Friday, December 28, 2007

Photo Essay: Trip To Maine/Christmas in The County

Time spent in "The County"...

Is the calls of sweet little chickadees in the cranberry bush...
The antics of woodpeckers working on the suet...

The appearance of 'invisible deer' in the side yard...
And in the dooryard...

Fiddleheads on the dinner table ...
A feast of epic proportions...

And time spent with loved ones....

Hope your holidays were as happy as mine!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve in Crystal Maine

I can't believe how fast the time is going! We're almost at the end of our stay and it seems like we only just got here. We went Christmas shopping an hour up-country in Presque Isle on Saturday. Got to meet my Mum's school chum, Lovely G., her husband, Handsome D. and Delightful Daughter, M. They have built a fantastic home on the side of a hill that overlooks the fields, farms and forests for miles and miles and miles. It's an absolutely magnificent view. I think Lovely G. and I are twins separated at birth when it comes to crafting, although she outclasses me by miles. She has a beautiful quilt room and several of her pieces were available for me to drool over as well as the most gorgeous stained glass cabinet doors and window hangings I have ever seen. I think we could have chatted for two days straight without taking a breath!

We went to Marden's in Presque Isle among other places. If you don't live here and don't know about Marden's, you're lucky. It kills me to go back to the Midwest and pay regular price for things when I know I can get them at Marden's for half that. My latest treasure from there are fur-lined Croc shoes in hot pink! $6.99 Deah!

We saw two bald eagles in a white pine on the way up north and I have been having a great time watching all of the birds in the back yard here at Mum's. This morning, we had a new guy, a snow bunting. He was cute as could be but it's unusual for them to be alone and not in a huge flock so I was worried, but he seems to be gone now, so I hope he found his buds. I went out to fill the feeders for the first time yesterday and had a Tippi Hedren moment when the chickadees swarmed me, but I survived, despite the lack of a conveniently placed phone booth to hide in. Rumor has it that there are pine grosbeaks around but I haven't seen them yet. I think they fall into the same category as the herd of deer that are supposed to be in Mum's back yard all the time: invisible. They leave tracks and poop all over, new stuff every time we look out, but I haven't seen them once. They are obviously the rare and elusive invisible County deer. I'll keep my eye open for them this evening when I'm watching for Santa! Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Wee-ah Hee-ah, Dee-ah!

We made it to Northern Maine with surprisingly few glitches given the state of the airlines these days. The biggest problem that we had on the whole trip was the fact that we couldn't tilt the driver's seat back on the rental car, thus forcing the 6'6" Mr. Bee to sit upright, cramming his head into the ceiling of the car, giving him a wicked case of static cling head. He also couldn't lean back far enough to see the entire speedometer. He only knew how fast he was going if his speed was between zero and 30, or 80-100 mph. The rest of the dial was obscured by the dash overhang. So I co-piloted from the passenger seat.

It snowed the first two days we were here. Not a lot. I guess they got more down in 'tropical Maine' (south of Bangor), but up here it was two full days of snow-globe snow that dithered about in the air before settling into a 2-3 inch powdery layer. Today is brilliantly sunny and the snow on the ground and trees is sparkling like diamonds. I spent some pleasant time this morning sitting in a kitchen chair looking out the sliding glass door at the Christmas card like scene; the snow, the pines, blue jays, woodpeckers, cardinals and red squirrels. Mum asked me what I was doing and I told her, "Watching Animal Planet." There are bird feeders in the back yard and they're always busy!

Saw two moose yesterday on the way back from Christmas shopping. I think it was a mother and yearling. They are godawful big anytime you see them, but they look even bigger against the new snow. Just gawjus, Deah!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Holidays

Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas before Mr Bee and I jet off to Maine tomorrow. I'm not sure how much I'll be able to blog while I'm there. There's lots of other stuff to do.

Last week we had a decorating competition with some of the of the other departments at our company. The judging was this morning. The kids put off making any kind of a move until noontime on Friday, thus lulling the competition into a false sense of security. Then they made their admin (moi) scramble at the last minute gather all of the supplies they'd need for their masterpiece:

  • Wrapping paper, ribbons and bows to wrap the entire department, walls and all: $153.47

  • 15 Ph.D's x 4 hours each: $ A decabazzillion dollars

  • Seeing their faces when they opened their first prize package which contained two bottles of cheap wine and a 6 pack of snowman peeps (the ultimate wine glass garnish): Priceless.

We had a holiday lunch today in another building on campus. All 15 of them put their elf hats on and we all crossed the street together to go to lunch. I believe I've made the baby ducks on crack analogy before. Too much fun!

Here is a photo of the quickie tied woobie that I made my BubberKev for Christmas. He never reads this anyway. He used-ta-was a Marine. It was fun to make and super warm.

Off to finish packing the bags! Have a safe and happy Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like....

Antarctica!!! Snow Snow Snow! We got another boatload of the stuff yesterday and we're running out of places to put it. We got stuck in the dooryard coming home yesterday because out whole neighborhood was unplowed and 7 inches of snow had fallen. What made it worse is that a wee bit of sleet fell first so there was nothing to get traction on under all that snow. But we persevered and managed to get it all cleaned up in record time and tucked into a huge crock-pot full of roast beast, potatoes, carrots, and pearl onions for our trouble. Man I love my crock-pot. There's nothing like coming in from the cold and finding dinner all done for you! Mr. Bee limits his portions because next-day-roast-beast- hash is his favoritest!

