Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I'm worried about Ted

Even though many people dislike the BBBs (Big Black Birds) and hate to see them invading their feeders, I have to admit I am smitten with them.

My main love would be for the raven, which I met while at Alcatraz....just visiting folks...just visiting.  I learned a great deal about them from the ranger on that visit and have become a Raven Lunatic since that time.  

But, since we are not lucky enough to have them in our area, my second love would be the crows.

Crows are so misunderstood.  They are not evil and do not chase away the songbird population.  Their main crime appears to be ...well...big and black.  Just because they aren't small, cute and colorful doesn't mean they are unworthy of being loved. My feeders are visited heavily by many varieties of songbirds as well as multiple visits by my crow buddies.

They have close families and mate for life, which leads me back to why I'm worried about Ted.

Bob and Carol

We had a lovely foursome in my yard that I have named Bob and Carol, Ted and Alice.  However, I've only seen three of them traveling about lately in the valley and Ted seems to be missing.  I do hope he's okay.

The other distinction with crows is that they have the ability to identify you personally...not just as a human, but as an individual.  I'm still trying to get my group to not fear me as I come outside to toss them peanuts, but so far they are leery of me.

I'll feel better when I see my foursome again.

Long Live the Queen of Crows

Monday, August 29, 2011

After the fest is goes on

Slept in today to recover from the weekend festival.  She Devil is napping beside me, blissfully unaware of the vet visit in two hours with blood work to check how she is responding to the change in her insulin dosage.  I like these things to be a surprise for her.

So, soon I need to get out of my jammies and unload the car, write up my notes on the show, count the money and get ready for the next one in September.  I've only done three shows this year but still think about a home show sometime yet this winter.

After Art Fair on the Green my friend and neighbor suggested lowering some of my prices to accommodate the downturn of the economy.  Thank you Laurel for this advice.  I had turned her lose with a pen and stickers to price things as she saw fit and this increased my sales at this show.  It also generated interest in commissioned work and I picked up not one but three commissions at this show, all of which agreed to the original higher price I normally sold at in the past.  That felt really good.

The best part of these shows is not the sales, although that is nice, it's the connection with people.  I had the good fortune of being next to a nice basket weaver and a Hmong family whose children kept me entertained all weekend as I watched them playing behind our tents.  The people who come into the booth are always interesting and I made some new friends to go with the old ones that stop by to visit also.

It was a relaxing fun weekend with great music and perfect weather.  This is the kind of weekend we dream about as fall approaches.  Now I just have to muddle through the mess in the car, sorting and restocking.  Oh yeah....and wings.  I am finally going to heed the advice I've been given forever about adding wings to the dolls and creating fairies and angels.  So, the girls will be taking flight soon and I hope to soar to new heights with them.  Wish me luck.

The next show is the Driftless Art Festival in Soldiers Grove in September.  It's a lovely show and if you've never been there, please check it out.  Come on by and say hello.

Long Live the Queen of Crafters

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Temporary delays

This blog has been interrupted by the Great River Folk Festival, my new home away from home for the weekend. in a 10 x 10 space.  It's like being in prison but without visible bars.

However, as shows go this is very pleasant as there is music all day long and I am perfectly located between the food tents and bathroom. Could you want anything more?

Yesterday I was having a lovely conversation with a woman who also makes dolls who happened to mention that she grew up in my home town.  When I asked her name I almost fell off my chair.  Here in front of me was my very own first cousin of long ago.  She invited me to come and visit and catch up and I can't wait for the opportunity to do so.  You just never know who you might run into.

I spent the day under the shade of a large tree working on more items for future shows and have been approached by several people who may want some custom creations very favorite thing.

This used to cause pressure on the day of delivery (D-day to me) as I was so worried they would like it, had changed their mind..yada yada yada.  I alleviated that fear by making all custom creations 100% guaranteed.  If for any reason the customer does not want what I have created they do not pay a muss, no fuss, no hard feelings.  This reduces anxiety on both sides and if the doll is refused (I've yet to have it happen), it will just go into the general inventory for future sales.  Since all my creations are somewhat crazy looking this isn't a problem.

So, after a night of resting and snuggling She Devil, I've filled her belly with tuna and am ready to slide out the door for day two of my adventure.  The weather looks good with blue skies and there where no storms last night, so my booth should be intact.

Long Live the Queen of Sales

Thursday, August 25, 2011

thank you for your sympathy

Well, the outpouring of good will for my gastric distress was overwhelming.  

Some of my favorite comments were "holy crap" and "we're so relieved", as well as gifts of laxatives from my cousin.

My descent into senility continued yesterday.  Maybe my entry into the Sixties isn't what I thought it was going to be.

