Thursday, September 30, 2021

Every Other Day Isn't Bad

I spent last night and this morning feeling bad that I didn't blog last night but I've decided that every other day while I'm here at The Clearing isn't a bad thing.  Yesterday afternoon it was my turn to read part of my novel to be critiqued and it went well.  I got lots of praise and many comments to think about.  I'm happy.

At The Clearing the midday meal, dinner, is the big meal of the day and yesterday's was a real winner.  We had foil packets of baked whitefish with zucchini and herbs, a fall salad with vinaigrette, hard rolls, and for dessert, homemade hot fudge sauce with fresh strawberries to dip in it.  Sublime!  The amazing thing is that breakfast and dinner are delivered hot to our rooms, place settings and all, and then picked up after we've eaten.  Supper is left in the communal fridge in the afternoon for us to pick up at our convenience.  It isn't the traditional meals with all of the students and staff but it's pretty close and the best we can hope for in these days of COVID.

Supper last night was an egg salad sandwich on croissant with a plum and a Rice Krispie treat with chocolate on top.  No one starves at The Clearing.

Here's the view from one of the chairs outside the Schoolhouse.  The first time I was here I spent a lot of writing time in a chair in this spot.  Good writing energy here.

Right behind the Large Dorm where I'm staying is a stacked stone wall and on the other side of the wall is the kitchen herb garden.  All of the food has fresh herbs.


Today's dinner was meatloaf, roasted squash, twice baked mashed potatoes, autumn salad with maple vinaigrette, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream.  There are no words.  They don't serve supper tonight so I'm going to an outdoor restaurant with some of the writers  I won't go hungry.



I'm having a very good time this week.  I've been taking walks and doing a lot of writing.  It's great to be with this group of women.  We've all been together at least once here and the support and encouragement is unsurpassed.


Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Quill Came Through

I got it!  I was sitting here in Quiet Writing Time when my phone rang.  It was the lady in the office telling me that I had a delivery.  Woohoo!  So I hopped in the car and drove the twisting exit road over to the Jensen Center to pick up my printer cartridge.  I came back to campus and got it slotted into the printer.  Happy dance!

Today's breakfast was a feast.  We got a bowl of oatmeal with craisins and brown sugar, sausage and egg English muffin sandwiches, a bowl of berries and fruit, and blueberry coffee cake.  No one's going hungry here.

Lunch was Tuscan pasta, a green salad, garlic knots, and Limoncello cake.  No photos were taken because we had to eat while it was warm.  Or that's my excuse.

Right after breakfast I went down to the Schoolhouse to make the copies I needed of my manuscript to be critiqued.  It was a few hours before the cartridge came and I wasn't trusting that it would make it so I used The Clearing's copier and paid for them.  On my way back to the cabin I saw the sun shining through the trees as I walked on the path.  Every turn in this place presents another lovely sight.


Monday, September 27, 2021

I Forgot

I was so busy getting reacquainted with The Clearing and the women in the Women's Writing Retreat yesterday that I forgot to blog.  Sorry.

I took a nice long walk around the campus.  First I walked to the Labyrinth which is at the south end of the property.  It's in a close grove of cedar trees and is a very peaceful place.


Then I walked nearly to the north end of the property to the Schoolhouse where my class meets for a few hours a day.

The best part is the day when we have Quiet Writing Time.  We are to chain ourselves to our computer or notebook and shut up and write for about three hours.  Just write. Think and write and not talk.  It's kind of hard to do but it produces results.  Sometimes.


We met in the classroom in the morning to warm up and decide what we were going to write during the week.  Our teacher, JB, was using the white board to illustrate a way to write a scene with sensory detail before sending us to our pages to free write for a few minutes.  We each read what we had written and applauded the effort.

The bad part of today was when I was printing out the part of my manuscript that I want to read and have critiqued.  I ran out of ink.  I could kick myself for not buying a cartridge when I bought the printer but the sales guy told me that it had a full cartridge.  Liar.  I called all over Door County looking to buy one and ended up ordering one from Quill to be delivered up here tomorrow.  I hope.  There are other printers available but I offered and now am not sure that I can print for other people.  Dang it.


Saturday, September 25, 2021

Made It

I'm here!  I loaded up the car with all of my projected Clearing needs and toddled on up Highway 42/57 to Ellison Bay.  I met my friend KS for lunch (I stopped at the Bluefront Cafe in Sturgeon Bay for curried chicken salads for us) and knitting the afternoon away.

cda and her friend DJ got here so we all moved into our room, got Mexican takeout for supper because there are a zillion people in every restaurant in Door County on the weekend.

