Sunday, September 30, 2018

I Am So Not A Fan Of...

... coughing myself awake at 4:30 AM and not being able to get back to sleep.  I don't know where this cough came from.  It leaped on me around lunchtime on Wednesday, no stuffy head, no sore throat, just a hard cough, and it's still here.  I'm thinking I'll call the doc tomorrow just to be safe.

Also tomorrow I'm calling both painters to postpone the house painting.  It occurred to me this morning that the thought of having the entire interior of the house painted in the next couple weeks/months makes me feel overwhelmed so I'll just put it on the back burner for a while.  Look at me, I'm a grown up.

I sewed today.  First I sewed the cut fabric tank-length Dress no.1.  I cut it out when it was still hot and humid and, of course, now that it's sewn the temperature barely topped 50 degrees today.  Ah well, it'll get warm again and then I can wear it with my extensive wardrobe of colorful camisoles underneath.

Then I batch-sewed the two Dress no. 2 I cut out of linen and cotton, respectively.  That striped dress is the one with the $20/yard fabric that I had a 60% off coupon for--otherwise I would not own that fabric, trust me.  I'll get the necks bound, the pockets sewn on, and the hems hemmed in the next day or two, sew up the last jumper Dress no. 1 that's cut out and then I can have a cutting day for all the flannel I bought.  Ooh, soft warm clothes.

September 30--Claude Monet, Chrysanthemums.  The spicy scent of the mums rose from the flowerbed.  Last night's raindrops glistened on the petals, looking like jewels in the early morning light.  Abigail walked with her hands shoved in her corduroy jacket pockets.  Her breath made a white cloud as she strode along.  It was colder than she thought it would be and she wished she'd worn a hat and gloves.  Meredith would have had some.  She kept a pair of gloves in every jacket pocket.  Meredith was annoying.

Look at that, it's the end of September already.  Days just fly by, don't they?  I'm going to play a game or two on here once I post this and see if I can't get myself tucked into bed around 9 o'clock.  I need to sleep.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Found It!

This morning after making myself something exceptionally yummy and fancy-ish for breakfast I sat down here to see if I couldn't find that bit of novel--and I did!  I lined up all of the old USB drives laying on the desk and checking what was saved on them.  On the very first one, there it was.  Hallelujah!  What I found is short but it's a vital piece of the story.  Whew.

Now, for that breakfast.  I made these before and when I found some gigantic bell peppers at the farmer's market last Saturday I knew I needed to make it again.  I also bought a couple poblano peppers too which I've been wanting to try.  I cut the big peppers in half and then diced up the poblano for the filling.  Oh, how yummy.  Sauteed onions and peppers, then slightly mashed chickpeas, chopped fresh spinach, salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, garlic powder were stirred in.  The bell peppers got pre-baked while the filling was assembled, divided into the pepper cups, then an egg got cracked and poured on top, and they got baked until the egg white was set.  Chives and a few drops of green sriracha topped it off.  Yum.  Very delicious for absolutely no points.

In the afternoon I finally managed to hem the ecru linen Pants no. 1, then sewed my "muslin" of Dress no3 using some gauzy fabric I've had so long I don't remember what I bought it to make.  I graded a smaller top onto the bottom and it worked fine.  The next Dress no3 will be flannel and will have some neckline adjustments.  I'm thinking I'll make it quite a bit closer to the neck and make the V-neck not quite so plunging.  No, I will not be cutting more until I get my last batch of cutting sewn up.

It was darned chilly all day so I'm glad that I brought the bay leaf and sensitive plant in last night.  My cough is a pain and led me to come home early from knitting last night and go to bed without writing the prompt.  I have high hopes for writing tonight.

Friday, September 28, 2018


First and most important, I got a call from the computer fixit guy late this afternoon.  The USB is deader than a doornail, data unrecoverable.  Gah!  So I'll spend the weekend going through all the Prose files and old thumb drives but will probably end up having to rewrite it.  *sigh*

My assistant and I harvested all of the carrots this morning.  He wasn't interested in staying out in the chill wind scrubbing them in a bucket so I spent a few minutes tearing the tops off then scrubbed them in the kitchen sink.

