Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Land of the Drear

You've heard of the Land of the Midnight Sun?  Well, this ain't it.  We're in the middle of a back-swirl of rain showers from a system that snuck by to the south of us late yesterday and is flinging drizzle over its left shoulder.  So it's not really raining, it's drizzling off and on, and the sky is a uniform blanket of gray.  To quote Snoopy, Blech.

Both UPS and FedEx brought cartons of items to be entered into the computer, priced, and shelved yesterday so I had plenty of work at work.  Hooray!  That meant I only got about an inch of the Hello Hamish cardi knitted but I don't mind because I'm having a muscle spasm in my neck that's radiating down my right shoulder blade and upper arm which makes knitting and computer mousing hurt.  Unpacking cartons is much easier on my poor shoulder.  (I know, it doesn't make sense but it's true.)

A chipmunk was so busy filling its cheek pouches with seed that it didn't run off when I opened the patio door every so slowly to take its picture.  They sure are cute, aren't they?

March 31--Winston Fraser, Night Skyline, Toronto, ON.  The city lights made the water look like painted silk.  Claire sat on a bench next to the trail along the shore watching the reflections change as the evening progressed.  Headlights slid across the water looking like a quick slit in the black fabric of the night-dark water.  Sound carried across to her, music and car horns, voices too when the breeze shifted her way.  She was aware of the hiss that passing bicycle tires made on the trail behind her and she listened to make sure that any footsteps kept going.  She felt that she was being trusting, not stupid or careless.

I'm going to wrap this up so I can stop irritating my right shoulder, arm, and neck.  I'm not a very good patient so avoid me for the next few days, okay?  Oh, the kitchen sink was a big hit with LC; she pretend washed all her play dishes right away.  Hmm, *taps lips* she might need a tiny dishcloth...

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

And Then I Missed Yesterday

Sorry.  I got busy and distracted and just never got around to blogging yesterday, but here I am today.  Hooray.

The moon was tangled up in the maple tree branches when I went out for the paper yesterday morning and the sunrise tinted the clouds the palest pink.  There was even a nice sunset but there's no hope for anything but rain today.  In fact, I saw some raindrop pocks on the birdbath a few minutes ago so I guess we're doomed to a rainy day.  Not that I'm complaining, you understand, because last Wednesday we were girding our loins (that sounds kind of shady, doesn't it?) for Snowstorm Cindy, looking down the barrel of 8-12" of snow.  We got about 4-6" and only the densest piles remain.  I saw the dregs of a snowman yesterday and the makers had built him around a recycling bin so he was more impressive with less snow.  Very clever.

I realized that I couldn't procrastinate making lip balm when the twist-up cup of the tube in my pocket stuck to my lip, came out, and I didn't throw the whole thing away but scrabbled around on the floor to find the cup and nestle it back in the tube.  Time to melt things together and squirt stuff into tubes.  I couldn't decide which citrus flavor I wanted to add so I added them all--orange, lime, and lemon.  It's not bad.  I sat last night and labeled them all so I'm good to go for a while.

The birds are looking springier.  The Cardinal came by the other day looking pretty spiffy and (glory of glories) we saw a Goldfinch that was more than halfway back into his summer feathers.  They turn a dull olive green for winter and then molt back to their vivid yellow and black for summer--and finding a girlfriend.

Lala gave me this beautiful glass hanging of birds for Christmas and I dug out a suction cup and some silicone stick-on feet and put it on the patio door.  It looks very pretty when the sun shines--and pretty when it doesn't too.

March 30--Tim Thompson, Palm Trees.  Cheryl lay in the hammock strung between a pair of palm trees.  She thought how soft the fronds looked but they really clattered when the wind blew.  Looking up she thought about the cluster of coconuts way up at the top.  She wondered if any of them were ready to fall.  She heard them in the night, heard them thud to the sandy ground, and wondered how many people got beaned by falling coconuts every year.  She went back to her book but every gust of wind made her look up.  Her body tensed, ready to roll out of the way if one of the cannonball sized fruits fell.

