Monday, July 27, 2009


Another busy weekend at Chez Bee! Saturday morning found us up at 6:30 for an hour and a half walk before Ben’s vet appointment. I was hoping to turn what amounts to a Tasmanian devil on the end of a leash into a dignified well behaved dog for his monthly mani-pedi. He get SO excited he makes a fool of himself. Well, the walk did it, he was so pooped he just laid on the floor until everyone thought that there was something wrong with him. He got beaucoup de treats too so I think a lot of it was him faking exhaustion to work that angle.

Saturday afternoon knitting was fun despite the curiously missing Mrs. Sable. Just Kitty Mommy and Mousy Linda and I. I finished the striped Socketta socks and cast on a new pair of Treks. Saturday night was devoted to work although it was a bit tricky since my computer got ‘the vap-ahs’ literally and went belly up on me. I’ve narrowed it down to an overheating problem. Will blow it out with canned air again tonight and investigate further.

Sunday I went with a friend to Olbrich to see the blooming butterflies. It was sooooo cool! The display boxes before you go in the conservatory were AMAZING. So many shapes and sizes and all of the rich colors were incredible. They have been releasing 1,000 butterflies a week in the conservatory. We saw quite a few and the monarchs were their normal friendly selves landing on our shirts. I was disappointed that they didn’t have more tropical species, just the garden variety ones mainly, but they sure were beautiful in amongst all of the tropical plants.

On Sunday evening, I saw something drop on my patio. I investigated and found that it was the feathery liner from the barn swallows nest in the eaves on my patio. It had two eggs in it and so I went and dug out my little stepladder and tried to slip it back in the nest since the mom and dad swallow were freaking out. No way could I reach it, so I went to the neighbors and borrowed Jason’s tallness to come over and replace the eggs. He did and all was well with the world. I was feeling pretty special about being able to help Old Ma Nature out….Until I saw the swallows dig the liner out again and fly off with it. Apparently the eggs weren’t viable and they were doing a bit of housekeeping. What I mistook for parental anguish over lost eggs was actually little birdy outrage at the dumb humans that has essentially dumped the vacuum cleaner bag back in the middle of their just cleaned nursery floor. Guess they figured that they’d better lug it far enough off so that I couldn’t find it to replace it again. Mama is back in there today so I’m guessing there are other eggs in there. When am I ever going to learn?

Today I met my new neighbor Brody. He’s a teeny, tiny blue heeler puppy that belongs to the neighbors behind me. He was putting up quite a fuss this morning and so I nabbed his Dad when I saw him stop home at lunch and offered to check in on the wee lad when he gets too rowdy. He fits in the palm of one hand. How much trouble can he be? LOL

And today it’s back to work where I’ve been creating madness and mayhem by placing a bunch of firecracker chocolate (dark chocolate with chipotle, sea salt and pop rocks) on the treat table. Unlabeled. It’s pretty good but that first encounter with it is a kicker! Heh Heh Heh! It’s almost gone, once again proving that they will eat anything! Will post butterfly pics when my home computer is up and running!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Good The Bad and The Ugly

Work has been a bear this week. I've spent the majority of my time moving a couple hundred PowerPoint presentations from Windows Front Page to Windows SharePoint. Some of the ppt.s were over 10 years old and the next best thing to being carved into a stone table. A stone tablet that didn't want to move to SharePoint. Bah! Lots of dinkin' around. FrontPage was so intuitive, easy to use, and adaptable. SharePoint...not so much. We've moved away from a program where you could make visual differentiations and use a little creativity to a program that is a glorified laundry list of document to scroll through. I know there is always angst with change but I'm usually all for the new programs and technology. This time it just seems like a big step backwards. Yet again, the Powers That Be didn't consult me early enough in the planning process. As you can see this whole thing has made me a little crankypants but that said, I should be wrapping things up tomorrow and can get on with my normal life again.

One thing that helped me with the angst this week is this photo which friend Terri sent on down from Minnesota. It's my favorite grandson William. How can you not smile when you see that face!

And here's another thing that makes me happy. This is my BubberKev, his new bride Shiela and her daughters. He's got a great life now and is happy-yadda yadda yadda. Nut the important bit is that on July 13th I got a new sister and three new nieces! It's all about ME!
In between social engagements and chores, I've been carving out an hour each night to watch the Torchwood miniseries on BBC. It SO exceeds my expectations which were high to begin with. The Universe knew that allowing me to watch Captain Jack every night this week and capping it off with a new Doctor Who on Saturday would keep me from plunging from the dangerous ledge that has been my week!

