Thursday, August 31, 2017

Happy Belated Birthday, Mom!

I don't really know what happened to yesterday.  The time seemed to slip by without me noticing and I never got around to blogging.  It was noon before I even managed to take a shower.  However I did remember that it would have been Mom's 89th birthday so I thought of her quite a bit through the day.

Durwood had an appointment with the toenail nurse (I refuse to clip his toenails, I love him but that's just too much) so I had a bit of time to knit my way through the dreaded blue of the Crazy Z Reds Campfire Sock yarn, into the purple, and see the return of the red.  Huzzah.  I was sorely tempted to frog the thing and start again after the blue section but then I thought that blue might just come around again and I'd be too far along to start over so I'm going with it.  The blue will be under my pants leg anyway, right?


Here's this morning's tomato harvest.  A couple of them aren't quite ready to be eaten but, trust me, we won't be running out of ripe tomatoes anytime soon.  Nope, not running out soon.

My sewing jag doesn't seem to be running out anytime soon either.  Yesterday afternoon I cut out two Tunic No. 1s from 100 Acts of Sewing and this morning I sewed the first of them together.  I expect that I'll be sewing the other one up later while the Durwood is watching the Green Bean Pickers play on the teevee.  They're playing here tonight so this side of the city is going to become a madhouse pretty darned soon.  I'll be happy to go hide in the basement with my fabric and scissors and commune with Mom while I'm using some her lifetime supply of bias binding for the necklines of the tops I'm making.  This Tunic seems a little snug around the boob-al area, I suspect I fell back on the traditional 5/8" seam allowance instead of the 1/2" allowance called for.  I'll be more careful sewing up the next one.  I was thinking I might put a piece of the sleeve and pocket fabric in the underarm and side seam.  That might look interesting.  Or maybe I'll just follow the directions like a good little sewist.  I'm also thinking that the neckline is a little too swoopy and open.  Might have to redraw that pattern piece...

August 31--Giovanni Antonio Canal (Canaletto), The Rialto Bridge, Venice.  There were so many watercraft in the canal near the Rialto Bridge that it was a wonder they didn't crash into each other.  Private gondolas, gondolas for hire full of pointing tourists, motorboats making deliveries--they all swarmed around, the boatmen calling out to each other.  In one of the private gondolas a gray-haired man in a suit shouted into his phone while waving imperiously to his boatman to weave through the congestion in their way.  The tourists wanted to drift along taking pictures of everyone and everything.  It was the driver of one of the delivery boats that noticed the body bumping against the bridge supports.

Look at the time!  I need to zoom over to Aldi for some grapes before the football people clog up the streets.  It might already be too late.  At least I'll be going in the opposite direction.  I'm outta here.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Miraculous Resurrection

 A rainy day and another hose drenching and the Rudbeckia plants all look like they're worth digging a planting hole for now.  That'll be on the agenda for the weekend, maybe, probably, once I decide where they'll go.

The sky this morning had a lovely tinge of pink on the underside of the retreating clouds.  Now it's sunny and bright and warming into the high 60s.  We had the windows open for a few days but the constant overcast and impending drizzle kept the humidity high enough that I began to worry about it affecting Durwood's breathing so we're back in the a/c actually warmer than outside but much drier.

The other day when I made meatballs with veggies ground into them in an effort to find a way to get OJ to eat veggies I had to look up online how long to bake them.  I found a recipe for Fast & Friendly Meatballs made with ground turkey.  It looked pretty simple and in reading the comments I saw one from a WW member who jazzed it up and kept it on plan (I love meatballs) so I Pinterest-ed the recipe.  I remembered that I had an aging roll of ground turkey in the freezer so I brought it up to thaw.  Then I reread the recipe to discover that it called for 20 oz. of meat, not 16 oz.  I wanted to go to Meijer for some hard-boiled eggs they had on sale (Durwood's a fan) and thought I'd get 4 oz. from the butcher case.  Nope.  They were out of it so I had to shop the pre-packaged stuff.  Wouldn't you know that it was cheaper (per pound) to buy 3# of ground turkey than to buy a single pound?  I was peeved until I realized that gave me enough meat for two more batches of meatballs.  Score!  I made a batch this morning following some of the comments to make them not so bland.  (I minced onion and diced some bell pepper and sauteed them with a couple cloves of minced garlic until soft and getting a little color on the edges, letting it cool a bit before adding it and a generous tablespoon of Italian herbs to the meat mixture)  I was especially glad that we have 2 more batches worth when I shared one of this morning's meatballs with Durwood.  AND they're only 1 WW point per meatball.  They aren't skimpy meatballs either, they're about golf ball size, see?

