Wednesday, March 30, 2016

When the Going Gets Tough...

It's been a rough couple of weeks around Chez Bee which means there has been precious little housework (even more 'precious-er littler' than usual) and more drawing and crafting.  After help from Friend-Jen on this finorkin' pattern, (Not the designer's fault-I totally over thought the chart to the point of no return.) I've made some headway on my shawl.

Close up of stitches. It's honeycomb but you won't be able to really tell until I block the bejeepers out of it.

This is a horrible shot, but more accurately represents the yarn color. I don't generally wear bright yellow and this yarn, with it many shades, reminded me more of honey and honeycomb than the one on the pattern. 

There's also been copious amounts of doodling. Nothing takes me out of my head and tranquilized my mind-monkeys like a clean sheet of paper and an ink pen.

This is a card I made for my friend Kathy.  The pattern in the upper left is my 'Obad' pattern, and the tree is my 'Cherryfield'. I've been trying to use more of my own pattern in my work. I usually create them and then never use them!

Always dreaming about the sea.  It shows up in a lot of my work,   Tess Carlson Imobersteg's 'Breakers' pattern. Is one of my favorites

I don't know WHERE this one came from! Not my usual style. The gem setting is kind of creepy looking.

My least favorite, although the bottom pattern is mine-'Sherman'.

I don't know where the little people came from. They may be fairies from the garden that Cooper destroyed a couple of weeks back. Are they happy or are they signaling for help?

I tried a grey, Copic Pen for shading. If you look at the top  you can see where it tossed a hairball and I had to make a leaf to cover it. Guess I'll stick to pencil!

And so, although my house could use a good cleaning, I got a lot of other stuff accomplished and made it through the storm that has been my life for over two weeks. The storm is over now but something tells me that the vacuuming still won't be done anytime soon!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Making New Friends

I always have fun at the grocery store. I'm that annoying lady who insists on looking at you, smiling and saying 'hello'...or that your kids are cute. I'll help you reach something if you need it, direct you to where to find an item if I know where it is, or help unload your groceries at the check out.

We live in  this new world where most people are oblivious, self-involved and pre-occupied.  And I live in a city where trying to handle your life among the seething masses tends to make folks distance themselves out of sheer self-preservation, but I was born and raised in small-town Northern Maine.  I knew all my neighbors. We said hello to each other when we met face to face. For good or bad, everyone knew everyone else's business and we all looked out for each other. I've been here for 26 years now and I refuse to have those little sparks of civility, humanity and common courtesy  stomped out of me by the same people who pride themselves on their 'Midwest friendliness', so I carry on while I'm out and about, interacting (gasp) with my fellow humans.

Most times it works out great. People aren't used to hearing that their sweater is pretty from a complete stranger. They are amazed that someone they don't know wants to ask about their dog, or their motorcycle or whatever else catches my eye to talk to them about in passing. Most are taken aback, but very friendly.  Sometimes they look at me like I'm crazy and scuttle off, but those folks are few and far between and it doesn't bother me when they do. The brook doesn't sing it's song without the stones. 

But sometimes, it bites me in the butt. Like this morning. I was joking around with my favorite check out gal about the fact that she doesn't drink caffeine. 

I said, "I totally can't relate to you right now!" 

She said something about being the black sheep in her family because she didn't eat beef or cheese either. I said,'Well you're no fun at all!!!'  

There was a cackle from the gentleman behind me who was, conservatively estimated, 8,000 years old and wheeling an oxygen tank. The cashier said," It's OK, I drink whiskey like a fiend!".  

"Atta Girl!" crowed the old guy. "You've got to do SOME fun stuff!" he said as he put his items on the belt .  I swear to DOG! As DOG is my witness, the only items he had were a bottle of vodka that he could barely lift and several Red Bulls. 

We all laughed and I headed out of the store. When I got into the vestibule I had to take a minute and  untangle the bags from around the cart seat where they had gotten hung up. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned around. It was the guy that graduated in the same class as Moses, toting his booze, Red Bull and oxygen tank. "Wanna go find one of those fun drinks?" he growled.

"Uh, no, but thank you." (It was, after all only 7:45 in the morning and that wasn't even CLOSE to  the biggest issue with the current situation!)