We also picked all of the red or reddening tomatoes as the weather guessers talked about frost tonight.  I brought in the sensitive plant and the bay leaf, just in case.


I conceded defeat in the sock knitting department this evening, frogged the tiny, pitiful beginning of the Tipsy Toes sock, and cast on my standard plain-old-sock in the beautiful, autumnal yarn I'd dug out.

September 28--Edouard Manet, In the Conservatory.  Their hands almost touched.  His forefinger stretched out toward her ever so slightly.  Her fingers were relaxed, not reaching for him.  Neither spoke.  Have they said all there was to say?  People gave their bench a wide berth.  They were in their own world, no one wanted to intrude.

I'm half-convinced that I'm going to get all of the colds I bargained away so I didn't expose Durwood but in reality I remember using my pocket hankie to wipe OJ's nose last week and then forgot and used it on me too, infecting myself.  And I don't really mind all that much.  Ain't love grand?  Grandkids are the best.  Especially mine.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Well, That Didn't Work Out

I spent the morning reading my novel manuscript and making notes on what needed
changing.  I got about halfway through when I read a reference to a scene I remember writing but didn't find in the novel.  Dang.  So I came in here to the computer and searched through the Seaview folder for it.  Didn't find it.  Looked through the Prose folder.  Didn't find it there either.  A couple years ago I had a dedicated Seaview USB drive that stopped loading so I just copied the one from the hard drive onto a new one and went on my merry way but kept the one that wouldn't load.  Today when that scene/chapter was nowhere to be found I dug out that defective USB and took it and a new one to the computer fixit guys to see if they can't yoink the files off the broken one.  I didn't hear from them but hope to tomorrow.  Fingers crossed.

Then I went out and pulled some more mutant carrots from the garden, fired up the oven, and roasted them and the golden beets I got at the Farmer's Market on Saturday.  Yummy.  Next time I have an assistant I think we'll pull all the carrots and scrub them in a bucket outside.  That should be good for at least an hour's splashy play, don't you think?

The afternoon was taken up with chasing off to see if I couldn't get that darned USB thingy fixed and then strolling the aisles of Fresh Thyme Market for a few things, like pine nuts which cost an arm and a leg.  I bought about 1/2 cup of them and they were $3.58 on sale.  Sheesh.  But I printed off a recipe for a chicken, pesto, and spaghetti squash casserole that looks good so I searched the WW site and found a WW pesto recipe that doesn't have a bock of olive oil in it that I can sub for the high-fat kind.  Oh, and I stopped at the neighborhood Farmer's Market for zucchini and a spaghetti squash.

So I didn't sew today.  I did knit a few rounds on my Christmas at Sea cowl while I waited for the painter to come to look around and make an estimate so the day wasn't a total creative bust.  The cowl doesn't look all that different so I didn't take its picture.

September 27--Caravaggio, The Fortune Teller.  The old woman's fingers glided over Mary's palm like silk.  "You have a long heart line," Madame Zouzatska said.  The light in the tent consisted of three candles that had burned so low that they gave off scant light so Mary didn't think the fortune teller saw her roll her eyes. Why had she come in here?  She could barely afford gas to get to work, so paying some old fraud $20 to get her palm read was foolish.

I wish the weather would make up its mind.  I feel like I'm getting another cold so about an hour ago I zoomed over to Walgreens for more Zicam.  I have enough Halls.  *cough, cough*  Good night.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Zip. Nada. Nuthin.

That's what I did yesterday and that's why I didn't blog last night.  I didn't knit.  I didn't sew. There are no photos of me on the phone with my financial advisor or the second painter scheduled to come tomorrow to give me an estimate and those are the only productive things I did.

Today, however, Things Got Done.  First thing there was a raucous bluejay that swooped in between the squirrels and chipmunks to nab a few peanuts.  (Oh, I did see what may be the last hummingbird of the season yesterday so I made new birdie juice and put it out.)

