Friday, December 23, 2011

I think I can, I think I can...

Two more days. Two more days. Two more days.

  Everyone, I beg of you, for the sake of those poor people who work in retail, shop early, do your homework before you shop, know where you are, and don't be rude because it's three days before Christmas and they're sold out of what you want. You should have bought it last month when you were here and it was still in stock. Call ahead to see if the store carries what you're looking for, and keep it short and sweet: "Do you have that electronic Monopoly ?" "No, I'm sorry, we don't carry that " "OK, thank you." That's all you need. The person answering the phone is probably trying to wrap a plastic dinosaur, and could really use both hands right now. And for god's sake, return the "Hello" you get when you walk in the door. We're just being friendly!

And please! Stop asking why so many things are made in China! It's because the Chinese people will work for a fraction of what an American would expect to be paid! I guarantee the price of that item would be at least three times what it is now. Would you pay $24 for a jump rope just because it was made in the US? I highly doubt it.

  Do your part by shopping in small businesses. Not just at the holidays, but all year long. Become one of those people they call by name when you come in the door.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's driving me insane!

Not knowing this is literally going to drive me crazy. Every time I post a new blog entry, I get one person in Germany who reads the post. Is it always the same person? Who are you? Email me! I have to know!

Ya' Just Never Know

Just when you think things are going down the crapper, one little thing (or in this case, two) happens and turns your whole attitude around.
  It's that never ending spiral of doom. One thing goes wrong, then another, which leads to another... That about sums up my Monday, the only day off between the weekend and Christmas. It was a productive morning: Mailed off my remaining gifts, got supplies for baking, and even did a load of laundry. All before 10 am. It was my only day for baking, and I had gifts to make, so I went the easy route this year: seasoned pretzels, fudge, quick bread, and maybe cookies if there's time. I'm sad that there will be no cardamom bread, but maybe mom will come through and bring some over.
  Anyway, back to the spiral. The pretzels were first, since they take an hour, but with minimum labor - mix up seasoning, pour it on, bake and stir. That went well, and I had time to clean up. Next up - fudge. First ingredient: sugar. How can I not have enough sugar? I have a very well stocked pantry, how could I have not noticed I was low on sugar? Well, back to the grocery store, I guess. On the way out to the garage, I decided to move the grill, since it was a bit close last time I backed out of the garage. I should have used two hands. Down went the grill, barely missing my toes. But all the ash spilled out right on my feet! ARGH! Squeeze in to the "passenger" side of the garage (small garage - big car) for the broom and dustpan, sweep up, and take it back to the compost. Luckily the grass was wet, so it cleaned off my shoes a bit. What's that I see in the neighbor's yard, under the pine tree? Oh, it's our sleds. Guess who didn't put the sleds away after using them over the weekend? That kid is supremely lucky somebody didn't make off with our sleds! So I dragged the sleds up to the patio, where they still remain ("I forgot I had to put them away"). 
  I got the sugar, made the fudge (it's delicious!), and on to the next thing: last minute shopping. I needed to go to Madison for some "stocking stuffers" for Katrina. Let's just say that the local Wal-Mart has a skimpy sock selection. Katrina loves fun and funky socks, so I schlep up to the nearest Kohls, and their socks are even worse than Wal Mart's! I am not happy. There is a Shopko nearby, and they came through for me. A couple pairs of socks and a shirt. It's almost time for Katrina to be home from school, so I hurry home, and realize I hadn't had any lunch, and I'm STARVING! But, it's too late for lunch, so I grab a couple pretzels and soldier on. I promised Katrina that we would bake some cookies, so I quick throw together some sugar cookie dough. The remainder of the day goes as you would think - cookies get baked, dinner gets made, I nag Katrina about leaving the sleds out, etc. By 8:30, I'm exhausted, too tired to finish dad's Christmas sweater. I'm am in a stereotypical "holiday stressed-out slump."

  Tuesday is a new day, and with it come new challenges! I work short hours, helping out where I'm needed. A regular customer calls and needs a gift basket put together in a hurry "I'll be there in half an hour" she says. So, I put on my personal shopper hat, and choose some things for her basket with time to spare. I put the basket together, and she loves it. My spirit: lifted.
  I leave work just in time to pick up Katrina at school. No homework this week, so she relaxes (no nagging is required tonight!) until her piano lesson. Easy dinner, and hooray! I get to work on my knitting. It's not long before I'm done. I'm actually finished knitting, and the ends are woven in! I can't believe it! I still need to put in the zipper, but that requires a sewing machine, and mom repossessed mine (I rarely used it anyway). So, zipper installation will happen after Christmas at Mom's house. But wow - I have a whole new attitude! Maybe I'll get Karl's mittens done in time to sneak them into his stocking. 
  A full day of work today means not much knitting time, but I'm well rested, and an extra hour of late-night knitting might do the trick tonight. I'd better have a afternoon coffee just to make sure.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

This is not meant to make anyone feel guilty.

  Everyone come over on to the rug, it's story time. No talking to your neighbor, and please keep your hands to yourself. Everyone ready?
  Once upon a time, the daddy took the mommy out for a nice lobster dinner on Christmas Eve, because he knew there wouldn't be a chance for another nice dinner for a while. You see, the mommy was going to have a baby soon. But the daddy didn't realize it would be that soon, because early the next day - Christmas Day - the baby was born. They named that Christmas baby Becky. And to celebrate Becky's birthday, the mommy would make lobster for dinner every Christmas Eve. Becky never really liked lobster, but since her mommy enjoyed the tradition of lobster on Christmas Eve, Becky kept her mouth shut. Finally, when Becky was 21, she told her mommy that she didn't like lobster, and couldn't they have something else?
  Now Becky is all grown up and is a mommy herself. She might get to choose her own birthday dinner, but it is never on her own birthday - always the day before. She is sometimes sad that she always has to share her birthday. Aside from her immediate family and a few friends, not many people remember that it is her birthday. It's especially depressing when she has to spend Christmas Day with her husband's family. None of them ever wish her a "Happy Birthday", or really even talk to her at all.

Isn't that a happy story boys and girls?

So as Christmas approaches, you'll know why I'm a little grumpy, maybe a little more whiny.
I'm done whining now, you may go back to what you were doing.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Am I Insane?

Please pray for my sanity.

  It's December, and I have to go near the mall. I don't have to go to the mall, but the two places I have to go today are on opposite sides of the shopping behemoth called EastTown Mall. My plan of attack: first to JoAnn Fabrics for a zipper.
I will attempt not to elbow any old ladies buying thread (only if they started it!), but you have to be ready for that kind of action at JoAnn.
  Deep, calming breaths and maybe a mid-way stop at Culver's as I make my way around the mall to Penzeys. (Oh, how I wish Steak N Shake was still open. This expedition could use a Very, Very Strawberry Shake and some cheese fries!) I love going to Penzeys, even if it's just for the aroma. All those spices mingling together... I will try to control myself and stick to my list. But I usually end up with a few extra goodies.
Photo poached from some nice lady's blog
 If you don't hear from me again, either I didn't survive the drive around the mall, or I'm hiding in a corner of Penzeys, high on spice fumes.