After visiting my cousin in the hospital (the one who really did have a heart attack, not just thought it) I proceeded about my day.  I decided to have a late lunch at Pickerman's and enjoyed a lovely bowl of potato cream cheese soup - yummy.  Then it was off to purchase groceries - more fruit and some watermelon for my colon cleansing.  I found the Morning Star entrees recommended by my new favorite vegetarian and proceeded to the checkout.

After paying for the groceries I wheeled my cart of goodies to the car and patted my pocket for my keys.  Oh no.  I must have tucked them into the side pocket of the purse, surely I'm not stupid enough to have left them in the car.  Oh, I most definitely am - there they are, laying on the console.  Rats!

Aha!  I had an entry key made and hidden in my purse for exactly this purpose.  Couldn't find it and then I remembered that key was made for the old car and I had not done that yet for this car.  Rats!

I could call Miss M and ask her come and get me, run me home for Left Brain's set of keys and back to the store.  No, she sat with me at the hospital late last night and her car probably still carries my scent.  

Then I remembered this is what we pay our AAA membership for, found the card and dialed the number.  I was told it would be about 30 - 40 minutes before they could arrive so I took my frozen dinners back in the store, grabbed a plastic bag and tossed them in the freezer with the ice cubes.  Then I snugged my cart up next to the bench outside and went to Hancock Fabric to browse.

While looking at the magazines they called and informed me he was on site and looking for me, they decided to get to me before the other job.  So, out the door I ran and found him and led him to my car.  It's amazing with the right tools just how fast he broke in.  He asked to see my AAA card and then some ID.  This confused me (it doesn't seem to take much these days) until I realized he wanted to be sure I wasn't stealing a car...with his assistance.

Hmmm.  Maybe I could have found a nice BMW in the lot with keys locked inside and upgraded.  That never occurred to me, but then I never did have a criminal mastermind....or any other sort either for that matter.

I thanked him for his assistance and went home very pleased with myself for how well I handled the situation.  While putting away my groceries there seemed to be something missing....where are those frozen dinners?  Oh the ice cooler at Festival.  Maybe I'll get them tomorrow.  I've had my quota of adventures for today.

Long Live the Queen of Something...I forget

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Yes, it's true...I have x-rays to prove it

Last night was one of the stranger nights in my life...and that's saying a lot.  Let me back up a minute....ooooh...back up...not good.

I woke feeling lethargic and unmotivated to do anything.  After moping about the house all day I took a nap and wondered how to get out of going to camera activity I love, but just could not get inspired by at that time.
But to bail on this meant having to explain this to the Divine Miss M who was coming  with her convertible to escort me to the meeting, so I finally got dressed and begrudgingly went on my way.  I can be such an old poop sometimes...but that's what I'm getting at.

I told her of my doldrums and the confusion I had earlier when I replaced a fry pan on the stove to soak, but had not turned off the stove.  I just turned 60, is senility starting up already?  Also I have been having the most awful flatulence issues lately...both embarrassing and uncomfortable.  Are these my golden years?
We talked about this issue, because I've learned this is what old people do....bowel habits and weather are two of the top ten discussions.  I figured it was due to the influx of vegetables into my diet and yet this is not anything new to my Weight Watcher routine. Such a mystery.

Well, part of our tradition is to eat at Taco John's prior to the meetings.  Not a good choice for someone with gastric distress to begin with...but I never claimed to be a brainiac, so I had my usual beefy burrito.  I needed to use the bathroom both before and after this meal.

Then we went on our journey with a brief side trip to deliver some drugs....I'll just let it go at that because it's so much more interesting to say it that way and just stop.  When we arrived at the meeting I used the bathroom again and again and again.  Part of our experience that night was to take our cameras out into the marsh to photograph wildlife.  I was not about to get that far from the toilet so stayed behind with my Kindle to read, mostly while on my porcelain perch.

After walking in circles trying to ease the pain and after several fruitless attempts in the bathroom, the group returned to the building for the board meeting.  By this time I was sure I was having some real problems.  I had read that women experience heart attacks differently than mother had a massive heart attack at 58 and my cousin is in the coronary care unit as we speak.  Needless to say I was getting concerned.

I tried to convince her to just take me home and had planned to jump into the car and book it back to urgent care since the normal clinics were closed by this time of night.  But she knows me and saw through this and just took me to the hospital.  After expelling more gas and filling her car with the delightful "Eau de Taco John" aroma, I went through the drill with registering and waiting to be seen by triage and managed to sneak into the bathroom three more times.  By now it hurt just to stand up and I was unable to take a deep breath without pain.  Well, at least I'm where I should be in case the "big one" hits that was relaxing.

