Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rollin' Down The Windows and Rollin' in The Dough!

I’ve finally done it! I’ve cracked the code on a million dollar idea! I’m going to be rich! RICH I tell you! For the last few years, humans have used the Wii video unit to simulate tennis matches, hunting, bowling, even dancing and socializing. And now, for the fur baby in your life, I have created…drum roll please…the DOGGIE Wii. Gosh I wish Billy Blanks was still alive. I can almost hear the ad now!

'This miracle of modern technology simulates a roll-the-windows-down-stick-your-head-out-and drool-all-over-the-doors car ride without ever leaving home! !! No danger of falling out the windows!!!No crashing into the wheel wells during unanticipated stops!!! No getting yelled at for bogarting the front seat or for licking the back of the driver’s head!!! No bugs in your teeth or eyes!!!All of the enjoyment of a 60 mile per hour race through the country without any of the dangers!!!'

Pssttt! I’ll let you readers in on the secret. Yes, both of you (Hi Mom!). It’s already in a store near you. It’s just marketed to the wrong audience. My business partner, Bentley and I discovered this miracle product just this week. Our house is either hotter than the hinges of heck, or icebox-cold due to an archaic heating/cooling apparatus, that looks rather like the grill of a Studebaker rammed through my living room wall, coupled with an absence of any sort of cross ventilation. Yesterday I bought a 20 “ box fan and parked it in the sliding glass door. I cranked it up to ‘3’ ( approximately F4-mime-walking-into-the-wind level) in an desperate attempt to entice some cool air in from outside. Immediately said business partner saw the potential. Bentley has been standing a foot away, leaning headlong into the hurricane force gale, eyes closed in bliss and ears flappin’ for two days now. Oh the places he has seen!

The only drawback is the apparent addictive qualities of the unit. Much like a people version Wii. That and the fact that the ride doesn't end at the dog park or PetSmart...but is also doesn't end at the vet or groomers so that argument is a wash. Obviously there are many legalities and considerations to be reviewed. It's still early in the process. Ben and I will work more on it once I can get him away from it long enough to discuss it further. In the meantime we'll go on down to Target and plaster 'Doggie Wii' post it notes on the model we used so you'll know it when you see it! Happy trails!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

On Mutant Animal Crackers and Being a Grandma

Well, Aaron, Terri and William moved back to their homeland (Minneapolis) on Thursday. They stayed with me for the last couple of nights while they packed their stuff into a pod and cleaned the house. (For those keeping score at home that's three adults, 1 six week old and two 80# dogs in a one bedroom apartment.) It sure was nice to have folks around. They feel like family. The old homestead was awfully quiet on Thursday night lemme tell ya. Ben and I both felt the absence. He misses his spooning buddy, Brinkley. You need someone to snuggle when you sleep by the air conditioner vent after all!
The morning they left I took them out to breakfast. I was paying the check and the waitress said, "Your GRANDSON is just adorable!'. Wow! That took the wind out of my sails! She's lucky she pocketed her tip before she came out with that little gem! I didn't say anything because biologically it IS possible, but Geez! But I guess I could do MUCH worse than having William for a grandson! I'm sure gonna miss that little cuddle bug!

Speaking of grandchildren...they love animal crackers (Oh! How DO you do it Oh Mighty Queen of The Segue?) I was over at World Market today and had a hankering for animal crackers so I got a bag and brought them to Last Saturday knitting to share with my buds. I was bragging that I got them at World Market so they were imported, exotic animal crackers. I flipped the bag over only to find that they were imported all the way from.....wait for it....Pennsylvania! Sheesh! But they were exotic. We opened them up and out tumbled the worst Chernobyl-Three-Mile-Island-Evolution-Gone-Terribly-Terribly-Wrong menagerie I've ever seen. Most of the blobs weren't recognizable...
And the ones that vaguely resembled some sort of animal had extra leg, gills or fins that didn't belong. They were horrifying....but tasty. At least they got that right! Never underestimate the power of Saturday Knitting munchie attacks! One of the girls told a great joke:

A mother buys her little boy a package of animal crackers. He immediately opens them, dumps them out and starts frantically examining each one. When his mother asked him what he was doing he said, 'The box says not to eat them if the seal is broken!'