Out in the garden the tomato tangle looks a little happier for being propped up and the nasturtiums are loving their home in the end of the straw bale.  Next year each tomato plant will get its own bale and I'll use much taller and much stronger stakes.  Tomato cages are no match for the vigor of these tomato beasts.  Now I see why the straw bale guy says to use 8 foot tall steel fence posts at either end of the bales and to string wire between them every 10 inches to use as a trellis, and he says to fix a 2 x 4 between the tops of the stakes with wire to keep the stakes from leaning toward each other.  Next spring will be fun, I'll get an earlier start too since I won't have a whole weedy garden to clear before I set out the bales.

Mrs. Hummingbird came by for a mid-morning snack today but she was so fast all I got was this shot of her flying away.  She is so tiny I was worried she'd get knocked out of the air when she came by during yesterday's rain. 

I knitted a couple rounds on the Crazy Z Reds Campfire sock the other night.  Trust me, this blue ends pretty soon and there's a lot more red or I'd never have bought the yarn.  You know how I feel about blue.

August 29--Franz Ritter von Stuck, Plakat for the first international exhibition of art by the Munich Secession.  Franz used the classic profile of a Roman gladiator in his plumed helmet on the poster for a reason.  The group of artists he was a part of were the opposite of classicists.  They called themselves The Munich Secession, they rejected the staid, safe art of their professors.  Like the French Impressionists they painted feelings and emotions, they even painted the wind, the way it curled around a woman's ankles and ruffled her skirt.  So his classical mosaic poster was pure irony.  He hoped it lured people into the exhibition so that their avant-garde art could smack them in their complacent and unimaginative faces.

I figure out how to get the scanned photos to load onto the CD all by myself.  It occurred to me that perhaps the old CD that I've had for a while was the problem so I tossed that one and put in one of the ones I'd just bought and WHAM! those 72 pictures scurried right over onto the disk without a peep of protest.  I rock.  Now I'm going to rock into the kitchen and find some lunch. Toodles.
P.S. I will be cutting out at least one new garment this afternoon.  Yes, I will--while we wait for the plumber to come and fix the toilet.  Ugh.  If it isn't one thing it's another.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Perking Right Up

This morning I was rewarded by the sight of three of the four Rudbeckia plants quite a bit more alive looking than they had been last night and by the time I went out to unplug the fountain just before dark tonight the fourth one was catching up.  Seems they're going to live after all.  Hooray!


Yesterday I was pleased to see a red rosebud nodding at me from outside the window.  Dad's rose is blooming again.  Welcome back, Dad.  I don't know the name of this rose, it's an old one I do know that much because it smells like a rose is supposed to smell.  One whiff of it takes me back to Grandma's garden with its long rows of rose bushes.  That woman could really grow flowers.

The row of herbs have really been enjoying the increased heat and rain this summer.  I should take my snips out and cut off all the flowers and trim them back so they bush out and don't get leggier than they already are.

Speaking of leggy, the tomato plants are going crazy making leaves and fruit.  I took out that smaller bowl on the right this morning thinking it would be enough to hold the tomatoes ready to be picked.  Not even close.  Not counting the three tomatoes that the chipmunks have nibbled giant holes in, look at how many were ready or almost ready to be picked.  Durwood and I have some catching up to do.  We had tomato salads before tonight's leftover chicken and rice and I suspect we'll have tomato salads before tomorrow night's pizza.  Can you eat too many fresh picked tomatoes?  I don't think so and Durwood certainly doesn't think so.  He had a banana and all of the split-skinned cherry tomatoes I picked for breakfast this morning.  The tomato plants are so lush that they're falling over so I grabbed a couple more metal stakes (because the bamboo ones just aren't up to the job) and propped up the heaviest branches.  I'd go out there and trim some of the leaves out to get some air circulating through the plants to stave off molds and mildew but I'm afraid that branches would break and tomatoes would be lost.  Can't have that.

