Thursday, February 28, 2019

So Much Better


I realized this morning that I needed to go out to fill a few birdfeeders sometime today so, when I came in from the Y, I changed into my better boots, strapped on my snowshoes and went out to fill things up.  Today's feeder filling went worlds better than last week's slog through knee-deep snow.  As you can see I sunk about 4 inches, not 14, so getting around to the feeders was a snap.  And I was surprised at how much taller I was, or maybe the birdfeeder crooks got shorter.  Instead of reaching up and peering over the edge to fill the platform feeder, I looked down upon it which made filling it much simpler.  And it isn't cold enough for my gloves to freeze to my fingers.


It was a bird day.  First thing I heard knocking and saw that the male Downy Woodpecker was having his breakfast at the seed wreath.


Then heralded by his raucous squawk the Bluejay swooped in to grab a suet pellet from the platform feeder...


followed by the Red-Bellied Woodpecker.  As soon as I'd refilled that platform feeder a Nuthatch showed up too.  These last two are why I invest in suet pellets and dried mealworms.  Not all birds are attracted to seeds and I hope to plant a couple native berry-bearing bushes this summer to attract more.

Tonight I added an inch or so to the foot of the Zauber Campfire sock.  I need about 3 more inches of foot before I add waste yarn and plunge on to the second Afterthought Everything sock.

My session with the trainer was just as I predicted--hot, sweaty, and humbling.  Most of the things I could do but a couple of them that involved my left ankle being strong and supportive needed some modification.  I'd like to continue but at $30/session it's a little pricey.  Maybe they'll have a sale.  I popped a couple Tylenol when I got home and I'll definitely be having more for a bedtime snack.  Hopefully my ankle will start getting stronger.  My balance is much better since I've started.

28 February--Tropical Obsession. 

From the sea, the land looked almost flat. No gentle hills or rises marred the symmetry of the island. It looked like a stack of very thin pancakes. The dark gray, greenish black of the ironshore rocks were the bottom layer, battered and scored by the relentless waves. Then came the pale bleached coral rubble, tossed with abandon into drifts imitating snow. On top of the island pancake were the stunted trees and the tall candle cactus that played host to the fruit bats and the little lorikeets that flew in green, squawking pairs ahead of any cars driving down the lonely straight blacktop road that traversed that end of the island. Not the most inviting island view but a nice change from the unrelenting blue of the sea.

Today's toss was Durwood's briefcase from his hypnosis practice that closed in 1993.  Did I mention that he didn't ever want to throw things away?  I put the papers in the recycling bin, the binders in the trash, and the case in the car to be donated.  What treasures will turn up tomorrow?

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Snowy Day


This morning the snowflakes got together into big clumps so they'd make more of an impression when they fell.  It was powdery snow, not packing snow, but I'd guess there was a good 5" of it when I went out to clear the driveway around 2 o'clock.  *sigh*  While I was out there the plow came down my side of the street twice and on his second pass he dislodged an ice boulder the size of an ottoman that the snowblower couldn't grind up and I could barely move.  I finally got the ice chopper and broke it up into more manageable pieces that I kicked around to spread them out because the bank's too high for me to shovel them over and the street is a sheet of smooth ice so the footing isn't stable.  *double sigh*  I'm tired of winter and also thinking that last week Wednesday I was sitting on Aunt B's lanai reading a book and thinking I might put on my swimsuit and hop into the pool because it was hot and humid.  Why, oh why did I ever come home?  (because my ticket said I had to)

This photo is proof that I finished the Jumble, the Sudoku, and the crossword today.  Well, you'll have to take my word about the crossword but it is finished.  This is the last day of the week that I'm confident that I can finish all three.  After today the Sudoku goes to 3-star level and it's iffy whether I can figure it out but I try, I always try, because sooner or later I'll solve one that's a 4- or even 5-star.  Hey, I can dream, can't I?

Today's toss was a tote that I pulled out from under the shelves behind the Rubbermaids that I store my off season clothes in.  It was labeled "China Cupboard-Fragile" so I was curious as to what was in there.  There were some Christmas tablecloths (donate) and a bunch of glass and china stuff from Durwood's mom and things I'd picked up at estate sales, etc. (donate).  But then there was the scuba Santa & treasure chest salt & pepper shakers I got one year at TJ Maxx, three creamers not shaped like cows, a Noritake goldfish that was Durwood's mom's, some silver and cut glass I'd gotten when I was filling my hope chest (Grandpa Stephan called it a "despair barrel" but he did build me one that he shipped up here; it's one of the things I kept from the storage last summer), and a pewter salt & pepper set from Penang, Malaysia which was the first foreign place that Durwood dragged me to.  (yes, you can cry all the way across the Pacific Ocean when you leave your babies behind and your husband insists that you make wills before flying off)  So I sat and stared at those things for about an hour, then moved them to the top of the TV armoire to get a little distance.  Within another couple hours I'd wrapped up all of the items except the three creamers and the goldfish.  They get to stay (so far), the rest is on its way to St. Vinnie de P the next time I'm down that way.

