Sunday, December 31, 2017

I Gave Up


Every morning I reach over my head and put up the shade on the window above the bed.  Every morning there's ice on the inside of the window and the fringe on the valance waves in the breeze that comes in.  That window is the only one in the house that leaks and it blows cold air right down on me.  We've had enough excruciatingly cold days and nights that I gave up, went downstairs, got the stuff, and taped plastic film over the window to keep the cold out and the warm in.  While I was down there I also took a long screwdriver and turned the baffle in the heating duct so that a bit of heat comes through the vent in the bedroom.  Since I sleep with the door closed and no heat from the rest of the house can sneak in, it's been pretty darned chilly in here of a morning lately.  I fixed that.  I seem to be getting wussy in my old age.

This morning I whipped up a batch of Italian Semolina Bread dough so I can bake it up tomorrow because that, plus a pound of butter and an $8 Walmart toaster, are my contributions to the menu at the writing retreat I'm going to this coming weekend.  It should be FRIGID so being the designated fireplace monitor will keep me busy.  That's my excuse for getting up there around noon-ish on Thursday so I can get the fire lit so it's nice and toasty warm for the other arrivals.  I'm nice like that.  You'd better believe that long johns and woolens will make up the bulk of what's in my suitcase.

This afternoon I finished up the two dresses I started yesterday-- the black denim Dress No. 1 and the Navajo print flannel Dress No. 1.  I counted and I have now made nine Dress No. 1s.  That might be enough.  Next I plan at least one Dress No. 2 (with sleeves) and a couple Tunic No. 1s (also with sleeves) and once the weather starts to warm up some Shirt No. 1s.  But first I'll sew up the two pairs of Pants No. 2 (aka leggings) I have cut out--but probably not this week.  I also want to fiddle around with the Pants No. 1 pattern to maybe make the legs not quite so wide and put in side pockets.  These simple pattern shapes have really given me license to make clothes that I can vary to my taste and make me feel good to wear.  I am really enjoying making them.

Since LC's 4th birthday is on Wednesday (no, I can't believe it either) after finishing the dresses I sewed the marabou feathers onto the fancy bag I made for her.  She wanted "flowers and butterflies and diamonds and feathers."  Check.  I found a cool book for her too.  She's a real book lover like her daddy and her meemaw.

December 31--Jean Beraud, The Subscribers.  The unseen eyes followed the couple as they left their car, walked across the lobby, and entered the theater.  The time was checked, the program consulted, and a lithe figure detached itself from a shadowy doorway and hurried away.  In a few blocks she turned into a jazz club and was absorbed into the crowd.

I don't know. That seemed a lot more mysterious and interesting when I was scribbling it down and trying not to fall asleep.  Are you celebrating the New Year?  I doubt whether I'll be awake for it.  God, I'm old.  Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

How Cold Is It?

It's so cold that the bird seed, peanuts, and cob corn I put out for the birds and squirrels two days ago has barely been touched.  And the traps that MW put out last night weren't tripped this morning even though they're baited with bacon.  Who can resist bacon?  Evidently rats are nocturnal also they're smart enough to stay where it's warm when the days are as cold as they've been even if there's bacon around.  I, however, am not smart enough to stay in the warm.  I've been out and about every day.  There must be a lesson there.

The only thing I have to show for my day today is getting the two Dresses no. 1 sewn
together and the binding sewn on the neck and armholes.  I got the binding on the black denim Dress turned and stitched and the binding on the flannel Dress attached but not turned and stitched yet.  I'll get to that tomorrow.  As you can see I didn't have enough of one color bias tape to have all the same color on the flannel dress (without opening a new package) but it really doesn't show once the dress is worn.  Besides we all know how I feel about matching things.

While I was downstairs sewing I also did laundry but as usual I'm sparing you photos of our dirty laundry--or the clean laundry.

December 30--Vincent van Gogh, Cafe Terrace at Night.  Justine and Guy sat at the one table in the sidewalk cafe that didn't get rained on.  All around them people leaped up, gathered their things and their drinks to hurry inside.  Justine stretched her hand out until it was straight out and felt the raindrops on her palm.  "Are you getting rained on?" she asked.  Guy shook his head.  "No.  You?"  She shook her head.