After supper we wrapped all of the presents. Some have to be sent off by UPS, some have to be hand-delivered and some will sit until after the first of the year when we go North for Christmas II in Marshfield. Mr. Bee and I cranked up the Barenaked Ladies Christmas CD and argued pleasantly about whether there is a need to wrap shirt boxes that already have a colorful holiday top or not. There were minimal mishaps with the sharp paper-cutting scissors and tape. All in all no bloodshed so it was a success.

I've been knitting but it's been a lot of stuff I can't post about until after the holidays. I am making a pair of purple and lilac mittens to go with my new winter coat though.Can't remember the name of the pattern but it's from Knitty. Hopefully they will be done in time to wear to Maine. We leave on Tuesday so it'll be usual with my projects.

A friend has asked me to make two pairs of socks for her and her daughter after the Holidays. The yarn she picked out is from Hobby Lobby. Cameo Yarn Bee Super Bulky. It nice and soft and fuzzy acrylic. It'll make nice house socks , but I've never knit socks from that thick a yarn. I don't even know where to begin to find out what size needles and how many stitches I need to start. It's 3.5 oz and 142 yards. The yarn sleeve says to use size 13 needles, but I suspect that that is for a lacy scarf. HELP! Any ideas on how many to cast on and on what size. I normally cast on 64 on size twos and use regular wool sock yarn. If there's anyone out there with advice I'd surely appreciate it! I do hates me some Wicked Maths.

Aside from attacking the snow shovel in much the same manner he does the vacuum, Bentley has been behaving himself. His new buddy, Dale Harriet gave him an honest-to-goodness piggy ear to try and help him distinguish the taste of real pork from polyester piggy slippers.He snarked down the ear in record time and proclaimed it the food of the doggie Gods, but isn't a discriminating connoisseur and still covets the slippers. He tries to get in the closet every time the door opens and eyes Hank and Lefty with a glint in his eye and drool on his jowls. I think it's doggie extortion; a gimme the real thing and the slippers live sorta thing. Time will tell.

Off to knit more mittens...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Living The Dream

Have you had the dream? You know, the one where you somehow forgot to dress and show up at your high school one morning clad only in your flannel grannie nightie and piggie slippers? Then you spend the rest of the night trying to act like that was what you intended to wear; that you were making a fashion statement rather than exhibiting the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Now I know that the young whipper-snappers coming up today think nothing of sporting their jammies to school or the mall or whatever. I’ve seen ‘em around. But in my day, if you showed up anywhere sportin’ your Underoos, well then Lucy, you had some ‘splaining to do!

So after spending the day ill, I rallied, showered and changed my actual sleep gear (ratty old t-shirt) for a stylin’ pair of red,flannel jammie pants, elegantly covered in cavorting penguins and my pink, plush, piggie slippers, Hank and Lefty and headed for the Sow’s Ear for late night knit night. It was to be a sleepover, but after the day I’d put in, I was only going to be able to put in a few hours. Nonetheless, I wanted to ‘fit in’ by wearing my boudoir ensemble. To support the cause you know? So I get there and there is one other person, besides Deb the barista, there. Molly is sitting in the corner, spit-splicing yarn together for an amazing Kaffe vest she is working on. And she’s wearing regular street clothes. Not only do I now look like an idiot, I am outclassed in the knitting department as well. Heavy sigh…such is my life.

But I decide to make the best of it. Even if I am the only piggie, penguin wearing chick in the room, I will make it work somehow. Chin up, I got my hot chocolate and sat down to start in on a pair of the most hideous socks known to man. Seriously. Even more disturbing than the green striped socks I made a while back. There are colors in there that are heretofore unknown to man and should never be put side by each. But I digress. Soon folks begin to trickle in. No one else is in jammies. Crap. But I don't let on that I'm feeling like a big penguin, piggie sportin' dork. Then, my salvation…Heather, the manager shows up in her jammie pants and puppy slippers! Hank and Lefty were ecstatic and I was much relieved. As the evening wore on a few other brave souls showed up in jammie pants and the pressure was off. I sat back and enjoyed the knitting, snacks and company; Dale Harriet and lovely daughter, Chocolate Sheep Beth and new friend Kitty Mommy and her darling so, the I-man. What a great night!

Mr. and Bentley Bee came to pick me up at 10:30. I was wiped out and the party had just begun. I heard that a couple of hearty souls even made it all night with Heather. Hopefully there will be another all nighter next winter. If there is, Hank, Lefty and I are in for the whole enchilada!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Swine Surgery

I guess it was inevitable. I really thought we had the situation under control at first. After the initial attack the first day I brought them home, we had a fairly lengthy 'Come-to-Jesus' talk that included phrases like 'NOOOO!', 'Bad Dog!' and 'Thou Shalt Not Eat Piggy Slippers, Ben'! But the lure of all that pink, porcine, plushness was just too great. While the world was still, snow falling gently, and Mr. Bee and I tucked snuggly in our bunk, Mr. Bentley tippy-toed into the closet and snagged Lefty. I like to imagine it started as an innocent snuggle and kiss. Then one thing led to another and before he knew it, he was in way over his head; chomping, chewing and tearing the stuffing out Lefty's snout with reckless abandon. Lefty bore it stoically. He surrendered his innards with nary a word to alert the sleeping world of the horrendous mauling that was taking place. He's one tough piggy slipper that Lefty.

