Thursday, March 31, 2011

On my way to a new me

It's time to change those habits!
In our culture we always want everything bigger.  Super size me is our motto.  Well, I've decided I want to be a lesser woman now.  Even though I've explained to Left Brain that I'm twice the woman I was when we married...that's not always a good thing.
It's time to be responsible and cut back on my portions and get more exercise.  Why do I feel a sense of remorse and dread when saying that?  Are we so conditioned to "have it all" that it follows we must eat it all also?  Why is having "enough" not enough?  Have American's weight problem gotten so out of hand because we are by nature greedy?  More...more...more.  More things...more money...more food.
One of the rare photos of myself, I avoid
the camera at all costs and only subjected
myself to this shot for the inherent humor
All my life I had been a scrawny skinny thing, until age 40.  Then my world shifted drastically and for the first time I experienced the sensation of being chubby.  Well, that's a nice way to say it...I'm fat. And this is no anorexic ramblings...I am what I am.
When I was nine months pregnant with my son 40 years ago, my weight peaked at 135 pounds.  I'd never been so big in my life!  Never in my wildest dreams did I think there would come a day that I would love to get my weight back down to that weight.  I'm realistic enough to know I will never be 110 pounds again, and that's okay.  But it does feel sad to set a goal of being nine months pregnant.
I picked up a book today called "the Eat This NOT that diet" that I saw on the Rachel Ray show.  It shows the best choices for breakfast and lunch at many restaurants, packaged foods and has many recipes.  I like the comfort of knowing I won't have to stop eating out altogether or ignore certain foods completely.  I feel ready and excited and almost feel my waist shrinking already.

Long Live the Queen of the Queen Sized Jeans.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Eye's of March

Maybe it's from waking each morning with She Devil boring her eyes into my skull, but I'm starting to feel I'm being watched all the time.  I guess it's just that habit of seeing faces everywhere I look.

When we were in Arizona last year, I noticed this cactus and how it was watching me.  I named it the "sock monkey" cactus.

I do realize we are past the Ides of March, but consider these the Eyes of March.

Lately, the trees in the woods seem to be observing as I walk along the trails looking for signs of spring blooms.  Maybe they're just looking for them also.

I can imagine Robert DeNiro's voice saying..."I'm watching you".  Ooops!  I wasn't going to talk about hearing voices yet.

And one more posting of the Chicken Church which people seem to be enjoying as Easter approaches.  To answer many questions about this, no I have not altered anything on this photo.  This is exactly the way I shot it.  It's believed the architect was some dumb 

Long Live the Queen of Paranoia

Caregivers Anonymous

It seems to me that many of my friends and I have done more than our share of active care giving.  Maybe it's because we're women or have big hearts or have just been the ones with the misfortune to be stuck with it.  I find the phrase "when is it my turn to do what I want?" tossed into conversations a lot these days.
We have learned the hard way what being middle aged really are stuck like an oreo cookie in between caring for your children AND your parents.
While caring for my mother (now deceased) I had many people telling me what a good daughter I was and what a good job I was doing, seeing to all her needs.  I would smile and say "thank you" through gritted teeth while thinking 'it's sure not because I want to be doing this'.  It's hard to care for someone who didn't care much for you as their child. And yet that sense of wanting to be there, to make sure they are all right is strong. That and the eternal hope of hearing she loved me and was proud of me, but that never came.
It bothered me that I was not performing my duties with love in my heart but rather out of a sense of doing it because there was no one else.  I asked my Rabbi about the commandment to honor thy mother and father and felt some relief in his explanation that this meant you must make sure they are cared for, their needs are met...not that you had to like the duties or them for that matter.  That made it a bit more palatable. 
Now in the Golden Years we find ourselves out from under the yoke of our parental responsibilities only to find our adult children are floundering due to bad choices they have made and need our help, with many of them returning to the nest to live.  Yikes!  When does this end?  Is this why women are so drawn to literature in which the heroine escapes and runs away to be on her own?  Is that the only way out, to cut the ties and head for the border?
Worse yet is wanting for family members to have the kind of life they themselves don't seem interested in.  There's that overall sense of failure that we suffer from, wondering if we didn't raise the kids right to whether or not we were loved by our parents.  It's just so confusing and frustrating.
So, I have decided after many years of letting my health go (I'd say sanity also, but that left a long time ago) to finally be proactive in my own health care.  
Tomorrow I will be revisiting Weight Watchers and work towards achieving a healthy weight.  This will make my garden season much more enjoyable (hopefully) as it will take the weight off my joints and allow me to breath easier.
I've looked at old photos recently and see myself trim and fit and then wonder who that old fat lady is in the current photos.  There's still a skinny girl inside of me - but I usually shut her up with cookies. Maybe it's time to let her come out and play again.
Long Live the Chubby Queen

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New dolls ready for show in April

 Since I had an abundance of heads rolling around my studio, I put them on sticks (very decorative sticks, of course) and made them into funky puppet dolls.

