Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Not Much...

 ... to report today.  It was sunny this morning and the birds were very active.  A Bluejay came to peck through the fallen seed under the feeder but didn't stay long enough for a portrait.  Then a Downy Woodpecker came to cavort around the suet feeder and the birdbath support, even took a ride on a Slinky, but left before I could take its picture.  Dang it.  One day I'll get a picture of him on the Slinky.

Dad's roses are still putting on a show.  The buds are so small and sweet, tightly furled, I can't resist taking more pictures.  I promise a different flower tomorrow.  Cross my heart.

This afternoon, after a jaunt to the pharmacy for a prescription and to make an appointment to get a flu shot on Friday, I sorted through some yarn and put all of the alpaca and llama yarns in the same tote so the next time I want to fondle it I'll know where it is.  It took me a few years to realize that on Ravelry (the fiber fanatic's website) there's a place to list where the yarn is stored on the entry so that you have a ghost of a chance finding it when you want it.  So I'm trying to note where I put things to ease frustrated digging and grumbling.

While I was down there I came across some tweed bulky yarn that would be good for a warm beanie for the Seamen's Church Institute Christmas at Sea.  Items need to be mailed next month (which starts tomorrow!) so I might not get the hat done in time but... there's always next year.  I like making things for that charity because oceangoing ships sail into Green Bay, right into the middle of the city, and I like seeing the big boats close up.  Even though this yarn is listed as the same size as the alpaca I knitted this hat from before, it's way bigger.  I was concerned that the alpaca hat would be too small for me (it isn't) but there's no doubt that this hat will fit.  Somebody.

30 September--Barbara Malcolm, Better Than Mom's. 

For her part, Fay was not quite as excited about the coming date.  When she got off work, she walked the block to her apartment and immediately took a shower to wash the grease smell out of her hair and off her skin.  She always felt as if she had been lightly sprayed with vegetable oil and her work clothes frankly reeked of French fries.  Not that that was a bad thing.  She loved her job, loved being a waitress.  She met the most interesting people and made pretty good money.  Oh, there were some assholes that made some days long but she was certain there were assholes that everyone in every job had to deal with. 

After her shower she dried off, shaved her legs and armpits, dried her hair and let it flow down her back.  She leaned close to the mirror to check that she did not have any gray roots showing.  Not more than a year ago she would have been checking for brown roots, but all of a sudden what grew out of her scalp was unfortunately more gray hair than brown.  Then she stood in front of her closet glaring at her wardrobe.  She would have called Naomi to come and help her decide what to wear but Naomi and Brady were out on their own date and so Fay was on her own.  She knew she would wear her favorite pencil legged jeans; she was slim, even skinny, so she could get away with tight tapered jeans that made other, plumper women envious.  She kind of enjoyed being the target of that envy. 

But what top to wear.  It was fall so she supposed she could wear a sweater, but she was reluctant to give in to autumn just yet.  It was too chilly at night to wear a tank top and at forty, oh all right, forty-two, she was getting a little old to wear them anyway.  Wait a minute, she could wear a tank top, one with spaghetti straps and put her new boat neck sweater over it.  She had gotten the sweater at the thrift shop down the road and she loved it.  It was heavy cotton knit, almost hand knitted looking, in dark rose and teal, colors Fay loved.  It had three quarter length sleeves which were perfect for the warm evenings and cooler nights of this time of year. 

Now, which shoes?  She did not have to worry about any of her heels making her taller than Norman, he had to be six foot four at least and she was barely over five foot seven, so that was no problem.  But what if he wanted to dance?  Nah, he probably would not.  Not many men liked to dance so she did not have to worry about wearing shoes that would hurt her feet.  Besides they were headed to a country supper club with live music, which probably meant either a twangy country combo, somebody’s aunt who sang out of tune and imagined herself a lounge singer, or an oompah band with an accordion.  Yeesh. 

Fay decided to leave her hair down for once, give Norman a little surprise.  She went easy on the cologne and put on her makeup with a much lighter hand than she did every day for work.  She wriggled her way into her favorite skinny jeans that made her look like she actually had an ass, and carefully lifted her boobs into a lacy cupped bra that she had spent a week’s tips for in Victoria’s Secret when she was still trying to compete with Butch’s pool cue. Over it she slid into her white spaghetti strap tank and over that she snuggled into her new sweater.  She took a look at herself in the mirror on the back of her closet door.  She looked good.  She took off the sweater and brushed her teeth—for the second time and rinsed with some store brand mouthwash that tasted a little like kerosene and burned like hell.  She put her sweater back on, hooked some sparkly, dangly earrings in her ears and picked through her jewelry box to find a necklace that hung in just the right place.  She finally settled on a choker with a piece of rose quartz that she thought looked great with the dark rose stripe in her sweater. 

One look at the clock on the stove, it was two minutes to six, and she stopped fiddling with her jewelry, hair, and sweater, slid her feet into her favorite sling back heels, and transferred her wallet, makeup bag, and cheap pay as you go cell phone to the matching bag.  She knew Norman would be punctual and he was.  He rang the bell and when Fay opened the door, he just stood there staring at her. 