Then as the sun got higher and warmed the air up a bit this Monarch butterfly came to sip at the zinnias.

Mr. Mailman brought the set of short interchangeable needles and single skein of sock yarn I ordered from Knit Picks last weekend.  DD, a long-time knitting pal sent me a KP gift card in sympathy so I spent it on a set of needles I'd have debated long and hard about ordering otherwise and I realized that I don't have a red hand-knit sock.  Me, who loves red everything doesn't have a red sock?  That has to change.  

In the afternoon I went downstairs, sent the Montparnasse Eco cardi on a gentle spin in the washer and patted it into shape to dry...

... then I serged the waist edge and leg ends of the linen pants and got the waist elastic in.  Tomorrow I'll get the pants hemmed.  Really.  And then I can move on to sewing some of the stuff I cut out a couple weekends ago.

My plan to eat better because things are handy is working.  This afternoon I roasted a head of cauliflower with a tiny bit of olive oil and some minced garlic and heated up some Honey-Garlic Thighs (three servings of each--Yay!).  Yum.

I couldn't eat too late because my friend KW picked me up shortly after 6 o'clock to go to a blues concert, a FREE blue concert at St. Norbert College.  She and her friend, who is a musician, met this guy in Maine at a guitar weekend earlier this month and the college was a stop on his 20-city tour so we went.  Awesome.  Old time Delta blues with lots of stories to go with it.  Wonderful.  So glad I went.

September 26--Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Alpleben.  Kay had the dream again.  She woke just as the sun began to lighten the eastern sky, the tendrils of the dream not letting her go.  The tall, thin blue man strode up the dusty path, his red rake over his shoulder, and the strings of his straw hat looped over his wrist.  Behind him a village lay silent and still at the base of purple hills, and the sky blazed red with the sun or fire.  Kay shivered in the damp chill air from the open window above her bed and more than a little of the fear that the blue man always brought with him.

It's cooled off but still kind of humid which make it feel weird, sort of hot-ish and stuffy but not.  *flings hands in the air*  I don't know what this world is coming to.  (how old does that make me sound?)

Monday, September 24, 2018

Welcome Back, Hula Boy!

Last Friday as I put away folded laundry I spied a white bakery bag in a dresser drawer.  In it was the hula boy statue that I took off the dashboard of my red HHR when I lent it to DS last fall.  I knew he wouldn't appreciate driving around with a topless hula boy wobbling on his dash so I removed it and bagged it for later.  Last month, after Durwood died, I sold the big van to DS and got my HHR back and on Friday I put Hula Boy back where he belongs.

OJ wanted to hold the turtle that lives on the dashboard of the big van when he and I were off on an adventure the other day but I told him that Daddy has that car now and I don't have a turtle in my car.  His 2-year-old's response was, "get one."  Well, I tried.  He and I went to The Schoolhouse which has a very broad selection of animals in various sizes.  Unfortunately none of the turtles were right for our purposes but they had a huge green bullfrog that really spoke to me.  I bought it and OJ thinks it's an excellent car companion.  I agree.

After my abortive attempt to sew the pants together and my session with the seam ripper yesterday I went back downstairs today and managed to get the pants sewn together correctly.  Tomorrow I'll get the waist elastic in and the legs hemmed.  Will I sew the pockets in place?  Maybe, after I've tried them on.


On my way down to sew I took the extra food out of the upstairs freezer and on the way back up after sewing I brought up all of the pre-made and pre-portioned meals.  Now the freezer is a treasure trove of nutritious, quick to fix meals.  Wish me luck in getting back on track.

September 24--Frederic Bazille, Young Woman with Peonies.  Dale looked down at the sprawl of flowers on the sidewalk.  Every evening he bought a few stems from her for his wife.  The flower seller was a young woman with dark brown eyes and skin.  She was shy, not very talkative, but Dale had made her smile a few times.  He was confused by the mess where her stall stood.  He wondered what had happened to her.  He looked around to find the Asian grocery watching him.  Dale spread his hands and asked, "What happened?" but the man shook his head and turned away.

