Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Woodpecker Day

This morning a male Red-bellied Woodpecker showed up at the suet pellets and stayed a long time, long enough for me to get a real good look at it.


Long enough for me to try my hand at drawing it. I don't think I did too badly.



Today's lesson in You Can Draw In 30 Seconds was Steps. Actually that was the lesson the day before yesterday, wasn't it? But I hadn't finished all of the timed challenges so I drew those today, all but Level 5 which was a huge pile of steps in all directions with doors and ramps and posts and all sorts of things and I just couldn't get enthused about it. I also couldn't see it easily because these are complex and the pictures are small.

Writing was hard today. I don't know why but I really struggled to get enough words and the scene was a hard one. I have a feeling that this is one that will get completely rewritten because I meant for Dan to get angry and storm out but he ended up wimping out and apologizing. Not very realistic. Anyway, my final word count is 52,377 for twenty days of actual writing, ten days of two segments a day and ten of one a day. I think I found a title today, Chasing a Dream. Now I just have to keep going chasing my dream of fiction writing. I'm so glad I decided to do NaNoWriMo. Doing it broke through that long writing dry spell I was having. Hooray!

When I was sitting at the kitchen table drawing today's lesson I noticed that the sky and the light was pink so I grabbed the camera and went out the front door to snap the sunset. The sky was full of clouds and pink and gold light. Almost worth it getting dark so early. Almost.

Once the drawings were done for the day I grabbed the thick & quick yarn and big hook to crochet another purple snowball. Part of me thinks that three of each color is good but then I look at the skeins of yarn and how much fun it is to make them and I think I might need more.

Today's toss was a leather card holder. There was a time when I would buy anything red and leather and this is one of those "why did I buy this?" things that was hiding in a drawer.

The prompt today said to write about a missing person. I started a story about a missing man. His wife is looking all over, calling all over, the police are no help. Pretty predictable but I was happy that it came so easily.

I made a quick grocery run today to pick up the things that I forgot on Saturday and had run out of in the intervening days. I'm so lucky to be able to go in the middle of the day when it isn't crowded. A lot of the snow melted today in the sunshine. The streets were a combination of wet and slippery, which made for interesting driving especially around corners.


Monday, November 29, 2021

Snowy Day

The predicted snow started around eleven o'clock this morning and continued for most of the day until about six or so. I heard scraping outside after dark and looked out to see that my neighbor had shoveled his driveway and then turned around and did mine. What a pleasant surprise. Turns out he needed to ask if his dad could park in my driveway for a little while overnight which I agreed to. I didn't tell him that I would have let him park there anyway but I appreciate the favor.

The lesson in You Can Draw It In 30 Minutes today was a bell pepper. What an odd thing to draw. I think he chose it because it was a way to teach more shading and highlighting techniques.

After I was done with the bell pepper drawings I copied a Dr. Seuss drawing from one of OJ's books. I even colored it.


Then I grabbed the bag of super bulky yarn and crocheted a couple more snowballs, one in each color. I need to make another purple one and then I'll have three of each color. I'm trying to decide how many of each I should make. They're kind of addictive.

The best news of the day is that in my NaNoWriMo segment this morning I reached and surpassed fifty thousand words. !!!! I still don't really have a plot although the more I write the more conflict arises and the more I think I have a story and not just a series of scenes. Tomorrow is the official end of NaNoWriMo but I know that I won't quit writing tomorrow. Now that I've started after that long dry spell I can't just quit.

Today's toss was a novel I read on Saturday. A real paper book!

The prompt today said that you come home and your furniture is rearranged. There's no sign of forced entry and nothing has been taken. What do you do? Freak out! I'd call the cops and wait in my car until they came and made sure that there were no bad guys in the house. Only DS has a key to my house so I'd also call him to make sure that he wasn't playing a prank but he's too busy to be so silly.


Sunday, November 28, 2021


I saw the fighter jets fly over twice. Once yesterday on a practice run and then the official flyover today before the football game. It was a nice sunny, blue sky day today so the planes really stood out.


This morning the Downy Woodpecker was busy at the suet cakes. The Sparrows were extra jumpy today. Every time I stood up or turned the page they flew away.


I'm getting frustrated by the lessons in the You Can Draw in 30 Seconds book. The lesson today was Steps and I had to make an enlarged copy of one of the figures to be able to figure out how to draw it. There was no way that I would ever get it done in the 3 minutes he allotted. It took me over 15 minutes just to sketch it out the second time. Only a couple more lessons in that book and I can go back to the Draw Squad book and draw the little cartoon-y pictures in there. I enjoy drawing those more and I have a few used Dr. Seuss books coming from Amazon for things I can copy.