I don't know how they will do, but I think they are cute and teacher's generally like these kind of props.

The stick puppets are about 18" tall and the arms are weighted so they swing nicely when using the puppet.

They were a lot of fun to make and it always amazes me how each one takes on their own personality.

The hair is created from dyed Tibetan lamb wool that I purchased from Judy Skeel many years ago at a NAIDA conference in Florida. I'd been saving them for something special and the time was now.

Some of the eyes are closed and some are open to provide a variety. After the Cabin Fever Show in La Crosse on April 30th I will be setting up an Etsy account and offering any that are left online.

I've also been busy sewing tote bags and will be starting work on covers for Kindles and Nooks that have matching carry totes.  It's very enjoyable to make the tote bags and feels good to be helping the environment by cutting down on paper and plastic bags.  Photos on those will be coming later.

Long Live the Queen of the Dolls

Under the Jolly Roger

Well, I finished the third in the Bloody Jack Series, Under the Jolly Roger.  In this book Jacky finds herself on a whaling boat, believed she is not loved by Jamie and is off on a series of adventures as only she can.  I can identify with this unorthodox, swashbuckling pirate-hearted girl.  I think she lives a bit in all of us women who would like to run away and live wild and have adventures instead of changing diapers, doing laundry, cooking, shopping and all the sundry unappreciated chores that we do. I've check in with Shayna, my literary agent, to find out what to read next.  Even though these are for younger readers, I am finding them quite enjoyable.
Long Live the Old Queen of the High Seas Adventure

Monday, March 28, 2011

Good thing I have lots of quarters!

During our stay in Florida I got retrained in my laundry mat skills and now keep a stash of quarters in my car, even though we are back in the big house and have a lovely washer and dryer right on the main floor.

During my last washing I noticed some oozy stuff coming out from underneath the washer. That can't be good I thought as I cleaned it up and tried to ignore it.  But the water leaking into the basement  was harder to ignore.  So, Left Brain called the Maytag repairman to come and fix it.  We figured it was the same old problem as before...mice chewing through the water pipes.  

Useless?  Who's useless?
I wish I could say we only have the mice problem when we are gone and have She Devil with us, but she's pretty useless when it comes to mouse patrol.

The repairman came and gave me the bad news that it would cost between $350 and $400 to fix it.  Hmmm.  The washer is about 13 years old, so that was a no brainer.  When the going gets tough...the tough go shopping!

So after researching the matter I decided that we will get a front loader this time. This will use much less water (important with a septic system), much less soap, much larger capacity and wrings them to the point of almost dry before going into the dryer.

Being a half the appliances are dead instead of half the appliances are working kind of gal, I'm waiting for the dryer to conk out.  These are the Golden Years...when both human and appliance parts start to fail.  

Long Live the Queen of Suds

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~ Albert Einstein

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I see things differently

Do you see a church...or a chicken?

I realize I see things differently than some.  Often when looking at a building I see faces in it.  I hear voices, too...but that's another story for another time.
One of my joys in life is to combine too things that don't seem to fit together and make the viewer go "huh".  Things like a dead end sign near a cemetery. I heard a joke recently about a man who studied to be a veterinarian and also learned taxidermy on the side.  His rationale was that either way you get the dog back.