Okay, I need to stop at Kwik Trip on my way to work for some bananas and Durwood's favorite blueberry donuts.  Yeah, I spoil him, so sue me.  He's spoiled me for the last 39 1/2 years; it's his turn for a little spoiling.  Off to keep the world safe from SCUBA diving.

Monday, March 28, 2016

I Found Something

I know you were worried I wouldn't be here today.  Did you have your fingers crossed?  Because I found a couple things I think are blog-worthy, well, one of them for sure.

I took a token picture of the sky when I got up.  It was pretty cloudy but there were gaps and now there's not a cloud in the sky.  That picture's pretty far down on the blog-worthy scale.

A bit higher on the scale is this row of Harry Potter coloring books I saw on the rack at Michaels'.  I might have bought one (purely as a gift, not for myself even though I will confess to being a big HP fan) but they're $15.99 and my wallet is a bit thin right now.  Maybe I'll see what coupons were in their Sunday ad... to put in the barrel for Christmas giving, of course.

At the top of the blog-worthy scale today are these little knobs of pink, yellow, and green.  They're rhubarb sprouts.  Rhubarb!  The harbinger of spring--and pie. This year, I swear (cross my heart), I'm going to harvest a bunch, wash it and chop it up, then freeze it so that we can make pies and stuff in the winter.  I'm absolutely certain that there are valuable vitamins in there that will keep scurvy and other dread diseases away in the long, cold winter.  One tiny notch down from the rhubarb sprouts (RHUBARB!!!!) [we all know I detest exclamation points, but I can't resist them today, they seem appropriate for my enthusiasm at seeing the rhubarb sprouts] are these daylily shoots poking about 4" up in the bed just below the kitchen window.  I like daylilies too but you can't make a pie out of them.

See that tiny patch of white out in the grass?  That's all the snow that was left from last Thursday's snowstorm when I got up this morning.  It's gone now--and good riddance.

March 28--Stephen Wolf, Footsteps in Sand.  Caleb walked along just above the high water line watching big fishing boats and freighters out on the horizon.  He looked down to see footprints come out of the water and turn south, the direction he was going.  He looked up, shading his eyes with his hand, but couldn't see anyone.  He kept walking, watching gulls swoop down and try to catch the little crabs that scuttled across the sand.  As he walked he avoided stepping on the prints, expecting them to turn in at one of the condo clusters that had spring up along this end of the beach.  He thought about how his old Lab, Sarge, would have loved chasing the crabs and gulls and splashing into the surf after small fish.  Caleb picked up a piece of driftwood just the right size for Sarge to retrieve and carried it for a while.  "Missing your dog?" a voice came from the shadow of a clump of sea grapes.

No, I don't know who it was.  I don't even know if it's a man or a woman, but I'd guess it's a woman.  By the time I got that far I ran out of steam and had to flip off the light to sleep.  Today, even though it's sunny, I'm going downstairs to work some more on organizing and categorizing my yarn stash.  Maybe I'll whip up some lip balm too, my supply is depleted.  Hasta la vista, babies.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!

The Bunny came!  The Bunny came!  See?  I hope the Bunny came to your house too.

We had a cool and rainy day and no real family plans so Durwood lolled around reading the paper and doing a drift of Mensa crossword puzzles.

I sewed a sink.  I spent part of yesterday drafting the pattern on some graph paper, measuring how big it should be (I drew around my Kindle in its case for the bottom) and digging out some small lace ruffle to sew on for "suds."  The outside is the same odd colored linen-like fabric I used to make the placemat stove and the inside is natural canvas.  The "water" is a piece of cotton remnant that used to have one of those wide elastic tops but was too small do anything with but make a Barbie dress--and there's absolutely no way or person I'm going to make Barbie clothes for.  Even though the canvas is pretty stiff I backed the outside fabric with some medium-to-firm interfacing I had laying around.  In fact everything I used was laying around--my kind of project.  Once I got the Velcro on to make the sink corners I cut off the excess so there aren't those big triangles of wasted fabric poking out and Fray-Checked the cut edges because the Velcro is too close to the edge to overcast it.  I like the way it turned out.  I hope LC likes it too.

