Sunday, January 31, 2016

Mis en Place

That's a fancy French cooking term for getting your sh*t together before you start.  It's a really good idea, especially if you don't always remember to put all the ingredients into things.  This way you chop, slice, brown (in the case of the Italian sausage pictured), open, and measure before beginning, therefore having all of your sh*t ready to sling into the pot or skillet as it's called for.  This morning I made Hearty Minestrone Soup from the Taste of Home website.  Well, that's where I started, anyway.  I found the recipe on Friday and knew I wanted to make it mostly out of things we already had so I started my hunt.  Miraculously, we had a pound of sweet Italian sausage in the freezer, we always have onions, celery, and bell peppers, we have a good stockpile of canned diced tomatoes too, and broth (just in case a couple commenters were right and it wasn't soupy enough; it wasn't; I put in 2 cups).  Another of the commenters said she cooked up and added a cup of tiny pasta, we even had that.  (little rings.  how cute are they?)  What we didn't have was 6 cups' worth of zucchini.  Hmm, evidently this was a recipe written in the desperation of zucchini harvest time, which is great if it's September and you can't turn off your zucchini plants, but it's January and zucchini ain't cheap these days.  What we did have was a bag and a half of frozen mixed veggies plus Durwood made some stew last night and had too much kohlrabi to put in (really? is there really such a thing as too much kohlrabi?) so he gave me the overage for my soup.  I measured 6 cups of that and, presto, we have soup.  It looks good.  It smells great.  I'll let you know how it tastes after lunch.

We had a peek-a-boo sunrise today.  I don't even want to think what the weather's going to be this week.  Right now it's just under 40 degrees and it's kinda drizzling.  Sometime in the next 48 hours they're predicting all hell breaking loose--snow and wind and ice and... and... and tornadoes down South.  Watch, we'll get all geared up for Armageddon and the storm will split to go around Green Bay (does it all the time, I think it has something to do with the big body of water just up the road).  I'd be just fine with that, but I've got the feeling that the storm's drawn a bead on us and we're doomed.

I got the sock foot knitted to 7" last night.  One more inch to knit and then the toe decreases begin.  I want to get it done before plunging into my BLKG Design-a-thon knitting.  (must remember to write it down as I make it up, have to hand in the pattern with the product...)

No hawks today, only a male Downy Woodpecker having suet for breakfast.

January 31--Russ Bishop, Parker Ranch, HI.  The grass looked like a thick green carpet over the lumpy field.  Century-old fenceposts straggled like rotten teeth in a line as far as Minnie could see.  "This is not the way I imagined Hawaii looks."  She sat in the front seat of the Jeep feeling displaced and confused.  "I suppose you were imagining white sand beaches and swaying palms," said Roger, laughing.  She scowled at him.  "Yes, exactly, a pineapple plantation instead of a cattle ranch."  She tipped her head back.  "Only the sky is right, blue with puffy, white clouds.  That's what I had in mind."  His warm laugh rolled out as he put the Jeep in gear and drove down the rutted lane to the low house visible in the valley below.

I know I say this at the end of every month, but I can't believe January's over already.  Time... zoom.  I'm going to strip the beds today.  Fresh sheets for everybody!  That means laundry too.  Oh well, I want to sew today so doing laundry's easy since I'll be down there anyway..  Aloha.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


I was jealous when Durwood called me at work the other day to say that first the Cooper's hawk came looking for lunch and as soon as it flew away the smaller, Sharp-shinned hawk arrived to survey the buffet.  Both went away disappointed, as did this Cooper's hawk yesterday.  I just love the sharp-eyed way they scan the feeders and the birdie tree.  Sometimes they even plunge right into the birdie tree after prey but they're rarely successful.

The sunset last night was gorgeous.  I am constantly disappointed when the deep, vivid colors I see in the sky look so pale on "film."

At Friday Night Knitting I finished the first sleeve of the Hello Hamish cardi and got the stitches of the second one onto DPNs, then I knitted rounds on the foot of the Jelli Beenz sock.  Sock feet are good, mindless, conversational knitting.

You know you live in "farm" country when the van next to you in the grocery store parking lot has this painted on the side...

It's a company that checks that cows are in heat and then artificially inseminates them if they are.  I wondered if the driver was buying beef...

January 30--Chipp Jamison, Aspen Grove.  The trees were so close together you could barely see through them.  It looked impossible to walk between them.  It had been a long hike to get to this point.  Jenn stood in the middle of the small meadow staring at the trees.  There were so many of them and they were so close together that they seemed like a single organism with lots of stems.  She shook her head and moved closer.  "I do not want to go around, there has to be a way through."  She eyed the trees, searching for a wider gap, one that would let her slip into the grove and slide on through.  Soon she was sorry that she hadn't gone around.  Branches snagged her clothes and hair, and roots seemed to rise up to make her stumble.  She had lost all sense of direction, for all she knew she had been walking in a circle all the time.