ETA: No elbows were thrown  at JoAnn Fabrics, but I really wanted to slap the elderly, wheezing lady in front of me in line. As usual, there were 10 people in line and one register open. The sales associate was doing great, moving right along, but Weezy in front of me kept muttering under her (emphysemic) breath about how slow it was. Finally she got up to the register with her one item, the associate gave her the total and Weezy exclaimed "That much, for one pillow? Well I don't want it then!" And she promptly left.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm not ready for this!

Today we reached a milestone: Katrina asked to go bra shopping. I knew the day would come, but it was still a shock when I heard her utter the words. So, off to the store we went. Well, not just for bras, we had other places to go, like the music store for piano books and the pet store for hamster food, and lunch at Culver's was also involved. It was a successful trip: 2 different styles and multiple colors. She was so excited that she was trying them on (over her shirt) in the car on the way home. I put them in the wash right away so they won't be itchy.

 I thank God every day that she is not built like me.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's The Most Wonderful Time....

  We've finally come to my favorite time of year. The frenzy of ordering and receiving new products at the stores, choosing which candies and gourmet snacks to stock (Tiramisu hot cocoa mix, Coffee Caramel ice cream topping, Monastery caramels, to name a few!). Actual work-related work!
  Many times, we don't even know what has been ordered, so it's like Christmas when a shipment comes. Or sometimes, we have the name of a few products, but we don't know what they are. This year is a bit different because the buyer (the owner of the store) had knee surgery, so she's been working from home. We've been having lengthy phone calls going over what we have in stock, what sold well, what should we stock. So, we have a better idea about what's coming. Yesterday, it was about an hour's worth of conversation about playmobil. These were the toys I always wanted as a kid, but never got. Now I buy them for Katrina so I can play with them too.
I can't wait to see the "Indiana Jones Treasure Hunter" set in person!
We're expecting to get several shipments on Friday when I'm scheduled to work, by myself. It may not be pretty, but I'll be enjoying myself!

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's a mess

Now that the waters have receded, it's time for cleanup. It's not like we had a foot of water in the basement, but it's enough of a mess to where we've taken everything out of the closet (which needed to happen anyway) so the floor can dry out. Thursday's job of taking everything out and piling it up in the family room is complete. I even started throwing things away! I also made a trip to St. Vinnies with five large bags of linens. Why do I have so many sheets and blankets for a queen size bed when I've never owned a queen size bed?
  My "contractor on retainer" (aka my dad) concurred with Karl that the entire wall does not need to come out, only the bottom couple of feet. So, Karl took today off and will be doing just that.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This really sucks!

Today started out good: Katrina got up on time and took a relatively short shower. I fixed her lunch. It was raining so we compromised about her broken jacket (no arguement!), she found her umbrella and went off to school. Then everything went sour.

I made my way downstairs to the office to check my email. When I stepped off the bottom step, there was a "sploosh." Not good. I turned on the light and there was a literal river making it's way across the basement floor: out of the office, across the family room and toward the laundry room. I played Lewis and Clark, and followed it upstream to find the source. Across the family room, into the office, and back into the closet - that same closet I was going to clean out on Thursday because it was starting to look like some hoarder's stash.

Back upstairs to put on some waterproof footwear (the wellies were closest) and grab some towels. By the time I got back downstairs, it occurred to me that 1) It's a good thing I just cleaned the laundry room, because that's where the water was headed, and 2) I need to make sure the shop vac is empty before I start sucking up water.

Once I started with the shop vac, it was quick work until I got to the closet. The water was still coming full speed ahead! So I kept sucking, and sucking. After about an hour it has slowed enough to where I could take a break, send a quick email to Karl, and breathe a sigh a relief that the water didn't get to the computer. A little detective work ensued to find the cause, as it was not really raining that hard. Sure enough, the gutter was clogged with leaves ("Oh, I guess I need to clean the gutters." says Karl), so there was a waterfall complete with a pool below, right at the source of our basement river.

There was nothing I could do (I'm too short to get the ladder down from the garage wall) except hope the rain would turn to snow sooner rather than later. My prayer was soon answered, but the puddle remained, and the water continued to flow. After two and a half hours of sucking (hee-hee, I said sucking again), it slowed enough to where I  could take a shower and get ready for work. I was 45 minutes late getting to work, but no-one seemed to be out shopping anyway.

Karl came home from work early, cleaned the gutter (at least in that spot anyway), took everything out of the closet, vacuumed up any remaining water, and started the fan and dehumidifier. I have my work cut out for me tomorrow!

Thursday update: Karl tells me that two giant maple leaves  somehow made their way under the gutter-guard and were blocking the downspout. TWO friggin leaves! I blame the squirrels.

Friday, November 4, 2011

xmas FO #2

Finished Christmas gift #2, and immediately (re)started on #3 (I had cast on too many stitches). I've had to add a few items to the list, since I kind of forgot about some co-workers, so now I have 6 things to knit (all but one are small, so I'm not panicked)  Bulky yarn, big stitches! That's my mantra.
I'm glad I started early, because today I got notified that I've been selected to test knit a pattern for an upcoming book. I don't even know what the project will be, but I'm super excited. I have to keep it a secret until the book is released and that will be hard!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Late to the party

As usual, I'm the last one to join in. I just started playing Words With Friends and I'm completely hooked. Do you play? look for me - my name is cat_nurse. I'm not very good, but word games are my favorite kind of games so I keep trying. I'm addicted to Pathwords also, and play at work - I have to demonstrate for customers, right? I'm up to level 25, so each puzzle takes almost all day.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Easy- Peasy!

I knit a lot. I enjoy knitting. It's very zen-like for me. It is not a difficult thing to do. OK, it can be frustrating, maybe if you have to rip out 3/4 of a sweater because you did the math wrong, and the sweater is big enough to cover the Capitol dome in Madison (don't ask), but it's not difficult. When people see me knitting, and yes, I knit in public all the time, they tell me they could never do that - it's too hard. I really try not to launch into a speech about how easy it really is, about how I taught myself from a kid's book. But I'm really proud of the things I knit. Non-knitters often don't realize what goes in to the hand-knit item they just received:

1) Hand knits are not the cheap way out - quality yarn costs money. I have shelled out $50 for 2 skeins of Baby Alpaca for a scarf (I kept that one for myself). It's like wearing a cloud...
2) Knitting takes time. I started knitting Christmas Gifts in August. I have a sweater and 3/4 of a pair of socks finished, a vest and 2 1/4 pairs of socks to go.
3) There are a bajillion knitting patterns out there. It can take me hours to find just the right pattern for your gift, then select just the right yarn. I make those selections with you in mind, nothing is random.
4) I give away most of my knitting because I am just that kind of person. I just enjoy giving.
5) I often ignore my housework so I can knit. My house is a mess.

If I give you a hand knit gift, I would love to see photos of you wearing that item.
If you'd like to learn how to knit, I would love to teach you.

(Thanks MDK ladies)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Yeah, that's bad!

I'm starting to get a little worried for my job. Things are really slow. We're hurting for business. People who aren't in retail don't realize the sacrifices small businesses have to make in times like this. Let me enlighten you.

