Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Guys On Ice 2018

Mum and I went to see Guys On Ice last Saturday at The Barrymore in Madison and had a ball! I try to go see the play at least once a year when it's in Milwaukee or Madison. It's part of my Christmas tradition. 

This year I made Packer Fish hats for each of the guys; Doug Mancheski, Dan Klarer and Steve Koehler. They (the hats) were goofy looking but I had so much fun making them, and the play gives me SO MUCH joy, I always want to give something in return. It never fails to bring me back to the ice shack on Pleasant Pond in Island Falls, Maine. Lloyd and Marvin become Daddy and Poppy sitting around shooting the breeze and telling jokes. Love it! Love it! Love it!

Here are the hats.

Here's Dan wearing his hat with the tail flipped rakishly forward.

Steve is looking none to happy in this pic, but dapper none-the-less! You wouldn't be happy if a fish has biting your head either! 

And here is Doug in his hat. I think his hat is a flounder since the eyes are kind of on the same side! 

This year was extra special because we got to go up on stage after the show and take pics with the guys. 

Guys and Gals On Ice!
 (Note: Marvin needs a shorter crate! My feet lost contact with the floor! :-))

Mum landing a lantern...and it's still lit!

I can't thank the boys enough for being so nice to us. Mum loved the play. She thought Doug and Dan were hilarious and Steve has 'one of the most beautiful voices she's ever heard'. I think she's caught my Guys On Ice Smittenness! 

I also got tickets for my friend and her son so see the play on the same day and they loved it too. If you get a chance to see it anywhere....GO! And if you get a chance to see Doug, Steve, and Dan (or Lee Becker), RUN to get those tickets! (They will be at the Barrymore this week too!) It's a little bright and warm spot in a dreary, dull winter! 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas Cookie Central

So the Christmas treats hit the fan this week at work. There is a gentleman in the company who makes huge bowls and platters for all of the buildings. I think I heard that at last count he and his wife bake 4,000+  of  all different kinds of cookies between Thanksgiving and Christmas! He arrived yesterday with two, huge bowls and a platter for our merry, little band here in the outlying building on Nobel Dr. (our new home). Sean's wife likes to bake so he brought some in too. The Sales folks have been sending generous gift baskets and boxes of sweets galore. It's been Sugarpalooza around here for over a week!

We apparently hit max capacity yesterday.  By 2 PM, most of the pounds and pounds of treats were gone (within 5 hours), the sugar buzz had been enjoyed, and  by then everyone was walking around in a sugar-crash daze, rubbing their swollen tummies and moaning. Since my tummy hasn't been 'quite right' since I was so sick a couple of weeks ago, I have been staying away from all of the sweets.  The potential consequences are so unpleasant that the cookies didn't even look good to me. So I had the singular pleasure of being the only 'sober' one in the building yesterday to listen to all of the misery as everyone's sugar saturation point was hit, knocked to the asphalt and then apparently dragged for blocks!

I had to smile as I heard a guy in the break room complaining that he couldn't eat any more cookies, as his mouth was full and he was reaching for another. Several people were downright angry about it, like it was the cookies' faults for existing! I usually fall into this category. On a normal year I would have absolutely no choice but to eat all the things. Santa says it's mandatory!

I have a beautiful box of treats that my friend, Hope, made and gave to me that I  squirreled away in the freezer until my holiday guests can help me enjoy them, but other than that, I think the cookie craze is over for a while here. Hopefully it will settle down a bit before the New Year's second wave of treats hits.

So, here in the Cheese Belt, we're buckled in the very last hole! Pray that we make it to January 2nd when a different kind of complaining will set in, as we all join the local gym and eat salads- for a couple of weeks anyway. Hope you are enjoying your moderation!

Image result for free christmas cookie clip art

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Decking Them Halls, Y'Alls!

My holiday spirit, which heretofore has been AWOL, showed up in full force last weekend, thus proving that each and every last, little piece of me is a just a wee bit slow on the uptake.  But when it kicked in.  Woo Doggies!!!! Better late than never I guess.

I kicked off the season by putting up the Skeletree and lighting the outdoor lights. I put candles in all of my windows except for one.  There was one candle that I impaled my hand on and broke the bulb so I need to replace it. Lemme tell ya, that temporarily puts a twist in your tinsel! Those flickery-flame candle bulbs are made of the very, thinnest glass on the planet as it turns out.  It's very sharp. And makes you say very bad, and very un-Christmasy words. But I digress...

I finished making presents, and made Christmas treats. I wrapped gifts and packed boxes to mail to friends and family far away. I stuck a bow to the dog's head and the cat's tail and then sat back and giggled while they struggled to free themselves. Ah. Tradition!

Work has been holiday central too. There are team dinners, gift and cookie exchanges scheduled. This afternoon (this will post on Tuesday) I am hosting a party and ping pong tournament for 100+ employees to celebrate our new office. And yet I am determined to remain on keel.  I think I've finally figured out some ways to de-stress the holidays a bit! Stop the presses!

*My holiday shopping was done before Halloween. That is imperative for someone only 5'2" tall as far as I'm concerned. No crowds. No fuss. No muss. No risk of being folded, spindled and mutilated to death in a Target. No lines, no pushing no shoving. No nervous breakdowns.

*Me time. I'm finally figuring out that it's true what they say.  If you don't put on your own air mask, you can't help your seatmates put on theirs in the event of a plane crash. Although how air will help you as you are splattered over a half mile radius on the side of a mountain, I don't know, but that's a post for another day.