I awoke the next morning, cracked open my bleary eyes and swung my feet over the side of the bed and directly into wet, white fluff. Huh? What ta..? Did it snow inside? It took only seconds to realize the horror of what had happened; fluff all over the floor, Ben's sorrowful gaze and one piggy slipper with a seriously deflated nose. He had the audacity to do the desnouting right beside my side of the bed while I slept peacefully! Oh the carnage! One look from me and Ben took off for his kennel. When he does 'a bad thing' (echo, echo, echo) he checks with us first to see if what he suspects he did wrong was indeed...well...wrong. Upon confirmation, he high-tails it directly to his kennel and goes inside. Then he comes out every few minutes to check and see if it's STILL wrong and if we're STILL sore about it. A well placed stare or hand on the hip sends him scurrying back to the kennel again. It's hard to punish a dog that punishes himself first

So last evening found me doing swine surgery to reattach Lefty's poor, pulverized, proboscis. Thankfully, they are cheapish slippers with flimsy seams. Ben had managed to get the nose off right on the seam line so I could easily add stuffing and reattach with a few well placed stitches. Visually you can't tell it was ever ripped off. But I know. And Lefty knows. The memory haunts him and he speaks with more of a nasal twang than he did before. And Ben knows....he knows the sweet taste of piggy slippers and he's biding his time 'til the next dark and stormy night!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's Truly Pathetic Photo Thursday!

I finished the Scarfigator and RammieGays Istmas-Chray Ocks-say. Here are a couple of truly hideous, hastily-taken photos. The scarfigator is drying on the blue towel so I couldn't mess with him to take a pic. Even though I got the gauge that was called for in the pattern and added 3 full scale repeats to his back, he's nowhere near the 6 feet long he was supposed to be. He's the runt of the congress* I guess. The width is correct but the length is too short. I'll probably go up a couple of needle sizes next time to try and nail it although he'll be a bit wider too. But he's a good size for the Employee Art Show at work next week. He was SO MUCH FUN to knit!
And the socks are...well....just basic socks made out of Tofuttsies (sp?) yarn. It's REALLY splitty stuff and I won't be using it again. I noticed it was splitty when I made my Tidal Wave Socks out of it, but this time it was SO splitty that it had separated and made a rats nest in several places inside the skein so that when I pulled it out, I had to spend ten minutes untangling. Don't like that one bit. If I make the mess, it's OK.... but if the manufacturer does...not so much!
If you haven't seen Franklin's snowman hat over at The Panopticon, go there NOW. Then come back. I'll wait...(hums to self....twiddles thumbs)...
I KNOW right?! That is the cutest thing EVER! That Abigail is one lucky little chick! Hey Franklin! I have a gigantic head too!!! And it's cold in WI!
Now I'm working on a project that I can't talk I won't. Off to watch the Thursday night sitcoms and work on it!
*Seriously, a group of alligators is called a 'congress'. Who knew? I didn't. Heather told me. I thought they should be called a 'raft', but once again, I wasn't consulted early enough in the name-pickin' process! There, that's your trivia for today!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Who got New Piggy Slippers For The Sow's Ear Sleepover?!?!?!

Me! Me! I did! I did!
Our five-day vacation is almost over. Jeez I hate to see it go! It's been relaxing, we had fun and got some chores done too. Doesn't get any better than that! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with friends D & T. Here is a shot of out table before we descended upon it. After dinner we went to see 'Fred Claus'. And ya'll know that in my world....any day with Vince Vaughn is a very...VERY good day.

We spent plenty of quality time with the fur babies, who in turn spent quality time basking in the sun..(the little white lump in the blue cage in the upper left of the bottom picture is Sneakers the bunny).

We had friends E and A and their kids R and E over last night to play games. For once, the adults wore the kids (and the Bentley) out first! They slunk off to the living room to rest from the excitement of playing Hoopla.

I went to last Saturday knitting and had a wonderful visit with all the lovely ladies. Elizabeth is working on an absolutely beautiful scarf! Hop on over to her site and take a look!It's made from some fiber that has an alien name...can't remember it but it was the butt of a couple of really good jokes. It's gorgous stuff! Cindy brought the pair of green socks she just finished and the new pair she's working on . Linda was in control enough to be working from a chart! A chart I tell you! Don't know how she does it. I'm lucky if I don't screw up a sock foot and that's just knit round and round and round! Dale-Harriet brought a very artistic friend with her; Ginny Tiffany who used to illustrate Little Golden Books! All the fine company AND a gingerbread latte by the fireplace at Victor Allens Coffee Shop. Blissful sigh!

I nearly finished my scarfigator. I should finish it tonight during Extreme Makeover Home Edition and Dexter. Then I have to whip up my Wee Paddy quilt. Both are going into the Employee Art Show at work week after next. It'll be a wonky week for me since I will be working for a different 'boss' for a couple of days next week. I will be doing some Admin work for our General Managers meeting. Should be fun. The managers from our branches in France, Germany, The Netherlands, China, Japan, Spain, Italy, Australia, the UK and Switzerland will be at the home office where I work for a week. It's always nice to see friendly faces from far away.

