Thursday, January 29, 2015


I finished the second of two ‘crib sized’ crochet baby blankets last night. I think they turned out ok.

2015-01-29 Crochet Baby blankets

I don’t remember the names of the stitches. I modified the finished sizes from some notes I scribbled on a random scrap of paper stuffed in an oversized envelope where I keep most of the patterns and descriptions of crochet projects. I’ve considered selling crochet blankets, hats, mittens, various baby things on Etsy or whatever, but I’m not good at “on demand” production and god forbid someone actually ordered things from me. I’d have no idea what to charge or how to go about it. So, I reserve such things for special gifts and projects that challenge me. Usually, I just go to the craft section of stores and buy yarn based on what I like, how the yarn feels in my hands, the colors, etc., and then wing it. Modern manufacturing practices, standard sizes, mass production, or consistency of any kind never apply.

Next on the crochet list of projects include boot cuffs and fingerless gloves. I made a crochet hat that I wear when I take the dog walking.

2015-01-29 Crochet hat

I like it and since I have no intention of selling the thing or even giving it away, I guess that is all that really matters.


Yesterday, I went with Chad to town so as to do some phone swapping. We spent most of the day in town and the better part of three hours at the AT&T store. Good thing I like the kid who manages our account. He is funny, smart, honest, sarcastic, self-depreciating, a golf fanatic, and also engaged to marry his long time girlfriend this summer. Never a dull moment.

I am now getting my “new to me” phone set up. I usually take Chad’s hand-me-downs. Funny how I always manage to forget what a hassle all the set up is. Passwords. Linking apps. Ringtones. Notifications. Alarm settings. Pairing with my Fitbit. And my vehicle. And on and on and on. Good grief. Electronics are demanding.


Today is cold, windy and snowing. I’m ok with the cold part. (Still January in the Northland, so meh.) And even the snowing part. (The fields could use some cover. A fresh coat of white can be lovely at a distance.) But the windy part? No thanks. Smoke and I stayed in this morning.

He isn’t happy with me and shows his disappointment by pacing, sitting by the front door, and sighing a lot.

He has passive-aggressive down to an art.



Sons of Anarchy: North Country - EP
This Life (Theme from “Sons of Anarchy”) - Curtis Stigers & The Forest Rangers
Slip Kid - Anvil & Franky Perez
John the Revelator - Curtis Stigers & The Forest Rangers
Forever Young - Audra Mae & The Forest Rangers
Girl from the North Country - Lions

Sons of Anarchy: Shelter - EP
Ruby Tuesday - Katey Sagal
Fortunate Son - Lyle Workman & The Forest Rangers
Someday Never Comes - Billy Valentine & The Forest Rangers
Burn This Town - Battleme
Gimme Shelter - Paul Brady & The Forest Rangers

Sons of Anarchy: The King is Gone - EP
No Milk Today - Joshua James & The Forest Rangers
Bird On A Wire - Katey Sagal & The Forest Rangers
Traveling’ Band - Curtis Stigers & The Forest Rangers
Miles Away (feat. Battleme & Slash) - The Forest Rangers
Hey Hey, My My - Battleme
This Life (Celtic Remix) - Curtis Stigers & The Emerald Forest Rangers

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Ten feet away

This morning as I was walking down the gravel road, watching the dog run zig-zags following his nose around the dead cornstalks, I realized I don’t take an iPod or some other gadget with me for music or news or noise. One could justifiably guess I’m looking for peace, quiet, and solitude in the outdoors. I’ve considered, on more than one occasion, loud electronic entertainment to drown out my own thoughts, my achy cold muscles, my daily walking distance goal (and how bloody long it is taking me to get there), and whatever else is going on internally. And I do have several choices of portable devices I could shove in my ears to provide diversion and distraction.

But the quiet of the outdoors can be deafening.

I may sometimes feel as though I’m a million miles from civilization, but not so in reality. I can hear the fans on the grain bins behind the tree claim kick on and off in what seems a futile attempt to keep its contents viable. The passing train blares a warning horn and chugs by on the cold, stiff iron rails. The random vehicle crunches the ice, snow and gravel under its tires on a parallel road.