After the initial exam I asked if I could talk to my friend as it appeared I may be there for a while and I hated to have her waiting on me.  She refused to go home.  They planned to x-ray my stomach and do blood tests to check the liver and pancreas to see if I might be having trouble with my gall bladder.  If these indicated problems they would do an ultrasound. During the various exams I tried hard not to pass gas but whenever the room was empty I would "let em fly".  These were NOT silent but deadly - they were thunderstorm loud and very aromatic.  WHY oh why did I have to have a burrito for supper?  The doctor was very polite as she palpated my abdomen and said nothing of the stink in the room. Yow, it really hurt on my right side under the ribs when she pressed there.

Then they took me into an examination room and had me slip into one of the the stylish gowns they provide.  My friend stayed with me while they started the IV and took an EKG.  She has been through more medical procedures than I can even imagine and is facing another surgery on Thursday, but as she said...if it's not her they are sticking the needles in she was fine with it.  Such compassion.

The attending nurse was perky and cute and wonderfully distracting during the procedures which took my mind of why we were here. She reminded me of the Stephanie Plum character by Janet Evanovich, which I found oddly comforting. By this time I've changed my self diagnosis of a heart attack to having gall bladder surgery, which Miss M says is one of the better ones to have.  Then they transported me into the x-ray room for the stomach x-rays.  She watched me leave with a very nice looking young man and come back minutes later with my pants removed.  She just smiled and I said "Left Brain has been away for a long time you know" which made her giggle.  It's getting to be late in the evening now, so we were both tired and getting a little slap happy, which is common for us.

The nice doctor came back in with the results.  EKG normal - thank goodness.  Blood tests normal, no sign of problems with the gall bladder - hurray.  All tests show everything is what's wrong.  Then she says "but let's take a look at the x-rays of your stomach".  Oh I'm thinking colon cancer or a tumor.  OMG!  Maybe I'm wait...that's not possible.

She proceeded to point out my various organs and areas of the colon and the cloudy areas that indicated lots of fecal matter.  What?
Miss M is chuckling to herself to the point of snorting.  I KNOW what she's thinking.  So, I looked at the doctor very seriously and asked her "Are you saying I"m full of ____?"  Then her professional demeanor broke and she starting laughing and nodding her head yes.  Now all three of us are laughing and howling and causing some looks from the other staff.  I'm laughing from sheer relief.

She suggested some over the counter meds that would give relief (after intense cramping and pain that it will cause) and provided information on things to eat to help (all of which I am already doing).

I convinced Miss M to just take me home instead of stopping for anything.  I was feeling better now that I ruined her car interior with my stink and just wanted to go home to bed. the last think I wanted was to cause more stomach pain and be up all night pooping.  My plan is to purchase a watermelon the next day and cleanse myself my way.  Also to add a daily walk to my routine as sewing and preparing for the show this weekend apparently does not provide enough physical stimulation.

It's not that the doctor's advice wasn't valued...apparently I just don't give a ____...and there are x-rays to prove it!

Long Live the Queen of (insert your own moniker here)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Reusing and recycling

There's always a way to dispose of things you don't want and hopefully people will consider this before just tossing things into a dumpster.

When you've never been without it's hard to believe that there would be someone who would want your "junk".  From someone who has been hungry and been without in her life....believe me...there are people who would cherish your trash.

We are blessed with many agencies that act as our middleman, allowing us to forego personal contact with those who are struggling.  This also provides dignity to those receiving the items donated.

Do you have clothes you no longer need?  Give them to one of the many agencies that will take them and redistribute or sell them for a much lower cost to those who can use them. 

Household items?  Toys?  Pet supplies?  There are places to take these also.

Food items that you can't use up or can't remember why you purchased them?  There are an abundance of food pantries and shelters that need these items.  Many will only accept packaged food, but some will take home made items.

After my house guest left and the dinner party was done I had 3/4 of a pan of cake left.  And you KNOW how I deal with cake.  Dumping the previous birthday cake was an act of desperation as it could not stay in the house for another second without causing me much harm.  But at least the raccoons were able to party with it.  

Not that this cake was less appealing (and lower calories to boot),  but I simply did not dare keep it in the house.  So, off to the Salvation Army I went.  I took it (and the cool whip)  into their kitchen where it was graciously received and would be served later that day as a snack cake.

I love to bake, but can only indulge in small amounts, nor do I have the freezer space (or desire) to keep them.  So this is a wonderful outlet for me.  I can prepare the box of muffins and keep two of three and take the rest to the Salvation Army.

There were times in my life when most of my wardrobe was either hand made by myself or from the Salvation Army and Goodwill.  There is no shame in this and I continue to shop at both for clothing as needed while I continue to lose weight.

So the next time you are ready to toss something, consider passing it on to another human instead of the landfill.

Long Live the Queen of Recycling

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fun with Friends

The Queen has been a social butterfly lately.  Thursday I went to Stockholm, a wonderfully artsy fartsy town, with four of my garden guild ladies and had a blast.  We saw some cool gardens, ate at a wonderful outdoor cafe (Bogus Creek Cafe) and then strolled the streets of this little town (population 97) to take in the shops and galleries.  