I'm a helper by nature. Oh, I know..a sarcastic, snarky...drag-me-kicking-and-screaming one, but a helper none-the-less. But I'm no good to anyone if I'm running on fumes, so this year I have picked my projects and planned my days so that I always have at least 30 minutes for myself at some point. Usually this takes the form of drawing before bedtime or at 5 AM before I get ready for work. It's my meditation time to just calm. to. heck. down. It's a bonus if  it can be constructive as well.  I made the ornaments for the garland (pic at top of post) for my office that way. Did it get done in one sitting? Nope. Took quite a few nights actually... but it got done...and that's the third thing.

*It doesn't all have to be done all at once or right this second. It will get done. It always gets done. Maybe if it CAN'T be doesn't need doing. I'm finally learning to pace myself. 

* And perhaps the most important thing is that I am making a conscious effort not to care so much what people think. This is a big thing with me. I have always wanted everyone to be happy and play nice all the time. I've only kicked that football  over and over for 52 years...but I'm slowly but surely catching on. Actually, I really DON'T  need to care what people think...because they aren't thinking anything. They're looking at their phones!

So, I'm feeling a little smug this year as I watch my friends scurry and stress. I'm enjoying the decorations, music and friendship of the season without the hassle. I'm singing and swinging and getting all merry like Christmas up in here, Y'All!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Legend of the Skeletree

In 2008, I had just moved out of an 18 year marriage. I was holed up in a one-bedroom apartment licking my wounds and feeling abandoned, abused, rejected, deceived, betrayed, lied to, cheated on and depressed.  I had only been in the apartment for about 4 months and had absolutely no interest in decorating for the holidays. It would be the first Christmas in 43 years that I wouldn't be celebrating with family; my first one all alone.

Friends told me that I should at least decorate ...that it would cheer me up... that I should make new holiday traditions.  The absolute last thing I wanted was to buy a tree and haul it home. That was not going to happen, but for some unknown reason, while I sold the rest of my life in a yard sale, I did bring an outdoor Christmas tree decoration with me when I moved. Half as a joke to appease my friends and half seriously, I dug it out of my storage bin and installed it in my living room.

The tree comes in three parts that hook together and all of the 'branches' are on hinges that come down from the metal 'trunk'. The poor thing looks like a white metal, Christmas tree skeleton. But it was prelit-so no need to buy lights. Bonus. And it was definitely the no fuss/no muss kind of  thing that I could handle that first year. But after I first put it up, I thought, "This isn't going to work. It's too pathetic even for me." But the alternative was to brush my hair, get out of my jammies and go out into the big cold world in search of the real deal and that was just a whole lot of NOPE. Skeletree was there to stay.

I dug out my ornaments. I had had the fore site to go through the box when I left the house and had only my own ornaments. I started hanging them on the 'tree'. There were ornaments that I had made, my mother and grandmother made, friends made, and some store-bought ones that were picked out especially for me. The wee elf that had been on every tree since my first one was there. The chipmunk on a chocolate chip cookie that my Aunt Marion gave me was there.  The birds-nest with the red cardinal in it that my Mum made, because having a birds nest on your tree is good luck, was there. I had worried that seeing them all would make me feel sadder, but they didn't. I could feel the warmth and love from each one; cherished the memories each one held.

And you know what? All of a sudden, the Skeletree didn't look so bad. It was covered with love from my family and friends and without the needles I could see every, single. one. I fell in love with Skeletree and it has been a part of our Christmas celebration ever since. Friends laugh at it; call it the Charlie Brown Tree but that's OK. Being able to see all of the love that has surrounded me down through the years in one place, unobstructed, means more to me than the most beautiful greenery in the world. So here's to you, your white enameled branches your obvious wires and hinges. You are the most beautiful tree of all!

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Donut Delivery Day

Every year, our company has a record retention initiative in December and early January. On the first Monday in December, it kicks off with donuts for all of the employees first thing in the morning. It made sense when we first started it years ago. We only had a couple of buildings and a couple hundred employees.  Now we have 11 buildings and a gazillion employees and it's a bit more of a challenge. I've been 'in charge' of ordering and the distribution of the tasty treats for the last three years.

This is my last year on duty as the process is shifting to another department in the company and I was anxious to go out in style.  We ordered 85 dozen donuts and prepared to meet at 7:30 on Monday morning to get boots on the ground and donuts out the door to the almost 1000 employees in the wider campus area.

Oh the best laid plans. I was horribly sick Sunday night and considered calling my partner and telling her that I just couldn't make it, but I've done the deliveries alone before and it's. no. fun. So I thought, I'll just go in, grab my deliveries and get 'em done and then back to bed. Easy peasy.

I showed up at work 15 minutes early and the  the caterer was 10 minutes late of course. I occupied myself running back and forth to the ladies' room during that time. I was never so glad to  see the delivery van in my life. There were so many donuts, that there were two vans. The first van held coffee urns and fruit baskets and the second van had the donuts. The driver of the second van got out, closed the door and we all heard a click. The van had taken 1,020 sugar laden, fat soaked treats (and that's if they were only dozens and not baker's dozens) hostage and wouldn't let the guy back in. Neither driver had a spare key. The store was called and the manager dispatched, but that took another 30 minutes. All the while the driver of the first van was trying to figure out a way to shimmy through a partially opened vent window in the back, the driver of the donut van paced back and forth until he wore a rut in the driveway deep enough to hang up posters, and I made a similar rut back and forth to the ladies room.  On top of it all, we had 60 degree temps, 40 mph winds and rain. Monsoon Monday!

Finally the van was opened, the donuts were liberated and I loaded up my car with my deliveries. Whew! Not long now. I'll be in my jammies with my bucket beside me before you know it. Wrong-oh Keebler!  At my first stop, I realize that my security badge is missing. I look in the car and every other place I could think of. It was on a clip with a yoyo-like string on it which extends so you don't have to unclip the badge from the bottom  of your shirt when you want to badge into a building. Finally some smokers coming back in from their break took pity on me and let me in. I delivered the donuts and went to leave when I realized there was one more box in my car for that building. Carp.

