Saturday, May 31, 2014

Be careful what you promise!

During the first half of our stay back in Wisconsin it was cold and rainy and I thought I’d never get warm.  

There was even crazy talk about buying some more long sleeved shirts to get me through what Wisconsin calls “Spring”.

During this climate adjustment I uttered the fateful words that I just wanted it to get warm…and I promised not to complain how hot it might get this summer.

Well, it’s still technically spring until June 21st, so am I able to grumble away about the heat…and the humidity?  Come on!  It’s only May and it’s 90 degrees and with the humidity it feels like wading through warm, sticky Jello.  That’s just a guess, by the way; I actually have no clue what that would really feel like to wade through Jello.  Wrestle in it...yes, but that's another story for another time.

Remember all that previous rain and rising of the river?  Guess what incubates best in these environments.  Yup – the state bird of Wisconsin…the mosquito.

We were stupid enough to traipse through the woods in search of a geocache and it was just a stroke of luck we made it out alive.  I don’t think even Deep Deep Woods Off would have halted that marauding bunch of blood suckers.

But a promise is a promise and I’m trying very hard to revel in the tropical warmth being granted to us here in the northwoods.  You’d think I’d learn to just keep my mouth shut.

Long Live the Hot and Sultry Queen

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A bit of humor today

A bit of fluff reading for today since I don't have anything to write about at the moment:

One morning a husband returns after several hours of fishing at a camp site and decides to take a nap.

Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out.
She motors out a short distance, anchors, and reads her book.

Along comes a Game Warden in his boat.
He pulls up alongside the woman and says,
"Good morning, Ma'am, what are you doing?"

"Reading a book," she replies, (thinking, "Isn't that obvious?")

"You're in a Restricted Fishing Area," he informs her.

"I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing, I'm reading."

"Yes, but you have all the equipment, for all I know
you could start at any moment,
I'll have to take you in and write you up."

"For reading a book?" she replies.

"You're in a Restricted Fishing Area," he informs her again.

"I'm sorry, officer, but I'm not fishing, I'm reading."

"Yes, but you have all the equipment, for all I know
you could start at any moment,
I'll have to take you in and write you up."

"If you do that, I'll have to charge you with sexual assault,"
says the woman.

"But I haven't even touched you," says the Game Warden.

"That's true, but you have all the equipment,
for all I know you could start at any moment."

"Have a nice day ma'am," and he left.


Never argue with a woman who reads.
It's likely she can also think.
Send this to four women who are thinkers.
If you receive this, you know you're intelligent.

Sure, God created man before woman...but then,
you always make a rough draft before the final masterpiece.

Long Live the Lazy Queen

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Be Kind to Your Fine Feathered Friends

 I have had this jelly jar feeder for some time and always enjoyed it…until this weekend.

As I approached the feeding station I saw a bird inside the feeder.  Thinking it was exceptionally tame I approached closer.  Nope.  Not tame, just stuck.  It had slid forward into the jelly jar and was unable to get out, thus becoming a purple finch.  It may have been a small oriole, but it was too slathered in grape jelly to be sure.

I tried shaking him out, but to no avail.  I had to grasp his tail feathers and pull to extract him.  You could say he was really in a jam. Then I ran into the RV and got a bowl of water and a towel.  He was trying to evade my capture my hopping away since his wings were basically glued to his body, but I tossed the damp towel over him to catch him.

Although he had every right to peck at me, he seemed to know I was trying to help, or he was just too exhausted from his ordeal to attempt any defensive action.  Holding him in one hand I bathed him with the other in the bowl of water, taking care to stretch open his wings and wash good under the armpits. 

After I did the other wing I worked more on his back and around his eyes.  Then I poured the rest of the water over him in a shower and toweled him off a bit.  This was when my daughter asked me if I had ever bathed a bird before, as she thought it looked like I knew what I was doing.  Nope, this was a first for me.

I carried him to a small tree and placed him up as high as I could in the hopes he’d sit there until he dried off a bit more.  He had other plans and fluttered down to the ground, but at least those wings seemed to be  functioning now and it probably helped to dry him off more.

Then he hopped away, cleaning and preening his back and feathers and I have every hope he’ll make a full recovery.