It was a beautiful day to be away from home.

I didn't toss anything or write a prompt today, I was too busy running away from home.


Friday, September 24, 2021

The Gang's All Here

Or maybe I should say "the flock's all here."  A bunch of Sparrows came to the feeder and the birdbath this morning and more were flying around landing on the tops of the crooks.  None of the Sparrows cooperated by taking a bath while I had the camera ready, of course.

I am amused by this lone bee balm that's decided to bloom now that autumn is here.  All of the others bloomed in the fullness of summer but this one has to be a rebel.

The official flowers of autumn, the chrysanthemums, are blooming like crazy.  The coppery one is packed with flowers,

and the gold one is just getting started.

I filled the bird feeders this afternoon and one of the chipmunks zeroed in on the cob corn.  I don't know what kind of feet the chippies have but I am amazed that they can climb up the crooks to get at the seed or the corn.  How do they do that without sliding down?

Today's toss was a 3-pack of rolls of heavy duty foil that Durwood bought at Sam's years ago.  I rarely use foil and have a Food Service roll of it that is nowhere near being done.

The prompt today said to write a short story about a woman who wins the lottery and doesn't tell anyone.  Ho hum.  If she doesn't tell anyone how can anything interesting happen?  My lady pays off her mortgage and stays in her little house because it's just right.  She keeps her little red car because it fits her.  Boring.

I finished packing today and took out the car seats so I could go to the gas station and vacuum out all of the Goldfish crackers and Craisins so I have room for my packing and other people if the need arises.  I'm going to try to blog while I'm up at The Clearing this year.  I know there's internet in the Schoolhouse or I could use my phone as a hotspot.  Wish me luck.  

I was so cold yesterday that I wore long jeans, socks, and sneakers today.  It was the first time I've worn long pants since spring.  Feels odd.  But I wasn't cold plus it got up into the mid-70s today so I probably could have been okay in my leggings and Crocs but I wasn't taking chances.  I don't like being cold.  I've packed clothes that I can layer so that I'll stay comfortable no matter the weather next week.  Except if it rains.  I'm not taking a raincoat, only an umbrella.  But I do have two pairs of shoes in case one gets wet.


Thursday, September 23, 2021

Two At A Time

 I glanced out late this afternoon to see two squirrels dining, one on the suet pellets and the other on the suet cakes.  I don't think I've ever seen such a thing before.  Squirrels don't like to share.

The late Black-eyed Susans are opening.  The plant next to this one has stems with centers and no petals left while this plant has buds that are unfurling petals.  I appreciate the timing.



The bronzey sedum attracts bees and flies just like the pink one.  There's a drastic color difference but evidently not a flavor difference.



Another of the Stella d'Oros bloomed today.

I looked out this evening to see the light had turned golden so I grabbed the camera and hurried out to take a picture.  I was surprised to see that the horizon was clear and the setting sun was lighting up the cloud cover above.

I spent a bit of today knitting on the Comfort Baby Blanket and it feels like I didn't make any progress at all.  I know that I knitted a few rows but it seems like nothing changed.  Maybe I only imagined knitting...

Today's toss was a pair of cookbooks, one is a crockpot cookbook that has wonderful recipes but none I can easily adapt to WW and the other has crazy recipes for making novelty "cakes" with crispy rice cereal.

The prompt today asked what you would like more of.  I said willpower.  I'm really struggling to stick to my food plan lately.  I eat the meals and then everything else.  Next week nothing will be WW so I'll have to clamber back onto the straight and narrow when I get home.

It was so chilly in the house when I woke up today that I turned on the furnace to take the chill off and spent the day wearing leggings and a hoodie.  I should have put on socks too.  I don't think it got up to 70 degrees today.


Wednesday, September 22, 2021


Before these bloom I think they're weeds and then in late September they burst out in zillions of tiny white asters that the bees just swarm over.  I spent the summer weeding them out on top of the retaining wall but left this on the lot line with the milkweed.  I kind of like them and kind of don't.


I mowed today and this little chickory flower managed to duck the mower blade.



Another Stella d'Oro is opening up a cluster of buds.