On the way home we stopped at the Nelson creamery for ice cream - always a treat.  I was careful with the breakfast and lunch and felt up to this.  I think I need to add daily walking to my routine and get the push on for the next weight drop.

The next day I picked up my grass that came in at Trees Today and went over to Marvelous Marti's house to dig up the "couple of hostas" she wanted out.  Yikes!  I should have rented a bobcat - these were huge hostas.  I wrestled them into the car and got them home.  The wheelbarrow was completely full with just two of them, which I divided into many more and planted them out in the "open" area.  Most of the hostas are protected from the deer behind a fence , but I'm trying to introduce some "free range hostas" also.

Later that night we went up to my neighbors for incredible Indian cuisine served in a charming outdoor setting and sparkling conversation.  It wasn't until we arrived I realized I was still wearing my house slippers, so the hostess put on hers also to make me feel at home.  And I hadn't had anything to drink yet!

I brought with me the bottle of wine the other neighbor had given me....hmmm....there does seem to be a lot of wine floating around this valley.  My intention was to share this but they were on to gin and tonics, so being a really good guest I drank the entire bottle myself.   I do believe I said something about having everyone over for a Greek theme supper at my house.  Why did I say that?

I'm not that big a wine drinker, but I was thirsty after all that yard work and mowing of the yard but most of was a blue bottle.  And I needed this for my new bottle tree that I purchased the day before.  Oh the things we have to do for our art!

It's been a blissful couple of days in the company of friends and neighbors and again I have a feeling of abundance and love.  But then again, I might just be a tad drunk.

Long Live the Friends of the Queen

Friday, August 19, 2011

Meatless meals

I was so curious about the concept of vegetarian eating that I voluntarily got up early enough to attend the 7:15 am Weight Watcher meeting.  Was it worth it?   In a word....yes.

The idea of not consuming meat has always intrigued me and here I had a 35 year vegetarian to provide guidance.  I learned about tofu  and may have even conquered my fear of sushi.  They had a cool book on Fruits and Veggies from A - Z that shows what stuff looks like, how to clean it, prepare it and easy recipes. My weight dropped another 1.4 pounds so I'm almost back to the point I was before the cake disaster.

As I went into this meeting I don't usually attend, I sat next to a beautiful slim lady and found myself thinking "why is she here, there should be a limit on how much weight you really need to lose to attend...this is hard for the chubbies to deal with."  Then I learned she had lost 125 pounds.  Wow.  New attitude - total admiration.  Attending these meetings are always inspirational.

Long Live the Queen of Second Thoughts


Okay, I know my memory is going, but this is ridiculous.

The timer dinged today and I couldn't remember why I had set it.

Sometimes I will set the stove timer if I'm adding water to the pond in case I forget about it and let it overflow - not good for the basement.

Nope...not that.

Hmmm.  Something smells good.  I opened the microwave and there was my soup.  That's what the dinging was telling me...lunch was ready.

And just in time...I was getting hungry.

I miss my memory.

Long Live the Queen of ...something..I forget what it was right now

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Yesterday I had the delightful privilege of having an overnight who brought lamb stew for supper.  Now that's MY kind of guest.  

She explained to her six year old son that she had a play date AND a sleepover with a friend and he solemnly told her that he hoped it all goes okay for her.  I'm not sure if he thought we'd get into a fight over toys or what, but everything worked out fine.

I had prepared broccoli cheese soup for lunch when she arrived and had planned to make panini sandwiches to accompany the soup.  As we were on our garden tour I noticed the waterfall had stopped.  Hmmm.  The filter was just cleaned, must have blown a fuse?

So into the dark depths of the basement we crept with our little lantern.  All the switches were in the ON position, so we cautiously walked upwards...towards the light, and I called my neighbor to see if he had power.

He was sitting at the bottom of his driveway pondering how he was going to get into the garage with no power to open the door.  This is what happens when we live in an electronic age.  Thankfully the soup was still warm enough to serve and we had a salad instead of a sandwich for lunch.  The power came back on about three hours later, so we enjoyed sitting on the deck visiting since the weather was agreeable.

After MUCH conversation and lamb stew for supper we watched a movie I had picked up a long time ago but never viewed called "Super-size Me".  This was an experiment a man went on for 30 days of eating at McDonald's and had a medical team documenting his blood work and health changes.  He was required to eat everything on the menu at least once and supersize the order if they asked.

It was amazing to see the physiological changes he underwent during the course of just 30 days.  Not only was there a significant weight gain but many health concerns regarding his liver function.  It showed how much sugar he had ingested in one month with eating this fast food and it was shocking.  He described emotional changes, depression, lethargy, etc...all of which were alleviated with his next meal at McDonald's.  Some of the "healthier" items such as salads had as many calories as the Big Mac.