Today's toss was some Harry Potter collectibles that have been hanging around since the beginning of the HP craze.  I know there's probably a collector or twelve out there who would have paid me for the stuff but I'm more interested in getting things out of the house than making a few bucks and having to box it up and ship it off, especially in these COVID times.

I Zoomed with a couple friends from high school this afternoon.  One lives in Minnesota and the other lives in Indiana and we were planning to meet in July for a weekend but that didn't happen so we started zooming once a month to keep up.  It's fun.


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

I'll Be Warm


This coming winter I'm going to be warm and cozy in my baby alpaca hat and mittens.  I finished the second mitten this afternoon with less than two yards of yarn left in the skein.  The hat took almost another whole skein.  I have more of the same yarn in other colors and am sorely tempted to knit a hat and mittens in each color so I can change around but I won't.  Maybe.

Dad's roses are really enjoying the cool and damp weather we're having.  Every time I look out of the window I see more of them open.  Today there were a half-dozen buds just opening.  And no hungry beetles anywhere around.

Today was a droopy day for me and I'm not sure why.  Probably because of the string of cloudy days we've been having.  I checked the cellphone weather app and it's supposed to be partly cloudy for the next few days so maybe we'll have some peeks and pokes of sunshine to perk me up.  I have to start remembering to turn on the full spectrum lamps on cloudy days.

29 September--Barbara Malcolm, Better Than Mom's. 

Norman swung by the car wash on his way home from the diner and had his pickup cleaned inside and out.  He even paid extra to have a squirt of lemon air freshener put under the seat.  He polished his favorite shoes and pressed his Levis.  He sent his shirts out to be washed and pressed so he did not have to worry about finding a clean, not wrinkled shirt to wear.  He debated over what color shirt because he did not want what he wore to clash with what Fay was wearing.  Do not be foolish, he thought as he went into the bathroom to shave and shower for the second time in the same day.  He caught himself humming as he shaved.  He grinned at himself in the mirror when he thought about that old adage that went "old men shave in the morning, young men shave at night."  How true, he thought.  It had been years since he had shaved after he got home from work.  Usually he pulled on a pair of baggy jeans and an old ratty flannel shirt, made himself a TV dinner, and sat eating it in front of the television as nature intended.  He favored science programs and documentaries rather than the pseudo-cop shows so many of his fellow officers watched.  He had had quite enough of police work over the years and he did not want to spend his off times watching it as entertainment.  He did not think it was particularly entertaining anyway.  Who wants to watch bullets and blood spray across the screen or bodies falling or worse yet, forensic geniuses pulling clues out of thin air and solving a crime in fifty minutes?  It was shows like that that made the public lose respect for their local police force.  People were always expecting miracles when they were the victims of crimes, now with those silly shows it was much worse.  But Norman was not thinking about work or how frustrated he got over people’s expectations as he stepped into the steamy shower.  He was thinking about Fay and how pretty she had looked that afternoon, flushed from work, when she stood across from him and said she would go out with him tonight.  Tonight!  Just like that she had said yes, that must mean she had been thinking about it, right? 

Women were always two or three steps ahead of men, more probably, and Norman just hoped he would be able to keep up, or at least not make a total ass of himself before the evening ended.  He dried off and splashed on a little cologne, not too much, he did not want to overpower Fay; he just wanted to smell good for her. 

Today's toss was a stack of six office trays that Durwood used to file his account papers in.  They were terribly dusty so I had to use 409 to clean them, a Swiffer duster didn't do it.

I heard from DS that they're going to do the first bottling run at the brewery tomorrow.  I can't wait to go down and watch.  Once it's up and running their distributor will have Zambaldi beers in liquor stores where people can buy a six-pack which has a longer life than a growler.  Beer doesn't stay carbonated in the growler for more than a day once you open it so you have to be thirsty or have friends around so it doesn't go to waste.  Exciting times.


Monday, September 28, 2020

Winter Harbinger

I couldn't believe my eyes this morning.  I saw a couple birds back by the retaining wall fly and saw their tails and thought, hm, they look like Juncos, but it's too early for those arctic migrants to show up, isn't it?  Evidently not, because not an hour later there was a Junco on the patio pecking at fallen seed.  I'm not ready for them to be here.  It's too early.  Wah!


This Downy Woodpecker was a much more welcome sight.  Since that squirrel ate all of the suet in early August, leading me to leave the feeder empty for a while, not many woodpeckers have been visiting.  This one comes every once in a while and now that I have put one suet cake back maybe he'll come more often.

Just to have a flower to show you, here's another of the last remaining zinnias.


I decided that today was the day to pick the ripening tomatoes.  I'm still thinking about the green ones.  We're not supposed to have frost yet so maybe they'll be okay out there in the chilly and rainy.

After running a couple errands today (masked and hand sanitized) to drop off charity knitting and go to the grocery (I ran out of milk and had a few other canned goods on the list), I worked on the second mitten.  I have to slow down a bit because my hand started to ache.  That's usually a sign that I'm knitting for too long at a stretch.  I should look up some hand stretches and exercises to stave off the ache.