So, my bird feeders now have an open container only policy to prevent any such mishap again.  I don’t know how long he’d been stuck in there and I hope it wasn’t terribly long.

Lesson learned….I wanted to pass this on as several people commented about how cute it was and they wanted to find one.  All I can say to that is DON’T!

Long Live the Queen of Feathered Friends.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Monday of Memorial Day - the Saga concludes

Double post today to catch up with all that's happened this weekend.  Here is a photo I took of the girls walking on the railroad tracks.  Funny, I don't recall the train being there when I took the shot...I wonder how that happened?

My plea for a rainy revenge came to fruition early on Monday morning when the heavens opened up and the rain began to trickle down.

The first thing I did was run outside to grab the cats as they were playing in their tunnel.  Thankfully I had George in my classic football clutch  because when I turned around I came face to face with the neighbors dog.  Let me explain that they have four of them over in their campsite, a large brown puppy, an old scruffy blackish gray dog of some mixed origin, a brown and white beagle mix and a huge over sized rottweiler.  Yup...I drew the rottweiler, whose head is larger than mine.

Not wanting to spook George and have him launch into the busy holiday traffic and become a chew toy for the watchful dog, I carried him into the RV with more calm than I felt.

When I went back to retrieve Gracie, the owner thankfully had come over and picked up his leash to take him back to her site.  Oh the joys of camping where no laws of any kind seem to be enforced.  Yes, dogs are to always be on leash.  Most people do have them on a leash, but simply fail to be at the other end.

Then we settled back inside with our chairs swiveled to watch people packing up in the rain.  This probably sounds mean, but you have to consider that the people across the street from us had eleven tents illegally set up on to their site until their party got too loud and they were climbing the trees and making a racket.  The police actually did come over there about 11:30 pm to quiet them down (momentarily) and gave them until 10:00 the next morning to go in and pay for their that's really going to happen.

I can't describe the malicious sense of glee watching them walk around soaked to the bone as they picked up soggy blankets, towels, clothes and rolling up wet tents that they will have to again set up to dry when they return home. Revenge is so sweet....and I didn't even have to do anything!

The exodus has begun as one camper after another rolls toward the exit.  Soon our park will return to its quiet and tranquil setting.

This afternoon we will be over to Larry and Eileen's house for brats on the grill and friendly conversation.  Life is good.

Long Live the Queen of Weather Wishing

The Memorial Day Weekend Saga

Friday of Memorial Day Weekend

We don’t get to see the kids often, so when they all gather at one time it’s quite an event for us.  There was a steady stream of campers arriving all day.  I wondered if this was what it looked like when the cattle drive came into town.  This filled me with dread.  Due to the rain, 150 campsites were closed; making parking limited and things were going to be crowded and loud.  This is the part if really hate about being in a campground and we’d gladly pay extra to be in an RV park instead…but there are none in this area.

We took advantage of the crowd and I placed a number of things in front of the RV with a “free” sign after cleaning out a couple of storage bays.  When the price is right…things move quickly.  One of the items was a large EZ Twist tent and we overheard the conversation of two young men.  It went like this:
Man #1:  What is it?
Man #2:  I don’t know, but it’s free.
Man #1:  You’re right, let’s just take it and figure it out later.
Friday night Steph, Ted, Emily and Kiersten arrived and after getting their tent set up they came in to check out our remodeling project.  There was a game of cribbage going around the table, something we could never do before, while I made copious amounts of popcorn.  I’ve forgotten how much these growing girls can eat.

As tired as I was it was hard to settle down and get to sleep, which was bad because I knew I’d need all my energy.

Long Live the Queen

Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend

Saturday started way too early and soon it was time to get up and make breakfast and I swear as soon as the last dish was dried and put away it was time to prepare lunch.  Left Brain cooked hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill for lunch and then we settled into a serious game of Phase Ten.  I had put the pork loin in the crock pot on a table outside the RV that morning to cook all day.  The scalloped corn dish was prepared in the fridge, ready to cook.  All I had to do was make the mashed potatoes.  I can survive this day!

My son, Joe, joined us for supper and afterwards we had a game of six handed cribbage.  After the card game we had some pistachio frozen bars and spent a little time around the campfire.   It was late, but I just wanted to sit quietly and read until I went to bed….hopefully to sleep.
Perhaps the appearance of our neighbors to the north should have been a foreshadowing of things to come.