I don't partake of much fast food with my Weight Watcher regime anyway, and I realize many changes have been made to the fast food industry since this film was created.  They claim it had nothing to do with the documentary, but you have to wonder.

We are all responsible for what we eat and how it will affect us, as well as how the product or animal was raised and processed for our consumption.  My WW leader is a vegetarian and I am most interested in her next presentation of non meat foods.  I doubt I could ever pry the meat and potatoes away from Left Brain, but maybe we can incorporate a Meatless Monday once a week as a start towards better eating...for us and the earth.

The motto is you are what you if you are eating a heavy diet of fast food I guess that makes you "fast,cheap and easy".

Long Live the Queen of Better Eating

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rainy days are lazy days

This morning was a treat for the senses.  There is nothing like snuggling with your cat and listening to the crashing sounds of a thunderstorm.  The rain pelting the window...the resonant rumble of thunder in the doesn't get any better.

Revamping this bed meant adding grasses, heuchera and rudbeckia

Having managed to get most of my planting done recently, the sound of rain meant I didn't have to haul out the hoses again to water.  It also gave license to have a relaxing morning since I couldn't get out there to continue the yardwork.

But, after lunch the weather cleared, so outdoors I went.  Then it began to spit and sputter a little rain, but I kept at it.  My motto is that unless there's lightening I can keep digging with my hand trowel.

have no idea what I'll plant, but I know it will be fun!
I managed to get the shrubs in and the grass out.  I worked on the edging where the grass has grown over the brick edges.  I pulled weeds.  I had fun!  Then I decided to work on the extension of the front flower bed.  I only wanted to make it easier to mow in this area, but ended up almost tripling the size of the bed.  Oh well.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Astaboides Tabularis


Yup, that's the name of the plant I'm with.  There isn't a common 
name that I know of or I'd share it with you.

It seems to get a little larger each year and I wanted to have a new photo taken with it to show the size.

I especially love having big plants in the garden because it makes you look much slimmer!

It's toward the end of it's reign now and the frothy white blossoms are spent and the leaves are starting to get their reddish stains.

But I think you can understand why this is one of my favorites in the garden.

Long Live the Queen of Big Leaves

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Funeral in a small town

The young lady I tutor in reading has become very special to me and when her grandmother died recently, I knew I had to attend the funeral.

She has some intellectual limitations, so when she told me it was the white church in Blair I knew I needed more information.  I finally got the name of the church and Googled it to make sure I could find my way the next day.

I allowed plenty of time in case I got lost or ran into road work, which was good because both happened.  Getting lost is normal for me, so I've developed many coping skills.  I could either plug in the GPS  or stop at that little neighborhood bar and ask.  I went into the bar.

The lady behind the bar assured me I was only about five miles away and specified that it was the WHITE church.  What is with this?  Aren't most churches white?   Then she explained that I would come to a brick church first and to keep going until I arrived at the white church.  Oh. And the good news was that I had time for a burger before the funeral.  There's nothing like a hamburger cooked on an old time grill in the small bars of Wisconsin. Yum.

After listening to the men in bib overalls discussing the current state of the union and getting the hog prices for the day, I continued on to the white church.  Having been raised in No-where-ville as a child this experience was strangely comforting and disturbing at the same time.

I went in and found my friend who proceeded to take me by the hand and introduce me to everyone in her family as "her teacher".  It was almost like having rock star status.  She went off with her aunt, who was wearing a very tight mini skirt, low cut halter top (showing a rose tattoo on the right breast), stacked heel sandles and teased up hair.  Blue eye shadow seemed very popular among the family.  And to think I was worried about having worn an ankle length skirt because it was white.  Well, that pressure was off.

Then I took my seat for the service.  You must remember ...small town...Wisconsin.  After listening to the chatter around me and learning who sent what arrangement and the best sales going on at Wal-Mart the opening music began... a country western song played on a CD.

I had to stiffle a giggle, I'm sorry...but it just took me by surprise.  I'm sure it had a lot of meaning to the family, but I just wasn't ready for it.  I kept my head bent with my hand to my mouth and was pretty sure I looked the part of a grieving person.  It's been a while since I was in a church, which I realized when I started opening the prayer book from the back.   Whoops...that's right - they go the other way.

I couldn't help but notice a lady sitting a few rows ahead of me.  I wondered if anyone else was thinking the same thing I was....that we looked an awful lot alike.  There was a curiosity in me that wanted to ask who her father was, since this was the area my biological father had lived  before his death.  But then I decided I really didn't want to know if I had any half-siblings.  It was a bit eerie though.

