Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Morning Hawk

 

Again this morning the smaller of the two young hawks perched on top of the patio umbrella and loomed over a squawking squirrel.  After a while the hawk got tired of waiting and flew off but the squirrel kept squawking until I went outside to shoo it away.


 



I noticed when I went out that different flowers are blooming.  Here's the first bee balm flower.  I like these; I think they look like fireworks shooting off.






I planted this penstemon because bees are supposed to be attracted to them.  I should probably have planted more than one.





And then the day lilies are starting.  There are lots of buds on the two patches of orange day lilies.  I hope they take turns blooming so I have flowers for a long time.


 


More Stella d'Oro lilies too.  I chose these because they bloom for a longer time than other lilies, also they were on closeout, $1.50/plant.  I got a dozen of 'em. Who could pass that up?








I'm happy to see that the red day lilies are still blooming in front of the house.

 


 Tonight I finished Stuck-at-Home Warshrag #5.  I like the gray-green denim yarn of the bricks.  Not my usual bright, eye-popping red.





30 June--Barbara Malcolm, Tropical Obsession. 
She stumbled down the irregular cement steps to stand clutching the obviously handmade wall with gaps carved in it. Her knuckles grew white and tight with the strength of her grip. One of her nails, her red-painted acrylic nails, broke with a sharp crack and it flew out to fall into the sea like a drop of frozen blood.
This is where they found him, the Detective Inspector told her. This is where the couple of divers, a man and his wife from Wisconsin, were making the climb down, burdened by their scuba gear to dive at the site they call Thousand Steps, stopping to rest in this very spot. From here the wife saw Jack's body floating face down in the clear blue water and said to her husband how odd it was for the man to be snorkeling in a shirt, shorts and sandals when he realized that Jack was not snorkeling. That Jack was not lucky to be seeing barracuda so close. The wife had started shaking and ran up the steps as if she weren't wearing fifty pounds of gear. They drove to the petroleum tank farm at the top of the island to call the police, neither one of them willing to stand in the stillness of Thousand Steps to keep what was left of Jack company.

The sun was high when Mona finally awoke and squinted her way out to the patio. Yana was in the kitchen clattering pots around, but she took a moment to carry a mug of fresh-made coffee out and set it silently on a palm fiber mat on the glass-topped table. Her fingers rested ever so fleetingly on Mona's shoulder as she turned to go back to her work. Tears sprang to Mona's eyes at the simple gesture. The news of Jack's death must be all over the island, she thought. In the center of the table sat a clear glass bowl; three flowers floated on the surface, their yellow centers looking like a pinwheel of yolk in a fried egg. The petals were so waxy she had to touch them to see if they were real. She had the feeling that nothing would seem real for a time until she was allowed to leave the island and begin building a new life on the shreds of the old one that had died with Jack.


Today's toss was my old set of yellow Tupperware canisters that nest together like those Russian dolls.  I think tomorrow I'll have to tape together a box and start sorting through stuff again.  It's been easy to toss things the last couple days when I've found things already packaged but I think I've run out of those--for now.  Don't worry, I'm in no danger of running out of crap to toss anytime soon.  I am crap-rich.
--Barbara

Monday, June 29, 2020

Today's Toss

The toss today is the camping dishes.  Like the camping silverware, I don't know why I've hung onto these for so long without a hope of using them.  My sole excuse is that I really like the way they look and feel, always did, so I hung onto them.  It's that simple.  And instead of a box, I tucked the lot into the old aluminum corn pot that doesn't get used anymore since I cook one ear at a time (in the microwave), not a dozen (in boiling water) like in the olden days.




We had a thunderstorm today at lunchtime and as soon as the rain had passed these two birds hopped into the birdbath for a splash.  I was surprised to see a robin and a house finch bathing together.  Usually only one species bathes at a time.  There was a lot of enthusiastic splashing from both of them.



I cast on June Preemie Hat #3 and got through the first section when I decided to weigh the yarn.  Well.  Once again it was exactly the amount of yarn I'd need for the hat with no extra for "just in case."  And I have no more of this yarn to tie a bit of salvation onto the end like the last one, so I ripped it out (sigh), went down a needle size, and cast on a smaller hat.  I must be pulling my stitches tight because I'm working hard to get the needle into the stitches.  I gotta loosen up.

