Monday, February 29, 2016

Snowing & Blowing

I heard from Lala that it was near 60 degrees in Milwaukee yesterday.  Not so here.  Here it got cloudier and cloudier until snow began to fall in mid-afternoon.  Not a lot, not really even enough to shovel, just enough to cover the dirty dregs of previous snows.  This morning it started blowing--hard.  At first I thought it was just blowing around yesterday's snow but it wasn't, it was snowing more.  Which means I'll be driving us home in the snow which I am gladder to be doing in the daylight.  I'd have been absolutely rigid with nerves if it'd been snowing and blowing when we drove up on Thursday night.  On a clear, dry night all of that dark was kind of thrilling, like a Hitchcock movie when you're all warm and safe.  If it had been snowing and blowing AND darker than a stack of black cats I'd have been silently freaking out the whole way.  I'd have kept going because I hate to let things get the better of me but I'd have been scared.  The second and third pictures are the edge of our little patio area on Friday morning and this morning.  Not a lot of snow cover, just enough to put that moss back into hiding.

I jumped the Leap Day knitting gun last night and cast on a Seamen's Church Institute Christmas at Sea cowl to work on while I binge-watched Season 6 of Downton Abbey on PBS.  For some of the watching I worked on part #2 of my design, after supper I started something new.  This is why I keep my set of Knit Picks Options Interchangeable Needles in my knitting basket.  All I had to do was pull out the half skein of rust heather yarn I bought at Bargains on Saturday, cast on 88 stitches, and knit away.  It's good, mindless TV knitting, which starting the next Sudoku square would have been too but I just can't face knitting another one of those squares right now.

February 29--Galen Rowell, Polar Bear w/Cubs.  They weren't really the same white as the snow.  The polar bears were a yellow white and snow is blue white.  Sue supposed in the gray light of an overcast day they'd be invisible, but on this sunny day they stood out, especially the big one standing over ten feet tall on its hind legs peering in the window of the snowcoach.  She was glad she hadn't been out on the viewing deck at the back when the bear ambled up to check them out.  Greg, the loudmouth, self-described "macho man" from Philly had swept three women out of his way to get back into the coach.  Some he-man he is, she though.  Maybe now he'd shut up about how brave and daring he was.

Now the sun's out.  Windy and sunny I don't mind, it's the blowing snow that I don't like.  Hasta la vista, babies.  Time to think about packing up... or maybe after lunch.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Ten Bucks' Worth

I am unable to come up to Sister Bay without meeting my TC friend, KS, at Bargains Unlimited, the resale shop run in support of the local retirement home.  I always find a few things I can't leave behind.  Yesterday I found some yarn (don't mock me) that was so cheap I couldn't leave it there, a cone of black serger thread for two bucks, and a bag of six silverplate soup spoons for five bucks.  If you add the cost of the thread and the spoons together you will see that I only paid three dollars for all of the yarn.  Score!

I probably should have done this when the sun shone on Friday and for a bit yesterday but didn't so you get to see moody, overcast views of Sister Bay and the Bay of Green Bay.  If you look closely you can see a little green on the rocks in the shallows near shore.  Outdoor green is good, especially at the end of February.  That dark brown building with the sod on the roof is Al Johnson's Restaurant; in the summer goats graze on the roof during the day, not so much in the dead of winter.

Hey, tomorrow is Leap Day and the Seamen's Church Institute has an idea what fiber people can do with their "extra" day--cast on something you can donate to their Christmas at Sea program.  I looked at the free patterns on their site and I think I'm going to take one of the skeins of acrylic & wool yarn I got yesterday and cast on a cowl.  They require that you use washable wool or acrylic (not pastels, please) and add no fringe, ties, tassels, or pompoms because of the danger of entanglement when working on a ship.  On their site they have a long list of free patterns for knitters and crocheters (that's where the popular 1898 Hat pattern came from, scroll down and check it out); you can always donate money, they'll always take money.  I know I've said it before but I love living in an international port, love it when the giant coal and cement freighters creep up the river to the docks so the bridges go up and traffic stops.  I have a dishcloth project that lives in my car door pocket for those occasions... hmm, maybe I should put a cowl project in there instead so I can knit for the seamen as they go by... yeah, I think I'll do that.  Good idea, Barbara!