March 27--Voscar, Open Water, Northern Maine.  That year there was no "ice out."  One day the river was a solid sheet of ice and twenty-four hours later there was nothing but open water.  Scottie sat on the south-facing porch, her face turned up like a sunflower.  The warm air on her face was like velvet and the sunshine a benediction.  She kind of missed the days of creaking and groaning as the ice thinned and broke apart, and she wondered if somewhere downstream the ice piled up in glittering mounds on the banks or against fallen logs.

I feel all discombobulated blogging so late but my day got away from me, the sewing time just flew by.  I might or might not blog tomorrow.  We'll see if there's anything worth photographing in the morning.  My BIL, RJ, is home safe from work (he calls on his way home from his job to catch up on the news and to stay awake) so I should probably sign off.  It's getting toward my bedtime too.  Adios.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Sometimes You Just Need A Dog

I've been feeling pretty low lately (March has never been my happiest month) so I went over to visit Porter this morning.  Her family was off gallivanting so I just sneaked into their backyard and played with their dog.  She seemed to enjoy it but then I might have had treats in my pocket.  Her squeaky toy and some tennis balls were barely peeking out of the snow so we played ball.  I love watching her run because she gets such joy from it.  I'll confess later to being there when they were gone (I have a feeling they won't mind)--unless the neighbor guy who saw me walking up the driveway blabs.  After an hour playing and petting Porter a much happier me went on a few errands.  (I said hello to the chickens but they won't let me pet them and they don't really play.)


The snow's melting away from the house so the bulbs and blooms are back in view seemingly none the worse for their days under the snow.  Even the crocus blossom nestled amidst the tulip leaves isn't crumpled or fading.  Resilience, thy name is crocus.

I got to the point of putting the Hamish cardi's sleeve stitches on waste yarn last night and knitted a few underarm rounds.  It's starting to look like a sweater.

March 26--Andi Martin, Cloud.  "That one looks like a teddy bear," Marni said.  "Yes, it does," said Drake, "and the one right next to it looks like Ulysses S. Grant."  All of the kids hooted.  "How do you know what he looks like?"  "You're making that up."  Drake half-sat up, leaning on one elbow.  "Nuh-uh.  I read about him in school and there's a statue of him in the park by my grandpa's house." He flopped back down and let the rest of them pick out pigs and VW bugs.  He silently watched President Grand float away and merge with a hippo.

Now once I've crossed "blog" off in my Bullet Journal, I'll go downstairs to sew some ties on the inside of LC's kitchen and make a collapsible sink because "Meemaw, I need a sink."  You'd make one too if someone that cute said she needed one.  I'll show you how it's going tomorrow.  

Friday, March 25, 2016

You Missed A Good Supper

We try to have fish at least one night a week and last night was it.  I got about 3/4# of shrimp out to thaw before work and asked Durwood to peel them for me.  I'd found a recipe in a Weight Watchers cookbook and had all the ingredients on hand.  Yay! (well, I didn't have the box of rice with everything already in it [probably way too much salt too] but I added garlic, basil, and toasted coconut to regular rice; it worked) So we had Curried Shrimp on Garlic-Basil Coconut Rice with steamed broccoli on the side.  The sauce on the shrimp is sugar-free orange marmalade with a little water and garlic in it.  You dust the raw shrimp with the curry and then it toasts when you cook the shrimp.  We will definitely make it again.  And again.

