

I got all the duck parts crocheted but not put together yet.  I think it's going to be cute.  Old MacDonald's farm is getting more livestock.

There was a good sunup this morning.  I like the blue sky.

January 26--Lightscapes, USFX-11.  The phases of the moon were the engine of Lena's life.  The new moon, nights when no moon showed at all, made her feel like hiding.  The light has gone out of living, she thought as she swathed herself in wispy gray and black shawls to ward off the dark chill.  The waxing moon brought more and more cheer as the cold blue light became brighter and brighter.  She was at her best, her most creative when the moon was full.  Her steps were light and her spirits drank up the force of the tidal pull of the full moon.  She walked in the light of that moon feeling her batteries recharge with every step.  The waning quarters left her more and more drained as each night passed, the moon's face nibbled away until a mere eyelash of light, narrow and sharp, hung high in the western sky.

All-righty then, time to quit procrastinating and get to work.  Every Monday I hope that week will be the one in which I learn enough new computer stuff that I can stop spending every working minute trying to retrain my brain.  My brain's getting tired of stretching to let all the new stuff in.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Finished Objects Day

Today felt like a day to get things done.

This morning I finished the thumb of the second Pink & Fuzzy Mitten and tonight I'll weave in the tails so the pair will be done done.  I still might send them for a little swim and a tumble in the dryer to see if I can't soften the dark magenta cuffs and thumbs a bit.  The hand parts don't need much softening, they've got that crazy eyelash yarn that makes them soft inside and out.  I'm not much of a pink person but, I have to say, these mittens make me smile.  They're just so silly looking.

I put out a call on the BLKG blog for mittens a couple weeks ago.  We haven't had a meeting yet but last night at Friday Night Knitting LB delivered these four pairs of perfectly awesome mittens she whipped up over the last week.  She's a mitten savant.  I can't wait to deliver them to the grade school on Monday, they'll be excited to get them.

I've been paging through a sewing for kids book I got on closeout from Interweave last year (it's where the teepee-to-be pattern is) and my attention got caught by the bib.  It doesn't have ties or snaps or Velcro, it has a crossover neckline like baby undershirts have had since time immemorial (or at least as long as I can remember) so I decided to whip one up.  I used some of the diaper cover fabric I had on hand and binding from Mom.  I even used a fancy little stitch to put on the neck edging but Durwood pointed out that the neck opening might be too small for SomeBaby.  Gosh, I hope not but I reread the pattern and it DID call for making it with knit fabric and this isn't knit so next time that sweet, not-so-little head is in the vicinity I'll try it on her.  I may end up making another one or two out of knit but I don't really care, I had so much fun making this one and it'll fit some baby even if it isn't our baby.  DD's idea of using half-price Xmas wrap for pattern paper worked like a charm.  I just used
tracing paper between the pattern outline and the white back of the paper to transfer the shape and then a Sharpie to transfer the markings, etc.

I washed and blocked my practice stitch swatches this morning and hope to enlist Durwood's hands to get the yarn I want to make the actual designs out of rolled into balls.  I have a swift that he made me but it's more fun for the two of us to sit at the kitchen table, him doing the complicated swooping so the yarn comes off nicely and me cranking the ball winder.

I want to crochet a duck too, and maybe a bathtub fish or two.  I should get off this thing and get moving.  See why I think I need to retire?  I have all this stuff I want to make, I even have the stuff to make it, it's the time I don't have.  I'm off.  Sayonara!

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Light is Coming Back!

I know it's a gradual change but yesterday when I left work I realized that it was still light out at 5 PM.  Light!  When I was getting into my car to drive home!  It didn't last long but still, it was real, actual light.

We had a little company last night so I didn't get to my third fishtail swatch, that would take too much concentration which would be rude.  Instead I cast on the cuff of the other Pink & Fuzzy Mitten.  I love knitting with big yarn and big needles--it goes fast. I keep having to work at work so my daily knitting output has dropped off considerably.  I intend to change that this weekend.

The squirrel population has been very active this morning since I filled all the feeders but everything screeched to a halt when this guy flew in for a look-see.  He left dissatisfied but sure put a stop to the morning romp for a few minutes.  Not many birds yet.