I've also devoted that hour to finishing the bits and bobs of socks I've got going. Just turned the heel on the next to last pair . I've got those going, a pine needle breadbasket, spinning and my swirly scarf but I still want to start two new projects-a baby surprise jacket and a Moon River scarf. I will NOT give in to temptation, but it's killing me!!!

Anyway, off to vacuum before Torchwood comes on. Here is a gratuitous cute dog picture. This is Fritz, Ben's buddy. He's the one that got Ben 'Stinky the Roadkill Skunk'. He's got a haircut right now, but when his hair is long, he looks just like a movie star dog. Say it with me...AWWWWW!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Busy Banana Bread Bee

I got a tattoo. That’s right. I said it. A tattoo. I’m on a rebellious spree. First the purple shoes and now this. Don’t try to stop me. I’ll take you down with me. Straight down the road to ruin, mayhem and debauchery, I tell ya! Er... OK. So It’s only a henna tattoo. And it’s a cute little dragonfly. But it’s right on the back of my hand for all of the world to see! For the next 4-24 days. At least that’s what the lady said. It used to have glitter too, but I took that off because I thought it was overkill. Here is my friend getting one on her hand too. What a pair or rebels!

Friend D and I went to the Mt. Horeb Art Fair on Saturday where we sampled Norwegian pastries, got our hands hennaed and bought fancy shirts. It was a lot of fun despite the cool temps and sprinkles. Lots of jewelry this year. Every other booth was beads. And I didn’t buy any. I know. It’s the first sign of the apocalypse. The second would be me getting an real tattoo!

I was a Busy Bee yesterday, cooking, cleaning, spinning and knitting. I got the second sock done for this pair.

And sock number one finished for this pair.

I finished a bobbin of singles from the beautiful roving that Aaron and Terri gave me.

And the industrious domestic streak continues. Today some lady brought in a TON of ripe bananas and set them out for everyone to take. Not one to look a gift monkey in the face, I grabbed 6 and planned on making banana bread tonight.I have a killer recipe that calls for applesauce instead of the oil. YUM! Thought I'd make several loafs and freeze some. But I just looked them over and they are not quite ripe enough yet. Maybe tonight or tomorrow. Let's hope my momentum is still up when they finally ripen to the point I want!
As for tonight: another bobbin of singles or the other sock? That is the question...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sensai or Grasshopper?

OK. It's finally summer in Wisconsin. How do I know? Because I bought the absolute coolest sport sandals of all time. Purple! (Eat your heart out Amy D!) And because on the way home from shopping I saw a bunch of folks who had pulled their lawn chairs out by the street and were holding a sign that said 'You Honk We Drink! The cacophony of car horns was deafening. Apparently they had been out there for some time because two folks had fallen completely over in their chairs, empties littered the grass, and the sign was upside down. I'm thinking the ploy had been a rousing success not to mention a creative way to jazz up a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Anyway, I promised to tell you the story of picking up Ben's toys and I know both of you have been waiting with baited breath so here goes. For about a year now, I've been trying to teach Ben to pick up his own toys each night. Every night we go through the ritual where I pick up each of the stinking six giggabillion toys strewn around, one by one, and say, 'Pick up your toooooyyyysss' in a sing-songy voice and then place them back in his toy basket . For a year, he has sat and watched me without much interest at all except to stare pointedly at one that's still resting on the floor as if to say, 'You missed one over there!' But, ever the optimist, I keep up the ritual, thinking one day, an errant brain cell will fire and he will 'get it', thus confirming his status as the bessess one evah, yes he is, he's just a big schmmooopy...he's mama's bessess boy, oh yes he Anyway. So far nada. At least in the toy department.

Imagine my surprise when I went into the living room the other morning and found the floor covered with roadkill animal toys as if the toy basket had erupted like Vesuvius and the black dress shoes I was frantically looking high and low for neatly placed inside. Not chewed...although a bit drool covered. And he was sitting on the sofa with a big doggie grin on his face as if to say 'Pick up your shooooeeeesss'. I've been schooled by m'own damn dog! AGAIN! He hasn't done it since and he hasn't picked up his toys either despite my best efforts. Now I say 'Pick up your tooooyyyyysss' through gritted teeth because I KNOW he gets it, he's just CHOOSING NOT TO. He just sits there with an 'I have no idea of what you speak' look on his drool covered face.
Derned thing is smarter than me. I'm doomed as doomed can be I must say (Ed Grimly 1983)!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Here and There. This and That.

