Monday, September 30, 2019

What the...???

Yesterday it barely got to 60 degrees and misted most of the day.  Today the humidity was high, 79%, and the temperature rose to 85 degrees.  Today is the last day of September and it was 85 degrees and humid.  While western Montana got a couple feet of snow.  *sigh*  And the air conditioner just kicked on.
This crazy weather has kept the New Guinea Impatiens blooming.  Aren't they a lovely color?

Therefore I had one of those days.  A day when I was just barely motivated, barely moved, barely thought.  *double sigh*  I really dislike days like that.  For most of the day I thought that maybe maybe I had been successful in ridding my yard of THE RAT.  But there it was at dusk zooming out to the lawn to see if there was anything out there to eat and then dashing back to the house.  Tomorrow I'm moving all of the grill parts and trash cans away from the house, removing a lot of hiding places, and putting out the next couple of poison pellet stuffed weenies.  Honestly.  Die already.

I've always wished that I could draw and every once in a while I make a stab at learning.  Today I hauled out the Zentangle workbook I bought a few years ago, some fine black pens, and some watercolor paper.  I measured off squares and set about learning some of the standard designs. It wasn't relaxing, probably because I was hunching my shoulders and strangling the pen since it's a new thing, but when my eyes got blurry and cross-eyed I decided to put it away and stick with knitting.  I think I need new glasses.

First I finished LC's second mitten  I hope she likes them.  I don't think I'm going to sew on an owl button since the stripes are so vivid and busy.  I'll unearth some solid color wool to knit mittens with owl buttons on them.

Tonight I cast on the second Two Hour Bag.  This is about an hour's worth of fiddling with the length of cable, I even dug out big, fat Double Point Needles but couldn't face using them since getting a project started on them is like wrestling a porcupine, so I got out a loooooong cable and will use the Magic Loop method.  I'm knitting this bag top down so that I can make it as long as how much yarn I have.  Once I get it done I'll felt both of the purses.

30 September--Barbara Malcolm, Horizon. 

It always took Sam a while to get used to the hubbub of all the grand-children in one place, but it was harder on Merry.  She held herself aloof for a while, even from the adults, until she felt comfortable.  As the only child of an eternally dissatisfied and chronic complainer of a mother, Merry needed to take her time in our noisy family get-togethers.  But soon enough she was on the floor building Legos with the littlest ones.  She and Matt's eldest, Jim, got along the best.  Jim was a serious boy, more interested in reading than racing around with his brothers and cousin, so he and Merry were more alike.  They took walks around the place talking and talking about who knows what.
Lisa and Sara always spent the first part of any visit comparing Mom-stories.  Since Merry and Sam didn't have kids, and probably wouldn't, she had nothing to contribute to those discussions.
It took a while for Merry to shed her big-city sophisticate air, too.  But by bedtime of the first night she was back to the Merry we all knew.  I think the other daughters-in-law were a bit intimidated by her stylish dress, her expensive haircut, and her name-dropping of places and people they'd only read about or seen in movies.  But the three girls managed to find some common ground, even if it was just comparing notes about how alike, and annoying, their husbands were.
            The next day Merry, Sara, Lisa and I sat on the porch watching the kids play hide-and-seek in the orchard.  After a while, I went into the kitchen to put on a pot of tea.  The weak afternoon sun struck rainbows from the cut glass bowl of stem-less daffodils my littlest grandsons had picked for me that morning.  I opened the bag of loose tea and breathed in the scent of spices and orange peel.  As the kettle on the stove started to grumble and thump, I pulled out Mom’s old Brown Betty teapot and four mismatched mugs.
            Sam had come in right behind me for a quick trip to the bathroom, he said.  When he came out, I turned around to see all three of my sons lounging around the room.  Aaron leaned on the fridge, Matt was in his childhood place at the table, and Sam stood at the sink.
            “Oh, you startled me,” I said.  “It won’t take all of you to help carry out the tea tray.”
            One of those looks flashed among them and I knew they hadn’t just happened to all show up there accidentally.  I turned to face them, hands on hips.  It was the pose I had used for years to scare the truth out of them.  “Okay, what’s going on?”
            Sam had evidently been elected speaker.  He folded his arms across his chest and glared at me the way I had seen him glare at a defendant.  “Mother,” he said, “are you sleeping with Abel Baker?  And what are his intentions?”
            “Oh, for the love of God,” I said, with a laugh.  “Is that what brought you all in here?”
            “Just answer the question.”
            “Don’t pull that lawyer crap with me, Samuel.  Remember who you’re talking to.”
            Sam didn’t change his expression or his stance.  “Are you sleeping with Abel Baker?”
            “What makes you ask?” I said, playing for time.
            Matt pulled a paper bag off his lap and said, “Mike and Luke were looking for games; they found this in the cupboard under the stairs.”
            “So?  What makes you think it’s not left over from when Dad was alive?”
            Sam leaned over, picked up the razor, and brandished it in my face.  “Because it’s one of those new ones with three blades.  Three-bladed razors weren’t invented when Dad died.”
            I was suddenly so angry, I couldn’t see straight.  “Okay, yes, it’s Abel’s razor and, yes, I’m sleeping with him.”  I turned to face my accuser.  “Are you happy now, Mr. Lawyer?”
            Aaron spoke for the first time.  “Why didn’t you tell us, Mom?”
            I whirled on him.  “Do any of you call me when you and your wife have sex?  Did you ask my permission before you did it the first time?”
            Aaron and Matt looked at their shoes and mumbled, “No.”  Sam remained silent.
            “It’s none of your business if I’m sleeping with Abel, if I’m having sex with him, or whatever I choose to do with him.  Or anyone else, for that matter.”
            Sam finally spoke.  “We want to make sure you’re safe, Mom.  That’s all.  We don’t want some gigolo scamming you out of your savings or talking you into selling Dad’s farm.”
            I rounded on him.  “Have you met Abel Baker?  He’s a well-to-do, cultured, retired gentleman who has plenty of his own money and thinks I’m pretty terrific.  I have fun spending time with him no matter what we’re doing, and he usually pays, even if I try to argue him out of it.”  I stepped closer so we were nearly nose-to-nose.  “And it’s my farm.  We used my dowry for the down payment when we bought the place, and my salary paid it off.”  I held Sam’s gaze, not blinking, not looking away.