29 June--Barbara Malcolm, Tropical Obsession. 
Mona glared at the buildings on either side of the street as she followed the honey-voiced policeman into the island's government center. Like nothing she had ever seen at home, even on TV and not that she had all that much experience in police stations, but even in her extreme distraction trying not to believe Detective Inspector Rooibos that Jack was drowned, some part of her recognized the comic opera aspect to her surroundings. There were wide yellow lines painted or taped three feet back from every reception window, there were signs admonishing people to have their forms notarized in triplicate, and there were posters with lists of safety suggestions and silly scenarios about how to avoid being a victim of crime. She thought that the elaborate colonial architecture and bright tropical colors of paint used both inside and out where the perfect setting for the surreal situation she found herself in.

When she got back from the police station it was nearly dark, but Mona didn't turn on any lights as she walked through the villa. She, or someone, had turned off the lamps when the Detective Inspector courteously escorted her out to his police car. He had held her arm as if she were an invalid or as if he thought she might collapse with emotion. He had lost some of his sympathetic tone once they were settled in his brightly lit office downtown, and it had taken what seemed like hours to convince him (if she had) that Jack hadn't told her where he was going or who he planned to meet.
It had been necessary for her to baldly admit that she had been kept by Jack for years. That she was his arm candy, his sexual plaything, his brainless admiring mirror who reflected back his egotistical preening, cleaned up and polished as flattery. The naked truth of the situation she found herself in sickened her.
She sat long into the night outside on the patio with the clattering of the palm fronds overhead sounding like gossip and the dives of the Ganshi, the Brown Pelicans, feeding on a school of grunts coming regularly like the rhythmic shelling of enemy artillery.



I know I didn't mention it but last week I got a cashier's check wrapped in scrap paper without a note in the mail from a stranger.  I sat and looked at it for a day then went online to google "cashier's check scam" and there is one.  I even called the police to ask about it and was advised to shred it, so I did.  Today I got a text from AJ, my brother, asking if I'd gotten the check for the Packer game tickets that he'd sold for me.  Oops.  Talk about embarrassing.  I'm sure it'll get straightened out but my face is red.  AJ was highly amused at my goof.  Brothers are like that.
--Barbara

Sunday, June 28, 2020

A Quiet Day

Today was a quiet, do-nothing-much day.  I lolled in my jammies until after lunch, reading the Sunday paper and playing word games on my phone.


Today's toss was two bags of silverware that's been downstairs for years.  I don't know why I keep things like that.  One bag was from the camping gear which hasn't been used for at least 20 years and the other was the stainless I replaced with Grandma Babe's silver a couple years ago.  I love using the silver so tell me why I kept the other stuff.  I have no idea.  Not keeping it any longer.



I saw one hawk perched on top of a power pole in the neighbor's backyard this afternoon when I sat outside for a while but it was too far away for a good picture.  So here's the second hawk sitting in the Adirondack chair yesterday just after the squirrel took off.







After my shower and getting dressed I added some rows to Stuck-at-Home Warshrag #5.


28 June--Barbara Malcolm, Tropical Obsession.
Like a ball of molten glass, the sun sank into the west behind the ocean-hugging silhouette of Klein Bonaire, the small uninhabited island a half-mile offshore. All up and down the leeward shore of the main island ice cubes tinkled against glass as resort guests, snowbirds, and permanent residents alike settled into patio chairs to celebrate the survival of another day. Rum paired with pineapple and guava juices swirled in sweaty glasses and rinsed the persistent taste of salt from the parched tongues.
Mona’s hand trembled as it lifted crystal to lips, the glass chattered against her perfect teeth, the villa behind her was reproachful in its silence. She stood bathed in the reddened rays of the dying sun wondering where Jack had gone and when he would return.
The sound of tires on the crushed coral drive erased the minute wrinkle that had begun to grow between her brows. She set her glass down on a palm leaf coaster and smoothed a hand over her hair before levering a smile up from the depths of her emergency bag of tricks and turning to walk through the darkening rooms. She left light in her wake, one lamp in each room, as she made her way to the front door.

She ran her thumb over the surface of the shell in her pocket. The tiny ridges and whorls like a fingerprint, each little bump and dip were the only things that felt real to her. Events had spiraled so out of control, out of her control that if it weren’t for the little scrap of shell nestled in a teaspoon of sand in the pocket of her shorts, she would run screaming into the night.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this, her life was meant to be calm, serene even. She had played by all the rules, upheld her end of the cosmic bargain--kept herself trim, informed, well-groomed. She cultivated an interest in art and finance, even though at first the numbers and their antics had seemed like a foreign language. But she had persevered, had spent time with her nose in books, magazines like Barron’s, even subscribed to the Wall Street Journal for a while which she considered a kind of grad course in companionship.
“His companion” that’s what Jack called her. At first there had been a warm intimate caress in his voice when he said it that made her happy to hear it, but lately there was a sharp, almost disgusted, note to his voice that made her want to take a shower.
It had been hours since he left in the minivan taxi on some unspecified mission. He didn’t tell her where he was going or why. It had been nearly one hour since the island policeman had come to the door to tell her that they had fished a body out of the sea on the northern end of the island, a body with Jack’s ID in its pocket.
“Where was Jack?” the policeman asked her fifteen different ways in his low honeyed island voice.
If it weren’t for the little scrap of seashell in her pocket, she would be screaming.