I was out at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts today and once again I could barely tear my eyes away from the Chihuly chandelier.  I want to touch it, to examine it from every angle, take it apart to see every oddball, twisted component.  It's breathtaking, and I've probably seen in twenty-five times since it was installed in 2004.  The man is a genius.  That is all.

Friday, January 29, 2016

I Am Now In Charge

First, see the pretty pale orange vapor trails in the blue blue blue sky this morning?  Ahh.  Even though it was so cold most of the birdbath water was ice I still was happy to see clear sky.

I met with Linda B this morning over coffee at Panera and she handed over the reins of all the internet knitting parts of the Bay Lakes Knitting Guild pantheon.  Thankfully she volunteered to be my backup.  So now I have to carefully plan my way so as to remain a benevolent dictator, uh, blogger and Facebook-er.  And I get to learn new tech-y things.  Yay!  (I may have to rent a teenager for a while...)

I went to Payless Shoes in the mall on my way home from work anticipating that they'd have the boots from the Appleton store for me to try.  They didn't.  And, yes, I did ask one of the clerks who went into the back and found the note with my name on it so I was reassured that I wasn't forgotten.  About fifteen minutes after I got home the phone rang, it was Payless calling to tell me that the boots were there and I could come in at my convenience.  You have got to be kidding me, I thought, but said, "Really?  I was just there and a girl with brightly dyed hair couldn't find them."  I tried to be nice but I think she heard the frustration.  Today after my meeting I went back, tried the boots on, and brought home one pair.  Now I'm done buying shoes for another five or ten years.  (What?  I don't wear them out and don't follow fashion.  I'm good.)

It was busy at work, customers and new stock, so I didn't get to knit there yesterday (which I sort of prefer since then my paycheck feels less like a cheat) but I did start the first sleeve on the Hello Hamish cardi after supper.  I'm going to make it a little longer than the pattern says since the body's bigger and I made that a bit longer, more symmetrical.

January 29--James Robinson, Tunnel of Trees.  It was at least ten degrees cooler under the trees.  Marcia sighed with relief as the shade washed away the feeling that the sun was pounding on her head.  She stood still, absorbing the sudden quiet, listening to the soft chirps of birds drown out the city sounds.  She looked down the alley of trees to see that she wasn't the only one taking refuge there.  People strolled along, stopping to examine a leaf or the symmetry of branches, a few even broke the unwritten rule of city life and spoke to one another.

It's sunny and I feel like having cheese toast for lunch.  What one of those things has to do with the other I do not know but nevertheless I'm off to slap some cheddar on a sandwich thin and slip it under the broiler.  Later.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The End, Instead of The Beginning, of the Day

Last night I caught the barest bit of sunset out the back door of the dive shop.  There are lots of wires crisscrossing my view but I think I dodged them pretty well.  I don't know why I'm so entranced with the sky, I didn't used to be, but now I look at it all the time.  It's often very pretty up there.  You should look up more, it's worth the glance.

I wore one of my new cardigans to work yesterday and felt quite stylish, if I do say so myself.  Today I get a haircut on my way to the shop so I'll wear something that hair schnipples won't show on or dig into.  Today I'm all about expedience instead of style, and also today I should probably go to the mall on my way home to see if the brown version of the black boots I bought fit.  One of the clerks volunteered to pick them up at the Appleton store last night to save me the trip, wasn't that nice?

Yesterday I finished knitting the body of the Hello Hamish sweater, next I pick up the sleeve stitches and knit those.  It's bigger than it should be (check gauge next time, Barbara) but babies rarely shrink so I think it'll be okay.  I'm still debating what color to knit the I-cord edging with but am leaning toward rainbow since I want to make a matching hat too.  That way it'll be unisex.

After supper I finished decreasing the gusset and plunged into the foot of the Jelli Beenz sock.  I think the whole heel area looks too big until I remind myself that I made the whole leg in ribbing which really pulls that part in.  It'll be okay (she says with her fingers mentally crossed).

Oh, I got a call yesterday at 9:20 AM to say that my tire wasn't in yet, so sorry, but they had a loaner car I could use to go to work.  Thank. God.  So the guy came and picked me up (it's less than a mile), I dropped him off on my way past, and I got to work on time, early even.  Then on my way home, I traded the loaner for my real car, so it's all fixed and I have four non-punctured tires.  For the time being.  I'm not making any sweeping statements.