I have high hopes that I'll have more oomph tomorrow.  It's supposed to hit the mid-70s and rain so I'll head to the Y to walk on a treadmill.  I guess.

Sunday, September 29, 2019



Late this afternoon I went to the grocery for bananas and when I got home I saw a hawk on the fence surveying the backyard.  I hoped that THE RAT ventured out for some seed just as the hawk was looking for a meal but no luck.  However seeing the raptor here gave me hope that either the poison pellets or nature itself would help me vanquish the interloper.

This morning I decided to make a pot of "What's on Hand" Egg Drop Soup.  Last year I found a WW recipe for Egg Drop Soup and every time I made it I doctored it up with chicken, bok choy, and mushrooms.  Today I had just about a cup of rotisserie chicken, some chopped superfood salad that was near the end of its life, and a sauteed half-pound of mushrooms so that's what ended up in the pot, along with some diced onions and bell peppers.  I finish the soup off with a tiny 1/4 teaspoon of sesame oil which makes the house smell even more divine.  On such a cool and rainy day, this cup of soup made the perfect lunch.

I finished knitting the Riana Watch Cap this afternoon. I used up all of the green yarn and almost all of the brown yarn.  This hat turned out bigger than I anticipated.  I probably should have made the Women's size instead of the Men's but I have faith that there'll be a big-headed kid around that needs a hat.

Once the hat was done I decided to abandon the charity knitting for now and work on LC's mitten #2.  I had the cuff done and knitted through the thumb gusset.  I'm really glad that I made detailed notes of how many rows and what size needles I used when making mitten #1.  That way I have a slim chance of making mittens that match.

