Friday, November 30, 2018

Guess Where I Went

This morning DS came over to figure out how I can play DVDs on my TV for me--which took him less than 10 minutes.  *sigh*  Then he carried up some heavy things for me from the basement and helped me turn my mattress which I can do alone but it's king size and takes me a while, it's much simpler with two people.  I asked what his plans were for the rest of the day and he said he had to run to the IRS office in Appleton to have some form stamped for the bank.  I invited myself along.  We got there just after noon.  They're closed from noon to 1 PM, of course.  So we went to lunch at an Indonesian restaurant he used to pass when he worked for the beer distributor.  They have a lunch buffet.  It was divine.  Every dish we tried, and between us we tried them all, was tastier than the last one.  This is all I ate, cross my heart, although I did have a steamed coconut cake (small cupcake size) for dessert and we shared a couple spoonfuls of an Indonesian sweet of papaya in coconut milk with rose water and giant tapioca.  I mean GIANT.  Like marble size.  Very tasty.

We went back to the IRS office and this time the door was unlocked so he went in and I stayed in the van.  He was back in a jiffy and fuming.  Seems starting today until Dec. 27 they're in training so they won't be helping anyone.  Then why did they have the door unlocked????  DS called the lady at the bank and the loan can't go through without that form so we drove to the next nearest IRS office--in Milwaukee.  Downtown Milwaukee.  In the heart of downtown Milwaukee on Friday afternoon.  We lucked out and found a parking place on the street about a block from the office and just after the time that you have to plug the meter so FREE parking.  We walked down to the office, rode the elevator up a floor, DS went in and got his form stamped, we walked back to the van, and drove home.  We were gone from 11:30 until 5:45 for a 2 minute office visit.  Crazy.  But it had to be done so that building the brewery can move forward.  Plus I got to spend most of the day with my son who is a very busy man and spends his time with his family and at work instead of dancing attendance on his mom.  

Guess who didn't take any knitting.

At Friday night knitting, I tried to cast on the next critter hat for a grandkid's Christmas.  See this pitiful bit of knitting?  It's about the sixth or seventh time I cast on tonight.  For the first few attempts I kept losing count, then I got the right number, knitted 6 rounds and decided that it would be too small for any of the heads.  It took me three more cast-ons to get the number I think might be right and by then there was only enough time to knit one round before it was time to come home.  

 30 November--Indian, Melancholy Girl with a Sitar.  The sky was an odd navy blue color and the clouds had halos of gold as Rhianna walked home from her guitar lesson.  The wind raced along pushing leaves and litter skittering past.  Small stones hit her ankles and shins.  She leaned into the gusts and shifted her guitar case so that the wind didn't use it like a sail.  She was three blocks from home when the big fat raindrops fell like ripe plums to pop and spatter on the sidewalk.  She heard the roar of the storm and knew she'd never get home before it hit so she looked around for a place to shelter.  In a lightning flash she saw the park pavilion and ran to slide under the steps out of the wind just as the sky opened and the rain fell in torrents.

I'm tired.  I shouldn't be tired, all I did most of the day was ride in a van and talk, but still I'm tired.  I'm glad I went along to keep DS company since he has to get up at 4:30 AM to get to the bus barn by 5:30 in case he needs to drive a route so I'm sure that by the time we were driving home in the dark he was tired.  He's a good man, we did good raising him, me and the old guy.

Thursday, November 29, 2018


I told you that I didn't manage to get anything written yesterday when ACJ and I met at The Attic Cafe & Used Books to write for a couple hours.  So today I put my butt in the chair, got out my Alphasmart, and tapped out a page and a half of what promises to be nearly the last scene of the novel.  If it turns out to be the last I'll put the manuscript aside for a couple weeks and then go back to read it from "cover to cover" (so to speak) to see where it needs more of something or a little tweaking.

