Thursday, June 23, 2016

It's NOT Jake....And He's NOT From State Farm

Last night, I had another one of the amazing adventures the likes of which only I, Molly Bee, can get herself into.  I have a couple of spots on the tattoo that I got in November that I would like touched up, so I called the place where I had it done and asked for my Tattoo Guy, Jake. The reception lady said that Jake had moved to another parlor, was kind enough to tell me where, and said that I should contact him there. I called the new place and they told me to just stop by and Jake would take a look, so off I went.

As I got closer to where Google Maps said the place was, I noticed that I was not in Kansas anymore. The neighborhood got dodgier  and dogier until I arrived at a sketchy-looking bldg with even sketchier looking clientele loitering around outside. It was getting dark and raining a pour which didn't help the ambiance a bit. But I parked the car and took a deep breath. I tried to remember how well it went with the 'gangstahs' I met in Target a few weeks back. Don't judge a book and all that, so I set out for the shop.

You know in the Westerns when the stranger comes to town, goes through the swinging saloon door and everyone in the place spins around, pistols drawn and it's so quiet you can hear a pin drop? Yeah. It was like that. I thought, "So this is how it ends. I did not see that coming!" What if making friends with 'gangstahs' only works if I'm on MY home turf (Target). The place was packed wall-to-wall with patrons. I was the only one not wearing a Harley t-shirt or leather. And I don't have even one facial piercing. Talk about feeling like I had brought along an overcooked linguine noodle to a gun fight!

After a couple of tense moments, the natives went back to playing poker, wooing Miss Kitty, and drinking sarsaparilla, and I asked the nearest guy to me for Jake. Jake came out to talk to me and I realized that I had never seen this giant man before in my life! He looked equally puzzled to see me! After I few minutes of discussion we discovered that the man who did my tattoo was JACK. (I knew I shouldn't have tossed that business card!) but JAKE couldn't have been sweeter and we discussed what I wanted done and he gave me advice and told me to call Jack, who still works in the posh, sterile, hygienic parlor that I called in the first place. A couple of the other artists, chimed in and I realized that I had broken my own rule, I had judged on looks. These rough-looking, pierced, tattooed guys were polite, articulate, friendly, helpful and very good at their jobs. I looked at some of their work and each one was an amazingly skilled artist.

I thanked them for their help and got back to my car safely. (I still drove home feeling like I'd barely made it out with my life, more because of the neighborhood than anything else, but that was unfounded because there was a STRONG police presence everywhere. ) I laughed to myself when I thought about what it must have looked like from their point of view, when Miss Prim and Proper with her little, pink, wrist tattoo came timidly through the door. Probably one of them is writing a blog post about it right now!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wisconsin Tangle Artists' Coalition Meeting June 11, 2016

Still catching up a little on my blogging.We had a great WiTaC meeting a couple of Saturday's ago. Katie demonstrated Chameleon Markers which I'm still trying to wrap my mind around. They are alcohol based, start out light and go to dark as you use them so you don't need 12 different hues of each color marker to create shade and  depth. She gave us each a chance to play with them and they were amazing! If I used a lot of color, I'd definitely go for these. 

Tess did a presentation on watermarking your artwork. I've never really done this but guess I should. Folks were talking about finding their artwork on Internet sites for sale as posters, tee-shirts and what not, without their permission. That is a risk of posting your work on the computer. Everyone has access and some people's motives are less than pure.  She gave us several tips for either manually or electronically watermarking that I definitely will play around with.

Our tangle of the day challenge was to use 'Agora' by Lynn Woods-the pattern that looks like a window, in the back ground.
In an attempt to use some new tangles that I had just learned, this was my first tile. I didn't really like the clunky composition.

So I made a second tile that I liked a lot better.There is something about a black background that makes me HAVE to throw stars in there!

During the meeting, we had time to visit and tangle. I wanted to try out a new tangle called Plum-lei by Dawn Collins which is the flowers in the bottom right. I really like it and will add it to my 'flower arsenal' of patterns!

I love tiles like the bottom one. It's not a particularly great one, but it's one where I was visiting with and listening to others and kind of on autopilot, so when it was finished I was as surprised as anyone else to find out that Egypt showed up to the party! I started with the simple diagonal triangles called Pharah by Simona Cardera.  That led to Snake Eggs by Nancy Robinson before I knew it there was a palm tree, desert, Middle Eastern sun and The Nile. Fun!

Zentangle Expo is coming up next month-July 8 and 9th. I signed up for a ton of cool classes. It's at the Marriott West this year by Greenway Station near Middleton. There will be a gallery in the main atrium of the hotel, which, if you've seen it, is GORGEOUS! There will also be a market where you can buy new things, as well as a kind of 'swap meet' where you can buy supplies that tanglers bring in to sell. Can't wait! If you're in the Madison area, you are welcome to come! I hope to see you there!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Diva Challenge 272: Black and White and Red All Over

It's been a while since I've been able to do the Diva challenge, but the stars aligned on this solstice to I tackled this week's. It was to include a splash of red in your black and white tile.

