Thursday, January 3, 2008
The Blog Is Full!
11:20 pm cst
I can't believe it...
All this time, all these posts, and 10MB is used up like a teenager's ipod.
So it's time to build an addition to the blog. The mouseyblog, version 2.0, as it were.
I actually had to move the most recent posts from this blog to the new one. So, for our
camping cabenture, go to the new blog.
See you there!
Sunday, May 20, 2007
5:45 pm cdt
Well, it’s finally spring at chez mousey. Although with the global warming
it sometimes feels like summer. We’ve already had several days with temps over
85º and humidity that seriously threatens the structural integrity of the underarms of our shirts. We ran the air conditioner in April. Sorry, Mr. Gore. I’ll buy some organic lettuce to offset that indulgence. Or maybe some organic chocolate. They make organic chocolate,
But, anyway, Jay and I have decided to start a new tradition. We both
have spiffy digital cameras. There are 260 parks in Madison. So, instead of sitting on our tushes all day each Sunday, we’re picking one a week
and doing some shooting. We’ve got enough parks to last us five years. Okay, more like ten, because when the lightning and hail strikes, and the snow blows, and the temperatures
start hovering around “sauté”, my tush is getting re-parked on the couch. But
on days like today, we take a field trip.
Last week we went to Lake Farm
Park and saw mud turtles, ducklings, and a Green Heron. This week we got a bit more ambitious and hit the Arboretum. We
putt-putted along Arboretum drive at a staid 20mph until we finally found the area my parents used to take me when I was a
kid. (Mom loves lilacs. They have
a whole wad of them.) Then we parked and hiked and hiked some more. We took a lot of pictures. Well, Jay did. I managed eleven before the batteries died.
We saw azaleas and droopy beech trees and four huge wild turkeys. We wandered
through the woods. Jay said he felt like he was on “Lost”. That was funny, since later we saw a map that said we were in the “Lost
Forest”. And right at the
end, when we were headed back to the car, we saw some weird stork-like birds. We
got some good shots of them so we could look them up in the bird book when we got home. I
joked that they were probably “red-headed herons” or some obvious name.
They weren’t. They were Sandhill Cranes.
I didn’t recognize them without the fire coming out of their butts.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
mouseywerks fights global warming
11:02 pm cdt
I’m sure all of my loyal readers (the number of which, I just found out, has increased 25% - Hi, Pleas!) have heard
of a certain female rocker’s supposed joke about saving the planet one square
of toilet paper at a time. Well, it has inspired
me to alter the lyrics of one of her most well-known songs. Ms. Crow, you’re
welcome to them; just call me first, okay?
I’m feeling kind of dissed
I’m sure not feeling marvy
That rocker Sheryl Crow
Is tryin’ to regulate my TP
“You don’t need yards of it
Despite what you’ve been taught
Think about Mother Earth
When you are on the pot”
Square can soak up a ton
I wanna tell everyone
That when they flush
I wanna tell them that
Got no sense of shame
One single square isn’t lame
To wipe your butt…
One square can soak up a ton.”
"We've done some crummy stuff
And hurt the planet's karma
Let's do the things it takes
To stop this global warming!"
Every time I turn around
The seat is up
The seat is down
Has she nothing else to do
Than fret ‘bout habits of the loo?
Does she ever take a poo?
Square can soak up a ton
I wanna tell everyone
That when they flush
I wanna tell them that
Got no sense of shame
One single square isn’t lame
To wipe your butt…”
Needs a kick in the bum
I might need 45 squares
To wipe myself on...
Friday, March 30, 2007
Welcome to Weird Coincidence Central!
5:24 pm cst
Sometimes it's just too strange... you're watching tv and you say something, only to have a
character on the show you're watching say the exact same thing only a moment later; you hum a song and turn
on the radio to find it playing; you think of someone you haven't seen in years and the next day you get an email from them.
Bizarre stuff that pops up in the strangest places.
Like on my drive home from work tonight. Only yesterday, our company delivered eight
copiers to a small school district in Illinois. I'd never even heard of this town when I scheduled the delivery and
created the maps and driving directions. The town: Stillman Valley, Illinois.