This morning I had an appointment with my financial advisor to figure out where to invest the proceeds of Durwood's employee stock account.  I couldn't leave it where it was and wouldn't want to anyway because it was a perfect example of having all one's eggs in one basket.  If that stock dropped, our money dropped, but he kept it because he'd worked for the company for so many years.  Not a great plan, so I kept some of the P&G stock for old time's sake but had her sell most of it to reinvest in other sectors of the market so if one of my stocks drops a bit chances are another one will be up.  I like my advisor, she makes me feel smart by winnowing my choices down to a couple and then she gives me the info I need to make an informed choice.  So far it's working, my investments are making money and according to her diagram I can live to be 100 and not run out of money--as long as I don't go on a huge spending spree, that is.  I don't plan to do that.

I spooned the last of the fruit & booze syrup on the fruitcakes today, put them back into the big zipper bags, and carried them downstairs where it's cool for them to age and mellow until Christmas.  When I took the lid off the pitcher with the syrup in it I got a big whiff of bourbon.  Those cakes should be tasty when the time comes to slice and nibble on them.

It snowed this morning, not much, just enough to cover the driveways but not the grass.  It warmed up so it was sloppy while I was running errands after the broker appointment but not slippery which is always a relief because this is the time of year when there are extra people out and about.  Sorry I didn't take a picture.  And we're supposed to have a mix of rain and snow for the weekend.  Goodie.

I didn't take a picture of today's toss either.  I went downstairs and pulled out the next box in the darkroom equipment area, sorted through it, and dumped the stuff into the trash.  Then I noticed a pair of old mic stands and a Samsonite overnight bag that Durwood used to use so I hauled them up too.  They went into the back of my car.  A friend suggested that I call a local coffee house that hosts open mic nights to see if they might need the stands.  I'll do that tomorrow.

After supper I finished knitting the Bodhi Leaf washcloth I started last night.  The colors remind me of sunset so that's what I'm calling it.  I like it so much that I might just knit another one.

29 November--Rear View of a Girl viewing paintings in an Art Museum.  The art was hung on the walls like paving stones.  The effect was nothing less than chaos.  Still lifes bumped up against allegories next to landscapes frowned over by portraits.  The frames were gilt, silver, wood, elaborate, plain, rococco, modern, every style and material.  Standing in the room made Ann dizzy.  She wondered if the paintings had been bought all at once or had spread across the walls as they were acquired with no thought of how one looked with the next.

The people across the street have their Christmas tree up and the whole front of the house is outlined in lights.  If I want to put the flamingo out I'd have to repair or replace the stand and it's just too cold to do it now.  I meant to fix it last summer but I was a little crazy and a little busy.  Maybe I'll manage it for next year.  It would be a shame never to put a flamingo out again.  Maybe I can get that little one DD's friend gave me up, see if it still lights, and put that out.  I'll study on it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

What's Today's Toss?


I didn't feel like digging around in the "dirty" part of the basement today to resurrect boxes that hadn't been opened in at least 15 years so I waded around my bins and bags of fabric to the basement cookbook shelves and came up with this pile that will go to Goodwill tomorrow.

The Red-bellied Woodpecker came to the feeder this morning (because I put suet pellets in it yesterday afternoon) and just as it landed a squirrel clambered up the neighboring crook to nab some peanuts.  The woodpecker didn't fly away like I thought she would, she just leaned back like she needs bifocals to see the squirrel, then went on eating.


This afternoon I made the corrections in the knitting guild newsletter and got it sent out--a week early.  I don't know how I managed that.  Usually I'm scrambling to get it out a day late but I'm not complaining.

I met my writing friend ACJ down at The Attic Cafe after lunch where we talked about writing, did a prompt writing, but somehow I didn't manage to get any actual writing done.  Oh!  Now I remember.  I'd emailed the latest manuscript to my Kindle and for some crazy reason it wouldn't download.  I poked at it, made sure I had the correct password to get online there, poked some more, even swore a bit (only a bit) but the darned thing wouldn't download so I didn't have the raw material I needed to plunge into the next scene.  (I ended up calling Amazon Customer Service when I got home and the tech initiated a screen-share, poked around some, and finally got it to load.  He didn't know how he did it but I'm not complaining.)  I probably could have just leaped in and got some words down but then a dive buddy stopped in to chat and that put paid to the writing.