Once again I'm up late.  *sigh*  I got the Mr. Rogers Neighborhood DVD today from Netflix and had to watch it after I got home around 8:30.  *sigh*  I should probably close this and go to bed.  G'night.

Sunday, September 23, 2018


I've been looking for a little bag of Dum Dum suckers for months.  I looked in Walmart, in
Walgreens, in Shopko, in Pick 'n Save and had no luck.  It occurred to me today that I should look in the candy aisle when I was in Sam's because they have Dum Dum suckers at the bank and I assume banks buy in bulk.  Jackpot!  I found a bag of the suckers in the candy aisle, a bag of 500 of 'em.  Guess what the trick-or-treaters are getting at my house this year.

I spent most of today zoned out on the couch watching TV.  I wasn't knitting either, just staring at the tube.  After my trip to Sam's and Walmart I went downstairs to sew together those pants but managed to sew the two fronts together and the two backs together down the side seams.  Oops.  So the second half of my sewing time was devoted to sitting hunched over with my seam ripper so I can take another run at it tomorrow.  My Great-Grandma Stephan always cautioned that any stitches you sew on Sunday you'd end up picking out, guess she was right.

This evening I decided to sit down with the instructions and cast on a Twisty Toes sock.  This is a toe-up pattern that starts on the side of the big toe and grows in wedges around the toes until it straightens out on the foot and then is normal in the heel and leg.  See this?  It's the third attempt at starting.  After I took the picture I ripped it out--again--and started over.  I might have it right but won't be able to tell until I'm further along.  Maybe I should stick to plain old knit and purl projects...

September 23--Alexander Koester, Ducks on a Riverbank.  Ella followed the sound of quacking.  She had to be very quiet and move slowly.  She was sure that the clutch of eggs she'd been watching had hatched.  Or if they hadn't already they were about to.  Aunt Jane told her not to disturb the ducks but the sight of those white ovals all jumbled in their nest of feathers and grass and the soft murmuring quacks of the duck and drake were irresistible.

I woke up at 5:30 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep.  I'm not a fan.

Saturday, September 22, 2018


Look at what I saw when I raised the shade this morning.  See that white stuff on the roof across the street?  That's frost.  F.R.O.S.T.  Arrrgh.  None of my plants or flowers seem to have been affected but that's frost nevertheless.  The first day of Autumn and there's a smear of frost on the north-facing roof across the street.  Double arrrgh.

I got a phone call around 9 o'clock this morning from my knitting pal, HH, saying that she was going to the farmer's market and did I want anything.  "Yes," I said, "to go along."  "What?"  "I want to go too.  Should I pick you up or do you want to pick me up?"  Once she got over her shock at the turn of events she said that she'd come get me so I hurried to get dressed, brush my teeth, and stuff some money in my pocket.  I was smart enough to put my keys into my pocket too so I could get back into the house when she dropped me off.  It was a gorgeous day to be at the market, cool and sunny, and I managed to spend my $15 (well, $14 of it anyway) on a lot of onions, some huge bell peppers, two poblano peppers, some pears, a bunch of golden beets, and a bunch of rainbow carrots.  On our way back to her car HH said that she'd planned to stop at a cafe on the corner so we did--and sat there sipping coffee and chatting for 2 1/2 hours.  !!!!!  What a difference that I didn't have to think of how long I was away or shouldn't I be getting home.