So that sums up the mini vacation, time spent with old friends and new, fur baby love, Vince Vaughn and piggy slippers. I'm a lucky, lucky girl!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving 2007

The pumpkin pie is fresh out of the oven. The loaded mashed potato casserole is in the fridge beside the cranberry, mandarin orange, raspberry, pineapple salad . All ready for tomorrow's feast. Friends Donna and Tom are coming over and we'll have our dinner at lunch time and then spend the afternoon at the movies or playing games. Low key and relaxed. Donna's bringing the pecan pie and the squash. I've got a 6# chicken in a roaster bag, a head of broccoli in a steamer bag and fresh rolls all ready to go! Yum!

I've been having a lot of 'silver lining' moments this week just in time for Thanksgiving. One of my best friends back home had a double mastectomy at the end of October. She's 43 and had been doing 'all the right things' since she was 30; self exams, mammos...and they never caught it. The silver lining? Actually there are two. They feel they got ALL of the cancer AND 3 years ago, when she turned 40 she was overweight and at a crossroads in her life. She decided to make some changes and now, three years later, is in the best shape of her life just in time to fight this fight. Makes her chances for a wonderful, positive outcome a thousand times better. Instead of dreading what may come, she is devoting herself to spreading the word that even if you get a green-light report on your mammogram, if you think there is something not right, push it. Her physical, emotional and spiritual strength amazes me. She is a true inspiration.

So I've been doing a lot of thinking about this 'it was the best of times, it was the worst of times' stuff. I have my moments when it seems like the whole world is falling on my head. We all do, but I also realize that most of that is my own doing-attitude wise. I really have it pretty darn good. My family is keeping as healthy as they can and we are all still able to do the things we love as well as the things we need to do. I love my job (despite what I may tell you on SOME days). It pays well and allows me to do the things I want to do with my life and my leisure. We have a cozy nest of a home and I couldn't ask for a sweeter more caring man than Mr. Bee in my life. He makes me feel cherished and safe and content. We have amazing friends. As we get older it becomes more evident who our true friends are; the mature friendships that endure are cherished. Our furbabies fill our lives with light and love.

Why does it seem to take a really dark moment in your, or a loved ones, life or a special turkey-eating day set aside to count your blessings? They are all around us every single day. [Please remind me of this entry the next time I skewer myself with a knitting needle or go to the dentist!]

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and may your life be as rich and filled with everyday blessings as ours! Speaking of blessings, here are a couple of my very favorites!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bentley Bee Goes Postal

It was a big day for Bentley Bee! As loyal readers know, Big Ben LUVS Mailman Travis and his Magic Mail Truck. If we know he's on the way up the street, we go out on the front step and watch for him. We wag and wag and bark hello before toddling to the mailbox to help bring in any especially drool proof mail. Today, Mailman Travis backed the Magic Mail Truck right into Ben's driveway and got out! He was beside himself with joy! Mailman Travis opened the Magic Mail Truck up to get some boxes for Mr. Bee out and Bentley Bee jumped right in! Once he was convinced to come out, Mailman Travis lavished him with lots of mailman love and attaboys. Big Ben was beyond ecstatic. Mailman Travis was considerably soggier that when he first got out of the truck. It was a red letter (get it?) day in DoggieLand. Blissful sigh!

I got my 6th Secret of the Stole clue finished last night and took this truly pathetic picture today! Yay. A whole night to knit my alligator scarf before the next clue comes in!

Tomorrow night is Knit Night at The Sow's Ear and a bunch of us local bloggers will meet up. Dale-Harriet of Cat, Sticks and Books fame calls us the 'Hog and Bloggers' (since it's the SOWS Ear, get it?). Yesterday I got a message from Beth over at Chocolate Sheep that said that she had gotten a message from Dale-Harriet and she was 'calling the hogs'. Not flattering but hysterical nonetheless! Can't wait. Hopefully I'll get a good head start on Grammie's second IstmasChray Ocksay!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Palm Piercings and Chimp Chatter

Mr. Bee and I share a car so I knit to and from work. Just socks 'cause it's easy, portable and I don't have to think much. Yesterday we hit a bump and I poked a size 2 nearly through my palm. I had to forcibly pull it out and it bled...a LOT! I couldn't get it to stop so ended I up sporting a dorky-looking bandage around my hand all afternoon because I couldn't get a Band-Aid to stick to my palm. The 'kids' asked what happened and I told them. Now the balance of power has shifted. They are uneasy. Unsure. They are afraid that if I'd do that to my own self, there's just no telling what I might do to THEM. I'm liking having the upper hand, even if it does have a 2.75 mm hole in it.

The kids are extra funny today. We got a demos of a new gadget that lights up when someone is on the phone. Honest to God, they are like a bunch of chimps with a June bug; poking at it, scurrying away and chattering at each other about it. I suspect they will spend the next couple of days crank calling each other to make it light up. I love my job.