January 28--Keith Lanpher.  Sheila ran. She not only ran on the unified school district Cross-Country team, she ran every day, all day.  She ran to school, she ran home.  She ran errands, she ran to think, she ran away, she ran toward.  Everyone in the neighborhood was used to seeing her running.  People asked each other why she ran.  A few thought that her home life must be bad for her to run so much.  Others thought she had watched Forrest Gump too many times.  When anyone asked her why, she smiled, shrugged, and ran away.

I get to go get a haircut soon so I'd better jack some pictures on here and head out.  Have a... day.  (It's Thursday, what can you really say about Thursday?)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Aren't Icicles Pretty?

I know that they're generally not a good sign, roof-wise, but I sure do like seeing their little selves sparkling in the early morning light.  I think our roof is okay though, we've got those Gutter Helmet things (I highly recommend them; since we had them installed I haven't been out clearing downspouts in thunderstorms once) so the icicles aren't on the roof, per se, they're on the gutters.  Totally different.  Totally.

It's hard to see in my picture but there's a little blue sky peeking through out there.  Makes me feel quite human for a few minutes.  It isn't supposed to last long, more light snow this afternoon, probably around drive time, but for now there's a little sun poking out.  I'll take it.

I didn't do any sewing or knitting yesterday, too busy, but I was thinking about how to make a play sink for LC's play kitchen collection and I think I've got it.  (She's one smart cookie.  I was talking to her about features she might like and told her Meemaw would sew it up.  She turned and pointed to the basement door and said, "In there."  I don't think she's ever seen me sew so how did she know where that happened?  What'd I tell you, a very smart cookie.)  I dug out two patterns, one is a fabric box and the other is the foldable travel tray.  I'll use the brown/gray cotton for the outside, it matches her placemat stove and microwave, and the natural canvas for the inside.  There's stiffener there so it'll hold its shape but I'm most excited about partially lining the inside with the graded blue so it looks like there's water in the sink and I'll sew the lace ruffle around the top of the blue so there's "suds" on the water.  Next up is cobbling the two patterns together to try to match the image in my head.  I'll keep you posted.

In the "You Have GOT To Be Kidding" Department--when I got into my car to leave yesterday morning the "check tire pressure" light was on so I zoomed over to the BP station and pumped it up.  Sometimes cold can make tires lose air; I figured that's what happened.  Until I got into it again in the late afternoon to discover it was low again.  I stopped at Joe's and he found a big nail in my other rear tire.  I almost cried.  I was on a time crunch so he overinflated it so I could get to where I was going and back, then Joe gave me a ride home.  It should be ready this morning so I can go to work but... REALLY?????  At least I'll have two new rear tires.  The last one was at Christmas so I said I got a new tire from Santa.  So now Happy Valentine's Day?  Gah.

January 27--Jamie Bloomquist/Outside Images, #CLMB0-02102.  Jack and Gary leaned into the wind.  Blowing snow pellets stung their faces and made small popping sounds as they hit their arctic suits.  The men were roped together, they wore crampons for traction, and used their ice axes to steady themselves.  Even in the midst of the storm neither man wore his hat, the exertion heated them up and at this altitude sweating could be deadly.  Jack was in the lead and he had slowed his pace so that the line between them hung slack.  A few times Gary had nearly stepped in a loop of the rope.  Getting tangled in it would be the first mistake that could end their trip badly.  Gary talked to himself as he plodded along.  "I wanted to go diving in Palau.  It's warm and sunny there and the water isn't solid.  I'll bet they have drinks with little umbrellas too.  No, we had to come to some god-forsaken mountain range in Too Remote to Name, Canada to freeze our balls off and go snow blind.  I need my head examined."  He nearly bumped into Jack who said, "Did you say something?"  "No, not really."  "Well, it's your turn to lead."  As Gary turned to walk he felt the ground beneath his feet shake.  He was behind a house-size boulder when an avalanche swept around him.  He felt a slight tug on the safety line.  When the slide had gone he was struck by the silence.  "Man, Jack, that was something, wasn't it?"  No response.  He pulled on the line and soon had the torn end in his hand.

And that's when I ran out of pages in the notebook.  I start a new one tonight.  I get about 6 months' worth of nightly prompts in one book.  I use those old-fashioned composition notebooks, not college ruled so I have lots of room on the lines to write.  By the time I'm writing my handwriting's all over the place.  Gotta get done getting ready so when they bring my car I can run out and zoom off.  Toodles.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

We Got Snowed On

But nothing like the East Coast got last week, only 3 or 4 inches overnight.  That meant this is what my neighborhood looked like when I finished blowing the snow out of the driveway around 7 AM.  Isn't it pretty?  The birdfeeders all had pretty snow caps on them too.  I confess that I went out later and cleared them all off when I filled the feeders but for a few minutes they looked like a Christmas card.