Long Live the Queen of the Odd Opinion

Friday, March 25, 2011

It's gonna be a strange day

The morning started normally enough.  I woke with the feeling that someone or something was staring at me.  When my left eye managed to crack open I could see pointy black ears on the other side of the covers.  Then the green eyes came into focus followed by the demanding meow.  
I have learned to rouse quickly when She Devil summons me, otherwise the stare is followed by a sniffing and breathing in my ear and then  followed by an overly loud meow.  If I am fool enough to ignore THAT, then my hair is taken in her mouth and yanked.  She is very persistent.
I mentioned this to Left Brain over breakfast and he admitted he was approached first with the stare, but rolled over and ignored her.  He can't hear in the ear that was up and has no hair, so I am the easier mark.
The other day I had a message from the neighbor that he felt sorry for my poor cold legs.  How does he know....?  Oh, the legs outside the garage.  They had blown over and out the their planter and were sprawled like a drunk (well, half a drunk) in the snow.  I stood them up on the other side of the garage to await some adornment.  This morning as I drove away they were outfitted in a beautiful pair of ski pants and looked very comfy!  When I came back after running my errands (that's what I tell Left's really just running to Hancock Fabrics and Hobby Lobby - my home away from home) the legs were bare again except for their red and white socks.
I will have to dig around in the basement and find some old jeans for her her to wear and perhaps some boots until the weather gets warmer.  Then I plan to tuck them under some bushes or trees so the neighbors will think it's me crawling underneath to pull weeds.
Oh, they'll never buy that!  I don't pull the weeds that are visible and my mannequin legs certainly doesn't have my butt.
Long Live the Leggy Queen

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Permission denied

No, this isn't at my house, just a
photo from a friend. Thanks Scott!
The deer in our valley are quite brazen hussies in general, but in the winter months they could rival Paris Hilton.  When the food gets harder to find they often come very close to the house and it wouldn't surprise me if one of these days they just knocked on the door and asked to borrow a cup of grain.

I had tossed an apple to one of them and he didn't even run, just picked up the apple and looked at me to throw the next one.

This is an old photo from when Simcha was still with us and you can see by the worried look on her face that she's saying "Mom, get the deer off the deck!"

But when they start to try to use the hot tub that's where I draw the line.  I enjoy my morning soak to loosen up my joints and while I don't doubt they would benefit from it also, I really prefer to sit in the hot tub alone.  Although, that would be a fun photo...hmmm.

Long Live the Queen of Deer

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bloody Jack Series

My cousin Shayna has gotten me started with the Bloody Jack series, and now I can't stop.  Thanks Shayna.
The first in the series is Bloody Jack and isn't about a murderer, but rather about an orphaned girl in England who manages to remove herself from living in the streets to getting aboard a ship disguised as a young boy.
I finished that one and went on to the next one called The Curse of the Blue Tattoo which deals with her being found out, removed from the ship and placed in a finishing school for young ladies.  G-d save me from ever being sent to a finishing school, since I would fare about as well as she does.  I finished that one last night and have moved on to the third in a series about her leaving the boarding school and boarding a whaling ship.  But, I've only just loaded that on my Kindle, so I can't give any thoughts on it yet.
Long Live the Queen of the Kindle

Early spring flowers

Like most Wisconsiner's I get excited to see any straggly looking thing that's still alive under the snow and mud.  We have heavy clay where I live, so it's impossible to walk about the yard without leaving craters where you've stepped, so I must survey my domain with a long lens from my windows for right now.

Photo taken March 19, 2011
One of my earliest flowers that comes up is the Hellebores, or Lenten Rose.  It emerges with it's green leaves right up in the midst of's so brave.  And even subsequent snow showers don't hold it back.  

Photo taken March 21st
The rate of growth is what amazes me, so I've been photographing it every couple of days to show the rate of speed at which it develops.

Now I realize it still  doesn't look like much, but this was only taken two days later.  Pretty impressive growth I'd say!  I wish the rest of my garden would develop that fast.  Of course, as I post this the snow is blowing again.  Sigh.

What plant?  Oh, you wanted to keep that one?
Another thing that helps is that deer will not eat this plant.  That alone makes it a favorite of mine.

Long Live the Queen of the Deer Resistant Garden

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fun with Photos

What is she up to, I wonder?
I had been cat sitting for our neighbors earlier this year and I love taking pictures of their cat, Yada.  He's so pretty.  And after I found the stash of canned food, he became my best buddy!

They always leave the toilet seat up for drinking.  Yeah, that was news to me also. I thought it was just dogs that did that, and I kept worrying about the cat falling into the toilet.  

Oh!  That would be a funny photo.  Well, since I couldn't convince Yada to go into the toilet (he's very fast) I concluded it would have to happen in Photoshop.  So I took advantage of playing hide and seek with him and this shot was purr-fect for my purposes.

