Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Sun Shone

It was sunny today.  I'll say it again, today it was sunny.  The thick blanket of overcast that has been hanging around for days slowly moved away over the morning and then the sky was blue and the sun shone.  Really.  In the afternoon it got up to 61 degrees so I sat on the patio with my notebook and wrote today's poem.  Well, actually I wrote four of them and was still dissatisfied.  You'll find the fifth one below.

Once I moved the birdie tree last weekend the bleeding hearts have bounded out of the ground...

and the chives are putting on a show.  When it's warm this weekend I need to clean out the old stuff around them so I can snip chives to put in and on just about everything.  Except Jello with fruit and chocolate chip cookies, that is.

The goldfinches were on the thistle feeder this morning...


and the cardinal came just before sunset.  He's always the last one at the feeder so he must like to eat fashionably late.

I went to the grocery this afternoon.  Every time I've tried to order chicken from Meijer it said "out of stock" so I thought I'd go to Pick 'n Save to see if I'd have better luck--and I did.  They didn't have any thighs but I got a couple packages of boneless, skinless breasts that I brought home, froze, and then vacuum sealed for the freezer.  I haven't done that since Durwood died.  It felt right.  I didn't take pictures, I figure you know what raw chicken looks like.  It felt odd and a little scary to be in the store.  Most of the people wore masks, some not over their noses, and others slung under their chins, but all of the staff was masked.  I suspect that's going to be the new normal.  There was a greeter at the store with a thermometer asking how everyone felt and they've blocked off part of the aisle so you have to enter one door and leave by the other.  Also new normal, I believe.  I got everything home and wiped down.  My big beef is having to use plastic bags instead of the reusable ones.  I suppose I could have asked for paper, I'll do that next time.  I feel a little better about paper bags.

30 April--Hope.  

Hope springs up
flies away on the April wind
leaves a void
in the center 
of my chest.

And that, blessedly, is the last poem of Poetry Month.  I think if there were one more day in April I'd have lost it.  It was also a real relief when the wind died down this afternoon.  I love my wind chimes but the manic jangling of them yesterday and this morning nearly drove me batty.  And it isn't a long drive.  Ba-dum-ch!  I'm outta here. Good night.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020


Man, was it windy today.  Before I got up a big gust knocked over the Rubbermaid can I keep the backyard broom, rake, garden clogs, and bamboo stakes it.  I wasn't foolish enough to go out to stand it up because the wind blew like crazy all day and I knew it'd get blown down again.  I get it upright when the wind dies down.

The gas man stopped and marked the line so that the city tree planters can come to plant a new tree in my yard and not blow up the neighborhood.  I got a notice a couple weeks ago that they're coming soon.  Last week they came and marked the spot with paint.  Today the gas man came.  Maybe next week the tree people will come.

I managed to get a decent shot of the rings in the birdbath one time when the wind died down a bit and it wasn't raining too hard.  What a crap day it was.  No birds.

In the afternoon I went downstairs to sew up a couple pairs of leggings I cut out a while back.  I sewed up the navy ones but discovered that the fabric doesn't have the needed stretch.  At least I didn't waste elastic on it.  However the gray ones have the stretch so they got hems and waistband elastic.  I'm wearing my new shirt, under a sweater because I got chilly, but it fits and feels great.

Stuck-at-Home Warshrag #3 is over half done.  I love watching the play of colors in variegated yarn and I love the combo of red, orange, and purple.  When I first learned to knit I made some fingerless mitts out of yarn those colors and, I think, I ended up giving them to a McDonalds drive-thru woman when it was freezing.

29 April--River.  


Spring storm blows
in from the west,
stalls for a day.
Wind out of the northeast
piles water into the river,
washes over the banks.

Not my best effort.  I just couldn't wring anything else out of my brain.  Oh, I tried, but nothing even remotely better squirted out the end of my pencil.  Mercifully, there's only one more day to Poetry Month and then we can get back to prose.  Whew.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Welcome Back

When I got dressed after my shower this morning a sock fell out of the shirt I put on.  It was the mate to an orphan sock that has been lurking in my sock drawer for months.  I knew that the sock was stuck inside some winter garment but had no clue which one it was.  Turns out it was a red, mock turtleneck that I put on today because I was going downstairs to sew and it's not warm in the basement.

And here's what I sewed.  I bought a new long-sleeved tee shirt pattern a while back, cut it out a couple weeks ago, and sewed it up today.  It's been a while since I sewed with a knit like this one (not cotton).  I'd forgotten how slippery it is and how easily it gets shoved under the soleplate of the machine.  Fortunately I was able to poke the fabric back through the plate and save it.  I haven't tried it on yet, I'll do that tomorrow.  I hope it fits.  If I like it I've got more fabric to cut out more shirts.  Of course I do.