January 23--Ron Sanford & Mike Agliolo, A Grip on the Future.  His hand feels like wires in mine, all sharp angles and cold.  We have to hold hands, they say.  We're supposed to be a team, a couple, but how anyone would ever believe that a flesh-and-blood girl like me would attach herself to a plastic-coated cyborg is beyond me.  I can pretend for the camera.  I'm not a bad actress but when the lights go out I am not crawling into bed with a guy made out of stainless steel and neoprene.

Today's the first day of my weekend and I'm looking forward to knitting and sewing for a few days, not doing chores.  We'll see how that goes.  Can you believe that there's only a week of January left?  I see the dates count up and I am amazed.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Gray Skies & More Tails

It's been ultra dreary around here lately.  I wanted to take a picture of the sunrise.  What I got was barely lightening of the clouds but now less than an hour later there are little stripes of blue-sky hope up there.  See?  Maybe we'll get a ray of sunshine later?  That'd be awesome.

After supper with JM at Hagemeister Park downtown (I had a great time, J, we need to do that again one of these days) I trotted out bigger needles, figured out how many stitches to add for the edging I was thinking of using and made another swatch.  I had hoped to do it at work but Mrs. Boss had other ideas.  She expected me to work at work.  All day.  Imagine that.  (aren't there laws against that?  statutes maybe?  probably not.)  Anyway, I like this fabric even better than the last one.  Today's (or tonight's) swatch will be the last one, incorporating an edge decrease.  That promises to be a much bigger challenge which will involve copious and detailed note taking.  I think I'm up for the challenge.  (or I could be swatching for Design-a-Thon 2016, who can tell?)  It feels kind of odd to realize that I'm liking the swatching, enjoying working out this puzzle I've set for myself, enjoying working to fit a particular pattern into a particular geometric shape.  Yes, Aunt B, I am "hooked" by this pattern.  (an excellent pun for so early in the AM)

January 22--Zack Burris, Postcards.   Janine tugged the box out from between the rafters where the roof met the attic floor.  It took all her courage to stretch her hand out into that dark and dusty unknown.  She kept expecting to feel tiny paws running up her arm or tiny teeth clamped on her fingertips.  Through gritted teeth she said, "come on, come on" as the box slid over the thick layer of dust on the floor.  Once the box was out far enough for her to sit up and pull it into the light she saw that it wasn't cardboard at all.  It was a golden maple box with a tiny gold keyhole below the lid.  "You'd better not be locked after all the trouble I've gone to bringing you into the light."  The lid lifted easily.  She was glad.  She would have hated to ruin the beautiful box just to see what was inside.  The box was filled with letters and postcards, all of them addressed to Miss Alice Hamilton.  Granny Fawn's name had been Alice so this must have been her box and these must be her letters.  Janine's fingers trembled a bit as they lifted the first fragile envelope.  It was pale blue with a purple stamp on it.  She could barely read the address but by tilting it toward the window she saw that it had been sent right to this very house.

That's it for me today.  Time to shower and do all that "going to work" stuff.  *sigh*  It's winter.  I should get to stay home to play with yarn and fabric, maybe take a little couch nap, and get my paycheck in the mail.  That sounds just about right, don't you think?  Never happen.  I'm outta here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


I knitted another swatch last night after supper.  I was going to try some Flemish Block Lace but then I was looking in the index of a lace stitch dictionary and found three "fishy" ones--fish hook lace (meh), fishtail lace panel (getting warmer), and all-over fishtail lace (we have a winner!)--so I grabbed some US#10 needles and cast on a few stitches to try it out.  'Long about the third repeat I somehow lost a stitch and, since it was just a swatch, I made another stitch near an edge and kept going.  That's the reason the upper right part of the swatch looks kind of blank, but I've got more needles (of course I have more needles, sometimes I think I have ALL the needles, until I look for a pair and they're all out waiting around in UFOs [UnFinished Objects] so I have to go on a needle hunt *sigh*).  Today I'm going to take another run at it, this time adding the edge detail I'm thinking about using.  And just so you don't think I think I can remember all I'm doing and trying out, I'm making notes.  I made notes of my ideas and now I'm making notes of my practices. Next I have to figure out how many stitches to cast on for Design #1, wind the yarn into balls, and get going.  They need to be done in... April, yeah, that's right April, so I've got 2 months to knit them up, and we all know that I don't have a lot of stick-to-it-iveness when it comes to knitting projects so this is good training for sticking with one thing from start to finish.  Hmm, maybe I can cast on both projects and knit on them in turns to break up the monotony of project monogamy.  I'll think about it.