Even though I know the noise level is high over this weekend, this was unbearable.  There were hoots and hollers with cars driving up and down the street long after the “quiet hour” of 11:00 pm.   Two campers down was a group showing an outdoor movie on the side of their camper, a fun idea, but not at 1:30 in the morning.

Yes, the county police patrol on a regular basis, but they don’t seem to be stopping to say anything.  Maybe the windows were up and they couldn't hear the racket.
Needless to say it was a long, tiring day with my second night of poor sleep.
I’m starting to hope for a thunderstorm soon!

Long Live the Sleepy Queen

Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend

Sunday morning we had the breakfast soufflĂ© I prepared the day before, along with some banana bread I’d baked and we planned our day.  At 9:00am I got a call from the office stating I owed them more money.  What?
Their records showed we had a tent on our site and needed to pay an additional $55.  I explained that when I arranged for the kids to put their tent on our site and found out how much it would cost, and the fact the site next door to us was vacant, that we rented that spot for their tent instead.  It created a little more breathing room and a place to park the car.  She kept contending that we had two tents set up and I insisted that we had only one tent and with QUIET campers.  I then launched into questioning her as to why the quiet hours after 11:00 did not seem to be enforced.

After getting that straightened out we went about our day with some photo shoots around the park with the girls.  Emily dropped her sunglasses and when she bent down to retrieve them she screamed and leaped into the air.

I then explained that I had no more food to offer anyone and we’d be eating out for lunch.  Since we are tourists in our own home town now, we took the grand kids to some of our favorite places.

The first stop was to Rudy’s Drive-In, where the girls roller-skate out to take your order, wearing poodle skirts in a Fifties theme.  Steph was excited to share this special spot with her daughters as it had many memories for her.  She was so excited she stuck an onion ring in her nose...we don't know why.  Emily taught me that if you take a photo through the root beer mug it makes a funny caricature of the subject.  You can learn so much from these young people.

Our next stop was at the Pump House Regional Art Center.  I wanted to show Steph how much this has changed since her last visit and to show her The Compassion Project that has been hung there.  Over 6,000 6” squares were painted and decorated by students in the local school district showing each person’s interpretation of what compassion meant to them.

On the side of the building work is being done by JohnPugh   creating a trompe l’oeil mural.  The unveiling will be during Artspire weekend, June 13 and 14th.

The back of the Pump House used to be a somewhat disgusting little parking lot, and this has now been transformed into a courtyard with art work from the Heron Project that was held earlier.

The newest addition to the front gardens is the free lending library, so I took the books I had in the car and placed them inside.

When I (hopefully) get permission by, I will be placing a geocache here.

As you can see below, the bike holders have been 
"yarn bombed" by local knitters. 

We left the Pump House to walk downtown to The Pearl, an old time soda fountain that was started about 1990.  

Since this was when Steph had left for college, she’d never been here.  This family loves their ice cream.

Finally we returned home and were ready to enjoy some quiet down time.  But, this is now 4:30 and things were starting to crank up again for the evening crowd.  I was just putting things into the RV when Left Brain yelled at me to come and help him.  Help him?

It seems an oriole had gotten into the cat tent while we were gone and Gracie was very interested in this new toy.  Since I needed to act fast to save the bird from the cat, I disconnected the tunnel and squeezed my ample body into the tent until I could reach the bird.  I carefully grasped it and unhooked its feet from the mesh and set it free outside.  What is with these birds lately?  I guess we need to zip the cat city shut when we’re gone as well as when the cats are inside.

Later that afternoon, when I was calmer, I walked down to the office to ask about the lack of quiet hour’s enforcement and after receiving her explanation and sensing their own frustration,  realized things would never be changed.  It’s a shame, because we really do love this park, but our memories of Whispering Pines where they are privately owned and WILL evict those not obeying the rules have convinced us that this is our last year at this park.

Hopefully this night will be quieter since the partiers should be tired, but then again, they probably slept all day.  Bring on the rain!

Long Live the Queen of Exhaustion

Friday, May 23, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend

We've been catching up on chores and working on the dolls so that we can kick back and enjoy the weekend with family.