So, I'm driving home tonight after a long and frustrating day, and what do I see in the lane
next to me?
I dig in my purse for my new digital camera (which, in case I haven't said so already,
I really really really love, because it's got the five mega pixels and the optical zoom and is small so it fits in my purse
- whoops, you already knew that - and I can snap pics just about anywhere, even barrelling down the Beltline at 65mph during
rush hour on a Friday night, just don't tell my parents!) and I take a picture. Yeah, I know it's small, so here's a
Yup. It's from Stillman Valley, Illinois.
Weird. Weird. Weird.
Too bad it wasn't a typical semi. We could have had them drop by and pick up the copiers
and save our company the expense and hassle of having to drive down to flatlander country.
Hee hee! It's still weird. But at least it cheered me up!
Saturday, March 24, 2007
The Ballad of the Ugly Blanket
11:31 am cst
You know how people way to be careful when you knit a gift for someone? That
the item you spent hours and days and weeks of slaving over your needles to create may languish in a closet, or even *gasp!*
be re-gifted or donated to Goodwill? Well, several years ago I tempted fate and
knit a gift for my sister’s wedding.
I couldn’t afford anything on their registry, and had no idea what else they needed.
So I delved deep into my creative-crafty side and knit them a car blanket.
I’d found three bags of garish acrylic yarn at a local thrift store, and decided to make a patchwork pattern of squares
called “Trip Around the World”. That the periwinkle
blue, burgundy, lemon yellow, lime green, crimson, and bright orange colors of yarn didn’t actually “go together” didn’t matter
at the time. They were cheap, they would last, and there was enough for a good-sized
blanket, one that could be thrown on the ground for a picnic, or draped over two chairs to make a fort for a future niece
or nephew, or for whatever use they wanted.
So I knit and knit and knit, and finished up the edging while I was sitting at the auto shop waiting for my oil change
the day before the wedding. I folded it the best I could, found the largest gift
bag at the discount card store, and packed it inside.
My sister sent me a generic thank you card, and that was the last I heard of it.
Until this winter.
Back last November, my brother-in-law was one of the many PS3 fans camped outside a big-box store waiting to be the
first to buy the new gaming console. He’d prepared well, with long underwear
and sleeping bags and blankets enough to keep him warm through an unusually cold night, including the car blanket I’d made
for their wedding. But the guy in line behind him hadn’t.
This poor guy was slowly turning into a popsicle. And my brother-in-law
felt kind of sorry for him, so he offered him the blanket. Next Guy In Line took
one look at it and, with a level of disdain not usually seen in a resident of the glamorous and sophisticated metropolis of
Green Bay, Wisconsin, declined the offer with a comment that the blanket was “just too ugly”.
Hours passed. The mercury fell.
My brother-in-law was toasty, but NGIL was getting to the point where he couldn’t feel his ass. Eventually necessity trumped fashion, and he humbly asked if he could borrow the blanket. And my brother-in-law, nice guy that he is, handed it over.
The next morning, when the store was opening and the gamers were beginning to stir from their slumber, NGIL handed
back the blanket with a heartfelt “thank you”. And what he said next (according
to my sister, who told me this story this Christmas) was something that made all the knitting and purling worthwhile.
“It may be ugly,” he commented, “but it sure is warm!”
Saturday, March 17, 2007
11:40 am cst
Saturday, March 10, 2007
12:55 pm cst
So last night Jay and I were enjoying our Friday night out and we got to talking about… honestly, I don’t remember
what. We tend to have these rambling conversations. One minute we’re discussing root beer floats, the next minute, how the IS guys at work are freaking out
over the three-weeks-earlier Daylight Savings Time change, and two minutes and an abrupt left turn finds me gloating over
the money I saved on the oil change I got Thursday. (What’s not to gloat about? It isn’t every day that you take a coupon for an oil change and get free fuel injection
cleaner and two-for-one windshield wipers thrown in. Heck, it isn’t even every
three months or 3,000 miles.) But anyway, we were scarfing down fish, because
it was Friday and it’s Lent and we’re in Wisconsin and some deep, deep genetic marker triggered an intense yearning
for cod, batter, potatoes, and lots and lots of grease, and you know fish fry has no calories because it just slides right
through you. At least that’s my story.