By blending the great head shot and the toilet together, I finally got my photo of Yada hiding in the toilet.  It was a bit of work, but not nearly as hard (or painful) of actually convincing Yada to sit in the toilet for the photo.  

No animals (or photographer's for that matter) were harmed in the making of this photo.

Long Live the Queen of Goofy Photos!

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's raining cats and dogs

This morning I woke to a spring rainstorm.  It wasn't the pleasant pitter- patter of raindrops on my window that woke me, it was the gurgling sound of the sump pump in the basement.  Then I noticed the power was off.  This could be bad.  I checked the pond behind the house and it was full, so could be overflowing...which would be downhill to our basement.  I cautiously crept downstairs expecting to see a flooded basement since Left Brain is in Florida right now and these things tend to happen when he is gone, but all was fine.  I flipped the switch to reset the circuit breaker to restore power and went back upstairs.

"I'm meowing in the rain....I'm meowing in the rain..."
The rain did remind me of the expression "it's raining cats and dogs" and I would like to share the origins of that expression.  I love learning about where expressions and customs come from and I hope you do too, cause you're going to learn one here.
In the 1500's houses had thatched roofs, thick with piled straw and no wood underneath.  It was the only place for the animals to get warm, so the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs, etc) lived in the roof when the weather was cool.  When it rained the roof would become slippery and they would slide off the roof.  Sometimes, due to the weight of the larger animals (cats and dogs) and weakening of the thatch due to the rain the straw would give way and they would fall the appearance of it raining cats and dogs.

Since it's a wet soggy day, I spent the day completing the line of stick puppets I want to have done for my first art show April 30th at The Cleary Center in La Crosse.  I never intended to make puppets, but I had a surplus of heads rolling around the studio, so I put them on sticks and they will be puppets.  

Well, Left Brain is home now so I'm off to the kitchen to do the Suzie Homemaker thing. 

Long Live Queen of the Kitchen 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Eagle Nest in Decorah IA

You can view this web cam at any time by going to bottom of the postings and under Pages click on the eagle nest.

I've added the web cam for an eagle nest on this page

Free live streaming by Ustream

Wrong Number - the conclusion

She continued her story.  “I heard him approach the entry, so I flung open the door, thrust the martini forward and said something stupid like ‘Boy have I been waiting for YOU!’. He just stood there.  His eyes bugged out and his mouth dropped. Then he turned away and said ‘I’m sorry Mrs. Bradley, I’ll come back later!”  She grinned as she recalled the image of his tool belt slapping against his pudgy 
belly as he ran for the safety of the utility van.    

“What?” Colleen shrieked, causing several indignant looks to turn their way.
 “I was so excited about greeting William that I forgot about the appointment with the Cable Guy. When I realized who it was I tried to cover myself and dumped the martini down my cleavage.  Do you know how hard it is to get out of wet saran wrap?  They certainly don’t lie about the clinging power; I had to use scissors to cut myself out! Now I only use zip-lock Baggies, I can’t bring myself to have it in the house anymore.”

Sheila was convulsing with laughter and appeared to be in danger of sliding under the table when Colleen and Patsy grabbed her arms and pulled her back up.  The couple at the next table hid their faces behind menus, trying not to laugh out loud. 
“That was too much!” Colleen gasped. “I can’t remember when I’ve laughed so hard. I almost peed my pants!”  Then soberly slightly she asked, “How did he tell you it was over?”
Patsy sighed and took a moment to compose her thoughts. “We married young, just in our early twenties and then had the kids.  He was always busy trying to be the youngest millionaire or something.  I guess we settled into a routine when the kids left home.  I wanted to work, but he wouldn’t hear of it.  I think it would have been embarrassing to him, like he wasn’t capable of providing for his family.  I was bored silly, just sitting around the house with nothing to do and put on some weight.  He couldn’t stand my not being thin…didn’t reflect well on his corporate image.  I believe he said I was too old, too fat and too boring for his tastes.”
Her friends sympathetically shook their heads.  “Damn fool.” Sheila said.  “He should see you now…great job, enjoying the art and theatre again, and with a killer body!”
Colleen chimed in with a toast “And great friends!”
They paused for a moment; each reflecting on the conversation.
“How’s he doing?” Sheila asked.  “Not that I really care, but I’m just curious about how things worked out for Ole Billie Boy.”
Colleen came back with “Oh, I’m sure he’s doing just fine.  That kind always lands on their feet.”  Patsy declined comment.
As they dropped her off they buzzed about what a great evening it was and again wished her a happy fiftieth birthday. 
It certainly has been a wild ride, these fifty years she thought to herself as she tidied the kitchen before going to bed.  She smiled as she passed the telephone and replayed the conversation in her mind.  She couldn’t bring herself to tell them it was William.  She hadn’t heard from him in over five years and then out of the blue here he was.  Crying.  Begging. It seems that Barbara had matured and now found him too old, too fat and too boring for her tastes. “I guess you don’t know what you've got until it’s gone” he pleaded.  “Please, can we give it another try?”