I am distressed by the surging numbers of COVID cases all over.  Just when I thought we were flattening the curve and I started to feel like it was a bit safer to go places, it isn't.  I'm coming to think that 2020 will be a washout of a year, that things aren't going to level out and creep back toward what used to pass for normal until next year, if ever.  I don't like it.
--Barbara

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Bird Day

A cardinal came to the feeder today for the first time in a long time.  Or maybe the first time I've noticed in a long time.  Cardinals aren't ones for hanging around; they grab a seed or two and take off so I'm always happy when I get a photo of one instead of a blur or the end of their tail or an empty feeder.


I filled up another crate with old liquor bottles, emptied them down the basement sink, and put the bottles in the recycling.  It was so satisfying that I went downstairs and did it again.  I think it might be a good idea to hold off on dumping more so that I don't make the recycle bin too heavy to roll easily.  Not to worry, there's plenty more stuff to get rid of and that's just under the basement stairs.  I won't be running out of things to toss anytime soon.  I have way too much crap.  As much as I'd like to, I can't blame all of it on Durwood.


Last night at Friday Night Knitting I finished June Preemie Hat #2.  I weighed the yarn I had left and weighed one of the finished hats.  They weighed the same so I went down a needle size but it was a good thing that I had a bit of this yarn left in a tiny walnut size ball because I had to tie them together and finish the top with the extra.  How I managed to knit a bigger hat with smaller needles I do no know but I did.  Gifted, I guess.



This evening I got a text from my neighbor, "Hawk on your umbrella."  I went to the patio door and here's what I saw.  It had a bead on a squirrel that was under the ferns.  Then the other hawk swooped in and landed on the adirondack chair just as the squirrel made a break for it.  The umbrella hawk took off after the squirrel and missed.  The chair hawk flew up to the top of the fence and called encouragement.  Man, I love this.

27 June--Barbara Malcolm, Tropical Obsession. 
Manning and Bunny drove away from the dive site called Rappel in silence.  Bunny moaned once but stopped immediately when Manning cut his eyes toward him and opened his mouth as if to speak. 
Bunny had never been afraid of Manning before, even when Manning hollered at him and called him incompetent, but today he was afraid.  He had never seen anyone treat life so casually.  In Bunny’s mind, a movie kept playing of him driving Jack Spencer to the cliff top just like Manning had told him to, pretending to be a cab driver.  He had kept it together when Jack sounded so fierce asking if this was where Manning had asked to be dropped off.  Bunny kept telling himself that he did not know, had never imagined what Manning was planning.  He could not keep images of himself in chains locked in a cell with a tall, fire breathing, police officer bending over him accusing him of murder.  Murder, murder, it kept echoing in his head. 
The startled look on Jack Spencer’s face when he felt the hand on his ankle, the disbelief when he was jerked backwards and sent tumbling in space. 
Bunny had stepped forward involuntarily to watch Jack’s wind-milling body fall onto the razor-sharp rocks and he saw the bright red blood bloom green in the water like sad flowers.  He was horrified to see the eagerness that brought all the fish to the body, especially the sharp silver barracuda that wasted no time taking advantage of the sudden food offering. 
He had reared back when Manning cleared the top of the cliff and was stunned when Manning clapped his shoulder and congratulated him on his acting job.  He could not speak; he had to go around the van and puke up his meal.  He was afraid to ride back to town with a murderer.  A murderer, the words made his stomach hurt and brought tears to his eyes.  He supposed the fact that he had helped Manning, had driven the getaway van, even though he had only driven it to the site not getting away, and he had not known what Manning intended to do to Mister Jack Spencer, no police man would believe that he Bunny Marley was innocent. 
What would Bob say if he was still alive?  Do not be confused that Bunny was related to Bob Marley the famous reggae singer, he was not.  Bunny Marley was not his birth name; no one remembered his birth name, not even Bunny.  He was not born on Jamaica or Bonaire, he was born in a shack up in the hills outside the capital of Trinidad and should have been a pan man but steel drums never spoke to Bunny, the wails of Bob Marley denouncing the ills of man moved his blood.  He had become a Rastafarian in his teens and was never without his ganja, the sacrament of the Rasta faith.  People made fun of Bunny and his ways, but he really believed in brotherhood and peace and in his small world he spread his word.