So much fun to add a pop of color! Thanks again for a great challenge, Laura!!!

Ops in Action: Heartland Farm

Earlier this year my workplace awarded me an opportunity to work at the charity of my choice for one week without using any vacation time. It's an amazing program that they offer each year to two applicants from the Operations group. I was thrilled with the award and immediately contacted Heartland to tell them that I was available for whatever project I could be most useful doing. I envisioned building sheds, repairing fences or stalls; things of that nature. It was a pretty big surprise to me that it all shook out for me to help out with one of the weeklong kid's camps! 

I showed up on Monday and surveyed my 'office' for the week. The view from the boardroom was amazing.

The meeting rooms were fantastically decorated.

My coworkers were definitely adorable. 
 The only thing I was apprehensive about was the kids. You know me....Miss Worst Case Scenario. If I can envision the whole thing going up in flames, I will be prepared to do something about it.  A lot of the kids I see around are raised so differently from the way I grew up. We were used to running around in the fields, the dirt and the bugs. Would these kids be ok with the 'less glamourous side' of being at the barn for an entire week? What is someone got hurt? We didn't have video games when I was young. Would these kids be surgically attached to their electronics so it would be a battle all week to get through to them? What if they asked me questions that I couldn't answer like,

 "Why does that sheep have three butts?"

What if the llama went on a rampage and held the swingset hostage so the kids couldn't play?

In the end, it turned out like it usually does.  Things went well. The kids left their cell phones at the door without a word.  Kids got dirty, scraped, stung and nipped. The llama DID hold the swingset hostage briefly. But everyone arrived at the end of the week cleaned up, bandaged, salved, happy and better humans for the experience. And I learned so much that it warrants another entry altogether. So Opps in Action? A success!

Monday, June 06, 2016

Texas Tells Tall Tales

While I was in Paris a couple of weekends ago, Sister Shiela asked me if I had seen the biggest knitting needles in the world. Me, being wise in all things knitting and stuff, was astonished to have to tell her' no'-never even heard of them. Seems they were just down the street from the campground so we jumped in the car and drove over to Casey, IL to see them. They were in a charming yarn shop on Main street. As a bonus, they also had the world's largest crochet hook!

I would have paid to have been there the day they worked up the sample on them.And I complain about working on anything bigger than a size 7 needle!

After we came out and got looking around, I realized that Texas has some 'splainin' to do!  They always bang their 'everything is bigger in Texas' drum, but I'm here to tell you, there is something in the water in Casey! Casey is home to:

The world's largest wind chime. You can even ring it! It makes an awesome deep sound.

The world's largest birdcage. I went for a ride on the swing inside. 

The world's largest rocking chair which I immediately claimed as my own because it was so cool. I do that sometimes. It's a throwback to my toddler days. MINE! There was no way to climb up into it so I guess I was literally 'off my rocker'.

The worlds largest wooden clogs (only one is pictured). I could have sworn I saw an old woman living in there. She seemed to have so many children she didn't know what to do!

The world's largest mailbox. We climbed up inside. The thing closes, you can put the flag up, and yes, you can even mail a letter up there. I think it's only for 'up in the air' mail though. 

And the world's biggest pencil for writing down big ideas. Don't worry! There's a big eraser on the other end for fixing big mistakes. 

I found out later that I missed the world's biggest golf tee, table fork, pitch fork and ear of corn.  So what say you Texas. It's put up or shut up time because, Casey? It's kind of a big deal!

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

Campin' in Paris

On Friday, I drove 5 hours south to my brother's house in Paris. He and SIL Shiela had invited me to go camping with them in Martinsville near their home. 

They have this beautiful camper permanently parked in a campground there. It was like camping in the Taj Mahal, two queen-sized beds, bathroom, shower, microwave, sink, stove and oven. Someone suggested that I wasn't so much 'camping' as 'staying with folks'. We really did rough it though. Shiela had mistakenly taken the satellite/cable box home TV! (Which I LOVED!)

This is the hideous view from the camper. Look at all that lake and green and freshness!

And the essential part of camping...the fire pit. I love the smell of wood smoke. 

They brought their three dogs down with them. Ellie is the wee Chihuahua/Dachshund mix. The little mop dog is Max. He's in constant motion and so you'll have to use your imagination on that blurry picture. 

And this is my bestest bud, Sophie. She reminds me so much of Bentley, who was half Boxer himself.  She slept with me both nights. 

This is what it's like waking up next to her. 

I had a great time with the family. Got to see my two nieces, went Geocaching in the surrounding country side with Shiela, and to the golf cart races and Karaoke night at the campground. Shiela and I went into Casey, a little town nearby-but that is a post unto itself! Shiela cooked great meals and we just chilled, visited, and played games. We even played Lawn Yahtzee which is like regular Yahtzee except the dice are the size of a cantaloupe and you throw them out of a big bucket onto the lawn! All in all it was a great, relaxing weekend. I wish it wasn't so far away! But I guess they're lucky it's not or I would be there more often, looking for snakes and hogging the seat on the golf cart!