Right there is where my brain turned off and I went to sleep.  Also I couldn't see where to go from there.  Sometimes writing's like that.  Stay warm.  I think I'll turn my electric blanket up from "1" to "2" tonight.  Brr.

Friday, December 29, 2017

I Cut

Last night after supper I did what I said I would do.  I went downstairs and cut out a black denim Dress No. 1 and a flannel Dress No. 1 (because there wasn't enough fabric for a Dress No. 2, which has sleeves), then I decided to throw caution to the winds and cut out two pairs of Pants No. 2 aka leggings.  I had every intention of going down and sewing one or the other today but here it is after 3 o'clock and I've got a severe case of the slows today.  I didn't manage to make breakfast for myself until 10:30, didn't shower until nearly noon, and just finished lunch so I'm thinking there will be no sewing today.

I did go out and run a shovel over the driveway to remove some of yesterday's snow and then I went out back to uncover the rat hole or at least the approach to it so that when MW comes over to set up the trap he can see what he's dealing with.  I meant to move all of these posts but the ground is frozen and there's no moving them.

I made the best breakfast for myself today.  It's a variation of one of the new WW Freestyle recipes.  I sauteed a scallion and a bit of bell pepper in a spritz of cooking spray and a drop of olive oil, then scrambled an egg and an egg white into which I put a pinch of Emeril's creole seasoning, then when it was flipped and nearly set, I nestled in a tablespoon of low-fat cream cheese, cubed, so it would melt.  I toasted half a lite multigrain English muffin, added a prune, and half a banana.  This whole plate of breakfast goodness is only 3 points.  Woohoo.  I've been missing scrambled egg sandwiches and here's a way to have them.  Score!

Next fall I need to move the rickety park bench I put pots of flowers on behind the house.  See how the humid air from the furnace vent is making an icicle on it?  It too is frozen in place so I can't move it but I made sure that it isn't blocking the vent.


I have been doing a little knitting.  I'm slowly replacing the way-too-big shawl neck of this sweater with ribbing.  I think I'll like it much better that way.

December 29--Fans Hals, Laughing Boy with Wine Glass.  We all did it, went around slurping the dregs of the cocktails after our parents and their friends left for a dance.  That's how I developed a taste for smoked oysters and brandy Manhattans.  To be honest, most of the time we'd dump all the drinks into a pitcher and share them out.  It wasn't until I got to college that I learned that was a time-honored campus tradition called wapatuli.  Everyone brought a bottle of something alcoholic and it'd all get dumped into a trash can or a big tub and mixed.  Vile stuff.

Ah.  The good old days.  I should run a couple errands before knitting.  Seeyabye.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Warmer Today

Today it got all the way up to 11 decrees.  Above zero.  Warm.  See, it's cloudy today so the
cloud cover holds in the heat, if you can call 11 degrees heat.  I might have said "it's not too bad" to a lady shivering before she even left the dentist's office this afternoon.  It isn't bad, it's not even windy and there're little tiny snowflakes falling--making the roads slick.  A veritable winter wonderland.  On the way home from the dentist where Durwood got 2 fillings and an extraction, look what I found.  A birdie tree!  And just up the street from home.  I dropped Durwood off and hurried up to nab it before someone else did.  Not that I think there are roving bands of people collecting used Christmas trees but it looked just right so I got it.  The across the street neighbor who is new in the neighborhood and probably hasn't heard about "that woman who comes and takes old Christmas trees home" drove into their driveway and stayed in their car until I pulled away.  Great, now I'm the scary crazy lady from around the corner.  Had to happen sooner or later, I guess.

 I had every intention of going downstairs after supper to cut out two of the jumper-style Dress No. 1s out of the other flannel I bought (not enough on the bolt for sleeves) and the black denim but I was hit with such a wave of tiredness I thought if I went down there I might not get back up.  I'll try for tonight and see about sewing up one or both tomorrow.  Nothing on the schedule except Friday Night Knitting.  No doctor or dentist appointments, no long grocery lists, nothing.  Ahhh.