Yesterday at work I knitted on the Jelli Beenz sock.  I decided to keep the flap and turn the way it was and pick up the gusset stitches and just keep on  knitting.  After supper I knitted a few rows on the Hello Hamish sweater.  I didn't take its picture but, trust me, it's a little longer than the last time you saw it.

January 26--Pictorial, #S031.6.7.  The day's last light stretched rad and gold across the sky, turning the lake to a molten sheet.  Jan and Tom stood watching the sun set, their arms around each other.  "Remember the first time we stood here?" Tom asked.  Jan snuggled against him.  "Mm-hm.  You were a counselor at Camp Win-a-mac and I was a carhop at Chalkie's Drive-in in town.  I thought you were out of my league, just a summer fling for a college man."  Tom tightened his hold.  "Not a summer fling.  The moment I laid eyes on you I knew it was forever."

Trite but awwww.  The sun's out and I think I'll grab the snow shovel and clear the driveway a bit better.  Or not.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Not Talking About Style Today

So you're saved a repeat of yesterday's whine, although I will say that the brown boots are going back to DSW.  I meant to wear them to work today but walking around the house I noticed that the top digs into my lower shin when I walk.  I'm not a fan so back they go.

I made those baked apples I talked about yesterday.  Durwood found a Weight Watchers recipe for baked apple apple pies, we had the apples and some aging pie crust dough so off I went.  The recipe said to cut the core out of the whole apple, then scoop out the flesh with a melonballer, leaving a 1/4" shell.  To me that sounded like a recipe for frustration and disaster.  Plus each serving was meant to be an entire large Granny Smith apple.  That seemed like a lot, so I cut the apples in half, stem to blossom end, cut out the core with a paring knife, and then used a grapefruit knife to cut out the flesh--and I still pierced the skin in a couple places.  Then you chop up the apple, toss it with brown sugar and cinnamon, mound it back into the apple shells, put on a little lattice crust, and drizzle it with a mixture of apple juice and maple syrup, then bake for 30 minutes or so.  They were good, not sweet enough for Durwood, but good.  We'll make them again, next time using Honeycrisp apples.

A couple weeks ago Kay on Mason Dixon Knitting talked about a new journal she's keeping and put on the link to the method.  I clicked and was intrigued.  It's called the Bullet Journal, subtitled an analog journal for the digital age.  So far I'm really just using mine as a calendar and to-do list but I can see how it will soon become a repository for creative ideas, menus, Investment Cooking plans, etc.  A couple years ago DD gave me a gridded notebook that I used a few pages of to organize novel ideas but that didn't pan out so I razored out the first couple pages, unearthed my Waterman pen (a real fountain pen with real ink cartridges and everything), watched the video, checked out a few journals on Pinterest, and plunged in.  I love writing with a real pen again.  It seems so... civilized.

Focusing on sock knitting for the last month motivated me to unearth the Jelli Beenz sock and work on it again.  Last night I finished the leg, knitted the heel flap, and turned the heel.  I'm not sure I'm a fan of the flap, I may rip it out and have another go at it but, look, sock!  I finished joining Sudoku block #6 and weaved in the tails this weekend too.  Six down, three to go.

January 25--Rae Russel, Delaware Elder.  The last time I saw my grandmother Irene Pounding Waves was the summer after my freshman year of college.  Mom forced me to go along, all four of us kids crammed in the minivan with the luggage.  My nearest brother, Tim, two years and eight days younger than me, sprawled across the way-back seat with his headphones clamped on his ears like he was on life support.  The littles, Gina, seven, and Dougie, four and a half took up the second row of seats with their booster car seats.  That left me riding shotgun next to Mom.  Dad stayed home.  He had to work.  I wanted to work too.  Mrs. Sampson needed help at her grocery store parking lot plant business and she said I could work as many hours as I wanted.  It was easy work and I liked plants so I was all set to start but Mom said first I had to go see Grandma Irene, that she was old and sick and wouldn't be around much longer.  I thought if I had to hear Grandma's rambling stories about how it was in the old days I would scream.

It is so dim and so dreary today that my instinct is to burrow under the covers and just let it pass but I have to go to work because Mrs. Boss is off diving in Dominica this week and somebody has to work.  That'd be me.  I'm off.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Disclaimer:  this has turned out to be a long-winded ramble about my wardrobe so please feel free to skip over it if you don't give two hoots in a hollow log on the subject.  You're welcome.