If civilization wasn’t noisy enough, the wind crashes around pushing the icy, brittle tree branches into each other. If I listen carefully, sometimes I can hear what I believe to be the Momma deer and her twins who live in the trees behind my house and along the road taking timid steps, sniffing the air, twitching their big ears. Usually, tho, they hide deep in the tree claim hoping Smoke doesn’t catch their scent. Of course, he is more afraid of them than they are of him, but if he manages to kick them up and out of their hiding spot, he gives chase for maybe 100 yards before he barks at their flagging white tails disappearing across the empty field, turns, and trots back, victorious, to me.

There is nothing peaceful or quiet or alone in the outdoor “solitude” surrounding my daily walking adventures.



“A Tribute Album To Keith Whitley”

Don’t Close Your Eyes - Alan Jackson

Ten Feet Away - Diamond Rio

I’m Gonna Hurt Her On The Radio - Keith Whitley

I’m Over You - Tracy Lawrence

When You Say Nothing At All - Alison Krauss & Unions Station

Charlotte’s In North Carolina - Keith Whitley

I Just Want You - Keith Whitley & Lorrie Morgan

Little Boy Lost - Daron Norwood

All I Ever Loved Was You - Ricky Skaggs With Shenandoah

I’m No Stranger To The Rain - Joe Diffie

I Never Go Around Mirrors - Mark Chestnutt

The Comeback Kid - Keith Whitley

A Voice Still Rings True - Joe Diffie, Ricky Skaggs, Sawer Brown, & More

Monday, January 26, 2015

Old and new

I managed to get the crockpot lasagna going in time that we may be able to eat before 8pm tonight. I’m going to consider that my major accomplishment for the day, despite my doing laundry, dishes, and also paying bills and taking a walk with the dog. Whew. It just ticked over 1pm and all that is behind me.


Sunny and (relatively speaking - it is still January, after all) warm but windy, again, today. I could easily be spoiled by such conditions. With the impending winter storm Juno heading for the northeast, I’m sending warm thoughts that direction.


On Saturday, my business partner and I traveled to Mandan so that we could clear out our training center and haul everything back to our respective homes. It was hard work, up and down a huge flight of stairs countless times with heavy, cumbersome furniture, totes full of books and supplies, and random detritus one tends to collect over five years of running a business. A sad and sadly necessary task, when shuttering a business.

My legs hurt from the stairs. My heart hurts from the ending of things. However, when one chapter ends, I suppose the logical thing to do is turn the page so as to start the next. My brain would feel better knowing what that next chapter is or how to start it.


Enya: A Day Without Rain
A Day Without Rain
Wild Child
Only Time
Tempus Vernum
Deora Ar Mo Chroi
Flora’s Secret
Fallen Embers
Silver Inches
One By One
Lazy Days

Friday, January 23, 2015


I’m sure I’ve said it before here, but January is a tough one for me. So many things I can do, even more I should do, but so few I want to do.


January, in the Northland, brings cold and grey, with the constant threat of snow. Or worse, snow and wind. The air smells cold, crackling cold, if that is possible, like sticking your head in the deep freeze on a hot July afternoon. Jarring. Relentless. No quarter offered or given. Standing outside, even when sheltered from the wind and dangerous wind chills, exposed skin starts to freeze in just a few minutes, causing the uncomfortable tingle-sting of beginning frostbite on the cheeks and fingertips.

Unless it is today. Today the sun is shining, the sky is the color of a fragile Robin’s egg, and the temperature is flirting with 40F. Today is the exception to January’s frozen-fisted tyrannical rule. The ever contrary Northland weather makes me feel sorry for the weather man.

But if you don’t like the weather today, hang around for it will change - as if in just a few hours you traveled to another continent - or to another planet.


A Hundred Miles Or More: A Compilation
(Alison Krauss)

You’re Just A Country Boy
Simple Love
Jacob’s Dream
Away Down The River
Sawing On The Strings
Down To The River To Pray
Baby Mine
Molly Ban
How’s The World Treating you
The Scarlet Tide
Whiskey Lullaby
You Will Be My Ain True Love
I Give You To His Heart
Get Me Through December
Missing You
Lay Down Beside Me

Friday, January 16, 2015

Be specific

On the side road that takes me to Interstate and just before the onramp, I drove past a parked pickup today - the kind with weld machines and tool boxes anchored to the pickup’s bed. This isn’t unusual, as people stop along the road for all kinds of reasons: to take/make phone calls or text messages, to check maps or look for paperwork, to sleep, to adjust/secure cargo.

