Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Kumquat In Detox?

My nephew and I named my previous laptop "Kumquat" (we even made a logo) and the name has been transferred to this one too.  It seems that the Kumquat has acquired a virus and needs to go to the fixit place.  My usual fixit guy's company doesn't do computer service anymore which was a terrible shock when I called him last week to schedule an appointment.  I asked for recommendations for other equally honest and reliable service people and called one today.  See, I've been reluctant to take it in because that means I'll be without a computer for a day or more, maybe two or three days, so I want to warn you that this might be the last blog post for a few days, maybe the rest of the week if the Kumquat has to spend the weekend in the shop.  *sigh*  It must be done.  The thing's running slower and slower and my onboard virus scans don't find anything so I suspect that whatever's in there is smart enough to hide from consumer-grade scans.

I heard a noisy truck out front this morning and it wasn't the garbologists, it was the leaf-picker-uppers.  Hooray!  I called the city Public Works office yesterday and she said that they still have a couple leaf collection crews out following the trash routes so I didn't get to call in a special leaf collection strike.  I'm just glad they're gone and I won't have leaf-smothered grass at the curb in the spring.

We had bird visitors again today.  The bluejay was doing its peanut acrobatics, a female cardinal had breakfast on the platform feeder, and a trio of sparrows had a group bath.  There are usually way more than three sparrows bathing at a time but this morning the rest of them must have been busy.

I didn't knit last night.  I just didn't feel like it so here's a picture of the afghan that I learned to knit on.  Each of those fish blocks uses the knit stitch, the purl stitch, increases, and decreases.  What more do you need?  By the time I had enough fish to make a good-size afghan I was a pretty darned confident beginning knitter.  It's been all uphill (or downhill if you're talking about money spent on stockpiling yarn, etc.) since then.

November 29--Lorenzo Lotto, Annunciation.  Imagine sitting in your room when a guy dressed in a blue toga and carrying a stem of lilies flies through the window and tells you that you're going to have a baby.  All by yourself.  No courtship, no foreplay, just, BAM!, you're having a baby.  Oh and, by the way, the baby daddy is God, as in G.O.D., the guy that created Heaven and Earth, etc. then took the weekend off.  Your mother is totally going to believe that story when "that time of the month" isn't coming around anymore.  She'll get you married off to Joe, the nice carpenter a couple blocks over so fast it'll make your head swim.  Joe's such a great guy he'll buy your story and agree to love the kid as if it was his own.

That was fun to write once I realized where it was going.  Man, I hope the Kumquat's brain isn't too badly infected and it'll come home quickly.  Maybe it's just a slight case of a virus that's easy to cure.  Fingers--and checkbook --crossed.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

One Big Bird

And not the Sesame Street one either.  There I was sitting at the kitchen table finishing my lovely lunch when I noticed a big white blotch way up in the maple tree beside the parking lot in our backyard.  I squinted up at it (what? I'm old, I squint) and realized that it was a great big hawk (about 24" tall) preening its feathers and swiveling its head looking for its own lunch.  It was puffed up to stay warm so it looked BIG.  I got out the bird books and decided that it was a Red-tailed Hawk.  I was surprised to see chickadees and other small birds flitting around the feeders but then I read that Red-Tailed Hawks eat rodents, not birds, so the birds were safe.  However there were no chipmunks or bunnies around.  Come to think of it, it's been a while since I've seen a chipmunk.  Hmm.

Speaking of my lovely lunch, here it is.  A small flour tortilla spread with a tiny bit of Fat-free Mayo with 1 1/2 oz. of deli turkey topped with a handful (maybe 1/2 cup) of broccoli slaw dribbled with a teeny tiny bit of wasabi dressing, a handful of red grapes and 5 or 6 baby carrots for more crunch.  All for just 4 WW points which is a good thing because today is Tuesday and Tuesday is pizza day.  We get a large one from Papa Murphy's, eat half tonight and keep the rest for Friday night.  I know, living in the fast lane.  Anyway, we've gotten a pizza every Tuesday night for years, ever since they started the $10 Tuesday program.  Tonight when I went it to get our pie they wouldn't let me pay for it.  I was confused and not a little bit stunned but took my pizza and came home.  I guess it pays to eat pizza every Tuesday.  Or something.

Last night after supper I finished the first of OJ's mittens and cast on the next one, getting the cuff completed before deciding to add some rows to the Black & Blue Shrug.  I like the way the two yarns look held together but the black mohair is a bear to knit with.  It likes to cling to itself and the other yarn and sometimes the stitch before or after it.  It isn't very well behaved yarn but I like the fuzziness of it so I'll put up with a certain level of stubborn independence.