August 28--Louis Comfort Tiffany, Lamp.  On her walk home from her after-school job at the library, Lenore kept track of things she could depend on.  When she turned the corner from Walnut St. to Vine St. she always saw Mr. Wineberg putting his gardening tools into the shed.  He'd catch sight of her, tip his straw hat with the rip in the brim over his left ear, smile, and say, "Evening, Miss Lenore."  She smiled back and said, "Good evening, Mr. Wineberg sir."  A few houses up Vine St. she passed Mrs. Van Pelt's house with its wide porch and swagged velvet curtains that framed the most beautiful lamp she had ever seen.  The shade was like an upside-down glass mosaic bowl made up of tiny pieces of yellow and green glass arranged to look like flowers and leaves.  As the year faded and night came earlier she was sometimes lucky enough to see the lamp lit, to watch it come to life and glow with a richness she was sure only a special lightbulb could create.

I had big plans to cut more clothes patterns out today but instead spent the afternoon scanning in a 1994 dive trip album, then cropping them.  Now if I could only figure out how to convince the computer to copy them from the hard drive to the CD I'd be in business.  Maybe I'll google it... yeah, that's what I'll do.  I'm going to cut fabric tomorrow, really I am.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

I Felt Sorry For 'Em

I've been admiring the drifts of Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susans) in many yards right now and wishing
I had some.  I kind of poked around the lilies I bought at ShopKo a couple weeks back but didn't find any.  Today, however, I stopped at the same ShopKo to get my glasses adjusted (so the left bow quit digging into my skull) and there were four of the most bedraggled, on-their-last-legs Rudbeckia plants ever.  BUT they were on clearance and I talked the manager into giving me an additional 10% off so while they were more expensive than the lilies, they were within my budget.  I poured all the water I had in the car on them as soon as I got them in there and then drove around the back of the store because I know that there's a drinking fountain close to the back entrance.  I filled up all three bottles I had and went out and gave them some more to drink.  They've had a big hose drenching since then so I have high hopes that they'll perk up.  I put them where I can see them from the table and expect to see them all perked up by morning.  Sad looking, aren't they?  However I am optimistic.  (side note: this ShopKo store is the reason I live in Green Bay, WI.  This was the first ShopKo store and Dad managed the men's department when it opened.)

On Thursday afternoon I zoomed to the grocery because we were out of eggs (I had exactly enough to make the banana bread) and on the way I drove through the nearby shopping plaza parking lot to see if the BBQ food truck was there.  It was.  So on the way back home I stopped and got a Pork-n-a-cow sandwich and some fries for us to split for supper.  It's an 8 oz. burger topped with cheese, bacon, slaw, pulled pork, and your choice of sauce.  I chose the sweet sauce and asked for the slaw on the side.  Next time I'll skip the fries, they were overcooked, limp, and way too salty but the sandwich was good.  No way either of us could have eaten a whole one but we might split one again.

It's another gray drizzly day but Mrs. Hummingbird came for breakfast and stayed long enough for me to take her picture.  Later I noticed OJ's best pal, the chipmunk, up on the corn glaring down at me.  

In an effort to have something creative to show you I went downstairs around lunchtime for a round of "how fast can you sew?" and put this t-shirt together in about an hour. (it was already cut out)  A lot of the knit tops I saw in the stores this summer didn't have the bottoms or the sleeves hemmed so I didn't hem these.  Saved time and if I hate it or it bugs the living daylights out of me I can always just go down there, measure and pin the hems, and sew them.  Low risk, possible stylish look.  (what am I saying?  I am the antithesis of stylish.) 

August 27--Alfred Bierstadt, Last of the Buffalo.  The thing was as big as a Smart Car, maybe bigger, and it stood in the middle of the road.  Traffic was stopped in both directions for at least a mile and people from the near vehicles got out wielding cameras if they would shield them.  The bison's breath came out in snorts as if it was doing its best to control its temper but was losing.

I am confident there was more to that but after the last line there was a squiggle about the size of my thumbnail and that was all she wrote.  Hey, today would have been my Grandma Babe's birthday.  She'd have been 111 today.  Happy birthday, Grandma.  I miss you.