Anyway, out to turn on TV and monitor the weather situation. Expecting storms and it's dark-ah than the inside of a pocket out they-ah, Deah! Maybe I can finish the rest of the Black Adder DVD I've been working on if it doesn't get too bad. Stay dry ya'll and remember, do not eat if the seal is broken!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Molly Busy Bee

Mad City Mike has brought to my attention the fact that I have been remiss in updating this little folly for about a week now. He asks if I’m leading a dull life these days. Silly Mike. You should know better! I’ve just been an extra busy Bee this week. Work is crazy. Home is crazy. The commute is crazy. It’s lead to more than a few near ‘climb-up-in-the-bell-tower-with-a-semi-automatic’ misses, but it beats the alternative.

A big project at work and an overseas meeting has me pulling double duty these days. I’ve been working quite a few hours on the weekend and evenings to keep caught up.

Last Friday Night was Knit Night. I managed to sit and ‘knit’ (I use that term loosely) for FIVE full hours and got NOTHING accomplished. I didn’t have a brain in my head when it came to reading the pattern, counting, or keeping the stitches straight. In fact I think I may have had to rip out work that was done before I even GOT there, thus I actually left Knit Night BEHIND! But as usually I had a great time with the Hog ‘N’ Bloggers in the Naughty Room, where the cuss words were flowin' and the knittin’ didn’t matter!

On Saturday night I went to a Greek restaurant with friends. Remember those abandoned kittens a few posts back? Well, my friends kept the two boys, Bear and Ro-meow (presumably his last name is 'Catulet') and we played with them for a bit before we left for supper. Super cute little handfuls of fun! And very hard to leave without sticking one in my pocket for later!



Afterwards I went to a party in Cross Plains at a friend’s horse ranch. It was such a beautiful evening and setting, looking out over the fields and valleys. We sat outside and visited until nearly midnight. It reminded me a lot of home, especially after the sun went down and the fireflies started dancing. The barn cats were snuggling. The horse was snickering. The frogs and crickets were serenading. The coyotes were calling to each other from their respective hilltops across the valley. I swear, I could have laid right down in the dewy grass and drifted off. Good friends, good food, fresh country air, and a starry, summer sky. My kinda night!

Neighbor-friends Terri and Aaron are moving to Minnesota tomorrow. )-: I’ve been trying to help out where I can with their little sweet pea, 6 week old William, and Brinkley-the-Uber-Dog while they pack, clean and get ready to go. Apparently I have significant sedative-like properties because this is what dogs and small boys look like in my care...

I sure am going to miss that crew when they leave. It’s been like having family around. They won’t be too far away though. And they can’t get rid of me that easy. They can run but they can't hide!

So, nope Mike, things are as lively around here as ever. Haven’t had much time for knitting and what time I HAVE put to it has been remarkably unproductive (see Knit Night above). I expect things to slow down around here a bit now. The work meeting ends Friday. The nest will be too quiet with everyone gone soon. This weekend I hope to dodge out to the Spring Green Art Fair and then settle in to re-hone my stitching skills and partake of the first DVD of season one of The Black Adder, but you know me, even that won’t be dull! I’ll be better about updating! Promise!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Gone But Not Forgotten...

It is with great sadness that I announce that Michael-J.-('MJ' to his friends)The-Road-Kill Fox departed this world on Sunday, June 14 doing what he loved best; playing with is dog friends. MJ was a good fox. He was docile and kind and always had a snuggle for you if you were down (on the floor). The sound of his briefly-working squeaker was a joy to all. On his last day on earth, he, Ben and Brinkley-from-next-door were playing a rousing game of tug of war:

Ben: I want MJ! (pull pull)
Brinkley: No he’s mine!(pull pull)
(Repeat x 1 trillion)

Then came that moment of triumph when each dog discovered that he had won! And ensuing confusion when each dog discovered....that he had won! They EACH had MJ…at least part of him. [ For those of you keeping score at home, Brinkley was technically the winner since he had a mouthful of nose and ears… so he came out ‘a-head’! ]

A small private service was held near the prairie reserve on Hwy M in Madison where the cottonwood fluff and prairie grasses dancing in the breeze made everything that much more poignant. Pipers played as he was lowered and laid to rest in the dumpster under Apartment 107. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to your local animal shelter.