This morning I cleaned out the upstairs freezer.  See how organized it is?  I had a good idea about some things in there and others were like unearthing a mammoth from permafrost.  I tossed out all the ice in the box because keeping the freezer door open for half an hour would probably turn the cubes into a glacier.  I figured it was better to start over.  I spent a few minutes after finishing portioning out the carton of chocolate ice cream to keep from being overserved.  According to the package there are 12 servings in there, I got 9.  I think I need remedial measuring lessons.  I'm not redoing it.  Next week I'll defrost the downstairs freezer then I can get the nine 1/2# packages of Gulf shrimp into that freezer and free up space in the upstairs one for a batch of breakfast burritos for Durwood now that fresh-from-the-garden tomato season is over.

I stayed up too late knitting last night so I didn't write the prompt so this is all there is.  I hope you're not bereft.  I'll try to put myself to bed a bit earlier so my eyes stay open long enough to scribble something down.  Adios.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Flashback to June

Because I went down to the dive shop to use the big table in the back room to trace and cut
out the three new patterns I got from 100 Acts of Sewing.  It was kind of weird to be there and not be working.  It's only the third time I've been there since retiring.  I got the leggings pattern traced and cut out, and the basic shirt, but when I was tracing the dress pattern I realized that they'd sent me the wrong size or I'd ordered the wrong one.  Dang it.  I quickly sent an email and got an almost instant reply that she'd put the right size in the mail.  In fact the mailing notice arrived in my email box before her response, and she said to keep the one sent in error to share with a friend.  Wanna be my friend?  As I was rolling the fabric back onto the bolt I finally realized what it reminds me of.  My great-grandmother had sheer white curtains in her parlor that were starched to the utmost and this fabric is very much like those curtains.  Oh thank goodness, it was bugging the daylights out of me trying to figure that out.

This morning's sky was beautiful, all blue with just the barest hint of pink in the east.  It was only after I came back inside that I realized I was out there barefoot in underpants and a hoodie.  Tsk.  Will I never learn?  Good thing it wasn't icy or April 1, right?

I've got the first of OJ's mittens knitted to the point of closing the top.  After supper I'll sit on the couch and get that done, then knit the little thumb, and cast on mitten #2.  Once that's done I'll take a crochet hook and make a string to connect them (idiot mittens, we call them) so they don't get lost when he takes them off which I am supremely confident he will do no matter how cold it is outside.

November 27--Edouard Vuillard, The Painter Jean-Louis Forain in His Studio.  Theodore sat in the same chair in the café every morning.  Everyone in the neighborhood knew that the chair in the sunny corner was Theodore's.  That Tuesday a ruddy-faced man came in, ordered a black coffee, and sat in the sunny corner to read his newspaper.  All of the regulars stared as if at an apparition, then swiveled to look at the barista, Brandon.  Brandon felt all those eyes on him as he served the steady stream of morning customers.  In between pleasantries he thought about what he could say to the man to get him to vacate Theodore's place.  He glanced at the clock, the old man would arrive in five minutes.  He was very prompt.

I fell asleep at "pleasantries," did a bit of sleep scribbling, then I woke up enough to write down the rest before turning off the light and calling it a night.  Time to prepare tonight's turkey, gravy, some kind of potato, and veggies for supper.  Ah, leftovers.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Look! Up in the Sky!

It's an airplane flying way, way high scribing a contrail across the early morning blue.  It was 22 degrees when I went out at 7 o'clock to top up the birdbath.  Brr.  Not doing yoga on the patio anymore in 2017, that's for sure.  I try to get done yog-ing before Durwood gets up so I can do it alongside the table where I can look out the patio doors but don't always succeed.  This morning I did my yoga in the living room where I have a view of the cluttered bottom shelf of the TV armoire.  Inspiring.  

And the capricious wind has blown some leaves back onto the patio but I'm going to call the Public Works Dept. tomorrow asking them to come get my leaf piles and call to cancel the lawn guy until next year.  The raking and leaf blowing the neighbor and I did on Friday is good enough, not pristine like the guy kitty-corner across the street but he's made a religion of his lawn so he doesn't count. 

Did I show you the new patterns I got last week from 100 Acts of
Sewing?  I don't think so.  This is Dress No. 2 and Pants No. 2 which are really leggings.  I get a giggle out of the creative names she gives her patterns but I really like their simplicity and how they've made me brave enough to experiment with fabrics and fit and style.  I'll be taking them and the bolt of thrift store fabric I use to draw off patterns down to the dive shop tomorrow to set up a meeting table in the back room to trace and cut them.  It's so much easier to use an 8' long table than the 5'-er I have downstairs and I'm too darned old to crawl around on the floor to do it.

