Monday, March 20, 2017

The Daze of Spring

Happy Vernal Equinox!
I hope your first day of spring is looking better than mine, not that I expected it to look any different than it does. Obviously there's not a lot of rebirth happening out there. That pink sky sort of brings to mind Easter eggs and spring flowers but unfortunately it's just the dawn of another winter. day.  Lately we have been working very hard to find interesting things to do while we anxiously wait for spring. It's made a nice change from pondering whether to use the yellow snow shovel or the red one.

Spring cleaning is always at the top of the "to do" list and Burt likes to do the vacuuming.

Apparently he thought it was time to get in touch with his feminine side and embrace his inner domestic goddess.  As always, he was happy to model his latest look. He even matches the sunset!

His Madness prefers a plain apron and it's also in a seasonal color.
He is preparing the preferred desert for the official holiday of Math Geeks.

March 14th is Pi Day, a truly delicious occasion and one I always look forward to. In honor of Isaac Newton he made an apple pie. This scholarly holiday was quickly followed by St. Patrick's Day!

Which is usually not known for being associated with anything vaguely intellectual.

Or exercising self-control. What is it with birds and Guinness?

What can you say about corned beef? Why is it so red? Why is Burt so green?

A couple weeks ago was International Women's Day. Ivy took some time that day to pressure our member of Congress not to repeal Obamacare. Our Republican Senator, Ron Johnson has dodged both of the Town Hall Meetings his constituents arranged. I guess the only people they REALLY listen to are the ones who give them lots of money, like the NRA. Why do these guys continue to ignore the fact that 92% of Americans want to expand background checks for purchasing guns?   

If we can't get our legislators attention at least we can always vent our frustration by mocking the Mango in Chief! Samantha Bee's goal was to sell 500 of the "Nasty Woman" t-shirts to help fund the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project in Los Angeles County. So far 97,690 have been sold! As for Burt's "Bad Dude" shirt, it helps the KARAM Foundation, a non-profit providing education and aid to Syrian refugee families. The Resistance continues, we refuse to accept Trump's hurtful policies!

Finally, getting back to the present, on the first day of Spring we're also celebrating Andy's Birthday!
And yes, there was a blizzard on the day he was born, too. Some things never change.

Happy Spring!
Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Spring Time

It's that time of year again.
Although it's great to have that extra hour of daylight in the evenings . . .

. . . setting the clocks ahead always takes some getting used to.

Unless you're a fluffy cat who can spend all day snoozing. Spenser doesn't feel the effects of losing an hour of sleep so he's appointed himself the supervisor of the time pieces. He's bossy but precise. When I was a child I thought Daylight Saving Time meant putting "time" in a safe deposit box and storing it in a bank vault. That's probably not something I should admit to, which is possibly due to sleep deprivation. I've also been calling them "safety" deposit boxes until I looked it up just now. 

The batteries in the smoke detectors get changed when the analog clocks get reset.  Remembering to do that is mostly thanks to the multitude of people harping about it in the news but also because I (probably) was awakened out of a deep sleep by them once when my house was on fire. Since the possessed kitchen has been acting up again lately, why take chances?

Several years ago, around 4:00 am, I had a dream about being with friends in a smoky club where Aerosmith was playing live. We were seated at a table located about half way between the stage and the bar. The band took a break and left the stage, heading for a drink. As the musicians were approaching us I announced to my friends that the smoke was really getting to me and I would have to leave. Just then, as Steven Tyler was passing by our table, he looked directly at me and said,
"Then you'd better go!" 

I woke up to discover I was sleeping on my stomach (which I never do), face down in my pillow and the house was full of smoke. I roused His Madness and my son, Andy and we ran downstairs and applied the extinguisher to the blaze just as the sunroom curtains turned into to a wall of fire. Unfortunately the house was so full of smoke we were forced to call the Fire Department. Soon half a dozen very excited, twenty somethings showed up led by a cranky old man. The firemen added to an already huge mess by clomping around in their muddy boots and breaking a few windows. The smoke was removed fairly quickly but they left without actually putting out the fire. Fortunately, we noticed their oversight right away and poured a bucket of water on the smoldering floor joists.