I've been reading Karen Templer's blog, Fringe Association, for about a year and she's all about fashion, style, and either making your own clothes or buying them from non-sweatshop retailers so I've been giving my "style" some thought for quite a while now.  I like to sew, I like to knit so I should be able to create a mix & match wardrobe in my signature style, right?  After months of contemplation and analysis of my current wardrobe I have come to the conclusion that my style is "day laborer" with a side of "dressed in the dark."  All of the shoes I wear on a daily basis are Avia Avi-motion, rocker bottomed shoes I scrounge off the internet (they don't make them anymore because the shoe makers advertised that they were fitness shoes and would tone and lift your butt; it was a lie) because wearing them really help my legs muscles and lower back not ache at the end of the day, but I suspect they say "fitness walking" or "I have absolutely no style."

Same with my bottoms... I have four decent pairs of jeans, one raggedy pair, a couple pairs of chino-type pants that I seldom, if ever, wear, and one pair of black linen cropped pants that I really like but never wear.  Last fall I bought 3, no, 4 pairs of "jeggings" on sale at Walmart that I tend to wear on weekends because they don't have pockets and I like pants with pockets for my hankie and lip balm at work.  I have four or five skirts that I made a few years ago that I like and mean to wear in the spring and summer but usually don't manage to--mostly because of my shoe situation, I think.

...and tops.  Some of my tops are so old that I bought them in the last century.  No, really.  I have a few remaining Eddie Bauer solid color tees (short- and long-sleeved) that are great to wear under things, like my equally ancient flotilla of Eddie Bauer cotton, sweatshirt sweaters in various colors.  These I accessorize with hand-knitted shawls and shawlettes that I have made.  Sometimes I wear a long-sleeved tee with a cardigan sweater (some I have made, others I've purchased) or under a "big" shirt.  I'm a big fan of the "big" shirt over a tee and jeggings or jeans. I don't think that's a "style" but it's what I've got and, honestly, what makes me feel like I look good and put together.

This being the time of year when clothes seasons change and stuff is on clearance I browsed the racks in Walmart on Friday night and found three things--a black and white striped knit "swing" jacket (that I"m crazy about), a black and khaki paisley knitted "swing" sweater, and a mens button up shirt in khaki--all for $40.  I still had boots on my mind so when I went back to Walmart today I looked in the shoe department and didn't find anything, but a woman ahead of me in the (endless) checkout lane said she got some cute boots at Payless so I cruised over there after I checked out.  At ShopKo (which has Payless shoes) I found a gray and white big plaid flannel shirt for $10 and some boots I liked on sale.  Naturally they didn't have my size there but the clerk called around, found some, and had the mall store (the mall store, ugh) put some aside for me.  Then she gave me the slip of paper she'd printed off in her search and told me to give it to the clerk if I bought the boots.  I did and got $4 off the already sale price, so the black "suede" boots were $16.  Since I was in the neighborhood I swung into DSW and found the brown boots on the clearance rack for $21 or 50% off the sale price.

Part of me feels bad because I am absolutely certain that the nearly $100 worth of attire I bought this weekend was made in sweatshops and everything but the last pair of boots was bought in a big box, discount department store, but then I feel like I've made a baby step toward looking less like a "day laborer" and more like "an active woman of a certain age comfortable with herself."  That's what I'm striving for.  I want to look like me--happy with myself and my life, and more interested in learning new things and having experiences than agonizing over what to wear.  But I can't wait to wear some of my new boots to work tomorrow.

January 24--Larry Bercow, Smiling Bow Tie & Suspenders.  Greg was an anachronism-a nice guy in round glasses, a hand-tied bow tie, and suspenders.  At a time when successful men all dressed alike in dark, Italian cut suits, rep ties, and handmade shoes he looked like a guppy swimming in a tank of sharks.  Those sharp young men with their slicked back hair and darting eyes couldn't figure out how Greg aced them out of contracts and deals all the while looking like Barney Fife's city cousin.