I work in a SMALL business. Like 3 employees to staff 2 stores small. We're on a first name basis with our regular customers small. We have no office, the manager uses her home email. Get the picture? There's not a whole lot to fall back on in tough times. We make do with what we have. Our computer runs on Windows 97. The vacuum cleaner at Giggles died, so I have to use the one from All Through the House. Same with the printer. (Yes, I schlep them down the sidewalk). The kicker? The toilet at Giggles stopped flushing last year (It is at least circa 1970) - I forget exactly when, but we can't afford a plumber right now. We have to use the bathroom next door - not fun in January. You have to plan ahead. Swiffer dusters have become a luxury we can no longer afford.

So, yes, times are tough. It starts to wear on you when day after day you have only one or two customers in the store over an 8 hour period. You have to find ways to entertain yourself. You jump on "store-related" projects because they make you feel productive. All summer I worked on the tan on my left shoulder, because that's where the sun hits me when I sit on the bench on the sidewalk and read. I get a lot of my knitting done at work. I finished one Christmas sweater so far, a sweater and one and a half pairs of socks to go.

So today, I decided to tackle a major project - see if I can fix the toilet. Important facts about this project: 1) the bathroom is not heated and 2) we have no water heater or water softener. It was easy to discover the root of the problem - 30 plus years of hard water scale coating the innards of the toilet. I can fix that! So, I got the vinegar and away I went. After a few hours of soaking and a little scraping - lo and behold we have a toilet that works 95% of the time! The other 5% only needs a little nudge on the float, and it's all good. It was a major triumph. I no longer have to leave the building to pee! Just in time for winter in the unheated bathroom...

It is the accepted rule in our stores that as soon as you have a project, customers will start rolling in. Today was no exception. Three big spenders all in the stretch of 90 minutes. But I made the mistake of actually finishing work on the toilet before noon. The last 6 hours of the day? Two people crossed the threshold. Well, I did make some good progress on those socks.

Monday, October 24, 2011


It was one of those "I need a weekend to recover from the weekend" weekends. Saturday was our troop's cookie booth. I was the one who organized, so naturally, I ended up working  shifts because everyone else was "too busy" (OK except for the one leader who was at a funeral, she was excused). It turned in to an all day affair - cookie pick-up at 9am, set up at 9:30, our "shift" was 11:30-2:00. then tear down and haul all the leftover cookies into my living room so Karl can use the car on Sunday. So, I relaxed a bit, did some knitting, and somehow injured my middle finger in the process!

Sunday was Karl's cyclocross race. I had to bribe Katrina with doughnuts so she'd come along quietly. She did have fun, so did I. I'm not sure if Karl would say it was fun. Is he smiling, or grimacing?

Katrina decided it was time to go, and just as we got to the car, it started to rain. Excellent timing! Back home, I relaxed for a few, then tackled the laundry before passing out at about 9:15.

Up early this morning, I was up in time to fight with Katrina about taking a 25 minute shower. (How can it take that long? There's not that much to her!) Now I'm off to return our unsold cookies, then straight to work. No time for coffee (no cash either: I spent it yesterday on doughnuts!).

Wish me luck on staying awake. Tea will only get me so far.

Monday, October 17, 2011


It's day 6 of my working marathon. I thought I'd spice it up a bit today. I'm working at All Through The House today, and I'm a little stressed from working so much. What do I do when I'm stressed? I bake. Luckily, the store has a full kitchen. So I packed up my ingredients, and I'm going to try a new recipe: pumpkin scones. I'm hoping that the smell will bring people in, then convince them to buy something.

Time for a shower, then I'm off and running!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Just a quick update:

Karl folded some of the laundry, the cold sore meds are working, and sleepwalking was at 9:25 (earlier than usual).
The morning has gone smoothly so far, let's hope it continues.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Wow, things sure have gone down the crapper in the last 3 hours! Today is my only day off for the next 8 days, so I'm having to cram a lot in. The morning went well, took Katrina to school, watched her do the morning news, then to the bank to close the girl scout account, then to the food pantry to deliver the donation check from the girl scout account - the last 2 weren't even on my list! Got the laundry started, by then it was lunchtime. Cleaned the hamster cage, more laundry, and picked up more cat food. Whew!

That's when it all started going down hill. Three baskets of laundry needed to be folded, but it was time to pick up Katrina and her cello. Got to school, she got her stuff, and we were on our way out when I asked if she had emptied her mailbox. Nope, so back inside, where we find a yellow "warning" slip from an incident at recess (to make long story short -she hit a kid with her shoe). Discussion in the car. Home for a quick snack, quick mix up the meatballs and throw the squash in the oven, then race off to my haircut appointment. Katrina joins me to see if she can sell any cookies while she waits (and there won't be time to go home before her piano lesson). My haircut was not with my usual stylist because I had a coupon. No big deal. The haircut looks fine, but she toasted my scalp with the dryer. Ouch!

Made it out of the salon just in time for piano. I wondered what possessed me to schedule my haircut so close to Katrina's lesson? It's close to the salon, so no big deal (except having to cross the highway during "rush hour"). I drop off Katrina and realize the car is running on empty, but my brain switches to autopilot on the way home and I forget to stop for gas. There's a message on the machine when I get home - "Mom, come get my, I'm half an hour early for my lesson." Aargh! Back to Mrs. Benson's. On the way, I discover I'm getting a huge cold sore on my lip. Bad news when you're a trumpet player! But I remembered to stop for gas. 15 minutes at home, then back to Mrs. Benson's for real this time. On the way home, I forget to stop at Walgreens for cold sore stuff.

Now I can finish making dinner. I take the squash out of the oven, and put the meatballs in. Scoop out the squash, and start heating up the sauce. Bah! I forgot to start the timer for the meatballs! I estimate, and instruct Karl to check if they're done when the (re-set) timer goes off. Trip number 3 to piano lessons. I remember to stop at Walgreens, where I not only get cold sore stuff (it must be good because it's stings like the dickens!), but also a nice big bag of fun size Milky Way bars to help me through the next week.

Since dinner, things have improved, I set the timer (and started it) so I will remember to run my final errand of the day. Only an hour and a half to go, then I'm crawling in to bed with fat kitty, and not getting out until morning (or until 9:45 when Katrina sleepwalks)

Monday, October 10, 2011

All the news

I only have a few minutes to fill you in on all the goings-on:
We got a hamster. His name is Mr. Nibbles.

Karl and his friend went mountain biking. Karl crashed. This is how his bike ended up. Neither the bike nor Karl are worse for the wear.
 I ran my 5K run yesterday. No photos (thankfully). I did walk some, but still averaged a 13 minute mile (my usual pace)

I have to work today, am off tomorrow, then have a 7 day marathon while my boss gets a much-needed vacation. I've stocked up on coffee and chocolate, so I should be fine.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Make it official

I need to get this out on the internet. People need to read it, then hold me accountable for what I say.

Despite what my husband says, I am going to remodel my kitchen. Soon. I am going to set aside my LMS and flower money to pay for a new floor and a new countertop. I will save my pennies for a new dishwasher, new stove, and new refrigerator. I will follow my plan of moving the pantry and thereby creating a new linen closet too.

I will also purchase an new attic vent fan, then "hire" my dad to install the fan. He comes cheap, I just have to bake for him.