Supper tonight (and three other nights) was Cauliflower Puree with Rotisserie BBQ Chicken.  It's a recipe I Weight Watcher-ized last year.  You pulse raw cauliflower in the food processor until it's pretty much rice sized, then you add a little cornmeal and some broth, and cook it until it's like grits.  Then stir in shredded cheddar and salt and pepper.  You make bbq sauce with tomato sauce, a bit of catsup, some yellow mustard, ancho chili powder, onion and garlic powders that you simmer for a few minutes, then you stir in chopped rotisserie chicken.  It makes 4 servings and is very yummy.  I hope it doesn't mind being frozen.

Tonight I finished the Teeny Tiny Purse except for finding a button.  I made it a bit taller and I think the handle is too long.  I'll make a few adjustments on the next one.  And there will be a next one.  Instant gratification, that is.

27 February--Tropical Obsession. 

Manning sat with his back against a boulder, black binoculars held to his eyes. His elbows rested on his bent knees. He was motionless, his gaze focused on the horizon. With his hair bleached pale blond by sun and salt water, his khaki shirt and shorts, and his tropical tan he looked like a part of the landscape. He had arrived in the cool pre-dawn picking a sentinel spot that would give him a little protection from the midday sun. As the sun rose, so did the wind, swirling the sea into a white blur on the shoreline rocks and sending a cooling spray over him that sparkled in the light. As the day aged toward noon, the surface of the ocean, flat at dawn, wrinkled and crumpled into chop and then whitecaps. Five-foot waves exploded in geysers as they met the coast, finally convincing him that no rendezvous would happen that day.

I have hopes that it stops snowing for a few days.  My haircut today got postponed until next week because my stylist had to go to Appleton to pick up his wife who returned from Florida today and he texted saying that the roads were awful so he wanted to reschedule.  I didn't want to be driving around on slick roads either so I only went to the grocery and pharmacy late in the afternoon after the plows and the sun had done their work.  Tomorrow I see my trainer at the Y.  I missed 3 weeks so I have faith that I'll be huffing and puffing tomorrow and sore on Friday.  And I pay for that.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Guess What!

It's snowing again.  I know.  I'm surprised too.  (that's what we call sarcasm, kids)  It started about 4 o'clock and is supposed to snow off and on until tomorrow noon with 3-5 inches of accumulation.  *sigh*  They're talking about more snow later in the week too before it gets back down into the single digits for a few days starting on Sunday.  Whoop.  At least it'll cover up the ice and fill in the ruts in the frozen slush on the streets.  My poor tires.

Today is $10 Tuesday at Papa Murphy's and for once I remembered before I ate supper so I zoomed up there and brought home this.  Yum.

The cleaning lady, MB, came today so my carpets are all pretty with vacuum swaths in them and Old Cesspool was evicted from the dark place behind the toilet, at least for a while.  I texted my friend KW to see if she'd meet me at the Y this afternoon to ensure that I didn't blow it off.  We met at 12:30 and walked for about 40 minutes.  Thanks, KW, you're a real pal.

Lots of yarn got knitted this afternoon and evening.  I added one more round to the February Seaman's Cowl and bound it off.  One of these days my bind off will match my cast on better.  Today isn't that day but one of these days will be.

I decided to sew up the bottom of the Teeny Tiny Purse I cast on yesterday so I can measure the length.  Two of my knitting friends emailed with suggestions as to how to knit from both sides of the cast on to eliminate the annoying sewing up part.  Which means I'll have to cast on another one when this one's done to try the trick.

Then CS who is leading/teaching a brioche knitting class sent a pattern for us to cast on if we want to try our hand at knitting a 2-color cowl.  By some miracle I had a skein of the pattern yarn in my stash which I took to mean that I am destined to knit that pattern.  Well, what else could it mean?  So I cast on 90 stitches using the German Twisted Cast-on that we learned last Thursday night at Knitting Guild.  Okay, I'll admit that I had to YouTube it to remind myself but once I saw and heard the instructions again my fingers remembered what to do.  YouTube is a marvelous tool.