It started raining this afternoon, then it stopped, started up again, stopped, poured this evening for a short time, stopped, and is supposed to come back with a vengeance later with thunder and wind.  Guess I'll be sewing tomorrow too.

28 April--Pleased.  

Hello there, I say,
I'm pleased to see you.
It has taken three months
to find the shirt
where the orphan sock
was hiding.

I knew it would emerge
sooner or later.
I'd be dressing one morning,
the sock would drop out
of a shirt or dress or leggings.
That it took so long means
I have too many clothes.

It's kind of sad that the reappearance of a sock warrants this much excitement.  And I took its picture.  Although I did have to go to Walgreens today for some stuff which was pretty darned exciting.  There were a lot more cars in the lot than I expected and all of the other customers I saw were unmasked.  I was masked, the employees were masked.  People are silly, especially old people.  Cases are surging in the county which makes me want to wear a hazmat suit and respirator.  Or maybe my scuba gear.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Here, Birdies!

I checked the Hummingbird Migration Map online this morning and, following the note in my Audubon Bird ID book, made some birdie juice and hung up the feeder.  Realistically I won't see a hummingbird until the lilacs bloom which will be a while but I can't take the risk that a hummingbird will arrive to find no nectar.

That was the big item on today's to-do list but while I was making the nectar I noticed that the kitchen floor was dirty so I fired up the Swiffer and cleaned it.

And that's really all I did today.  The gray drizzle made me feel blah so I just sat around, read a little, knitted a little, felt sorry for myself a little. 


This robin had a big time in the birdbath today.  It was evidently really feeling dirty because it kept ducking into the water and splashing all over.  I love watching the birds bathe.

The sun came out late this afternoon to dry the street and warm things up in time for the sunset.  It's supposed to rain again tomorrow into Wednesday (oh, joy) and then warm up for the weekend.  Up to 70 and sunny for the weekend!  Of course it's supposed to drop back into the middle 50s next week.  This yo-yo weather is so annoying.

27 April--Bully.  

Walking down the road
wind pushes at my back
like a bully in a school hallway.
Leaves skitter by,
leftovers from last autumn,
scrape the pavement like claws.
Pale clouds torn
by the wind
into tatters of gray.
Hurry home
before the rain.

I'm determined not to be blah (or beige) tomorrow.  I'll bundle up and go downstairs and sew, that always cheers me up.

Sunday, April 26, 2020


I took a chance that we're not going to have any more big snowstorms today and swapped the snowblower for the lawnmower in the garage for my "chore of the day."  I am happy to report that the snowblower started so I didn't have to push it around to the shed in back of the house and I got the lawnmower started in fewer than twenty pulls so I didn't have to yank my arm out of the socket trying to get it started.  Whew.  I got out the patio chairs and filled the tank that holds the umbrella pole in place but didn't put the umbrella out yet.  I'm not sure why.  Getting the hose working was a trick and a half.  The Y-connector split over the winter so it was like a fountain when I turned it on but I have another Y so I took the hoses off, took the Y-connector off, and proceeded to try to reattach the hose.  It didn't want to.  It kept cross-threading.  I'd try to put it  on, it'd go on so far and then stick.  I'd take it off, hold it at a different angle, and try again.  Nope.  Frustrated, I finally took off the Y-connector (and didn't fling it across the yard) and just put the hose on the spigot, figuring I'll go get another Y or order one with my next grocery order from Meijer.  See, that's why I order from Meijer, they have all the departments so I can get food and everything else and don't have to go to the store.

In bird news, this male cardinal landed on the platform feeder this morning and posed nicely in a shaft of sunlight...

...and this male goldfinch turned his back to me at the feeder so I could see how fancy the pinstriping on his wings is.

I wanted a cookie after supper in the worst way and a 2-point baggie of animal crackers didn't do the job so I went down to the freezer, got out 12 cookie balls, and baked them.  One homemade chocolate chip cookie is 5 WW points which I have left so I'm having a cookie.

This evening I cast on another Stuck-at-Home Warshrag.  I changed the name from Car Knitting because I'm not knitting in the car or waiting rooms so the cloths needed a new name.  I'm a big fan of this orange, red, and purple yarn.