I didn't write a prompt last night.  See above paragraph re: wave of tiredness.  I'll try to do better tonight.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

And I Thought Yesterday Was Cold

But today wins the cold championship--so far.  I'm sure Mother Nature or the Polar Vortex or some other weather demigod has much more interesting winter in store for us in the months to come.  I loved the way the ice formed in the birdbath overnight.  There was just a little bit of open water right where the heater is.  I think I'm very glad I got the most powerful heater in the store.

I burned quite a bit of gas around Thanksgiving searching for a pair of brown leggings.  Did I find any?  Of course not.  I found every shade and configuration of black, shiny gold, silver, and copper, spangles, even wine and forest green but no brown.  Today after my chiro appointment I stopped at Meijer for a couple food items and ambled over to the women's department just for a look see and found brown leggings.  For half price.  I bought them.  Even though I have fabric to make a pair of brown leggings, I just went ahead and bought them.

Remember yesterday that I wondered if I cut out a Dress No. 2 last night could I get it sewn up today?  Well, the answer is, yes, I could.  When I thawed out from going to the back-cracker and stopping at Meijer, I got the pieces sewn together, and after I ate some soup for lunch (mm, warm) I added the neckline binding and hemmed the sleeves and bottom.  Next one I make I'll hem it so it hits just above my knees but this one is flannel, therefore warm, therefore I'm leaving it as long as it is so I can huddle up in it.  I've got another piece of flannel but it isn't enough to make Dress No. 2 with sleeves so I guess I'll be cutting out a Dress No. 1 tonight.  These things are like potato chips, I can't sew just one.

December 27--Camille Pisarro, Effect of Snow at l'Hermitage, Pontoise.  Lianne watched the snow fall.  Her breath fogged the window glass.  She didn't want snow.  Snow made the roads slick and interfered with drivers' ability to see far enough to avoid hazards like speeding trucks and patches of ice.  Snow made cars spin out of control and slam into concrete abutments killing the person in the car.  Tears ran down her cheeks and she twisted her fingers too hard.  She caught her breath, let it out slowly and, finger by finger, untangled her hands.

Can you believe that there're only four more days of 2017?  It hit me this morning.  This year is almost gone.  How can that be?  I know I say this every year but, man, time sure flies when you're having a life.  I hope your year has been a good one.  The jury's still out on mine.  I think.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

B-b-baby, It's C-c-c-cold Outside

Holy bejeebers, it's cold.  I just got back from the dentist's office (no cavities, yay!) and thought I'd freeze solid before I got home.  And when I did get home I put on a wool sweater over my three layers and some wool knit pants over my fleece-lined tights.  I'm cold, people, c-c-c-cold.  (got toe warmers in my shoes too)  I wonder if Durwood would mind if I made soup with some of the chicken and veggies leftover from Saturday night supper.  I feel like making a vat of soup and submerging myself in it.  (taps lips with finger)  I'll have to think on it.  Oh, and here's proof that I did indeed go out in the frigid night last night to grill steaks.  I'll move the grill back against the house when it gets above zero.

This afternoon I spread out on the living room floor and traced off the Dress No. 2 pattern
from 100 Acts of Sewing.  I bought some flannel to make it out of and I'm wondering if I cut it out tonight could I get it sewed up tomorrow?  Probably, especially since there's nothing I really want to watch on TV on Tuesday nights.  (It is Tuesday, right?  With Christmas Day being Monday that felt like Sunday I'm all discombobulated.)  I also traced off a dress pattern to try making LC a flannel jumper dress like I've made for myself.  As soon as I got the tissue pattern spread out but before I got the pattern tracing fabric over it the furnace kicked on and blew the pattern into a crumple.  Of. Course.  I grabbed a couple small items to hold it down and got the job done.  Take that, furnace fan.

I snapped this picture of a sign in the gift shop of the Botanical Gardens.  It says:  Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy.  Hah!  I thought my friend MW could make one like it to hang in the gift shop of the Wildlife Sanctuary where he volunteers.

The other cool thing was the big tree in the lobby of the Botanical Gardens building.  It's decorated with dried flowers, seed heads, garland of dried peppers, some natural, some painted, but very beautiful.  There was one ball made from poppy seed heads and another covered with acorn caps.