26 February--Tropical Obsession. 

The scene had the air of an animated short. The flock of pink flamingos all faced the same direction and, necks stretched, waded away from the splashing of the school of baitfish on the surface behind them. Nola sat in the broiling sun staring at the birds, an imaginary soundtrack running through her head. "Why are we running? You know why we're running? What are we running from?" The nasal honks, in no way synchronized, and the rigidity of their slender dark pink necks gave an air of panic to their movements. She was struck by the realization that the birds' knees bent backwards, that they worked more like elbows and she frowned trying to figure out why. It was easier to put all her energy into discovering the evolutionary reason behind the flamingos' elbow knees than to think about Jack and the dangerous game he and Manning were playing.

Today's toss was the last 37 of the VHS tapes that I had copied onto DVDs.  While MB cleaned and chatted, I chatted back and wrote what was on each one onto the DVD so I could throw the tapes into the garbage.  Which I did. Tomorrow I get a haircut.  Yay!

Monday, February 25, 2019

I Can't Decide...


... if Aunt B is a good influence or a bad one.  This morning I hauled out the bottle of Tarn X, poured most of it into my smallest Pyrex measuring cup, and started dipping the silver into it, then using a paper towel to polish the middle that didn't make it into the smelly stuff. (I was forced to open the patio door for about 10 or 15 minutes to let the rotten egg smell dissipate a bit even though it was too cold outside.)  I ran a sink of hot, soapy water and got it all cleaned up, then scooped up handfuls to drip dry in the dish drainer.  Look at that beautiful shiny silverware.  I'm telling you, food tastes better when you use better tools.

When I put the latest bunch of bananas into the basket on Friday I noticed the aged and ugly Tupperware canisters that I've used for the last 35 years or so and thought,  "Aunt B wouldn't use such pedestrian and uninteresting canisters" so I toddled over to Goodwill this afternoon and spent a few bucks on these glass jars.  The two biggest ones are Anchor Hocking and are new, the swirled ones were in the "used" aisle. I like them a lot and they were cheaper.  I think this looks much nicer than the yellow plastic that has graced this shelf for the last 15 years.  As an added bonus I can see how much of each thing I have.  No more running out of flour or sugar in mid-bake.

Holy balls, it was cold today.  When I went out to run a couple errands (bank, clinic, ALDI, Goodwill) it was a whopping 9 degrees with enough of a breeze to make it feel like the wind was made of knives that cut right through my coat, hat, and especially my shoes.  I should have worn my boots but was too lazy to change, thought I'd tough it out but regretted it.

Because I don't have enough projects OTN I went downstairs and rustled up some ends of sock yarn, teeny tiny size US1 needles, and cast on a teeny tiny purse which is very handy for keeping a person's ALDI quarter in.  The pattern says to knit the body of the purse flat and seam it but to me that way lies madness when I can use the Magic Loop method to knit the body in a tube and just seam the bottom.  If I could figure out how to knit out both ways from the cast on I wouldn't have to seam anything but the handle but I'm not that tricky or clever.  Yet.

25 February--Tropical Obsession. 

They stood looking at him as he drove off the paved road onto the barely visible track that wound through the cactus barren to end at the caves at Onima. Jack had come to hate the wild donkeys that roamed the island, their wise dark eyes that stared down the brown furry muzzles seemed to be judging him. The rigid posture as they stood motionless radiated disapproval. Foolish women tourists cooed as if the beasts were cartoons come to life but Jack had rounded a curve in the coast road late one night and his headlights illuminated a pair of stallions fighting in the center of the road. The little mare had stood coyly on the verge fluttering her long lashes as the males reared and whinnied, gnashing their yellow teeth at each other’s neck. Jack had sat in his rental car watching the primeval battle unfold in his headlights, shaken by the raw power of the fighting males caught in his lights. These were no petting zoo residents content to nibble donkey chow from an outstretched palm.

I finally managed to get the laundry done today.  Yay, me!  All of my summery, go to Florida clothes are back on hangers and in storage until it warms up around here.  Eventually.  One of these days.  It seems like never when my toes are freezing and I'm sitting in the house wearing shoes and wool socks.  Tomorrow the cleaning lady comes so I need to vault out of bed to make a tidy before she arrives.  So she can see the surfaces I'd like her to clean.  I seem to have inherited Durwood's gift for covering flat surfaces with papers and magazines and mail and other assorted ephemera.  I need to work on breaking that habit.  Oh, and today's toss was yet another but smaller bin of cassette and reel-to-reel tapes from when Durwood had his hypnosis practice.  Into a black trash bag and into the garbage bin they went.  It's so satisfying.