Tuesday, July 10, 2018

DaVinci DaVotion and Lunchtime Luck

Although a lot of other groovy stuff happened, the main reason for going to the Mississippi River Museum was to see the traveling DaVinci exhibit they are offering this summer. I'm a huge fan of both his genius and his art so was delighted with the treasures that were available!

They took a lot of the sketches of inventions that he had created on paper and put them together in real life.  This is the uber-creepy underwater breathing system he thought up. I think the white makes it more slimming, no? The backpack mounted on the front covers a multitude of sins! did he really envision that the air bell would be a two ton heavy thing made out of wood? I swear I've seen this guy on Doctor Who!

Some of the exhibits you could touch and some you couldn't. This was DaVinci's armored tank. You could get inside. I did and tried to take a picture but the resulting photo looked very confusing from that angle! I think the shape sort of looks like one of the lunar space capsules! I think I would like it for a She Shed! I'd replace all the metal hardware with a huge soft cushion of course, so it would be a cozy place to nest up and read a good book! I'm pretty sure that's what DaVinci had in mind anyway!

Vitruvian Man is one of my favs! Our company put out a tshirt quite a few years back with him on it.

Of course Mona was there. I love all of the theories! Was she a real person? Was DaVinvi himself the model? Was she pregnant-is that why her hands are that way? Mona just smiles enigmatically...she's not telling!

They also had a reproduction of The Last Supper. It was amazing to see it in its actual size! I've seen it in pictures all my life but I was amazed at all the things I had missed. I sat on a bench and looked at it a long time. I didn't get any great pics though because it was so big I couldn't get far enough away.

Of all the things, this was my favorite. I'm overwhelmed by DaVinci's notebooks. I've read every reproduction and also books about them. For a long time in my 20s, and as a keeper of journals myself, I had an unnatural obsession with them!  The exhibit had 'archival quality reproductions'. I think that means 'really good fakes', but I loved seeing them anyway!

After the exhibit, it was lunchtime so I went down to the in-house cafe only to discover that I would have to put a second mortgage on the house to buy a hot dog. Diamond Jo Casino was across the street and I had noticed on the drive in that there were several restaurants in the complex (including a Subway), so I put $20 and my driver's license in my pocket, threw my purse in the trunk, and headed over.  (This is the part where 'other groovy stuff' happened!)

I planned to buy lunch with the $20 and whatever was left over I would spend playing the penny slots for a few minutes before heading back to the museum to feed the stingrays. I got a lunch in a cafe and had a $10 bill and some change left over. I headed to the casino floor and put the $10 bill in a penny slot machine. Woohoo! That's a lot of pennies! Feeling flush, I opted for the max bet...80 tokens! .80 cents...big spender! I hit the button and as I did, I noticed that the machine allows you choose a denomination, .01, .02, .05 or .10 cents....and someone had left it on .10! Oh no! No! No! No! Undo! Undo!  As I checked the display to confirmed that indeed-I had wasted $8.00 on one spin, the bells and whistles started. I just sat and stared as money started pouring into my account...a penny at a time. But by the time it was done....well....this!

I know right!? I didn't even give it one more go! I punched out, took my voucher to the cashier, got cash and hurried from the casino like I'd robbed the place. I kind of feel like I did! And I think I know why Mona has that look on her face. I had a similar one on my face for the rest of the afternoon!

All in all it was a lucky, lovely day and I had a wonderful time! Mona and I highly recommend it!

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Octopus Hugs and Stingray Kisses

Wanna hug? This is the Pacific Octopus at The Mississippi River Museum. Isn't he a handsome fella? He was doing his morning hot laps when I arrived. He was practically running around the circle of his tank.  He would only stop to investigate that pipe you see in the lower left. At first I thought that it was a piece that had somehow come off the aquarium, but turns out it's his toy. He would stop, stick an arm in it, turn it around a little and put it back down and continue on his way. I must have stood there for 20 minutes watching his antics. Better than the Kardashians any day!