This afternoon I convinced myself that I needed to go to the grocery for a Roma tomato and some Boston lettuce to put on the black bean burger I was having for supper and some red grapes that were on sale.  What I really went for was a pint of Haagen Dazs Belgian Chocolate ice cream.  The only good thing is that I haven't eaten the entire pint today.  Yet.  I'm saving some for tomorrow.  I think. Yeah, I'm saving the rest for tomorrow.  Really.  Some days you just need premium ice cream.
--Barbara

Friday, June 26, 2020

The Flower Tour

I went outside this morning to take pictures of the flowers.  Dad's roses are blooming like crazy.  I sat on the front stoop yesterday for a while and enjoyed the faint fragrance of the roses on the breeze.






The yellow Asiatic lilies are just about done blooming.  There was a tiny little beetle exploring one of the flowers but I don't think you can see it in the picture.






The spiderwort is still blooming in the morning.  The bees love these flowers.



 


And there are little flowers on the potato plants!  They weren't open all the way but I was so excited to see them I had to take their picture to show you.




Not flowers, but fruit is next.  The tomatoes are growing bigger every day.  I can't wait until they start to turn red.





Today's toss was fun.  I pulled out a crate of liqueurs that hadn't been opened in about 10 years, took them to the sink in the basement, and dumped them.  Now my basement smells like a distillery and the recycling guy will think I've had one whale of a party.  There are a couple more crates of booze that will get the same treatment over the next few days.  I'll keep the good stuff, but since I really don't drink, it seems foolish to give this all house room especially since I think some of it was my in-laws and they've been gone for a good 30 years or more.  (Durwood saved everything. Really.)




26 June--Barbara Malcolm, Tropical Obsession. 
That night was the thirty-seventh night in a row with no wind.  During the day there was wind, plenty of wind.  The trade winds blew out of the east as they are supposed to in this latitude, but when the winds dropped at sundown, they did not just drop they died and did not resurrect until the sun rose in the morning.  At first people laughed that the sun was dragging the winds with it as it made its way around the earth, but after a while the joke was not funny anymore.  The night wind was the only thing that made it bearable to sleep indoors.  With no wind the mosquitoes swarmed clogging everyone’s ears and stinging every bit of exposed skin.  People not lucky enough to have air conditioners in their bedrooms suffered because it was just too hot to sleep under covers so the all-over itching from too many mosquito bites woke people up in the middle of the night to curse and scratch.  Sales of repellent skyrocketed and every shop was sold out of the old-fashioned mosquito repellent coils. 
Mona stopped in every store she thought would possibly carry bug spray, Off! or Cutter’s but she had no luck until going into the Sand Dollar mini mart.  The clerk was restocking the shelf with cans of Off! and she bought all six.  That earned Mona a dirty look from the woman who came in asking for repellent as she was checking out.  The clerk told her they were out and motioned to the cluster of cans that Mona was slipping into her shopping bag. 
“I don't suppose you would consider selling me one?” she said with one hand on a hip.   Mona looked at her, at her expensive clothing and ostentatious jewelry, at her Manolo sandals (like her own), and shook her head. 
“Sorry,” she said, “I have a sick baby at home.” 
The woman was so taken aback at having her offer refused she did not even react to the fact that cans of bug spray would do little toward helping a sick child feel better. 
Mona was a bit surprised at herself and her gut reaction to the woman.  She was not in the habit of lying in the first place and she was normally a generous person willing to share. 
“It must be the heat,” she muttered as she slid in the clutch and looked over her shoulder to back out of the parking place.  Before she even moved, she turned off the car and got out.  Next door to the Sand Dollar mini mart was Lover’s Ice Cream.  She needed a cone, a two scooper.  It was hot, and what had happened to the trade winds? And where had Jack gotten to?


I spent a bunch of the day surfing the web looking into the various digital hosting platforms, like Zoom and Google Meet.  The knitting guild is trying to work out how to get people together remotely and I volunteered to do the research into the costs and features of each platform.  It didn't have to be done today but I'm such a good procrastinator that I figured if I didn't dive right in and get it done I'd leave it til the eleventh hour and then do a half-assed job.  So I gathered all the info, typed it up (with bullet points and everything), and emailed it to the board.  Pleased me no end that I remembered how to write up a report like that.
--Barbara

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Clunk

That's what I imagine it sounded like when the little Downy Woodpecker taking a rest on the patio this morning crashed into the patio door while I was out watering the tree.  I didn't open the door because I didn't want to startle her so the picture is blurry but I'm happy to report that she made a full recovery and had flown away within a few minutes.  Whew.