26 April--4th of July.  

Summer night
hot and still
heat lightning in the west
fireflies like nature's
4th of July
chased by children
up too late
trying to capture
a night light
in a Mason jar

 I spent an hour or so this afternoon finishing the end of that old manuscript I've been working on.  Now I need to print out all 120 pages so I can retype the whole thing to see if I can't double the word count.  That should take me a good long time. *sigh*

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Winter Damage

This afternoon I went out to clean the birdbath and take out the heater.  My plan was to unroll the hose a bit and use a brush and the spray nozzle to clean out the green gunk.  That plan was delayed by my discovery that the hose caddy was busted.  The hub of the winder broke off and was coming out and then when I had wrestled out the fifty feet of hose (it didn't want to come nicely, I had to tug out every foot of it) and got the caddy unhooked and the hose on the spigot only to discover that the Y-connector on the spigot is cracked so that water sprays merrily when it's turned on.  By then I had had it so I tolerated the spray from the Y-connector and cleaned the birdbath.  When I was done I heaped the hose back where the caddy had been.  I'll deal with it later after I install a new Y.

Then I went out to drag the birdie tree out to the curb.  The honeysuckle leaves are starting to pop and I don't want vines to grow into the tree.  The tree was still green and supple; must be because it was cut the day I bought it (in a snowstorm) instead of a month before.  It was heavy but I managed since it's mostly downhill.  Then I got out some shears to cut back last year's pampas grass which I leave up to provide some winter interest.  Oh, I should have trimmed the rose canes too.  I can do that tomorrow.

One more daffodil.  This is the last one, I promise.  Because it's really the last bloom.

After I hauled the birdie tree and trimmed the pampas grass I filled the birdfeeders and was lucky enough to look up just as this bluejay winkled a peanut out.  In the next second it flew away but it, or  one of its pals, came back again and again until a squirrel chased them away.

There was a pretty sunset this evening.  I love the ones that turn the very air pink, don't you?

25 April--Premature.  

I worry early and often.
Borrow trouble, Mom said.
I tried to teach my children
not to,
but think I failed
or maybe half-failed.
I battle premature worry
at every bump in life's road.
I think I have too much

Meh.  Not my finest hour.  Too many "I"s.  Ah well, I'll have another chance tomorrow and for four more days, then we go back to prose. 

This morning I had a Zoom meeting with my kids and grandkids..  I love Zoom, it's almost like being together.  I really needed it.  Combined with last night's Zoom knitting it made me feel almost normal.  Almost.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Pajama Day


I declared today a pajama day so not much of note got accomplished.  I got the slow cooker fired up this morning with chicken tikka masala and forgot to take its picture.  Of. Course.  *sigh*  So you get a picture of the last time I made it.  It's tasty and the house smells great.


Last week when a cardinal landed on the platform feeder I wondered how it landed without hitting its head.  Well, today this mourning dove got itself into the platform feeder and I couldn't figure out how it managed it but manage it the bird did.  It even turned around in there and never bonked its head.  I thought it looked like a battleship in a parking garage.

This evening at 6:00 I got to go to Friday Night Knitting--on Zoom.  It was so good to see their faces and hear my friends' voices.  I suspected that I'd get more knitting done with them around and I did.  I added a good 3" to the Baktus scarf.  The bad news is that the red/pink variegated yarn got to a black section and it was hard to differentiate which yarn I was working with so at least once I neglected to increase a stitch.  I'm not going back to fix it.  No one will notice unless I point it out.

24 April--Just peachy.  

How are you? they ask.
I'm fine, I say,
just peachy.
Do they know it's a lie?
If I had to pick a color
to describe how I feel
I'd pick beige.
Peach is warm,
peach is happy.
Beige is neutral.
I'm going along
in neutral.
Stuck at home.
Stuck in neutral.
How am I?

Don't worry, that is not how I'm feeling, at least not most of the time.  Sometimes, yeah, but mostly I'm just fine, happy even.  Tomorrow morning I get to Zoom with my kids and grandkids.  I can't wait.

Thursday, April 23, 2020


I did laundry today.  Not bales of it but a good amount for one lone broad stuck at home for weeks.  I wasn't going to take its picture because who really wants to see my laundry but then I realized that I didn't have anything else going on, so here you go.

I spent part of the afternoon staring out the patio door waiting for a bird to come and pose.  First this little chickadee obliged,

then a different male goldfinch came and posed in semi-profile so you can see his lovely wings.

And once the laundry was done I sat down at the computer and worked a bit more on that old manuscript.  I have one more paragraph to expand before I give myself a break, print a copy, and then set about retyping it to search for places to put in more story.  I've got just over 39k words and need at least that many more.  That's a tall order.  Maybe this will be a novella.

This evening I finished Car Knitting Warshrag #18.  I just realized that I need to find a different name for these cloths since I'm not knitting them in the car or in waiting rooms.  Quarantine warshrags?  Safer at Home warshrags?  I know! Stuck at Home warshrags!