Once I got home I gave in to a yearning I've had to make a batch of curried chickpeas and rice for 4 suppers.  It made the house smell marvelous and I can't wait to have some for supper tomorrow.  I flipped through a couple recipe binders looking for the sheet pan supper basic instructions the other day and saw the curried chickpeas one which kicked my simmering yen into high gear.  Happily I had everything needed on hand so I was gearing up when HH called.  It was easy enough to let the rice soak and the chickpeas drain while I was gone and then cook it up and portion it out when I got home.  I'm determined to set myself up for success by having single servings of a variety of suppers ready to thaw, heat, and eat as I'm still finding it almost impossible to cook supper on any given evening.  I've been ignoring the containers of chicken spaghetti I froze last month and the chicken & bean burritos I froze a couple months ago so I'm thinking I might have to rearrange the upstairs freezer so they're all handy and make a list so it smacks me in the face when it's time to pull something out for that evening's repast.  I'm rather shocked at my lassitude.  I was sure that I'd be cooking up a storm and eating like a champ once I was "on my own" but I seem to be unable to pass up cookies (I might have made a double batch of peanut butter with mini chocolate chips cookie-bars last night) and ice cream.  I'll get there--by hook or by crook.

I had to get on a chair to find the package of curry to refill the little jar and ran across some tea that got lost in the back of the cupboard.  I decided to brew up a pot of it to keep in the fridge so I brought up this red teapot I got a few years ago.  I filled that green plastic jug nearly full and poured it into the teapot to heat in the microwave.  That much water did NOT fill the teapot.  The teapot is deceptively large.  It doesn't look like it but it holds close to 8 cups.  Really.  The first time I tried to fill it I swore that it had a lower level where it hid water.  I kept pouring water in and pouring it in and it seemed like I couldn't fill the pot.  Crazy.

When I finished the cardi on Thursday afternoon I realized that I needed a mindless project to take to guild that night so I cast on a Seaman's Church Institute cowl.  A few years ago I got into the habit of knitting one cowl a month to send to them for their Christmas at Sea program and last week when I got stopped by the Mason St. bridge going up and I exchanged waves with one of the sailors on the freighter I was reminded of why I needed to get back to knitting cowls.  I truly love living in a place where ocean-going ships come sailing right through the middle of the city and this is something small I can do to make the sailors' lives a little more bearable in the winter on the Great Lakes and on the Seven Seas.

This week I remembered to order the 2019 Page-a-day Art Gallery calendar and it came yesterday.  I discovered, much to my dismay, a few years ago that if I wait until mid-October to order it chances are it'll be sold out.  Hard to believe that the first time I bought one I got it at Goodwill for $2 and they had a shelf full of them.  I use the pages as my daily prompt and enjoy very much seeing the variety of art they choose.  Speaking of which...

September 22--Frederick Childe Hassam, Autumn Boulevard, Paris.  Overnight the trees shed their leaves.  The steady drizzle pasted the leaves to the streets like ragged carpets.  Lise held her skirts above her ankles to try to keep them from getting muddy in the gutters.  She didn't want to think of the filth, human and otherwise, floating there.  It hadn't been raining when she left home so she had no umbrella, not even a hat.  She'd look like a drowned cat by the time she returned.

Two days ago the air conditioner ran off and on most of the day.  This morning I shut all of the windows and tootsed up the furnace for ten minutes or so just to knock the chill off the house.  *sigh*  What crazy weather we're having.  It was nice mowing the lawn this afternoon in the cooler temps though.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Sunny & Windy As All Get Out

That's today in a nutshell.  When I stepped out early this morning the sun was just powering its was up, lighting the clouds from behind.  Beautiful.  All day gray clouds flung themselves across the sky and then just as quickly blew away.  It didn't rain, it just looked like it would in the next minute for more than half of the day.

The flowers in back are winding down from a summer of riotous blooming.  The rain we've had over the last couple weeks has rejuvenated some of them but the zinnias and petunias are way past their prime.  The red begonia is still giving its all, though, and it's been a week since I've seen a hummingbird.


Tonight when we left Friday Night Knitting it was so cool that I huffed my breath out to see if I could see it.  (I couldn't, thank god.)  There was a nice bright moon and not too far away from it was a big, red star that I choose to believe was Mars.  Don't tell me if I'm wrong about that, okay?

I was glad to have my Montparnasse Eco Cardi along to put on because my short sleeves just weren't cutting it on the ride home.  The sweater needs another soak in wool wash and to get patted into shape to dry but I think it looks nice and it's warm.  A good thing to have on this chilly evening.