I called DM this morning because I knew that she and her husband are leaving for Bonaire on Saturday and I missed seeing them stop into the dive shop for last minute things and getting to share a bit in their excitement to go.  As we were chatting about this and that she asked if there wasn't something of Durwood's I'd like them to take to leave in Bonaire since they wouldn't have gone there if it hadn't been for us extolling the great diving.  She caught me off guard but I said I'd think about it.  I didn't want to send anything that could be scooped up by someone, then I thought of those prayer cards that were left over from the funeral so I got one out, tore it into tiny pieces (so it degrades fast), and put it into an envelope.  She stopped to pick it up and agreed to send the pieces into the sea at Tori's Reef, one of our favorite reefs.  One of their favorites too.  It brought another little cry but I'm glad that something of him will be down there.  He loved it so.

After supper I felt guilty just sitting watching TV so I cast on a Bodhi Leave washcloth.  This yarn is some DD gave away when she was clearing out her stash and I thought it'd make a nice cloth.  This is a nice pattern for a nice, small cloth.  I like it.

28 November--Paul Gauguin, Mr. Loulou.  Boys need to run and play.  They need dirt, a dog, bugs, and mud--or water to make dirt into mud.  Albert longed to be outside, to run barefoot on summer lawns, and dig worms to go fishing.  Albert's mother feared the germs she was certain lived in the soil and grass and especially dogs.  She dressed Albert like every day was Sunday and kept him indoors.  He was allowed out in the garden for an hour in the afternoon.

Poor Albert.  I'm always relieved when the Art Page-a-day has a Gauguin that isn't bare-breasted Tahitian girls.  They always look so sulky and unhappy to be there.  I think old Paul was a perv.  That's just my opinion.  Tomorrow morning I get to go talk to the broker about investing the proceeds from the sale of some stock.  She picks out a few for me to choose from and I leave there feeling very smart.  Heh.  I sure am glad that Durwood started dragging me along all those years ago when I complained that I didn't understand a word that was said.  Eventually I did and I do.  Sorta.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Making the News

Newsletter, that is.  Today I plunked myself down here in mid-morning and spent the day churning out six pages of Bay Lakes Knitting Guild newsletter.  This is the last one I'll do.  Someone else gets the pleasure of doing it next.  I've done it for 2018, now it's KP's turn.  I got lucky this month, a few people sent links or little articles or big articles so I just had to jigsaw them into some semblance of order and only needed to find a free one-page pattern to include.  It isn't hard work, it's time consuming.  I'll read through it tomorrow morning, make any corrections I find, turn it into a pdf, then into a Word document, and email it to the membership.

This little Mr. Downy Woodpecker spent nearly 15 minutes up in the very top of the apple tree before deciding it was safe to come down for a suet snack.  I watched him move around a biggish branch a few times and then whoosh there he was.


After supper and after going to Walmart for frozen blueberries and a few other items, I finished Appleseed Mitt #2 so now I have a pair of soft and warm fingerless mitts.  Next I'll cast on the dishcloth I need for the December knitting guild exchange and another critter hat for a grandkid.  Christmas is galloping our way.

Today's toss was a 8mm movie editor/splicing machine thingy.  Outdated, ugly, and useless.  Out with the trash.

The doorbell rang this afternoon.  I opened the door to find the brother of a high school and writing friend who is caregiver for some developmentally disabled men who live in a duplex at the end of the street.  BK said he needed a favor.  Seems he works until 10 PM, is almost out of gas, and doesn't get paid until Friday so could I loan him $2 so he doesn't run out on the way home?  Of course.  I asked if $2 was enough and he said maybe $3 if I could, so I gave him $5.  It's too darned cold to get stuck and have to walk.  He insisted that he'll pay me back, I asked him to pay it forward.  I'd rather have him do that than feel obligated to get it back to me.  Do a favor for a stranger, BK, the world needs kindness much more than I need that five bucks back.

27 November--Tiffany & Co., Cigarette case, 1930s style.  Raellyn reached way back in Grandmama's dresser drawer.  Something shiny had winked at her when she pulled it open to retrieve Grandmama's violet handkerchief.  Her fingers closed on the metal box and drew it out into the light.  She found the latch and the top sprung open.  At first she thought it was a compact holding powder, a mirror, and a place for a bit of money for cab fare home from a bad date but the spicy aroma of tobacco and tiny brown shreds caught in the hinge told her that it was a cigarette case.  Grandmama didn't smoke, did she?  She always said, "Ladies do not smoke cigarettes."  The way she said it Raellyn knew that was the gospel truth.