Another of my Joann finds was a skein of yarn that matches the owl hat I made for OJ.  The mittens I made to go along with it are way too big for him so I found a toddler size mitten pattern and cast it on this morning.  Got one cuff done and am halfway to putting the thumb stitches on a holder.  It shouldn't take long to knit a pair of mittens for those little but busy hands.  I figure if they fit right maybe he'll even leave them on when we're playing outside.  Probably not, but I can hope. 

I've been sticking very close to the WW plan the last couple weeks, avoiding ice cream drive-thrus and grocery store sweet roll cases.  I even bought some 1/2 cup plastic containers because I've discovered that if I portion things out I don't overserve myself so there's a stack of 1/2 c. servings of chocolate ice cream in the freezer that I eat with the tiniest demitasse spoon I own.  Today I was in the grocery store and thought maybe I could find a single cookie.   The bakery doesn't have a service case anymore and all the cookies come in dozens so I looked on the "reduced bakery" rack and found a single cookie.  I put it into my cart but decided that, while it was a single cookie, it was probably a bit off-plan, if you know what I mean.  I put it back.  Besides it was five bucks.  Even I think that's too much to pay for one chocolate chip cookie.

November 26--Alexandre Cabanel, Birth of Venus.  Julia looked at the canvas on the easel and back at Marshall.  "That's the way I look to you?"  He reddened and nodded.  "Yes."  She stared some more.  He had painted her nude.  She'd posed clothed.  He had give her red-gold wavy hair that reached to her waist.  Her hair was the same color but cut short and stick straight.  "Am I floating on an ocean?"  His fingers fiddled with a paintbrush, smearing blue paint all over his hands.  "Mm-hm."  "You know I can't swim, right?"  He ducked his head and smiled.  "Yeah, I do.  I could teach you if you'd like."  She turned back to the painting, hands on her hips.  "You see me like this?"  He nodded.  She didn't look at him but said, "Will you marry me?"  He let out his breath.  "I thought you'd never ask."

I was going to go downstairs this evening to cut out the puppets I want to make for LC and OJ for Christmas but at supper Durwood said he wanted to remind me that I'm on vacation, that I'm retired, that I don't have to get everything done all in one day.  I protested that I'd stayed in my jammies until after 1 o'clock before dressing to go pick up a few things at the grocery (but not a cookie) and exchange something at Goodwill.  He did allow as how he napped most of the morning so he didn't witness me relaxing.  But I think maybe I'll see if I can't get one OJ mitten done before bedtime.  Just to make Durwood happy, you understand, not because I think he's right or anything.  I can cut out puppets on Tuesday.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Where Did The Money Go?

It went to Joann Fabrics, that's where it went.  Last night I decided to recycle the remaining "25% off your total purchase" coupon and let it expire.  I even tossed it out into the bin in the garage instead of piling it with the other newspapers to be recycled later.  But I couldn't get the fact that I'd bought those two patterned knits with which to make leggings and the only partially solid color Dress No. 1 I have is navy blue and neither of the leggings fabrics is anywhere close to navy blue.  I told Durwood this morning that I was tempted to go back for some solid color fabrics and spend that coupon and he said go ahead, even when I confessed that I didn't have stash money to pay for it.  AND I'm going away for a 3-day weekend in January that I can't pay for out of stash either.  (this being retired and not getting a paycheck so I can save money for extras is kind of a pain; I need to figure out a way to salt away a little money every month)

If anything, Joann Fabrics was even crazier today than it was yesterday.  I blame the
"fleece" people.  They had carts and CARTS of bolts of fleece, took forever to get pieces of it cut, and then more of them took their place.  I found some black denim and picante (orange) linen to make dresses from, got a length of black knit to make black leggings, and a couple lengths of cottons--the red and blue stripe I hope to use to alter a tunic I made last summer,  the speckled one to make an LC dress (maybe), and I don't know what I'll do with the blue "seapoint" print because it's only a yard but, eh, I wanted it.  I got some serger thread and more single fold bias tape too.

I didn't use my noodle like one of the fleece people I kept crossing paths with.  She said she grabbed a number when she arrived so by the time she was done shopping she didn't have to wait long.  I took my number when I'd finished picking out fabrics and it was more than 50 ahead of the number they'd just called.  *sigh*  So like yesterday I found a hiding place out of the way but still in sight of the action between two racks of seam binding and called up a word game to play on my phone.  Here's what it looked like.  I was glad to be safely out of the danger zone and not in anyone's way.

Before raking yesterday I filled the birdfeeders and this morning word went out among the feathered set.  A Downy Woodpecker spent some time on the suet pellets back by the retaining wall and a Bluejay made repeated trips for peanuts to stash.