"Aw come on!" he insisted. 

Then, on the spur of the moment I had a flash of inspiration and let him down the most dignified way I could think of.  "I like girls." I said. 

"Huh." he said, looking bewildered. "Well, have a nice day." And with that he shuffled off. 

That's right. I 'came out' and I've never even been or needed to be in! I apologize to all of my gay friends. I can't imagine how painful it is to go through the 'coming out' process with friends and family and I don't make light of those experiences at all, but at least, by using this ploy, his feelings weren't hurt and he'll have a story to tell the folks back at the home!

At any rate, even though I garnered a 'Klingon' in this instance, it was still amusing and no one got hurt. I encourage all of you to interact with folks you run into when you are making your way through the day. Take a chance! You never know what will happen!

Diva Challenge 260: Monotangle-Shattuck

Shattuck Swirl

This week's Diva Challenge was a monotangle; only use the Shattuck tangle in your tile. Shattuck is one that I use often so it was a pleasure, meditative and very cathartic, to draw the same strokes over and over.  Thanks for another wonderful challenge Diva!!!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Saturday Disasterday

Last night was Knit Night with the girls. I went to supper with Friend-Dale Harriet beforehand, which is always a good time. Then there was an excellent band at the cafe-The Soggy Prairie Boys. I'm a Soggy fan for life now! The girls set to work cheering me up and succeeded brilliantly. I couldn't ask for better Knit Sisters!

This morning I had a wonderful brunch with Friend-Janice, to celebrate another successful mission completely around the sun. She doesn't really celebrate her birthday but I'm ever so happy she was born, so I made her go....because it's all about me. We went to Pancake Cafe-yum! We munched, chatted, and  laughed until we cried.

I was in such high spirits and optomistic that I figured I'd keep it going and head on over to Farm and Fleet to look around at the gardening stuff. That's right, I fully intend to torture and kill some veggies in my garden again this summer. I had such a great time perusing all of the little packets, deciding which seeds I would leave in the racks to live another day, and which seeds were coming home with me to be sown and almost immediately dispatched to that Great Green Garden in the sky.  I decided to go easy since, to date, I've only really successfully cultivated lettuce and spinach which are pretty much no-brainers.

I picked out my goodies and a bag of potting soil and went to the checkout. The guy was ringing up my bounty when I stuck my hand in my purse to get my credit card and plunged right into a mass of gooey lipstick that had somehow come uncapped and covered everything inside.  Pleasing Plum isn't nearly as pleasing when it has exploded and gorped all over your cash, phone, cards, and the lining of the inside of your purse! Oi!

I apologized to the cashier and told him what happened.  He gingerly took my card like it was coated with something radioactive. I told him if he got in trouble with his girlfriend when he came home covered in lipstick, to just have her call me and I'd vouch for him, He got a mischievious glint in this eye and touched the card to the side of his neck a couple times. My kinda guy! Jokes on him, though. I didn't give him my phone number.

Once payment was taken care of, I took the small bag in hand, heaved the 20# bag of potting soil over my shoulder and went out to the car. As I was putting everything in the trunk, I realised that there was a couple of pretty good-sized holes in the potting soil and I was now covered with lipstick and copious amounts of dirt,  I looked like I had successfully held up a bank using just a potted cactus, only to have the dye pack in the money bag explode!

I still had another stop to make and didn't want to go home and change.  My errand was at the Sow's Ear, and they have seen me in worse condition, so I just went with it. I have been wanting to make the Liquid Honey scarf from the last issue of Knitty and so I went in last night and got a skein of lace weight, golden-colored yarn. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it only cost me 32 cents since I had a bunch of  points built up on two loyalty cards I had recently found in an old wallet. In my glee, I forgot to use their awesome, heavy duty, yarn winder to cake the yarn up from the skein.  I also needed to buy a 32 inch #3 needle because althought I have a metric ton of needles of all sizes, I don't own that particular one. Of course.

I caked the yarn, which took forever because there's like a million yards of it in a skein.  I turned backto and tried to keep my dirt and lipstick-smeared jacket front hidden from the general populace, but there was nothing I could do about it when I went to the counter to pick up my needles. I sheepishly explained to the casher why I looked like a pig pen and she said that she had heard hard-knocks stories from a lot of other customers that morning. So it looks like I'm not the only one having a Saturday-Disasterday.