Perhaps this means I won't be able to go to Greenville or Colorado in 2012. That makes me very sad, but those events are for just a few days, I have to look at my crappy kitchen every day.

You all heard me say it. Now, let's go price flooring!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend recap

I still have about 6 hours of sleep to catch up on, I'm starting to fade, but I figured I'd better get this done before I forget any fun details.

  On Saturday, I spent the day at the USGP Planet Bike Cup cyclocross race. The weather was fair, sun and clouds, a few sprinkles. I was in such a rush to get out the door, I forgot my cowbell! I arrived early so I could check out the expo area. There were food samples, things to buy, and bike eye candy. I got a free bowl of oatmeal courtesy of Bob's Red Mill (no maple syrup to put on it though) and I was encouraged to "train with grain." I purchased a wonderful special edition Stanley insulated coffee mug that fits in my bike's water bottle cage. Then I was "on duty" as a course crossing guard for most of the afternoon, including both the women's and men's pro races, so I wasn't able to watch the fun parts of the course. I did have a nice front row spot, so I did cheer my favorites. As soon as the awards were presented, I motored home where Karl was packing up to go to his race, Twelve Hours of Pitch Black Singletrack. Due to an unfortunates series of events, Karl would be racing the 6 hour solo category, and I would be the support.

After a quick dinner and change of clothes (I added a couple of layers), I hopped back in to the already-packed  car and followed Karl to the bustling metropolis of Rockdale, WI, population 214. We set up our headquarters, Karl got to racing, and I got to knitting (I had to keep my fingers warm somehow!). The reschedule of the race kind of weeded out the fun crowd, so it was all serious racers and Karl. Check point VictorBravoCharlie was still set up in the woods, and Karl happily took a bacon hand up ("It was really good bacon! Peppered and cooked over a campfire!" he said), a Twinkie, and a PBR. The "crowd" went wild because apparently he was the only one to take anything. A near miss with a deer and a bunny, but Karl got 5 laps in 6 hours - good enough for 2nd place! And I won a raffle prize! The few photos can be seen here.

We packed up, headed home, and crawled in to bed a 2:45 am. I had hoped to sleep really late, but the cat had other plans. He woke me up at 7 am. Karl was awake too, so we went out for breakfast. I did lounge around for a little while before I had to work my 2nd shift at the cyclocross race.

The weather was not as agreeable on Sunday. It ranged from sun and clouds to thunder and lightning and hail! Needless to say, it was muddy and I was wet. I really need to invest in better rainwear. It didn't hamper the crowds though. Quite a few people enjoying the true breakfast (or lunch) of champions - beer and oatmeal! My shift finished just before the men's pro race, so I slid down (literally) to a good spot at the bottom of the hill. I got a spot right on the barriers. And wouldn't you know, I had the "emergency back-up cowbell" but I had forgotten my camera! The mud along there was a good 4 inches deep, and riders were having a heck of a time running up the hill. They were concentrating on their footing and kept missing the dollar hand-ups! After the third lap, you could barely recognize them.

It's common in cyclocross to have pressure washers available for the riders to blast the mud off their bikes. But never before have I witnessed the riders pressure washing each other! You really have to trust someone to do that for you!

As soon as the mens race finished, I hopped in the car and headed straight to rehearsal with Ladies Must Swing. I warned everyone that I was running on 4 hours of sleep, and that I probably had mud in my hair. My fingers seemed to be working at a different speed than my brain, so I made a lot of mistakes. Those sharp accidentals started looking a lot like natural accidentals, so I took some pre-emptive Ibuprofen, got through it, and finally headed home, where Katrina greeted me, and we both went straight to bed.

I was happy to see the rain this morning, because I knew I didn't have to bike to Katrina's school and ride along with her PE class from 9-10. That's been pushed back to Thursday, and hopefully, it will be dry.

And now, I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gonna be a long one

 Well, it looks like this weekend is going to be a long haul with multiple scheduled events.

Saturday -
  A while back I volunteered to work at a bike race as a course crossing guard. I'm looking forward to it because 1) I'm a bike geek, and love to watch racing, 2) there will be pro racers there, and 3) it's fun. So, my Saturday shift is 1:30pm - 5pm. Somewhere in there I have to find time to stalk meet the pro racers, maybe get some photos (if Karl comes along)
  Because of the rain we had over Labor Day weekend, Karl's overnight mountain bike race was this weekend. His teammate already had another race on his calendar, so Karl is going solo this time. All that paper-mache for nothing! Since he's riding alone, I definitely have to go along to help out, so it's straight from the cyclocross race to Pitch Black Singletrack. I'm thankful that he downgraded to the 6 hour race (instead of the 12 hour), so at least we'll get SOME sleep.

Sunday -
  Shift #2 at the cyclocross race 1pm - 4pm, grab a bite to eat somewhere, then off to LMS rehearsal from 6pm - 8pm. I hope I'm not too stinky - we rehearse in a small room.

Through all of this, Karl is responsible for taking Katrina to a Star Wars thing at the library, then getting her to my parent's house as well as picking her up on sunday.

But of course, no sleeping in on Monday - I have to get Katrina up for school, then ride to the school where I'll be biking in the neighborhood with her PE class. Only then, can I come home and nap!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Woosh! (that's the sound of time flying by)

Wow, has it really been 10 days since my last post? Time has flown by.

Two major news events - one I'm not sure I should mention, since the recipient of "the gift" occasionally reads my blog, and I don't want her to know what it is. But suffice to say, it was heartbreaking to discover the error, but I've moved on. The other is that I finally have some Ladies Must Swing video to share! Call it a media blitz, because I've already posted it on FB and Twitter, but I am pretty proud of the work we do. This video was taken during a private party - a 95th birthday! The birthday boy hired us, and he was adorable! Karl was the videographer, and he apologized for not being more still, but he said he couldn't help but dance along!
The first tune is one of my favorites - Big Noise From Winnetka, the second is a classic.

I have a new obsession. It's still knitting, but instead of socks, it's teeny-tiny bunnies. Like less-than-one-inch tiny. I'm waiting for the pattern book to come with more patterns (hot dogs, armadillos, gnomes, etc) so right now it's just bunnies. They're nice to work on at work, because they only take about half an hour from start to finish, and they're not complicated. I still have quite a bit of christmas knitting to do, so can't get too involved. Bunnies will be good one the chirstmas rush starts at work.

It looks to be a relaxing day today - Katrina has a friend coming over later to watch a movie, we're going to the farm to pick up some beef, I'll do some knitting, maybe bake some bread.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

the score

So now the score is tied, but I am still winning.
Raccoons - 2  (two raccoons trapped & released)
Possums - 2  (two possums trapped and released)
Becky - 4  (four less critters to eat my tomatoes)

But I think my Mom wants her trap back, as last night some raccoons were on the deck looking at her through the window. I think she forgot that she lives in the middle of the woods, because this surprised her! She thinks she's going to trap all the coons in Jefferson county.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

OK after all

Well, despite the Saturday rain and race cancellation, the weekend turned out to be eventful anyway. Early Sunday morning, I woke up to "There's something in the trap!" and indeed there was. Mrs. Rita Raccoon, mother of Rodney. So, we took her for a little ride in the Vue.