I cast on and knitted the first section of preemie hat in preparation for having to sit and wait for my car to be repaired but then I decided to come home instead of sitting in the waiting area.  Naturally I left my knitting bag in the car so I had to do random chores instead of knitting.


My knitting friend, CS, stopped over on her way to a call and picked up the food dehydrator for herself and the pasta machine, motor, and ravioli maker for her son and his fiance.  I was so glad that the stuff went to a friend who was glad to have it.  Much better than dumping it at Goodwill.  Today's toss was two grocery bags of plastic drinking bottles and sippy cups that have outlived their usefulness.  I'm not sure what's going tomorrow.  Probably a baggie of old silverware that emerged today.



This hawk photo is from yesterday.  I heard it today and saw it flying around but didn't see it on the fence or the trellis.


Late this afternoon while waiting for a Zoom knitting guild board meeting to commence I cast on and knitted a couple repeats of Stuck-at-Home Warshrag #5.  I like the muted gray-green of the yarn of the bricks.



25 June--Barbara Malcolm, Tropical Obsession. 
Detective Inspector Joachim Rooibos was tired already and it was not much past noon.  He had gotten to the site where the Americans had found the body floating in the sea only to find that his assistant, Sergeant Hale, had allowed them to return to their bungalow. 
“I need them here, Hale,” he had said through gritted teeth. 
“Yes, sir,” Hale had said, looking at the toes of his shoes.  “I spoke with them.  I asked them a few questions.  Then I had them look upon the corpse to see if they knew the man, if the sight of him fresh from the ocean jogged them into confessing.” 
Rooibos sighed.  Hale meant well.  He was eager, almost too eager, and he worked hard.  He watched too much American television, imagined himself a hard-boiled type who growled at suspects and swaggered at crime scenes.  Hale was young and had not worked too many deaths.  Rooibos could see that under the bravado Hale was nearly sick, under the firm jaw the muscles quivered. 
“You interrogated them, didn’t you, Hale?  You bulldogged those nice people until the husband got angry and took his wife home.”  The last was not a question.  
Miserable, Hale nodded. 
Detective Inspector Rooibos saw the smiles on the faces of the patrolmen loitering on the opposite side of the road.  Rooibos decided to give Hale a break.  “Did Sergeant Hale direct you to look for where the body may have fallen from, Officer Royal?” 
The smile melted off the face of the young Officer Royal who squared his shoulders and turned to examine the state of the gravel along the road and check for scratches in the limestone wall leading to the dive site.  Rooibos motioned Hale to follow him into the shade.
 “I am not angry, Connor, but I am disappointed.  We have discussed the proper way to extract information from witnesses, have we not?” 
Hale nodded, his eyes downcast. 
“Look at me, Connor.”  The younger taller officer raised his eyes.  “I am calling you by your given name, not your official title.  This should tell you that I am teaching you, only chastising you a little.” 
Sergeant Hale opened his mouth, but Rooibos forestalled him, saying, “You are about to excuse yourself by telling me that the other Detective Inspector with whom you work uses intimidation to good effect and you wanted to try it out.  Correct?” 
“Yes, sir.” 
“Tell me, what sort of people was Detective Inspector Gerharts questioning?”  
Hale dug the toe of his shoe into the sandy soil as if it helped him think.  “They were young men, sir, who he suspected of breaking into tourist vehicles.” 
“Ah, I see, so do you think that perhaps he would speak differently to young toughs than middle-aged tourists?” 
Sergeant Hale frowned and nodded unhappily.  “Yes, sir.” 
Rooibos was not at all sure that his subordinate understood the point he was trying to make but the longer he stood here trying to mold Connor Hale into a serviceable police officer the longer the person responsible for the death of the man just pulled from the sea had to escape.  If there were such a person.  Rooibos had to consider that it was possible that a man in his middle years and from all appearances of the upper class was taking a walk when he slipped and fell to his death.  Of course, it would be logical if there were a vehicle abandoned at one of the parking areas along the cliff top but there was not.  So how did the man get into the water?  He thought he should set his officers examining the cliff tops between here and, oh say, Oil Slick Leap dive site and, he should send out the police boat and have them examine the cliff face in the same area.  As he made his way back to his official police car, he began to punch numbers on his phone and set things in motion.