The minister did a wonderful job and after singing some familiar hymns and hearing family testimonials the service concluded.  It was a wonderful tribute to a great woman, who I am happy to say I had the pleasure of meeting her several times.

After the service we walked across the field to the cemetery attached to the church yard, as is the custom in these parts.  There was a brief graveside service and then everyone disbursed, leaving the casket sitting there by the hole...waiting.  It bothered me to just leave her there. I really do prefer the Jewish custom of everyone assisting in covering the casket with dirt before leaving.  But, that would probably creep them out.  It's all what you're comfortable with.

Long Live the Queen

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


After my cake binge I decided I needed some serious help.  So, off I go to find a group.

There wasn't any cake anonymous groups so I figured I'd just go to AA and see what they had to offer.

When I walked in I wasn't sure what to do.  Do I give my name and state it's a cake addiction?  Do I pretend I have a drinking problem?  Not knowing what to do I just blurted out my name and said that I needed help.

A very nice lady came over and offered to assist me.  

When I realized where I was it became clear why there were no other people waiting for the meeting to begin.  So, I got some maps and campground guides for our Texas trip.

Thing I have learned today....AAA is not the same as AA.

Long Live the Queen of Ooops

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Addictions are an ugly thing

Coming from a family with addiction problems, I don't know why this should have come as such a surprise to me.   I guess I was in denial.

I've shown amazing control with my Weight Watcher support system, going to the meetings each week, being careful and responsible for what goes down my throat.  So....I figured I could order a birthday cake for my party.  I'd even have a small piece to celebrate.  That was the plan anyway.

I knew I was heading down the slippery slope when I could hardly sleep the night before thinking about the cake, the edges with the rim of frosting, the corners with the most frosting...the roses.  Mmmm.  My one little piece will be glorious.  I will eat it slowly and savor the delicacy of the taste.  That was the plan.

Towards the end of the party, after ignoring the chips and having a lighter fare off the menu, it was time to indulge in "the cake".  I had my eye on the corner piece with the roses all day a hooker singling out the next trick.  I had a piece.  A small piece.  Then, since it really was quite small...I had another.

There was a good deal of cake left over that I brought home.  I had planned to send it with family, but by the time I finally got home, they had skipped town.  She Devil probably drove them out.  So, now it's just a quiet night with the cake and I.  What the heck...I'll have another piece.  It is my cake after all.  I'll take the rest to Salvation Army or something tomorrow.

By bedtime there wasn't enough to bother taking anywhere.  It was a mutilated heap of cake and frosting.  My brain was short circuited with a sugar buzzed haze telling me if I ate it really fast the calories couldn't add up that well.  All logic and caution was tossed to the wind.

Nighttime was horrible.  I had a headache, was shaky and somewhat nauseous.  I literally had "the shakes" from the sugar overload.  Wow!  This evil concoction has GOT to go first thing in the morning.  

Morning finally came and I was once again face to face with my nemesis.  I rationalized that I could have one small piece for breakfast and then take it outside and dump it for the chipmunks and squirrels to feast on. Yeah, yeah...I can quit any time I want.  I can handle this.  I ate my "breakfast" piece...well, actually it couldn't have disappeared any quicker than if I'd snorted it, and I carried the cake outside.

Five minutes later I carried it back in because there was still some frosting along the edges that I'd missed.  Is this what if feels like to be hooked on crack?  Are bakeries really just sugar meth labs in disguise?  I stood at the kitchen counter and shoveled it in into my gaping mouth.  Oh this is so SICK!

I grabbed the white bakery box and ran out the back door as quickly as I could with my sugar shakes and tossed it on the ground...being very careful to make sure it was frosting side down.  I'm sure I would have sat there in the dirt and scooped up any frosting to eat if I hadn't disposed of it this way.  Even now as I sit and watch the birds and squirrels party on my cake I feel the twitching of withdrawal pains.

So, there you have it.  I am a sugar junkie.  I'll have to see if there's a twelve step program or meeting for my kind.

My name is the Queen Jester and I am a Cake-aholic.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Party Day

Help me...I've fallen and I can't get up!
Sunday was the surprise party at Carlos O'Kelly's and the suspense was killing me.  I've always had a fear of planning a party and having no one show up.  This is why as a shy, quiet kid (I know that's hard for some to believe, but it's true) I never had parties or events.

I had run into West Salem to pick up the cake and my grass (I'm planting next week) and when I came back I knew I only had a short time to change clothes and head out.  

So, I ran into my bedroom and into a large blond man wrapped in a towel.  All I could think to say was "Well! Happy birthday to ME"...which frightened my son-in-law and he fled for the other room.  

It appears he used my shower since the guest shower had a batch of witches legs hanging on the shower rod.  This is where I dry them after painting their feet and I forgot to remove them before the family arrived.  My poor house guests - it's enough to have to deal with She Devil hissing and spitting at them, but then to have body parts hanging in the shower.