23 April--Turn the page.  

Pages turn to start and finish,
to draw us in,
to signal the end.

Calendar pages flutter
like a manic flipbook,
time passing too quickly,
falling from the wall
like autumn leaves.

Book pages pull us
into a story,
take us to new worlds
where time passes unnoticed.

Our lives are lived in pages.
Ready for the next adventure?
Turn the page.

It was chilly (in the high 30s) and overcast again today.  The only time I went out was to fill the birdbath.  I'd like warmer weather, please.  And sunny days.  I'm sick of winter in spring.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

What I Want To Know Is...

... how come whenever I turn on the TV or change the channel there's five minutes of commercials?  It never fails, I can switch in the middle of a show and find a never-ending string of commercials on the other channel.  Sometimes it drives me a little bit batty.  (but it's not much of a drive)

Even though winter seems to be never-ending this year I saw signs that eventually summer will come today in the form of this male goldfinch. See how bright yellow his feathers are?  In the autumn they turn from yellow to a kind of avocado greenish yellow and then in spring their feathers turn back to yellow.  The females remain the dull avocado color so that they're camouflaged on the nest.  This guy was a welcome sight on a chilly and overcast day.

I placed an online order on the Meijer app today and got to pick it up today which amazed me.  They did push my pickup time back a couple hours but that's not a big deal.  I miss being in the store and making my own choices and seeing things I forgot to put on the list (like a bag of frozen corn which I just remembered six hours after I picked up the order) but I don't miss being able to buy ice cream or snacks that I don't need because those are always impulse buys for me.  Don't get me wrong, I love those things but I don't need them and am trying to limit my consumption of them.  (Like right now I could go for a pint of Haagen-Dazs Belgian Chocolate ice cream and a bag of Snyders of Hanover Honey Mustard & Onion pretzel bits but I'm staying out of the grocery so I won't hop in the car and go get some.  No, I won't and I won't put them on my list.  I'm determined to make the best use of this stay-at-home time as I can without making myself crazy.)

I had some bananas that were extra ripe so I mixed up a batch of cocoa-almond smoothie bowls.  I make a double batch which WW thinks is two servings but I divvy it up into half-cup servings and freeze it so it's kind of like ice milk.  It isn't creamy enough to be ice cream but it has bananas, frozen cherries, PB powder, cocoa, almond milk, and honey in it so it satisfies.  It'd be creamier if I was patient enough to let it thaw more but I'm not.  I like it and one of these little cups is two points.

Two points is my snack quota so I sat this evening and counted out 16 dark chocolate M&Ms into little plastic bags so I don't overserve myself.  (I only ate about three of them while counting them out. Really.)  The next thing I need to count out is chocolate animal crackers.  I know that a handful of those is too much but can't seem to set myself down and portion them out.  I'll do it tomorrow.  Cross my heart.

22 April--Start Here.  

Write down a prompt from a list
Just one word, maybe two
Frown at the blank paper
Stare out the window
Look for birds
Watch trees sway in the wind
Run an errand
(run away from the page, that is)
Get poetry books from the basement
Read a little
Go back to the page
Make a list of avoidance tactics
Start here.

Digging out books of poetry reminded me that there's one poet whose style really speaks to me.  Ted Kooser was Poet Laureate of the US for a few years in the early 2000s.  He lives in Iowa and writes a conversational style of poetry that I find very accessible.  He isn't obscure in his references or too elevated in his language, in other words, I understand what he's saying so his work doesn't make me feel dense like a lot of others.

I delivered half of the scones to DS this afternoon so I got to have fifteen minutes of human contact, at a distance of 6' of course.  It's amazing how that little bit of humanity can brighten up my day.  I confess that I figure out a reason that I have to go see him at the brewery once a week.  He's a very patient man and a good son.  I like him a lot.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

One More

This morning I picked a few more daffodils to replace the ones that wilted and found one with yet another different center.  This one's orange with pale yellow petals.  It's amazing how many variations of daffodils I have in that small space.

A mourning dove sat on the birdbath long enough to have its picture taken today.  Usually they're on the ground, blending into the gray patio or the winter-brown grass but this one posed for me.  Now that the grass is greening (even though it was in the 30s again today with a chilly wind) the doves stand out a bit more.

Speaking of the birdbath, there was ice on it again today.  It's the third week of April, I think it's about time for the ice to be gone until late autumn.

I spent most of the middle of the day working on that old manuscript.  I'm about a day away from having to print it out again and then go back to the beginning and retyping it.  JB calls it "re-keying," she says it's a good way to beef up a manuscript.  This one needs a lot of beefing up, a lot more words, since I've got just about 39k words and need no fewer than 80k.  I have a lot of work to do.