The snow's pretty, I'll give it that.  It's covered up all of the crocuses, daffodils, and hyacinths in front.  See?  The good news is it'll all be melted by the middle of the week since after today the temps are supposed to hit the mid-40s or low-50s.  When the sun came out the new snow sparkled like diamonds.  Of course that didn't show up on the pictures I took but, trust me, it sparkled and is still sparkling.  I can forgive a lot of cold and snow if the sun shines, and the sky is all blue from horizon to horizon right now.

It was pretty quiet at work yesterday.  I imagine that everyone was busy with snow shovels and snowblowers until the phone started ringing and the door chiming in the afternoon.  Not even the UPS or FedEx guys came to bring me boxes of stuff to unpack and put into inventory.  So I cast on and got most of the yoke of a baby cardigan knitted.  This is the real cardi for Hamish (working title) slated to arrive in the next month or so.  The last one was for practice.  It's hard to tell in the picture but the yarn is just barely variegated in white, cream, and a very pale cocoa color.  It's called Pearl and I've got some pretty cocoa/khaki solid for the edging and a hat.  He'll look very elegant and pulled together in it.  That's my hope, anyway.

March 25--Frank Morgan, Sea Sunrise.  At first the stars twinkled brighter like they were in a hurry to meet a quota.  Then the thinnest line of pale peach light ignited the base of the clouds just above the horizon.  Evan drew her blanket tighter around her shoulders and settled herself deeper into the cleft in the dunes.  All her life she had dreamt of watching the sun rise over the lake and now that she was growing older she had decided it was now or never.  The sad thing was that she lived less than thirty miles from this very spot.  What had taken her so long?

Random trivia--Frank Morgan was the name of the actor who played the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz movie that we all grew up with.  Now it's time for me to chase around to a few stores.  I suppose I'd better put on regular clothes--yoga pants, a cami under a holey hoodie, and slippers just won't cut it out in the snow.  Style is my middle name.  (I suspect that means that "No" is my given name.)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Only One Thing To Talk About

Snow.  Snowstorm Cindy, they called it.  It was starting to snow a tiny bit as I drove home from work yesterday aound 5:30 and by bedtime (10-ish) it had turned from flurries to snowing.  This morning it didn't look too bad or too deep.  Green Bay schools are not closed for the day, which means I have to make every effort to get to work, maybe even on time.  Here's what the back view looked like when I opened the curtain this morning.  Maybe three inches of snow.  Not bad at all.

I thought I was going to get away without snowblowing before work but not half an hour ago the plow came by and shoved a drift across the end of the driveway.  And in the five minutes since I sat down here the snow has picked up and so has the wind.  Goodie.

March 24--Mike Lee, Dakota Stock Images, Chicago Skyline.  Lina squinted down her arm tracing in the air with her finger.  "What are you doing?" Martin asked.  "Making the city in my eye," she said.  "You mean, in your mind."  She shook her head, dark curls bobbing.  "No, in my eye.  So when we get home I can draw it.  It's too bumpy out here on the boat and the car's bumpy too.  I'll wait until I can hold still to draw it."  He watched her skinny arm, held straight out, make small moves from left to right and up and down, amused that she thought she would remember it.  "Do you want me to take a picture to help you remember?"  She shrugged.  "You can, but I won't need it."  She went back to looking at the skyline.  He took the picture, just in case.

It's getting snowier and windier so I'd better get bundled up and get out there.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The View From The Bridge

I was out early yesterday and crossing the Mason St. bridge just as the sun peeped over the tops of the trees.  Ahhh.  Isn't it pretty?  Ignore the cars, lights, and wires, focus on the clouds and the colors.  Ahhh.  Today's overcast and gray can't hold a candle to it.  A foot of wet, heavy snow that'll be murder to shovel or snowblow is on the way, according to the National Weather Service guy.  Way to send me to work with dread in my heart, Mister Weatherman.  It's supposed to start around 4 o'clock this afternoon and stop about 24 hours later.  Whoop.  Arrgh.