Long Live the Queen of Sweet Revenge

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wrong Number - a short story

This is one of my earlier writing attempts at a short story.  I'm open to comments and suggestions.  

Wrong Number

“Come on you guys, we’re going to be late” Sheila commanded. 

Colleen called out “The reservations are for six o’clock and Chez Pierre waits for no one, not even a woman celebrating the big 5-0.”
Patsy smiled as she put the finishing touches on her hair and jewelry.  She could never have asked for two better friends. Just as she breezed down the stairway the phone rang.
“Let me machine get it” Colleen implored. “We’ve got to get going.”
“It’ll just take a second, it might be one of the kids” Patsy said as she hurried down the steps.  Her friends waited by the door, tapping toes and drumming fingers to hurry her.
“I’m sorry, I think you have the wrong number.” She said with a smile in her voice. She sent her cape fluttering on her shoulders.  “Let’s go have some fun!”
Giggling like teenagers the trio headed for Sheila’s car, the conversation never ending enroute to Chez Pierre.
            Ensconced in their booth they sipped champagne and talked with the easy familiarity so common among women. They reminisced of their life journey as they neared the Golden Years. Colleen and Sheila had recounted their highs and lows and turned to Patsy.
            Raising her fluted glass in a toast, Sheila said “Well, here’s to a woman who has triumphed evil and looks better today than she did at 25”.
            “Oh, it wasn’t all that bad” Patsy said blushing.
            “The hell it wasn’t” Colleen chimed in.   “Maybe we weren’t there to see it personally, but that’s because the bastard wouldn’t let us near you”.  Champagne sloshed over the edge onto the white tablecloth as she slammed her glass down.
            “But….” Patsy started, but was cut off immediately by Sheila.
“Don’t even start to defend him,” she said.  “You know it’s true.  William never liked us ‘influencing’ you as he put it.  Remember how I used to call him Bill just to get a rise out of him?”
            Giggling, Colleen added “and I’d call him Billie or Willie and he’d go ballistic!  My name is Will Bradley he’d say, straightening up like he had a steel rod shoved up his…”
            “Girls!  Enough!” Patsy blushed, glancing around the elegant dining room.  “Let’s remember where we are and try to behave like ladies.”  The reprimand made Colleen and Sheila giggle all the more.
            “Don’t try to deny that you were a life support for an ego machine. You were always the perfect little housewife, the perfect hostess, the perfect mother to William II and Peggy Sue.  Geez, William the Second.  Wasn’t it bad enough to have him for a father without saddling him with The Second.”
            “I will admit the marriage had some problems, but we had a lovely house and nice things…” Patsy tried to intervene.
            “Yeah, right” Sheila countered. “He had $2,000 suits tailor made and you got half price sale off the rack.  What was that all about?”
            Patsy took a deep breath and another sip of bubbly and tried to explain.  “I guess I just got sucked in to the theory that we were part of this team.  He was the fast rising corporate leader and his image was critical.  His explanation was that both our futures depended on his looking good.  It does seem a bit silly now.”
            “Not as silly as when you tried to rekindle the flames of desire, isn’t that what you called it?” grinned Sheila.
            “Oh my!  That was such a disaster!” Patsy said.
            “Wait a minute!” Colleen said.  “I don’t think I’ve ever heard about this before…fill me in!”
            Face flushing, either from shyness or the wine, she wasn’t sure.  Patsy relayed the incident to her friends.
            “Well, the kids were grown and gone by then and I felt we were drifting apart.  He was staying later and later at work and I started wondering if there was another woman.”
“And there was!” interjected Sheila.  “That bimbo that worked for him…. Boom-Boom or something. Colleen’s face twisted in confusion, so she added, “You remember. Looked like a toothpick with boobs, always teetering around on those high-heeled shoes like she was on stilts.  She was young enough to be his daughter.”
            “Ooooh.  Now I remember,” said Colleen. “The platinum blonde with the tiny little skirts. I think her name was Barbara.”
            “I like Boom-Boom better.” Sheila said.  “It fits better, has a nice sound to it…”
            “May I continue?” asked Patsy.  Her friends clinked their champagne glasses and said in unison “please do!”
            “Well.  I was reading that book that was so popular at the time, ‘the Feminine Mystic’ and I thought I’d try an idea or two, you know…rev things up” Her friends grinned at each other and turned back to Patsy.  “I couldn’t seem to get the hang of peeling the skin off a grape with my teeth, so I decided to go the saran wrap route.”  She chuckled to herself as she recalled. “There I was, totally naked, wrapped up in a saran wrap dress, holding the perfect martini, ready to greet him at the door.  I figured that might get him to put down the newspaper!”
            She had her friend’s rapt attention; as well as that from the next table, which was trying hard not to look like they were eavesdropping.
To be continued didn't think I'd share it all at once, did you?
Long Live the Queen of the Cliffhanger