28 September--Barbara Malcolm, Better Than Mom's. 

Today without the intimidating presence of Raymond, Norman felt as if he would finally be able to ask Fay out.  He waited until he was finished with his soup and sandwich, and had devoured a piece of the best blueberry pie he thought he had ever had, before he sat back from the counter, drained his glass, and signaled to Fay that he would like a refill.  She leaned on the counter after filling his glass like she was ready to talk a while.  The lunch rush was over; there were only two other diners in the place and, to Norman’s relief, they were sitting in a booth far down the length of the building talking in low tones, too far away to hear what he planned to say. 

“How did you like the pie?” she asked.

 “I have to say that was the best blueberry pie I have ever eaten,” he said. 

She smiled and said, “I will tell Naomi how much you liked it.”  She motioned to the stack of go boxes on the counter under the pass through.  “I could box a piece up for you to take home for after supper if you would like.”  She straightened as if to go and do as she proposed.  Norman saw his opening and for the first time in his life slid gracefully into it. 

“Well, I was wondering if you might like to have supper with me tonight.  I know it is late notice and I will understand if you have plans, but I thought we could grab a bite and maybe a drink or two.  Get to know each other a bit.” 

Fay looked him up and down as if he were a side of beef or a used car she was considering buying.  She looked at her watch as if she had someplace to be right at that very minute.  “Man, it is kind of late, almost two o’clock.”  She crossed her arms and looked appraisingly back at him.  “I do not have any plans tonight.  I suppose I could be convinced to have supper with you.”  She glanced over her shoulder to check on how the diners in the far booth were doing.  They were still leaning toward each other, immersed in their conversation.  She shrugged her shoulders as if to say, no problem over there, and turned back to face Norman.  By now the suspense was killing him.  “Yeah, sure, let us have supper together tonight.  I guess that is not really the way it is supposed to go, but yes, I would like to have supper with you, Norman.” 

“What do you mean it is not the way it is supposed to go?” 

“Well, is not the lady supposed to play hard to get before she agrees to go out with the man?  Is she not supposed to be busy, even if she has to pretend, the first few times he asks her out?” 

Norman smiled back at her.  “I do not know, Fay.  I did not get the dating handbook that I was convinced the girls got in health class in high school.  None of the boys I knew had any clue about dating and what girls were thinking.  The girls always seemed to share some secret knowledge and knew how to string us along.” 

Fay laughed as if what he said was the funniest thing she had heard in weeks.  “You know, you might be right.  All us girls talked about was boys and how to get them to notice us and how to behave to make them take us out and still respect us.  I suppose all the boys talked about was sports.” 

Norman leaned across the counter to whisper.  “And we also talked about ways to peek into the girls’ locker room when Elsie May Brown was changing.  My, my, she was every boy’s dream.  A knockout in a sweater and everyone was panting to know what she looked like in her underwear.” 

Fay could hear the wistfulness in his voice.  “And did you ever get that peek?”  

He looked at her expression to see how she was taking this conversation subject.  She looked amused rather than offended so he continued.  “You know, I did, once.  I was passing her house on my way home from a friend’s one night when I was, oh probably a junior, and Elsie May was in her bedroom changing.  The curtains were drawn but there was a gap where one had caught on something.  I glanced in and stopped dead right there on the sidewalk.  There she stood in all her blond glory, stripped down to her bra and panties, brushing her hair.”  He sighed. 

Fay laughed and said, “I would bet ten dollars that her curtain had not caught on anything.  That she had arranged it so in case someone just like you would walk by they would get an eyeful.” 

“Do you really think so?” 

“I do.  Norman, women are sly, calculating creatures who plan and manipulate men to their own ends.”  She crossed her arms over her chest.  “Do you still want to go out with me after I said that?” 

Norman reached out and ran his hand softly down her upper arm and stopped, holding her arm lightly just above the elbow.  “Of course, I do.  It has taken me nearly three weeks to muster up the guts to ask you.  I am not going to let a few words get in my way.”  He could feel her muscles relax.  It surprised him to discover that she was nervous too. 

“Good.  What time?”  They spent the next few minutes discussing what time she got off work and where they would go.  They settled on a small country bar and supper club that had live music on Saturdays; the place was also well known for having great pan-fried steaks. 

Norman tossed a couple bucks on the counter for a tip, paid his bill, and stuck a toothpick between his teeth.  “See you at six, Fay.  I am looking forward to finally having the chance to get to know you better.”  He winked at her, a surprisingly attractive wink that accentuated a twinkle in his eye that Fay had never noticed before. 

She felt herself blushing and she peeked at him from under her lashes.  “Bye, Norman, see you at six.”

Today's toss was a grocery bag of knitting books.  I have shelves of knitting books that I never look at or use so I've started culling ones that are my least favorites.  Soon I'll be down to just a few special ones.  Well, not soon, I don't see myself getting rid of things all that quickly but I'll keep at it.

It rained off and on all day today.  It wasn't raining when I went into the grocery but it started pouring as soon as I walked out.  Bad timing.  Luckily there was room in the wayback of my car so I could stand under the hatch to stay dry while putting the groceries in.  Life is full of small challenges.