I signed up to help hand feed the rays in the afternoon. This picture was taken from the second floor balcony. The kite-shaped ones are Cow Faces Sting Rays. Their noses look a lot like cow noses.  Their wingspan is probably about 3-3.5 feet. They 'fly' all around the tank, using lots of energy so they get fed twice a day. That smaller, rounder ones are Yellow Rays. They are more sluggish and pretty much sit on the bottom of the tank so they are only fed in the morning. 

I got there early and petted them for a while. They come over to the sides of the tide pool-like tank so you can run your hand down their backs. Some of them stick their faces out of the water to have a look at you. It's pretty neat. Just before they are fed, the staff makes everyone stop petting them until after they have been fed. This is so the rays don't get confused every time a hand is in the water.

The naturalist said that normally they have around 10-15 folks sign up and everyone gets around three pieces of fish to feed the rays, but that afternoon was inexplicably quiet and there were only three of us, so we got to feed them all the fish! It took 15 -20 minutes and was such a blast! Sometimes they are fed shrimp, but today's entree was smelts. You take a smelt and hold it between your fingers like a cigarette, then you slide your palm down the inside of the tank wall, about elbow deep, and they come from below and swim up your hand. When their mouth, which is quite far down on their underside, come in contact with the smelt, they suck it right out of your fingers. It feels like little stingray kisses! The Cow Noses are pretty messy eaters, but that's OK.  The little Yellows zoom around the bottom like Roombas, vacuuming up any random bits that get missed.

It was such an amazing experience and I highly recommend it if you are in the Dubuque area. It might be a bit too intense for little kids, but pre-teens on up could handle it. Like I said, it was a fluke that there was only 3 of us, so sign-up early to be sure sure to be included! You too can add 'Stingray Food Transfer Technician' to your resume!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

This Way To The Egress, Ladies and Gentleman!

As I was out adventuring on Sunday afternoon, I saw a sign on the highway that said 'Scenic Overlook', so I pulled off the road and into the upper parking lot. I am a sucker for 'scenic' anything and also for those markers for historic places you come across sometimes. (In Maine we call them 'rocks with writing on them' because the metal plaques are usually attached to huge, usually granite, boulders, but here in WI, they are usually in the form of an actual wooden sign.  But I digress...).

I knew it had to be something really beautiful because I was in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. The Saint Laurentide Ice Sheet never made it down this far in the last Ice Age. The area wasn't scraped clean by the rampaging berg and rushing waters, so it's all the original Cambrian seabed underneath. Lots hills and vales! I also knew, that if the powers-that-be thought it was important enough to build a groovy, and quite obviously spendy, pedestrian bridge over the highway so the masses could access this wondrous spectacle, it must be pretty. darn. amazing.  

So I set off across the well-maintained parking lot to the fabulous bridge. It was hot and humid and the whole thing was downhill, meaning that after I saw the amazing view, I would have to hike uphill all the way back, but I just knew it would be totally worth it! 

Lovers had locked padlocks on the bridge to signify their eternal adoration for each other. It was sweet to see and I wondered why the bridge wasn't covered with locks in, what must be, a very high traffic area? Hmmm. A mystery to be sure!

Across the parking lot, over the swanky bridge, through another huge, well-mown and paved parking are ( for scenic view enthusiasts coming the other way on the highway) and I encountered this. Pretty, no? Look how well maintained it is-all mowed up nice. It was nice in the shade and there was no one else around which seemed a little odd but my excitement grew.  I just knew that whatever was at the end was going to be SO worth it! I mean why else would they lure...er....invite people all the way down here?

The path led to this little observation terrace. All the better to see the scenic view! What a great idea! They've though of everything! I rushed forward to see what I could see!!! And....

View to the left.

View to the right.

Uh...wha???? Is this the point in the horror movie when the crazy park ranger shows up with an ax, having enticed his victim into the wild? The surroundings were such a non-event that even he was a no show!  