Something bigger than a chipmunk has dug a burrow under the shed behind the house.  MW says it's probably a woodchuck (groundhog).  I haven't seen it and need to do a little research to see if I need to worry about it gnawing on anything vital over the winter.  Maybe it's just here for the fallen birdseed?  I don't even know what they eat.  Google to the rescue!  Tomorrow.

November 25--Vincent van Gogh, The Postman Roulin.  It was the ugliest wallpaper she had ever seen.  Virginia stood in the doorway and gaped at the turquoise paper close-printed with nosegays of daisies and poppies.  The stuff looked poisonous.  She was tempted to go down and request another room but the clerk had said she got the last room.  Maybe she'd fall asleep fast and not have to look at it for long.

I made a tactical error last night when I came in from raking leaves.  I took an Aleve because my lower back and hip were hurting.  Aleve has caffeine in it.  I don't tolerate caffeine well at all.  I went to bed at about 12:45--and didn't fall asleep until around 2:00.  Then I woke up at 6:30 for a bathroom run and realized I had to get up and get the turkey parts in the crockpotS because they needed to cook for 8-10 hours.  *sigh*  And I bought aspirin for just such occasions.  Oh well, I'll turn in soon and feel like a new woman tomorrow.  Yeah, right.  I can hope, can't I?  I don't bounce back from a late night at age 66 like I did when I was 36.

Where Did My Day Go???

I am gobsmacked at the time.  I mean, really, I feel like it should be about 8 o'clock and here it's almost midnight.  I know what the problem is.  See, I slept until 9 o'clock so the morning was half gone before my feet ever hit the floor.  Ugh.  I hate when that happens.  I made a couple phone calls and then took off for Joann Fabrics to spend my "% off your total purchase" coupon on some flannel and knits to make a dress and leggings with my new patterns.  I might have gone a bit nuts.  Not too nuts, but I did come home with quite a bit more fabric than I meant to.  In my defense I had a gift card left from my retirement party and spent that so only had to pay 2/3 of the total.  Wanna see what I got?  Okay.

In the flannels I had a very hard time choosing.  I put a lot of bolts in my cart and then hid behind the decorator fabric racks out of the way of the roving bands of fleece buyers and debated the merits of each one.  I ended up with this gray and black arrow geometric, a red and gray Aztec geometric, and this remnant of neon bows.  The geometrics are for dresses for me and the bows are for me to see if I can't make LC a jumper like I'm making for myself.  She likes dresses, I know she has pink leggings, and I'll put on pockets.  Who doesn't like pockets?

The knits with enough spandex to make leggings weren't on sale (of course they weren't) so I had some hard decisions to make.  The brown stuff, named "potting soil" (isn't that creative?), was full price but since I'd been looking for brown leggings I just bit the bullet and bought it.  Then when I checked out there was a "50% off one full price fabric cut" coupon.  Score!  The other two knits, the techno tribal and the black/gray and white one were off the "Red Tag" rack so they were already on sale.  I'm not sure how I'll like wearing print leggings with print dresses but the prices were right to give it a whirl.

Then there are the outliers.  I saw this red fish outdoor fabric and had to have it.  I confess I'll be making a Dress No. 1 out of it.  I know it's bright and a big print but, come on, look at it.  How could I resist?  The other piece drew me like a fly to honey.  I don't like blue but this gray/blue/orange combo knocked me out--and it's microsuede.  So soft.  It's barely over a yard so it'll make something for LC.

Having finished the Rebel Girl Hats I could finally give in to my desire to cast on another shrug in some yarn that's been marinating in the stash for years.  It's black mohair and some black and blue wool blend.  I'll hold them together and am hoping to make long sleeves and lengthen the body of the shrug.  I should have plenty of yarn and it's knitted on nice big needles.  I've make this shrug twice and really like it.  Only MW and I were at Friday Night Knitting so I got it cast on and a few rows knitted.  Now that the leaves are raked I can devote tomorrow (or, in reality, later today) to folding a basket of laundry and then sitting and knitting.

Speaking of leaves, my afternoon was consumed by leaf raking.  I called the lawn guy 3 weeks ago and twice since then and he still hadn't come to sweep up the leaves.  In his defense we have had rainy days which means he can't work and he said he had an equipment breakdown plus all his helpers went back to college but by this afternoon I had run out of patience.  I started raking on the patio and just kept going around the shed and by the time I'd raked into the side yard and gotten a tarp to start taking piles to the curb I had had it.  I came inside so frustrated I was almost crying so I texted the neighbor asking if I could borrow his leaf blower this weekend and he came right over and helped me finish up.  Good thing too because it started to rain as I got to knitting and raking wet leaves is no fun.  Now I can cancel the lawn guy and save the money.  Maybe I'll pay myself to make up for the sheer frustration of the afternoon.