February 28--Light Image Inc., Homage to Eliot Porter, No. 2.    Tara sat on the bank waiting for the river to come back.  Instead of cold, clear water colorful autumn leaves flowed on the wind tumbling down the rounded stones.  She remembered when they put up the dam so that they could build a new bridge.  She had watched as the water flowed away in an afternoon with small, deeper pockets shimmering in the weak spring sunshine.  All summer long she had visited this spot watching as little seeps kept just enough water for the raccoons and the white-tailed deer to drink.  Today they planned to blow the dam and let the river resume its journey to the lake.

I was disappointed that I didn't think of taking some scenery pictures on Friday when it was sunny but I kind of like the moody ones I took today.  Less postcard-y and more interesting, don't you think?

Friday, February 26, 2016

Changed My Point of View

This is my view this morning.  I like it.  I even liked scurrying home after work yesterday, flinging everything into the van, stopping at the Hilltop Cafe (in a BP station) at the edge of town for excellent burgers and tots for supper, then driving up the Door Peninsula in the dark.  The drive itself was kind of surreal because not only was it dark dark dark (being essentially rural), there wasn't any traffic to speak of, so we were driving along all alone in our little bubble of light.  Even though I am extremely familiar with the route it seemed like I was driving in a whole new place, and things seemed farther apart than they do in the daylight.  One cool thing, when I was getting all of the food and luggage out of the van I glanced up to see the sky full of stars.  If I hadn't been so tired, I'd have stayed out longer to look, but I fully intend to go out and have a longer visit with Orion and the Plieades tonight if it's clear again.  Also I'll wear a hat, scarf, and gloves and be warm enough to stay out.

This is another aspect of my view this morning.  It's a mug of tea and the fireplace.  It's a gas fireplace on a timer so no tang of woodsmoke (which Durwood probably couldn't tolerate anyway) but it throws off lots of heat (which Durwood is a big fan of) and I predict that it'll be on pretty much all the time we're awake until we pack up and leave.

I told you yesterday that I'm tidying and polishing part of my novel to enter in a contest.  I worked on it yesterday at work, last night, and again this morning.  I think I've got it.  One of the things I love about my Kindle Fire HD is that I can email my manuscript to my Kindle and then I can read it like it's already a "real" book.  It gives a whole different perspective.  I can't make changes on the Kindle but I can take notes while I read, go back into the laptop to make the changes and then send the corrected manuscript to be read again.  So instead of writing from a photograph prompt last night and plonking that on here, I'm going to give you a tiny bit of the first chapter of my novel.

February 26--Barbara Malcolm, The Seaview (excerpt).  

Chapter 1

            I started my first full day of owning the Seaview, a ramshackle hotel on a Caribbean island, wide awake before the sunrise and unable to blame it on the rooster that laid claim to the courtyard outside my door.  Sheer panic slammed my eyelids open at about four in the morning, my heart was pounding and I was hyperventilating.  I could hear the slow, reasoned voice of my son, Will telling me he did not think that “sinking so much of Dad’s life insurance money into a decrepit hotel on an island at the back of beyond” was a very good idea.

            I couldn’t get started until the shipping container got to the island and that depended on the weather and the other ports the freighter needed to call at.  The wait would give me time to do any demolition and empty out broken or outdated furnishings.  The plumbing and electrical work needed to be done before all the cosmetic work started.

            Since I could tell that I wouldn’t be sleeping any more, I got up and got my day started.  I had the coffee pot ready to plug in and there was enough light from the security lights so that I could sit out at one of the tables overlooking the salt pond behind Sydans Garden Inn where I was staying until the Seaview was inhabitable.  I took my notebook and pen with me to begin drawing up a plan of attack.  I wanted to consult with Ann, Sydans’ owner, before she went off to her job as principal at the middle school to get names of two local men who were reliable and could provide the muscle.  There was a lot of work that needed to be done, tearing out the rotting walls, repainting everything inside and out, making sure the roof didn’t leak, a million things before my guesthouse would be safe for visitors.  I hoped that Ann would know a good plumber and electrician because I wanted to be absolutely confident in the safety of the wiring and the plumbing.