This is one of the few places I can hang my sheets out on a clothesline to dry - love the fresh pine scent!

It feels so good to have all those body parts ready for assembly and I should be able to deliver them next week. 

The cats even gained a couple of new cat toys since I had the arms and hands from the first doll that was a no go.  How many cats can have body parts to play with?

They are complete with belly buttons and butt cracks.

I used an entire box of stuffing and half of a bag, so after the cats got done playing with the box I had a place to store the parts until I can assemble them.  

Left Brain was not just goofing off during this busy time, he and Larry installed the new awning parts after they arrived.

The family should be arriving tonight and then we'll be busy setting up their tent and visiting.  Our son will join us tomorrow as well, so if you don't hear from me for a few days, it just means we're having too much fun to blog.

Long Live the Queen of Weekend Fun

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Gracie is always so willing to help.  When ever I open a cupboard, she's right there ....ready to pitch in.

Even when sewing and stuffing the dolls I'm working on....there she is.
Let me hold this pattern down for ya!

It's so fluffy!

But all this work tires her out, and she needs to curl up in her little pink cube for some quiet time.

It's so good to have helpers like this.

Long Live the Queen of Good Staff 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Social Season Begins

After battling a case of the blahs for about a week, our series of visitors was about to begin...time to cancel my one person pity party and get on with it.  I'm never sure what brings this on, but I'd put my money on the full moon and gray, wet, cold weather.

As you can see the park is still undergoing a flooding situation and at present 150 sites are underwater, which is really bad with Memorial Day weekend coming up soon.

But the weather held for our friends, Eric and Colleen, to arrive on Friday night with their new trailer, HaRVey.  This was only their second time out and it felt good to be the "seasoned" travelers.  This is not the same as being mature.

They have a small trailer that is so cute.  I've never seen one with this kind of set up.  The couch pulls out and then a Murphy bed goes over the top of it for the bed, which Eric says is more comfortable than the one at home.

The part that would be a small table and two bench seats converts into bunk beds and so they have a day bed and a couch to enjoy when they need to be indoors, providing a little space from one another.  The bathroom is spacious and nothing like the "shoilet" we had in the canned ham of yesteryear.

Left Brain and I recall only too well how important that is from our days in the "canned ham" (our R-Pod).

We helped them get situated on a somewhat level piece of ground that was not too soggy as to bog down, just enough to mess up your feet.  Yup...that's life in the park these days.

The first night was cold so we huddled in our RV, See-More, and helped Eric endure his new camping adventure with large quantities of brandy.  

The next day the weather was better, which was good as we had two couples arriving for supper that night.  Eric grilled salmon over the wood fire and Colleen had some sauces, appetizers and coleslaw to go with it.  Karen and Irving arrived later with the potato salad.  Bob and Marti arrived empty handed, but since they are clearing out their house with a June 6th deadline, we gave them a pass.

It felt so good to have six friends surrounding us as we snacked and drank and talked about all the events in our lives.  The weather was actually pleasant, not warm, but not raining.  As the weather got colder and the wind came up the guests took off and the four of us huddled around the fire pit, at least until the rain hit and then we scrambled to gather up stuff, grab the cats and headed inside.

We are not exciting people and thankfully our friends understand that.  We like to greet each other in the morning, share a meal, talk for a while and then we need to take a break and retreat for some quiet down time.  It's not because we're old, well we are, but we've always been like this.

At one point a motorcycle came rumbling through the park and one of our guests shrieked "there's a girl with a wedding gown on the back of that bike!"  This prompted all of us to gather cameras and wait for their return down the street.  I don't know as if I've witnessed this before.  We see lots of things here, but brides on bikes in big white gowns...not so much.

On Sunday the weather was warm and sunny...of course.  The day Eric and Colleen need to leave it gets super nice.  We watched them prepare for their departure and bid them well.  For only their second time out they are handling this like pros.

Before they left they cooked up some scrambled eggs and onions with the salmon and then grilled pineapple slices to serve with it, as well as toasted bagels.  Yup, this is the perk of having friends come to visit and camp next door...they bring good food!

Karen made a return trip to retrieve the chairs they had forgotten the night before and brought both of us some eggs freshly squeezed out by their chickens.  I just love these kinds of friends!