We took her about 10 miles from home, hopefully she won't find her way back.
I think she'll be happy there - there's a lake. She'll make coon-friends. She seemed excited.
After a celebratory stop at the Bakery (we were going right by!), we relaxed for a while, enjoying the quiet (Katrina was still at Grandma's house). We got some groceries, went for a bike ride, and after I picked up Katrina, had a fabulous rack of baby back ribs with home-made Dr. Pepper barbecue sauce. YUM!

Yesterday, we ventured just south of our little town to the Rock River Thresheree - a fair of sorts, celebrating antique farm equipment and methods. I bought some cornmeal and buckwheat flour, both ground using steam power. There was a tractor parade. I'm pretty sure I was born about 50 years too late, and that I'm a farm girl at heart.

The huge steam tractors are my favorite, even if they are a little scary
Mom and dad met us there, they drove the Model A and displayed it in the car show. We had a fun day, even if we were covered in soot by the end of the day.

So it's back to the routine today. It's warmed up enough so I can put on some shorts and go for a run. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Wet, wet, wet

Mother Nature, you've foiled the plans once again. After all the hard work and planning, the race has been postponed due to rain. The trails were pretty nasty already this morning, with no sunshine to dry them out. There is a tentative date set, but it runs up against a cyclocross race where I've already volunteered to help as course crossing guard. I'm not giving up my front row seat at a USGP race! Whatever.

So, now we're left with no kid, a crock-pot full of vegetable soup (yum!), and a chilly, rainy evening. Hmmm... Whatever shall we do?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

And now, I present to you...

The raccoon balloon in it's native habitat

I think I missed my calling. My favorite part? The feet.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Random Wednesday - a raccoon heavy post

Just a quick update on a few things before I have to jump in the shower and get ready for work.

1. The Epic Paper Mâchè project is almost finished, and it is, in fact, a dead/bloated raccoon. As the story goes, Karl and Mark needed a team name for an upcoming MTB race, and as they were riding one hot afternoon, the came across a dead, bloated raccoon that inspired Mark "How about Team Raccoon Balloon?" and thus, the team was born. So, all that is left to do is some finishing touches to the face: some white accents and an X over each eye, then he'll be ready for photos.

2. I was invited to join Team Space Ghost and run a 5K in the Literacy Network Run/Walk in Madison. I'm hoping there will be more run than walk. I'm excited about being on the team. I have 6 weeks to get ready. Today I ran 1 mile in 13 minutes.

3. I trapped one of the raccoons (a baby!) that has been stealing tomatoes out of my garden. I know there is one more (the mama) because I saw it run across the yard, but I think there are additional siblings at large as well. I'll keep you updated.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Phase 1: parts

It's day 2 of my epic paper mache project. All the pieces are finished. On to the assembly!

Can you guess what it's going to be?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

No Comment?

OK, the comments seem to be fixed, so comment away people! Let me know that you're out there.

And here's a little hint: Karl and his friend are once again doing the 12 Hours of Pitch Black Singletrack race, and I am once again the support crew. I have enough time to make them a mascot. Their team name is the same (they're defending champs in their division - which is "old guy duo"). Katrina and I have an epic paper mache project planned for thursday.

Monday, August 22, 2011

51, 39, 80, 178: Hike!

Yesterday we traveled to Starved Rock State Park in Illinois. The last time I was there, it was 1981. The park has changed a little since then: paddleboats, boardwalks, gift shops,and a whole lot of people! The scenery was still beautiful, but I didn't enjoy all the noise - loud people and lots of Harleys. We were really lucky, we got there relatively early and scored a great parking spot in the shade and close to the visitor's center. We checked out the visitor's center and gift shop, hiked up to Starved Rock, then came back to the car for lunch. Then, we formed our plan of attack.

Then, we wanted to go to Wildcat Canyon, but since there are no bathrooms on the trail, and Katrina's bladder is the smallest, we had to turn back. We did stop at the Beehive Overlook (no bees though)
Hey, I'm looking at myself!

 After a bathroom and souvenir stop, we wanted to escape the crowds, so we drove to another area, and hoofed it to St. Louis Canyon. I think that was my favorite.

There was a "cave" (and people walking through my picture)
Because they are sandstone rocks, there was a lot of sand!
The people started filling in, so we drove to the opposite end of the park, for 2 more canyons:

Ottawa Canyon
Kaskaskia Canyon - 360° view!
We stopped for dinner at a nearby restaurant, which came highly recommended. It's not much from the outside, but we were greeted by Cajun Ron and his friendly staff, and fantastic food. It was our first time eating Cajun food, and WOW! I am hooked! We tried gumbo, crayfish etouffee, 'gator, jambalaya. Katrina stuck to the kids menu, but was still adventurous with the deep fried mac & cheese. My most favorite moment of the whole day was when Karl uttered the words "Cajun Ron is my hero."

I think we'll go back to the park later this fall when there are fewer people, with of course, another visit to Cajun Connection!

Holy cow! I forgot about the spider! We stopped at a rest area and saw the BIGGEST spider I have ever seen outside a zoo! It was at least the length of my thumb.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A whole lot of random thoughts

  I came up with a really clever and funny blog post as I lay awake at 3:00 this morning. Then I remembered that my Mom sometimes reads my blog, and I really didn't want her reading something like that about me, so my mind began to wander. As always, there was musical accompaniment by Ladies Must Swing which included Leap Frog and Take the A Train among others. So, not really a "go back to sleep " kind of soundtrack in my head. Maybe it's because I'm excited that our CD is due out in the next month or so.

  Next I contemplated why the cat's new favorite sleeping position has to be with his butt in my armpit and his tail draped across my upper lip like a twitchy mustache. I guess that's better than when he lays on my chest (hard to breathe!). Things kind of got nutty from there, moving to all the little (and big) annoying things hubby does, which segued into some impure thoughts of someone I'm not married to (I hope he doesn't know who he is). I stayed there for a while, and must have finally drifted off to sleep, because the next thing I saw was this

And it was time for breakfast

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Caution: Pictures Ahead

  We're just back from a mini-vacation: A day of hiking, one night camping, an afternoon of canoeing. It was a refreshing trip, despite the fact that the cheapo air mattress that Karl's parents bought completely deflated after an hour and we ended up on the ground.
Here's what we did:
We hiked at Natural Bridge State Park,

We saw some wildlife. Katrina thought these 2 centipedes were earthworms. Karl's size 11's for size reference!

Karl pretended to be a monkey.
We hiked all the way to the top of the bluff to see the "smelting house"

Then we hiked all the way back down and around to see the shot tunnel.

We enjoyed a delicious campfire-cooked dinner.
The next day, we went canoeing. Katrina wanted to paddle, so I go to relax for about 2/3 of the trip!

When canoeing on the Wisconsin River, you are required to stop on at least one sandbar. Karl and Katrina decided to walk over to the next one.

No Karl, don't do it! You've go so much to live for!

Oh, right. It's only ankle deep right here.
See the bits of white in the center? It's Katrina's proudest moment of the weekend! She got to pee in the bushes!