Went to see Fred Claus on Saturday as a treat after we did all of our outside-button-up-the-house work. I LOVED it. Of course Vince Vaughn could just doze and drool in front of the camera for 2 hours and I would be perfectly content and entertained. He can come down my chimney and eat cookies any time! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Tonight is TV night at Chez Bee. 'House' and 'Bones'. Sigh. Pure bliss. I plan to get step six finished on my Secret of the Stole. I'd like to finish it up and work on my Scarfigator a little more. I had wanted to complete it for the Employee Art Fair, but not sure if that's going to happen. The Stole is taking a lot more time and effort than I thought it would. Lace isn't my forte I guess. Especially in the mad count-down before the Holidays. But I'm hanging in there and the pattern is totally worth it! I think Nautical Knitter will be having another KAL soon and I am looking forward to participating in that as well. I'll get the hang of this lace thing if it kills me!

And then there's my after-Holiday project. I always pick a project to work on in January that's just for me. For after the hustle bustle of Christmas projects has ended and there's nothing to look forward to. This year's project is the purple and white snowflake Christmas stocking from IK Holiday issue. I KNOW, right?

But here is the #1 reason why lace knitting is so difficult for me. The 80# sleepy lap dog!

Check out Mr. Bee's flashy 'lounge pants'. I like this picture because it makes him look like Wilson on Home Improvement!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Don't Go In The Water!!!

Dah Da... (First two notes in 'Jaws' theme)

Dah Da... (Second two notes in 'Jaws' theme)

Dah Da... (Third and fourth notes in 'Jaws' theme)


Nah, don't be afraid! It's just a scarfigator!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

She's A Legend In Her Own Mind...

I went to a seminar today. I think the speaker may have been a whack job. She started out normally enough but then by the time she finished she was spinning tall tales about disarming hijackers and saving people from exploding airplanes. I gave her the benefit of the doubt as long as I could, but a quick Google search on a few of her more interesting stories didn't pan out which leads me to believe she was having a psychotic break of some kind. It a train wreck kinda way but not that educational.

On a happier note, I made the Cranberry Pie recipe from Knitzu's site and it was FANTASTIC. I posted it over on Molly Bee's Kitchen. The link is on the left side of this page. We had it after a smothered pork chop dinner tonight (Doncha LUV the Crock pot!) and it was delish! You HAVE to try it!

Off to the living room to finish hint five of my Secret Of The Stole project. It's good that I will get it done a little early this week so that I can work on a pair of (Close your eyes, Grammie!) istmas-Chray ocks-say for a certain randmother-gay's gift, if you know what I mean (wink). Tonight Bones and House are on so I'll be a knittin' fool! Go try the pie recipe!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Gourd Contest

As I promised, here are some of the entries for the gourd contest. You could only use things that were around the department. You couldn't take it home or bring in anything special. I won for Scariest with "After the Alien Autopsy. Plus I made the kids uneasy when they got a little too much insite into how my mind really works. Click to make the bigger!

The Fly (won judges choice)

Cousin Itt
Alien Autopsy

Friday, November 02, 2007

A Snapshot of a Moment of My Work Life

November is ‘Blog Every Damn Day’ month or some such nonsense. So I thought I would give it a try. Since I won’t be home this evening…KNIT NIGHT AT THE SOW’S EAR YAY!!! (Happy Dance)…ahem (gathers self together) I will just post a shorty from work on my break. Here is an example of the conversation going on in the dept. at this very moment.

'Diet Pepsi is bad for you in the long run. You can tell this by some experiment that someone heard of about someone watering their crops with Gatorade which is full of electrolytes which plants love in the short term but kills them in the long term.' I kid you not. They are almost in a fist fight about this. Of course I'm paraphrasing but you get the gist.

Meanwhile the other half of the group is trying to figure out how to dress up gourds to look like flies, turkeys, monsters and in one case, a camel, to enter into the departmental gourd decorating festivities. (Pictures in tomorrow's entry) Judging is in 30 minutes. The place is a flutter. I have been running around looking for special office supplies for people all morning and saying things like, “No, we don’t have any orange fuzzy felt just ‘laying around’!” and “No, Highliters are not guaranteed to write on gourds..” Apparently the Gatorade boys finished their entry early. They have agreed now that Diet Pepsi hasn’t been around long enough for anyone to decide if it’s deadly or not. They will patiently await more data and reconvene in 20 years or so

As you can tell, it’s a very busy day and we are getting lots of important work done here so my break is over…

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Secret of the Stole Hint #4 Finished

I am the queen of the last minute finish! Officially I have 4 hours until midnight to complete this week's section. Pleeennntttty o' time! :-) I am really loving this stole. It's been a long time since I attempted lace and it seems I have some experience under my belt because this is going pretty smoothly now that I'm into it. Let's just say that my last lace project-Violets by the River (or Violence by the River or Violets by Chernobyl since none of my 'violets' ended up with the same number of petals...) didn't go as smoothly. Still haven't guessed what the theme of this stole is though although I can see crabs, fish and bubbles.....hmmmmm. Am thoroughly confused about the weekly word clues to get the anagrams to spell the theme so unless I happen to stumble on it, I guess I am out of the running for that contest! The joy is in the making anyway, not in the prizes. Anyway, here it is in all it's unblocked glory!
The swelling in my lip had gone done quite a bit. If I didn't insist on showing people the bruise, they probably wouldn't even notice. But c'mon! Lip twisted around a dental drill! You know you'd be showin' it too!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween! I'm A Prize Fighter!