           By the time the sun was up I had a long list of things to be done.  Topmost was to get started tearing things down and tossing things out.  I needed a man with a crowbar...

Okay, that's all you get.  I hope you like it.  Don't tell me if you hate it.  Now I think I'm going to go soak in the jacuzzi or maybe I'll read a book... no, I'll read in the jacuzzi, that's what I'll do.  Multitasking is the name of my game.  Blub, blub.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Cold & Windy

So basically perfect February weather in Wisconsin.  How windy is it?  Well, when I opened the patio curtain this morning the birdie tree had blown over.  I nipped right out to stand it back up.  At least it's not snowing.  Shh, I shouldn't say that too loud, I might give Mother Nature ideas--and we're intending to flee for a few days when I get off work tonight.  There was a momentary peek of sunshine about an hour ago; I nipped right out and captured that too.

I finished the Fishtail cloth at work yesterday.  The only thing that draws my eye away from the whole is the fact that the bottom is scalloped and the top isn't.  There's nothing I can do about it, block the daylights out of it I suppose, so that until it gets wet again it'll be square but since the purpose of the facecloth is to wash things, it won't be dry and square for long.  So... *shrugs*

I've been working on the brown blob too.  See how big it's getting?

The woman that coaches the writing retreat I take up at The Clearing each year sent me an email about a contest for unpublished novels the other day wondering if I'd be interested.  I think I am.  So I've been working to get the best 2,500 words arranged as the beginning of the one I'm working on because the deadline's Monday.  Even if I'm not a finalist I'll get critiques from a few judges, that'll be helpful because sometimes I feel like I'm writing in a circle of friends.  Hearing what a stranger thinks gives a more objective slant, I think.  Last night I hacked off Chapters 1 & 2 (I'll sprinkle their info in later) so that the opening grabs the reader right off.  This writing thing is hard sometimes.

February 25--John Kieffer, Morning Mist.  Jane sat on the dock even though it was soaked with dew and last night's rain.  Steam rose from the coffee mug she held in both hands.  Mist rose from the flat water and shrouded the riot of colored leaves on the opposite shore.  This was the last weekend of the season.  Tomorrow she and Glen would start storing things and draining the pipes, getting the place ready to close up for winter.  She hated this day.  She wasn't ready for the summer to end.  She wanted one more week of eating all her meals outdoors before she had to layer on more and more clothes just to go out for the mail.  She saw movement in the mist.  At first she couldn't figure out what she was seeing but as it got nearer she realized it was a deer swimming across.  It stepped carefully over the rocky shallows, glanced at her, and then walked calmly down the beach.

I've got to go check my packing list(s) one last time, then get ready for work, and zoom off to get this day started.  Toodles.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Bean Tea

Quite possibly the least pricey of LC's Christmas gifts seems to have become her favorite.  I bought a deep plastic bin with a lid, about 10# of various dried beans, and a nesting trio of plastic measuring cups at Walmart.  Then I dug out a vinyl tablecloth to put under it.  She decided that the crocheted and felted teapot and cups that Meemaw made are the most fun to play with in the beans so we have lots of "bean tea" when she's visiting.  Even Baba plays in the beans with LC.  Little fingers hide and get found in the beans and sometimes we wash our hands with "bean soap."  Songs are made up about pouring and scooping beans and we sort by color and size.  The only rule is "keep 'em in the bin" and if the beans start flying everything gets put away despite tears and protests.  Lots and lots of fun is had with this bin of beans.

The new birdbath heater is keeping the glacier at bay and the birds are very happy with the new heater.  See all of the spilled seed?  That makes the bunnies happy at night and gives me something to clean up come spring but having all the birds come really entertains us so it's worth the work.

I'm trucking along on my Fishtail Dishcloth.  I suspect something this pretty will be a washcloth instead of a greasy dishes scrubber but it is pretty (even though it's pink/orchid) and I'm enjoying knitting it.  Win win.