On Tuesday when I met ACJ to write at the Attic I saw that they've jumped on the "quit using straws" bandwagon and have a jar of reusable ones they're selling for $1 each.  I'm glad that society is slowly thinking about plastic and taking steps to eliminate its use.  I refuse to have plastic bags when I shop for anything, except for the ones that you put fruit and veggies in.  Hm, you'd think someone who sews could whip up some mesh bags... maybe I just thought of what to sew for every family for Christmas.

I was late getting to bed last night so I didn't write the prompt and I might not tonight if I don't close and post this and get a move on.  Hasta la vista, babies.

Thursday, September 20, 2018


This afternoon I finished the Montparnasse Eco Cardi.  I wove in the tails tonight at Knitting
Guild so I have a new cardigan.  I love it--and it fits.  Many thanks to VJ who did a program at Guild in April about making sweaters that fit.  She gave me the tools to convert the pattern to my size and the yarn that I had and wanted to use, now that knowledge has turned into the best sweater I've ever knitted.  I can't wait until it's chilly enough to wear it.  This was going to be the crowning achievement of my Summer of Basics makings but life intervened.  I am happy to report that I finished the sweater before the actual end of summer which is next Saturday.  Whew.

I looked out the patio doors this morning and spied the sedum plant up on the retaining wall just blooming away.  I'm not a fan of pink but I do like this pink flower glowing against the juicy green of the thick leaves of the plant.

My two butternut squash are still on the vine and promise a couple of yummy suppers or cauldrons of soup this winter.  Speaking of butternut squash, I had the idea to make a veggie-full sheet pan supper that I could portion out to eat in rotation with the chicken spaghetti that I made last month (and haven't eaten any of), and the glorious Moroccan lamb meatballs DIL1 gave me last weekend that I froze in meal portions.  I  started the pan of butternut squash cubes, onion wedges, cauliflower florets, and garlic cloves tossed in a little olive oil, and S&P first, letting it roast for about 20 minutes before putting in the second sheet pan of marinated boneless chicken breasts, broccoli florets, green beans, and a couple carrots in for about 30 minutes more.  All of the veggies are absolutely perfect.  The chicken is overcooked and dry.  I thought about going to the store for breast halves with the bones and skin but I'm trying to eat meat that I have before buying new (all of the veggies except the carrots and cauliflower were newly bought) so I didn't.  I should have taken the chicken out after the first 15-20 minutes which I will do next time.  I'll just cut it up small and stir it into the veggies, maybe with a little broth, when I reheat it.  It's very good.  I had some of the veggies with half of the leftover ribeye steak I brought home on Monday night.  Yum.

Speaking of yum, I decided to treat myself to scrambled eggs with scallions and cherry tomatoes from the garden with a little Neufchatel cheese dabbed on top for breakfast.  I even thawed out a little WW turkey breakfast sausage patty too and toasted an English muffin.  I'm trying very hard to get back to eating better.  Some days I do better than others.  (We will not discuss the quart of Baskin Robbins PB & Chocolate ice cream I made disappear this week.)


I rejoined Netflix last week, a streaming account, but was highly disappointed to discover that Firefly is no longer on the streaming list.  It used to be.  I watched it many times when I was still working.  I signed up for the DVD Netflix too (you get a free month) and put Firefly on my list.  But then I realized that for about $5/DVD I could order a used set from Amazon and wouldn't have to pay $5/month forever or until I remembered to cancel it.  So I did.  Ordered it, I mean.  It came today.  Guess what I'll be doing this weekend.  This afternoon I searched "slow TV" on Netflix streaming and found a whole long list of slow TV shows, fireplace videos, ocean shows, excellent things to have on the screen when a person is sitting on the couch finishing a cardigan.  There're even shows from Sweden that are nothing but people knitting.  Riveting.  Not.