Now I'm home, my jacket is in the wash, the contents of my purse have been cleaned off. The purse and offending lipstick (the Plum of which became progressively less and less Pleasing the longer it took to clean up) have been thrown away. There was no hope for the purse.  It was a nice one from Goodwill too! I'm going to sit down, perfectly still, and try to cast on the shawl now and hope that I have all of today's disasters behind me!

How is your Saturday Disasterday going?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Week Of Surprises

This has been a week of surprises, some happy, some not so much...but that's the way life goes, eh? In focusing on the positive, this is one of my favorite 'happy treats' of the week.  Friend-Gail sent it to me from Texas for Pi Day. How cool is that! Can't wait to make a Pi cake! 

Another happy surprise was a bonus from work! Yay! I had a couple of ideas for treats for myself in celebration. I really want a pair of small diamond stud earrings. I also want a mondo set of Prisma colored pencils. Both are spendy and not something I could buy I thought and thought and thought about which to get and finally came to a decision...a Bissel Symphony steam mop.  Do I know how to live it up or what?

One of the not-so-happy surprises of the week was not so much a surprise, since we knew it was coming, but even so, you're never really prepared.  Amy the sheep passed away at Heartland last night. Amy was a gentle old girl. She was 14 years old when she first arrived at the farm and was terrified of everyone and everything. Over the past 4 years, she blossomed. She enjoyed the barn staff and would greet folks with her throaty call when they came in the barn. Her favorite things to do was to hang out with her best friend, Gracie the Goose, and bum bananas. She loved her some 'naners! She was the Grand Dame of the barn!

Heartland took her in from a rough situation and gave her four wonderful years of love and care. When her arthritis pain was no longer manageable, Heartland did the kindest thing and the vet came last night to ease her suffering. As she drifted off to the sleep that would lead her to  endless, sun-filled fields and banana groves where she could roam pain-free, her buddy Gracie was by her side, helping her  friend over the rainbow bridge. Theirs was a true friendship. We should all be so lucky.

I'm sad that Amy's gone, because I will miss her; her punk hair-do, her welcoming call and her gentle kindness, but I know she's in a better place now-one that's pain free.  Thanks Heartland for turning around another sad story.  There have been many and there will be many more. God Speed Sweet Amy!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Speedy Delivery

Yesterday something was delivered to the mail room at work without a name on it. Mail-Guy-Brian sent a message and asked if I knew anyone who had ordered 'brown-eyed susans from Etsy?'  I hadn't, but I said I'd ask my department. I went out to the middle of the room and bellowed, "Anyone here expecting anything from Etsy?" All butts were out of their seats immediately at that point. They hadn't ordered it but wanted to know what it was and if it wasn't claimed, could they have it? All the usually tomfoolery I get when I ask a simple question. 

 But one of my scientists looked stunned and was repeating, "Yes! That's AMAZING...just AMAZING" . Of course I thought he was giving me a hard time like everyone else, but after a bit of discussion, it turns out that he had ordered something from Etsy FIVE MINUTES AGO and was amazed that it has arrived so quickly. 

Just another one of the amusing little bits that makes me love coming to work every day!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Weekly Challenge #259: "Touch of Irish"

Pi Day

I work with scientists so Pi Day is a big deal around here. Friend-Gail even sent me a special pin all the way from the Houston Museum of Natural Science to mark the occasion. I am the Geekiest Geek in the whole department today...and that's quite an accomplishment!

[I recently told 'the kids' that I was spending WAY too much time with them and it was rubbing off.  I saw a recommended book list in a newsletter and the first title was, 'How To Make People LIKE You in Seven Seconds'. Working in a place where they talk science and genetics all day, my brain read it as 'How To Make People Like YOU in Seven Seconds' and my first though was' "Seven seconds!? Geez! Cloning has come a long way since I first started here!"]

Because we love all things mathy/sciencey and have an unhealthy obsession with baked goods, a Pie Baking contest seemed the obvious way to celebrate. The rules were to bring a sweet or savory pie with an International flair and to mark it with the flag of the originating country. I told folks I was bringing Italian...Shrimp ScamPI! (Let it fester, it's one of those ones that will be hilarious later...or not.) 