Birdie time.  Look who visited the feeder this morning while I was yog-ing, then posed in the apple tree for a portrait--the cardinal.  Yay!  We didn't see much of him all winter and I was wondering if he'd ever come back.  I did manage to capture a picture of the robin trying to nab a suet snack.  *patience, patience*  And even though the crocuses are blooming and all the other bulbs on the southern side of the house are getting ready to bloom, I know that winter isn't over because of little birdies like this one.  It's a Dark-eyed Junco and it summers above the Arctic Circle and winters here in Wisconsin where it's warmer.  (yeah, I don't get it either but that's what they do)  So if the juncos are still here, even though the calendar says "Spring," Winter isn't over.  Bah.

Well, I tried on my yoga sock cuff.  It's too big.  Waaaaay too big.  Too big to save so I pulled out the needles and decided that I'm not meant to make or have yoga socks, it's as simple as that.

March 23--Shonna Valeska, Golden Buddha, Myanmar.  Rissa blinked when she stepped from the blazing daylight into the dim and shadowy temple.  The fragrance of flowers, fruit, and spicy incense offerings mingled with the smells of hot asphalt and the hawker stalls outside.  She wanted to see the temple but she wanted to be respectful, to remember that this was a church not a tourist attraction.  She watched women and men on their way to work stop to light some incense and say a quick prayer to start their day off right.  She found a quiet corner across from a statue of the Buddha and sat on a low stool.  The statue seemed to look her in the eye with its calm and level gaze, asking her where she was in life.  She didn't have a ready answer but she was willing to sit there with her heart open to suggestions.

Okay, it's time to finish getting dressed for work (longies, jeans, undershirt, wool socks, foot heaters, lined boots, long-sleeved tee, sweater, fashion scarf that can double as a shawl, earrings, scarab necklace, watch) no small task in this changeable weather.  And drag in the trash bin before I leave too so I don't have to do it in the snow/rain after work.  Seeyabye.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I Knew It Would Come After I Got Home

The battery and SD card compartment door of my camera started to sproing open so I ordered a new, refurbished one online.  I hoped it would arrive before I left to drive up to White Lake last Saturday.  It didn't.  It came yesterday but I need to print out the manual because it seems to have Wi-Fi and I can't figure out how or why to use it.  

I decided to make yoga socks again.  This is the second size needles I'm using.  I may go down another size because this cuff still looks big.  I should probably try this on.

The weather people are saying that it's supposed to snow like crazy starting tomorrow and into Thursday.  I don't want it to snow anymore.  I especially don't want it to snow 12-14 inches like they say it's supposed to.  I have crocuses, see?  They don't want it to snow either.  Wah!

March 22-Wolfgang Kaehler, Tlingit Longhouse, Closeup of Art.  It was the eyes over the door that stopped Melia's feet as she walked toward the building.  She was familiar with the stylized feathers and ravens from watching episodes of Antiques Roadshow but she had never seen eyes like those.  Crazy eyes that pinned her on the spot and lasered into her heart.  She lowered her gaze feeling the disconnect like turning off a switch and went in.

I should go outside to soak up some sunshine because it sure won't be sunny for the next few days.  Toodle-oo.

Monday, March 21, 2016

We Had Pancakes

But not just any pancakes.  I looked in the orange cookbook (Betty Crocker, 1971) for a pancake recipe and was inspired by the page full of variations the recipe would tolerate so I cobbled together a bunch of their ideas and made ours half flour-half cornmeal, took out the sugar and salt, and added a half-cup of shredded sharp cheddar, a half-cup of minced ham (Durwood said it needed more), and a minced scallion (we agreed it needed more).  I heated up our new cast iron griddle (thanks again, Lala!) and made supper.  Durwood ate all of  his, I have half of mine left for lunch today.  They were very yummy with butter and syrup.