Ben’s new friend, Beavus-The-Road-Kill-Beaver, has been consoling his buddy the best way he knows how. Here is a photo of him soothing Ben as Ben sobs himself to sleep over the loss....
The moral of this sad tale is that tug of war is not a game worth going to pieces over.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I Need Your Help!!!

I lost a friend last week. She was the daughter of a very good friend of mine. She was only 35 years old and she died of cancer. This is the second time in less than a year that I've had to attend a funeral of a young person lost to this horrendous disease. And a few years back I lost my dad to it, as well as many other people that I wasn't ready to let go of just yet. I can't count the number of people I know that are fighting the good fight; my mum for one, Kathy, one of my best friends for another. Volunteering at the hospice center, I've watch so many families ripped up by cancer. I can't think of even one person that hasn't been affected by it in one way or another. It just never ends. The word cancer strikes fear in my heart; fear and anger.

Recently I made a new friend. His name is Darren and he is a cancer survivor. Not only has he triumphed over it, he is fighting back in an amazing way. A few years ago he started running. At first he ran around the block and hated it. But he kept at it and bit by bit has forged himself into a world class competitor. He recently completed the Boston Marathon and has just returned from the Kettle Moraine 100 mile race where he placed in the top 20. He runs because he loves it (now) and it keeps him healthy. But he also runs to train for his biggest race of all; The Badwater Ultramarathon.

Badwater is billed as the world's toughest foot race. It is a grueling 135 mile test of endurance that begins at 250' below sea level in Death Valley, goes over three mountain ranges and ends at the portal of Mt. Whitney in California at 8360' above sea level. The temperatures can be as high as 130°F . Runners' shoes have melted along this trail. Only 90 elite, ultra-runners, who specialize in extreme courses and endurance are chosen each year to run this race. This year Darren was chosen.

Darren could have run this race for his own satisfaction, but instead he's decided to use this opportunity to raise cancer awareness and money for Gilda's Club of Madison. Seeing Darren's dedication to his passion and to supporting people whose lives have been touched by cancer really struck a nerve with me. I'm very proud of him and it got me thinking about what I can do to help. Now I'm not much of a runner...I'm build more for comfort than speed! But what I CAN do is get the word write/talk! So in the memory of Daddy, Tasha, Arleen, Rosie, Cheri and countless others, I've decided to make it my mission to get this information to as many people as I possibly can and to ask that you PLEASE support Darren. Do it in the memory of the people in your life who have battled cancer; the loved ones lost and the survivors who give us hope.

Please go to the Gilda's link above and scroll down to read a little more about Darren's amazing journey. Then please make a donation. Every little bit helps. Remember to send an email to the address listed on the page to make sure that your donation is earmarked to support Darren's journey. Whether or not you make a donation, I'm also asking that you link to this entry in your blog and ask your readers to do the same. Please help me get the word out. Together we can make a difference. Thanks so much, you guys! Run Darren Run!

*There are more than 10.5 million cancer survivors living in the United States today.
*1.4 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year.
*560,000 Americans are expected to die from cancer this year, or more than 1,500 per day.
*Nearly 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will develop cancer during their lifetime.
*Within the next decade, cancer is likely to replace heart disease as the leading cause of death in the U.S.
*It is already the biggest killer of those under the age of 85.

Source: American Cancer Society
Help our cause by visiting and donating to: http://www.gildasclubmadison.org/

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Smarter Than He Looks!

Mr. Ben is all tucked in for the night and watching The History Channel. He had a long walk and a round of fetch. I accidentally threw his Frisbee in the tree twice and he sat underneath looking up until I untangled it from the branches. Then once I 'fake' threw it so he'd back off a little and he looked around and then ran under the tree and sat looking up. Guess he figured that's where it went before, that's where it must have gone this time! He's not as stupid as he lets on.

Last nights baking turned out fine. The pumpkin chocolate cake was OK if you're looking for something low fat (1 box of devil's food cake mix mixed with 1 (15oz) can pumpkin and put in a non-greased 9X13 and baked at 350° for ~30 mins. I also sprinkled a few pecans on top). It has the consistency of cake not brownies as promised and I can't really vouch for the taste because I got two bites in and realized that I still have no sense of taste. I suspect it would be greatly improved with a dollop of cool whip. But the blueberry pizza! Now that was a force to be reckoned with!