February 24--William H. Johnson, White Mtn. National Forest, NH.  Gloria caught her breath at the top of the rise and looked at the colors.  She felt like she was in the fever dream of some hack painter.  The autumn leaves were too vivid--red orange and yellow--and the birches were unnaturally white.  The shafts of golden, God light that pierced the forest ahead made her suspect that she was a character in a Truman Show-like hoax perpetuated by the National Park Service.

And I see by the clock that I've got to get a move on.  Enjoy your day.  I'll be working.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Frosty Trees

It was foggy this morning and as the fog lifted it clung to the branches of the trees so they looked frosted for a while.

I don't know what got into me last night but after supper I spent the rest of the evening making Cheddar Beef Muffin pies.  It was the "recipe of the day" from Taste of Home, we had frozen bread dough in the freezer, and all the other ingredients.  I guess I was thinking we'd take them along on our weekend runaway to Door County, along with a jar of marinara sauce as a dip.  Hope they're tasty.

I got a bit more dishcloth knitted at work yesterday.  Even though it's pink (okay, orchid) I think I like it.

Didn't write last night.  Did go buy a new birdbath heater so there isn't a glacier out there.  I don't really have anything else to say, it's overcast and not too cold, the snow looks dirty and icy, I think I'll go flop on the couch and knit.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Never Too Many Veggies

Last month the Pioneer Woman did a show about sheet pan meals, which are basically a big sheet pan (duh) with veggies and meats roasted together.  We had a cut up chicken in the freezer which I marinated most of yesterday in homemade teriyaki marinade (1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce, 1/4 cup lemon, lime or orange juice [whatever citrus you have handy], 1/4 tsp. each ground ginger and garlic powder).  Then I trimmed a pound of Brussels sprouts (could have used more), a pound of parsnips peeled and cut into wedges, 3 big sweet potatoes peeled and cut into wedges, and 2 big red onions cut into eighths.  I spread the veggies on 2 baking sheets, drizzled them with a bit of olive oil, ground on some sea salt and fresh pepper; then I laid the chicken parts on top of the veggies, and baked for 1 hour at 375 degrees.  Oh mama, that was good--I could have skipped the meat and just laid waste to the veggies.  We'll do that again--and again.


I did sew on the last 2 pockets for LC's kitchen/grocery combo.  I made them a little roomier to facilitate loading and unloading since that seems to be her main use of the pockets right now.

And it snowed.  You know, all it takes is one 40 degree day (Saturday) and even hardened Wisconsinites like me can be fooled into thinking the snowing is done for the season.  Oh, foolish woman, don't put your boots away just yet.

February 22--Catherine Gehm, Tranquility.  Right now the sky and the sea are the same color, an aqua blue that's as fleeting as a rainbow.  Soon the sun will dip to touch the horizon and golden light will slash between the clouds.  That sizzling moment when the sea and sun meet sends red fire into the back of the clouds and reflects onto the water until it looks molten.  The only way to celebrate the moment is to raise a glass dripping condensation and filled to the rim with rum and passionfruit juice.

Oh, I wish I was sitting in that picture right now.  But I'm not so I'll be taking a quick shower, dressing, and getting myself out the door to keep the world safe from SCUBA diving for another day.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

I Got Mail

Our mail doesn't come until 5 o'clock most days.  It's kind of odd being on the very end of the route, and it's even odder when I think that the mail used to come early in the day and the newspaper came late in the afternoon once the paperboy got home from school.  Things are topsy-turvy with the newspaper on the porch when I get up at 6 o'clock (grownups drive the papers around before dawn, no more paperboys and girls) and the mail not coming until almost 12 hours later.  What's the world coming to?

Anyway, last fall the storytime lady at the Southwest Branch Library told me about a children's author, Herve Tullet, who writes wonderful, engaging books for children.  These two are the Big Book of Art with pages to flip to change the pictures and The Mirror Book.  The books are less about words and more about interaction with shapes and colors and light.  LC likes the ones we have and I hope she likes these new ones.  I like them.  I can spend quite a bit of time exploring them, plus they have a sense of humor.  I think that's important in a children's author.