We're almost there! Just past the railroad bridge is our landing. Note the ziploc bag for camera protection. Little did we know the bag had a hole! Camera survived, luckily!
The view of the very same shot tower we visited the day before, only from the other side. Just to the left of center.
We really forgot how much we like canoeing. Hopefully, next year, we'll do an overnight trip with the same company, on the same river, with more sandbars, and more sunshine (although we really didn't mind the rain - we were already wet!)

Friday, August 5, 2011


It seems Blogger has stolen an idea from the best site on the web - Ravelry. You've never heard of it? It's for knitters and crocheters, and it kicks Facebook's butt!!
Anyway, you can now give me your reaction to each post by checking a box below the post. For example this post is "educational"
Knock yourselves out!!

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

  It really is the most wonderful time of the year. Forget winter! This is the time when my garden starts spitting out tomatoes. For the next month, I'll be living on BLT's, tomato sandwiches, and cherry tomatoes right off the plant! Oh, and corn on the cob too. There will be meals consisting of just corn and tomatoes. Unless, of course, you are Katrina. She hates tomatoes. Where did this child come from? Who are her parents?

  I've been making pickles. Really garlicky, spicy pickles. I'm quite satisfied with the results (thanks Uncle Danny B), and as soon as it's a bit cooler in the kitchen, I'll put those spears into jars and seal 'em up! I also made some seedless raspberry jam. Do you know how hard it is to get every single stinking seed out of a raspberry? But it's worth the effort. I have enough berries for a few more batches. The garden tomatillos have failed, so no fresh salsa verde (sob!). I suppose we could get some at the farmer's market. That's the next best solution.

  This time of year also brings in the beginning of school shopping. New jeans (which she can't wear until October because it will be too hot), pencils, markers - but no crayons. Fifth graders do not use crayons. Bummer. I love the smell of a new box of crayons. Maybe I'll buy myself a box - the 64 pack with built in sharpener.

I've started planning my Christmas knitting. I'm hoping to have the big projects done early.


Monday, July 25, 2011


Well, the Tour de France is over. I'm happy about the results, but I'm definitely in withdrawl. I guess I could use the time to catch up on housecleaning, gardening, etc. So, in that spirit, this morning after I took Katrina to gymnastics, I went for a bike ride. Then I decided to make pickles, but oops, mom has the canning supplies. So, I'm trying them the old fashioned way - in a crock in the basement. It's kind of scary - no cooking, no sterilizing, just a big vat of saltwater and cucumbers. I can tell you that it's making the office smell heavenly - garlic and dill and vinegar. The recipe says they can take about 3 weeks to be done, but I'll be checking every few days because I'm impatient and because I love a good pickle (insert dirty joke here if you wish). I'll keep you updated on their progress.

In other news, there's not really any other news other than we have a bumper crop of raspberries, so expect a jar of jam in your christmas card. That's thursday's project. Hmm, maybe some raspberry and hot pepper jam?

Sunday, July 10, 2011


It seems like the Comments on Blogger are broken. People have told me that they have left comments, but nothing shows up.

If you want to leave me a comment, please email me until further notice. I'll see if I can get it straightened out.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Half Full

Yes, I am definitely one of those annoying "glass is half full" and "there's always a silver lining" people, so I've added a little something to my blog - Today's Reason to Celebrate  - check in daily to see what is worth celebrating!

  Meanwhile, I'm deep in Tour de France mode. Please, no calls from 7-10am or pm, as that's when I'm glued to the TV. I'm also deep in Tour de France knitting mode, knitting along with a bunch of knitters who are also cycling fans. We've also started a new tradition: the weekend TdF drinking game. Last sunday, it was every mention of Edvald Boasson Hagen  I did not join in that time, as it was only 7am, while my competitors are in England, where it was mid-afternoon. This sunday, I believe we're going with any mention of Andy or Frank Schleck. (aka "Frandy") The time difference makes it difficult (plus I have to play for a church service, then go directly to work), so hopefully, more Americans have joined in to the pm coverage version. I believe I'm competing in the"lightweight" division (because I am one!) and I'll be sipping a nice Pinot. Knitting is definitely not recommended during this game.

  I am also participating in a cycling challenge during the Tour - riding my bike every day during the race. The distance isn't important (on friday, all I could squeeze in was my 3/4 mile commute!). So far, so good. Hopefully, it will be come more of a habit, and my butt will shrink to match my new little boobs!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


  Is there such a thing as "Bored Housewife Syndrome"? Because if there is, I am most certainly afflicted (even though I'm not a "housewife"). Holy cow, I have been bored the last few days. It's not like there's nothing to do. In fact, there's plenty to do, I just don't feel like doing any of those particular things (laundry, vacuum, clean the bathroom - yuk!). I don't even have a book to read. The week before my surgery, I tore through three books in as many days. Typical summer reading - smutty chick lit. I'm still waiting for one to come from the library, and one to come from B&N. At least my brain is getting some entertainment.

  I guess it all comes down to the fact that my life lacks excitement. I need something to spice things up a bit. Any ideas? I have a few, but a) those things are frowned upon by mainstream society, and b) there's nobody close by. Let's just say that in my mind, I'm a wild woman, but in real life, I'm just the nice lady that knits and works at the toy store. HELP!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fine (in the musical sense)

I'm using a musical analogy. If you can't read music, I apologize, but it seems to fit the situation.

I went back to the DS and reached the Coda.  Now I get to play to the end of the piece. Yes, the repeat being another surgery, and the coda being the completion of the whole reconstruction process. Normally, I hate playing codas - I can never move my eyes across the page fast enough and I miss a measure or two. But this one isn't so bad, I only missed a beat. I'm back to work, back to knitting, and hopefully I'll be back on my bike in a week or so. Kind of like Bombasto - one of my favorite marches to play, even though the trumpets have barely 3 beats of rest in the entire piece (I'm always a little dizzy by the end) -no rest, no sitting still.

And I'm sure you're wondering how do I like the new girls? Well, there's still some swelling, and they're not quite their final shape yet, but they are little and perky! I'll let you know in a few days.

Monday, June 20, 2011

One More Time!

  One more time, and I hope it's the last! Surgery, that is. Tomorrow is the final step of my reconstruction - removal of the tissue expanders (aka "the rocks"), and placing of the permanent implants. It's only a day surgery, and both the doctor and the nurse assured me that it will be a piece of cake. I'm counting on them to be right, because I have a dentist appointment and band practice on thursday, and I'm going to work on friday.

  I'm certainly not sitting around waiting either: Four performances (with 2 different bands) in the last 6 days have kept my mind (and lips) occupied. I just got home from #4, which was fun (as usual). I have a whole week off until my next gig! Whatever will I do with myself? I'm thinking I may do some knitting, maybe read a book or four.

  Since it's getting near bedtime, I need a snack. No food after midnight, you know. I believe there's a big bowl of ice cream with my name on it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

That long?

Wow, it's been 13 days since I posted. I'd better get something up or everyone will think I dropped off the face of the earth. I've been sort of busy. Here's a quick rundown:
  • School ended
  • I weeded the garden a few times
  • I went to work
  • I did laundry (a lot)
  • I cooked (a lot)
  • I kept Katrina entertained
  • We went to the zoo
  • I did more laundry
  • I played my trumpet on several occasions
  • I went to Menards, hauled mulch
And that is a little of the goings-on around here - just your basic everyday stuff.