I'm using my new bamboo fountain pen to write in my Bullet Journal.  I just grabbed a cartridge out of a box before I realized that DD sent me seven different colors of ink.  The one I got is blue but I could have gotten red or purple or green or neon yellow or black or amber brown.  Now I am cool.

December 26--Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Street Scene with Red Streetwalker.  She couldn't have been more obvious if she'd had a "For Rent" sign on her back.  Her red clothes were so tight that nothing was left to the imagination.  Her hair was an unnatural yellow and her heels were too high.  We stood side by side and I knew she saw me studying her reflection in the shop window.

That's as far as I got before falling asleep.  I didn't think I was that tired but evidently I was.  I let them paint on some sort of fluoride sealer on my teeth and it tastes yukky, kind of plasticky.  Not good.  But if it keeps my teeth in my head longer I guess I can deal.  Now to see about making soup out of supper.

Monday, December 25, 2017

A Very Quiet Christmas

Merry Christmas from the frozen tundra that is Green Bay, Wisconsin tonight.  Right now it's a bone chilling -5 out there.  Earlier it was windy out there but I can't hear it blowing so it must have settled down.  Neither of us did much today.  My cold has brought along a cough that comes and goes but when it comes, it comes with a vengeance.  I thought about going to church this morning (really, I did) but I decided that I'd probably have a coughing jag in the middle of the service and have to leave.  

So I stayed home, stayed away from Durwood as much as I could, and ripped the collar off that red sweater I knitted a couple years ago because it wasn't right.  Why I did that today, I do not know but I did.  Now if I only picked up the right number of stitches so that the ribbing I plan for the neckline lies down nicely the way I want it to I'll be happy.  (I know why I did that today, it's my warmest sweater and it's bitter cold outside.  Maybe if I knit faster I can wear it to fend off frostbite this week.)

Despite the cold and wind I persevered with my supper plans.  I lit the charcoal and grilled the pair of NY strip steaks I got yesterday.  I sliced some red potatoes, put them into a foil packet with diced onions, thyme from the garden (dried now, not fresh anymore), and a bit of coconut oil that I baked in the oven.  I had some spinach and greens so we each had a salad to start with more of DIL1's yummy Red Lion salad dressing.  We decided to split one steak and save the other one for another evening.  Smart, us.

You know how the best gifts are homemade?  I saved the best to show you last.  Baba and I got homemade gifts from LC for Christmas, she even made the wrapping paper herself.  I love how pleased with herself she is, how she tells you that she made something "just for you, Meemaw" as her little hands flutter over the package.  She said the candy cane is for me and the wreath is
for Baba.

December 25--Jeanne Paquin, Ball Gown with Embroidery.  Ceille felt trussed up like a prize hog in the dress. She had to admit that it was beautiful--white silk satin with silver vines and leaves embroidered on the bodice and all around the hem--but it was supremely uncomfortable to wear.  The bodice was boned to show off her waist.  She could barely breathe and wouldn't even think of eating in it.  Not only was there no room for food the way her organs were squashed and squeezed but Mama said that ladies ate like birds in public.  Before getting dressed Ceille's maid had brought her a tray so that she wouldn't faint from hunger at the dance.  She might faint from being breathless but not from being hungry.  Her shoes pinched too.  It would be a long night.

The lengths women go to...  My last dentist appointment with our retiring dentist is tomorrow.  I hope I come home with nothing more than clean teeth and a new toothbrush.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Ringing Up Some Christmas Spirit