And for me, I spent the last of my birthday Knit Picks gift card from DS, DIL1 & LC on a pair of US15 needle tips so I can make them any length I want.  Soon I'll have every size and will stop buying them.  (yeah, probably not, but it's a nice fantasy)

February 21--Aiuppy Photographs, Lighthouse, MN, Lake Superior.  The boat rounded the point and Gale saw the lighthouse up on top of the bluff.  There was a small house attached to the tower but she was sure no one lived there anymore.  The lake was calm and she had a lot of time to watch as the boat powered through the slow swells.  She saw a flutter of white as they rounded the point and realized that someone had sheets drying on a clothesline next to the keeper's cottage.  Could this be the last manned lighthouse on the Great Lakes?

Okay.  Now I'm going down to sew those two pockets onto LC's kitchen.  Really.  Here I go.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Four Grocery Stores Are Too Many

This has been one long day.  I started out before 10 o'clock at Copps for sale butter and toaster waffles.  Then I went to Sam's for Cheetos (we were almost out--horrors!), TP, Cascade, and some cheeses.  Next I came home to get Durwood, then we went to Woodman's for all kinds of veggies and a few other things.  Our last stop was Festival for greeting cards (Durwood says they have the best ones) and some of his favorite bagels.  *pant, pant*  I've got almost everything put away, except for the things that need to go to the basement.  I had hoped to get a little sewing done today but I've gotta tell you, I'm inclined to flop on the couch for the evening and sew tomorrow.  Maybe I'll feel more energetic after supper.

The Bluejays are back!  We saw these two this morning--one just after it nabbed a peanut and the other waiting its turn.  Yay!

The only knitting I have to show you is Sudoku Berry #7 that I finished yesterday afternoon.  Not very exciting but it means that I only have to knit two more of these despicable pink squares.

February 20--Rob Badger, More Trees Available.  Jana sat on the end of the dock looking across the lake.  The sun was setting off to her left, shining golden light on the the tiny islet out in the center of the water.  It looks like the place God lives, she thought, just a jumble of rocks with a pair of pines growing out of them.  She imagined the sense of peace that would come over you as you stepped onto the rocks at the edge of the islet.  How the sweet tang of the pines would wash over you like a cleansing shower washing away the tension of modern life.  She was surprised by an eagle swooping down to catch a fish and carry it, dripping silver pearls of water behind it, to perch in the tallest tree with its prize.

Durwood's watching Lawrence Welk on PBS so right now the strains of La Vie en Rose are drifting down the hall.  I have to confess I do love when they play big band music, songs that I know some of the words to.  It seems off when they play and sing "modern" songs but I could listen a long time to Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Count Basie, and other big bands like those.  That and Dixieland and I'm a happy listener.  Okay, now you know that I'm really an old fogey deep down.  I have to go sing along now.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Knocked 'Em Dead

I kicked butt last night with my lesson about using Ravelry at the Guild meeting last night.  After a slow start (since the custodian had forgotten to set up the room and bring the laptop for me to use but Becky called him and got things straightened out) my butterflies fled.  It turned out that many of the members were eager to learn how to start up a Ravelry account, how to load all your yarn stash in (I got a few requests to be in my will when they took a gander at the 464 different yarns in my stash--yarns, not skeins--I told them after my daughter, maybe), how to load in needles, hooks and patterns, and finally how to put in projects, in progress and finished.  Then we got to the fun part, how to search for patterns on there both by project (mittens, hats, etc.) and from the other way if they have some yarn they want to find a pattern for.  I have to say that that last one is probably my most favorite trick that Ravelry does.  They were amazed that you can see other people's projects too, take advantage of any notes they make on projects that you're considering, and you can troll the stashes to ask if you can buy some of their yarn if you're running out for a project.  It's a refreshing online place with none of the spitefulness of Facebook and none of the hacker risk of other sites.  Who'd want to steal your yarn?  Anyway, things went well and now I get to be in the audience for the rest of the year.  Whew.

