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!

Thursday, February 09, 2017

La Souris De Paris

Bonjour, Mes Amies! It's been a while since I've been on here so I'll spend the next few entries catching up on the amazing happenings in the life of Mollie Bee over the past few months. Ready? Here we go...

Picture it, Paris, IL. Thanksgiving. 2016. Moose and I were at my brother's house for a couple of days. We had a wonderful time. The food and company was fabulous. I got to meet my new great-niece, Allie, and Moose got to meet all of his doggie cousins. 

It's a  five-hour long ride each way, so we stopped on the way home and I got an iced tea for the road. I don't like McDonald's french fries, but Moose does, so I got him a small bag as a treat. He ate his allotted three fries and I put the rest in the brown, McDonald's bag, rolled the top down, and put it on the passenger-side floor. 

When we got home, there was a lot to unpack and carry in the house, but I saw the fries and thought about how they would stink up the car if they got left inside, so I took them out and set them on the garage floor, planning to toss them when I had a free hand. I forgot.

When I next went to the garage I noticed them and went to toss them, but the bag was empty! I thought Moose has found and eaten them until I turned the car on and the gorgeous aroma that is Eau de McDonald's wafted from my air vents. I've never had a mouse in my garage before, but all the signs were there so I popped the hood. I found two fries right away, sitting on top of the engine, but there wasn't a sign on the rest. For those of you doing the math, this would be :
1 Small McDonald's Fry
minus the 3 Moose ate
minus the 2 in the engine compartment
= Wheretaheckarealltherest?!?!?!

I called Jeff, my car husband, over at the dealership and told him that I needed to schedule a fryectomy. Jeff has been through a lot of weird situations with me and my cars, but this one even made him shake his head and say, "You've got to be kidding!"

He was grinning like the Cheshire Cat when I showed up with the car. He checked me in and sent me to the waiting room. It wasn't too long before I heard raucous laughter coming from the repair bay, then a couple of seconds later from the parts desk, then the receptionist desk.Then into the waiting room he strolls, bearing the missing fries on the platter that is my car's air filter like it was a delectable entree. There was even a little seasoning of bird seed on them. He joked that they looked good enough to eat! I told him that he could certainly consume them as long as he took the $1 off my bill. 

Not one of the fries even had a tooth mark on it. Mr Mouse must have thrown each one over his shoulder in a fireman's hold and walked on two legs to carefully store them deep in the inner workings of the air system. I kind of admired him... right up until I got the bill for the surgery to remove them and then, lover of animals that I am, I decided that his furry little butt was MINE! 

I put down down a trap (guess what the bait was?) and caught him within a couple of hours. Folks told me to put more traps down, that where there is one mouse there is more, but I only ever caught the one. I suspect he stowed away in the engine during the two days I was parked outside in Paris so it was a one and done kinda deal. La Souris de Paris and his pomme frites may have caused me $65, but  the story Jeff will tell for years to come...priceless!