How was your weekend?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dog Surfin' the 'Hood

It's been a rough few weeks without my buddy. His toys are still around so it's easy to pretend he's just snoozing in the other room until I drop food on the floor in the kitchen and yell, 'Clean Up!' and no one comes running. Or when I need a big old hug and sloppy kiss....let's just say Cooper is a poor substitute.

I have discovered a way to relieve a little of my Doggy-Less Life Blues recently though.  You wouldn't know it to look at me, but I've been walking three miles a night and 5 on the weekend days forever now. I've always stopped to greet the dogs I've met along the way; a head scritch here, a kiss there. I don't care if you're running, or in a bad mood and don't care to stop and talk, thank you. If you have your canine companion with you, I'm going to wreck your timed run and possibly enhance your bad mood, because your pup and I?  We got bid'ness to attend to! After all, all dogs on the planet belong to me....I just keep them different places.

To be honest, I've lost a lot of the runners in the past. One look at my 'built for comfort, not for speed' physique and they just know, there is nothing I can do to stop them, unless I trip them...and that was just that one guy that time. But I've recently become much wiser. I load my pockets with dog treats before I leave the house, that way I have the means to easily approach folks and get my puppy loves!
I've discovered that all I have to do now is to stop a runner ONE time. Then once I give their fur baby a treat, the dog will do all the work every time I encounter them after that, possibly dislocating the runner's shoulder should he/she try to resist!  Who's a good puppy?! I think it's you! Yes it is!

Yesterday was a pretty horrible day. I dreaded my walk because it was so hot and humid and I felt blah, but I dog-boned up and off I set. Seems like Howard (of  'Our Father, who art in Heaven, Howard be Thy name' fame) knew that I needed a little something extra last night, so he put a lot of new dogs in my path. I ran into the folks I almost always run into each night, like Bubba and Otis, who start baying like werewolves now when they catch a glimpse of me in the distance; and Betsy, the Great Dane whom I've been tempted to ride around my walking path more than once. And Katie and Oscar, two lab puppies at two different houses along the way, that keep my arms consistently scratched and bitten up with their enthusiasm. But last night I also made a bunch of new friends and met some pretty great neighbors too. There was:

Sadie-A sweet, little lab mix that was found alongside the road with her puppy-brothers and sisters in Georgia. I met her in her yard, and then THREE more times with her Mommy and two, young, human brothers out on the trails. She reminded me of Ben the way she sat-kerplunk once she realized I was packing Milk Bones! Her brothers, Seamus and Andre were quite put out that I didnt' have a pocket full of chocolate chip cookies for them!

PePe-In all honesty, PePe may be some South American rodent. He was small with sparse, wiry hair and a bald tail. His eyes here running, he had diarrhea and the longest fangs I've ever seen on a 'dog' but we were pals from his first bite of biscuity goodness. South American River Rats need love too! His dad  was very stand-offish at first, but after two minutes was listing all of PePes ailments and we were discussing possible solutions. It helped that the dad was running into the park where there are no trash cans so I offered to take his poop bag back with me and toss it since I was almost home.

And Reilly-the new kid on the block; an 8 week old Boston Terrier. Oh. My. Howard. I contemplated sticking her chunky, fuzzy body in my free pocket and forcing my chunky, fuzzy body into a run and kidnapping her. But who was I kidding? Her dad was easily  350# and had a 11 month old toddler on his hip and he still would have tackled me before I made the end of the door yard. What a sweet little pup, though.  Not only did I give her a tiny Milk Bone. Her dad said he wasn't sure she would eat it because 'it was her first treat ever'! That's right, direct from Aunti Min!

By the time, I got home, I felt marginally better.  Pretty cheap therapy for the price of a box of Midget Milk Bones!

Monday, May 23, 2016


OK, so sometimes fraternizing with your fellow humans will bite you in the butt; not often, but sometimes.  Case in point, at the gas station today, I saw a young man wearing a green 'I (heart) VT' t-shirt (exactly like the one above), so I say to him,

"I love's so green...well all of New England is pretty."

He looks at me like I have a hole in the head and then looks behind him to see if I am maybe talking to someone else. Nope. It's just you and me. Bucko!

I try again.  "I was born and raised up in Northern Maine but live out here now. I sure miss the Atlantic."

Again, he gave me an 'OK, who's in charge of the the crazy lady' look and finally said, in a clearly irritated, haughty, voice, "I've never been out East.".

I say, " Oh, I just saw your 'I (heart) Vermont' shirt and assumed. Sorry!'.

He looks down at his shirt and said (and I quote), "VT doesn't stand for Vermont. It stands for Virginia Tech-my alma mater" in a snooty tone and then turned his back to me.

Huh. I wonder how much tuition is at Virginia Tech these days, 'cause this poor guy didn't get his money's worth. Maybe  I should call up Virginia Tech and have them add a blurb about the abbreviation for Vermont in their geography classes...and have them mention that Virginia is, in fact, ON the EAST coast, or 'out East' as it were?

After he left, the cashier and I burst out laughing. I guess sometimes the ones that bite you are entertaining as well!