I spent much of yesterday and today knitting an ornament.  The knitting guild is having an ornament exchange in December instead of a dishcloth exchange and I ran across my sequined yarn and decided to make an ornament cover.  It isn't as stretched out as I'd like so I think I'll make another one, either that or I'll go to Michael's to find a bigger clear plastic ball to cover.

Today's toss was a bag of random candles and one of those metal spinny things that twirls in the rising heat of candles.

The prompt today asked what you have too much of.  Time. I have too much time without enough to do.  I try to fill up my time with writing and knitting but don't think I'm very successful at it.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Flowers & Birds

As opposed to birds and flowers.  I was happy to be fast enough to take a picture of a Bluejay that visited the birdbath this morning.  Bluejays are even faster to land and take off than Chickadees so I felt very lucky to nab this one.

Another one of Dad's roses bloomed today.  It's on a really long cane that has killer thorns on it.  I had to reach way up and bend it down so that I could take its picture and met many of the thorns on the way.

Below Dad's roses the coppery mums are really getting into full bloom and the gold colored ones are just getting started.

This reddish leaf showed up on the patio this morning.  I'm not ready for colored leaves and falling leaves but I guess I don't have much say in the matter.  I suspect that a lot of the trees in Door County will be turning colors when I'm up there next week.

In the afternoon a Downy Woodpecker came to visit the suet cakes and this time it clung to the feeder right side up.  It chased away a squirrel too.

I got all of the ripped out yarn reknit into the baby blanket today..  It's time to snip the pale peach yarn and add on another of the burnt orange one for the next six inches or so.

Today's toss was a notepad shaped like a foot.

The prompt today said to open up your most used bag, list the contents, and what does it say about you.  Hmm.  Well, my purse is my most used bag and it has my wallet, a mask, earbuds, Tums, a pill bottle, tissues, a pen, and a card case.  I think it says that I'm prepared to go out into today's world and that I'm pretty much ready for anything.  I'm using a much smaller purse than I used to use so I'm carrying much less stuff, which I think is a good thing.


Monday, September 20, 2021


 Well, I spent the day tinking back the four rows of decreases on the Comfort Baby Blanket that I knitted yesterday.  (tinking is unknitting stitch by stitch, a very laborious enterprise but necessary in this instance since I'm holding two strands together.)  Once I was back where I started yesterday I reknit the rows without the yarnovers that made the holes.  It looks better and it matches the increase rows.  Whew.

I looked out and noticed that the smallest Stella d'Oro plant, the one that didn't bloom all summer, has flowers on it today.  Hooray!

The other thing I saw was a single daisy in among the stems of the faded ones.

There was also a raggedy bee balm flower too.  I wonder what they were thinking.

A pair of Chickadees were bopping around the feeders this morning.  I try and try to catch one of them and this one stayed on the platform feeder just long enough for me to take its picture.  

Today's toss was a bottle of insect repellent that I can't use because it isn't fragrance free.  I ordered some from Amazon that is a different chemical, able to be sprayed on the skin more safely, and is unscented.  Fragrances don't bother me but people that I'll spend next week at The Clearing with don't tolerate them so I got the right stuff.

The prompt today said to write a rhyme that would appeal to a child.  That stumped me but I played around with "hop" and "pop" and "fish," "dish," and "wish," also "eel" and "feel."  What I ended up with was extremely nonsensical but slightly amusing.

There's a football game tonight and I forgot to go outside to see the flyover.  I know that the Packers are winning because they let off fireworks every time they score and there had been a lot of them lately.  That will make everyone more cheerful tomorrow if they win.


Sunday, September 19, 2021

Too Soon

I looked at the tree across the street this afternoon and saw orange leaves on it.  No!!!!!  It's too soon for leaves to start turning colors, although I did notice a few other trees' leaves changing colors when I was driving around yesterday.


The other thing I saw across the street and down a couple houses was this flock of birthday flamingos that my neighbor's daughter ordered up for his birthday.  Happy birthday, TS!

Another orange day lily bloomed today.  Everything is getting to the end of the season.  One flower at a time is better than no flowers.

I captured another bee investigating every little floret on the sedum.  I know that I keep putting this nearly same picture on here but I do love seeing the bees.

I was knitting on the baby blanket this afternoon and started on the decrease side only to discover that I evidently didn't follow the pattern on the increase side since there aren't any yarn over holes in that side.  Now what do I do?  I didn't make notes on the Ravelry page for this project and I'm not at all sure that I can read my knitting to figure it out.  Part of me wants to yank out the needles and unravel the whole thing but that would be a royal pain because I'm holding the yarn double and overlapping colors.  I suppose I could just rip out the three increase rows and try again.  *sigh*  Tomorrow.