I am happy to report that my jaw hardly aches today for which I am eternally grateful but I'll be glad in two weeks to get my partial back.  It's not easy to eat baby carrots when your chewing teeth are unopposed on one side and you've been warned not to chew on the other.  Soup it is.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Open Wide

So I spent the afternoon in the dentist's chair getting one filling replaced and another tooth readied for a crown.  I confess I spent the morning goofing off, knitting on the Appleseed Mitt #2 on the couch, getting to the top ribbing.  Then when I got home and the Novocaine was wearing off (it still is and my jaw aches from being open so far for over an hour, I should go buy some Tylenol) I finished the mitt, wove in the tails, and started on the thumb.

Today's toss was another box of antiquated darkroom equipment and,

just to silence those of you who wonder if I look at what's in the boxes before I throw out or donate them, look at what I found.  

A teeny tiny camera (that's a teaspoon).  There wasn't any film in it and I don't know what size would fit in there but this is a very cool find.  Maybe someone will want it.  Maybe someone will buy it.

The fruitcakes got more syrup today.  I got smart and got an 1/8 cup measuring cup to scoop it out.  That was much tidier than pouring 2 tablespoons of syrup out of the Tupperware measuring cup with a lid that drips down the pitcher from the spout.  There's about a tablespoon of syrup left for each one in a couple days then I'll take them downstairs to age in the cool until Christmas.

26 November--Pellegrino Tibaldi, Neptune and the Ship of Ulysses.  The waves were like rearing horses bashing their hooves against the ship's hull.  The wind had claws that raked at the sails.  Jacob double-checked that his life jacket was secure and that he was hooked to the ship in case he fell or got swept overboard.  In between lightning flashes he wondered what had possessed him to set sail alone.  Thunder slammed his ears and made him think of Miriam standing calmly in the door of his study telling him that he was too boring for her to remain another day.  Two weeks later he was alone in the middle of the ocean in a gale.

I wish I had been in the middle of the ocean instead of in the dentist's chair this afternoon.  I feel like I got scammed since I didn't have a toothache but spent all that money anyway.  And I had to let them keep my partial because one of its anchor teeth is the one getting the crown.  Arrgh.  Good thing I have a big bunch of homemade soup so I can eat that instead of crunchy or sticky things.  Guess what I'm craving...

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Pinkies Up


I went to my friend/neighbor/renter's bridal shower this afternoon.  It was a Jane Austen-themed tea party.  They had the coolest stuff.  Even though the cups, saucers, and plates were paper they looked like china and there were little Jane Austen buttons for each of us.  Mine says, "I (heart) Mr. Darcy."   The food fit the tea party theme too, little heart shaped cucumber and hummus canapes, tiny chicken salad tartlets, and little bitty cinnamon buns. The centerpieces were china cups, creamers, and teapots with flowers in them.  I won a game prize but since I'm trying to have less stuff I told EJ that she can have the creamer--once the flowers fade.  She's glad, she doesn't have a creamer.  I wonder if someone took home the matching sugar bowl.  She liked the bowls and cozies that were my gift.  It was a nice way to spend a couple hours.


I spent most of the day knitting on Appleseed Mitt #2 using the Knit Companion app on my iPad.  It's so much easier to follow the pattern on the big screen instead of trying to balance a sheet of paper on my lap or squint at it lying on the coffee table or next to me on the couch.

This evening HH and I went over to KW's apartment to knit for a couple hours and I finished the thumb gusset and got a couple rows of the palm knitted.  Pretty soon I'll have a pair of mitts.  Won't that be nice?

Today I took down a heavy box of what turned out to be very old darkroom supplies.  There were a couple ancient cameras in the box that I kept but the rest of it went right into the trash.  I think I'll gather up all of the old cameras, etc. and post them on eBay and Facebook Marketplace just to see if anyone's interested.  I checked on eBay this afternoon and a lot of old film cameras are offered but few, if any, have bids on them so I don't have a lot of hope.