January 21--World Map.  From her seat in the plane Maryann watched the setting sun turn the ocean to gold.  She had tried for an aisle seat but this window seat was all that was left.  It was forward of the wing so she'd had a good view of the coastline and the clouds.  She even saw tiny little freighters plying the sea lanes from the southern ocean.  Her book was forgotten when they started flying over islands.  The water turned from deep navy blue to turquoise, light blue, and then white as the coral sand covered islands came into view.  She was mesmerized by the shapes the currents carved into the land.  Once darkness fell it was as if the world below the plane had disappeared.  She watched the horizon to see when the lights of populated islands appeared on the sea like diamonds on black velvet.  On one of the tiniest islands a huge fire lit the night like topaz and rubies.

This is what happens when friends go to Bonaire and I'm knitting fish shapes.  Feels like a yogurt, granola, and blackberries day to me.  Adios!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We Got A Little Snow

Really.  Just enough to barely cover the bare spots in back, nothing too much to shovel, although I will go out there (eventually) to scrape off the driveway.  Ours is pretty slanted so I can't really leave the snow on there.

Last night after supper I got out yarn and needles and cast on the first stitch swatch for my design.  I'm not sure I'm crazy about it so I finished the first 16 rows (one repeat) last night and this morning I upped my needle one size so the next 16 rows will be a bit looser.  I'll see how I like that; I may go up one more.  Turns out I'm a really tight garter stitch knitter (and a really loose purler) so a larger needle might be better.  Time will tell.  I'll see.  (add in anymore cliches you like here)

Today I'm tackling the laundry and changing sheets.  Can't just fritter away a day off, you know, although I wish I could just loll around accomplishing nothing and not feeling guilty about it.  Must be my raft of Germanic ancestors with their stiff spines and tsk-ing tongues.

January 20--David Arky, Clock.  Laura stumbled over something hard in the mess of papers on the floor of Aunt Hattie's house.  How had things gotten so bad so fast?  She used her foot to move papers around to see what she'd hit.  A wall clock like the ones in grade school started up at her.  She could see that the hands had broken off and fallen to lay between the seven and the eight.  Aunt Hattie's cat, Dexter came slinking up from the dark hallway, making her jump.  How the cat moved silently through the drifts of paper and plastic bags was a mystery.  Laura found herself wishing for a big wind to blow clean through the house or maybe a home-model flame thrower to get the job done fast.

Time to find some lunch.  I baked more bread on Sunday and I think I hear it calling my name.  It definitely wants a slice of Gouda cheese on top too.  Don't want to disappoint the homemade bread.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Pink & Fuzzy

I did go downstairs to dig out some fuzzy, novelty yarn to carry along with the pink "hand" yarn of the mitten I made yesterday.  I like the way it looks, don't you?  Some not-too-little girl will love them, I hope.  I want to make the other one so I can drop off the three pairs I'll have at the elementary school later this week.  It's too cold to be without mittens, even though the temps have been up near or above freezing the last few days and will be the same for a couple more.  Our paltry snow cover is melting around trees and places where it's thin.  It looks ragged and sloppy.  Ah, winter in Green Bay is so glamorous.  Not.

A different squirrel decided that peanuts make a good breakfast.  See how it's kind of sitting on the side of the wreath?  The regular peanut-eating squirrel sits boldly up on top of the crook with its back to us, this one's kind of sitting side-saddle.  You can see in the background how the snow's melted.

From the little of the game I saw yesterday it seemed to me that the Packers never really got it together.  I guess too many of them were playing hurt.  But we all know I'm not any kind of football fan so what do I know.  There's always next year, and think of all the other teams that didn't even make it that far.  See?  Totally not a fan.