I did a lot of waiting today--waiting for my car to be fixed, waiting for CS to stop, waiting for the Zoom meeting to start--and I also went to the grocery where I spent way more money than I anticipated because I needed things like toothpaste, OTC meds, and fabric softener.  I used all of my self-control and didn't buy a pint of ice cream or stop for a cheeseburger on the way home, both things that I was sorely tempted to do.  I'm having 16 dark chocolate M&Ms as a reward.  16 is 2 points.
--Barbara

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Not Sharing

After not seeing (but hearing) the hawks for a couple days I had an interesting sighting this morning.  Just as I was fixing to go out to mow the lawn I heard the hawk call in the backyard.  I looked out to see that it had caught something and had it on top of the fence.  It was something fairly good sized and furry.  Pretty soon the smaller of the two showed up and the first one spread its tail wide and cupped its wings over its kill.  Not sharing, even though the littler one looked pretty pathetic and needy.  Later on, after mowing, I heard the hawks again and looked up to see them alight in the big tree behind the fence and then a third hawk, one with a red tail, soared in and sat on a branch nearby for a couple minutes.  The two immature hawks set up a racket begging to be fed, leading the adult to vamoose.

Like I said, I mowed the lawn around noon.  No photos were taken but you know what lawn mowing looks like.  I have to say that I hate my yard, there's barely a flat spot in the whole thing, and it's too big.  It takes me an hour and it's a half-mile of walking.  Not that I can't walk a half-mile, I can, but the uneven yard makes it more of a challenge.  Thank goodness that Durwood insisted on buying me a self-propelled mower.  If I had to push the danged thing, I'd hire a service.


All of the zinnias are blooming in the planters on the patio.  I saw a butterfly flutter by this afternoon so maybe they'll start visiting soon.  Last year I had swallowtails and monarchs on zinnias.  Fingers crossed.


I think tomorrow's toss will be all of the random water bottles and sippy cups that have collected on the shelves as LC and OJ have outgrown them.

24 June--Barbara Malcolm, Tropical Obsession. 
It took longer than usual to get back to their bungalow.  
Sam and Maxi drove in silence until they had passed through Playa then Maxi said in a small voice, “Do you think that… that guy was a diver?” 
Sam shook his head.  “No, honey, I do not.” 
She turned as far toward him as her seat belt allowed.  “Why not?” 
“Because of his clothes.  Those were expensive clothes and, I don’t know, but to me he looked like one of those rich guys you see in, like, Nassau.  You know, the ones with the trophy wife and the loud voice and always being rude to the natives and the waiters.  A real jerk.” 
Maxi frowned.  “What gave you that idea?  You only saw the guy for about a minute.”
Sam shook his head again.  “I don’t know but I bet I am right.  He cannot be a diver.  Divers do not kill other divers.  Divers are too nice.”  
She reached over and laid a small hand on his arm.  “You are too nice, sweetie.  Thanks for getting us out of there.  I know there will be a lot more policemen coming to interview us, but I do not think I could have stood out there another five minutes before fainting or screaming.  Most probably both.” 
When they got back to Happy Holiday Homes Sam backed the truck up to the gate of the orange bungalow.  He and Maxi carried their scuba units onto the porch, made sure that the air was turned off, purged the lines, and went inside to make drinks.  It was not even two in the afternoon, but they agreed that circumstances called for a drink. 
Maxi made the drinks and Sam sliced Gouda cheese, tomatoes, and cucumbers for sandwiches.  They each made a pair of open face sandwiches and carried their rum drinks and lunches out to the shaded porch to refresh themselves and watch the antics of the black and yellow Bananaquits, little birds that the natives called sugar thieves, as they swooped and squabbled over the saucer of sugar Maxi and Sam put on the half-wall every morning.  When the sandwiches were only a memory and they were just about ready to go in for a nap their attention was drawn to a noisy Jeep driving by. 
“That Jeep is a disgrace,” said Sam.  “It needs a muffler.  Do they not have noise laws on this island?” 
“I have noticed it going by a few times a day,” Maxi said.  “In fact, the other day when I was walking back with the clean laundry he drove by and I had to wait for him.  The guy driving is pretty good looking.” 
“Oh, really?”  Sam looked at her with one eyebrow cocked.  
She reached over and lightly swatted his arm.  “Yes, really, if a girl liked that cheap, muscular, young kind of guy.  Which I do not.”
 They laughed and squeezed each other’s hand. 
“What say we take a nap in the air conditioning?” Sam said. 
Maxi stretched out her foot into the sunshine and felt the strong heat of it.  “Good idea.  I still feel a bit overheated from having to stand out there all that time.” 
They carried their dishes into the kitchen where Sam washed them while Maxi closed the bedroom windows and turned on the air conditioner.  She drew the curtains and got undressed.  She walked nude across the living room to the bathroom and Sam whistled. 
“Oh, thanks,” she said.  
“Hey,” he said, curving an arm around her waist, “I like how you look.”  He dropped a kiss on her shoulder, and she purred. 
Their nap was postponed for a while.