25 November--Charles V. Bond. Still Life: Fruit, Bird, and Dwarf Pear Tree.  Carin sat and watched the yellow bird.  It landed on the grapevine and eyed the bowl of berries.  It looked around to see if the coast was clear then swooped over to nab a raspberry in its beak.  She stifled a laugh not wanting to scare the feathered marauder away.  Carin knew that Mama planned to serve those berries after supper but still she didn't chase the bird off.  She was peeling pears for making pear sauce, the bowl on her lap filling with fruit and juice.  She let the peels fall to the ground where the chickens and bees would find them.

It pains me to say that one month from today is, gasp, Christmas.  I've got a bunch of gifts already and have ideas for a few more.  Now's the time for me to sort through them and make notes about what still needs getting so I'm not running around like a chicken with its head lopped off in three weeks.  Cheerful thought, eh?

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Making Cozies


I am invited to attend a bridal shower tea for my renter tomorrow at 1 PM.  I got the invitation over a month ago and decided right away that I'd make soup bowl cozies and buy some nice bowls for them.  Did I make the cozies and get the bowls then so that I wouldn't be doing it at the last minute?  Of course not.  I found the bowls yesterday and this afternoon I made the cozies.  After supper tonight I went up to Dollar Tree for tissue paper, a gift bag, and a card.  So it isn't exactly the last minute, but it's damn close.  I plan to print off my favorite Fast Chicken Soup Base recipe to tuck into the package.  I have some nice stationary to print it on.  

Question: if I can't make the wedding do I need to send a gift?

What a dreary day today was, gray and drizzly.  It was a good thing I hid in the basement sewing.  Oh, the other day I started to sew one of the flannel dresses I cut out a few weeks ago but the sewing machine was acting goofy.  I figured out today that the thread was the problem.  I don't know what kind of thread it was, all of the labels had come off the spool, but I pulled it all off the bobbins and threw the spool and all of the "bad" thread away, then rewound the bobbins with regular thread.  The machine worked like a charm.  Thank god.  I did not want to have to do battle with my oldest sewing machine to get this shower gift made.  I would have (and probably blistered the ceiling with my language) gotten the job done.

This afternoon I gave the fruitcakes their first tablespoons of syrup.  I decided this morning to put the loaves back into the foil pans I baked them in so that they're sitting in the syrup and each of them can absorb it.  None will get wasted.  I also got out a couple 2.5 gallon zipper bags (from Dollar Tree) to put them in.  Don't want fruit flies.

Today's toss was the second and last set of handyman encyclopedias.  I kept a basic carpentry guide and a general DIY book but am letting the rest of the books go.  I'll never use them.

Last week (or was it the week before) I let the president-elect of the knitting guild talk me into resuming posting on the guild's blog so I did that yesterday.  I'm such a pushover sometimes.

I didn't write the prompt last night, I was just too sleepy.  In fact, I fell asleep at the keyboard in mid-blog so I posted it and went to bed.  The blast of energy I've felt since Durwood's death is waning.  I'm not complaining but I wish the sun would shine, that always makes me feel better.  Time to go night-night.

Friday, November 23, 2018



For some reason when I saw a package of dried blueberries at ALDI last week I was gripped with the urge to make a batch of Emeril Lagasse's Creole Christmas Fruitcake.  I printed off the recipe ages ago when Emeril had his Food Network show because it was the only fruitcake recipe I had ever heard of that uses real (dried) fruit (a pound of it!) instead of that weird brightly colored and gooey fruit that it's usually made with.  It also makes real cake--butter, eggs, flour, almond paste, and spices--and a cup each of almonds, pecans, and walnuts.  There's orange liqueur in the batter too and more orange liqueur and some bourbon in the fruit syrup you drizzle over the cakes so they soak it up.  Yum.  So that's what I did this afternoon (but I got 11 instead of 12; obviously I am measuring-challenged).  I only made this once before and had forgotten that it fills the mixer to its maximum capacity.  I don't think I could have put in one more cup of anything and had the batter stay in the bowl. Tonight the cakes are lined up on rack to get slightly stale and each is wrapped in a single layer of cheesecloth so that tomorrow night I can poke their tops with a toothpick and start the drizzling.  They'll be ready for consumption in about 3 weeks, just in time for Christmas.

