Sunday, January 30, 2011

Puttering and Socializing

It's been a busy week and looks to be melting right into another, even busier week.  Last Tuesday I went to see The King's Speech with Paul Wesselmann, of The Ripples Project fame.  Paul  is an amazing speaker who travels the country, visiting schools and business, giving seminars on exploring your own potential and the power of positivity. He came to speak at my company last year and we've been Facebook friends for a while, so when he put out a general FB invitation to join him down at Sundance to see the film, I accepted. I don't know who was more surprised, me or him. I'm not in the habit of accepting invitations from 'strangers' and he didn't think anyone would say 'yes'.  Worked out for the best; Paul is delightful company, the film was WONDERFUL, we had a great time and now he's not a stranger!  Seriously, if you haven't seen the King's Speech, I can't extol it's virtues strongly enough.  And, BONUS, it DOES star my imaginary husband. Colin Firth. [This week. I know. I keep the imaginary divorce courts pretty busy on my imaginary planet.I'm fickle that way.] It was such a poignant film made even more so when I came back and watched a clip of the real King George VI speak on the Internet. Such a heartbreaking struggle.

Saturday found me with the Last Saturday Knitters for the first time since November. Due to travel and illness, I have missed all of the 'official' knitting events since mid-December. I've been getting antsy so friend-Jen took pity on me and sponsored an afternoon knit a couple of weeks back for which I am eternally grateful.  I often send a big thank you Up for my knitpeeps.  I am fortunate to be in with a great group of women who have been there for me through it all. They'll never know how much I count on them.Yesterday with the girls restored my flagging soul.  Those ladies know how to chase the winter blahs away.  How lucky am I?

Saturday also found me at the Vet again with Mr. Ben.  He blew out his good knee. Tolja. I have to call the specialist tomorrow morning and schedule another surgery.  Not looking forward to that, especially since rumor has it, we have a blizzard coming anywhere from Monday through Wednesday.  Just like his last surgery, he will come home with what is essentially a towel with handles on either side which winds under his tummy so that I can help support his eighty-pound rhino butt when he goes out to potty those first few days. I remember doing this last time when the grass was green and it wasn't an easy process.  I can't imagine doing it in the wind and snow. I may wait a couple of days until the worst has passed to take him in for the surgery itself. Won't know until I talk to the vet tomorrow. But the 'good news', the vet assures me, is that 'once this is fixed, there's nothing else to break.' (HELLO! Have you met us?!?!? ) I'm just hoping that once he's finally the Six Million Dollar Dog, he's make that cool noise Steve Austin made when he ran, nun-nun-nun-nun-nun-nun-nun.  And that he'll run in slow motion like Steve.  He'll definitely be easier to catch!

Went to breakfast with friends Scott and Michael this morning and solved the problems of the world over blue corn pancakes at Gallups in Verona. They have a small but mighty and not to be missed breakfast menu and I've been there several time. Ben thought  the best part was when I brought an entire piece of bacon home just for him. Being on the injured reserve list does have it's perks.

This winter I've been cooking a couple of different casseroles, stews, etc. on Sunday evenings and reheating through the week. It really has been cutting down on fast food consumption and just takes a little extra planning. Off to steam up some veggies and put a pork chop dish in the oven. Hope you all are staying warm and sane this dark, cold, crazy-making winter! Hang in there!Tuesday is February! We're in the home stretch!

Monday, January 24, 2011

On The Bench With The Jimmy Choo Blues

So Ben and I just got back from the vet. He was limping at Christmas while I was away and right after I got back and then he seemed OK for a week or so and then went south quickly again; holding up his right back leg, toe touching a lot. I thought, 'Great! It's his right knee...his 'good' one.  Now we're going to have to go through the surgery again AND the rehab AND another five G's like I shelled out last time; first for the surgery and then when he got so sick  on the med afterward..' Just our luck. 

So into the vet we went. The first test was the knee test and it was solid as a rock! Yay! After much poking and prodding, the vet  decided that it either a tear or a strain in his upper thigh.  10 days on doggie Tylenol and bed rest and he should be right as rain again.

Wanna know how he did it?  Do ya? Do ya?

Yes! Yes! Please tell us, Oh Queen of Every Clumsy, Bone-Headed Injury There Is!  How did your 'son' get hurt? 