Weird day. Originally overloaded with plans but they all fell through more or less at the last minute. So I contented myself with puttering around the house and trying new recipes from a cookbook I bought this week. This is the Mexican Oven Baked Omelet. Filled with black beans, corn, onions and peppers. It called for chilies but I don't like them so I didn't add any. Top with salsa or taco sauce and fat free sour cream. Muy Yum! Also made blueberry muffins but they aren't as pretty.

Someone put a roadkill skunk on my car the other day. I went down to the parking garage and it was hanging from my side mirror in a plastic bag. Since it's a security locked building, I suspected it was an inside job. It was. Fritz, the little Westie upstairs left it for him. Big fan apparently. I think that completes Ben's collection of flat animals now: squirrel (Flat Eddie), rabbit (F00-Foo), Beaver (Beavus) part of a fox (MJ-may the rest of him rest in peace) and now a skunk (Stinky). Stinky's not actually stinky yet, being new to Chez Bee and all. But if he goes the path of the other flat animals, it's only a matter of time. Ben knows them all by name and if he is playing with one and you ask him for a different one he happily goes to get it. Yeah, he lives one tough life that guy! Remind me to tell you next time about him learning to 'pick up his toys'!

There has been knitting. I have been working on the Swirl Scarf pattern. This is a God Awful Picture (heretofore know as a 'GAP'. I just invented that and now I'm trying to get it to catch on), so try to imagine it: #1. Finished. #2. Blocked within an inch of it's life. Yeah, I know it takes a super Power imagination, but try, O.K.? The pattern is pretty simple once you get the hang if it, but, for me at least, there was a steep learning curve at first as to casting on additional hexagons since it's all worked in one piece. You pick up edges, cast more on and knit the hexagons in the round. Yeah. I know. I've finally got it licked though. It doesn't make me swear near as much as it used to.

Well, Mr. Ben and I are going out to find a movie to watch. We can't sit out on our patio because it's covered with these creepy crawlies which is kind of like a horror movie unto itself. I like cute and fuzzy caterpillars but these are the Darth Vadar Menacing Kind. They aren't shy either. When we go out, they all swarm towards us. Thanks the Big Guy that at this point in my life I am still able enough to outrun them. Anyone know the name of these horrors that will no doubt sneak in tonight and spin me into a big cocoon ? Any Darth Vadar Menacing Kind repellent suggestions?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Hiking Trip - July 2009

Went hiking today in the Baraboo area with friends, Kim, Jodi, Bonnie and Terri. We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day. Weather, company, and scenery were all awesome! Some of The Universe's best work. The photos speak for themselves. Click on them to biggify. You won't be sorry.
Pewett's Nest

Parfrey's Glen

Restoreth the soul....

Saturday, July 04, 2009

A New Ice Age is Coming. Bring A Sweater!

A week ago, it was so hot we were all melting and running down between the cracks. Then as soon as it arrived, the heat wave was over. The temperatures dropped 35 degrees and stayed there. There was a three day stretch where I saw nary a tube top or a flip flop. Friends up north insisted that the leaves were turning. Even this little birdy that had only hatched a week ago, accelerated his growth in order to fly south sooner than anticipated.

And as if I needed one more sign that the end times were nigh and the glaciers they were a'coming, I looked out the front door and there was a polar bear in my front yard!

This is the aptly named "Bear". He is visiting next door. He's cleverly disguised as a Grand Pyrenees to try and fit in with the city folk, but when he jumped up on me, I conservatively estimate that he weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 850 pounds-too big for a dog. And I distinctly got a whiff of penguin on his breath. Or maybe it was baby harp seal. Anyway. Doesn't matter. I know a sign when I see one. Obviously the Ice Age is nigh. Time to finish that cable sweater I've been working on and stock up on Swiss Miss!

Before the snow covers them up, Mr. Ben and I toured the neighborhood to enjoy the sudden bouquet that has bloomed in every available green space. I don't know diddley about 'real' flowers in gardens and such, but I do so love me the 'weeds' that grow in the fields and ditches:

Queen Anne's Lace


Butter and Eggs ? Sweet Pea? Anyone?

Well, at least we'll have the photos to remember them by after the snow snakes and polar camels move in. Off to get to that knitting I mentioned. You might want to consider finding your woolies too!

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...