Before going to ALDI for the dried blueberries and apricots I zoomed over to visit the grand-chickens and look what I found.  Two eggs--and the inspiration golf ball.  See, three of the four chickens aren't laying so DS or DIL1 put a golf ball in there to see if that wouldn't inspire the three slackers to start laying.  I had a firm chat with them, telling them that I was certain that barbecued chicken would come up on the menu soon if they didn't get going and start producing eggs.  I don't think they paid attention.

These three cardinals posed ever so nicely in the apple tree this morning.  The female is in the center and there's a male cardinal on either side.  Right after I snapped this the female flew away and the males quickly followed her, one after the other.

Did you have a turkey sandwich for lunch?  I did.  I toasted a slice of onion bread, spread on mayo, and then topped it with some smoked turkey.  Add a few raw veggies and a handful of grapes and that was a delicious lunch.  I think I'll have the same tomorrow.


I am doing much better on the do-over of Appleseed Mitt #2's cuff.  The cables are crossing making Xs like they're supposed to rather than twining around themselves making chains.  Whew.  I don't think the soft alpaca yarn would have survived another frogging.

23 November--Salvatore Gurreri Manufactory, Dish depicting Solar Eclipse and Ornamental Motifs.  Sharon and the children watched as the shadow of the moon ate away at the sun disc.  They had made pinhole viewers with shoeboxes and sat with their backs to the sun.  "Will it come back?"  Willie's voice sounded small and afraid.  Usually he was the brash one, confident and assertive, but this solar eclipse made him afraid.  Sharon looked at her son bent to peer into the box, his dark curly hair tousled, his small shoulders hunched.  "It will," said Maggie.  Three years younger and often more tentative, today she seemed to grow in confidence as the light dimmed.  Maggie's dark ponytail spread across her shoulders like a mantle and her voice carried an authority Sharon hadn't heard before.

Tomorrow I need to sew up some soup bowl cozies.  I'm invited to a bridal shower for my renter and suddenly it's on this coming Sunday and I don't have the gift ready.  Oops.  Guess who'll be hunched over the sewing machine tomorrow.  Time to hit the rack.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you had a good day and that you and your loved ones (family or not) enjoyed a day without stress (except for the standard turkey-roasting stress, that is).  I had a great time, ate too much, and confined myself to only one kind of pie.  I don't know what came over me.  Only one kind of pie???  When there were three kinds to choose from???  Maybe I have a brain tumor.

This morning I fired up the slicer and sliced up the onion bread loaves.  One loaf went straight into the freezer for later and the other one went along to Shawano with me.  I did, however, toast a couple of the end slices.  Just to make sure it was safe for people to eat, you understand.  I'm self-sacrificing like that.

It was misty when it was time to drive home so I took my time.  The highway was well-salted so it wasn't slick, the streets in Shawano were another story, but I didn't go too fast and didn't try to take corners too fast.  I was happy to see that almost everyone on the highway was taking it easy.  Sometimes people show surprising common sense.  Not too often, but sometimes.

After I got home I sat watching DIY television and counted out M&Ms, Goldfish crackers, animal crackers, and pretzel twists into 2 point servings so I can grab a snack when I want one.  Now that Thanksgiving's over I'm thinking I might have a better chance of getting back on my eating plan.  I need to, I'm getting tired of myself.

Today's toss was the last bar stool.  When we moved over here about 15 years ago Durwood insisted that I keep that last stool even though we don't have a bar or anyplace to put it.  The stool lived in the basement with a piece of masking tape on the seat with "keep" written on it in Sharpie.  I took the tape off and had to get out the Goof Off! to get the sticky off the plastic seat.  One item/box per day.

Oh, and I borrowed the ebook, "The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning."  It isn't about cleaning up after someone dies, it's about you clearing out your crap before you kick the bucket so that your children don't have to torch all of your junk.  I'm determined to get rid of most of the clutter and stuff in here.  It makes me feel crowded in.