We arrived in time to set up for the party before guests arrived.  And they did!   I had a wonderful outpouring of family and friends coming to wish me a happy birthday.  This was precisely what I had hoped for!  A good time was had by all and another fear of mine has been conquered.

There were those who ignored my request for gifts and cards.  Most bringing cards were careful not to buy Hallmark cards...that was their way around it.  I've got some really sneaky friends.  Then there were those who ignored the no gifts rule completely...such rebels!
But, it would be rude to refuse their I graciously accepted.  What's a girl to do?

It was fun and I'm glad I did it.  As I drove home I was overcome with emotion from all those who came to wish me well.   I'm also really happy to be home with She Devil for a quiet night to reflect and read all the comments from those wishing me well.  My daughter prepared a wonderful scrapbook of memories for me that I didn't get to really look at in detail at the party.  I will savor this book slowly and read the letters people have sent and enjoy the photos.  Especially those photos of when I was so thin!  I might have to put some of these up on the fridge!

Long Live the Queen of Love

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Our farm adventures

My daughter and her family came down Saturday in preparation for my surprise birthday party on Sunday.  So, I treated them to a visit to my friends house that evening before supper.

Emily gathering the eggs
I'm not sure if you'd call it a farm or a farmette or hobby farm or what...but it's a slice of heaven.

This was a great adventure for my "city kids" to learn about where food comes from and get some "hands on" experiences that they would otherwise never have.

Steph milking the goat
First we met the goats as they ran up to greet us.  That kind of freaked out the kids at first.  

You can imagine their surprise when Irving offered us a chance to milk them! 

Emily harvesting carrots

They took us out into their apple orchards and gardens where Irving showed Emily how to dig up carrots.  

It was very satisfying to watch them pull food from the earth.  I wish all kids could experience this and know they don't actually come out of the ground in those little plastic bags.

Cucumbers for the picking
Karen had Stephanie join her for some gathering of cucumbers.  

She tried to send some home with me also, but I'm already giving mine to the neighbors, and I think they're getting sick of them.

Their home is set back in a valley...and I mean waaaay back there and everywhere you turn it's beautiful.

The home features a lot of Amish workmanship and artistic touches are every where.  The girls (okay, and us, too) just kept exploring the house and oohing and aahing at every turn.
Kiersten and the Frisbee

Kiersten enjoyed playing with the biggest Frisbee she'd ever seen and enjoyed swinging on the chairs in the screen porch.

She also hung out with Romeo, their dog, as she loves dogs.   But, I don't think we're going to entice her into a future as a farmer any time soon.  

Seriously?  I don't think so!

My favorite animal on the farm was the cat, of course.  

Fluffy, who hangs out with the goats and seems to think she's one of them didn't appreciate my joke about milking the cat.

Very pretty, but not much of a sense of humor.

It was a wonderful visit and we stopped at Rocky's Supper Club on the way home for onion rings and supper.  Yummy.  The first fall out from my Weight Watchers regime.  But it will be a temporary lapse.  Being there reminded me of an incident that happened many many years ago, that I related to my family over supper.

Left Brain and I had been there with another couple long ago.  The man with us had an artificial leg.  Having had one too many as we left the bar he stumbled and fell.  While falling, his foot hooked on something and there was an awful noise as the suction released from the prosthesis...and the leg turned the other direction.  He was now laying on the ground facing east and his right toe was pointing west.

The waitress witnessing this was turning white.

Then he began to crawl to the steps where he could reattach his leg...he was drunk but still thinking!  As he crawled away the leg slowly slid from his pants leg.

Now the waitress was sitting down and turning a lovely shade of green.

He just calmly crawled out the door calling to Left Brain to pick up his leg and bring it with him.

I'm not sure where the waitress went after that.  Poor girl.  She must have thought we were terribly callous to just laugh at him during all this.

Oh...good memories.

Long Live the Queen of Old Goats

the celebration continues

My hair is ready for the birthday bash.  I finally got the curls I wanted.  

The birthday party that never ends continues on today.  I need to post photos of the latest gifts I've received, but right now I'm enjoying my visit from my daughter and family.  

The party at Carlos O'Kelly's is today, so I need to pick up my cake and some grass.  No, not that kind of grass.  I had my eye on some miscanthus the other day and couldn't decide, so since I'm in the same town that is holding my cake hostage, I'll pick it up also.  My son-in-law seemed very shocked when I mentioned the grass...or excited...not sure.

I've had some comments on how can it be a surprise party when I'm organizing it.  Well...I might just go to Manny's for lunch instead.  Now THAT would be a surprise for everyone!  But, that's too mean...even for me, so I'll show up where expected.