I've gotta admit, I haven't been feeling very Christmas-y.  Durwood's had some health adventures, nothing to worry about but irritating all the same, DD and her family are unable to come "home" for Christmas, and I caught a lovely head cold that is in full bloom.  Bah. Seeing DS, DIL1, LC, and OJ always cheers me up.  DIL1 posted a short video she took of their family ringing the Salvation Army bell at a food store yesterday after naptime and it brought me up short.  Over the years I've volunteered an hour at the kettle and always loved it.  You all know how shy I am and how I never talk to strangers (ahem) so spending an hour in a grocery store vestibule dancing and singing along to the Muzak while ringing the bell and "Merry Christmas"-ing people into making a little donation is not a hardship for me.  Besides dancing keeps you warm.  A-a-anyway, last night I went onto the SA website to see if there was an open shift today only to discover that the signup sheet was gone.  Drat.  I went to Festival Foods to nab a couple NY strip steaks they had on sale for our Christmas dinner and noticed that the kettle & stand were still there and no one was manning it.  Then I went to Pick 'n Save to pick up a couple prescriptions and the kettle was still there and no one was ringing.  When I got to the pharmacy window the Rxs weren't ready so I told the pharmacist I'd go ring the bell for an hour and be back.  So that's what I did.  There's a backpack zip-tied to the stand with aprons and bells inside so I dug out one of each, picked the bell I liked the sound of, and got to dancing and ringing.  I Merry Christmas-ed everyone who came in or went out, looked them right in the eyes when I did it, and smiled like I knew the secret of happiness.  (turns out I do, it's doing something for someone else without expecting anything in return)  I raked it in.  A couple people put in $5 bills and nearly everyone put in something, even if it was their change from a purchase.  One woman and her daughter looked like they needed to dip into the kettle but she dug three pennies out of the bottom of her purse for her about-10-years-old daughter to put in.  What a gift.  That hour was my gift to myself.  I'll be there on Christmas Eve again next year, you can bet on it.  BTW, dancing while ringing the SA bell really jacks up your daily step count.  A big day for me is 4500, I'm over 8100.

To try to ease busy schedules and holiday insanity, DS and his family came here for supper and to exchange gifts last night.  The kids were wired from an hour's bell-ringing and the sight of presents to unwrap, and Mama and Daddy were tired.  I made a chicken and root vegetables sheet pan supper, they brought salad with DIL1's family's homemade salad dressing (yum!) and a plate of homemade cookies and candy.  All of the gifts were hits.  The puppets were instant favorites and we had a lovely, crazy delicious supper before they wandered off into the deepening cold for bath night and bedtime.


DD sent me this beautiful bamboo fountain pen and a bunch of different colored ink cartridges.  It writes like a dream.  DS & DIL1 gave me a page of blank 2018 month boxes with an invitation to a once a month outing with DS for coffee or chat or cocktails.  From Durwood I unwrapped the box of the phone he bought me a couple months back.  It was all I wanted for Christmas and he said to buy it, so I did.  It was even on sale.  Funny how it takes so many years of holidays to really understand that it's having your loved ones around and giving gifts to others that's the real joy of Christmas.

I didn't write last night.  I got the kitchen cleaned up and all of Durwood's piles back onto and around the table like he likes it and crashed.  I listened to a meditation before going to sleep and woke up this morning with my uncharged cellphone still on my nightstand.  Sometime in the night I must have turned off the light...  I'll close with a picture of me and my writer friend, Lala, at the Garden of Lights on Friday night.  

Have a Merry Christmas everyone.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Busy Busy Busy

It's a busy time of year, isn't it?  All that shopping and wrapping and decorating and cookie & candy making takes time. (These are my holiday butter cookies that you make into rolls, refrigerate, slice, decorate, and bake.  I just pour the sugars and decors on a plate, press one side of the cookie in, and bake.  I call it decorating "toddler style", saves time and tastes just as good.) Add in appointments (unsatisfying ones to boot) and your days just aren't your own to fritter away like at other, un-holiday-ish times of the year.  Yesterday my friend from The Clearing, Lala, came up to spend the night on her way Up Nort' to visit her mom and cousins.  She and I talked and talked, I made Chicken Tikka Masala in the slow cooker for supper, then we went to the Botanical Garden for their Festival of Lights. 


The last time we went it was about -5 below zero, last night it was pushing 20 above.  We'd had a little snow so the lights were especially glowy.  We splurged on tickets that included a horse-drawn wagon ride about part of the display.  You'll have to excuse my blurry photos.  I took most of them from the moving wagon.  The fire was lovely and warm and I loved the barrel it burns in.  (Spellcheck just told me that "wagon" was spelled wrong.  I know how to spell "wagon" but didn't I just grab the dictionary to make sure?  Sheesh.)