Either this was one of those scenic overlooks geared to much, much taller folk than I, or someone forgot to install the scenic view! The only thing around the end of the path was dense vegetation. No one had trimmed the sumac and other assorted growth for years. I couldn't even glimpse a little bit of 'scenic' through the underbrush and tree trunks. And now, I would have to walk uphill through a path, two parking lots and a bridge to get back to my air conditioned car! Doh! Fell for it again! Print the word 'sucker' on my forehead!

 Looking back over my shoulder I could see that there maybe used to be a scenic view but those days, I'm afraid, are looooonnnnngggg gone.

Over the years, I've chuckled at the Scenic View sign on I-95 below Sherman, ME in the winter when it states 'Scenic View Closed'. ( I'm guessing because it's on such a big hill and they don't want to plow it the drive up there.)  I always think, "how can they 'close' the scenic view? Annnndddd, now I know.

To recap:

The ilk of what I expected to see...


 Heavy sigh. I really AM gullible. (I'm a little ashamed to admit that I was taken for a ride...er...walk, and I almost didn't write this for fear of ridicule, but if this post can save just one person from heading down that path, it will be worth it! Snicker...)

Now I have to petition the town of Dodgeville to change the sign to include the word 'Ustabeah' in front of 'Scenic View'. Until then, if you're in that neighborhood, don't fall for the shiny, shiny bridge and the promise of paradise....turns out it's just a parking lot!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Governor Dodge State Park

I decided that Sunday looked like a good day for adventuring, so I headed over to Governor Dodge State Park for the afternoon. 

I've only lived in Wisconsin for going on 30 years so I figured it was time. I had heard that there was a waterfall in the park so of course that was my goal. Turns out, it was just down the road a piece from the front gate so it wasn't hard to find. 

The path through the woods was paved, short and very pretty until you get to this part (up at the top):
'Natural Rock Staircase'...my back pockets!!!

Climbing down was a lot scarier than these pictures make it look. It's all an uneven jumble of rocks to the bottom and pretty steep. Thankfully there is an iron pipe railing to hold on to or I probably wouldn't have attempted it. Some of the 'steps' are pretty far apart for those of us who are short on one end, but I made it to the bottom unscathed! I was rewarded with this bit of loveliness!

Stevens' Falls

Cave next to the falls.

The water is from a spring so it was ice cold and clear. I had to bide my time to take pics because people were wading there. 

That little spring rill has been working on that bedrock a loooooonnnngggg time. 

I made it back up over the scary, scary jaggedy, rocks unscathed! I wasn't even winded. I was so proud of myself...but of course this is my life we're talking about, and it was while I was standing back on the level overlook that I inhaled some kind of a bug and almost died to death from the coughing. It was an exciting few minutes while, thinking I was having some kind of an 'episode', strangers pounded me on the back, tried to get me to drink water, and discussed whether they should call the park rangers or Med Flight. Finally I could suck up enough oxygen to squeak, "I swallowed a bug", and there was a collective "Oh" and everyone went back to their business. Just once, I'd like to have a normal life...just once....

Because this was a family farm back in the day, there was also an old spring house nearby. It sits right over the spring stream and was used to keep things cool before refrigerators were around. I went in  and it was easily 20° or more cooler in there than outside. It was also home to an amazing diversity of spiders but it was too dark to take good pics of them.

All in all, it was a fine afternoon. The only downside was that I wasn't the only one who thought of going adventuring. There were people everywhere! Every natural feature was crowded with folks-both the good and the obnoxious sorts. Made me wish for some of the Maine parks where you can go all day and only see a handful of people. When I'm in the woods or by the water, I like solitude and quiet. Weird for someone who is...now, let's phrase it nicely....'verbally and vocally gifted'...(read *a chatterbox* here). But we know that I am nothing if not an enigma wrapped up in a conundrum, deep fried in paradox oil and smothered in quandary sauce!  Overall it was beautiful but next time I plan to go back either early in the morning, or in the off season when the camping traffic is less. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

For The Birds

My life these days seems to have gone to the birds. Remember last summer when it was all about hawks for a while after I watched that one die on a live wire on Odana Road and took it to the police? For two weeks afterward I was inundated with close encounters with raptors. This new bird thing started when I was in Maine and a hummingbird got trapped in the garage. No amount of cajoling would entice him to fly out on his own, so I went up on a step ladder and plucked him out of the corner and took him outside. I sat with him in my open palm for a couple of minutes while he regained his composure and then he flew off. Gosh, that is the closest thing to magic there is; holding that shiny, emerald in your hand. It's like holding a fairy!