But anyway, we were talking, and somehow I started reminiscing about when my high school band director hugged me.
Now, George was a nice guy. He was short, about my Mom’s age, and had
an odd fondness for Sousa marches, which we clarinetists hated because of all the tweedly-deedly-diddly parts. (No simple quarter-note melodies for the clarinets. If the
clarinet part of a Sousa march had anything less than a sixteenth-note on it, it was a typo.
The horn section got all the easy stuff. Damn horns.) But anyway, George was a pretty decent band teacher, for a trombonist.
He and Greg, the choir teacher, made up the music department at my high school.
And no, we didn’t call them by their first names… at least, not to their faces.
Our high school was pretty small: about 450 students in grades 9-12. At
the time (I’d really rather not reveal exactly how many years ago this was but, suffice it to say, a baby born my freshman
year would no longer be expected to have their ID ready at the liquor store) my high school was known for their gymnastics
team and their music program. Competition to get into the elite performing groups
was pretty stiff. And I was a really shy kid.
I mean, excruciatingly shy. As in not making eye contact, not going anywhere
by myself, I’d-rather-not-call-for-time-and-temperature-because-what-if-they-hang-up-on-me shy.
But anyway, when I was a freshman, all band students were required to have once-a-week private lessons. You’d leave study hall and go down to the band room and sit there with the teacher and play through all
the stuff the band was working on. I never got through a lesson without breaking
into tears of humiliation and frustration. George must have thought I was a basket
case. Here’s this little fifteen-year-old,
and she’s using up all my kleenex. Good thing snot doesn’t damage a wood clarinet.
When I was a freshman, we had a talented pool of seniors that were the leaders of the music department. After they graduated, there were a lot of places to fill; in band, in choir, in the audition-only performing
groups. And everybody – I mean everybody – auditioned. Even I sucked it up and warbled out Bread’s “If” from my fourth-grade Piano Book Of Contemporary Tunes. And then we waited. And then it was Monday. 10:06 am. The end of second period. And Greg was posting the lists. And I
had to go to Geometry class.
The long, long, walk down the hall to the bandroom seemed to stretch forever, and no one would get out of my way. Didn’t they realize? How couldn’t they
know? My future was on the line here, and when my best friend met me halfway
down the hall and stubbornly refused to give up any information or even hints of what she had seen 52 minutes earlier because
she was lucky and got to take Choir instead of being bored to death by length and circumference and pi, and for heaven’s sake, just tell me! But no. She just pushed me to the chalkboard and the three pieces of lined paper taped to it, names written in
pencil in Greg’s distinctive handwriting. Under “Chamber Choir”: my name. Under “Swing Choir”: my name. Under “Madrigal”: my name. I had to touch the paper before I could believe
it. I’d hit the trifecta. The turkey. The hat trick. I was IN.
Fast-forward to the end of the next year. George had asked me to play
the alto clarinet part in a top-level-difficulty piece we were performing for Band Contest.
Not Sousa, but an Asian-inspired piece that had its own variety of tweedly-deedly-diddly stuff. We’d practiced every day for three solid months, over and over and over until we could sing the stuff in
our sleep. Unfortunately, we had to perform it on our instruments, and while
we were awake. But anyway, we’d finished and packed up and were heading to the
bus to go home, and we didn’t even know how we’d done. Some years we didn’t find
out the judges scores until school on Monday, but this year George came walking out of the host school with a big ol’ grin
on his little German face, and as we were waiting to get on the bus he told us we’d scored a First. A gold plaque to hang on the bandroom wall. And as we all
broke out in cheers, he hugged me. And he told me it was all because of me and
my alto clarinet.
I wonder if, at that moment, he remembered the weepy kid from two and a half years earlier. I didn’t really compare the two until last night, with Jay and the hash browns and cole slaw and bran muffin,
that I ordered myself, looking the waitress straight in the eyes.
Any self confidence I have now was planted in the music department of my high school.
Summer camp fostered it, college fed it, and meeting Jay has brought it to maturity, but it was George and Greg that
figured out how to overcome the little voice that always told me “you’re not good enough”.