So, I should get out of my jammies and get going.  Hmm.  Maybe I should arrive in my birthday suit....that would be a surprise at the party.

Nah, 60 is too young for that yet.  I think I'll save that for my 70th.

Long Live the Queen of Curls

Thursday, August 4, 2011

the gypsy challenge

Each year I enter the Gypsy Challenge and each year I never follow through.

With the $20 entry fee you receive an assortment of fabrics and trims to be used in the construction of a gypsy doll for the competition at the Houston Quilt Festival.

This year I decided to actually make an entry!  I sent in the form today with the name of the doll and her measurements.  Not an easy task considering I hadn't started her yet.

After today's labor I have most of the body completed.

Soon I will add the hands, boots and hopefully a head.

Long Live the Queen of Follow Through

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New toys for the studio

It is imperative that the artist has the correct tools with which to do their art work.  I have a wide variety of tools at my disposal and even know how to use most of them.  I still suffer from Dreml-phobia and mostly it stays in it's nice little case, but perhaps someday.....  

There seemed to be a major flaw in my work space and I couldn't put my finger on it until the other day.  It's too darn quiet! Sometimes I enjoy the silence but I find I work better if there's some background noise.  Oh what to do...what to do?

Sam's Club.  I headed out in search of the perfect companion for me to work with.  And there she was!  Not too big...not too small....and most importantly....not too expensive!

I took home my new little flatscreen TV with a built in DVD player and then worried about the set up.  I worried for about 15 minutes until I had the cable attached and plugged it in and it took care of the rest for me.  She scanned all the channels and loaded the ones we get and then I tried out the DVD.  Everything worked just beautifully...and simply.  And simple is a very good thing.

Now that I have a friend in the studio to keep me company I find I'm able to finish some of the projects that have been patiently waiting for me.

So, I ask it just me?  Does everyone need some background chatter in which to function?

Long Live the Queen of the Remote Control

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Language Love

I've always loved language and have attempted learning several of them, some more successful  than others.  Don't even ask me what I said in Ojibwa in that bar...that was really embarrassing.

Recently I purchased a series of CD's called Learning in your Car and since I seem to be IN my car an exorbitant amount of time, this sounded like the perfect answer to me.  Any time I can't find something I like on the radio, I switch over to the CD for a few minutes of Spanish.

My other favorite CD is one of frog calls.  This was given to me by a friend to help me identify what frogs were living in my pond.

Now my fear is that I will start to confuse the two of them and have a Mexican version of "ribbit" going on in my pond.  I asked one of them yesterday if they had a green card and the answer given was "of course, everything we have is green....duh". 

Then his tongue zapped a fly passing by overhead and he dipped it into his little bowl of salsa before savoring it.

I took his word for it and enjoyed his Spanish frog serenade and did not demand proof of his right to be here.  I do not live in Arizona, after all.  Besides, they look so cute on the lily pad with their tiny sombreros.

Long Live the Queen of Spanish Frogs

Monday, August 1, 2011

The best gifts

I'm officially sixty years old now and loving it.  I have been showered with birthday wishes via phone calls, cards, emails, Facebook greetings and boxes delivered by the UPS man.

The best thing in life is to be embraced in the love of family and friends in non-material ways.  

I take care of all my own material needs quite well myself, thank you....not that I'm turning away the UPS man anytime soon.  Oh settle down, Left Brain...I didn't mean it that way!

In the mail I received a large envelope from my grandkids, addressed to The Bubster.  They created a large (zero points no less!) ice cream cone with 60 flavors, each one being the things they love about their Bubbe.  Some of the comments made me laugh...some made me cry.... some require a bit of explanation.  

Such as #19 "she likes to play with body parts".  That's not what you might be thinking...

Remember... I am a doll maker and have boxes of arms and legs and heads in my studio - these are the body parts they are referring to.  There's no "chop shop" or harvesting going on here!

I'd show them all in this blog (not the body parts....the comments) but the little darlings mixed them all up, making it hard to list in order and...well, these are my treasures and I'm not willing to share them all.  I guess I'm getting selfish in my old age.

All my life I longed to hear one thing from my mother that she was proud of or pleased about me and never achieving that you can understand why this gift is priceless.  They found not only ONE thing but 60!  They always greet me with hugs and kisses and shower me with love....ALL the time....EVERY time I see them.  This is the best gift of all.  Thank you my beautiful little girls.  You're the best!

Then last night they all sang happy birthday over the phone to me (they harmonize amazingly, but that should be no surprise...they are very musical) and I've saved it on my phone so I can replay it over and over.  I look forward to their visit next weekend so I can really enjoy them and celebrate my birthday one more time.  I may just keep celebrating for the rest of my life...I like that plan.

Long Live the Old Queen

PS Now...go tell someone what they mean to them and make their day.