The scary part is that those ear splitting sounds emitted from your smoke detectors aren't always loud enough to wake up a person who is deeply asleep, at 4:00 am, with their face in their pillow. I don't recall hearing it actually going off even though it was blasting away just ten feet from my head. Now I'm wondering if we should to add a few more! On a lighter note, even though I'm more of a metal head, I really don't believe Aerosmith's music sounds at all similar to a smoke alarm. Though I should probably write to Steven Tyler to say thank you and avoid mentioning any connection between his band and loud noises made by household safety appliances.

Finally, Burt, Ivy, His Madness and I would like to wish Kristin,
the newest member of our family, a very Happy Birthday!

Thanks so much or stopping by. I'm not sure how this turned into a public safety announcement but just to be on the safe side, please don't forget to change the batteries in your smoke detectors! 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Pushing and Shoving into March

 Around here, as far as the weather is concerned, March is one of those months that's kind of like getting your head stuck in the blinds. You know it's probably not going to be all that awful to get out of it but it's still likely to be a hassle and will really mess with your hair.

 Flipping the calendar to March does make me feel like winter could finally be on it's way out. Of course there's those little reminders that where lots of other people live the flowers will be blooming and the birds will be singing and they won't be freezing their behinds off shoveling snow.

That's ok, even if the scene outside my window tells a much different story, my tulips will eventually come up and bloom too, just not until late May or early June. Calendars can be so cruel.


I have probably mentioned that the town where I live is situated on a sizable lake and a lot of community events are centered around it, if not in it. There's always something going on involving fishing or boating or doing stupid stuff in order to raise money for charity. Thanks to weeks of continual sub-zero temperatures the ice ends up being about two feet thick and the lake turns into a shanty town of ice fishing shacks and a parking lot for their owner's SUVs . . . until last week.

This winter, the ice started to thaw at the end of February instead of it's usual time in April! The fishing shanties were forced to make a hasty retreat (which looked exactly like an outhouse parade) and the requisite number of SUVs ended up submerged in the water. There was always an office pool where I worked to place bets on which day the most vehicles would fall through the ice. A really nice guy won almost every year and then he would buy everyone lunch, but that's another story.

So just when it was beginning to look like we were in for an early spring (and we were trying not to be too happy about it considering it's due to climate change), it got really windy for several days. 

Then the ice started to move.


A pile of ice pushed together by wind or waves is called a shove. It get everyone's attention, especially the ones who live on the lake, because it mangles docks and threatens to invade anything close to the shoreline. They're pretty noisy, too. The ones that formed last week sounded like giant capiz shell wind chimes as they moved onshore. Some of the blocks came apart in long shards like broken glass. As the wind kept blowing, the ice continued to pile up and the shoves started to grow . . 

. . . and  grow,

and grow!

Eventually quite a crowd came out to admire the phenomenon and climb to the top . . .

. . . so they could check their messages? Seriously?
Is it that important to know what everyone else is doing instead of climbing to the top of a pile of ice?
Yes, it probably is.


Meanwhile, back at home and at a safe distance from the ice shoves, Burt is testing out my theory about March in actuality. He is tangled up in a little March madness of his own making.
Luckily he has no hair. How is March treating you so far?

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Cheer Up and Join the Resistance!

A belated Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! Please accept my sincere apology for being gone so long. I tried fixing a couple technical issues with my sidebar that have been plaguing me since my very first post and ended up creating a big mess. That took quite awhile to fix but then all those mean-spirited executive orders started spewing from the new administration and I had to join the resistance!


A few weeks before the inauguration there was a story about a web site put together by former congressional staffers called Indivisible, A Guide to Resisting the Trump Agenda. It's a clear set of guidelines for those of us desperate to voice our objections to the way thing are going. So I've been pestering my republican senator instead of arguing with my moronic relatives on Facebook. A win-win situation. Needless to say, since the mango-in-chief has taken office he has committed so many heinous acts it's been hard to keep up! The chocolate cake has no relevancy but I don't think that anyone would want to look at a photograph depicting how I really feel about the president.    