I did copy a little cartoon out of the 30 Seconds book of a bird (penguin?) sitting in a hole in the ice with a little pad of paper and a pencil. I liked drawing that one.


I usually don't take pictures of my tosses but today I tossed 8 bags of knitting books into the back of the car to deliver to the library this week. I sorted through them and kept out one bag of them for my friend CS. Those I'll deliver on Thursday. 

CS and I met at Zambaldi this afternoon and spent some time drinking DS's good beer and knitting. I made some headway on the Stained Glazz hat and didn't remember to take a picture at the taproom. Again. Maybe I'll remember when we go there for the last Knitting Guild board meeting on Thursday evening.


The prompt today asked the last time you cheated. I cheat nearly every day on my WW food plan. I haven't lost any weight in about 6 months but I haven't gained any weight either. I consider that a win.


Saturday, November 27, 2021

Only A Little

We had some snow flurries this afternoon but only a little stuck to the grass and the pavement. They threatened us with one to two inches of the stuff but, happily, they were wrong. You can see the little bit of snow that stuck behind this Bluejay that swooped down for a drink. It tried to get a turn on the cob corn but there were two squirrels hogging it.

This squirrel spent a good amount of time on the suet cakes and evidently needed a drink when it was done nibbling the suet.

I figured out how to get through the grocery on a Saturday--go early. I awoke at 8 o'clock, threw on some yoga pants and a hoodie, had breakfast, brushed my teeth, and was at the store by 8:45, home by 9:30 with most of the things I meant to get. Why do I always forget to put a couple items on my list and then remember them as I am unloading the groceries? I do it almost every time.

After grocery shopping I sat down and wrote the November 27th NaNoWriMo segment. I think I just might see where the story is going. I can't be sure and I have three more segments to figure it out. Of course, there's nothing that says I can't keep writing after November 30th. I probably will.

Drawing was okay today. The lesson in You Can Draw In 30 Minutes today was Pencil. Not one of my nemesis pencils from the other drawing book, but a realistic pencil which was somehow easier to draw. I should practice and practice drawing those pencils until I can do them easily. I might.

Once the Pencil drawing was over I pulled out one of the newt pictures I printed off the other day and drew that. This is a better newt than the one I drew the other day. Lots better.

After supper I pulled out the purple (with sparkle) yarn and crocheted the first purple snowball. I learned that I need to be in better light or sunny daylight because my old eyes have a hard time seeing the stitches in that dark purple yarn.

Today's toss was a linen jacket that I've kept for about 15 years and haven't worn more than once or twice since I bought it for DS and DIL1's wedding.

The prompt today asked where you would like to escape to. I thought and thought and realized that I don't want to escape. I like my life just the way it is. I have most of my family near (although I miss my Kentucky family every day) and I like things just the way they are. I'm happy.


Friday, November 26, 2021


That was the temperature when I went out to swap the lawnmower for the snowblower this morning. Sixteen degrees. On Wednesday the temperature got up to 50 degrees. I don't understand the weather anymore. I got the lawnmower wedged into the shed. It never occurred to me that the new lawnmower's handle doesn't fold in the middle so it barely fits into the shed and the door touches the handle but it closes. Whew.

Then I had to push the not-running snowblower around the house and up the driveway into the garage. That thing is heavy. Every year I wonder if I'll be able to put it up into the garage. It has an electric start so it needs to be plugged in to start it and I can't plug it in in the backyard without hauling out a big extension cord so I just rely on brute force to move it. Once I had it in the garage I did start it to make sure that it will start when I need to blow the snow that's sure to come eventually.

Once I got the mower and blower moved I filled the birdfeeders and this squirrel found the peanuts and spent the rest of the day stretching over from the crook to wriggle out a nut and then carry it off. Over and over and over. It even chased away another squirrel that was awaiting its turn. Greedy.

I was happy to see a Nuthatch on the suet pellets this afternoon. It's so rare that I can catch one in a picture that I'm even happy with this slightly blurry one.

Today I finished up yesterday's drawing lesson. I was supposed to draw two piles of blocks like this and put ramps on one stack and troughs and pop-outs on the other but I wasn't inspired by the challenge so I combined them. Look at me, I'm the boss of my drawings.

Then I was amused by this Embellishment! picture so I drew it too. I like the pointy headed birds piled in the box.

Once I was done drawing I crocheted another red snowball. This one is closer to the pattern, I think, but they all look good to me. Red is my favorite color, OJ's too.

Tonight at Friday Night Knitting I finished the brim ribbing and got to work on the body of the Stained Glazz hat. For some reason the body seemed to go much more slowly than the ribbing. Don't know why.