Love, Barbara Sue

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Any Other Time...

You know when you're wearing store-bought clothes and you tug on a loose thread and the whole hem comes out?  Or the elastic of your underpants comes adrift from the pants part?  Well, DIL1 asked me to take up a dress hem so I sat down with my ripper this afternoon to pick it out.  I spent an hour ripping less than 6" of hem searching for that one magical thread that when pulled saves hours of painstaking ripping of black thread out of a dark navy dress.  But I finally found it--and z-z-z-z-z-zip it all came out.  Next I'll cut off the current turned up hem, then measure and pin the new hem, and sew it in.  I promised it by next week so that she can wear it while it's still warm outside.  (it's a sleeveless dress, you see)

In other sewing news the second grandkid swim shirt got its first wetting this week and it fits just fine.  I was happy to get a not-blurry shot of the model as he's got about as much energy as a small nuclear reactor and is rarely still for more than a nanosecond.

On the yarn side of things Hoot II, the Brown Owl got its legs and talons today so it's all done and ready to be played with and loved.  This Hoot looks much more jittery than the first Hoot.  I can't wait to hear what they name him/her/it.  As you can see from the back view, I ran out of the feathery yarn halfway through knitting the base so Hoot II has a bare bum.  I kind of like it though and I don't know why.

Here's the first carrot out of the garden.  It's barely a bite but it was sticking out of the side of the bale and I just couldn't resist.  I'll be washing it off and eating it as soon as I'm done here. 

Last Monday a neighbor with a pickup truck took me and my brush pile to the yard waste drop-off.  I knew he wouldn't accept a few bucks for gas so I offered either zucchini bread, banana bread, or cookies as a thank you.  He chose banana bread.  I have three medium size loaf pans that are exactly the right size for one batch of my Jamaican banana bread recipe.  So one loaf will go to LJ with my thanks which means Durwood and I will have to make the other two go away.  Awww, what a shame.

There's a little boy around who doesn't seem to like vegetables no matter how they're cooked.  He's skilled enough that he can eat the pea part and spit out the hull, and I don't mean sugar snap peas, the regular cannonballs. (Baba tried the other day and was successful but said it was quite a trick to de-hull a pea with no hands)  Well, Meemaw had a brainstorm last night.  I thawed out a half-pound of boneless skinless chicken thighs that I put through the grinder with about 2 tablespoons of minced onion, 1/8 c. of oatmeal, and a cup of semi-thawed mixed veggies.  Then I used a small scoop to make meatballs and baked them for about 20 minutes.  I've frozen them and bagged them so that the next time OJ comes to visit maybe he'll eat one.  If not, I guess Baba and Meemaw will be having chicken veggie meatballs in their next spaghetti supper.

August 26--Umberto Boccioni, Woman Seen From Behind in Front of a Window.  Della watched out the west-facing window, that's where the weather came from most of the time.  The house was on a bit of a hill so she had a longer view than if it had been on the flat plain down by the state road.  Today she watched storm clouds pile up and turn from pale to charcoal gray.  The light changed from sunny yellow to a strange green color.  The wind dropped, not a leaf stirred, and the tall grass that flowed down the hill to the river stood still.  She heard thunder rumble far off and watched lightning skip from cloud to cloud.  When the storm came she watched it cross the river and trample the grass with hail and hard rain before flinging itself against the window so hard that she stumbled back as if shoved.  For a full minute she stood still then she raced through the house to close windows and make sure the screen door was latched so it wouldn't blow off its hinges.

It's been gray and drizzly today, a good day for sitting on the couch sewing legs on a stuffed owl and picking out hem stitches.  It might be getting to be time to throw together some chicken and rice for supper.  See ya.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Squash on the Fence

When I surveyed the tomato plants trying to spy any hints of red hiding in the thickets, I saw that these two Butternut squash are growing quite happily and quite big-ly hanging from the fence.  I will not be impatient and pick them before the first frost so that they're ripe and sweet when I want to peel one and make it into squash soup.  Cross my heart.

This little chipmunk takes full advantage of any seed or peanuts that fall when I fill the feeders.  OJ is always on the lookout for him when he's visiting and we have a line of small hand and nose prints on the patio door about 18" up from the floor to prove it.