Why trying on women's shoes of course!  He was at a friend's house and was bumbling across the laminate floor when he stuck his foot in her shoe and it slid out sideways on him, thus wrenching his thigh. Sigh...It;ll be so embarrassing to have to tell this story down at the coffee klatch to the 'fur mommies' of the dogs that get hurt rescuing people in burning houses or those who have fallen down wells.

So, for now, it's rest, rehab and $108 rather than a surgery and a possible bank heist.  Of course who knows how much the therapy for the shoe fetish is gonna cost....

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Who You Calling Bald?

Went to Prairie du Sac with Rob and Joey this morning to see the bald eagles. There is a hydro dam up there that keeps the water open and eagles from all over Wisconsin and Minnesota congregate there in the winter to fish. They estimate that there are around 180 birds in the area this January. Normally territorial, they tolerate each others in large numbers in this area in the winter. How lucky am I to be able to see something like this! Absolutely amazing! (Click to make pics bigger...they will be just as poor quality but a different size!)

Swooping in for a fish
Almost got 'im!

Away with the prize

Three eagles out on the island

Roosting in the sun over the dam



Tree for two


Fledgling-His head is not fully white yet

Pine Aircraft Carrier

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Give Peace A Chance

I was the unwitting victim in a war that I wasn't even fighting today. I was blithely walking along, minding my own business, alone in my own little world, when !!!BLAM!!! Something hard hit me right in the top of the head. Oh Lord! I'm HIT! Medic!

Since I thought I was all sole alone in the 'hood, I couldn't imagine what it was. My first thought was falling birds but I didn't see anything around. Y'all know that I am rarely at a loss for words, but I'll admit, I stood there, stunned, for longer than I'd like to admit, trying to process this new information in my life. Then I heard it.... a small child's voice in the stillness;

"Oh Crap...I think I just hit an old lady with a snowball."

I look in that direction and see two boys cleverly concealed in snow forts. We don't have good snowball making snow so the forts were mostly made out of slushy ice chunks that the snowplow deposited at the end of their dooryard. As was their ammo... I though the dead bird felt awfully hard and cold.

There they stood, frozen in place, staring at me. My first inclination was to fall to the ground 'dead' to see what they'd do, but it was too cold and wet. The horrified looks on their faces at the prospect that they had just 'iced' a 'old lady' made me laugh and once I did, I lost any kind of advantage. They breathed a heavy sigh of relief but neither one of them apologized. They just laid down their arms and ran around the back side of the house as fast as their little legs could go. All this time, Ben is staring off into space, eyes glazed over, eating snow. He LOVES to eat snow, but I think it gave him brain freeze because he didn't even look at the kids and he do so loves him some little kids to smooch on.

For a small boy, he had a wicked arm on him, that one. I have a marble sized lump and tender spot up there tonight. The whole experience was probably a cosmic payback for the time when I was a sophomore in high school and overshot my own target and hit the principal in the head with a snowball. That one was lightly packed though and exploded into snowdust upon impact with the top of his bald dome. [He was a thin man and used to wear cream-colored turtlenecks all the time. He looked for all the world like a roll-on deodorant...] It was a thing of beauty to behold, even if I wasn't aiming for him, and worth the scolding I got for it.

So let this be a lesson to all. I do these experiments so you don't have to. Take from it what you will. War isn't the answer. What goes around comes around. Karma's a bitch. Give peace a chance.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This One's For You Nanc!

(Friend Nancy asked me to post a pic of the cable sweater that I'm working on. She's getting reved up about knitting again and is looking for inspiration.)

Hi Nanc!

Here it is. It's not a whole lot bigger than the last ones I posted. I took it to Maine but didn't work on it while I was there 'cause I knit my Mum some socks (in lovely handpainted Cascade that I got at the knitting store in the Aroostook Mall...that shop ROCKS!). Anyway, I've knit and tinked the blasted thing so many times that someone who actually knew what they were doing could have knit 12 sweaters by now.

(Click to biggify...)This is the back. It's only big enough to cover my footstool.
Here's an equally abysmal photo job (I think that dark blog in the lower right is actually my own did THAT happen?!) but it's a little closer...

Closer still.