22 November--Pieter Bruegel the Younger, Harvester's Lunch.  Arthur always slept.  Everyone else sat together eating cheese, bread, and fruit talking about politics or their children.  Arthur found a patch of shade, put down his bag, leaned on it, and in three breaths he was asleep.  When Gertrude asked him if he didn't get hungry in the afternoon he told her that he kept cheese rinds in his pouch that he'd let dissolve in his mouth.  No wonder he had such bad breath.

All right, children, my eyelids keep slamming shut so I'm going to slap the photos on here, make sure I don't have any glaring typos, push "publish," and go to bed.  Happy Turkey Sandwich Day tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Tradition Is A Good Thing

Today tradition made my house smell good.  Thanksgiving tradition dictates that I make onion bread using a recipe out of an ancient Betty Crocker Breads cookbook, which I'm glad you can't see in the photo because the book's falling apart and is stained all over.

First I assembled the mis en place,  (that's "get your sh** together" in French)

then the dough goes into a greased bowl to rise for an hour, (looks like a bowl of Silly Putty, doesn't it?)


once it's doubled it gets punched down, cut in half, and each half gets rolled out into a 2 ft. snake, then coiled into greased cake pans and buttered, and left to rise again,

after 30 minutes or so in the oven during which time it makes the house smell like heaven (Lipton Onion Soup mix and molasses, yum) and comes out looking like this.  Tomorrow I'll slice it on the electric slicer and rebag it to take to Thanksgiving dinner.

The toss of the day was 3 winter coats that I don't wear and haven't worn for at least a century so out they went.

After supper and talking to DD on the phone for a while I finished knitting the first of three Top This! hats.  Quick and easy and darned cute.

21 November--Claude Monet, Poplars.  The late afternoon sun tinted the leaves with a peach-colored light that made them look almost blue.  Julie shoved her hands into her jeans pockets and kept walking.  She barely noticed the light or the leaves.  David had called to say that he had to go to South Dakota to get one of the offices straightened out and thought the company might want him to stay for a few months.  He said he thought if he managed to turn the place around maybe they would make him the district manager there.  They would have to move.  Julie wasn't crazy about moving again.  She had just begun to feel at home in Kentucky, had finally gotten the last cartons unpacked and was making friends.  Did she really want to start over out on the prairie?

For some reason I just couldn't get moving today.  I had the devil of a time waking up, spent three hours on the computer before I knew what was happening and the rest of the day just petered out.  I'm glad I got the bread made.  Whew. 

In the afternoon I realized why I felt low, I'm missing Durwood.  In October I ordered some temporary tattoos and one is of a hummingbird.  Durwood loved hummingbirds so I put one on my left forearm.  Made me feel a little better. Happy Thanksgiving, all!  Eat lots of pie.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The Smell of Brewing Coffee

Isn't that one of the best smells?  I think it's right up there with frying bacon.  I was poking around in the freezer this morning and found a nearly empty bag of Mt. Meru coffee from Tanzania that my writing friend AC gave me so I brewed a pot.  Mm, it smelled so good.  It has a slight citrus aroma and tastes great.  AC's church mission helped the coffee growers of the Mt. Meru region of Tanzania get organized and get their product selling in America.  It's a Free Trade product so most of the cost of the items goes back to the growers to lift the standard of living in their villages and lets them send their children to school.  Worth the little extra it costs besides I'm too old to drink crappy coffee anymore.  I'm trading up.

Yesterday I went to the thrift store for a few plaid flannel shirts to cut up for a pattern I found that I thought would make good Christmas gifts.  The shirts were $5 each.  Then I went to Joann Fabrics for the interfacing and purse handles.  I also bought these three skeins of cotton yarn--and spent $70.  With coupons.  So my affordable crafty gifts will tally out to about $25 each not including my labor.  Hmm.  (It's probably better not to figure that out.  Kinda takes the fun out of it.)

Here's the bit of mitt #2 I knitted last night.  Tonight I didn't knit.  I tried to sew today while I did laundry but ended up fighting with the tension on my machine.  Guess the old sewing machine goes in for adjustment once the computer one comes home.

Today's toss/donate item is this gigantic picnic hamper that I've had for 40 years and used maybe 4 times.  This was a contest points choice when Durwood won the Miss America sales contest in 1979 and he had so many points to spend he was reduced to using the last few on pairs of socks.  The brown canvas bags are from a defunct laundry sorter the frame of which gave up the ghost years back but I was sure I'd use those nice bags for something.  I didn't.  Out they go.