I get to go get my transmission line(s?) replaced tomorrow.  Woohoo!  I'll be the one in the mask with knitting in her hands.  It'll be good to see live humans in person for a bit, then I'll hit the grocery on the way home.  Better check my list.
--Barbara

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Sparkling Clean

I washed almost all of the windows today.  I skipped half of the patio door and the living room windows because I wasn't in the mood to get the stepstool out of the garage and haul it into the house and out onto the patio.  I'll catch them another day.  I use newspaper to wash them because it doesn't leave lint like paper towels do.  Durwood taught me that.  It does turn my fingers black, but that washes off easily so it's no big deal




The red daylilies are blooming like crazy.  I wish the flowers each lasted longer than a day though. The yellow Asiatic lilies are still blooming a week later and the red DAYlilies give up after only one day.  I guess that's how they got their name.





I found another poppy blooming this morning.  I looked around and didn't find any more fuzzy little buds so I guess this one really is the last.






I finished the jelly bean (that's the color name) washcloth this afternoon after the windows were washed.  I like the colors but not as much as the sunset (red/orange/purple) of the other color of Dishie yarn I used before.


Today's toss was the second, older food dehydrator.  One of my knitting pals emailed that she's interested in one of them so I got yesterday's toss out of the car (it's newer and cooler and a name brand) for her.  I'd rather give it to a friend who'll use it than dump it at Goodwill.  Anybody local interested in a pasta maker?  You know, one of those machines you clamp onto the table and crank to make noodles.  Durwood had one, with a motor attachment, that I will never use.  It'll be tomorrow's toss.

23 June--Barbara Malcolm, Tropical Obsession. 
Being good citizens took up the rest of the day for Sam and Maxi.  They told their story over and over to each and every policeman who arrived.  Not familiar with the ranks of police in Bonaire, Sam never knew if the latest questioner was of a higher rank than the last or not.  He tried to give the third one, or maybe it was the fourth one, their address at the bungalow so they could leave. 
“I do not think that would be a good idea,” the policeman said, squinting at him as if measuring him for handcuffs. 
Sam had reached the end of his patience and began yelling.  “Where do you think we are going to go on an island this small?  We have paid our rent for the entire month and are probably going to stay for another one.  We are not leaving.” 
The policeman pressed a hand on Sam’s shoulder trying to make him sit down again and behave but Sam was having none of it.  He dug in his heels and stayed on his feet.  “You think we killed that poor guy, don’t you?” 
This policeman had been the first one not satisfied with Sam and Maxi’s story.  He had questioned their statements over and over, had run at them from every verbal direction, and had even separated them to grill each of them hoping, Sam suspected, that he would get the weak link of the pair to crack.  He had insisted that they accompany him back to Thousand Steps driving them in his official car, the wrong way on the one-way road, by the way, with one of his underlings following in their rental pickup truck.  He made them stand and watch the paramedics hoist the body up all those steps and when they reached the top, he stopped the paramedics, unzipped the end of the body bag and asked Sam and Maxi if they knew the man.  It was horrible.  Predators had not hesitated to take advantage of the food source and while Sam and Maxi stood staring shocked at the skeletal face a crab scuttled out of what hair was left.  That was nearly it for Maxi.  Sam felt her totter and he tightened his arm around her. 
“This is enough,” he said.  “We were trying to be good Samaritans by reporting this and you are treating us like criminals.  I am taking my wife back to the bungalow.  If you or any of your superiors wish to speak to us further, we will be happy to speak to you there.” 
The policeman looked at his notebook.  “Happy Holiday Homes, the orange bungalow?”
Sam nodded.  “That's right.”  He bent down and whispered in his wife’s ear then they crossed the road to their truck where he carefully helped her into the passenger seat.  Then he got into the driver’s seat, started it up, maneuvered around the various police and rescue vehicles in his way, and drove off. 


My friend, Lala, send me a Zoom invitation this morning and we got together to visit and did a prompt.  It was good to see her and good to have a writing friend even if it was just online.  It was almost like being together. We'll do it again.
--Barbara

Monday, June 22, 2020

Tiny Tomatoes

This afternoon I went out into the garden to beat back the mint that was encroaching on the bales.  I pulled and tugged, uprooting it and filling my basket with it to be thrown away.  Now the cucumbers can breathe and the parsley and tomatoes aren't overshadowed by mint.  It's not perfectly weed free but the cucumber plants don't have anything but the trellis to hold onto.  Besides it started drizzling while I was weeding out the mint so I cleared it out and came in.