Today's toss was another knitting book that I'll never use.

Once again I forgot or neglected to open the writing prompt book. Instead I wrote the 26th NaNoWriMo segment. My nice-guy main male character threw a fit, stormed out of the house and came home drunk. Gotta do something to bring conflict into the story even if I still don't know where it's going.

I just realized that I need to go to the grocery for lunch food tomorrow morning and tomorrow is Saturday. I try to avoid the grocery on Saturdays. Ah well, it should be interesting being in that crowd.


Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Turkey Day!

The day didn't start out very happy. Look what it was doing outside all morning and into the afternoon. Snow flurries. Wet sloppy snow flurries that stuck to the grass and made the pavement wet. And I had to drive 30 miles to Thanksgiving dinner but the highway was mostly dry by the time I went so it was all good. Whew.

I spent an hour or so writing the day's NaNoWriMo segment. Got over 1800 words today but then I was writing about a night dive and I can go on and on and on about diving. I still don't know what's the ultimate plot of this thing but as I keep saying, I'm just happy to be writing.

The lesson in the You Can Draw in 30 Seconds book was Blocks, so I drew stacks of blocks in many different configurations, mostly stacked up in a pyramid or triangle with doors or holes and lots of shading. It's tricky to get all the parts drawn in the time limit he puts on the timed challenges. I confess that if I'm not quite done with the shading when the timer goes off I count it as a win. Hey, it's not a graded course.

But first I drew a Doodlebug and a Newt (from my imagination, as OJ says) because that's what I called OJ and LC when they were really little. My newt looks more like an alligator but I just googled newts and saved a few pictures to print out for reference pictures. I'll try again tomorrow.

Thanksgiving dinner was delicious. It was great to be together and so good to be included in DIL1's family. There was smoked turkey and deep fried turkey, it was hard to choose a favorite so I brought home some of each. The sides were plentiful and fat filled and the pies, oh, the pies. Since I had gorged on pumpkin pie I went for the pecan pie. KZ makes an awesome bourbon pecan pie every year. It's worth the wait. The onion bread was a hit too.

Today's toss was a knitting book that I'll never knit from. It's sweaters and I'm off sweater knitting and never was real enthusiastic about it in the first place.

The prompt today said to write a poem about wrath. Not a very cheerful subject for Thanksgiving day but I managed to scribble a few lines about anger and wrath and how it eats your guts. Cheery.

I hope you all had a wonderful day. I did and, man, am I full.


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Sea Creatures

That's what I got to draw today. The lesson and bonus lesson in You Can Draw It In 30 Minutes were a seahorse and a leafy sea dragon. Oh boy. They weren't too difficult and I also discovered how to enlarge the figures so that I could see what the directions meant. It only took me ten lessons to figure that out. First was the seahorse. I've never seen one with its tail stretched out but maybe that's a Texas aquarium type of seahorse because that's where the author said he was drawing the lesson.

Then the bonus lesson was a leafy sea dragon. I thought that would be really difficult but it was fairly simple. And cool to draw. I enjoyed today's lesson and I even practiced drawing one of those dreaded pencils that gives me so much trouble once I was done. Now I want to draw more fish.

I've been watching the little Chickadees flit around the feeders and thought maybe I could draw one but they don't hold still long enough so I was reduced to pulling out a bird book and trying my hand at drawing one.  I don't think it did too badly, although it's not quite round enough.

There weren't many interesting birds to see today. The only one I took a picture of was this bottom half of a Downy Woodpecker contorting itself so that it could peck away at the suet pellets.

The greedy white-bellied squirrel had a fun time on the suet cakes. It tried a few different grips but this is the one that it stuck to. Must have made it easy to nibble the suet.

In the afternoon I realized that I didn't have anything on the needles so I dug out a basic pattern, cast on, and started knitting the brim of a new hat. This yarn is called Stained Glazz so that's what I'm calling the hat. My last two hats turned out big, huge even, so I went down a needle size and I'm not making the largest size. Now watch, it'll turn out too small. But it'll fit some head so I'm not worried.

I threw away the pumpkin pie. I couldn't keep my hands off it and knew if I kept it I'd eat it all in the next few days so I tossed it. I know it's terrible to waste food like that but I couldn't keep eating it, not with Thanksgiving looming on the horizon when I plan to have a little bit of just about everything which will be more than plenty.

Today's toss was a book that I won't read again. It isn't a bad book but it's not one that I'll reread.

The prompt today said that a municipality puts truth serum in its water to combat crime. Write about what happens. Yikes! Can you imagine? "Honey, does this make me look fat?" "You look like the south end of a northbound cow." Catastrophic. No good can come of that little stunt.