 I have a rat!  I thought a groundhog (or woodchuck) had burrowed under the shed but this morning just before it got light I saw the rat.  Ack!  I'm sure it was attracted by the spilled birdseed.  I don't want to stop feeding the birds but I don't want a rat either.  I don't want to poison it because we've got hawks and owls that hunt around here and they'd die from eating a poisoned rat.  I talked to my friend MW and he's got a rat trap he said he'd lend me and he'll even come over and set it up.  He's a real pal.  Speaking of MW, he gave me a Christmas gift last night after Friday Night Knitting.  He bought this set of 101 Wilton cookie cutters for $2 someplace and thought that LC & OJ & I would have fun making things with them. He's such a nice guy.

December 23--Jan Brueghel the Elder, Fete de la Rosiere (Farmer's Wedding).  Clara was sure that everyone in the county was at the party.  People she'd only seen in passing at the market or in church on Sunday were there drinking her father's beer and eating like they hadn't seen food in a year.  She had no patience for people who leeched off others. Yes, it was a wedding, her marriage to Roger, but she didn't want it to turn into a riot.

Holy Moses, it turned cold today.  I'm really glad that I'm in my nice warm house and not sitting on the aluminum benches in Lambeau Field watching the Green Bean Pickers get their asses handed to them by the dreaded Minnesota Vi-queens.  See?  I might not watch football but I know how to insult the enemy teams with the best of them.  I think I'll go find a dish of ice cream and do a little channel surfing.  Toodle-oo!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Does This Look Like A Kangaroo To You?


There's one small person who visits us that insists that this is a kangaroo.  I don't think it looks like a kangaroo.  I even got down to his level but I still don't see it.  Although it's possible we ended up singing a few choruses of "Rudolf the Red-nosed Kangaroo."

Tonight is the knitting guild's annual Christmas meeting.  I wasn't highly motivated to cook up something fancy as my dish-to-pass so I dug out a recipe for a caramel mix that you make in the microwave.  I got smart and went to the grocery last night after supper and got all the ingredients for the dishes I want to make for guests over the next few days, including for the caramel mix.  I made it this morning and it stayed sticky.  I remembered seeing a different caramel corn recipe the other day so I decided to bake my microwave stuff for an hour like the recipe said.  Well.  Even at 250 degrees and with the racks higher in the oven that's waaaay too long.  The bottom tray, luckily the smaller amount that I intended to leave at home, was burning within 20 minutes.  *sigh*  Do you know how pungent burning sugar is?  I'm sure you do.  I've picked out the burned-est pieces and put the remains into a Tupperware and I'll take the unburned stuff to pass tonight.  Durwood's hoping there'll be some to bring home.  I can always make more, it's not that expensive to make.  No nuts.

We exchange dishcloths at the guild meeting and I'm taking the fishtail lace one I made a couple years ago.  Pink isn't my favorite color, hopefully it goes to someone who likes pink.

My Black & Blue Shrug is starting to look like a sweater.  If it wasn't holiday time with all the extra things going on I'd be farther along but I try to add a couple rows a day and I'll get it done long before the winter turns to spring.  BUT today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year so from today on there will be the tiniest time of more light every day.    Woohoo!  The Crazy Z Reds sock is starting to get a foot.  It's at the point where there's no pattern to be remembered, just knit around and around and around until it's long enough for adding the toe. 

December 21--Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Reine de Joie.  They called her the Queen of Joy.  She was legendary in society at that time.  There were photographs and one poster by that short painter, Lautrec.  She wasn't beautiful, not even though his haze of absinthe could little Henri make her so.  She had a certain energy, a spark that you felt, whether man or woman, some tingling energy she brought into a room that neither paint nor film could capture.

It's another gray day. Of course it is, it's the shortest day of the year.  God forbid that the sun would shine on it.  And it looks like it's just starting to snow.  Yippee.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

#$%&* Squirrels


My assistant and I were admiring one fat and sassy squirrel sitting atop the patio trash can nibbling on a peanut when it occurred to me that I hadn't filled the peanuts since last weekend so where was it getting the nuts.  In the next second I found out.  The blasted tree rat had gnawed a huge hole in the side of the can lid, then chewed through the trash bag and into the bag of excess peanuts below the trash.  Arrrgh!  I slammed my feet into my boots and went out coatless to foil the marauder.  I put the trash into the can in the garage (that went to the curb this morning) and the bag of excess peanuts on top of the garage garbage can.  On our errands we stopped at Ace Hardware and chose a lovely big ALUMINUM garbage can for the patio.  I installed it when I got home, peanuts inside, and put the last of my big lid-holding-down rocks on top of it.  Let's see you get in there now, Mr. Squirrel.