The next week is a busy one: three LMS performances, including our annual Hangar Dance; a City Band performance, and my last surgery. Hooray, more surgery. This one is supposed to be a piece of cake, just a day surgery. I'm really looking forward to being done (and buying new bras - new, little bras).

Our pictures are up from our wonderful biking trip. You can see them Here. Leave a comment by your favorite!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

It goes by quickly

Wow, one week ago today, we were driving. Driving all day to Greenville, SC. It was a long drive, with at least one pit-stop per state. But it really was not a boring drive. We went from one extreme to the other - flatlands of Illinois to mountains of Tennessee and the Carolinas, and skirted the edge of a huge storm for much of the way.
Yes, that is my hand

 We narrowly missed some hail outside of Knoxville. We came through just a couple of minutes after it fell. We stopped for gas and this was what we found.

But we made it to Greenville unscathed.

It was a "whirlwind" kind of trip, it seemed a lot shorter than it looked on the calendar because two whole days were spent in the car. We had one day to explore the city - it was a chilly and rainy day.
The next three days were filled with biking of all sorts: biking by me on a time trial, watching the pros race in two separate races, Karl and I riding our charity ride. I brought just as much bike clothing as I did regular clothes - and it all got worn.
Karl and I made it to the finish of the Stars and Stripes Challenge.
I think the highlight of the trip (for me, anyway. I can't speak for Karl) was meeting my favorite pro rider. He was busy getting ready for the race and I felt bad bothering him, so I didn't talk to him very much.
He is Ted King.

After all the biking was done, we packed up the car and headed back to the land of cheese. Another long drive. A drive I hope we will make again.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


  I've finally had a chance to catch my breath after a busy weekend. The weather wasn't fabulous for Syttende Mai, but the sun came out for the parade, and that's all I wanted. I found a couple of newer food stands to support - chicken salad on lefse from one of the Lutheran churches, and some fabulous kettle corn (I think it was Ernie's Kettle Korn, but I'm not sure). The line was too long for corn-on-the-cob, so I missed out. Now I'll have to wait until July. Despite smelling their delicious perfume for 2 days, I managed to avoid the deep fried cheese curds from the FFA (lats year they gave me a belly-ache).

Yesterday was mildly productive, and today I launched into the garden preparation. It was time to move all the compost-turned-dirt from the pile to the garden. It was not an easy task, every shovelful needed to be sifted to remove all the "big stuff" like sticks, garbage, etc. It took me all day - about 10 wheelbarrows full. Then I had a little help from Katrina moving all the nice dirt around the garden. Next up - figure out how to get the rototiller into the garden (there's no gate, the fence is buried to keep the bunnies out, and the tiller is much too heavy to lift over the fence). But, that's Karl's department. I hope it gets done in the next couple of days, so I can plant this weekend. I'm glad I put  off buying my plants because we actually had frost warnings last night.

I do need to get it done this weekend, because we leave for vacation in a week! Yippee!! OK, so the 12 hour drive will be a little annoying, but I'm sure it will go by quickly because it will all be new scenery. Oh, and we'll be staying overnight at the in-laws the night before, and that's always weird. But I really looking forward to the trip to Greenville, where I hope the weather will be warm and sunny. I really need to get some vitamin D on these pasty legs.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Everyone's Norwegian!

This morning, I realized that it's almost May 17th. If you're Norwegian, or if you live here in Stoughton, you know that means Syttende Mai. And as the saying goes: Everyone's Norwegian at Syttende Mai! Syttende Mai is the celebration of Norway's independence from Denmark, and here in Stoughton we have a HUGE festival. Parades, races, lots of food (yes, even lutefisk bratwurst), and royalty.

Two years ago, our household hosted some royalty - Katrina was selected to be the 2009 Princess. We had no idea what it entailed, and when I look back on it, I wish we could have taken even more photos.

Here she is at the State Capitol, along with the Prince, the King and Queen, and our State representative. We attended a session of the House, where the official proclamation was read, and the royalty was introduced.

We also attended the official banquet, where they serve a cake with the Prince & Princess's picture on it! The downtown bakery also sells cookies all weekend with the same photo. I think my mom still has one in her freezer! She got a custom plaque, hand painted by a "famous" rosemaling artist (as famous as you can be in that style, I guess).

Of course, the mother of a Princess has to look the part!
But the best part was the parade. There are 2 parades, one on Saturday (the smaller of the 2), and the "big" parade. Karl hates parades, he almost never watches them, especially the Syttende Mai parade (since it usually lasts more than 3 hours!). I was thrilled to find out that he'd be the one driving the Prince & Princess's car in the big parade! So, in 2009, the entire Baumeister family was in the parade, along with Grandma!

Since then, Syttende Mai weekend has been a little of a letdown.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

It's been a really nice Mother's day at our house. My wonderful, creative daughter wrote a song for me! Sure, it's only about eight measures long, but it is fabulous. She also made me breakfast in bed, but I got up to watch the Giro d'Italia. She still made me breakfast, I just had it in the office instead. Then we ventured to Madison to watch the US Collegiate Cycling Championship criterium race. We got there just in time for the finish of Div 2 - complete with a crash about 30 yards from the finish line! We watched the Div 1 men's race start to finish. It was a really good race, and we got some cool pictures:

Being on the inside of the corner is fun!

I have a kick-ass cowbell! I believe it was worn by an actual cow.

After the race, we went for a late lunch/early dinner at Pizzeria Uno, where I enjoyed my favorite dish: Chicken Spinoccoli. One more stop at Culver's for sundaes, and we were home.

I relaxed for a bit, then jumped on my bike for a nice 15 mile ride. It was a little windy, and the only wildlife I saw today were cows and a weiner dog.

All in all, I'd say it was the best Mother's Day so far!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Almost there!

Just one more day. One more day before I can finally sleep in. I just finished day 10 of my 11-day work marathon. It's been quite a week of wrapping flowers, every day a different drama. Their business certainly is not affected by the economy. I know we wrapped over 10,000 roses. By the way, all of you in Chicagoland - buy flowers at CVS, Walgreens, or BP! Those are the flowers I've been working with so diligently, the ones labeled "Exclusively Roses". But if I have to stuff another bear into a floral wrapper before next year, I'll go nuts!

I'm hoping for a peaceful Mother's Day weekend. I'm planning to sleep in, do some cycling, watch some cycling on TV, and maybe live as well. Cap it off with a little Chinese food, and I'll be a happy mom.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Just checking in

A quick post, since I am just past the midway point of a working-10-days-in-a-row marathon.

I'm working the "mother's day rush" at my flower job, plus my regular job and a little LMS action thrown in for good measure. The flower job is more volume than beauty. Ya' know those flowers you can get at Walgreens or the gas station? That's what we do. Today we did 2 roses in a vase with a small teddy bear hanging off the vase. All day. I personally did 42 boxes of 4 vases. Tomorrow - single roses in a sleeve, 50 to a bucket, average 2 buckets an hour. With that kind of volume, it makes me glad the flowers don't have any fragrance. If they did, I'd have on heck of a headache!