Happy Thanksgiving! I always tell people to eat lots of pie and I was following my own exhortation which is why the pie is no more.


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

My House Smells Great

Because today I made the Onion Bread for Thanksgiving dinner. I love my Kitchen Aid mixer.


Oh. My. God. I am really struggling with not going out into the kitchen and slicing off a piece of that bread, slathering it with butter, and gobbling it down. The devil on my left shoulder is saying, "You have two loaves. You only need one on Thursday. Go ahead, one slice won't hurt." And the angel on my right shoulder says, "You don't have any points left for today. You need to save your off-plan eating for Thursday so you're not frustrated when you step on the scale next Monday." So far the angel is winning. 

After I had my oil changed and had the car winterized I tootled on down to my Edward Jones office to pick up my free pumpkin pie. A free pie! This is also why I won't slice the bread, because I have already sliced the pie. Twice.

For drawing today I practiced those danged pencils that I have so much trouble with. I drew them pointing every which way just like it said in the book. I did a lot of erasing and a lot of muttering but I stuck with it. I don't think I got better at it until I realized that I could use a ruler to lightly draw some direction lines to give me a place to start. That helped. Still not perfect but better.

While the bread dough was rising I came back here and wrote the 23rd NaNoWriMo segment. I feel like I'm running out of steam a little bit. I really need to figure out where this is going, if anywhere. I have a week left to figure it out. I'll get to 50k but it'll be a miracle if I learn where I'm headed with this pile of words.

The sunset was gorgeous today. It's hard to see it behind the houses and the trees but, trust me, it was beautiful. And it also wasn't bitter cold and windy today. I think it got up into the 40s which is a great improvement over yesterday's wind chills in the 20s.


Today's toss was a book about posture and knitting. I thought it would be interesting but it's very textbook-y and doesn't have many pictures. Buh-bye.

The prompt today said that identical twins fool people into thinking they're one person. I got to recount a story that a knitting friend told us about her dad and uncle who were identical twins and they shared a job during the Depression when jobs were scarce. They got away with it until one of the twins broke his arm at work. Busted!

The last couple weeks have been amazingly productive and I've been so inspired and happy. It's been great. Today was a bit of a downer since I struggled with both drawing and writing but I plan to pick myself up by my bra straps tomorrow and get happy again. The next drawing lesson in the 30 Minutes book is to draw a seahorse. Oh goodie, goodie, goodie. That's for tomorrow. Then I get to spend the next day with the whole family at Thanksgiving dinner. Ahhh.


Monday, November 22, 2021

Another Bird Day

There were lots of different kinds of birds at the feeders today. Some I got pictures of, some I got terrible pictures of that I didn't save, and some were here and gone so quickly that I didn't get the chance to take pictures. The first bird I saw when I was making my breakfast was the Red-bellied Woodpecker but it was here and gone in the blink of an eye. As soon as the Woodpecker left I saw another flash of red and there was a Cardinal at the platform feeder.

Next a Bluejay came to the birdbath for a drink. That one I managed to get two shots of. I like this one that looks like it's staring right into the camera lens.

After that a Nuthatch and then a Downy Woodpecker each came to the suet pellets in turn. I took pictures of them that turned out blurry and unidentifiable. So I was reduced to taking a picture of the little flock of Starlings that spent quite a bit of time this morning pecking around under the feeders. Starlings are very skittish, even more easily shooed away than Mourning Doves.

Today's You Can Draw in 30 Seconds lesson was Pencil so I drew pencils facing this way and that and dressed up as a rocket. I struggle with drawing pencils facing away from me. I can't get the angle right or the shape right either. More practice is needed, I guess.

I got out a big crochet hook and the snowball pattern and made one to see if I remember how to follow the pattern. I do, sorta. It kind of looks right but I know it isn't. I'll try again tomorrow.

Today's toss was a knitting book that I don't need anymore.

The prompt today said that a woman was walking down a path alone and came to a fork in the path. The sign said that one way led to Enlightenment and the other way led to Eternal Happiness. What happens next? At first I thought that the one to choose was Eternal Happiness but then I realized how terribly boring that could be but then Enlightenment could be painful. I thought and thought, or rather my character did, and finally decided to take the path to Enlightenment. Eternal Happiness would just be too tiring.

It seemed odd to only write one NaNoWriMo segment today but I managed to accomplish it. I also got out Mother Malcolm's old sewing kit to stitch up the side of a Christmas pillow of LC's that was trying to burst open. I had promised a few weeks ago that I would fix it and finally took the time to do it.