When I got home from Maine, I decided to put up bird feeders for the first time. Don't tell the birds, but I put them out by the front window so the cat would have something to keep him entertained-and they certainly do! I tinkered with it a dozen times, crawling in and out of the Hosta plants and trying to avoid all of the baby bunnies and ground squirrels that live under there. I was kinda thinking that I probably was investing a lot of time and effort on getting the pole straight and the feeders the right height and then the birdies wouldn't visit. I no sooner got in the house when I looked out (after hearing Cooper 'Ack Ack Acking' ) and the feeder was full of purple finches. The next day when I went out to adjust the feeder, a wee Yellow Finch landed right on my shoulder and sat there for 15 seconds or so while I froze in my tracks in disbelief.

Late last week, reports of an 'injured bird outside in the dooryard' started coming in from the kids. I went to look and discovered that it was a Mama Killdeer. She wasn't hurt, but she had made a nest and laid three eggs in the landscaping stones in one of the medians in the middle of the parking lot!
I sent an email to our entire building explaining that she was nesting and not hurt and I threatening the life of anyone who bothered her. Now to wait for the itty bitty babies to arrive and keep them safe from the tons of various rubber and steel that careens around back there as the wee ones learn to totter about!

And the cherry on the bird sundae that is my life happened on Saturday while I was driving home from the library. I was sitting at a four-way stop when a Starling decided to fly in my open sunroof and make himself at home in the back seat. 'Making himself at home' would imply that he was comfortable back there though and he wasn't. He was flapping around panicked, and I was Tippi Hendren-ing in the front seat. I finally got calmed down and got through the stop sign, pulled over and opened the doors. Both back doors, both front doors and the sun roof and he still couldn't find his way out. They don't call them 'bird brains' for nothing! I finally got a gentle hold of him  and released him into the wild...to fly into someone else's sunroof.  I'm not an Uber you know! Especially since I was paid with a handful of bird poo! I do intend to petition that their name be changed to 'Startlings' though. Because they certainly are when they are going all Hitchcockian in your Huyndai!

Isn't it weird how occurrences happen one after the other like that? I guess Mother Nature liks a good bundle deal as well as the next gal! 

Monday, June 11, 2018

New Tangle Time

I've been tangling my brains out this spring for stress reduction. I've been ruminating on these new tangle ideas for a while, so last night I took a couple of hours and put them together for my Tangle friends who will be meeting up this Saturday. I'd love it if any of you tanglers out there would be so kind as to try one or both and see what you can do with them!

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

The Tale of Two Kiddies

Often when I am out and about, I am a magnet for old folks, odd folks and small children. For whatever reason, they overlook the curmudgeonly, essence of pure evil that is 'me' and actively seek out conversation.  I don't know why...but I like it. I was at the grocer's recently when a young lad (just turned three according to his mother) who was in the seat of the cart ahead of mine in line said, "Can I tell you something?"

I always say 'yes' even though it's a crap shoot with the little ones as to what will be revealed. It's often something benignly obvious like, 'you have a purse', or embarrassingly obvious 'you have a boogie in your nose'.  Sometimes it's worse...'You're a doody head' is one of my all time favorites. But I steeled myself, said 'sure' and this little guy said, and I quote, "Did you know that tapirs are pachyderms, same as elephants?"

Huh? Thud! That was the sound of my jaw hitting the floor.  I'm not often speechless, but I was for at least thirty seconds. [I know. You should have been there. It was something to behold.] Here was a (just) 3 year old, with perfect diction, channeling the late Steve Irwin! I was wholly unprepared. I looked at his mum and she just shrugged her shoulders and rolled her eyes in a 'whatta-ya-gonna-do' way.  When I finally gained my wits, the three year old deep inside (but let's face it, she's not as deep down as I'd like to keep her most days) decided that she would not be bested by a 36 month old...especially in the animal department, and retorted "Yah, but did you know that a Possum is a marsupial like a kangaroo?"

