Friday, April 29, 2011

Tally Ho! We're Off To The Royal Reception

The kids and I were mightily disappointed that our invitations to Katie and Willie's shindig got lost in the mail, but always open to an opportunity to party (and eat cake), we decided to crash their reception. Who else would lead the Chicken Dance if we weren't there?  So we parked the  little bus around the corner and  waited until the guys on the gin bottles had consumed enough royal punch to be more than a bit tipsy.[Aside: They also become very 'tippy'  when tipsy, what with those top-heavy fur hats; more fun than cow tipping and less work...just sayin'.] Then, with the kind of stealth that only 15 Ph.D. scientists and their sleep-deprived nanny can pull off , we stormed the gate.  There were a couple of tense moments when we discovered two of the Beefeaters upright, but found that we could easily distract them but asking "What WAS that thing Beatrice had on her head"?  While they were arguing about what it actually was, and if it constituted a significant breach in National Security, we slipped right by.

Oh the wonders!  We were formally announced and  addressed  by our Royal Wedding Names (Lord/Lady+Grandparent's name+one of your pet's names (of) your street)  like the Lords and Ladies we were. Lady Mildred Bentley of Talc, if you please! It says so on my royal sash!

The reception hall was stunning and the banquet tables were laden with a feast.
The cake was beautiful. (Bonus that it was a 'cake fail' for spelling 'Will' incorrectly!)
And the ginger ale toasts (we WERE on Company Time after all) were divine.
The kids were placated with the wedding bubble favors and were remarkably well behaved.

At least as well behaved as a bunch of folks who had crashed a high-security international event could be. If we got caught doing naughty things, we smiled, waved like a royal and said things like 'Pip pip', 'Pish Posh'  and 'Wasn't the cake simply smashing?' in our fake English accents. Worked out rather well.

Not all of us could make the trip across the pond. Although he couldn't be with us physically, he was with us in spirit...and in cyber space. That's Lord Arthur Pepper Dorian checking in from his home office.
And here he is in the portrait that hangs in the great hall of his estate. Isn't he dapper?

 We ate cake, drank toasts, chicken-danced and reveled until the morning light the changing of the guard when the newer, sober-er guards caught onto our little scheme.
We beat a hasty retreat to a lorry we had parked down by the river. We bailed into the boot and got safely away.  All in all it was a wonderful time. We have identified the kinks in our plans and will have them all worked out by the time it's Harry's turn.  Ta ta for now Duckies!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Embarrassment of Riches

Today is Administrative Professionals' Day.  This morning, as a treat, we admin types were treated to breakfast and a neat video about goal setting called Mt. Fuji-The Fool Climbs It Twice. It was very amusing and inspirational. I recommend trying to find a copy if you haven't seen it.

And I've gotten little treats from my kids and my company all day. One of my kids gave me this lovely pen and note paper set...
 Later on these arrive from all of my kids!  They know how much I LOVE tulips and pink!
 Then my company sent this box of chocolates....
Great day! I'm a lucky girl!

PS. (Later)-To thank my 'kids', I baked a batch of Snicker's Brownies tonight.  The recipe is over on my kitchen site:



Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekend Update

I had the best of intentions of starting a new knitting project this weekend but time got away from me. I puttered happily 'round and 'round in circles  for two days.  Saturday I went to lunch with a friend I hadn't seen in almost a year. She brought two friends and their 3 children. OOOEEE!  Cheeseburger in Paradise was not prepared for our party. It was good to catch up. 

Afterward, I trotted over to Michael's Crafts to buy some of the spendy pens I like since I had a 30% off on my entire order coupon. The best laid plans to run in, nab the nibs and run out met with disaster when I saw the watercolor tables were BOGO and the fixative that will keep my pencil shadings from shading everything BUT my drawings was right there...  Sigh.