The smokers were gone and it would be another 3.5 minutes or so until they came out for another break (just seems that way doesn't it?). There was a guy I didn't know in a glassed in conference room right by the door watching the entire thing. Finally I crooked my finger and asked him to let me in. He came to the security door and asked me where my badge was. I told him that I had it at the pick up point but I must of lost it there. At this point, I'm sick, exhausted, cold, wet and pretty grumpy,quite frankly.  He may have been joking, maybe not. Either way he was being a real 'male appendage'. He said that he really shouldn't let me in without a badge. Good Dog Man! I'm here holding free donuts...for YOU... let me in!

At that moment, I felt something skitter down my left leg and out my pant leg. My badge. Apparently on one of my thousands of trips to the loo, my badge had gotten tucked on the inside of my waist band and unhooked from the bottom of my shirt. It chose that very second to make a break for it,down the side of my leg, and to freedom.

The jerk stood with his mouth open staring at it. I just said calmly, "I told you I had my badge'. It's clear he was wondering where exactly I kept it if that's where it ended up. In his awed stupor, he opened the door and let me in without a word.

I finally got home and back to bed about 2 hours past when I had hoped but I did get to experience barfing in new and exciting places so that was fun. As usual, instead of going out in style on my last year, I went out in the moronic, why-does-this-stuff-only-happen-to-me way I always do.  Guess that's an OK thing or I wouldn't have anything to write about, eh?

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Carolin' In the Cave

Friday night I maintained my Christmas tradition of going to Mt. Horeb to hear A Capella groups sing in the large cavern in the Cave of the Mounds. I almost didn't go. I'd been dealing with a headache all day and I hadn't been able to get tickets for the Saturday show that I usually go to when the Green Tones sing. I decided at the last minute to suck it up and go because I'd already bought the ticket and because I didn't want to ruin my 8-year streak. I'm so glad I did.

The drive out kind of sucked because it was 7:30 and dark.  The heavy traffic and glare reignited the headache I'd worked so hard to stomp down, but once I got into the cave, which was lit only by candles, it was better. Two  groups performed; the main group was Deliberate Vibrations (8 men) and then there was another group, Mad Fusion (several men and 1 woman) which had some members in common with Deliberate Vibrations group.

The first group did quite a few songs including a very funny rendition or 'Blue Christmas' and another of  'The Star Wars Song'.  Mad Fusion did a couple of  more traditional songs as well and then they all sang the last song together from either end of the cave. Ava Maria filled the cavern so that it sounded like you were inside the song. I teared up. If you get a chance to see either of these groups, GO! They are amazing!

On the way home, in addition to the glare, I had to deal with the fact that my car was suddenly full of mosquitoes.  The parking lot for the cave is in a little glen near a stream but c''s December. We've had the weirdest warm weather. The days are high 40s to low 60s but the nights are cold enough to freeze the little buggers. Maybe they were in the cave which is the same temp  all year round and hitched a ride back on my jacket. It was just strange, having an infestation to deal with during the ride home from a Christmas concert.

All week long, I have been picking up box-elder bugs and carrying them out to the potted plant in the lobby at work. (There seem to be a lot but maybe it's just the same one.) This is a problem we normally have in Sept. and Oct. but it's the gift that keeps on giving this year. I noticed that someone had scooped one up and put it in the with department's pet beetles. That's right, The Big Bang Gang (careful how you say that) has commandeered four Blue Death Feigning Beetles from the desert southwest.  They are all tricked out in a swanky little bungalow and they are fed small bits of fruit and vegetables.

These particular bugs' claim to fame is that if it is alarmed, it rolls over and plays dead; much like a possum, hog-nosed snake, or fainting goat. Now in my book, about the only thing a pet beetle can do for you is move around.  These guys go belly up when you hold them. When they eventually do die, I don't know how we'll tell. Even when they aren't scared, they're  big fans of hiding beneath a little piece of bark in their home....completely out of site. At least the box-elder bug roams around in there.

That said, I'm glad we have them because I think this is just a gateway pet really. If nothing goes awry (I know that's a BIG if) I think the proper progression is then gerbil, then guinea pig, then bunny, then cat, then dog and then we finally get that monkey I've had my eye on. We can call it a therapy monkey to get it past HR if we need to. We can train him to make copies. His name will be Roger. But as you can see, I haven't given it that much thought.

Hope you all are enjoying the holiday season! Drop me a line if you get a chance!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Yesterday Was a Bad Ol' Day

Yesterday was a bad day. A really bad day. Not the amusing kind of bad day that I seem to a really, really, bad ol' day. As luck would have it, I planned to leave work early to go to a dental appt. at 1:00 PM and a haircut appt. at 3:30 PM. My dentist appt. which always take over an hour, got wrapped up in 35 minutes! Miracle of miracles! I had several errands I wanted to run before my haircut, but as I pointed my car west, I drew nearer and nearer to Heartland Farm. Before I knew what was happening, I had turned down the farm road and was on my way to healing. The heart knows what it needs.

I love to visit all of my feather and fur family, but the farm has recently rescued 7 female emus and I wanted to spend a little time with them. They had been roughed up a bit recently and were still nursing their superficial wounds, but despite being moved to a new home, and the hardships they had endured, they were calm, curious, and friendly. They were milling around in their enclosure, gently thrumming deep in their chests. I didn't know that that was the way they communicate; soft drumming between each other..