29 September--Barbara Malcolm, Horizon. 

             It tuned out that my oldest had decided that he and Merry needed their own vehicle for their visit home, which turned out to be a good thing.  They drove in almost before Matt had unloaded the last suitcase.  By the time all three boys and their wives and kids had arrived and dinner was on the table, I was a nervous wreck.  I thanked God it was May, and my grandsons, all those noisy, energetic boys, could be sent outdoors once the food had disappeared to get dirty and holler to their hearts' content.
            After supper, Abel took Aaron, Matt, and all three daughters-in-law out to see the redesigned garden before it got too dark.  Sam volunteered to stay inside and help me clear the table and load the dishwasher.  As he carried a stack of plates to the counter he said, “Why’s he here?”
            Looking up from putting the silverware in the dishwasher basket, I said, “Who?”
            Sam nodded in the direction of the garden.  “Abel Baker, the obnoxious jerk.  I thought you didn’t like him.”
            I straightened and stood facing him, hands on hips, “Don’t you read my weekly emails?”
            “Well, when you read them, did you get a hint that I don’t think he’s such an obnoxious jerk anymore?”
            “I guess.”  He turned back to the table for more dirty dishes.  “I kind of thought he was a geezer you were taking pity on and spending a little time with.”
            I grabbed another handful of dirty forks and spoons and went back to work.  “I did write about going cross-country skiing and hiking in Door County, right?”  He nodded.  “Did you think I was pushing him along in a wheelchair or something?”
            “Well, no, not really.”
            I looked into my son’s unhappy face and softened my voice.  “Then, what’s bothering you?”
            He sat down in one of the kitchen chairs and wiped his forehead.  “I don’t know, Mom.  It just seems like you really like this guy and I don’t know anything about him.”  He looked up frowning, “And what about Dad?”
            I sat down next to him and put my hand on his arm.  “Honey, you know I loved Dad, but he’s been gone for almost ten years now.  That’s a long time.  Abel is the first man I’ve met who makes me laugh, seems to like me, and doesn’t want me to change into someone I’m not.  I’m having a good time with Abel.”
            “Yeah, Mom,” he said, looking at me, “what if he decides he wants to marry you or something.”
            I reached over and hugged him.  “I appreciate your concern, but we haven’t even been dating a year.   Abel hasn’t said a word about marriage.  Don’t you worry.  I’ll let you know before I do anything drastic.”  And it’s too late to worry about “or something,” I thought.  We’re already “or something”-ing like crazy.
            He sat back and rubbed his eyes, just like he had when he was little.  “I worry about you, Mom, living out here all alone.”
            “I know you do, honey, and I appreciate it.  I’m fine.  Clara and Hank are right next door.  And I’m a big girl now, I can take care of myself.”
            We finished loading the dishwasher, started it, and went outside to join the rest of the family.  I watched Sam stand at the edge of the group and glare at Abel.  I half expected Sam to slap him across the face with a glove and call him out for a duel.  It was a relief when Abel said his goodnights and drove away.

What a crappy day today was.  It was raining when I got up and drizzled or misted most of the rest of the day.  I went out for a walk in the afternoon and got pelted with a few raindrops but didn't need the little umbrella I carried.  It didn't hit 60 degrees today and is supposed to get nearly up to 80 tomorrow and Tuesday.  I don't understand the weather.  How do I pack for my week at The Clearing?  I leave on Saturday and haven't got a clue what to take.  Help.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Took the Day Off...


... sorta.  I went to the library book sale this morning and found a couple drawing books and some knitting books that came home with me.  Today was the last day of the sale so one paper grocery bag full (FULL) was $3 and additional bags were $1 each.  But this is all I found.  I didn't look at any other books, not kids' books, not fiction, not travel books, just knitting and drawing.  I don't need any books but thought it'd be fun to look through these and then pop them one by one into Little Free Libraries in the neighborhood.  If none of my friends wants them.


When I got home I went out looking for the missing rat trap.  I found it, sans rat, among the ferns and I also found where the rat lives.

While I was out looking for the trap I noticed that the honeysuckle is blooming again and the New Guinea Impatiens is blooming too.

After lunch I called and then went to Ace Hardware for Rat X, rat poison, so I cut up a couple weenies into fourths, cut a slit into each end, and shoved a pellet in.  Then I put some into both of the rat holes I found, the one under the ferns and another at the base of the crooks where the feeders hang.  Hopefully this works.  I'll put out more pellets tomorrow and then fix more weenies the next day.