September 20--Daniel Ridgeway Knight, An Autumn Stroll.  The leaves blown off the trees in last night's storm crunched under Karin's shoes as she walked on the trail.  She didn't notice the colorful carpet underfoot or the exuberant song of the red-winged blackbirds perched on the reeds along the ditch.

That's it.  It's late and I have to get up early tomorrow.  I even set my alarm.  Horrors.  I should probably practice getting up at 6 o'clock because that's the time I'll need to get up next month when I'm at The Clearing.  Toodles.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Radical Change


The wind that came with the thunderstorms last night stripped most of the leaves from my front yard maple tree.  None of the other trees on the street have leaves changing color.  They didn't lose all but a handful of their leaves in last night's windstorm.  I told the city arborist five years ago that my tree was sick but did he do anything about it?  No, he did not.  Bureaucrats, bah.  I took both of these photos from my front stoop this morning, one facing west and the other facing east.  Crazy, huh?

I met my friend, ACJ, this morning to write.  We wrote a prompt and then tried to settle to work but ended up interrupting each other repeatedly and finally talked about attending the WI Writers' Institute Conference in Madison in April.  Maybe I can get this novel manuscript tidied up and ready to pitch to an agent by then.  That'd be good.

Tonight was the second of three art history lectures I signed up for at the ADRC.  It's taught by an art professor/priest from St. Norbert College where DIL1 works.  Very enjoyable.  I had a chiropractor appointment this afternoon too so no sewing got sewn.  I did finish the Orange & Lemon Slipper Sock before the lecture and then I wove in all the tails while watching the PBS show about Harper Lee when I got home.  See?  A pair of socks.

September 18--Lewis Hine, Children Playing Baseball in a Tenement Playground, USA.  "Hey, batter batter," the ragged boys called at the boy holding the bat ready to swing.  The boy with the bat wore clean, tidy clothes and leather shoes.  He looked as out of place as an orchid in a hay field but he held his mouth in a determined line and stared at the boy with the ball.  The pitch was thrown, he swung, and missed.  "Strike!" called a dark-skinned boy crouched behind the batter.  By the looks on the faces of the sideline children this was more than a game.  Hierarchy and acceptance were at stake.  The haves and the have-nots of the block were locked in battle.  Color and nationality weren't in play, only hand-eye coordination and the ability to hit counted.

Not only did last night's storm blow the leaves off my tree, it also blew cooler temps into town.  Yesterday it was in the mid-80s and humid as all get out, today it barely made 65 and was drier, more appropriate for mid-September in Wisconsin.  I like it.

Monday, September 17, 2018

How Buggy Is It?

I just got up from my desk to go into the kitchen to spray my neck, shoulders, face, and arms with OFF! so I could maybe type this blog post without spending half the time waving my hands around trying to swat the mosquitoes that were buzzing in my ears.  In. The. House.  Arrgh.  And we just had a 2-hour thunderstorm so there'll be lots of nice puddles for the next generation of skeeters to get borned in.  I'm tempted to empty the birdbath because it's a basin of still water that is a perfect breeding ground for the little bloodsuckers.

Late this morning, after prime skeeter time, I went out into the garden to pick the ripe tomatoes and gave in to temptation to pull up the sweet potatoes.  I'd hoped for a couple nice plump potatoes but instead got these two skinny ones.  Now, I don't know what variety I planted so maybe I planted reddish skinny sweet potatoes but I'll be eating one of them tomorrow for supper so I'll let you know.  I definitely plan to plant more potatoes next summer, just one of each like this year but I'll do it again.


In the afternoon I went downstairs and finally finished the Tunic no. 1 that I started sewing up in the beginning of July (I think this is upholstery fabric but I like it) and got the in-seam pockets sewn onto the sides of the ecru linen Pants no. 1 that I cut out at the same time.  As tempted as I am to plunge into sewing up the things I cut out yesterday I'm determined to sew up the pre-cut fabric first, THEN I'll tackle the new stuff.

And I got the last two of Durwood's rifles delivered to the gun store to be shipped to their new owner in Florida so my home is now a firearm-free zone.  Whew.  I'm very glad.  Even though they were all far away from tiny hands and out of reach of any but the most determined person I'm glad that they're gone.