I went to World Market next to pick up Easter treats for friends and the line was 20 people long-no exaggeration.  I thought maybe I had spent so much time (and $) in Michael's that it was Black Friday already.  It would have been OK if they had had more than one line open. I won't stand in a long line if the store has an opportunity to do something about it and doesn't. You know me and bad customer service. There are plenty of other stores with Easter treats willing to take my cash.

Saturday night I went to Denny's with friends Steve and Joey T. I wasn't uber hungry so I ordered their pancake thingies.. they looked like donut balls. Meh. It was nice to catch up with the boys. I hadn't seen them in a few weeks. They are both big sweeties.

I had plans to go to Pewet's Nest on Sunday to see what it looks like in high water, but life intervened and I didn't go. Ben and I spent a good amount of time outside in the afternoon, walking and deck sitting. He found a stick as big as he was so I hauled his dog bed outside (can't make him lay on the cold concrete and his sofa was too heavy to get out the door by myself!) and he contented himself with whittling the branch down to a more manageable size while I finished up several library books I'd been working on.  I highly recommend any of them if you're looking for good reads:

  • A Discovery of Witches-Deborah Harkness (Awesome! Reminded me of Diana Gabaldon's Highlander series-only with vampires and witches and it's the first in a trilogy)
  • I'll Sing You Home-Jodi Picoult (About infertility, music therapy and marital relationships).
  • Tiger Tiger by Margeaux Fragoso (About a girl's relationship with her pedophile. Disturbing but well told and very interesting)
  • Numbers by Rachel Ward (about a girl who sees peoples 'expiration dates' when she looks at them

Last night I doodled and watched a BBC DVD that I had on loan from the library; 'Shakespeare Retold-Volume 1'. On this disk was a modern retelling of 'Much Ado About Nothing" and Macbeth." I loved ' Much Ado', but 'Macbeth' went too far a field  for me with it's Gordon Ramsey-esque restaurant setting and garbagemen ghosts.

See I told you I covered a lot of ground, all the while getting very little accomplished, but it was a relaxing couple of days which I needed to contend with this upcoming week full of Cirque de Soliel and work functions. Then it's Knit Night and Last Sat. Knitting.  Maybe I'll get that new project started after all!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rude Awakening

Night before last, my imaginary husband, Colin Firth, and I were walking, hand in hand, in a lovely English garden. There was a light breeze and the sun dappled through the cherry blossoms. Colin was telling me how he couldn't have won all of those awards for The King's Speech without my love and support. He was showering me with compliments, kisses and expensive jewelry, when the light breeze turned decidedly fetid. I felt several huge drops of rain and looked wonderingly at the sky.  It felt as though a storm was coming but there wasn't a cloud in sight. What was going on?

Suddenly a clap of thunder ...Waaahhhh Shooo!  I awoke with a start. Colin and the cherry blossoms were gone in a 'pooff' as were the breeze and the sun.  Wait a minute...since when does thunder go 'Waaaaaahhh Shoooo'!? I opened my bleary eyes and peered into the darkness of my bedroom. First the clock...4:45am.  Then, once I focused... directly up the double barrel of a dog nose. I began processing as fast as my recently slumbering brain would allow...the fetid breeze, the 'thunder'...the rain...GROSS! I had just been the recipient of a Bentley sneeze at the all too close range of about 6 inches. As soon as he perceived that I was lucid, he curled up and went back to sleep.

This creeped me out on many levels....the main one, of course, was biological...but the more I thought about it, the more psychological it became. Why was Ben sitting on the bed, a la Vulture-Snoopy-On-His-Doghouse, peering at me so closely?  Did he do this often?  Should I sleep with one eye open? (My mother insists that after the things I put him through, I should thank my lucky stars that he doesn't have opposable thumbs or he's be pressing a pillow over my face. Not helpful, Mum.)

I decided to investigate the next night.  Several times I sat bolt upright and threw the light on with a snap, only to discover...