Squish a tube of sugar cookie dough into a greased pizza pan and bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes until golden:
Mix 8oz of softened cream cheese and 2 TBS sugar until smooth and add a 6 oz container of lemon yogurt. Spread within about a half inch of the edges of the crust:

Sprinkle with fresh blueberries and a bit of lemon zest and Ta Da!

It was light and delicious and made a bit hit at this morning's meeting. You can make it lower fat by using low fat/fat free cream cheese and yogurt. It would be awesome with any other fruit. I'm thinking particularly raspberries and coconut. Yum!
Well, off to curl up with the pup and watch some History. Have a great evening!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

To Everything There Is A Season....

I’m back in the saddle again! It was a long week or so of flu related fun, but I’m finally back to being able to function again. Not exactly six feet tall and bullet proof yet, but close. The weather is supposed to stay cooler and I’ve been very remiss in my Domestic Goddess duties over the last week so tonight will find me grocery shopping, cleaning and baking. Someone gave me a recipe for brownies which involves a brownie mix and a can of pumpkin…and that’s it. I can’t decide whether I think it will be a good-for-you-low-fat-yummy success or a oh-for-the-love-of-God-now-I-have-to-throw-out-a-perfectly-good-pan culinary disaster. I’ll let you know. I also found a recipe for a lemon blueberry pizza (sugar cookie dough crust/lemon, cream cheese ‘sauce’, sprinkled with fresh blueberries). I’ll make it to bring in for the kids tomorrow. I like to bake when it won’t heat the apartment up so much.

I got a wonderful surprise last night. Aaron, Terri, William and Brinkley popped by to visit and brought me a lovely goodie tote bag from The Ear! It was full of drool-worthy fleece to spin:

( Click to biggify the pictures. You won't be sorry!)

and gorgeous hand painted yarn :

All in my favorite colors! A bag chock-a-block full of sumptuous, color-drenched fiber p0rn! There was even a pack of spinning cards to keep track of my projects with! I was shocked and delighted at their thoughtfulness! We had a great visit. They are the sweetest folks. They even trusted me to hold William again. Last time I held him, I came down with highpopalopus the next day and feared I’d made him sick too. But he didn’t come down with it, thank goodness. Ben had a great time playing with Brinkley and sampling everyone’s hands and feet. He loves him some kisses, that boy. He even sneaked a sniper kiss to the top of William’s head. Freshly sprouted humans are always the tastiest!

The Brownes will be moving back to their home state of Minnesota soon and they will be sorely missed. You know that saying about people coming into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime? Well that’s the case with them. Instead of having to move into a keep-you-head-down-and-ignore-your-neighbors building last fall, I was lucky enough to move into this one. The Brownes, the kids upstairs, and most of the other folks were welcoming and friendly and made me feel like I wasn’t so alone…especially when I was still getting my feet underneath me. Right place. Right time. The Universe supplies what you need when you need it and all that. People touch your lives in ways they will never ever know. Okay, so, NOW they’re all abandoning me like rats in a floundering dingy; Brownes to MN, kids upstairs just bought a house…. but my transition into my new life wouldn’t have been nearly as smooth without them this past year, that’s for sure. AND if everyone thinks that simply moving away will exempt them from the madness and mayhem that is Molly Bee and Bentley, they are sorely mistaken! Heh, heh, heh.

At any rate, back to the trenches for the afternoon. I’m striving to get my new Smartphone, charger and instructions all in the same place at the same time so I can learn how to run the dang thing. If I’m at home, the thing I need is at work and viceversa. Something tells me that if I can’t even accomplish amassing the parts, I’m doomed as doomed can be when it comes to changing my ring tones, text messaging and receiving my emails on that tiny screen! It’s all some kinda voodoo magic anyway as far as I can tell, but it is shiny and it makes interesting beeping noises so I haven’t lost interest yet. Rumor has it that there are even cute little purple-sequined-magic-voodoo-smarter-than-me-phone accessories to be had! Can’t be all bad!

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...