I added a couple repeats on my Fishtail washcloth at work yesterday.  I think it's going to look cool when I'm done with it.  And I added a couple rows on Sudoku Berry #7 after my talk last night.  It occurred to me that I really don't like pink and what color did I choose for my washcloth?  Pink.  I have two pink projects on the needles.  That is so not like me.

Today has been an Investment Cooking day.  This morning I made four meals of Italian Stuffed Shells and after lunch I made two meals of Salsa Chicken with Rice.  They're all down in the freezer getting nice and solid so we can thaw out some yummy goodness on days when it's just too much trouble to cook.  I want to make some Salisbury Steak meals for the freezer too but that might have to wait until next month.  We've got two meals' worth of Chicken-Veggie Meatloaf and one meal of Chicken Meatballs to plop into jarred sauce in the freezer too so I think we're good for a while.  I love doing Investment Cooking and am tempted to fill up the freezer with meals so I'd cook like a crazy woman for a few days or even a week, and then reap the rewards for weeks and weeks.  Maybe someday.

This morning a Mourning Dove and a House Finch came to visit the feeders.  Durwood called me laughing the other day to say that a Mourning Dove flew in to land on the iced-over birdbath too fast and slid right across and off the other side.  He said the bird took off as if it was embarrassed.  Sorry I missed that.

February 19--Bob Krist, DS95-3 See Travel, Page 500.  (hey, that's what it said, I don't make up the names for these photos--well, not often)  The sea slides up the beach, smooths the sand, and drains away.  No pounding waves to break and foam their way up the shore, just a sedate encroachment, water over land for a breath, pause, and then it's gone.  Sandpipers leave their prints as they scurry after the water to catch jumping sand flea snacks.

It's all dreamy and romantic until the sand fleas show up.  Man, the wind has really picked up this afternoon and the sky is a uniform gray.  Blah.  At least it's warm--over 40 degrees.  What a surprise in February.  Oh, my friend Fran gave me this last night.  She saw this picture online, thought of me, and framed it for me.  I love it.  Knitters are so nice.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Sky Crazy

We all know I love looking at the sky.  One of these days, when I have/make the time, I've got a Great Courses DVD class all about the night sky.  I probably should have been watching the lectures when I was piled up on the couch with my cold but I didn't even think of it.  I'll get there.  In the meantime, I watched the sun setting on my drive home from work (I love it that it's a bit light when I close the store) and made it home in time to catch the last rays of pinkish peach from the bedroom window.  This morning when I opened the patio curtain the sky was suffused with the same sort of exuberant display but more pink and purple.  Ahh, the sky is amazing, isn't it?  All sorts of colors and moods, although, in my opinion, it can keep the unrelenting gray clouds over my horizon a bit more.

I always mean to follow my own advice, really I do.  Months and months ago I suggested in a Guild blog post that knitters pick a stitch every month and knit it into a dishcloth to try out new stitches and build up a supply of dishcloths, so yesterday I made a quick copy of a lace pattern that intrigues me, grabbed some cotton yarn and a pair of needles, and cast on a dish/washcloth at work.  Like all lace, it doesn't look like much now but once it gets blocked (stretched out) it'll look like fishtails.  At least that's what it's supposed to look like.  I'll keep you posted.

I saw a Bluejay this morning for the first time in weeks and weeks.  Durwood and I have been wondering where they'd gone, thinking that the hoggish squirrels had chased them away from the peanuts but while I was doing yoga this morning one came to snatch a peanut and then zoomed off, hopefully to spread the word that there are peanuts to be had over here.  The only "interesting" bird that held still long enough to get its picture taken was a male Downy Woodpecker.  Durwood saw a Hairy Woodpecker yesterday (a little bigger than a Downy) but didn't get a picture.  Oh well.

February 18--Richard Weston, The Window.  It was the sky that drew her.  From north to south, spread out in front of her was more sky than she had ever imagined.  It sounds naive and self-evident, the sky arches like a great dome no matter where you are, but the horizon was so far away in every direction that it looked like there was more of it.  She imagined how the pioneers saw it, the great swath of grassland spread like an endless gold carpet in every direction.  She thought that she would have been afraid to step off into that vastness for fear she would get swallowed up by it.  Out here where the sky was everything there was to see it was easy to be convinced that she was standing still and the power poles and wind farms were rolling past her on their way east.