I'm taking a wee break from it for a couple of days to knit Ben some 'mittens'. As big and fierce as he looks and sounds, he is an incredibly wussy, sensitive-flower type. It's wicked hard for him to go for a walk outside while trying to keep all four paws from making contact with the icy sidewalk. He looks ridiculous right up holding one paw after the other up (his personal best was right front and left back at the same time) until the point where he stops moving all together and just stands there looking pitiful until I can coax him back inside with promises of copious amounts of cookies.

"'Poor me! My feet get so cold! It makes me sad."

Actually given his lack of thumbs, and my difficulty in knitting thumbs, he makes the perfect candidate for my handiwork. I'm basically knitting a baby sock with an extra long 2x2 ribbed leg so they will stay on-maybe. I'm making them in hunter orange just in case I have to go looking for them in a snowbank somewhere. I'll keep you posted. It should be quite a photo op if I can get them all on him at once.

So there you have it Nanc! The inspiration you were looking for...a mistake riddled footstool cover and dog socks. Be very inspired! :-) Happy Knitting!!!!

Love and Miss you!

PS (Later)
Just had to add this picture. Friend Cindy read this post and conjured up a pic of Ben in his new mittens. This may be the only chance we get to see them on!

Thanks Cindy!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Evil Child! No Gifts For You!

Honestly, I don't know why Santa didn't leave a huge chunk of coal in my stocking this year. Sometimes I am the essence of pure evil. Case in point. My Mum LOVES See's. See's is a candy company from California that has a direct contract with G*d to provide the main source of food that is eaten in Heaven; See's covered chocolates. My Mum has remarkable self control over all things, but not See's. They croon to to her...lure her with their siren song of silken chocolaty goodness. Occasionally our mall has a small See's kiosk that is only open for a couple of weeks around the holidays and I hit it just right this year so I got a two pound box and UPSed them to her. They arrived a day or so after I got there. The sparkle in her eye when she saw them, lit up the eastern half of the US. I had to convince her to put them up and allow them to come to room temp since the back of the UPS truck is cold and I feared for her dental work. It wasn't easy for her.

When she did open them, she generously offered to share, and I had a couple , but I left the heavy eating to her. It's fun to watch her attempt to pace herself. She rarely enjoys something so enthusiastically.... What a good daughter....and then it it inevitable does...

An inkling of an inkling of an idea started to form. I tried to suppress it, but you know how I get, so one morning when she was in the shower, I removed the remaining layer and a half of chocolates in the box, put them in a plastic bag and hid it in the dark corner of a cabinet. Then I put the empty box back, giggling with glee in anticipation of the upcoming discovery.

Evil? Apparently, not enough. Since she was still in the shower and I had all of that time on my hands, I got one chocolate back out of the bag, bit it in half, put the other half back in the previously empty box and then put it back in it's spot of honor on top of the microwave again. (For those of you who aren't evil, this is called 'adding insult to injury'.) Then I sat back and practiced my nonchalant look. Good thing I practiced, since she was in a cycle of restraint that lasted almost 12 hours! It nearly killed me at first but by the time finally she went for it, I had forgotten I even did it. I'm glad I have the Big A while I'm still young enough to enjoy it!

I was as surprised as anyone when I heard her yell, 'You TURKEY You!". I assumed she meant me (it was a 50/50 chance between me and the cat) so I went out to the kitchen. I was right-she meant me. She was gripping the chocolate box looking forlornly at the lonely gnawed-on sweet and saying, "I thought the box felt a little light". I tried to convince her that she has TOLD me that I could share and that I had gone a little overboard, but she wasn't buying it so I dug her treasures out of the cupboard and returned them to her and all was forgiven. But honestly, what ails me? Maybe I need an exorcism of some kind. In the meantime, I'll just keep collecting the coal!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Christmas Visit to Maine: A Photo Essay

Snow on trees... Frosty Wreaths...
Birdy's dine...
Mountain mine...
Big day's here....Family dear...
Hearts fulfilled...

Thaw winter's chill...

When day is done...

The deer will come...

A twin surprise...

For kitty eyes...

Another Christmas come and gone.
A brand new year to carry on.

May yours' be filled with love and mirth,
G*d bless us all and Peace on Earth !