In the middle of their enclosure, their food bowl sat on a wooden box-much like an apple crate. I went over and sat on the edge of the crate, settled in and just relaxed. I concentrated on being silent (which for me takes immense concentration) and sending out calming energy to let them know that they were in a safe place and I was no threat to them. I didn't try to chase or touch the birds in any way. I just sat. And sat. And sat..

They were wandering all around, investigating their new home, and as the silence went on, they came closer and closer to where I sat. I could feel them starting to trust me and knew that they were wondering  whether or not this purple, fleece-clad lump was a permanent fixture in their new enclosure. I noticed one of the birds perk up and listen when a songbird trilled outside, so by and by I started humming very softly...Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star....

All of the birds stopped what they were doing, stood up to their full heights, necks elongated and stared at me. It should have been scary. Seven, 6-foot plus birds with massive beaks and dinosaur talons focusing all of their energy on little old me;  a mere 3 feet tall as I sat on the crate and only a little over 5' should I decide to stand up and challenge them.  But it wasn't scary at all, It was really magical.  They came off the 'alert' stance fairly quickly but continued to look at me. The thrumming between them increased.  You could tell that they were discussing how  was the weirdest little, purple, fleecy songbird they had ever seen perched on a box in their 'living room'.

I hummed a bit more and they wandered all around close to me. I sat so long that I had to do my errands after my haircut instead of before.  It was totally worth it. I left feeling like a healing balm had soothed my soul. I had more perspective and I just knew that things were going to be OK, no matter what. Heartland's motto is 'People Healing Animals Healing People', and it couldn't be more apt. There's just something about spending time with those critters that is absolutely healing in a way that I can't comprehend or explain. I'm just so extremely grateful that it's there...especially on a day when I really needed it.

So thank you Seven Sister emus for trusting me, soothing and singing to my soul.  And thank you Heartland, for doing what you do !

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Really REALLY Big Bang Theory

My life is weird. I encounter a lot of strange situations. I kinda bring that on myself by not being able to keep my thoughts to myself-especially around people I don't know. I'll strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere over anything. I've met lots of interesting people that way and had a lot of fun, even though it occasionally does bite me in the bum. But usually even that amuses me so it's OK.

My job is weird. I tell people it's kind of like working with the characters from The Big Bang Theory more days than not. Even after 24 years here, each day usually holds  some kind of special challenge to the point where, it becomes commonplace. The weird becomes the norm.

But yesterday was one of those outstandingly weird days that pop up from time to time where the bizarre and surreal just keeps getting more so and you start to wonder if you're still in bed dreaming this or if it's really happening.

[A little back story...] I took my car over to my car husband, Jeff, at Zimbrick's on Friday to put new tires on. I asked him how much he loved me and if he would do me a favor. I told him that I had learned a very important lesson on Thursday when I set a potted plant in the trunk of the car and then drove off, taking corners on two wheels apparently. What a mess.  I told him I now knew not to do this and sweet-talked him into vacuuming out the trunk with the industrial vacuum for me.

Scene jump to Monday, when I put a huge philodendron in the backseat, carefully secured it and cautiously drove to work.  Apparently the word 'secure' doesn't mean what I think it does. More potting soil all over the back seat. Since I told Jeff that I learned my lesson, me thinks I will have to clean up this mess myself!

So my Monday was was already off to a blazing start, when I decided to set up a new desktop fountain. I assembled it, filled it and crawled under my desk on my hands and knees to plug it in.  I heard its delicate tinkling start, so I crab walked out from under my desk. As I was backing out, the sound of the surf was so real that I imagined that I could actually feel the ocean spray on my back! Turns out, the tide was in and surf was up! My beautiful seahorse fountain was trickling a small stream of water into it's base and jettisoning torrents of water all of my office. I was so shocked, I stood there with my mouth open a lot of extra seconds longer than someone who is actively turning her office like a swimming pool probably should. I finally got the thing unplugged and spent another 20 minutes mopping up.

Finally I decided to work on the corporate holiday cards that had been delivered on Friday. I took 80 pre-printed cards and put them under the back flap of the pre-addressed envelopes so that I could set them out on a desk and people could sign them. It was a pretty mechanical, monotonous job and before long, I found myself drifting and caught myself as I  tried to put one card in the envelope instead of under the flap. Yep, that was the exact moment when I was the first one in the company to discover that the hundreds of cards that had been purchased were just a skosh too big to actually fit in the envelopes. I emailed the admin that was in charge or the project and asked her if anyone else has noticed. Hey I'm just the messenger. (Why oh why do I always have to be the messenger?!) She then went into emergency mode and went all over the company to collect the cards back and get them to the printer to re-size. (Although my day was 'off', I graciously concede that she is the one person that was having a worse day than I!)

As that crisis was dying down, I heard a ruckus back in the office area where the kids are. What fresh mayhem could this be? Turns out there was mouse under one of the girl's desk! The clock started ticking.  I wandered all around, using my all purpose animal call* , and poking into every available hidey-hole, to try to find the critter, scoop him up in a coffee cup to take him outside to freedom as the rest of the office immediately started baiting traps with peanut butter. (The rest of the office won. At around 2 PM he was enjoying a sticky, nutty snack when he was transferred to that big corporate office building in the sky.)

Soon, I was off to a meeting in the building  down the street where we used to reside. Some of the kids had forgotten to bring their desk know, the ones that hold paperclips and pens etc... so I swung by our old office space and picked up three of them. Did you know that even though they are identical, they won't stack or nest like you'd think they would? You have to put them one on top of another, on top of the laptop you're also caring in a kind of loose and wobbly tower. This is important to note because WHEN you stumble in the parking lot heading back to your car (and if you're me... you will), the top tray... specifically the sharp corner of the very top tray, is right at eye level. I couldn't believe I was going to have to write out a safety incident report because I poked my own eye out with a drawer organizer! I may have said a bad word because gosh it hurt and today I have a bit of a black eye but I covered it with makeup so I didn't have to explain THAT debacle. Now...exactly how did you poke your eye out with a desk organizer again, Molly Bee?!