He never paused, never missed a beat, never raised a tiny little eyebrow.  He just said, conversationally, "Yeah, 'cause they both carry their babies in their pockets." OMGosh! I had found my soul mate! We chatted non-stop about amazing animal facts and characteristics until his mother dragged him away to take her groceries to the car. It was surreal! Much to his mothers consternation, she ended up parked next to me in the lot and we chatted more when I came out and before she could get him buckled in his car seat and away from the crazy lady. That mum is doing something WAY right! I want to stake out the grocery store and talk to that wee one lots more!

Conversely, I was in a big box store after that and heard a tot (probably in the 4-5 year old range) running from aisle to aisle chanting something at the top of his lungs. His mum was in hot pursuit.  As he rounded the end cap and passed me, he looked right at me and yelled 'There's a skeeter on my peter, whack it off!" He continued to bellow it over and over, running gleefully, dodging in and around the shopping carts. I'm sure there was an older brother somewhere giggling over the new phrase he'd taught his younger sibling. The mum finally nabbed him down by the Froot Loops and it was only with much wrangling and a firmly placed hand over his mouth, that she got him to quiet down. I could still hear him mumbling it into her palm however. I think she was in for a long afternoon and big brother was in for a whoopin' later!

So, as I said, it's a craps hoot when interacting with the Pampers generation, but I must admit, while the first encounter was absolutely delightful, I was, not equally, but also amused by the wild child on the lam. I don't know what that says about me, and I'd rather not know, I guess. I'll just keep saying 'yes' when tots want to 'tell me something' and file this under 'A Tale of Two Kiddies'.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Sun Ain't Nevah Gonna Shine Agin!

Last week...
This week.

Image may contain: bird and outdoor

In an effort to not lose my ever-loving mind, there has been lots of knitting and drawing going on at Chez B for the last several days. Lack of sunshine and Vitamin D deficiency leads one to do many unusual things...like knit wee sweaters that won't fit anyone. 

Then look at it and think..."I can make a smaller one!" 
So you do...just to make sure it really doesn't fit anyone...except maybe a hamster or a gerbil. And you know that if you had one, maybe a gerbil named Stewie, you would try it on him and if it fit, you'd make him a large wardrobe of knitted goods. You contemplate obtaining a gerbil. This is the only time when impassible roads are a good thing. If not for them, you would have 75 Stewies by now. 

Then you think that maybe it's not healthy to knit tiny things that won't fit anyone except maybe a gerbil named Stewie who you can't get to the store to buy, and decide to just doodle instead. You let the pen wander...let your subconscious go where it will. Then when you finish, you look and you have a squid strewing around his Polaroid collection and you realize that maybe this cabin fever problem is a little bigger than it appears on the outside. 

So you tried to batten down the mental hatches, ignore the outside world, and go to your happy place....There are always dragonflies in my happy place. 

And then you try my new tan tiles and markers that you got at the Artist's Coop in Sturgeon Bay. 

Nothing is really working. I'm still akin the the grumpy robin above.  It's a struggle to hang on to the positivity these days!

There one was positive thing I guess. It was Cooper's 5th birthday yesterday.  We celebrated by lavishing treats and snuggles all over him . The treats he appreciated...the snuggles...not so much. He has mellowed a bit in the last couple of years. My other friends with rowdy cats say that they calm down with age.  Another 15-20 years and he's going to be such a lovey!!! Pray for sun, People! For all of our sakes! 