When I wasn't putting out rat "treats" I sat and knitted on the watch cap.  I decided to make 4-row/1-inch alternating stripes so there'll be 5 stripes before the decreases for the crown, which will be brown.  I like it but it seems like it's going to be too big for a kid.  Ah, well.  Maybe there'll be a big-headed teen in the group of siblings the gifts are for.

28 September--Barbara Malcolm, Horizon. 


            Sweaty palms.  I got sweaty palms every time I thought about introducing Abel to the boys.  I'd been giving little hints in my weekly emails about how much time we spent together.  I had told them about the trips to galleries and art shows, about meeting Gil, and having my paintings in his shop.  They knew about the movies we'd seen and how Abel had completely revamped my garden, at my invitation this time.
There was no way I was going to share the more, well, intimate aspects of our relationship.  I didn't expect any of them to share that part of their lives with me and I certainly wasn't ready to expose mine.
I had cleaned the house to within an inch of its life.  I plumped the pillows and moved the furniture around six times.  I changed the sheets on my bed twice because every time I went in the bedroom I detected the warm cinnamon fragrance I smell when Abel and I are together.  I figured that would be a dead give-away, even if Able and I managed to keep our hands off each other while they were visiting.
Only Aaron and Sara had been home since the house redecoration was complete.  I couldn’t imagine what Sam would say when he saw that I’d changed everything in the place.  Sam had always liked things to stay the same.  I had the feeling that Matt wouldn’t mind or even really notice.
I had to admit I wasn’t nearly as nervous about their reaction to those changes as I was terrified at the thought that one of them would figure out that Abel sometimes slept over.  If I had to bet, I'd put my money on Sara and Lisa being the ones to figure it out.  I had a picture of the two of them huddled in a corner swapping theories.
That reminded me of something when I was upstairs checking to make sure everything was ready for the invasion.  "Abel," I called down to him from the top of the stairs, "be sure your razor and things are out of the bathroom, please.  I don't want to give any of them cause for suspicion."
His sexy chuckle wafted up as he passed the foot of the stairs.  I heard him mutter, “All that nervous energy wasted on grown kids.  I could tell her how to use that energy.”
“What was that?”
            He walked back past the foot of the stairs with his aftershave and razor in his hand.  “Nothing, Gail, not a thing.”
            I went down the stairs and slid into his arms.  “Listen, I spent a good piece of the last year complaining about you to them.  It’s going to take them some time to get used to us dating.  I just don’t think it would help any if the first time they met you was also the first time they were certain we’re sleeping together.”  We kissed.
“Sleeping together isn’t the most fun part, you know,” he said, sliding his hand down my back to rest it on my behind.
            I pressed into him.  “I know.  And no butt grabbing while they’re here or I’ll send you home.”
            The pressure of his hand grew and held me closer.  “What time are they supposed to arrive?  It would be a whole lot easier to behave if we…” He nodded toward my bedroom, eyebrows a-waggle.
            “Oh no we’re not.  I’m not going to get caught in the sack with you by one of my kids, not at this age.”  I pushed myself out of his grasp and started back upstairs.  I wasn’t halfway up when I heard tires on the gravel drive.  “Hah!  You see?”  I came back downstairs and joined him in the kitchen.  “You’d have had us undressed and in a compromising position when they drove up.”  I noticed he was still holding his shaving things.  “Hide that stuff.”  He put his razor and aftershave into a paper bag and shoved it into the cupboard under the stairs.  I peered out the window.  “That’s Matt and Lisa.  They were supposed to pick up Sam and Merry, but I only see children’s heads.”
            I stopped at the mirror in the hall to make sure my hair looked okay and that I didn’t have any dirt smudges on my face.  I grabbed Abel’s hand and pulled him outside to greet the first arrivals.  “Now, behave.”
            “Yes, ma’am.”

I spent a bunch of the afternoon roaming around looking for an old drawing instruction book I had years ago.  I know I found it downstairs last fall or winter but for the life of me couldn't find it.  I'm confident I wouldn't have tossed it but can't imagine where I'd put it.  I've always wished I could draw and every once in a while I dig out a book and practice, get a little skill, and then put it aside.  Like I need more to do...  Oh, and I folded a big basket full of laundry this afternoon and put it all away.  I make a lot of laundry for one little old-ish lady.