I see green things!

This isn't from this year, but it's a reminder that spring IS coming.
It's been a balmy spring day here in Wisconsin, with temperatures soaring around the mid fifties and there's wild talk about getting into the sixties.   I spotted some of my bushes and pulmonaria poking their way up through the snow and mud. It reminded me of the line in "Young Frankenstein" where Gene Wilder says "it's's alive".
I'm guessing this is what caused my temporary lapse of sanity.
While out on the deck pulling down the last of the clematis from the pergola to feed to the deer and fixing the bird feeder (again) and refilling it (again) after the latest assault by the raccoons I noticed that there was more bare deck than snow.  I was already covered in dry dead foliage and bird seed, so I grabbed a shovel and started in. 
I pushed some of it into the pond where it will melt and keep the water level up and threw some of it on the ground.  This may seem absurd to those who don't deal with snow.  Why not wait and let it melt?  Why shovel it from one spot to another?  Isn't that just an exercise in futility?  But those in Wisconsin can relate and know how good it feels to see an area without the snow.
Also, you have to understand that I live on the "shady side" of the street.  My neighbors across the street and up on the hill enjoy more sunshine and green grass than we on the north side do.  You might say that we've been stuck where the sun don't shine.  The neighbors will be getting ready to mow their yards and I'll still be dealing with the last of the big snow drifts back there in the shade and the mud that prevents walking on the ground at all for fear of being stuck. It's a horrible sound when your shoe stays in the muck and your foot pulls free.  Where can you go really?
But it's springtime in Wisconsin and it's good enough for me!
Long Live the Queen of Spring Fever

Friday, March 18, 2011

the Naysayers

On St Patrick's Day I was fortunate enough to hear Deborah Lipstadt speak at Viterbo University on Holocaust Denial: A New Form of Anti-Semitism.  She is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta.  

Her new book, The Eichmann Trial was just released on March 15th and went into the second printing by the next day.

                        She was sued by David Irving for libel and told of her
trial in England where she managed to proof her innocence and in doing so debunked his claims of denying the Holocaust.  The judge found him to be a Holocaust denier, a falsifier of history, a racist, an antisemite and a liar.

She has written several books on this subject and is an historical consultant to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and helped design the section of the museum dedicated tot he American response to the Holocaust.
She has been called upon by presidents Bill Clinton and George W Bush to represent the US in several capacity..
She was an amazing speaker and it was fascinating to listen to her tell of the court battle and the inability to speak to the public.  She recounted the story of a survivor pushing her way to the front of a crowd, exposing the numbers tattooed on her arm, and telling her thank you for doing this for the survivors.
For information on this subject that uses references from the actual trial, to to

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wisconsin Round Barns

I had the good fortune to be invited by two friends to take a trip recently to Viroqua. After driving around for half an hour I remembered she moved about five minutes from my house.   
Oooops.  We made a couple of stops to shop and look at things before having lunch.
I was suspicious when she offered to pull ahead so I could more easily get into the car as I've been ditched before this way....but she really did wait for me.  The Viroqua area is known for it's Norwegian heritage and love of art. We stopped at the Viva Art Gallery and drank in the beauty. My favorite was the photography by Jamie Heiden.