(Warning: This episode contains a graphic medical mishap that may not be suitable for all readers. Parental Guidance is advised.)

I just had to document this here, because I'm not convinced that this weird-ass crap happens to anyone but me. I'm like that old Bad Luck Schleprock cartoon guy these days; the little cloud of doom never far from directly over my head.

I just went to the dentist to have an old filling replaced. While he's in there working (if you're squeamish, this is the part where you may want to look away) he gets the inside of my upper lip wrapped around the high speed drill. That's right. You read it correctly. Apparently it got too close to my lip, just grabbed it and twisted it around there until it tore open. I was oblivious except for a slight tugging since my head is so full of Novocaine it may never truly thaw again. I was clued into the fact that something was amiss when he jumped back, exclaimed 'Uh Oh' and grabbed lots of gauze to staunch the bleeding.

He finally got the bleeding stopped and told me to go home and put ice on it; twenty minutes on/twenty off to take down the bruising and bleeding. I just looked in the mirror and the burg that sunk the Titanic wouldn't be enough ice at this point. I look like Angelina Jolie and Mick Jagger's love child. I mean, it's lucky that today is Halloween so I don't have to shell out for a costume and all....a little dark eye shadow around one eye and I'd look like the loser in a big prize fight...but what about tomorrow? How much bad karma do I have to work off anyway?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

All The News That's Fit To Print

Things have been pretty busy around Casa de Bee. We've been on the hop with a lot of social stuff. Friend-D took me out for a birthday lunch at Casa De Laura...flautas YUM! Then Friend-E took me to a new Mexican place the next day for lunch. I think it's called La Taquero or something. It was a pretty authentic place. Good food. Lots of it. Cheap. Went out with friends D&T to Clauggagh, my favorite Irish Pub, and then to a movie which was so raunchy that we snuck out and into another one-giggling all the way. I felt like I was in high school again! Except back then we would have been trying to sneak into the raunchy one. We also spent time with friends E and A and their kids and pup at the dog park. Big Ben do like the dog park, yessir he do! Only problem is, other dogs and people don't understand that every tennis ball in the world is his so if someone else is playing with one, they must mean for him to play too! He's not aggressive or possessive, he just has a 'havetachaseit' gene which kicks in and off he goes! I swear he would run 'til he drops.

Went to Saturday knitting with Elizabeth, Linda, Anne and Rhonda. Was fun as always and Elizabeth wore her amazing sweater. Check it out. Photos don't do it justice. It's even more beautiful in person. After knitting we went to boss' house for supper and word games. Had a blast even though one of the other players is some kind of a crossword puzzle creator/editor/wunderkind and put us all to shame! My boss made prosciutto wrapped pears in a soy sauce reduction. It was beautiful and tasty. When he comes to Chez Bee he gets take out pizza. Maybe next time I'll arrange the pepperoni in a smiley face or something. I'm all about the effort.

I finished clue # 3 of Secret of the Stole before the deadline!!!! Only to discover that there is no deadline on odd #'s weeks. Dang it. I'm chugging through Clue # 4 with hopes to get it posted on time, but tonight I am cooking ( Halloween fingers heh heh heh ) so that just leaves Thursday night. I work best under pressure....NOT!

I've been doing a bit more on my Wee Paddy quilt too. I'm disappointed with my lousy sewing. I'm not quite sure about the intricacies of the flip and sew method. I have a lot of seams going in the wrong direction and other generalized wonkiness going on, but this one was just an experiment anyway. And despite its MANY flays, it still looks good at a distance. Here are a couple of shots so you can see how small it got! (This top one is the backside through the interfacing.)

Mr. Bee is going to be away this weekend so I have lots of ME stuff planned. Knit Night on Friday night...quilting on Saturday....a girl movie on Sunday....and all of the French Toast I can eat. Mr. Bee ABHORS French toast. I'm looking forward to Knit Night since I missed the last one. I'm working on a nice boring pair of socks for Grammie so I shouldn't have to tear too much out afterward!

Made a pretty decent fast and dirty spinach lasagna last night and am making Halloween Fingers tonight so will put the recipes on my Molly Bee's Kitchen site soon!

Later: Here's a shot of the finger food I made tonight. Click to make it larger-it's worth it! Happy Halloween! REcipe can be found here

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lace, Flowers and Pet Grooming Supplies

I am just having the worst time of it, Y'all! I've felt lower than a snake's belly for the last several days although nothing seems to be 'wrong'. I did get a migraine yesterday and the medicine for it made me stagger around like a tranquilized rhino all day. Bleck! I'll be glad when whatever this is goes away! Through it all, I did manage to get caught up on my Secret of the Stole. This is it through hint # 3. Hint # 4 comes on Friday. Lace is really, really, really hard for me...especially in my current less-than-enthusiastic-woozy-rhino-on-a-bad-acid-trip state, but I'm getting the hang of it, slowly but surely. Not that you can tell by these photos!