Monday, April 09, 2018

Adventures in Sturgeon Bay

I took a three and a half hour drive up to Sturgeon Bay in Door County yesterday to see Doug Mancheski in Gray's Anatomy, a monologue by the late Spaulding Gray. Doug is an amazingly talented actor and this was one of Gray's works that I wasn't already familiar with, so it was a real treat. Having only seen Doug previously is musical comedies, I was blown away by his range, which was really displayed in this one: wry humor, cynicism, love, fear, desperation, the terror of facing aging, illness and death. His delivery made me forget that I was listening to Spaulding's story. It just sounded like Doug was telling his story for the first time, not lines rehearsed and rote...truly masterful! I enjoyed it so much. If I lived closer I'd go again. For my friends in that area...run, don't walk to the Third Avenue Playhouse.

Viewing it superficially in the moment as a performance observer, my emotions were pulled everywhere-in the best possible way.  Pondering it all in the quiet of the car on the drive home;  aspects of Doug's stunning performance, the monologue itself and how closely it hits home right now, the knowledge of Spaulding's suicide in 2004, I became so overwhelmed that I sobbed halfway back to Green Bay. I didn't see that coming! It was very cathartic though... and only mildly terrifying at 70 m.p.h. on the highway!

I regretted that I had to say 'no' to going out for a drink with Doug and his friends when they invited me after the show. I was worried about getting back to Madison before the snow hit. Now I see that's it's lucky I didn't go after all. I would have hated to collapse into a weeping heap in a bar in Sturgeon Bay! That's a spectacle best performed in the comfort of the driver's seat of a Hyundai Elantra! 

I got to Sturgeon Bay about 11:00 am and the play wasn't until 2:00, so I had an wonderful time visiting the local shops on Third Ave (there is an art supply store to die for) and going down to the water to see the huge ships and birds. I guess I was really absorbed in 'living it' because I forgot to take pictures except for this odd one of a bridge.  It isn't even the cool drawbridge...and it doesn't have any of the big ships in it. I think I was after the water diamonds, and they don't even show up! You'll all just have to take my word for it that it was gorgeous!

I got trapped in a filling station for 20 minutes by a weird guy who looked like Indiana Jones. He had the hat and the leather jacket and looked perfectly normal, but he had a really big brain....and it was filled with LOTS of information...and he was determined to tell me ALL of it. His super-power was that he required no oxygen to survive and never paused for a nanosecond between one random tidbit of information and the next. As a veritable fountain of useless information myself, I  was temporarily stunned and fascinated and thus trapped for longer than I normally would have been, before I finally came to my senses, darted between the Slim Jim rack and the beer pyramid and escaped. These kinda folks always find me!

I came straight home after the play (see above). There was more traffic going back than there was going up but it was still light, which was good since apparently it's permissible to go 108 gigabillion miles an hour on the southbound lanes! All of the other cars were doing it, Mum! I kept getting stuck in their slip stream! I did slow down a bit through the Horicon Marsh flyway where the skies were filled with water birds of all kinds migrating through-absolutely gorgeous! I arrived home unscathed (for the most part) before dark and before snow! Victory! I definitely need to spend more time getting to know the Fox Valley area in the future. It's beautiful and not as far away as it seems.

Diva Challenge #359 String Theory: Finger Stringer

I liked doing this week's Diva Challenge but as I looked at it when I was finished, I realized it would have looked a lot better if I hadn't extended the pattern in the index finger clear to the wrist. But my policy has always been to post the first attempt, not matter how lousy, because 'there are no mistakes in Zentangle'. I'm just thankful that it was the index, and not the middle! :-)

Thanks for the great tangle challenge, Laura!

Friday, April 06, 2018

The Winter of Our Discontent

It has been a long winter in Wisconsin. Around Christmas and the New Year, I long for the quiet, dark days between January and the end of March. But then by April, I am so sick of my own company and the craft projects I was once so excited to work on when things finally slowed down, that I'm ready to climb a bell tower with a Nerf gun. I am so. over. winter. I feel kind of guilty about it since I have friends and family back home in Maine that MAY get summer on July 7th from 2:00-4:00 PM this year...IF they are  very, very lucky and the finorkin' snow. would. just. stop. But none-the-less, we (the royal we, doncha know) are neck deep in The Season of Grumpiness and Feeling Sorry for Ourselves.