This evening I added a few rounds to the Orange & Lemon Slipper Sock while I listened to the rain and thunder.  Just another inch or so and it'll be time to toe.  I want to finish the sock before I pick up and finish the collar of the cardi.  Don't know why but I do.

September 17--Iran, Isfahan Carpet.  The rug drew Claire into the room.  She stretched out her hand expecting to feel the power of the rich browns, golds, and reds in the air around it.  The light shone on the tightly knotted silk.  She ran her hand over it, changing the color as she did.  "It's very old," Amos said from the doorway.  Claire jumped at the sound of his voice.  "You startled me," she said.  She looked back down at the carpet.  "Old?  It looks new to me.  The colors are bright and it looks like no one ever walked on it."  Amos laughed.  "Armies of feet have walked on it."

Unsatisfying.  I don't know what I expected to come out last night but that wasn't it.  It felt awkward and forced when I was writing it and it doesn't seem to have improved overnight.  Ah well, I'm my own worst critic.  I'm meeting a friend to write tomorrow morning.  I'll probably keep reading the novel manuscript I want to work on at The Clearing next month and keep making notes about what to fix or change so I'll be ready to hit the ground writing on the first day of the workshop.  If I don't get carried away by mosquitoes before then, that is.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

My First Binge


I rejoined Netflix the other day and today I figured out how to find it and make it play on the TV.  I had a membership a couple years back and Netflix saved my list of shows so I went back to the first episode and watched Grace & Frankie episodes all day, 10 of them I think, while pinning and cutting out fabric.  First I traced the Dress no. 3 (aka caftan) pattern onto that weird fabric I bought a bolt of at a thrift store in Sheboygan taking out about 4" in length and grading a smaller top onto a bigger bottom, then I downsized the Dress no. 1 pattern piece because I've lost about 30# since I first used it and the dresses are a bit big in the top lately.  Not complaining, not a bad problem to have.

Once that was done I went downstairs to find and iron the fabric I wanted to cut out, brought it upstairs and got to pinning and cutting.  When I was searching for the gauzy fabric with the fronds in brown and orange on it I came upon a bunch of bottom-weight fabrics I forgot I have.  Good thing because I was thinking that I wanted to go get some denim and other solids to make more pants.  Now I don't have to buy any.  Hooray!

I've been avoiding going outside the last week because all the rain we had a couple weeks ago has engendered a mosquito population explosion.  It's terrible.  It feels like all of the mosquitoes on Earth are swarming around.  I took LC and OJ to a park yesterday afternoon and we got eaten alive--and I'd sprayed us all with Off! about 4 times in an hour.  I think the worst part is that there hasn't been a breeze to blow the little bastards around so they're free to feast on our tender skin.  Ack.

We filled the feeders and immediately attracted a chipmunk to the peanut wreath.  At first there was a bluejay there but the horde of chippies chased it away.


Happily the chipmunks haven't figured out how to take over the nectar feeder so there're still hummingbirds coming for a pre-migration snack.

September 16--Henri Rousseau, Child with Doll.  The doll looked like it had been through a lot.  Its hair had been chopped off unevenly, almost to the scalp on the left side.  Someone had drawn on the porous plastic skin with a ballpoint pen, drawn geometric designs that looked like tribal tattoos.  At least it wasn't naked or decapitated.  Jean had removed too many little girls from homes where all of the dolls were strewn around with limbs and heads removed.  It made her sick and deeply sad.

I realized earlier this evening that I didn't feel guilty for not getting dressed and not doing any chores today, except for a sink of dishes.  This is a step in the right direction for me.  I've spent the last few years racing around like a crazed weasel getting things done, making things safe and easy for Durwood that it felt like the way I was supposed to be.  Well, now that I've only got myself to care for maybe I can dial back the crazy a bit and take things easy for a change.  I'm going to give it a go, see how I like it.  Wish me luck.