I didn't even go straight back to the office. I stopped at the cafe half way in between, ordered a grilled cheese and attempted my crap together to face the afternoon. I talked to a toddler about the merits of PB&J versus grilled cheese and our mutual dislike of pickles.  I calmed down and my eye stopped watering so I went back to the office. I am  thrilled to report that  I survived the afternoon with only the 'normal' incidents and accidents occurring and arrived home exhausted but further unscathed! Thank goodness days like this don't happen very often! I don't think I'd survive if they did. They do make you appreciate the 'normally weird' days thought!

(C'mere baby! Who's the bestest insert animal here? I think it's YOU! Yes it is! You're the bestest one!)

Friday, November 10, 2017

How Do You Eat An Elephant?

The more things change the more they stay the same in many job, new office, yadda, yadda, yadda. Kinda feeling like I'm movin' ahead and like I might just be getting a handle on this adulting thing after all and then...I get my reality check.  Every. single. time. For instance,  I discovered this morning, when I dug out my winter jacket (that I bought a year ago October) that I had managed to wear it for the entire winter last year with the price tag still attached in the underarm. Now I know it's a heavy jacket and we had a kind of warm winter, but c'mon. I wore that jacket a lot. Couldn't one of y'all let me know that I was Minnie Pearling it??? I feel like one of you had to have noticed it...but then again why would you...I didn't. Sheesh. I'll always be the dorky misfit. I should just get used to it!

Speaking of winter coats, Moose and Cooper are all geared up for the cold weather (fancy segue, no?). They are both in fine fettle but this recent cold snap  has brought out the 'snuggle' in Moo and the 'I'm going to kick your tail feathers' in Cooper. Old Coop has a healthy dose of this year round, but I thing this particular 'endearing trait' gets ramped up to a full-fledged superpower when the humidity goes down and he has more energy. It may well be a payback for the newfound, but short-lived, trick Moose discovered this summer.

He was munching on his toy elephant* in the living room when Coop came wandering through. Moose stood up with the toy and shook it vigorously back and forth. At just the perfect moment, he lost control of it and off it flew, arcing through the air, nailing Cooper perfectly.. You could almost see Moose's little, ping pong ball brain exploding. For the rest of that day and much of the next two, every time Coop was in the vicinity, Moose would head for the elephant. He has an amazing amount of aim and accuracy for a little fella who often times pees on his own foot . Cooper would jump and run.  Then it got to the point where Coop would run if he saw Moose move toward the elephant.  Then it got to the point where he would run when he saw Moose.

I knew something had to give and it did.  Cooper finally decided that he would put an end to this bullying with a little bullying of his own. The next time the elephant flew his way, he batted it, ran at and tackled Moose and proceeded to kick the living snot out of him. Moose got away at one point and came running to me for protection, but I held tough. He made his bed, he should sleep on the lumps.

When Coop decided that Moose had gotten, and thoroughly understood, the message he was trying to impart, he  stopped the whuppin' and promptly took a bath. Stinky dog germs, doncha know.  Moose came to me for comfort and it was given. The elephant hasn't taken flight since. In fact, if Moose is chewing on him when the cat walks through, he will cease and desist and move away from it. Cooper's message was received! And all is well at Chez Bee again.

* Moose's elephant was given to him by Dale Harriet. He has chewed on it every day since and now it's just a suggestion of an elephant really. You can kind of tell, but you really have to use your make-believe! The trunk is gone, ears are in shreds, but he still tastes as delicious as he did that very first day. How does a little Chihuahua eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

Wednesday, November 08, 2017


It has been brought to my attention, that I've been absent for a while. I didn't think anyone even read this thing. It's not like I have any wisdom (or anything of any value at all, really) to impart. But when I was home in Maine this autumn, more than a few people asked me what was up with the silence. [Aside: As those of you who know me personally can attest...when I am quiet, something is wrong! It's one of the signs of  the apocalypse. Really! Look it up! Generally speaking...I'm...well... generally speaking.]
I told them I was in the witness protection program, but they didn't buy it.  If I have learned nothing from my small-town-Maine upbringing it's that your Mum and her friends will find you, no matter how well you hide!

Truth is, it's been an unusually busy few months for me. I got a new boss a few months back. The hours have been longer; the learning curve has been steep and demanding. There's been time for little else. And this week, our entire department, and several others, moved into a new building up the street from where we were. Even after planning for months, confusion and chaos abound in moving 15 people (in our dept. alone), as you can imagine. Boxes and computers and printers, oh my!

Then yesterday my buddy Michelle, left a 'Hello?' (echo, echo, echo) message in my comments and I thought maybe it might be time to reboot this little repository for my inane observations. I've settled into my new office and the new workload is finally evening out. I'm anticipating being able to go home at the end of the day from now on and NOT immediately collapse into a heap of tears and snot bubbles. At least I did last night... keep your fingers crossed!

That said, I will leave you with pics of my new office.  Here is the obligatory 'before' shot:

I know, 'Meh', right? So I brought the bling:

And made it a little more homey...a little more 'Molly Bee'.

 Better, no? The only thing left is to get a plant for that little end table and a piece of art for the wall and I think it's done.