Late this afternoon I decided to make scones.  I've never made them before but my knitting friend BB shared her "easy" recipe with me and I had all of the ingredients, so off I went.  My oven is slow so I had to bake them a few more minutes and I was afraid that they'd be over-baked (overcooking seems to be a theme around here lately) but they're just fine.  Instead of the mini chocolate chips, which I don't have, I stirred in an equal amount of dried cranberries.  Yum.  I shared a couple with the neighbors and will share more with DS and his family because I can't have too many of them hanging around for me to eat.  I've been doing very well sticking to WW and don't want to halt the progress I've made.

21 April--Tart.  

Pink blossoms in spring
become red fruits
nestled among chartreuse leaves
picked and pitted
for tart-sweet
cherry pies.

One of these times I'll come up with a long poem.  I have nine more tries to write something with more than twenty words.

Monday, April 20, 2020


There is one exceptionally clean robin in the area.  It came to the birdbath this afternoon and nearly splashed out all of the water in its enthusiasm.  It would splash around, hop onto the edge to shake off and preen, then turn around and hop back into the water for another splash.  It did that probably a half-dozen times before it was satisfied.  It even flew away to peck at the fallen seed, then went right back into the bath.  Must have needed a mid-bath snack.

I picked more daffodils this morning.  These have pale pale yellow, almost white petals and a bright yellow trumpet.  I think it's the last variation of daffodil in my collection.  I can't resist picking some hyacinths too for the fragrance.  It smells so good that I stay at the table just to smell it.

The white squills are still blooming great guns.  I wish they weren't so washed out in the picture.  They have a faint blue stripe down the center of each side that I think you can barely see.  So tiny and delicate.

I added a few rows to the Car Knitting Warshrag #18 today.  I went outside this afternoon to clean up the dead leaves and flowers from the sedum, hostas, and daylilies on the retaining wall.  Just as I finished up it started to sprinkle.  Good time to come in and knit.

Around 8 o'clock tonight we had a fast-moving thunderstorm sweep through.  It rained hard, the wind was strong, there was a little thunder and lightning, and then it was gone.  But the sunset was pretty with the pale orange at the horizon and the ragged trailing edge of the storm.

20 April--Navy.  

Rows of interchangeable girls
lined up for Mass,
lace caps over their hair,
trussed up like baby nuns
in their navy and white uniforms.
Modestly covered,
skirts to the knees,
but not Stepford-ized,

That was a hard word to write a poem about.  Dad was in the navy but I don't know much about that.  Catholic school uniforms I know plenty about.  Those navy blue jumpers were awful and I don't know how we didn't freeze to death in winter when we couldn't wear pants, only tights.  I was so very glad to go to public high school and be done with uniforms, except for our horrid flamingo pink gym suits.  Ugh.

Sunday, April 19, 2020


I took a tour of the yard today to see what's sprouting.  The lilac has little tufts of leaves,

so does the forsythia,


and the honeysuckle.  The birdie tree is tied by the honeysuckle so pretty soon I'll have to drag it to the street so that the honeysuckle vine doesn't grow in the tree and bind it up.

The blue squills are flowering.  I do believe that they're finally spreading out a bit after all the years of them staying in the tiny clump I got twenty years ago.

The grape hyacinths are blooming.  A lot of them.  I don't think they have a fragrance.  I'll have to pick one to see--or smell.

The white petal-orange center daffodil is fully open and I can see that this one's center isn't a trumpet at all.  The orange parts are splayed out along the white petals.  It's a measure of how quiet it is around here that I'm making a study of the construction of the various daffodils blooming in my front yard.

I spent an hour this afternoon rewriting a few pages of an old manuscript.  It's the end of a NaNoWriMo that I ended up hurrying to The End with a lot of pages of narrative.  (lots of "end"s in that sentence)  Now I'm going back and putting in dialogue and actions, making it more show-y rather than tell-y.

19 April--Bloomer.  

Babe, Girly, and the Ecklers five
had lots of fans in '29.
City champs 19-16,
crowds came to watch.
They wore shorts
instead of bloomers.

That's my grandma and her sister along with a bunch of other girls who played city league basketball in Evansville, IN in the late 1920s.  They had good legs and showed them off.

My renter is making her sister's wedding cake and baked a practice one today.  She shared a slice with me--yellow cake with strawberry jam between the layers and vanilla icing. Yum.

Waking up at 6:15am means you're tired by 9:00pm.  I keep dozing off.  G'night.