I have been head over heels for the UK's Banoffee pie since I had a slice in an Irish pub here in Wisconsin a few years ago. It's weird because I don't like bananas all that much, but the combination of bananas and sticky toffee and graham crackers sure does hit the spot. It's a pretty simple recipe.

I made a graham cracker crust in the microwave, but you can buy one or use your favorite recipe. Then you melt 7 TBS of butter (not margarine) and 1/2 c of brown sugar on low until all of the sugar is dissolved and it isn't grainy. Then add one 14 oz can of Sweetened Condensed Milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.*  Once it boils, stir for one minute until it gets a bit darker.  Pour on crust and refrigerate until set. 

Bring back to room temp and cover with 2 sliced bananas.  Cover with whipped cream and decorate with another sliced banana.  You can also decorate with crushed nuts or shaved chocolate but I'm a purist. Ta Da!  We'll see what the taste testers think at the contest. There is a lot of competition.

Sweet Pies (that is my Banoffee on the left.

More sweet...The German Apple on the end is phenomenal!

Savory pies-from Shepherds, Leek , Chive, Italian and German pies to the big kahuna chicken pot pie in the middle. YUM! 

How did YOU celebrate Pi Day?

* A bit of trivia, this is the pie that used to call for you to boil an unopened can of condensed milk for 3 hours until it caramelized...or exploded whichever came first. With my track record for 'interesting incidents' I like the new way MUCH better. I've also read where you can just use a can of Dulce De Leche (usually in the Mexican part of the grocer's) to make it even easier .

Taking Care Of Unfinished Business

Last Friday before I met the Knit Chicks for the evening, I bit the bullet and cleaned out my knitting bag. It was a disaster. Partial skeins and half-knit socks all jumbled together. Normally I am pretty good about finishing a pair of socks before I start another so I was astonished to find THREE partially knit pairs in there! Whattaheck?!?!? Then I realized that the socks that were left unfinished were either dark colored or had a 'not-plain-old-ribbing-that-I-could-do-without-looking' pattern. We meet at a coffee shop in the evening and until recently, it had very poor lighting. I would attempt to see the dark yarn or the pattern and not be able to so I would start a new pair in a lighter shade with boring old ribbing so I could knit them without looking in the dark of the cafe. 

But now they have new lighting and it rocks! Thanks Tuvalu! So I reorged the knitting bag and started in on unfinished business. This is the first pair I worked on. One sock was already done and I was down to the heel flap on the other. I worked on it at knitting on Friday night, at Amy's Retirement Party on Saturday night, and on Sunday afternoon after I got back from the barn.*

The color is really much nicer than it looks in the picture. I lost the yarn band of course, but since it was a single and in a ball, I think it was probably a Zauberball from Germany. I love's me some Zauberballs! In fact the next pair to be finished is ALSO a Zauberball, but it is double stranded which I am liking better. The singles tend to mat. This one is only a single leg and heel flap but I got the heel turned last night so it's going pretty quickly.  I would like to get all three pairs done by the end of the month so I can start on this Liquid Honey Shawl that I am currently obsessing over. 

It feels good to be cleaning up the mess and to finish a pair in what seems like record time since they are partially done already! And my knitting bag is tidy and loaded with lots more sock yarn just waiting for meet-ups with my Knit Sisters. I love it when a plan comes together!

*I ran out to the barn to attend Quincy's Chicken Meet and Greet, only to find that I had written it in on my calendar on the wrong day and missed it. It was on Saturday. I still got to see the chickens which are the last ones from the MANY that Heartland took in from a cock-fighting ring that got busted last spring. Quincy and her team have done a wonderful job rehabbing, adopting out, and caring for the birds who got a exceptionally rough start in life. Good on ya to the whole team!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Springy Saturday

Even though the flowers are up in my garden and the snow is gone (for now), it's not spring until a County Girl can spy a Jack In The Pulpit, Stinking Benjamin (Trillium), Fiddleheads, or Cow Slips (Trout Lillies) poking their heads through the mud on the bank of the river in the woods, so I went to Belleville to check things out today.

The dam was at full capacity. I love the sound it makes-trickling and splashing.