Nearly everyone we know is pretty upset about the nasty polices coming out of Washington.
Burt and Ivy attempted to distract themselves from the latest events with a little overindulgence.

That didn't work out at all. Does it ever?

After a good bit of remorse and a nap they decided it was time for action!
Burt and Kibitz got to work on an art project . . .

while Ivy started knitting hats.

Of course Burt has his own take on the iconic resistance headgear.
I'm sure Emily, Sabbath and NeeChee would approve.

They're feeling a little better now but they realized there is still a lot of hard work ahead.
In the end, they know the most important thing they can do to make their voices heard is to vote.
 (According to the president, dead people do a lot of voting, just not for him.)

In these scary times, maybe we should all take a cue from these veggies.
Hugs are good. 

His Madness and I were walking by the lake last week and noticed quite a few ducks looking really cute on the ice. Upon closer inspection we realized there was an even number of females and males and they were sort of paired up. Awww, speed dating for ducks, think any of them got cold feet?

 Again, so sorry for the long absence. I had hoped to get this posted on Valentine's Day but between my issues with Blogger, Time Warner Cable (why is it so impossible to deliver reliable internet service?) and the stupid government, couldn't make it happen. Burt and Ivy will be back soon. 

Thanks for stopping by and please consider joining the  Resistance!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Another Look at The Nutcracker at the Paine

It's been pretty chilly here and we've had quite a few unexpected visitors, like Mother Nature who showed up in full force weilding the Polar Vortex! Naturally, this led to some other visitors like our friendly and very competent plumber, a conscientious electrician and the furnace repairman. So, for a much needed break from reality, I decided to make the best of the situation and get to work on a post where I could finally use all those photos I took at last year's local Christmas extravaganza. 

For the past ten years The Paine Art Center and Gardens in our town has decorated their 1920's mansion using the Nutcracker for inspiration. Each room highlights a specific scene and the story unfolds throughout. Specially commissioned illustrations of certain aspects of the story depict the actual room itself and it's furnishing. Here in the Library, the left hand page shows Clara asleep on the settee in front of the fireplace with the shadow of the seven-headed Rat King looming over her. On the right is the Nutcracker doing battle with him while swinging from the chandelier overhead. 

These cute mice figurines are everywhere.
They echo the themes and give a sly wink at the opulence, too!

There are three trees in the library, all decorated similarly but this is the most spectacular. The clock is set at midnight because that's when Clara woke up and saw the attack of the Rat King begin.

Across the grand hallway from the Library is the Dining Room.
You can probably guess which part of the tale inspired these masterpieces.  

The array of treats on the table and sideboard changes from year to year.

It's hard to imagine how they could possibly top this sugar coated opulence!
Some photos from 2014 can be seen here. Those cakes looked fantastic, too.

Next door is the Breakfast Room. The all white scheme makes it definitely wintry. Burrrr....!

Off the Great Hall the sitting room is laid out for tea. It's done up in pinks and lavender florals.

Due to it's relatively diminutive size (by comparison to the grand areas, yet it's still bigger than my living room!) only three trees adorn this space. Two of them are the upside-down design and feature motorized glass teardrops and flowers that resemble Angel's Trumpet. They sparkle as they rotate! 

On the second floor, just outside of the Gothic Gallery, the nutcracker maker has set up a workshop. It's all pretty standard military stuff, I think a little diversity is in order, 

Good to see the mice population is thriving and happy to help out with painting and lighting. I hope you have enjoyed this little trip through The Nutcracker tale, I can't wait to see how it looks this year! 

A few steps from the workshop is the magical finale. Taking a walk through the enchanted forest of golden trees in the Gothic Gallery is the perfect way to end our visit on the longest night of the year. 

Happy Winter Solstice!