Mr. Bee gifted me with one more birthday surprise this week. He ordered me Tammi Bowser's 3.0 Quilted Photos Express Quilt program and her latest book! He really loves me....or he really screwed up and I just haven't found out about it yet! I'm going to try to get to the workshop and work some on my Wee Paddy portrait quilt tonight. Mr. Bee is off to Rockford, IL for some work thing so it'll just be me and Big Ben. He loves to go to the shop with me and chew on his toys (and occasionally the big bear I have on the sofa down there). I hope to get a couple of good night's work done on it before Stole Hint # 4 comes out on Friday. Placing the colors, although fussy work, was more fun than the sewing part! It's not hard, just boring. Big Ben isn't much of a conversationalist especially with his mouth full of fuzzy teddy feet.

I used the birthday loot that I got from Mum and Gram and bought a new printer. Got a heckuva deal. It's an HP fax, scanner, copier, printer/photo printer that Staples had on sale from $399.00 to $149.00. We got there early and of course they were all out. Fortunately we arrived at the end of another customer tirade about this fact and to shut him up, they offered the upgraded version of the same copier ($450) for the same price ($149) so we coasted on his coat tails and got one too! Right now it's making an attractive paperweight in our computer room because we haven't read the instructions although I do admit to poking a few buttons anyway.

Speaking of Bentley, and I always am aren't I? We got the coolest pet brush last week at the pet store. I thought Mr. Bee was out of his mind paying $25 bucks for a brush but this thing is amazing! It's called The FURminator. It's got one row of teeth so it's more of a comb than a brush and it gets out ALL of the undercoat. Poor old Sebastian-the-17-year-old cat has been less than thorough in his grooming lately and has gotten a lot of mats on his sides. I have been cutting them out periodically here and there which makes him look like a recent photo I saw of Tom Pickett. (Shout out to Tom in Ohio!) And while Tom...ummm... pulls it off...umm....sort of....Sebastian doesn't do so well with it and looks for all the world like he has a bad case of the mange along with all of his other problems. This brush got the mats out without pulling or cutting. I can't explain it. It was some kind of pet grooming tool miracle. He just laid there purring his old bones through and through while I got every one out. And Bentley...don't even get me started. He goes bananas. He makes half-assed scratching motions with his hind legs and staggers all over the place. We had to hide the brush because he goes berzerk when he sees it and wants to be brushed all the time. I highly recommend paying the price. It doesn't look like much, but you are obviously paying for some kind of elfin magic. That's the only way to explain how it works.

Here is a picture of the flowers Mr. Bee sent for my birthday. He always uses ProFlowers on the internet. They always arrive looking half dead, but then perk up once you give them fresh water and room to breathe. These don't look a week and a half old do they?

Off to work on my Wee Paddy quilt!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Something Is Afoot

Not much to report. I've been working diligently on my Secret of the Stole project. I have to get the second clue done by Thursday night. I knit and frogged, knit and frogged, knit and frogged until I thought I would lose my mind. Then I figured out that after I do the right side, there is always 99 stitches. So if I count the darn things at the end of every row I knit, I can find the mistakes easier and sooner. Duh! Now it's going a lot smoother although as carefully as I pay attention, I still seem to miss a yarn over the first time around EVERY ROW! Maybe I'm not smart enough for this project!

Other than that, I've been babying my foot. I went to the doctor on Monday and learned that I have tendonitis and a cyst in my Achilles tendon of my left foot. Apparently my self diagnosis of a 'heel goiter' was not accurate. The doctor didn't even crack a smile when I called it that. Geez, tough room. If I don't take care of it (wear the special fashion statement that is an ortho sock thing, put it up as much as I can, ice it, and stay off it as much as possible) I will need surgery. No thank you! I'll be a good girl I swear! It is killing me though because I love to take Ben to the new dog park near the house. Maybe I can rig up some kind of a cart and he can pull me around the trails. Hmmmmm..Here Bentley! Here Boy!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Molly Bee's BirthdayPaloozah!

What a wonderful weekend! Mr. Bee treated me like a queen and managed to squire me all over the countryside to celebrate the upcoming completion of my forty-second successful mission completely around the sun. My plan to live forever is coming along nicely.

Yesterday we headed to the shores of Green Lake to go to a most interesting bookstore. The first interesting part was trying to find it. You'd think a bookstore in a manure storage bin wouldn't be difficult to find, but you'd be wrong. There are no signs-no nothing. But with a little help from a scruffy looking local the Kwik trip we finally got there. It was well worth it. There are actually 5 buildings of books on the farm-lots of antiques etc. But the building that intrigued us the most was this one:

Yup! It's a manure bin. Castle Arkdale. I wish I had taken picture inside, but it was a little dark. It was absolutely beautiful. Wood walls and a second story balcony that went all the way around; just gorgeous! You could poke around in the treasures for days. It's definitely worth the trip.

From there we stopped in at Ho-Chunk; no big wins or losses to report and on to Middleton to the Blue Spoon Cafe for dinner! Yummy chicken salad with craisins and almonds!

This morning we took off bright and early and headed for The Fireside in Ft. Atkinson where Mr. Bee surprised me with brunch and tickets to see 'Thoroughly Modern Millie'. It was amazing! Brunch was great. I was treated like a queen with a BIG cake, champagne and a balloon. They even took our picture and had it framed and waiting for us when we left. And the play was outstanding. I've always wanted to see it after seeing a couple of numbers on the Tony Awards a couple of years ago and it didn't disappoint! I wouldn't have been able to imagine how they pulled off a big musical in a small theater in the round, but they did it with panache!