I managed to drag myself downstairs to finish version 4 of Dress No. 1, this one in a drapey rayon-ish fabric.  I'm sure it's nothing but polyester with delusions of grandeur but I really like the geometric print of it and was curious how a softer fabric would work in the pattern.  I wore it to take Durwood to an appointment yesterday and I can attest that it works just fine.

After supper I finished the head of Hoot II, the brown owl, even getting the safety eyes, ear tufts, and beak attached.  Here you see it perched on top of the body.  This morning I knitted the base which closes off the big opening on the bottom (and ran out of the feathery yarn 2/3 of the way through so the bird will have a partly bare bottom; not an unattractive look) and the first of the wings.  For the wings I'm using a coppery colored novelty yarn with much longer hairs carried with the two browns; I like it.  Maybe I'll get the whole thing done today--if I park my carcass on the couch for the afternoon.

August 24--Michele Panebianco, Gelon Granting Peace to the Vanquished Carthaginians.  "Peace be with you," the priest said, and the words murmured from the front pew to the back one like a wave as the parishioners turned to greet those behind them.  I had my doubts as to how sincere the words were.  This congregation seldom agreed on anything.  Deciding on...

And that was that.  A defective pencil and a talkative spouse chased what was admittedly a thin-at-best idea clear out of my head.  Frustration will do that to a person.  Okay.  Time to dig up some lunch and then go knit another owl wing.  Maybe I'll knit on the patio since it's so nice out today.  What a great idea.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Channeling My Inner Hank

Did I tell you that the ice maker in our freezer has been on the blink?  I noticed the other day that it was making a mechanical growl, took off the cover, and saw the gear grinding a few cog teeth one way and then the other.  I tried thawing it out with a blast from the hair dryer and thought it'd worked but soon it was back to growling and not making ice.  So I called Mr. Fixit and asked him if it could be repaired and he said there's no fixing ice makers, they just take them out, toss them, and replace them.  He quoted me just under $300 for parts and labor.  That seemed a lot like half of how much a new one would cost so I checked a couple places--and it's about a third.  When I got home I decided to try one more time with the hair dryer but stand on a chair and thaw out and remove all of the ice in there, essentially starting fresh.  And you know what?  It worked!  You could have knocked me over with a feather when I opened the freezer to see a row of maker ice on top of the ice
cube trays I'd put in there.  Out came the trays and it's been making ice all night.  My dad, Hank, had his own inimitable method of home repairs (involving socks, hair dryers, and other unlikely objects) that turned out to be good stop-gap fixes.  I am very happy that my $20 hair dryer saved us $300 because I dared to channel Hank.  Way to go, Dad!

I had high hopes of completing Dress no. 1 (v. 4) yesterday.  I got the shoulders and side seams sewn and the bias binding of the neck and armholes applied but got interrupted (and too tired, to be honest) to hem it and apply the pockets.  I'll do those things today. (but I did get the laundry done while I was down there--yay!)

One of the reasons I was tired was because after Durwood complained of a sore back when he got up I stripped his bed and turned the mattress.  Actually I just rotated it 180 degrees; the next time it needs turning that will mean flipping it over and I'll probably need a helper.

The other reason I didn't get that tunic/dress done is because I made WW Shrimp & Grits for supper. Yes, you can have that rich and delicious dish on program. (7 points)  There're lots of veggies cooked with the shrimp (thanks for all the chopping, Durwood) and a single smoked turkey sausage link is diced into it.  The grits are cooked in low-fat chicken broth and cheesed with one of those Laughing Cow Light garlic-herb wedges with a sliced green onion stirred in.  Yum.  You totally wish you'd eaten here last night.  (btw, I'm very disappointed that they changed the name from La Vache qui Rit to Laughing Cow [which is the same name only in English], I thought the French sounded cooler; way to dumb-down the cheese, guys)

This pair of young orioles has adopted our feeders as their own.  They're even such good pals that they can share the birdbath with each other and other birds too.  Not robins though, robins are just too enthusiastic and splashy bathers for any other bird to endure.

The garden is doing well.  Tomatoes continue to ripen and one of these days, soon, I need to get out to snip off some leaves so there's air circulating in the tomato jungle.