It's so late and I'm suddenly so tired that I'm going to save my prompt writing for tomorrow's post and go to bed.  Goodnight, all.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

And it was.  The nice little yellow pills kept the nasty old vertigo at bay so I was able to make the Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Toffee Rum Sauce this morning.  I might have been a little heavy-handed with the rum.  (oh my)  I decided at the last minute to make a second batch of the sauce and that turned out to be a good idea because a couple of apple pie eaters decided to put the sauce on their pie.  From their "mmm"-ing I assume it was a good idea.

I tried to make good choices and only eat a bit of things but look at my plate.  There weren't a lot of choices that didn't have plenty of bacon or butter or some other fattening component.  (it is Thanksgiving, the holiday that's all about food and family, what did I expect?  Lean Cuisine?)  I was careful not to eat too many appetizers and no seconds, but I confess that I had a small piece of pecan pie with whipped cream AND a little square of the bread pudding--just to make sure it was good enough to serve to everyone, you understand. 

This morning I took my bag of peels etc. over to feed the chickens and was rewarded with two fresh eggs.  I see an omelet in my future or maybe egg salad.

Here are all three Rebel Girl Hats finished and ready for wearing.  Duplicate stitching all those letters was a bigger job than I anticipated and I'm glad it's done but I'm also glad I made them.  Nobody else will have hats like ours.  We'll be warm and STRONG BRAVE SMART & KIND, yes we will.

November 23--Joachim Beuckelaer, Vegetable Vendor.  Eloise caught her breath when she turned the corner in the market.  The vegetable stall looked like a jewel box sparkling in the morning sun.  Pale green orbs of cabbage were piled in baskets on the ground in front of the table.  Pyramids of beets and white and red onions twinkled at her and the green beans looked like shards of jade.  There were purple, green, and yellow summer squash, and bouquets of carrots begging to be taken home for soups and stews.  Humble potatoes lay in dusty splendor in a bushel basket at her feet.

I have a dry scratchy throat with one of those tickly coughs.  I hate it.  I think I'll take myself to bed.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

According to Wikipedia...

"Vertigo is a medical condition where a person feels as if they or the objects around them are moving when they are not.[1] Often it feels like a spinning or swaying movement.[1][2] This may be associated with nausea, vomiting, sweating, or difficulties walking.[2] It is typically worsened when the head is moved.[2] Vertigo is the most common type of dizziness.[2]"

This is what I woke up with today.  I feel like I'm trying to get OJ's cold and evidently the cold decided to take up residence in my eustachian tubes.  I reeled into the bathroom, took an anti-vertigo pill, and staggered into kitchen.  I waited a while, over an hour, but things didn't improve.  I adjourned to the couch to listen to a healing meditation and a nap.  I took a second dose of the meds around noon and started to feel better around 1:30.  For a time there I was afraid we'd have to skip Thanksgiving but I'm better.  Whew.  Don't want to miss the gathering of the Shawano contingent.

Once my eyes stopped jittering around I picked up Rebel Girl Hat #3a and got BRAVE embroidered on and started on STRONG.  I plan to work more on it once I've posted this.  I had hoped to finish sewing that red and brown paisley Dress No. 1 but even I know that going down into the basement to sew when the room was spinning around was a bad idea.  I have other dresses to wear.  I'll still look good.

November 22--Georges Barbier, The Three Graces Fashion Plate.  Rose, Lily, and Fern were separable from the day they met in fourth grade.  They all liked black licorice, penny loafers, and Jacob Williams, the captain of the middle school soccer team.  He didn't know they were alive but they went to every home match and kept a scrapbook of his press clippings in Lily's closet.  Rose and Fern had nosy brothers so it wasn't safe at their houses.

This is all there is because of the aforementioned vertigo.  I promise to have more to say tomorrow, unless I've got extra turkey-generated tryptophan onboard and fall asleep before I get to the keyboard.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

What Do You Eat Two Days Before Thanksgiving?

Why, Cornish game hen, of course.  Durwood was reading me the food ads this morning
and mentioned that someone has hens 2/$5.  I said that we had one in the freezer that we should eat.  He raised his eyebrows at me (which meant something completely different about 20 years ago) and the question of what to have for supper was answered.  And even though we are invited to Nana and Doc's for Thanksgiving dinner, once again Durwood wheedled me into making an abbreviated turkey dinner so we'll have a bounty of leftovers.  *sigh*  I snagged this turkey breast at Festival last weekend and spent most of this afternoon chasing down two turkey thighs, which are evidently the phantom turkey part this year.  I found an interesting brine/marinade recipe online for turkey parts you cook in the crockpot.  I have a pan of Mom's famous and delicious Green Beans Almondine in the freezer and promised to make a small batch of cornbread stuffing.  That's as far as I'm going down the slippery slope to having a fridge full of food that I can't eat and still stick to WW.
Yesterday morning I mixed up and baked a batch of Fast & Friendly Meatballs.  Following the lead of a couple of the commenters I minced about 1/3 cup each of onions and bell pepper, then sautéed them in a bit of olive oil with a teaspoon of minced garlic.  I also added 1 Tablespoon of Italian Seasoning.  This batch made 33 balls because I used a smaller scoop so imagine five packages like this.  OJ likes them and they're a quick and easy supper when neither of us can think of something to make.  Plus even in the 18-ball batch (bigger scoop) they're only 1 WW point each.