I thought it was over a couple of weeks ago when the temps SOARED into the 50s, my crocuses woke up, the neighbors were out running around in their shorts and flip flops. In the spirit of true disclosure, most of them wear shorts all year round, but I digress.  The dreaded snow and cold came back earlier this week. After a week of being able to walk my three miles a day without body parts falling off and having a bit of heat in the car in less that 15 miles (work is about 12 miles away), it was over as soon as it began. I swear, the relapse of the Grumpy and Sorry for Ourselves disorder is even more dehabilitating than the original malaise!

I get elusive glimpses of spring which get my hopes up and then, like right this very minute, I look out the window and it's snowing. Again. Mother Earth hates me and does not want me to be happy. Maybe I should learn to embrace winter more. Let's look at my options:

  • I could take up skiing, but those of you who know my propensity for mishap in the most elementary of situations would surely agree that strapping two slippery sticks to my feet and hurling myself off the side a mountain is probably not in my best interest. 
  • I could take up ice fishing but I can't poke the worms. In the summer, I have been very successful with mini marshmallows and bits of Ballpark franks, but I'm not certain if the fish, who surely are also grumpy and feeling sorry for themselves from being iced in all winter, would be as receptive. Hot dogs and s'mores are more of a summer bait. 
  • I used to love to skate, but the public skating rinks and large clear lakes here don't have the cattails and alder trees that I am used to from the swamp skating of my youth.  Kind of loses something without that challenge. 

I guess I'm going to have to just suck it up and just hang on by my fingernails 'til the sun comes out, we can move about the land freely, and I  can start complaining about the heat and humidity again. As well as starting a countdown to the cooler days of autumn and festivities of the holidays!

Until then...for those of you sporting a paddle in the same leaky vessel I'm in...

Image result for hang in there baby

Monday, March 26, 2018

Diva Challenge-Paradox

I was going through a particularly un-arty period lately. To get the ball rolling again, I got a poster sized piece of paper, divided it into random spaces and...well...I 'Paradoxed' the heck out of that bad boy! No thinking, no planning, just lines, lines lines! Very soothing, even if it's not very beautiful. It gave me the kick start I needed to continue on with more inspired projects. This week's Diva Challenge is a mono-tangle using  'Paradox' so I'm submitting it.
Equinox Paradox

It was recently (yesterday) brought to my attention (thanks, Mum) that I haven't updated my blog 'in forever'. I'll try to remedy that. It's actually a good thing when I'm too busy living life to document it!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Molly Bee Mammoth Wrangler

Last week, I packed one of my kids off to a science conference in San Diego. While he was there, he messaged that he attended a fabulous talk about woolly mammoths. Being a huge natural-science geek, and lover of all things animal..including extinct ones, I immediately sent him a reply. Something polite and respectful I'm sure, to the effect that he should 'bring me a baby woolly mammoth or not come home at all'.  Actually that may have been the exact directive. Being a scientist, he was quick to explain that technology was not quite there yet.  Scientists aren't yet able to actually clone a mammoth and that I would have to be patient. Yeah. Right. Have you met me?

I responded that be that as it may, he should just bring home a little one...one that would fit under the seat in front of him. Yes, that would be just fine. I mean, I'm nothing if not practical and thrifty.  No need to pay another bag fee for a non-existent-at-this-point-in-time mammoth for little old me. That said...I'm practical and thrifty, but not above a well placed threat to get what I want....so I'm sure I added 'or else'.

Seeing that reasoning within the realm of  science was not going to be able to fully assuage me, he finally replied....'Yeah. OK I'll have one delivered on Monday.' See that's the real point of the exercise...the end game. Much like a toddler, I wear them down and get them to promise to do outlandish things just because it's obvious that I'm a couple of Krispy Kreme's short of a dozen when it comes to the realities of what science can actually do....or when it comes to the reality of well...reality...at all.