August 23--Vincent van Gogh, Boats ont he Beach of Les-Saintes-Maries.  Those boats looked all wrong stranded in the sand far above the tide line.  There were four of them, their rigging all strung, rudders lying like broken wings across the seats.  Daria liked the red one with the moustache painted on its bow.  She thought it must look funny as it rode the waves with sea foam rolling off like shaving soap.  Leo stood next to the mast of the green boat calling out orders to his imaginary crew.  The twins, Fred and Tom, chose the two blue boats because they were identical and so were Fred and Tom.  They fought off marauding pirates or savage natives.  None of them noticed the dark gray clouds massing on the horizon until the wind picked up and pelted them with sand and spray.  None of them noticed that the tide had risen to float the boats until they started to drift.

The hot and humid moved east overnight and it's gloriously cooler and dryer.  I have the house open and real air is pouring in the windows.  Ahhh.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Maybe I'm Getting Used to It

Retirement, I mean.  I don't really have anything I have to do today, just fold a basket of wash (and I'll probably pass that chore on to Durwood), and I want to sew up that last tunic that I have cut out and maybe the other long-sleeved tee I cut out last fall and never managed to get put together.  But that's it. And I'm not fussed about it.  Oh, knowing me I'll probably manage to keep moving and doing most of the day but I'm happy not to feel compelled to fill my time.

The ice maker in our fridge/freezer's on the fritz.  I talked to the repair guy yesterday about getting it fixed.  He said that you don't really fix those, you take them out, toss them, and put in a new one.  Well, a new one will cost just under $300 with installation which seems like half as much as we'd have to pay for a whole new refrigerator, and a lot to invest in a 13 year old fridge.  I might bestir myself to make the rounds of appliance stores to see what's what.  Mr. Fixit cautioned me to only buy American-made, saying the foreign-made ones are crap (which I suspect will drive up the price of a replacement) but we're not desperate, after all I did save the recipe for ice cubes and the trays to make them in.

The sky this morning looked pretty.  It occurred to me that it's appreciably closer to sunrise when I get up around 6 o'clock than it has been in the past few months.  Even though it's been hot and humid (oh, man, has it been humid, not Evansville humid, but humid enough to be uncomfortable) I'm not ready for summer to pass.  I like it cooler, I look forward to cooler days but I'm in no way ready for all that the W season brings.  Not ready at all.

I worked on the Hoot Brown Owl head last night and am into the decreases.  Of course I changed the increase half so that the head would be bigger and do you think that I wrote down what I did?  Of course not, that would have been smart, so I'm decreasing evenly according to the pattern directions and stopping to see how it looks every once in a while.  I'm thinking maybe I'll give this one ear tufts.

Since I've started sewing more (a lot more!) I realized that I gave away my basic serging books to DD when she inherited Mom's machine, partly because I'm her mom (and mom's do stuff like that) and mostly because I hadn't used my serger much for years.  Well, now I'm using it more and need something more than the owner's manual if I want to do anything interesting with it (which it can do).  I had a 60% off Joann's coupon that I bought a serging book with last weekend and I found a used serger book and a used fitting book on Amazon.  I think my sewing library is complete--for the time being.  Now all I have to do is find where I put (seems more like "hid") my binder of sewing patterns that I printed off the web and have notes on, and I'll be set.  I see a sewing/yarn area clean up/clean out in my future.  I also need to look around for a place to have it cleaned and adjusted; it's been a while.

August 22--Ming Dynasty, Two Mandarins of the Ming Dynasty Court.  They were like two well-fed bookends.  Both of the men standing at the desk were dressed alike, one in red over blue, the other in blue over red.  They wore matching hats and boots.  The blue one carried a gold-threaded tassel, the red one lead a camel.  A camel, Rachel thought, sitting bolt upright in bed.  "No camels allowed in the hotel," she said, waking herself from the dream.

Not very inspired writing but I was tired.  Time to put on some duds and go downstairs and sew.  Maybe I'll toss some laundry around while I'm down there too.  You never know.  Oh, and Aunt B, my pinhole eclipse viewer wasn't one that fit over my head, I just had to put my eye to a hole in the end of the shoebox to see the sun.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Did You See It?