So there you have it. I'm back. I'm in my new tricked-out saddle and I'm ready to roll. If you actually see this, please click on the word 'Comment' and say 'hi'! I'd love to hear from you! See you again soon!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Diva's Weekly Challenge #332 "String it: 2² (two squared)"

As luck would have it, I needed to do a tile for our Prairie Tanglers meeting this Saturday. The challenge there was to use Phil-Agrees in a tangle. Then The Diva posted a challenge to use two squares as a string; a match made in heaven for my purposes!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Blogger Challenge 326-Nzepple Monotangle

This week's Diva Challenge is to do a monotangle with N'Zeppel.  It's one of my go-to tangles. I love it so much that I did the poster sized version a while back and it hangs in my living room, so I'm cheating and submitting it as the challenge piece for this week.

The subtext of the challenge was to think about a time that you 'didn't fit it'. When I was making this piece, I was going through a crisis in my life that made me feel very, very alone. The mindlessness of this pattern soothed me and calmed the mind monkeys for a few minutes every day. It's a piece that looks complicated but is, in fact, very simple. Here's a link to my progress if you are interested.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Scary Knit Night

We had an incident a couple of weeks ago at Knit Night that was a wake up call to renew my CPR/First Aid skills. One of the ladies came in more than a little disoriented and we were afraid that she was having a stroke. I remembered some of the things to do to 'test' and see if it's a stroke. I got her to smile-both sides of her mouth were level, she repeated phrases with no slurring or forgotten words, no signs of muscle weakness or 'drooping' in her face. I had seen TIA's many times with an elderly grandparent and I was sure it was something like that. We decided that calling 911  wasn't needed, but we did call her husband who came and took her to the Emergency Room. Many test later, they determined that it wasn't a TIA, but some sort of a stress-related lapse and she is A-OK but she doesn't remember anything that happened during the incident.

It really scared ALL of us and reminded me that it has been several years since I renewed my CPR/First Aid training. I think the last time I did it was the year they rolled out the 'not breathing/only chest compressions to the beat of 'Staying Alive' by the Bee Gees. I'm signing up the next time the Red Cross offers it at my work later this spring. You just never know...

I was surprised that I had the presence of mind to remember some things about strokes. You don't have to take a First Aid class to remember these two bits of information.

If you’re with someone and you notice a sudden change in appearance or behavior, make sure it’s not a stroke. Ask them to do these three simple things:
  1. Smile - Is it the smile you know and love? Or is one corner of the mouth drooping down?
  2. Close your eyes and raise your arms - Are the arms held high together, or is one drifting back down to the side?
  3. Repeat a simple phrase - Why not make it funny? If the person is fine, you can laugh about it later. Try “If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.” Listen for slurred words and unusual sounding speech. 
The American Stroke Association developed another easy-to-remember way to spot a stroke. It's called F.A.S.T. Here's how it helps you identify a stroke in yourself or another person. :
F – Face drooping. Is one side of the person’s face drooping or numb? When he or she smiles, is the smile uneven?
A – Arm weakness. Is the person experiencing weakness or numbness in one arm? Have the person raise both arms. Does one of the arms drift downward?
S – Speech difficulty. Is the person’s speech suddenly slurred or hard to understand? Is he or she unable to speak? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Can he or she repeat it back?
T – Time to call 9-1-1. If any of these symptoms are present, dial 9-1-1 immediately. Check the time so you can report when the symptoms began.

I lifted this highlighted verbiage directly from the interwebs...but they are trying to spread this info so I don't think I'm in a lot of trouble. No more than usual anyway.  I hope you never need it, but if you do, I hope it turns out at well as our incident did! It ended up to be just a reminder to be informed and trained in case someone needs you in an emergency!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Pseudo Spring and Half A Brain

The past few days have been lovely and rumor has it that they will get lovelier as the next week goes on. 50° in mid February?! While the East Coast is getting buried?!  I know we shouldn't get used to it because we know winter never goes away without a fight...usually she starts rabbit kicking along about basketball tournament week if memory serves...but I can't help it; Pseudo Spring always puts a my step. Just in time too because I was just at the point where, as my friend, Jen, says, 'I lose all will to live'. These past few days of warmer days and melty snow have prevented me from climbing the bell tower. Moose feels the same way. He's not a fan of snow but he is a big fan of lawn so his nose has been going into overdrive lately. I don't know why he doesn't hyperventilate and pass out.

I went over to Mt. Horeb today for my friend, Linda's, sister's funeral. Rhonda was only 47 years old. Way, way, way too soon to go. There are more and more folks my age (and younger in the obits) every day. I'm not liking it one bit. Pretty sobering. The service that Linda and her family put together was lovely. The music, Abide with Me and Eye on the Sparrow made me well up. The reverend reciting the lyrics to Irving Berlin's Always put me over the edge. Very touching.

I noticed on the way over and back that the sky was teeming with skeins and skeins of geese! Seems they are as confused by this Pseudo Spring as I am. I hope we're not all in for a rude awakening anytime soon. Of course there is always the chance that they are just getting to heck out of the US, despite the season, and back to saner soil in their homeland of Canada. They may be on to something actually.

This weekend I shall search the catacombs in the basement for my half finished Thinking Cap and finish it for the Science protests in April. It's only half finished. I was thrilled to learn that I was actually ahead of the curve on this once since I started it about 2 years ago-before it was even cool. I am nothing if not a trend-setter.

This here's my friend Carl, modeling the 'Thinking Cap'

Since it's not finished, I'm thinking Carl only has half a brain.....