January 19--Glen Wexler, Snarling Rottweiler.  Globe was growling low in his throat.  Rae felt his body tremble as he pressed his flank to her leg.  She reached down and hooked her fingers through his collar before deciding whether or not to go to the door.  It wasn't very late.  She looked at the clock, only 6:15, darkness was falling.  She had a wild thought, "who would ring the doorbell during Jeopardy!?"  Globe growled again, staring at the front door, and Rae took a step but the big dog didn't move.  Glass broke and a hand reached in to open the locks.  She slipped her fingers out of Globe's collar and whispered, "go."

It's a work day.  It's a payday.  This week I have my normal schedule then there're 2 weeks of working 4 days while Mrs. Boss is off in Fiji.  Keep thinking of the nice fat paychecks you'll get, Barbara, don't whine about working extra days.  Take lots of knitting.  I'm off.  Toodle-oo.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


I cast on the next mitten yesterday afternoon.  (of course, I did)  I'm using some bulky yarn that Lala found when she cleaned out a closet and one size smaller needles but the same Quick & Easy Mittens pattern I got at a one-day class where I learned to make mittens that looked like Muppets.  Hey, I've only got a few rounds made, I should go look for some novelty yarn for the hands of these mittens.  I'll do it.  Later after I get home from lunch with friends.

A couple weeks ago JM Facebooked me a link to Teespring which is a place to have shirts made of your own design but also a place for crowdsourcing special message t-shirts.  This was the one offered and they needed to have so many ordered in order to print them.  I ordered a hoodie and it came on Friday.  I'm wearing it today.  It's snuggly and warm and fuzzy inside and I might not take it off.  Ever.

AT emailed me a blog post about the Bay Lakes Knitting Guild Design-a-Thon the other day.  I figure it's what she would have said to us at the January meeting that was sadly cancelled by a snowstorm and slick roads.  I know that this bunch of hardy Wisconsin women wouldn't have been deterred by a mere snowstorm but bad roads took it over the top so the meeting was cancelled.  It was a good, safe decision but it pushed back the whole Design-a-Thon thing a month.  I was thrilled that AT sent such a thorough post and it made me get out my design notebook, the yarn I'm planning to use, and the stitch dictionary with the stitch I plan to use to create my masterpiece.  Thanks, AT, that was a much needed nudge.

January 18--Bill Westheimer, MI.1144.X  Layne lay in the grass and reached her hand up to the sky.  Puffy white clouds floated in the bright blue.  She enjoyed it until she realized that she could see the clouds through her hand.  She jerked her hand back and rolled onto her side to get her hand out of the sun.  She peeked at her hand held close to her belly and it looked all right.  She couldn't see the clover or her purple shorts through it.

I know you're wondering--the shrimp primavera Durwood made for supper was delicious.  I'm off to Sammy's for pizza with AT and VJ.  I swear I'll vacuum when I get home before I sit down and knit.  Cross my heart.  Talk to you tomorrow.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Now I Have Two

Two mittens, that is.  Last night after supper I picked up my needles and by bedtime I had Lightning Mitten #2 done, all except for the thumb which I did in a jiffy this morning.  (Lala suggested the name.  I think Lightning is a good name for the way this yarn made up, don't you?)  The next yarn I want to use, yarn that Lala gave to me, is a bit skinnier than the previous yarn so I'm using the same pattern and the same stitch count but smaller needles and keeping my fingers crossed that they'll fit some kid.  I think they will.  I love this pattern because it's only 18 stitches around using big yarn and big needles.  It goes fast.

This morning I realized that tomorrow would be the 14th day of the life of our latest batch of Italian Semolina bread dough so I had to bake it all up or lose it.  (Too bad.)  Durwood and I had to sit in the house this afternoon bombarded by the aroma of baking bread.  (Poor us.)  Now we've got two more loaves of this bread that we have to eat.  (What a pity.)  I'll get the slicer up tomorrow so he can get it all sliced and then we'll put one loaf in the freezer just to save it from being gobbled up too fast.  Oh, it makes excellent toast and Durwood says it's great with homemade raspberry jam.  I'll take his word for it, I'm not a raspberry fan.  I like it toasted with a slice of Gouda cheese on it.