So now it's time to say goodnight. I'm tired and I have to get up early so I can be back doing flowers at 7:45am.

Three more weeks until vacation!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

If I can stay awake...

Yes, it has been a while since my last post.

I think I've been busy, but I really couldn't give you any details because my brain is not exactly 100% functional right now. It's weird how seven hours straight of a repetitive task can addle your brain. Yes, it's almost Mother's Day, so I'm working at the flower place. Today was 3 carnations in a vase, for the whole day. I really hate carnations.

On the knitting front, I started a pair of socks for myself, then I volunteered to test-knit a sock pattern (kind of like proofreading, but with yarn), so my socks got set aside for a while. I dyed some yarn with Easter Egg dye. That was fun.

We had a good Easter. Mom and I played 2 duets in church. She was nervous, but I wasn't. Both pieces went just fine. Then we went to Mom and Dad's house, where we ate, napped, and had an egg hunt. The egg hunt scared up a snake, so of course the poor snake had to be "humanely euthanized." Why is Mom so surprised when she sees a snake in the yard? They live in the woods for goodness sake!

So it's back to business as usual. Well, except for the extra job on days when I'm not at the store. But that only lasts a short while.

And now it's time to give the cat her bath.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Proverbial Fork

I am done. Done getting stretched. Thank goodness, because the these temporary boobs are rock hard! Think of a water balloon: the bigger it gets, the less bouncy it is. Katrina says she doesn't like hugging me because they dig in! I've got two months more of these hard ones before I get my implants. I'm REALLY looking forward to being completely finished with this whole ordeal. In other news, I bought some blueberry bushes to put along the patio. Now, if it would stop snowing long enough for me to plant them, we might get berries in a couple of years! Katrina says I should make "blazzberry" (blueberry and raspberry) jam. Maybe one or two jars. That is if I can keep the kids out of the raspberry patch, and now the blueberries. And now, it's time for me to go to work. The Easter Bunny is supposedly visiting Main Street today. Once again, that is if the snow and rain hold off.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Weird, huh?

It just occurred to me that when it comes to biking around town, I'm fickle. I have no problem hooking up an ancient Burley (salvaged from someones trash) and getting a week's worth of groceries. I also have no riding to the store, stuffing 2 roasting chickens and six bags of frozen green beans (it was a stock up sale!) into my backpack and riding home - quite the workout, I might add. But when it comes to biking to work, I'll find any excuse not to: too much to carry, have to stop for ice, too cold, etc. I think the fact that it's only 3/4 of a mile to work has a lot to do with it. It's too short of a distance to "gear up" but too long to wear civvies when it's below 50 degrees. I do have a fabulous backpack, plus a bike bag and rear rack, plenty of room for all my essentials (purse, lunch, knitting, extra knitting just in case, snack for Katrina, snack for me, book for Katrina...). So, I'm changing my attitude. Starting today. I'm biking today, it's 51 degrees, I'm in civvies (but with windproof gloves!), and I have to stop for ice.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Welcome Home

Here's what I did last Staurday night. My lip is still gone from playing the Armed Forces Salute about 17 times through, but it's worth it. This is the third time LMS has played for the Badger Honor Flight, and we'll do it again and again, as long as they ask us.

The birds!

Have you ever seen the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds? I always loved the scene where Tippi Hedren is sitting outside the school, and all the birds are amassing behind her. I've been reminded of that movie a few times in the past few days - I think the Stoughton birds are going crazy!

  • The sparrows are constantly on the kitchen windowsill doin' the nasty!

  • Yesterday, when we were walking to the bus stop, there was a pair of mallards up in a tree!

  • Today, there was a trio of turkey vultures circling the park where the bus stops!

  • We've been watching an eaglecam and the eggs have hatched. (OK, that's not crazy, but it is pretty cool)

Hopefully, the sparrows won't start attacking their reflections in the car window when it's parked in the driveway - that happened last year.

Maybe I'll take a walk down the river trail to see if the ospreys are back at their nest.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April fool update

Here's how off I was today: Opened the store at 10am. It wasn't until 3pm that I realized the radio station was playing "Saturday at the 70's," and even then it took me a couple of minutes to figure out if it was Friday or Saturday.

April Fool - blech!

Today, biggest joke day of the year, I woke up way too early (4:45?!? WTF?), crabby, and in pain. No joke. Yesterday was another saline injection (tissue stretching), and it's getting pretty tight in there. I'm at the stage where they "over-inject" - stretching the Pectoralis Major muscle a little further than necessary, so there is enough room underneath the muscle to place the implants. It's is throwing my back muscles out of whack too. Ever throw out your back? You get that twinge just before? That's what my upper back feels like, constantly. Like if I move wrong, I'm in for a lot of pain.
Hopefully, the forcast of rain/sleet/and snow will keep the middle schoolers out of the store today. I am not in the mood to deal with them. I can't even think of a good joke for the sign outside the store. I also hope I have happy, paying customers, who can maybe turn my mood around. Otherwise, it's going to be a long day.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Good Morning to You!

It was an early morning today, and not by choice. Karl had to drop his car off at the mechanic's, and it had to be there before 7am. So, I had to follow, then drive him to work. The mechanic is half an hour away, so I was up way before the sun. It's 8:30am, and I've already downed a large coffee. Needless to say, I had a good hour of driving by myself, so my mind was wandering. I am definitely a "glass-is-half-full" person, so I was thinking about all of the positives that have come from this whole breast cancer thing:

  • I never have to worry about High-Beams again

  • A legitimate reason to ask people if my boobs look good in this shirt

  • I can go braless for the first time since 3rd grade

  • I can play the "survivor" card when I'm fundraising - and its working!

  • Now I have to update my wardrobe

Of course, there are a few negatives

  • Pain

  • Long-term discomfort

  • Missing work

But the most noticeable negative is that my cat can't "make biscuits" on my boobs anymore because they're no longer squishy. Maybe the permanent implants will be less firm, but right now, poor Braxton doesn't know what to do! Poor kitty.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thanks USPS!

I got some interesting news over the weekend.

I've been tracking my donations for the Stars and Stripes Challenge. I'm doing quite well. Right now, according to the website, I'm tied as the leading fundraiser. But that amount is only the online donations. When you add in the checks and cash I have recieved, I've raised twice that amount. But the checks I mailed to the nice people in Greenville haven't been added to the total yet. So, I sent a nice email asking where they were.

Their reply? They don't know. They haven't received any checks from me. In fact, they haven't received a lot of other people's checks either. It seems the USPS has conspired against them. Kevin, the nice I man with quite the southern accent, who I spoke with on the phone yesterday, told me they're having trouble with the PO Box they rented. In fact, when he mailed the check to pay for the PO Box, he mailed the envelope inside the very building the envelope was addressed to, and they never received it! That post office obviously has some major issues.

He's fairly certain my envelopes will make their way back to me, but I am doubtful they'll make it before the deadline. I'm glad I kept good records of who sent what and when.

So, for all of you who have not yet donated, I urge you to do so online at Just click Donate under the Stars and Stripes logo, then find my name under the drop down list (Rebecca Baumeister), and follow the prompts to complete your donation. I'm getting really close to my goal of $2500 (and I really want the reward for reaching that amount), so please give what you can.