The driver of this particular pickup was standing by the endgate and was facing the ditch, so when I drove up I could see him in profile. It was obvious just exactly what he was doing and it sure as hell wasn’t securing cargo. My sudden arrival startled him, and I’m guessing probably embarrassed him; he quickly zipped up and turned so I couldn’t see his face.

Since when is this ok - if it ever was - stopping on the side road to pee? Usually the culprits are men, but occasionally I’ve driven over the hill to see more of a woman than I care to, relieving herself in the open air, not 75 yards from the Interstate.

And really, if this were 100 miles from any kind of town or rest area, I probably wouldn’t think much of it, but 15 miles east or west on that 75-mile-an-hour Interstate and there are truck stops, gas stations, restaurants and rest stops a-plenty.

I think I’m going to get signs made - like the ones for posting “no hunting” areas - that say “Pee-free zone: take it to town” (or something similar).



The weather today requires a new word, but I’m not sure what. The temperature is 27F with 100% humidity. Cold. Damp. Foggy. Snow is threatening - I can smell it on the air. Conditions are perfect for frosting tree branches, evergreens, fences - anything really. Everything is grey, silver, white-washed - like going back to Kansas black and white after living in Oz technicolor.

There should be a word for this.

Froggy (Frosty + Foggy) is the best I can come up with, but it’s not really evocative of the white haze and wet cold, but I hope you get the idea. If there is a more descriptive word already in existence and I’m just too lazy to find it in a thesaurus, help a girl out.


Winter is weighing me down, more so this year than I can remember from years past. Everything seems to take more and more time and effort. Getting dressed. Going to town to run errands. Walking the dog. Cooking supper. Looking for work. Everything is heavy and dense making it difficult to think clearly and stay focused.

I can and I do all those things and more of course; my point is that it just takes more time and concerted effort.



“Anchored in Love: A Tribute to June Carter Cash” (various artists)
If I Were a Carpenter
Wildwood Flower
Far Side Banks of Jordan
Keep on the Sunny Side
Wings of Angels
Ring of Fire
Road to Kaintuck
Big Yellow Peaches
Kneeling Drunkard’s Plea
Will the Circle be Unbroken
Song to John

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Take a walk

Today the outside temperature hovered at that “just bearable” above zero degree and without much of a wind I had to take Smoke out for a walk for the first time this month. Winter is brutal.

So I layered on clothing, pulled on my boots, and hauled my out of shape self out the door for about half an hour this morning. Rewards for such insanity include coffee, more coffee, sausage-egg-and-hashbrown slow cooker recipe leftovers from last night for lunch today, and a piece of dark chocolate.



Chad went to town today in search of various items including a few ingredients that I’m short on to make General Tsao’s Chicken. In the slow cooker, of course. I’ve never tried such an adventurous recipe, so I’m not holding much for expectations.


Between searching for new and interesting slow cooker recipes and new and interesting crochet patterns, my browser cache is the stuff of legend. If Big Brother is out there (and we all know he is) and watching me he will have a nice nap after sifting through such information.

I’m also searching - without success - for a new career path. Please have hope, dear reader, for I’m losing mine, that this new path does not include Walmart, bagging groceries, or telemarketing.


Playlist: still paused

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

To myself

I like being alone.

I’m sure there are people out there who will look at that sentence and think I’ve some disorder. Pretty sure I’m on the ‘fine’ side of any psychological lines, but for my continued sanity, let’s just take the ‘fine’ as a given and get on with our day.

Realizations about observed preferences reveal themselves when Chad comes home sick and parks on the couch in the living room for two days, completely throwing off my game.

There can be no quiet (action movie stereo surround sound carries long and far).

There can be no music (at least not mine as it conflicts acoustically in my head with the stereo surround sound from the action movies).

There can be no napping (not that I nap, but I like the idea of having the option).

Since he is sick, I try to stay as far away as possible, occasionally throwing cold medicine in his general direction. I’m not a nurse, and for good reason.

The dog and I pay bills, set supper to simmer in the slow cooker, wander around the house chasing laundry and dust dragons, but my game is definitely off.

Everything I do takes twice as long. I’m much more efficient when alone.


I went to Fargo yesterday with my oldest daughter. She had several gift cards burning holes in her designer bag, so I went along to help her spend it. She likes to shop and I like to tag along.

It was a good day.


With a ‘free trial’ of Netflix, I’m about half way through the second season of "Orange is the New Black." Also, I think I may have talked myself into reading the book. It has been a while since I spent any quality time with my Nook.