My hands are still giving me fits, but I figure if I do a little of the miles and miles of I-cord required each day, it will be done in time. I saw a bit of inspired thinking this week. Some of the ladies that knit the Pussy hats for the first protest are just adding the I-Cord to that one. Dual duty!  There is also a great hat pattern floating around that has the cables that form a DNA strand much like the Dr. Montville's Double Helix Seaman Scarf that I made a few years back. I'm pretty sure I'll knit that one too. Maybe a hat and scarf both, since the first one was for a friend. My hands have to stop weeping and bleeding sometime,ya?!?!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Raptor Revenge

A couple of weekends ago, I was driving home and saw something out of the corner of my eye falling from a telephone line. My first thought was 'owl' so I turned around, parked and went to make sure it was OK. It wasn't. Turns out it was a beautiful Red Tailed Hawk and though I tried to revive it, it was DOA.  I know it's illegal to take possession of a raptor, but I just couldn't leave it there so I put it in the car headed off to the police station. I thought maybe they could get it to the DNR, the Ho-chunk nation or the UW or something, I don't know. I just couldn't leave such a beautiful thing there in the road. 

As I was driving, I turned the heat on in my car and apparently the vent was set to blow under the dash because all of a sudden, the hawk's feathers ruffled and I did a fancy bit of driving for a few moments thinking that this huge thing with sharp talons had just come back to life in my car! Don't get me wrong, I would have been ecstatic, terrified, possible on the sidewalk and probably bleeding from a lot of different places, but ecstatic. But it was not to be. 

I took it to the police and by then I was crying. I'm sure the two officers, whose combined age couldn't have been more than 25, questioned their career choices when this sobbing woman came stumbling towards them, babbling about 'knowing it was illegal'....(actually it was a dead hawk not an ill eagle-see what I did there?) and thrusting the heap of feathers at them. But they took it and told me that it was OK for me to bring it to them. They got some information about where it was found etc. and send me on my way. I then contacted the power company because I don't know if it got zapped on the wires or flew into them and broke it's neck, but wanted them to check so it didn't kill any more birds! 

Here's where things get a little weird. I know, like that wasn't weird enough, but you guys know how my life goes by now! I found the hawk on Sunday. On Monday, I went out to get in my car at work and this Cooper's Hawk was sitting in the bushes right in front of my parking place. It just sat there looking at me the entire time I was getting ready to go. I left the lot before he did.

On Tuesday, I was going to the barn after work and a Red Tail Hawk flew over the hood of my car the entire length of Woods Road-about 1-2 miles. He was about 10 feet above the hood and he just stayed there the entire way, leading me across that road.

On Wednesday night, I walked Moose before bed and there was an owl in the pine in  back parking lot. He/she and I hooted at each other, back and forth, for over 10 minutes before I got so cold I had to go in. 

I'm wondering if the raptor community knows I took one of their own and is keeping a close eye on me-waiting for the perfect time to take revenge? If you find me in a heap, all scratched up with my baby blues missing, you'll know what happened! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentines Day!

First off, my Diva Challenge. I wrote this entry last week with a delayed posting time, then Laura's challenge came out yesterday and it was for a heart challenge so I did that last night. 

And now on to my post....
Every year I plan to make my own Valentines. Every year, I fail. I might make one or two just never enough. This year I got my back pockets in gear earlier and got 'er done!  They are pretty simple designs and I just put them on colored note cards, but I was pretty pleased with myself nonetheless. 

I'm back in another phase where I can't get enough of drawing Gemz! 

On behalf of Cooper, Moose and all of the rest of the crazy that is Chez B...

     Image result for Happy Valentine's day clip art from MollyBeeImage result for Happy Valentine's day clip art

Monday, February 13, 2017

Mr. Moose

And what of Mister Moose you ask? He's doing just fine thank you very much. He is getting braver about the cold weather but still appreciates being bundled up in his Packer sweater when he ventures outside. 

I walked in the living room the other day to find him sitting like a human in the recliner. Just leaning back, looking out the window, chillin'...Life is tough on the Moo Moo.

This boy came to visit. Moose watched Mr. Popper's Penguins with the boy. The boy ignored Mr. Moose and didn't offer him any of the the much-coveted string cheese he was munching on... even though it was clearly 'the share kind' in Moo Moo's estimation. The boy received 'the stink eye' until said cheese was all gone. The boy didn't notice at all. 

But most of all, Moose Wigglebottom is tired. Evenings often find us reading a bedtime story...

Until we are sleepy and can't help but yawn...

and then we fall into a boneless sleep in mommy's arms. 

Goodnight to all from Mr. Moose!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Knitting? Has There Been Knitting?

Oh yes! t]There has been plenty of knitting in the past several weeks. The Knit Sisters and I get together just about every Friday evening and one Saturday a month so that gives me quite a lot of stitching time, although I often have to rip out what I've done when I get home because I'm so busy gabbing and laughing that I've made a ton of mistakes.  I have managed to pull off a few projectsthough. 

This is a close up of The Peace Cowl I made. I love the stitch pattern. The yarn is some hand-dyed that I won online. It's softer than unborn, baby panda pelts. This project was part of a Knit Along for the first 21 days of December. The idea was to take a few minutes each day in the busy, stressful holiday season to just relax, reflect and knit a couple of rounds; projecting peace to the universe. 

I did it, but it was a little deceiving, what with hundreds of stitches in each round! It took over a half an hour to do the repeat you were supposed to do each day. Plus the first time I cast on, I didn't have enough yarn. The second time, I had enough yarn but I twisted it when I joined it in the round and had to start over. So the start was a little less that peaceful. But I finished it and even knit a second one directly after out of purple sock yarn I had in my stash. This one went to Aunt Gail in Ohio!

I knit some Owl mittens from Jorid Linvik's Big book of Mittens. I love the baby owl on the thumb! Stranded knitting on small needles gives me wicked hand cramps I've discovered. Guess I'll have to do more of it so I can strengthen my hands!

