A Nor’easter Blows Through

High winds early Friday morning woke me up several times. Was that a freight train coming at the house? Nope. A Nor’easter.

Laura Ambler, my writing partner, and I had worked on our play Thursday and she had warned me what was coming. Her day job is in aviation so she’s acutely aware of the weather. And the Nor’easter arrived just as predicted.

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We watched the old silver maples on our property give up some limbs. Nothing very big, but a pick-up-sticks job to be handled. Although we are near the water we didn’t have any flooding like other parts of the east coast. However the rotation of the storm pulled water out of the local rivers and there were some really low tides. We never lost power although we do have a generator back-up. The winds were still roaring Sunday night and another storm is predicted for Wednesday.

Dancing Santa

The weather didn’t keep Laura and me from writing. Our play, commissioned by The Merlin Players in Faribault, Minnesota, is almost finished. We will be able to send it to Artistic Director,  Julianna Skluzacek, by the end of next week. We sent our ideas to Julianna in early October 2017 and began work in earnest on January 6, 2018. We have worked two to four days a week since then. Sometimes with our cell phones on speaker when Laura was in Florida on business. Usually we worked for two hours or a little more before our brains went on strike. Much of the time at the beginning is asking questions. What is the play about? What would happen if this character did x, y or z? What conflict would that generate? Does a scene further the arc of the story?

Since the play is about the same characters in The Santa Diaries (five years later), we had the luxury of knowing who would be playing some of the parts as actors who had played characters several years ago wanted to have those parts again. That meant we could write to an actor’s strengths. I’m very visual. It helped to know what a character looked like.

In the Rest of My Life

We’ve had a worrisome two weeks as my beloved daughter-in-law was in the hospital with post-flu viral pneumonia. She spent a week on a ventilator. Most of the time I’m just fine with my kids living on the other side of the country, but when something like this happens I sure wish we were closer. Janet is now home and recuperating. I spent alot of time knitting to keep my anxiety under control.

The weather has kept me from the gardens but I went out yesterday while dinner was heating on the stove and took some photos. The Hellebores are blooming, but I haven’t had time to get the winter damaged leaves pulled out yet. And it’s still too wet and a little early to do an all in clean-up. I like leaving leaf mulch around the perennials until the evening temps moderate.

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Columbines and tiny lamb’s ears are emerging through the leaf mulch.

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My agenda for today, Sunday, March 4, 2018.

  1. Plant some seeds using the soil blocking method. My efforts to start some seeds inside in a bio-dome are not going so well.
  2. Read the 90 page play script to see what tweaks are needed. Laura and I are scheduled to work early tomorrow morning before she has to go to her office.
  3. Help my husband pick up sticks on the lawn.
  4. Poach a chicken so there will be protein in the fridge for the coming week.
  5. Make red onion refrigerator pickles.
  6. Do laundry. We are out of socks.

Wow. That’s a long list. I’m thinking some of these items may get pushed to tomorrow afternoon. But the play work will get done…and the laundry. We need those socks.

 

When It’s Too Cold to Go Outside

We’ve had some really cold weather lately. Much colder than normal for the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The kind of cold that required dripping the pipes at night. The kind of cold that makes going outside for any reason painful. The temperatures are supposed to moderate for the next few days and some predicted precipitation will be rain instead of snow.

My husband builds a fire in the fireplace every night.  On these very cold days we light it around 3:30 in the afternoon. By that point I’m ready to leave my office and sit and knit and watch something mindless on TV. Thank you Amazon (The White Queen) and Netflix (Hart of Dixie).

I’ve blogged before that I knit sweaters for kids using the Guideposts Knit for Kids pattern. I love the mindless knitting but hate sewing the front and back together. So my friend Mary Ann Hillier volunteered to sew up five sweaters that had been in a bag for a year. Only a good friend would do that for you. Once before I had a friend who got a bag of sweaters to sew for me. Soon after they moved away and I never heard from her again. That won’t happen with Mary Ann. She’s a member of our What-we-just-finished -reading Book Club and will be a beta reader for my third novel.

Mary Ann is a generous soul. She started a non-profit to supply backpacks full of school supplies to underfunded schools in Mississippi. Their mission: Paper and Pencils, Inc. is a non-profit organization providing school supplies to children in the Mississippi Delta because we believe education is the one true way out of poverty. Learn more about Paper and Pencils.  You might be motivated to make a donation.

A couple of times my husband and I have helped Mary Ann fill the backpacks and prepare them for shipping. When I think of the advantages our four children had, it just doesn’t seem fair.  These Mississippi kids don’t have the basics, so Mary Ann’s non-profit gets a check every year. I wish it could be more.

But, back to knitting. It seems I never have quite enough yarn for one of these Knit for Kids sweaters (they can be knit in various sizes), so many are often striped or color blocked, using leftover bits of yarn. Yarn that people give me or I find at thrift stores. Because I had bags of yarn in various places in the house, I had to pull everything out to try to find what I needed every time I wanted to start a new sweater. It took time away from mindless television watching.

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That led me to think about organizing my yarn stash by color families which led to a trip to Lowe’s for plastic bins. In one of the closets I found a box of art supplies that had been put there when we moved into this house eleven years ago. The art supplies belonged to my mother. Bottles of Acrylic Polymer Medium. Does that stuff go bad? I emailed an artist friend to see if she could use it. An upright vacuum cleaner that I never use will go to the thrift shop. And three slender black metal poles that have threaded ends. I have no idea what they could possibly be. I suppose since they have been at the back of that closet for eleven years, they can go in the trash. Or, perhaps I will move them to the garage. They might be good garden poles.

My yarn goal is to use up what I have before I buy more. If you’re interested in knitting sweaters to keep children warm, here’s the link to more information.and patterns.

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If it had been warmer this week I might have spent some time in the garage inventorying leftover seeds. Maybe next week. The seed catalogues are arriving daily.