It's also known for having one of the remaining round barns in Wisconsin, which apparently was part of their mission.  After traversing the countryside back and forth...and back and forth....we finally found it.  I jumped out of my car seat and landed in three inches of soft gooey muck, but avoided sliding completely down into the ditch.
Wanting to impress my friends with my knowledge of this bit of history I pointed out that round barns were banned after a certain period due to the deterioration of mental health among the Norwegian bachelor farmers.  It seems that they went insane trying to find a corner in which to relieve themselves.  I was very suspicious of her offer to pull the car out so I could avoid the mud after this groaner.  There was absolutely no traffic on this narrow country road the entire time we were photographing the barn and when I was trying to get into the car without tracking mud there was suddenly a major surge in traffic.  Okay, it was one car and a school bus but the red flashing lights on the bus were a little unnerving.
It was a day filled with laughter and sharing.
Long Live the Queen with Good Friends

Happy St Patrick's Day

I guess it's true that on St Patrick's Day everyone is Irish.  I know I certainly feel Irish today, what with me green fur and all.  I'm not sure that this was really necessary, but the Queen does assure me it will wash right out of my....wash!  Ooooh...I'm sensing a bath.

Anyway, she wanted to show you what the photo looked like to start with.  Not one of my more flattering ones.

I feel so I'm floating!
Then she used what she calls the "Magic Extractor" to cut out the background.  There are days when I'd like to use the Magic Extractor on her, but thumbs to work the computer.

She's been very busy running around with her friends lately since Left Brain is gone, so I've had a lot of quiet time lately.  She'll pay for that later.

Gotta go- I hear her opening the tuna can for supper.

Long Live She Devil

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Shayna with my son, Joe who is either trying to show
her how to write something or holding her back,
I'm not sure.  It appears he was left handed then.
Happy birthday to my favorite cousin, Shayna.  When they said "beware the Ides of March"...I do believe they had her in mind. Instead of eating cake I bought some brownies to celebrate her birth. When I would go to the annual rodeo with her mother (may her memory be for a blessing) the traditional meal was barbecue, potato chips and brownies....for each meal....each day.  So....Shayna, this brownie's for you!

Having just finished The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult the day before also inspired memories.  In this story a man is dealing with his early life in Alaska and the bad memories associated being the odd white person in the tribal village where they lived.  The wife could not understand why he went nuts whenever they ran the faucet while brushing their teeth and any other activity that was considered wasting water.  I could relate completely.
On the reservation we hauled it in buckets from the lake.  When we lived in International Falls (my version of when Hell freezes over) I had the luxury of having water delivered. Such a city slicker! Once a week the water truck came and filled a 50 gallon drum in the bathroom, the washing machine, the bathtub and the horse troughs.  We had the bathroom fixtures, they just weren't hooked up to anything.  The water drum was used for our drinking water and kept covered to keep the animals out of it.  The washing machine water was used to wash the clothes and after that to wash the floor.  When it was too dirty to be used for cleaning it was poured bucket by bucket to flush the toilet...the one not hooked up to any sewer, but instead ran out into the pasture.  We had the greenest grass imaginable and try as I might to get Left Brain to stroll out to my garden, he just won't do it.
The water in the bathtub was heated with an electric coil (it takes forever just to get warm) and the bathing order was myself first, my husband and then the baby.  I finally could understand where the expression "don't throw the baby out with the baby water" came from.  It was usually pretty dark by the time it cycled down to Joe  since bathing was not an everyday occurrence but a moment to be treasured.
Water for dishes was heated on the wood burning stove in a bucket and used to wash the dishes.  The dishwater was drained below the sink into a large bucket that was either used to flush the toilet or water my plants.  I tried to conserve water by not rinsing the plates but after watching my husband throw up his supper every night we finally figured out the soap film wasn't agreeing with him.  Like I said, I'm a slow learner.
So, I think it's understandable why I still marvel even all these years later with flush toilets and why we adhere to the "if it's yellow let it mellow...if it's brown flush it down" approach in this house (except for when we have company).  I cannot stand to hear water running that isn't going into a receptacle or being used in some way.  If I were captured by enemies and tortured they wouldn't have to go fetch the water board, just have the army brush their teeth without turning off the water.
It's another reason I don't do dishes or laundry until I have a load ready. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.  Now...I have some brownies to go eat.
Long Live the Queen of Water Economy

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Albert

Beware the Ides of March!  This is my traditional start of              de-cluttering my closets and drawers....  a form of early spring cleaning.  I believe that when you are no longing using those things you own, they end up owning you.  Each year I turn all the hangers in my closet backwards and write the date down and tape it to the back of the closet. Any hangers not turned back in one year get boxed up and given away.