Yesterday afternoon the Sharp-shinned Hawk was back hunting in the back yard.  It learned really quickly that the birds shelter in the birdie tree so it comes and perches on the chair to see what it can see.  It's hard to pick sides in that situation, everybody needs to eat and we love seeing how sleek and focused the hawk is.  I wonder if it's a girl or a boy.  None of the bird books show how to tell.  It's probably a size thing.

January 17--Clark James, Blizzard.  The snow blew across the road in thick bands of white.  Alice's hands were clamped on the steering wheel and her shoulders were hunched up somewhere around her ears.  It had been at least an hour since she'd seen a lighted house or business on the side of the state highway.  All she had for a reference were the taillights of the semi a few lengths ahead.  She had stopped noticing the road signs a while back and hoped she was still on Highway 47, not blindly following the truck to somewhere she'd never heard of.  Too bad her GPS had died six miles away from home.  She took a deep breath and let it out, forced her shoulders back into place, and flexed her fingers one had at a time to get some feeling back into them.

I can still smell baking bread.  Man, it smells good.  Would it be so wrong to have butter bread and toast with cheese for supper, with maybe buttered toast and jam for dessert?  Oh wait, Durwood's making Shrimp Primavera.  Maybe we can feast on bread, toast, cheese, and jam tomorrow night.

Friday, January 16, 2015

All I Have Is One Mitten

Mrs. Boss was at work most of yesterday and we managed to get some POS (Point Of Sale) questions answered, hear about the next level of set-up and function (trust me, there's layers and layers of new things to learn), and go out to lunch.  We're both so strung out with the craziness of new POS after new POS (all that learning) we closed the store at noon and went to Happy Joe's for their lunchtime buffet of salad and pizza.  When we got back she waited on a (non-buying) customer while I got busy setting up the beginning of the Rental program which is waaaaay different from anything we used before.  That took me almost all of the rest of the day.  While I did that she went through the mounds of old files I'd weeded out when she was gone on her cruise, only returning four of them to the drawers but removing eight more in the process.  The recycling bin is well-fed and we've got a huge stack of those green hanging folders to find a place for.  I'm thinking bonfire. (Not really but it sounded smart-ass-ish so I went with it.  I'm a big fan of being a smart-ass.)
Once I got the first Rental set-up task done it was almost 4 PM, Mrs. Boss had left, so I got out my yarn and cast on a mitten.  I've had this yarn for a bit and thought it'd be perfect for kid mittens.  Not little kid mittens, medium-sized kid mittens, you know, 4th or 5th grade size kids.  I got the cuff done at work and then picked it up after supper to finish it.  I like it.  I'll get the other one made, maybe not today but for sure tomorrow, and then I've got some random yarn Lala gave me to make more.  I'm in a mitten mood, can you tell?

January 16--Al Cook, All Eggs in One Basket.  Donna looked at the mess.  It was such a waste, broken eggs spilled out of the basket with the broken handle.  Maybe she could scrape up most of the egg.  It'd be a chore to pick out all the shell but she couldn't stand to throw it all away.  The kids were hungry.  She and Tom were hungry too.  Mr.s Mason had given her the basket of eggs and the handle had broken as she'd walked in the door of their trailer.  Before the thought had been fully formed she was on her knees, spatula in hand, carefully easing the merely cracked eggs into a pie plate.  She'd pick out the shell fragments and scramble the rest with some chives from the yard.  Who would even know?

There are two books, two actual paper books with hard covers even, waiting for me at the library.  I think I'll run over and get them this morning.  The Attic Cafe & Books had a "Slow Reading Club" for a while in the fall, I never got there and now they're not having it anymore, but I like the idea and think I'll use these books to slow down to read and only do one thing at a time.  I'll probably have to plug in earbuds with music playing to help block out other temptations but I'm going to give it a whirl.  I need to remember how to single-task again.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Spooky Dawn Moon

Around 6:30 this morning I nipped out to nab the newspaper (alliteration, anyone?) and glanced up to see the half-moon through creepy clouds and the branches of a bare maple tree.  Naturally I scampered for the camera and took a shot.  An hour later the sky looked benign with battleship gray clouds and peachy-pink streaks of sunlight.  See what a difference an hour makes?