Tonight we meet up with Larry and Eileen to take them out for supper.  Larry turns 60 tomorrow and we want to enjoy his company before he turns in a dotering old fool....although I fear it is already too late.

It's amazing how much better a person's mood is when the sun is shining and you don't need to bundle up in several layers of clothes, not to mention having been well fed and having shared lively conversations.

Long Live the Queen of Contentment

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Still here...still dry

The weather continues to be cool and damp and when the wind blows it's just nasty.  Today we went to our physical therapy session and then stopped at Walmart to pick up stuff we've run low on.

Then I hauled the laundry over and sat in the car needle-sculpting the faces for the dolls while waiting for it to be done.

I positioned the car so I could watch the river while I worked and it's amazing how fast the time goes when the needle is flying.

Tomorrow I meet with the lady again to show her the new body and some faces.  

Working on these isn't exactly helping my arm heal so I hope this is the last revision and I can get this project taken care of quickly.

Long Live the Queen of Cold Spring  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Enjoying spring plants

Since I no longer have a garden, I was pleased to walk through the garden of my friend.

This was especially sweet because we purchased most of our plants on shopping trips together, so it's like visiting family.

I love watching the ferns come up.

These trillium will be spectacular when they open.

Bloodroot has always fascinated me.

And there's nothing as cool as a fern leaf peony, the foliage is as nice as the flower.

Long Live the Queen of Spring Upheaval

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mothers Day

Being a Mom isn't easy, not much easier than having had one I guess.  But it is nice to take the time and reflect on what this means.

My feelings are that any one can be a Mother - you don't even have to be female for the job.  I know some great Mr Mom's who are far more nurturing that I'll ever be.

We will be meeting with our son for lunch today and then off to explore the new community theater that was built during our absence from the area.  It's so fun to be a tourist in your own home area.

The play is Thoroughly Modern Millie and I personally know some of the seamstresses that have created the costuming for the show, that adds an extra joy to the event.

The weather seems to be sunny and without rain so far, so perhaps a nice walk will be in order as well today.  That would truly make this a special day.

Long Live the Mother Superior...I mean Queen

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The doll project has begun

I had agreed to create one doll first as a prototype and if this is approved, I will do the others.  This is what I came up with.  I only had to redraft small parts of the pattern when I was creating it...this was good, since it's been a while and my memory isn't good.

My dolls always have flexible fingers, it's just a thing I insist on.

They also have belly buttons and butt cracks - not just to make them adorable, but it helps with their balance.

Yup, even though they will probably be sitting, they are able to stand on their own two feet.

It feels odd to create just the naked doll, I want to keep going and make clothes now....but the talented Hmong ladies will take care of that.

We just had the first preview yesterday and some changes need to be made, so it's back to the drawing board.

Long Live the Queen of Dolls

Friday, May 9, 2014

The birds are coming to the feeders

Goose Island is a haven for birds of all kinds and sizes.

The orioles are back in full force and love grape jelly.

I've seen indigo buntings and a hummingbird also, but no photos of them....yet.

And Miss Edna reminded me that I need to fill my thistle bag for the gold finches.  I wonder if I could find a way to haul two shepherds hooks with us for hanging more bird feeders. 

I usually hang the hummingbird feeders on the awning to draw them in close, but that's not an option until we can find the parts needed to fix it. 

Long Live the Bird Queen

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Family gatherings

We were honored to watch our oldest granddaughter, Emily, play in a volleyball tournament in Rochester MN last weekend.

Kiersten was able to entertain herself by working on her creations, as this was a very long weekend for those not playing.

We hadn't seen this part of the family since Christmas and it was hugs all around with lots of talking to catch up.

As you can see, the ice and snow hangs on...welcome to May in Wisconsin.

This is the other campground in our area, and you can see why we don't stay here.  It's generally underwater until later on in the year, which is when we move on to Minnesota.

On Sunday we had lunch with our son, who we haven't seen for a year and did a lot of catching up as well.

Our stay here will be enhanced later this month when Eric and Colleen come to camp next door to us in their new trailer, HaRVey.  Then in June we will have a camping visit from Doug and Carole. 

It is such a joy to reconnect with family and friends while we are back in the old stomping grounds.

Long Live the Queen of Reconnection