Sorry I went on (and on) about my clothing style or lack thereof but thanks for listening.  Now I'm going to go make some baked apples.  Doesn't that sound good on a winter Sunday?  I think so too.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

It Was Sunny

But now it isn't.  Sunny mornings give me energy, make me feel like accomplishing things, make me eager to cross things off my to-do list.  Gray, overcast, cloudy days do not.  This morning was great.  I got up and did my yoga, read part of the paper while I had breakfast, organized a few knitting things while planning what I'd do about yarn stuff later today, made plans to zoom to the grocery so that all of the vultures wouldn't buy the wild-caught Ahi tuna and haddock on sale at Copps. But then the sun went away and I went from running on high-octane to bumping along on unleaded.  Being the mature, self-starter that I am I forged ahead, got dressed and went to the store where I found excellent pieces of fish (and a few other things--can you ever go to the store and only get what you went for?  I can't, Durwood can [I don't think that's normal, do you?]) so we'll have sesame lime broiled tuna for supper tonight.  We're going to try making a Weight Watchers recipe for apple pie that's baked in the apple shell with just a small lattice of crust over the top.  I'm eager to try it.  Durwood's going to make a recipe of Chicken Vegetable Meatloaf for the freezer.  Our Investment Cooking stock is down to one supper's worth so he'll do that today and I'll make something else tomorrow.  No sense spending two whole days working ourselves to the bone just to fill up the top shelf of the freezer, right?  Right.  *nods confidently*  Besides that gives me an excuse to go to the grocery again tomorrow. Why doesn't love to go to the grocery every day?

I was all ready to weave in the tails of Sudoku Block #5 last night at Friday Knitting and then crochet the Sudoku Block #6 squares into a block.  I got #5's tails woven in but, when I reached into by knitting basket all I had was the squares, not the pattern with the grid, not the black yarn, not the crochet hook.  Grrr.  So I was reduced to knitting a few rows on the Hello Hamish cardi.  Did I tell you that I checked my gauge the other day and I'm at least a stitch less per inch, which means my sweater will be bigger than the pattern dimensions.  I'm not too fussed.  I suspect that means that the sweater might fit him a bit longer.  I'm good with that.  Even if this turns out to be a charity sweater (which it might due to the scratchiness of the yarn) it'll fit some baby.  Babies come in all sizes, you know.

Not having the supplies to assemble Block #6 meant that I stayed up until midnight (for the second night in a row) crocheting the blocks into columns and watching DVR'd episodes of "West End Salvage" from the DIY channel.  I'm getting to be quite a fan of the upcycling they do on shows like that.

Look at the cool lines in the birdbath ice.  The heater isn't strong enough to keep the whole thing ice free so it freezes in increments making lines like age rings in trees.

Another thing I noticed this morning is how glad my big pot of thyme is to be in the house this winter.  Look!  It's growing.  That's what comes from watering it every once in a while, I think.  Anyway, this is the first time I've kept thyme alive over the winter.  I have a big bay leaf plant that's been around at least 5 years so I know I can keep herbs alive but I think I'm better with "woody" stemmed ones because parsley always croaks when I bring it in.

January 23--Dominion Photo Source, Poolside Seniors.  Rae and Eddie had gone steady all through high school and then two weeks before graduation they broke up.  No one ever knew why and neither one would ever say.  Rae went away to college, only coming home for the holidays and going out of her way to avoid Eddie when she was in town.  It wasn't hard.  Eddie worked construction for his Uncle Mike and studied drafting at the local tech school at nights.

Okay, since I slept so darned late today I had a later breakfast so lunch will be later too.  That'd be now, now seems to be "later" to my stomach.  See ya!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Time To Frog

Last night's Basic Sock class went well.  We could have used another hour, at least, but all of the knitters got through turning the heel.  PH suggested that we have them only do 3 rounds of cuff and leg before getting to the "good" stuff, that was brilliant.  One person only needed help with the Kitchener stitch (closing the toe) so that was an early triumph for us.  A few people hadn't used DPNs before so their night was a real adventure.  I tried to emphasize to them that even though DPNs are my favorite needles, I still feel like I'm wrestling a porcupine when starting out.  Maybe that helped them not feel too awkward.  I hope it did.  I was so glad that everyone got to the heel turn because that's where most knitters stumble and it's just so amazing to realize that you can make your knitting turn 90 degrees and make knitted fabric that cups a heel.  It's like magic, and I loved helping them knit through those five confusing rows (it was a tiny sock) and end up with a turned heel.  PH and I agreed that our students were brave and brilliant.  They did it!  This morning I tugged all my step-outs off their needles and will get them frogged and rewind the yarn into balls, ready to serve another time.  I had a blast and I hope they did too.  Although I was so busy helping that I missed the snack.  Drat.  Also PH brought a red wool vest that she'd knitted years ago as a shop sample.  It's way too big for LC now but she said she's clearing out and wondered if I wanted it.  Heck yeah, LC's only going to grow.  I can store it for a while.  (gotta send a thank you note; don't forget, Barbara)

LB brought me a bag of more old Edgings pamphlets from the 40s.  I can't wait to sit down and page through them.  Thanks, LB, you're a pal.