One of these days, I should thank them.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Second verse, same as the first.
12:19 pm cst
Maybe it’s some kind of pre-set, yearly thing, kind of like the program in your computer that resets the clock to daylight
savings time. Maybe someone was doing research on the area weather and realized
that it was almost exactly a year ago that we were supposed to have the Storm To End All Storms. Because the local
meteorologists are at it again.
Remember last year, when they were predicting that all Heck was going to break loose, that schools would close and roads would turn into bobsled tracks
and that we should all stock up on canned spaghetti, plastic sheeting, and duct tape?
Well, it’s been almost exactly one year. One year, eight days, and an
assorted number of hours, minutes, and seconds. Apparently those persons hired
by the local network affiliates to track the insane mood swings of Our Favorite Mother (Nature, that is) need an occasional
hit of the white stuff. Snow, that is.
Frozen flakes of fury, falling in a frenzy. If you believe the weatherpeople,
every molecule of moisture in the Upper Mississippi Valley is gathering to deliver a giant smackdown on the city. The forecasters include the rest of the southern half of the state, too, because despite the belief that
most of the residents have that this city is the center of the effing universe,
there are other towns and villages and people out there that are going to get dumped on, too.
But it’s mostly the city. How we all need to be Prepared! Because there is going to be a Lot! Of! Snow!
A confluence of low pressure systems, jet streams, Pacific moisture, Gulf Coast Moisture, cold air, the planets in
alignment, the stripes on the woolly bear caterpillars, and the thickness of beaver houses has produced all of the signs that
the meteorologists need to predict that this one will be a “doozy”. They point
to the red spiky lines and the blue bumpy lines and the wavy orange line, and with barely suppressed ecstasy describe the
Storm That Is To Come. This one is going to have heavy, wet snow; blowing and
drifting, and whiteouts that will make Martha Stewart’s sheets look positively dingy.
“But,” they told us, “It won’t start until late Saturday night.”
Which is why, I guess, when I looked out the window at 6:00 pm last night (which was Friday, by the way), I could barely see across the street.
And why the plows have been out on the roads scraping off the eight inches of snow that has already fallen.
And that was just the first wave. The wave that evidently caught the meteorologists
off guard. They must have been too busy focusing on the second wave. The one that is supposed to dump up to fourteen more inches on us tonight.
Because it seems that Ma Nature wants us to be able to empathize with New
York State and its one hundred freakin’ inches of snow.
And, like good little lemmings, we all rushed to the grocery stores and the liquor stores and wiped them out. Between the storm and the BIG Wisconsin – Ohio State basketball game tonight, there
isn’t a morsel of junk food left to buy, and the cartloads of booze being purchased by beardless boys in Badger garb boggles
the brain. Centuries from now, when archeologists dig our bodies out from the
glaciated layers that are due to begin shrouding us at any moment, they’ll know immediately why we died.
It won’t be the cheetos, the chips and dip, or the nachos. It won’t be
the adult beverages clenched in our cold, cold fists. It won’t be the fact that
the Badger basketball team isn’t as awesome as the sportscasters (who apparently are under the influence of the same psychotic
snowstorm-generated powers as the meteorologists) say they are.
Those future archeologists will take one look at the grimaces on our frozen faces and the remote controls clenched
in our other fists and know what killed us.
It was the realization that this city isn’t the center of the effing universe.
Or any other universe, for that matter.
Now, excuse me. I need to go buy some more duct tape, before it’s all
Saturday, February 10, 2007
It's a Love-Hate Relationship.
12:13 pm cst
It’s old. I love old.
It’s pink. I hate pink.
It used to sit on the bathroom floor in my parents’ house. I love the
It now sits on the floor in my bathroom, and I only use it a couple times each month.
And when I do, I usually hate the results. Because it never lies. Whatever number it gives me, I know is the truth.
And the truth is a weighty issue.
It’s my bathroom scale.