This bluejay came for a drink and a splash.  I do love the way they look and their brash and raucous ways.  I know I say that every time I post one of their pictures but I like these birds a lot so you'll just have to put up with it.  Or look away.

Last week when I had to repair LC's owl hat I realized that I didn't have the yarn needed to make another one should this one be unable to be repaired someday or if she outgrows it so I ordered the yarn to have "just in case."  That doesn't count against my yarn diet, does it?  I don't think so either.

After supper I went downstairs to sew a little bit and got the binding
attached to the neck and arm openings of the last Dress No. 1 I'm making for a while.  (Cross my heart.)  I'm hoping to have it done to wear on Thanksgiving even though I haven't been able to find a pair of brown leggings to wear with it.  I can find black all over the place and olive and wine red, even tone-on-tone prints and fancy shiny gold on black but do you think I can find a pair of plain chocolate brown leggings?  No, I can not, so I guess I'll wear my khaki jeggings or plain old black ones IF I get the dress done.  I'll probably end up sewing a pair of brown leggings but not before Thursday.  I have other dresses to wear but I won't wear the one that has become my surprise favorite which is the bright yellow one with the orange and blue flowers on it.  It's just so bright and cheerful on these dreary days.

November 21--Paul Signac, Saint Tropez, called Le Sentier de Doane.  The autumn leaves had fallen overnight and lay across the path like a golden carpet.  Gail walked along with her head down and her hands in her pockets.  She didn't notice the blue sky arching over the woods, not the cool-below-warm breeze that rustled along with her, or the birds and squirrels getting ready for winter.  It had been a long drive up from the city and she had looked forward to getting away to think.  Life was too busy with work and hobbies, friends and committees for her to have time to think.  Everyone was certain that her life was carefree but it wasn't, far from it.  Edgar had left her with a stack of unpaid bills and a house that was too old and too shabby to sell as is,  She needed help and she needed space to think.

Man, it was windy today.  Windy, windy, windy.  The older I get the more a windy day stuffs up my sinuses.  I guess it's all the stuff the wind stirs up but I don't like it, not one little bit.  I even took a nap this afternoon and I never do that.  Even with a nap I'm about ready to jump in the sack so, nighty-night.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Let There Be Light

My assistant and I went to Walmart the other day because I didn't have any boots in his size here.  (no, I don't know what became of the ones I had for LC when she was his age)  He loves to be outside so much that I know we'll need them.  I have snow pants, a jacket, hats, and mittens (although I need to knit some with thumbs in his size) but no boots.  Now I have boots.  But across the aisle from the boots were the clearance shoes so I thought I'd get a pair of shoes for him to play outside in to keep his shoes from home un-muddy.  Look at what I found.  Batman shoes that light up when he walks or stomps his feet.  The emblem on the instep and the outside of the heels flickers yellow.  It's very cool.  He likes them a lot.

Can someone tell me why things run out at the same time?  Last week when I wanted to lend Durwood a watch to wear in the grocery store so he'd come back in an hour I had to give him the watch I got as a retirement gift from the dive shop because both of my other watches' batteries were dead.  (BTW, lending him the watch didn't work; he came back in 2 hours and 10 minutes.)  Happily I had 2 watch batteries of the correct size in my dresser drawer but no tool to use to twist off the back of the watches.  Yesterday when I pushed the button to "sync" my Garmin Vivofit with the computer to record how many steps I'd taken (the WW site picks it up too), it told me that the batteries were low.  I called the dive shop but they didn't have the size I needed.  I didn't think they would but took the chance.  Batteries Plus had them so I went and got some, then went to the dive shop where there are the right tools for twisting the back off of watches and levering out those tiny little batteries.  It was if not the first then almost the first time I'd been back to the store since retiring at the end of June.  (June 29th at 5:00 PM to be exact, but who's keeping track?)  The back room was totally rearranged so Mrs. Boss had to find the tools I needed and kept me company while I worked.  People have asked me if I miss working and I tell them that I miss the people and the paycheck and the tools.  Oh, I have tools at home but not the specialized tools they have there.  Look at this cool, watch fix-y doodad.  Those little peg-things fit into the sockets on the handle that can be adjusted so that the pegs fit into the notches on the back of the watch.  Brilliant.