Now either he's really asleep or he's really fast at throwing himself down and pretending he's sleeping....In the case of the latter, I have bigger problems than I thought...So, if anything should 'happen' to me....the Bentley did it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Introducing

A new blog for Molly Bee!  I've decided to move my Zentangles to another spot.  Check out:


if you are interested. I will add a link to it in on the side bar as I move the Zentangle blog links to the other site.  Otherwise, all of the usual suspects; life, knitting, spinning, baskets, books, Ben and the typical messes I find myself in will remain on this site.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Relaxing Weekend

Went to Knit Night for a while on Friday night. I had my cranky on and left at 8:00PM to catch up on some much needed sleep. I have the pair of socks that I've been working on for a month almost done. I do almost no knitting at home anymore. I've been doodling up a storm in order to get pieces ready for an art show this fall. Fortunately and unfortunately, I can lose myself for hours in the pen and paper.

I had several plans this weekend. I wanted to go to the Bat Festival and see the African Fox Bat. I was going to go see Jayne Eyre at Sundance Cinema. I was going to go to Farmer's Market. I was going to go shopping at Hilldale for art supplies. But the wind, snow, sleet, and cold put the kibosh to all of it.  The roads weren't bad, it's just after spending a week in Vegas and then coming home to 80° weather...I couldn't being myself to venture out in the slop except to quickly walk Ben three times a day.

So I spent hours doodling, reading, taking a long hot bath, doing my nails, catching up on TV shows I've taped and just basically recharging. I'll get back in the swing of things when the weather warms up.  I'm looking forward to going to Cirque du Soliel at the end of this month, as well as Stitch and Pitch, Knit Safari and a shopping tour to Chicago in May. This little soiree back into hibernation is just temporary, but I sure am enjoying it.

What did YOU do this weekend?

Friday, April 15, 2011

I Love Paris In The Springtime

The day after we got home from Vegas, we rested up for our big trip to Paris on the weekend. We drove there.  No, I don't have water wings on my car; Paris IL where my brother and his family live. 5.5 hours down in the haze and clouds  then it was 80° and sunny when we got there. Their magnolias, cherries and tulips were all blossomed and springy.

We got to see beautiful niece, Kelsey, in her prom gown.  We went to see her in the Grand March at the High School gym before she left for dinner and then we spent the evening with my brother, BubberKev, and his lovely wife, Shiela. We ate Monocal's Pizza, which I'd never heard of but is awesome, and played dominoes.[Aside: I always play dominoes when I go to Maine, but by the time I get back here and think to ask folks over to play, I've forgotten the rules.  If you are a Mexican Train player, call me while the rules are still fresh! It's wicked fun!]

Sister Shiela too us shopping at Goodwill in Paris and I brought back a brand new $180 Fossil purse for $4.99. Mum brought back the flu. We have to face a discussion on how to shop.
We went out to breakfast at 7AM on Sunday and were on the road for the long drive home at 8AM to beat the nasty weather we were supposed to get in Madison in the late afternoon and evening. Turns out we didn't get it, but they got hammered just north of us so I'm glad we left early.

Mum spent the next three days coughing and hacking and trying to recuperate enough to go home on the plane this morning. I think it would have taken quite a lot to make her stay. She's on death's door but she misses her cat...you do the math.

Now I need a vacation from my vacation!  What have YOU been doing?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Home Again Home Again Jiggidy Jig

Our flight didn't leave until 3PM and we didn't have to be out of the resort until noon, so we spent the morning on the casino floor playing pennies. Despite the fact that we tried to play a slot machine or two in EVERY hotel we toured, we both came home about even which was nice. Our biggest wins were in the neighborhood of $80-100 except for this one:
Vegas was a blast. Everyone told me that it would be fun but that you only need to go once. I totally disagree. I loved it and would go back any time.

Next up...I Love Paris in the Springtime!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Viva Las Vegas: Day Three

We decided to take a more sensible approach to Day Three and The Bellagio and Caesar's Palace. The Conservatory in the Bellagio was amazing
 Poppies
 The Carousel

Poppy Lane
 
 A 'painting' made out of flowers
 A class greenhouse full of butterflies.