This morning the Sharp-shinned Hawk came looking for breakfast.  There were no birds in sight so he/she flew off but we love seeing its beady black eyes scanning for prey right outside our window.

Not a half hour later it was sparrow time out there.  Sparrows are like gangs of teenagers that roam the neighborhood, shoving other birds away from feeders, hogging the birdbath, and splashing out most of the water with the enthusiasm of their bathing.  Even sparrows aren't foolish enough to bathe in the dead of winter but they aren't above having a couple of their number sit on the finch feeder and scoop seed out onto the ground for them all to eat.  They're messy but pretty darned entertaining.

January 22--Jim Westphalen.  Miss Ella looked like everyone's favorite aunt with her soft hands and warm smile but Miss Ella was a businesswoman down to her boots.  She was a big woman, always dressed in a suit and a white blouse with lace on the collar, her voice was low and firm.  You just did what you were expected to do without question.  Something about her brought out the best in her employees.  We were all better people working for her.  Except for Dexter.  Dexter was the exception that proved the rule.  Miss Ella would say white, Dexter said black, and the battle lines were drawn.

Durwood's got a chiro appointment in a couple hours and I want to stop at Aldi for blueberries and oranges on the way so I'd better zoom off to find some lunch... ooh, there's a bit of chicken taco meat left.  I foresee a taco salad in my immediate future.  Adios.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Aw Bedder

That's what LC says when Baba kisses her bumps, "Aw bedder."  We decided that since Baba's unable to chase around, up and down with her, he'd have the "all better" kisses so when she gets hurt she holds her hand on her bumped head and runs to him for kisses.  He's very good at it.  And I am "aw bedder" because I didn't get whatever bug LC had on Tuesday night.  Pepto and mint tea to the rescue.

It is so overcast today (and there are random, small, white things floating around) that there wasn't really a sunrise, it was more like someone slowly turned up a rheostat backstage behind the scrim.  It was so dim this morning that even though I went out around 7 o'clock to fill the birdbath, the feeders, and the birdie tree I didn't see one bird, not one, when I did my yoga between 7:30 and 8:00.  And speaking of that--YAY! for being able to do yoga again without the whirlies or much of them anyway.  I only had one little touch of it when I stretched sideways with my arm over my head, but it went away pretty quickly.  I moved more carefully and was fine.  Whew.  I never thought I'd say it but I missed doing yoga the 10 days I was too dizzy to stand up straight.

I got a bunch of knitting done yesterday so now the Hello Hamish cardi looks more like a sweater.  (I'm campaigning [without much hope] to have the coming grandson named Hamish, others have suggested Sherlock but I think that might just be a "place holder" name until he makes his entrance in the spring to embrace his real name.)

With my near-exclusive focus on sock knitting this last month in preparation for tonight's lesson at the Bay Lakes Knitting Guild meeting (yikes!) I unearthed the Jelly Bean sock and knitted a few rounds last night.  I know I should be knitting more Sudoku squares but I just can't right now, I need variety.  Maybe tomorrow.  Definitely tomorrow.  Cross my heart.

January 21--Jim Cembon, DSP95010.  To Emily's eyes the place looked like a steampunk Frankenstein lab.  The building was old.  Dark wooden shelves, cubbies, and bins lined the walls from the floor to the 12-foot ceiling.  Access was by a rolling, wooden ladder that she thought looked old enough to have come off Noah's Ark.  Not the waterpark either, the actual original Ark that Noah built for all the animals before the flood.  The store and its fixtures were the Victorian aspect.  The Industrial aspect was the inventory because tucked in every ancient wood space were car parts, here a bin of pistons, there a stack of hubcaps.  The sensuous lines of a fender graced the counter and piles of gears resembled Christmas trees of the future.  There was even a bouquet of sparkplugs in a cut glass bowl sparkling in a shaft of sunlight.  "Help you?" came a gravely voice from the read of the store.  Emily cleared her throat and reached into her purse.  "I need a window crank for a 1963 Chevy Corvair.  Do you think you have one?"

Oh!  Look at the time.  I've got to get myself brushed, combed and dressed and get outta here to get to work on time-ish.  I have all I need (I hope) to teach people how to knit socks tonight so all I have to do now is get away from the computer and out the door to start my day.  Toodle-oo.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Uh, It's Wednesday!

Today is one of the few times that I don't have anything to say on here.  I didn't take any early morning photos, it was too dark.  I didn't do anything noteworthy last night after supper, staring at the computer screen playing hidden object games does not count as noteworthy.  I didn't even knit.

The sun is shining.  That's a very good thing.  It's above zero and even supposed to be above zero overnight.  That, too, is a very good thing.