Yesterday I managed to catch up on household chores and work on some sewing projects.  I am determined to finish up all those stinking projects that have been waiting (some for years) to finally be finished.  In some cases finished means to be thrown away.  This used to bother me, but now I have a happy heart to see it go into the trash.  

March 14th is Albert Einstein's birthday.  One of my favorite quotes of his is "imagination is more important than knowledge"

In his honor I plan to eat cake today.  I think you should also.

Long Live the Queen of Uncluttering...and that means getting rid of all the cake.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

March Madness

I have received some flack about the mating habits of possums having nothing to do with the Irishness of March...and she was right.

Okay, so this one isn't real and is frozen, but
it fits with the theme of todays blog...
so just deal with it.
Instead I should have commented on the expression "Mad as a March Hare" which deals with the mating habits of rabbits.  Since this is the breeding period for bunnies they are often seen running around and "boxing" and acting very strangely (didn't we all when we were young and lustful).

So, now that that has been rectified, I need to go clean the house and do some sewing.  I keep signing up to do art shows and it would probably be a good idea to actually have something to display.  My motto is why do today what you can put off until tomorrow.

Long Live the Queen of Procrastination

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Paddy O'Possum

One of our stranger visitors to the yard is our opossum.  We decided he must be Irish because he shows up around St Patrick's Day and well...he's an O'Possum.
They are a strange looking creature with their scaly tail and frost bitten ears.  You'd think they would have evolved enough by now to have more substantial fur to be out in the winter or learn to hibernate.  I feel like I should knit a little red hat for him.
They are nocturnal and solitary...much like the Norwegian bachelor farmers that live in our area.

When he smiles I can almost imagine him talking about eating some fava beans with a nice Chianti...he has that Hannibal Lector smile with 50 teeth.  Add the fact that they have a forked penis and you get one strange creature.  No I am not making that up! The really odd part (and also true according to Stoke's guide) is that the mating pair will have more success if falling to their right side.  Those that remain upright or falling to the left are less likely to conceive.  There's a little trivia for you to tuck away.

Their vision is poor and when Simcha was still alive the possum would sit outside of the patio door and she would charge the glass in a frenzy.  So close and yet so far away.

Long Live the Queen of Possums

Friday, March 11, 2011

Oh Mr Mailman!

While basking in the Florida sun, our neighbor snowshoed his way over to the mailbox in freezing snow and rain to gather our mail.  

I was receiving my massage from Caring Hands Massage the other day and decided I would treat him to a one hour massage from Kathy as a thank you. 

Being the clever creature I am, I decided to write "to favorite mailman" on the envelope and I added a warm message about how much we appreciated his faithful service.  Then I tucked it into his mailbox. And waited...and waited and waited for a reply.'d think I'd get at least a thank you text or something.  This just isn't like him.  So about a week or so later finally I had a chance encounter with him (I had to wait 25 minutes in the cold for this chance encounter) and I casually asked him if he had used his certificate yet.

He stared at me like I had grown a third eye.  Actually, this seems to be a common look on the neighbor's faces....I wonder why that is.

He looked a bit sheepish and said he didn't have any idea what I was talking about.  Hmmm.  That's another similarity I've noticed with people.

I explained that I had left a gift certificate for a massage in his mailbox.  He said he never got it and since he's a Lutheran minister, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't lie to me.  Well, this is perplexing.

Just then our mailman, also named Steve, stopped at the mailbox and waved me over to the truck.  He blushed and looked almost teary eyed when he thanked me for the wonderful gift.   Huh?

He kept rambling about how everyone takes postal delivery for granted and even though he'd never had a massage, he certainly was looking forward to it.

Holy crap.  That probably explains why he's been smiling and winking and waving at me all the time.  I guess I'd better get something else for Pastor Steve.

Neither rain nor snow or dark of night can stop the delivery of the blog.  Long live the Queen!