 Dozens of Daffodils
 Tons of Tulips

 A Sweetheart Tree and a Ferris Wheel...
Flowery cranes in the fountain and a water tunnel.

This was the amazing fountain in front of Caesar's.


 I even ran into Elvis in our travels!

We had a nice buffet dinner and  then went to Freemont Street for the evening. It was like Madison's State Street on steroids; shops, saloons, gentleman's clubs, casinos, live entertainment, celebrity impersonators (I saw Michael Jackson, Austin Powers, Stevie Wonder and Prince) and even a zip line that ran the length of the entire street. Plus the entire street is covered by a curved television screen (two blocks long) which plays a music video show on the hour every hour. It was pretty wild! Too dark to take pictures though

All too soon it was time to go back and pack for our flight out the next day.  To be continued....

We Interrupt The Vegas Trip...

To bring you this week's Diva Challenge entry.  Look away...it's awful.  The challenge was to make a tangle in only 15 minutes. I take lots of time when I draw but I told myself that I would do it and post whatever I came up with. I wish I wouldn't tell myself stuff.  Obviously my test anxiety in HS and University was because of the time contraint. I panic under pressure, but here it is in all its glory!

Viva Las Vegas: Day Two

 We hit the ground running on Tuesday. We went to the discount ticket place to buy tickets for the show we would attend that night and then started touring hotels. We took the bus to the other end of the strip and started with Mandalay Bay. 

We went to the Shark Reef and Aquarium there, had lunch and then toured the Luxor.

What an engineering feat that is!

Then it was off to The Excalibur, Monte Carlo:


Paris




New York New York
MGM Grand

Which has a lion sanctuary...

Then we walked to The Rio for our show. Everyone kept telling me that things are farther away then they look and they weren't kidding. Turns out the Rio is on the other side of a major highway.  Getting there was much like playing the amphibious role in the old Frogger video game but we made it just in time to see....

Chippendales! That's right. Not as prim and proper as I look am I?  It was fun and very campy.  I got kissed by one of the guys who came into the audience. They didn't allow pictures so I had to obtain proof. Here is a tshirt that I ripped off    ...er... that is to say,  that one of the other guys ripped off and threw to me.  Everything else that happened at the show is a secret...what happens in Vegas...stays in Vegas...

We were smart and got a cab home after the show and fell into bed exhausted.  We literally walked from 9am to 9pm that day!
To Be Continued...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Viva Las Vegas-Day One

Actually Day One was Day Two because we didn't get into Vegas until 10:30PM-T.I. Hotel at 11:30 which was 1:30 central time so we just crashed. We were raring to go the next morning and toured the Fashion Mall, The Encore, The Wynn Hotel, The Palazzo,  The Venetian and The Mirage.  We had front row seats to Cirque de Soliel: Mystere at 7PM and then Siren Show at our hotel.

 My favorite things of the day were:
The waterfalls at The Wynn

The Venetian Shops complete with a ceiling that looks like the sky and changes depending on the time of day, and canals with gondola rides .
This couple had just gotten married. The priest is still in the boat.
Sigfried and Roy's Dolphin Research and Tiger Sanctuary at The Mirage

Mystere was AMAZING.  So much going on! Colors, lights and shiny things. I was in heaven. It was very funny too with lots of audience participation. It was a very full day but so much fun. We caught the pirate/siren show at 9PM and then hit the hay  in preparation for Day Two.
To Be Continued...

Friday, April 01, 2011

Happy April Fools Day

Here are the treats we made for April Fools Day.

 I took one to work...
 And one down to the Sow's Ear.
Pizza Cakes-Yellow cake 'crust', red frosting'sauce'  grated white chocolate 'cheese' and fruit roll up 'pepperoni'...all snuggled in a clean pizza box.

Hope you all had a great first day of April!