After fixing the watches in no time at all I took myself over to the parking lot at the corner of
Webster Ave. and St. John St. where the Fabian Seafood truck was selling shrimp for the last time this season.  Durwood and I discussed it and decided that I'd get 5# of fresh Gulf shrimp for the freezer.  Well, 4 1/2# because we made Penne & Shrimp for supper.  We had to make sure it was good shrimp, right?  I got the rest of it packaged up in 1/2# quantities in a quart Ziploc bag half filled with water to prevent freezer burn, stacked in two big square Tupperware canisters, and into the freezer upstairs.  Once they're frozen and I can be confident that they're not going to be leaking water all over the place, I'll take them down to the downstairs freezer and work them in.  It's getting to be defrosting time so finding a place for 9 packages of shrimp is as good an excuse as any to get the job done.  At least I can slosh and drip water all over the floor because it's in the basement and the drain's about 4 feet away so I don't have to worry about ruining a wood or tile floor or have to mop up all that water.

November 20--Hippolyte Arnoux, Portrait of the Daughter of the King of Abyssinia.  She stood there with a hibiscus flower perched on top of her hair, a coin necklace and armlets, and was draped in plaid and striped cottons.  She was so sure of herself.  Confidence just poured off of her like rays from the sun.  Rupert thought she was beautiful.  He wanted to speak to her but all he was able to do was assist the photographer.

I had every intention of them having a clandestine meeting but an hour after I'd written that last sentence I found myself asleep face down in my pillow, pencil and notebook in hand, so I put my toys away, took off my glasses, turned off the light, and went to sleep.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

It Might Be Dark But It Isn't Midnight

So I'm doing better today, right?  It was sunny but darned cold today.  I don't think it got much above 32 degrees all day.  I spent my day inside making things, except for a quick trip to Kwik Trip for bananas, that is.  You know how much I like making things.

First thing this morning I made a batch of Balsamic Cranberry-Fig Compote.  The recipe was in last week's Parade magazine in the Sunday paper and I already had all of the ingredients and I like all the ingredients so I figured I'd like the compote.  And I do.  Even Durwood likes it.  It's very expensive, WW-points-wise, but the recipe makes about 3 cups so I put it into 2 pint jars, I'll take one jar along on Thanksgiving and have one to tempt me in the fridge.  It's do-able.  I just won't eat it all at one sitting and Durwood's bound to want his share.  We made WW Shrimp with Veggies and Creamy Herb Grits for supper again tonight because it is sooooo good.

Oh!  Look what came today.  Fighter planes.  Four of 'em.  All for me.  I graciously allowed all those fools sitting freezing their hoo-hoos off at Lambeau to see them and hear them too.  I'm nice like that.  But I know in my heart of hearts that the fly-overs are meant for me and me alone.  It's the only part of football games I like.

In the afternoon I went downstairs because someone neglected to throw his jeans down the
chute last week when I asked for dirties and "it's the only pair of jeans that doesn't scratch me with the rivets."  As if the pants have their own agenda.  I ask you.  (I'll take a look at the rivets on the offending jeans to see if I can't subdue them so they don't scratch him when he puts his hand in the pocket.)  Anyway, that gave me time to take in the waists of all of the new school pants that DIL1 bought for LC.  Seems she's tall enough to wear 4T clothes but she's a stringbean (Mama's word, not mine) like her mama so last week one day the teacher said that by the time she'd run to the playground her pants were around her ankles.  Not a good school look, plus it's cold.  So it's Meemaw's sewing machine to the rescue.  I just pinched the waistband in the back and sewed it, then sewed down the pinch.  It leaves a pleat in the back but also can be easily removed when she needs a little bit bigger waist in her pants.  Besides 4K isn't about fashion, it's about comfort and function--and your pants staying up when you run.  I love being asked to do little sewing jobs for DIL1.  She's not a seamstress (she has other gifts that I don't have) but I am (at least in a moderate way, not anything like the way Mom sewed) so this is a way I can help.  I remember how overwhelmed I felt at times when I had an almost-4-year-old and a year-and-a-half old to deal with and I didn't go off to work every day.  I only had a husband who was out of town about 75% of the time.

November 19--Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, Valencian Women at the Beach.  It was windy there on the sand.  Fine grains skimmed across the surface of the beach making Marla's ankles feel, well, sandblasted.  She walked as fast as the soft sand let her.  The argument had been about nothing.  Stuart had been less than complimentary about supper, she'd gotten her feelings hurt, and stormed out.  Now she was stomping up the beach toward the cluster of shacks that made up Malibu Jack's with twenty bucks in her pocket and a mad on.  Not a great combination.