The air was also filled with the sounds of shrieks and squawks of hundreds of Canada Geese and Sandhill Cranes fighting for nesting sites in the cattails. Peepers and Bull Frogs put in their two cents about the matter as well, and fish were jumping, flipping and flapping all over the lake. Everyone was in rare form!

 No one was home in the muskrat houses. They were all out swimming and enjoying the day.

 The thing that looks like a lump of mud in the middle of this photo is actually a muskrat who kindly sat still for a really long time so I could take his photo.  And it still came out this crappy.

The bushes along the stream are turning red in anticipation of frolicking in warmer weather. 

The water was still and reflected everything perfectly when fighting geese weren't ruffling it up. 

But no spring flowers yet. Just hints of some grasses pushing through. It won't be long though. Everything seems primed and ready.  

I wound up my trip with a bit of fossil hunting and found a wicked, good trilobite. 

And lots of shells and reeds.

And goose tracks that will be fossils some day if the rain doesn't wash them away.

But that was it for today.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day to go exploring. On the way down, I got to watch the fire department burn a house down. It was an old farmhouse and they 'control burned ' it, though at a couple of points it didn't look too controlled and fire departments from other towns had to come. Beautiful and terrifying all at the same time.

Tonight I went to The Sow's Ear after hours to Friend-Amy's retirement party. Amy's was the first smiling face I saw at The Ear way back when. She suggested a beginner knitting class and started me on the road to Sockdom! I'll miss her sunny self when I stop in now, but she has lots of travel adventures lined up and I'm excited for her! The party got big (and loud) quickly so I didn't stay long.  I did get to sample some tasty appetizers (Would whoever made the mushroom tarts see me after class please? YUM!) and sit a spell and catch up with Friend-Julie. I've got to make it a point to pop in more often for a hour or so of knitting in the evenings. I miss the girls.

Anyway, it was a gorgeous day and I took the utmost advantage of it. What did YOU do today?

Friday, March 11, 2016

Spring Done Gone Sprung.

This week has brought a welcome respite from our Southern Wisconsin winter. It's been almost 70 degrees and sunny, the snow is all gone, our spring flowers are coming up and last night I heard PEEPERS (or as they call them out here, 'chorus frogs') when I took Ben out at bedtime. And this weekend we 'spring forward' so it will be lighter for an extra hour at night. Pure Bliss.

Not only are the spring flowers peeking their heads out, so are the neighbors. Everyone is out poking about the lawns and landscaping to see what got ravaged over the winter. The hypnotic pull of computer games has temporarily lost its luster and there are even kids outside playing! I know it won't last. Our neighborhood was a ghost town, kid-wise, all last summer.  I see tons of kids getting on the school bus in the morning when I head to work, but after school and on weekends there is rarely a kid in sight. They are all either micro-scheduled for ballet/karate/soccer/camp/etc. or parked in front of their electronic devices. What ever happened to the 'good old days' when we left the house in the morning, gathered up our friends and stayed out all day?  I guess there are advantages to being computer savvy but there were definitely pluses to being a 'free range kid' too. Times have changed...sometime I think, not for the better! At any rate, it feels like the whole world is waking up after hibernating all winter.

I have been staying outside until the last rays of the sun sink below the ridge and then working on projects inside after dark. I put the bunny together. He needs a face, but I just can't bear to give him eyes to see how pathetic he is; all lop-sided and over-stuffed like. I'll let him remain in the dark ( literally and figuratively) for a couple of days, thinking he's somebunny handsome before I shatter that charade and shine light on the situation. I can't decide which is see or not to see, that is the question.

Almost time for knitting with a friend so I'll wrap this up. Get out and enjoy the warmth and sun and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Oh The Humanity!

When my Mum was here last fall, we investigated the Fairy Gardens that everyone is making. Made in pots, wash tubs, wagons, or in your garden, they are wee fantasy scenes involving furniture and houses made out of bark, moss, rocks etc.-some are really elaborate, all are charming.  They remind me of the fairy houses that are in Cathedral Woods out on Monhegan Island, Maine. It's one of my most cherished memories. The forest is all tall trees with no underbrush, and hidden here and there are elaborate little houses made from natural materials. None of the houses are more than 6 inches high-perfect for a tiny fairy couple just starting out or maybe a retired tooth fairy and her husband.
(Picture from Pinterest.)