I built up a moderate level of excitement over today's eclipse.  I was semi-convinced that we'd have thick overcast or rain and not see one scrap of it and this morning's sky seemed to prove me right.  Last night Durwood quizzed me on how I planned to look at the eclipse without burning out my retinas and I explained the pinhole viewer/camera to him.  He didn't get it so I grabbed the shoebox from my new shoes, a piece of computer paper (I almost wrote "typing" paper... am I old or what?), a box cutter, some aluminum foil, Scotch tape, and a nail.  In less than 15 minutes I had this--a pinhole eclipse viewer.  It works on the same principle as early cameras.  You affix a piece of white paper to the inside of one of the short ends of the box, then cut small holes in the bottom corners of the opposite short end.  
Over the left hole you tape your piece of foil and then use the nail (or a piece of spaghetti) to poke a hole in the foil.  To use the viewer you turn your back to the sun (or whatever you want to look at), put your left eye to the open hole and aim the foil hole at the sun.  You have to move yourself and the box around until you can see the image reflected on the white paper.  We practiced last night by looking at the chandelier.  We went out to a pizza buffet for lunch and a little boy came around saying "it's eclipse time" so I went out to the van where I'd stashed my viewer, turned my back, and there it was, the sun with a bite out of it.  When I went back in a couple of the teenagers working there asked if I'd looked at the sun directly.  I told them about the viewer and offered to let them look.  They got permission to go out for a minute and were very impressed with the simple technology of it and boggled when I explained that this was essentially how the first camera worked.  (I suspect they thought that I was the assistant at the first photo experiments too.)  Anyway, we were too busy looking while the eclipse was happening but while Durwood got
his hearing aids adjusted I stayed in the parking lot and took a couple pictures through the eye hole of the viewer just so you can see how it worked.  

I did indeed get the 6 day lilies planted last night and nearly blinded myself with sweat doing it.  I am probably in the Olympic class of sweat-ers so I shouldn't have been surprised but, man, that stings when it gets in your eyes.  I had to do some bushwhacking to trim back volunteer shrubbery and branches growing through the fence from the neighbors which only added to the sweat quotient.  There was such a pile of branches that there was no way I could have gotten them all into Durwood's big van to take them to the yard waste.  I thought about just piling them at the curb and calling the city to send over the stick truck but then I saw that a neighbor with a pickup truck was outside this morning so I asked him and he graciously helped me load it all up and unload it at the other end.  I promised him banana bread as a thank you.  I knew he wouldn't take gas money because even though we probably drove less than 5 miles total, he still gave up an hour of his morning to help me and I appreciate it.

Last night after 6 PM I picked up KW and we went to the fairgrounds to get our entries and our RIBBONS.  She got 3 firsts, a second, and a third but one of her firsts earned Best of Show and that's a real RIBBON of a ribbon.  Very flashy.  I am over the moon with my 9 entries and 9 blue ribbons.  We talked to the woman in charge of making sure no one made off with someone else's entries and I said that I suspected that some of mine were the only entry in that class (there are so many classes it's not surprising) and she said that it was possible but the judge considered how well things were made and didn't just hand out a first.  She said she'd seen the lone entry in a class get a third or fourth so that made me feel like I'd earned my ribbons.  Would you be surprised to learn that we discussed what we'll enter next year on the walk back to my car?  We've got the fever now.  We're going to try to get more of our knitter friends to enter next year.  It's only four bucks to enter as many things as you want, a real bargain.

August 21--Frank Gehry, Bubbles Chaise Longue.  Felix sat in the middle of a sea of cardboard.  "It's the perfect medium," he said. "The possibilities are endless."  As he spoke his hands lifted and manipulated the wide strips of corrugated cardboard which were supple, not rigid like Celine expected.  "What are you doing with it?" she asked.  "Building.  Creating.  Making," he said emphasizing the last word as if making was the ultimate destiny of corrugated cardboard.  She watched him bend it like old-fashioned ribbon candy.  "Making what?"  She cocked her head to one side like a confused spaniel.  "What does it look like?" he said, his face a mask of concentration.  "A track for Matchbox cars?" she guessed.  He turned to look at her from under lowered brows.  She tried a mollifying smile.  "Sorry."
The honeysuckle's blooming again, most of the blossoms are on the renters' side of the vine.  I think it's time to chop it way back in the fall and let it start over.  I'll google it.