I made it to my chiropractic appointment and to work on time.  There was even a paycheck waiting for me when I got here.  So far today's batting a thousand.

The only downer in my day is that LC has come up with a tummy bug and, since I can't stop kissing her every time I see her, there's a slim chance that Meemaw might get one too but I have fortified myself with a dose of "the pink stuff" and will be brewing up a nice, tummy soothing mug of mint tea as soon as I give up on deluding myself that I have anything interesting to report.  (I have to confess that I'm very suggestible so it's always a crap shoot as to whether I really have the bug or if it's just sympathy sickness.  I am such a trial to myself.)

Last week I left work to discover a pair of kids using our pile of parking lot snow for a sledding hill.  They were using a piece of cardboard and a toddler-size car seat for sleds.  I cautioned them to be careful because I'm not old enough to think that kids are going to leave a convenient pile of snow alone.  It's not much of a pile but from the eroded chutes down the side of it I'd say it'll do just fine.  I did ask them not to throw snowballs at cars parked nearby (mine) or the dumpster (since we'd have to pay if it gets damaged).  I have no illusions how long their agreement will last.  Kids are kids and snow piles should be classified as an attractive nuisance and, thereby, exempt from personal injury liability. *gives a firm nod of agreement*

January 20--Carl Yarbrough, Man & Lab in Canoe.  Before the leaf-peepers flooded the north woods Kevin liked to head out for a last peaceful paddle, just himself and his dog, Sadie.  Kevin packed his tent and enough rations for a week and set off.

There.  You see how not with it I was last night?  That's a good start to an interesting story right there and I fell asleep almost before I wrote the last word.  I suspect that 10 days of anti-vertigo pills has put me in this state.  As of this morning I'm giving the whirlies the finger and stopping the pills.  We'll see if my energy level rises over the next few days.  I'm guessing it will since the pills are nothing more than prescription strength Dramamine and that stuff always knocks me out.  Okay, I'm quitting before I chase you all away with my blabbering.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Icicle Days

It was -2 when I went out the front door for the paper this morning and then out the patio door to top up the birdbath.  Brrr.  But now it's all the way up to 11 degrees above zero.  Woohoo!  And the door into the garage is still able to be opened.  It's supposed to hit the mid-teens tomorrow and the mid-twenties the day after, maybe even the low thirties by the weekend.

All of my couch sitting knitting yesterday brought me to the point where I split off the sleeve stitches, put them on holders, and knit the body.  These tiny things go pretty fast.  But I gotta tell you, sitting on my duff most of the day makes me feel guilty for not getting a lot of things accomplished and I'm more tired than if I had roared around.  I did get the laundry done so that goes to the positive.  I even matched up all the socks.

January 19--Judah S. Harris, Haircut.  This was not Gavin's first time int he barber chair.  He had been at Blackie's many times and was used to sitting on the padded board that Blackie put across the arms of the barber chair for him.  He liked the smell of talc and lime in the room and the talk of the men lined up in the chairs waiting their turn.  Mom would run to the Rexall Drug next door while Gavin had his haircut.  The men in the chairs would stop talking when Mom brought him in and then would start up again once she left.  The chair men talked about sports, the weather, and politics.  Gavin only cared about sports.

I feel that mid-day slump coming on.  Maybe I'll sit on the couch with a book and afghan.  That's a good cover for a little snooze, right?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Colder Than Cold

I can't even tell you how cold it is today.  It was cold enough that the door from the garage into the house was frozen shut.  I'm used to the patio door being frozen shut but not the garage door.  I had to unlock my car, push the garage door opener, then go into the garage and force my way in.  A little WD-40 was my solution and it has worked so far.

I decided to goof off today.  Well, this morning anyway.  I lolled on the couch knitting and watching TV shows I had DVR'd.  This afternoon I threw in the first load of laundry and whipped up a fleece and linen blanket to keep napping babies warm.  I didn't go anywhere for fabric, just used some from the endless store in the basement.  I need to sew more.

January 18--John Compos, Kids & Chicks.  The package had air holes in it and it was cheeping.  When Grandpa moved it the cheeping stopped.  Ella heard nails scratching inside the box as if live creatures were sliding around in there.

See, I meant to do a riff on the quail chicks that would come in the mail to my Grandpa out at the farm in the early spring but I fell asleep.  The chicks looked like little fluffy, brown ping pong balls that he'd raise in the brooder house until letting them loose.  Then during quail season he and Dad and my uncles would go quail hunting.  Kind of gruesome but it never really occurred to me how gruesome until just now.  There's a pretty sunset brewing tonight. Stay warm.