Image result for jorid linvik

On January 1st I started a 2017 Sky Scarf. Each day I add two rows (the pattern is Mini Bamboo) based on the color of the sky: blue-clear skies, grey is overcast, white is snow, black is rain, tornados will be orange. (Nuclear fallout a beautiful red with sparkles)!  I'm dividing the months with a pink stripe. should be interesting to see how it turns out. This is almost all of January. 

Last week I started and finished Elizabeth Morrison's 'Skating Party' hat. I love the yarn. It comes in a kit from Knit Circus. This gradient colorway is 'Cindy Lou Who'.

It was a fun knit and the finishing-continuing the hat peak with an inch of I-cord and a bobble before binding off- was genius. I only had a little trouble in keeping the pattern together when I was decreasing but fortunately the designer was sitting to my immediate left and graciously helped me out.

It's weird for me to knit so many projects that aren't socks! It was fun to do something a little different over the holidays! Knitting has slowed down for now beacuse I am having some skin rash issues on my hands, making yarn tension painful, but as soon as that is under control, I'm back in the saddle! Knit on!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Cooper-The Hacker Cat

Just look at that face; so beautiful, so seemingly innocent. Why he just looks like a gorgeous Maine Coon cat, not a...... terrorist and master hacker or anything!  I CAN NOT leave my computer unattended or he is on it in a flash. This has been going on as long as I've had the laptop. He has accidentally sent a couple of emails. I routinely come back and find the letters pppppfffffftttttttt and the likes strung across the screen, but it's only been recently that he's become savvy enough to do any real harm.

A couple of Fridays ago, I was working from home and had a teleconference with the office. About 5 minutes before the meeting, I pulled up the files I would need to access in my Microsoft Explorer program, then turned my back for two seconds to get a glass of ice water.  The call came in, connecting me to the meeting and I looked at my files. All gone. Folders and folders of data from the past 10 years... vanished without a trace. No amount of 'undoing' or searching my trash files could retrieve  them. They were on the corporate server so only a call the our IT department, followed by their 20 minute search through the company deletion-swamp could get them back. I don't think my colleagues in the meeting believed me when I told them my cat deleted the files. I have new-found respect for the old 'the dog ate my homework' excuse!

A few days later I was in the powder room off the kitchen when I heard the laptop say "Hello! This is Cortana.  If you speak with me a little more, I will be able to recognize your voice and help you more effectively." To which, His Nibs replied a hearty series of meows. Great, now my computer is programmed only to speak feline!

Later that same day, I was bopping around in  living room, listening to Pandora on the computer. All was fine until I went into the living room and the laptop wasn't in my direct line of site anymore. All of a sudden the volume jacked all the way up on high.  I ran back to the kitchen and there he stands, on just the exact key to turn up the volume. I removed him, turned the music down again and continued my chores. I went back to the living room, volume jacks again. I go back in the kitchen, there he stands...on the volume key. 

Exasperated, I finally closed the lid of the laptop as far as I could to get him to stop walking on the keyboard. I can't close it all the way or it shuts itself off. I tell His Majesty to leave the music alone, at which point he walks directly to the computer, looks me right in the eye, takes one fuzzy paw and firmly shuts the lid, thus ending the music and the argument. I'm doomed. 

So, learning from my mistakes, I devised a clever placement of deterrents around the  keyboard so he couldn't access it and potentially ruin my career, send my meager savings to an off shore account in Virgin Islands, email Jim Brickman ccomplaining that I refuse to play his music at headbanger volumes, or order copious amounts of catnip from PetCo Online. 

This is a picture of how successful that was. 

He LUUUUUVVVVVS him some computer! 

So if anyone has any ideas regarding how I can get this criminal mastermind to cease and desist, it would be in your best interest to pass that along because the way things are going-today my computer, tomorrow the world's!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Doodling, Oh Yes, There Has Been Doodling

I'm pale, pasty, depressed and cold...very, VERY cold. It has been a doozy of a winter and doodling may be the only thing that has keep me from sighing 'Goodbye Cruel World' and leaping from my desk.

I've been trying some new (to me) tangles rather than using the 'Go To' stable of favorites that I always use. I am also experimenting with drawing them larger so that I can use some of the elements as Gemz. I'm thinking that that is what I will do with the one below. I think the 'pearls' will look groovy in jewel tones!

My company is having it's annual art show right now and I submitted a few pieces. The curator of the show is always trying to get me to make 'bigger' pieces. He has a preference for large canvases (think bigger than a person). I keep telling him that this kind of detailed stuff is not conducive to extraordinarily big pieces. I wanted to accommodate him but wondered how to accomplish such a huge endeavor. Then I thought about how my family often has a jigsaw puzzle set up on a table somewhere during the winter and they just pick away at it when they have a minute rather than trying to do it all in one sitting. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

So I put a large 24" by 38" piece of rice paper on my kitchen table, and I doodled a little on it whenever the mood struck me. The results?  Well, good and bad.

  • It just looks disjointed to others who don't know the story behind it. 
  • It may also be used as Exhibit A in any legal case in which I have plead 'Insanity'.
  • The vegetation in the rice paper literally chews up expensive pens and leaves them broken husks.
  • When hung in the back hallway in the dark, you can't really see the details.
  • It turned out to be a wonderful journal piece of my year!
There are random patterns where I just doodled for the stress relief and there are little hints to what was going on in my lift during the year:
  • Koi from my trip to Olbrich Gardens
  • A salamander and a full moon, from the experience of working with DNR to help endangered salamanders across the highway in the middle of the night. 
  • Ben and Cooper's paw prints
  • A turtle and shells from my trip to Maine
Here are some other pieces that I contributed-most of them have been shown on here before:

I liked this little bird holder I found at Michael's Craft Store.

So yep! There has been doodling. It's really been my saving grace during these grey frigid months!

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...