About a week into 2007 (yeah, I’m a procrastinator. I made my New Year’s
Resolution a week late. I figured that way it’s not a New Year’s Resolution,
so it won’t be destined to be broken like all the other NYRs I’ve made) I decided, after a long, critical, depressing look
in the bathroom mirror, that I really need to take control of my weight before it takes control of me. The lumpy, bumpy bits were starting to get even lumpier and bumpier, and there were ever so many of them,
and, well, there are only so many formless sweatshirts one can shove into ones closet before one runs shrieking into the night. Especially after one tries on a slinky black velvety-drape-y camisole, and even though
it’s a ladies’ extra-large, it doesn’t look like what you expect peeking out from under a dressy jacket.
It looked like a pajama top. A pajama top that was two sizes too big in
the shoulders, and two sizes too small ‘round the tummy.
And before one walks to the hardware section of the store with cami in hand, looking for a tape measure to see if this
so-called “extra-large” item of apparel is really an XL that had a “small” bottom piece sewn on by accident by some seven-year-old
Indonesian sweatshop slave, one looks down at oneself and realizes that it’s not the clothes that are out of proportion. It’s me.
And so began the quest to re-size myself.
Out with the potato chips, popcorn, and cheezy poofs. In with the trail
mix and string cheese. Out with the hot chocolate; in with the chamomile tea. No more lemonade mix for my bottled water – now it’s Green Tea To Go. I restrict portions during the week, and indulge on weekends, but with healthier foods. Nuts. Dried cranberries.
Stuff that doesn’t have an interminable list of preservatives and additives on the label. Nothing radical, just food that’s basic, closer to what comes out of the ground or off the animal.
It must be working. This morning, the little pink box in my bathroom told
me that I am now nearly 7% less weighty than I was last month at this time. And
that is making me happy, happy, happy. So happy that I tried out a new patisserie
in town. I celebrated with pain au chocolat.
And I can tell you that this city still doesn’t have a decent French pastry shop.
But in the end, that really isn't a bad thing. I hate that my wallet is now 11.5% lighter. But I love it, too, because those over-baked, dry pastries won’t tempt me to inhale half a dozen of them
every Saturday morning and thus balloon to proportions that even the baggiest pajamas can’t hide. Because I am not one of those slackers that thinks flannel below-waist-apparel is appropriate to wear out
in public. Even if there are cute little monkeys printed on them.
And that’s the truth, from a not-so-weighty miss.
Monday, February 5, 2007
Blog In Your Pants
9:26 pm cst
Blog surfing can be fun. You start out reading a blog of someone you know. Then you click on a link in her blog, and from that one you go on to another, and
sometimes you can discover the most amusing things. Things you would never find
otherwise. Like the In Your Pants Literature Game.
It started out with Elizabeth’s blog, SABLE. (Elizabeth is the founding member of my Last Saturday Knitting Club.) Through Molly Bee’s, Drunken Monkey Knits, The Brookeshelf, and Bookshelves of Doom, I found myself watching a video blog of Brotherhood 2.0. And although I had
heard of adding “in your pants” as a way to resuscitate a joke that was dead on arrival, I’d never heard of the In Your Pants
Literature Game until last night.
The premise is to take the title of a book and add “in your pants”. Much
Think of it: The Old Man and the Sea In Your Pants (Ooh, squishy.)
War and Peace In Your Pants
Of Mice and Men In Your Pants
Gulliver’s Travels In Your Pants
Gone With the Wind In Your Pants (Ewww.)
Or you can use more contemporary titles:
Interview With The Vampire In Your Pants
Clear and Present Danger In Your Pants
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy In Your Pants
The Lost World In Your Pants
Children’s books open up whole new avenues of merriment:
Green Eggs And Ham In Your Pants
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe In Your Pants (sounds kind of crowded!)
All Creatures Great and Small In Your Pants
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead In Your Pants
Where the Wild Things Are In Your Pants
We tried our own bookshelves, but really couldn’t find anything that worked.
Then we turned to our DVD collection, and the goofy giggles took over:
Office Space In Your Pants
Contact In Your Pants
The Kids Are Alright In Your Pants
Twister In Your Pants
Christmas Vacation In Your Pants
The Empire Strikes Back In Your Pants
Lost In Your Pants
Emergency! In Your Pants
Amazing what you can do with a simple pair of pants!