Today's toss was a tool roll that I found in the garage.  I don't know where it came from but I don't use it.

The prompt today said that for a year you can't buy any clothes, household items, or technology.  How would that affect you?  Well, my microwave is making an odd sound so if it went on the blink I'd have to reheat my meals in the oven or on the stove.  My laptop and printer are pretty new and my cellphone is working fine.  I have enough clothes so that I'm decently covered so I think that I'd do all right as long as I could still buy groceries.

I spent the afternoon watching the first season of Blown Away on Netflix.  It's an elimination contest of glassblowers.  Wow, they can do amazing things with molten glass and the woman that I thought didn't have a chance won the whole thing.  Shows what I know.


Saturday, September 18, 2021

Bees & A Bird

I love watching the bees busy on the sedum.  There are honey bees and other kinds of bees that I can't name all crawling over the flower heads.  Some times I go up to look and there's not one bee and other times, like today, when there's a bee on nearly every flower.  Naturally they don't pose but I managed to get this one.

One of the Stella d'Oro plants had two blossoms on it today.  Hooray!

This Downy Woodpecker chose to hang upside down on the suet pellets for a long time.  I was surprised that it didn't hold on upright since the feeder's almost full but it chose to work on the bottom.

I finished the second Edition 3 mitt this evening.  I was thinking that the blue would come back at the top of the second mitt but strawberry red came up in the thumb instead.  That's okay, mismatched is kind of my signature.


The Program Chair at Knitting Guild handed out sheets at the meeting for us to list our UFOs (UnFinished Objects) and challenged us to work on finishing them.  When we finish one we get a ticket in a drawing for prizes at the December meeting.  I won't be finishing one of my UFOs because I don't like the way it's turning out so why waste yarn and effort on it.  My oldest UFO is this baby blanket that I started in 2014, got about halfway, and put it away.  I pulled it out today and will plug along at it.  Maybe I'll take it to The Clearing and see if I can't make some progress that week since it's knitting that requires no thinking.

Today's toss was a couple of grill tools that I won in a neighborhood drawing and never used.

The prompt today said to write a poem about longing.  *sigh*  I wrote a few lines but it's really lame so I'm not reproducing any part of it here.

Life got complicated for DS today so I had to spend the afternoon with the small people.  Oh darn.  We went to a park and then came here to play for a couple hours.  It cut into my knitting time but I'm willing to make the sacrifice.


Friday, September 17, 2021

That's Better

I managed not to delete today's pictures, thank heavens.  First up is the Dad's rose that was a bud yesterday but opened today.  These roses are so beautiful and they smell so good.  I wish you could hold one in your hand.

Again there was a single Stella d'Oro lily blossom.  I wonder how many years it will take for the plants to fill in (if they ever do) so that there'll be one long row of lilies.

The Black-eyed Susan plant that's late to the party's buds are slowly opening.  As slowly as these are opening is the same rate that the earlier bloomers are fading.

This Nuthatch was hanging from the bottom of the platform feeder but shifted to the inside just as I pressed the shutter.  It's a little blurry and you can't see its head but I'm always thrilled to capture a Nuthatch because they're at the feeder for such a short time.  They're a real hit-and-run kind of bird.

The mums are blooming.  The coppery ones are filling in and you can see all of the white dots of buds in the spaces between flowers.

The purple mums that keep trying to bloom in July are also looking good.

I knitted the rest of the Edition 3 mitt's hand tonight and put the thumb stitches onto the DPNs (Double Pointed Needles) but I just didn't have the oomph to attach the yarn and get knitting on the thumb.

So I got out the Man Hat and worked on it for a few rounds.  

Today's toss was a card of hair combs.  I have a bag of combs and elastic headbands that I never use so I don't need a never opened additional set of them.

The prompt today... well, hell, I forgot to do the prompt today.  I'll get to it tomorrow.

What I mostly did today was pack (undies, socks, shirts), sort through my toiletries, and work on a new scene for Better Than Mom's, the manuscript I want to work on at The Clearing.  I haven't workshopped this one yet so I think I'll give them the first few pages rather than some random scene from the last third of the story.  So much happens before the new scene I wrote today that I'd spend most of my reading time synopsizing the whole story.  I have to think about this.