I thought it was over and that I had won the game when I got another message later that said not to forget that the mammoth would be delivered Monday. I played along and asked him which building it was being delivered to so I could have the Safety Department manager in the right location with a whip and a chair when it arrived. He gave me the corporate address and said that he was confident that it would be delivered to my desk from there.

I was perplexed. Do I believe him? Do I  make a Costco run for an extra large dog bed and one of those really ginormous tubs of peanut butter? 'Cause that's what they ate in prehistoric times, right? Peanut butter and Ho Hos.  At least that's what I would eat if I was a woolly mammoth. Although that may be why they went extinct. (Darn this scientific mind of mine!) Nah, Paraj is just trying to make me smile... and it worked.

Then Monday rolls around and he arrives at work, fresh from his conference in the wilds of Southern California and reminds me again that the mammoth would be delivered today. I laugh and reply that I would be waiting with a crowbar to unpack the crate, LOL!

I think that's the end of it when a box arrives Monday afternoon that says it's from THE AMAZON ! I can't remember ordering anything...especially from the deep jungles of the Amazon, but then again I can't remember what I had for lunch most days. I open the box and, true to his word, this strolled out!

This is actually just a little-baby-woolly-mammoth seedling. I have to feed and water it until it's full-size. I thought Paraj was fooling, and didn't go to Costco before it arrived, so that was a mad scramble after the fact! It also apparently requires frequent hugs (which is a little insider mammoth-owner tip that they don't tell you on the Nat Geo channel-you're welcome). So the moral of the story is this: be careful what you scare/blackmail your coworkers into obtaining for you. This mammoth is way more work that I thought it would be. It's constant neediness, not to mention the woolly hair on my clothes and and the peanut butter smears all over the office is almost more than I can bear. I hope the next kid goes to a conference about something a little more 'low-maintenance' like bog mummies or something.

All kidding aside. Thanks so much for making me smile Paraj! I love my new pet and he brightened my day and my office!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Super Supper Soups

Tis the season for soup!!! I found the basic recipe for this soup online and tinkered with it a bit. It's delish!

Steak Supper Soup

  • 3 C chopped  potatoes (I used fingerlings and pretty much just halved them. I left the skins on. You could use any potatoes.)
  • 1.5 # good quality stew meat (not too fatty) chopped bite sized
  • 1 sm. onion chopped
  • 1 sm bag of frozen corn (not in original recipe-I added it.  It would be good with beans , peas or one of those bags of all three. Fresh chopped carrots would also work-I'm trying that next time.)
  • 3 sm cans of beef broth
  • 1 c thick brown steak sauce (not BBQ or Worcestershire sauce)
  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin. 
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper if desired (I didn't)
  • Dry parsley if desired (I didn't)
Throw 'er all in the crock pot and let 'er rip for 8-10 hours on low. Doesn't get easier than that and Oh-My-Yum! Plus I forgot I made it so when I came home and smelled supper ready it was a pleasant surprise. I sprinkled a bit of shredded cheddar over the top because it is a state mandate in Wisconsin to add cheese to everything you eat. A dollop of sour cream would work too! Great with a piece of crusty bread.

It made a whole crock pot full so I had it for supper and put another bowls worth in the fridge. Then I froze 3 containers with two bowls each for nights when I don't feel like, or have time for, cooking. Try it! You won't be disappointed!

This is another go to recipe I use a lot. Cousin Rhonda first introduced me to it when I visited California.  It's quick and easy! I often double it for the crock pot.

Dad's Meatball Soup
1 14 oz can beef broth
1 can Hunt's fire roasted diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 can water
8 oz frozen meatballs
1 sm. onion-chopped fine
1 c frozen mixed veg (corn, peas, beans)
1 tsp oregano or Italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
Orzo or other small pasta
Salt and pepper to taste

I have made this on the stove (because it was quick) or let it go all day in the crock pot. Either way it's yummy! Really good with fresh crusty bread or corn bread

Enjoy! Happy Winter Soup Season!

DaVinci DaVotion and Lunchtime Luck

Although a lot of other groovy stuff happened, the main reason for going to the Mississippi River Museum was to see the traveling DaVinci e...