This weekend there was an article in the paper about them so I cut it out to send to Mum. I told her about it when I talked to her on the phone and she was telling me how she's actually made one for her dining room table already and was looking forward to trying more elaborate stuff this summer. Now, I have the world's blackest thumb. I love plants and flowers, but they wither and die in my presence. [I once killed a plastic plant. No joke*.] But the idea of those little gardens is so enticing...and I do have that aloe plant that is defying the odds and clinging to I went about gathering stuff that I had around the house and set to making my own wee garden to entice the fairies.

I have some little things around the house-not natural so much as just miniatures so I started there. I put down some dried pine needles, installed a wee castle and a tiny tree. I made a road out of tiny gemstones and a  fence out of tooth pics. I even put in two tiny miniature people in that a friend had made way back when. It took me over an hour and  wasn't magic or mystical, but I had fun and it made me see the potential for what could be done in my back garden this summer with more appropriate materials. And then it happened....

The skies turned dark, the thunder rumbled, and the dreaded (and as it turns out extremely untrustworthy) Maine Coon dragon swooped from out of nowhere. He had leveled the castle, disheveled the path, evicted the villagers and was sitting on the tree eating the dried pine needles when I returned from cleaning up my mess. I had forsaken my tiny fairies. I had turned my back for two minutes and disaster had befallen them. I didn't see it when it happened; just the aftermath and devastation.  I imagine the actual event it was akin to Godzilla rampaging through Tokyo.  Oh the carnage! I comfort myself that the development was so new that a lot of the wee folks hadn't truly settled yet. Hopefully they can pick up, dust off and start a new in land that doesn't abide furry monsters with bad attitudes and a penchant for pine needles. Unfortunately for them, HERE there be dragons.

I did have fun with it though and will definitely be making some fairy houses for my outside dragon-free garden this summer.

*I was just finishing up washing dishes and running the disposal when I accidentally knocked a small wooden blueberry rake with fake leaves and berries directly into the disposal obliterating it. It took me days to get all of those tiny beads out of the disposal.

Monday, March 07, 2016

The Light At the End Of The Tunnel

Two people have told me that I need to post this here. It is a stupid and embarrassing story, but when has that ever stopped me?  We just got our bathrooms redone at work and one of the new features is that everything is automated....including the lights. You go in and the lights come on. Then after an appropriate amount of time, they go off.  Now that the bugs are worked out that is.

This incident happened a couple of weeks after the 'grand opening' and apparently the timer wasn't set correctly because I went in the bathroom, sat down and immediately the lights went out. Talk about dark! It's essentially a concrete bunker in there with no windows. I blame the panic that this Inside-Jonah's-Whale darkness caused on what happened next because it didn't even begin to occur to me to get up, leave the stall and make the light come back on. No,I love a good challenge so all of my MacGyver skills kicked in and I immediately started looking for ways to make the light come on from the safety and comfort of my seated position. Hey don't judge me until you're alone in that kinda darkness with your knickers around your knees!

First I tried waving my arms.  Yeah. I think the only reason the lights come on when I go in the bathroom is because the door is tall enough to set off the sensor-not because of MY tremendous height. So seated behind the stall door waving my tiny little T-Rex arms wasn't the brightest idea in my arsenal...but it was just the first attempt.

Hmmmm....what would Macgyver do?  I felt around my prison...and found a stray roll of toilet tissue. YAY! I can launch this over the door, triggering the sensor and the lights will come on. Gosh, I am so smart it scares me sometimes. I carefully line up in the pitch darkness and toss the paper. Not high enough. It hit the back of the stall door, then me, the the floor. I spent another two minutes trying to find it whilst still seated on my throne. Aha! Gotcha.

This time I remembered that the new stalls were pretty tall, so I would have to throw it up high and it probably wouldn't hurt to put a little pepper behind it for good measure. I threw high and hard.  At this point a lot of things happened at once. Most importantly the light came on.  I gave myself a fist-pump-in-the-air thinking that I was a finorkingenius and there was a bloodcurdling scream!

Apparently the lady that walked in the restroom just then was responsible for the light coming on. I was solely responsible for the near-stroke she had when from out of the darkness of an apparently empty ladies' room, she was struck down with a perfectly spiraled roll of pseudo-Charmin. I always did have an arm.