20 November--Gustav Courbet, Woman with Pigeons.  Joseph waved his hand to shoo the pigeons away from the poor dead girl splayed out on the dry grass.  The pigeons didn't move.  He looked closer.  The birds were dead too, each of them pinned to the girl's body by an arrow.  Dr. Mayes would have a field day with this.  The doc thrived on puzzling out the whys and hows of the murders that seemed to pile up more quickly these days.  Joseph, Lieutenant Granger, looked around at the high-rise apartments that bordered the park.  Each apartment had a wide balcony reached by sliding glass doors so figuring out where the arrows came from would be a challenge.  How had the killer managed to shoot two pigeons and the girl simultaneously?

I thought I'd clarify what the above paragraph is for new readers.  I read in a writing guide years ago that it's naive to think that just because you know the language you'll be able to sit down and write decent stories.  Just as artists sketch, musicians practice, and athletes train, a good writer has to exercise her writing muscles, so I've been writing a daily prompt (words or pictures used as a jumping off point) for years and put it on here.  For the last few years I've used the Art Gallery Page-a-day calendar so the inspiration for those paragraphs is a painting or some other art piece.  Sometimes what I write is directly derived from what I see but, as in the case of the above, a portrait of a woman and pigeons that look like her pets led me to write the start of a murder mystery.  Most of these remain as exercises but every once in a while I'll keep writing  to see if something develops.  Only once has it turned into a novel which is the one I'll tackle after The Seaview (the one I'm working on now) is ready to be pitched to agents, etc.  Hope this didn't bore you but there've been a couple comments lately that made me think that an explanation was in order.  G'night.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Not So Fast

Remember that I thought I was finished with the cuff of Appleseed Mitts #2 yesterday?  Well, this evening when I picked it up to keep knitting I realized that the top half of the cables weren't criss-crossing they were making chain links.  Wrong!  So the mitt and I went to the frog pond and now there's a whole new cuff started on my needles.  I'd have frogged back to when things went awry but I couldn't figure out how to pick the cable stitches back up so I started from scratch.  I got the inch of ribbing done and decided to call it a night.

Look what I saw outside the window this morning.  Snow!  It fell for about an hour and then petered out, melting through the day in the intermittent sunshine.  One of these days it'll snow, stick, and not melt no matter how sunny it gets.  *sigh*  I'll admit that I want to go snowshoeing but I don't really want it to snow yet.


Today's toss was a big box of old shaving kits.  How old?  The packaging says 1984 but I figure that the razors will be good even if the shaving cream has separated.

I popped into Goodwill after dropping off the box to find some plaid shirts for a craft I have the pattern for and cruised the clearance book racks only to find a book with 93 different Rice Krispie treats "recipes" for tinting and shaping the cereal and marshmallow yumminess into different shapes.  Not flavors, only shapes.  It was 79 cents.  I couldn't leave it behind.  Haven't you always wanted to make Rice Krispie treat drumsticks or a life-size Rice Krispie treat watermelon with black licorice "seeds" to take to a picnic?  If you ever do, let me know, I have the directions.

This Downy Woodpecker came while the snow was falling for a suet snack.

19 November--Leon Bakst, Costume design for The Firebird ballet by Igor Stravinsky.  Lila floated down the stairs in a dress that looked to be made from feathers and fire.  Her movement made the fabric swirl and float around her and the feathers in her hair trembled with each step.  The dancers stopped and stared at her as if she were something rare landing in their midst.  Karl stepped forward to meet her at the foot of the staircase.

And that's where the words petered out.  Oh well, I'm happy for the few words that trickle out at the end of the day.  By the time I get to them I'm too tired for more.  What's tomorrow?  Oh yeah, Tuesday.  I'm meeting an acquaintance for coffee in the afternoon and hope to get myself down to the sewing machine in the morning.  It cold and I need more than one flannel dress to wear all winter.  There are four or five of them cut out down there, ready to be zoomed together.  I should get on it.  And do laundry while I'm down there.