After supper I sat on the couch, wove in all the tails, and crocheted Sudoku Block #7 together.  It takes longer than I think it will to weave in all those yarn ends after I've got it crocheted together.  How many are there?  Well, let's count.  First I crochet the columns of three squares so that's two per joining so four per column, then I crochet each of the three columns together which adds two more per column, so that's... 2, 4, 6, 8 around the center square, plus 8 around the outside equals 16 ends.  No wonder it takes a while.  Only two more blocks!  Six more squares!

Yesterday afternoon a Sharp-shinned Hawk use the apple tree to survey the parking lot behind us for prey.  He/she didn't turn around to see the herd of chipmunks that call our backyard home but we got to admire the bird's back.  I think the white spots mean it's molting.

When I went out for the paper this morning I saw a purple crocus poking its head up in the midst of some tulip leaves.  Maybe the bunnies won't chomp that one.

March 21--Don Hall, Boca Grande Lighthouse Variations.  Celia thought the building wasn't tall enough to be a lighthouse but the land here was very low and there was a cupola with a lamp and lens on top so it must be one.  She thought about all the stories written about lighthouses on the rocky, stormy New England coast and how she would be much more eager to do research on a lighthouse in the south where it's warm and has a laid back lifestyle with modern-day pirates oozing charm as they ply a girl with rum drinks.

I felt like I was going to segue into a Jimmy Buffet song there any minute so I closed the notebook, turned out the light, and zonked off.  Today I do laundry (yay) and sew Velcro on diaper covers, which means Grandbaby #2's arrival is getting closer (a real Yay!).

Sunday, March 20, 2016


I drove away yesterday around noon, off into the northwoods, through a reservation, across rivers, past lakes, to visit my friend, Lala, at her ancestral home in tiny White Lake, which is one of those towns where every one knows you, a cousin lives in every other house (or they don't anymore because they're dead but it's still "Uncle Louis' house"), and you can drive around the whole town in about 30 minutes.  We talked and talked, cried a little, even spent some time coloring.  The bed was comfy and we drove off in opposite directions this frosty morning and I'm amazed to be back home so quickly, almost feeling like I'm back before I left.

Lala gifted me with an old sewing box, a Cool Whip container of buttons, an old tin of random sewing things with a bonus bit of yarn (does everyone's Mom or Grandma have one of those tins?) and (hold onto your hat) a cast iron griddle.  Seriously, this is a real treasure.  I can't wait to stir up some pancake batter and fry us some up.  Hmm, maybe I can convince Durwood that we need to have pancakes for supper.  We even have some blueberries and a ham slice to round out the meal.  I'll work on it.

I lucked out and had two beautiful days for a drive.  There was Shawano Lake as seen from the Park & Ride in Cecil,

a hilly but straight, tree-crowded road through the Menominee Indian Reservation,

and the Wolf River burbling and chuckling under the bridge on County Road M about 7 miles out of White Lake.  Such gorgeous scenery.

Last night as we talked after supper I finished Sudoku Snow #7 which means that as soon as I get its tails woven in I can crochet Sudoku Block #7 together and have only six more squares to knit and only two more blocks to put together before making the strips separating the blocks, then figuring out how I want to border the thing and it'll be done--and I'll be stunned that I actually finished something that I made up and imagined how to make and STARTED knitting on so long ago.

March 20--Eric Horan, South Carolina.  She was sure no one lived there, not with the screen door hanging by one hinge and half of the windows broken, but as Jo reached out to turn the doorknob she heard a thin voice call "Who's there?"  She jerked her hand back as if the knob was hot.  "It's Jo, Jo Newcomb from over by Greeneville."  She heard sliding footsteps coming near.  Soon the door opened a few inches and a pair of bright blue eyes peered out at her.

Make your Sunday a lazy Sunday, I think I'll do the same.  Except for scrubbing that cast iron griddle and stirring up some pancake batter, that is, if all goes to plan.