I called The Clearing yesterday and secured my spot in the Women's Writing Retreat in late September.  Tonight I get to tell the Knitting Guild members how to get started using the online fiber enthusiasts website, Ravelry.  I've got my props all set and my handouts printed ready to hand out so how come I've got a little case of butterflies?  I know this stuff and we all know how I love to talk.  I'm sure that once it's time to talk I'll be fine.  I'm wearing hand-knit socks and have on a hand-knit AND beaded scarf.  I'm ready.  Off to work.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I Hate This Time of Year

I really do.  No matter how much the sun shines, it's too cold outside most of the time to even be out there.  My mood and attitude is surly and generally poor, my depression/anxiety is at critical level, and my feet are always cold.  I can't seem to drag myself out of the pits no matter what pill I take or what delights I find to buy (retail therapy).  All I want to do is sit on the couch, watch brainless crap on TV, and all I want to eat is cheese, chocolate, and ice cream.  I tell you, I am a dream to live with in February and March.  You want to stay away if you can.

I have uncovered another way LC can use her kitchen slipcover--as a grocery.  I'll need to put on more pockets (I always intended to add more) but the back can be her grocery.  Look, almost all of her play food fits in the pockets so she can shop and then take it around the other side to cook it.  Still haven't gotten to work on her sink, almost 2 weeks of a cold kind of interfered with my creativity in that regard.  I'll get there soon.  Maybe this weekend if I can pry my keester off the couch.

Our backyard has turned into a dining room for all sorts of critters.  In the daytime it's the birds.  A gang of Old World Sparrows descends around 8 AM and then again at noon for bathing and eating.  They muscle their way onto all of the hanging feeders and try to hog the fallen seed too, shoving around any mourning doves that have the guts to show up.  At night it's the bunnies' turn.  At least three, sometimes four, nice big fat rabbits come in to eat fallen seed and do a little pre-spring posturing and wrestling.  I know this isn't much of a picture but those three brown blobs are bunnies.

Speaking of brown blobs, my Design-a-thon knitting is continuing.  I spent so much of last weekend knitting that I'm giving my hands a break this week.  With all the tanks I've been filling at work (four of the big ones again on Monday and a few smaller ones too) my hands are a bit achy from all the knitting and valve turning.

February 17--Steve Gottlieb, Four Seasons.  Tory's cabin sat on a little rise that gave her a view down the valley.  Right in the center of her view was Parson's Creek tumbling and splashing down toward her.  She took a few pictures when she first moved there nearly thirty years ago and kind of got into the habit.  Day and night, sunset and moonrise, every season and weather she took a shot for the day.  Now she had a hard drive full of not too bad photos and wondered what to do with them all.

I get to work today.  It's The Clearing sign up week so I'll have to call to reserve my spot for the fall Women's Writing Retreat before it's all booked up today too.  Guess I'd better put on something nicer than this ratty hoodie and my yoga pants.  Underwear would be nice, socks too.

Monday, February 15, 2016


It's so warm-ish (okay, above zero) that the patio door wasn't frozen shut.  I knew it warmed up yesterday when clouds rolled in and it started to snow.  When it's so bitter cold, it's really too cold to snow plus really cold weather comes with clear skies--no clouds to hold the heat in--so cloudy = warmer + snow.  It's that dry, flaky snow that reminds me of Ivory Snow soap flakes that they used to have when I was a kid.  I don't know what it was made of, maybe shaved Ivory soap bars, but once Mom dampened some, whipped it with the mixer, and artfully globbed it on the Christmas tree branches so it looked like it had snowed inside.  Must have been something out of Women's Day magazine.  Mom was always making something cool or trying something trendy.  Did your mom do stuff like that?  Your grandma?  Looking back I have a string of very cool, strong women in my background.  I'm grateful and I hope I'm keeping the string going.  You too, DD, keep it up, we've got a lot to live up to.