*Blissful contented sigh*. It sure is going to be hard adjusting to being a mere mortal again...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Run! Don't Walk

If you haven't yet gone to the IMAX here in Madison to see the new National Geographic 3D "Monsters of The Deep" film, go out and get in your car, grab the bus, call a cab, saddle your mule, whatever you have to do to get there, and GO! Er...unless you're one of those folks who catches up on your Bloglines at 2 AM....then wait until tomorrow, check your local listings and GO! I took nephew Ty last night and it was the best $8 I've spent in a loooooonnnnnggg time. And that includes yarn purchases, People! It's only 40 minutes long but I was amazed! The last 3D I saw was a TV dealy with red and blue lensed glasses that had been punched out of the back of a cereal box. This was a totally different deal. I was IN the shallow prehistoric sea that once divided the U.S. Sea creatures swam right up to me and then over my head. At one point one swam BETWEEN Ty and me! It was SO COOL! I think all movies should be like that. 40 minutes felt like 5 and I'm sure I looked a little freaky trying to poke at the jellyfish with my fingers and catch the bubbles as they floated by.

I finished part one of Secret of the Stole this evening and knit Row 1 on the second clue that came out today. I find lace knitting difficult because I have the attention span of a gnat, but I'm getting through it and it's clear that the end result will be worth the effort. It's so delicate and the beads look great.

Mr. Bee and I are off to the northland tomorrow to get some fall apples and visit a bookstore that is in a manure storage building. No joke. We read about it in the paper and he is all gung ho to go! It's quite a distance away so I hope it's not crappy. Yeah, you know I had to throw one in there.

Sunday I'm being kidnapped for my b-day (which is Monday). Mr. Bee has some secret plan up his sleeve and as long as it doesn't involve being abandoned in a manure silo I guess I'm OK with it. Details as soon as I find out!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Very Rough Draft!

I couldn't wait. I don't have all the pieces on the top yet, but I LOVE how this quilt is turning out. You can kinda see how big it is. When it's done it'll only be 20 by something. The further away you get the better it looks. Squinting helps too. Can't wait to see if it gets sharper when I sew it. I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with this method!

I can't show you the original photo without his parent's permission so just rough draft quilt will have to suffice for now.

8 feet away

12 feet away

Can you see him?!?!?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Bits and Pieces

Gosh! I'm so far behind I think I'm first! Where to begin to catch up? Most recent and then back I guess. Yesterday Mr. Bee and I went to T&D's house to eradicate a nasty computer virus that had preyed on them . Mr. Bee did all the fancy footwork and D and I visited. While we were chatting, I finished my first Sherbet Sock. The pattern is from the Charlene Schurch book (the first one). It's in the five stitch repeat section and I think it's called slip stitch cable or something. Anyway, the blurry blob in the whole sock photo is condensation. It's October 7th and hotter than the hinges of heck and muggy-Oy! But anyway, here it is and a close up of the the stitch pattern on the leg (sideways view).

Friday night was the Grand Opening/Anniversary Extravaganza at the Ear. It was WONDERFUL. I got to meet Dale-Harriet and her daughter, Mary, and Beth (finally). Elizabeth came as did friend Anne and all of the wonderful regulars I normally visit with. There was wonderful completed knitted objects all over the walls that customers had knit. I had brought my Socks That Rock socks to show Anne and Debbie whisked them away and hung them up! There were appetizers and a lovely cake with The Sow's Ear logo on it and wine. True to form I had half a glass, got a horrible headache and had to leave before the festivities were over. I'm a lousy drunk. It's really not worth it. But before the girls poured me in the car (passenger seat-Mr. Bee drove) I had a wonderful time!

Last week I worked on my photo quilt in the evenings. What an interesting project! You've seen the pattern grid that I drew from the computer print out. Here are the billions of little one inch squares, all arranged in numbered compartments....
Here is a truly abysmal photo of the graph with the fusible interfacing laying on it. It was night in the basement and it looks like I managed to actually stand in and block the only light that was shining on it, but you get the idea. You can see the grid clearly through the interfacing...

And here are the first ones I've placed on the huge grid...

I am tacking them down a few at a time with my little iron that looks like a curling iron with a triangle on the end. (Yes I did straighten them after I took this pic and before I tacked them). As you can see, color 18 is a rusty red and 17 is the blue with stars. So you just place the right color on the right 1, 124 numbered squares. I'm almost done. It took me a week where the author of the book says it takes her two hours! But I should be done this week enough to take a photo before and after sewing. It's pretty amazing. You're so close to it when you're working on it that you can't see it and think you've wasted a week of your life playing with postage stamp sized bits of fabric and then you back up and boom! Very cool!

Back to the living room to catch up on "Heroes" and finish the first part of The Secret of the Stole which is SO totally awesome! Kudo's to Nautical Knitter for putting it together. It's stunning and we've only received a tiny bit of the pattern so far. Photos of it later this week too.

Before I go, my Mum's friend Gloria pops in here from time to time. Her husband had a stroke last week and I just want them both to know that they are in my and Mr. Bee's thoughts and prayers as they meet this challenge. Cyber hugs to you both!

Cooper and The Garden Guest

I discovered earlier this summer that finches aren't the only thing that like my thistle seeds. Even though there is a plethora of seeds...