There are two tiny tomatoes!  They're about the size of my fingernail but pretty soon they'll get bigger and start turning red.  There are lots of flowers on there so I should have a good harvest.







Lots of the Stella d'Oro lilies are blooming.  I love the way they look and the bright yellow gold color of the flowers.







Only one hawk showed up today.  It was sitting on the top of one of the trellises and looked very interested when I went out to take its picture but it didn't fly away.




I went to ALDI today for a few items and picked up a 3-pack of bell peppers that I diced up, froze on a tray, and bagged for future use.  It's so handy to have a quart of them in the freezer ready to be added to recipes.  I don't dice them as small as Durwood did but they're small enough for me.  I'm just not as precise a chopper as he was.

22 June--Barbara Malcolm, Tropical Obsession. 
About halfway down, the steps took a right turn to cling to the cliff face and there was a small landing where there was enough room for people to pass each other or to stand and catch their breath on the long, hot climb.  Sam had been making Maxi laugh on the drive up from the bungalow by telling her that he was certain that there could not possibly be one thousand steps down to the dive site, so he was counting the steps.  Maxi had her head down and was slightly hunched forward to balance the heavy, awkward tank on her back.  When she reached the landing, she turned to look back at Sam and that was when she saw what she thought was a snorkeler in the water below them. 
“Look, Sam, there is a guy down there snorkeling in a shirt, shorts, and sandals.” 
Sam came down the last couple of steps to stand beside his wife and he looked down, anxious to get down there himself and cool off. 
“Look at all the fish around him, honey,” Maxi said.  “Do you think he is feeding them?” 
Sam lifted his mask with its corrective lenses to his eyes and peered down at the floating man.  “Uh, Max, I do not think that guy is snorkeling.”  He put out his hand and turned his wife away from the ocean.  “I think we need to call the police or the rescue squad.” 
She started to turn back to look again but Sam held her tightly.  “Do you mean…?”  Her eyes widened in horror. 
He nodded. 
Before he could answer she had pushed past him and climbed up so fast she was almost to the top by the time he moved his feet.  “Come on, Sam, haul ass up here and let’s go get help.”
By the time Sam’s head cleared the top step and he could see across the road, Maxi had already shed her scuba unit and had unzipped and begun to take off her wetsuit.
 “Come on,” she said, “what is taking you so long?” 
A thought struck him as he crossed the road.  “Do you think one of us should stay with the body?” 
She shook her head.  “Uh-uh.  No way am I going in there with a dead body.  I mean, I like seeing sharks and barracuda but not when they are eating the guy next to me.  No way.  We are both going.  Saddle up.”  As she was talking, she was stripping Sam of his scuba gear and wetsuit. 
He was amazed at her strength and the speed with which she moved.  It seemed to him that she had planned every move during the minute it had taken her to climb back up.  Before he could protest, she had pulled his weights out of the pockets of his vest and tossed them into the truck bed.  Then she twirled him around and slid his buoyancy control vest off his shoulders, tank and all, and then turned and laid it gently into the tank rack next to hers.  He was fumbling with the Velcro at the top of his wetsuit zipper when she pushed his hand aside and unzipped it for him. 
She made shooing motions to get him to strip off the suit quickly.  “Come on, slowpoke,” she prodded, pulling the truck keys out of the dry box she wore on a cord around her neck.  “You want me to drive?” 
He nodded, surprised because she had been reluctant to drive on the narrow island roads since their rental truck had a standard transmission.  Today, however, it appeared that getting help overcame her lack of confidence. 
She slid into the driver’s seat and turned to him.  “Didn’t you say that there is some sort of oil depot or tank farm up ahead?” 
He pulled the map out of the glove compartment and unfolded it while she backed out and jammed the truck into gear.  “Yeah, here it is.”  He held the map toward her then he realized that she was concentrating on the road ahead.  “Just go straight and keep to the shore road when you come to an intersection.” 
“Got it.” 
            Later Sam thought it was a good thing that no big trucks or any vehicle at all was coming toward them that day.  Maxi cut every corner and slid through every intersection in her headlong dash to report finding the body.  Sam was certain that she took the turn into the BOPEC Petroleum property on two wheels.

I got the oil changed in the car today and, of course, he found that the transmission line is leaking a bit so it needs a new line.  I have an appointment on Thursday.  Today's toss was a food dehydrator and two boxes of additional trays.  When I pulled them out I saw another dehydrator behind it.  Why did we have two of those?  I do not know, but after tomorrow I will have none.  The second one will be tomorrow's toss.
--Barbara