She screamed and yelled 'What's going on in here!'. I stumbled out of the stall (NOW I thought to stand up), winking and blinking and trying to explain that the lights went out.  She didn't understand the problem, my awesome solution to said problem, or why I thought it was funny and hurried out of the room.

I'm sorry I scared her. If I knew who she was, I would apologize but I don't think she works here and I haven't run into her again. I'd like to thank her for coming in when she did because my next idea was to light some paper on fire and hold it up to the sprinkler system so the emergency lights would come on.  The timer situation SEEMS to have been worked out now, but I pack a flashlight just in case. I don't want to know how much it would cost in damages should they find me by the lovely glow of the emergency lights, in a flooded bathroom, holding a lighter!

I do these experiments so you don't have to....and so that you can feel better about yourselves. On your very worst would have known enough to just stand up!

Monday Celebrity!

You Guys! You Guys! I met a bonafide celebrity this morning! I had an early morning blood draw at the clinic and the technician must have been Eeyore from Winnie the Poo! She sounded like him, looked like him and dragged herself around the lab like him. The whole time she was taking my blood she was bemoaning the fact that she hadn't slept all night and had felt like crap for 6 weeks now. She was coughing and blowing.....all while poking holes in my protective outer coating!!!! Yikes! I had her smiling a bit by the time I left but WOW! Eeyore! Live and in person! Well, the 'live' part seemed up for debate, but I'm still counting it as a celebrity sighting because, somersaults...that's how I roll! She even did such an Eeyore job of the draw that I have a big battle wound in the crook of my arm. So if you think your Monday is off to a bad start, just think, there is someone who is having a way crappier day than you...she's down at the clinic!

A lazy weekend was had at Chez Bee. Stick and I took a couple of walks without mishap...well for me anyway. Stick had a slight problem on Sunday when Mikey, the Labrador Retriever we met, tried to take him for a spin without permission. Stick now has doggie dental dents in his leg but he walked it off and seems fine.

We watched a History Channel show on Roanoke Island. It was really good but I couldn't believe they were still showing a car commercial that was from the holidays, complete with snow, presents, Santa and lights. They must have shown the same commercial 20 times in the 2 hour show...Then I noticed Citibank was doing it too-credit cards,caroling, and cookie decorating. Were budgets so bad that they had to show this crap in MARCH?  I fussed about it to myself for the whole two hours and then when the show ended I realized it was on my DVR. Seems I must have taped it...oh...I dunno...'long about Christmas time? Sigh.

I worked on my crocheted bunny.  Ummmm.....I think it's going to need a little more work...

I did some tangling-

I cleaned out the fridge, vacuumed and a whole lot of other fun things that I won't bore you with. It was nice to have a weekend where I didn't HAVE to do anything. Very restorative.  How was YOUR weekend?

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Take a Hike, Stick!

Last weekend I decided that seeings how I got grabbed last year, it probably wasn't a great idea to go hiking alone in the 'hoods 'n' woods without a weapon. I had been carrying pepper spray since the incident, but thought it would be prudent to also carry a hiking stick with me. I've had a hiking stick for years and use it off and on when I go geocaching-mostly to poke at things with- so I thought, 'How hard can it be to take it walking/hiking around the hood when I go? ' Harder that one would think as it turns out. Seems some training is involved when taking the stick on longer walks. I tripped over it, caught it on the sidewalk, drug it on the bike path and concentrated so intensely on getting the rhythm right that I forgot how to walk altogether at least twice during the hour and a half stroll. Yep. On Saturday the stick won.

On Sunday we went out for another spin, Stick and I.  It was much better. Incidents where Stick tried to openly kill me were down. He didn't lag behind or stick in the mud as much. I was pretty happy with him. I definitely won on Sunday.  [Not so much Monday when I woke up and couldn't move my right shoulder after stomping around with him for 2 hours the day before, but I digress.] Not only could I still poke things in the woods with it, I could also use it to look around things and under stuff and use it for bears. [Not that we have a big bear problem in urban Wisconsin, but if I do see one, I know they are notoriously shy, so I will need my stick to whack and stun it if I want to hug it properly before it runs off.]  But most of all, I can be confident that if anyone tries to drag me off again, they will feel the wrath of 4 and a half feet of solid, hand-polished hickory with a wee plastic compass embedded in the top! Yep! That will leave a mark!