Last night I whipped up a batch of lentil soup (sorry, forgot to take a picture) and was knitting on the Choco-Cherry Hat that I started last weekend while it simmered.  I laid the hat on the table and said, "this looks big."  Durwood, the biggest headed person in the family, said, "yeah, it does," tried it on and said, "it's a little loose."  I knew that if it was loose on him, it'd be disastrously loose on a grade school kid.  So off to the frog pond it went.  Happily Durwood is eager to help when I'm wrangling yarn from hank to ball or failed hat to ball, and this was 2 strands held togehter which makes it an even bigger challenge to frog and wind.  Since this yarn is from a mill ends bag none of the "skeins" are the same size, so I scrounged around to find a couple small pieces that made them a bit more even, tied (gasp!) them together, snipped off the last few feet of the long one, and got to work.  Between us we managed to turn a half-hat into this tidy ball of double-strand yarn.  It will become a hat again, just not right away.  I need to observe a suitable mourning period but, never fear, the Choco-Cherry hat will rise again, after all, there are mittens that need a matching hat.

January 15--Al Francekevich, Giant Key.  Setting goals and achieving them is the key to success.  That's what the sign over the building's front door said.  If it hadn't been so high up Micah would have spat on it.  He had been working hard, setting goals, and meeting them over and over for forty years.  He might as well have been spinning his wheels in mud for all the progress he had made.  Today was his last day at Amalgamated Widget.  He was the oldest middle manager in the place and he was tired.  Tired of the rat race.  Tired of kissing ass and sucking up and getting nowhere.  He was done.  He was going fishing.  Tomorrow.

Well, that's cheerful, isn't it?  Mrs. Boss was in yesterday and we played with the new POS together.  She was a bit iffy about it until I pointed out that 10 days into using the previous new POS system there was no way in hell we'd have been able to figure out what we wanted to do, do it, screw it up, and redo it without tearing our hair out, cussing a blue streak, and calling the tech.  This is better.  SO much better.  I get to do it again today.  Yippee.  I'm off.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Better'n Sliced Bread

Well, since it is sliced bread that subject's a misnomer but I wanted an excuse to show you the latest loaf that floated out of the oven on the aroma of baking bread and sesame seeds.  I told you that only 3 slices of the entire batch I took to The Clearing last weekend came home and Durwood made short work of them, and I think I also told you that as soon as the last loaves of that first batch of dough were in the oven I mixed up another batch in the same container so it could mature in the fridge while I was gone.  It was ready when I got home, so after supper I formed a loaf, let it rise, sprinkled it with sesame seeds (an easy-to-make cornstarch wash is what makes them stick), and baked it.  While I was out and about erranding yesterday Durwood sliced it.  See, years (and years and years) ago he won a sales contest and received so many points out of a prize catalog that I think he spent the last few on a 3-pack of socks.  He ordered our first microwave (which I thought was a waste of counter space and we'd only use to heat up coffee and baby food, silly me) along with a completely useless set of microwave cookware (who needs special stuff when there's Pyrex?), a small set of Le Creuset cookware (that we still use), a KitchenAid stand mixer with every available attachment (also still in use), a fishing pole (that hasn't been wet in decades), and a small slicer (which I also thought was a waste of points).  That slicer is a wonder when you bake bread.  You can set the thickness and zoom through the loaf and you don't end up with one extra-wide slice and the next one paper-thin.  It cuts slab bacon and anything else you can make fit the blade and slide on the platform thing.  I love it.  Even though it's not in constant use, it sure is handy to have.  It lives on the "kitchen" shelves Dad built under the basement stairs if you ever need to borrow it.

Last Thursday when I was at Walmart getting my new phone I cruised the computer printer aisle just to look because my current one was making a sound like I imagine the old-time printing presses used to make so I knew it was only a matter of time before it crapped out.  There was an HP printer/scanner/copier on the shelf for $50.  Fifty bucks!  You read that right,and it wasn't on sale.  I knew that my paycheck for last week would be a bit higher so I waited until after payday (so mature and grownup of me, don't you think?) and I got it yesterday.  I can even return the USB cable I bought (doesn't it grind your behind that they don't include one and the printer can't run without it? it does mine.) because the one from the old printer works on the new one.  (way to save $15, Barbara!)