Time to go down and drag the clothes out of the dryer before they wrinkle beyond salvation.  Maybe I'll spend a few minutes down there working on the last Dress No. 1--or maybe I'll just come back upstairs and sit staring at the TV for a while.  That sounds appealing.  Later, dudes and dudettes.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Barely Worth Blogging

I've had a busy two days.  Busy wrangling assistants, filling birdfeeders yesterday in the drizzle, but I managed to get two words embroidered on Rebel Girl Hat #3 last night at Friday Night Knitting.  By the time I got SMART finished I'd probably made at least another letter with all of the goofs I made and had to pull out.  Frustrating but easily fixed.  Two more words on the other side and the three Rebel Girls will have hats to model.

Today we went to the Holiday Parade downtown.  It was chilly and a bit breezy but we found a spot near the start of the parade.  We saw police horses, dance schools, horses with painted hooves, fire trucks, Oneida princesses, Miss Wisconsin, and Miss Green Bay.  There were barely floating balloons (see above re: breeze) and at the very end were Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus in a 2-horse drawn carriage.  My companion was a champ at gathering the candy thrown by the people along the route.  A great time was had by all.

We made our favorite waffles for lunch--Cornbread Carrot Cheddar.  They're so easy to make a 3 1/2 year old can do everything except the cooking part.  Take 1 box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, add 1/2 cup milk and 1 egg, whisk until blended.  Using a spoon, stir in one peeled & grated biggish carrot, grate a couple ounces of cheddar cheese.  Pour onto heated griddle and cook to desired doneness.  (sorry if I've shared this before, it's just so darned easy and so delicious I think everyone should make them)  Oh, and one square with a little syrup and butter costs 11 WW points.

And that's it.  I was so worn out I didn't write the prompt last night and I'm guessing I won't write much tonight either.  Look at the time!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Breakfast Up High

This morning it was a bit sunny but mostly cloudy all day until about an hour before sunset, when the sun broke through.  While eating my breakfast I spied a little furry critter up on the birdfeeder at the back of the yard.  It was a little chipmunk that had shinnied up the crook to hop onto one of those feeders that is supposed to close when a squirrel jumps onto it.  I guess a chipmunk's just not heavy enough to work the mechanism.  Look at the look on its face.  It knows I'm looking at it.

I found out that my friend, AT, whom I had lunch with on Monday is a huge fan of fountain pens.  I'd never noticed that when she pulls out a pen to put our next lunch date in her calendar, a PAPER calendar no less, that the pen is a fountain pen.  A Waterman fountain pen.  Seeing that got me thinking that I had a couple more fountain pens laying around here someplace and wondered if Durwood had any too.  I checked where I thought his would be, with his permission, and found none but this afternoon I pulled out the cup from the bookcase shelf where I keep old pens etc. and there were two of them.  One, the red barrel one, is a Sheaffer and the other one is from an "as seen on TV" set of cheap Italian pens I must have sent away for lo these many years ago.  I had to soak the nib of the Italian pen to get the crusted ink out (good thing it's water-soluable) and it still doesn't write as evenly as it should.  I'll keep working on it.  That one even has a refillable barrel so when I run out of cartridges I can buy a bottle of ink and keep using it.  Now I can write with a fountain pen any old time and not worry about losing my precious Waterman.

This afternoon I spent a little time down at the sewing machine and finished up the second tank carrier I've had in the queue for months.  I need to find two of those barrel things to keep the drawstring tight around the tank neck so I can cut off the extra shoelaces so there's not so much dangly stuff ready to catch on things.  I don't think Durwood is as thrilled with this soft one as I am but I'll get it all fixed up, he'll try it, and it can be an emergency backup at the very least.

Once I post this I'll sit down and put the markers on Rebel Girl Hat #3 so I can start putting the letters on at the Guild meeting tonight.  I've enjoyed making these hats but I have to confess that I'm glad this is the last one.

November 16--William Hayes, Great Spotted Woodpecker.  Joseph woke up with a headache.  One whale of a headache.  He groaned as he peeled open an eye.  The dim light that seeped in around the edge of the shade felt like a spear jabbing his cornea.  Every movement made another part of him ache.  His head felt as if a giant woodpecker was perched on his shoulders trying to peck its way to his brain stem.  The room dipped and swayed as if it was a carnival ride.  Maybe there was an earthquake and the building was coming down around him.  With great effort he swung his feet out of the covers and onto the chilly floor.  He sat clutching the edge of the mattress hoping to be able to stand up eventually.  He promised on his mother's future grave never to drink tequila ever again.  Or at least not for a while.

Okay, this computer is acting weird.  I'm outta here.