I was surprised at the reaction of people I met on the bike path Sunday. Maybe it was my imagination, but they seemed to steer toward the edge of their side of the path almost subconsciously. No telling what a woman with a stick will do.  More than likely, they had seen me around on Saturday, tripping over the thing, swearing, and having to come to a complete stop before setting awkwardly off again. That's right. If I'm doing that much harm to my own self, there's no telling what I can do to you! Keep it moving. Nothing to see here.

I'm sure Stick and I will go on many more adventures now that the weather is clearing and there's not so much ice. There isn't a stick in all the land that can save me around so much as a postage-sized piece of ice.  I'm going down and I'll take you down with me. It's been a long winter and hiking is good for my mental health more than anything else. Especially now that I'm packing a stick!

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

March Media Detox

It happened last Saturday morning.  That one last, little straw that finally broke my camel's back completely and left him running in two different directions around the living room.  I was sitting on the sofa checking out what my Facebook family was up to and within thirty seconds I was openly crying. A guy in Kansas shot up his company. A father in Massachusetts killed his family. Abused animals. Dead children. Donald Trump. Racism. Anti-Muslim rhetoric. Kardashians.

I couldn't continue so I put down my cell and decided to just go do the chores on my list. As I was puttering around, I realized how sad, scared and disgusted I was. I felt like the whole world was falling apart and that I didn't want to be around my fellow humans any more. I had that panicky feeling that you get when something is really wrong in your personal life-someone you love has cancer, a family member passes away, your job is on the line.  Upon further reflection, I realized, that this...THIS...was a depression of my own making.

As technology becomes more available, so does information from the outside world. I find myself checking Facebook, and various news sights...A LOT. I watch the evening news; both local and national; sometimes at 7AM, 6PM and at 9PM.  I read the newspaper daily. Thus, I am inputting a constant stream of negative energy into my system and then ruminating on it non stop. I can't decide if the world is 'getting worse' or if we just have the technology to know about every little thing that happens in every little corner of the globe, or both.  All I know is that I am one of those people that can't  'scan' by things or just 'shake negative information off' easily. I take it in. I take it on. I think about it. I get upset about it and these days, the bad news just keeps on coming and coming and coming. At the time it seems it's OK in small doses, but it builds toxic mold... and creeps around in the corners of my brain until it's completely flooded.

So I have decided to take a media break for the month of March. I set my own rules. I will not watch the news, read the paper or on line news sources. I won't be Facebook-ing other than checking my personal messages (and posting blog update notices, if  there is one) on there once a day because that is the only way some folks contact me. No games on the cell phone or laptop- minimal input on all devices.  What will I do with all of my free time? Of course I already have a list:

  • More art
  • More organizing my nest
  • More getting my blog back on track
  • More cooking
  • More reading
  • More hiking
  • More knitting
  • More crocheting
  • More visiting face to face with friends
  • More phone calls to family and friends
See, I have more than enough to keep me occupied! A while back when I imposed my 'no cell phone after 6PM' rule, I immediately noticed how much more productive I was in the evenings. This just takes that one step further. I know some will say that this is hiding my head in the sand, and I guess it is...temporarily. It's more of a respite...time for my heart to heal and my faith in my fellow earth inhabitants to be restored.  And I figure, if it's REALLY important news, someone will mention it to me. And think about just how much of the news you see every day is REALLY important. 

It's only been a day and a half and I'm already feeling a bit lighter. Do I still have the impulse to plug in? Yup.  Do I miss finding out what my friends are up to on FB? Of course! And I miss the positive and enlightening posts and saying as well. But I can't see that without getting all of the extra 'crap' that I don't ask for, and I'm full up thank you very much, so it's FB vacation time for me. Last night, I spring cleaned my bed room and finished an awesome book . Today, I got my blog back  up and running. Tonight? Learning to draw turquoise stone. Sky's the limit! 

Sturgeon Bay Speed Racer

I was in Sturgeon Bay over the weekend and went to see the Third Ave Playhouse's matinee of Shooting Star with Doug Mancheski and Amy En...