Yesterday afternoon I was playing with my new phone and managed to disappear two of the icons--the phone and camera--and I couldn't for the life of me figure out where they'd gone or how to get them back, there's absolutely no help in the User Guide, and I have no resident young people.  So after supper I got in the car and went to the mall (god, I hadn't been there in years) and a nice young man in the AT&T store helped me.  I'm sure I'll be back there because I've already disappeared the picture of LC I put on the "lockscreen" and replaced it with some GPS app stuff (how?  I have no idea.) but I did manage to change that for a shuffle of all my Facebook pix.  I'd like to know how to pick one and make it stick but I'm satisfied for now.  For. Now.  I should be done buying electronics for a while since I'm typing on the new laptop that I got last fall before my week at The Clearing.  New laptop, new phone, new printer--yeah, done for quite a while.

January 14--Robert Llewellyn, Untitled.  Orange sunset light fell over their clasped hands.  Their bodies lay facing in opposite directions as if they were pulling each other when they fell.  Inspector Graves stood with the polished toes of his black shoes millimeters from the hands.  He held his own hands behind his back as if reaching to touch was too tempting.  "Do we know who they are?" he asked no one in particular.  The crime scene techs and the officers in the area looked at each other.  Graves straightened and laughed.  "Well, don't all speak at once.  This isn't a graded course, speak up."  Behind him he heard a sigh and the rustle of notebook pages.  He turned to see Officer Miller frowning at her notes.  "As they're both men we don't think they're a couple."  Graves raised his eyebrow at her.  She cleared her throat and went on.  "Crime Scene found a wallet in the breast pocket of that one."  She pointed at the man in the camel topcoat.  "His name is Hermann Reinhold from Milwaukee.  The other one has no ID."  She tucked her notebook back into her pocket.  "There are ligature marks on both wrists."  She let out a long breath and fell silent.  "See, now that wasn't so hard, was it?" said Graves to the group.  "Let's find out what Herr Reinhold was supposed to be doing today instead of dying in my county and who his boon companion is."

Sorry, BFW, I know this isn't finished but it's at least more story than I usually write at night.  Yes, there's more "next" to it but I haven't got a clue what it is.  Sorry.  God, it's a dreary day.  I'm going to have to wear a full-spectrum lamp as a hat to survive the day with any cheer at all. I'm thinking there's homemade toast with huckleberry jam in my breakfast future.  Toddle-oo!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Winter Hawk

Durwood and I joke that we provide a hawk buffet, especially in the winter.  Our raft of feeders attracts all sorts of birds which attracts a couple different hawks.  Yesterday Durwood was thrilled to see a Sharp-shinned Hawk land on a feeder crook and watch for its opportunity to dive into the birdie tree after one of the birdies hiding inside.  He didn't say if the hunt was successful but it sure is amazing to watch it unfold before your eyes.

I get to see a tamer side of nature.  This morning a well-behaved squirrel sat and nibbled at the corn feeders in back and the badly-behaved squirrel scaled the Slinky-wrapped crook and leaped to the peanut wreath, hung upside down to wriggle one out, and then sat with his back to us to eat it.  The yin and yang of your average Midwestern tree rat.

It's snowing today, but not enough to shovel.  It's the kind of snow that looks like someone in Hollywood's idea of Christmas snow--medium-sized flakes falling in near slow motion with no wind.  The last time it snowed Durwood captured a picture of this miserable bird at the birdbath.  I think it's a mourning dove but I can't tell.  Look at that, it's so miserable the other bird is zooming off.

January 13--Lamarr Clifton, Yosemite National Park, California.  The water rushes down the canyon so hard it shoves rainbows into the air.  The water roars and bullies its way over boulders the size of SUVs.  Marley knows that no one would hear her if she yelled as loud as she could.  On this side of the river the rocks are dry and the footing is good.  She reminds herself to keep an eye on the wind direction.  A slip could mean a broken ankle and no one would ever hear her cries for help.  Enough wildlife comes down to drink that she's sure a broken ankle would put her at the top of the menu for the local grizzlies.  She shoulders her pack and heads up toward the treeline.

It's a nice-ish day and I'm off work.  I have a crap-load of errands to do but I'm not fussed.  I do, however, wish I was sitting next to this mug of tea and looking out this window.