I had big plans to accomplish great things yesterday afternoon.  Instead I sat on the couch, knitting and watching DVR'd TV shows.  I did manage to make an earbud pouch that's the right size (the smaller one), so I'm counting that as an accomplishment, and I finished ripping 3 audiobooks on CDs into iTunes and then got them fonged onto my iPod, that's an accomplishment too.  All that "CD in, wait, CD out" is tiring.  Also boring, just like real work.  And it's not stealing intellectual property either; I just change its format, listen to it, and then delete it.  Hey, if it came on Overdrive or One Click Digital I'd get it that way but these books are that awkward, in between age that they only come on CD so I convert them and then erase them.  Not stealing.

February 15--George H. H. Huey, Dunes and Snow, AZ.  It didn't look right, Dean thought, as he poked the toe of his new cowboy boot at the patch of snow.  It was Arizona.  It was supposed to be hot.  Wasn't Arizona a desert?  Sand dunes didn't get snowed on.  He was sure he looked like an idiot in his Levis, boots, Stetson, snap shirt, string tie, and puffy down jacket in a shade of green too far on the teal side to be manly.  It had been the only jacket in his size at the Stone Gulch General Store where they had stopped in the middle of yesterday's snow storm.

Okay.  Got my lunches, got my ream of paper, gotta shower, dress, and flee.  Later.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Headed In The Wrong Direction

Remember two days ago when it was 14 degrees in the morning?  Then yesterday it was 7 degrees when I got up?  Well, today it was -13 when I went out to top up the birdbath.  Things are declining rather than increasing.  Where does one go to register a complaint?  Yeah, yeah, nowhere... I know, but I do love to complain and these frigid temps are so ripe for complaining about.

We all have a good excuse to at least look outside this weekend (actually through Feb. 16) because it's the Great Backyard Bird Count.  (scroll down the right sidebar when you link to the site to find "Bird Lists", enter your zip code, print out a list for your area, and get counting) I'd forgotten all about it but an article in today's paper reminded me so I zoomed onto the site, printed off a bird list, and spent the last 20 minutes gazing out the patio doors making ticks on the page for the scrum of Sparrows, one Downy Woodpecker, a House Finch, and the reason there were so few birds to see, the Sharp-shinned Hawk.  There was a squirrel perched on top of the fence across the back grooming itself (squirrels don't count even though they eat birdseed, the little gluttonous tree rats) and the hawk swooped by, dive bombed the squirrel and then kept on going.  I hear Durwood murmuring bird names and numbers so he's counting while he eats his breakfast.  Good man.

I didn't knit or sew yesterday afternoon, instead I worked on my presentation/lesson for Thursday's upcoming Bay Lakes Knitting Guild meeting.  I want to read it through once more to make sure I'm being clear and I have to email the Membership Chair to get a guess as to how many copies I need to make.  (be right back, gotta email the MC while I'm thinking of it... okay, I'm back)  I'll be the one taking a ream of paper and money for toner to work tomorrow.

I am terribly pleased with myself because I got back to my yoga mat this morning and it felt GREAT.  I didn't realize how much I'd missed it over the last couple weeks.  I feel energized and perkier than I have in days and days.  I even threw my mat in the washer afterwards so it'll smell less like feet tomorrow.  Yay for yoga!  Yay for a clean mat!

February 14--Tim Thompson, Snowy Road.  The moon hung like a glowing eye in the notch between the far peaks.  Snow fell steadily, dusting the pines along the highway and reflecting the silver moonlight.  Shea felt like she was driving in a tunnel carved into the night by her headlights.  She kept a sharp eye out for deer crossing the road.  Years ago she had hit a deer in broad daylight and it wasn't an experience she wanted to repeat.

Happy Valentine's Day!  Instead of going out to supper (it's way too cold for Durwood to venture out) we ordered take-out lasagna dinners from Olive Garden last night which was delicious and so much food that we get to have the second half tonight, so we're Valentine-ing twice.  We know how to celebrate up here in the frozen tundra.  Happy hearts to all!