There was the palest of pink on the very few clouds in this morning's early sky but I thought it was worth a look.


The local Mourning Dove contingent came for breakfast this morning.  My assistant is very good at spreading seeds on the snow for the ground feeding birds to enjoy.  He gets excited to see how many birdies come to eat them right away.  Although he exercised his sense of humor because he called them "duckies" and I corrected him, "no, they're doves" and made a cooing sound.  He said "doves" once and then said, "duckies, quack quack quack" with a sly little grin on his face.  The (smart-ass) Force is strong in this one.  I love it.

December 20--Gustav Klimt, Church in Unterach on the Attersee.  From the sea the village looked like children's blocks stacked one atop the other.  The land rose from the shore like an amphitheater and the angle made it hard to see the gaps where streets must be.  Lily thought it looked like an Impressionist painting.  Even the reflections on the water were broken up into small dashes of color like brush strokes.  As the boat neared the dock the town loomed up and blocked the wind trapping in the smell of fish and diesel.

This morning the furnace guy came to tune-up both furnaces, change the filters, that kind of stuff.  Both are working just fine.  Whew.  I don't have any sewing to show because I'm not and the knitting I've done is more rows on the Black & Blue Shrug and even 4 more rows doesn't make it look all that different so you're spared.  Time to heat up some soup for lunch.  Mm, hot soup on a cold day.  What could be better?

Monday, December 18, 2017

Tree Elves

These guys.  I really like pulling them out and settling them under the tree once the ornaments are hung and the sarong is draped and clipped around the base.  Their names are Vincent & Abercrombie.  Vincent's the one that blends with the decorations and Abercrombie's in traditional Christmas colors.  They're brothers but not twins.  Abercrombie's fraternal twin, Elmer, lives in Kentucky with DD.  She and I crocheted them on Christmas Eve about 10 years ago.

I got the tree decorated during the football game yesterday.  I made the executive decision to stop with the ornaments already with about a box and a half of them to go.  I think it looks fine.

Last night after supper I managed to knit a couple inches of body onto the Black & Blue Shrug.  The pattern says to knit until it's 15" from the top of the shoulder but I want it longer so I think I'll go to 20".  I have tons of this yarn so I can make both the body and the sleeves longer and still have leftovers.  Speaking of how much yarn I have, my friend KW texted me that she'd entered all of her yarn into an Excel spreadsheet and was aghast to discover that she had over 32,733 yards of yarn, give or take a few random skeins that avoided the round-up.  I went over to visit/knit with her yesterday afternoon and took my laptop so she could show me how to get all of my yarn stash onto a spreadsheet too.  Surprise!  On the stash page of Ravelry, there's a button on the upper right that says something like "send to excel" so I did and made her feel better instantly.  Because I have over 117,000 yards of yarn in my stash.  I need to learn to knit faster-or something.

I know they're not good for the roof but I like the way icicles look.  It's another gray and dreary day, which makes me feel like crying or sleeping, but it's not bone-chilling cold.  Just damp, which is a whole other aspect of cold seeping into the very core of your being.

December 18--Anonymous, Christmas Bells.  Janine heard bells.  Light tinkling bells in the distance.  She walked toward the sound which floated on the cold, clear air.  The sun on the fresh snow was blinding but she was happy to see blue sky after so many gray, snowy days.  Her boots crunched in the snow and her breath billowed in white clouds as she walked.  Over a little rise she saw a stone church in the distance.  The bells were louder and there was a crowd clustered around the door.  It burst open and a bride and groom came out.  The people threw snowballs instead of rice or birdseed which Janine thought would hurt.  But everyone was laughing, their laughter blending with the pealing bells.

I should be downstairs wrapping the gifts that didn't get shipped off this morning but I think I'll go find something to eat. Gift-wrapping is hard work.